October 28, 2008


My grandpa is dying quickly, and my heart is breaking. I will feel really alone when the last most important person in the world to me is gone.

October 19, 2008


I received an email early this morning that said, "I didn't feel anything special when we kissed. I felt like one of your birds. Except I can't compare myself to them, because you love them."

October 14, 2008

Best overheard conversation ever.

Sadly, it wasn't overheard by me!


Person A: Look, I’m telling you, they’re not bears. This should be the end of the conversation.

Person B: The Care Bear Cousins count as bears.

A: No, they don’t! Brave Heart Lion isn’t a bear! He’s a lion! You know why? Because he’s a fucking lion, that’s why! Brave Heart is a lion and Bright Heart is a raccoon and Fat Heart is an elephant. Now what do all of these things have in common? Oh, right, they’re not bears!

B: Look, they do the Care Bear Stare. They are honorary Care Bears. Maybe not by species, but -

A: Ah ha, but they don’t do the Care Bear Stare. They do a “call.” Only bears can Stare.

B: Cats stare.

A: We’re talking about cartoons, man. Don’t bring real life into it. Besides, I meant “Stare” with a capital S.

B: Need I remind you of the second Care Bears movie? The one where the fat motherly Care Bear and the unicorn - Super Heart or whatever - quite clearly took care of the baby Care Bears and Care Bear Cousins? It is obvious that the Care Bears and Care Bear Cousins are all sprung from the unholy union of bear and unicorn.

A: So you’re suggesting that the Care Bear Cousins are the result of interspecies breeding?

B: That’s why they’re all plushy.

A: That’s horrible.

B: Well, when you get right down to it, the idea of magical bears embodying emotions isn’t great either. Where are the evil Care Bears?

A: There’s Grumpy Bear.

B: Grumpy Bear is good-natured down deep. I mean an actual evil Care Bear. Nastiness Bear, Anger Bear, Hatred Bear, Racism Bear. That sort of thing.

A: Bad Heart Mongoose? Greedy Heart Ostrich? Brutal Heart Hippopatamus?

B: Wow, evil Care Bear Cousin names sound like the titles of David Lynch films.

Here's the original link.

October 10, 2008

"You're so fine, and you're mine."

I'm so over these Blue Angels and the constant sounds like the city is under attack today.

I got my teeth cleaned this morning, and I LOVE going to the dentist. My dentist, Jeremy Velasco, is a sweetie. Today he looked at my chart, looked at me, and said, "So, you're going to be 32 in a couple of months, huh?"

"It's nice of you to point that out," I told him. He laughed and said he was going to be 40 soon and that I had nothing to complain about.

While he and the hygienist were preparing "the Jet" (this awesome sandblasting tooth carwash that makes my teeth whiter than white), I sat back in the chair and listened to the music that was being piped into the office. It was "Like a Virgin," and I bounced my foot along with the music. Jeremy was writing something on my chart, the hygienist was lining up the necessary equipment on the little stainless steel tray, and suddenly we all burst into song together at the chorus: "Like a virgin, woo! Touched for the very first time..." Then we all looked at each other and laughed. It made me so happy.

Then I stopped at the bank and while waiting in line, "Another One Bites the Dust" was playing somewhat loudly. I found myself rocking back and forth and swishing my check for deposit around in time to the music. I halfway turned to find that the guy in line behind me was passionately (and silently) lip-synching the words and jutting out his chin to phat, infectious beats. We giggled at each other.

"And another one down, and another one down, and another one bites the dust-AH!"

October 9, 2008

Being without clothing or covering

The lovely Nannette and I had the most beautiful Sunday in the world this past weekend.

It was a beautiful day in San Francisco and we started out with a walk at Lake Merced which, apart from the rather jarring skeet shooting, was lovely. We had a leisurely lunch and then made our way to the Kabuki Springs and Spa. I'd never been here before and wasn't quite sure what to expect in terms of how I'd feel about the nudity part.

Though we were going on a 'women only' day, I still considered taking my bathing suit as a sort of safety net in case I chickened out. I ended up electing to leave it at home and was pretty proud of myself for such bravery.

The spa was lovely and relaxing. You bathe before you go in, and they provided lovely cucumber-scented shampoo and body wash. We did the dry sauna, wet sauna, salt scrub, and both the hot and cold pools. Plus, we spent a lot of time just hanging out on a bench and sipping tea.

I felt more comfortable than I thought I would, but I couldn't stop being aware of being naked. I just couldn't...I don't know...FORGET. It's a strange feeling to walk into a room of naked people. Going through my mind was something along the lines of:

Naked. I'm naked. I'm definitely naked. She's naked. She's naked, too. And so is that lady and that one. Holy crap, I'm naked with a bunch of strangers! Naked, naked, naked. I'm now laying down. Naked. Now I'm getting some more tea. Naked. I think I'll lay across this bench. Naked. In my birthday suit. Nude. Nekkid. Let's see...what are some other words for naked...?

That was pretty much playing on a loop through my head the whole time.

I also became startlingly aware of just how much I stare at people. It's not exactly a secret that I love to watch people. I observe them and make up stories about them and ponder what they're doing or thinking. But staring at others takes on a whole new meaning when one or both of you is NAKED. I'd forget myself for awhile and sit back and watch everyone, and then I'd feel suddenly creepy and self-consciously avert my eyes. Even opening the door for someone or smiling politely when passing them took on a whole new meaning. Naked.

My favorite part of the whole experience was probably the gong. It was on-hand in case people were ruining the serenity of the experience by talking too loudly. The bathers were gonged a couple of times while we were there, and I decided that if I worked there I'd gong people every day.

We were incredibly relaxed afterward and lingered over some Mediterranean snacks, wine, and a hookah--my first one ever.

October 7, 2008

Email goggles

Google has recently released a sort of designated driver for your email. On Friday and Saturday nights, when they deem you more likely to be, um, cognitively impaired, Gmail asks you to complete some math problems prior to sending out emails. I'm terrible at math problems in my head, but I could totally do these while drunk.

It's a good thing I've never needed this, though. I've definitely never needed it on a Monday night.

I want this speech at my own wedding...

This man makes me laugh so hard. I've never laid eyes on him, but I swear to God I'd marry him tomorrow. Blindfolded. And drunk.

October 5, 2008


When I was a kid, I was quite the prayer. Every night I dutifully said prayers that began with the well-known, “As I lay me down to sleep…” and ended with a list of every single person that I loved and a request that an eye be kept on them. I used to get confused, though. I was never quite sure to whom I was actually supposed to be praying: God? Jesus? I mean, I knew that one was the dad and one was the kid. I just didn’t know which one was directly involved in my affairs and which one was only loosely affiliated with the job. I used them interchangeably to cover my bases. Going along with my interest in prayer was my desire to find out about and figure out how to get to heaven.

One of my stepfathers was an avid fisherman, and I used to have to go with him all day, every day in the summer when I was 6 and 7 years old. I hated him, and I was convinced that everything he did pretty much guaranteed he was going to hell. I hated fishing. I hated having to be quiet and speak in whispers all day. I hated seeing him put worms on the hook and watching them wriggle frantically. I hated watching the fish die; I always cried. So I tried to find other ways to amuse myself and to remove myself from the hell-bound, worm- and fish-killing stepfather. I wanted to show God/Jesus that I wanted no part of this.

I was really interested in talking to people about what they thought of death and heaven and hell. I used to make my way around the lake or along the river to talk to all the fishermen who were old men. (I loved my grandpas dearly, you see, and in my mind all old men were somebody’s kind and sweet grandpa.) I would ask them if they were afraid to die and what they thought was going to happen to them when they died. Some of them were nice and would talk to me, while others just wanted the pesky, noisy little girl to go away. I kept this up until one old man tried to put me in the trunk of his car, telling me how good he was going to make me feel. Then I ran like hell, knowing he was going to hell. After that I contented myself with playing with my stepfather’s night crawlers.

If he was going to eventually kill them, I wanted to at least make sure they had an interesting life first before they went to worm heaven. It seemed like the Christian thing to do. I would make these worm families with names and personalities for each one. There would be Henry, the father worm, who came home and drank at night and took out his frustrations and insecurities on his family. There was Katherine, the mother worm, who would sit by the window looking out at the rain and clipping coupons—saving her pennies for the day that she could leave. There was Claire, the teenage daughter worm, who was sullen and quiet and who shut herself in her room and wrote dark poetry and song lyrics and waited for the day when she would be out of the house. Their blissful reverie ended, of course, when one of the family members was cruelly snatched out of my hand and impaled upon a hook.

In addition to my prayers and constant thinking about heaven and hell (and whether my doomed worm family was going there), I wanted to work on paving my own way to the great cloud playground in the sky. One way that I saw to do this was by being well-mannered and polite—like saying “excuse me” if I burped or “bless you” when someone sneezed. Except I didn’t trust myself to always remember to say these things. I was afraid I might suddenly forget or be distracted and miss the opportunity. The only way to ease my anxiety about all of this was to sit for long periods of time, usually rocking myself, and say enough of these polite phrases to last me a lifetime. Just in case I forgot to bless someone when I was 15, 29, 45, or 82, I wanted to have enough of them said out loud and built up that they would serve as an insurance policy against later rudeness or forgetfulness.

I’d sit Indian-style, rocking from side to side, saying, “Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me, excuse me….” over and over. I would work on excuse me until I was tired of saying it, and then I’d switch to a long list of bless you’s. I’d work my way through every polite word or phrase I could think of:

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry…”

“Pardon me, pardon me, pardon me, pardon me…”

“Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you…”

“Please, please, please, please…”

I’d spend an afternoon doing this every so often, convinced that I was building up a good supply and that Jesus/God would see the earnestness of my efforts and—even if I occasionally forgot to say these things in the future—would let me into heaven.

One thing that I knew was a big no-no was suicide. Killing yourself was the quickest way to get to hell. Unfortunately, I was very curious about it. Thoughts would creep into my mind like, would it hurt? Would I chicken out? Would I go to hell immediately or would I hang around and rattle chains for awhile? I felt incredibly guilty when I had these thoughts. If suicide was the ultimate sin, then surely thinking about suicide was something to be avoided at all costs also. I made a conscious exception once, though.

There was a small house that my school bus passed every morning on the way to Simpson Elementary. It was a modest little one-story house at the intersection of Johnson Ave. and Philadelphia Ave. Every Christmas they covered their house and filled their yard with Christmas decorations in outlandish contrast to the neighbors next door. I looked forward to seeing this house every morning around the holidays, because its colorful cheeriness stood out against gray, slushy winter mornings and the drudgery of going to school.

I made up my mind that I wanted to write the people who lived in that house a letter telling them how much I liked their Christmas decorations. I worried that they wouldn’t take a letter from a little kid seriously, so I tried to figure how to make them REALLY understand how much I liked their decorations. I decided to pretend to be an adult and write the letter, except this didn’t seem to have enough gravitas, either. Eventually my mind hit upon the perfect solution—I would tell the family in the letter that I had been just about to kill myself when I saw their Christmas decorations and changed my mind. I realized I was risking my own salvation by doing so, but it seemed that making them feel so good would be worth it in the long run. God/Jesus wasn’t an idiot and would realize that, wouldn’t he?

I decided to tell this family in my letter that they reminded me there were still good and beautiful things in the world and their Christmas decorations had saved my life. This, I felt, THIS was the way to make them understand!

I never sent that letter.

October 3, 2008

The tenth month

October has been my favorite month for a long time. It makes me crave the east coast though, and the colors of the trees, the smell of wood smoke, and the crackling of leaves underfoot. When I was leaving work on Wednesday, I heard a drum-line practicing in the distance and I was filled with intense nostalgia for fall the way I grew up with it.

October is still my favorite month, but as an adult it has become inextricably associated with people I’ve loved (a very short list). This weekend, in particular, makes me think of how filled with anticipation and excitement I was a year ago on this day. What a wonderful feeling. And in a couple of more weekends, my mind will drift to other memories.

For the first time in quite some time, I have no plans this weekend. It is just fine with me.

It is supposed to rain, and I hope that it does.

I am making a stew, and the scent of it is filling the house.

I am writing on my bedroom wall because I was running out of places to put my words. I want to see stories and poems and quotes and lyrics—words, just words--all around me. This endeavor is infinitely more satisfying than the covert wall scribblings with magic marker from my youth.

Today I learned to give myself injections, and it was easy. All my worries and fears and hesitations…gone.

Tonight I’ll drink a glass of wine and sit outside.

Thanks to Bob, soon my feet will be documented in the Berkeley Folklore Archives.

That is about all.