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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  • Friday, November 30, 2007

    Last One

    For November. For NaBloPoMo. After the week I've had (other issues be a-brewing as well), I'd better win a NaBloPoMo prize.

    I promise better posts after next week, when my paper comes to term, my lab book is confiscated and my finals are finaled. I'll even talk back to y'all.

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    Thursday, November 29, 2007

    And now for some fun

    Not quite a meme, but requires a bit of reader participation.

    Irrelephant sent me a link to this cool site. It's an 'art generator'. You choose a subject and an artist (actually leaving it 'anonymous' offers more possibilities), choose the number of images, and it Googles up a collage for you.

    Being the vain person I am, here's my name in collage:

    Hee! It Googled my own site. I love the synchronicity of the number '2' appearing in almost the same place in the upper right hand corner.

    Anyway, if you chose to do so, go plug in the following, and show me the results on your site:

    Your Name (Blogger or otherwise) along with one of your interests (drawing, writing, dancing, whatever)

    If you write fiction, try the name of one of your characters with or without one of their defining characteristics. You'll get some interesting results:





    Books Unlimited

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    Wednesday, November 28, 2007

    Dear JALL Beta Readers

    While researching my photosynthesis paper (bleh) I came across this bit of wonderfulness:

    'To gain qualitative understanding of the role “bio-quantum physics” plays in the excitation
    transfer in light-harvesting complexes, it is necessary to understand the role that “photon
    entanglement” has in causing a coherent at-distance transfer of simultaneous information energy states. '

    Photon entanglement!!! Information energy!! Pen and Sara!

    Sorry to be cryptic. And distant. I think I'm trying to push through the other night. Its bringing up old stuff from the first house and from college, and, well. Yeah.

    Back to my humble and boring photosynthesis paper.

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    Tuesday, November 27, 2007

    Checking in

    Thank you, guys. I'll answer comments tomorrow. Thank you.

    I'm fine. Tired. Long lab. Term paper and homework and lab book and two tests, all due next week.

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    Monday, November 26, 2007


    Balancing out...

    It's a lovely little town. It borders Denver, one of the burbs now really. When you drive into it this time of year the trees are filed with lights and there's a banner saying,'HAPPY HOLIDAYS.'

    It's quiet. Charming. Very, 'It's Wonderful Life.'

    Jo lives there, in an apartment off Main Street. I went over last night to study. She's taking a cardiac class waaaay over my head. We quizzed each other until midnight. Time to go home.

    In the parking lot I saw him across the alley. He saw me.

    I lost sight of him completely for a moment, crossing through a parking garage. But I felt him walking towards me. Silent. I listened for him. (“Hey, excuse me, miss...?”)

    But he didn't say anything.

    I was almost to the car. I knew he was there. I couldn't see him. I felt him. He was silent.

    I had my keys. I realized they were the wrong keys. I grabbed the right keys, debated opening the back door along with the front, to throw my heavy laptop and book in. Which would be faster? I opened both, thew them in, threw myself into the front, hit the lock button immediately.

    He was two feet away. Dressed in black. Silent.

    I turned the key in the ignition. The radio came on, loud. I turned it up.

    (Crazy Train. Ha ha, Universe, you so funny!)

    I lost sight of him, and then he was behind the car. He stopped. He didn't turn towards the car, but stood there, sideways, as if he were simply walking behind it to his own and had stopped. Perhaps in mid-thought.

    These were the things my head was telling me to 'normalize' the situation. It tried to tell me all was well. A misunderstanding. He was was just some guy walking behind my car.

    But he wasn't. He was silent. He didn't say anything. He didn't move.

    I couldn't pull forward. A concrete barrier blocked me.

    I didn't want to hurt him, in case he was just a guy. I thought of backing over him though. What if.

    Then he came around to the passenger side. He didn't stand next to the window. He stood diagonally, from the headlight. He stared in at me.

    His expression, his LACK of expression. I can't describe it.

    I can tell you what it wasn't. It wasn't drug-addled. It wasn't retarded. It wasn't even angry or hateful. No desire, no recognition, no trace of a smile. A bit of uncertainty, perhaps. Perhaps.

    As if this were the first time and he wasn't sure how it goes...

    I looked him in the eye. Straight in the eye. I held him there for a minute.

    I shook my head no. No. You can't have me.

    He opened his mouth.

    But he didn't speak. Even then. Silent.

    He took his hands out of his hoody. Empty. Empty.

    I thew the car in reverse and drove away. I called M as soon as I could and told her to stay inside.

    Before I'd left, she told me to give her a text when I got home. Just to make sure. She NEVER does that. I don't either. It's not something we think about.

    I joked, “I'll text you even if I get into a fiery auto crash. You know I will.”

    We laughed.

    “Hey I died in a fiery auto crash. See you later.”

    No, she hadn't seen anyone suspicious. She hadn't seen anyone, had no reason to worry. But this is how we operate.

    I didn't sleep last night, beyond a few minutes. Enough to dream that I watched him take another woman.

    Every time I close my eyes I see his face.

    I didn't even think to call 911 from the car. I worry for Jo. I worry for every woman in that little town.

    I should have backed over him.

    Jo's side.

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    Sunday, November 25, 2007

    Five Things Meme...

    Found In My Room (I chose the bedroom):


    an old key in a glass-topped box

    rocks and shells from Oregon

    metal rabbits

    porcelain hands

    I've Always Wanted to Do:

    Ride a motorcycle through the streets of Paris

    Successfully maintain a bonsai (keyword being, 'successfully')

    Live by the ocean

    Publish a book

    Sing well

    Found In My Bag:

    2008 Spring Semester Schedule

    Scooby Doo pen

    iriver (like an ipod without the mortgage)

    Lab book

    rat sperm smear (kidding!)

    Found In My Wallet:

    St. Christopher medal

    Receipt for a magazine from Gatwick airport

    Coupon for a free pair of Victoria Secret panties

    A ribbon from my maid of honor's hair (hi Jo)

    Key card from the Disney World Contemporary Resort (smeared with...oh, I'm not gonna say it.)

    I'm Currently Into:


    emusic (If you sign up, tell 'em Nancy_Dancehall at ya hoo sent ya!)

    zombies (it's an aversion-therapy thing)

    E8 (It's the shape of the universe, kids!)

    Harpo Marx

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    Saturday, November 24, 2007

    Bee-ing There

    I have a small talent for being at the right place at the right time. This spring it got me free tickets to see The Police. Last night it was an Unnamed Commercial Bakery/Coffeeshop (you take what you can get in the 'burbs) at closing time, when the manager gave me a bag of cookies to take home. Awww.

    Problem is, I'm usually alone at these times. And this stuff's much more fun when you can share.

    That's why last Monday was so great.

    The Clowncar-Hux family (I'd link but Mr. Clowncar refuses to play Blogger) came up from the dusty regions of Southern Colorado to spend the weekend. On Monday I called the boyos' school (family in town, sorry, can't make school today) and we took the boyos and the girlios to the movies.

    The box office was dark and empty. We checked the movie times on the marquee above. Yup, the next show was twenty minutes away, the previous one had started half an hour ago. Behind glass doors the lobby was full of stacked white boxes. The concessions were as dark as the box office.

    A manager came to the door and opened it. “Can I help you?” she asked.

    “Um. We'd like to see a movie?”

    “What movie would you like to see?”

    Glancing at the kids. “Um. B*e Movie?”

    “Ok. Well. None of my staff showed up this morning. There was a communication problem

    So no movie. Sigh

    “—so come on in. I can't open the cash registers, so the movie's free.”

    We had the muliplex to ourselves. Hux and I could go get popcorn, pop and Skittles (Free free free!) And leave Clowncar alone with the kiddos without apologies to the rest of the patrons. We had to switch theaters, because the automated projectors decided to show the movie in a different one, and the manager cheerfully(!) helped carry our stuff and herd the kiddos into the one next to ours.

    It was straight out of 'Night of the Comet' I swear. Only without the radioactive zombies, which made it extra-sweet for me.

    Oh, and B*e Movie was hilarious. Go see it, even if you have to pay.

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    Friday, November 23, 2007


    It's peaceful today. The sky is that solid white that darkens down to slate at the horizon. The snow is falling, and when I poke my head out the door I can hear a wren, a finch, some geese, a flicker, and two other birds I can't name. The cold air is still and freezes the inside of my nose as I breathe. The year feels old, but it feels the way it should. Cold. Snow. Peaceful.

    Thursday, November 22, 2007

    Here's hoping

    that everyone is in a nice turkey coma right now.

    Here's hoping that the family rockfights didn't happen.

    Here's hoping that everyone got enough to eat and drink.

    Here's hoping that all the dishes are clean, all the linens are wax-free and all the kiddies are in bed.

    Thanks, guys, for reading my stuff, for giving me advice, for making me laugh, cry and feel connected.

    Love to all of you.

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    Wednesday, November 21, 2007

    Pumpkin Pulp Fiction

    4:30 a.m. Boyo D. gets me up because his covers are 'broken'. This is five-year-old speak for, 'not perfectly straight like they were when you put me to bed.'

    4:32-6:00 a.m. I lie awake trying to shut my brain off.

    6:01 a.m. Two boyos come into the bedroom and discuss the fact that I am in the room and trying to sleep. Nevertheless, they root around the bed looking for a book. I grumble for them to get out and they do.

    6:08 a.m. As I am drifting into sleep, back they come a-rooting.

    6:12 a.m. Ditto.

    6:20 a.m. Third verse, same as the first.

    Sometime before 7:00 a.m. I roar out of bed and blunder into the kitchen. My memory's fuzzy but now there's one less child-lock on a cabinet, an empty but buttered casserole dish, another pan full of freshly-baked cornbread, a pot of stuffing with no recipe for it in sight, a pumpkin pie, and an Oreo cheesecake.

    O says I looked and sounded like this:

    'Any of you fucking pricks come in my kitchen, and I'll execute every motherfucking last one of ya!'

    I believe him. I'm running on coffee and Airborne right now.

    Storytime will resume after my favorite day of the year.

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    Tuesday, November 20, 2007

    Little Lambs Eat Ivy 5

    Wouldn’t you love to see them?” Eve asked Adam one day after his chat with Deen.

    See what?”

    The files! I’d love to know what he knows about everyone. Or rather what he thinks he knows.”

    What do you think he knows about you?”

    Oh! Absolutely nothing. I refuse to open my mouth when I’m in there. I get a lot of work done though.” Eve laughed, held out the sweater she was knitting for Emily. “It really gets his goat. He still scribbles on his note pad. I think he’s actually doodling.” She went back to her knitting. “No, I’m far more interested in what he has to say about everybody else. Aren’t you?”

    I never thought about it. I guess I’m not interested.”

    Oh, come on. You study people; I’ve watched you. You probably have more insight on Rupert or the Spensers than even they do. Or should I say, Frog and the Peacocks?”

    Adam laughed. “I shouldn't have told you about my little name game. You make me sound arrogant.”

    Not arrogant. Maybe a little controlling, but not arrogant. Still, you must wonder how accurate you are.”

    Now that she mentioned it, Adam did feel curious. With the exception of one person in his life, he had always thought himself a good judge of character. He had insisted on doing all of the hiring at his father’s foundry, right down to the janitors, even after he inherited the whole thing along with more pressing tasks. The thought of reading the files of a trained therapist – heck, a famous therapist – and comparing them to his own observations, began to intrigue him. It nibbled away at the comfort he took in his new routine, made everything seem shallow and dull. Everything, that is, except for Eve.

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    Monday, November 19, 2007

    Little Lambs Eat Ivy 4

    Adam and Eve fell into a comfortable pattern. They met every morning for breakfast in the dining room and sat at their usual table. Then, they walked the gardens until the heat sent them back inside. Afternoons, someone always asked them to a game of bridge or hearts in the atrium at the center of the complex. The atrium was tiled with rubberized, textured flooring to minimize the threat of falling, tropical plants surrounded a central fountain with four spouts facing east, west, north and south. Bistro tables and chairs sat scattered strategically for spontaneous games of checkers or conversations about days gone by. Staff members circulated about, bringing cups of coffee or trays of vegetables to the folks sitting around. The whole thing had the casual look of an outdoor café in Paris, if Paris had traded the Seine for the Amazon; all it lacked was young love and parrots. Eve complained about the chairs.

    I’m too old to care about looking fashionable. Give me something I can actually sit on,” she’d say, until one of the staff brought in an easy chair for her. Soon, other residents demanded softer chairs, until the atrium looked like a living room Henri Rousseau would have loved to paint.

    All of this upset Dr. Deen, though he was careful not to show his displeasure to the residents. The bistro chairs and tables had been his stroke of genius, he thought; an attempt to keep the facility looking younger and more trendy, less like an “old folks home”. Dr. Deen was himself of retirement age and didn’t like to be reminded of it. He had been a successful therapist with ten self-help books to his name, a Hollywood practice attended by the stars, frequent television appearances on talk shows in which he would admonish the behaviors and lifestyles of the other guests. He was widely loved and privately feared by his patients. Now, he turned his attention to Deen Gardens, to “his” people who lived within the world he created as, “the antidote to an ignoble existence spent alone and forgotten in a sterile nursing home,” as the brochure put it. And Eve seemed bent on ruining everything.

    Adam’s days began and ended with Eve. He couldn’t wait to meet her in the dining room, so he started meeting her at her door. He hated the thought of missing a single word she had to say, even so much as a hello to a friend in the hall. With Eve, hello was never just hello, but became a story. She had a way of drawing out even the most reticent fellow, and making him shine for a while. Adam wanted to be that fellow as often as possible. Her laugh alone sent him into places normally reserved for the younger set. At seventy-five, Adam found himself falling in love with a woman of capacious weight, white hair and wrinkles – a far cry from the osseous socialites who decorated his high-class arm back in the fifties. Let Emily and Dennis laugh and call him “schoolboy” for his crush, he didn’t care. For the first time in a long time, perhaps ever, when he thought about the angelically beautiful women who would not smile for fear of wrinkling their perfect faces, Adam was not alone. Eve, ever convivial, provided his link to the rest of the world; the world of Deen Gardens, where now he felt truly at home.

    For all of Adam’s settling in, Eve felt ungrounded. She made friends easily enough, but she felt born to the task, as natural as a breath taken in to speak. She delighted in the beauty of the gardens, but longed to get down on her knees and plant something herself. Two things kept her from doing this. One, she didn’t want to show favoritism toward Albert, which adding to his gardens would surly do in the eyes of Ken. Two, planting even so much as a pansy in this place would prove her acceptance of the four walls now surrounding her. One thing that did not stop her was the rule against tampering with the grounds. Eve didn’t give a fig for any of Dr. Deen’s rules, including his weekly mandatory “chats”; private therapy sessions held with all the residents. The brochure called them, “Opportunities for mind care tailored to the needs of each guest on his or her golden age journey.” Eve called them opportunities for invasion of privacy.

    At her first chat, Dr. Deen asked how she was adjusting, if she was making friends, enjoying her food, exercising. Eve sat with her hands folded in her lap, sweetly smiling at Dr. Deen, and said nothing. He met her silence with questions about her sons and received no reaction. He asked her if she had a problem with him personally. He talked about projection, about putting a face on him that did not belong. She yawned, stretched, looked at her watch, all the time smiling, smiling. The only time Eve spoke was to say hello to Mr. Keans, the Dean of Admissions, whose office was just off the “Chat Room”. She brought her knitting or quilting projects to subsequent chats, working on them without saying a word. Out of desperation, Dr. Deen nit-picked her stitching. He still made notes on Eve, as he did with all the other guests; meticulous files which he kept locked in a row of shiny black cabinets along the wall of his inner office. The files were written in the Dr.’s perfect longhand. Typed copies were stored in a similar manner in Mr. Keans’ office....

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    Sunday, November 18, 2007

    Little Lambs Eat Ivy 3

    She straightened up and said, “I’m sorry Mr. Fletcher, you don’t know the punchline yet. You were the first man on Deen Gardens’ list and I was the first woman. Your name is Adam, and I’m Eve. Isn’t that rich?”

    Well, I’ll be. That is a funny coincidence.”

    Funnier still that Dr. Deen didn’t catch it. Fellow thinks he knows everything, just because he’s a famous therapist.” Eve rolled her eyes skyward. “That speech he gave yesterday. The part about ‘the unique psyche that sets our seniors apart from the rest of society.’ It isn’t right, you know? Folks are folks. It isn’t natural to set us apart just because we’re older and wiser. It’s a whole big world.” She shook her head, eyes down, another bout of laughter threatening the corners of her mouth.

    How I go on, and I haven’t even offered you a seat. Awful hot out here already and I’d hate to see you faint. Won’t you sit and visit?” Eve patted the small portion of bench unoccupied by her ample thighs. Adam tipped his cap before settling down next to her.

    If that’s how you feel,” he said, “then what are you doing here, away from the big world?”

    Eve threw her head back, as if imploring the sky. “Oh, this isn’t my choice. I have two sons; twins, actually. Ken and Albert. They wanted me in here. I asked you before if you had kids, but I don’t think you answered.”

    Adam swallowed before speaking. “No, I don’t believe I answered that. I don’t have children.”

    That’s a shame. I love children. They tie you to the world, keep you looking at it in new ways. My sons are good boys, but they fight all the time. They own a business together and with them all it is is work, work, work. I tell them they need to start families of their own, stop fighting with each other, stop fussing over me. Anyway, they own a landscaping business and they put in a bid to landscape Deen Gardens. I think they lowballed just so they’d have some leverage to get me in here. Anyway, they won the bid.”

    Really? I’ve been walking around the place all morning and they did a beautiful job.”

    Eve shook her head. “Not ‘they’. After they won the bid, good old Dr. Deen wanted them each to submit a design rather than work together. He picked Albert’s and really went out of his way to insult Ken’s work. It was like he was experimenting with them. I don’t know how he could do that to my boys.

    Ken threatened to kill the deal. Albert wasn’t about to let that happen, so he called and warned Deen, who had an ironclad contract anyway. It was ugly.”

    I can imagine.”

    Eve sighed, looked down at her hands. “The boys moved me in here without speaking a word to each other until the end, when Ken says to Albert, ‘You’re dead to me.’ Broke my heart to hear it. He’s always been dramatic, but I think he means it this time.”

    Adam had the sudden urge to grab Eve’s hand. He wanted to say something funny that would bring back her amazing laugh. Instead he said, “I’m sorry to hear that.”

    Eve looked at him and smiled. “Listen to me, telling you all my problems. I’m really not like this. Not sad, I mean. As for talking someone’s leg off, well, that is me.”

    Eve spoke the truth, as Adam discovered. They spent another hour on the bench talking about this and that, before they went inside for lunch. Adam couldn’t believe how many people Eve already knew by name. Kitty became Emily, the Peacocks Walter and Annie “Anners” Spencer, Frog and Toad were Rupert and Dennis. Several groups insisted Eve sit with them, but she managed to turn them all down gracefully, without offending anyone. Instead, she led Adam to the little table against the wall where he had sat the previous day. He felt like the new kid in school who had somehow charmed the prom queen. He liked the feeling....

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    Saturday, November 17, 2007

    Little Lambs Eat Ivy 2

    The next morning, Adam awoke from a deep sleep. He sat up in bed, disoriented. He looked at the bedside table and recognized his teeth floating in a glass tumbler. His black-rimmed glasses came next, and piece by piece, Adam rebuilt his new world. After a shower and a shave, he was ready to explore it.

    Outside Deen Gardens, the Arizona sun was already baking the desert at its feet into a cracked pink brick. Inside, the Buffalo grass beneath citrus trees still miraculously sparkled with dew drops like diamonds from heaven. Limp with moisture, petunias lined pathways winding under shade trees throughout the grounds. Adam walked along one of these paths, nodding to some of the folks he had watched the night before. Mr. and Mrs. Peacock powerwalked past him, classical music playing high and tinny from their earphones loud enough for him to recognize Handel’s Water Music. The two figures walking ahead of him, one tall, one short, told him that Frog and Toad were friends. Everyone seemed to have found a partner except him.

    Adam had lived by himself long enough to take his own silences in comfort. But now, in this new place he had chosen to call home to his last day, he felt self-conscious. It reminded him of the first day at school, of how much it mattered to have a friend, even one, or else the days could stretch long indeed. A tune from his school days popped into Adam’s head and he whistled it absentmindedly.

    The path rounded a man-made jumble of boulders and entered a clearing with a bench facing a flowerbed. On the bench sat a woman Adam did not recognize. She looked at him, smiled as if he had been expected. Then she put words to his whistling:

    Marsie Dotes and Dosy Dotes

    And little lamsey divy.

    A kiddle de divy do, wouldn’t you?”

    Those are the words! I’d forgotten them,” Adam said.

    Yes! And remember, when you slow it down it becomes:

    Mares eat oats

    And does eat oats

    And little lambs eat ivy.

    A kid’ll eat ivy too, wouldn’t you?

    I haven’t thought of that song in years,” she said.

    It just came to me. I was thinking about school days, and the song just came to me.”

    My girlfriends and I used to sing it all the time, as fast as we could. We thought we had one over on our folks. We thought they couldn’t understand us.”

    Adam thought about his father, pictured his portrait still hanging above the old desk in the foundry, now beating its disapproval down onto someone else’s shoulders. “When you’re a kid, you never think your parents understand you,” he said.

    Right. But the joke’s on you. When you grow up and have your own kids, you realize it’s the other way around, or maybe it’s mutual. Do you have kids, Mr…?”

    Oh, pardon me. I should have introduced myself. I’m Adam Fletcher. How do you do, Mrs….?”

    Instead of answering, the woman laughed open-mouthed, hands on knees and bosom moving toward the same, generosity of flesh giving them a short trip. Just watching her, the pleasure she took in the act of laughter, made Adam laugh until his teeth came loose...

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    Friday, November 16, 2007

    Little Lambs Eat Ivy

    (Until I find the notebook with more of 'He Came with the House'...)

    Little Lambs Eat Ivy

    Adam met Eve in the old folk’s home.

    It was a brand new place, and not cheap either. With its plush green carpets, fresh-cut flowers and acres of landscaped property protected from the Arizona desert by an obscene number of sprinklers, Deen Gardens filled up immediately. Now there is a seven year waiting list.

    Adam had the pleasure of being the first person admitted to the home. The papers took his picture as he cut the Welcome Home cake, doctors and nurses all standing around in white and smiling. Such a big la de dah going on around the old guy. He was interviewed, poked, prodded and escorted to his new rooms where they finally left him alone.

    With no children, or any other relatives for that matter, Adam unpacked by himself the things he had packed by himself. He took a short nap and at four o’clock put his teeth back in, changed into a burgundy sweater-vest and matching tie, and found the dining room. By now, other residents had settled in and also found their way to dinner. Adam, though not antisocial, took his plate of roast beef and mashed potatoes to a little table along the wall and watched his fellow diners. He wasn’t yet ready to socialize, still somewhat shell-shocked by all the earlier fuss. It had been years since he’d made the papers, the last time for selling the foundry started by his father in the 1800s. Adam had been twenty years younger, still straight-backed though thinning on top. He was tired of the responsibility and wanted to travel while he still had his health.

    Mostly, he was tired of his father’s portrait hanging behind his desk, glaring a hole into the space between his shoulder blades. A man can carry the weight of his father on his shoulders for only so long.

    Adam never got around to traveling. The time never seemed right to leave. He loved springs and autumns in his home town and didn’t want to miss them. Humid summers made him too torpid to care. Michigan winters froze him in place, adhered by extreme cold to his comfy chair by the fireplace. The longest trip he’d ever made was to Deen Gardens in Arizona, lured by a brochure sent to him in the middle of a particularly damp and frigid season. He could feel the dry heat of the place coming off the paper. Though still under construction, Adam saw his destiny in Deen Gardens, as if built just for him. He bought an apartment there, sight unseen, and became the much-acclaimed first man on the list. Now he sat with his decision in the dining room of his new home – the only other place he had ever lived – and studied his fellow occupants.

    He entertained himself by giving them all nicknames. One little brown wrinkly man he dubbed “Toad”, and was delighted to see him start a conversation with a tall man dressed in green who naturally became “Frog”. “Peacock” and “Peahen” strutted in with matching blue hair and casual yet tasteful warm-up suits of a shiny material. Then came “Hound Dog” with the sagging jowls and “Kitty” of the green eyes and snarling “Old Badger” , sharp-faced “Fox” and bespectacled “Owl”. Adam watched them enter in ones and twos, flock around the buffet, then migrate together to large round tables. Adam sat alone. He finished his dinner alone. He returned to his apartment, undressed and went to bed alone, as he had done for so long. Really, he thought, in the end what has changed but my address?...

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    Thursday, November 15, 2007

    Save a Bookstore

    No no, not O's. A different one. Fahrenheit Books is being forced to move into a muuuuch smaller space due to a bastard landlord.

    Sign up for their mailing list. Buy something. Come to town. Visit them. Buy something.

    Really. They are good people. Like most all booksellers.

    This message mostly brought to you by the letter O.

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    Wednesday, November 14, 2007

    Sail On

    I have a few songs I like to set my star by, if you know what I mean. Songs that pull me through the tough times, songs that remind me I have flesh on my bones and a heart beating inside. This is one of them.

    'Sail On', by the very talented and sexy-voiced William Topley.

    It goes like this:

    Sail On

    If I'd have only gone and listened where I'd come from
    I might have known where I was going
    Crossed the river looking sad with a street song
    We thought we knew what we were doing
    With baited breath and sly schoolmaster's eyes
    He said "We had one like you before, baby"
    Said "He died in debt on a foreign shore"
    I said "But I bet he had a smile on his face"

    As he sailed on
    Sailed on
    Sailed on
    Sailed on

    With baited breath and prison warden's eyes
    He said "We had one like you before, baby”
    Said, "He died in debt on a foreign shore"
    I said, "But I bet he had a smile on his face"

    As he sailed on
    Saints suffering praises yeah
    To make sail in this craziness
    The sea twists and your ship mates pray
    To make land on a holy day

    And they could not teach him how to spell shame
    The sailors hung the letters round his neck from a gold chain
    He dropped the chain at the bottom of a lagoon
    On the wrong side of Suez
    And made a missionary bad for the full moon, child.

    Hold on fire

    Hold on fire

    I’m burning

    And they could not teach him how to spell shame
    The sailors hung the letters round his neck from a gold chain
    I found the chain at the bottom of a lagoon
    On the wrong side of Suez
    And I made a missionary bad for the full moon, child.

    Sail on, Sail on, my baby

    Sal on, Sail on, my darling

    I always wondered about the line, 'Wrong side of Suez. What is the 'wrong' side of Suez? (And how do I get there?) When I had the chance to ask William, he was already pretty drunk, and I was well on my way to the same condition. So I kept wondering.

    Until today, when I came across a story by Rudyard Kipling that begins:

    'East of Suez, some hold, the direct control of Providence ceases; Man being there handed over to the power of the Gods and Devil of Asia, and the Church of England Providence only exercising an occasional and modified supervision in the case of Englishmen.'

    The story is 'The Mark of the Beast', about an Englishman who runs afoul of the Indian god Hanuman, and becomes a werewolf.

    Hee! My skin's still tingling.

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    Tuesday, November 13, 2007

    Seems I'm Not Alone in Being Alone

    Emily over at Wheels on the Bus is having some fun kid/mom issues as well. Go take a gander. (Scroll down to the link, 'Timmy' first, then 'Tirade' to get to the beginning of the story). She has much more grace than I do.

    Anyway, I'm tired. I'm going to bed.

    Lab tonight? You know, one never thinks that one will have use for a sentence that contains 'rat sperm smear,' until one does.

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    Monday, November 12, 2007

    Day Thirteen

    This is real tempting right now.

    Blogging Without Obligation

    And I just really like the bird.

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    Saturday, November 10, 2007

    get to the river

    Came to the land, the land was dry

    get to the river 'fore the river runs low

    Looked up for the clouds in a clear blue sky

    No rain came down from up on high

    get to the river 'fore the river runs low

    Saw a man and the man did say

    get to the river 'fore the river runs low

    You planning on staying or you going away?

    The rain aint coming but there's another way.

    get to the river 'fore the river runs low

    The garden that you want to grow

    get to the river 'fore the river runs low

    the path you want to follow

    leads down the the river, now don't be slow

    get to the river 'fore the river runs low

    I'd come a long way, my body was done

    get to the river 'fore the river runs low

    Laid down for a minute, woke to the setting sun

    Ran down to the river but the water was gone

    get to the river 'fore the river runs low

    The wind blows through where that garden should be

    get to the river 'fore the river runs low

    Nothing left but an old oak tree

    the thirsty dirt, the empty sky and me

    get to the river 'fore the river runs low

    Friday, November 09, 2007

    The End Is Near

    After 55 days, O is taking a day off.

    On Monday, the day after he closes the store for good.

    It's been a good run. Almost 20 years.

    6 awards for Best Used Bookstore in Denver.

    It's an industry in flux. You won't see a bricks and mortar bookstore in 10 years.

    See you online.

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    Thursday, November 08, 2007

    He Came with the House, Part two

    I'm afraid this might be a tease. I've been studying non-stop and I was scrambling to come up with an entry, so I opened an old file and did a cut and paste. I'm not even sure this thing is done, though I vaguely remember writing the majority of it years ago in a notebook somewhere. We'll see.

    The next morning in the safety of the light pouring through the windows and eight noisy brothers and sisters fighting over cereal and milk, I confronted Mama at breakfast. One by one, voices quieted as I relayed the events of the previous night, which Nicholas confirmed. Nicholas and I weren't the only ones who felt uneasy in our new nest, and we wanted Mama to tell us why.

    "I didn't want you children to worry needlessly, but since you have noticed some strange things, I guess you should know. There is a man living in the walls. He is the previous owner and I have agreed to let him stay under certain conditions. Now finish your breakfast."

    Nine mouths opened at once.

    "Mother! you've got to be kidding!"

    "A man is living in the walls?"

    "He must be crazy. You must be crazy!"

    Mama kept her calm. "The Man in the Walls won't hurt you, so stop fussing. He's quite pleasant really. I couldn't turn down the house. I needed a big place to raise nine children and this one was reasonably priced. I couldn't turn it down after I found out the conditions." She looked up at us, everyone silent for the first time since she announced that father was gone and we had one month to find a new home.

    She shrugged, her hands palms up in the air. "He came with the house," she said, like she was talking about a troublesome washing machine. "Finish you breakfast already. We're running late!"

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    Wednesday, November 07, 2007

    He Came with the House

    First, the house.

    "Come on!" Nicholas tugged at my nightgown sleeve. I got out of bed and followed, rubbing my eyes. Streetlights shone in the windows bright enough to show us the hall. He led me to the stairs and we went down. As you may know, if you have ever gotten up in the middle of the night in a house full of sleeping people, every step on a staircase announces your coming like a thunderclap.

    And yet I didn’t hear the other noises until we were just outside the swinging kitchen door. Nicholas looked up at me with eyes identical in size and hue to the flow blue plates mama collected and kept on a shelf. Mine probably looked the same. Through the door I could hear a steady buzz, high pitched. Hand shaking a little, I pushed the door open, still wanting to be like the brave heroines in my books. Catherine wouldn't flinch in the face of a queer night sound, I thought to myself.

    We looked in. No one was readily visible and nothing looked disturbed. I stepped through the door, held it open for my brother who followed on tip toe. By the way he absently tugged on his pajama pants, I could tell he had to pee. I did too. The buzzing stopped. In the silence rather than the noise itself, I identified it as a drill. Now a new sound took its place - the rough back and forth rhythm of a hand saw. Nothing at the windows or the door that led to the garden. Nicholas knew what I was looking at and redirected my focus.

    "The refrigerator, Elizabeth."

    He was right. The sounds came from, or rather from behind, the refrigerator. We watched, waiting for the door to open, or I think for the whole thing to expolde. The sawing stopped and I walked toward the refrigerator. Nicholas stayed where he was. I stopped within reach of the handle when a noise like snapping wood came through. Summoning my last bit of courage and picturing Catherine, I grabbed the cool dark handle. I would have opened it; my grip tightened, my weight shifted from front foot to back, when I heard a man sneeze. I jumped, feet literally separating from the floor, and spun around. I ran back across the kitchen and grabbed Nicholas' arm on my way through the door. He was still staring at the refrigerator with his mouth open. He flew behind me in my rush up the stairs. We both slept in my bed huddled under the covers....


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    Tuesday, November 06, 2007

    When I Grow Up

    A meme, from Meno:

    Write five things you want to be when you grow up. Big dreams that seem like folly, but in your heart of hearts are very real and dear to you. Things that maybe you have forgotten about in the ebb and flow and toil of the everyday, but that never really leave your soul. What you would do if anything was possible?'

    1. A singer. This seems to be a popular one. I'd have a goth/punk/cowpunk band called 'Hungover Mother'. We'd tour with 'The Rock Bottom Remainders'. My side-project would be 'The Nancy Dancehalls' and I'd play every instrument. My music would be very popular at gay nightclubs and brothels.

    1. A writer. One who's actually finished a book. And published it. To great acclaim. So that I'd be invited to sing with The Rock Bottom Remainders. And go on to found my own group called Hungover Mother. And maybe a side-project.

    1. A madam. I've wanted to be a madam since I was eleven and watched 'The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.' Especially since I'd already met Dolly Parton at a cousin's funeral in Nashville, and she was sooooo nice and quite beautiful. Anyway, I imagined I'd be like Miss Mona/Dolly Parton, treating my girls like daughters, rescuing them from those mean old pimps, making sure they were healthy, happy, well-paid, educated, and only entertained friendly, good-looking clients. Occasionally we'd all burst into song. Then I'd write my memoir, publish it to great acclaim, be invited to sing with The Rock Bottom Remainders, etc.

    1. An astronomer. I'd found a pseudo-religion based on the idea that the stars can predict your destiny. Then I'd publish a book about it to great acclaim. And then I'd be invited to sing...

    2. A nun. Who becomes a charismatic, takes over the convent, changes it from Our Lady of Unending Chastity to The Convent of St. Mary Magdalene and moves everyone to a remote observatory. A few of our 'services' would change too. And sometimes we'd sing. After the riot squad evicts us and I get out of prison, I'd write my memoirs. To great acclaim. And be asked to sing with The Rock Bottom Remainders. And go on to found my own group called Hungover Mother Superior. And maybe a side-project...

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    Monday, November 05, 2007

    Brave New World

    Ok, I am VERY excited about tomorrow night's lab. Seriously!

    I get to perform genetic engineering!!!

    On e. coli!!!

    Looks like I'll be compulsively washing my hands again.

    The way my other lab turned out, I'm kind of hoping we get to genetically modify Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches into Madagascar Operatic Cockroaches*, but I bet they save that for Bio 2.

    Oh, and let's hear it for Ron Paul!

    *If I could just get ONE of those babies to sing, "Hello my baby! Hello my Honey! Hello my ragtime gaaaaaaaal!" I'd make a MINT.

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    Sunday, November 04, 2007

    They Paved Paradise

    For three weeks now they've been tearing up our neighborhood roads and rolling down new, velvety black asphalt. We scratched our heads. The roads were perfectly fine before.

    Then the neighborhood newsletter arrived. Oh yes, that's right, we'd forgotten.

    The new development.

    They're going through with it after all. Apartments or condos – I don't remember and it doesn't matter – are going up in the open space hemmed in by an office park, a busy road and our neighborhood. Rising foreclosures and record vacancies be damned, the developers must be fed.

    The figurative people who will be moving into these condoments will theoretically need to actually get to them. And even though these people are figurative, they probably won't have figurative helicopters but will require the usual means; mainly roads, and those roads happen to thread through our neighborhood. Their figurative cars apparently need to run on real new roads. So they re-did the whole neighborhood. Driveway easements extra, to be funded by residents if desired.

    And see, this makes far more sense than laying down a new road the length of a driveway that would open onto the busy road. (They could even put a gate and guard station there like they do in the neighborhood across the street, to make the place look Even More Important. But that's just me. I'm neither an engineer nor a developer.)

    They did promise us speed bumps, which we will need, already need, for the figurative and not so figurative people who barrel (Sorry to interrupt, but I already named this entry, and the namesake song just came on the radio) down the street at an interstate-legal 55mph. I'm already making the popcorn for that show.

    Before the roads, came the curb improvements. The neighborhood has a giant, healthy cottonwood that foolishly lacked the foresight fifty years ago to grow were it would never be tagged for removal in its prime years by planners who swore up and down there was no other way – until a petition signed by a hundred residents said otherwise, and the new sidewalk could actually defy physics and go behind the tree. Which it does now, bless it.

    When we moved in here, I looked forward to seeing rabbits again. We didn't have any in our old urban neighborhood, except for the frightened one who looked out from behind her curtains at the gangs of bored white homeboys walking by, looking for their next break-in opportunity. There were no rabbits here either it turned out, but that was because of the crazy-brave foxes who ran along the tops of fences like squirrels, rusty flashes who leaped and dove from yard to yard chasing down their prey. A pair bedded down under our junipers along the pocket meadow and drove Sam crazy. They were better than rabbits.

    And in the evenings, we could hear the coyotes' orange-colored calls spiraling out of the open space at the edge of the neighborhood. That land was theirs at night. Even the foxes stayed clear.

    Then came the morning when two foxes were found torn and strewn across the neighbors' front yard. They'd made a kill of their own, a gull of all things, and something had killed them in turn.

    The coyotes are brave now and walk the streets at night. They threaten the dogs. Cats disappear. The foxes are all gone. And there are many rabbits now.

    One rabbit was lying in the stripped and graded road when I went to pick up the boyos from school. I aimed the car to drive over his body without crushing it, and his oval head snapped up. I stopped the car, backed up, just in time to see the rabbit's round eye staring at the car. Then he lowered his head slowly, his body shuddered and heaved, and he was dead. The next day he was gone of course, and the asphalt was fresh and new and black.

    I'm not sure what it was that disturbed the coyotes enough to leave their home, but it was about the same time you saw men going in and out of the open space with surveying equipment. It's not that these were the first humans to cross the split rail fence dividing the wild from the tame, the brush and trees from the green and pampered lawn along the little neighborhood playground. (This was before the developers sweetened the pot by tearing up our park, leaving it like that for six months and then expanding it this spring.) Dirt paths criss-cross the land. It's a good place to ride your dirt bike, or jog or...well, on a walk once, O and I came across a stash of pornos presumably hidden by some boys. (Hey, I can think of a lot of things worse than getting off in the great outdoors. What's difficult is thinking of things that are better....) It was a lovely spot next to a little creek lined with young willows, which to me have always had a sweet, slightly acidic smell, like good clean sex.

    Now they won't have that shaggy, rolling place to explore or secret themselves away in anymore. But they do have a shiny new park with plenty of concrete paths that circle into themselves and lead back to the wood-chipped 'play area' under the crackling high power wires and bare blue sky. Looks kind of like a hamster habitat. Maybe that's the idea.

    I was reading an essay this morning about a man who followed a raven into a secret desert canyon where other ravens guarded a...shrine, for lack of a better word. He found owl feathers, some actually weighted down by stones against the wind that whipped through the narrow passage, some shredded in piles in crevices. The feathers were old, they'd been there a while. The ravens had killed an owl, their most feared enemy, some time ago, and still guarded the place of their victory.

    Then O called through a window for me to come and watch – two hawks were being harried by a woodpecker and some smaller birds. They swooped low, chased by their little enemies through the back yard, and landed in the branches of the great, dead cottonwood at the top of our hill. The little birds perched lower and watched them without a sound. Then the hawks took one more circuit around the yard and disappeared. The victors disbanded after that.

    We've been discussing this cottonwood tree that has spent the last three years dying, and is now finally finished with the business. We need to take it down. It's become a hazard. I hate to do it. When I look out at the yard, my eyes always go straight for the highest branches breaking up the overwhelming solidness of this high desert sky. I still hope to see the owl that was perched there just a few days after we'd moved in, when I was still shell-shocked and afraid of going out into my own back yard. But I crept out slowly to see it, and we eyed each other as I made my way to the base of that old tree. He finally looked away, bored with me, and flew off as silently as any ghost.

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    Saturday, November 03, 2007

    Insert Title Here


    Day three and I'm stumped.

    I'm dryer than a Tennessee town.

    I could tell you about the Krebs Cycle. Enzymes, anyone?

    I'm glad it's the weekend.

    Yeah. Consider this the post from the weekend team.


    Friday, November 02, 2007

    7 true things about me

    Ok, I was going to wait on this meme, when I had a day of theNaBloPoMo thingie where I couldn't think of anything else, but today is already that day. I'm so busy with the boyos home, I don't have time to do ANYTHING, including studing for my next exam. Ga.

    So, this was issued by Des Moines Girl. I'm not tagging nobody.

    Seven true things about me

    Six are nice; one is not.

    1 Two of my former clients are sports teams in this town. One plays on ice, and the other plays in the summer. If I were still in the biz, I would have been designing passes and other VIP stuff for a certain Series that just ended, like I did for the All St*rs game a few years back. I'm kinda bummed, but I also really didn't need the pressure. And considering how things ended, it's not such a bad thing.*

    2 My favorite sports are Gaelic football and Sumo wrestling. Not to play, just to watch, as if that needed clarification.

    3 I was in a sorority (only technically it was a women's fraternity, but it's hard to explain so don't ask) with Des Moines Girl. My favorite memory is the two of us in an upstairs room as we waited to be initiated. DMG was a tad nervous:

    “We're virgins, we're in white, there are candles everywhere and they are CHANTING downstairs!”

    To which I responded:

    “Come on, it's ok. How bad CAN a goat be?”

    After that a candle somehow got knocked over and almost started a house fire.

    Anyway, we were initiated together, and that means a lot to me.

    4 My dreams sometimes make me laugh. I once had a dream about an album called: 'Patron Wants It Rapt – A Christmas Album'.

    5 When I was 23, I spent an afternoon with Ray Bradbury. It was like being in the presence of God, only without all the judgment and damnation and stuff.

    6 I once rode an elephant in a circus.

    7 I was stalked by two different men in college. It was not fun. One was later convicted on several counts of rape and sexual assault, the other had a gun and an engagement ring. And on this one occasion, if you leave a joke about stalking me in the comments, I probably won't appreciate it (well, unless you're hawt. Maybe. Ax murderers excluded.)

    *Go C*U*B*S!

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    Thursday, November 01, 2007


    For Meno, who requested photos of trick-or-treaters:

    The costumes were inexpensive, but the steroid shots about bankrupted us!

    And their secret identities revealed (look fast; I'll be taking these back down):

    I'm supposed to be 'The Ghost of an Extra from the Falco Video for Rock Me Amadeus', but people kept asking me when I was going to lose my head. And even O asked, "So what are you supposed to be, an anachronism?' You decide:

    Then there are the Jack-O-Lanterns:

    I even caught the 'Leaving of the Jack-O-Lantern Spirits' on camera!

    What? This doesn't happen at your house? *blink*

    Unfortunately, some worms who pass for people smashed our beautiful Jack-O-Lanterns all over the street. To them I say: How could you slimeballs trespass, steal and break our property, along with my sweet boyos' hearts? May your xbox melt during your best game of Halo, losers.


    All in all though, it was a fantastic Halloween.

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