Friday, April 28, 2006

If Procrastination and Pollination got together and produced a love child...
Her name would be Spring Fever.

But we’re having none of that today. Today, we are parked ass-in-chair in front of computer screen, and we are going to write our essay. Not only are we going to write a 900-word masterpiece, it will be a hilarious and sublimely entertaining work of art. And it will be about cannibalism.

Today we will do none of the following:
*Listen to NPR, even though we know Fresh Air’s Terry Gross will be interviewing Robert Smigel and it is sure to be fascinating. We’ll catch up by podcast when our essay is finished.
*Blog (with this exception), read blogs, or do other blog-related tasks.
*Sit in our reading chair by the window with one of the books from the stack we picked up at the library last week.
*Watch Donnie Darko for the 15th time.
*Put our feet on our desk while we daydream and breathe in the lovely scent of jasmine that is wafting through the open windows because the Confederate Jasmine we planted outside of our window last year is blooming madly.
*Nap, even if the couch begs us.
*Send text messages to our friends bitching about how hard it is to be amusing on command or wondering why anyone cares about Tom Cruise.

No, we will remain in this chair in front of our computer until the random sentences (“I’ve never thought much about eating people, other than the usual—that’s it’s kind of wrong.”) turn into paragraphs that turn into a rough draft. And then we will take that rough draft and wring it out until it is the best thing we’ve ever written.

Now get back to work.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

My friend Charlie is a dirty, dirty boy...
And apparently I'm a dirty, dirty girl. Whatever. This is actually pretty tame compared to some of the other dialogues we've had, such as the Suitcase-O-Porn conversation, the Latex vs. Leather conversation, the Why Lap Dances are Fun conversation, and the What Goes Up Must Come Down conversation.

Judge me if you must, Goody McTwoshoes, but you're never going to make me laugh by being all uptight. And if you can't make me laugh, I don't really want to be near you. And if I'm never near you, you cannot truly experience the joy that is Me.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Inspires me to be fearless, she does...
A friend of mine recently did something so completely out of character that I am still in awe. Without months of planning, discussion, and the usual travel preparations, she up and took off to spend three weeks in Nepal. When I got her email ("Hi, I'm leaving tomorrow for Nepal for three weeks!") I pictured her at the Nepal Hilton sunning by the pool in Chanel sunglasses. After reading excerpts from her travel diary (and some others through email), I couldn't have been more wrong (wronger?).

She trekked. She saw burning bodies. She was violently ill. She was nearly attacked by a rogue band of monkeys...there's more, but I'll let you read (and see) for yourself.

Ida is my new idol.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Oh pretty stars, oh bastard moon...*
I woke up Saturday morning bright & early, brewed some coffee, put some music on, and danced around the kitchen before it hit me that I was stressed out and in a foul mood. "Screw that," I said to the coffee maker. "It's all good," I said to the cat. But because I hate to let too much sunshine leak into the dark corners of my brain, and because mental illness is at the top of my Greatest Fears list, I wondered if I could have bipolar disorder. The rapid mood swings! The good days and bad days! The grandiose thoughts! (Maybe not so much that last one, but still...).

Then I remembered that my mother (who is a shrink and therefore an expert on the subject) once told me if you think you're crazy, you're probably not crazy. So I decided that I'm just really freaking neurotic and have to manage stress a little better. Maybe get outside of my head once in a while. Breathe some air.

So back to dancing in kitchen and drinking the coffee. I started writing what would turn into about 7,000 words, which is double my usual two-day marathon writing word count. Watched a few movies (40 Shades of Blue was beautiful and riveting...that Ed Chigliak kid from Northern Exposure sure grew up nice), read a few books (finished Sex, Drugs & Cocoa Puffs and started reading the last on my Milan Kundera reading list), and finished a painting I've been working on.

Now tomorrow, if I crash hard and start hovering near the edge of the abyss (or cut my hair with craft scissors...or start licking light switches...), let's talk intervention. That's called "rapid cycling" and we don't want any of it. For right now, we're calling ourselves "in the middle" - somewhere between the pretty stars and the bastard moon - and liking it.

*(title refers to a line in a a poem by Bob Hicok, "Bars Poetica")

Friday, April 21, 2006

With reverence, benevolence, and the best of intentions...
I've always believed that the Universe takes care of us and provides what we need, whether we know we need it or not. For several months now, I've been getting daily "Notes from the Universe" sent to me via email. I appreciate the cheery "You're full of infinite possibilities," an occasional "Jambo!" and various "keep on keepin' on" sentiments. They're pretty darn inspiring. I don't respond; I just listen and learn. But this morning I decided it was time to email the Universe back:

Dear Universe,
Thanks for the words of encouragement. My do know me so well! I would also like to thank you for the deeply subcutaneous zit under my eyebrow that is currently making my entire face throb, the $100-plus in overdraft fees on my bank account this month, and of course, the flat tire on my bike earlier this week. I'd like to thank you for my insomnia that returned with a vengeance last week (I do so love to study the cracks in my ceiling at 3am) and for scheduling my time of the month to coincide with deadline week every single month for the past year. PMS plus work stress makes me such a pleasure to be around.

While I'm at it, thanks for the diabetes. I think it really does build character to have to stick myself with a needle several times a day, and I guess those blood sugar lows that make trying to communicate with others seem like I'm translating from ancient Hungarian are just your way of saying, "you can do anything, girl, Yo-Ho-Ho!" Thanks for the Student Loan people who won't get off my back, for doubling my rent and utilities, for the damage to the side mirror on my car that occurred exactly two days after my parts warranty expired, for my mysteriously missing brand new expensive guitar strings, and for genes that allow me to actually gain weight while subsisting on a diet of iceberg lettuce, lemon juice, and water.

Since I have your attention, thanks for allowing me to waste my twenties on a series of self-absorbed, self-important, seriously flawed human beings. I guess the fact that I no longer trust my own judgment when it comes to choosing men just makes me a stronger person. And thanks in advance for the mid-life crisis I feel coming on. I sincerely hope your whimsical plans won't end with me living on some beach in a hut made out of mud and palm leaves with a psychotic ex-Hell's Angel biker and our love child.

Universe, you know I'm just being cheeky here. In all seriousness: Thanks for the randomness, the surprises, the sunsets, the killer legs, the talent, the joy, the creative life, the blessings, the music, and the love. I'm all about you these days, no matter what you decide to send my way.

With my deepest appreciation,

Your humble occupant

Things are looking up already. Trust me, by Monday I'll be positively bursting with sunshine, optimism, and pink Twinkies.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Heyyyyy, Karma? I'm sorry for whatever I did so let's make up now, okay?
Bad day yesterday. I won't bore you with the details, but let's just say it began and ended in tears. Deadlines, problems, exhaustion, frustration, more problems, more deadlines and, somewhere in the middle, financial solvency issues and a glimpse into my future mid-life crisis (which will not be pleasant, I assure you).

Around 5-ish I decided I'd had enough. It stopped raining (I thought it was a sign that things were looking up), so I got on my bicycle to ride the two-and-a-half miles home. My spirits lifted as I pedaled down the street; I even said hi to the winos in front of Super Bad King of Fashion Men's Clothing. I was about half a mile down the street when I hit a bump, heard a hiss, and stopped the bike so I could discover that my back tire was FLAT. Not low, not leaking - FLAT.

So I started walking the bike home. I was fine until I got to the lady who picks cans out of the trash bins under the overpass. When I passed, she said "Awww, honey, you got a flat tire, poor thing." Then I started crying. I walked (trudged!) the rest of the two miles, swearing, sweating, and quietly sobbing as I wheeled my lovely bike with its squishy tire all the way home.

Sing it with me now...

"Cause you had a bad day
You're taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don't know
You tell me don't lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride..."
(~Daniel Powter)

Monday, April 17, 2006

Proof that nothing is certain and proof that nothing ever changes...
I get called opinionated (opinionated bitch, opinionated c*nt, and so on...) a lot, but I never understood why that might be a bad thing. I like people with opinions, even when they disagree with me. I know I'm not simpatico with someone if I quiz them ("chicken or fish?", "morning or night?", "amphibians or democrats?") and they shrug, hem, haw, and avoid weighing in. They are the least fun when you're in a bar playing "Who Would You Do?".

I think nine years old is a good barometer for judging how one's tastes have changed/not changed.

Things I liked when I was nine that I still like:
the smell of permanent markers
Hello Kitty erasers
chocolate chips from the freezer
things that are pink

Things I hated when I was nine but I like now:
fish on Fridays (or any day)
my sister Kristin
boys (I guess I have to put cooties on the list too then)

Things I hated when I was nine and still hate:
glazed doughnuts
Uncle Donny
reggae music
the beach

Want to make this a "nine to now" meme? Tag yourself, post your own "things I loved/hated/still love/like now" list on your blog, then leave me a comment.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Everything is just smurfy...
Yesterday I walked into the bathroom at the office and there was a blue ass print on the toilet seat. My first thought: We have a Smurfette among us.

Turns out, someone wore new pants (that's "slacks" for you midwesterners) and the dye in the fabric turned her skin blue, which in turn transferred to the white toilet seat and made a blue ass print.

What a relief. I thought a visit from the the evil and cunning Gargamel was imminent.

"First of all, Papa Smurf didn't create Smurfette. Gargamel did. She was sent in as Gargamel's evil spy with the intention of destroying the Smurf village, but the overwhelming goodness of the Smurf way of life transformed her."
~Donnie Darko

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Listen very carefully because I'm only going to say this once...
you know how sometimes when you read a blog and the voice sounds just like the voice that's in your head with the crazy rambling and embarrassing stories and lack of punctuation and all? and it cracks your shit up?

This one is that voice for me.

I read it every day but sometimes it scares me because I think "how the f*ck did she find out?" and then I realize she's talking about her and not me and that makes me feel better for about a minute. then I have to go smoke a bunch of cigarettes because I get worried about that time I dropped acid and imagined that my brain separated from my body and created another self that ran away and if that really happened what if it is me?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Y'all just better recognize...
On Saturday morning, Erin and I rode our bikes to opening day of the Charleston Farmer's Market at Marion Square. I imagined feeling all European on the way home with a loaf of bread and a bunch of flowers in my bike basket, but what ended up in my basket was a small watermelon (!) and a wild mushroom quiche. As I screamed to (at) Erin several times on the way home, "my quiches is in pieces!"

We had to make a pit stop at the office before we biked home. While we were locking our bikes up out front, a homeless man passed by and advised us both to "recognize." I assured him that he had nothing to worry about, as we were doing some serious recognizing. Except for when Erin almost crashed into the back of me because I braked without warning to avoid a tank-sized SUV pulling out of a driveway near the park. She was not recognizing at the time.

What else we recognized:
*We said "Hi Mayor Joe!" to Mayor Joe.
*Artist friend Paul Silva has a booth this year and Erin bought two pretty giclees.
*Kids often scream for no reason and it's funny when you're not the mom of them.
*We live in a crazy-beautiful place. Everyone who doesn't is jealous of me.
* I really should get out more.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

You are what you love, not what loves you back...
I've been listening to my new Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins CD (thanks, Michael!) nonstop for about a week now. "You Are What You Love" is my favorite (she's an amazing songwriter: "This is no great illusion/When I'm with you I'm looking for a ghost/Or invisible reasons/To fall out of love and run screaming from our home...").

Besides Rabbit Fur Coat, here's my What I Love That Doesn't Love Me Back list for today:
*Deborah Harry (I get to go see Blondie in June...thanks, MK!) won't give me the time of day.
* Laurie Notaro makes me laugh until I cry, but she doesn't even know I'm alive.
* My LPs don't snuggle with me on the couch, so I think they're destined for Accessory Land.
* Two words from my lips that can make any of my friends run from the room screaming: Seth McFarlane.
* Heavy strings, tuned low and played hard, always remind me that I never had a chance to meet Stevie Ray Vaughn (because if I had, he would have loved soon as I was legal).
* I have so much literary love for this journal that I check the shelves at B&N every time I'm there, even though it only comes out 4x a year. It's the literary equivalent of riding my bike by the house of the boy I have a crush on even when he's at his dad's house for the summer.

And you know I love you too, right? Even if you don't love me back, I'm just going to love and love and not care if you even glance in my direction. I know you're out there, barely paying attention, thinking about someone else and wondering how to let me down gently.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Someone needs to lighten up...
That would be me. In the words of the so-full-of-himself-he-might-implode-taking-the-universe-with-him-into-a-black-hold-of-monotony reality tv hairdresser Jonathan, "I am SO over myself."

If I still had a shrink I would feel sorry for her for having to listen to my crap. I can't even stand the sound of my own voice in my head. Everything I do annoys me, from talking out loud to the cat (yes, I thought it was cute at one time) to that weird thing I do with my tongue and my teeth when I get nervous (I thought that was cute once too). I hate my clothes, my hair, my height, my feet, my car, my fingernails, my arrogance, my smugness, the way I walk, and my taste in TV. I irritate the hell out of myself.

Spending too much time alone? Probably. That would explain the talking to the cat thing (because it's two more cats and a floral bathrobe away from crazy old woman). And I think I like myself a lot more when I have to defend myself to others. When I don't have to stand up for myself, I start to wonder who I was fighting for in the first place. Bottom line: Apparently I need criticism to survive, otherwise I start looking for another host body to occupy.

"Interesting. No wait, the other thing: tedious."
-Bender (Futurama)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Involuntary acts of memory...
Catching up on my blog reading recently, this post from Charlie reminded me that I do have hobbies: Wallowing in the past. Nostalgia-as-nervous-tic. Pouring salt in old wounds.

You know how when you're just driving around and suddenly something pops into your head, and you think, “I haven’t thought about so-and-so in a million years?” And then you get lost in thinking about the memory, letting it take you through a door that had been closed for a long time? I love that mental trick; it’s like reassurance that even when I think I’ve lost people and places in my head, they reappear and I can have them back they had just been resting, or waiting for me to be quiet for a while so they could come back.

Listening to Dinosaur Jr. recently brought back a memory of a childhood friend; we met in 8th grade and were on and off friends through high school. Not too long after college began (for me), our friendship began to dissolve. We fell out of touch, those memories scurried to find a place in my unconscious, and I thought of her only peripherally for years. Until I heard "Blowing It" from Green Mind on an Internet radio station.

The auditory recollection connected with an image of the t-shirt (of the album cover featuring the little girl with a cigarette hanging from her mouth) she wore so often, and it all came back in a rush: A summer in NYC, trips to Beaufort, running away, lots of running away. Even in our early 20s, always talking about running away. The memory didn't make me miss her (the crazy had just gotten out of control by the time our friendship ended), but I did miss the me I was then.

Some memories feel like an ambush. It’s like having all of these pieces floating just outside of your conscious mind, amused and wicked and waiting until they feel like surfacing to screw up whatever it is that you're supposed to be focusing on.

I wish there was a better way to control it; to keep the things that make me smile, blush, or laugh when they surface, but edit out the ones that make me angry or sad. Yet another thing to add to my "PROS" list for a future voluntary lobotomy.
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