Saturday, December 20, 2008

adzuki bean mills.


so, we got a dog. this is him. his name is adzuki bean. mostly zuki, or bean.
he's a shiba inu. as a puppy, he looks like a little fox kit, obvs, which is almost unbearably cute. when he grows up, he'll look like a fox mixed with a husky, kinda.
him and the cats are learning to cohabit. he thinks the cats are awesome, and would like to spend more time with them, maybe with their faces in his mouth. they are not enjoying his company.
i'm sure i'll have tons of mind-numbing anecdotes to share about him, but i'll leave you with this stuff for now.

the second picture is zuki on his first canoe ride with shannon.

i have more to talk about, but i need to get going on my holiday cards, if i'm going go get them done at all.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

writing.

my friend, cynthia, from my writing class, organized a writers' group tonight.

turn out wasn't fantastic, but i was totally satisfied with it, personally.

i'm already in a writers' group with her and another woman from our class, so this wasn't really about writing stuff together, or getting feedback on my writing, so much as creating a community of writers around me. we talked a bunch about how we wanted the group to function, and one lady wanted us to do writing exercises, like free writes, which sounded pretty unappealing to me, but i am open to whatever. free writes aren't my favorite and haven't ever been especially helpful for me, but that doesn't mean they're not useful to other people, so i'm certainly not aiming to be a kibosher or anything, and it's totally not MY group, so whatevs.

anyway, we mostly sat around and talked about writing and stuff related to writing, which is more fun than it sounds. (i'm sure everyone can relate. actors, midwives, burning man people, online gamers - everyone loves to chat with other people about shared interests and experiences.) pretty much everyone who came was a bit more established than me, which isn't hard to be. one lady has already written and published two nonfiction, self-help books. she's a pro. the guy who came was young - younger than me, probably - and he just got accepted to columbia's writing program. i was jealoushapppy for him. (side note: he started tutoring at 826 valencia, through which he got an internship for the summer. after the internship, he got a job. through his job, he met MICHAEL CHABON, who wrote his recommendation letter for columbia. dude. michael chabon. fuck. totally jealoushappy for him. luckily he was a likable guy so i didn't have to negatively affect my own karma by actively wishing him ill.) everyone in the group had attended conferences or classes or something. it was daunting and exciting. daunting because i haven't finished writing anything and even when i do getting published is fucking hard and even after you're published it's still hard. exciting because without meeting people who know about this shit, i don't know it, and if i don't know it, i'll never be able to do anything with my novel, if/when i finish it. and regardless of my own ego fluctuations, it was nice to just be in the midst of a group of people who do the same stuff i do, even though i'm not really doing it now.

made a deal with cynthia to start sending each other a set amount of writing everyday. she's already done with her rough draft, so she'll send me some reworked pages, but i'll have to send her 500 words a day. this is good. i haven't shared my book much with anyone, so having to share it will be good for me. also, 500 words is not that many for a wordy lass such as me. i can't sign my name with less than 200 words. i hope this inspires me to get writing.

gyming is still the best. second best thing, or, a supporting factor in making gyming the best, is the child care. i wish it was free, or included in the money i am already shelling out, but whatever. $3/visit is a small price to pay for a break from Li'l Bro, where i don't have to entertain him or feed him or pick up after him. also, working out is fucking tits.

shannon finally put my closet back together! when we boxed stuff up and took the house apart in preparation for the remodel stuff, i expected that everything would be done in about a month, so i pulled out a VERY limited selection of stuff. i've made it through spring and summer and early fall with, like, 5 dresses, 3 blouses, 2 sweatshirts and whatever is in my drawers, but the vast majority of my clothes were boxed up, waiting for my closet to be finished. (we re-drywalled the bedroom and had the doorway to my closet widened. also, s installed a light!) anyway, there have been some lingering things that never got finished because s went back to work and has had no free time to finish the trim and painting the new drywall and reinstalling the bar and stuff. well, this was the week for it!! you guys, i have a closet. and it's AWESOME. it's got a bunch of shelves and 2 (two!!) bars. i have some space to spare! and i have an entirely new-again-to-me wardrobe suddenly. it's just gorgeous.

some things i'm pondering:
-xmas is around the corner. i need to get my mailing list together.
-how am i going to pay off my credit card bill? it's killing me not-at-all softly.
-i'd like to be meditating more, but i have been exercising and i am going to focus on being stoked on that, rather than disappointed at my failures.
-for all my training, and a life of being alert to it, i am still mostly unable to tell my self-hating inner voice from my just-telling-myself-the-truth inner voice. it's always a surprise when i realize i have been falling hook, line and sinker for some self-loathing bullshit, and my detector didn't even go off.
-i repotted my mom's orchids for the first time this week. i've repotted other plants, and it always makes me kinda nervous, and orchids are pretty specific, and i've never repotted them, ever, but i went for it. some of them were looking really bad, and i'd be lying if i said it didn't take some casualties to alert me to the seriousness of the need. (RIP, plant buddies. you're in a better place now.) i've been looking at them, hoping for some immediate signs of their whole-hearted approval of the procedure, but so far, nothing. i don't think orchids work that way, though. patience is a virtue, so they say.
-lauren did my hair the other day and it looks fucking fantasic. seriously, maybe the best ever, i think. ashy, blondey, tousely loveliness.
-s shoveled up all the tanbark that was in the front yard, making it a ginormous cat box for the extraordinarily large local cat population. seriously, there are a fuckload of cats in the nabe, and all of them shit in our front yard. on warm days, it was unpleasant to linger in front of the house because the smell of sun-baked crap and pee was overwhelming. not a welcoming experience. so he removed it all and we scattered the wildflower seeds that brian and libby gave away as wedding favors. eagerly awaiting a wildflower paradise, still gently scented like cat excreta, no doubt.
-li'l bro was a lot easier this time than last time. he was being a butt last week, but he was freaking adorable this weekend. i am so much that annoying person who won't stop talking about their child/grandchild/nephew. want to hear some really cute stories? let me know. i've got some.
-i loaded tons of new apps on my iphone. not saving the world, but making it a little more entertaining. i'll let you know what i think of them iphone users. don't worry.
-second thanksgiving without my mom coming up. i was thinking about how my mom was dead, and not getting any less dead. in fact, because she wasn't alive to generate new memories or experiences, the old ones just ran the risk of becoming threadbare. even writing them down isn't the same. and my mom, who is still so real for me, and still such a palpably present absence (you know what i mean), will be totally unreal for my kids, probably. no matter how much i tell them, and how many pictures they see, she'll be a lady who died before they were born. they'll never know her, or really get how wonderful she was. you guys, she was really wonderful. i wish the whole world knew her, so there could be a global dialogue on the merit she contributed to the world. yet another of life's injustices/mysteries, is how one life can mean so much to some, and absolutely nothing to others. sometimes i still just can't believe she's gone. i'll look at a picture of her, from before the cancer, and she's so familiar, and so... real. not like a person who's dead at all. it's like we're just out of touch, not like she's fucking dead and i watched her die and held her corpse's hand. i paid money to have her body removed and watched them zip her into a body bag. that lady, smiling in the picture next to me. to rely on a terrible cliche, it's really like a bad dream, that seems distant but still has potency, but it's also still happening. the whole last year of her life, and the things that happened to me in my life because of it, really do blur together, and i am constantly surprised all over again that those things were real. it seems so far and so near, together. i wish that everyone could just tell by looking at me how deeply i am still sad. it's easy to gloss is over on a minute to minute basis, or talk about it like it's not that big a deal ('my mom died last year' is the beginning to so many fucking sentences now.) but that doesn't mean that i'm not still sitting here in front of my computer, crying quietly, again, trying not to wake up shannon. i still have trouble getting it together on a day to day basis sometimes. i still feel like i'm learning to live without a hand, or something, like something is still so wrong with my life. i just wish everyone could see it, so i wouldn't have to constantly feel like i needed to explain it. "i know it's been a year, but i'm still pretty fucked up." not like there's a statute of limitations on this stuff, but one year feels like a long time. i can see why people commit suicide while dealing with grief. i am not considering it, so no need to be concerned, but i can relate to the feeling of overwhelm at the prospect of facing an entirely life of missing someone. i will have no new memories to generate with me mom, ever. that seems nearly impossible to bear sometimes.
-sorry to end on a downer note. also, cats and chipmunks and that little girl telling stories in french all exist and that's something that's cool. laughing, cool. being compassionate with myself, cool. working out, really cool. it's like eating a dish you are LOVING, but regularly getting bites that include a specific flavor that you really don't like. you very much enjoy the dish and are grateful for it and actually wouldn't trade it for another version, made without that icky ingredient, because there is something inherent in that ingredient that is a crucial part of the tastiness of the dish. but that doesn't mean the ingredient tastes any better.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

ugh, i'm such a fan dork.

new gabe and max video, you guys!



i laughed so hard i felt like i was going to throw up.

this is HELLA my favorite one.

i posted all of them a little while ago (october 21 blog) so please feel free to watch them all, because they're pretty much all really good, but this one...

ohman, this one...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

the cutest thing in the world.


Once upon a time... from Capucha on Vimeo.

i think i spontaneously ovulated while watching that.

Monday, October 27, 2008

life and death.

i was catching up on myspace a bit today, reading bulletins and blogs. i was way behind. i pretty much never go on myspace anymore. i go on facebook a little more frequently, but not much.

in reading blogs, i read an old blog from my godbrother, chris, recommending this blog called days with my father. it's about a man, who is a photographer, spending time with his very elderly father. some beautiful pictures and really simple, eloquent captions to go along with some of them.

it made me think a lot about my mom and time and how hard the passage of time can be to accept when we resist it and how hard it can be to not resist it. life and death.

it's a lovely site, and also pretty sad, with the whole 'old people are even closer to dying that most of us' angle.

sure miss my mom.
sure wish she hadn't died.

booktopia.

this is via ithyle.

This is a list of the top 100 books ever published. Supposedly, the average person has only read 6 of these books.
This is what you have to do:
1. Copy the list on your blog.
2. Read through the list and mark the books you've read in bold.
3. Italicize any you started, but didn't finish.
4. Color the ones you loved in green. (Or whatever color, really.)



1. The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
2. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
3. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
4. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
5. Life of PI - Yann Martel
6. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
7. The Color Purple - Alice Walker (i've seen the movie about 100 times. does that count?)
8. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
9. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
10. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
11. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
12. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
13. His Dark Materials (trilogy) - Philip Pullman
14. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
15. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
16. The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
17. Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
18. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
19. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
20. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
21. Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis <---oh, i smell a rat. this isn't a book, it's a series and how can they have one book from the series alone beneath the whole series, as a separate entry? especially since they kept 'his dark materials' together? hmm...
22. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
23. Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
24. Animal Farm - George Orwell
25. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
26. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
27. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
28. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
29. Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
30. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
31. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
32. Complete Works of Shakespeare
33. Ulysses - James Joyce
34. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
35. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
36. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
37. The Bible
38. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
39. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
40. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
41. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
42. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
45. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
46. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
47. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
48. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
49. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
50. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
51. Little Women - Louisa M. Alcott
52. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
53. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
54. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
55. Middlemarch - George Eliot
56. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
57. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
58. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
59. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
60. Emma - Jane Austen
61. Persuasion - Jane Austen
62. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
63. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
64. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
65. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
66. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
67. Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
68. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
69. Atonement - Ian McEwan
70. Dune - Frank Herbert
71. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
72. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
73. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
74. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
75. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
76. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
77. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
78. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
79. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
80. Bridget Jones’ Diary - Helen Fielding
81. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
82. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
83. Dracula - Bram Stoker
84. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
85. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
86. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
87. Germinal - Emile Zola
88. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
89. Possession - A.S. Byatt
90. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
91. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell <---i can't overstate how much i loved this book and the author.
92. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
93. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
94. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
95. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
96. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
97. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
98. Watership Down – Richard Adams
99. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
100. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas <---remember in 'the shawshank redemption' where the dumb inmate looks at this book in the library and says, snorting, "alexander dumbass?"

i've never even heard of some of these books. faraway tree collection?
oh well. i'm certainly more well-read than most people, according to this highly scientific list.

also, some things i did not do today:
-go to the gym
-eat well
-leave the house
-do anything productive at all
-meditate
-write

oh, the onion.


Cindy McCain Claims She�s �Just Like Any Other Female Human�

i'm not saying john mccain shouldn't win, i'm just saying that it's true that cindy mccain seems scary and maybe like an alien.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

grab bag.

* feeling sad for jennifer hudson

* feeling impressed with myself because my internet crush said my comment was the best one of the week. also deeply embarrassed to be so pleased with myself.

* found a hecka cute diaper bag. seems premature to buy it since we are not actively trying to make babies, but it was tempting. too early to buy it for zoe? diaper bags are too personal to buy for someone else. i have already begun imagining my possibly endless search for the Perfect Diaper Bag. i'm probably going to show up at my kid's wedding with it, having just finally found it.

* i would for reals like to live here. the website is full of information and links and stuff. i love it.

* i've been searching the internet for chord tableture for mom's autoharp. so far i haven't had much luck, though. since the autoharp has set chords, you can't use any chords other than what they offer you, so if the song you want to play has lots of minor chords in it you're pretty much screwed. so, no depeche mode. i've had the best luck with cat power songs. also some james brown and a saves the day song. should be an interesting repertoire.

* tried some new foods when i grocery shopped yesterday. here are my reviews:
- rice yogurt: completely disgusting. too sweet. too watery. really, really icky.
- cassava chips: super tasty. i got the bbq flavor but i'd like to try the sea salt ones.

* i've been fretting a little bit about the election and my concerns about how jacked up this election could get because of how big the turn out will be. i worked the primary and it was a nightmare, and that wasn't nearly as big a deal as this election is going to be. but mostly my fretting was idle, because working the last election sucked so bad, i didn't want to do it again. except a lady called me the other day to ask me to work a polling place that was down one person, so i said yes. again, the precinct captain has never been the captain before and isn't going to know what to do, which is exhausting. there is one other person who has worked the polls before, probably the guy named harvey, because it's mostly senior citizens who do it. it's nice to have some good old people ju-ju, but it was hard explaining the newer stuff to them last time...you know...like electricity. (i kid.) they give each polling place a palm pilot that we can use to find voter info, if we need to. the very cranky old lady i worked with last time was deeply suspicious of the palm pilot, resentful that they changed the system that she felt worked fine, and also dead set on us showing her how to use it, even though she wasn't ever going to get it and she totally didn't need to know because other people could have done that. is it patronizing to feel like it's not work her effort to master technology she will probably never use? possibly. so, i'm working the polls. at least i know now what i need to brush up on because the accounting at the end of the day is fucking HARD and our group messed it up a bunch because we didn't know what we were supposed to be doing. i'll go to the info session again this time to brush up and i'll stay the WHOLE time and then basically have to run the precinct, but that's fine. it'll be like a group project in college, where you just assume everyone else is lazy and stupid so you do it all yourself.

* a couple of weeks ago shannon vivisected my laptop. my optical drive was all messed up, so my man took lappy to work and removed the old one and put in a new one. he also stoked me with more storage (like, 10X more) and more RAM (like, so much more) AND gave me leopard! basically, my good old lappy came back a brand new computer! i have pretty much every application open that i can think of right now and you'd never know it because it's working FINE. awesome.

* bought some new lip gloss. the color combo i go was daredevil and sandpiper. the picture on the website really doesn't do it justice, though. the daredevil color is really a red-pink. very berry colored. and the gloss is a nice shiny nude, which takes the intensity of the red-pink down a bit. i'm lovin' it. also was given a free DELUXE sample of some other lip gloss that i am loving. i got a sample of this stuff a while ago and i liked the smell and taste and consistency, but it was clear with silver sparkles which isn't super useful. this new one is 'dolly' which is pretty much my lip color, but a smidgen more oomphy. i highly recommend this brand.

* been hitting the gym again. stoked on it. not gonna talk it up too much, just saying: i'm back, i'm happy, i'm sore from training.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

i'd vote for a president with moves like those.

something non-partisan, for the kids.



i feel like sarah palin is only so-so and john mccain barely dances at all, though that shoulder scooting thing he does was cool. also, he seemed to be really enjoying himself.

this dance off does not change my vote.

(this was via my boyfriend, videogum.com.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

more funny.

so, i have a little bit of an internet crush on this guy whose blog i used to read. his name is gabe delahaye and i feel like i'm gonna die of embarrassment even writing this because it's so dorky, but still, he's awesome and funny and i wish we were friends, even though he'd probably be mean to me. (he was on 'this american life' one week, with a story about finding out that all his friends think he's an asshole. so, you know. he's probably not that nice.) his personal blog is called corporatecasual.com and i already have the link to it here, to the right, but he's not writing much there right now because he writes for another blog (videogum.com) as his job now, which must tap out his funny juices or something.

anyway, long story long, him and this other really funny guy, max silvestri, who also has a funny blog, do these movies together on youtube and such and i wanted to post them.

this was the first one.



the second one.



the third one.



here's the new one, in partnership with details magazine.



the production value is a little high for me, but whatever.

i just want some people who i know to see these, so i can reference them and have people know what i'm talking about.

wocka, wocka.

so i went to the gym again today, and it was the best again. yay, gymin'!
there was a video crew there, filming the step/dance class i was taking, for some 24 hr fitness commercials, and i wanted to share the footage with you.



just kidding.

Monday, October 20, 2008

retail lust.

sigerson morrison for target launched today.
i've been reading about this in the magazines for a while, and checking the website to see if it had dropped, and today was the day.
i'm a little embarrassed about how stoked i am about this news. i sent out an email to my fashiony ladies, telling them. like, i'm not sending out anything about the elections because 'nyeh' but i HAVE to email people about some shoes at target. i might be part of the problem.
that being said, i am a big fan of sigerson morrison, while also being filled with resentment over their absurdly high prices. seriously, $400 for a pair of little suede heels?
well, maybe the prices aren't absurd.
maybe the shoes are stuck together with unicorn hair and archangel spit.
but for reals, they're very, very spendy.
so this is my chance.
ugh, the economy, you guys.
someone should really buy my mom's house.
that would be nice.
in other news, i went to the gym today for the first time since august and it felt fantastic. i made a training session for tomorrow, too. time to start getting my read literally and figuratively in gear again.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

election '08.

hi, guys!

i'm not really getting very emotionally invested in the election this year because the guy who i'd like to have as president will never win (NADER/GONZALEZ '08!!!!), but i agree that obama is young and dashing, and he's less of a butthead than mccain, probably.

also, guys, sarah palin.
whoops, mccain! you chose her as your running mate! hope that minute bump in your numbers and campain dollars was worth the election, 'cuz she's a total wooden nickel.
npr was hypothesizing that mccain must be kinda bummed he chose her over mitt romney now, given romney's strong financial background, and since this campaign is going to be won or lost on the basis of the economy. and, since sarah palin doesn't appear to have any really solid experience at anything other than being sassy, she's not really that reassuring to a panicked electorate.

you know who should be the president?
my uncle, keith.
he's funny, he's a straight shooter (literally, i assume, and figuratively.) he's got a solid military background, which means a lot to many voters. he's a good guy. he's old enough to make us feel safe in his care, but not so old that we're worried about him falling and breaking a hip all the time. (did you see mccain wandering around like a confused old man during the debates? yikes.)
my uncle keith and i don't agree on every issue, probably, but i don't really need to agree with the president on everything. it's unrealistic to expect to agree with the opinions/views of anyone but yourself, basically. i just want to have faith that my president is a good person, who is thinking things through carefully, is consulting experts when necessary...that's probably my uncle, guys.
so, next time around, we'll try to get him nominated.
UNCLE KEITH IN 2012!! maybe i could be his running mate! i'll bring my own heaping serving of sass to the ticket!

the internets have been humming over mccain referring to obama as 'that one' the other evening and how disrespectful it was, but i don't really see what the hub-bub is about. it's not as respectful as it could be, but it certainly isn't the worst thing he could have said. so, i say it's no big deal and the internet is just trying to stir things up, like they love to do. oh, internet. all the pundits were surprised that mccain wasn't more aggressive in the debates, after hinting that he was going to take the proverbial gloves off. i wonder why he didn't.
i wish they'd quit it with the finger pointing. what if our elections were two people explaining their policies and what they feel makes them a good candidate, and no one ever did any attacking or negative ads? would that even work?

so, in honor of the election excitement, here are some videos for you.

this one is an amazingly prompt viral video about the 'that one' thing.


this one is by a friend of friends, in his role as mc jelly d. it also features the lovely and talented shaye troha and another gentleman who i'm not familiar with.


i was going to post some really unfortunate youtube stuff with mccain supporters rambling like total wingnuts, but i don't want people to feel like this is a totally probama blog, so i'll see if i can find something that makes obama's supporters look stupid, so i can feel like i'm being fair.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

this is our life.



only our cats are not so fat and there are two of them.

Monday, October 6, 2008

also, this is funny.

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

mr. and mrs. halpin.




you guys, the wedding was so fucking magical.
just....gorgeous and perfect in every way.
i laughed, i cried, i danced.
THE BEST.
i had one of those night where i felt like i was a cup full of emotions, and only the surface tension was keeping it all from just splooshing all over the place. oh, except i sometimes splooshed all over anyway.
so in love with my life and so grateful for all the love in it.

Friday, October 3, 2008

this just in...

oh, hi!
haven't been here in a while!
i mean, i posted that 'west wing' thing, because duh, but i haven't really been keeping this thingie up-to-date. here's a grab bag of things going on...

1) lucy is in town right now, visiting from NYC. her fam is having some health stuff going on, so she came home to see them. lucky jerk gets to go to hawaii to visit her sister and the kids in a week. yo soy hellsa jealous. it's VERY nice having her here. it's like visiting home when you move away, where it's so good it kills you a little and you almost wish you hadn't gone home because it just makes it harder to be away. we went to get our hairs did all fancy today, washed and styled and stuff on account of...

2) brian and libby's wedding is tomorrow. i am feeling for them because it's supposed to rain and they had NOT planned on rain. i'm really excited and nervous for them. i know how much stress they've gone through to get everything ready and how fucking relieved they'll be to have it done with. also, afterwards, they'll be mr. and mrs. halpin, which is pretty exciting. it's made me think a lot about how sure me and brian were that WE would get married and how not correct we were. it's also made me even more and more grateful for how beautifully everything has evolved with our friendship. i consider my ex-boyfriend and his soon-to-be wife some of my closest, most important friends, and i am very, very lucky to still have all the benefits of our relationship, as well as a fantastic partner of my own.

3) so, in preparation for the wedding, which feels pretty high stakes, as far as social events go, with all the long-time friends attending, i have purchased my first pair of spanx. my dress isn't super va-va-voom, but it's made of a clingy jersey material that will do a person no favors, so i bought some crazy girdle bike shorts to smooth stuff out. totally embarrassing and old-lady feeling, but if they let me relax in my dress and know everything is where it should be, then it'll be worth swallowing my pride.

4) mom's house (a.k.a. money pit #1) is officially On The Market. anyone want to buy a lovely house in redwood valley, ca for a good price and save me and my husband from impending destitution in the process? anyone? anyone? it has taken a lot of stress and annoyance but it's up and running. please aid us in thinking desirable thoughts about the property. please envision the PERFECT buyers being drawn to it like magnets. allen tried his hardest to alienate all the real estate agents by totally losing his shit today, as only allen can, but i think it's going to be fine. oh, allen.

5) 2 or 3 months ago i started meditating regularly. me and LW took a seriously life changing class together in berkeley, led my a freaking amazing teacher named james baraz. on the first day of the class he made the statement that meditation has made the difference in his life. liesl and i came away wondering what he meant by that, and feeling admittedly skeptical, but i can honestly say i get it now. the change for LW has been the most dramatic, just the level of peace it has brought her, but i have experienced a profound transformation, too. (ugh, with the healie-feelie talk, i know. but really, homeys. it's unlike anything i have ever experienced.) you might recall that i read a lot of pema chodron while i was coming to terms with mom's illness initially, especially 'when things fall apart.' i found that book to be so comforting and calming, in a way that nothing else was. believing in a god whose plan is for my mom to die slowly of brain cancer is totally unacceptable, but the idea that there is only this moment and how i live it and the courage and wonder with which i greet it feels true to me. so, taking it a step further and meditating felt really natural. i have slacked a bit on it, not doing it everyday like i was, but i am in it to win it. more on that forever, probably.

4) lots of mykhail time. we watch him two days and two nights a week now. he is funny and HARD and growing so fast. (such a cliche, but still true.) seeing his verbal skills develop is just mind blowing. from "dat?" (what is that?) to "cow!" to "see cow!" to now "auntie, see cow eating!" dude, that is language, RIGHT THERE. no wonder linguistic anthropologists love to study speech and language development in kids - it's so easy to see the changes! and so satisfying! my last blog was me being scared and feeling like i might suck as a parent and not be able to take it, but things are fine now. it's still overwhelming sometimes, but also really gratifying to know i am good at this. dudes, seriously, i am GOOD at this. i'm like the dog whisperer - totally the pack leader. i have healthy boundaries, i am good at being fun. i am getting a lot better at working myself out of snits when he's being crabby. having kids is going to be fine. not a piece of cake because duh but totally fine. shannon is so cute with kel that it makes me spontaneously ovulate just listening to them.

5) we have two cats now. they were my mom's cats and, rather than give them away to strangers or something, we took them. we love/hate them. one might call us 'frenemies' with them. love the funny animalness they bring to the house. hate the fur, the smell of cats, the catbox, the sometimes scratching. oh well. we sometimes joke that i am a part-time crap handler now, since i spent so much time taking bags of crap out to the garbage can, between the cats and kel. i'm mostly used to it. i think i might be allergic to one or both of the cats because of the re-occurrence of an uncomfortable, unsightly rash, whose presence i have been free of for years, but i am not yet ready to jettison the cats to save myself. getting there, but not quite.

that's enough for now.
i'm going to try not to be such a stranger, though.

Friday, July 25, 2008

mykhail.

so tired, guys.

so, so tired.

i've had to watch mykhail a lot this week and it's pretty much destroyed my sleep schedule. because stef works at 6am, when i watch him at her house i have to get up at 5am, to get to her house by 5:30am. then, i go to sleep in her bed until the kid wakes up, around 9ish.

but i am always nervous about oversleeping, so i don't usually sleep well before the 5am wake up. i don't sleep soundly. and then, once i am at her house, i don't sleep soundly. partly because i have already woken up and driven for a while, so i pretty much awake, and partly because i am listening for the kid. so, on those days, i just don't have much sleep. thank god for nap time. mykhail had never slept over at our house, so we tried it out last night. we'll keep him for a few days, to give stef a break. the timing stinks, but oh well, right?

last night was not good.

shannon's dad is visiting, so he's in the spare room. we tried putting mykhail in there to sleep, but he woke up crying so we had to bring him out, into the living room.

he seemed fine, so we went to bed. i slept for, say, an hour, and then mykhail woke up again, crying.

shannon went out to check on him, but i never got back to sleep.

i spent the entire night just lying there, staring at the ceiling.

about once an hour, mykhail would wake for a second and make a crying noise, then go back to sleep.

around 4:30ish, i finally fell asleep.

at 5:30am, he (mykhail, not shannon) woke up crying, and got out of bed and started walking around the house. we grabbed him and brought him into bed with us. he fell asleep, but lying on me, so that if i moved, he would wake up and whimper. i just lay there, staring at the ceiling.

eventually, i extricated myself and snuck out into the living room. i would have loved to just hang in the living room all night, since i wasn't sleeping, but mykhail was in here. i didn't want to keep shannon awake, with my typing or a bright light from my reading. shannon and his dad are re-roofing our house, so he needs the sleep.
but guys, watching the kid is really tiring and i needed the sleep, too, and i didn't get it.

what if i don't like being a mom?

i mean, i know it's rocky in the beginning, and you're tired all the time and you're probably scared since you don't really know what you're doing, but you get the hang of it. i'm sure that, given enough time here, mykhail and shannon and i would get the hang of it, too.

but i am resentful of having to 'get the hang' of another really hard thing.

remember my mom's cancer?
remember allen?
remember money drama?
yeah, me, too, and i'm still pretty exhausted from all that.

i was looking forward (foolishly, perhaps) to a chance to just take care of shannon and me for a bit. i know there was no reason to believe that nothing dramatic was going to happen for a while, or that life would get easier. there was no guarantee of that, so me hoping for it was folly. but still, doesn't that seem like it would have been fair?

i know, i know. there's no such thing as fair.
still.

i'm just tired.
tired of stuff being so hard.
tired of having to handle stuff.
tired of not getting enough sleep and always having such a full plate.

a conversation that happened day before yesterday:
me: you're my special guy.
mykhail: no, auntie special guy.
me: auntie is your special guy?
mykhail: yeah.

that's cute.

so cute that it compensates for no sleep?
not quite.

but it's still really cute.

i think i'm doing a good job with him, but it's just hard. i've been googling 'temper tantrums' and reading about picky eaters. i'm asking strangers for advice. i want to make sure i'm not screwing him up. then again, i can't really remember anything or anyone from when i was 2, so probably very few small things will even make an impact on him at this point. i guess i just want to make sure i am using an overall good approach. firm when it matters, fun and easy-going and silly when it doesn't. since we're thinking of babies soon, it's hard not to think of this as an indication of how we'll do parenting our own kids, and the results are kinda mixed.

course, toddlers are pretty tough, and it would probably be a little easier if we were his parents, and knew him more intimately. i mean, we know him intimately and have spent plenty of time with him, but i bet it isn't the same.

i don't know, guys.
just really, really tired.

p.s. i wrote yesterday for the first time in months. not for long, because there was a kid emergency, but it was something!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

the track.

i haven't been writing at all.
obvs. not here, but also not on my novel. since probably may.
i was feeling fine about it, like i was just shifting focus a bit to take care of my life, but now i'm feeling antsy about it. i started re-reading my novel up to the point it's at, to get myself reacclimated with my book and my writing and stuff and, while i haven't taken that to the next step of writing, i have been impressed with my book, which is nice, right? there are totally sections that make me cringe, but, overall, i think it's great.

i think about things to write about here all the time, but for some reason i haven't been translating that from the thought to action...

i have a meeting with my writing group in two weeks, at my teacher's house, so i HAVE to have something to share by then. not because i need to impress them, but because i really want to. so, i will.

me and shannon are remodeling the baker ct. money pit. our house is worth substantially less now than it was when we bought it, so we're clearly not going anywhere for quite a while. might as well get comfy, i guess. i have pictures posted on myspace (not that anyone seems especially interested, but that's okay), but i've been wanting to post them on shannon's homepage, so i'll work on that so you guys who are far away can see the progress. the biggest news right now is that we refinished the existing hardwood floors and had new hardwood put down in our bedroom. previously it was carpeted, which was fine, but also pretty ugly and i'm allergic to carpet (literally), so a friend of tab's installed some lovely red oak, which matches the stuff in the rest of the house. also, we repainted the new drywall. the bedroom is a blue red (not yellow red), the hallway is grey and the living room is green. the living room has been a (not-very-interesting) odyssey, in that we chose one color, tried it in some spots on the walls, decided it was wrong so chose another color, which we put all over the walls and which was also disgusting. so, third time's the charm, right? we ended with a green tea ice cream color that looks really, really good. shannon rented a sander from home depot and spent a couple of nights sanding the floors, and then i spent two days painting on layer-upon-layer of varathane, so the floors are looking a lot lighter and also lovely. i'll see if i can manage some before and after stuff.

i spent all day yesterday (seriously, all day) looking at dogs on the internet. shannon and i take turns really wanting another dog, and i guess it's my turn. there are some freaking CUTE dogs in the world. i'm really loving pit bulls right now, but shannon says 'nyeh.' how else will we protect the meth lab, though, am i right?

i finally bowed to pressure from the universe and started meditating. while i was doing my community service at spirit rock i found a handout with a reading list for people starting on the buddhist path, and i checked one of the books on the list out from the petaluma library. it's called 'a gradual awakening' and it is really, really wonderful. it's thin, maybe half an inch thick at most, and it's full of the most easy to swallow, perfectly articulated wisdom. i'm loving it. also, i am taking a meditation class in berkeley with LW. this week will only be the second session, but so far i'm appreciating it. i meditated by myself TWICE this week, which was quite a coup. in a world so full of pain and difficulty and disappointment (i know, and happiness and love and wonder, too), it is calming to cultivate peace in my life, and just general acceptance of reality.

lu's mom is having some health stuff, so please send her and her whole family some positive thoughts. it's been hard having them go through it, so soon after my mom. it's bringing up a lot of sadness for me. not that the sadness is hard to get to usually.

we're having allen problems again. we've given him august 1st as the date we want him out of the house and he's really resisting it. we may have to go through legal channels to get him physically removed from the property, but hopefully it won't come to that. shannon has taken over the responsibility for talking to allen. my dad heaved a huge sigh of relief when i made that decision. he's been bugging me to never talk to allen again for months, but i wasn't ready to get that i couldn't handle it. i kept feeling like it was my job or something, and i would be shirking if i had shannon handle it. and i didn't feel like having a lawyer be the go-between would be appropriate. and i always harbored hopes that i would find the magical formula for dealing with allen, so that i could tell him something and be sure he would really GET it and not freak out, but i was totally deluding myself. allen is a person who is mentally unstable and he can be counted upon to be crazy and expecting him to not be crazy is unfair to him, and expecting myself to be able to cut through the crazy is unfair to me. shannon doesn't get freaked out by him, so he's the perfect person to talk to allen. daddy said he feels like my fearful, open energy just feeds into allens crazy, angry energy, giving him permission to be a bully. i hadn't ever thought of that, but it seems like he's right.

i can't say enough how much i am looking forward to having my life free of allen. whether the house sells or not, i want him out of the house forever. the days of him being my responsibility are over. over. it fucking sucks that things have to end like this, with me so thoroughly DONE with him, but that's just the way it is. he has sucked every ounce of patience and understanding out of me, leaving a profound fatigue and also some serious revulsion. just for his selfishness. i know he's having a hard time with mom being gone. obviously, since he's drinking all the time and the house is looking crappy. but his sadness isn't any excuse for him to treat me like shit, nor is it a license to sponge of me and my husband for the rest of his life. i so wish things had been different. not that that's an especially fruitful line of thought to pursue, but i do. i really wish things had been different. imagine if he had stayed semi-normal and not been such a selfish wing nut. oh well. he did, so there you go.

tomorrow i'm watching le bebe, so i have to get up earlyearlyearly. i'm feeling so tired these days. it might be from the remodel stuff. it might be sadness. it kinda lingers and leeches the energy out of you. whatever it is, i'm tired and sad and really, really ready to be done with the house for a while. i need a break.

i rented a storage space for all mom's stuff from yumi, and i am going through that stuff. that's tiring, too. a lot of it is actually my stuff that i thought i could avoid for a few more years at mom's, but it's coming back to haunt me. toys, magazines, journals, notes from middle school...all of it is back, in addition to stuff from grandparents and great-grandparents.

not my most interesting or sparkly journal entry, but it's something.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

justin timberlake.

my passion for JT has cooled a smidgen.
not because his album is any less amazing, but i've just moved on.
but this clip kinda restoked me.



videogum said everyone has been saying he's been a douche on this press junket, but he's pretty much solid gold from what i can see.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I WANT TO BELIEVE.

(that makes me think of 'The X Files,' which makes me miss that show...oh fox mulder...)

as i have rattled on about, at length, i have been chewing on the issue of my spirituality, and how i kinda gave up on the idea of god after mom got cancer. i could believe in god when other people had bad things happen to them, but i just couldn't believe he'd make something so bad, so fucking terrible, happen to me and my mom. that seemed to totally negate everything i'd thought was true about how the world and the universe worked.

as part of my process working through this, my therapist, barbara, recommended that i go to see this woman, karen peterson. she's a medium, and she does bereavement counseling sessions, for free. she also does group sessions, for money, where a bunch of people come and she just kinda passes along messages. usually she does her bereavement stuff every other month, but it just so happened that at the time i decided to try one, she canceled several, to give herself some more time, which kinda sucks, but oh well.

i had to schedule months in advance. i think i emailed her about coming in march or something. it felt kinda silly, since that was so far away at the time, and it seemed like i might not need it very much, but i kept the spot saved for me, since barbara had suggested it. on a side note, barbara's mom died not long ago, and barbara went to one of karen's sessions and the experienced really helped her, and gave her a different, positive perspective on death and stuff. so, even if i wasn't a walking open wound of sadness, it couldn't hurt to get a better perspective, i thought.

the meeting was last night. i felt yucky all day yesterday, like maybe i was coming down with something. i called the registrar of voters to tell them i couldn't work the polls today because i had the flu, and was considering not going to the meeting, with the logical rationale that if i am too sick to do something i didn't want to do very much (work the polls) then i am too sick to do something i want to do, too (the meeting.) but then i decided i've waited an awfully long time for this thing, and the next one was in december. so, i went anyway.

i had asked a few people if they wanted to come, but none of them worked out for whatever reason, and i ended up going by myself. i've been listening to the 'west side story' soundtrack in my car for the last couple of days, which always makes me think of mom, since she loved that movie when she was young and she had a crush on the SUPER gay jet, whose nickname is 'ice.' when i got to the meeting place, there were a bunch of middle aged ladies lurking around their cars, in the parking lot. and then there was me. i felt a little weird, partly because of the brewing illness and partly from unsureness at the situation. the woman parked next to me was in a metallic blue suv, with magnetic rose decals on it. i expected to see a plastic angel air freshener hanging from her rear-view mirror, and worried it was going to be all ladies like that. seeing a medium is awfully...i don't know.
something.
embarrassing.
inspiring of skepticism.
not the sort of thing an intelligent, well-read person would usually be open to.

i was early. i thought i was on time, but i was early, but it looked like a lot of other ladies were, too. in my head, i had imagined 12 people in a circle, but we were led to this meeting room, with rows and rows of chairs, like it was a workshop. karen was really normal looking. pretty. young. dressed cute. friendly. she said that 'they' had told her to set up for 80 people, in this particular format. she said 'they' had told her she was going to teach tonight, so she was just rolling with it. i felt an inner cringe at the references to 'they.'

i sat in the second row of the section farthest from the door. a bunch of ladies already knew karen, and there were lots of hugs and stuff. i was actually in the minority for not having beek before. i felt shy. i brought my 'new york review of books' (to prove i am an intellectual heavyweight) and i just read and watched the room fill up. and it filled up.

seriously, it was more than 80 people. they had to go get more chairs from her office. lots and lots of people. i was disappointed because i wanted more of an intimate experience, but i tried to stay open-minded.

she answered some questions while people were getting there, but mostly it was about her, and all her info is on her website, so if you want to know, check it out.

when the session started, she just said she was going to teach a bit, so she would explain to us how she communicates with the people on the Other Side, and so we can learn to do it ourselves. she said she was feeling like she should lead us in a little guided visualization, about grounding us, opening us up, inviting our loved ones to visit, and protecting ourselves. it was short, which was nice, because i am pretty much crap at that stuff. i can't visualize well at all.

she gave some general info, about how the information comes to her, all of which is also on her website, but which was informative. she talked about meditation as a good way to quiet ourselves enough to receive messages. if we're listening to the chatter in our heads all the time, our peops might not be able to get through the buzz. i already know i ought to be meditating, so that was a little annoying. could i get the messages from more places? I KNOW. I SHOULD WORK ON MEDITATING. sheesh.

then she had some questions, that she said she had been told to ask.

so she asked these questions to the room. they were kinda general questions/suggestions, but she used them as jumping off points to get info out.

so, she had us visualize a room in our houses. then people began raising their hands and she would call on them, asking them what room they pictured. she'd ask them questions, like, 'did your son spend a lot of time in that room?' and it would just kinda go from there. like:

"i thought of my family room."
"did your person spend a lot of time in that room?"
"yes. we spent all our family time there."
"do you have a lot of pictures of your son in there?"
"yeah, we have a corner with the pictures in them."
"okay. i'm seeing a bunch of pictures of the same person, in a line. is that meaningful to you?"
"yes, my daughter just reorganized my son's pictures and put them all in a line."
"okay. i think that your son just wants to let you know that he spends time in there still, and that he saw your daughter move the pictures. would you tell your daughter? i think this is a message to her, letting her know he's watching."

that kind of thing.
sometimes it would start with someone, but the message wouldn't really be for them, and karen would spread out a little, asking other people in that area of the room if the image she was getting was meaningful to them. and invariably someone would say yes, and there would be more of the questioning and answering.

the biggest, most meaningful, most difficult to swallow thing she said is that if you think that something is a message from 'them,' it is. and that communicating with them means trusting yourself, and trusting the message. she said it will feel like you're making it up, like it's wishful thinking, like it's a coincidence, but that there are no coincidences. she said that when she started getting messages, she had thought she was just making up stories, but when she would tell other people these little stories they were really meaningful to these other people, so she had to start accepting that it might be real. but she admitted, it's hard to believe at first.

of course my skepticism alert went off. duh, it's totally wishful thinking. yeah, we want to believe that our people are hanging out, watching us, supporting us, in a place that is beautiful and perfect, but that's just not realistic, right?
but i kept thinking, 'so what? if it makes me, or these people, feel better, who cares if it's true or not?'
and then right afterwards i'd think, 'yeah, but what if it's wrong? like, WRONG? what if it's totally not true and it's pathetic and sad and desperate?'
and again, 'who cares? why can't you just choose to believe something that brings you peace?'
i didn't get to a good conclusion with this debate, and it's still raging inside my head.

anyway, the session lasted two hours, and the whole time she was just talking to people, asking questions, answering questions, getting messages, interpreting them, trying to find the person the message was for. she was really kind and open and loving, so much it made me kinda embarrassed, but, as always, i think my embarrassment is a defense mechanism against looking like an asshole, and being a totally gooey, cheesy loveball all the time.

she asked us to think about a bird. of course, i thought of chickens, since i was already thinking of mom. i didn't feel like that was meaningful enough to raise my hand for. but right afterwards
another woman in the room told a story about buying her (now deceased) son a calendar made up of pictures of different outhouses, which was kinda weird, since mom bought allen the same calendar. that seemed like a pretty crazy coincidence, since who beside this lady (who was a bit of a weirdo) and allen (totally a weirdo) would be taken by this calendar? what are the chances of that happening? so, huh.

karen said wearing our loved ones' clothing or jewelry as a good way to connect with them, that their energy was strongly in their clothes. that made me cry, because i wear my mom's jewelry more than my own these days. and, interestingly, i had changed out of the sweater i had been wearing into my mom's flannel shirt right before i left. i didn't even really think about it, i just grabbed it. so, that felt kinda meaningful.

she said that when our loved ones visit us in our dreams that it's a 'true visit,' and that that sort of thing takes a lot of energy for them, and it's a big deal. i raised my hand and shared about the dreams i had about mom right after she died.

(have i mentioned them? i think i did, but to recap: right after mom died, i had three really vivid dreams in a week - which i noteworthy since i never remember my dreams clearly. in the dreams, all of which were different in their details but similar in their tone, mom was back. not that she wasn't dead, but she was back to visit. rather than feeling glad to see her in the dreams, i was filled with anxiety and questions. how long will you be here? can you come back all the time? should i tell other people, so they can see you, too? i just felt really upset and worried in the dreams. i would wake up feeling unsettled and unhappy. so, i told mom, right before bed one night, 'i don't know if this is you communicating with me, but i'm not ready yet. i need to get used to you being gone before you start coming back.' and the dreams stopped. i haven't had a dream like that since, not really. i've had more vague dreams, but nothing so clear.)

i shared about the dreams, and how estranged i felt from god, and not ready for her yet.
karen asked me if i had been part of mom's hospice care team, and i said yes. (i felt like it was kinda amazing that she knew mom did hospice, but i did mention mom had died of cancer, so maybe it was obvious.) she said that mom wanted me to know that she knew how hard it had been for me. i said how funny and embarrassing it would have been for mom to have been present to see herself in diapers. mom would have had a lot of jokes to make about it, and she would have hated to inconvenience everyone.

karen said that the stuff that seems like a big deal here isn't that big a deal on the other side, which seemed obvious to me, but was nice to hear.
she said we may not ever come to understand why things happen, and that that's okay. it's okay to not know why, and the best thing we can do is seek acceptance. that also seemed a little obvious, but maybe only because i am me and that's how i think.
she said that mom wanted me to know that i should think about doing some kind of work in hospice later on, that i had a healing energy and that i could do a lot of good helping other people go through their hard times.

karen asked us to imagine, if there were jobs in heaven, what job would our loved ones have?
i told the story about my dream, where i had asked mom if she was going to get in trouble for showing up and she'd scoffed at me, saying 'kira. i'm a pretty big deal up here.' like it was silly for me to even worry about it, because she was the VP of heaven or something. everyone laughed.

it was all kinda like that. like, you could choose to believe it or not, i guess. but her message is 'believe it.'

at the end of the session, i started chatting with the lady next to me. in the middle of us talking, a young woman who had sat in another part of the room came over to give me a hug. she said she just really felt like she should. we were both wearing necklaces with initials on them. a lot of people checked in with me, to make sure i was okay, because i cried a lot. it was nice having everyone be so considerate, and it was nice to feel surrounded by people who felt like i do, who were still struggling and finding it hard sometimes.

i feel really supported by my loved ones, and still, it was different being in this room full of strangers, for whom their grief and loss were real enough to bring them to this meeting. everyone was so hungry for peace, for understanding, for some kind of validation of their loss and their desire to feel connected to their lost person. even though going was scary and i felt like a yokel, one step away from sending money to jerry falwell or something or believing in faith healing, it felt safe because all these other people believed, too. they weren't people i would have normally put myself with, but there was a kindness in the room.

i don't know what i think now.

i am reluctant to just go for it, believe it. maybe i am afraid of being wrong again. i felt so wrong about god when mom got cancer, and it was a terrifically painful shock. maybe i don't want to open myself to that kind of pain again, so i'd rather be safer or something.

but so much of it was stuff that mom said, that she believed and felt was true, so all this felt like mom just telling me the same stuff in a new way, so i could hear it again. and i know that mom would be sad that her death was the thing that left me estranged from god and 'spirit.'

so, i have some stuff to mull over.

what do you think?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

some distance.

with mom's birthday (april 2th) and mother's day (whenever that was - last sunday?) coming so fast, i've been thinking more than usual about mom.

in a way, mother's day wasn't any more difficult than any day is, being without mom. i mean, it's not like i forget that she's gone and then i had to remember on mother's day.

but, in another way, it is more difficult, because everyone else kinda remembers that i might be having a hard time and asks me, in the pointed loving way that people do, how i'm doing about it. i have no feelings of anger or upset, and it's totally not their fault, and the thought is deeply appreciated, but i can manage my own levels of thought and feeling about missing her, and having everyone else's increased interest in it makes it a little more stressful, and harder to put aside.

i'm dealing with allen a lot more, and selling mom's house. have i already talked about this? i'm selling the house. i'm amping up the removal of all artifacts, in preparation for putting the house on the market this summer. august 1st is my goal. it's a reasonable and totally achievable goal. but me selling the house means i am in closer communication with allen that i was for a while, and it means that all the simmering resentment and discomfort i feel towards him is back on the front burner - or, to stay consistent with the cooking metaphor, heated from a simmer to a rolling boil.

thus far, i have taken an entirely appeasement-based tack for dealing with him. i have capitulated on basically every point, for a number of reasons, which are overlapping, but can be articulated thusly:
1) i'm scared of him and don't want to antagonize him.
2) i was exhausted from dealing with him and things being so unpleasant while mom was dying and i just wanted a break from the insanity
3) i am deeply uncomfortable with the probability of him going bat-shit and things being completely out of control bad with him, and my aversion to that keeps me from being unyielding in my patrolling of my boundaries with him.
4) i have no experience with someone who is really, seriously mentally unbalanced, and whose behavior is so erratic. my brain flinches away from unleashing the full force of his craziness, and so far it has been more important to me to keep him mostly under control, and eat shit, than it has been to just say what i need to and risk the lid on his jar of CRAZY flying off and getting totally lost.

in talking with my dad and linda (and lillon - hearts, lon!) they said, and i certainly knew but needed to hear again, that there is a spectrum of possible responses he might have to any situation, and it's best to be prepared for them all. (they have a certain amount of experience in dealing with a crazy person.)

so, i know i need/want allen out of the house before we put it on the market. i know it's possible to sell a house with the previous owners/tenants still living in it, but i don't want to do that, for a lot of reasons that are solid, but mostly just because i don't want to. that means i need allen out by august 1st. i am afraid to tell him he needs to leave. i was hoping to throw the real estate under the proverbial bus and make her explain to him the importance of the house being empty, but she seems resistant to that (damn!) then i had this idea of having a group talk about the plan, with allen and my dad and shannon and me and maybe my real estate agent, ostensibly to chart the course, but really so we could gang up on allen and overpower his resistance to leaving. but that's another way for me to avoid taking responsibility for the situation, and the situation is this:
i want allen out of the house by august 1st, because i day so, and that is enough of a reason to ask for it.

i floated the idea when shannon and i were up this weekend, and allen just said, flat out, absolutely not possible. he says he's not going to be able to afford to find a new place to live until he gets his share of the money from the sale, which is fucking preposterous and totally understandable at the same time. that's like saying you can't afford to pay the deposit on your new apartment until you get the deposit from your OLD apartment back, which happens all the time, cause a lot of people don't have an extra thousands hanging around, but is also kinda tough shit. yeah, that sucks. been there. also, not my problem.

so, i predict when i have the conversation with him, which i will do in the beginning of june, with my dad and shannon there, he's going to resist and say 'no way' again. i just need to be firm.
'allen, i hear that that is going to be difficult for you, and i really feel for you, AND you need to make it happen.'

and yet, as i plan to have this bowel-looseningly terrifying conversation with him, i find myself already feeling like a total asshole. i mean, what the hell kind of person says 'tough shit' and offers to alternate deal or help? that seems really insensitive.

i know.
he should have thought about that before he tried to strangle me on my birthday. if he was planning on appealing to me soft heart, that might have been an action to avoid.
but still. i feel like that is almost insupportably harsh.

because, really, we are capable of selling the house with him in it. we are. it'll be scarier, since he's a fucking wingnut and might get upset for no reason and chase the prospective buyers off te property with a bow and arrow (won't be his first time), but it is possible.

am i so conditioned to give in to him that i am unable to defend my right to stand up?
or, am i going overboard to say he needs to go and i don't care if it's tough for him?

i seriously have no idea.

i know that i have erred far onto the side of over-giving with him, i have not even remotely stood up for myself, never defended my boundaries, and i've created a situation in which he believes he can say anything, ask for anything, do anything he wants, with minimal, if any, resistance from me.
want me to help you pay for pet food?
sure!
want to deduct a portion of your materials expenses and taxes from the money you give me in lieu of rent?
sure!
want to carry on with the deluded belief that maintaining the property is of equal financial value as paying me some real human american dollars?
sure!
no resistance from me!

i hemorrhage money, spending the bulk of my inheritance on housing costs, bills, etc. so he doesn't have to pay me rent, and then he accuses me of financial mismanagement, suggesting i am not mature enough to manage my money alone or make decisions by myself.

and still, i really feel like maybe kicking him out, or rather, giving him 60 days notice, no ifs ands or buts, is maybe not fair.

and i really genuinely have no idea whether or not that's accurate.

i'm just tired of him.
i'm tired of thinking about him, telling stories to explain how difficult he is to deal with, worrying about his feelings and his future, worrying that i'll never be free of him, letting him talk to me like i'm an idiot, hearing him marvel that i could have 'lost' so much money in such a short period of time and then having to explain to him that, while it's none of his business what i do with my inheritance, it wasn't LOST, it was spend on bills... i'm sick to death of him. i'm just over it. over him hanging off my back like an over-sized baby monkey.

bottom line, i just want him fucking GONE.

in some ways, it would be nice if things did go totally ape-shit with him, like i had to call the cops to have him removed, just so i could get over avoiding it. i mean, at least the worst would happen and i could stop fearing for it and just deal with it.

but really i just so want it to go smoothly. i just want him to understand, to say okay, and just move out. that's probably not really realistic, but it's what i want.


i'm in new york right now, visiting lu.
it's been really nice taking a break from home, from the stress of allen and yumi and money and everything and just enjoying time with her.
her neighborhood is magical.
i'm in a local cafe, with free internet access, readily available power outlets.
i ordered a tasty-sounding sammie, and it came with a truly excessive amount of groders yellow mustard and mayo, which you know i would have asked to have off if i'd known.
so, i tried to be easy going and wipe it off, but it was a lost cause and i got too grossed out, so i had to take it back to the counter to have them re-do it.
they were nice about it, and re-did it, but the new version how is dripping this honey mustard stuff, which is nice, since it's what the menu said was going to be on it, but is over the top in its proportions. like, gooing out of the bread's pores.
what's up, cafe staff? why so much condiment?

however, on this visit to lu, i have found myself really resistant to talking about what's going on with me, when talking to people who don't already know all about it. not because i'm embarrassed or something. mostly because i'm so bored by the subject. i think about it constantly, talk it through with my friends, cry about it, go to therapy and talk it through - i'm just sick of my stories right now. i don't feel like i have anything interesting or exciting or funny to share. i must have left my vivacity at home or something. i think i'm feeling a little quiet and protective of myself again, and i really only want to talk to my friends. it's weird and not like me, but it's where i am.

i think maybe i am going through a new stage of grieving. it's totally not the only thing i think of anymore. it's not The Thing on my mind. but it's more prominent now than it has been recently, and i back to feeling like nothing will ever be normal again because she's gone and i can't imagine that ever feeling normal. i mean, not good or acceptable, because it'll obviously never be those things, but it feels again like it's almost not manageable again. like anything good that might happen will happen in the shade of this sadness.

oh good.
now i've brought my 'crying in public places' tour to fort greene, brooklyn.
what a treat.

the weather right now is of a type we just don't really get in the bay area. it's overcast, with a slight breeze, and warm. not hot, necessarily, but warm enough for people to be wearing short sleeves. i am enjoying it. this is one of my favorite types of weather.



but not really.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

a quick question...

does anyone know anything about adsense?
it's always offered on blogs, and it says you can make money from your blog, according to the number of people clicking on the ads that google puts in the margins of your blog.
it seems like something like that would only be useful for people with tons of traffic on their blogs. my own meager traffic would probably not be worth it.
does anyone know more about it than me?
and is the idea of allowing ads on my blog gross?
am i thinking about selling out??!

body acceptance.

while researching magazines and their submission requirements, i came across the magazine bitch, which i don't read usually. it's a feminist magazine, calls itself a feminist response to pop culture. i was poking around the website and i read a couple of the articles. both of them were interesting. i mean, not pulitzer prize winning, but addressing interesting topics.

one of the articles, about the fat acceptance movement and how it (allegedly) shuns members with eating disorders, was especially thought-provoking. it made me think a lot about my own prejudices about weight. the comments the come after the articles itself were pretty interesting, too. the entire idea of a fat acceptance movement really got me thinking.

i totally understand the purpose of the fat acceptance movement. i can't even imagine how hard it must be to be seriously overweight in america. one of the commenters referred to the decapitated 'fatties' who they show on the news all the time when referring to the menace of obesity. those are real people, those decapitated fatties. they're people with feelings, and they're used (against their wills) as examples of morbid obesity, and what were they doing when they were photographed? eating with their families. walking down a street on a sunny day. all the jokes on tv that hinge on someone being really fat (the 'monica in a fat suit' sequences on "friends," for example). all the magazine covers showing some celebrity who lost 30 lbs in 30 days. there's just so much pressure to not be the way you are. even i feel it, and i am nowhere near obese. but even i feel a little twinge over those things, so it must be exponentially more painful if you're the object of all the scorn.

but i do seriously question this idea that being fat is just fine. not because it is a moral failing or because it indicates some sort of moral decay on the overweight person's fault, but because it's not a healthy choice. (we're going to disregard eating disorders for now, while acknowledging that they are a factor some of the time.) i also question how being seriously overweight can be unassociated with some sort of disordered eating behavior, or disordered living choices. not that all overweight people are binge eaters, but that letting one's weight become dramatically overlarge or oversmall is a sign of imbalance, which deserves attention.

i'm trying to think of comparable lifestyle choices. smoking? it's a choice you're making. it's hard to quit. there's a lot of societal mixed messages related to it. a certain (though much lower) degree of social stigma attached. it will probably kill you... but then you think about how quitting smoking is hard for people, but they do it by just not smoking. you can't not eat, totally avoid the substance of choice, so the comparison breaks down. i don't know. i can't think of a good comparison.

i don't know many people who are terribly overweight and feel good about it. i don't know many people who are overweight because they choose to not care about their weight. i know mostly people who struggle with their weight, who struggle with making lifestyle choices that are healthy.

if someone is overweight, should one be supportive of behavior that one thinks is unhealthy? even if the eating isn't the issue, even if not exercising is the issue, isn't it possible to support the person, love them, want them to be healthy and happy, not because being fat is gross or ugly, but because they are hurting themselves? is that healthist?

p.s. i can't even believe there is such a term as 'healthist.' it's true, there is a prevailing agreement in modern culture that being healthy is good and being unhealthy is bad. there are agreed upon (sort of) idea of what is healthy and what isn't. so, how does healthism show up? would encouraging someone to get more exercise be healthism? what about me harassing shannon about putting neosporin on his cut? it's such a weird idea. of course, not so weird that i am going to do research on it and find out more. i think i'll just idly wonder...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

april 24th.

tomorrow is my mom's birthday.
i'm feeling sad about it.
this is her first birthday that she hasn't been alive for.
also, her birthday last year was a fucked day for me. i got really, really upset at her and yelled at her and she just kinda accepted it. like so many times last year, she agreed with me and told me i was right and she needed to hear that stuff, which wasn't what i wanted.
anyway, the birthday is bringing up a lot of emotions for me.
i'm just really missing her, i guess.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

not enough time.

hi!
it's been a while!
i've been thinking about you, but i've been pretty busy.
i don't even have time now to explain what i've been busy with, and if i did, you'd be underwhelmed, but i'm feeling pretty good and happy, so that's cool.
i have some exciting things brewing, also some scary things, and my life is feeling like an armload of stuff that i'm just barely carrying successfully, with the occasional dropped sock, and intermittent panicking over fumbling it all.
i'll update more this week, promise, but i had to add this link in, because it is one of the most impressive things i've seen in a while. especially geared towards those of you who enjoy both film AND shakespeare. (seth? austin? maybe lu? shaye? tab?) other people might not get the joke, but for those of you who do, it's gonna blow your mind.

J: Speak 'What' again! Thou cur, cry 'What' again!

this guy is a freakin' genius. there's another version later on, in the comments.
i had forgotten how full of magic metafilter is. wowzers.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

better than i thought.

i went up to redwood valley yesterday with tab, for the first time since before christmas.

i know i talk/write/complain about this situation all the time, and it probably seems totally solvable from the outside, and it actually is, i'd guess, but it doesn't feel like that most of the time.

it feels like i'm an ox, yoked to a house i am ambivalent about, and an weird old guy who i'm a little bit afraid of.

i've been chewing on the 'what the fuck am i going to do about yumi?' question for MONTHS, mostly in my head and by yakking about it, but with little real action on it. after therapy last time, i felt feeling like i had a really short, pretty manageable list of things i needed to do in order to get the ball rolling on it.
1) call the real estate agent my agent, lisa, recommended to me. this recommended agent is actually the listing agent for yumi when it was sold to mom, so she'll know a lot about it. she'll be able to say whether it's pure folly to try to sell it right now. (is it unrealistic for me to assume she'll be honest? i mean, business must be rough for her right now, so she'd probably inclined to say anything she can to get that place listed...but still...) if it seems like selling it right now is just not smart, she'll maybe know something about how i'd rent it, instead, and how much i could reasonably expect to get in rent for it. that's an easy call, right?

2) get up to yumi to keep moving on going through mom's stuff. it's such a hard, unpleasant task, it is almost impossible to look forward to it, but i can neither sell nor rent it if it's packed to the gills with mom's stuff.

3) have The Talk with allen, where i tell him i can't afford to keep the house with the situation as it stands right now, and unless he's going to pay me more, we'll have to sell, or he'll have to move out of the big house, so we can rent it out. the thought of this talk turns my bowels to water, so i've avoided it. in discussion with everyone in the world, it was agreed that i couldn't possibly have The Talk with him in person, alone, because he's so unpredictable, so i'd either need to bring someone with me or do it over the phone. i felt like the phone might be easier, since i could lay it all out, then get off the phone, so he could think about it, then we could talk when he'd calmed down. but then i also thought that maybe i'd write him a letter, which seems like the ultimate in cowardice, but whatever.

yesterday, i got step 2 rolling, by going to yumi with tab.
linda and i had gotten mom's closet and bathroom cleaned out before christmas, so yesterday we stared on mom's office/bead room.
i'm not going to lie - it was harrowing. everything was covered in dust, from the cat sand that they use in the cat boxes, and also just disuse. there were years worth of magazines, all organized chronologically, in little cardboard holders. we just chucked them all. (duh, recycled, sillies!) me and tab both have a bit of the hoarding gene ourselves, so we resisted the urge to keep them all for collaging, but it was not easy.
i went through the drawers that mom used to hold the first aid stuff and all her beauty products, the extras.
seriously, i found about 20 containers, unopened, of dental floss. roughly 10 toothbrushes. multiple full bottles of hand wash, lotions, shampoos...so much stuff. so, i took what i wanted, grabbed good stuff for lu (don't worry, bestie, we're keeping you in mind.) and then tab looked through them, and we packed everything else up, according to "Someone Might Want This" and "This Is Grody And Needs To Go."
i went through mom's journals, and found an amazing book, like her book of shadows or something. fucking so good. also, a good photo album, seeing pictures of mom and daddy when they were young, just married, it was conceivable that those two people could be in love at some point, but that gets harder and harder to imagine, the older they get, until now, when, if i hadn't seen it first hand, i'd never have believed that they were ever in love.
we found some hoarded art supplies, SO MANY PENS, an entire drawer full of post-its, tons of unused notebooks and hanging files.
we got rid of all her computer games, her home electrolysis kit, (which i would bet money had never been used because wtf? - seriously, how did sharper image make it for so many months after mom died?).
it's sobering to see one's life reduced to the crap your survivors will have to get rid of.
it makes me look at my belongings in a whole new way, like, really? really, kira? do you want to make your loved ones delve into the complexities of your unused stationary hoarding problem?
it's exhausting, and also pretty special, finding unexpected treasures. i found some really personal journal stuff, which i am reluctant to read, but which i know i will. ew to reading about your mom having sex, but still.
we just powered through, didn't stop for lunch because we wanted to get the crap outta there.
so, as we're loading the car with our stuff - stuff to keep, stuff for goodwill, stuff to donate to the local elementary school (boy were they excited!) - allen says he wants to show me some stuff.
he wants to show me his breakdown for the money he'll give me for january to march's woodworking.
last time he sent me a check for a bit over $300, with a breakdown, and i was mildly-to-strongly disturbed by the fact that he took taxes and the cost of his supplies out of my portion, like i should have to pay for those.
so, he did the same thing this time, and i asked him why. he said it was because we were business partners (???) so we had to share the expense.
i said i was not his business partner, i was his landlord, and landlords don't accept less rent because of your expenses.
he wasn't trying to hear that. he was getting a bit upset.
he started telling me how little money he was making for all his hard work, and how he was having money troubles (testify, brother) and he needed to borrow $7k from somewhere to get his teeth done, etc.
so, i rolled the dice, and i explained to him how expensive keeping the house is. i explained property taxes, bills, homeowner's insurance, the home warranty, motherfucking mortgage...not to mention all the expenses attached to settling mom's estate. i told him that mom's money was almost gone.
he got a little bogged down with 'i can't believe you lost $160k that fast' but i corrected him. it wasn't lost, like, oops, it was spent, like, property taxes cost $7k and the second loan on me and shannon's house is killing us so i'll pay it off for $50k. he simmered down. also, as jimmy said, if i had spent it all on coke and hookers, it'd be none of his business because it was my money, but still.
so, he said, well shit. maybe you should think about selling the house.
it was like bells started going off, like i had hit the jackpot on a slot machine, with lights flashing and stuff.
PERFECTION.
basically, he had the talk without me having to do it.
and, it ended on a really good note, with it being a decision we needed to make together, not a huge weight that i'm handling alone.
this talk, which i have spent a cumulative estimated time no less than 2 months of solid worrying on, spread over 6 months, went better than i could have possibly imagined, in my wildest of mental wanderings.
the relief was huge.
then tab and i dropped off the best office supplies to the local school and they were really excited about then.
then i drank my usual celebratory espresso shake and got all cracked out because i hadn't eaten enough.
me and tab kicked the office's ass and had a really, really good day.
i had my real last session with jimmy which was so hot, so hard, so sweaty gross that i teased him about being kinda glad he was leaving. we bro-ed out and i have sunken my friend-hooks into him and will probably not let him go. he's a good one.
i came home and showered and my shower was glorious and i sang in the shower, which i haven't done for a while, and then brian and romi the dog came over and we drank beer and ate a tasty-ass bread salad and got our chat on.
such an amazing day. so wonderful and sad and happy.
it was HOThothot in redwood valley yesterday and the property looks so pretty it could break your heart.
then petaluma was so lovely, open door weather.
i'm missing shannon, who is still in LA.
now, i'm going to go to my writing spot and get my write on, since i barely wrote thursday, didn't write friday. i'll drink some gunpowder tea, i think.