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My hoarder neighbor saw me loading my car and asked if I'd let her go through my things before I gave what's left to goodwill.

Creepy.
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Sorry for the mess, I didn't get the message that you were coming over until 10:00 this morning, and I haven't even begun to clean.

I mean, yeah, I like it here, I guess. I've never been robbed here or anything. The house next door was robbed, but whoever broke in only stole their plants from the greenhouse.

Well, they were marijuana plants, so it makes more sense. Not that you'd know that they grow; they're nice, normal people. I mean their car plates say "BLUNT" so it's really out in the open. I think they must have a grow card or something. I've only ever smelled weed once or twice. When they moved the plants inside, I felt a lot safer even though it means that the window of the grow room looks right into the kitchen. See? Look. Yeah, that window. They're really nice people though.

Wait, wait, no, I wouldn't characterize the whole neighborhood like that. That's not the usual tone of the place. The collective, average age of the people in the neighborhood is like 75 years old. The lady next door, not the adjoining apartment, but the other side, she has this floodlight that lights up the whole yard at night. She's one of those who thinks robots are going to attack her and she walks out into the yard with a pistol to call her cat. Isn't that funny? She's afraid someone is going to steal all the magazines she's been hoarding since the 1970s. But I like her, and I know she'd shoot an intruder before I even realized there was one. I like the old folks better than the soccer moms though, even though I know better than to have a package delivered to this address. The few who aren't elderly gather together in the morning to don their reflective gear and jog together. I mean it's hilarious.When I still had a dog, I'd go out to walk him and there they'd be, the tall blond lady shouting at the shorter ones every two minutes to change their pace, all looking at her bodybugg to maximize whatever the fuck.

So let me show you around. This is, of course, the living room. The light? Oh yeah, this time of year, it's fine, but damn, in the winter it gets really dark. You don't know how many times I thought about taking a sledgehammer to that wall over there to let a little bit of light in. I'll even leave my full spectrum light bulbs for you guys if you move in. I put one of those super bright blue lights in the kitchen because I thought it might help. The bathroom is just a bathroom. Nothing special unless you count that shower head, if you know what I mean HAHAHA. The washer and dryer are mine and you can't have them, which reminds me-- there isn't a laundry mat in this neighborhood. You have to go over to Springfield, and what a pain in the ass that was.

And this is the big bedroom, which is weird because look. Yep, that's the neighbor's yard, so she put blinds on the outside of the window. I know. So even though this would probably be where you'd want to sleep, it's so damn dark, that after the first year here, I moved across to the small bedroom with better light because let me tell you, in January, any little bit helps. Oh and, this is the wall that is shared with the neighbor's bedroom, and I'll tell you what, you can put blinds on the outside of a window, but you can't block out sound, if you know what I mean. Let me tell you, I know more about how sad that woman's sex life is than I ever wanted to know. Once she gets started, it's all EH-EH-EH-- the dude sounds like a machine gun when he comes. From what I can tell through the wall, she never has enough time to get there. But this room is the one with all the closet space.

Let me show you the room I staked as my bedroom. We'll just move this pile of clothes and... oh. Oh Jesus, that's a snake. My cat Jeff... hang on, let me get the broom. Will you hand me that bag right there so that I can... thanks. I'll just throw this little guy outside. It's that time of year where the back yard is just crawling with shit to kill. I think my cat is tired of all the goddamn mice and now that the birds are bigger, they're harder to catch. No, no, don't worry, nothing lives for long in this house. I ended the mouse infestation of the first year with enough d-con to kill me, if I ate it, which I didn't HAHAHA, and now who knows how many mouse bones are collected under the stove. And then once I got a cat, I got the fleas too, but I have covered every square inch of this place in Borax and I squirt this little guy... oh sorry he's biting your foot. He's probably pissed that we threw the snake outside. He'll catch another one. A bunch of them live out by the garage.

You want to see the garage? Sure, let me show you. You'll have to forgive the jungle on the other side of the gate. Thing is, the neighbor lets her boyfriend park his motorcycle in that part of the yard, so I figure, she uses it, she should weed whack it, right? That's one of the weird things about this place is that her yard is enclosed by my yard, and you have to go through the yard to get to the garage. The power box is in her part of the yard, so if you ever blow a fuse, you'll need to know how to break in, but you can always tell when they're out of town or over at his place or whatever because he parks in your driveway space.

Oh yeah, I guess you could climb the fence. I thought it was just easier to take the screws off of the lock and then just walk through and put the screws back. That's what she gets for locking it, right? Yeah, we never had a conversation in the three years I lived here, but I feel like I really know her. I mean I really know her.

Gee, I'm sorry that the real estate lady didn't show up, but I'm glad I could show you around. You like the other place better? Okay, I'll let her know if she does show up. Thanks for stopping by, and sorry about the snake. Okay. Okay. Take care. Okay.

Meanwhile

Jun. 21st, 2010 10:01 pm
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I'm dog sitting for Barbara. This is Lilly.

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She's a rescue dog, and you can't tell from the picture that she's missing half of one of her ears. She's also missing half of her tongue and she has been de-barked. If she were my dog, I would name her Friday because she is brown and probably happy to be saved from savagery.

I'm happy to have her here, but she brings to light how much smarter my dog was than other dogs, like Lilly. I never had to teach my dog how to get in and out through the dog door; I had to tie the gate shut even though it opened in. My dog was more of a crusty old guy roommate who drank too much and said the F word in front of company. Lilly's more like a fetal alcohol syndrome dog. Lilly smells bad and is clingy and a heavy breather. Still, I can't believe how cruel people can be to animals, even if they are really dumb. She strikes me as a dog who has been utterly broken, or maybe my dog was just cooler. I don't know.

Jeff likes her, though.
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Happy first day of vacation to me! I'm counting today as the first day because I would have slept in and stayed in pjs drinking coffee over the weekend anyway. It wouldn't have been all that special. But today is different because it's Monday, and it's noon o'clock, and I have not even considered getting dressed yet.

I need to pack my things in anticipation of moving. I need boxes and an organizational strategy. I need to donate a bunch of my stuff to good will. I need to prioritize. I need to decide what is worth keeping. I need to figure out what will fit from the 1100 sq. ft. duplex into a 13 X 15 ft bedroom. But maybe I don't have to figure that out today. Maybe I need to wait for the sun to come out and then sit in it with a book that I don't have to analyze. Maybe I need to switch from coffee to wine and think about a nap later.

In all of the busy-ness of last week, I forgot to mention that in the spring of next year, I will become Mr. Kotter. I'm going to pick up two night school classes in the "Academy" which is lame educode for "The Portables for Kids with Babies and/or Drug Habits." I'll teach a language arts class-- I'm told that I can teach whatever the hell I want, however I want, which means that we'll be reading a lot of short stories written by authors from the Middle East in the 1950s that I always wanted to read but didn't. Everyone gets a P for pass or a NP for no-pass, and Ps are earned by my judgment of whether or not the children understand what I want them to do.

Additionally, I'm going to teach an art class in that same semester. The class will be from 4:00-6:00 on Wednesday nights. So, I've taken a couple of art classes, but I've never thought about teaching one. I'm not sure how to go about it. How do I grade them? How do I assign projects? Should I try to focus on learning major works and emulating a particular style? Is my goal to get them to like it or to be good at it or some combination of the two? I don't know. I used to be arty, back in the day. I still have a ton of old sketchbooks and the entire set of prismacolor markers and pencils, which I cart around with me wherever I move, thinking that someday I'll pick that back up. I doodle from time to time, but I haven't taken on an idea and completed it in, oh, about fourteen years.

Even though I'm feeling my way in the dark regarding my approach to this, I'm also pretty stoked about it. But I won't have to execute any plans until February. But I can't help but think about how often I'm a barrier to myself-- I make plans because I feel like I should do something. Then I don't follow through, and then miraculously, the circumstances of my life make my plans happen around me. In this case, I wanted to take an art class or be somehow in an environment that would force me to use that part of my brain again, but then I went about not taking an art class. Now I have to teach one. It's like with the writing thing. Back in the day, before I even started this silly blog, I'd write in my paper journal and think about taking a class. I didn't, of course, and then before I knew it, the Creative Writing class fell in my lap, and I got to design curriculum, which forced me to write, which made me get a portfolio together to go to grad school.

And so, my life is about to change again, and this time the changes are more than welcome. Even though I know I'm headed for chaos, I'm about to have people around again with roommates and a homeless dude and a couple of kids and three cats and a wolf. And I'm about to live by the river in Whitaker where I'll try to figure out where I hang out when I'm getting away from the chaos of living in a house full of people.

la la la.
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By the time I check my personal e-mail this afternoon, the school year will officially be over, and I will begin my month-long vacation.
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"Come here, little one," Ken Kesey says, "I have a van with candy in it."

Pictures

May. 22nd, 2010 04:26 pm
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This is the view from the patio of the Sweet Cheeks winery a few miles south of here:

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And these are some people:

Read more... )

On family

Apr. 19th, 2010 11:41 pm
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1.

Sitting at the dining room table with a bottle of wine and my mother's cousin's family branch, I watched my dead great uncle Jim's face morph into my grandmother's and then reflect my own. I heard my great uncle Bob's voice use my great aunt Babe's figures of speech, and then a breath followed by my mother's use of "Anyhow..." I looked across the table at his daughter Kelsey, and stared right at my aunt's mouth smiling my grandmother's smile with my crooked mouth. We all have great eyebrows and hypochondria and a love for pseudoscience and spiritual awakenings.

This is the beauty of extended family. No one is lost. The maps of our faces are all written in the reflections of our cousins.

2.

Rob says that we all have metaphorical maps that we use to track the events of our lives so that we can look at them to see how it is that we arrived right where we are. In times of loss, we have to trace the trauma so that we can know exactly how it all happened. If we do not put our fingers on the scars and let ourselves remember how our skin was severed, we might be fooled into thinking that we are whole. We might forget that we cannot do the things we once did. We define ourselves one way in our heads, while the physical limitations of our new identity dictate the way that we interact with the world, and before we know it, we become utterly lost.

This carries the ring of truth to it. I think about psychological scars, and I think of zipper scars that have marked the end of one life and the beginning of a new one. I've traced these marks with my fingers, and I've felt the resulting flinch and watched faces blanche at the reminders of that which is irrevocable.

3.

I'm seventeen, and this is the first time my brother has left home. I think that I have lost him. I cannot understand what it is that he has left to search for, and I am jealous that he might find it anywhere other than where my mother and I are. I feel my family slipping away, and I am on the brink of adulthood. I am afraid that I will also have to fling myself out into the world to search for something else that will mean that I am an adult, but I have no idea how that happens, how it is that I will transform in one year into someone strong and stable and responsible for myself.

Six months later, on a regular afternoon just like any other afternoon, the door opens. I look up, and there in the doorway, my brother is standing with all of his bags. He drops them, and I run over to hug him, except our relationship is not one of those that includes hugging. I pat his shoulder. My mother grabs him and puts her arms around him, and she will not let go. He is patting her shoulder as a cue that the hug is over and that it is time to let go. She is crying. She is happy to see him, and I am too. We stand in the doorway, and even though I try not to, I begin to cry. I do not know how long this will last, but this is the first time in my life that my brother admits that he loves me and my mom. I feel, for the first time in years, that I am a part of something, that we will be the kind of family that gives each other shelter.

Even though he left a few months later, this time for a year without a word about whether he was still alive or where he had landed, what I learned from that moment, and what I take comfort in even still is this:

For at least a couple of people in the world, I am the person who means home.
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From and interview with Tim Farrington in The Sun, March 2010:


Done right, the discipline of writing makes your heart more open and soft-- or at least it helps you take your head out of your ass. Writing should ultimately decrease morbid self-absorption, not make it worse.
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A quote

Mar. 25th, 2010 12:13 pm
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From the book We Did Porn by Zak Smith:



I think men must seem really like dogs to women-- hungry and large, often slobbering-- as a species, unpredictable and sometimes dangerous (the dogs of war, the dogs of doom) but as individuals, predictable and clockwork and cute (like puppies, like hounds), and, if you spend enough time with them, each with a different personality (babe hounds, faithful hounds). Some are tiny and harmless, some are harmless and big as bears, but all have predatory, long-boned bodies with teeth and claws essentially made to hunt and hurt smaller things. To deliver yourself sexually to an unknown one must be like putting yourself at the mercy of a strange, large, imprecise, and hairy animal that you can just only hope is well-trained. Straight men should imagine how much differently they'd behave if their lovers were-- to scale up-- wolves.
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I accidentally sleep in. The alarm goes off, and I think I've hit snooze, but really, I hit the on/off button. It amazes me that sometimes when I am very tired, I can reset my alarm to go off again in 45 minutes and program a backup nap alarm and have absolutely no memory of it, whereas other mornings turn into the potential for disaster, like this one. My bedroom seems awfully bright when I finally realize that it is after 7:00. I should rush at this point, but I do not because I resent rushing, especially on Wednesdays, when I know that I will be at work until 6:00, or sometimes later, especially because this is the last week of the semester. No matter what time I wake up, I give myself fifteen minutes to eat breakfast and drink most of a cup of coffee. If I don't have those minutes in the morning, someone might die that day.

I roll into the building later than usual, and it's amazing to me to see that no matter how late I have ever been, I am never the last one in the building. Someone is always pulling in behind me, which only ever makes me want to push it and see just how late I need to be in order to be the last one there. Last year when I ripped the bumper off my car and then had the murdering Yemenis fix it and Katie was giving me a ride, she'd usually show up very late and then explain that we were really not that late. That's when I learned that pretty much, the building doesn't get moving until about 8:30. When I first started working there, I was there at 7:15. Then I extended that until 7:30, which felt very late. Now, I usually leave my house at 8:00 and get in at the same time as most of the rest of my department. Weird.

Greeting me at the door is always Matt. Matt has recurring brain tumors and has had tons of surgeries that remove the tumors and extend his life, but he has lost abilities that I certainly take for granted, like the ability to infer information or to remember facts for much time. Still, he tries to do nice things for people, like hold the door for me every single morning, no matter when I arrive. Seeing him this morning made me feel guilty about the coffee and sausage I took the time to consume this morning. Matt always says, "Ohhh right," when he doesn't know something obvious like that the people in the movie are not in the classroom or that hyper-empathy syndrome does not exist, that it is not 2025 and that Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower is not a real story because we're still only in 2010. Science fiction is not a good genre for this kid, but it does no good to use hyperbole (which I do, all the time) or sarcasm (which I do, all the time) or metaphors or similes (which I do, all the time) either. The other kids in that class- -which is Redux, a collection of formerly expelled and/or pissed off and unmotivated boys, mostly, repeating English 10-- used to be cruel to Matt, but one day, after he left, I said, "Matt is off limits. You can make fun of each other, and you can make fun of me, but under no circumstances may you make fun of Matt." I explained the tumors and his challenges, and since then, they've given him space. Vernon has taken Matt under his wing in a way, which makes me tear up when I think about it because it's beautiful and necessary and makes me love human beings.

The longer I'm around these at-risk kids, the more I see that what binds them together is a collective love of music, and that's what brings me closer to them too. We've spent entire class periods on discussion days ditching the curriculum to talk about the allusions in what it is that they are listening to. Tyler, by far my favorite kid in there, is playing a show in Portland soon and I agree to go if I can get someone else to go with me. He's amazingly talented and smart, and when he tells me about when he ran away in 8th grade to hop trains and hitch hike, I tell him that he's just like Natty Gann except with drugs. He laughs, and tells me I need to listen to Streetlight Manifesto, which I do, and then we talk about Albert Camus and then existentialism and the tricky nature of morality, and I realize that the difference between honors kids and at-risk kids is almost nothing. Both are hungry for more information, more relevant information, more real history. I tell them about Howard Zinn and say that they should look into A People's History of the United States. And it's odd to find out later that he died today. Weird. Of 25 of them in the course, eight are failing. I care about that way more than they do. I'm not sure if I'll miss them when I have a group of 25 kids next semester who are highly motivated honors kids. Next semester in my honors class, Tyler will be my TA, which I rigged because I think the class will give him something for his brain to eat.

The two propositions on the ballot to shore up the state budget passed last night, which means that there is a pretty good chance that I won't be laid off again this year, and that's a relief even though I have decided that no matter what happens, I will not let myself care about this in April when the anxiety starts to ramp up about how to fund the coming year. There is nothing I can do about it anyway except try to handle whatever comes my way with some degree of grace, and so far, I am not sure how successful I have been when it comes to grace. While I am taking in this information, Cienna comes in and says that she wants her parents to read the essay she wrote for my class last year, the one about the house she spent her earlier childhood in, the one that reveals a sexual assault. When she wrote it last year, she swore me to secrecy, made me promise that no one but me would ever read it. It's a promise that I've kept, but something happened this year-- she formed the Black Student Union and formed a stepping group that performed at the MLK assembly, and she blew me away with how bold she was, and I sent her a note to tell her how proud of her I am. She tells me that something changed in her and she's tired of being so quiet, and it's time to claim her life and part of that means showing her mother who she really is. I send her to class, and then I look in my stack of secret essays. I find it, and I re-read it, and it is gorgeous and haunting. I also find her essay about her brother with autism and her essay about her parents' assumption that she too had autism because she did not speak until she was four years old. She only sang, and now she knows that singing is her god-given gift. I comment on her papers one final time, and then I seek out her class through the scheduling office, and then I drop off the papers. I tell her not to lose them because they are the only copies.

For the next hour, I grade. I hate it.

For the hour after that, I deal with a woman in my department who is the embodiment, to me and to the administration and to the counselors, of everything that is wrong with the institution of education. If this were a business, and if our students were customers, she would have been fired years ago. Instead, because she is so high maintenance, she is guaranteed small classes in only the levels she wishes to teach because honors children do not complain about difficult teachers. I'm not using the term 'difficult' to mean that her classes are challenging-- maybe they are-- but rather to denote a level of insanity that drives wedges in between people. If I had to make a poster of why there is an achievement gap, her face would be in the middle of it.

What she wants, at least today, is for me to give up the laptop I've been using to store my gradebook and access my teaching materials. She thinks that the projector in her classroom is a "powerpoint machine" and that it will magically make presentations of what it is that she wants to teach. She thinks that the information is in my laptop. I am reminded of Matt when I try to explain that "power point" (and I use air quotes when I explain this) is software, and she actually needs to MAKE the presentation. She thinks that I am trying to sabotage her. I am

>--- < this

close to losing it.

I explain to her that the laptop is not magic. I tell her that she has the magic in her own computer. I do not tell her that it's a decade into a new millennium where people communicate with each other through a series of tubes now. I think, but do not say, that if she had brain tumors, she would say "Ohhh right" and then move on. I wish that she had brain tumors instead of a sense of entitlement. For the next hour, my blood pressure is too high for my age. I switch classrooms; I travel; I teach three different classes in two different places, and the thing that keeps me sane is my magical laptop. If she wants it, she'll have to take it from my cold, dead hands. I imagine destruction. I do not carry out said destruction.

Next is my third period class, which is a difficult group, much in the same way that my co-worker is difficult, which is to say that they are crazy. We're doing state testing, which requires a silent environment, which is nearly impossible for this current group. We're so close to the end, that I don't even care about them trying to be quiet. David, who is the most challenging student, turns in his test early. I tell him to take it back and check his spelling. He does. He says that it's his best work yet. When he leaves, I read it, and he's right. It really is his best work-- it's about his adopted father and how he does not let the people in his life know how much he cares for them. They leave, and my next group comes in, and they are easy. They use the whole period to write, while I grade.

I think, but I cannot be confident, that if I bust it out tomorrow, I can actually use Friday to plan next semester instead of frantically grading. I hate, absolutely hate, this time of year.

At the end of the school day, I have fifteen minutes before a meeting, my final one as department chair, thank Christ. I decide to call David's adoptive father and read him the essay. I call his cell phone. When I tell him that I am David's English teacher, he asks what David has done this time. I say that I'm calling for a good reason and he jokes that a good call is not a good thing because he was looking forward to beating David this evening. I laugh. I am all about child abuse humor. I tell him that I know David's terrible history and how difficult a child David is and that I know that David was deemed a lost cause. I say that I know that the studies show that these kids can't bond, but I want him to know that when David does not think anyone is looking, he admits that he loves people. I read him the essay. There is silence when I am finished. David's father is crying. He says, "Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you." I hang up, and I go to the stupid meeting.

The meeting lasts until 5:45. In it, we discuss closing the achievement gap. Children of color do not test well, and we can really bring our scores up, as a school, if we look at the ethnic group with the fewest representatives in it and then target those kids. So, let's look. We have the fewest American Indian children. So we need to figure out who they are and then really try hard to make sure they pass the state test, and then maybe we'll get a better score on the school report card.

It's been one of those days, and I sort of go off for a while. I say that I think this is a horrifying discussion. I say that as soon as we begin to separate students of color in anticipation of them being low achievers, then we have failed as educators. My speech might be the stuff of some sort movie or something if only 1. I am more eloquent or 2. anyone actually gives a shit. As soon as I am done going off about institutionalized racism, I regret it. I think that I am turning into the woman who wants the magic power point machine. I decide to shut the hell up, and it's a good thing it's my last meeting.

I talk to Dave the chemistry teacher for the next hour. He does not seem to think that I have behaved irrationally, and I am grateful for his vote of confidence. I take this opportunity to vent about magic powerpoint machines and budget cuts and institutionalized racism. Dave nods patiently. I appreciate it.

I come home, and I pet my cat, and I drink two glasses of wine, and I write this, and I make a mix of songs about birds. Who wants it?

Mammals

Dec. 13th, 2009 08:29 pm
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Dear God.

Sep. 1st, 2009 07:06 pm
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I cleaned out my refrigerator this evening for the first time since I went on vacation in late June. Before I left, I had made eggplant parmigiana, or something like it, for my mom. I put the leftovers in the fridge. Here they are now:





Mmmmmeggplant.
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The first time I ever took a pregnancy test, my friend Emily and I had been driving around the island listening to Sarah McLaughlin when the subject of my late period came up. I don’t remember much about the preceding conversation except that I felt like the trip to Safeway’s pharmacy aisle was a trip I was made to take. I think everyone expected me to be a teenage mother because my reputation for being a whore had been established and discussed so often by anyone who knew my boyfriend’s family. The truth was that he was the only boy I ever Did It with, but it didn’t matter. Even my friends were sure I’d be stuck with a dumb Cro-Magnon baby suckling from my evil whorish teat. Emily and I drove to the Denny’s parking lot, which was about fifty feet from the Safeway parking lot, and I unwrapped the package in Emily’s car, shoved the pregnancy test in my pocket and went inside. It was about 2:00AM.

We sat at a table and drank about fifteen cups of coffee. I peed on the stick in the Denny’s bathroom and then watched the ‘not pregnant’ line turn pink while the other window stayed white. We stayed up all night talking about how great it was that I was not pregnant.

Not long after my trip down the aisle with Emily, I made my friend Shannon buy one for me. I’d become shy, and Shannon was already about seven months pregnant, so having her do it had the added benefit of being funny. She said that the checker looked at the test, looked at Shannon and rolled her eyes. Shannon just shrugged and said, “I just want to be sure.”

Pregnancy tests are like the Biore pore strips of the uterine world, especially for teenagers. Sometimes you just have to check to make sure there aren’t any parasites hanging around in there. My friend Bethany used to say that she wanted a seasonal abortion just to clean her uterus out, to get rid of the dust bunnies and any stray fetuses.

I hadn’t taken one in a long time. There hadn’t been a need. But then my period was late, not to mention that I might be out of a job soon and every single already not-so-blissful scenario about the future was made infinitely worse when I added a baby to the equation, especially because I am certain that if I am ever with child, the child will have something terribly wrong with him/her. No worries; the window still shows white.


My book club is comprised of a group of women my mom’s age. At the last meeting, Barbara told us that her 95 year-old mother fell and cracked her sternum. All of the book club ladies started sharing stories about their parents and how they’re dying. Susie, one of the younger ladies, said that she doesn’t have parents anymore. No parents or grandparents or aunts or uncles. And then Diane said, “So here we are, eight women, and only one of us has children.”

And Ginger said, "Now we know what to get each other for Christmas."
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I'm cleaning out files in an attempt to free up space on the laptop now that I have the bigass computer, and I came across this. It's obviously not finished, but I'm not sure where I was going with it, so here:

That summer was the summer that my roommate died; it was the summer right before I moved to Tucson, which I still count as the biggest mistake of my life. It was the summer that I broke both of my ankles in separate strange accidents involving South Africans, a telephone and a fence. It was the summer that I could feel everything I knew to be true tipping on its end and sinking into the Atlantic. (Actually, that was also the same year that Titanic came out. ) I turned twenty-one years old. Sancho was a baby still. Anyway.

I’ve spent half the night looking for a picture of me on my 21st birthday, surrounded by camp folks. You can see in the picture I can’t find that I have injured myself in at least one leg, but the truth is that I couldn’t walk or drive, so I was barely making it on crutches until like the fifth drink, at which point I became the champion of Gimp Mobility. That was the summer of Holly, who had a shunt in her brain because she was hydrocephalic. That was also the summer of Jean, who remains one of my top ten most inspirational people ever. Jean was from South Africa, and she traveled the world, not because apartheid had ended, but because her best friend started dating her ex-boyfriend, and she couldn’t handle it, and what she saw as weakness and escape, I saw as ballsy adventurousness. Anyway.

Because I had two broken legs*, I couldn’t drive my stick shift car home for my birthday, and so I asked Jean the South African to do it. She enlisted like 800 other people to come to my hometown to celebrate my 21st birthday with me, and she drove my car. We all showed up to my mom’s house, where we were fed and showered, and then Jason and Nikki came over. Jason had just broken up with his girlfriend at the time, and Nikki was about to be divorced, though she didn’t know it yet. We all piled into various cars after we ate, and we stopped by Clint and Kathy’s house. They’d set up an amp and two mics, and Clint and Destiny, who he was about to impregnate, gave me a birthday concert where, ironically, they sang “Don’t Follow” by Alice in Chains.

I remember that Jason thought I lived this great life with all these friends and drinking regularly and a close family friend who played the guitar and sang and sometimes wrote his own songs. And for a moment there, I believed it too. It was pretty great. It’s still my favorite birthday.


*The first, I broke whilst playing elbow tag, a game of tag where other people are base, so that if you and someone else were partnered up and I hooked your arm, the person to whom you were attached would have to run, just like life. Anyway, I sank my foot into a mole hole
The second, I broke while favoring the first broken one while climbing a fence. I landed on a raised patch of grass and because I landed one-footed, I didn’t have the balance to recover from the twist and then the fall. It hurt.
ariadnelives: (Default)
I learned a lot about myself this summer. Namely, I've learned that I'm only really happy when I hate something. If I don't hate something about my life, then I'm not going to try to get out of some sort of bad situation, and therefore, I fall into a state of ennui and then begin to hate everything instead of just one thing. So with that in mind, I'm really looking forward to hating my place of employment in the coming year. With my hate correctly focused, maybe I can begin to enjoy the rest of my life, now that the pressure is off of me to try to like everything all of the time.

My brother said this about me about a month ago: Never in my life have I met anyone who hates with as much glee as you.

And by "you" he meant me.

I might as well just embrace that with the full force of...something forceful... and let the hating begin. I think we'll all be a lot happier when I am not trying to be nice or make friends anymore. I wasn't good at it. I know enough to know when to admit failure and move on to better things, like being full of hate. I have a whole lifetime of practice being a jerk. If I am good at absolutely nothing else, I'm good at having a bad attitude.

I have decided to start smoking again, for one. I am really looking forward to it. The problem is that I keep forgetting that I have decided to take up smoking again, so I haven't gotten around to buying a pack of cigarettes. And because I keep forgetting that I want to start smoking again, I don't even have a stash of half-smoked butts for when I get desperate, which has been never because I am not addicted to smoking (yet). If I have some activity that is already unhealthy and is largely frowned upon by the majority of the population, then maybe I will feel like I am getting away with something whenever I smoke (as long as I remember to smoke) and then maybe cheese won't occupy the place that cigarettes once did. Instead, cigarettes will occupy the place that cigarettes once did, which is almost poetic in its irony, if you look at it right.

I used to work with this woman Amy who refused to bring work home. She came home right after work, had a few cocktails, and hung out by her pool. Now, I'm not one to hang out by a pool because I would only spend the time poking at my stomach fat, which defeats the purpose. However, I have never been one to turn down a few cocktails. Drinking earlier in the day seemed to make Amy enjoy her job/life more, so in addition to re-starting smoking, I'm going to begin drinking earlier in the day. This should also help.

I'm trying to come up with a survival plan for the next year, and so far, it involves substance abuse. That's okay, right?

Meanwhile, my mom is leaving tomorrow, after we have been hanging out together for almost two months with very short breaks in between. You might think that this has been too much time, but it hasn't. We got into a big thing during Nikki's wedding that I might write about later, but after that big thing, I decided it's best to just let the past stay in the past and we aren't getting any younger and my mom is retired now and life is difficult enough trying to get people not related to stick around, etc. And since then, the summer with my mom has been pleasant. No one is more surprised than I am.

Also, about three weeks ago, I turned 33. That's weird. It's not too terribly old, not like I need to start thinking about how I'm going to fund my retirement or anything, at least not yet, and I think I can get away with general flakiness for three more years before my indecision just reads as generally pathetic. If you were to google "thirty three years old" you would find a lot of dead and/or pregnant women. So you see, I still have a lot of time to figure shit out and/or become pregnant or die. Maybe this is the year that I will become pregnant and/or dead.

This was not what I had planned on writing, but there you have it.

The end.

No. 39

May. 7th, 2009 10:52 pm
ariadnelives: (Default)
Jeff or Dennis wants to touch the people in the television.


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