December 25, 2009

Tallies

Christmas festivities included:

- As previously reported, champagne, sleeping pills (and, hence, sleep)

- Counting the number of times I kissed beaks today (like, 10)

- Vietnamese spring rolls (4)

- Shaving my legs as my gift to myself (took 2 razors! Fuck.)

- Traveling between three grocery stores at 12:15am trying to do my grocery shopping. Number of grocery stores closed = 3

- Drinking at a local dive in order to be around people (number of drinks = 4)

- Observing folks playing frisbee in the street in my neighborhood (3)

- Tallying the types of candy my mom sent me in my stocking (7)

- Watching popes being knocked down by crazy women (1)

- Playing scrabble online with Facebook friends (4)

- Attempting to make a purchase at local pharmacies that had been robbed (1)

- Noting a live Christmas tree that was already thrown out on the sidewalk (1)

- Singing "Crimson and Clover" while driving myself around town looking at Christmas lights (number of times sung approximately = 6 1/2)

- Counting the number of times spent feeling sorry for myself for being alone at Christmas (842)

December 24, 2009

Merry

To celebrate my first Christmas alone I will toast with champagne and sleeping pills.

Ho, ho, ho!

December 23, 2009

Minimal

When they were introduced, he made a witticism, hoping to be liked. She laughed extremely hard, hoping to be liked. Then each drove home alone, staring straight ahead, with the very same twist to their faces.

The man who'd introduced them didn't much like either of them, though he acted as if he did, anxious as he was to preserve good relations at all times. One never knew, after all, now did one now did one now did one.

David Foster Wallace: "A Radically Condensed History of Postindustrial Life"

From: Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

December 22, 2009

Personal history

Holy mother of god.

I spent some time cleaning out my email inbox and I feel like I've relived the last 3 years of my life in about one hour. I should also add that the last 3 years of my life have been chock-full of physical and emotional turmoil.

I found:

Emails from, like, every book club event I've ever attended.
Messages from various (ill-advised) dates I've gone on about where/when to meet up.
Emails I sent to myself when I was trying not to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge.
Emails from C.
Emails regarding my research on moving to Barcelona and finding work.
Notifications of and condolences for the deaths of various friends and family members.
Emails regarding job search resources from when I finished my postdoc.
Announcements of 6 Birds Cards.
Messages from friends who--for whatever reason--are no longer in my life.
Drafts of writings I did during turbulent times.
Etc.

2010 has to be better. It just has to be.

December 15, 2009

The bright forever

There was a time when I loved Raymond Wright. Nothing that happened can change that fact. I'm not even sure I'd trade it if I could. Don't ask me. Just know there are days when you thank your lucky stars, when the world doesn't seem quite so old and used up. I lay in bed those mornings and listened to the martins singing. Sing, sing, sing--just like Mama said, all over God's heaven. Now these last summers--my last summers--when I hear them, I think back to those mornings, Ray in bed beside me, and my heart balls up so tight I can't tell what's love and what's misery. It's all the same, always will be. That's what I'd tell those girlie-girls now if I could somehow travel back to that afternoon at Brookstone Manor--that lazy afternoon when one of them said, "God," not like a prayer but like there wasn't a thing left to surprise her. I'd tell her there's always something around the corner, no matter how old you get, no matter how much you're sure you've got a handle on things. Sooner or later you live long enough--I hope that girlie-girl got the chance--and the love and the heartache get all mixed up, and that's what you've got....

That's the way it was, always will be. Nothing we can do to make it different. It's a story now, and stories have endings even when you don't know--fools like me--that you're already in the middle of one, and you're already making choices....Choices that will bring you to places you never thought you'd be, places in your heart you'll mourn the rest of your life.

Lee Martin, The Bright Forever

December 9, 2009

New depths

You know you've hit a new low when you're in bed with a bottle of Vicodin and a box of chocolate, using a pair of clean underwear as a handkerchief, and crying every time you think about going back to work--even though you still have four days off.

December 2, 2009

Even though you are far away...

Ah, Mary S. I love you. I can't believe we weren't friends in high school. You saved me tonight.

December 1, 2009

The day only rain boots would do


I've always sort of had this thing for ugly rubber rain boots. It all started with a pair of red, rubber Mickey Mouse boots I had when I was a kid. I liked to weather them in all types of weather in all seasons, and preferred them with shorts. The rain boots and I were inseparable until one ill-fated day when I decided they were not only good for wearing, but also for transporting dirt. This had the unfortunately consequence of making my feet absolutely filthy any time I wore them from that point forward and--after days of muddy feet--my rain boots mysteriously disappeared. My mother denied any involvement, but even then I had my suspicions.

This love continued into adulthood, and for a few years I owned a hideous pair of green, lavender, and blue striped rain boots. For reasons I won't go into at this time, they are no longer in my possession. I have felt their absence for at least a year now.

I am having a difficult time at the moment, and in the last 24 hours I've had three panic attacks. Nothing can seem to alleviate my wild dread and anxiety. Today I sit in my office nearly immobilized. I cannot answer my emails. I cannot check my phone messages even though the little red light is blinking. I cannot seem to care about any of the things I have to do. When I went to the restroom, I seriously contemplated barricading myself in the bathroom and screaming, but decided against it. I don't really know what to do for myself right now, but while sitting at my desk the idea occurred to me. Rain boots.

It turns out Amazon.com has an amazing selection. I added several colorful pairs to my wish list and admired the many options until I found them. The perfect rain boots. MY rain boots.

So I ordered them.

November 30, 2009

Monday, Monday

Panic attack on the way to work this morning was no fun. Something's gotta change.

November 27, 2009

Gobble

After all of my weird obsessing and reading/comparing of, like, 500 cornbread stuffing recipes, it turned out awesome. I was so pleased.

Yesterday I spent my fifth Thanksgiving at Nannette's house. Fifth! How is it possible I've been here so long? This year Jenny and Scott were missing, and there were several people I don't really know there. It just wasn't the same. I mean, our food was lovely. Everyone was in good spirits. But many of the people there didn't feel like MY people, and it made me feel a little sad. The best part by far was spending the morning and afternoon cooking and drinking mimosas with Angie and Nannette and periodically sending and receiving texts of Thanksgiving wishes. I am still wondering about the mystery texter, though.

In the late afternoon hours, someone from a 650 number texted me and said, "Goble, goble, goble!" Goble? I returned the text with, "Hi! Gobble to you, too! I'm sorry, but who is this?" The person responded, "Is this amy?" (Obviously it is not someone who knows me very well.) I texted, "This is Amie! Who's this?" and never heard anything again.

I find that my cell phone book fills up with names of people I don't remember. They come from dates I've gone on--times that I was meeting someone for a drink or coffee and we exchanged cell numbers in case anything happened. Because those times are generally the first and last date, the phone number stays in there and I promptly forget who it is. Last night in my food-induced coma, I sat down and deleted all the numbers I didn't recognize: Daniel, Kevin, Paul, Jon, Jon, etc. It makes it sound like my life is much more exciting than it actually is, I think.

Last night I got home around 10pm, and it was a relief to have quiet. My dreams were vivid and specific, and one of those times when I woke up to realize they weren't true and I burst into tears.

Today I will go back to Nannettes for a leftover dinner. You can bet I'm gonna rock that stuffing's world.

My dear friend Beau and his new wife are in town, and during the next two days I will show them around San Francisco sites, views, and restaurants. (Because more eating is exactly what I will need.)

Yesterday would have been my Papaw's 80th birthday. He loved Thanksgiving and I always loved when his birthday fell on Thanksgiving. I miss him terribly.

It looks like I will only be buying one Christmas present this year, and I'm trying to decide how I feel about that.

I will be 33 soon.

I dreamed you were back.

I just woke up.

November 25, 2009

On annoyances

I just need to gripe for a minute. I loathe the following things:

- People who advertise themselves as once who "don't take life too seriously." I want to yell, "You're a fucking idiot! Pay attention! While you're kicking it on your magic cloud in the sunshine, serious shit's going down! Christ!"

- People who say they want someone who is "drama free" or "with no emotional baggage." Son, you should stay soooooo far away from me' and good luck to you, you unfeeling twit.

- Do people seriously like their stuffing in the bird? Really? Soggy and stuffed up the bird's butt?

There's probably some others, too. That's it for the moment.

November 24, 2009

All this grateful (and ungrateful) business


Several people I know are naming something they're grateful for on Facebook every day until Thanksgiving. Even though these are friends of mine and very lovely people, this practice makes me a little nauseous. Probably because I am cranky and cantankerous and bitter and jaded.

Still.

I thought I'd do my own version here. I wanted my version to include a lament about the things I am ungrateful for, too.

Please excuse any sap that may follow, and if you think it will nauseate you too much, you might want to take a rain check on this blog entry.

Things I am grateful for:

- Friends I can call when I’m sitting in my car for hours because I don’t know where to go.

- Little birdie belly feathers.

- Getting a teaching job for the spring semester because I will be much less broke in the months to come.

- My grandparents and my aunt, without whom I would probably be dead, in prison, or on crack. Possibly all three.

- Nannette. For being my friend during the most challenging years of my life thus far, even when it was hard for her, and for talking sense into me on one very dark evening. Without her I would have left San Francisco behind already.

- Cindy. For knowing me almost better than I know myself; for being insane in nearly identical ways to myself (and I say that with love), for listening to me at times when I am nearly incoherent, and for being my first grown up best friend.

- Christopher. For loving me when I was unable to love myself.

- My many friends at work who make each day Monday through Friday more bearable, who put up with me dropping into their offices when I need a break, and without whom I would have taken a bazooka to the joint. Ruben, Shayna, Wendi, Laurie, Tamara, Jodi, John, Peggy, and Diana: I love you to pieces.

- For a free washer and dryer in my building. SCORE!

- For Yan, Patrick, Scott, Brian, Amber & Suzie, Judith, Amber, Shannon, Dave, Kelli, Jenny, Tony, Lauren, and Cyrano for taking me out, getting me drunk, calling me, texting me, sending me sweet packages, going to dinner with me, inviting me to their parties, visiting me in the hospital, and letting me crash at their houses even if I was far away (mentally or physically), drank too much, didn't call back, was doped up on morphine, and/or didn't show up.

- Danita and Nan, for treating me as part of the family no matter what.

- The color green for adorning my walls, pants, shoes, umbrellas, and coats and for cheering me up in the most ridiculous and random ways.

- The funniest, weirdest, and most thoughtful book club in the history of the world.


Things I am not grateful for:

- Several days without antidepressants because I am totally broke.

- Four parking tickets waiting to be paid.

- E. for making up his mind, J.H. for not being in the right mental space at the right time, P. for breaking my heart, and J.T. for what amounted to persistent booty calls.

- A very specific person whom I see five days a week who makes me distinctly unhappy, treats me like I am stupid and incompetent, has unreasonable expectations, seems to always suspect that I have or am about to screw her over, and blames me for what feels like everything.

- C.J.B. for leaving without saying goodbye and re-smashing my heart into itty bitty pieces.

- The raccoon fight club that meets nightly behind my house.

November 23, 2009

"Such sweetness was not meant for me.""

"You never started with me. (You never finished with me.)"

[Go here and listen to "Sabina." My friend Jim wrote it.]

November 22, 2009

Thick-skinned, thin-skinned, pig skin

I admit I'm not particularly cheerful at this time. I'm getting hung up on weird things. For example, my mind won't stop going back to the day I left Richmond.

I was way behind schedule in terms of packing and moving. My landlord was due to come and inspect the apartment soon, and I was still packing. The moving truck was nearly out of room, I still had lots of stuff, and I hadn't even thought about cleaning yet. In my growing panic, I started putting everything in the trash. Things I loved, things I'd used, things that were given to me--all flung over the balcony and carted out to the trash cans in the alley behind the building. I threw out the pizza stone my grandmother gave me! I always wanted a pizza stone!

At the moment I am feeling alone and grief-stricken, and this is where my mind has chosen to focus its angst. Fuck my life.

I turned on the television this evening just to hear some noise, some voices, and caught the tail end of the Chicago Bears vs. Philadelphia Eagles football game. Now, I could give two shits about this sort of thing to be honest. But I left it on and observed the last five minutes of the game and a bit of the post-game activities.

Philadelphia won after a last-ditch effort touchdown pass thrown by Bears' quarterback Jay Cutler was intercepted with less than a minute to go. From what I gathered, Jay--a young quarterback--has been struggling lately with many of his passes getting intercepted. After the play ended, Jay took off his helmet dejectedly and walked off the field. Shortly thereafter, the camera showed the Eagles' quarterback, Donovan McNabb, with his arm around around Jay, quietly speaking advice into his ear. This went on for a couple of minutes, and Jay thanked him and they patted each other and went their separate ways. The commentators speculated on the kind of advice an experienced quarterback would give to a relatively new one, and I found myself sobbing with emotion.

Some days it feels like there is not nearly enough good in the world, and I'll grab onto anything I can get. Now I love Donovan McNabb.

I cannot believe I just blogged about football.

November 21, 2009

Fail

Tonight I had the second failed movie attempt of my life.

I felt good today. I slept well. I had my morning coffee and listened to "The Star Report" (astronomy news) at 6:37am on the radio. Saturday is my normal sleeping and relaxing day, but this morning I felt restless and yearning to get out of the house. Fortunately, Nannette was game for lunch and a walk, but even that did not completely satisfy me. So I decided to take myself to an 8:50pm movie: "Precious."

As the time to leave approached, I dragged my feet a bit. It was cold outside and my home was warm and cozy. I told myself to stop being ridiculous and got my butt out the door. As I drove toward the Daly City theater, I came close to turning around. Everything suddenly seemed so sad, and my bed seemed safer.

I thought of everyone that I miss intensely, and wanted to cry. A truck with an attached trailer full of cows pulled up next to me on 19th Avenue--seeing chickens and cows in the backs of trucks always breaks my heart. The cows peered out of the narrow slats that served as windows, wide-eyed and anxious. They blinked against the glare of the street lights, and their breath steamed out in puffs. I wanted to turn around again.

I was listening to NPR on the radio, and a portion of Rose Tremain's The Road Home. It was beautiful and sad and careful in its observations of struggle and loneliness and, once again, I wanted to turn around.

I made myself keep going. I was determined to go to a movie tonight.

I parked in the crowded garage full of teenagers laughing and cars honking, so I turned up my radio and closed my eyes to finish listening to the story about Lev the widowed, Russian immigrant trying to make his way in a new world. When the story ended, I thought briefly of starting the car and going home, but I got out of the car and plodded toward the theater.

Standing impatiently in the long line of young couples holding hands, bubble gum-popping adolescents, and kids weaving between and around legs, I shifted my weight from foot to foot and promised myself that I would be so happy I came once I sat in the darkened theater, warm and among fellow humans with their eyes fixed on the screen. When I finally made my way to the front of the line, a bored Vietnamese girl behind the glass flatly informed me that my movie was sold out and the next one was in an hour and a half.

I stood for a few seconds with my mouth open to say something, and then mumbled, "nevermind" and turned to make my way back to the garage. I tried to keep it a secret from myself that I was relieved.

November 18, 2009

November 17, 2009

'"E" is even more than anyone that you adore...'

Once or twice a year, I became incredibly hopeful about my finances. This was when the Power Ball jackpot reached at least 200 million dollars--the prize amount was prominently displayed on the large billboard over the interstate near my house. Similarly hopeful folks began to line up to buy tickets at local gas stations and convenience stores, and the news ran nightly updates about how large the pot had grown.

Though my grandpa devotedly played the lottery in all its forms--not just Power Ball but also Pick 3, Pick 4, and various scratch-offs--I never really played. Every Sunday evening when I spoke to him on the phone he would update me on how he had done in the lottery the previous week. Usually he had a couple of Power Ball number or, on especially lucky weeks, had won $5 on a scratch-off ticket. "I'm still working on that million dollars," he would tell me, "and when I win you'll never have to work again." I would laugh and usually tease him about how he was certainly taking his sweet time winning this million dollars. "One day, hon," he would assure me, "one day." Even though I wasn't a player, I always felt like I had a chance of winning because he was playing on behalf of the family.

In the winter of 2004 when the Power Ball reached 300 million, I broke down and bought a ticket; Chris and I both bought one. I believed firmly that we should each buy our own ticket and that only one per person should be purchased. I felt that one special ticket was much luckier than some bulk amount of tickets. I also liked choosing my numbers myself: specifically ones involving 2's, 4's, and 8's. I felt that I was more likely to win if each number was carefully chosen with intention and meaning, the way one might choose apples for a special pie, or a greeting card with just the right words for the occasion.

Chris and I got our tickets and sat in the living room waiting for the 10:59pm drawing before the nightly news. I had never before been so certain of winning, and in anticipation I mentally and verbally spent my money. "I want to go to Fiji," I gushed, and stay in one of those huts on stilts over the water with a glass table top that I can open and feed the fish." I went on. "I will pay off my credit cards and buy a cockatoo and a jet ski. I'll spend time in Germany and Italy and France, and I'll go to Norway to see a fjord." Chris listened as I rattled off my selfish desires, and then I went on to plan how much money I would give to each of my family members and close friends. Then he cut me off.

"You're telling me you would give out money?" he asked. I was startled out of my reverie.

"Of course," I answered. "My grandpa and I've always planned who to give our money to if we won."

He shook his head is disbelief. "You'd GIVE money away?" he reiterated incredulously.

I was surprised that he was so surprised, "Yes," I answered again. And then something dawned on me. "Wait. You wouldn't?"

"No!" he answered without hesitation. "It would be MY money."

I couldn't hide me shock. "You wouldn't give any money to your mom? or your grandma? or your brother? What about me?" He relented that he would buy gifts for people; he would make sure I had something if I needed it and he would buy our birds golden cages, but that he wouldn't give away any money. It would be his. Period.

I felt a growing sense of alarm rising in me. I kept insisting that it wasn't possible for him to be so selfish with so much money and really? He wouldn't give any to me? I began to reassess the millions of dollars I had mentally allotted for him. He stood firm. He also didn't believe that I would actually go through with giving any money away were I to win.

"But, but," I sputtered, "my grandpa and I ALWAYS talk about who we'd share our money with!"

"I think everybody SAYS they would share their money, because they won't actually win and it doesn't really matter. I'm just being honest."

By this point I was angry.

"Why are you getting so upset?" Chris asked in bewilderment. "It's not like it matters. It's not like we're going to win. You're getting mad at me for something that's not even going to happen!" I insisted it was the principle that was disturbing to me, and that I still couldn't believe he wouldn't share.

This conversation has come back to me many times over the years. Part of me feels like there is at least one moment in every long relationship during which you look at your partner and don't recognize them. Another part of me wonders...was this it? Was this the turning point at which we began a descent into irreconcilability? Could I have stopped it? Should I have pretended to agree with him?

I often wonder if he remembers this conversation, and if he still feels the same way. I wonder if and how aging and wisdom have affected his reflections on us, if at all. I wonder if and how I am described to other people he encounters. Does he blame me? Does he refer to me as batshit crazy? Does he thank his lucky stars I am no longer near? Does he make allowances for us having met so young and for trying to navigate a relationship when we had no idea what we were doing? Does he neglect to mention me at all? Does he regret leaving without saying goodbye? Does he hope he never lays eyes on me again?

November 16, 2009

"I should have been a pair of ragged claws, scuttling across the floor of silent seas."

I worked 40 hours this weekend as part of a video shoot.
I met and got to know amazing women who reminded me why I do what I do.
After working the first half of today--Monday--I came home and collapsed.
I dreamed of Richmond
I dreamed of driving down Broad St. with you, trying to decide which restaurant to go to. Mekong? Casa Grande? Maybe over to Thai Diner?
I dreamed of another Thanksgiving without my grandma and yours, and I woke up and cried.

November 8, 2009

Writing, among other things

A lot of people in and around my life have been dying recently. Yet another person passed this passed week; in addition, someone close to me was in a bad car accident that totaled her car. Hence, I am feeling my mortality distinctly.

Last night N. and I decided we wanted to write up for each other our final wishes and also the names of people who should be contacted if something happened to one of us. It feels depressing and morbid to talk about, but when you live alone far from home I think it is something important to consider. I want to take mine even one step further--I want to give a copy to N. as well as to my mother and father just to insure there is no misunderstanding.

This will freak my mother the fuck out.

In other news, I continue to work on NaNoWriMo, and I've gotten some decent writing done. My book is really starting to take shape, and it's exciting to see. I still can't think of a title. When N. asked me what I was thinking about in the way of a title, I said, "At this point, I have absolutely nothing." She suggested that for at least a working title.

For the remainder of the month, there are a few things I want to do for NaNoWriMo to stretch myself a bit:

1. I want to incorporate some piece of fiction (a conversation, a scenario, whatever) into a memoir piece. So far, I've been unable to do anything but tell things that happened to the best of my ability.

2. I want to write a straight fiction short story. My perception of myself is that I am hideous with fiction. Maybe I should practice.

3. I want to write about events that took place more recently. I have things I want to tell, most notably those involving C., and for some reason I just have not been able to.

I am also thinking I want to work on another postcard secret, but that is really another story all together.

In other news, I will be working for the next 12 days in a row. I am not very happy about it.

November 7, 2009

Horny butt

I've always had a special affection for old men. I think it came largely from having wonderful grandpas--the loved me and cuddled me and played with me and tickled me. For an attention-hungry little girl, this was addictive. I craved their affections: there was nothing like climbing up onto their laps and feeling that I was completely safe.

This preference for old men did not always serve me well.

Growing up in a small town, specifically on Lawman Avenue, you got to know your neighbors. I made it my business to get to know them--or at least to make a nuisance of myself. I picked their flowers, stole the apples off the trees in their yards, ate their candy, played spotlight with their children and grandchildren, and rode my Big Wheel in their driveways. One of these neighbors was Mr. Horner directly across the street from our little white house.

Mr. Horner was the grandfather of my friend Ronnie, who visited frequently and played with me whenever he was in town. Mr. Horner liked to sit out in a lawn chair early in the morning in his carport. Since I was frequently lonely and up early watching Pinwheel on Nickelodeon in the summers before anyone in my house was awake, I would occasionally sneak out of my house and run across the street to visit with him. I liked to think that I provided him with much-desired entertainment. He sat very quietly and didn't say much, so I sang, did cartwheels, and performed Pop Warner cheers in an effort to win him over and make him crack just one smile.

Early one morning, I elected to show him the Pepsi-Cola cheer:

Pepsi-Cola! Pepsi-Cola! Royal Crown!
You gotta hypnotize 'em
Boomerize 'em
Knock 'em down!
Hey!


He seemed to be impressed, and invited me to come over and sit on his lap. I eagerly ran over and climbed up, and he put an arm around my back. Suddenly I felt strange and began to chatter nervously as he listened. When I paused for a breath he said, "Give me a kiss." I hesitated, but in the end decided a kiss was harmless. As I moved toward his cheek to deliver a peck, he suddenly turned his head and thrust his wet, slimy tongue in my mouth. Horrified, I jumped off his lap and ran home as fast as I could.

I hurled myself through the front door, locked it securely, and closed the living room curtains. My heart thumped in my chest, and I was terrified that if I looked out the window, I would find him up on the porch, trying to get in. After several minutes passed, I moved the heavy gold curtain a few millimeters to the right, and peeked out. He was still sitting in his carport with his legs crossed and his hands folded in his lap.

I didn't know what to do. I felt dirty and embarrassed. For some reason it never occured to me to tell my mother or stepfather; instead, I told my friends Christel and Traci. "EWWWW!" they screamed. "He french-kissed you!" I gagged at the thought of his slobbery tongue. Traci squealed, "Mr. Horner is gross! What a horny butt!"

For years afterward, we stood in my front yard and screamed at his house, "Horny butt! Horny butt!" Our mothers were puzzled as to our hatred for him, and gave an amused smile despite themselves whenever we referred to him as "horny butt."

"Do you know what 'horny' means?" my mom asked me.

"Yes," I answered matter-of-factly, "it means he has horns coming out of his butt."

She laughed as said, "You guys should stop bothering him." But we never did. We made prank phone calls to his house, rode our bikes through his yard, and knocked on his doors and windows and quickly ran away.

As an adult looking back, I realize this was my first introduction to grandpas who weren't as wonderful as mine, and this was a bitter realization. Even so, I thought that Mr. Horner was an exception to the kindly grandfather rule, and for the most part maintained my naive belief that men--especially old men--naturally cared about and wanted to protect little girls. I would go on to learn that he was not the only one, that sometimes men wanted to hurt little girls.

November 4, 2009

In memory of smells

AKA: A work in progress

In memory of smells

I was a nervous child.

Early on in life I was of the opinion that I had a certain quota of worrying to reach every day, and if I did not meet it bad things would happen to my family and me. Eventually my anxiety became so overwhelming that I had to develop special rituals to calm me. Many of them involved smelling my fingers.

At first, I would touch things and sniff my fingers out of curiosity: dogs, tree sap, bubblegum stuck in crevices and under tables, pizza rolls, Elmer’s glue. There was so much to smell! I would trail behind my mother at the grocery store, happily touching and smelling everything in sight. I was wide-eyed and shy, and had a rather interesting habit of peering out from behind my mom while gazing at strangers and sniffing my fingers. Soon it wasn’t enough to sniff my fingers, and I began burying my nose into everything I could.

I should clarify that I knew this was weird, and—with the exception of my immediate family—I took great pains to hide my habits from others. This resulted in a great deal of covert smelling and in careful restraint of sniffing during the school day that gave way to an uncontrollable onslaught in the evenings. Once my mother walked in on me crawling around the living room with my nose to the carpet, taking in the virtual smorgasbord of scents. “What in the hell are you doing?” she asked in bewilderment.

“Smelling,” I mumbled, continuing on with my business.

Being fixated on everything that was within a 50 foot radius of my nose, I soon became enamored with what came out of it. I designated a corner of my bedroom as “booger corner,” and used it to carefully catalogue the various fascinating shape and sizes that I produced. I meticulously lined them up in straight rows; each row consisted of an even number of boogers. The symmetry and order appealed to me, and I would rock myself back and forth while admiring the thought and care put into the corner. Not surprisingly, my mother found this habit particularly disgusting, and periodically took a scraper and scrub brush to the walls, conveniently providing me with a fresh canvas on which to recreate my masterpieces.

Soon it became important not only WHAT I smelled, but how many times I smelled it. Even numbers—preferably 2, 4, and 8—were very important. The cat food was not appropriately taken in if I only partook in 7 sniffs. Upon my mom’s entry into the kitchen I gave a quick 8th sniff to the cat’s bowl and sat back on my haunches, pretending to innocently contemplate the butter yellow kitchen wall.

After that, my growing fascination with even numbers (except 6) generalized and then things really got out of control. I would walk from place to place an even number of steps. I tapped things an even number of times. I chanted words and sang songs and bit my fingernails and petted the ferret in multiples of four. On my fingers I counted out the number of letters in various words before I would say them. I liked to imagine that this gave me the appearance of a thoughtful, scholarly girl who chose her words carefully.

(To be continued...)

November 3, 2009

Loving Daniel Webster

After my broken engagement to Jamie Gizzi in kindergarten, I wandered the streets as a single woman for several months, wondering if I would ever love and be loved again. Until the first day of school in first grade, I was convinced I was going to be a spinster for the rest of my days. Then came Daniel Webster.

I’d like to say that it was his charm or personality that first won me over, but truthfully it was his denim jacket. I found the way that he wore it to be incredibly sexy, and I got quivers in the pit of my stomach when he casually slung it on as we got ready for the school bus to come.

One thing I came to appreciate about Daniel was how genuinely nice he was. Most first grade boys were fickle and would turn on you in a moment. Daniel, however, was not like the other boys. He was a good-natured and friendly boy who was nice to everyone. He had wide blue eyes and glasses and a ready smile. At the tender age of 6 I felt like a woman when I looked at him—I wanted things from him that I only partially understood. I wanted to melt.

I would like to say that Daniel and I fell in love. I would like to say that he was as enamored by me as I was of him. We never even held hands. I did, however, chase him around the playground and steal kisses from him whenever possible. I can distinctly remember throwing my arms around him and the feel of my lips on his rosy, all-American boy cheek as he squirmed away from me and tried to run. I wanted his attention intensely, and I was determined to take it by force if he didn’t hand it over willingly.

Daniel was not in my first grade class; he was in the class across the hall. I lived for the moments when I could be near him on the playground, and I pined for him as I sat in Mrs. Nease’s class completing my math worksheets and taking my spelling tests. As my class marched down the hall in gender-segregated lines to the bathroom, I tried to steal glances in Mrs. Scott’s class to get a glimpse of him. My classmates ran into the back of my skinny, dawdling frame and grumbled in irritation.

“Amie, pay attention,” Mrs. Nease would admonish. “There’s nothing for you in that classroom.”

Oh, but there was! The father of my future children was in there! The person with whom I would sit in a rocking chair on the front porch drinking iced sweet tea as our grandchildren played in the yard was IN THAT ROOM! Laying eyes on him was a touchstone in my day.

When Valentine’s Day came around, Daniel gave me a special card. This was not a run of the mill childhood Valentine with Snoopy or Garfield or cartoon hearts on it—this was a real grown-up card purchased at a card store with his name carefully printed in childhood script at the bottom. Inside the card was a sheet of cloth heart stickers. Stickers! Oh! That boy knew the way to my heart.

That afternoon on the way to the school bus, Daniel offered to let me wear his coveted denim jacket. I will never forget the walk up the hill from the school cafeteria (the “bus room”) to the school bus. I relished the warmth of the jacket from his body, and I was the happiest girl in the world. I reluctantly gave it back to him on the bus, hoping that we would be sitting together and could finally start making plans for our life together. Disappointingly, he proceeded to the back of the bus to sit with his friends and I was left to wonder who would be the one to punish our kids when they were bad. Would he be the disciplinarian? Or would I? Did he like spaghetti? Peanut butter toast? I vowed that Daniel Webster would never eat Hamburger Helper as long as he was my husband.

Unfotunately, Valentine’s Day was the climax of our romance and the rest of first grade proceeded uneventfully. I can vividly remember the last day of school and my anguish at having to spend a summer where I wouldn’t see Daniel at all. I watched mournfully as he got off at his stop and gleefully trotted off to begin three months free of school. Slowly the tears started to slide down my cheeks, and by the time I got off the bus I was full-on sobbing. Christel Andy tumbled off the bus after me, and asked me in a concerned, motherly tone why I was crying. I blubbered out my anguish to her; she didn't laugh as I was afraid she might. She patted my arm and assured me that I wouldn’t always feel this way and that we would still have a fun summer.

I trudged home miserably. For weeks I plotted how I could reach him. I looked up his phone number in the telephone book, and twice I worked up the courage to call him. I can still remember his childhood phone number.

One day when I could take it no more, I sat down to write him a letter. I poured all my love into it, certain that after he read it he would rush to my house and whisk me away to live with him and his parents. I carefully wrote his address on the envelope and ran to the big blue mailbox on the corner to drop the letter in before I changed my mind. Oh god, I felt alive! I was aglow with my courage and ran to Christel to tell her what I had just done. I recounted each step up to the mailing of the letter, and when I finished she asked, “Did you put a stamp on it?” My face fell. No. No, I hadn’t. My letter would never reach him.

November 1, 2009

I got my first real six-string.

Today and throughout the month of November I am participating in National Novel Writing Month ("NaNoWriMo"). In order to get 50,000 words in 30 days, I figure I need to average around 1650 words per day.

I'm using NaNoWriMo to generate memoir material on as of yet unexplored topics. On occasion I may post bits and pieces here.

It is difficult already, because part of the challenge is not to self-edit--something at which I excel. I'm trying really hard just to let the words flow and not come out like a completed product as I normally would strive for. I am tempted to sit here and explain in detail that parts of my writing that I want to work on, but to be honest, I'm emotionally exhausted. Even just THINKING ABOUT the material on which I'm writing today makes me cry like a baby, and it has worn me out.

Here is a little bit of free-writing that I did as part of my first NaNoWriMo writing. It's unplanned and unstructured. It's more of a collection of memories and impressions than an actual story. But here it is.

* * * * *

Occasionally people will ask questions like, “Where would you go if you could go anywhere?” My head always jumps to the years of approximately 1982-1985. All of my grandparents were there, there were still a lot of bad things I hadn't yet seen, I still believed in Santa Claus, and I still thought I was meant for great things.

On second thought…let’s stick to 1982. Kindergarten in Miss Wilking’s class was a good time for me.

I didn’t know it at the time, because I didn’t know any different, but there was something special about going to my paternal grandparents’ house and being surrounded by my entire family: grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. Everybody ate and talked and argued and smoked and laughed all at once. They were a noisy, rowdy, and occasionally raunchy bunch. My grandpa and uncles told dirty jokes that I didn’t understand and didn’t find funny. My grandmother encouraged us kids to eat more tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers and less chips and cookies. And my cousins and I ran through the house, up the back steps, and across the steep backyard and back again, constantly on the move in case we were missing something. There was a feel of excitement in the air.

Negotiations of who would get to spend the night with whom began early, and we planned and coordinated our strategy like seasoned army generals. Crouching on the front porch, away from the earshot of adults, we organized our attack and planned for the fun that would follow our sleepover victory.

“Let me ask pappy and grandmother first. They’ll say yes. Once they say yes, your dad won’t be able to say no.”

“When we play school, I get to be the teacher.”

“You always get to be the teacher!”

“That’s because I’m the oldest and I know how to write in cursive like a teacher.”

“No you don’t! You don’t write real letters—you just pretend to cross t’s and dot i’s!”

I can remember the smell and the feel of the lush blackberry bushes up on the hill in the back yard like it was just yesterday. I can feel the bars of the swingset on the backs of my knees like I am still hanging upside down from them. I can see the rust patches on the swingset, and feel it jump when I swing too high. I can remember the chalky residue the paint left on my sweaty hands. I can hear my cousins’ shouts, and I can see my family down the hill grilling burgers and drinking beer.

The air is hot and sticky—the humid remnants of a summer day in the mountains of West Virginia—and the fireflies begin to come out at dusk. I can still feel their ticklish legs walking around inside my cupped hands, trying to strike the balance between keeping them securely cloistered away and being careful not to crush them. (Once my stepdad thought he would be clever and he squished the butt of a firefly to get the glow-in-the-dark light out. He put in on my finger like a diamond ring as I stared in horror at what he had done and started to cry.) I can hear the rise of the cricket chirps in the grass as the air begins to cool and the night approaches. I am once again filled with the desire to fill a jar with fireflies and take care of them—my own personal night-light forever and always.

October 30, 2009

Fake it 'til you make it



But real gangsta-ass niggas don't flex nuts
Cuz real gangsta-ass niggas know they got 'em.
And everything's cool in the mind of a gangsta
Cuz gangsta-ass niggas think deep.
Up three-sixty-five a year 24/7
Cuz real gangsta ass niggas don't sleep.

October 29, 2009

For that fearful leap into the dark

Tell me...what did you do?
What did you do the last time?
Why don't you do that?
Go on ahead and take this the wrong way
Time's not your friend

Well I fell in love
With your sailor's mouth and your wounded eyes
You better get down on the floor
Don't you know this is war?


- Tom Waits

Cheap motel pants

Alternative title to this blog: Don't you find it infuriating when someone you love ignores your messages?

Wasted and wounded,
it ain't what the moon did,
I've got what I paid for now


I think one of the most difficult things about growing up involves losing your belief in the just-world phenomenon. This is the idea that good things happen to good people, and bad things happen to bad people. Because they deserve them. I still frequently find myself subscribing to this fallacy even though as I get older I find more and more evidence against it being true. It just doesn’t work that way, and it sucks.

Another thing I’m struggling with: I’ve always had this mental soundtrack to my life playing in my head. This soundtrack plays as an invisible, omniscient audience watches my life unfold and cheers me on as I travel life’s treacherous terrain, navigating the pitfalls and dangerous curves. They see that good things are just around the corner for me and they are saying, “Hang in there girl! Just a little longer!”

I am finding it incredibly disheartening to realize it doesn’t actually work this way.

I'm an innocent victim of a blinded alley
And I'm tired of all these soldiers here
No one speaks English, and everything's broken, and my Stacys are soaking wet


Take my friend Rannie, for example. She passed away on Sunday from cancer at age 33. That is so fucking unfair. It was clear that she was on her deathbed, and she and her fiancĂ© got married in bed in their pajamas shortly before she died. She was lovely and sweet and smart and loved. And so fucking young. And she’s gone.

Now the dogs are barking and the taxi cab's parking
A lot they can do for me
I begged you to stay with me, you tore my shirt open,
And I'm down on my knees tonight


Take my uncle Mike, the second one of my uncles to die in the last couple of months. He was dirt poor all of his life. He worked shit jobs or had a hard time finding work at all. His daughter was killed when someone slipped methadone in her drink when she was 21. He stepson died after being trapped in a fire in his college dorm. His son has been in prison for nearly all his adult life. My uncle just didn’t care about his life anymore after all this, and drank himself to death. When I look at his life and the fact that he just never seemed to get any fucking breaks it makes me furious.

And you can ask any sailor, and the keys from the jailor,
And the old men in wheelchairs know

I’ve long been under the impression that everyone gets their happy ending at some point. That all the time and effort and getting by LEAD to something. Like getting out of prison for good behavior.

I’ve also been under the impression that I was destined for great things. I can remember being in college and feeling with every fiber of my being that I would go on to do something important. I still often feel it. I feel like great love is in store for me, as well as joy and friendship and financial security and happiness. But there’s actually no reason to think that I am any different. There’s no reason to think there is some larger meaning, that I am impossibly unique and deserving of good fortune. Maybe the best has already happened, and from here on out it’s just putting in the time.

And it's a battered old suitcase to a hotel someplace,
And a wound that will never heal
No prima donna, the perfume is on an
Old shirt that is stained with blood and whiskey
And goodnight to the street sweepers, the night watchmen flame keepers
And goodnight to Mathilda, too

October 27, 2009

Sadness

Today I am crying.

Another one of my uncles died this morning.
My 33 year old friend succumbed to cancer on Sunday and I just found out.
C. is leaving the west coast.

October 24, 2009

Where the wild things are...

Anniversary

Alternative title to this blog: To you

Seventeen years ago today I fell in love with you. Doesn't that seem unbelievable? And how did I know so fast? Was I really that intuitive? Or was I just young and naive and hopeful?

I remember every inch of you: the smell of your hair, the particular shade of brown of your eyes, your long eyelashes, the feel of your hands, the shape of your feet, your impatience in traffic.

I dream of you when I am anxious and afraid. Cricket no longer calls your name, but I imagine that sometimes I still must in my sleep.

I still think of things that I want to tell you and show you, and then I remember that I can't. And even if I could, you probably wouldn't want to hear or see them.

You told me once that you didn't know what to say to me that didn't involve writing a book. And then you never told me any of them.

I can remember an evening in Richmond so clearly. We had come back from dinner, and were walking up the stairs to my apartment. You were 2-3 steps in front of me. At that moment I loved you so much I wanted to bury my face in your neck and steal your warmth and bite you to make sure you were real and living and breathing.

I don't know where you are or what you are doing or how to get in touch with you, and I never dreamed that I would say those words. I don't know how to wrap my head around the fact that I will probably never lay eyes on you again.

I want you to know that if you needed something I would do whatever I could to give it to you. And I want you to know that I take you with me everywhere I go, and that some part of each and every day is still trying to figure out how to be without you.

October 19, 2009

The end

...and another one down
and another one down
and another one bites the dust!

October 12, 2009

"...and separate's always better when there's feelings involved..."

Alternative title to this blog: Two truths, one lie

Once, in a fit of curiosity (and, I don't know, a brief bout of self-loathing?) around two and a half years ago I took a look at C's blog. After reading just a few moments I felt utterly destroyed, so I never looked again.

Tonight I looked at E's blog after a few days' hiatus. In reading the last couple of entries I had missed, I ended up going to bed tearful and filled with dread and anxiety. This was an extreme change from such a lovely weekend. I told myself that--in the interest of self-protection--I could no longer read this blog. No more, no more, no more.

I am thick-skinned.

September 25, 2009

The Mailman


At the age of 6 I became obsessed with our mailman.

He was a tall, gray-haired man with kind eyes and—looking back—was likely on the verge of retirement. I decided I liked him immensely because he reminded me of my grandpa. I wanted desperately for him to be my friend and possibly my new grandparent, but he wanted very little to do with me.

I began by waiting for him on the front porch every day. Around 11am he trekked through our yard littered with my Big Wheel and naked Barbies in various positions of fornication. I felt slight embarrassment over the Barbies in the 69 position on the second step, and self-consciously kicked them into the bushes as he approached. He handed me our stack of mail and I beamed and gave him the most polite “Thank you” I could muster. “You’re welcome,” he said simply, and headed toward the next house. Soon this daily ritual became unsatisfying.

I noted that he started his route each morning by getting the mail out of the big blue post office mailbox on the corner, so the next time he arrived I was waiting on top with my legs sprawled on either side of the little door. “Good morning,” he said, as he bent down to unlock the front and retrieve the letters and cards inside.

“Good morning,” I chirped in a sing-song voice, packing all the love and affection into my greeting that I could.

Now we were finally getting somewhere. Soon I would be perched on his lap as he told me stories of his childhood. His wife would be inside baking cookies, and I would be invited to stay in the spare bedroom they had set up just in case a nice little girl came to live with them.

He placed the mail in his truck and hoisted his bag onto his shoulder. I hopped down off the mailbox and began to follow him, sure that my companionship would soften him up. I lagged about 10 feet behind, and waited politely in the yard as he went from stoop to stoop placing letters in the box. Occasionally I would run up behind him and sniff his blue shirt, curious as to whether he smelled of Juicy Fruit gum as my grandpa did. When he paused to sort through the letters in his bag I would surreptitiously pick my nose as I waited patiently and watched him. He eyed me warily and continued along his route. I wasn’t allowed to wander more than a few houses away, so at the Westfall’s place I would wave and holler after him, “Goodbye! I’ll see you tomorrow!” He never answered and never turned back.

One day I was later than usual coming outside, and—to my joy—discovered that he was eating lunch inside of his mail truck down the street. I trotted over to the window and knocked on it. He glanced up at me and then went back to the bologna sandwich and the newspaper he was reading. To entertain him I did cartwheels, jumping jacks, and Pop Warner cheers on the sidewalk next to his truck. I never saw him look up once.

I couldn’t understand it. I was trying as hard as I could and he wasn’t interested in taking me home with him. Why couldn’t he see that I could fill the empty space in his life? In anger and frustration, I wiped a booger on his window and stomped off dramatically. I would have to think carefully about my next step.

On a night when my stepfather was on a particularly cruel rampage, I curled in the corner of my bedroom and tried to think of a way out. I needed someone to take me where no one could find me. Suddenly I knew that the mailman could help me; I just had to make him understand the urgency of my situation.

The next morning I climbed out of bed and tore a page out of my Wonder Woman coloring book. With red crayon, I carefully printed the words, “Mailman, Help me get out. Please. Love, Amie.” I tip-toed out of the house and anxiously waited on the front porch for his arrival. He just had to help me, and I began to cry as I imagined the relief I would feel once I arrived safely at his house.

Like clockwork he arrived with his mailbag, and I thrust my letter into his hand. He looked down at it and frowned. I sniffed and wiped my nose on the back of my shirt, looking at him expectantly. I imagined being whisked away in his mail truck amidst the Publisher’s Clearinghouse winner notifications and the Hills department store sales flyers. He cleared his throat and handed my note back along with a small stack of junk mail. As he turned his back and walked down the steps, I sat down where I was standing and started to cry.

September 23, 2009

Inspiration and the forms in which it comes

I have always needed a lot of attention.

I didn't get a lot of it from my parents, but my grandpas--whenever I visited--lavished me with it. I soaked it up like a thirsty plant. Time, affection, love: I couldn't get enough.

When I couldn't get my needs met from others, I found ways to make do and meet them myself. I would tuck myself in bed, wrap my arms around myself in a tight hug, shower my hand with kisses and pat them all over my face, and murmur night-time endearments to myself: "Good night, sweet girl. I love you so much. I love you more than anything in the world. You're my baby; you're my sweetheart. Good night."

These intense needs are cute and endearing in a little kid, but not so much in a grown woman--especially in a grown woman who doesn't always know how to ask for what she wants and needs.

As an adult I have found that this need has a profound effect on me. Attention and affection--or the lack thereof--have dramatic effects on my writing, inspiration, and creativity and the forms which they take. It profoundly affects my mood which is, at best, tenuous. It is also surprisingly easy to confuse sex with the attention that I crave. I have worked hard to be conscious of these distinctions and to learn to better distinguish when I need one or the other. Or both.

I still hoard attention when I can get it. I try to store it up and allow myself to savor the memories of it during dry spells however long or short they may be. Lately I luxuriate in it whenever I can, and I am starting to feel writing inspiration coming to me. It's still a bit elusive--like fireflies heading up, up, and just beyond my reach. But I keep jumping and swatting at the air, trying to bring them down to me.

September 22, 2009

having two poles; characterized by opposite extremes

Today I had a long talk with someone who is bipolar. It is only the second opportunity I've had to talk to someone who is like me. I found myself blurting out all these private things I don't usually talk or write about, because I knew I would be understood.

And I was.

September 20, 2009

Sweetness.

I dreamed I was a kid at summer camp. I dreamed of a wonderful job offer. I dreamed of an Indian restaurant where the music they played had secret meaning. The music was code for an ancient language most people had long since forgotten. I dreamed of someone I once loved drinking chocolate milk.

September 15, 2009

Vertigo


Vertigo is the conflict between the fear of falling and the desire to fall.

- Salman Rushdie

A box full of suggestions for your possible heart




a good woman will pick you apart
a box full of suggestions for your possible heart
but you may be offended and you may be afraid
don't walk away, don't walk away


-Bright Eyes

September 14, 2009

Inspiration






On protocol

I have resisted writing this particular blog. As much as I love having readers, sometimes I start to censor myself in order to protect one of them or—more often—to protect myself.

I started this blog as a place to express my thoughts and explore my creative urges and if I can’t do that, what is the use? I tend to think and write in metaphor and symbol and much of my blog reflects this, but sometimes I just need to come out and say what I mean. This is a constant struggle in my personal life. I am trying to get better. So here goes.

I feel like I am terrible at this dating thing.

I’ve gone out with 70+ guys in the last year or so (I KNOW! BELIEVE ME, I KNOW!). Some of them read this blog (Hi folks!). But by the end of all that I was so…tired. I met some very nice people (and some BATSHIT CRAZY ones—a couple of those written about in other blog entries). Mostly the dates consisted of a pleasant enough dinner and small talk and getting-to-know-you kind of stuff. Sometimes I was incredibly bored and discreetly glancing at the clock, wondering how soon I could be home and in bed (ALONE). Almost always I could tell that this would be the first and only time I would ever see this person.

Well, I finally met someone I like.

Here’s the tricky part, see? There’s the risk of saying the wrong thing. There’s the risk of giving too much away. There’s the risk of allowing myself to be vulnerable. Just by writing this I know very well that I could be hastening a fragile beginning’s demise.

I can’t help it. I never was very good at keeping my mouth shut for long.

I don’t know how to do this and I’m not sure how to figure it out. I’ve made a very real effort not to stress or overanalyze and—for the most part—I’ve done well. But sometimes the real me breaks through even though I thought I had her muzzled and blindfolded and tied up in a basement somewhere. I start to worry that I don’t know how often to call, so I just don’t call at all. I worry that I don’t know how often to see each other, so I just don’t bring it up at all. Why is it so hard to say, “I like you. I like talking to you. I like spending time with you”? Everyone’s an adult here. I don’t think anyone’s consciously playing games. It’s just that the fear of rejection is a very powerful one.

Of course, everyone has advice to offer. Some are in the camp of, “Men like the chase. Don’t make it too easy.” Others are in the, “Just say it. Say it all! If he likes you he can handle it” camp. (Oh, but they don’t know how much I always seem to have to say!)

Meanwhile I tread water; I try to distract myself; I spend time with friends; I tend virtual farms on Facebook; I write and dance around my feelings; I bide my time. I wonder.

There.

I may very well have said the wrong thing. I may very well have given too much away. I am, in fact, vulnerable. I don’t know any other way to be.

September 10, 2009

Edit the sad parts (2)



Sometimes all I really want to feel is love
Sometimes I'm angry that I feel so angry
Sometimes my feelings get in the way
Of what I really feel I needed to say

- Modest Mouse

Profit


Some of you are aware that--since moving to San Francisco--my feet have received a bizarre amount of attention. I have been approached by men on buses, including bus drivers, men on the street, and one guy who yelled at them for not having the right to look the way they did.

I wrote about one of these incidents here.

These stories became quite a joke among my friends and naturally everyone wanted to know what they looked like. We agreed that the flip-flop market seems to be an untapped land of opportunity for men with foot fetishes, because that's what I tend to wear. We joked about me starting a website.

Recently, my friend Bob took a folklore class at Berkeley and documented the stories about and pictures of my feet for the folklore archives at the school. Admittedly, this was kind of cool.

In the last few days I've been asked by two different men if they could worship my feet. It's hard to know how to feel about this. But the website idea has arisen again and a friend of mine who is pretty tech-savvy offered to help me set it up with a Paypal account. I'm supposed to brainstorm a good title.

September 9, 2009

A summary of the self

"I am a man. I has a job. I like have the fun. I say funny things with friends. We laugh and laugh. My life good.

At work, I make the drinks for people. They come to see me. They laugh and tell stories. They pay me. That helps me when the bills come. They come in the mail sometimes.

I like to travel in cars or airplanes. I don't like trains to travel. someday I want to go all over the countries. That would make me happy.

I also like the plants. I have many that I give water to. They seem to laugh and laugh."

I just don't know what to do with myself.



Winged and stringed



September 8, 2009

On doubt

“You know you’re worth it, right?” her friend asked. She gulped and nodded hesitantly. “You’re worth all the good that comes your way and then some,” the friend continued, “because you’re amazing.”

On hesitation

“Do you want to see me anymore?” she asked carefully.

“Yes,” he said softly.

Blinking back tears of relief, she responded, “I want to see you, too, so we’ll figure the rest out as we go along.”

This must be the place (Naive Melody)

Home is where I want to be
Pick me up and turn me round
I feel numb - born with a weak heart
I guess I must be having fun
The less we say about it the better
Make it up as we go along
Feet on the ground
Head in the sky
It's ok I know nothing's wrong . . nothing

I got plenty of time
You got light in your eyes
And you're standing here beside me
I love the passing of time
Never for money
Always for love
Cover up and say goodnight

Home - is where I want to be
But I guess I'm already there
I come home - she lifted up her wings
Guess that this must be the place
I can't tell one from another
Did I find you, or you find me?
There was a time before we were born
If someone asks, this is where I'll be

We drift in and out
Sing into my mouth
Out of all those kinds of people
You got a face with a view
I'm just an animal looking for a home
Share the same space for a minute or two
And you love me till my heart stops
Love me till I'm dead
Eyes that light up, eyes look through you
Cover up the blank spots
Hit me on the head

--Talking Heads

September 7, 2009

My interpretation

Geloe (Geh-LOW-ee)

She switches from quiet, brooding and dark, to sarcastic, lively and teasing, depending on the situation. She is no thug, that much is clear, but her words are her weapons, used to deflect, to cut, to wound or defend. While, at times, she seems to channel her mother's fiery temper, she has none of the mindless ranting. Everything she does, every argument she gets into, there's a reason behind....

Geloe has a fondness for brooding, but not to the point of being somber. She's a quiet and reserved child who likes to observe things from afar, rather than be in the thick of things and the center of attention. Social situations generally make her uncomfortable. If she is approached and asked to do something she'll do it to the best of her ability. She takes a quiet sort of pride in her work, knowing she's done the best she can. There is rarely a day that she'll complain about what she's asked to do, and often enjoys challenging endeavors. She enjoys mental challenges just for the thrill of them. They allow her the rare opportunity to exercise her mind. She often feels stunted by the Old City environment, but it is the only home that she knows. She would never dream of ever leaving the family and friends she's made there, to become one of those miserable wallers. She's fiercely protective of everyone she loves, but woe betide those who have made her 'List'...

September 4, 2009

How you taste

We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection. - Anais Nin

August 28, 2009

Written on the body

My very first boyfriend--and the first person I ever kissed--just got in touch with me and it was a very interesting experience. We spent time reminiscing about how young and silly we were in the 9th and 10th grade, and who we went on to date after we broke up. I told him I cried for days after he broke up with me, and he apologized. He said, "If I'd know then what I know now..." We talked about our lives since that time of innocence. It really made my day.

On another note...

At work we have a $300 "personal development fund" that has to be used by the end of our fiscal year, August 31. I hadn't used mine yet, so I quickly scheduled a Swedish massage, facial, and seaweed body wrap for Monday after work.

I never get to fully indulge.

August 25, 2009

Dear Future Me

Awhile back I wrote about accidentally sending myself a message of love and comfort. Well, today at work my lovely friend S.C. told me about a wonderful website called http://www.futureme.org/ on which you can send letters to yourself to be delivered in the future.

I love this.

I have been inundated today with thoughts about what to tell my future self and when to tell it. Do I remind myself of my secrets wishes, desires, and plans? Do I warn myself against certain possible future actions? Do I reassure myself that--no matter what is happening at that point in the future--I am going to be okay? The possibilities are endless.

August 19, 2009

Happy

Happy birthday to you (wherever you are).

Lack of subtlety

I was so furious with my alarm clock this morning when it went off. I angrily told it that it had no sense of subtlety as I slammed my hand down on top of it in my half comatose state. I want an alarm clock that will rub my back and whisper softly in my ear that it is time to get up.

August 13, 2009

Lovahs

J.D.: "We're not lovers."

L.L.: "Ooh, that word bums me out unless it's between the words 'meat' and 'pizza.'"

"Our mother should have just named you..."


Laika was a Soviet space dog (c. 1954 – November 3, 1957) who became the first mammal to orbit the Earth and the first orbital death. Little was known about the impact of space flight on living things at the time Laika's mission was launched. Some scientists believed humans would be unable to survive the launch or the conditions of outer space, so engineers viewed flights by non-human animals as a necessary precursor to human missions...Laika, a stray, underwent training with two other dogs, and was eventually chosen as the occupant of the Soviet spacecraft Sputnik 2 that was launched into outer space on November 3, 1957. Sputnik 2 was not designed to be retrievable, and Laika had always been intended to die.

August 12, 2009

A partial list

On the way home from work today, I felt the panic rising in me rapidly. In an attempt to head off a full-blown panic attack, I told myself all the reasons I could think of that I was feeling freaked out. Some are bigger than others. This is an incomplete list of what I said out loud in my car.

You're freaked out because...

...you hate your job and there's no end in sight.
...money is so tight and there's no end in sight.
...you're afraid you'll never get out of San Francisco.
...you're afraid you'll leave San Francisco and then regret it.
...you're afraid of a big earthquake that will cause you to die in San Francisco.
...you like him and that's terrifying.
...you're afraid if he finds out you're freaked out he'll be freaked out.
...you're afraid to meet his friends.
...so many of the people you've loved most in the world are dead.
...you might never be the same again.
...it might never be the same again.
...you're afraid you'll never run again.
...you're afraid you'll never run in a race again.
...you anticipate dealing with S. leaving again.
...you might always be grossed out by cooking fish.
...you haven't renewed the registration on your car yet.
...you're overdue for an oil change.
...you can't. get. enough. sleep.
...you spent your lunch break asleep in your car on yet another day.
...you can't seem to stay awake while driving.
...you need more and more coffee for minimal functioning.
...you're afraid you've lost your friend M.
...you don't have any contact with your brothers.
...you aren't making greeting cards.
...your sex drive has dwindled since starting birth control pills again.
...you didn't like the last couple of boxes you made.
...your creativity seems to be gone.
...no one wants to publish your writing.
...you want your Facebook status update to suck a giant dick.
...you're tired of Tweeting.
...you're tired.

August 11, 2009

Haiku 35

My hobbies? Uno,
and rejecting folks before
they can reject me.

--Taken from 123 I Love You

August 9, 2009

On love

(I was trying to describe this to a friend and decided to put it here, despite my fears.)

I have found that there are at least two kinds of romantic love. There is the first type which is sweet and lovely and tender. It can sneak up on you. It makes you feel good and warm and safe, like a canoe on a still lake in the summer sunshine.

There is also the second kind. This kind makes you feel wild and desperate for something to cling to in order to keep from drowning, like a piece of driftwood in a turbulent sea. It is shifting and uncertain; it makes you feel insecure and terrified but is somehow still wildly addicting.

Probably there are other kinds and even hybrids of these, but these are the ones I have experienced.

A friend recently asked me which I prefer. At one time I would have been irresistibly curious about the second kind but, having now been there, I have to say the sweet and gentle one is for me. It doesn't make you question who you are. It doesn't make you want to die from agony. It makes you close your eyes and smile. It makes you want to be a better person.

I look like a new woman.

I might have a whole new life next time you see me.

August 4, 2009

Shock

My uncle was found dead this evening. I just got off the phone with my family and I'm sitting on my bed trying to think clearly. I can't seem to.

On unrequited love

Man, I was thinking about unrequited love. I figure it's best to just walk that shit off. Find someone else to be excited about. It's like if you love ice cream but your ice cream man friend won't give you any. Maybe he's got a good reason. It cuts into profits. Who knows? But he likes you as a friend and wants to hang out anyway. It just drives you crazy to hang out with that dude, even if he's being reasonable from his point of view. So don't hang out with him. What, you ONLY like ice cream? It's ice cream or nothing? Don't be an asshole. Learn to love donuts.

- Joey Comeau

August 3, 2009

On getting down

I'm noticing some annoying patterns in myself that are getting me in a rut:

1) During the weekdays, I get down in the evenings. Not "get down" as in "get funky" but as in "get depressed." This is true even if I've had a decent day at work. I think it's the drudgery of coming home alone and the fact that I'm not building in enough things for me to look forward to in the evenings.

2) My diet needs some serious revamping because what I eat currently makes me feel like shit. I am currently reading Skinny Bitch that purports to advise you on cutting crap (both overt and covert) out of your diet, including sugar, meat, dairy, and alcohol. It depressed me so much this evening that I had some wine to make me feel better.

I am out of control.

July 30, 2009

Another message I received that made me smile

Why are strangers messaging me? If they say stuff like this, though, I can't complain:

Your smile is off the charts. You may get that same comment from everyone since they can all see those pics. People who smile that sincerely get you all twisted up trying to think of new ways to make them smile.

July 27, 2009

A MySpace message

"i have a hard time expressing myself, pretty much all of the time, if there's no music involved. but your list of movies and books really makes me want to spend months in a large, comfy, bed-like area with you. maybe one day."

July 26, 2009

The ethical slut

I'm having one of those days when I feel the inner conflict of pent-up, raging restlessness and complete fatigue. Part of me says LET'S GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE AND GO PICK STRAWBERRIES/TAKE A WALK/TAKE A DRIVE/BUY A BIKE PUMP and the rest of me is like ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING?! SHUT YER FACE AND TAKE A NAP! Mostly I need to clean my house. Mostly I want to have sex all day. YES I JUST WENT THERE.

N. recommends I borrow Bree's "The Ethical Slut" and then sleep with a lot of people.

According to my shrink, now that my moods are under control and no longer the primary drivers of every single thing that I do and think, I am free to listen to other urges and drives in my body. The confusion I feel is because I'm not used to how to navigate with these new needs running the show.

Yesterday I confided my mixed relationship and sexual urges to S. I really wanted to talk to a man about them. He listened patiently and then said simply, "You're turning into a dude." Then we proceeded to have the worst mixed drink in the world and to watch the worst movie in the world and still managed to laugh all evening.

On the avoidance of cluster-fucks

When I was a kid, I used to dig up flower bulbs and re-plant them all around the yard. I loved the surprise of flowers popping up at random intervals around the lawn instead of in the neat little clusters that everyone else seemed to like.

July 25, 2009

Inner rooms

"You are as much a real person as you are deep. As with the depths of a diamond, the interior is twice as important as the surface. There are people who are all facade, like a house left unfinished when the funds run out. They have the entrance of a palace but the inner rooms of a cottage."

It seems to be true...

...that all men (and women?) want a whore in the bedroom.

Note to self: practice more.

July 23, 2009

Confidential note to T.K.

Turns out it will be sooner than expected! =)

July 22, 2009

Once upon a time

They stood in the dark on their last night together, running their hands over each others' bodies in silence. "You must know I'm falling in love with you," she said softly, her voice cracking with emotion.

"That's a little impractical, don't you think?" he asked quietly.

She covered her face in her hands with hurt and embarrassment and curled into a protective ball.

July 21, 2009

My 43 things

There is a website called www.43things.com where you can make a list of goals for yourself, share them with others, meet people with the same goals, assess your progress, etc. It's kind of fun.

I just came across my list again and thought I'd share it. I've actually done four of these now, although I cannot say which ones...

take a last-minute trip somewhere (anywhere)
go somewhere naked under a trench-coat
learn Spanish
swim in the Blue Grotto
figure out where my home is
publish a short story
go to the cafe in Prague where you throw stale rolls at people
take singing lessons
go hang-gliding
wave from such great heights
see a fjord in Norway
establish a more consistent sleep schedule
move away from it
treat myself to some Brown Sugar Body Polish
make a chocolate souffle
go easier on myself
record my dreams more often
take a hot air balloon ride
drink another lemon freeze in Capri
be able to smell my grandmother's house again
get one of my postcard secrets on the PostSecret website
drink more water
visit Kyoto
feed fish from my bungalow above the water in Fiji
stop letting fear guide my decisions
learn to make great hot rolls
visit the Red Square in Moscow
stop censoring what I say
see the northern lights
make a little personalized box
keep all the little lists I stuff in my bags and pockets
put my blow-torch to good use
get better at de-seeding pomegranates by spanking them
remember that I still have the capacity to surprise myself

July 19, 2009

Screw this day!

I've had a surprisingly bad day for a Sunday.

The elderly lady I visit for my new part-time job doesn't really like me, and asked me to leave.

I just found out my fall class got canceled because of budget cutbacks.

Next I'll likely find out my car has been stolen or we'll have a giant earthquake. Maybe both.

*grumble grumble*

July 14, 2009

Instructions

Dave's instructions for the "Mac 'n' Cheese Off" our book club is having while in Tahoe next month:

Mac 'n' cheese contest:

1) Make mac 'n' cheese
2) Eat mac 'n' cheese
3) Discuss mac 'n' cheese, potentially coming up with a favorite
4) Award prizes

All recipes must contain: 1) macaroni; 2) cheese. Any and all additions to the big two are acceptable.

Questions?

For Emma, forever ago

With all your lies,
You're still very lovable.

I toured a light
So many foreign roads
For Emma, forever ago.

July 9, 2009

"You've got a face with a view."

Yesterday was so bad that I took myself out and bought two new scarves. And a couple of shirts. And some pants. And some air freshener. And a chicken sandwich.

I was a bundle of anxious energy and nerves this morning at the thought of returning to work--the source of all the angst yesterday. I was making myself sick.

As all this is happening, today was the last day of my summer class. Three different students came up and spoke to me privately before they left about how much they loved the class and my teaching style and, as one put it, warmth.

It felt a little like they knew I particularly needed to hear it today.

July 1, 2009

Cream of the crop

Despite all the time that has gone by, I am still conscious of the 24th of each month, and I know I am the only one who is. It hurts to feel easily forgotten.

In spite of the way things played out, I know that had Paul and I moved to Spain when we were planning to, our time there would be coming to an end. It is terrifying that I was so ready to walk away from my entire life but, on the other hand, I always knew I would be. I can't say that I won't be again.

In spite of my fear I am once again hopeful. It is too early to tell if I am living in a fantasy again.

I turn off my alarm.
I think. I imagine.
I eat my breakfast.
I go to work.
I drink my coffee.
I wait. And count down.
I answer my emails.
I wait. I wonder what if...
I drive home in silence because my head is roaringly loud.
I greet my parrots.
I wait. Often not in vain. But I hate that I wait. It makes me feel powerless.

Springs eternal

I've always dreaded and feared the moment when it starts to become important. This is the transition from "This is nice," to "I really want this." This is the time when I become vulnerable. This is the time when some of the power is taken away and placed into someone else's hands, and it is terrifying. But no matter how many times hope has been beaten down it blossoms again

To love you back

Him: When I was a boy, there was a girl about 4 years younger than me named Amber who had been in love with me since before she could talk. I always thought she was a shy girl but she was not shy. She was heartstricken with me, and I was too young to love her back.

Her: When I was leaving Richmond and moving to San Francisco, there was a guy I hardly knew who showed up to my going away party 3 nights before I was to leave. I'd only been introduced to him once, and the other times I'd seen him he was a silent presence at a table full of noisy friends. He showed up alone to my party and sat down next to me. I was startled to see him, and said tactlessly, "Maki! What are you doing here?" He said simply, "I came to find you. I thought you might want someone to move to San Francisco with you. I'll go whenever you're ready." I was completely taken aback. I kissed his cheek and told him gently, "I have someone that I'm going with," because at the time I did. His face fell, and after that night I never saw him again.

June 29, 2009

I want

E: In my own case, the feeling manifests as a call to something ancient, it feels like, in my marrow...I want to chant the saga of my fathers and their fathers before them, I want to carve my own tale on the pages of the world and shout a battle cry into a wall of enemy shields; I want to slay giants and woo the noblewomen of Faerie...I want to shout at the stars that I exist, and call on the gods to witness my deeds, and at the end of it all, I want my own people to sing of me for generations.


A: I want to tell my younger self that I will make it far away from him. I want to tell her not to wish the seconds and minutes and hours and days and weeks and months and years away. I want to tell her not to trust her mother no matter how tempting it is. I want to tell her she is worth it. I want to tell her that she deserves better and to never forget it, even when it feels like she won't get it.

No one does it like you.

(But I tried so hard.)

Just talking to her

June 28, 2009

Some days, like today

I have so much pent-up sexual energy it feels like there is a constant porn film playing in the background of my head. Good God. Is this what it's like to be a man?

June 22, 2009

Snippets

"I don't want you to hate me," he said, stifling a sob. I put my arms around him.

"I don't hate you," I replied. "I love you."

* * * * * *

"Why can't you talk to ME!?" she shouted. "What kind of crazy fuck goes to a shrink?!"

* * * * * *

"You need to fight for yourself. Fight for yourself like I know you would fight for me," she said tearfully.

* * * * * *

"Even after all those years and all those hard times, my heart still beat faster when I heard his footsteps on the stairs," she said, a far-off look in her eyes.

* * * * * *

"I'm leaving him and he knows I'm leaving him," she typed to me.

* * * * * *

"I think it would be really something to know you," she said shyly, standing at the entrance of my cubicle.

* * * * * *

"I came to see you," he corrected. "I know you're moving to San Francisco and I thought you might like someone to go with you." Hope was written on his face.

"I have someone I'm going with," I said gently. His face fell.

* * * * * *

"I know it sounds boring, but I think it's the boring things I remember most," he said wistfully.

* * * * * *

"When I'm with you I remember things better and when I look at you it feels like home," she cried desperately. "You can't go!"

June 12, 2009

Tonight

Tonight I'm singing the blues in dark, smoky jazz club. I will saunter across the stage as my voice reaches out to the lonely souls in the room. In between songs I'll toss back some whiskey--it adds to the sultry, huskiness of my voice--and tell stories of loss and longing. Then with a nod of my head, the band behind me will strike up the next song, and we will play late into the night.

Or, I could just do laundry.

10 things that are true.

1. It means a lot that she still writes to me.
2. I can't open that box.
3. I tried to take care of you.
4. I didn't take care of myself.
5. I miss having a grandpa.
6. She inspired me to sign up.
7. I am intimidated by the suddenness.
8. I can't stop imagining horrific crashes of cars and planes when I drive.
9. She walked across the bridge with me to help me feel less afraid.
10. French onion Sun Chips are best.