Facing the job market and my options inside that market has been a daunting task in the past few weeks. I’m being pulled in several different directions and options and how I can combine options to support myself and Nate. Realistically, I’m stuck between what I want to do versus what I have to do to survive. Even doing what I have to do to survive is putting me in a dangerous predicament for the coming year.
Luckily, I have a college education which may assist me in upping the ante, but even that will probably have little impact on the pay scale. That’s the reality of living here. Most jobs in my field pay $10,000 less than what I make now. I’m applying for a position with the State Medical Examiner’s Office and I have a lead on a contract position for another attorney while his assistant is out with breast cancer.
That’s exactly what its going to boil down to. Two jobs. My bosses and I are exploring several options as well regarding unemployment supplementation, I’ve thought of buying a transcribing machine so I can do tapes at home and pick up work that way as well. Then there’s my writing, which could break through at any moment and further supplement my income.
The internal conflict at moving away from being a paralegal truly sucks. I’m pretty certain I could wiggle in to a big firm with closer pay to what I’m making now. The problem with that is, I would rather work for the Medical Examiner’s office. I’m in constant pain from my jaw. I’m tired of greedy, grouchy, idiot clients, which far outweigh the intelligent, fair-minded ones. I’m tired of sitting in my office doing the same thing, day after day. I’m sure at some point I may become equally tired of investigating deaths for the ME’s office and I’m realistic about what I’m going to see there.
Just to give myself a jolt of reality there, I did something I swore I would never do. I looked at the autopsy photographs released of Jon Benet Ramsey. Folks, I could tell from the photographs that whoever did that to her, hated her with an intense passion. It made me sad and angry and it turned my stomach, which means, I’m still human in here somewhere.
I may not end up at the ME’s office. Right now, I don’t know where I’m going to end up. Wherever it is, I don’t foresee getting a lot of sleep in the new year.
Hey ya’ll! Its Inanna. First, I want to thank Kristin for taking the helm and steering us through the murky waters of the next to last familial holiday of the year. Hope you all enjoyed your turkey or tofurkey or whatever it was you had, your family didn’t reenact their favorite scene from Jerry Springer, and your great uncle Milt didn’t fart at the table.
Deer hunting wasn’t that great this year due to the fact I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with an elephant gun. Maybe my heart just wasn’t in it this year for a few reasons.
Anyway, last night I was awaken about 12:45 by my jaw. I have TMJ disorder, where the little joint in my jaw decides its going to get out of whack, probably from grinding my teeth, and gets all the muscles in my cheek irritated which then bunches up the nerves inside the muscle which causes considerable pain. Since the nerves are involved, it can be bad enough that I wake up with my legs jerking and flinching.
My father, kind as he is, gave me some medication (on Saturday) that he takes for his TMJ, swearing it would not make me drowsy. Forty minutes later I’m face down on the dinner table with a hot rice pack on my jaw, drooling. Non-drowsy my ass. I could still feel some pain, I just didn’t care. After four hours of dozing and another hot rice pack, I was able to drive my carcass home and collapse into my own bed.
I could still feel the effects of it all day yesterday, so I had a pretty good day. I felt more relaxed and generally just felt a few twinges before I went to bed. That went to hell in a handbag at 12:45. I know no other way to describe the pain other than a constant contraction in my face. That’s right, a labor contraction, never ending. It makes me want to rip my jaw off of my face. If the nerves weren’t going crazy in that area I would cry, but I’m too busy being angry about the pain and flinching and running my hands through my hair and generally being miserable.
I have devised a system which, as far as home remedies goes, cures just about anything, except the common cold. Hell, it might cure that too. Haven’t had the opportunity to try it out. Of course, it has to vary based on the ailment but here is my proven home remedy for TMJ pain.
Take four ibuprofen.
Take a hot shower and allow water to pound on face until all the hot water is gone. Massage offending area while in hot water.
Once out of the shower, massage face with extra strength pain relief cream. Do not get in eye. Eye will water anyway from fumes. It will stop.
Do not use the same hand you used to apply the extra strength pain relief cream or this will not work. If someone else is helping you, wash your hands.
I am of the opinion that orgasm can cure ½ of all everyday aches, pains, and ailments. It is a natural antihistamine, natural anti-depressant, natural pain reliever, natural muscle relaxer. Used in conjunction with other therapies, it heightens their effect, at least in my experience.
Headache? Drink a glass or two of water, take a few OTC pain pills of your choice, chase with coffee, orgasm. Ta da! No, headache.
Granted we all can’t stop that meeting we’re in to go rub one out but I did say it was a home remedy. Happy Monday!
Sorry about going MIA on ya’ll. That certainly wasn’t my intention. I kinda Martha Stewart-ed myself, again. That’s my version of screwing myself. Ya know, every Thanksgiving it’s something. Every. Damn. Year. This year it was 3 somethings. I’ve created a phrase to only be used on Thanksgiving, “Oh well, that’s just how we roll.” I guess that’s our version of shit happens.
I volunteered to cook the majority of Thanksgiving dinner this year. With only 5 to cook for, what could go wrong? No Stove Top and cranberry sauce out of a can, no siree, I was going to cook up a feast! Here’s where the screwing myself part comes in.
I spent a week online looking up the yummiest recipes. Everything homemade, from scratch, down to the cornbread for the dressing. I make the grocery list from hell, checked it twice, fought the crowds at the grocery store, plotted and planned what a wonderful dinner I’d create. It was really great in theory or in my delusional brain, take your pick.
Everyone hates baked turkey in the family so my mother in law suggested we get a smoked one. Yipee! A 7lb bird should feed 5 with plenty of leftovers. Ummm, smoked turkey samiches the rest of the weekend! Turkey, check. She also volunteered the dessert grub. Pumpkin and pecan pies, check. Alright, that leaves me with the cornbread stuffing, cranberry relish, gravy, twice baked sweet potatoes, yeast rolls and fancy green beans. Noooooooo problemo. Check, check, check and check. I cooked for 3 days. 3! Small South American countries have been taken over in less time!
The sister in law et. al. wouldn’t be joining us they were going to spend time with her husband’s family. At the last minute she called to say their plans had changed and they were indeed going to be joining us! Joy! Add 4 additional people, 2 of which are perpetually hungry and growing teenage boys! Did I mention she called on THURSDAY MORNING to tell us she would be coming?
With 4 additional people we ended up serving some Stove Top, along with plain mashed potatoes, corn out of a CAN and jellied canberry sauce, again, with that nasty stuff out of the can. Curses! Left over turkey? Bah! The bones were picked clean. Thank God the Sister in law brought some green bean bake! I really planned on 5 people. I learned my lesson. Next year, don’t believe they’re not coming.
I was so tired Wednesday night I fell straight into bed and fell asleep with my brand new glasses on. Did I mention they were brand new and less than a week old? Yeah, they were. They no longer have ear pieces. Both sides, broken. Have you ever been to an optometrist the day after Thanksgiving? That’s where the people aren’t!
Now if ya’ll have never been to south Texas let me explain the weather. Some Thanksgivings it’s 80 degrees, some it’s 18, it’s a crap shoot really. This year we drew the 80 degree card. We actually had dinner at my brother in laws house. He lives an hour south of here. After finishing up the final preparations, we packed the car up and headed south, dogs in tow, of course. About half way there the car A/C wasn’t feeling cold, then it wasn’t even feeling cool. Actually, it wasn’t cool at all, it was warm as hell. Honestly, it was cooler with the windows down. That’s right the A/C in my car went out! Have you ever been to a dealership the day after Thanksgiving? The people aren’t there either.
When we got to the brother in laws house he was wondering what took us so long and could we please hurry up so he can eat and leave for the hunting lease. I about shoved a yeast roll up his ass, no butter included. I looked at the Husband and he said, “That’s just how we roll.” He only understands.
It wasn’t a good day. I did get some peace and quiet in the deer blind. I think I fell asleep before dusk. I hate Thanksgiving, it’s a pain in the ass. Every year I work too hard and it’s gobbled up in 3.5 seconds and forgotten. Everyone has something else they want or need to be doing that day. Why do I bother? I can’t remember the last time I actually ate Thanksgiving with my folks. Not that I want to, but I’m just saying….Next year, I’m boycotting Thanksgiving. Someone send me an email reminder next year, ok?
If you’re a man stick your fingers in your ears and sing, “La, la, la, I’m not listening.” (Thanks Brighton, I stole your line!) This is a post for the readers of the female species.
People Magazine, after years of passing up my one true Hollywood crush, has finally seen the error of it’s ways and chosen Matthew McConaughey as their sexiest man alive! Sweet Jesus, my prayers have been answered!! When it was announced, yes I did a little happy dance, shut up, I’m in love with the man, ok?
I could care less that he’s never been a huge Hollywood A-list star or that he has a penchant for nudity, bongos and mary jane or he actually owns an Airstream travel trailer. Just LOOK at the man! Does he not exude sex appeal? The answer is yes, so don’t try and convince me otherwise. Add that he’s a UT grad, what’s not to love, right?
One day I was watching a run down of the college football scores and he came on to discuss UT football. I promptly quit folding the laundry and went over and kissed the tv. Yes, I used tongue. Shut up. I sat there transfixed and just listed to him talk about football with his west Texas accent. The world stopped for a moment that day.
The world stopped again when I actually had the pleasure of meeting the man in person. I was with a girlfriend in Austin at Hoover’s. Hoover’s is an Austin eatery icon. It’s good down home cookin’ ya’ll and shouldn’t be missed if you’re ever in the area. We’d gone in for a bite to eat and got more than we bargained for.
I’m halfway into my plate of ribs, and in walks the divine Mr. M. I about choke on my sauce. I instantly feel myself get all nervous and I feel my face flush. He sits there casual and chats with a male friend. I can’t quit staring! Ok, and drooling. Shut up.
He gets his food and we watch him eat and talk and eat. We’re done and need to leave but we can’t decide if we should go over and say hi. Screw it! It’s a once in a life time chance. We walk over casually and say hi and tell him we’re big fans. Duh, like he’s never heard that before.
He wipes his hands on a napkin, smiles, shakes our hand and says thank you. God, those million dollar dimples made me melt! Not wanting to push out luck we don’t stick around for small talk or ask for an autograph. I kick myself now. We excuse ourselves and practically run out the door. Once outside we SCREAM with delight. I’m sure everyone inside heard us.
That’s my one and only brush with Hollywood greatness. Congratulations Matthew, People finally picked a winner!
Hola folks! This is my first gig over at the Nanner’s joint. For those that don’t know me, let me introduce myself. I’m Kristin, the sit in blogger for hire. I hang out over at Brighton’s and blog for her when she’s busy and Inanna asked me if I would sit in for her, I accepted without hesitation! Maybe I’ll post more about myself as the week goes on. Normally, when I guest blog I have a plan in place, this time, not so much. It’s going to be a fly by the seat of my pants kinda week.
This guest blogging thing is a mutually beneficial relationship. I get blogging out of my system a few times a year and I keep the blog warm and readers entertained and the blog owner gets to take a break now and again. It works out nice. If you need a hiatus, consider a guest coming in and taking over. Now, on with the show……..
Well my friends the time has come to do some shopping for your wife, girlfriend, fiance, significant other, women of your off spring, shack up or fuck buddy. Ahhhhh, tis the season. So, since I’m feeling holly and jolly and full of Christmas spirit, I thought I would post a little PSA to help Inanna’s male readers out with their holiday shopping.
On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, one Craftsman shop vac and no partridge in a pear tree. Oh yes, I’ve been the victim of the Craftsman Christmas gift. We were married 2 weeks and I received a shop vac as my first Christmas gift. Now don’t get me wrong it’s useful but it says, “Bitch, I’m tired of vacuuming out your car, do it yourself.” So men, if it says Craftsman, Makita, Dremel, Stihl or Stanley anywhere on the item or packaging, pass it up. You’ll thank me later. I still remind the Husband of his Craftsman faux pas and it’s 11 years later. We don’t forget things like this.
Next rule, don’t buy her something from Howie’s House Of Whoopie. Well, unless she went with you and uttered the words, “Honey, I really, really, want a new dildo in my stocking for Christmas.” No exceptions people. We don’t want or need that harness above the bed. Leather does not say I love you, thank you for putting up with my shit this last year. More points are deducted if you pick up a DVD for yourself. Shame on you, you are buying for HER! Kinky is tricky, know your limits.
Now unless your chick is a high tech kinda gal pass up the techo crap. No TVs, no digital cameras, no IPod, computers, software or gadgets there of, no complicated whosey whatsits. Keep on moving, unless you intend on spending all Christmas day sitting on the couch, owner’s manual in hand, trying to explain the details of why this gadget is so cool, thus missing any and all football games. Don’t do that to yourself. Football is far more important.
Stuffed anything is wrong. We’re not 9. Do not shower us with stuffed animals or cute stuffed house slippers in the shape of Sponge Bob. The only exception to this rule is if the stuffed bear is holding a HUGE, honkin’ diamond no less than 2 carets in weight. Thus, we totally forget about the dumb bear and focus totally on the head light.
Slinky stuff. Ohhhhhhh, where do I begin? Listen we know you love Victoria’s Secret we watch you sleep with the catalog and we’ve witnessed you lick and hump their store window in the mall but honestly, slinky doesn’t do it for us. First, we buy it for YOU. We don’t buy it because it’s actually comfy or functional. There’s a reason we hang onto that hole laden t-shirt or flannel night gown that no long has arm pits. Two words, it’s comfortable. If you buy us slinky, we’ll feel obligated to wear it. We’ll slip our hail dented ass into your shimmery, slinky little number, feel totally humiliated and watch as you ogle us. We know you’ve mentally cut and pasted Heidi Klum’s face over ours so let’s just save us both the humiliation, ok? If you want to impress her buy her something from Karen Neuberger. She will love you and you just might get lucky.
My friend Denise routinely gets appliance for Christmas. She’s the rare exception. She like functional gifts. Most women, not so much. Last Christmas she got a microwave, the year before, a hot water heater, the year before that, a new dishwasher. This year she’s getting new brake shoes for her car. Let me reiterate, she is RARE. If you give your woman a hand mixer, be prepared to bend over so she can shove it up your ass and turn it on high. So please, for the love of GOD, proceed to plan B if you have an appliance, small, large, hand held or otherwise on your list of goodies. The only exception would be if your washing machine died and you are now having to go out to the creek out back and beat your underoos on a rock, OR she’s asked for one, showed you where to buy it and has written the model and price down on a piece of paper and stuck it in your wallet.
I asked for a Kitchen Aid stand mixer this year. Yes, he’s got the make, model, price and where to buy it tucked into his wallet. He asked me the other day, “So, if I get you this you won’t tell your girlfriends that you got an appliance and make fun of me for the next 11 years, right?” 10-4 good buddy, scouts honor. Mama needs a stand mixer.
Love is not expressed by anything upholstered, unless it’s from Pottery Barn and the make, model and price are again, tucked into your wallet. Yes, I’m eyeing a new sofa.
Here’s why clothes are a baaaaaad idea. Different designers have different sizes. She may be a size 6 in Liz Claiborne but a 16 in Ann Taylor. It’s a tricky situation and unless you want her to scream “You think I’m this size?!?!” on Christmas morning, thus shattering the holiday mood, I say keep on truckin’. You’re better off snooping in her closet and checking out her favorite labels then going to the appropriate store for a gift certificate. Trust me on this one, it’s a slippery road you don’t want to venture down. Unless you prefer sleeping on the couch, for the next six months OR answering that age old question, “Does this make me look fat?” for the next year.
Ok, unless she works at the local animal shelter and has a fondness for any and all pets, fluffy, slithery, scaly or otherwise, you might think twice about a pet gift. (By the way this applies to the kiddos too) First, she’s going to be the one that feeds, waters, walks and house trains the new critter. We hate gifts that are THAT much work. You want to avoid coming home from work a few days after Christmas to her standing over said pet screaming, “Where is your father? I’m not picking up any more dog poop!” Not that I speak from experience. *cough*
Screw giving the gift of health. A gym membership or a trip to the fat farm are a HUGE no no. “Here, honey, I got you a gym membership, now waddle your lard ass down there and get your money’s worth”. Careful, they have very hot, buff, ripped male trainers. She might just thank you with divorce papers one day after Steroid Steve whips her into shape.
You’ve read the no nos lets talk about what she would like. I mentioned Karen Neuberger. Her pjs are the best. Don’t question it, they just are.
Anything with the words, 100% cashmere, pashmina or silk are welcomed gifts too. You can’t go wrong with a nice scarf or gloves, well, unless you live in Hawaii. Fur is always good, if you’re a fur kinda family. If not there are so phenomenal knocks offs out there.
If she has a hobby, I highly suggest getting her something pertaining to that. She probably doesn’t have a lot of time to enjoy it so a hobby gift says, “Take some time for yourself and enjoy something you like for a change. I can feed myself at least one night without you.”
Likewise, a gift certificate to pamper herself at the local spa will win you huge bonus points. Just put out of your mind that some hunky Norwegian named Sven might be running his oily hands over your love’s naked body.
Let me also suggest season passes to your local play house or theatre. I love live theatre. Ok, quit groaning. C’mon it’s just like a movie but live and with a lot of singing. I’ve hinted for years that I would love to go see the Nutcracker. The Husband has yet to get the hint. I think he’s afraid he might like ballet and be forced to keep his secret from his tobacco chewing, deer hunting, beer guzzling buddies. I intend to be less subtle this year.
You might take a trip down to your travel agent and look at the specials on out of the way, exotic locals. Winter is a great time for cheap air and hotel deals. She needs to get away too sometimes, and when I say away, I don’t mean to the grocery store to pick you up another six pack and some Cheetos.
A nice watch or 14K gold ear rings are good choices. No guessing on the size and they are generic enough that you can’t screw it up. Think Tiffanys. No that’s not a strip club, it’s a beautiful jewelry store, if you don’t believe me, Google it. I would wet my pants if I had one of those beautiful blue boxes in my stocking.
Now before you say, “Geeze Kristin, you’re a picky bitch!” I say yes, yes I am. Here’s why. I spend a lot of time on my gift choices. I don’t buy the first thing that catches my eye, slap a bow on it and call it done. I like my gifts to say something about me, you and our relationship. I would like the same in return, I don’t think it’s too much to ask. Remember, your woman is buying for tons of people. You have one maybe two to shop for, don’t be a selfish bastard.
Remember this rule of thumb guys. If you pick it up and think this looks like something honey would like ask yourself, “Is this something that says thank you for washing, folding and putting way 364 days worth of underwear?” Stick with me men, I’ll never steer you wrong.
There ya have it folks, my PSA for my male readers. Go forth and shop without worry.
I wanted to share these pictures of Nate from Halloween of 2004, when he went as Frodo.
I’m listening to The Essential Journey (32 All-time classics digitally remastered on 2 CDs). I love Journey. I would totally do Steve Perry. Have you seen him lately? He’s gained some weight, he looks fantastic, not that the tight jeans (of the 80’s) and being a songwriter of some my favorite songs of all time doesn’t help a great deal. I would marry his voice if that were possible. Journey makes me a happy Nanner.
I’ll be checking on you.
while I fall off the face of the Earth. (A post in two Acts)
Things being what they are and what they will be, I must drop out of sight for a few days or rather, a week or so. Regardless, not wanting to leave you clicking and wondering, our dear Kristin has graciously agreed to take over “Anything Goes” for a short period of time.
I’m having a hard time guys and gals. When faced with so much at once I tend to hermit myself under rocks and poke people with my stinger. I just have to get myself quieted and make a plan for the future. Right now my mind is spinning in several different directions and I need some clarity and focus.
You know I’ll be checking you. Afterall, E-Lo’s having a baby and Jack is supposed to be back. I can’t miss that, now can I?
My Son . . . the Future Hostage Negotiator
I have set the law down for young master Nate. With the help of his teacher, she’s letting me know what kind of day Nate had in school utilizing the
Simple, aye. One for attitude and one for work. So, the law goes something like this.
Smiley faces = no restrictions (enough = reward)
Straight faces = 1 hour restrictions FOLLOWING the completion of homework
Frowny faces = losses all privileges for that evening
I know what you’re thinking and I thought of it too, what if he gets a combination of faces? Too bad he thought of it as well.
Our conversation went something like this:
Mom: Nate, I can’t make you like school, I can’t force you to write anything on a piece of paper, but I can make you responsible for your actions.
Nate: MOM! You ARE forcing me to do my work in school!
Mom: No, I can’t force you to do it but I can show you the consequences of not doing what you’re supposed to.
Nate: You ARE forcing me!!
Mom: Nate, I can’t force you to be enthusiastic, I can’t force you to like it, but I will make you responsible for your attitude and actions.
Nate: *sulk* *light bulb!* Well, if I get a straight face and a smiley face, then that would only be a half of an hour of restriction.
Mom: *thinks to self – DAMN BRAT!! How did he get so logical???? Goddamn it!!* Fine Nate, you want to negotiate, huh?
Nate: *Laughs at Mom*
Mom: Fine, fine, you think you can negotiate with Mom, huh? You want to combine the smiley and the straight face to negate your punishment huh? Fine, let’s negotiate, let’s compromise. You have to give me something. Let’s say *Nate’s face is wary* if you get a straight face and a smiley face, the punishment will be reduced by half of an hour, BUT, if you get ONE frowny face, just one, doesn’t matter what the other one is, you get total restriction.
Mom: And no more negotiating. If you attempt to negotiate the time of your shower, your bedtime, or anything else when I tell you to do something, you will be on total restriction.
Mom: You should be a hostage negotiator when you grow up.
Mom: Because they would put you on the phone and in five minutes he would give up out of irritation. That’s a good thing, dude.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
I am a Scorpitarrius, born on the cusp between the signs of Scorpio and Sagittarius. I found a great site on the web that describes the pros and cons of each sign.
Reading the Scorpio sign explanation was quite frightening. Even more so because I saw a lot (lot,lot) of myself there. But more interesting was when I read the Sagittarius explanation and found myself saying, “OHHHHHH…” As a typical Scorpio, it would not dawn on me that even having been born on the cusp that I might actually draw some personality traits from that centaur, Sagittaria.
However, my fine friends, Inanna is more of a Sagittarius than she first thought. One of the problems with being a Scorpittarius is, that damn temper. The Scorpio: Their sensitivity, together with a propensity for extreme likes and dislikes make them easily hurt, quick to detect insult or injury to themselves (often when none is intended) and easily aroused to ferocious anger, and the Sagittarius: The vices to which Sagittarians are prone are anger: they tend to flare up over trifles; They can, however, be impulsively angry and both male and female Sagittarians know how to be outspoken and exactly what expressions will hurt their adversaries most.
This is not good and I can see so much of myself in that.
Worse, is this: Scorpio is the symbol of sex and Scorpios are passionate lovers, the most sensually energetic of all the signs. Not only that, we are incredibly loyal, very loyal, and jealous creatures. However, Sags become restless and have a need to travel and be free. Scorpios are homebodies, water signs with a need for our own permanent space. Sags are movers, shakers, and travelers who are as at home in a hotel room as their bedroom. Scorpios like to hide under rocks and be private, whilst poking anyone who disturbs them with their stinger, impatient and irritated. Sags are attention whores. Scorpios like sex and security. Sags like sex and freedom.
This is indeed the hardest aspects of my personality to reconcile because I am exactly BOTH of these signs in this regard.
The teacher in me is the Sag, the writer in me is the Scorpio. Angi once called me mysterious. Angi, its all part of the Scorpio: In their everyday behavior they give the appearance of being withdrawn from the center of activity, yet those who know them will recognize the watchfulness that is part of their character.
The best balance in myself between the signs is the strong familial pull of the Scorpio (especially towards its water sign sibling – Cancer) which balances the Sag’s propensity to allow their careers to take over their lives. Another good balance is between the Scorpio’s propensity to hate someone for life if they have wronged me and the Sag’s magnanimity in forgiving injuries and transgressions. I always wondered where that soft spot came from. Damn Sagittarius interferes with my ability to hate forever.
One thing I laughed at in making this comparison was this: They do, however, make excellent friends, provided that their companions do nothing to impugn the honor of which Scorpios are very jealous. Reminds me of the time one of my friends dared to accuse me of lying. I was out of my chair and in her face with bow, arrow, pinchers, and stinger in raised position in the blink of an eye. This is a very rare thing. Honestly, I don’t draw all of the weapons. The stinger alone is very effective. Yet she impugned me honor!! (Which reminds me of Captain Barbossa in “Pirates of the Carribean.”) Alas, I forgave her, right after she apologized as I threatened to rain down death and destruction upon her and her entire family.
If you would like to read the full explanations of astrological signs, you may do so at www.astrology-online.com.
This title reminds me of the Disney movie “Hercules” where Phil tells Hercules, “I trained all those would-be heroes. Odysseus, Perseus, Theseus. A lot of “yeuseus”.”
So, I’ve talked about metamorphosis, chrysalis, and today catharsis. A lot of “ises”.
Catharsis is rooted in the Greek katharsis meaning purification. However, most people associate it with a purging (or purgation, especially of the bowels. For Jeanette, I’ll say poop.). The purifying of emotions and release of emotional tension especially through art, so sayeth Mr. Webster. Art – a concrete expression of emotion.
Instead of having psychotic episodes, I have cathartic episodes. I can rant and rave and scream and sulk with the best of them, and I do all of that, in writing. Sometimes, yes, I will fervently act out frustrations by a waving of the arms, pacing, and dancing. Sometimes I have a slip of the tongue and attack someone verbally who just happened to piss me off that day. They get the entire purgation of all that emotional tension.
That’s why I’m looking forward to hunting season.
Some people may believe that its all about killing Bambi, Thumper, Rocky, and Bullwinkle, but its not. For some of us, when you actually do kill something, it’s an exhilaration followed by a let down. Its not the kill that makes the hunt, it’s the hunt itself. Its climbing the mountain and braving the elements. Its about being alert and cunning. Its about snow and rain and mud, wet leaves and climbing trees.
Its about standing in the middle of a dirt road, in dirty boots, camouflage, blaze orange, your breath hanging in the air, a rifle passed down three generations slung over your shoulder. It’s the hush of snow falling on snow, an errant caw of a crow, its about being alone with the Earth.
Instead of an explosion of emotional energy, it’s a steady trickle of release. Your sweat flushes it from your system, it burns in your muscles, its calmed by the music of the wind in the trees, it hangs in the air with every breath, soothed by silky leaves, and nut hulls, hoof prints, ripples on the pond, snowflakes, and sunshine.
Hunting is not just about killing. It’s a catharsis, and even though I may return empty-handed, I know I’ve accomplished something.
If I ever I have another blog, that’s what it will be called. A chrysalis, or pupa, is the third life stage of the butterfly. Sometimes you’ll see leathery, dead leaf-looking things hanging under another leaf in the summertime. Its not a dead leaf. Its life, going through yet another metamorphosis.
The only chrysalis I can recall seeing was that of the monarch. I was at my neighbor’s house many years ago. My neighbor was a retired Science teacher, who loved to spoil me. She used to sing me songs about robins and redbirds and show me pictures of her children and grandchildren and I would play games in the summer with her great-grandchildren. She made a simple blanket for my doll which I kept long after I stopped playing with dolls.
It was on the steps of the patio outside her basement that she showed me this:
I wanted to take it home and keep it, waiting for the butterfly inside to emerge. As always, she counseled me that some living things are not meant for houses and should we disturb the thin waxy coating, the butterfly may not emerge at all. Then she took me in the house and showed me her Audubon books and all around us the scent from the flowers blew into the house while bumblebees buzzed. After she had filled my head with beautiful birds, we took leftover scraps of food in a bucket and dumped them at the edge of her property.
As though called by the wafting breeze, most certainly the food, Charlie would show up. Charlie was the groundhog the food was for. It was such an amazing thing then, to watch Charlie sniff and grasp and chew and then sit up on his little legs like a prairie dog. His great furry belly, his little feet. He was an endless source of amusement for us both.
Other wildlife came and went. My mom once saw a mountain lion on her lawn, and three foxes took up residence for a while. A brush fire, fought by the local fire department and the neighbor’s destroyed the entire mountainside. I used my tiny tennis shoes to stamp out flames on the edge of her property. Later, her great-niece and I climbed the charred wasteland and brought back buckets of dead snails.
In the winter, when she was well, I would take her mail and receive hot chocolate made with milk warmed on her old gas stove with marshmallows on top. Then she began spending winters with one of her children and then those winters melted into Spring and then summers, when I would mow her grass, but she was not there to see the flowers bloom, or hear the bumblebees buzz. When her children did bring her, she could not remember me.
She used to ask who I was and when I would tell her, she would laugh and say, “Oh, I remember. You used to stand on a chair and wash my dishes,” and everyone would laugh with her, until she asked again, who I was. And whether it be me or someone else, they would tell her, and she would laugh and say, “Oh, I remember you. You used to stand on a chair and wash my dishes.”
In my memory, I walk into her house again, the dark brown screen door closing behind, the old white storm door with the old-fashioned knob standing against the refrigerator. The sink where I used to wash her dishes is to the left. The window there overlooked her irises, a bird feeder, and Charlie. Beside the doorway is the old white stove and I can still smell the dishwashing liquid she used and the gas from the burner before the fire lit.
Through the doorway and to the left is her bookshelf, where she kept the books that enchanted me, even before I could read, and the table where we sat as she ate her cornbread and buttermilk. The picture window had the same view as the one from the kitchen, just a different bird feeder. And I stand where the floor furnace was, I see her old TV, and the furniture covered with crocheted blankets. I glimpse the bedrooms, a white chenille bedspread, the tiny bathroom, and another room, always darkened. In the furthest corner is the sun room.
I pull open the door to the basement and the wide wooden steps creak, just like they did then. I smell earth and must, and there’s measuring cups and big tin pots that she made apple butter in; the roaster is still sitting on the counter. Water is dripping from the faucet that overlooks the window under the front porch. I step outside and I’m back on the patio where she showed me the chrysalis. I can smell flowers, cut grass, and hear bees buzzing. The crab apple tree is bowing before the pines. The creek runs down the side of the mountain, under the road, through the ditch, under the bridge, under the road, to the river.
She was right. You can’t disturb the chrysalis, because if you do, you’ll never have a butterfly.