3 Sep 2014, 10:25am

Silent in the Night

“So you’re relaxing at your South Hillside home in Anchorage when you look outside and see…a lynx? That’s exactly what happened to JoAnn Cunningham one Sunday” last December. The video. “Luckily my schnauzer and cat were inside at the time,” Cunningham says.

To me it is a joyful crossing paths to see any life, moss or crow, beetle or hopping spider. I’m a fan of life. Always have been. It distressed the folks as a kid as I sheltered mice or snakes or insects. For them nature is the sinister to be conquered.

I can see the logic of we build indoors so we don’t have to do outdoors. I’m tired of wee things biting me. But that said, there are so many fantastic beauties that we get to time share space with. A gift in this land so sloughed of life with our concrete and spraying programmes.

The house centipede being nocturnal, I didn’t know it was there. It is a tiny predator, hunter of spiders, silverfish, ants, bedbugs and moths. An entire ecosystem checking each other.

It looks like a deep sea creature. It can scuttle at 0.4m/second which is another reason why you’re unlikely to see it. Yes, it can sting but we don’t look like lunch, and it’s up to us if we force defensiveness.

house centipede
I scared the wee thing with my hunched relative several tonne form looming with a flashlight. It ran back and forth. Sorry fella. Just wanted to get a look.

Centipede is hyperbole. They never get to a hundred legs. This one seems about mid-life with 13 pairs. So halfway from a lifespan of 3-7 years. According to wikipedia,

They gain a new pair with the first molting, and two pairs with each of their five subsequent moltings. Adults with 15 pairs of legs retain that number through three more molting stages (sequence 4-5-7-9-11-13-15-15-15-15 pairs).

Millipedes are also exaggerated. Eathlife says “if you want to know how many legs a millipede has you can count the number of body segments, multiply by 4 and subtract 10 unless it is a member of the colobgnatha in which case you only subtract 8.” They have at least 9 pairs. There are over 10,000 named species of millipedes.

House centipedes by comparison, with their up to 3″ long antennae, look delicate for all their lassoing of prey pierce and fierce hunting. They also fastidiously self-groom. They look flashy compared to the more common cryptopid centipede found around fallen logs. Not sure if it’s range is here. It looks similar.

House Centipedes cannot be tight assed as they can’t clench. See,

Centipede respiratory systems do not provide any mechanism for shutting the spiracles, and that is why they need an environment that protects them from dehydration and excessive cold.

So as a kicker to this post, and it’s unfortunate that I have to say this explicitly, but no negs. No suggestions of harm to the creature. If you are bound to your hatred and fear as your identity, just come back when there’s a new post. No sharing of fear. Do that at your own site according to your need.

But back to the centipede. Mating is a bit detached and anti-climatic after the dance.

To begin mating, the male and female circle around each other. They initiate contact with their antennae. The male deposits his sperm on the ground and the female then uses it to fertilize her eggs.

Which I suppose is better? Well, different from Australia’s shrew-like black-tailed antechinus which takes 11 months to get to sexual maturity then has sex 12-14 hours a day then the male dies of internal bleeding from the franticness before it reaches a year old. The Antechinus female generally lives 2-3 years.

So many forms of life.

I once thought I’d like to study biology or hard science but was blocked by internalized anti-science fundamentalism and medieval ideas of being tested by Satan planting false evidence, pushed by a belief that I was destined for Bible translation. I liked the idea of science but I couldn’t abide the idea of evolution or animal dissection long enough to get to the other side of where formal observations could happen.

Where you start doesn’t determine where you stay.

If I had not been superstitiously moving through prayer sessions to decide my post-secondary, I wouldn’t have encountered hubby.

If we had not both been raised with the notion of church going we wouldn’t have met.

If I had not been inculcated on religion, I wouldn’t have sought refuge among believers who I felt were also oppressed minorities in a hostile anti-Christian world.

Because of this broken path, I intersected the life of who was to become the hubby who encouraged rationalism as well as being one of the kindest humans I’d met.

The wild-eyed, If.

If something that didn’t occur, did. If something that might occur did, except it didn’t.

A nonsense haranger that word. It’s scare quotes without any substantiated quotes.

2 Sep 2014, 11:59am

So far

I feel we should have a word.

I seem to have boxed myself into the idea that I can’t have a word without a photo. It’s like a talking point, a device like a novelty in pocket to ice-break even with self.

You have to start one place. Many places go no where. Just one. It can be arbitrary. Movement is more important than destination. Direction inevitably changes.

I can do words but I feel non-verbal. Two weeks I’ve felt off kilter. Better this week than last.

I can do eye- or hand-movement but feel all is a layer too thin. Watercolor thinking instead of oil. Or muddy scribbles. It’s as if being in a raucous room trying to make myself heard through the thick of competing voices. It’s physically fatiguing. It’s a learning curve to assert my mental lungs and compete and carry on my thing rather than just let myself be washed by it. Although fitting task to capacity is a good strategy as well. It’s a pain to need to adapt. Sometimes refusing is good too.

My head is clearing. Today is better than yesterday. Yesterday all felt impossible, futile. Grim Peeper is depression. Easy to mock and dodge. Except when persistent. Even when the heart feels light and amused, patient and tolerant of the Fool, peep, peep, peep. Failure to Care kept wanting to trump any and everything. The head had a noise of clatter so pulling out strands of one thing without interruption took more energy than it usually does. It’s as if the visual system and organizational system are tethered somehow. What size of pot to what size of burner seemed unhackable. Threat response was wonky. I could see it. Self felt more delicate and therefore angry and witty. So tenderness to self. Can’t hit the off button on the buzz saw so let ‘er rip as long it needs to and leave me out of it.

Could be triggered by body’s calendar. Anticipation. It would be my dad’s 87th birthday today. Flipflop. Call mom in case in weighs on her or flipflop, not call, in case she’s dismissing the bodily memory and engaged with now.

Or that may be ascribing the body too much intelligence. Solar flares. Randomness. Why posit logic into the irrational. The body could be on about anything.

Today, my limbs feel more mobile. Only under the normal number of gravitational weights. Reading Hello my name is Diane by Sandra Ridley at OpenBook on the life living with panic attack.

I can absorb information. Parse easier. Lists can be made. Tasks done. So far so good.

26 Aug 2014, 6:26pm

More Years Together

19th aniversary
Our world—It’s our 19th wedding anniversary.

Gish, gosh, we looked like babies in 1995.

Dec 1992
Our first studio portrait together in 1992.

We had a date afternoon, went for a walk, relaxing in the park, eating out,

chocolate tarte
at A Thing for Chocolate.

sleeping Holly
Hanging about like the dozy cat in this return of summer weather.

22 Aug 2014, 2:59pm
1 comment

Cycling in the City

It was sweet cycling on all those dedicated lanes in Montreal. A breeze to cycle in Amsterdam and surrounding towns. In a group ride in Ottawa it felt like being a sparrow finally safe by the numbers of the flock. Cycling along trails is fine except at intersections. And the potholes. Cycling along the river or the canal is easy but Preston and Gladstone seems reliably dodgy with cars crowding or bolting thru erratically.

We went somewhere over 20km one afternoon this week which googlemaps seems to think takes an hour. At any rate it was a good little jaunt and we home before the rain got serious again.

When I start out cycling it’s as if all my cardio is gone again. Within 2km it’s back.

It must be the tight chest of traffic. Random drivers. Knowing the average traffic light has 2 people driving through amber and 1 through red. I have to monitor in every direction.

Once out on the trails I wonder why don’t I do this every day. But first I have to get out to the trail. And past the driver who yelled at me that I should walk my bike across an intersection while I’m on the bike trail. Forget that two male cyclists had just gone through the green light I was also at while the driver was at a red light. Females are safe to yell at and to correct, apparently. Especially when it was just him and me within earshot.

The most cheerful moment have sourness in them. Paused in front of a restaurant kitchen three guys were cooking and laughing and having all appearance of a good workplace. Then a female cook cut across the scene to grab a pot from the upper shelf. The co-worker nearest worked around her by putting an arm around her waist and squeezing her stomach as he leaned his face into her neck. Her nostril curled distaste, her mouth opened as if to chastise and she flew away out of scene. He smirked and laughed to himself and in a fraction of a second the cheerful cooking scene resumed. Hubby was watching. He didn’t see it.

At the time both moments infuriated me but the motion eased it away until I was airy as souffle. Once we’re out among the crickets, cicadas, bird song, crow to the left, heron to the right, turtle on the log, beaver chewing its fresh chips, life becomes a song.

your heart is ahead
Follow your heart. It went that way.

But then there’s the trails through parkland where people still have to be told how to behave.
have to tell you everything?
Which is darkly comic. Who goes to a nature path and saws down firewood? I prefer the interpretation of circus act with the letter T.

Some paths are walking trails.

trail near Mud Lake
Some of the trails can be walking only although there were rutted tracks of dirt bikes.

The leaves are already turning by the pickerelweed.

sailboats coming to the marina
I tried to not gear-up for every eventually. No picnic, no selection of books and no “real camera” but still the little ipod thingee did pretty well at the marina by Andrew Hayden Park

The Monet shot
The Monet shot.

Andrew Hayden Park
There’s a grandstand. Wonder if a poetry event could find enough people for that stage?

But returning there’s a falling of the breath. There’s the low probability of being doored. Watching what’s happening left of drivers crowding me off and checking right for parked cars, turning wheels, cars with drivers that might swing into traffic when they see an opening in cars. It’s nerve wracking and makes it easy to hate humanity.

But then there’s cycling trails. Yet, still some humanity. Such as the woman who glanced back, saw me, but I dingled my bell anyway as I approached and after I passed she went off at me, telling me off, saying I should ring my bell. I said I did and she said, ring it further back! Some people are more detailed than any law is.

It’s easy to access the hot anger of people. The cool water and warm air and red squirrel chewing its pine comb back and forth like a scaled corn cob, that’s harder to bring back into definition.

19 Aug 2014, 2:54pm

The Body Politic

I feel my inner old fogie [she is inner, isn't she?] when I see a bra strap.

Because certain women in my youth [but never men] would hiss something or give a nastily appraising eye on the morals of someone who wasn’t vigilant of keeping her bras strap hidden. It reminds me of the Muslim women who used to police each other for a stray hair slipping out of their hijab. Cover it and hair can be inferred. One props up the “happy fish” (as John Lavery put it) on cloth slings to make them more prominent and make arrowhead scoop necks and dangle jewelry to point the eye but somehow it’s the bra strap that is the fall guy of being too overt.

There was a hurried tuck and blush to correct. Maybe it was unkempt like a zipper down but I still occasionally hear “hussy” or “whore” come out of the ancient chorus in a back room of my head when I see a slipped strap or mismatched shirt so the bra shows on the outside.

It seems symptomatic of what we think the body is and what clothes do. Assuming it is not warm enough to exist naked, or that it is too sunny to not hide from cancer, why do we wrap ourselves in cloth?

Is it to display beauty, selectively show bits and celebrate color and be peahens or peacocks?

Or is it to hide shame of being born evil, but must ventilate without being too morally judged or tempting?

You may recall the Skirt length significance from a couple years ago from matronly on up. Funny, does this happen with men’s shirt cuffs? Or there’s other nonsense governing skewed ideas of mores there. Or do men police each other for being flashy and study at one shirt cuff length and chastised for a short-sleeve too long and loose?

To hit middle of the acceptable for time and place isn’t to get off the merry-go-round. To become the Suicide Girls and rewrite rules of engagement is still engaging the news cycle rather than overwriting the rules. I suppose any nudge changes the centre point.

Skin doesn’t equal sex and shape doesn’t. We know this and yet don’t any more than we can distinguish our truths from our fictions.

Sexualness is the context of the act. No one while being in public going about their daily life is likely promenading, intending to provoke sexual response. They are living.

If there is intended provocativeness it doesn’t matter what cloth or lack of cloth is there. It can’t be missed.

If it can be neutral for kids to run around in swimsuits or change their clothes on the beach, why is it any different for adults to? If kids must hide, who is it from?

We police one another for imagined of what might happen, for rules that are misguidedly reinforcing the notion that if you show your ankle, or wear non-sombre colours, or tailored clothes, or move your body in a large gestural box, this is related to morality or conflated with sexuality.

It’s understandable since people are looking for signs, for indications of interest. But the clues are flickering not constants like BMI or clothes put on hours before the context.

before and after
[Both are photoshopped incidentally.]

In a way bras are allowed to be scapegoating Eve. To display breasts is to play the game and to hide them is to refuse to play the game which is presumed as lack of awareness and intelligence of the game of gender roles and supporting the great mass of society.

The neutral human form is male as any health intake form or biology chart shows. Males can stand in for females but not the reverse. Like the news from April how the co-screenwriter of Noah explained that white people are neutral and can stand in for everyone, explaining why his picture had an Ark and no people of colour. He felt a mixing of “races” would be distracting and artificial construct. I don’t know where *he* lives but when the average face varies to a degree.

I remember riding the city bus from Palm Springs to Cathedral City to Indio. The land went from tall-walled and irrigated, people from white and tall to pure desert and shacks and all the people getting shorter and browner. I feel Ottawa is less zoned but then on the bus, I know I’m near the crossing of Somerset whenever the average ratio of asians increases. I go towards South Keys and suddenly there are people in hijabs and buildings with arabic-lettered signs. As church let out in the neighbourhood, black people came onto the sidewalk talking. I see a black person now and again around the shops, more so at poetry readings.

We still are in our racial encampments. We are still in our gendered encampments. It is more diluted and porous than when I was growing up. People are just people and yet in a room there’s a density of females clustering together and males clustering together. If it were random, wouldn’t it mix more often?

Why can’t gender be neutral? Why prevents females from being neutral? Why aren’t shapes neutral?

  • RSS Humanyms

  • Archives