Friday, September 27, 2013

People In Your Mutherfuckin Neighborhood

take a seat and read, bitches

This gangster version of Google ( Gizoogle ) is one of the best things on the internet, ever. Here's an example- THE example of why this TOTALLY RULES: 

A poem I wrote that was published in Diagram. 
The Gizoogle version of the same poem in Diagram.

SO AWESOME. I can now turn away from the internet forever and be happy. (Lies, lies, lies.)

America's best unknown writer: William Gaddis in TNYROB  - I had never heard of him. If I had gone to further college I probably would have. So much to read, so little time.

This made me laugh out loud: The Facebook Version of Marriage Going Great 

I loved this simple but beautiful little essay on giving away something the author didn't want to give away. I live like this and it's made my life a million times richer and less lonely. I feel connected to people I don't know because I believe we ARE connected.

Do you read Sweet/Salty? I have off and on for years, and Kate Inglis' recent essay about grief was a reason why.

Remember how I was saying I have a gynormous crush on Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights?
Here he is in real life action.

This photo essay is personal and deeply moving. For years Nick has taken pictures of his twin brother who has cerebral palsy.

Another reason why I drink green tea: protects against the flu.

Zach Galifianakas interviews Justin Bieber. HAHAHAH

Thursday, September 26, 2013

i was there


will you encounter me?
meet me by the eucalyptus tree
Californian fall, the hush hush of leaves

i am standing in this space.
where the lip of night mouths
the manna of my heart

i want you and you are gone.
when i was younger
i broke a window with my arm

there was a deep red gash, remember?
you came home and comforted me
that's what you always used to do

that's what i always used to do.
the air is sweet with cold,
it pinches my nipples and lips

i wake to a nightfall of loneliness.
just behind the pale blinking face
of this computer

there are secrets we used to share.
i put my hand through the window
there is no glass

only time.
only cold dark air, as wild as my heart
as empty as this place

where even rage was an object to adore.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Songbird- poetry reading

this is the way i felt like reading. so i did. 

i had only the language you gave me.
seven months old the words malformed
in my mouth, like a lumpy Down Syndrome tongue.
this is University Education: the meaning
hidden inside the puzzle, the puzzle hidden
inside the vault of Government Bank,
where only old white men can see inside.

the white shake of a stained diaper,
the opium bloom of an infant cry:
these dailies are not for Philosophy majors.
i sidled next to your fat pipe,
speaking in gutteral German, songbird's throaty discourse.
your words streamed over us like bile, a fouled water source,
gritty bathtub mom's hands circled and circled with bleach.

your words were Damnit, Shit, What the Hell,
i never heard an adult say I Don't Understand
so often. there was everything you did not understand,
an entire world of languages for Communications majors;
i hung upside down from mom's breast, trying to learn.
the trickle song that left my mouth was a warble, a sickle

celled singing, a corrosive tune to the family structure.
You Will Not Sing At the Dinner Table, i was instructed.
the galaxy eye of my sister was turned toward infinity-
i must breach the silence or die trying.
the pen in my hand, like a prosthetic song, a stand-in
a voice-over, a kind translator, the speech therapist
that smoothed my tongue and distilled the sing song
to the fine point, where words poured

in black ink on white paper, and i could flush triumphantly
without ever revealing i had a voice, after all.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

People In Your Neighborhood

take a seat and read!!

As a 38 year old intern, I loved this Confessions of a 40 Year Old Intern  I am currently interning for the rapidly expanding Velocity House publishing company. They work primarily with Ebooks on Amazon and have made all best sellers!

KindWorld is the kind of place I like to be- " Weekly audio stories and regular posts that celebrate the effect random acts of kindness can have on another."

Healing inflammation caused by food allergies through probiotics I take probiotics most months of the year, and my kids take them half the year. I gave them to Ever after her hospitalization and saw the effects quickly on her immune system and digestion.

This made me laugh= 10 Things Writers Are Tired of Hearing

I've been researching the flattening emotional effect of SSRI's on people because I take a low dose of Zoloft. Sex, Love and SSRI's in Psychology Today

This blog post by Rabbi Andy Bachman is worth the longer than usual read. On life, death, faith and despair: A Day and a Year

Amazing visuals: vintage crime scene photos in NYC superimposed onto the same, modern day spaces.

When I was 19 I was pregnant and just quit my job. This 19 year old figured out a plan to clean up all our oceans in 5 years.

I am obsessed with Kyle Chandler's character, Coach Taylor on Friday Night Lights. Never watched the show before, I'm now making my way through the show on Netflix, and in love with Coach Taylor- not to mention Connie Britton as his wife with freaking amazing hair! Anyway, this interview proves that he's at least close to as awesome as Coach Taylor. Sigh....

Thursday, September 19, 2013

God Pi

a functional depressive makes room for the children's breakfast, teeth brushing and gets everyone out of the door on time. her own teeth are witchy. when i write here i think about how much has changed. so many people i know read this little space in the big universe of online and it has changed my audacity. i fear reprisal in the form of loss of income, for instance. do you want a woman struggling with depression to watch your children? i do a good, even excellent job. the children are parked and swung and slid and taken to story time and the toy aisle at Target and dressed adorably, hair brushed and eyes raccoon bright, they eat healthy, whole food meals and only watch TV ( other mom approved ) once a day, they do worksheets, music and story time and art time. they laugh and argue and play in sun and rain. they swim and strip and potty. i move through the motions like an injured ballet dancer. perhaps you can see where i used to be beautiful? where the lines ran like music through my arms and legs, life was such a joy? i reach for the beautiful moments and they filter through my hand like a rainbow. nothing can penetrate the wedding ring sized hole in my body. nothing can fill it, or end it when i choose. it must be accepted and endured, and the relief comes from knowing, with my whole self, that i am not special, that i am not singular or destined or cursed or unlucky- i am simply alive, and life comes with pain. life comes with holes in the fabric of the universe, just as it comes with concentric patterns of relief. pi is my favorite math. the circular eye is pi, as is the flower, the snowflake-- to me, pi is a signal from the great universe. hello, i am here. is this not a description of God? :

Pi has had various names through the ages, and all of them are either words or abstract symbols, since pi is a number that can't be shown completely and exactly in any finite form of representation. Pi is a transcendental number. A transcendental number is a number but can't be expressed in any finite series of either arithmetical or algebraic operations. Pi slips away from all rational methods to locate it. It is indescribable and can't be found.

Beautiful Pi

Thursday, September 12, 2013

People In Your Neighborhood: 9/11

" september 11 was a beautiful, beautiful day. as everyone will always remember I know. "

" families often have a map in their minds of where their loved ones are in the know if somebody in your family is working in a place that has become a center of a calamity that is now unfolding,  in your mind, you are trying to place your loved one. where are they in relationship to this terrible series of events that's unfolding. "

Leaving this space for the horror, the grief, the suffering, the heroism, the devotion, the connectivity, the humanity, the love, the long road ahead. I remember 9/11. 

Boatlift: An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience  " I tell my children, never go through life saying you should have. If you want to do something, you do it. "

Phone Calls of 9/11 ( all quotes are from this video ) " It's important to let people know what families of 9/11 have been experiencing, what we are going through, what we have gone through. We still have those memories that we don't want anybody to ever forget " Jill Gartenberg, lost husband Jim, 35 years old in the North Tower.

Sometimes I think what it would feel like to know that one of my children was in a tower, and to look at the TV, and to watch a plane fly into the building that my child was in. I am flooded with abject terror, sense of unreality, horror, helplessness. My respect and awe and compassion for those affected by 9/11 feels as boundless as love.

" Stephen was with us for 33 years. And we have a choice. We can either say, we are so mad that he is not here. Or we can say, we had him, for 33 years. And we have a feast to return to. The feast of memories "- Anne Mulderry, mother of Stephen, killed in 9/11. 

" I just want to say how much I love you. And ah,  I will call you when I'm safe. OK Mom? Bye. " Stephen

" I feel so bad that we can't do more. You don't know. " 911 operator

" We're young men- We're not ready to die! " Kevin Cosgrove, who died in the collapse of tower one, as he was speaking to the 911 operator. His call was used in the trial of one of the 9-11 terrorists to illustrate human suffering.  

"He left a story behind. My kids have it, their kids will have it. And I just feel that it's to honor his memory and the person that he was. "-wife of Orio Palmer, fire captain who made it to the point of impact before dying in the tower collapse

Anne Mulderry, on hearing that her son Stephen was dead " And a sound came out of me that I'd never heard in my was just an animal sound. And when I heard that sound for the first time in my life- that howl- I knew it was universal, and that, you know, my family and I had joined, you know, all the losses of all the ages. "

if i told you i loved you, would you believe me?

Late Tonight I walked underneath the sky and with our dogs tugging ahead on the leash, let myself cry and walk and look at the purple black sky and the cold air on my skin and goosebumps, the rushing of trucks aside me so I turned my head just a minute to look and look back, and I had wanted to be alone in this way, wind on my skin, sky above, earth beneath me, just so that I could say thank you, thank you, thank you, just so i could say it properly, without interruption, and look at the sky, where all messages from humans are really sent, out to great unknown. 

thank you for this amazing life.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Book Review: I Promise Not To Suffer

Book reviews are my favorite kind of sponsored posts to do, and I was happy to learn that the subject matter of I Promise Not To Suffer was a middle aged couple who hike the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails. I immediately thought of Cheryl Strayed's Wild which I also read this year; that now famous ( as famous as literature can be these days ) memoir recounted Cheryl's solo hike as a young woman through the same trail. I wasn't too surprised when I read the book and found a quote from  Strayed on the book cover.

Gail and Porter are in their fifties when Porter decides he wants to take leave from his work as a doctor and hike the trail. Gail ends up reluctantly deciding to go along although, as the first chapter is titled, she hates nature. As the planning nears the actual hike, Gail flies to tell her mother, frail and nearing 80, that she and Porter will be gone for six months on this hike, when Gail's mom announces news of her own: her breast cancer has returned. It is with this heavy news that the hike begins, immediately derailing into a series of unfortunate events: squirrels steal food directly out of Gail's mouth, Porter sets himself on fire and then sustains an unnamed foot injury that causes him pain with every step.

As the hike intensifies, Gail and Porter both fall into the pattern of exhaustion and contemplation that seems par for the course with long hikes. They both privately work through painful issues and Gail thinks back to the beginning of their 17 year marriage.  As the challenges of the trail push them, they both come together and move apart. At one point, Porter makes a wrong turn and they are lost for part of a day. 

“As Daniel Boone remarked,” Porter said when he tumbled in, “‘I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks.’ ”

There are beautiful moments of observation in this memoir. At one point, Gail runs directly into the path of a mountain lion. They are alone together, and stand looking at one another. It is exactly the kind of moment that is stirring to read about but would be much harder to actually enact!

The appendixes at the end are interesting to read-  lists of the supplies they used: gear, then food, then emergency list. Gail's writing is truly lovely in some places and increases in flow at the book moves on. In the end, I was rooting for Gail and Porter to get everything they needed off the trail. 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Dear God: How Does the Universe Work? I Saw The Children In Syria

When seeing the children in Syria who had been bombed with sarin gas, I am filled with agony. I am a mother. I have four children, and the youngest is two. She is still nursing! She cries for me when she is afraid. Once, she fell into a pool. I pulled her out and she clung to me, screaming. I held her and I nursed her and I told her it's OK, mommy's here. Perhaps this is wrong, but when I saw the video today on CNN of children- well, let's stop and say here what I saw, what we Americans saw on these videos. The one I'm thinking of, there was a room full of children. Children starting at two years old, maybe, up to teenagers, but this part of the room was mostly two to maybe ten. An entire room. The floor was filled with children. Each child was laying with some clothes missing. Each child was a strange color that brought to my mind the words cheesy and morbidity and pale. These are Syrian children, so their natural color is a beautiful creamy darkness. Each child lay next to another child with only enough room in between each for a footstep. Many children lay straight and motionless. Some children lay crooked and twitching and convulsing. Their bodies lay on a floor, not on cots, on a floor. They lay without mothers or fathers or older brothers or sisters or cousins or uncles or priests kissing their faces or holding them or praying to them or singing to them, they lay without comfort. Dear God how can this be happening? Dear God how can we help? Dear God my brain cannot understand my heart cannot understand my nerves themselves are agitated and inflamed from only the simple one half hour I watched these videos in loops and my body tried to understand what I was seeing. Dear God the thing that brings me to my knees is that these children do not have their mother. Worse, worseworse they do not have anyone. The doctors and helpers are so good and brave and still they are completely overwhelmed and there is not enough helpers and too many dying. The children lie alone and they are babies they cannot be alone and they are alone. They want their mothers! And God I know that a bleary eyed near tears trembling doctor from Syria explained that so many women died because they cannot be stripped of their clothing and brought inside because they cannot be with the men like this and so they died from lack of care. This is one thing. As a mother this is not the thing. THE thing is that they died without their babies, and their babies are dying without them. That is the thing. All we have in this life to comfort each other is each other, God. How can this be real that those babies lie there with cheesecloth skin and eyes open staring upward and their tiny precious bodies left on the floor LIKE FUCKING SACKS OF POTATOES? Dear God I know I sound insane but Dear God this is insane. Please tell me, because I have no idea how you have the world set up, what I can do? Did praying and crying in my car tonight help anyone? Can I write someone? Can I offer up a finger, what if I give a hand in some accident? Can I wear a hairshirt God?  Can I give up all extra comforts in life for a year, like coffee, like Splenda packets in my smoothies like new clothes or Christmas or birthday gifts? Will that help those babies please tell me what will help those babies? Will war help those babies? Will bombs? Dear God we are not supposed to make these decisions on emotions, the pundits are saying, but on facts, and rational. Dear God what facts will help, can you please let us know? Dear God can we make decisions about dying babies without ' an emotional response ' or is that dirty turn of phrase? Dear God what is the ' correct response ' to knowing that somewhere across the world there are rooms full of children dying without love or comfort because their mothers and fathers are somewhere else dying alone too. Dear God I realize that imagining my own children in this position will not help anyone but Dear God I am only human. I am brought to my knees. We are only human. Please tell us how to help these people.

Dear God please help America to do the right thing. Please help us understand what to do.

People In Your Neighborhood

take a bath and read!

Do you want to laugh?

Julianna Baggot writes about writers- Losing ( and Gaining ) Heart ( and Nerve )

This blog post is so touching. Written by a massage therapist, it recounts the actual beauty of the human body.

Blue Interior: still a teenager, Suzanne Rolph-McFalls took her dad to a hotel on the last night of his life. This is that story.

You might have heard what happened to this blogger and her family, the life changing, soul altering and unimaginable horror of losing their 2 year old son to a drug crazed murderer. At the time, I read about it twice and couldn't stop crying, and avoided the story after that. But then, I forget how, I came across Velomom...the mother's blog, and this blog post ' Today is all we have '. 

This blogged, illustrated view on different women's bodies and love is awesome.

The best Vine account I've ever seen. Hilarious!

In The Los Angeles Review, Liz Prato interviews Steven Allred, a writer. I love this interview.

On Bipolar Bites: Lithium Has More Benefits Than Previously Thought

Have you ever heard of Pelvic Congestive Syndrome for women? Interesting. If you have or know someone who has unexplained pelvic pain, check this out.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

HR Block and The IRS: Let The Laughter Begin

It didn't even occur to me how funny the entire thing could seem to someone else until after it happened, which goes to show you how fucking miserable I was.

I bought french fries for Ever and M. in their carseats, which they were not allowed to eat until we arrived at our destination: the bent over hovel of H^R Block in the dusty town next to my own, where I was to fall in the hands of a woman named Liz. We drove through the hot dust and horse shit encrusted winds in 96 degree heat, Ever and M. turning the Mickey Mouse ClubHouse song into a long ode to farts, when after a half hour we arrived at the way in the back of the crooked old road store and parked. I unloaded both kids, the diaper bag, brown bag of food, the water cups, my paperwork and trash and headed inside. Liz greeted me at the door. The left side of her face drooped precariously and her mouth worked, quivering, to form the slurred words, " Are you my eleven o'clock? " 

" Yes I am! " I responded cheerfully. This was going to be GREAT. I was going to get important, procrastinated paperwork done and turned in to the state and IRS. Liz walked with a slight limp and shaking hands, from the same stroke that caused her drooping mouth and slurred speech, I assumed. I sat the kids down on the floor next to me with their french fries and water and placed, facing Liz, all my required paperwork dutifully down on the table. I had finished setting up both kids and ten pieces of paper before Liz was seated and had her computer turned all the way on. I shifted uncomfortably in my seat and smiled encouragingly at Liz. We were partners! We were going to get shit done!

Five minutes later the girls had thrown their french fries at each other, spilled their water and snuck over to Liz's other desk, beginning to rearrange her six stacks of identical business cards, when Liz glanced over my shoulder as I bent in concentration over some paper I was signing and took off with such a look in her eye and twist to her mouth that I was certain I knew exactly what kind of grandmother she was- if she had grandkids- and it wasn't the kind with cookies, milk and a welcoming bosom. In fact, Liz was rather shrunken down, like the nickname for her full name- Elizabeth- with a wiry body and balding grey hair, and the glint in her eye was also grey, and shrunken. Shrinky dink eye. I stumbled over to the kids and apologized, rearranged the girls with papers and pen for artwork, and sat to sign more paperwork. I watched- tried not to watch- as Liz used her pointer finger to slowly and firmly press the desired button on the keyboard, look at the result and decide it was incorrect, hit delete delete delete slowly-firmly-and even more slowly, even more carefully, hit the hoped for correct button. The girls shrieked. Liz hit a button. Ever cried. Liz hit a button. M. took out four packets of paper on how to successfully arrange your assets and I threatened time-out. Liz hit a button. Ever stood and smiled. " Momma! I am wet. I am wet dis a yittle bit. And! And I have a big poop! "

I leaned in toward Liz, waiting patiently as she carefully tapped a button before asking her if she had a bathroom we could use. I scooped up two year old Ever and began the incredibly stinky and laborious process of changing her almost diarrhea like poo-filled Spiderman underwear and wiping her down carefully, foot to butt. 

Ten minutes later, we emerged, cleaner and calmer. I settled Ever and M. in again, this time with new books and larger paper and pens. I turned my attentions toward Liz and she paused, holding her long quivering finger over the keyboard as she met my eye. I leaned in, sweating, to better understand her. " How do you like Poway? "she asked. I felt  familiar childish anger begin bubbling in my legs and arms. I turned to shhh the girls and redirect them to their artwork. " I like it a lot, " I replied with what was, I hoped, a friendly smile, and then turned my head to the girls to give them a stink eye as their voices rose again from shy giggles to pterodactyl shrieks. A large drop of sweat rolled from my forehead into my right eyelashes. My underarms were damp, my neck cramped, my feet were hot and sweaty, my lap was warm. Liz smiled at me and turned back toward her computer.

Five minutes later, the girls were running in shapes around the room: " I am a triangle!!! " ( cue ridiculous laughter ) " I am a hexagon!!! " I smiled at Liz in an inclusive way: oh look at those crazy kids. Liz looked back at me, smile less, that one long finger in a perfect, shaky arch suspended over a key. I excused myself and corralled the children, nastily. Hissing under my breath, I warned them of time outs that would last for ever, a world without Sponge Bob, and no cake. NO CAKE. They sat quietly, subdued. I readjusted myself into my seat, extremely concerned with the timeliness of Liz. As far as I could account for, we had been in the H^R Block office for almost an hour, and Liz had not finished even half of the first assignment in her care. The math was making me sweat harder, and I bent my head to rub my hairline, which was exactly when I noticed that my entire crotch was bright red. 

I had bled through my entire pad and soaked up all that extra blood with the handily absorbent material of my jean shorts. I closed my eyes for a nice long blank denial. A pleasant, warm rushing pulsed against my thighs. A large bang and I jerked my head to where the girls were, just in time to see Ever pull off an entire branch of Liz's H^R Block fake green tree. I stood and yelled " Ever! Let go right now! That is a NO! " I turned to  Liz, who looked at me, then down to my crimson crotch, then back up to my face. She smiled. It was so pleasant to be Liz who worked at H^R Block with one finger for every letter of the alphabet.

Fighting back tears, I held my head up and informed Liz that I would be using her bathroom again. Taking one token child with me, I cleaned the offending shorts with water and paper towel, which gave the blood a red watercolor effect, spreading like butterfly wings across my thighs. 

Ten minutes later, I sat with my legs crossed as the girls sat next to me in their spot on the floor. Time passed. Liz pecked, and finally, the first form was done. I smiled at the girls. It would be fine! We were going to get shit done! One down, one to go. Liz smiled, and took out the scissors. My other tax person never used scissors. Liz slowly and carefully cut off the edges of one paper, then turned the paper, first tamping the crinkles down with the blade of the scissors, she cut the off the other edges. I was beginning to see that slowly and carefully were cherished, live and die principles to Liz. I wondered if H^R Block was aware of these values. The wad of toilet paper in my crotch was beginning to sag. As Liz took out another piece of paper and began her ritual of cutting, I contemplating faking angina* and making a run for it. On the fourth form, the sight of Liz's shaking hand carefully turning the scissor to press the paper before ( needlessly, pointlessly, ruinously, evilly ) cutting each corner free of its excess paper was making me erupt into spontaneous hives along my upper arms. I felt, as the younger peoples say, stabby

It was about this time when things really got rough. Liz was cutting the sixth piece of paper, each time stopping to turn the scissors and tamp down the crinkles in the paper, when the girls erupted into loud shrieking. Ever had taken M.'s paper and made 'little crumplies' on it, and M began crying in loud,wailing, self pitying honks. Ever responded to my admonishment by taking the before mentioned stolen tree branch out of the trash and throwing it at me, to which I responded by rising with a seriously pissed off look on my face, to which Ever responded by taking off running. I walked after her and back to the glass doors of the company, I leaned over and grabbed her from underneath the chair where she was hiding. As I hauled her up, I turned around and saw the three construction workers who had parked directly in front of the store standing like hard hat mannequins and staring at me. Apparently they had found a face full of crimson ass astonishing to the point of becoming temporarily stunned still. Blinking back humiliated tears, I walked back to my seat and stood, holding Ever in a firm grip. Ever did not like this. She began making a loud, repetitive noise I can only describe as Tarzan-yodel meets Chewbacca-soprano. Shhh, I begged. Shhhhh

I stared at Liz. I admitted to myself that I was beginning to hate Liz and her slow and careful pointer finger. " Liz? " She stopped, mid finger, and looked sideways at me. " You have a collection of cookie packets in your bathroom- small ones on top of a little fridge? Can I have one for the girls? I brought them french-" She interrupted me- " yes, but just one. " Liz used her firm voice with me. I smiled at her. I hate you Liz, I really do.

I dispensed the magic chocolate chip cookies and for five minutes, the girls were quiet, and I sat, a bloody sweaty mess, watching Liz begin the second packet. The ceiling fan whirred. A small round cookie flew by my head. Ever!! The girls were both crying, Liz was clearing her throat, and as I walked both girls to the bathroom, my homemade pad of wadded toilet paper dropped from it's warm nest in my crotch and fell on the floor. It lay there, clumpy and bloody, and just as I was going to cry, Ever opened her eyes wide and exclaimed " I got enormous poop!!! "

I returned from the bathroom, meek and defeated. Liz, the Careful and Slow, was arranging papers on her desk with such care and meticulous detail to the angle of edges that only a half hour before would have driven me mad. Instead, I adjusted clumpy crotch, stood holding Ever and let M. take every piece of sticky tape off of Liz's secret under the desk roll. 

Three hours from arrival, I was holding the diaper bag, trash, empty water cup, paperwork and two new folders with twenty pages of carefully cut out corners and a receipt as I left the H^R Office of Liz the Careful and Slow. I decided to keep this humiliating day to myself, until I remember the advice of the late, great Nora Ephron: 

"My mother (taught) me a very fundamental lesson of humor, which is that if you slip on a banana peel, people laugh at you, but if you tell people you slipped on a banana peel, it's your joke," explains Ephron. "And you're the hero of the joke because you're telling the story."

So I'm the hero of the clumpy bloody period stained day of shrieking, crying children and three hours in an H^R Block on a 95 degree day in a little dusty town with an accountant who types one key at at time. I'll get back to you when that works out for me.

Monday, September 2, 2013

How To Be Two, by Olive Us

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