Wednesday, December 29, 2004

December 24th:
My sister came over for breakfast and we reviewed our plan of attack for the day. Inevitably, we discovered the need to make a run to Fred Meyer for chocolate bark and this French Vanilla creamer that my mother can't live without.

The actual shopping experience wasn't so bad. It was crazy in the store, to be sure, but tolerable. Kristi picked up a bottle of juice, as her tummy was giving her trouble and she felt that a dose of something packed with goodness might help the stress vibes subside.

Back in the car and fully enveloped in gridlocked parking lot action, she took a big swig of her juice and then handed it back to me for a taste.

"Mmm, yeah, that's good."

"Totally. I've never tried this kind before. It's loaded with raspberries."

Then my mom chimed in: "Can I have a sip?"

"Sure," I said brightly, and handed it back to the front seat. She grabbed onto the bottle at the very top, where the lip and lid twist together. She was wearing gloves. She dropped the bottle. It hit the arm rest and the contents of the almost full bottle exploded over the leather interior of the car.

Kristi somehow managed to pull into a parking space, to the annoyance of other circling cars, and jumped out of the driver's seat. My arm was covered in juice and so I got out too, thinking that she had some paper towels or rags in her trunk. I caught a glimpse of her standing at the trunk, clutching a gym towel, soaking from shoulder to waist, her jacket shiny with sugary liquid.

"There is raspberry juice..." She started calmly enough. "In my ARMPIT!"

Mom opened the window and started apologizing repetitively. We could hear her saying "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," over the idling of many cars, trapped at a nearby intersection.

I laughed. I couldn't help it. And I think it was okay for me to laugh, as I had juice up my sleeve.

"Do you want to swing by your house and get another jacket?" I asked through fits of giggles.

"Why? It'll just happen again." She tossed the sticky towel in through the car window and mom started wiping up juice from the leather seats, floor, and ceiling.

But soon we were back to the relative quiet of my house, and we got stuff ready for fondue.

Chris never fondued before, and we were eager to show him just how fancy it could be.

The cheese sauce we chose to make, however, had a bit too much wine in it.

The steak that Kristi and I picked out was great though. We bought it at New Seasons, from a gray-haired man in the meat department wearing a hat that said "MEAT LEAD" on it. We loved him immediately. We bought bacon, steak, the aforementioned chub of beef, and chicken breasts to pound into chicken Kiev on Christmas. We had been a bit confused about how the chicken rolls would stay together and hold their delicious buttery packets and so we asked him his opinion on every step of our vaguely formed 'recipe.'

He squinted at us over the glass case, leaned towards us and said, not unkindly, "What, are you guys just going to wing this then, or what?" Did I mention that we loved him? He brought out some special chicken from "the trailer" and we walked away from the meat counter with over $50 worth of animal products. I felt evil.

But his steak recommendation was fantastic. It was, by far, the hit of the fondue party.

"Why don't we do this more often?" I asked the three of them, chewing up my 20th piece of steak

After we were done eating, I took out the trash and came back inside to be greeted by the greasiest, beefiest smell ever. It took four candles burning almost continuously for three days to knock the smell into the background. So that's why we don't have fondue more often. I mean, even the towels in the bathroom smelled like oily meat.

December 23rd:
My mother's flight arrived early. Who's flight arrives early? How do they take a shortcut? Anyway, I got to the airport right on time, and she walked up to my car, looking intense, and as I got out of the car, her eyes got wide and she took a step backwards into traffic.

"Mom, what is it?"

"Your hair. It's...purple. REALLY purple."

It's true. I have purple hair. I had told her this over the phone and even sent a picture to avoid exactly this scenario.

I sighed and chose to let it go, hauled her enormous suitcase into the back of my station sagon, and drove her back to my house.

I asked her what she thought she might want for dinner, hoping to hear the magic words "Taco Salad"(see previous entry for reference here) and she just looked at me.

"I'm not really hungry now," she said.

"No, but what about later? Isn't there anything you might want?" I was digging here, desperate for my prediction to come true.

"I can't think of anything."

"You have no suggestions whatsoever to help me in planning dinner?" I actually started to grip the couch cushion rather hard, needing vindication.

She leaned forward a bit and said, in a quiet voice, "No. Nothing."

I freaked. I jumped up off the couch and yelled, "YOU DON'T FEEL LIKE SOMETHING LIGHT AND EASY?! LIKE A TACO SALAD?!"

"I knew that's what you wanted me to say, but I didn't want to give you the satisfaction. I know I'm predictable. You don't have to make such a big deal about it."

She laughed and I laughed and we decided on Taco Salad for dinner, because, you know, it's light and easy. And we had purchased a chub of beef, now just sitting in our fridge.

Later, my sister came over after attending her annual work holiday party. As she walked in the front door, she mouthed to me, "I'm drunk." Fantastic.

It was low key, really, that first day. Mostly just sitting around, sipping tea, catching up.

I offered to help transform the futon in the living room to a bed, but mom just wanted to sleep on it like a couch. She got all tucked in and had her tea cup and her heating pad and her Iris Johansen mystery there with her, but as soon as she was horizontal, she was out like a light.

I puttered around in the kitchen for a few minutes and then put my pajamas on, washed my face, and went to bed. I turned off the space heater and the lights and got nestled under the covers. First day done. No incidents to speak of.

Then I heard it. A snorting, rooting sound coming from the living room. I sat up. It sounded like a javelina rummaging through an overturned trash can. I heard it again, but it was more pronounced. I put my feet on the floor.

"Your mom is snoring." Chris said from behind his Game Boy. He was propped up on our bed playing a strategy game.

"That's my mom? Good Lord. Should I turn the heater back on? That might drown out the sound."

"Um...yes, please."

And so the heater stayed on all night, everynight, to cover the sound of my mother, the javelina.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

My mother is coming out to visit for the holiday season. My sister and I have mapped out flowchart of activities to cover our bases for that week, and if we don't deviate from it, I think we'll be okay. My copy is a page from a month calendar, with the week in question full of little jotted notes and a few scribbles on the back. Kristi's copy is the same, with the difference of a whole notebook dedicated to the details, like what we'll be making for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and what board games are suitable for playing on what day. I know this sounds extreme. But it's the way it has to be.

My mom is predictable in the things she likes to do. She comes out to visit once a year, and inevitably we go through the same routine when she arrives.

1) I get the once over, like I'm a horse she's thinking of buying, and if there's anything drastic about my appearance(tattoos or, say, purple hair) that she hasn't seen yet, she'll tsk tsk.

2) We drop off her stuff at my house or my sister's, depending on where she's staying. Our living arrangements change so often that it's always a new landscape for my mom to sniff around and comment on. Like a dog going for a visit to a new place. She doesn't drink out of the toilet though. She does open cupboards. This time, I know she'll hone right in on the two pieces of Tupperware that just got stained last week by some tomato sauce. She'll pick them up and say, "This didn't have to happen. It's a shame, really. You know you can just spray some Pam in there before you put your leftovers in and it won't get discolored like this."

3) We'll talk about what to have for dinner. She'll say she doesn't want a big heavy meal. "How about we whip up something easy and light?" And here she'll pause and look contemplative, as if she's accessing a light and easy database, and then she'll say, "I know, how about taco salad?" and she'll head for the fridge to pull out the ground beef that she assumes is in there. After seven years of her first night request being taco salad, we have learned to have the ingredients on hand. But I don't want anyone to think that I'm the sort of person who keeps american cheese and a chub of ground beef in my fridge.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

I normally receive 2 voicemails a week. Two nights ago I turned on my phone to see I had 8. Chris leaned over me on the bus and said, "Looks like someone really needs to get a hold of you."

Was he correct?

Call 1: my mother asking me to return her call so we could discuss the slippers she purchased for my sister as a christmas present. She bought two different pairs and needed my opinion on which would be best.

Call 2: my sister telling me that she just talked to our mom and that the conversation had left her angry because my mom requested that we all go to a lutheran church service on Christmas eve. I am informed that I am to figure that plan out myself.

Call 3: my ex husband telling me that he is planning on forging my signature on a check for an insurance refund and to not turn him in or send him to jail. Also our dog is life-threateningly sick and I should just call him to schedule time to see him soon.

Call 4: my boyfriend's father, calling to ask me what he should get Chris for Christmas.

Call 5: my college friend, informing me he will be in town the next day with his wife and do I want to hang out?

Call 6: my mother, again, telling me that the slipper thing is really important because she needs to get one pair or the other in the mail tomorrow and she'll call me back again if I don't call back soon.

Call 7: my sister, again, asking me to go out for drinks at a bar where a musician who happens to think I am bat shit crazy will be playing.

Call 8: my mother, again, telling me that it has been 25 minutes since she last called and that it is REALLY IMPORTANT for me to GET BACK TO HER ABOUT THE SLIPPERS ALREADY!

I'm thinking about having the phone shut off, I really am.

Monday, November 08, 2004

So, last night, I'm relaxing with my huge bowl of pasta, propped up in my bed, watching a Mel Gibson movie, and waiting for my boyfriend to call from the bus station to say he's back in town. He had gone to the coast for the weekend to stay with his mother and her new boyfriend. He expected to arrive home at about 11pm. It was only 8:30, the movie was over, and it was on a tape I had swiped from my mom several years ago. I let it keep running, as I was so stuffed with pasta, I didn't feel like moving. And it felt good to just veg out for a while. After a few minutes of taped ShoTime commercials while I stare at the ceiling I hear it. The boink-boink music of soft core porn. I look at the television at see a smoky black intro, with a blond woman holding her finger to her lips in the International Symbol for "Shhh!" only this was supposed to be a sexy shushing, not like someone at the movies trying to tell the obnoxious teenagers behind them to shut up. More of the bow-chicka-bow-bow music. Playboy presents: Women's Stories. It was this half-hour soft core housewife fantasy show. The acting was unbelievable. The plots were even worse. In the first episode, a woman falls in love with the apparition of a Mexican bandit that she knew in a former life. In the second, a married woman takes on a job as a high-priced hooker for a writing assignment, and likes it. I kept thinking, "Holy Shit! My mother taped this!"
After those shows, a movie started that was called "Under Lock and Key." Or something along those lines. Women in prison and the drama and nudity that goes along with it. Incredible! Who knew that my mom was interested in this sort of, ahem, stimulation? Well, I was fascinated and so I had to watch it all. It wasn't really doing anything for me, but hey, it was entertaining, and bad porn is better than no porn.
At about 9, halfway through the prison movie, I heard a jingling of keys and a general bumping around outside the front door. I got out of bed and opened the front door to see what was going on and yay! Chris was home! But so was his mom! And her new boyfriend!
I ran back into the bedroom, which is right off the entryway, and turned off the incriminating sounds of the women guards interrogating some of the naughtier prisoners. I popped back out into the living room in a flash, no problem, just a little flustered at what a close call it was.
I'm shaking hands with everyone, meeting for the first time, and I notice Michael looking at the coffee table with solemn interest.
I look down with him and see the Playboy a friend had given Chris for his birthday glaring up like a light in a darkened room. It was nothing, really. It was the issue from the month and year Chris had been born, and in the early seventies all they showed was a little boobage, nothing too flammable. But these people were Mormons, meeting me and seeing our house for the first time.
Pushing my panic down, I nonchalantly moved my backpack to cover the possibly offensive magazine and sat down on the coffee table to futher hinder any investigation into the items on it.
Chris presented me with a pair of dish-washing mittens with the sponges built in. I loved them, but was obviously distracted. What else was lying around the house, waiting to be discovered?
Everyone moved into the kitchen. New pictures of Chris' dad and stepmom had just come in the mail, and they were prominently displayed on the counter. Unfortunately, there weren't any of Chris' mom anywhere to be seen. Ack!
He was showing them the pictures on the fridge, one of which was taken on the night my mother got drunk at a drag show and vomited all over downtown. It was a long night. The picture is of me, my sister, and my mother with the star of the drag show, Darcelle. Chris' mom looked at me and asked if the large woman in the picture with the huge glittery blond wig was a relative. Chris started laughing and backed away. I had to say no.
"He's, um, an entertainer in town? He does, like, a burlesque show?" My voice had taken on that annoying thing where everything gets turned into a question.
They stayed all of five minutes, but between the two-pronged porn fiasco, no pictures, and the fact that I'm almost 30 years old and am still terrified of parents, no matter whose, it was probably best that they didn't stay long.
Chris and I watched the rest of the prison movie together after his mom and her boyfriend left, drinking soda and laughing, and my life didn't seem so offensive anymore.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

He hobbled around the circular floor plan, leaning heavily on his cane, light blue cotton pajamas stained in the crotch from a few 'accidents.' he'd lived his whole life never thinking, never suspecting for a minute that once he reached an age where he'd be free from the shackles of work to do anything he wanted that he'd have to spend most of his time running to the bathroom. If he didn't make it, his wife helped him change his pajamas and put the wet ones directly in the washer, but lately she'd been leaving them in a damp heap at the end of the bed. It was a gesture that made him feel uneasy in a way that he couldn't quite pin down, but that he didn't feel like dealing with.

He continued his circuit around the house, clutching the old-fashioned incense burner with his index finger as best he could, waving his arm through the air after he steadied himself with his cane, shuffling in his sheepskin slippers, the ones his son had made for him in 4-H. He slid his legs far enough apart to hold him still. When the smoke had gathered in a thick cloud, he sighed and wandered creakily along.

The cheap Turkish incense obliterated the smell of the rosemary chicken he had made earlier for Sunday dinner. He still insisted on doing the butchering himself, even though his wife said that it was really a job for his son now, as the main able-bodied man of the farm, to choose and kill the evening meal. But he held onto it because it was his routine and he didn't know how to let it go. He wanted to feel useful, and now, at 66, with no job and his granddaughters old enough to not need constant looking after, the best thing he could do with his days was make it from sunrise to sunset without wetting himself.

"Goddamn golden years my ass!" he said to himself, and thought about how that evening's chicken had struggled in his hand as he grabbed it by the scaly legs and flopped it onto the chopping block, soft feathers already coming loose and floating around them both, like snow, like soap flakes.

He entertained no anthropomorphic ideas about the animals on his farm. He discouraged his granddaughters from naming even the rangy barn cats, who prowled the back woods for commission in rat carcasses.

"No use naming something you're going to eat for supper. Same goes for those cats. They're meaner than anything and they'd just as soon bite you," he'd say. The girls would listen solemnly and nod, then not only name them, but capture and dress them in headbands and put bows on their tails.

Something about that night's chicken had given him pause. His fluid practiced motions had seemed clumsy. The chicken's frenzied squawks unnerved him. He struggled with the iron piece that fit over the bird's head and neck. It didn't slide easily and made the process seem cruel.

When he finally held the small ax and delivered the blow that sent the tiny feathered head to the floor, his hand was shaking. He released his sweaty grip on the headless body and it tumbled to the ground, ran into the wall, backed up and did it again.

He felt tears welling up in his rhuemy eyes and blinked back their burning humiliation. Crying over a chicken wasn't for him. Not ever.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

so i've been invited to be in a show at pacific switchboard for the month of december in which artists who normally eschew drawing as their main mode of operation will draw three-panel comic strips and then show them to the greater metropolitan area.

last night i finally finished my drawings: three pieces with three hand drawn "polaroids" of a monkey puppet on vacation in CA. based on a series of real polaroids by my friend annabelle. my process for cutting and pasting is pretty weird, as i just realized this morning. i sit right in front of the television and put on a hollywood blockbuster that i've seen ten times and just listen to the dialogue and spread gluestick around or whatever needs to be done. last night i watched fight club, the game, and part of election before i started to nod off. i finished the monkeys, my new zine, and all of my sewing projects. pretty goddamn exciting stuff.

i'm really getting anxious for november to start so i can begin the nanowrimo novel. i don't feel like i should start any other writing projects this week because they're just going to get forgotten for the next four weeks(or longer).

so i just keep jogging my leg up and down and web surf.

anyone who wants to keep up with my novel progress for the month of november can visit i do not apologize for what will surely be a thinly veiled version of reality...

Monday, October 25, 2004

the sweater that i'm wearing smells like dimestore perfume. no, highschool locker room/'love's baby soft' or maybe 'exclamation!' and it is killing me. i bought this sweater used and of course i washed it, even added on the extra rinse cycle, just to cover my bases. i laid it out to dry and this morning, when it should have been scented with nothing more offensive than the tattered dryer sheet that has been floating around in the dryer for months, it instead reeked of adolescence. not that teenagers smell badly on purpose. but i remember the deadly combination of body spritzes and cafeteria lunches mingling daily in my clothes. and sweat. anxious sweat. christ, i was soaked through all the time. i had to put deoderant on the insides of my thighs to help squelch the smell of fear that oozed out of every pore on my body.

so now i'm not sure what to do about this otherwise great it through the washer with every load of clothes until it becomes tame? hand wash it in baking soda? try to resell it?

the good part: the day i bought it, i took 10 things with me into the dressing room. my hit average in a situation like that is about 10%--on a GOOD day. but everything worked. not just 'well, it fits alright and maybe i could rip off that stupid patch,' but really worked. my ass looked great in every pair of jeans. the sweaters weren't itchy. the black t-shirts weren't cropped above the navel. perfect. the only thing that didn't work out was a purple sweater that didn't match the purple in my hair. and it's important to coordinate a little bit with neon hair. so i walked out with 3 things on one finger that i couldn't quite justify and 7 on the other and the attendant reached for the larger group of hangers and i shook my head at him and handed him the smaller bunch and he gave the a google eye and i nodded and smiled a smug little smile and he said, 'wow, that never happens.'

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

things that are making my suppressed rage threaten to boil over:

1) they stole my goddamn motherfucking plant off of my front porch, not fifteen feet from my sleeping head. we are light sleepers, and neither of us can believe that we did not wake up when they, the insidious "they" decided they wanted my sick, scraggly ficus that i had put outside for a few days to see if i could revive it enough to justify repotting it. so i walked around the neighborhood, looking to see if i could spot my plant in a strangers yard or on their porch so i could deliver my version of swift retribution (ie-calling my sister while staring at my plant(if it were indoors) and talk about how great it would be if i had the balls to throw a rock through their window and make off with what was mine anyway, or(!), if my plant were outside, simply walking up and running away with it, which would be sort of hard to do no matter what because it's a pretty big plant, not easily movable, which just makes me even more upset, because, like i said, one of us should have heard something.). of course i didn't see my plant, although i know where some people who like to kick dogs for fun live and it's probably them. also, walking around, i saw meriad other things on other people's porches that were way cooler and more easily takable than my sickly plant. grr...

2)the overwhelming smell that is the potpourri of the public building that i work in is absolutely over the top today: a mixture of rotten milk, halitosis, BO, insincerity, and the notorious 'waft and walk.'

3) cramps. blindsided by my womanhood, i always forget how bad it can make me want to rip someone else's hair out by the roots and then make them eat it.

4) who(m)ever is stealing our mail. i will find you, one day it will happen, and we will lock eyes and you will run to escape my wrath, but all that will happen is you will run into the path of an oncoming bakery truck and have both of your legs broken in the accident, and also your neck, and you will pay mightily for your sins against me as a postal customer. asshole.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

inventory of foot locker underneath the television set in the bedroom:

animals, stuffed and ancient; with wind-up musicbox bodies that play sad lullabies that used to make me weep inconsolably when my mom would put me down for a nap: 2

teeth, puppy; from my dog jake-the ones i could snatch before he swallowed them and the one i found in his water dish: 3

yearbooks, highschool; in which my dorky photos will remain buried: 4

diploma, highschool; emblazoned with an otter wearing a graduation cap: 1

journal, leatherbound; stolen from some store in Minneapolis when i went through my post-adolescent klepto phase and still haven't had the heart to use, really: 1

coins, old baggie of; also containing an estee lauder solid perfume case shaped like a miniature handbag that belonged to my grandmother and that i keep thinking will eventually be worth a lot of money someday: 1

bank, piggy; stainless steel, filled with the "new" quarters my exhusband started collecting and a wad of crumpled $2 bills: 1

seed beads, boxes full of hideous: 3

sheet music, pilfered; from my high school choir room, lining my dream of becoming the choir's accompanist: 35

letters, envelopes of; from friends and boyfriends, kept because i thought i would need them someday to "remind me of the time when i used to have friends" (ugh!): 10

childhood, plastic horses from my: 0 (where did they all go? do you know how much money those things are worth now?)

negatives, ring binder of; mostly taken in my graphics design class in tenth grade, real quality work: 1

album, photo; containing like, 8 rolls of wedding pictures, kept in this box because what kind of person keeps wedding photos from a failed marriage within easy reach, and conversely, what kind of person throws away wedding photos of any kind? i mean, i have photos of my parents' wedding and i even like to look at them. they seem so happy and ignorant of what the next 25 years will bring: 1

photos, incriminating; where my nosering is clearly visible, back when i insisted on wearing one of those huge rings. my mom would still probably bust a lung over most of them as she's not a fan of facial piercings: 4

hair, dyed-black braid of; kept from the first time i ever cut my hair above my shoulders, a traumatic experience: 1

wisemen, plastic chinese; stolen from a garage sale, and jesus, you'd think someone would have caught me taking some of this stuff, i mean, i wasn't good at it or anything: 3

top, wooden; origin unknown: 1

journal, trip; blue and fuzzy, recording everything about my trip to hawaii with my husband and his parents except for the fact that i thought i was pregnant and therefore wouldn't let him take a helicopter ride over one of the volcano craters because it cost something like $200 and i figured we'd need all the money we had for, you know, dealing with the baby or whatever, and then getting my period in the middle of the night in our sweltering motel room where we were sleeping on the couch because his older sister and her husband called dibs on the bedroom and so i woke up with disabling cramps lying in a pool of my own blood and my husband took the bloodied sheets and my pajamas and washed them while i sweated and moaned on the deck and watched the roaches climb around on the railing, and you know i don't think i ever really said thank you to him for that moment of kindness: 1

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

the other day i dreamt that my boyfriend bought a bike for his ex and rode it over to her house, but crashed on the way. later, she called me to tell me that she thought it was so sweet that he wrecked himself and the bike on the way to her house, didn't i agree? i mean, she had always wanted a bike. i woke up feeling quite sick.
to the asshole in line behind us at the sushi place last night in sellwood:
thank you for pulling in the parking lot behind us, screeching your tires as you parked, jumping out of your car and sizing us up.
thank you for racing us to the door but acting like you weren't, looking away whenever i tried to meet your eye.
thank you for seeing that there were 12 tables waiting to be seated in the hour before they closed and then crowding us into the corner so that we couldn't see what was going on.
thank you for snatching the clipboard almost out of karen's hands as she put it down to look around and see if waiting was a good option.
thank you for pushing her out of the way with your twice as big steroid made body.
thank you for making sure that we left, pissed off at you and still hungry.

we went to a different sushi place with no line and no assholes where we could sit comfortably and not feel rushed. i hope your dinner was akin to lining up at a feed trough. may you have eaten some bad eel and crap in your pants today.

thank you again.

Monday, August 16, 2004

pleurisy. i've got it. my lungs ache, my heart aches, it hurts to laugh, to breathe, to move quickly. the first night i knew something was wrong wrong wrong i thought i was going to die. sure i've said that before, but i had never really believed it. my heart hurt and i was dizzy, hot; thought i was having a heart attack. i was at my boyfriend's rock show in an overheated, smoky bar and i leaned over and felt like i had been kicked in the chest. with a pointy-toed boot. with a fork on the end. i insisted that my friend eddy take me home and moaned the whole way, feeling my swollen potato heart causing me agony with every breath. no, not a potato. more like a sausage in the microwave on high. you know what happens then. it bursts. chris and eddy assured me that i wasn't going to die, but i knew it was a massive coronary event or a blood clot, and sure enough, the next day when i called the advice nurse she looked at the long list of medications i take and said, "Yes, it's possibly a blood clot." and "It's incredibly difficult to diagnose heart problems over the phone. You should come in to the Urgent Care Center as soon as possible."

and so chris and i drove there in silence and checked in. then we waited. and waited. after two hours i was finally allowed to see the triage nurse. she apparently didn't think i was going to die either, though i begged to differ with her, and we waited some more. the turnover in the e.r. waiting room was complete. i had visions of my possible blood clot reaching my heart, introducing itself, and then killing me in an impressive display of gore right there in the uncomfortable chair. i imagined my eyes popping out and blood spilling out of my ears, my heart simmering in an unfortunate nurse's hand as she chased it around the floor slippery with my blood and vomit.

after three hours, i got sent back to a smaller room to wait (half naked) for a doctor to eventually come and see me. when he arrived, he was small and furry, like a marmoset. but friendly. he ordered a breathing treatment right away for my asthma, which i definitely did not want, because i could breathe fine, i thought anyway, and all that albuterol makes me shake like a strung out junkie. but i dutifully inhaled the adrenaline vapors and swooned from the combination of that and the needle-sickness i get whenever i get blood taken for anything. then a cute lady came cruising in with an ekg machine and told me she would have to "expose me" and asked if it was okay if "that gentleman sees." chris raised an eyebrow and i gave her the go-ahead. so polite. hooked up like a cyborg, punched full of needle holes, and toking on my medicinal bong, i felt myself traveling to la-la land, but chris kept shaking my foot and bringing me back to reality. curses!

ekg=no heart attack
blood tests=no clot
breathing treatment=dizzy but clear-lunged

so it seemed i had developed a case of pleurisy. what the hell is that? you ask. it sounds like something your grandmother would've put a poultice on, right? yeah, that's what i thought too. pleurisy is an inflammation of the lining of the lungs, usually the result of an underlying infection or virus. having both asthma and pleurisy is like having two evil embryos fighting in your chest to see who can make you feel the shittiest. it's really hard to tell who's winning. the 1800mg of ibuprofin i am taking a day to relieve the inflammation in my lung lining is making me wheezy, which makes me use my inhaler, which makes my chest hurt and my head spin.

and so i feel like i am going to die. i wrote down my final instructions for my sister(i.e.-here's the money for helping with the bills, move my box of vibrators before mom comes in the house, cremate me and sprinkle me someplace pretty) and it depressed me. i really have so little. my sister read the list and looked at me over a plate of eggs and bacon. "This is your legacy?" she said, and i knew what she meant. So sad. So wheezy.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

there was a smell coming from the cupboard. a beety, tangy smell. i had been noticing it everytime i opened the door to get my glass or to find a bag of tea for the last two weeks. since i share the cupboard with the other 200 people working in my building, i figured it was just something that had gotten spilled and forgotten about, as will happen. but it kept getting worse. so the other day i finally decided to just be a man, if you will, and clean up whatever was stinking. i got to the top shelf and all the way in the back in the corner was an open carton of milk. i picked it up, and yes, it had something in it. the something was no longer liquid, though, and i recoiled from it even as i went to open it to look inside. i just had to know what was making that smell. ugh! green and fuzzy, black in the deep crevices, a lumpy looking shape now occupied the space where once a delicious beverage had been. the odor actually made visible lines as it rose up and out of the cardboard container. i gagged. eddy, who had been standing all the way across the room, gagged. we both reeled out of the kitchen, our lunches temporarily losing their luster in the face of that green atrocity...

so my question here is: who put the milk in the cupboard on the top shelf in the corner? was it a momentary lapse in thinking clearly? did they also put their box of cereal in the fridge? or was it malicious? the fiend rubbing his/her/its hands together as they cackled with evil delight in the gorges they would soon make rise?

Sunday, July 25, 2004

a list of things i may tell you about:

eddy's birthday party-
wherein i only drank 2 martinis but ate three orders of crab and cream cheese wontons, then waxed philosophic to eddy's chagrin about the fact that he is old enough to be my father.

the annual erotic party at david and trish's-
wherein i wore a dress made out of bubble wrap and had a drunk woman grab my breasts with a death grip in order to pop the bubbles there.  they had already been popped, big surprise, but she didn't seem to notice and cackled loudly in my face as she realized she was grabbing another woman's boobies. 

wherein chris and matthew played dj and fielded requests from drunk people wearing expensive pvc/latex cat suits in various states of undress to play eighties music, when, as we all know, eighties music and an erotic party are not a match made in heaven. 

wherein my sister was talking to a guy named randy until he started to trace over her neck with his index finger, like in some cheesy porn movie, and breathed in her ear that all he wanted to do was to kiss her neck and she said, "okay, you're done." and walked away.

wherein our host david wore only a fishnet body stocking, a pair of high heels, and a mask.

my weekend in bend to visit my friend carl-
wherein he informed me that my exhusband(and his best friend) was getting remarried, with the intent to start a family like, right away.

wherein i took this information and simmered it in four martinis and some bad squid and then had to be piggybacked out of the bar early to avoid a drunken public breakdown.

wherein i had the best eggs benedict the next morning, eaten sheepishly with a pitcher of water.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

printing out everything i have written since the year of our lord 2001 is starting to take its toll. my i-mac was one of the first off the line, teal and self-contained, so much so that it only has a cd-rom drive. no disk drive or exterior help of any kind. i have not hooked it up to the internet. and so my i-mac and i are adrift on this lonely raft with no provisions and i am thinking about eating it. or maybe just throwing it overboard so i don't have to watch it staring at me with that eerie teal glow anymore.

i have all these rough drafts of stories and final drafts and lists of ideas and a journal blah blah, and there is no way to transfer the information to any other os. so i am printing out a copy of everything on my hard drive, scanning it, and then filing it in a real live folder that coincides with a virtual folder in my runty teal box. when chris builds me a new computer, i will have to make a decision about whether or not i should RETYPE all of that crap into the new machine, or if i should just let most of it go and re-enter, say, only the good stuff or what.

so far, the only thing worth reading in my journal was that i referred to a friend of my ex-husband as having a "chum-bucket personality." that's it. three years of forcing myself to record the minutiae in my life and that's indeed all that it is. excrutiating minutiae. there's no way to make any of it interesting although there's maybe a brief flash of interest in that chum-bucket remark. but how can you use that more than once? you can't really.

but so anyway, i'm only into about hour three of this tedious process and i'm bored out of my mind, filing activity nonwithstanding. so i pull the plug and crawl into bed with my bill bryson book and fur pillow and almost immediately begin to drool and make asthmatic snorkling sounds as i dream of tossing the computer with all of the crap inside over the side of my raft.

Monday, June 28, 2004

chapter 3- in which jake tests our patience and then yaks up his dinner

i've got the dog for an extended weekend visit and he is busying himself by pacing back and forth and whining continuously. there is nothing we can do to comfort him. we take him for a walk, give him food, water, treats, love, what have you, and two seconds later he is up and running, sides heaving like an accordion, producing a whining shriek that sounds like we are torturing him. i guess if "torturing" him means rubbing his belly and sharing a peanut butter sandwich with him, then yes, i am. so we go for a walk to poop him, which he does not. poop, that is. he merely sniffs every bush and tree, lifts his leg to some of them, and nearly takes this guys head off who waves his ice cream bar in jake's face. i hear his girlfriend say in a voice she thinks i can't hear, "rob, next time just KICK the dog." i attempt to suppress a murderous rage which will come out next week in a torrent of tears about something inconsequential and undeserving of a full fledged break-down. jake is clueless and back to sniffing. my feet start to hurt so i steer him back in the direction of our house. it is clear that jake will not be downloading anything for me to pick up and carry back with us. we get back and i notice his food bowl is empty. did i forget to feed him dinner? no wonder he won't take a crap. i pour him some food and go to watch chris play silent hill 3. a few minutes later jake comes by and stands in the doorway to the bedroom and looks at me. i look back. "are you going to throw up?" i ask him. he cocks his head and then leans over and regurgitates all the food he has just snarfed down. chris says "i think jake just threw up," and goes to the kitchen for paper towels. i take a look at what is soaking into the carpet and notice that it isn't even chewed. whole dog food pieces and some slobber. now i better understand why my father always made our dogs outside pets.

the next morning as the first tendrils of sunlight are filtering in through the venetian blinds, jake sticks his nose under the covers and puts his tongue up my nose. it is 5am, much too early for this shit. but this is his schedule at home with his dad, so i get up and walk him around the block in my bathrobe, bedheaded and scary of breath. he will not let me go back to sleep either, instead, he starts to play his infernal internal accordion again. not wanting chris to kill us both, we go out into the kitchen and eat peanut butter and talk about me taking a shower without being serenaded by the aforementioned instrument of his choosing. i wash my hair, take him out for a more brisk, lengthy walk, and leave to catch the bus, picking the innumerable jake hairs out of my hoodie as i walk. what a wonderful day!

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

guy came up to my desk at the library today, asked for a certain 306.766, which is, to those of you unlucky enough to work outside a building filled with books ruled by the dewey decimal system, the gay sex encounters section. that's right. smut masquerading as legitimate social science. i am not, in any way, freaking out about this. i happen to love gay sex porn in all its many many forms(with a sharp spiky interest in gay vampire porn, but for most of you reading this, it is a fact that you are well, well aware of. i digress.). but so anyway, the guy does not look like what you would call an upstanding citizen. he looks like an unemployed, unshaven, slobby addict of some kind, and he's asking me to find this book for him cause he can't find it over there on the shelf. i look it up and lo! it is a collection of gay travel "erotica" that i myself have checked out right now. without thinking about who i am talking to and where i am, i blurt out-"i have a copy of this at home!" so glad am i to have a kindred prurient spirit in front of me that i do not even hold social decorum to any height, nor my dignity, for that matter. as soon as the words have escaped my lips, i realize what i have done and clear my throat, hoping he will not have heard what i said, but he has indeed locked onto it like a stray dog with a shank of beef. he is now raising his eyebrows sort of rhythmically and making weird noises in his throat. he tells me he likes my hair color, that purple is his favorite. then he makes more weird noises that sound like bad pop music being played far away. i stand fully erect and inform him (very professionally) that he will need to leave and come back to check with me in 10 minutes and that i will hopefully be successful in locating his materials for him in that amount of time. he is easily run off, my authority is restored, and no one has to know. except you.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

i set chris' pillow on fire last night. i had moved the lamp from the nightstand to the pile of magazines i was gutting and got up and left the room, knocking it over so its honed lazer-like light bulb was right in the middle of his pillow. a few moments later i ran in the bedroom to grab my glass and whoa! behold! there were torrents of smoke, chemical-scented tendrils from hell, or so i thought, as i grabbed the superheated appliance and threw it off the bed. a few brisk strokes of pounding and the damage was not as bad as the smoke led me to believe. thank god the pillowcases are black, you can't even tell...

Monday, June 21, 2004

full catholic mass wedding yesterday. i took communion with everyone else and was not rooted out by the priest, did not burst into flames when i took the wafer and let the wine wet my lips. i did break into a cold sweat waiting for the priest to look me in the eye and say, "this is the body of christ, given for you..." thinking that he would know that i was lying, not really believing that some crusty bread cake could 'become' the body of a man who lived 2000 years ago. ack! i hadn't been to confession...what would i say anyway? where would i begin? the only thing i haven't done is kill someone, and of course i have in my mind. "forgive me father for i have sinned. it has been 18 years since my last confession. i have fornicated, lied and cheated. i have stolen things i did not need from people who didn't need them either. i have rolled my eyes at my mother and wished that my father would just keel over and die already. i have divorced. i have smoked bushels of cigarettes to look cool and drank copious amounts of alcohol to get happy and have eaten more than my share of food that isn't good for me. i have looked at people less fortunate and then looked the other way. i have made fun of fat people. i have been selfish and rude and have kissed a girl. i have taken the lord's name in vain. i have envied my neighbor's possessions and relationships. i have peed in a public swimming pool. i have lived in sin with men i barely know. i have taken drugs to change my personality instead of trusting in god to know what's best for me. i have led people on to get attention and have slept away the most productive hours of the day. and that isn't even half of it! this represents only what i can remember in the last five minutes. and of course, i don't believe any of this crap, father. so tell me, is it hopeless? how many hail marys to atone for all this selfish shit? and i don't really want your forgiveness, i just want to stop feeling so guilty for doing what comes naturally. can you help me out with that?"

Sunday, June 06, 2004

a quick rundown of the inanimate objects in my house that have become anthropomorphised because of my proclivity to form unhealthy attachments to things rather than normal, productive relationships with people:

fur pillow- he is a fur pillow, as you might have guessed by his name, made by my sister in her first attempt to sew fake fur(which is really really hard, btw). he is approximately 1.5' by 2' and lives on the futon in the living room. he is so soft that when i put him on my lap, i can't stop stroking his fur until he is forcibly removed from my grip. this is how he came to live with me. every time i went to my sister's house, i would pick him up and pet him until i left, ignoring betty(a real cat) the whole time. finally, my sister just told me to take him home with me. there may have been a degree of disgust in her voice, but that's okay. i love fur pillow.

tim- another "male" presence, tim is a body pillow that i bought at target. i figured that since i draped my leg over him every night that i should name him. 'tim' is one of the few male names that doesn't instantly bring up bad connotations for me. i like his corduroy side the best.

sleeping bag- again, not really original in the name department, but it's functional. sleeping bag is my boyfriend's sleeping bag, but i have sort of co-opted him for the time being. i like to get zipped up in sleeping bag at all times of the day and in all locations. i have camped out on the couch, in bed, and on the floor of chris' studio. that time i had fur pillow with me also. you can never have too many fuzzy friends around.

spooner and mr fuzzy- these are stuffed animals. i admit it. i have stuffed animals. i am a freak. and yet i love them. i am not ashamed of my love.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

moping on a national holiday:
memorial day was spent zipped up in chris' sleeping bag(to which i have developed an unhealthy attachment) watching movies with the sound off so i could read my trashy novel. i ordered a pizza from pizza hut and as i waited anxiously for the delivery person i prayed hard that no one i knew would see them come up to my door. i felt like i had ordered out for some crack. embarrassment level 4. the guilt of spending almost $20 on something so disgusting also weighed heavily on my crack-addled mind. after i slunk back into my bedchamber with my junk food, i lit a bunch of vanilla candles to start the odor-masking process i knew would need to happen. after two hours of being locked in a room with those 2 smells, they sort of mixed and became each other...the original spicy meat scent had begun to tango with the soggy cardboard of the pizza box, and the candles lent everything a skanky, cloying edge. i hopped, still ensconced in the sleeping bag, to the door and flung it open. i spent maybe five minutes contemplating taking out my newly acquired violin or maybe getting started on a draft of a new story and quickly put both of those productive ideas down, as i wouldn't be able to continue to stew in the sleeping bag and do either of those things.

i hopped back into the bedroom and collapsed face down on the bed. i did not roll myself over, but fell asleep like that for over an hour. i woke up to the smell of vanilla marinated pepperoni emanating from the now almost liquefied pizza box about an inch from my head. i blew the candles out.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

this morning i bought a violin. i do not know how to play the violin. i have never even picked up a guitar. but a year or two ago i had a dream in which i was a tragic gypsy woman with twisted caramel hair who wiled away the evening hours in front of an audience of a bonfire and a horse playing tragic gypsy pieces on her one material possession: a violin. okay, so i'm embellishing the great hair detail and the horse being in the dream because i've always wanted beautiful thick buttery hair and it goes without saying that i have always deep down in my heart of hearts wanted a horse because i am a girl. yes, yes, i realize it's a stereotype about girls but it wouldn't be a stereotype if it wasn't a little bit true, right? but i digress. so my dream self was so able to express herself by playing this instrument that it sort of resonated into my consciousness. i woke up feeling like if i picked up a violin, the sadness of the girl in front of the horse and fire would come spilling out in the vibrant tones that i heard in my dream. why i felt this to be true as opposed to say, me waking up with the sexy hair that i've always wanted is, i suppose, related to the fact that i assume that the physical world is going to be the same when i wake up as it was when i went to sleep. there is a mathematical term for this but i'll be diddled if i can remember what it is...hmm... anyway, i understand that there is no such thing as santa claus or the toothfairy and that my hair will be the same fine, purple clump that doesn't quite hit my shoulders because i understand that hair doesn't just grow two feet and get lustrous overnight unless you've got a kick ass fairy godmother, which, as it happens, i don't. my fairy god mother is drinking in front of an all day monster movie fest in her birdhouse or wherever it is that she lives and is staunchly ignoring my presence.

the same thing applies to the horse. i know that in order to unlock that secret desire, i'd have to win the lottery, move to the country and wear dungarees, actually have to go out and BUY the horse, blah blah.

so, knowing that i'm not going to be nuzzled awake tomorrow morning by a mare searching for the sugar cubes i keep under my pillow, i turned my inner cretin, always hungry for fantasy and something to put her grimy little bit of faith into, to the violin portion of that dream.

i have heard stories of people suddenly stumbling upon their life's calling. horsing around in the public swimming pool with friends and taking a dare to dive off the highest diving board and fuckin a'! you're a natural! you plip back into the water, toes automatically pointed, body stick straight, barely a ripple in the water where you disappear. and so it is because that "these things happen" that i am able to justify spending $150 on an instrument i don't even know how to hold. i am not expecting to pick it up tonight, rosin the bow, and whip out a concerto, although that would be nice, and certainly i did feel like it was possible the day after i had that dream. but i do feel like if i hunker down and spend time with my new wooden friend every day that i will eventually be able to reconnect with that gypsy dream self of mine.

i've also sent a letter to my mother requesting that she raid my cedar chest in the attic and send me all my model horses from when i was a kid. that way when i find myself playing for the druggies under the esplanade i can plant one of my little horsies in the dirt by my feet and my dream will become a reality. maybe i could even get a wig.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

i now have, um, purple hair.

the bugs in my bathroom are springtails, and now that i know what they are, i have been able to back burner my obsessing over them and boil some other interesting tidbits that have for too long not seen the light of day. like the tiny fine hairs that grow around my belly button. why do they grow slightly darker there? and why do i feel the compulsion to rip them out by the root? social conditioning? medication withdrawal? why?

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

there are these little fucking bugs in my bathroom. i think they are coming up out of the drains. i have plugged the tub and the sink, and yet i still find them crawling around the counter, the tub, the toilet paper on the back of the toilet. they are small and i know they're not going to hurt me, but i don't like them. in fact, i think it's safe to say that i hate them. hate. them. they are small enough to not be noticed by my boyfriend, who wonders why i notice them in the first place. i know that if they are scuttling around in the bathroom where i can see them, they are also burrowing deep into my belongings, setting up camp, breeding. i don't think they're cockroaches, because they're too small and shaped more like they have segments, although they do have these disgusting feelers that are as long as their bodies. i tried to take a bath last night to relax, but it took me twenty minutes to search the tub and floor around it before i could get in and then i couldn't lean up against the back of it as i was afraid i would get crawled on. spiders are no problem. i've even started to let the ones i can't easily reach live, in hopes that they will eat the little freaky bugs that i can't stand. i feel claustrophobic every time i enter the bathroom, like getting on a crowded stinky elevator where i can't breathe or think. all i can do is bend down and scan the tub like a nutjob, looking for tiny squirming things. when chris came in the bathroom this morning, he caught me doing just that, and i stood up fast, like i'd been caught doing something inappropriate. i'm embarrassed about my obsessing, but i can't help it. i wish i could obliterate the bugs and live in a people only zone. help me, because i can't help myself.

Monday, May 03, 2004

i would like to state for the record that i have achieved something of a small personal best: i have not actively picked at my face, or any subsidary thereof, for an entire week. oh the freedom in not acting like a monkey!

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

chris and i were playing a video game called 'thunder and lightning' that stars a japanese looking pig-man and his super gorgeous, way-taller-than-him girlfriend. the premise: a dark demon-thing flies down to the beach where this couple is walking and kidnaps the non-mutant lady from her porcine-esque boyfriend. then the pig-man has to bounce ping-pong balls off of what appears to be a snack tray that he holds above his head in order to break down magical walls piece by piece so that he can follow the winged bad guy and rescue the super model. only the first level of this is played on land. then he has to do the same thing underwater. and of course then octopussies attack him and sit on his snack tray, keeping him from going as fast as he normally could, and sometimes he will wander in the path of a magic tidbit that will give him special powers, like, say, make his snack tray sticky enough to hold onto the ping pong balls when he catches them or split his pin-pong ball into three or more so as to better assault the magic walls. i only made it to level 2 after playing the equivalent of 12 quarters(i'm talking old-school here, too, like when a video game at the rollerskating rink only cost 25 cents) chris was blasting through the levels as if he had been born a pig-man and was somehow transported to this world and into a human body so that he could do things like play thunder and lightning really well without having put in too many practice hours. i am, of course, notoriously bad at playing video games. the only one i've ever been any good at was 'stampede' on my atari 2600. rope them doggies! yee ha! i guess i did alright at 'frogger' too, although i never made it past level 3.

Monday, April 19, 2004

last night my estranged father called me.

"i have to ask you something. do you hate me?"

he, the man who dug graves for twenty-odd years, taught me to shoot a gun, and told my mother that if he hadn't left her by just disappearing one day, he would have killed himself, was asking me if i hated him.

what to say...

"okay, how bout this: how do you feel about me?"he revised.

"um...i don't know. i feel fine about you. i mean, what do you want me to say?"

our conversation lurched through yet another vague explanation for his sudden departure and his weird philosphies of life rewritten with four letter words, and ended when he stated that my sister and i were living in times that were complicated and implied that we just didn't see where he was coming from. the other unspoken implication here was that we would never understand anything, really, because we weren't men. we were women. and not just any women, but my mother's flesh and blood, and that gave us an unhealthy disadvantage.

and yet still here he was, lonely and cracked, awkwardly asking his oldest daughter if she felt anything so strong for him that could be considered hate. christ! i started to need a drink. my father, the man from whom i could count on having heard about 500 words out of his mouth my entire life, sounded like he had had a tough session with his therapist that day.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

we had left the keys for the apartment in the mailbox for the guys from the appliance store, so they could bring in our new stove while we were at work.

chris was called out of town suddenly to go to a funeral in utah.

i was alone, at night, in our sort of spooky victorian apartment.

i decided to take a bath. i also left the phone in the bedroom, all the way across the house. i got in, started reading my book of vampire stories, and scared myself wondering if all the creaking i heard was caused by members of the undead. then i started thinking about the keys. i have heard innumerable stories about women giving their keys to the mechanic, only to have their houses broken into later, their vcrs stolen, their privates defiled. i started to seriously freak out. for real, not the fun kind of freak out i had been subjecting myself to previously. the creaking of the house settling became quite ominous. every sound i heard felt like a door opening, a crazed gas stove appliance installer creeping in with a glint of nutball in his slightly crossed eyes.

i realized that i didn't have a weapon, not even a phone. i stood up as quietly as i could and fumbled for the linen closet. i grabbed a pair of scissors with a blunt end and a metal pair of tweezers. brilliant. i got back in the tub and put my weapons on the edge. then i thought i would have a better chance of stabbing someone in the throat if they didn't know i was armed. so i eased them under my butt and sort of sat on them. for the remainder of my bath. of course no one broke in. my vcr remained where it was. my private parts were untouched by the criminal i had imagined so vividly while naked and wet.

still, i called up my ex-husband the next morning and got a loan on the dog for the rest of the weekend.
chris is sitting and chewing comtemplatively in his room when i join him.

"what are you eating?" i ask him. he looks down, then back at me, sheepishly.

"i don't want to tell you. you'll get upset."

"what do you mean?"

he opens his mouth to reveal a large, purple, rubber cockroach sitting on his tongue. most people don't like cockroaches, but i spend almost 20% of the time i am at home scanning the cracks and corners for them as i hate the little fuckers worse than anything else in the world. i never find any, but, you know, better safe than sorry.

anyway, back to chris, sticking his tongue out at me loaded with bug, and i scream, like a girl i am ashamed to say, and then i call him by his full first name. "CHRISTOPHER!" i leave the room, disgusted, mostly at myself, for turning into the type of person who would get upset about something like that.

later, as i am soaking in the tub and reading my trashy vampire romance novel, he comes in and sits near me and puts the rubber roach on on the lip of the tub.

"get that thing out of here. i'm serious."

"what would you do if i put it in the water with you? would you be mad?"

"you don't even know how mad. don't do it."

"but would you be really mad or just sort of joke mad."

"you're not respecting my boundaries."

"yes i am."

"not if you put that thing in here with me, you're not."

so here i am trying to have a psychobabble conversation with my boyfriend about why he should not but a big purple cockroach in the tub with me. as if i needed a reason. but i'm also feeling conflicted. because situations like these are exactly the reason i love him. i mean, he's 30 years old and spends his time chewing on toy bugs. woo hoo!

Monday, April 12, 2004

chris' grandpa had a dog named glueface. aptly named because it was one of those long-haired show dogs that no one ever groomed and so it would get eye slime build-up sort of smeared across it's flat little face, looking like boogers, and if anyone tried to clean it off, it would bite them.

my aunt had an african gray parrot who used to fall over if someone sneezed. one time he was perched on the edge of the counter when it happened and he fell all the way to the floor without even opening his wings. it was like he was drugged or hypnotised or something.

my dog jake peed like a girl dog until he was almost three years old. we're not sure why.

my sister's last cat would walk until it bumped up against the wall and then it would just stand there, head pressed to the sheetrock, not even trying to turn around. for hours.

i once tried to make a white mouse and a hamster cohabitate. the hamster, named pooky, practically eviscerated the mouse. she eventually recovered and gave birth to 11 baby mice, and they all lived happily in a laundry basket in the basement of my parent's house until my mom found out.

my friend brendan had two chamelions, one twice the size of the other. one day he came home from school to find the smaller one had choked to death in an attempt to eat the bigger one, legs and tail jutting out of it's mouth. there were no more chamelions after that.

when my sister and i were very young, probably too young for the responsibility to keep something alive, we had a few rabbits that we kept out in an old chicken coup. a week went by and we realized that we hadn't fed or watered them in a really long time. they had died, of course. our mother was seriously pissed off. we felt so bad that we never played out in that old building ever again.

my mother named her cats 'skittles' and 'boots.' these were the replacement animals that took over for my sister and me when we moved out. am i 'skittles?' am i 'boots?' hopefully i will never know.
my whole athsma story gets shittier:
i now have to use a peak meter to gauge the flow of my breathing capacity three times a day and record the data in a little graph book for months so we can see if there's a pattern. when i'm feeling unable to breathe, that is. i was also strongly encouraged to keep a diary of the things i do everyday like exercise, how much, what kind, work, exposure to cold air, rain, dust, bugs, whatever so we can check the activities against the graph info, AND keep a little tabulature somewhere of how many times i use my different inhalers so i can have an idea of how empty the canisters are so that i can get my prescriptions refilled before they run out. whoa nelly! i'm suddenly feeling really frail. my doctor assigned me these tasks and i guess i just sort of google eyed him because he then explained that plenty of people my age still die from not taking athsma seriously. now everytime i feel a rattle in my chest i feel like i'm about to go into a victorian swoon, like my dress is cinched up too tightly. I have to admit though, after a couple of days of recording my breathing strength, it is interesting to see how different times of the day are the same everyday, and yet so different from other times, AND YET I DON'T FEEL ANY DIFFERENT! oh, and if anyone knows how to get around the albuterol shakes, please please please let me know:

Monday, April 05, 2004

i once lost my engagement ring at the airport.
sometimes i buy too many tomatoes.
i watch myself in store windows as i am walking past them. i have also been known to adjust my clothing or fool around with my hair but try to act like i'm not.
i drink decaf. all the time.
sometimes when i smoke, i think i look cool.
i am more afraid, for some reason, of the next ice age swooping in on civilization than i am of losing my job at the library, which is certainly more plausible.
i like stephan king.
and david duchovny.
i don't see my dog anymore, even though i have been encouraged to by my exhusband, because the thought of picking him up from the house that i used to own and seeing it redone in the new girlfriend style etc. is way more than my petty mind can handle. plus i just plain don't want to deal with the stress of the weird triangle that is formed there. i guess if you add the dog into the equation, it'd be more of a parallelagram.
i think i ate someone else's yogurt in the employee fridge a few weeks ago. not on purpose or anything, but still. i didn't leave a note.
after a near collision with a parked van, i drove away with my heart pounding and adreneline making my teeth buzz thinking, "man, if i would have hit that guy, i would have probably just sped away! i am a horse's ass!"
i judge my mother's lifestyle and yet expect her to just roll with the punches when it comes to mine.
i have cried in frustration when i couldn't open a jar.
the thought has crossed my mind, in all sincerity, that i am out of some people's league, romantically speaking(as in: "look at that nutjob! if he asked me out i'd have to try not to laugh in his face...")
i have looked at fat people and thought, "whoa!"
a girl with a black eye and bad posture looked at me once, the kind of look that is really a silent plea for help, and i didn't ask her if she was okay.
allegedly, i once told my sister that girls with mustaches don't get jobs.
at seven years old, my passive-agressive nature germinated when i put my friend melissa's apple in the freezer because she wasn't letting me wear the cooler pair of fake vampire teeth, the ones that didn't make you drool all over, and then i got angry when she threw it away after one bite saying it was 'too cold to eat.'

Monday, March 29, 2004

miasma:my asthma. two scary middle of the night emergency room trips later, it turns out that my allergies have a companion. i cough and wheeze and just try to respirate. amazing how the stock in everything else goes down the tubes when you have to think about breathing, forcing it in and out. i have had two breathing treatments(very victorian, where is the bowl of leeches?), intramuscular shots of cortisone, chest xrays, friendly nurses bringing me graham crackers and apple juice, rolling veins, steroid tablets, steroid inhalers, preventers, relievers, no sleep. i have snored, i have heard a small child scream that he was really feeling much better when the doctor attempted to insert tubes into his ears. i have been sternly talked to about not drinking anything before having my temperature taken and then been sternly talked to about being dehydrated. i have been told to avoid animals, dust mites, pollen, dust, germs, cold weather, stress and have been advised to change my salt intake to sea salt. i have worn the same clothes for almost three weeks. i have slept on my face for four hours at a time. i have napped through lunch at work and have stayed awake at night sniffling and hacking. i have grudgingly inhaled lots of albuterol and been disturbed by how much it makes me shake. i have eaten three times as much food as usual because of all the steroids. i have an inhaler that tastes like rotting grapes and one that tastes like melting plastic. neither of them are what you'd call gateway drugs or something you'd take to have a good time. i have calculated what my expenses for two er visits and medication would be if i didn't have insurance and i can say that the attack the bills would have given me would have killed me.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

no, it's official: spring is here. i am a mouth breather. i suck in snot about once every 8 seconds. i stick my tongue out to do so. i bite down on my tongue and inhale, or attempt to inhale, and this makes a noise like the last of the bath water exiting noisily down the drain. and still my nose leaks on my upper lip. sure, i have tissue, in fact, i am currently balling one up in my left hand as i type this, disabling my thumb and making typing a chore. i blot and i apply pressure and i blow lightly and i suck snot. my eyes feel rolled in cat litter. i open them wide and then squish them shut. they itch. i rub them. there is pain. i open them and the itching continues, worsens. i am breathing through my mouth and i am unable to open or close my eyes with any deal of comfort and they are watering and i look and feel like a zombie. i walk around with my arms out in front of me. i keep my knees locked and stagger around. i hunt for benadryl. my head pounds. i think about going home, but the only advantage to that would be that no one would be able to see me sneeze my lungs out of my nose. these invisible things keep attacking my face, and i have to control the urge to scratch my face off.

Monday, March 08, 2004

how to describe the slimy itchy redness that used to be my eyes...ahh spring has arrived! or perhaps not! i think it's the lucky strikes i smoked last night while trying to pretend that my boyfriend staring at the wall and unsuccessfully attempting to pretend that his exgirlfriends presence at the dinner party wasn't bothering him wasn't bothering me. jesus, my sentences are reading like a sixth grade journal. but so anyway, i smoked these lucky strike cigarettes that my sister had given me. they had filters. which they usually don't have. in fact, the whole point of buying the pack of lucky strike cigarettes and slapping them down on the bar in front of you is to make you look tough, like, "i don't need a filter to keep at least some of the shit that i'm inhaling out of my lungs. i'm fucking indestructible!" but these were pansy-assed cigarettes in a tough-looking box and they tasted like those cheap old man cigarettes...old gold or whatever...and after i came in from outside i smelled like i should be sitting in a state-funded vet's home with an afghan over the shriveled remains of my legs, chain smoking these cheapo smokes and coughing until i throw up. they made my eyes water. then itch. i rubbed my eyes until i could hear the squishing sound that signals that maybe i was rubbing a bit too hard, but oh! it felt so good. and the relief that came from this frantic eye rutting was fleeting at best, and it simply came running back into my face at full throttle, and all last night, even after a lukewarm bath, my eyes just kept getting more raw and sandy. right now, even, while i'm typing this, if i squish my face up and really squeeze my eyes shut, the best thing that happens is a temporary reprieve from the itching by the introduction of a minor pain. oh visine! where for art thou?

Thursday, March 04, 2004

8:30am dentist appointment. i figure if i schedule body maintenance first thing in the morning, i'll get a jump start on the day. i arrive about 5 minutes early. attempt to check in. lady tells me that i'm at the wrong clinic, that where i want to be is all the way across town. so i jump back in my car and break the speed limit(sorry mom) for 15 minutes and get to the other clinic at 8:40. i explain what happened to the receptionist, who looks about 13 years old, and she said, no problem, they called us to let us know. i figure i'm off the hook here because really there's no way this is my fault. the hygenist, whom i'll call sandy, although that's not her real name, calls my married name(argh!) and without waiting for me starts to speedwalk back into the antichambers. i'm catching little glimpses of her ponytail as she turns corners and is sort of talking to me over her shoulder about how we really need to get going because i was late and she is overbooked(or something) and they don't give her enough time and on and on. i'm stilll feeling a little guilty and think to offer to reschedule but she tells me to sit down and rips through my file and shoves my xrays up in the little wall-hanging light table thing that i think is so cool, and she says to no one: "Oh great. You've got ALL your teeth. Well, that just adds to it." thinking she is joking i sort of half turn and say "what?" and sort of smile but she looks like she just has a headache and would just as soon strangle me as scrape my teeth. and then my repressed catholic guilt kicks in and i start to think that maybe i deserve whatever retribution she's going to dish out to me for having all my wisdom teeth. and speaking of which, i've never heard anything negative from any of my many dentists and hygenists about my teeth. i have room for my wisdom teeth, they're straight with out braces, i have one tiny cavity, my gums are the gums of someone far healthier than myself...basically i have teeth that everyone dreams of having. which sounds snotty and solopsistic and everything except that my radiant features pretty much end there. so i take great pride in my teeth. plus i don't have nightmares about the dentist like most people i know, as i have never really had any negative experiences there...they just look around in my mouth and i try to breathe through my nose and then they give me a new toothbrush that i use to clean around the kitchen sink and then i go home. but i digress. so this lady, sandy, she's not kidding. she's stressed and is not happy with me. and i want to do anything in my power to undo whatever unfairness has been dealt to her this morning, because in like, two minutes, she's going to have a sharp metal hook in my main orfice. so i sit still. i open before she says. i waive the polishing, which would take at least 15 minutes, i think. she doesn't say anything, and she doesn't really seem to be taking out anything on my gums, and the dentist comes in and looks around in my mouth and tells me i have great teeth and that's it and sandy seems relieved. and then she swipes some minty flouride around my gums and that's it. she must feel sort of bad because she says as she's finishing up my chart, "At least you were easy to work on." which, fuck it, i take as an apology, which is the closest i'll get here. i can't believe that i got chided in a dental office for having all my teeth. more teeth means more scraping, which takes more time, i guess. jesus, if anyone reading this is a dental appointment scheduler, for the love of god, give these people a few minutes extra every day. and double check which clinic you are sending people to. so i left and started drining away and felt an aching settling into my whold mouth. pervasive. definitive. all i could eat was peanut butter bread by sucking on it until it sort of dissovled. it ached all day. my fear of the dentist is now elevated.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

my ex-husband asked his girlfriend to move in with him, and i figure that now is the time for us to renegotiate my visitation rights for our dog, jake. as it is now, i see him maybe two or three times a month. i go to what used to be our house, and grab jake's leash from the wall, and take him for a walk to the park or just around the neighborhood. this is alright, i'd like to see him more, but there is plenty of weirdness involved for me to show up at the house at all, the memories are pretty huge, and jake himself can cause me to completely break down when i leave him looking out the front window standing on the couch. my boyfriend has suggested, with my best interest in mind, that maybe it's time to just let jake go on with his life without me, and i do agree intellectually, but emotionally i am having a rough time. anyfuckingway, all that crap leads me to where i was yesterday, which was the grotto, that catholic outdoor rock formation thingy with piped in chanting, and i know it's corny, but i love to just go there and be outside in the quiet. it's just a big park that isn't noisy and loud and whatnot because the signs everywhere scare the crap out of people and beat them into blessed silence: THIS IS A SACRED PLACE. HELP US KEEP A PRAYERFUL ATMOSPHERE. so i got my 99 cent candle from the mexican food section of safeway and strode on in through the drizzle and went up to the alter and lit my candle and asked the universe for some help in achieving peace with the probable permanent separation of a dog and his estranged woman. when i was sure that the candle was going to stay lit, i retreated to the pews and sort of curled up with my feet on the kneeler, and god, if my grandmother was alive and with me she would've totally flipped out about that. so i'm sitting there and watching my candle kind of stop flickering and it's blending in with all the other candles lit for loved ones or problems or whatever and i'm starting to feel a little better and this old lady in a purple jacket walks up and stands in front of the candles and starts picking them up one by one. i put my feet on the ground and immediately tense up.. what the hell does she think she's doing? i'm thinking that maybe she's just voyeuristic and is looking for the written prayer under them or maybe hoping to take some cheap rosary that may have been left behind, i mean, people collect weirder things for less reason. but then it starts to make me mad because she's actually looking under each and every one and it's taking a long time and i had just wanted to sit here and feel the serenity and space out watching the little flames lick their cheap glass containers, and this old lady is totally blocking my view of my own perceived avenue of calm acceptance and then i feel like an ass, because who thinks stuff like that? so then it hits me: what she's doing. she takes a candle that has gone out because of the weather or whatever, but still has some wick left to it, and she holds it up to the wick of my brand new, high in the glass candle and relights it. she's relighting the flames of other people's wishes. with my candle. she's using the flame i lit to help myself to feel better about not being able to see a dog to keep in the "eyes of god" the thoughts and prayers of other people, probably with way more serious problems than myself. and now i just feel like the biggest shithead in the world and somehow that feeling like a jerk makes me realize that things are going to be okay for real and that maybe feeling crappy about feeling crappy is the best thing that's happened to me in a long while, spiritually speaking. and i get up from my little birdshit spattered bench and get in my car and turn up a billy joel album really loud and sing along with it all the way home.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

email me at! tell me about your weird pets! commiserate about the crippling effects of OCD! recipes! i need good recipes with exotic spices!

Monday, February 09, 2004

i was taking my vitamins at the drinking fountain at work, and i didn't quite have enough water to swallow all three and the vitamin c got stuck in my throat, right where it branches off into my lungs. i could feel it rattling around in there when i inhaled. it hurt. alot. i was terrified that i was going to aspirate it, and end up having to go to the hospital to, well, i don't know what they do when you've inhaled a vitamin c, but they could at least pat my head and tell me it'll be okay. so anyway, the pain was actually quite explosive, and i tried to drink more water to try to wash it down, but that just gave me one of those headaches associated with eating ice cream too fast, "brain freeze" i think is the popular nomenclature...and so i tried rubbing my throat like i've done with cats and dogs taking heart worm medication, but that just hurt worse, and i'll never do that to another animal, i can tell you that with all confidence. then i started to panic. it wasn't moving. i started sweating. then my gag reflex kicked in. i barely made it to the bathroom, swinging into the first stall and dropping to my knees like a penitent sinner before god, dry heaving into the bowl. nothing happened. my stomach contracted and i made awful noises, but the vitamin held its ground. i couldn't believe it. i was still retching, producing copious amounts of drool, i was drooling continuously into the toilet. i didn't realize i was capable of conjuring up that much mucus, it was scary unto itself. finally, sweaty and getting dizzy from my gut clenching over and over, i felt the tablet move, not much, but a little. and then it moved again, so i swallowed, hard. it went down my throat painfully, but it wasn't threatening to get sucked into my lung anymore, and so it was good. after a minute, it disappeared into my digestion, and i got up and went back out to shelve books, and i tossed the bottle of vitamin c in the trash. only flintstones for kids for me from now on...

Monday, February 02, 2004

the latest on the whole doctor experience:
after my appointment to find out what was wrong with my stomach, a grueling ordeal with tubes and cameras inserted unceremoniously into my butt, which also left me feeling like i had eaten a can of olestra for the rest of the day, i mentioned that i had a mole on my back that i would like removed, and could i make an appointment for it. my doctor said he himself could just freeze it off right then and there, and told me to wait just a second and he'd get the liquid nitrogen. i was thinking "jesus christ! liquid nitrogen? i'm outta here!" but there was the little problem of me not having any pants on and there wasn't anything sitting around that i could use to wipe myself down with before getting dressed, and my doctor could walk back in at any time and so i just sat there, pantsless and feeling quite gross. then he came back with what looked like a blow torch and i gasped, for real, like in a movie or something, and he reassured me that it wasn't at all scary, and proceeded to blow some liquid nitrogen on his hand to prove it. so i lifted up my shirt and let him blast me with the chemical and it felt like a little needle was being dug into my ribs, but he was right, it wasn't engulfing me in flames or anything. then he told me that in a week it should scab and fall off, like any other frostbitten area of skin. cause you know, i've lost lots of chunks of me to the frigid effects of frostbite. i thanked him and he left me with a box of tissue that i was incredibly happy to have, and i spent the next several minutes trying to will myself to not look at the table with the instruments that had recently been in my butt.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

i've been a very bad girl and have not been keeping you informed about the drama that swirls in my life like a mist in the night. whaa ha ha! but i'll try to make it up to you by telling you shocking tales and weird stories that i have not made up!! they are all true!

i found out that the farm i grew up on was bought for a song by my grandfather because the people who lived there previously died horrible grisly deaths and no one else wanted the land. the wife developed a mysterious illness and died slowly and painfully. after she died, her husband hung himself(possibly in the house, i'm not clear on that detail). but my grandfather neglected to tell any of his family these gruesome details until after they bought the property and had moved it. yeek!

my divorce is final. my name has changed back to it's maiden self, although i don't feel like a maiden, that's for sure. my 'divorce ring' is in the process of being made. does anyone have a suggestion for the inscription? i've got a few ideas, but all of them seem corny and self-righteous and that's not really how i feel about it at all. it's not like "i've reclaimed myself." it's more like i've looked at myself under a microscope and am now better able to categorize all that is me. also, the tupperware my mom gave me in college that had our last name emblazoned on it to ensure it wouldn't ever end up in the wrong hands has now come back to being properly labeled. so that's a plus.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

last night at the cheap theater four of us ended up in the front row watching johnny depp channel keith richards and peppy le pew in that pirate movie. after paying only $3 to get in and $3 for a large popcorn, we settled in and munched down. the popcorn was salty and saturated with that fake butter stuff that's nuclear yellow colored yet oh-so-delicious, but it was also sort of stale tasting, even though we had just watched the girl make it not 10 minutes before.

"i wonder if, along with the second run movies, they also buy the leftover popcorn from the other theaters." kristi said.

"i was just wondering that same thing." i replied

about halfway through the movie, my keen snout picked up a foreign scent. it was sweet, fruity, like adolescent perfume. it smelled good. i was about to let everyone know that i was going to go to the lobby in search of the source of the smell at the candy counter, but i decided to see if the edible part of my sensory experience was all in my head. i turned to kristi.

"i smell candy," i said, sniffing the air slightly. the odor had intensified when i leaned over her. "do you?"

she gave me a look and squinted. then she thrust her hand into her bag and pulled out a ziplock bag full of runts. how had i smelled the sugary goodness through the bag? who knows? i'm a big pig, i think that's apparent.