December 27, 2006


I wish that you would move to the sun
'Cause you're like diggin' holes in thin air and we know that can't be done
I wish that you would cheat with someone
'Cause you're like diggin' holes in water and we know that can't be done
Bravery and stupidity go hand-in-hand
and I guess that makes me the bravest man
'Cause I was quick to learn but slow to understand
Well, what can you do?

December 8, 2006

The barbecue sauce that refused to be taken

My favorite barbecue sauce is K.C. Masterpiece Hickory Brown Sugar. I like to eat it with Morningstar Farms veggie chicken nuggets. Safeway had a special 2 for 1 deal on my favorite sauce, so I bought two.

For some reason, when it came time to open the second bottle it refused to be budged. I mean, seriously, this lid would not move. I have wimpy little hands so I wasn't that surprised when I couldn't open it. But other people couldn't open it either. My nuggets just weren't the same. And what the hell to do with a bottle of barbecue sauce you can't open?

As a last resort, I took it to work. My friend Tony is one of the stronger people I know and I was hoping he could help. Plus, I could surprise him by leaving it sitting in the middle of his desk while he was away just to amuse myself. (It worked. At least the part about amusing myself. He knew exactly who left it there so there was very little surprise involved.)

Finally, finally. He got it open. Now I can take it back home and pop it into my fridge to enjoy later.

(This might seem like a stupid thing to write about, but it's my goddamn blog and I can write about whatever's on my mind. Right now it's barbecue sauce. And it's a Friday afternoon.)

December 6, 2006

Undeniably dear to me

My grandmother is very ill and will likely not be here much longer. She has been a very important part of my life, more so than most grandparents ever are, and I love her tremendously. I went home for a few days to spend some time with her while I was still able to do so.

When I first arrived she was in the hospital. I brought her a boquet of yellow roses and swept in--determined to do my best to keep her spirits up. Instead she lifted mine.

I had flown all night and was tired and dirty and hungry.

While I sat by her bed her dinner tray arrived. She was having turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, apricot jello, and pumpkin pie. (Two desserts?)

She offered to give me her dinner since I hadn't eaten. I said, "Are you crazy? I can grab something anytime. You need all the strength and energy you can get. You need to eat as much as you can."

"Yes," she admitted, "but I haven't pooped in five days and there's not much room left in here." I laughed. I knew I was lucky that she didn't provide more detail.

We ended up sitting together and splitting her dinner. I cut up her turkey into small, bite-size pieces since she had trouble pressing hard enough with her knife and fork. I offered to butter her roll for her, and she said, "No. There's no way I can eat that. Well, maybe just half."

We talked about which nurses she liked and which ones she reported to their bosses. We observed through her hospital room window the grey winter clouds moving swiftly across the sky. She told me, for the millionth time, why she prefers to drink decaf coffee in the evenings. We watched Jeopardy, one of her favorite shows.

It was one of the dearest times of my life.

The first time I was not afraid

Last Wednesday night I flew from San Francisco to WV. It had been a particularly rough couple of weeks and I was feeling very, very sorry for myself as big, hot teardrops ran down my cheeks and off my chin. It felt like there were deep dark pools of misery waiting for me on either coast and I was glad to be somewhere over the middle of the country for a change. I gazed out the plane window into the night sky and saw more stars than I'd ever seen at one time. Then our plane hit some particularly bad turbulence as we flew over a storm system in the midwest at about 4am.

This usually terrifies me.

Instead I threw myself back across my empty row of seats and told myself, "If this is it, I don't care. I'm ready. I hope this metal tube goes screaming toward the earth." All I needed to do was huff dramatically and place the back of my hand across my forehead.

I am awaiting the call about my Oscar nomination in the category of melodrama.

November 27, 2006

Change is fucking painful.

(Not that these are any particularly wise words.)

Has it really only been two weeks since that last posting? Wow. Shed a river of tears since then I have. I'm trying to collect them in buckets and find something more creative to do with them.

November 14, 2006

A wellspring of optimism

I am feeling better about my life than I have in a long time. It's funny, because everything is completely ambiguous and uncertain--I normally have a very difficult time with such things--but right now it's great. I am trying to embrace change. I have no idea where I'm going or where I'll end up. I have a general idea of the ends I seek, but the means are completely unclear.

November 3, 2006

October 25, 2006

The Tire Store of Truth

When I ride the 31 Balboa bus home in the evenings--which I do most weekday evenings--we pass a tire store in the Tenderloin (a not-so-great neighborhood) that I've come to think of as the "tire store of truth." It's not much to look at, even for a tire store, but they have a large sign in the corner of the parking lot. Every couple of months the letters of this sign are changed to make a new quote. Most of them strike me as bizarre quotes to find in such a dismal location, but it cheers me up every time I see one.

Three of the most recent quotes:

"Show me a sane man and I'll cure him." (Carl Jung)

"Martyrdom is the only way in which a man can become famous without ability." (George Bernard Shaw)

"If we saw ourselves in others there could not be war." (Unknown)

I always wait with anticipation to find out what the next quote will be. Someday I want to jump off the bus and go inside to find the person who takes this initiative. I want to know how he/she chooses the quotes, and whether they are open to suggestions for others. I think it could be taken to a whole new level.

October 6, 2006

October 4, 2006


I went to to find my slogan. I typed my name in the box and hit "sloganize" repeatedly to see what came up. Here are some candidates. Let me know what you think:

Lipsmackin' Thirstquenchin' Acetastin' Motivatin' Goodbuzzin' Cooltalkin' Highwalkin' Fastlivin' Evergivin' Coolfizzin' Amie.

Amie: The Other White Meat

I'd like to buy the world a Amie. (I wish they'd make some adjustments for when a/an is appropriate. It kind of bugs me.)

3-in-1 Protection for Your Amie

I liked the Amie so much, I bought the company.

We don't make Amie. We make Amie better.

Yo quiero Amie. (Awww....)

Leaves your Amie Minty not Mediciney. (Ewwww....)

Would you give someone your last Amie?

Hands that do dishes can be soft as your Amie.

(It seems like the first one was the best one. Acetastin'?)

October 3, 2006

The Green Beans That I Need

I have been eating very, very well for awhile now. I have been planning all of my meals carefully, doing lots of cooking ahead of time, and eating plenty of beans, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and turkey. I have been bringing my lunch every day except Tuesdays. On that day I need a treat to help me get through my long afternoon meeting, so that treat has been going to Portico's salad bar. I realize that a salad bar doesn't sound like much of a treat, but that's because you've never had the green beans they serve.

They are lovely: lightly sauteed in a little olive oil with garlic, parmesean cheese, and black pepper. Usually half of my take-out container is made up of green beans. I have come to look forward to these beans every week.

But, there were none. There were only boxes of raw beans that had just been unloaded from the truck--ostensibly from some green field in the central valley.

I felt confused. I planned on BEANS. What else do I eat? I made another lap around the salad bar and ended up sadly compensating with an extra dolma (not such a hardship--lemony lusciousness) and more kiwi and strawberries. While I was paying the lady who takes my money every week with a smile and an "Enjoy your lunch!," we mourned the lack of beans together.

I shouldn't complain too much. My lunch was still very good. But there better be some beans next week.

If only all my troubles were so simple...

September 30, 2006

Fun Piled on a Bun

(Don't feed me no bologna.)

It will be a great day when I have my own washer and dryer. At present, it is far off in the unforseeable future. I don't like it one bit.

I've had it with laundromats all these years. What with the constant quest for laundry quarters, the not finding out a washer isn't working until it's too late and you have to transfer your sticky, detergent-dripping clothes to another machine while lamenting the loss of the aforementioned precious quarters; the suspicious inspection of the machines for crayons, tissues, and leaky, inky pens that have been washed; the kids running through the joint screaming and crashing the metal carts into everything and everyone; the change machines that only like dollar bills that are at a medium stage of wear and tear; and, my personal favorite, not finding out your dryer didn't work until the cycle's enough to drive you to drink.

Tonight I decided it would be fun to spend my Saturday night at the laundromat. I managed to have some strange muscle spasm in my arm while carefully pouring bleach (why or why did I stop buying the "no splash" kind?) and poured it all over the machine and myself. (I am completely disinfected, now.)

True enough, I've had very colorful experiences in laundromats. There was the dingy little laundromat in the Bolton Hill neighborhood of Baltimore where the elderly Black ladies gathered around giggling and whispering as the male stripper hung up his delicates. There was the time in Richmond that I was so aggravated with the Jehovah's Witnesses that would come in and harass me with their little magazines while I sat on the table reading; the only way I could get them to stop trying to talk to me about God was to tell them I worshipped the devil. (I like to think my soul was prayed for that night.) Ahh...good times...

Gotta head back over--the dryers should be done in two minutes, Allah willing.

September 29, 2006

Swimming Etiquette

I like to swim.

I swim laps at my YMCA a couple times a week. It's one of the most enjoyable and relaxing things I do all week. I like the soothing, repetitive motions and the gurgling noises of my own bubbles in my ears.

I'm not a fast swimmer by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm not a complete slouch, either.

My pool is divided into 5 lanes: 2 for "slow" swimmers, 2 for "medium" swimmers, and 1 center lane for "fast" swimmers. I know my place. I usually swim in the slow lanes, but once in awhile if I feel spunky enough I might move over to the medium lanes.

I try to time my swims when the fewest number of people tend to be using the pool, but it doesn't always work out. It's not that big a deal if it's crowded, though, because when you follow the "swimming etiquette" rules posted on the bulletin board, everybody can pretty much fit. These rules are very simple: if there are two people in the lane, you split the lane in half. If there are three or more, you "circle swim." (This is just what it sounds like--everyone swims in a circular direction around the lane so that you can always be swimming.)

Yesterday afternoon I was swimming along--minding my own business--and splitting the lane with a very nice, older Australian woman. A young girl comes along and joins us in our lane. Now normally you're supposed to talk to the other swimmers in the lane to ask if you can all circle, but no matter--the Australian lady and I just automatically switched to circle swimming to accomodate her.

This new girl bugged me a little off the bat because of her frilly little white eyelet bathing suit with little tassely flourishes all over it. (This is business, baby--we don't come here to pose on the side of the pool and tie our tassles. Leave the virginal farm-girl country bumpkin suit at home.) Once she started swimming she really began to piss me off.

I hate to be fucked with while I'm working out. I'm on a mission here and my time is valuable.

She was a much faster swimmer than the Australian lady and I, and she seemed intent on demonstrating this to us. While circle swimming she would quickly swim up directly behind us (the equivalent of tail-gating), huff dramatically at our slow speed, and then swim back to the wall to kill time while us lumbering sea turtles finished our lap. When she got bored with that game, she started passing us by swimming underneath of us as we were doing our laps.

Go to the faster fucking lanes, princess.

The last straw came when Laura Ashley decided she wanted to play chicken with me. I saw her swimming directly toward me in my half of the lane in the wrong direction. Unimpressed, I kept swimming forward waiting for her to pull one of her flashy little switchbacks. She kept swimming toward me.

I was thoroughly pissed off by now--not just at her, but that someone would ruin my peaceful Zen-like trance that I go into while swimming. I stopped swimming and stood up in the lane with my legs planted firmly and my hands on my hips.

(Oh! I must have been a mighty display of power in all my silicon-capped, goggled glory! Plus, I looked particularly bad-ass because I had some nasty track-mark-looking bruised areas all over the inside of my arms from getting some bloodwork done earlier in the week. All I needed was some fierce-looking biker tattoo and my image would have been complete.)

She ran directly into me, with her head smacking into my stomach and her arm smacking me on the shoulder. She looked up, pretending to be surprised and tugging on her tassels.

"Sorry, I didn't know you were there," she sputtered breathlessly.

(Yeah, right.)

"Do you know what 'circle swimming' means?" I asked, and then dramatically sashayed around her to finish my lap. (Okay, maybe it wasn't so dramatic. Everything is kind of in slow-motion in the water anyway.)

She left soon after, and the Australian lady and I swam companionably together for the next 40 minutes or so.


(Don't even get me started on the "Russian Gliders" that swarm around you like piranahs at 11am.)

September 25, 2006

Wood legs and bow legs and no legs at all...

Struggling with eternal questions:

Why am I here? Why are any of us here, really? And where are we going? How will we get there? And what if we don't like it once we get to wherever that is? Can we come back? Will there be anything to come back to?

Why am I typing this?

July 24, 2006

It's been there all along

You know, I have never been able to decide how I feel about getting married. I've always gone back and forth. I do know for sure that I never want to be one of those weepy women who sits around crying about wanting husbands and babies. But one day very recently my best friend played this song for me and I had to sit right down on the floor and cry. (I kind of startled her. Sorry, Cindy.) I think it's because it occurred to me that I want this:


Walking in the winds
A spot of springtime weather
A precessional of friends
Now strike the band to play
Walking in the winds
Do you take this man forever?
I don’t know about forever . . .
But I’ll take him everyday.

Walking in the winds
Been living just a half a life
Aloft but now descends
It’s the grounding of the self
Walking in the winds
Do you take this girl to be your wife?
Do I take this girl to be my wife?
No, but I take her for herself.

Walking in the winds
It can toss you quite a distance
So tie fingers onto hands
When you feel the grip is strained
Walking in the winds
Do you love this man in sickness?
Do I love this man in sickness?
Is there any day that’s sane?

Walking in the winds
Through the mud and through the mortar
Mold your house with just your hands
Warm the walls with company
Walking in the winds
For richer or for poorer?
For richer or for poorer?
Man, the whole world just turned free.

Walking in the winds
Might just stumble onto treasure
Through every curve and bend
There’s a cave to stop and look
Walking in the winds
Plan your dreams together
You best plan your dreams together
‘Fore they’re running underfoot.

Walking in the winds
Don’t let the daylight linger
You can claim the trip begins
Break the glass and sing the song
Walking in the winds
The ring upon the finger
Slip the ring upon the finger
Man, it’s been there all along.

Walking in the winds
When all the lipstick stains have dried
Smeared prayers across your lips
Yeah, now go and kiss the bride
We can only bless the time
And hope for gentle weather
And that the will to grow together
Just grows stronger in the wind.

Copyright 2003. Words and music by Danny Schmidt

(You really write the most beautiful words, Danny.)

July 13, 2006

Blog-a-log-a-ding-dong: A Blog of Blogs to Post

So many blog postings to make, so little time. Until I can get to them all, here is a list of potential future postings in no particular order and with no regard to their advisability:

Places I Must See (or See Again) Before I Die—in which I say forget buying that huge book, it’s a waste of time. I have a shorter, better list including hotels in Bora Bora and Fiji; Roatan, Honduras; The Blue Grotto; Pompeii; Brussels during an approaching thunderstorm; etc.

The Most Boring Blog Ever—in which my lucky and few readers will experience, in real time, a dreary, dull, apathetic, lazy day with me. (I wonder if my anti virus software is going to expire soon?......I’ll have to check sometime.....Where in the hell do these pennies keep coming from? and what is sticky all over them?....Maybe I should take a nap...But that would require getting up and I don't feel like it right now.....What is that odor? Are the Russian neighbors cooking borscht again?)

The Approximate Size of My Favorite Pashmina--in which I provide great detail on pashmina color, texture, and reputable Ebay Sellers.

I Miss Taco Bell—in which I lament my now limited access to my former favorite restaurant and all its delicacies. I will also describe how I miss calling Kelli from the Taco Bell parking lot.

Why I Need a Scooter Gang, and How We Will Behave--Enough said, really.

I Was Not Afraid to Swim There—this will be a short posting, because there’ve only been two locations (Honduras and the Caymen Islands). Bonus: I will also describe my images of critters staring at me from the depths with pitiless, black, gleaming eyes in the places I was afraid to swim.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies, Period--in which I describe in excruciating detail how you, too, can create them from start to finish.

Not the Dancing Outlaw Again—in which I lament the number of times The Dancing Outlaw (Jesse/Jesco/Elvis) has been brought up in conversation, appeared on tv and/or with bands, and the number of people who seem to know he’s from WV. Please, dude, get out of my head.

I’m Not That Kind of Psychologist--I cannot give you free therapy. I cannot give you therapy, period. I cannot give you anything else for free, either.

Great Parrots I Have Known--in which I post pictures, videos, and descriptions of the wonderful parrots I have encountered.

I’ll Bring the Kippers—in honor of Anthony’s picture-taking suggestion involving go-go boots.

My Very Own “Best-of-Craigslist”—including but not limited to:
“Naked Hot Tub Party Neighbors”
“Subway: A ‘Sandwich Artist’s’ Response”
“Keep your big smokey away from me”

There are so many more where these came from.

July 10, 2006

Visions of a Fiery Death

Today is kind of sucking. I haven’t slept the last couple of nights and it’s caught up with me today. I’m grumpy and sluggish and bleary-eyed. The coffee I stopped to get on the way to work is helping. (Yeah, yeah, yeah: Starbuck’s is the devil…etc etc.)

There is also something strange happening to one of my toenails that I’ve never seen in my life. How wretched. I find myself retracing my steps, literally. Is this the result of a recent pedicure? Of the public pool? Of the showers and locker room at my gym? Of my passion for wearing flip floppy shoes no matter what the weather on environmental circumstance? One can only guess. I did put a quick polish disguise on them under my desk at work so they can dry while I write and I don’t repulse too many people.

Things are looking up, though.

I am in charge of planning two events for a particular group of friends. One is a kayaking trip on the San Francisco bay and the other is our next camping trip. As far as the camping, I have two favorite options (that are a reasonable distance away) but am most excited about Russian Gulch—a churning sea cave, waterfall, and skin diving? Awesome. I feel sort of awkward making plans for us to drive more than a couple of hours since I’m not one of the car owners around here. My friend Long is working on getting his VW bus fixed so we can take that. All we need are some flowers painted on the outside, a bong, and a mattress in the back and we’ll fit right in around here. (We would substitute the flowers and mattress for some guns and Hawaiian shirts if we were in L.A....ala Hunter S. Thompson.)

I am also heading to the east coast for a rather whirlwind trip in just a couple of days. I’m feeling overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I’m trying to fit into a short period of time, but I plan to soak up every bit of fun possible. I think my west coast friends will be happy for me to shut up about my trip for awhile—at least for a couple of months until I buy my next plane ticket home. As per usual I’ll make sure at least two people are lined up to adopt my birds in case of a screaming, fiery airplane death on the way there. On that note, happy travels to me!

San Luis Reservoir

Russian Gulch State Park

July 7, 2006

The Little Triathlete That Could

I am not a little girl.

I am not an athletic girl.

I am not a graceful girl.

I am not a girl for setting small, (some would say) realistic goals.

I decided a couple of years ago that I was going to train for a marathon even though I hadn't run since I was a kid. But the memory of running stayed with me. I can remember just wanting to get places--my grandparents' house a block away, the swings, whatever--FAST. It seemed effortless and efficient. I can remember the 95 degree, 100% humidity of mid-Atlantic summers and the suffocating cloud of steam that seemed to surround me if I stopped running. It seemed better just to keep moving. Most of the time I ran barefoot with my hair completely wild and loose and flying behind me.

These beautiful memories were in my mind when I started my marathon training program, and then reality set in.

I must have been the crankiest runner EVER. I cursed most of the time I was doing it ("Why the FUCK did I think this was a good idea?" or "Screw you, bitch in the little short shorts. What the fuck are you smiling about?") 99 out of 100 times I had to force myself out the door. I had to make promises of margaritas, mexican food, extra sleep, new shoes, you name it. Once I even took my "Mr. T in my pocket" with me for moral support, other pedestrians' perceptions be damned. Every couple of blocks I would reward myself by pressing a different button: "Shut up, fool!" "Don't make me mad! Grrrr...." "Don't give me no back talk, sucka!" It helped. Kind of. At least it distracted me from my hostility toward other runners who looked happy to be doing what they were doing. (Fools.)

I was filled with anxiety about the way I looked running. Is that runner behind me looking at my ass fat? Did my huffing and puffing just set off that car alarm? Do I look like I'm about to DIE?

But there were some good moments, too.

There was the afternoon in the heat of early September when, after several weeks of working on it, I ran a mile for the first time on the trail at Byrd Park in Richmond, VA. I wanted to throw my arms around the next sweaty jogger with headphones that I passed. I was absolutely triumphant.

There was also the sound I heard for the first time as a runner at the start of my first race on a cold morning in early November on Broad St. It was the sound of thousands of footsteps pounding the pavement, moving together. And my own footsteps were part of it.

Sure, I was slow. I mean really slow. But I was doing something I never imagined I could do. It was so hard for me to believe that I was a runner that I was terrified of jeopardizing it. I was absolutely militant with myself. I was terrified of missing a run or not completing the distances exactly as prescribed in my training guide. Though I wore good shoes and stretched obediently before and after my runs, I developed an overuse injury in my knee and couldn't continue with my training for that particuar marathon.

I'm sorry to say that I let the discouragement overwhelm me. Despite my accomplishments and my progress, I stopped running for almost two years. In my mind I ran my one race over and over again. I felt miserable as I put the running clothes for a slimmer, trimmer me into a trunk in my bedroom.Fast forward to a new city and an approaching 30th birthday...

I'm back! I'm ready to go and can barely contain my impatience to make up for lost time. I've decided to join a triathalon club at my gym in January 2007 (which is, coincidentally, the month of the big 30). Until then, I'm working individually on the swimming, biking, and running. I'm lifting weights and just generally working on upping my "Let's kick some ass" mentality. I'm going to do it!

There are only two things making me nervous:

1) The thought of practicing my open water swims in the San Francisco Bay. A lot of ugly things have ended up in that bay, people. Wives heads and small children's bodies are among them.

2) The thought of putting my ass in a wetsuit. Fuck. (Shudders at the thought.)