Ghost Creek

I’m listening to Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places while I work on this afghan and it’s really good. It has me thinking a lot about how places become haunted and what it means to be haunted as well as the components Americans expect in a ghost story in order to believe that it’s true.

He’s really good at teasing out some of the racial components. I wish he were better about teasing out some of the gender components. But overall, I’m enjoying the shit out of it.

This morning, I just walked the dog up and down the driveway because the storms last night had made the ground too wet to walk across. This was my view:

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Back behind those two trees is the concrete ditch the creek that runs through my yard has been forced into. The muck you’re looking at here is what remains after a night in which the creek returns to its old ways.

It feels like a ghost, like my yard is haunted by the old path of the creek. And it’s real and true. My yard is haunted by the old path of the creek. Sometimes, like last night with all the storms, a creek appears in the old spot and moves through the land in the old ways, and then vanishes again.

So much we think is gone for good, irrevocably destroyed, comes back in ways that are unsettling. Why should the dead be any different?

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Declutter

I’ve decided the next big thing I’m going to do for myself is hire housecleaners. Which means I have to declutter this motherfucker, so they can come in and work. And, frankly, I am as overwhelmed by the prospect of decluttering as I am by anything.

I think what I’m going to do is just set a timer for 20 minutes and do as much as I can every day in 20 minutes. The house isn’t that big and I don’t have piles of clothes or small aisles of a horde to navigate. But ugh.

I almost wonder if I could pay someone to come organize my house so that I can pay someone to clean it.

Never Have I Been So Happy about Poop

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I have half of my horizontal joins done! It tickles me–in a prickly way–to know I’m going to finish this afghan next week. It makes me feel like, if only I had timed it better, I could have finished it by Saturday. But I did not. And I will not. I will just be frustratingly close.

I’ve revised my feelings about the gray. I now like that it’s dark because it lets that middle part look like it’s glowing.

My favorite thing about this afghan, though, is that the motifs end up all being a little crooked. If you look carefully, you can see that many of them twist to the right. But even just the act of joining them is starting to pull them square. Washing and drying it should straighten everything out nicely. But I like watching the movement, subtle though it is, now.

I’m also accumulating things to start on my dye project. When I walk the dog, I’ve been planning what I want to try to dye and in what order. With Kool-aid dyeing, you can do enough yarn for an afghan in a day. But I’ve now done enough research to know that this will be much different. That I’ll probably get a skein a weekend done.

So, some things–like tea and turmeric–can wait. But other things that are only available now must be done now. I must be ready. So, things I think I can start with include day lilies, dock (if I’ve properly identified the thing in my yard), and Queen Anne’s Lace.

I’ve got my eye on the poke berries and I’m just waiting for them to ripen. And I’m watching the privet for the same. But I think, if necessary, I can harvest berries and freeze them. Flowers and leaves, I think, need the shortest time between harvesting and putting in the dye pot. So, I need to do those first.

I’m excited, though.

As for the dog, Christ, you do not want to have to take a two-hour emergency trip to the vet with him if you don’t have to. Not that he was bad. But it was just worse, or as bad, as I’d been letting myself think it was.

The conclusion is that we think he ate something Sunday or Monday that made him sick to his stomach. He then got diarrhea, which made him more nauseous, which gave him more diarrhea, in a terrible feed-back loop.

So, he’s taking a pill to control his nausea, a pill to repair and soothe the lining of his GI track (tract? I’ve never thought about that before. I don’t know which it is.), and a pill to help his poop coagulate. And he has to eat this special bland food, wet and dry. They want me to give him seven scoops of dry food and a can of wet food a day.

He has never, in his whole life with me, eaten seven scoops of dry food a day. He is barely interested most days in eating three. And with an upset gut?

But he’ll eat the wet food.

And, y’all, the cat loves the wet food. The bland as fuck food for the dog. She bullied him out of his bowl yesterday. This morning, I had to give her a tiny bit on a spoon to lure her away from doing it again. She prefers it over her own wet food, which is the dog’s favorite thing.

This tiny eight pound cat bullying a sick 110 lb dog out of his bland as fuck food.

Will wonders never cease?

Bishop Durick and Other Thoughts

I finally found a Catholic historian who told me that the only bad rumors about Bishop Durick were that he drank too much at the end of his life.

So, I feel uncaveated in saying that I admire Bishop Durick and he’s one of my personal Nashville heroes. Durick, for those of you who don’t know, was one of the white progressive religious leaders King criticized in his letter from Birmingham jail.

And rather than being a defensive asshole about it, Durick let King’s words sink in and then he motherfucking threw his full support behind the Civil Rights movement.

He changed his mind! He heard the criticism and, when it stung, he took it to heart. And then he threw in with the people he had wronged.

I just admire the shit out of that.

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My white yarn came yesterday, so I spent my evening making a sample of the two motifs with white in them. I love how stark the white looks.

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This is the most complicated motif of the whole afghan and I keep wondering if I’ve done it right. I may find when I go to make the others that I’ve misread the directions on this one somehow. Or it may just be that, until it’s sewn in with the other ones and pulls into shape, it may look funny. But I do like how it looks like a weird Lovecraftian flower on a bed of flames.

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And then look at this one (but please ignore all the dog hair)! Look at those cool lacy petals! I am so madly in love with this.

It was too wet to walk this morning, so the dog and I just did laps in the driveway again. In order to try to keep it less boring for him, I dug out an old retractable leash. I know every argument against them and agree. You should not use them any place you actually need to keep your dog from being a bonehead.

But in the driveway, I don’t need him to stay by my side. I just need him to not run off and sit on a neighbor or go inside after he’s pooped. I don’t need to control him. I just need to keep him walking with me.

And, y’all, I am willing to bet 10000000 dollars that, to the extent he was leash trained, he was leash trained on a retractable leash. He completely got it. He knew how long he had until the leash was maxed out. He went fair but not too far. He was a GOOD BOY!!!!!

Which, you know, is wonderful. I like finding things he’s familiar with from his old life.

But man, why would you leash train a dog that size on a retractable leash? He can yank a regular leash out of my hands from a standstill. If he had the length of the retractable leash to get up to speed? He’d snap that thing no problem.

Still, for days when we’re just specifically walking the driveway? I’m glad to have it.

Crochet Day

As soon as I can confirm that my 1:30 is cancelled, I have the day off due to the weather. I’ll be spending my day crocheting, of course.

And I think you guys know of my vast love for Tractor Supply, but I have to tell you, it has grown. I bought a heater for my garage, so I could keep it above freezing and not have to replace my water heater or washer again due to winter crap, and I tried to turn it on last night when it was still 65 here, but nothing happened because the garage was warmer than the heater was set to.

Dear Readers, when I woke up this morning, the heater was on!

I mean, possibly that’s what was supposed to happen. Probably. But I was so surprised!

Neither Brave Nor Unflappable

Tuesday night when I got home from work, it appeared that the neighbor’s shed was on fire. I went over to look more closely before calling 911 and it was just a fire in a barrel right next to the shed, which, considering that the shed has ordinary shingles, seemed like a bad idea. But I didn’t call the fire department because that would have meant interacting with the neighbor and, if it jacked him up? Well, he lives right next door.

But when I came home last night, there was a big moving truck in the driveway and he was going back and forth with a lantern on his head. It was too dark for me to make out if he was taking things out of the truck or putting them in.

But if he’s moved away, who will shoot my creek?

Maybe y’all saw that picture that went viral of the target against a fence with a house clearly behind it and the girl with the rifle about to go shoot? My neighbor’s propensity for shooting at my creek was not quite that level of stupid, but it was still stupider than I’d care for a person with a gun to be.

If you’re standing in the creek, which for some dumb reason is lined with concrete, shooting away from our houses, there’s a low hill in the pasture behind us and then a house, the roof of which you can see when the leaves are down.

Unless you’re a sniper, I guess I have a hard time seeing how you could hit something in the house, but it certainly seems possible to me that, if you got startled or, oh, I don’t know, slipped on the slick concrete bottom of the creek, right as you fired, the bullet could easily end up in those people’s back yard. And what if they or their dog were in that back yard?

Also, if the bullet hit the concrete sides of the creek, isn’t there a chance of ricochet?

The whole thing was just so stupid. But he was also very scary (or may still be, but I’m hoping the truck was a good sign) so I chickened out.

Plus, once he knew I knew he was shooting in the creek, he seemed to stop. Or become more stealthy about it.

I had a meltdown at work yesterday. I knew as I was doing it that nothing good could come of it and that, in fact, it would only lead to movement away from my goals instead of a hastening toward my goals, but I did it anyway, because I was tired of feeling like I was the only person actually worried about the thing going wrong.

I’m not proud of that. But also, I kind of am.

Do y’all still have an active fantasy life? Not a sexy fantasy life. I’m going to go ahead and assume you do. But I mean where you practice your Oscar speech in the car on your way home from work or where you go over all the ways you will let the dude you loved who didn’t love you back know what an awesome person you’ve become.

I have a fantasy that I come back to in various iterations, but the gist of the fantasy is that there are large forces working against me–like say the FBI and MI6 both want me dead because of my international terrorist deeds–and just at the moment when they think they’re going to reveal to me just how fucked I am, I instead reveal to them how all this time I have been playing them against each other and it would be far better for them to just let me go about my business–because, of course, in my fantasy, I am a good-hearted international terrorist just trying to bring some justice to the people–than to take me out and have all their various misdeeds come to light.

I think part of the reason this fantasy is so attractive to me is, sure, yes, I get to be powerful in it, but also I get to be very, very smart, the kind of smart that can think five steps ahead and place herself in a seeming position of weakness temporarily in order to have the upper hand in the long-term.

In my fantasy, nothing is mysterious to me. I am unflappable and cool. I know what needs to be done and I know how to do it.

In real life, I’m a tiny rowboat trying to get to shore fighting a storm coming in. In my fantasies, I’m a warship.

 

Merry Christmas, Garage

I live in a 1950s ranch, which, in Tennessee means a sturdily built house conceived under the assumption that electricity would be nearly free forever, so who gives a fuck about insulation or keeping appliances someplace that stays above freezing without having to leave the door between the kitchen and the garage open.

Anyway, in the time I’ve been here, I’ve had to replace a water heater and a washer due to them freezing in the garage. We tried to then keep the garage above freezing with this teeny-tiny space heater, like you’d put under your desk at work. It worked, but it eventually died.

This week I went out and bought a space heater specifically designed to heat a drafty poorly insulated place like a garage.

The Butcher had to get it out of the trunk for me and then he helped me figure out where I should put it in the garage. And y’all! It has a timer. Last night I told it to keep my garage at 50 degrees for eight hours and it did!

And when I came back from walking the dog this morning, my garage was still… well, not toasty warm, unless you’re eating very, very disappointing toast… but warm. Much, much warmer than freezing.

Also, the Butcher brought the whole family and I swear the orange cat was hitting on the Butcher’s wife. He came and sat right by her and asked her for a million head scratches and when she tried to talk to the Butcher he meowed at her until she turned her attention back to him.

I laughed.

Also, speaking of the orange cat, the dog and I have this ritual where, before I put my shoes on to go for our walk, he gets some loving. He especially loves to have his face rubbed. The orange cat has been coming over and standing by the dog when he does this, and I thought it was because the orange cat also wanted head scratches, but he didn’t really seem interested in them.

And then, for a while, he was kind of batting at the dog’s face, which the dog did not like and I didn’t understand.

But, y’all, today! Today I understood. He is petting the dog! As usual, he seems chagrined, like “I don’t understand why we do this, but if we do this, fuck it, I’ll do it,” but he was also more gentle and the dog tolerated it.

I swear this cat literally thinks he has to learn how to do everything in this house because, if someone falters, he’s going to have to step up. By god, he will hate it, but he will do it.

Today I Bomb the House

I’m trying to figure out how to do all the things I need to do in the right order. I need to go mail this package that I don’t want covered in dog hair before I can put the dog in the car. I want to put the dog in the car after I’ve washed him so that he is at his most optimally flea-free. I need to make sure the cats are both outside and that they have no secret ways of getting inside. Food must be covered up.

Etc. Etc.

Things like this I wish the Butcher were around for just to make sure I’m not forgetting anything that then results in me poisoning everyone.

My chimney is officially fixed. I spent all day sitting around while they did their thing. I worked on a baby blanket.

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I like kids projects because they go so quickly. I love how this yarn is working up. I’m glad I’m giving this to an artsy person, because I’m hoping she’ love the same things about it I love, how the pattern of the square is very formal and traditional, but the colors of the yarn smear across it like a kid just learning to color. I’m still mulling over if 8×10 is the right size or if that makes it just a little unwieldy and I should go down to 7×9.

I also want to figure out how to make the interior of the square into the border…how to change the motif from something that works in the round to something that would work straight.

This week, also, I made this awesome mermaid tail for my niece!

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That’s the same self-striping yarn from Red Heart I used for the afghan I just finished, so you can see it’s pretty damn versatile.

Also, the family I made the afghan for came to get it and the child of the family said, “Wow, this is beautiful.” So that was awesome.

Rock and Wood

My floor is still a mess, but we have a plan. My plan involves shaking my fist at the sky and asking “Why is all vinyl flooring either rocks or wood?” You can put whatever you want on vinyl flooring. Why can’t I have some cool retro flowers? Or anything but rocks or wood? I am baffled.

Because of Course

I don’t think the guy I’m supposed to be meeting today is going to come through. I don’t have a time and he hasn’t called me back.

I ran out of red yarn for this afghan. I still have twelve squares and connecting everything to go. So, that made me laugh.

I’ve started this join-as-you-go afghan. It’s my first. If it turns out as cute as it is so far, it won’t be my last. I’m using Red Heart’s new self-striping yarn and so far it’s really beautiful.

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I met S.’s son yesterday. He looks like Bruce Willis. Maybe all babies look a little like Bruce Willis.

I have made the mistake of falling in love with a kitchen floor. I hope my contractor says he can do it.

I finally have how to do those red squares in my head. But I don’t see how I get up to Goodlettsville before Saturday to get more. I’m going to be real pissed if I have to reteach myself those squares. On the other hand, only twelve more!

The Kitchen, The Horror

When I was a little girl, I always wanted to live in a Victorian mansion, with the gingerbread detailing and a turret and big old floor to ceiling windows. My Grandma Phillips always scoffed at this dream and told me what I wanted was to live in a new house that looked like a Victorian mansion.

I thought she was unfairly killing my dream of happiness.

Yesterday, the crew came over to figure out why my kitchen floor is buckling. The answer goes like this. One, the plastic hose on my fridge has a slow leak. But, while that would be enough to rot the floor under the fridge after years, and has, that’s not the whole answer. The whole answer goes like this–at some point they put linoleum tiles down on the hardwood in the kitchen. Directly down. This was the equivalent of basically putting a layer of plastic wrap on top of the floor. Humidity from the crawlspace rises up into the wood of the kitchen floor and it can’t escape into the house where the air conditioner can deal with it, because of the barrier. Except that water can still seep down into the wood through any leaks.

Then, at some point, they put a layer of plywood down and then linoleum on top of that.

When they pulled everything up, my house smelled like rain. The original hardwood just opened up and let out all the moisture. Before I went to bed last night, it was still cool and damp to the touch.

So, I need a whole new floor. On the other hand, my book review doesn’t suck as much as I thought it did and I got four squares done because I was sitting around here all afternoon.

Still, I have a new appreciation for Grandma Phillips’s love of new construction. You can’t find in a new house sixty years worth of kitchen floor damage.

But if we look at one of these long enough, maybe we can forget about the other.

I Now Have a Tiny Robot

My parents got me a Roomba for my birthday, which, as long-time readers may have some vague recollection of, is not until next week. But it came early, so I opened it and got it set up and last night it ran for the first time.

The dog was afraid of it for like a half an hour, but then got bored with being afraid. The orange cat briefly tried to fight it and then lost interest. The house, however, struck back repeatedly. I had to empty the filter three times during its run, dislodge a sock that seemingly came from nowhere, and save it from a hanger, again, that seemed to come from nowhere.

I know this is partially because the Roomba does a better job of getting under things than I have ever done in my whole life of cleaning, but it also makes me feel like everything in my house is under a fine layer of dog hair, which, I guess, is also true.

I repeat my claim that making things in groups of twelve is very satisfying. Just the other day I quickly went from being a forth done to being a third done and tonight, if I finish the square I’m working on, I’ll be half done.

My next challenge is that all the rest of the squares are opposite squares I’ve already done. So, if I had a fat row of brown and a thin row of red, now I need to make a square that’s a thin row of brown and a fat row of red. I already know I’m going to fuck that up at least once and start an identical square to one I already have. But the thing I really love about the off-kilter squares is that, since they are squares, I’ll be able to place the center of the swirl in four different spots, in essence giving me four different squares made the same way.

And things are really stressful and crappy at work, so I’m overcome by the urge to just stay home and work on my squares. It’s nice to have something that, though complicated, I can figure out, and the results are cool as fuck.

In other news, I’ve emailed both Al Gore’s people and the historian of the FBI. If I hear back from either or both of them, I’m going to laugh and be delighted.

Strangeness

Someone mowed my lawn. They did a fantastic job, even in the part across the creek. It wasn’t the guy I paid to clean up the yard, I don’t think, because even though he mowed for me a couple of times, he never mowed across the creek. Also, he left me an invoice and I paid him.

I did contact a guy about cutting my lawn, but he’s going to come by tomorrow and take a look at the yard and give me an estimate. So, I don’t think it was him, and also, I can’t find an invoice.

Neither of my neighbors’ yards are mowed.

Also, for the second year in a row, a mysterious clematis has appeared near my shed. In the shade. It’s not what I would call incredibly vigorous, but on the other hand, it’s enthusiastic enough to show up out of nowhere and give a blossom. So, hey, carry on clematis.

And I saw a giant rabbit last night eating the grass that’s growing in the cracks of my driveway. I guess the cats were out front?

And one last thing I’m thinking about–aside from violent white supremacists–is the weird thing that this afghan is teaching e about color. As you’ll recall, in order for it to have a ’70s feel, my idea was that it wasn’t enough to have ’70s colors, I had to use them in a ’70s way, which meant instead of using complimentary colors together for the contrast, I would use colors right next to each other on the color wheel. But I’m noticing  a really interesting thing.

Look at this picture:

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I don’t know if you’re going to have the same experience, but I guess, if not, this still may be interesting for you. There are only five different colors in this afghan so far–red, orange, yellow, green and blue (well, I take that back. That’s a lot considering there are only six colors in the afghan, but anyway…). The point is that the green that’s in the yellow and green square is the same green that’s in the blue square.

But unless I really stare at them, while thinking to myself “that’s the same god damn yarn out of the same god damn skein,” I see them as two different colors. The green in the blue square appears to have a lot of gold in it, so much so that I almost want to see it as more of a greenish gold than an actual green. The green with the yellow looks much greener and the yellow kind of pale and subdued, while the yellow with the orange looks brighter as does the orange, where the orange with the red looks more muted.

I feel like I’m getting twelve colors for the price of six. It’s really nifty.

The Greyhound is Not a Metaphor

This morning when I was walking the dog, a greyhound came sprinting across the way, headed toward the AT&T building. Sprinting is probably the wrong word. It wasn’t running down anything. It wasn’t the fastest it could run. It was a joyful trot. Legs in loping mode, not in sprinting mode. It still took me a second to make sense of what I was seeing, it was moving so fast. I have an unnaturally happy dog, so I wouldn’t say that greyhound was the happiest dog I’ve ever seen, but it was in its bliss. It was doing exactly the thing it was happiest doing and I thought, “That dog’s never going home. It’s going to run west forever.” And I was a little jealous of it.

I finished and washed the peacock afghan. I did one of the squares for the new afghan. I am already in love with the square and super pissed that the pattern insists I need two skeins of yarn in each color. I have a deep suspicion that it means you can work up the squares all in one skein and then you need another whole skein for the border, which…just… no. Maybe just take it easy on the border rather than ask me to buy six extra skeins of yarn to pull it off.Plus, when you have a border as beautiful as the one on that square, why are you going to fuck with that?

Mark my words, gentle readers, I will put that border on the whole damn afghan rather than buy six more skeins of yarn for some bullshit popcorn stitch nonsense.

A Friend of Crows

I came home yesterday shaky and excited, the stain of a cherry lime-ade spreading across my “We Get What We Deserve” t-shirt. I took the dowsing rods and my mom out into the back yard, way back to where we’d buried the dog. I showed her how to hold them. I showed her how it worked–how they crossed when I crossed the dog’s grave. I asked her if she wanted to try and of course she did. And she stepped on the dog’s grave and they crossed for her.

My mom has her degree in biology. She’s trained to think things through. She knows about the ideomotor phenomenon. She just looked at me and I said, “I know, right. It makes no sense.” She wandered around the yard a little more. No further crossing. You know it can’t  be real, can’t really work, and yet, there you are.

And then a squabble of crows barked in a nearby tree and we looked up to see them harassing a hoot owl. A big one. A couple of mockingbirds were screaming at the owl, too, and a cardinal hopped from limb to limb nearby, as if eager to see a fight. The owl kept looking back at us as if to check to see whose side we were on.

My mom said, “Crows hate owls. Always have. I’m a friend of crows normally, but I don’t like to see them take after owls like this. In this situation, I’m always on the owl’s side.”

I felt the same, even though I knew I was just watching everyone who’d ever lost a relative to an owl letting the owl know how they felt about it.

We watched the argument for a good ten minutes and once the crows got bored, we went inside.

To Delight the Eye

This is the rose I planted last year in the front where the hydrangeas that moved to the side used to be. The blossoms are so tiny and yet perfect. I can’t stand it.

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It’s been raining all week on and off, but in a concerning turn of events, the ground is still hard enough for the dog and me to walk. Aprils are usually too muddy for much good walking. Not so this April. But anyway, while coming back through the yard, I noticed this. In the middle of the yard. It looks like the Butcher hit it with the lawn mower once, but is that not an iris?

I thought irises only propagated from their rhizome. And yet, here’s this iris, far from all the other irises in the neighborhood, appearing here for the first time in the years we’ve lived here.

How is it here? How are any of us here, really?

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The House from Which My House Came

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I don’t know what this is growing in the front meadow, but it is amazing. I don’t think this picture begins to do justice to it. If you could look beyond those tall trees, you’d seem my back yard. Once upon a time, my lot was a part of this house’s land. I don’t know anything about this house but I would guess that it’s probably built by some Stump or a Ewing.

The Snow Reveals

So, I found my septic tank. It was the one grassy spot in an otherwise snow-covered landscape. This morning, the dog and I tried to go for a walk (we’ve been desperate), but it was not really possible, due to the snow and the brittle layer of crunchier snow atop it. Every step was like, “I’m on top of the snow! Crunch. I’ve sunk to my shins in the snow!”

But I also noticed that the snow around the shed was already melted as was a line from the shed to the driveway. So, now I’m wondering if the plumbing in the shed is still hooked up. Neither the Butcher nor I ever remember trying the sink in the shed to see if it still works. We just assumed it was hooked up to the old well and would not.

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I haven’t really loved this house. I’ve loved the yard and I’ve loved the fireplace, but there’s not a lot about a ’50s ranch that is endearing to me.

Today, for reasons I can’t talk about in public, I was home doing laundry and the way the light came into the garage and the sound the washing machine made as it chugged to a halt, well, it just seemed like the most beautiful moment I’d ever witnessed.

And I realized that I love this place.

Which, ha ha, probably means it will now fall down on me.

Mysterious Snorts in the Dark

I was walking along, near the treeline when I heard something very near me in the brush followed by menacing snorts. I know it was just a startled deer, which, frankly, made me feel like a submarine, silent and unnoticed in the sea of the night, but whoa, it also scared the shit out of me! My heart started racing, my hands started sweating.

And then I realized that deer was as alarmed as I was. We both had not realized someone else was so close and we both stood there a second, our hearts racing, and then we moved on. It was that moment of shared exhilaration that struck me.

I’m still listening to Limetown, for better or worse. This week’s episode was, indeed, for better or worse. But I was deeply moved by the story of the pig and the guy who learned to telepathically connect with it. The way the pig’s feelings were pure and deep felt true to me, and the value a person might get out of having access to those feelings, also true. As I walked past that deer, snorting in the early morning dark, feeling that kind of primal Oh!, I felt honored and surprised to share that with the deer.

This weekend, someone said to me, “Oh, that’s right. You’re into all that weird occult stuff, aren’t you?” I guess I’ve been into it long enough that it doesn’t seem weird to me anymore. These nine nights, not that there have been nine yet, I’ve been thinking a lot about connections, about the things that tie us together and, more importantly, the ways that crucial ideas get held onto. How the gods stay with us even once we’re monotheistic, almost unrecognizable.

Here, take this for example. Thor is a big guy, with a big beard, straightforward, with useful farm animals for pets. He carries a tool he can use as a weapon. He’s a friend to people and likes them a great deal. We’ve already talked about the ways our modern Santa Claus has some of those same trappings, how Santa seems to take the things we couldn’t leave behind about Odin and Thor and repackages them into something we can keep, even deep into Christianity.

But put Thor in your mind’s eye. Not the Marvel version. The big old brawny Viking. Now, give him some practical work pants, a flannel shirt, a stocking cap. Switch out his hammer for an ax, the goats for an ox. He’s still friendly and helpful to people.

But now he’s Paul Bunyan.

There’s a Reason You Let Chili Simmer

I was so hungry last night that I whooped up some chili and we ate it. Skipping the part where it simmers for a half an hour or an hour or an afternoon or four freezing days or however long.

And it was… interesting. You’d eat a bite and it would be bland. Then another bite would be very salty. Then another that would be a different kind of spicy. And then there’s a big clump of tomato paste.

It was still tasty, but we laughed. It will be delicious tonight.

It’s Hot

It’s hot out, even in the mornings when I walk. AT&T is letting the back meadow grow tall and I have to make my way through a border of Queen Anne’s Lace to get to short grass. There’s a warm wind, which I find oppressive and depressing. But, once in a while, coming out of the woods is a cool breeze that hints at the coming fall. Even now, on the hottest day of the year, there’s that hint.

Gun Shots

I woke up to the sound of gun fire, five shots in quick succession. There might have been a shot that woke me up. I don’t know. I sat there in the dark waiting for any sign that I needed to do something–crying, screaming, voices of any sort, a car driving off. A little while later, a car honked, but I have no idea if they were connected.

My first thought was, “Well, that has to be the end of the red dog.”

But the Butcher says he doesn’t see anything out there. He also thought, if the shots came that close together, the person might not have been aiming that well.