[This is my dad holding me and feeding my baby brother, now that’s multitasking!]

The Cuckoo's Nest


Here’s my dad multitasking. I recovered this image from an old box of negatives my mom gave me after my dad passed away. One of the negatives was severely overexposed but I scanned it and took the image into Photoshop and MAGIC! This image appeared. It is very unlikely my parents ever saw this photo.

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Snow Garden

My photoblog is here if you haven’t seen it yet.

The Cuckoo's Nest

snow in june

I went to an outdoor wedding today at the Umlauf Gardens in Austin and as soon as we walked into the garden I was mesmerized by the cottonwood blossoms. It looked exactly like falling snow. It was also as difficult to photograph as snow. On the ground, it collected in crevices and along the edges of the paths but looked less like snow and more like the aftermath of a pillow fight.
It was one of the most fascinating and beautiful things I have ever seen.

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…the best way out is always through

“…the best way out is always through.” Robert Frost, A Servant to Servants.

Long time ago we used to have a dwarf rabbit named Bugs, the first pet our family had that wasn’t a fish. When Bugs died, Spanky cried and asked me, “Will I ever get over this?”

She would get over this, I knew she would. She was only about eight years-old at the time, would she remember she’d had a pet rabbit at all? I didn’t tell her she might completely forget Bugs. Or forget this entire conversation when she learned about mortality.

Mortality, I’ll tell you when you worry most about that.

When a child is born, parents start a countdown. I’d like to think most of us, at the very least, want to live to see our child reach adulthood.

So on Spanky’s eighteenth birthday, I felt a great sense of accomplishment. She grew up with both parents, was never orphaned. I’m pointing out Spanky because she is the youngest. I felt the same about the other two but I still had the finish line on the entire parenting thing to think about.

What crept up on me the entire time I was raising my children was the flip-side of this countdown. They’re going to leave. Go to college. Get married. They have to. This is life.

And this is where things are right now and it has my mind in a complete state of fuckery and it hurts and this was a long time coming and I know I’m being selfish…


Will I ever get over this?

Discovered this Frost quote on a bathroom wall in a bookstore near the campus where Spank is going to college when I took her to orientation this summer

This too, same stall. Walls do talk.

Eat or Be Eaten?

I was flicking through the channels one night during the holidays and landed on a show on Animal Planet, “I Shouldn’t Be Alive.” It’s been around since at least 2007, but I’d never seen an episode. I’d seen it in the guide, but the description made it seem like a medical show, one where people come in with a hatchet stuck in the middle of their skull. Or shot with a nail gun between the eyes. I’m a little burnt out on those.

No. This show is recreations of true life stories where people get trapped or stranded out in the Amazon or the freezing mountains of Transylvania. With a broken leg. Or a thigh muscle ripped out of their leg by a bear. No cell phone. Have to crawl eight miles through three foot snows to get help. Wolves, cayotes, or buzzards lurking to eat up the person trying to survive. No food. No water.

That kind of show. And I’m hooked. (the stress of this show could be what caused the blood vessel in my eye to blow, I tell you, it makes my heart race.)

I went looking around the internet to find out more about this show and ran across a funny comment a fan wrote. I can’t find it right now but will paraphrase:
“This is the best show ever on TV. It teaches you all about how to survive being stuck in the freezing mountains, how to fight off wild animals… Eat or be eaten.”

Okay. I’m not that sort of fan. Eat or be eaten? But that really made me laugh.

On Wednesday january 5th, 2011 Animal Planet is having a “I shouldn’t Be Alive” marathon of back to back shows beginning at 2PM eastern time. I got my DVR set to record.


While brushing my teeth yesterday morning I looked up at myself in the mirror and saw this:

Actually it wasn’t that bad yesterday because it wasn’t noticeable unless I looked up. Today it is worse, it has spread to the iris (colored part) and it is getting worse by the hour.

I’m not really worried, this is not something to see a doctor about, it just looks scary. And it takes a long time to go away, about two weeks.

My family is freaking out. They have to look at it, I don’t. They also have to deal with my freaky medical self-treatment ideas such as, “I wonder if I could stick a needle in my eye and pop that blood blister?” (seriously, I want to do that)

Good thing this didn’t happen in my brain, that is called a stroke.

Are those flowers coming or going?

Isn’t this a beautiful painting? My cousin did it for an assignment in college, it’s a copy of Matisse’s The Goldfish Bowl.

I’ve had for over ten years and although I have done nothing to physically alter it, I have ruined it. About a year ago I hung it in front of my treadmill so there could be something pleasant to look at while doing the monotonous walking and running. A couple of days ago I looked at those fish, those leaves, the meniscus on that bowl and knew that I couldn’t stand to see that painting another time.

While out shopping yesterday I found another great piece of art to ruin.

I am sure that smile will taunt me, maybe that is not a good choice? Perhaps I should have gone with something like “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by Hieronymus Bosch.

Click to zoom

Then I might be able to figure out whether the flowers are coming or going.

What do you think?

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Better Than Fruitcake

One of my favorite stores to waste some time is Big Lots, a place that sells some discontinued and overstock items. Bunch of junk really, but I like going there.

Last spring I found a case of Illy cappuccino drinks (cans, for the fridge) for about 75 cents each. Amazing drinks, way better than the Starbucks brand. After we ran out, I looked at every grocery store for them, even looked on the internet to see where I could buy more.

No luck.

A couple of months later we were in Italy and they were everywhere for about $3 a can. Totally got hooked on those damn things.

Since then I peek in every one of those glass fridges by the checkout of every store I shop looking for Illy.

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from Illy (I buy their whole beans), they are selling these drinks on their website now. The price is excellent, 12 cans for $20, so I stocked up. The shipping isn’t as bad as you’d think.

They make great gifts, I think, especially for those out of town people on our list. I hope they like coffee. Ho ho hooooooooooooo.

Overpowering the Sun

At around twelve noon this time of year the sunlight passes through a window in the foyer, crosses the loft upstairs and lands on a ceiling fan in a room at the back of the house. It goes on and makes a shadow of the fan against the back wall.

This fan is two stories high, so the light is strong to make it through and through my house that way.

During this half hour of revealing sunshine, I realize just how dirty that fan is. No artificial light I have in here ever shows the fan that way. I remember this from last year, and since then nothing has changed.

Again, I brainstorm ways of getting up there to clean it.

We don’t have any ladders that go that high. No telescoping two story brooms or dusters. It is possible I could stack two tables on top of each other and then put the eight foot ladder on top. Then use a long handled broom. So I imagine myself on this contraption and as soon as I begin to swipe at the fan, the blades slip away from me as there is no way to lock the fan in place.

And the dust bunnies giggle at me.

Then. The sun goes on its way and the spotlight is gone. The fan looks clean again and I think to myself how great it is that I’m the only one aware of this or gives a damn about it.

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Lens help needed

One of the stupidest things I’ve ever written is that I use my point and shoot Panasonic around the house for snapshots of the family. I realized as soon as I’d posted this (I can’t remember which blog post it was) that things should be the other way around as pictures of my family are way more important than any of the others I take.

So I’m glad I wrote that stupid thing because it made me realize that I should only use the point and shoot when I have to (places where dslr cameras aren’t allowed, such as concerts) or on a trip where I don’t want to be weighted down with a heavy camera.

To be fair to myself, the point and shoot does take wider angle photos which is great for shooting inside a house especially if there are a lot of people to fit into the frame.

So. Wide angle lens needed!

With this newish camera I have, I only own a couple of lenses, so this Christmas would be a good time to add a wide angle lens. I haven’t done much research yet, but I know I don’t want a fish eye lens.

Anyone have recommendations? This is mostly for carrying with me on trips, so I think I’ll go with a fixed length good quality glass.

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Removing Distractions

I’ve had this photo rat holed for a few years. I took it into Photoshop and cloned out the cars, then desaturated all the colors except for red since this is one of the most famous red things in the world. Then I took it into Lightroom and added some sepia to warm up the black and white tones.

Here is the before:

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Surely, this must be a joke

Don’t you just hate it when everybody else but you gets something?

Over the last year I’d been seeing more and more references to contemporary American artist Mark Rothko. Maybe one of his paintings recently sold for a record amount, I don’t know why his name kept coming up, but I tell you, I saw a segment on his contribution to the art world and I completely didn’t get it. In fact, that was the big joke in the house over the summer, me running around spouting out at random, “I don’t get it, I don’t GET Rothko! Help.”

At times I thought it was some snobby art joke on people who pretend to “get” things they don’t. Especially rich people who put up millions of dollars to buy these huge color rectangles of paint on canvas as proof they get it.

I almost blogged about it but that would have taken way more research than I was willing to do at the time. Once I start clicking on links about art, I go down a rabbit hole that i might not come out of for weeks or months. I was already entrenched in Ren art. Adding modern art to the mix might have broken my brain.

And it was part of this thirst for consuming Ren art that I found myself in the Dallas Museum of Art this fall, less than 50 feet from the front door and was punched in the face with a Rothko.

It was a canvas so huge it completely filled my visual field. Orange and red, not colors I even care for too much. Just before that, I’d seen about 15 paintings by various artists and my brain was probably a bit overstimulated with all the visual information. Shapes, colors, important moments…

I’ve read that people get the sensation of levitating while viewing Rothko’s abstracts. It was a little like that for me but I can tell you exactly how it felt, maybe this has happened to you.

You know that feeling you have when you are immersed in thought and your brain is racing a million miles an hour and you’re moving around rushing through a well lit room doing whatever it is you are doing and suddenly the lights go out and BAM you stop dead in your tracks and it is so dark you can’t see your hand in front of your face? For a moment everything in your mind is cleared and you don’t know what hit you and you have no plan yet to get back on whatever track you were on?

That moment. That meeting yourself in the dark moment.

It made me laugh. It made me feel human and wise and like I was everywhere at once.

It is no joke.

This is the painting that zapped my brain.

Orange, Red and Red

If you want to hunt down some of his work and decide for yourself whether or not this is a pile of crap, click this link to find a Rothko near you.

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Four Rough Minutes to Fitness

You know why those 20 minutes a day! exercise equipment infomercials are so successful? It’s not really the product they are pushing that creates those before and after results, it is the exercise routine.

You don’t need to buy any of that stuff or join any clubs to get in shape. Here is one of the most successful exercise routines on earth and it only takes 20 minutes two times a week. You can run down the street, get on a bike, or jump up and down… Anything that gets you sweating and raises your heart rate considerably.

But first a standard disqualifier: Ask your doctor if doing this exercise is likely to kill you. If he says yes or maybe, don’t do it.

So you have talked to a doctor and you are greenlighted to get fit and healthy. Your doctor has likely told you this exercise will decrease insulin resistance (making you less likely to develop type II diabetes), increase metabolism (bye bye pesky fat cells), and give you a stronger muscoskeletal system. Don’t be bitter about the check you had to cut for that doctor visit, in the long run, you’ll be seeing less of that guy because you’ll be healthier. Damn good investment.

Choose an activity such as power walking, running, jumping jacks, cycling, or if you can, riding a unicycle. Anything but sitting on the sofa, sorry. I’ve run across this exercise recipe in nursing books on diabetes and on fitness web sites.


Let’s pretend we’re walking/running in place. You don’t even need a street to do that, no excuses that you don’t have what you need to do this. All you need is determination.

Stretch out for 3 minutes. (this is the most important step, it prevents injuries)

Exercise as hard as you can for 30 seconds. (run! run! run!)

Slow down for 90 seconds. (walk in place)

Repeat the high intensity exercise and recovery 7 more times.

You’re done.

Notice the “hard as you can” part adds up to a measley four minutes? Don’t worry about how many calories you’ve burned or what the scale says. You’re exercising. You will feel and look better and you did not spend a penny on any equipment.


It seems impossible in the digital age with GPS nav and mobile phones to get lost, right?

Over the weekend there was a hot air balloon festival in our city, a really huge deal with tens of thousands of people at a nature preserve. We went in two cars because some of us were leaving at different times. I had a special parking pass for an up close lot because Spanky was volunteering, so we didn’t park together.

I couldn’t find a place to park and Spanky had to be there at a certain time, so I dropped her off at the gate and told her to call and let me know where she would be.

It wasn’t until after I parked and she was long gone that I realized my phone wasn’t working. When I got to the festival entrance I talked to some other people and they told me their phones weren’t working either. I found the volunteer station and they told me what booth she was working, but they pointed me in the wrong direction when they told me how to get there.

So I wandered and wandered around all by myself. And you know me, I get distracted by shiny sparkly things. So this is from the point of view of a lost person, lost in the dark with blinking things:

Finally a text comes through. Blane is looking for me. But I can’t text him back.

And I think to myself, where would I look for me?

I had snuck under the ropes and got up as close as I could to those balloons. No one noticed that I was out of place and didn’t belong to any of the balloon teams.

Finally the phones all started working again and we all reunited over a fried Snickers bar.

Barefootin’ (almost) Vibram Five Fingers

Since last winter I’ve been binge exercising. I’m not training for a marathon, but according to the new Nike + gps iPhone app, if I wanted to train for a 25k run, I just need to keep doing what I’m doing. Maybe a little bit faster.

What surprises me the most is that I don’t seem to have much sense of fatigue. It could be that I don’t know how to listen to my body, that I get it like everyone else, only I define it differently. It could be that so many years of floor nursing with little sleep is what has my tolerance level set to “involuntary collapse” on the high end.

The last time I tested myself, I did 13 miles on the treadmill and didn’t feel tired or sore. I stopped because I had things to do. I have no idea how far I could go before I’d feel it was time to stop.

While this seems like a good thing, I wonder if I’m doing a lot of harm to my joints. I’ve seen too many young patients have to get joint replacements due to jogging, so I try to stick with uphill power walking for about half the workout. It’s still a high impact sport, though, and I have had trouble with my feet, so much that I’ve had to tape them like a ballerina or take some time off here and there. Now this is from years and years of exercise abuse. I started running as a teenager and switched to walking about ten years ago.

Things changed around New Year’s, when a work buddy of Blane’s was wearing some strange shoes.

It’s like a foot glove, each toe is separated into its own little shoe. The sole is very thin with no arch support. They look really stupid and hipster, these Vibram shoes.

Blane’s work buddy said he and his wife had stopped jogging because of bad knees but were able to start up again after getting these shoes. They were not only running again, they were distance running. He claimed that a traditional sports shoe has the foot strike in an unnatural way which causes injuries to the joints. The Vibrams mimic barefoot walking/running. The way cave men walked.

So when Blane told me about them, it immediately made sense as I have often thought if I took my running shoes off and went barefoot, it would feel better. Actually, I’ve done better than that, I tried it. Problem is, the treadmill belt gets scorching hot from all the friction. Bare sock running doesn’t cut it either.

I was having so much trouble with foot pain that I ordered those shoes without having seen or trying them on. I was a little worried about how they’d feel as I have never been able to wear toe socks for longer than 30 seconds. I was desperate.

Surprisingly, they didn’t feel so odd or uncomfortable when I first put them on and I overdid the first workout. You’re supposed to wear them for 30 minutes the first few times and gradually work your way up to wearing them the entire workout. I did about 4 or 5 miles. Since the foot strikes the ground at the ball of the foot, it causes a different bunch of muscles to get worked out. The next day, my legs were so sore I could hardly walk at all.

But NO foot pain.

No ankle pain.

No knee pain.

No hip pain.

And that is why I’m binge exercising. Because I can. And if I want to climb a mountain, I can try it. Or climb 500 steps. I can do it without stopping and with a rucksack on my back.

I don’t wear these shoes all the time, only while exercising. The sole is thin and after 9 months of using them it is about time to get another pair. I will never power walk or run again without them. Because I can’t.

Not a Francesca Sort of Girl

It is June of this year and my seventeen year-old daughter Spank and I are in Rome for some major museum crashing. Fresh off the subway with a crappy, zoomed out map, our suitcases rumble on the cobblestones as we search for a tiny B and B. This is the first time it’s just the two of us so far away from home. It’s a little dirtier and hotter than Paris and London and the cars aren’t as fancy, but the colors are more saturated and everything moves in slo-mo.

As there are no signs advertising the place, we pass it up, come back, and stand at the address feeling like suckers with our pre-paid internet booking.

One of the building tenants lets us through the gigantic wooden doors as she goes through. We stand in the courtyard, still dumbfounded. The tennant has never heard of the place. Finally, I spot an intercom near a glass door and see the name of the place in a tiny slot in 10 point courier. Here we are from half-way around the world and this is my mark, a tiny piece of paper less than half a square inch in a courtyard behind colossal wooden doors. And I fucking find it.

After the buzzer, a deep voice says, “Fifth floor” then buzzes us into the foyer. Like every place in Rome, it has a marble corkscrew staircase, and this one, an add on cage-type elevator in the middle.

But it is broken. We carry our suitcases up five flights of stairs and finally get to the office, which is actually an apartment. We are slicked over with sweat from all the walking and stair climbing in this crushing heat wave. A little embarrassed. A six-foot brunette with impossibly long legs opens the door, looks us over from head to toe, then gestures for us to come in. She is the only person I have ever actually seen sashay. As we follow her into the apartment/office, she doesn’t bother to throw on any lights, but I notice her hair is teased up so high I can see through it. Her clingy, belted t-shirt dress barely covers her ass.

In the middle of her apartment, she welcomes us to sit across from her at a desk. Her accent is thick Italian, rhythmic, and spoken like the last waves of high tide. She manages to give us details about the city, where to go for breakfast, how to get tickets to skip the line at museums. I ask if there are places to avoid, especially at night, since Spank and I are two women, alone.

Her eyeballs are heavy, as if the pupils are made of lead while she struggles to keep her eyes level with mine, but she does. She flicks her wrist, flays her fingers, “Rome-uh… is safe-uh.”

She slides a piece of paper across the desk, “Call me-uh, when you-uh, wake up-uh, they need-uh, to fix-uh, air condition-uh.”

There is only a number on the paper, no name. I look back up at her and ask what I’d hoped I wouldn’t have to know, “What’s your name?”

Between that question mark and before she spoke, in my head, my own voice begs, please don’t say Paola, please don’t say Paola, because I’m going to develop a tic right here and give off the tiniest hint of a smile.

And as if she read my mind, the name slowly rolls off her tongue, like that eight ball you call in the right corner pocket, dropping in there with its last bit of momentum, “Paola.”

I don’t tic out on her, or look at Spank, I just write her name, concentrating hard because she’s watching. I had to make damn sure not to write “Paolo.”

Francesco-Francesca doesn’t cross my mind as she isn’t a Francesca sort of girl. No, she’s too angular, her chin too strongly chiseled, cheekbones a bit too sharp.

Then she takes us to the marble staircase with the elevator shaft in the middle. Asks us to wait up there with our luggage so she can “reset” the elevator. Roman staircases have the acoustics that make every footstep sound as if you are right next to it. So we hear her stilettos “tic-toc, toc-tik, toc-toc” like a broken clock, all the way down until they stop. Then the elevator cage closes, CLANG!

That’s when Spank and I look at each other and call it at the same time, “Thatsadude.”

And we are totally cool with that. If Rome is safe for her, it is safe for us.


I like searching for wireless network names while traveling, struck gold here, look down to the fourth one.

Speaking of fourth, don’t you love it when an artist breaks the fourth wall? Gives me chills. (this is part of Raphael’s School of Athens).

Beignets (recipe)

Can you believe we saw a Café du Monde in Japan? True. About two days into that trip I told everyone (over and over) that everything works as it should in Japan. Or that everything is as it should be. Yeah. That’s what I said.

You going to have donuts? Then they should be the best in the world. Beignets. They got ’em in Japan.


No, I did not see Krispy Kreme or Dunkin’ Donuts there.

So today, for Mother’s Day, I’m missing my mom who is too many miles away. She often cooks beignets and uses several recipes. I’ve blogged about it :::here::: with easy recipes for when you want to make them in a hurry. If you set out a day ahead of time, or maybe just a few hours early, you may want to try the following recipe which I find tastes identical to Café du Monde’s.

New Orleans Doughnuts

1 package active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup undiluted evaporated milk
1/4 cup soft shortening
7 cups all purpose flour
oil for frying
confectioners sugar

In large bowl, sprinkle yeast over water; stir to dissolve. Add sugar, salt, eggs and milk. Blend with rotary beater. Add 4 cups of the flour; beat smooth. add shortening; beat in remaining flour. Cover and chill overnight.

You don’t really have to chill it overnight, but at least let it rise for an hour and then punch down the dough once before rolling out. To store in fridge, I put a chunk of butter or shortening in a gallon Ziplock bag to grease the inside then put my dough in there.

Roll out on floured board to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 2 1/2 inch squares. Deep fry at 360 degrees 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly browned on each side. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle heavily with confectioners sugar. Makes about 5 dozen – Dough keeps well in refrigerator for several days. Cover bowl with Saran Wrap and punch down occasionally.

(recipe credit Marguerite Lyle, pg 44, Talk About Good! (Le Livre de la Cuisine de Lafayette).

I have to use a thermometer or I burn the oil.

They taste and rise better if you can make this dough a day ahead of time. Also, it is easier to take about 1/4 of the dough from the fridge and roll that out instead of working with all of it in one go. Seven cups of flour makes one gigantic hunk of dough.

Serve with café au lait (coffee milk: 1/2 cup coffee mixed with 1/2 cup warm milk). Put on some jazz, dip your beignets in the coffee and wish your mamma was Cajun.

A Husband and Wife Discuss Their Dreams

Blane and I usually start our day talking about what we dreamed the night before. We don’t actually sit down and have coffee, we just sort of meander around the house, bumping into each other occasionally. Mostly him upstairs, me down here. A floor and a balcony separates us, that’s all.

His words spill down and mine waft upwards. We hear each other all day long. Sometimes the same conversation lasts for hours, interrupted by sales and conference calls.

This is the work-at-home life.

But it all starts in the kitchen, face-to-face at the coffee machines.

His is a pop in the pod, easy as 1-2-3 Keurig that takes 60 seconds for a fresh cup.

Mine. Very complicated, but worth the 15 minutes of cranking up the boiler, grinding the beans, measuring, tamping just so…

Sometimes I use his, and rarely, he uses mine.

Today is the usual. I stare at his morning hair, which I completely adore. It looks like the wind blew it and then paused to do something else. It amuses me to no end, but I can’t tell him that first thing in the morning.

His coffee machine is about 55 seconds of warm up and 5 seconds of rushing coffee. That’s when he tells me about his dream in which we got all nasty, but he woke up before the best part. As he drags himself upstairs with his java, he says those dreams never have that special ending. Ever.

Then I tell him about mine, not face to face, but hollering over the balcony.

I was walking Scrappy at the Texas Mexican border and she bolted through a hole in the fence. Straight into Mexico. Some golden grilled thugs took off after her, so I chased after them. A team of customs agents ran after me.

Can you see it? Scrappy, thugs, me, customs agents.

Now throw in some tall buildings. This Mexico looked more like Tokyo because my brain is a fuzzy mess right now and a flat, cowboy movie landscape is no place for my superpower.

I can’t fly in my dreams like Blane can. I am a leaper. I bounce from the tops of buildings looking for my little Scrappy dog. Check every nook and cranny of this maze with my acute vision and, no dog. After I give up and return home, there she is, jumping up and down and happy to see me. Guess she doesn’t like Mexikyo.

Blane flies in his dreams. While this is an awesome skill I wish I had, the downside is he gets tired. I never run out of energy with my leaping. I just run out of things to do.

Over the next hour or so, between business calls we discuss the dreams:

Me: Anytime I star in your dreams we’re either fucking or fighting. Never anything like walking through a field of flowers or having a picnic.

Blane: No, wait, I just don’t tell you about those.

Me: …and you never have dreams where I come in save you.

Blane: Do you have dreams where I save you?

Me: Nah, I’m always saving somebody’s ass or mine. No one comes to the rescue.

Blane: Where were you when the bird people attacked?

[Bird People= four foot tall birds with 3 foot long beaks. They had teeth and were chewing him to shreds. One of my favorite nightmares of his]

Me: Now see, if I was in that dream, I’da put big rubber bands around their beaks, neutralize those bastards instead of trying to outfly ’em.

Some time passes but the convo continues…

Blane: …Fucking and fighting, well at least I’m faithful in my dreams. It’s never anyone but you.

Me: True. But what a waste, you should go for someone like Angelina Jolie.

A half hour passes and I holler up to Blane.

Me: Okay, I’m in all your sexy dreams, but it’s a way way nastier version of me!

Blane: Shhhh. I’m on a conference call!

He tells me they didn’t hear, but I’m sure he’s lying through his teeth.


At night, we discuss the day dreams. We’ve sold off everything, even the coffee makers, and all we own can be carried on our backs.

Tokyo, I’ll write about that later when I can sort thorough the photos, I’ve got some pretty bad hay fever right now and the computer screen makes my eyes burn like fire. That and and a trip to Louisiana for an aunt’s funeral just after Japan have kept me from blogging, but I promise to catch up on everyone’s posts. Miss you all.