Butt Stuff

I have diagnosed the dog with a condition I think of as “tender butt.” It’s like when someone goes to brush your hair or put your hair in pig tails and it’s just excruciating, but only located on his back half.

Which means he will let you brush the shit out of the front of his body, happily. But please don’t brush his back end. Or touch it or look at it too interestedly.

And which means that, during his spring blow-out, he looks particularly silly.

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This morning, he did let me gently rub his butt, which did result in a lot of fur coming off, but I think I could have gotten three times as much with a brush.

Also, all week, I’ve been waking up at 5:20. I’ve been able to get back to sleep, but it was freaking me out a little bit. Why that time? This morning I noticed that the last time my email had been checked on my phone was 5:19. So, I think my phone must ding, which wakes me up.

And apparently someone has audio of Jason Statham calling a dude a fucking faggot, though he apologized and said he didn’t remember saying it and… I don’t know. Can’t we just have one nice thing in this world?

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Sunday

I’m up to the point where I should be fleshing out my Robert Gentry portion, but yesterday I just couldn’t spend that much time with him. Instead, I spent the morning doing chores, then I went to a birthday party, and then I kind of worked on my doodads.

They’re so fussy. But I still really, really like them and think they’re going to be great on the afghan.

Bah, okay, I should make the most of this time. Off to Robert Gentry.

Social

I think social media is bad for me. Especially Twitter. I don’t think that means I’m going to quit it. I mean, I might make that decision in the future, but for right now, I’m just acknowledging that being this stressed about work and this stressed about my civic life and this stressed about whatever nonsense is going on is addicting but bad for me.

I’ve been listening to the new Janelle Monae and I think one of the points she’s raising throughout the album is that happiness is revolutionary, delight is resistance. Pleasure changes things.

I don’t know how to take that to heart, but I want to take that to heart.

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All my squares are done. I’m now on to triangles. I really like it. I hope it’s not too busy.

I saw a bunch of folks this weekend and did a bunch of stuff. It was good. Now I have to hope I can carry those good feelings throughout the week.

Off Day

I worked on the bombing book. Then I took the dog to the Paradise Ridge Park, which I hadn’t been to since it opened. I did a leisurely 3/4 of a mile. I can’t even begin to approximate how far the dog walked, since he had to run back and forth to each side of the trail, sniffing and peeing everywhere. I have no idea how much distance his exuberant zig-zagging added, but a lot. He also made a friend, which is another nice thing about rural parks. The people who go there tend to have big dogs and are happy to meet another.

We went to McDonalds for lunch.

I yakked on the phone with the other Betsy about a really cool project she’s working on.

And then I spent the rest of the day crocheting.

I’m very torn about the doodads. They’re very fussy to make and a lot of work and I might not even have enough yarn to do them. But my trial one looks so neat I can’t quite bring myself to give them up.

So my new idea is to do the whole afghan and just see if I have enough yarn to do them and, if I run out of yarn before finishing the afghan, then I’ll totally feel justified in buying enough to finish my doodads.

I woke up today in a panic because I thought it was Sunday and I didn’t want to have to go back to work yet. Which I think means I desperately needed a day off.

Delights

This morning when I woke up at 5:45 in the morning, very early in the morning, morning, morning, I learned of the existence of a roll playing game called “Jason Statham’s Big Vacation.”

And I would like some credit for not immediately, before six a.m., calling C. and screaming into the phone “You must take today off work, teach me how to play role playing games, find six other people who would find this as hilarious and awesome as me, and then we must play this game. Today. I’ll buy lunch. Woo!!!!”

Y’all, Wesley Snipes tries to ruin Jason Statham’s holiday. It’s wonderful.

Second, yesterday morning, I went to a women’s breakfast and talked to all these very prominent community members about Fort Negley. I was halfway through my talk when I realized I had been going on and on excitedly about body parts while these women were trying to eat. I was mortified.

They didn’t seem to mind, though.

And the questions and answer session was really fun. I think they had a good time and I had a great time.

Third, though not really delightful, many years ago, a dude gave me this old poster he had found in a barn that was just a bunch of anti-Semitic nonsense. I think he thought it was mysterious, so he framed it and gave it to me. I turned the poster over and used the frame for something else.

Recently, he made noises like he might want the poster back so he could “study it and figure it out.” (Or so he could have an excuse to reinsert himself back into my life, I suspect.)

So, I took it out last night to look at it for the first time in years, and thanks to all this bombing nonsense, it’s utterly clear what it is–a map of the cosmology of Christian Identity, which I don’t think is still called that, but is a weird, racist theology that posits that Cain was a result of Eve fucking the serpent.

And I laughed because it made me feel like I’ve been on the path to writing this book for a long time.

But I tell you what, too. It made me wonder about the owners of that barn. You might have met some run of the mill racists back in the day out west who’d fallen into Christian Identity, but in the South, if you were into Christian Identity, it was a pretty sure indication that you were a violent racist, that you were trying to provoke a race war.

Like I said, made me wonder about the owners of that barn.

Getting Some Stuff Moving Along

I had a really productive weekend. I got some good writing done. I’m about a third of the way into Wexler & Hancock’s Killing King. I had a lovely dinner with friends and then a lovely brunch with some other friends.

And I got a bunch of this afghan moved from “almost done” into “done.”

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A thing I have been fretting about with this afghan is that it’s got a kind of decorative doodad on the top and bottom and I have been worried that I might not have enough of the same color yarns to do the doodads. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me until right now, but I can finish my squares and then do the doodads. Then I can use the rest of the yarn on the filler triangles.

Also, because of the doodads, the afghan doesn’t have a border. I’m a little nervous about that.

Log Jam

I have too many afghans with deadlines.

But look at how this is going!

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I also watched the trailer for Megalodon a bunch of times. Because I’m only human.

And, you know what? I like Randy Orton. Everything about him is true. It is stupid to wear a hoodie with no sleeves. His tattoos make him look like he has fake arms. He always looks pissed off that he has to be alive in the world.

And yet, I still like him as a wrestler and I always look forward to seeing his matches.

Friday Things

My cousin and her family are in town! Her kids are just so adorable. Her son is like some kind of Star Wars savant. And he gets so big-eyed and excited when he tells you everything he knows.

I spilled Sprite all over myself at dinner. That was pretty embarrassing. But my cousin’s daughter reassured me that she spills things all the time and it happens to everyone. And my step-niece said I could blame her, if I wanted.

And my nephew is in a new stage! Now, when he’s tired of you holding him, he just puts his arms and lets out and holds his body stiff. He goes from cuddle-bunny to dry starfish.

Which means he can prefer things and people! Like, he can want and unwant things. Well, like, he’s run into stuff he didn’t like before. But this seems like the first time I’ve noticed him being like “Okay, enough of this.”

I also went to lunch. In a way that is going to lead to another lunch. Which really necessitates me getting to the National Archives this summer. So, that’s exciting and a little terrifying.

Back to Work

I have been working a little on a draft of a book-length take on the bombing stuff. And I’m enjoying it. It’s actually fun to just sit down and try to spill out everything you know about something.

The dog and I got to go for our normal walk this morning, too, which was nice. Walking the driveway is a nice option for when otherwise it means no walking, but it’s boring.

Walking

I keep wondering how long we’ll do this. This meaning everything. Stand by while kids at school die. Choose meanness.

It’s hard when you believe in the power of words to say words upon words upon words and find that nothing changes.

Today it was too muddy to walk the dog, so we just went up and down the driveway ten times. I know, just based on how long it took, that had to be a shorter walk than our usual walk and it’s flat, whereas normally we walk up and down a big hill.

But the dog and I are both wiped.

Coming Along

The last of the yarn came yesterday and so I expect I’ll finish at least the body of it this week. Two more panels and then I’m going to use the rest of the yarn on the border.

It looks like I’m going back to the Post for a couple of posts, but no one has emailed me back, so I don’t know what I’m going to write about. So, that’s a little fun.

I also emailed the dude from Someone Knows Something because I just wanted to know if my FBI experiences are typical or if there’s something weird going on.

I’m sure a lot of you have already read this piece from The Week. It’s not a new feminist position. Just of the top of my head, I think Simone De Beauvoir was getting at something similar as was Charlotte Perkins Gilman back in “The Yellow Wallpaper”–it’s demanded of us to take unnatural positions and perform them as natural in order to be “good and normal” and our normal condition is considered madness. And those unnatural positions are painful. And our pain is so expected, so normalized, we can barely see the scope of how “well, being a woman is being uncomfortable” permeates our whole lives.

But I think Loofbourow’s article spells it out clearly in ways we’re not used to seeing. And spells out the implications of that clearly in ways I definitely think we’re not used to considering.

Anyway.

That sucks.

Solitude

I’m going to have to rejoin the human race at some point, probably tomorrow, but I’ve spent the past two days just doing some shopping that needed to be done, looking into an ax murder that is pretty interesting, and crocheting while listening to podcasts and audio books.

Oh, and I mopped. I just wanted my house to smell like Murphy’s Oil Soap. And I’m trying to be mindful of the fact that it’s okay to do things half-assed. If I feel like mopping just the areas I can get to without having to move furniture, well, good, those are the areas that see a lot of traffic. They need mopping.

I’m trying to declutter my head. I have this feeling like I’ve been on the drugs long enough that my brain is figuring out now how to work this way, as opposed to the old, anxious way. And I feel like I just have to let these new connections be made.

When it gets above 20, I’m going to walk the dog.

Broken

I just keep thinking about how so very many of us are broken and how some of us use that brokenness as a conduit for empathy and some of us use it as an excuse to lash out.

God’s Gonna Trouble the Water

I’m waiting to see if the HVAC guys will come in the rain. I hope so, as I cancelled a meeting to be here.

I’ve been listening to a podcast about the West Memphis Three murders and kind of thinking about it in the context of my bombing story just in terms of how much faith we place in the idea that there are these impartial agents of justice who want to know the truth out there working for society’s benefit. And that’s just not the case. There are all these deeply flawed humans doing jobs or slacking at jobs.

Anyway, I don’t really have an opinion on who did it–murdered those little boys. I’m kind of listening to try to understand how they came to the conclusion that it was those teenagers.

But as far along as the podcast is in the case right now, I would be looking for someone who was a recognized authority figure to the boys (or how else do you keep three kids in place when something bad starts happening?), who was familiar with the area and probably recognizable in the area (otherwise, how did he/they escape without being seen? I think the answer is that he/they were seen but their presence was so ordinary and so easily explainable with other reasons that it didn’t register to the witnesses), and who is a serious hunter or outdoorsman.

It’s just hard for me to believe that there’s not some lead-up behavior and experience to this. Like, I get that people would know to throw a body in the water to hide it or maybe even remove evidence, but once you start talking about jamming things into the creek bottom with sticks to keep them from floating back up?

That’s a bit of knowledge that person must already have. Must already have in use in some way.

I’d be curious if there’s some innocuous analogous behavior? Like, is this something you do when you’re hunting x, if you need to ensure that the bait stays in the creek bed and doesn’t float up?

That just continues to strike me as a bit of specialized knowledge that could have narrowed the suspect pool.

When Last We Talked…

Thursday, oh boy.

Friday?

Friday I learned I needed a new HVAC unit immediately and I had my first full-blown panic attack in a year and a half.

Saturday, I got some shit done and saw friends.

Sunday, I got some other shit done and saw different friends.

In my quest to take down the baby mobile-industrial complex, I put together the plastic part of the mobile and made some decisions on shape sizes.

I also went over to Fort Negley for their ceremony honoring the workers on the fort. It was really nice and I got to meet Zada Law and totally fan-girled out on her. I’m also still working on this afghan.

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Thursday

It went poorly in many ways.

I don’t know what to say about the shit at the Scene. I’m hoping to not have to be sad and speechless worse in the future. Steve and Laura are both super talented and lovely and my heart hurts.

Things with my nephew are not great. But I think I’ve talked my brother into finding him some counseling.

My brother is avoiding calling my parents because the situation sucks so much. Last night I had to clue my dad into how bad the situation sucks. It broke his heart. Which broke mine.

I’m waiting on the HVAC guy and then I’m going to spend the day crocheting, because at least that’s something concrete and beautiful and real and not sad.

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Today’s the Day

We have to set up for the Southern Festival of Books this morning and do the festival all afternoon and then I have to come home, feed the dog and myself, then get ready and go back into town for the reading at Third Man tonight.

Argh!!!! These are all things that I love and am super excited about, but also, whew, am a little geared up about as well.

Did I tell you guys I need reading glasses? Worse than that, I don’t have enough eyeball slime, so I have to take fish oil. But not just “get it at the grocery store” fish oil. Prescription fish oil.

The burps.

Oh, dear readers, the burps.

It has once again confirmed for me that the set of the Fast and Furious movies must be a very stinky place.

Grave Mistake

I should not have gotten up and gone into work, even briefly, yesterday. Today I feel like utter crap. I slept twelve hours and I’m still tired.

Jessi Zazu died. That’s so fucked up. In my head, I figured she would, but it just seemed so unfair that my heart held out hope the Universe would have something in its pocket for her.

Screwy

I will take a vacation day from work with no problem. Not even feel the least bit bad about it. Those are my days. I’ve earned them. See you when it’s over.

But man, I hate taking sick days. Even though I can’t really talk and I need a nap all the time. I still feel so guilty about not going in.

I have my story mostly done–the first draft, I mean. I just need for my protagonist to have a revelation. I need him to go from “Ha ha, suckers, I’m free!” to “Oh, shit, no, this is worse than where I was” but I haven’t yet decided what that revelation is.

I’ve been trying to put my brain on it while I’m doing other things, but my brain is all “snot, snot, snot, snot.”

Over the Hill

Since the weather’s been nice, we’ve walked to the school and back two days in a row. I love it because then the dog sleeps soundly instead of getting all in my business in the morning.

I swear, when it’s 60 degrees out, it’s impossible not to love Tennessee. And autumn here is my favorite.

The Butcher is going to be a dad next week. Next week! It’s wonderful.

I am a Technical Genius

I solved all of yesterday’s internet problems by…wait for it…finding a cord that wasn’t plugged in firmly and pushing it in.

No, no, I know. Such complicated technical know-how can be hard to follow, but believe me, this time tomorrow, I’ll be writing memos about how men just biologically aren’t good at tech and getting fired from Google.

I have only four more squares to go on the red afghan and then it will finally be finished. I’m not saying “never again,” because I’m an idiot, but I will be doing easier afghans for the next little bit.

Assuming these four squares don’t take a month.

I burned through The Fall Line, a podcast about a pair of twins who went missing in Augusta back in the early 90s. It’s really engaging, but also heartbreaking. At this point, it seems like the family’s first goal is to just get the police to finally, finally actually investigate their disappearances and then second, hopefully, to get some answers.

It reminded me a lot of the kinds of issues I’ve seen in my bombing story–missing files, incomplete memories, people who seem obvious to talk to who haven’t been interviewed.

I was also thinking about the Joques Clemmons family, here in town, who must have known they were never going to see justice and who yet tried to give the city the opportunity to finally, finally do the right thing.

I have lost faith in institutional right things. But what else can we hope for?

Lunch

Today I have lunch to talk about the big maybe thing I can’t talk about yet. I am a bundle of nerves. But a bundle of nerves who hasn’t gotten in the shower yet.

We only took a short walk this morning and still we had to rest in the middle of it, because it was so hot already.

We have a wall calendar at work upon which everyone is supposed to write their days off. Some of us had thought it was clearly established that this was in addition to emailing people, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. So, those of us not town in that office often don’t know when people are here or not. Much to our ongoing frustration.

Our co-worker’s wife had a baby this week. We didn’t even know she was pregnant. I told my office mate when she came in and she stopped, looked confused, and asked me “Did you know anything about this?”

“No.” I said. “I had no idea.”

And then she asked, “Was this on the goddamn paper calendar?!”

And I laughed so hard.

I Communicate Just Fine. I’m a Writer.

I’m at the stage in therapy where the problem is the world being a bag of dicks and not me. I certainly do not need to work on my communication skills. I communicate for a living!

Ha ha ha. I kind of love that my biggest defense mechanism is that the world is wrong.

I finished a very rough draft of my bombing piece and I do have a big hole to fill that’s just going to have to wait on me getting files. It’s also 15,000 words long at this point, so I’m going to have to figure out how to cut it and–sadly–I think that means losing my funny bits.

I also watched the Jason Statham remake of Death Race which I think is the quintessential Jason Statham movie, since it involves driving, fighting, glaring, brief nudity, shirtless pull-ups, glowering, prison, and a baby.

It’s a weird movie, too, though in that it feels like it’s ostensibly made for men. I mean, I think action movies are made mostly for men. And sometimes I can’t decide if I’m really seeing what I think I’m seeing in the movie or if it’s colored by the fact that I watch Jason Statham movies because I want to see him take his clothes off and beat the shit out of some people. But I feel like the movie really invites the viewer–who is ostensibly mostly male–to spend a lot of time looking at Statham and the skeevy guard is obviously enjoying looking at Statham, so the film is modeling that it’s fine to take pleasure in how fucking hot this motherfucker is.

Which is fine with me. I benefit from it. But we live in such a homophobic culture and yet the movies we make for men are often full of “look at this man.”

Stuff

Today as the dog was walking back to me after chasing a bunny, a word popped into my head–flourishing. I think he’s flourishing. I know he misses the Butcher–I do, too–but I feel like we’ve developed some kind of new understanding of what it means to live together without him. And we’re doing okay.

I really love this little baby blanket. The border is going to take a while, I think, but I think it’ll be worth it.

And I’ve decided to just lean into the paranoia of the bombing story in my draft, to just let the weirdness be at the center of it.

Random Thoughts

–I am grateful as fuck for the women writers I know.

–I really love this little pink afghan, and I still feel like it’s going weirdly slow and weirdly fast.

–I invented a burrito casserole yesterday. I’m sure it existed before and, if I had looked it up on the internet, I would have had a recipe, but instead I just made a recipe up myself.

–This dog. He makes me happy. I should put that in my feelings journal.

–This morning I am wondering if I’ve bitten off more than I can chew with this story. But oh well. I’m also wondering if I should break down and get a subscription to newspapers.com or if I can do everything I need to do over lunches at work.