Angela Bocage


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Insanely busy yet updating possibly prior to being away for a bit

As this blog is mostly for my children and friends and y’all have been in touch with me in lots of other different ways lately, and since I am doing some major changes, starting new things, etc., may be on here a lot less for a bit. Will do my best to keep up with Facebook but not at all committed to any particular site other than as much F2F as possible. XOXO ūüôā

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A randomish day in May…oh yeah, concussion!

Sooo floaty today…on Monday super clonked my skull on this tree that fell–the one I wrote about, that fell where I had just been but magically didn’t kill me or any of my roses ūüôā but since on Monday I was concentrating on using the string trimmer on all the parts of the yard unreachable by Agnes Mowerhead, kind of forgot just how low the arch made by the fallen tree really was. CLONK! Still experiencing quite the wonderful floatiness and serenity yet tired, but the nausea went away in maybe 24 hours, which was good. And my odd-colored graceling (see book of same name, it is fabulous)¬† eyes, one blue one green, my partner says, look more different than ever. VERY proud of Robin Black, amazing brilliant compassionate thinking questioning son, for finishing his 4th book of poetry! The first poem, Backstory, blew me away. It may be available from Able & Baker press, but they do fly offa the shelves so I can promise nothing. In other news, the gardening obsession has taken hold pretty good, I am poring over rose cultivars to replace the very few that couldn’t handle winter–though I’m pretty sure it was the big clumsy puppy running over or chewing on some of them that did them in, not so much winter. So many choices regarding mulch, and what do about the old compost and the recent, and what will be the best way to define the borders of beds and paths. That is a connection to the daily world. But in so many ways so distant from…everything. Like looking at earth and everything through a window, not a negative sensation, just a rather misted one. As a young teenager, before my vision was properly corrected and I couldn’t recognize anyone until they were around five feet away, I just had to accept that; called it “fogworld,” LOL. Probably something to do with living¬† in a very foggy suburb of SF! High school was in Pacifica, a hellish little place that deserved to have a mommy van named after it, where if one day in twenty the sun actually broke through…I’d overwhelmed with panicky guilt or guilty panic, wondering, “what could I possibly do to celebrate this rarity and beauty adequately?” Hee hee, now I would have a snarky answer, but however vitriolic the trappings, the concept would be pretty much just exist, learn, be nice to people and critters–as the old prophet declaimed, just doing “what is good: to act justly, and love mercy, and walk humbly with thy [deity/ies].” But now it’s summer in this astonishing place called Philadelphia, where I never planned to end up, but which is endlessly fascinating, and the rainy days are often almost as beautiful as the sunny ones and I have so many wonderful people and places and pursuits and puppies to be thankful for…when escaping f’in Pacifica woulda been “dayeinu!”


In Washington, DC, living decades in about a square block

We returned this evening from a weekend trip for my beloved’s birthday. We went to dinner last night with two women who were her players when she coached college softball between undergrad and law school, while working as the college’s PR director, then brunch with two of her co-workers from that college, a small private Mid-Atlantic institution I have visited several times with her and each time been reminded of Norman Rockwell. It seems to have been such a wonderful time in my partner’s life and I love her stories of coaching—they’re like my favorite attorneys’ —Marc Steier, Ron Kuby and Michael Lumer, that would be you!—war stories, she was clearly so into it and so good at it and so careful of her “little hooligans,” as she usually refers to the student athletes in her charge. The coworkers, the former alumni director and a former science professor, were so gracious and lively and delightful and obviously adored their kids (a quality my family values highly—highest compliment my mother, grandmother, aunt could pay a woman was “She really enjoys her children!”) and were incredibly patient when I lauded my own spawn! ūüôā And silliest of all, the husband and I totally geek-bonded over comic books and weird geek attitudes, it was soooo hilarious we even fist-bumped! All the women I’ve met from that sports team are accomplished, eloquent, hilarious, kind, decent, smarter than the average border collie, forget bear, and kinda weirdly radiant, and since they also seem to get how unique and wonderful my girl is, of course they have excellent judgment. ūüėȬ† My partner spins my head more the longer I know her…she is so kind and funny and so verbally adroit and cognitively turbocharged she spins my heart, as well, it must I suppose be admitted. ‚̧ And then there are her huge blue eyes…her broad shoulders…her statuesque height…her arms that are so strong and make me feel so safe. Happy birthday, my darlin’, I don’t know why you would choose me but I want to be the person you want, it’s one of the highest honors to which I could aspire. I love you so so much. Even if you’re just about the first jock I ever knew. Maybe that was why I never had a girlfriend when I was a mopey punky countercultural artist-type?!¬† Wait,¬† ha ha, I’m STILL a mopey punky countercultural artsy type, but now I’m one that has a girlfriend! Wheeeeeeee!!!


“Owww my ass!!!”—or, thankful and hopeful…

Aretha Exene, our li’l Labrador puppy wolf-daughter, came home September 7, 2008. She was three months old. Now she’s seven months old, sixty plus pounds, and STRONG. My younger sister the veterinarian (yes, of course I’m inordinately proud! Empathy for animals has run in the family five generations or more) said my life would never be the same. So “it is no coincidence” that I have not blogged since before then…she most certainly has changed our lives. I’m only writing now because I got her reeeeeeally tired running, playing, tugging, doing her tricks, getting lots of love and lots of water and the proper amount of healthy food and she’s now snoring away in her crate! One major way our lives have changed is that we’re lots more exhausted! But learning so much! We’ve got an awesome teacher in our first puppy class at a local APDT-style training center, and Aretha Exene’s learning vast amounts, too. She’s very very smart, almost as funny as my brilliant spouse in her own crazy way, and with apologies to the Army, Puppy Strong! We, too, are quite a lot stronger from playing tug with her, throwing all kinds of different toys and sticks for her, walking her on leash–I kick balls for her but kicking her basketball for her hurt my wife’s foot, and in the immortal words of Cartman, “OWW MY ASS!” –I got all turned around, tripped over the leash and fell so hard on the frozen ground a few days ago not only does my behind hurt, it hurts to walk up stairs. But I’ll get better and life is full of firsts–the first time she saw snow, the first shoe she destroyed, the first time she gets each new corny dog trick, the first time she got a bath, the first¬† class of teenage puppy kindergarten…she is such a little hooligan & gives us hugs and kisses and she loves us and we love her! I fear that if we visited anyone with small children at this point she’d scatter them like ninepins though. We’re 5’9″ and 5’10” and she has certainly flattened, upended, decked, and generally knocked us about.¬† But we are (all) learning.¬† I had way more to learn than I thought about relating to canines–sure I have a jaimongous theoretical education about canine behavior and learning etc., but moment-to-moment is so different and magic with such a wildly energetic and clever and did I mention VERY STRONG?! pup…a lot of other wonderful stuff I want to write about but right now she’s back and my partner’s getting swarmed over by dogs…can it really be only two dogs?! ūüôā


New crack for the lawyers…much more enjoyable than synthetic blood…

Twilight having reached pinnacles of synergistic ubiquity heretofore unknown, it’s fortunate for me that, in a frenzy not dissimilar to that which possessed me during the first few days after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows dropped, I’d long ago read all the books plus Meyer’s grownup book The Host before any randomly heard conversations between dumbass fellow SEPTA-passengers could spoil any surprises. So now, the wonderfully clever and amusing young (mostly young) attorneys with whom I share space have moved on to discussing True Blood and devouring Charlaine Harris’ series of southern vampire novels on which the HBO series is based. It’s my personal version of watching football, I guess, in the sense of being utterly useless and silly and bewitchingly fun vicarious involvement in events so far from our own real lives. In the same way as the football fans discuss the games—what coaches might do, relative skills of players—we discussed throughout the first season whether Sam could have killed vampire-friendly female Bon Temps citizens to frighten Sookie away from Bill, whether the Sheriff’s Department could have been covering up for one of their own, what Amy was REALLY after. But the brilliant twist of the whole series, books and HBO, is that in making the vampires the latest civil rights-vs.-bigotry flashpoint, they force the viewer to exist in a world where race and sexuality aren’t all that important. This can be very disturbing, e.g. when Sookie’s friend and coworker Lafayette, both gay and African American, confronts a high-profile politician with whom he’s had various extra-legal business dealings—because he’s outraged by the would-be senator’s anti-vampire stance, not his homophobia—and then proceeds to use the politician’s constituents’ racism to harm his electability by posing for a friendly photo. The choice of music and the swampy southern atmosphere of the show are also rather enchanting. Next season it’ll probably suck, so I’m glad to have at least been turned on the the books.


First, never believe me when I say I’ll do something, at least the when part.

Realized I hadn’t even finished the Twilight tetralogy so better not attempt to reach any cogent and meaningful analyses of its appeal until I knew what it was all about. Isn’t that just so measured, so mature?! Ha. Sorry. Soon….


How strange is this?

Check out the Peel cars from the Isle of Man, they’re tiny and pretty darn adorable and totally resemble the cars my brother Michael Botkin wrote about in a utopian fictional San Francisco story he wrote and I illustrated in an old issue of Processed World! ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mio5fTKqWgM ) I do think they could be a bit less underpowered, howevs.

And just for the record, please understand, I HAVE. LOTS. of FUN. All I meant in my last post on myspace is that I haven’t had a lot of urban experiences in the city of Philadelphia. Okay? I mean, the Delaware River…canine, culinary, and antique flea market and vintage fashionista experiences in New Hope….chasing after waterfowl and farm animals with camera equipment all over Bucks County…..playing bass with amazing musicians in NYC (including a certain awesome girl harmony singer imported from Greater Philadelphia, aka my spouse!)!!!…..all manner of great things happening. Just not exactly in urban Philadelphia. Sigh. No offense, beloved wife. And after being in Manhattan today, you gotta admit, compared to the way Manhattan women dress/take care of themselves, Philadelphia…well…ain’t exactly Milan.


Thank you all and have a delightful, reflective, fantastic holiday weekend…

But….please don’t let anybody convince¬†y’all¬†to believe things like “Summer’s over,” “Now¬†you can’t wear white anymore,” or that you can’t enjoy the heck outta the beautiful world, animals, people, art, books, projects, music, etc., etc., etc., around you! I thank everyone who’s emailed me with your terrific insights about how our culture and media and sports industries treat animals–and people–and will compile and present them after Labor Day. Hugs and Chin sneezles!


Wife, child, dog and garden–what more could I ask? A great tattoo!

Ripe tomatoes with the tomatoey goodness one can’t find in the store (this side of Santa Cruz, CA)…fresh catnip that our felines love…cilantro, parsley, rosemary, peppermint, cayenne peppers, the odd beautiful flower, chamomile, and soon-to-be pumpkins and watermelons! As Peter Bagge’s Buddy Bradley said of sex, “It’s so easy and fun!” Gotta start clipping lots of the herbs to dry since it’s August already.

Unable to work on much besides the “farm,” because my precious son is here, looking all buff and amazing thanks to his hard work lifting and exercising, and we’re doing a lot more of that here. He’s kindly and patiently taught me everything I forgot from high school gym class about basketball, and I’m having fun playing it with him; even if I still have a tendency to cover my head and squeal if I don’t know where the ball flew to, if I stand where he tells me to I make lots and lots and lots of baskets! We’re also hiking and stretching and lifting weights, it’s great. His poetry gets better and better and better, and his latest chapbook Concrete Monkey is available from robinblack@aol.com.

And, since I last wrote, cardiologist Dr. Megan King has examined Berekiah-puppy’s heart and says his MVD is as yet unsymptomatic, so his activity’s unlimited and we’re back to doing puppy chasin’ and long walks; when he does, eventually, get symptoms of the disease, there are effective treatments available. So,¬†extremely thankful and treasuring¬†every day with the darlin’ puppyman.

Last weeked,¬†unfortunately Robin couldn’t come, but I was up in the¬†City, wanted to go see Mac MacGill’s show with the IEDs (Eric Blitz and Steven Wishnia) in LIC Brooklyn,¬† but didn’t wanna spend the day up dere witout da kid, so I came home after my morning meeting–in this beeeeyyooootiful art house in JC where my¬†most wonderful tattoo artiste Denise de la Cerda (www.chicksdigtattoos.com) did some lovely work on my¬†right sleeve and I trimmed her dog, Tashi. Tashi-dog is like a¬†smaller German Shepherd with the fur of a and size of cocker spaniel/sheltie and has the sweetest honeybrown eyes.¬†Denise calls me Tashi’s biological mother cz when¬†she was a tiny¬†puppy being dumped on the JC pound, I happened to be volunteering the day¬†we picked her¬†and her littermates up. Damn,¬†it was love, it was fate–she was Gabrielle for her 1st fifteen months,¬†going to¬†Hamilton Park in JC and Puppy Kindergarten at St. Hubert’s and playing with Berry all day all crazy;¬†but Tashi means sump’m cool in¬†Tibetan Buddhist, I forget what, so she’s¬†Tashi now and she loves Mom Denise totally. She also behaves¬†unbelievably way better for her than she used to for me–my spouse called her “the rocket without fins” when she was a puppy, but: she was a puppy, hello! So it was great to see her as well as the delightful Denise, even if Tash really didn’t like the trimmer. Biting at it, she reminded me of herself as a bitty pup biting at the hairdryer after her bath. Berry needs an adorable pal like that again!



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