Wednesday, January 28, 2009

An open letter to Skid Mark

Dear Skid Mark,

I know you and your esteemed colleagues have been coming in and out of my house for a few months now and probably can't recall finding it in any condition that suggests that I am particularly obsessed with cleanliness and orderliness. I imagine you infer from the tiny mountain of used tissues, static mess of the second bedroom of cast-offs, and general lack of order that you couldn't do much worse and would be surprised if I even noticed your dusty footprints, position of the leash you put away when you leave, or a faint smell sneaking past my stuffed nostrils that is suggestive of perfume used as an air freshener.

But I do notice, S.M., I do notice. I notice the lid down on the toilet once again. I think back to the faint perfume I smelled when I walked in this evening and I think, 'oh God, do I even want to look?' But I have to look, because I have only one toilet and I need to use it. And then I see you have upped the ante. Before I could only imagine what you were doing in my bathroom. Now I know. A second flush would have left me blissfully ignorant to the extent of your defilement but for reasons I can't possibly relate to, you chose not only to forgo the second flush but also noticeably fondled the Obama issue Rolling Stone. And S.M., wtf? Did you wrap your fist in toilet paper? I just put that roll on yesterday. You may think because I don't pick up the tiny Santa hat that my dog ripped off her Christmas toy 2 weeks ago that I'm so filthy and messy I would be oblivious to your activity but S.M., I've got plans for you. I'm going to turn off the water to the toilet, you're going to desecrate my bathroom, not be able to flush it, and be shamed from ever using it again. Sure, it will cost me one throat-closing day of stench (probably mixed in with my perfume) when I come home to whatever you couldn't flush down, but I think you'll see the danger you court when choosing private spaces to defile.

It is on.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Nice Nasty

Toilet  Pictures, Images and Photosphoto by ctjac @

Nice Nasty is a term that essentially means that you think your poop doesn't stink. Or there is some incongruity between the things you turn your nose up at and the things you do. For example, most girls don't sit on public toilet seats, and perhaps not any seats that aren't their own. I don't have that problem (anymore). For one, I'm not as fit and my knees don't tolerate squatting like they used to but really the turning point for me was my deployment in Kuwait. For a place I didn't spend all that much time relative to other places I've lived and worked, it changed me. On base, the bathrooms were trailers and the toilets so delicate that no feminine products of any type could be flushed. The trailers had both toilets and showers and were not air conditioned so you can probably try but trust me, your imagination could not conjure the smell. One of my favorite memories is of one of the girls remarking, "You can't get that smell in (insert wherever she was from)!"

Off base, it was like a toilet-themed video game where you had to first find one, and then decide if you were going to use it, and then try to figure out the mechanics on not peeing on your clothing while squatting and trying not to touch anything. Then, if there was a flush, you had to figure out what direction the water was going to come from so you didn't get sprayed across your feet or pant hem with questionable water with notes of whatever was contained in the extra water all over the rest of the floor. Going to a western establishment wasn't a sure thing either. In the big mall there, I went stall to stall, finding all the seats wet and decided finally to just go in one and clean it up. A woman who turned out to be an attendant, burst in on me and handed me a fist full of toilet paper. I used all the paper to clean the seat, sat down and then discovered that there was no toilet paper, not even a holder because native women used the hose behind the toilet to cleanse, hence the line of stalls with wet seats. Lovely.

There are a lot more bathroom related horrors from my time in Kuwait and other locales but Kuwait is when I finally conceded that I wash my ass every day and so long as the toilet seat appears clean and is dry, I should be able to use it without the quad workout. I don't like warm seats or walking in on the remnants of a big job but I'm otherwise pretty easy going. I don't need the tissue seat unless I'm testing to ensure the seat is dry if I can't quite discern if it's dry (it so sucks to be wrong about that). There are still squat worthy places but they are now the exception instead of the rule and I'm generally less spastic about the asses I don't know than the ones I do.

Which brings me to the inspiration for this post. My dog walker has been using my toilet and it flat out freaks me out. I have to bleach the seat before I'll use it and I feel kind of violated and a little pissed. I don't want to touch anything in my bathroom and I imagine her reading my Obama issue Rolling Stone and petting my dog while she drops a deuce. It freaks me out. It is not cool to know exactly who the other asses belong to that you share seats with. I can stroll into a public toilet, choose an empty stall and for the next 2 minutes, pretend that I'm the only one who uses it. Not so when you come home, notice the bathroom door slightly off, the seat down, and the toilet paper moved. WHAT DID SHE DO IN THERE? WHY IS THE SEAT DOWN? DID IT NEED TO BE CONTAINED? HOW MUCH PAPER DID SHE USE? HOLY CRAP, THAT'S A LOT! AHHHHH! JESUS CHRIST, WHY?! DID SHE WASH HER HANDS? DID SHE USE MY HAND TOWEL?

Now mind you, my house is near intervention cluttered bordering on filthy, but I just want to light a match and walk away. I don't even want to walk on the bathroom floor.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is Nice Nasty.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

You're Invited

wedding Pictures, Images and Photos image by crae013 at

Every girl imagines her wedding day and I’m no different. I don’t imagine my hair or dress, I don’t even imagine the groom in any substantive way. I just imagine how I feel and I imagine all of you. I imagine dancing with my brother and sister to something goofy and uniquely jamming in our family, like Super Bon Bon by Soul Coughing. I imagine my mother dancing with my relatives and me to Work That by Mary J. Blige. I imagine my father sitting out all the dances and watching us with a smile, the smile I know from all the dances I sat out before this dance. I imagine him saying something he means well but is actually pretty horrible during our dance like, “He seems like a good guy. Remember that marriage can be even lonelier than being single.” I imagine feeling free; I don’t see my wedding as a subdued sophisticated and lovely affair. I see it as a tremendous celebration. A great party and great event to celebrate. After all the Jimmy’s, Mr. Coffee’s, Maybe’s, IBC’s and God knows who else, it would finally be right. It would be good and he would be good and if that isn’t a reason to have a big party, I don’t know what is. The man I can imagine having this party with is someone who thinks it would be funny to interupt our wedding march and break into dance to DMX’s Up in Here and then return to a stately walk down the aisle like nothing ever happened. I’ve floated the aisle march idea by my mom who never objects to anything, but strongly objects to this so it would never happen but he’d have to think it would be funny if we could do it.

I guess I have this feeling that the man I marry would love me in a way that I could finally relax into being me, all of me, silly me, in public. My wedding day would be my coming out ceremony. Like What-Not-To-Wear in that revelatory moment when the person realizes it was the clothes all along and not them that needed to change. Ironically, learning that something could complement them as they are, something could bring out the very best of them and even soften their harsher features and lumpy bits, does end up changing the only thing that needed changing, the way they saw and treated themselves. But they needed first for someone else to help them see reality and then introduce them to the possibilities. If some ensemble of clothing, hair, and makeup could change the way I see my body and my face, is it wrong to hope that there is a person out there for me (and I for him) that could have an even more positive and profound impact? If he exists for me, you all are not going to want to miss this party. It is going to be off. the. hook. Fo shizzle.*

*Brosef, you had better stop gagging right this minute. I’m serious. You beat-box in the shower. Don't judge me.

Monday, January 19, 2009

In over my head

I finally called my own bluff and bought David Foster Wallace's A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. Wow. I feel like I'm at one of those places where your meal is free if you can successfully finish an Oprah wagon portion size of meat. His essays are heavily referential of other authors that I've either never heard of or never read, and full of words that I've never seen in print before. It is reading something like his book that makes me feel like that the university I graduated from should not have been accredited. How could I have never read Balzac? Do most people just pick that up after college as a bathroom read? Or have I just picked up a book that was not written for me-it is not supposed to be accessible to me, it was written for a class of intellectuals who have the reading list of books I've never heard of and use words like bisensuous and mythopia (which my spell checker insists are not words) in everyday discourse. It is dense and chewy and requires much more attention than I anticipated. I'm a little bummed that my foundation in philosophy and the works of great thinkers and writers of old puts a sentence like "And lets not even talk about Balzac" out of reach for my full appreciation for the hearty in-the-know ironic belly laugh that DFW's true contemporaries can have. But I'm working through his essays with the intention of going back over them again with a highlighter and dictionary to see if I can incorporate "synecdochic" into my everyday lexicon because everyone loves a girl that uses big words. Joking aside, I love learning new words because a well chosen word absolutely nails it, paints the picture I'm trying to create with both nuance and economy.

As dense and meaty as his essays are, my farm raised brain is able to appreciate the gist of his argument on television (the current essay I'm reading) and how it provides both community and isolation from other human beings and experience. His sense of humor shows throughout and though jokes about Balzac sail well over my head, not all the humor escapes me. Ha, Ha, that Balzac. What a kidder...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

4 degrees

I swear I've spent enough time in the cold these last 7 years of dog companionship that I could feel the difference between 18 degrees earlier in the evening and the 22 degrees it is now when I took the dog out for one last potty break for the evening. Nothing anyone needed to know. I just felt like sharing.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Odds and Ends

Absolutely love this post from Emily. Emily's post is about drugs or it's about how people employ them to turn themselves out and see if there's something inside they would rather be. She writes so beautifully about the rosy lens of retrospect and how we concentrate on the parts that make us feel still like a part of something, like belonging, and not on the thing we tried to numb, quiet, or cover with all that crazy fun.

It makes me think of many things. It reminded me of high school and to a lesser extent college when group hanging out was still the norm, no one went to bars alone, and people were still figuring out what they were going to be in front of everyone else. It makes me think of how old I sound when I tell a freshly quarter century old IBC that his thirties will come like a thief in the night and he will finally start to look and feel a little different than he did in his twenties. Just a little bit, just enough to remind him that time is not static. He'll be reminded like I am when I see Debbie Gibson or the dude from ColorMeBad (3 words, Celebrity Fit Club--seriously), that youth is truly fleeting.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

OMG, I need this

Anti-Love Drug May Be Ticket to Bliss

Science is awesome. It's like prozac, birth control, and man emotions in one handy potion, but better. I want this as soon as it comes out.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


My brother recommends this site (his post is on the right), but he neglected to provide a link. You can click on the title of this post or just click here. Amusing stuff. Not as laugh out loud funny as I thought it would be but pretty darn funny. I want to create something people love like that. I know we are not far from a f-u penguin book.

Monday, January 12, 2009


I was reading a story this morning on the toilet from Chicken Soup for the Soul at Work. It's not really my kind of book but it seemed weird to take the cereal box in to read instead so there you have it. I read a story about Jerry who was always in a great mood. He would say things like "If I were doing any better, I'd be twins!" I have no idea what the hell that means but I'm going to guess that Jerry was doing good enough for two. Whatever Jerry. So Jerry makes a pretty rookie mistake at work one night and leaves the back door open. Some dudes come in to rob him at gunpoint and Jerry, abandons cheer for abject terror and shakes so much opening the safe, the robbers get pissed and shoot him. Jerry is fortunately rushed to the hospital pretty quickly after but is in pretty bad condition. The faces of the doctors and nurses aren't exactly conveying 'everything is going to be okay,' so Jerry, quick thinker that he is, decides to break up the funeral with a joke. When they ask him if he has any allergies, he says yes. They all stop and look at him waiting for him to provide an answer to the obvious follow-up question, 'what', and he tells them...wait for it.... He tells them he's allergic to bullets. Ha! That Jerry, delaying critical medical care to pull a zinger! He then lets the staff know that he intends to live so they should operate on him as if he's alive, not dead. Jerry believes that life is about choices and more importantly on how you chose to interpret and respond to the things that happen around and to you. Jerry credits that attitude with his survival.

Jerry is absolutely right about choices, but the twins business, that's just f-ing annoying. Jerry is choosing to annoy the hell out of everyone around him because everyone knows he's choosing at least some of the time to make yummy noises when eating a shit sandwich instead of acknowledging that it really sucks. Then the bit about being shot, that's pretty bad but again, I think Jerry is attributing just a little too much of his non-dying to his ability to crack jokes and inform the medical staff about his living/dying intentions. Peeling the onion further, maybe Jerry's determination to always be happy, always find a broad silver lining in a crap cloud and then announce it to everyone, maybe that is evidence of Jerry's inability to process other emotions. I'm just sayin...there is a reason people like Jerry annoy the hell out of most of us. It makes us feel like expressing anything other than goodwill and cheer is wrong. That the natural range of human emotion is wrong to express to the world around us. Like emotional PDA. Get a room, no one wants to see that. Don't mean to pile on Jerry but he won't see it that way anyway.

Speaking of piling on, this evening was just spectacular. I got two checks in the mail, and I finally got to meet this guy I keep running into. He has a dog and I usually see him when I have my dog so that means one of us crosses the street and that's that. We tried to let them meet; it was a lot of 'no! sit! sit! no! I'm sorry!' But tonight I decided to pick-up my dry cleaning without the dog and ran into him. I even had a little makeup on and I wasn't dressed like I was homeless or recovering from the flu. I got to learn his and his dog's name and love on his dog, so maybe he won't think I'm as big a jerk as my dog can be. Then I checked my e-mail and my renter is interested in buying my house! Because I'm not Jerry, I'm wary of what the rest of the week can hold given this banner evening. But tonight, I choose to be joyous because circumstances demand it. It's been awesome.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Procrastination aka Baby, it's cold outside

Not much going on here. Took a long walk on my busted ankle this morning and was a little sad for my dog who sat longingly staring at the dogs in the dog park. It seems so sweet and sad from across the street, looking at all the dogs running and playing. I think 'awww, she just wants to meet some new friends.' Then I remember the little white fox-like puppy from the night before and the low growls in her throat as I prevented her from "greeting" the puppy in the way she normally greets other dogs-with raised hackles and aggression that belies her otherwise angelic disposition. It's a bummer because not only is she cutting herself off from meeting other dogs, she's cutting me off from a potentially datable pool of men with a built in pretext for continued contact (our dogs playing together). Instead, I'm always dragging my dog away, front paws flaying in the air, growling and making it clear in her body posture that her intentions with the other person's dog were far from friendly. Which makes me look like a jerk and ensures the guy will cross the street next time he see me.

It has otherwise been a beyond boring Saturday. I could be at a fun bar learning how to mix my own drinks, something I'm actually interested in knowing so I can at least seem like I didn't grow up underground because I don't know how to order a mixed drink. I just woke up from a long nap, have done absolutely nothing except eat, take Tylenol, try to work out a bothersome neck kink, and sleep. I just fed the dog and am working up the will to venture out again into the cold. I made the mistake of looking at the 5-day forecast of highs that will hover near freezing and again entertained the notion of teaching the dog how to use the toilet.

I don't know what I'll do for dinner tonight. I'm tempted to revisit the Mexican place from last night. Their watermelon margaritas are so good I'm still thinking about them. I'm used to dining alone and I don't normally feel very self-conscious about it but last night the place was crowded and filled with big groups laughing, drinking, and eating. The bar didn't seem particularly inviting so I sat at a table next to one of these groups with my book, my complimentary chips, and my margarita. It was kind of pitiful. If I go back, I'll definitely sit at the bar.

Time to think more about venturing out into the cold.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Every night for the last few weeks around 2-3 am, my dog has startled me awake with a determined round of dog bed scratching. She paws, and paws, and paws at the tent-like material, making a terrific amount of noise. I do not understand what this new thing is all about but I am not a fan.

My beautiful brother has written a tight and insightful piece here. I like the piece though I hesitate to give America credit for trading in the souls of men.

I've been thinking about adding some additional concrete determinations about how many books I want to read this year. I've toyed with the idea of forcing some of the vegetables of literature on the list to supplement my liberal arts education and general knowledge of the world around me instead of pure pleasure reads. I looked for books by David Foster Wallace in the bookstore last weekend but did not find him. I did come across an awesome title, "Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician," by Daniel Wallace (no relation to the David above). The book screams, READ ME, MY TITLE F-ING ROCKS but I promised myself I would read David Foster Wallace's "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again" first.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Day 2; Love thyself as thou loveth your neighbor

*Sigh* Two days into the new year and I'm over it. If I showed myself the consideration I show my neighbors and friends, I probably wouldn't have this whiny blog. But then maybe I'm not as good a neighbor or friend as I think. I know I'm at least better to others than I am to myself so anyone reading this who has found me lacking or downright awful, trust that I save the worst stuff for myself.

I want someone to share the burden of loving me. Someone to take up the slack when I don't love myself.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Day 1: Confidence


1 a: a feeling or consciousness of one's powers or of reliance on one's circumstances


1 a: a state of mind or a manner marked by easy coolness and freedom from uncertainty, diffidence, or embarrassment. confidence stresses faith in oneself and one's powers without any suggestion of conceit or arrogance

I just got schooled by a 20 year old friend of my sisters. Let's be real, we all carry some f-ed up baggage around but some people accessorize and carry their baggage with such panache, I'm almost envious that I'm not the same kind of f-ed up. As girls are wont to do, we talked into the wee hours of the morning and I came away with a sincere appreciation for how she approached dating. She manages to be self-aware without letting it cripple her and is honest with a healthy dose of crude, at least as it concerns boys. I know I tend to take people at face value and assume they self-report with an integrity that people rarely do so it could be that it was all bs. But I believed her and she inspired me because she's just as afraid of rejection as any of us but she doesn't let that keep her from asking a guy out or making that first move. She knows she has value and I get the feeling that it's not about finding a guy that likes her, it's about finding a guy she likes. Go on, girl.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Kicking and Screaming; Hope part 2 aka 2009 Determinations

When I was in the 7th grade, I had a ridiculous crush on a guy named Eugene Summers, Gene for short. He was funny, cute, popular and not surprisingly, had a girlfriend. I liked this guy so much that I failed a very easy class because it was more important to me to pay attention to everything he was doing. I never really talked to Gene, but I did seek friendship with his girlfriend, I suppose to figure out what she was all about and see if I could identify with or imitate it. If I have children, I really, really don’t want girls, I don’t think I could stand to see my girl do that to herself. I’d raise her beyond militant.

One day, my friends decided I needed to tell Gene that I liked him. I can still see him now at the end of the hallway by his locker after school. I can still feel my girlfriends alternately tugging and pushing me down the hallway, while I stared ahead at him, struggling violently against them and loudly protesting their efforts to get me to talk to him. Even then I knew to be embarrassed by how over-the-top afraid I was to talk to him and ultimately did not talk to him at all.

I recall this story when considering this year’s determinations because of how violently I resisted doing something I actually wanted to do. I wanted to talk to Gene. I thought he was the hamster’s pantsuit, which is way better than the cat’s pajamas. But there I was, kicking and screaming, wasting both my and my friends’ energy and wasting a rare opportunity to actually talk to Gene alone.

The fear, hesitation, and spastic resistance of that episode has essentially been the story of my life. I’ve accomplished plenty on paper, I’ve been working in some capacity since I was 13, I’ve served in the armed forces, been a minority of a minority, of a minority; black, female, commissioned law enforcement officer, overcame obstacles, and held my own. However, much of it feels hollow, in part because those accomplishments were all marred by a constant fear of failure, and a lack of belief in my merit to be there. Even re-reading the mini-resume above, I’m struck by what I chose to highlight. They are evidence to me of the folly in linking any part of my self worth in the sterile accomplishments of career.

So with that, my squishy determinations for 2009 are:

-rework the vocabulary I use to define and describe myself. I’m really not as bad a friend as I tell myself and my friends that I am. I’m not as pretty as I hope to be nor as ugly as I sometimes fear I am. I am determined to be a more vigilant censor of my thought life, defining myself more by what I am, what I have, instead of what I wish I was, or what I lack.

-fake it till I make it. This one is extra squishy because I’m not yet sure how to articulate it. Part of it deals with not indulging the funks that I cycle through with the frequency and predictability of tides and instead pushing through like everything is okay since eventually, everything will be.

This doesn’t mean that in 2009, my goal is to become a robot, or that I won’t continue to wrestle with my insecurities and maladaptive habits. We are all wrestling with something, many of us with the same things, unconditional love of self and others, improvements to our physical and mental health, bucket lists... My goal with the squishy determinations is to develop a tolerance, maybe even a love, for who I am right now.

My concrete determinations, some of which are quite lofty are, in order of loftiness (least to most):

-get my house in order by Feb/Mar 2009
-take a vacation alone
-figure out how to participate in a Habitat 4 Humanity build and do it
-ask a guy out

The theme here is to challenge myself without passing judgement on who I am right now. To not drag myself kicking and screaming down the hallway towards the things I want and instead move towards them without fearing the outcome so violently that it sucks the joy out of any thing I do accomplish.

Happy New Year! A big thank you to Teresa, Uno, and Castron. I truly enjoy your patronage of my blog and your comments. I’m looking forward to meeting Uno’s Dos and Tres, her twin girls born just days before Christmas and in whatever random adventures the year holds.