Pretty sure...

I'm addicted to Pinterest.


Goodnight, sweet prince

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. -Steve Jobs


So, that just happened.

I went to bed feeling accomplished. I'd gotten the cooking done for the week, gotten the laundry done and folded and ready to be put away this morning. I read some Julia Kristeva and was asleep by 11.

Sometime later, a loud noise woke both Matt and me up. Matt got up to investigate and after making sure no one was breaking in, came back to bed.

Approximately a half-hour ago, I awoke to start my day. As I approached the laundry room to retrieve the folded laundry, I noticed a dark spot on the carpet just outside the laundry room door.

I knew it meant bad things. I opened - or tried to open the door - to find it blocked by something. Upon pushing it harder, I discovered that the impediment was a pile of clothes accompanied by a river of laundry detergent (the source of the spot on the carpet).

Yeah. So the clean clothes are currently lying in a lake of blue goo. And the goo is all over EVERYTHING. the walls, the washing machine, the floor, there's even some on the ceiling.

How it happened is still a physics-defying mystery. See, the detergent was resting safely on it's appointed shelf, as it has done for weeks now. And now it's not. It seems to have leapt to it's death without cause.

Nothing else on the shelf is out of place. And yet this three-quarters full jug of detergent propelled itself off the shelf with enough force to knock over a laundry basket full of clothes.

Oh, the horror.

I'm writing this now because I don't know where to even begin. I mean, how do you clean up soap? And even after I do, I'm pretty sure every time I mop that floor for the rest of my life, bubbles will appear. My grout will be blue for a long time - if not forever. An the poor clothes are going to have to go through probably a couple of soapless washes just to get the soap out.

Sigh. Okay, I've just decided this is hilarious. Because otherwise it might make me cry.


Inappropriate Baby Names

Okay, I don't have kids. So I've never gone through the hell of trying to find a unique/awesome baby name. That being said, there are guidelines for what's appropriate.

First and foremost: Don't name your child after an alcoholic beverage. This means any alcoholic beverage. Spelled either as it appears on the bottle or as it might sound in the vernacular. For example: K'vasyay is no more acceptable than Courvoisier. Brandy, Brandi, Brandee - all inappropriate. Tequilla - no. Alize, Champagne, etc. No matter how pretty the word sounds coming out of your mouth, you're not helping your kid with that name.

Rule 2: Don't name your child after a car (exceptions being Portia and Mercedes). Spelling your daughter's name PORSCHE is fucked up. Chevrolet, Bentley, Ghini, et. al, should be avoided.

Rule 3: Names like Player, Danger, Unique, Star, Bubbles, Husslyr and Doctor should never get on the list, let alone appear there long enough to get scratched off. Really, people, WTF? Sure, for a second it might be funny to have a kid named Doctor Jones, but that's a costly joke.

Rule 4: Potential rapper names like ShEye-Boy and Sweet Baby are inappropriate. Let the kid pick his own rap star name when he gets to the point that he needs one.

Rule 5: Household objects shouldn't be sources of names. Chandelier? Maybe not.

Rule 6: Don't go with animal names. Tiger, Pony, Lion, Panther - abstain.

Rule 7: Random words like Fade, Cousin, Whisper should be left as random words and stay off the birth certificate.

I ask you to observe these rules for the sake of your child. This leaves worlds of names available. And if the available names don't suit you, make one up. All names were made up at one point or another anyway. You can do better than Star.


The Proper End

It was an unguarded moment between two people who have many miles and thousands of exploits between them.  A moment that simultaneously bridged and expanded a chasm of two lifetimes, making the distance matter more for what was lost on the way to our separate sides.

It was a perfect moment.  The last shot of the movie.  It would start as a long shot.  Two middle-aged women sitting at a table talking and laughing over drinks.  As the camera moved in you would start to hear their conversation and then one of them would pick up an old straw wrapper and her spoon and say, "Wait, I'll do the straw-paper and spoon re-enactment of what happened."  The other woman would then laugh harder than she had in years, because something about the situation and the straw-paper and spoon re-enactment would strike her as hilarious.  Then the two of them would laugh until they cried and their ribs hurt.  Then a dissolve and the two would be saying goodbye.  They would say, "It was great - really great - to see you," and they'd both mean it and say a last goodbye as strangers and as friends.

And this was how it was.  I see it as a camera shot, because I can't remember how we got to the straw-paper and spoon re-enactment of the night she (the straw paper) walked into a tree branch (the spoon) and gave herself a concussion.  In truth, I can't remember what came after, either, because the laughing made everything else fade.

I know that this will be the last time I laugh like that with her.  More than likely, it will be the last time I see her.  It was our proper end.


My Band

A little frivolity after a heavy day.

Okay, I don't have a band. But if I were ever to form a band, I have a lot of prospective names. Why? Well, because it's a fun game. Sometimes a phrase just pops into my head or I see a combination of words and I think, "That'd be a cool band name," so I write it down. I have a running list. Here are a few of them:

Contaminated Pickle
Shitwreck - this would obviously be an angry punk band or something
The Absurdists
Peasant Under Glass
Culmination of Intention
Invisible Jet - preferably fronted by a singer named Jet
The Amazing Amazons - this should be ironic: a girl band with only short girls or something
Paste Eaters
Bad Apple
Diamond Lil
Fake Smile
Wicked Smart
Sharks & Rays
The Balladeers
Super Square
Apples & Pomegranates
Better Now
Just Because
Paint with Words
Senseless Creatures
Watery Grave
Mouthy Broads
Dropped Stitch
Borrowed Pajamas


That's So Wrong

It just seems wrong to have a baby shower in a casino.


A New Love

Matt's going to have to understand.  I wasn't looking for this to happen.  It was a chance meeting that became so much more.  See, I was at my new favorite Vietnamese restaurant the other day and I ordered pho, but by some lucky miracle they were out.  So I asked the owner what soup I should have.  He told me the Bun Bo Hue.

Sweet Jesus and ice cream, it is the most delicious thing I've ever eaten!  The broth is a little spicy, a little salty, and very lemon grassy.  It has noodles and beef and pork and mint and cilantro and green onions and I ate about a gallon of it.  Now, there are things in this soup that are not for everyone.  For one, there's tendon.  I know Matt is very anti-tendon, but the pieces are big enough that you can avoid them and he still likes this soup.  Sometimes - and it may depend on whether you ask for it or whether you're Vietnamese - there's steamed pig's blood.  The first time I got it sans pig blood - it just came that way.  The second time I ordered it, the owner asked me if I wanted it with the pig's blood.  I gave it a shot.  I was surprised at how much flavor it added.  Psychologically, it's a little weird to be eating steamed blood, but in the end, I figure if I can eat meat, why not blood?

At this point I know I've lost a lot of you.  You're going, "Um, Dorothy, that sounds repellant.  Why would I ever put that stuff in my mouth?"  The thing is, while I really like the tendon and the pig's blood, it's still wonderfully delicious without it.  If you go into a Vietnamese restaurant and they have Bun Bo Hue, most likely they have it available without pig's blood.  The tendon, you might have to pick out yourself, but like I said, it's easy to eat around it.

I've been in love with pho for a long time.  I still love pho, but it, and my husband, will have to make room for a new love.  Since I discovered it last week, I've eaten it thrice.  And I would have eaten it more, but it was logistically impossible.  You won't need three guesses to figure out what I'm having for dinner tonight, though.

Seriously, though, if you like Vietnamese food at all and you're not a vegetarian/vegan, go find this soup.  Not all Vietnamese places have it, but Google Bun Bo Hue and your city name and you're sure to come up with something.  Actually, I just tested this theory using the very small town where my sisters live and there are two places that serve Bun Bo Hue, apparently, so anyone reading this blog should be good to go.


Take That, David Lynch

I'm standing in front of the old house with black shutters.  I hear someone crying inside the house.  I open the screen door and follow the sound.  At first I think it's coming from the kitchen, but when I get to the kitchen, the sound seems to be in the living room.  In the living room, I hear the crying upstairs.  

I try to climb the stairs but when I look more closely, I realize it's just a steep ramp and have to pull myself up by the bannister.  By the time I get upstairs the crying is very loud.  I walk down the hall to a closed door and when I open it, I'm already on the other side looking out to where I've just been.  The crying is behind me and I turn, but then I'm the one crying.

I go to the window and look down and see myself standing outside and know I have to yell to myself to wait because I have to get the baby out before the house falls down.  I grab the baby from the bassinet and yell to myself outside.  Then I throw the baby out the window.

Then I'm outside again, and I know I have to catch the baby and I grab for it, but I can't get a grip and it keeps slipping out of my hands back into the air.  I run in circles trying to catch it, but I can't.  I look up to the window I threw the baby from and see myself standing there watching and then I realize that I won't ever catch the baby and then the baby disappears and I'm standing in front of the house again.

This was not the strangest dream I had last night.


Life in a Title

Recently, a friend of mine said that the name of his autobiography would be Drunker Than I Thought.  This made me laugh.  Then it made me think what I'd call my own autobiography.  There are lots of possibilities.  But I also feel like titles are confining in some ways.  I mean, how do I (how does anyone) find a few words to encapsulate a life?  Daunting.  But then I thought again and realized that it's a fucking title and it could be fun to think of things and I should get the hell over myself.  So I thought of a few things.  Many were food related.  This makes a lot of sense since I love food. In the end, only one real food-related title made it into the list of possibilites. What is surprising is that as I was brainstorming ideas two allergy-related titles popped up.  They're kind of funny, so they're both on the list.  A few more speak to the way I'm feeling about my place in the world right now and a few are pieces of me.  The initial list was REALLY long.  But it's an interesting thing to do.  Both fun and painful.  Anyway, here are some of the titles I came up with:

Are You Gonna Eat That?
Acquired Taste
Stop Looking at Me
Not Exactly How I Pictured It
'No' is a Complete Sentence
Gone for Kleenex
I Don't Need a Map
Controlled Bleeding
I'm Not Tired
The Color of October


Let Me Alphebetize the Ways, Part II

Now for the N - Z list:

Narrative Magazine - original writing, free content with a great app for both iPhone and iPad.

Osborne, Robert - the host of most things TCM and a veritable font of classic movie information.  Even if I don't end up watching the movie he's presenting, I love to hear him talk about it.

Peripatetic - probably my favorite word of all time. I first heard it listening to the soundtrack to A Chorus Line when I was little. The word quintessence is in the same song. Fantastic.

Quail - a delicious little game bird that lays delicious little eggs.  Prepare it any way you like and I'll happily eat it. Mmmm.

Ruins - I've written about this before here, bit it's still true that I love stuff that's falling down and decaying. I love pictures of it, but more, I love to be among ruins. Apart from the major ruins where tourists flock, most ruins are quiet and heavy and so full of stories.

Swimming - anytime, anywhere, but especially in a calm ocean at night. In a former life, my boyfriend had a boat and we used to sail to Catalina and swim off the boat at night in Isthmus Cove.  Lovely.

Tomatoes in the summer.

Utah Phillips - Wobbly, singer, songwriter, grassroots activist, storyteller and dedicated human being. This was a man who believed in what he said and worked to do good for others. You can agree with his politics or not, but there's no denying he was in it for the long haul - no apologies, no explanations.

Vacation - leaving Saturday for NoCal and couldn't be more thrilled to be getting the fuck out of the goddamned desert for a while.

Wonder Woman - she's a lifelong obsession for me. I'm waiting for the day someone arrives at my door to reveal my true identity and present me with my outfit and magic lasso.

X-Acto knives - they're good and sharp and allow precision cutting of a multitude of materials (up to and including the occasional finger).  Exceptionally good for snowflakes and stencils, but also useful for cutting tags out of clothing.

Yoo-hoo - chocolate is the only flavor for me. It takes me back to my grandparents' house in the summer, feeding the squirrel out in the back of the house drinking Yoohoo and listening soo hard for the ice cream truck so I could get my Orange Pushup and a Screwball.

Zero entry pools. They're really nice.  I like not having to commit up to my waist all at once. Genius idea, so much more natural. Of course, you need quite a bit of space to pull it off, but I'm all for big pools.


Let Me Alphebetize the Ways, Part I

Lately, I've been Wendy Whiner.  As an antidote to that, I'm starting a list of things I like a lot.  To be fair, I'm doing it alphabetically.  Here's A-M:

Austen, Jane - I've always loved her writing, but I haven't read her for a while and I picked up Mansfield Park again recently as I was between books and was delighted all over again.

Bioluminescence - fireflies are always cool, but my favorite is marine bioluminescence where the water lights up when you move it or waves lit by millions of tiny, glowing swimmers.  There's a place in Puerto Rico that has the highest concentration of bioluminescence in the world.  You can kayak out into it at night and then swim.  When you dip a paddle into the water, the water lights up.  It's fantastic.

Charcuterie - because bacon, sausage, ham & pate are delicious.

Disinter - it's a wonderful word for digging something up.  This could also have been defenestrate, which is a lovely word for throwing something (including oneself) out a window.

8tracks.com - and the iPhone app.  My new favorite way to listen to music.

Forensic Files - my favorite TV show with new DVDs available.  If there was a way I could be a forensic analyst without having to take science classes (at which I am crap) I would spend my days doing something in this field.  Probably forensic graphology or serology, but pathology is also fascinating.

Gastronomy - everyone knows by now how much I love food.

Happy Hour - self-explanatory.

I'd Know You Anywhere - a quite well-written book by Laura Lippman.  It's creepy and thought provoking in all the best ways.

Jollity - both the word itself and what it means.

Killing, The - the series on AMC.  I know it's based on a Danish show which many people say is superior, but this show stands by itself.  I'll try to get a hold of the Danish show when I can, but for now, I'm totally satisfied.

Lovers - my new favorite band.  Not to be confused with The Lovers.  This music is relaxing and upbeat at the same time.  It's multi-purpose music.  You could run to it, or sleep to it.  Check it out.

Mashed potatoes - again, not explanations necessary.


Things I Could Do Without


Tweets pertaining to TV shows.

Tweets that quote.

Actually, let's just say most tweets and be done with it.

Status updates that make obscure reference to something personal designed to elicit inquiry.

Status updates about how little sleep one got.

People who change their profile picture every goddamed day.

Drivers of white BMWs. Yes. I'm calling out a specific color car. I don't know what it is, but extensive experience with asshole drivers has made it abundantly clear to me that, if expressed as a pie chart, the biggest piece of pie correlating to the biggest assholes would be drivers of white BMWs.

Popcorn flavored jellybeans.

Lisa Lillien. Ick.

Denim shorts of any size, length, or variety.


Ankle straps.

High-heeled flip-flops. I mean, seriously.

Extreme Chef. Clearly Food Network has gone over the edge, here. Although, I guess if you went to culinary school to learn how to cook a lion that you caught with your bare hands on a car engine in a dust storm while balancing on a rolling log bound for a field of metal spikes, this is your time to shine.

Cupcakes. I mean can we please move on? Surely there's something else for dessert out there.

Restaurants serving comfort food. Come on, people, look at the obesity rates. We don't need to be more comfortable eating soft, high-calorie food. And also, BORING. A challenge to the palate is a good thing. There's more to life than mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese and meatloaf (though all have their occasional place).

The chick at my yoga studio who brings her phone into the yoga room and always leaves the ringer on until it rings and then acts all embarrassed.

Summer in Vegas. It seems wrong to live someplace where ice is on offer at all grocery stores to prevent your food from spoiling on the drive home.

Kevin James movies.

Michael Bay.

Dirty (by which I mean having dirt/debris in them) library books. I checked out a book the other day so full of cat hair I had to take two Allegra just to get it in the car for the drive back to the library.

Parents who let their kid "cry it out" in public. I know babies cry, but while I'm out to dinner maybe, just maybe, you could try to keep them happy so that we all aren't as miserable as your poor child. If this means one of you has to leave your meal to walk the kid around, then that's what you need to do. Or get a sitter.

Energy drinks.

And last, but most assuredly not least, fitness apparel worn as regular clothing.


Just Don't

I love lists. Lists of what to do, what to pack, what to buy, take, see. Lists of places to go, books to read, music to check out.  So it seems natural to have a list of things to avoid, but somehow that list has been unmade. Until now*.

Don't, for Christ's sake, engage in gossip - that includes listening.

Don't give the benefit of the doubt to the same person twice.

Don't forget to take your lip gloss out of your pocket before putting your pants in the washer, and ultimately, the dryer, where it will Rorschach the entire load.

Don't forget that most illness is passed through touch, so wash your hands. A lot - but not compulsively or anything.

Don't put too much stock in advanced forecasts when planning outdoor events.

Don't let psychics be anything more than amusing.

Don't tell other people's secrets.

Don't expect secrets to remain secret after you tell everyone you know.

Don't neglect maintenance. A little work now is much better than a big nightmare later.

Don't try to do a two-person job alone. It leads to things like sprains, strains, broken glass, and added expense.

Don't go on a road trip without knowing how to change a tire and check oil. It's a life saver in the middle of Wyoming in the middle of the night. Seriously.

Don't depend solely on battery powered devices to tell you how or when to get there or help you get out of a bad situation.

Don't go on pity dates.

Don't buy shoes that hurt. Adorability is not worth fucked up feet.

Don't forget to stretch.

Don't agree to something that makes you uncomfortable.

Don't be flaky.

Don't forget that yours is not the only time that's valuable.

Don't rush into tattoos or piercings.

Don't worry too much about a bad haircut.

Don't, please, tell me the details of your ill-advised sexual escapades.

Don't believe he'll change because you love him.

And finally, don't forget that this list will never be complete.

*Thanks to Hannah for the idea of the to-don't list.


Things I Wish I Had the Guts to Say

1.  Your kid is an asshole.  Biting is not cute.  Neither is screaming, hitting, interrupting, breaking things, or spitting food.  Grow a backbone and be the boss of your child before I'm forced kick her in the head.

2.  You shouldn't leave the house without looking at the back of yourself in the mirror.  It's a mess back there.

3.  You're an adorable person, but you dress like a homeless person.  And not in a good way.

4.  There are too many ways to maintain your hair color these days to have that much root showing.

5.  Stop with the heavy black eyeliner.

6.  You mess with your balls a lot.  And, um, ew.

7.  Keep your dog off me.  I like dogs, but I don't want your giant, slobbering Irish Setter on my lap or with his paws on my shoulders.

8.  If this is your idea of clean, you're headed for an episode of Hoarders.

9.  Your relative's battle with cancer is not license for you to act like a dickwad all the time and then cite said battle as an excuse.

10.  You're a terrible cook.  Use someone else as a guinea pig.  Please.


It Says Something, I'm Just Not Sure What

When I was a kid, I didn't like sprinkles on things because it made the besprinkled item look untidy.  Same reason I didn't like Fruity Pebbles.  And as an adult, I don't care for Dippin Dots.  And yet I can eat lots of other things that many people find abhorrant.


I Want...


Because its awesome.  If only I had a bigger living room...

Also, I love this:

This one would actually fit in my living room, but I'm not sure I want holes in my wood floor...

And if I could build a house to my own specifications, I would definitely have this room:


Perfect Summer Night #1


Summer nights can be magical.  Tonight, the temperature of the breeze on my shoulders took me back to a summer night, lo these many years ago.  That made me think of all the perfect summer nights I've had in my life.  I can't write them all now, but here's the earliest one (I've passed over pre-adolescence because summer nights when I was a kid were all uniformly perfect and perfectly lit by games of flashlight tag and jars of fire flies).

My friends and I always met at The Square, which was, conveniently enough, a town square.  On one side of the square was our coffee house/book store (where we got out caffeine fixes and Hermann Hesse), and on the other side, the all-night diner where we somehow always ended up, feeding quarters into the jukebox while the cook, a dead ringer for Louis Cyphre, cooked us burgers and grilled cheeses and waffles and fries while we smoked pack after pack of cigarettes.

I was running late, running lights, to get there faster.  My boyfriend had just gotten back from visiting his sister in Italy and I hadn't seen him for a month (oh, the torture and the trans-Atlantic phone bill).

I pulled into a parking spot in the frighteningly under-lit public lot and jogged through the coffee house into the middle of the square where he sat, purple guitar in hand, singing.  I remember the heat rising in my cheeks as I approached him, nervous to see him, kiss him.  He looked up and saw me and smiled a smile that made me shaky on my feet.  He laid the guitar aside and stood up and took three big steps to meet me.  I was swung off my feet and we kissed the kiss of the deprived.  It was hot and long and ended only when one of our friends got up to make us a PDA shelter*.

That boy was the love of my 10th-grade life.  We spent that night laughing and talking and snuggling in the warm, summer grass, eating burgers and fries we got from the all-night diner and ate outside in the warm, bright night.  When it was time for us to go, I drove him home and we spent the night in his bed, getting re-acquainted with each other's bodies and touches and when I got up to go in the darkest, quietest hours of the morning, he gave me a necklace he'd brought me from Florence.  And I was sure I would love him forever.

*PDA shelter - when one of your friends makes a little house over you with their hands so that you don't have to get a room



Last night I had a great idea. I know how great it was because as I was falling asleep, I laughed about it and woke myself up again. I almost got up and started writing right then, but laziness and sleepiness got the better of me.

This morning I can't remember what the fuck the idea was. At all. I recall, vividly, starting writing in my head as I fell asleep. And yet, the whole thing is gone but the knowledge it was once there. Talk about annoying.

Actually, I imagine this feeling is what the early stages of Alzheimer's disease must feel like. Seriously. Knowing that you can't remember is one of the most frustrating things I can think of.

I thought about making a note last night, but I even remember thinking, "No, this idea is so great, I'll definitely remember it."

This is not the first time this has ever happened to me. Several genius ideas have been lost forever due to my unwillingness to just write it the fuck down when I thought of it.

What is that? I have a pen and paper, not to mention an iPad, computer, and iPhone next to my bed. All I'd have to do is grab one of them and I would be writing something brilliant now instead of this. But no. I have to test myself. I need to remember without help.

Haven't I learned that technology has made me dumber? It's true. I feel it. Not only has it wreaked havoc on my attention span, it's sucked some of my brain out.

I used to know people's phone numbers. I used to remember addresses. I used to be able to memorize entire plays in a few hours. My German vocabulary was outstanding.

Now I struggle to remember stitch patterns I've used dozens of times. I need to check the proportions on recipes I make regularly. I have to practically tie my water bottle to my wrist so I don't leave it places.

Maybe I'm wrong to blame technology, but I feel that, because I don't need to remember, because I have about 7,000 devices to do it for me, I've lost some of my ability to remember.

I guess until I put some effort into re-training my brain to remember, I need to at least write ideas down on paper so they aren't all lost.

Still, this crap makes me want to break things. Lots and lots of glass things. Fortunately, I'm too lazy to want to clean up the resulting broken glass and I don't have a Roomba.


Cool or Creepy?

Friend: I saw your powertool ex-husband at [Boston restaurant] the other night.

Dorothy: I know you're telling me this for a reason.

Friend: He introduced me to his "fiancé."

Dorothy: And?

Friend: AND: she looked a whole lot like you, but not as pretty.

Dorothy: (thinking)

Friend: Hello? Did you hear what I said?

Dorothy: Yeah. I think that kind of freaks me out.

Friend: I think it's awesome. Maybe he's been pining over you for all these years.

Dorothy: That's even worse!

Friend: Really? You don't even have a little secret joy?

Dorothy: Okay. Maybe a little. But it's more ick than joy.

But I can't deny the little joy. I'm such a ridiculous child sometimes.


Chapter 36, Part 2

I've been thinking about how we can absorb other people's labels into ourselves.  We take on some of them willingly, incorporate them into our lives - mother, father, husband, wife.  Others - caretaker, cook, housekeeper, breadwinner - we mix in out of habit because other people have so long identified us thus, either verbally, or in action.

We can lose who we are and what we want to be to what other people think we are or want us to be.

I have never, truly, identified myself as a writer.  And the word 'yogini' is not a favorite of mine.  I identify myself as artistic (but not an artist), as a person with OCD-like tendencies, as a lover of words.  I identify myself as smart and relatively unemotional.  I am a good cook.  I appreciate good food.  I am a good listener and a good friend.

If you looked at my Facebook profile, you would get the impression that I identify myself  as a person who doesn't like identifying herself in public.  My profile contains minimal information.  Facebook then misleads people because they changed "Likes" to "Favorites" so now, friends who asked me to "Like" their band, page, cat, are listed as "Favorites" even though I only just like them - or felt obligated.  You'd see that I've been to some concerts and that I like the Bay Area from my pictures.  And that's about it.

If you read through this blog, you'd know somewhat more about me - that I'm fairly easily annoyed and don't tolerate willful idiocy well.  Or will you?  Are those things I know and therefore assume other people see?  Are those labels I want you to use?  In this case, you'd probably see it, too, but I shouldn't foist my labels on you.

Online personae vs. real-life personae make identity concepts even more difficult than they were before.  What I say to you here isn't always what I'd say in person.  The mask of anonymity  is supposed to (according to myth and Hollow Man) allow us to be our real selves.  But I think online identity has shown this idea to be muddy.  And I think it's muddy because the person we most want to lie to about who we are is ourself.

This led me to think about what makes us who we are. Is it how we label ourselves?  Is it how we present ourselves to others?  Is it our legacy?  Or is it everything?

Obviously, we don't all have lots of faces, but we all have a few. Mostly, I think they're fairly nuanced differences we project, but not always.  And with the addition of the internet, identity becomes more complicated than ever. Even what to do with our online identities after we die is up for grabs*, mostly.  What's out there digitally is, essentially, immortal.  Sure, all of it can be deleted, but that's only if someone knows it's there to delete.

If I died after writing this blog post, Matt could, technically go delete my Google account, my email accounts, my Facebook page. He has my passwords. But there's stuff out there that he doesn't even know exists. Not because I keep it secret, but because, as an enthusiastic user of things digital, I've created accounts/identities  I know I've forgotten about.

So it's conceivable that some piece will remain even after the known parts are gone. Is that forgotten piece still, really, me?  If I forgot about it, it probably wasn't a big or important part of me. It may even be an incomplete piece. Could someone get a sense of the real me from that?  Does it matter?

Does it matter how people I don't know identify me?  I'm not a public figure. I don't need votes or poll numbers, so do I care?  I don't know.

In general, I'd have to say that I don't really care what strangers think of me, but if we're talking about a remnant of something giving an inaccurate impression?  I don't know. Because in the end I don't know what makes me, me.

It's all of what I present and, simultaneously, none of it that forms my self identity.

We often talk about the importance of knowing who we are, but we are so many things at the same time that it's hard to sift through it to create a cohesive identity for ourselves that I don't find it at all surprising that some of us never quite understand ourselves - especially without help.  Am I Dorothy?  Yes, but I'm also not Dorothy.  Dorothy is part of me, but she's also things I'm not.  At least not anywhere else but here.  And this is why it's so hard to pin down an identity.  Whether I ever get it all or not, though, I'm still out here in my little boat, oars in the oatmeal, rowing, rowing, rowing - and maybe that's just how it has to be sometimes.

I read a couple of really interesting pieces on identity since I started this post a thousand years ago.  *Cyberspace When You're Dead by Rob Walker and this one, In A Flash by Dragnfly at SMITH Magazine.  And another one that's peripherally related, Thelma, Louise and All the Pretty Women by Carina Chocano.



To my niece:

It will take a few more years, but life becomes much less embarrassing. Even in a couple of years, your parents and grandparents and I will all lose our innate ability to humiliate you.

After a while, you'll realize that embarrassing shit happens to us all. Usually, and most horribly, at our own hands. After you get your first (and only) restaurant job - as hostess - and then, at the end of your first week, miss the last step of a wood staircase and go sailing across the restaurant with your skirt over your head and don't die of embarrassment, things get easier. And easier still after the day you spent swimming with a crush, unaware that the water made your new swimsuit completely see-through. Or the time you accidentally sent the rather explicit email intended for your best friend about your crush to your crush instead. Once you lock yourself out of your apartment with no pants on, fly headlong over your bicycle handlebars on a busy San Francisco street, walk back from lunch with your skirt tucked into your pantyhose, knock over the Caesar salad tableside service cart while trying to get your arm in your coat, you're all set for the time you sneeze and have a giant string of snot shoot out of your nose while you're doing a presentation. It'll be a piece of cake to fall backwards off a bar stool while you're trying to be cool and coy with that dude you really like and snort-laugh at a relatively unfunny joke told by a dashing celebrity at an Academy Awards party. By the time you split your skirt on a date, you'll be laughing so hard you won't have time to be really embarrassed.

Really. I promise. Because it happens to everyone. And at the very least, you can take comfort in knowing that all of the incidents listed above are from my own repertoire.


Chapter 36, Part I

“A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?” -Albert Einstein

I have a tendency to live on the depressive side of life.  It's in my genes.  Between both sides of my family, at least 95% of us are a tad, well, 'off.'  We have a couple of full-blown schizophrenics, one with schizoaffective disorder, one with bipolar disorder, several with serious, clinical depression, even more with shades of OCD, a host of anxiety disorders, and a few eating (mostly overeating) disorders.  So the fact that I get a bit blue at times is no real shock.

I find that I am a bit depressed lately.  There's no "why" - which is hard for Matt to understand.  It's just how it is.  I have been horribly depressed in my life.  I've had the bell jar descend.  This isn't what's happening now.  I'm just a little down.  But it's enough that I find I don't have much energy to do things.

I have no real desire to write.  I have no real desire to even leave the house.  So I've been thinking a lot.

I am older than Mozart when he died, older, too than Janis Joplin, James, Dean, Jimmy Hendrix, Emily and Anne Bronte, and Sylvia Plath.  Who would they have become had they lived longer?

I am eligible to be President - not that I want to be, but I could be.  That thought, though, brings up a lot of things I could be/have been.  And that brings me to all that I have been:  All of the renditions and editions of me that have passed through the world.

I have left parts of myself - pages, chapters - all over the country, balled up or ripped out or just forgotten in a diner booth somewhere.  I have picked up new pages, written new chapters, added paragraphs, too.  I have cobbled together a whole identity, with the additions and subtractions evening out over the course of my life; these amendments being made in an effort (though not always successful) to improve myself.

I don't know why the idea of identity and labels  have been on my mind so often lately, but they have.  I've thought  of how we present ourselves, how we remember ourselves, how we change personae to to fit situations.  It fascinates me.

Can we change at will?  Some of us can, I think, and sometimes.  Mostly, though, while the potential  is there, we don't want to change.  We can't imagine  being other than what we are.  Which is why so many of us become trapped by our own limited vision of ourselves.  Addicts cant let go of addictions, we can't put down  old, worn out dreams that belong to past lives, past selves.

Not that it's an everything-must-go situations, but as I think about where I am, I realize that, at any point, I could have become anyone.  And it makes me feel a little better that I still can become anyone.


Friends with money?

I recently lost a friend to wealth.  She married someone famous, which helped her further her own career.  This was awesome for her.  In the last few years, though, she's lost her grip.  Whereas I'm stressed about mortgage payments, getting my health insurance right, and paying off student loans, she's stressed about getting her beach house renovation done before summer, whether her au pair can travel with them, and what 'service' they're going to get to take care of their penthouse in New York while they're away for the summer and possibly longer while her husband is on location.  It's like trying to be friends with Oprah.  She's forgotten what it's like not to be able to do, literally, anything she wants to do.

I realized that our friendship was over when she said something about the beach house being 'only' 3,500 square feet, after saying she saw a dress at Carolina Herrera that she thought I should buy.  Yeah.

We really have nothing left in common besides a past.  It's not like I've declared that we are no longer friends.  It's just that I realized that we aren't friends anymore.  Life has taken us in very different directions and we just don't have anything left for each other.  I like her.  She likes me.  And I will remember our youth together fondly.

But goddamn, if she hasn't forgotten what regular people are like.



When I was in college, I had a year-long romance with one of my writing professors. He was a sweet man, with blue eyes and dark, curly hair. We'd clicked.

He had just gotten divorced from his wife of twenty-plus years. The divorce had been quite friendly. The two of them still shared studio space (she was a painter) in Somerville. We, he and I and she and her new boyfriend, even spent a weekend in Maine together. Their kids, both older than me, had been there and everything had been very well-adjusted and nice.

I told him during that weekend in Maine that his stories of Audre Lorde in New York in the '70s were what made me want to sleep with him. He'd laughed and said, "If you liked that, what do I get for Cheever and Carver at Iowa?"

After several months, it was apparent that he was still in love with his wife. I finally said this to him after we'd been to dinner with her following a gallery show for one of her friends. I told him he should try to work it out with her.

We were at his house in Brookline, sitting on the back porch. I liked him a lot, but I didn't love him and he and his wife were so wonderful together that it was painful to see them apart. He said he didn't think she wanted that. I told him he was wrong.

We spent our last night together in his bed. In the morning, when I descended the stairs to the kitchen, he'd made breakfast and placed a wrapped package on my plate. It was a signed copy of Between Our Selves by Audre Lorde. It was one of the most meaningful gifts I've ever received.

I went looking for that book today and found that I've lost it. Like so many things, I don't know how long it's been gone - like the sparkly butterfly barrette my grandmother gave me not long before she died; like the set of calligraphy brushes a boy with a crush brought me from Japan; like the picture-record of Lady and the Tramp I got for my 24th birthday from a man I loved who knew what it meant to me.

For a while I was sad about having lost something that was once so meaningful.



So I have this aching back. I've stopped doing my favorite yoga classes because my back can't take the faster paced classes. Now, it seems, I may reduce my practice even more.

In a counterintuitive turn of events, I have discovered that my back does much better with NO yoga. Yeah. Weird, right?

Ever since I started practicing Bikram three years ago, I've believed in it's healing powers. My creaky knees got better, my tight elbows and shoulders opened up, I felt great. As I took my practice to new places, I continue to see positive changes in my body. My mid-spine, though far from supple, is much more flexible than it used to be.

For all these reasons, I continued to practice when I jammed my SI joint. My studio owner, the chiropractor, advised me to go back to the Bikram-like classes (the hold/rest system as opposed to vinyasa) while my back was healing.

When I repeatedly came out of the hold/rest classes in more pain than I went in, I went back to the studio owner and talked to him. He said that maybe the heat, in this case, was causing the pain by creating swelling in the joint. He then suggested I do only Yin classes.

The problem with the Yin classes is that there's usually only one a day and it's usually late. So I got a Yin book and decided to do it at home. It was fine. It definitely didn't hurt to do the poses without heat, but I still wasn't seeing improvement in my back. It wasn't worse, but not better, either. But I kept on doing the yoga because everything and everyone said that it was the thing to do.

Last week, we were on vacation. I didn't do a single yoga pose the whole week and my back feels a lot better. It's still achy. I still don't have a full range of motion, but I also don't have a searing pain down my thigh anymore. I can sit with relative ease and I can even bend at the waist again without pain.

I think I may have a yoga hiatus until this joint is back to normal. I would never have even considered it if I hadn't had such marked improvement in my back without the yoga. This is the first time in months that I've been able to get out of bed without pain.

It's the last thing I ever expected. But maybe this is what my body needs to have happen right now. I'm going to give it a try and see what happens.


Crap! I forgot it's Crush Day!

I forgot that it's International Crush Day. Oops.

So really quickly my crushes, in no particular order are:

- Baron Baptiste
- Isabelle de Borchgrave
- Isushi in Castro Valley
- The Purl Bee
- Hyperbole and a Half
- well-made bangers
- iPhone 4
- iPad 2
- Jennifer Lawrence
- Those Darlins
- roasted pheasant
- Champagne risotto

An end with no beginning

They stood on opposite sides of a hedge where they'd stood long before, saying goodbye.

"Thanks for the use of the house," she said, handing him a set of keys.

He took the keys and smiled.  "You know, no matter what comes after this - another life, an afterlife, or nothing - there will always be a hole in my heart where you belong, but have never fit."

She patted his hand that rested on the dense shrub between them and turned and walked away.  She didn't look back and she knew he hadn't either.


Saying Goodbye to Old Companions

So far this year, three of my favorite things to read have ended their runs. First was On Language, which, though not the same without William Safire, has been one of my most regular rituals since I was about 12.

My parents always got the Sunday New York Times, no matter where we lived. My dad, always an early riser, would read the paper, organize it, and leave the Magazine on top for me. When I got up, I would go directly to On Language. When I no longer lived with my parents, I still usually got the Sunday Times to start my Sunday with the Magazine.

For most of my life the column was written by William Safire. When he died a year and a half ago, I thought no one could do it as well as he did, but that wasn't true. The column was different and I misses the voice of the curmudgeonly originator, but the pieces were equally good. In the end, Ben Zimmer wrote most of the columns and did a damn good job of it.

When he announced the end of On Language at the end of February, I got a little teary. On Language helped me discover my love of language and my desire to play with it. I could always count on it to make me think and, often, get out my dictionary. I will miss it, the ritual of it, and the fun of it.

The same day, The Ethicist also ended his run. After I read On Language, I always read The Ethicist. Randy Cohen wrote thoughtful responses to people with ethical dilemmas. The questions often dealt with things like how much effort you should put into returning found property or whether it's ethical to accept courtesy cards from the police department.

Sometimes the answers surprised me, sometimes not, but they were consistently well-written and well-considered. The questions, too, were thoughtful. It was nice to know that people want to do the right thing even if they aren't sure what the right thing is. I am sorry to see The Ethicist come to its end, but, to quote Prince, "...all good things, they say, never last."*

Which brings me to the last goodbye, at least thus far in the year. Hannah, just breathe has shuttered her storefront, so to speak, and I will miss her lovely writing, her insights, and starting my day with a reliably good read.

Being in the Pacific Standard Timezone meant that, most days, by the time I woke up, Hannah had posted already. It was my first stop of the day - usually before I even got out of bed. By the time I read her latest post, there were usually already a few comments.

The commenters also had great insights and thought-provoking things to say. I often went back throughout the day just to read the comments.

I feel a bit forlorn at having lost all three of them so close together, but change is what makes life interesting. I thank all of these writers for enriching my days and providing inspiration and companionship.

Here's to new adventures for us all.

*Sometimes It Snows in April


So Fresh and So Clean (Clean)*

Well, I've just completed a cleanse. The month of January was sort of lost to illness and oral surgery - during which time I took a lot of medicines - antibiotics, painkillers, and cold medicine - and, while the yoga gets a lot of that crap out, I wanted to go a step further.

I did the Master Cleanser years ago and decided that that's the stupidest thing ever (water, cayenne, syrup, lemon juice & a salt water flush), but I wanted to do something to help kick out the residual chemicals from all the drugs, so I did an Ayurvedic cleanse. I did the minimum of 7 days.

I had considered doing it for a longer period of time, but it did a lot for me in a pretty short time and I got sick of eating the same thing (seriously) for every meal. The plan consists of yoga every day while you cleanse and then nothing but water and herbal tea (no caffeine) to drink and a mung bean ginger concoction that's really tasty the first couple of days and then becomes boring. The last day I had to force myself to eat because it was so sick of it.

The first day was exciting because I was psyched to get this moving. I made the food - one big pot of mung beans, celery, carrots, and ginger - and drank a lot of tea. I was enthusiastic. By the end of the day, I felt the psychological effects of knowing I was doing something good for me and I went to bed totally satisfied.

The next couple of days went well. I felt myself getting cleaner. I was getting a bit tired of the mung beans, but I even withstood an evening out with burgers and fries and macaroni and cheese all around me without breaking a sweat because I was feeling so great.

Day four is when it started to get hard. That's when I hit the mung bean wall. Yes, I felt good, but no, I did not want to put another single mung bean into my mouth. So I drank extra tea and reduced my mung bean intake. This was also the day I started to break out. Little pimples on my forehead, cheeks, and chin.

I should mention that this isn't giant amounts of this mung bean stuff every day. I ate a half-cup in the morning, a cup at lunch, and another half-to-whole cup in the evening. I calculated the calories at the end just to see how it had shaken out and I was eating less than 900 calories per day. I never felt hungry or in any way deficient in calories. I never lacked energy and my yoga practice remained strong. 

The beginning of day five was kind of awful. I woke up dreading the beans. I didn't want to eat them. I didn't want to eat anything else, either, though.  I ate them, anyway.  It was a hard day.  I got crabby.  I got weepy.  I cried the ugly cry.

The last two days I leveled off.  My emotional state became less volatile.  I talked myself into finishing up because I knew it was doing me good.  Still, I was not excited to eat those damn beans.

Overall, I'm pleased with the result. I feel great and my body feels lighter. I wish I could say that it fixed my back, but that's an unreasonable request.  I think this is definitely something that I'll do a couple of times a year, though - with the hope that, knowing what I know, it will be easier the next time.

*The only part of the song that applies is the title.


Rückenschmerz (that's backache in German for a touch of exoticness)

I have a jammed sacro-iliac joint. It's unpleasant. There's not a lot to do about it, apparently. Ice and elevation to help reduce the swelling, stretching and gentle yoga. I have allowed my chiropractor studio-owner to crack it a couple of times to relieve some major discomfort and try to move it back into place, but mostly, what I have to do is wait.

In the meantime, I have been instructed not to do any Baptiste or Ashtanga. I did one Baptiste class because I was pretty sure I could do it and I was wrong. Ow. So now I will confine myself to more Bikram-esque and Yin classes where I don't have to jump around or move between postures. In those classes I am confined to what I'll call baby yoga. I can't get deep into a lot of the postures and some I just have to think about. Standing head to knee? Yeah, right now that's stand-on-one-leg-and-hope-I-can-support-the-weight-of-my-lifted-leg-until-the-end-of-the-posture. Not as much fun as head to knee. And a lot longer to say.

One good thing about this joint being a bastard, though, is that it's made me appreciate the depth of my previous practice. I took it for granted that I could get into and hold all of the postures in a class. I can't get into a lot of poses right now and I also can't hold them all of I get there.

Oh well. Lessons in patience and pain management are always instructive. Enjoy your standing bows and rabbits for me.


Lovely Reminder

My nephew just turned 16. He has a blog. Actually, it's less blog and more online journal, but either way, it reminds me of what it was like for me to be 16. Man it sucked.

Of my sisters' kids, Dave is the one I know best. He's more like I was at that age than the other two were. And his blog is full of the angst and drama that I knew well when I was a teenager.

He writes a lot about not knowing who he is or where he's going. He talks about how no one understands what's really going on inside. If I didn't know better, I'd say he's stolen my high school journals. He writes letters to girls he like and girls he broke up with. Everything is heavily dramatic and important. Everything is deep. He changes his blog theme on an almost hourly basis to match his mood.

I used to wax philosophical about war and love and friendship. I bemoaned the lack of humanity in the world. I cried onto the pages as I wrote about the boy I would "love forever" even if we were only "just friends".

I had forgotten, though, how sincerely I felt all of it. How I was sure I was the only one and that what I felt would go on forever. So his blog is a lovely reminder of where I was and how far I've come. It also illustrates perfectly how youth is, in fact, wasted on the young.


Yoga Bags

Yoga seems to be everywhere these days and yet no one  makes a decent, all-purpose yoga bag.  It's maddening.  I'm considering actually making a bag to suit me.  This would be the greatest idea ever if only I knew how to design or sew anything.  Plus, materials are a real conundrum.  I think natural materials are best, but a sog-proof compartment is necessary for the icky-warm-wet post-class clothes/towel.  What's really required are two bags in one.  Actually no.  Three bags.  You need the bag with a toiletries compartment and shoe compartment/bag for your dry clothes/towel/post-class necessities; you need the bag with the waterproof/wipeable lining for the sweaty, smelly stuff, and you need the mat bag.

I don't like the strap-it-to-the-bottom method of mat carriage.  It's too wide for me and I don't like the idea of my mat, which I will lie exposed and half-naked upon, albeit on a towel, touching the ground if I put the bag down.  Ew.  Especially since, apparently, it's spitting season here in Vegas.  I've seen more people spit in the last few weeks than ever in my life.  Seriously?  If you have something in your mouth so vile you can't swallow it, don't leave it where I might step in it, please, 'kay?  Thanks.  That's what tissues are for.

Back to my bag, though.  Ideally, it would be a kind of longish bag, shaped kind of like this Sundara bag (click the pic for a link to the Etsy store):
But wider, with separate compartments with zippers and two straps so you could wear it like a backpack if you wanted to.

Maybe I'm the only person who has this problem, but I can't actually believe that.  As a regular practitioner of hot yoga, I need to be able to, occasionally, shower and be presentable immediately after class.  This means that sometimes I need to be able to carry makeup, a brush, possibly a hair dryer, shoes, clothes, and shampoo.  And I like to be able to leave things in my bag - extra top and shorts, headbands, rubberbands, barrettes, lotion, tampons.  It isn't hard.

I don't care if the bag gets heavy when it's loaded, but I'd like to have the space to load it and carry everything I need simultaneously in one bag.  So if anyone out there is a bag designer, get on this, please.  If there are bags that will hold 14 tennis rackets, I know this is possible.


10 Movies.

I don't like this new system of ten Best Picture nominees.  Sure, maybe something that might have otherwise been overlooked gets nominated, but then maybe the nomination process needs to change, not the number of nominations.

This year we have:  Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids are All Right, The King's Speech, 127 Hours, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, and Winter's Bone.  As far as I'm concerned, Inception, The Fighter, The Kids Are All Right, Toy Story 3, and True Grit don't belong there.  Not that they weren't good movies.  I thoroughly enjoyed most of them (see previous post for the exception).  Still, the only reason they're nominated is because now they have to come up with ten movies.

Let's face it, there are plenty of years that there aren't five great movies made, let alone ten.  The idea that a movie is one of the best of the year loses meaning when the year is filled with movies like The Tooth Fairy and Life As We Know It.

No way should Avatar have been nominated for Best Picture last year.  Or Up, for that matter.  I loved Up, but as the best movie of the year?  NO.  Also, District 9, A Serious Man, The Blind Side, and Inglorious Basterds did not belong there.  And yes, I realize this leaves only four nominees, but that's my point.

There are plenty of outstanding performances in some not great movies, so its pretty easy to come up with at least five leading/supporting performances every year.  But I'm not kidding when I say that I don't think that there are always five great movies in a year.  So nominate based on quality not because you have spots to fill.  Maybe it comes down to two movies.  I realize that odds-wise it's much less exciting, but come on.  If all of the art museums in the world burned down simultaneously tomorrow, would we start to rebuild with Dogs Playing Poker and Velvet Elvis, or would we have fewer museums?    I'm hoping we'd have fewer museums.

Great isn't a comparison.  Great is great.

*The rest of the nominees were:  Precious, Hurt Locker, An Education, and Up in the Air


Not All Right

As the Academy Awards are only weeks away, I'm going to be ranting a bit about nominations. This is only the beginning. Sorry.

I'm gonna say it. The Kids are All Right is not all right. It's also not a comedy (WTF HFP?) or particularly progressive. Maybe for main stream cinema it's slightly unusual because there are lesbians invovled, but it's thematically workaday and unimaginative.

The relationship dynamic has been overplayed for years: control-freak overachiever married to a free-spirited hippy-esque pothead. Not that Annette Benning didn't give a good performance as the control freak. Julianne Moore was also good. Sadly her character was as unevenly written as the rest of the movie.

The kids (character-wise) aren't particularly engaging and Mark Ruffalo's character is unappealing, which makes his allure to a lesbian confusing.

Overall, it's fine, but the only reason it's been nominated for anything is because it's based on a lesbian relationship and that irritates me. A lot.

This is no tour de force. Actually, it borders on boring. Everyone is so average and normal that, in the end, I wondered why the story was even worth telling. If you haven't seen it, here's a summary: all relationships have ups and downs, but if everyone tries hard things will be okay. The End.

If this movie wins any more awards, I'll be really pissed.



My creative stores have been depleted. Writing, knitting, drawing... I have no ideas right now.

I keep writing (not here, obviously), but it's bad. I pick up my knitting and hope that something fun will occur to me, but it hasn't. I feel dry.

I've had writing slumps before, but this is different. This is a more broad-based depletion of anything interesting in my brain. It's frustrating.

I guess I need to put more stuff in to get anything out. Normally, I would look forward to a gluttonous diet of art and literature to get me back on track, but right now, I'm just not into it. I finished Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon (really good) last week and I haven't picked up another book since and I don't feel like reading much of anything or devoting thought to much of anything.

It upsets me a little, as I've had an ongoing battle with depression for lots of my life and this seems like a prelude to something. Or maybe I'm just ready for winter to be done.

There's nothing like spring rain to cure a drought.


Introduction to Chapter 36

I have so much to say and no will to say it.  I find I cannot summon the words for all I'd like to say about my feelings for the year gone by or my hopes for what's to come.  So I won't try.  I will simply say that I have thorough satisfaction in what was and high hopes for what will be and I hope that you can say the same - that you can always say the same.  Happy New Year.