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