22.11.10

The Day After Tomorrow

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The day after tomorrow, I will be in the company of everyone I love. And I won't even mind wearing a coat and gloves to do it.

I will sit in my sister's new kitchen - designed specifically so that everyone can fit comfortably in it when we're all together - peeling potatoes, grating cabbage and carrots, making cookies and drinking cinnamon tea. We'll nibble soup and chili and sandwiches and talk. And we'll laugh and laugh. The other travellers will trickle in all day and we'll all stay up too late.

On Thursday morning, my mother and sisters and I will get up early and set in motion dinner for 38. We'll take turns taking showers because we need to keep working. We'll set up the tables and my niece and nephew will iron the tablecloths and napkins and set the tables.

The rest of the family and friends will begin arriving early and will continue coming until we eat at about 4.

We'll talk about everything from organic farming to Glee and the night will stretch on. The games will come out, the tables begin getting broken down and put away and the furniture returned to it's rightful place.

And we'll talk more. And laugh. And laugh.

I cannot wait. It is these people who are my home.


19.11.10

I Can't

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I can't go to yoga today because my car won't start, I feel a cold coming on, I don't have any clean clothes, I snagged my favorite sweater on a tree yesterday and it unraveled and I'm dealing with that loss, I've lost my sense of direction, I'm tired, I'm trapped under something heavy, my cousin's husband's goldfish is getting bar mitzvahed in Weehawken next week and I have to get ready to go, the dog ate my yoga mat, I'm having company next month, that bitch in the front row keeps eyeballing me, I have 150 pages left in my library book and it's due by the end of the day, I'm out of milk, traffic could be bad, FedEx left a package for my neighbor with me and I need to stay home to give it to him, the baseboards need scrubbing, the yard is a mess, I can't find my left sock, I hate that teacher, my right hamstring aches, I'm in training for the Monopoly world championships, I'm out of water, I can't feel my legs, I'm washing my hair, I left my heart in San Francisco, I left my wallet in El Segundo, I tripped, the sink is clogged, I'm learning how to delay gratification, I can't find my favorite paper clip, the cat's sick, it's going to rain, it might be crowded, I'm expecting a call, the studio just got painted and it smells weird, I'm totally dehydrated, I have a weird taste in my mouth, my nose is stuffy, my pen doesn't work, there's no line at the DMV so I'm registering my car early, my best friend is competing in the "Best Bangs" contest at bangs.com and we're waiting for the results together, the Academy Awards are less than a year away, it's too hot, it's too cold, I have my period, I'm pre-menstrual, I think I may have drunk sour milk, I have a date, I haven't had breakfast, I had too much Jamaican food last night, I'm hungover, and last, but not least, because I don't want to.

This is the tip of the iceberg for reasons not to go to yoga.  Pick your favorite.  No matter what, it's stupid.  Just go to class.  Now.

17.11.10

Twenty Years

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Twenty years ago today, one of my friends was murdered.  I'm sorry that I never got to know her as an adult.  She was a girl with high hopes, a generous spirit, a quick smile, and a contagious laugh.  My last memory of her is of her laughing.  I have a little trouble believing that it was two full decades ago - that we, all of her friends, managed to grow up without her.

15.11.10

Cautionary Tale

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When I was little, I loved Wonder Woman. In a very real, very obsessive way. I didn't want to be like Wonder Woman; I wanted be Wonder Woman. My parents always told me that I could be anything when I grew up, which was awesome. It meant it was, obviously, only a matter of time before I got my golden lasso, bullet-repelling bracelets, and my red, white, and blue outfit. Oh, and the headpiece. How I coveted the headpiece.

As it turns out, my parents lied. I found out the hard way. At age 4. See, one of my childless/insensitive relatives asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up (which, let's be honest, is a dumb thing to ask a kid before they're at least ten) and I said, without a second's hesitation, "Wonder Woman." Which should have been clear. I mean what kind of moron would want to be anything else? The reply from said moronic relative was, "You can't really be Wonder Woman, though. She's not real."

So I punished her by breaking into tears, which made her feel like shit, and then running to my parents for clarification. At which point I was informed that it was true: I would never be Wonder Woman.

Why, then, did they tell me I could be anything when it's entirely untrue? I demanded to know. I had never been decieved into believing in Santa or the Easter Bunny because my mother thought it was wrong to tell kids stuff that is blatently untrue. Which I thank her for because I know more than one person who was traumatized by the idea of strangers roaming their homes in the dead of night. But telling me that I could be anything was a lie, too. And there was no reason for it.

I know now that they meant that I had open options, but at four, that's a distinction you can't make. Do I think it scarred me for life? No, but it could be the reason I'm not President. So be careful what you say to your kids. I'm just saying...


Light the Corners of My Mind

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When I was in LA last, I was out with Wilbur, walking our old neighborhood, and the smell of the trees at night reminded me of a very specific night right after I moved to LA.  A night I'd forgotten on a conscious level, but that was still there, buried beneath years' worth of detritus - dormant, but not dead.  I was driving out Sunset toward PCH.  It was one of the only drives I really knew by heart at that point and it's a beautiful drive.  At a light in the Palisades, I saw one of my high school boyfriends walking down the sidewalk. It surprised me because he was out of context.  He belonged to my high school life, and to see him like that really threw me, but I yelled his name - first and last - out the window. He ran up to my car and got in and I pulled down a sidestreet. We talked for a few minuites and then exchanged phone numbers. I drove him home and as we sat in my car in front of his house wih the windows down, having a few last words, the smell of the trees really struck me. He got out of the car. We both promised we'd get together soon. And I continued my drive out to the ocean and up to Malibu and then home again.

We never got together.  Last year, I heard that he had had a baby and gotten married.  Even though it made me think about him, I didn't think about the night in the Palisades.  It didn't even leave a glimmer of something unremembered in my head.  It wasn't until the walk and the smell of the trees that it burst into my brain in full color.

I sincerely wish we understood memory better. Understood how it works, mutates, doesn't work... Because sometimes I wonder how accurate my recollection really is.  It's all mutable, malleable - and who knows how well we recorded it in the first place.  Just look at witness statements.  Everyone remembers it a little (or a lot) differently.  Our senses are unreliable, our reality subjective.

As I get older, I find it's harder to remember the beginning of my life. I have memories, but I wonder how much they resemble the actual events anymore. Not that it really matters, I guess, but I do kind of wish I had some difininitive record somewhere so that when things get fuzzy, I could look them up - verify my mind, so to speak - especially when my memory clashes with someone else's.

I read somewhere (and now, ironically enough, I can't remember where) that we really only remember things once and then after that, we remember remembering it. I'm not sure if this is true or not. It's definitely an interesting idea.  It would be an explanation for why memories change over time.  It would also explain why the things we think about the most stay the clearest in our minds.  It could also mean that we could practice remembering - get really good at it.  It's a cool idea.

The really amazing thing to me, though, is that we have memories at all. The complexity of our brains is so great that it has the potential to have several million defects, but somehow it usually doesn't.  Somehow, most of the time, the pathways and synapses and receptors work the way they should and we remember how to walk and read and talk. We recall words and languages.  Images and objects get named and remembered.  Smells, tastes, colors are readily available when needed.  I can still name all of my classmates in school photos.

We can remember all kinds of things all the time, and yet I still can't always remember where I parked the goddamned car.  WTF, Memory?  WTF?

10.11.10

E-mail from the Past (Really)

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So, five years ago (holy shit) I sent myself an email to the future (with FutureMe.org. It's fun if you're that kind of nerd - which clearly, I am). I had forgotten all about Future Me until this email arrived. Since it has arrived, though, I've remembered that I sent one farther into the future as well. But I don't know how far and I can't remember what it said. Anyway, I have copied the email below. Pretty much everything is different in the particulars, but a lot is the same in the generalities. I have notated the differences in red.


The following is an e-mail from the past, composed on November 10, 2005, and sent into the future (now the present) through FutureMe.org.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Dear FutureMe,

Hey, it's me! So let me tell me about us today. I'm working at a miserable job that I hate with every cell in my body. It's stupid and boring and pointless. I don't work at all right now. So that's a plus. But I still can't figure out what I really want to do.

I am, however, in love witha wonderful man, Walker, who makes me happy every day and who is supportive and loving. Change the name from Walker (who, as it turns out, wasn't all that into me) to Matt and this is good to go.

I live with Wilbur and mostly that works out pretty well, although he drives me crazy sometimes. Yeah, obviously, I don't live with Wilbur anymore. I live with Matt. But sometimes I miss living with Wilbur in our apartment in LA.

I hate aspic and anchovies. Check and check. I've recently developed a taste for salmon (this must have been a lie, or at the very least, wishful thinking, because I continue to hate salmon unless its a lox) and I only like small, small caviar (still true).

I just started a novel for National Novel Writing Month and I'm having fun with that. Hope springs eternal. This Christmas Walker is taking me to Vieques. I'm really excited about that. Vieques was awesome. This year, I'll be holidaying in Vegas. With the dreadfuls in-laws.

I'm seeing an awesome acupuncturist who cured me of my chronic insomnia and I walk five miles a day. Unfortunately, I live too far to commute to my acupuncturist and haven't replaced her. I don't walk five miles every day anymore, but I do it about twice a week. I do yoga instead.

My grandfather died recently and left me some money. My grandfather has been dead for more than five years now. I'm going to blow some of it on a bike, a kayak, and a surfboard. Check, check, nope. I never ended up with a surf board. I couldn't decide on one. I kept thinking I would do it eventually and then I moved to the desert, so maybe that worked out for the best. I still have my wetsuit, though. I'm also going to buy Walker a windlass for his sailboat. Not that he knows that yet. Yeah, I bought that for him. I'm sure it's being used - possibly even as we speak.

My relationship with my best friend is somewhat strained right now because she's got a ridiculous cocaine problem. We'll see what happens. What happened was that she became someone I didn't want to know. So I don't know her anymore. I do hope she's stopped with the coke, though.

For the first time in my life, I feel a desire to have children. Or at least one child. Yep. And I might want to get married again. Look at that. I kind of predicted the future. Okay, not really. So this is where I am right now. I hope to change the job part of it before I get this email back. Hey. Two down. But other than that, I think I'm ahead of the game. I still do think this.





The funny thing is, the other night I was at a birthday party. It was one of Matt's and my friends' 30th birthday. I said I wouldn't mind being 30 again. One of the other party-goers said, "Yeah, but at least your life is better now then it was then, right?" I agree. And ouch. Sorry you don't feel the same way, party-goer.

9.11.10

Failing

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Right now, I'm totally failing NaNoWriMo. According to the chart, my current daily average will have me finishing the novel sometime in December. It's not so much that I'm low on word-count, though. It's that I haven't been writing every day. Which is the point of this thing - to work on your novel every day.

I write every day. I have stories and blog posts and schnibbles everywhere. As a matter of fact, I need to back up, because the volume of writing has reached a capacity that if something happened, I'd be mad. Anyway... My point, which I'm so adept at straying from, is that I'm not doing what I should be doing. And, well, I don't know if I care.

I'm working on an idea that may not be worth anything - at least in novel form - and it's slow going because it isn't working. The cool thing is that it has me thinking about writing and actually writing more than I have for a long time.

So I will probably not finish this year's novel. I'm going to continue to work on it through the end of November anyway. Maybe it'll turn into something workable. And if not, well, at least I can say I (sort of) tried.

8.11.10

Naturally Zen?

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I had a massage today. It was great and long overdue. Or was it? As I was leaving, my massage therapist, Sean, said, "I've never felt a body like yours before." I must have looked confused because he quicky added, "You didn't have any knots. It was amazing. You must be naturally zen."

While I confess I am fairly laid back - possible a little too much so at times - I think it's the yoga. Yay yoga.








Windy

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The wind is literally howling outside my windows.  It's rattling the screens.  It's a lonely sound - a cold, gray sound.  It's what I imagine Wuthering Heights sounded like.

I love that sound.  It's primal and familiar and comforting.  The rolling roar that blots out the barking and the traffic and the hum of the city.

It lulls me, even though I want to stay awake and listen.  And I want to listen because it lulls me.

I used to occasionally sleep on a sailboat in the Pacific Ocean.  One night, moored in Isthmus Cove on Catalina, there was a storm.  The wind blew so hard that it felt like the boat might take flight.  I was still a professional insomniac back then, but that night I slept like the dead, snuggled into the belly of the boat, listening to the wind pummel the world.

3.11.10

What I Know So Far

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Life is not fair. The sooner we acknowledge that the better off we are.

Self-help books and books about how to make a million dollars are worthless because both things require a fuckload more than a book to accomplish. And a lot of work. Although the surefire way to make a million dollars seems to be to write a book about how to make a million dollars. Hm.

There will be people who won't like you. It's okay.

Milk is generally unkind to my digestive tract.

Self-doubt afflicts everyone sometimes. If it happens too much, though, you should seek professional help.

Follow-through is important, but there will be times when we can't finish what we start. Don't worry about it too much, but don't make it a habit, either.

First impressions are not built on what you look like.

If you pay attention, people will always tell you everything you need to know about themselves. Believe what they say.

Over-the-counter is not full prescription strength - no matter what the package says.

Simple ≠ Easy

Green is not my color.

Really comfortable shoes that aren't hideous, like really great lipstick, will be discontinued, so buy them in quantity.

Hollandaise is relatively easy to make (damn).

Pay attention to the road.

Double knots are your friends.

Choose your words carefully.

The things you hate the most last the longest (this includes people).

Be nice, not a doormat.

Perfection is non-existent. Stop looking for it.

Life is hard sometimes.

Acknowledge and move on.

People who don't like chocolate are not to be trusted.

Well done is a way to live your life, not order your meat.

Laugh at yourself and with others.

Be willing to change your mind, but know your mind.

Fear can be overcome.  Regrets linger.

Know where your flashlights are (and make sure the batteries are good).

Learn how to:  change a tire, change a fuse, unclog a sink and a toilet, shut off the water, rewire a lamp, read a map, use a compass, and jumpstart a car because you will eventually need to know.

Be careful of your tone of voice.

For the love of Sweet Tapdancing Christ on a Bed of Lettuce, enjoy yourself.  Life is either way too short or way too long to be miserable.

1.11.10

NaNoWrimo Time!

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National Novel Writing Month is here again. I'm signed up and ready to go. This is my birthday present to myself. I keep doing it hoping that I'll eventually write something that I like enough to do a finished draft. And it's fun (when I don't wan to kill myself).

We'll see how it turns out.