Pootie doesn’t live here anymore

99° in the shade today. 101° heat index.

It’s almost dark here and the temp has dropped a bit. The animals and I are stirring after a few hours of zoning out enjoying the synergy of the AC and ceiling fan. Doing some low-energy mulitasking, knocking out some laundry and dishes.  All while waiting for some chicken to marinate.

Worked at Job 2 yesterday and today. Trying to wring some weekend out of this tail end of a Sunday night by making some lo mein and catching up on this week’s DVR harvest.

It’s been just a few weeks shy of two years since I moved in. One more time, I realize I’m starting to recognize this place as home.

Rescuegrass

gromgrass

It was hard to get back up again.

One thing, then another, then too many to note separately began to weigh me down, make me stop moving. Free time became, literally, down time.

I told myself with all the class field trips I was getting enough exercise. I told myself I needed to stay off the bad knee. I told myself I’d make it up next week. I told myself after the rainy season, then I told myself it was too hot to bother.

I’d go out once but wait days to go again. I stupidly got grass spears all over my shoes, an impossible amount of the stickery tips in every crevice and meshed seam, and I used that as an excuse, putting off for several weeks the tedium of picking the stuff out.

It was physical, it was the menopause, the knee, the thyroid, the weight. It was psychological, another wave of post-divorce inertia following in pair after a manic push; it was fucking stress from work, too much of the new software transition, too many meetings, too much unpaid overtime, too much of not enough help. Too much longing to just stop.

It was not one thing and it was everything at once. Whatever it was, I’d stopped getting out and about on foot. Stopped doing the usual reconnaissance with the dogs in the morning and evenings, following the deer trails through the high grass and flowers, poking along the old unpaved ranch roads that thread through this heavily-wooded, half empty subdivision. I’d stopped moving any more than was absolutely necessary, stopped being in my walking body, stopped wanting to know what was happening out there.

So now, I’ve let them talk me back into it. The dogs, I mean. Once is enough to get them jazzed, two times in a row is enough for them to expect it, to eye the front door and sniff the air coming in under it from outside. They have plenty of room to romp and run during the day. But they still love the walk.

The older dog especially. He pulls me along, not obnoxiously, not out of control, just enough to keep me going. The younger dog still gets us all three tangled, still spazzily wraps his legs, not getting yet that he can step out of the tangle when I give him the slack.

The old guy knows the gear, is well-trained and in sync, knows how to avoid wrapping the leash, knows how to help me straighten things out if we snag up. Still and all, he likes to force the leash just a little, he likes the resistance I offer. In truth, so do I, making real the inertia I feel, the urge to pull back against time moving on. I like the drag and I like his steady urging at the end of the leash.

In open pasture, he’s off leash and then he just turns and waits on me, encouraging with the force of his will, with his sturdy soldiering enthusiasm.

He’s a good dog and he likes having a job. He’s got a few of them, patrolling the fence line, keeping the pup in line, and now, again, pulling me back toward life.

Used up

gay div

There’s a lot that no one ever tells you about divorce and you don’t realize this till after it’s happened to you and you are surprised or baffled by something that you didn’t see coming.

By “divorce,” I don’t mean the actual legal transaction (as unavailable to me as the legal transaction of marriage) or even just the actual decision to split, or act of splitting up. I mean the state of being divorced, at least recently so.

For one thing, there’s the relative definition of “recently.” I find myself using this, relying on it even, to justify the fact that I’m still being unusually affected by the experience. It’s been a year this month since it “happened,” though we didn’t actually move apart for almost three months. A year isn’t exactly recently in most senses, but it still feels recent to me. Things have changed a lot, for the better, absolutely no question. Life is more bearable, the loss and change is not a daily, sometimes not even a weekly, issue anymore. On the other hand, I can’t say that things feel normal yet.

So, one of the things is how surreal it can be. Be, not seem. Just how much, and how often, you are completely cognitively displaced from your previous experience of the time-space continuum. I suppose this is shock, the same experience as after a sudden accident or sudden death. A kind of rolling shock, or re-occurring experiences of it, in a variety of settings. Reality, and your role within it, is very different. I’m not even ascribing anything positive or negative here, I’m just talking different. Altered.

So there’ s that. Also, just how much hard work it is living alone when you haven’t been doing so for a long time. Don’t get me wrong, in some ways it’s obviously less work than living with someone. In others, it’s like dragging around with a boulder on top of your head. Through mud. In a thunderstorm. Not just big things, but the little tedious shit. Laundry, feeding pets, paying bills, keeping track of oil changes. These things seem to weigh tons on some days. More so because I can clearly remember that when I wasn’ t married stuff like that didn’t seem so daunting. I can clearly remember living alone for years, assuming I would always live alone, and for the most part, being just fine with that. Getting along quite capably, logistically and emotionally, not dependent on anyone. That person and that state of mind seem inpenetrably foreign now. I’m as divorced from that identity as I am from my ex-partner.

So this day, Saturday, finds me completely exhausted. It was a long, much harder than usual, week. Work was nuts, without a break, and not-work was even more work than work was. I had two big milestones, very positive, long-set goals achieved, plus a lot of other smaller events that, taken all together, have left me done. Not simply tired. Spent. Tilt. Over. System offline for maintenance.

Thus the lack of much substance this week. As opposed to the usual barrage of stupendous intellectualism to which you hordes of visitors have become accustomed. Hopefully this coming week, the balance of writing to YouTube vids and animal pix will right itself and regular blogging, to the extent that I practice it, will continue apace.

(image via Strange Sisters)

Unsuffer me

album

I think it was spork who started the Lucinda talk the other morning over at the powder blue breadbox, but I was struck by how many disparate people chimed in with the “amens.”

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen Lucinda live over the years, especially if we take the Way Back Machine all the way, to another galaxy far far away, watching her play for loose change on the Drag. I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to her songs, which one is my favorite, which album I’d take on that desert island if I had to choose.

But I do know she’s always been essential, and never more than now.

Annoint my head with your sweet kiss
My joy is dead
I long for bliss
I long for knowledge whispered in my ear
Undo my logic
Undo my fear
Unsuffer me

Thom Jurek, AMG:

It’s entirely appropriate that West was released on the day before Valentine’s Day 2007, for it’s a record about the heart, about its volumes of brokenness, about its acceptance of its state, and how, with the scars still visible to the bearer, it opens wider and becomes the font of love itself. But the journey is a dark one.

This collaboration — as unlikely as it might seem on the surface — results in something utterly different and yet unmistakably Lucinda Williams. West is a warm, inviting, yet very dark record about grief, the loss of love, anger at a lover who cannot deliver, and embracing the possibility of change. In other words, it’s not without its redemptive moments. Williams has put all of her qualities on display at once with an unbridled and unbowed sense of adventure here on her eighth album. She, her bandmates, and Willner have come up with exactly what pop music needs: a real work of art based in contemporary forms and feelings. West is Lucinda Williams’ magnum opus thus far, an album that will no doubt attract more than a few new fans, and will give old ones, if they are open enough, a recording to relish. West is flawless; it is actually destined to become a classic.

Valentine’s Day- I want it back

Friday night video

The Mountain Goats – Woke up New

Check the Diversions page for more videos.