Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Witch aint so crafty

My new motto: BURNS WELL AT THE STAKE.

My consistent inability to make butter would have, at one time, been a great reason to lash me to a flag pole and roast marsh mallows by my blackened toes.

That's not going to happen... I don't think. I'm not mean and I don't have any warts on my face, although I do have a single hair that springs out now and again. You haven't noticed it because I pluck it often. I enjoy the moon, but I don't ride a broom, though I do seem to be spending an awful lot of time with it lately. And, unfortunately, I think bats are important.

The difficulty of buttering has piqued my curiosity and I found myself pouring over my new library of cow and cattle books to discover what was wrong. Nothing like a repeating failure to goad me in to finally reading the directions!

Here is what I discovered: February cream doesn't butter, but June cream does. Cream from a fresh cow butters, but cream from a cow over half way through her milk cycle doesn't. It's apparently about the size of the fat globules. Too big or too small and they won't butter. And the size is determined by juiciness of grass and duration of milking. AND...that's not all! I also read that getting butter is a random act of god, hence the burning of any woman who couldn't do it. I have no idea how Darigold sorts these things out.

We've got a September cow on her 6th month of milk, so fresh butter will not soon be spreading on my toast. She'll dry up before June and won't freshen again until Sept. We may never butter our buns on that schedule.

I've tried blenders, hand mixers and food processors, everything but the whole day with a stick and a long wooden barrel. I'm starting to follow the directions, what I've read of them anyway, as best I can.

I thought I'd have a leg up on all this. I thought that helping my grandpa with the cows and my mother's childhood on a dairy farm and my dad's youth spent milking a few cows for his enormous, non-Catholic, non-Mormon, absolutely-no-known-reason-it-was-so-big family. You'd think something would have trickled down the gene pool. Maybe I'd osmotized the farm. I hoped my childhood with steers just outside my bedroom window would have prepared me for a cow and her calf and their milk and all the milky endeavors thereof.

But, alas, none of it means anything except that I began this endeavor knowing what a cow actually looked like and that their eyes were juicy and listeny, ten times more soul-matey than a dogs. And their shit smelled familiar, homey even. My mom said it smelled like "money." I suppose my cow ownership is much like smoking for those who had parents that did: the odor of home, objectively offensive it may be but to me it smells like mom. Maybe that's what drew me out here, to put a bucket under a heifer and squeeze until the sun shines: the smell of a good home.

Friday, September 25, 2009

say *CHEESE*

It feels so improper, posting so soon after the last. Am I being too forward?

I'm sorry, but I just can't help it. I am positively giddy. Not a bone in my body is Not dancing right now! And all because the yogurt turned out terribly!

Really bad. Not that I know anything about this, but I'm guessing it was over-done. It was whey with chunks and caused crying and tears this morning at breakfast. It wasn't me that wept over the imperfect result. It was someone a few decades younger than me, but I wouldn't put it past me. It just happened to not be me this time. I did think, for a moment, that maybe I do believe in factory farming and in mega food corps that can turn out huge vats of yogurt and cheese with the flip of a wrist on a couple of controls. Mad cow be damned, let's conveyor belt 'em and get efficient.

But the chunks gave me a cheesy idea. And it is sooo good. Like a chevre. I'd post a photo, but it's all full of cracker crumbs now. I don't even know why I have crackers on hand today. Usually I eschew anything prepared so that there have been times where my kids whine: "Moooom, I'm hungry." And all I can say is, "I'll whip up some brown rice and we can have a little snack in only 45 minutes!" It's just a small step up from having to chaff the rice first. Sometimes I get sick of this, and yesterday I bought 6 boxes of crackers. And I've tried them all on my cow-chevre. And they are all delicious accessories.

I'm so stoked, I had to share this with EVERYONE! The news, that is. The cheese is mine.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Teeter totter, bread and butter


Wins: X
losses: X + y - y = X again!

The gains are lousy long shots and the losses luckily don't out weigh them.

I tried making butter today. Today, and not yesterday, because today was the first day I had enough cream, separated, to try for butter. I felt so clever with my sun tea jars. Just strain off the milk from the bottom! Right?! Unfortunately, there's that last full inch of milk and cream clumsily sloshing around. So I poured my several days worth of cream in to a jar. And then I actually syringed the errant milk from the bottom! Syringed. It took a long long time because the syringe only holds one tablespoon.

The directions said to let the cream sour for a day on the counter. Easy! Then it said to put the cream in my blender. I have the world's best blender. Not only does the carafe perch upon a chrome beehive with retro perfection, it's also very powerful. Don't mess with my blender. They said it would take five minutes, and butter is nothing but over-whipped cream. I turned it on, removed the lid, as per directed. And sat back. If you recall my spring smoothie incident, you'll know that I kept my hand securely on the blender. They said it would outgas a little. So I took it in stride when curls of gas began to spiral up. But when the gas became gray, and took on a more billowy shape, I stuck my nose in to investigate. Yes, after five minutes, my cream was still cream, spraying up my curious nostrils. And there was smoke.

When my kitchen experiments become (unintentional) disasters (see below for Huck's contrasting disaster), I dive into avoidance and denial like the deep inexhaustible lakes they are. I just put everything back. The disobedient cream is in the fridge (still in the carafe) and the blender butt is right where it belongs. Almost like Nothing happened.

I'll freeze a fiasco for MONTHS before tossing it, just to burn off the humiliation and waste of it all first. The curry where I accidentally increased the toasted cardamom seeds by 10 fold: that sat in large bags in our freezer for 6 months. Took up the whole thing. No ice cream could even fit. But how could I trash the 4 hour dinner that ended in pizza? Eventually... but not immediately.

Huck looked in the fridge, saw the blender carafe filled with cream and said, "Oh! You made butter!" He saw my face and said, "Oh! you tried to make butter!" We'll call that a shoot, in the dairy game of life.

Not entirely put off by the experience, I plugged in my new yogurt maker. Scoff. Scoff, I know you will. Yogurt maker! HA! What kind of woman needs a special appliance to let something sit around for four hours?! Well... I have tried it without and it was a 2 quart disaster. So I decided to set myself up for success, stoke my ego, get me a maker and some starter and see what I could do. With my accessories in hand and my failed past behind me I achieved total success...so far it's a ladder! My yogurt looks right at least. I'll find out more about the flavor in the morning.

This fresh milk thing is sort of a wash. Financially, it could be years before we recoup anything. Ladder! today, I got my first massage in 7 years. Shoot: because my arms are really getting sore from squeezing out teets. Ladder: I'm visibly buffer too. It was only a 15 minute massage, on a lark, at the local natural foods store, but it was GREAT! I got to keep my clothes on, which helped me relax, a lot! Aromatherapy was used and all day people have been telling me that I smell like the natural food store. Shoot: I just spent two weeks worth of milk on a massage.

Shoot: forgot to muck the stalls for two days. Had to do it tonight after putting the kids to bed. Ladder!: stood out for a long long time admiring the stars and the silk of a late summer evening on my skin.

Ladder!: fresh milk. Shoot: had to milk these last two days while sick, with a fever. I hadn't anticipated that. I had imagined cold, dark mornings, snowy mornings, drowsy mornings, etc. But not sick mornings. Even so, it's better than a third kid, I think.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pickle Chiffon Pie!

What better activity to busy yourself with on a singular day off than making infuriatingly inedible food? There are those among us, neigh, even under our very roofs who would, and indeed, have already done such. One, Huckleberry Husband, perpetrated this dastardly deed. After many days of long hours, in which 70 hours of work were accomplished in six days, the man got a day off.

And he took to the kitchen.

A favorite children's book, Pickle Chiffon Pie (found at http://www.chinaberry.com/prod.cfm/pgc/11200/sbc/11202/inv/8962), has been the source of years worth of pleadings for such a kitchen atrocity. My response has always been a look of disgust and a quiet shake of the head indicating: obviously NOT!

Huck on the other hand always said, "Maybe some day."

Just a few days ago was some day, apparently. Huck had been tied down to his job, to work, to engineering, to things making sense and being useful and practical. And he'd had it. My interpretation of this crazy endeavor is that he just needed a grand moment of frivolity. He needs a regular dose. This is likely one of the best reasons I married him eight legal years ago, today! (That and we'd already had a kid.) He's got this surprising streak of grand and silly gestures that keeps a gal on her toes.

So he actually spent half a day in the kitchen, over double boilers, whisking egg whites to snow peaks, and Frankensteining recipes from our 1950's American-International Encyclopedic Cookbook.

What emerged at the end of the day was sublimely perfect. A white whipped topping over green chiffon. It sliced liked heaven. The texture was cumulonimbus. And then we took our bites.

Tears.

Coyote hung his head in utter dejection.

Blue tasted and spewed.

I drew it in to my mouth, laid one part of my tongue upon it, and withdrew the intact piece immediately.

The most perfect and beautiful thing to appear on our table in ages was totally disgusting.

"Did you know it was going to be horrible?"
"Yes."
"What?"
"Obviously Pickle Chiffon Pie is not going to be good."
"You...you...you spent all day in the kitchen making something so perfect and no one can eat it?" As the woman of the house who's role is now suddenly also to be the constant cook, I could not, cannot, will not (on principle) understand this.

So I threw my piece at him. My aim was true, by the way.

Chocolate? Vanilla? Lemon even. But dill and vinegar? A grave injustice indeed.

This isn't his first inedible pie. He once mistook flowering quince fruit for fruiting quince fruit and made pie out of it. My response was the same as this one. But he stubbornly ate an entire piece and spent all week puking. But that pie was an accident, a mistake. This pie was a piece of intention, a willfully wrong whimsy.

Indignant though I may be, I am amused. I do understand the requirement for an unnecessary flourish, a foolish trick, a waste of time, a glorious, perfect waste of time. Especially in the midst of too much work. Ah... Huck, a man who knows the value of play.

And yet I still feel I am owed a really really good chiffon pie.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Foam on the top!

I am so thrilled right now, giddy to the bone, and I can't help but tell the whole freaking world! I got milk! Got milk, baby! Yes! The Milk is in! I am the freakin' merriest milkmaid ever! Yep, you guessed it, I squeezed a big old bucket of milk from my crazy heifer this morning!

Everything was finally in place. The stanchion over-built as per specs. The girls comfy and familiar to life here. I'd developed the knack for that peculiar finger wave curl involved in milking without damaging teets or creating mastitis. The tools were assembled. It was time to wean. I actually forgot to the night before, but then I remembered last night. Sukey locked in to one stall, with tons of hay. And Hendrika went in to the other, with tons of hay. And neither did they moo or wine or fuss. No big deal. I think Hendrika was probably ready for this moment... if I know anything about it, being a woman who nursed for 6 years straight herself. Regardless of readiness, I anthropomorphized some sweet sadness on to them, knowing this was the beginning of the end of their tight, nuzzling relationship. I felt a little bad too, for my role in that. But I consoled myself with the fact that Hendrika will likely have 8 more babies, give or take a few. She'll get over it.

The loudest bellowing on earth awoke us at 5:30 AM. It echoed across the prairie and I couldn't pinpoint where it was originating. Was that ours? Or the Angus herd across the street? I bumbled into my polk-a-dot barn boots, and stumbled out with buckets to see if it was Hendrika and if I should milk. Huck and Blue bounded behind me. Everyone (except the snoozing Coyote) was very eager to see the results of the night.

We've been getting a teaspoon every morning. It hasn't been rewarding, emotionally or lactically. But I was practicing, and getting all used to the routine. Cows, they tell me, are ALL about routine. I'm not, really. But since kids are ALL about routine too, I figured I could handle it. I was a little worried about her milk production. We'd seen Sukey nursing periodically but had no idea how much she was getting, so we didn't know what to expect this morning.

The bag, as they call it, looked as if it might pop like a balloon. I didn't know if I COULD get anything out of that rock. But 10 minutes later, I had a good half gallon with foam. FOAM! On the TOP! And that's when my jelly arms gave out. And Hendrika decided to lay down! I grabbed the bucket, but once she felt it on her side, she stood back up again. And there you have it! The bag was still stone hard, but it wasn't hot, which would indicate mastitis.

I've been to the ER for mastitis before, which included tracking down my arms! The elderly woman upstairs had come down to check on me, and I was bizarrely out of it and she asked what was wrong and I showed her and she threw me and Blue into her car and sped us to the ER. Thank goddess for elderly, experienced, and caring landladies!

Anyway, my over-abundance of breastfeeding experience certainly comes in handy here. Who knew breastfeeding was preparatory work experience!?

So... there you have it. I let Sukey have the rest, assured she'd empty her out. I'll work up my milking stamina before I wean her entirely. My hands stung from my labors, and I even developed a blister!

I hastened to the house to strain the milk into my spigotted sun tea jar. This way, the cream will separate in the fridge and the milk will get siphoned off the bottom. Listen to those words: cream, milk. YES! And butter and yogurt and cottage cheese and mozzarella and marscapone and ICECREAM! Oh lordy, it's the land of milk and honey!

It's the land of damn good milk! Hot diggity!

Monday, September 14, 2009

All by myself!

Today is the day I've awaited since April. This is it.

This is the day Coyote goes to school, for three WHOLE hours! The house is mine. I have not had more than 15 collective hours alone since April. We've done some fun stuff and enclosed are photos of the last two weeks. But I have been feeling just a tad sorry for myself. Boo hoo.

This moment required extra finagling, but we are here. Huck has the day off, but I even wanted him gone. Although, to his credit, he does not wine, does not sit on my lap while I type, does not need me to wipe his bottom, and can reach the faucet himself, I still wanted him gone.

You may, along with countless others, also wonder what it is we stay-at-home moms do all day. We are wondering that ourselves. Days go by and we have NO idea where they went or what happened during them. But the house is still a mess and the kids are never done. If I wake up early to do something alone, my kids will wake up even earlier. I was once told that REAL moms wake up at 5. Real bitchy moms. Anyway, if I woke up at 5, my kids would wake up at 5:05am. NOTHING gained. The other thing about kids: they know when you're absorbed. You could aimlessly peruse the internet free from interruptions, but sit to write a note of condolences, or anything requiring your full attention, and they're on you! So your day consists of refusing to be absorbed by anything and constant interruptions. It's hard to have meaningful thoughts, conversations, meditations, or completions under these circumstances. For those of us who previously relished our echoing deep thoughts, this is a source of pain and suffering.

To hear me talk about kids, you'd think I'd have at least 20. But kids are like that new FeelReal tm temperature report: actual kids:2, feels like: 20. It's just that these skills don't seem to come naturally to me and every event first bewilders me, then requires research, and then I make the most difficult but loftiest choice in how to handle it. I make it hard. Especially not having a TV.

Recently, on a hot afternoon, I noticed that I was feeling momentarily like a depressed and bored homemaker. And so I asked my self, "Now that you've correctly classified these last few minutes, Sassy Sarajoy, what do depressed and bored homemakers do?" And a cloud opened above my head and a chorus of angels sang out "GIN AND TONIC!" Even though I knew it was the first step towards my birth-rite of overwhelmed-mother alcoholism (NOT my mom, but previous matriarchs in my line have retired to "pray" in their rooms every afternoon), I popped open the local Dry Fly gin. Good habits aren't made by just one doing, and neither are bad habits, right? Cleaning the kitchen was a nice, new sensation, and I didn't mind being interrupted for a game of Uno. It thoroughly defunked my vibe.

I've identified at least 35 different necessary alone times, like some mad-stay-at-home-scientist. These are the essential categories:
reading
writing
bill paying
cleaning
baths
music absorbing
solitaire
planning
budgeting
Savoring
bike riding
gardening
garden planning
milking
walking/jogging
thinking
zoning out
technology figuring out
reading
exploring
hiking
drawing
painting
treasure hunting
mourning
yoga
meditation

I believe this is a complete, unabridged list. I've done these with children crawling on me, but it's not as effective. Ever do the downward dog with children climbing up your legs? How 'bout some meditation with fisty-cuffs exploding in the next room? Ever try to zone out with your kids saying things like, "Mom? What are you looking at? Why do you always do that?"

So here it is: MY BIG DAY! I began by cleaning the kitchen, staining the porch, and doing laundry and then I thought: WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM, WOMAN?! (I use woman here as a swear word). And so I promptly dove into the bubble bath and ate a huge tray of Capri Salad. And now here I am, squandering my luscious time on the internet. And I feel fine.

Except for one thing. Today is the birthday of my friend/former boss' daughter. She would have been maybe 30.

Not long before I met him, they were scuba diving on Orcas Island. And his daughter died that day, her mother's birthday, under the water off Rosario.

I was visiting my parents on Orcas, with my baby Blue. My mother returned from work, gray and tired. It had been a terrible day at the clinic and she related the story of a girl my sister's age and her untimely death.

Imagine our shock after my first week of work for B when I told him where my parents lived and he turn gray. And told me what happened. And I remembered the day perfectly. We had all sat in silence that night and I never forgot the first death of a child I heard of after I became a mother.

I've gone to the site. My family joined me once, at the spot, and we thought of her, on behalf of B who will likely never return to the San Juans. We dropped flowers into that deep, dark ocean.

And so he sends me this email today to remind me to hug my kids, on his daughter's Birthday, to hug them extra. But they're at school now.

Death is such a downer.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Dummies' Guide to Bungholes

Once, I had this no kink male hose bib. It fit the hex bushing just fine. But the hex bush turned out to be too big for my bunghole.

How embarrassing!

My hex bush was too big because, as I've surely mentioned before, I loath measuring. So I used my fingers. The bunghole diameter width went from the tip of my pointer finger to the spot between the first knuckle wrinkle and that freckle. I'm covered in freckles, so it's not surprising that there was a mismatched bushing.

I returned to the small town, locally-owned, hardware store, to the wall of 1000's of plumbing pieces, which Coyote immediately set to scrambling just as fast as he could.

Seeking the right mating for my purposes, I paired males and females, females and females, males and males, in a shocking WaterWorks orgy.

Finally, a tall, well-rounded human male came to my rescue. Unable to make eye contact and blushing brilliantly, I explained my problem with censor-worthy explicity. It was surely an R rated conversation, bordering on X. I covered Coyote's ears.

What would be so bad about names like: thingamabobs, schloopers, schloopees, whatzits, hose-ery screws... okay, except the last one. The only possible conclusion is that plumbers must have backed-up minds.

He said, "OH! I see. You have a 1/2 inch female when you need a male."
Oh sure! I almost said, You think little female brains can't handle the plumbing aisle. I see how you are, you PIG!

But alas, he was only talking about hosery, and helpfully too. He even asked if I had my plumbers putty. And I mentioned my possession of Teflon tape, grateful for the small, merciful miracle that prevented it from being called K-Y personal screw tape.

"So do you work here?" I asked, hoping he could direct me to a bunghole tightener, for a problem with an entirely different bunghole.
"No, I actually work for Avista utility. I just happened to notice that you'd been standing here for a long time." What a gentleman!

And THAT is how shoddy the service is at my local hardware store, which is sad because I'm so loyal to the local. But in this case, it is no longer in my best interest to be so.

Huck said he actually needed a wrecking bar for the trough's bunghole problem. And could I pick one up?

HomeDespot this time. They've enthroned omniscient gods and goddesses on the entry carpet now.
"How can I help you?" she asked.
"I need a crow bar." I stated, boldly.
She cocked her head a little. Her mouth dropped open like she was experiencing a small stroke.
Silence, she noted.
Then, "um" slowly, "okay." And she took on this counseloric, relaxing tone, like she was going to talk me down.

"This is a pry bar." Huck said, disappointed, "I already have two."
"It's different than a crow bar?"
"Crow bar? Did you just say 'crow bar'?" he asked, bewildered.
"Isn't that what you asked me to get?"
"'Crow bar' is a term rooted in racism. We don't say 'crow bar'." He gently explained to his 1/2 inch female. Maybe that's why the lady at HomeDespot had seemed so shocked. It just wouldn't have occurred to me. I thought crows were small Ravens (my favorite bird and a capstone species, by the way). And the bars are black with yellow beaks... like crows!

After I exchanged the pry bar for a "wrecking bar" a man noted to me, "It's kinda scary, you know, seeing a woman walking through a parking lot with a wrecking bar."

"Good," I said, "Have you cheated on your wife recently? Where's your car?"

I didn't care that he was NOT AMUSED because I was, after all, carrying a wrecking bar. I laughed.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Girls just Wanna Have fu-un

Those naughty naughty girls! And they KNEW they were being bad too! The looks on their faces and the way they trotted off, tails high and grins flashing... they knew what they were up to and they intended on getting away with it for as long as possible.

The heifers had gotten out before, from their stall into the greater part of the barn. But that was at night, when the barn door was closed. And everyone assumed it was human error that let them out. Yesterday, after the morning chores, I double checked to make sure I'd slid the bar into place and then I left the barn door open, as usual, to maintain good air circulation.

An hour later, something moved in a shadowy corner on the dark north side of the house. I swear, they were tucking their butts in to make themselves appear smaller (I know that trick too!). And then Hendrika tossed her head up, her mouth sprouting iris plants, like a misplaced bow tie. Sukie looked over her shoulder and giggled, her eyes sparkling with the glee of badness. It's not that I couldn't relate. But I JUST put in those flowers.

It was just me and little Coyote with some misbehaving fly-addled cattle. How could we herd them back in?

I spent a lot of time uselessly, but calmly, trotting around the yard, trying to think what needed to be in place, what needed to happen and how to go about this. I eventually flung open the large gate to the pasture and rattled a grain canister as a lure.

But the pitter patter of a handful of grass seeds is NOTHING compared to the joys of a vegetable garden! They'd moved south of the house and were inhaling my vegetables! I tried walking behind them, but they were very excited and easily excitable, kicking and tossing their heads. And Sukie, dancing like an onery ballerina on her dainty, pointed pink hooves, was leaping and hurling her body about at if in some avant-garde production of moshpit ballet. I ordered Coyote to stay safe on the porch.

I thought I'd bring some grain to them in a classic Hansel/Gretel enticement, but then I remembered how Hendrika has used that gargantuan, hard, and meaty head of hers to toss me out of the way when I've stood between her and grain before. And I didn't like the memory of that. But then, I hadn't really, actually, been harmed by the experience, in fact it was much like a roller coaster and if I'd been strapped into something and had paid $6, I might have thought it as fun as the Belmont on Mission Beach. "So," I concluded, "I might get tossed a little. Se la vie! As long as I'm not trampled or broken, what's a little flying through the air? If Amelia Erhart can do it, why not me?" And I approached those gals rattling my can of oats and barley.

But what are dried seeds compared to Crocosmia, Daylilies and Irises?

What made them even more uncooperative than usual is that they were covered in 1000's of manure flies. Funny how NONE of the books I read even mention flies. I re-checked them ALL. Not one fly to be found in those books. But suddenly, these poor cows were swarmed and very very miffed about it. I'd brushed them off morning and night. And the girls have switches to swish. But nothing was helping. I'd stopped brushing them because being in the same stall with them was getting dangerous. Hendrika jumps and thrashes and pounces and basically looks like she's having a cow or a seizure. And they're angry. I would be too. At the feed store, we got some insecticides, which is NOT what we wanted to do, but mercy me, those cows NEEDED something. Dear Peta, they are fine now, we got them covered until we can come up with a long term, non-toxic solution. Unfortunately the flies are dying. Hope you don't mind.

So this is the state they were in, thrashing in fury over flies, and yet prancing with unfettered glee in my new flower and/or vegetable gardens. They could see me with the canister. They could see the field and wide open fence behind me. But they were not so easily tempted into goodness.

From around the corner, came another naughty one, my Coyote. He did not stay on porch. No. Not him. He got a stick and he stood between the cows and the road. And he swished his stick a little behind the cows and they began to walk towards me. From where he pulled this herding instinct, I have no idea. But the boy knew how to herd those heifers! They walked steadily towards me. Once out of the delighting temptations of my Eden, however, they broke into the agitated run they've been up to lately: STRAIGHT TOWARDS ME! I ran faster (advisably or not) into the field, tossed my can of oats away from me, and climbed up the metal gate. But where did they run? Not into the field after me, no. In to the barn! I cautiously climbed down the fence to peek into the darkness to see if they'd gone back into their stall. But instead of a vision of two cows peacefully recuperating in bed, I got an eyeful of feisty heifers running back out, straight at me again! I hopped back on to that fence, they charged passed me, onto the oats, and I swung that gate shut! Whew!

They inhaled the oats then bolted and careened around and around the field. I'd read that once they're in a lather, cows can take 1/2 hour to calm down again. And that's about what it took. We stood back. Way way back.

But with the flies poisoned (an industrial sized fly trap is on order which will also, yes PETA, kill the flies), the cows are calm. The stall door is both latched and locked. And Huck is home this weekend, so he gets to muck out the stalls today. And later, my man, who inherited his dad's construction perfectionism, will over-build me a stanchion. I feel so helpless waiting for him to do it. But I come from the school of "cut twice, measure later" construction, so it's just a waste of resources and time for me to build anything out of wood and saws and nails. Once I've got her de-flied, and fully restrained, I think I'll start milking again. Honestly, I just want to get her a cow straight jacket, or a concrete mold with openings for her teets, mouth and butt sticking out. OMG, Peta, I'm just kidding!

Next time, I'm getting a cow that isn't wild-caught, free-range.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

It simply doesn't exist

Honestly, I'm confused about my personality. I'm confused about being human. And I'm confused as to why I am still confused about this all. Presumably, all I've ever been is human and myself. So why would I be confused about the only thing I've ever known? And why am I still confused about that at the age of 33 1/2?

Some days, everything snaps into place, like all of eternity has been waiting for this moment. Like when I come home, to this house, I feel like I've lived here my whole life, forever. Or when I lived in Mexico, those first few days wondering around and thinking how everything seemed so familiar and obvious. Like I'd done it all before.

I was reading this week about time and about how it doesn't really exist. Part of Einstein's continuing, massive, mind-crazy-making with humanity. That man upends my entire brain every time he speaks. Speaks, I say, because why not? If there's no such thing as time, then past tense is absurd.

My first question was: How long have people known about this?

Maybe that's what deja vu is: the experience of reality, the one where there is no such thing as time. And maybe that's why I feel familiar with strange things. But it certainly doesn't explain my constant bewilderment with who I am and what my gig is.

I'm definitely having some doubts about not working, about staying home, about exploring what tasks feel right to me. Spending nine days on vacation with the uber-successful (as in: was interviewed on NPR and is presenting to the EU, in Brussels this week) can certainly cast a shadow over staying home with one's kids and milking cows. I mean, the global irrelevance of my life and work is staggering.

I think this is part of where unhappiness comes from: the bar for success is so high in such a crowded world that it's impossible for 99.99% of us to feel successful. Once upon a time, success was living to 30 and procreating a few times. But if time doesn't exist, then I suppose I can consider myself a raging success as well... if I try hard enough. If I put our culture out of my mind and go super-zen and live in my own little pointless world without time. Those neanderthals have no idea how good they have it!

On the bright side, I suppose no one's going to hang me if I waste what never existed to begin with.

I'm tired today because I awoke in the middle of the night and worried about the most pointless thing ever. I worried that our house might have a ghost. I wouldn't like that, not that they exist or anything. Some one I'm related to by blood says her house in Oakland has ghosts and the appropriately paranormal people have been called in to cope with them. I wouldn't like that at all, but it seems probable, despite their not existing, that our 1901 house would have at least a few. I wouldn't mind some dead relatives I actually knew coming by to check things out and say hello. But a stranger? That I didn't invite? In my house? I won't take kindly to ghosts I don't know. And here I'll be, all alone, in this big old house for a few hours a day (once the kinks get worked out in Coyote's schedule) with some strange ghost. I'm sick of being surrounded by strangers, and I just don't want to deal with ghost strangers too. And then I wondered: if time does not exist, maybe I am the ghost I'm worried about. Or perhaps the experience of ghosts is just people still living there, during overlapping non-times. I could be someone else's ghost and I could suddenly become upset about a remodel project 75 years in the future. I'd be all hot and bothered and not know why. But 75 years later someone's calling in the ghost whisperer to figure out why I'm in a rage today.

Damn Einstein. I think I'll have more peace of mind if he just never exists. Maybe I can come up with an equation that proves his non-existence. That would be a fine use of the time I don't have. Better than failing five times to post pictures.

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