Ice Age Buffet: Full Face Mud Part 2

The tunnel in between the main banquet cave and back roasting cave as it looks today.

“Did you leave your face mud out again?” Joog was a little judgmental but I couldn’t fault him. He was the event organizer and always thought nothing would ever happen on time even though it always had.

“I’m going to do something special this time and I didn’t want it to get smudged on the way over.” Great. Now I had to do something special! An extra arrow maybe.

I saw the staff coming so I turned my back and slapped on my face mud as carefully as possible. It was still cold but spreadable. I could feel Joog staring at me. “Do you need some…”

“I got it!”.

Keen, Bleech and Roon arrived just in time for me to tuck my face mud under my fur tie. I turned around to greet them and I could tell they were trying not to laugh.

“Is that supposed to be an arrow?” Joog chuckled.

“Arrows are pointy-er aren’t they?” Keen was a real smart ass but a great broth leader.

“It’s an arrow! It’s just… it’s been rammed into the side of a mammoth!”

Keen leaned in close to me. “The side?”

They were all laughing uncontrollably.

“Alright, Get to work!”

I followed them into the main banquet cave, they were still laughing but at least did what they were supposed to. Light fires around each of their work spaces.

Joog and I went all the way back to the roasting cave. I lit my fire near my attendance etchings. I must’ve been distracted by the hunter incident because I didn’t notice we were a man down. Joog did the scheduling so I asked him.

“Where’s Yaan?”

“He’s dead.”

“Damn. Can we get someone else? Flor?”

“Dead”

I was really nervous now. Who could I trust to give us the signal to start carving? I couldn’t spare Bleech or Roon, they had to be ready to carry the meat out then serve it, Joog would be busy with roasting and I….

Joon was trying not to stare at me. “Can I please fix your….arrow?”

“Fine, quickly!”

Just as Joog was finishing up my face mud, Keen stormed in. “Where are all my bones!?”

I turned and Joog managed to smudge what ever he was drawing on my forehead.

“We put them in your bucket! They’re not there!?”

Keen gave a quick judgmental glance at my forehead. “No! They’re not!”

I could feel Joog about to get loud with him. I tried my best to keep communication at a minimum between those two.

“We built an entire table slab in the dark last night! Maybe if you had stayed to…oh I don’t know…HELP THE TEAM… You would’ve been there to check on your bones before leaving!” Joog could go from fine to raging in less than a second.

“How was I supposed to know you Neanderthals would put a FROZEN ROCK under a mammoth sized slab!?” Keen was no better.

I put myself between them with my hands up. “Hey hey hey… no need for name calling or blaming. Keen, we’ll find your bones.”

Keen just stared at me, seething. “Your arrow is ejaculating!”

I turned to Joog. He just shrugged. Keen stormed back into the main cave.

Now, as if there wasn’t enough to do before the feast, I had find Keen’s bones, get the tools ready for the incoming mammoth, crush the berries for our entry drink, find someone to signal us at the the parade and at some point fix my ridiculous face mud! We were off to a terrible start!

“Owwwww!!!!” Roon screeched like a dying boar in the main cave.

“I can’t deal with any of them right now. I’ll find a signaler.” Joog picked up his tablet and stormed out.

When I got to Roon, he was writhing on the ground holding his ankle. I hope I managed to not roll my eyes. Every time. It’s like he was clumsy on purpose. Bleech was standing over him, he looked like he was about to cry. “We were just moving some kindling and he slipped!”

I looked at the ground. A bone! We must’ve left them out. I quickly looked around for Keen. Thankfully he was nowhere to be seen.

“Look!” Bleech was now holding the bone up. “Shhhhhhh!” I motioned for him to throw it into the bucket. He just looked at me, no comprehension at all, holding the bone up like a damned torch! Bleech had almost frozen to death the night before the last feast and he hadn’t been right since. I could hear Keen stomping back into the cave. I snatched the bone out of Bleechs’ hand and threw it into the bucket. It rolled around making the most noise it possibly could.

“What the…” Keen hurried over to the bucket.

I slapped a big smile on my face. “See? We’ll find them!”

It wasn’t good enough. “One bone!? I need a bone per Homo! That’s this many!” Keen flashed all fingers on both hands twice.

“No problem! Bleech, find all the bones you can, they’re definitely here, and lay them out next to the bucket in a row.” I had to be very specific with Bleech.

“It’s burning!” Roon howled still clutching his ankle. Keen rolled his eyes and started to arrange the kindling under the bucket.

I knelt down to Roon. “It’s going to be fine. I’ll have Joog drag an old woman to you.”

“What if it’s too late!?” Roon was really committing to this.

“They don’t move very fast. He’ll catch one right away. Just try to relax.”

I went outside to find Joog. He’d be very annoyed by this.

Part 3: Old Women and Hunter Drama – coming soon!

Ice Age Buffet: Part 1

The outskirts of our village

Someone asked me recently if I was a writer. I mean, I do write, but no, I’m not. I’m a professional caterer. Always have been. It’s in my DNA. On both sides! This goes back all the way to the ice age. In fact, in one of my first lives, I was a feast leader! Today you’d call that a catering captain.

I was a man, not that a woman couldn’t have done that job, it’s just that all women were either pregnant or breastfeeding all the time. People died often. Many in a day. That’s why the great feast was so important.

There are cave drawings that depict this event! Funny how often scholars think they’re anything other than a catered feast to celebrate the end of the moon cycle and the fact that some were still alive!

I wasn’t always a man in my lives, I was a woman in the 15 and 1600’s but I kept getting burned as a witch. One time, I was just a baby and I pointed and said a word. Burned.

My name was Groog. I was 17 years old, a middle aged man of the times, in 1600 BC. Here’s what I remember about one of the biggest feasts of my life.

Frozen Mud

It was a particularly cold day but thankfully not snowing. I could tell because the pelts covering the entrance to my cave were still. My 16 year old wife, Zta, was already bustling around the cave.

Our 1 year old twin boys, Ru and Ka were crawling after each other, we had to line our floor with pelts for this and only this reason. Our older daughter Zte, 4, was sitting at the stone slab table playing “feast”with her two twig dolls. Zta had made a fire. I felt the warmth on my beard and it made me want to just stay under the mammoth pelts but I couldn’t. It was a big day. Lots to do.

I threw the pelts off and made myself get up. “They’re already hunting” Zta looked over the fire at me. “Don’t forget your face mud.” I’d walk out of the cave with nothing but my under furs if not for her. “Right!” I went to grab my face mud from my fur lined bone supply trunk when I heard Zta sigh. She pointed to our stone slab table. “You left it there. I told you if you did that again, I wasn’t going to put it away. If it’s frozen…” I cut her off, “That’s on me.”

We’d had this argument many times. She was right. She’d told me she didn’t have the energy to keep the kids alive, keep a fire going and pick up after me. I grabbed it, it was in fact frozen. I cursed myself. I was the one that told the staff they had to show up in full face mud and here I was, facially ill prepared.

“I’ll hold it under my arm on the way over to the banquet cave.” I don’t know why I told her this. “M’kay”. She said. She was annoyed. Normally I would’ve been the first one up and grinding berries for breakfast but we had a set up the day before. One of the stones we used to prop up the main table slab cracked and we had to take the whole thing apart and rebuild it. We were working well after sun down.

“After today, it’s back to normal. I promise!” She sighed again and poured some bone broth into my bowl. “Put your face mud under your bowl.” Of course! That will get it to melt even faster! Zta, before our kids, was the best event organizer. Always two steps ahead! Now that she wasn’t with me at work, any time I had a problem I didn’t know how to solve, I always thought, what would Zta do?

I held the face mud under my bowl as I slurped the broth. I could taste some extra berries in it. I glanced at Zta. She smiled. She knew extra berries were my absolute favorite thing. Just like my mom used to do before any celebration.

Zte started laughing so hard she almost fell off her tree trunk stool. For some Reason, me eating was the funniest thing she’d ever seen.

I grabbed my fur tie and fastened it around my waist, tucked my slightly thawed face mud under my arm and headed out.

The labor crew was already hard at work, digging and flattening snow, making paths for the twig parade. That’s when the older children carry bushels of kindling for the main fire pit in the center of our village. Zte couldn’t wait to be old enough to do that.

I had already decided to put Yaan in charge of watching the ceremony. He’d blow the horn when the fire was lit and we’d know it was time to start carving. I made a point to look straight ahead and move faster when I saw Que. Nice guy but always wanted to talk to me about something he heard about someone else. He always started with some comment about the weather.

“Groog! Hey there!” I tried to ignore him but he caught up with me. “Not as cold today huh?” It was. “Good thing it’s not snowing!” I had to agree with him there. “I have to agree with you there!” Damnit! “How bout those hunters this morning!” No-one could resist hunter drama. He was clever. “What do you mean?”

“Well…”. He always looked around as if he were giving me top secret information when we both knew he’d have told everyone by sundown. “Apparently, Lom got drunk and told Pol that he wanted to hit on his wife, with his club, and drag her into his cave!” This was shocking! Clubbing had been banned for a long time. In fact, the only time I’d ever heard about clubbing was when people talked about Neanderthals. We were Homo’s. Civilized. “Whoa! That’s crazy! Listen, I’m in a rush but talk later? After the feast?” Que nodded and went back to flattening.

When I got to the banquet cave, Joog was already there, checking the position of the sun, in full face mud.

Part 2, Full Face Mud, available now!

Communication Breakdown

IT’S TOO HOT IN HERE!

You turned the heat completely off. So, you turn it off?

IT WAS TOO HOT!!

So you turned it off, not down.

Do you feel a draft?

(Shrugs) Yes, because it’s -4 and you turned the heat off.

OH MY GOD! IT’S SO COLD!!

Yes, because you turned the heat off ! Maybe we can turn the heat back on and…

WHAT MAKES YOU THINK THE HEAT WORKS! IT WAS TOO HOT WHEN IT WAS ON!

Yes, but there are levels to the heat. (Fakes a smile, looks at partner) Maybe we can turn it on a little?

(Glances at partners fake smile, to angry to make eye contact) I TRIED TO TURN THE HEAT ON AND IT WAS BOILING!! WHAT!? I’M TOO SENSITIVE RIGHT!?IT’S SO FUCKING COLD NOW!

Of course it’s fucking cold because you can’t think outside the way you feel! (Looks directly at partner fake smile gone). There are levels to the heat. We don’t need to be too hot or too cold.

I’M NOT A FUCKING CHILD, STOP TALKING TO ME LIKE I AM ONE!! (Can’t look at partner) IT’S HOT OR IT’S COLD!!!

There is also warm and chilly. JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!! IT’S NOT ALWAYS ONE OR THE OTHER!!!!

FUCK THIS!!!

No, fuck you. (Looks away)

IF YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY THEN SAY IT!

I have, many many many times. (Actively refusing to look at partner) I already have.

Storms away, googles divorce.

Storms away, googles how much would it cost to get divorced.

Fear

Fear is a great friend. It acts as the protagonist to your antagonist in your own personal movie giving you a reason to overcome obstacles. Is that what its meant to do? Let’s go with that for a moment.

Fear tells you all kinds of things. It tells you, live in a house boat. There may be a flood. You’ll need to be able to float.

But, it could go the other way, drought. Might want to live in a trailer. Something light enough that it can be pulled across the sand and rest on top.

Maybe, you’re safest, having both a house boat and a trailer. But what about wind? Are either of those things safe in those conditions!? Surely not!

Stationary house it is. But I can’t afford a house!

Even if I could, it’s not near public transportation so I can’t get to work when work resumes! There’s also land taxes! Near a city those are a killer!

But, the elements are the immediate threat. Flood, wind, fire.

FIRE!! Didn’t think about that. Maybe a trailer that can turn into a house boat but made from a shipping container. Metal? Not flammable as I understand it. The Optimus Prime of houses!

That’s the one! Does that exist? No How much does that cost? a lot because you’d be inventing it.

Can I invent this all terrain home? No, because you’re not an architect or an engineer, you’re not even an interior designer that knows architects or engineers. Do you even know what an engineer does?

Okay. I’ll stay in my apartment. It’s made of brick. It’s seen many hurricanes, Has it?, it at least has an area with no windows, so when the F4 tornado comes, I can coax the cats to huddle with me in that space. We’ll huddle, eyes closed, it will be over in a minute.

That works. Stay exactly where I am.

I Was a Nanny

I’ve had many jobs. Cashier and eventually key holder at Dunkin doughnuts, Food emporium, deli worker, telemarketer, bagel emporium worker, local library clerk. Before that, during the week, 13 to 20, I was a babysitter.

At 13 I watched a couple of kids. They were great. I remember one in particular, a little girl who was Jewish and knew I wasn’t. This was a predominantly Jewish area, me being a shiksa was an anomaly. She had Christmas decorations that she wanted to put up, look at, then take down. We did that every time I came. I felt weird but also loved her enthusiasm. She had a plan and a way to enact it successfully. I bet she’s a CFO of something now.

Years later, at age 19, I sat for my little 2 year old neighbor. She had just moved from France and adorably said some things in French. I learned too.

I sat with her every week day and sometimes a weeknight. I loved it. I came up with things like, go on a walk and pick up leaves then draw them. Her dad was the curator for an art museum in NYC so we’d occasionally paint pictures and then hang them up as a “collection”. Mom and Dad loved this.

She was so amazing, I was in the market for an alternate way of looking at life, and a child’s view was everything. Every discovery, and everything she saw was a discovery, was a gift!

Her mom wrote a note to me once, giving her thanks to treating her daughter with “dignity”. Honestly, that little girl did more for me than anyone in my life at the time.

When she got older, I lost touch. I moved away. I saw her mom at a catered event I was working years later. This little girl was an adult and lived in another state. It was such a shock! It’s like I didn’t think she’d ever grow up! But she did and apparently every bit as amazing as I thought.

It would be interesting to speak to her now. Does she remember me? Does she have the same personality traits she had that young?

If she requested my friendship on Facebook would I feel comfortable accepting?

I’m glad I knew all the kids in my charge. That is the most gratifying job I’ve ever had.

I was 18

I went to a club. I made myself up, full makeup, clothing that I thought would make me look older.

I went with my girlfriend who was so excited to go dancing.

We got in, wearing bracelets that told the bartender we were underage.

We initially had a great time. Loved the music, we danced.

I met a guy.

He was genuine. We talked at great length about music, life and what we thought we were.

His name was Chris. I was falling in love with him.

It seemed like he was falling in love with me too.

He asked me if I would go to a diner with him, so we could talk more.

I was so exited that he saw me as someone to even entertain. I of course said yes.

He said “Great! Meet me out front in a few minutes! I’m just gonna get my car!”

Good because I had to find my friend and tell her I met the love of my life and he was going to take me to a diner and the rest of my life.

I couldn’t find her, truth be told, I didn’t look that hard. She’d be fine. She drove her parents car there. She could drive back.

I went outside and waited for Chris. A car pulled up. Chris opened a door. I ran into the car toward my new love. He wrapped me in his arms.

I felt so ecstatic. So safe.

It took a minute to see there were other men in the car or van, I can’t remember. I assumed they were his trusted friends.

Then the car/ van sped up.

Chris pushed me away.

A pair of arms reached me from behind and ripped my top in two.

I heard a voice. “Is she pregnant?” Then laughter. Mocking laughter.

I’ll remember that for the rest of my life.

Chris grabbed a chunk of my hair on the back of my head and held it at his erect penis.

I don’t want to write what happened next. It’s already re traumatized me at the thought.

The last thing I remember is being thrown out of a moving car and up against a dumpster.

I stayed there for a while. I felt like I belonged there. Trash.

My friend, thank God she was so intense, wouldn’t stop until she found me.

She did. I was lifeless against the dumpster,.

She called the police and my parents.

I don’t remember how, but I was in a police station recanting what had happened.

I remember it like a distant memory that belongs to someone else.

The only thing I remember as myself is an officer asking me if I had ripped my own top.

I hadn’t, it was someone else in the car or van. I had already blacked this out.

No one believed this had actually happened.

At the time even I doubted it happened but it did.

A man named Chris, lured a young and naive girl , into a car, forced oral sex, gave her to his friends for ridicule, then pushed her out of a moving car and into a dumpster, laughing.

The police told me he probably wouldn’t be caught, because I hadn’t provided enough information.

He’s out there. His friends too.

And here I am. Coming to terms with it.

I’ve never told anyone except the police, my friend who was horrified and my parents who were called.

As I Am

New City, New York

Here I am. In all my glory. Happy on the outside. Afraid of everything on the inside.

Dobbs Ferry, New York

Here’s 21 year old me looking much more convincing,holding my cat Curtie. Still afraid of Everything.

Dobbs Ferry train station, New York

Here’s me in my 30’s. Shielded by the sun but still afraid. Of success mostly.

Kensington Brooklyn, New York

Here’s 2021 me, 45. No armor, afraid of significantly much less.

Let’s call this a win.

Virtual Traveling in Quarantine

One of the things I miss the most right now is traveling. I’m restless and very curious so it’s vital to my sense of fulfillment. I can’t do it often for financial reasons but I make it a point to go to another country whenever I can.

Since I can’t go anywhere right now, I’ve come to rely on videos. You tube is great for this. I love to see a video where someone just holds a camera or phone and takes a walk. It’s fantastic!

I love to hear the sounds of a place, see the different types of plant life, how the sun shines or doesn’t, hear birds or water. Also enjoy seeing signage announcing local fairs or events.

I’ve found a couple such videos that I will introduce and link to as well as a couple of my own less professional ones. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Bergen, Norway

I took this one. It’s a short walk to the center of the city where that day just happened to be a tech rehearsal for an annual music festival! The artist is Eiver, she’s singing with someone who I can’t seem to find online. They’re singing a traditional song from Viking times! Check it out!

Here’s another shorter one a little further toward the water. You can still hear Eiver. God there’s so many people! Remember people?

Longyearbyen, Svalbard – The Worlds Most Northern Inhabited Town.

Photo taken by Cecilia Blohmdal

This one comes from Cecilia Blohmdal’s vlog. I highly recommend subscribing to her channel as she posts videos of her daily life living and working in Longyearbyen. It’s so peaceful, sweeping glacial landscapes, polar bears and wild reindeer. Imagine how crisp and clean the air must be? I love the smell of cold. Really makes me reconsider my way of life. A highlight of quarantine.

https://youtu.be/fMqm-bCO4Ec

Edinburgh, Scotland

Link is below after text

Next we go for a walk in Edinburgh. I recommend this channel as well. Plenty of walks to go on. I had so much fun deciding what pub I would go to if I were there! Pubs! Remember those?

https://youtu.be/yAwtLDsNGCY

Monaco, Monte-Carlo

Take a 2minute bus ride to the center of Monaco. They were getting ready for the formula 1 races, so you can see the track being built. I took this video to to look like what I would choose to look at, hence the lingering footage of the incredibly elegant movie poster when the bus stops and the impeccably dressed woman in the yellow top and scarf at the end. Fanciest public transportation I’ve ever experienced.

Let me know if you have any suggestions as to where I should “visit” next!

Cat Zoom Call 4, Dating App

Sammy

Waiting for Belle to join….

Belle

Hey. I’m being scratched.

Sammy

I prefer TO scratch. Give me one second on this cactus…..

Belle

No problem! I’ll have him stop so we can talk in private. Not that he’d understand but I’m almost over this.

Sammy

Okay great. I really need your opinion on something and Harry heard a noise so he’s hiding under the covers. I can’t figure out how to roll my eyes.

Belle

Just try to blink quickly but don’t shut your eyes all the way. Breath out quickly too.

Sammy

Like this?

Belle

Sure.

Sammy

Anyhoo, I joined a dating app. It’s called Twitter. Lots of cats from all over the world. I met a male, his name is Cole….

Belle

That’s hot….

Sammy

Right!? Anyway, we started talking, he’s interesting, has two humans like me but the male is something called “British”. He sent me a bunch of pics now I feel like I need to send him at least one but I hate all of them! I mean, penguin much!? I’m gonna take a new one but like, what pose? I figured I’d ask you cause you’re super judgmental….

Belle

Sammy

Honest?

Belle

Well, “honestly”, I’m a little annoyed but I do have some ideas I just won’t be looking at you for a minute.

Sammy

Fair enough…

Belle

Okay, first, is this just a casual thing? Short term? Second, what does he look like and is he neutered? I’ve heard the Brit’s sometimes aren’t, have no idea where. Have you heard his voice?

Sammy

Oh wow… ummm…. I guess casual, yes. Neither of us go outside anymore so It would have to be. Neutered? I haven’t asked but something tells me no. He looks like he has a deep voice.

Belle

Okay, okay… well what exactly does he look like? Have you seen him next to anything like a human chair or a typical scratching post?

Sammy

Hmm… let me think about that. He’s mostly on top of things like tables or computers…. long hair, black, yellow eyes…. actually, I noticed in one pic, he has some specks of white around his chest.

Belle

Ohhhh… an older male… experienced.

Sammy

I’d put him around 12?

Belle

12 year olds know what they want. I suggest rolled over, on your side, looking back. Maybe even feet stretched out?

Sammy

Like this?

Belle

That’s the one, and don’t use that stupid emoji with the yellow, hearts for eyes, cat face! Only cute to humans. Let me know what he says!

Sammy

Will do!

Belle left the conversation

Sammy

😻😻😻😻😻😻😻😻😻😻

Podcast Recomendation

This is a podcast discussing mental health issues from the point of view of those labeled and subsequently stigmatized from as early as five years old.

Both hosts are young moms and want to do better by their children. I should clarify, I say “young” but that’s relative isn’t it? I mean they are no older than me. 45. They might very well be emotionally and spiritually older though!

Take a listen. I did and I found I needed to focus because so much of what these women were saying rang true for me. In fact, it was so true that my old defenses appeared, jumped in front of me like a soldier holding an AK47.

I’m glad to know this podcast. It makes me question myself and makes me feel supported at the same time!

Here’s a link http://thiscouldgetdark.com

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