The Saltiest Dog There Ever Was

By the way, if you are wondering why I am all Ms. Perky Shrug-It-Off…well, what else are you gonna do? Shrugging it off is becoming my specialty –


This is an interesting turn of events…actually, no: it’s not.

Nothing has happened. I took the kids to school and then went birthday shopping for the boy – who turns eight on Thursday. The kids were born ten days shy of two years exactly apart. Both were yearned for, primarily by me – in secret…wanting a baby. I didn’t know anything about babies and actually was fairly certain that babies didn’t like me. I tend toward being fairly loud and I think that I thought that babies required quiet…as if they were likely to be easily surprised. Some babies are fairly sensitive, but most are as as placid as stones in the face of all sorts of brightly raucous stimuli.

even spiderwebs on screen can be golden if you catch them at the right time


I think that the kids are in part the reason that I sort of half think that if you simply want something strongly enough – as long as your reasons for wanting it are reasonable – ish and not liable to hurt anyone. (The question of whether wanting a baby is reasonable and/or socially responsible is highly debatable. However, when you find yourself wanting a baby, well…you sort of really feel like it is totally reasonable to buy multiple pregnancy tests even when there is little chance that you’ve become pregnant in the two days since you took the last test. I am not the only woman whose baby-wanting manifested itself in the purchase of unnecessary at-home pregnancy tests. I think it was the commercials that got me. Those private foil-tearing moments in which all of the possibility in the world is held in a stream of urine. I am inclined – in case you hadn’t noticed – strongly toward wistfulness.)


sprouting apple seeds found in the apple
by children


I went to the old big box do it yourself superstore, where I purchased more gold spray paint for the kitchen floor. Also, an ergonomically designed spray nozzle attachment.

My hands do not spray paint. I wish I could come up with an ergonomically designed banjo holding attachment; my thumb is still numb. Something about the bone of my knuckle and the weight of the neck where it rests.

I came home, laden with plastic bags and receipts and the sun was hot and the sky was clear and I thought to myself, ‘Damn, I’ve got to get a job.”

Fortunately, I have figured a few jobs that I can do that are likely available. Social services has always been a draw for me. I started out working PRN (on-call) shifts at groups homes for adolescent girls in Portland. Got distracted by the bigger picture and somehow ended up a sociology nerd in a Ph. D. program that I quit rather quickly…because it was hard for me to see, then, how to manage the frustration of understanding and not being able to bring actual change to fruition. It seemed like a lot of talk.

Like a liberal circle jerk, intelligentsia caught in everyone’s hair.


It seems that, when I am inclined to make big changes, I tend to de-construct in a fairly major way. A lot of it is simply talking myself through the possibilities. I have always been addicted to possibility. I still need to post the ‘essay’ on narrative fiction in the development of perspective and imaginative liberty.

It is ironic, how much I – myself – am a lot of talk. Too much talk. However, there is a fair amount of action. I took three hundred pictures of clouds today. Hahahaha. Actually, it doesn’t take long at all to take pictures of clouds. I just take a detailed study of chunks of cloud passage. About forty-five minutes to an hour of continual photography. It’s a good mind-wipe. I don’t even get around to looking at all the pictures I take of clouds.

I find them to be structurally beautiful, not necessarily the forms they seem to – with some imaginative liberty – take…but, the way the light interacts with the different densities of particulate and condensation. That what we perceive as air can make such strong shadows upon itself…it really is remarkable.

(I will post clouds, next time. I wanted to revisit what this blog was like sans clouds. I like the clouds, but I really like a lot of other things, too.)

In addition to the Clouds of the Day, I did a free write of Saltville – which I was to enjoy thinking about when I got most unexpectedly de-railed. What began as “meeting notes” for a gathering of Saltville Art District committee members ended up as a full-circle sketch out of major plot, theme, and subtext. Enough for a substantial novel.

A couple of enticing details arose as well, “The Saltville Quilters were offended that their American flag quilt was referred to as Dada.”

I think it is a story I may experiment with telling.

Prior to clouds and Saltville, I played around on the banjo – sun hot on my back and the sweat that fell off the tip of my nose was dulling the resonance of the head. The banjo does not like to get hot. The waves of heat we see rising off of roads seem to, in a smaller way, disturb the way that vibrates dance outward from the instrument. It becomes, in direct heat, a bit quivery – as if the sound bounds and then shudders…perhaps that is quavery. Two quavery songs that will go up on the tube tomorrow. Just for the hell of it.


I had woken up, admittedly, with a bit of a ghost hand on my heart. However, I must say that – all in all – I feel better than I have in…a couple of decades. I obviously am up shit-creek socially and financially. However, I find that I feel no real appreciable panic in those regards. Perhaps I ought to, given the meager amount in checking. I am – after birthday shopping for the second time in two weeks – for a child equally beloved as my girl…and thus requiring gifts of similar perceived value – well, I am realizing it is time for me to get back on the horse.

I find that I do not have the incredibly pressing occupational anxiety in regard to PRN group home work that I tend to have when I think about “professional” positions. I am better as a substitute. I fill in brilliantly. Eventually, there will be the health insurance issue to consider. However, I will worry about that when Cobra expires…or perhaps several months afterward.

Oh, in regard to my controversial bursting of bubbles. The sound it made when it popped – when I hit “PUBLISH POST” – well, it was the smallest of sounds


…nobody really heard it…but, I am set free. I think…? Probably not, actually. But, it’s nice to pretend.

My band of brothers has not arrived (yet) – but, my one actual youtube friend, who is noted on my ‘channel’ – posted a simple comment: I WATCHED YOUR VIDS FAITH!

What a pal. His latest update featured talk of a Inland Empire punk rock show with a quarter pipe and a band from Tampa. He is what one might call, African American. Thus, a brother. Some bands. A skate ramp tossed in for good measure.

(If you read this blog, you know I have a huge place in my heart for the very best of skateboarding culture. Ramps at shows and kids on boards.)

And my small press book…well, I thought it might be a fun project to take my very least favorite drawings from last year and cut them and sew them and bind them into a one-of-a-kind original work, the whole being far more than the sum of it’s parts. Ugly and out of proportion turned graceful and just right with re-presentation. It would probably take an afternoon or so, perhaps more – depending on how many different media I incorporate.

I have a letterpress workshop this weekend. I am excited. I am still unsure as to what words or phrase I will press on Sunday.

I still need to get the Presents For Strangers actual display to send to Folly. It doesn’t really matter if I do it or not. They don’t care one way or the other.

I am going to email Prison Books tonight. However, due to my social suicide here in Asheville, my help may not be wanted.

People who have read this blog tend not to look me in the eye. Which I find kind of weird. I mean, it’s not like I walk up to them and start ranting and re-counting. No, I say, “Hey. How are you? Gosh, this guy got big! What? 3rd?”

I act pretty normal as long as you don’t get to know me too well. Then I do, admittedly, become almost unbearably delightful and I do kind come up to you and start ranting. I am just excited to talk to people when I feel like they actually like me and aren’t just being formal and polite.


I do not promote this blog too heavily…hardly at all considering the lengths that some will go to…and what is so wrong with the telling of one’s story with the hope that in the telling, some clarity will be found – not just for me, but perhaps (as things are organized and culled) for some of the people who are just like me in some way.

A lot of people are. I tend to have something in common with almost everyone I meet. Some small detail or point of affinity. Sometimes, people act as if they have never ever felt an honest connection over a small commonality. I am always surprised by this. I have some amazing moments with total strangers in parking lots. I don’t do anything odd or extraordinary. Just being friendly. If I notice something I could do or say that would perhaps interrupt the pattern of: to the car to the building to the car to the building to the car…not because I think people need to be disrupted…because I, personally, am bummed by all the walking and no talking. I make sure to try to smile at people. Sometimes I forget though. And sometimes I just can’t.

At the home improvement superstore yesterday, when I purchased one fewer cans of gold paint than I needed, I saw the tidiest couple. They were in their early eighties and both of them just were so tidy and trim and wearing red shirts. Hers with dots and his with stripes and I saw them walking out of the store and their tidy red-shirtedness just made me incredibly happy, because it totally looked like they planned it.

Wait, it gets better. So, as I am getting into the truck, I see that – OMG! – they are actually getting into the super shiny Candy Apple RED VW beetle parked beside us. And I smiled at the lady and she smiled back.

Oh, wait – there’s more. I hop out of the truck. “What’re you doing?” My mom asks.

“I gotta do something. Hold on.” The old woman had already closed her door and – dang – the window was rolled up. I sort of waved and gestured that I wanted to talk to her. She opened the door.


“I just wanted to say that ya’ll just made me so happy with your red shirts and your red car and…”

“The red purse!” The lady shows me her red handbag.

“Yes! Ya’ll are just great.” Then, mysteriously: “Keep up the good work!”

They had totally planned it. It made her day that I noticed. It made my day that it made her day. It was awesome. I almost had to say something to the couple who lifted first a fat white Westie and then a near-identical black Scottie into the cart. They looked sort of grumpy though.

I don’t really think there is anything strange or wrong with being honest about who you are and what you wish for the world. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being nice to people when it seems the odds are in my favor that I wouldn’t be bothering them.

I don’t want to bother anybody.

That’s why I had to leave facebook. Well, that and the only reason I was even on it to begin with ceased to be a reason, especially after the digital heart on my birthday. Gag. I am far too verbose and easily distracted for a forum like that. I get on people’s nerves and blather on and on and on. There are some weird norms surrounding facebook that I don’t understand.

The internet is touted as being an access point for people with social difficulties – such as those associated with certain developmental and communication disorders – and it is true that there are some really amazing forums where folks from atypical populations can interact with one another.

It bums me out though – even on the internet, as far as social networking sites are concerned, the norms and customs of the walking and talking world are firmly in place…and all those likes and dislikes…ugh. The issue I have with social sites that are designed to be safe spaces for populations that in the general population are not understood, appreciated, or tolerated…well, in my mind, it raises the question of why all spaces aren’t safe…

warning: idealism ahead.

It is true that not everything can be hunky-dory for everyone, all the time. Nonetheless, there is a vicious and snubbing side of social sites that, in all honesty, made me feel like I was in high school again. Perhaps that was just my experience. I am definitely a bit hyper-sensitive.

I drew these two little post-it sketches of things I saw on the ground in front of me, sitting at the back edge of my parents property this afternoon. There was a lot I could’ve chosen from. The design on the beetle’s back is drawn as true as I could recall. It kept crawling away. Some type of shield bug, I think.

Then came the missing ten years…during which I painted several paintings, practiced banjo a little, learned how to grow almost anything in soil, purchased at leas three dozen home pregnancy tests and bore two wonderful children who are like me in the vital ways of sight detail and fondness for small, everyday oddity and reverence.

I adopted four dogs. Only one remains. Two by car, one by lethal injection after biting through my finger as I pried Under’s head from his locked jaws. He had snapped at babies and my split through fingernail and the small dogs screams were a death sentence for the dog, an innocent himself – the spawn of yard dogs, a pitbull and a German Shorthaired Pointer, doing what yard dogs do…fight. He was wired for aggression; even as the triple dose of sedative finally kicked in, he was riveted by every passing footstep. I tried to hug him, remembering a sickly puppy, a graceful bounding sprint, an elegant forepaw held aloft in the direction of something only a hyper-vigilant dog could care about. He was tense, scared. My finger hurt. I was tired.

The dog fight had happened on my bed, in the middle of the night. The little dog was screaming. I was screaming. Nobody woke up.


Ah, yes. I barely listened to music at all during that whole time period. It just made me sad. Even the happiest songs made me sad. The sad songs made me sadder. My favorite old East Bay punk bands made me feel like spitting at my own feet for being such a sell-out.

I wasn’t really a ever really a ‘sell-out.’ My household has always been hovering around the poverty line. Only briefly did we earn enough to not qualify for some some of assistance. Two full-time employees in professional positions. A fairly common scenario in today’s families. So, it wasn’t like I was trying to keep up with any sort of Jones’ – it wasn’t that which made me feel like a sell-out.

It was the fact that I knew I was biting my tongue and hanging my head when I should have been packing the bags and slamming the door. There is so much duality in who we are. We know something is awful and wrong for us and yet, we do it…out of fear, or pressure, or simple exhaustion.

“It’s better, sometimes, if you just keep it to yourself.” My mother-in-law’s advice for me on my wedding day.

It is true. Things are infinitely easier if you just keep it to yourself. You never have to worry that the people who claim to love you will stop loving you if you just try to go along with it, keep all the messy business of heart and soul and truth out of it. Smile sweetly, comment on current events.

Perhaps remark on what a shame it is that Faith is behaving so foolishly and selfishly.

I would never advise anyone that keeping themselves to themselves is an ideal way to go about living. I do understand that it is simply not practical to be in a constant state of deep and meaningful commentary. I do understand that not everybody needs to know my life story.

But, people who claim to love me should know that it is mine and that it comes with me…it is what wrote me to be who I am…and I am more popular with myself lately than I have ever been before. I am like, sooooooo popular…with myself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~this is water~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ah, yes…today…was of little consequence and I find myself a bit relieved. Whew. I am glad that is done. The stray dog has shaken herself dry and looked up, kind of hungry – but mostly just glad to be out of the water.

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