Life Among the Never-Winged

Once upon a time I was writing a book called, "Just Another Love Letter", about angels behaving badly. Now I just quietly ask myself each day, "What the hell am I doing?"

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Location: The Rocky Mountain Empire, United States

My friends always knew I was going to hell. My only hope is that God likes good jokes and bad redheads.

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  • Monday, April 30, 2007

    Something Better

    I have a man

    and our minds tick to the same clock.

    We have a jar of weeds

    with little purple blossoms

    on the front porch.

    We have a larder

    with two pounds of butter

    and plenty of sugar.

    We have days of hard work

    and pleasure.

    Rolly-pollies, crickets, dandelions

    Snap peas and potatoes,

    Strawberries and mint.

    We have a garden of white blossoms

    over our heads.

    Touching his arm, I say,

    “Look up through the garden

    to the clouds snagged in the branches.”

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    Sunday, April 29, 2007

    Trust, Violated

    It's the middle of the night. I'm exhausted, I think, but I can't tell because I am so enraged right now.

    We left the boyos with O's folks tonight, so we could go to his class reunion. This is the third time recently that we've taken them over to their house to be watched. O's folks used to come here, because it was easier to get the boyos to bed afterwards. But with my FIL's health, it makes more sense to take the boyos over there, and since they have reached an age where they aren't into everything, I'm not worried about them damaging anything anymore.

    What I was worried about in this new arrangement came to pass tonight, after I'd reached a point where I trusted it wouldn't happen.

    When we picked up the boyos tonight, my MIL waited until O was in another room.

    “I have something to tell you,” she said. “J (my SIL) came by this evening. She didn't know the boys were here. She just wanted to drop off some tools, and she had some pizza with them. I just wanted to tell you.”

    Let's pause here. Now, I will suspend my disbelief enough to grant that perhaps J didn't know the boyos would be there, despite the fact that she and my MIL are on the phone once an hour. I will grant the possibility that she happened to be in her car with the tools and decided to drop in unannounced on a Saturday night. But, to sit down and have pizza with them, to be allowed to do so, considering the state of affairs...

    I didn't respond. I didn't trust myself to respond. I looked at the tv instead. My MIL continued. “She just had a couple pieces of pizza.” She was using her defensive voice, as if I had said something. And since I was raised a Nice Girl, I responded, “It's fine.” My tone was flat, and certainly not amused. My MIL kept on about it.

    And then it kicked into my brain that she was talking to me about this, not to O and not to the both of us, and I said, “I am not the one who started this. I am not the one who picked up the phone out of nowhere and told someone what a horrible person she is and then hung up on her.”

    “Well. I just don't know what to do,” she said.

    And then she added this little kicker:

    “I just want everyone to get along by (the FIL's) birthday. That would be nice, don't you think?”

    I feel violated. Again. My SIL's rude, she's pushy; once when we were all actually getting along she came over while I was out of town and O was at work and pushed my mom around, ignoring our house rules regarding what the boyos were allowed and not allowed to do (putting my mom in an awkward position as well), and now she's doing it again.

    I don't want my boyos eating with a woman who has verbally attacked their parents on numerous occasions, and has caused a rift in the family. I don't want her to have access to them when we are not around. We have not spoken to her in a year and a half. What gives her the right to sit down and have pizza with our sons just out of the blue?

    And how can I trust my MIL again? The fact that she let this happen, and that she only told me about it while O was out of the room, and in a manner that left me feeling like Grendel's mother; some dumb, hairy, clutching doesn't sit well. It doesn't sit well at all.

    Am I overreacting?

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    Friday, April 27, 2007

    Mona's Friday Word -- Cloud

    Clouds are the Ghosts of Trees -- Marvin Hill

    Irrelephant inadvertently picked this week's word. Here's a little chunk out of my brain, part memory, part conversation I had on Monday with the Good Doc.

    ‘It’s not the same at all,’ he said, clouds of smoke around his head as he exhaled. His fingers, yellow-brown and wrinkled, let the fag dangle. ‘Used to be, up to Burke’s you’d go for a night, and listen to the band. You’d sit and have your pint and some good craic, and the little ones’d chase around, and…’ he took another drag.

    ‘People caught up, you see?’ He shook his head. His niece, the unmarried one, brought in a tray. She poured two glasses of 7Up, then added some whiskey.

    ‘Put a little more color in that one for him, Agnes,’ he said, looking at the heavy clouds outside. ‘Dirty old day. We should be down to the White House, having a pint.’ Another drag. ‘But I won’t leave my friend behind,’ he said, looking at his fingers, then back at me. ‘No one does. So no one goes anymore. Pick up your drink at an off-license, take it home, smoke all you want.’ He shook his head. ‘Lonely. Haven’t seen my granddaughters in… how many days is it Agnes?’

    ‘Weeks, Pat.’

    ‘There you have it then.’

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    Wednesday, April 25, 2007

    But the light bulb has to WANT to change.

    Things I'd like to change, in no particular order:

    Parts of yesterday

    Colorado water laws regarding rights to rainwater

    My career

    This nasty, 30-year-old carpet

    The fact that there are 400 boxes of books sitting in O's warehouse that should be on their way to Liberia but our friend is STILL dragging his feet

    My diet

    My mood

    Chapters 3-5, possibly 6

    My hairstyle

    The hard-packed dirt in the back yard

    My lame posts of late

    My location in regards to certain friends scattered around the country

    The options Dr. S. gave me yesterday

    What's on your list?

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    Saturday, April 21, 2007

    Free Porn -- to Go (Or, Stick Shift)

    So I'm waiting at a red light, and I notice that the passenger in the car in front of me is, um, jerking off the driver. The light changed, she finished, and they both waved before speeding off.

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    Friday, April 20, 2007


    There's been some sort of explosion behind one of the high schools here. Ponderosa High School in Parker.

    They've apprehended a suspect, with another explosive device.

    I don't understand. I can't understand. I can't.

    Sounds like no one was hurt. Thank god.

    Thursday, April 19, 2007

    Waiting in the Wings

    Two hawks drift still and close on the wind before the storm climbs over the Flatirons in clouds bigger than mountains and moving weightlessly.

    We've seen the hawks before, circling above the park where we walk. You wonder if they are free, or if they belong to one of the houses ringing the lacrosse fields.

    I shrug. 'If they can keep falcons,' I start to say, stopping when I feel soft kisses along my collarbone, warm breath against my ear.

    The scent of cherry blossoms comes and goes against the smell of incoming rain. The new grass under my bare feet is dense and deep green from all the snow, the ground soft and comforting. I think of how it would feel to pull you down right here and make love with you out in the open before the storm reaches us. Or we could run to the cottonwood at the end of the field and climb into the branches where we'd be safe. And we would be; no lightning would dare strike our tree.

    We have the mated hawks and the cherry blossoms, the slate grey clouds and the young leaves glowing bright green against them, we have the last of the day's sunlight, and the fierce wind that coaxes your body closer to mine.

    It's impossible to think that we won't have this forever. But the trees will drop their white flowers at our feet. The cerulean sky will fade like denim in the relentless summer sun. Time and the desert will drink the green. And the leaves will turn and fall. Your hand in mine, we may walk this path one last time before the snow falls again.

    We'll dream through it, I want to tell you. Safely entangled, we'll dream of hawks soaring and cherry blossoms opening. We'll dream of green miracles and each other. And we will wake up again. We will.

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    Tuesday, April 17, 2007

    Thank you, and Here You Go

    I've been accused of thinking by Popeye, so much so that I've gotten an award for it. See?

    The award originated here. And, it is now my duty to pass on the award to five other worthy Bloggers. It was a tough choice, because I think you are all mighty thinkers. So, I decided to give out this award to the Bloggers who can put me into another world with their writing.

    Esereth -- The true definition of a 'thinking blog', in my opinion. Esereth will talk about anything, and well.

    Irrelephant -- This guy is a terrific writer, especially when he's talking about the little things.

    Maggie -- Poet extraordinaire.

    Meno -- Superior Blogger. Funny, smart, observant.

    Patches -- Consummate artist in everything she (or rather, Missus Chica) does.

    Runners Up (Consider yourselves awarded):

    Mona -- Creator of Poetry Friday, and author of a second blog, Cherry Stem Knots. Whew, hot!

    Scott from Oregon -- I don't think I've ever seen so many stories. He's got an endless supply.

    Popeye -- I'm not sure if this counts as tagging back, but... He meanders, but he meanders well. And he's my first commenter. You changed my life, man! *sniff*.

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    Friday, April 13, 2007

    Six Word Story Meme Redoux

    So. It looks like the Six Word Story Meme has really rippled across the blogosphere. Welcome, all you new lurkers. Stick around. And if you've played along, let me know so I can read your stories. I LOVE stories...
    You can read two chapters in my little old novel, 'Just Another Love letter.'

    I've compiled some of my favs, in no particular order. Thanks to Turnbaby for shooting this thing around and doing a compilation of your own.


    Bought dress

    Bought shoes

    Danced alone


    Dawn's here.
    Sleep, love.
    You're exhausted.

    Hi! How are you?

    Kiyotoe – (REALLY interesting site)

    We buried...
    the answer...
    with him...

    Morgen --

    Forgive me, please. Sorry I snapped.


    April passions.
    November rain.
    Never again.


    Found one mitten
    Child Size


    Is this
    part of
    your finger?

    Lake's empty, officer.
    The town's gone.

    Esereth --

    It's hard.
    That's what she said.

    Patches --

    One kiss, changed their relationship forever.

    He touched her shoulder. They left.


    "Rumors of my death are greatly..."


    I picked at it. It bled.


    Distance will not make me desperate.


    Is it love? Do we care?


    God's dead. I'm not. Kiss me.

    Mona-- (LOVE these!)

    "Dear Dad. I quit. Love, Jesus."

    "Come in. Don't mind the blood."


    He heard words I didn’t say.

    Put your pants on, he's home.

    Lisa --

    The baby cried.
    No one heard.

    Popeye --

    No officer, YOU look drunk.

    His fall was surprising and fatal.


    you touch it
    I love it

    Amusing --

    She lost her mind. Zombies again.

    Des Moines Girl--

    I like rollercoasters!


    It's bad news. Don't give up.


    What should I do with us.

    Irrelephant --

    She entered his life, which changed.


    The rain fell. It was pushed.

    Mother of Invention --

    Mist rises and clears up 'misteries.'

    Mini Lenox --

    I forgot my bow
    He played alone

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    Wednesday, April 11, 2007

    Those Critical Voices

    This one's for Maggie.

    Anne Lamott wrote a GREAT book on writing, called Bird By Bird. If you haven't read it, I strongly suggest dropping everything and picking up a copy, whether you consider yourself a writer or not (and gee, if you're Blogging, there's a strong chance that you do indeed write. Funny how that works, innit?)

    Anyway, Lamott managed to squeeze a few extra goodies in, that have a lot to do with general living, and living happier. One of the things she talks about is Radio Station KFKD.

    We all tune into this station now and then. Sometimes the knob gets stuck there. KFKD is the station that blares out how awful we are. How much we suck. How fucked we are, and why, and how we can't do a damn thing about it, and it's all our fault. And the voice is soooo familiar. It's your mom, or your dad, or that treacherous teacher who told you wouldn't amount to anything. It's the voice you've been running from all your life. And there it is, louder than life, coming from that radio in your head.

    These shit-critics aren't to be confused with the ones who push you to do what you're meant to be doing. There's a big difference between the voices who light a fire under you, and the ones that throw you on the pyre.

    Well. I figured out one way to shut those voices up. And that's by NOT shutting them up.

    Here's what I did.

    My first week as a freelance graphic designer. My first real gig as such. I was working in a print shop, (the same one that's jut gone over, actually) and I was having a hard time acclimating. The laser printer wasn't working, jobs were backed up from a month of going without a designer, and I was having a hard time just trying to find some of the electronic files. So the critics were well into their chorus. And that's how they sounded, like a Greek chorus always behind me, commenting on everything I did. The Chorus of Grandmothers, I called it. Each voice was a waspy, dried up old woman's voice. Pinched. Judgmental.

    “You did that wrong.”

    “You're going way too slow.”

    “You'll never catch up. But they'll fire you before you have a chance anyway.”

    “If you ask for help with the printer one more time, the pressman will think you're stupid, and he'll yell at you and tell you you're getting in his way.”

    “They are going to find out that you don't know what you're doing. You are a fake. And they will fire you, and you'll never work again.”

    And I was messing up. And I was slow.

    But it wasn't my fault. It wasn't because I was a fake. It was because the Chorus of Grandmothers was getting in my way.

    There was a photo on the wall. I looked at it every morning when I came in. My eyes wandered to it throughout the day, whenever I was having a problem.

    It was not a tranquil beach or forest, or anything like that. It wasn't an inspirational poster, giving me some insipid platitude on confidence or perseverance.

    It looked like this:

    A dilapidated mill. It made me slightly queasy looking at it. I was waiting for it to fall into the river.

    The Chorus reached a crescendo while I looked at all those rotting boards, all those gaps in the wall.

    And I thought, Wait a minute...

    “Ok!” I told the Chorus. “You want something to criticize? Why don't you go criticize that old mill? It's falling apart. Look at it. Look at those warped boards. Look at all the holes. I bet it's FULL of dust and dirt. Go criticize it.”

    And for a while, everything got quiet. I got something done.

    And then they came back, one by one. But I didn't let them stay, and I didn't let the speak all together. I sent them back on their way.

    “What are you doing back here? You're not done criticizing that old thing. You forgot about that broken bottle in the corner. You missed all those cobwebs. Pah, and you call yourself a critic!? You suck as a critic. You're the worst critic I've ever seen. You missed a bunch of flaws in that mill. Now go back there and don't come back until you're finished.”

    It took a couple of days. But they stayed there. Sometimes (and sometimes I still have to do this) I had to take them back there myself. I had to stand in the middle of the mill and point to the cobwebs and the gaps in the floor and the mouse skeletons and say, “There! Look at that! You missed it. How could you?” I pictured all those voices as skulking grey shadows circling the room, muttering to themselves as they tallied and tallied again every speck of dust.

    It works for me. I still have days when they come back. But they don't cripple me like they used to. And I recognize them right away, before they can assemble. I picture the old mill and send them back on their way.

    I hope this helps, Maggie.

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    Thursday, April 05, 2007


    Please, feel free to continue the six-word stories. I'm glad eveybody's having so much fun with it!

    I was in a hurry, just there to pick up some white eggs and dye, some odds and ends, so I almost walked right past her.

    There was a small crowd; there always is when they're that age, and they always say the same things: How old are they? Aren't they cute! They're twins, aren't they?

    They ooh and they awww and they flatter and they are totally oblivious to the dark circles under the mother's eyes and her tight smile.

    She had a double stroller and a full shopping cart, turned backwards so she could pull it through the parking lot while pushing the stroller.

    This seldom works smoothly, if at all.

    One of the admirers, a woman I'd place in her fifties, remarked, “Oh, they're sound asleep, aren't they?”

    “They are now,” she answered quietly, followed by one of those half-smothered, desperate little sounds.

    “Hey,” I said, smiling. “How are you doing?”

    She looked at me. Her smile quavered. “I'm...” She stopped and looked down. The crowd dissipated. I felt myself blushing.

    “I know.” I said. “Can I take your cart for you?”

    “Um. Yeah. Thanks.”

    I followed her to her car. I talked to cover her tears. “I have twins too. It's hard right now for you, I know. Four months is rough. And you think you'll never sleep again--”

    “They take turns. One goes to sleep--”

    “And the other wakes up. Yup.”

    She wiped her eyes. We reached her minivan.

    “You get the babies in, I'll put the groceries in, ok?”

    “Thank you. Ok, yeah. Thank you.”

    “Sure sure sure! No problem!” I loaded the groceries into the back. The van still smelled new.

    She came around the back to load the second baby in the other side. “Thank you,” she said again.

    “No problem! Mothers-in-arms, right?”

    She came back after she put the second 'baby bucket' into the car seat base.

    “What did you say?” Her eyes were watering.

    “Mothers-in-arms.” I smiled at her.

    “More like mothers-in-not-enough-arms,” she said. And we both laughed, then kept laughing because for some reason right then it was the funniest thing anybody had ever said.

    And because when you laugh that hard, it's ok to be crying at the same time too.

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    Tuesday, April 03, 2007

    A Writer's Meme

    Moving right along... I was going to post a review of 300 (woohoohoo!) yesterday, but then my world got rocked, (and Jo did a grand and funny job of writing a 300 review. Go read. Funny funny.) And my attention span is about as long as Patches' lately. And Ernest Hemingway keeps popping up for no reason.

    So. A meme.

    Ernest Hemingway said the best thing he ever wrote was a six-word story. It is this:

    For sale--
    Baby shoes.
    Never used.

    My challenge to you, Dear Readers and Writers, is to come up with your own six-word story. That's all. Six words. How hard could that be? It'll only take a minute.

    Here's some of mine to get you started:

    “Let's dance!”
    “Right now?”
    “Never mind.”

    “I can!”
    “Wanna bet?”

    “After all that...”
    “Try again?”

    “I'll call it...The Bible!”

    “I'm bleeding.”
    “Not much.”
    “ you.”

    “Miss me?”
    “Of course!”
    “Who's that?”

    His wallet was empty. She left.

    I wrote, 'Mickey Mouse.' Disney sued.

    Policy confirmed, she poured his drink.

    And for Papa himself:

    Caught the fish! God's still dead.

    They're like potato chips. Once you start writing them, you can't stop.

    Ok, everybody's tagged. But I want especially to hear from the designated writers out there. That means you:

    Clowncar (not having a blog doesn't get you out of it)
    Irrelephant (AFTER your recovery, dear.)

    (Amusing, you're excused. You've got too damn much to write as it is).

    Get ready.
    Get set.
    And GO!

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    Monday, April 02, 2007

    Now What?

    It had dwindled down to a little work, but I liked it. I liked the people. That's more important. I liked the people.
    And it's gone now. And they didn't even have the grace to tell me.
    And they owe me money.
    Now what?


    Update: It appears no one was told about the sale. Shabby behavior from people I respected. I'll get paid, but the question is when.

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