Ruminant Thoughts

The hillside full of goats surprised me. It was next to the big remodeled craftsman. The neighborhood has a view of the lake, and is full of money. And, apparently, goats. The sidewalk was packed with kids on bikes, parents with strollers, watching the goats eat blackberries.

Parked on the street, was a horsetrailer, that I suspected was really a goat-trailer, with “Rent-A-Ruminant” on the side.

Was “Rent-a-Goat” taken?
How about “Flex Goat?”
My husband suggested “Get Yer Goat.”
I like that. “How about Goat Ease? Get it..goatees? ha ha.” He didn’t laugh.

The has this to say, about ruminants:
Noun: any even-toed, hoofed mammal of the suborder Ruminantia, being comprised of cloven-hoofed, cud-chewing quadrupeds, and including, besides domestic cattle, bison, buffalo, deer, antelopes, giraffes, camels, and chevrotains.

I’ve been to Ruminantia, by the way. It’s lovely this time of year, with the flowering blackberries. But It smells like the OSU dairy barns. If you go, which people do, for the cheese, be sure to wear socks. No open toed shoes.

I think the dictionary’s point about “even-toed” is key here. We don’t want none of them three-toes devil out thar. “You cloven-hoofed, cud-chewing quadruped, scoot!”

Do you have to pay to have goats eat your blackberries? Cause it seems like the Goat Farmers, sorry, Ruminant Ranchers, should be paying you.

Finally, I notice the dictionary doesn’t list “goats.” This could cause confusion: “Hello, rent-a-ruminant – Yes, I’m looking to rent some chevrotains. What? Just the goats?! That’s false advertising. You should call yourself Goat Ease! Ha ha!” click.

Re: Redneck Feminism

From today’s one-a-day calendar: You might be a Redneck if..
You’ve ever dried your underwear in a microwave.

In my defense, it wasn’t underwear. It was a jogbra. I got the idea from a professional dancer. “It kills the bacteria,” she told me, “otherwise they get disgusting.” The same is true of sponges, by the way. Microwave a sponge for two or three minutes, and it’s spankin’ clean! But, she forgot to mention that if I leave it in there too long, the elastic melts and burns a wicked hole in your jogbra. Consider yourself warned. Because I’m pretty sure you also qualify as a redneck if you burn your trailer down by a fire started by microwavin’ your underwear.

(no subject)

Happy Valentine's day, Lovers. Anyone getting married today? Did you write your own vows? For some reason, I always giggle listening to people's homemade wedding vows. I like the old fashioned, sorry, "recycled" wedding vows. Like “til Death do us part” That really drives the point home. You will be with this person until one of you is DEAD. That’s hard to say lightly. Try it. Double dog dare ya.

Even so, my husband and I edited our wedding vows. We took out some of the uber religious stuff, but we kept that great ending line:
“He who God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”
I love that. That’s the best part. Way better than “I do.” It’s cool. It’s like a warning label on a couple: Break us up, and the earth will crack open, and y’all will be sundered. Ok, I know. That’s not actually what it means, but I liked that Miyazaki imagine: God wraps some divine ties around you. And if someone dares to break them, all hell’s breaking loose. The skies will open, and a thunderbolt will strike you down.

But having made that vow, now I’m rather disappointed. According to the “dictionary”, asunder means, “to break into pieces.” So really, my steadfast vow means, “He who God has put together, let no man break up.” Nothing about “or God will asunder your ass.” My wedding vows were just a warning for people not to split us up. And I thought that’s what the shotgun was for! Ha ha ha.

My friend told her husband, not during her wedding mind you, just on the couch,
“You know how Lorena Bobbitt cut off her husbands thingy, and they found it in a ditch?”“
“Just so you know, I would never do that.”
“If I catch you with another woman, I would cut it into a thousand pieces. They would never find it.”
Now that’s a hell of a vow. Let no man find the Thingy. Bobbitt is now in the dictionary. A Verb.
To cut off a husband’s penis:

Homemade wedding vows are filled with qualifiers. My favorite qualifier was at my second cousin’s second wedding. “I promise to love you”..blah blah blah.. ”Throughout our lives together.” Said the beautiful bride, solemnly. She was a gorgeous bride, both times. She was a model in the eighties. She should have vowed to always looked like Christie Briskly, cause she’s kept that. I actually suppressed a laugh. I leaned into my husband. “Did she just say, Throughout our lives together?” He shrugged. Cause what the hell does that mean? “I promise to love you as long as you’re the person I’m with?” They might as well have said, “I promise to love you, until I don’t anymore.” Or “I promise to love you until you’re my bitchy ex-wife.”

But still, in my objectivist libertarian way, I like the imagine of the lovers, bound, not by some mortal convenience, but by God. The Universe. The Stars. Fate. Karma. “He, or she, who the stars have aligned, let no man bobbit.”

Some couples are bound together by God. But some are not. Sometimes the lovers are the Gods. We bind ourselves. Bound to live on earth until death do us part. And try as it might, this mortal world won’t bobbitt us.

from my trip to Corvallis

Mom’s getting aggressive, and dad’s mellowing out. It's a weird universe. Their Odd binary clocks are turning back the universe like Superman. Mom has an argumentative side, assertive to the point of being combative.

“You can’t hurt other people just for the story. It’s unethical.”
She’s pointing at me and shaking her finger.
“I agree, Mom. I’m just not sure speed dating with my husband hurts anyone..”
Dad’s mellow, smoking his pipe, “Oh come on, Choo, I don’t think everyone who’s speed dates is being perfectly honest, or assumes that the other person is..”
Mom replies, ‘I’ve spent too much time on the Ethical Human Subjects Review Board looking at the effects of dissertations on humans.. ”
or something, which reminds me how academic my family is. Who talks that way?
Dad defends me again, “that’s for writing an academic dissertation, not a magazine article. There are different standards.”
“Well there shouldn’t BE!”
That’s the bumpersticker on my mom’s red 1990 Chrystler Labarron. It’s the only bumpersticker. She does love dogs. Maybe if I’m more of a dog I will get her attention. Look, ma, no approval from the human ethics review committee!! She didn’t like POTC II because of the scene where the cannibals chase the dog down the beach,, “I know they’re cannibals, but it’s not nice.” . That’s it. I’m killing a dog in my movie.

Mom was bemoaning that my little sister Peg doesn’t want to have children, when she’s “so loving and caring with Foster”, her dog. Yes, mom, Peggy won’t let Foster drink Tap water, insists that we all be quiet when Foster’s napping, and spent over $1000 on doggie therapy when he bit another dog at the dog park. She’ll be a great mom. Unlike me, an unethical loser who would lie to a stranger during speed dating. Why did I reproduce?
In the kitchen, there’s a small letter in a large gilded gold frame with a rosary draped over it. The letter is to my mom from the Apostolic Nunciature in WA DC. The what? Who talks like that? People, must I explain everything?? The apostolic nunciature is THE official catholic church place that answers official letters. It’s the Pope’s secretary, basically.
The framed letter reads: (I’m paraphrasing)
“Dear Mrs. Ringle,
Thank you for your recent inquiry. While the Pope blesses all of God’s creatures, he does not himself have a pet dog. Rest Assured that his Royal Popiness will say a prayer for you.
Monsignor Arch Diocese Important Person”

The story is actually funny. Sad funny? I don’t know.
My mom wrote to the Pope asking if he had a dog. This was 1992. She was 62, not 8. The funny part of the story was when she brought the letter to her local Catholic Church. Mom put on a straight face and showed Bishop Steiner, saying “I just received this letter.” He saw the address. He, unlike the rest of us, recognizes the Pope’s secretary and the Pope’s stationary. Mom said he just about passed out. One wonders what was going through his mind. Apparently, when he read the letter, and realized he was NOT about to be…what? Investigated?? Shut down? Visited ?? He shook with laughter, relief, joy, tears streaming down his face.
I was not shaking with laughter when Gypsy woke me up barking at nothing. Nor was I shaking with laughter watching the neighbor dog Macy try to bite the water. It was on the list of things to do. “Oh, Kate, it’s supposed to get really hot this weekend. And if it does, we can turn on the sprinkler in the back yard and invite the neighbor dog over and watch him try to bite the water!!” Wow. Welcome to life in Corvallis. It’s amazing that I didn’t do drugs in high school.
I should mention that after biting that water for a few minutes, the neighbor dog would heave, and vomit up all the water. “He does that sometimes. Watch your feet, Jack, ” Mom tells me.
What other doggie things?
Mom reads the paper this morning and exclaims, “OH MY LORD!!! GOOOD HEAVENS!!”
What, Mom?
“35 greyhounds died in kennels in this heat!!”
That bugs me. Because I would have cared about the dogs until she fussed over them.
“Never mind the Israelites.”
“Kate, in my 67 years on this planet, the headlines about Israel have been consistent.”
Note: THIS planet. I knew it!

Finally, There’s an American Kennel Club Certificate on the wall next to me for the winning COMPANION DOG Companion is one of my archetypes. Hey, Mom, can you love me more than the dog? I’ll sit here and let you point at me. But I won’t try to bite the water, and I won't vomit at your feet. But I promise to bark at the Human Ethics Review Board for no reason.

Re: "When we finally got to the labia..."

Wading in the Labia

Please don't read this if you’re easily grossed out or weigh over 400 lbs.

Last night, my sister, Midwife Bonny called:

Bonny: “So we got a call from another clinic, asking if we could give one of their patients a Pap smear. They couldn’t accommodate her because she weighed, get this… 500 lbs!”
Kate: Whoa.
“The clinic only had one table that could hold that much weight without breaking, and it was at the wrong height for their nurses to get in there.”
I don’t get that. I mean, if she’s up on the table, aren’t you good to go??
“No, ‘cause Kate, these woman have so much fatty tissue, everything is huge and fat.”
She doesn’t just pop up onto the table and spread ‘em?
“No. It takes at least one nurse on each leg to pull and hold the fatty tissue back. You have to make it through several inches of thigh tissue.
And when we finally get to the labia-
I love stories that include the line “ when we get to the labia”-
“Kate, you should see the speculum we use. It’s huge. It’s so long.”
Can you bring it to Mom and Dad’s party on Saturday?
“I should. You know how the speculum pries in and opens so you can get the sample.?”
“Well, there’s so much fatty tissue, and folds of skin, that the speculum isn’t strong enough to hold it all back. Everything collapses around it.”
Like pitching a tent with salad tongs?
“Exactly. Sometimes it works to put a condom over the speculum to give us a little support space to work with.”
A condom?
“Yeah, but you have to poke a hole in the end so you can acquire the sample. Then you can’t get in there for the bimanual.. You know how the Ob puts her fingers up there and presses with the other hand?”
“Again, when your patient’s that fat, your hands never come close to meeting. You can’t feel for lumps.”
You’d think a woman that big wouldn’t bother with the Pap smear. It’s doesn’t seem like cervical cancer is what’s going to kill her.
“Sadly, woman who are seriously overweight are at a MUCH higher risk of cervical and uterine cancer.
I don’t know if that’s sad or funny.
“It’s gross.”

Now if that’s not enough for you, consider that Bonny has delivered babies to woman that size. Let’s leave aside the difficulties of how to deliver the baby.
What I want you to think about for just 30 seconds, is this: considering the team of nurses it took to get the pap smear, how does she get pregnant?
Seriously. I realize people put on weight with pregnancy, but really.
Picture the guy. Remember: a regular-length speculum can’t even reach the cervix. That guy is packin. But probably not very attractive. He’s apparently desperate or at least not very picky. (I know that’s totally unfair. They may be in long-term relationship. She’s probably really nice. And a good cook.)
Picture the logistics. It’s unlikely she was standing. I’m guessing she wasn’t on top. We’re looking at a reinforced bed or table. Pool table might work. Did he have his buddies help pull her thighs back, or did he just strap on some crotch-less hip waders and head in? But later, when he’s bragging, he gets to say, “when I finally got to the labia…”
Ok. Think about something else now.

* note for men who have never had a Pap smear..(Men who have had a pap smear, please ignore this). You pop up on the table and spread your legs into these stirrups. The nice OB chit chats to put you at ease “This will be a little cold” while she puts the speculum, clean bbq tongs, up there, v-end first. She pries the two ends apart, creating a little opening. She holds it open while she takes a long Q-tip and takes a quick swipe around the cervix/uterus/whatever’s up there. The Q-tip part is the only thing that makes me wince. Q-tip goes into a sterile tube and off to the lab. Six weeks later you get a postcard with the results. I’m sure Bonny would have a different description of the procedure.

**The bimanual: then the ob does this “fists of fury” thing where she sticks four fingers of one hand up there and presses down on your stomach with the palm of the other hand, feeling around for lumps. Still with the chit chat .. “been pretty cold for August.” Bonny says it’s actually only two fingers (bi-manual). Feels like four.


God, it feels good to have friends.
I have ten liver journal friends.
Who knew?

New friends, you should be warned that I am a horrible typist, keyboardist, whatever. I often make typo-s that are funny, and then leave them. Such as “liver journal” friends.
But maybe that’s what you are, my little buzzards, ready to pick at my entrails. Have at it. It’s high octane in the morning (extra bold according to Satyrbucks- another typo which spellchecker wants me to change to storybooks. No thanks. But I like the suggestion of “waterbucks” . ), and about 60 proof at night.

My writing group can’t always follow my logic. They think I make weird connections. But I am not nearly as weird as spellchecker. I love the clinical nature of the replacements. The logic of spellchecker is totally clear, but also kooky. Different misspellings come up with different possibilities:
Satrbucks wants to be Waterbucks, Setbacks, or Seatbacks.
But Starbuks wants to be Storybooks or Starburst.
My mind is like spellchecker. I make associations that seem perfectly logical, but then people wonder what the hell I’m talking about. We writers think of ourselves as storytellers, casting a spell on our friends. Maybe my typos are the spellchecker, keeping you from believing me, keeping me in line.

About my name:
My husband and I always admire the Canadian traffic signs that caution, “WATCH FOR AMBER FLASHING.”
"Is that her?"
"Eyes on the road, honey!"
I hear she’s been the cause of many accidents. I adopted it as my fake porn name. Last year, at Lesbian camp, I went by Amber. My best friend went as Fanny. We’d giggle over breakfast, much to the annoyance of the butch lesbians, “oh, Fanny, you look fab in those jeans..” “Thanks, Amber!”

Something else to know: I go to lesbian camp every year. That’s what my husband calls it. It’s not really lesbian camp. "It might as well be,” he says. Which is true. It’s an all-woman martial arts camp. More on that later.

I hope to continue to have fun as Amber Flashing.
I will expose myself and my liver, attempt to stop Internet traffic, and be that tangled mess that you can’t avoid looking at.