the original kStyle blog.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Friday Fortune Cookie

Medicine is not supposed to taste good.

If Only We Had a Roaring Fire and Some Tea

Hi, friends. How are you? I haven't been here just to chat for a while, so I thought we could sit down and catch up.

A cycle in the life of float has been completed. You may recall that my very first entry talked about herbalism. This weekend I again took the workshop that gave rise to that post. There was so much good information that I thirsted to absorb more. Retaking the workshop was just the thing, and I've resolved that someday I will complete the entire herbal apprenticeship run by the women who led this class. In April, after I first took the workshop, I began playing with new plant allies, dandelion and burdock, and ruminating on the history and principles of Western herbalism. With the solid foundation I've established, I was able to fill in many details with the second visit, and now I have lemon balm, nettles, peppermint oil (suitable for clearing everyone's congestion except Eric's and Carla's, who are doubtless cringing at the very thought), yarrow, rose, oats, linden, frankincense, sumac, and St. John's Wort as friends, too.

Luna underwent her big right of passage today: Today, You Are Not A Woman. Yes, the pixie fairy princess warrior kitten has been spayed. She came through just fine and only requires lots of gentle cuddling and lap sleeping.

Work has been insane. I've been thrown in the deep end and told to do the butterfly without training because I was proficient at the crawl, metaphorically. But hey, I'm almost done arranging my first photo shoot and I got through without a big freak out. Small freak out tremors, yes, but no earthquakes.

In other work news, I feel really uncomfortable with two women I work with. One is new, an assistant, and, though she's polite and friendly and works hard, she just bugs the crap out of me. She doesn't listen, for one thing, forever cutting me off mid-question to answer incorrectly. It's more than the listening though; I'm not sure what. She chews fruity gum that smells bad, maybe that's part of it. The other woman is the Top Dog editor on my list, and even when she's being friendly, I feel plain uncomfortable around her. It's not an intimidation thing. It's probably, though I'm not certain, because I never quite know where I stand with her. Moreover, as I alluded to above, I haven't actually been trained for my new position, so I don't even know what I'm supposed to know, and she's always asking me questions I can't answer or assuming I've done something I haven't or assuming I haven't done things I have. And she's NOT MY BOSS!

What else? I've been enjoying philosophical discussions with a classmate about the nature of Shiatsu and fitting an Eastern practice and philosophy to the Western world. These chats are engaging and productive, and we fancy that someday when we're renowned healers/philosophers, our early emails will be studied to understand the origins of our unprecedented genius. Of course, by then we will be so light and egoless that our heads will not swell with such thoughts.

And finally--I can't remember whether I already mentioned this--have patience with an old young lady: I met with the personal trainer for one session and we're having an affair! No, just kidding. The trainer, a very nice gal who wins medals in state Iron Woman competitions, has set up a new circuit workout for me and boy! does it make the ole muscles burn. (I was able to do my old workout in my sleep by the last few weeks.) I'm turning into a gym rat: when it's really starting to burn, when my arms feel like they might give out, I realize I'm grinning like an idiot and loving it. It's like crack (from what I've heard).

I hope you all have glorious, glamorous, gregarious, great and good weekends. Stay peaceful.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Wednesday Writing Assignment

I don't know about the rest of you, but television has often provided for me a kind of respite from the harsh world. As a kid, I wanted to live on "Family Ties" with the Keatons--understanding, liberal parents who loved their children for their flaws, and who were flawed themselves--or even on "L.A. Law," where everyone was smart and rich and sexy and knew the right thing to say. More recently, John Ritter's father-character on "8 Simple Rules" actually choked me up sometimes, so much did I want him to be my dad. And on "Alias," Sydney Bristow is everything I'm not: athletic, cool under pressure, multlingual. And a very hot woman.

What television show would you most like to live in? Or, what television character would you most like to be? What, if anything, does your answer say about what reality is lacking?

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The Modern Mind Puzzle

Four friends are going out to dinner. Two are on low-carb diets, one is a vegetarian, and one doesn’t eat dairy. Where the hell can they eat?

Monday, September 27, 2004

Monday Questionnaire

1. Name someone whom people say you remind them of. Is it a compliment?

2. How long have you known the friend you've known the longest? (Not just an acquaintance, now. A friend.)

3. Name something you waste.

Friday, September 24, 2004

The Stoic Immigrants, Continued

“My grandfather died of cancer and he never once complained of it. He went through chemo a few times. It must have been awful, but he never said a word to anyone. I remember it was his last Christmas—and he had to know it was his last Christmas with his family, he was so sick—and he just sat there and looked at us. He must have known it was the last time he’d see these people, but he just sat there and enjoyed being with us and never said a word. He NEVER, ever complained.”

“Dad, I don’t know that never, ever complaining is healthy, either.”

“Well, I’m sure he must have told his wife the troubles he was having, but he never told anyone else.”

Friday Fortune Cookie

You learn more by listening than talking.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Philosophizing to No One in Particular

I've often heard the argument that the world is random and chaotic, usually from postmodernists. The world I see around me is structured according to lovely patterns, especially notable with today being the equinox. Day becomes night becomes day, the seaons change, the daylight and nightdark lengthen and shorten, each in its turn. Birds migrate at the same time to the same places; plants grow and die at their appointed times; tides ebb and flow, dancing with the moon.

We are part of nature; we can't escape it, as much as we try. And so we, too, are part of and subject to those great patterns, our lives composed of patterns upon patterns. Perhaps we rush too much. Perhaps we need space and quiet and time to step back and observe the patterns.

Day of Balance

Happy Equinox, everyone! May your lives be as peacefully balanced as this day.

Last night we heard some insightful thoughts on Autumn at class. It's a time for drawing energy inward to prepare for winter, for settling in and down. And as the fruits of the earth are harvested, it is time to harvest the rewards of your own labor this year. Take a moment to examine what has come into fruition in your life, and give thanks for your work and its rewards, then gather the harvest in and let it sustain you.

Wednesday Writing Assignment

Colors are culturally weighted and so become personally weighted with memories and associations. Green and red recall the madness and joy of Christmas. Blue and pink are associated with babies and gender. Blue and white could spell Hanukah to you, or perhaps summer by the beach, or even skiing on blue mountains. Tell us about a color that's rich in associations for you, a color that resonates strongly with your life. Too hard? Try this: what's your favorite color and why?

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Reason to Celebrate

The 21st night of September! (Link to come when I'm not on a Mac). Bonus points to anyone who knows the allusion without a link.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Monday Questionnaire

1. Name something in the supermarket that you purposely buy too much of, for fear of running out.

2. Name a cliche that you wish people would stop spouting.

3. What is your favorite cracker? Your favorite cookie?

Friday, September 17, 2004

Friday Fortune Cookie

True freedom lies in the knowledge that you have the power to control your mental, emotional, and physical reactions.

Keep that in mind when the noisiest construction known to Humankind begins outside your window Friday morning.

Hungry, Hungy Kitten

Luna is a growing beast who devours everything in her path. Here's a partial list of what our ferocious kitty has tried--and enjoyed--in the past week:

Her food
Noah's food*
Chicken broth
Maple syrup*
Oatmeal-cranberry bars*

* Foods she tried uninvited

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Last night I was talking to my dad on the phone, just called for a quick hi and "I was accidentally billed for X-Rays; did any of you have them?", and my dad starts talking about an article he read about the work-life balance in a magazine called something like "Corporate Life", which, for some unknown reason, gets mailed to his school. Anyway. The article contends that there IS no work-life balance anymore, that employees work hours upon hours, and the key is to be able to switch gears the instant you arrive home, so that your scarce home-time is home-time. To me, this sounded like the brainwashing propaganda of The Man. I replied, "That's SICK" and talked about the European workplace, how Europeans work fewer hours than Americans but are more productive per hour worked. My dad started ranting about how Americans take everything for granted and in China and India they work multiple jobs just to afford things we take for granted and how those people are like the hard-working, upstanding immigrants to this country who "worked two or three jobs just to afford things we take for granted [note the theme] and still kept their foundations whitewashed every weekend [he actually said that!] and loved working because they couldn't in their own country and were happy just to BE here and didn't MIND working hard..." And on and on.

I tuned out pretty much after the whitewashing and returned to rinsing greens for dinner, contributing the occasional "mm" to the conversation. Dad said, "It sounds like you're cooking dinner." I replied, "I should probably get back to that." After I hung up, I realized that these eager, hard-working immigrants probably had wives who kept house and so didn't have to make dinner themselves after their third shift.

My new favorite bumper sticker

"Theremin players do it with high frequency."

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Another Take

1. The World shines forth with tempered grace
In Autumn’s perfect light,
That mellowed gold
Of days grown old
Like red wine dark as night.

2. The World blooms [glows?] bright and beautiful
In Autumn’s amber light;
Green leaves turn gold,
Their secrets told
On wind's awoken flight.

3. The World sighs, melancholy-soft
In Autumn’s low twilight;
In shadows long
The birds sing songs
To hearken Southward flight.

[is it cheating to repeat "gold" and "flight" as rhymes, or does it thread the verses together?]

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Another Poem for the Road

Rodent of Hope

When Winter swallows up the days
And divvies up the land
Between its minions, Cold and Dark,
Who rule with iron hand,
The weary people search for hope
Seeking a bit of cheer
When a humble mammal morphs
Into All-Knowing Seer.
At his shadow will he scurry
Back into his hole,
Leaving Mankind suffering
Whilst Winter takes its toll?
Or will the Groundhog look toward God
While choirs of angels sing;
Not see his shadow in the grey
And herald early Spring?
A prayer of thanks on pilgrim lips
To Punxsutawney Phil,
Who gives the tired traveler hope
Through bitter winter chill.

February 2, 2003

Wednesday Writing Assignment

How much power does art have? Can it change minds and hearts? Politics? The World, even?

Start with yourself. Has a piece of art moulded or changed you? What was it? How?

Too deep for a Wednesday? Forgive me.


I’ve been working on this one for a couple of falls, playing the words through my head while I walk outside. The perfect second verse still evades me. Comments are welcome.

1. The World is its most beautiful
In Autumn’s perfect light,
That mellowed gold
Of days grown old
Like red wine dark as night.

2. The World strikes bright and beautiful [awkward; a mouthful.]
In Autumn’s amber light;
Green leaves are bled
Yellow and red
A burst of joyous sight [lame]


The World strikes bright and beautiful
In Autumn’s amber light;
Green leaves turn gold,
Their secrets told [nice, right?]
On wind lalala –ight. [stuck]

[moving on]

3. The World turns soft and deeply sad
In Autumn’s low twilight;
In shadows long
The birds sing songs
Of a great Southward flight.

Not Feeling Great

Hey y'all. I'm conserving energy to feel better, so I won't be writing much these next couple of days. Stay tuned for pretty photos of Boston Light in the future.

Monday, September 13, 2004

A Disturbing Encounter

I was in the mall this weekend, usually a favorite hangout of mine. As in many malls, the aisles of this one are populated with carts selling trinkets and cell phones, t-shirts and velvet paintings. It's sort of the flea market within the flea market.

Walking to the store I planned to shop at, I saw a young woman working at one of these mini-shops. Several yards before I got near her, I could see what she was selling: some sort of hand cream, body cream, lotion-type thing, probably with claims to keep its intended female consumers looking ever younger. I could also see that she was selling it pretty boldly, actually accosting passers-by and telling them to try it.

As I neared her little shop she came right at me, basically blocking my path. My first thought was, "But I'm not a woman..." (Later I realized she knew this. It was all part of her plan.) Still, I was hardly prepared for what she actually said to me. She said, "Do you have a special woman in your life?"

Do I what?

I said, "That's kind of a personal question."

Her response, the mark of a consummate professional, was just to repeat the question: "Tell me, is there a special woman in your life?"

She was very intent but incredibly offensive. So I decided to try to shake her script. I said, "There was, but she died."

I underestimated her. She didn't even blink before moving on to the next unsuspecting shopper, leaving me to mourn alone for my fake dead girlfriend with the prematurely aging skin.

Monday Questionnaire

1. When trapped in a boring phone conversation, are you more likely to end it or to wait it out? If you end it, do you lie to do it?

2. Who is your favorite Muppet? Your favorite "Simpsons" character?

3. Name something you haven't done enough of.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Friday Fortune Cookie

Thou shalt not steal.

Alternate Friday Fortune Cookie

The weekend's going to feel too short, as usual.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Post by Luna

Luna likes to sit on the keyboard. Here's what she typed today:


If I Were a Doctor...

I would be a dermatologist. Why, you ask? Good question, I reply. The skin is the boundary. It divides the self from the outside world, and in so doing, defines the limit of the being. (Not ‘limit’ as in limitation, but as in boundary.) The skin is also how we interact with the outside world; it’s what others see of us (can’t see the liver!) and it’s the organ through which we feel, touch, and interact with our environment and the other beings in it. We assert through our skin and the skin, in turn, protects us. It should be healthy. It demands health.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004


Blogger isn't letting us publish the writing assignment...Can we publish this?

Wednesday Writing Assignment

So it's September. That glorious time of year when the leaves start changing, the Halloween Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are released, and school buses start their daily to-and-fro. I'm not taking any grad school classes this year, so I was mildly surprised to see kids standing on corners for the first time in months last week. I remember the feeling, though.

The question: If you had to put together a whole school--elementary, middle, or high--on what principles would it be based? How would you structure it? Would you emphasize any particular philosophy? How would you want your hypothetical kids to learn about the world?

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Monday Questionnaire (Tuesday Edition)

1. What award would you most like to win?

2. What is your favorite road?

3. What was the last new food you tried? Did you like it?

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Fresh Paint

And speaking of colorful things, we began painting last night. A fresh coat of paint always lifts my mood. The new color, a creamy golden yellow--specifically, Benjamin Moore's bronzed beige--looks sophisticated and warm. I finally feel like I'm inhabiting our house, not some condo we moved our furniture into. Fresh paint, fresh start, you know?


Two Saturdays in a row I've had the joy of visiting the butterflies in their home. Different guests were visiting us, see, and everyone wanted to meet the brightly-winged creatures.

The Butterfly Place is a terrarium of sorts, an indoor museum of living specimens. After paying admission, one pulls back a heavy brown metal door (provided the red light isn't on) and enters a large room of bright flowers and fairy-like animals. At first, the constant busy butterfly motion is almost dizzying--flap flap flutter, flap flap flutter--but after a while one acclimates to the motion and the warmth and the color, and finds stillness in the activity. Classical piano music plays. It's very soothing and always makes me sleepy.

There must be hundreds of butterflies in that space. Little fluttery ones, black with hot pink and yellow markings; big, majestic sky blue ones, who fold their wings to a dull camouflage brown; large papery white ones with lacy black markings; classic, dainty orange-and-black monarchs; fuzzy little brown ones that tirelessly play in threes. And on and on. A path snakes through the flowers. Several benches are spaced out along it, places to sit and--if you're lucky--let a butterfly sit on you. The queenly white ones landed on me during both visits, attracted by my blue green bag. Yesterday my butterfly friend flew up and down all over my bare legs, at which I drew the line. It tickled.

Adding to this buffet of color is a little koi pond, with maybe 7 giant orange-gold-white-red fish swimming about, staring back at human onlookers. A few fuzzy quail sometimes peep out from the flowers.

Then there are children, many many children brought by their parents. This weekend, one little girl cried and cried, perhaps overtired. Another, traveling in the same party, smiled beatifically, adoring the butterflies; she only cried when it was time to go home. A small Asian girl, resplendent as a butterfly in hot pink, really really wanted to touch the delicate insects. Her dad explained that this was the butterflies' home, so she couldn't touch them. "But if they came to my home I'd let them touch me!"

We learned some stuff, too. Butterflies can only fly when their temperature is over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which is why they spend so much time with wings outspread to the sun, warming up. There are 17,500 known species of butterflies, but only 9,000 known species of birds and something like 2,000 known species of mammals. Butterflies live pretty much everywhere in the world, with 700 species in North America.

But, most of all, they're beautiful to the point of magic.

Saturday, September 04, 2004


Blogger has developed some pretty, pretty new templates since I created float. I've decided to change our look--aren't we more professional now. I'm not sure where all your brilliant musings have gone; the comments have been spirited away. I will do my best to find them.


A Fresh New Blog in the Family

The witty and charming Lah, frequent Float commenter, has begun her own blog! Go go visit visit.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Friday Fortune Cookie

That color you're wearing looks good on you. Keep that in mind for your Labor Day picnic.

Quote of the Week

"It's a good thing she's not going to grow into a tiger, because then we'd have to break her of these habits."

--Greg, on Luna's snuggling addiction

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Wednesday Writing Assignment

Luna was cuddled up to me the other day, and I had a flash of myself as a Primate, a Giant Ape, and her as a Feline, a Small Tiger. And I thought, how odd that we should be friends. I tried to think back over the course of Human-Pet History, but I only got as far back as the first pet in my life. (It seems people retain a lifelong preference for the animals their parents allowed: cats, dogs, none.)

Tell me about the first pet in your life. Never had a pet? Tell me why and how you feel about it.