Angela Bocage

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the family category.

Spring IS gonna come.

I’ll simply have to insist! A couple days in the last week when the snow had melted and I could walk along actual damp SIDEWALK…and then this last couple days’ vaunted blizzard being a “Feh, THAT you call a blizzard?!” sort of event for the now-ever-so-much-more hardy citizens who’ve been digging out from several feet, and I’m convinced. Yup. Spring! Maybe not THIS week, but…it’ll get here.

This spring at the Willliam Way center in Philadelphia my friend Pearlette Toussant is presenting a supremely cool event—which she’s already blackmailed me into attending because now that I’m dating again, girl has way too much inculpatory evidence which, while formally inadmissible as hearsay, could prejudice my case.*

On Tuesday, March 25 at 6:00, jumping off from the lobby of the center, to “Whet Your Appetite for Spring:” a walking tour of Philly’s Gayborhood to pick out all manner of places and things creatively includable in romantic spring date plans—but ahead of time so we’re not all frantic! Whee! This is also just a cool way for newcomers or visitors to Philadelphia to learn their way around and discover some amusing, healthy, fun and fascinating LGBTQ destinations, for Philadelphians of all tenures to meet nice people, and for everybody to enjoy.

*Anyone who knows me knows what a big lie that is; if I were a language I wouldn’t have a word for “overshare,” or “TMI”!** I love information! It’s all about the information…which reminds me to recommend, as well, Lisa Lutz’ shriekingly funny, like when you can’t help but yelp like a sea lion with laughter,  Curse of the Spellmans! A lot more than funny, too, in its unsparing but ultimately nonjudgmental portrayal of a most non-traditional family. (“Uh, I request Mal Blum’s ‘For Making Art’ song plizz, goin’ out to Lisa Lutz…”) I hope the first one, The Spellman Files, is as good, since I’ve accidentally ended up reading them out of order, but I’ll let you know when I read it, which WILL be as soon as possible!

(**In terms of MY life I’m like that proverbial open book, that is. Secrets told to me, I keep to the grave. Serious as an aneurysm about that.)


“The Other End of the Leash,” indeed!

Almost all my grand plans for the weekend went swirling down the drain very very quickly when on Friday morning, getting up earlier than I did at great personal sacrifice, my partner, whom I’ll call HB because that’s what the cute ex-quarterback with whom she played flag football calls her—got “clipped” by Aretha Exene the lab puppy.

Looking at a paperback containing all the football minutiae in the universe, she says, in a pained but kind way, “It’s also called crack-backing.” I think I typed that right; she groaned, “And I swear she did this little ‘sack dance’ around me when I hit the bricks of the patio.”

To me, ‘sack dance’ sounded rather kinky at first, but I think she probably meant when the other players “sack,” or knock down/jump on/bury-in-a-pile-of-themselves the quarterback. Even though she was, as I mentioned, the halfback. Football is sooo confusing.

But the girls who have played it. Oh dear God. Girls like that…the way they walk and dress and smile and the confidence they have. I feel funny inside…

ANYWAY…this post was supposed to be about dogs, after all—you know the research showing how having animal companions can improve humans’ health, on multiple levels? Everyone should know a lot about that by now. It’s been published so widely, one would think those wacky animal lovers have infiltrated, and control, the insidious secular humanist liberal media!!! (Why, I heard Rachel Maddow mention her girl partner the other day on television! And she sure gets flirted with a lot by that cute redhaired correspondent she frequently features!)

Well, there’s a backlash at work! This ridiculously sensationalistic article appeared all but blaming dogs for sending our elderly into tailspins of painful decline because people trip and fall over them. So odd—the actual findings of the study suggest that falls are rare, and confirm that no human in the study has died as a result. (One unfortunate feline did.) So, even with dog and cat companion populations as high as they are, only one percent of all falls could even be termed “animal-related.”  Not “animal-caused,” as no distinction was made between falls occasioned by human negligence and those more likely caused, like HB’s lateral collateral knee injury, by exuberant canine fun-seeking.

“Lateral collateral knee injury…intense sacral pain…multiple abrasions and contusions…probably torn ligaments…sprained abductor…” my poor spouse enumerates each of these excruciating results of exuberant canine fun-seeking. “Wish I’d read that article earlier…”

An independent little dog is scaring me

Berekiah, my heart’s companion, a glorious example of everything delightful about the noble Japanese Chin breed, turned nine in February. Last night I came home and rather than racing up, spinning around my feet to announce his news of the day, waving his plumy tail, he sat in one place, shivering, had trouble standing, wouldn’t eat. On the advice of our excellent nearby vet ER I brought him in. Though we knew he has cardiac issues, it seemed to be the back injury of last autumn that had made him miserable. He got good drugs, and an edict of quiet rest for two weeks. Unfortunately or fortunately, the good drugs are making the rest difficult to enforce. “Tsk, Eema, I’m fine already, let me go exploring.” I am guessing this is his message, as the little cuss just snuck down the stairs, maximally verboten, and is smiling up at me. Obviously not asleep!

I was so worried last night he wouldn’t even be coming home with us. My partner is such a rock, she communicated to the vets when I couldn’t, was so kind and patient and willing to do whatever Berry needed, even after a hard day/week at work. I am blessed to an amazing degree. I told Berry, please don’t leave me just yet, I have so much more to learn from you.

Identity, illusion, death

I was very honored recently to be invited by a brilliant and cool new friend to write something for a project of hers on the subject, “Identity.” What a big old steaming hot mess that one is for me, right?! The cartoon caption, were it atop a visual panel of my most enthusiastically gross-&-disgusting pen and ink work, would be something like, “Angela’s brain crawls through the wreckage…” I have been changing my so-called identity since I was five years old, choosing and discarding names and traits like old boots, and have never been sorry. When the T. Heads sang, “I’ve changed my hairstyle—so many times now—I don’t know WHUT I LOOK LIKE,” the line applied to me, only add hair color and clothing style as well. I’m not exaggerating when I say age five; it may have been even earlier. I remember deciding to adopt as my own a phobia of having my picture taken at five, changing my name at five or six, and chopping off the long hair my mother had never ever cut at eight. By eleven hair color changed all the time and by fourteen I had had maybe five different sequential names. (A number rather larger now.)

Identity and I have, clearly, waged an old war. When I read Carlos Castaneda’s dubious and delightful Yaqui stories in junior high and high school, devouring them all repeatedly and dropping whole previous sets of friends to be besties with the publications geeks into Carlos—yep, sorry, I do that too, but at least nowadays I’m trying not to be quite so much of an asshole—his stuff about erasing identity again and again, like the dirt and sweat of each day, made so much sense to me. I feared my ego, wanted to lance it like a boil as often as possible, to which end I never save my published clips and don’t have most of my comics, whether originals or published versions. What’s the point—another thing in Castaneda’s mini-library of chaos magic that made sense to me even then was the imminence of death. It was true when I was thirteen and driving on Southern California freeways with my Alzheimer’s-addled grandfather and true earlier today when a migraine made me nauseated and I wondered whether this time it would be the genetically and environmentally vulnerable much-abused ticker.

Death is always imminent even if Death is extremely quiet and unobtrusive about it, too, of course; turns out that many apparent crazies show up in ERs all agitated and hallucinating  when actually they’re mentally normal individuals having their self-concept, cognitive abilities, and the whole bundle of qualities labeled “sanity” undermined colorfully by nothing more than one or more previously undetected tumors. And people get hit by cars or otherwise felled without warning all the time, as my grandfather (while I was living with him, age six) and my mother (while I was living with her, age eleven) exemplified. My, was I the auspicious child with whom to reside, or what?! With ego that poisonous, and death that near, it seemed like a splendid idea to stock up on identities: an old Jewish custom was to change one’s name to Chaim or Chaya when critically ill so Death might skip your checkmark on Its list.

Then, behind the personal, there’s the political. Or under, or encompassing, or whatever your concept may be of that contested relation. Anyway, politics and identity are of course a whole nother can o’ worms. I know the lefties, red diaper babies, and other kind and hopeful souls may be thinking that identity is a politically necessary concept.  I don’t, because it isn’t any particular identity—or even a human identity—which entitles beings to justice and peace! As long as injustice and suffering exist, it doesn’t matter upon whom they splat!  If identity is a useful tool, in some places, times and situations, to alleviate injustice and suffering, by all means use it. If identity is a fantasy, so are the little imaginary lines on maps, which have been known to cause difficulties from time to time…

I use the word “fantasy” or “artifact” because a shift in context, or in time, can change everything: in a painting or fabric or mosaic, the same color looks one way next to green, another next to gray, then changes a lot next to orange! If identity is no more or less real than that color painting or that fabric—it’s an artifact of situation, time, place, and as cynical law students are wont to say about legal rulings, “what the judge ate for breakfast.”

Tsk. I was meaning to write about how funny the book I was reading is, it’s Tanya Huff’s Smoke and Ashes and it’s super fun, but maybe tomorrow…

White Snow Black Dog Black and White Dog…

I just wanted to add that one of the most wonderful things about the trip to Washington DC last weekend, although SO MUCH was, was that I had my best  little male friend with me, Berekiah the Japanese Chin. His manners, as always were gentle and elegant. At one point, a small boy was walking towards him and then became shy. Berry stopped and smiled, and waved his tail—not wagged, not too fast, just a gentle greeting. The poor kids relatives dragged him off, through no fault of the pup’s. The way he is with little children is one of the sweetest things about him, which I noticed especially when we used to live in a very poor neighborhood where the kids tended to be scared of dogs! He’d even lie down on the sidewalk, smile, and be as nonthreatening as possible to invite them to touch his silky fur. He just turned NINE last month and I find that I want to spend every moment I can with him. He is so beautiful, with the liveliest most sensitive and expressive face. I even miss him when I’m @ work. 😦

Then there’s the Big Black Dog, Aretha Exene aka the Hellhound, A.E. or Ree. (And no, she doesn’t think her name is “GODDAMNITARETHADROPTHAT!”) She’s still a crazy puppy—her other mom tends to describe her as the canine equivalent of  “a six-foot-tall toddler that lifts weights and bites.”  I have a sprained arm, a probably-broken finger, and my sweetheart and I are ALWAYS bruised and scratched, but we can’t be angry at a puppy for being a puppy, especially, says Coach, “when the puppy is such a glossy-coated, limpid-eyed gargantuan-pawed, eager-to-please lolloping young’un!” 🙂 Also, Aretha Exene’s a lot better since she learned a lot in Taming the Teen (Puppy) class at our AMAZING local dog center, the Pet Campus. We learned even more. And the people there seemed so cool, and their attitudes so respectful and understanding towards the dawgs that when we knew we were going to DC for Coach’s birthday, we arranged for her to do her “first big girl sleepover” there at their boarding facility. They were super good to her, obviously, because she was all shiny and happy when we picked her up, and her report card (!!!!!) said she ate really well…and much to our joy and SHOCK, she also was “fun to play with” and…and...invited back! LOL!

A new theme song for 2009! And happy Darwin Day!

My beloved friend blogging at More Madonna, Less Jesus has changed her format and has a lot of fantastic pictures of…of a nice WARM climate…with beaches…and, and clear sky…and people not all #$@! bundled up in down coats! Sigh. Weep. Anyway, she also shares a fine moment from…”her favorite local band.” The link is pretty much like so:

It’s great not to be afraid. Boy do I know it. Now I do, yes, I know what it’s like NOT to live in fear every day.  I am so thankful for that: to the spirits, and also my beloved partner. ❤ Once nobody can threaten you with pain or death—or, as cited by that wonderful band, Prove It, from More Madonna’s blog, crocodiles—how free is that? Of course I have sooo long a way to go, because even more than death and pain, I fear the graceful arachnid…I’m trying to either think of them as tiny oddly shaped scorpions  or sort of remember the old Superboy comics where Lana Lang became the Insect Queen (thanks, I believe, to a ray gun built by an old-familial-wizard figure, either her uncle or her dad?). She could become a human-size version of whatever insect a given danger required for its neutralization! I feel affectionate kinship with scorpions, bats, rats, snakes, and can’t fathom how people are afraid of them—which I realize is RIDICULOUS! LOLZ!!! But Lana learned that since she could also become crustaceans and spiders, at some point she realized she was The Arthropod Queen or something…it was all pretty goofy! Comics are great for helping overcome fear. As a tiny leetle Southern girl in second and third grades in P.S. 59 in Manhattan, afraid to talk because if I did I had teachers and students alike thinking I was kinda special cause my accent was pure,  I was sooo often absolutely bewildered…until my mom started taking me to Bill and Rose’s newsstand on 2nd Avenue and I started hiding Thor and Batman and Daredevil and Spidey and the Legion of Superheroes in my nasty horrible math books! I can still remember how wildly delightedly I would smile thinking of my comic books when I was that age. 😀  😀  😀

We are sick but the world is still beautiful

My partner’s sinuses flare up and cause us to get dizzy and yucky and migrainey and can’t-breathe-ish. I’m drinking green tea and we’re taking various medicine but still floaty feverish hurting. Yesterday evening I was coiled in pain in fetal position and felt like I was about to die, or as my beloved has described hangovers, “afraid I would live.” But much beautiful is happening: my son the poet got a standing ovation at San Francisco’s MLK day ceremony (check it out at,  my partner still loves me, people all over the country are so happy about the history President Obama has made, and I’ve seen four new kinds of snow in the past week—the big feathery flakes one hears about,  the huge clusters of smaller flakes, invisible snow (but one can hear it hitting one’s down coat), and snow that comes down so slowly each little unit of it seems to float. This is my eighth day of eating/drinking only vegan which I am extremely happy about–and I haven’t smoked in over 24 hours, because I had relapsed on smoking previously…so I hope to go to sleep soon and come back to life at least somewhat better suited for it.

The drifting of the brightly colored cards…

A bunch of different things today…First, thank you to everyone whose prayers and good wishes went out to my daughter. She’s all better, like the medieval villager who’d been turned into a newt. And NOBODY can do that Monty Python snippet like my amazing daughter! Second, how great is sleep? I can’t believe how much happier and more energetic and bursting with ideas I am when I actually get enough. Third, watch the moon every night, or morning if possible. Something totally beautiful and new will happen. It’s really really easy to access magic; I strongly urge you to listen to that crazy man Grant Morrison’s talk at the Disinformation event, it’s in several parts on youtube; I don’t understand things in EXACTLY the same way he does, not at all, but part of the point is, we don’t have to agree on the names of the deities, the best symbol for concept X, Y, or Z, the right words to say on the Solstice, whatever. You’re responsible to yourself for your beliefs and choices, not to anyone else, as I’m responsible to myself for mine. But by making those choices, finding our own beliefs and passions and balance, soooo much power and truth and potential and joy and efficacy is available. Fourth, my first purple rose, cultivar Melody Parfumee, bloomed today, magnificently, and its fragrance is a trip to heaven –so thanks again, reviled mulberry tree, for not crushing it, or me.

Roe v. Wade anniversary

When I was at the end of seventh grade, I spent an amazing summer in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. A little over a year after my mother died in spring of sixth grade in Cammack Village, Arkansas, I’d spent seventh grade at George B. Dealey elementary after moving to Dallas to live with my father. There, where the seventh graders were royalty, the year passed in a whirlwind of getting a new turquoise stingray bike to ride to school and family errands and such, singing in the chorus, finally having some pretty clothes, racking up record-setting points in the reading competition, getting my period, being asked to do art for various teachers and getting to get out of all sorts of tedious activities to do so, getting crushes on both genders, having great friendships and adventures, including an awesome wilderness education week in Athens, Texas, I’ll never forget, and culminating in triumphs of both acting in the leading comedienne role and doing lots and lots of scenic and promotional and program art for the year’s play. It was such a blessing after all the excitement that that first summer after my world turned upside down I got to live in the peace and beauty of my grandmother’s shadow, her lovely old home (with the first air conditioning system ever built in Arkadelphia, a hundred years old, its mysteries housed in its own tiny cottage by the rear of the house, but working so wonderfully well!), the quiet genteel streets of a little town that believed passionately in learning and rang with church bells…but in which I’d not yet experienced the hateful side of religion. There was only kindness in the little Episcopal church we attended, a pioneer in integration, only the sunshine, its warmth bringing out the smells of candles, flowers, and old, old books. In the beautiful old fashioned public library, a hushed and cool retreat with polished wooden floors, high ceilings, and secret passages (my grandmother volunteered there as a part-time librarian so I was delighted to explore with impunity), I discovered the Lord of the Rings trilogy in one huge dusty-black volume with thrillingly arcane sigils like a silvery-red eye and was flat out gone all summer into that road novel of all road novels; the landscape covered by the hobbits wasn’t, after all, all that unlike the gentle verdant hills and forests and rivers and towns of southern Arkansas. What made me think of all this today is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. I used a clunky old blue and white bicycle in Arkadelphia, not the sleek speedy one I had at home. If, riding around with my friends Anne and Sharon, or exploring some promising haunted house with my friend John for some vampire play we were writing, or just walking in the twilight to think about what I wanted to do with the life ahead of me, with art, learning, writing, exploring relationships, I’d happened on the wrong person, and been raped–it wasn’t quite 1972 yet. Would my two wonderful children have ever come into the world, would I have gotten an education, would I have been sent away, or would an unsterile back-alley procedure have ended my life? My nascent depression wasn’t treated then, and the treatments that existed were frequently as bad as the illness–would I have committed suicide, or spent my life in an institution? For some reason, even after all the years of thinking I’ve done about why women’s reproductive lives aren’t free, I never thought quite this way, never thought, this could have happened to me. Our mothers, our grandmothers, I always said. But it wasn’t quite 1972 yet the summer I discovered sexual feelings, the summer Anne and Sharon would tell me men and boys were always looking at my rather fine new breasts. This anniversary, I did the math, and I’m so thankful for my children and my life. We cannot deny the future to the girls in seventh grade, or second grade, or entering adulthood today. To think otherwise is female sexual slavery as surely as it has ever existed in the world.

And by the way. I want fashion to include more concealment options!

Recently the weather here in Philadelphia-and-environs finally got cold. I know, it held off for a long time–earlier this month, November, I was out in the yard talking to my cousin Jennifer on the phone about ripe tomatoes STILL growing in my yard (she didn’t put any in, in Alabama this year, because of all the traveling she and her husband did over the summer) but when it’s cold, and my hair’s this short, the ears scream and complain. So wearing these pashminas my wife’s given me for holidays the last couple of years and really wrapping up in them, it got me fantasizing….why can’t modern contemporary progressive American women wear things that cover us up? Why can’t that be just another option, like tights, pantyhose, or kneesocks with pants? Flats, pumps, or boots? Fashion is way too rigid. I wanna see professional ladies be able to wear veils, hijab, all manner of sheltering items yet to be invented, where we’re covered up, and thus getting to think about what we’re doing rather than people–many of whom probably creepy people–looking at us!!!

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