Sunday, November 20, 2011

A couple weeks ago I finished my first ten mobiles ("Space Delights"). Since then I've been on a house-painting bender, and am only just recovering from the fumes, but am DYING to get started on the next ten (they'll have a different style of frame--a vertical line with horizontal-ish arms). I'm going to enter these in a show sponsored by Austin City Hall, and maybe try to get them in a store, but I'm hesitant about separating them because I think they pack more of a punch when they're all together. I'll post more details about these guys later--right now, I REALLY need to take a shower...


Monday, November 14, 2011

It's one thing to joke about cops coming to the house when you're high on paint fumes and another thing when it actually happens. I'll just say this: it's not as funny as it sounds. Nervous giggling usually doesn't go over well with the law, and when your hair looks like it hasn't been washed in eleven days--specifically, because it HASN'T been washed--and you're giving off guilty vibes because of that time, twenty years ago, when you thought it would be amusing to write "I have a gub" on a piece of paper at the bank with your then-boyfriend, and he threw the piece of paper in the trash, and the cleaning person found it, and gave it to the bank manager, and next thing you knew you and your boyfriend were being interrogated at the police station--

That was twenty years ago, and my terrified tears quickly proved me innocent (and stupid), but for some reason the guilty conscience is still there, to such a degree that when I saw the cop car pull up to the curb I went and hid, and it took a few moments of standing in the dark hallway, clutching a paint can, before I came to my senses and thought "What the hell am I doing?" THEN I walked, a little more assuredly, to the open window of the office, which I was painting various shades of green, and said "Can I help you?" to the strangely bulging-eyed officer crossing the yard.

"Hello," he said. "How are you?"

"Fine, thanks," I replied. "And you?" I didn't do it!!

"Just fine," he said, eyeing me--scrutinizing my sloppy painting getup, my guilty aura, my past lives as a gondolier and a squirrel--with mild suspicion. "I'm looking for someone"--my throat tightened--"who, I'm told, lives at this address. Do you know David Rice?"

Phew--he wasn't looking for me! I started to feel friendlier towards the cop, and for a second imagined myself inviting him in through the window, offering him a glass of milk, maybe gently broaching his eye problem. All I could manage, though, was a smile--a smile that said, I hoped, I'm a good, rule-following person. Those mushrooms I wrote about? Shiitake!

He waited. Gesturing awkwardly with the paint can--what was wrong with me?--I croaked out an answer: "David Rice? NO! NEVER HEARD OF HIM."

It was too vehement. The cop looked at me, his bulging eyes still bulging, and I began to think it was a trick--I'll make them nervous with my weird eyeballs! I'll make them think I'm the one doing illegal things, things that make me look this demented way!--but caught myself. "He used to live here, you say?"

"Yes, his sister told us this was his last place of residence. You've never heard of him?"

HELL NO, I wanted to yell, while in the back of my mind I started to wonder: maybe this David Rice lived with the seven other male occupants during the house's looney bin phase? Maybe he's the one who kicked the bedroom door in? Maybe he left the deep holes--enraged-looking gouge marks--in the kitchen counter? Something kept me from going into all that, and I just offered this piece of information instead: "We do get mail for other people, sometimes."

It seemed to do the trick. He looked at me one more time with his disconcerting cartoon eyes, asked my name--why??--and thanked me. When his back was turned, I got braver: "Have a nice day!" I called out. "Thanks for stopping by!" He waved, and got in the car.

Hiding behind the living room curtain, I watched him sit there for ten minutes, ten minutes during which, I was sure, he did a background check, triple background check, and inside-out cross-pollinating background check of my current life and the ones spent as a gondolier and squirrel. Finally his car pulled away--Good riddance, I thought, go do your job and catch David Rice!--and I went back to the office, where the afternoon light was making the newly painted room look especially happy and inviting. In the past week, the bathroom, hallway, kitchen, and front door had undergone similar transformations, making the whole place so much nicer--more dignified, more respectable, more normal--than it did when we moved in last year, not long after its illustrious time as a halfway house. To have helped bring about that change, to have replaced ugliness with beauty and carelessness with order, to have created, in a way, a new reality for myself and the family, felt really, really good...

No one's come looking for David Rice again, and I think it's pretty clear he doesn't live here anymore.

p.s. please note author wearing pig hat in photo. Get it? Pig?


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Yesterday Lula was in the studio while I continued my eternal activity of walking around the house with random objects in my hands, wondering where the other green sock was and what had happened to the 599 other lego ocean liner pieces; to add to the stupefyingly endless amount of daily household chores, I'd started organizing a closet in the hallway, dumping its dusty, mysterious contents--crap, mostly--on the studio floor.

One of the things in there was a pink box I'd been using to store sentimental stuff--postcards, old passports, somewhat macabre locks of the kids' hair, Lula's baby teeth--and though putting it in the studio with Lula made a little bell go off, I was in a fog of dodishesmakedinnerfoldlaundrywashdogsfindsockopenmail, and it wasn't until I heard her say "Hey Maman! I found my second tooth! We forgot to put it under my pillow!!" that I realized Pink Box + Lula = Oh Shit.

"Your...tooth? What tooth?" I asked, the fogginess giving way to alarm. Silently I berated myself for slipping up, for allowing the Great Tooth Fairy Myth--and Lula's precariously hanging, 7-year-old, almost-not-believing-anymore innocence--to be threatened. She'd recently told me some of her friends don't believe in Santa Claus; though I'd suspected she plays along, to a certain degree at least, with the bizarre gift-oriented lies we tell her ("Yes! It IS remarkable that Santa gives the exact same toys as the ones at H.E.B!" "Yes, it IS weird that Maman and the Tooth Fairy have the same handwriting!"), I'm finding that a year of a child's life, from my new perspective as an ancient person, goes a lot quicker than I remember it going, and...What?? Lula doesn't believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy anymore?! I'M NOT READY FOR THIS!

Scrambling to gather my thoughts, hoping she'd interpret my 10-second pause as Preoccupation With Important Housework, I affected a tone of nonchalance: "Oh right, we forgot that one. We'll just do it tonight." Still frozen in the middle of the living room, I waited for her reaction: had it worked, or would she...laugh at me? Did she know?

She answered in a clear voice, a voice so sweet, so guileless, that I couldn't help wondering if I was the one being duped. "Ok Maman, I'll put it in an envelope, then!" she said, and I heard her walk, suspiciously businesslike, into the office. I heard the filing cabinet open, then the desk drawer (to get a pen to write a note, I assumed), and then, still as perfectly accepting of "the story," maybe just a little too unquestioning, she walked briskly down the hall and into her room.

I heard the bunk bed creak, and started to relax. Phuh-EW, I thought, and then I wondered: had she written a note? If so, what did it say? Was it another series of questions asking how she could beat her friend Sammy in track? Was it a repeat of the last "note"--the words "I WANT A TOY" hastily scrawled on the back of the envelope? Or was it something different, a little more thoughtful--something that matched the steadily growing, happily purposeful activity I sense(d) in my not-so-little girl?

I still don't know what she wrote, because I forgot to do the whole Tooth Fairy routine last night. That came close to inflicting serious damage to the reputation of the Winged Hoarder of Teeth, but! As everyone knows! If you're late getting your tooth under your pillow--even if you forgot!--you get put waaay down at the bottom of the list. So she might not come on a timely basis. Although she had better, if she wants anyone to care about her...

Better go put that scratchy costume on.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

It used to be that when I'd paint I'd be all sloppy, interested more in the outcome, half-assed as it was, than in the process, the knowledge that what I was doing was being done well. It wasn't about people coming over and saying "Oh! Isabel sure did a neat, methodical job on those cabinets!" but the knowledge that shit was getting done quickly. Crappy as the cabinets looked with bits of masking tape still showing, here and there, and the interiors as neglected, as yellowed and ghetto as they'd been in the 60's, all I cared was that, come on, the fronts were blue now! There was color! I had done my work and anyway, HELLO, I HATE PAINTING.

Times have changed, and I am now an adult. The ripe old age of almost-38 has taught me a thing or two--namely, a thing or two about painting...


1. Choose a small space, like a closet or a bathroom, for your first project. If it's a closet, drag a bathtub/horse trough up to it; if it's a bathroom, use the bathtub that's already there.

2. Open can of paint with a spoon. If that doesn't work, use your teeth. While calling the dentist (because of resulting "teeth"), use power drill to create holes in paint can and, simultaneously, to ease stress caused by fact that eating, talking, swallowing, and other basic life skills will be problematic for a while. With free hand, pat self on back for multitasking!

3. Pour contents of paint can in bathtub/trough. Stir vigorously with foot.

4. Remove clothing. If paint is red, bloody shirt (from teeth issues) can be wrung into it, creating a DIY organic effect. Pride self on resourcefulness, then jump into paint.

5. Naked, roll in the paint. Cover hair with it. Pretend you are engaging in a strange alien ritual. Make it more convincing by screaming "EEP! EEP! PIXELLATION IS THE HANDIWORK OF OSCAR MEYER!" Disregard the knocking on the front door.

6. When thoroughly drenched, get out of tub/trough and approach an area that needs to be painted. Place self against the area; rub.

7. Continue to rub self against the area, effectively painting. Using the snow-angel, windmill, and eggbeater techniques, cover as much space as possible as quickly as possible. This is called efficiency, and it is the cornerstone of living life maturely.

8. When you get to hard-to-reach places like the inside corners of cabinets, do a quick assessment of body parts that will fit in there and proceed accordingly. Sometimes, you'll find, only your butt will do. This is normal, especially if the space is shaped like a giant cinnamon roll.

9. When entire area is painted, lie in bathtub/horse trough for a well-earned rest. Gazing at the ceiling, now covered in turquoise imprints of your butt, reflect on the leaps and bounds your painting skills and overall maturity have made; you might have the "teeth" of a 1-year-old, but your wisdom is shining through for all to see…

10. Rouse self from paint-fume-induced hallucinogenic trance and briefly wonder about the knocking on the front door. Still delighted with your ingenuity and your ability to commune, while painting, with Oscar Meyer, skip towards the door. Feeling as ecstatic as that time you ate an entire bag of mushrooms, open the door, turn around, and moon the policemen--moon convention, rules, and responsibility!--with your turquoise-painted butt.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's 1:27 p.m. and I'm trying to type really quietly so as not to wake up Malko, a.k.a. Harbinger Of Noisy Destruction. He finally fell asleep around 12 after yelling "PAPA'S BED!! PAPA'S BED!!" no less than 180 times, during which I gritted my teeth and sent him the telepathic message Suck It. I'm all about respecting my needs, yo, and my needs were telling me to ignore his insane, demented, loud, obnoxious demands to "take a nap" in the parental bed. My needs were that he needed to shut the hell up. In his bed.

Funny I should talk so roughly about my child after having a little breakdown, yesterday, about the impermanence of life--specifically, about the unrelenting possibility of one's child getting sick or having an accident and everything quickly turning into a nightmare. I recently learned that one of Malko's nannies, Jessica*, lost a child to cancer years ago, and putting that knowledge next to her ever-smiling, uncomplaining face was a shock. I've always wondered how people who've lost a child go on, how they manage to act normal, and to be so physically close to Jessica's reality--to witness, in a way, what I imagine is a constant struggle--was more than a little moving. I imagined myself in her shoes, working as a nanny thousands of miles away from the country she grew up in, from the place where her seven-year-old son died. How does she do it? How does she look at Malko, the same age her son was when he got sick, without bursting into tears? How does she keep it together?

I try not to think about this kind of thing--children dying--too much, but the fear, the worries, the thoughts are always floating around on the periphery, and sometimes I think that's a good thing: it makes me appreciate what I have. Believe me, I know what a ridiculously perfect life I have: our kids are healthy and happy, we have a comfortable home, we have safe water to drink and lots of food to eat. We have loving family and friends, and luxuries beyond belief.

I try to appreciate these things daily, to really think about how lucky I am, and most days, to a certain degree, I'm able to sustain awareness of our good fortune. Sometimes, though, like today before Malko fell asleep, I revert to the me who bitches and complains, who wishes my kid would shut the hell up so I can sit down and finally, finally write an entry in my blog, an entry that says, I hope, how much I love him.

*not her real name


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hello, and welcome back to Tales From Bedlam.

I guess I should be saying that to myself!

So. Some moons have passed. Some things have changed. My hair, for example. It's now dark, and I have bangs--in other words, it's exactly the way I said I would never, ever have it again (dark with bangs). Oh, the things we say we'll never do and end up doing!


Today was a quiet day around the house--it was just Malko and me and the dogs and cats. We took the dogs for a swim this morning, where Malko got to splash around in the possibly polluted river until his diaper got all soggy, and then we came home and he took a nap. When he got up we went out for a piece of pizza, and at the restaurant he demanded to eat three packages of Smarties, almost fell over backwards out of his high chair, and generally was as unpleasant a dining companion as anyone could be. I'd thought it would be nice to relax and have a beer while we ate, but I had to gulp it down between his toddler hi-jinks and, guess what--it wasn't very relaxing.

The five-month blogging break has been good in terms of the creative projects I mention in the bio box, and that's satisfying beyond belief. I'm getting closer to my goal of "getting my stuff out there," and it is SOOOOOOOOOO EXCITING!!!!!

My eyes are getting super heavy now so I'm going to do a little drawing and then sign off.

It's really nice to be back in ole' Bedlam...


Tuesday, March 15, 2011



Hello--I am high. No, not on that. I flushed that down the toilet and boiled the accompanying gadget so none of that could be scraped out of it (the gadget) in a moment of weakness. Everyone has moments of weakness, right? And luckily, moments of strength. Which is when, personally, I flush shit (ooh! double meaning!) down the toilet.

So! Anyway. I meant high on sugar. I haven't done this in a while. But tonight I had a CRAVING and concocted chocolate sauce out of baker's chocolate, butter, milk, water, and sugar, and poured it on top of raspberry crunchy cereal, then put whipped cream on top of it. Yum! High.

I haven't written here in a while. That's been strange. But I think it's because, as I said in a recent post, I've needed a break from the blog. And also, perhaps there's been some stuff happening and I haven't felt much like writing about my life.


It's spring! Spring is springing up and down, jiggling its cheeks like a frisky clown. Say what? Say "FRISKY"! "FRISKY"! "FRISKY"!

"Frisky," in my opinion, is a greatly underused word. I am going to try to use it here to make up for its lack of use in the general lexicon of American babble:

This morning I woke up at 6 a.m. to put the trash out because I had procrastinated the night before and was afraid of being attacked by the pack of frisky wild raccoons that stampede through the attic at ungodly hours. I threw my phone at the wall when it started doing its frisky fucking alarm noise because I had been up till very late not feeling frisky or even fanatical about flapjacks or anything related to being chipper and annoyingly jolly. When I opened the door to the garage I noticed that the rats had not eaten (friskily or not friskily) any of the laundry, and that made me slightly debonair. I tried to quietly roll the trash can out to the street but it was loud so I gave up and figured the neighbors wouldn't mind being woken up a little bit earlier on such a goddamn frisky morning.

I went back to bed and slept friskily for five more hours.


Welp, that's that! Now we can move on to other things. Like the recent alleged "time change." Excuse me, but do you take me for an idiot?!?! NO THANKS BUCKAROO, I DON'T BUY THAT CRAP. Time change belongs in fantasy novels featuring frisky half-insect humanoids, NOT in my world. Thus: the computer says 1:58, but forget it pal, I ain't no sucker. It's 7:21 a.m. and/or p.m., and it will be that way as long as I say so. So there. Time change, my FRISKY BUTT.

WOOPS! That didn't sound right. Never mind.

Anyway, it's spring, y'all. Persephone is climbing out of the cave, or whatever the myth said. Sailing down the river Styx in a mega-yacht. Sprinkling petals hither and thither. Fro and aft, totally daft. The leaves they are a-coming in, and yes, I am somewhat intoxicated on the merry glee that is the rebirth, so to speak, of the Northern Hemisphere at this time of year, and which I am trying to enjoy without thinking too much about natural or, more appropriately, unnatural disasters, those frisky earthquakes and things that are wreaking a bit of havoc here and there and which I am afraid--

Woah, bummer topic there! Let's try to stay positive, shall we? Remember: "frisky"!

Before sitting down at the computer I was making earrings so I can try to become a wealthy artist. For some reason I was having gargantuan amounts of difficulty coming up with even simple designs, and in three hours I only made six pairs. WOW. Not very frisky.

My plan is to do a table on South Congress in a month. Wish me luck! I've made one Space Delight (mobile) and hope to have six billion more. For that to happen, great quantities of sugar will need to be consumed. Raccoons will need to be sacrificed. Frisky freaks, the names of whom I'm not naming, will need to go to bed earlier and sleep less lately. Even if they're up doing "important" "stuff" like "finally" writing in their goddamn "blog" after so much time has passed that frisky or unfrisky readers might think it's THE END.

Which it is. The end.



Saturday, February 26, 2011

This is continued from HERE.


It had been a difficult morning, preceded, as usual, by a night of insomnia that left her shattered and groggy by six, when the alarm went off. The internal battle to shut off the snooze, drag herself out of the blankets, and propel herself out of the bedroom, down the hall, and into the kitchen was made more difficult by the fact that she'd drunk a bottle of bad white wine the night before; the rebelliousness that had pushed her to do that had now mutated into a simmering anxiety about her drinking, among other things--into worries, intensified by a stabbing headache and dry, dirty taste in her mouth, that were difficult to ignore.

She made it to the coffee maker and turned it on, her mood briefly brightening with the comforting sounds of the machine and the smell of the coffee; for a moment, she leaned against the counter and rested her head in her hands, resolving, once again, to approach the day with a new, dynamic, positive perspective.

The sound of the baby crying drew her out of the beginnings of a dream, the insomnia finally having given way to dark curtains falling, falling, falling mercifully around her, and she jerked up and looked at the clock on the stove: it was 6:45. Late.

The coffee hadn't finished brewing but she grabbed the carafe and poured it into a cup sitting by the sink, then shook a hefty amount of artificial creamer in the cup and stirred it, hastily, with a fork. The house was rarely tidy by nighttime and it wasn't unusual for the morning to play out like this--a mad scramble for spoons, razors, and matching socks, a kind of real-life board game with real-life setbacks that, for some reason, never sank in.

Lifting the cup to her lips, she walked as fast as she could to the bedroom yelling "Hon! Hon! You're going to be late!" and then shook, with her free hand, the lumpy shape of her sleeping husband.

"Hon! Get up!" she said again, and gave him one more urgent push, then lurched away towards the baby's room. The movement--the turning, especially--prompted a fresh series of piercing jabs in her head, and she instinctively raised her hand to press it against the pain, but in her foggy state forgot about the cup she was holding; in a slow, dreamlike arc, the contents sloshed out and landed in a milky brown puddle around her.

"Goddammit! Fuck!" she said. The hangover and agitation were rising, a flood threatening to spill over, and as she opened the baby's door the smell of shit hit her and it was too much. The smell was too much, everything was too much, and as she reeled and fell to the floor the flood waters surged. Suddenly relieved, almost...happy, she opened her mouth and released a giant wave of white wine and coffee and another thing, a profound, unidentified thing, all over the legos and clothes littering the pink fluffy rug.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011




Hello! I've returned, briefly, from Planet Beetleflop, whence I was sent by Spence. Who's Spence, you ask? Frankly, I don't know. All I know is he has plastic eyeballs and no arms. Overall he's a nice guy despite his abnormalities.

Sooo....the old blog question. Right. Right. Yes, it's true, I've been taking a bit of a break from it. And really only because I've been doing OTHER stuff, that stuff I mentioned already, the jewelry and children's book stuff. Hot dang dawg kebobble, it's been so great doing those things! I feel productive, finally, for the first time in a long time. I've made 70-something necklaces, and I started drawing on these illustrations for the FIRST children's book (not the one about the bug) I started, seven years ago, and although it feels slightly weird using watercolor pencils again (it's been a really long time) I can't really describe how satisfying it is.

And! Tonight I got some supplies (electrical wire, ribbon, beads) to start some mobiles, and all I can say is yee-f'ing-ha, this is what I want to be doing, thank god almighty in the deepest heaven and Planet Fruitcake, or wherever hE (note cryptic reversal of standard capitalization) resides.

I tried to write more to go with the last thing I wrote, but it sucked, it really did, and I got all weirded out about it, like I wasn't able to keep up the voice, or whatever, but lately I've been reconsidering that and all I can say is, writing is hard. Good writing is practically impossible. For me, anyway.

Readers, whoever you are these days, as always, I want to thank you for reading and checking in--I'm sorry there's been a void. I'll be trying harder to get back into this blog from now on and providing something of interest and entertainment to you.

Buenas noches a todos,



Monday, February 14, 2011

It started with chicken breasts falling, chicken breasts falling off the over-stuffed shelf to the row below, an equally crammed expanse of grayish-pink poultry bodies. The slapping noise jolted her out of her moody thoughts and brought her back to reality: the grocery store, Monday, 3 pm.

The act of bending to pick up the fallen packages embarrassed her almost as much as the noise they'd made, that bare and open sound of flesh striking flesh, a noise that was so raw and primal she wanted to close her eyes for a minute, just a minute, while she got her bearings and was able to respond, with a quick, confident smile, to the gazes of the young couple and the dirty toddler beside her.

"Just chicken breasts falling," she thought, but as the shelf continued to waver beneath its weight, her unsteady hand sent more chicken breasts falling like dominoes--like lemmings, she thought. It could have, it should have, been comical, but with that feeling in her head each slap felt like a warranted reproach, and with all eyes seemingly on her in painful accusation, all she really wanted to do was cry.

The toddler was grimy and scantily dressed for the chill of the meat aisle, and the mother had bad teeth, chipped and gaping, the teeth of a mouth she could hardly imagine kissing, let alone loving to the point of creating a baby, and she momentarily felt cynical, but then the absurdity of her own situation--the fact of the breasts falling, the fact of the breasts, the breasts that were not unlike her own breasts, the breasts she'd used to feed her kids, the "time bombs," she'd heard, "waiting to happen"--hit her and she succumbed once more to the feeling that had overtaken her, the feeling that had made everything so strange and shaky in the first place.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hi everybubby!

Don't worry, I still haven't been devoured by a Siberian tiger. And I do mean to tend the fallow fields of my g-o-l-b in the near, near future, like maybe tomorrow, when my "rolly-polly chubby cheeky shit machine" (I'm quoting a friend here, describing her toddler son) is being watched by his new, wonderful nannies!

Joedy got back in one piece the other night, just as I was embarking on a nervous breakdown, standing in the middle of the house crying because I'd watched Black Beauty that afternoon with Lula and Malko and it was sooooo saaaaaaaad, I just couldn't get over it, poor Ginger, why did she have to die?!?! And little Merrylegs--why couldn't he be at the meadow at the end too? It wasn't FAIR! LIFE isn't FAIR!

I was having a teary crisis partly because certain hormonal fluctuations were taking place at that very time, but also because I was just ready for Joedy to be home. I was sick of being Solo Parent and listening to my thoughts all day long, I was sick of the intense quiet when Malko took a nap or when both of the kids were asleep. By day 8, I was over it--very, very over it.

While he was gone and since he got back I've been making craploads of jewelry, necklaces actually, and it's been an incredible blast. I've made 47 so far, and I'm going to try to get to 150 so that I can have enough to try to sell them. I found out how to do a booth on South Congress on Sundays, and I'm just so excited about it, I really can't wait to give this jewelry thing a shot!

In case you're wondering, I'm not giving up on the other projects, namely, the children's books--they're just on the side burners while I focus on this project, which I hope might bring in some much-needed greenbacks in the next month or so...

It's late now and I need to go to bed so I'm bouncy and perky in the morning. Oh, right, it's Valentine's Day! I'm not going to get all sappy on you like I did last year:

Happy goddamn Valentine's Day!

And good night.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Malko's sleeping and Lula's playing outside in the snow, yes, SNOW, so I have a little time to write.

As I said in the last post Joedy went to California for work on Monday; it's been remarkably easy managing the responsibilities that go with solo parenting this time around, probably because we have such a better house than the last one--comfortable and pretty and with a yard for the dogs and kids to play in--and because Lula's in school (except for today, due to the snow) and Malko's in day care. I didn't want this time alone with the kids to be difficult and stressful like the last times, and I'm really happy to say that I've not only been able to keep my cool (ok, there has been some yelling) but I've also managed to do a little extra, like wash the kitchen floor and cook something new and interesting (a bison and cauliflower pie).

Despite an insanely stupid washing machine saga involving three consecutive floods in the utility room, the purchase of a third washing machine when we had two perfectly good ones in the garage, lots of heaving around, and, ultimately, a clogged drain pipe, which started the whole stupid thing in the first place, I've survived, and even managed to produce clean clothing for the three of us, although much of it belongs to Black Ear, my old teddy bear, and is definitely a little snug. Malko has been throwing up off and on since last night (due to a bug, I think--hopefully not my culinary creation), so there's a pressing need to get this drain unclogged and one of our three washing machines hooked up; the maintenance guy said he'd be by today, so it should work out...except that it snowed and Austin's apparently frozen in we'll see.


I just put the kids in bed, and the house is clean and warm--heaven. It's not even 8:30, so I'm pretty proud of myself, because of that and because I got Lula to eat warmed-up bison and cauliflower pie and salad without much complaint--she even said she liked it.

In a way it's been good being solo, because I've been able to have a constant, solid connection with Lula and Malko and to rule the house unhindered by the opinion of an Equally Important Person. The place has stayed remarkably tidy, not because Joedy's particularly messy but because I've decreed that during this period the house will be clean, and therefore less a source of stress. And having the kids to myself, when Malko, at least, tends to be a little obsessed with Joedy, has been really nice: holding him today when he was all sick and cuddly, hearing him say "Oh, Maman," feeling his hands reach up to my face to give me a hug, was beyond compare.

Late last night it started snowing, and this morning it was all white out, with heavy gray clouds overhead; with the bare brown tree trunks and the cardinals and blue jays flying here and there, it reminded me so much of Rhode Island, of that feeling of winter, that I was as excited as Lula, who jumped out of bed and was dressed and ready to play outside by 7:20. I watched her romping around in the back yard with Diablo and Astrid, her hat sticking straight up on her head and her too-big navy corduroys tucked into her rain boots, and although I'd barely slept I felt peaceful and happy, because she was experiencing one of my favorite childhood things: snow, and a day home from school to play in it.

Malko continued feeling sick all day, a clear indication being the fact that he only ate one cookie, which, if you know Malko, is absurd--the kid loves to eat crack addicts love doing crack. A few times he allowed me to offer him some juice, which he drank good-naturedly, resting his head on my shoulder between sips and in general being the most adorable snuzzle monkey you can imagine; the rest of the time he dozed in our bed or on the couch, waking up now and then to look around with glassy eyes and flushed cheeks, just asking for another hug...

I said it's nice being solo, but when I talked to Joedy today, immediately falling into a highly detailed account of the stupid washing machine saga, complete with voices of certain players, I was reminded of how much we see eye-to-eye and how much, frankly, I feel like I'm living with my twin (in a good way) (most of the time). Granted, I'm somewhat better with time than he is, and he's somewhat better with banking than I am, but from the very beginning, from our first "date," I felt like we were connected somehow. The fact that I still feel that way, that I still love having a conversation with him, because half the time we're saying "Right! Exactly!" means--despite my present highly enjoyable ruler-of-the-roost status--I'm really looking forward to him coming home.

It's 10:08 and I'm going to go get into our sort of throw-up'y bed (that odor eater stuff works wonders!) but first I'm going to post a picture of Joedy and me from last weekend in Corpus. We'd been out doing some shopping for his trip, and stopped at a seafood place and had some delicious grub; the picture's a little dark and blurry, but I think you can tell we were happy...


Tuesday, February 1, 2011






HA HA!!!



Sunday, January 23, 2011

Today when I came home from the thrift store Lula told me she'd lost a tooth.

Which was surprising, because I didn't know she'd had a loose tooth.

And which now raises the question: how much does the Tooth Fairy leave, these days?

It's been a long time since I've had anything to do with the Tooth Fairy. We met, briefly, eleven years ago, when I found myself stranded by the side of the road in Las Vegas; she opened her car door and offered me a lift, explaining, over a bottle of vodka, that she'd recently made a career change and was going by the name Gypsy. When I asked what had prompted the switch, her answer was simple: too many teeth.

She'd never liked teeth, apparently, and had only taken the tooth fairy gig to please her then-boyfriend, a rotund, jolly guy who liked to dress in red felt clothes with white fuzzy piping; he himself a giving sort of person, he'd persuaded her to apply for the job for the sake of "all the boys and girls--even the naughty ones." His choice of words had weirded her out a little, she said, brushing back a strand of bleached hair, but she'd gotten the job and done the lost-tooth-leave-money routine for four hundred years--maybe not that long, but it felt "really fucking long," and by the end, when someone named Ronnie took her place, she was more than ready to shake her groove thang at the Black Stallion Gentlemen's Club in Vegas, and...

"Here I am!" she said, giggling happily between swallows of vodka. For a moment it was quiet; among other things, I was impressed by her ability to drive drunk. Was it some leftover tooth fairy magic, or was she just a really good alcoholic?

"Gypsy," I said, "what's the new gal like? She doesn't steal, does she?" I explained that although most of our belongings once belonged to the thrift store, I'm still greedy, possessive, and anal about them, and if anyone thinks I'm about to let some strange chick wearing a green ice-skating outfit into the house in the middle of the night, THEY GOT ANOTHER THINK COMING, BE-OTCH!!!

"I know!" said Gypsy. "It's totally weird and creepy. I mean, I had to lift up little kids' pillows and stuff! Compared to what Jingle Balls--my old boyfriend--has to do, my job was seriously risky! I practically had to get in the kids' beds! Think about the potential lawsuits, and then think about the strategy and dexterity required to get under a pillow--a pillow with a sleeping head on it--and rustle around for a disgusting tooth, then put a heavy-ass silver dollar in its was hell! Big Daddy X-mas has it easy, let me tell you."

"And you hated teeth in the first place."

"Right. I've always hated teeth. Ever since that time I took mushrooms with the Easter Rabbit. Talk about a bad trip! Wow."

We'd arrived at the Black Stallion, so I stumbled out of the car and threw the empty vodka bottle over my shoulder. Suddenly overcome by a warm, happy feeling, I shouted "WOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOOOO! Gypsy, you're a fucking cool ex-tooth fairy!!!"

"Thanks, doll," she said, giving me a hug. We went inside, and for a while I watched her dance--until, that is, I found myself sitting on the lap of, and making out with, a goth transvestite. By that time everything was a blur, and soon I lost sight of her.


Friday, January 21, 2011

I'm not a big fan of sentimentality, so I'm not going to talk about how, yesterday, I got depressed thinking about all the people who came to visit--how the dilly beans, coffee cups, and crumpled kleenexes, left here and there around the house, brought on waves of sadness and somewhat horrified thoughts about the temporality of life. I'm definitely not going to talk about how, while deflating the air mattress, I thought, "there goes the air my loved ones slept on." Suffice to say that a deflated air mattress, spent and lifeless, can be a depressing thing--as depressing as a receipt, left over from your birthday, listing flowers, leg of lamb, chocolate, and candles, can be uplifting.

With our nineteen house guests back in their too-faraway places, I feel like I can settle down and tackle this new year, a year I think will be as interesting and productive as 2010, which saw us landing (to the day yesterday) here in Austin and starting a new life, with school, work, a house, and friends; if I feel confident about 2011 it's because our new life grew so quickly and satisfyingly out of the rubble of our move to Costa Rica, and I know that was thanks, in large part, to Joedy's and my combined F'PEE F'PEE F'PEE-WOG!***. Many people have helped us along the way, of course, and a few Happy Time Federal And State Programs (not the cereal) (or the sweatshirts) have been indispensable, but if there's one thing I learned in the last year and a half, since we left California and started the Big Adventure, it's that Joedy and I can handle a lot: we can handle a lot, and we can do a lot.

(Our plan for the next few months is to settle into a work schedule; now that Joedy has an office and I have a studio we can really focus on our respective projects, and with Lula in school and Malko, hopefully, in a day care situation very soon, we'll--I'll--finally be able to GET SHIT DONE. Over the last two months I've spent a little time, here and there, in the studio (like the office, it's doubled as a guest room) and it's now officially in working order********: I have two big desks, where I can have all the jewelry/mobile/drawing stuff out at all times (HUGE RELIEF!); on the walls I've hung some tools, wire, and bead stuff; a couple of in-transition mobiles are hanging from the ceiling. My goal is to spend at least four hours a day working on, alternately, mobiles, jewelry, and the two children's books I've started; the idea of jumping from one thing to another like that has always appealed to me and it will be interesting to see, FINALLY (I got this idea six years ago), how it goes.)***********


Oh my god, y'all, I just reread the last part of what I wrote earlier, and it sounds so...grammatical! Annoyingly earnest.

Here I yam, three chugged glasses of white wine later. I got the white wine out of the defunct washing machine in the garage, where I hid it earlier today--DON'T ASK WHY.

Because I'd be at great pains to answer: SO I COULD DRINK IT ON THE SLY BY MYSELF.


Gosh, I better say somethin' interestin' here, or I'm going to lose readers.

What readers?

That's for me to know and you to find out!


here we are in Texas, y'all, sort of tipsyish on vino blanco*, in this dark room, definitely lacking in light, standing in for a studio, which is a word I still cringe to use? Ok, why did I end that sentence that way? In a question? Which is a habit I tend to not like? BECAUAUAUAUAUSE:

Studio! Studio! We're gonna get studioooooo, oh, we're gonna get studio, studio, yeah, I said studio-oh-oh-oh-oh, yeah, I said studio

dontcha know

I said studio

and I'm drunk-k-k-k-k-k

Ok, that didn't rhyme, but that's fine. Because I can rhyme at other times! When I'm feeling

took a little pause there to replenish my gullet with more Salmon Creek (thanks, Kat!) and some forkfuls of Central Market Organics Fat Free Refried Black Beans, as well as some bass playing.

Did I tell you I have a bass? I have a bass! Joedy got me one for my birthday. He got me one ten years ago, but I didn't play it enough, and I gave it away (sold it? I don't remember) when we left Ventura; for some reason I feel like I need to play the bass, and I've been talking about that more or less a lot, and so he got me one for my birthday, and hello! Freaking freaking fakakakak akakak dog food awesome, HELLO! dude! Fucking awesome! This thing is fucking awesome! Yo! Deepfried black beans dog food fuck!

I've just been practicing three days, and I'm DRUNK, but HELLO, what the FUCK, here's a little sample you can enjoy or ignore, depending on your black beanedness or whatEVER:

*"white" "wine"

***originally said "strength"; upon rereading while drunk, realized that sounded grossly hideous, changed to more appropriate word

*******oh my GAK GAK GAK, could I get more freakishly normal sounding??!!!??? AGGA AGGGAA AGGGA Herruck! Herruck! Herruck!

***********Blah fucking blah blah blah blah blah, blah blah, blah. Blah; blah! Blah.

Yeah, so anyway, that's the end of this post--I have to go brush my teeth! Please feel free, y'all, y'all readers I know nothing about or do know something about, to drop in on the ole' comments and say something stupid--I do it all the time!

Love to you and your black beans!

I think.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Hello, and welcome to fucking!!! Bedlam.

Sorry to swear--I know some readers probably don't like it. But given my physical state--deeply unwashed, harried, gorging on a salad while trying to fit some creative stuff between the fourth? fifth? recent washing of the kitchen floor and the within-an-hour departure to Ross to get some towels to replace the not really acceptable Spongebob ones--it's feeling really good to let loose, at least internally, with some Tourette's-style cussing.

I know I've mentioned it in some of the last posts, but since the week before Thanksgiving we've had out-of-town visitors, family and friends, staying with us for varied lengths of time: my sister and her boyfriend left the day before yesterday, my other sister and her fiancee, and his two children, are coming today; my parents have been with us, off and on, since a little before Christmas; before that we had my cousin, his wife, their kids, my stepdad, my brother, his wife, their baby, our friend, and Joedy's brother's two kids. It's been great having everyone here--we've had lots of fun, and the chance to reconnect, or connect more deeply, is a real gift--and I'm already experiencing the long-term benefits of the visits, in that my thoughts and associations with this house are permeated with happy memories, but it would be untrue to say there hasn't been some tiredness and sadness mixed in too. With nineteen people visiting in the space of two months, a period that began two weeks after we moved into this house, it's normal, I think, for some of us to have some ups and downs.

Especially if they're badly in need of a shower. And their goddamn sneakers are wet from washing the floor, and they have a chin hair that's threatening to rival the clothesline in length and durability.

One more thought before I attend to the unwashedness and the unpluckedness: this time last year, I was feeling really horrible because I'd invited everyone I knew and didn't know to stay with us in Costa Rica, where we thought we'd be living longer than we did. When we went back to the States for a visit in November and realized we couldn't go back to Costa Rica, it was compoundedly awful because I felt like such a schmuck for inviting people and then so soon canceling our side of the plans (this was especially bad because my sister and her boyfriend had already bought plane tickets). I'll always regret the way the end of our time in Costa Rica played out, but having everyone with us here, in Austin, has made me feel like I've gotten another chance at hosting them, at throwing a gigantic New Year's party, and that, I have to say, feels great.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

On the eve of one's birthday, it's not uncommon for one's loved ones to act unusually (some might say "strangely") solicitous, asking the almost-birthday-person what they want to eat the next day, what they want to do, etc. Although many things come to mind immediately, it's best to play along, so to speak, and act surprised, with a "Who--me?" type of response that suggests one is not completely obsessed with what one can get out of the deal. Yes, there are many things one might want to eat and do, but if one hasn't learned by 37 that life flows more smoothly with strategized self-restraint than hedonistic free-for-alls, then one might as well just...


1. Wake up. Fall back asleep. Wake up. Fall back asleep. Wake up again. Ask someone to bring a cup of coffee, nine croissants, a bottle of wine, and last night's leftover pizza.

2. Eat and drink everything. Fall back asleep.

3. Get up at 4 p.m. Take a bubble bath. Ask someone to go buy you a '74 Chevy Nova.

4. When the Nova arrives, leave the house wearing your feather headdress, your "dancing outfit," and five different perfumes, which may or may not determine whether your loved ones accompany you.

5. Drive downtown with the radio on very high. Play Lady Gaga and the Clash; disregard the voices, real or imagined, telling you those types of music don't mix.

6. Drive to the water. When you get there, run down the hill yelling "It's my birthdaaaaaay" and throw yourself in. Ignore people staring at you because you're wearing your dancing outfit.

7. Get out of the water. Ask someone to bring you a silk kimono embroidered with the abominable snowman. Put your headdress back on.

8. Get back in the car. Drive to a horse farm. Ask someone to buy you a black stallion. Put the black stallion in the trunk of the Nova.

9. Drive to a restaurant. Eat a grilled cheese sandwich, french fries, a lobster, lasagne, and truffle mousse bisque. Wash it down with eight bottles of kahlua.

10. Get back in the car. Realize you're drunk. Notice there's a banging sound coming from the trunk of the car. Ask someone to help you get the black stallion out. Fall over in the parking lot. Ask someone to tie you to the black stallion's back.

11. Ride the black stallion to Kentucky, where he was born. Drift amongst the green grasses and practice playing the fiddle. Eat grubs.

12. Remember it's your birthday and you're supposed to be home for dinner. Ride home, stopping only to race the black stallion at the Belmont. Trade your kimono in for a jockey uniform, INCLUDING THE UNDERWEAR.

13. Get home. Tie the black stallion to the garage door. Walk in the house. Give your loved ones a mimed rendition of your day.

14. Examine the wrapped present standing in the corner of the living room. Look at all the presents bought in the last few days all around the house. Go outside. Pat the black stallion. Feed him cake.

15. Eat. Drink. Play with presents. Sleep.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

It's weird--I'll spend forty-eight hours dreading writing the next blog entry, worrying that I'll sit down at the computer and have nothing to say, and then I finally start, and I'm like...

I have nothing to say!

Nothing funny, that is, because I'm abiding rigorously to my new rule of not writing wittily here, having gotten sick and tired of my humor, thank you very much, and anyway, being funny is a waste of time when I should be talking about climate change and how depressed I get whenever I read the news.

I don't know if other people think like this, but I believe Weather Hell is going to continue exponentially and is already bringing about Geological Hell (changes in barometric pressure can mean changes to the earth's crust, right? Meaning less stability, more earthquakes, more volcanoes?) that will spell doom for many, many people within, I'd guess, fifty years. At the current rate, which doesn't seem to be slowing down, how could anyone imagine the opposite?

What I find as mind-boggling as the number and severity of the "natural disasters" (Philosophers: I know! Humans caused this shit, so it's "natural"! I know what you mean, BUT) is the fact that none of the articles I read end with: "It is clear that the landslide/earthquake/rainstorm/tornado was a result of human-induced climate change, and IF WE DON'T DO SOMETHING QUICK, EVERYONE'S GOING TO DIE VIOLENT, HORRIBLE DEATHS."

Ok, it's not the trend, in the mainstream news-reporting world, to offer an intelligent analysis of why this or that problem came about--the focus is more on the glossy accompanying pictures or a bystander's sensationalized account--and that always bothers me: shouldn't we be focusing on how to change things so the problem won't happen again? But when it comes to this shit, this climate change shit, I'm...blown away, so to speak. I get the feeling that either it's not generally recognized that humans are fucking themselves and the entire planet over or that people just...what? Don't want to talk about?

Frankly, I totally understand. I'd rather not think about depressing things--I'd rather focus on this moment, right now, when I'm sitting on the cozy couch, the kids asleep, Joedy reading, the heater going, everything pretty damn happy and great--I'd rather write silly stuff and be a goofball. It would be more fun, that's for sure. But I can't really do that, because as I'm sitting here all cozy on the couch, thinking about being a grandma to Lula's and Malko's kids someday, I can't help but wonder if we'll all make it till then--maybe there will be a flood, or a hurricane, or a fire--and I can't help wondering: am I alone thinking about these things? How can I be? How can other people ignore the signs that, to me, are so terrifying and real?

Sorry, my dear readers, for getting all heavy and depressing on this first post of the new year: I was going to write about my resolution (I'm going to try to swear more) but this came out instead. I took the picture of this cardinal a couple weeks ago; we've been seeing lots of gorgeous birds lately and it would be a shame if they all became extinct in the next twenty years.

What? What's the matter? You seem so...gloomy!

Ha ha, just kidding (kind of)...

Happy Fucking New Fucking Year!!

See? More swearing! Yay for resolutions we can actually keep!!