I’ve lived the life of 624 bumblebees.

A friend contacted me last year and asked if I would write an article on EEG-based meditation. He would send the equipment to me and guide me through the process, and then I would put pen to paper to describe my experiences. He was enthusiastic. I was enthusiastic. I honestly felt like the article was something I could write.

Untitled(I bought this hat a few weeks ago, and it makes me want to be a better person. I would insert a chaos theory joke, but it’s just too easy.)

The EEG equipment arrived and after a few clumsy computer failures on my end, we got everything up and running and began having Zoom calls during which I attempted to get my brain levels in the right place for my style of meditation. I never became an expert because meditating is a process, but I definitely made strides and started feeling the benefits of a daily meditation practice. (I’m here to tell you that if you think you can’t meditate, you’re wrong. It just takes openness and acceptance.)

 (This is Calypso. She’s a hairless guinea pig who doesn’t like to be picked up, but loves to be held.)

For the next several months, I tried writing that article. I tried so hard. Sadly, everything I wrote sounded goofy and dumb and not nearly good enough, which made ME feel goofy and dumb and not nearly good enough. It’s one of the many reasons why I haven’t visited Fluid Pudding in six months. (My therapist told me that if I think I can’t write, I’m wrong. It just takes openness and acceptance.)

Untitled(I knit another gnome. He’s kind of an asshole.)

This paragraph is where I want to tell you that I listened to my therapist and powered through the darkness and WOW the completed article is SO GREAT! IF YOU CAN DREAM IT, YOU CAN ACHIEVE IT! Sadly, that didn’t happen, so I’m here to tell you that sometimes you might think you can do something, but you’re totally wrong. You can’t do it and it doesn’t matter how hard you try. Enjoy your day. (I saw a poster last week that said something like, “A miracle will happen just when you’re about to quit.” and I thought, “Who would buy that poster?” and then I thought, “Fuck you, Poster.”)

Untitled(Look at this guy. He might live for a month (if he’s lucky), he can’t sting (unless he’s a female, in which case she can, but doesn’t want to), and when his stomach is totally full he’s still less than 45 minutes away from starvation.)

Hi there. I haven’t seen you in months. Let’s see. Meredith graduated from high school and is moving away for college in less than three weeks. Harper is now a licensed driver and is getting ready to start her junior year of high school. Ah, but the most important news? I turned 51 and am now one who wears a sundress and has the neck of a Chlamydosaurus.

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(Don’t let me scare you. I peacock my neck only when I’m attempting to discourage predators. Or when someone is trying to court me.)

Thanks for coming back. We should meet up here more often.

This is a story about a grandpa, but not really.

Many (many) years ago, my friend Alison and I took an art appreciation course at the university, and one day during class the instructor showed us this photo taken by Alfred Stieglitz.

Our instructor told us that Stieglitz took hundreds of photos of Georgia O’Keeffe, but never felt like he captured her until he started to take photos of her hands. He ended up taking hundreds of photos of her hands, and each one is beautiful.

I love the story of the hand photos, and I love that you can see so much of her in the photos without seeing very much of her at all.

One Saturday in 1993 when I was working at the neurology ICU, a nurse came in with a newspaper clipping. It was the hands pictured above along with the story of how the photo had just sold at an auction. The nurse told me that the photo struck her as something I might like. The fact that the photo had come back into my life led me to ask one of my best friends to design a tattoo of it, and he did. (It’s shaped like a teardrop and I love it so much.)

27 years ago a guy named Spyder tattooed the design onto my left ankle as his little dog bit at his left ankle. (He did the tattoo in his apartment so I didn’t have to pay the extra shop fees.) $40. Perfect.

When I turned 50 last year, I decided to get another tattoo of O’Keeffe’s hands, and the photo I fell for was this one.

To me, this photo is anxiety and pain and sex and joy. I sent it to an amazing local tattoo artist, and three nights ago she put it on my arm along with the final line from The Sun Also Rises. (You don’t need to know the story of the quote. It’s part of my 17%.)

Armfinal

While the artist was working on me, I told her about Spyder doing my first set of O’Keeffe hands. Get this: Spyder was her mentor’s mentor. I love that Spyder is her tattoo grandpa and that this tattoo has a connection to the first that goes beyond O’Keeffe’s hands. (Also, I love that my skin is Georgia O’Keeffe’s skin.)

I have so much to share with you, but right now let’s just look at my arm.

Where It’s At

Two weeks from right about now, I will look exactly like this:

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On the morning of the 26th, I’ll be having oral surgery, if you know what I’m saying.*

Also, I quit my job. #2021CRAZYsexycool (It’s okay. More freelance will surely come along, and after the 26th I’m going to be looking for something that takes me out of the house. Locals with suggestions? Feel free to shoot them my way.)

Let’s see… I ate bread pudding in the dark last night. (Bread Pudding? Always soft, and always available at the 24-hour drive-thru bakery.) That’s about it.

*I’m saying I’ll be having oral surgery. They’ll be robbing skin from Peter (the right side of my mouth) to pay Paul (the left side of my mouth) and that’s all I want to say because Dear Lord. I’ll have stitches, so it’s going to be a soft food diet for three weeks. Vodka is soft. Also, doughnuts.

Whatever bubbles bubbles up. (I feel.)

When I was trying to write short stories, every single one of them took place during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. This week holds potential. Can you feel it? (You can. You might not recognize that feeling, but it’s there.)

What have I been up to, (I pretend) you just asked?
Let’s see.
Here’s the fun stuff:

I did this for about three minutes because a friend dared me.
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Then I did this, and I always hate photos of myself, but I sort of like this photo because I’m digging being bald and EVERYONE looks good in black and white. (Sometimes I wish I could leave the house in black and white. Oh, wishes…)
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I’ve been knitting.
This will eventually be a scarf that will triple (or quadruple or more) around my neck. Until it becomes a scarf, it will be half a pair of (crotchless, I guess) sexy wool pants!
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This shawl is part of the Cast Off 2020 kit from Three Irish Girls, my favorite yarn dyer. Every day from December 17th until December 30, I’ll be opening a tiny package that contains a tiny skein of yarn that was dyed to honor someone who died during 2020. So far, this shawl shows (from bottom to top, if you’re curious) Jerry Stiller, Alex Trebek, John Lewis, Sean Connery, Kenny Rogers, and Eddie Van Halen.
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Also, I knit a hat, and it makes me feel like a little magic might happen.
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I hope you’ve been well. A lot of people I know have experienced some truly shitty things over the past month, and sometimes everything bubbles up and explodes and life feels sort of dismal. Please let me know if I can do anything for you.
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The Neighbor. The Squirrel. The Groundhog.

The cranky guy next door put a Coming Soon sign in front of his house a few weeks back, and last week he filled the side yard with a gaggle of men carrying hammers and drills and lunch boxes. For five days the air was filled with the sound of banging and whirring and damnits and shits and now the house has an opening that wasn’t there before! More Doors = More Opportunities!

Meanwhile, I’ve been watching a squirrel as he carries sticks and leaves from our yard to our pine tree, where I assume he’s building a house. He’s been working very hard, and it feels like all of the back-and-forths would be tiring for a squirrel, so I’ve been helping.

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I know putting these leaves in the tree for him screws with the balance between man and beast and will surely lead to him losing all of his squirrel skills and then he’ll start begging for money, but as so many people say: We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it!

As I packed some leaves into the tree this morning, I noticed a hole in the yard. I’m pretty sure the hole is filled with murder hornets because that’s just the sort of year it has been, but just in case it’s vacant I want the word to get out that it would be really nice to have a groundhog as a tenant.

I’ve placed a sign.

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So now we wait.

Four Calling Birds

The goal was to write every day in November, but I took yesterday off because as some people might say: I wasn’t in a good place. SO, I punished myself by forcing the failure of my goal. Sounds crazy? It is! Maybe someday I’ll tell you all about my history with self-punishment, but today is not that day because today I want to tell you these things:

1. I’ve been taking Vitamin E because I heard it will help fade mosquito bite scars. So far, it is absolutely not working.

2. I went to Trader Joe’s last week and I couldn’t NOT buy the Nuts About Rosemary Mix. Every time I open the can, I think about my friend whose mom’s name is Rosemary. I also think about How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying because of this.
Sadly, these damned nuts are not only delicious, but they’re also a migraine trigger. Life is so uncertain.

3. Now that the election is over, my Facebook feed is starting to fill with people judging others for putting up Christmas tree lights too early. Damnit! I say: Unless you’re wrapping your lights a little too tightly around the necks of street urchins, hang those lights.

4. My therapist is trying to work with me on Confrontation and my (mostly unhealthy) avoidance of it. As a result, every single time I feel like disagreeing with someone, I don’t. And then I feel shitty because my therapist is in my head saying, “Speak your truth.” BUT, this is my truth: Unless your (often unsolicited) truth has knocked me down and is kicking the shit out of me, I can walk away from it. That’s the nice thing about having legs and choices.

(Side note: I’ve been having this dream lately where I can’t walk. I try to walk, but it just hurts. By the way, nobody wants to hear about dreams.)

5. I always laugh to myself when people talk about their truths or their journeys. I have no idea why I think those phrases are funny (overuse, maybe?), but I do.

We all light candles for different reasons.

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Today is a good day for everyone who voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
I know it’s not such a good day for those who didn’t.
(You probably know that today is a good day for me and my family.)
((A few of you also know that I have never said the words President and Trump together. I never will. I will also never say the words “National Treasure” and “Mariah Carey” together.))

The next few months and maybe even years are going to be rough, but I also know we all want what’s best. Some of us just have a different idea of what “best” means and how to get there.

I hope I live to see the day when things don’t get ugly during election season. The past few months have been shitty.
More importantly, I hope I live to see the day when Every American is willing to fight for Every American without exception.
Also, the day when Every American is supportive and welcoming to those who are trying so hard to become American citizens.

Let’s make the best of this, regardless of how the day has gone for you.

(Full disclosure: Four years ago when Trump was elected, I was all, “fuck Fuck FUCK!” so I totally understand the people who are rolling their eyes at what I wrote up there. I get it.)

I know you’ve worked so hard to hoist your own petard…

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Everything keeps happening, and a lot of it is just so awful.

BUT! I went to the eye doctor this morning and then I drove to Trader Joe’s where I stocked up on dried apricots and raw cheese and rosemary nuts and THEN I scored a referral for a psychiatrist AND a colonoscopy!

And you may be saying to yourself, “Wait. Didn’t she just have a colonoscopy in 2014?” I did!

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I also had one in 2009! (Click the link for photos of my insides!)

We will get through all of these things. (Unless we don’t. But we probably will. BUT we also need to keep fighting. Not WITH each other. More like FOR each other.)