31.12.09

A Brand, Shiny, New Year

3 comments
Well, My Darlings,

On this eve of the eve of the new year, I send you my greatest wishes that you all have a spectacular year to come.  Or at least passing.  Mediocre at worst.  Know what?  Let's call it even that I wish you the best and if it doesn't work out that way for you, well, it wasn't me.  I wanted all the best for all of you.  But if you can't get it together to have a terrific year, well, maybe that requires some introspection, eh?  I'm not pointing fingers or anything, but, well, we all know that sometimes some of you don't really try.

Just know that I'm wishing good things for you.  Or at least most of you.  Not that I wish anyone ill, I just might concentrate more on those of you I like the best.  Like, "Oh, I really hope the best for Cecil."  as opposed to "I wonder what Mavis is doing?"  You see the difference, right?  One contains a hope/wish for the best, the other is a mere passing thought.

To ensure you get a wish for the best, you can send cash or the standard precious metal to me no later than the 7th of January and I'll get you on the list.  Otherwise, well, you see where I'm going...  And this only applies to those of you I like the least (if you have to ask, this means you).  The rest of you are in the clear, no remuneration necessary.

I love you all (well...ish),  but I at least like most of you and don't dislike any of you.  Much.  But I like to hedge my bets, make you all feel secure so if I need something from you, you always believe that I like you and would do anything for you.  But I guess I shouldn't have told you that.  Now you'll all be suspicious.

So, I take that back, I love you all and hope you have a fanfuckingfarouttastic coming year.  And remember what good ol' Ben Franklin said:  Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors and let every new year find you a better (hu)man.

And if you need suggestions for resolutions, here are a few reliable ones:  1) Get (back) in shape.  2) Solve the problem of world hunger.  3) Get that tattoo (removed).  4) Clean the house more than bi-anually.  5) Quit smoking (again).  6) Bring peace to earth.  7) Learn Japanese.  8) Paddle-boat to Australia.  9) Reverse global warming.  10) Believe the improbable.

Happy New Year y'all.  

29.12.09

Trashed

1 comments
My house is a mess.  Trashed is more like it.  I have about 700 pounds of laundry to do.  The trash pile is so big, I'm pretty sure it's become sentient and is reproducing.

On the upside, my house is my own again (well - and Matt's).  I'll be in a better mood soon.

16.12.09

I Cannot Wait...*

5 comments
...to buy my Christmas dinner ingredients

...to open my favorite wine to go with dinner

...for egg-nog and gingerbread cookies

...to wrap presents with Matt

...to start reading Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue

...to play backgammon and Scene It

...to show everyone my totally flippin' awesome yoga Christmas tree ornament:























...to use the good china

...to pop popcorn and watch The Ref, The Life of Brian, and It's a Wonderful Life

...to see the relatives off

...to usher in the new year with Dick Clark, Matt, and some fairly decent champagne and be done with the holidays for another year


*idea purloined from Hannah

9.12.09

Written in My Own Hand

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Handwriting is something I love.  I probably should hve been  graphologist.

When I was in college, I took notes by hand.  I think this is still done, but it's more and more common to see computers in the classroom.  My nephew takes a laptop to class and classrooms are now equipped with SMART Boards that allow teachers to both write on the board or bring in typed text and manipulate them in real time.  No more chalk dust.  There's even a system where kids have electronic buttons at their desks that they use to answer multiple choice test questions and shows a graph at the end of each test of how the class did (not individuals, but the class overall) on the test.

Kids still have paper and pens and pencils for a lot of classwork, but most homework ends up getting typed.  I'm guessing that someday soon, there'll even be a way to have most classwork typed, too.

Even correspondence ends up being largely digital.  I used to write letters by hand.  Then, slowly, people stopped writing back.  Instead, I'd get an email.  Don't get me wrong, I love the convenience of email, the ease and immediacy of it, but I feel a loss that nothing is hand written anymore.  Even inviatations - mostly e-vites.

I'm not making a huge case for the formality of a hand written letter or invitation, but there is a touch of care there that I miss in the digital form.  It's just a small effort that makes me feel nice.  But that's not what I miss most.

I think the thing I miss the most about handwriting is what it says about the writer.  Not the words, but the script itself.  I feel the personality of the writer just by seeing the writing.  Even my own writing as it evolves over time tells me where I was when I wrote something.

I was going through some old notes from college yesterday - notes written strictly in green ink dispensed from  a Pilot pen - and even less than ten years ago, my handwriting was different.  Not hugely so, but somewhat.

I have letters from a friend of mine from our early 20s.  She's an artist and it shows in her letters.  She paid all attention to color and line.  She would occasionally make shapes with the words or colors on the page.  She chose her paper carefully and made sure that it was always compatible with her writing medium.  Sure, she did it because she knew it was cool looking, but it was more because she like to do it.  She liked to make it look a certain way.

I can identify all of her letters by sight.  Not only because they're beautiful, but because I recognize her writing - even as it evolved over the years.  It's a cool, fun connection to a person I love.

I also like that I can go back to my own notes and read things that I undeniably wrote, but that I can't identify with and would never have believed I ever thought if I hadn't seen the proof written in my own hand.

These little revelations about my thought processes at times in the past is the most fun.  The marginalia in novels I haven't read for years is particularly fun.  Perspectives on character and plot that seemed so definitive when I was 18 is much less obvious 18(ish) years later.

I type most of what I write these days because to write it out longhand and then transcribe it to a word processor is a waste of time.  But I still write letters - even though no one writes back - and I have a lot of notebooks where I keep ideas and outlines.  I do it because I like the feeling of the pen in my hand and the sensation of putting ink on paper.  I also do it because someday I'll look at the notes I write today and laugh or think WTF, man?  And it will be fun.

3.12.09

Slack

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I feel slack.  Not like a slacker, mind you, just slack.  Like the tension just broke and I'm all loose and, well, slack.  I like the sensation, but I know that what's coming in the realm of tension is going to exceed my normal limits.

See, my in-laws are coming for Christmas.  Under the best circumstances, I only like about half of them, but circumstances are not usually the best.  Usually, as will occur starting on the 24th of this month, they will descend en masse (not that the masse is so large, but they don't trickle is all I'm saying) having already spent too much time in the car together.

Matt's aunt and mother fight a lot.  A lot.  And then they stop speaking to each other for months and/or years at a time.  You might not realize how awesome this makes family gatherings, so let me just say, it's just fantastic.

Matt's dad is pretty quiet most of the time - to the point that conversation is somewhat difficult.  This, too, makes gatherings a blast.  I hear that conversations that begin and end in 30 seconds or less are de rigueur this holiday season.  I'm only sorry I can't put a 30-second conversation in all of your Christmas stockings as a little bonus.

Matt's brother and brother's girlfriend are cool people, but even they will be cranky and unpleasant by the time they arrive.  This will be justified as having spent 5 hours in a car with people who are fighting and/or silent is bound to get to even the most fun-loving person.

I don't have to put all of them up (so sad) because we don't have the room, but they're all going to be at our house most of the time.  This is my real Christmas present from Santa.  Apparently I've been naughty.

I wish I liked them better.  I really do.  I also deal with them much better in smaller groupings.  Somehow togetherness is not their strong suit.  It exacerbates lifetimes-old rivalries and brings decades-old arguments back to the present.

They don't arrive for 21 days and the bickering has already commenced.  There's the question of who will be staying with us and which of the party will be staying at a hotel and what so-and-so has on his/her Christmas list. 

Then there's the matter of food.  One person doesn't like fish, another doesn't eat beef, three really "don't care for" lamb.  One would really prefer to have turkey and one is a pescetarian.  Sweet Jesus and ice cream.  So after much email negotiation, I've settled on  a bone-in pork loin for the bulk of the party and a largeish piece of salmon for the pain in my ass pescetarian.

I can feel the pull on the end of the line already.

21.11.09

Woo woo! Bing! Bing! Bing!

4 comments

Done and done.

Today I finished my 30th yoga class.  Yay.  The other thing I finished was my 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month!

The yoga challenge was kind of not much of anything.  I did improve my standing bow (thanks to the suggestions of several helpful yogis).  I need to work on separate leg head to knee now...

The thing I'm really excited about is the writing.  It isn't a good novel, it hasn't been edited at all and I'm pretty sure that it has a bunch of circles in the plot, but I've barfed it all out.

19.11.09

The Dud

5 comments
This is for Hannah, inspired by this post.

After I got divorced, I took my sweet time about dating again. I went out here and there, even dated some guys with some consistency, but nothing that was meaningful. I wasn't looking.

After a lot of time had passed and I had done my due soulsearching-WTF-was-I-thinking-theraputic diligence, I decided it was time to give the male population another go. I started talking to the guys I saw regularly on my hikes at Runyon Canyon, I talked to men at parties, and I told everyone I was looking to date.

I was going out quite a bit, but nothing was clicking. Then someone at work set me up with a guy who worked in one of our other offices. We'll call him Todd.

Todd and I had had some minor interaction, but that was it. He was quite good looking and didn't seem to be a total drooler. How wrong I was...

We met downtown, near the corporate apartment where he was temporarily living, for dinner. We went to The Palm because it was in walking distance and he really loved it. I'm not so much a fan, but whatever.

We sat down to dinner and started the requisite chatter. I asked where he went to college and that was it. He pulled the cord on his motormouth and away we went...down memory lane. I heard about his frat brothers and all the "crazy shit" they "pulled all the time."

I heard about the secret car relocation cliche. I heard about the "awesome" practical joke where they filled the chair of Women's Studies office with blow-up dolls, and how they took all of the furniture of an entire floor of one of the buildings and stuffed it into a lecture hall and glued the door shut. It was scintillating.

By the end of dinner, I had uttered under 50 words, more than half of which were, "oooh." I knew we had no future, but I was still going to bed with him because I hadn't had sex for a while and he seemed like he would be good in bed. Wrong again.

We walked back to his apartment. Before we got all the way in the door, he kissed me. I should have known by the kiss to leave then and there, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

Todd couldn't find an erogenous zone with a GPS and full-color pictures. And he was a neck-licker. Why? I don't want spit on my neck just for the sake of having there.

I knew it was a lost cause for me, but I figured I'd let him finish up. Only he was taking forever. I would take part of the responsibility, but I'm sure he wasn't paying any attention to me. So I finally had to put a stop to it because it was getting painful.

I tried to be nice about it. I even offered to finish the task in an alternate way, but he didn't seem to take me seriously and I finally had to say the words "get off me."  That's a bad night for everyone.

I left angry and disgusted. The next day at work he'd left a rose and a note that said, "call me if you change your mind." I was livid. He didn't even have the decency or sense to let it lie.

He has forever since been known as The Dud between me and my friends.

18.11.09

Eat It

2 comments
I really don't like Giada de Laurentiis.  I've never seen a whole one of her shows.  The part that I really do like, though, is the end.  When the food is all prepared and she has to pretend to want to eat it.  It's awesome.  She clearly doesn't want to do it.  She looks slightly terrified as the food approaches her mouth and as she bites down you can see the disgust in her eyes.  Then, my favorite part:  she has to say, "MMMMM.  So good." and swallow.  Although a lot of times they cut away before you see the swallowing, so I'm half-convinced that she spits it out the minute the camera pulls away. 

Why have a cooking show if you don't like food?  Why?

16.11.09

Give it a Click

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I found 1000 Awesome Things yesterday.  It's awesome.  Click it.  Do it.  You know you want to.  You'll be cool if you do and if you don't no one will be your friend anymore.

14.11.09

Queen Raj

3 comments
So I finally made it to the big tent for a class with the Bikram teacher trainees.  Rajashree taught the class (apparently her last until graduation) and it was AWE-SOME. 

It's been a long time since I haven't been able to see myself in the mirror.  I really kind of enjoyed it.  I think I focus too much on what it looks like in the mirror sometimes instead of feeling it.  Looking wasn't an option today and I had one of the best Bikram classes I've had in a long time.

The energy was great and I'm a little bit in love with Raj.  She's funny and she's on top of things.  You think she can't see you?  Wrong.  She can see you and she'll tell you to fix it.

Bikram made a small appearance towards the end of the class.  The thing I've never understood about Bikram is his hair.  I don't get it.  It was flowing freely from under his little cap, though, and that, combined with his outfit made me wonder if I'd somehow entered a Bikram time warp back to the late '70s. 

Overall it was a great experience and I'm going to try to get down there at least one more time before they're done because it really is great energy and great fun.

12.11.09

Toil and Trouble

6 comments
Today was a rough class.  My right shoulder was on fire almost the whole class and my spine might as well have been made of stone.  I didn't really have trouble getting through, but it was just hard.  The funny thing was, as hard as it was, all I could do was laugh.  I laughed at my burning shoulder, my wobbly balancing postures, my very shallow back bends.  Toil, toil, toil.  But laughing about it, so it was really fine.

The trouble came towards the end of class.  I made an impulsive class decision.  I had been going to go to a later class, but then I got my early chores done faster than I thought, so I decided to go to the 11:30 class.  It didn't occur to me until about minute 75 that I hadn't eaten anything and the only water I'd had was what I'd drunk in class.  I only realized it at all because the tingling in my right arm at that moment became a little scary.

Rabbit gave me a huge cramp across my ribcage and sensation rapidly evacuated my face.  I lay down for a minute and, again, had to laugh.  What kind of dumbass goes to yoga without having had at least a glass of water?  Me.  I recovered enough to finish class without incident and got myself a coconut water to fix the tingly-crampiness.

When I got home, Matt made me a sandwich and some ginger tea and laughed at me - and with me.

5.11.09

If The Old 97s Wrote My Life in Songs

3 comments
This meme has floated around my email and facebook for a long time.  I finally did it.  It was fun.

Boy or Girl:
Miss Molly

Describe yourself:
Big Brown Eyes

How do you feel:
King of All of the World

Describe where you currently live:
The Streets of Where I'm From

If you could go anywhere, where would you go:
Bel-Air

Your favorite form of transportation:
Let the Train Blow the Whistle

Your best friend is:
Doreen

You and your best friends are:
Friends Forever

What’s the weather like:
Blinding Sheets of Rain

What’s your favorite time?
She Loves the Sunset

If your life was a tv show, what would it be called:
Dance With Me

What is life to you:
This Beautiful Thing

Your current relationship:
W-I-F-E

Your fear:
Murder (Or a Heart Attack)

What is the best advice you have to give:
Question

Thought for the Day:
Here's to the Halcyon

How I would like to die:
Timebomb

My soul’s present condition:
Weightless

My motto:
What I Wouldn't Do

Mighty White

2 comments
My ex-husband is a dickwad.  This is not a dissertation on his dickwaddery, however.  Well, not exactly, anyway.

Ex's maternal grandmother was a horrible woman.  Horrible.  A conduit of evil.  She was a blackhearted bigot disguised as a tiny southern woman.  This woman actually felt that the KKK was a worthwhile social group.  She was the type of woman who'd poison the neighborhood cats because they knocked over the trash cans.

She was all of these things.  She is currently nothing as she is recently deceased.  This is where the story gets interesting.

I am not pure WASP.  Sure, half, but the other half is pure Mexican.  This means I am not blonde.  Nor am I blue-eyed.  Granny did not approve of a person such as myself for her super-bright-white grandson.

The first time I met the woman she asked me if I had any hobbies like quilting, sewing, or gardening.  No, really, she did.  I said no.  She then said, and I quote here verbatim because I couldn't possibly forget it, "Really?  You don't garden?  I thought you Mexicans were born gardeners.  My yardboys are all Mexicans."

When she was told I had moved around a lot she asked if it was because my father was a migrant worker.  Clearly, she had certain ideas.  Needless to say (yet I say it anyway), I wasn't fond of her and the feeling was mutual.

The last time I saw her was at my wedding to Ex.  She brought us an orchid she had grown.  As I understand it orchids are notoriously hard to cultivate.  We took it home with us, but it died, because I have a brown thumb and Ex didn't care to make an attempt to keep it alive.

I was blamed for the death of the orchid - which was fair enough.  But she held it against me. 

Now she's dead.  I know this because Ex's mother tracked down my mother to let me know that Granny had left me all of her gardening crap.  It was actually specified as her greenhouse and it's contents.  She must have written this will long ago and then forgotten.  I know the bequest was meant to be spiteful, but as it turns out, I could be the proud owner of several varieties of rather valuable orchids and a lot of gardening equipment.

Obviously this made Ex livid.  This is where the dickwaddery comes in.  I think I should make it very clear that I do not want the fucking orchids or anything else from this woman.  However, Ex has apparently told a few people (people who then turned around and told me) that he thought I'd been secretly in contact with Granny for years and had persuaded her to leave me her valuable orchids. 

Um, what?  So not just a dickwad, but a dense dickwad.  Jesus Tapdancing Christ on a bed of Bibb lettuce (which, incidentally, my father did not pick, although there would be nothing wrong with it if he had)!

I have to say, some people really do the world a great service by leaving it.

Mean Ugliness

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I did three yoga classes yesterday. I did a morning class and two evenings. I think it was exactly what I needed - not so much physically, because, while I am a little sore, it's nothing major - but mentally. By the end of the third class, I was thinking mean thoughts about both of my neighbors and the dude in the corner who kept saying, "what?" every time we went into a new pose.  Why is this what I needed, you ask.  Well, I'll tell you.

It started somewhere after we hit the floor. I suddenly noticed that my one neighbor was making a lot of noise. Not loud noise, but grunts and groans and erratic breathing noises. And he kept breathing through his mouth. It's very likely he was doing it through the whole class, but I didn't really notice until first set of full locust.

I could feel the irritation build. I didn't want it to. I tried to breathe it out. I tried to focus on my own breath instead of Wheezer's (as I started to think of him). I focused on the pink of my towel.   I tried not to be distracted by my sweat rolling off my back. That's when I started to get irritated by The Encroacher.

The Encroacher was my neighbor to the north. He'd come in after we started pranayama and wedged himself into a tiny spot directly behind me (even though there was plenty of space elsewhere) an then asked me to move so he could see. But that was at the beginning of class and none of that bothered me until I started to think the ugly thoughts.

The ugly thoughts towards Encroacher started when he knocked his water bottle over onto me and my towel. Without the cap. It was a shock to be doused with relatively cold water while savasana-ing. Shocking and oh so annoying.

Again, I tried to focus on me, my mat, my very ugly thoughts and just letting it all go. Breathe in. Breathe out.  Breathe in rage.  Breathe out fire.  No.  Wrong.

Then he kept touching my foot.  This is something I can't stand.  Not an accidental touch, but people touching my feet.  The only person I can stand to have touch my feet (unless toenail paiting is involved) is Matt.  I had to prevent myself from kicking him.  It's almost reflexive - like a cat with a wet paw.

I was too close to the podium to move forward and I was hemmed in on both sides, so I concentrated on the sound of the humidifier.  On the teacher's voice...

I made it to the end, but my metal state by the end of class was hardly yogic.  When the teacher started her soothing talk about relaxation and staying on the mat until we lost the impulse to move, I could take no more.  I let the impulse to move overtake me.  I didn't even roll up my mat, I just balled it up enough to get out of the room.


I was still cranky when I got home and when Matt made the mistake of saying, "Maybe three classes in one day wasn't the best idea."  He got an earful of hot venom and hyperbole.  I yelled so hard, I made my throat hurt. 


I finally got myself under control after a long, hot shower and realized that there have been some frustrating things going on in my life, lately.  Nothing major.  Nothing life-altering, but consistently frustrating.  I needed to get it out.  Three classes purged the frustration.

Sometimes working yourself to exhaustion is the way.  I never would have thought.

1.11.09

Dizzy Camels

4 comments
Okay, so I know you're supposed to get dizzy and emotional in camel.  The dizzy happens often - the emotional component is infrequent.  For the last few days, though, I've gotten so dizzy that I come close to losing consciousness.  Actually, I collapsed backwards yesterday in second set and hit my head pretty hard.

It panics me as it's happening.  And when I come out I'm so disoriented I can barely move for a few seconds.  I've been paying attention to my breathing.  It's good, even, and calm.  And then, suddenly, the dark edges collapse in and I can't see the back wall anymore.  I can't see anything.  I can't feel my arms or head and I know if I stay in the pose, I'll actually pass out. 

I have low blood pressure.  I've been a fainter all my life.  I know when it's about to happen.  I've been very close to losing consciousness several times in the last few days.  It's really only in camel, though.  Every other pose is fine.

I've never had trouble with camel before.  Possibly I'm hitting some kind of wall that I need to break through.  Maybe I'm blocking something emotional that's fucking with me.  I don't know.  All I know is that it's kind of irritating.

I know I have to be patient and take my practice as it is every day.  I'm aware that continuing to do the work will finally get me where I need to be, but sweet Jesus and ice cream, man!  It's always a bastard when these things pop up so suddenly.

Note to self:  work on your patience and letting go of expectation. 

31.10.09

My Father's Advice

2 comments
When I moved into my first apartment, alone, far from my parents, my dad wrote out and framed16 rules to live by.  I came across them today while cleaning out my closet.  It's a good list, and it's funny.
  1. Work hard, but work smart.  You make money with your brains, not your hands, but never be afraid to sweat (a lot).
  2. Always love your family, be close to your spouse, work hard at your relationships and tell your children you love them (often).
  3. Always tell the truth.
  4. If you get cold, put a sweater on.  If you get hot, take it off.
  5. If you get hungry, eat.
  6. Never give up.  Make sure your dreams are just beyond your grasp, follow your dreams, and dream big.
  7. Remember birthdays and anniversaries.
  8. Save your money.
  9. Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without (this is an old piece of advice, but good to remember).
  10. Be happy and don't take your problems to work.
  11. You are a very capable and powerful person, be proud of who and what you are.
  12. Be kind & considerate of others, but don't let others harm you or walk all over you.
  13. Be organized.  Lead, follow, or get out of the way!
  14. It's better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission.
  15. Semper in Excretum, Solum Profundum Variat (this is fake Latin for "Always in shit, only the depth varies").
  16. Halloween is the best holiday of the year (Boo!)
I never realized how much my dad apparently likes parentheses.  Anyway, that's that.  It's pretty straight forward and it's come in handy more than once in my life.

The 2500 and Other Stuff

2 comments
Excitement seems to be percolating around the blogosphere right now, and I'm excited, too -- for the prospect of writing 2500 words per day for 30 days. This is what I have undertaken, along with my 30 days of yoga, for the first month of my 35th year.

The prospect of doing both of these things simultaneously is somewhat frightening, but I am taking the opportunity while I may. I can't depend on it ever popping up again in this way.

Other things I'm excited about?

  • The Boat that Rocked/Pirate Radio is finally being released.
  • I get to see my family in less than a month for my favorite holiday.
  • Christmas music is in the near future.
  • I can finally wear my favorite scarf again.
  • It's cool enough to cook things like chili and curry (not the best foods for Vegas summers).
  • I can get out the knitting (also not the best summertime activity as having a lapful of wool is sweaty).
  • I sent my wedding ring to be sized down a size and a half.
  • I can get back into some of my smaller clothes.
  • Bubblebaths.
  • A massage and pedicure on Monday.
  • All of our wine from Napa is finally home.
Okay, so that's that.  Happy Halloween (or Devil's Day - as my grandmother used to call it - not the good grandmother).  Brace yourselves for November, it's tomorrow.

28.10.09

Fancy ≠ Floozy

4 comments
Okay, so I admit that I am at least 90% responsible for the irritation I encountered today while looking for a dress to wear to a holiday cocktail party.  My first mistake was going shopping while having my period.  This is something that is colossally stupid for many reasons, but foremost are excessive irritability and water retention.  My second mistake was going into chain stores.  I hate them all (except Loehmann's) under good circumstances, so I should have stayed away.  Having acknowledged all of this, I was still entirely annoyed and disappointed by every store I walked into. 

I should have just kept going past Banana Republic whose entire job it is, these day, to be a let down.  I remember when Banana Republic was cool.  Then they were acquired by Gap and now they are to Gap what Lexus is to Toyota. 

As a general rule, I don't shop at any of the Gap stores.  Not that there's anything wrong with the clothes, I just really hate when someone says to me, "I have that same top," or "I almost bought that."  I should also note that I don't always care what I look like, but when I do care, I care a lot.

So, there I was perusing the tiny, shiny dresses and the halter tops that even the skinniest women look hefty in when one of the saleswomen skulked up behind me and scared the everloving shit out of me.  "Aren't those great?"  Uh, no.  But I just smiled.

"Is there something I can help you find?"  She was very enthusiastic.  I like enthusiasm - in others.  So I told her, "I'm looking for something to wear to a holiday cocktail party.  Fancyish, but not too formal."

She lit up like a firecracker.  She told me she thought she had "the perrrfect thing!"  Thing?  That implies one.  One would have been sufficient if it had, indeed, been perrrfect.  However, she led me to a rack of frilly, low-cut tops and started whipping an assortment of things (plural) off and handing them to me.  Then she went to the dresses and pulled out some itty-bitty numbers.  "Do you prefer pants or skirts?"  I told her skirts - since pants almost always require alteration on someone as short as I am.  She took me to a dressing room and hung all of my prospective outfits up and then left me alone so she could gather skirts. 

I was already skeptical.  I'm not huge, but I'm not skinny and I'm also not 22.  Everything looked like it was made for some anorexic teenager.  I started with the first dress.  I could already tell it was going to be inappropriately short.  I went on, though.

When my "associate" returned with the skirts, I actually laughed out loud.  They didn't even look like they'd cover my ass all the way.  "Do you have anything longer?"  "Uh.  I think so.  But it would be more businessy." 

I realize Sex and the City is partly to blame for this trend, but when did fancy become synonymous with looking like a tart?  I mean, really.

I realized then that I was in the wrong store, and most likely, the wrong decade to find what I'm looking for.  I'm going to try to find a nice vintage store to find a nice vintage dress that covers my tits and my ass simultaneously.

Taste Sensation

1 comments
I recently made Restaurant Refugee's Truffled Fries.  They're FANFUCKINGFAROUTTASTIC.  Not surprising, though, considering that fries are great and truffle oil is even better, so the two together are a shoo-in for side dish of the year.  Side dish?  They could be my breakfast, lunch, and dinner and I'd be perfectly happy.

The other part of the recipe is braised short ribs.  I didn't make these at the same time that I made the fries the first time, so I didn't discover until last night how incredibly yummy they are.  These are a delightful accompaniment to the main course of fries.  But I jest.  They're delicious.  Tender, juicy, tasty.  I could go on all day.  They're the kind of thing I could eat until I popped.  You should try them.  They're so worth it.  And if you don't have an immersion blender (which I don't) you can still puree the veggies in a food processor with a pretty good result.

I like them so much  I'm also thinking of trying out the same preparation on a lamb shank.  I can't imagine why it wouldn't also be delicious.

I've even found a bona fide butcher where I procured more beef bones to make a small vat of stock to have on hand so that I can make the ribs at the drop of a hat.  I know they say veal bones make the best stock, but I can't do veal.  It's too pink.

Anyway, I'm in love with the Refugee.  He's a great writer and, apparently, quite a chef.  I'm trying the tomato bisque with gorgonzola crostini ASAP.

If I'm not careful, I'm going to have to do three yoga classes a day to work off the food.  I think it's an even trade.

Anyway, you should try his recipees.  He'll even answer cooking questions.  No cookbook does that.

27.10.09

Day Two

4 comments
Today's class was definitely not good, but it was markedly improved from yesterday.  Last night I was so concerned with just making it though class, I forgot to try out all of my new tricks for standing bow. 

Today I could form thoughts that didn't include Oh holy hell, I'm going to crash into that guy or I can't feel my right hand.  Today I tried out Hannah's creeper method on the first side.  It helped, but I didn't want to stop there, so on the left side I tried to maintain focus on one point per DancingJ and Duffy.  I also tried to pay attention to my stretching hand.  In second set, right side, I tried them all together.  I held it longer than usual.  I repeated it on the left side and again held longer than usual.  Woo hoo!  So thanks everyone for the input.  I'm sure I'll be tapping the collective wisdom again before too long.

Challenged

3 comments
So I started a 30-day challenge with Hannah yesterday.  I went to a late class after getting home from a week's worth of late nights filled with lots of food and wine and song.  My allergies have been awful, too.  My lungs are raspy, my nose is runny, and my eyes are itchy and puffy.

I dragged myself into the studio (just barely) and set up in the cool corner - far enough away from the mirror that I couldn't see what a disaster area I was.  I tottered through standing series like a baby giraffe (without the length of bone).  No grace, no flow, just jagged, jerky movements, barely able to hold my head up at times and falling out all over.

I had especial trouble because I couldn't breathe well and the pressure in my head was incredible.  I tried to sneeze quietly, but wasn't always successful.   If you were in class with me, I apologize for the sniffling and snorting coming from me.

But that's not all.  Somewhere on the floor, I realized that I tasted blood.  When I spat into a tissue to see if I really was tasting blood, I found myself looking at a bright red Rorschach blot on my tissue.  Um ew.  I should tell you here and now, this has never happened to me before.  I have never spontaneously sprung a leak in a vein.  For a spilt second I was worried that I might be dying.  What I finally realized, though, was that it was my bottom teeth. 

I'm a mutant.  I still have my bottom front baby teeth.  I don't have any adult teeth to push them out, so there they stay.  It's a genetic anomaly that runs rampant through my mother's family.  I have a cousin who only had 6 adult teeth show up.  Anyway, as you can imagine, after years and years of use beyond their intended time frame, they're worn and loose.  Last night in yoga, the gums around these tiny teeth oozed and oozed.  It was gross.

The real capper on the crappy class, though, was the fact that I could feel (and hear) my tendons stretching (creaking).  I am less than a week away from my 35th birthday and I'm feeling every single hour of my age (and more) right now.  I felt challenged last night - and not in a good way.

I wasn't going, "Oh yay.  This is great.  I get to push myself here."  No.  It was more like, "Dear god, I hope I can get all the way to the end without losing consciousness."  But I finally finished the class - not in good shape, but not dead in the corner, either.

I'm going to do a couple of doubles in the next couple of weeks because of my birthday and also because I'm leaving for Thanksgiving a day earlier than I thought, so in order to get my 30 in 30 I have to do a couple of doubles. 

After last night, I'm pretty sure I can get through just about anything.  So at least there's that.  I just really hope to never have a class quite that bad again. 

26.10.09

The Bible (Abridged)

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I have thousands of bookmarks and I've been going through them lately, testing and culling the ones that don't work or aren't what they used to be.  I'm pleased when I run across a little gem like The Brick Testament.  I had forgotten about it and it makes me laugh.

19.10.09

A Minor Amusement to Make Monday More Mirthful

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Mondays can be rough.  For everyone.  Especially bananas.  That's why you need a BANANA BUNKER!  

I love this thing.  It's hilare.  I want one in every color.  And I don't even take bananas anywhere.  I imagine that for those of you who do transport bananas, this isn't merely a fashion statement for your fruit, but functional as well.

18.10.09

Professor Moriarty, I Presume

6 comments
Standing bow is my nemesis.  Like Moriarty to Holmes, Luther to Superman, like Nemesis herself to everybody.  No matter how much I practice, I can't seem to stay balanced.  It drives me crazy.  Crazy, I tell you!

It's gotten to the point where I practice it at home more than any other pose.  I think about corrections to try.  I think about how to incorporate all elements simultaneously.  I think about what I want to look like.  I concentrate on my eyes, my breath, kicking, kicking, kicking.   I also try to not think about it and just do it.

Alas, the bow mocks me.

I can't figure out the problem.  I've asked every teacher I've ever had for suggestions and corrections. I've spent time in the room before and after class practicing so I could use both sets of mirrors.

My hips are aligned.  I'm kicking hard into my hand.  My knee is locked.  My head is straight.  My foot comes straight up over the top of my head.  My weight is slightly forward so my standing leg isn't tilted.  I even have my arm relaxed and my shoulder behind me.  When examined by experts, I'm given excellent technical marks.

This leads me to believe that my key difficulty with the pose is psychological. I'm preventing myself from doing it. The question is why.

When I started doing Bikram a year and a half ago, I had no expectations of my performance.  My first class wasn't too bad - all things considered - and I liked it more than I thought I would.

For the longest time I didn't see much change in my poses.  I didn't mind.  I was in the very worst shape of my life and I was just happy to be on a path.

Then I started to see progress.  I've always been pretty flexible and pretty strong, but my understanding of the poses got better and when that happened, I saw changes.  Except in standing bow.

I don't know when I realized it wasn't getting better, but when I did realize it, I asked my teachers about it.  They examined, tweaked, suggested things.

Yet I'm at an impasse.  I fall out every.single.time.  I tell myself that just because I fell out yesterday doesn't mean that I will today.   It gets harder to say this to myself, though, when every day I fall out again.

This is where the psychology comes in.  This is something I have to believe in order to do.  The problem is, my mind doesn't operate that way.  I need to see it to believe it.   So you see the obstacle.

I don't know how to overcome this.  I know this - this method of thinking - is a hindrance in more than just standing bow.  I know I'm limiting myself in other ways.

I have to believe in myself more.  I have to believe in myself more than I don't believe in myself.  Cool.  Now that I've got that all figured out, I'm going to have a nice long cry.  Sometimes I really hate yoga.

17.10.09

Things I Love*

2 comments
1. The smell of coffee. I don't like the taste so much, but the smell is delightful.

2. The honey-colored days of October

3. Spending Sunday reading

4. Matt's texts

5. New pens

6. The deep silence of the stacks of almost any college library

7. The sound of my heartbeat as I lie in savasana

8. Trying a new recipe

9. When my iPod on shuffle knows my mood

10. When I'm out running errands and everywhere I go the same band follows me from place to place

11. The sound a new book makes when I open it for the first time

12. Walks at civil twilight

13. Open windows and cool breezes

14. Chuck Berry songs on a sunny afternoon

15. Lightening

16. Rain that makes everything sodden, but sparkly

17. Mail that doesn't include any bills and coupons

18. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

19. Freshly ironed sheets (I don't usually iron my sheets, but occasionally I do and they're divine)

20. A hot, hot shower

21. The first spring sunshine that makes my hair warm

21. Hollandaise

22. Longhand

23.  Bananas Foster

24.  Sunset on the Pacific

25.  The last bite of dessert

26.  Restaurant Refugee's truffled fries.  They're fanfuckingfarouttastic.  Thanks RR!

27.  Yarn and knitting supplies

28.  Adhesives

29.  My dictionary

30.  Bitch Magazine

31.  Waking up to the smell of bacon

32.  Midnight movies and all-night bowling

33.  Shelling walnuts with my mother and sisters (and now my niece)

34.  Hitting my dad in the face with a cream pie on his birthday

35.  Boarding a plane that will take me on vacation


*"love" in this case meaning "like a really lot" and "think are pretty cool" and does not include people, as they are not things

15.10.09

Tell Me Another Story

2 comments
When I was little, I liked to hear stories about when my parents and grandparents were kids.  I could listen to the story about my dad ice fishing with my grandfather and his leg going through one of the holes in the ice over and over again.  I would beg for just one more telling of my mom's childhood Halloweens when she had cocoa with Einstein.  

My grandmother told me stories of her own childhood, swimming in the canal, living on a houseboat, leaving food and money out for the Gypsies.  My grandmother and mother both told me over and over the stories about my great-grandmother's house getting moved.  That great-grandmother (who died long before I was born) was also a midwife and I could listen to stories about her lying-in hospital in the very house that got moved all the way across town and was such a big to do that all of the kids got out of school to watch it go by until the storyteller was hoarse.

My grandfather told me stories of his boyhood as a hellraiser.  He and his brothers made mischief all around town.  My great-uncle trained their dog, Pickles, to ride on the running board of the car and sit on top of the "fireplugs" and wait for them outside school.

My very favorite story of all, though, was the story of my maternal great-grandmother cutting her hand with a hatchet when she was a little girl and her dad cleaning it with turpentine and pulling down cobwebs from the barn to stop the bleeding.

There are a million more - a million stories that my parents and I will tell my kids someday.  The thing I wonder, though, is what stories will I tell of my own growing up?  When my kid asks me a story about when I was little, what will I say?

It isn't that I don't have stories, but I wonder which will come to mind first.  Which ones will I tell them when they're little?  Which ones will I save for the adolescent moaning, heartbreak, vitriol?  Will I be able to whittle the salient points out of the larger tale?

I never realized the wisdom of the timing of my parents' stories.  Some were timed to keep me amused, others to get me to bed, still others to make me feel better or illustrate points.  Later, they were stories of empathy over broken hearts or having to do something undesirable -- each one told at the perfect moment.

I hope I tell stories as well as my parents.  I hope my chidren are as eager to hear them as I was.

14.10.09

That's What I Want

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I have a high IQ. It's high enough to impress people who are impressed by this stuff (mostly school administrators). Somehow my score followed me through school and, inevitably, all of my teachers found out and would approach me about "special projects" and "more challenging work". I was told by everyone I encountered that I had limitless options and I wasn't "living up to my full potential" by not talking every AP class available.

At the same time, I was having a hard enough time trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up and I hated school. The last thing I needed was another choice. The last thing I wanted was a "special project".

It was a lot of pressure - even for someone as "mature" and "gifted" as I always was for my age. I helped my friends with homework (and by helping I mean doing it for them). Everyone (to be fair, my parents weren't pushy about it, they just wanted what was best for me) heaped their expectations on me -- told me about all of the great things I could accomplish if I "set my mind to it". Uch. I felt like a circus performer with the upside-down human pyramid on my head wobbling around to keep my balance on my overburdened unicycle.

Finally, in my sophomore year in high school, I tipped and everything went flying. I spent a couple of weeks crying. I spent a lot of time with my therapist. I was unhinged. I couldn't focus on anything. I had lost interest in all things academic. I didn't even want to see my friends.

My parents, with the help of my therapist, worked out a deal so that I could do a lot of school work from home and I would go to classes at the end of the day on a rotating basis. It worked out that I saw my teachers about once a week.

My friends didn't understand what had happened, really, and a lot of them were jealous of my new schedule. I actually lost a friend because she complained to the Superintendent that it wasn't fair and we got into a fight that ended our friendship.

It was a really horrible time in my life. But I recovered. At least to a degree.  But I have to wonder whether my limitless options ended up being more restrictive than anything else.

I have always been good at lots of things.  Good, never great.  I'm good enough to get by.  I'm like the handyman.  I can do most of the small stuff and some of the big stuff, but for the really important stuff, you should call an expert. 

I have never been able to commit to a career path because I was always afraid I wouldn't love it and I should love my career, right?  However, in not having committed myself anywhere, I have consigned myself to a default career in a field that has never interested me. 

I have paralyzed myself.  I need to make a choice.  My options are still limitless (although not all practical).  I want to not be afraid to do something I might not love.  I want to have the guts to try something for real and possibly fall flat on my ass.  Now that I have Matt and lots of love in other parts of my life, maybe I can do it.  That's what I want.

8.10.09

NaNoWriMo Approaches

2 comments
National Novel Writing Month is coming.  I'm excited.  I don't have any expectation of 'winning' this year, but I'm going to go ahead and give it a try.  I have a few ideas floating around in my head (one of the stipulations of participating is that you start something new).  I'm keeping track of the ideas, but not expanding on them until November. 

If anyone else wants to join in, it's free and fun.


4.10.09

Peeve of the Day: Misuse/Abuse of the Ellipsis

2 comments
Okay, I'm not grammarian.  I don't have perfect punctuation.  I look up usage all the time.  I also recognize that informal writing has a more relaxed outlook on grammar and punctuation than formal writing.  One of the things I like best about the English language is its adaptability.  All this being said, I have gotten an alarming amout of emails lately that either misuse or abuse the ellipsis (. . .). 

I got an email recently that had not one single period in it.  It was all exclamation points and ellipses.  I'm not a big fan of the exclamation point as it seems somewhat, well, loud.  However, the real objection I have is that an ellipsis should not be used to replace periods.  I defer to my hero, Grammar Girl to explain proper usage of the three (three only - not four or five or 10) dots that make the ellipsis.

This over-dotting is my other complaint about the use of the ellipsis.  I've noticed that people seem to use the dots at their discretion.  I don't know if this is to indicate a longer pause?  But there are other forms of punctuation that can do that without abusing the poor ellipsis.  Perhaps the abundance of dots is for emphasis?  I don't know.  The other possibility is that they don't know that there are rules governing the use of this delightful little device.  This is the most likely answer.

I must not blame the user for the lack of knowledge.  I know I got an above average education.  I realize that many people have not had this advantage.  What I don't understand is why no one cares to find out the things they don't know. 

I look up usage and words all the time because I don't know half of what I should.  I know I'm not alone, but sometimes....... after I gotten another email.............. that makes me want to get out my red pencil.......... I feel like I am.........And it makes me want to scream!!!

1.10.09

Thursdays in October

2 comments
I was inspired by Hannah to make a playlist for Thursdays in October.  Some of it's old, some of it's new, and it's all stuff I really like a lot.  And it will last almost the whole day.

  1. New Morning - Amandine
  2. Apartment Story - The National
  3. Lloyd, I'm ready to Be Heartbroken - Camera Obscura
  4. I Stand Corrected - Vampire Weekend
  5. Smile - Lily Allen
  6. Lisztomania - Phoenix
  7. Sit Down - James
  8. Sausalito - Conor Oberst
  9. I Thought I Saw Your Face Today - She & Him
  10. You Can Make Him Like You - The Hold Steady
  11. Woman in You - Ben Harper
  12. The Bunting Song - The Good, The Bad, & The Queen
  13. Shadow of Grief - Amandine
  14. Chasing Ghosts with Alcohol - Gomez
  15. Everything's Just Wonderful - Lily Allen
  16. Minimum Wage - They Might Be Giants
  17. Each Year - Ra Ra Riot
  18. The Compromise - The Format
  19. Today Will Be Better, I Swear - The Stars
  20. Slow Pony Home - The Weepies
  21. Actor Out of Work - St. Vincent
  22. Don't Call Me Whitney, Bobby - Islands
  23. Eyes Open - Gossip
  24. The Long Island Sound - Beirut
  25. You or Your Memory - The Mountain Goats
  26. Boxcar - The Rosebuds
  27. Clementine - Elliott Smith
  28. Drink to Me, Babe, Then - A.C. Newman
  29. Your Summer Dress - Dirty on Purpose
  30. The Melody of a Fallen Tree - Windsor for the Derby
  31. Vampires in Blue Dresses - Margot & The Nuclear So and So's
  32. Sundialing - Caribou
  33. Harrisburg - Josh Ritter
  34. Today is the Day - Apollo Sunshine
  35. Big Brown Eyes - Old 97s
  36. Blackout - British Sea Power
  37. Coming In from the Cold - The Delgados
  38. Lovelier Girl - Beach House
  39. Miss Spiritual Tramp - Blitzen Trapper
  40. Night Majestic - Au Revoir Simone
  41. Safety in Numbers - South
  42. Bad Weekend - Art Brut
  43. Dead and Lovely - Tom Waits
  44. Stoned - Old 97s
  45. Happy Little Bumblebee - Of Montreal
  46. White Gold - Metric
  47. I Don't Want to See You - Camera Obscura
  48. Isn't Life Strange? - The Clientele
  49. Hey! Is That a Ninja Up There? - Minus the Bear
  50. Room with a View - Imperial Teen
  51. Worry About it Later - The Futrueheads
  52. Pamphleteer - Weakerthans
  53. Will You Please be There From Me - Reindeer Section
  54. Pier Thirteen - The Bomboras
  55. Low Gravity - The Acorn
  56. Devil's Elbow - Colin Meloy
  57. Everything Kills You - Echo and the Bunnymen
  58. God Bless the Ottoman Empire - A Hawk and A Hacksaw
  59. Crazy Love - Marianne Faithfull
  60. Com On In My Kitchen - Crooked Still
  61. Gotta Get a Problem - Mates of State
  62. Zombie - Nellie McKay
  63. Everybody's Getting Down - Incredible Moses Leroy
  64. Mama's Got a Girlfriend - Ben Harper
  65. Bumblebee - The Casual Dots
  66. Like 24 (6+1=3) - Joy Zipper
  67. Get Up, Get Out, Get High - The Village Green
  68. Prisoner of Love - Tin Machine
  69. Beep Beep Love - Incredible Moses Leroy
  70. (Still) Terminally Ambivalent Over You - The Real Tuesday Weld
  71. Moving Furniture Around - The Handsome Family
  72. Day One - Polly Paulusma
  73. Falling at Your Feet - U2
  74. Queen's Night Out - Persephone's Bees
  75. The Happiest Days of My Life - My Favorite
  76. Rosemary Moore - Joan Baez
  77. Calling All Angels - Jane Siberry with K.D. Lang
  78. Roll Up Your Sleeves - We Were Promised Jetpacks
  79. National Anthem of Nowhere - Apostle of Hustle
  80. Beatific Visions - brakesbrakesbrakes
  81. The Boy - Celine
  82. Heroes and Villains - The Charade
  83. (I'm Gonna) Burn Your Playhouse Down - The Proclaimers
  84. Annabelle - Communique
  85. Revenge - Bitter, Bitter Weeks
  86. Goodbye - Pretenders
  87. My Old Friend - Emilie Simon
  88. fuck was i - Jenny Owen Youngs
  89. The '59 Sound - The Gaslight Anthem
  90. Love Always Comes to Those Who Waits - Celestial
  91. Nothing Seems the Same - Heartless Bastards
  92. Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most - Jane Monheit
  93. Flawed Like a Diamond - Caviar
  94. Personal Jesus - Johnny Cash
  95. Kiss Me Only with Your Eyes - Future Bible Heroes
  96. Little Pretty Thing - The Troggs
  97. Hey Sweet man - Madeleine Peyroux
  98. Heaven & Hell - Minus Story
  99. Rainbow Connection - Kermit the Frog
  100. Flesh and Spirits - The Gena Rowlands Band
  101. Settling Song - Nina Nastasia
  102. Joking Aside - Pulp
  103. November Nights - Run On Sentence
  104. The Smaller Song - The Geraldine Fibbers
  105. Crushing Yer Head - Slot
  106. Kicking Ass - The Strike
  107. Accidental Joy - The Minders
  108. You're Pretty Good Looking (For a Girl) - The White Stripes
  109. Screamings Not an Option - The Grey Race

The Smell of Blood

3 comments
The hit was so fast, so hard I didn’t see it coming.  After, as I looked down at the blood, I felt no pain.     “Am I going to die?” I asked.

“Everyone dies,” the man said.

I looked down again at the bloodstain – watched it grow and consume my white blouse.  When I looked up again, the man, my attacker, was gone.  My blood was filling the room.  Then the pain rose inside me.  I didn’t mind it so much and it made me sleepy.  I closed my eyes and woke to the smell of blood. 






I got out of bed to shake off the dream and when I stood up, my nose began to bleed.

28.9.09

Books, Movies, Music Meme

6 comments
Okay, I was inspired by Restaurant Refugee to write my very own meme.  I don't have any aspirations of glory or anything, these are just questions I like to have answers to.

1.  Excluding religious texts (not that I have anything against them, but I think they're fairly well agreed upon as being essential reading and I'm looking for something a little more personal) what three books do you think everyone should read (these don't have to be favorites)?

2.  Name three songs you know all the words to without the music playing.
  • Starfish and Coffee, Prince
  • I Dreamed a Dream, Les Miserables (written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg)
  • Me and Bobby McGee, Janis Joplin (written by Kris Kristofferson)

3.  What are you three favorite books of all time?

4.  Excluding Schinlder's List, what three movies should everyone see?

5.  What three movies have you been too ashamed to admit to having seen until here and now?

6.  If you're a cryer, name the three movies that always make you cry.  If you're not a cryer, name the three movies that would make you cry if that was something you did.

7.  What three songs did you used to love but don't anymore because they've been tainted by bad associations or were used in a commercial?
  • Here Comes the Rain Again, The Eurythmics
  • Desire, U2
  • Norweigen Wood, The Beatles

8.  Your list of three really overrated movies:

9.  Your list of three really overrated  books:

10.  Name three of your favorite bands (please).

11.  Now three of your favorite writers (again, please).
  • Jane Austen
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Haven Kimmel

12.  Three of the best band names, song names, book titles, movie titles ever are:

26.9.09

Brown Thumb

2 comments
I have a brown thumb. I can kill any plant at 20 paces. And I don't even do it on purpose. I think there's some kind of advanced plant information network. They've circulated my description and the plant is 3/4 dead by the time it enters my house. Out of spite.

Or maybe I'm just that talented. Maybe I should be the arch-villian in a comic about a hero called Venus Flytrap. It would be Venus Flytrap vs. The Brown Thumb. I don't like the visuals on that, though. Some icky brown unitard. Gross. But I digress...

My latest victim is a basil plant. I got it and it was gorgeous. Full, green, happy. Within hours of entering my lair, it was wilted. By the end of its second day in captivity it was irrevocably brown. And on the third day I threw it out.

I don't know how I do it. Wilbur had great plants. I was in no way involved with them and they were lovely, happy plants. Someone at work gave me an African violet (supposedly hearty plants) and it died - even under Wilbur's care and I know it's because it knew it was mine.

It started with a bamboo plant when I was 17. Bamboo is known as being un-killable. It is notoriously hard to get rid of. Unless your name is Dorothy.

I seriously don't know what happened to that bamboo. I followed the instructions on the tag. It got plenty of sun. And within a week it turned yellow and all the leaves fell off.

The list of my victims is fairly hefty - especially considering that I gave up on house plants rather quickly. I've killed lilies, ferns, a rosemary bush, at least a dozen various other herbs, and a jade plant.

In college, I took a botany class in hopes that I would be able to reverse the curse with advanced education. We see from my poor basil plant how well that worked.

The thing is, gardening really appeals to me. I want to have a little tomato patch with herbs and squash and peppers. I thought I might try a window box, but considering that I just lost another perfectly healthy plant, I'm pretty sure there's no way I can successfully cultivate anything from seed.

It's disappointing. Although maybe I can start some kind of hit service for stubborn plants. Spanish moss, iceplant, eucalyptus. If you want it gone just call me. The Brown Thumb.

22.9.09

The Fall Meme

3 comments
This is a meme written by Restaurant Refugee.  I didn't know about RR until today where I checked in to Hannah's blog and read her responses to said meme.  So thanks to Hannah for the link, and thanks RR for the meme.


It’s not fall in Las Vegas until November.  Seriously.  It's 82 degrees right now.  

Kelly Preston’s character in the movie For Love of the Game expresses her need to escape NYC because “Summer’s almost over, and I feel like I missed it.” What do you need to do in the waning days of summer for it to feel complete? Drive PCH from Santa Monica to Oxnard at 3A with the windows down.  And also fire up a grill one last time...

The person I know is wrong for me but about whom I frequently think after a break-up is a Socialist lawyer who lives in a collective in the Eastern US, a vegetarian, and a better human being than I'll ever be.  I enjoy knowing that he's out there in the world doing his best to make it better.

The US Tennis Open, one of four Grand Slam events in that sport, is currently in the quarterfinal round. If you could only attend one major sporting event what would it be?
If I can go with a collective event, then Wimbledon.  If it has to be one specific event, then Game 7 of the World Series.

Assuming that you write an anonymous or partially anonymous blog, by what non-physically identifying characteristics might you be identified in a bar?
I'm pretty sure that I've never revealed more than the fact that I'm short, but if I were sitting at the bar, you'd probably not be able to tell that.  After that, I don't know.  If I were with Matt, then probably I'd be laughing like a fool.  If I were alone, then I'd probably be the one watching the people in the booth behind me (discretely, of course) trying to figure out what they're talking about.


Most blogs cover some sort of niche – personal, political, dating, culinary, etc. What topic, if any, would you like to address on your blog but doesn’t fit into your niche?  My niche is general.  I'm a glazer.  I don't go into much detail or delve very deep.  If I were to re-tool and get a real niche, it might be music or it might be movies, but probably, it would be books/book reviews.

If you could manipulate the time space continuum and give as many as three pieces of advice to a younger version of yourself, what advice would you give and to what age of you?  To Dorothy at age 16:  Go directly to college.  At 19:  Break up with him now.  It's time.  You don't have to stay just because it was what you wanted when you were 16.  Age 20:  At your wedding, when your sister says, "If you want to leave right now, I'll go with you," five minutes before the ceremony, take her up on it.

Who among your friends do you really wish had a blog because their stories, or perspective on something ought to be shared? Above-mentioned Socialist, vegetarian, do-gooder lawyer.  He's funny, cynical, and yet hopeful and sincere.

If you were to take an e-cation (vacation from the trappings of our electronic world,) and assuming that employment obligations would allow it, how long of a break could you take? What would you miss the most, the least? I could go for a while.  A long while.  3-6 months no problem.  I feel like I waste a lot of time with the electronics I have.  I wouldn't miss 99% of my email and I could probably live without TV forever (not movies, though).  I'd miss the blogs and downloading music the most.

On September 11th of this year, I will be attending a couple of parties and am somewhat conflicted by the fact that this ignoble anniversary shall pass with it being just another day in the eyes of many (and in some ways my own eyes as well.) Thoughts? I don't know either.  I have a lot of thoughts about September 11.  I feel like moments of silence are perfunctory and largely empty.  I also have no personal connection to the loss outside a general sorrow that it happened, and don't feel I have a right or even desire to make it more personal because I feel like it diminishes the loss for those who were most affected.  I don't think it will ever be "just another day" again, though.  Even if there's no outward act of commemoration, no one who was alive in the United States that day will forget it.

How high are your walls?  Who was the last person to scale them? What tools should would-be climbers have on their belt?  
My wall is high, deep, solid, cold and well-constructed.  I have only one, though, so once you're in, you're in.  Matt was the last person to get inside.  The only tool you'll ever need is patience (if it's going to happen at all).  There are no cracks and no way to dig under or scale over.  It will happen magically one day.  *POOF* you're inside.  But it should also be stated that it can also go the other way.  You can find yourself *POOF* ouside again.  These are involuntary acts of magic on my part - both the letting in and the kicking out and they are equally rare, although, I'm working on the letting in part to see if I can't just be a little less guarded all the way around.  We'll see.


The sexiest thing a man can say to you (or has said to you) is:  There's not much that anyone can say that I find truly sexy in a general sense.  In specific contexts, sure.  Johnny Depp's line in Public Enemies, "I like baseball, movies, good clothes, fast cars, and you," is awesome, but I'm not sure it would carry the same weight spoken by anyone else.  The things I find sexiest are when Matt washes and/or brushes my hair and when he paints my toes.  Also, there are times when he walks up behind me when I'm in the kitchen and he'll wrap his arms around me and bite my shoulder.  Yeah.

18.9.09

Thanksgiving

3 comments
I love food. I looooove it. Sadly, my 5' frame will not allow me to eat all of the food I would like and not end up looking like Jabba's shorter, fatter sister. However, I spend a lot of time thinking about food, even though I might not be able to eat it.

Today my sister and I were discussing the menu for Thanksgiving. Here is what we've landed on. I'm writing it here because a) I'm really excited about the prospect of eating it, and 2) I will have documented evidence of the agreed upon menu if someone tries to change anything without consultation.

Hors d'oeuvres:
  • chicken liver pate with port and figs (made by our dear friend Lina)
  • cheeses (Morbier, brie, Jarlsberg, bleu (of some variety) and baguettes and crackers
  • gravlax w/capers and dill cream cheese
Dinner:
  • two deep fried turkeys (25 lbs/turkey)
  • ham with pineapple, brown sugar, cherries & cloves
  • plain mashed potatoes
  • truffled mashed potatoes
  • regular stuffing
  • oyster stuffing
  • mushy peas
  • glazed carrots
  • cole slaw
  • cranberry sauce
  • cranberry chutney
  • and, of course, lots and lots of gravy!
Dessert:
  • pecan pie
  • chocolate walnut pie
  • pumpkin pie
  • sunny silver pie
  • chocolate chip cookies
  • pecan balls
Then, on Friday, we're having Thai curry mussels, beef tenderloin with Gorgonzola sauce, Pont Neuf potatoes, minute asparagus (thin sliced asparagus with a lemon/soy/butter sauce), and spinach salad.

I'm also really excited because it will be Matt's first Thanksgiving with my family. We're Thanksgiving people. We gather the family and friends and eat, drink and play games.

I'm officially exited. Only 69 days to go...

15.9.09

He Almost Hit Me and I Almost Cried

4 comments
I don't often get the cart before the horse. When I start to panic about things that haven't happened, I think of the statement above, made by my niece, at age 5. I was at my sister's house and Ann came running into the kitchen with her younger brother (age about 3) in tow and said, "MOM! He almost hit me and I almost cried!" She was serious. It is one of my favorite reminders that what hasn't happened doesn't matter.

Matt is different. He can get far ahead of himself. The what-ifs prey on him like hawks on field mice. One day, he came home from work completely distraught about something that "might happen." So I told him the story.

My birthday is approaching. I will be 35. My impending natal anniversary and the fact that I looked at myself in the mirror the other day and I felt like I looked different (I couldn't place what the change was, but it was different - that's a whole 'nother post, though), has made me feel somewhat ucky.

I've never liked my birthday. Not ever. When I turned five, I remember crying and crying because I wasn't 4 anymore (but I'm totally fine with change). Usually it's the birthday before the landmark birthday that really bothers me. For example, 20 not 21, 24 not 25, 29 not 30... Last year, though, my birthday came and went and I didn't really think about it at all. So I've been bracing for a minor 'event' for the last few months.

I mentioned this to Matt. And he said, "you almost cried?" So here I am. No longer bracing. Just going along. If I have a meltdown, well, I have a meltdown. Leave what's to come where it belongs - when it gets here.

8.9.09

Snakebit

3 comments
It began thus: I awoke to a mess in the kitchen. The coffee maker had malfunctioned and sent grounds and not-quite-coffee all over the counter, down the fronts of the cabinets, and onto the floor. I exasperatedly began to clean it up, during which I slid in the water and knocked the coffee pot to the floor. Where it broke. Exploded is more like it. Glass went everywhere.

I carefully negotiated my bare feet through the sea of glass (miraculously unscathed) and went to get my all-star vacuum. I don't have a lot of storage space, so the closet that houses my vacuum also houses a lot of other stuff. It's like a Jenga tower. I pulled the wrong piece and a slew of bags, boxes and clothes toppled onto the vacuum. I didn't lose focus, though. I simply dug the vacuum free and went back to the kitchen.

I successfully sucked all the glass safely into the vacuum bag and then went back to the wet mess that started this whole ridiculous string of events. I had just finished wiping up the last of the nastiness when, pleased as punch to be done, I sighed and stepped back to admire my handiwork and tripped backwards over the trash can that I'd pulled from it's place under the counter to expedite my grounds-slopping. Fortunately, only some of the garbage went on the floor and I had that cleaned up in no time.

I was now free to move on to the avalanche in the closet. I dealt with that tidily in about a half hour and got the vacuum put away. Yay. And all because of a shitty coffee pot...

Only it didn't stop there. I feel like everything I've done today has gone wrong. I also dropped a whole plateful of food onto the couch, I spilled water, I knocked everything in the world over. I walked into a table and a door, I bruised my shin getting into the car, I hit my head getting out of the car, I cut myself on a crab shell, I cut a hole in a shirt in an attempt to remove a tag that left a nasty red scratch on the back of my neck, I sucked my hair into the hair dryer, and at the end of the evening, after I'd struggled my way through yoga, I got home to discover that when I'd taken my shower earlier in the day, I'd knocked over a bottle of body wash with the cap not quite closed. I found out when I went into the bedroom and it smelled like berries. I looked and the tub was full of pink goo.

I'm almost afraid to do anything else. Hell, I may get electrocuted any second by a freak surge from my computer. I can't rule it out. I'm going to eat something small, soft, and cold for dinner so that I can't burn myself, choke, cut myself, or lose a tooth.

Tomorrow has to be better, right?

4.9.09

Neurotica

2 comments
So, I've been playing around with the idea of putting a piece of fiction here on my blog. I've decided to do it.

So here is my first piece of fiction ever put in a public forum (semi-public, really - I mean I think only 2 or three people actually read this anyway). It's very rough, but I just finished the first draft and I'm kind of excited. It's long (for a blog post), sorry. I give you Neurotica:

I like men with neuroses. Not, for the most part, severe behavioral disorders or actual psychoses, but harmless neuroses. Clean freaks – very hot. Compulsive hand washers (not the ones with OCD who must wash 26 times in a row) - nice. Men who are very detail oriented, who make the bed in a particular way, keep shirts folded just so, alphabetize everything, and keep the toothpaste tube rolled from the end and never squeeze from the middle – these are the men I go for. I even find myself attracted to men who have never-ending confidence problems, men with food fears – you know, the ones who almost can’t take the mayo out of the fridge to use it because they’re afraid of food poisoning, and men who are a little too attached to their cars. Ben’s a detail-oriented hand-washer with a neurosis about beverages in glass bottles. He refuses to drink from a glass bottle because he’s afraid that, somehow, the glass will chip or break and he’ll manage to swallow some of it. Now, I realize that this bottle thing is bizarre, but it doesn’t matter much because almost everything comes in plastic now, anyway. I’ve told him that a little glass ingestion isn’t fatal. I know this because my sister ate a whole glass grape when she was 4. My mom had to feed her mashed potatoes with cotton in them, but other than having to endure the grossness of eating cotton, she was okay. And now it’s 27 years later, so I think I can say with all confidence that a tiny bit of glass isn’t the worst thing you could swallow.
I think I’m attracted to the neurotic ones because I have a whole set of neuroses myself. I’m a hand washer, too. And I eat small foods in even numbers, unless by doing so means leaving a single, say pea, on the plate alone, then it goes with the final forkful. I have to roll up adding machine tape before I throw it away, and dust is my sworn enemy.
I met Ben at Hold Everything. He was buying a CD rack with label slots. I was buying a hanging shoe organizer. We met while admiring the sweater storage bags. He remarked that they seemed like a good idea. I said they would probably free a lot of space during the non-sweater months. He said he agreed, but that he would prefer if they were air-tight – you know, to keep out moths, spiders, moisture. That was all I needed to hear. I think a star actually fell into my eye.
*****
Jon is a dust hater, too. He also abhors synthetic fabrics and his socks have to be a specific thickness. Honey is Jon’s big thing, though. It’s his own twist on food fear. I’ve never known anyone else who felt the way he does about honey. It’s along the same lines as the glass bottle thing that Ben has, but instead of being afraid of swallowing glass, it’s a fear of actual bee ingestion. If not an entire bee, then at the very least he’s sure that every spoonful of honey is potentially harboring a stinger. Of course he’s afraid of bees even without the involvement of honey, but with legitimate cause because he’s allergic, hence the stinger thing.
I don’t know anyone who’s ever eaten a bee or a stinger in honey, although a kid at my elementary school did swallow a bee out of the air once (I have no idea how), so I can’t say with certainty that it wouldn’t hurt him, but the fact that it’s never happened should say something.
Jon and I met at the doctor’s office. We were both in for allergies. I saw him leafing through an Allegra pamphlet. I asked him if he’d ever used it. He said that he liked it better than Flonase, but that Zyrtek worked the best for him. It had to be Kismet.
*****
Then there was Jay. Jay drew me into the dizzying maze of his mind and, I have to admit, I liked it. He was my crack. If I could have injected him directly into my veins, I would have. It was like a nun losing her virginity with the Marquis de Sade: sweaty, brutal, bloody, hot, and ultimately destructive, but entirely unforgettable.
Jay is actually psychotic. He’s medicated and everything. Sociopathic tendencies manifest themselves from time to time, he’s got a rage problem, control issues, an enormous ego, paranoid delusions, and a mean streak that can leave you winded and writhing in agony.
There’s nothing tentative about Jay, except maybe his grip on reality. Confrontation is his favorite pastime. If I ever disagreed with him, there was a lot of yelling and sometimes throwing, and finally sex.
Jay doesn’t have an endearing, let alone redeeming, quality. He’s a reprehensible human being. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that he’s storing body parts in his freezer, especially since I know he has, or had, a collection of my fingernails.
It’s hard for me to imagine now how I ever got involved with him. I was attracted to him first because he wouldn’t touch the elevator buttons with his bare hands, then because he cleaned his glasses, with cleaner, several times a day. The real addiction started with his hands themselves, though. Always immaculately kept, not professionally manicured, but clean, moisturized, and with tidily clipped nails. And he has these huge, turgid veins supplying blood to his long fingers. I wanted to put them in my mouth.
I met Jay at my lawyer’s office. He’s with the same firm. I told him that I’d seen him on the elevator, that I understood his aversion. He told me that I should go out with him. He seemed like a pig, but I agreed to go out with him. The first date was typical until we got to his house.
A car was parked in his driveway. Jay pulled in behind it and got out of the car. After he’d unlocked the six deadbolts in his front door and told me to make myself a drink while he took care of the car, he left me in the doorway. The screen had only just slammed when a loud thwack startled me. Then another. I opened the door again to see Jay ramming the parked car.
In an obvious string of events, the owner of the violated vehicle appeared from a neighboring house, and started a fight. For some reason I ran out and tried to stop them. Jay shook me off, looked me in the eyes, and winked. My heart fluttered and I submitted to the alpha male. It’s embarrassing to admit, but he brought out the worst in me. At least I can say that I didn’t watch Jay pummel the poor idiot who’d committed the unspeakable act of parking in the wrong place.
I went inside. Jay wasn’t even breathing hard when he came in. His hair wasn’t mussed. The only discernable result of the beating he’d inflicted was a fine spray of blood on his white shirt. Gross, but impressive. He ripped the shirt off, literally ripped it off, and threw it, along with his tie, into the trash.
Egomaniacal body obsession had led him to work out, well, obsessively, and it was obvious. I mean wow. It became evident how he’d been able to beat the hell out of that guy with such ease. I wanted to bite his stomach, lick his collarbones. He said I could.
When I got home, I bleached my counters. It’s the equivalent of a post-coital cigarette for me. Then I turned down my tidy, hospital-cornered bed, slid under the sheet and pulled the duvet up under my chin. I snapped off my lamp and closed my eyes. I couldn’t think of anything but Jay. Jay’s hands on my hips. The taste of Jay’s blood in my mouth when I bit his bottom lip.
That was the beginning. And like any good addict, I didn’t admit my problem. When my friends asked about him, I carefully omitted the crazy. “We went to dinner at CafĂ© 36, then went back to his house.”
When I started getting questions about our sex life, I just said that it was great. The general public didn’t need to know about the controlled bloodletting, rubber fetish, bondage, or the swing. All of which I thoroughly enjoyed. Especially the swing. Jay had hooks on chains of all different lengths hanging from the ceiling so everything was adjustable. I’ve actually thought of doing something similar in my own home because it was so terrific.
Jay’s behavior became more and more violent. At least from my perspective. I’m sure he’d always done insane things, I just saw them more often. He got into fights. He stole things, and mind you, he’s an officer of the court, broke things, vandalized buildings, he even set a car on fire. I never tried to stop him after the first time. Everything he did made my pulse quicken. A junkie with a vicious habit for almost a year.
Then one day, his fits stopped being exciting and started to seem infantile. And then Jay started to scare me. I found his fingernail collection and a pillow stuffed with hair (I don’t know who the hair belonged to – maybe lots of people) and started to wean myself off him. As I cut down on our time together, I started to notice things disappearing – underwear, my toothbrush.
The last time I saw Jay was when I told him I didn’t want to date him anymore. I went to his bedroom to look for my underwear. I opened his sock drawer and discovered, much to my horror, that he’d been taking my bloody pads and tampon applicators from the trash. And apparently for a number of months. He had them sealed and labeled in vacuum bags. I left them, and everything else, and walked away.
It’s truer to say that I ran away. I moved that same night. I called all of my friends and we moved all of my stuff into Jon’s garage. I chose Jon’s garage because the cement on the ground actually shines. And there isn’t even one cobweb, not anywhere.
Then I rented a truck and found a new place to live. Later on I changed my name and moved again when I found Jay in my driveway one crack of dawn rifling through my garbage.
I’ve learned to stick with the average neurotics. One good thing about the whole Jay debacle was that Jon and I got back together as a result of putting my things in his care. Honey phobias may not be intoxicating, but at least I don’t have dreams that Jon will julienne me while I sleep and stir-fry me with snow peas and baby corn.

3.9.09

Busy Brain

0 comments
Tonight my brain will not rest. It will not light on any single thought. I've written a thousand little sentences, ideas, words. I've tried to form the thoughts into something coherent, but nothing is happening, or rather, too much is happening.

Tonight even the yoga cannot quiet the noise. When the yoga doesn't work the voices into tired capitulation, there is not much else I can think of to do than drink some wine, put on some music, take a bath and go to bed and hope that the dreams aren't too disruptive.

Tomorrow is another day.

2.9.09

Collection

0 comments
I collect words - both figuratively and literally. I cut words out of magazines and newspapers and I have at least four English dictionaries. I also have lists of words written in journals and on notepads. I keep words that I like the look of, sound of, or meaning of. Sometimes I get all three in one. I like when that happens.

arabesque, antediluvian, axel, amalgam
Barcelona, bombastic, brash, bioluminescent
charcuterie, comely, cymbal, confabulation
deoxyribonucleic, disinter, demagogue, deontology
emblem, excoriate, effete, ex-communicate
filigree, flange, fabricate, facet, facia
gastronomic, Glastonbury, gargantuan, gestational
harbinger, hausfrau, hoagy, hellacious, hyperbolic
ignominy, iridescent, improvisation, immaterial, iamb
juxtapose, jackanpes, jackal, jammy
kabuki, kumquat, kipper, kangaroo
lambaste, loquacious, limbic, lothario
mellifluous, mastic, Merovingian, malarky
natarajasana, numismatist, natatorium, nihilist, nerd
ophthalmologist, obsequious, outdoorsy, oarsmanship
peripatetic, philologist, plenipotentiary, preponderance
quaalude, quotidian, quixotic, quench, quince
relativism, resplendent, recondite, ravishing, ravenous
syndicalism, sabbatical, saturnine, sanguine, shill
terrific, terrestrial, tumescent, tangent
ubiquitous, ukulele, Ulannbaatar (Ulan Bator)
verisimilitude, vilify, vociferous, verbose
wistful, wainscot, wishy-washy, whatsoever
xylophone, Xanadu, xanthan, xenobiotic
yarmulke, yak, yarf, yen, yearn
zabaglione, zephyr, zoetrope, zed

29.8.09

You Were Never the One

3 comments
I got an unexpected (LONG) facebook message from an ex today. This is someone I haven't heard from in years. The message gave me almost every detail of his life, including the reason he was writing: he's getting divorced - for the 4th time. He's 39.

Apparently this 4th divorce has been a kind of wake-up call. He's decided to ask every woman who ever broke up with him what he could have done differently in the relationship. He asked me to "be brutally honest."

The thing is, I never thought of him as a long-term prospect. I liked him, but he was never the one. I knew that. When I broke up with him I told him that I didn't think we should see each other anymore because it would never be what I wanted and I didn't think it would be what he wanted. At the time, he agreed.

Today, he told me that he was head over heels in love with me and was devastated when I broke up with him. I had no idea. I guess because I knew I'd never love him, I couldn't believe he could be in love with me.

But you can't write that - "You were never the one." It's mean, right? Especially since he confessed his ardent love for me. It's also pointless - at least for his purposes. The thing is, I never lived with him and we dated for less than a year. I don't have any constructive criticism for him that will help him with his present quest for self-transformation.

My inclination was not to answer at all. After all the time he took to (unnecessarily) outline his entire life since last we met, though, I felt like some kind of response was in order.

This is what I wrote:

Dear Ex-Boyfriend (not his real name),

Sorry to hear you're in the middle of another divorce. I knew you'd gotten divorced from First Wife (not her real name), but didn't know you'd married again (and again and again).

I don't think I can (or want to) offer you any help with your request. There was no issue in our relationship that caused our breakup, it just wasn't what I wanted (and I was never that into you).

Take care,

Dorothy (not her real name)

A perfunctory reply, yes, but I have to confess, I was more than a little annoyed at the whole thing. I wasn't flattered or inclined to help him. The fact that he's on his 4th divorce only confirms that I was dead right in not wanting to be with him. I mean seriously? FOUR divorces? After 2 maybe you pump the breaks and reflect. After three, maybe you really take your time before marrying wife #4.

I don't remember him as the kind of guy who averages a new wife every two years, but maybe that's one of the things that I knew and never processed. Maybe I just didn't care since I thought of it as a mostly casual thing. I'm not sure.

What I wanted to write was:

Dear Ex-Boyfriend,

What's past is past. Let it go. I never loved you and never wanted more than regular sex and an occasional dinner companion from you. If you're in the middle of your 4th divorce in 9 years, you're probably an irredeemable dick. While this isn't how I remember you, I have to admit, I don't remember you well.

Please, please (pretty please) never contact me again.

Love,
Dorothy

Sometimes people are so dumb.