A roundabout way to find out who likes my overalls.

These days are very slow. I feel incredibly unmotivated to do all the things I have to do. 

Yesterday we picked some nettles and made them into pesto. I didn’t want to go, I’ve become very accustomed to laying on the couch with pajamas on. I have two hoodies. I wear one while the other one is in the wash, then I switch. My step counter is in triple digits regularly, which kinda sounds like a good thing but it’s not. I did go sit in the backyard yesterday but I got too tired and had to come in and lie down for a snack. Due to all the eating lying down, I have bits of dehydrated food stuck in the folds of my clothing. I thought about shaking them out, but the prepper in me talked me out of it. There’s enough there to make a good sized meal, were it to be necessary. I’d be kicking myself for throwing it away if the world comes down and we are starving. 

So when my partner Marika suggested we go for a walk and collect nettles for food, I was hesitant. 

I’m not sure my muscles still work. What if I’ve atrophied into a sea worm and they have to leave me in the forest? What if we aren’t supposed to walk in the woods after all and the police find us? What if my bandana falls off and I have to breathe fresh air and I get hydroencephalitis? What if the sun burns my skin and I have to try to find the old aloe gel in the medicine cabinet and I cut myself on a discarded razor blade and, due to overcrowded medical facilities, I am left to stitch myself up with the embroidery thread that’s next to the aloe in the medicine cabinet? Wait, why is there embroidery thread in the medicine cabinet? I think I should organize this mess instead of going for a walk. I should lie down and think about it. 

I decided to pendulum it, which is what i do when I don’t know what to do. Penduluming is when you hold a pendulum or something like a pendulum—keys with a rubber band tied to them (my fave), a necklace, a phone plugged into a charger, a rock glued to a string—out in front if you and ask it questions. For me it spins clockwise for yes and counterclockwise for no. Lately I’ve mostly been asking questions about which supplements I should be taking for maximum immunity. But yesterday I asked if I should go on a walk to get nettles instead of laying down in bed while thinking about cleaning out the medicine cabinet. The keys hit me in the face they spun so hard in the clockwise. I was glad I didn’t use the rock string. An outsider viewer  might have thought I was self flagellating. 

“So that’s a yes?” I asked, just to be sure, as the keys hurtled round like helicopter blades and knocked the buttered toast off the nightstand. My fate sealed, I put on my shoes. 

Most people think that penduluming is supposed to be like magic or something. 

“I can see your hand moving it!” they exclaim. My hand IS moving it, for certain. It’s well known that we have a subconscious mind. It’s like our personal operating system. It keeps us breathing, metabolizing, and keeps our heart beating, but it also makes sure that all the things we do remain within our own self concept, so you won’t wake up tomorrow and suddenly become a radically different person than you are today. For example, I will not wake up tomorrow and think that celery is not the greatest vegetable ever invented. It really is so good-crunchy and sweet and bitter. It’s good raw, good in soup, good with peanut butter AND dip! You can’t go wrong with celery. The strings aren’t my favorite but I recently read that they are made of collenchyma cells that are filled with LIVING PROTOPLASM. I didn’t even know dead protoplasm was a real thing! I thought it was something that ghosts were made of—the splattery green stuff that comes out when you shoot them in movies. But no, it’s real and it’s alive and it’s in your celery string. 

Anyway. When I ask my pendulum a question, it allows me to get beyond my conscious, over thinking, occasionally manic mind to see what my lower levels believe. Even when I attempt to keep my hand still, the muscles that are partially controlling my subconscious can make it move, even ever so slightly. It’s not magic, it’s me! I admit it. I ask it all sorts of questions. Should i send this email/text? (usually yes) Should i wash my hair today? (sometimes yes, sometimes no) Do I need to buy this great smelling lotion? (usually no) Here are some I asked just now: Do you like these checkered overalls that I bought on eBay? (yes) Do they make me look fourteen? (no) Should I make a chocolate pie today? (no) Are my dogs healthy? (yes-secretly I knew the answer to that one because I just asked yesterday).

So we went for that walk to get the nettles. I didn’t get stung, not once. And I also didn’t get burned or develop hydroencephalitis or turn into a sea worm. My muscles still work and I got 6,696 steps and a hot plate of pasta with nutritious nettle pesto. I might just try it again today. I feel my motivation levels rising. 

Do you like my overalls?

Fingerpainting

The other night my partner Marika, our daughter Maya, and I were taking a family walk with the dogs through Madison Meadow and the sun slipped down behind the trees. I told them that this is my favorite time to be walking the dogs because people haven’t remembered to pull down their blinds yet and you can see them inside, in their kitchens and living rooms. 

“Naked?” Maya asked incredulously.

“No,” I said, though I did once accidentally see a hairy man doing a butt naked sun salutation in front of his window at the beach two years ago. “Not naked, just doing life stuff, like baking pies, dipping candles…”

“Finger painting,” my partner added, nodding thoughtfully.

“Really??? I always thought finger painting was a summer activity,” Maya said, quite earnestly, which is why I love her. 

This story reminds me of when I was in pre-school and we did a finger painting exercise with chocolate pudding. My teacher, Ms. McGlaughlin, a kind, tall, old lady with giant glasses, gave us each a dollop of chocolate pudding on a piece of paper and we were instructed to make a picture with it.

I was pleasantly surprised with this project. As the helper doled out my medium, I remember thinking to myself that I would only eat a little bit. Not enough that anyone would notice it was gone but enough to get a taste. Then after I’d finished that I tried to paint a little as a voice whispered they won’t care if you eat a little more, followed by maniacal laughter. So I did. Then I ate some more for no other reason than that it tasted great. The jealous boy sitting next to me told me that I’m not supposed to eat the pudding and I felt a little pang of shame. I thought I’d just make a small picture with what was left, fully intending to do the thing right. But by then I had about enough pudding to paint a tadpole. I knew I was cooked and I might as well finish off the job.

As I was licking the last of the of pudding off my paper Ms. McLaughlin came by, peering at me though those enormous 80s glasses everyone was so fond of. She told me she was disappointed in me. I was a little sorry, but not too much, because she gave me another dollop. I made a house that looked like a poop stain out of the second serving, just fine with exchanging a little disappointment for free pudding.

Thinking back on it now, I wonder if Ms. McLaughlin was even really tall, or if I was just short. And maybe she wasn’t even old. Maybe she was like, 48 or something, a few years older than I am now. I wonder if she was mostly disappointed in me because she wouldn’t get to eat the extra pudding after the lesson. 

We didn’t see anyone baking pies or dipping candles or finger painting or doing sun salutations on the rest of the walk, despite a lot of rubbernecking on my part. 

I fingerpainted a chocolate pudding tadpole in honor of Ms. McGlaughlin, wherever she may be. She was the best!

How to cure mange

I went to Rite Aid today to pick up a prescription. As I was standing in line behind the blue tape on the floor, indicating a safe six foot zone, I began to imagine little corona viruses in the air. This is not a good pastime for me. I have a tendency toward…something, it might be a little bit of a mental disorder, I’m not sure. All I know is that I cannot let myself wander too far down the path of imagining small things in the air or on my body. 

Once a few years ago I stumbled onto a site where they showed pictures of eyelash mites. Please, for the love of God, do not google eyelash mites. I’ll just describe them a little to you. First off, I’ll say they are pretty normal. A lot of people get them. This information does not make them any less horrifying. They are these little worm looking things that live around the follicles of your eyelashes. They eat the oil and goo that your eye makes. It’s actually pretty precious, they’re just helping out, right. But when I saw a picture of them, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I’d try to teach math and boom. Eyelash mites. Drive home and boom. They’re starting to wiggle in my eyes. Start cooking dinner and boom. You see spaghetti, I see a pot of squirming, goo eating eyelash mites. 

I started to panic a little. I had to get rid of them, but how? One might think a physician (or possibly more essentially a therapist) might have some good ideas, but I didn’t have time. These eyelash mites were thrashing around on my face and I had to do something fast. 

One of our dogs, the tiny brown one, developed a case of mange right after we brought him home from the rescue. The vet said he wanted to scrape his skin to take a sample, but we weren’t down with that, because he was too cute to be scraped by some neanderthal with a scalpel. So we decided we’d try some stuff at home first. We researched and researched on what we could do for him and landed on an old country remedy for mange: sulfur powder. I found a place online that I could order food grade sulfur powder and we mixed it up with coconut oil and rubbed it all over his tiny puppy body a few times a day. 

The remedy worked like a charm, but with one pretty specific drawback. Our entire house, along with all our clothes, hair, even our shoes smelled like a rancid egg fart for about a month. It was especially prominent when I got a little warm. I was like a giant fart furnace, the essence of the earth’s bowels emanating off my skin in waves so thick I could practically see them. I took to announcing to everyone everywhere that I had sulfur powder on me, I wasn’t farting. At the gym, during capture the flag at school, in line at the post office. I even told the mailman.

“Just so you know, my dog has mange and we treated it with food grade sulfur powder. I’m definitely not farting.” I imagine all these people were relieved to hear the news, because if it wasn’t sulfur powder then something must be horribly wrong inside me. 

So anyway, as I was desperately clawing through our medicine cabinet, looking for something to kill the eyelash mites with, my eyes fell on the half pint jar of miracle fart oil. My infested eyes lit up! This would work. Mange is mites, mites are mites…I scooped out a healthy dose and rubbed it in. I could practically hear the mites screaming as they died and disappeared completely, leaving a nice, clean follicle behind. 

I should probably have started this off by saying WARNING: TO ANYONE READING THIS, DO NOT EVER PUT COCONUT OIL WITH FOOD GRADE SULFUR POWDER MIXED INTO IT ON YOUR EYES TO KILL EYELASH MITES. Within seconds of the eyelash mites dying and disappearing forever, a small stinging began. Then the stinging increased a bit. Then a bit more. Suddenly my eyes felt like they were being sprayed with rubbing alcohol through a fire hose. I ran to the sink to wash it off, but water wouldn’t do it, because of the coconut oil. I grabbed the Dr. Bronner’s tea tree soap and lathered up, which, as you might surmise, only made it worse. I cried, I dabbed, I put ice cubes on my eyes. It took two hours for the pain to subside and I smelled like a spicy cabbage roll left in a gym locker over summer break.  I went to watch Game of Thrones at my friend’s house later that evening and I had to take a dish towel with me to catch my tears. My eyeballs were bloodshot for days. But those freakin mites were dead, I was sure of it.

So today standing in line at Rite Aid, when I started to imagine tiny virus molecules floating through the air, I knew I had to stop myself. I gave myself chores. You have to try to squeeze each toe individually and count to ten in German at the same time. You have to remember all the food you’ve eaten over the last two weeks. You have to count all the Salonpas Pain Relieving products. And it worked! I got my prescription and made it home without dousing myself in essential oils. I only used 10-20 drops and it was nowhere near my eyes. And luckily for me, I’d gone through the medicine cabinet a year ago and got rid of the miracle fart oil.