Saturday, January 05, 2008


i never did tell you what happened to my foster kitties: the grey and white cat was adopted and moved back to virginia, while the black and white one has been christened "beulah" and become part of the judy branch circus.

why beulah?

in portland there is a bar called beulahland. even if it was a horrible dive (which it isn't), i would still love that place just for its name. i find it comforting to know that you can get a cold beer, sardine sandwich (if that's your thing) and a moon pie there. for those of you who don't get why that's so cool, study up on your old gospel tunes. beulahland is a classic, a real beauty of a song that is commonly sung in country churches in appalachia and the south. i reckon it's in the bible somewhere, referring to that place you go after you die. beulah got her name because there's a bar named after my favorite gospel tune. that sort of wonderful fusion seems to capture who she is.

in about a week's time, i should be walking through the doors of beulahland. and i mean for it to be the one that's in oregon. i think i'll order a bloody mary with my grilled cheese sandwich and save the sardines for my beulah back home. yum!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

(from the OED)
v. trans. To make addle; to muddle; to confuse (the brain); to spoil, make abortive.
a. In addle egg: ...A rotten or putrid egg; one that produces no chicken. Applied usually to a fecundated egg in which through exposure to cold the chick dies during hatching; but also to an egg having no germ, which soon begins to decompose; and apparently sometimes to an egg no longer fit for food because partly hatched. (The idea of abortiveness led to many word-plays on addle and idle.)

This word has kept popping into my head. I believe it is my brain's rebellion against two solid weeks of countless hours of writing within the confines of a few pages, or in today's case, in the space of 2,000 characters. After twelve or so hours at the keyboard, my back aching, my lower legs and toes numb and my fingers cramped and stiffened, my brain most certainly is addled, and if it has its way it would throw addled eggs at me until I quit this ridiculous behavior. I have no doubt, if it had the ability, my brain would have aborted my stubborn, workaholic spirit and gone out to celebrate the New Year doing anything other than writing a personal statement for a Ph.D. program.

I gifted myself with two Xmas presents this year: an online subscription to the Oxford English Dictionary and a new bicycle. So far, I have put the OED to great use, but not have not yet done a lot of pedaling about. The bicyle has been useful in cutting down the time it takes to do chores around Judy Branch, like feeding the dogs, squirrels, ducks and chickens when Bill and Billy Joe go out of town. The electronic OED has really made my life easier, and as much as I would love to sift through the millions of pages in those twenty volumes, my bank account and my recently stitched-up back are both grateful for my prudent decision to go cyber.

Now that I am coming to the close of one of three major writing projects, I may take a bit of a vacation from the laptop and the OED and just focus on those small pleasurable tasks of everyday life like washing my hair, cooking a proper meal, playing a little banjo, reading a book for pleasure, wrestling with the dogs and taking long walks in the snow. I'm even feeling eager to clean house.

For those of you who wonder if I've made any progress on "the big life change," two of those writing projects could clear paths in two very different directions. Is the move going to be toward intellectual reflection and scholarship in Yankeeland or a new direction within my current profession on the Left Coast? Only time will tell. I'll let you know when I get to that crossroad. Right now, I'm just pulling doors and seeing what's on the other side.