Sunday, September 27, 2009

the cloud.

i've done a lot of traveling this summer.

bali and los angeles and now i'm in new york. (i know. it's not technically summer anymore.)

on all of the trips, away from home, i hoped for something. i'm not sure what i specifically was hoping for. maybe just a lot of fun. LOTS of fun. like, amazing, face hurting, the best time ever fun. and all the trips have been/were/are wonderful. but i've brought this cloud of sadness with me everywhere i went. i think i must have been expecting to shake it at some point, like taking a vacation from my problems (a la 'what about bob'.) and that didn't end up happening. i stayed sad, and most of all, lonely.

i've never really been a melancholy person, nor would i have described myself as chronically lonely. i have a lot of really good friends, all of whom i feel totally comfortable being myself with. i don't keep a lot of me in reserve for special times or something. i feel pretty darn comfortable exposing all of my deepest, darkest secrets to nearly anyone. so this constant feeling of isolation is pretty new for me. not totally unprecedented (see los angeles years) but not my usual way of being.

but everything since my mom died is so weird and not normal to me. i look at my life now and i realize i have basically no idea who i am, what i'm doing, where i'm going, what i want - anything. i'm a total mystery to myself. if i run down the basic details of my life: marriage, living in petaluma, no job, pilates, mom dead, puppy, cat - they all add up to a life i totally don't recognize as mine. i think a huge portion of my cloud can be chalked up to Life Post-Mom.

i'm so much sadder, as a person, than i ever was before. my basic faith in the rightness of the universe, that things happen for a reason and i can trust that everything will work out for the best, is fucking shot to shit. that rationale - the idea that things happen for a reason - can go fuck itself. no, sorry. i don't accept happiness now as necessarily predicated upon my mom's heartbreaking, untimely death from a fucking brain tumor. so, i also have to give up the idea that "god" has a plan for me, and that everything is happening according to that plan, because any plan that requires the death of my mom can go fuck itself, too. so, rather than accepting there's a god that makes things happen and made my mom die in order for something good to happen for me is not welcome in my heart. i feel much more peaceful with a worldview where bad and good things just happen and we attempt to cope with everything gracefully. no smugness at the good, no bitterness at the bad.

anyway, i digressed onto a well-worn track. god: yes or no? not what i meant to talk about.

i am sad. i continue to be sad. i continue to be stymied about who i want to be, and what i want my life to look like. i am not sure who i am if i'm married and can't rely on my looks for attention. seriously, this is a question i am wrestling with. also, i'm not sure how to experience joy anymore. the happiest i've been in a long time was when i was meditating, so maybe i'll start that again, in hopes of recapturing that.

in the meantime, i'm just kinda schlepping along my cloud. lonelies, sads, uncomfies. not my favorite chapter of my life.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Referendum - Happy Days Blog -

The Referendum - Happy Days Blog -

Shared via AddThis

via emily.

a really lovely meditation on self-doubt and lifestyle jealousy.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

white woman's guilt.

i'm not sure what it means that i haven't been writing here.
i haven't been writing anywhere, really.
haven't worked on my book seriously in months.
haven't meditated.
i dunno.
i feel a little off kilter, but not dramatically so. just a smidge.
i'd like to be doing those things more.
but not enough to actually do them apparently.

one thing i have been doing is pilates.

did i mention i'm doing teacher training to become a pilates instructor?
i am.
here's where i'm doing it.
it's fantastic.
it's changing my life.
i'm excited, proud, challenged - everything good.
i'm doing pilates about 5 times a week, and feeling stronger, so cool.

that's not really what i want to write about right now, though. maybe a little bit not really.

i want to talk about me feeling guilt over my lifestyle.

so, i'm not working.
that's not new.
i've come close to looking for a job a few times in the last year or so, but shannon felt like having me at home, managing the house and taking care of the dog, would be worth more than whatever smallish amount of money i'd be bringing in. and, given my eternal 'nyeh' over working, and general lack of vocation to speak of, i am totally fine with that set up. i'm actually not that good at being a a housewife and have really had my shortcomings thrust at me through this, but i'm developing really helpful habits, which make me an infinitely easier person to live with, i think.

so, i'm not working.
i'm married.
my husband is really handsome.
though we have our ups and downs, and went through a rough patch there a little while back, we're really happy together and totally in love.
we own our own home. (well, the bank owns it and we're buying it from the bank, but you get my meaning. our monthly payments are going towards something that we will eventually reap the benefits of, unlike renting. the fact that most of the payment goes to interest in the loan isn't the topic of discussion right now, but it should be, some day. fucking banks.)
i have awesome hair.
i get many services, that are very pricey, done for me for free, or at huge discounts, by incredibly talented friends.
i have many of the things that one pictures when they're thinking of success in the modern world and money. (new mac laptop, newish iphone, multiple ipods, gucci sunglasses, etc.)
i spend a very large portion of my time working out, doing a type of exercise that is usually insanely expensive.
i travel to fun places fairly often (LA, NYC, BALI!!!).
my body is pretty close to what the magazines say it should be. i'd be a plus size model for sure, but i'm in proportion and i'm closer to the ideal, physically, than a lot of people are.
one of my main responsibilities is to look after my dog, who is pure bred.
i am able to shop at whole foods (whole paycheck) exclusively, unless i feel like going to trader joe's for something.
my hair care and skin care products cost more than some people's haircuts.
i don't have kids, by choice, which means i only have to worry about myself, my (ridiculously handsome) husband and my pets.

what i'm saying is, i am living a life that a lot of people might consider perfect.
i'm not complaining.
my life is freaking awesome.

but, because i'm a human being and this is our eternal struggle, i experience unsatisfactoriness.
sometimes i lie in bed and dread going to the dog park AGAIN.
my hair looks wonky, or flat, or boring.
my forehead is short (really more of a threehead) and i can't have heavy bangs like i'd like to.
my skin and hair care products refuse to change my life the way the magazines tell me they will.
i want MORE things.
i tried on bikinis at target yesterday and looked WRETCHED. like, dimpled and jiggle and bulgey. really, really bad.
for all my working out, i look nearly the same as i always have, as far as i'm concerned. i'm not in smaller clothing sizes, for one thing.
i feel like i'll never lose weight, never look good in a bathing suit, never wear shorts or a short skirt without a hint of shame and fingers crossed that no one looks too closely.
i wish my mom was still alive.

what i mean is, i'm just like everyone else.
i want things that i can't have.
i don't want to do the things i have to do.
i am not happy with the hand (or midriff) i've been dealt.
i wish i was younger still.
i regret choices i've made.

and every time i say anything remotely negative about my situation, or express anything other than blissful contentment, i get scolded by people for being unappreciative of what i have.

it's gotten to the point where i am leery of even sharing my negative feelings about things, for fear i'll offend someone.
i feel like i need to couch everything in apologetic terms "this thing happened and it sucked. (i know, rough life.)" "totally stoked on my life, but wish i didn't have this thing to deal with." why am i apologizing for having the feelings i have? am i not allowed to experience unsatisfactoriness because i have a great life?

and what makes people think that not working, or having money at all, automatically means blissful contentment? do rich people seem happier to you? their families more functional?
look at ebenezer scrooge, man. he was rich a hell and he was miserable!

so, spoiler alert, guys: having money doesn't solve all your problems. it solves some. it creates others. me not having to work doesn't change the fact that my forehead is too short for the bangs i like so much on other people. it doesn't make me 17 again. it doesn't bring my mom back.

all it means is that i have more hours in the day to myself, which also doesn't solve anything. still not writing. still manage to piss entire days away sometimes. still mismanage my money, wish i had more/new/better clothes. still wondering which handbag will complete me as a person. still not doing anything about darfur.

it's true, i'm not sacrificing my life for kids, or having to make serious budget cuts, or wasting hours of my day and years of my life at a job i resent.

but i don't have everything figured out, and i still struggle with life, and i have just as much right to wrestle with my problems as someone who lives in section 8 housing, or someone with cancer, or someone with alopecia. i don't feel like my not needing to work cancels out my right to expect compassion over the things i struggle with, even if they're not life or death struggles.

you know what?
i don't know many people who are dealing with situations that are literally life or death.
and agreed, in the grand scheme of things, i fully recognize that i am lucky to have a torso at all, or a threehead, or an undervalued home. yes, i am lucky to be alive and not being raped a bunch in a refugee camp. we all are. does that mean that the people who are facing foreclosure on their houses don't get to worry about their problems? are they supposed to just be thankful for the fact that they're not facing refugee camp rape, and shut up about their financial concerns?
because if so, i expect a GREAT deal less complaining from pretty much everyone in the entire world, outside of palestine and darfur, 'kay?

of course i am thankful for my life.
my life is amazing.
that goes without saying.
if you hear me posting FML stuff, then you're welcome to tell me to shut up.
actually, you know what? even then, i'm allowed to be bummed for a while.

Monday, June 8, 2009


it's been a while!
i'm not going to get into a recap.
i'm fine.
doing well.

but i'm here to talk about something specific.
i'm having some body issues.

i just started pilates teacher training.
it's very exciting, but mostly totally terrifying.
i never did sports. i never took dance or gymnastics. PE was often the only class keeping me from getting straight A's in grade school. i have never been in great shape. i've always been a reader, or a TV watcher, or a sitter-arounder-and-chat-and-smoker.
but when i was grieving so intensely the winter after mom died, i spent a lot of time working out. i did a lot of cardio and i did weight training at the gym. and i really liked it! i was very, very surprised because i'd never really enjoyed anything athletic before, but it totally hit the spot for me.
then i fizzled some on the gym, and i've been pretty sporadic about it, up until a couple of months ago, when i got really serious again.

i work out for many reasons, but the main one is that i want to lose weight and have a better body. when i was working out before i totally didn't see a difference, at all. shannon swears he did, but i don't really remember him ever telling me. i was mindful of what i ate, but i didn't sweat it too much. so i always assumed that the reason i never noticed more of a change, with my sudden dramatic increase in exercise, was that i wasn't eating right. maybe i needed to decrease my calories?

so this time around i've been trying to monitor really closely. i'm counting calories. i'm logging work outs. i'm measuring myself and weighing myself. and i'm still not really seeing anything.

so, it's only been a couple of months. that's one factor, i'm sure. i'm 30 and i'm sure my metabolism is slowing down, so i need to be patient. i still eat some carbs, and have to really struggle to keep myself away from sweets. i should probably quit all breads, but no carb diets just aren't sustainable, and i don't think carbs are inherently bad. i'm all about some complex carbs. but i should definitely quit sugar, and maybe gluten.

i dunno.

i'm just feeling really discouraged. i'm working so hard and it's hard to want to keep going when you're not really seeing the results. i know the goal is to be healthier overall, and it's a lifestyle change, not just trying to get thinner, but let's be realistic... I WANT TO LOSE SOME FUCKING WEIGHT.

i'm starting to get a little bit crazy. i feel like everywhere i go there are women/girls of all ages who have way better bodies and in my head i semi-obsess over what they know that i don't know. i lost a bunch of weight right before i met shannon, because i was eating these gross energy bars for breakfast and lunch and drinking tons of coffee and smoking cigarettes. one of his first orders of business after we met was to wrench the nasty bars from my hands, and shame me into smoking less, and i totally gained all the weight back, which is obviously fine and much better. but on some level, i consider buying a case of those bars from costco. i consider only eating bars, and taking vitamins and drinking water. i sometimes feel like i can only handle total control (basically anorexia, which i absolutely don't have) or no control (eating whatever.)

i don't really think i'm "fat" by conventional standards, and i'm totally within my healthy weight range for my height. but i don't want to be on the outer edge. i want to be in the middle, or towards the lower end. i am sick of feeling like i'm a bit chubby, or being embarrassed about my soft tummy. i feel like my difficulty losing weight is a total condemnation of my willpower, that i'm weak and a quitter and can't do it.

the person i see in the mirror is different all the time. somedays i feel nearly willowy, which is kinda my dream. many, many says i wake up feeling gigantic. not really gigantic. just kinda swollen. big. heavy. ungainly.

i'm trying to forge a new relationship with my body, after barely communicating with it for about 27 years. i don't understand how it works and i find it totally mystifying and very frustrating.

i wish i could see myself through a few other people's eyes, so i could get a better sense of how i'm doing and what i look like.

anyway, i'm not quitting. i'm going to be a pilates teacher someday, and so help me god, i will not be the chubby teacher. (i go to spin class and whenever there's a chubby teacher i can't help but wonder if they're doing it right, because if you're doing spin all the time, i'd think you'd we 90 lbs.) i'm not quitting, i'm going to keep on working on it and i'm not going to give up.

but i'm really discouraged and afraid nothing i do will make any difference, i'm just destined to be 'the birth of venus' forever. it could be worse.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

it can't fail!

okay, so i have had a brilliant idea and i am basically on the brink of becoming a millionaire.

here's where it came from...
shannon and i went out to dinner at a mexican place we used to eat at all the time but then stopped going to. immediately upon finishing the meal, it became clear why we never eat there makes shannon ill.


so i thought, 'sometimes you eat something and wish you hadn't a kinda want to take it back...'
and VOILA!

you guys....vomitoriums!

wait for it.

yeah! I KNOW!

so, here's my thinking, just spit-balling...

ladies are out for a bachelorette party.
they want to eat a giant steak dinner, with baked potatoes and bread and rolls and everything. YUM!
but they also want to go out dancing afterwards and no have to deal with post-meal sluggishness or bloated food bellies.
so, they come to my upchuckery!
they rent a group room.
they check in and trade their clothes for some robes and slippers. (no terry cloth. getting vomit out of terry cloth is a nightmare. i think.)
they waddle into a large tiled room, with showers and stalls and troughs and sinks.
they do their business.
they shower, if they feel so inclined.
they leave the room and head into the powder room, where complimentary water (cucumber, lemon, fruit, bubbly, flat, cold, many types!) is available. also saltines.
there are sinks where they can use toothbrushes (which we sell, and which come with free toothpaste and mouthwash!), wash their faces, reapply make-up, use some perfume from the perfume bar, and get ready to go out again.
maybe they want to lay down a solid layer in their tummies so they can drink a bunch!
we have a cafe that serves tummy friendly foods!
chamomile tea, papaya enzymes, chicken soup, grilled cheese, salads with mild dressings, ginger ale...
so they eat some, get gussied up and head back out, skinny and smelling better, but having enjoyed a lovely dinner!!

so, that's one market.
maybe we have a ladies' night package.

obviously the bulimic are an option, but we can't count on them. they're not going to be our bread and butter. (get it?)

another market is drunk people.

either they want to keep drinking, or they're too drunk and want to start sobering up somewhere that isn't a bar bathroom. either way, we're there for them.

we'll have private rooms (NO SEX!!), semi-private rooms, and public rooms.
you check your clothes at the door, and they're returned to you, smelling better.
maybe we have sober up specials, where you can rent some of those capsule sleeping pods that they have in japan for a couple of hours to help sleep it off, and then we'll throw in a free breathalyzer before you leave. overnight parking, for a fee. free shuttle with certain packages? (just riffing.)

obviously we'll open our first branch in las vegas, because where else will there be so many stupid people doing stupid things they wish they could take back, right? from there, we'll see. i'm thinking...the marina? hollywood?

my only problem...a name.

ideas? the upchuckery isn't going to sell itself. we need something less barfy.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

by the way.

hey, guys!

i'm embarking on a project, wherein i enter all my myspace blog posts into this one.

so, if you'd like to take a trip down memory lane, and enjoy more of my delightful insights, feel free to check them out.

they start in november 2003.

sorry i haven't had much to say lately.

i'm fine, so you know.

Monday, March 30, 2009

spring cleaning, mom, her scent.

it's spring time, everyone. rebirth, fresh starts.

a fresh start for our storage space to not be a nightmare teetery box maze.

shannon digs, and i examine the finds. much of it is mine, from our moves and our tribulations. the pressure to decide, item by item, on the importance of any individual thing of my mom's was simply too great, and i'm afraid i erred on the side of 'put it in storage and deal with it later.' shannon politely, sensitively, but firmly asked me to reexamine the boxes, so they could be labeled and stored properly.

one box was CDs of music i will never, ever listen to. vince gill, enya, so much andrea boccelli.

one box had binders and files and folders - receipts and deeds and notes and letters, none of them useful, aside from copies of the birth and death certificate of my grandfather, the commander.

as i pulled the flaps of one box back, it exhaled the smell of my mom, a punch in the stomach. it was a box of her clothes, the ones i hadn't given to goodwill. and they had retained her smell, despite being in a manky cardboard box, in our musty, dusty storage space.

the smell, you guys.

it was still there.

those are the things we lose and can't ever retain. i know i've written about it before, but it keeps coming back.

the smell of someone's life.

the texture of her skin.

the shape of her nails.

the contour of her shoulder meeting her neck, where my head fit perfectly.

the sound of her blowing her nose, first thing in the morning.

these are the things that fade away.

i know HER, in my bones, back to front.

i don't need her here to tell me how much she loved me, or that she was proud of me.
i don't need to ask her what she thinks about things because i can already just know.
i wear her jewelry all the time, her clothes and purses and shoes and scarves.
the archaeological record of her life was remarkably thorough.

it's the soft parts that decay first, is what i'm saying. the hard bones of her life surround me, but the feathers and fur and breath are going and mostly gone now.

except this box - this amazing, miraculous gift of a box.

for a few minutes, i could bury my face in her scent.

and, being me, as i marveled at the discovery, i was already preparing for the disappointment of its loss. just by smelling it i was mingling my own scent with hers, corrupting it, exposing it to the invisible smells of our house, our life, and all the things we take for granted.

i've been through this a million times, with various pieces of her clothing. i'll find it and realize it smells like her. i'll keep it, so i can smell it carefully, with restraint. can one sniff away all the scent molecules of something? is that possible? just in case, i practice moderation in my sniffs.

but then the temptation is too great, and i wear the item. and for a day or two, it's magic. the primal message of safety and security just wraps me up and i lose my head, forget moderation and planning for the future.

and then the smell is gone and i'm left with another piece of my mom's clothing, special for its proximity to her, but now smelling like boring old me. or, i imagine it smells like me, since i can't smell myself.

so i open the box, and bury my face in it. the clothes are silk and velvet - quintessential mom clothes. i tossed the t-shirts and sweat pants and athletic socks because who the fuck cares about them, but these are the clothes of her soul, basically, and i couldn't part with them. i burrow deeper and deeper into the box, pressing the cool fabrics to my face and inhaling a little bit gluttonously.

the smell isn't exactly right, actually, but it is very much closer than i've been in months.

i watched her die, in that hospital bed in her bedroom at home. i held her hand as the last breath left her, and her smell was the same, even as she died.

now i haunt the world a bit, always seeking that smell, sniffing after strangers, just in case. i look completely normal on the outside, calm and mostly untroubled, and i am. but there is always a part of me searching for her in everyone i see. you never know. maybe there are scent twins in the world somewhere, and i will find hers by chance. maybe that scent twin will recognize my scent, and we'll embrace like long-lost family and i can bury my face in this stranger's neck and feel like i'm home again.

Monday, March 16, 2009

1:00am and all's well.

hey, blog.

missing you.

thinking about you.

your time is coming.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

it might be too late.


a lot has happened, and i had written and REALLY long blog post about everything and all my thoughts about it with clever links and such, but i kinda ran out of steam. it might be too late for the really detailed recap, so i'll do a quicker one, with the highlights.

the biggest highlight is selling my mom's house, FINALLY.

after a bunch of stops and starts and it seeming like it might not happen, it finally happened, though up until we saw the money in our bank account, we were still hanging out in a 'we'll see' limbic zone. i know i was afraid to get my hopes up, after things falling apart with the sale the first time.

it's such a miracle that the house sold at all, in this economy, and makes me wonder why these buyers wanted the house so bad, but i'm certainly not complaining. just saying. it was really lucky for us. it was lucky for the buyers, too, since the house is gorgeous and obviously a good buy, being sold for considerably less than it is appraised for, but still. we were worried we'd have to sit on it forever.

with the house sold, we got to close the book on our involvement with allen. up to the last days it was looking like he might fuck the whole thing up, in his own special allen way, but it happened, anyway, thank goodness. it's nice to know there is no reason why i HAVE to answer the phone if he calls; nice to know all remaining ties between us, of unfinished business, are gone. i owe him nothing now, and have no reason to even believe i'll hear from him again. while there is considerable joy associated with that, and SO much relief, there's also some sadness. though he was a source of incredible discomfort and negativity in my life, he was also another connection to my mom. he was crazy and a total asshole, a weirdo and a giant problem, but he loved my mom just as much as i did, and he was the only other person who was as deeply affected by her death as me. i wish we'd been able to share that a bit more. it sucks that his insanity was like a solid wall between us, totally impossible to get through. he didn't seem very interested in connecting about it, anyway, but it would've been nice if we hadn't had so much negativity between us. for a lot of reasons, obviously.

with the house out of my name, and the mortgage paid off, we have a lot more money per month for other stuff. it also means shannon doesn't have to say 'yes' to every single job he's offered, because he can afford to not work for a bit, since we're not trying to digest two mortgage payments, two sets of property taxes. hello, fancy tropical vacation! i've been wanting a really big vacation pretty much since mom got sick, and have taken a bunch of smaller ones, staying with loved ones in LA and NY, but i really want a lying-around-with-drinks-in-coconuts vacation, that looks like a cerveza commercial. that's a possibility now, with the money from the sale of the house and the added money per month that we'll have. i can say truthfully, without a hint of self-effacing or bragging, that we fucking deserve one.

we each got new laptops! they're so sexy and little and light, it's awesome. obvs they're macs. i got the macbook and shannon got the macbook pro, since he's a bit more of a 'power user' than me. it's actually ridiculous how little of my computer i use, in general.

in other news, i've had the flu for a couple of weeks. fever and sore throat for two days in the beginning of last week, then fading to a gnarly cough and copious amounts of yuckiness in my sinuses. i'd like to get more graphic about them because it's a total medical freak show in there, but i'll save it. if you want to details, email me, i'm happy to supply more details. suffice it to say, it's not pretty.

i pulled it together for a saturday afternoon departure for los angeles with shannon. a couple of movies he worked on last year were nominated for awards from the sound editors organization (like the oscars for the sound business), a guy shannon works with was being given his lifetime achievement award, and lots of people from up here were heading down for the awards ceremony, so we decided to go to. in hindsight it was a really dumb idea, totally not worth the trouble, but we did it anyway. i still wasn't feeling the best, but i felt good enough, i thought, so we drove down. we got there about 45 minutes before the dinner started, so we rushed in and changed. shannon looked very dapper in his new suit jacket and shirt and tie, with jeans and some fancy man shoes. (we didn't have time to get his pants tailored and they looked a little silly, but the jeans looked awesome, and were actually more 'him' anyway.) i dressed up, too, looked totally fine, in a new dress and new fancy shoes. my voice had gotten really hoarse and croaky, so i had a rough night trying to chat with people. it was a struggle to make myself heard over the ambient noise, but i persevered. (like anne frank, over here.) neither of shannon's movies won, but it was still fun to see everyone all dressed up and chat with some of my favorites of shannon's co-workers. the meal was nyeh.

by the end of the awards show, my voice was pretty much blown and i was really tired, so i snuck out, without saying my goodbyes, which weighed on me, and headed up to the room to crawl into bed. i couldn't sleep because of the indecorous amounts of fluid in my sinuses, and the gods were cruel in their TV programming. (so unfair! i don't have a TV and only watch TV in hotels or at other people's house, so it's kind of a special occasion!) shannon stayed and hobnobbed for a long, long time, and didn't get back to the room until 1:30am or so, which was unfortunate for both of us, because we had to leave at 5am for the drive home because my friend's baby shower was at noon in marin. oof.

one of my skills is coping well on limited sleep, which is very useful. so, i told myself that i wasn't going to SLEEP, i was laying down for NAP. pretty impressive, huh? it worked like a charm! i woke up tired, but not groggy and miserable, though by mid-morning i was pooped. the drive was long and boring, as usual, though the rain has made the central valley really green, so it was less ugly than usual.

i got to the baby shower in time, despite some rain-related traffic on the way. my voice was pretty much completely gone, and i had a terrible sounding cough, so i checked in with the mama, to see if my wretched soundingness would be unwelcome, and after she checked with her mom, who's a nurse, she said it was fine. i'm really glad i went, too, because it was tremendously beautiful, in a way that i've never experienced with traditional baby showers.

first, a bunch of my best ladies were there, and we've all been friends for over ten years, and it was pretty amazing being there to celebrate the first one of us moving into motherhood. we don't get together a lot, aside from major occasions, and the last times i've seen all of them have been sad ones - my mom's funeral, ana's mom's funeral, some birthdays. it was nice to be in a not sad, not loud gathering with them, where we could really talk.

the shower itself was much more of a rite of passage ceremony, marking zoe's transition from the maiden phase of her life, into motherhood. her mom was there, running things, as were a whole circle of ladies of all different ages, celebrating the transition. there were lots of tears and lots of laughter. in my head, that kind of thing sounds uncomfortable and embarrassing, but it was perfect and lovely and warm and beautiful and i was very thankful to be included. made me a bit baby yearny, but not insanely so. just a little jealous, managably so.

it also made me miss my mom a lot, and wish she was alive still to throw me a magical, goddess-y baby shower. just another of the myriad things i wish she was here to do, but it was painful being in such a motherhood-centric space and gathering, knowing my mom is dead and i don't have that anymore. i've been a little raw about mom again, with selling the house and saying adieu to allen. it's the closing of another chapter of mom's life, and there aren't really anymore of those, that i can think of. yeah, allen was a huge problem for us, and the entire situation with him is still such a throbbing OUCH in my head and heart, but he was mom's partner and was a part of her and a connection to her life. with each chapter closed, it's almost like she didn't live. not really, but a bit. there are less and less reminders, as the physical artifacts of her life are dispersed, and the people spread out. being at the house was so good-bad, and inheriting it was like everything else that was left over, where the reminder was both extremely painful and also comforting. so, losing that was great, because i have one less irritant, but still.

as i'm struggling to recover from the flu, my wisdom teeth have begun to really bother me. lame timing, body. not cool. so, full of snot and coughing, i met with an oral surgeon today, to get them taken out. just the toppers. i guess i don't have bottom ones. (because i have absorbed them, and their accompanying wisdom already, probably. that's what got me through mom's death.) so, removal next week. i've never had nitrous oxide, and i get to take valium, too. so, that's something. i'm really sick of coughing and having to sleep with my mouth open so i can breath through my mouth. i'll be thankful when this all dries up.

i signed up for a workshop next month. i'll talk more about that later, though. it's a long story.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

how am i doing?

i'm okay.
thanks for asking.
lacking a bit in the joie-de-vivre, but i think it's unrealistic to expect myself to greet every day with a twinkle in my eye and a song in my heart. sometimes you're just plodding along, the best you can, keeping on keeping on.
i've been thinking a lot about time and mortality.
i feel a little silly getting morbid at 30, since my grandmother still referred to women in the 40s as 'young ladies,' but i have actually been having 'i wish i could go back in time and re-do things' thoughts.
i'm only getting older, guys.
i know we all are, and that's not a revelation, but it's sobering to be faced by mortality, even for a moment. given how much of our time is spent pretending we'll never die, it's a shock to get it.

this is my only chance to be me.
i don't exactly feel like i've wasted my life up until this point. i certainly haven't been living large, or doing extraordinary things, but i also haven't been hurting people on purpose or causing harm or anything. my life so far hasn't been a failure, but it hasn't been what i thought it would be. i think teenage kira would be a little disappointed. of course, teenage kira was a bit of an asshole, so her opinions aren't the most reliable.
i just am feeling time passing, and myself getting older.
i have this weird thing under my chin, like i'm developing an wattle. that's time, right there. gross.
i'm meditating again, and reading my buddhism books.
whenever i remember that there is no 'good' or 'bad,' just things that happen and my evaluations about them, it's a relief.
working on mindfulness. working on stillness. working on doing no harm, which isn't hard in some ways (like not hitting people) but is hard in other ways (not thinking negative things about other drivers.) it all counts though.
also, letting go of the idea that i am going to change, going to get better, that my life should be different than it is...such a shock.
i am who i am.
not that i have no interest in consciously avoiding behavior that causes harm, because i do.
but letting go of the illusion that i am ever not going to be filled with concerns and insecurities and regrets and unfriendly thoughts. it'll always be there. and there's nothing wrong with it. it just is the way that it is.
what would life be like if we remembered all the time that we are fine already?
i honestly can't imagine.
and again, the goal isn't to never suffer again, because it'll happen.
i'll disappoint myself. i'll disappoint others. i'll make huge mistakes that i can barely face.
it'll just happen, so i can let go of being worried about it.
the goal is to be gentle about it.
to treat myself and others like my favorite person, for whom i have infinite forgiveness.
obvs not the point of letting myself be an asshole or letting other people treat me like crap.
i know that this isn't a life's plan, but while i am chewing over the idea of a life plan, this is a very nice way to spend my time.
not writing in my novel at all, but writing in my blogs a lot more.
that's something, i think.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

compassionate fascism.

so, i started a new blog, compassionate fascism.

i've been feeling like i might want a second place to share stuff that isn't at all related to my mental/emotional state. sometimes i'm not feeling like pouring my heart out, but i *am* feeling like sharing a youtube video of a cat riding on a roomba. it feels weird to post something that silly on the same place i post about missing my mom, so i thought i'd keep them separate. i know there are some people who read this blog to see how i'm doing, who may not be interested in the things i'm looking at on the internet, for whatever reason. uncle keith may not want to read the hilarious recap of this week's episode of the reality show 'the pick-up artist.' (though why he wouldn't want to is a mystery because duh. i don't even watch tv and i am interested in hilarious recaps of anything.)

i've also been compiling ideas and thoughts of different kinds and i wanted a place that made them easier to find. so, if there's a beauty product i love, i can put the suggestion there so it's easier to search for. or a list of kid's movies that i think are pretty good and won't make you want to die if you have to watch them a thousand times. so those will go there, too.

finally, i have been working on my political system, compassionate fascism, for a long, long time, but it's such a huge idea and huge project that posting about it here would take things in a different direction. so, since it's based on my own impeccable sense of right and wrong, and it being imposed on the country at large, it seemed appropriate to post ideas about that here, where i am already telling you what i think you should like or not like.

anyway, i hope you'll like them BOTH, for different reasons.

if you're feeling inclined, you can become an official FOLLOWER of my blogs. if you already have a blogger account, it's easy to do. it's nice to know who is reading this, and it's a nice way to make me feel like i'm not writing into a vacuum. no pressure. but it would make me happy if you did.

i'll be back soon writing about deep stuff. don't worry. it won't be ALL cats-on-roombas from now on.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

the world, and what it's coming to.

* i know capital punishment is a little stiff and an eye for an eye and blahblablah. but still. shouldn't there be a more serious response to this stuff?

* at least there's SOME good news. we should have civil war there all the time! (just kidding, they already do.) what kind of a monster would kill a fucking gorilla, by the way?

this actually brings me to something i have been pondering lately. both of these stories do, really.

are there some things, some behaviors, that are so heinous that they are deal breakers and deserve execution? killing someone in the heat of the moment doesn't count, to me. i've done some pretty heinous things to inanimate objects in the heat of the moment, so i can't judge. plus, there are totally cases where i feel like someone kinda needed killing. dude's beating his kid to death...should the mom/other kid/neighbor call the cops and wait, or should they just hit the dude in the head with a shovel, or shoot him or something? duh. (well, to me, duh. maybe not to you.) if it's a life or death situation, defending yourself is okay, i say. serial killers, though...

so most serial killers are so fucked in the head that it's unlikely that they will ever be rehabilitated. so, maybe we should just kill them, right? if there's 100% solid evidence, not based on anything debunkable, aren't we all safer if they're just put down like rabid dogs? you don't blame a rabid dog for being rabid because it's not his fault, and i think the same thing about serial killers. it's not their fault, they're just too sick and dangerous to live. a friend referred to it as 'weeding the garden.' if you let the weeds take over, they'll do it. they're not bad, they're just doing what weeds do, but if you want your garden to be harmonious, you gotta get those opportunistic, serial killing weeds outta there. that makes sense to me, though is a more cosmetic metaphor than is really accurate.

what about child molesters? should they be executed? most of them have been molested themselves, and, much like alcoholism, molestation is a gift that keeps on giving a lot of the time. molestation seems like an impulse control problem. i really want an expensive purse, but i'm not going to take it because it's illegal and there are consequences that i'm not interested in accepting. i think about being single sometimes, but i don't act on it. when mykhail is driving me crazy, i day dream about a tranquilizer or ether soaked rag, but i'm not going to take those thoughts beyond idle pondering. IMPULSE CONTROL. we can't help what pops up in our heads a lot of the time. maybe you're a person who has some criminally disgusting stuff popping up in your head. that's maybe not your fault. but when you act on it, THAT is your fault.

(side note: are the people who come up with torture porn movies like 'saw' and stuff monsters? again, you can't necessarily help that some seriously unpleasant ideas pop into your head, but making a movie out of them and then making jillions of dollars by spewing that into the mainstream of culture? pretty monstrous, i think. i know there's a market for it, and if they're not making it someone else will and everything else. but still. *i* think those people are gross and are possibly contributing to the slow and steady slide of our culture into total depravity. i also question what is wrong with someone that they would find those movies enjoyable to watch. i know some totally-mostly-normal people who enjoy them, but i am still concerned. is your head okay? are you a sicko inside? because indulging that kinda stuff doesn't seem healthy to me.)

so, impluse control. i think that we need to have more room in our culture for people to be open about deviant thoughts, if only to encourage them to ask for help. i'd rather a person be going to therapy to address their pedophile thoughts that skulking around in shame, being lurky and having no support in resisting the urges. are there support groups for that? there should be. LET IT BE SO.

i think that finding sexually deviant things arousing would be pretty distressing. i am taking it as a given that people can't choose to be, gay, which some feel is deviant sexuality. if you are from a community that finds homosexuality deviant, the social pressure to NOT be gay is so strong that it's inconceivable to me that anyone would decide willingly to live a lifestyle that possibly alienates them from their friends and family. sorry, that makes no sense. so, i think the same thing applies to being a pedophile, though i am in NO WAY implying that they are equally deviant. AT ALL.

as a culture, we have an agreement that children are not sex objects. (though the child beauty pageant people are waffling on that agreement, i think.) other cultures in the history of humankind have not had the same agreement, but we, in the western modern world think that, say pre-pubescent kids are absolutely not to be sexualized. so imagine the horror with which someone would realize they were having such deeply taboo thoughts. this is not the sort of thing they would choose willingly. but there it is, in their heads. how frustrating for them, to be forever completely unable to act on such a strong impulse. like being a black slave who realizes he's not really attracted to black women and just wants to marry a white lady. totally not ever going to happen. not your fault, but let it go. the frustration. but, given the rules of the time and place we live in, you are just destined to have to live without forever.

up until this point, i can sympathize, in the sense that i can really imagine that would be very painful. you didn't ask for this, you don't want it, but it's in your head and it's not going away. tragic, really.

but if you DO act on it, either in pursuing the acquisition of child porn or being pervy in other ways that don't include actual molestation but do cross into actively indulging your desires, i say you're guilty and that's on YOU, not your messed up head.

so, in that case, should the person be allowed to have another chance to work on their impulse control? should they be allowed back into society? let's use the best case scenario and have a sex offender who is genuine remorseful and absolutely does not want to repeat their behavior. should they be allowed to struggle with their potentially deeply damaging urges, or should we, as society, just say, 'sorry, man, not worth the risk' and, like, chemically castrate them? or should we manually castrate them, just to be sure? the ACLU says chemical castration is cruel and unusual punishment, and while i tend to agree with them and am all for rights, i think i might have to beg to differ.

this sort of gets into another issue. obviously other cultures have very different ideas about what rights humans inherently have. in cultures where there is tremendous poverty and overpopulation, people seem to have a 'swim or sink' attitude about each other. human life is a lot less precious than it is here. i think we can afford to think that each human life is precious, because we're living our lives much further from death than the majority of the world. but it seems like in much of the rest of the world, people are seen as darn-near disposable.
"whatever, it's another orphaned toddler huffing a glue soaked rag in a doorway. pesky kids. i'm gonna throw a rock at them!"
as opposed to:
"holy mary mother of god, that toddler is filthy and starving and is possibly huffing glue! that child is in danger and needs to be taken care of NOW! I'M ON IT!"

it's easy for us, in wealthy nations, to judge the inhumanity of another culture's attitude towards their less fortunate. (though we shouldn't be too smug, considering the state of our inner cities, which are barely better than shanty towns.) but this idea that each person is a unique, magical being who deserves to be allowed to pursue its destiny in freedom is based on the assumption that people have the luxury of thinking about their destiny and their heart's desire, which is a HUGE assumption. most of human history is paved with millions of people who lived at subsistence level, at best, and died hard deaths. they lived hard, died hard, and no one knows who they are or who they were. even US history. industrial revolution. westward expansion. the eradication of the entire indigenous people's population. those weren't places or times where people were spending much time questioning their heart's desires. their heart's desire was to not die like a dog in the street and most of them didn't achieve even that meager goal.

so who says that we suddenly deserve this? i'm not saying we don't, i'm just asking WHY we think we do now? because it's a pretty unrealistic expectation. the idea that we all deserve true love, deeply fulfilling lives, total self-determination... those are ideas we are lucky to be able to expect. certainly religion makes the pill easier to swallow, with a 'do your best now, it'll all work out in the after-life/next-life' rationale for waiting out the crappy parts.

but this is all human logic applied to circumstance.

what is true is that some people will live satisfying, joyful lives. some of them will be rich and some of them will not be. a lot of people will live lives in which they feel powerless, hopeless, loveless. they may or may not get another chance to work it out. this might be their only shot at living.

so, by letting a dangerous person muddle along, doing their best, but maybe making mistakes that ruin other people's lives, are we saying that the destiny of that one person is more important than the destiny of all their potential victims? i mean, there's not guarantee that they will be repeat offenders, though recidivism among sex offenders is discouragingly high. is preemptively punishing them cruel, because it doesn't give them a chance to NOT do it, or is it smart because it doesn't give them a chance TO do it? i don't have an answer, i'm just wondering.

there was a scene in the last season of 'the wire' where some kids are pouring lighter fluid on a stray cat, obviously getting ready to do some gnarly fucked up stuff. let's not get into how upsetting it was that the writers and directors had this be in the scene, though it was deeply upsetting to me and shannon, and how unnecessary it was to include it, though i think it was totally unnecessary. let's just say it's a real thing that happens, since it is. what is wrong with a culture that raises kids that think that way? or that raises adults to see street gangs of orphaned kids as no better than stray dogs?

there is a famous ethnography called death without weeping. it addresses what i think is the central cause of these levels of cruelty, where people live such grindingly difficult lives, without any tenderness at all, that the softness is just seared out of them. even in shannon's town, i see some of it. if you and everyone you know has been raised by alcoholics and meth addicts and you had the crap beaten out of you by your parents and older siblings and everyone who was physically able to beat the crap out of you, and every dog you've ever known has spent its entire life on the end of a 5ft chain in someone's yard, all year round, it's not hard to imagine you'd end up a hard person. no one ever did anything kind for you, so where would you learn that kindness was even a thing that existed?

so, those monster kids who were getting ready to burn that cat, are they basically destined to be future criminal and monster adults, given that they have been allowed to develop that kind of mentality? can people change?

again, i don't know. i'm wondering myself.

* on a lighter note, is "greasy bear" the best/worst nickname ever, or what?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Blogging via email?

I've never done this before, emailing a blog post to Blogger.
Will it work?
We shall see.

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, January 24, 2009


fleet foxes were amazing on SNL this week.

it makes me happy that there are young men who are expressing themselves this way.

Friday, January 16, 2009

grab bag, miscellany.

this is our new doctor!

* um...ew. just...ew.

* my homeboy (in my head), gabe, at videogum, breaks it down about new reality show, bromance.

* i seriously, strangely, love me some posh spice, but this is just excessive.

* i dont get many chances to use my 'val kilmer' tag.

* i've been feeling so excited about obama lately, but i felt kinda sad for GWB and his final presidential address. being a lame duck must be a terrible feeling, after being the aggressive male duck of the walk for so long. don't get me wrong. hey, GWB, don't let the screen door hit you on the way out of office, 'kay? but still. i root for the underdog, even when the underdog totally destroyed the country and encouraged policies that dragged the entire world into financial catastrophe. he has feelers, too, guys! (i like the part in the second article, where he says, basically, "you might not agree with the tough decisions i made, but you can't say i didn't have the guts to make those really bad, horrifying decisions that everyone in the world thought were appalling." it's both funny and true, because (a) i don't agree with your decisions and (b) i can't deny you made those decisions.)

* it's so lame that someone as gross as this guy gets to have a bunch of money while people who work hard can't make it happen.

* i bought this for you for your birthday. or christmas. i can't decide which to use it for.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

new year.

so, 2009, huh?

2008, not my favorite year.

i know i said the same thing about 2007, too, but the statement is no less true for being repeated. basically, the late Aughts have been tough for me and mine. it pains me to become all eeyore about stuff, but i think i'm over hoping that next year will be better. pema chodron is anti-hope anyway, so i don't feel like it's the worst thing ever to let go of hoping things will be different than they are. thing will be however they will be (isn't there a song about that?) and i'll just keep moving forward. like a glacier. except they're receding with global warming, i think. still. i'll move forward like a thing that moves inexorably forward. (pulitzer price committee, there's no 'c' in fisher.)

i had a talk with lu and tab about my state of mind/heart a couple of days after christmas. certainly it fluctuates a bit on a day-to-day basis, and it might even change a bit within one day, but if we were to smooth the little ups and downs into a general curve, in order to make a blanket statement, i'd describe my general state of mind as 'poor.' i'm still In It, as they say. i'm trying to be done. i am trying to move on to the next phase, where things feel more manageable, and i even got there for a while, i think. but i'm not there anymore. i'm back in the wanting to wear pajamas all day phase. i'm finding it hard to get even the most basic things done. i have no energy for any of the things that made me feel happier before - writing, cooking, the gym. it's not happening for me.

i'm having a REALLY hard time taking care of The Kid. whatever stores of nurturing energy i had in reserve is completely tapped out right now. even the idea of having a baby is exhausting and deeply unpleasant right now, whereas a couple of months ago, i was pretty much set on it. i've been daydreaming about never having a kid lately, just having myself to take care of.

looking back over the last few years, i've spent a lot of time taking care of other people and creatures. no need to list them all here, though if you'd like one, i'm happy to supply it. i don't regret learning how to care for others. i think that was a muscle that was weak to the point of being non-existent prior to mom's cancer, so it was good for me to learn it, though it would've been nice to have a gentler learning curve. i am a softer, better person for it, absolutely. but i could really use some more time to take care of myself. i actually feel like my need to take care of myself is nearly impossible to satisfy. like, no matter how much time i have to focus on myself, i feel like i'll never be done with needing more. and i'm feeling an insatiable need for others to take care of me, too.

in my buddhist practice, i am working on compassion for myself and others. in fact, i have never been one for new year's resolutions, but i made an informal one this year, which is just that: to practice compassion for myself at all times, even when i feel like i don't deserve it. even when i am really sure that i am The Worst and totally shouldn't be treated with love and respect, i am going to endeavor to STILL greet myself with as much forgiveness and love as i can muster. the voice of compassion to me is my mom's voice, which makes the practice painful. when i'm really filled with self-loathing and shame, the way i often bring myself back is my imagining what my mom would say if i were discussing it with her. she had a low tolerance for other people beating themselves up, and an infinite capacity to forgive. there is something so comforting about the idea of her reminding me that i am doing the best i can do, and that that's enough. for some reason telling myself that doesn't mean anything at all. it has to be in my mom's voice.

i worry a bit that i have lost the capacity for self-forgiveness and receiving comfort from others because no one does it the way i want it done, because my mom is the person who i want to be comforted by. it's like every shoulder i cry on is just not quite right. no one pets my head the right way. but what do i do now, since that perfect shoulder is gone? i can't just spend the rest of my life unsatisfied with the comfort i am offered, by myself or others. that sounds shitty.

i feel like people are sick of me being so sad. i feel like everyone thinks i am faking. i think on some level i actually believe i am faking - that i could be trying harder, doing better, and i'm choosing not to, because i'm lazy or something. i feel like people are sick of me being so needy for reassurance. i feel like people hate the new sad kira and miss the old fun selfish kira. (i know i certainly miss her sometimes.) i guess all these things i am imagining other people thinking are just the things i'm thinking. "why aren't you better yet? it's been more than a year. you're not that sad. you just spent hours laughing with friends, so you can't be that sad. get over it. you're just pretending you're sad because you're lazy and you don't want to get anything done and this is a good excuse that no one will be allowed to call you on. look at other people - they're going through worse things than you and they're working, spending time with friends, calling people, grocery shopping, vaccuming. what's your fucking problem, aside from being a lazy piece of crap?"

that monologue feels way more real and truthful to me than the good stuff. the 'i'm doing the best i can. if i could be doing better, i would be. even when i fail, that was the best i could do that day.' that seems pretty flimsy to me. 'i really miss my mom' seems like the lamest excuse in the world.

but you guys, i really miss her.

today, right now, i'm not doing well.

maybe tomorrow it'll feel more manageable, but right now, i feel like i'm smothering under this and like it's never, ever going to get better.

i've been thinking a lot about john travolta and kelly preston. i finally understand why people write letters to celebrities, especially after tragedies like this. i thought a lot about jennifer hudson, too, after her family got killed. i just keep thinking about the sadness i struggle with, the loss, the hopelessness, and i think about how fresh it all is for them, and how terrible every morning must feel right now. before mom got sick, i think i consciously muted my ability to take in sadnesses around me. i don't think having a filter is wrong. without a damper, how would anyone get out of bed in the morning in a world with darfurs and gazas and the drug epidemic and the situation in the inner cities. so much misery. but being in the midst of it myself RIGHT NOW, i find my ability to mute it mostly gone. i don't know john travolta at all, obviously, but i find myself crying for him, and how sad him and his wife must be. it's sort of embarrassing to me, actually. mostly because it's involuntary, like hiccuping or something. i can't help thinking about them all the time, and since i'm always a bit on the verge of tears, there they are again. (the fact that they're scientologists and didn't get their probably autistic son any kind of treatment is beside the point. they loved him and showed it in a way that was meaningful for them, and their loss is no less profound for them being scientologists and wingnuts.)

i'm just really tired.

i wish everything and everyone would take a break from needing me to manage them, even a little, and i could have some time to do whatever i want or need to without any scrutiny. i mean EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. houseplants, cats, puppy, husband, friends, bills, dust, self-esteem...i want everything to stop asking me for something for some length of time - just take care of yourself or accept that i have nothing to offer right now, but still need a lot of giving from you - and i'll see if i can fill this bottomless pit.

(obviously i know everyone and everything have already kind of been needing to do this, since my capacity to fully participate in anything is entirely intermittent and has been for a couple of years now, and i totally appreciate everything that everyone has done for me. this isn't to suggest that i am not being given enough, or that i am being asked for more than is fair. quite the contrary. i am just still not done needing really intensive nurturing, i feel like, but i also feel like i have moved past the point where anyone finds that acceptable or an idea worth entertaining.)

i've had a few ideas about writing. i think i might have a kid's book floating around in my head. i'm wanting to write, but haven't gotten there in a couple of weeks.

the pup continues to be so cute it's a little annoying. he's just relentless. i want to talk all about him, but i think that might be boring for everyone, though why i should feel like the minutiae of my puppy's life would be less interesting that the minutiae of my emotional life is a mystery.

been doing some clothes shopping with my christmas money. lotsa good sales right now.

the puppy has mastered the doggie door, but i can't for the life of me master the art of walking my dog, the way cesar millan wants us to.

i need a hair cut and i haven't gotten waxed in months.

my house constantly looks like crap with the dog added into the equation. i was barely holding steady with the cats, but with the dog added in, i'm getting trounced.

i'm worried i've lost the ability to be cheerful, in general, and that i'm just going to be a sad person forever.

oh well.

a new year, another chance to do my best and see what happens, i guess.

the second year of my life that mom wasn't alive for.