31.7.09

All About Me(me).

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Sorry. Totally crappy title.

So Hannah passed this on to her readers - of whom I am one. And I wanted to do it. So here it is:

I can't:

Tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue.

Reach the top shelf.

Stand Matt's aunt.

Eat shrimp without risk of death.

Crochet. I have tried time and again, and still, nothing.

I can:

Swim like a big fish.

Tell a good story.

Be charming if I choose to be (although, I don't often choose to be).

Tell the doneness of meat by poking it.

Knit.

Eat my weight in sushi/sashimi.

I won't:

Name a child after a soap opera character.

Wear clothes unless I absolutely have to.

Live in Las Vegas for much longer (relatively speaking).

Spend time on people I don't like.

Skydive. Because, really, why?

I will:

Finish writing something.

Moderate my consumption of french fries.

Have a house on the beach.

Listen to more of the music that sits lonely in my iTunes library.

Eventually be able to hold every Bikram pose for the full time, both sets.

I shouldn't:

Waste so much time.

Eat so much starch.

Be hot all the time.

Judge people by the pets they have.

Worry about what my ass looks like in a swimsuit.

I should:

Learn a second language - well.

Write more.

Travel more.

Stop buying stationery.

Try making corn tortillas.

28.7.09

Acknowledge and Move On

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One of my best friends, Valerie, called me tonight. She has suffered a heartbreak. Twice. At the hands of the same man. I did the part of the faithful friend. I reminded her that she will feel better eventually. I agreed that he's an asshole. I told her listen to the heartbreak playlist (the one we all can put together in our heads at any given moment) all the way through. Cry, cry, cry. And then I reminded her to acknowledge and move on.

Acknowledge and move on. This was some of the best advice ever given me by a guy I went to high school with.

We often move on. We move on from all kinds of things: jobs, houses, schools, friends, loves, cities, restaurants. We less often acknowledge. Acknowledge what we take from what we leave behind.

I'm feeling nostalgic tonight (due, in at least some small part, to the fact that I'm premenstrual). And after I reminded Val that She Will Survive and hung up, I started thinking of the people, places, and things that I've left behind (willingly or not).

I got political awareness from Ben. From Charlie, romance. The Weakerthans and lots of other music came from Juan. I got advice from Mike. Ray helped me appreciate that there was more to beverages than diet Coke. Ryan gave me Raymond Carver. Vic handed me confidence at a time when I really needed it.

Rose got me into knitting. Annie helped me be patient. Michelle was my partner in adolescent, illicit nighttime shenanigans that helped me start to become independent.

Texas showed me the terror of flash floods and tornadoes. Ohio helped me understand that just because the sun doesn't shine for 9 or 10 months doesn't mean it's gone out - it also gave me some of my best friends. California gave me something to strive for. Massachusetts gave me a reason to get on with my life.

All of these things are put away. They are part of what was, not what is, or what will be. And at the same time they are and will be. All of these things have helped make me who I am. They have allowed me to grow and explore, to be careful and reckless, to love and let go. I am grateful for all of it. For the friendship, support, love, loss. Even the heartbreak - both that I caused and felt. I'm also glad to have moved on.

Acknowledged.

23.7.09

But I Can't Stop

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Facebook is evil and horrible. It's the black hole of the digital world. Not even light can escape it. That being said, I can't stop.

The chief reason I hate facebook is that it promotes ADD. Snipits here and there of all kinds of stuff that you don't really need (or want) to know is just a click away. There's a birthday party for Jenny's dog next week in Hoboken, will you attend? Kim just got her car washed. Joe was tagged in the album Look How Thin We Used to Be by Evan Hollister.

Click, click, click. Pretty soon you're reading other people's walls. And soon after that you're getting annoyed at some of your friend's friends. That Denise chick is a bitch! I can't believe she wrote that on Ellen's wall! Then you get an IM from some dude you went to high school with and have been drawn into a text-ation about how he's having trouble in his marriage and is really sad about the death of Farrah Fawcett.

When you finally disengage from the chat-gone-wrong, you see that you have 2 new requests. Martha has asked you to be part of her Mafia Wars family. Tipton St. Marie (you have 6 mutual friends) sent you a friend request - even though you're fairly certain you've never seen, let alone met, Tipton St. Marie.

Then one of your groups has been updated. The Dinner Party Download has sent you a message.

Click, click, click, click, click, click, click. And then you realize that it's 3AM and your brain has drained out your nose. Crap - and you never did post that note that was the whole reason you logged in in the first place.

See? Evil. Horrible. But like the cut in your mouth, irresistable.

22.7.09

Ten Days in the 7th Circle of Hell or Why I Think Family Reunions are a Bad Idea

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Last night, my mother called and left me a message saying she'd been talking with Maryanne (her cousin's wife) about trying to organize a family reunion in September when they're going to have a memorial for my great-aunt Helen who died at the end of last year.

My mother, apparently, has forgotten what happened the last time we all got together. Now, to be fair, I'm not a people person. I don't like many people and whether or not their related to me has no bearing on my ability to tolerate their company. I love my nuclear family (including my brothers-in-law and nieces and nephews), but beyond that, it's pretty patchy.

The last time we got together in a "reunion" capacity, was a number of years ago. My mom's youngest cousin (who's closer to my sisters' ages than to my mom's) was getting married. In Alabama. In July. His mother, my great-aunt Lilian, suggested we "make an affair" of it.

Lil scoped a condo-complex in Pensacola, FL for the post-wedding festivities. The plan was that everyone (a total of about 25 people) would come in the day before the wedding and then stay an additional 13 days re-uniting. I was in college in San Francisco at the time, and I had two summer classes that I needed to finish before I could join in. I flew in two days after the wedding by the end of the day things were going well south.

My mother picked me up at the airport in the early morning and we were immediately trapped in horrible traffic due to an accident. I had already been traveling forever by then. I started on a train then a plane to Minneapolis, another to Memphis and a teeny tiny one to Mobile. By the time we got to the compound, my mother and I had already had a fight and pretty much everyone had gone to a botanical garden or something.

I decided to go for a swim. The condos were oceanfront so I walked the 100 yards to the water and jumped right in. It was the Gulf. Warm water, but water, so whatever. Only I immediately began to itch. Then it was fully painful. I got out of the water, feeling like I'd been stung by a jellyfish, but all over my body. I looked like it, too. I was blotchy and red all over. I went in and showered. Most of the condition dissipated, but a few of the bigger splotches remained red and painful. Welcome to Florida. What we found out was that, due to big storms in the spring and early summer, there was jellyfish soup filling the Gulf of Mexico. Pieces of jellyfish and whole jellyfish in record numbers were being continually washed around and around, making swimming ill-advised. If only I'd known.

Removing the water from a beach-based vacation makes things a bit tense. Especially because it was oppressively hot and humid. Add to this forced idleness a rampant stomach flu, a minor heart attack, several cases of extreme sunburn, constant disagreement about what to do, sea-sickness, endless trips to the grocery store that was a half-hour away, and my least-favorite relative, Aunt Mel and her constant obsequious laughter and lip-smacking, and it was guaranteed misery for everyone.

Another major mistake was the idea of two weeks. I was there 10 days and still wanted to stab myself in the eyes with pencils. When you have 20+ people who don't know each other very well, 1 or 2 days is the maximum amount of time you should spend together. Like a high school reunion.

We ended up playing a lot of cards and bored - oops, I mean board games. So, 25 people in 6 condos, confined mostly to the indoors. FUN.

Also, and I don't know how I forgot this part, 99% of my relatives are raging alcoholics. And they aren't fun drunks. They don't get happy or huggy. They get bitter. Nasty. They start to pick and poke and pull each other apart.

My aunt, Mel, and my uncle, Don, got into a fight that I thought might actually come to blows. A lot of name-calling and pettiness run amok. My mother, while not an alcoholic, had a couple of evenings where she drank more than was advisable and ended up in a shouting match with one of her cousins.

My grandfather had a minor heart attack while walking on the beach one day and refused to go to the hospital. Everyone got sunburned sitting on the deck. Everyone. I had the second burn of my entire life and it was so bad I couldn't sleep or lie on my back. I spent several hours of every day with tea bags all over my back trying to take the sting out.

My cousin actually got sun poisoning while deep sea fishing. Mostly because he's a moron, but also because Florida + summer = dumb.

I have never been so relieved to see a vacation end as I was that one. I practically ran down the jetway and skipped down the aisle of the plane. To go back to school.

Sure, it sounds like a blast, but I assure you, it was not. I need to make sure to remind my mother of this before she gets too excited about "getting everyone together" again. Sweet tapdancing christ on a bed of lettuce.

21.7.09

Storm

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The wind blew hard, forcing the few drops of rain that had managed to live the journey from the upper-reaches of the atmosphere into the windows. The force of the air shook the windows.

I opened the door to the balcony that overlooks some few trees and stood with the gale blowing at me. The wind was hot and the rain had given up.

I knew the wind would bear me if I let it. I opened my arms and let the air catch my nightgown. I rose up, up, up. For a few moments I hovered just over the railing, and then, realizing my power, rose higher and took flight.

The trees were dark and thrashing beneath me. The sky lit briefly here and there, enough to guide me through the sky. Finally, when I knew the water was beneath me, I closed my arms and dropped into the inky water, sinking ever lower until I reached an equilibrium and floated, suspended in the depths of the ocean.

I knew, as I had known the wind would bear me, that I could take a deep breath and find satisfaction for my aching lungs. The liquid filled my nose, my mouth, my throat, and finally, my lungs. I tasted the salt, felt the sting in the pink tissue that had never hosted liquid before. For a second, panic flitted through my brain, but it passed when I felt the relief.

I closed my eyes and slept in the depths, water softly pitching my body, and woke in my own bed.

17.7.09

Hot Like Hell

2 comments
No, not the yoga room, the temperatures in Vegas. It's 109 degrees at 8P. That's unconscionably hot. Today's high was 112. 112. That's indefensible.

I'd like to lodge a complaint, but as far as I understand it, Mother Nature is a figure of speech and not an actual person. That leaves me with no real recourse. Damn it!

I can't think when it's this hot. The air conditioner is chug-chug-chugging away and it can barely keep up. The closet in the office is about 95 degrees. I'm crabby and sweaty. It's too hot for lights or clothes. It's almost too hot to swim.

Actually, during the day, it is too hot to swim. I can't imagine spending more than about 5 minutes outside with my skin exposed to the very mean sun. I go from one air-conditioned space to another, sweat freely rolling down my body in the few moments of exposure to the scorching ball in the sky.

And, to make matters worse, there's no shade. Trees in Vegas are scarce and small (mostly) - or palms. No good shade trees.

My Moksha studio employs a woman from Toronto who came to our studio to help train other instructors. She's also a redhead. The poor thing looks like she might actually burst into flames sometimes. God knows I feel like I might.

So that's it. I can't even think of a point because my brain is boiling.

6.7.09

It Wasn't Funny at the Time

4 comments
Last night I decided to re-organize my jewelry. I'm kind of a jewelry whore. I have more than I'll ever wear, but I can't not buy something that's totally awesome. Anyway, I started this project by dumping all of my jewelry boxes on the floor and sorting: necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings. I untangled and polished and cleaned.

After about 45 minutes I was on to the last wad of stuff to untangle. In the middle of this mass was my wedding ring. Well, my ex-wedding ring, anyway.

See, I was married before. I try to pretend it never really happened, but it did and I have the ring to prove it.

December 22, undisclosed year: I am in the middle of a painful waiting period - namely, the time between realizing I needed to leave my husband (in early November) and being able to do it (after the holidays were over). This sounds calculating and kind of ridiculous, but it seemed like the kindest thing to do. Anyway, my husband and I get into a fight over an alleged phone message from his mother and her gall stones. We were scheduled to go with my parents to my sister's for Christmas on the 24th.

December 23, undisclosed year: My husband is a no-show for a dinner party that I end up going to alone. He is, further, a no-show at home until almost midnight. When he comes in, the fight begins and goes on for a couple of hours until I finally tell him it's all over. I call my parents around 2A and announce my arrival at their house and that I "don't want to talk about it."

December 24, approximately 4A, undisclosed year: I wake from a troubled sleep with the thought, "I should take off my wedding ring!" So I do - take it off. Five minutes later, addle-brained and half asleep, I think, "I don't want to lose it, though." So I put it on my right hand. Now, to be clear, I don't know where it would have gone. I wasn't thinking clearly. Even if I couldn't find it, it would have been somewhere in the bedroom...

December 24, 7A, same year: I awaken to ready myself to go to the airport. My right ring finger is slightly swollen, but I ignore it and shower. By the time we are ready to leave for the airport, my finger is quite swollen so I grab a Ziploc baggie full of ice to put my hand in in the car.

December 24, 8A, the airport: The swelling in my finger is getting worse and worse. My finger is a deep purple color. My father says, "We have to get that thing off your finger or you're going to be in big trouble." The question of how to get the ring off, though, was still unanswered. Nothing will pass my knuckle and I'm losing the feeling and mobility in my finger.

My father goes to the gate agent and asks if there's a member of the ground crew who has a pair of wire snips or pliers who can come cut the ring off. We show the gate agent my finger and she gets on her radio.

Five minutes later, a large man in orange coveralls arrives to rescue me. He has an arsenal of cutting devices. He begins to try to cut the ring off. It hurts. A lot. He's not making much headway. He gets on his radio and calls for "Roy" to "get up here with the bolt cutters."

In another five-ish minutes, Roy arrives with a tool that looks like it can take the leg off a farm animal. Roy and other-workman-name-unknown have my hand and are cutting away. Roy cuts while OWNU pulls the metal apart, all the while taking care to not cut me. My eyes are watering and my finger is throbbing. Every eye in the gate is on us.

After about 10 minutes of careful cutting and prying, my finger is free. My saviors step back with a flourish and the crowd claps. They take their bows, my dad tips them and we have time to spare before we board the plane.

This was the end of my marriage. Apropos, no?

I can laugh about it now.