Friday, November 30, 2007

The End of NaBloPoMo 2007: A Retrospective

Well, I am happy to say that I posted every single day for this entire month, and sometimes I posted more than once per day. I never cheated by pre- or post-dating entries or by just posting pictures or videos. If I posted just a video one day, I posted an actual entry during the same day. So, I'm very proud of myself. Maybe I'll even win a prize, if I actually remember to check the website.

This month, I tackled many topics: the possibility of a new job, the memories of an old job, and the loss of someone special. I wrote about the past, the present, and the future (and learned so much about how they can all overlap). I philosophized about music, boxes, and change. I touched on the subject of fun at the office and with friends.

I really enjoyed the challenge of NaBloPoMo, and so I've developed a new challenge for myself. I've decided to focus on 1 theme per month, and I will post something in line with each month's theme about 3 times weekly. (I will continue to write regular posts as well.) I'm doing this for fun and also because it's a nice exercise in discipline. I think December will be Memory Month. If you have ideas for themes I could write about, drop me a comment - I'd love to hear your ideas.

Happy blogging, and thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Doing Away with the Past Tense?!?

You must read this article. It will make your day, I promise. Well, only if you're a nerd.

My First Job

At the ripe old age of 16, I found myself with an MIP (Minor in Possession) for alcohol possession. The cost of the ticket was $300+, and my mom told me I was going to work to pay it off. (That story will have to be told in another post.) And go to work I did - at a lovely little greasy spoon called Country Express.

Country Express was a privately owned fast food restaurant that served burgers, sandwiches, chicken fried steak (which is hugely popular in Texas, by the way), tacos, etc. It was located right by a gas station on the outskirts of town, so it was essentially a truck stop. The whole place was covered in pictures of trains (and grease). Our shirts had trains on them. (I have aptly chosen a picture of a trainwreck to illustrate this, because 1) most of our customers were complete trainwrecks themselves - not to mention really white trash, and 2) that trainwreck occurred in Paris. It automatically looks glamorous by association, and it's a good picture to show the opposition between Paris and small town Texas.)

I was getting paid minimum wage, which was $4.25 back then. At 16, I felt RICH! Never mind the fact that I worked in bad conditions - really long hours, no breaks, smoking in the kitchen (how sanitary), a supervisor who had major hygiene problems and scratched her crotch continuously, lots of grease, and major heat. (Texas has awful labor laws. I count myself very lucky to be working here in California.)

Country Express served horrible food. If I ate there now as much as I did then, I'd have diarrhea every day. The customers, though nice, were pretty trashy and ignorant. I had men who were much older than me hitting on me on a daily basis. I had people who screamed at me because of whatever reason, which usually involved the drive thru being broken. All of my clothes smelled like grease. The air conditioner was often broken. It was truly a disgusting place to work, not to mention humbling. During slow times I would sometimes stare out the drive thru window at the train tracks across the highway, dreaming about life. I couldn't wait for my life to start.

I ended up working at Country Express for 3 years. I got very comfortable there and eventually became a shift supervisor, which meant I got paid $5.15 (!) an hour. Despite the really crappy working conditions, I had fun working there. But once I moved on to my first waitressing job, I never looked back. I will never work fast food again, except maybe as an absolute last resort.

Most of the people who worked there were older ladies in their 40s and 50s. We were worlds away from each other. They had dropped out of school in the 8th grade, and I had been college bound since I was a small child. They weren't going anywhere, and I was itching to leave. They had bad skin, bad teeth, couldn't spell, and said things like "irregardless." I was squeaky clean with a penchant for grammar and spelling. (I did/do have bad teeth though - it's a genetic thing.)

But these ladies taught me more about life than I think they ever realized. They told me to make sure I got educated before I got married (which I did - sort of), not to get pregnant too early (so far, so good), and to do my best at whatever I do (which is something I've always done). These lessons have been so important to me - I just think it's a shame that their specific family culture and social structure have not worked out for them very well. Most of them are either still working there or in very similar jobs. And it's back-breaking work. Working fast food is hell. All that for $600 a month after retirement. No, thanks.

I still send Christmas cards to one lady who still works there, and I stop in to see her when I'm in town. Her life is almost unbearably tragic, and she was one of the people who pushed me the hardest to get educated. She has always been one of the nicest people I know. I am so lucky that a place like Country Express was just a brief stopping point for me on that glorious train track called life (gag). She's not so lucky. For her, Country Express is the final destination. That place will always be the symbol of dying dreams.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Warm Place

Tonight I was driving home from school, and one of my favorite songs by Nine Inch Nails came on. The song is called A Warm Place, and I listened to it quite often in high school, often in the darkness of my bedroom late at night. On repeat. Always on repeat.

This song has been on my iPod for as long as I've owned it, yet I haven't heard it in years. But as I listened to it tonight, every note felt like it was an integral part of me - still, after all these years. Maybe it was the fact that I was in the quiet library on campus earlier tonight, which reminded me of (different) times past. Maybe it was because I walked out of the library, and all I could see was the grass half lit up by nearby lamp posts, and all I could hear was silence. For whatever reason, hearing "A Warm Place" again made the entire world stop moving for me, even as I kept driving.

I can so distinctly remember myself as an angsty 16 year old, listening to this song in the dark of night. I wonder what happened to her. Maybe she's been here all along and just needed a song to evoke her.

Baby Fever

Life has a way of surprising me. 6 months ago, I was all about weddings - mine, in particular. These days I can't be bothered with anything wedding-related. I've moved on - to babies.

Of course, Roy and I discussed the children issue before we got married. We both agreed that we wanted them but would wait for awhile after getting married so we could enjoy each other, finish school, pay down debt, buy a house, go on cool vacations, and move away from Southern California. I had a 5 year plan in the back of my head. I figured we could get all the other stuff done within 5 years and be totally ready to be parents by time we're 33. It's not a bad plan, actually.

I recently went off my birth control pills after reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility. This book teaches a natural method of birth control called the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM), where you chart your temperature and other fertility signs in order to become familiar with the patterns and intricacies of your menstrual cycle. It's actually a phenomenal book. I decided to go off the pill after reading it because 1) I wanted to become more familiar with my body and its cycles, 2) I wanted all the pill's effects to have worn off by the time we were ready for children (which can sometimes take years to happen), and 3) I prefer natural things to chemicals any day.

I didn't count on getting hit with the wave of baby fever so early into my marriage. But really, what else did I expect from a method called "Fertility Awareness"? Because I am now charting, every day I am reminded of my child-bearing ability. What a change from taking the pill in order to prevent pregnancy for so many years.

I am not saying that we are going to start trying anytime soon. In fact, I don't even want to try. I just want it to happen (which is really naive, I know). But let's face it, we can't really just let it happen at this point. Roy and I are both so close to finishing our Master's degrees. We don't have a ton of money. We are still working those stepping-stone jobs. We haven't had much freedom to go do lots of awesome things because we have school deadlines and money issues that take priority. We have done some really awesome things, don't get me wrong, but there are so many more things I want to do. Having a kid right now would make it harder. Not impossible, but harder.

I am trying really hard to be realistic about this, but it's becoming increasingly harder to deal with the desire to have a child. I truly feel like I don't have a choice in the matter. It's like my body has completely taken over and is really desperate to conceive. If you combine that with the fact that I am really not a patient person, this is hard for me. What is truly scary is how fast things have changed and how quickly the desire has overwhelmed me.

Anyway, I think we will re-evaluate things during the summer. Roy will have graduated by then, and I will hopefully be working on my thesis with most, if not all, of my coursework completed. In the meantime, I'm going to continue what I've been doing: going to school, working, hanging out, and enjoying life. I will be doing research on baby-related things though, because I want to make sure we're both healthy and as ready as possible when the time is right. I am going to try really hard not to obsess over this, which is totally contradictory to my personality. That will be a huge challenge.

Don't worry, baby-haters, this blog is not going to turn into a pregnancy/TTC (trying to conceive)/mommy blog. You can always count on me to be completely random!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fruit Punch Face - and Other Things that Make Me Really Attractive

Here are some somewhat interesting physical characteristics of mine. I came up with the idea for this when I was in the bathroom and noticed the wonder that is my #1 on this list.

1) Currently, certain areas of my face are red. Specifically, it looks like I spilled some fruit punch on both sides of my nose and between my nose and mouth.

2) My wedding ring fingernail is split down the middle. It has been that way for as long as I can remember.

3) I can pull out a lot of my hair at one time without it hurting. I used to do it to entertain my friends in junior high.

4) When I have the hiccups, everyone in the office knows (even if I'm not in the office that day - that's how loud they are!).

5) I love popping pimples, picking scabs, and tearing off my fingernail tips.

6) My wedding ring finger gets red and itchy right where I wear my rings. I'm thinking I'm allergic to marriage. Or perhaps Roy bought me a fake wedding ring.

7) I can't wear earrings in my earlobes. They always get infected no matter what metal I put in. However, I have my the top of my ear (cartilage) pierced and have never had any issues.

8) My eyebrows look like dark blonde caterpillars when they haven't been waxed in awhile.

9) I can't wear contacts. I have this eye virus that makes rough spots arise on my corneas when I wear contacts, causing my eyes to get really bloodshot and swell shut. Glasses it is! Maybe I'll do Lasik in the future.

10) My voice makes me sound like a big nose.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Pea in the Snow

My friend Myra gave me a button today that has this on it:



Isn't it cute?

You can find other cool pea stuff here.

The Persistence of Memory

This year I am participating in an ornament exchange on the OC Nest board. Today I got my ornament in and I really love it!



I have no idea who my Secret Santa is, but she did a great job! I absolutely love Dali, so apparently she did her homework. I can't wait to find out who she is.

The ornament is based on this painting, one of Dali's most famous:



Thanks to my awesome Secret Santa! You rock!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Giving Thanks...All Weekend Long

This whole 4-day weekend has been pretty amazing. Our original plan was to skip town and go somewhere like Yosemite, but our lack of funds kept us close to home. It doesn't matter, because we still ended up having an awesome time.

On Thursday night, we went to go see August Rush. I knew I was in serious trouble when I began crying during the trailers. (Damn hormones!) Of course, the movie was a tearjerker as well, but I think it was mostly because the young boy starring in the movie reminded me so much of my brother when he was younger. Afterwards, we took a walk around our neighborhood and ended up at my mother-in-law's house, who lives just up the street from us.

We spent most of Friday with Mandy, Paul, and Mandy's friend Clint. We went to Castle Park and played miniature golf (always a good time). Afterwards we went back to Mandy and Paul's, ate some awesome pecan pie, and played Loaded Questions. (I kicked everyone's ass.) The 5 of us then walked (ran, actually) down to the Mission Inn to watch the lighting ceremony, but we missed that and instead got stuck in a crowd of people and were forced to listen to the worst version of "Silent Night" that I've ever heard. So we walked back to Mandy and Paul's and decorated some cookies. One of Clint's was my favorite:



Saturday was the quintessential lazy day. I did not take a shower all day (yeah, it was pretty nasty) and opted instead to stay in my robe all day watching Gilmore Girls and reading.

Today we finished the final season of Gilmore Girls - of course, I cried like I seem to do all the time lately. It looked like it was going to be another lazy day, until Mandy called. We ran a couple of errands, including grocery shopping. Once home, Roy and I decorated our place with our Christmas stuff: lights, small Christmas tree, and holiday creatures (featured below).



I also finally figured out what to do with the remaining 8x10s of our engagement pictures that we used for our wedding reception (yep, that's our fridge!):



Tonight it began to really feel like Christmas - our living room is lit up with lights and non-cheesy Christmas music has been playing. I have a feeling this is going to be a great Christmas, despite the fact that I won't be seeing my family. I already ordered 4 Christmas gifts. I hate crowds, so online shopping is the way to go for me.

I am really damn sad that this weekend is over. It's back to reality now. It totally slipped my mind that I only have 2 weeks of school left. I could have made major progress on my remaining assignments over the weekend, but it looks like I'm going to be busting my ass at the last minute instead. Oh well, it was worth it - I already know it.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

800 Miles of Key Lime Pie

Watching Gilmore Girls tonight reminded me of a road trip Roy and I took to Texas back in September 2005. My friend was getting married, and we decided to drive out instead of fly. (I'm a sucker for road trips.) On our way out, we stopped and stayed the night at a hotel in El Paso. The next morning, we found Village Inn (to my great delight). It is basically a diner, but the food has always been good, and it sadly doesn't exist in California. It made my heart so happy to eat at one after so many years of being denied the greatness that is Village Inn. We ate breakfast there and had pie for dessert. Key lime pie, to be exact. It was the best pie I'd ever eaten.

Being the obsessive freak I am, we stopped at Village Inn on our drive back to California. This time we bought a whole key lime pie and stored it in our ice chest. Every couple of hundred miles we would bust out the pie and have a feast of lime goodness. Whoever wasn't driving would feed the driver. It was so much fun. And for some reason, I had completely forgotten about that aspect of our road trip.

Of course, now that I've remembered, all I can think about is key lime pie. I suppose there are worse things to think about. And I just love how random memories pop into my head at any given moment. It is yet another thing that I'm thankful for.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Christmas Card

Today has been a long (but good) day, and I have little energy to write a long entry. So allow me to present to you our Christmas card design, which was done by the lovely and talented Stacia of Serendipity Designs:



Apparently I have become that girl who sends out photo Christmas cards, but I assure you that I've never sent out photo cards before. I like the idea of sending out photo cards every Christmas, but I would like to send out pictures I've actually taken (assuming I ever get good at taking cool pics).

Anyway, I can't wait to get these in and send them out! I love sending out Christmas cards.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

There's nothing better than a lazy day spent with family and friends and eating good food. We woke up this morning and watched a couple of episodes from the final season of Gilmore Girls and then went to Roy's grandparents' house for a big turkey lunch. The food was excellent, and my brownies went over very well. After sitting around and talking for a couple of hours, we drew names for our first annual Secret Santa family gift exchange. (We decided to do this for this year to help those of us who are broke.) We came home and have since been watching more Gilmore Girls. We're trying to decide what to do for the rest of the night. We'll probably go see a movie, because I'm really craving popcorn and haven't been to the movies in awhile.

I hope everyone has had a wonderful day and a great weekend.

I am so grateful for YouTube.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What are you thankful for?

Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I thought I'd compile a small list of random things that I'm thankful for. I'm not going to include all the normal stuff, like Roy and my family and friends - this list is for the little things that I sometimes take for granted. I'd like to see your list too!

1) hot showers
2) Post-it notes
3) having a good relationship with Roy's family
4) the brownies I made last night
5) being educated
6) email
7) the smell of old books
8) being barefoot
9) afternoon naps
10) getting something cool in the mail
11) road trips
12) clouds and/or rain
13) hugs
14) taking off my shoes after a long day
15) being able to actually see the mountains
16) TV on DVD
17) making something out of nothing
18) juice from Trader Joe's
19) people who are amazing and don't even realize it
20) Google Reader
21) office pranks
22) "tritophil" (my mom's version of tryptophan)
23) used bookstores
24) chocolate soy milk
25) Melinda's recaps

Here's to a very happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"Everyone's got a box."

I have an obsession with boxes. So does the antagonist of Following (awesome movie), which is where the title of this blog comes from. In the movie, 2 guys, brought together by their strange obsessive personalities, begin breaking into people's houses and philosophizing about what kind of people live in said houses based on their belongings. From what I can recall, finding and looking into someone's box (whether it be plastic, metal, cardboard, or wood) is a huge violation, because everyone has that private place where they keep their secret dreams, desires, and mistakes.

For most of my life, I have put very important things in boxes. I have reduced entire relationships/friendships to a box. With every breakup I experienced, I eventually went through everything I had that was given to me by or belonged to the offending ex - and naturally, what was left was banished to a box (or several). Eventually all the boxes have kind of comingled, because (let's face it) I don't need to have separate boxes for the losses of my life. I don't need to keep up a shrine to the significant people that have entered and left my life.

Yet anytime I've had a significant romantic relationship begin, I have done the same thing. I create a box in honor of the person. I even have one for Roy, though by all means our life together is not confined to a box. Lately I've been wondering why I have this desire to put things away in a very tidy fashion. Is it because I desire order in my life? Or is it more deep than that? Why do I start trapping everything in a box even from the start? Am I such a cynic that I don't believe anything lasts?

I have abandonment issues for sure. I always have and probably always will. Nothing terrifies me more than being left behind forever by someone I love. I think I could deal with my own mortality easier than I could deal with Roy's or my mom's (or anyone else I love). So I think that I create these boxes in anticipation of loss, as a means to gather memories in one place so I know where they are if I need them.

I am struck at how sad it is that I do that - not after the fact, but ahead of time. I am always, even unconsciously, preparing to lose what's most important to me.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Attack of the Hanging Clowns

So this morning I walked into my office and noticed these freakshows hanging from the ceiling:




It's days like this when I really don't want to leave my job, even though most days I have to make my own fun.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Brunette, a Blonde, and a Redhead

All 3 (somewhat normal) hair colors were represented today as Melinda and I drove down to Carlsbad for the day to see our friend Kim. All 3 of us met on the Knot while planning our weddings, and I'm happy to say that we've kept in touch. I hadn't seen Kim since a week before her wedding in April, so it was really cool to see her again.

We went to a Mexican food place and had lunch. I had a really awesome mango margarita that didn't even give me a buzz (which is totally rare) and some cheese enchiladas that gave me gas (of course). We stopped for a photo right after leaving the restaurant. (I'm the one with the horrendous hair - I'm not sure what happened with that.)



Afterwards we headed back to Kim's place and talked for probably about 4 or 5 hours. We intended for the day to be much shorter, but we just kept talking. Before we knew it, it was dark outside and we had discussed weddings, sex, God, religion, parents, husbands, and gossip. I had also eaten quite a few pieces of candy, which Kim found hilarious for some reason.



I happen to love and cherish good conversations, especially ones that don't run out of gas. I also love Kim's excessive cursing, because it just makes me laugh. So thanks to both Melinda and Kim for keeping the yakfest going, even if it means I won't get all my homework done tonight.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Even black cats get the flu.

Kerwin has a cold. He's been sneezing for the past few days and we've found some random clumps of hair around the house. I can definitely tell what kind of mom I'll be in the future by the way I've been doting on Kerwin: a totally overprotective and annoying one. It's not really the sneezing that concerns me; it's the hair loss. He's not bald or anything though. If he's still sneezing on Monday, I'll get him into the vet. In the meantime, I'll continue doting on my boy.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Going Once, Going Twice....

Today was proof that you really can have fun at work - and with a bunch of attorneys, no less! We had organized a Harvest Festival (potluck) and Silent Auction to help raise money for a needy family. The amazing Myra was named the official auctioneer, and going with the silent auction theme, she dressed up as a mime.



Of course, we had to mime our trapped in a box spiel, but as Beans, the king of fleas, pointed out, we only succeeded in looking like Charlie's Angels on crack.



Before the festivites began, Myra sent out a bulk email to the entire department reminding us of various logistical factors. She put her legal education to good use by including some fine print at the bottom of the email: This is not a/an [company name] sponsored event. [Company name] assumes no responsibility or liability for any claims that may arise out of or in relation to this event. All items being auctioned are donations. All donors waive any right or claim to title in the donated items. All auctioned items are provided “as is” with no warranty.

We set up the items for auction in our huge conference room, and the food was in our smaller conference rooms. Once we got done eating, a select few of us hovered around the items, guarding the ones we wanted. The one I wanted most was Darth Tater, which was brought in by Beans.



I had also bid on several other items that caught my eye, like a Star Wars Monopoly set, Battleship, some Mary Kay hand treatment, and a spice rack. (As if I needed more stuff!)

This was one of the hot items:



While all this was going on, my direct supervisor Pete and I began having a conversation about how clowns creep me out. There were several clown dolls up for auction, and of course, because clowns are scary, no one had bid on them. Pete began talking to me in a scary clown voice, and I found it quite amusing. I think it was because he saw this picture of me:



Whatever the case, I ended up with Darth Tater and a few other items. Pete laughingly bought one of the clown dolls for me, and I grudgingly accepted it. He then proceeded to buy the rest of the clown dolls when I wasn't looking and put them in various places in my office to surprise me when I got back.





Yes, that last clown doll is hanging upside down.

All in all we raised $275.90 for our needy family, not to mention all the food items that were donated throughout the week.

And I ended up with some cool stuff, all in the name of charity.



Happy early Thanksgiving!

So true

This video, funny as it is, really speaks to the overpriced wedding industry.



Thanks, Offbeat Bride!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I'm Over It.

These are the things that currently annoy the crap out of me. Hoofrickinray.

1) Trash the Dress! Up until about a month after our wedding, I wanted to take some cool trash-the-dress pictures. And then I realized that as much as I love my wedding dress, I really had no desire to put it on again. I really couldn't care less about the trash-the-dress trend anymore. It's become the new thing to do and will soon take over the wedding world, kind of like engagement pictures on the beach, which are also so last season. I think I would like it more if I saw more innovative photographers and more brides willing to actually trash their dress. Instead, I see brides standing in the middle of a field or waist deep in the ocean, usually in a dress they bought just for the shoot. Boring and pointless.

2) Skinny jeans. Maybe it's not skinny jeans that are so awful, but since I usually see them paired with flats and/or some shirt that resembles a hot air balloon, I tend to think that they are horrific.

3) SUVs. It's not very responsible to be an SUV owner, in my opinion, unless you have a lifestyle that demands one.

4) Academic-ese. I start gnawing on my arm when I hear the words "Aristotlean," "Wordsworthian," and "deconstruction." I'm convinced that a text doesn't have to be unreadable to make an impact.

5) Wedding photography. I subscribe to tons of wedding photography blogs, and there are a select few that actually stand out. Yes, wedding photography is much more artsy and interesting these days, but taking a picture of a bride's dress doesn't necessarily equal innovative or good photojournalistic photography.

6) The Twilight series. I don't understand the big fuss about these books. The protagonist is yet another weak female (as if we needed another of those!), the "love" between the 2 leading characters is based entirely on the physical, and the writing is annoyingly repetitive.

7) The trainwreck that is Britney Spears.

8) Emails about God, angels, or friendship. Here is one of the most stupid ones I have received (picture included): Forward this message the same day you received it
It may sound ridiculous, but it is right on time
We believe that something is about to happen. Angels exist, only sometimes they haven't got wings and we call them friends; you are one of them
Something wonderful is about to happen to you and your friends.
Tomorrow at 6:33 pm somebody will address you and tell you something you have been waiting to hear.Send it to at least 7 of your friends.

I left the (God-awful, no pun intended) punctuation the same, and you can bet your bottom dollar that I sat around and waited until 6:33 to see if my secret dream was going to come true. Still waiting.

9) Slip-on sneakers. I wore these in the 80s. Some things really shouldn't make a comeback. And speaking of shoes, there are some that just shouldn't exist - like Crocs.

10) Logos. Why, oh why, would I spend a good amount of money on something like a Coach bag that looks like their logo threw up on it? I'm going to pay $300 to advertise for a multi-million dollar company? I don't think so!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Colors of My World

you are darkviolet
#9400D3

Your dominant hues are blue and magenta. You're the one who goes to all the parties but doesn't quite fit in at every one... you know what you want, but are afraid of what the world might think of it. You're a little different and that's okay with them, and if you're smart it's okay with you too.

Your saturation level is very high - you are all about getting things done. The world may think you work too hard but you have a lot to show for it, and it keeps you going. You shouldn't be afraid to lead people, because if you're doing it, it'll be done right.

Your outlook on life is brighter than most people's. You like the idea of influencing things for the better and find hope in situations where others might give up. You're not exactly a bouncy sunshine but things in your world generally look up.
the spacefem.com html color quiz


Pretty interesting. This thing was pretty right on. Thanks to Amber (second time this week) for bringing it to my attention.

Month #4!

Roy and I have been married 4 months today! How the time does fly! In honor of our fourth monthiversary, I thought I'd share some random things that I love about my one and only.

1) His blue eyes make me want to swoon and stuff.

2) He is very accepting of others, even stupid others, where I have a (very) low tolerance for stupid others.

3) I love how he buys random things just because they're cool (like a flask, for example) and then never uses them.

4) I find it hilarious that he does most of his reading in the bathroom.

5) I love his response when I tell him I'm going to have a drink with friends: "Let me know when you want me to come pick you up, you lush."

6) He is always the one to get up and lock our cats in the bathroom as punishment for ripping up the carpet outside our bedroom door in the middle of the night.

7) He helps out around the house and with errands.

8) He is going to be a great father someday.

9) He has the best stomach in the world.

10) He laughs at all my jokes.

11) When I am really stuck on something I have to do for school, he talks me through it and gets me unblocked.

12) His first response to a number of questions is "I don't know."

13) He has the handwriting of a second grader.

14) He doesn't fight with me, but he stands up for himself when he feels he should.

15) He can flare his nostrils. So jealous.

16) He has a lone patch of hair between his shoulderblades into which I can stick my nose.

17) He loves TV on DVD.

18) He wears his manly necklace and wedding ring without fail.

19) He often says things like, "I'm not out of shape. Round is a shape."

20) He loves his mom.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

26 Faces of Me

Thanks to Amber for tagging me to do a meme. And while I'm on the subject of memes, I just found out this past week that "meme" rhymes with "theme." I had been avoiding saying (or typing) "meme" because I thought it sounded stupid to say "me-me."

Rules: List a word that describes you for every letter of the alphabet. Offer as much or as little explanation as you wish. Please keep the words positive (for example, don’t use “fat” for F or “lame” for L), and feel free to get creative. Tag as many or as few people as you wish.

A: Assertive

B: Blonde

C: Cute (or so I've been told)

D: Doodler

E: Entertaining

F: Funny

G: Gregarious

H: Happy

I: Ironic

J: Joke-teller

K: Kooky

L: Little

M: Marriaged

N: Nice

O: Opinionated

P: Pimple popper (Yes, I love popping pimples.)

Q: Quirky

R: Random

S: Sarcastic

T: Truthful

U: Unusual

V: Vibrant

W: Writer

X: Xerox (I love making copies!)

Y: Yin/Yang

Z: Zany

I'm not going to tag anyone for this one. If you want to do it, just do it, yo!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Kicking Ass in My High-Waisted Pants

I just returned back to my entirely beige office after spending most of the day being interviewed for the oh so coveted job. Everything went extremely well (from my point of view, at least). I did about 5 separate interviews and took a test. I'm pretty sure that I kicked ass on the test and blew away all the interviewers with my extensive knowledge of comma splices and gerunds, not to mention my charm and wit. But the job is not yet mine.

None of this would have been possible without my new high-waisted pants. I bought a grey pair yesterday, and all I can really think about is how comfy they are. (They would look hideous if I had my shirt tucked in though. I'm just not a big fan of that look.) These pants also do a fabulous job at hiding my muffin top. I am a more svelte and streamlined version of myself, which means that they have no choice but to hire me.

I owe all my future successes to these pants.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Breaking News!

Our thank you cards are all done! Well, for the most part. I still need to buy postage for about 30 of them. This was a huge chore, and I am so glad that it's out of the way. Of course, I am totally grateful for all of our wedding presents. But I'm also grateful that these puppies are done. Hellz yeah!

Here's the wedding crap that's left:

1) Get album from photographer.
2) Sell leftover wedding stuff.
3) Report videographer to BBB.
4) Figure out what to do with sentimental wedding stuff.
5) Get dress cleaned.

It's amazing how the wedding isn't over even after the wedding's over.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Operation Cleansweep

For my mother-in-law's birthday present, we (Roy, me, Mandy, Paul, and Jake) decided to give her the gift of cleanliness. At Patty's request, we cleaned out her garage and driveway. She rented a dumpster just for this purpose. A couple of before shots:




Needless to say, less than an hour after starting this gigantic project, the dumpster was already almost full and Paul had to go dumpster-diving in order to make more space for more junk. 4 hours later, the garage was organized, everything was put away, and we had a full dumpster, a truck bed full of stuff to take to the dump, and a ton of consolation prizes.



Here are the after shots:




The garage door actually closes! And there's a driveway! We totally rock, and I totally need a shower.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Random Recap Friday!

Since I don't really do daily recaps, except if something strikes me as being really interesting, I thought I'd do this every so often instead.

1) My current favorite song is "I'm Not Going to Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance with You" by Black Kids. You can listen to it (and even download it) here. It's awesome. I have dooce to thank for hearing about them.

2) I heard of etsy several years ago, but only recently have I discovered the joys contained within. This will be our next artsy purchase, which can be found here:



3) I had 2 phone interviews last Friday for my desired job. (Personally, I think it was stupid to interview me over the phone since I'm internal. But whatever.) HR called me on Wednesday to let me know that they are very interested in interviewing me face to face. This is great news! This job is a great opportunity for me financially and experience-wise. The interview will be on Monday and will last for about 4 (!) hours. People in my office seem to think that it's a done deal. I, however, am still not getting my hopes up.

4) I finished the collage I'd been working on for my office. I need to figure out what to do about the border, but it is otherwise done. I did the entire thing at work in a month's time. I could probably have done it in a day, but I didn't want to tip my managers off too much about my lack of work (because then they would give me tons of filing to do, and let's face it - I don't want to do filing). Anyway, here it is, in all its glory:



(It looks better in person.)

5) I am on the third book of the Sandman series, which is my thesis topic. I have started a blog post about the first one but haven't finished it yet. Stay tuned, all you nerdy types!

6) My favorite newly discovered blogs of the week are Uncommon Depth (from which I learned the existence of a town called Leslieville, which validates me in ways I can't even begin to explain), Love Letters to Little Bear, Mihow, and Joe's NYC. Check 'em out!

7) It seems that many pregnancy or infertility blogs are titled "Maybe Baby" or something similar.

8) I am doing okay with my dietary changes. Lately, I have been eating a lot of candy and sugar because of Halloween. However, I could easily not eat it if I set my mind to it. The problem is, I want to eat it. So therein lies the problem. (To me, it's not that big of a deal. It's the holiday season, and sugar consumption is par for the course.) However, I am doing well with my caffeine intake and it has been about 3 weeks since I've had any red meat. I've also switched to soy milk with my cereal. All good things.

9) Roy got his new driver's license in the mail.

10) Radiohead's newest album rocks.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Kindness of Strangers

Lately I've been posting on some pretty heavy topics, and I just wanted to thank everyone for their kind comments. It's funny how I have never met most of you in real life, and here you are, being part of my support system. The month of November has always been a difficult time for me and usually lends itself to lots of reflection.

Thank you for listening and commenting. It's much appreciated in this very hormonal time.

(Before you ask, no, I'm not pregnant.)

Our New Office Mascot


Almost immediately upon my arrival to work this morning, I was approached by my co-worker Beans to let me know that he had the horrific experience of having a flea jump on him in his office this morning. Obviously traumatized, Beans sent out this email:

Hi Department Manager,

I’m not sure what you can do about this, but I just had a flea jump on me in my office. I’m fairly certain that I didn’t bring it in, as I don’t have any pets (that I know of), and I haven’t been out traipsing through fields or cuddling with other people’s pets recently. I know this building isn’t in pristine condition, but I didn’t think it had fleas. I suppose I am just a little worried about how a flea would get into my office… and where it is now…

Cheers,

Beans


(What makes this email so funny to me is imagining Beans, who has a quasi-Afro, skipping through fields of wildflowers.)

Naturally, other emails have followed.

From the Director's admin:

All,

Beans had a flea jump on him while he was in his office this morning and he doesn’t even own a pet. Has anyone else encountered critters in their office? We are trying to determine if we need to spray.



My friend (and co-worker) Myra's response:

Well…if you ask Leslie, Beans might qualify as his own pet, with the hair and all.


My response (to a select few):

Do lizards count as critters? I have a pet one in my office named Barnaby. He’s in the Witness Protection Program though, so don’t tell anyone.


Another employee's response:

Will Beans please report immediately to the Security Department to be measured for a flea collar.
Thank You.
The Management



My response:

I’m sorry, but Beans is very busy helping his flea train for the flea circus.


Finally, Beans stepped in, true hero that he is, and showed us how he's all man:

Wow. What an outpouring of love.

…As I mentioned to a few people before, thank god for Paris Hilton. Otherwise I would have no selection in collars to wear. I mean, I remember the days where a man would have to resort to your standard collars… beige and yellow, semi-trasparent. Today man has a full line of perfectly stylish collars to choose from: rhinestone, leather or suede, or more manly options like plaid. Chaps for men is sooo last decade… for a night on the town, a can just use a little dash of Advantage behind neck and I am ready to go.

Thank you all for your support through these trying… and itchy times.



Beans is so getting a flea collar as a personal gift from me tomorrow. I may even include some flea spray and a chew toy. Because that's how I roll.

Letter to my Past Self

Dear Leslie,

You don't know me at all, but I've been watching you for a very long time now. I have been content to let you be and to give you the chance to live your life. But I have watched you decline over the past 3 years, and I really can't stay silent anymore.

You are 21 years old, a complete paradox, and a walking contradiction. You are also deeply depressed. You have changed so much in the past few years. I know that you have had some bad things happen. You've simply been hit with too much reality at one time and are finding it hard to recover. But recover you must, because if you continue on the same path you're on right now, you're in for a world of pain later on, much more pain than you're in right now.

I really don't know how to help you. There are so many things that I want to tell you, but I don't know if you'll believe me. At this point, you can't see anything outside yourself. You've made some really bad choices. You've dropped out of college. You've completely alienated your family and most of your friends. You are deeply in debt. You smoke a pack of cigarettes a day. You weigh about 100 lbs. You are involved with people who are no good for you. You have come to a completely new town under the guise of continuing your education, but you're not fooling anyone: the truth is, you just want to disappear. You want a chance to reinvent yourself. You want to erase the past. But it keeps following you. Day by day, you keep self-destructing.

I want you to know that things are going to get better. It is going to take a lot of work, but someday you are going to be happy. I promise you. This happiness will not be complete, but it will be pure - because it will be real. You are at a crossroads right now. The important thing to remember is that you have a choice in the way in which your life unfolds. You can't control every aspect of it, but that's no reason to remain frozen in place. It's time to move forward.

What if I told you that you're going to move to California when you're 22? You're going to take a huge risk in doing so, but it will be worth it. You're going to have long relationship with someone who is going to teach you so many things. With his help, you will gain control of your debt, go back to school, and become a legitimately published poet. He will teach you things about yourself that you have always wanted to realize. Your relationship will not be anything close to perfect, and for many reasons, it will end. You will move on with grace, something you have never been able to do up until that point.

You're going to make friends and will be able to connect with them in ways you never thought you'd connect again. You're going to see things you never thought you'd see, like homeless people in Beverly Hills, the Hollywood sign, and a live performance of The Vagina Monologues. You will go to poetry readings and see live interviews with your favorite authors. You're going to graduate with a 3.7 GPA and a BA in English. You're going to attend graduate school. You're going to get a "real" job in the 9-5 world.

In January of 2005, you will begin the final Winter quarter before you earn your BA. You're going to sign up to be an editor of the Pacific Review, your college's literary journal. On the first day of class, you'll be sitting on the floor in the hallway outside your classroom door, waiting for the professor to show up and unlock the door. You're going to stick your nose in a book of poetry and let the rest of the world fade away. It will work until a bright blue-eyed stranger catches your eye. He will crouch down next to you and start a conversation with you. Pay attention - this moment will change your life forever.

The blue-eyed stranger is going to teach you so many things, but one of the most important is that he will be able to show you, like no one else has, how worthy of love you are. He's going to accept you just as you are, with all your doubts, insecurities, and fears. He is going to love you not despite these things but because of them. You will fall for him harder and faster than you've ever fallen for anyone before. You will be scared and cautious, because you have, after all, learned not to wear your heart on your sleeve. But trust me when I tell you that this person will renew your faith in love, in commitment, and in the human race. Soon he won't be a stranger anymore. He will quickly become your best friend. In fact, you'll wonder how you ever existed before he came along. It will only take a couple of months for you to realize that you believe in love again and that you are ready to make the ultimate commitment by marrying him.

You will wait until July 2007 to marry. Your wedding is going to be beautiful, simple, and heartfelt. You will write your own ceremony and vows. You will make books and stories the central theme of your wedding, because this mutual love is what brought you together in the first place. You will cry no less than 7 times on your wedding day. You will be so happy that your heart will feel like it's going to explode, because you will be surrounded by the love of your husband, your families, and your friends.

You're going to come into your own. You will learn to accept yourself. You will learn to stand up for yourself and your beliefs. You will actually become quite opinionated. And some people won't like it, and some people won't like you. At this point, you will be okay with it. You will realize, after many years of trying to appease everyone, that you can't make everyone happy. You will make no apologies for who you are. But at the heart of this very confident person that will emerge, there will be traces of the old person, because, as you know, it is so important not to leave ourselves behind entirely.

And there's more after that. There's so much more. One significant thing that will happen is that you will come across this piece that you wrote at the height of your depression. It's the most honest and straightforward thing that you have written up until this point.


21

I.
I am 21 years old.

Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I see this girl looking back.
It’s me.


I have shoulder length blonde hair that gets darker the older I get.
It’s the fly-away type.
Very fine.
Soft and thick.
My part is always crooked.

My eyes are green.
Sometimes grey, sometimes blue.
But mostly green.
They are small, even more so behind my perpetually smudged glasses.
My glasses make me look young.
I had to buy them from the little kid’s section.

I have fair skin and some freckles.
Most of the freckles are on my shoulders.
Guys think they’re cute.
I think so too.

I am underweight.
I have very prominent hipbones and I can count all my ribs.
But I can eat whatever I want without worrying.
It’s nice.

My legs are muscular.
My feet have extremely high arches.
My ankles are slender.
Right now my toenails are painted forest green.

I have 5 piercings in my ears and a bellybutton ring.
I don’t have a tattoo, though I want one.
I can never decide what to get.
Besides, I’m afraid it will hurt too badly.
I’m lacking in the extra body mass department.

My nose is tiny.
Someone once asked me if I fell on my face when I was a kid.
I think it’s a remote possibility.
I do know that I fell off my bike when I was 5.
But I hit my head, not my nose.
So I think I was born like this.

I have a big wide smile.
I had braces for 3 years.
I hated them.
But I still have an overbite because I never got a retainer.
My orthodontist was not a great one.
When I don’t smile, my teeth are hidden behind full lips.
My bottom one is the cutest.

My stomach is flat.
But when I sit a certain way, I have a pudge.

My hands are small.
The fingers on those hands are thin.
One of my fingernails is split right down the middle.
It’s always been that way.
In the winter, my left thumb gets really dry.

Some people tell me I look like I’m 15.
When I’m at work, I am sometimes asked why I’m not in school.
I think it’s my glasses.
But then again, I don’t really know for sure.


II.
I am 21 years old.

Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I see this monster looking back.
But deep down I know that it’s just a girl.
It’s me.


I don’t fit in with my age group.
Though sometimes I feel like I could if only I wasn’t so old.
I should be out getting drunk and having a good time.
And then come home so I can puke my guts out.
And then wake up the next morning in a pool of my own vomit.
Instead, I lay face down in a pool of my own darkness.
It tastes better than vomit.
But I think sometimes that even vomit is better than what I put myself through.

I don’t fit in with those older than me.
Though sometimes I feel like I could if only I wasn’t so young.
I like to listen to them talk.
But I never really talk.
I don’t have much to say that would interest them.
I always feel like an idiot because I sit there like a pretty dainty flower.
Flowers are nice to look at.
But you can’t really have a conversation with them.

So I spend most of my time alone.
Being alone doesn’t bother me.
Being lonely does.
There’s a difference.
I can be lonely at any time.
As a matter of fact, I’m always lonely.
Even when I’m with someone I love.

I have a need to be recognized.
I want people to pay attention to me.
And I get it.
People are drawn to me.
But I don’t really let anyone know me.
The attention scares me.
After awhile, I start to feel like I can’t breathe.
So then I claim my breathing room.
Only to find that I miss those I have shunned.

I don’t trust people very much.
I put all my trust in the wrong people.
Then I have none to give to the right people.
I’m always scared they’re going to be the wrong people too.

I overreact.
I overlook things too easily.
I am quite the blind one.
But sometimes I see too much.
I wonder if those things are really there.

I don’t know what I’m doing with my life.
I should be in school.
But I’ve been on break for a year now.
It bothers me.
Because all I do is work.

I daydream a lot.
Mostly my fantasies are about an ideal life.
I wonder when I’ll get over that and face reality.

I am a different person when I am around a group of people.
I am loud and obnoxious.
Full of jokes and cutting, sarcastic comments.
I am very charming too.
People like my attitude.
But they don’t know what I’m like when it’s just me.

Indecision is one of my worst enemies.
I can never decide on anything.
Once I decide, I change my mind.
I think it’s because I want too much.
Or it could be because I don’t really know what I want.

I have spent most of my life in denial.
I was an overachiever.
Now I’m still partly in denial.
But mostly in pain.
And now I’m definitely an underachiever.
I can’t decide whether I should push myself or cut myself some slack.
Either way, I can’t find a balance.

I cannot tell whether or not I have ever really been happy.
I think I was once.
But it was so long ago.
I feel like I have lived three lifetimes instead of not even half of one.
I feel like I’ve been here a long time.

I feel like a small child.
Full of wonder and awe.
Like I don’t really know what’s going on.
Like it doesn’t really matter as long as I can do what I want without claiming responsibility.

I have too much responsibility.
Sometimes I don’t want it because I am tired of it.
I take the blame most of the time.
It’s easier that way.
Then I can punish myself.

I am a selfish person.
It’s hard to say why.
But I think I gave too much.
And now I’m wary of doing it again.
Or I just don’t have anything left to spare.

I would like to have a nervous breakdown sometime in the near future.
I think it would help.
I feel like that’s my last resort.
I’ve tried everything else.

I know what it’s like to be in love.
I’m in love with my past.
There’s just so much to love about it.
And there’s so much to hate.
Sometimes I think love is hate in disguise.

I can’t look to the future without feeling scared.
I can’t make plans because they are always ruined.
Something I never think of always gets in the way.
So I don’t make plans anymore.
I just live.
But I think I mostly collect dust.

I’m waiting to be discovered.
Or born again.
Or something like that.
Whatever I’m waiting for, it hasn’t come yet.
Maybe I should stop waiting.
Maybe it’s something I have to look for.


III.
I am 21 years old.

Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I see this girl looking back.
But deep down I know it’s just a human being.
It’s me.


I hate to shave my legs.
I always end up missing spots because I’m so careless.
I’m so careless because shaving is a pain in the ass.

I’m a picky eater.
When people mix their food together, it makes me want to puke.
I hate to puke, so I try not to watch.

I like to take long drives.
I feel calm when I am at the wheel.
I like to listen to my music very loudly.
I like to feel like I own the road.

I always dance around my living room.
Some of my dancing music is questionable.
Britney Spears, N’Sync, Backstreet Boys.
I call them my guilty pleasures.

I read a lot.
I have a bookcase full of unread books.
It drives me crazy to have all those books there staring at me constantly.
I want to read them all really fast, because the surplus really unnerves me.
Then I get depressed when I go into bookstores.
There are so many more books that I want.

I like pocket change.
I saved all my change for a year and a half.
I even separated it into different jars.
Then I opened my new checking account with it.
I had $800 in change all rolled up in change wrappers.
The people at the bank gave me some strange looks.

I like Dilbert.
Phil (the Prince of Insufficient Light) is my favorite character.
I think it’s because he carries a big spoon.

I don’t watch television.
I was raised without cable because we lived out in the boondocks and couldn’t get it without getting a satellite dish.
So I’ve never seen some of the most famous shows.
It doesn’t really bother me.

I had a newspaper subscription once.
I kept forgetting to read the paper every morning.
But I saved them all and still plan on reading them.
Even though some of them are over a year old now.

I get upset when people waste paper.
I am a writer, so it’s justified.
I always write on both sides of the paper.
Unless I’m writing in permanent marker, which happens often.

I like candy.
If I could live on a diet of candy, I would.
Chocolate is my favorite.
But I like sour things too.
I still haven’t developed a taste for all the Jelly Belly jellybeans though.

I smoke cigarettes.
I’ve been smoking since I was 15.
It’s a nasty disgusting habit.
But the best time to smoke is right after a big meal.

I like Dr. Pepper.
I especially like it when it’s from a fountain.
In a big Styrofoam cup with crushed ice.
I hate ice cubes.
But if there’s no crushed ice around, I can’t afford to be picky.

I am a waitress.
I like it when people give me big tips.
I get annoyed when people think I am some sort of Superwoman.
I get pissed off when people don’t seem to realize what a hard job it is.
When they leave me less than 15%, I want to tell them some things.
Like it costs a little more to live these days.

I think a lot.
About a lot of things.
I like that about myself.
Though sometimes I wish my mind would stop.


IV.
I am 21 years old.

Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I see a whole world looking back.
But deep down I know it’s just a girl.
I know it’s a human being.
I know it’s me.

12/17/2000


You are going to reread this when you are 28 years old and remember all the things that led you to this moment. And in one instant you will realize that you have achieved happiness and success. You will realize that the world is waiting for you, but also that the world won't wait for long.

Now's your chance.

Love,
me

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Happy Birthday to my California Mommy!

Today is my mother-in-law's birthday! I am insanely lucky to have a mother-in-law that I get along with so well. (I know others aren't so lucky.) Ever since Roy and I started dating, she really helped make me a part of the family, which has always meant so much to me. When Roy told her he had proposed to me, she said, "Good, because if you didn't, I was going to have to adopt her." (Yeah, that would have been awkward.)

Anyway, I love her. She's saint-like and is always doing things to help others. So I hope today is a wonderful day for her. As a birthday present, we are going to help clean out her garage this weekend. It's been full of junk for as long as I've been around, so it's high time.

Happy Birthday, Patty!

Note: The picture is of Patty and Roy on our wedding day.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

It's Been 25 Years.

Warning: This blog entry is potentially depressing. So for all you feel-good folks out there, read no further.

***********************

I just realized today that this month marks a significant anniversary in my life and my family's history. 25 years ago, my dad found out he had a benign brain tumor called an AVM. He elected to have brain surgery to have it removed. He and my mom were both 36 years old. My brother was 7 years old. I was 3 years old. The year was 1982.

My dad made it through surgery fine, but when he was in recovery, he had a massive hemorrhage in his brain. He was in a coma for 3 months. He probably should have died, but he didn't. He finally woke up and had to relearn everything. Some things he would never regain. From then on, he could not work, read or write at an adult level, reason rationally, or control his negative emotions. These are just a few things that changed. Although I don't really remember much of this, I know that this changed our lives forever. My brother and I lost our dad. My mom lost her husband. My dad lost himself. All of these things will never change. The loss that my family has experienced is still very real, even 25 years later.

My dad is basically a child in a man's body, who throws a tantrum when he doesn't get his way, is incredibly stubborn, and is very self-centered. He acts on impulse. He has no regard for his own safety. He is unable to drive. He does not call me on my birthday. He did not call me on, before, or after my wedding day. As far as I know, he probably doesn't think about me at all. My dad is a shell of his former self. And it is heartbreaking.

For the most part, I have learned to deal with this. Being in a different state and away from all the feelings of sadness really helps. It's not like seeing him is a sobfest, but the experience of being with him is haunting in that I can never reach him. He is just so damaged (literally) that I can't touch him. More than anything, I just want to have a meaningful conversation with him. I want to connect with him. But I never can. This has probably been the hugest source of frustration in my life.

Now that I've moved away, I only see my dad about once a year when I go to Texas for Christmas. This year, we won't be going to Texas due to financial reasons. Part of me is sad about this, because I have never spent a Christmas away from my family. But part of me is so hugely relieved that I won't have to (yet again) relive the loss of my dad when I see him again. I feel so incredibly selfish for feeling this way, especially because he's started to go downhill in the past 10 years. His AVM has grown back, and it truly is only a matter of time - as it is for all of us.

This isn't a happy anniversary. It's more like a "holy shit, I can't believe it's been this long" anniversary. Here's to 25 years of familial dysfunctionality and lost potential and endless suffering. I hope the next 25 years will bring us all some much-needed peace and closure. Hopefully it won't take that long to achieve that.

One thing I've learned from my dad's illness is that you just don't know what's going to happen. You never know when someone you love will be gone and out of your reach. Moreover, you never know when you will be gone, which is why it's important to just live, be happy, and be true. Life is truly too short. And I still miss him. You really can miss someone that you never knew.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Water Spilling

I just got home from class and am completely lacking in ideas for a blog topic today. I have poetry on the brain. So excuse my cheesiness, but I thought I'd share my very first published poem.


Water Spilling

Wading into the river,
a woman and her reflection
tried to splash each other
with cold running water.

Silence ensued, as one was masked,
a shadow in her glittering eyes.
She stood, watched, and lifted
her head to the sun,
then looked down again
at the rushing river.

In the eyes of the other,
only the sun was blind.
It fell through the trees
in small tatters.


This poem was first written in June 2000, and it was published at the end of 2001 by Tucumcari Literary Review, which was a really crappy little magazine filled with equally crappy poetry. And even though I deemed this poem finished in 2001, I am not happy with it anymore. I think the last 2 lines are very good, but the rest of it needs some tightening.

"Water Spilling" began as an acrostic poem that spells out "Water Spilling," hence the title. Here's the original draft:


Water Spilling

Wading into the river,
A woman and her reflection
Tried to splash
Each other with cold
Running water.

Silence ensued, as one was blinded,
Put a mask over her gleaming eyes.
In the river one stood, watched,
Lifted her head to the sun.
Looked down again at the rushing river.
In the eyes of the other
No one was blind but the sun that
Gushed through the trees.


I love what a good edit can do to any piece of writing. While the changes I made from the original draft to the "final" one weren't huge, they do illustrate that in writing, every word counts, especially if you're writing poetry.

I really should start writing poetry again. I miss it.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

101 in 1001

I got this idea from the wonderful Jessica Claire blog. This is a list of 101 things I'd like to accomplish in the next 1001 days. I have made a ton of lists in my life, but never one like this. I think it's a pretty good list, and I have until roughly the end of September 2010 to complete it.

1) Obtain a decent SLR camera and learn to use it.
2) Learn Photoshop.
3) Write my thesis.
4) Go to Europe.
5) Work on my extremely long (work in progress) poem.
6) Attempt a vegetarian lifestyle.
7) Get and stay in shape.
8) Change my name.
9) Type up all the poems that I have marked in different poetry collections.
10) Buy a scanner.
11) Scan in all my old photos.
12) Type up all my journals.
13) Make an emergency kit in case of earthquakes, etc.
14) Begin submitting my poetry for publication again.
15) Learn the Tarot.
16) Read my unread books.
17) Part with the books that no longer interest me.
18) Take a painting class.
19) Take a photography class.
20) Go to NYC.
21) Go to a concert (it's been entirely too long).
22) Visit my friend Laci, who I haven't seen in about 10 years.
23) Learn Latin.
24) Listen to every single song on my iPod without skipping any.
25) Pay off current amount of credit card debt.
26) Move away from Southern California.
27) Visit my brother in Minneapolis.
28) Go to the San Diego Zoo.
29) Research the job and housing markets in Oregon.
30) Use the current amount of Post-its I have collected.
31) Sell my leftover wedding stuff.
32) Fill up all the blank journals I have.
33) Get Roy to learn woodworking.
34) Get a job in the publishing field.
35) Work on organizing photos into albums.
36) Buy a fireproof safe and put all important items in it.
37) Buy an external hard drive and back up computers every week.
38) Get a new battery for my iPod.
39) Read something incredibly difficult for fun.
40) Learn to meditate.
41) Write poems for all the ideas I have written down.
42) Frame the painting that's in the closet.
43) Move into a house.
44) Get a dog.
45) Figure out our decorating style.
46) Buy a better desk.
47) Get rid of my bridal magazines.
48) Finish thank you notes for wedding presents.
49) Get my car detailed.
50) Put together a professional looking wardrobe.
51) Write a short story.
52) Report our videographer to the BBB.
53) Get Roy a new car.
54) Use our voucher to take a dance class.
55) Take a parenting class.
56) Use the FAM birth control method to its full potential.
57) Take a cooking class.
58) Go to 5 museums I haven't been to before.
59) Give a monetary donation to a charity that I support.
60) Volunteer.
61) Become informed about the Presidential candidates.
62) Write a blog post about my experiences with and beliefs about religion.
63) Graduate with my MA.
64) Diagram an extremely long sentence.
65) Use all my decorative cutout pictures to make something amazing.
66) Fill in my new address book.
67) Learn to be a better listener.
68) Get Roy to learn first aid and CPR.
69) Celebrate my 30th birthday with gusto.
70) Learn how to put air in my tires.
71) Go on a road trip.
72) Try some kind of food item that truly scares me.
73) Read all my unread magazines.
74) Break my Us Weekly addiction.
75) Read Nietzsche.
76) Shut down my Vonage account.
77) Get the Twin Peaks DVD box set.
78) Work on my guilt complex.
79) Finish my Daily Tao meditations book.
80) Organize my bookmarked favorites on my computer.
81) Give food (not money) to a homeless person.
82) Buy a laptop.
83) Put aside money that we don't touch.
84) Work on writing down my memories.
85) Drink more water consistently.
86) Go to Yosemite.
87) Go to San Francisco.
88) Go to the Grand Canyon.
89) Finish off our wedding registries.
90) Reread the Little House books.
91) Buy an entertainment center.
92) Learn how to play chess really well.
93) Organize nonfiction books by subject matter.
94) Make a master list of all special days, including others' birthdays.
95) Get in the habit of sending cards or making phone calls for special days.
96) Get my mom connected to the Internet.
97) Make wedding albums as gifts for family members.
98) Close credit card accounts once paid off.
99) Buy a shoe rack for Roy.
100) Get a facial.
101) Always make my marriage my top priority.

So there it is, my list of goals. I'm going to try to post updates about this list every so often.

Anyone else want to join in on the list-making, goal-oriented action? You know you want to!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Help, I'm Turning into My Husband!

Today I realized (once again) that I am no longer the old me that I was before planning my wedding. I used to be this "together" person. There was a method to my madness. I made detailed plans about the order in which I was going to read all my unread books. I organized my email into folders and subfolders. I organized my pictures the same way. I paid bills way ahead of time (assuming the money was available). I wrote papers for school well in advance and worked on about 10 different drafts before turning them in. I used bookmarks and was kind of horrified about using something other than a bookmark to mark my place in a book. I didn't let dishes pile up. I wrote down every daily activity in my day planner. I was an awesome student and employee. I was completely in control. The chaos was organized.

My downfall began last year when I planned the wedding, continued with my grad classes, and worked full time. My brain was so full of flowers and colors and music choices and wedding dresses that everything else suffered. There were nights when we went without eating because we were both too tired to cook a damn thing. I made late payments on bills because I forgot to pay them. I would put together a weak draft of a paper the day the final paper was due. I used a receipt as a bookmark (gasp!). My computer was full of random things that needed to be filed and put away in their proper folders. All of these things were unheard of for me. I wrote them off as characteristics of my bride brain.

Today my wife brain is still controlling me instead of my controlling it. The chaos is out of control, and as a result, I feel less centered knowing there are so many things to be done. What is so silly is that none of these things that I really stress about not doing are all that important. Evenutally they'll get done.

Today I realized that it's not wife brain I have. It's husband brain. I'm turning into Roy. We had a wedding reception to attend this afternoon, and I hadn't checked the invitation to confirm the time or bought a gift for the bride and groom. I was relying on my (failing) memory that the reception started at 4:00 PM. Around 11:30, Roy told me that it started at 1:00 PM. We were 2 hours late because we had to drive an hour and a half to LA to get there. I'm never late. But lately, I'm always late. I guess this is the new me.

I don't know how to feel about this sometimes. Roy is the one who isn't a control freak, who will go for days without noticing anything wrong around the house, etc. And now I'm the same way. For so long I have been organizing my books, filing things, and using bookmarks that I don't know how to let the madness just be. I don't know how to not use a bookmark.

I feel deliciously and oddly free.

Friday, November 2, 2007

I Left My Heart in Portland.

I am absolutely dying to get out of Southern California and move to or near Portland, Oregon. We went there for our honeymoon, and I just felt like I (we) belonged there. It is filled with so much beautiful greenery and has an amazing amount of culture. There are so many cool places to go, especially Powell's. Powell's is a 4-story bookstore that covers an entire city block. We spent a lot of time (and money) there, which was quite fitting for us.

I found out that Portland is having their annual literary festival called Wordstock during the second weekend of November. I so wish we could go, because it sounds like an absolute blast. I really want a Red Book, because I am just so interested to know what's inside. Alas, I think you actually have to be in the vicinity of Portland to find one. I like the idea of just finding this treasure...or the treasure finding you.

I am a little sad that we won't be able to attend this event. But in about 2 years we might be able to - if everything goes as planned.

Here are some photos of the Portland area. It is a crazy beautiful place. I am excited to call it my future home.




Thursday, November 1, 2007

Uncentered

I'm exhausted.

Around this time every quarter, I am feeling completely depleted. It's the end of week 6, so I only have 4 more weeks of class left (not including finals week). My class is not all that demanding, and I have enjoyed it so far. The class focuses on Eco-Poetics, which basically means we're studying different types of nature poems. My professor even had us each write a nature poem. I am not good at writing poetry on command - I usually wait until I'm inspired. But here's what I wrote:


The Center of the Tree

The tree stands solidly,
almost alone,
its center carved out and empty.
No one knows
about this hollow place.

The tree tells a story
about a door
to a garden
of forgotten mythos.

The life beyond this door
once sparkled,
untainted and unrequited.

And fires and wars and genocide
swept across the land.
And the center became
uncentered.
Time trickled on,
resilient.


So there it is, my poem-on-command. I'm not sure how to feel about it. I haven't had enough time to make up my mind. I don't think it's total crap, but I also am not sure exactly what I was trying to say. I have glimmers, but for the most part I just pounded it out.

Soon I'm going to have to begin my final paper, which always takes a lot out of me. I'm going to be writing on Ted Hughes' Crow, which is one of my favorite collections of poetry ever. I always jump at the chance to write on a new topic or literary work instead of trying to revise an old paper.

Also, I started rereading the series on which I'm writing my thesis, which is Neil Gaiman's The Sandman. I finished the first book and made a ton of notes in the process. Now I'm on the second book. I plan to have all 11 of them finished before school starts up again in January, because I'm going to take Thesis Planning.

I truly love being a student, but I am really burned out at this point. However, I'm pressing on because I am so close to being done. Wish me luck.