December 31, 2008

When in the throes

I've resisted being completely open in this blog of late, mostly as a result of feeling a little inhibited by certain readership. I don't want you to:

- judge me
- use my honest words as evidence that I was, am, and always will be a fucking nutjob
- categorize me as some sort of ridiculous emo girl

I started fantasizing about starting another blog--one in which no one knew who I was. Then I thought, "Fuck that! I should write whatever I feel, other people's perceptions be damned!"

I recently lost a handwritten journal that I was keeping. God only knows where it ended up. Although I don't believe there was any identifying information in it, I found myself cringing when I thought of strangers reading the words I so earnestly and privately wrote. Then I thought, "Fuck that, too! If the things I wrote are shocking or disturbing to someone then they need to stop living such a one-dimensional life!"

Then I thought, "I spend a lot of time shouting at myself and at and about hypothetical others. Perhaps I should stop this."

Onward to the real point of this ranting madness...

Unfortunately, I acted very stupidly in the last few days. I know perfectly well that when you stop taking psychotropic medication that you have to taper off of it gradually. I've been very responsible about this in the past, but this time I wasn't. I just stopped, and I really suffered for it.

To be honest, I always kind of laughed when I heard commercials for antidepressants that said, "Stopping this medication abruptly can lead to adverse effects, including thoughts of suicide. If you experience this, call your doctor immediately." It wasn't that I doubted that this side effect was true, it's just that it seemed ridiculous and unrealistic to be self-aware enough during a severe depressive state to think, "Oh! Thoughts of killing myself just popped into my head. I need to jump on that. The proactive worm avoids jumping off the bridge!" My laughter was sardonic because those two states of mind just don't go together, in my experience.

They were definitely right about that side effect and, for better or worse, I was right about the fundamental incompatibility of those two mental spaces. But even if I weren't, what would one say?

"I'm wondering if going to that edge, literally and figuratively, would be enough to scare me into normalcy? Or would it be just that last push over?"

How can you succinctly and sufficiently describe the wide-eyed mute terror that leaves you grasping for something, anything, anyone? It all seems so real and overwhelming when curled up in a ball in the dark. Trying to describe it in the harsh light of day to a loving friend makes me feel ridiculous.

December 29, 2008

Bits of recent conversations

C (age 15): You mean you want to have sex?

A: Sure. Of course.

C: Ewwww.

A: Why is that "ewww"!?

C: Because you're old. You're too old.

A: How old is too old? What's the cut-off?

C: How old are you again?

A: I'm not telling. How old is too old?

C: 30 is the cut-off. And you're 31. You're practically ancient.

* * * * *

A: How long did it take you to get over a broken heart?

J (co-worker): A long time. 2-3 years.

A: Oh, my God. It's already been forever, I don't think I can take it anymore.

J: Well, that makes sense. It's really traumatic. You became so intertwined with another person that, when they were gone, there was this hole left. You remember the person you were before them. You remember the person you were with them. You remember the plans that you made, the memories you created. And you have to make all new ones after they're gone.

* * * * *

M: I don't know what it is about you, but I can't stop thinking about you. Are you sure we haven't met before? Because I really feel like I've known you for a long time.

A: No. We've never met before. I'm pretty sure.

M: Let's have dinner tomorrow. Or a drink. Or an ice cream cone. Or whatever you want. I just want to hang out.

I swear to God...

...if you just asked one more time...

December 26, 2008


Sometimes life is so surreal.

I have marveled on numerous occasions about the people whom MySpace and Facebook have brought into or back into my life. Just a couple days before Christmas, I was reconnected with a young lady for whom I used to babysit (C.) and her mother. I lived with them my senior year in college. It was a great deal for a poor student--free room in exchange for a certain number of child-care hours.

I was pleased to see what a beautiful young woman C. has become in the last 10 years was stunned to hear that they were just about to come to San Francisco for a stretch between Christmas and the new year. C's mother gave me C's cell number so that we could get in touch about when we could all get together while they are here.

I've been rushing around trying to straighten up my house for their visit, and tonight I got a text message from C. We sat here and texted about our lives and challenges for about an hour and a half. It was so strange. I mean, I used to take her to preschool and give her baths and we used to make up stories together! And here we are having an adult conversation! What a lovely surprise.

Testing (Part II)

Ballerina wannabe

"You know what? When I grow up I actually do want to be a junkie."

Great grandpa with phone

"Can't we just forget this restraining order nonsense?"


"It's my party and I'll go commando if I want to."


1. I recently fell in love with two songs and now I have to hear them over and over. And over.

Antony and the Johnsons - "Fistful of Love"

Bon Iver - "Skinny Love"

2. I want to go to Prague. I can't find the name of the cafe that lets you throw stale rolls.

3. I had the coziest Christmas with Nannette and Scott. I felt warm and loved and mentally stimulated. Prosecco, peach and blackberry cobbler, blankets, and decorating boxes. What could be better?

4. I didn't expect the box I decorated to become so personal. I was hoping to give it as a gift or maybe to sell it, and now I don't know if I can. My favorite parts say "It happened" and "At that moment, no one else compared." Other people's words that I made my own.

5. Tonight I am going through boxes of things, trying to clear out space in my office. Going through the strata of old letters from people I've loved, old pictures of myself, and the jottings I've made on scraps of paper over the years is painful and bittersweet. I'm trying clear space for the new.

December 23, 2008

I want it to be retroactive. Can it be retroactive? Please let it be retroactive.

Well I'd like to spread your perfume around the old apartment
Could we live together and agree on the same wares?
A trapeze is a bird cage even if it's empty and definitely fits the room
And we would, toooo...

And my dear, dear, dear Khalana
I talk too much about you
Their ears are getting tired of me singing all the night through
Let's just talk together
You and me and me and you
And if there's nothing much to say
Well, silence is a bore

I've gotta big, big, big, big heartbeat, yeah
I think you are the sweetest thing
I wear a coat of feelings and they are loud
I've been having good days
Think we are the right age
To start out own peculiar ways
With good friendly homes?

Sometimes you're quiet, and sometimes I'm quiet (Hallelujah)
Sometimes I'm talkative, and sometimes you're not talkative, I know....
Sometimes you hear me when others they can't hear me. (Hallelujah!)
Sometimes I'm naked and, thank god, sometimes you're naked. (Well, hello.....)

Can I tell you that you are the purple in me?
Can I call you just to hear you? Would you care?
When I saw you put your purple finger on me
There's a feelin' in your bottle
Found your bottle, found your heart
Gives a feeling from your bottled little part.

December 22, 2008

Balls to the wall

Today I applied for research studies, interviews, and focus groups on:

- Getting people to comply with documents requiring signatures and approval
- Examining how cognitive load influences pain perception
- Providing taste-testing and feedback on snack food
- Participating in a market research study on the topic of personal finances

I also applied to participate in a focus group on an unidentified topic. All it said was that it takes place in San Francisco for one and one-half hours on Jan. 6 and "if you feel you are the right individual, please call..." I don't what it is, but I feel I'm the right individual so I called and left a message.

I applied for part-time and temporary positions to:

- Interview Jewish women about working during World War II
- Serve as a pet food demonstration representative
- Proofread a 400-500 page opthamology textbook

Finally, I responded to something that said, "Make predictions, get paid." I can make predictions. I can't vouch for my accuracy, but I can definitely make predictions.

Looking for a condom alternative?

One of my friends from high school, Brian R., was in town last night with his fiancee. We went out for dinner and drinks and had a lovely time. I was reminded of why I always thought he was one of the nicest guys I knew in high school.

[As indicated in the previous entry] I tossed and turned fitfully last night and was unable to sleep until about 4am. I did a lot of things during that time, including watching YouTube videos. One of the videos I watched was my favorite scene from Love, Actually:

I also watched all the videos I could find on crows and ravens.

When I woke up this morning, all of my hair was standing straight up in the air in a most dramatic fashion. Seriously. Even my eyebrows were pointing upward. I was exhausted and running late for work and tamed it the best that I could before heading out the door. When I arrived, one of my co-workers said, "Wow. Your hair looks very...lion-like today..." and I burst out laughing.

I am researching opportunities to make money on Craigslist. I found a women's research study where you could make $500 testing out a new diaphragm. Unfortunately, it requires that you have sex once or twice. I asked my Magic 8-ball if this is in my future, and it said, "Not a chance."



I am awake stressing about money.

Because of budget cutbacks, I can't teach a class next semester. My income at my regular job is not enough to pay for the apartment, car to get to work, and the rest of the bills. I'm starting to feel a little bit on the verge of hysteria, to be honest. I'm strategizing ways to continue to feed the parrots and myself.

I've put in job applications, signed up for product testing and focus group mailing lists (because if you get selected for one they pay you anywhere from $50 to $150 bucks for a couple hours of your time), and started looking around my house for things I might be able to sell. I have a nice coat that my aunt got me that I've only worn once so far. I have a round-trip plane ticket that I got when I was bumped from a flight home. I have an extra TV. I'm getting rid of cable and downgrading my cell phone plan.

Beyond continuing to come up with ways to creatively advertise my greeting cards and putting in additional job applications, I'm not quite sure what else to do.

I don't have the money for Christmas presents. My grandpa is in renal failure. My car got towed and cost me $500.

I'm feeling freaked out and anxious and I needed to vent.

December 18, 2008

I think I forgot to post this...

Here is the link to my shop:

Six Birds Cards


I've been spending a lot of time coming up with creative ways to advertise. Between both the website and word of mouth networking, I've sold a few items so far! The two that are the most popular:

1. The chicken card ("Do you honestly think that slut Henrietta can love you the way I can?")

2. The card with my hand and the words "My hands remember how your body felt." (This one makes me especially proud, because it is my very favorite.)


Have you ever had one of those days when you find yourself standing naked in front of Walmart with a goat named Harold and a plastic baby Jesus?

Yeah, me neither.

December 17, 2008

Wednesday morning shiz-nit

As I was leaving for work this morning, I caught a portion of the Bay Area traffic update on the local NBC news from Mike Inouye. He's the biggest dork in the world, and often cracks me up with the weird little things he says. Today while reporting on traffic conditions coming into San Francisco on the Bay Bridge, he said: "Toll lane number 14 is closed this morning. So, if number 14 was your favorite toll lane, I'm sorry to tell you that you're going to have to find a new one today."

Maybe it was because it was 6am. Maybe it was because I hadn't had any coffee yet. But I found the serious manner in which he delivered this particular line to be unreasonably funny.

In other news, I made my first greeting card sale! Business is booming! Okay, not really. I sold one card to some wonderful soul in Illinois, but it's a start. I'm going to write her a special note when I mail her card to her. Kind of like saving the first $1 you make when you open a business.

December 16, 2008

Announcing the birth of 6 Birds Cards...

I'm so excited to announce I've opened a greeting card shop, 6 Birds Cards, on (a website for homemade items). It has taken a long time to come together.

For a long time I felt there were things in me that needed to be expressed, and this is one outlet for that. I've collected weird greeting cards for years, as many of you already know. I also have a long history of writing along with taking pictures of fairly random things (food I made, computer error screens, table tops, etc.). I horde old family pictures, too. It was only recently that it occurred to me that making cards might provide some focus to my eccentricity and melodrama.

I can't take all the credit for this. Scott has collaborated on the caption-writing of many of these cards. Nannette has viewed and made comments on many prototypes. Shayna provided the needed kick in the butt by hosting a day at her house where several of us made things and, um, drank mimosas. Some of you have seen me open my little beaten up suitcase like a traveling salesperson to proudly display them. In the last couple of years, many of you have viewed and commented on early versions of these pictures on MySpace and Flickr. Thank you, and your contributions are gratefully acknowledged.

At present, there are 31 cards being sold. There are many more on the way. I also happily accept donations--want me to use one of your pictures and make it into a card? Sweet! Bring it.

Regardless of whether you want to buy any of them, please take a look. I'm proud of them.

December 15, 2008

Beef stick?

I always feel rather emotional when a class that I'm teaching ends. I tend to get rather attached to the students and to the particular dynamics of a given group and am sorry to see them go. I've had the pleasure of having several of them get in touch with me after the class ended to say hello, either through MySpace, Facebook, email or just stopping by another class I was teaching. I am particularly sad to see this semester's statistics class end.

There are several extraordinarily outgoing students in the class, and I have a lot of fun joking around with them. They're also incredibly sweet.

The most recent example of this came last Monday. I wasn't feeling very well at the beginning of class. An observant student asked me if I felt okay. I mentioned that I hadn't had the chance to eat yet that day, and probably that's why I wasn't feeling so hot. He immediately reached into his bag, grabbed a Slim Jim, held it toward me, and said, "Beef stick? It's been in my bag for a couple of months, but these things last forever." Another student reached into his bag and pulled out chocolate. I laughed and thanked them and told them I was fine, that they didn't need to offer their food. At the beginning of Wednesday's class, one student brought an apple, another brought candy, and another brought Christmas cookies. I was incredibly touched (but also felt really mortified).

Maybe it was dumb of me not to go into teaching full-time. I don't really know anymore.

A disarming smile

Ugh. Sometimes I get so wound up and anxious in one-on-one interactions that I just start talking uncontrollably. There is very little filter between my head and my mouth. I speak in a total stream of consciousness kind of fashion interspersed with song lyrics, talking to myself, and meta-comments about the interaction taking place (e.g., "Oh, my God. Do you hear how I'm talking right now? I'm just telling you these random things..."). It must be quite a sight to witness when I'm really at maximum speed, and I imagine it must be overwhelming for the person on the receiving end. I mentally step outside of myself and think, "Shut up, shut up, shut up!" Then, when I proceed to keep talking, I mentally slap my head and groan.


I lost my wallet for the second time this year--I don't even want to talk about the extent of my absent-mindedness--and I'm still waiting for my ATM card to show up. This has been a huge pain in the ass.

A few nights ago I hadn't had any dinner and the bank was already closed and my card still hadn't come. I went to the grocery story with only a few dollars on me and was trying to be very careful about how much I spent. I went over the amount I had by twenty cents. I was embarrassed and asked the lady who was checking me out to put an item back. She said, "Don't you worry, honey," and reached into her pocket and pulled out two dimes. I protested that she didn't need to do that, that she couldn't possibly make a habit of that. She winked at me and continued completing my transaction. I was so touched. I thanked her profusely. It was one of those moments that makes you feel a little better about the world.

A couple days later I made another trip to the store and the same lady who'd loaned me the money checking me out. I said, "You loaned me twenty cents the other night and it was so sweet of you--I'd like to return it to you now."

She looked confused. "I did?" I handed her two dimes and smiled. "Well, that was pretty nice of me," she said laughing and accepted my two dimes. "Yes, it was," I agreed. "I really appreciated it."

"No problem, honey," she responded. "You have a great day."

December 10, 2008


I got an email from my boss yesterday. Let's call her "Janet" henceforth, shall we? (I'm glad you agree.)

I'd sent Janet a progress report on a project I was working on with a projected timeline of when various tasks were going to get done. She wrote to say she had some questions and that she would like to meet to get those questions answered. I was to plan to organize my time in the following fashion:

1. Janet and Amie sort out few remaining questions that Janet has.
2. Amie finalizes all questionnaires based on this discussion.
3. Amie prints out final questionnaires for Janet's final review vs penultimates.
4. Amie drafts and Janet approves letter to participants.
5. Pretests go out to 25 pilot participants.
6. Amie gives Janet correct answer sheets for all questionnaires.

Now, when I was four years old I needed some assistance with knowing when to brush my teeth, clean Kool-Aid stains off my face, put on a jacket, and take a bath. But Jesus Christ! I didn't spend 13 years after high school training to take a job that spells out at what time my every breath should be taken!

Janet attempts to account for my time down to the smallest detail on a given project, and then wonders why I begin to fall behind on other projects and why am I not "donating time" [a term thrown around often here that is just fancy-talk for "working for free"] to get caught up?

If you have wondered why I haven't been writing as much in my blog lately and/or haven't answered emails, it's because my two jobs are keeping me running around. Despite having two jobs, I am still forced to look for a third source of income in order to survive in San Francisco. Shit's expensive.

Thus, I have been brainstorming ways to make money or cut corners in order to make ends meet. Here are some of the thoughts floating through my puzzler:

1. From what locations can I steal toilet paper?
2. How many times can I eat generic bran flakes as a meal in one week without, um, negative repercussions?
3. How lucrative is prostitution? And what differentiates any skills or qualities I might have versus those another might have?

For what it's worth, I'm setting up a website on in order to sell my greeting cards. I'll send out a link as soon as all that's set up. Buy cards. Buy lots of cards!

December 4, 2008

"How the hell did I get here so soon?"

Grown-ups go to work when they don't feel good.
Grown-ups go to work when they're exhausted.
Grown-ups do things even when they don't feel like it.
Grown-ups have conversations and interactions with people even when they don't like them at all.
Grown-ups eat foods that are good for them even when they taste like hell.
Grown-ups don't pout and complain when they don't get their way.
Grown-ups probably even listen to their voicemail once in awhile.

I'd rather stay here in my room
Nothin' out there but sad and gloom
I don't wanna live in a big old tomb
On Grand Street...

- Tom Waits

December 2, 2008

"All the people you knew were the actors."

Well, all the apostles
they're sitting in swings
and I'd sell off my savior
for a set of new rings
and some sandles
with the style of straps that
cling best to the era

Some days I feel I’ve gotten off track.

And all of the angels
they'd sell off your soul
for a set of new wings and anything gold
they remember
the people they loved, their old friends
and I've seen through 'em all
seen through 'em all

How have I gone so far from where I thought I’d be?

Well, I'll go to college
and I'll learn some big words
and I'll talk real loud
goddamn right I'll be heard
you'll remember the guys
that said all those big words
they must've learned in college

And the people I thought I’d be with?

And it took a long time
but I came clean with myself
I come clean out of love with my lover
I still love her
loved her more when she
used to be sober and I
was kinder

But what if I’m exactly where I need to be?

December 1, 2008

Follow-up to "Cover Letter to Philip Morris"

Someone that I don't know in L.A. wrote to me today with a comment on my last post regarding my cover letter to Philip Morris. He says:

Second-hand smoke aside, no one's forcing you or your uncle to buy or smoke cigarettes. Tobacco and alcohol are legal, yet they kill hundreds of thousands each year. Marijuana is illegal, and it kills so few people that I can't find a statistic on it. How is that possible ?

My responses to stoner dude can be summarized as follows:

1. Sweetie, it's called sarcasm.

2. From where did you pull this uncle? I mentioned my imaginary husband Johnny and my yet-to-be-conceived youngest daughter Ellen with the lazy eye. But there was no uncle.

3. Start your own blog. You can be on your soap-box and cite epidemiologic data (or your lack thereof) as much as you want to.

So life-like and inviting!

On Saturday I the most horrible date I've ever had in my life and, let's be honest, in the last year there's been a LOT. At least by my standards.

[Brief aside: Please don't misconstrue that last statement about there being a lot of dates. It should be noted that 1) I do not enjoy this process; 2) Mostly they've been first/last dates; and 3) It's not like I'm out whoring around. Not that I should have to justify myself in that area. But still.]

I've gone out with twenty-some guys in the last year, and there's definitely been some highs and lows.

A few highlights:

- the DJ who used words like "hella" and "word" at regular intervals and spent 15 minutes on his cell phone during the date telling his friend to quit doing drugs and come and stay at his place and then pointed out to me how this was evidence of what a sensitive and caring guy he was

- the guy who called me EVERY DAY for two weeks (at times ranging from 5:15am to 11pm, and including times that I was at work) and later went on to explain that he COULD NOT have a physical relationship with me.

- the sweet guy who showed me his apartment in a high-rise in Oakland and, after we'd gone up on the roof to look at the view, accidentally locked us out at 3am. The last BART to the city was long gone and we fell asleep on the floor of the lobby of his building waiting for a locksmith. I made it home by 7am in time to get ready for an interview.

I've mentioned others before. There's no need to go further. I don't even want to go into details about the one on Saturday because it was so hideous. I cried and cried as I was driving home and called Nannette to ask if she could meet me somewhere so we could talk.

I've mentioned before that I'm keeping track of how many there were so that, some day if and when I meet the right one I can say, "See how hard I looked?" Some days I find it all amusing. Some days I wonder if there's something wrong with ME. Some days I think, "Fuck it. I don't have the energy for this. I should buy a blow-up doll. There's probably some Christmas specials going on."

Cover letter to Philip Morris

Dear Philip Morris,

Please consider this letter and my attached resume as my application for Brand Manager within your company. I am confident that you will find me a qualified candidate with a well-defined long-range vision for insuring the continued profitability of the Philip Morris brand.

Once upon a time I was a consumer of your products. My husband Johnny was, too, until we lost him to the cancer. I’ve seen many relatives die after battling long illnesses, but do you have any idea what it’s like to watch someone die of lung cancer, Philip Morris? I wish you could have heard him beating on the walls, begging to die as quickly as possible.

Can you appreciate how many of my hopes and dreams went to the grave with Johnny? We were supposed to be putting a roof on the house this year. We were finally going to be able to afford to take our youngest daughter Ellen to the doctor to see about her lazy eye. We had plans to buy of those inner tubes with the built in coolers so that we could spend lazy summer days floating down the river with ice cold beer. Have you ever known such carefree plans, Philip Morris?

I think you owe me this job. I might not have some fancy college degree or any marketing experience, but how can you compare those things to the education I have received from life, Philip Morris?

Help me dry my kids’ tears and put Hamburger Helper on the table. Help me to get the dog some flea and tick medication—dear God, we are being eaten alive in here Philip Morris. Help me buy the fancy panties I’m going to need to snag me a new man to help support us.

Please don’t be an asshole about this, Philip Morris. I look forward to speaking with you soon.


Amie [censored]