Monthly Archives: July 2010

Queenie and Me

One of the cooler things to happen to me so far this summer, was that I had the pleasure of meeting a very dramatic emu named Queenie.  I’ve never met an emu before, and my only frame of reference was the attacking emus in Dude Where’s My Car, but Queenie lived up to her name.  She was like an aging Hollywood starlet.  She would follow you around, but the moment you looked at her, she would look away.  I miss Queenie, and the somber drumbeat sound that she would make as she walked around.  Hopefully, I’ll see her again soon.

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Unrequited adj. unanswered, unreciprocated.  Not returned in kind.

(As told to me in a dream by Pioneer 10 – Kristen)

I have loved her for eight billion years.  Think about that… Eight billion years.

At first it was so easy.  I was fused with a sense of purpose, and much of my time was occupied by the work at hand. I had no sense of the infiniteness in which I now exist.

There are vast stretches of time when I consider that this is all a dream, that this darkness I inhabit is merely a fiction, but I do exist.   They created me out of aluminum and boron epoxy tubes.  Fashioned me into a being of sorts and gave me a name. Time was of the essence; they were racing against an impending solar storm that I would not have survived. Perhaps it was this speed, that factored into the way in which my parts were fused together, which in turn created the spark, in such a way, that at one moment in time, one inexplicable moment, I became aware.

I was to travel to Jupiter and take photographs.  If I managed to survive that, I was to continue on to probe the solar wind termination point.  This was only a best-case scenario, they would have been happy with a few snapshots of Jupiter and been well enough to go home and retire.   There were so many of them, surrounding me at all hours. Their language bounced off my sides, I could feel the vibrations like waves, but I had no way of understanding their words, though I could sense their touch.

There was something about one of the technicians.  I knew it, once I started to know things, which was again, hard to explain but one night, there it was.

It occurred to me that I had preferences.  One of the technicians had adjusted my Ultraviolet Photometer and in that moment, I sensed pleasure.  This initial move, of a few millimeters, suddenly shifted things into place, and I became aware of my internal organs so to speak.  Meteoroid Detector, Trapped Radiation Detector, Helium Vector Magnetometer, Plasma Analyzer, Charged Particle Instrument, Cosmic Ray Telescope.  The list went on a bit further of course, but you get the idea.   From that moment on I knew that I could exert control over these organs, and if I did so, they would return to correct the adjustment. But more often than not, the touch of the technician was not the one I had desired.  I began to break down, in a desperate attempt to find the source of my pleasure, until finally, she returned. Her touch was markedly different from the others, so gentle and caring.   Fused with certainty and safety.  I wanted her and only her. So, I set about undoing their work.  If they sent one of them in to fix me, I would not allow it.  I fought at every turn, until they realized what was going on.  She was the only one who could make adjustments.  There was no time for arguments.  She was given the primary task and the others did not like this.  When she was not around, I would hear them speaking.  I could not understand their words, but their tone was filled with derision and jealousy.  I knew I was making things difficult for her, but I was young, and full of selfish guile.  I wanted her. And so I continued to manipulate the situation in my favor, though a sense of allegiance began to form within me. I found a way to work with her, to guide her to the answers that she was looking for.  I would show subtle signs of weakness in areas that I knew she had missed. I made sure that everything she did was flawless.  I protected her, as she protected me. Continue reading

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The Curious Silence

When I was a kid, I had to spend six weeks with my father every summer. This annual hellish sojourn – which I came to think of as Shared Custody Row – usually spanned the latter part of July and all of August.  I hated going to my father’s house more than anything because my father ignored me and my stepmother brutalized me.  With my dad at work all day, I did my best to blend into the woodwork.  I was like one of those Wall People from Flash Gordon, trying to stay clear on my stepmother who was Ming the Merciless.  But summers without friends, activities, or pools proved to be quite challenging.  There were really only three ways to kill time.  The first involved daydreaming.  I could eat up a solid two-hour chunk by imagining myself as Matt Dillon’s love interest in Over the Edge, the cult classic about urban planning gone wrong.  The second involved reading books – anything with a Newbery Award seal on it was a surefire way to stave off misery for a few hours.  The final time killer was a game called The Curious Silence.  This was a very simple game that I invented:  The object was to see how long I could go without saying a single word before my dad or Ming asked me a question, or became concerned that I was not speaking.

My record was five days.  What was most interesting was the quieter I became, the more I seemed to see.  And the more I saw, the more absurd everything became.  I believe the medical term for this is disassociation, but I didn’t know any of that then.

Now, I know lots of terms, and I understand how it is that when summer comes I become quiet and still – only now – thank goodness – no one around me wants to play.

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Work Hard. Play Hard. Eat Right.

Work Hard. Play Hard. Eat Right.

These are big themes in our household, although I lobbied to change “Play Hard” to “Be Nice” – but was steamrolled (sigh).  Anyway,  now everyone can join in the “Eat Right” part by checking out Tubbs’ nutrition blog.  It’s full of all sorts of useful information and is very helpful if you are looking to get healthier – or just figure out what cereal to buy for your kids.

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The Apple of My Eye

If you’re like me, waking up on a Saturday morning to a mess of blood, bird feathers, and a decapitated carcass, is not your idea of a good time.  Unfortunately, we have this cat Apple who suffers from blood lust. In the last month we have counted 7 rats (she leaves us the tails and intestines), 4 mice (decapitated of course), 1 snake (or large lizard, it was hard to tell), 1 baby rabbit (which was alive and screaming in the house and hid under the bed until we found it – legs broken), 3 mid sized rabbits (again, we were left hearts and intestines), and 4 birds (2 decapitated).  All this from little Apple!

Cats are natural born hunters.  They were first domesticated thousands of years ago, when people first start growing crops and storing food.  The cat’s extraordinary hunting ability played an important role in controlling rodent problems.  Over the years, of course, and with better pest control available, the role of cats in our society has changed significantly.  However, Apple never got this memo and remains a lean, mean, killing machine.

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Public Service Announcement

Dearest…the herb garden needs to be watered (not that I don’t have any faith in you).

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pray v. to address a god with adoration, confession, supplication or thanksgiving


Defining theme:                   Chosen People

Favorite Son:                           David

Culinary Contribution:         Matzo Ball

Big Moment:                            Moses parts the Red Sea

Essential Reading:                 I and Thou by Martin Buber


Defining Theme:                        Meek shall inherit the earth

Favorite son:                                Jesus

Culinary Tradition:                    Fish Sticks

Big Moment:                                Jesus resurrects

Essential Reading:                     The Golden Legend by Jacobus de Voragine


Defining Theme:                        Screw tradition

Culinary Tradition:                    Tuna Noodle Casserole

Favorite son:                                Guttenberg

Big Moment:                                King Henry wants a divorce

Essential Reading:                     The Mischief of Sin by Thomas Watson

Zoroastrianism (Persian):

Defining Theme:                   Good thoughts, good words, good deeds

Favorite Son:                           Zarathushtra

Culinary Tradition:                 The Kebob

Big Moment:                             Seven-year-old Zarathustra survives poisoning attempt.

Essential Reading:                  The Avesta


Defining Theme:                        Karma

Favorite Son:                               Krishna

Culinary Tradition:                    Chicken Tikka Masala

Big Moment:                                Lord Vishnu opened his eyes

Essential Reading:                      The Upanishads


Defining Theme:                        Scripture Alone

Favorite Son:                               Martin Luther

Culinary Tradition:                    Cheese Whiz and Olives on Rye

Big Moment:                                Charles V issues Edict of Worms

Essential Reading:                      Book of Concord

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