end of summer

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Last sundress of the season. And snazzy clear blue frames.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

While I haven't been here, I have been here.

Busy with a new school year, all of my energy is focused outward to students and Emily.

This is good. I am better when busy. I am happy when I am busy, even when that exhausts me in other ways.

Many things don't change, for despite my fearlessness in many aspects of my life I remain a creature who needs stability. I struggle against the dailiness that I need, but don't want to need. My rebellions become small, nearly imperceptible to outsiders. Yet they are there. I nurse those tiny coals, keeping them in my mouth like Raven.

I change my sheets every Saturday and sprinkle lavender oil over them. I patch the duvet that should, by rights, be at the end of it's life...but I keep it. It is grounded in a different time. I ignore the feathers that creep out and into my hair every night.

I make small steps into a social life. I befuddle and dazzle others who have no idea what the whirling dervish I become means, and I am unable to explain my need to be liked, to be understood. To be Known.

I fret about the research I am not getting done, but console myself with the quality of my teaching and service to my department.

Summer is easing. The dreams which crowded me in the summer have let up enough for sleep.

The cicadas were singing tonight. I find the buzzing cacophony soothing.

I age. I realize that I know nothing, and that the totality of my experiences are so small.  My body betrays me in small, intimate ways.

I wrap myself in decorations and continue on. There is no other direction. Backwards is my Ragnarok and I have been exiled.

Selkie Nature

Sunday, August 03, 2014

I am a Selkie, a changeling woman.
You may capture me, but I will always long for something,

Something cold and salty and feral.

I will stay for loyalty, for my half selkie children

Until I can bear it no more and slip my seal skin back on

and slide back into the dark sea.

Industrial Park

Thursday, July 24, 2014








Monday, July 21, 2014

My blood has begun to feel like molasses. Thick and viscous, it pumps through my body while simultaneously clogging the works. I feel like a human in slow motion with every movement a monumental effort, only to have my body stop mid action.

 I wake in the morning through sheer force of will.

My brain has gone into some sort of hibernation. This is frustrating because I have things to do. Thinking Things. Things I like. My brain has teamed up with my increasingly slowed down body to conspire against me. There is a rebellion in these bones.

I don't care for it.

I sulk. Balefully.


On Saturday I woke from a weeks worth of increasingly distraught dreams.  Not nightmares, which have the predictability of my archetypal characters, but dreams of loss, anxiety, sadness and tumult. 
Each evening, a new cast of characters - each less expected than the last - would saunter into my unconscious to have their way with me.

I woke, each time,  deep in melancholy.

I have always been a lucid and active dreamer.  This, however, was getting ridiculous. I was becoming wary of sleep. I didn't want to see those people. I didn't want to relive those losses. Rejection, abandonment, loss - over and over and over, every night.  For every step forward, I was being pushed backwards off of a precipice.

Exhaustion will force me into a defensive and reactive position. My sleep must be protected.

With little else than intuition, I decided to make a dream talisman. This decision was made, spontaneously, as I went out for my bike ride.

I had the vaguest idea of what I was looking for, and no bag to carry things in...so I improvised and used my yoga top. A smooth flat , black rock was the first thing that called to me. I knew I needed a red clover, and a small pine cone too.  I wanted a feather from the mother duck I'd watched in the woods this spring, but could find nothing left around where she had nested. A cluster of wild strawberries found contributed a leaf. A silvery spike of grass; a small white flower and some willow - A white yarrow, a sprig of beech. A cluster of juniper berries came last - all shoved down the front of my yoga top.

I ran upstairs so Terrance wouldn't ask why I had a bunch of things in my shirt. He thinks that I cling to sanity in the best of times, so this would have convinced him that I'd booked a seat on the crazy bus.

I found a little purple gauzy bag  and added my treasures. I added some fur from the heavily shedding Coco and Jackson. They were happy to help in exchange for a bit of dried strawberry.

As I placed it at the side of my bed, I only said "Please don't let me have those dreams again. I can't keep reliving that."

For the past two nights, no dreams.

Yet the weight inside my body remains. I am a golem, freezing midstride, equally befuddled and flustered at my inability to move forward.

meditative lull

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

So, um, Hi.

How is it going? It's been a little while, eh?

But here's the thing: I have conversations with you all the time in my head. Honestly. And because I do that, sometimes I lose track of when I last spoke, or what I've told you.  On the one hand, I suspect I need to speak more often - which is a bizarre thought. I mean, there are times when I can't shut the fuck up, but within the last few years I've grown quieter. More withdrawn into my mental milieu of conversations.

Insanity, perhaps.


Before summer, my therapist and I discussed my plan. You know, the plan for staying on the path. Idle hands not only makes devils work, but can get Dawn into a whole shitload of trouble.  I must keep a regular sleeping schedule. I must stay busy and productive. I must be forced to interact with humans and not simply live in a dark cave with the rabbits, cat and child.

To this end I've kept the regular sleeping schedule. I rarely sleep beyond 9 a.m. - which is a miracle from whatever deity to which you ascribe.  I wake up and stay awake (Hark!). 

I bought a bike too. I take actual rides on my bike. Every other day for a minimum of 30 minutes. My poor middle aged ass/crotch scream after these rides. They scream: "What in the ever loving fuck do you think you are doing?"

Given my solid 15 year "no exercise" stance, you can see why they may be engaged in protest. 

I go to work and sort our classroom. My intellect is brought to bear on the organization of materials and creations of systems for students to use the materials. As always, I am a builder of systems. It soothes me to know where everything is, to have touched every book in the library. Obsessive? Maybe a little but the sense of order, the sense of fully understanding what we have so I can plan for what we need fulfils some deep internal itch within. 

As of yesterday I have personally inspected and catalogued 2,139 books in our resource library. 


The third prong of the plan was "Be a little bit social." I mean, let's not go crazy, right?  I try to remember to say "Yes" when I want to say "No, thank you" and recede into the quiet safety of my bedroom.  Partly this is the habit of an introvert, but it doesn't always serve me well.

I put this part of the plan into action when I found a knitting group to join. No, I don't knit but I bring my rug hooking and work along side these people who have no affiliation with my job.

I've been attending for about six weeks and I've begun to actively wonder if they will change the date/place without telling me in order to get rid of me. 

Why? Well - remember the "I can offend anyone, usually without intent, in about five minutes" superpower? Yeah. 

Here are some highlights from the last several weeks:

Person announces that they read that jicama is not good for you and is used as a pesticide. Dawn reacts with shock and laughter, while proclaiming that this is ridiculous! She has been eating jicama for 16 years - there is some in her fridge right now!  Person is not amused.

Person tells another Person that she needs to watch the grandson because if babies don't crawl it leads to spine damage. Dawn holds back for about three minutes before blurting out that barring some sort of specific spinal/skeletal issue that LOADS of babies don't crawl. It means NOTHING. Dawn reiterates that she has cared for HUNDREDS of babies. Babies are her "thing" - like really. Persons glare at Dawn.

Person tells another person that doctors feel that babies should have no solid food before the age of One. Dawn can't even try to hold back. "WHAT?!?!?! That's ludicrous!" she proclaims. "What evidence is there for withholding food from six month old infants, barring allergy concerns?" 
Person defiantly says "Obesity!" Dawn gets even more riled, states that people should be more concerned about the quality of food they give babies and less about obesity. Dawn launched into her "We need fat to build synaptic connections" speech. She is glared at again.

Person asks Dawn if Common Core is a plot to inject communism into schools. Dawn begins to laugh - actually laugh and retorts "It's injecting something all right - Capitalism and stupidity." Dawn considers wearing her "Feminist Health Center" t-shirt to next gathering.

Person asks other person if the college in NYC that they visited for Person's daughter had "good security". Person responds that "They had guards at the gate, but that they really hated NYC."

Dawn knows what this is code for, so she slyly mentions that she now loves cities. In fact, she was just in Minneapolis and was thrilled by the city. Her hotel had some odd comments online about the neighborhood not being "safe". Dawn notes that as she is not scared by non-white people she found these comments to be ridiculous. Silence ensues.

Seriously - how long before they give me the slip?


I've got an instagram account now. Mainly this is so I can upload the pictures from my phone. They are always random - sometimes of me, frequently of the cat and other stuff I wander across during my bike rides or at work. balefulregards. That's me.  I still don't like my phone camera and carry around my nice camera in my purse, but the instagram thing amuses me. 

Self Defensive

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Last Fall, Emily and I took a self defense class.

The origins of how we came to be in a room with a handful of other women, learning to punch, kick, shout and fight our way out of a physical attack seems ludicrous in hindsight ( she promised her father that he could pick some exercise activity if she could adopt a cat and he chose THAT), yet there we were.

As an adult woman, I am no stranger to threats or instances of gendered violence. I've had boyfriends push me  and hold me down while angry. I've experienced the not quite consensual but acquiesced to sex because it was just easier than the fight that would follow if you said no. The father and cousins who sexually assaulted me...all men.

I know what it is to walk on a college campus at night with mace in my hand, listening for abrupt movement. I know what it is to wrestle out of the grips of fraternity brothers who followed you to the bathroom and stood, blocking your exit, so they could try to get you back in to their rooms alone. I've made packs with girlfriends in college that we would stick together. No splitting up..because our reasoning was that it was more difficult to rape us if we were in a group.

I've given fake phone numbers to men in bars to get them to leave me alone. I've used the "I have a boyfriend/husband" line when the simple "No, thank you" wasn't enough. I've experienced the aggressive side of rejection, when the man begins calling you a fat dyke who he wouldn't fuck anyway..while you stare dumbly at this burst of hostility and glance around for allies.

And even now, at 44, I know what it is to walk on a college campus again while doing a visual scan of my surroundings while I walk to my car at night.

I know that my experiences are so typical that we rarely mention them, because that is just how it is.

Now I have a 16 year old daughter and my worries for her are changing. As a younger child, I made sure to know the adults surrounding her. I kept my predator antennae well tuned and alert for those who were looking for an unguarded child. I insisted that she wear bike shorts under all her dresses so she didn't need to worry about showing her underwear and I didn't need to worry about individuals who could become aroused by the sight of her underwear.

Yet, at 16, she is moving further out beyond me. This is good and right but...Oh. The things that wait out there, just off the path, where the light is dim?  Fucking terrifies me.

After the first night of class, when we were both hoarse from screaming and our arms were burning with exhaustion she became angry: Why did she need to do this? This was ridiculous and her father was just being overprotective and this was all STUPID!!! Then she said, "Nothing is ever going to happen to me!"

Oh, my sweet protected girl child.

By age 16, I was already sexually active. I had already been sexually assaulted by my father and cousins. I knew far more about life than I should have.

In reaction against my own experiences, I have sheltered her. I have tended and guarded and watched on her behalf. My vigilance has never ceased. Within her declaration that nothing would ever happen to her,  I worried that my vigilance had been unwise. She could not see the wolf in the woods.

Not that evening, but later, I explained that we hoped that nothing would happen to her....but it could. It could because she is female and women (and children) are the prey of the human world. I explained that she believed that she knew her friends and that she would never be in a situation where she would need to defend herself....but she might. I tried to explain that the line between being safe and not safe is gossamer thin.

I tried to explain that the world in which she is entering is one in which she has to be watchful because of her sex and on behalf of her sex.  I do this while trying to not color her world view with apocryphal tales, but rather with caution and realism.

I do this and feel the inner anger of a mother of a young woman who has to poison this well in order to save her from pain.

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