Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Maybe you've noticed

The blog keeps changing colors, font, and orientation. Or maybe you haven't because you have lives. No matter, I don't. So I've been messing around with the templates for no good reason.

Something about a new year makes me want to light a match and start over. It also makes me impatient with myself. And annoyed at what progress there remains, what demons remained unaddressed or unconquered. I want to take myself off-line and get repaired. I don't want to keep doing, keep producing and consuming, keep telling myself I can't live for the praise of others but refuse to prepare anything else to survive on. I want to do really well at work but it's all I can do to even get there lately. I woke up the other day, swung my legs out of the bed and thought, 'I am sick.' Working with my head like this is like going in with the flu, I don't get anything done, I run the risk of infecting others, and I'm worse off for using energy making an appearance that could have been used to get better. It isn't my circumstances that need changing, it's me. A new round of determinations is coming..

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Antidote

I'm sure we've all done it, maybe even if we're in a committed relationship. We've browsed the personal ads or dating sites just to see if we're missing anything. I browse them every blue moon to see if I see anyone compelling enough to consider jumping into the on-line fray. Over the weekend, I stumbled upon something on Craigslist called missed opportunities. I had never heard of it before but thought I would see if anyone had seen me out and about, picking up dog crap or wiping off the coffee I spilled on my jacket and had been utterly charmed but too shy to approach me. Some of them are cute (I saw you in the produce aisle, you said 'hi'), most are weird. The weirdest one was a guy who wrote this long treatise about how it was a deal breaker if his woman submitted to regular gynecological exams--unless he did them. He was an IT guy. Reading this stuff might make me sterile but it's been a great antidote to my predilection to think I'm missing something by not being 'out there.' There are some f-ing weird men out there.

Monday, December 22, 2008

It only gets better from here

I love the 21st of December, Winter Solstice, my father's birthday, the shortest, darkest day of the year. In my mind, we turn now toward spring as everyday lingers a bit longer than the day before. Winter Solstice lends itself so easily for comparative musings. Though we've reached our shortest and darkest day, this is really only the beginning of the painful part of winter. The light tells us that things are moving towards spring but everything else, the wind, the sleet, the snow, and ice, make it impossible to imagine needing a fan or wearing shorts ever again.

I read my brother's latest post and some stuff by the authors on my blog list and was a little jealous because they are so funny, smart, acerbic, and often poignant. I felt so PollyAnna in comparison, I could barely stand it. But that's me. I like musing over winter solstice in it's various parallels with the human experience. I was annoyed that I didn't bring my camera with me on our walk this morning because I wanted to take more pictures of frozen berries and tree limbs because I thought they were beautiful. I'm just a big dork. Someone has to be. So it's cool if Castron and Steve from The Sneeze, and most everyone at Burnside is funnier, smarter, or writes better than me. I'm glad they are here for me to enjoy and that they have in me, someone to feel superior to. *smile*

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Classified ads and dating sites

If I read one more classified ad warning women that some random dude is not looking for drama, I may puke until my esophagus bleeds. I have got to stop reading this crap, it makes me want to have my tubes tied. This insomnia is eating me alive...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

What they'll find

I was looking for a misplaced piece of paper among the endless other pieces of paper scattered throughout this place and I thought, if I die tonight what will people think? I think they will be amazed how much a labrador sheds or they will think I never vacuum. I think my boss will think he's right, women are sloppier than men. Perhaps they will marvel at the organization of the small spaces juxtaposed with the random sloth of the greater spaces. Those who know me will perhaps smile because that contrast is so 'me.' I think my friends will be surprised at just how often I thought about them in the unsent cards and unfinished letters they will find and how much I treasured them in the things I kept; cards and letters rubber cemented and methodically pressed into a notebook. Perhaps they will be surprised at just how many dresses I had that they never saw me wear or that I owned high heels.

Still, I couldn't bring myself to clean up tonight.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A short list of things that virgins like and hate

Nonsense Pictures, Images and Photos

No one ever accused me of being original. An obvious knockoff of the white people site, here's my cover of an idea that surprisingly made someone money. It's actually pretty well written satire so I don't begrudge Mr. Stuffwhitepeoplelike his success. I think I just heard him sigh with relief. White people hate conflict, especially with minorities.

Things Virgins Like

1. Intellectual Stimulation: Need I say more? We love talking. We want to get as close as possible to your soul without actually touching your body. We swoon over an intimate conversation and often mistake it for romantic interest, even if the primary topic of conversation is other girls. "I've never told anyone this before" or "I feel so comfortable with you" are practically marriage proposals.

2. Animals: Nothing says ‘virgin’ quite like unhealthy devotion to non-human mammals.

3. Comfortable shoes: They're not just for lesbians and married women. Nothing says, "I'm not interested or interesting" quite like a comfortable pair of black and tan all-weather mocs.

4. Awesome guys that almost always turn out to be gay: All is not lost though, there's always a chance he can be your sperm donor when you decide on your 39th birthday to have kids on your own. And at the rate you're going, it will be an immaculate conception.

Stuff virgins hate

1. Purity rings: Give me an f-ing break. No. one. cares. Poser.

2. Clothing, makeup, and relationship advice: Nothing makes a girl feel more like a loser than advice from friends and strangers alike that invariably carries the subtext, 'this is why no one wants you.'

3. Talking about sex: It feels like everyone is repeating the catch phrases and inside jokes of a movie you've seen the trailer for but never watched with many of the same feelings you have when you fully intend to watch that movie one day; like you're hearing spoilers.

4. Making a big deal out of it: Any other new experience is normally fun.

Her: 'Oh, I've never had Thai food before.'
Him: 'Thai food is awesome! I'll take you to my favorite place. It will be fun and I'm sure we'll find something you like.'

Insert sex into that same exchange:

Her: 'Oh, I've never had sex before.'
Him: 'I'm not ready for a serious relationship and/or I think we should be friends. And by friends, I mean I should get to say we're friends but actually do my level best to never see you again. And I'm totally telling all my friends.' And then he'll tell his friends he was afraid you'd fall in love with him or want to get married because he was your 'first.' Ego check, please.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Lost and Found; advice for Oprah

It has been a horribly wasted night. I've discovered that I have limited cable, emphasis on limited. Among the entertainment options I had was some second chance to be famous for being a total f-up show on Vh1 with the ladies from Rock of Love. As I watched some random chick get eliminated, her exit monologue cued up, and she mentioned something about finding herself. I was flipping between that and King of the Hill and thinking, there's nothing to find. Not for her, not for me. There is no epiphany that holds the answer, there is no truth to uncover that makes it easier to get up in the morning, or makes pain hurt less, or love last or come at all. At the end, beginning, and middle of the day, something actually has to be done. Decisions are made, outcomes follow, and a new set of decisions are made. If I want different outcomes, I have to make different decisions. I already know that makes a difference in a day but struggle with whatever it is that makes it hard to string those days together. I consider this life to be an addiction, if nothing else, of habit. Change is hard. Keeping myself out of the quicksand is hard. Oprah, who I'm sure works terribly hard, has such tremendous access to resources that we could all stand back and say, there's no reason she should ever be a pound heavier than she wants to be. But she struggles because change is hard. She struggles against herself. I personally don't care what she weighs but she does and that's all it takes in her world to be unhappy with herself. Her lack of control in that one small area of her life. That defines her. She is generous, has a show, magazine, God knows what else but we keep coming back to the weight.

Thinking about Oprah's struggles, and the woman with pink hair extensions who looked rode hard and put up wet leaving a show people only watch to feel better about themselves, I really questioned the value of "finding" yourself. What fuels this desire for self dissection as if looking at the heart will teach us about love? If there are things in my life that I think cause me some degree of heartache or strife then I need to see if I can do something about it instead of turning the problem around in my hands and figuring out how to describe it. It reminds me of an earlier comment I left for myself (yes, I'm still doing that and yes, I know that is a little sad), regarding my tendency to build a watch to tell the time. Perhaps I use introspection as another way to put off doing something about the things that trouble me. Maybe there is some value in thinking through the 'why' but I think too much self-awareness can be crippling. Is it important that I know why I don't seek available men when I could just say yes to the next random dude that pursues me? Should I explore my 'daddy' issues as they relate to my drive to achieve, fear of failure, and need for acceptance or just accept that everyone is carrying some sort of parental baggage and stop trying figure out ways to unpack and repack it? I went to a Kundalini yoga class a few weeks ago and the instructor asked if all strife could not be reduced to some struggle against ourselves, something other than what we are, that we think we should be or do. I won't do the sentiment justice here but it resonates with me still. The thought of moving forward, having goals, absent despair about where I am now is potentially life changing.

So Oprah, I know you skim the web looking for small blogs actively read by three people to gain insights and advice so I just want to encourage you to abandon your shame about your weight as you are so much more than that. Anyone who really cares how much you weigh needs better hobbies. You've accomplished so much, I wish you success not in losing weight but in shedding the voices that won't allow you happiness as you are now.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I heart: Catholics

rosary Pictures, Images and Photos

I don't know if it is coincidence or just a reflection of effective proselytizing leading to greater population density but I know a lot of Catholics. And I love them.

It's a Protestant thing, you wouldn't understand.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Fleurville Pictures, Images and Photos

I've tried yoga a few times throughout the years and found it both surprisingly strenuous and pretty boring. I'm not sure what compelled me to try it once again, especially since the last two times I tried it, I couldn't sit down for three days and I wrenched my back out something fierce (like can't sit upright fierce). The difference this time is that I went to an actual yoga studio and that has made all the difference. It is a great supplement to my overall efforts to exist in the present borrowing no trouble from either the past or the future. I think more about myself in the moment, what my body is doing, how it is feeling, where I am tense from clenching, what I might do to relieve a present stress. I'm not sure how long I'll go or whether it will become a regular part of my life but I have found so far that I really look forward to being outside of my mind for an hour and trying to listen only to my body. I enjoy the break from watching others and wondering what they think about me. I enjoy the break from being aware of my body as it relates to how I and others see it or judge it. I enjoy the concept of waiting for my body to give me an invitation to a deeper form of a particular posture. I enjoy not forcing it. I enjoy how I feel when the practice is over. It isn't the same as I've felt after other exercise where I'm glad for an end to suffering.

I will however, note that last Saturday, I went and there was a girl in the class who exhaled with an orgasmic sigh that I found distracting. It was difficult for me to allow her the experience she was having without being annoyed at how it was impacting mine. It reminded me of the Friends episode where Phoebe can't give Monica a massage because she makes sex noises. I'm hoping I don't see her again but I'll definitely know if she's in class that day.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Anyone else bored?

It's the holiday season and another year is wrapping up. I've made enough progress on my determinations that I'm inclined to issue them anew in the coming year to challenge myself to live even better next year than this year. I'm a little bored with therapists, lightness and dark, and feeling a little silly for exploring those things over and over again in this space. In some respect I think I should get the wheels on and get moving instead of taking you through how I'm building the car.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Restaurant review: Konak

Konak is a Turkish place a few blocks away that I've been walking past for months now and I decided tonight to finally give it a try. I'll caveat what follows thusly; I'm not a professional eater and perhaps lack a sophisticated palette. I have been known to microwave steaks and hamburgers and some may conclude that alone disqualifies me from being able to register an opinion on the culinary talents of others.

The venue is great. The decor is appropriately ethnic without being gaudy and it seems in that respect to be a great date place. There is a bar out front with a good milling around area and seems like it would be an ideal happy hour spot because the groups couldn't get too big. There was a guitarist there who also sang what I am guessing were old standards in Turkish but between every traditional song, he would play a bar or two from something contemporary--something like Never Never Land from Metallica. I thought--wait a minute, he's playing Metalica, then he would segue into another foreign language ballad before I could get out my lighter or push the table back to headbang.

But back to the food. The popularity of chains like Lebanese Taverna and other offerings from the middle, near, and far east is in their offering of dishes that are the most western which turns out to be rice/lamb/beef/chicken and rice or rice/lamb/beef/chicken and pita bread of some sort. For folks who want to show off, they can always order falafel, babaganush, or humus, but you really can't go wrong with a meat/starch combo from any menu from any corner of the world. Konak was no exception in their offering of the classic combos but they also offered traditional fare, some of which came "highly recommended" on the menu. I should have asked why it was highly recommended but I'll know better next time. So I ordered per the menu on their website:

Iskender Kebob (Highly Recommended)
Thinly sliced-lightly buttered pide bread topped with Famous Turkish Gyro (Doner Kebob), served with tomato sauce and homemade plain yogurt on the side in a special dish

When it arrived in what was indeed a special and splendid silver dish, I had my choice of additional butter and/or tomato sauce to pour on top. I told them I had never had the dish before and requested their recommendation and got melted butter poured on top of what ended up being a lukewarm chipped beef open faced sandwich with a large side helping of yogurt. There was a charred green chili and half a tomato on the plate as well. The chili tasted like burnt paper and the tomato with the tomato sauce was a bit too much. I ate quickly because arriving lukewarm, it was in my best interest to consume it quickly. I was also starving. The staff was so nice I didn't have to heart to tell them that I couldn't believe I had left my house on a snowy night to eat that crap when soup out of a can would have tasted better and I wouldn't still be burping butter laced tomatoes. I sought a redeeming note for the evening in ordering baklava and found it too, to be disappointing. It was soggy and tasted vaguely of dishwater--perhaps that was rose water gone too long but the point is that it was not good. I should have just claimed that I was full but I actually felt a pressure to finish my food, like I was dining at their house or something. Perhaps it was just the awkward courtesy of an American eating what was described to me as a traditional Turkish dish and finding it lackluster, not wanting to diss something that came so highly recommended they dare to print it on their menu. Perhaps it is Turkish humor to steer Westerners to their grossest dishes just to see them squirm when they ask how everything is. I for one will not be rushing back there but when I do, I'm sticking to the meat and bread basics.

The food is heavy in my belly and I must sleep now.

Ninja tools: sacks of poop

I'm a single gal who walks alone in the dark every single day. It just comes with the territory of having a dog. Though my dog is also a ninja, I think it wise to supplement her deadly cunning and my crazy mad skills with a back-up arsenal of ninja tools. I am a conscientious ninja and thus everyday can be found carrying a sack of poop around to deposit in the nearest trash can. One day it occurred to me that this is a weapon. Imagine a would-be attacker being smacked in the face with a sack of dog crap that may even explode upon impact. Imagine attaching these ninja crap sacks to nunchukkas. I know, awesome right?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

This day, Framed in Light* pt2

So I loved the last sentence in the previous post because it is pure poetry to me. "Maybe take a look in the shadows for something you can use, because it looks like the light has exhausted its utility." Even though I disagree, I think it is beautiful writing. The commenter is right, I don't need a therapist or a companion. I want them. I want them because I think I will be better, that life will be better, as a result of knowing them. I'm happy right now sitting in my bed typing away. I'm clean, well fed, and warm. I can make noises and smells with abandon and turn out the lights when I'm good and ready. Every couple I know relishes their time away from one another to be as I am every day so it really isn't a bad way to live. But it's my default setting. And it is harder to make company than it is to make space so when I tire of being alone it's not as easily remedied. As a default position, too much time alone often becomes simply lonely.

Shadow vs Light. I may spend a lot of time wondering and trying to be 'right' but I don't think that time is spent in the light. In fact those might be the shadows you speak of. And a little sin? I assume (fully aware of what that makes out of you and me) that you mean debauchery and high-living. The sort of stuff that makes the stories that make redemption so interesting and compelling. I'm sure I'm capable of debauchery beyond your imagination and perhaps shouldn't taunt it by declaring myself beyond its temptation. When I've found myself courting the bad girl within, it has never been out of desire to be that girl because I already am her. I've just found a less obvious way to sublimate the same desires and seek the same protection that the 'bad girl' does with cleaner execution and clarity. I court her for her ability to be so obviously flawed, so vulnerable. People may talk as if they don't desire these things but it is only now dawning on me that people don't fall in love with perfection. Perfection is inaccessible and worrisome. I see who people chose to spend their lives with and find myself surprised with what people are willing to live with just to be with the person that their heart belongs to. I don't believe my story gets interesting in the shadows, I've been hiding there for some time and know them cold. I'm afraid of what I and others will see and accept or reject when I embrace the light. It is the light that ices my blood.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

This day, Framed in Light*

I love this comment from the other blog:

"You don't need a therapist. You don't need a companion either. How can the solution to a person's problems be the addition of problems from a whole new source. I think you need the pursuit of power, blind ambition, vanity, rage. Sin, a little bit more sin to balance the flavor of your life. Maybe take a look in the shadows for something you can use, because it looks like the light has exhausted its utility."

The last sentence is my absolute favorite. If I was into tattoos, optional pain, and making Jesus cry, I would totally get that put somewhere on my body.

Right now the dog is silently demanding to be walked by invoking a civil rights era sit-in at my bedroom door. More on that great comment later.

*Gianna Russo wrote a poem by this title. I read it as a prompt in a writer's workshop and the title stuck with me. You can read her poem here

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


At the risk of ruining it by calling attention to it, I want to note how happy I am to have my brother in the blogsphere though according to Wired magazine, we are both so 2004. Whatever, we bloom late in everything else, why should this be any different? His blog, I've introduced previously but didn't mention that we were related. You should read it. What I like about it as his sister is the ability to both see another side of one another and comment on one another's posts. Anybody who reads his posts or comments will know why I'm a little threatened by both his writing and his insight. His latest musings had me smiling every time I thought of the title of the post, Nervous about chicken. His comments on the other blog had me blown away by the insight and amused by his lack of maturity as it concerns the thought of me and any guy.

Monday, December 1, 2008


My girl crush on Tina Fey continues. I just read the Vanity Fair article on her and had to talk myself out of writing her fan mail. She has no idea that I think I'm her black alter-ego. I thought about that sense of kinship and then kind of talked myself out of it, and not just because I'm not Greek or German or any combination of the two (that I am aware of). I talked myself out of it because I thought of other women who I don't think are as funny or likable who would claim the same kinship and decided I didn't want to be associated with them. Yes, I'm petty even in abstract. Still, I admire her and wish her continued success and freedom to create.

Speaking of generating bad karma, I just put a piece of food on top of my dog's head. She looked at me with liquid brown eyes like, 'how will I get this delectable morsel from my head' and I thought, yep, I'll be stepping in some dog shit courtesy of that mean move. She incidentally bent her head down and used her paw to get the food within seconds so maybe I'll almost step in dog poop.

Though I have vowed not to speak of a current infatuation, I'll meet myself halfway and note only that it continues, capable of sustaining itself in a vacuum. While I haven't matured enough to stop nursing these pointless, awkward, childish, time-sucks, the reality of a woman in her mid-thirties who hasn't really figured out if she wants kids is that the decision will be made for me sooner rather than later. It reminds me of movies showing the pages of a calendar flipping away with increasing speed. It's forcing me to actually think beyond the melodramatic declarations of my 20's of what I would do if I found myself single past 29. I always thought I would have time. Time to meet him, time to be sure, time to enjoy the other's company without thinking about having to make a quick decision on whether there would be kids before my body closed up shop, or before we were both not interested in being old parents with young children. Time for all that stuff to just happen without concerted effort or thought. If I never have children, never get married, it won't be a tragedy or even unfortunate, it will just be. But I do feel the proverbial clock ticking--not as much the biological one as the one who will be deciding if it is time to start using 'age-defying' soap and deodorant (when did armpits become an area where I want to look forever 25?). I'm happy now to note a little suggestion of wear in my face as I'm just fascinated with how the body changes and can't believe already that it is showing history. If I lament anything from my 20's in the looks department, it's my awkward experimentation with eyebrow waxing (think drag queen thin), not wearing a good bra, and not capitalizing on what was a great figure.

But back to the crush. What I find the most amusing and maddening about them is the filter it puts on my thoughts and the weird teenage predilection to want to write him letters. I blame every single teen movie for that. Oh, and David Archuletta's new song, Crush (which yes, I totally downloaded-see what regressive behavior does to my taste in music?). Only in movies does a well-penned letter open the door to true love with a guy who is otherwise 'just a friend' or has only a marginal awareness of your existence. I have an adult friend who still succumbs to this indulgent adolescent behavior and the results are always the same-AWKWARD. It actually didn't work when were teenagers either. As both a sender and recipient of that type of letter, I think part of its ineffectiveness lies in what it is replacing, which is actual interaction with the object of your desire. Penning an op-ed hoping to convince a guy to return your affection simply because you harbor affection for him is silly. He's bound to be flattered but embarrassed both for you and him. Trying to spend time with a guy you like and hoping that something will spark--much smarter and sometimes even works. But for now, the ipod calls and I'm going to put Crush on repeat while I do laundry and try to learn all the words before I go to bed tonight.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Hospitality 101

turkey Pictures, Images and Photos
I packed up the car to leave as he was on his hands and knees with a bottle of Windex and a roll of paper towels working to erase all traces that we had ever been there. I made the decision to leave somewhere between "before you get started cleaning up, when are you leaving?" and him dragging out the vacuum cleaner and pulling furniture from the wall to catch any errant dog hair which was barely visible to the naked eye after a mere two days visiting for the holiday. Traveling is already its own little hell; staying somewhere that you are constantly reminded how put out your host is makes it heartbreaking. Driving away, I actually physically ached in a way that reminded me of the soul-punching disappointment of a failed relationship. I don't know what it is in him that reflexively knows how best to feed a lifetimes worth of hang-ups and neuroses but the man has a gift. I like to joke that my father is a man who will give the shirt off his back but will make sure to let you know how much it costs. He'll also let you know how cold he is now, but that he's glad and blessed he had the shirt to give. Catholic and Jewish guilt, you've met your match; miscegenation brings us the best of both worlds.

Very aware (again) of how having a dog in the house was near anathema to my father, I sought to earn my keep for the few days I stayed with them and left, wounded and semi-determined to not stay with them again. I ran errands, picked up prescriptions, and tried to minimize the impact of our presence as much as possible. I slept on the couch because the dog was not permitted upstairs, endured recurring comments about dog hair, and watched him grimace every time she shook or scratched behind her ears. He took a picture of my dog and printed it for me and told me the title of the picture was 'No dogs in the house.' I told him I didn't get it. He kept going on about needing a day to clean up after I left and even though I told him I would clean up, I packed up the car and dog to leave while he was on his hands and knees hand-wiping the floor because I wasn't going to be an additional source of stress for him. If he was that put out to accommodate us, he should have just said no.

It is so cliche to invoke the father daughter relationship as the backbone of any discussion on how women deal with men but what I learned about love from my father is that it is conditional and that you both earn and show love through work. You work to jettison guilt or prevent censure. So friends, I don't know what kind of guest I am but know that I'm really uncomfortable being your guest and this is why. I know exactly how put out you are and feel like it is only really acceptable to foist that inconvenience on family. I try to relax by thinking of how I would want you to feel in my home (welcome and carefree). But if you find yourself arguing with me over trying to leave things as I found them (i.e. washing sheets, towels, cleaning), here's the reason you should just let me do it. It is the only sure way I know to convey gratitude and affection and ensure most importantly that you won't resent me (at least not for that). I know it's the right thing to do for the wrong reasons but trust that I am a work in progress and hope one day to rest as easy with you as I should in my own home. If nothing else, I hope it makes me a better host.

The comedy of politics: great SNL piece

Andy Samberg-such a funny guy. Well played, Andy, well played.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Snow blankets and Loneliness

I was walking the dog, enjoying the lights of the city and turning my loneliness in my hands like worry beads, trying to figure out if this feeling was a fog, a heavy cloak, or something else. I was consumed with giving my feeling the right reference. I've settled on snow. Loneliness feels like the hush of a heavy snow. It's hard to picture the street below, much less the spring that will soon follow the winter storms. Sometimes it can be brushed off like the light dustings that fall so heavy and blow so quickly away in the same day. But more often loneliness feels like it will always be winter and there will always be snow.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm convinced someone always sees this

Date: 24 November

Time: 1942hrs

Location: Somewhere on 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA

Activity: Walking dog

Description of incident: Dog wanders in circles across mine-leaden field of other dog's random crap on a dark rainy night. Dog manages to find suitable spot to lay down her treasures. Dog lays down treasure save one nugget which is left dangling from her backside attached to her by the undigestible grass she insists on eating at every opportunity. She finds this uncomfortable and disconcerting (no doubt, the same way you feel about my decision to share this story). She hobbles around hunched over trying to get it to drop. I use my bagged hand to grab the grass and nugget from her hunched over rear end. Even though it is necessary, there is no way this doesn't look like a very wrong thing to be doing.

I am convinced that someone always sees me doing this and is totally grossed out. He is probably very cute and inclined to strike up a conversation until he witnesses me rummaging around at my dog's backside.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


There is a Christian song, a very old one, called Tomorrow. In it, the singer responds to Jesus' declarations and invitations, "Tomorrow. I'll give my life tomorrow. I've thought about today, so much easier to say, tomorrow..." and on and on in the way that is expected of a non-committal procrastinator. In the same way that procrastinating sinner is assumed to meet their doom for having eschewed the gift of salvation when it was available, I know my life is slipping off the rails when I both fail to plan for tomorrow and put things off until then. There is a point in almost every day when I simply give up on the lofty goals (laundry, bathing, food shopping, house tidying-these are my lofty goals) from the previous evening that I wake up in the morning dreading. This is why I end up staying up all night when I get anything done. It takes me all day to gather the energy to actually do something in the house and the trip wire is usually activated at night when the prospect of a tomorrow with the same things left undone becomes unbearable. It is such a needlessly painful experience but I simply can not help myself. No amount of self awareness both of what I'm doing or the pain that it causes serves as motivation to change my behavior. The one thing Dr. Awesome said that I've been thinking about without wondering incredulously how she manages to stay in practice with people paying a $125 an hour to listen to her talk, is that when I explained to her that discipline to me is, 'doing it anyway' she said that disciplined people don't wait to want to do things, they just do it. It really wasn't much different than what I said but it highlighted pushing through a lack of motivation and being instead driven by principle. Then I re-read parts of the Rolling Stone article on David Foster Wallace and noted his spells with using discipline as a means of ordering his mind and keeping his demons at bay. Then I thought of the little slices of life that find me doing the things I ought to do with little thought and the feeling I had when I recognized that I was keeping house, grooming, and moving through my day with none of the usual angst. When I notice, I feel like I've just snuck up on myself and then I try my best to remain quiet and let me enjoy as much of this lightness as possible. I also wonder how long I'll allow myself the respite. I also understand why DFW would count among his happiest days, his time living in a closet of a room. It forces a discipline of necessity that removes the need to make decisions for one's betterment.

But I don't live in a broom closet and though I have purposely downsized my life, it still does not offer the cramped simplicity of DFW's digs. I think somewhere in the delta between my hyper idealized desire for discipline and whatever it is that won't allow me to have even a modicum of it in any sustainable quantity, lies an area of discovery that I'd love to understand. I sometimes think I misrepresent myself, that I go on and on about lack of discipline when what I really mean is a lack of perfection. No wonder I'm rarely happy with myself.

Women who take relationship self-help books seriously

Please stop. If you can't help yourself then please resist "helping" others by dishing out inane advice from books like "He's just not that into you" and "Why men like bitches." I'm not any better qualified to give dating advice than you, in fact I'm a total spaz, but I still think relationships are far from formulaic or that there is some method I'm failing to apply to hook and sink the perfect guy. In fact the more single women I meet and talk to, the more I realize that regardless of the method, we're all still single. Whether we wait for guys to call or grab him by the tie and straddle him, we're still single. Whether the girls are using match, e--harmony, dating constantly, or never dating, we're still single. It's maddening but my philosophy remains, it's wrong until it's right. I am me. I can only be me and I want to be with someone who wants me. I hope to change and grow as I age, I endeavor to be better versions of myself always, but however I evolve, I am still connected to an essential, elemental, me. I know books that sell their methods with anecdotes of success but I don't have a single friend or acquaintance who owes their marital status to a self-help book. In fact the only women I know talking about self help books with any sense of authority about the truth they contain are single like me and trying vainly to find some truths to buoy them through the unanswerable questions who, what, when, where, why, how, and most importantly, if there will ever be a man for them. Oh, and the smug women and men who write them.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Twitter, blogging, Facebook, MySpace

I just read a horrible story today about a boy who committed suicide in front of a live web audience. He announced his intention to kill himself and then took pills and died not long after. The entire thing was streaming live, including the arrival of the police to the scene. A sidebar on the tragedy was this oft repeated sentiment that there is a generations of folks who live out their lives on the web, chronicling every non-event, every intimate detail of their very ordinary lives as if anyone would have any interest. The truth is that we are interested in one another, we do get caught up in the mundane and fantastical, not just of celebrities, but of each other. The web is so big that you don't often have to go far to find someone or something to connect and relate to. It gives people voices and a sense that because the medium is not as fleeting as the spoken word, that their thoughts may find their way to like-minded souls eventually. It is a community and while we can discuss and argue what kind of community it is or what we may be missing in our tangible lives that we seek in virtual connection, it is nevertheless to me just reinforcement that no matter the medium, human beings seek connection and community with one another. I know it is a strange place to go given my tragic lead-in but I could say nothing about the young man that his family and friends won't say better and with authority I lack in the matter.


Maria threw darts at maps and traveled the globe, and depended on the kindness of strangers but slept with a machete just in case. She lived in places and ways that seem unreal and found a way to scratch a full life out of wherever she happened to be. She lived bravely and with conviction and determination. She had a wild mane of black hair and a beauty both striking and serene. When she moved to a remote plain in Idaho, it was no surprise that she lived "off the grid" as in all the stories I heard about her, she had never lived "on" the grid. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer nearly two years ago, I remember hearing that she had felt it even earlier than that but didn't have insurance. Although the news initially saw her declaring she would go quietly into that night and refuse treatment, she actually ended up defying the odds so many times that I lost count as she rallied from hospice and returned home after she was given weeks and hours to live over and over again. It was a long and painful goodbye for her and her family but the family was able to rally around to see her, laugh, cry, and try to say something like goodbye. If you believe that God ultimately keeps the time on our stay here then she wasn't here a moment longer than we all needed her to be and her life continues in her frighteningly beautiful daughter and two handsome boys. I hope for her passing to imbue them with that same steel rod of determination to live and push through things and that her loss will give them a well of strength they can draw from and remember her as the source of. I never met her in person, never even spoke to her, but I still can't believe she isn't here anymore. My dear friend is grieving her, the one who told me everything I know about her sister Maria, who finally laid down her head to rest on Saturday November 15th, 2008.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Introducing: The CrushCode Chronicles

Do not ask me what it means. I do not know. I do know this is hilarious.

I also know that I'm not giving out my number to random dudes anymore. Ever. My made up boyfriend (working name Slash Thudkill) was working great as a graceful declination from getting caught up in the phone number exchange and then I left the program for no good reason last night. Security guard at my building hits me up for the digits and even sets me up to use the boyfriend excuse and I don't! I'm going to blame a depressed immune system on account of my bronchitis. So dude calls me today, twice, one minute apart. left a snarky voicemail and then sent me a high priority text message (I did not even know you could do that) that said, "called twice. your move." It was 1:30 in the afternoon on a work day. You are calling me on my cell phone. In the middle of a work day. Twice. One minute apart. Dude, you need to relax.

Also Burnside turned me on to a great link in this post.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A suggestion from the sexiest woman alive

So they just named Hugh Jackman sexiest man alive--I agree completely. Hence the title and the thought for the day which I'm only now finishing a few days later.

If you are alive and have ovaries, chances are that you don't have many pictures of yourself that you like. You also probably like old pictures that you used to hate. It is a strange and mocking vanity us ovary carriers have. So I have a suggestion and before I reveal it, I must first give credit to dearjes. dearjes is the only way to describe her as she is quite dear and also pretty amazing. She told me once that every year for her birthday, she takes a picture of herself. I think one year the 'self-portrait' was of her feet but the picture I saw of her was amazing. She's already beautiful and ridiculously photogenic but this picture captured on film the beauty we know of her everyday. A great picture. She confessed that she went through quite a few bad pictures to get this one good picture and it got me thinking that maybe I could take a good picture after all. I just needed to practice.

Well it just so happens that my awesome laptop has an built in camera and an application called Photo Booth where you can snap away to your hearts content and even use cool effects--sepia tone is a personal favorite. So I've been snapping away whenever the mood hits me for about year trying to get "candid" but flattering pictures. I'll paste a few below for the weekend and then I will take them down so if you're reading this later, that's why there are no pictures. There is nothing particularly great about these pictures but I really like them because they are 'elemental.' It's not so much that I look good in these pictures as much as I just don't look bad. They also feel very intimate. I think that the lighting and angle of the shots convey an intimacy. What I've also learned is that I don't normally take an okay picture when I'm feeling decidedly unsexy. The point is, give it a try. I think you'll see faces that you didn't realize you had.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

In consideration of older men and selected other thoughts

Karaoke was good last night. I didn't sing but it was because I didn't feel like it, not because I was terrified to, which is an important distinction. There were so many people there, you could hardly hear anyone at the mike and only 5-10 people in a tiny room that had to have been beyond capacity could actually see you. I screamed back and forth with a couple of nice women and was pleased that more than half of the women who showed up weren't interested in singing, were coming out for the first time, and had also recently moved and wanted to make some women friends. A surprising number of women had boyfriends or husbands. Most were dressed even more casual than me, some took a little more care, so I definitely did not feel like the loser in walking shoes. All in all, I'm glad I went. Met some interesting people (always), had a very full day, including lunch with a friend who happened to be in town, and woke up this morning with a sore throat in what feels like the same cold I had three weeks ago. I hadn't had a cold in two years and this year, I've been sick three times now. Totally weird and very irritating.

Friday night, I took some out-of-town folks to my neighborhood bar/cafe. There, I saw Boston, an older guy (older-than-my dad-older) I met about a month ago when I wandered in to the place to shake off a funk I was in. He has a dark hair that has gone mostly gray, a kindly weathered face, a wonderful Boston accent, and killer blue eyes. I think he's at least 20 years older than me but I like him. We had a nice talk, walked out together and that was that. Last night, the place was crowded and he had just given his seat the the guys I was with and I invited him to join us. Though he had eaten already, he ended up staying with us the entire meal and even after the guys left. We talked about everything under the sun and like the last time we talked, I felt a weird energy coming from him. If I'm right it was 1/3 loneliness, 1/3 alcohol, and 1/3 lust--not in an aggressive way, but as an extension of his loneliness. He reminds me a bit of Jay, because their loneliness is similar. but Boston is a quieter soul. He strikes me as the type who could earnestly fall in love with a stripper. We left the bar and walked a few steps before our separate homes drove us in separate ways and the space between us was pregnant with something that I thought I recognized but didn't really want to. I gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek, he lingered at my neck in a way that could have meant nothing but I think it meant something. I know I'm one for overblowing things--IBC springs immediately to mind, but this feels different.

I don't want to date Boston. He has 4 grown sons, he's older than my father, and I refuse to believe that if God ever had anything at all in mind for me, that Boston would be who he sent. What has me here typing about him is I think what Boston feels happening between us is what I feel between me and every wrong guy. I bang my head against the wall and say, 'how do we talk for hours? how does he share his soul with me and still want to be with somebody else? how can things be so easy between us yet I feel he doesn't seriously consider me romantically? what is wrong with me?' If Boston and I are splashing on the same emotional pheromones, I can see with some degree of objectivity why I seem often to have these long term emotional affairs with the likes of Maybe and IBC and others who haven't been assigned monikers. Like I am (inexplicably) to Boston, these guys are attracted to something about me, maybe they're attracted to my attraction to them. Who doesn't like feeling wanted? Even though I think there is something in them, perhaps a basic decency, that won't allow them to take advantage of the uneven emotional playing field, I do run on the fumes of something in my passive pursuit of their affection. Maybe they are the innocents and I generate all the romantic tension and energy all by myself. But it could also be like the lyrics from the Mamas and Papas:

"I saw her again last night and I know that I shouldn't
To string her along is just not right, if I could then I wouldn't.
But what can I do? I'm lonely too, and it makes me feel so good to know she'll never leave me."

And my favorite, which feels like a shout out to IBC:

"I'm in way over my head, now she thinks that I love her
Because that's what I said, though I never think of her."

Such a jingly sing-songy tune with 'whoa' lyrics.

I'm not sure how, but I can't do Boston like that. It helps that I don't really go to the bar that often and so I'm unlikely to run into him a lot but I will run into him. While I don't need to borrow that trouble in advance, wringing my hands and trying to figure out how to be, what to say, I will be thinking in the coming days how I would have liked my many beyond reach men to treat me. I know I don't have control over his emotions and he's free to like or dislike me the same as everyone else, I just see this as an opportunity (if I've read this situation correctly) to sow something into the world that I will one day benefit from in the way someone conducts themselves with me.

And now for something completely different.

A great song and fun video. Anyone who saw Inside Man will remember this song from the opening and closing credits. I love the dances in this video. They are gettin' down.

It seemed like a good idea at the time

I'm supposed to be going out to sing karaoke with a bunch of girls I've never met in about 15 minutes. I know I need to get off my duff and meet people and conquer silly fears like singing karaoke. Who better to do it with than people I've never met, right? But I'm not feeling it. I can wear cute shoes and walk seven blocks in pain but arrive looking more like I care or I can wear good shoes and look like I'm chaperoning the group I'm with. I hope someone else in the group is as pragmatic as me...big sigh, deep breath. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


jigsaw puzzles Pictures, Images and Photos

My friend Rock Star used to have a little wooden box full of Mensa puzzles at his desk. Most were squiggly pieces of steel that you had to get back together or take apart in ways that weren't obvious, at least to me, until the puzzle was solved. I would come to his desk for breaks sometimes and try to work the pieces together or apart. Very often I would put the squiggly puzzles back in the box and wish I was smarter or that my parents had made me play more chess growing up so I would have had a more agile, spatially oriented mind to tackle the puzzles with.

This writing I've been churning out over the last year has been like those recalcitrant pieces of steel. I feel like I'm moving toward something but it is unclear what that is. If I were a singer, I'd be trying out for American Idol, unsure if I'm as good as I want to be but finally willing to give someone an opportunity to pass on me. And, just to fully commit to the analogy, I'm one of those contestants during audition week that doesn't make the initial cut. Something about me doesn't fit--you don't want to hold your hands over your ears when I sing, but you wouldn't line up to buy my CD. Maybe it was the outfit, maybe it was the song, maybe I looked too old, but something didn't click. Something is not clicking in part because I don't know what I want from this. Not unlike my approach to dating, I'm hoping that someone will discover me and then tell me what I am. Am I an advice columnist? An author of modern-day parables? A diarist? An author of those really long greeting cards?

It seemed when I solved one of the puzzles at Rock Star's desk, it either came by a serendipitous positioning or with deliberate study and care paired with serendipity. Either way, the puzzle never resolved in the way that I thought it might and luck was always involved. I got a response from a local publisher today who wished me luck even though my "project" wasn't one they were interested in. It didn't upset me because not knowing what I wanted, I didn't really give them anything to accept or reject. I need to think on this. I love writing. I love words. That will be true no matter what. If this never goes anywhere or gets any wider a readership than my friends and the random people the world over looking for pictures of fire (most disquieting worldwide search term-ever), it was everything it needed to be. I'll just be me; a mid-level bureaucrat that loves words who will write pieces for her friend's special occasions and for their general amusement at her wacky adventures.

The Father's house

I'm sitting at my father's desk, hoping I'm up early enough that he won't come downstairs to see me at his computer. It seemed like later, but it was in fact 4 am when we(the dog and I) woke this morning and I, badly in need of an updated prescription saw the time as 7am. I've been trying all morning to keep the dog quiet and move stealthily through the house and while that's simply the right thing to do if you find yourself awake at 4am in shared quarters, skulking around this morning brought back some of the familiar anxieties and guilts of home. I'm sure part of it is the normal chafing at returning to a context where you are a child first. Part of it is knowing that my father is making a huge accomodation in hosting both me and the dog and the eggshells I feel I am walking on in having any inconvenience he experiences in hosting me being related to the dog. If I were to whip out my armchair pyschology degree, I would say that how I feel right now is precisely the same discomfort I have at being hosted by anyone. If I know I'm putting family out to spend the night, how much more am I inconveniencing someone who isn't even obligated to love me? I'm sure I'm just scratching around what could prove to be a very profitable topic for the mental healthcare industry but I'll let it rest for now.

I was at my old place yesterday, making repairs before my renter moved in and learned something new about the innards of washing machines when I had to replace the clutch, or more specifically, the agits that provide resistance in the clutch and allow the agitator to work properly. No one reading this needed to know that much about it but I was so proud to have made that repair myself. Talking with a neighbor later that evening she essentially told me that being too self sufficient and squared away is probably contributing significantly to my marital/social status, that men are probably intimidated, etc, etc... I don't buy that for a minute. Plenty of squared away women have their pick of men and if anything, they find the selection lacking, not the other way around. I'm just weird and have cosmically bad timing and taste in men. But it is interesting to consider what makes a person counsel someone in that way; that I need to pretend to be something else just to hook the guy in. There is enough facade involved in dating and both parties end up with surprises about the other after some time without going the extra mile to confuse a man about my fundamental nature. I'm not helpless but that doesn't mean I don't want help.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

On comments

I'm still blogging here and have not figured out a way to push the content to this site so folks don't have to shuffle back and forth. Work in progress... I did want to highlight the link above as a shout out to the silent readers (all 5 of you) of the blogs. You'll find the same in the link but for ease, here's what I had to say on the topic of comments:

"I know my readership is small and a couple of folks have talked about not quite knowing what to say or feeling self-conscious about putting it out for others to see. To them I say, not enough people read this for you to worry that a lot of people are going to be available to judge your reaction to a post. It absolutely makes my day to see that someone has reacted to something that I wrote so please, if you have something on your mind, share-even if you want to tell me to pull my head out and get some fresh air."

Great Sabbath Story

Monks getting into a fight at a Christian Holy Site. Unrepentant about it to boot.

What I'm doing

I've bothered several people today and have still others I plan to bother. I have spent almost every evening after 7 pm in the bed writing and messing around on the computer until the wee hours of the morning. I should be in Virginia right now jettisoning stress by attending to important things but opted instead to bring weird energy into the yoga studio and hang out in my underwear writing a two paragraph e-mail to a local publisher for most of the rest of the evening. No one has time or inclination to lead me through the maze of figuring out how to do something more with this writing but I hope to learn something from the rejection which is why I bothered at all. Hopefully, I will get some sort of feedback with the rejection rather than a vacuum of silence. I hope also that I won't be as dense as I was earlier this week. I was waiting for someone I had never met and went up to a guy who bore a slight resemblance to pictures I had seen of the person I was going to meet. I asked him if he was Mr. Smith and he laughed and said 'No, but he's a handsome guy!' and slapped my shoulder. I looked at him and just walked away. I was embarrassed to have gone up to the wrong guy and even more puzzled that this random other guy thought the guy I was meeting was handsome. I was concerned that he knew this other guy and was going to laugh at me even more when he did show up. 12 hours later, I got the joke and felt like a total jerk.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Adding me to your favorites on Technorati

I have no idea what I'm doing....

Add to Technorati Favorites

To do: get new hobby. get boyfriend.

It is a lovely lazy Saturday. I've been working on something for weeks now that I can't seem to get right that I think I will submit to the Washington Post. I've been entertaining sending links to random people and just generally stirring things up so I can have something interesting to think about. I've been practicing taking pictures of myself to see it it's possible to take a good picture and I've got a crush on my yoga instructor because he's the only man here who touches me. He's most assuredly gay but he has this well of calm in his eyes and has a great touch. When he touches me, it reminds me that people need touch. I have got to get a boyfriend. I joined and am now a member of various groups that plan all sorts of neat stuff. I've not been to a single event, finding that my desire for company never seems to mesh up with their event schedule. Story of my life.

The local coffee shop is great. It is often so crowded that you have to sit with strangers if you'd like a seat and I find it somehow a good antidote for the loneliness that comes with a new city. I read my book, eat my food, and feel like I'm just hanging out with friends who can enjoy each other's company without talking. Today, I was at a table of three of us who were strangers to one another. The other two had computers and cell phones to keep them entertained; I had a book. It was all good. I kept dropping food and otherwise eating like I wasn't in public, hunched over my food like I was in prison and barely looking up until it was gone. Still, it was all good.

Things that make me laugh about myself: My hesitancy in submitting an idea for a show because the submission guidelines warn that you must be willing to appear on the show. I paused and then laughed. I'm not going to be on a TV show! The thought that I'd have to avoid being on television, I love my imagination sometimes. But if I ever do become rock star famous for writing, I will be calling Oprah out for not answering my e-mail. I can see it now, sitting on her couch, stumping for my latest navel-gazing book, and telling her that I was actually looking forward to coming on the show to confront her for not personally answering my e-mail. Then I'll read from my letter provided by her staff, who will have dug up my submission from long ago and oh, how we'll laugh. The tag line for the show will be, 'IP settles grudge with Oprah at 4. Find out what it is and Oprah's surprising reaction."

Seriously. I've got to get a boyfriend.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

This just in: Obama not Jesus

Everyone blogging on this theme of what elections don't magically address, we get it. Everyone trying to manage our collective expectations, it's okay, we know this Presidency has challenges ahead. We hope but aren't sure that Obama-Biden will leave the country better than they found it when their tenure at the helm is up. Like promotions in the military are based on a confidence in your ability to serve at the next higher grade, an election is always a gamble. No one would have voted for Bush if anyone had the faintest inkling of how he and Cheney were going to hand the country back to us in 8 years. Yet while they were pursuing their agendas and committing the country's resources to wars, we were no less equipped to feed the hungry here at home, or share the gospel, or support our churches and communities in need. Yes, there is an abundance of sentiment and fervor at rallies and in general for Obama that made/make many Christians uncomfortable because they recognized, I think, people being touched in a way that inspired religious-like zeal and devotion. I think many Christians were kind of hating on that. Maybe even a little threatened like Jesus was the best band ever and was slipping in the charts to someone who couldn't even read music. Maybe even a little moved themselves in ways that threatened idolatry. It's easy to do and not wrong to warn against it. I'm just saying that perhaps there's a little more to those exhortations to remember in whom your salvation lies if we dig a little deeper or are a little more honest as individuals and as a Christian community about the place where those concerns spring from.

And finally to those reminding us that Obama isn't Jesus, that our hope does not or should not rest in any man but in Christ, we get that too. Anybody who doesn't probably isn't reading your blog.

The Afterglow

While my head is still spinning that I went to bed on election night and actually knew who my next president will be and while I am still relieved, elated, and inspired that it was Obama, I just wanted to get a few thoughts down.

I thought McCain gave a wonderful concession speech and it was good that Palin didn't talk at all though she appeared to be struggling to hold it together. It was the McCain that I saw tonight that as an independent voter I think would have been a strong contender for my vote had he not made such a troubling and bewildering choice in his running mate. Cest la vie, it is done and I'm elated with America's choice.

Now there are no more excuses. The man isn't keeping us down, he's not pulling strings we can't mount defenses against, whatever we fail to achieve as Americans, as blacks, as women, we have to own those failures as our own. Are there obstacles? People who deliberately advance agendas contrary to individuals and groups? Absolutely. But as much as I didn't cast my vote today to elect a black president, I am so ridiculously proud that my country did and showed that the primary consideration for the majority of Americans was who they thought was most qualified to lead our nation. Every single black person in America could have voted for Obama and that would not have won him the White House. I appreciate more than I or anyone of any color can convey what this means to our ambitions, hopes, dreams, and love for our country, but I'm not a fan of the race-centric discussions. Let him be our President first, a man of color second.

I also wanted to share how in love with my nation I am tonight. How in love with the thought that Americans and the world will get to know a black family that I identify with, that is not a caricature of black packaged and sold the world over. I am proud that they will be the ambassadors of both my ethnicity and my citizenry for this country and for the world. They inspire me to be a better public servant, and a more civic minded American. I am proud to work for the government and the challenge he has issued to roll up our collective sleeves and get to work inspires me to raise the bar on how I discharge the duties I've been trusted with. I told my mom earlier tonight, long before any projections were made that the thought of an Obama presidency made me want to work in Washington and work in the seat of government to facilitate the realization of the vision in 'Yes We Can.' It feels like a calling-so strange after the apathy of my adult voting life never feeling connected to the person who led our country, casting whimsical and arbitrary votes for a particular candidate because it was how my breakfast settled in my stomach on that particular day. It never felt like my vote mattered. I never felt I had an active role in shaping the future of my country. And now the work begins.

And on a slightly frivolous parting note, I'm happy that America will get to know a black woman. If Michelle starts an end-run on educated black women as desirous company and mates, that will be enough for me. I will finally get some play. I don't care if it's a fad. I'll finally be on the right side of one.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Seriously, what is the deal with the Fire Sale picture?

I can not imagine why so many people the world over are interested in fire. And why they come here to get it. I googled fire images and mine is on the third page of results. Getting kind of creeped out about what the world is up to in its quest for fire pictures.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Not sure what is going on in the world but I'm seeing traffic to my site all going to this post about my lame party plans aka, the fire sale. The picture is from photobucket which is where I get a lot of the pictures for this blog. Turns out it just easier to imbed pictures that way than it is to import them from my computer library to this site. Anyway, it's just weird.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

America, please reject fear, hate, and division

A wonderful article. I've previously posted about my concern of the corner of American that is frighteningly excited about a Palin-McCain presidency (the order might as well reflect the preference). This article says it better. I've pasted the url below as well.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Note the new widget

I've added this cool feature (bottom left) that tells me when folks have visited my blog which is great. Even if no one comments, I can at least know someone stopped by to check out the merchandise. The problem is that I visit my own site quite a bit and it still counts me. It's the web equivalent of writing a book and then going out and buying a ton of copies so it looks popular. Totally lame.

This city

Sometimes it's the quaint cobblestone alleyway that reeks of dog urine that is the essence of this city to me. Sometimes it is the lights and the people of the city through the condensation on the large glass windows on the second floor of Starbucks on 19th and Chestnut. Sometimes it is the tart stench of garbage from the passing trucks and street after street of bags waiting to be collected that slow down our walk as my dog insists on inspecting them all for life threatening food. On weekends it is sometimes the Delaware river from Penn's Landing and the lights of Ben Franklin bridge. It is often my friends as I see them in things they would delight in through the many storefronts. I miss them a little then and wish they were here. During the week it is the Chinese food cart outside of work that is the best meal you'll eat for $3.80 in the city. Everyday it is the choking cigarette smoke--Philly smokes a lot. It is buses and trains, trucks, cars, and even planes. It is ninja footwork avoiding poop smeared sidewalks. It is Gabriel, the guy I've seen almost every day walking to work wearing all black and perhaps the same black every single day. I just learned his name yesterday. It's weird that of all the people I pass everyday, we end up talking and even finally exchanging names. No girls, he's not single. Once it was the specter of a homeless person crossing an empty street at 4am with a dark blanket draped over their head like a ghost. They turned to take in me and the dog and then continued on. It is watching a homeless person struggle against the whipping wind to arrange a small blanket to tuck under their body and cover their face as they sleep on top of a steam manhole in the center of the sidewalk. It is still more homeless at the bus shelters, park benches, and churches. It is all the random men who try to pick me up in the subways and streets-I do not understand why you can not make eye contact or even just say hello without having to make up a fictional boyfriend to keep things from going there. It is broken glass from beer and car windows. It is another person dining alone who didn't forget to bring something to read or write with like I did.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

FYI: I am an elitist snob

What scares me most about Sarah Palin is who she inspires. People who would hold her up as a hero, who would celebrate and look up to her, who even now are slavishly devoted to a woman they've known for less than three months. I'm an intellectual lightweight by any standard-I would sound smarter than Sarah Palin because I use English better-but she and I would probably fare about the same in her interviews with Katie Couric and others. But anyone who can watch those interviews, look at her debate performance, and still support her--I don't understand those Americans. Some people are just not gifted communicators and perhaps Sarah is Mensa smart but communicatively disabled. But communication skills in a Vice President or any elected official should be above average. You are expected to carry and COMMUNICATE the people's agenda convincingly and clearly. You are expected to represent us abroad and do more than charm and serve as chief tea pourer and arm candy. And I don't understand people who are excited about her stance on gay marriage and abortion. I'm not into gay marriage but I wouldn't vote Republican based on that issue--I wouldn't vote for president based on any of America's hot button issues of morality. At the end of the day, those issues are way too personal to be effectively legislated or controlled (i.e. homosexuality, abortion). We tried that with alcohol and should know by now that it just drives those types of behavior underground where we can pretend they aren't there and distracts our lawmakers and enforcers with useless investigations and prosecutions.

But back to Palin's supporters, the Republican party, aptly named, "base." The fundamentalist Christians, the Joe's (six pack and plumber variety), the soccer and hockey moms...all these caricatures of "small-town" America that have a very insulting subtext; ignorant, marginally educated, Bible-thumping, xenophobes. They are "tolerant" of people who are different (race, sexual preference) which means they'll no longer run you out of town with pitchforks but they really wish you had chosen somewhere else to live and hope you don't attract more of your kind--or they hope you're the "good kind." They remind me that Martin Luther King was killed 7 years before I was born and the people who so vehemently and publicly opposed integration and racial equality didn't leave the planet or the country when the law of the land changed. They demonstrate the danger of isolation from information, from cultures outside of their own, from questions about why things are the way they are, from questions about faith and that the practice of faith is not an excuse to be ignorant. It is America at its smallest. I've never belonged to either party, but I've always voted Republican, perhaps because Fox News was always the channel of choice in the waiting rooms in various offices on military bases or I just found the Democratic nominee less palatable. I guess I felt they were more DoD friendly and I identified more with their supporters in value and beliefs than Democrats. But I will be casting a ballot for Obama on Nov 4th and praying, praying, praying that he wins.

An addendum: I think what frightens me is the Republican fear-mongering going on right now--they are predicting disaster and casting a shadow of certain doom for America over an Obama presidency. Amazing. The feeble minded among us may fall for this but I'm hoping that most of America is intelligent enough to recognize these tactics for what they are. Rhetoric is standard, both sides churn it out like oxygen but I really feel like McCain's campaign is being downright irresponsible in its messages. Please my citizens, please think. You don't have to vote for Obama like me, but please don't cast your vote in fear. Obama isn't going to attack this country, neither is McCain, neither will have been president long enough in this terrifying six-month outlook McCain's campaign is breathless with to have eroded or increased our nation's safety from attack. It is a low argument--what AMERICAN would look at the smoldering ashes within six months of the election and say, "See, I told you something bad would happen if you elected Obama." WTF?! Is there a magnet sitting on your moral compass?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mark, my hero

So I did that thing that you never want to do--I left something in a taxi. Specifically, I left my cell phone in a taxi and have spent the last five hours trying to get it back. I'm not sure what it is about a taxi company that is reflexively dismissive but people will tell you anything to get you off the phone and that's exactly what happened for the first three hours of this ordeal. The call before I talked to Mark (my 5th call), they put me on hold for 18 minutes when I insisted on speaking to a supervisor, and then disconnected me. Then I talked to Mark and expressed again my incredulity that it would take this long to get in touch with a driver and how I could not understand how it was that the dispatch company could be paging this guy over and over, he wasn't answering, and they had no alternative. Mark resisted me at first but I think since I had demonstrated that I would just keep calling and remain a thorn in their side until it was resolved, he totally stepped up and turned off the driver's meter to force him to contact the dispatch company. Totally awesome.

The driver called, Mark called me back and informed me that my phone was not in the car. When someone asserts something like that when you were so sure, it erodes your confidence. You're not sure you even ever owned a phone after spending an evening irritating every dispatcher at the local cab company only to feel like a moron for being such a pest. So, I took the dog out for a quick walk and then took a shower. I had looked up the airport lost and found and called them and then noticed a message on my machine. My phone was in the cab after all.

What a day.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hard not to take this personally

Hi. This is the qmail-send program at
I'm afraid I wasn't able to deliver your message to the following addresses.
This is a permanent error; I've given up. Sorry it didn't work out.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Knots Pictures, Images and Photos

Tying up a few loose ends of thought from both the blogs.

IBC: just like my fleeting but completely absorbing obsession with the waffles and fruit plate at my local coffee shop, IBC is retired from staring roles in daydreams. If I were a different girl, or my life resembled a funnier sitcom, we would have probably made out to satisfy our collective interest in sampling someone different than we expected to end up spending our lives with but I'm not that girl.

Mr. Coffee: Still pings me occasionally. Still dead to me.

My eyebrows: just about normal now.

Mom: probably out of the hospital and if her preoccupation with rescheduling her hair appointment is any indication, feeling o.k. Found out right after I wrote the previous sentence, that she did indeed get her hair done today. Yay!

The newest blog: Soulfinger has been a bit of a disappointment, save Erik's posts. The other three folks have too much life or too little inspiration to grace the pages. I'll fiddle around and see if I can archive it here or somewhere else so Erik's posts are not lost to cyberspace but I think the site will go away before the holidays.

The original blog: Still posting there. I don't know if it's the interface or just habit but I think I like writing there better than writing here. Blogger is much more flexible, has a lot more tools and interactive content, and it's free but I still like my writing in the original more.

Writing submissions: I've done none. Rightly or wrongly, I took the absolute lack of response to my shout out as a hint.

The dog: Lives much better than the many, many homeless people in this city.

Parting thought: I've talked to a few people in the last week that have reminded me of the good fortune of my birth in this country. It is a far from perfect country and part of my birthright in this country involves the involuntary servitude of my ancestors and the ugliness of racism. But in recognizing the joy that someone has in coming to a place I take for granted, I see that my pride in being American isn't pride at all. No one is proud that they won the lottery, and that's what those of us born here won in the good fortune to be beneficiaries of something that we had no hand in selecting.

Note to self: eat chex mix in moderation

I'm tired and my tummy hurts. My dog is at my feet and still requires a walk. I'm not sure but I think I can credit the near empty bag of chocolate turtle chex mix sitting next to me for my upset constitution and flagging energy. I'm starting to get a little bummed about not having any friends here. I can't seem to recall how I made friends before. I'll figure something out but right now I just want to complain about it.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Stories Chapter 3: Mr. Mask Man

Yesterday, I took my work car to the dealership and got hit on by a very old man who even after I lied about having a boyfriend, gave me his number which he had on a personalized ball point pen which stated:

One drop of blood
Mr. Mask Man
Half horse will travel (no, this is not a typo, it really does say 'half')

The salesmen on the floor got a kick out of it. It inspired them that he still had game or at least was willing to proposition a lady that could be his granddaughter in front of so many people. I was surprised, puzzled, and bewildered by the pen.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Check it out y'all; Inner Piece turns 1

The original blog turned 1 last week. I'm guessing from the lack of fanfare that you forgot as well. Take a look at the latest postings here. Also see an experiment which may go away soon, here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Giving it all away

I wrote a post a while back where I commented on how I had more stuff to give away than many people had at all. That's still totally true. My excess would not necessarily have me featured in an intervention episode on Oprah, but it was stealing from me in tiny ways that I didn't realize until I moved. In the period between the removal of all but the essentials from one place and my arrival here, I was really in great spirits and felt that the world was limitless. The moment all that crap came flooding back into my life, it was a tether. A tether to this apartment, a tether to all the extraneous possessions that had to find a place in my life here and more importantly, a place in my significantly downsized surroundings.

Of all the determinations I had at the start of the year, I've probably been the most consistent with my determination to pare down. The move (which was also a determination--I'm not doing so bad!), has been helpful in this regard. I've been down on myself of late, feeling that I moved, hopeful and excited, into a bustling city with tons to do, great places to eat and managed still to replicate my existence from D.C. to here in less than a month. Wake, feed dog, walk dog, pick up dog poop, prevent dog from fighting with or mounting passing dogs, go to work, go home, feed dog, walk dog, pick up dog poop, prevent dog from fighting with or mounting passing dogs, eat something, play on computer, go to sleep late. Lather, rinse, repeat.

So I'm challenging myself to find something fun to do tonight--preferably free, as the move has also pared down my spending since the bank is still expecting money for my vacant house and the people here, nice as they are, did not warm to the idea of allowing me to live here for free. Wish me luck.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A few quick notes

Those of you (yes, you MN) following both the blog and the links on the left will note that Burnside is no longer on there. I'm pretty sure no one would have noticed but I'm bringing it up because I want to say something about it. When I first stumbled on to this site, thanks to a much over-hyped and merely adequate book, Blue Like Jazz, I counted it as the book's true blessing. It was full of real live Christians that somehow also managed to be real people that you could identify with, people who asked questions, had fun, liked "inappropriate" things, and sometimes provided stellar insight into an issue that excited me. It was believers of many walks. I didn't agree with their treatment of some topics--race, for example (I found it to be patronizing), but still, these were people I thought I could have a beer with and have an honest discussion about faith.

Like all of us, they've been going through some changes and the changes bother me in ways I'm inadequate to articulate. Plainly, I think their ambition has clouded their vision. I'm completely making this up but I imagine that like all us would-be-writers, they felt that desire to share their work with even more people. At the core of that, I believe, is either a need for validation or recognition. They are changing into something we already have and in the process, losing the thing I loved about Burnside, its irreverence. It has become politicized in that horrible insincere way that occurs when religion and politics intersect. And so, I have removed them from my site because I don't want it to be assumed we're of the same mind on these things. I still read them everyday and today was a return to some irreverence but if the political posts are indicative of the direction of the site...well as sure as they'll lament and grieve my lack of patronage, still I will have to let them go.

Speaking of changes, I tried for a little while to write more topically and less blatant on-line therapy. I hoped it would be more popular (hah) and maybe even broaden the appeal outside of people who know me personally and want to know who IBC or Rock Star are. But I need therapy so we shall return back to my core blogging topics; me and how I feel about me. I might rename the blog to something more accurate like, Self-involvement 101, but expect it to pick up some of the heavy wet blanket of the original recipie.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


I love surprises. I love the thoughtfulness of someone who wants to surprise me, the care they take in their subterfuge. I, like practically everyone, dread unpleasant surprises. Today I got a surprise of the latter variety. It's been a long time since I've taken any sustained time off and not worked or done stuff around the house or simply been ill so it was with great anticipation that I was looking forward to some time at the beach with very dear friends of mine. I picked a time that would not overlap with their other guests (family) who had a dog that mine did not get along with and arranged everything so that there would be minimal disruption and maximum down time. Today I called and after getting directions, after everything, at the very tail end of the conversation, she drops the bomb; her family isn't leaving. I'm still so disappointed I could cry. I love her family and and I love her but not giving me that information until the very last minute was wrong. I was looking forward to some down time, now I will be after my dog the entire time (which won't be fun for her), tense for some dog fight that will be unpleasant for everyone. I don't know how long she's known about this but I'm sure she's not been in a hurry to tell me. So now her difficult task is mine, do I go and make everyone else miserable and tense or do I stay and disappoint her? I feel like I'm essentially asking her to chose me or her family which isn't the case--not even a little bit. The issue is that I made decisions and plans based on circumstances that are no longer applicable. I hope she'll forgive me but I just don't want to do this, it's just too much at a time when I don't want anything else.

So I'm thinking, would a lie be better here than the truth? Lies are harder and I don't care for them, perhaps because I don't do it very well. But the truth here seems to serve me more than it serves her. If I tell her something came up at work then she'll likely suspect that I'm lying and that will chip away at the trust of a person who doesn't extend it easily. But if I tell her the truth, it will hurt her and that too, could erode some of the trust of our relationship. I don't know what to do.

One thing is for sure--I've got to get out of here, away from it all for a little time. I had been okay knowing that a break was coming but with the break I thought was coming off the table, it will wither me to press on.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Stories Chapter 2: Jonathan

Jonathan approached me today while I was out walking my dog. Jonathan is homeless with a self-reported "history of addiction" and he walked with me for a half hour this morning, finally leaving, mumbling and cursing a little after I gently told him that it would be disrespectful to my boyfriend if I were to go on a date with him that afternoon at 4 o'clock. At first he understood but then he came back at me explaining that if he had a daughter who was dating someone who had not "put a ring on her finger," then she would be free to see anyone she wanted until her boyfriend committed to her. Then he provided another scenario wherein my boyfriend comes to me after I've wasted 5 years of my life with him and tells me he met someone else--another reason why I should forget the boyfriend and come on a date with him.

I saw another dog in the area and went to say hello as he had a large out of control yellow lab and I was looking to shake Jonathan so I could go home without him accompanying me there. Now, I know I'm a little worse for wear in the morning and I'm certainly not dressed to impress but I think this a-hole thought we were together and abruptly announced that he had to leave and left me with Jonathan. The more I think about it, the more pissed I become. It gets worse every time I think about it. There's no assumption that he could have made that I wouldn't take exception to. Jonathan and I together, trying to scam him or ask him for money; pissed. Me hopelessly trying to shake a strange man and him not wanting to get involved; unacceptable and I'm pissed. I want to buy and sell the bastard for assuming that we were together. I want to buy new clothes so Jonathan doesn't think I'd be interested in where to get free coffee (and possibly free doughnuts) on Saturdays at 8 am (AA meeting). I don't take it personally if Jonathan thought I was homeless--I actually don't think he did, he was a little addled, he asked my name several times (of course I didn't give him a real name) and was in a disjointed stream of consciousness mode our entire walk. He was very unhappy with my boyfriend's lack of commitment, alternately loved animals and then talked about killing them, and just unpredictable enough to be slightly worrisome.

To her great credit and innate intelligence my wonder dog remained vaguely sinister, providing Jonathan no clues as to whether she would bite him or lean into him for some loving. I'm convinced she knew I was ill at ease. At one point during our walk, Jonathan complimented my teeth. Weird (and a first) but it lends support to my theory that perhaps he was trying to hook up with the new homeless girl. I thought what I was wearing was practical if unflattering but my jokes about how I look in the morning are quite ironic in light of today's events.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Stories: Chapter 1

After years of telling these stories to my friends, I'm going to attempt to convey them here. These stories are the vignettes of my "dating" life that serve to both illustrate my stunning ability to draw strange men and explain my persistently single status. We'll warm up with Metro (I give all my guys names).

I met Metro at the final stop of the train I was taking home from a night out. He worked at the station and started talking to me as I was walking out to my car. I try always to be at least courteous to strange men as I don't want to provoke them by being rude. Then he told me that I looked like I used to work out.

I know. I didn't know what to do with that either. Just to be sure I didn't misunderstand him, he pointed out that all I really needed was to tighten up my stomach. To be fair, he said he needed to do the same thing. I was simply stunned. The thought bubble over my head would have read, "has that ever worked for you? telling a girl she's fat and then helpfully suggesting which areas she should concentrate on?" But it was true and I was stunned/intrigued by a guy who would do that and then ask for my number. Plus, as further stories will illustrate, these are all strange men and it's quicker to give them a number than it is to argue or discuss not giving them my number. He did call a few times but I never saw him again. I'm sure he's somewhere, doing crunches, perhaps with the love of his life holding his feet down and sucking in her gut.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Unpacking continues

Today is a little better as I have managed to get through all the boxes in the living room and even complete some anal-retentive tasks like arranging all of my CD's and DVD's by color. I have one more room of box-emptying to do and the decision I have before me is whether to get on the road back to Virginia now to collect my dog and the remainder of my possessions or wait until later tonight. Gripping stuff, I know.

In other random news, I have made a few unpleasant discoveries about my new abode and new city. On the abode, I discovered that my Barbie-sized washer will not even accommodate the mattress pad for my bed, which led me to some unpleasant discoveries about my new city. I went online searching for dry-cleaners on a local site. In the discussion threads were several posts about muggings and robberies that have taken place in the last two weeks mere blocks from my current residence. So last night, venturing out for dinner, I was much more coiled to unfurl ninja on anybody who had a mind to test me.

When I haven't been unpacking, despairing, napping, or eating, I've been enjoying a great discussion on Burnside. It's a great blog. I haven't looked at the latest issue of their e-zine but they are in a period of transition as well, revamping format, content, and focus. Of the two endeavors, I've enjoyed the blog the most--the articles I've read have been a very standard examination of the typical social issues. The editors corner has been about the only consistent visit I make to the site. Those who are interested, can check it out here.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Let's get depressed

When I saw Amos Lee at the 930 club years ago, he said the title of this post after a mournful song which he was set to follow with another. Check out the latest melancholy posts here. Running through my head right now is a lyric from "Miss Ohio" by Gillian Welch that goes, 'I wanna do right but not right now.'

Oh, and please check out the poll on the left and vote. I just want to get an idea for how many people come to the site. That 1 vote, that's me and it won't let me vote over and over again.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Eye

It seems like an appropriate reference in the middle of hurricane season to refer to the center calm in the eye of the storm when everything feels suspended in anticipation of what comes next. Yesterday was my last day at my current job and this weekend I will be packing up the car, Clampet-style and heading to the city of brotherly love. I've had no less than three surprise parties in the last three weeks--if you're going to be single, I've got to tell you that being showered with love from the people you spend most of your waking hours with is not a bad way to go. Very validating and definitely makes me feel like the effort was well worth the return. I never suspected a thing three times in a row. They have spoiled me. And I'm definitely falling down on my ninja skills. I really should have seen them all coming.

I feel a bit outside of myself in this move because I'm having a hard time recognizing 'me' in this move. Transitions like these, usually see me beside myself with equal parts of fear, regret (things I didn't do, things I didn't take advantage of...etc), resistance to change, and a death-grip hold on the people I leave behind. I cry a lot, wish I could stay right where I am a lot, and just generally move through the transition kicking and screaming.

But not this time. I feel imbued with that peace which passes all understanding. The Bible has such a way with expressions. Peace like that, for me, means that I don't quite understand the stillness of my soul in what is swirl of activity and opportunity for discord. It is an assurance that everything is and will be, just fine. I'm hesitant to declare this as solid evidence that I might be maturing after all but it is certainly a promising indicator. It feels very much like a story I heard a long time ago about a little girl with a beautiful but fake string of pearls. I won't do the story justice in retelling it but the the Cliff's Notes version is that every night her father would take her in his lap, read her a story and then ask her if she loved him. She would say she did, and then he would ask her if she loved him enough to give him her pearls. She replied that she loved him but that he did not want to give him the pearls. Initially, it was funny and teasing, but he continued night after night asking her the same two questions. She became increasingly distraught with the request, feeling that she was rejecting him each time, and that he would think she loved the pearls more than she loved him (which on some level, was probably true). She finally broke down one night and tearfully gave her father the pearls she cherished so much. He in turn, gave her a strand of real pearls which of course, had been the point all along. He wanted only to get her to release something that resembled what she cherished for the real thing.

The moral of the story, as least as it relates to me right now, is that I feel that there are parts of my life that I've been content to have only resemble the authentic thing that I actually want. They are my fake pearls; my inexplicable but nearly supernatural ability to hone in on unavailable men, my tendency to avoid making decisions for fear of making an incorrect one, my desire for intimacy coupled with a reflexive resistance to the same, and more than I would or could catalogue for your reading pleasure. But with this move, every time I meet an obstacle and overcome it, I appreciate that the aggregate of my experiences with these new things have trended positively. What I'm 'giving up' thus far has been relief of burdens I no longer need carry or 'replaced' with something different in ways that don't invite comparison. I give up an apple and get a milkshake. Both good.

I'm glad for this mental honeymoon and know that what follows is not likely to be a never ending parade of wet puppy noses and whisker kisses, but I'm looking forward and hoping the growth will be be more often like the satisfying soreness of a taxing workout and less like I'm being jumped into a gang.