Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I used to be in the habit of using the phrase "it was a nightmare" to describe an unpleasant situation. No more. Two nights ago I had the worst dream of my life. In short, it involved my preoccupation with the business resulting in the decapitation of one of my children. I will not go into detail but let me assure you that the dream was extremely graphic.

I've just written down the entire dream--first time I've ever done anything like that. I had one other horrible dream about a child's death once, a long time ago, and it still haunts me. (Same method, interestingly enough. I'm sure you wanted to know that.) I'm not saying that writing this one down made it any easier to deal with. I can't close my eyes without thinking of it, yet. But it felt right to do, and that's a start. I wrote it in a dark place, although I had considered posting it here for catharsis. I decided none of you need that kind of horror in your minds. Holding that image makes me feel dirty, but it won't go away.

Friday, October 16, 2009

And How Was Your Day?

Is everyone's life this surreal?

I mean, it's been a helluva day already. Crap you don't want to know and/or I can't tell you. From finances to smeared poop, it's been a doozy, okay? And I'm quietly enjoying my first moment of peace, halfway down a Mommy Magic*, when headlights paint the dining room and the phlegmy rattle of Gabe's Chevy sounds down the driveway.

I brought him a Maker's at the door, but he only took it and gave me a pained look and said, "I need your help," and backed out of the doorway again. I belatedly mentioned the chickens' considerate attention to our doorstep; it is covered in shit. Gabe looked dolefully at his feet and continued back into the yard.

Noelani remembered what was up before I did. "Can I see them?" she asked.

"Sure," came Gabe's reply from the darkened driveway--damn motion sensor light is burned out--and the details of our phone call 30 minutes ago came back to me quickly. I'd been in a flurry, between wiping bottoms and vacuuming up mouse-sized spiders, so no wonder I'd shoved it to the back corner of the brain.

A farmer had come by the kitchen this evening to drop off two veal cows and some mutton. And some ducks. Gabe had called him in a panic a few days before to add the ducks to the order. The farmer had asked whether we would pluck them. Having done this before (oh, god, that's a story), Gabe had hesitated, but agreed just this once.

The farmer brought the veal cows. He brought the mutton. And he brought the ten ducks, stuffed into a large sized dog crate... still quacking.

Apparently the scene at the kitchen, with our chef, Brian, screaming like a drill sergeant and our biggest, burliest apprentice in tears, had been comical and intense. The farmer volunteered to axe the ducks right there in the parking lot; having been turned down, he shrugged and left. Who the hell knows what happened between then and now, but here I was, mincing around chicken shits down the walk toward a quacking truck.

And then there I was, walking backward down our rain-slicked lawn, clutching half of the gawd-awfulest-smelling dog crate to my chest (the door latch was broken and the door kept flapping open otherwise), and then slip-sliding down the stone steps with said crate still so clutched. And then stepping gingerly into the too-soft straw in the chicken coop, setting the crate down, slapping open the door, and waiting for the ducks to emerge.

"Are you sure they're not dead?" I asked, referring to both the lack of motion within the crate and its hideous smell.

"I'm sure," Gabe said. Noelani stood with us and I was sure she shivered, thinking she'd just helped carry some dead ducks down to the chicken coop. But there was a stirring in the crate, and a muted "aahck," and then a progression of such, and soon the ducks were tumbling over each other, out of the crate.

From inside the chicken house came the indignant cackle of a very indignant-sounding hen.

"Let's go to bed," I said.

"Where's that drink," Gabe said.

"We're not going to kill them, are we?" asked Noelani.

"No, honey. We're not."

My Son the Super Villain

Me, upon tucking his red plaid Ralph Loren shirt (yes, Value Village) into his navy trousers: "Rhone, you look so handsome."

Rhone: "Do you mean I look... fantastic?"

Me, laughing: "Yes, you do."

Rhone: "Bella! Look at me! I look fantastic!"


In the car on a long freeway drive, Rhone suddenly began laughing the evil genius laugh: "Mwah-ah-ah-ah." He did this over and over again and then declared, "Mom, I'm a super villain."

"Oh really?"

"Yeah. And my name is... Yucky Man!"

"Wow, Yucky Man?"

"Yeah. And my super power is, I can spray yucky goo all over everyone."

Now where the hell did he come up with that? However, Yucky Man was short-lived. After he had covered me, Jezebel, Noelani, and all the passing cars in yucky goo, he had a personality alteration.

"I'm not Yucky Man anymore. Now I'm Dr. Shrinky."

"And what's your super power? Let me guess."

I couldn't help but wonder how Rhone had stumbled upon this fact of nature on his own at the tender age of three. Because I realized that it's true: after spraying the goo, all men become Dr. Shrinky.

Disclaimer: I swear to God (ok, yes, that's not super binding for me; how about swearing to my garden) that I did not make up anything about this exchange.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Are you supposed to be able to feel your heart whacking against your ribs at times of stress? I consulted WebMD and it seems I shouldn't worry unless I also can't breathe at the time. Right. I'll keep you posted.

Rhone, to me after I began singing in the car the other day: "Mom, I think you're a bad singer."

Me: "Rhone! That's not very polite. If you don't want to hear me sing right now, how about, 'Mom, I'd rather you didn't sing right now.'"

Rhone: "Mom, I'd rather you didn't sing right now forever."

Basically: same shit, different day. I discovered an enormous quilt-batting-looking cobweb (made by those elusive cob spiders, I'm sure) in my dining room today. But... it's still there, because I didn't have time to embark on a cleaning campaign.

Got another paycheck today, but can't cash it til the business has the money. Sucks being the one employee who knows those details. I only had 20 hours of overtime on this check, so it's getting better. Remember this was a part-time job.

I'm uninspired. No, beyond that; I feel numb, like I can't write or don't remember how. Usually phrases flash through my mind or at least I am struck by interesting words. Right now I feel insulated from that, and not in a good way. I want it back, but... I don't have time for it anyway. Just another depressing thing to add to my list.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Getting Older and Saggier

Wearing a new ("new" read: Value Village new) shirt yesterday, I asked Gabe what he thought of it. He got a very diplomatic face on and said "hmmm. I like it. I would suggest wearing a bra with it, though."

I said: "I am."

A Day Late and Lots of Dollars Short

I don't even have to take the first sip of coffee to get the bliss hit: just smelling it is enough. When making lunches or breakfast or otherwise diverting my attention elsewhere, I will sometimes pour a cup and wait until I'm in a peaceful enough moment to take the first sip so I can appreciate it fully.

It's a gorgeous day from the kitchen table. My view of the backyard shows that the grass is overgrown and lush; it looks like moss from here, with gold highlights where the sun is hitting it and deeper forest shadows elsewhere. The chickens are up and there's a very light breeze moving the rosebush and the lavender, which is confusedly blooming right now.

I'm sort of amazed how I can step back from writing to throw myself into other work and I don't really miss it. I don't feel any poems swimming around in my dark sea, trying to crawl up onto solid ground and be born; there's no urge to blog or jot down phrases or even read. I don't feel sad or bad about this--I know it will come back. More just wonderous that I can switch gears so smoothly. This old girl still has a good clutch.

These last few weeks I've been so overwhelmed with my to-do list for The Swinery, and trying to be as supportive as I can to Gabe in his last frenzy of holding the pieces together. It's tough to defend him against others who finally seem to think he's crazy; the other day I had to put my foot down on an old friend who just went too far telling me the connections between Gabe's personality and the demise of Culinary Communion. Bah.

Pardon me if, switching-gears style, I jump subjects here. Vashon has been so very good to us, and this home has been a healing place, but I miss my friends. Earlier this week I had a sort of emotional mini-crisis and texted a friend and got back "sorry, sweetie." I feel so removed from my support network. Maybe that's good, in a way; maybe I needed to learn to take care of and support myself better instead of relying on friends to always drop by and cheer me up. I'm relying on myself more now because I have to. (The increasing size of my butt, if nothing else, has been encouraging me to try to change my mental outlook myself without a little pick-me-up drinkie at the end of the day. So that's good too.)

Is there some sort of cohesive thread to stitch all these thoughts together? I don't know. I love the work I'm doing, I love working with Gabe again. The best moments have been when the two of us, and Damiana too because she's such a badass, have been working together in synch behind the counter and I am reminded so strongly of how we used to work together, quietly and with the same thought process, for CC. I've really been enjoying that. I love the other parts of my new job, too, all except for the lack of money part--it's hard to run a business that's broke, although now that we have an actual revenue stream I am enormously encouraged.

OK, this post has sat unfinished for almost two days. Sheesh.