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When I was a little girl in the ’70s, I did not have a scale like the one pictured above.

We seemed to have had the one same bathroom scale forever. It was green, rectangular, and the numbers sort of looked like the ones above, but their little window was rectangular, not ovoid (oval?). But maybe that is wrong. The scale was made of metal. I am sure it didn’t work with any accuracy for at least the last 20 years that my mother had it.

After my father died, my mother moved from a place they had in Toledo to a condo in a suburb of Detroit. After she lived there for about 8 years, she moved again to a condo near us in Stow, Ohio. All this time, she still had that crazy green scale. The mucilaged laminate-covering was starting to peel off at the edges.

It was completely wonky, but I would still get on it every time I used the upstairs bathroom in her condo. I loved the sound it made when I got on it, metal and weights, mechanical movement. I loved the way the numbers took their time going around and finally came to center and I loved the way it was completely wrong. I don’t remember what I weighed on it, but it was not correct. I weighed between 138 and 142 my whole adult life after college and before kids. That’s what I do remember. Maybe my mom’s scale read 135. Maybe it read 155. Who knows, who remembers these things, and why?

I know I had a scale in Kent because that is where I had my pregnancies and babies and I know I weighed myself a lot at that time. I just don’t know what scale we had. Did it break? Did we move it to Massachusetts with us? Did I throw it out, donate it?

Right now, we don’t own a scale. We had one that I really liked, a sort of minimalist glass thing with digital numbers. According to Paul, the thing never worked. I must have bought it at Target, but was it here in Massachusetts or back in Ohio?

it wasn’t this model, but you get the idea

I had to ask the company to send some part for it because it didn’t work right. I think I did that twice. It needed a little watch battery in order to function and I replaced it often, or as often as I thought I should according to the fact that Paul said it didn’t work.

The great thing about the scale not being accurate is that it measured low. So I always thought I weighed less than I really did. What a shock to get to the doctor’s office and weigh around 5 pounds more than I did at home. I always attributed this to being clothed, but we know clothes only weigh about 2 or 3 pounds, maybe 4 in the winter, at least for someone around 5′ 5″ like me.

In each of my pregnancies, I gained 25 pounds. Textbook. I noticed that the very tiniest women gained the most weight. I knew one gal who gained 80 pounds. But that stuff comes right off on those teeny gals.

I took all of my pregnancy weight off after Violet in one week. That is because I was very dehydrated. I slowly gained 8 pounds back and eventually took it off again.

After Annie, I gained a lot of new fat. So even though I eventually weighed 142 again, I had fat on my hips and thighs that remains today. I have never liked it.

Eventually, I got my flat belly back, even after Annie. Until I became anemic in 2006. That was the end of my youthful belly.

When I was anemic and I was seeing my old acupuncturist, she told me that the Chinese say a woman should gain 10 pounds after the age of 40. Is this something I wanted to hear or not? I think about it often. She also said you should never try to lose weight after the age of 40 because you need it as you age and start to waste. This is exactly what Susun Weed says. I saw it happen to my grandmother and I have seen it happen to my mother.

My acupuncturist at that time also told me that in Traditional Chinese Medicine, you don’t weigh yourself. Your weight is none of your business.

I think the point is to use food as medicine and to live a healthy life full of natural movement, warmth, and fresh air. Oh, and sex. I don’t think I’ve ever been to an acupuncturist who didn’t ask me if I was having regular sex.

I know it’s creepy to post this image after talking about sex. My job is not to keep you comfortable.

tres moderne, n’est-ce pas?

The thing that was creepiest about other people’s bathrooms when I was growing up was if their bathroom toilet had a semi-circle of shag carpet on the floor in front of it. Then, a matching toilet seat cover and a matching scale cover. Usually, these were a very dark green. You know of what I speak.

This was the same time that Harvest Gold, Avocado, and Burnt Orange were the most popular kitchen colors.

Now correct me if I’m wrong, but since pee tends to splatter to some degree in any bathroom, weren’t those shag fibers simply pee-absorbers? And why wouldn’t you do the German thing and wash your bathroom once a week on your hands and knees with a bucket of soapy water and rags instead?

I don’t know why I am being so confessional and nostalgic, but all week, I have been thinking about that green scale.

This may be the scale that comes closest to the one in my memory. I probably would have killed for a pink one.

All the scales I find at Target in the last 6 years or so are crap. Made in China of crap, by crappy companies who don’t know anything about Traditional Chinese Medicine anyway. I know I’d have to order a doctor’s scale for about a hundred and fifty bucks if I wanted an accurate scale. But even the doctor’s office nowadays has given up the beauty of metal weights for digitized numbers. You even have to plug the thing in.

I found photos of a neon pink scale on google images. And I found lots of photos of naked pregnant women and let me tell you, that is a wild ride.

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I love this photo and I made it my whateverthehell photo on Facebook. You know the photo that once you switch over to Timeline you can put up a photo that’s even bigger than your profile picture? This may have been from our last beach day. Was that still August? Yikes. No, I think it was already September. Jeez. I can’t remember and I don’t want to think as hard as I’d need to to figure it out, accuracy be damned!

I like this little float plane.

Today, the leaves were perfect. We drove up out of the Valley and as the air is colder at night up in the hill towns, the leaves were already looking like they had peaked. But they haven’t. Just some of them. It was raining and damp so the colors popped as you know they do.

I loved this little float plane and some kid must have left it on the beach because it was near sundown and the plane was all alone. I had my eye on it for a few hours. I wanted it. I wanted to take it home. As the tide came in, I kept moving it up the sand so it wouldn’t float away and pollute the water even more than however polluted it already is. As if this made any sense. Like Holden Caulfield in his innocence and naivety thinks he can save the kids.

When I finally approached the little float plane, it was much cheaper than I had imagined it was from a distance. I had this image in my head like it was some superior plastic and like it was a real plane somehow. It had the power to fly me away or to keep me overnight at the beach so I could live on the beach every day, just a tide of mornings with my little blue, solid and superior plastic plane, to a tide of nights. Me and my plane and the beach and the tides. An endless end of summer.

The plane was full of little gaps in the plastic, little seams that let the water seep in so that it didn’t really float like I thought it would when I placed it on top of the shallow ocean. It sort of tipped its wing and then I didn’t want it. I only wanted the perfect little plane of my imagination.

That is wrong on so many levels. First, I was going to steal the plane. I mean, really. That was the first thing. Then, when I got the courage up to get closer to it after a couple of hours of keeping my eye on it, I didn’t even want it because it wasn’t good enough. It’s just a crappy plastic plane made in China that will stay here on the earth for thousands of years, not breaking down, probably choking a beautiful aquatic mammal. But look. I got it. This is the way it was for me, the way I first saw it. I know you can see it, too. Look at the sand and the light. It really is perfect after all.

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One of the definitions of submit is to yield or surrender to the will or authority of another

Yesterday, I got a rejection letter. The good thing about it is that they responded in less than a month. The bad news is that I feel crappy about it. We all know the stories, we all know we have to keep at it. We all know that within the next several months, I’ll be submitting and submitting and submitting and that I’ll get rejected until I can’t take it any more. But I ran into a poet acquaintance Thursday night and he just got his manuscript accepted. It will be published in January 2013. And it took him 10 years. And his poems are good, really good, just the way I like them.

I happen to know that submitting is one of the four responses to being attacked. It is also, obviously, the last: fight, flight, freeze, submit. It’s a funny word to use for sending poems along for consideration, especially when poets have to deal with all the levels of meaning of words: puns, double-entendres, shadings, gradations, and so on and so forth.

In a similar vein, there was an Amherst Block Party on Thursday night—a town first. One of my favorite “living statues” was there. She dons a long, old-fashioned dress, buttoned to the top, and wears a sort of bonnet on her head. She sits at a writing desk with an open book, fountain pen, and a small box in front of her. When you put money in her basket (on the ground), she opens the box and gives you a little Emily Dickinson verse scrolled up and tied with a ribbon. I mean, teeny-tiny. She is all spray-painted in a copper-ish paint. I simply love her. Failed, however, to have my camera on hand, so you’ll have to wait for another time for a photo.

#71

It makes no difference abroad,
The seasons fit the same,
The mornings blossom into noons,
And split their pods of flame.

First of all, this verse is GORGEOUS. Breathlessly gorgeous and sensuous.

It also reminds me of several Sacred Harp songs. Not so much the sentiment, because here Dickinson is not writing about death. But the words and the sounds of the vowels and the images and that time in which Emily lived. That time to which we will never return and yet to which we are bound by the same sun and moon and seasons.

These lyrics are from 1830. The song is in a major key which fills me with a strange cognitive dissonance when I sing it.

#436 Morning Sun 

Youth, like the spring, will soon be gone
By fleeting time or conquering death,
Your morning sun may set at noon,
And leave you ever in the dark.
Your sparkling eyes and blooming cheeks
Must wither like the blasted rose;
The coffin, earth, and winding sheet
Will soon your active limbs enclose.

I am not submitting yet. I’m still fighting.

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I am still here. Still in the limbo of starting many posts which then sit in my drafts folder unfinished.

I don’t want to lose anyone. Trying.

We visited Amherst College’s Museum of Natural History yesterday. That’s something. Family friends were visiting from Ontario and we had so many things to show them in a few short hours.

My photos from the museum aren’t very good, but I couldn’t find anything better on google.

Here you go you bone lovers:

I know the mastodon looks like a mean mistreater, but these are the teeth of a herbivore

presumably, this is how my cat’s skeleton would look if her bones fossilized before being fed in the morning

Yes, I love echinoderms. I have tried to start many poems about them. Nothing happens.

On each of the 3 floors of the beautiful, multi-windowed museum, along one of the walls, there are solid wooden drawers. You open them and inside are beautiful fossils under glass. Who knows what they all are? All of the drawers are labeled, but I don’t care because my brain does not retain the information anyway.

Beautiful feathery pattern of fossilized plant-thing, how much do I love thee?

Yes, there is information and yes, you could lift some of the words to make poems (but maybe not about echinoderms)

You think that is enough? Oh no, mes petites, lookie here:

The hallways are lined with glass cases full of beautiful minerals and gems. So pretty.

But it is not all girly at the museum. They have a triceratops skull and a T rex skull. And giant leg bones of some giant plant-eating dinosaur. But for now you get the T rex.

And finally, the reproduction cast of a dunkleosteus:

You’d think that the dunkleosteus had something to do with donuts, but no, it is named after David Dunkle. Looks like this one had a tasty Hubby snack! Lucky fish! Yum.

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FINALLY got on my bike on Friday. My heavy(ish) commuter bike and spun around the block 3 miles. UGH. I could really feel it yesterday. But that’s a little unfair. I also went for a hike the day before (“low trail,” easy) and I did about a million loads of laundry and cleaned and washed dishes and did grocery shopping like mad and washed my kitchen floor (which probably hadn’t been done since the last Ice Age) ON MY HANDS AND KNEES (like a good German daughter). It took about 3 passes all over the floor (not really thorough in spite of it) and I think that was the real culprit to the extreme bright muscular pain all along my R ribcage, front and sides and back. That’s all of the serratus—anterior, posterior, superior, inferior; intercostals; pecs (maj and min) and some of the SITTS group and especially the latissumus dorsi. UGH again.

image by Keith Gunderson

This is a beautiful drawing, the likes of which are rarely seen. Why do I think so? Because one doesn’t usually get an attempt at dimensionality like this, with the body out of the standard anatomical planes (see below). As if we, too, are without dimension and as if function and form aren’t intricately married. I love the cutaway so you can see the muscles and bones together. So beautiful.

*

I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve been starting and abandoning lately. My mind is full of gunk. Because I’m not doing yoga. For I don’t know how many weeks. And because I haven’t been doing anything even mildly cardio (until yesterday). And because I have 2 teenage daughters and both are back in high school and that means I am tied to their schedules (not to mention their attitudes).

*

We did have our last beach day of summer last Monday. Crane Beach. It was SO BEAUTIFUL. The water was cold (supposedly 65 degrees, but I’m thinking two degrees or more chillier). Gorgeous day, no ER visit on the way home, Gott sei Dank! I swam; I walked and walked and walked up the beach in one direction and down the beach in the other. I swam some more. I did a crawl stroke! I can’t tell you how exciting that is because, well I guess I just did. I even ran about 30 paces up the sand. Twice.

But the pain is still intense sometimes. I still use my pink KT wrap tape. I still use ibuprofin around the clock. I still take salt baths. I still use ice packs. I still massage with any and all sorts of camphorous liniments from the Chinese grocery.

white monkey holding peach balm, a family favorite

*

Yesterday I did a quickie, 7-mile bike (ROAD BIKE, HALLELUJAH!). It hurt like hell last night, but today I feel stronger. Just a couple of hours ago, I lifted a kayak and an old wooden bed frame and hauled them down to the curb for quick sale. I’m tired from school starting and all of the emotions that go with it, but starting to think that soon I will be back to my old self and able to do yoga, maybe even this week. Maybe I can scrub out the tub too!!! It’s the small things, my pets.

Is this my most boring post ever? It’s not very fun being self-absorbed.

*

I have about 5 different kinds of liniments from the Chinese grocery on my nightstand and I love every one of them. The little glass jars. The camphor and mint smells. The picture of the old Chinese man and the picture of the tiger.

I have no idea what this stuff is, but I love the name: WONG TO YICK

*

When I went to pick up my farm share yesterday morning, a friend looked at my fuscia hair and asked (I paraphrase) you are on a new wild streak? To which I said, oh, no, not new. It’s been going on for quite a while.

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*this is a response, if not an outright explanation, which I had so wanted to avoid, to yesterday’s post

Lying in bed at night, the words come. Sometimes. Sometimes they are good words. Sometimes the words fit together well, bodies in motion, perfect Olympians. Maybe the sound is what holds them together: weir, withy, wattle. The time, the meaning, those can be binders, too. If I am lucky and my brain is on, the words fit together in ways that make sense to me and better yet, in ways you see that I didn’t. Peter Weir the Australian director. A withy basket, something I will never make or use. A wattle fence, woven. The book Cold Mountain which has these words in it. My friends who sang on the soundtrack. My daughter who read the book more than once, more than I did.

Repository? I just threw that in because every surface of my house is covered in clutter.

I thought of being silly. I thought of the types of poetry prompts that facilitators of workshops give out to students: use the following words in a 20-line poem: weir, withy, wattle. Use the photos: I am a rusty mermaid. I have rocks near my hands at all times. Do them separately, do them all at once.

I thought of the fun of my blog, quizzes, idiocy, random sensations floating together to meet in the language centers of my brain some nights.

Fuck it. It’s all bullshit to me. Sometimes the words come, unbidden. Sometimes they make sense. Sometimes you play with me. Sometimes you don’t. But that is what I am after. Come. Play. With. Me. With. The. Words. Of. Our. Choosing. We all win.

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You have no idea how I’ve puttered around on this blog today, writing and rewriting meaningless posts about my busted rib, my pain, our travels, kinesio tape, my fuschia hair color, the ER at Emerson Hospital. The soundtrack to Moonrise Kingdom, the rainy Gogol show in VT last Thursday night, the wonders of the Alexander Technique when applied to physical pain, the movie Hannah and Her Sisters which I saw last night at the Amherst Cinema and on and on. You can hardly believe I’m real, right?

I am becoming squeamish about using the word fuck. I know it’s hard to believe. I think I heard Eugene Hutz use the word unjustifiably one too many times. I should not like to overuse the word. Can one fuck too much? No. Can one say fuck too much? Yes. I was going to title this blog post a fucking strange [poem] or something like that. Now I link almost everything onto Facebook and I am ever-more prudish about my language. But I would not overuse the word fuck, would I? I can be trusted. I will earn my use of the word; I will be fuck-worthy, I will not be fucking abusive.

This piece is odd and not so good and I wonder why I am bothering to post it. Fuck it, I guess you get the odd with the good, the good with the bad, the even with the off.

The Aquarium of Menopause

I am a membrane
I am a drum
the pink jellyfish
behind thick glass
the first thing you see at the aquarium

I am turned inside out
and overripe
asexual, a hermaphrodite
no need to spawn
in warm currents

I am pale froth
where my feet touched down
I will be sucked into a funnel
reversing course

Still, I miss the skin
that smoothed in my mouth,
your tautness at my lips

I am not this body
I am not this mind
resolutely bloodless

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