Things I miss as a ghost

How my fingers smelled like lavender
three hours after crushing a twig.
Getting body-slammed by my daughter,
the only way she currently shows
Sounds, even my ringing ears.
The feel of water.
There are things you expect to miss.
But I even miss the misery of puking
my guts out, the cold relief of the porcelain
against my clammy forehead; or my
back threatening to go out if I make one
false move. The smell of diesel exhaust.
The smell of farts! Mosquito bites.
Arguments, thorns. Drills.
How much better than nothing it all was.

Be careful what you hate…

…because you might become it.

For example, I hate clowns.

Note to Netscape users

I just looked at this site in Netscape 4.7 and all I can say is, “holy smokes”.

If you’re a Netscape user, you’re reading this from work, right? Because no one would use Netscape on purpose, would they, if they had a choice?

The Internet can be an ugly place, all right.

Zona Nuda II: Naked Blogger Project


After much urging by various correspondents and readers, I have decided to test the waters for this project. As regular readers know, positive body-image is a top priority at Feral Living. And since blogging is all about exposing oneself, metaphorically, what better way to boost traffic build community than with a naked blogger project?

Some people, though, may prefer to stop at baring their souls. So I am asking this, for those of you who are interested in such a project to send me frontal nude photos of yourself in digital form (jpegs, please, and nothing pornographic) which I will then, if I get enough, convert to a uniform size and post on the Internet! in the form of a Zona Nuda Naked Blogger Project!

Please include the URL of your blog with your photo, and make the photo as high-quality as possible.

Just look, the project already has an attractive banner! (Although the final version will of course be in the form of an animated gif file.) Send me those pictures now!

My email for this project:

Gamma the barfly

We all went out last night, the four of us. Beta had a harp recital. She played beautifully. Almost all the other kids, whether on piano or harp, made mistakes here or there, or all the way through. She played perfectly and we were proud.

Her little sister Gamma was on her best behavior as well. Another child in the auditorium was worse-behaved than she was, even. She climbed around on us a little and decorated me with oak leaves she had collected beforehand and so on, but she made little noise and heckled no one. Usually she heckles people.

In fact, it is one of her favorite things to do, come to think of it. Her bedtime routine goes like this: put on pyjamas, brush and floss, pick out a storybook, open bedroom window and lean out for a while looking at things and heckling pedestrians down below, read story, chat, go to sleep.

Anyhow, after the recital everyone – teachers, musicians, families – went to a nearby Italian restaurant for food and drink. It was late, Gamma was tired, we feared the worst.

But the restaurant agreed with her. She ate a little soup and drank a Coke. She crawled around under the table (seats 20) and hit people (primarily me) in the feet. We tried distracting her with a game of hide-and-seek with her sister and another harpist. She went to the toilet and wiped her own ass!! Stop the presses! Of course she announced this momentous achievement loudly upon her return.

Then she discovered two things: the restaurant had a piano, and it had a bar.

First she hung out at the bar for, like, half an hour. The bar was sort of an island in the middle of this cavernous restaurant, so we had a good view of her. She sat there like an old barfly chatting with the bartender. Afterwards she reported everything she’d learned. The bartender was 20 years old. Her name was such and such.

Later, she announced proudly, “I was just talking to a strange man, too!” Sometimes she’s shy (usually), sometimes she’s social. “I want to be a disco girl!” she says. “How nice,” we say.

Then she found the grand piano and played that for a while. By this time the restaurant was emptying out and it was only our party, most of whom already knew Gamma, and were fans of hers anyway. She announced that she would take piano lessons from her sister’s harp teacher, who also teaches piano.

Then we went home, heckled passersby for a while, and went to bed.

Give us this day our daily mouse

The weather is warm, the poppies are blooming, it seems like only yesterday that we could breathe air without sneezing, now we cannot breathe it without antihistamines. The blackbirds are chattering their warnings in the back yard, the cats are on the prowl.

Rodent season is here, with it’s daily gift of a small, furry organism in peaceful repose on the terrace behind the house, nothing but its concerned facial expression belying an unpleasant and protracted death.

I say daily mouse, but our daughters are actually getting a good idea of the wide range of local fauna. Various mice and rats. Shrews. Voles. Wild hamsters (aggressive – so aggressive that they prefer to stand in the street and give approaching cars the finger instead of running away. So you can imagine the amount of road kill in a month or two when they start roaming about.)

And, yesterday, a mole.

Gamma was thrilled. “What a cute mole!” Her mother wanted to toss it in the compostable garbage bin, but Gamma strongly protested. So the mole spent a day on our terrace. On its side, taking in the sun.

Moles *are* cute, as long as they’re not messing up your yard. Plump, nearsighted little guys. Ungainly on the surface; not much of a challenge for a cat. I finally took a trowel and tossed him in the garbage last night after Gamma had gone to bed.

Nowadays, the Daily Rodent is not so bad. Our oldest cat, Oliver, used to climb the birch tree outside our window, jump in our upper-story bedroom window (a skylight) and give us live prey. It usually went like this: cat jumps onto roof with a big *thunk*. I try to grab him before he comes in, and carry him back outside with an ill-tempered golden field hamster cussing a blue streak still in his mouth. This usually involved a certain amount of freaking out on my part, which resulted, about half the time, in Oliver opening his mouth to, to I don’t know what – explain, maybe – which the rodent of course used to make a quick escape, which led to another 30 minutes in the middle of the night of me carrying the cat through the house in search of the little animal, putting the cat down in a good spot and sliding furniture around beneath which the prey was thought to be hiding.

Then, our neighbor killed our tree with a copper nail, we had to cut it down, and sleep better at night.

Eh, where was I?

The Daily Rodent nowadays. Yes, anyway, we just check the terrace in the morning before work. The girls are getting good at identifying them. “Look, a… um… that looks like a mouse liver… how nice, he brought us his favorite organ…”