Wednesday, April 30, 2008

She Wrung Her Hands, Unable to Help

This morning started off like any other morning. Buster jumped up on the bed to cuddle while Belle jumped up to get some scratches on her chest and belly before pestering Buster until he gave in and played with her.

A few minutes later, as she hopped out the back door, Belle started to whimper and gnaw on her back, left leg. She's been limping and lying around ever since. She didn't do a cartwheel out the back door. She wasn't twisted or anything. And yet, now she seems to be in considerable pain.

She barely wagged her tail when it was time for J-E-R-K-Y. I am struggling not to call the vet's after-hours emergency number. And not to cry. Belle is my strong, agile little girl. And she is just a pile of dog, laying around the house.

But, she did go for a walk with A. earlier this evening and only had a slight limp. Any pain didn't seem to be too bad. She even kicked up dirt after taking a pee. Such a lady, my Belle.

A. and I have decided to see how she does throughout Thursday before calling the vet. We are both dumbfounded as to what might be going on. Tummy trouble? Pulled muscle? Bug bite?

Oh, I have an anxious tummy.

She has been crawling under very low furniture and hanging out under beds, end tables, and chests for about a week. Last night she slept beneath the guest bed that is very low to the ground. Maybe an old spring poked or scratched her?

I wish my little girl could talk to me.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

She Meandered Through Her Thoughts and Her Day

A man is outside my office window (three floors down, thankfully), spraying herbicides. He is wrapped in protective gear, breathing through a respirator. It is freaking me right the hell out. So, on this beautiful spring day (FINALLY), I am closing my window and feeling twitchy.


Buster and Belle have been kind of pissy with each other lately. Belle isn’t letting Buster eat his food, and they are getting into little tiffs at least once a day. What the hell? I am hoping more regular walks will cheer all of us up. I know they cheer me up!


I really love going for walks; it has been one of my favorite indulgences ever since I was a little kid. I even considered writing The Thesis around the experience of pedestrians, and still wonder if I shouldn’t have moved forward with that topic instead of the topic I am messing around with now. I’ll write more on this later.


Although, the experience of pedestrians is playing a large role in The Thesis as it is. Again, I’ll post more on that later. (You can’t wait, can you?)


The number of households receiving food stamps in the state has increased dramatically since last month. I find myself so thankful that the rise in food prices didn’t start in earnest until after February and March when so many low-income folks are struggling to pay for heat in this part of the country. By March, monetary reserves for heat are usually depleted, and it is a difficult, lonely, and cold month for many families around here.


The combination of A. in grad school and my small salary working for a very unglamorous (but very gratifying!) non-profit has meant that my own household has teetered on the very edge of a low-income existence. It is startling, and on many days, depressing. March was a difficult month for us, too.


My two best friends are doing well financially, which is great. They work hard and deserve it. However, I feel like we are starting to drift and I really think it is largely because I can’t afford to fly back East. It breaks my heart. I am falling out of touch with these people that truly make up my world. I’ve been struggling mightily with that a lot lately. It would help enormously if I had the patience to talk on the phone.


I sprouted some wheat a couple of weeks ago and added it to my homemade bread. It made the loaf so moist and yummy. A. still makes comments about it. Woo hoo!


I get all gooey and teary-eyed thinking about The Delightful Little (Nephew) M. I wonder if he is starting to coo a little bit? Oh, cooing! I sense another road trip coming up…


Um, Rockies bullpen? Starters? What the hell?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Children of the Corn

I know I've missed the boat by a long shot, but I am finally digging into The Omnivore's Dilemma.

Sweet Jesus. So far, this volume is thrilling -- and horrifying. One moment I am hollering at the radio*, "I know! I know!" and then the next I am biting my nails, curled up in a ball in the far corner of the couch.

Corn. Corn will fill my nightmares tonight.

How many of you have read this book already? What did you think?


*Every single copy of this book from the university library, the libraries participating in the inter-library loan program, and the county public library are on loan for the next couple of months. I finally came across the book on CD at the county public library and snatched it up. I am puttering around dusting, listening to the first chapter.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Friday Five

1. The homemade chicken noodle soup turned out yummy. I've never made chicken noodle soup from scratch before. SO REWARDING. (Also, so inexpensive. Using the remaining parts of that whole chicken, some carrots, celery and onion and spices, the entire pot of soup came in well under five bucks; probably closer to $3.00)

I am excited to keep trying new things with it until I have a "signature soup" that can cure all the nieces' and nephews' colds.

2. I did not misplace that apostrophe up there. A.'s sister is having a girl! There will be TWO nieces as of sometime mid-August. Woo hoo!

3. I am seriously hitting burnout at work. It feels like the terminal kind, not the kind that can be cured by a vacation.

4. Fridays have become my worst days at work. I am on week nine of 16 of producing 16 small films. This is 16 films in 16 weeks, people. This schedule is fucking killing me. As well as all of my other deadlines. Thankfully, I do have a lot of support from my co-workers and they help with what they can, and the director of the films is absolutely awesome to work with.

5. A. insists that Neosporin stings. It does not sting. I don't know where he came up with this. Do you think it stings? I have major, scary stories that have involved copious amounts of Neosporin, and none of them involve scary, stinging Neosporin.

Bummer Bonus: I have shin splints for the first time in my life. They suck. They hurt. They are keeping me from running. I was finally starting to make some real progress in my running, and now I am being slowed way down by stupid shin splints. Yesterday I couldn't run AT ALL. I am trying to take a freakin' clue from my body and take some time off, but I am so frustrated. I nearly cried last night, coming home from the gym. I felt so unproductive and doomed to a body that was changing out of my control.

I am off to pop a couple of Advil and apply a heating pad to my legs for a bit before bed. Bah.

Happy Friday to you! I am eagerily anticipating a Limoncello Martini promptly at 5:15 p.m., myself. Maybe two.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Drumstick, Wing or a Thigh?

You will never, NEVER, NEVER! guess what I did tonight.

Try anyway.



I cut up a whole chicken.

I KNOW! I can't believe I got over my Meat Squimishness either. But, the whole chicken cost $3.58 and the chicken breasts were over $7, so I thought I'd give it a try. I had to do something to make up for the fucking $5 bag of flour!


I surprised myself. Not only did I cut up the chicken without gagging, puking, whimpering or crying, I even enjoyed it a little. I liked feeling that little body and exploring the joints and muscles with my hands. It was exciting to see just how the hell this thing was put together, how the joints moved. I felt a tiny thrill upon seeing where the curve of the muscle hinted at where to start the cut, where to guide the knife through the joints. I felt connected.

When I started, it looked like a chicken. It looked like an animal. It wasn't a pale mystery blob that I didn't understand. It still had enough definition that I could almost imagine what it looked like with its feathers. And neck and head. I could imagine the legs and wings moving, using those joints.

Instead of feeling sad as I expected, I felt grateful. And determined not to waste any of this little body that had been offered to me.

I felt with even more urgency than normal that human and animal well being are connected. The only thing that made me sad was knowing that most likely those movements I imagined didn't happen as this little guy was probably in a small, small cage for his short life.

Again, I was surprised by my reaction.


The temperature was over 55 degrees today! Only a couple stubborn remnants of last week's drifts remain and most of the road is dry. The wind today -- and, oh, there was wind -- was warm, not cold. Such a different sensation. Such a welcome sensation.

So, to celebrate, A. grilled up the breasts (or what once was a breast but was more like a pile of mutilated, shapeless meat), thighs, wings and drumsticks. All the pieces but the breasts came out looking quite like how they began. I just really struggled figuring out what to do when it came time to deal with the breasts and back. Cut where? Bend what until it cracks? Give me some joints, those I can deal with. Apparently!

I saved the rest of the chicken to make homemade chicken noodle soup tomorrow night. It will be the perfect meal for the cold, snowy night in the forecast.



My great-grandma -- even my grandma -- would be so proud that I took my own hands to our food. My great-grandma could cut up a chicken in a couple of minutes, flat. My grandma, too. I wish my great-grandma was still around so I could write her a letter about it. My longing for her company never seems to lessen.


One step further removed from processed food. I think I am hooked. I am so pleased.

Also, I met a fear head on. That is always kind of awesome, regardless of how small or how silly the fear.


So, what is your favorite piece? Drumstick, wing or thigh? I guess I am for the whole chicken.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Season of Funk

As we turned out the lights and turned in to bed Wednesday night, A. and I both thought the current snow storm would yield a couple of inches of wet, spring snow that would surely melt the next day.

We woke up to seven inches of wet, heavy snow. And it was still snowing.

A. went around to the birdhouses and bird feeders and gently cleared the snow off them. Please, please, little feathered friends, don't abandon us. Have faith; spring is near. Really, it is.

It snowed, heavily and faithfully throughout Thursday and for part of Friday. At first, it was exciting. Why? Because - on Wednesday night THERE WAS NO WIND. The snow fell down, rather that whipping at the earth at an angle more horizontal than vertical, feeling more like sand on exposed skin than fluffy winter wonderland.. It was novel, to see snow so prettily piled up, rather than drifted in.

The wind picked up on Thursday afternoon.

It is Saturday afternoon and I have been drifted into my house for two days now. (My little Civic can't handle the nearly two-foot drifts. Bah. Stupid fuel-efficient car!) I can hear the wind howling and groaning outside. Instead of feeling cozy and safe inside, I feel gray and cold and sad.

I feel so defeated, so tired.

The other night Buster was high centered in a snowdrift in the backyard. This weather is approaching the ridicuous.

Early this morning, A. had to travel to a town 45 miles from here for class. He didn't have to make the trek for yesterday's session due to road closures. He just called to say he was heading back home. I looked up the road report and warned him of the high winds, blowing snow, and icy spots on the interstate. The pass through the mountain looks scary. Menacing. Like a big bully.

I am sick of the constant, throbbing dread that comes with winter travel.

I need A. to brush the snow off my windowsills, and remind me to have faith. Spring is just around the corner, or maybe through the mountain pass.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Don't Tell Me You Don't Believe

A couple of weeks ago, at 5:15 a.m.:

[alarm radio clicks on]

Alarm Radio: "...and then there was this light, it followed me through the house, th-- through my kitchen, into my bedroom and kind of swooshed through the window behind my head...they seemed to know everywhere I was...the lights never faded..."

Me [mumbling, grumpily into my pillow]: What the hell is that woman talking about?

A. [up and about, chipper as shit]: When the aliens finally found her.

Me: [Consider what it must be like to be abducted. Consider this seriously. To the point of making myself freak out a little.]

[Imagine further what alien abduction might entail. Graphically.]

[Am fully awake, now.]

Alarm Radio: " is imperative that people be warned of what is happening. Everyone needs to know what signs to look for..."


Me [rolling over, finally coming up for air from my comfy, comfy pillow]: What the hell station did you tune the radio to?

A. [walking out the bedroom door]: I didn't. It tuned itself.