Goat Love

How to survive in Washington Co., Maine


I don’t care how much it costs me this winter, sometimes taking a hot shower is the only way I can get warm.

I flip on that blessed heat lamp in the bathroom and crank the hot water all the way open and sacrifice my body to liquid flame. It leaves all my white parts blushing.

If I wrap myself up quick in my pajamas now and tuck under the covers, I might retain some heat just long enough to fall asleep.


sleep, no sleep

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and go back to sleep. It’s dark outside and I turn on my head lamp and reach up to the mantle to grab my alarm clock. It’s 3 a.m.; too early for anything; back to bed.

Try, try, try. Fall asleep, come on. Ok, think, think, think. Mind wanders, wanders.

Eventually sleep comes. Or sometimes I get up and write, in the middle of the night – sometimes grudgingly.

age of self-centeredness

At moments I am so in love with myself it’s stupid. I fluff my hair in the mirror and wonder in surprise why the Collector’s not falling all over himself every ten seconds to be with such a face, body, uncontrollable head of hair.

I remember a moment in the mirror with an Aryan lover-boy, looking at my body naked and saying and feeling, “I will never get tired of this.”

Sometimes now I hate myself. Why is that? What’s not to like?


I bake. A lot. So this winter I started a Community Supported Bakery (CSB). The way it works is, you pay me to be your baker. And I bring you bread and sweets from November through February.

I’m relaxing into the schedule of having a designated day for baking – Fridays. It’s comforting to know that I will always be intimate with my oven at the end of the week. The pressure is releasing and I don’t feel a need to keep the Collector and myself in constant supply of fresh-baked cookies. If we run out, so what, we’ll have more come Friday.

This is leaving my hands a little freer to plunge into things besides flour. I’ve been creating some pottery at the Cobscook Community Learning Center. My hands like to make things.


I can remember the birth of a few of my neuroses:

I developed a fear of hospitals and doctors’ offices after having thyroid surgery. Something about doctor’s wanting to remove parts of me really freaked me out. Now I get the sweats whenever I’m in a room that’s white and sterile.

My germ-o-phobia came about after I pulled a worm out of my butt. That’s right, pulled it right out like a long, fat rice noodle. It was pink and thriving, in my keister. This led to a fear of children – grubby hands.

springfield gorge

Any other The Simpsons fanatics in the house? Yeah, I know, I’ve kind of out-grown them too.
But do you remember that one where Bart’s a daredevil and when he’s about to attempt to skateboard across Springfield Gorge he’s intercepted by Homer who ends up taking the fall? That’s where I’m standing right now.

I feel like I’m on the edge of something. I’m going to have to move in a direction sooner or later but I have no idea which way to make it. Right now I’m just feinting.

If I end up with a bundle of money at the end of this winter, should I take off and blow it on traveling adventures and a feast of amazing wonders for the cultural eyes? Or I could pour them into the earth somewhere and be tied to this spot for keepsies.

dear tatty jeans,

Damn. Why is it so devastating when one of you bites the dust? I’ll tell you why, because shopping for jeans is a pain in the rear.

But geeze Louise we’ve had some times haven’t we, ol’ partner. We’ve traveled the world together! You were my go-to pants in Guatemala. You must have volcanic grit hiding in your seams from our foray to the top of Acatenango, by the light of the moon. And you have 1.5 years of Maine soil ground into your withering knees. Let’s not forget the unsightly random splatters of paint and the swoops of clay smeared across your inseams.

I should probably retire you, but I’m not quite ready to reorder you to the bottom of the stack. No. Not even if your saggy seat makes my butt look like a sack of mashed potatoes.


There are things each of us don’t talk about. I imagine we all have our own personal burdens that we carry stacked on our shoulders – twin towers of bound books somehow balanced on either side of our ears.

You know me – I’m a box of popcorn, for crying out loud! I’m light and fluffy and hopelessly upbeat. I’m a mess of giggles and jokes and, when my conscience is unconcerned with regret, mountains of sass. I hate sad sack. Who wants to be that guy?

But also if you know me, you know that I’m constantly chewing over something, like a cud, occasionally sending it to my stomach to worry on it there. I’ve even worried myself ad nauseum over the having kids decision until a friend recently pointed out that I could delay that fretting for another 5-10 years. What a load off.

Am I with the right person. Am I in the right place. Am I doing something that matters. These questions continuously bounce around my internal pinball machine.


Growing up, we had a lot of little holiday traditions. Mom would lug a plastic bin from the attic and leave it to me and my two older sisters to assemble the house.

When we were young we’d spend half a day hanging decorations. For Halloween there was always fake cobwebbing that we’d drape from the grandfather clock my dad built. And I had a rubbery, glow-in-the-dark skeleton and bat that would hang somewhere in my room. At Thanksgiving I remember a plush pumpkin and decals we would stick on the windows – cornucopias and fall-colored leaves – actually, we had these for most holidays.

We had Easter decorations too. We’d hang pastel plastic eggs from the fading crabapple tree at the end of our suburban driveway. And my mom made a table-top white wire tree that I would cover with tiny fuzzy rabbit ornaments.

Christmas, though, took the cake as far as traditions were concerned.


When I turned twenty-eight, that’s when I became a hypochondriac. That’s also when I discovered that my formerly timeless body was beginning to sag and ache and look less ruddily robust.

There’s no grace to aging. It’s all lumps and bumps and stiffness.

And so, of course, I worry that I have early onset Alzheimer’s.

Sometimes I feel like whole parts of my memory are inaccessible. Like they’re buried in a pile of sand. I stand there alone and panicking, unable to draw up any piece of myself before that moment.

My sister has fibromyalgia and has told me about her experiences with fibro-fog. She takes a GPS with her on her runs, knowing she might forget how to get home, landmarks suddenly unrecognizable. And she told me about the time she was staring at something in the kitchen, momentarily unaware of what it was, why she stood before it and how on earth to use it. It was a microwave. Or a toaster. But you get the point. Scary.

This is how I feel sometimes.