Monday, December 22, 2008

Pre-traumatic stress disorder

I have noticed, over the years, that in the weeks preceding my going home for any extended (read: longer than two days) period of time, I lapse into a curious verbal mood--that of complaining about my mother. I don't really mean to, and it's not like I sit around thinking about how much I don't want to go home or how much I dislike her (because I don't really mind going home, and i don't really dislike her), but the idea of going home, especially for Christmas, for an entire week, carries with it a certain amount of stress.

Granted, all families are crazy and stressful. The holidays are nostalgic, frustrating, beautiful, frenzied, happy, sad, terrible--they are your childhood and your teen years and the breaks from college, and now that you're an adult, all of those things piled up and mashed and sifted through your memory and I stand in my grandmother's kitchen surrounded by people who I am completely comfortable with because they know me as well as anyone, even though they may not know the current me, they know my history, they are my history, and so we are familiar, and in that familiarity is comfort and discomfort, a longing for the past and some discomfort with the present. I see the new lines around my mother's eyes; the slightly less coherent sentences of my grandmother; my teenage cousins who suddenly look like adults; my nephew who has grown two feet every time I see him. Every year, I am further away from this, from them. Every year, the small shocks at the things that have changed since I've been home get bigger. And yet...this is home, even though it is no longer home, it's as close as I ever get, and even though I can't talk to my mother without her getting that quiet, strained look, or without her not responding to something I said because she doesn't want to be judgmental, though she doesn't realize that her silence is judgment enough, and so we keep everything superficial and we avoid the hard things, but what i really want to do is scream at her all of the things that i've ever wanted to say.

i suppose this is where the stress comes, beforehand...the knowledge that these silences are coming, the silences in which we do not say all of the things that we would need to in order for us to have a good relationship. i cannot say to her that i feel that she resents me, or that i think she blames her unhappiness on me. i can't say to her that there is nothing that i will ever do, no amount of success that can ever make up for her mistakes, and in any case, that it is not my responsibility to atone for her sins. i don't understand how, as an adult, our childhoods affect us so much still, even when we have tried and tried and tried to either forget them or forgive them, or if nothing else, to let them go. I see that all of those things that I felt and learned as a child affect so much of my life now--that believing i was unwanted informs my relationships (or lack thereof) with men and with friends, that believing that I could somehow do enough to make it worth their while, that if i was only good enough or successful enough, that somehow i could earn their love...that leads me to feel now that there is nothing i can ever do to be good enough. not for me or for anyone.

These are the things I think about while I'm Christmas shopping, while I wrap the scarves and earrings and children's toys i've bought. i think about those silences and what they mean. i think about all of the things that i can't quite understand, as if my mind now cannot understand things beyond what my six-year-old mind could understand back then.

and i know that i will go home, and it will be familiar and comfortable. and those silences that i dread will only come once or twice, and they will pass, as they always do, with nothing being resolved. But maybe there are things we don't want to know. And maybe there are things better left in the past. And in the end, I know it's no different for most people, in similar ways--family knows your beauty and your ugliness, and love you. They believe in you whether or not you do the same. They tell you the truth, if you're lucky, and support your decisions whether they agree or not, though sometimes with more stoic silences than others. And in the end, they are as close as you can get to unconditional love. And if the price of all of that is those goddamn silences, then I guess I'll take them along with all the rest.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The sugar cookie effect

Tonight, I had cookie dough, wine, and a banana for dinner.

I decided to have a few people over for a Christmas-housewarming party because 1) I have put up a tree that is beautiful and I would like other people to enjoy it, too; 2) I feel myself spiraling into the winter blues and felt a holiday party would be a good way to claw at the edges of my sanity to slow the descent into dark, winter madness; and 3) it gives me an excuse to bake. Also 4) now that it is winter, i do not wish to leave my house and therefore will resort to any means to entice others to come here so that I do not have to leave.

On the street, people are meowing loudly. Through the floor below my feet, a dog barks incessantly. A small dog. A dog I would like to strangle.

There are many, many things to love about my new apartment. I could probably sit here most of the evening listing them for you, but I'll try to keep it to the biggest. First and foremost, there is no giant, loud, crazy person here judging me, speaking ill of me behind my back to her friends, yelling, or taking up space in the fridge. It is glorious to finally be alone after two years of living with people in small spaces. Glorious. Secondly, I now have a real living room that is not also a tiny hallway in which to entertain guests. See number 4 above. I have lived here for a month and comfortably entertained more guests than I ever had in the entire time I was in my last apartment. Thirdly, there are no drunk teenagers yelling outside of my window at 2 in the morning. Or 3. Or 4. No more 2 am trash pickups. No more sirens. The only sound is of the door across the hallway occassionally opening and closing; the rumble of the train carrying across the frozen air; the tires swishing down the avenue; the occassional person meowing loudly on the street. And that damn tiny dog, but that's only sometimes.

Also, I now have room to bake. I've always been more of a baker than a cooker, and I still don't understand how one can understand baking in an intuitive way and freeze up in the face of things like vegetables and meat. But I understand baking, and it understands me. We are one, me and the butter and sugar and flour and eggs. And so, because I'm having a holiday party on Saturday and because my heart is hurting and because it is something that I know I can do well, tonight I made sugar cookies. And I thought about all of the things I feel like I'm terrible at or that I just don't understand--men, writing, relationships--and then I looked at the 7 dozen or so perfectly browned, beautiful cookies I just baked, and I felt relieved that at least I understand something, at least I am good at something, at least, even if I cannot bring joy in ways I would like all the time--why can't I be happy with anything I write?--at least the cookies are good and the people who come to my party will like them, and it brings me joy to bake them. And even though it is such a small thing, making cookies, it calmed me and centered me, and now I'm not feeling so bad about the writing that is frustrating me or the boy that has hurt me, and even if I was, I've got 7 dozen cookies at my disposal to soothe me.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Third time's not a charm at all, actually

This is my third attempt at a post. Maybe this one will stick. I wrote the first two, and then realized that I'm not ready to write them. Maybe soon.

My friend Ronald died last month. I found out two weeks after the fact, on Facebook. That was my first failed attempt at a post.

I really like a guy with whom things are, sadly, going the same way they seem to always go. That post was a whiny "what's wrong with me?" one step away from terrible teenage angsty poetry journal entry mess that you would probably gag on and then wonder why on earth anyone would post anything remotely so terrible on their blog as an adult. So.

It's winter again. I walked to the library during lunch today while snowflakes I swear to God the size of my head dropped on me like fluffy clouds falling from the sky. The giantest of giant snowflakes. It was as if God was throwing snowballs from heaven.

Third post, about snowballs from heaven. I'd rather hear about dead friends and scared lovers, wouldn't you?

How about this? I will post all three, and you can vote. I won't edit them. I'll just post them. And you, dear readers, can decide. My vote is for none of the above, btw. I think they're all awful. But you people won't leave me alone, so I'm going to just blame this on you.

The fear of the unknown

I fear loving you more than I fear hating you. The truth is that the latter is much easier, and temporary. If you walk into and then out of my life, I have no lasting obligation to you, I cannot be fully known by you, I am not given over and over and over again the opportunity to disappoint you. This idea of permanence terrifies me--Ronald's death, for instance, or, rather, not so much that he is dead but that he always will be--I want it to be a temporary state, so that he can come visit me for his 30th birthday after all.

I see the used condoms in the trash, and think that a part of you is here, but also I think of the fleeting nature of physical love. Sex is a failure without orgasm--orgasm signals its end. I wonder about love, and how similar it is to sex. In my experience, love is just as fleeting as the moment of orgasm, a moment in time, the flame-burst of a match. Yesterday, you lay where I lay now, our bodies slick with each other's sweat. Tonight, I wonder whether she will win you back--or, rather, if you will decide to return to her. Will you come to me, after all, and say, your different face but the same old words, "I'm sorry, but..." And then all we will have between us is the one night and the three used condoms I'll be putting out with the trash in the morning. I am afraid that this is the conversation that we will have, you, with a pained look on your face, ironically, as the hurter, and me, trying to act unmoved, as the one being hurt.

We are already keeping secrets; you, of her and what happened when you left here yesterday, me, of the date with my own ex tomorrow night--a pillow to help soften the blow I'm already flinching in anticipation of, not knowing if or when it will come.

Why only date one man who will use you up and leave you when you can stay unattached to several?

How does anyone continue to hope for love, when everything suggests that it is unsustainable? When the men you have loved have consistently disappointed you, how do you continue to believe that the next one, or one someday, won't? How do you cross the bridge from every relationship failing, failing, failing, to one that doesn't? At a certain point, don't you begin to believe that they simply will, and then you've damned them--they cannot survive.

Part of me wants to kill this thing now, before we get too deep. And then I look up at the invitation on my dresser to my grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary, and i see in front of me the evidence that somewhere, somehow, my logic is off. Love has to be sustainable, at least in some form, even if I don't understand how. My grandparents have been married almost twice as long as I have been alive. It is not possible that I know more about love. I'd like to think that maybe I know more about heartache, but I don't think that after 50 years, that is possible either.

And now you and I are wrapped together with a thin satin white ribbon, and I'm afraid because, as always, the seeds are planted and beginning to grow, and the ax is never far away, and the longer you let it grow, the harder it is to cut it down. If you did it now, I would hate you and move on, to get my hopes up and be disappointed by someone else and someone else and someone else. But what I'm really afraid of is letting this thing between us grow, to see how big and leafy and beautiful it will get, because always in the back of my mind, I'll know that the ax is arm's length away, that you can never get comfortable, you can never let yourself totally go, you must always keep a part of you to yourself, because if I love you, then when will it happen? After 3 years? Marriage? Children? No. Better to enjoy each other now and not dread the day when the world will come crashing in around us, when we will wonder how we were so blind, when we will realize the terrible people we have become with each other. No, I'll put the condoms out with the trash. You won't have to see me any more.

(written December 8, 2008)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Where does love go?

I didn't find out until yesterday, even though it had been a week and a half. And on Facebook, of all places. I just happened to leave a comment on Lindsay's page, and she sent me a message: Have you heard about Ronald? And my heart seized up, a tiny panic right in the center of my chest. I don't know how we know these things about the people that we love, but we do. I clicked over to your page, and there was your picture, you smiling just as I remember you--olive skin and white teeth, kind dark eyes touched with mischief. And I began to read the comments, one after another, eulogies to a man who was well-loved, and a note from your sister to say thank you for the thoughts and prayers, and to say good night to you and not good bye, that you were home now. I couldn't imagine what had happened--a car accident maybe? I assumed that something tragic and unanticipated had taken you too soon.

Lindsay wrote back that she had few details besides that you died of liver disease on November 6. I didn't even know you were sick. I didn't even know you were dead. And here I was at work, where I couldn't cry, let alone think about it properly. A work buddy called on my office phone to say that his girlfriend of a year had broken up with him. I told him that I just found out a good friend from college had died. We pretended to be less sad than we were, mourning two separate but similar passings. We hung up quickly, maybe finding our own fronts flimsy and transparent, unwilling to seem vulnerable with one another. Later, at a meeting, I sat far from him, where we couldn't make eye contact, but all I could think of what you, and him, and each of our sadnesses.

I tried to put it to the back of my mind until I could go home and think about it, about you. But I avoided thoughts of you all evening, making dinner, watching TV, reading, readying for bed. Your ether permeated my dreams that night, and my first thought when I woke was of you. The alarm woke me at ten to six--I wanted to get up early to think and write about you and us. I hit the snooze until seven and finally woke, looking out my new bedroom's windows to a gray and orange dawn. I sat up--you. Put on my glasses--you. Padded to the kitchen and filled the coffeepot with water from the Brita. And I began to cry, silently, tears running slowly down my face, and I had the gradual and overwhelming feeling that you were standing behind me, watching me as I ground the beans and spooned them into the filter. It was the same feeling as when anyone is standing near you and you feel their presence before you see them. Unable to stand it any longer, and feeling rude for having my back to you, I finally turned, leaning against the counter, tears on my cheeks. I didn't see you, but I didn't need to--you embraced me, and I felt that you wanted me to know that you were okay. The moment passed, I turned on the coffeemaker and got in the shower. I didn't feel you there, or while I was getting ready for work--I hadn't tried to summon you, I hadn't expected you, I wasn't asking God for comfort. I wish I had said, while you were there with me, that I love you. I wish I had asked if you were okay. But I feel like you know and you are. I don't understand how this happened, but I'm not surprised that you found me, that you came to me, or that I knew it was you. I know it sounds unbelievable or like I somehow made myself believe that something happened that didn't, but the closest thing to what happened this morning is having a friend drop by unexpectedly--the only difference is that you didn't bring your body with you. I wish I could have seen you once more, said goodbye, kissed you one last time, heard your voice say that something, anything, was fabulous. But somehow, I also feel as though none of that really matters--that, in a way, we can still give and receive love even though you aren't here in the same way, and that somehow--is it possible?--we are closer now than we were before. And so, a standing invitation. Come whenever you like, you will always be welcome. And if you are not able to come, then good night, sweet friend, until we meet again.

(written November 18, 2008)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The problem with adventures...

The problem with adventures is that while you're busy having them, you don't have time to write.

Hence the silence of late.

So much is going on right now that a short post feels necessary, yet I have so much to say. Maybe once my life dust settles, again, a little, I can tell you more, but for now, a quick update.

1. My novel in a month has morphed into a novel in however long it takes me to finish. I'm excited about the 22,000 or so words I've written. I love my stories and the characters and the themes I've seemed to fall into--tragedy, love, sadness, loss, the strength of the human spirit, relationships, faith. I'm excited to get back to it, as I've been busy the past two weeks, what with

2. MOVING INTO MY VERY OWN APARTMENT!!!!! Those of you who have been listening to me complain about my current living "situation" can now rest easy that I will no longer have an evil roommate to complain about, as I have found the most adorable, sun-filled, cozy little one bedroom there ever was, all to myself. Thanks to the new job, I am finally able to afford to live on my own, and God or fate or what (or who) have you sent this lovely gift my way. I can't wait to move on Friday and finally have some dedicated space for writing, and a quiet street outside my window, and freedom to come and go as i please without someone looking over my shoulder. The commute is longer, and I'm moving out of Manhattan into Brooklyn, but I'm excited to have more time to read on the train to and from work every day, and I can't wait to explore a part of New York that I'm so unfamiliar with.

3. My new job has been verrry busy lately, and I'm still learning the ropes, but my good friend Okie is just a few desks away, and he makes sure to keep me grounded with a morning reading of Rilke or a fun fact about Thomas Jefferson or to just check on me when he hears me screetching "Oh my God, you want WHAT? WHEN?" into my telephone. I'm also getting over the awkward "new girl" hump and am getting to know my coworkers, who, for the most part, are awesome. Especially the socially awkward editors. I feel right at home.

Did I mention that my new apartment will be within walking distance of at least 4 of my friends?!? How lucky am I?

Remind me to tell you about riding the Coney Island float in the Village Halloween Parade with Leslie and dressing as Bristol Palin for my friend Holly's Halloween party.

All my love and Autumn bliss,
Lizzie

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

NaNoWriMo 2

Last year, I wrote a novel in a month. You probably know that already. But in case you missed last year's crazy ridiculousness (on my part), it's all blogged on my "writing blog" which I've since kind of abandoned because everyone knows it and i didn't really want my grandma reading about who I fucked last night. Which was no one, btw, in case she's somehow honed her grandma skills to finding this blog. ANYWHO, all promiscuity aside, I am again going to be joining several friends in the National Novel Writing Month challenge, which is to write 50,000 words in 31 days. MOST people do NaNoWriMo in November, but we all think that's silly because it only has 30 days AND we most of us travel for Thanksgiving and can't write when we're in a turkey coma. Also, we are not most people, are we? No. I think not.

So, as this is the second time I've done this, I gotta admit, I'm going in a little cocky. I know this is not a good thing. I know that I'm going to crash and burn at some point. But I can't help it. I'm all like "Whatever, I did this last year. I can do it again." Ahhh, the mighty (me) are about to fall. I know it, and yet I'm doing nothing about it.

So, basically, me and 5 of my friends are all going to begin our own 50,000 word novel beginning at midnight tonight and ending at midnight on October 31. That boils down to about 1,667 words per day. We have all modified the original "rules" somewhat to fit our own goals, etc, but I'm a purist and a type-A anal retentive, so I'm basically doing it the way it was originally set up to be done. I'm starting with a new story, I'm going to write at least 50,000 words.

So, I may not have much to say here for the next month. If you want to follow my novel-writing progress, I will again be posting on my writing blog, The Naked Writer.

ONWARD!

WHAAAAA!

I'm reading "Brideshead Revisited" right now, by Evelyn Waugh (which I always pronounce in my head WHAAAAAAAA!, think the noise someone doing karate might make), and anyway, I came across a particularly beautiful sentence that I don't want to lose.

"That was the change in her from ten years ago; that, indeed, was her reward, this haunting, magical sadness which spoke straight to the heart and struck silence; it was the completion of her beauty."

WWWHHHHAAAAAAA!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Birthday Adventure

Not mine, mind you. My birthday (and impending doom! erm, my 27th birthday) is precisely 4 months and 13 days away. I think. Counting's not really my thing. ANYWAY, THIS adventure involves many people I love, but 3 especially, because their birthdays were last week, they all live in Pittsburgh, and I got to see each one!

Originally, I was going to catch a ride with some friends who were going to Pgh for the weekend on the cheap. Then I got a new job, and I couldn't take 2 days off work during my second week, so here I was sitting in my cubicle last Thursday, thinking "if only there was a way to go home this weekend...wait a second!" And I tromped over to travelocity to see if there were any last minute deals, which i haven't been successful with the last 10 or so times i've tried it, but lo and behold, my number was finally called, and lickety split, I had a flight AND a rental car for the weekend for around $200. I mentally patted myself on the back, taking all credit for so awesomely manipulating the situation in my favor.

After a jaunt over to the Museum of Modern Art to see a preview of the new Van Gogh exhibit (the exhibit is new, not the paintings, unfortunately. wouldn't THAT be awesome?) with my friend Bob, and probably the best dinner I've had all year (seriously, so so so good. he took me to the restaurant I've been living above for over a year and still hadn't been to), which included several cocktails, I drunkenly packed zero pairs of pants, 5 pairs of underwear, 2 toothbrushes, and an odd assortment of tops. Saturday morning, I awoke bright and early at 5 am to catch the train to JFK for my 8 am flight. I stopped at DD for coffee, and then got on the train around 5:30 am. Now, at 5:30 am, the few people who are riding the train are either a) up very early to go to work or b) up very late and going home from a bar/club/party. This is the kind of interesting mix you don't really get any other time of day. So, I'm sitting on the train, staring blankly at the ads across from me, sipping on my coffee in a half-awake daze when one of the latter kinds of people gets up from his seat down the car a ways from me, walks over to me and sits down next to me. He turns his body towards me and stares at me, waiting for me to look at him and/or say something. I am sleepy. I am annoyed. I have not had my coffee yet. I say, giving him a cursory slightly disgusted glance, "hi." Big mistake. I suppose that was all the encouragement he needed because he immediately told me that i was gorgeous, that he lived in brooklyn (obviously, that's the direction the train was headed) but was born in harlem (actually, he told me this three times) and then started asking me questions.

"I have a boyfriend," I said. Ah, the old standby. Although, I've found it only works about half the time.

"Oh, of course you do, baby, of course you do. You are a beautiful woman. Gorgeous. Did I tell you that I live in Brooklyn now, but I was born in Harlem? Where you from, baby?"

Damn.

So I told him that it was early and I didn't feel like talking and he finally (thank God!) got the hint, said he'd "catch me later" and went back to his seat down the train. I have to admit, I was momentarily flattered that I had gotten hit on at 5:45 in the morning, until I considered that a) he HAD to have been drunk, b) he had struck out at the club and I was his last ditch effort before getting home, and (worst of alll) c) I was the only female on the train. Also, he was ugly.

So, I got to the airport, had a lovely flight, picked up my rental car (a Mazda 6! SO FAST! SO SO FAST!) and surprised my Daddy and my cousin Keegan at the family birthday party, caught "The Dark Knight" again with my mom, grandma, and aunt (better the second time!), and expounded on the parallels between the Bible and Batman to grandma as I drove her home (I was trying to help her like the movie...I don't think it worked). Then on Sunday, we went out to breakfast before Mom and I hit the outlet mall , where i bought some kicky black knee boots from Nine West and a few things for work. Then, on to my final birthday, my friend Katie at her new house, where we hung out all afternoon and evening and watched the baby crawl around and petted the dog and discussed all of the decorating/renovating possibilities for her house (which seems HUGE, but probably only because i live in a bedroom the size of my cubicle). Then I drove the back roads home to sleep for a couple of hours before getting up at 3:15 am to fly back home.

All in all, a fantastic weekend.

And one of the reasons I love and hate New York. Because NOTHING RIDICULOUS HAPPENS when I'm anywhere but here, which was very relaxing and refreshing. Though, it's part of the reason I come back, too.

Monday, September 15, 2008

a brooklyn adventure

whilst walking to work this morning and letting my mind wander aimlessly across the desert that is the stretch of First Avenue between my apartment and the new job (Side note: I work a BLOCK from the UN and I had no idea until this morning! Security risk? Yes. Worth it for the possibility of meeting wealthy, well-dressed, and [fingers-crossed] dashingly handsome international diplomats? um, yeah, obvs.), and the thought floated across my consciousness like a nimbus cloud that though the blog is called "Adventures in LizzieLand", I don't often recall my actual adventures. I then surmised that could be due to the fact that I've been relatively hermitlike of late and haven't had many adventures, but then...well, nevermind. this has gone on long enough.

So, to give you a real-life ACTUAL adventure of the Lizzie and Sideshow variety, I give you..."Time Warp: Lizzie and Sideshow Enter an Alternate Universe."

It all started when Sideshow asked me if I wanted to hunt photo booths with her to take some candid shots for her NEW! website in development.

And then I found out about the Bullseye Bodegas that were in town "For a limited time only!"

And so the list grew until we had grandiose and very detailed plans for Saturday, including, but not limited to, the following:

1. Go to Bullseye Bodega and drool on things we don't need and so won't buy because our apartments can't possibly fit one more ounce of useless stuff.
2. Find photo booth. Take silly photos. Repeat.

And here's where it got crazy

3. Go to Brooklyn. Look at friend of friend's dad-owned apartment for rent.
4. Stop by Beacon's Closet: shop and drop off old clothes.
5. Use $15 pizza place gift certificate that will never be used otherwise because we never go to Brooklyn.
6. Maybe, if we have time, stop at a kitchy Polish bar I know for 32-ounce $3.50 beers.

Yes, friends, not only were Sideshow and I going to Brooklyn, we were going to WILLIAMSBURG, land of hipsters, ironic mustaches, and unhealthily skinny skinny jeans. And we had 4 good reasons for going there.

Oh, we had such lofty ideals. Oh, were we going to get so much done. Then SS texted at 11 am. "Late night last night, hung over, no photos, look like crap" (my paraphrase), to which I labored over an equally hung over response for the next 10 minutes. "Late night here too, look like crap, no photos okay." At which point, had we been smart, we would have just given up and gone back to sleep.

Our 2 pm meeting turned into 3:30, and we decided to tackle Brooklyn first. The guy whose dad owns the apartment I wanted to see called to say he didn't have the keys, so SS and I headed straight for Beacon's Closet, which turned out to be a hot, crowded, hipster mess. We lasted approximately 2.4 minutes before grabbing her bag of clothes (they told us to be back at 8! There was no way were staying IN BROOKLYN until 8 pm) and high-tailing it out of there. Several headache-inducing outfits later (that is, on the waifs we passed...Williamsburg must be having a severe food shortage, we surmised), we finally found the calm in the hipster storm...the Polish bar with a bartender older than my grandfather and the blessed, beautiful, cold, sparkling 32-ounce beer in a styrofoam cup. We lamented about how we don't want to move to Brooklyn and especially to Williamsburg, discussed our confusion about the skinny-jean phenomenon, and expressed our relief that no hipsters, apparently, could see this bar through their slatted fushia sunglasses.

Until, right after I received my second GIANT beer, 15 of the little buggers came stumbling and yelling through the door of the bar, beelined it to the jukebox, and began playing the MOST TYPICAL BAR SONGS EVER. Which caused an equal and opposite reaction in SS and I: to loudly make fun of them, their dress, their musical choices, and to say that we were having such a lovely time until they showed up. We were just drunk enough to be able to convince ourselves that we were being funny, not rude. Also, that we somehow were not on THEIR turf and so had some kind of right to not be invaded. Ah, retrospect.

So, as "Bohemian Rhapsody" blared in the background and I yelled to SS over the music, "God, wow! I love this song! This is such a great song! I can't believe they're playing THIS song! THey NEVER play this song in bars!" and the hipsters returned our annoyed and disparaging looks, a tall, skinny-jeaned, ironic-mustached, and flannel shirted young man bought two beers and set one in front of each of us.

"Calm down," he said, with a wry smile.

And then we felt like assholes and shut up, or at least quit yelling our obscenities.

We flirted with two brothers who were jerks but not hipsters before leaving the hipsters to the 60-year-old woman who reminded me of my grandmother and had taken over the bar from the ancient man who kind of reminded me of my grandfather. We traipsed to the pizza place, where the guy behind the counter said "Come back and spend some money next time" and the other one told us that his girlfriend was 4'11". The strange out-of-place feelings we had gave way to giggling about everyone and everything that seemed "different" and we got our sausage pizza to go, vowing never to return to this alternate universe where we didn't understand the dress code and the natives bought us beer to disarm us into thinking they were harmless and, could it even be?, nice.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Certain. Death. Maybe.

A cookie to the first person who can tell me what is wrong with the following sentence:

"Persons not heeding evacuation orders in single family one or two story homes may face certain death."

Also, and this may be morbid, or distasteful, or whatever, but they said this OUT LOUD on NPR this morning, and you would not believe how delighted i was to hear the words "certain death" on the radio. For a brief glimmer of a moment, I was in the Princess Bride. Or some other fairy tale involving a threat of certain death.

CERTAIN DEATH!!

but only maybe.

damn, i think i just gave it away.

also, I'm trying to work out a new budget based on my new salary AND I'm dreaming of the day when I can forever stop talking to, seeing, or listening to my heinous roommate, and I'm trying to remember whether "they" recommend housing costs to be 30% of before tax or after tax income. Do you know?

God, i just reread that last paragraph and i'm a little embarrassed to have you know the heighth, breadth, and depth of my nerdity.

oh well. you probably already know anyway.

wide-eyed, terrified

This article has had me sitting, slightly terrified, staring at my computer, trying very, very hard to relax all the muscles in my face. and not. move. them. at. all.

i will henceforth be beginning a campaign of non-emotiveness (after the emo-trauma of tonight's half-time routine, more to come on that later), complete with blank wide-eyed stares, speaking without moving my lips, and avoiding any and all interactions in which i might have to feel something, thereby opening myself to the possibility that that emotion may be reflected on my face.

also, sleeping on my back, quitting smoking, never going outside while the sun is shining, and pretty much just ending my life right now, while i'm still young, pretty, and wrinkle-free.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

is my insecurity showing?

a friend and i were talking today about a blog we both read. my friend said something to the effect of, "they think they're masking their pain so well, and maybe they are on the surface, but in their blog, it's in everything they write."

which, on further reflection, caused me to wonder what my blog 'says' that i don't think it says, or that maybe i'm trying (unconsciously?) to mask. Does it scream of insecurity? Or manic-depressiveness? Is it a cry for help, or attention?

It's easy to act cool and put together on the street, in the subway, at work, with acquaintances and sometimes with friends. But here...do I put up that exterior? Do I write exactly what I think and feel? Do I censor myself? don't try to, but i'm not sure it's avoidable.

Because it's easy to think you know yourself, but actually doing it is damn near impossible. i know i'm insecure sometimes; i don't always try to hide it. i let myself be vulnerable here; but there's always a thin coating of self-preservatory humor, or anger, or sarcasm. it is comforting to think of how far we've come. it is another thing entirely to face the demons that remain, especially if we'd rather pretend they no longer possess us. At least you know when you're being haunted by ghosts. How do you know when you're dealing with demons?

this is my brain on drugs

Hello my darling farphenugens! (yeah, that's how you spell that) (no, i don't know what a farphenugen is) (stop asking fucking questions)

It has been so long since we've communicated via blogoverse (yup, just made it up. like universe, only with blog at the beginning. and yes, i've copyrighted it, so don't even think about it) (yes, even though I just made it up) (shut your mouth! I'm talking!)

hummm, right. So, didja miss me? Because I missed you. Terribly. While i was frolicking amongst the radioactive waste in Lake Michigan and ducking from pretend gangsters in Chicago's south side and hitting on hot artists with families [shameless, i know, but i was on vacation...free pass!] at jazz festivals. oh, also ripping the tails off of boiled crawfish and sucking the sweet spicy creole-seasoned succulent flesh out of them while i stared into their lifeless beady black eyes. and picking their antennae out of my teeth. and THEN, i missed you even more whilst jazz-fingering my toes into the sweet moist north carolina sand while the dictator, king prince nephew Kole directed my sand-castle construction and water carrying duties ("Get more water!" he cried. And so I did.) and then watching my sister be obliterated by waves that were at least 4 feet above her 6 foot high head (awesome. seriously. awesome.) and riding waves via boogie board and learning (the hard way) just which bikini bottoms were conducive to wave riding. and which, unfortunately, were not.

henceforth, i will always recommend a one-piece for wave riding, though i feel that the one-piece interferes with one's ability to catch the eye of passing adult married males with children (the only kind available, apparently, during the first week of September in the OUter Banks).

As you can see, I barely managed without you.

OH, hai! Do you know what time it is?? It's time for me to take some more sinus infection medication! Hold up...one sec...ahhh, very nice. Congestion, begone! Right, and those were the nighttime kind, so i probably should wrap this up before i pass out in a pool of my own slobber and mucus.

and i still don't understand why noone wants to date me. hum.

on the bright side, i'm 3 for 3 on getting my used tissues in the garbage can from across the room.

so, to conclude, i had a lovely time on my vacation, and i really did miss you (even if i pretend to be strong and say that i didn't), and i just started a new job yesterday, and I'm getting a new roommate next week, AND I'm planning on doing the National Novel Writing Month with a few writer friends again in October. So, lots going on! oh, AND i have a sinus infection! (i forgot that part) but hopefully that'll go away soon.

And now, to fall into a drug-induced stupor, but not a pseudoephedrine-induced stupor. because the meth people ruined it for all of us.

assholes.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Flexible Structure

I just realized that that terrible picture was the first thing anyone was going to see when they came to my blog, so instead of taking it down, I'm going to post over it. And besides, the only thing I'm doing at work today is giving blood, even though (as a coworker asked yesterday) I won't be getting an extra day off. At my company, they bribe people to give blood. If you give blood during 2 of the 3 blood drives during the year, you get an extra day off. I was surprised when she asked if I was still going to give blood, even though my last day here is next Wednesday. It's nice motivation, sure, but if you weren't going to give blood in the first place, would it really be enough? Anywho, I am still, indeed, giving blood, because I think it's a good thing to do and if I ever need it, I hope other people will have given it. Karma, you know. And I really don't mind needles.

That and the free orange juice and cookies. Okay, I admit it. That's the real reason I do it. All the guilt-free oreos I can eat.

The point of this post is not, regardless of what you may think, about my personal blood-giving philosophy. It is primarily about getting that terrible picture off the top of my page, and also about talking a little about writing.

So, as you probably know, I like to write. A lot. I went to college for it. I've been doing it for a long time. Someday, I would like to make a career of it. Lately, I've been thinking about taking the GRE and going back to school so that I can teach English to college kids. I figured that would be a good next step out of the corporate world (I'm a medical editor now), and it would give me entire summers off to write. But I'm not sure if I would like teaching, or if it would really give me more time to write. And as I thought about all of the time, energy, and money that i would need to spend to get a master's degree and possibly a PhD, the question I had was "Am I doing this because this is what I want to do or because I'm avoiding writing?"

The fact of the matter is my ultimate goal is to be a writer. I don't know if I can make any money at it. Right now I'm not making money at it; thus, my day job. But is getting a new degree to start a new career going to help or hurt my writing? Certainly, while i'm in school and working full time, i will have little time for writing. BUT, if I love to teach AND I write, then it would be worth it. Also, I'm a huge nerd and I love school. I kind of want to go back just to learn. It's a tough decision, because I genuinely want to go back, but at the same time, I don't know if I will enjoy teaching. Also, what if i don't go to school and instead write and write and write while I continue to work as an editor? It's possible for me to transition directly from editor to writer without making a pit stop at teaching along the way. So, what it comes down to is this: What do I want to spend my energy on? What are my priorities? I already know what my goals are and where I want to go. What I'm trying to do right now is find the best path.

I still haven't decided, though the answer seems like it should be clear enough. What I have decided is that I'm going to make writing a higher priority in my life. I made a list of things that I love, and writing was right there at the top. Running is another priority for me. And I've always loved volunteering, though I haven't done much of it since high school. So here's what I have decided. I have decided to volunteer at the library teaching reading and writing to adults. It's not college, but I think it will give me a good idea about the kind of teacher I could be and how well I would like it. And I have come up with a weekday schedule that I'm going to try to stick to "most" days. By that I mean I will be flexible with myself, but will do it as much as I can. This kind of flexible structure works really well for me. If I'm too rigid, I get frustrated with myself and quit. Without structure, I don't do much of anything. So, here it is:

6 am: wake up, make coffee, shower
6:30-7:30 am: write
7:30-9 am: get ready and go to work
9 am - 5 pm: at work
5-6 pm: commute
6-7 pm: run
7-10 pm: eat dinner, run errands, relax
10 pm: get in bed, read, sleep

The only problem I forsee with this schedule is that I'm not a morning person. The problem with scheduling writing at night instead of the morning, though, is that I just don't do it. So, if I'm going to write consistenly, morning is best. The hardest part of the schedule is going to sleep early. I am a night person. I hit a point in the evening where I am simply just not sleepy. I'm hoping that my body will slowly adjust. I already was getting up around 7 am, so I'm hoping it will be a relatively easy adjustment to 6.

This is something I decided on Monday. I woke up Tuesday and wrote for an hour, skipped yesterday after being out late with friends the night before, and woke up this morning around 6:30, only writing for 45 minutes. I figure 1.75 out of 3 is pretty good. As always, the test is going to be keeping it up until or unless I find a better system.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What happens in Vegas...ends up on my blog

Today-published worst photo of me ever in existence anywhere ever ever, which will most likely result in a) some future employer finding and firing-slash-not-hiring-me-in-the-first-place, b) my being left at the alter-slash-never-having-another-date-as-long-as-i-live, c) going to a great party and meeting a cute boy who i drive off with in his convertible and then oops! remember that i need cigarettes so ask him to pull off for a sec and then see THAT image staring straight back at me from a cover of some magazine with a caption that reads "Single and Fabulous?" (wait, i think i've heard that one before...), or d) all of the above.



I'mma go with D. I believe this was directly before the Great Stripper Pole Incident of 2008, during which, in my enthusiasm, I whipped around the pole and directly into the brick wall behind it, scratching/bruising my shoulder. I blame the guy who installed the pole. Clearly, he's never seen what goes on with those things.

And after THAT description, D. Definitely D.

Which is fine by me. I clearly have a fallback plan.

Seriously, though, besides that night in Vegas, I had a pretty mature, responsible trip. Here is a short list of

STUFF I DID IN VEGAS!!!

1. I laid by the pool

2. I watched other people have sex on their balcony (to be clear, I was staring because I couldn't figure out what was going on, not because I KNEW and just wanted to watch)

3. I rode the roller coaster at New York New York (no, not the crazy ridiculous scary one on the top of the really tall building. the one that's on the ground in front of a hotel that's supposed to resemble our fair city) (and no, i don't think there is a comma between the New Yorks. I think they did that so people didn't get confused between the HOTEL and the ACTUAL CITY. Because from what I saw in Vegas, I think it was a distinct possibility.)

4. I can haz cheezburger hat

but thankfully i cant haz frankenstine hat

(that wasn't very funny, was it? oh well, moving on!)

5. I won $75 on penny slots...

...while practicing to be my great grandmother.

6. I successfully evaded the giant baby eagles at the Bellagio. (barely.)


7. I waved a bagel around in a hungover stupor


8. And (with no photographic evidence, or at least none i can find to steal)...I danced in the Second Annual J*erleader and WHORE Dance Competition at Rollercon. And all I got was an illegible patch. (and by WHORE, I'm just making a silly inside joke. HAHAHAHAHA, LA is WHORES. MWHAAAHAHAHAHAHA.) Hopefully, photographic evidence to come soon. To hold you over, here are the signs we used in the routine:

Friday, July 25, 2008

which way to mecca?

I work a block away from the big Macy's, you know, the one they show every year during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. the closest public outdoor space is Harold Square, a concrete triangle of tree-lined metal chairs and tables wedged between Sixth Avenue and Broadway. It is hot. It is loud. It is full of tourists. So today, seeking some actual grass and a little peace and quiet with my sun, I wandered down to Madison Square Park, which is quieter, shadier, breezier, nannies pushing strollers and toddlers drunk-stumbling into the paths of texting business people. I had an entire bench to myself, and so spread out in the shade to read Annie Dillard's "The Maytrees." If you haven't read it, please do. It is a beautifully simple love story set on the beach in Rhode Island and currently has me contemplating giving up the city life. Seriously. I don't know how Annie does it, but her ratio of words to the vividity of the picture she paints is ridiculous, as in, zero words = 100% clarity. She is magic.

I read for an hour and got up in a lovely contemplative, zen-like dream state to walk back to work. I turned up Fifth Avenue, and then turned left on 31st Street, my daily route to work because there is a church on the corner with yellow ribbons tied to its fence, and churches make me feel peaceful. I pass at least 3 of them every day on my way to work. It was about 1:45 pm and I saw in front of me two lines of people on the sidewalk, facing north toward some shops, heads bowed, silent. I thought perhaps it was a small vigil of some sort, as the church was on the corner. As I approached, I saw the small carpets and pages of newsprint, the bare feet and empty shoes, the occassional cell phone on the ground. No one looked at me as I passed between the two lines of men, in various dress, many shades of brown. Almost as I came to the end of the line, someone behind me yelled a command and they all at once shifted. Again came the call, and they knelt on their mats like a reverse wave. I felt strange, briefly, as they bowed as I passed. I wondered why they faced north, instead of east. I wondered why this street, out of many. I wondered why at 1:45. I wondered whether the rest of us couldn't use a moment every day to gather with like-minded people to pray, or reflect, or take our thoughts off ourselves and put them onto a higher being or purpose.

It was the same feeling, walking between the rows of praying men, that i have walking past the sleeping Christian churches. Which is interesting because I was raised to believe that the former is evil and latter is good.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Viva!

Here are some pictures that I pilfered from fellow j*erleader Natalie's flickr page. Bon appetit!

This is Minnie Pearl Haggard doing "human blockhead." She pounded a nail into her nose! It was awesome!


Bob marrying the j*erleaders


Our first dance. Awww!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Drunk, married, and tattooed

As I (literally) stumbled to the bathroom this morning around 7:30 am, a couple of unusual things occurred to me. First, that i was still relatively drunk. Second, that I was wearing a wedding ring. And third, that I had a tattoo of two dice with the word "Lucky" in a banner underneath on my left bicep. All three of which surprised me in a "I'm noticing this and not really sure what's going on, but I'm going to roll with it" and a "Huh, I didn't think this actually happened to people" kind of way.

Am I in Vegas, you ask? No. Am I in a bad movie starring Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz? No. Should I be worried that even BEFORE my big Vegas vacation next week, I'm already waking up drunk, married, and tattooed? Possibly.

But, as is generally the case, there is a perfectly logical explanation for all of this, which i vaguely remember in my drunk-to-hungover haze. And that is the second annual GGRD Jeerleader Viva Las Vegas Fundraiser, which was last night at Fontanas, the highlight of which was Minnie Pearl Haggard eating fire. But also complete with Audrey Scorne applying a temporary tattoo to my left bicep in the bathroom before the event, my drinking several vodka cranberrys and two huge Coney Island Lagers, and the second annual Jeerleader-Bob wedding, officiated by the one and only Hellvis. And which ended with me walking home drunk at midnight and having some homeless guy ask to see my tattoo and another guy say in a very menacing voice, "Safe travels." If I hadn't been so drunk, I would have been way more creeped out by that. And then ending the night by eating tortilla chips in bed and reading my journal (? i know, right?) and falling asleep and having a dream in which i was drunk.

I'm going to consider this my dry run for Vegas.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sorry

Just now, at work. I walk into the kitchen to find a shortish man facing the microwave, shutting the microwave door.

Man to microwave, in very sexy accent: Oh, sorry.

Me, retrieving my lunch from the fridge: Did you just apologize to the microwave?

Man, laughing, turning red (i assume, under his nutmeg-colored skin): Yes, actually, I did.

Friday, June 27, 2008

'Spection

Reading:
"V." by Thomas Pynchon (sometimes a little complicated, sometimes a little mumbled, sometimes beautiful, always earthy. my approach: hang on, don't let go)

"What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" by Raymond Carver (sweet, slow, and thick like molasses. perfect for on the train or bus or between people-watching at the park)

"Cast the First Stone" by Gwendolyn DeRosa (a tangy, bittersweet, and raw reminder of what it's like to grow up, and the kind of teenager I wish I'd been but never had the balls to be)

"Of Human Bondage" by M. Somerset Maugham (it's Maugham, what can I say? Pithy, perfect, rending, complete with adolescent humiliation, spiritual browbeating, and unrequited love)

Writing:

Short stories that may someday become a semi-autobiographical collection (theme: love, as always)

Novel editing will commence as soon as I work up the nerve

Some bad poetry

And I need to go back to the story i started in January about a child and mother who don't want, yet need, each other.

Doing:
Running, a lot. I logged 24 miles last week, 10 of which was actual running.

Eating, a lot. Due to running a lot, I can't seem to stay full (great side effect of running!)

Practices for Rollercon (a roller derby convention in Vegas at which the Jeerleaders will compete in the second annual Rollercon Cheerleading Competition)

Trying to find people to do all of the amazing free cultural things in NYC with me, and failing mostly


Thinking about:

School. The new idea is to take the GRE this fall and apply for MA/PhD programs in English and become a professor (while the current, or a new, company pays for it)

Road trip. I am in desperate need of some fresh country air and some time with the people who know and love me best. Chicago, Cincinnati, Atlanta, and Pittsburgh are calling me. I think I might rent a car and visit all four places over a couple of weeks in August/September.

Loneliness. I miss companionship. I miss being around people who really "get" me. I love New York, but I haven't really found that here.

Jobs. I may start looking for a new one that will pay me better so that I can accomplish some long-term financial goals a little quicker.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mermaid Me


The annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade on Saturday was A-MAZING! If you are unfamiliar with the Mermaid Parade, it is an annual event to celebrate the official beginning of summer, and people sign up to march dressed as mermaids, often in groups with themes. This year, our group was the Rydell High School of Fish (Grease, that is). We had Pink Salmon Ladies, we had Sea Birds, we had Bad Sandy, we had Frenchy, we had Beauty School of Fish Dropouts. And then we Grease Lighteninged and Hand Jived our way down the boardwalk and back up Surf Avenue, cameras everywhere, and people in the crowd singing along with our sound system. My favorite group was the Marie Antoinette Mermaids, complete with guillotine float. Here are a few pictures of our group:





The only decent picture of me was taken by some anonymous type A anal retentive on Flickr who reserves absolutely every single right to his or her photos and I have not been able to steal it. Yet. Though I'm in the process of hiring a detective to track this person down, break into their apartment, and steal their hard drive, just for being difficult. Seriously, what's the point of taking pictures if other people can't use them as MySpace profile pics? I'd even be willing to give this person the photo cred. But whatev, here i am, in all of my mermaid glory.

I put up some more on the MySpace, and everyone else looks great, but I mostly just look like a cross between the wicked witch of the west (at some point, green body paint really did seem like a good idea) and a slightly psycopathic weirdo with a hat made out of curlers.



HOWEVER, there were SO MANY amazing, beautiful, crazy, colorful costumes. Though it is hugely biased in favor of the naked/pastied women at the parade, if you search on flickr for "2008 Coney Island Mermaid Parade" you can get a pretty good idea of what i mean. Fantastic! God, I love this city!

Still, though. So. Fun. After the parade, we spent the next several hours drinking beer on the beach, and then the next several hours after THAT drinking beer while walking around and riding the Wonder Wheel and the Cyclone. BTW, the Cyclone is the oldest, most rickety, most amazingly terrifying-because-you-are-afraid-its-going-to-collapse-under-you roller coaster in the history of the universe. If you are within 1000 miles of Coney Island and you have any love for roller coasters at all, you MUST DO IT.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Do What You Want = Be Happy

Yes, it's that time again folks. The time when I realize i haven't blogged in weeks and so must catch you all up in one giant crazy nonsensical stream-of-consciousness post that most of you won't read to the end anyway. Don't worry, it doesn't hurt my feelings. But i'm sure you weren't worried, as stopping reading a post halfway through indicates a) annoyance or b) boredom. probably both. but i'm not here for you (sorry, true). i'm here for me. and i do what i want! yay! and so should you!

here we go:

so i'm perusing myspace today, and i see the profile of this guy i used to ahem "see" who was a friend but isn't so much a friend anymore and i wondered, "Why don't we hang out more?" Before realizing that the answer is that we're too busy boinking other people. i like the word boink as a euphemism for sex. it always gives me the mental image of two people's heads accidentally knocking together in a playful accidental way. which, i guess probably could be a deeper metaphor for sex if i thought about it, but i'm not going to. onward!

This week has been CRAZY. It's so bad that i haven't had time to buy groceries (for those of you who don't know, groceries are very important to me. i don't trust restaurants not to feed me poo-slash-weird chemicals-slash AIDS. and also i'm cheap and hate paying for food.). so i've been subsisting on takeout all week, BUT the upside is that I get to wear TWO (count 'em, two!) costumes this week! Tonight, I get to be a pirate at the jeerleader super-fun band night pirate-themed fundraiser, and then on Saturday, I get to dress like a Beauty School Dropout Mermaid for the annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade. Yipee! Except that my beauty school dropout costume kind of looks like a futuristic military uniform of some sort, minus alien-evaporating ray gun. oh well. i'm sure everyone will understand once i'm hand-jiving. So that should be tons of fun, tonight and Saturday.

So, i've come across two articles in the past few days about changing from being a night person to being a morning person and here's what i think about that:
1. Night people get a bad rap as being lazy, but we aren't, we just function great while the morning people are being old-ish and going to bed at 9 pm.
2. But I don't WANT to be a morning person. I LIKE nighttime.
3. Night people should be able to work their corporate jobs on schedules that fit their sleep patterns. In today's global economy, i would think this would be an asset, as the morning people in Beijing could talk to the night people in the US, then we could have 24-hour-a-day office hours, thereby increasing productivity and strengthening the world global corporate machine. erm, wait. no. nevermind. that would never work. forget i said anything.
And D. There is too much emphasis on changing basic fundamental characteristics of who we are. Instead we should embrace ourselves instead of trying to change. Learn to love your nighttime awakeness, or your small boobs, or your giant schnoz, or your gayness (another article I read was about how they might someday try to "cure" homosexuality in the womb by flooding it with hormones so kids don't become queer...so, so disturbing), or your shyness or weirdness or nerdiness or can't talk to people of the opposite sex-ness. I say EMBRACE IT! Own it! I'm a nerd who doesn't have many friends and i can barely dress myself. so what do i do? I read books naked by myself! That's what. And do you know what else? It makes me happy! And if you're happy, it doesn't matter what other people think. unless killing people or something similar makes you happy. then you have a problem.

I've been writing quite a lot (for me, baby steps) lately, and i have an idea for a book that i've been working on and i'm really excited about it. i briefly (read: for 10 minutes) started to read the novel i wrote last October, but I wasn't really into it. So i stopped. I might revisit it later, when i'm done with my new super-fabulous (fingers crossed!) book idea. I would tell you about it, but I don't want to jinx it. I think it's going to be a cross between memoir, fiction, poetry, and short stories. I hope I can pull it off. But if not, it's still good practice, right? RIGHT! Which reminds me of this artist woman I was reading about who was talking about how adult people should be more like kids in the way that they create their art, as in, kids focus on the act of creating as their main goal, whereas adults focus on how their going to make money (or, rather, on the value of the end result), and how all of us adult artists might be more happy (and productive!) if we focused on the CREATING rather than what it may be worth to other people when we're done. i know that very idea has kept me from writing in the past, and the times when i write the most and best i'm writing to WRITE, not writing for other people. Which goes back to what I said about being happy. Do what you want = be happy. Write to write = be happy. Write worrying about what other people think = be unhappy.

Fantastic.

And finally and most importantly, a big shout out to one of the great loves of my life AND my first wife (her second), Ms. Gwendolyn Glover DeRosa, who was born today not so many years ago and who is a talented, gorgeous budding writer. Happy birthday, Gwen! I love you!

That's all i have for today. Kisses, babies!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Stupid in love

It happened almost a week ago, and I am still really, really angry. So angry I hit a cab for not stopping at a stop sign to let me walk in front of it. So angry, I yelled at a pregnant woman in the park. So angry, in fact, that I feel like I'm revisiting those confusing, messed-up teenage years again, where all of these things just seem to be happening to me, and I don't have any control over them or my reactions to them. I haven't been sleeping. I've been buying (and smoking) cigarettes. I've been eating too much. I'm hurt. And because I'm wounded, I'm lashing out at anyone who gets close enough.

All because of a stupid, careless boy who was so wrapped up in his own feelings that he didn't stop to consider mine.

I guess part of the reason I'm so angry (or maybe most of it) is because i feel stupid. I should have seen this coming. But I didn't. I got wrapped up in my feelings, in the idea that i really really liked someone who really really liked me back, and i didn't want it to be anything but magic and so i believed that it was, in a way, magical. Because for all of my cynicism and feigned disinterest and obvious lack of emotion, what i really wanted was something real. and this guy came along and he gave me the illusion that i was looking for. and i let my guard down. and i let myself believe the things he said that i wanted to believe. and i trusted him.

And, here's the most embarrassing part. I even fell in love a little.

Now, I don't know what his side of the story is, but I thought we were on the same page. I thought the sparks were flying for both of us. I thought we were well on our way to happily ever after.

Because sometimes, you just have to believe in it, you know?

And then the rug was pulled out from under me. I was jolted from my dream. The boy said in no uncertain terms that I was wrong, he had only said he wanted to have fun, that there were no sparks, and that this was the end. "But, wait," I thought. "It's barely begun."

And once again, I found myself face down on my bed crying aloud, remembering how these feelings feel when they wash over you: the pain, the disappointment, the feeling of absolute and utter failure, the nagging questions. "What is wrong with me?" "Why doesn't he want me?" "What did i do wrong?" And even if you've done nothing wrong, it is still your fault, somehow, not his.

And once again, you realize that it is not the boy that you are mourning but the ideas you had about the future with that boy.

Maybe the truth is that he did like me a lot, but he got in over his head, he got scared, and then he realized that maybe he didn't want what he had said he wanted all along, and so he said he couldn't see me anymore.

But from my point of view, it seems a lot like this: He treated me like shit. He had absolutely no respect for me or regard for my feelings. He led me on. He lied to me and told me what he thought i wanted to hear so that i would trust him, and then he dropped me.

And honestly, the worst part is not what he did. It's that I fell for it. And it's the oldest fucking trick in the book.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What can you expect from love?

Please read this. It's an essay from The New York Times about love, and I don't think I could have said what this woman says any better than she does. Especially the part about always wanting men to stay and the transient nature of our modern relationships.

On a related note, the article in the New York magazine this week about men, cheating, monogamy, sex, etc, here.

My married friend Katie asked me the other day if i was sytematically dating every commitment-phobe in New York. I didn't know how to answer her. I mean, isn't everyone a commitment-phobe in this town, myself included? I have just passed the 2-year anniversary of the break-up of my longest, most meaningful relationship, which lasted 3 years. And it is just within the past month or so that I have come to a point where I am willing, nay, wanting, to enter into another committed, monogamous, "possibly going somewhere" relationship. I fully understand the hookup mentality, the friends with benefits, the late-night booty calls. I understand the separation between love and sex, feelings and fulfilling a need, intimacy and orgasm. I understand why we do it. In my case, I did it because I wasn't emotionally ready or available to enter into a relationship. A "friend" of mine is biding time and having fun until he's ready start looking for a wife. Another "friend" is 35, with no real career, who is a self-proclaimed commitment-phobe because he is afraid of becoming the absent father that he had.

When it comes down to the real root of it, we are all broken, and most of us realize that love isn't what we need to be fixed. We've been around the block a few times, we've been hurt, cheated on, lied to. We've had our expectations crushed. We've had our feelings not returned. It is so much easier to find someone to have a good time with, to have sex with, to spend a night with every once in awhile, than to think about a real commitment. Because commitment isn't fun. It's not exciting, or thrilling. It's monogamy, boredom, having to put up with someone else's bad habits. It is long-term. And for many of us who come from broken homes or whose parents had terrible marriages, it is fighting, and anger, and resentment. It is heartbreak and failure. And it is simply not realistic.

I still don't know if I believe that a happy, monogamous marriage is possible. And I'm still not sure that it's something I ever want to gamble on.

The New York mag article mentioned a book called The Ethical Slut. Here's the quote they used, in the context of polyamory, which (if i understand correctly) is having a primary relationship with many sexual partners: "With practice, we can develop an intimacy based on warmth and mutual respect, much freer than desperation, neediness, or the blind insanity of falling in love."

On some level, in order to have noncommittal "encounters," you have to have this kind of shallow intimacy, where you care about and respect the other person, but without the proprietariness, or jealousy, or, consequently, love. It is based on warmth and mutual respect. They are yours when you are with them, and you don't ask about what they do outside of that. What I don't know is if these kind of "relationships" are sustainable long-term. I kind of want the blind insanity of falling in love, don't you? And why can't you have monogamy without desperation or neediness? I think you can. I ordered the book from the library. I'll let you know how it goes (that is, if I can manage to read a book that isn't fiction. I usually get a couple chapters in and abandon ship).

I guess, in the end, we all have to decide what works for us. But is what works and what we want the same thing? I asked my friend Pat the other day whether I date (excuse the cliche) all the wrong guys. His answer surprised me. He said no, I didn't date the "wrong" guys (what does that mean anyway?), but that I was continually hopeful that each of the guys I dated was going to be the right one. It's that hope, I think, that has led me to this place where I'm tired of meaningless hookups, and I'm tired of the shallow "mutual respect and warmth" that stands in as a shoddy pinch-hitter for love. Really, at the end of the day, I'm just plain tired. But what can you do? I still, deep down, want mind-bending, heart-palpitating, I can't help but love you love that, when the dust settles, effortlessly (or effortly, for that matter) morphs into the kind of long-term, in it for the long haul, deep commitment and intimacy and friendship that can be sustained throughout a lifetime. And, honestly, deep down I do believe it's possible. I don't think it's easy to find or to keep or that a whole hell of a lot of people have it, but without that hope, that belief that it is attainable, that i deserve it, that i someday will have it, well, what's the point of continuing to date all of these not right guys if there isn't the possibility that i'm going to find the right one? Hell, maybe I've found him already, and I just don't know it yet.

What do you think?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

a little poetry...

firstly, a quote: “A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful implanted in the human soul.” --Johann Wolfgang Goethe

nextly, a poem about a lemon by Pablo Neruda, who i am in love with.

Out of lemon flowers
loosed
on the moonlight, love's
lashed and insatiable
essences,
sodden with fragrance,
the lemon tree's yellow
emerges,
the lemons
move down
from the tree's planetarium

Delicate merchandise!
the harbors are big with it-
bazaars
for the light and the
barbarous gold.
We open
the halves
of a miracle,
and a clotting of acids
brims
into the starry
divisions:
creation's
original juices,
irreducible, changeless,
alive:
so the freshness lives on
in a lemon,
in the sweet-smelling house of the rind,
the proportions, arcane and acerb.

Cutting the lemon
the knife
leaves a little cathedral:
alcoves unguessed by the eye
that open acidulous glass
to the light; topazes
riding the droplets,
altars,
aromatic facades.
So, while the hand
holds the cut of the lemon,
half a world
on a trencher,
the gold of the universe
wells
to your touch:
a cup yellow
with miracles,
a breast and a nipple
perfuming the earth;
a flashing made fruitage,
the diminutive fire of a planet.

Monday, May 5, 2008

People You May Know

Monday 9:20 AM. I sit at my computer at work. Nothing has come across my desk yet, and so i'm checking my two personal e-mail accounts, myspace, facebook (in that order; every day in that order). I log on to Facebook, read the feed, see what everyone's up to, change a few things in my profile (delete, mostly--i'm feeling reclusive today), and notice, over the insistent throbbing of a growing migraine and under the heading "People You May Know" the profile of Ben Harris. Facebook has no way of knowing, of course, that I was in love with the man for 3 years (and if we're being honest, probably longer). It has no way of knowing that i fully believed that I would marry him and have his children. It has no way of knowing that, finally, 2 years after our breakup, am I just getting to the point of wanting another relationship, and that even now the thought half-terrifies me. I remember that he friended me about a year ago, and I accepted his friend request, but my wounds were still too raw to have him in my life even in this sterile electronic environment, and after a week or two of me sending him "What do you want? Why are you talking to me?" messages, he unfriended me because I was "obviously too stressed out" about the whole thing.

Taking my recent change of heart in the relationship department as a sign, I clicked on the "Add as Friend" button. I clicked "Add a Message," and I wrote, "Let's be friends. I promise not to freak out this time. J." And then I wondered what he would think when he read it. And I realized, due to recently relatively unrelated circumstances, that this may be a promise I can't keep. I looked at the Send button and hit Cancel.

Sometimes I realize that I haven't come as far as I would like to think. And I realize that no matter how long it's been or how much I would like it to be true, Ben will never just be one of the People You May Know.

My-graine

It is 9:30 am and i have about a half-blown migraine headache. Note that this is after having zero hangover yesterday (after drinking for a full 12 hours Saturday). Note that this is after getting a solid 8 hours of sleep, eating well, and experiencing relatively low levels of overall life stress. Note that i haven't had more than a twinge of a migraine in several years (which i promptly expel from my body by popping a coupld of Excedrin migraine, the drug of the gods). Note that i thought of something relatively profound to blog about only to have it obliterated by said migraine. I'm gonna try this again later.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Years of Therapy

So, two absolutely ridiculous things i found by accident on the internet today. Both of which border on cruel and unnatural things to do to your children.

First, this, when i googled "coulot" because it was the answer to a crossword clue and i didn't know how to spell it (no, that's not cheating. no it's not. okay, maybe a little)

and then THIS, which came up as a GOOGLE AD in my gmail, titled "You Can Make Tiered Pants." and i thought, "Good God, what are tiered pants?" Those. Those are tiered pants my friend.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Necessary self-involvement?

Good morning, my sweet corn muffins!

So I was writing a new short story last night (!!!), which i think is not too shabby, and I realized, during the writing (a fictionalized account of actual happenings, as per usual) how completely selfish and self-centered I can be (and am). As I wrote, I was a surprised at one particularly ungracious thing I did last week. A friend of mine did a relatively large favor for me, and I completely forgot to thank him. Because I was too wrapped up in my own world to think about anyone besides myself. I didn't mean to be ungrateful, and I certainly wasn't--on the inside. But it doesn't matter how grateful you are if you don't speak up and say something, does it? Ashamed of myself, I immediately wrote him an e-mail asking him to dinner to thank him for his favor. But it was already too late. I had missed my opportunity to say thank you in person when the moment was right.

I started to think about this. I wondered how I had become so self-involved. The truth is that I care a lot about my friends, and I would do almost anything to help any one of them. But I wonder how often they see that, or if i would recognize an opportunity if it came up? I wondered if this was societal or generational, if it was a problem with everyone I know or just with some of us? I think that, as a generation, people my age are pretty self-involved. We are in our mid-twenties, most of us are single and struggling to find our place in society. We have big concerns: career, finding a partner, trying to make ends meet. There is a certain amount of necessary self-involvement: we are on our own for the first time, and we alone are responsible for our own well-being. No one else is going to take care of us but ourselves, and taking care of ourselves can take quite a bit of time and energy. But somewhere along the way, i think we may have forgotten the benefits of a supportive community. We meet up for drinks or dinner to complain about our busy lives or to blow off steam, but when we're struggling, really struggling with something, we believe that we have to shoulder that on our own. In an age where we are more connected than ever, I have found myself feeling more and more isolated. Facebook, MySpace, and text messaging have replaced the faces and voices and touch of my friends, and I miss their presence. I miss having a shoulder to cry on. And I miss offering mine. We forget to ask for help, or we are afraid to, because we don't want to burden our already stressed out friends. Or we don't think that they will find the space in their hearts to care about our problems. But I feel like I have the space, and that it is vacant most of the time. My own worry-space is constantly full, but the space I have for my friends' worries is collecting dust. Perhaps we would all be able to carry our loads better if we shared them with each other. Perhaps we could take some of our friends' burdens and they could take some of ours, and everyone could find their way a little easier. Perhaps our perpetual loneliness is not only a function of our own selfishness but because no one is asking for our help either. I am the kind of person who tries to do everything on my own, without asking for help. But I am also the kind of person who loves to help others. Except that no one is asking for it, and no one is offering to help me. Which leads me to the next question: How do we ask? And how to do we ask to give if no one is asking us?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What is it with my legs?

Helloooo my darling little pumpkin seeds! Isn't everything just so wonderful that you could kiss the world???

Finally, finally, finally, the soul-squelching cold and dark and gray of winter has lifted to reveal blue skies, budding trees, the smell of FLOWERS intermixing with sewage, and the return of...ME WALKING TO WORK! Yes, friends, I have logged, and it's only Wednesday, mind you, a total of 10.5 miles this week! Without hardly breaking a sweat! Do you know how many calories that is? Neither do I! Do you know how many annoying hipsters I haven't had to see (or smell)? Neither do I! Welcome, glorious springtime, welcome welcome welcome to my world!

And tomorrow is supposed to be 70 degrees! I might go to work naked to celebrate.

Or not. Though it may help the "Lizzie needs a promotion so she can afford to live on her own" cause.

Anywho, two things about my walk to work today. Firstly, that I FINALLY broke, and wore, ugh, yes, my running shoes, with, ugh, yes, a skirt. And do you know what happened, friends? Nothing, that's what. My feet walked to work in blissfully arch-supported comfort, and i was nary a scornful look received (i don't know if that made any sense, but whatev. it's my blog, i can write what i want.). IN FACT, I was surprised, yet again (please see blog of last week pertaining to "legs"), by the number of men who saw me walking past and immediately dropped their eyes to my legs to STARE until they were out of my sightline (i have no idea what happened after that). This was accompanied in one instance by a "Mmm, mmm. Good morning, beautiful. Beautiful!" Which i didn't mind, in the least. Though I have to wonder WHOSE LIBIDO IS THAT AWAKE BEFORE 9 AM?? Seriously, I totally get morning sex. No problem. But to actually catcall a woman who is walking TO work in RUNNING SHOES...that takes some serious horniness. in my opinion.

Where was I? Yes, the complete befuddlement of men looking at my legs. I'm just going to blame it on the newly arrived springtime weather which arrived with it the showing of women's appendages that haven't been seen since last October. I mean, if men wore skirts, and then they stopped wearing them in October and they just started wearing them again, I would probably be staring that their legs, too.

Bye babies! More to come!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Boyfriend

Having a boyfriend is so much easier than dating. It makes problem solving exponentially simpler. For example
Q: What am I going to do this weekend?
A: Hang out with the boyfriend.

Q: Who am I going to have sex with?
A: The boyfriend.

Q: Who is going to take me out to dinner?
A: The boyfriend.

Q: Who is going to tell me that they like me just the way I am even if my fat is rolling over the top of my jeans?
A: The boyfriend.

Q: Who is going to help me haul this huge, heavy piece of furniture that i just happened to find on the street that is so nice that it doesn't even matter that i have zero free sqare feet in my place but i have to have it because it's FREEEEEE?
A: The boyfriend (and if you're lucky, one of his friends, leaving you free to supervise).

Q: Who is going to empty the mouse trap with the dead, mangled mouse in it?
A: They boyfriend.

And on and on like that.

Now, when you happen to find yourself in the extremely liberating position of SINGLENESS, the answers to all of those questions in 98% percent of cases become much less enticing. This, of course, is after that stage where you lie to yourself about all of the great things about being single. For instance

Q: What am I going to do this weekend?
A: Lay around in my sweatpants eating Ben and Jerry's and drinking wine because i was dating someone for so long that i no longer have any friends to hang out with.

Q: Who am I going to have sex with?
A: No one. My vibrator. That guy i used to sleep with along time ago, shit, except i lost his number. In that order.

Q: Who is going to take me out to dinner?
A: No one. Yourself. In that order. Which is really the same thing.

Q: Who is going to tell me that they like me just the way I am even if my fat is rolling over the top of my jeans?
A: Maybe the homeless guy on the corner asking for change. Maybe. But probably only if you give him some change.

Q: Who is going to empty the mouse trap with the dead, mangled mouse in it?
A: Oh, God. Oh god. Maybe the roommate will do it. No, no, she won't, she definitely won't. Oh God, I think I'm going to vomit. I cannot believe there are absolutely no men in my life who will do this for me. Oh god. I don't even want to touch it. Oh God.

And on and on like that.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Some things i thought of today

First, that everyone dies of heart failure. I went to Easter dinner at a friend's mom's house somewhere in "this looks a lot like Western Pennsylvania" Long Island, and she is a pediatric ICU nurse who takes care of babies who most likely will die, and she said to me, over dinner, that everyone dies of heart failure. which is true because it's the last thing to go before you die, regardless of why it's going (and where...). But it didn't hit me until today, when i was editing some slides at work (yup, the glories of my job. i know, i know, you wish you were me, but you can't be. because i am.) for a drug that cannot be named because it would probably land me in jail (facetious, i don't really care, but these drug companies are super super anal about their drug names, anywhooo), and it's a drug for something called ACUTE heart failure, which is when heart failure gets really bad. (side note: i always thought that it was weird to call a disease "heart failure" as it implies a one-time deal, as in, my heart failed, and now i'm dead, but no, it's a disease people live with all the time until the LAST time their heart fails. and THEN they're dead.) And THEN, I remembered what my friend's mom said at Easter dinner: Everyone dies of heart failure. And then i started thinking about the relationship between heart failure and a broken heart, and whether there was one, because a friend i was talking to recently said that he didn't want to get into a relationship with a girl he was interested in because he was, (and he didn't come out and say it, but i inferred, and i assume correctly) afraid of her breaking his heart, or him hers. To which i wisely responded: "But it doesn't kill you. Everyone's heart has been broken. And it hurts, but it doesn't kill you. So why don't you just go for it?" But then you have the stories about people who love each other so much that when one partner dies, the other follows closely behind, like with Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. And people like to say that Johnny Cash died of a broken heart because he loved June Carter Cash so much that he didn't want to live if she wasn't living too, but really, he didn't die of a broken heart. He died of heart failure.

I'm thinking about writing a story that explores those concepts a little more deeply. Though, it looks like i might have just done that. Humph. Oh, well.

The second thing I thought today was: "All I need is a baby golden retriever (what are those called? those have a special name? What is it? Oh yeah! Puppy!). All I need is a golden retriever puppy, and i could be in a J.Crew catalog. Well, that and skinny legs." Because i was wearing my new navy sailor mini chino skirt with a blue and white striped button down and a brown cardigan and those brown knee-high riding boots. i was very proud of myself for putting together such a typical and WASPy outfit. I felt like i thoroughly fit in with myself. Also, that it has been a LONG time since men last saw knees and lower thighs. A LONG TIME, friends. In the last 26 years combined, my legs have not had that much attention. If Tom Robbins were to write a book about me (and I hope he does, starring a not nearly as gross older perverted man as in his other books for me to have sex with), it would be titled "Fat Knees and All." No joke.

AND THEN, me and Toya went to a meeting way up on the 7th floor where the executives have their kegs and dancing girls while we minions toil and sweat in the windowless abyss that is the 5th floor (more like toil and shiver, actually, but that's just semantics) to hear a very cute and very nervous Maria Von Trapp look alike (pixie hair cut, ugly jacket) tell us about how we can volunteer at a camp for families affected by AIDS and that the company will LET US HAVE A FREE WEEK OF WORK OFF THAT DOESN'T COUNT TOWARD OUR VACATION. And I was like, "Hmm, be at work...be playing with kids. Be at work...be playing with kids." I believe I will be playing with kids. And also because I want to volunteer to help people who are affected by AIDS. And also because the most beautiful boy i have ever seen in my entire life up to this point including celebrities was sitting in that room today, and do you know what happened, friends, when he opened his mouth? An accent happened, that's what. An Australian accent. And do you know what I did when the meeting lady said "Yes, Jason?" I wrote down his first name on my meeting information sheet so that i could somehow stalk him later with only his first name to go on. And do you know what I did the entire rest of the meeting? I drooled all over my meeting information sheet while i took in his perfectly sculpted jawline and the muscles that bulged oh so subtly through his fatigue-colored button-up. And i said something to Toya, most likely too loudly (because i was titillated AND nervous) like "Kill me now. Or is it 'take me now?'" I AM GOING TO THAT CAMP AND I AM GOING TO STALK THAT BOY AND I AM GOING TO FORCE HIM TO LOVE ME AND MARRY ME AND HAVE MY CHILDREN. All because I want to help families affected by AIDS.

Monday, April 7, 2008

because i've been scolded for not writing

hello my darling macadamia nuts. i apologize for my absence. i've been woefully under-performing on the writing front during the past month or so. i've been in a wound-licking retreat, but hopefully things are all starting to turn around (Bright Eyes, EVERY NOW AND THEN I FALL APAAART...and i need you now, forever...and i need you more than ever, and if you'll only hold me tiiiiight, we'll be holding on forever, we can make it to the end of the line, your love is like a shadow on me all of the time...). sorry. i get carried away. and i make no promises that those are the actual lyrics. i'm one of those people who don't understand what lyrics are saying half the time and just make up my own. i'd love to give you a witty example, but i've been up since 4 am and nothing is making sense, not even my own fingers at this point.

also, i'm realizing that i don't have much to say on a writing-slash-professional level, except that i haven't been, really, and i don't really want to talk about all of my personal problems (and they are feeling pretty overwhelming right about now), so i'm going to sign off, go watch some mind-numbing television, and then read myself to sleep while trying not to think about lovely, glorious, glowing-tipped cigarettes. which i'm off, at the moment, in case anyone asks.

adios and good night.

i apologize for wasting your time.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Who knew balloons could be magic?

Overheard in the office today:

"Shooting like injecting, or shooting like film?"

What's interesting about this is i know for a fact they were talking about work.


Also, I was having a pretty blah-bordering-on-one-thing-going-wrong-and-me-turning-into-a-head-eating-cyborg day until UNTIL i remembered that i had THREE (not one, not two, but THREE) boxes of fresh Girl Scout cookies in my desk drawer. Three. So I broke out the Do-si-dos and now i am having a fantastic time eating the entire first sleeve of these oh-so-nutty glorious wonders and not thinking about all the running i'll have to do to make up for it later (or not. i have cramps. i can eat whatever i want, dammit.).

Also, last night i went to this crazy psychedelic wonder of an art performance show by the Big Art Group (that's their name. isn't it WONDERFUL?) made up of a lot of short sketches and the first one i saw was a catholic girl who went to catholic summer camp and loved amy grant and i had a flashback to my ENTIRE life until i was 18. Fantastic. They had all of these video screens set up and while the performers were doing their thing on stage, the screens were showing footage of the performers, and those long skinny balloons, and a bunch (i mean a BUNCH) of hairy women's crotches. like, for 15 minutes. just pictures of naked women's hairy crotches. more hairy crotches than i have ever seen in my whole life COMBINED (probably due to previous reference to life until age 18, but whatevs. LOTS and LOTS of hairy crotches) and i had a few beers and then, and THEN, the most amazing thing happened. two men came on stage with those long balloons you make balloon animals out of (the kind they were showing video of earlier), and these two guys were just COVERED in them. they had them on like a big suit, wrapped around their arms and legs and heads, and then coming off of them like plumes or branches, and they were moving real slow-like and it was graceful and colorful and beautiful, and then they danced around each other, still very slow, and getting closer to one another, and then they started leaning in and away from each other faster, faster, faster, until they collided and started fighting and popping balloons, and then they were rolling on the floor, the balloons popping and disappearing until the two of them lay (mostly) naked and breathing heavy on their backs on the floor, all the balloons popped. I can't even imagine how exhilarating it would have been to watch that while on LSD.