19 December, 2009

Seasonal Greetings

...Christmas Christmas time is near/ time for joy and time for cheer....

It has done the unlikely thing of snowing before January 5th here in Baltimore. In fact, there are six inches of snow on the ground right now, and tiny little flakes keep coming down. This is not news, unless you're in Baltimore, or anywhere south of Baltimore. Did you not know that Baltimore is officially The South? It's also officially Very Old. For a week now, all the news has been weather and water main breaks. That's it. I suppose I should be encouraged, since it either means no one was killed in gunfights or traffic accidents, or that those killed in gunfights and traffic accidents aren't worth mentioning. Strangely, I'm not encouraged.

Last night, before the month edged into the 20s, Fluffy put together a fabulously fake gold tree, pre-lit with white lights. He didn't ask for help, and treated it as if it was a tech exam. I may never pick up a screwdriver again. And I don't remember the last time I've had a tree up before the 23rd of December. Naturally, once it was up, he wanted nothing to do with decorating it. But it's gold. With white lights. Who needs decorations?

Anyway, it's the holidays, so I like to remember some of my favorite things. First off, a holiday song I heard for the first time on my way home from a Snow Queen stilt gig last year. This is one I've loved forever- or since 1993, anyway, though the video has nothing to do with an Essex Wonderland. And it's not in Essex, but it's a Baltimore Miracle on 34th Street. Finally, whoop-de-doo; I'm not the only one who wants Crabs for Christmas

(The Chipmunk Song; Ross Bagdasarian, Sr.; 1958 )

23 November, 2009

Linguistic Exception

...man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe/ I am the eggman, they are the eggmen/ I am the walrus/ goo goo g'joob g'goo goo g'joob.....

Being that I am an unabashed Grammar Geek, I use the word 'prepare' when I am cooking meals. It grates harsh fingernails across the nape of my chalkboard neck to hear someone offer to 'fix something to eat.'

This applies to lunch, dinner, snacks... even breakfast.

Unless it's eggs.

Because you had to break them, yeah?

(I Am The Walrus; The Beatles)

21 November, 2009

Something Old

...we will be fine/ Apollo 9/ even though NASA say we out of line....

From the archives... and they are considerable... a half-buried treasure.

Sixty Nine Reasons A Blogger Isn't Blogging

1. Writer's block.
2. The computer blew up.
3. Someone we don't like has been reading our blog
4. Too many people have been reading our blog.
5. No one at all is reading our blog.
6. The computer blew up.
7. The kitchen is being remodeled.
8. The cat had kittens....again.
9. Somebody is sick.
10. Somebody is in from out of town.
11. Somebody died.
12. The computer blew up.
13. Really excellent reading, that is to say, books.
14. The weather.
15. Broken arm.
16. Broken leg.
17. Broken arm AND broken leg.
18. Someone else is using the #@%&*! computer.
19. 'Days Of Our Lives' is on.
20. 'Oprah' is on.
21. 'Rocky MXLVI' is on.
22. Depression.
23. Hypersomnia.
24. The computer blew up.
25. The kids need something.
26. The dog needs something.
27. Shoe shopping.
28. Nails are too long.
29. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
30. The computer blew up.
31. We want to be really witty on our blog, but are short on wit.
32. Learning to knit.
33. Telephone lines are down.
34. The ISP got absorbed by another company.
35. Car trouble.
36. Secret spy missions.
37. Good sex, often.
38. Bad sex, too often.
39. No sex at all, suspect dysfunction.
40. The computer blew up.
41. A virus.
42. An anti-virus.
43. The Anti-Christ.
44. The Second Coming.
45. Chocolate binge.
46. Re-acquaintance with old school chums.
47. Vegetative state, temporary.
48. Vegetative state, permanent.
49. Cat scratch fever.
50. Lyme's disease.
51. Lou Gherig's disease.
52. Industrial disease.
53. Dysmorphia.
54. Tax season.
55. The computer blew up.
56. Incontinence.
57. Can't find a chair.
58. Forgot how to type.
59. Dog ate our homework.
60. Publisher's Clearinghouse arrived with a check.
61. The cops came to shut the party down.
62. Temporary insanity.
63. Permanent insanity.
64. Amnesia.
65. Overactive bladder.
66. Overactive imagination.
67. Kidnapped by aliens.
68. Dead in a ditch.
69. The computer blew up.

Is it plagiarism if I steal from myself? I like to think of it as recycling. The original date on this is 1 February 2005, which is not the END of my archives, ladies and gentleman, no INDEED. It is the MIDDLE.

I may never be a famous blogger. I may never be a wealthy blogger. I may never be a blogger with a book deal. What I may be is the Last Blogger Standing.

I'll be up against Wil Wheaton. His archives go back to July 2001.

If you go back to his second, reconstructed blog.

"CrushWorld: Last Of The Original Blogs."

So go on to your tweety-weeties and your facey-spaceys.

I will just sit back and wait.

(Apollo 9, Adam and the Ants)

18 November, 2009

Strange Ringmates

...won't be long now/ getting strong now/ Gonna fly now/ flying high now....

Those of you who follow Primarily Decorative (hi, Mom!) may recall that she's a big fan of juxtaposition. Therefore it will come as no surprise that her newest fascination is Chess Boxing.

Brains! Brutality! Bare chests! Also, an accordian.

Okay, that's about enough excitement for a cloudy Wednesday morning.

(Gonna Fly Now-Theme from "Rocky"; Bill Conti)

03 November, 2009

Prompt, Return.

...If you want to destroy my sweater/ Hold this thread as I walk away/ As I walk away/ Watch me unravel, I'll soon be naked.....

It's not that I haven't been writing; it's that I haven't been writing HERE. I guess I need/want more interaction, and I've not felt as if I was dancing for anyone but myself here. So I've been on a weirdly wonderful site for fibre artists which has resources, but also groups and forum boards. They sucked me in the way chat rooms never did.

Posted today to the "Poets And Writers Who Knit" group.

Write something without using the letter ‘e’ at all.

Write a day from the point of view of the dog. Or the lawn chair. Or the homeless person on the bench.

Write a piece with words that smell or taste.

Write a letter to your favorite (dead person, fictional character, angel, pet) then mail it to yourself.

Write with your non-dominant hand.

Write your own obituary. Write your own eulogy. Put them with your Will.

Write a business letter entirely in LOLcat.

Write based on a word chosen at random from the dictionary.

Write like Yoda.

Write a paragraph that ‘sounds like’: the swishing of leaves, the clatter of the city, the roar of the ocean.

Write like Charlotte Bronte.

Write something beautiful about something ugly.

Write the reverse of a suicide letter: I’ve decided to live because….

Write like Yoda attempting Bronte.

Write the shopping list of a villain, real or fictional.

Write a love letter to your favorite body part.

Write me a message if any of these are helpful.

I suppose I haven't actually been blocked, just blocked for the sort of thing I generally post here.

Working through that, though with this list of prompts, one would think I've no excuse for blockage at all.

(Undone (The Sweater Song); Weezer)

01 November, 2009

More Postponing

...I'm a sinner, I'm a saint/ I do not feel ashamed/ I'm your hell, I'm your dream/ I'm nothing in between....

Look at this:

The second annual November PAD (Poem-A-Day) Chapbook Challenge begins on November 1 at my Poetic Asides blog. Throughout the month of November, I'll provide the prompts (and my own attempts at poems); you respond with your own poem in a super inspiring and supportive writing atmosphere.

Then, poets spend the month of December revising and organizing their November poems into a manuscript of 10-20 pages of poetry, which are then submitted to me. On Groundhog Day 2010, I'll announce a winner (last year, it was Shann Palmer).

Come join in the fun November 1. You can participate every day or randomly. There aren't any hard and fast rules or attitudes. It's all about the poeming!


(beware: broken link.)

With winners announced on Groundhog Day. Are you kidding? I MUST do this.

So I will be at my poetry blog, hoping to write my way through the pile of frozen dead that's been blocking me for... a year? Yes, or more. I admit.

Patience, Mother

Ah, the smug self-satisfied
assurance of the 14 year old boy. Ah, the prevalence
of those who will not ever mature past it. Ah, the
joy of knowing
people who are not
14 year old boys. Ah,
the worry that THIS boy
will NOT outgrow 14,
even if I let him live.

1 November 2009

Nobody said that they had to all be GOOD poems.

(Bitch; Meredith Brooks)

10 June, 2009

KISSing Paul*

...I can give it all to you baby/ Can you give it all to me?...

No, not this kind of kissing.

It was mentioned to me recently that my foundation might be a tad thick and a little light in color, which is 100% true, and 100% deliberate. Clown makeup is not for the faint-of-heart.

I was with my family at a Bill Bateman's restaurant not too long ago, becoming more and more certain during the duration of our visit that this was a restaurant that couldn't make up its mind what it wanted to be. The menu said 'wings!' The decor said 'diner!' and 'sports!' and 'rock-n-roll!' which together failed entirely to form any sort of cohesive identity. (This is not entirely off-topic; I'm getting there). One of the decorative rock posters (which included the globally classic Queen, and the classically local Good Charlotte), the one that fascinated me, was of course positioned behind me, so I had to get up to look at it.

It was the KISS poster often referenced as "Faces", in which Gene Simmons holds the band name/logo in his hands. Now, I know a good bit about makeup, and have pals who teach workshops on the subject. I want to look at the makeup. I figure I won't see much what with retouching and whatall, but here I am, and why not, right?

So I'm inspecting this poster in great detail, and you can't see it on the web, and I'm sure those of you who owned one of the original first run prints of the poster have long since thrown them out/lost them in the move/sold them on eBay, so you have no immediate way of verifying this but as I looked at that iconic portrait, I began to see that Paul Stanley had nice, clean makeup, a well-done job, whereas the other boys looked liked they'd started sweating before they finished applying. I've seen KISS imitators do a more technically perfect job on the makeup than the blurry-edged finishes represented elsewhere on that poster. I've often thought that perhaps Alice Cooper had the right of it: making it smeared and runny on purpose to begin with, so when it turned out that way mid-concert, it looked like deliberate design. I can't speak to Insane Clown Posse (despite carrying one in my car wherever I go) and their makeup, but in the photos I found, they seem to be completely unpowdered.

Understand, I'm sort of a perfectionist about this. The whole family is. We have to be. You never know when someone's about to snap a prize-winning shot, so our makeup, even in the sweltering outdoor conditions, has to be perfect.

Marceau himself covered a multitude of sins and wrinkles with his white makeup, and it was difficult to tell that he was incredibly old until you were close to him. In fact, the makeup makes it nearly impossible to tell how old (and in some cases, what gender)anyone is. The photographer comments that "...all 4 of the mimes were young girls...no older than 15. they smiled all the time." I appreciate this. I truly, truly do. My son, however, not so much.

So, hooray for makeup, that makes boys into girls and vice versa, and turns cougars into jailbait. Hooray for KISS, who did it well.

I couldn't tell you whether Paul's clean finish was due to the simple design, better technical execution (each member of KISS did his own makeup), less inherent sweatiness or finer-pored skin, but Paul Stanley, I salute you and your mad whiteface skillz.

And I know (ask me how) that if I DID kiss you, that no, I wouldn't get white makeup all over my face.

Unless I had it there already.

(I Was Made For Loving You; KISS)

*This post dedicated to Abi, who rocks.)

08 June, 2009

Love, Blind.

...Ballerina, you must have seen her dancing in the sand....

We are here because we love my daughter. We watch one of the less painful of the 3 1/2 hours of recital numbers. Fuzzy isn't in this one, in fact will not appear until the eighteenth number in the second half of the show. This one, however, is a song we like, me because it's mine, and them because it's old, but still good. The teens fling themselves around the stage, neon wigs and sunglasses mercifully remaining where they belong. Fluffy thinks this is a remix. A few minutes into the song, (Good heavens, Miss Hakamoto! You're beautiful!) he leans over and whispers. "No. Not a remix. It just sounds so much better in the car with the top down."

I don't know if I've mentioned that I love my son.

(Tiny Dancer; Elton John)

30 May, 2009

Goat Story

...it's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in a gyro...mmmmmmm....

I turn from Ritchie Highway onto the exit ramp for 695. I round the curve, but slow where I would ordinarily accelerate. There are two or three cars pulled onto the shoulder. Two adult men stand in discussion. A woman sits inside her station wagon. A goat, shoulders stained with fresh blood, twine lead trailing to the street, trots up the exit ramp.

Traffic begins to collect behind me, but I remain at a standstill. The goat heads up the ramp, towards Ritchie Highway, passes my car on the passenger side. The woman in the station wagon starts her car and puts it in reverse to follow the goat. She parks a few feet from where she had been and gets out to follow the goat, who has rounded the curve.

I can no longer see the goat, so slowly accelerate to go about my business.

This is the middle of the story.

I do not know the end, nor the beginning.

13 May, 2009

Nearly Sleepless

...which way will things go tonight/ toss and turn or sleep tight/ you can't win, you wonder why/ that sleep is one thing you can't buy....

I go to bed in an ensemble of thigh-high striped socks and a pair of striped panties. This wouldn't've bothered me, except the stripes didn't match.

Enough to keep me awake? Not quite.

I begin to believe in a sardonic God, because accidental irony seems so improbable.

The narcoleptic insomniac, ha-ha. Hahahahah. No.

(You Can't Talk In Your Sleep (If You Can't Sleep): The Go-Go's)

29 April, 2009

Porn? well....

...sneaky looks/ gazing down on you/ are no substitute/ for a rendezvous....

"He'll find your porn," warns YoungEv, "if you have some. He always does."

His face is mildly concerned and a little startled as I consider- rather than snap "of course not!"- whether I have any porn on my fritzed computer.

"Um, mime porn? Pictures of Out of the Box, lots of them...ahhh..." My brow furrows as I think about it. No. I haven't even bookmarked any porn sites. I try to remember the name of the porn-y blog I used to read, and can't.

"Uh, sure, but like, if you've got, you know, uh, naked, uh, naked pictures? Of...anybody?" Clearly, he's uncomfortable imagining that Hawk and I have naked pictures of ourselves on my G4. "Because whenever a cute girl walks in with a repair- I've seen them do this- they search until they find naked pictures of her on her computer. They always find some."

Yeah, but CompuDan hasn't seen Primarily Decorative. If he did, I'm guessing he wouldn't search.

"No," I tell him. "The closest I've got is me in that set I knit for the Valentine's Day contest, you remember?" He blushes a little. He remembers. "And that's right on my desktop, probably. So CompuDan won't have to look very hard, but it's simulated naked only."

And on the topic of naked, I'm thinking it ought to be Naked Season pretty soon, yeah? But no. March drags on through April, broken up by three or four days of July, and now it's right back to March again. Blah.

Hurry UP, heat. I wanna take off my clothes.

(Strip; Adam Ant)

21 April, 2009

Ass-shaped Hole

...I don't have to miss no TV shows/ I can start my whole life over/ change the numbers on my telephone/but the nights will sure be colder....

Once again, Real Life interferes with my Virtual Life, and Actual Offspring preclude Productive Writing, which pisses me off, you know it.

And yet.

While at CityLit this weekend (mostly to see Leslie Miller and her book Let Me Eat Cake), I attended what I thought was a poetry workshop (it was billed as a poetry workshop: bring 2 copies of a poem you wrote) and naturally couldn't select just one poem, because the others would feel snubbed- took with me thirteen pages (yes) times two of poems because deciding is just too much work. GWB can go ahead and be the Decider; I can't be bothered. At any rate. Was that a run-on?? Fragment? Did I have a point?

Oh, yes. It wasn't a workshop at all, but a vetting process for an eeeeteetiny literary magazine, more like a literary pamphlet, literary flyer, literary tri-fold, if you will. Cute and adorable and limited for space, so let's us just look at the short ones, then, shall we? And I've been asked to submit five (I think five; at least four) of my poems to the editor. Which is nice, even though of course no one will ever read it. However, to be perceived as having literary chops, one must publish. To publish, one must submit. And submission is a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PROCESS from writing. I can write like nobody's business. I can write up one side and down another. I can write your cliche and eat it, too. I can write what you meant better than you meant it. But researching places to send stuff? And actually sending it? And keeping track of who said Yes, who said No, and who never responded one way or another? Haven't been able to manage it.

My darling friend FurPoet (distinguished from my other darling friend BaldPoet) says, "Cybele, nobody is going to come ask for the poems sitting in your drawer." Which is sad and unfortunate and accurate, and sounds suspiciously as though he's quoting me back to me, because if memory serves (poorly, as usual) I have said this very thing at poetry workshops, un-blocking seminars, and I guess anytime anyone asked me. Usually I say this in response to people who are afraid to submit, because they fear rejection. Afraid to submit due to inexperience. Afraid to submit, suffering from intellectual intimidation. My problem is much simpler: I have a dreadful case of Cantgetoffmyassosis. I've said, and it's true, that I am the most inconvenient combination of Lazy and Vain that I've ever met.

So I will send the ones that were vetted, and perhaps get published, perhaps get motivated, perhaps produce a chapbook called The Ones You Never Hear, since Primarily Decorative reads only the ones practically guaranteed a good audience response, rarely the touching, poignant, perhaps edgy ones, at least not more than once, but the fellow who vetted my work liked two or three that no one has seen but me.

Which shouldn't surprise me. Except, I got through February okay, and then March hit. Hard and ugly and full of the fucking rain. March continues into April, and only twice this month have we seen April-ish weather. I'd say I hate to bitch about the weather, and hate to blame my moods and lack of productivity on the weather, but obviously, that isn't even remotely true. What I hate is hearing myself bitch about the weather and the havoc it wreaks on my internal chemistry, that's what I hate.

So it shouldn't surprise me, except I've been exceptionally unlike my normal cynically merry self, and there've been exceptionally few Topless days. I thought I'd escaped my usual pattern of wearing an ass-shaped hole in the sofa, eating cookies and drinking eggnog and getting fat and watching the house turn to a bear-pit around me, because each winter it gets a bit worse, the depression, but what I've done, I think, is postpone it. And I'm blue like royalty, like suede shoes, like Picasso, like I shot a man in Memphis.

More storms a-brewin', and not just on the horizon, I think.

(Bluer Than Blue; Michael Johnson)

03 April, 2009

Squeezing Jackson

...it's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in bacon...mmmmmmm....

We had an extremely nice winter holiday, wherein we scrimped not at all, and then we came home and sat around with no work for a couple of weeks, biting our nails. Hawk did eventually roll and is currently stalled in Tex-Ass, waiting (behind 12 other drivers) for a load to come his way. So our finances went, practically overnight, from not too scary to suckity-poo.

However, the kids are up for Blackout Days every so often, though I wonder if the cost of candles offsets any BGE savings we might see. We're postponing purchases. We're saving up our errands. But then! Then ! Our local news station picked up this story about $1/day eating, and I challenged Fluff and Fuzz to try to eat for $1 a day. Just for a week. Just to see if we could do it.

Rebecca Currie was trying to disprove the claims of a California couple's experiment and premise, that it was impossible to eat healthfully on a budget of $1 per day. I figured, hey, she did it; let's us try it. If we run out of things to eat, the grocery is just around the corner.

Run out of things to eat. HAH!

First off, $21 buys more groceries than I thought it would. Also, we 'cheated' by using spices, canned goods, supplies and leftovers that we had hanging around already. (Rebecca started from scratch, pretending she had nothing- no spices, no flour, no sugar, no leftovers in the fridge.) Aside from the obvious savings (where did the other $80/week GO?) it's teaching the kids (who don't hear 'no' or 'we can't afford it' often enough) what is possible with $1. $3 for 6 donuts no longer looks like a bargain- hooray! Making pudding at home isn't a big hairy deal; booyah! The boxed pasta&sauces are 'too expensive'~ wowza! Coffee at Starbucks isn't even an option- not that it was very good anyhow...!

At the end of Week #1, before we shopped for Week #2, at the kids' request, we went for lunch at Wendy's. We set a limit of $3 each, and planned to order from the Value Menu, which doesn't really seem different from the Regular Menu except for corralling all the cheap stuff together on the signboard.

That $9 meal left them unsatisfied in many ways. I pulled open my chicken sandwich and showed them the size of the pattie. "Whoa," said Fluff. "That's a big piece of meat." Yeah. At home, I'd've cut it into slivers and mixed it with some noodles and sauce and peas, and the casserole would've fed all three of us. After the burgers, fries and Frosty were consumed, the kids were still kind of hungry. They were impressed when I showed them the amount of ground chuck $9 would buy. They put back the organic milk and eggs and replaced them with grocery brand milk and eggs in order to have room in the budget for a box of mint tea. And even though a dinner of cornbread and beans is far from their favorite, they volunteered that it was a more satisfying meal than lunch had been.

Pushing cookies and soda to the bottom of the 'wish' list (below bananas, popcorn and a pizza kit) was their idea. We're just starting Week #2, and survived Week #1 better than we thought we would. We will see how long we can manage. The kids are learning budgeting, meal planning, comparison shopping, that all things bear scrutiny and precisely what is important to them, and I'm clearing out my overstock of pantry goods. When I eventually double our budget to $42, we'll all feel positively wealthy.

Tonight, with the aid of a seasoning packet I had in the cabinet, broccoli I'd purchased two weeks ago, and the tail end (sorry) of last week's rotisserie chicken, I was nominated for an award of Kitchen Heroism because I made Chicken and Broccoli with rice.

So if you miss me, it's because I'm busy polishing my Kitchen Heroism award. It's made of copper and a bitch to keep clean.

02 February, 2009

The Problem

...a shoe thrown at me from a mean old man/ get my dinner from a garbage can....

"The problem with television lately- one of the problems- is that I never know whether I'm watching an ad for a restaurant or if it's a cat food commercial." -- Me, the other day.

They paid three mil for a slot, and were largely lame. Superbowl commercials ain't what they used to be. The only one I liked: Maybe You Should Get A Dog.

Remember the cat-herding one? That was great. Except: what the hell were they advertising? What company? Does it even exist anymore?

But if I say "Chow-chow-chow", you KNOW what I'm talking about, the brand and everything. And that was just some forward-backward-forward footage.

How much did THAT shit cost, huh?

No three mil, shah.

(Stray Cat Strut; Stray Cats)

01 February, 2009

Faking It

...I felt a little like a dying clown/ with a streak of Rin Tin Tin....

One thing led to another and another, and I found myself picturing Stephen King's lead female in Misery. And I wonder, what factors lead a person to a life as an internet passive-aggressive energy vampire (excuse the woo-woo) instead of a life as a successful novelist?

Sidebar for those who have no patience for linkage: a certain person/number of persons created fictitious personae and then killed them off, though so far none reaching a Megan Meier level (sorry!).

I have no patience for interruptions. So, due to offspring/laundry/pets/telephone, I've not begun a novel. NaNoWriMo SOUNDS like a great idea, but it's November, which is awesomebad for me. Also, I'm not sure I can successfully write fiction, as reality is so surreal and improbable anyhow.

All that mental energy used creating an entire universe... but never mind. Ms. Hummingbird-Attention-Span is no longer interested in this case study. It occurred to me, though, that joining an online community is an EXCELLENT way to research a topic/group/activity about which you know nothing, because simply lurking is a hella education.

So IF I ever get serious about that thing I had in mind with the guy and the woman and the bookstore that was going to be a novel/play script/tv series, I am SO going to join me some online communities.

Just sayin'.

(Who Are You; The Who)

23 January, 2009

Rathr Gud?

...curl up by the fire/ and sleep for awhile/ it's the grooviest thing....

(Lovecats; Cure)

20 January, 2009

Iced Me

...ice cold/ can't break away from your spell/you put me in the deep freeze/ oh baby don't you leave me....

I travel behind a smut covered box trailer that bears the lettering 'Semi Express', which leads me to the cool question: What does that mean? Moderately fast?

The cold makes me cold, and covered up, except for sometimes my feet, which I expose defiantly, daring the weather.

I find myself in a position to needing write through a frozen block of bodies. When I am sufficiently brave, I shall do so.

(Stone Cold; Rainbow)

12 January, 2009

Unconventional Interconnectedness

...simple things you see are all complicated/I look pretty young, but I'm just backdated, yeah/I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth....

The low cut sock fails to meet the hem of silk leggings, allowing leather of the fringed boot I wear to press against bare skin of my ankle like a warm mouth. My feet, lately liberated from the confines of closed-toed shoes (sandals in January provoking puzzled looks from people sharing sidewalk space with me) protest quietly. Upstart blisters on baby toes led to flat soled sandals first only indoors, then, when changing shoes (and hunting down matched socks) seemed too much bother, out into the wide, cold world.

My accumulating oddities mark me; by the time I look fifty, I shall be well past eccentric and wandering into whacked. All black all the time was adopted as a convenience for daily dressing, then proceeded to rule apparel purchase decisions. Feeling the ground beneath thin leather soles of suede superhero boots, (borrowed during the off-season from Mimi, who never speaks a word of objection), the relative textures and temperatures of slick granite flooring, porous marble stairs, flexible linoleum tile, biting rough concrete, smooth semi-cushioned carpet, led me to wonder how much we miss when we isolate our feet from their surroundings.

It wasn't surprising to learn that shoes are bad for our feet, but it struck me that few people realize this. It is in the best interest of the industry that the buying public remains ignorant. Though I've no intent to reduce my stockpile of Cute Footwear, future purchases will permit communication between foot and surface. I've enjoyed the comfort of a funky brand rating high on hip, but still can't feel the motion of my foot, or the surface on which I step. I loved a pair of sandals from a company I'd never heard of before, even though they prevented me from feeling (with) my feet, but when the company went super-green, they stopped making that sandal altogether. There exist shoe manufacturers who do adopt a minimalist approach to the realities of germs and injurious litter, and a shoe with toes represents the most extreme example of bio-correct footwear, though none of these products are likely to make it into MY shoe stable unless they are....that's right, black.

All of this is complicated by my sudden awareness (thanks to The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman)of a monstrous heap of garbage swirling in our ocean. An addition to the list of pre-purchase qualifications: I need to be able to feel my feet move, feel the ground beneath them, the shoes must be black, and now also, digestible. This Vibram material; I am suspicious. I don't know what's in it.

Go ahead, veggies, and boycott leather shoes if you wish, but while you consider candy-colored Crocs, consider also: every piece of plastic manufactured since the invention of plastics in the 1940s, with the exception of those we've tossed into space and left as astro-junk, IS STILL ON THE PLANET. Where? A significant portion is in the sea, outweighing plankton 6 to 1. And even degraded to its molecular form, there is nothing alive capable of consuming polymers.

And the ocean, it's big. Because it's big, it's hard to get a gut-wrenchingly motivational photograph of the problem. It's much more complicated than that, but against the controversial Global Warming hubub- I'm not convinced global warming, if it's happening, is an exclusively human-driven change: planetary cooling and heating has gone on through geologic time, and this is not alarming, or shouldn't be, no more than continental drift or volcanic activity- oceanic pollution is an unheralded mess. And every bit of it IS because of human action and inaction. Inedible plastics shoving biologic organisms into fewer places and fewer numbers changes the environment, and perhaps temperature, of the ocean. Which is really big.

Not as big as space, which Douglas Adams says
"...is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space."
Space, already littered with marks of our presence. But the ocean! Smaller than space, okay, but still a big ocean, and an influx of plastic sufficient to create a 6:1 ratio of plastic to plankton in the last sixty or seventy years is very likely to create some sort of biochemical change. The food chain! Plankton feeding on plastic, which has absorbed oceanic toxins... fish feeding on plankton, and plastic the same size as plankton. Bigger fish...until the flesh of a dolphin qualifies as toxic waste.

Fluff and Fuzz have been infected as well. When we shop, Fuzz spots every item made of or packaged in plastic, and has begun to grab trash from the streets. Fluff agrees that we need to support digestible products, and has spotted creative reuse opportunities for things pegged for discard. Chips Ahoy cookies? Packaged in plastic, so we gave them a pass. Instead, we bought locally produced cookies in a bakery bag... once emptied, Fluff grabbed it, "This is a perfect bag for kitty poop!" and off he hustled to scoop the litter box.

He notes my good humor this dark season: "You've been grumpy, but not like usual." I credit the bath remodels. There was leakage, damage, mold. Once I'd found someone I trusted to do good work and not shaft us financially, we embarked upon the project, a combination of art and plumbing that has kept me engaged in wall-sized art, and the redo of lighting that creates a bright, cheerful background for daily beautifications.

So I step out, bare-toed, to greet the world, sporting my quirks like flair, like bling, glittering with each stride, walking as if I own the world... and don't I? At least the part on which I walk, at least for the moment I am in it, and then, like a spring wade through a snow-melt stream, I step onward, and relinquish my space to the next user.

Beautification. Blisters. Plumbing. Plankton. Walking. Weirdness. Mold. Mood. Recycling. Revolution.

I just never know what's going to show up in my head.

(Substitute; The Who)