Deer Skull

S., because she is awesome, brought me a deer skull. I had intended on putting it in my room but the Butcher was so delighted by it that he talked me into letting it live here in the living room once we get the living room back together.

I have better friends than I deserve. I have long thought so, but this month has proven it.


When I tell you what I’m about to tell you, you will be unsurprised to learn that my Grandpa Phillips died of brain cancer that riddled the bottom of his brain all along his sinuses. My Grandpa Phillips practically chain-smoked Muriel Magnum Cigars. They came in boxes of 50 (they still may, I don’t know) and my Grandpa would go through at least five boxes a month. The empty boxes became trunks for Barbie clothes. They held nuts and bolts and washers and screws in his workroom in the basement. They were everywhere, useful boxes.

Nothing brings him to mind as quickly or as firmly in my mind as the smell of Muriel cigars. My Grandpa didn’t really like men, to put it mildly, and my dad was among his least favorite men on the planet. My Grandpa died when the Butcher was quite young, about three and a half, but the Butcher still has vivid memories of him hooking his cane around the Butcher’s ankle and toppling him over. For some reason, that cane came to the Butcher. I don’t know if my dad took it after my grandpa died or if the Butcher took it after my Grandma died, but it hangs over our mantle now.

It’s because of men like my Grandpa that I hope the afterlife is either a lie and we all just rest, finally at quiet, dark, nothing-filled peace, until we are food for worms and trees and grass. Turned over like you turn over a compost pile, reused in some way that requires nothing more of us than moulder in our graves until even they crumble. Or that we are unbent, unburdened by the things that weigh us down here. I hope people are recognizable, but I hope more that they are happy.

Ha, speaking of my dad, he just told me on the phone that I have to stop insinuating on Facebook that I’ve been cursed, since “life just happens.” I didn’t share with him that he sounds a lot like an old chthonic goddess.

Anyway, I think all us Phillips granddaughters have been known to smoke a Muriel in our day. At least, in our younger days. I’m not sure my lungs could handle it now.

Just What I Didn’t Know I Needed

Last night I had dinner with some friends and managed to drink just the perfect amount of wine and a delicious cup of coffee. The conversation was excellent. And I could tell the story of my ceiling as a story and not as the traumatic thing that happened to me that I want to throw up over. And that was really, really nice.

The tire turned out to be a minor thing, a $20 fix. There was a little piece of metal in it which they found and removed and fixed. I was so relieved I almost started crying.

I would like to get back to writing. I don’t know what, but I had just been so nicely in the groove of it and I’d like to get back to it.

I had a dream, like a meaningful dream, that I was on a sled with Hel, who was, as you’d expect, half soft, beautiful woman and half skeleton and we were going down the hill–this huge hill–into town and in the dream, right when we’re about to curve to make the final descent into town, she says something like “That’s where you go, but if you didn’t?” and she flung me over the side of a cliff and I fell and fell and fell until I was in the underworld where I found a black pearl and put it in my pocket.

And I think the meaning is straightforward–things are going to be okay. But even if they weren’t, there would be value in the experience.

And I think that’s true. I may be too hung up on luck.

Though, I must say that I love the idea of life being a sled-ride with Hel. Creepy, but it feels right.