Thursday, October 21, 2010


I love cows. I really do and am an adamant supporter of their humane treatment. Temple Grandin has done some amazing work in this arena. If you aren't familiar, I suggest you pick up one of her books or read one of her papers about animal behavior. But I don't want to be a hypocrite here. I drink lots of milk, consume all things dairy, eat rare red meat and wear leather. While wildly delicious and diversely useful, I also like spending time around these animals. Even though they heave and sigh more dramatically than a bored tween and they don't understand your commands or react when you need them to. I have a scar on my foot from where I got stepped on (with full weight) by one of those bitches. They need people in a hapless and helpless way. Sometimes they will piss right in your face or buck your thigh or swat shit in your eyes with their tails. When I worked at the dairy regularly I would eat cheeseburgers after every evening milking shift because they made me so mad. "I'm going to eat you!" I would mutter. And I would. But there is something powerful about being engulfed by the weight of mammalian trust that tears you away from the modern world. This is what I am most thankful for, this is what brings me back. They are warm doe-eyed beasts with little brains and thankless jobs. They emit an incredibly docile sultriness and draw you into their calm. You are part of the herd while you are working in it. They know you are there and they accept you. It's cool with them.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I am the Fourth Philosopher…

Running season kicks off for me with the end of lake swimming and the Chris Bond 5K. This year I slept through the race due to a grueling evening in the ER. So I ran the course solo after my evening shift to make up for it. I just got some new sneakers and will enjoy shredding them immensely. I have a new determination. I feel as though I have a new body and mind as compared to last year. I still hate running – it is so bad for you – but I feel that there are few exercises that require such little money, time, thought. So, for me, it fits the bill. I am making new play lists, mapping new routes and I know Ivy is more than excited to hit the streets again. The act of going on a run is meditative for me. I don’t like to go with others and I prefer to go in the dark with a frozen moon over my head, music in my ears, dog at my hip. It all sounds so rewarding and pure, I know. That being said, when I am done with my run (all showered and dressed) I go to the pub and drink like a sailor. But, I don’t ever fall out of my chair. At first I chalked it up to stellar genetics – I am a good drinker, no doubt – but then I realized that something happens to how my body metabolizes alcohol when I put it through hell. It is kind of awesome. I would like to take a moment here to give a shout out to Ommegang for making my favorite beer in the whole world: the high-test Belgian known as Three Philosophers. I swear it makes me smarter; just ask my bartender Annie! This acquired genius propels me through my wintry days in a heavenly (and hangover free!) fog. And so, I run because it is free so that I can spend the money that would be the equivalent of a gym membership on beer.


“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.” - Abraham Lincoln

Saturday, October 9, 2010

nothing in the dark

I am around death more than the average person. It comes with the job. Thankfully, the departed I have cared for have not been anyone familiar to me. This is an inevitability though that I am not prepared for. I have had to re-reconcile my feelings toward death so I can do the work that I love so. It has sparked some long thoughtful walks. This year I lost several important people that I knew not only as  a child, but also as an adult. I am still processing the fact that they are gone, the impact they had on me and our relationship over the years. This is what we are all left with after somebody passes away. In our culture (I use the term loosely) death is not part of life. We don't talk about it and we don't deal well with it. I am witness to how awkwardly the details are handled, how little the extended family is involved. I hear over and over again the "coulda, woulda, shouldas." They are unnerving to me. I am driven to navigate my interactions with a different zeal. I say to myself "I don't know if this will be our last conversation - how will you remember me?" It is no longer conscious but it was at a time. Sounds crazy, I know. I am not a different person because of this change. I still shoot from the hip and make some pretty spectacular mistakes. But I have allowed myself the emotional freedom to tell the lovelies in my life how I feel about them. And also to stay clear of those I know to be unhealthy. It is not that I believe life to be short or that karma is instant. It is just that life is quite unexpected. My current theory on the meaning of life is get to the end of it with as few "coulda, woulda, shouldas" as possible.