Sunday, November 30, 2008

Obviously blood related

I was talking on the phone with my sister when my nephew T.H. interrupted the conversation to proclaim, “Mommy! I got the booger!” I'm so proud of my little angel.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The saga of the bosom, ongoing

I’ve decided that my boobs are a weird size—44B. It is insanely easy to go to the store and buy a 32B. It is sort of easy to find a 44D. But 44B is unavailable in regular retail outlets. I took a chance; I ordered two bras online. One fits great. The other… well, it’s pretty crazy.

I put the bra on and it felt light and refreshing, but then I looked down. My boobs were pointing east and west, not sitting on the front of my chest. Hm. T-shirt test. I put on a shirt to see what my boobs looked like in normal view. Yep, still oddly east and west.

I have concluded that online bra shopping was 50% successful since one put my boobs roundly where they go—in the front—despite the other’s breast placement failure. Back to the mail-order warehouse with east/west bra, but boobies relieved that one worked.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I am grateful to have so many friends and family worthy of missing this holiday. I'm thinking of you, and I love you.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Breaking with the past

I got bad news yesterday, and I’m trying to get it into my head straight instead of how it’s stuck jamming in crooked.

I went in for my final examination, and my orthopedic surgeon told me that at this point, my ankle is pretty much as healed as it’s going to get. He said it was a very severe break and implied that I needed to come to terms with that. He told me that eventually my brain will compensate and the pain won’t bother me as much.

All of this sucks. My ankle still swells up like a sausage after even the tiniest exertion, and it hurts to walk, um, pretty much all the time. Yeah, all the time. I lie about it and say it hurts after a distance of four blocks, a number I’ve sort of arbitrarily picked, but, no, it’s pretty much always painful.

A different medical practitioner in my life thinks this isn’t how I’ll be eternally. He thinks that it will take incredible time, but that slowly I should feel better. Even if it takes more than a year, he believes my ankle will improve.

The tiny hopeful part of me wants to think that I’m not at the end of ankle road, but the much bigger suckier part of me says my life is over. Um, what doesn’t involve walking or standing? I love to nature hike, I love to be a tourist and walk everywhere, I love freedom to move, option, possibility.

I feel like this bank vault door has slammed shut and closed huge swaths of my life to me. I can barely walk across a gravel driveway, how am I supposed to hike on a dirt trail? My doctor said my brain will eventually ignore the pain, but when? Ignoring pain can’t happen soon enough. My brain power needs to kick in and tell my swollen ankle to keep going, that it’s not that bad.

Between the physical pain and its mental barriers, I feel trapped. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, right? But how am I supposed to even take that step? I can see the journey, but the threshold is so high and terrifying.

I used to tell myself that tomorrow would be the first day I would take that step to a better place, but I don’t feel like using that metaphor anymore. I need a new frame that says “tomorrow will be better” without referring to my feet at all. I want to learn to walk on my hands and bypass the problem altogether. Alternative means of transportation to better are what I dream of.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Follow-up to "Fun with traumatic memories #1"

TonyN asked for the rest of the story of my friend’s bitchy mom. What happened to the friend?

Betty (fake name) and I drifted apart. We had an incident involving a boy she liked, and that kind of sealed the deal on ending our relationship. I got new friends, I didn’t really miss her. That much.

Her family moved to Atlanta, and occasionally I’d get letters or phone calls from her. Her life seemed surreal and spacey when I heard from her. She was so happy, but none of it made sense. She told me that when she had sex with her boyfriend, it was so powerful that their bodies made perfume. His mother would ask, “What incense were you burning? You smell wonderful.” Is that as weird as I thought it was at the time?

Her letters sounded like a magical place full of non-reality and imperviousness to the ordinary slings and arrows of life. A friend totaled her car badly, and she spoke of it like a wonderful adventure with no consequences: “We ran up on a curb and he broke the axle…,” but no result. Just happening, now, no tomorrow. Maybe it was because her parents were rich: all problems could disappear.

I don’t mean the letters or phone calls stopped, but I lost touch with her. We had no connection anymore, no relationship to one another, though the communication continued. I didn’t understand her world, couldn’t live there or even see or comprehend it. My world was full of consequence and result, and hers was blank of external authority.

I still hear about her through the grapevine, and she’s back in Kentucky. She has two sons, but that’s all I know. I still imagine her magical world where life just happens like a swirl of dyed silk, and I can’t relate. I don’t know, maybe she’s changed. Maybe children have brought a grounding to her life.

I have a hard time relating to people with children—I hope that doesn’t sound cruel. I don’t want children, and I’m not around them, so I just don’t understand. She moved from one world of surreal disconnection from me to another.

So, no, we’re not in touch, really. I avoid large swaths of my past, and she’s part of that cloth.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fun with traumatic memories #1

When I was 14 or 15, my best friend was someone I thought was preeminently cool. She knew how to skateboard, wore baggy flannel shirts, and wore long underwear under skate shorts instead of pants. Rock. She also knew what bands to listen to, like The Doors and The Grateful Dead.

Her family was much more comfortably middle class than mine, and they lived in a huge house out in the boonies of Jefferson County. It’d be what today we consider in the style of a McMansion, except they had a couple of acres of land.

Uncomfortably, her mom was a bitch. For some reason, my best friend’s older sister who had moved out on her own was worshipped in the household. Everything she did was better than what we did. At our age, the older sister was already awesome-er and liked better music like Black Flag and had a cat named Nixon.

Because we were 15 and she lived in BFE (Bum-Fuck Egypt), there was this constant tension between whose parents were responsible for transporting me back and forth. My friend never stayed at my house; I went over there. Sometimes, when her mom bitchily begrudgingly drove, she would let us listen to our music. My friend put in The Grateful Dead one day, and her mom laid into it. “This is horrible music. You have no taste. This music only sounds good if you’re on drugs,” she said in a cruel tone. Yeah, it’s true, we had no taste, but we were barely teenagers. Have you ever met a teenager with good taste?

One day, at my friend’s house, her mother sat us down at the kitchen table. We were in for a lecture. “You don’t add anything to your friendship. You don’t help each other grow. When your older sister was your age, she had wonderful friends, and they enhanced each others’ lives. You don’t do that. You’re just stagnant together. You don’t have a healthy friendship. You don’t offer any growth.”

I felt so betrayed by her mother. Maybe her mom thought my friend didn’t measure up to the older sister they worshipped, but did she really have any maternal right to unfavorably compare her children to one another? Out loud? To her impressionable teen daughter? In front of me?

And what about me? Not good enough? Not bringing enough to the relationship? Why on earth would anyone say that to their daughter’s best friend? I hurt. A lot. Her mother was always critical, but sitting us down to lecture us on what bad friends we were was profoundly judgmental, and I felt humiliated by her exposé on our deep and apparently developmentally threatening relationship.

In addition, I thought my friend enhanced me. She taught me about cool, and even though really I was walking her path, she taught me about individuality. Another barb. Even if her mother’s opinion was that I brought nothing to the relationship—unlike goddess sister’s amazing friends of wonderment—I got a lot out of my relationship with my friend. Why wouldn’t my friend’s mom respect her enough to believe that she could add to our friendship?

I got enough shit that I was doing the wrong things and not living up to standards from other people, but I had never had a friend’s parent sit me down and earnestly tell me I wasn’t good enough for her daughter. What a bitch.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Reading the comments on this former blog post, I forgot that for a while our favorite excuse for everything was, "Ooh, yeah... but I'm in a cult." I think we should resurrect that.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Slightly more sexually mature than some of my peers, by the time I got to health class, I knew that the cock-and-bull story that all penises were about the same size was a big ol’ rod o’ salami. I’m not saying I made the rounds of the track and field team, but I had a large enough sample size to know that every transmission is as unique as its owner’s manual. Even if I just watched porn I might have had a distorted concept of size, but I would have seen that penises have all different shapes, and some even turn off sideways.

I was so pissed in health class when our male gym teacher would talk about the variations in female anatomy, then, in a very earnest voice, declaim that all penises are about six inches long. I actually laughed out loud when he said that. I swear. It wasn’t the first time I’d heard that myth, it wouldn’t be the last, but it was the first time I knew from hands-on experience that the teacher was lying about penises. I laughed so hard that I had to put my hands over my face. The entire class stopped and stared at me—all those teenage boys with looks of horror on their faces that maybe their penises were the wrong size.

I got myself together and wiped the laugh-tears from my eyes and sat up straight. “You were saying?”

What I couldn’t believe was that women were each unique, delicate flowers, but, goddammit, maleness was uniform! “Do not look upon your penis harshly, good sons, for—fear not—your compatriot at the next urinal is exactly the same!”

Women are implicitly inferior because our genetic variations are visibly obvious. Men, however, deserve by national decree from scholastic publishing headquarters to be told that, it’s OK, no penis is inferior if all men are the same. The superior form of male development being standardized meant that women’s deregulated bodily free-for-all was clearly less evolved.

Nerts to that. Even at fifteen I knew that no hegemonical force of maleness would keep me from believing that every body was unique, whether it be a delicate blossom or a towering beast. They may have looked at me with terror in health class, but I hope I made all those boys and that gym teacher reassess the ruler by which they measured maleness.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Always learning

The Spanish expression "Pura Vida" appears to mean "Pure Life." It really means "Everything's OK."

Pura Vida,

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Water water everywhere and not a drop to drink

I have writer's block. I just do. Sometimes if I blog about not being able to blog it unclogs me, so I'm hoping this is the trick.

I write and write, and then I read and read, and it is so banal and unworthy of publication.

I'm looking at my favorite apple, Honeycrisp. They have a short growing season so you should buy as many as you can if you see them. They're amazing, I swear. I see my favorite ink pens--black, blue, and red--Pilot G2. I just got them, and I'm in love. There's distilled water on my desk, my favorite thing to drink.

Banal. My day-to-day, ultimately devoid of blogging.

A guy who graduated from the same college I did several years ahead of me committed suicide over writer's block. He was a brilliant budding playwright, and everyone loved his work and encouraged him. Then, one day, the words wouldn't come. He had been such a shining star that no one ever thought to tell him that sometimes creation is fickle. His muse left him dry, and he left this world, not knowing that sometimes even genius struggles.

I wish I were a genius, but I'm glad someone told me the story of the man who committed suicide over dried up words. Now I know that writing is nothing to die over.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Goodbye summer

Today I washed and put away the beach towels for the final time this season. See you next year, you denizens of sunshine.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Going to my happy place

Shockingly—and I know, really, this is shocking—I am becoming satisfied with my lot in life.

1: OK, my house is kinda crappy, but it’s not a slum, the house is pretty big, and we live in a great neighborhood. And I’m getting used to the roaches, even if I’m not better at killing them. I have learned that hot water stuns them. That’s my Martha Stewart tip Christine Wy style.

2: OK, I’m not doing exactly what I want for work, but job pressure is like non-existent for me.

3: And, OK, I’m not getting paid nearly the compensation the national average suggests (not even on the low end), and yeah, I get paid like an assistant instead of a supervisor, but I’m able to pay my bills. There’s nothing left over for real fun, but I’m squeaking by.

So, all-in-all, maybe I actually am in the place I need to be at the moment. Sure there are lots of things that would be more perfect, but maybe this ain’t so bad as I’ve been making it out to be.

I attribute my new found acceptance to a lot of therapy formally with my psychologist, and a lot of informal conversation with my best friend, Monya. We’ve been discussing what sucks and what doesn’t suck, and trying to reframe the “suck” category to see what’s hiding in there of value.

The moral of my story is that virtue is everywhere, if you know to look for it.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I’m not a political blogger. I think that’s become pretty obvious. I am so grateful, however, that our president elect is Barack Obama. Forget his skin color and how radical that is, I care that I really believe he’s the genuine article. Thank you, United States, for giving us this gift.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Thirty seconds that suck just the right way

Vacuum commercials really frost my cookies. I totally get off on the promise of suction power. I don’t know what it is, but I have to talk myself down every time I see a Dyson Ball commercial. I start scheming ways to get a Dyson, calculating how many Christmases I’ll have to barter away with Matthew to get it as a gift, or estimating how much is in my checking account versus how closely I am skirting my credit limit.

Point in fact, I don’t need a vacuum. I vacuum approximately every six months. Really, I do next to no housework at all, and I think that’s the source of the appeal of vacuum cleaner ads to me.

In an ad where a woman vacuums, dirt magically disappears, leaving her with a perfect white and periwinkle blue house. I want to be that woman. I want to smile at my vacuum and whisk my house into home décor catalog perfection, as opposed to the den of dust-ball iniquity I really run. I want a small collection of tasteful vases on a white-washed distressed pine shelf instead of stacks of library cataloging rules and Target photo albums on sagging Ikea shelves. I want allergens to disappear with a snap in a vortex of home hygiene, as I smile at my tail-wagging dog and obviously pleased cat.

Alas, what I have are a Dirt Devil canister vac and an apathy so intense that I’d rather say to people, “Don’t mind the dog fur,” than do anything about it.

That’s the real root of my designer vacuum lust. Laziness. Vacuum commercials make having a beautiful home and keeping it that way look like anyone can do it in just thirty seconds. I need a set decorator, faux natural lighting, and an off-screen fan billowing some curtains. Toss in a smiling, conservatively coiffed Lands End model, delicately waving around a vacuum, and I have true homemaker bliss.

In reality, I have a dog that sheds like a maniac and a personal predilection for couch time. Once the commercial is over, I remember that no matter the vacuum model, I would still have to actually work to vacuum, which I am just absolutely not prepared to do. No amount of revolutionary suction power, lightweight portability, or HEPA filtration actually takes the work out of house cleaning.

The commercial’s over. I’ve talked myself out of the Dyson. I’m back to looking at my furry couch with resignation. But then, oh! A Bissell commercial! Gee I want deep-cleaning like that to be such a snap.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

More things overheard in St. Augustine

At a hipster cafe on the beach, an easrnest surfer says to his friends, "Later y'all."

I always said I wouldn’t do it

I had a boss when I worked at The Alley in Chicago who thought if he tried hard enough, he could still be one of us. He didn’t understand that the boss-ness to employee wall could be made of plexiglass and seen through, but those crappy communication holes drilled through garbled the message so it was never received as intended.

Because an employee was once murdered behind the store, it was a rule that we all left together, en masse. We would finally get everyone finished tidying for the next day’s disaster, have all the lights off, and be jammed around the door. The boss would stand, with his hand on the door and the keys in his other hand, and force us to listen to stories of how he was once like us. No one but me understood that the sooner you gave in to the “You’re so rad!” exclamation, the sooner you got out the door. I must have looked like such a toady shouting, “Wow, you really stole a skull from a cemetery mausoleum? You’re so out there, man! That’s cuh-razy!”

Everyone else just twitched, release so close yet unattainable until the boss had had his way with us. I, though repulsed by his lame attempts at trying to be one of us, played the game to get away from him faster. Probably something I learned as a child. Say what’s expected, get along with reality faster.

I always vowed that I would never be like him. Every time he held us huddled around the door with the lights off and the keys jingling tantalizingly in his hand, I hated him, lost my meager respect for him, and I promised I would never be such an ass.

My friend (and library pseudo-mentor, J) recently introduced me to the term “creepy treehouse.” It’s like something adults do to imitate kids in order to attract them, but in fact the kids can see straight through the faux-hipster facade and are repulsed by it. In library terms, it’s like creating a Facebook page for your library and asking your patrons to friend you. Facebook users look at the library page and see creepy treehouse all over it, feeling a forced attempt at kickin’ it on their level that co-opts the personal cyberspace they intended for themselves.

There wasn’t a perfect name for it yet, but my old boss at The Alley was a creepy treehouse. Eck. He wasn’t on our side of the plexiglass divide, never would be again, and his forced communication only made us more leery of him. He didn’t lure us in with tales of wicked-bad head-bangin’ ass-kickin,’ he made us sick. “So help me god,” I prayed, “I will never be that pathetic.”

But, I totally did it. Just a couple of days ago. Even after just learning all about the creepy treehouse. Yep. I creepy treehoused all up in this joint.

I hired a new student-worker, and I liked her. That she had purple hair added to my affinity for her.

At the end of the interview—gack I’m going to barf—I said, “And I like your purple hair.” Here’s where it gets really barf-tastic. “I used to dye my hair all crazy colors, but then I got an office job. I’m covered in tattoos, you just can’t see them. Well, I guess it’s no secret, I wear a tank top to work then put on my long-sleeved shirt.”

The worst part of it is, I felt myself doing it. I felt myself sounding like my old boss. Hair-dying, tattoos, “really, I’m rock-and-roll just like you,” through those plexiglass air holes. I was too embarrassed for myself to notice her reaction, but she seemed to nod or something.

Two days later, I was walking the dog, and I realized, “I just creepy treehoused!” I felt miserable. I had done it. I was The Boss. That boss. No, I’m not cool. No, I’m not rock-and-roll. No, I’m not 20 and dying to be 21 so I can finally be legal. Me = The Boss. The Boss with the Excel spreadsheets and the nerdy Word documents explaining archival terminology. The boss who follow-up e-mailed and said, “We can play music really quietly so bring your ipod, and you can hang a poster over your desk if you want to.”

Yeah. I said all that. I’m on the other side of the plexiglass, deluded that I can speak through.

My only hope now is to keep my mouth shut and never do it again. Now, instead of saying “I’ll never be like that,” I pray ardently, “Please don’t let me be like that!” Patron saint of employers, I implore you to give me the strength to tear down the creepy treehouse and just be the boss.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Hungry eyes

I think that by nature people are all sluts for something. There are insecurities in each of us that create holes, voids that must be filled by some tangible thing to make us feel validated and affirmed. For my husband, it’s Vans shoes. For me, it’s usually Birkenstocks and MBTs. But lately my hole is not full enough.

I confess--but let me count—I have bought eight pairs of shoes in the last week in the quest to fill the void. Eight. And one pair fit. How does a shoe whore feel about those statistics when faced with the void of inadequacy she was trying to quantifiably fill? Horrid. Whore-rid. I am slut-less. One pair of shoes does not make a fanatic. One pair of shoes is logical. And when the insecurity is obviously illogical, logic doesn’t replace the feeling of desperation.

I have heard fat women say, “Shoes always fit,” so they shop for shoes to fill their slutty needs. I’m too fat or something. My feet have sprawled to a size 8 ½ wide. Wide. I am a wide-footed whore. Shoes don’t "always fit,” as evidenced by my one of eight shoe spree.

I turn to my eyes. Eyeglasses really do always fit. I bought three pair—a serious pair, a fun pair, and sunglasses—but I had to confess my sin to Matthew. For some reason, he didn’t care about the shoe issue (maybe because he has his own shoe problem), but the eyeglasses sent him over the edge. Fortunately I was able to cancel two pair and keep the serious pair, but that slutty insecure whore inside me is really desperate for the fun pair of glasses.

Versus frames, model 8029, in plum and mango. Nothing could be hotter for my sassy slut face. Now, they’re gone. I’m left with the Silhouette in an edgy rimless shape, but they’re the business kind of frames, not the “I’m totally out there and you can see for yourself” kind of frames that the super-slut Versus showed.

Matthew and I are negotiating a shoe-whore versus eyeglass slut compromise based on relative prices of shoes to eyeglasses kept. If I only keep the one pair of shoes, I can explore the option of the inner inadequacy eyeglasses. If I keep more shoes, I can only have the necessity glasses.

I call poop to both options, because I want two shoes and two eyeglasses. What’s a slut to do when she can’t sleep around? You can’t keep a good whore down forever.

Skipping the obvious

I should probably have said something about Halloween. It’s just one of those things that ought to be mentioned. Taken pictures of me and Matthew in our “ghoulish outfits” to share.

As an aside, I wore Matthew’s old Misfits t-shirt with the Crimson Ghost skull on the front. People were really scared of me. It was supposed to be in good fun, but, um, it was taken a little too seriously. I felt the mother grip your child tighter syndrome all around me. And the don’t make eye contact thing.

I have nothing to say about Halloween in particular. I saw my psychiatrist and my psychologist on the same day, and it was absolutely draining. I had nothing left for fun on Halloween.

We were supposed to listen to a special radio performance of War of the Worlds, but I fell asleep. We were supposed to sing karaoke, but I didn’t have it in me. I was the definition of wet blanket. No fun. All my emotions were used up in therapy. Well, except unhappy emotions that felt shame and guilt over being mentally ill, but none of the good ones that want to sing were there.

Halloween was only fun for getting mental health more in order. No candy sprees, no costumes, no parties, just me, Matthew, the dog and cat, and a comfy couch with lots of pillows. Maybe that was all I needed. I hope it was enough for Matthew.