Another Blog Ruined By the Author’s Lack of Coordination

I had a great idea for a photo essay blog post this week. Dave (freshly back from the polar south) and I spent a couple of days in Abiquiu where we discovered/ reacquainted ourselves with all sorts of Northern New Mexican cultural oddities and terrestrial delights.

Like this beer made by ne’er-do-well monks at Christ in the Desert monastery.

IMG_5233And these large wooden doors. You have to admit they’re pretty large. (You also have to admit that there appears to be a reasonable sized door within the larger door.)

IMG_5222We made Crab Louis, “the king of salads” for the first time, and it turned out okay.

IMG_5278And visited the unexcavated ruins of this unpronounceable Anasazi village.

IMG_5241 But really what I wanted for this blog was yoga shots at Plaza Blanca where we went hiking. People like to take pictures of themselves doing yoga in scenic settings. These were supposed to be really awkward and bad yoga poses whilst I was wearing a winter coat. Or just fairly lame ones like downward dog. For example:



One of the warrior poses. I forget which one.

But then I was doing some other ones and Dave made me stop because HE WAS AFRAID I WAS GOING TO FALL OFF THE ROCK. ”  When have I ever fallen off a rock? Never. At least not to my death.

But then today, I was in the bathroom, standing on the toilet lid, reaching for a bottle of mouthwash in an adjacent cabinet when the lateral pressure from my stretching snapped the toilet lid at its hinges and I fell. I fell into my toilet. Well I landed on the floor, but my foot was entirely in the toilet. So maybe he has a point.

Merry Christmas sweet, dear, most cherished readers. I’m heading home to Ole Virginny on Tuesday. My home state is famous for peanuts, ham and cranking out the most U.S. presidents.




Lali’s Dream

Last night my daughter had a dream which I would like to take a moment to analyze here on my blog. Partly because as a parent I want to understand my daughter, partly because I’m curious about the subconscious, and partly because it seems like something deep to talk about after dwelling on previously superficial concerns like fashion, blinged out skeletons and vain Qwirkle masters.

First I will tell you the dream and then I will offer my interpretation which you are welcome to counter with your own interpretation.


Lali’s  Dream

My daughter mysteriously ends up in my bed around 3:00 am, usually after some mid-sleep trauma like dropping her stuffed sheep on the floor. Heeeelp! Heeelp! she’ll scream and sob as if she’s being abducted. When in fact she has just dropped her sheep (this is always when I’m in the deepest stage of sleep and usually it is a serial event).


Last night it happened again, so hoping to avoid getting out of bed a second time,I told her to come sleep with me. An hour later this is what I hear through deep sobs:

“Noooooo Daaaadddddy! Nooooo! I can go potty on my own! I can do it by myself!!!!”

The next morning when I ask her what she had dreamt about Daddy, she says it was not about Daddy it was about Santa. Santa was being mean, telling her she was not big enough to do various things like “going potty,” “climbing up.” “climbing down” “doing anysing!” And because she was incapable, she wasn’t going to get any presents.

IMG_3394When I asked her what Santa looked like she cried, “He just came into the bathroom and I DIDN’T NEED HELP!!”

That didn’t really answer my question but here’s my interpretation: Santa represents Daddy who represents the Inextricable Other.The Inextricable Other is any external force over which we have no control but we feel is somehow impinging upon us.

It’s the Inextricable Other that causes the tension between differentiation and connection…from family, social mores, cultural, those things which we’re grafted to from the beginning without choice. In her dream, Lali was both conforming to the Inextricable Other (toilet training being a social more) and confronting it (Don’t tell me what I can and can’t do, Santa!).

Santa_Coming_Down_the_Chimney_DrawingFurthermore we have the mention of “climbing up, climbing down” which clearly symbolizes autonomy in vertical time and space. “I am vertically autonomous!” Lali is yelling into the face of a dismissive and callous Santa.

Santa doesn’t care, Lali won’t get any presents because she is not capable enough, paradoxically not autonomous enough (paradoxically, because others are defining, shaping and positively reinforcing her autonomy).

So she is being cut out by Santa, marginalized, which clearly represents being severed from the community, which is where sociobiology comes in…(which I believe I promised to talk about in my last blog): Social animals FREAK OUT when they’re ostracized from the group. So clearly Lali was saying, “No Santa! Nooooo!” I’m good enough, I belong to the herd of present-deserving children! I am conforming to autonomy!”


Ironically this same autonomy, if it includes following one’s progressive inner voice, will lead to increasing conflict with the Inextricable Other until one day Lali is forced to make a choice. And as a mother I hope that choice is “Go to hell, Santa!!!! I don’t need to deserve presents! Presents are a part of me.” (I hope she thinks of a better way to phrase it.)

At the end of the dream Lali said that Santa turned nice and gave her presents after all: “At the beginning place Santa was mean, but at the end place he was nice.”

So that makes me think what if Santa represents more than the Inextricable Other? What if tension with the Inextricable Other is made use of by something bigger, and that something bigger is the human spirit?????

IMG_3389What if it was all for a purpose? What if Santa was just trying to shore up her own self worth or provoke an understanding of human nature and compassion for the marginalized which would drown out a sense of Otherness altogether with a sense of Oneness?

I asked Lali if she understands more about human nature after her dream. She just ignored me and kept batting at a Christmas ornament.

So…I could be wrong. What do you think?

What’s Up With Merpeople? A Disquisition

Do you know what I’ve been thinking lately? I wish my blog were deeper. With that recent spate of hotness and fashion and Victorian bashing I realized…hey, this feels kind of shallow. Hey. Maybe I should take it deeper.

Maybe what I need is more social/cultural commentary, more metaphysical questioning, literary criticism and linguistic analysis. More political commentary through the lens of sociobiology and human psychology. More psychology in general, but not that superficial cognitive behavioral therapy crap. Depth psychology…deep psychology.


So that is my pledge to you. Spartan Holiday 2014 will be the year of probing deeper. No more tippy tapping around the top layer of ice, we are going to plunge right in. It’s going to be icy and cold and possibly salty or at least brackish but at least we can say we were down deep… where the mermaids live.


Do you know what’s deep about mermaids? I do. I once wrote a very deep story on merpeople called “The Merman Condition” in which a merman philosophe contemplates that most fundamental of questions “Do I exist?” It included scenes like this:

…there was the sound of something in the distance—the faint din of human voices and the drip-chop of oars in the water. A boat of fishermen, perhaps, trying their dumb luck in the rockbound bay. The merman slipped into the water up to his neck and listened, leaving only his head above the surface, hooded in fog.
“Ayyyyy, Jorgen, I heard a fish!”
“Ehh, I heard it too, Niels, ‘twas a large splash.”
“Nay, not a splash, more a slipping into the water.”
“Aye, a large slipping into the water.”
“Could be a gray gurnard.”
“Could be a cod.”
“Could be a whale.”
“Could be a herring.”
“Could be a sea lion.”
“Could be a conger.”
“Could be a mermaid. Har har har har har har har har.”
“Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh.” (Nervous laughter)
“If it ‘twas a mermaid, she’d be trying to lure us with a song to a watery demise.”
“How would it go, the song?”
“Like this: Ooooooo  oaaaaayyy yeeeeooo ooaahhhhhhhh hooooo oaaeeeee oooooo oaaaaaaaaaeeeeeee eoooooooooooooooehhhhhhhh haaaaaaaa hhhhhhhhhhoooooooooooo ahhhhhhh.
“Stop, Jorgen! Stop! ‘Tis a horrible sound that strikes to me very heart!”
“Cover ye ears if you hear it. For ye are too young to die. And cover ye eyes as well, for she will be bewitching to behold.”
“What will she look like?”
“Like the most beautiful conjugation of fish and woman you could ever indream. Her hair will be gold, or seawater green, her skin soft and deliquescent as the snows of Sweden. She will have a clamshell brassiere and lips sweet as pearl. Her scales will shine like the constellations over the sea. Her tail fin will scintillate with unfathomable beauty.”
“Could you hand me my sweater please, Jorgen.”
“Did you suddenly catch a chill?”
“That means a mermaid is near.”
“Stop, I cannot bear it!”
“Is your heart full of terror?”
“Aye, an irrational terror that I can neither comprehend nor abide!”
“Well, then it is probably a merman, not a mermaid.”
“Let us row away!”
“But it’s 1875. I don’t believe in mermen.”
“But you just said…”
“I know what I said. I was only trying to frighten you.”
“So mermen don’t exist?”
“No. They are merely cognitive surrogates of man’s psyche—his pre-scientific quest for dominion over the natural and subliminal worlds, a paradox in which men create their own gods and demons so that by narration of these beings’ drama they simultaneously control the universe and at the same time relinquish responsibility. We long for an anthropomorphic presence in the great mystery of the deep is all. ”
“I see. Yes. Now, I see.”
“Paradigms are changing, Niels, let us row further asea.”

It was never published.

But that’s what I’m saying. Instead of writing “Look at those Victorians dressing their kids up in sailor suits. Ha ha ha.” Instead I will say: “You know what the Victorians were doing don’t you? They were really into sailors for a reason. Sailors were, once upon a time, the first contact with terra incognita…the agent of Man penetrating the Mystery. Hence much erotic (Eros) energy around the sailor archetype.


Did you enjoy that? Well I hope you did because there’s a lot more where that came from on Spartan Holiday 2014. That is my pledge. Which is different than a resolution.

What is your new year’s pledge? Share it here in the comment section. It’s time we turned this into more of a forum of thoughts, don’t you think?

Deep thoughts only please.