I shrug too.

Note: Thankfully I was not involved in the pictured car fire, except that I drove by it on the interstate near Las Vegas and I can’t imagine how the people who had to jump from their burning car felt, on top of everything already going on this year.

Right now I’m sitting on the end of my couch next to a giant pile of Hot Wheels. Zac Efron has just convinced me we should adopt Paris’ water fountain model. Rio is sleeping on the footstool, looking dapper with his new haircut.

August. What to say about August? My usual prompt for these posts is, What is it like to be me in the world today? But August has been a little personal. Hot and close like the air on a day with too much sun and humidity. 

Patients are overdosing. We now have a policy to order Narcan for anyone at risk of opiate overdose. This extends to all of the methamphetamine users as it’s being cut with fentanyl. Last year, when I told patients of this risk they seemed surprised. Now they shrug.

And Glennon Doyle just posted that as of 2020, the shrug is the new power pose. So I shrug too.

Even though I blog once or twice a month, I write every day. I’ve filled two and a half hand-written journals since last November when I began using them. I’ve never before filled a journal in my life!

This morning I wrote a letter to my philodendron: 

Mr. Philodendron,  I’ll call you that because we are still getting acquainted. You are lush and verdant.  Your new leaves are fresh and wet, like a baby just born. You are getting too big, my friend.  Your botanical masterpiece needs a grander stage. I saw your cousin down the street—she was enormous! I can sense your aspirations are beyond the shadowy corner with the fountain and the vines. 

And a bit about my new neighbor: 

A skunk moved in under my deck. I wouldn’t know this except my outdoorsman of a purse dog likes to survey his perimeter once he’s hunted a few flies and drank some of the dew off the sand toys. 

He roused said skunk twice in the last week. The first time was at 10am on a weekday. She stood, tail in the air, next to the fountain while I shrieked from the bedroom for all of MY creatures to “Get back into the house!!!!” Now the entrance to my garage smells like her wrath.

Actually wrath is too strong a word for a skunk. Anyone who’s met a skunk knows there is almost nothing that hurries this creature. She lifts her tail like a middle finger and saunters away slowly. Annoyed by the BARK! BARK!….BARK! BARK! BARK! BARK! to be sure, but never rushed. Never angry. 

I listened to Sia on the Tim Ferriss podcast. She started the interview by commenting that, as he agreed in advance to remove the parts she found embarrassing, she might as well have done the interview on ketamine. Then she proceeded to giggle in such a way that I wondered if she was, in fact, on ketamine. Then, observing what a wonderful time she was having, I considered if I should be on ketamine.

Ketamine aside (or maybe included), I love Sia. This was the first interview of her’s I’ve heard, and I was captivated. What I really respect about her as an artist, is how she can create art that is aggressively fun right next to something that is deeply soulful.  

Her Christmas album has powered me through the last three holiday seasons. (It’s kind of like eating peppermint cotton candy while wearing a red and green sequined dress and holding a puppy with the Rockettes doing a kick line behind you.) 

Her acoustic Spotify Session release of songs from 1000 Forms of Fear and This Is Acting was the gritty soundtrack of the months following my separation from my ex. I tried my hand at those on the piano the other night after listening to her interview and I couldn’t talk when I was done because those runs—those pipes! 

And the collaboration with Labrynth and Diplo–was a fun reminder to increase my own neuroplasticity.

The dark soulful stuff doesn’t make apology for the psychedelic or the obnoxiously happy tunes.  

And I’m writing about philodendron and skunks and Sia because this is my shrug in the midst of negotiating a new parenting plan through the court with R’s dad. 

I guess what I’m saying is it’s aways both. 

Yes. And. Both. All.

Bawling over what life exacts from you while doing a kundalini kriya to release anger and sadness. [Hint: All life really takes from us is our stories that were never true anyway.] 

Appreciation of butterflies, a great water purification system and Zac Efron. 

Enjoying having an excuse to text your ex-boyfriend because he’s also had a skunk in residence. 

Telling the truth, even when it terrible.

Sunny days at the pool.

Emotionally purchasing an outdoor couch because it’s August and the above mentioned philodendron is taking up my previous hammock hanging space.

I shrug.

Tiny birds pick through the branches of the orange tree. 

The bamboo and blue pambago are covered in orange butterflies.