Thursday, December 27, 2007

starting now

do you know my sister? she's wicked smart. and completely right. (read this now)

what brings americans out into the streets you ask? post-holiday sales at wal-mart and the victory of a hometown sports team. what's happened to us, do you suppose? are we blinded by entitlement and the flashbulbs of the paparazzi? are we numb? have we been anaesthetized by reality tv, itunes and 'oprahload?'

bhutto was a force - young, glamorous, brave, imperfect - and today she is a victim of the sinister rhythms of the way the world works now, leaving someone else to deliver on the promise of her cause, a cause her supporters lived and died for as well. and i wonder, can that happen here?

those who appear to be in a position to lead such a discussion chose not to do so. (and i've yet to see a campaign that fully captures the public's imagination.)

is it possible to persuade americans to embrace a sense of urgency that is not circumscribed by self-interest? is there anything that can move us to take stock of the present moment – this moment, here and now -- and consider how our power to make things anew can be shared with others? do we have what it takes to undertake a new beginning? do we know what that is? and just how do we address the unproductive silence?

let's not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. instead, i propose we do justly, now. love mercy, now. walk humbly, now. we are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are we free to abandon it.

let's start today - it's as good a day as any. listen closely to that voice inside of you and make a difference in the life you live, even if it's only meant to offer a smile to one soul, a thousand or your own. choose to make a stand. talk to someone. write a letter. vote! those of us who are tired of the way the world works now will create this new beginning through our choices.

starting now. and yes, it's still too long of a wait.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

stupid is as stupid does

i am a fucking idiot. no. seriously. i am.

what else do you call someone who makes the same mistake over and over and over again - each time expecting a different result? (situationally insane?)

i've been making this same 'mistake' since the sixth grade when i ran for class president and john park confessed to me (in the midst of a kickball game) that he 'liked' me, but that he wanted to run for class president, too, and well, his friends would tease him something awful about losing to his 'girlfriend.' so, i let him win. and he promptly confessed that he never really liked me, he just wanted to be president.

(who among you didn't see that little development coming? ... am i the only one raising my hand?)

i liked him (and believed he liked me) and so i did what i could to make things 'better,' 'easier' for him. and so ... john park became the class president in mrs. knight's sixth grade class at greentree elementary school and i became a child of the 'golden rule,' an indentured servant to the ethic of reciprocity, bound to treat others as i would want to be treated myself.

in return, i have had my feelings handed to me in pieces more times than i can count. except that i can count them and recount them with great clarity, so i'll just say this once: WE ARE NOT IN THE SIXTH GRADE ANYMORE!


i'm sorry to yell at you. that's not really fair (is it?) on this day where i've taken everything personally. it's not your fault that i feel angry or hurt or a million different things tonight. it has nothing to do with you at all, except that you're a captive audience. and i'm not really ready to give the details, just know that if i were going to, it would be here because this is one of the places it feels safest to implode. still, i'm fighting that impulse. for now.

so i'll just say this day was long and tiresome and ... heartbreaking; not the heartbreak of losing a lover, but that of losing faith in myself - the sudden knowledge that maybe the world isn't in love with me or against me, just indifferent.

but, please - no kind words, no pep talks, no apologies for your absence, no questions. that's not what i came for, not what i want. of course, if i'm perfectly honest, i don't know what i want, except, i guess, a chance to rant, and so i have and so i thank you. and i'm sorry.

i need sleep. and food. and little green lights to stay lit a little bit longer. for now, i'll settle for sleep.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

here comes the bride

darling liz ... dear, sweet, blushing liz;

it's been too long since we've talked. of course, we're good enough friends that you understand this is just the way i am ... and so, from opposite ends of the earth, we get to meet here.

i am over the moon for you! for both of you, yes, but mostly for you.

i was there, in the winter of your broken heart. i watched you hurtle yourself through space, living your life like a fireball, burning and fast. it was difficult to be near you, then - even as it remained incredibly easy to love you and to wish you the greatest of happiness.

and now, all these years later, as we've finally passed through the silly youngness of us, i am thrilled that you have finally discovered a love that has transformed you. (and i'm sorry, tony, but it is not you.)

more than atticus, more than tony, i can see you've finally fallen in love with liz (they way we all eventually do) and i am so excited for your happy ending/happier beginning. truly, i am.

as beautiful as it feels right now, i'll let you in on a little secret no one tells you when you're first engaged ... being married sucks sometimes. and other times, it's spectacularly lovely. and in between, well, it's groceries and laundry and struggles for the remote control and passing in the hallway on your way to separate rehearsals and kisses goodnight. it's matter of fact and magic all at once.

and i can't wait to see you in the middle of it all, shining and happy and on your way toward 'forever.'

and do me a favor, will you? wear your 'ass-kicking' boots under your wedding gown ... so you'll always remember that in the middle of your joy, it's possible - necessary, even - to hold on to a piece of the person you were before the 'two' became 'one.' you'll both be the better for it. i promise you that.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

a piece of cake

dear 'mo' ...

in texas, it's long past midnight, and so, as always, i am a bit late for this very important date. in the olden days, i'd have called and awakened you at the proper hour, but with the wee one and the sleepy husband, we'll have to settle for this letter from far too far away.

i have been crazy about you since before i met you - when, over martinis, dan said, 'oh my god, you and shannon will be so dangerous together. you have to meet her.' (and then, over martinis, i did.)

'you'll love her!' and i do.

when people ask me how long we've been friends, i just say, 'since forever.' there's no point in counting the years. and when they ask me how we met, i tell them i played the less perfect version of you in a play, once. no one ever questions that. as if, somehow, me as the less perfect version of you is part of the natural order of things. like gravity. or the sunrise.

and it's funny - they ask me the 'how' and the 'how long' - but never the why. if someone ever did ask 'why' we became friends, i'd have to think about it a minute ...

maybe i'd say it's your unique point of view or your generous nature or your mysteriously sassy sense of style ... maybe i'd say it's that i don't have to worry at all when i'm talking to you that you won't get it or that you'll get bored ... maybe i'd say it's the way i can act like an idiot and you call me 'kick ass' and never make me apologize for not being a quiet, boring girl ... maybe i'd say it's because we have the same restlessness, the same dissatisfaction with the default mode, the same idiot tendency to keep getting it wrong -even if only because it's the only way to get it a little less wrong each time ... maybe i'd say it's just nice to know that you paddle just as hard and at least sorta in the same direction.

maybe i'd say those things. maybe.

because i think the real reason we're friends is because it is the natural order of things. like gravity. or the sunrise. without you, the earth wouldn't turn and stuff wouldn't grow and life as i know it would have no life in it at all.

you are more important to me than i can ever express. you are the reason why i'm laughing, even when there's no one else around.

i love you and I MISS YOU and that's all there is to say right now. except ... that as i close my eyes in the dark of this morning, i have a very clear picture of you dancing and singing 'goldfinger' with so much soul that i absolutely believe it. so, go ahead and blow out the candles and have a piece of cake.

happy birthday, dear friend. i am so very glad you were born.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

the takeover

well ... it has finally arrived. i have officially taken over my world.

i have ceased 'assisting' and have begun 'acting' as the manager. i find it odd that it doesn't feel odd. it feels easy and right, a natural progression. tomorrow, i may feel different, but, running away to the heart of the night ... i'm no longer afraid. i've practiced enough and i'm as ready as i'll ever be.

to think of it starts an obscure little camus passage playing round and round in my head ... 'a man's work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened. this is why, perhaps, after working and producing for twenty years, i still live with the idea that my work has not even begun.'

my work has not even begun. and i can't wait to see what happens next.

still, i will wear my big girl shoes. i will remember to breathe. i will remember to smile some and just listen awhile. i will be gracious. and i will shine.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

119 - what's my emergency?

i was just listening to 'all things considered' on npr. i love that show. i would like to have the guy who narrates the program read me bedtime stories. but i digress ...

tonight, there was a story about the reverse 911 communication system and evacuations from the wildfires a month ago. it was orderly, easy. i understand, though, from the report, that the system didn't work quite as well as everyone first thought. there are a few reasons - one of which had to do with my mother's first reaction when she heard the phrase 'reverse 911.' she thought she should dial 1-1-9 and ask them what her emergency was. the truly strange thing is ... she wasn't the only one. apparently a lot of people tried to do the same thing.

i'm surprised anyone got out alive.


why won't my mother stop talking?!?!?!?

twenty - no, wait - twelve questions

so, i'm beginning to get used to california. i'm even beginning to love it. although, i do have a few questions ...

1. why are there speed bumps on the 'uphill' side of the parking lots?

2. what do these people do for a living that at three o'clock on a wednesday they're hanging out at the grocery store? don't they have jobs?

3. if these people don't have jobs, is there somebody, somewhere, handing out giant bags of money?

4. if so, how do i get one? (and can i get one for my sister and, too?)

5. where do surfers put their keys?

6. how is it i'm the only one in the 7-11 with shoes on - every time?

7. where is everyone going in such a hurry? (seriously - i'm going 80 mph and i'm relegated to the 'slow lane.')

8. if you buy a new car in california, does it come with a surf board and/or bicycle strapped to its shell? why then, does it not come with turn signals?

9. if it's cold enough to wear a turtleneck, how is it warm enough to wear flip flops?

10. why does gas cost 30 cents more per gallon on the right side of the street?

11. when did it become appropriate to take your dog with you everywhere you go? (and i'm not just talking about tiny, fit.them.into.your.purse.kinda.dogs, i'm talking about ladies walking around with cocker spaniels and terriers in their arms - in the grocery store and the gap.)

12. will i be asked to leave the state if i don't soon own an article of clothing made of fleece?

i'm just wondering ...

Monday, November 12, 2007

what have i done?

living with my mother, i find i'm reverting to the coping mechanisms of my adolescence. i'm spending all my free time locked behind my bedroom door, avoiding incessant questions and screaming, 'SHUT UUUUUUUUUUUUUUP!!!!!!!!!!!!' into my pillow.

next thing you know, i'll be staying up past my bedtime and looking for ways to sneak booze and boys into my room.

if i end up in jail for killing her, please send magazines and chocolate.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


good evening (she says, burrowing beneath the covers, eyes squinted against the light of the computer in the darkened room). what's your world like today?

the day evolved slowly here, everything covered in a thick blanket of fog. fog, which i'm told is actually 'the marine layer' ... the sea reaching all the way to the hills. it is the highest of tides, i suppose, and always a lovely way to begin the day. lovelier still, is the way it suddenly disappears, leaving the world sunsoaked and shimmery.

it appears to be one of those days where i'm completely in love with everything.

last night was my first 'closing' shift at the store. it couldn't come soon enough. the pace these last days has been ... rabid. i needed to slow down, ease into at least one day of the week. it was as good a day as any. and has left me feeling closer to 'normal' than i have in a long time ...

my car arrived! it's such a small thing, but it makes me feel as if i really live here. standing on the curb, watching them unload her, it felt, strangely, as if i'd been delivered ... small and white; quick and fancy; lightly bruised and a little dirty ... we're very much alike, she and i. (good thing, because we spend a ridiculous amount of time together, these days.)

i'm making friends at work. enemies, too, it would seem. still, work is good - even if the honeymoon is over. this week, everyone appears to be testing my knowledge, my patience, my limits - all at once. it is enlivening and much more to my liking than the tiptoeing that occurred around me in the last weeks. and i am oh so happy to get my hands dirty again.

it's amusing to watch people prove what they can do, especially in light of the fact it feels as if i'm constantly doing the same. less amusing is the idea that my floor managers hate me. perhaps, they only hate the idea of me. it's hard for them, i think, to have functioned as assistants and suddenly be faced with the loss of responsibility and the accompanying 'power.' i am sensitive to it, so i am kind, but i do not coddle them. to accomplish anything, you need to learn to play with it, and the balance between the two is a delicate one. we're all trying to find our footing, and i find myself more tolerant of their tantrums and behind-my-back antics than i will be down the line. i do look forward to the unraveling of the knots they've twisted themselves into.

i also enjoy watching folks try to figure me out. the stock guys wouldn't let me help with anything, (which was odd for me, since i'm used to working the truck, unboxing, moving) until they caught me lifting a sofa onto a dollie - i am freakishly strong (and stubborn). they're all a little looser with me now. which i much prefer. (it doesn't keep them from talking about me when they think i'm not around, though, and i'm still trying to figure out which one of them i overheard say i have an ass 'you'd like to sink your teeth into.') ahhh ... boys. they will be boys. thank god.

oh. there's a cat in my lap, now. chutney, too, it seems, is accidentally normal today. she has finally come out from under the bed, to snuggle and soon, i imagine, to explore and then nap. such a lovely life.

speaking of lovely ... i hope your day can be described as such. if i could, i'd send you this evening - cool and wet, the scent of eucalyptus, leaning against the fence and laughing at whatever stupid thing i've done now. until i conquer the space/time continuum, however, you'll have to settle for my little descriptions and my hugs from afar.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

after the fire

good morning (she says, shivering slightly and burrowing further under the covers to guard against the morning chill).

as nice as it was to sleep in, i love waking up in california! everything takes on a golden glow, especially me.

even so, the last days have been a blur ... rushing into the unknown and alternating between exhilaration and the yearning for anything familiar ... a comet pulled from orbit ... waiting for my body to register what my mind has just begun to recognize - i am home.

and i have to remind myself to breathe.

i think it was the height of irony that california ignited just as i arrived, fire being a symbol of liberation and all ... crackling little molecules flying away from home. it's been a good reminder of my ability to navigate the ongoing accidents of fate and nature. (if only the recognition could ease the transition...)

life, as people know it here, is approaching normal again. for me, normal is, i think, a few weeks away. the time change, the drive, new faces ... i lose patience with myself so easily. i know i should slow down, but i want to rush ahead ... change the pain of yesterday ... give myself a chance to repair my way before it breaks me ... see how this unfolds. i don't really want that, i suppose. i enjoy the mystery and the journey. still, why must everything be so hard?

in this moment, i am overly dramatic, i know. there is much to be grateful for here. i have a job that i love and that makes it possible for me to make a life, not just a living. i am near my mother and sister again and i have begun to make new friends (yes. the gay men have found me, here, bringing me treats by the armful.) and every day, on my ride to work, i have the hills to my right, the ocean to my left and the sun at my back. and up ahead ... well, up ahead, i have everything.

i hope your day is unfolding in an interesting way. i plan to use this day off to recapture a little bit of 'normal' ... find a gym, a dry cleaner, a grocery store. but first, i'm going to the beach. there's nothing a little sun, sand and saltwater can't cure. i'll be back to my playful self in no time.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

the move, part five

i am never drinking or singing again.

Friday, October 19, 2007

the move, part four

well, that's it, then. the car is gone now, too. everything is on its way to california, save for me. yipee!

the move, part three

i'm up early. mainlining coffee, watching the movers and mulling over karaoke options. in the midst, one thought keeps popping up, ' damn. i have a lot of stuff.' the movers, fernando and lupe, say that my load is light compared to some that they've seen ... but i don't think they've fully waded into the closet, yet, so they may wish to reserve judgement.

elvis is shut into the laundry room and i can see his little pout peeking through; the cats are in hiding and i can't decide whether to be sad or excited. actually, that's not true. since no end is every really complete without a new beginning stirring inside, today, i choose 'excited.'

it is time to move on ... time to cut the cords that have bound me to the old ways and outdated conventions ... time to free myself to accept sweeping change. it would have been wrong to simply dwell on the gap between where i stood and where i want to be. i can only hope that those i'm leaving behind know this journey isn't meant to reject or hurt them in any way. it is simply a time to move toward my ultimate interests - the wheel of change is ready to spin onward, ever evolving, ever staying the same.

still, there is guilt. guilt borne of distant possibilities. even as i know it is, at last, my turn.

the boxes are disappearing quickly, now, into a tiny space in their enormous truck. who knew the contents of my life would fit into a space measuring 10x10?

and there they go ... down the street, out of the neighborhood and on their way to california. the journey has officially begun.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

closer still

hello! (she purrs, with a slight degree of difficulty)

how are you this evening? i am quite fine. blame it on the cocktail fairy, if you must, but i find myself lightheaded, spinning slightly and in great danger of tripping over my tongue - all of which i find quite, quite fine, indeed.

i am here - alone, for a change - and i am enjoying it. so rare is the occasion, that packing has been set aside in favor of sitting quietly and enjoying the sound of laundry in the dryer, frogs in the field and the cat bathing her dog. i forget, sometimes, how much i enjoy the freedom to move and think and express myself in ways of my own choosing - away from disapproving eyes and minds and not on anyone's schedule but my own. perhaps it's this idea, and not the martinis, that leaves me feeling slightly intoxicated. whichever the cause, i am happy for the dizziness and for the breathing room.

the last few days have been a blur ... lots of racing around, fitting everyone and everything in - in to my schedule, into boxes - until there's no room to move, hardly time to blink. sleep is a stranger these days. when he comes, infrequently, he brings with him all manner of strange dreams and never stays long. i expect to collapse fully when i finally reach the coast.

the movers come for my things in eleven hours. the house is a maze of boxes - piles of things to take with me, things to send with them, things to return for later. i head out on sunday morning, bright and early, and will trek twelve hours to el paso, where i will sleep in a hotel which will accept chutney, the globe-trotting feline, and then awake - again, bright and early, to drive yet another twelve hours to land at my mother's house. if time allows, there will be small stops along the way for turquoise and truck stop treats. i might even make a quick detour to the grand canyon. what's a few extra hours vs. one of the wonders of the world?

sitting here in my sea of cardboard, i can't believe the end is so close. my last day at the store was wonderful and horrific all at once. leaving them makes me sad beyond measure, even as my whole self stretches out toward the new adventure. there was little work to be done ... just spending time with amy, stumbling through memories, eating our weight in chik-fil-a nuggets and crying like little girls. and tonight, i had dinner with liz - cheap wine and greek food and talk of growing up, growing old and growing nostalgic for the good parts of the bad old days. and it reminded me of a) how much i miss her and b) there just isn't enough time to say the things that need to be said.

there's always tomorrow night and what promises to be a ridiculously large karaoke drunk-fest in my honor. maybe there will be time then.

in answer to your questions - yes. i do look forward to the beach. the way i look forward to a day off or an opportunity to write or to silence ... or a letter from friends far away. i look forward to my feet in the sand and to being surprised by a wave and to the color of light that only shines there ... pink and orange to the west, an arc of deepening blue hovering above ... in that light, my freckles ... my skin ... takes on a golden glow, as if i've been covered with sparkling confetti.

as close as i am, it's still hard to see me on the horizon ... but one day, there i'll be, with no questions that need answering and forever looming in front of me. and when i finally do get there, i'll be sure to call, though i know you won't answer, just so you can hear the joy in my voice and know that i am, at long, long last, home.

Friday, October 12, 2007

the move, part 2

what do you know? a girl really can have too many pairs of black shoes.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

partly cloudy

what was your world like today? here, the temperature has finally taken a cue from the leaves and started to fall.

(the weatherman described it as 'california-like' and i am inclined to agree.)

it was sunny outside, but on the inside, partly cloudy, and, if the day is any indication, this last week will be spent somewhere between suspended animation and perpetual motion. packing and phone calls and meetings with movers and lawyers and more packing and making time for friends and wrestling with boxes and still working and the dog needs food and i need a change of address form and the movers need to measure my stuff and i need one last haircut before i go and frankly, i'm ready to fall out of 'in between' - i'm ready to arrive somewhere. i'm ready to quit all the things that do not fit. i'm ready to rest.

right now, though, it seems everywhere i turn i burn in my own skin.

i still hate packing. but i'm constantly surprised at how easily the past packs away. it will be nice, months from now, to open the boxes, shake off the cobwebs or memories - whichever has gathered there - and find things fresh and new-ish again and shining in the california sun. i include myself on that list.

and in this moment, somehow, it all, at last, seems real. i am ready for it - if not for the goodbyes.

thank you all for your kind words and for your support. tell me, will we always be friends? teaching each other what it's like to be in totally different places, yet from the same? how to keep reaching for something imagined, a better world or a perfect color?

i'd like that.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

the move, part 1

i hate packing.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

where stay cats strut

it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

the sun is out. there's, at last, a cool-ish breeze and a break in the humidity. the kids who live nearby are playing basketball and riding bikes around the cul-de-sac and across the street they're having a garage sale (nothing i need, though. i checked.). and all the cats are home.

if i had to pick one thing i'll miss most about this place (aside from my darling friends), it would have to be these outside cats.

have i introduced you, yet?

this is william turner. or 'silly willy' as he's sometimes known. when he was a kitten, he would peep at me through a hole in the fence and would come to eat the little bit of cat food the other cats left behind. one day, he finally came close, accepted a scratch behind his right ear and has lived in the yard ever since.

he disappeared for a month last fall and i was beside myself with worry because cars fly through this neighborhood on their way to walmart and the wild dogs in the field are always looking for a tiny cat feast.

but suddenly one morning, as i was readying myself for work and while the shade in the bathroom was drawn so far down i could only see the whites of some little cat feet, instantly i knew they were his. i ran through the house in my underwear screaming with joy.

he was skinny and tired and happy as a cat can be to be - i'd like to think it was to be near me, but it was likely to be near his dog again. to this day, i still don't know where he disappeared to. maybe he was locked in someone's garage or one of the neighbors fell in love with him and tried to keep him. maybe he was the subject of some magic trick gone awry ... i don't know ... but since that day i scooped him up in my underwear for all the world to see, he sticks super close to the house, lounging on the table, sleeping on the roof and shimmying down the tree when it's time for food or play.

this one here - this is pete, part deux. he is named after my very first cat, ever. the one who would bite me right between the eyes if i would disturb his nap. this pete is like him in every way.

pete's a funny little bloke and the most popular guy on the block. he belongs to all of us - and none of us and rules the neighborhood with an iron paw. he does not believe in the old saying, 'don't bite the hand that feeds you.' he lounges on the porch; he sleeps on top of my car and he sits on the window ledge of the computer room , peering through the screen and trying to read over my shoulder. i could be mistaken, but i'm pretty sure it pisses him off that the front yard has no internet access. and he can't type.

this is big ball jack. so named for his ... well ... you get the picture.
he is the boss. no one eats until jack eats. no one sleeps until jack chooses a place. no one messes with him ... as far as i can see.
although, he does come home dirty and beaten to hell, quite a bit. i like to think he single handedly takes on the wild dogs, but he could just as easily be fighting racoons or possums or someone's automatic garage door.

william turner worships him.

it's taken jack a really long time to warm up. after a year of slinking around the backyard, he has just begun to let me get near. now, when he hears the back door open, he comes out of his hiding place and waits patiently for food. and he talks, now. a lot. he has the voice of an old cigarette smoker - a 'mew' like sandpaper. for all his wild ways, he's actually quite polite, always saying 'good morning' and 'thank you.'

there's one more cat who comes around occasionally - rick springfield. i named him that, because he has this tired old rock star vibe about him. and he's a pretty boy, who, ironically, does not want to have his photo taken. i know. he was here this morning - i tried.

i've been worried these guys and how they will fare in the wake of my impending departure. the neighbors across the street have offered to look after them all, the way they do for pete. it is a huge relief, i must say, and good to know that i'm not the softest heart on the block.

hey. here comes pete, now. ready for his afternoon belly rub and a couple of good swipes at my ankles. must dash. can't keep his majesty waiting.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

i've been a bad, bad girl.

in my haste to write last night, it appears i got a bit ahead of myself. (nice change, really, because so often i feel far behind myself.)

in any event. yes. i am leaving houston. i was offered a job at the crate at southcoast plaza in costa mesa, california. it was the first mall i ever shopped in, so how could i say, 'no'? it was as if the mother ship was calling me home.

you're likely angry that i haven't said anything before now and i'm choosing to do so here. truth be told, this is the only place i can get all of my friends together at the same time. and, as an added bonus, i don't have to see your faces as i break the news.

you have a lot of questions, i know. here are some answers in advance:

1. yes.
2. october 17.
3. the week of october 22.
4. yes, drinks and/or dinner would be lovely.
5. learn to surf. take improv classes with 'the groundlings.' develop arms like linda hamilton in 'terminator 2.' from there, the sky's the limit.
6. no. it's not as expensive as you think it is.
7. yes. i will take you to disneyland when you come to visit.
8. blue.

email me with your own queries and i'll answer as honestly and as fully as i can.

much, much love and my most sincere apologies for my inadequate news breaking abilities,

... la

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

a full moon

can you see the moon from where you are?

she's making an appearance, just now, outside my window. bright and lovely and completely full of herself. and why shouldn't she be? the sun's been chasing her round and around all day ... just trying to light up her face.

i know how she feels.

my. i haven't written a good post in so long i may have forgotten how. i'm hoping it is a habit that once acquired is never lost. much like riding a bike ..., i begin as usual with ...

hello! (said in my sleepy way, as i sit, crumple-faced, staring at the keyboard.)

the evening is half gone, and though i could have fallen asleep just past suppertime, instead, i'm here. (the slightest time change wreaks havoc on my sleep patterns ... or maybe it isn't jet lag at all. maybe i'm just exhausted by the sheer force of ... everything.)

it's difficult to be back in texas after the sunshine and possibility of california, but it's only for a short while ... most of which will be spent packing and saying 'goodbye,' so it's a nuisance easily borne. it was nice to be 'home.' if only for a little while.

hours not spent driving in circles or touring random dwellings, were filled with splashing and sand castles - so that by each afternoon's end i could be found sun drenched and damp and pleasantly tired, laughing at dogs chasing the surf, listening to the music of the waves and waving goodbye to the sun as it set off toward the beginning of someone else's day. i have a pink nose, lovely tan shoulders and a few new freckles to show for it all.

and in the midst, was i able to find a place to live? yes and no. i've settled on long beach. specifically, a little parcel called 'belmont shores'. it's bordered on one side by the beach and on the other by 2nd street and it's shops and restaurants and (imagine my surprise) gay bars. the streets are narrow and the accommodations small and interesting and full of the hardwood floors and nooks & crannies i'm so fond of.

and i knew instantly that it was not just another neighborhood - it was mine.

i consider it a grand stroke of luck that the rents are not unreasonable - about what i'd expect to pay here for similar circumstances - although, i find the deposits required to be ... well, frankly ... unkind.

and so, rather than rush into something less than ideal, i will stay with my mother for a few months - better to save and to search for just the right place. and as these things go, encinitas is not all a bad spot to view the world for a bit.

the new store is lovely. and big. (and attached to the largest mall i have ever seen.) walking in was familiar and foreign all at once. the people are nice enough, and completely undone by my impending arrival - many of them giving me that slow, silent 'once over', starting with my hair and ending with my shoes and making me glad i'd dressed wisely for the occasion and hadn't just wandered in wearing my house-hunting ensemble. i imagine they spent a good deal of time, after i left for the day, discussing - speculating - on exactly how i'll rock their worlds. i am excited to see how i translate in california. perhaps, i'm meant to be a catalyst - my enthusiasm, my energy, speeding along some chemical reaction. but then again, no. in any experiment, the catalyst is supposed to remain unchanged ... i don't see me emerging from this experience unscathed, unaffected.

still, i am who i am and i do what i do. geography won't change that. though i am interested to see how it all plays out and what the lasting effects will be. it's a challenge i am completely ready for.

be well. look out the window and marvel at the moon. and wherever you are, i hope your evening is spent in the company of friends, or words, or whatever it is that will warm you most.

Friday, September 14, 2007

why i will never vote for bill richardson

dear governor bill:

just as i sit in awe - most days - of the beauty that surrounds me, i find i am never prepared for the ugliness, either. nor for the kindness that can follow.

this week, i had one of those days.

i encountered a particularly nasty breed of customer - the sort who believes me to be 'beneath' him in every way and thus bound to adhere to unspoken standards. he is busier, smarter and in all ways more important than anyone else. the world stops revolving on his command.

which is why it became a national emergency when he couldn't get his newly delivered office chair to rise and lower at his command ... clearly the only object in his gravitational pull ever to refuse to genuflect.

until he met me.

see, what you might not know about me (and what he didn't care to learn) is that i consider us all to be equals. you might make more money, but i might be taller. you might be more attractive, while i might be funnier. doesn't make either one of us 'better' than the other. it just means you have more dates and more money and i tell a good story and don't need a booster seat to reach the dinner table.

and you'll never know that when i tell you i'm going to do something for you, i do it. i call you back when i say i will (if you're reading this, mom, i'm talking about the work 'me' here, okay?). i will move mountains, if mountain moving is what's required, to make things right.

so it wasn't necessary for your friend to yell at me over the phone and tell me how important it is that you, the presidential candidate, have a chair that goes up and down to sit in at your fundraiser. nor was it necessary for him to tell me i will never be as important as you, the presidential candidate, are or he is or as anyone who will be attending the event.

and it really wasn't necessary for him to storm into the store and demand to see 'that bitch!' or to grab my arm and tell me to 'make it happen' or to pound his fists on the table and tell me i don't deserve any common decency or respect and how my 'perfect, innocent bitch' routine wouldn't work with him and how he was going to tell you, the next president of the united states, and my bosses (and anyone else who would listen) about my incompetence and stupidity. it wasn't necessary to berate and humiliate me in front of other customers and my staff and friends. really. not necessary.

but this letter isn't about me or my day, really. (although, you may be interested to learn that i have not, in fact, lost my job. the reaction has been quite the contrary, if you really want to know.)

but what i think you should really be interested in is the number of times your friend invoked your name in the middle of this tantrum. he was shouting your name through the store - which may be part of his job, i don't know. but, i would like to think you'd have been appalled. but then, i don't know you. i will never know you.

and now, i will never vote for you.

i'm going out on a limb here, but i'll bet your friend isn't very high up in the campaign. not very important. and i'll bet someone lets him know that everyday. might even yell it at him. and maybe that someone is higher up, but still doesn't feel very important. and so on, and so on, and so on. which is unfortunate. because when that happens, those folks always find a way to project that unhappiness and 'unimportance' out into the world. and it has to land somewhere. this week it landed on me.

and now, i'm giving it back to you.

i don't know what you do or say or believe when the cameras are turned off and it's just you and your staff together discussing the day or the next event or the campaign. but somewhere, somehow, you've given them the impression that it's okay to bully and humiliate people to get their way on your behalf. it's not the mark of a good leader ... or even of a good person. (have you learned nothing from george w.?)

and so, i can't allow you to be elected. i'm sorry to crush your dream like that. really, i am. i wouldn't ordinarily consider myself to be a 'dream crusher' - but i can be one, if dream crushing is what's required.

i won't tolerate another president who thinks he can sit back and smile for the cameras and act folksy while letting his friends bully their way into getting him everything he's ever wanted. and i'll do everything i can to make sure it doesn't happen again.

and when you don't win, you might feel angry or humiliated or even unimportant. i want you to remember that feeling. learn from it. treat people better. take responsibility for the environment you create. and say 'thank you' with the kind of honesty and fullness the people around you deserve.

let that be the way you change the country. only then will you truly be a 'leader.'

- leigh anne

Thursday, September 6, 2007

we've got the funk

i want to marry this mastercard commercial.

i do. i am completely in love with it.

what a sweet and simple reminder that we should all take love where we find it. and we will find it in some of the unlikeliest of places.

it reminds me, too, that the simple truths first learned in the hallways and on the playground are the ones that endure:

share everything; play fair; don't hit people; put things back where you found them; clean up your mess; don't take things that aren't yours; say you're sorry when you hurt somebody; wash your hands before you eat; flush; when you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.

and for goodness sakes, never be afraid to shake your groove thing. especially in the company of friends!

Friday, August 31, 2007

the storm that's brewing

there is an electricity in the air tonight. flashes of light and thunder ... the air still ... feeling heavy - hungry almost - and needing the release. last week, electronic signs on the highway warned, 'hurricane churning in the gulf. keep tank full.' and i'm not sure those signs weren't speaking solely to me.

the future has me slightly unnerved, even as my whole self stretches out toward it. i never gave much thought to the weight of those butterflies tickling my insides until they settled, lead-footed. only now, do i truly understand the power of gravity. still ... it's this mixture of fear and joy that is keeping me balanced as i walk the tightrope of my own happiness.

i wonder ... will i like them? will they like me? will they find me funny? think me sweet and silly ... or cloying and a bit daft?

doesn't really matter, i suppose. i am who i am and i do what i do. i can only behave in a style that is the most true of 'me.' i can't force that truth. it comes with surrender and the decision to sing out and allow it to escape. still, i've spent long hours with the question of how to embrace the potential unfolding to the west and how to see around the corners there. (and in between, there are moments when my ego flees and my mind keeps screaming that this is going to take so much more than i've got.) does that ever happen to you? i don't suppose it does. what i carry around, though, is that it all begins right here. at the end.

you ask after post sale fif and faf and we have been unusually busy this week ... and i am happy for the the rhythm - it keeps me present, and rightly so, at a time when i would be quite happy to daydream. and i don't want to waste a moment with these people i enjoy so much. i will miss them so.

there won't be much time to mourn the loss, i'm afraid. the custom sale is soon upon us and in the midst, i'll be interviewing folks for sales positions - our numbers are such that we have been afforded the opportunity to hire not one, but two more - in hopes of catching sales that may be walking out the door as we're all busy entertaining customers.

too, i'm hoping one will shimmer above the rest and rise to be a fitting replacement. i want to believe that there is someone better organized, less scattered, more mature, less motherly and in all ways lovelier than i am. someone who will fit in seamlessly and make them forget i was ever here.

it makes me feel better to believe that's even possible ... softening the guilt and the fear ... blurring my vision just enough that i can barely make out the effect my presence has here.

of course, there's always something to remind me ... ford ('like the car') telling me how proud he is of me, and christine crying like a baby and stacy, thanking me for being the store's 'grace.' i don't quite know what to do with any of that. so, i've folded those memories as neatly as i'm capable of and tucked then into my bag and i'll carry them with me wherever i go ... a talisman against low self-esteem days and a reminder of the kindness and care we're all capable of.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

... the world is round ...

... the world is round ...

what's your world like today?

i hope you are finding ways of escaping summer's fury ... a pool would be good for that sort of thing. (i would float for hours, sans vêtements, and would spend the evening giving names to freckles bourne anew.)

how have you been occupying your time? for me, there's been work - we are in inventory mode and i am supremely tired of counting things - and the play, and visits with friends and to the shops. not a lot of activity, really ...

i have been difficult, out of sorts, lately ... needy in ways i'm unfamiliar and uncomfortable with. my apologies if any splashed over onto you.

(it is arrogant, i suppose, to presume you're even interested in this story, but i don't want to hold myself back just because i don't know... )

old wisdoms don't bury peaceably, especially not my own ...

the last days have been a constant reminder that in every life, all is not what it seems. at any given time, reality is a hall of mirrors ... sadness hiding in the heart of euphoria, the spark of great achievement bubbling inside a cauldron of adversity. so too, no end is ever really complete without a new beginning stirring inside it. i divide life into categories in order to understand and master it, but experience itself is seamless. i have to trust, i suppose, that dramatic changes only happen according to divine appointment. i have to have faith that change will benefit me more than clinging to the old ways would have.

sometimes, i think i'd like to keep you separate from all of this. it's painful as hell, and frightening too ... nurturing the life i want to live into being ... opening up the space to find something that better suits me, to find a way to love people without feeling like i'm hurting them by loving them the way i want to.

yet, it feels comfortable, somehow, this knowledge that everyone is busy with their separate lives, and we can go for a week or two with no word, popping in on each other, and it's enough to know that you're still right there, in some corner of my life and i'm right here, in some corner of yours.

as for the corners of my life ...

the play went well. in the end, it played much, much better than it read. there was raucous laughter and thunderous applause and some lovely adjectives tossed about - 'charming' ... 'stunning' ... 'incandescent' ... are among my favorites. and i am $30 richer and hold the title of 'audience favorite' - an odd thing, to be sure, the judging of 'art.' i am not in favor of it, but do enjoy the spoils, i must admit.

work is good. busy, of course. tomorrow is inventory, so i've been up long before the sun this week, counting, adjusting numbers and solving the mysteries of the back of the house. i am a 'words' girl ... numbers send me spinning in all the wrong ways, and yet, the exercise is oddly pleasurable ...

... bringing order to a place where chaos has reigned is an unusual experience ... one i enjoy, but will be glad to see completed ... after all, the world is round, and the place that may seem like the end may only be just the beginning...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

until the lights come up

until the lights come up

hello! i am home, just, from rehearsal and find i am giddy from the endorphin release that comes with a particularly good rehearsal and with the knowledge that the house is entirely my own for two entire days and nights - with no one else's laundry or dishes to do ... thus, having logged on in the dark, (to see if you're there somewhere, too) i find myself at the computer with a slow-motion smile. the feeling is intoxicating!

where was i? oh, rehearsal.

this little show i'm in plays much better than it reads - and it would seem i haven't quite forgotten the subtle way i have of making people laugh in all the right places and then turning them inside out ... laughter through tears may be my favorite emotion. my scene partner is absent in these last days of rehearsal - a meeting out of town is the reason - so, our director has graciously stood in. it's odd - changing the rhythm of the thing. it will surely play differently when j is back, but in the meantime, it's fun to play.

i forget, when i've been away for too long, that in order to accomplish what i want, i need time and space to play with it ... the balance is a delicate one. when i get it right ... what, for me, feels right ... there is nothing quite like it. when the show is up, it's electric and immediate - there is no time to think about it and correct it. i'm forced to learn from my mistakes (and others') in the moment and hope we get another chance to redeem ourselves in the midst. the process promotes honesty more than any other form of relationship i know.

i forget, too, the effect my abilities have on other people.

this is a festival - 10 plays, 40+ actors, some of whom i've known for years and worked with ... some i only know by association ... most are strangers who either pay me no mind or look at me in annoyance when i am overtaken by an 'old friend.' (in the theatre, everyone you've ever been on stage with considers her/himself an 'old friend.' it's the thing i have the hardest time with - people claiming connections that seem so false to me.) and in the midst of the chaos, i am quiet backstage. i do not join in the recitation of the resumes - names of plays and directors and characters are lobbed over my head as i apply my makeup. bragging about awards or roles holds no interest for me. i keep to myself. i do not sit in the house and watch the other shows. i am not interested in comparing my work or the opportunities i've been given. instead, i talk quietly with true friends, re-apply lipstick, listen to music in what i like to call my 'pre-game' mode. i'm easy to discount.

until the lights come up.

it's then they swarm, as bees in honey drown, tripping over themselves to be the first to call me 'cute' ... 'funny' ... 'oh so talented.' it always surprises me ... embarrasses me, too. save for a brief moment of enjoyment, i never know the proper response ... so i smile shyly, duck my head down, say 'thank you' repeatedly and run for cover. i'd make a terrible celebrity. though i would enjoy the free shoes.

wow! the storm that's been threatening all day finally broke - with brilliant light and sound and that sideways rain i love so much. it's a sign that i should turn off the computer, i think, and listen to the rain as i fall asleep in the bed i have all to myself!

sleep well, if sleep is what's required.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

dia de los bambinos grande

be careful what you wish for me ... an interesting edge, indeed.

the day has been long and customers cranky ... think two year olds long past their nap ... associates, too. today, they pull and clutch, making it impossible to move ... again, i've grown tired of the sound of my name ... of any sound at all, really. it cannot be quiet enough.

'recovery' requires me to steep myself in a warm bath and then pour myself into bed. the phone is off, so please don't call; if i'm to silence the voices in my head, i have to silence those outside as well. i will not hear you tonight.

tomorrow there will be time enough for missing lamps and difficult conversations and grown men behaving like giant babies. they can wait.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

shock and awe

i tend to think of shock only in the context of unpleasant events. i'm remembering, now, i can also be jarred by that sudden release of tension which comes with unexpected success. keeping my bearings in the aftershock of victory will be a delightful exercise, i imagine. one i am keen for.

see, the last few weeks have found me battling phantoms and spending my strength with little to show for it. the only way to calm the storm in my brain, i find, is to sit so still, even i forget i am here. from the outside, it must seem an interesting exercise for a whirling-dervish like me ... watching me resist the urge to talk, talk, talk ... my vulnerability revealing itself in ways that challenge my self-control.

i am feeling my way through an awkward space - between places and events - belonging to all and none at the same time and wishing desperately for a space (& time?) to call my own. it's a difficult trip to navigate and the events of past days have left me slightly unnerved.

i imagine it's a hard lesson for those who love me ... my need for solitude. friends will call, come near, come home and i seem irritated (for i am irritated); they interrupt my train of thought, break into the dreamy silence of my day - wince as they see the expression on my face, hear the timbre of my voice - like a closed door - as if i've gone inside some room in my mind where i'm writing or dreaming.

i cannot help it, would not change it. i am who i am and i do what i do. i can only behave in a style that is the most true of 'me.' i can't force that truth. it comes with surrender and the decision to sing out and allow it to escape.

and, sometimes, it's a silent song ... for me alone.

writing, tending the truth, is a private thing. i protect my thoughts as i would my sex. sharing only what i'd like, when i'd like, with the persons only of my choosing. it is a process i do not wish to lay bare. (and it's pleasures are intense for those who engage in it.)

at the same time, i know that everything that radiates light or love is dependent upon something else and only through these dependencies do we discover that everything is related, each thing to the other. awareness of my own dependency on others is the key which will unlock the door to my true place in the world. no woman is an island.

though if i were, i should imagine it would be a great place to visit - you just wouldn't want to live there.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

can you ever go home again?

tonight, j went back to the scene of the crime ... a place we once called 'home' and the one place we made a pact to never set foot in again. there's a message in that, i believe ... one i'm not interested in facing tonight.

it was a good move for him, i think. a night out with old friends, a chance to be feted and fawned over ... it's the least he deserves.

i don't suppose it was ever his fight anyway - it was me they didn't like. i am not the nicest person you will ever meet. i do not suffer fools gladly. i can alienate people in a single bound ...

... and i can never seem to remember that when the darkness of stupidity reigns it is best that my 'brilliance' stay hidden. some people do not appreciate my 'light' ... or my tongue.

i could have gone back, might have gone back, but i am crazy good at holding grudges. i certainly have the capacity for forgiveness, but i find that, like most things in life, it is a choice. i can choose to forgive. i can choose not to. in this instance, i choose not to.

does that make me sound bitter? because i don't feel bitter. i feel hopeful and sort of sleepy, but ... nope ... not a hint of bitter.

in fact, i'm happy that he went back. he belongs there. and i think he needs them more than i do. still. there are things there that i miss. friends. traditions. memories. though, not enough to take me back. though, if i'm honest, i have to say i never thought 'home' would end up where i don't belong.

who knows? maybe forgiveness will find me ...

but don't hold your breath.

Friday, August 3, 2007

the great cupcake battle

the great cupcake battle

what's the best thing that's happened to you today?

for me, it was waking with a watermelon sun rising slowly outside my window, being serenaded by a favorite song, and making cupcakes and not to having to share the licking of the bowl with anyone, save for the dog.

i am proud to say i have conquered the cupcake recipe. though, they sit in the kitchen in various states of undress. it is the height of irony, i think, that she who has mastered the art of discursivity, of fif and faf, finds herself to be icing-impaired. i am at war with the cupcakes' sugary couture.

the great cupcake battle has been undertaken in honor of mylinh, who finally convinced herself that she does not belong with us and will indeed be better off (and infinitely happier) working in the wedding planning industry she so adores. it fills me with great joy and a small amount of pride to see her take this leap forward. it was, as mylinh would say, very 'heroish.'

even so, i miss her tiny face. and her very high heels. and 'mylinglish' ... the way she would marvel at my wizardry with numbers and mistakenly declare me a 'math-magician!' ... her tales of having been frightened by almost everything and nearly screaming 'bloody mary!' and although she butchers the english-language in ways beyond imagination, the girl bakes a hell of a cupcake. i might miss that most of all.

and so, in her absence, i'm fighting to fill the void, to keep a little bit of her with us, even as she's entertaining brides and their maids ... and the casualties shall be delicious.

Friday, July 27, 2007

don't forget your umbrella

it is raining here again. heavy, looping drops that hang onto the edge of the clouds ... eventually making a sleepy downward dash to the pavement. maybe, like me, they're afraid to fly. even as they've braved the take-off, they are terrified of a crash landing.

in between errands and chores, i've been rereading my posts and letters from friends. we paint some beautiful pictures, you and i. we also ask a lot of questions - some directly, some not so. i have a gift for avoidance...but it's not one i wish to indulge with you, so if you have a few spare moments, allow me to answer a few...

you asked about my favorite chair. i guess, i'd have to say this old desk chair is it. it's uncomfortable. and pink (a color i quite like, actually, though not for furniture). it serves as sophie's favourite sleeping spot and together, they guard all my secrets. i sit down, it pulls me close and brings me to you. how could i not count it among my favorite things?

my music and my books are a lot like me...all over the place and big on words. i like a good story. and an unusual melody. i prefer my music acoustic and my books electric. the stack nearest my keyboard: jason mraz-james taylor-annie lennox-the soundtrack to "spring awakening"-two plays by neil labute-a book by anita shreve and my red clown nose (neither a book nor music, but sitting there nonetheless and worthy of inclusion).

my art? photos of my family, my friends and my favorite york, the beach, cinderella's castle. also, two of my "poetry in motion" bus cards. (when i lived in dallas, i worked for the transit system and brought that program to the city. we did beautiful work, won lots of awards and praise, and it warms my heart to know that it has continued long after i left for greener pastures.) i had the first two poems framed, en la sangre and an exerpt from flower wreath hill. the latter is still one of my favorite poems of all time: " ask me what i thought about before we were lovers. the answer is easy. before i met you, i didn't have anything to think about..."

my favorite words? felicity. fundamental. unencumbered. oblongitude. discursivity. overjoyed. and kiss.

how did i celebrate my milestone birthday? i had breakfast in neverland and dinner in paris. and in between, i went on safari in the serengeti and jungles of asia; took a trip into space and an expedition to everest - twice. i twirled in teacups, pillaged with pirates and ended the day with fireworks and a glass of champagne.

in case you didn't already guess - i went to disney world. it not what you might expect for a milestone such as this, nor what you might choose for yourself, but for me it was ... perfect. it was a joy to reconnect with my family, to leave behind the 'whys' of getting older and to surrender to the childlike wonder i most surely still possess.

so, then ... happiest of fridays to you. i hope it's one of those days where happiness foams up over the top of you and down your sides, spilling over onto everyone in the vicinity. and if it's raining where you are, don't forget your umbrella.

Friday, July 20, 2007

no regrets

i was reading the post from the other day. the one about 'before' and the tale of marcie and 'the devil' and it sounds so much sadder than i meant for it to, and full of regret. but that's not what i intended, nor what i want. it's true, that if i'd have acted differently, said something, stood a couple of inches to the left, maybe - everything might have changed.

but i didn't.

and if i had, maybe i wouldn't be here right now, wouldn't be this person that i am, that i - finally - like a whole lot. and maybe i wouldn't know you guys. and i like knowing you.

there was a time when i can remember feeling sharply miserable, beyond hoping that things would change, but that time isn't now. i wouldn't change anything about the way i ended up here - except maybe i'd be nicer to people. and floss more.

if i could go back and visit myself then, that girl made of knock knees and quiet hope, i am afraid she might not be inclined to waste her time with the likes of me. (but she would secretly like my red toenails very much. that much i know.)

still, i would find a way to make her listen and i would tell her it's o.k. to be afraid and to feel unimportant ... because it will happen a lot and will never last. i would tell her she will experience a certain wild joy that comes from simply not going under. i would tell her that once the soul begins to awaken, there is no stopping it. it can be resisted. it can be denied. for a while. but that 'awake' holds so much potential and delicious possibility - even as it can be a fearsome sort of thing, i think. it means taking responsibility instead of letting things happen. it means letting things happen when there is nothing that can be done.

and now that i'm saying this aloud, it's becoming clear that it is she who is visiting me. and it doesn't make me sad at all. a little loony, perhaps...and lucky.

so let's have no regrets, you and i. only forgiveness. and potential. and delicious possibility. lots and lots of that, please.

Friday, July 13, 2007

elle a senti peur se dissiper.*

it's friday the 13th and i'm wondering ... what are you afraid of?

for me, it's snakes and lizards and salamanders; drowning; the return of the 'boy band;' losing my childlike enthusiasm; flying - well, crashing, actually; never learning to say 'i like you' without frightening people away; wanting something too much.

which, of course, is what i've just gone and done. stupid girl. i won't tell you what it is, so don't ask me ... because for me, the simple act of 'wanting' something 'too much' will guarantee its distance, so i don't.

it's a gift, really. i can talk myself into anything, including this elevated state of aloofness. i can choose not to care ... but if i've learned anything in these last months, then that would be a bad idea. possibly the worst of all ... flames don't flicker forever and moths are born to be burned.

so today, i'll fight hard against my willful anaesthesia, cross my fingers and jump right into the middle of this 'want.' after all, when you've been drowning, the first breath is always the most painful.

*translation - 'she felt the fear disappear.'

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

spilling myself messily at your feet

i am here in my chair. and outside, the air is still. hot. heavy with the coming rain. there is lightning in the summer sky. and i am stalling.

not long ago, i was looking for something, i don't remember what, and instead, i found my high school yearbooks, packed away in a box i had forgotten about. i laughed. i flipped through them a minute and set them aside. it's what i usually do with painful memories ... laugh, flip through them a minute and set them aside ... not this time, though.

i've returned to that time again. and again. turned it over and around and i find i can't escape it. the memories. thoughts of time with friends. love letters. the sad and awkward end. something has stirred something way back and far down; pulling me back, no matter which way i turn, towards 'before.' and there are things i want to say, but i reach for words and find myself turning without them. and i become sad in a way i can't quite grasp.

how does it all begin? and why? is it something primal? something whispering deep in the bones or genes, 'that one.' maybe the old darwinian shuffle has a few steps we haven't heard about before. the physical attraction somehow melded with deeper and quieter feelings of a higher order.

still...i am impossibly grateful for that particular brand of evolutionary i imagine where they all might be now. reaching out and finding them again.

i loved colorado. being close to the park. the odd stairs in our house. and i loved my room - with the big window, the old rocking chair and the unusually tall bed. i loved high school - most of it. i loved the speech tournaments and band practice and baseball games and ap english and boys who practiced cx debate and cherry creek and and even chuck fleener's relentless pursuit. and i loved my friends.

(looking back, i probably could have been popular if i'd tried. but, i didn't. probably because i couldn't see myself very well. even now, i couldn't tell you what i was like ... if i was strong or funny or interesting. my mother used to tell me all the time how selfish i was. i remember that. but, i think she was wrong. i didn't think much about myself at all. maybe i haven't changed that much, after all.)

i look through the photos ... with the frozen grins, the bangs that defy gravity and i can see the hallways, feel the cool metal of my locker against my back, smell the scent of love's baby soft and aqua net in the air. beav. steve. gayle. scott. lara. kevin. erik. kelli. aimee. dawn. mutt. jeff. and marcie.

all roads lead to marcie.

she and i became friends because she told me we would. i was shy and she was on the fringe and we each needed a hand to hold and she decided mine would be hers - it was a friday, early in the 9th grade, and she had come to school in her pom pom uniform with a large bandage on the back of her thigh because she'd sat on her curling iron that morning and was mortified, as any fourteen year old girl would be, at the thought of people staring at the bandage all day. she was ranting in the locker room and being slightly taller, and more than a little afraid of her, i came up with an idea to help her hide the wound (even now, i'm always coming up with ideas to hide the wounds) and she declared we would be best friends forever. or until she 'didn't like me anymore.' and not having any other offers, i accepted.

and for a long time, it was good. we were silly, happy girls. one of our favorite things was to write letters to each other. she'd pass me the evening's topics as we left for the day and at night, we'd write and trade letters in the morning. i loved to make her laugh. i didn't even mind when my words would come out of her mouth. it hadn't occurred to me, yet, that i had a gift for writing - even as it had already become apparent to marcie.

it should come as no surprise that marcie did not like my boyfriends. she was jealous and angry and frequently miserable to be around. she thought one was gay and the other - the devil. she hated him with a furor that shocks me still.

the day he and i broke up, she was giddy - still full of venom, but genuinely happy. and constantly devising ways to 'get back' at him. i thought it was her way of trying to cheer me up. (her incredibly fucked up way, but still...) but no matter how much she wanted me to, i wasn't ready to let him go. mutual friends tried to get us back together, thought it might be a good idea to call and see how he was doing, ask him to our prom, but marcie made it known that it would be the end of our friendship and i knew that i couldn't survive that loss, too.

a few days after that conversation, i remember marcie being called to the principal's office. she never said why. all i know, even to this day, is that she wrote a letter about 'the devil' and sent it to someone. i don't know what it said. i know that she was suspended for a few days and lost her slot as editor of the paper for our senior year. (i don't know what i was thinking when i agreed to take her place.) and i know that a few weeks later, my high school ring arrived in the mail with note from the boy about the short supply of common decency.

i had no choice but to let him go. so i did. sort of. (the first time you fall in love, it changes your life forever. no matter how hard you try, that feeling never goes away.) and marcie and i were never the same after that. oh, we were still 'best' friends, but once you've see the edge of someone you love, it's difficult to return to 'before.'

we still did silly, girly things. hung out at rocky mountain records&tapes, ate steve's ice cream on the mall, danced wildly to depeche mode, daydreamed about the boys from steamboat ... eventually, i found another boy, 'the gay one.' and one day, not long into our senior year, marcie decided she was done with me. one day, she moved out of our locker, stopped speaking to me - except to tell me that i was 'dull. unoriginal. and unworthy of any more of her time.'

and with that, we were done. i know where the first crack occurred, but, to this day, i don't know what triggered the final break. maybe it was the new boy. or memories of the old. new friends. her parents' divorce. success. taking what she felt she was her due. it's the one mystery i'll never be able to solve.

still, i figure i got exactly what i deserved.

i should have stood up for myself long before it came to that. i should have told her every day that she was beautiful and smart and talented. and maybe then, she would've have been able to see that i could be in love with a boy and still be friends with her.

looking back, she had to feel that seemingly imperceptible shift - may have known the truth of 'the devil and i,' even before we did. she had to know that the closer he and i became, the further i might move away from her - into the one place she couldn't follow.

to watch someone you love move away from you, even if she's headed toward the thing you want most for her, is to walk the tightrope of your own happiness. we were both too young to understand that or maybe we did understand it, we just didn't know what to do about it.

so i did what i always do. i shut up. and i shut down. (hard to believe i can 'shut up' i know, but i can.) what i should have done was stand up. to see that things between us were closed in a way that befit our relationship - with kindness, and bravery, and honesty.

woulda. coulda. shoulda.

what did i say earlier? it's not at all that i fail to forgive others for the hurts i have received - it's that i cannot forgive myself ...

still, i know now that every wrong turn eventually equals a right because there is always a lesson to be learned or a gift to be had. i am stronger now than i was then. smarter. kinder. i still dance with 'the devil' now and then. (and 'the gay one' is a good friend to this day.) but i miss the silly, girly ways and the memory of a time before i knew that i could be spilled so messily and painfully at someone else's feet.

but then, don't we all?

Friday, July 6, 2007

a beautiful mess

is it the end again, already?

the end of the month. the end of the sale. the end of things that never really began. although they did. crept up on me, with velvet paws. today is the beginning of a turn-around; a time of letting go of the old and making way for the new; a time of new beginnings, and it starts with rest. or at least it should.

i got up before the rain and went to yoga. i know. it sounds so trite, doesn't it? isn't everybody going to yoga? i am woefully behind the times, though, as i just started. and not in some celebrity-worshipping kinda way. (although, it's true, i have been known to temporarily devolve and surrender to the power of the people magazine. i need to be able to contribute to the lunchroom dialog on occasion and there is only one other person at the store who is interested in discussing camus ... and our lunches rarely coincide.)

where was i? (i am a master of 'discursivity,' am i not?) ahh, yes. yoga. i love it. it kicks my ass, but i love it. i feel so tall and graceful when i'm done - which is nice because those are two things i will never be mistaken for in real life. and it gives me a chance to focus on nothing but the sound of my own breathing ... and i need a little bit of peace right now.

i'll never be the kind of person who fails to forgive others for the hurts i've received - it's that i cannot forgive myself for the hurts i have meted. i act so strong - and most days i am, but other days, i'm just this little girl, shivering under the armour. don't tell anyone, okay? it's a secret i'd like to keep for a little longer, if you don't mind.

what can i say? i'm a mess. but i'm beautiful.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

older in years, but newer every day

i have a cancer in my head. my doctor says, 'no. you don't.' but he hasn't heard you and doesn't believe in the zodiac.

today is your birthday. so ... happy birthday to you. the boy who sings impossible things that i believe. what do you wish for? what can i give you that you don't already have? off-the-cuff compliments? adjectives? a conversation on paper? an impossible encounter that lives in the imagination and somehow becomes reality?

what will you give yourself?

the wisest of men know that real birthdays are not annual affairs ... they are the days when we experience a rebirth; so that while we may grow older in years, we are newer every day. this, i suspect, is not news to you.

your words tell me that you already know this life is a constant, gradual process ... a subtle play of light and texture and shadows, measured in centuries and inches. it is about kindness and passion and peace and temperance ... extremes of temperature, folding and pounding, turning ourselves inside-out, and bringing out the gold hidden within.

on this, the occasion of your birth, my wish for you is that you'll fly free and happy - beyond birthdays and across forever. that you'll have a day, no ... a life ... where happiness foams up over the top of you and down your sides, spilling over onto everyone in your vicinity. i wish you joy and light, the blueness of sky, infinity and more.

and wherever you are tonight, i hope the moon is out, your friends are near and the music is never ending ... and i hope tomorrow gently breezes into your life carrying with it all the choicest of things and all that your heart holds dear.

i am glad you were born.

turn it down!

happy saturday.

it is my day off and it is raining again. i am thinking it may be wise to spend this 'spare' time building an ark. or taking a nap.

the latter is calling to me, especially in light of today's horoscope:

'although you normally enjoy lots of action, you can still get thrown off course when the noise level gets too high. unfortunately, it may seem as if you can't find the volume control today and there is little you can do to tone down the interference that is annoying you. remember that even if it seems otherwise, the noise is internal and not external.'


Friday, June 15, 2007

greetings from the island of misfit furniture

greetings from the island of misfit furniture

there is a storm raging outside. and one inside as well. the summer has not lessened its ferocity. i am home, just, from work. a long day of moving and checking and translating my vision into a marketable commodity. harder, some days than others. in some ways, easier, too. and if knowledge is power, then i am a goddess...if only for a few weeks more.

only i know what is yet to be seen, unwrapped, and imagined in a new room. only i can divine what is still to be had. their fortunes rest in my head and in my hands. i am the guest of honor in every meeting, every conversation. i am a prophet and a prom queen. and i have grown tired of the sound of my own name.

you may have guessed it takes awhile for me to wind down from the day. i may be bruised, aching, bone weary, and still, i have these eruptions of mental energy - where i'm almost too tired to write, but too wired to do anything but.

things are good here, thank you for asking. the sale is finally in full bloom. seven days in and eighteen to go. we finished last week way over our goal and we will surpass that this week. the idea fills me with both joy and fatigue.

it's a delicate dance, this 'sale' business. one not many people can appreciate. discovery, placement, vision - these are fundamental to the process - the basic steps, if you will, to performing the dance well. i perform the dance well. it is not my ego talking. it is a fact.

here's how it works...twice a year we have an 'end of season' sale. it's how we remove discontinued (or 'disco'd' as i like to call it) merchandise off the floor to make room for the new season. it's easy. we lower the price. people buy it. when there are no more in the warehouse, we sell the floor model and bring in the new merch. see? not too tough. during this sale, we also bring in 'closeouts.'

these are pieces that were returned to the main warehouse because of damage, wrong color, the customer changed their mind after the dog laid on it, canceled custom orders, whatever ... so it can't be returned to stock or sold at full price. it's the island of misfit furniture, if you will.

the trick is knowing what to get and knowing how to get it and i am a master magician. i know what to look for. what not to be afraid of. i know how to trace the origins of a sku and i am fluent in the language of buyers and the distribution channels. i've studied our sales. analyzed the patterns. i've learned how to repair things so i know what will last and what can be salvaged. i know how to price things so that people think they've 'found' a great deal. and i know that price is sometimes not as important as how quickly they can get it into their homes - and i know how to make that happen. i listen to our customers, so i know what they will buy. and i listen to our sales associates, so i know what they can sell. i do not let them underestimate themselves.

ordinarily, you never really know what condition things will be in; you never know if the description is correct - if it's the color or size or even the type of merchandise it's supposed to be - but i know how to find the answers, so we don't have as much guesswork as everyone else. my biggest problem? space. every truck day i have this lovely floor plan worked out and it's usually shot to hell after the first twenty pieces or so. it's my own version, i suppose, of that old anthropologist's adage about revising one's question after arriving in the field.

but it always works out. we sell things faster than we can unwrap them. i've never seen anything like it...and i thank my lucky stars for every bruise, every cardboard cut, every muscle strain, every 4:30 a.m. wake up call. i never thought this is what i'd do for a living, but it is. and i love it. though, by the end of 'truck days' i do find i grow a bit weary of everyone vying for my attention.

one more thing and then i'm done with shop talk. one of the joys of the sale, for me, is watching the sales associates react to what i bring in. they are a jaded lot. they have seen (and likely rejected) it all. i take particular pride when one of them finds a piece they want to take home. this time, almost all of them have purchased something. they've run around the floor like children under a christmas tree unwrapping and oohing and ahhing and i sit back and listen to the din and, as silly as it sounds, i nearly burst with pride. it must be something akin to the feeling an author gets when someone buys a book or the pride of an artists when she sells something at a showing.

this time, even i wasn't immune to the charms of misfit furniture. i splurged on a chaise. chocolate brown, chenille, fluffy cushions, rolled arms - divine. it's more traditional than i'd usually consider, but it will work well, i think, with my eclectic taste...and maybe a new throw pillow.

so, tomorrow, i will curl up in it and read for a bit, test drive it for a nap. we're supposed to have more of these storms. the kind where the rain defies gravity - again - where an umbrella is only good for decoration or for entertaining the wind.

this is my favorite kind of storm...where the drops are cool on the skin and the puddles are warm - heated instantly by pavement baked in the summer sun. i like to stand in the middle of it all and let the rain fall where it will. i leave no puddle unsplashed. people look at me like i may be slightly off balance. and i am. but tomorrow is my day off. so, i don't have to be perfect. i can just be real. and wet. and happy.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

the day before ...

hello! happy 'day before the sale!'

i know that doesn't mean a lot to you, but here, it's christmas eve. i am home just now and will be about again at 4:30 in the morning to receive the truck and begin unwrapping the floor samples! i love the sale! i love the rhythm. i love the weight. i love the look of glee on a customer's face when they stumble onto a bargain that i was able to conjure up for them. exhaustion is but a small price to pay for the joy of a job well done.

wow. is it my imagination or have i just begun the most boring blog ever written? my sincerest apologies, as i'm certain i used to be oh so clever and charming. i guess that's what we get when the only writing i've done for three long weeks is 'floor sample. final sale. sold as is.' i suppose it's only to be expected that i'm rusty. and boring. i shall try harder. (this is not, of course, to say that life has been dull or uninteresting or anything even approaching boring. it has not!)

i owe you the story of my birthday trip and i will oblige, i assure you, but the hour is late and i'm a bit bleary-eyed. remind me, too, that i owe you the stories of: drag bingo and miss usa's karmic retribution, how i became a lesbian pin-up girl and the one time it really paid to be nice.


Saturday, June 2, 2007

two tickets to paradise, please


i understood the karmic debt and happily repaid it. i smiled through the long days at the store. the sinus infection. the melancholy. the absence of dear friends. the parade of idiots. i got hit by a car for fuck's sake! i took the tests, where are my 'gifts'?!?

in the week or so since my birthday, i've...broken a tooth; had a nail in my tire; been caught in the rain without an umbrella; lost the elastic in my underwear; spent five days pushing my mother uphill in a wheelchair.

on the other hand, i've seen friends...rekindle romance; get promotions they were hoping for; finally (!) become pregnant; find new homes they love; recover from illness...yeah. okay. i get it. these are the gifts. and even i believe that it's better to give than to receive. my good karmic energy is spilling over the top of me, splashing everyone in my vicinity.

ah, well, yes. the horoscope confirms it:

'you have discovered an environment permeated with kindness, well-being and support. there is a feeling of abundance in the air. it's quite a long road, but you can sense a payoff just around the next corner. still, you must hold it together until your well earned reward arrives. be aware that everything may not turn out quite as sweet as you wish, but you should begin to see positive results soon enough if you have done your work.

open yourself to the warmth of a harmonious, welcoming universe. you will be safe there. you are likely to make contact with a person, situation or group significant to your psychic and emotional life. this new influence will help you shift your focus. you may awaken to a sweeter, more harmonious and nourishing life experience. even if you have spent years living without anything like this, and it arouses your suspicions, try to relax into it. don't resist. allow the experience to soften you and teach you how to trust again. just because the past has been difficult or lonely doesn't mean you have to live that way forever. this opportunity gives you permission to feel your sweetness again, and a safe place to do it. unfold your petals. glory in being the wanted child of a benign universe. no harm will come to you.'

ah-ha. karma hit the snooze alarm.

i can wait. although sometimes i am willful and don't listen. i can wait.

my secret is out

i did this goofy quiz today. not that i didn't have a billion other things that could occupy my time, but my brain is mush from making sale tags. (seriously, the phrase 'floor sample. sold as is. final sale.' will echo through my dreams tonight.) so, a goofy quiz was in order.

i had to pick a color or a shape or something (see how memorable it was, i can't even remember the one question i had to answer). in any event, it turned out to be not so 'goofy' after all. it's a freakin' oracle is what it is.

'you are wise, insightful, and brilliant. your wit is sharp and occasionally hurtful...revealing your scorn for people with less intelligence. underneath it all, you feel burdened by the stupidity of humanity. you know what's right in the world, but it's overshadowed by everything that's wrong. people see you as arrogant. while this is partially true, you are also very sensitive.'

holy crap, batman. my secret is out. i really do feel burdened by the stupidity of humanity. i do. what a relief to finally say it out loud.
oh, and my stripper name is 'juicy.'

Friday, June 1, 2007

fear of flying

fear of flying

i am home from my latest trip. this time, i was in dallas for a few days to see the new fall merchandise for the store. i think it takes longer to get to and through the airport than it does to actually fly there and back, but still, i enjoy the process. the airport is ripe with possibility. the entire world is, literally, at my feet and i adore the idea that at any minute, i could step through another gate and be on my way to some new and wonderful adventure.

as much as i love the airport, i do not love flying. well, that's not exactly true. i like flying. i do not like the 'taking off.' i do not like the 'landing.' i know people who can read, listen to their ipods, talk with their seat mate during these crucial flight times, but i am not one of them. nope. can't do it.

i quietly grip the armrest, close my eyes and hold my breath. in my head, i picture the people and pets i adore and say silent 'i love yous' to them all. i am convinced that it is these 'i love yous' and not physics or aerodynamics that allow the planes i'm aboard to ascend and alight safely.

ridiculous? perhaps. irrational? indeed. but still. it's what i do. and to date, i have a perfect record. yeah, me!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

once in a blue moon

tonight is the blue moon.

and, as the song says, i am 'standing alone.' (i take direction well.)

'alone' has never held the fear or discomfort for me that it does for most. maybe it's because i have more practice or because my imagination keeps me company when company is hard to find. i almost crave the sensation, sometimes, of being accountable for entertaining only myself. i am a good friend. an excellent host. and i enjoy my company immensely.

and here, on the night when we can do the things we normally only dream of doing, that which is unusual for us, uncharacteristic, rare...

i am sitting still. quietly. wishing for company.

really, i am.

knees up, in my chair, waiting for you to come through the door, smiling and telling me of your latest adventure. and if you do, i'll smile and ask you to sit and stay awhile and share yourself with me. and for once, i won't talk over you or around you or at you. we will just sit and creep toward closeness. you, holding my hand, me - holding my tongue.

come here anytime, you'll be welcomed with open arms.

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