I've had little time to hole up in the studio this week, as I've been visiting various corporate possibilities, spewing words out of my word hole, sick of hearing the sound of my voice. Amazingly, I'm being called back for second, third, fourth, etc, interviews. Which is a job, all by itself. I come home from these exercises more knackered than at the end of any conventional workday. I have three days until I have to go in to Quintessential Seattle Company No. 1 for my fourth visit. Oh, just give me the fucking job, already.
This has proven to be a difficult saddle to climb back into. In some ways it mirrors my real-life attempts at getting on to that thing on a horse's back. Pretty unsuccessful. I was always better at bare backing.....
It's been an odd couple of months. My last day of employment was June 30th and then six foggy weeks of waiting for Lulu's condition to deteriorate. Her final days were filled with her favorite (pricey) chew bones and on my part, guilt, dread and tenderness. When she did begin to fail, it was quick and awful. The house was quiet and strange for a few days. The cats slept in places they'd never before favored. Then they started playing and now every morning there is much kitty galloping that never happened with Lulu around to police activities. And it was about two weeks after she was gone that I came home from running errands and had a stark feeling of peace and relief that I wasn't to be greeted with slobber and hair and unremitting need.
I love dogs, but Lulu was the lesson that I need to love them from afar. I've never connected with dogs the way I have with cats (and chickens). You have this idea of yourself as how you want to be, and then, often, there is the disparate picture of what you actually are. I have wanted and gotten many things in my life and so many of them have been things I only thought I wanted. Through all this, though, I did right by Lulu and gave her the best life I knew how. I do miss her and her gentle ghost occasionally wafts into the room and she is part and parcel of my life and what I am. She was a good dog, but then, they all are.
It turns out that losing my job abruptly took all wind out of my sails. Additionally, it was summer, which is never a creatively productive time. But I have to tell you, I have done fucking diddly squat in two months. Now that the rains have begun, I hope to be able to focus and it's not like I've done nothing (for instance, I've read like a motherfucker). I have finished a painting and am working on two more and I've begun a quilt. And I gardened - a lot. Big projects that involved digging and schlepping and ultimately got me to shed some pounds and get some muscle tone back.
Now that I put it all on paper, as it were, I can see I've not been that idle. But it has been odd. As much as I do NOT want to join the work force again, I know I have to and would rather do so before my little cushion runs out. I realize that my day job is part of my creative process - it gives me something to push up against and apparently that's necessary. Hm. Who knew.
Lulu turned a corner several days ago. I opened the studio in the morning and her diaper sat on the bed, where she'd successfully discarded it in the night and upon examination, her poor yoni which has been like it's own little Eli Roth movie, had finally stopped bleeding. Her demeanor has shifted as well, probably due in no small part to no longer having to sport a fucking diaper. So, she's scheduled for surgery next Thursday. I would have liked to have had the time leading up to it to be with her, but I've been called back to the evil salt mine to finish up my last week, so I'll be sitting in my chair, doing what I've been doing for the last 7 years (fuck all), which will no doubt make the final spring of freedom more resounding.
So, summer moves on. It's been hot but not ridiculous. Ester is molting, again, but even though she looks awful, this molt doesn't seem to be wringing everything out of her, as past ones have. I tell her she's beautiful and she totally buys it. Women. I watched Night of the Hunter last night. It had been about 10 years since I watched it last and it still holds up as one completely over the top yet still expertly reined in movies ever made. If you've never seen it: c'mon!
One for each day. On Saturday, I woke up to a blue sky that has been making itself scarce of late. I quickly did all the indoor chores and then I was outside in the yard(s) for about 7 hours. I nearly put out an eye! Who says gardening isn't for thrill seekers? That night, after a very uninspired white-bean-spaghetti-pinenut-parmeson-cheese dish (eh), I spent some time rehearsing my songs for The Waggle Dance and managed to finally put down lyrics for the Artie Shaw number I'm singing over. It's been 10 years since I put pen to paper, lyrically, and that moment when the right words fit to the right place, well, it's pretty satisfying. After I was truly read to blob out for the night, I watched the last episode of Season Two of True Blood.
I waited a full year to watch the second season of True Blood on DVD. I even went out and bought the sub-literate blocks of pulp it is based on - all of them - while waiting for you to get around to releasing Season 2. Was it worth the wait? Hell no.
That is all.
That said, I'll wait a week and watch it all again.
On Sunday, it rained all day and I parked it at the easle and applied embroidery floss to my newest Ester painting. I was very ill-tempered by the end of 6+ hours of work after I saw how little I'd accomplished. But a day in the garden and then a day in the studio is actually the perfect weekend. So, um, thanks, Universe!
I apologize for my half-assed posting. I just haven't felt it lately. When my blog is boring me, I can only imagine the reaction of those few who read it (or probably don't anymore, since I've been away from the table for so long).
It's the little things, people.
Listening to NPR this morning, the lead in was something to do with a discovery about chickens in Scotland. I'm always of two minds when I hear anything about chickens: one the one hand, it can be some lovely benign story, or it can be some kind of horror. This one wasn't. They found that chickens in Edinburgh were exibiting male and female characteristics, right down the middle. These abberations, which appear in nature, are called gynandromorphs (not hermaphrodites, as I'd thought). First, I thought of this:
But he/she looks like this. Wattle long on one side, hen-sized on the other. The story is here: it also includes a slide show of gynandromorphs.
All Things Considered, MELISSA BLOCK, host:
This week, we're going to hear a variety of perspectives on what to do with Don't Ask Don't Tell. Today we turn to California Congressman Duncan Hunter. He is a Republican and a former U.S. Marine who served both in Afghanistan and Iraq. ...You are not in favor of a repeal of DADT. Why not?
Rep. HUNTER: No, because I think that it's bad for the cohesiveness and the unity of the military units. especially those that are in close combat, that are in close quarters in country right now. It's not the time to do it. I think it's - the military is not civilian life. And I think the folk who have been in the military that have been in these very close situations with each other, there has to be a special bond there. And I think that bond is broken if you open up the military to transgenders, to hermaphrodites, to gays and lesbians.
BLOCK: Transgenders and hermaphrodites.
Little rat bastards. I noticed when I came home from work that Heir Hairmeister seemed a little subdued: ate his grisly substance and then parked it on my bed until I got in, then he got out and proceeded to yowl, scratch, dig and otherwise annoy the fuck out of me all night, aided by his little butt-sniffer-in-crime, Sammy. Earlier in the evening I tried to meditate, which had me in the bedroom, on the floor, with the door closed while all three of the clowns tried to lure me back out with sniffing snorgling digging mewling and slipping a key under the door in case I was locked in. Well, except for that last bit.
Today, I feel the benefits of vacation falling down around my ankles like Tippi Hedren's nightgown in Marnie (rent it) (best line: Marnie, you're achin' mah leg). So, tonight I will endeavor to sit for a solid 20 minutes - again - perhaps this time with earplugs to muffle the snuffling on the other side of the door. Because somethings got to give. And when that sentence crystallizes in your brain pan, the thing that's usually got to give is you.
One of my yearly rituals at this time is to read back to my journal entry the year before. And, at the turn of 2009, every resolution I cited could just be cut and pasted into 2010, with the exception of 'quitting drinking' which I actually did manage to do last year. But everything else is the same, and it's sort of how I feel about my recent sobriety. If you asked when I quit drinking, I'd have to really think about it, and then I don't know a date, just an occasion (the Autumnal Equinox). Whereas in other forays onto the wagon, I could tell you down to the second, practically. I think I saddle myself, and shoot myself in the foot (to sort of mix my metaphors while keeping it in a old Wild West-y sort of theme) at the same time by making goals and marking victories. So, even though the resolutions I penned for myself last year are still desirable and, God knows, healthy, if I get there, I get there. Not the destination, but the blah-da-de-blah-blah path: you know.
All in all, I had many days away from the salt mine. It takes a good week, but then my natural circadian rhythms emerge and I think that's really when you can start changing anything. Work = artifice, from the time I'm so rudely pulled from my warm bed full of warm cats, to the crappy chair I sit in all day, staring at the computer that is probably slowly blinding me, and so on. I was actually able to start meditating, one of those resolutions from last year, and I hopefully can continue. I'm presently reading We're All Doing Time (alternating with After The Flood - Yin and Yang, baby!) and it's one of the few books I've read that charts a path for beginning a sitting practice that is actually practicable.
The holidays were nice. On Christmas Eve, I trundled a good friend into the hay conveyor, aka, car, and we drove up to Bellingham for the day. It had been a while since being there and it was a balm to my soul. We drove back the next day, in perfect weather and little traffic and I made and ate rugelah for dinner - yes, I'm ten - and made cat nip toys for the boys and just hung with my kids. I listened to A Christmas Carol read by Jonathan Winters and in some ways, it was the best Christmas I'd had in a while.
Ester is molting again, and again, it looks like it's killing her. And brings me full circle to when I began to conceptualize this blog. Her rejuvenation costs dearly, but it is also a natural (although, from my vantage point, overly harsh) process. And this, I think, is what Ester's Feathers is really all about: change, the cost of it, but the knowledge that at the end of the day, you're only doing what you're supposed to be doing. Speedy molt, little girl. Or should I say, girl(s).