January 30, 2008

"On par with a night of heavy drinking."

"Nothing you'll miss."



I don't own a dog and I don't have any friends nearby who do, but I suddenly want to start buying Pedigree. The look in Echo's little doggy eyes when he gets passed over...my heart cannot take stuff like this.

Yes, yes. I know this is how they want me to react. It worked, okay?

January 29, 2008

Classic MUNI

This morning I somehow discovered I managed to let my iPod completely die, so I had to ride the bus downtown without my tunes to filter out the world.

I'm so glad. There were all kinds of things going down on the 38 today.

It started with an elderly man with a cane that got on at 25th Ave. He sat in the seat immediately behind me and started muttering and singing to himself in Russian. Soon he began saying to himself very softly something that sounded like, "Sweet. Sweet wheat."

I turned my head to the side so that I could better discern what he was saying, and he started saying it louder. Then he got up and hobbled over to the seat across the aisle from me. He perched on the edge of his seat and stared straight at me. I met his eyes and he stared back, murmuring to himself. Then he slowly looked me up and down, all the time repeating "Sweet. Sweet wheat."

Does "sweet wheat" mean something in Russian that I'm unaware of? Like "dirty whore"?

Anyway, he got off at Arguello and turned on the sidewalk and looked back at me, his lips still moving.

There were two men sitting together in the back of the bus. From what I could tell, it appeared that one was some type of care-giver and was escorting the other one (who was older and much more disheveled-looking) somewhere--maybe to some type of appointment. The escortee talked the whole time, and a large portion of what he wanted to talk about seemed to be Michael Jackson.

"Do you think that Michael Jackson really had sex with all those boys?"

"I had a book by Michael Jackson called Michael Jackson Was My Lover. Michael Jackson found out about it and bought up all the copies, so it's no longer on the market. But I had a copy and it was disgusting."

"Do you know that Michael Jackson bought up all the Beatles' songs?"

Most of the time I couldn't hear his companion's responses, but at one point I did hear him ask, "Why are you telling me these things?" The man replied, "I'm just making conversation." They got off together at Van Ness.

There was also what I believe was a Tibetan monk sitting a couple of seats in front of me. He'd gotten on at Park Presidio, and sat serenely in his seat. At one point a man came up to him, knelt on the floor, and bowed to him. They proceeded to begin a quiet conversation during which the man would periodically bow. At Powell, they got off the bus together.

Thank God I didn't miss these things.

Like nails in my feet

In the yard, dewy and shivering
with crickets, we lie naked,
face-up, face-down

I had horrible dreams. I was not alone, because when I woke up I had a message from my sister telling me she'd just woken from nightmares, too.

My dream was one of those where you know the person in the dream, but it's not actually someone you know or recognize in real life. (I always find those so strange.) But in this dream I loved this person very much, and he was trying to kill himself. I was trying desperately to stop him, but every time I turned around he would try again.

I knew it was only a matter of time. I begged him not to go. I couldn't take away the haunted look in his eyes.

At one point we were on top of a building. I caught him climbing up a wall so he could stand on top and jump off. I grabbed his legs and pulled with all of my strength, hoping to god that the weight of me would keep his feet on earth. He pulled and pulled against me. I knew that I would either stop him or go over, too, but there was no way I was letting go.

Some things never leave a person:
scent of the hair of one you love,
the texture of persimmons,
in your palm, the ripe weight.

Addendum: For what it's worth, I believe I was both people in the dream. But most especially, I was the person not giving up.

January 28, 2008

Favors for friends (follow-up)

Waaayyy back in September I wrote of a friend who asked me to keep custody of her vibrator for her while her mom stayed for an extended visit. Well, this week her mom went home and, as of this evening, the vibrator that has been in the top of my closet for all these months is back with its rightful owner. I even gave her some new batteries as a gift in honor of the long-awaited reunion.

We were having dinner, and she took a sip of her drink thoughtfully and said, "My mom's coming back in March."

I said, "Does that mean it's coming to stay with me again?"

She shook her head and said, "No, I think I'll keep it at my house this time. If she finds it...so what?" I told her I thought she was making progress.

Anyway, she was really in a hurry to get home. I'm not sure why.

My potholders are out of control.

I've noticed a strange habit in recent months when I'm cooking. I keep leaving my potholders in random locations that surprise me later on. This happens because I'm highly distractable and often get side-tracked while I am cooking. I might check on something in the oven, run to answer the phone or door or check my email or whatever, and then deposit the potholder in my hand wherever I happen to be. I only have two of them (and they're both eggplant purple), but I'll find them on my bookshelves, on the bathroom sink, in the office on the desk. Once I was turning over in bed at night and encountered something strange under the covers. I felt around in the dark only to discover a potholder in bed with me.

Random quote that I appreciated for the day:

Tina Fey said that the word 'lovers' "really bums me out unless it's between the words 'meat' and 'pizza.'"

January 27, 2008

An impasse

I was just taking a survey--fairly mindlessly answering questions--when I came to one that seemed ridiculously hard to me. The questions was:

If you could only have one and not the other, which would you choose?

- To love someone
- To be loved by someone

I had to sit and think about this for a moment. I mean, they're both their own special brand of torture. On one hand, I thought to myself, loving someone could be considered a rather selfless act. It also means that you are capable of loving someone and that you find someone out there that you perceive to be extraordinary enough to love. On the other hand, being loved by someone is a wonderful thing and means that someone found you a deserving recipient of their love. I ended up choosing "to be loved by someone" because, though still potentially painful, I find it to be much less heart-breaking in the long run.

But then I had to choose how I would want a potential partner to answer the same question. That seemed even worse. That made me reconsider everything. Is loving someone actually a selfless act? Couldn't it also be viewed as a supreme act of selfishness? And what about the kind of person who would pick 'to be loved by someone.' Is that because it's the easier, more comfortable route? Would I want someone that would pick that? And what does it say about me that I picked that?

Shit. I think I'm going back to bed.

January 25, 2008

Huck and Chuck

Maybe GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee did compare homosexuality to beastiality. Perhaps he did suggest we change the constitution so that it more closely matched the Bible. But Chuck Norris endorses him--er, that is, he tells America how it's going to be:

January 19, 2008

Pre- 31

Last year I posted a thoughtful birthday blog. I suppose this was fitting for the 30th birthday. But 31 is not such a big affair, so I'm freewheelin' a bit more this year.

There are a couple of things that have always happened on my birthday. One was that my grandmother always called and sang "Happy Birthday" to me over the phone. (I'm really going to miss that this year.) The other is that, at some point, my mom calls me and--whether I like it or not--allows me to relive the glory of my birth with her.

This year is a little different because I'll be out of town and incommunicado. Tonight I was at home doing my normal freaking out before any big trip, except this one had a tropical theme ("Where the fuck is my passport!?" and "These are the ugliest bathing suits ever made and Nannette better not judge them," and "I know I have a blue sarong and red flip flops around here somewhere..."). I was also treating myself to my favorite "white trash dinner." [This would be Kraft macaroni and cheese, baked beans, and canned peaches and I'll thank you not to laugh.]

My mom called during all of this excitement and, when I told her what I was eating, said, "I had a 50 cent turkey pot-pie for dinner!" Then she proceeded to tell me about an arm wrestling contest she had just been in where she defeated a beast of a man not once but TWICE. Apparently this man's masculinity was so denigrated that he proceeded to get up from the table without speaking and leave the American Legion in shame. She was very proud of herself and I congratulated her on her guns. I didn't know what else to do.

It was like being home again!

She called again later in the night after closing time at the Legion. As she was getting into her car in the parking lot we started to take our trip down memory lane to the day that I emerged from her loins, but we were interrupted. She was in the middle of fighting with her quasi-boyfriend. He stumbled toward her car yelling because she'd made him return her house keys, and she shouted, "I'm trying to talk to my baby girl!" He paused to say, "Tell her I said hi!" She passed along this information to me: "Junior says hi," [his name really is Junior], and they continued arguing.

Once she got away from all that and was driving home, we had my annual birthday conversation a few days early. She recounted how she went into labor with me during "The Blizzard of '77" and all of the trials and tribulations that went along with it, namely: my grandpa driving her to the hospital on top of a shower curtain so she wouldn't mess up his red crushed-velvet seats, his desperate phone call to the fire department in the middle of the night asking, "Can't you do anything about the roads? I've got a granddaughter coming!" and my mom's amazement that her best friend and my father showed up at the hospital in the same car ("Of course, I didn't know he was fucking her until later!").

It was a good talk.

Anyway, I'm leaving in a couple of hours and I'm going to try and catch a nap first. With any luck I'll finish packing before the Super Shuttle comes; luck is definitely needed, so please wish me it.

January 17, 2008

This is a picture of the princess singing because she is lost.

It’s probably not news to many that I love Found magazine. I love finding stuff, too.

Today as I was walking down Geary Blvd. I found a small stack of children’s drawings laying on the sidewalk up against someone’s garage door. I stooped to pick them up and examine them. It appears that on Oct. 17 these kids were asked to illustrate scenes from The Magic Flute. They are so sweet. Of course I kept them.

“The princess is meeting the prince for the very first time. They fell in love and are excited they met each other.”

Found drawings--The prince and princess

(How lovely—the prince appreciates princesses with curves!)

“The prince fights the dragon.”

Found drawings--Prince vs dragon

(Baby dragon?)

“The dragon is fighting the prince.”

Found drawings--The dragon fights the prince

(A much bigger dragon. And this dragon looks about like the dragon I would draw if faced with the same task.)

“This is a picture of the princess singing because she is lost.”

Found drawings--Singing because she is lost

It seems worth mentioning that, when interpreting the progression of the story, this is the order of pictures that my brain understood. That is, the prince and princess meet, everything goes to shit, and she ends up wandering through the woods lost. I suppose the reverse is most likely the one that was originally intended. Oh well.

What else is in the teaches of Peaches?

Aside from "Fuck the pain away"? I think that's all I got from that lesson...

In completely other news, this may be the greatest thing in the history of mankind:

Church Sign Generator


January 14, 2008

My needs today are simple.

I'd really like to have a sugar bowl. Or a teapot.

January 12, 2008

Fuck it. I'm putting it here.

(These things that we understand.)

I went to a birthday party last night for a dear friend. I really needed last night.

The truth is, I've been mentally stuck for the last couple of months. Stuck in a bad, bad way. I churned my way through anxiety, confusion, doubt, fear, disappointment, grief, and apathy...that horrible apathy. Long story short: I wasn't getting any better--only worse, in fact--so I elected to go back on antidepressants. It remains to be seen how this will go, but for now all I feel is relief. Relief and exhaustion.

It's funny how you don't realize how far away you were until you're making your way back.

I'd only confided this recent turn of events to a couple of people, but last night more than one person came up to me at the party and said, "Wow. You really seem like yourself again. I was kind of wondering there for awhile..." I was both pleased and embarrassed by these comments. Embarrassed because you think you mask things well, and it's a little mortifying to realize that you were spotted huddled in a dark corner, rocking yourself in fear behind your smile.

Something else interesting from last night: I took a ride on the back of my friend's scooter. I was a little nervous beforehand, because it's strange to put yourself so completely in someone else's hands. She gave me a little tutorial about balance and leaning. She said, "If you start to lose your balance, squeeze me with your knees. And when we're going up a hill, lean forward into me." So that's how we rode: exhilarated by the cold, leaning and moving together into the turns and up the hills.

January 11, 2008


I am starting to worry that I am doomed to exist in the hours when everyone else is asleep. Seriously, how do you people do this...this SLEEP thing?

January 10, 2008

Just searching for the right occasion

I just heard the meanest and most hilarious insult ever: "Your hair smells like the carpet of the hallway of a building where old Russian people live."

January 9, 2008

The sweetest update

My mail-slot was a source of surprises today. First was a Food & Wine magazine that doesn't belong to me; second was a paper towel that looked like someone had wiped a spaghetti-covered mouth on it (had my mail lady just had lunch?); third was a card from Eugene.

This is the same Eugene I wrote about in my blog a few days before Christmas--the man who was my grandmother's boyfriend for so many years, and the one to whom I sent the Christmas card.

It's so sweet, and want to share it! He sent a "Happy New Year" card, a picture of him with my grandmother in 2004, and a three page letter. Here is what the letter said in it's original form (mistakes and all, and with a couple of footnotes I added to aid your understanding):

Dear Amie,

i was so Pleased to receive your card and the note

Your grandmother and i met on a bus trip in 1994

The ensuing years we became close close friend.

I've had some thoughts wondering about how i would be remembered by her family

I received a card from Chriss*, signed love from Juanita's family--Chris and the Boys. I'm pleased to now I've not been forgotten. i need to do a better job of keeping in touch. I have talked to Jim** a few times.

Have you always went by Ashcraft?*** Or has someone put a ring on your left hand?

Your grandmother sent me so many cards. Many flattered me. I have saved the most of them. Will i get them read again--maybe some.

i have a note that i wrote****--says Amie 2005 moving to Calif--has Drs. degree--philosophy--think she's going to teach.

Maybe sometime you will write me about your California Venture.

i don't remember your features, perhaps you will send a picture.

I'm sending my address and phone number.

i think i have Chris's ph number. Have to write her or call.

I also received a card from Willa Jean*****. Your grandmother and W.J. were such good friends. Was pleased to know she was with her at her passing. I had been to the V.A. the P.M. before her passing and stopped at the home.

i don't know if she knew i was there.

Once again thank you for the kind words, about Grandmother and i


I remember her saying she insisted on being caled Grandmother.

You may not choose to write or call that will be okay.

My footnotes:

*Chris - my aunt, my grandmother's daughter

**Jim - my uncle, one of my grandmother's sons

***Ashcraft - my last name is different from my father's (and the rest of that side of the family's last name), and this is puzzling to him. I know he was in the dark on this topic partly because my grandmother was still so scandalized that my mother and father never got married that she refused to tell him that information.

****I have a note that I wrote - Eugene and my grandmother used to take notes on what the other person told them, especially when it came to details involving family and friends, so they could remember what had been discussed. The note that he refers to is apparently one that he wrote during a discussion where he learned I was moving to CA.

*****Willa Jean - my grandmother's best friend

And just because they are so sweet, I'm including these, too. Note how he signed the card:

Eugene card

Here is the picture he included with his caption below:

Eugene and Grandmother--2004

Mar 4-04 E.E. and Juanita
waiting room at Ruby
I had beard then

This made my day. It appears I have a new pen pal. I love old-fashioned letters.

January 5, 2008

A surprising discovery

I recently got a new cell phone and, after much harassment from a couple of friends who are avid texters (is that a word?), had text messaging enabled on it.

I'd never been a fan of texting before, but I admit that on New Year's Eve I was a little drunk on this new ability. At least 60 texts were exchanged that night--largely while I waited an hour for the 38 Geary--with friends all over the country. It was fun.

I'm a little over it now, but I still participate. It doesn't help that I'm extraordinarily slow at texting. This is mostly due to the fact that I steadfastly refuse to send texts that say stuff like, "Where R U?" I type it all out, because typing in such a short-handed fashion makes me feel like some kind of caveman banging rocks together.

Anyway, a good friend of mine loves to send me random texts when he's out drinking. He'll say things like, "There's a lot me [sic] pretty men here, I'm fearing for my virginity." or "The cure for a lonely heart is only 2 tall beers and a cigarette away." He likes to tell me whenever he's somewhere that's playing my song ("Amie" by Pure Prairie League--what!? You don't know it? Get on that!) Last night he said, "The southern cross is angry." I got this one as I was in the process of transitioning from one location to another and didn't have time to respond. But when I got home and looked up "southern cross" to try and figure out what in the holy hell he was talking about, I found that it refers to a constellation, Crux.

The southern cross

This is the disturbing part: I can't see the southern cross. Apparently, if you're in the northern hemisphere you have to be south of 30 degrees latitudes to see it. (This makes sense for him because he lives in FL.)

world map with lat and long

Now, I know that you can't see all the constellations at all times of the year, but it honestly never occurred to me that, no matter what time of year it is, your geographic location only allows you to see a fixed range of the sky. How did this not occur to me? I'm sort of upset.

Of course, this is quite likely not what he meant at all.

January 3, 2008

Oh, the places you'll go...

It seems that this is the third calendar year that I’ll keep this online journal of sorts. I will confess to having difficulty in writing in it lately because of a perceived need to censor my words and, truthfully, I’m still working on that. Even my usual cryptic tricks don’t seem sufficient at the moment.

Being a new year and all, I feel I should comment on resolutions and goals and all that. But I actually stopped making resolutions a couple years ago, and I’m still quite happy with that decision. I stopped because I felt like setting these goals for myself once a year—no matter what area of my life they were in—was just not often enough. I prefer to try to harness that hopefulness and carry it with me year-round. I want to be constantly setting, striving for, revising, and evaluating my goals.

I want to always be a work in progress.

One thing that makes me happy going into 2008 is that I’m getting something I’ve really wanted for a long time. Some of you may know how much I lament how disappointing birthdays are as an adult. Some of you also know how much I’ve fantasized about taking a trip for my birthday—particularly a tropical trip—and have even received emails in the past from me begging you to go to Puerto Rico or Aruba or Fiji with me (depending on which coast I was living on when I sent the message that year).

Well, this year it’s happening.

I’m pleased to report that I’ve lit a serious fire under Nannette’s already-desiring-travel ass. We took a road trip recently and got our palettes wet. We had an adventure, we discovered that we travel really well together, we bonded even more, and we laughed a lot. Ever since that trip she’s sent me a couple of emails a week with airfare specials or hotel packages she’s come across while dreaming of traveling at work. First we were seriously considering Hawaii, but couldn’t quite get the price we wanted. Then we were thinking Costa Rica. Last week she sent an email with “Munich?” in the subject line.

This is what I like: thinking big. Giant, bold brush-strokes all over this canvas. I don’t give a fuck if it’s still dripping wet—I’m putting it up on my wall.

What I really love is that it has generally always been me begging people to go places or suggesting trips or weekend getaways. It’s wonderful to be on the opposite end. And you know what I said to every suggestion? “Yes.” Munich in winter at 25 degrees? Sure! Hot springs in Reykjavik? Of course! The Dominican Republic? Hell, yes!

I’ll go anywhere. Seriously. And I’ll have a fan-fucking-tastic time.

"...or did they die in a dry hump fire..."

"...years before we were born?"