Saturday, September 25, 2010

uncanny, no?

remember scary stories to tell in the dark? the "cat's paw" story didn't freak me out, but the illustration did.

my gram, the ex-witch.

speaking of crystals, i wish i could find this set of photos i took at my grandmother's house while "cat-sitting" last year.

in the 70s, 80s and 90s, my grandmother and my great-grandmother were very exploratory. they attended workshops, meetings and lectures about anything and everything, so long as it was different from the roman catholicism they had known as children. metaphysics, spirit guides, nutritionists, psychics, edgar cayce, dr. bob martin, whatever. they never became devotees of anything in particular, other than to nutrition, but rather embraced random elements of the movements of beliefs they had investigated.

my great-grandmother remained the most traditional, preferring to adorn her house with photos of jesus and to recite the lord's prayer before bed each night. but she also kept little charms hidden around the house, most of which i didn't know what for. i would flip through the strange books on her shelves, little leather volumes with gold embossed symbols on the covers. some of them i still have. i always kept them under my mattress. she gave me a copy of the prophet when i was a teen, and after it became evident that i wasn't going to read it, she said, "fine, then put it under your mattress. it'll help you whether you want it to or not." she taught me little chants to say when i was upset or confused and in need of some fortification...from the universe. she bought drinking water from the grocery store, but kept it at room temperature in big glass bottles, each with a crystal inside, to purify it.

my grandmother, on the other hand, dove in. when i was growing up, her house was packed with strange things. photos of spiritual leaders, crystals, triangles. for years, a triangle made of thin brass tubing with a rose quartz stone embedded in the top hung over her bed. she had little metal cards in various colors placed around the house, each color meant to heal something. her refrigerator was full of flax meal, bags of wheat germ, vitamins and supplements, and cactus juice. she made her own dresses and leather belts. any time i tried to describe her at this time, i just said she dressed like stevie nicks. stevie nicks at 65 with a penchant for purple. stone rings and wire-wrapped crystal pendants, etc.

oddly, as soon as she retired, much of this went away. she became political. she stopped wearing flowing purple dresses and started wearing jeans. she started going to rallies and weekly meetings held by various liberal organizations. she even started participating in the mothers against war group, the ones who would stand on the street, immobile and silent, wearing black veils. the gurus and strange recordings went away, but the crystals are still around. except now, they're not displayed prominently on polished tables - they're shoved to the side or set on the floor beside the table, which is now covered with newspapers, take-out menus and tv guides.

i sort of resented her kookery when i was a kid because between she and my great-grandmother, i was tired of being bossed around about whether i was putting enough positive energy into the universe, or eating enough almonds. every week, my great-grandmother (grammy) would call me with something new she heard on dr. bob's radio show that i wasn't supposed to eat. i'd look around at my school friends and their dumbly normal families, gorging on fast food or midwestern comfort foods 3x a day, and then i'd look at my little single-mom-family-dinner, which was all steamed vegetables and no soda allowed, and i would be pissed. why can't we have pizza! etc.

now i'm glad, of course. but i sort of wish my grandmother would be weird again.

incidentally and allegedly, my grandma took my mom to a psychic when she was about 20. the psychic told her she would be married with children as she desired, and described her husband and future child. i don't remember how detailed she got, but she said dark-haired and dark-eyed, which is true. my mother is fair with blue eyes. OMG PSYCHIC! more specifically, when my mother went into labor, my grandmother said she'd be done at 3:30 that afternoon and that i would be ~an olde soule~. the 3:30 part was right. PSYCHIC GRANDMOTHER. i think that was the first and last time she predicted anything, however. my other grandmother, not my grammy but my dad's mother, my beloved and terribly normal catholic old grandma alyce, told me that story. when i asked my stevie nicks grandma for confirmation, she didn't seem to want to discuss it. that was 5 metaphysical phases ago, i guess. she doesn't want to talk about hocus pocus bullshit anymore when there's a war and a recession goin' on. and i guess i can dig that. we are no longer living the clintonian fantasy life in which one can spend all their money on crystals and sage and feel all right about it.

books about spiritual self-help, primarily.

these are lying around everywhere.

bloody, bloody crystal


Thursday, September 23, 2010

dig it

yeah yeah they're out of season.

fall 2010.

Monday, September 20, 2010

equinox + harvest moon

neil young, balance, and other shit.

well it's a good time of year for a lot of reasons and i am loving every minute of it. the desert is still smoldering but it's mostly over. harvest moon + autumnal equinox within hours of each other.

my house is so quiet and peaceful. there are plants and animals all over the place and little crystals stuck inside the leaves of dusty metal flowers. i keep losing things but shit, i don't know. nothing major.

cannot be bothered, just cannot be bothered. and it's so good. little fishing lines keep getting cast over me by the most surprising array of people, but they disintegrate like dry spiderwebs once i notice them. no, no, the word of this month is "no."

it's not apathy. i'm just tired of the commonness of totally ungilded interaction and i am happy at home, i am happy in the center, being who i am and doing what i do. it's been a long time since someone has fucked with that! and i can't be bothered with people who don't devastate my interior being and wreck it all. i guess i need a lot, BUT

the caveat is, i could take it or leave it, because the whole wrecking my entire life thing is pretty painful anyway and takes forever to clean up and re-lay all those tiles and such. i think this is the process of becoming jaded. pretty ok with that. it seems age-appropriate?


Thursday, September 16, 2010

is it sad or just reasonable that i keep saying that enduring shitty, shitty things almost seems worth it when things normalize and i am


today was highly awful for multiple reasons. it is not a good day when the best part is telling the troll residing within a small stucco hut in the worst part of town to go fuck himself and bring your fucking motherfucking goddamn car around LIKE NOW GUY.

someone was towed last night.

anyway, the only thing that can penetrate my currently very low quality of life is of course my favorite guy, the urbane, world-weary, snarky DC.

there he is!

so in his latest column he is discussing a particular talking point of some geologist he heard speak. the guy is detailing the "human family" and things like how we are all descendants of one eve (to put it jesusly, which gives me pain) in africa, and how everyone is related to everyone else and our dna is pretty identical in spite of physical varieties, etc. i think dick took something else from it, but the guy goes on to flesh out a lesser-pondered fact, which is that the chain of ancestors leading to we fools is...amazing. all of the flukes, accidents, coincidences, and moments that led to the particular individuals who bred over the millenia all have conspired to really this sort of sounds like some kind of chicken soup for the soul bullshit in which we enhance the normalcy of a situation to make it fun and charming, but really. so much HAPPENSTANCE has occurred to bring us to this very moment. childhood deaths, fights with strangers, moments in public places, all of these things have brought strangers together who later conspired to become someone's ancestors, creating a long, unbroken chain ending with you. one false move and you would never have existed, your life would never have happened. comfort or threat, it's still very thought-provoking to me. there is no way to incubate those possibilities in a lab, to control them, either. neat.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


i thought about burns today because i read some passage in which TH denounced silent readers (and writers) as utilizing 1/3 of their resources on the effort, neglecting speech and hearing. and so i remembered the old man who taught a class on the romantics and the outrageous, perfect, blustering way he shouted out certain poems by burns, but this one was more of a quiet shout. all caps, small font.

(to a mouse, by robert burns)

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty
Wi bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murdering pattle.

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth born companion
An' fellow mortal!

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
'S a sma' request;
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
An' never miss't.

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's win's ensuin,
Baith snell an' keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,
An' weary winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell.

That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou's turned out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld.

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

Still thou are blest, compared wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!

to me, this is all sadness and warmth and sweetness and chill.

scots english is no picnic but it must be endured a few times until you feel all right about it and then begin to love it and want to cry about panicked breasties and self-reproaching e'es. translating just kills it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

like oh my god.

so, this class. i was sort of content to just halfass it as i do most of my education until i was called out by the kind of instructor who signs her emails (after week three) with "love you and want you to do well." OH FINE. i had to create a research plan outlining my attack methods regarding discovering the truth about a chosen dead ancestor who both proves researchable, yet a challenge.

any maternal ancestor is a challenge. much less detail in the census records, often missing maiden surnames, etc. i chose my great-grandmother. i never knew her. she did many things that were likely to leave a paper trail, but also was born in the nether-period when many american states were barely coming around to the idea of keeping vital records on file uniformly. after receiving a mild sassing from my instructor about using nothing but the free parts of, i began to actually research. county offices, little town libraries, state records.

well my grand plans of going to bed early in order to be less irritable and to stop resembling lydia deetz are fucked because i just checked out the federal bureau of land management and found two land patents registered in 1906 in south dakota to a pair of sisters...


confirming (in outline) my grandmother's delightful old yarn about her 24 year old mother and aunt participating in a land rush (have you seen "far and away"?) by themselves on the wooly wilds of unoccupied south dakota. what! snakes, indians, strange men! now i am pounding my forehead trying to remember details of stories told to me in grade school about how the girls had to camp out alone on the claim until their brothers/father could get supplies enough out there to build the meager shanty that predated the still-meager but not quite woodshed-looking later family home. stories like two potato sacks filled with corn cobs for mattresses, and bedding down for the night only to find snakes in the mattresses.

my fierce affection for my grandmother bleeds onto my impressions of this woman, for in photos i feel i can see where and how my grandmother's personality took root. photos of her mother look like her. they dressed alike (ok, frumpy). she did things like keep plants and put up excessive holiday decor like my grandmother did, except i can see these in photos scrawled on the back with "christmas 1910." i feel that i can just tell that they were just like each other. that makes her very interesting to me. though she was not a mythological creature, she is to me, which makes the discovery of factual foundations to the oral history HIGHLY EXCITING.

a poor-quality photo of a photo, my grandmother with her mother.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

it's hard being a giant baby bitch. i am able to deal semi-gracefully with many terrible things, yet minor inconveniences are 100% unacceptable to me. i have no patience for anything and this fucking weekend is going to really test my new resolution for

Fewer Tantrums in '10!

anyway, i appear to be stressed out. maybe it's school. who cares! all i know is it's manifesting in things like really strange dreams and a.d.d.-like behaviors. last week i dreamt (apparently; i felt convinced that it really happened, but, you know) that i inexplicably called out from my bed from a dead sleep in the middle of the night, which received a reply of, "what!" from the area of my kitchen. uh. it was a male voice, and just before "he" spoke, my cat darted away into the darkness in a panic. it was very scary at the time as i instantly assumed the source of the voice was some sort of evil spirit/demon/jilted former lover combination. a whole lot of things i don't want in my house.

other than that, i've been doing a lot of: trancelike staring, thinking aloud without realizing it, and generally blowing it.

very apathetic this week. that's why, in spite of the various issues of the day, i am interested only in thinking about shit like sacred trees atop ancient burial mounds, the lunar calendar, still bemoaning the sad and mysterious death of peter steele, and watching old videos like this that, again, make me wish it was still the 90s and that i was still 15 and irresponsible, dressing like a cartoon witch and not giving a shit.