Saturday, February 28, 2009


One time I was driving with a guy I was seeing – should I give him a name? . . . Nah. We were on the back roads bumping along – it wasn’t paved and his shocks were useless. It was February and there was nothing growing and the sky and every shrub and stubble of plant fiber on the ground was grey.

In the fields around us were hundreds – maybe thousands – of crows. Crows on the ground and in the air – crows flying back and forth in overlapping black lines – a layer of crow hovering 100 feet above the ground. It was a convergence of what seemed like every crow in the four surrounding states. Cawing.

We were riding along in his Chevy Nova – also black – he had spray painted it to cover the brightly colored hippy drawings the previous owner had painted on it.

In the road I could see the swollen corpse of a possum – a big one – maybe 14 pounds. We’re not driving very fast so we could have avoided it. But ex-boyfriend drives us directly over the rotten body. It is unbelievably disgusting and he – him – this guy is laughing and mocking my disgust – eeeeeeewwwww, that’s soooooooo groooooooossss – as if the smell doesn’t bother him at all. We get out and possum flesh – which is mostly liquid and jelly at this point – is smeared all over the fender around the front tire. His laughter goes on and on while I ask him a hundred times over, what did you do that for? And what the hell is so damn funny?

I once had a friend who decided to move to Arizona because she saw two crows cut a sharp left turn in the sky and head in that direction.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Again with the headache. It started at the bakery -- the new job is going great -- where they had me make 55 little ramekins of flan. I love flan. It has this borderline burned flavor from the sugar -- not your usual desert. As you know, flan is baked in a water bath which makes it all muy tranquilo for the flan. But the little ramekins are so shallow and the pans we use for the water bath are also shallow -- the whole thing jiggling and slopping like crazy putting it into the oven -- well the water evaporates pretty quickly and if you don't put more water in the water bath then not so tranquilo for the flan. Honestly I don't know what would actually happen if we just let the things bake without water.

So I'm standing over the open oven with an 8 cup pitcher of boiling water which I have to carefully pour into the water bath pan without getting any into the flan cups and I'm sweating bullets. Nevermind that it is still winter. It is probably close to 200 degrees standing over that open oven -- OPEN OVEN! -- with boiling water -- you get the picture.

Ordinarily I really like to sweat -- I think it is very cleansing -- and one of my Korean acupuncture Buddhist healer friends told me sweating is good for the liver -- but this kind of sweating gave me a migraine. I know -- dehydration. Whatever. I was drinking tons of water. And yes peeing too. Clear and copious. But still this headache got so big I couldn't see. My peripheral vision turned all white. I had to lie down in the manager's office with a cold washcloth over my eyes. That helped for as long as no one walked into the office.

Later at home I called Sunny to come over to help me. First thing she says when I pull the towel off my eyes -- I'm lying in bed in the dark and still need a towel over my eyes -- "your head has gotten bigger!" Which is exactly what it felt like.

This was yesterday. I still kind of have the ambiance of a headache. What the hell is going on? I probably have a brain tumor.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I'm trying to delay posting anything right now because I am hoping to see the fruits of a new collaboration. The artist Rachel Perrine has agreed to work with me to supply some visual work as an accompaniment to the blog. I have supplied her with some words from upcoming posts:

tossing bread into a snowy field

and I forget the other. But this should be tremendous. She is supremely talented and her work is exciting and just great great great. I can't wait to share it with you in the Search for Red Tea Pot.



One time I baked three loaves of bread. This was a long time ago, before I had heard about this baking job (starts tomorrow!) I wrapped one loaf up and took it over to Thom's house. He didn't ask me in even though that's what I really wanted. I gave him the bread and left.

Later he told me that he had chucked the bread into the snowy field behind his house. He also said that he didn't have much food and kind of regretted tossing the bread.

I remember how moody he was, but I also thought that it was something that I had done. At the time, it had to do with getting to know some friends of his and getting along with them pretty well. I thought he was unhappy about that.

Later in our friendship, after I left New Mexico and we would write letters he was more consistently loving. And this would never cease to surprise me. Even at the end, a week or so before he died, he said to me, "you are my prize."

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Sunny sometimes watches her neighbor's kids Ray -- 5 -- and Lizzy -- 7. Today Lizzy was puking and so Sunny called me to hang with Ray while she dealt with Lizzy.

I set Ray up with some paints and a carboard box on Sunny's floor.

"Don't get any paint on Miss Sunny's carpet, OK?"

Five minutes later: "Red, I got paint on the carpet."

"Oh no, Ray. What am I going to tell Miss Sunny?"

Moment of Silence.

"Tell her I'm an idiot."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Hey check it out. I've been through a few hells lately. Man it's so exciting when they're finally over. Next week I see a woman about a job in a restaurant -- baking -- sweet! I mean where do these changes come from? So cool.

It's weird to have a future. Baking -- with a woman -- and others. Not real. Therefore, I'll do it!

I've been doing pretty much nothing lately. I do have another job but it's not enough -- cooking and making beds at a B + B twice a week. Still behind on some bills -- don't worry the room is covered. But there's no money for aquarium supplies. I changed the water and things seem to be stabilizing. The fish are swimming faster. That's good. But only three left. Actually four.

It's all completely perfect. Stuck in my miserable petty little self. Then transcend -- new job.

I feel like a fart in paradise.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Tonight Sunny had me over for hamburgers on the grill. She lives near the train tracks and there was something about the way we were grilling hamburgers while the noise of the train hammered by. Her dog was there too.

She recently got a piano. I'm not sure if her mother gave it to her or if there was some friend who didn't want it any more. This was the first time I saw the piano in her living room and the first time I heard her play.

I knew Sunny from a long time ago when we were teenagers in New Mexico. We used to smoke pot in the bushes by the river. She had a lot to do with my moving here and my trying to start over.

Sunny played me two songs on the piano by Beethoven. I've never actually had that experience before -- of having a friend play for me. It felt so peaceful. She looked smaller than her usual size sitting there at the piano. And the room also felt different while she played. Like the furniture and us were just there in some temporary way while the real room -- what we could hear there -- the walls and the floor reflecting the piano sounds -- was an empty shell that would always be there.


Saturday, February 7, 2009


This required the large cart they keep in a room off the lobby. Large cart. Big load. I rarely clean out my room and after all the stuff I've had shipped to me -- months ago -- there was just a lot of cardboard.

I loaded up the cart and carted it out to the big recycling dumpster in the parking lot. When I came back in to return the cart some painters had set up their ladders in the doorway to the cart room so I had to go in another side door. As I was turning the cart around Angel, the guy who sweeps and vacuums our floors and generally cleans up after, appears from behind the corner. I had seen him mopping the front hall. He came over to help me.

I've been thinking about this since yesterday. Do you know anyone who is just really really sweet? I sometimes think I'm the sweetest person I know. But then there is my friend Sunny. She's very sweet. And then there is Angel.

Angel has a high-pitched voice that makes him sound like a child of 8 instead of somewhere in his 20's. One of his eyes doesn't open. I don't know what happened there. I always say hi and goodbye, pretty much one after the other because that is what he does. "Hi" -- walk by -- "Bye."

Angel took the cart and wheeled it into the room and parked it in the little nook. I followed him about, moved a little chair that wasn't really in the way. "Thank you," I said. "Your welcome," he said. "How are you?" I said. "Fine." He maybe doesn't speak much English. I did manage to find out he's from the Philippines and he goes there once a year.

Whatever background he has, how did he get so sweet? How come he's not hard with suffering? Maybe it's not that bad. Maybe he has religion. I know some people get very sweet with religion. It sure softened me up.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


One night, as she was getting ready to go out, I put a note in my mom's papers that said: "Hi Mom, I just wanted to give you this note to say hi. I love you. Please don't tell anyone I put this note in here." I was twelve.

She was going to a weekly, evening meeting with some group of educators, one of whom was a friend of my mom's -- Mrs. Lazar -- who came over after the meeting. I went into the kitchen as they fixed themselves drinks and munched on a bag of microwave popcorn.

When Mrs. Lazar saw me, she said, "We got your note."

In my memory Mrs. Lazar looked at my mother even though she was talking to me. Like she was watching my mother's reaction. And my mother, with all her gorgeous brown hair and silk blouse and gold jewelry, showed us her back. She continued to do whatever she was doing at the stainless steel sink. I think she felt really bad for sharing that note and didn't want to turn around.

I think she feels really bad generally for all the mean things she said and did. It really breaks my heart.

And how about Mrs. Lazar? Just as my Mom betrays me, she betrays my mom. Right? Maybe I'm reading too much into this. Too bad Mrs. Lazar didn't scoop me up right then and there and say to me "you are so great to write that note and I know your Mom really liked it and she was so happy to get it that she just had to share it with us."

Too bad. Because instead I was totally mortified. Like lobster-face humiliated. Like wow I felt silly for reaching out to my mom. What a mistake.

Monday, February 2, 2009


I've been keeping a close watch on this guppy in my aquarium because I think it is going to die. It isn't eating. It isn't really swimming. Its gills are pulsating rapidly as are its fins which keep it in a suspended position behind the fake tree root near where the bubbles come up. Every time I go over to the tank I expect it to be belly up.

Thom died a couple weeks ago. Not a guppy, he was my human friend in New Mexico. We dated for a while and then he called it off. Fine. We stayed friends and we wrote each other letters. The last letter I got wasn't from him but from someone who told me about how Thom was in hospice. I went to see him and we had a few hours together. I said goodbye and thank you because he gave me help when I needed a lot of it -- when I was 21 and very clueless and very alone. When I saw him in hospice I could see he was probably facing the end -- so thin, no appetite, oxygen tubes and the pink gums I've seen happen in dying people -- like pepto bismol pink. But he was talking about how he wanted to get better and even drive his car again.

About ten days later he died in his sleep. I miss him, blah blah blah.

The last death I want to mention here is Timothy Treadwell's. He is the guy in the movie Grizzly Man -- Werner Herzog directed it. He seemed like a really sad person in a way I completely relate to. So vulnerable and sensitive it feels impossible to survive in the mean world. So what does he do? He flees. He goes to live with the grizzly bears in Alaska. So what happens? He goes there for 13 consecutive summers, films them, talks to them, lives near them. Then, after a long summer and a little bit of the fall, one of them eats him and his girlfriend. The crazy thing is there is an audio recording of the killing. He turned the camera on but didn't have time to take the lens cap off. The director described the audio -- moaning, a frying pan being wielded, six minutes in all -- but decided not to play the audio in the movie --thank god.

It's good to think about death because it wakes me up. Snap to it. Awake! But so far it hasn't made anything happen faster. I don't want to waste my life. I want to live it. Wake up! Wake up! But I'm still just here. Blah.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


If you are like me, when you feel indistinct and vague, it is helpful to come upon a person to model yourself upon. I don't know how those backless halters fit here -- because they are a little hippie -- but there is this woman who is about as sharp as you can get. Of course you know Shirley Chisholm is the first African American woman in congress and the first African American to run for president -- seriously -- with support and with delegates -- in 1972 -- but have you heard her speak?

I just don't know if my brain can get behind my mouth like that. I know my brain is strong but sometimes it is so sleepy. Actually it's a confidence thing.

Confidence, as far as I can tell, is really hard to learn if you didn't get it early. Kind of like learning a musical instrument. Easiest to learn when you are a child, open, easily formed. There have been times when long periods have passed where I haven't spoken to ANYONE -- like days of not speaking -- and I am forced to leave the hotel room -- for work or groceries -- and people can't hear me and worse, people don't see me. I am invisible. Ugh. Have you ever tried to talk to the butcher in a grocery store? You have to shout.

Now you are wondering how I can wear the backless halter tops. I tell you, it is a challenge to put the damn thing on my body.