cygnoir.net

dear 2006

Three years ago, after my worst year yet, I wrote a letter to 2003. I like this tradition, so here goes.

Dear 2006:

You have a lot to live up to, I’m afraid. 2005 has been quite a year. I have named it the Year of Coming to Terms With All That Bullshit You Thought, Foolishly, You Were So Over, or at Least Over Last Year.

Some of it has been a bit redundant, and it’s getting boring, so 2006, you and I will do some new things. Some very new things. Painfully new. Humblingly new. Just really new, okay? Let’s figure out the neat, interesting things about me instead of only reviewing the dark, ugly parts in therapy.

2005 brought me new friends in a most excellent writing group, fun times with the SFlickr crowd, a superb trip to Ireland and Catalonia, and increased happiness with the MSG. There was also an incredible amount of fantastic food. More of all of the above, please. Also please bless my friends’ babies, just born and almost born, because babies are not all that bad when they’re 500+ miles away.

I need you to be better to Lara than 2005 was. You could also cut the MSG a break or two. He’s been working so hard.

Also, could you do something about the current administration? I’m not going to write about it anymore, because it infuriates me to do so, but I need a little hope on this front.

And in return, I will be extra good to you! See this pretty Moleskine planner I bought just for recording your every date? And I have nice pens, too. Plus, I’m cleaning and reorganizing all of my possessions. No more after-work stress! And yes, yes, I will be more present and will stop obsessing over … um. Everything.

As always, why does Jewel get book deals and I don’t? Please look into this ASAP. Thanks.

halsted.

P.S. Yes, the rumor is true: I’m starting you smoke-free.

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winter cleaning

Wednesday I spent cleaning my desk, which is now in top shape. I started dealing with a backlog of several hundred paper statements for various things, which carried over to Thursday, when I was able to file everything away properly. Then I cleaned out my medium-sized shelf; Inkbot and I left it outside on the sidewalk with a bunch of other little things we were getting rid of and within two hours everything was gone. I also cleaned out my small shelf and moved it to the other side of the room, so it is no longer partially blocking one of my windows. Candles, photos, journals and graphic novels were nicely arranged on it.

Later today I will tackle the other side of the room, which involves moving my clothes hamper and chair, and going through my closet. That’s going to suck, but not as much as finishing up the Great Book Purge of ‘05.

This feels really good, but it’s taking quite a bit longer than I expected, and I’m looking forward to the weekend for a break. By the way, if you’re interested in anything on my “market” page, let me know. I am open to bartering.

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not much

One of the most amazing things about days off spent at home is that I manage to get things done. Not a lot, but still impressive. I might even not talk myself out of getting a neighborhood parking sticker tomorrow, especially since the office is only a mile from my flat.

The MSG and I discovered a wonderful TV show quite by accident when we went to visit his family for Thanksgiving. It’s called “Dirty Jobs” and all about those sorts of jobs you didn’t know existed, most of which involve host Mike Rowe wading through quicksand-like bat guano or getting slapped in the crotch by a baby shark. If you get the Discovery Channel, please try and catch an episode. It’s warm and witty and interesting and often hilarious.

My family and friends were incredibly generous to me again this year with their gifts, and I am humbled. That’s all I have to say about that. A certain cat is plastered to my side, letting me know not-so-subtly that it is time to curl up with “Anansi Boys” before sleep.

links for 2005-12-24

eve eve

I lazed about the quiet flat today, enjoyed it being a 23, and also had coffee at dusk. My cat and I took not one, not two, but three naps together. I finished my holiday shopping and I’m not going to sulk about it a second more. My mom has a much better attitude about the holidays than I do.

Soon I will go to the MSG’s and play some EQ2 and oops I forgot to mail my holiday cards. DAMMIT.

No sulking. Just frantic mailbox-finding. Honest.

links for 2005-12-23

still getting over

It is humbling and important to realize that not only am I not half as fascinating as I once thought I was, I bore you.

I remember being not exactly what you wanted. I remember hoping you could learn to love me anyway. I remember finding out you couldn’t, and I remember rehearsing in the rear-view mirror just how I’d tell you off.

I never did. I wouldn’t do that. I wouldn’t do a lot of things, like sit down, shut up, pretend it was all okay.

The transit strike is unstruck, the world is full of heretics (thank God), and I’m still getting over you, you pathetic little lump.

but a lie

I have always been two people.

I lived for a decade in one place, and a decade in another. The places were very different. I was not different. I was the same. One part of me swam downward and the other up. That has always been true.

I love being two people. City mouse, country mouse. I didn’t always. On the train between the two places, I would cry and press my fingers against the cold window and feel sorry for myself. I would make up stories about who I really was and I would act out those stories and, for a time, I wouldn’t be anyone but a lie.

Lying was a small sin that could get big very fast, a snake you never saw the tail of. Step carefully, with two feet, one belonging to the city and the other to the country. Gently dance over what you thought you said.

When I can remember, I regret some things I’ve done. When I am feeling nostalgic, I think about how I would do it all again and right the wrongs and be more charming at parties and be less fearful of love and be slower to judge or to react. That’s when I’m back on the train, between places, certain I do not belong anywhere.

But sadness can be a lie we tell ourselves, too. Cry carefully.

links for 2005-12-22

merry dithermas

I don’t like shopping, but I love giving gifts … but most people cringe at homemade gifts. Plus I don’t really know how to make any. I could probably figure out how to crochet bookmarks, but I mean jesus. Crocheted bookmarks. Am I 80 yet?

Giving gift cards has been called “cheesy” by some folks I know, but I rather like receiving them.

I can never remember who eats chocolate or doesn’t, drinks coffee or doesn’t, likes flowers or plants or NASCAR or raccoons or doesn’t.

I’m known for giving books, because I am around so many and can usually place them appropriately. But I imagine people who are not me might be tired of books. And once you’ve given someone a fountain pen, I think it’s sort of strange in a senile way to give them another and another, unless they’re a collector, or, again, me.

Really honestly I’ve done most of my shopping and I hate what I’ve gotten for everyone and do we all have this experience of this time of year because it really sucks and I’d like to avoid it someday. Tomorrow would be nice.

links for 2005-12-15

warming up


warming up
Originally uploaded by cygnoir.


I gave this orchid to the MSG two years ago and she’s still going strong.

links for 2005-12-13

links for 2005-12-10

purge help needed

Anyone who has undergone a major purge of their possessions, especially books and clothing, please share your tips and tricks with me. (LiveJournal users who are subscribed to my site: I do not receive any comments you leave there for me! Please come over here instead!)

The clothing I’ll probably just donate to Goodwill, but the books I’d like to recoup some cost on, so I’m slogging through the process of cataloguing all of my books. Then I can submit the list of what I want to sell to used bookstores, thus preventing the unnecessary schlepping of heavy boxes all around town. I’m bad at mailing packages in a timely fashion, so selling anything on Amazon or half.com is vastly unappealing.

My room has gone from slightly unkempt to a total sty because of this undertaking, and since work has been so dreadful lately, my get up and go done got up and went. I know I can work on this over the holiday break, but that seems so far off when I come home and look at the chaos that is my room. It makes me want to toss all my crap into boxes and leave them on the curb.

Anyway, your tips are appreciated. Thanks.

quiet

This episode of Zencast evened out my mood a bit this morning.

I read a conservative Christian’s blog post about feminists and relationships and, while most of it was laughable, one sentence made me think. It was: “When in doubt, choose the most optimistic interpretation. That’s what he meant.” I wish this choice were automatic for me. Too much noise.

I want to be quiet, inside and out. What I wouldn’t give for one truly quiet day.

links for 2005-12-08

inner wolf


Hungry Wolf
Originally uploaded by bonedad.


Last night I talked through something in therapy with an odd result. I haven’t put it to words before, but something inside me feels like an abused animal, lashing out irrationally at anyone, anything, wisps of smoke or shadows. As I thought about this, I imagined a black wolf with lots of sharp white teeth and dark red eyes always ranging around on the outskirts of where I am, waiting to be hurt again.
It always makes me kind of queasy to hear people talk about their inner children, to anthropomorphize something that was just an idea, just another part of who they are. But I see the appeal now: I can picture that wolf so clearly, and I can see it lunging for throats, so afraid to be hurt again that it will hurt first. There is a certain clarity in causing other people pain: action, reaction. One, two.
I despise that clarity. I will train the wolf.

links for 2005-12-06

hi-lo tech

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hi-lo tech

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/cygnoir/70783594/">hi-lo tech</a>,<br /> originally uploaded by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/cygnoir/">cygnoir</a>.


1 new Polaroid camera (thanks, Mom!)
1 willing subject (that’s me)
1 unwilling, bemused subject (that’s Zen)
1 scanner that will not cooperate
1 Moto Razr V3 that will

all equals hi-lo tech happiness.

links for 2005-12-04

analog doom

I had my first daily planner in first or second grade. I don’t remember those years clearly, but I remember keeping track of my homework in a notebook specifically designed for that purpose. I was also practicing to be a private detective, so I had another notebook very carefully marked SPY NOTES - PRIVATE on its cover.

In junior high, I distinctly remember decorating my daily planners with stickers. I decorated everything with stickers. My glasses had stickers on them. It was kind of a sickness, that stickering thing, and was to be the last of my Utterly Girly phases. The world is grateful.

When I got to high school, all the kids had Chandler’s assignment notebooks. They were just called Chandler’s, as in, “Here, let me write my phone number in your Chandler’s.” (By the way, that was a big deal, my freshman year: a boy wrote his home phone number in my Chandler’s. Those were the days of fretting over when exactly you should call someone’s home phone, or when someone would call yours, so you didn’t get scolded and/or teased by your family. Ah, the days before mobiles.) I was obsessive about my Chandler’s. I designed a color scheme for my schedule, and when I had homework in a certain subject, I’d write it in with that color pen. Ah, metadata.

But only high school kids carried Chandler’s notebooks, so when I graduated I got my very own Day Runner. I didn’t color-code things anymore, but this was the beginning of the address book that is now nearly 1,000 contacts long. I archive. Everything.

Somewhere during 1992, my Day Runner became known as my Book of Doom, and from that point on would be referred to as such by my friends and family members. I didn’t consider my planner an unholy grimoire, but to others it might qualify. (See aforementioned “archive of everything” note.)

When I got my first PalmPilot in 1998, I spent many, many hours attempting to replicate the simple satisfaction of crossing off a completed item on a to-do list with a stylus’ click. Certain aspects of the digital planner appealed to me, certainly: the promise of synchronization with my desktop was enticing for a control freak like me, not to mention the ability in later PDA models to compose email on the go. I owned several PDAs, including the T-Mobile Sidekick 2, before reaching a saturation point of Semi-Functional Technology and giving up.

Because you know, some things are just better in analog. My handwriting is legible, doesn’t mysteriously disappear overnight, and is nearly as fast as my typing. There is nothing quite like the tangible turning of a page to denote a new week, a fresh beginning at work or at home or wherever I might be. When there is no more whitespace on a page in which to schedule meetings, I know I’ve had enough for that day. And then there’s the joy of sifting through notes, looking for a phone number or address, and inadvertently stumbling upon the MSG says my right foot is safe … for the time being” hastily jotted with my favorite fountain pen on our last night in Dublin.

I’m not giving up my iCal just yet, but a moment ago I unwrapped the plastic of a 2006 Moleskine pocket weekly diary. Only four weeks until the new Book of Doom begins.

emotion handler

Overheard, screamed angrily, in the wee hours of the morning: “You are driving me out of my fucking mind!”

Is that possible? If someone could get into my head and drive me out of it … yoiks! Now I see why people wear foil beanies.

But no, I don’t think it’s really like that. As much of our language around the topic hints at, it’s a way of foisting our emotions off on other people. I’m angry because of what you said. I’m sad because of what you did. It would be so easy if our emotions were really others’ responsibilities. Then I would just have to call up my designated Emotion Handler and chew her out for letting them get so out of control, so often. Actually, I’d probably fire her for the whole “obsessive paranoia” thing. I mean, what’s that about?

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links for 2005-12-02

  • The Just Organize Your Stuff (JOYS) household filer is a handy binder that contains all your important paperwork like insurance policies, medical records, passports, birth certificates and deeds to the house and car. Really expensive, though!

don’t phunk with my sex pots

One of my employees pointed out a funny book to me at work yesterday:


“Sex Pots: Eroticism in Ceramics” (Paul Mathieu)

When I’m up late like this, I start to like Black Eyed Peas.

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