Friday, November 30, 2007


Last day of the blogathon and I almost missed it! Boy would that have sucked! Not that I'm gonna be winning any prizes or anything. I mean, now that I think about it, I'm not really sure why I care about this at all. . .

Well, I committed to it and if I can't commit to people I guess I can commit to asinine novelty projects. So here I am. I'm about to hop in a nice hot bath and then I'll hop into a nice hot date with Mahavira at 7:30. I. Can't. Wait.

I have no exciting revelations today. I worked. Work was actually good. Dree kept coming to my office and sitting in a chair behind me. Just sitting. I'm not sure what she wanted but considering that her office is three floors away from mine, it's not like she was just passing through. . . I guess she's finally going to come sniffing around again. Well. I guess it was just a matter of time.

Honestly, though, my plate is pretty full right now. I'm not sure how many more ladies I can juggle. . .

Not really, I could totally juggle Dree too. I've got skillz.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

i always suspected

Working graveyard gives you cancer.

I can almost smell the class-action lawsuits brewing like bitter coffee. . .

kicked in the shins again work. I mean, work is kicking me in the shins, over and over. One thing after another, like getting stuck on graveyard last week, like having to come in on my day off Saturday, like that fucking training I remembered at the last minute Monday morning. Then yesterday I had that whole back problem and I still had to go pick up the bread donation, go buy the bingo prizes and then go work my whole goddamn shift b/c there wasn't anyone else to cover it.

Last straw? My goddamn relief didn't show up until after 12:30 last night which meant that I had to wait allllllllll the way until 1:36am to catch the next (and last) bus home. He literally walked in the door two minutes after the 12:36am bus had come and gone. Two minutes. I could've smashed a chair over his head.

And then you know what happened? I went up to the loft to lay down and wait out my hour of purgatory, and that late-coming fucker came up there too, laid down on the other couch, and WENT TO SLEEP!!!

(Please pardon the upcoming blast of capitols.)


Ok. Thanks. Sorry about that, it's just been building up for awhile. Whew. I feel a tiny bit better.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

narcotic haze

This morning I woke with the sensation that I'd overslept. Not that I had anywhere to be, I just hate to sleep past 9 and I knew I'd somewhere amongst the snoozes shut my alarm off completely. When I woke I assumed it was late, like maybe 10, and I felt a sense of groggy panic so I sat up really fast, straight up, and a pain tore through my back like lightening and my first word of the day was "FUCK!"

Which is to say, I pulled a muscle in my back this morning and now I feel like an invalid. I had all these things to do today. I won't bore you with the details of how I actually did them despite my infirmity. I'll cut to the good part, the part where I popped a Vicodin and crawled into a hot bath. What bliss. If only I hadn't had in the back of my mind the disturbing reality that I'd have to get up and drag myself to work by 4pm. Goddamn work.

I laid in the hot, hot bath and started reading Lady Chatterly's Lover, which I picked up from the library today. I don't know about you, but I alwasy just assumed this was another 19th Century novel of manners, or the lack thereof, set amongs Britain's aristocracy, but I was off by about thirty years. This book was published in 1929! I had no idea. Feels so modern.

I was just beginning to enjoy the book when the Vicodin swept over me like pulling down a gauzy curtain between me and my brain. My eyes got a little blurry. I realized I wasn't really following the words on the page. Wow.

Fortunately, the fog has lifted a little, my back feels marginally better, and now I'm heading off to work where I will try very hard to lay low and do as close to nothing as possible. And hopefully the Vicodin won't wear off for a long time.

just thought you might like to know...

"Question: Why did the Treasury Department remove the $2 bill from circulation?

The $2 bill has not been removed from circulation and is still a circulating denomination of United States paper currency. The Federal Reserve System does not, however, request the printing of that denomination as often as the others. The Series 2003 $2 bill was the last printed and bears the names of former Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snow and Treasurer Rosario Marin. As of April 30, 2007 there were $1,549,052,714 worth of $2 bills in circulation worldwide."

Taken from the US Treasury Department website. Follow this link to more fascinating information about money.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

i am the ogre who lives in the basement

A piercing shriek from upstairs reminds me that I hate my landlords' children. At 7:15 this morning I was dragged up out of sleep by the sound of stomping directly above my head. Those kids. They dance or wrestle, I don't know what they do, but it probably sounds like nothing up there yet the sound travels directly down and it sounds like angry pounding to me in my bed trying to sleep. After the dancing it was a sound over and over like a marble dropped on the hardwood floor and allowed to roll, then picked up and dropped again.

I finally fell asleep composing in my mind an email to send to my landlords. "This morning at 7:15 I was awakened by the pitter patter of little feet above my head. Only it wasn't a pitter patter so much as a loud stomping. I understand its probably hard to manage two little kids with so much energy, but would it be possible to maybe wait till 8:30 to start the stomping? Or perhaps let them stomp in a part of the house that's not directly over my bed?"

I drifted off with this in my mind and dreamed about my landlady, the wife, who is youngish and who was an art therapist before she reproduced, and I've always thought she was cute in a nerdy, over-educated, social-worker sort of way. I dreamed that I went over into their side of the basement to talk to her and she gave me a pile of my laundry and some things she had ready for me, including one of my books. I took the things back to my side of the basement (which, in this dream, was large, spacious, not underground, with lots of light and exposed brick walls) -- and I puzzled over these items.

I wondered how my landlady got my clothes and my book and I realized that she must have let herself in. I called her. I said, "I really appreciate that you've done my laundry, it's very sweet of you, but I would prefer in the future that you not let yourself into my apartment when I'm not here. I'm very private, I'd prefer to maintain that privacy."

And then, suddenly, she wasn't on the phone, she was in my apartment and we were talking. She was sitting on the floor leaning against one of my bookshelves and I knew that she was so bored with her life up there with the children and she'd been letting herself into my apartment as a distraction. "What do you want here?" I asked her. And she smiled, leaned back agains the shelves and said, "You have such wonderful books." I offered to loan her books.

I wanted to make something easier for her, but I wanted her to stop coming into my apartment. I sensed there was something more, something wrong. I said, "Is there anything you need from me? Anything I could do differently?" She furrowed her brow. She said, "Yes. My feelings are hurt about my painting." She pointed to a spot on the (exposed brick) wall that was empty. There was a painting of hers that I'd taken down, so long ago I'd forgotten about it, forgotten where I put it. I started looking.

In the end she left and I realized that she'd made me these arm cuffs, for kayaking. Kind of like arm-warmers (which are kind of like leg warmers) but these were made out of stiff animal hide. There was a note attached explaining that the material would relax over time, that this is how the Inuit kept their arms warm while kayaking in the cold. I tried them on and the dream ended.

Monday, November 26, 2007


What? Another day so I have to write another post? Haven't I written everything already?

No, I neglected to tell you that I had to work Saturday night, which is not a night I usually work. I had to work because all our staff were behaving like douchebags and calling in sick over the holiday weekend. Like we're so dumb we don't know what you douchbags are doing. Like we think you're really sick.

Normally, I would've been content to stay at home (or, better yet, go to the Double Down dance at Halocene as planned) and let the staffing crisis play out on its own without me (why should I care, it's my day off!), but this isn't "normally" this is "I really want the job of assistant program director and this is exactly the kind of rising-to-the-challenge, ass-kissing manuever that will help guarantee it's me and not Perving who gets the job." I hate Perving. I'd like to push Perving in front of the Max train.

So, as if the universe wanted to give me my money's worth Saturday night, someone set a huge blaze in a rubbermaid trash can which I got to drag outside (in the midst of its melting down to a sticky goo) and blast it with a fire-extinguisher. I won't lie: it was awesome. It was the highlight of my week. And, for the first time, I actually *did* feel a power-trip as I *made* everybody stand out in the cold for five minutes even though the fire was out and even though I could've let them all back inside. I didn't want to let them back inside, I wanted to punish them all just a little tiny bit for all the various ways they'd all been shits that day. Because, whether they knew it or not, they'd *all* been shits at least a little.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


I have been happily single for several months now and happily living alone for almost two years, but just now, watching a movie ("The Lives of Others") I realize what I miss. I don't always miss it, just sometimes, like now when I'm tired and feeling a little funky, like my dinner isn't sitting well on my stomach and I had a long day, etc, etc. What I miss is the ampleness of time. There is a scene in this movie, after the main character's birthday party, he is sifting through his gifts while his girlfriend lounges in the background on a couch watching him. There is a sweet leisure in the way they smile and talk and enjoy each other in that slightly removed way -- he is across the room, facing away from her -- there's no pressure, no rush. They aren't on a date that will soon end. The girlfriend isn't waiting to gather up her things at the end of the evening and shlep them back over to her apartment across town. They have the freedom to stand apart, face away from each other, enjoy each other without plugging fully in, because they have time. They will be there all night, they will go to bed together, they will wake up in the morning and on and on and that feels really lovely right now. Often for me it isn't appealing. I want my space, I'm happy to shlep myself back to my apartment at the end of the date, etc. But, at some point in the not so distant future, I wouldn't mind spending maybe an entire 24-hour period with someone again. Just so I could relax a little. I think that would be nice.

Reminds me of that Bjork song "Possibly Maybe," -- wonderful (if cumbersome) lyric: "As much as I definitely enjoy solitude, I wouldn't mind, perhaps, spending a little time with you..." It seems a little clunky, but she makes it work. Anyway, I don't have the "you" clearly defined as of yet, but I have a couple candidates. We'll see what happens.


Today I did my first cold weather paddle. When I left the house this morning, it was just barely above freezing, but I was undaunted. I had my brand new paddle mitts to keep me nice and warm, in addition to all my other gear. Check out how cool these mitts are:

The mitt velcros over the paddle shaft, and then you just slip your hand in an viola! Your hand is warm and dry but unencumbered by gloves. Perfect. I just got these yesterday for fourteen dollars! What a bargain!

Anyway, the paddle was gorgeous with the added bonus of a pit-stop on a house boat! All summer as we paddled past houseboats in various places, we all fantasized about how cool it would be if we could stop at one, take a break, have some drinks, hang out and then head back to the boats. Well, today was our lucky day. A friend of the group was house-sitting a house boat on Sauvie Island and she offered to host us on a pit-stop. It was so, so sweet. The house itself was lovely, full of gorgeous art, (including an autographed photo of Reese Witherspoon in the daughter's room, which isn't exactly art, but it was interesting). There was a woodstove cranking out the heat, which was nice. And the beverages were great: hot, spiced cider spiked with Tuaca, a vanilla liqueur. Yum.

I stayed perfectly warm through the rest of the paddle, which was really gorgeous. Here are a couple more pictures. Jealous?

the answer to friday's quiz

Yay to Joolie, who wins ten points for correctly identifying the source of the title of Friday's post "all the butt ends of my days and ways." She has wisely chosen to hold onto her points, rather than spending them right away. Joolie is very prudent.

And now, for everybody else who didn't know it, here's the poem from whence that title came. Yes. It is long. But it's a really lovely poem and you should read the WHOLE THING because, I swear to god, it WILL enrich your life. Enjoy. (Feel free to ignore the first part, which is just the epigraph and it's not really important... and it's in Italian.)

OH! And TWENTY points to anybody who reads the whole thing all the way through OUT LOUD. Because poems are written to be spoken aloud people. It's the truth.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
by T.S. Eliot

S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.

LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
[They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”]
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
[They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”]
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
It is perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?
. . . . .
Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?…

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
. . . . .
And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep … tired … or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”
. . . . .
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

those were the days

I was informed by an otherwise nice, punky little dyke chick in 1996, that the Indigo Girls were "passe." We were both holding guitars, it was nearing midnight, we were sitting in the big, empty meeting room at Camp Sister Spirit in Mississippi, directly under the bunk room where we'd all soon be tossing and turning and trying to sleep. It was spring. I had begun the opening chords of "Closer to Fine," and this woman rolled her eyes and told me the Indigo Girls were passe. She started plucking out the opening chords of Ani DiFranco's "Both Hands" and it was like we were suddenly engaged some kind of lesbian dueling banjos.

I did not believe, at that time, that the Indigo Girls were passe and now, nearly twelve years later, I think they have slid past passe and maybe come to rest as "classic." We'll see. Nevertheless, they obviously continue to speak to new generations of lesbians, as evidenced by South Carolina Girl who loves them and is about to go see them in concert for the first time ever. That it's possible for a lesbian on this planet NOT to have seen the Indigo Girls yet... it boggles my mind. But it's true: the Indigo Girls are still playing the same songs, putting on the same shows and there are 20 year old baby dykes waiting in line for their first tickets, who will soon, for the first time, hear Amy and Emily say "thanks y'all" at the end of every song, who will go home swooning.

Amy and Emily are starting to look their age. I was just scrolling through a Google image search for pics of Amy and... wow. Yeah. They're getting doughier and doughier. I guess that's what happens when time passes. They were probably my age when I first started listening to them, and that was about 15 years ago. You do the math. And Amy's changing her style, in the most recent pictures I saw, she stood in plaid, punk-rock, bondage pants with a black and blue, messy, punk rock hair-do, her eyes rimmed in black liner looking out blankly from her doughy, aging face like some latecoming punkrock grandma. I wish she'd smile more in her pictures.

But I digress on top of digressions. The point of this whole post was to tell South Carolina Girl the story of the time I met Amy Ray. It's not that exciting really, but here it is. It was 1996, several months after my lesbian guitar standoff in Mississippi, and my girlfriend and I got tickets to see the Indigo Girls play in Knoxville, TN. At this point I'd probably seen the girls about four times already and I was actually on the verge of agreeing that they were passe, but my girlfriend had never seen them so we decided we'd make the drive from western North Carolina over to Knoxville since that was as close as they were gonna get on this tour.

At some point a vague acquaintance of ours, Amy Beerd, asked if she could ride along with us. She didn't have tickets yet, she told us, but that's ok because she knew the girls and as long as she called Amy Ray a few days before, Amy would be sure there was a ticket for her at will-call. She knew the girls? Amy Ray was going to leave her a ticket? She was going to CALL Amy Ray??? Of course we welcomed her to ride along and waited to see how it would all play out.

I was skeptical, to be honest. When we picked Beerd up the day of the concert, she was carrying a long-sleeve t-shirt that, she explained, was a gift for Amy. "I told her about this shirt I got and she said it sounded cool so I decided I'd bring it to her." Part of me was excited but another, bigger part rolled my eyes and wondered if this was all a big put-on. I held my breath as Beerd gave her name to the guy at will-call and, after some hesitation, he produced a ticket for her. The ticket set aside by Amy Ray. "What about my backstage pass?" She asked the guy, who looked around in confusion and explained there wasn't any pass, only a ticket.

"Well that's weird," Beerd lamented. "She usually leaves me a pass too. I guess she's just busy, maybe it slipped her mind." Yeah. I'd say she's busy. We went into the huge, grassy amphitheatre and watched the whole, lovely show while Beerd's wheels turned, trying to figure out how she'd get that t-shirt to Amy Ray. At the end of the show, we followed Beerd right up to the gates that led to the "backstage" area of the amphitheatre, which was just a big parking lot separated from the concert area by a chainlink fence. "But I need to see Amy Ray," she was telling the guard. "I know her, we're friends." Yeah, right. The guard was unmoved.

Turns out they really did know each other, they'd met years before when the girls played all the little clubs up and down from Georgia into North Carolina. Beerd and all her friends would always go see them, then after the shows they'd all hang out together, closing down bars and carousing. They'd managed to stay in touch after the girls got really big and it was true, whenever they were playing nearby, Beerd could count on Amy Ray to leave her a ticket if she was reminded.

Despite Beerd's pleas (she kept holding up the shirt to the guard and saying, "But I promised I'd bring this to her!") we were not allowed backstage and she had to quickly throw together a plan-b. We followed her as she followed the chain-link fence. It turned and led us far away from the stage, but Beerd had an idea. Eventually we reached the end of the fence, it opened up to nothing and let us out of the crowded ampitheatre. At the end of the fence, Beerd simply turned around and walked back down the length of the fence, ON THE OTHER SIDE.

In theory, we'd end up on the other side of the fence backstage. In reality, we ended up in a dry culvert which ran along behind the backstage area. The only thing that separated us from the girls was a ten foot embankment and lots of rocks. We started climbing.

As soon as we emerged from the culvert and onto the solid pavement of "backstage," a swarm of yellow-jacketed security guards descended from all corners and we heard shouts of "You can't be back here," and "This area is restricted." Suddenly, like Moses parting the Red Sea, a figure appeared in the midst of all the yellow jackets, held up her hands like Jesus and dispersed the whole mob of security with two words, "They're ok." It was Amy Ray.

Beerd ran up and hugged her and my girlfriend and I slunk sheepishly along behind her, starstruck and embarassed. Once the embrace was over, it was obvious that Amy Ray was not quite as psyched to see Beerd as Beerd might have imagined. Beerd introduced me and my girlfriend and Amy Ray looked at each of us in turn with her deep, intense eyes, and nodding at us, her arms crossed over her chest, she was as sexy as I ever imagined she would be. But then, before Beerd could get another word out, Amy Ray began to explain why she wouldn't be able to hang out with us. She motioned over her shoulder to the big black truck parked nearby, "I've gotta finish up here and then drive all the way back to Dahlonega tonight, that's nearly a four hour drive," etc, etc, etc.

It was kind of sad, actually. I could see the whole story, see Beerd as the hanger-on, see that the girls had moved so far past that particular version of their past. Beerd gave her the t-shirt, Amy Ray walked us over to the gate where we'd originally haggled with the guard. We were all giddy as we left, even Beerd who still somehow hadn't felt the impact of what felt, to us, like rejection. At least we hadn't had to climb back down into the culvert to get out.

Friday, November 23, 2007

all the butt ends of my days and ways

Ten points for anybody who can tell me where that comes from, that title. Anybody?

Seemed a fitting title for what can only be yet another blog about my day, that ever-revolving state of being, that merry-go-round that never ends. Each time you put one to rest, up rises another. Day after day after day. All the same, really. I wake up in the same bed, make the same coffee, sit in front of the same computer, go to the same job, ride the same buses, come back to the same house, same computer, same bed. Start all over again.

I forgot to take my meds today. Also maybe yesterday, I'm not sure. A white pill that gives me an exaggerated sense of nearly violent happiness. It's kind of nice, really. But it makes me into someone slightly different than the someone I normally am. Which, I guess, is mostly ok.

I saw a Law and Order one time with a woman who was supposed to be mentally ill. I forget, I think she had multiple personality disorder. And there was the one personality that was supposed to be "really her" and the other personality that was supposed to be the pathological version of her. The court was trying to make her take meds so she would stay the one who was "really her," but the pathological version ended up winning and taking over. It was like an alien had come down and taken over some innocent woman's body and then been allowed to keep it. Where did the "really her" version go? Where does my "really me" version go? And is there such a thing?

Last night, after sleeping most of the day and then getting up and making spaghetti, I went to my favorite bar and drank a lot of beer and played pin-ball and watched tv. I also read the local rags and you'll never guess what I saw. I saw a review of a new book of short stories by my biggest writer-crush Lucy Corin. You may remember my recent reminescence about Lucy in a blog post titled "this is why i can't write." There I was, waxing nostalgic about Lucy, and she had just put out a book and someone at the Mercury was probably reading and reviewing it just as I was writing that post. When I saw her name on the page (as fuzzy as my mind must have been by then) -- well, it was pretty moving. It was like I'd just seen my best friend win an Oscar or something. I grinned a face-splitting grin and felt a little foolish and then I placed my hand over the picture of the book as if to touch Lucy through the blurry newsprint. Silly.

So here I am again, in my house on my computer in my blue chair with my feet propped up on my desk. I worked today. I came home and made supper. I watched a movie that I picked up at the video store on my way home: Breach. The one about the spy. And I'm a little lonely, I have nobody to hang out with for a change. Just enjoying the pleasure of my own company and trying not to ruminate too much about anything... Tomorrow I'll go to Powell's and buy Lucy's book and probably read it all before the end of the night. If I'm lucky, I'll go out dancing.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

just a little something i'm thankful for

I nearly had an anuerysm watching this video. Wow. I... uh... think I'll go watch it again...

happy kill-a-turkey day!

Hi folks. Comin' to you live here from my glorious workplace, heading into the thirteenth hour. That means only three more to go! The homestretch... I can almost taste my freedom.

Speaking of taste, I don't really care too much about Thanksgiving. What about you? It always seemed like a bullshit holiday, all about eating. I mean, sure, I like to eat. But to make a whole holiday just for eating? I'd prefer a little extra padding around the tradition. Sure, I understand the mythology about the pilgrims, but even if that ridiculous story *was* true, I still wouldn't feel moved to commemorate that quaint event each year.

Do people *really* spend time feeling thankful on Thanksgiving? Thankful for what? For wresting this land away from it's native people? For living in the world's only contemporary empire? For our ability to shop for whatever we think we want, especially on the day after Thanksgiving when everything's on sale?

Did you guys ever see the South Park movie? I'm reminding myself of The Mole right now. "Careful? Was my mother careful when she stabbed me in zee heart with a clothes hanger while I was still in zee womb?" Yeah. Read that last paragraph in The Mole's bathetic, French-Canadian, cartoon voice. Ahhhhhhh South Park. My only real source of inspiration and entertainment.

Anyway, did I mention I've been at work for 13 hours? Yeah. It shows.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

one good reason not to default on my student loans

I finally figured out what to do to keep my mind sharp: more school (I'll take track 3). I have to do *something* to put the Dr. in front of my name, since my stupid Juris Doctor doesn't seem to do it...

the day that almost got away

I was in serious danger of missing my daily blog post today. I just didn't have much to say earlier today, then I forgot, then I came to work and got sucked into the whirlwind of a new bedbug scare, which means I've been running around for four hours and now I'm finally ready to sit down for five minutes. Whew. What a day.

Oh, and the best part (and I'm serious about this) is that one of our graveyard people called in sick, and she's really, really sick, i talked to her. This means that I'll have the pleasure of working all the way up until 8am tomorrow morning! Woo-hoo!

But seriously, I meant that woo-hoo. If I work a double tonight, I get a 25 dollar bonus, I get holiday pay, I go into slight overtime, and I don't have to work my shift tomorrow. Not having to work tomorrow is the real deal sealer for me. To NOT be here on Thanksgiving is a blessing for which I will be truly, truly thankful.

In other news, Gully freaked herself out by sending me so many texts and calling so much, now she's backing off. Oh girls and their drama. She says she'll call me next week when she gets back from Texas where she'll be spending Thanksgiving with her girlfriend's family. (I guess it's bad form to be texting somebody you recently slept with under your girlfriend's parents' Thanksgiving table...) Oh, and I have a date with Mahavira set for next Friday. All in all, things are good. And now I'm off to finish de-bugging the place. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Way back in the '80s when I was a youngster living in Durham, NC, the hot place to go in town was the roller rink, Wheels. How many hours of roller skating pleasure did I enjoy during those years? I even had my own skates! They were navy blue with a white stripe. I was fast for my age, but longed to be really fast like the older, skinny guys who zipped around the rink like Tron, their mullets flapping along behind them.

Turns out Wheels is still around. It's now the Wheels Family Fun Center and, according to the reviews on Citysearch, they're probably still using the same old skates they used when I used to go there. Sure, it was a dump, but it was an awesome dump.

But I digress, I came on here to write about gay skate. That was SO FUN. (Honestly, I'm getting a little bored with all these posts about how FUN everything was. Really. How much FUN can a girl have in one lifetime?) I was a little wobbly at first, but pretty soon it all came back to me and I was zipping around the rink with the best of them (and there were some good ones there, including some chicks from roller derby). I even went onto the floor for women's fast-skate. It was awesome!

I fell twice, but didn't get hurt at all (which I added to my list of reasons why I *could* go out for roller derby). Once I fell because my leg just seized up and wouldn't go where my brain was telling it to go. I lifted my foot up to do a crossover on a turn and my muscles just froze. I thought "I'm going down." And I just plopped right down on my ass and then waited for a whole herd of rollerskaters to roll over me. Fortunately that didn't happen. Later I tripped over a guy who bit it right in front of me. We were both ok, and then this super-butch "referee" came over and stood behind us to shield us from on-coming traffic while we sorted ourselves out. That was nice.

I saw lots and lots of people I know, INCLUDING THAT WOMAN FROM HOBO'S! Crazy, huh? Out of her Hobo's element (and out of her hot Hobo's uniform, black button up shirt, black pants) she didn't seem quite as alluring. Also, her friends seemed really young, so I wondered if maybe I'd entirely misjudged her character. At some point I decided I'd go talk to her about having hit on her, but she ended up leaving early so it didn't happen. Oh well.

There were also lots of chicks from my lesbian breakfast club there. They're pretty great women, so it was nice to float past them or stop to chat. And, of course, my kayakers were all there in full force. Kara, unsurprisingly, is a very strong skater. It was fun to chase her and I felt a deep sense of accomplishment when I managed to catch up and pace her. Adventure Girl, being who she is, was capable of speed, but she ended up slowing down to stick with MFW most of the night, keeping her company and giving her "lessons." Hmm. And Maia, god bless her, was like the little engine that could. She started out slow and ended up just marginally faster, but she kept chugging along. She said she was having fun and we all agreed to do it every month. It was great exercise.

Today my leg muscles are all crampy and I have blisters on the bottoms of my feet, but I don't care. It was worth it.

In other news, Gully keeps calling and text-messaging me. It seems she can't get Friday night out of her mind. Hmm. What's up with that? It's almost too much, to be honest. And Mahavira wrote me back. She didn't check my references, she didn't ask me any questions, she didn't even request a picture. She said, "Sure, let's get drinks. Are you free this week?" Wow. That was easy. It's kind of amazing, really, how things are all just coming together lately. Hope it lasts...

Monday, November 19, 2007

i am so disappointed...

Your 80s Hunk Is

John Stamos

i am insane

After Friday night's super hot date (and some activities which have left me feeling like a god among men), my urge to make-out with the world has increased tenfold. Which is a pretty good display of how unnatural monogomy is to me: as much as I really, really like Gully and want to see her again and think she's awesome, none of those things make me want to focus my attention on her alone. No, all those good feelings swell up inside me, expand and burst the bounds and make me want to spread the love to all sorts of new people.

So, to that end, I have done crazy things. First, I wrote an out of the blue email to a woman I have never met. A mysterious and sexy woman I sorta "know of" for a variety of reasons named (something in the ballpark of) Mahavira. When I first came to town, my friend Leo was embroiled in this crazy affair with Mahavira. She was always talking about how deep and intense and passionate this woman was. That ended years ago and since then, Mahavira has continued to turn up in my periphery. She works with a queer youth group and came to one of my law school classes to give a presentation, that was the first time I laid eyes on her. I suddenly understood all Leo's angst from 2001. Wow. After that, her name has come up over and over from all sorts of random people.

So yesterday, after hearing her name once again from my roller derby friend, I looked her up online, found her email address, and wrote her. I told her some of the different ways she keeps intersecting my path, I told her I wanted to meet her, I told her to call Leo or my roller derby friend for references to determine that I'm smart, reasonably cute and not crazy. (Mostly not crazy...) And I actually sent it. And that was *before* I started drinking.

After that, I went downtown to meet Waspy for drinks at Hobo's. There's a really cute server there who's been there for years and she NEVER PAYS ME ANY ATTENTION. I have been checking her out forever, and I never get the slightest glimmer back from her. Nothing. In fact, Wings and I went into Hobo's that weekend when she was here and Wings confirmed that that woman wasn't sending the slightest signals of interest my way. Wings concluded she must be straight. I doubt it.

For whatever reason, though, last night was different. Maybe it's my cool new haircut, whatever it was, she was looking my way a LOT. More often than not, when I glanced up to check her out, I found her eyes already on me. Oh yeah. Waspy kept rolling her eyes and offering to leave me alone with my new girlfriend. After three beers and a lot of very interesting, provokative conversation with Waspy (and two hours of intermittent eye-contact with the hot server) I decided to make a move.

Waspy left and I remained at the table for a few minutes, listening to a voicemail I'd gotten and planning my strategy. In the end I opted for the most painless: I wrote my name and email address on the back of my reciept and gave it to Nathan, the cute bartender who'd been our server all night. I said, "This may be really foolish, but would you give this to your very attractive female coworker?" He grinned a face splitting, devilish grin, winked at me and said "sure honey."

Oh I love gay boys. His devilish grin could just as easily have been at my expense. He may have been thinking "Sure, you stupid cow, I'll give it to her and she'll laugh because her girlfriend is so much hotter than you and she's already been making fun of your bad haircut all night." Gay boys are tricky like that. But who knows. I left the bar feeling completely insane. Then I came home and Leo called. We ended up going across town to eat spicy fries at Dot's and talk about life. She just interviewed for a position at a university library in Baton Rouge and, while I love Leo and wish her career success, I really do not want her to move away from Portland. So I'm torn. And I told her about writing Mahavira and she laughed at me and said that, knowing Mahavira, she'd probably write me back pretty soon. Interesting.

I went to bed wondering if I'd wake up completely sober this morning and throw my hands in the air crying out "My god, what have I done??" But no. I still feel pretty ok. Nothing in my in-box yet though...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

get your wheels on!!!

ATTENTION GAYS OF PORTLAND (I'm talking to you Lelo and Witchtrivets) -- Monday November 19th at Oaks Park from 7 to 9 it's GAY SKATE!!! Where the gays will congregate and rollerskate!! It'll be awesome, you'll love it, please come!!!

died and gone to heaven

Last night at roller derby, sitting in the "crash zone" so near those brute, powerful women racing round the rink, sitting amongst all these sweet Portland hipsters and dykes and families and everybody, hanging out with two cool chicks, sharing between us all a Nalgene bottle full of Vitamin Water and gin, I looked around at everything and thought I'd died and gone to heaven. And not just because of the derby, but my whole life. My date the night before (so spectacular I can't even bring myself to try and write about it here), my kayaking friends, all my activities. All that pleasure I think I wrote about yesterday.

And I wondered how long you're supposed to just hang around in heaven, enjoying all those pleasures... Seems like it can only go on for so long and then it's back to the grindstone... Is that fatalistic, or realistic? I don't know.

Part of this "heaven" is probably the Wellbutrin. My happy pill. I've been on and off it for awhile. I always forget the side-effects. I just started taking it again a couple weeks ago and here are the things I forgot: it makes my mouth dry all the time, it makes me wake up every morning around 5am and it makes it very hard to fall back to sleep, and it makes my appetite disappear. I've hardly eaten anything in the past week. I can feel that I'm hungry and I can feel that I need to eat, I just don't want to. Until I've gone so long my stomach starts digesting itself, then I eat. And I eat a lot. I've lost weight for sure. My tummy pudge is totally gone. Nothing but a flat plane there now. It's weird. But that might also have something to do with all the crunches I've been doing...

Wow, I'm just rambling. Sorry. Getting in my daily posts for NaBloPoMo seems to encourage digressive little meanderings. I'm about to take a bath and read "Madame Bovary" for awhile. Then I'm meeting Waspy downtown for a drink. Tomorrow I'm going rollerskating where I will fantasize about doing roller derby and I will be secretly testing out my skills to see if maybe I could actually go for it. Though I hear they practice like four nights a week and I work at night so that probably won't work out for me...

Ok, going to the bath. OH! And I got sort of tagged by Melinda to come up with a list of straight women I would turn queer if I could... this is quite a task and I will have to think on it before I'm ready to jump in. And thanks for singing happy birthday to me on your blog, Mel, I tried to post a comment but for some reason my browser just wouldn't navigate me into your comment section. Ok. Enough. Goodbye.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

looking back, looking forward

Last night I went out on a hot birthday date with Gully, the woman I met at the dance last weekend. We'd been in contact a little through the week. A few emails, one very long phone call, not much, but I knew there was something there. And there was. All the hollow, boring, soul-sucking dates I've been on were worth it if they led me to this one. Wow. Just. Wow.

So (this post is not about my date, sorry) I was thinking today about giving her the URL to this blog. We talked about it last night, she asked for it and I absolutely refused. I like to be able to write about the people in my life on this blog, and I have found that it's much easier to write about people when they're, you know, not going to read what I've written. Simple, right?

But I found myself this morning, reflecting back on the date and Gully and, I don't know, I had a moment of weakness during which I pictured her eagerly pouring over all my blog entries and learning all about me and if, god bless her, she did that and still wanted to hang out with me, all the better.

With this picture in my mind, I decided to go back and reread my earliest posts. We're coming up on the two-year anniversary of this blog, in fact, so I should probably wait until then to celebrate. But, oddly, the day I actually started this blog (December 2nd, 2005) was also the four year anniversary of my brother Isaac's death. So, on December 2nd I usually prefer to celebrate him instead of this navel-gazing hobby of mine.

Some of you may remember, but most will not: I started this blog at the Black Cat Coffeeshop on Alberta while I was in the process of leaving my wife who was an alcoholic in the midst of a huge bender. I was also in law school and studying for exams. I was spending about 8 hours a day in the Black Cat, studying, drinking soy yerba mate lattes and writing blogs. It was pretty awesome, actually.

Reading back over the first several posts, one thing that struck me more than anything else was that I wrote differently. I guess it was the rigor of my academic life, but my writing was much more crisp somehow. And I used bigger words. I used words like "predicated" and "contravention." I hardly remember these words anymore and would never use them in my blog. Which I think is sad. What happend to the legal-thinking me with the sharper mind and the better vocabulary?

Which leads me to wonder what to do with myself. I am living a very pleasurable life right now with lots of leisure and fun activities. I kayak regulary, keep meeting women and going on dates, I go dancing, I'm going to roller derby tonight, I'm actually going roller skating on Monday. I've got fun stuff happening. But my mind is going slack. I'm trying to keep reading good, dense literature, but somehow "Madame Bovary" isn't challenging my brain like a full-time course-load in law school. I don't want to be a lawyer though. What do I need to do to stay sharp? Go back to law school?

I do not know the answer to this question. I guess I'll have to think on it some more. Maybe after roller derby...

Friday, November 16, 2007

my special day

Today, the nice thing I did for myself because it's my birthday is I drove myself to work rather than taking the bus. I know. I'm decadant. I stop at nothing to ensure my own pampered state of bliss.

But seriously, driving myself to work was not the breeze I hoped it would be and neither was driving myself home. Hello, traffic. I don't usually drive myself around during rush hour times... I hardly drive during the week at all, so I tend to forget that the traffic gets a little backed up sometimes. Like mornings. And afternoons.

Otherwise it didn't go so bad. I woke myself up from an anxiety dream this morning. It was all to do with the presentation I was scheduled to give at 9:15am to a bunch of med students who were coming to learn about our program. I was supposed to talk to them for 40 minutes. To be honest, I could probably talk about our program for four hours, I have a lot to say about it, but for some reason I was still nervous. I ended up having this awful dream about the whole scenerio and it's the only dream from the night that I can remember so it's my birthday dream. And that worries me.

But I did get to dress a little better than usual today, which is ok I guess. And I got to show off the new hair cut I got yesterday. I had my usual stylist fix the horrible massacre that had become of my hair after my misadventures at Bishop's Barbershop a couple weeks ago. She agreed that everything was uneven and the layering was "really jacked up." It's still shorter than I wanted it, but now I've got a sort of sassy, shaggy rockstar cut (similar to SK's infamous shag) and anyway, here's a picture. It's kinda hard to really see the haircut, that's cuz it's kinda hard to take a good picture of your own head. So forgive me. It's cooler than it looks in this pic, but just by a little.

Ok, now I'm off to get ready for my hot birthday date with Gully from last weekend. Yay for me!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

thirty minutes till thirty-three

When I turned 31, Mog said "Thirty one is your year for dirty fun." I think she was 27 at the time. I guess she got "plenty heaven" or something that year. Anyway, I guess thirty-two was for "dirty-shoes" and now thirty-three? I guess maybe "dirty free." Which doesn't really sound great.

To be honest, though, I have a thing for numbers and three is probably my favorite number, despite the fact that I usually say it's seven. Seven is great, but in my deepest heart, I think I love three the best. (Sorry seven, I still love you.) Loving three means that I love all the years that start with three -- I actually love them all the same and I look forward to living each one. Thirty-one was good, thirty-two was good, thirty-three should be pretty cool.

Four is the only number I don't think I like. It's a completely even number. Cut it in half and it's still even. You can't even multiply anything good to get it. So, unsurprisingly, thirty-four is the only one of the thirties I'm not excited about. And jesus! When I turn forty I'll really be sad. I'll be in a whole ten year stretch of fours! And after that... well... I guess fives are cool. I guess I won't really be (numerologically) happy until I'm in my seventies. Strangely, I also quite like eight, so maybe the eighties will be good too.

Do you think I'm crazy? Yeah. Me too.

just in case

This is turning out to be one of those wall-to-wall busy days and if I'm not careful I might find myself at midnight without having written my daily post. And it would suck to be disqualified from NaBloPoMo the day before my birthday.

Speaking of disqualified, I never even logged on to my National Novel Writing Month account. Woops. I started on November 1st to begin my second NaNo novel but... well... my heart just wasn't in it. I think if I'd started taking my antidepressants during the last week in October (instead of last week) I might have been more successful... but whatever.

Now I'm off to be sucked back into life.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

ho hum

There is nothing so boring as the last fifteen minutes of my shift. All the tasks are done, it's nearly midnight, and I'm just waiting for the clock to tick the minutes down. Dull. However boring this might be, the discomfort is greatly enhanced if my relief fails to show up at midnight. The next five minutes are critical. If she shows up soon enough, I can catch my bus. If not, I'm stuck another half an hour.

Surprisingly, once the five minutes is up and the bus is gone, I actually relax a little because I can come up here to the loft and at least entertain myself with something and I don't have to keep standing around down there pretending to work. So guess what happened tonight? Yeah...

I think I'll go read my book for... oh... about fifteen minutes...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

be still my heart

I have been in contact with Gully, the woman from the dance Saturday night. All systems are good to go. Apparently I wasn't too obnoxious and pushy, and now things look promising. She's sexy, interested and, best of all, she's an MSW. God I love social workers...

a closer reading

A poem is a magical encantation: intended to be spoken out loud, and capable of evoking powerful emotion. While often appearing simple, a good poem can be broken down into it's component parts and examined to help gain a better understanding of how and why it works.

As I was reading yesterday's poem of the day, which looks pretty simple, I noticed a particular rhythm that kind of bothered me. So I took it apart, I labeled the rhyme-scheme, counted the syllables, located the stresses, and I found a very tight structure in what seemed, at first glance, much more random. Seeing the structure spelled out and named that way helped me realize what was bothering me about the rhythm. As I read it out loud, I can feel that it is written as if to accompany music. I can almost hear an old jazz standard playing in the background. I wonder if she heard music as she wrote it?

Anyway, here are my notations, for your perusal. The number to the left of the margin indicates the number of syllables per line. Notice that the pattern repeats exactly in the second stanza. The letter to the right of each line indicates the rhyme scheme. Notice the ABBCADDC pattern. And finally, I have CAPITALIZED the stresses in each line, to help illustrate the rhythm. Stress can be in the mouth of the beholder, though, so my stresses may not feel to you like the natural stresses. That one can be subjective.

August, by Dorothy Parker

5 When my EYES are WEEDS, -A
8 And my LIPS are PEtals, SPInning -B
8 Down the WIND that has beGINning -B
7 Where the CRUMpled BEEches START -C
7 In a FRINGE of SALty REEDS; -A
8 When my ARMS are ELder-BUSHes, -D
8 And the RAngy LIlac PUSHes -D
7 UPward, UPward through my HEART; -C

5 SUmmer, do your WORST! -E
8 Light your TInsel MOON, and CALL on -F
8 Your perFORming STARS to FALL on -F
7 HEAD*LONG through your PAper SKY; -G
7 NEVER*MORE shall I be CURsed -E
8 By a FLUSHed and AMorous SLATtern, -H
8 With her DUSty LACEs' PATtern -H
7 TRAILing, as she STRAGgles BY. -G

Monday, November 12, 2007

this is why i can't write

There are three people I knew in college whose names I have Googled repeatedly over the years. One is my ex Erin. In fact, I just Googled her again today. Another is a woman named Meg Louder who had a fantastic tattoo of orchids on her left thigh, right above her knee, that could be seen between her short, black skirt hem and her tall black boots. She was hot and she was whip-smart. We met several times for coffee to talk about literature and we considered collaberating on some kind of critical article, but she ended up transferring to another school and I just wanted to sleep with her anyway.

The third person isn't someone I knew in college, but right after. The woman who wrote these stories, Lucy Corin. I knew her in Durham when her name was Lucy Hochman, and I have wondered why her name is Corin now, if it's a pen name or if she married a girlfriend. She'd already published quite a lot under the name Hochman, so it seems strange to change it at all, frankly, for any reason. I remember one night, maybe the night I met her, she pulled journal after journal off a shelf, showing me where she'd been published. Have I told this story before? I think I have. I love this story. I sat right down in the floor and started reading one of her stories right then, despite the fact that I was supposed to be on a date with her housemate, Crazy Beth. Crazy Beth ceased to exist in my mind as soon as I began to read.

That was the night I realized we (meaning, the publishing house where I worked) were publishing one of her stories in our annual anthology, "New Stories from the South." It was was one of those bizarre coincidences that I am never able to believe lack meaning. They are nothing BUT meaning, as far as I'm concerned. I'd met Crazy Beth at some queer youth gathering (because, back then, I was just barely still a youth, maybe 23). I hardly knew her, I went out with her once and then I went out with her again, this time she invited me to her house and that's when I met Lucy. It was during our initial getting-to-know you conversation, when Lucy asked where I worked and I told her, that we realized our connection. "You're publishing me!" she said. And I couldn't believe it.

I ran home that night and dug out my galley copy of New Stories, the unedited proof I'd brought home from work. I found Lucy's story and I read it through three times right then and that was it. I was absolutely in love. What does "in love"' mean? I don't know. I felt like lightening had come and ripped a hole through my chest and instead of a charred shell, what remained was a furiously burning fire. That's what it felt like.

Next time Crazy Beth invited me to her house, I eagerly accepted and hoped Lucy would be there. She was. Crazy Beth and I were trying to figure out what to do that night and Lucy offered to cook us supper. I was beside myself. Lucy was, I think, depressed back then. She'd just been the victim of a random act of violence in the neighborhood: a young man fleeing a robbery ran through her yard and shot her dog for no reason. There they'd been, having a peaceful time together in the grass, and next thing she knows the dog she'd had for years was just dead. I think she was in a bit of an emotional daze. But what do I know? This is just conjecture, about ten years after the fact.

Anyway, Lucy cooked (I can't even remember what, probably pasta) and we talked about literature and writing and words, meanwhile Beth sat in the corner and drank wine like water. By the time the food was ready, Beth was throwing up in the bathroom adjacent to the dining room. Lucy went to check on her once, then came back to the bar in the kitchen where we'd decided to eat and we exchanged knowing looks and kept talking.

Nothing ever happened between us. I tried. I knew I didn't want to see Beth anymore, but I longed to see Lucy again. I concocted a brilliant plan. My publishing company had a photograph of Lucy that she wanted back. They'd taken it from her to put in the anthology, but someone had a change of heart and decided not to publish pictures of the authors. We didn't need it and I'd offered, at some point, to retrieve it for her. I found it, asked permission to take it and give it to the author, permission was granted, and I left with this photo in hand:

*Sigh* I think I had that photo for three or four days before I took it back to Lucy. Needless to say, I stared at it breathlessly, like it was some kind of totem or oracle, like it would come to life and grant me wishes or something. I wanted to return it to Lucy, but I didn't want to run into Beth. I wasn't sure what to do. I considered putting it in an envelope with a note explaining that I'd really enjoyed spending time with her and would love to have seen her again, then sticking it in her mailslot while they were both at work. That would have been the better move, probably. I had hope, you know, despite the fact that Lucy had a sort-of girlfriend and they both taught at Duke. I was *clearly* over my head.

But then fortune smiled upon me. Beth called one day and told me she was going to a conference out of town that coming weekend. Perfect. I'd just drive the photo over Friday evening after work, Beth would be gone, maybe Lucy would be home... and the rest would be history. I was nervous and naively excited as I drove over that day. I sang along with the radio, I chewed gum. I hardly knew what to say when I walked up to Lucy's house and found two women in the yard calling out the name of some animal. It was their cat, they were looking for their cat and wondering who I was and where I'd come from. Lucy suddenly emerged from the dark of the backyard and stopped when she saw me. She looked at me like she was seeing an unpleasant but not unexpected apparition.

I gave her back the picture in an awkward fumbly way and spent the next fifteen minutes wandering around calling out for a cat I'd never seen before and wondering what to do with myself. Once we'd found the cat, Lucy asked me if I wanted to come inside. I knew, then, that somehow the whole thing had been a big mistake, a bad idea, but it was too late and so I followed her into the house. I don't remember what we talked about. I think I probably said a lot of stupid things, just trying to make conversation. Then the front door opened, and Beth walked in.

Beth walked in and saw me, the woman she was "dating," standing in her front hall, looking at the shelf full of journals Lucy had been published in. Beth saw me standing in her house on a night she wasn't supposed to be home. It looked bad because it was bad. I made a hasty explanation and then I left. I didn't see Crazy Beth OR Lucy again. And that's a shame.

So, every now and then, I look Lucy up just to see if she's published anything new. And when I read what she's written, I get that feeling all over again, that feeling of lightening tearing through my chest. At this point in my life, I want to believe it's a love affair with the words I'm after, but it feels so much like a crush (crushing me for sure), I have never been able to separate my love of the words from my love of their authors and when I sit down to write and invoke these old muses of mine, Lucy or Elizabeth Wren, the first poet I ever knew, instead of helping the words come, they just haunt me with longing and the memory of unrequieted desire.

I write all this and in the back of my mind I hope Lucy (or Elizabeth, for that matter) might be out ego surfing one day and come across this post and feel moved by it. Which is foolish, really, I have Lucy's email address and I wrote her after I read her novel "Everyday Psychokillers." She wrote back but she didn't really remember me. Why should she? She was certainly positioned to impact me in a huge way, I was just a blip on the radar for her.

I guess I have to ask myself what I expect would happen if "it" happened. What would happen if she read this, was moved. What if she came to Portland, what if we sat in a coffeeshop and talked for hours? What if we fell in love and had a wild, passionate affair? What difference would it possibly make? It would be nice, fun, moving. But the only lasting difference would be a difference in my writing. It is better for me to dedicate myself (and all that crazy, passionate energy) to writing than to chasing down old phantoms of old crushes. All that's just a searing, bittersweet waste of time.

remember me? i'm poem of the day!

August, by Dorothy Parker

When my eyes are weeds,
And my lips are petals, spinning
Down the wind that has beginning
Where the crumpled beeches start
In a fringe of salty reeds;
When my arms are elder-bushes,
And the rangy lilac pushes
Upward, upward through my heart;

Summer, do your worst!
Light your tinsel moon, and call on
Your performing stars to fall on
Headlong through your paper sky;
Nevermore shall I be cursed
By a flushed and amorous slattern,
With her dusty laces' pattern
Trailing, as she straggles by.

the wonders of the internet

I was in the midst of a Google image search for "paddle" -- looking for a cool graphic to use for a project I'm thinking about... but wow! Look at this. First of all, THAT'S NOT GARY COLEMAN. That's the kid from Webster. I don't know his name, I don't need to. I just know, for certain, that it's NOT Gary Coleman. Furthermore, why would Gary Coleman sign a wooden canoe paddle? Was he an outdoorsy kinda guy, and we just never realized? And finally, that doesn't even look like a signature. It looks like anybody just walked up and wrote "Gary Coleman" across that paddle with a giant sharpee. Well, if this strikes your fancy, it's affordable. Stop by here. You can take it off their hands for a mere 99 cents American. Not bad.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

a polyamory conundrum

...or a polynundrum, if you will...

First of all, polyamory is filled with complications, so isolating just one conundrum to grapple with is a feat. In fact, the definition of "polyamory" is so uncertain, I hesitate to call myself poly at all. What does it mean to be poly? Seems like every poly person has a different understanding. I have felt, for myself, that it's more descriptive for me to say I'm not monogomous, or not interested in monogomy. But defining myself by declaring what I'm *not* isn't good enough.

Last night I talked to two women who call themselves poly. One is a friend from school who I haven't seen in a long time. When I met her, at school, she was new to Portland and obviously hadn't been tainted by Portland culture yet. She had a long blonde pony tail and looked like your typical jock dyke. She was probably pretty hot back among the dykes on her undergraduate campus in some other, more clean-cut town somewhere. But now that she's been in Portland awhile she's fully assimilated herself into Portland's grunge-dyke alternaculture. No traces of jock remain, she's got one of those rock star haircuts, she's wearing a black hoodie and some Vans. And she's not practicing law, she's building houses for a living. And she told me last night she's poly.

The other poly woman I met last night is Gully, the woman I danced with. When we first got to the venue, MFW introduced me to Gully. Soon after, MFW made a cryptic comment to me: "the door is wide open, all you have to do is walk through it." When I didn't take the hint she basically had to whack me over the head with it. "Gully thinks you're adoreable. You should go dance with her." It just so happened that I thought Gully was adoreable too and pretty soon we were gettin our groove on together.

I noticed, though, that while we were dancing, a curly-haired woman with glasses was standing nearby and staring at us. I'd seen Gully talking to this woman earlier. After a few minutes I said, "That curly haired woman is staring at us." And Gully said, "Oh, that's my girlfriend. We're in a polyamorous relationship." And do you know what I did? I walked away.

Ok, yes, I came back shortly thereafter. But in that moment, my circuits were overloaded. I went to the bathroom, I went up to get another drink. I stood upstairs and looked down off the balcony over the crowd. I can't even say I thought about it, I don't know *what* thought about. It was like I was confronted with sensory input so foreign, I couldn't process it at all. Like if an airplane landed in the middle of the stone age and a group of cave guys came out to see it. That's how I felt. Baffled.

I recovered. Within fifteen minutes I was back out there, plastered against Gully again and the curly haired woman had vanished. Gully asked if I was freaked out and I said no. I suddenly wanted to have some very complicated conversations with this woman (and myself) -- not the kind of conversations you can have while screaming over the loud thump of house music. Instead, I bit the back of Gully's neck and decided I'd try and sort it out later.

So welcome to me sorting it out later. Although, having written all that, now I'm not sure where to go next with it. For the past several months, I haven't wanted to have any kind of relationship. When I first went out with the Rugby player and we talked about our different approaches to nonmonogomy, she asked me if I hoped to have a primary relationship at some point. And honestly, at that time, I didn't. I was so new to being single, so new to that particular kind of freedom, the last thing I wanted was a girlfriend, regardless of whether we were poly.

But now I'm not sure what I want. After meeting Wings last week and finding myself just mildly stirred by her, I realized I wouldn't mind having a little feeling back in my life again. Going on weird, sterile dates with people I hardly know is getting tedious. But I wonder now how it works to have feelings for someone when you don't want to march down that girlfriend path with them. I don't want to follow my old patterns, but I'm not sure how to structure new patterns. It's complicated. I think I have to think about it some more...

so many kinds of awesome

Last night was easily the most fun I've ever had on a birthday... and it wasn't even my birthday yet! I've still got another five days to go!

In case I haven't mentioned it yet, all my kayaking friends got together and planned a big joint birthday celebration for me and Adventure Girl. A SURPRISE joint birthday celebration... they were all being very cute about keeping the secret, but Kara accidentally fucked up on the phone with me the night before, so I knew we were bowling. Never tell Kara a secret, she just doesn't have the kind of devious mind it takes to keep one.

Fine with me, I was happy to know. I hate surprises and I love bowling, so it really worked out for the best. We met up at a shady bar called the Red Room out on 82nd. It wasn't *really* shady, it only seemed that way because it was on 82nd. There were a bunch of hard core guitar hero people in there getting ready for some big guitar hero tournament. When we went up to the bar, they asked us if we had come to play and I realized that, when our huge group walked in, they probably thought we were ringers who'd just blown in from some other bar with guitar hero, planning to sweep the whole competition. But no. We didn't know what the fuck guitar hero was and we just had a drink and left.

Then we headed up to the bowling alley up the street. Did I mention I love to bowl? I love to bowl. LOVE IT. And now that I'm kayaking and my arm muscles are... well... in existence, I find it a lot *easier* to heave that ball down the lane. Oh my god, I had so much fun. I was with a great bunch of women, everybody was laughing and cheering each other on, giving lots of nerdy high fives and... yeah... it was fun. I love to bowl. I think we'll start doing it regularly, everybody had so much fun.

While we were bowling, they brought out a birthday cake one of the group had made (still not sure, but probably Maia). It was in the shape of an X (because we're the X-Factor Kayakers) and it even had paddles drawn on it. So sweet. Half was vanilla for Adventure Girl, and half was chocolate for me. So sweet. Of course, I didn't *eat* any of it last night because that would've totally disrupted the drinking of my beer, but I have a big huge hunk of it at my house right now. I'll eat it later.

Oh, and the presents!!! I got so many thoughtful gifts. For example, this badass, brown leather bracelet with a cowboy skull from Adventure Girl. She said my "real" present won't be here for a couple of days (what can it be???) but she wanted to give me something cool now. And I think it's totally awesome. I also got a very sweet collection of natural soaps and lotions from Joss, who is new to X-Factor and proving herself to be a nice addition. From Kara I got a card entitling me to one "experience" of my choosing... Hmm... Kara and I have spent a lot of time together during this kayaking adventure. She lives up the street from me, she stores my boat, she drives me everywhere... so, naturally, I developed a tiny little bit of a crush on her. *Sigh* Because that's my lot in life: to have crushes on everybody. Her card suggests I might choose an "experience" like going to a concert or a museum. Right. I can think of a few *other* experiences I wouldn't mind having with her, but I don't think she'll go for it.

Other people gave me a variety of kayaking gear, which is awesome, but the best present of all, the most awesome, wonderful gift possible was this Werner paddle. I've been using this paddle all summer, thanks to the kindness of Maia and Wndy. They each had a paddle like this until they decided to upgrade to the bent-shaft variety. All summer they let me borrow this paddle and last night they said I could have it. They are like my two sweet aunts who look out for me and take care of me and love me and it's awesome. I couldn't be happier. And I really couldn't be happier about that paddle. That's a hundred dollar paddle, easy. USED. It's a really awesome paddle and I love it.

Ok, so that was the first half of the night. Then came the dancing. Let me begin by saying that the Wonder Ballroom has been good to me. The Wonder Ballroom has been a cornucopia of awesome experiences, just for me, beginning with my first Girl4Girl dance this summer and continuing through to last night. Last weekend I went to a show at the Wonder Ballroom and met Wings. This weekend I went and not only did I dance with all my friends, not only did I run into long lost schoolmates and casual acquaintances, not only did I watch drag kings and flirt with lots of girls, I met ANOTHER chick! I think this chick's name is Gully, she's a friend of MFW's and she seems like a great person. And sexy. We danced most of the night together and I think we'll hang out again.

Unfortunately, I'm paying for all my good times with a colossal hangover. I didn't drink that much, but I didn't eat enough either. I slept till 11 and I've still got a headache. Just finished making some homemade chicken noodle soup, though, so that should help. What a weekend...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

happy almost birthday

My birthday isn't until next Friday, but my kayaking friends are throwing me and Adventure Girl a joint birthday surprise thing tonight. They're a pretty sweet bunch and I'm really happy I know them, but...

Well, I'm just having to learn a certain kind of grace with people. I tend to get squirrelly around my birthday, I get a little depressed, I go into a weird funk, and I don't always handle attention from people well. I have tried having non-birthdays and I have tried having big birthday things over which I retain sole control. The latter has worked best: I plan something, I make everybody do it, and I'm satisfied, if not *happy* about it all.

I get weird, though, when people start doing things for me. It blows my circuitry a little. It's all a bunch of under-processed childhood stuff, not feeling worthy of the attention, or not liking the strings that come along with it. Somewhere along the way, I made myself into an almost completely self-contained unit and I find it tricky to accept unexpected input from outside my own tiny universe.

So this will be a challenge. I'll tell you a story later about a birthday misadventure that I regret to this day. Ranks in the top three of things I'm most ashamed of. But for now I'm gonna go hop in the bath and get myself ready for my night on the town. We paddled this morning, a gorgeous paddle on Smith Bybee Lakes, but I'm not able to post the pictures because I accidentally forgot to put the memory card back in my camera this morning, which means the pictures are trapped in the internal memory and I can't access them. Which sucks. But oh well. Just trust me, it was really gorgeous.

Friday, November 09, 2007

you've got to be kidding me

A little girl in INDIA was born with four arms and four legs. Seriously.

I am struck speechless by the irony. (Are you sure this isn't April Fool's? Or maybe that story came originally from The Onion...)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

in case you were wondering

Here's a picture of the fern on Wings' arm. Cool, huh? If it had been *my* fern, I would've kept the colors muted, more like the ferns I actually see out in the world. But it's still a pretty rad piece... especially compared to some of her other work, which I will not describe at this time. Just trust me.


I think the goddamn sun is making me depressed. Yes, I'm aware, it's usually the other way around, but not for me. I love Portland for it's dark, damp, womblike winters. I love curling up inside my hovel while the world outside is quieted by a dark blanket of grey clouds and a fine, misty rain. I LOVE these things and LONG FOR THEM. But what is this bright yellow orb in the sky?!? Every day! Mocking me! Demanding I be active, leave my house, be productive! I DON'T WANNA BE PRODUCTIVE!! IT'S WINTER! I WANT TO HIBERNATE!!!

Ok... you might argue that it is not, in fact, winter yet. You might try and tell me that it's actually fall. And I would tell you THAT DOESN'T MATTER. This is Portland. Fall and winter are the same thing here. And I'm ready for the darkness. I feel like those people in Alaska who start to go stir-crazy during those times of the year when the sun never goes down. All that blinding, insistent sunlight makes them go nuts. I swear, all this sun has made my IQ drop by about fifteen points. I can't concentrate on anything, can't even see well, everything is all bleary and weird and I'm always tired. It sucks. I hate you sun. Beat it. I don't wanna see your rotten face around here until next May. Then you can be my BFF again.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

sucker for a beautiful woman

As many of you know, I work at a glorified homeless shelter. This means, among other things, that I have a front row seat for an ever-evolving soap opera cast by the ill and addicted of Portland. The latest drama: a relatively hot young woman has moved into the women's shelter and all the men are tripping over their nutsacks to get this woman's attention. Sitting at the desk and watching these guys come crawling out of the crazy wood-work (I mean, there are guys who are usually so strung out on heroin they hardly know where they are... and even THEY are suddenly jumping up and offering to fetch this woman coffee, buy her a soda, etc...) -- it's really amazing.

And, of course, on further reflection I have to acknowledge that I am EXACTLY THE SAME. I like to think I'm slightly less obnoxiously obvious about it, but it's true. Throw a woman I find attractive into my usual routine, and my urge to swarm around her is no less potent than those sharks in the tank at work. For example, when our new case manager started a few months ago... hominahomina, that chick is hot! I ended up having a couple of very unprofessional conversations with my coworker (the male gigolo) Simba about her. I'm not proud. It's just who I am.

Which leads me to this picture:

This is Sandrine Bonnaire (hopefully the picture will actually show up and isn't copyright encrypted or whatever). She's a French actress who stars in a movie I just finished watching called "Intimate Strangers." It was a weird but interesting movie about a woman who accidentally wanders into a tax office and starts spilling her guts to a lawyer instead of a therapist. Rather than correcting her mistake immediately, the lawyer sits there, quite stunned, and can't turn her away. I can appreciate his dilemma. I'd have a hard time turning her away too, especially considering the kind of info she begins to share.

As I watched, I began to feel strongly that the screenplay was written by a man who very much wanted to be the tax lawyer, sitting uncomfortably in his office like J. Alfred Prufrock with an unexpected, hot visitor spilling her intimate secrets to him. It felt almost like a sexual fantasy stripped of it's bare eroticism and drawn into the "but what would I do if that *actually* happened" realm. Some of it was lamely predictable, but I have to admit I enjoyed. Which I guess just proves my original point: once again, I've watched a movie with a really hot woman in it and I probably only liked it because of the hot woman. I guess I could be a sucker for worse things...

i'm crafty

Ok, I'm not really crafty, but regardless of my usual craftlessness, I undertook a crafty project today. I spent about four hours sitting in my floor listening to NPR and sewing patches on my favorite jeans. Oh my god was I stiff afterwards. I could hardly stand up and walk when it was all finally over. Here are the results.

Patch number one: the simple patch. I bought this fabric about ten years ago because I was planning to make (another) quilt. (Ok, so maybe I'm slightly more crafty than I realize...) I even went so far as to cut quilt squares. Needless to say, no quilt materialized.

These are my favorite jeans, now with patches. I love these jeans. The holes that had developed were massive and ridiculous, yet I kept wearing them anyway...

Here's the finished product, in it's natural environment. Worked out pretty well.

**Notice I'm not showing you a close up of patch number two: the less than simple patch, or Frankenpatch as I like to call it. Long story, just trust me that the patch on the right leg was much more difficult because the hole on the right leg was the kind of hole(s) you might find after a grizzly bear attack. So... I'm just happy to have patches on now, they don't have to be perfect.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


So that movie I was swooning over last night? I looked it up and it got terrible reviews. From everybody. And as I read the reviews, I could understand the criticism. I found myself wondering... was I just swayed into loving that movie by the two really beautiful women? Was I "fully emotionally engaged" with Juliette Binoche and Robin Wright Penn's utter gorgeosity rather than by the plot or the character development? Am I really that shallow?

I think I probably am.

Monday, November 05, 2007

something unbearable

I'm right now in the middle of a movie so sweet and lovely, I'm finding it almost painful to watch alone. I am perfectly happy to do most things alone, but for some reason, I am desperate to share this movie with someone, preferably SK because I think she'd really like it, but that obviously not an option at this point.

The movie is called "Breaking and Entering" and I rented it (actually *rented* it, rather than checking it out from the library, which is usually how I get my movies) Saturday afternoon after hanging out in the coffeeshop on Alberta. That was before I knew about the Siren Nation show, back when I thought I was going to spend my Saturday and Sunday nights home alone. Ha ha. Little did I know...

So today I went to Color Bomb Tattoo at 12:30 to see Wings one last time while she was being tattooed. She got a gorgeous fern on her left forearm, up near her elbow. The placement was great and his lines were smooth and crisp. I was impressed. I didn't stay for the whole session because I needed to get ready for work. It was good to see Wings again and also kind of strange. In all my weird dating misadventures, I have to say, Wings is the first person to actually *move* me just a little. Maybe it has a lot to do with the fact that she lives in Arizona and I knew she'd be leaving (she is, in fact, gone now). I don't know. It wasn't like a lightening bolt or anything, but I'll tell you, I was starting to feel a little jaded about dating and having feelings for people, and Wings came along and caused a mild flutter in the chest region. Wow. So... yeah. Shame she's gone.

Anyway, I left her at the tattoo shop around 2 so I could come home and eat and get ready for work. But then, once I got to work, I realized we were overstaffed. This rarely, if ever, happens. We had too many staff and I got to go home. Amazing. If I'd only known ahead of time, I could've given Wings a ride to the airport. Oh well. I came home via Wild Oats, bought a chicken (a whole chicken!) which is roasting in the oven, and I put on "Breaking and Entering."

I'd already watched half of it Saturday while I got myself ready for the Siren Nation show. And now here I am, watching the rest and completely emotionally engaged. It's a lovely movie with gorgeous people. First of all, it's got Juliette Binoche, playing an immigrant from Sarajevo living in London with her troubled teen son. This troubled teen son is mixed up with some organized criminals and he ends up breaking into Jude Law's architecture firm in King's Cross, a dodgy neighborhood.

Sure, Jude Law is hot, but much hotter is his wife in this flick, played by Robin Wright Penn. Does anyone else besides me remember when she played Kelly on Santa Barbara? She was so hot. And of course, she was the Princess Bride. What an awesome movie. But she's even hotter in this movie because she's aging. She and Juliette Binoche are both beginning to show their age and, I don't know about you, but there's nothing hotter to me than a really gorgeous woman who is beginning to age. Call me crazy. And maybe it's *my* age talking, but whatever. I love older chicks.

So Robin Wright Penn plays a half American, half Swedish woman who has an autistic gymnast daughter by her husband before Jude Law... and she and Jude Law aren't actually married, but they've been together ten years and behave like a married couple, which is to say they're miserable but too embedded in each other's lives to do anything differently. The movie, without being too tacky so far, touches on so many issues from immigration and class to psychology and relationships. It's like "Crash" set in London with hotter women.

Speaking of hot, did I mention I'm roasting a chicken? My house must be five hundred goddamn degrees right now! I better go open the door and get some cool air in here before the fire alarm goes off. Again.

japanese gardens

I used to have this quote on my bookbag (from a Kurt Vonnegut novel) that said "Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God." As a person who isn't always so spontaneous, I used this as a tool to help me open up to spur-of-the-moment adventures. Thank god I did, otherwise I would never have had the yesterday that I had.

First of all, if DD hadn't flaked out on kayaking, I wouldn't have even gone to the Siren Nation concert Saturday night, because I didn't really want to spend so much money. Once I realized I wasn't kayaking, though, I decided to splurge since the whole point of my weekend had just been obliterated. If I hadn't gone to the Siren Nation show, I would never have met Wings (that woman I mentioned in the last post). And, of course, if I'd had kayaking plans for Sunday, I wouldn't have been able to spend my yesterday with Wings and *that* my friends would have been a damn shame.

I picked her up from her hotel at 1pm and we went to lunch downtown, my favorite Thai restaurant, E-San on 2nd near Skidmore Fountain. The food was great and we sat there for two hours talking about aliens and conpiracy theories. Then we went to the Japanese Gardens -- gorgeous, see pictures below. Then we went bar-hopping. That was my idea, and a kinda bad idea because I shouldn't have had *quite* that much to drink, but it was really, really fun. We ended up in the basement of the Shanghai Tunnel bar, me playing pin-ball while she got pool lessons from this really short, but really good pool shark man.

Then we headed back to the Jupiter, where she was staying, and ate dinner in the Doug Fir Restaurant. The food was good and we drank coffee to try and revive ourselves after several hours of drinking. Oh well. We ended up crashing for about three hours on her bed, watching t.v. and laughing at everything. It turned out to be a really fun weekend and the most spontaneous meeting I have ever had with another human being. Since I was in college, at least.

And I have to say, I'm bummed she lives in Arizona, because I would totally hang out with her again. Oh well.