and at the end

While I respect the idea of new year’s resolutions, my take on the year’s end is a little less internal. Instead of making rules for myself about my conduct and ideals, I’m going to address just a few people in my life who read this journal. You made this past year everything it was, and I want to thank you.

  • Brina and David, for being my two pillars of support. I have had a rough year; in some ways, it was nearly as rough as 02002, and you were both there for me through that, too. I would not have made it intact without you.
  • Light for being present, always. When I am darkened, I know I can always find your Light.
  • Matt for your wisdom and humor. I am learning to just breathe, and that is because of your influence.
  • Ergazork for listening to my neurotic ramblings and giving me excellent advice and validating me, and for WWE smackdowns too.
  • Wendy for giving our friendship another try.
  • FunkyPlaid for sharing your precious last two months in the States with me, for tea and sympathy, for new music and new friends, and for hope when hope seemed lost.
  • Lara for your unending and unconditional love.
  • Mike for creative exploration and collaboration.
  • Ityllux for getting me outside myself.
  • Jim for always looking out for me. And for dancing.
  • Mish for your boundless compassion and understanding.
  • And last but not least, thank you to the MSG for taking a chance on me.

Current mood: Current music:

just anyone

I don’t know if you realize this or not, but I don’t cut shallots into teeny tiny translucent slices with a ceramic knife, drive to and from Santa Rosa IN THE RAIN, or meet both sets of parental units for just anyone.

Let alone all three within the space of two days.

I have to say, meeting the parents was the least painful part of the process. It was actually – dare I say it – fun! The shallots, though. Those were a bitch. Good thing the truffled potatoes and celery root au gratin (none other than fontina for the gratin part) ruled. And we won’t even mention the driving.

Even though the gifts I’ve ordered a certain person have been held hostage by the cruel, cruel USPS, he insisted I open his to me on Christmas Eve. So I did. It is a gorgeous chess set, the most unique and beautiful I’ve ever seen, with stainless steel pieces on a wooden board. We started a game that night, after a few glasses of wine, then went to bed, so you might imagine the endgame yesterday: lots of confused chuckling, several exclamations of, “what was I doing there?” along with a truly painful checkmate.

I don’t let just anyone beat me at chess, either.

I think it’s time for me to distract this someone from “Star Wars: Galaxies”. Happy holidays, everyone.

Current mood: Current music:


Everyone’s gone home except a few English language school students and me. Furiously checking email, the students point and click and type and frown and glance at the clock and glance at me and the seconds keep dwindling between Access and No Access Until 5 January.

But the daylight waxes already again, and it’s the twenty-third, and so close to the new year I can see it sparkling through the slumbering trees.

Twenty-three, that number always with me: a spectre, a will o’ the wisp, a touchstone, a black feather.

Between what I see in my head and what I have in my hand is a small space. We can jump, you and I, if we only give each other a sly smile right before



On the other side now;

see you there.

Current mood: Current music:

withdrawal symptoms

Unsurprising, yes, that I am withdrawing,

and so it goes.


Scott got me hooked on “24” with the DVDs of the first season. Some of my fondest memories of spending time with him this past year involved curling up on the couch and watching five or six episodes straight. Then he sent me the second season on DVD not too long ago, and I finally broke them open the other night.

Yesterday I watched eight episodes. I almost did not stop to eat. But I did. I had baked beans and watched another one.

Saturday night, I bought tickets for “The Return of the King” on Fandango and drove into the city to pick up the MSG. We were supposed to see it on Wednesday night, but I was still recovering from the Evil Death Flu of Doom.

When I hit Divisadero and California, I knew it was going to be an interesting night. All the lights were out. All of them. We drove past the theatre anyway, just to check. Nope.

The night was not a wash, though, since I finally got to eat at the MSG’s favorite sushi place, which is a wonderful place indeed. Mojitos and yet another fascinating discussion of politics at Bliss; I became overwhelmed with a moment, watching the vertical shadows that the light fixtures threw on the red wall: mint in my mouth, thick scarf around my neck, his hand on the small of my back. At once, I felt what I could only term the Outside of me – the me that always watches myself, always evaluates, and second-guesses as well – melt away. It left; it seeped out of my fingertips and along the bar and out into the chilled night.

A valiant attempt at creating a cocktail from carrot juice and gin resulted in orange silt in a martini glass when the lights came back on, abruptly, with a noise like the television turning on although it wasn’t, just before six o’clock. I sat bolt upright in bed and announced, “I will turn everything off.” But I left the fan on, we discovered hours later. Odd to touch every switch in a row but that one. My reason was: more air. Give me more to breathe.

There are now cappuccino-flavored almonds in the back seat of my car, and I still haven’t seen the movie I waited a year to see, and not half of my holiday shopping is done, and I’m dying to know what happens next in “24”, and I lost as many friends as I made this year. I can’t figure it all out; I can’t even think about it, most days.

And you know, the Outside came back, creeping in as I drove alone over the big tomato-red bridge. At least now I know she can go away for a while. At least now I know.

Current mood: Current music:

[meme] forty questions about 02003

Okay, I’m breaking my self-imposed LiveJournal silence, but only for a meme, which was ganked from Tommx. [some answers edited on 30 December 02003]

  1. What did you do in 02003 that you’d never done before? Lived by myself. Went to Amsterdam, Brussels, and Hamburg with Scott. Threw up as a result of drinking too much at FunkyPlaid’s going-away party. Went to the movies by myself. Was featured on an open-mic night. Went on a blind date. Met They Might Be Giants. Drank a martini.

  2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I don’t remember if I even made them last year. I won’t make them for next year.

  3. Did anyone close to you give birth? I hope not. That would be messy.

  4. Did anyone close to you die? No.

  5. What countries did you visit? The Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany.

  6. What would you like to have in 02004 that you lacked in 02003? Peace of mind.

  7. What date from 02003 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 31 October 02003, because of the wonderful first date with the MSG.

  8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Living on my own … and enjoying the hell out of it.

  9. What was your biggest failure? Not getting my undergrad stuff done in time so I could get into grad school for the fall. hrf

  10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I fell up a flight of stairs, and I got the Evil Death Flu of Doom.

  11. What was the best thing you bought? My 12” PowerBook. (Thanks, Gramma.)

  12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My two full-time employees. Sent from above, they were.

  13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Dubya, of course.

  14. Where did most of your money go? Rent.

  15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Going to Europe. Graduating from college. My very first “featured” poetry reading. Meeting John and John of They Might Be Giants in person.

  16. What song will always remind you of 02003? “Till the Clouds Clear” by Lamb.

  17. Compared to this time last year, are you: i. happier or sadder? a bajillion times happier. ii. thinner or fatter? thinner. iii. richer or poorer? richer, but only by a few bucks.

  18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Reading.

  19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Worrying.

  20. How will you be spending Christmas? Relaxing with the MSG and his assorted familial units. NOT traveling, for once in my life, thank the Light.

[Someone apparently stole 21. What kind of fucking sicko steals 21 from a questionnaire? Bastards.]

  1. Did you fall in love in 02003? Yes.

  2. How many one-night stands? Zero.

  3. What was your favorite TV program? Considering I haven’t owned a television for the entirety of 02003, I will have to say “Farscape” on DVD. Yay, Netflix!

  4. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? I’m not a hater. But if anything, I’ve let go of bad feelings for a few people that I had been carrying around a while.

  5. What was the best book you read? We by Yevgeny Zamyatin.

  6. What was your greatest musical discovery? Lamb. (Thanks, D.)

  7. What did you want and get? My 12” PowerBook.

[29 is also suspiciously absent. I believe it was kidnapped by aliens. It had something to do with Nutella. Aliens love Nutella.]

  1. What was your favorite film of this year? “Lost in Translation” by a landslide. Although I haven’t seen “The Return of the King” yet.

  2. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? Prepared for my trip to Europe. I was 30.

  3. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? If I hadn’t beaten myself up over the choices I’ve made.

  4. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 02003? BWAHAHAH. “Personal fashion concept”? Are you kidding me? Try my USUAL personal fashion concept: anything black, charcoal, aubergine, silver or pearl-white that appeals to my slightly quirky and androgynous sense of style. Big black boots. Biker jacket. Silver pocketwatch. Little to no makeup or perfume. You get the gist.

  5. What kept you sane? Talking with my friends. Writing. Dancing. Singing in the car. Walking. Masturbating. And occasionally, screaming my fool head off.

  6. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? John Linnell of They Might Be Giants.

  7. What political issue stirred you the most? USA PATRIOT Act (H.R. 3162). No surprise there.

  8. Who did you miss? FunkyPlaid. Lara. Roe. Adam. Lunesse. Dad. Mom. Star Chamber.

  9. Who was the best new person you met? How does one evaluate “best” when it comes to people? I met several wonderful folks this year, but I’m not going to rank them.

  10. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 02003: Do not hold things in. Let them out. Be compassionate when you do, but let them out. Your opinions, your concerns, your feelings are every bit as important as others’ and those close to you will know and respect this. Smothering them does no one any good. Let them out.

  11. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

    what’s left to say with all that’s come and gone words get in the way and anyway the devil’s got your tongue and a storm brews inside and there’s nowhere to hide it’s gonna blow your cover sky high if you let this thing go it’s gonna burn it’s gonna burn you’re gonna take the whole world with you when you go

o what you gonna do when the storm takes over o what you gonna do when the storm takes over

so here you are demons screaming in your head you try to shut them out but they just get louder instead and nothing you do can seem to break through this darkness smothering you when it takes hold your heart turns cold the very soul seeps out of you

o what you gonna do when the storm takes over you can you hold this thing can you hold this thing till the clouds clear

Back to lurking in the shadows for this little introvert. Nothing to see here, move along …

be what you would seem to be

From Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll:

“I quite agree with you,” said the Duchess; “and the moral of that is — ‘Be what you would seem to be’ — or if you’d like it put more simply — ‘Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.’”
The time has come, the Halsted said, to talk of … not a thing.

I will not be writing in this journal for the remainder of 02003. Have a wonderful December, folks.

Current mood: Current music:

swan not cat

and it is stupid to feel the way i feel but no feelings are stupid i heard once in therapy the time before the last time which was the first time unless we’re counting the time when i was in junior high and had to speak with a counselor about being assaulted but i’m not counting that time because i was terrified to say a thing to her i was mostly concentrating on the thick mole that grew from the corner of her mouth and how it wiggled when she looked at me with concerned big eyes

but it is stupid we have established this so let’s leave it alone put it on pause for now

there is so much stuff in my little room and no matter how much i straighten up throw things away reorganize it there is too much stuff and i wonder how easily i agreed to rent my place and i wonder if that was just an escape from what i was escaping from or if it was because it had DSL or if it was because i was tired of getting lost in greater marin or commuting ten miles over the course of an hour or longer

there are whole boxes of things that were technically mine but i do not recognize them anymore things that i never wanted to be mine things that do not reflect me and things that are not even detritus of a former life they are just things and pieces i do not recognize and broken-off plastic bits that don’t make any sense and if i could lift the fucking box it’d be gone by now

in the midst of cleaning last night greg emailed me subject line call me right now and wrote it is three o’clock my time you have fifteen minutes and it was so not-greg to demand a call that i called immediately and i got in the car with my headset as i do and i drove around and we talked and he made me laugh with stories about how his life is sucking because that is what greg does

next year i will have known him for twelve years next year we’ll be carousing at our friend dan’s wedding somewhere in the northeast and next year we’ll have the year we never thought we’d have with dan being properly married the one of the four of us who makes simultaneously the least and most sense

i cleaned and cleaned i shredded receipts i filed papers i shoved books into my poor lumpy bookshelves and after greg went to bed i thought about ice-skating and my head got full and soggy it was time to sleep i knew that but my palm wouldn’t sync and those fucking boxes are still there and then there is always the issue of laundry

there is always the issue of something or of something else

i have so many books that they are threatening to take over most of my room and sometimes i feel like i live in a pillow fort except made of books and i have my own door yet no doorbell but my SMS sounds like a doorbell and when people hear it they always ask what was that and i tell them i got a text message and they say but it sounds like a doorbell even if we are nowhere near a door or if we are outside

a lot of people looked at me strangely in ohio a lot more than i am used to in fact i positively blend in here in san francisco here in the land of pierced septums and inked elbows and unnatural haircolors and all that fashion i am used to blending in sneaky like ninja i am sneaky like ninja all in black but not too black just faded black like dusty pavement

and in ohio i was so strangely not myself although i was myself but then again someone else partially not entirely and i was with my family so that was a change when they all call me by a certain name and i forget to respond ohio is a place that reminds me of where i was born and where i escaped and this one guy in a cowboy hat on the day of the parade kept walking past me and glaring and i think that was his way of hitting on me because my stepmom and aunt tittered and said he likes you

the idea of someone liking me is logical but still largely unabsorbed by the rest of me i am more prone to think he was intrigued by a visual disturbance like one would scrutinize and maybe even obsess over the sight of a purple cat

i came back from ohio feeling like the buddha and end up this week feeling like king ludwig apropos because he was the swan king

but i am just a swan

a swan in need of a new nest and a heavy moult

Current mood: Current music:

IRC still 0wnz

ed__ says, "unf unf unf"
cygnoir unf unf unf
ed__ says, "unf unf unf!"
ed__ says, "we are having turn-based sex0rs"
cygnoir lol
ed__ says, "IT IS YOUR TURN"
cygnoir falls over.
cygnoir rolls a d4.  DAMMIT!
ed__ says, ":

Current mood:
Current music:

tomorrow the death

Having not been ice skating in a quarter-century, I figured it was about damned time. Also, I have never had stitches and it’s on my “forty things to do before I’m forty” list.

So tomorrow night, I have agreed to participate in an ice-skating double-date. Duties have been assigned as follows:    + Halsted: Twisting, spraining, and/or breaking some part of my body. Anything, really. I’m taking this one for the team!    + Halsted’s date, the MSG: Hot toddy patrol and subsequent monitoring. If we are too hot-toddied to walk to the rink, chances are we’re too hot-toddied to strap thin metal blades to our feet and perambulate across frozen water.    + Brina: Distracting us all with sparkly things. (As per usual.) This task becomes quite easy when used in conjunction with the MSG’s task.    + Brina’s date, BritButt: Properly casting each of us in “Disney on Ice” roles. He’s already cast himself as Sleeping Beauty, as he has the cheekbones for it. I will be auditioning for Lumiere from “Beauty and the Beast”.

Since today is potentially my last day pre-mortal-coil-shuffling-off, I would like to formally state some last wishes. First of all, no funeral. Party yes, funeral no. TMBG’s “Dead” must play at some point during this party. No flowers or frou-frou, but monetary donations to my library will be encouraged. My black biker jacket will be passed around and worn, if it fits, or just draped jauntily if it doesn’t. Mad Libs will be filled out; Fluxx will be played. Much alcohol will be imbibed and many photos will be taken. Stories will be told, retold, and then told again with fantastical endings involving Henry Rollins. A proper nickname must be given to the MSG, since he really dislikes this one. And he has to don a halo. The halo is important.

Secondly, all of my possessions will be piled in a large field. All partygoers will be plied with liquor, and then blindfolded, and set upon the pile. Anything they can carry, they can have. Zen is not included in this pile. Instead, Zen will be set in a room full of people playing “Werewolf” (this is also part of the party) and whoever she bites the most will be her new parent.

And last, but definitely not least, my ashes will be placed in an empty Nutella jar and, in small increments, given to the ocean whenever the mood suits. Possession of the jar will rotate between anyone who wins both Fluxx and Werewolf. Or, really, anyone who wants it.

Today the happy hour – tomorrow the death. All’s as it should be.

Current mood: Current music:

but silk is worm until it’s spun

maybe sometime i can stop listening to whatever it is the whatever it is that i am listening to the songs that wreck me totally inside and out make me feel hollowed-out eggshell waiting to be blown away with any breath

i do not remember being normal i do not remember being born and i do not remember being in first grade but i remember you o yes i do

dreams last night and i knew that he bought that table after we split i knew he bought it but then i saw it and it made me wonder why he bought a photo-processing table and when i looked out the window and saw the pond with fat splotched koi in it i exclaimed and he held me and i didn’t know what to do

o how i never know what to do

and i do it too

my horoscope is staring at me again and i really should unsubscribe from all the signs pointing to severing ties and all the signs pointing to cleaning house and all the signs i am tired of seeing all the signs i am tired of paying so close attention to when where are the rest of you where is your attention and why can’t we all see the same sign at the same time

this song again this song if i have to hear it again i’ll scream i’ll pull something out something dramatic like my hair or a gun if i had a gun but i don’t want a gun i don’t want anything that i don’t need i don’t want anything or

yes i do want something

but just one thing

and i want it and crave it it’s not a bowl of lucky charms it’s not a print of rothko’s no. 14 1960 it’s not a sense of well-being it’s not a vicious kiss against a refrigerator

although that’s close closer than the others and maybe too close

thought tonight i would drive i would go up the road really fast and something would fall into place as the music played and the songs i didn’t want to hear would tear through me that would be just what i wanted just what i want

and if i ended up in a place i started to know that wouldn’t be so bad if i started to recognize the street signs and if i didn’t get lost on the way that wouldn’t be so bad would it

instead i go back to work in two hours and send someone home then stay there for three and a half and i don’t especially want to but i will because i do want to take care of someone and he needs my help

and then it swings the other way and i need help i want to be taken care of but i don’t know how to ask for that i never did and instead like last night i just hid in my purple and eggshell blankets and i hid and watched the phone ring

and you might think this deal is done but silk is worm until it’s spun you’re still on the lilypad

Current mood: Current music:

[meme] just three things

This meme was ganked from , because this is really all I can muster at this point.

THREE THINGS I DON’T UNDERSTAND 1. perl. does anyone? 2. why Zen has to touch the laptop as I am touching it. 3. love. yeah.

THREE THINGS THAT SCARE ME 1. close spaces. 2. the idea of tripping up stairs and knocking out my front teeth. 3. anything happening to my eyes.

THREE THINGS I’D LIKE TO LEARN 1. every single language that ever existed (ha ha, cheated). 2. patience. 3. how to rollerblade without maiming myself or other people.

THREE THINGS I AM WEARING RIGHT NOW 1. black “yoga” pants. 2. black sweatshirt that says “If all the world’s the stage, I want better lighting.” 3. silver, moonstone and amethyst necklace.

THREE THINGS ON MY DESK 1. my webcam. 2. my Waterman fountain pen. 3. Advantage flea treatment for Zen.

THREE THINGS I WANT TO DO BEFORE I DIE 1. Publish a novel or collection of poetry. 2. Give my heart to someone, and accept his in return. 3. Teach someone to read.

THREE GOOD THINGS ABOUT MY PERSONALITY 1. compassion. 2. strength. 3. sensitivity.

THREE BAD THINGS ABOUT MY PERSONALITY 1. vanity. 2. impatience. 3. hypersensitivity.

THREE PARTS OF MY HERITAGE 1. Italian. 2. German. 3. French.

THREE THINGS I LIKE ABOUT MY BODY 1. lips. 2. breasts. 3. eyes.

THREE THINGS I DON’T LIKE ABOUT MY BODY 1. too-thick ankles. 2. hair still growing out. 3. bad eyesight.

THREE THINGS MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT ME 1. I used to sing (lead) in a few different bands. 2. My dream was to become a dancer, not a writer, up until age 17. 3. I have an extreme weakness for old-school hip-hop.

THREE THINGS I SAY THE MOST 1. “Hello! May I help you?” (I do work in a library, after all.) 2. “Really?” 3. “Fuck.”

THREE PLACES I WANT TO GO 1. Hawai’i. 2. Alaska. 3. Portmeirion.

THREE NAMES THAT I GO BY 1. Halsted. 2. ‘Sted. 3. Carinah.

THREE SCREEN NAMES I HAVE OR HAD 1. cygnoir. 2. carinah. 3. squidatrix.

Current mood: Current music:

girl you’re so smooth

I got yelled at today. By two professors. In front of about thirty college students. Over something I had absolutely no control over – and not the “it’s not my fault” shrugging of control. Absolutely. No. Control.

I haven’t felt this awful in a while. In fact, I’ve been feeling pretty damned spectacular lately. And today I get the double-whammy of the “hi, it’s your period” near-migraine as well as being yelled at like I’m in third grade.

Trying to shrug it off. Trying very hard. Focusing on what I came home to on Sunday night: fresh radishes and melted butter and salt, delicious pork in a seriously tasty and spicy sauce, and a perfect margarita. Among other good things.

And hey, Carlos Santana just walked into my library.




Current mood: Current music:

embrace diversity

The McDonald's sign should infuriate me. Instead I am left to feel a rainbow of fruit flavors, a purple horseshoe marshmallow kind of happy. It should infuriate me. It should. The way it is defaced would insult anyone's intelligence. Scrawled underneath maws of airbrushed teeth are the words EMBRACE DIVERSITY. And I do. You know I do. There is more diversity in Marin County than ever. We are all conscious of how our breath mingles with the poverty level, solid middle-class for the rest of the nation. We donate cans. We tutor English. We vote, sometimes even for minorities. We nod knowingly at the lines of men on Bellam, caps over eyes, slouched in jeans: practiced diffidence aglow. Embrace this diverse feeling that rises in me. Embrace the heavy, diverse feeling that I know I don't know what they think I do. Everything comes in many colors except for white lines, the ones I don't dare cross on the freeway. Don't dare cross the lines. There are still some rules, you know. — Halsted Mencotti Bernard

Current mood: Current music:

cheese danish and winter mist

Huddled in layers of black clothing, I hoard what will be my last high-speed connection to the Interweb[1] from a quaintly-decorated hotel room near the Columbus, Ohio airport. When I say “quaint”, I mean “disturbingly lifelike”, much like those authentic replica dolls you see for sale on QVC, the ones that are supposed to be female children but are dressed in evening gowns, lacking cleavage. It’s that sort of quaint. The Country Inns and Suites green should appeal to me: it is that generic medium forest green, benign and clean. Instead it becomes the painted decolletage of authentic replica dolls. And an hour later, I’m still waking up, hungover from the faux Lauren-style comforter and drapes.

Today we set off for the hilly wilds of outer Columbus, to a four-bedroom cabin. As I related to my friend Ian on the phone last night, my idea of “roughing it” means no Interweb access, so I suppose I will indeed be roughing it. Thanksgiving dinner won’t happen until Saturday, for me, so I’m pretending you all haven’t had it yet too. By the way, read FunkyPlaid’s “Ode to Thanksgiving” – it’s delightful! See you Monday!

[1] Calling it “the Interweb” arose after an amusing misspeak of my dad’s. Now I can’t stop. It makes me laugh. Don’t judge me.

say what your soul sings to you

Once again, it’s the night before a trip back east, and I have yet to pack or finish cleaning the apartment. How many times I have been here! But tonight, it’s all good. I feel rushed, but happy. Brina will be looking in on Zen, so I’m not worried about her, which is a huge relief. I get to see my dad and my family. And when I come back, I come back to a beautiful, blossoming life, filled with things I am so very thankful for … every day of the year.

Don’t be afraid Open your mouth to say Say what your soul sings to you

Your mind can never change Unless you ask it to Lovingly rearrange The thoughts that make you blue The things that bring you down Will mean no harm to you And so make your choice joy The joy belongs to you

And when you do You’ll find the one you love is here You’ll find you The love yeah

Don’t be ashamed no To open your heart and pray Say what your soul sings to you

So no longer pretend That you can’t feel it near That tickle on your hand That tingle in your ear And ask it anything Because it loves you dear It’s your most precious king If only you could hear

And when you do You’ll find the one you need is here You’ll find you Love you

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

beyond borders of skin

A poetry break, thanks to DC, who sent the following poem to me. I’m looking forward to writing some of my own over the holiday.

The Thief

What is it when your man sits on the floor in sweatpants, his latest project set out in front of him like a small world, maps and photographs, diagrams and plans, everything he hopes to build, invent or create, and you believe in him as you always have, even after the failures, even more now as you set your coffee down and move toward him, to where he sits oblivious of you, concentrating in a square of sun – you step over the rulers and blue graph-paper to squat behind him, and he barely notices, though you’re still in your robe which falls open a little as you reach around his chest, feel for the pink wheel of each nipple, the slow beat of his heart, your ear pressed to his back to listen – and you are torn, not wanting to interrupt his work but unable to keep your fingers from dipping into the ditch in his pants, torn again with tenderness for the way his flesh grows unwillingly toward your curved palm, toward the light, as if you had planted it, this sweet root, your mouth already an echo of its shape – you slip your tongue into his ear and he hears you, calling him away from his work, the angled lines of his thoughts, into the shapeless place you are bound to take him, over bridges of bone, beyond borders of skin, climbing over him into the world of the body, its labyrinth of ladders and stairs – and you love like the first time you loved him, with equal measures of expectancy and fear and awe, taking him with you into the soft geometry of the flesh, the earth before its sidewalks and cities, its glistening spires, stealing him back from the world he loves into this other world he cannot build without you.

– Dorianne Laux

drunken cleaning fiesta 2003

Of course, my apartment had to get This Bad for me to actually tackle the issue of cleaning it. It’s not dirty, just untidy as hell, as if a small tortoiseshell cat had systematically knocked over every single organizational pile of papers and books I had ever laid out.

Hmm, wait …

So I picked up a bottle of Two-Buck Chuck from Trader Joe’s and have dedicated this evening to getting thoroughly ripped while watching a maudlin flick and cleaning the shit out of this place.

O yeah: the webcam is on too. I think this should be one of my more amusing exercises in stupidity. Maybe I’ll actually get it to a point where I let people come visit. So far, only Brina, Scott and FunkyPlaid have ever seen the interior, and I’ve been here a year in two weeks. Can you tell I’m a little neurotic? Just a little. Teeny-eeny bit.

and we’ll race to the bottom of a glass

I’d always thought it was cheesy when someone said to me, “They’re more than my favorite band; they define part of who I am.”

Not anymore.

I don’t want to change your mind I don’t want to think about your mind They say love is blind I don’t think you’re blind You don’t want to understand And I don’t want to shake your father’s hand And walk in the sand And act like a man

I get on the bus And ride past our stop And though I’m late I can’t get off I just can’t bear to tell you some lies And narrow your eyes Narrow your eyes

We’ll take back everything we said Split up all the things and move ahead Forgot how you said We’ll split the side off the bed

I get on my bike Ride down our block Ride through the world Through the green lights But when I think of all your advice I narrow my eyes narrow my eyes

I don’t want to change your mind I don’t want to think about your mind They say love is blind I don’t think you’re blind

I get on the bus Ride past our stop And though I’m late I can’t get off I just can’t bear to tell you some lies And narrow your eyes Narrow your eyes

Now let’s toast the sad cold fact Our love’s never coming back And we’ll race to the bottom of a glass So narrow your eyes Narrow your eyes

Narrow your eyes

you breathe life over me

There is something extremely enthralling about a sexy, sweet song with the word “porn” in it.

I lie awake I've gone to ground I'm watching porn In my hotel dressing gown Now I dream of you But I still believe There's only enough for one in this Lonely hotel suite The journey's long And it feels so bad I'm thinking back to the last day we had Old moon fades into the new Soon I know I'll be back with you I'm nearly with you I'm nearly with you When I'm weak I draw strength from you And when you're lost I know how to change your mood And when I'm down you breathe life over me Even though we're miles apart we are each other's destiny On a clear day I'll fly home to you I'm bending time getting back to you Old moon fades into the new Soon I know I'll be back with you I'm nearly with you I'm nearly with you When I'm weak I draw strength from you And when you're lost I know how to change your mood And when I'm down you breathe life over me Even though we're miles apart we are each other's destiny When I'm weak I draw strength from you And when you're lost I know how to change your mood And when I'm down you breathe life over me Even though we're miles apart we are each other's destiny I'll fly, I'll fly home I'll fly home and I'll fly home

no more drama

As you might have ascertained from hints here and there, things with the MSG are proceeding apace, and in a wonderful, relaxed, and genuine way. I say “things” and realize that is vague, but I’m not sure how to describe it otherwise. We have been out on ten dates now, and I feel like each time we see each other, it gets better and better. Neither one of us is dating anyone else, and neither one wants to. I don’t know that that means we are “exclusively dating” at this point, or if we are about to enter what could be called a “relationship” – I just don’t know. I suppose there is more talking to be done on the subject, but for now, I am happy with where it stands. Very, very happy.

I’ve never had this before. I’ve never had this level of intensity sans drama, this level of compatibility sans difficulty. Sure, we haven’t had trying times yet, and that will be our first true test, but I feel like neither one of us is allowing anything to cloud what we’re discovering together, and that is a remarkable thing for me.

I’ve finally grown up, and I am dating someone mature and self-assured, and I’m loving every second of it.

However, there seems to be a crimp in another area of my life that I am trying very hard not to affect what I am building with the MSG. That crimp involves someone I spent time with over the summer, who consequently moved away. We had an incredibly strong, intense connection that was forged in just about two months, and I felt – still feel – that we are meant to be close forever. We did not enter a committed relationship while he was here, and when he left, we clarified that while we cherished what we had, we each were free to date and lead our lives and be happy.

Right now, I feel that I am being punished for doing just this, whereas I have been totally supportive of him seeing someone else and finding happiness in his new home. I have been completely straightforward with him; I told him before I went on my first date with the MSG that I was going, and I told him afterwards that it went well and I was going to see the MSG again. Shortly after that, he told me he did not want to hear anything about the MSG, and so I obliged. But a good part of my social life involves the MSG these days, so that means not telling him quite a bit, and he’s taken my silence on the subject – the silence he requested – as some sort of refusal to open up to him.

So now he is “taking a break” from me, whatever that means, and I am incredibly disappointed in him. Perhaps this has to do with self-preservation for him; perhaps he feels that if he does not withdraw from me, he will be hurt as I continue to grow closer to another man. That is all well and good, but I feel I deserve more than a two-line email on the subject. Maybe that is all he can muster right now. While I am usually a very compassionate person, right now I am merely annoyed with him. He says that I’m “taking a break” from him, myself, but I don’t know what that means. No, I’m not online as much as I used to be these days. That is a GOOD thing. That means I am actually leaving my house and socializing and having a good time.

There were three key points in which I distanced myself from him, and I told him so. The first was when I realized his departure was imminent, and I needed to back off or I was going to get really hurt (or feel abandoned, c.f. a recent post on the subject). The second was when he arrived in his new home and started talking about how he was thinking of staying instead of coming back here after a year. I was incredibly supportive while he talked all that out with me, even though I was disappointed to think that he wouldn’t be coming back. The third was when he told me he had been seeing someone. I knew that was coming, but it still stung, and in the ensuing weeks I put my remaining romantic feelings for him away. At that point, I half-decided not to go there to visit him for the holidays.

After his treatment of me on the MSG subject, the other half of my mind was made up. What good could come of me going there? If I still had feelings for him, going there might rekindle them, and then I’d come back here with even more confusion and hurt. If I didn’t, and he expected me to, it could be a miserable two weeks. And if I just went to visit a friend … well, to be honest, I’d rather spend that time with my family than visiting a friend. Even overseas.

The bald truth is that I no longer have romantic feelings for him, and the continuing drama calls the friendship into question, as well. This all takes up so much of my energy, energy I want to spend having fun and discovering myself. Is it wrong for me to be selfish in this way? I do not want to let anyone down, but this is the first time in my life I’m able to explore without someone else’s rules deciding how and when I explore. I need to be a little selfish now, I think.

thursday is the new friday

I owe (funny concept, that) you all my recap of the event in Tucson last weekend, but it’s nearly the weekly Hour of Happiness, which I cannot miss. After that, I am driving into the City to see “Shattered Glass” with Brina, David, and the MSG. Soon I shall catch everything up, but not now.

Highlights of this week:

  • losing my martini virginity alongside a wonderful French dish involving lamb, oranges, bacon, and a bajillion other nummy things
  • seeing a slightly disturbing French film called “Seul contre tous”
  • eradicating Zen of the fleas that hatched while I was away, thanks to Brina’s help
  • conducting part of the student assistant training session because both employees who were supposed to hold the training had to rush around fixing the universe
  • missing the open mic because of aforementioned training session
  • watching with somber triumph as protesters in Britain topple an effigy of Dubya
  • slacking off on my novel but kicking much ass on my short story
  • catching up on sleep, sort of, except for the whole waking up coughing thing, which means not really
Despite having to come in to work on Saturday, the weekend promises to be a good one. The purple hippo and I are informally starting it in about five minutes.


Hey, stefcam and ‘stedcam fans: do you remember the good old days of the IRC channel That channel is no more, but I encourage you to visit #nestcam on Blitzed. There’s a Java applet, if you prefer to connect that way. You don’t even have to watch the nestcam to chat. (Especially not right at this moment, since I forgot to turn it back on. Oops.)

un, re

Rob Brezsny, you wound me:

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): “I’ve finally got my relationship problem figured out,” wrote Melinda, a reader from Philadelphia. “It has been a lifelong, insidious misunderstanding of what I’m entitled to, combined with a fear of abandonment that has made me grab onto the wrong companions.” I bring this testimony to your attention, Pisces, because I think it resonates with realizations you’re ready for. The coming months will be a favorable time for you to discern the hidden karma that has been keeping you from getting the love you want. A good way to begin your search will be to take inventory of your fear of abandonment and your misunderstanding of what you’re entitled to.
Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes.

It is a cliché to have abandonment begin with one’s father, isn’t it? But I suppose that is where my first male abandonment took place.

My mother and I moved to Chicago in the summer of 1984 – prophetic, as the Orwell novel of the year’s name would become one of my favorite stories – and many of the explanations she had for me was that he wasn’t coming with us because he didn’t love us enough. He just couldn’t give up his job and his home and his life in the name of love.

The day we left, he gave me a tiny dot-matrix printing calculator. I still to this day do not know why.

The first romantic abandonment came in the form of a boy named Vincent in junior high school. He had tousled black hair and green eyes and freckles, porcelain skin, a wicked little smile. He was firmly within the Bad Boy camp, the first one I had ever kissed. One day, a bunch of kids were hanging out in someone’s basement and making out, and I wouldn’t let Vincent go up my shirt. French kissing had already been Serious enough for me, and I had the fear of an antisexual Catholic god in me. He attempted; I parried with shaking hands. He talked, cajoled, belittled; I remained silent, only shaking my head.

Vincent dumped me the very next day to take up with someone who let him do much more, if the rumors were true. They probably weren’t.

This set a stereotyped precedent in my life: I became the responsible one when it came to sexual activity. I was the one who said no, or no further, or not much more. With responsibility comes plenty of rejection, especially at earlier ages when everyone in the world is making their own foolish mistakes.

At nineteen, I became tired of the constant struggle, and I gave in to someone much older, thinking he could be the responsible one for a change. I bought white lingerie to show off for him; I cooked him recipes my mother had taught me; I made him endless mixtapes.

He dumped me after a few awkward encounters. When I went to return the few things of his I had – a U2 CD, a Cubs sweatshirt, some books – he was moving his new girlfriend into his apartment. As he watched, I upturned the box of his possessions onto the rainy pavement. The clatter of the CD case was satisfying, so I stepped on it with my boot. And walked away.

The next few relationships were exercises in Not Being The One Left Behind. To pre-emptively abandon someone – now that’s brilliant! Better yet, to convince someone that they really were going to abandon you all along, that way you get to play the martyr without any of the tough work of actually ending things. It was a terrible part of my life. I picture entrails dripping from tree branches, beaten yet still beating bloody hearts drying like roadkill in the sun. Each relationship’s demise was vivisected and left to rot. How glad I was when that phase ended. It sickened and exhausted me. I was ready for better things.

Just over a year ago, I did what I never set out to do: I ended my marriage. Emotionally, he had abandoned me early on in our relationship, and physically, I had abandoned him. With the severing of that tie, I promised myself to let go of the fear of leaving or being left. I had to let go of it. Further down this path and I would never get into another relationship again.

But I did, and I will again. Someday, I hope I will be in a serious, committed, long-term relationship again. I’ve given up saying if or when that someday will be, because I just don’t know anymore. Perhaps a part of me is tired of caring so much about it; when it seems that many other people enter and exit romantic entanglements with so much panache, I am always the eviscerated one who has to then spend a thousand journal entries, therapy sessions, and periods of meditation healing herself, waiting to be ready again.

Perhaps I am ready, but don’t want to be.

I tire of this endless unknitting, reknitting of my heart.

mystery girl

From conversation last night …

Halsted: I wish I could be a mysterious girl. I’m not a mysterious girl. Brina: No, honey, you’re not. You’re a BOOK. Halsted: [slightly dejected] I’m a book. Brina: And after a few drinks, you’re like – [jumping up and down to demonstrate] I’M A BOOK! READ ME! READ ME!
My whole life, I’ve wanted to be one of those women who kept people guessing. In the good way, you know: the “what could she be thinking, what could she want” way.

Once when I was younger, I ordered a spy kit by mail. I thought by merely owning this spy kit, I would be more mysterious. I would be someone with something to hide, and I would be able to hide it. And hide it well. So I saved up my allowance for what seemed like years, and I ordered the kit.

In the spy kit was a warped magnifying glass, a black notebook, a plastic bag of fingerprinting powder, and grey-painted handcuffs with two tiny keys. My dad gave me one of his old briefcases, and I put the spy kit inside it. I toted this briefcase around for ages, and when asked what was inside it, I said, “My spy kit. I’m a spy!”

Yep. Definitely a book.

Ten Commandments Judge Removed From Bench

God, I’m glad I no longer live there.

“MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was removed from office Thursday for refusing to obey a federal court order to move his Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the state courthouse.

“The state Court of the Judiciary unanimously imposed the harshest penalty possible after a one-day trial in which Moore said his refusal was a moral and lawful acknowledgment of God. Prosecutors said Moore’s defiance, left unchecked, would harm the judicial system.

“Moore, a champion of religious conservatives, had been suspended since August but was allowed to collect his $170,000 annual salary. He was halfway through his six-year term.” [read more]

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