Sunrise, Sunset

I commute an hour west each morning and drive an hour east each evening. I go from the Eastern time zone to the Central time zone and back again. It is a time-space continuum conundrum for some.

I don’t enjoy it, but you got to do what you got to do, and I would rather go east to west/west to east, gain an hour/lose an hour than the other way around. Confused? Not nearly as much as some people are.

When I told someone in this rural community that I commute from Tallahassee, they replied “Wow! That must be really hard to have the sun in your eyes while you’re driving in the morning.”

Um, what?

I explained that I am driving WEST in the morning and have the sun at my back.

“Oh! So you have the sun in your eyes when you’re driving home. That’s hard, too.”


I explained that the sun was again at my back, which they still didn’t get, as expressed by their confused look and head cocked to one side.

“You want to know what really stinks?” I asked. “The fact that I get to work the same time I leave, but it takes me twice as long to get home.”

I’m pretty sure that kept them up all night.

I just kept thinking of the Flaming Lips.

You realize the sun doesn’t go down;
It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round.

This is a New Year

My 40th birthday was last month and to document this momentous occasion I decided to start a new photo project: a 365. It’s a popular challenge in the flickr world.

Some people commit to taking a photo every day, others choose to be more specific. I am doing a self-portrait every day, meaning that I must have at least some part of my body in the photo. It can be a reflection, a foot, a face, or any other part. Just as long as I am somewhere in the photo, it counts. My rules.

I have completed a month and a few days so far. Now, I can’t always upload the photo to flickr on that day but I am committed to taking the photo every day — no matter how sick or ugly I feel. Some days I am more creative than others, but as long as I am happy with the shot and I feel that it reflects my mood for that day, it will make the cut and end up in the official photo set. You are welcome to come along for the ride.

Happy Birthday to Me!

It happens sometimes. Life gets in the way and the blog gets ignored. Or I get bored and start looking for a new project to tackle. I still have scarves that I need to finish knitting, closets that need cleaning, and agenda items that need prioritizing. But I have no new resolutions. Just to do what makes me happy, to make changes that make me feel good about myself, and to not take breathing for granted.

Having a near-fatal asthma attack on Christmas will do that to you. Asthma is scary. I hate it.

Happy New Year to me. I’m not taking crap from anyone anymore. Not putting up with negative or competitive people anymore. No apologies.

I just want to spend more time doing the things I love — going to the beach, petting bunnies, taking photos, writing funny stories, cooking and baking for friends, playing the banjo, traveling, and visiting friends and family.

And I am ready to move to a new city. I need new inspiration, new light, new everything.

Coincidence that this coincides with the inauguration of Florida’s new governor? Not bloody likely. There are no coincidences.

A random “fun facts about me” game has circulated on flickr for the past few weeks. It’s called “8 Truths & 1 Lie” and it is pretty obvious what you’re supposed to do: Post a photo, write 8 true facts and 1 lie about yourself, tag some friends, and see who can guess the lie.

I have enjoyed reading the interesting facts about my flickr friends and getting to know them better through this little game. I wasn’t planning on participating, but after the third person tagged me, I gave in to the peer pressure and decided to play along rather than be a party pooper.

Since weird, random stuff happens to me all the time, I had plenty of material with which to work. I could’ve just left the short answers on my flickr page, but it seemed like it would be more fun to go into detail about the facts and the one little almost-truth. (Please refer to the original post for the 8 truths and 1 lie.)

1. True. I really did have dinner with the supermodel Iman. Yes, that Iman, the one who is married to David Bowie. She is absolutely gorgeous, gracious, sweet and funny. Iman was in Miami to promote her new cosmetics line and her book, “The Beauty of Color,” and I was working at the Miami New Times and was invited to a special dinner with Iman at the Setai. My coworker, Patrice, and I were beyond excited about the dinner. There were other press folks there, but it was still an intimate dinner – and Iman wanted to sit across from me and Patrice, which was the coolest. We talked about vegetarianism and makeup, we ordered mojitos, and I asked her about David. “Dave is good!” she said. “He’s busy, working on different projects.” Dave. David Bowie. Ground control to Major Tom: I had dinner with Iman. Iman hugged and kissed me. Iman hugs and kisses David Bowie. Wow.

Um, I had dinner with Iman. For real.

2. True. I do have a fear of heights and flying. Well, I guess I have a fear of falling, crashing, and dying. Who doesn’t? I take Xanax before boarding a plane so I will be asleep or totally out of it if the big bird goes belly-up. I once read that the fear of heights is rooted in a person’s fear that they won’t be able to stop themselves from jumping off a cliff, bridge, or building. I get that. Like, when I lived in Boston and rode the T every day, I always had a fear that someone would push me in front of a subway train. Crazy and irrational, of course, but still a real fear in my brain. Having said that, I love the adrenalin rush of being high in the sky. I love roller coasters, I always seek out the highest observation point when I travel, and I did really fly in a biplane. The funny thing is that I can no longer play on the swings, because it makes me puke. Same goes for the teacup ride at Disney. Yeah, it makes no sense.

3. True. That was an awesome road trip that was planned around the fact that I had to be in Peoria, Illinois on a certain date for my mom’s memorial/burial. I didn’t want to just fly or drive up for just that; it would’ve been too sad. So I planned on going on this really cool adventure all by myself. I researched places I wanted to visit, things I wanted to see, and friends I could meet up with on the second half of the trip. One thing I learned is that most people are genuinely kind at heart. I met so many wonderful friends along the way that I never would have interacted with had I been traveling with my boyfriend. People treated me to drinks and dinner, told me where to find free parking, and recommended eateries and cool things to do. And more than one person told me that they could never do what I was doing – traveling alone. I was never scared; I trusted my gut.

I ate beignets in New Orleans, walked the Faulkner tour of Oxford, took the VIP tour of Graceland, hung out on Beale Street during the day (when it is more civilized), stood outside the Lorraine and paid my respects to MLK, had a beer at Ernestine & Hazel’s and was allowed to wander around the upstairs of the old brothel, saw the St. Louis Cardinals play at Busch Stadium, toured Abe Lincoln’s house, visited my old haunts in Central Illinois, went an architectural boat tour in Chicago, hung out with a friend who failed to find me deep dish pizza after 10 p.m. (I still love you, Josh), stayed with one of my bestest gay boyfriends ever and his amazing fiancé in Lafayette (Ind.), saw the world’s largest baseball bat and ate at Lynn’s Paradise Café in Louisville, toured Rock City, and spent my last night on the road with another wonderful gay boyfriend in Columbus (Ga.). It was fan-freakin’-tastic.

The thing is, had my mother been alive, she would have freaked out about me traveling across the country by myself. But I carried a small urn of her ashes in my purse and her spirit guided me and kept me safe.

4. True. I grew up watching sports with my dad and brother. I dated a baseball player in high school. I spent some time as a cheerleader and some other time in marching band, so I went to many games. I am a swimmer, and I ran track in junior high and high school. I like sports. I really like going to live sporting events in large stadiums. It’s fun. Tailgating is fun. I have a Fantasy Football team, the Bunny Grunts (in the Kenosha Kosher League conference commissioned by my previously mentioned Chicago friend, Josh). No apologies. This truth probably has a lot to do with No. 6 on this list.

5. True. The VMAs were crazy. It really was surreal, for real. Hurricane Katrina had passed by Miami with a lot of wind and rain. I remember there was a big MTV Moon Man statue in front of one of the South Beach hotels that blew over in the storm. By the time the awards ceremony went live, Katrina was nailing New Orleans. Snoop Dogg, Beyonce, My Chemical Romance and Green Day were sitting right there in front of us. Well, in front of us and a level below us, but still, they were right there. Snoop – Snoop-a-loop! – was all pimped out, as usual. (I didn’t see the man in the green hat, though.)

I was with my BFF Jean. (See? I do have a few close female friends.) We were just so giddy to be at the VMAs. People were watching this spectacle live on TV and we were there. From our seats we could see behind one of the stages, and some fight broke out among a bunch of rappers. So cliché. The weirdest part was R. Kelly performing a stage version of chapter of his “Trapped in a Closet” series. Most of the audience had gone to the bathroom or out to smoke during it, but the few who remained kept looking at each other with these “What the fu..?” looks. So freakin’ weird.

6. True. My best friends from high school – and even a few from elementary school – are still my best friends today. I have wonderful friends from library school, too. But we’re all scattered across the country, now. I have many straight male friends, including a few ex-boyfriends. In fact, the wife of one of my ex-bfs became one of my besties the second I met her. And I have a lot of gay boyfriends who are always there for me, no matter what. I have learned that there are too many fair-weather friends and too many mean girls who are competitive and jealous instead of loving and supportive. I don’t have time for that. I will be encouraging, but I am not going to kiss anyone’s ass. You can lean on me, but if you have one drama after another and never learn from your mistakes, you really need a therapist and I’m not qualified. And don’t try to change me. Love me warts and all or get out of my way.

7. LIE! I almost got kicked out of a Goth club in Salt Lake City. Seriously. As soon as the flash went off, I was strong-armed by a giant Mormon bouncer who was probably a former BYU offensive lineman, but the nice guy in the “I ♥ Mormon Pussy” T-shirt and his friend came to my defense. I got to stay, but I had to put my camera away. They can’t have photographic evidence of an LDS drinking, or something. Whatever. I got the best photo of the night, so I was done. Utah is a strange and beautiful state.

8. True. Months will go by and then all of a sudden another subpoena will show up in the mail. That guy, Meck, was in jail for a long time. I guess he had assault priors and drug charges on top of the assault with a deadly weapon (yes, if you try to run someone over with your car it is considered a deadly weapon) and resisting arrest charges. I was worried about his dog, though. I hope he had a friend who came to take care of his dog. Meck was nuts. He had a serious rage disorder, although he was always very nice to me. He was from France and his mailbox was next to mine. The label on it read “P. LaBelle” and I would jokingly tell my friends that Patti was my neighbor. I’m sure she is less of a diva than Meck.

9. True. Joey was 18 and I was 35 when we met, although I thought he was about 24 and he thought I was maybe 28. The story of how we met is a whole blog in itself (it’s already been written, so I’ll have to dig it out of my archives). We are still very good friends today and always will be. Today happens to be his birthday, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOEY!!

Damn. That’s a freaking long blog. Good times, though. Good times.

Bunny Girl, Bunny Lady, Bunny Spice. I’ve been called all three and I gladly accept the titles. Since my first bunny hopped into my life in 1997, I have gladly dedicated a huge part of my heart to the misunderstood rabbit. All of my bunnies are rescues. I would never buy a pet from a breeder or a pet store, and I take issue with people who do. Check out Petfinder, the Humane Society or your local shelter and you will find a myriad of sweet and wonderful animals who desperately want to find a forever home.

If you are a selfish person, please do everyone a favor and do not get a pet. There is no “easy” pet. Every companion animal is a living creature who needs someone to care for them — and that includes regular visits to the vet, providing healthy food and unconditional love. Pets are not disposable. You cannot just say “I’m done with that,” and discard an animal like a piece of trash.

For my amazing and wonderful animal-loving friends, that information is totally obvious. It is unfortunate that there are so many ignorant and selfish people in the world that I am forced to write this blog with tears dripping on my keyboard.

A week ago I was contacted by someone who follows me on twitter. He was looking for help because his derelict brother was trying to get rid of his rabbit — a black dwarf — because he was moving to Hawaii. The derelict brother was planning on “setting the rabbit free” in the wild because he didn’t want her to have to live in a cage, even for a short time. Um, yeah. Because having a safe cage is worse than trying to survive in the wild, where all the foxes, hawks, snakes, scorpions and poisonous plants live. I gave him the information for a local rabbit rescue group and told him to please, please, please contact me if the idiot refuses to do the right thing for the little bunny.

Domestic rabbits cannot live off the land in the wild. While they still have their digging and thumping instincts, they do not have the smarts to know which plants are safe to eat or how to find water — and they shouldn’t have to because they should live inside.

I got a message on Friday that the idiot went out of town and left the bunny outside in the Miccosukee Land Co-op. The bunny, named Z by the idiot, was out in the wild for three days, until a kind woman heard the news and set out looking for her. The lady found the bunny and brought her inside, but she couldn’t keep her because she already had six cats. I agreed that I would take the bunny. I was pissed, of course, that I was not called to action before the asshole betrayed the little bun and set her out in the woods. I was afraid that she would be covered with fleas. That was the worst of my fears at that point.

I picked up the sweet girl bunny on Sunday afternoon and brought her home. I named her Zora, after Zora Neale Hurston, because Z is a letter, not a name. If you are not familiar with the great Florida writer — whose most popular work is “Their Eyes Were Watching God” — you should know that she died alone and penniless and was buried in an unmarked grave in Fort Pierce until Alice Walker found it in 1973. Walker documented her journey in an essay,  “In Search Of Zora Neale Hurston,” that appeared in Ms. magazine in 1975.

Zora Bunny looked pretty good for having been out in the woods for three days. I brushed her, checked her for fleas and mites, cut her extremely long nails, and thoroughly examined her for lumps and lacerations. She had a wound on her back leg that was almost completely healed, but looked really good, otherwise. I planned on taking her to the vet for a complete checkup on Tuesday and kept her separated from my other bunnies in the meantime.

Zora had never eaten rabbit food, meaning the nutritious pellets that contain essential vitamins and minerals. She had not been to the vet since she was spayed four years ago. I am not sure if she ever ate timothy hay, which should count for about 75 percent of a rabbit’s diet. The nice lady fed Zora grass from outside, carrots and cabbage leaves. Cabbage isn’t really good for bunnies, by the way, because it is hard to digest and causes gas. Carrots should only be given as treats; they are high in sugar and can make bunnies fat. You really shouldn’t feed rabbits grass from your yard, either, unless you live in the unspoiled hills of Vermont. I don’t care if you live on a land co-op; if you live anywhere near a city or a septic tank, your soil contains crap that you don’t even want to know about. Just sayin’.

Zora was totally sweet and loved to be petted. She hopped around my kitchen, ate a little hay, and would run in and out of her crate. I gave her a few toys that she happily tossed around and a towel for digging and bunching. She sat in my lap and I petted her and told her I loved her. I took a few photos of her and started the process of litter training. Zora was very sweet to me, but there was sadness in her big, brown eyes. I held her close to me and told her that she was safe and I wasn’t going to let anything happen to her.

I found little Zora dead on Tuesday morning. She was in her crate, in what first appeared as a normal relaxed bunny flop, but I knew she was dead. I touched her soft belly and she was still warm. Her eyes were open, her head slightly propped up on the back of the crate. I screamed and cried, scaring poor Ollie. I stroked her, crying and telling her how sorry I was. I knew her for less than two days but I loved her. I love her. I wanted to give her a loving home, to introduce her to my bunny boys, to finally give her the life that she deserved. I hardly had a chance to know her and she was already gone.

I am devastated and heartbroken. And I am so angry. I didn’t ask for this. I was trying to save her and she died before I even have a chance. I took her to my vet’s office because I didn’t know what else to do. We don’t know why she died. It doesn’t really matter because she is still dead and she’s not hopping back to me. A necropsy might not even reveal anything. I couldn’t afford it anyway. It’s already costing $156 to have her cremated and have the ashes returned to me. I couldn’t just leave her. I need her returned to me.

I am not a person who wastes any energy on hate. My mother would tell me that “Hate is a very strong word. You shouldn’t hate. You can dislike people a lot, but do not hate.” Yeah, well, I hate that fucking asshole for abandoning Zora and for making me go through this mess. I hate that I didn’t have enough time with Zora. I hate that I didn’t get her sooner. I hate that I couldn’t save her.

I will forever love you, Zora Bun. I hope you are at peace, hopping in Bunny Heaven with my Dixie and Poppy.

My sweet Zora

I have a long distance dedication for all of you selfish bitches and bastards out there. Have fun with all the bad karma.

I had every intention of writing a positive, happy blog today. I had a great morning modeling for a figure drawing class taught by one of my favorite instructors at FSU. The students were attentive and respectful, the instructor was polite and caring (she even fetched a heater for me when she saw I was shivering in the super-air-conditioned room), and nobody had binoculars. It was refreshing. I even had a nice chat with the instructor after class to discuss my horrible experience I had with that other group, and she assured me that I had every right to feel used and abused. Anyone who has had any formal training would know the right way to treat an art model. Yelling at a nude model for twitching a finger is not appropriate or necessary. Neither is asking her to wear large hoop earrings. Just saying.

So, after leaving campus I decided that I should go put gas in my car. No big deal, right? Of course not. As I was pumping gas into Bun Bun, my sweet Bug, this douchebaggy, college-aged white dude pulls up next to me and just sits there, staring at me. “Do you need something?” I asked. “Do you want to fuck around?” he asks. WHAT? And I think I actually said “WHAT?!” so he repeated it. “So, do you want to fuck around?” At this point I shouted, “OH MY G-D! THAT IS COMPLETELY INAPPROPRIATE!!” He stared at me and said, “No  it isn’t. I just want to fuck around with you.” I was just trying to finish pumping gas, put everything back, and get the hell out of there, when he holds up a blunt and asks, “Well, do you at least want to go smoke?”

What the hell is wrong with people? Who in their right mind would respond positively to that? Besides the fact that I am old enough to be his mom, which made me want to slap him even more. I mean, what would his mother think? There are some seriously damaged and delusional people in this world.

What do you do when someone says something so ridiculously racist to you? Do you call them out on it or ignore them? I guess it is depends on whether the person is an acquaintance or someone you just met. I tend to clam up and walk away, rather then engage the person. Whenever anyone says anything totally inappropriate to me, I am sort of rendered speechless and have a hard time reacting. My mind spins and I cannot seem to gather the thoughts to say anything. Later I think of a million things that I wish I would have said. I hate that.

I know my sweet friend and super-blogger Patrice — Miss Afrobella! — has brought up the issue on her facebook in the past, and I would love to hear what she has to say about the bomb that was dropped in front of me yesterday. This also brings up the question of why people seem to think that it is OK when one minority is making fun of another minority, like in this nail salon video. Damn, it is such a touchy topic that I don’t even feel comfortable talking about it. But I have to write it down, so here goes.

I visited Monticello for the first time yesterday. No, not the real — and correctly pronounced — Monticello in Virginia; I visited that one three years ago. I’m talking about the one in Jefferson County, Florida, which is about 26 miles east of Tallahassee. I know it’s crazy that I have lived here for nearly four years and have never ventured over there for the Watermelon Festival. The tiny town is darn cute and the drive out there is beautiful. Monticello is no Stars Hollow, but it is one of those charming old Florida towns that time seemingly forgot.

Now, I am going to be a bit vague as to what I was doing/who I was dealing with out there because it honestly doesn’t matter. I was in Monticello and I mentioned to this older, white woman that it was my first time there. And here begins the repulsive response:

It really is like time went on and left this town in the past, isn’t it? I mean, the first time I came here was for the Watermelon Festival — and it was the first time I ever saw a black person. I mean, a black-black person, like really black. I’m talking walking-right-off-of-the-plantation black. I couldn’t believe it.

Um, really? What does that mean? Why would she say that?

I stared at her blankly and asked her where she was from, thinking she would say Provo, Utah or perhaps Mars. “South Florida,” she replied. Um, what? I was so confused. I am still confused.

I walked away and hoped I would never see her again. Is that the best response? To just ignore it and walk away? It has been bothering me ever since. And I had the song from “Avenue Q” stuck in my head the entire ride home.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.