October 14th, 2004 | Posted by administratrix in Soapbox - (0 Comments)

I can go for months and never wear a pair of jeans. I usually wear skirts, and if needed I put a pair of pants on underneath them – usually pajama bottoms or something along similar soft, drapey, drawstringed lines.

Today I’m wearing a pair of jeans I found in my room this morning. I think they’re hand-me-downs from my sister in law, but I have so many clothes I never wear that I can’t remember them all.

Anyway, the point is that jeans are cold. Today is one of those gray rainy days you get in Fall, and every time I go outside I’m amazed at how cold my legs are. I’d be much warmer outside wearing a prairie skirt and some leggings underneath; all that fabric traps warm air. Jeans are a thin layer of non-insulating fabric. They suck for heat.

It’s counter-intuitive, I know: you’d expect jeans to be warmer than two layers of flimsy made-in-India cloth over a pair of flannel pants, but there it is.

Jeans: cold. Skirt and pajama bottoms: warm.

Home At Last

September 23rd, 2004 | Posted by administratrix in Music - (4 Comments)

The Blues & Brews fest was awesome and I totally loved it. (I bought a cute hippy bag with Ganesh on it, and Brett got a leather outback-style hat.) I’ve even posted Telluride pictures already.

Brett and I want to go back every year. Seriously!

Instead of driving directly from Telluride back to Ron’s, we all crashed at a hotel in Montrose… and believe you me it was worth every cent: it was deliciously dry, and there was a bed, and it was heated and everything! And one didn’t need $2 in quarters to get hot water out of the shower. Ah, luxury!

Ron knocked on our door to tell us they were taking off. Brett and loitered a couple hours, long enough to bathe and eat before we left the hotel.

Later we passed Ron, Amy, and Janelle putting upward toward the summit at about 45 MPH in Amy’s VW. We waved and they waved back. Later they passed us on the way down while we were lost trying to find the exit onto Hwy 6. (I guess the VW goes about 40 uphill and 80 downhill, making a trip average of about 60 MPH. Which really isn’t that bad. *grin*)

Our last night in Colorado, we made Ron go out to sushi with us, even though he really just wanted to veg on his couch at home. He’s a sport, though, so off to Sushi Zanmai we went.

Zanmai had the weirdest music soundtrack I’ve ever encountered in a a sushi bar – Madonna was playing when we walked in, and later we heard the Clash – but the food was really great. (I got drunk on saki, of course. “I just blame it all on the altitude!”) Amy showed up and said we were all troopers for going out right after getting back from Telluride, but I explained it was our last chance for sushi!

After eating, I rode up to Ron’s with Amy (and Prana and Sugaree) in the vee-wee, and Brett rode up with Ron. When we got there, Amy gave me a bag full of product from Bear Mountain Essentials and now I’m totally addicted to this cocoa/hemp lip gloss she gave me. Argh! (Their body products aren’t on their site yet or I’d link to it for you and then you’d be in trouble too.) (I really want to buy a dress or two from them. Oh, the cuteness! The site sez some fall colors are coming soon. I’m pretty much all about that.)

When we woke up that last morning at Ron’s, it was snowing. I’d slept on the leather couch in the entryway because Brett’s back was really hurting him and he was flailing much too much for me to sleep anywhere near him. I woke up, all disoriented, to Brett pointing at the window and inquiring belligerently: “Did you see this?!” as if I was somehow responsible for the fact it was snowing. Snort!

Brett’s ruptured disc hurt him (a lot) so I did all the packing while he iced his back and played video games. He felt bad for not being able to help, but I prefered him not moving to lurching up and down the steps making pain-faces so I was kinda bitchy to him: “You! Go sit the fuck down and get out of my way!” It’s terrible to see your big strong man hobbling up and down the stairs like an ancient, it really is. The chiropractor said it will take awhile to heal and that he should take it easy, so I try to make him take it easy as much as I can ’cause he won’t do it if I don’t make him.

Packed, we loaded the dogs up and went for coffee. (Er, I had coffee. Brett had chai.) Then we drove back up the hill and over to Nederland and visited Josha for a couple of hours since we basically hadn’t seen him the whole time we were there. Later we drove down to Boulder to the job site to pick up Brett’s tools. We both hugged Ron and thanked him for his hospitality and then we got on the road.

I desperately wanted burritoes and kept looking along Hwy 6 for Mexican restaurants; eventually we stopped in Brighton for gas and right across the street was a Mexican drive-thru. Who knew life could be so awesome? I got a supreme burrito and chips & guac; Brett got some fried beef taquito things. It was a lot of food for ten bucks!

The rest of the drive was just like driving through Nebraska has always been: boring. Long. Straight. Our stormcloud friend from the mountains, Bob, was with us most of the way so it was a boring, long, straight, rainy drive.

We got home around three. Joe woke up to greet us. The dogs were stoked to be home and ran around outside for half an hour before even coming in to sniff their house. I brought most of the stuff in from the Jeep and then, still wired, took the pics of my camera and transferred them onto my thumb drive. Finally crashed around four and didn’t make it in to work until about one the next afternoon.

Home sweet home! It’s great to be back and sleep in one’s own bed again!


September 2nd, 2004 | Posted by administratrix in Love & Marriage - (4 Comments)

This is Brett’s new schtick. He started it last weekend and hasn’t stopped:

Him: “Muuuuuushlette… know what I’m thinking?”
Me: “What, dear?”
Him: “Bloooooow job.”
Me: “Yeah, right.”
Him: “Know what I’m thinking?”
Me: “What.”
Him: “Bloooooow job.”
Me: “I’m busy.”
Him: “Know what I’m thinking?”
Me: “Yes. Go away!”
Him: “Bloooooow job.”
Me: “Argh!”
Him: “Know what I’m thinking?”
Me: “Have you turned into a three-year-old?!??! Good god, leave me alone you freak of nature!”
Him: “Bloooooow job!”
Me: “You’re driving me nuts!”
Him: “Know what I’m thinking? Know what I’m thinking? Huh?”
Me: “You keep this up you’re never getting another blow job again ever! I am so serious, dude!”
Him: “Mushlette, know what I’m thinking?”

No woman will ever love him. I am so serious.

…and music, too!

September 1st, 2004 | Posted by administratrix in Music - (4 Comments)

Mr. Brett just called me to ask me if I was interested in the Telluride Blues and Brews Festival. Government Mule with Gregg Allman? Hot damn, of course I’m interested.

So instead of driving sedately back to Iowa that weekend like responsible adults wishing to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed come a-Monday, we’ll be camping in Telluride and groovin’ through an outdoor music festival. Oh, and the beer too.

I haven’t been to a multi-day outdoor show in… since… well, in a long time. Damn! Possibly since the Grateful Dead in Eugene fifteen + years ago? Egad.

I’ve been to Iowa blues and jazz fests, of course, but that’s not really the same thing as a crunchy pseudo-hippy camping-vibe kinda thang. I hope I have fun, and that I don’t feel all weird or too much the shy, rural Iowan. I lost my crowd legs years ago and no longer love crowds for their own sake the way I once did. (Of course, at that point – the loving crowds point – I was twenty something and hot, so crowds loved me. But now I’m just your basic boring, married. not-so-hot-any-longer type person. Probably I no longer love crowds because they no longer love me for being scantily clad and twenty. Eek! What a horrible thought to have about oneself! Am I that shallow? Snort!)

My hubby, as you may know from reading my blog, has been noticeably unhappy for the past while. I knew he was tired and that it seemed like he felt trapped or burdened, festering beyond mere fatigue. I thought he really needed a break.

Then his vacation finally came, and I was so glad to see him go off for some much-needed down time with friends he loves in a place away from home. I was secretly a little worried that he’d come back having realized that he was truly unsatisfied, or that he actually hated something… I figured that for him to be so unhappy he either hated his life in general or – God forbid – me in particular.

He came back Monday, and he had realized he was unhappy, and it was because he hated something.

It turns out he’s decided that he hates living in Iowa.

Tree 1, Jeep 0

July 21st, 2004 | Posted by administratrix in Love & Marriage - (6 Comments)

Brett found he was having brake problems and had his truck taken apart when I got home last night. He told me he’d need a ride to work with me this morning.

When we got ready to leave this morning, Brett walked up the hill toward his truck. So, sleepy and trying to be helpful, I put the Jeep in reverse and backed up the driveway.

Brett has the crane and dump trucks parked pretty much in the middle of the driveway, so I had to veer off into the woods a bit to clear them. I hit a tree and knocked off my passenger side rear view mirror. The truck is old and the plastic is brittle and it just popped off, the damn thing. I felt like a dumb ass, and I figured I’d get mercilessly laughed at for my bad driving and juvenile mistake. How embarassing. Hitting a non-moving obstacle in my own damn driveway.

I manouvered the Jeep away from the tree and continued backing up, then got out to look at it. Brett approached and then – it was really weird – he proceeded to pretty much lose his fucking mind, wanting to know (in loud tones) why I’d do something so stupid.

I told him it was a mistake, an accident, and that I was sorry.

“That’s a hundred dollars right there to fix! What the hell were you fucking thinking! You’d usually never do anything that goddamned stupid!! Why didn’t you wait near the fucking house!!” He went on and on, hollering at me. He was totally fucking pissed off over a mirror when he breaks shit much worse than that for fun when he goes 4-wheeling!

He put the hanging mirror in through the wing window and got in the passenger’s seat, yelling at me all the while like I was some recalcitrant and expensive teenaged daughter, and I began to drive off the property. “Go the back way, so you don’t fucking hit something again!” he yelled.

So I pointed the Jeep at the back driveway and began my morning communte while Brett kept going off on me.

About twenty feet later I started going off right back at him. “Dude! What the hell is your problem! It was a mistake, an accident! Jesus, you break shit all the time yourself! I didn’t fucking mean it! It’s just a mirror!” Fifteen seconds after I started to dish his own shit back at him, he grabbed the shifter – while I was fucking driving! – and put the Jeep in neutral and yelled, “Stop, stop the fucking car right now!”

When I did, he got out of the Jeep and stomped off in a missive tizzy. He was smoking pissed off, and he’s told me before that when he gets that mad he walks away and shouldn’t be followed or he’ll end up hitting someone.

Well, screw that. It’s not my fault he lost his temper over nothing! I got out and asked if I was supposed to leave or to wait for him. He couldn’t be bothered to reply and just kept walking away from me, so I drove out the back driveway and into the front and walked up the hill to where he was tightening the lugs on his wheel with a four-way.

“WHAT!” he yelled when he saw me.

“I came around to get you. You need a ride to work.” I said.

He dropped his truck to the ground with a hard bounce and yanked the lift out from underneath it, then stomped past me to the house. Stella and I followed him, then stayed outside for a bit. When he didn’t come out, I went in. He stomped out past me. I followed back him out. By now I was finally beginning to get pissed off at him.

He proceeded to gather the compressor hose together and yelled, “You can go!” and then dragged the compressor up the hill.

I stood and watched his back, murmuring, “What the hell is your problem, dude?”

So I drove to work by myself, and he drove his truck (with no brakes) because apparently he was either angry that I’d made an idiotic driving mistake or that I’d flipped his own tantrum right back at him. I mean, we’ve been getting along great the past few days, and nothing in his routine has changed that I know about, so I have no idea what it was that really set him off. Oh, those enigmatic red heads and their hot July tempers!

I’m curious to see how he handles this tonight. Will he still be in a snit? Will he come home late after hitting a bar and pass out on the couch without talking to me? Will he start in on me again for a trivial side mirror? Or will he be sweet and sunny and pretend it didn’t happen?

Hell, will I get home late after a stop at the bar? Only the Shadow knows!

Today is our third wedding anniversary. I didn’t know that until I happened to turn on my PPC and there it was! Happy anniversary to me and my man! I’d call Brett to tell him so, but our phones are dead. Sigh. I guess I’ll tell him at dinner.

This morning, I made myself some chai. I put it in a go-cup. During my morning commute, I clicked back the little sliding door over the cup’s lid opening and lifted it. Although the chai was made of the usual things – milk, water, tea, cardamom, cinnamon, sugar, and cloves – I swear I got a whiff of that particular odor one would get opening a fresh box of Frootloops! Isn’t that odd? I really enjoyed it for its incongruity.

The morning was gorgeous; cool and damp and green and misty. It was a lovely drive. I adore this time of year in Iowa, even if there is a little too much humidity, and maybe the nights are a little colder than strictly necessary.

One of the many wonderful (not) symptoms my non-diagnosed-but-quite-obvious thyroid disorder is rapid heartbeat.

This symptom is quite frightening, because one tends to depend on one’s heart to do its job properly and without comment, thank you very damn much.


May 12th, 2004 | Posted by administratrix in Health | Love & Marriage | Redneck, Rural, Rustic - (Comments Off on Imbalances)

I still have nearly every symptom there is associated with hypothyroidism… except for high TSH. The anxiety I was suffering from last year is under control, thankfully, but there are still two symptoms that I have that I particularly dislike.

The first is hair loss. As I’ve said before, I don’t think I’m a particularly vain female, but my hair keeps getting thinner and thinner, and it really makes me bummed. I feel that glasses, bad skin, and pudginess are adequate crosses to bear, and that potential baldness is just going a little bit too far! I mean, honestly – can anyone suggest that it’s in any way fair?!

The Detroit retreat was held in the airport Westin. I don’t know if you’ve ever stayed in a Westin, but they have this wonderful thing called a Heavenly Bed and man-oh-man are they not kidding! The bed is so great they actually sell them online. The next time I have two grand I’m gonna order me one. They’re awesome. Down pillowtop, down pillows, down everywhere! And so comfortable! It really is the best hotel bed I’ve ever slept in.

The rest of the hotel was gorgeous and I really had a lovely time staying there. The service was great, the Japanese-style design was lovely, and for being under flight paths it was surprizingly quiet. Tahmi liked the look so much she took a whole roll of film of it so she could show some of the nifty design points to Jason (they’re always threatening to remodel parts of their house, and they both like the Japanese aesthetic).

It was also a great hotel for an Amma program because the program basically had its own floor – the hall and kitchen were all together in the basement, so devotees didn’t have as large an impact on the normal operation of the hotel as they do in most other hotels – it was somewhat sequestered. There were still a lot of devotees in the lobby, but not like there are in Chicago or other program sites I’ve been to. You didn’t see people sleeping in the lobby where people are trying to do business. Instead they slept downstairs out of the general areas or in their rooms.

Amma’s flight out of Europe was delayed, so She missed the first program at the Holiday Inn. There was only one program there, and then we moved over to the Westin for the retreat. This was my third retreat and as usual it seems She pours on the juice when She knows She’s got your undivided attention for a few days. Her physical body is in great shape considering what She does to it; Her voice is getting a bit hoarser than it once was but that’s the only noticeable wear and tear. I am always aware intellectually of the impossibility of what She does, but it’s nothing like seeing it in person. Imagine sitting in a chair hugging four thousand people and never getting up to eat, sleep, or pee! She’s always fresh, the first darshan She gives is just like the last. And when She leaves the hall She doesn’t sleep, she travels around to devotees’ houses and does pujas, then visits hospitals, and maybe rests two hours out of every 24. In Cochin during the birthday celebration, she gave twenty thousand or more darshans without a break. She hugged almost a hundred thousand people in just a few days. I mean, it’s impossible for a normal human being to do that. I don’t think most people could do it for ten hours once or twice; She’s been doing it almost daily since 1987.

Devi Bhava went until ten in the morning. I think She did well over four thousand darshans, and then there were several first feedings and first letters followed by two weddings. (I didn’t make it past eight in the morning, I was just too exhausted.) Tahmi did ten hours of line entry seva and stayed up until the very end. She’s my hero.

I usually stay for the end of Devi Bhava because I love it so much, but when at eight in the morning the lines were still full and I fell asleep every time I blinked, I just had to go lie down. I felt at my darshan around three in the morning that I wouldn’t make it ’til the end – you could just tell She was taking her time and was in no hurry to finish early – but I tried really hard! The end of Devi Bhava is so cool because it’s one of the only times you can see Her alone, not surrounded by devotees. She stands on the stage and pelts people with flowers for about ten minutes while the swamis rock out on “Amma Amma Taye,” which is the funkiest, rockin’est bhajan ever.

I bought a few new bhajan books, a Kali Bhava outfit for my Amma doll, and a mantra bracelet. I also bought a large rudraksha bead, but I lost it within an hour of putting it on and just didn’t feel compelled to replace it when it never showed up at lost and found. I tried to get Brett a t-shirt, but they didn’t have his size in the styles he would wear. The only 2XL they had showed the blue and pink Amma website logo on the front, and I just don’t think he’d wear that, it’s too cute and too Amma-oriented.

As usual I spent awhile looking at all the families going up together for darshan and wished my husband were also a devotee, but also as usual I got over it and decided to be thankful he’s open minded enough not to try to prevent me from going. (THAT would suck.) He went once, for me, and got Mother’s darshan. I promised him then if he’d only go once I’d never ask him again, and I intend to keep my word. I harbor a secret desire of course that he’ll one day discover an interest in spirituality, and I glom onto every story told about husbands who finally become devotees after years (I talked to at least three men who said they never were interested before but their wives have been into Amma for years and then they started coming)… but Brett probably harbors a secret desire that I’ll one day suddenly want to built a hotrod and learn to drive it. (Hah! Not that a hot rod could possibly compare to an incarnated avatar, but it’s the best analogy I’ve got.)

I was so happy to get home last night and see my husband whom I’d missed so much, so par for the course he promptly managed to really hurt my feelings. I don’t know how it works, but it seems whenever I come home from a trip this happens. Last night it was a very brief but very mean and grumpy lecture on how I can’t sit in front of the fireplace anymore because I leave it wide open and waste wood and his way is so much better and I’m forbidden from operating the stove basically at all. He announced that since I’d been gone for a week he’d discovered that running the stove closed keeps the house much warmer and uses much less wood and it never went out and blah blah blah blah. I kept my own council and said nothing about the house being so cold I thought there was no fire going when I walked in, nor about him being the one who always left the ash door open, not me. But that’s not the point: regardless of right or wrong, he yelled at me and it hurt my feelings. A simple “I learned this while you were away and want us to change our behavior,” would have been fine.

I sulked around and unpacked, then filled an entire garbage bag with the crap he’d accumulated during the week I was gone, and finally he figured out I seemed sad and asked me what I was doing and made me come sit on the couch with him. I had to get up and put on another pair of socks, a pair of slippers, a sweater, and a hat. He claimed the house was warm, but in reality it was barely sixty degrees in there.

Finally I decided that I needed to quit feeling sorry for myself. It’s so weird, but that’s my first response to everything these days: self pity. I despise this new trait. I never used to be like this, but now it takes all my focus and strength to pull myself up out of the pit of self pity all the time. I have to deliberately slog back up the hill to equanimity about five times a day. It’s uncomfortable, to put it mildly, to realize what a big fat baby I’ve become.

The second time he decided to yell at me last night about my wanton wood-wasting I said quietly, “Just stop it. Stop. I’d been home barely twenty minutes and you’d already bitched me out twice. I GET IT. I WON’T USE THE STOVE from now on. I haven’t even been in the furnace room since the last time you yelled at me.” I wasn’t very angry, but I just wasn’t about to be dominated again for no apparent reason. Especially since I can wear a hat in the house; I did it last winter. It’s not a gigantic sacrifice in the grand scheme of things.

He’s the one who does all that incredibly hard labor getting wood for the stove; if he doesn’t want to “waste” it keeping the house at a reasonable temperature then who the hell am I to argue? It’s not like I could possibly afford to buy split, delivered, and stacked wood with my income, and there’s no way in hell I could go get it, unload it, and split it myself like he does. I certainly don’t want him to feel like I don’t value all that work, so we’ll run the damn stove totally closed down and I’ll wear extra clothes.

In all truth, it’s not like I really need to sit there reading brain candy sci-fi and smoking cigarettes, as much as it’s a toasty winter pleasure I really really look forward to and enjoy. Surely there’s better shit to do with my time in the the winter. I could maybe clean the house more, or meditate more, or, although it’s unlikely, it wouldn’t hurt me to maybe excersize to keep warm.

Today when we woke up before dawn (damn it all to hell, I’d hoped to sleep until at least seven), it was maybe fifty degrees in the house. Part of the lecture the night before had been about how the “fire had never gone out the whole time I was gone,” but it certainly went right out last night. Since the furnace failed to kick on it was fucking c-c-c-cold. I was pissed. But, bless his heart, he got up first, cranked on the furnace, made coffee, and started a roaring fire while I mummified myself in the duvet and meditated with nothing but my nose exposed, and then when it was warm he came up to offer to start the shower for me. What could be better than a warm bathroom, a hot shower, and a cup of coffee, all prepared by your beloved? Nothing! There couldn’t be a better apology in the world.

Brett and I really don’t have much surface stuff in common, but we do share a basic trait that is the actual heart of our marriage: we may both be selfish, self-involved bastards, but we do know when we’ve been assholes and we take steps to make amends.

I loved my week long sojurn to Motor City to get Mother’s darshan, I can’t even express how nice Tahmi’s car is (I kept thinking there was something wrong with the Jeep in comparison!), and it’s always good to get away, but I’m really quite happy to be home again. Hooray!