L'esprit de l'escalier

It's all about the timing.

Name:
Location: Memphis, Tennessee, United States

I'd rather be somewhere else most of the time and I'm a huge practitioner of staircase wit.

1/14/2005

Corporate Slave

People make decisions in their lives. As a young adult, I never thought I'd have an office job that I didn't really care anything about. The problem is, I only knew what I didn't want, I hadn't yet decided what I did want. By the time I decided what would be wonderful for me, it was too late. I was tired of waiting.

I was tired of being broke all the time, tired of eating 20 cent hamburgers from McDonald's and then buying the maximum at a time so I could freeze whatever was leftover, adding cheese and a little more ketchup because they never give you enough. I was sick of being sick at the beginning of each month when rent was due. Sick of having just enough extra cash to go to a movie but not having enough to get popcorn and a coke. Or having to go during the day when the prices are cheaper, or going to the drive in and bringing my own snacks. That kind of thing is quaint only if you don't HAVE to do it. If you can't go to the movies any other way, then it sucks. If you sit around in the dark w/candles and a battery operated radio because it's romantic is one thing. Sitting there because you didn't pay your bill is another. Pretending you're just trying to conserve energy when your mother comes over and none of the lights are on hoping she won't probe is gut wrenching and humiliating.

After awhile, a person is willing to adjust some of their previously held values and ideals. A person is willing to get a fucking day job and SUCK IT UP. It eats at me every day. What eats at me even more is listening to some fucker calling me a corporate slave on the phone while I try to take care of his fucking problem.

1/13/2005

Bad Words

extentuations*
chimley
irregardless
K-Marks
Vietmanese
warsh

*As in, "I have to check and see if there were any extentuations."

Check this out, though. "Satisfactorily" is totally a valid word. I used it today as I was leaving a message on someone's voice mail and immediately knew I'd just made an ass of myself. After I hung up, though, I looked it up and yep, it was in there. Whew.

What started all this is a conversation I had w/a co-worker today. We were discussing the word 'satisfactorily' (my neighbor heard me and she thought it was wrong, too, so on top of not making an ass of myself to the customer, I saved face here in the the office). Then they asked if 'overnited' was an acceptable word to use even if it's not in the dictionary. We decided it was jargon that most business people understand, so yes, that's fine to use. And then someone asked about "phraseology". Good question, I said, and looked it up. I'd always thought that word had a negative connotation, implying that we were to use this scripted version of a conversation rendering it cold and heartless. But it's a big part of our training here in customer service. We have to learn proper phraseology. Call flow procedures are a must! The goal is for everyone to always know just what to say, specific to whatever request the customer may have. It's very cut and dry.

So, we looked up phraseology and found 'phraseologist', who is one who uses sententious or insincere phrases. Ha! Just as I suspected, but I wasn't sure what sententious meant, so I looked that up.

sententious - a. given to or abounding in aphoristic expression. b. given to or abounding in excessive moralizing.

aphoristic - a terse formulation of a truth or sentiment.

Cut and Dry.

I love my job. I get paid to be a bitch. And the bitchier and colder I am, the more successful I will be. I feel so crappy.

I'm so forgetful.

I wish dark chocolate and one-a-day vitamins could be emailed as attachments.

Changing Names, Changing Faces

It's so easy to make yourself anonymous in the blog-world that I feel guilty taking advantage of that fact. I created a blog a few months ago and told a couple people about it, namely my husband. I decided last night though, I shouldn't have done that. I need a place where I can write uninhibited and I couldn't do that knowing he'd be scrutinizing every piece of anything I posted about.

"Why'd you decide to write about him again?"
"You sound like a needy fat girl (I should say here that I am pretty much a needy fat girl (working on the fat part daily), but when he says that in the realm of constructive criticism he's using the bridget jones stereotype which i do NOT want to be and would never admit to being) when you write about that."
"That makes you sound so immature."
"That's not how you talk, why do you write that way?"

I can't deal w/all the questions. I want to take his criticism and use it to my advantage, I don't want to sound like an idiot, but I tend to do just that when I know I've got an audience. Also, he doesn't like the same types of authors I like, so why should he like my own writing style? It's okay if he doesn't, I'm not writing for him, I'm writing for me. So, I've decided to take my blogging elsewhere and it will be all for me. Mine and mine alone. I need this.

Now, let me give you a disclaimer for what I just said. My husband is not trying to make me feel bad or be mean when he comments negatively on something I've done. I know this, which is why I try not to get upset with him when he's being painfully honest. He can't help it, and it's part of his "charm?". But sometimes I find it affecting me in a bad way rather than the good, self-improvement kind of way he intended. In those cases, I must pull myself away from the situation in order to think rationally. Here is where I will do just that.

People often refer to the Internet as if it is their friend. Like, they'll say, "Hey, Internet, what up!" or, "Internet, I told you to quit sending me hatemails, why do you persist??" I don't know how comfortable I am with that, but seeing as how I've managed to chase away every friend I used to have, I'm going to have to resort to just that. Internet, you mean a lot to me, I need you right now, and you're the only one listening. Thanks for that.

I'll tell you more about the friends another day. Hopefully, you'll have some pointers because if I don't find some real people to talk to soon I might go insane. I can only keep up this charade of happiness for so long.

these are entries i'm transferring from a previous blog

perhaps_not
1.9.2005

I've been married before.
This little fling w/David isn't my first, but I do hope it's more than a fling and will be my last.

As a young girl, I was very Catholic and very close to my family until I met a boy named Eugene. He was a nice enough boy, if a little unusual. I met him at a bar where I was the hostess and he was one of the waiters. Eugene used to do things for his customers like, pretend he was the ketchup and talk to the french fries or pretend he was the straw that really wanted to be sucked. This was for the sake of the children, of course. Except the time he sat down on the floor right in front of a couple w/no children and took their order. He was tired? I don't know, he was just trying to make some tips so he could go to Newby's that night and lay down some burden. He was interested at first in a girl named Clark. Clark had bumpy legs and curly hair. She was okay unil I decided I wanted to know more about this Eugene and I kept seeing him going into her apartment, which happened to be across the grass from mine. After some time of making eyes at each other, he asked me to meet him at Newby's for a drink after work. He was planning to tell me that he had an obligation to Clark and he really couldn't go on making eyes at me. That's not what he said, though. Instead, we talked over one glass of coke and a bev nap for more than a few hours. I decided then that fate was about to take over and I was his for life. We dated for about 8 months before he told me about his burden's. I didn't want to know. They were something awful. By then, though, I was in too deep and willing to do just about anything for him. Looking back, I was probably looking for an excuse to exit my comfortable existance in favor of something a bit more adventuresome and dramatic. His name was written all over it, and he was my ticket.

Eugene grew up in a pretty low-income, if you will, military town outside of Memphis. He never wanted to be a marine, but he didn't have anything better waiting for him, so he enlisted shortly after high school. He had a girlfriend who went to college and I guess he didn't want to be left behind, so he left too. Two years into his commitment, he went AWOL. That sounds so dramatic, but there's really no other way around what he did. He saw more than he wanted to see and he left before he was too hard to ever get his heart back. That's when he got the job at Applebee's and met me. Me; the girl who was willing to believe everything he ever said. The girl no one had ever lied to before. The girl who had no reason to doubt his sincerity. I still don't, actually. It was his actions that should've been doubted. He could justify practically anything.

He told me the marines were looking for him and he'd have to either serve time for leaving or we could run. Those were our options. I'd been thinking about marriage and wedding dresses; he'd been thinking about jail time and the brig. He told me we could set up camp elsewhere, never to be found. We could come up with alias's, live in a small town never to be bothered again. I'd have to leave my family without telling them anything, but we'd have each other and how wonderful was that?

I'm writing about this now because a teacher once told me that a person should wait until their emotions have completely left a situation before attempting to write about something they've actaully gone through. I've tried so many times in the past to write about this, and it always comes out sounding like angsty teenage drivel. I've been seperated from that part of my life for so many years now, and I'm in such a different place that I can think about what happened for what it was. Childish, misguided idealism that I'm so thankful I went through. It made me who I am today; someone I'm not too embarrassed to be. Also, I was thinking about Eugene recently. His life didn't change as much as I'd hoped for him. Everyone can't be as lucky to find someone to talk things through with as I have. David's the most supportive, non-judgemental person I've ever met. I wish Eugene would've found someone like him.

I'll have to tell you the rest later. Now, I need to pay the car note and do some laundry. Maybe take the dog for a walk.

1.7.2005

It's the little things.
There are lots of rules where I'm currently employed, and will most likely remain employed until I'm 40ish and finished having children and developing lower back pain and David's totally bald rather than just receding. One of the rules have to do with pay during the holidays. What's covered? What's not covered? Will I get paid on a holiday even though it's a Saturday and my regular day off? The answer is yes, BUT there's a catch. You have to work all your scheduled hours the days immediately before and after the holiday in question. I mean, down to the minute. My lack of sleep caused me to forget about this little nit of a rule and I missed out on my New Year's Eve holiday pay because I didn't go to work on Monday. We went to Memphis for the weekend and I didn't get any sleep Sunday night at all and there was no way in hell I was going to hold my head up in front of my computer for 8 more torturous hours before finally getting to curl up in my own bed with my husband and my dog and sleep, sweetly sleep.

Also, I forgot about the holiday rule.

When I learned the error of my ways, I informed my husband what we lost out on (8 hours of FREE pay) and he said, "I guess laying in bed with you in the rain was worth a hundred dollars."

12.31.2004

happy new year.
http://www.dooce.com/
12.28.2004

that was depressing. i'm not sure if i've mentioned recently just how emotional i can be.

merry christmas?

12.24.2004

suddenly
it scares me how quickly a good thing can turn bad. when you start to wonder if the good thing was ever good at all, you start to question your own sanity and that's a scary feeling. everything you think you can rely on to be there suddenly starts flickering when you look directly at it, like you're looking at the sun. portions of your heart feel solid and the rest feels like jelly rolling off the side of a cliff. and it can happen so quickly.

12.23.2004

christmas at the office
so i work for a shipping company and we are so busy right now. not that anyone would want to hear about my crappy job, it's pretty dull if you're not in it, but i'm so fucking in it that i can hardly stand it and you're totally about to hear about it (enough inappropriate prepostions for you?). this is the busiest time of year, by far, and i'm tired. only one more day until it's all over and i can finally relax and have a lovely holiday w/my lovely asshole, i mean, husband (this isn't the standard sentiment, i swear).

we shipped our family's gifts today, which should deliver tomorrow. yes, we waited until the l a s t possible minute and i have every confidence our things will deliver. maybe not by 10:30, but certainly tomorrow, despite all the calls i take all day declaring we didn't do just that for them. i'm like a professional doormat.

outside of the customers, though, there's an interesting dynamic in my office worthy of discussion. today, for instance, our managers were randomly giving out gifts. i won this brass picture frame shaped like a school house that had 12 slots for pictures from each grade. my first thought was that i'd never be able to gather together that many pictures of myself, and surely, hopefully, i'd permenantly destroyed my 7th grade picture - the one w/flybacks when they were so not cool and old lady glasses my mother helped me pick out w/the pink tint in the lense. the frame wasn't for pictures of myself, though, i was told it was for my "first born" and i should put it in my hope chest because it was so me. how it was me, i have no idea, since i thought it was hideous, but whatever. that's not the point. i convinced this dude who just had a kid to trade me for the insense he got. he was like, "my wife's allergic to all kinds of smells, anyway." and i was all, "whatever that means". are folks allergic to smells? she probably got nauseous easily while she was pregnant not long ago and he's still confused. one of my other co-workers got a flashlight; she tried to trade w/me but i wasn't having it, knowing i could do better.

we're so busy that everyone's all stressed out so "management" is working really hard to keep the morale up way sky high. it's working, i guess, because no one's killed anyone else yet and the gossip is at a strange low. we're obviously just the right amount of busy because we're what they call banding together and internal issues are not an issue. every day there's a little something to look forward to, on top of the thrill of seeing what everyone else wears for "vest day" or "crazy sock day" so we can wear jeans instead of stuffy old slacks and skirts. the santa hats were out of hand on "hat day" and i swear to fucking christ if there's another "christmas attire" day, i'm going to have to call someone a tool straight to their face. i'll do it. okay, no i won't, but i'll think it.

david's trying to get weed as we speak, so i'm sure it'll all be forgotten in no time. in time for tomorrow, hopefully. absofuckinglutely.

12.17.2004

christmas tree shaped air freshener christmas cards update
we completely chunked the idea for sending the air fresheners out, as i said in my last entry. i didn't know at the time what wonderful use we'd find for them, though. i'm so excited to report that we turned them into ornaments on our aluminum christmas tree. how perfect is that? obviously fake christmas tree smell on our obviously fake silver tree celebrating the most egregiously fake holiday of our lives. yipee! happy holidays, everyone, we're in the spirit full force and there ain't no stoppin us now.

however, i am not so happy to report that whilst wasting away watching late night show after later night show after pre-dawn show, i've seen a lot of the christmas tree shaped air-freshener. giant ones, at that. how did i catch onto that meme unbeknownst to me, completely? i'm usually so aware. (those of you who know me, SHUT UP.)
12.14.2004

currently
i've taken to drinking a lot lately. half a glass of straight brandy on the rocks every night. i'm the man in the movie who comes home in 1954, fixes himself a drink at the home-bar and waits for his dinner. only i make the dinner after i'm sufficiently tipsy and my husband suffers. i don't think i'm trying to drown anything, i'm just so goddamn bored. i've never drank so much on a regular basis, unsocially, in my life. thanks, phoenix. right now, i'm drinking. with huey, the dog. david'll be home soon, i hope, and then i won't feel so guilty. he's become a drunk like me, too. i'm not goin down alone.

he brought home 2 ferns this weekend. we still haven't decided where they need to go. they're almost dead as it is, he rescued them from the shop where he works. i'm not sure why he thinks we can rejuvenate ferns. i'm scared of plants, i'll certainly kill them the first chance i get. we went to the botanical garden in phoenix last summer and brought home like 8 plants. only one survived. it's a good thing they're not children, i completely forget about them for days on end and then when i remember them, the guilt makes me over water and they die. it's awful. we actually bought this one plant called a lithop. it's a living stone, basically, that lives in like the most remote area in the rain forest where it hardly gets any direct rain or sun, but it's constantly being misted for most of the year and then nothing for like a month straight. i don't know why we felt so confident at the time. it was really cool. but it's such a sensitive plant that you can't even touch it because the oil on your finger is too much moisture. that is seriously the bitchiest plant i've ever heard of. i was like a child near it, i could hardly stand myself. but i didn't touch it, i swear. i'm pretty sure i over-watered it, though. it shriveled up like a little old lady and died not more than a month after we brought it home. poor thing. i suppose we'll hang one of the ferns from the ceiling over the television (why does that not seem like a good idea?), and we'll hang the other one in the bathroom. if only we had 2 bathrooms, all our problems would be solved.

on another note completely, i've been trying, for the past few years, to be grown and send out christmas cards. it's not a huge feat by any means, i know, but every year it's a struggle and i wonder if i'm really grown after all. i'm thinking no, but i continue to press on. so, this year i get this clever idea from some website to send christmas tree, pinecone scented automobile air-fresheners with "merry christmas, love david and cathi holmes" on them w/a sharpie. it's turned out to not be the best, most thought-out idea. david somehow knew it was sketchy. an air-freshener shaped card, perhaps, but the actual freshener... not so much. number one, they're stinking up the house, and number two, the ink ran and they look like shit. i wasted 10 bucks on a stack of crap that's making what could have been already completed and mailed christmas cards another thing to put back on my list of things grown-ups do during the holidays. see, i'm grown.


12.13.2004

i've recently become obsessed w/what's called a "dotmom"
she's terribly funny. http://www.suburbanbliss.net/

12.11.2004

100 Things About Me
Disclaimer: This is a personal exercise in learning something about myself. I know it won't be of much interest to most.

In no particular order:

1. I like music I can sing along to.
2. I wrote a poem once about Bud Dwyer shooting himself in the head at a press conference.
3. I can be very two-faced to get what I want. I call it opportunistic.
4. I'd like to learn Chinese.
5. I don't have a favorite author, but I love Raymond Carver, Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Munro, Richard Brautigan...
6. I've recently learned to cook and bake.
7. I want a baby.
8. I love to laugh.
9. I want to buy a house and settle down in the dirty south.
10. I was born and raised in Memphis, left as soon as I could and can't wait to get back.
11. I have a tattoo of a world w/yin-yang shaped continents and stick people holding hands around it. I got it in my "hippie-phase" and am kind of embarrassed about it now, but I'll never get it removed.
12. I love love love road trips.
13. My favorite drink is a dirty martini.
14. I love green tea both hot and cold.
15. I used to drink a spoonful of vinegar every morning because my grandfather did for his health. I believe in wives tales.
16. I've stolen from most every job I've had except for my current one.
17. I like dark beer.
18. I don't get offended by words like bitch, cunt or crack-whore. They're just words. I like words.
19. I filed for bankruptcy about 7 years ago. I'm almost free!
20. I had a miscarriage about that same time. It was a trying one.
21. I ran away to New York w/my boyfriend because he was AWOL and I thought we could start new lives there in anonymity.
22. My parents picked me up from a motel in Florida where we ended up 2 weeks later.
23. I married that guy anyway a couple months after that.
24. I'm now married to the most wonderful man on earth, in my opinion. He saved my life.
25. I love movies, but not Blockbuster movies. Movies that move me or make me cry or think or care or teach me something or lose myself.
26. I like music for the same reasons.
27. I love listening to Van Morrison.
28. And Tom Waits.
29. I think David Cross is off the hook.
30. I want to retire and become an English professor when I'm 40ish.
31. I'm pretty girly at heart, but I try to remain neutral.
32. I love old, dirty blues like Junior Kimbrough, Albert King, Howlin' Wolf...
33. I don't care that Bill Clinton had sex w/Monica Lewinsky and I don't care that he lied about it to save his marriage and reputation.
34. I love camping.
35. I don't have many close friends. Never have.
36. I love red wine and dark chocolate and I love that those things are good for you (fuck moderation).
37. I love old country music, but the new shit is shit.
38. I have a dog named Huey who taught me to love little things.
39. I love coffee made from a press w/heavy cream.
40. I wish I was a runner. I will continue to try.
41. I hate people who drive big trucks w/stupid bumper stickers. And that includes SUV's.
42. I hate small talk, but I'm good at it and I hate that about myself.
43. I am the youngest of 4.
44. I was brought up very Catholic but I'll never go to church again.
45. I don't spend much time on the 'middle ground'. I'm way too emotional.
46. I'm terribly allergic to animals but started using Flonase after I got Huey. It's a miracle drug.
47. I'm a night person and hate to wake up in the morning.
48. I like to sew and crochet and want to learn to knit.
49. But I'm not as creative as I wish I was.
50. My husband is an artist and I will forever be envious.
51. I posed nude for cash in the name of art... and food.
52. I can't say no to telemarketers so I just hang up on them and feel bad later.
53. Popcorn is my favorite snack.
54. I talk way too much when I don't have anything to say.
55. I'd like to be a professional proofreader. I do it now but I mostly just annoy people.
56. I'm pretty dense and forgetful. It drives my husband crazy.
57. I'm working on that.
58. I saw a therapist after my first marriage.
59. I have a fear of being widowed just like my sister.
60. I'm a college graduate, but I didn't walk. I'm not into ceremonies. I got married in Vegas.
61. I love board games.
62. I love trivia games but I'm terrible at them. I'm content to just ask the questions.
63. I'm quite the eternal optimist. That comes from years of being the youngest child.
64. I'm a scorpio, but I don't think that really matters.
65. I've smoked a lot of pot.
66. I'm not the best drunk, but I love to drink.
67. I'm never prepared.
68. I was a tour guide at Sun Studio for a year. I learned most of what I know about music after I got that job. I'm not sure why they hired me, but I'm glad they did.
69. I'd love to drive a Volvo Stationwagon. How cliche is that?
70. I worry about money a lot.
71. I have a protestant work ethic and my husband is an artist. We need each other.
72. I mostly crochet scarves because I hate using patterns.
73. I mostly sew skirts becaues I hate using patterns.
74. I do know how to read a pattern, I just don't have the patience.
75. I wish I was a neat freak. I'm messy, messy, messy. I struggle to keep it together.
76. I think Johnny Cash is about as close to Jesus as a man can get.
77. I live in Phoenix, AZ and I hate it here.
78. My parents got us an inground pool when I was 2. I love to swim, but haven't in a long time.
79. I can't do word problems but liked doing the Pythagorean Theorem in high school.
80. I went to San Francisco by myself once and let a stranger sleep in my hotel w/me. We slept together but did not sleep together. We talked about religion.
81. He was Rastafarian. It was in my "hippie-phase".
82. I took 4 years of French in high school and college and still cannot speak or read the language beyond the very, very basic.
83. I wish I could make good Pad Thai.
84. I have a pair of fishnets that I've never worn out of the house.
85. I love green olives.
86. I love thrift stores and old stuff other people consider junk.
87. I have an aluminum Christmas tree.
88. I wish I was really good at one thing instead of okay at several.
89. I am good at making people feel good about themselves.
90. I'm intimidated by people I think are more interesting than me.
91. I tend to have fat friends because I'm not jealous of them. Lots of girls have this problem. I'm turning into the fat one, though, which causes problems that should have been delt with long ago.
92. I have self-image issues.
93. I love having books almost as much as I love reading them.
94. My parents are still married after 30 something years and I lived in the same house until I was 18 years old.
95. Since then I've moved probably 20 times.
96. Some of those times were back and forth to and from my parents house.
97. I've "started over" at least 4 or 5 times.
98. I've never broken a bone in my body.
99. I think gay people should be able to get married if they want.
100. I voted for John Kerry and I will vote for Hillary Clinton if she runs next.

12.2.2004

rough draft
Hi Tina,

First, I have to say I got our wedding gift from you and have already used it; thank you so much. Then I have to say I've been putting this letter together in my head and then on paper for the past 2 weeks. It was not, my any means, prompted by your gift. These are two seperate things. That said...

I'm sorry for making you feel bad. I've been doing a lot of thinking, but before I get into anything else I want to make sure you know how bad I feel for those last emails. I was taking frustrations out on you that I have with the rest of the world. You said, innocently enough, the so-called wrong thing at the wrong time and it set me off. You know how charged everyone was. I can actually talk to people about politics who don't have the same opinions as me, I swear. I do it on a regular basis but sometimes I wish you and I weren't as different as we are.

The other night I had what this lady taught me once was a paradigm shift. You probably know what it means, but just in case, it's when your views of a person change drastically with just one little adjustment in your perception of them. Okay, that was my definition, not the dictionaries, so I'm sure it's convoluted, but anyway. I was thinking about how horrible it would be if something ever happened to David (my David). I mean, the pain would be indescribable and suddenly I realized (since you're on my mind more often than not, lately) that's what you went through. It wasn't just a bad dream, you lost your husband and at the time I know he was the love of your life. I remember you telling me long after the fact that it was still hard for you to remember the bad times w/him. That's what love does, it blinds you to the reality of a situation and allows you to only see what you want to see. So I, for once, think I got an inkling the depth of what you had to work through. And I am so sorry for not thinking of you this way before.

This new realization changes everything. Some of the things I was saying to you in that other email all stem from how you chose to move on with your life after David. I have absolutely no right or place to believe I can even have an opinion on this. Until I've been in your shoes, so to speak, how could I have even considered judging your decisions? I don't know and to be quite honest, I'm embarrassed of my behavior.

I hate to admit - I'm trying to really show you how I feel - I used to compare your first relationship w/my own first relationship (Eugene, not Chance, that doesn't count). Although there are similarities, the psychological affects of mine pale in comparison to yours. I'm such a moron for thinking otherwise. What I'm trying to say is, you turned to the church and God and those things helped you move on. I'm just glad you did. I no longer care how you chose to do it, as long as you're happy and safe.

I want us to start being friends again, now. Is that possible? No more fluff talk, no more being careful, let's just be like sisters should be. I miss you. We can find similarities if we try, I'm sure. And we're big girls, I'm sure we can respect each others lifestyles w/out all this tension, aren't you?

With that out of the way, I heard you're heading back to Michigan on New Year's Day. That's the day David and I were going to come over to mom's to visit. We're flying in to have New Year's Eve w/our friends and after we recover on Saturday, the plan is to visit w/my family and then his on Sunday, and leave early Monday morning. I hope we don't miss each other, but it doesn't sound good. If we do, don't worry, we've got another 50 years to get together. It'll be fine, either way.

Well, I'm going to go start working on gifts for your girls and boys, now. Tell them hello for me, and give Amy a big ole hug for me. (I just want her to feel extra special, since she's the one I'm sure has the most memories of me).

I love you guys. Take care,
Cathi

12.1.2004

my big sister
It's been years since my sister and I've been able to really enjoy each others company. She's 10 years older than me and when I was a kid, I freaking adored her every move. I wanted nothing nothing nothing more than to be her shadow. I would tell her she was my favorite sister and she'd say, "I'm your only sister, silly." And I'd say in earnest, "Yes, but if I had another one, you'd still be my absolute favorite-est." This is all typical, I know. She bought my first sex book, she bought me my first drink, she took me to Florida when I graduated High School. She was my mother, my best friend, my mentor, my idol.

When she was 20 and I was 10, she got married. That was a bad marriage. Her husband was abusive and being with him caused us to drift apart. She still tried to make time for me, but he made things difficult so the drifting was inevitable. I was too young to understand then that she didn't not want to take me to the zoo like she promised, or spend time w/me anymore. I didn't know there were other, more grown up reasons to her strange new behavior, so I built a wall. It was slow-going, like I said, she took me on my senior trip, but that was after the overbearing husband shot himself in the head in front of our house while we ate spaghetti inside because she finally left his sad (literally) ass.

This happened when I was 16 and completely self-absorbed. Of course, I responded accordingly, I wasn't stupid. I knew what was going on, but I never got the details. Everyone wanted to make sure "the baby" was protected so it was quite a few years before I put all the pieces together. He'd abused her physically and mentally for about 5 years and this did serious harm to her mental wellness. She went to a counselor for about 2 years or so after the incident but then she got remarried and I don't think she ever really recovered. But again, I didn't put all this together until maybe the past couple years. Currently, my sister's married to a money-hungry, workaholic w/4 children and one on the way. She's a born-again Catholic, he's a Southern Baptist convert and she doesn't work (tho she has a college degree) to home-school the kids. Andrea Yates scares the hell out of me. I'm scared for my sister, and I can't decide if I'm being mello-dramatic. She's so fucking religious now that I can't get through anymore and I don't know how to deal.

The whole family jokes about her crazy fanatical lifestyle, but it's more often than not behind her back. She's also very sensitive and no one wants an uncomfortable situation, so the concerns just continuously get pushed under the rug. She emailed me right before the election about how Bush is the right man for the job and I'd had enough. I emailed her back asking her, in what I thought was a nice, respectful, relatively passive way, to skip me when sending out that crap in the future. I didn't say that, but I made it clear that I didn't think we should be discussing politics. I want to get along w/her and I just knew, what with the climate just before the election, I wouldn't be able to be very respectful if she made me talk about my views with her. Her bible thumping has really begun to get under my skin and I've done such a good job of keeping my mouth shut. She didn't take my email well, so she wrote back that she thought we could have a mature, adult conversation and she was sorry she was wrong. That did it. I let a lot of things out when I wrote her back. I didn't limit my discourse to current events. Then her response was that she was so hurt by what I said that she deleted it immediately and she was going to refrain from telling me how she felt so as not to say something she might regret later (taking the moral high ground, I suppose). I didn't write back.

That was, well, right before the election. I should also mention that I got married in August and she still hadn't sent my new husband and I a wedding gift. She was struggling to decide what to get us, knowing we weren't church-goers or religious in any sense of the word that she could understand. I told her in one of the emails not to get us anything if it was so difficult for her to decide, I didn't want a gift for me to cause anyone stress. I meant that sincerely, my mother had told me how she was fretting about the appropriate gift for a couple of newlywed heathens. My husband asked, "Why didn't you tell her to just get us a toaster or something?" This is not the point! She tries too hard. With everything, church, kids, friends, her weight, everything and this is what concerns me. Apparently, though, I didn't convey my concern so much as piss her off.

Since that last interaction w/her, I had an epiphany, so to speak. I was sitting w/my husband one night watching TV and it occured to me how incomprehensibly devastated I would be if anything ever happened to him. I took the abuse out of her relationship w/her first husband and realized that's exactly what happened to her. Years after it happened, she would tell me that it was hard for her to remember the bad times. He really was her first love and even now as I think of it, I cry imagining what she must have gone through. And I'm ashamed. I'm ashamed of myself for not feeling this before. I've been so self-righteous for so long that I literally did not consider how devasted she must have been.

This is where I have the problem. I decided to write her a letter telling her about this new perspective. I've started the letter several times and I've written it in my head, but I can't seem to get it right. And then today, I get a wedding gift in the mail from her. She got us a stand mixer. How do I go to her now without looking like I was guilted into writing? I want her to know how sorry I am, but I'm afraid whatever I say now will be clouded w/this gift that I know she didn't really want to give. I say that because she wanted to get us a cross, but she was afraid we wouldn't like something like that. It's not true, I would've loved anything she gave us, especially if it was something she wanted us to have. I appreciate the mixer, of course, it's what I wanted but I feel bad that she can't feel good about it, too. I know she doesn't. I just want to take her now and fix her so she can quit being so afraid of losing the things that mean so much to her. No letter I write will convey that, though.

11.26.2004

thanksgiving
i woke up before d yesterday to finish the laundry we started too late last night to complete. we made a deal, he waited up for the last load to get dried and i promised to fold and put them away in the morning. so i did that while i watched the macy's day parade, which was just as awful as previous years. i'm more of a dog show girl. the performers in the parade are just too ridiculously lip-synched and just bad to be entertaining, other than the marching bands. so, i finished up the laundry, hopped in the shower, put on a little make up and dressed like we were going somewhere for the day. i just wanted to look good for my husband, is that so wrong? he seemed surprised. it's not like i don't wear make-up and do my hair every day for work, but i guess i don't really care much about my appearance when it's just he and i. but we're all we've got, and i wanted to have a good day. it worked out.
after the turkey brined over night, it was ready to come out to air dry while i got all the rest of the fixings prepared. i should say we, d and i tend to fight over who gets to do what in the kitchen. it's normally not just me cooking. even when i'm the one actually cooking, he's in there making suggestions, stirring random things, tasting, poking me in the ass w/the thermometer. he's definitely not one to just sit and wait to be served, thank god. so we really did most of everything together. even the pecan pie, which i take credit for. he suggested a couple things to do different, which i did and it was the greatest pie ever. after his first bite, he exclaimed his love for me like the jughead that he's not. i made home-made whipped cream to go over the top of a chocolate pecan pie w/brandy. it really was outta sight.
and the turkey. we made the juiciest turkey ever, i mean, some pieces were like they were slow-roasted and naturally bursting w/moist flavor. we made a boat-load of cornbread stuffing w/sausage from scratch, some of which we stuffed inside the turkey, mashed the potatoes we cooked around the turkey w/carrots and celery and onions, black-eyed peas, gravy and our most prized dish outside of the main one was the cranberry sauce we made last year. fresh cranberries, champagne, toasted pecans and walnuts. amazing.
i don't know how people don't make everything from scratch on thanksgiving. my mother used to serve (and probably still does) cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie from a can. if only one day a year, make your food from scratch. it's the only way and it's clearly the best. d and i sat at the table just looking in awe at the spread before us. we were like, this is so much food. and we really do have a lot to be thankful for. we've got each other... huey... all this food... matching plates... stolen (sort of) silver... and more than one fancy serving dish. we had wine while we waited for the turkey to finish, danced in the living room after the dishes were done and all there was left to do was wait. we called our families, wished them a happy day. smoked some endo after we ate to help the digestion, you know, and then we had pie and whipped cream. when we fell asleep, we did so w/our arms and legs tangled up in each other, our bellies and hearts ready to pop.

11.13.2004

ikea
the newest ikea store opened here in phoenix, az this past week. they were doing a promotional thing, offering all the items on the front of their catalog to the first person in line. d and i were thinking of going the night before to see what our chances were. we're in dire need of a bed as we're currently sleeping on a king-sized mattress on the floor. some dumbass beat us to it, though. he showed up w/a tent exactly one week before the grand opening. ass. i really wanted that bed.
so, we went yesterday and it was mother fucking packed. i mean it was ridiculous. i had no idea. we were hearded through the store like a pack of wild animals, led by arrows painted on the floor, dead set on buying buying buying. light walls, shaggy rugs, convertable futons, mattress pads, bamboo sticks, wicker baskets... i could go on and on. but for the most part the stuff looked a lot like target on steroids. it was all very orwellian, if you want to know that truth. i mean, sure, ikea provides trendy furniture for decent prices, but now everyone wants them, and there goes trendy. like a couple of tools, we bought a rug, a wicker basket and a candle. yeah, are we just as bad as everyone else if we know we're just as bad as everyone else? perhaps. perhaps not.

i still don't know about this dream job in memphis. i'm sick of waiting, but i don't anticipate anything happening before christmas, now. in my business, no one moves during "peak". that's company-speak for the busiest, most hectic, most migraine-inducing time of year. happy holidays!

my birthday was last month and d and i are still getting stuff for the house using the money i got as an excuse. it's great. today we developed some digital pics we've taken during our time here in phoenix and framed them as wall art (something i've felt we've been lacking for quite some time). we lined up the photos in the kitchen gallery-style and we're very pleased. a personal touch in a classy way. did i mention we've been ikea-ized. it's on the brain.

i just watched the trailer for "life aquatic w/steve zissou" coming out on christmas day. i can't wait. the combination of christmas, bill murray, a wes anderson film and the love of my life when it's cold outside couldn't be more exciting. and if i get alice munro's new book, "runaway" for christmas that morning my life will be playing out exactly as i've planned.

but i suppose i should be thinking of thanksgiving first. last year was our first year here in phoenix away from our families and friends. we still haven't made any friends here outside of work, but a good friend of ours from memphis might be spending the holiday w/us this year. that'd be fantastic. last year we made the best turkey we've ever had, cranberry sauce from fresh cranberries cooked in champagne, and dressing from bread i broke up myself not from a box and it was amazing. fucking amazing. it was so good. we were so excited about cooking it that we started immediately after i got home from work that night and ate at roughly 2am. we didn't even have a kitchen table yet, so we ate on the couch and fell asleep shortly after. sound sad? it wasn't. christmas was sad. i don't remember why we really didn't go all out w/that dinner and we ate at jack in the box i think, but this year we'll be better prepared. i think we were a little depressed about not having anyone to share with. i guess we're used to it now. that and we know we're on our way back home. we're planning to be back in february or march of next year, so we can go ahead and make the best of the rest of our time here. i sound like the eternal optimist. i am.

10.11.2004

columbus day
and superman died yesterday. that's kind of sad, although i was kind of freaked out by his look lately. not to be insensitive, but he scared me.
i booked my hotel reservation, now i just have to figure out how i'm going to get there. to memphis, for the "summit". they always name things these glorious names, it's very self-congratulatory. makes me uncomfortable, but whatever. i don't really want to miss two days of work, but i think i might have to. the alternative sucks. i won't bore you with the details (not that there's anyone other than myself to bore).
depending on which news website i go to, the election sways from bush to kerry from kerry to bush. i prefer to look at the ones that go for kerry, but i worry about being dishonest w/myself and setting myself up for disappointment in november.
i'll be out of town for the final debate, which is being held here. and i was so excited about living in a city supporting the most important debate, and i'm going to be out of town. go figure.
well, i have to go catch the bus now.

10.9.2004

i've just spent
most of the afternoon reliving one of the most difficult times in my recent history. i was transferring books from an overstuffed shelf to a barely used one when i came across an old journal. i did a pretty good job of documenting a couple of particularly difficult weeks d. and i were having where we were barely making it and there was little hope for improvement. check this out (the first page of a new journal):

7/13/02
The day I bought this book for $.45 at Thrift Town on Winchester my car blew a defective head gasket and was stolen from the place we left it before we had a chance to come back to pick it up. It was a Saturday. David was to begin working full-time on Monday and he'd just gotten a raise. We were just about to be okay, as far as money was concerned. We'd been in such a good mood together. We even held hands in the taxi on the way home from where the car died. We watched Mr. Show while waiting for our friend, Battle, to get off work so he could take us to the car and help tow it back home. That would've sucked enough alone, but the car wasn't there anymore and that was worse than the hassle of towing . The hassle of not towing.

It's 1am. I look and feel awful. The air from the window unit in our bedroom is blowing in my face and I'm starting to get a cold. I've got a doctors appointment Monday because of it. Clothes are piled up in the closet and in the laundry room because the washing machine is broken. David never got around to fixing the belt today. Rent was due 3 days ago and all we can do is sit and wait.

i'd just bought the car a couple months before with 2500 dollars, that my parents loaned me, from a middle-eastern guy in a k-mart parking lot. it was a lemon; go figure. and the cold i thought i was catching turned out to be the worst ear infection ever. since it was the monday d. started working full-time, i had to ride my bike to the doctors appointment where i got a penicillin shot in the ass. at walgreens for a prescription on the way back home i had to sit down for a while because i was this close to passing out from the pain. the source of the infection was from swimming in a pool with a kid we later found out likes to pee in.

so, things were sucking. that's when i started back on my upward journey that landed us in phoenix, the apex of my last bout of inactivity. see, i go in cycles. one usually spurs the next. currently, i'm bored to tears, unfulfilled and restless, so i'm looking for a job in memphis again. i applied for a position writing letters of apology. while i'm sure they're mind-numbingly formulaic, i'm still excited about the idea of writing for a living. it'll be the first time i've come anywhere near realizing that dream. after not having heard anything about the job in about a month, i wrote my 2nd follow-up letter, assuming the position had already been filled. meanwhile, i was selected to represent my department at a 'summit' which just so happens to be held in memphis (corporate headquarters) next week. and then i heard from the lady in charge of hiring, they're still screening, haven't selected anyone as of yet. great! i promptly told her i'll be in town on business and would she be interested in meeting w/me while there? i couldn't be more ecstatic at the opportunities abounding. i feel like i'm on some sort of wave of good luck. but i know i've prompted it, just like i always do after particularly dull living. it's really quite the buddhist way. i don't try, i let myself fall into complacency long enough and my energy just takes over after awhile. i rely on that and it's yet to let me down.

what really gets me is i'm not even trying to impress anyone at work, i don't know why they're noticing me. both my direct and indirect managers are impressed with something. i never thought i'd be interested in a corporate career type thing, but i have a feeling only thought that because i didn't think i'd be able to if i tried. so anyway, now i'm trying. we'll see. i s'pose that's all i can say.

8.11.2004

shyamalan has obviously learned a thing or two from ursula le guin
I watched "The Village" recently. It was a good film, and reminded me very much of a short story by Ursula LeGuin called, The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas. In both stories, the happiness of the villagers is dependant on a terrible lie.
In Omelas, the town is perfect, a utopia in whatever your sense of the word might be. LeGuin goes to great lengths to make the reader think about and define his/her own idea of a perfect world. She gives a lot of pointers, and a lot of different plausible scenarios, including things like how sex is viewed by both men and women and how it could be perfectly acceptable by both sexes. People could have sex in public if they wanted, but no one would ogle them or turn it into an unnatural thing. Or the drugs people chose to use would only be mind altering, not physically altering, thus not addictive or dangerous in any way. Opium wouldn't be over-used and cocaine wouldn't be anything anyone would need in order to make it through the day. If the kids wanted to try it on occasion, in your idea of a perfect world, at least it would never be abused.
A little over halfway through the story, though, the reader would be introduced to the catch. Just like a little short of adulthood, the townpeople would each individually be introduced to the reason for their happiness.
There lives a little girl in the basement of one of the houses in Omelas. She lives there in her underwear, eating just enough food to survive, sleeping in her own feces. She's secluded from anyone who may have once loved her and is resigned to the feeling of the dank cold of the basement floor and the disgust she sees in the eyes of the ones who have to look at her. In the end, most of the residents of Omelas are willing to accept her life as a sacrifice for their own. So, they perpetuate the lie by ignoring the sight of her face in their heads while they try to sleep at night. Others decide not to accept this horrific reality. And they simply walk away. LeGuin doesn't preach, nor does she try to show the reader how horrified these people must be, for their feelings must be too unsettling to put into words.
In "The Village", the children are raised under a similarly false pretense. They're taught not to speak of the things that lurk in the woods surrounding their houses. They are told never to speak the works, never to wear or see the color red, for it attracts those that lurk and threatens their safety. The entire first half of the story shows the lengths the elders are willing to go to keep their children happy. They lie, use scare tactics, anything to keep their babies naive and innocent beyond their years. There's no doubt that the children are happy, but they have no idea how limited their happiness is, how dependant it is on the lies of their parents.
One difference between the movie and the story by LeGuin is that, in the movie, the children aren't shown the reason for their happiness. I believe Shyamalan simply did not take the plot of the movie that far into the future. Eventually, the children will have to be told, to carry on their families once the elders have all died. Since this is just the first generation of children living outside the city, secluded from the rest of the world, the elders haven't had the opportunity to live far enough into the future. It's only when the blind girl decides to get medicine for her boyfriend does one of the elders decide to let her in on the secret. There is nothing to be afraid of in the woods, he tells her. He proves it by showing her their hiding place. The cost of her happiness was a terrible lie. She is the only one they tell, though. She's more mature than the others. Because she's blind, they weren't able to protect her like they did the others. Again, like the people of Omelas, their intentions are good. They only want to create a happy world, safe and not full of untimely death and disappointment. But regardless of their intentions, the outcome is the same. As a result of a falsehood brought on by the people they were supposed to trust and rely on for the truth, the children never learn to trust in themselves, never learn the true meaning of humanity.
8.2.2004

the rectum is nightmarishly elastic
i usually write about my feelings, if i write at all. but i'm a so-called english major, so i have some problem with this fact. i'm too emotional- that's not to be taken lightly- so this blog will be dedicated to my anti-emotional side. i know i have one, i feel it every day. for some reason i don't tend to feel it, though, when i sit down to write.

so this blog will be an experiment for me, as well it is for numerous thousands of others, i've noticed. we're all still experimenting with what the internet is and has to offer, which i find odd, seeing as how we've been using it regularly for more than a decade already. that may not be long in the span of our lives, but for those of us still in our twenties, more than a decade is half of our lives. and that's a long time. yet, we're still experimenting. we're such slow-learning babies.

i was reading a copy of smithsonian magazine today, an issue from november last year. it was an issue honoring the 40th anniversary of john f. kennedy's assasination. my parents generation of september 11th. everyone remembers where they were, what they were doing, and exactly how they felt. 40 years later. it was touching, an article of testimonials about how the president impressed so many prominent americans. bb king said kennedy was not only the kind of president people loved, but the kind of president people wanted to help. "ask not what you can do..." black people, specifically, felt the president wanted to help them. that was bb's perspective, anyway. others were less congratulatory, which surprised me a bit. surprised me in the way i was surprised by all the negative commentary during the flying back and forth of a dead ronald reagan. it still seems so wrong to talk bad about the deceased, no matter how honest or true. tom clancy, for instance, is not a kennedy fan. although he was only 13 at the time of the assassination, he had an opinion, and it was less than complimentary. the best he could say was that he never wished death on the man. somebody else said something about not judging a president for his personal decisions, but for the decisions that defined his presidency. i couldn't agree more, and that goes for clinton, too, obviously.

my boyfriend downloaded some stand up of the guy on king of queens today. not the main guy, but the short guy who insists he's not gay. he's like the best friend that's not the huge black guy. you know who i'm talking about. he's funny. he's of the david cross, sarah silverstone (?), north carolina school. funny as hell. i'm not going to attempt to relay any of his jokes, but his first name is patton. i can't remember his last name. this isn't the best plug a guy could get, i realize. regardless, it got me thinking about what i would do if i were to win a million dollars. i'd produce a variety show. patton something could be the host.

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