Earth Day 2014 – Long Lost Post

Hi! I found this post in the Drafts section of my blog – something I started with all good intentions, but never finished. Story of my life. Anyhoo, I like looking back, and I made some 2017 Updates, all in bold. Happy Earth day everyone! get off the computer and into the world!

1st Earth DayPogo-We_Have_Met_the_Enemy_and_He_Is_Us-colorHopeful, 2009Gas Mask

Hooray! It’s Earth Day! It’s the perfect holiday for me, because I think the planet is groovy and I have loved all the days I have spent on it. This year’s Earth Day is blue-skied and mild, part of the two weeks of fantastic weather we get in my city before it gets too hot to breathe. The garden is coming in; I have asparagi waving in the wind, my strawbs are berrying, and my Japanese Maple is flirting elegantly, dipping and and nodding graciously to anyone who passes. To celebrate, I think I will be outside all the doodah day, doing good deeds and spreading the love. So, to start off right, here are some things to check out on Earth.

2107 Update – The Japanese Maple died, because I live in Hell and its delicate leaves fried to a crisp. I got a new one and planted a bigger tree over it, to give it some shade. So far, so good.

1. Babies– Babies are really cute, especially if they are happy. They have tiny fingers and perfect little mouths, and their noses always tilt up. I have a lot in common with them – I like to eat and nap and have people do things for me, just like they do. The newest baby in my life is this one: McDorableGuess who she is? Making her debut on the Smaller Adventure stage is McDorable McAdams! That’s right, McAdams and Big Poppa had a baby! She really puts a crimp in my vacation adventure plans, but I like her anyway. Welcome to the world, McDorable, and congratulations to the entire McAdams family.

Happy First Birthday, Baby Peri!

Coming soon: Baby Girand, due Thursday!

Also, to all the Aries babies that I grew up with- Happy Birthday, y’all!

UPDATE, 2017: McDorable is now bigger than I am, as her mother is a giantess. She is, however, a sweet-pea, who calls me Auntie, and won’t go to bed unless I do, too.

Baby Peri moved to Maryland, where a fox visits her porch. She now has a brother and a sister, twins Haden and Cohen. Mom and Dad are very tired, but happy.

Baby Girand moved to Colorado, with her little sister and parents. They love being high in the mountains.

And, happily crashing the scene just two days before press time, welcome Sophie Meira, my newest cousin! I can’t wait to meet you!

So, yeah, babies. There is one being born right now. Birth is part of a beautiful cycle, non? Here is an artist who looks at the other end of that cycle and draws inspiration from it:

2. Art from Death:

Her name is Pesi Girsch. You should google her. I  like her photography. I also love woodcuts.

Gustave Baumann: Gustave Baumann was an American print maker, painter and marionette maker. He also served as an art coordinator for the WPA. He was big in color woodcuts, which are so vibrant and interesting to me, because the way the lines come together to form a balanced image appeals to my obsession with patterns.

The-Landmark-by-Gustave-BaumannHopi Corn, Gustave BaumannThe Shoemaker- Gustave Baumann

A long time on Earth Day, back in the forgotten decade, the 80’s, my best friend worked in DC on Capitol Hill. She volunteered to coordinate all the volunteers of that particular Earth Day year, whenever it was, and I scored a gig in the hospitality tent, where I got to bring Woody Harrelson drinks. He was parched, so I saw a lot of him, and now I remember Earth Day as the Day of the Big Woody. Now he’s in this TV show I like, True Detective, with Secret Genius Matthew McConaughey. Woody plays this police detective ( a true one, no doubt) named Marty Hart. Like all good tv detectives, he is a deeply flawed man; he wasn’t that way when we were together, though. True Detective fans might like this:   

Update, 2017: It wasn’t in the ’80’s, but the 90’s. I forgot them, too. 

Turns out maybe Matthew McConaughey is not a secret genius.

Turns out maybe Big Woody is:

The second season of True Detectives turned out to be True Disappointment. Also, I don’t remember why True detective fans might have liked that link.

My friend, who just marched forth and celebrated another birthday, now lives in Austin, where she raises her son, is active in politics, sleeps late, dances in the kitchen, and makes my time on this planet better, richer and more meaningful just by her being in it.

3. On Earth, we watch a lot of tv.

UPDATE 2017: I don’t know where I was going with this, but I probably wanted to write about what I was watching. These days I’m watching some fine TV – Fargo just started again, and Better Call Saul, and I like a show called Crashing. I’m sad Girls is ending – I really liked it. I watch a lot of documentaries – damn, there’s a lot of stuff I don’t know! So TV on earth – Huzzah! Sadly, some of the best of it may not be around for long…

4. Talkin’ the talk: Earth Day 2014 followed the release of the United Nations study on Climate Change, which was grim as hell. ; tv version:  Bottom line: we are fucking up and we need to get our shit together. We are running out of time, and in some cases, we’re too late. This news was met with what appears to be almost universal apathy. Maybe we care, but we feel defeated and overwhelmed. I don’t think that’s it, though. We just refuse to see, to deal with what is impending. We’re not hurting now, so we can’t envision future pain.

UPDATE 2017: This is only getting worse. It’s overwhelming and depressing, or as our science-denying, fact -defying, anti-environmentalist president would tweet, “sad”.

And so, mi amigos, this is where I left it in 2014. Much has happened since then; much has stayed the same. The world is still full of beauty, wonder, chaos, pain, death, birth, hope, and possibility. My hope is that I don’t squander my time here, or leave the magnificent marble in a worse state than I found it.

Bonus: A Spring Poem

Oh, Limp Picks!

The main reason I am writing this post is because I wanted to use this brilliant title in a timely manner. (Think about it…brilliant and timely, right? I made that up!) Unfortunately, I ran into an unforeseeable problem; how could I have known that it would prove difficult to write about “limp picks”? Like, for example, what am I even talking about here? Attempting to excavate the crusted contents of one’s nasal cavities with the fingers of a broken hand? Trying to play the guitar with picks made of American cheese slices? Would it be filling my post with photos so poorly taken or implausible that they can’t stand up to even passing scrutiny?   I decided that maybe I would interpret limo picks to be about decisions made not because of conviction, but borne only out of the necessity to decide. Like Mitt Romney. Nobody likes him all that much, but the Republicans had to come up with some candidate, so they picked Mitt, but limply. That would be a good thing to post about, except that’s all I really have to say about that.

Maybe limp picks are kind of lame picks, kind of the lesser of two evils, like: which would you rather have, lice or crabs? Both have their benefits, ya know. Would you rather be chased or chaste? Either one kinda sucks. Be eaten by nutria or the dreaded snakehead fish? Rock and a hard place. You catch my drift* here, right?

Really, pretty much anything I choose to write about in this post is a limp pick, because I am writing it only to support a lame pun. But I guess you realized that by now.

Here is what I really want to write about:

1. I love that new show The Newsroom. I know, everybody does, but you and I are not really interested in their opinions, right?  Why don’t we have real news like that, the kind that has integrity and facts, and when there is speculation or punditry, it is presented as such, and is well-researched and delivered in mellifluous, witty Sorkinese? I would be so into that! I am sick of watching the news and seeing reporters blather on about stuff they don’t know (not that there is anything wrong with that, like in a blog or something, but not the news, for Chrissakes!) , or they try to keep us glued to our tv’s with sensational, salacious words or pictures. (“No new developments have come to light about the shooter or his motivations, but we would like to discuss the lack of pertinent information for the next seven minutes, as it is our lead story. Here are some live images of people grieving. Wow, that guy is really sad! Look at his real time tears!”)

I like that Newsroom likes what I like (politics, overwrought sentences, rants, Jeff Daniels, a love that is utterly impossible but you know it will work out in the end), and doesn’t  like the stuff that I don’t like (Sarah Palin, the Koch brothers, the Tea Party, stories about people named Brittany). Also, my friend says I remind her of Emily Mortimer. I like that. Mostly people say I remind them of Amy Sedaris, and she’s funny and creative and all, but I think she’s zany and probably high on crank, so that’s not such a compliment. Emily Mortimer is cool, smart, elegant – much more like me. Also, she’s British, which means she’s classy, because she knows the queen.

Amy Sedaris, Jerriblank.comEmily Mortimer

2. This just in! I have it on good authority, from a reliable source that actually knows him, that Matthew McConaughey is smart. I knew it! Told ya he was no January Jones or Keanu Reeves! Yeah, he likes to party and play naked bongos, but so did Einstein! Stuff like that is a mark of intelligence, and sometimes dummies don’t recognize it.

3. I think I eat the most on the days that I am the least active. That doesn’t seem right.

4. I think that they should build bars in dog parks. A person gets awful thirsty standing around in the heat pretending to think other people’s dogs are cute, or dodging enormous poo-mines that are supposed to be cleaned up, but that nobody really does, or throwing piss-encrusted sticks. They could serve snacks and call them “bones” or “treats”, and the drinks could be called “bowls”. They could even be served in bowls, and sorority girls could drink them with their little pink tongues! So cute! The most popular drink would be advertised as a hang-over cure and would be called “Hair of the Dog”.They could have drink specials on Goldschnauzer shots, or on other drinks with catchy names like “Pina Collie-das” or “Shih Tzus and Tonics”. (I’ll have to work on the catchy names.) I think I would have a lot more fun at the dog park, if I could be sipping on a cold Terriertini.

5. While I was out of town I found out that the Texas GOP has included an edict against teaching critical thinking skills and multiculturalism in the education portion of their official platform. Party is pro-corporal punishment and abstinence only sexual education (which manages to take the education bit right out of sex ed.) and, if the goal is to reduce teenage pregnancy, has proven spectacularly ineffective; according to the CDC, Texas had the fourth highest pregnancy rate for teen 15-19 in the nation. California, which is full of sluts and nuts, embraced the concept of comprehensive sex education in the ’90’s and was 29th in the nation for 2010. (I apologize to any sluts , nuts, or Californians who may have become offended or aroused by that last sentence.)

Now, you guys know me. You know how I feel about things like thinking, and my whole ‘knowledge is power’ trip, and how I don’t feel like you should hit people to make your point clear, and my ideas on how kids having kids seldom works out well for anyone. Also, I believe in science, and that social programs that benefit most of the people are generally good things, and that the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which outlawed racially discriminatory voting practices, should stand, as opposed to the Texas GOP, who believe it should be repealed.

I could go on and on. But for right now, let me just say that it is official: The first ever Oh, Limp Pick! Award goes to The Republican Party of Texas for choosing to be a bunch of assholes, and to those of this great state who repeatedly vote them back into power. Congratulations, Texas!

*“Catch my drift” is a strange expression. To drift is a verb, and yet here it is used as a noun. I can’t think of any other situation where it is used like this!**

Remember when you were in high school and you would get high with your friends at a slumber party or something, and then someone would say something like, “Dude, did you eat that whole bag of Oreos?”, and then in your head you’d say, “OREO, OREO”  for what seemed like hours, and then finally you’d say it out loud, but it came out all weird, like, “EEyore-O” or, “Oh! Rio!”, and you would forget what an Oreo looked like, or tasted like, or even what an Oreo was, and then you’d start thinking of that song by Duran Duran, and then you’d think Duran, Duran, the Rio Grande, and then you’d think of how the Rio Grande was just a big crater, oh, no, wait, that’s the Grand Canyon, which is in the desert, and then someone would say, “Dude, get up! You’re sitting on the Oreos! You’re squishing out all the tasty creme filling!”, and then you’d laugh and laugh and remember that you were really thirsty, perhaps more thirsty than you’d ever been in your life.

That’s was ‘to drift’ for sure.

**Oh yeah. ‘Snow drift’. That’s a noun. Never mind.


Okkervil River, without a paddle

Photo by Callum Pontom,

So, the other night I decided to go out. Actually, I didn’t just spontaneously “decide” to go out; I had planned this particular soiree for months. Planning is not really my thing. Generally, I don’t feel comfortable with making an effort, so committing to doing something and then making it happen is a bit of a departure for me.

In about June of this year, my good friends – well, I hate to be a name dropper here, but just between us- my good friends, the band Okkervil River- called me and told me that they were going to be playing in my town and asked me to please come to their gig, so that perhaps they could experience the coveted “Smaller Adventure Bump” that comes when my fans get wind of my whereabouts and activities. They’re all solid dudes (and one totally badass wicked-cool lady), and they’ve worked hard; I’m always willing to give deserving kids the benefit of my unique station in life. Besides, Okkervil and I go way back; here’s a picture I took of them when we took our big canoe trip down the actual Okkervil River, which is in St. Petersberg, Russia. 

Ah, we had a big old time! It was a great trip, and we all became really close. I swear this is all true. Except for this part: I didn’t really take that picture. I got it from Google Images off of Dave Krause’s website, And also, that part about the band calling me; it either went down exactly like that, or maybe I looked on their website and found out their tour dates. On account of I don’t, you know, really “know” the band. I did meet the bass player at a backyard party a South by Southwest one year. OK, “meet” might be a little strongly worded; someone I was with said, “Hey look! That tall shaggy guy over there! That’s the bass player for Okkervil River!” But there really is an Okkervil River in St. Petersberg; well, according to Wikipedia, anyway. I wouldn’t know. I’ve never been to Russia.

So, anyway, when I heard they were coming I wrote it down on my calender, even though the actual show was months away. I talked it up to all my friends. The one I thought for sure would go with me watched a video of the band performing one of my favorite songs, said it “sucked dong”, and shortly thereafter moved to another state. Others expressed vague interest- “Oh yeah, I’m always down for new music – what kind of a weird name is that for a band anyway? Are they, like, country?” – but I began to resign myself that nobody wanted to go.

Except for me. I wanted to go. And so I decided that goshdarnit, I would, even if I had to go by myself.

By myself isn’t so bad. I go to eat by myself. I go shopping by myself. I go to the movies by myself. But a concert? That’s cool for young-hipster-wherever-I-go-is-where-the-real scene-is guys, but not for a tiny-middle-aged-double-chin lady.

But still. What do I care if fresh, young, non-jiggling people look at me with a mixture of confusion, pity, and a sense of foreboding doom, as if I was a warning for what life could become? I like the band! I like going to shows! I’m going, dammit!

And so, once I made this decision firm, I had plenty of time to wrap my head around the solo concert experience. In time, I grew used to the idea, and then excited by it. I would go to the show by myself, and I would like it!

But then, strange things started to happen.

I asked my friend who never goes anywhere if she wanted to go, mostly just to be nice. Even if you never want to go anywhere, it’s nice to be invited. Much to my surprise, she said yes.

I told my friend Lisa I was going, because she’s from Austin, and the band is from Austin, and she loves all things Austin, so I figured she’d be proud that I was supporting Austin things. “I love them!” she exclaimed. “Remember the time I thought I saw the bass player at that party? How about my boyfriend and I go with you?”

“Well, all right, all right, all right,” I said. Matthew McConaughey was born in Uvalde, Texas, but he spent a lot of time in Austin, so when I’m around Lisa, I often try to talk like him. I think she appreciates it.

Then, my neighbors called. “We want to go new places and do new things. What’s that band with the weird name again? Can we go? Can we bring our cool friend Andy along also?”

Well, hellz yeah! The more the merrier! I guess where I am is where the party wants to be! Yay!!!! Hello, good times! Let’s roll!

Lisa was the first to drop out.

It seems that unbeknownst to her, her boyfriend signed the two of them up for a reality show called something like “Pimp My Kitchen.”  After a rigorous screening process, if you are lucky enough to be chosen, a camera crew comes to your house, commiserates with you about how hideous and unsanitary your food galley is, and then destroys it. You move into a hotel or something, and they rebuild it, stronger, faster, able to leap tall trees in a single bound.

Lisa’s shithole rat trap of a kitchen made it to the top three finalists, and she and her boyfriend had to make a video showing how excited they were that the kitchen cavalry was coming.

At least it was an original excuse. And besides, everyone else was still in.

I was going to pick up my friend who never goes anywhere at quarter to eight on Saturday. I called her Friday after work.

“So, how you doin’?” I asked this like Joey on Friends did. Remember?

“Great! I’m really looking forward to tomorrow night! 7:45, right?”

I was shocked. I called to give her an out, yet she was still in. Well, yippie ki yay and hot diggity dog!

7:00 came and yet without a cancellation call.  I got dressed.

7:30, and all systems go! I told Atticus not to wait up, cuz Mama was steppin’ out tonight!

7:31, and the phone rings. It seems my friend has a strange flesh-eating bacterial disease and had pancake sized bruises on her legs. I tried to tell her that she’d be fine, but it’s hard to argue with necrotic breakfast food lesions on the extremities. I guess she’d just noticed them. She was out.

But my neighbors and Mr. Cool were still in, and I set off to meet them at 8:00 at a bar they had suggested.

Parking was a little tricky, so I got to the bar at 8:06. The bartender was happy to see me, largely because I was the only patron in the place. The bar was a beer bar.

It had beers from all over the world, in bottles and cans displayed on row after row of floor-to-ceiling shelves. There were beers in coolers, beers behind the bar, and about 20,000 beers on tap.

I don’t really care for beer, or as I like to call it, “bitter liquid burp”. The bartender thought that I was just confused, and that I really did enjoy the brewskis, and lots of them. We discussed this possibility for about 15 minutes before my cell phone rang. I knew what was coming.

“Hi, neighbor!” I said pleasantly into the receiver. “Listen, I know what you’re going to say. It’s all right if you can’t make it tonight. Things happen. There’s a flesh-eating virus going around. I’ll let you borrow my cd’s, and we’ll go see the band the next time they’re in town. Talk to ya later!”

“Wait!” screamed E. Both of my neighbor’s have names that start with the letter E. It doesn’t really matter which one I was talking to, so you can picture either a man shreik or a lady squawk. “We’re still coming! We’re just late! We’re parking right now! And we brought another couple, too! Jeesh! Conclusion jump much?”

There are few things better than when resigning yourself to being ditched results in an impromptu party where you are the star. Everyone ordered a different beer, and the bartender found a bottle of Malbec in a hidden corner just for me. Cool Andy was cool, the new couple were funny and smart, and the E’s fought over who got to sit by me! Oh, how we laughed, HA HA!!! We were beautiful people out for a beautiful evening, casual and backlit by the fading light of an end-of-summer day. My teeth have seldom felt whiter, and my hair had body and shine.

After cocktails it was time to go, and so we arrived at the venue, a 1920’s converted movie theater, and, because I am the luckiest girl in the world, we completely missed the line for tickets and went right in. I heard the opening notes of a great song that absolutely does not suck dong and ran in, skipping down the aisles to bask in the musical glow with my fellow Okkervil fans.

The band was magnificent! The sound was crisp and clear and there was dancing and clapping over the head, and fist pumping. I loved it!

For three songs. Some might call it “the second encore”, because that’s what it was. We were really late. I’m not so good at keeping time, but I thought for sure someone else was. Maybe Cool Andy. As it turned out, I traded good company and a half bottle of Malbec on the patio of a beer bar for the show I had waited months to see.


Still and all, I guess it was worth it. It was an adventure. A small adventure, to be sure, and one that is so disappointingly anti-climactic there is  no way to justify an excessively long and detailed re-telling of it, but I got out, went new places, met new people, and heard some fine tunes. I had fun.

I plan to plan to do something again real soon.

P.S. If you are a member of the band Okkervil River, I think we would get along really well. We could be bff’s.  Call me!


Sarahs, Get Out of My Head!

Sometimes I wake up with that Sarah Silverman song about Matt Damon song in my head and then that’s pretty much it for the rest of the day. You can’t go anywhere because you’re bound to burst into the chorus – it’s just so joyfully exuberant! – in the produce aisle or at a playground full of children. I like Matt Damon, because he hates Sarah Palin and can talk like Matthew McConaughey, two of my “Must Haves” in a man. Or a woman, really.

Don’t you think it’s weird that in that last paragraph, I spoke about four people, but between them they only had two names? Coincidence? Perhaps…
Speaking of Her Shrillness, Palin has a new book out. Don’t buy it. Instead, go buy Steve Martin’s new book, Object of Beauty. It was released yesterday, which was my friend Jono’s birthday – Holla, Jono! – and here is an article about it from the NYT, which was published on my mom’s birthday. Oh, the coinkeedinks! Crazy, right?
Watch this. It’s still funny. Just be careful… once it’s in yo head, it’ll be comin’ out yo mouf.

Are you still here? Great! Then you deserve a BONUS! I love this song, and I especially like this video, because Hall (or is that Oates?) looks like Freddie Mercury, and Oates (maybe that’s Hall) looks kind of like a cross between Patrick Swayze and how I imagine Pony Boy from The Outsiders.

Not complaining can kill you!


I just got back from a fantastic mini-vacation, magnificently planned, I must say, to have a maximum amount of fun for a minimal amount of time and money. All went swimmingly, except for one little hitch; I couldn’t turn my head. I’ve had a little problem with tension in my shoulders for about six months or so, but lately it’s gotten worse, so I went and had a massage, which I enjoyed. The masseuse rubbed my neckial region and then told me that my glutes were activated. Of course, I thanked him politely; I’m nothing if not polite. He informed me that active glutes are not a good thing, and spent the rest of the session gouging his elbows into the fat of my ass. I was bruised for much of the rest of the week, which completely took my mind off the fact that my shoulders felt like they had been cranked up to my ears and been superglued there. I would have just sucked it up – I’m nothing if not a sucker -but my friends kept making fun of me whenever I tried to turn my head. “Ha ha!” they laughed. ” She looks like that robot from “Lost in Space!” Hey, Barney Rubble! Where’s your neck, Barney? Ha ha!”

My friends are hilarious.

Still, I figured I couldn’t spend the rest of my life never looking left, so I decided to do something about it. I’m nothing if not a decider.

I looked up my old bud from college -I’ll call him Jon, because that’s his name – because he is an expert in relaxation. In fact, my most in my most vivid memories of him from those days, I always picture him in bed. In the days since, he has continued his higher education, and become a massage therapist, and now he knows lots of stuff about muscles, tendons and connective tissue. He was kind enough to clear his schedule and give me a bit of the magic touch.

I expected candles, water noises (always makes me have to peepee), scented face pillows, and soft, whispering touches, and experience from which I would emerge as loose as the elastic in Britney Spears waistband (Get it? On account she don’t wear no panties! They’re never on, get it?!) Alas, none of this was to be. Jon proceeded to tell me everything that is wrong with me, and Lordy Lou, I am jacked up! I have pinched nerves, swelling around my L7 (a swollen lesbian band?), Darth Vadars Spatula, TMJ, REM’s , Sphygmoidal Redaction, Carpet Tunnels, Primae Faciae, and Pectoralis. There is a chance I misunderstood some of the things he told me, though he explained very patiently; I was just so OVERWHELMED by everything, and it was hard to focus. I do recall that he said that I had some muscle tone under my fat, which I took as a bold flirtation – flattering, yes, but inappropriate under the circumstances. Anyhoo, Jon was as shocked as I was at the extent of my tension. Muscles that should feel like rubber bands felt like piano wire, and at one point, when he pressed a spot in my jaw, I burst into tears. How did I get this way?

That’s right, ladies and gents! You guessed it; I haven’t been complaining enough! It is just NOT good for you to contain your poisonous stress levels, and if you don’t eject that venom onto society as a whole, it backs up and clogs your system. You need to roto-rooter yourself with a good dose of cacking and get that stuff out of you! Take your lambda probe and clean out your bitch-filter! Let it fly, people! Don’t hold that stuff in!


Of course, there are other things you can do to reduce tension. One of those things is to relax. In order to facilitate this, I have decided to talk like Matthew McConaughey or Mitch Hedberg, two guys who actually sound a lot alike, except for the first is stoned and stupid, and the second is just stoned. And also deceased. Anyway, when you talk like that, it’s hard to be uptight, alright, alright. I am also considering developing a prescription drug addiction, but so far my doctor hasn’t been altogether cooperative in this venture. I am definitely going to take more vacations, because the fun is good for me. Finally, more massage is key. Maybe next time another human being touches me, I can bear it without sobbing. In the meantime (Mean time? What does that even mean? Average time? Aggressively unkind time? Significant time?), I have a new challenge for myself: chillax and be happy, and when I’m sad, frustrated or angry, or if my feelings are hurt, I’m telling. So, I’ll listen to your complaining if you listen to mine. Even if it’s boring. Anybody want in on this action? I’m nothing if not generous with my solutions to life’s little problems.

Poem that Complains About the Heat, by Liliane Richman:

The Killer Heat

We’ve been in the hundreds
a couple weeks lasting
so unfair
fraying memory
of the changeling Spring
who lulled me
into believing
it would stay forever

This is what it looks like when things are going swimmingly.

This is what it looks like when things are NOT going so swimmingly.

QUESTION TO PONDER: When fish are whacked, do they say, “Yeah, Louie the Fin? He’s sleepin’ with the humans, now!”?

ANOTHER QUESTION: How would you punctuate that last question? I’m nothing if not puctual…