[Start playing your hee-haw music]

Turkeys live on my street. And around my street. And on the next street over – and let me tell you,  the dang things have not figured out that if a car is approaching, they should run off the street, not into it. I digress.

[Cue end of hee-haw, begin playing theme from unsolved mysteries]

But there is a mysterious aura surrounding these turkeys.

Why, you ask?

Every year around the summer they appear, and get larger/fatter accordingly. And then, around the end of every November, they disappear. Surreptitiously.

There are several possibilities here:

1. (Being the most biological reason) They migrate. Because it’s cold. And they only have feathers, unlike their neighbors the woolly sheep. (Do turkey’s even migrate? They’re not very aerodynamic.)

And you thought going home for Thanksgiving was hard...

2. They disappear into the bushes for all of winter. Again, it’s cold. (But the chickens seem to handle it ok…)

3. They hide from me. Seeing how many times I’ve very nearly hit them with my car, I don’t blame them.

Really, dude?

4. [The final and most morbid of all the possibilities] We eat them. Thanksgiving + chubby “free range” turkeys has very few outcomes, most of which don’t really end well for said turkeys. But would you want to eat turkeys that ran around all day? Would they be gamy? And I’ve seen some turkeys that are huge; these, not so much.And I like the idea that they aren’t all, you know, stuffed.

It’s a mystery.


In other news,  instead of making a complete Thanksgiving dinner a la last year, I will this year be making: pies. Gluten and dairy-free pie recipes to be posted soon, featuring pumpkin pie and healthy(er) pecan pie! (I’m also thinking of making mini mandarin orange curd tarts. We’ll see.)


Today I was thinking about a quote – you know the one, that says “Pain is your friend, it lets you know you’re still alive” – and I realized that I couldn’t place it. And it occurred to me that this is likely due to the fact that it’s such a universal idea, employed by nearly every war/drama/comedy film out there.

[Just as I was writing this I remembered where the exact line is from: G.I.Jane, as spoken by Viggo Mortensen. Aha! Writing solves everything.]

Universal ideas: they have a 50/50% chance of wreaking havoc on your life. They’re everywhere: everyone dies, love is all we need, love with kill you, money talks, good will out, etc. Check out some Beatles albums – you’ll find many. And for all their generality, they usually turn out to be true. My 18th Century British Lit professor will hate me for saying this, but the universal human condition often turns out to be just that – universal.

So I suppose as I relate the following anecdote, many of you will know where I’m from – and if you don’t, oh just wait, you will.

Let me say that as of late, my life has become a cluster fuck. And like any good English major, I love this phrase because it brings up so many appropriate images in varying intensities. While there are several aspects I could go into here, I will say that the heart of the cluster – the chewy center, if you will – is my personal life.

This weekend, determined to get away from it, I hiked up to the top of a hill in a local park, with one of the best views in Sonoma county, and just sat there for a bit. Totally alone, wind in my face, watching the falcons swoop up and down on the wind currents. Peaceful, right?

And that’s when the little God who controls the Ipod shuffle intervened. I kid you not, every song that came up was somehow echoing the exact thoughts in my head. And I thought to myself, either I am projecting my troubles heavily onto everything around me, or everything around me knows my troubles.

I chose the latter.

I am becoming ever aware of the fact that life is messy. And frustrating. And causes people around you to punch the sides of armoires. But in these moments there is a reassuring sense that you are somehow participating in the angst of the world – a universal pulse. Maybe no one’s pain is exactly the same, but maybe at the heart of it all, it is more alike than not.

I cannot help feeling that if all I gain from these trials is a deeper understanding of country music, so be it. Maybe it’s the eternal optimist in me, but I feel like whatever may happen, at least I’m still here, being frustrated, and upset, and thoughtful, and alive.

And for the record,


Forgive me, for I sometimes lapse into moments of Romanticism.

On Saturday evening, after the rain had given way to a sun-filled green afternoon, I decided to take a walk in the Sonoma hills. I stood facing west to a setting sun, with a rising moon behind me, surrounded by softly swaying grass and muddy earth. As I was heading home the sky on my right was a bold orange and red sunset, on my left a soft purple fading into blue, with a giant pearl of a full moon. Each side was so lovely, I couldn’t decide which one to focus on as I drove home. Such colors are transient; would they be so stunning if ever-present? It makes me wonder if sunsets more beautiful in human eyes. Do they reflect our own impermanence, our preoccupation with that which cannot last? Would an animal pause to stare at the disappearing horizon?

Sometimes I wonder how some people are so focused on going to heaven when the world around us can be so beautiful.

Unless of course, God is playing one giant trick on everyone, and heaven is actually the world we already live in, where we are “rewarded” with a certain life. (This might help explain those people who can eat countless hamburgers without gaining a pound…Giselle) The reverse of course would still be true – can you not think of countless lives which could be considered hellish? And if you bring the Matrix into it (which I can’t help doing in many arenas, and the first movie, not the less-effective other two) would we really be happy in a world of eternal perfection? Or would we reject our existence and lose it altogether, like the unfortunate folks who were plugged into the first version of the Matrix, where there was no suffering or unhappiness. 1-2 (2)

The more I hang around this life, the more I realize that the best moments are that more beautiful in the wake of difficult ones. And the more literature I absorb, the more I find that the most profound and sublime thought arises from the relationship between hardship and happiness.

[Note that I am writing this on Sunday night, before the start of a new week. Monday will surely be a fitting example of said relationship…]