“I Am a Killer”

After binge watching a show on murderers with the boyfriend (and the dog), I find myself a little more paranoid walking around at night alone. I can’t help but think that by investing my time taking in morbid material and thinking morbid thoughts, I will somehow attract that energy to me. Almost every case the Netflix series investigates on death row inmates involves drugs, and drug-related crimes somehow spinning out of control. It really does seem that you are who you surround yourself with; that being said, of course we go through chapters in life, change, and grow out of old relationships and habits. It’s hard not to feel for some of these inmates, crazy as that might sound. Getting involved in drugs when you’re twelve, growing into a life of petty crime, and getting sentenced with the death penalty when you’re 17 for killing someone out of cowardice and desperation is just a sad story all around.

That being said, murder is considered the worst of human crimes. (Do I hear a case for torture—psychological or physical—or rape? I could be convinced those are just as bad, in some scenarios. Though it is pretty hard to trump death.) This heinous deed obviously needs to incur repercussions. Those who are guilty need to be charged and held accountable. But is anyone truly evil? Is rehabilitation a possibility?

These are questions put to the jury in any such court case. The jury’s main duty is to determine if the suspect/defendant is a continued threat to society. 

If, at 17, your track record for crime is not so great, I can understand why someone might think you’re up to no good. That being said, did anyone really have it together at age 17? I mean, some of us chose to rebel in slightly more tempered ways than breaking into homes and snorting coke, but still. There’s so much life left to be lived after those horrible teenage years…but maybe I’m just a sunshiney optimist that has a hard time believe anyone is truly “evil”. 

And I understand the concept that, once you rob someone else of their life, it’s ridiculous to expect you might still get a chance at one. But some of the most powerful role models I know are folks who have turned their lives around, pulled themselves out of the proverbial gutter and focused in on love. As one of the inmates from the show pointed out, and I’m paraphrasing, not even taking his own life can undo the life he took, can give that family their loved one back. But can you imagine the humility and potential for social good someone might have if, even if only on parole, they were allowed to mentor at risk youth? What if we gave inmates some fraction of meaning, and an opportunity to contribute?

I’m just dreaming. I know I’m only dreaming. But I truly believe in the goodness of humanity, and I also believe that we are all products of our relationships. Some people are born into dire situations—like the inmate who was born with a drug addict father and a prostitute mother. We do what we know, because it is familiar. Imagining life outside the confines of our perceived reality takes a lot of imagination, and courage, and tenacity. Sometimes it is hard not to look at life as fixed or fated, that we might be able to rise above or move out of the circumstances we were born into. And what it really comes down to is our ability to make friends with the right people. That and recognizing the potential divine in everyone we meet. That goes for people up and down the socioeconomic, racial, gender, or ability spectrum, and all the other measures of human “difference” I have left out.

So this inmate, who has an I.Q. of approximately 69 (legally considered mentally retarded at the time of his trial)—is he really a villain? Is he really incompetent? Or was he born into a world in circumstances which did not recognize or build on his strengths? Is he capable of remorse? Of rehabilitation? Can he be repurposed, salvaged, dusted off and welcomed into love?

What I like most about this show, called “I am a Killer,” is that it forces you to look at the inmate as a person with a backstory. We might not get the full truth, or receive only fractions of the truth from different perspectives which might throw off any neat conclusions we might possibly gather—and let’s face it, as humans, we like having boxes and categories to put people in. I’m just suggesting, that maybe, just maybe, Truth is as multifaceted as there are brains on the planet. 

Murder is wrong. That is true. But what’s also true is we’re all just profoundly, embarrassingly, beautifully human and trying to do the best we can. Everyone has a language unique to their circumstance. It’s a miracle we ever come to an understanding about anything, if you ask me. Even if you don’t ask me, I’m going to think human dialogue is a fucking miracle until the day I die. Probably. Or maybe that’s just this chapter.

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Home(r)

It’s raining. 

I sit in bed, candles burning, heating pad turned on, thinking about Oliver Sacks and distortions in the brain. 

It took me until approximately 5:30 pm to feel awake today. I wonder where this lethargy is coming from—do I need iron supplements? Am I anemic? Have I somehow acquired mono? I sleep 6-10 hours a night, generally. Am I not eating right? I try to eat a variety of fruits and veggies and local meats. What the heck gives?

I tried swapping my 20 ounces of black coffee for 16 ounces of black tea today. Needless to say, this did not really work for me.

So I guess I’ll go back to sipping my light roast coffee, my cold brew, my multiple cups a day. I’ve only been a student for three days, so it looks like I’m not going to be lowering my coffee tolerance any time soon.

Today in class, we read the first book of The Odyssey out loud. I was surprised by how accessible it is as a work. I was anticipating Shakespearean convolution, more rhyme, more…Beowolf-ian lineage. Some of the language was downright modern, and most characters refer to the others by addressing them as “father” or “mother”, which made keeping track of everyone’s relationship fairly straightforward. 

My teacher told me something about the text which arrested me—she said to pay attention to “the space” in the writing, what Homer leaves out and what that means. I was captivated with this idea, which we tied together to the space (rests, sustained notes, etc) in music. It gives the work breath, and gives the listener access to deeper potential than simply a timeline of events. Imagining The Odyssey being sung by a bard seems nothing short of a small miracle. A tale so long, so epic, so nuanced…almost makes me wish I’d been around in ancient Greece. 

Besides that, I think the Greeks were really on to something with how they viewed divinity. Personifying their gods and goddesses with human qualities creates a more neighborly relationship with the divine. Knowing a god could show up on your doorstep in disguise would mean one really should treat everyone as if they harbor divinity. I see you, ancient Greece. Not a bad modus operandi.

We are entering fall—the season when the proverbial veil between light and dark, life and death, growth and withdrawal is at its thinnest. Last year around this time, I was leaving offerings to the goddess Hecate (or Hekate, depending on where you look) and praying to the goddess of crossroads. This year, I will be looking for a goddess with a closer proximity to Olympus. I hope to channel my inner Athena going into winter—lord knows weathering the dull grey December in the Pacific Northwest requires at least a little nudge from the divine.

So for tonight, I will read about entrepeneurs and so-called “change makers” who took a look around their community and strove to implement change. This is a Homerian journey in and of itself, right? Wanting to come back home to beloved Ithica amidst the throes of an angry ocean (the hero’s trials). So maybe these classes aren’t as terribly different as I previously believed. 

More thoughts on the hero’s journey to come…

Hurrian Hymns and Murder Flicks

After nearly five hours of homework, I don’t have a lot of mental stamina for a blog post tonight.

I spent the day going to class, grocery shopping, grocery organizing and unpacking, completing my assignments, and listening to Hurrian Hymn No. 6, written in 1400 B.C and dedicated to the goddess of fertility and bounty named Nikkal. 

Now I am zoning out with the boyfriend and the dog after wolfing down some leftover phò, watching a Netflix series on death row inmates. I’m an odd duck with odd pastimes, what can I say.

Serial killers have always fascinated me. I remember researching murderers at a friend’s house for a full day and being too scared to walk to the end of their driveway to my car in the dark. Many of the United States’ serial killers seem to operate in Washington. Rumor has it this is because bodies decompose so much faster in our temperate rainforest environment, making nefarious acts easier to conceal. I have oft been wandering about in the woods, seen an odd bundle of trash, and immediately assumed I was about to uncover a body. I am beyond thrilled to report this has never actually been the case.

I am falling asleep, but will write more tomorrow. I hope everyone is safe and warm and not thinking too hard about murder. 😀

The Last Waltz With Academia Begins

Today was the first day of my last quarter of school. To say it is bittersweet would be an understatement. 

I have always loved school, and loved learning. One of the highlights of my elementary school career was being “teacher’s helper” for Mrs. C. in 4thgrade. I got to deposit graded homework in all my classmates’ cubbies and snoop on their marks. I got to hang out with Mrs. C. during recess and watch, eyes wide, as she danced on a chair to the Beatles, swinging her sweater over her head and moving her hips like Elvis. I did not know grown ups danced like that. I have since learned that only the really special ones do. Shout out, Mrs. C!

As I’ve gotten older, school has been less about eyeballing my peers’ grades and more about continuously having my mind blown and seeking meaning in a cacophonous world. School offers me a refuge where analyzing the ever living fuck out of everything actually has a place, and is, in fact, encouraged.

My music and mythology teacher today sidetracked for over forty-five minutes, sharing shiver-inducing poetry with us and ruminating on the human fascination with Beauty. This is literally a poet’s dream. I may have found my niche in academia after all.

Unfortunately, I do not have the wallet to be a lifelong student. Being a privileged human, I do not qualify for many grants, awards, or scholarships. (I suppose this perceived injustice is paid off in a myriad of social graces I am probably mostly unaware of, so, y’know, it evens out.)

But aside from taking a fantastical, sensuous world music appreciation class, I am also taking a course on community development and grant writing. While these two courses could not be much more disparate, I am learning to appreciate (rather than loathe) the ambiguous legal terminology inseparable from the business world, which seems intended to be manipulated and worked around. I am beginning to see the possibility and potential of nonprofit work, and starting my own ethical LLC (if such a thing even truly exists). 

There are some companies doing genuinely remarkable things—Alaffia and Homes First! for example. These organizations give me hope for humanity and even make me think twice about my general distrust for capitalism. Perhaps that is an unpopular opinion here, and I am well aware I have paid human money for my domain and growing blog presence. Regardless of all the opportunity and promise held within the shiny exterior of capitalism, I seem to be unable (or subconsciously unwilling?) to thoroughly shake my skepticism of the infrastructure we have in place, something I was acutely aware of from a very young age.

I remember once, my father, in frustration with his inability to “break” me into the world of his precious capitalism, called me “Tiger Lilly” as an insult (I assume as a reference to the character apparently based on Native American women in Peter Pan). If you want to muse about Indigenous rebellion to colonialist influences, referencing Native American boarding schools in the United States and Canada would be a good place to start. I also recommend Paulo Friere’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed for anyone who has an interest in dialoguing about systems of power.

Anyway, from the age of about eight or so, I was a “serious” child, with an eye constantly turned towards power and social (and though I did not know it at the time, fiscal) influences in American culture. I was gender-bending at an even younger age while playing imaginary games. Even then I knew everything is a spectrum and societal rules were not entirely sacrosanct. 

In sum, I am finding my place in the ever-increasing confusion of our national climate. School is unequivocally helping me to achieve this.

I wonder, still, what I am going to be “when I grow up”. I wonder how I will fit into the world when I graduate after this quarter. I am still waiting to find a spot open for this human freakshow with two thumbs. I am ok with my journey being messy and non-linear, something I feel eternally obligated to justify to my exasperated parents. 

The truth is, no one has it figured out, not even those that have The Rules memorized, internalized, and embodied. I am beginning to see that if I value my freedom, I still need to learn the verbiage of these rules, so that I too might look for their limitless loopholes. I am learning to find the freedom within constraints. 

Stay tuned for more thoughts on education…

Moon God

Did you know that the moon moves a little further from the Earth by 3.8 cm every day?

As a being who is approximately 70% water, I find it difficult to believe that the moon, which provides major high tides to both sides of the planet once a day, does not have anything to do with my cellular makeup, or daily function.

I grew up in a fairly “woo-woo” town (that is to say, liberal, witchy, hippie town) of Olympia, Washington. The moon has always been fascinating to me.

I remember going for a late night drive with my parents at a young age. From my car seat, I watched the stars and the moon bobbing by from the comforts of the car. The moon seemed to buoy along in the sky next to us, and I said, “Mommy, why is the moon following me?”

It was beyond my reckoning to imagine that a celestial body, ¼ the size of Earth, was simply nearly eternally visible from my vantage point (and many others, provided there weren’t clouds in the sky) and was not some amicable, floating friend which functioned as a nightlight for me.

I am still learning the lesson that the world does not revolve around me, as a therapist recently pointed out. Thanks for that one, Jim.

NASA has projected a return to the moon in 2024. Some NASA employees say that it could be later than that, but the point is, mankind is returning to the moon. (If you think the moon landing was a hoax, get the heck outta here.) We are adapting to imagine our own pollutant potential on the surface of the moon, rather than just looking at what we can bring back. There is speculation there may eventually be a permanently “manned” space station on the moon, and space travel seems ever more imminent.

I don’t know how I feel about this. Space travel is unequivocally impressive, but part of me wonders what else we could use those funds for (exploring more than the 3% of the ocean we’ve bothered looking at, for example, or say, feeding the world’s population). 

I can only hope that taking a look from the galactic perspective will encourage us to unify and progress as a species.

For a series of months about three years ago, I was obsessed with the Great Filter Theory.

The Great Filter Theory, at its simplest glimpse, attests that intelligent life reaches an “intelligence threshold” at which point their technology either consumes and destroys them, or they transcend greed and material problems. This is a hypothesis as to why we haven’t heard from other intelligent life, which, according to the Drake Equation (touched on in the above link), is likely to exist. Either there are already intelligent life forms out there which have, for whatever reason, denied connecting with us (I imagine much like Star Trek’s Prime Directive), is unable to contact us, or has “failed” the Great Filter Theory and has consumed itself with its own obsession with technology, a fate I wonder if we are heading towards.

While I by no means consider myself a war-mongerer, I understand that NASA’s budget comes out of the National Defense Budget—though this is a very small proportion of what the military gets—and is less than 0.5% of the total U.S. spending budget, according to (and I say this somewhat begrudgingly and with a self-aware grain of salt) Wikipedia. 

What are the goals and aims of such endeavors? Is extraterrestrial colonization a viable option? Only time will tell. I leave that in the hands of those much smarter than me. Lord knows I don’t fucking know what to make of our changing planet as it relates to space exploration. I am just hoping to leave a smaller carbon footprint than the generation before me.

I took a long, hot bath today while listening to a hertz frequency designed to relieve anxiety and negative energy. In candlelight, I read the label of my Doctor Bronner’s soap in its entirety and, while doing my best not to be caught in the obvious snare of its religious rhetoric, was amazed by the idealogy of the late 1800s German-Jewish immigrant who took it upon himself to brand his soap with world unity and peace. That’s a man with a vision.

I don’t have faith in much anymore (aside from my aforementioned faith in the internet, and also the approximately 7 billion iterations of “truth” which exist in each human individual on the planet) but I have faith in NASA, and the epic, universal truth of space. 

I have faith in the fact that you and I are composed of star guts. I have faith in the moon, and the tides. 

Watching documentaries on space encourages me to look up and stop looking within. Perhaps if we all took a little more time to think universally, the majority of human drama would not exist.

Speculation doesn’t do much good without evidence to back it up. I am in my early stages as a scientist of human behavior. I am still collecting data. I am still learning what it means to love, and love fully.

But I know that come tomorrow, the moon will still be there, if 3.8 cm further away than the night before. I know she will continue to moderate our tides, my menstrual cycle, and the feelings which seem to take me by storm. I know there are scientists and mathematicians working diligently to shake out the mysteries of the universe. And that is worth believing in.

Decadent Chanterelle Bacon Frittata (feat. Gruyere Cheese)

Here’s a rough outline of the frittata I made with my mother this weekend for brunch. I about leapt out of my shoes with excitement when I saw chanterelles at Costco, of all places, and had to make a frittata featuring their rich, nutty taste. The chard we used was harvested from the garden, the last of summer, and the eggs came from a friend down the road who has chickens. Feedback, comments, questions, etc are welcome!!

Ingredients:

-two cups chanterelle mushrooms, chopped

-six strips bacon, chopped

-three green onions, chopped on the diagonal

-1 ½ cups grated gruyere cheese

-1/4 cup chopped garlic scapes (optional—can substitute two cloves pressed garlic)

-1 ½ cups chopped chard or spinach

-1/4 cup water plus 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar

-8-10 eggs, depending on the size, whisked together

-salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sautée the bacon in a cast iron skillet until barely cooked, or until desired texture is reached. Remove from pan, let cool, chop into one inch chunks, and set aside.
  3. Cook chopped chanterelles in the bacon fat, salt, and pepper until they stop releasing steam, then remove from pan. Set aside.
  4. Steam pressed garlic or garlic scapes and leafy greens in the water/apple cider vinegar mixture in the cast iron until just done. 
  5. Evenly distribute mushrooms, bacon bits, and chopped green onions over the top of the greens and garlic scapes.
  6. Whisk grated gruyere into the eggs, then pour evenly over the ingredients in the cast iron.
  7. Place cast iron in preheated oven. Depending on the size of your cast iron, cook time will be between 20-30 minutes, or until the eggs have puffed up. You may want to broil the frittata for 1-2 minutes to create a nice brown top. Keep a keen eye on your frittata as it bakes! If overcooked, the mushrooms may become rubbery and sad. 😦
  8. Remove from oven, let cool slightly, slice, and serve. Makes great leftovers or lunches to take on the go!

I hope you all enjoy! I had so much fun feeding people with these beautiful ingredients and wanted to share the love with the interwebs.

Enjoy the last throws of summer produce before we head into squash, beets, and apple season. Plenty more recipes to come. 🙂

Challah Bread Anxiety//Epic Brunch Prep

Today was full of wild cooking. It was so wild, I left my laptop at my parents’ house after 10 straight hours of work.

That being said, no recipes will be included in this post, as I need my computer for such a process. I will amend this later or create a new post tomorrow with all the goodies my mom and I created today, including two frittatas, Martha Stewart’s mini jam tartlets, Marie Hélène’s French apple cake, and challah bread.

Tomorrow, the feast! With my newly-perfected breakfast potatoes and mimosas. To say I’m excited would be an understatement.

I will say that spending so much time cooking had my mind suspended in enjoyment for the majority of the day. I traded a friend a hunk of the ginger cake we made together yesterday and some egg yolks (for curing) for homemade peach jam, kombucha vinegar, and bourbon vanilla extract. She is my cooking buddy. I can always count on a decadent snack and leaving her home with full belly and hands.

I don’t have many friends, but the ones that have stuck with me since childhood are really dear to me. I consider myself extremely lucky to have connections that have spanned multiple decades. Tomorrow’s apple cake will taste a little sweeter knowing my friend’s vanilla helped to season it.

In other news, another highlight of my day was when my mom bought caramel corn from a boy scout at the local Fred Meyer. He seemed overstimulated and his mom seemed exhausted but I hope our $11 helps him out. We’re both suckers for polite little dudes.

Anyway, I’m beat and have to get up at 5 am to shape my challah, which I am incredibly nervous about. It’s meant to be tomorrow’s centerpiece and if it doesn’t work out, we’re sort of S.O.L. I mean, we still have plenty of other slightly and tasty treats, but y’know…I’ve got my pride.

So until tomorrow, dear readers! I promise to create a post with a little more substance. I hope everyone is content and warm and full wherever they are in the space-time continuum. Here’s to good friends, good food, and good dogs!!

with any luck

with any luck,

love will come dripping through your curtains like first light in autumn

crisp and pure as an apple.

love will seek out your thighs like a little dog looking for the perfect place to dream,

will stick to your fingers like summer’s first s’more,

will hand you a quarter for the neighborhood children’s lemonade stand.

with any luck,

love will glue your favorite shoes back together

so you can walk a little braver down the road,

will plait your hair with flowers and ribbons and essential oils

just to tell you how nice you look when you wake up

without a touch of makeup.

with any luck,

love will climb your gutter like an urchin

to woo you at your open window

and carve your name into a tree somewhere down by the river.

with any luck,

love will invite you to the threshold of yourself

and invite you

to step on over towards your hearth

and warm your fingers on

the bright flame of yourself,

raw and elemental,

giving and taking,

possessor of nothing but

ruler of the kingdom

with any luck,

love will surprise you like that.

Impeachment?

It’s been brought to my attention that the impeachment process for the current United States president has been initiated. I don’t pay much attention to politics these days–at least in the national arena. Unless, of course, we’re talking about Greta. Now she has my attention.

But if we’re talking about the grand political circus, I find it’s better for my mental health to leave a lot of that stuff in the dark. Perhaps I can afford to do so because I’m privileged: a white, cisgendered, middle class woman from America. I can relatively easily ignore whichever horribly offensive words come rolling from the oval office. I can pretend there aren’t egregious international scandals tied to politicians (on both sides of the aisle) in Washington D.C. I can turn off my phone, and walk down the street unperturbed. For the most part.

But as Ms Thunberg has pointed out, I am living on borrowed time. All of my political hangups, the insensitive verbiage, the crass behavior, the political battles we are fighting in order to forget the larger war–this of course being climate change–have to take a back seat to the larger issues at hand.

I’ve got my own opinions on President Trump. I’ve already declared myself a feminist–and feminism and Donald Trump do not go hand-in-hand, to say the least. This is not to say I’m a staunch Hillary fan. I don’t think she’s any better than the rest–capitalizing on a vulnerable public with charged rhetoric regardless of whether or not it goes against stances she’s taken in the past, muddled international relations, not to mention she’s essentially political royalty (and therefore out of touch with what the average American wants and needs).

I by no means consider myself incredibly politically educated or informed. I did what I needed to pass my U.S. history class in high school and promptly ejected a lot of that information from my brain. Does that make me a bad American? Perhaps.

Perhaps it does. And maybe this is wrong, but I’m much more interested in being a good global citizen than anything else. I want to know what it’s like to be gay in Russia. I want to know of the challenges of collecting fresh water in countries in Africa. I am curious about the calamity that is North Korea. I want to know what it’s like to be a businessman in Japan. The world is vast and juicy and so, so interesting–and as much as I love eagles and red, white, and blue, I want to know of it all, bitter, sweet, salty and sour. I want to taste all the ways there are to be human.

And of course, it’s easy for me to wonder from the comforts of my air-conditioned home, a glass of drinking water close at hand, and a heating pad currently positioned under my butt. For all my issues, in the grand scheme of things, I really have got it made.

So: how to express gratitude, but also dissent. Is dissent not the highest form of patriotism? Is hoping for more for our great country really such a crime? If it is, I suppose I’m a criminal. I just see better things for the United States as a world leader. I believe in the goodness of humanity, and I believe in the United States as a powerful force of that good.

But impeachment?

After all the truly horrible things Mr Trump has said and done while representing my country, I am surprised that the impeachment process has only just begun. I suppose, citing Nixon, impeachment requires either international betrayal or profound fiscal betrayal to the oath uttered upon taking office. In that light, I can see why impeachment has taken so long. And I’m sure there are wonderful things Trump has done that I’m just not seeing.

I did my best to wade through the whistleblower’s statement this evening in between glasses of gin and juice–doing my honest best to parse through the politics and sterile language and truly understand what it is the claimant was driving at. According to Fox News, we have nothing to worry about; the premise is ill-founded and litigiously covered by a previous treaty with Ukraine. Like I said, I barely remember any of my U.S. history class and couldn’t even begin to tell you about Bill Clinton’s agreement with Ukraine in the early 90’s, let alone the full ramifications and implications of President Trump’s phone calls with the new Ukrainian president.

All I know is, precious as my sexual freedom, physical autonomy, and various other political beliefs are to me, they simply don’t measure up to the larger issue at hand. In order to support Greta and other nations who have taken the issue of climate change seriously, I have to simply get over myself. The issue is larger than me, is larger than Trump, and is certainly larger than this burgeoning impeachment. If he goes, great. If not, fine. It really, truly, deeply does not matter to me any more who is sitting on the proverbial throne, as long as they give a shit about the future of earth, and the future we’re leaving for coming generations.

Maybe I’m just a liberal hippie with her panties in a wad. I’m sure there are people out there reading this who feel inclined to prescribe “a good dicking” or various other such homeopathic remedies for a bisexual feminist. That’s fine. I’ve seen some samples of what the trolls of the internet have to say to a woman who speaks her mind. But I have to believe that love will win in the end.

Politics aside, I am here for loving the planet, for the unborn babies, for the tribes we’ve exploited and silenced, for the queer and questioning, for all the shades on the spectrum of melanin. I am here for those with vaginas and those without. Feminist as I am, I am humanist first–and that mostly requires me sucking it the fuck up and considering other peoples’ problems before I lament my own.

I don’t have any wise words to conclude with. (And for all you grammar freaks out there, I am well aware I just ended a sentence with a preposition.) My biggest hope, what I live for and dream will one day happen, is that when shit hits the proverbial fan, we will rise up as one and choose to love each other, and love the planet. It’s the only hope we’ve got.

(NASA, I don’t mean to discredit you, you’re doing amazing things.)

Here’s hoping some positive momentum comes out of the impeachment process–whether it “works” or not. Here’s hoping for a unified country looking ahead, cooperatively, with other world leaders. Here’s hoping for loving change.

Mortality Bake Sale

Today, I helped my mom bake some goods to raise money for a little boy with leukemia in the elementary school where she works. His family is moving to be closer to the children’s hospital so they can focus on his treatment. To support them in their efforts, the school is hosting a bake sale.

I made a gluten free almond crusted tart with fresh berries and lemon curd, and double chocolate cookies from a recipe from the New York Times. I hope they rake in some revenue for this little guy–by all accounts a really sweet, intelligent, special kid.

I remember who I was in elementary school: shy, introverted, with a head deep, deep in the clouds. I built faerie forts out of twigs and flowers until I was in fifth grade–that is, until I abruptly discovered that building faerie forts was considered enormously uncool. I was losing playground cred and losing it fast. I adapted by reading fantasy novels in private, shaving my already hairless legs, and wearing a training bra I in no way needed. Ah, the trials of puberty.

I can’t imagine fighting for my life as a kid. My largest concerns centered around how I was getting home from school, what mom put in my lunch, and how to do tricks on the rings during recess. I certainly wasn’t thinking about mortality. I was thinking about magic. I was harboring crushes. I was climbing trees and playing imaginary games.

By and large, things haven’t changed for me all that much. I am still a fantastic dreamer who enjoys the odd consummate fantasy. I still struggle to fit in with my peers. I’m still wearing bras I don’t really need. I am still hoping I never grow up.

After I baked as much love and hope as I could into the pastries, I went to a few stores with my lover. We were on a mission for mini tartlet pans, cognac for a French apple cake I love to make, and whatever delights World Market had in store. As we wandered the streets holding hands, the sky was lit up in an array of oranges and pinks. It was one of the last nice Pacific Northwest days before the winter settles in–75 degrees and sunny, with only a few wispy clouds in the sky.

A feeling of gratitude washed over me as we walked through the parking lot to his rig. For whatever reason, I have been blessed with generally good physical health and enjoy functioning limbs and organs. I can take for granted that tonight’s beautiful sunset will not be my last.

Tomorrow, I drive my boyfriend to the airport. He’s off to a conference in California, chasing sunshine. For the next four days, it’s just the dog and me.

The dog and I will be thinking we’re lucky to go for walks, eat treats, and share snuggles. The dog and I will remember to smell every smell, enjoy the feel of the grass, and chow like there’s no tomorrow. The dog and I will play, like I hope this little boy gets to do. I guess there’s only today.