Above is a rich representation of some of my favorite things.
I am starting a new website. This one is becoming the archive. Now I have two, schoolcraftwax and denisedjsdetroit. The ddd was my first attempt at writing down my ideas about Detroit and about music. Schoolcraftwax was the second version of that. I’m keeping the concept, but adding work. It will be called schoolcraftwax.work. You can do that, use a different type of extension. It’s not open to any and all extensions, there’s an approved list. But the list is long and .work was the option that I liked the best. There’s also a .men but no .women. ?
I don’t know who I am anymore except when I know exactly who I am and it’s such a cool feeling. It’s also stressful. Some things are the same, some aren’t. Some things make sense. Some don’t. I do not understand a lot of what is going on around me. It’s okay. Everything’s cool. I just don’t understand a lot of it. I find that extremely annoying. My handwriting is weird. My spelling is even worse. But my vocabulary is much improved. I am mourning the loss of some things that needed to go and become other things. I have been brought to my knees many times in life, like many of you, I know, and I’m grateful for it. I remain here waiting for continued greatness. I love the word righteous, but I dislike what comes to my mind when I think the word “righteousness.” I am trying to figure out how to take power away from the things that I dislike. And how to know when part of an idea can be recycled into something new. Some ideas need to be destroyed and composted entirely. But some ideas, like the pure, simple idea of righteousness, should definitely continue to be a thing. It’s beautiful.
You guys. I just made a cocktail tailored to me. Herbal tinctures and rye whiskey. It is very enjoyable. The herbs I am taking tonight and for the next little while are as follows: super echinacea (I think I might have some surprise allergies to something growing at Wilder Farm, that’s my farm), chicory (a Bach flower remedy that emphasizes letting go, also a badass purple flower that grows in the shitiest conditions),
valerian (helps with sleep and relaxation), motherwort (on the label, it states: “Be Kind to Your Motherwort” – from Castle Remedies on Washtenaw in Ann Arbor, Michigan), goldenseal (suspicious allergies), red clover (womanly herb),and, just tonight, for the first time, Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey from Louisville, Kentucky. I asked for a recommendation at The Keg in Ypsilanti. I like Bulleit and Two James, but I wanted something different and affordable. My first sip was not good. I poured a small first taste and then added some water. That’s how I usually drink Bulleit. It was a little syrupy. Disclaimer: I fear that I lack proper vocabulary to discuss drinks, coffee included, but who fucking cares. I’m going to write about shit that I like. One not good taste. Lie down with boys for bedtime reading. Eight year old boy reads aloud every night by choice. It’s wonderful. Lights out, but linger a while longer for cuddles and some talking. Try to sit outside and enjoy the moon, but it’s too fucking cold god damnit. Herbs in whiskey. It’s delicious. Not sweet at all, so if you prefer that, do not do this. I love bitter things: turmeric, espresso, very bitter IPA’s, spicy rye whiskey, and apparently, mother fucking goldenseal. If you have ever tasted goldenseal, you require no further explanation. If you have not tasted goldenseal, the shit is foul. It is yellow in color. Very yellow. It tastes like poison to me when combined with any liquid, or so I thought. Rye whiskey is the proper carrier for this herb. And it’s an herb that I think I need. Flavor does not always communicate health effects, I have learned. I tasted a red clover leaf. Terrible. The flowers are excellent. The herbal tincture does wonders. Leaves and stem? Fuck it.
Plantain. Magical green lined leaf that grows all over the Midwest, and hopefully further.
If you cut yourself, like I do, A LOT, chew this leaf and then rub it, spit and all, on your cut. It will clean and promote healing in your wound.
I want my world to be a healing world. I don’t really know what that means, but I know that it sounds good to me. My Dad taught me that our bodies can do impressive, remarkable things. He was an abusive father and husband, so I have not seen him in 18 years. I am currently coming to terms with the positive effects of his personality on me. I think I look like him a lot right now, but that only pertains to my memory of him. Oh yeah, and photos I have of him. He’s a smart man, and he taught me a lot. He taught me the names of bones; how tendons and ligaments work; that muscles are dense, and fat insulates (this was a cold winter for me); and that parts of your body continue to grow as you age, like your ears.
And your brain.
Being pregnant taught me that our skull is made up of mobile parts. It’s a requirement of being pushed through a vagina. A baby’s head comes out squished, and oddly shaped sometimes. That’s regular. The bones eventually are assumed to fuse together, but I don’t think they do, because I just spent my entire winter getting rid of past experiences (I still have memories, of course, I just don’t associate all the negativity and shit with them), and now I’m starting to learn new things again.
Oh, and I think I forgot to say, I liked the rye whiskey.
This iris came up in my yard right next to the entrance in the fence last year, but it did not flower. It was tiny and was a surprise. This year, it’s blossoming and it’s gorgeous. I love irises. The Ypsilanti Food Co-op has a beautiful iris garden just north of their parking lot. There are so many different colors. They’re lovely. I plan to line my fence with flowers, some of them irises, and I’ve gotten a good start this spring already. The peony is coming up, and so are the dalias. On Cross Street, there’s a house with a patch of irises between the sidewalk and the road. I always love walking past when it’s full of blooms.
I’m working on setting up a website/blog for my farm this evening, however, I’m working at Cultivate (it’s a very good place to have a beer during computer time) and online purchasing/public spaces/you know what I mean. So I’m waiting until I get home to finish setting that up.
I’ve decided to plant a public garden in the space between my chain link fence and the road. There’s a wide enough patch of land that I could safely grow a little bit of food without getting too close to the road. I plan to plant a tall growing grain, like amaranth, along the edge of the garden in order to keep it clean from the passing cars. Maybe amaranth, maybe something else, still researching.
That’s the start of me killing plants so that I can grow plants. All of that wood and those bricks have been in my yard since I moved in. Using what I already have and making it work for me is strategy number one in life. And that’s a morel. It was growing in my yard. The glory of this situation is not lost on me.
I spent maybe two hours in my yard this evening after coming home from work and picking up the kids from school. I really enjoy doing that. I find it extremely relaxing and peaceful. I get to work amongst plants like this:
I put these here on purpose. I want to fill my yard with plants that are native to Michigan. There’s a vendor at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market who sells just this very thing and I buy a lot of beautiful native plants from him every year. In fact, this past Saturday, I bought a thirty-year-old trillium from him.
Today, as I was working in my yard, a young man on a bike road past heading east on Forest toward the middle school. He said hi. But he’s not just any young man. He’s the guy who grabbed my ass while I was walking my dog down Forrest a number of weeks ago. At the start of my walk, I made the mistake of saying hello to him. I had gotten in the habit of doing this after working at Whole Foods for so long. I would catch myself saying hello to people on the street as though I were walking through my department greeting people. I have since broken this habit, but still say hello to a lot of strangers. Later during the walk, as I was heading home, he rode his bike alongside me on the sidewalk coming from behind and placed his nasty, entitled, bitch-ass palm on my left butt cheek and squeezed and slapped at the same time. Writing about it makes me want to explode and destroy him. I yelled at him. I don’t know what I yelled, but it involved the word “fuck.” I walked a few more blocks and that little soft young mother fucker rode past me again and looked at me. I yelled at him some more. Something about if he ever touches me again, I’ll knock him off his bike. He would totally fall, too. It’s a little bmx-style bike. There were cars stopped at all four spots of the intersection with windows down. I hope they heard and I hope they looked his way. Well, this little bitch rode past my house yesterday, and I saw him looking at my yard. Today, he rode past slowly and said “hi.” I stared him down like I’ve never stared someone down before in my entire life. I wanted to melt his insides with my eyes. I was standing on the outside of my fence near the road, and I was holding a tall piece of wood. When I recognized him, I began staring him down with a little bit of crazy and a lot of “dude, I’m way stronger than you” because it’s clear that I am.
Later, I practiced aggressive shit that I would say to him if he comes near again. I am comfortable confronting him because I know that I can back it up. I have never spoken the way I do now to threatening men because I knew that I could not defend myself. But now that I’ve been doing the staggering physical labor of farming, I have the strength to protect what’s mine.
This is clearly bullshit. A person, woman or man, should not have to be physically strong to walk through their world safely. We should be able to exit our front doors and be safe in our worlds at all times. That’s what I want. It’s pretty simple. Sure, it feels fucking great to be stronger than I was before. I love it. I can carry more. I can do more. But consent must be explained and taught to boys and girls and young women and young men, over and over. I don’t really know what else to say about this because I’m so frustrated and angry about it.
Serious crushes. Because of the music they created. But not actually crushes on their persons. Crushes on the music they created.
New policy: I do not want to spend a lot of time on creating hyperlinks on this site anymore, so I’m not going to. That shit is time consuming. I work multiple jobs and have a full family life, just like many of you, and I need to guard my time wisely. If I mention a name and you want to know more, I welcome you to enjoy the delights of google. I’ve spent enough time in my life on busy work and now I’m transitioning away from it.
I had the day off from outside work today, so I handled some basic shit that I had not been able to get to in the past week. Hyperion in Ypsilanti fueled the start to my day. I’m pretty sure their coffee menu listed espresso and coffee, and that is all. Really, it’s something for everyone. I’m not sure what else you would need. Actually, that’s ridiculous of me to say. I don’t care how you drink coffee, or if you even drink it. Of course I care about what you consume, in the general sense. I wish for good health always. Usually. Hyperion’s drink menu is glorious for me because espresso is what I love to drink. I dealt with all of my email during those two espressos. It was amazing. I was very pleased.
At home, I selected a Beats in Space mix, Magic Touch was the DJ. I had some financial and other official types of paperwork to handle, so I allowed myself to start slowly and casually to avoid the usual stress that conjoins this activity. It worked out well. While I was doing that, my mind wandered and I made some notes about this post that I wanted to write later. Frankly, I’m not really sure what this post is supposed to be about, but I got tired of not writing, so I’m doing it anyway. My primary concern however, with not knowing, is that you’re reading this for some reason, and I’m pretty sure it’s not for a list of shit that I do. That’s the line with creativity, if it’s just shit that you do, then it’s therapy on display; but if you, the creator, can form connections with people and communicate something larger than your own story, you win.
I don’t really know what I’m doing. I’m 38 years old and I’m just trying stuff. I lost my job in March. Thankfully, I was already making plans to leave. Those plans emphasized long-term profitability, not short-term. I’ve already tried a lot of stuff in my life. I am, in chronological order, a dancer, a mother, a wife, an ethnomusicologist, a Detroit enthusiast, a divorce´, I like that word, a Whole Foods person, and now a farmer and some other shit. I don’t know. I’m still all those things. Except for the Whole Foods person. That is already composting into new ideas. Oh yeah, and I’m not a wife because I’m a divorce´. Twice in one paragraph. What I do know is this, I want to grow medicinal plants and study and experiment with them, I want to learn about machinery, including electronics, and I want to write stuff. The primary farm that I have chosen to work on offers a lot of knowledge that I can plug into those categories. And I think I’m headed toward perimenopause. Yep, I’m thirty fucking eight years old and that hormone change shit is serious. So anyway, I’m using some hefty womanly herbs – Black Cohosh, which can be dangerous or fatal to a fetus, and Red Clover, a plant that acts like estrogen, but is not estrogen. I’m trying other stuff, too, with my food and vitamins, because I’m out in the sun for long hours sometimes, or my metabolism is as fast as my teenage son’s and I need to pile on the right energy. I’ve been reading articles on men’s health sites about how to get the most protein, for christ sakes. I’m not going to tell you about all of it though because I’m still thinking about it.
In the middle of all of that, I stand stock still in shock and fear and joy at the base of parenthood. Parents work a lot, most of them because they have to. Men work a lot for their families. Women work a lot for their families. When two parents can somehow share a home (this is not gender specific, or family-type specific), the challenge of running the home both inside and out can be slightly eased. If one parent is required to do all of this work, the financially based work, and the care and nurturing and life giving work, something suffers. I have a hard time with it, and I’m not even really a single parent. I’m a divorced parent, but my childrens’ father shares all the family responsibilities evenly with me. Neither one of us are fully single parents, but it’s still a serious challenge. We need more systems in place in our communities to protect families functioning in single parent households. Because when parents struggle and suffer, so do children. Young people continue to be punished even though their parents are doing the best they can. This model can no longer be acceptable. Isolation is real. It is time to allow the karma of past generations to drift away and greet each other again with warmth in our hearts and generosity in our hands.
When I tell stories about people, please grant me this favor and envision in your head the widest diversity of types of people that you can imagine, but just hold them in your head without any judgement or assessment, so that you know what that feels like and you can replicate it again in your world.
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I took my dog for a walk today after work and discovered that the railroad tracks on the far east side of the township divide streets that were once connected, obvs. Not only that, they have different names on the other side. Over by Lamay and Michigan, one street is called June Street between Michigan and the tracks, and Oregon Street south of the tracks. I also realized that it would be an excellent location for a train stop. The neighborhoods over here are nice on both sides of the tracks and we need some livening up over here.
Many things are stressful in my life right now, work and money and lack of sex, in particular. Maybe you have many of your own stresses. I just said lack of sex online and you know my name and what I look like. I had to take a pause between the time that the thought appeared in my growing brain and on the screen before me. Am I really going to fucking write that shit? But then I did, and I’m pretty sure nobody died. I’m still here and everything’s cool. That’s a normal thing that happens to everybody, a missing sex life. It’s regular. It’s a big fucking bummer, but it’s fine. I’m alive, and pretty mother fucking healthy, and my kids are all my favorites, so that’s good.
ANYWAY, I felt like a tired little bitch after work and feeding the kids and showering (I farm), so I decided to take my dog Bells (I can reveal her identity here, she’s an animal, not a human) for a walk. For nearly the whole year and a half that we have lived in this neighborhood, I have stuck to one primary path down Forest and Cross and the streets in between all the way to Prospect Park. Yesterday, I walked with two of my kids to Kroger to get a few groceries and left the dog in the fenced in yard. She escaped through a space in the fence and was running around the neighborhood. Normally, she runs a bit and then comes when I call her a few times. But last night, that little asshole was darting all over our neighborhood and I was yelling like a moron through the streets after her. Maybe we’ll bring the sun out and bring some life to this neighborhood.
So tonight I decided to follow her path that she set yesterday instead of making all the decisions for her and we walked down Lamay toward Michigan,
Left on Michigan
Right on June
Across the tracks
It’s a very pleasant neighborhood. It smelled fresh. The yards were green and clean. The houses were all unique and interesting. Nice big trees. A very nice neighborhood. There were some children playing in their yard so I decided to walk until I reached them and then turn around. It was almost 8:30 so I wanted to get back home to chill with my kids before tucking them in to bed. The kids said hello to me and asked if they could pet Bells, which was super smart of them, and I said yes. She’s super sweet. Then, the three of us and Bells stood by their mailbox and chatted about whatever they wanted for a few minutes. They told me about police cars visiting the neighborhood a while ago, which is troublesome to everyone in the neighborhood, and then they told me about things being stolen in the neighborhood.
This is significant, but there was something more significant about the conversation. Just before telling me about how bikes were being stolen and police were coming to their neighborhood, they pointed out the house with the black family.These children were white. They are friends with the boy who lives in the house. They told me his name. They spoke innocently and sweetly about it, like children do. But why were they pointing it out? They hear it in their home, maybe in other people’s homes, or other spaces. White people say terrible things to other white people because they think it’s safe. That shit needs to become the minority.
I spoke to these beautiful, innocent children with love in my voice and pointed north to my street and told them that my lawnmower was stolen last year out of my yard. I do not have a garage or a shed, but I plan to build something soon. But actually, I think it’s going to be a small green house, so never mind. I understood that they were being told in many different ways that increase in crime and blackness are directly linked, even if the people stealing the bikes and bringing the police to the neighborhood are all white, and it’s pretty god damn likely that they are, runonsentence.
That was a terrible sentence, actually, a failure of a paragraph, but I’m leaving it anyway.
I grew up in a town where the arrival of a black family to the COUNTY, NOT EVEN THE TOWN, THE FUCKING COUNTY, was a noteworthy event. North Judson, Indiana. Own that shit, bitches. Lots of racism running around there. I don’t know if Starke County is still so fucked up in terms of viewpoints on race, gender, sex, identity, religion, economics, class, work, labor, healthcare (this one time, in college at NYU, a fellow student exclaimed after proofreading my essay, “you like to make lists, don’t you! “), but there is everywhere I look, so it is probably still fucking up white people in North Judson. Children carry the lives and words of their parents, even if we don’t mean for them to. Whatever we do, whatever we say, shapes them into who we are. That does not mean that we should feel shame or guilt or wish to change the past. None of those things help us ever. All we can do is our best. Try and do better. There has never been a time where a person thought, boy, I’m super joyful since I decided to treat myself to all that shame and feel responsible for everything that goes wrong and look backwards all the time. Yeah, dragging the past along in a giant sleeping bag is just excellent for my health. Let’s keep going with that.
Leave it. Leave it behind. All of it, but the racist shit. Leave that shit behind. Let it fucking compost. It will. Stop giving it power. Shut down the white people who perpetuate it. Not the children. Give the children all of the graces, always. Teach them. But the adults should fucking know better and need to be shut down. That’s enough of this bull shit. I’m tired of seeing and hearing and reading it. People of color have fought long enough. They don’t have to. White people need to shut down other white people.
Most of the time, I am very friendly and pleasant toward everyone I meet, but sometimes I am thunderstorm angry, and racism (by white people against other people – that is the accepted definition of racism in my world, there is no reverse) always tips me to that level. I have no time for it. No one should.
I love pop music. Here’s an appropriate song. Maybe I’ll keep including music.