Sunday, August 31, 2003
(I kid you not, my books and CDs are organized with a system that is very anal and very much my own. It possesses a warped logic all its own.)
I got the keyboard (but at CompUSA, which is where I was actually planning on going, not Circuit City - I don't know what I was thinking). Okay, I also bought CD-RWs so that I can make mix CDs (thanks to CuteNerdBoy's inspiration) and a tiny little vacuum to clean out the printer and a few other things. At first all the stuff I got was rung up at over $100, which made me choke, so I asked them to take off a bunch of stuff, which brought it down to a respectable $54 or so. And the $100+ worth of stuff? Wasn't even close to everything I was picking up and drooling over. It's a combination of being able to buy something in nearly any store I step into (I think a gun store is the only place I couldn't buy something - but that's 'cause I'd run away screaming first) and the fact I do have a latent computer geek residing in me who just doesn't have the knowledge to completely geek out the way she'd like. There was a little photo scanner that was on sale and some astrology/tarot software and a DVD player/speaker system and a regular scanner that was only $50 and ooh, look at those pretty pretty printers and this CD labelling kit is only $19 and...
Wait, just a few minutes ago I was ready to do all sorts of unspeakable things to anything technologically related and now I'm fondly remembering computer stuff that I dearly wanted to buy and setup? Clearly I have a problem.
But once CuteNerdBoy and I get that other computer going, I am going to be so so happy! Because I just noticed something - the CD-ROM in the new computer is also a DVD-ROM! Yea! I don't know if the current video card will be able to handle DVDs, but I can get a new one, right? It shouldn't be that expensive at Frys. I think. And I just may need CuteNerdBoy's help with that too. *flutters eyelashes* No, I don't have something in my eye! It's supposed to be - Oh, never mind.
FYI, Green Day covering The Rainbow Connection? Should be one of the most fucked-up things ever. Not only does it work, but it's incredibly fun (and more than a little psychotic, I think). I'm not sure where CuteNerdBoy found it, since I couldn't seem to find it on Green Day's site (which maybe more because I'm tired than anyhing else). But big ol' props to him for including it on the latest copy of the mix CD he gave me. And there are a lot of other songs on that CD that I'm in love with. Good, good stuff.
Now if y'all will excuse me, time to stare at pretty pretty pictures on the TV.
So hanging out was to be had with OlderBro and OlderBro'sGirlfriend (who is a playwright and screenwriter), chatting with her for a while about various and sundry subjects while OlderBro went to the store. When he returned we snacked on CheezIts and DoubleStuff Mint and Cream Oreos (which, if you knew either of OlderBro or OBGirlfriend, might be a little surprising - two least likey junk food eaters you've never seen in your life - she's tall and thin, a former model, and he's 5'10" with a pretty athletic body, whereas I don't even keep junk food or soda in my house). Anyway, around 9:30pm OBGirlfriend declared that it was time to go eat dinner and eventually we settled on a Lebanese restaurant they were fond of.
The food was quite good, as was the company, and since I was going to be spending the night at their place so that I could go straight into work on Saturday (yeah, yeah, I know - they live pretty close to my work place, much closer than I do), we decided to pick up a video. As a way to deflect their well-meaning but unsolicited advice about CuteNerdBoy (advice which I disagreed with, quite frankly), I talked them into Chicago, which they had never seen. OBGirlfriend had wanted to see it, OlderBro was lukewarm, but decided to go for it (he's not into musicals) and I had seen it before and loved it.
(Besides the fact that it's very well-done and the music and choreography are incredible, it has Taye Diggs, who is rather yummy, and Catherine Zeta-Jones and Queen Latifah, two of the three women I might consider, um, briefly switching teams for if they propositioned me, despite the fact that I will always prefer men in general and one man in particular [the third woman is Gillian Anderson, if you're curious].)
We went back to their place, watched the video, which they both loved, then as OlderBro set up his telescope so that we could observe Mars, I started a little slipping and sliding in their dining area on the new Pergo wood flooring in my socks. OBGirlfriend pointed out that they had a perfectly good long hallway that the cats frequently used as a slip and slide, if I just pulled back the runner, I'd have a lot more room.
Liking the way she thought, I pulled back the runner and tried a test run, whereupon I fell on my ass pretty damned quick, sending OBGirlfriend into howls of laughter. My next two runs were far more successful, but still only half of the way down the hallway, with OlderBro coming in during the last one. Of course he not only had to get in on the act, but proceeded to show off by conducting two successful runs down the entire length of the hallway and landing on his knees in a very Al Jolson manner.
Not to be outdone, I tried it myself, starting near the backdoor, trying to get up as much speed as I could as cats decided to sit in the hallway, then run for their lives as they saw me coming. I was not successful. Not only did I fall, but I landed on my ass very hard, my feet flew up over my head and I came close to performing a backwards somersault. I was perfectly ok, aside from my formidable pride, and both OlderBro and OBGirlfriend were doubled over in fits of laughter, declaring it to be the funniest thing they'd ever seen. I swear they almost fell on the floor, they were laughing so hard.
I was laughing with them, happy to have provided such amusement for them because life has been rather kicking both of them rather hard of late, but there was still my wounded pride to be dealt with, not to mention my sneaking suspicion that, though I know they still would have laughed hard had I been svelte instead of Rubenesque, part of the extreme hilarity was due to the fact I'm a big girl. There are many people who find fat people slipping and falling to be the height of humor, possibly including those two, whereas I find it very unfunny. And, well, I wanted to show them.
I did. I started at the opposite end of the hall, got up a good head of steam, and started to slide. I didn't realize that OBGirlfriend had gone into the kitchen to get her beer and was walking out the door into the hall. She didn't realize I was giving it another run. So, just after I started to slide, she popped her head and her hand with the beer into the hallway, right in my way. I noticed her before she noticed me and we both had a split second to react. She pulled back, but not quickly enough. However, I actually have excellent reflexes and have always been pretty good at dancing out of people's way. I reached out my right hand, pushed off one wall, executed a beautiful 360° spin and ended up still on my feet, hands braced behind me against the opposite wall. They were impressed, but it still couldn't erase the memory of me with my feet waving in the air like they just don't care. *shrug* Oh well.
Soon after the telescope was set up and I viewed Mars as more than a steady pinpoint of light, with different magnifications. It was very cool, looking at the disc through the eyepiece and, for a moment, I wished I didn't wear glasses because I always find that the image is a little more blurry, with the eyepiece hitting up against the lenses, than when I'm looking at such things with contacts on.
Finally, after more hanging out and OBGirlfriend's son coming home, whereupon his mother instantly regaled him with tales of my hallway adventures, still laughing her ass off at the memory and OBGSon wishing he had been around to see it, we all went to bed at around 3:30am, me on their sofa with their old street-wise cat sleeping with me.
And the next day I went to work for a few hours and went home to veg and hopefully set up the new computer. However this could not be accomplished because I mislaid the new keyboard and the connectors on the old keyboard are all wrong. So today, instead of cleaning all day like I planned, I'll be busing it to Circuit City because I can't find the new keyboard anywhere and I really want to get this all set up, especially since CuteNerdBoy has offered to help me with some of the more complicated installations when he gets back from his white water river rafting trip this weekend. Yeah, he's pretty adventurous - he does this trip every year and has also gone bungee jumping - I think he's nuts in regards to the bungee jumping, but the rafting sounds very fun (and more than a little scary to a bad swimmer like me, though I would still love to try it someday).
So I think I'm off to the store now. Then to set up my computer. Then to clean, then to clean some more tomorrow before heading out to YoungestSis' place to hang out with her, her son, fiancee, his parents and my own mommy for the day. It'll be fun, but I'm so glad I'm taking today for just myself, with no one else. It's been far too long since I've had a day that was just all about me.
Have a kick-ass rest of the holiday weekend, my sweet American readers. And to my sweet international readers, a kick-ass weekend to you as well, even if no holiday is involved. I love you all!
Friday, August 29, 2003
So, last night, because I'm Support-O-Gal, I went to Pamie's book signing in Torrance. She read a couple of excerpts from Why Girls Are Weird, opened a question and answer section where the only person asking any questions was the Borders employee, and signed books for the few of us that showed up. It was fun, but very fast. She spoke to each of us individually, spending about five minutes (at first) with each of us. And she remembered me (inscribing "You Hit Slut" amongst the thanks - I shall cherish it always). I bought another book so that I could release it into the wild and, following CuteNerdBoy's suggestion, asked that she sign that as well, which she did. Meanwhile someone nearby was taking pictures of us, Pamie looking all pretty and smiley, unlike tired, bus-logged me with no jewelry, no make-up (I was a little rushed yesterday and forgot to put some on) and my still-slightly-damp hair up in a messy French twist. I really have to prepare better next time.
I stepped aside to let the next person have his moment and spied stee as I was leaving (okay, okay, so I was looking for him a little). I admit that I didn't even know that Pamie and stee were together until last week (I'm slow on the uptake sometimes). So I pulled out my figurative cajones, walked up to him and introduced myself. After a minute he remembered me from my occasional e-mails back when he updated his journal and we ended up talking for about ten or fifteen minutes, about our stints at Disney and the neighborhood where I live (in which he used to live) and messy cars and writing and various other subjects. I was pretty sure I jabbered about a few things that I didn't really need to jabber about, to both him and Pamie, but neither looked too freaked out. After a few minutes stee left to check on Pamie, who was talking to the other attendees, but not before telling me to keep them updated on what happens in the future. Just another very cool person.
For a while there, despite the fact that both Pamie and I are straight women, she's involved with stee, I'm hanging out with a cool guy with whom I am in smit (that's smit, not smut, you dirty, dirty people - which is why I love you so) and she's got like a billion fans, of which I'm only one, I thought I wanted to marry her and have her babies. Now? I want to marry both her and stee and have their babies.
(Then again, I also said the same thing about a big wall in my brother's old apartment when it was very kind to me by not being a pain in the ass to de-wallpaper, unlike a smaller wall I worked on previously. But when I was nearly done it decided to give me trouble, so I declared it to be a fickle wall and I broke up with it. I still have fond memories of that wall...
What?! Where?! Um, never mind, where was I? Oh yeah.)
Anyway. Pamie. stee. Funny people that well and truly rock. Buy Pamie's book so that she can get another book deal and make lots of money and never have to worry her talented, pretty princess head about sink pasta ever again.
That is all.
I never really paid much attention to Joe Bob Briggs in the past, knowing him only as the one time host of bad movies on Showtime. But I stumbled on his website today and read his take on the Ten Commandments monument fiasco in Alabama.
Oh yeah, Joe Bob. You know what Mama Carol likes, doncha baby?
The CD started out with an odd but fun instrumental. It wasn't a grand tune, but it was upbeat, pleasant in its strange little way. I remembered that it wasn't representative of the CD as a whole.
I was right. As I cleaned and straightened, with only a small portion of my concentration needed for the tasks at hand, I was able to devote more time to the lyrics than I had in the past. I was floored. The lyrics in the majority of the songs were heartbreaking.
Though he's doing very well now, I knew that the giver of the CD had been through some tough times a few years before, during a time when I didn't know him. I had heard those sad days reflected in other music he had shared with me and had deeply felt for him in the hearing of that music. But today, for some reason, nearly every word I listened to affected me powerfully. My cleaning became desultory as more and more of my focus turned to the tunes spinning on my stereo. I had to catch my breath several times. Finally, during a song which previously I had found melodically naive, I completely stopped what I was doing and sank to the the living room floor, the plaintive voice of the artist etching the past pain of my friend in sharp relief.
Several thoughts ran through my head as I took in the verses, the tears that had welled up in the corners of my eyes refusing to fall:
I wanted to go back in time, to my friend during his dark days, to hold him, soothe his troubled brow and wipe away his tears, to let him know that he would come out of the exprerience a better, stronger man. To let him know that I had seen the person he would become and that, though he was perhaps more wary than in the past, the future him would still be funny, still be engaging and still be caring and compassionate.
I wanted to find the person that had caused my friend such pain, take her by the hair and throw her down, scream at her for what she had done. At that moment it didn't matter that I didn't know the whole story, that it was possible plenty of blame could be spread around to both parties. All I knew was that she had inflicted tremendous pain on someone I cared about. I tend to be rather protective of family and friends, as are most people that I know, and though I know everyone goes through rocky times, I always want to wave a magic wand to make the hurt all better and to make those who are responsible for the hurt to pay for what they've done. Maybe that's why I've occasionally been told that I'm "too sensitive".
Somewhere, mixed in with these thoughts of "make it go away" and "my poor dear friend" and "I'll teach her", I wondered what sort of mix CD I would put together, had I done so at the lowest moments in my life. After the death of my older sister, songs such as Seasons in the Sun and Wildfire always had me breaking into tears. During the time following my last break-up, Don't Speak, Unbreak My Heart and It's All Coming Back to Me Now were in constant mental rotation.
And last year, after the dissolution of my family as I knew it? Actually, I can't remember any songs that captured the pain I was feeling. Mainly because I don't know if such songs exist. As far as I know, no one has yet written about the family that wasn't what it seemed, about the questioning of what was real and what was false in a father who based his entire life, and the entire lives of his family, on well-constructed, well-hidden lies, or about what happens when the only thing one was connected to in a world that was endlessly changing due to almost yearly uprooting, the only constant in one's whole existence, disintegrated before one's helpless eyes. I may be wrong, but people don't seem to write songs about that sort of thing.
In the end, as the CD played on and I mentally hugged my friend, I stood back up, did a little more cleaning, and got ready to go to Pamie's book signing. Because that's what you do in life. You acknowledge the pain, accept it and embrace it for a time, then let it go as best as you can. You don't forget the tough times, the dark days, but you do learn from them. Then you move on. You heal. So that you can continue living and loving and laughing and connecting with people, with the great big wide wonderful world again.
That's what makes life worth living. I so love to live life. So does my friend.
Thursday, August 28, 2003
I know she'll do well. She's a sweet woman, but she's also pretty tough and she knows her stuff. But I'm asking for everyone to wish her luck (or think good thoughts or put out good vibes - however you phrase it). I'm sure that every little bit will help.
We live in such a visually saturated, MTV-type society today it's actually pretty funny. A little while ago I decided to go for a little walk around my neighborhood (I'm taking today off to get some stuff done). CD player in its case slung over my shoulder, up-tempo songs playing over my headphones, I took off at a brisk pace, lip-synching to the tunes, not caring what the passing drivers thought of me. Suddenly I had this vision of me in a music video, walking down the street as I was then, singing and moving to the music and making sexily playful faces for the camera. It's not the first time thoughts like that have crossed my mind. I seriously doubt it'll be the last.
I doubt I'm the only person who imagines herself in a video when listening to music these days. I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure such thoughts rarely ran through people's minds, say, thirty or forty years ago.
BTW, I never did get to Griffith Park to see Mars' closest proximity to Earth in nearly 60,000 years. But I do look up in the southeastern sky every night and see its steady glow, knowing that history is in the making.
Maybe I'll check it out next time it stops by.
*thinks hard, calculating age in 2287*
Or maybe not.
The only problem with this (besides my full closets and drawers)? My inability to wear my cute clothes as I lose weight.
I have two pairs of jeans that I rather like, both of which are a faded blue with frayed hems and low waists. One of them is very funky, what one friend calls gutter-punk style, bought a bit on the large side to begin with, with overly long legs, slits up the outside seams, held together by metal rings and grommets. Simply fun and funky. Both pairs of jeans can now be put on and pulled off without ever unzipping the zipper. And the funky pair sits, not low on the waist, but mid hips.
On one hand, I'm thinking, yea! I've lost a couple of inches everywhere since April, which, I have to admit, makes me smile. On the other hand, my cute funky jeans, the very ones I paired with a very low-cut lacy light blue top, long black quilted coat and black boots on the night I met Tony Head in a dark divey bar after he sang a few songs from his CD, where I made him laugh and confused him (as I've said, he got the full "Carol experience" in a short ten minute conversation), well, I can't wear them anymore unless I have them taken in, which will probably cost more than the jeans themselves. Not to mention that I'd have to wait until I stop losing weight, otherwise I'd constantly be taking them in for alterations, which would get expensive pretty darned quick.
So, what's a girl to do? Besides buy new cute clothes in smaller sizes -
Hey, that's not a bad idea....
Linda flew out of LAX on Tuesday afternoon and arrived home, safe and sound, Wednesday morning. It's hard to believe that she's back in the Netherlands, nine hours and thousands of miles away. Saturday night, as we walked into the guest house where she was staying, the same guest house she stayed in last year, it seemed as if it had only been a week since I'd been there last, not a year. Her being in L.A. was the most natural thing in the world, like she had always been here and would always be here. And, unless I visit her in the Netherlands next year (which is definitely a possibility), it may be another two years, or more, before I see her again.
I miss her already.
I so need this car. I'm horrible at parallel parking. Whilst trying to park my old Escort I had two 13 year old girls laugh at me and give me suggestions - I knew them, they were in my car and all, but still...
Mmmm, self-parking hybrid car... *drool*
Hee! Probably easier to read than the real ballot will be. And good ol' Wil is in first place. With Bender in second place. Now that's a ticket I could get behind!
Tuesday, August 26, 2003
Last year I got myself up, threw on a trenchcoat over my flannel pajamas, pulled on my sneakers and drove as far up the road to the Griffith Observatory as I could to watch the Leonids. I felt a little strange and a little scared, going by myself at 2am on a dark road up in the hills, but with all the other cars parked on the road, their headlights off and their occupants camping out in chairs or on their car hoods, I ended up feeling perfectly safe.
As I lay on the hood of my car on a cold November morning, gloves covering my chilled hands, trusty buckwheat travel pillow supporting my bad neck, I was glad I took the time in the midst of familial tumult to watch the meteor shower. It was breathtaking.
G-d, how I love space.
Best thing? I'll not only be able to print again, but I'll be able to use Word without the program crashing every time I start it. Whee!!! Thank you, WestHollywoodBoy! (Not that he ever reads this, but that's okay.)
* I may be a bit late in linking this, but why should I stop being a Janey-Come-Lately now? I applaud these brave young men and would consider joining them, except for two facts:
- Until the exercise achieves its desired result, I am in possession of a fair amount of "junk in my trunk";
- the skin stretched over said trunk has never seen the warm rays of the sun, rendering it a most blindingly pale white.
It is perhaps best that I not participate, for the good of all mankind.
John Scalzi wonders if it'll be construed as protected speech. For the sake of the guys, I just hope that it's not considered a threat against national security.
Monday, August 25, 2003
Not only did he look it up, as I knew he would, but he e-mailed me a link, with the following addendum:
Bloody Well Right off of Crime of the Century by Supertramp.
Neener neener neener.
Yes, I find that unbearably cute. I laughed out loud when I read that. My response:
Forgive me, oh great and wonderous [real name], for ever doubting your musical knowledge. I humbly submit to your whim. *bows low, scraping forehead to floor*
I just wish to say, in conclusion:
Yeah, we're real mature.
Friday night, after dealing with rush hour traffic on the 405 for over an hour and a half, CuteNerdBoy picked me up at work so that we could see Dr. Strangelove, which I'd never seen before. (What? Why do people keep looking at me as if I've grown extra heads? Geez Louise!) Better yet, we saw it in an honest-to-goodness old-time-style movie theater, not on video as I thought I'd eventually watch the movie.
We drove south and made it to San Pedro early enough to grab a quick, but yummy, bite and to rush to the theater. And I declared the film to be good. And it was so. (Not to mention, still pretty relevant. Scary, no?)
Anyway, over the course of the evening, after being his typical sweet self in the giving of not only Another Disc #5 but a copy of his favorite book (Master and Commander - for me to either keep or release into the wild, as I see fit - I'm very touched by such a gift), our usual topics of music and books and movies were discussed. But we also talked about, in a rather general fashion, dating and sex and suicide and depression. Yeah, really light topics there.
On Saturday, while I was at work, I ruminated over the previous evening and, in my usual manner, over-analyzed everything I said. I tend to be a pretty honest person, as most of the time I just don't see the point in prevarication, even when it might be to my own benefit. After thinking about Friday night's conversations, I started wondering if some of my statements could be taken to mean that I was an over-sexed emotionally unstable nutjob. On the way home, waiting for the bus, I mentally composed a 'blog entry about some of my uncertainties.
Luckily, before I could sit down at my computer at home, Linda showed up for our farewell dinner, the last time I'd get a chance to see her before she heads home on Tuesday. We talked about my concerns, as well as various other subjects, and very quickly she put my mind at ease. So much so that by the end of the evening we were both positively silly, giggling and guffawing, with me drawing attention from people in other cars by acting generally wacky in the car. (Okay, maybe the nutjob part isn't too far off.)
Then yesterday, after a full day of laundry and gift shopping and a really fun, cute Hulk-themed birthday for my nephew (who turns four today - happy, happy birthday to him!!!) with lots of children and a pinata and pool splashing and food and laughter and cake and ice cream and the like, my older brother and his girlfriend rushed me to meet CuteNerdBoy at a park in the west end of the San Fernando Valley, where the big band in which his step-father plays was having a free outdoor concert. I only missed a couple of songs, thank heaven (it was a little touch and go there for a while).
I ended up meeting his mother, step-father, aunt, step-sister, step-brother-in-law and a neighbor of his mother and step-father (introduced as his step-neighbor). Yeah, I know. I knew I'd probably meet his mother, aunt and step-father, and I admit I was a little scared at the prospect. I was not prepared for the others.
I'm also still thinking that maybe the top I was wearing was a little too low-cut for such a meeting, though I've been assured by others that it's not that low. Then again, that could just be compared to some of the other outfits they've seen me in. Sometimes it's hard to judge when you're a little on the busty side.
CuteNerdBoy had also invited a bunch of his other friends, several of whom I knew in high school, which excited me because I hoped that I'd get to see them again. Then again, he had also warned me that they might not show. He was right. None of them were there.
Anyway, it was very much a "Everyone, this is my friend Carol from high school," type of introduction, which is pretty much true, though we didn't know each other that well back then, despite working on a play together in 11th grade. But I also wonder what, if anything, he's told them about me, because I did detect a smidge of protectiveness on the parts of several of the others in regards to CuteNerdBoy, which I can certainly understand. I'd probably be the same way. I just hope I acquitted myself well. I tried to be my usual charming, funny self, without traipsing into nutjob territory. I also tried my best to not seem like a woman on the prowl, because that always goes over so well with relatives of the guy you're kind of dating and you happen to be rather in like with.
(I keep reminding myself, it's still pretty early yet, we're really just getting to know each other. Personally, I'm liking who I'm getting to know. Okay, okay, so I may be the teeniest bit smitten with the fella. So sue me. )
In the end no one seemed to treat me like I had bubonic plague, so I consider that to be a positive sign. His step-sister gave me a little hug as we parted and her husband took my hand in both of his and stared into my eyes as he said that it was good meeting me, plus as CuteNerdBoy's aunt drove me home, with him in the passenger seat (I ducked into the back seat before anything could be discussed because I hate to seem presumptuous - I thought it terrific of them to drive me all the way across the Valley when the concert was on the same side of town in which they lived - they seemed to not even consider it an issue), we spoke rather easily, I thought. That's a good thing, right?
His mother was very sweet and very nice and way too young looking to have a son the same age as me (his aunt is pretty young looking too). I knew that CuteNerdBoy had a good relationship with his mother, but it was so cute to see them together - he's obviously close to her, but he doesn't seem to be a mama's boy. Hanging out with all of them, I can certainly see the genesis of CuteNerdBoy's sense of humor, which I think is rather similar to mine, as well as his generally open nature. It was just a wonderful time with good music, people watching (the cutest nearly-three-year-old twin girls were dancing nearby, sometimes with their mother) and a group of fun, friendly folks.
For me, you know what was best of all about yesterday's big band evening? Soon after I arrived, when I had gotten myself situated on the blanket sitting in front of CuteNerdBoy, he leaned over from his low beach chair, tapped me on the shoulder, and said to me, his mouth not too far from my ear, "I'm really glad you could make it."
Me too, my friend. Me too.
Thursday, August 21, 2003
The basement smelled old, musty, damp. She hugged the wall, searching for a light switch. G-d, she hoped there was a light switch. She would hate to have to step away from the solid safety of the the wall, blindly reaching up to find a dangling light bulb that might not even have a pull chain attached, not knowing what she might encounter in the thick, black dark that closed in around her.
She started to panic, cursing herself for not bringing a flashlight, a candle, even a stupid book of matches. Who the hell goes into a strange basement without back-up lighting of some kind? And why the hell did he send her down for the wine, knowing her fears?
Images flashed behind her eyes. She saw rats and roaches scurrying across her feet, unseen but definitely felt. She saw the house being shaken apart by a sudden earthquake, even though earthquakes were unheard of in Florida. In her mind the safe walls crumbled like blue cheese around her, the ceiling collapsed on her head and she lay buried in the rubble, stunned but conscious, the unseen rats and roaches making a meal of her.
Breathe deeply, she told herself. Even he wouldn't send her down to a dank basement if it were unsafe. Sure, he was pretty screwed up, but he knew her horror of the dark, of being buried alive.
G-ddamned Poe stories. Who was the brain trust that decided Poe was appropriate reading for impressionable children? That was some fucked-up shit for a third grader to be forced to read, especially one as preternaturally fearful as she was. Ever since she had read "The Cask of Amontillado" and "Fall of the House of Usher", she'd been terrified of basements and old houses and the dark. Always the dark. Enveloping her, enfolding her, smothering her in its relentless embrace.
Wait, was that a rustle? It was hard to hear over her ragged breathing, but she was sure she heard some rustling. Was she sharing this space with horrible rodents and insects and maybe even reptiles? Shit oh shit oh shit...
She decided to go back up the stairs, smack him so hard those slightly crossed eyes of his went straight and fell out of his demented skull, when her trembling hands ran across a switch. A light switch. Oh glory, blessed be. Okay, she thought as her fingers flicked the switch upwards, she'll get the wine. But she was still going to slap him silly for making her do this, the sick fuck.
The light flashed on, momentarily blinding her, and she heard the rustling again, louder than before, this time accompanied by a stomp or two. In the brief instant that it took her eyes to adjust to the bright light, terror spiked through her, rising to her vocal chords. Her scream was lost in the voices bombarding her. "Surprise! Happy birthday, Sam!"
She stared at the familiar faces of her friends and family. The door above creaked open and she looked up into his face with its crazy grin.
She glared at him and spoke, her eyes steely, her tone unforgiving.
"Jeremy, you are so not getting laid tonight."
Labels: story time
Wednesday, August 20, 2003
But you know what I really love?
As far back as I can remember I've loved putting together costumes. I've always loved Halloween, but not for me were the plastic masks and standard supermarket issue costumes. How very boring! Besides, who the hell could breathe in those masks? Sure as hell not me, with my slight case of claustrophobia.
I so much preferred rummaging around all the closets in the house to find just the right pieces for my Halloween costumes, then putting them together. That was pure heaven. Sometimes I couldn't find just the right accessory so I'd have to improvise. Like the several years I was gypsy but possessed neither pierced ears nor hoop earrings. So I just used the shower curtain hoops. Sure, they hurt when I clipped them to my ear lobes. But I didn't care, because at least I looked the part. At least as much as a eight year old could look like a gypsy in old clothes made for her by her grandmother or her mom's castoffs, shower curtain hoops adorning her tender ears.
Back in second grade, I think it was, I was cast as the seamstress in "Stone Soup". All the other children read their lines from papers and wore pretty much what they wore everyday. I scoured my drawers for something that looked like a fairy-tale seamstress might wear. I put together a bit of cloth with yarn and needle, so that my seamstress would have something to be working on when the visitor asked her for potatoes to add to the stone soup. And I memorized my few lines. I was the best seamstress I could be. And I have to say, I was pretty darned good.
I remember even dressing up to deliver my report about Florence Nightingale to the class. We were encouraged to do so by our teacher (again, this was second grade - or perhaps it was third - I think I was living in Virginia). Some of the children did, but many didn't. It wasn't even a question with me.
Sometimes, though, my penchant for trying to be dressed exactly right didn't work too well. In sixth grade, when I was both a munchkin (which, as one of the tallest kids in the class, was pretty funny) and a winged monkey in the sixth grade production of "Wizard of Oz", my need to have two completely different, yet appropriate, outfits actually caused me to show up late for my winged monkey entrance. Why? Because I didn't know until it was time for the performance that there was nothing to change behind, that the stage consisted of an open platform in the middle of the cafeteria with absolutely no flats for the actors to wait behind. So, after my munchkin bit (which I delivered from memory, unlike Dorothy and the others, who relied on their scripts *sniff*), I sunk down as low as I could behind the platform stairs and tried to come up with a way to quickly change my costume without letting the other actors, or the audience, see anything interesting. I tried, I really tried, but it couldn't be done and, a minute or so after the other winged monkeys showed up to take the scarecrow away, I popped up, grabbed the scarecrow, and dragged him off-stage with the others, rather upset that I had to be seen as a monkey in the munchkin denim culottes instead of the sleek brown pants and turtleneck that I had planned. I eventually got over it.
I still fondly remember my junior high school costumes in San Diego - Sherlock Holmes and Ellery Queen (as played by Jim Hutton). No figured out the Ellery Queen costume, but I didn't care. I knew had gotten it right.
I'm still in love with costumes. I love digging through my clothes and thrift shops for the perfect pieces. Halloween is still one of my favorite holidays. I tend to outfit myself in a more sexy, sultry manner these days, though. (Look! I'm a woman!) I love dressing up as a vampire or fortune teller or cat, with the elaborate make-up and the proper fangs (for my canine teeth only, of course) and the witchy accessories. Even when I have no time to plan a costume, I have enough separates that I can always come up something.
I think I'm going to have to start planning this year's costume. What do you mean, it's only August? Your point would be - ?
Now and then
Another time and place
Calls to me with your voice
We’re far apart
But I feel you near
With the beating of my heart
I can see you
Like you were here now
I can feel you
Thinking of me
And I know
That I could touch you now
If you just reach out
Reach out your hand
When I hear your voice
Across the many miles
It makes me feel that
I feel that little tug
When I’m fast asleep
And I know you’re here
‘Cause I can see you
Like you were here now
I can feel you
Thinking of me
And I know, I know
That I could touch you now
If you just reach out
Just reach out your hand
I feel, Oh I
Feel that little tug
When I’m fast asleep
And I know you’re here
‘Cause I can see you
Like you were here now
And I can feel you
Thinking of me
And I know, I know
That I could touch you now
If you just reach out
And I can see you
Like you were here now
And I can feel you
Thinking of me
And I know, I know
That I could touch you now
If you just reach out
Just reach out your hand
Long Distance by Third Door Down (from Tappistry, Vol. II)
Third Door Down is a local band of which I'm an avid groupie (not to mention being friends). They're an excellent group and, if justice is done in this world, they'll soon be wildly successful.
This song was the first of theirs I'd ever heard (when they were still a duo comprising of Casey and Kira). I instantly fell in love with their music. And they've just gotten better. I encourage everyone, check them out.
Labels: musical interlude
But I'd rather talk about something that was said last week, almost off the cuff, it seemed, that made my ocassionally shaky self-esteem soar when I heard it and has just made me feel really good about both myself and the person who said it. Perhaps that's why, after yesterday's slam, I've been going back to the statement today.
As I briefly mentioned before, last Tuesday evening I went to a monthly book club meeting with CuteNerdBoy. It was for an organization called BookCrossing. The idea behind the club? To release books into the wild, where they are picked up, read and passed on. I think it's a fabulous idea and I'm very happy that CuteNerdBoy introduced me to the concept and invited me to this month's meeting.
There were six people total that showed up to the meeting and, at first, CuteNerdBoy was the only one that had attended previous meetings and was familiar with the site and the reason behind the club. As a consequence, he had to explain what BookCrossing was all about, as it seemed that the organizer never arrived. (He actually had to explain it a second time when the fifth person showed up later - luckily the sixth person, though she had never been to a meeting before, had been releasing books into the wild for several months.) While I can't say he was exactly holding court, it was very cute to see him talking about the organization and enthusiastic about the books he'd read and drawing the others out.
I was a bit on the quiet side, because that's the way I felt that night and I do tend to be quiet if I meet new people and I'm not the organizer of the event. It's that cursed shyness. Well, that and because a few times I did start to say something but someone would steamroll over me before I could get two words out. That tends to happen to me quite often and it's something I'm never happy about, but really, what could I say? I will point out that CuteNerdBoy was never the steamroller. He's a pretty good listener.
So, at one point we were talking about our reading habits. I mentioned that I've been devouring books lately. Then I said rather quickly, alomst nervously, my eyes darting between the two people sitting opposite me, "If I'm not reading, then I'm writing or I'm reading about writing or I'm writing about reading or -"
Next to me I hear CuteNerdBoy pipe up,"She's a writer."
I stopped, stunned at what I had heard. I think I just looked at him for a moment. The conversation continued to flow around me and, after awhile I joined it again, but, over the course of the night that simply made statement kept returning to my mind.
"She's a writer."
See, while I've been fortunate enough to garner support for my creative efforts from friends and family, I've never really had someone say of me, "She's an actress, she's an artist, she's a writer." Even my last boyfriend, FG, an aspiring actor/writer whom I loved and had lived with for over three years back in the early-mid 90s, who definitely supported my creative impulses, had never referred to me as a writer or an actress or an artist, all of which I did in some way during the time we were together.
And here, in a coffee shop in Studio City, talking with people who had been strangers up until that evening, CuteNerdBoy said of me, "She's a writer." No hesitation. No doubt. As if it were a statement of fact. And it stunned me into silence.
I wondered how he could be sure, so confident. He has read the article that I mentioned was published on LAPC and said it was well done, but I don't think he's read anything else of mine (unless he had Googled me and found something that might be hanging out there - which is possible considering I've been doing the internet thing since late '97 - I should Google myself and see what pops up).
I've actually developed a theory as to why FG couldn't show me that support and CuteNerdBoy did. Despite being a good actor, during the time we were together FG didn't really follow his dreams, though I did everything I could think of to encourage him. By the time we broke up he was not where he wanted to be in life and, I think, not really confident about his own abilities, despite me telling him to do what he felt he needed to in order to achieve his desire, as well as encouraging him to study music, as he had an excellent singing voice and a definite musical knack whenever he sat down in front of a piano.
Still, with no confidence of his own, it would be difficult to impart confidence to others, especially when it's in the same fields he's attempting to break into. Not that it was a concious thing on his part. I'm positive that it wasn't. Still, the end result is the same.
With CuteNerdBoy, it's different. He has also acted, but he's gone after it and had success with it, appearing in sitcoms and feature films and TV anthology stories and commercials back in the mid- to late 80s and early to mid-90s. He put aside the acting for a while to concentrate on his consulting business, which is doing well. So he's been successful in two different fields and most likely has enough confidence in himself that he doesn't have to be stingy about it, can afford to spread it around. And that one bit of writing of mine that he has read was apparently enough to convince him that, yes, I am a writer. Period. End of story.
I don't think I have to spell out how great that feels. How contagious that sort of confidence is. And how sexy that confidence is in another.
If you'll excuse me, I have to go submit some stories right now. And build up my own confidence so I can be sexy too.
Monday, August 18, 2003
Today was one of those days that was just a little hard on the ol' self-esteem. Thing is, I brought it on myself.
A little over a week ago I touched upon my seeming inability to just concentrate on my work, preferring to waste time online instead. My boss has been dropping somewhat subtle hints here and there over the last few weeks that my online habits have been noticed, along with my frequent tardiness, and maybe I had better be careful. Today he basically let me know outright that, not only has it been noticed but some co-workers are not exactly pleased about it. I had already figured as much, since I had been getting a bit of a cold attitude from someone I previously counted as a friend. I guess today was just the day my horrid work habits had come home to roost. And, though part of me wants to get all righteous and upset about it, in all good conscience I can't.
What really gets me is that I know this about myself, it is something that seriously bothers me, but I'm having trouble correcting my habits. I don't wish to repeat myself, but I'm so profoundly bored by what I do that I cannot concentrate on my work. But I know I'm not the only one, so I wonder what it is about me that causes such lack of focus where others can just plow through work that they don't like. Is my brain just wired differently? I was recently told that I have an unusual perspective on stuff, so maybe my synapses fire differently than those around me. Or maybe my laziness, my lack of application has deeper, psychological roots. I have addressed it with my therapist, maybe it's time to go back to that.
I don't know, but whatever my fucking issue is, I need to find a way around it. It's causing problems for me, and for my co-workers. I overhead part of a conversation today that, even if it were not about me, could very well have been. If they were talking about me (and I'm pretty sure they were), some of the statements were on the mark. But other statements that suggested that I didn't care, that I just worked to get people behind me so that I'm don't get fired, and that I'd end up landing on feet? Those were totally off. I do care, very much. It hurts that my inaction has caused resentment. It hurts that my bad work habits might reflect poorly on my boss. I don't set out to get support just so I can laze around the office and set my own hours. And I seriously doubt that I'd end up landing on my feet if I were to get fired. But I have the feeling if I sat down with my co-workers, one in particular, and tried to apologize, she wouldn't believe that sincerity lay behind my words. She'd snort and roll her eyes, and I couldn't exactly blame her.
I can't keep this up. Until such a time that I get a job that doesn't bore me, that I can get excited about, I'm going to have to do a 180. And I have to keep up the good work habits. Or it's going to explode rather messily in my face.
On top of it all, as I was walking home from the bus stop this evening, I was very sad that I didn't have anyone at home to greet me, to hear my problems or to just be a comforting presence. There are times I enjoy living alone. But those times are getting less and less frequent. I've lived alone for over six years. Much as I love my cats, and they do provide great companionship, they're not so good with the conversation or the human touch. If I feel like crying, wanting someone's arms to hold me, I just have to make do with my own arms. They're just not the same.
Postscript - knowing me, I'll probably be over most of being a sad panda by tomorrow. However, it seems Tuesday's horoscope is warning against what I'm feeling today: "Be careful of falling into the self-pity trap, CAROL. You may have the tendency to put on a sour face and mope around until someone notices you and asks you what is wrong. If no one does, you might slowly develop a deep anger toward everyone around you, and pretty soon feel like you have no friends whatsoever. Your mood could then begin to worsen, and you might start snapping back when someone asks you a reasonable question. Be careful of sliding down this slippery slope to nowhere."
Maybe it's just time for a quick cry, then some light happy music to get me over these stupid doldrums. Hey, tomorrow's another day, right? And most likely, a brighter one.
Sunday, August 17, 2003
Today Linda and I hung out at the hostess' house for a couple of hours, watching the episode of MI-5 with Tony Head and the Angel episode The Bachelor Party". There was fun swag to be had, including little "Grrr Argh" finger monters (my green little guy was engaged in an epic thumb battle with a pink one - I think mine obviously has the upper thumb). And your humble journaler can be seen here, looking rather tired, shiny and sans makeup. The fact that I allowed the picture to be taken with glasses is testament to how tired I was, because I almost never allow pictures with my glasses. Not that I don't like the way I look with them, because I do, I just don't think I usually photograph well with them.
Then Linda and I left the Buffy folks and spent a few hours in Balboa Park, which is simply beautiful. I used to live in San Diego many moons ago and I loved the Park then. Now, whenever I go to San Diego and I have the time, I make sure that I spend at least a little time there. It really is a must see. And after that we came home.
Of course, there's lots more detail, but how exciting is it to read about bad traffic on the way there and no hot water at the hotel this morning and our quest for parking at the Park? Not very.
However, there is one rather, um, interesting thing that happened. At the end of last night at the zoo's gift shop, as I was waiting for Linda who was waiting for the guy that was taking forever to wrap the gift she got for her mom, I ran into two people that I didn't expect to run into. WriterGuy and BassBoy.
Back in the late 80s I worked with BassBoy. And, though I certainly never told him this (I don't think he ever found out), I fell in love with him. I got over it and was soon after introduced to one of his best friends, WriterGuy. Somehow, without me ever quite figuring out how, I ended up in a relationship with WriterGuy. As a matter of fact, he was my first boyfriend (I've always been a late bloomer, socially). It was all well and good, as WriterGuy is very intelligent and funny and nice, though more than a little on the angry side. But after about seven or eight months I realized that my feelings for WriterGuy did not run as deep as I felt they should have and I broke up with him. The only time I've ever broken up with someone, I might add.
As we share some friends, I've seen both of them over the years, but it's probably been a good seven years since I've seen WriterGuy and, I think, five years since I've seen BassBoy (he was at a friend's Christmas party). I'd heard that WriterGuy was living in San Diego and, the last I'd heard, BassBoy was in Laguna Beach, but I certainly didn't expect to run into them at the zoo. Though I did mention to Linda earlier in the day that it would be interesting if I did.
The three of us spoke for a few minutes, all light and frivolous, but I was feeling a little off-balance. I think mainly because I was tired and ready to head back to the hotel and just the night before an old school mate that I hadn't seen in almost twenty years showed up at my game night, in addition to all of the other people from my past that have been popping up in one way or another over the last few months (including CuteNerdBoy). Linda came over and I introduced them, then we spoke some more, then a Buffy person I'd been hoping to see popped up and she and I hugged and chatted. At that point WriterGuy and BassBoy decided to leave, we said our goodbyes and they were off.
I was a little jittery for the rest of the night after that. I think because I wasn't sure what to expect from either one of them and I'd heard over the years through the grapevine that WriterGuy might still have feelings for me after all this time. Linda said that, upon observing the three of us, she had to agree with that statement. I still have fond feelings for both of them, and I always will, but they will just remain fond feelings. Especially since my interests are very much directed at another person these days.
I'm just wondering who from my past will pop up next.
Friday, August 15, 2003
A man with a toupee.
I refrained from running up to him, snatching the foul thing from his head, dashing it to the ground and stomping on it as I screamed, “You’re not fooling anyone! You’d look good if you just accepted nature!”
Because that would just be rude. E-hem.
Listen, I happen to like a nicely groomed head of hair on a man. If it’s dark, even better. (G-d, how I love dark hair!) But if a man’s hairline is starting to migrate north, I would so much prefer it if he let nature do its thing. Accept it and move on. I find that so much more attractive than trying to convince people that the toupee (or the comb-over *shudder*) is his hair’s natural look. (My father does the comb-over. You know Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt? Spitting image of my father. Really.) Or, if he prefers, just shave it all off.
Let me put it this way. On one hand you have Patrick Stewart. On the other hand you’ve got Walter Koenig. If there was some bizarre cataclysmic event that caused both of them to come to me, proclaiming their undying love for me, and I wasn’t involved or interested in someone else, who do you think I’d go for? It wouldn’t be the one with the rodent on his head, I tell ya that.
(Okay, so Patrick Stewart also has that whole charisma/talent/booming English accented voice thing going on. But I’m telling you, the shag rug residing on Koenig’s pate doesn’t help matters. I mean, I’ve seen the thing in person. It’s no ShatnerTurbo2000.)
So, gentlemen, I beg of you, on the behalf of all women (and gay men) with taste. Eschew the toupee. If you have one, please release it into the wild, where it can lead a happy life as near-sighted, smell-challenged wildlife attempt to mate with it. Your toupee, and your loved ones, will thank you.
Poor little me, tired because I'm such the social butterfly. I mean, it's not like I'm working obscenely long hours because of the stupidity of computer users who don't install a free patch and, as a consequence, have their computers screwed up because of another lovely computer worm. (Poor CuteNerdBoy. I hope he gets some rest this weekend.)
I did get enough sleep last night to move the tired factor from bone-weary to, "Eh, so I'm tired. *shrug* Big friggin' deal." So that's a good thing. Tonight is another game night, which will be fun. And tomorrow, depending on the outcome of some recent events, Linda and I will most likely be driving down to San Diego to meet a bunch of folks that I know through a Buffy message board that I frequent. I've met several of the people in real life before, but some of them will be brand new to me, so I'm excited about that. We'll be going to the San Diego Zoo, which I've never been to before, despite my four years of living in San Diego when I was a teen. Then Sunday will be spent showing Linda a few touristy sights in San Diego before heading back to town.
So yeah, the social butterfly is still fluttering about, having a blast, though wondering why I feel the need to cram full so many of my evenings and days with activities. I've got no one to blame but myself for any exhaustion I may feel. So if I turn into a little whiny, "Oh, I'm soooo tired!!!" baby again, just slap me. You have my permission.
Thursday, August 14, 2003
Yeah. I think I need sleep.
To borrow a phrase from Kymm, Jesus wept, I'm tired. Not the "I'm going to drop from lack of sleep" kind of tired. I think I passed that yesterday. No, it's the bone-weary kind of tired where, yes you can walk without tripping over your own feet, but the world around you is moving at a sort of triple pace. You have moments where you think you've caught your second wind, you're okay, even jogging down one flight of stairs at work, but that burst of energy is gone in an instant and your arms feel weighted down with sand bags. Gravity makes smiling way too difficult, so you look like you're very sad because every muscle in your face is drooping. But you're not sad, because even emotion takes too much energy. And, if for one second you make the mistake of closing your eyes, just for the briefest millisecond, you feel sleep rushing up around you, you feel as if you're floating, almost giddy and, for half a second, you welcome sinking into the black void that's embracing you, before you remember you're on the bus or at work or walking down the hall.
I got some rest on Sunday, after the baseball game, but that wasn't enough to make up for the previous three weeks. Monday night I spent with an emergency load of laundry and straightening around the house until one in the morning, though I was up by 4:30 am on Tuesday. Tuesday evening was a fun book meeting and lovely dinner and coffee date, all with CuteNerdBoy, which ended early enough for me to get a good amount of sleep, but my brain just wouldn't shut up enough to let me drift off. Asleep at nearly 2 am and awake at 6 am. And last night was a rather frustrating dinner with my friend, WestHollywoodBoy, which we didn't even eat until close to 10:30 pm due to buses and phone conversations that lasted way too long until I threatened to just take the bus home if he didn't get off the damned phone and bad service at the Jerry's Deli near the Beverly Center, which is never a good idea when you have two tired, cranky people at your table. Luckily my very deliberately dropped menu seem to get attention, otherwise I would have had to grab someone, anyone, and dragged them to our table. It wouldn't have mattered if it was a customer or not. I was hungry and tired and I wanted food. I wanted comfort food late at night and by G-d, I got my veggie melt with avocado and onion rings, healthy eating be damned. So I didn't actually enter my home (my friend drove me home, of course) until 1 am. Sleep graced my bed at about 1:30 am, but I was out of bed again at 6am.
Thank heaven Linda canceled our plans for tonight. I would have liked to see her tonight, but I swear, I'm going to bed as soon as I post this entry.
No, I don't know why I'm writing instead of sleeping. Even if I weren't sleeping I could be exercising, because I haven't really worked out in the last two weeks. I have gotten daily exercise, with the walking and the running for the bus and the stair climbing, but no real workout, because I've been leaving too early in the morning and getting home too late. I could be washing my dishes, which really, really has to be done. And if I just had to write, well, I could work on my novels or some short stories I've begun. But I've been bitten by the 'blogging bug. I probably need help. Especially since my tiredness seems to have exhausted my funny bone. Damn, three days in a row with very little humor in my entries. Maybe I need to step away from the keyboard.
Rather than trying to puzzle it out now, I think I'll just sleep on it. Hopefully I'll have an answer in the morning.
I watched them cross the street, looking for signs that the boy was being unwillingly carried. As they reached the 7-11 parking lot on the opposite corner, the man set the boy down. Instantly the kid took off running towards the store with a happy squeal. I realized that the man simply carried the child so there would be no danger of him running into traffic.
I remembered that, no matter how trusting I tend to be, I look at many adult/child interactions with the same critical eye and I wondered, “My G-d, is this what our society has come to?”
Maybe, with my love of children and my many nieces and nephews, it's just what I've become. Or a combination of the two.
Wednesday, August 13, 2003
Shatter the plate now
Crush the glass
And all the things I've carried
I put them down at last
I keep my promise
Some days better than my heart
But like little paper valentines
This is where we start
Cuz you take me to the window, love
And you leave the light on
You take off my uniform
And say baby put this new dress
Baby put this new dress on
You pull me from my corner
You promise not to laugh
I'm afraid you'll see right through me
But I'm afraid that I will never get enough
Cuz you take me to the window, love
And you leave the light on
You take off my uniform
And say baby put this new dress
Baby put this new dress on
From your window I can see the endless ocean blue
From your window I can finally see that I love you
I love you
So take me to the window, love
And leave the light on
Come take off my uniform
And say baby put this new dress
Take me to the window, love
And leave the light on
Come take off my uniform
And say baby put this new dress
Baby put this new dress
Baby put this new dress on...
New Dress by Jonatha Brooke, Neil Finn accompanying on vocals (from Steady Pull)
A wonderful song. The lyrics are great but it's the music that gets me. Darkly seductive, it seeps into my cells, rushes through my bloodstream and takes over my nerve endings.
Labels: musical interlude
Tuesday, August 12, 2003
Shaving my legs is such a chore for me. My genetics are such that I was cursed with a certain hirsuteness. Which would be great if it were confined to the top of my head. I've often been complimented on my thick, dark head of hair by friends, family and hairdressers alike.
Unfortunately, in my case, a head of thick, luxurious hair also heralds thick coarse hair on my legs, my forearms and even traces on the backs of my knuckles and tops of some of my toes. I've also got the makings for a fine Frieda Kahlo mustache and witchy chin hairs, were I to just let it go. Thank heaven I've escaped the unibrow of my younger brother. On guys it's fine. For a pretty, feminine woman like myself? Not so much.
On top of this I have my mother's fair skin, against which the dark hair contrasts nicely. And my skin is obscenely sensitive. So well-meaning advice of, "Nair it, bleach it, shave it a few times a week" is met with, "Eats the skin, burns the skin, gives the skin lots and lots of little red bumps and rashes."
Attractive, I know.
Nor can I wax frequently, due to tightness of my purse and the stubbornness of my facial hair. My mustache and chin hair laugh at waxes of all kinds. We're not talking timid little chuckles in the corner. Oh no, my friends. My mustache and nascent beard guffaw heartily when they are approached by wax. They point and laugh and make the wax feel really, really bad about itself, until it realizes that my eyebrows, at least, will gladly welcome it.
So my facial hair is taken care of several times a week (skin is not quite so sensitive there), but my legs and forearms are shaved about once a week. I've been known to shave less than that when I'm very busy or when I just can't be bothered to get myself out of bed early enough in the morning to take care of business during my morning shower. Trust me, I pay the price for that laziness. In such instances I think a weed whacker would be more effective than a razor.
When I finally take the time and trouble to perform that chore, when I overcome my innate slothfulness to slather on the foaming shave cream, dip my razor in the warm water and draw it across my pale skin, frequently rinsing it to ensure the closest shave possible, then to towel off the remaining foam, followed with a quick, stinging application of the septic stick when needed, and the soothing aloe vera gel and softening moisturizer?
Then, then I am rewarded. My legs and forearms and all previously undesirably hairy areas are smooth, silky, supple. I caress my skin, reveling in the velvety touch of it, the sheer sensual feel of it. I wear short skirts and heeled sandals to show off the curve of my newly shorn calves. Sometimes I, the queen of the long sleeved shirt, even I wear shirts with half- or three-quarters-length sleeves so that my forearms will feel the sun and the breeze waft across their tender, fair surfaces. And each time I wonder, why don't I do this more often?
Until the stubble makes its appearance the next day.
Sunday, August 10, 2003
However, once upon a time I had a boyfriend who was very much the sports enthusiast. Admittedly that was strange for me because I'd never dated a sports fan before, but since I didn't hate sports and I never became a sports widow, I didn't have a problem with it. As a consequence I picked up a few things about sports. I'd already discovered that live games could be very exciting and I wasn't surprised when I jumped right into the energy of the fans with both feet. I tend to get rather excitable that way.
So when my friend Linda (who is now in town for a few weeks) asked me if I'd like to go to a Dodger game with her, I readily accepted. It really would be so much fun.
A few days later she e-mailed me some exciting news. Turned out two more of her L.A. friends would be joining us: Mike Farrell and his lovely wife, Shelley Fabares. As I seem to be regressing the older I get and have taken to squealing at good news, I, well, squealed.
Ya see, once upon a time I had a massive crush on Mike Farrell. I had become immersed in M*A*S*H and thought that B.J. Hunnicutt was once of the best characters ever created (I still think that), far better, more interesting than ol' Trapper John. And that actor playing him? A serious hottie. As a matter of fact, it was thanks to Mr. Farrell that Linda and I met over the internet and became such great friends. And it was thanks to Linda and her friendship with the fellow that I met him several times over the past few years. So yeah, I was excited to hear that I'd actually be hanging out with him and his wife for a couple of hours (I'd never met her before).
So they picked me up, Linda driving, Mike in the front passenger seat and Shelley in the back seat with me (I'm going to use their first names from here on out, just for ease - I never asked them what they would prefer that I call them and I'm not one to be presumptuous). I was a bit nervous at first, as I've always been around actors that I admire (well, except when I met Tony Head - but I'd had a few drinks before that happened), but instantly Shelley made me feel at ease, as I predicted she might. She and I talked a fair amount during the few hours I was with them and I ended up having a grand time, despite the Dodgers losing to the Cubs by two runs (I think). Mike was a bit quiet, but that was something else I thought might happen, since I'd gotten the sense from him at earlier meetings that he tends to be friendly, yet reserved.
Ya know, I was freaking out a little about the thought of spending more than five minutes in their company, afraid that I would do something to make a total fool of myself, but I think I did okay. And with me sitting between Linda and Shelley at the game, I was able to lean over to either one, usually making observations about the game to Shelley and jokes to Linda, and I felt completely at ease. It was great.
I have to say, though, it's a good thing I've been exercising more often over the last few months. There was a set of stairs we had to climb to get to our seats (behind home plate and in the shade - Linda totally scored with those seats) that was awfully long and steep and I was far less winded by the time I reached the top than I might have been before my days of exercising and climbing stairs at work and running for buses. That made me feel really good.
They dropped me off at my place after the game (luckily Mike was paying attention because Shelley and I were deep in conversation when we neared my place), we said our good-byes and "So happy to meet you"s and I darted across the street to my welcoming door, whereupon I flung myself onto my couch and re-lived my previous hours.
Have I mentioned yet what a grand time I had? Because I did.
(Hey, where are you going? Come back!)
Though I am still constantly reading, I seem to have less chewed up books in my wake. I'm not sure why that is, unless there are some books that I've read that are not all that memorable. In which case it's probably best that I not give my opinion about them.
The only ones that pop into my mind are, naturally from the Harry Potter series. The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Goblet of Fire were fast, fun reads (though the end of Goblet of Fire? My G-d, it had me all tense!). I like how each of the books are maturing, getting progressively darker. Now, with The Order of the Phoenix almost finished, I'm liking it's dark tone, how the characters have grown and how they seem to be pretty reflective of true teens, especially that angry young man, Harry. There is much in Order that reminds me about my own teen years. Except all the life-threatening danger. I don't seem to remember too much in the way of centaurs and giants and Cruciatus Curses during my school days in San Diego and the San Fernando Valley. Though I suppose it's possible I repressed the memories. Those repressed memories can be a bitch.
Some weeks ago CuteNerdBoy told me that he envied me because I still had Books 3-5 to read, new things to discover about Hogwarts and its people. I smiled then, but now I'm not so sure that it was something to be envied. Soon I'll be finished with Order and then I'll be in the same boat as everyone else, waiting for Number 6 with barely restrained anticipation. Hmmm. Maybe that Harry Potter is evil after all.
Listening to Another Disc #4, given to me on Friday night by that sweet CuteNerdBoy, I find I'm having difficulty just sitting in my chair, typing out this entry. So much of the songs have such a wonderful beat (right now I'm listening to In These Shoes? by Kirsty MacColl, which is just too infectious for its own good) that it's all I can do to refrain from dancing around my living room. When you also factor in I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow from O Brother, Where Art Thou? (I squealed when I saw this on the song list) and Mr. E's Beautiful Blues by The Eels (which marries an obscenely bouncy beat with somewhat depressing lyrics - how can I not fall in love with this song?), well, the mix CD certainly makes for over an hour of fun, thoughtful listening and lots of be-bopping around the living room. And really, what more can you ask from a mix CD?
BTW, this is a good journal entry about the the California recall effort and the language in the California State Constitution as it relates to both a recall and a vacancy in the governor's office. Beth sums up my feelings far better than I seem to be able to.
If you'll excuse me now, I'm leaving for a baseball game in a few hours and I have to try to get rid of this headache. Maybe leftover Chinese food will help. Yeah, I'm eating leftover Chinese food at 9:30 in the morning, what of it? It's not something I do often and it's not like I'm having cold pizza and beer for breakfast. Just because sometimes I live more like a bachelor than some of bachelors I know - uh, never mind.
Saturday, August 09, 2003
Another friend, whom I had dated many, many moons ago, in a galaxy on the far side of the universe, once told me that he always found it interesting that women, or at least the women he had dated, seemed to want to rush into the physical side of dating much faster than he did. He had mentioned this phenomenon to several of his male friends, all of whom agreed that this was the truth. I looked at him, eyebrow raised, disbelief writ large on my face as I recalled how very forward he was on our first date in that long ago time. I may have even snorted in a most scoffing manner, remembering how the men I'd dated wasted no time in making it known that they found me physically attractive and also remembering tales of the male libido from so many other women. To which he replied, "Maybe it's just the men you date, Carol. But in my group of friends, we're willing to take it slow."
I think Friend #2 was right. Maybe it is just the men I've dated in the past, combined with the fact that 1) I'm a very physical person and 2) I like to dress in a rather provacative, if tasteful, manner, which no doubt makes said dates think, "Hey, it's ok to put the moves on this one." And all this makes me think that it's perfectly okay to rush into being physical with a guy. So when I'm faced with someone whose company I enjoy and who, from what I can tell, shows signs of being attracted to me but is a perfect gentleman, despite my painfully obvious attempts of showing my own interest in him, my mind just bounces all over the place and I have trouble figuring out what is happening. And I think,"Is this how normal people date?"
Maybe it is. And maybe I just need to keep that in mind.
Friday, August 08, 2003
**I don't like Governor Davis much, but this whole recall thing is just stupid. Lord knows, it's not as if there's a surplus of money laying about that can be used to fund the recall and special election. Though I have to say, it certainly makes for entertaining politics. And isn't that what politics is all about? (Ow, I think I sprained an eyeball with that roll.)
**Why do all the cute tracksuits have hoodies? I don't like hoodies.
**How much do I seriously love the soundtrack to Once More, With Feeling? Words cannot express.
**In related thoughts, Tony Head is unbelievably hot. And my G-d, what a singing voice he has.
**In Gigli, Ben Affleck has the power to turn a lesbian straight. Huh. I think if I were confronted with Ben Affleck coming on to me, I'd become a lesbian. And, as I told my boss the other day, if my only male choices were Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, I'd find a nice girl and just use a strap-on. Fuck the whole "continuing the human race" thing. If the only other woman was J. Lowhatsherface? I'd go celibate.
**Oh, and about those Gigli posters - why are J. Loannoying's breasts on the same level as her shoulders? She looks totally freakish.
**Luckily I don't have rely on Affleck and Damon, because I am seeing CuteNerdBoy again tonight. And CuteNerdBoy? To paraphrase Spike, he's just a nummy treat. Unlike Spike, however, there is not a lick of sarcasm in my voice. Mmmm, nummy treat...
**Considering several of my previous thoughts, it's not surprising that I'd be consigned to Dante's Second Level of Hell. Oh well, that where all the fun sinners are, anyway. (Thanks to Christopher for the link.)
I’m not talking in the philosophical sense, or even my presence in the ‘blogging world.
I’m talking about my job.
Don’t worry, I won’t go into the minutiae of the job. It’s really quite boring. But Wednesday, as work was kicking my ass and I was missing lunch trying to catch up from all the accumulation of work from the previous weeks due to the confluence closing the month-end and billing back-log and losing one person and training a temp and interviewing for the vacant position (how the hell did I get to be in a position to interview prospective employees? There's something very wrong with that picture - though it's kind of cool, too), I started to doze off. I blasted Garbage over my headphones and drank copious amounts of water to wake up, as I had caffeined and sugared myself out the previous day. The sheer amount of work still to be done seemed to rise up, towering over me, and I became very jittery. Every nerve in my body fired up to the point where it was either leave my desk and run to the relative privacy of the restroom or just explode like a Blipvert victim from Max Headroom. Since I’m typing this up, I think it’s fairly obvious that I chose not to explode. Instead I sat in a stall, willing the other restroom patrons to leave so that I could silently stamp my feet and release some of the nervous energy. They didn’t oblige, but I still managed let go of some of the nerves by quietly flailing my arms in the confines of my stall.
(What? Doesn’t everyone do that? Just me then. Huh.)
Finally, at some point, I was able to focus on the tasks at hand and plow through the piles of paper, managing, with much help from others, to finish the work by 5pm, as requested by my very patient and long-suffering boss.
While that is an extreme example (I don’t feel like that every day, thank heavens), I’m so desperately bored at my desk, despite the volume of work, that I really don’t work as hard as I could or should. My attention wanders, I hop on the internet (just enough to check my e-mail or read a quick journal, I promise myself) or I compose a ‘blog entry. Next thing I know, I’ve wasted far more time than I should.
Each morning I tell myself, I’ll get into work on time, I’ll work harder. I’ll be an incredible worker. And I end up rarely getting to my cubicle on time and, despite my best efforts, I become a horrid worker again. I’ve managed to coast for a long time, but my slothful ways are starting to catch up to me and, if I’m not careful, they could explode in my face.
So I wonder, what’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just buckle down? Why is nearly every day a struggle? Other people are more than capable of plowing through the day, why can’t I? Why the fuck can’t I make money at something that doesn’t bore me to tears? Why am I here?
Wednesday, in the midst of my near-explosion, my oldest and dearest friend, J., called me. She rarely calls me at work, since she has no time to talk during her workday. But she had a question she just had to ask me. She read the LAPC article that I referred to on Monday and she needed an answer from me: why don’t I write more? I told her that I have been writing more, what with the writing group and this ‘blog, it’s just that I don’t submit my writing very often.
“Then why don’t you submit more? You should be getting paid for your writing.”
I’ve gotten some great feedback on my article, which is wonderful and makes me feel all glowy, but some people, both friends and strangers, are asking the same question – why am I not getting paid for my writing?
There it is.
That’s what I should be doing.
I think I’m scared. I always wonder whether I’m as good as I think I am. I’m also pretty good at the procrastinating. And I have submitted stories that I think are good, but that are rejected, so I start to wonder, even though I know many famous, published, excellent authors were rejected multiple times. Maybe I’m just not that good.
But I’ve gotten better. I can see that my writing has improved immeasurably in just the last year. I feel more confident about putting pen to paper and coming up with something that, not only doesn’t totally stink, but is pretty readable.
Even better, my inspirations are coming far more fast and furious than they have in a long time. There are so many times during the day I just want to stop what I’m doing and write a few paragraphs, an essay, maybe a short story, before I lose the inspiration. But work gets in the way and I have to just do the job. And the inspiration floats away. I could write on the bus, but that’s very difficult (I’ve tried), so I think, I’ll write when I get home. But then I’m not home until nearly 11pm and I’m just too tired to think. And another day starts.
But maybe, just maybe, I can commit to ten, twenty minutes a night. Nothing much, just enough to keep the writing muscle toned. I just have to try to make it through the work day, using that time at the end of the day as something to look forward to, to get me through the boring billing and account reconciliation and collections (yes, me doing collections – if only you knew how much irony is laden in that aspect of my job). Or I could finally pick up The Artist’s Way, of which I’ve heard so many great things. Hey, there’s an idea.
And maybe, just maybe, I can eventually say good-bye to the corporate world. Before my head explodes.
(Don’t worry, this isn’t a solicitation for reassurance. Even I'm not that needy. I just had to write what I was feeling, before the inspiration left me again.)