Saturday, December 13, 2014

Mnemovore: Once We Are Diamond

I miss the feel of the night at times. Walking into spaces and possessing them. Lights flashing, the stink of bodies and potential, insects of chaos crawling and twitching beneath our skins. Keeping a tally of how many bars we could get thrown out of in each city we visited simply by challenging their norms. Adorning ourselves in war colors and battle garb.

We were angry and vivid and loving and joyous. Ready to tear it all down with love, burn it to the ground in a celebration of self. Smashing bottles and fighting with cops all for the sake of love. All for love.

I miss the chemical burn of alterations inhaled, injected and ingested. The willingness to self-destruct in the pursuit of honesty. Dirty bathrooms, pounding on the stall doors as we laughed and fucked like our lives depended on grasping every shining thing.  Each thrust a declaration of ownership of self, a denial of condemnation. Unknown faces we would immediately and organically bond with, sensing a similar feral-minded soul. One second connections. Sometimes these led to momentary physical and spiritual bondings, sometimes they led to years-long friendships, sometimes to relationships still ongoing.

I want to relive it, if only in my mind. Sniffing out the underground spaces, the illegal parties, slinking down back alleys to the hidden doorways. The smell of waste and the inevitable homeless person paid to keep watch for authority figures, to give warning. How the pressure would change the moment the doors were opened. Eyes would turn, not always in a pleasant way. Pushing our way through those little oceans of flesh --being a smoker came in handy then, nothing like a burning cherry in the arm to clear a path- and finding the dance floor. That most sacred of spots, where the dragons flow and weave and demons are loosed to wreak their havoc and change. The nearly-naked writhers cutting loose those ties that had bound them (or, on a good night, the fully-naked ones) or finding the ties to bind them. That space where I myself could lose my own timidity, find grace in the movement of my body, and allow my grace to be accepted. Akimbo.

There we would hold space for hours. Five....ten... daybreak.... All the while pulling in those things we needed, casting out those we didn't. Sharing our wealth with our fellow demons. Working our muscles to their limits. Pushing until we had to stop, panting and covered in sweat...collapsing in relief on the outside of the circle.

I miss the Walk of Shame the next day (though we had no shame) passing people on their way to work while the trees were still melting. I miss the feeling like I wanted to die (or, less dramatically, at least to stay hidden in the dark room for just one more day), I miss the cuddling piles on the floor of the darkened room as no one could speak and our muscles twitched and contracted (imagine involuntary twerking before twerking was a thing) and we all wondered how long it was until we could go again. Get back on the ride. When that next bag would open. Back out into that crystaline night, our eyes thankful for the relief from day.

But now...

"Now" I treasure as well, though I long for the "days of old" at times. Now we gather in small groups. Now I sit with fellow demons, and we cuddle and talk and eat and imbibe. We lounge. Good god, we lounge. Those burning days are gone for us, and we are left with embers. Embers that burn and keep warmth going, occasionally giving flame to new wood.  Perhaps that's the lesson, I don't know.

All I know is that once we shone like diamonds against the grit, and that one day we will be diamond again.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mnemovore: The Bombs

Age: Somewhere around 10.

If you wandered through the woods surrounding our home, jumping barbed-wire fences, evading angry bulls and scrambling through cedar scrub, you would come to this strange dumping ground of large mechanical objects. Not a scrapyard, really, but just this half-acre field in the middle of nowhere, filled with not your run-of-the-mill "mechanical objects" but these strange devices that to this day I have no idea what they could be. Large rectangular things easily 5 feet wide by 3 feet deep and 8 feet tall, covered in buttons and dials. Levers and knobs. Reading devices, gauges. Lots and lots of gauges.

There were probably 10-15 of them, this weird, button-filled metal Stonehenge, and they hadn't previously been in the field --which we had trespassed through on numerous occasions-- when Jimmy and I discovered them. Actually, that's not true. I discovered them first, as this was my regular stomping ground, while Jimmy lived in town and only came out for sleepovers every few weeks, and we didn't always go this route through the woods during our explorations... so I had already found them and become excited about the possibilities of what they were before showing them to him.

Bombs, obviously. Possibly alien transport devices, but probably bombs. This made the most sense to my brain at this point in time, filled as it was with "The Day After" and "V."

I remember when I first found them. I roamed among them, touching their scorching-hot sides with my fingertips, tentative about the buttons. Who knew what the would do? Perhaps a wrong touch would send my brains scattering across the prickly pear around me, splashing them with grey matter and gore, bits of flesh hanging on their thorns, leaving my body this twitching thing, baking in the sun, pecked at by vultures.

Or -more appealing but still frightening- I could get snagged up into outer space via some teleportation device. Yes, I knew what teleportation was at that age.... I read the X-Men.

While the idea of getting whisked away to some civilization across the galaxy had a tremendous amount of draw, I came back to the bomb idea.

So it was that when I first brought Jimmy out to see them, I felt completely, 100%,  assured in myself when I told him they were bombs, and we had to let someone know about them.

Cue Goonies music. Off we go, racing back through the woods to my house, where we grab our bikes and head for the highway... to a coworker of my mothers house. I have NO idea why we decided on her, this person whose name I can't recall when I can recall so many other trivial names from that time. She was a lifeguard at the pool my mother supervised, but beyond that I recall nothing.

But she was going to figure it all out. Somehow help us save the world from.... ummmm.... big metal cabinets dumped in the woods. That could be bombs. SHE would know what to do.

About 4 miles down the highway (okay, it may have been about a half-mile) the south Texas sun is doing its mid-summer asphalt-melting finest to drain every ounce of strength from our bodies, to divert us from our task of saving humanity. Or we may just have been easily distracted. Probably the latter. Whatever the reason, we're done. It's no longer important.

We pull off to the side of the road, toss our bikes in the ditch (it was rural Texas, no one was going to steal them) and scramble over the tangled barbed-wire fence that runs alongside the road, heading on to discover our next world-saving adventure.

Or possible bombs/teleportation devices.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I Felt the Earth Move...

Day three of kooky sleep patterns... not cool. Been falling asleep easily and soundly, then waking up about 2-3am and tossing/turning for hours.... usually falling back into real sleep right around sunrise. You know, about when it's time to get up. Not sure if it's because of the crazy-bright moon, some anxiety about the house, or some residual soreness in the arms... or a combo of all three. I'm guessing the latter.

Regardless of the cause, today is going to be Self Care Day for me. Charlie's headed to Missouri for the weekend with his mom to see his uncle(s)... I think I'm going to run a load in to the scrap metal place in Murf, pick up a few comic books w/the scrap metal money (yay, getting rid of junk *and* getting comics in return!), do a bit of grocery shopping... then call it a day on anything productive. Except maybe sew a bit/get some faces ready.

But hey, look! Bulldozing is done! (I don't know why I call it "bulldozing" when it's "backhoe-ing" but whatever) Now it's all about figuring out where the pylons are going to go and digging the holes for them... and pouring the concrete into them... and building the subfloor.... and.... putting up the walls.... and... andddd. (did I mention I'm having house-building anxiety?)

I need to try and remember to share more of the items in our "benefit" Etsy shop here... I forget to do that a lot. What can I say? I'm horrible at promotion. So, on that note....

This is "Grain of Fabric" a mixed-media piece that I did over the winter. It can be found here: Grain of Fabric

Sunday, September 7, 2014

How to get really sore arms in three easy steps:

Step 1) Replace the cord on the weedwhacker with the blade from a circular saw. Proceed to clear out the hillside of brush.

Step 2) Remove the overly-attached [come would say codependent] joins from old section of house to new section of house.

Step 3) Move 300lb wood stove into the bed of a truck.

Ta-da! Soreness achieved!

In other news, we're now 100% ready for the bulldozing to start tomorrow.

Charlie surveying the damage....

Friday, September 5, 2014

On Prostitution

Chainsawing of trees completed today. A small bit of cleanup to complete over the weekend... then it's on to bulldozing on Monday. Yikes.

Having a bit of "financial panic" as we look at the costs coming up... just how fast the money is going to go away. At the moment, we have $16k left of the original $30K in our "construction savings." (both of our "personal savings" are obliterated. Completely gone.)

It's funny how at one point in my life, I would have considered $16k to be an *extraordinary* amount of money... now it seems so little. Well, it would still be an extraordinary amount, if it were just random savings, really. But when it comes to construction costs --even doing it ourselves/with friends-- it's not that much. $400 at least goes away come monday.  A very basic model propane fridge is going to start at about $1,200. Then there's the stove at $500 - $700... and all the wiring... and the plumbing... and insulation, drywall, water heaters, windows, doors, etc.  And we still have about $1,000 left to go on the solar system. (but YAY for having electricity soon!!)

Oh, and of course there's the actual lumber to build with.

Well, you see where the panic starts to set in. Not to mention that once this is done, there ain't no "nest egg" or "safety net" money left, and it's unlikely to be replenished any time soon. But, you know, we have to have these things.These things so many take for granted. Running water, the ability to cook and shower in our own home.

Thinking about having a "Buy a doll, help build a wall" sale at the upcoming gathering. And prostituting myself... a different kind of "buy a doll."

$400 an hour (or a hot water heater)....  get it while it's good!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wednesday Randomness

1) Have to figure out something to say about a solo show next July... but need to do so now, as it's going out to a magazine shortly. Problem? I don't know exactly what I'm going to do, theme-wise.  Guess I'll write something that's a little "open for interpretation."

2) Found myself feeling nostalgic about some aspects of our days working on the road. Mainly, the cross-country driving. I always enjoyed those trips from one place to some far-flung other place. Omaha to Tennessee... Miami to Tennessee.... Arizona to Ohio... wherever to wherever. I don't miss the work, but I miss the road, and I miss our little community of fellow travelers/coworkers.

3) Speaking of far-flung places, I must be missing Florida as well, as I've been on a boiled peanut kick lately. Made a batch over the weekend that were okay... they didn't get a chance to boil long enough before we devoured them, but have another batch going now which have had a full 24 hours to boil. YUMMISPICYNESS.

4) Whoa Realization that winter is approaching. So much to do before then... including getting busy on this line of scarves I have an idea for (time to break out the serger again) that I hope will provide some extra income.

5) Speaking of income creation (something which is on my mind regularly these days, as we've gone from a two-income household to a zero-income household with mega medical bills) I have a new batch of Travelers up, as well as some Groot-inspired "Treeple"...

They can be found on both my Etsy site, and the Traveler-specific sites here...Travelers and

That's all... Happy Wednesday, y'all. Be good to yourselves.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Day of Change

A year ago today, our lives changed. I don't want to say for the worse, because that gives power to the stuff we've gone through, so I'll say that things just changed. Sure, it's a lot more serious now on many levels, but that's what life does/is sometimes.

What happened on this day was that our lives were irrevocably altered.  We discovered that we were mortal, that things could -and did- indeed happen to us. No amount of denial (trust me, I've tried) changes that. But along the way, I've discovered a lot. Some of it good, some of it less so. I've discovered the kindness of people who are practically strangers, in many regards. I've discovered the strengths within myself, as well as my weaknesses. I've discovered what love means in its purest form.

That first day, in the midst of it all, hearing the doctor say that Charlie would be somewhat akin to a vegetable for the remainder of his life... if he survived. Sitting there with him, holding his hand, doing inane things like turning on CNN for him (which I've always been annoyed by) even though he was unaware of his surroundings... seeing images in my head of our future. Feeding tubes, and colostomy bags. Unintelligible utterances. And knowing that no matter what, I would hold his hand , if only for my own assurance. Regardless of whether he knew I was there or not. Actually, in honesty, I think it was more for myself, the hand-holding. Feeling his palm against mine, closing my eyes, allowed me to pretend that none of it was real, that he was still the "strong one" in the relationship. The steadying factor. Hell, I still do it today.... take his hand in mine while we're practicing reading, or watching a movie, or whatever it is.... I take it, and I work his fingers into looseness and form them around mine and I pretend that the muscle contraction is him squeezing my hand back in a show of affection.

And at some point he will yawn (causing his upper arm to contract) or whatever, and he will be startled by our hands being intertwined because he hadn't felt it or noticed it before.

But that's not the point I was going towards. I was going towards what I thought our future would be. I'm easily derailed still, obviously. At that first point, I just didn't have a fucking clue. I suspect/suppose no one does in those situations. We're not trained for it, most of us. But we're slowly figuring it out, one day at a time.

Take a moment today and tell those in your life how much they mean to you, how much you love them, and remember how blessed you are even when things are challenging.

Monday, July 21, 2014

On Memories

As we were hanging out today talking, post-drywall removal, I brought up (via some tangential train of thought) Charlie maybe trying his hand at some painting. I brought this idea up in the past, and it was met with a lack of enthusiasm on his part, mainly because of the left-handed aspect. Today, he was all about it. This is something I'm glad to see, because he's always had a creative side, but hasn't always taken the time to explore it (outside of crazy costumes and theater and music and stained glass and.... okay, so maybe he's explored it). This is all well and good (and encouraging) while we're house-sitting, but when it's time to be back in our own -now quite limited- space, I'm going to have to figure out a scenario where he can work at. Good gods, will I have to share my studio table??? (NO. That will not happen. Allow me my selfish side.... but I'll figure out something)

On the flip side of things, I discovered something today that I didn't know previously. That I doubt anyone else knew either.That the stroke removed some of his memories. We were talking about someone we knew (a co-worker) down in Miami, and he kept saying/indicating he didn't know who they were. While this wasn't someone we were exceptionally close to, it also definitely wasn't someone that he would just forget. We worked together for a few months, he came to our house to work from daily, we went out to dinner a few times, etc. Somewhat jokingly, I said "oh, did the stroke make your memory so bad you can't remember him?" (because, honestly, we meet a lot of people via our community, and we're both horrible with names, which we both admit and acknowledge)... and his reply was a completely serious "yes." Talking with him further later indeed revealed that he doesn't recall Sam at all. Somewhat frightening, in many ways... and it also gets me curious. Given what I've learned about the brain over this last year, I know how specific (and weird) it can be, so I find myself wondering if it's some of that time period that's missing (if so, how much? Is sticking out hurricane Katrina still there? Meeting Dlish for the first time? Walking the back alley to the bodega on the corner? Watching MirrorMask?) Or... is the part of the brain that is having "issues" related to specific personalities? Facial memories, human interactions, that kind of thing. Like, he can remember what we did in Miami during our almost 2 years there, but the people we knew there are erased? Or maybe the "spot" in his brain that got kerwonkety is Sam Specific? Maybe Sam is the only missing element from that time period.

In some ways, I'm leery of asking more. I'm not sure I want to know if that time period is gone for him, or mostly gone, or partially gone.... because it was a special point in our lives together. Actually, that's completely untrue. The only reason I now regard it as "special" is because I worry about it being "gone" for him. In truth, it was a rather mundane point in time for us... living in the city-within a-city of Miami Lakes, enjoying all the multicultural aspects of that particular area... but nothing of note.

But now, because of all this, it *does* become special, something of note. However mundane and banal that time was in many regards... now it's somehow more important.

A reminder, I think, to never take those day-to-day moments for granted. When you're "just" sitting around, doing nothing. Some day, those "doing nothing" days, those moments of *life* may become very special to you. And sometimes those can be taken away from you.... so appreciate them while you're *in* them.

(Charlie in front of the giant tree that Katrina toppled, 2005)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I abraded my hand today

Grabbing on to a basketball post that had been shorn off. It didn't do much damage... just an abrasion, but a blood blister swelled in the midst of my palm.

Tonight, I tucked Charlie into bed, and complained briefly to him about the blister. I realized how silly it was for me to be complaining about this slight injury, while he has almost no use of his hand, cannot hold a pencil or a fork.

And he looked at me and said "but it hurts" and forgave me my.... no, understood... no, still felt for me that regardless of what his own physical state is, that my hand hurt.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Resolvulotions. Or something.

Okay. It's for real. I need to start utilizing this space more. Again. For real this time. I swear. Both for creative purposes, and for sanity.

So, yeah, first post of 2014!

We'll start with a Charlie update: In many regards he's progressing well. He's regained a lot of the usage of his leg and can get about fairly well as long as he has his cane. He's still quite slow, but he's coming along. Slowly. Like I totally win every race we have. With his arm, he's gotten a lot of flex back in his shoulder, though there's still very little in his elbow, and almost nothing in his hand. This is a normal progression, though, as usage returns in a pattern travelling downward (shoulder first, then elbow, then hand).

Language is still challenging him a LOT, and is the aspect he finds most frustrating. He does occasionally pop out with a full sentence (we'll say an average of one a week), and can come up with a lot of words on his own if given the time to do so. Cuss words come out quite quickly. Shocking, that. His reading, however, has improved dramatically, and this gives him hope. While he's still a long ways away from reading a book, he can work out many simple sentences with a minimum of assistance.

This is an aspect we work on for several hours a day... from the time we wake up when I ask him how he's doing, to having him say "I would like some coffee" to going over flashcards and various sentences repeatedly.

In a fit of complete and utter fucking insanity, I decided that the week before Christmas was the perfect time to hang drywall and repaint the living room. You know, just because sadomasochism is fun and all that. I'd kind of hoped to have it done by the time my parent's visit was over, but that didn't happen... tho it did give my father something to do while he was here so he didn't drive me (or my mother) crazy.  We finally finished it up about a week ago, and I got to paint it and hang up some art work! Love having a wall full of the work of friends!

One of the pluses of this project getting completed (except for the ceiling trim) is that I could move all the stuff back out of the studio room, where I'd stored it during the drywalling...  which means that after a several-week break, I can get back in the studio and get back to work. Here's a little sneak peek of a larger (about 4ft) piece I have in progress.

No more excuses, back to work beyotch.

As always, there are new(ish) items being added to the Charlie's Spot store, including a custom-built electric guitar by our friend Gwen using recycled barn wood from her barn, and some paintings by Jacqueline Myers-Cho. And, as always, feel free to spread the word about the shop and the reason for it!