Friday, November 30, 2012

All We Are is Dust in the Wind

I finally finished the Dust Bowl documentary, and went to make myself a cup of tea to drink while contemplating human's ability to endure privation and loss beyond all reckoning.

"Drat!" I thought, "We're out of the good jasmine."

And then my Midwestern ancestors wept in digust.

Signs of Life

The Public Service Announcement voice-over actress intoned, "The signs of suicide can be subtle."

Daughter clicked her tongue in disgust and said, "The signs of suicide are dying by your own hand, which isn't subtle. Did no one edit that copy?"

That's my editor...I mean, my kid.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Not a Day Goes By

I have to figure out what I want to be next.

Nature-- in this case, my mind-- abhors a vacuum.

Ergo, I'm starting to have dangerous thoughts like "Really, how hard could it be to cut my own bangs?" and "You know, let's just take the wall down and then decide what we'll do with the kitchen."

I've had Consort hide the sledgehammer and the good scissors and I've assigned myself a project; every day for a month, I have to blog. It's my Nanowrimo, only it's not 1,000 words, it didn't start 29 days ago and I'm not surrounded by a supportive group of peers, unless you count those nice people who screamed a few seconds ago "QUINN WE'VE TALKED ABOUT YOU CUTTING YOUR OWN BANGS."

Every day, I must sketch a small picture of my life. There may not be a moral, or a decent story arc or even a point. But the snow-globe which is my consciousness must be shook, and a certain chaos must be created, so that I can go back to...I don't know, showing you the wee little snowman in the middle of my brain again.

And perhaps one blog entry will be about how snow globes are an excellent metaphor but not for the creative process.

So, the dog has an injury on his foot. It's all very weird; we took a walk, he bossed around a couple of Australian Cattle Dogs, he was never out of my sight, he indicated no problems, but by the time we got home, he was limping. Close inspection of his back foot found what looked like a blister-after-the-skin-comes-off on his toe pad; he let us touch it, but wouldn't put weight on it. The kid astutely noted that it looked like a burn. Where we were walking sometimes, mystifyingly, has AA batteries strewn about; perhaps one leaked and there was enough corrosive in there to burn his paw? I took him to a friend in animal rescue who said the dog didn't need to see the vet, but said those words no dog-owner ever wants to hear:

Apply ointment to protect it. It should heal quickly, so long as it stays dry.

Because no dog has ever looked at an injury and thought "You know what that needs? Copious lashings of my saliva."

The past few days have been an exercise in denial ("The dog will stop licking his wound once I explain how that's counterproductive to healing!"), bargaining ("Here, here is a dried pigs' ear. Please apply your saliva there"), anger ("It's like you WANT to get an infection") depression ("God, that licking sound is going to be the soundtrack of the rest of my life") and, finally, acceptance. We get the Cone of Shame tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Put the Blame on Me


I should really be on the east coast, volunteering with Best Friends or the Humane Society, cleaning cages.

No, wait! I should be with Occupy Sandy, helping cook or something. Wait, food given to people digging out from a catastrophe shouldn't bring on despair; maybe I could just unload boxes or hand out spoons. But I absolutely should be there.


Oh, God! Haiti! Those poor people with the tents and the cholera! Why am I not down there doing something! I could get a cholera vaccine and then go there and...I don't know, but I must do something! 


A friend has a friend whose downstairs neighbor moved out and left his three cats. Do I know someone who wants to adopt three full-grown mixed-breed long-haired cats, all black? They need to be saved by 7pm, otherwise the landlord is taking them to the shelter. Also, they'd need to be picked up at the apartment and bring gloves, because they're aggressive towards strangers. But they're very sweet!


Girls in developing nations desperately need and want educating. I should go to Pakistan and teach English. Take the kid with me, make it a learning experience. I really should do that!


Photos of animals on death-row at different shelters around the country. Would it kill me to just run to Sacramento and save that guinea pig? WOULD IT! GOD, LOOK AT THOSE EYES!



Going through my email entreaties flays my soul. And yet I will not "Unsubscribe" to these lists not because I like the flaying; I promise you, I don't. It's just that every time I have a moment's thought of "You know, Quinn, you can't actually volunteer in New Jersey and Haiti right now, let alone at the same time, and if you give money to everyone, you'll be broke and might possibly have to live in a cage on animal death-row. You might want to stop reading these" my brain screams "ENTITLED PRINCESS! With your irrational need not to feel horrible first thing in the morning!"

This is the first cousin to the previous blog about my inability to keep up with all the new social media, but at least if I'm a bust at Instagram, nothing dies, gets typhoid fever or never gets to go to middle school. It's as if the part of my brain which longs to be useful has the same properties as kudzu and has grown over every other inch of my brain. Intellectually I understand that, as my friends in 12-step programs say, I can only keep my side of the street clean; what I do is annex everything to do with children or animals and declare it a new subsidiary of Quinn Street. This is exhausting. We're not even factoring in all the volunteering I do because "I'm at home and I do have the time," and the driving the kid to everything because even though I know she sees lots of friends, I'm still convinced that years from now Daughter will look at me with tears in her eyes and moan "Oh, if only I'd had more socialization! Would it have killed you to take me to that birthday party twenty miles away?"

Dear readers, you have proven in the past to be sensitive and sane individuals, so I come to you; when is enough? How do you take care of what matters to you and not let the undone bits drive you nuts? Is anyone else fixating on that aquarium in New Jersey which was in dire need of batteries right after Sandy? Is anyone else very concerned about the well-being of those sharks?

Or maybe I should just read my email at night.