Friday, June 27, 2003

Taking A Swim
Grandma tried to off herself on Tuesday. It was high drama Grandma style. Nothing as messy as a gun or pills or some such. Nope. Not my granny. She took a cab to a department store (Mervyns) in Petaluma, a town about 15 miles from here. God only knows how much the fare cost. Now mind you, Grandma is mostly blind and can't see squat, but she still managed to call the taxi cab company, get herself to Petaluma, and go in to shop. We're not quite sure why she went to Mervyns other than perhaps a nostalgi for the time when she was able to drive herself over there and shop til she dropped. Which she can't do any longer. Not only because she can't see but also because finances are tight now that she and grandpa require 24-hour care and she's had all of her credit cards taken away from her and she's not allowed to charge anything any longer. She does have a knack for accrueing debt (seems to be in the genes...). Perhaps that is why grandpa's repetative worries and grumbles are mostly about finances.

So grandma took a taxi to Mervyns. There she met a very nice family in the swimsuit department. They were looking for suits so they could have a day trip to the sea to Dillon's Beach. I can picture the scene now. Grandma's ears perking up at the mention of her old digs & haunt, Dillon's Beach. Where her kids grew up for much of their adolescent life, where grandma lived well into her late 50's. I have vivid memories of Dillon's, driving there in the summer and building sand mermaids with sea kelp hair and sand dollar jewelry. The memories of my Grandma that have the deepest scent, the most heart-pulling emotions, they are all associated with Dillon's Beach and her house in Tomales.

I'm imagining my grandmother with her blind eyes in Mervyns, her veins fired with the thought of a last trip to Dillon's Beach.

"Oh my! So then you and your family are going out to the beach today, are you?" Her voice isn't wavery, she doesn't have the sound or heart of an old lady.

"Yes, well, the kids have just begun their summer vacation and we thought it might be nice to head out to the beach. Sam, stop hitting your sister with your swimtrunks." The mother has long, unstyled hair. Bohemian-chic with $150 Camper sandals on her feet.

"My goodness, I do remember the time I lived there in Tomales as though it were yestereday. It's so funny you should even be going there. My daughter was supposed to meet me here so we could head out to Dillon's Beach ourselves. I told her if I wasn't here by noon to just go on without me. What time is it now? 12:20 you say. Oh my, I am so worried we may have missed each other and now she thinks I don't want to go. It's so difficult getting old, you know. Nothing moves as fast as it used to."

"You used to live in Tomales? How funny! I grew up there until I was 17!"

"Why you're joking! You must be the same age as my youngest daughter! I bet the two of you even knew each other!"

And the Bohemian mother would be snookered in from thereon out. Grandma hitched a ride with this family, grandma & her Winner Walker. She went with this family in their family car and rode out the 30 miles to Dillon's Beach with a family she did not know and who did not know her and got herself to the last place in California where she probably remembers having utter & complete freedom.

I was flabbergasted when I first heard what she'd done. Then Auntie Beth said she'd intended to "take a swim" but it was too cold. My Grandmother can barely walk, let alone get out there and breast stroke in the Pacidic Ocean. "Taking a swim" is a very nice metaphor for a romantic-seeming way to off one's self. There is hilarity and utter sadness in this image of my grandma, pushed so far past these limits she never expected to have to reach or summit.

I called her yesterday. I told her I am taking her out to breakfast, just she and I.
, you lost A botton 7:42 PM

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Judging a Perceiver's Perception of Judgers
We're house sitting for Jaime & Rick. Jaime is in my writing group. They live in a neighborhood that was built in the 80's & 90's. I realized this morning when I woke up how spoiled I've been living on the east side of town, the old part. The expensive part. The houses here start at about $500,000. I could never afford to live here if we didn't live with my parents. But I realized as I woke up how spoiled I've been. The neighbor's in this neighborhood are right on top of you. There was a dog barking and I assumed it was the dog, Maya, whom we are watching qlong with the house. I mean, the barking was right by my ear, it seemed. Come to find out, it was one of the neighbor's dogs. Which one? Who knows. The one right next to my ear, apparently.

Jaime has two kids. Both under the age of 10. She stays home and takes care of them & the house and Maya and she's heavily involved in both of her childrens' schools. I was going through her cupboards trying to cook, as I had volunteered at church to do the "social hour." I don't know about other churches, but the Catholic church that I went to all throughout my childhood never had any kind of social hour after Mass. It was just the Body of Chrict at Communion, and that was it. A flat, tasteless communion wafer and not even a sip of wine. At this church, which is Protestant, everyone gets together afterward and eats and drinks and talks. It's nice. Most of the people who go are older, quite a bit older. So Dave & I are like the young whipper snappers. But I always make something to take. This Sunday, however, I volunteered to cook and set-up and clean-up. Which brings me back to my original point. So I was cooking last night at Jaime's house. And of course I'm going through ever cupboard to figure out where everything is. It usually only takes one look at a kitchen to determine (according to personality type) if someone is a Judger or a Perceiver. I'm a Judger. That means that I get a kick out of organizing the hell out of everything I own or do. That means my tapes, CDs, records, DVDs and sometimes even books are all alaphabetized. It means the bowls in my cupbouards get stacked according to size, and there is a place for everything. It means when I cook, I do things in a certain manner and almost always the same way unless I make a mistake and then I have to improvise, which I can do, and I can do well as a matter of fact but the ability to improvise has little to do with the fact that I'm a Judger, but that a story for a different day. Being Judger means I often makes lists, even if they're only mental. It means I do not respond to the world spontaneously as a FIRST response, altho again, because of other aspects of my personality, I can be spontaneous if I have to. But PLANNING is a Judger's middle name. Perceivers, on the other hand, do not have a strong sense of organization for the mundane. Perceivers can organize, but it tends to only be for those things that of the most importance to them. They may be extremely organized in the workplace, for example, but at home their office looks as though a paper bomb exploded. Cupboards, in other words, are a place to put things, but do not need to be organized. Cupboards serve the purpose for putting and concealing, not for being neat and tidy, like your average Judger will do, whether or not they cook. Jaime is a Perceiver. I am a Judger. I am swimming around her kitchen last night looking for this whisk or that spoon, and without even thinking, without even really being able to control myself, I immediately began organizing. Small bowls into big bowls, little pots into larger pots, spoons go with spoons, forks go with forks, etc. etc. This is the front that is the back, fromt face frontwards. Perceivers must look at a Judger's kitchen and be absolutely overwhelmed by the responsibility intrinsic in using that kitchen. They must feel themselves seizing up and feeling hopeless because a Judger's kitchen by default means you have to know or remember where everything you use goes. It cannot just be put back in the cupboard, because there is a certain spot in every single cupboard or drawer for every single pot, pan, utensil, bowl, cup, saucer, plate, vase, glass, machine - that exists in a Judger's kitchen. On the flip side, a Judger would look at a Perceiver's kitchen and not know where to start because the logical place for a thing may not be where that thing resides. The lid to the teapot, for instance, might be in the drawer with the spare candles & silver polish not with the teapot itself.

What is the point of this whole digression into kitchens & personlity type? I guess more than anything, I just realized, if people just knew about personality type, we might avoid all sorts of misunderstandings and pissing matches about how thing should be done.

Dave's a Perceiver. I'm a Judger. Need I say, things in the kitchen usually get done my way...


, you lost A botton 2:10 PM

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

viagra & italian cheeses
This getting up early to trot m'arse around in the morning is sooooooo irritating. I know, I know, this will eventually be like second nature to me, but at the moment it just feels like a big boring cow cud. But, whatever. I need to stop complaining and just do it. Like Nike. Ya. That's me. A real just doin' it kinda Nike advertisement.

Dave's been Mister Hunny Hubby since school's been out. Washing dishes, doing laundry, making breakfast, walking with me. It's weird. When things are going well, I never have a desire to write about them. It's only when things feel like utter crap that I want to sit and bitch & moan. I guess because the good times feel so stable, so what's the point of writing about them, right? That seems kind of screwed up, though. I don't get it. I'm trying to remember the last time I was deliriously happy. Did I feel like writing? Did anything I wrote about feel like it had any "energy" behind it (what a buzz phrase - "that writing has real energy")? I don't know. I don't even know if it really matters. It just struck me that I can get all into writing here or for my writing group when I'm being the Angst Queen. Maybe it's because misery gets so much more media buzz than happiness. I mean, you can't really make any money off of people's happiness, but you sure as shootin' can off of their misery. Drugs sell so much better when someone's unhappy. Need to feel happier/less emotional/more secure/less constipated/more virile/less intimidated/more decongested/less headachey/more symbolic/less invisible - Hey! There's a drug for what ails you! But if you're ALREADY happy. Well, that there is whole different ball of wax and there ain't no nothing that no body is going to sell you or have you inject or ingest with food & water or snort or anything else that a person would take to want to change that state. I mean, if you're "happy," you usually would like to sustain that particular high as long as possible and interfering with it means making it end. Anyway. So maybe that's what writing is, then. A drug. An altered state that a person, who is essentially clean, can go to. I'm such a wuss, I don't do anything. No peccadillos for me. Just writing. Well, and probably food. Specifically chocolate & marzipan & italian cheeses. My food choices are particular, dammit. If I'm going to ingest the calories, they may as well be quality calories for heaven's sake. No weird flavored Oreos or Kraft macaroni & cheese for this chica. My food had better be all about Rolls Royce & Maserati.

Anyway. Maybe that's what the writing habit is for me. A drug to inject in the system to stave off the overflow of misery. Seems reasonable, I suppose. Speaking of writing, I'd better get my butt off to my writing group.

, you lost A botton 6:20 PM

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

I am a pooped camper this eve. Dave and I got up at 6:15 this am and went for a walk. I hate getting up in the morning. I can't believe I used to work out for 3 hours a day. I was someone else then, not me today. Now I can barely go for a 30 minute morning walk without feeling like I have to go to bed at 6:00pm. Fat lot of good it did me. All I wanted to eat at lunch was ice cream. Soy Dream Green Tea Organic ice cream. I know, it sounds grody but it really does rock. It's whacky, which is why I guess I like it. But I wanted ice cream lunch. Now I want cherries. Those big, fleshy ones that are perfect this time of year when they're in season. I think now I'm going to snore at my computer instead.
, you lost A botton 6:11 PM

Sunday, June 15, 2003

Writing in New Scientist (September 24, 1987), Edward Harrison observed: "Human beings of all societies in all periods of history believe that their ideas on the nature of the real world are the most secure. ...Like us, they pity the people in the earlier ages for not knowing the true facts. Unfailingly, human beings pity their ancestors for being so ignorant and forget that their descendents will pity them for the same reason."
, you lost A botton 2:13 PM

upsy daisy

I've been sick all weekend. It started on Friday when Jeff and I had sandwiches from broadway market and shared a bag of some new kind of potato chip. I hardly ever eat potato chips. I may never again. Chips didn't make me sick, some flu bug did. But hot damn if getting vomitty doesn't make you never ever want to eat some things again. At least for me. Because I abhor getting sick. I got home late Friday night, after 8:00. Working my ass off becuase mom is a stresscase and I feel like I've been a flakey office manager. So I worked on the marketing lists and calendared everything in Outlook for at least the next few months. Felt very salf-satisifed that I was doing something. But pissed because it was Friday and I was STILL at the office. So I made myself go home. Tired. Trying to get the picture straight in my mind of mom breaking down and crying at her desk, sobbing about watching her parents fall apart. Mom never cries. When she does, it's disconcerting and surreal. I always, when I was younger, wished she would cry. But now as we're getting older and I have no frame of reference, I don't have a clue how to react to her emotions. She's never really had them before. Not the strong sort, anyway. Only the acceptable Kodak kind. I was always the rogue child, throwing tantrums and screaming at the top of my lungs when I got upset or hurt or ignored. She spanked me in the parking lot of Safeway once when I was about 6. Who knows why, some 6-year old infraction like whining, perhaps. I started screaming and sobbing so loud after her hand hit my heiney, a woman hissed at my mother as she walked past with her grocery cart, "Parents like you ought to be reported to the police." Mom was horrified & embarrassed and I wouldn't shut up. Looking back, if she had just stopped telling me all the time to STOP or if I had ever seen her cry herself, I might have stopped crying or tantruming or yelling a lot sooner. But now, at 33, I don't know how to react, so the only thing I know how to do is work harder. So that's what I do.

And then I got sick with some flu and threw up all night. I felt sick after lunch, like a rock below my sternum. But not fluey. Then Dave & I ate Chinese and watched SLC Punk and all hell broke loose. I resisted for 5 hours. I hate getting sick. But I finally couldn't take the fever & aches & nauseousness any longer, so I gave in. I felt better but it wasn't over. I got sick again a few hours later. I slept all day yesterday, just drinking ginger ale. Dave got me some rice crackers, so I ate a few of those and downed some ibuprofin. My head still feels like it is full of razors. But my body doesn't ache anymore. Thankfully. Now it's just my right kidney, same one that sent me to ER about 2 years. I have this horrible fear that when I am in my mid-50's they'll tell me I need a kidney replcement. Don't ask me why. I'm psychotic. But it hurts today.

Oh ya, the caretaker, Tila, quit on Friday.
, you lost A botton 2:10 PM

Sunday, June 08, 2003

Closing In
Grandma doesn't like the new Fijian caretaker that mom found for them. Grandpa is back in the hospital, diabetic seizure, I think, but the majority of his consciousness is spent worrying about finances, where the money will come from. Grandma purses her lips and squares her jaw, trying to find a way to finnagle her way out dealing with a stranger in her house. Bethy told me today when she came over to use the computer that Tila, the caretaker, was making grandma a fishtail and fish head in a frying pan for her lunch. The idea of my grandmother eating the opposites ends of a fish for lunch is so comical & sad at the same time that they almost cancel each other out. When Bethy told me, I just stood there, blinked, said, "Oh." Having Tila living with them has taken away the need for me to cook for them so much, but I don't know, now, that that's necessarily such a good thing. But then you come against the problem of not stepping on Tila's toes by taking over meals again since she's supposed to be cooking for them as well. Jaysus.

Grandma gave me her book last week. She finished it awhile ago, before she had the stroke that struck her blind. Her novel is thick, housed in a purple binder. I read the first few pages. The writing is not totally "authentic" but the story has some potential. It's my latest project in the long string of projects I tie to myself like fishing line dangling lures. But I have this idea that if I can edit & embellish, do this novel with her before she dies, I can somehow keep her close forever and ever before she's ...~SNAP~...gone. I don't think she'll make it to see any kids I might have. And the thought of my kids not ever knowing her like I have, well, it just sucks. I want to know who my real grandfather was. I want to know how she met him and where he came from and if he really was Jewish and if he was married and if he really died or did he really have another family somehwere else, my half-aunts & uncles, cousins & grandparents. I want to know these things and it would seem like now would be the time to ask, but how to get the first word out, the beginning of the first question, I don't quite know how.
, you lost A botton 6:42 PM

Saturday, June 07, 2003

weighty matters
There are times when you think a lot about a thing because it sticks to you like someone's discarded Hubba-Bubba on the bottom of your cheap rubber sandal from Payless. You may not know much about that thing of which you are thinking, but still there is a niggling finger in the back of your brain that will not leave your grey matter alone. Nor your heart. Nor your lungs, even. Breathing becomes difficult and heart palpitations can be a somewhat common occurrence within the ribcage. I felt that way when I heard about & met the girl named Robin in Fresno. The small one. Fragile. Anorexic.

But see, there's a discrepency between my thinking and the reality of what occurs within the mind/heart/lungs of Robin. I see her, touch her hand, smile at her and my heart nearly gives out with the weight of my inability to understand. Side-by-side: Blonde & fair, small, thin, introverted and shy compared to my dark Hawaiian heft, extroverted & unstoppable. Appearances show us at opposite ends of the color spectrum.

It is always more difficult to express, precisely, on any kind of page, what feelings and confusions zing through the bloodstream within my body. Words are the only tool I have at my disposal to attempt to describe the mess of emotions that flood my veins every hour/minute/second. I took up a more focused interest in the camera to derive another medium in which expression could be captured. Color. Light. Shadow. Seconds caught in a lens. Exposed. But it's a bumbling art upon which I still don't have a grasp. It is new to me and my grammar is stilted and kindergartenly. So I am back to words. An art, at least, within whose language I am familiar and comfortable. Within whose language I can claim more than a cursory proficiency. But it is not always adequate. And it is not always beautiful.

I came home from Fresno tired. There is something about having to necessarily be in front of people because of a role that has been assigned to you by social stricture versus being in front of people by choice. I have no qualms about putting myself in the spotlight, but I also step out of it when I want to. When you're required to be in the spotlight, the antennae at full extension, there's a hyper-sensitivity to the very air, and sound becomes intensified, sometimes high-pitched. I never intentionally put myself in situations where I am lit and focused upon where I cannot detract the attention away from my physical presence by using humor or wit. I have cultured my extroversion to focus the attention to my personality and away from the body I find unbearable. I learned this trick a long time ago in gradeschool when I realized for the first time that the babyfat wasn't going anywhere and no one in my class thought it was cute.

Peel back the skin. Remove the fatty layer. The veins of blood are red with that exposure to air. Type-O+. I imagine Robin has the same blood type as me. I am in a horrendous car accident, serious trauma, need a blood tranfusion. Robin's blood staunches my flow. The thin lines of her save my life. I imagine these scenarios, improbable and highly detailed, because they impart a bigger picture in which two opposite ends of the color spectrum can still step lightly on the middens of a common ground.
, you lost A botton 1:32 PM

strike it

Posing Matron du Jour
(moiself made the rosy bouquets; beauty, no?)

I've been going about the business of getting the pictures back from the trip to Fresno . Of course, my idea of "cool" wedding pictures has little or nothing to do with what other people might consider "proper" wedding photos. But that's usually the case with me anyway. What else is new.

, you lost A botton 12:23 PM

Saturday, May 31, 2003

Skin Deep
The wedding went fine.
The dress fit. I don't know how. Maybe I lost water weight, who knows.
Who cares.

Fresno was hot, a hell, like being stuck in a place that is only known from the main freeway as Gas, Food, Lodging - Next Exit.

I was the maid of honor. Or rather the matron because I'm married. Matron of Honor. I felt like an old cow hag who needed to be wearing pantyhose for vericose veins and sensible black shoes. Clare Storck who I've known since childhood but who I never really KNEW was a bridesmaid and Michelle, the wife of one of the groom's groomsmen, was another bridemaid. They are both skinny. They both were telling me stories about bulimia & anorexia. Michelle said more times than I care to count, "We've all been there, we've all done that." Meanwhile I could only shake myhead inwardly in confusion thinking, "No, not all of us, not me. I don't know what you mean." And there was a part of me wishing, wishing for all I was worth that I could have THAT illness, that problem with my weight rather than the opposite. It's like people with straight hair who wish it was curly or curly-haired folk wishing it was straight. Only difference is, I don't think girls with skinny eating disorders ever wish they had fat eating disorders. I think it's only the other way around. Fat people wishing they were skinny while skinny people want to stay skinny but without having to binge & purge or starve or exercise like bananas.

There was a girl at the rehearsal & the wedding. Robin. Blonde, painfully thin, wide round eyes, long hair, whip-handle hips. Michelle & Nicola talked about her before I met her. The 3 of us were in the banquet room of the Fresno Ramada, trimming flowers for the wedding the next day. They talked about Robin, the groom's brothers' girlfriend. "She is sooooo wrong. That girl is SICK. Sick I tell you! She needs help. I caught her in the bathroom one time? At this restaurant? Ohmygawd, it was so sick. You know, we've all been there, done that, but you have to grow up, grown out of that phase. She was puking all over the place. Puking her dinner up. She hardly ate anything anyway. I mean, she, like, picked at her salad and wouldn't have it with dressing, she cut it up into a million pieces and moved it around her plate like that meant she was eating. It was soooo wrong! I mean, I didn't actually hear her puking, but it was like the tailend of it, you know? That gagging sound, that getting it caught in your throat sound." Their voices, as they talked about her, had that scimitar edge, that razor bleed of cattiness that women get when they talk about another woman, trying to tear the flesh into little, bloody ribbons without every saying a word to her face. They both had it, both Nicola & Michelle. Frowns folding in between their eyebrows, downturned lips, arched eyes, cocked-to-the-side heads. They were vicious as vipers hissing in their two-person huddle, oblivious to my muddled incomprehension, ripping thorns off roses with every condemnation.

At the church, a giant Catholic church of cement and Partridge Family colored stained glass, beneath the life-sized bleeding Jesus on the cross suspended with invisible cables above our heads, Robin stood in the aisle, alone, as her boyfriend Keith waited for his cue to trundle down the red carpet with Clare hooked to his arm. Nicola, all 5 feet, Italian sailor-mouth of her, descended on Robin. "Would you get the hell out of the aisle for Christ's sake? You're NOT in the wedding!" Robin, like a stunned and small-boned wild animal, ducked down and slid into the second pew, by herself.

I seem incapable of controlling that part of myself, the part that sees people being treated unfairly. I have gotten on Nicola's ass more times than I can ever or care to count about not treating people like they are inferior, stupid, or beneath her. She has been taught this behavior by her mother. I do not tolerate it when she is around me, and I am always right behind her, sweeping up her messes, placating and bandaging unneccesary wounds. "Ya, it's not like you're in the wedding, you know." I whispered conspiratorily to Robin.

She looked up at me, searching for more reprimands, but saw the huge grin on my face, and smiled. "Gosh, ya, I know. I didn't mean to get in the way."

"Don't worry about it, she's just stressed out." I excused Nicola's behavior because she is my best friend.

Robin looked like she was was not more than 19-years old. I figured she had to be at least legal because Keith is 33. I figured he was a horny old goat. She looked more like she was 16, but I didn't think he was that stupid. Imagine the look on my face when I found out she was 28. At the rehearsal dinner she insisted I sit beside her. Probably because I was the only one who said any kind of nice word to her. The boys ignored her, the women shunned her. Perhaps my ignorance of skinny eating disorders made her feel comfortable. Nicola & Michelle had gone on and on about how little she ate, that she never ate anything on her plate. Both Nicola & Michelle are midgets. Sitting next to me, Robin proceeded to down an entire loaf of sourdough bread, her whole salad, a bowl of marinara sauce and about 1/3 of a bowl of plain spaghetti. I made sure I didn't watch her as she ate. I made sure I didn't ask for any bread. I made sure I ate most of my food, even when I was too full. I did not want her attention drawn too easily to the fact that she had eaten, and eaten in my presence, and she had eaten an entire loaf of bread. Her stomach must have been stretched and bloated. I'm sure that night she was miserable, her stomach muscles aching from the retching.

I talked to Clare about all this. She used to be a nanny for Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in Australia. Now she lives in LA, in Venice, nannying for a loaded but innocuous Jewish family with adorable children. She told me about Nicole's obsession with food, how she is passing this sad inheritance on to her daughter Bella. Telling their chef that her daughter Bella needs to be eating less carbs, less carbs, dammit. Bella is 7-years old. Clare told me about her own obsessions with food, about her prior exercising habit, about that consciousness that never really leaves you once it has introduced itself to you. "They go hand in hand, anorexia & bulimia. Usually, anyway. Nicole would disappear into that giant house of theirs to purge, I don't think Tom ever knew about it. But he had his own weirdnesses anyway." Talking to Clare it dawned on me that the reason Nicola and Michelle were so hard on Robin is because they themselves have struggled too with bulimia, in some form or another. It occurred to me that their anger bordered on jealousy, that if they weren't "allowed" to do it, then neither could Robin.

I am an outsider to all this, to food issues of deprivation. Mine perhaps are born from the same insecurities, the same discrepancies between image and reality. I've become more aware of my martyr-like approach to the world, this need to give of myself beyond the scope of what is necessary or even right. I give to the point of utter denial to myself, much of the time. Selfishness is a bad word in my vocabulary. I martyr myself to the altar of my husband, my mother, my friends. On the altar of strangers. To fucked-up-but-not-bad-girls like Robin who have in some way had so much taken away from them that they feel the need to self-deprive to control anything else leaving them unless it is self-inflicted, self-chosen. I hand myself away on silver and gold and platinum platters that I have hand-hammered and tempered - my creativity, my love, my strength. Given away freely. Until all I have left, it seems, is the pleasure of food, of fabulous and gourmet and prided upon food into which I pour everything I am so that I may have alittle bit of myself served back to me on a platter, on a white china plate with chipped edges, but a platter nonetheless. A platter I hand back to me.
, you lost A botton 2:27 PM

I've been unable to view my blog for a few days. Some rigamarole that the techie wizards fixed for me. Thank you techie wizards.

, you lost A botton 2:27 PM

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Vinegar Head
I'm leaving for Fresno tomorrow for Nicola's wedding. I am so NOT looking forward to this. I guess because of everything that's been going on. Besides the fact that I'm too fat for the dress I have to wear as the maid of honor. I am so discouraged and feeling like I'd rather die than walk around all day in a too-tight dress that I'm going to look like an ass in. Dammit. I hate this. Hate it, hate it, hate it. But she is my best friend and I am not going to stress her or myself out over this. I just wish it was already over. I hate over-priced party dresses and uncomfortable shoes and stupid smiles for photographs no one ever looks at again.

Oh, I am a barrel of joyful tidings, am I not?

I saw grandma on Sunday, for the first time since her stroke. The difference was marked. My sister went to pick her up to bring she and grandpa over for dinner with the whole fam. All the aunts & uncles were discussing what's to be done. I held grandma's hand while she shuffled unsteadily down the brick path, past the roses and camelia, the hydrangea and fern, to the back yard. She kept running me off the path and I wondered if the shapes of all those plants looked like looming, dark shadows ready to trip her up at every step. She can see shadows, shapes and some color. But no definition. She has swapped right for left and left for right. She looks at you when you speak but it's because she is following the sound of your voice, the shape of your shadowy bulk. I broke down this morning on the phone while talking to someone about her.

My grandma.
The one & only person in the whole wide world who was aware, when I was a child & she was the coolest person I knew, what was in my head & heart without me ever once having to explain.
, you lost A botton 6:46 PM

Friday, May 16, 2003

It is Friday.
I'm glad.
That's all for today.
, you lost A botton 6:17 PM

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Spring is in the air. Ain't life grand?
Pic taken with my SuperSampler nifty camera.

, you lost A botton 8:42 PM

Explanation of Blog

It's interesting what happens to your psyche when you realize other people are reading your words.
Letís get to the point.
Iím talking about myself, right?

Assumption: when others are reading my words, they begin to judge me by those words. Which isn't necessarily bad or good, I guess, it's just human nature. But if the people that read my words happen to know me or Dave or my family, do they judge me even more so, more harshly? That is the power of words after all, isn't it? They give people the ability to judge others as they will, I guess.

Thereís always that persnickety trouble with writing of any kind. See, the internet is somewhat innocuous. If you blog, most people who read you don't know you and those who do know you were either invited to come read or else found you by pure fluke. When you decide to publish your work, when you're making a conscious decision to put your words out there for the greater public, there is always the risk that you're going to get peopleís tail feathers in a right tight spin. That's the glory of being a writer. It is also the irony. The more successful you are with the words you write, the more likely you are to draw fire. From strangers and from family and from friends.

But I'm no successful writer. I'm just a woman who considers herself writer who works with a writing group, who writes in her blog, who writes in her hard-bound journal. I've never been published. I just write. Like lots of folks who do this very thing I am doing at this very second. By doing this, you agree that itís OK that other people read what youíre writing. Thatís kind of the whole point. Itís where I say what I have no other place to say.

What I write here doesnít get said in my hardbound journal. My journal is my absolute place for saying what rankles my head & heart, where the bile & the burn, the glory & the hopes & the dream, those things that have nowhere else to go, itís where they get put down.

So whatís the point of a blog, then, if I keep journal? Because letís face it, Iím no dummy, this here wahine recognizes that this is a public forum, so whaddahell am I doing going about writing HERE when I can keep it all safe and sound and private in a journal at home on my dresser?

There are varying degrees of writing for someone who calls themselves writer. And to further add confusion to the equation, for every writer, these varying degrees vary. There is a need to know oneís voice is being heard. At some point, for most writers, you wants to know you are not so alone or weird or abject as you believe yourself to be, that there is perhaps another person who can understand and comprehend and GET what goes on behind the curtain. That is the void this blog fills for me.

Interestingly enough, the degree to which I reveal myself here is paradoxically expansive and limited. Some of my deepest wonderings get put on the page, inked out and given form. But I am a traditionalist at heart for the most part. My variety of ďdirty laundryĒ is tame and contained. The degree of hurt and anger and fire that I am capable of does not get voiced in this realm. I have never believed this to be a place I could do that with any levity or freedom. 1) because of the risk involved with other people taking issue with this being ďreal lifeĒ not a work of fiction and 2) that is just not my style.

Anea the gossip columnist? Hardly.

People get embarrassed when you talk about things like being poor. Like what your family is like or, worse yet, what theirs is like. When you talk about dead people. Or people who are dying. Or people who have weird disease. Or people whoíve recovered from weird diseases. Or people with ultra-conservative backgrounds. Or people with ultra-liberal backgrounds. People whoíve had abortions or brothers who died in an accident or aunts who were kidnapped or neighborsí husbands who wear pink frilly panties. People get embarrassed by the act of living that we do every day. Some people believe if they donít say anything or hide behind silence, no one will ever be any the wiser about THEM. Thatís the part that most people donít get. Silence is so often the most telling indicator about what is happening to them. It tells a whole lot about that which people think they are keeping silent. A central paradox to human nature.

Husbands and wives disagree.
Mothers and daughters argue.
Sisters get pissed at each other.
Grandmothers and grandfathers die slowly.
Friends say stupid things to each other.
Families have tiffs and everyone thinks theyíre right and everyone else is wrong.
People are unhappy.
Then theyíre happy.
People donít communicate.
Then they do.
Itís all part and parcel of what we call life.

And thatís basically what this blog is all about.

, you lost A botton 8:37 PM

Sunday, May 11, 2003

More wishing that weekends were solo ventures rather than coupled with a husband whose depressing nature is driving me to madness.

He went to the bank with money he had been ferreting away, without telling me. Money he wanted to put in a savings account he didn't want me to know about or for me to be connected to. Money for...what? Money to have for a rainy day so if we get in a fight he can flip me off, walk out the door, and have something to fall back on. That is my wild guess which I would guess is not such a wild guess after all. I would guess my wild guess is spot on and accurate. I would guess this is the case because I am usually spot on about such matters like wild guesses. But he went to the bank and they wouldn't open an account for him because you need a minimum of $300. He had $200 or so, dollars and quarters and twenties, wadded up in an empty plastic video case. He showed me it today so he could prove a point. A point about money and his ability to save but how it all doesn't matter anyway because he's still just a poor, white trash S.O.B. who can't even open a savings account because he doesn't have enough (his words, not mine). We were on our way to church. We haven't been in 3 weeks. I did not want to go again this AM. I feel like a cad, like a fake. What right to I have to be going to church, praising the Lord when I question my own belief system? Don't get me started on religion. I'll shut up now.

I didn't want to go. We were arguing.
Arguing about money because he has to pay $110 to get his credential from his piece-o-shite university. I told him it'd have to wait til next week when I get paid. All paychecks had been used to pay off bills, give my dad back the cash he loaned me to pay our taxes. "We will always be poor. We will always live like this. We will never have anything."

I want to slap him silly when he talks like that to me.
I want to shake him til his teeth rattle and come loose from his gums in his head like marbles in a vase of roses.
I want to scream at the top of my lungs til I've shot his eardrums and mine too and we can't hear each other anymore.

There's a part of me that is starting to believe him. How can we ever get ahead? How can we ever live anywhere but with my parents? How can we ever do anything but pay off debt? I am starting to hate him for this inability I have to hang on to hope. I blame him for it. I am starting to hate myself for being so ineffective. It is evident just by looking at me, my ballooning, un-hungry body. Fatty ham hock body starved for a realness I have only felt fleetingly in this life.

My life is not my own nor has it ever been. It is a series of decisions I made believing I was being helpful to others. A series of selfless-seeming actions I made in an attempt to have others think highly of me, all the while grating against it, wanting to be selfish all along. I am a woman without a backbone whose roar and spitting hiss are little more than sensory social accouterments I dangle from my lips because I think I'm supposed to.
, you lost A botton 7:25 PM

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Revlon Red
Outsiders create uncertainty, spontaneity. Alone, there is none of that. I know everything that I've thought and done. I am not surprised by myself.

This is wonderful insight. This is my freshest recommendation for the day, stolen from Michael, whose blog I was catching up on this eve.

Grandma had a stroke on Sunday. It was minor. It affected her optic nerve. My grandma is the closest definition of a Bohemian-before-her-time that I know. She will die soon. The thought is so saddening I can hardly bear it. She used to drive a convertible MG, this was in her 60's. We would drive to the coast together, she and I, and she would give me a green scarf to tie around my hair with the top down and KFRC on the radio. She would wear red Revlon lipstick and Jackie-O sunglasses, call me honey-pie and sing at the top of her lungs to the radio when she knew a song. We would drive to the coast and on those secret trips she would tell me about the mysteries this world holds, "Make sure you search out the mysteries, honey-pie. Life is just full of them."
, you lost A botton 7:56 PM

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Not only was my last post lost in space, so is my heart, head, and happiness.
This is becoming an unusually common occurrence. Which sucks in a big and stupid way.
I imagine myself living the next 50-60 years with these pathetic expectations that life can and will change and still feeling exactly like I do right now, at 33. An 83-year old lady with none of her shit together. Perhaps I am doomed.

I was driving to work yesterday morning. 8:30A, yawning behind the wheel of my Dodge Ram 1500. I look like I ought to be the running a ranch of some kind in that truck. My previous car was a roller skate. Driving to work down Patten Street. Construction going on, Ellie Maib's house sold. They ripped down her place, the same place I've known all my life, brown paint with tangerine trim, brick porch and matching garage. Gone now. Someone with some cash to burn bought the place, ripped down Ellie's house and garage and are building a newer and better place. I used to deliver newspapers there when I was 11 years old. Passed by the construction, the empty place where Ellie's house used to be. Landscaper already out with his blower on the corner in front of the architect's house, Michael something-or-other, I used to run his blueprints for him back when I worked at Copy Sonoma and nearly asphyxiated myself from the amonia. Another one of the old guard that got sold off to someone younger with more money who remodeled. Old neighborhood changes. Driving past Bill Fernandez' place, there he was in his Wranglers, baseball cap, and denim shirt, standing, arms crossed, before a glorious rose bush whose blooms were in full regalia. I blinked. Bill Fernandez is checking out his rose bush. What is wrong with this picture? He's a contractor, not the kind of guy you'd expect to be outside at 8:30 on a Monday morning inspecting his rose bushes. Yet there he was. I had to look back and make sure it was actually him. Stuck with me all day. The property used to be his mother's. Perhaps that was her rose bush. I noticed today on my way back to work from lunch that the bush is carefully trimmed, carefully trained to follow the fence. Orange and red and yellow blooms, like fire. It shouldn't surprise, I suppose. These unexpected moments when people do not stay within the boundaries that we have set for them.

Bill Fernandez is a rose afficianado.
Somehow that tickles my fancy like crazy.

, you lost A botton 6:52 PM

Friday, May 02, 2003

Oh, Donna!
Went out to lunch today with Jeff and his friend Donna. She's actually been a client in our office for years, but she & Jeff have become pretty close which was a little disconcerting for me at first (Mixing business & pleasure? Oh no!), but Donna's a cool gal and such a card. We're sitting at Round Table Pizza and I'm eating this crappy salad I got from the salad bar (major mistake...pukey spinach that looked like Jolly Green Giant snot and no cauliflower florets. OK, so I'm a weirdo and I love cauliflower florets and they're cheap and whaddaheck kinda cheap salad bar is it that doesn't have cauliflower florets, for cryin' out loud? Man alive). Anyway, Donna starts relaying this story about a little escapade she had at a local restaurant in town. There's a dinerish place (whose name I shall refrain from divulging here just on the off chance someone from there should ever find the evidence here in cyberspace) in town. They make great breakfasts, greasy-spoon hoggy heaven. Burgers and fries for lunch, tuna melts and root beer floats. Kind of a mini-Mel's Diner. So anyway, Donna's telling us this story about how she ordered fries from there and while she was waiting, she went to the restroom. Now, she's obviously been there a number of times because she was prepared with a screw driver and a replacement lightswitch plate. What was she doing with a replacement lightswitch plate? you might well be asking yourself. Apparently in the women's restroom at this diner, there was a lightswitch plate with Elvis on it. You turned the light on by flipping the switch which was cleverly placed in his grinding groin area. Donna just thought that lightswitch plate was da bomb, so she decided she was going to "borrow it." She planned it out so that she would order fries, took a screw driver with her and slipped into the restroom. "My hands were shaking so much while I was screwing the replacement in, I dropped the screws. I was so scared I'd be caught." But she did it and is thinking about making color copies of the plate so she can hang them all over town at other places of business. I think this idea is MARVELOUS. It's whacky and off-the-wall and perfectly insane. And random. Can you see it now in the local-yokel town rag? Headlines scream, Local Businesses Slipped the Switch By Mysterious Elvis Fan. Authorities puzzled by the recent theft of normal lightswitch plates to be replaced with lurid Elvis. The best part of her whole reprobate behavior was when she left the replacement, she had printed on it, "Elvis Has Left the Building."

She's thinking if she can get up the gumption to return it to its rightful owners, she'll put another sign on it that says, "Thank'ya. Thank'ya very much."
, you lost A botton 6:29 PM


© 2003 A. Botton
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That bee me.

(Updated 3/25/03)

my other abodes
::(updated 5/5/03)::
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Where are you?
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