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April 25, 2006
I'm So Haaaaaaappyyyyyyy!
Marcel left this morning, and we had a fantastic time. I now know why a style of kissing was named after the French.
I mean - GOD. He is a fantastic kisser. Everything was as wonderful as I hoped it would be.
We had a lovely Friday night together when he finally arrived (complete with a hysterical comment in the elevator at Tampa International Airport that Marcel made to a little old man who asked if we were "going down").
Saturday - We went to Barnes & Noble for coffee, pastries, and a guidebook to Europe (for next summer), as well as a cribbage board. I showed Marcel my office and then we ate lunch at Boston Market. Then we did some grocery shopping, went home, fooled around, learned how to play cribbage (I lost 3-2), and then closed out the evening with pizza, merlot, and The Colbert Report.
Sunday - Marcel made me pancakes for breakfast, then we laid together on the couch and watched Meet the Press, some other show with Bob Schieffer, and Wolf Blitzer's show on CNN. Then headed out to the Pinellas Trail so Marcel could run 10 miles (he's participating in the Big Sur Marathon this Sunday). The park I had picked as the starting point was packed - there were no parking spaces because they were all filled by people using the boat slip - and it was then that we decided that HE should be in charge of planning next month's trip to Taos - I just need to show up.
We went down to Wall Springs Park so Marcel could start running from there, while I took photos (which I will post soon). Went to Jason's Deli to pick up lunch (asian wraps), came home, messed around, and then Marcel cooked dinner for me (mozzarella-stuffed chicken with pasta and garlic bread), we drank the second bottle of merlot, he fed me Phish Food ice cream right out of the carton, and then played drunk cribbage (I went up 2-0 before Marcel got serious and came back to tie things up ... and then he obliterated me in winning the deciding game).
Yes, we spent quality time playing cribbage. And maybe I'm really strange, but ... I loved it.
Monday - I wanted to take Marcel to this place called Lenny's for breakfast because I had heard it was very good - I heard wrong. It was merely average, plus it was goddamn hot in the restaurant. After that we went back home, hung out a bit, did some stuff that I can't specifically relate and/or cannot recall, then went to Macaroni Grill around 4 for a late lunch/early dinner. While there I knocked off an item on my 101 List by trying espresso. Which was icky.
After that we went to a wine store nearby and picked up a bottle of white wine to have that night, then we drove down to Indian Rocks Beach to watch the sunset. It wasn't the greatest of sunsets, but fortunately that wasn't the point. On the way down to the beach I took Alternate 19 along the water so Marcel could see really expensive houses, the world spiritual headquarters for Scientology, and where I received six months of chemo. Oh, and the houses of both Hulk Hogan and my mother.
We got home around 9, watched last week's episode of 24 - Marcel was immediately hooked, so then we watched the episode that the Tivo was busy recording. Drank the white wine, which was fantastic. I was feeling clingy because Marcel was leaving the next morning, so we just laid around talking and kissing and stuff until it was time to go to sleep.
Today - Out of my place by 9:15, stopped at Starbucks for coffee and breakfast, then went to the airport. We were pretty early so we spent about an hour sitting away from the crowds in a deserted section of the terminal, talking and kissing and stuff until it was time for him to go out to the airside.
I didn't cry when I had to say goodbye, though. Normally I do. I think I didn't because I know I'll be seeing him again in just a month, and then we already have plans to see each other in June and July (he's visiting me for a week both times), August (he'll be coming to FL for a friend's retirement ceremony) and September (hopefully going to see his family in RI around his birthday).
Marcel made good on his promise of merlot, but he did NOT follow through on his massage promise. So now he owes me two. Plus, we forgot to make our mutual 101 in 1001 List, so we'll do that next month.
Oh, and my cats loved him. Especially Caygeon.
April 04, 2006
Then and Now
Just a bit of consumer reporting off the top here. I am addicted to these new(ish) Snickers Marathon Energy bars:
These things are so freaking good. They don't really taste like Snickers, though. But they're chocolately and caramely and gooey and chewy and they've got lots of vitamins and minerals (fortified for women, they are), and they actually curb my hunger for a few hours. Walgreens just had them on sale for $1 so I bought a few. If by "few" I mean "15."
The Double Chocolate Nut flavor is the bestest. Honey Nut is merely OK, but still passable.
Also, this is the best sunless tanner I've ever used:
Hawaiian Tropic Island Glow. It's in that class of sunless tanners that are positioned as moisturizers with almost a hint of sunless tanning in them. Everyone's heard of that Jergens Natural Glow stuff, which I tried last year. It worked OK, but I only used it twice because, quite honestly, it smelled like hairballs. And I am intimately acquainted with hairballs, so I know of what I speak.
But this Hawaiian Tropic stuff smells, no kidding, like green tea. It smells REALLY good - I'd buy it just for the scent. It's clean smelling, but not overwhelming. I think even if you didn't really love green tea scents you'd still be OK with this. The point is that it doesn't smell like hot shiny chemical death, which is rare in sunless tanners.
It also works very well. I just applied it for the first time last night, and I could see a difference this morning (I used the shade for medium skin tones).
But now the main point of this post. I had planned on posting an ode to exercise today anyway, but right now I'm having a massive cramp/spasm in my right shoulder, just below the neck, which reminded me I wanted to do this.
I joined the Palm Harbor YMCA at the end of October last year. So it's been five solid months. When I first started my goal was to just go three times a week, and do 30 minutes of cardio. I really hate treadmills (zzzzzz), so I chose to focus on the elliptical machines because I had read they were the most effective. Fairly soon I decided I liked the Arc Trainer best, so I've stuck with that.
Even though it's only been five months, my whole attitude about it has changed. As have the kinds of workouts I'm doing. To wit:
|Could barely drag my ass out of bed at 5:30 a.m.||Pop right out of bed at 4:45 a.m.|
|Worked out 3x per week for 30 mins||Work out 5x per week for 45 mins (including "Saturday Hell" - 45 cardio/45 weights/30 cardio)|
|Struggled to just keep going for 30 minutes on the arc trainer||Love doing high-intensity interval workouts|
|Sweat? TOTALLY GROSS.||Sweat? A badge of honor.|
|Cared if I looked like I just got out of bed||Proudly rocking the bedhead look, 'cause all that matters is that I'm there|
|Focused solely on not collapsing||I have all kinds of goals for each workout and love pushing myself|
What really got me thinking about this is the whole sweating thing. I used to hate cardio and avoid it like the plague because I really, REALLY hated sweating. I could never understand how people could ENJOY sweating, or actively, willingly pursue activities that would make them sweat. Well, other than sex.
But now, every time I finish a workout you can tell by looking at me that I've WORKED. I don't see the point, otherwise. When I'm done the back of my hair is all wet, my arms are glistening, and I've got the beginnings of sweat marks on my t-shirt (I don't get drenched or anything - I'm not a guy). I see some women in the gym who barely look winded during their workouts; they finish and every hair is still in place.
That used to be me, which is funny, because at this point - mentally - I'd never be able to do that. If I'm going to get up at the asscrack of dawn and get dressed and strap on my heart monitor and brush my teeth and grab my water bottle and leave my apartment and drive five miles and climb onto a machine and kick my own ass for 45 minutes ... I'd damn well better see some tangible evidence of all the energy I'm putting into it.
And thus, I love to sweat. I have become all the things I used to be suspicious of.
March 10, 2006
Heh. I've been so distracted that I haven't posted here in over a week. I blame ... clowns.
But it's definitely been a pleasure.
February 13, 2006
Things I Want To Like, But Don't
I'm thinking this might be an ongoing list, but anyway...
This topic popped into my head the other day when I was talking to Roo. She mentioned avocado, as she is wont to do, and a little voice inside my head said Don't look back, you can never look back.
Actually, it said, "I wish I liked avocado. But I don't."
So then I started thinking about other things that I really, truly want to like, and feel that I should like, but for whatever reason I just don't. They are:
1. Avocado (first and last and always)
2. Newborn babies
3. Pumpkin pie
4. Going to the theater (not movies, but plays)
7. Sex and the City
9. Painting my fingernails
10. Big fun parties
February 05, 2006
That's CONDO-MANIA, not the other thing.
Here are some photos I took last Wednesday when I took possession of the new condo (i.e., when it was still empty and not filled with mountains of boxes). I'll have photos of what it looks like with everything in place and unpacked in about ... three weeks.
The big moving story will come tomorrow.
(Click the photos for bigger versions.)
January 30, 2006
You're a Living Doll
Some of the girls over on Looking Good were whipping up dolls of themselves, so I did one of meeeeeee:
Yes, I look exactly like that.
January 17, 2006
Movin' On Up
To a deeeeeeeeluxe apartment (well condo), but not in the sky (it's on the first floor).
(If you want, you can skip the back story and go right to the part about my fancy new home.)
SO, did I ever talk about my housing woes? In August my apartment complex was bought by a developer who is turning it into condos - gutting all of the units and fully remodeling them with swanky new stuff like stainless steel appliances and granite countertops.
By law, current residents have to be given the first chance of buying their own units. So two weeks after we got the notice about the condo conversion, we tenants received packages that detailed what the "as-is" price for our apartments would be.
I have the "deluxe" one bedroom/one bath (800 square feet) with a water view, on the first floor. It's a nice place, don't get me wrong. The only thing I don't like about it is that the screened patio constantly floods when there is heavy rainfall (i.e. every day during the summer) and I end up with mud and dirt left behind, which is a pain to clean up.
Other than that, I love where I live. So I opened the package fully intending on buying my unit.
Until I saw the price - they wanted $130,000 for it. It in no way, shape or form is worth that much to me. It might be to someone else, but not to me. And that was the as-is price; to get the upgrades (the aforementioned swanky stuff, plus a new a/c, water heater and carpeting), you had to add another $20,000.
So I knew I'd have to move eventually. A few weeks ago I started informally looking at condos for rent in the area, just to see what was out there. I looked at one over near the East Lake YMCA (very convenient), and it was OK, but not exactly what I wanted (it was older and looked out over a parking lot).
Well on Friday I came home to a notice on my door from the apartment management company saying that they could not find my written request for a lease extention in my file, which I know I handed to them at that tenants' meeting back in August. But they could no longer find it, and my "unit has already been sold and we have a renovation of it scheduled for this month."
So why did you idiots cash my January rent check, HMM???
Anyway, the letter said that since I paid for January, I could stay until January 31, and then my ass had to be out. OK, it was a little more eloquent than that, but not by much. So I decided that I should probably call my realtor the next morning to see if that condo I had looked at was still available. It wasn't perfect, but it would do in a pinch (and I was being pinched).
I get the realtor on the phone at 10 the next morning and ask about the condo, which is when she tells me that five minutes before I called she rented it to someone else. JUST GREAT. But she had another condo I might be interested in that she wanted me to consider. It was $850/month, 2BR/2BA, 1000 square feet, first floor courtyard view unit in a gated community. Sounds good. I was familiar with the community - Fountains at Countryside - because it is the first condo conversion done by the developer who bought my current apartment. We were given the link to the Fountains' website so we could see what the upgrades would look like.
Even though the rent was more than I had budgeted for (I was planning on a maximum of $800), it includes water and trash. Those two items run me $45/month now, so really, it was a wash. I could afford this place if I wanted it. I reminded the realtor that I have a cat, and she said that she'd call the owner of the condo (he lives in New York) to see if a cat was OK.
She called me back 10 minutes later to say that the owner was OK with the cat ... but now the rent was $875. FINE. I HATE when people try to take advantage of you just because you have a pet.
So I was kind of miffed about that, but really, $875 isn't a bad price for a condo that size, with those amenities, in that location.
It was even less of an issue once I saw it. I love the floorplan; the master bedroom and bath are ensuite, which is very nice. The second bedroom is small, but I'll probably just end up using it as an office. It's a very neutral color scheme, so nothing I currently own will clash. It's bigger than I really need, but I think I'm going to grow to really love the extra space.
But dudes - check out the kitchen:
Stainless freakin' steel appliances. All of them. And the stove is the kind with the burners under glass. The countertop? It is GRANITE. The patio is screened and looks out over a very nicely landscaped courtyard. It's five miles from work, but I'll be driving against the traffic flow, so I should be able to get here in less than 10 minutes. Which means going home at lunch is eminently do-able.
The only real negative is that the washer/dryer is a stackable unit (there's no room for a side-by-side) and it is TEENY. The capacity is so small that I don't think I'll be able to even get a queen-size blanket into it. So it will be like college all over again, with me showing up at my mom's house carrying a basket full of laundry (and a smile).
I am very, very happy to have this settled. And I am very much looking forward to the day (probably tomorrow) when I go to my apartment's management office and tell them that I'll be out on February 4, not February 1, and I DARE them to try and do something about it.
Oh, and I should be able to keep my current phone number. Woo hoo!
November 28, 2005
OKStupid! Politics Test
I stole this from Teeeeeeeeeeem's site:
|You are a |
You are best described as a:
Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
What you don't see up there is the "Famous People" graphic you can view after taking the test. On that graphic, I am squarely between Robert Redford and Bono.
I do wonder what your answers would have to be to score as either a FASCIST or an ANARCHIST.
October 26, 2005
Wow, I can't believe I forgot about what Monday was. I can't decide if that's good or bad.
Anyway, on October 24 I marked nine years in remission from Hodgkin's disease! Not too bad, considering the way it might have gone. I'll have to do one of my "anniversary" posts in the next few days, when I've had some time to think about it.
October 23, 2005
It's linked over there on the right under Fun Stuff, so go there now.
Or more specifically, go to the entry called Women Who Don't Love Too Much, because it pretty much sums up how I feel about men.
Insight into my psyche! I know you're trembling in fear.
But let's backtrack for a second. The Rabbit Blog is written by Heather Havrilesky, who also happens to be the television critic for Salon. Her column is called "I Like To Watch" and it is the only consistently funny column I've ever read. I love her. Heather digs America's Next Top Model in an ironic way, which only serves to increase my ardor.
So, back on track. On the Rabbit Blog, Heather will answer questions from readers. It's an advice column written by someone who has a passion for the word "fuck" and all its derivatives. You have been warned.
I was talking to Ben last night and he mentioned a post on the Rabbit Blog, and since I hadn't read it in a few weeks I immediately checked it out. And lo and behold, it was a post that neatly summed up how I approach romantic relationships – an embrace of a concept called The Inner Fuck You Leave (TIFYL).
From the initial reader letter:
I don't even know how many times I've tried to explain this to men, whether they're men I'm involved with or just male friends. The majority of them just don't get it, but it goes a little like this:
You're in my life because I want you in my life. Not because I need you in my life.
Because I don't. Need you, that is. If you leave, I know I'll eventually be OK. No matter how much your leaving hurts in the short term, the time will come when I am Just Fine.
That's not to minimize the impact that these relationships have had on my life; the impact has been lasting, in most cases. And I often miss these people, so it's not like I'm implying that I will never think about them or that I'll forget them entirely when I return to being Just Fine.
It's just that, when you involve people in your life from a position of strength through choice (want) rather than from a position of weakness due to a lack of other alternatives (need), it's a lot easier to see that there is always going to be someone else. There isn't one person who can enrich your life; there are many.
Sure, it's tricky to find them sometimes. I've found that they often like to hide. But it's remarkably freeing and liberating to know - to really and truly know - that no matter what happens in a relationship, I will eventually be OK.
This is what I mean. If one man doesn't "get" me, that's fine because I know someone else will. I'm confident of that, so I really don't ever feel like I need to pretend to be someone I'm not.
Sure, this drives away all the men who are intimidated by a smart chick. I'm smart, and I can speak intelligently about my opinions, I think about things totally unrelated to myself and would expect the same from any guy I'm with. If those qualities make some random guy not want to know me, that's actually good because I don't want to waste time on someone who isn't going to love me - the Real Me, as I truly am, without any sort of hiding - anyway.
Because even though I think I have a lot of really attractive qualities – smart, witty, straightforward, honest, generous, more than a little wicked – there are quite a few less-than-desirable qualities that balance things out. I can become moody in an instant, over some random thing, and there are certain topics that I probably take too seriously (not telling).
You gotta love the whole package, though, or at least be willing to accept the bad with the good. I think a lot of people try to hide the negative things in an effort to hook someone using their shiny, happy qualities. But you know that never works for long. So I just try to be authentic right from the start - ultimately it saves a lot of time and heartache.
I need to print this out and carry it in my wallet. That Heather, reading my mind! I couldn't agree more with that whole statement, especially the last two sentences.
And one last one from Heather:
Abso-fricken-loutely. I want love and I know I'll find it. In fact, I'm going to enjoy the process of finding it and while I'm doing that I'm firmly committed to loving my life, and the people in it, and to being the very best me I can be.
Or hell, maybe I'll be even better.
September 27, 2005
[This has been shamelessly stolen from Lissie's journal.]
PICK ONE OF YOUR SCARS OUT, NOW HOW DID YOU GET IT?
I have a slight horizontal scar across my forehead, which I got when I was literally clotheslined by a rusty metal wire while running after my brother and being chased by a screaming old lady who was angry that we had cut through her back yard. The wire clipped me midline on my forehead and I was thrown back like a slingshot, falling flat on my ass. Then I finished running home and told my mom. I still have a teeny tiny piece of metal in the scar (it looks like a very small mole).
WHAT IS ON THE WALLS IN YOUR ROOM?
The living room has a Dali print (Metamorphosis Of Narcissus), a framed triptych of archways in Italy, and a a signed, framed b/w print of a photo of a highway taken by Noah Grey, that Rappy gave me for Christmas a few years ago.
WOULD YOU RATHER PLAY FOOTBALL OR WATCH IT?
WHAT SPORT WOULD YOU SAY YOU ARE BEST AT?
Australian Rules Smirking
WHAT IS/WAS YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE?
Anything involving alligators being in close proximity to my person. Kind of like this.
HAVE YOU EVER WRITTEN POETRY?
Yes, mostly in high school for the literary magazine, but also in my early 20s. The two poems in that entry are probably two of the best things I've ever written, and one of the poems has, IMO, the best line I've ever put on paper.
DO YOU REMEMBER BIRTHDAYS?
Of family and close friends, yes.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME YOU WERE BORN?
DO YOU HAVE A BIRTHMARK, WHERE?
No birthmark, but lots of small moles. Also lots of scars at this point.
WHAT IS THE WEIRDEST THING YOU HAVE EVER DONE?
I'm not sure I can pick just one thing. In middle school my friend Jenna and I used to have shaving cream and ketchup fights. That was kind of strange. Linda, Kathy and I also used to walk around the neighborhood with a boombox loudly singing Adam and the Ants songs. The COOLEST weird thing I ever did was when I went to Michigan, I was exploring a neighborhood and decided to climb up this steep embankment to see what was on the other side. This was on the other side, and it took my breath away.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE YOU STARTED FILLING THIS IN?
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE GUM?
Orbit Cinnamint, always
I'm not hugely into chocolate, but I do like those Lindor truffles that Rappy brought me when she visited.
FAVOURITE CANDY (NON CHOCOLATE)?
DO YOU OWN ANYTHING LEATHER?
A couple of handbags, I think.
WHAT ARE YOU THINKING RIGHT NOW?
That I really hope my lower back hurts less before I fly cross-country on Saturday morning.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DISNEY MOVIE OF ALL TIME?
Finding Nemo. Oh wait, that's Pixar. Then I'll go with Robin Hood. I loved the family of rabbits.
DO YOU OR HAVE YOU EVER SLEPT WITH A STUFFED ANIMAL?
I'm a girl, so of course I did.
WHO WAS YOUR FIRST CRUSH WHEN YOU WERE LITTLE?
Christopher Robin Taylor. I was 12 and he was one of my older brother's friends. I sobbed when he moved back to Chicago.
WHAT KIND OF HAIR DO YOU LIKE ON THE OPPOSITE SEX?
I'm not picky. It just can't be prettier than mine.
WHO OUT OF YOUR FRIENDS (SAME SEX) HAVE YOU KNOWN THE LONGEST?
NOW THE OPPOSITE?
WHAT IS THEIR BIRTHDAY AND MIDDLE NAME?
Trina Lynn was born March 16 (she'll always be THREE DAYS OLDER than me, ha ha!)
Glen Alexander was born March 12 (a full WEEK older than me ... forever!)
DO YOU SPEAK A DIFFERENT LANGUAGE?
Yes, but it's a dead language
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE SINGER?
I can't answer questions like this. Pondering them makes my head explode.
WHAT KIND OF BOOKS DO YOU LIKE TO READ?
Comedy, some sci-fi, anything that is about a subject I don't know much about, but am interested in.
HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR COFFEE?
Coffee makes my heart skip, so I don't drink it.
DRAGONS OR DINOSAURS?
WOULD YOU FALL IN LOVE KNOWING THAT THE PERSON IS LEAVING?
Leaving town? Leaving the country? Leaving for Mars? More specificity is needed, but I'll go with "I'd try not to, fall anyway, but get over it relatively quickly."
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO TELL SOMEONE HOW MUCH THEY MEAN TO YOU?
Just take a deep breath and say the words. You might not get another chance.
WHAT IS THE ONE NUMBER YOU CALL MOST OFTEN?
WHAT ANNOYS YOU MOST?
Willfull ignorance. And people who can't drive for shite.
September 20, 2005
My Life Is Again My Own
Tonight is the season finale of Big Brother 6, which means that tomorrow I will again be living my own life. I love HT, but it takes up a lot of my time during the summer. Thus my embarrassing lack of updates over here.
So I'll hopefully be back to making daily entries here soon. I've got my roadtrip to AZ coming up in less than two weeks (woo hoo!) so I'll be yammering endlessly about that I'm sure.
And there are changes afoot in my personal life as well.
I'm getting married!!!
OK, not really. There's something, though. But I'll tell more about it when I get back from my road trip.
Oh, one last thing, since there seems to be some confusion on this point:
I am not Wentworth Miller. I do not know Wentworth Miller (sadly), and I have never met Wentworth Miller in person. I simply posted a little love note to him in my Celebrity Crush section; the hook in those posts is that I write from the celeb's viewpoint (e.g. in the first person).
Again, I am not Wentworth Miller. I do think he's just swell, though. And Prison Break is an excellent new show (except for Robin Tunney - ugh).
May 31, 2005
Finding Out True Love Is Blind
This weekend I was hanging out with my friend G., who is going through a divorce. We were jokingly trolling Match.com and Yahoo Personals, trying to find proper potential love interests for each other. I say "jokingly" because I'm pretty sure I'd never trust G. to pick someone suitable for me, and besides that, trolling for men online is an activity best done in solitude.
(Although the 6'5" bald guy who speaks Urdu was kind of interesting. I saved his profile for later, just in case.)
Before anyone wonders why G. and I just don't focus our sights on each other, let me just say that it's a case of "been there, done that." Plus, he's got Le Baggage.
G. has two kids, ages 10 and 8 (no, they're not the baggage I was referring to), and he was bemoaning the fact that he'd lost what he described as "a lot of good years" because he had resigned himself to staying married for the kids.
Only it didn't work out that way. For a long time, according to him, his marriage was "good enough" - in the sense that it wasn't bad, it wasn't great, it was just ... there. It was the devil he knew versus the (potentially worse) devil he didn't.
Somewhere along the line, despite his intentions, "good enough" was no longer "good" or, really, "enough." He got older. He stopped wanting to settle for something that was merely passable. He became less afraid of taking the steps he thought were necessary to fashion a life for himself where not only was he happy, but his kids were happy, too.
His best friend died suddenly. That was that suckerpunch that snapped his life into clarity.
So we were talking about divorce, and how I was the same age as his oldest child when my parents split up and yet I "managed to be OK" (you-know-who-you-are can stop snickering right now).
My mom had the same intentions that G. did - stay until the kids graduate from high school, even though I'm desperately unhappy in this marriage - but I am thankful every day that fate or life or something like it intervened, and she filed for divorce when I was 10.
So yes, I'm mostly OK despite being a product of a broken home. I had two parents who loved me, even though they weren't together any more, and I think ultimately that was much more important for me than having the traditional two-parent nuclear family household.
However, it's not as if that whole event didn't leave a lasting impression upon my frail pre-adolescent psyche. It did, just not in the way most people would think.
I'm not sorry my parents got divorced. I'm only sorry that they didn't get divorced SOONER. Because here's what I learned during that time, and this is the only thing about the divorce that has affected my adult romantic relationships:
No matter how good things might seem, they might actually be really, really bad without you even knowing it.
My parents never fought. They never really talked, either, and therein lay the problem. I grew up thinking that's just the way things went, and I thought my parents were happy until one day, out of the blue (a 10-year-old never realizes the weeks/months/years that lead up to these kinds of decisions), my mom announced that she and my dad were splitting up.
No warning. No flares shot up over the bow. Just ... an ending.
So there's a part of relationship-me, mostly subconscious, but also mostly silenced, that is simply waiting for the other shoe to drop. Waiting for the piano to fall out of the window and crush me as I nonchalantly traipse down the great sidewalk of life.
Relationships come with their very own Acme anvil, and it's only a matter of time before Wile E. Coyote attempts to drop it - presumably from a very high cliff - onto my head.
I'm all too willing to get the hell out before things start going awry. That's bad, isn't it?
So then this morning I was reading articles on NYTimes.com, and happened upon one detailing a scientific study about how romantic love is a biological urge. To wit:
It is closer in its neural profile to drives like hunger, thirst or drug craving, the researchers assert, than to emotional states like excitement or affection. As a relationship deepens, the brain scans suggest, the neural activity associated with romantic love alters slightly, and in some cases primes areas deep in the primitive brain that are involved in long-term attachment.
For those keeping score, Crazy Tom Cruise was not mentioned anywhere in the article. Yeah, I was surprised, too.
The article goes on to state that "falling in love is among the most irrational of human behaviors" (no kidding, really?), which makes me feel better about the fact that I've got this irrational fear of having the rug pulled out from under me at any moment EVEN THOUGH everything seems peachy keen and swell and stuff.
If the very nature of falling in love is based on a lack of reason, then there's nothing wrong with the fact that I throw more irrationality upon the newfound fires of passion.
Irrational is as irrational does.
And then I read this:
This passion-related region was on the opposite side of the brain from another area that registers physical attractiveness, the researchers found, and appeared to be involved in longing, desire and the unexplainable tug that people feel toward one person, among many attractive alternative partners.
This distinction, between finding someone attractive and desiring him or her, between liking and wanting, "is all happening in an area of the mammalian brain that takes care of most basic functions, like eating, drinking, eye movements, all at an unconscious level, and I don't think anyone expected this part of the brain to be so specialized," Dr. Brown said.
And no wonder. In a series of studies, researchers have found that, among other processes, new love involves psychologically internalizing a lover, absorbing elements of the other person's opinions, hobbies, expressions, character, as well as sharing one's own.
It's not your sense of humor or your turn of a phrase that make me want you, honey. It's what you do to my caudate nucleus, rrrrowrrrr.
So, apparently, there is a biological urge for finding passionate love that is taking up residence in the lizard part of my brain. It's some sort of global imperative, like having sex, or buying a TiVo. And once the relationship settles into the long-term committment phase, my poor little caudate nucleus will no longer be firing on all cylinders; only new love can do that.
Which means that, really, I should embrace the falling of the anvil, so I can experience the heady joys of new love over and over and over again.
My caudate nucleus will thank me.
May 15, 2005
This is a column I wrote for the Virginian-Pilot, a newspaper I used to work for. I've been cleaning out my office and happened to find a clipping of this hidden in the back of my filing cabinet.
For me, he will always be flying through the end zone, parallel to the ground, while time ticked away and the world around him stood in silence, ready to split apart at the seams.
The Catch will remain Deodus Harrell's most public legacy, a memory that is unlikely to fade from the minds of the 7,000 people who saw it, as well as the thousands of others who will claim they did.
It was, after all, the play that sent Deep Creek High School to the state football playoffs. It made Harrell a local hero, although one who credited almost everyone else – his linemen, his quarterback, his coaches – for his success.
Dee Harrell died last week. He was only 19. He had Hodgkin's disease, a rare form of cancer that afflicts only 8,000 people – about as many who were in the stadium that night in December – each year, many of them before their 30th birthday. It is considered a very treatable disease, with as high as a 90 percent five-year survival rate for those who are diagnosed early.
But it is still cancer.
Even though Hodgkin's disease is decreasing in morbidity faster than any other cancer, nothing in life is guaranteed. The people who loved Dee Harrell, and those who were simply fortunate enough to have known him, are aware of that now. Nothing – not being an athlete, or a good student, or a terrific parent – can protect you from life's ugliness.
I spent nearly two years in Chesapeake as sports editor of the Clipper. I live in Florida now, and I heard the news about Dee from Virginian-Pilot sports writer Paul White, who called me the day after Dee died.
It would have hurt no matter what the circumstances – I admired Harrell not for his athletic ability, but because he was a wonderful young man – but it stung even more because just two weeks before I had completed treatment for my own case of Hodgkin's disease.
I survived through six months of chemotherapy and three weeks of radiation. Dee Harrell did not. This doesn't make me feel special, or even particularly lucky – it just makes me feel sad.
I wish I knew why one of us did well and the other did not. Perhaps it is due to the amount of disease each of us had, the extent it had spread through our bodies, or our individual reactions to the toxic effects of treatment.
It hardly matters to me, really. I only know one thing – you're not supposed to die when you're 19. You're not supposed to die when you're a loved son, or someone's closest friend. You're not supposed to die when you're a hero to a whole school and your entire community.
I left Chesapeake weeks after that game. The following March, on the day before my 26th birthday, I got a diagnosis of cancer. To say that I was shocked at the news wouldn't begin to do my feelings justice. After all, young people just don't get cancer, right? All I had was a lump on my neck.
I'm sure it was even more of a surprise for Dee, who probably accepted the possibility of getting injured on the football field, or at the track, but never expected to be hit by a life-threatening disease.
Part of that is our fault. We expect athletes to be superhuman. We watch their exploits on the fields and courts, and stand in awe of their strength, their power, their ability to appear untouchable.
But they are, ultimately, just like we are, and subject to the same injustices that life often hands out.
I am thankful that I can say I am in remission. I hope to be able to say that every day for the rest of my life. Once you've had cancer, you cannot escape that it has forever changed how you see things. I will never be able to hear or read something about Hodgkin's disease, or cancer in general, and not have an uneasy sense of recognition.
There's an old song that says "Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you." If that is true, then Dee Harrell made the kind of impression that few people will ever be fortunate enough to make.
His life meant something, and not just to his family and friends. But if most people only remember him for one play, on one night, in one football game, that's fine.
Just as long as they remember.
March 19, 2005
Blow Out the Candles
It's mah birthday! Which started off "altered" and will probably end that way too, later tonight.
Today's schedule includes girly stuff, shopping, family, food, friends and frolicking. In that order. Rappy was first to wish me a Happy Birthday, yesterday, at midnight Israel time. I got home from work to find that she had sent me two books - The Kite Runner and What's the Matter With Kansas? - off my Amazon wish list. She's such a good egg.
I hope everyone has a splendid day. Because that's my plan as well.
March 18, 2005
I think I have found the perfect man.
Guy #1: The base model
Reason he alone is not perfect: Sadly unattainable
Guy #2: Add his sarcasm, geekiness, height, background, most other aspects of his personality
Reason he alone is not perfect: Apparently willfully obtuse when it comes to my charms
Guy #3: Add his availability/eagerness
Reason he alone is not perfect: No real chemistry whatsoever
Guy #4: Add his geographical proximity, hair, voice
Reason he alone is not perfect: Wants to get super serious
Guy #5: Add his accent, ability to dance on pool tables wearing skintight red leather pants
Reason he alone is not perfect: Doesn't know I exist (damn you, Jonathan Rhys Meyers!)
I think I can pull this off. Because I am a .
March 07, 2005
Hee Hee Hee
Some of you know how much I love this little guy:
So much so, that I'm wearing this t-shirt at work today. I don't care how much it might make me look like a stoner - I love the Pillsbury Doughboy. Marry me, Poppin' Fresh!
Stiff Little Finger
My bones are self-healing monsters. This is what happens when you're a skim milk drinking freak, I'm proud to say.
I was subjected to a "bivalving" on Thursday, which is not nearly as fun as it sounds.
Bivalving is when a doctor - or more likely, a physician's assistant - takes a small circular hand saw and cuts into your cast. Hopefully they don't press the whirling blade in too far and mangle your flesh. The guy who did me was quite proficient at it. I only felt the warmth of the blade twice.
Me: "I don't even want to know what you've been practicing on to become so good at this."
PA: "Let's just say there are a lot of people named 'Stumpy' out there."
So he cut off the inner half of my cast, leaving me with the outer portion to use for support (held on with an ACE bandage wrapped around it). I'm supposed to wear this contraption whenever I leave the house and go out and about, since the public at large is clearly gunning for me and wants to run into my arm and cause me pain.
But around the house, I leave it off. Which is nice, because it means I can think about taking a shower and then five seconds later actually be in said shower - no longer do I have to go through the arduous process of wrapping a towel around my upper arm, rubber banding it in place, wrapping a garbage bag around my arm, rubber banding it in place, etc.
I'm also able to type with two hands again. This is a skill that I will never again take for granted.
According to the most recent x-ray, my elbow is "healing nicely, right on schedule." I'm able to move my arm in some very basic ways without any pain. I still cannot extend the elbow (i.e. bend it down), and I can't rotate my wrist very much without feeling white hot sheets of pain in my arm. So I don't do that. But I can do basic things, like dress myself, which is nice.
My pinky finger no longer hurts at all (unless I accidentally jam it into in my desk chair, which is exactly what I did roughly 2.5 seconds after arriving at work), but the little bugger is as stiff as a board. I think I left it taped to the index finger for too many days without moving it. So now I'm constantly doing finger-flexing exercises with that hand in an attempt to work out the tightness and regain proper range of motion (ROM to those in the orthopedic world). It's better than it was on Thursday, but still has a way to go.
Happily, I am now able to put on my beloved Body by Victoria bras. Sports bras are fine, and they have their purpose, but I was getting sick of the Uniboob look. So now we're all happier.
Yahoo has decided to let me have my e-mail again; all 250 pieces of it, dating back to 2/21. I'm wading through it slowly; some of them I've already received, some not. I don't know what happened with this, but I think it had something to do with the fact that Yahoo changed the way that attached images are displayed in e-mails.
Ezboards are currently being blocked at work, and I'm not sure why. I smell a conspiracy.
March 01, 2005
The Stairs of Doom
Because I want you to experience the heady thrill of my falling down stairs/full arm cast experience, I present the following images (click the thumbnails for larger versions):
Starting from the left, we have ...
The stairs that broke my arm (seen from the top down; the carpeted runner at the bottom is where my head first came to a rest)
My first attempts at cast art (a three-dimensional box and a bunny - YES, it is a BUNNY, it's just that its paw is a little too long, STOP thinking what you're thinking)
A view of the black scuff mark made by one of my shoes as I was tumbling head over heels town the stairs (for reference purposes, when I stand at the bottom of the stairs the mark is right at the top of my head, and I'm 5'8")
And here is an illustration of a chip fracture, the kind of fracture I have in my right pinky:
February 21, 2005
February 16, 2005
i fell down the stairs at work today and ended up fracturing my left elbow and right pinky, and severely spraining my right wrist. i also have an enormous bruise/contusion on my left knee and i smacked the left side of my skull on the hardwood floor. but my right leg is just fine!
i'm in a soft cast right now, but on either friday or monday i'll be getting a full-arm cast, which i will be wearing for three months.
so i'm probably going to be a lot less prolific for quite awhile.
January 05, 2005
Play the Feud
Last night I also dreamt that I was on the Family Feud game show. The original version with Richard Dawson as the host, not that silly, suicidal Ray Combs (Richard Dawson also played Newkirk on the show Hogan's Heroes, which I have not yet incorporated into a dream - but plan to).
Anyway, I was playing the Feud, but the family I was with was not my own. I don't know who they were, but they were dumb. Dumb as hammers. So I'm up there with Richard Dawson at the box thing with the button that you slap to buzz in with the answer, and the question is "Name a type of egg."
I buzz in first and scream, "EISENHOWER!"
Richard Dawson: "Survey says?!?"
And the board flips over the fourth response to show EISENHOWER - 5. Meaning five people answered the question "Name a type of egg" with "Eisenhower." I have my finger on the pulse of America, yo.
So the other person buzzes in with some inane answer and they don't have their finger on the pulse of America, so I've got control of the board for my "family." Only I don't let them answer; I don't even confer with them for possible answers. I just stand up there with Richard Dawson and guess at responses myself.
Richard Dawson: "Name a type of egg."
Me: "Track 3."
Richard Dawson: "Survey says?!?"
And the board flips over the third response to show TRACK 3 - 15. How did I get so smrt?
Richard Dawson: "Name a type of egg, love."
Me: [long pause] "Poached?"
Richard Dawson: "Survey says?!?"
And the board flips over the second response to show POACHED - 25. I do an Ashlee Simpson-esque, acid reflux sufferin' hoedown right there at the box.
Richard Dawson: "NAME a TYPE of EGG."
Me: [excitedly] "GOOD!"
Richard Dawson: [screaming] "Sur! Vey! SAYS!?!?!?"
Ding! Family Feud theme music starts blaring, and confetti falls from the sky
The top response on the board flips over and it's GOOD - 55. Notice that this means that even while in a dream state, my brain knows that 5 + 15 + 25 + 55 = 100.
Good egg! Good egg! Good egg! I say that all the time!
So then everyone is celebrating and I'm hoisted up on shoulders and paraded around the set and then there's a big party for my family because we just won Five! Thousand! Dollars! People are impressed that I knew all the answers, but I lean in to Richard Dawson and admit that I have no idea what those answers mean. He explains the significance of "Eisenhower" (which I forget now), but I remember that he told me that "Track 3" refers to the song "Gloria" by Laura Branigan.
Yeah, I don't know either.
December 21, 2004
Enlarging Your World
What doesn't transmit light creates its own darkness
I can't stop thinking about those words. They alternately torment and enthrall me. I feel like I'm on the precipice of something really big, something very ... important. But only to me. Because as I get older and experience more of my life, I realize that I don't have any answers for anyone but myself.
So I'm not going to look for other people's answers, or other people's truths, anymore.
You're on your own.
Self-interest is the new black.
At the same time, I find myself caring less about my own desires and much, much more about my contribution to the world around me. What is my role? What is my purpose? There is no answer but this:
My life is my message.
What doesn't transmit light creates its own darkness
Life is made up of grand, sweeping gestures. Big, weight-bearing moments.
But it's also made up of small, seemingly inconsequential actions. Quiet, anonymous moments. And neither is more important than the other.
I looked around last Wednesday night and I thought, "Is this it?" And that's exactly right – this is it, this is all there is, this one life, this one haphazard collection of moments big and small, a predetermined handful of time that slips achingly through our fingers when we can choose ... we can choose ... what we are going to make of it.
I'm not religious. I don't find solace or comfort in the idea of eternal life, or the concept of heaven. I'm not judging people who do; I just know that kind of faith and belief in a higher power doesn't speak to me in any meaningful way.
I think if we live forever, it's in the hearts and minds of the people whose lives we have touched. Derek Going has been dead for seven years, but as long as I draw breath he will live in me. Because he changed my life in a way I will never forget. One person in a sea of people, struggling to stay afloat.
How brightly do we shine?
Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.
Derek was my darkness for a very long time. I spent Thanksgiving with my father, and after dinner we talked. About life, the world, other assorted banalities. I don't remember how Derek came up in the conversation; I don't think I'd ever mentioned him to my father before. So I told the story, and I explained, through my tears, how it had taken me years to get to the point where I wasn't blaming myself for failing Derek so profoundly.
Maybe my father was just trying to show benevolence towards his youngest child; maybe he was just trying to ease my pain, years old, yet freshly felt in the hot tears running down my cheeks. The old wound that never quite healed. He said, "You might have felt like you failed him, but he obviously didn't feel that way. He had his aunt call you when he died to tell you how much you had meant to him. Maybe he believed you did your best, even if you don't believe that yourself."
And like a grubby-fisted child holding onto a balloon, in that moment, I let it go. I let go of the one thing in my life that I had always regretted; the one thing I had used for years to bully and shame myself into being a better person. That weight that I'd carried around for so long came at a huge price, emotionally. Nothing was ever good enough. Nothing. There was always a way to be better. Couldn't fail someone again, not the way I failed Derek. Not me. Don't fail.
But sometimes it doesn't matter how hard you try.
What doesn't transmit light creates its own darkness
How brightly do we shine?
More often than not we are the instruments of our own destruction, and I refuse to be that anymore. Because this is all there is. My past is filled with the big moments that have changed me for the better; recently, it's been the small moments that have made the biggest impact. There are things that once mattered to me, very much, that no longer hold the same sway over my life, and how I see it. Over how I see myself.
So out with the old and in with the new, and I guess this is the proper time of the year for that. Herrick had it right – Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.
I don't have any illusions about what I can and cannot do. What I am and am not willing to do. I think the big moments simply come to you, typically without warning, and you're measured by how you react to them. You use the small moments to prepare. They are your practice; the times when, fortunately, you get a seemingly unlimited number of do-overs.
That's the nice thing about life – there's always another chance. There's always another person, or another job, or another moment where you can choose who you want to be and declare it to the world. We can constantly reinvent ourselves, if we need or want to. What's to stop us? The way you were raised colors who you are, but it isn't who you are if you don't want it to be. The mistakes you made once upon a time don't have to follow you around the rest of your life, like ghosts, unless you want them to. The past has done just that – it has passed.
I know that now.
What doesn't transmit light creates its own darkness
And then I balance that with the fact that today I mailed six DVDs to Army platoons over in Iraq and Afghanistan, because they'd posted on this website (anysoldier.com) that they have a lot of soldiers who don't get mail from anyone. DVDs were a highly requested item. In that small gesture, which cost me a grand total of $12 ($4 for padded envelopes and $8 for shipping - I sent DVDs from my own collection), I did something that made me feel really good about myself. THAT act had meaning. And it's THAT kind of thing that I would want to be judged by - not how much I have acquired in material possessions.
Anyway ... not to go all Deep and Philosophical on you ... it's just that a lot of things over the past two weeks (and also making that 101 in 1001 list) have made me start thinking about what kind of life I want to be living, and if I'm actually living it. And if I'm *not* living it, how can I start to do that?
-- From an e-mail to Teem (Dec. 20, 2004)
What doesn't transmit light creates its own darkness
October 24, 2004
Sunshine After All
Eight years ago today, I was laying in a hospital bed, waiting to find out if my life was going to be mine again. I was having a lymph node in my chest removed and tested for residual Hodgkin's disease. A CT scan had shown that my lymph nodes were still swollen, which meant that they were either still filled with active cancer cells - despite six months of chemotherapy - or they were permanently enlarged due to scar tissue.
My oncologist told me he was 90% sure I still had active cancer, as he had never seen lymph nodes the size of mine that were just scar tissue. He told me that if the biopsy was positive for HD, that the surgeon would go ahead and implant an intraveneous line - which I would need for my last chance at health, a stem cell transplant - in my chest at the same time. It would take the place of the port that I already had implanted on the left side of my chest, that had been used for chemo.
I remember being in the pre-op room, tanked up on Versed, wondering if I was going to be able to handle a stem cell transplant. For one of the very few times during my treatment, I was scared. They wheeled me into the operating room, and my surgeon, Dr. Blumencrantz, went to work quickly. Before I realized it, I was out ...
... and then waking up again in the post-op area. Everything was a blur because I didn't have my contact lenses in, but I could make out people moving all around me. As soon as I shook off the anesthesia enough to have a rational thought, my right hand went up to the left side of my chest. I knew that if I felt a bandaged lump there, that the node was positive for cancer, Dr. Blumencrantz had implanted the IV line, and I was going to have a stem cell transplant.
My hand slowly moved to my chest and I felt ...
I pressed my hand against my chest, harder, and still didn't feel anything. I looked down, pulled out my hospital gown, and looked at my chest. The only thing I saw was the slight bulge of the port, and the familiar scar. No new incisions.
A female voice spoke gently in my ear - "You're going to be okay. It was just scar tissue."
Then, for the first time since I found out I had cancer, I cried. Because it was only then that I believed that I was, in fact, going to be okay. I was always aware of just how badly things could get, so I was intimately familiar with all of the unhappy statistics and bleak pictures that were often painted.
But I wanted to be okay. I did everything within my power to increase my chances of one day, maybe, being okay; beyond that, I just had to accept that despite my own hopes and wishes, things might not turn out that well for me.
I am extraordinarily lucky - I have been okay for eight years now. More than okay, really. Better than ever. If you gave me the chance to go back in time and not have cancer - in exchange for having a different life than the one I have now - I wouldn't take it.
I would not take it.
Every year, on October 24, I think about my life and how far I've come since this day in 1996. This is my day of reflection - not my birthday, not the holidays. Today. Because this is the day when I truly understood what it meant to Live. This is the day when I became very, very clear about what was and was not important to me.
Every year I have but one hope on this day - that, all things considered, I would choose the life I have today over the life I had one year ago. I've been thinking about it on and off all weekend, and I'm happy to say that yes, I would.
I've lost good friends this year, but I've gained new ones. I've acquired some bad habits (like excessive hummus consumption), but I've shed others that were far worse (like eating crappy food on a daily basis). I'm healthier, physically, in some ways, but less healthy in others. I've been through some very painful emotional experiences, but those have been offset by some truly wonderful ones (especially of late).
I still want to be who I am today.
My family and friends are all doing well. My cats are alive and in good health. I have a good job that pays well that lets me fund a happy personal life. My relationships with my family continue to be strong. My nephew is growing up to be a wonderful, thoughtful boy. I grow closer to my core group of friends every day. I've seen new places, and revisited old ones. I've walked, I've talked, I've seen shooting stars and wild animals and baby ducks grow into adults. I've laughed a lot, cried a lot, and most importantly, loved a lot.
But here's the best part - I have this feeling, unshakeable and inescapable, that the next 365 days are going to be even better.
October 22, 2004
ME ME ME
A couple of weeks ago Roo and I were talking, and somehow the conversation came around to the fact that I really admire one quality of hers in particular - that she seems to be able to get along with anyone. Even if she (maybe) doesn't like them all that much, she's at least able to be friendly and inclusive when she is required to interact with them.
I admire this quality because it's something I find very hard to do; if I don't like you, I don't make much of an effort to hide it. I will be cordial to you in person and in public, but that's as far as I will go.
It's not that I think this quality of mine is a particularly positive one; there are many times when I don't think it's good (and yet an equal number of times when I'm glad I'm like this). In general, though, I just accept that this is who I am. What was funny about the conversation with Roo was that she said that sometimes she wished she were more like me in this area (i.e. someone who doesn't shy away from confrontation).
I started thinking about this conversation again late last week, when my dad and I had a discussion about whether or not there is such a thing as a truly selfless act. Neither he nor I believe that there is; we both believe that every action a person performs has, at its root, a basis in one's own feelings of self-worth and self-interest.
For example, when I go out of my way to do something for friend, it's not fundamentally because I know it helps my friend for me to do so. It's because it makes me feel good about myself to do it. Or it's because it's something I believe I should do, and not to do it would cause cognitive dissonance (much like the anxiety I feel when I behave in ways that I don't think are "in tune" with the person I believe myself to be).
This spun off into a conversation about self-worth and how people achieve it, and from what sources. I suspect that people fall into one of two categories - those who are predominantly internally motivated, and those who are predominantly externally motivated. People who are internally motivated derive their self-esteem from how they feel about themselves; someone who is externally motivated would derive it from how others feel about them. Everyone is, certainly, a blend of the two, but I think almost everyone falls solidly on one side of the fence or the other.
Me? Very internally motivated. I stopped caring what strangers think about me when I was about 13, and began a four-year swing of shaving my head and wearing all black, all the time. Stares, I've had a few. But no regrets. I don't recall doing it for attention, though; I was never that kind of kid. I just liked dressing that way, and I didn't particularly care what anyone else thought about it (outside of my own friends).
Side note - I give full credit to my parents for raising me to have confidence in myself; it is, without a doubt, one of the most important traits they passed along to me.
That attitude - that I don't particularly care about what other people think of me - has continued throughout my adult life. Overall, I'm glad it has. I do recognize the ways it might have "negatively" impacted my life, though. I have a small circle of very good friends, rather than a wide array of acquaintances, which means that I don't have an unlimited number of social outlets at my disposal. If I don't respect you, your opinion of me means nothing, so I'm not at all likely to doubt myself or change myself in response; but that doesn't mean that you might not have a point.
It's sort of the same way I feel about rejection (both on a romantic and platonic level). Do I find every person I meet attractive? No. So why would I expect everyone who meets me to be attracted to me? I've crushed on guys and not had it returned, which is, technically, a form of rejection. I just don't take it all that personally, because I remember the times when I didn't return crushes that certain guys have had on me.
So by the same measure, if I don't like everyone I meet, why would I care if not everyone who meets me likes me, either? As far as I'm concerned, it all evens out, and the people that can like you will like you.
So I was giving it some thought the other day as I was driving to meet my mom for lunch at Jason's Deli - who, exactly, are the people whose opinions of me I care about? It's a pretty small group as far as family goes - my parents, my stepdad, and my brother. As far as friends go, there's only ... *counts on fingers* ... five people whose opinions of my character are meaningful to me on a significant level. After that, there's probably 7-8 people (both friends and family) that I hope like and respect me, because I like and respect them, but if they don't it's not a revelation that will keep me awake at night.
(Heh, even though I won't fake it when I don't like someone, I will avoid directly naming names in certain cases, to avoid people being upset because they thought they should have made one of those lists, and didn't.)
So yeah, dislike me all you want, think I'm horrible, what.ev.er. If I don't respect you, I won't care. It's only when I let myself down - when my image of myself is shaken - that I really have issues.
I have this idea of who I am, and who I want to be, and when I fall short of that - even in ways that are completely normal and natural - I have a difficult time dealing with it. I'm my own worst enemy, in that sense. I don't care at all about what most people think - you can say anything negative you want to me, and it just really doesn't make any impression on me at all. But when I do something that shakes my confidence and belief in myself, I end up kicking myself in the head for days, if not weeks (just ask my friends!). It is those times when I'm wracked with self-doubt.
I'm not sure which type of motivation is better. It probably depends on your personality as a whole. I don't mind not having a ton of friends to do things with, and that's probably one of the reasons that I am so internally motivated. If it was important for me to have everyone like me - or be seen as someone whom everyone likes - I'd be out of luck, because that's just not going to happen. At the same time, my feelings of self-worth probably aren't as malleable as someone who ties their own value, in large part, to the opinions of the people around them.
But I still come back to that admirable quality in Roo, and how I wish I could learn to incorporate that quality into my own life. Even if only to make my own life easier.
Because it's all about ME ME ME.
October 15, 2004
I keep having this recurring ... well, not a dream, really, more like a thought: I keep thinking that if I look up an old friend, I'll find out that they've died.
There are a handful of people - Jason C, Ryan, Lee, Jason P, Jeremy, Steve, Heather, Josh - that I'd be interested in reconnecting with, just to find out how they're doing. But as soon as I think about tracking them down, I start to worry that I'll be told that they're dead. I'll either run across something online that says they're dead (like a memorial of some sort), or I'll call the last phone number I have for them and the person answering will tell me they're dead. I don't want to know that they've died, so I don't make any effort to locate them.
It's very morbid, I know. But I can't shake the feeling, which is strange because it's never actually happened to me. So it's ultimately a whole wasted exercise that keeps me from taking the necessary steps for reconnecting with these people. Which is really dumb. But I guess the lesson for my friends is, if we ever grow apart, I won't be trying to look you up years later for fear that you've died during the intervening time.
So you should come find me.
October 11, 2004
Thousands of Words
Here are a bunch of photo galleries from my weekend trip to Michigan. Hold your mouse pointer over a photo thumbnail for a description.
Click the thumbnail to view a larger image
AROUND THE 'HOOD
Click the thumbnail to view a larger image
FIELD OF DREAMS
Click the thumbnail to view a larger image
THE GREATEST ADVENTURE
Click the thumbnail to view a larger image
OTHER COOL STUFF
Click the thumbnail to view a larger image
I Have Returned
I am back home after spending the weekend on a vision quest. Many photos to follow.
October 05, 2004
Let's Go To Bed
Ha!! I just really couldn't resist using that Cure song for the title of this entry, cheesy and lame though it may be.
HEY. I just admitted it was cheesy and lame - I don't need you to tell me, too.
So yes, I have finally, officially entered adulthood because I ... bought a new bed! Well, a mattress/boxspring combo. But here's the kicker - I upgraded from a full to a queen. So now I feel like I have a "big girl" bed. A bed fit for sleeping, and other adult activities! A bed with a cushy pillowtop, and a 20-year warranty! A bed that will be delivered to my happy home on October 17, which is a Sunday, and I plan on enjoying my new bed all that day, so don't expect any updates to this site on October 18.
The only glitch is that I'm not sure that the queen size bed will fit on the wall where my current bed resides. So I'll either have to get rid of the cats' beloved sleeping chair, or buy a smaller nightstand table. I'm thinking it will be the latter, because the cats really like that chair.
I'm not looking forward to needing to buy all new sheets, though. Hey! I should go visit Teem again and make her take me to IKEA (again) so I can buy lots of inexpensive sheet sets ... and while I'm there, pick up a smaller nightstand table.
September 28, 2004
I use a battery-powered alarm clock just in case the power goes out overnight. Wouldn't want to ever be late to work, you know. Unfortunately, batteries also go out eventually. Which this clock's did, last night at 11:45 p.m. So I got an extra hour of sleep this morning. I put it to good use.
Because I had the dream to end all dreams.
I remember two parts of it. The first was at my mom's house. I had a big bag of bird seed, and I was trying to pour some out of the bag into the plastic container I take outside with me when I'm feeding the birds and ducks. I was having trouble keeping the plastic container still and upright while pouring, and my mom was standing there watching but wouldn't help me.
I finally get the container filled and I go out into the back yard to feed the two ducks that are out there. I throw some seed on the concrete pool deck, and some underneath the grapefruit tree. The ducks run under the tree and start eating.
From the corner of the yard comes two penguins, waddling across the grass towards the pool deck. And I think, "How cute! The tuxedoed clown princes of the bird world!" So I throw out more seed in their direction.
Which is when the penguins attack.
First they were just trying to peck at my ankles. Then they started flinging themselves at me in an attempt to do major bodily harm. I think one of them might have even been foaming at the mouth, but I'm vague on that. Regardless, I was scared and freaked out, so I dropped to the ground and curled up in the fetal position (to protect my inner organs) with my hands wrapped around my head/neck (to prevent the little bastards from pecking the back of my neck and severing my spinal cord).
Someone threw a towel over me and I got wrapped up mummy-like within it, but the penguins were still trying to skewer me. I could feel their pointy little beaks stabbing at me through the towel. My screams for help went unanswered. I let one of the penguins bite onto my hand, then I slammed it into the jacuzzi, hoping it would drown. It didn't drown, but it did swim away. I repeated the trick with the other penguin and achieved the same result.
Success! The penguins swim off into the pool only to be menaced by ...
... the great white shark swimming within.
I think the shark appeared in my dream because yesterday I was looking at that news photo which showed this huge great white shark that was swimming around off the coast of Cape Cod. I've seen Jaws too many times not to be freaked out by great white sharks (or as Hooper would say, "Carcharodon carcharias!").
So I scramble into the house and look out at the pool and see the shark swimming around. It's about half the length of the pool. THEN I see the two ducks bobbing innocently in the water and start screaming at them to "MOVE!" But they don't, of course. And then the shark fin starts swimming towards them, of course. I shut my eyes, and when I open them the ducks are gone. I ask my stepfather if the shark got them, and he said, "yes, it did."
Then I grabbed a spear (it scares me that my subconscious thinks my mom would have spears laying around the house) and vowed revenge upon the shark. But before I could accomplish that, I switched to the second phase of my dream. I was back at my apartment, and my mom and stepdad were there. I was still freaked out about the shark and babbling that there was probably a shark swimming around in the lake behind my apartment.
So I'm looking out the window that is in my foyer, and my worst fears are confirmed because I see a blob moving along the edge of the lake. It's gotta be a shark, right? It lifts up out of the water a little more and I see that, no, it isn't a shark - it's an ALLIGATOR.
Now, if you know me at all, you know that I am irrationally afraid of alligators and there's really nothing that would scare me more than being menaced by one in person. I would probably have a massive coronary due to fright.
Obviously, the dream me is freaking out. It's not bad enough that a great white shark has eaten my ducks, NOW I have to deal with a big huge alligator terrorizing me outside my home. But then the alligator rose up out of the water ... and it had a very long neck. An alligator head on a long neck, with a big bulky body with tree stumpish legs, and a tail with spikes.
Me: "That's not an alligator."
Stepdad: "No, that's a Pteranodon."
The thing in my backyard? Not a shark. Not even an alligator. It's a DINOSAUR. An alligator-headed, bulky-bodied, tree stump-legged, spikey-tailed dinosaur. And it's trying to eat the ducks.
Then two more pteranodons popped up from beneath the water's surface and stood there on the edge of the lake, scoping out the flock of ducks that were nearby. They started moving in the ducks' direction. I start screaming bloody murder to try and get the ducks to fly away, but it won't work because I don't have normal ducks, I have DEAF DUCKS that are about to be FOOD FOR DINOSAURS, but I keep screaming and screaming and screaming ...
... and then I woke up to Dawsey meowing in my face, because I was an hour late with his breakfast.
I managed to get to work on time, though.
September 23, 2004
Yeah, I don't know. I just ... don't ... know. I guess it will either work out or it won't (I'm leaning towards the latter. Not because I'm a pessimist, but because everything seems so weeeeeeeeird now), but still, it just makes me sad.
What's that cliché/quote? Better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all.
It's a quote from Saint Augustine. What a blowhard.
September 14, 2004
Wave Your Foam Finger
I feel really, just, wonderful this morning. Yay, me! Go, me! *waves giant HWG foam finger*
My hair looks good, this new shirt looks good (french blue button down), I'm wearing the pointy-toed kitten heels that everyone compliments, and my body is practically vibrating. Those interval workouts kick my ass, but they're doing something to me.
Now I, too, am magically delicious!
And I've listened to "Walkie Talkie Man" twice already this morning. Everything is right with the world.
So in acknowledgement of that, I think I'm going to post something super-ultra-positive and happy today. And I would like you to join me. Yes, even you, the lurker who just reads and never comments. This is going to seem incredibly cheesy and sappy and optimistic, but ...
What are five things you really like about yourself? I'll start:
1. I'm independent - I value the opinions of the people that I'm close to, but ultimately, I make my own decisions. And I have no problem doing social things (like going to movies, or a restaurant) by myself.
2. I'm a thinker - I like to ponder. I like to think about issues and discuss them with my friends ... especially if the friend has a different take on the issue than I do.
3. My eyes - I have really pretty dark brown eyes. Just like a baby seal. (I had to make at least one of the five things superficial.)
4. I love to learn - This is a quality that I'm so happy my parents instilled in me, because it keeps life interesting.
5. I feel things deeply - Sometimes too deeply, but I'd rather be like I am than the alternative (cold and detached). I really like that I can be moved, or affected, by seemingly simple and random things. Empathy is an underrated quality.
September 11, 2004
Hurricanes Are a Total Ugh
FORECASTED TRACK OF HURRICANE IVAN
- Saturday, September 11 - 11 a.m. - Happiness! Stupid Ivan's track is shifting ever westward into the Gulf. Good news for me; bad news for the Panhandle.
- Friday, September 10 - 11 p.m. - Not much different than the 5 p.m. track; maybe a little more to the west.
- Friday, September 10 - 5 p.m. - This is a little better, it's heading more west into the Gulf of Mexico. But only a little.
- Friday, September 10 - 11 a.m. - See the line that says "8 AM Tue"? That's pointing directly where I live.
I am so over this hurricane nonsense. The National Hurricane Center is now predicting that Ivan will make a direct hit on the Tampa Bay area - where I live, yo - as a strong Category 4 storm overnight on Monday. But you know what? That's exactly what they said about Charley, and it turned while I was taking a nap.
SO I'M NOT FALLING FOR THIS AGAIN!!
Actually, yes I am. People here are already going batshit crazy. There's long lines for gasoline - at the places that still have any gasoline - and the stores are being emptied of nonperishables as I type. I will be subsisting on tuna fish, crackers and water if things get bad.
I'm going to keep updating this entry with the forecast tracks as they're released by the NHC. I'll link them at the top of the entry and change the date.
August 25, 2004
Can you tell me ten words that you'd use to describe the world? – Idlewild, "Tell Me Ten Words"
I'm not going to describe the world (too general). But here are ten words that describe how I'm feeling today:
*big, big grin*
August 19, 2004
Look Good ... Feel Better
I finally got a response from someone at the American Cancer Society's Look Good ... Feel Better program about my request to volunteer. I've been invited to the next training session on August 31, which is a weekday. I'll have to take time off from work, but hell, it will be worth it.
I attended this program when I started chemo and it was really, really helpful in dealing with appearance-related side effects. I'm really excited about getting the opportunity to "give back."
August 10, 2004
A long December, and there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
The last 24 hours has been illuminating. I have learned so much about myself; much of it incredibly depressing. I never knew how efficient I could be at ruining the things that mean the most to me. But I guess my subconsciously self-destructive campaign has run its course. I think I've torn everything down, now. I'm Godzilla, and my life is Tokyo. So it doesn't even matter what happens today.
If you think that I can be forgiven ... I wish you would
I wonder if this is my lowest point?
Now it's just a matter of sifting through the rubble and figuring out what is left there to salvage, and how to put the pieces back together. Except that I'm so numb that I can't ask for what I need. I don't want to impose. Some people have already given enough, anyway.
The smell of hospitals in winter
And the feeling that it's all a lot of oysters, but no pearls
I'm finally going to ask it - Why me? Why are all the things I've already lost not enough?
I can't remember all the times I tried to tell myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass
Everything ends. And if it doesn't end, it changes. I guess that's both the beauty and the misery of being alive.
August 04, 2004
I was cleaning off my hard drive at work and getting rid of some documents when I ran across the liner notes I wrote up for the Soundtrack of Myself mix CD I created for a Looking Good CD swap earlier this year. This entry, for on song on disc two, stands out for me:
3. Shawn Colvin, "If I Were Brave" - When I got sick I lived in Greensboro, NC, but I moved back home to Florida for treatment. Beau's mom had died of lung cancer a few months before I was diagnosed. He was in grad school when I got sick, and we just decided it would be better for me to live with my mom during treatment, and he'd fly down every two weeks for visits.
Long story short - he didn't deal very well with my having cancer. Various lines in the song reminded me so much of what I was going through (the song came out after we broke up):
All the happy couples on their way to New Orleans
Reminding me of when we got along
They're only renting time and space to fill up with their dreams
And dreams are what they'll have when they have gone
How could it be that I was born without a clue to carry on
And still it is the same now I am older
Armed with just a will and then this love for singing songs
And minding less and less if I am colder
But I have this funny ache and it's burning in my chest
And it spreads just like a fire inside my body
Is it something God left out in my spirit or my flesh
Would I be saved if I were brave and had a baby
It was never clear what would come next
But that's the risk and that's the test
And you were the only one so far to follow
And no one talks about when one might stop and need to rest
Or how long you sit alone before you stop looking back
It's like you're waiting for Godot
And then you pick your sorry ass up off the street and
And what the hell is this? Who made this bloody mess?
And someone always answers like a martyr
Is it something you should know, did you never do your best
Would you be saved if you were brave and just tried harder?
So now I ride the ought one thirty five to New Orleans
I float a mile above life's toil and trouble
A thousand lonely lifetimes I still wait and then go on
A clown to entertain the happy couples
I can't even say we argued, really. He just sort of withdrew from me. I could sense that, and even though I was sick I was trying to also focus on keeping our relationship together. The "waiting for Godot" lines really reminded me of how I kind of tried to wait out this bump in our relationship until finally I just had to give up on it ("pick your sorry ass up off the street and go") because it wasn't going to get better.
And the last two lines I highlighted really resonated for me, because after I had broken up with him I could so clearly, embarrassingly, see how little I had cared for my own well-being - I had focused on fixing our relationship instead of fixing myself. And it was only when I was out from under the relationship that I could see how foolish that was. All I could do at that point was just hope that I hadn't compromised my health (and the ability to get into and stay in remission) by not giving everything I had to fighting the cancer, and instead causing myself so much stress over a relationship that had been doomed since the moment I found out I was sick.
Incidentally, I have no hard feelings about Beau. He did the best he could. It just wasn't what I needed from him.
July 27, 2004
We try and we try and we try, and yet we still fail. Is there some reward in the trying? Or some satisfaction?
We all falter ... does it matter?
Sometimes I'm acutely aware of what a tenuous grasp I have on this thing I call my life. Because the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Our response, at least at first, is to hold on tightly. But maybe there's some value in opening our clenched fists and letting the forces of nature take us where they want us to go.
I feel just like I'm sinking
And I claw for solid ground
I'm pulled down by the undertow
I never thought I could feel so low
And oh, darkness, I feel like letting go
How much choice do we really have in what becomes of us?
July 01, 2004
If you twist and turn away
If you tear yourself in two again
If I could, yes I would
If I could, I would
Let it go
If I could throw this
Lifeless lifeline to the wind
Leave this heart of clay
See you walk, walk away
Into the night
And through the rain
Into the half-light
And through the flame
If I could through myself
Set your spirit free
I'd lead your heart away
See you break, break away
Into the light
And to the day
To let it go
And so to fade away
To let it go
And so fade away
I'm wide awake...
I'm wide awake...
I'm not sleeping
June 26, 2004
A Girl and Her Camera
I was just screwing around with my Canon A20 this afternoon and taking a few shots in order to run down the batteries completely. I never knew the lighting in my bathroom was so warm. Or that my bathroom mirror needed to be cleaned so badly (ewwwwww).
I'm not wearing any pants! *shocked face*
June 01, 2004
That Book Meme
I stole this list from Teem's website, because I'm a stealer like that. Be forewarned, the list inside is long (but interesting).
That Book Meme
*bold those you've read
*underline those you own but haven't gotten to yet
*add three of your own
*post to your journal
1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. 1984, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Susskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie
101. Three Men In A Boat, Jerome K. Jerome
102. Small Gods, Terry Pratchett
103. The Beach, Alex Garland
104. Dracula, Bram Stoker
105. Point Blanc, Anthony Horowitz
106. The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens
107. Stormbreaker, Anthony Horowitz
108. The Wasp Factory, Iain Banks
109. The Day Of The Jackal, Frederick Forsyth
110. The Illustrated Mum, Jacqueline Wilson
111. Jude The Obscure, Thomas Hardy
112. The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged 13 1/2, Sue Townsend
113. The Cruel Sea, Nicholas Monsarrat
114. Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
115. The Mayor Of Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy
116. The Dare Game, Jacqueline Wilson
117. Bad Girls, Jacqueline Wilson
118. The Picture Of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
119. Shogun, James Clavell
120. The Day Of The Triffids, John Wyndham
121. Lola Rose, Jacqueline Wilson
122. Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray
123. The Forsyte Saga, John Galsworthy
124. House Of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski
125. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
126. Reaper Man, Terry Pratchett
127. Angus, Thongs And Full-Frontal Snogging, Louise Rennison
128. The Hound Of The Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle
129. Possession, A. S. Byatt
130. The Master And Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
131. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
132. Danny The Champion Of The World, Roald Dahl
133. East Of Eden, John Steinbeck
134. George's Marvellous Medicine, Roald Dahl
135. Wyrd Sisters, Terry Pratchett
136. The Color Purple, Alice Walker
137. Hogfather, Terry Pratchett
138. The Thirty-Nine Steps, John Buchan
139. Girls In Tears, Jacqueline Wilson
140. Sleepovers, Jacqueline Wilson
141. All Quiet On The Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque
142. Behind The Scenes At The Museum, Kate Atkinson
143. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby
144. It, Stephen King
145. James And The Giant Peach, Roald Dahl
146. The Green Mile, Stephen King
147. Papillon, Henri Charriere
148. Men At Arms, Terry Pratchett
149. Master And Commander, Patrick O'Brian
150. Skeleton Key, Anthony Horowitz
151. Soul Music, Terry Pratchett
152. Thief Of Time, Terry Pratchett
153. The Fifth Elephant, Terry Pratchett
154. Atonement, Ian McEwan
155. Secrets, Jacqueline Wilson
156. The Silver Sword, Ian Serraillier
157. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey
158. Heart Of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
159. Kim, Rudyard Kipling
160. Cross Stitch, Diana Gabaldon
161. Moby Dick, Herman Melville
162. River God, Wilbur Smith
163. Sunset Song, Lewis Grassic Gibbon
164. The Shipping News, Annie Proulx
165. The World According To Garp, John Irving
166. Lorna Doone, R. D. Blackmore
167. Girls Out Late, Jacqueline Wilson
168. The Far Pavilions, M. M. Kaye
169. The Witches, Roald Dahl
170. Charlotte's Web, E. B. White
171. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
172. They Used To Play On Grass, Terry Venables and Gordon Williams
173. The Old Man And The Sea, Ernest Hemingway
174. The Name Of The Rose, Umberto Eco
175. Sophie's World, Jostein Gaarder
176. Dustbin Baby, Jacqueline Wilson
177. Fantastic Mr. Fox, Roald Dahl
178. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
179. Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, Richard Bach
180. The Little Prince, Antoine De Saint-Exupery
181. The Suitcase Kid, Jacqueline Wilson
182. Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
183. The Power Of One, Bryce Courtenay
184. Silas Marner, George Eliot
185. American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis
186. The Diary Of A Nobody, George and Weedon Gross-mith
187. Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh
188. Goosebumps, R. L. Stine
189. Heidi, Johanna Spyri
190. Sons And Lovers, D. H. Lawrence
191. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
192. Man And Boy, Tony Parsons
193. The Truth, Terry Pratchett
194. The War Of The Worlds, H. G. Wells
195. The Horse Whisperer, Nicholas Evans
196. A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry
197. Witches Abroad, Terry Pratchett
198. The Once And Future King, T. H. White
199. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle
200. Flowers In The Attic, Virginia Andrews
201. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
202. The Eye of the World, Robert Jordan
203. The Great Hunt, Robert Jordan
204. The Dragon Reborn, Robert Jordan
205. Fires of Heaven, Robert Jordan
206. Lord of Chaos, Robert Jordan
207. Winter's Heart, Robert Jordan
208. A Crown of Swords, Robert Jordan
209. Crossroads of Twilight, Robert Jordan
210. A Path of Daggers, Robert Jordan
211. As Nature Made Him, John Colapinto
212. Microserfs, Douglas Coupland
213. The Married Man, Edmund White
214. Winter's Tale, Mark Helprin
215. The History of Sexuality, Michel Foucault
216. Cry to Heaven, Anne Rice
217. Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe, John Boswell
218. Equus, Peter Shaffer
219. The Man Who Ate Everything, Jeffrey Steingarten
220. Letters To A Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke
221. Ella Minnow Pea, Mark Dunn
222. The Vampire Lestat, Anne Rice
223. Anthem, Ayn Rand
224. The Bridge To Terabithia, Katherine Paterson
225. Tartuffe, Moliere
226. The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka
227. The Crucible, Arthur Miller
228. The Trial, Franz Kafka
229. Oedipus Rex, Sophocles
230. Oedipus at Colonus, Sophocles
231. Death Be Not Proud, John Gunther
232. A Doll's House, Henrik Ibsen
233. Hedda Gabler, Henrik Ibsen
234. Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton
235. A Raisin In The Sun, Lorraine Hansberry
236. ALIVE!, Piers Paul Read
237. Grapefruit, Yoko Ono
238. Trickster Makes This World, Lewis Hyde
240. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
241. Chronicles of Thomas Convenant, Unbeliever, Stephen Donaldson
242. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
242. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon
243. Summerland, Michael Chabon
244. A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole
245. Candide, Voltaire
246. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More, Roald Dahl
247. Ringworld, Larry Niven
248. The King Must Die, Mary Renault
249. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein
250. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L'Engle
251. The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde
252. The House Of The Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne
253. The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
254. The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan
255. The Great Gilly Hopkins, Katherine Paterson
256. Chocolate Fever, Robert Kimmel Smith
257. Xanth: The Quest for Magic, Piers Anthony
258. The Lost Princess of Oz, L. Frank Baum
259. Wonder Boys, Michael Chabon
260. Lost In A Good Book, Jasper Fforde
261. Well Of Lost Plots, Jasper Fforde
261. Life Of Pi, Yann Martel
263. The Bean Trees, Barbara Kingsolver
264. A Yellow Rraft In Blue Water, Michael Dorris
265. Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder
267. Where The Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls
268. Griffin & Sabine, Nick Bantock
269. Witch of Black Bird Pond, Joyce Friedland
270. Mrs. Frisby And The Rats Of NIMH, Robert C. O'Brien
271. Tuck Everlasting, Natalie Babbitt
272. The Cay, Theodore Taylor
273. From The Mixed-Up Files Of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, E.L. Konigsburg
274. The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Jester
275. The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin
276. The Kitchen God's Wife, Amy Tan
277. The Bone Setter's Daughter, Amy Tan
278. Relic, Duglas Preston & Lincolon Child
279. Wicked, Gregory Maguire
280. American Gods, Neil Gaiman
281. Misty of Chincoteague, Marguerite Henry
282. The Girl Next Door, Jack Ketchum
283. Haunted, Judith St. George
284. Singularity, William Sleator
285. A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson
286. Different Seasons, Stephen King
287. Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk
288. About a Boy, Nick Hornby
289. The Bookman's Wake, John Dunning
290. The Church of Dead Girls, Stephen Dobyns
291. Illusions, Richard Bach
292. Magic's Pawn, Mercedes Lackey
293. Magic's Promise, Mercedes Lackey
294. Magic's Price, Mercedes Lackey
295. The Dancing Wu Li Masters, Gary Zukav
296. Spirits of Flux and Anchor, Jack L. Chalker
297. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
298. The Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices, Brenda Love
299. Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace
300. The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison
301. The Cider House Rules, John Irving
302. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
303. Girlfriend in a Coma, Douglas Coupland
304. The Lion's Game, Nelson Demille
305. The Sun, The Moon, and the Stars, Stephen Brust
306. Cyteen, C. J. Cherryh
307. Foucault's Pendulum, Umberto Eco
308. Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson
309. Invisible Monsters, Chuck Palahniuk
310. Camber of Culdi, Kathryn Kurtz
311. The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand
312. War and Rememberance, Herman Wouk
313. The Art of War, Sun Tzu
314. The Giver, Lois Lowry
315. The Telling, Ursula Le Guin
316. Xenogenesis (or Lilith's Brood), Octavia Butler (Dawn, Adulthood Rites,
317. A Civil Campaign, Lois McMaster Bujold
318. The Curse of Chalion, Lois McMaster Bujold
319. The Aeneid, Publius Vergilius Maro (Vergil)
320. Hanta Yo, Ruth Beebe Hill
321. The Princess Bride, S. Morganstern (or William Goldman)
322. Beowulf, Anonymous
323. The Sparrow, Maria Doria Russell
324. Deerskin, Robin McKinley
325. Dragonsong, Anne McCaffrey
326. Passage, Connie Willis
327. Otherland, Tad Williams
328. Tigana, Guy Gavriel Kay
329. Number the Stars, Lois Lowry
330. Beloved, Toni Morrison
331. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, Christopher Moore
332. The mysterious disappearance of Leon, I mean Noel, Ellen Raskin
333. Summer Sisters, Judy Blume
334. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Victor Hugo
335. The Island on Bird Street, Uri Orlev
336. Midnight in the Dollhouse, Marjorie Filley Stover
337. The Miracle Worker, William Gibson
338. The Genesis Code, John Case
339. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevensen
340. Paradise Lost, John Milton
341. Phantom, Susan Kay
342. The Mummy or Ramses the Damned, Anne Rice
343. Anno Dracula, Kim Newman
344: The Dresden Files: Grave Peril, Jim Butcher
345: Tokyo Suckerpunch, Issac Adamson
346: The Winter of Magic's Return, Pamela Service
347: The Oddkins, Dean R. Koontz
348. My Name is Asher Lev, Chaim Potok
349. The Last Goodbye, Raymond Chandler
350. At Swim, Two Boys, Jaime O'Neill
351. Othello, by William Shakespeare
352. The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas
353. The Collected Poems of William Butler Yeats
354. Sati, Christopher Pike
355. The Inferno, Dante
356. The Apology, Plato
357. The Small Rain, Madeline L'Engle
358. The Man Who Tasted Shapes, Richard E Cytowick
359. 5 Novels, Daniel Pinkwater
360. The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Juliet Marillier
361. Girl with a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier
362. To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
363. Our Town, Thorton Wilder
364. Green Grass Running Water, Thomas King
335. The Interpreter, Suzanne Glass
336. The Moor's Last Sigh, Salman Rushdie
337. The Mother Tongue, Bill Bryson
338. A Passage to India, E.M. Forster
339. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
340. The Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux
341. Pages for You, Sylvia Brownrigg
342. The Changeover, Margaret Mahy
343. Howl's Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones
344. Angels and Demons, Dan Brown
345. Johnny Got His Gun, Dalton Trumbo
346. Shosha, Isaac Bashevis Singer
347. Travels With Charley, John Steinbeck
348. The Diving-bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
349. The Lunatic at Large by J. Storer Clouston
350. Time for bed by David Baddiel
351. Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold
352. Quite Ugly One Morning by Christopher Brookmyre
353. The Bloody Sun by Marion Zimmer Bradley
354. Sewer, Gas, and Eletric by Matt Ruff
355. Jhereg by Steven Brust
356. So You Want To Be A Wizard by Diane Duane
357. Perdido Street Station, China Mieville
358. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Bronte
359. Road-side Dog, Czeslaw Milosz
360. The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje
361. Neuromancer, William Gibson
362. The Epistemology of the Closet, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick
363. A Canticle for Liebowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr
364. The Mask of Apollo, Mary Renault
365. The Gunslinger, Stephen King
366. Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare
367. Absalom, Absalom, William Faulkner
368. The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
369. Dreamhouse, Alison Habens
370. Hyperion, by Dan Simmons
371. Prospero's Children, Jan Siegel
372. Gaudy Night, Dorothy Sayers
373. Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond
374. Enchantment, Orson Scott Card
375. Cetaganda, Lois McMaster Bujold
376. Beauty, Sheri S. Tepper
377. The Hour of the Star, Clarice Lispector
378. The Patron Saint of Liars, Ann Patchett
379. Sexing the Cherry, Jeanette Winterson.
380. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula Le'Guin
381. Assassin's Apprentice, Robin Hobb
382. The Axis Trilogy, Sara Douglass
383. Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie
384. Sabriel, Garth Nix
385. Maurice, E.M. Forster
386. Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer
387. The Wild Swans, by Peg Kerr
388. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
389. Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides
390. Welcome to the Monkey House, by Kurt Vonnegut
391. The Stranger, by Albert Camus
392. Angry Candy, by Harlan Ellison
393. Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson
394. Motherless Brooklyn - Jonathan Lethem
395. The Brains of Rats - Michael Blumlein
396. Agent of Change – Steve Miller and Sharon Lee
397. The Diary of Anais Nin, Volume One
398. The Swiss Family Robinson – Johann Wyss
399. Island of the Blue Dolphins, Scott O’Dell
400. North and South, John Jakes
401. Watchers, Dean Koontz
402. Death du Jour, Kathy Reichs
403. A Is for Alibi, Sue Grafton
404. Postmortem, Patricia Cornwell
May 11, 2004
I am famous!
Otis is a little bit under the weather these days. I think he has a bacterial infection of some sort - he has a little "fish pimple" pushing up underneath a scale under his dorsal fin. I gave him the first of three treatments with a fish antibiotic, Kanacyn, yesterday, and this morning the pimple looks like it's receded a little bit.
He's just old, yo. He was full grown when I bought him (at least 6 months old) and I've had him more than 2 years. Apparently the average life span for a betta is 1.5 years, so he's well exceeded the norm. This infection is likely because with age his immune system is weakening, and he's succumbing to bacteria that are naturally present in every aquarium (no matter how good the water quality is).
So yeah, hopefully the Kanacyn will take care of the pimple. I just hope that it doesn't completely wreck my biological filter (i.e. the "cycle"). And I hope Otis starts eating like his usual little piggy self again, too.
March 24, 2004
Brave Little Toaster
Quick update – I never heard back from the Greg guy. I think, ultimately, that it was meant to be a one-off experience. A really good experience, definitely, and one that I will remember for a long time ... but an isolated experience nonetheless (at least with this particular person).
True, it would have been easier to realize that had he not given me his number and then, when I called, asked me to call him later and then when I did, never called me back ever. But hey, we all give mixed signals once in a while. Still, it's a shame – I think he would have enjoyed knowing me.
ANYWAY, that whole experience (not the not-calling, but the experience of meeting him in general) and yesterday's entry about truth-telling online has started me thinking about how people interact with each other, and how often (or not) we let ourselves just feel what we're feeling, rather than trying to make our emotions and behavior conform to what we've been told is socially acceptable.
For example, Rappy posited that perhaps he didn't call because, having somehow found this website, he read my journal entries and decided I was a little too happy about meeting him. And who knows, maybe that's exactly what happened! If I go back and read the entries I can, in a way, see how the person who was the subject of those entries might – absent any other context – be a little freaked. Especially if they didn't know that I make my living as a writer, and enjoy using hyperbole to effect a certain tone in my writing.
(Although, really, I don't see how any rational person could ever take most of the things I wrote in those entries literally.)
Maybe it would have been better to say, "I met a mildly okay guy this weekend, he seems like a decent person. Yet I am ambivalent about whether or not I ever speak to him again." Hold those cards close to your chests, kids, and don't ever let them know that you care.
I mean, the movie Swingers proffers that you don't call anyone for six days, or else you look too desperate and cleaving. I can't even begin to comprehend all the game-playing bullshit that is in those godawful Rules books.
So here is what I've been thinking about – Is it better to hold your true thoughts and feelings inside and approach a situation (or its aftermath) with a purposely measured level of reticence? Is it safer to maintain a taciturn detachment from the event?
Is it more acceptable to affect the demeanor of a dead-eyed, soulless robot (like April from America's Next Top Model) rather than a smitten, giddy schoolgirl (like, well, me)?
It's just all so irrational to me. All of these arbitrary edicts, these human interaction maxims for our times, seem designed for just one purpose – to mask how we really feel about a person. To obscure and subjugate our emotions.
Why is that a good thing? Why is that a thing to be commended and encouraged? I think there is something pure and beautiful in the acknowledgement that your world, and the people who float within it, can produce bursts of feeling that are joyous, devastating, and everything in between.
Or is the denial of self – and I think that, at the most basic level, that's exactly what we're talking about here – simply a mechanism for emotional self-preservation? If I pretend not to care ... if I act like something isn't important to me and made no impression upon me ... then I won't be upset or disappointed if nothing comes of it? Tra la la *skips through the daisies*
That's just not me, I guess. I think it's incredibly important that we do recognize the impact a person or experience can have upon our lives. I'm fortunate to be at a place mentally where I can welcome the occasional disappointments, if the tradeoff is occasional periods of unfettered happiness.
I nearly died when I was 26, and if I learned nothing else from having had cancer it was that we're not guaranteed any time, or any thing, beyond right now and our memories. If that's all I have, then I want to live my life without regret. And if doing so means I make a bit of a fool of myself sometimes, so be it. If it means that I have to accept the crushing lows with the giddy highs, that's okay. I've been through the alternative, where you leave things unsaid and undone – his name is Derek Going – and I don't want another experience like that in my life.
When I told Roo that I had sucked it up and called Greg, even though I was unsure about doing so, she said I was brave. "You're my brave little toaster," she said. That made me smile. Because I'd rather live my life being brave, and facing the consequences, than go through life being afraid or embarrassed of who I am and how I feel.
I just think it is vital that, having been affected by a person, even in a small way, you let them know. That you acknowledge the positive difference, however brief, that they made. I feel obligated at this point in my life to do exactly that when given the chance. Because it's the little things, the fleeting moments, that make up the mosaic of our lives.
In my mind, that's what this whole experience has been about – being brave, and letting someone know that they meant something to me, even if that makes me seem like a dork.
It makes me think of this quote from the movie Field of Dreams:
So carpe diem and all that stuff.
Last week I said that if I didn't hear back from Greg by today, I'd give him a second call. Then I woke up this morning and realized something - I realized that I no longer care. HA! How's that for fickle? That's the great thing about these giddy schoolgirl crushes – if you're not doing anything to sustain them, they die very quickly.
Which lets me move on to my next giddy schoolgirl crush - Associate Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. Or maybe I'll go back to Orlando Bloom. *swoon*
March 21, 2004
Since it's been my birthday week, I haven't been paying much attention to what I've been eating. I've had cupcakes, pizza, cheeseburgers, french fries, deviled eggs, and a Baskin Robbins Peanut Butter and Chocolate shake (SOOOOO good).
And you know what? I feel like hell. It's very ironic to me that I'm going to be happy to get back to the way I've been eating for six months (healthy), rather than eating the way I used to eat all the time (junk).
Tonight I'm going down to my mom's for my birthday dinner, and once I get past that I can get back on track. But we're having many of my favorites tonight - my grandmother's fried chicken strips, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry log, steamed broccoli and salad. And for dessert, my childhood birthday favorite - angel food cake with buttercream frosting.
*wiggles in anticipation*
I didn't bother weighing in on Friday due to the mass amounts of crap I've been eating, but on a whim I did it this morning. And - heh - I've somehow managed to lose 2.5 pounds in the last 10 days. I guess there's some truth to the idea that if you eat more, your body burns more of it off. And when you limit your intake of food, your body goes into a pseudo-starvation mode and holds on to every calorie.
Whatever! I think I'll go to McDonald's now and get a McGriddle.
I bought these denim capris at Old Navy on Friday and have totally fallen in love with them. I don't usually like capris because I have really muscular calves and capri-length pants just accentuate that, but these are adorably cute. I think because they're tighter than regular cargo-style capris. I did have to go up a size since they are "ultra low rise" and as such they're way too big in the waist to wear without a belt, but they're so stinkin' cute that I just don't really care.
March 18, 2004
I didn't realize until just now that it was eight years ago today that I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease.
March 17, 2004
My CD Collection (5)
CDs for March 17, 2004 – Toad the Wet Sprocket, Soul Asylum, Radiohead, Toad again, Idlewild
Toad the Wet Sprocket, In Light Syrup – This is a compilation CD of B-sides and rarities. A lot of the time releases like this are throwaways, but this CD has some excellent songs included. The first four tracks – "Brother" (which I would play at my wedding reception, should I ever deign to get married), "Little Heaven" (from the soundtrack to the movie version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) "Good Intentions" (from the Friends soundtrack), and "Hobbit On the Rocks" – are all great, but my favorite is "All In All":
Life lies burning
I am only just as much as I
Can make myself
And I lie burning
Life is only just a part of it
Can't help myself...
The interweaving vocals by Glen (lead singer) and Todd (guitarist) on this song are just fantastic. You know, every time I listen to Toad, I'm reminded of how good they were and how much I love their music.
Soul Asylum, Hang Time – I bought this Soul Asylum CD after I had purchased Grave Dancers Union and was going back through the band's earlier releases. It's a harder, rougher sound than GDU, but not bad. I don't think it's nearly as strong from beginning to end as GDU, but tracks such as "Sometime To Return" (Hours and hours of turning and tossing and looking and listening to you and all the fucked up things you do), "Cartoon," and "Ode" are very strong. Actually, I've got "Sometime To Return" on right now, and it's truly excellent.
This CD is also noteworthly because I loved the song "Marionette" so much that I co-opted it for use as my early online name, with a slight change (to "Marianette" as the correct spelling was already taken on AOL). And again I must state, as I do every time I listen to a Soul Asylum CD, that I HATE WINONA RYDER for leading Dave Pirner down the Path of Suck.
Radiohead, OK Computer – I miss how Radiohead used to actually play, you know, SONGS. This CD and The Bends are both favorites. I think this release, although still comprised of songs, marked the beginning of the band's more "experimental" phase. *stabs Kid A*
I used to think Thom Yorke was attractive, too. Not sure why, because he's got that one eye that's all jacked up, but there's just something interesting and magnetic about his face. I almost wrote "visage" there, but jesus, how pretentious would that be? So anyway, I pretty much always skip the first track, "Airbag," because it bores me. Plus I like to get right into the brilliance of "Paranoid Android." What are "unborn chicken noises," anyway?
I used to use "When I am king, you will be first against the wall" as my newsgroup sig when I was posting on alt.music.tragically-hip a lifetime ago.
I could listen to this song over and over, and you should too! I love the lyrics.
I also love "Let Down":
One day I am gonna grow wings
A chemical reaction
Hysterical and useless
Hysterical and ...
Let down and hanging around
Crushed like a bug in the ground
And from "Let Down" we go right into "Karma Police." I know this song was played to death, but it's still one of my favorites. Also another song where I cribbed lyrics for my newsgroup sig ("This is what you get when you mess with us").
I also greatly enjoy "Electioneering" and "No Surprises."
Toad the Wet Sprocket, Fear – This was a Roo choice:
HWG: okay, pick a number between 1-25
HWG: then a number between 1-4
Roo: ok. 16
Roo: number 3
HWG: how do you always pick Toad?
Roo: because 17 is my favorite number
Roo: and last time I picked that and it was Toad
Roo: so this time I picked 16
This is right behind Coil as my favorite Toad release. It was the second Toad CD I bought, the first being Pale, but the singles for this CD were the first I had ever heard on mainstream radio. In fact I distinctly remember being in Tower Records in Atlanta and hearing "All I Want" (my favorite song on the CD) come over the loudspeaker, and thinking, "That's it. Now everyone will know."
"All I Want" was also the first Toad video I ever saw. I was shocked that Glen had cut off his beautiful long hair.
Fear is solid all the way through, but I will admit to occasionally skipping "Butterflies," "Pray Your Gods," and "Stories I Tell." And I LOVE the song "In My Ear" just because the bridge always makes me chair dance.
Idlewild, 100 Broken Windows – I don't even remember how I got into Idlewild. Hmm. HMM. Maybe I just read about them in a magazine or something? I don't know. But I like! Oh yeah, I think I had read about them in a magazine and then when I was at Circuit City picking up something else I saw that this CD was only $9 or so, and took the plunge. So glad I did.
I have a schoolgirl crush on the lead singer, Roddy Woomble. Yes, "Woomble." Stop laughing! He's Scottish, it's normal there. I like Roddy because he's unwashed and likes to lay on the floor.
But I digress. It's all about the music, man. The band's guitarist and drummer are quite talented. I'd tell you their names except I've always been so fixated on Roddy Woooooooooooomble that I've never bothered to learn who anyone else in the band is! I'm sure they love that.
My favorite tracks are (the links are to audio RAM files):
- "Little Discourage" (I ran away from my own telephone)
- "I Don't Have a Map" (a song for the directionally-challenged, I guess)
- "Roseability" (You've always been DISSATISFIED)
- "Idea Track" (Pretend it works awhile ... you don't try)
- "Let Me Sleep (Next To the Mirror)" (For every word that you write, they won't mean as much as barricades)
- "Actually It's Darkness" (Why can't you be more cynical?)
- "Mistake Pageant" (I know what it feels like to have bad luck)
- "Quiet Crown" (I'm meant to be unhappy, I've realized)
February 28, 2004
Me and Overg's cat Thumper - separated at birth?:
February 24, 2004
All Hail Me!
You like rain on the plain, as well as interesting architecture and
a diverse number of races and religions. You like to explore a lot, but sailing, especially in large groups, never really seems to work out for you. Beware of pirates and dictators bearing bombs. And for heavens' sake, stop running around bulls! It's just not safe!
February 14, 2004
Yeah, whatever. I did nothing today, as it has been rainy all afternoon.
Guess what? I collect magnets. Here's my collection.
January 30, 2004
My CD Collection (4)
CDs for Friday, January 30, 2004 – Carole King, the Connells, Travis, Love and Rockets, Freedy Johnston
Alrighty, let's get back on track with this CD listening party I started a few weeks ago.
Carole King, Tapestry – I feel the earth. Move. Undermyfeet. I don't remember what prompted me to buy this CD, because it's not as if I'm a huge Carole King fan, and I'm sure I've never listened to it all the way through. So this will be enlightening. "So Far Away" is a beautiful song. I think I like her songs because the emotions she conveys in her lyrics are so universal and easy to relate to.
Ah, yes, it's too late, baby, now it's too late. Though we really did try to make it. I absolutely love the final sentiment of "It's Too Late" - There'll be good times again for me and you, but we just can't stay together, don't you feel it too? Still, I'm glad for what we had, and how I once loved you.
That sums up how I feel about Ryan.
Oh! I like this song ("Home Again") a lot too:
Sometimes I wonder if I'm ever gonna make it home again
It's so far and out of sight
I really need someone to talk to
And nobody else
Knows how to comfort me tonight
Snow is cold, rain is wet
Chills my soul right to the marrow
I won't be happy 'til I see you alone again
Until I'm home again and feelin' right
The Connells, Ring – The Connells are one of my favorite bands. I got turned on to them when I was in college and have seen them perform almost 30 times over the years. They got dropped by their record label a few years ago, though, and I haven't kept up with them since. But one of the highlights of moving to Raleigh (where the band is from) for me was driving around one day and accidentally hitting Boylan Avenue, the namesake of the band's first release, Boylan Heights (named after the community where they grew up).
One thing I love about the band is that on every CD there's at least one song that guitarist George Huntley wrote and sings. I have a wee li'l crush on George (on the left). Okay, maybe not so wee (I bought his solo CD)(he has wonderfully sexy sideburns).
HOLY CATS! George Huntley is now a realtor in Raleigh! Dammit, if I still lived there I would totally buy something from the guy, just to get to meet him again. I met him in a record store in Durham right before I moved back to FL to get treatment for Hodgkin's, and he was, seriously, one of the nicest people I have ever met.
I really love the first three songs on this CD ("Slackjawed," "Carry My Picture," and "'74-'75"). The Connells are one of those bands that really never "surprised" me on any of their releases, but it's something I like about them. They're solid, if a little predictable. Doug MacMillan has a great voice, and their songs are always very tuneful and catchy and pleasant and perfect for singing along to. Listening to the Connells always puts me in a good mood.
"Hey You" and "New Boy" are also excellent.
Travis, 12 Memories – I didn't like this CD all that much the first few times I listened to it. One day I put it in the CD player at my work computer and then got so busy with work that I ended up listening to it for 10 straight hours. After that, I really liked it. The best tracks are "The Beautiful Occupation," "Re-Offender," "Peace the Fuck Out," (handbags at dawn) and "Mid-Life Krysis." Looking at this page in my CD case reminds me that I've misplaced the band's The Man Who and it will really upset me if I don't eventually find it.
Love and Rockets, Seventh Dream of a Teenage Heaven – This is one of the first CDs I ever bought, and I remember being peeved at the fact that they used the "Canada version" of "If There's a Heaven Above" - which has a drum track through the background - rather than the original version, which is more ethereal and dirge-like. Not to mention SO MUCH BETTER. Anyway, that aside, I was severely into Love and Rockets when I was in high school. I saw them in concert twice (once at the Tampa Theater for the Express tour, with the Bolshoi opening, and once at Jannus Landing for the Earth, Sun, Moon tour, with Gene Loves Jezebel opening). Both times I was hypnotized by guitarist/singer Daniel Ash's "package." Ahem.
The goth-girl teenage me had a HUGE HUGE HUUUUUUUGE lust for Daniel Ash, but let me tell you, the man has not aged well. Yeesh. I'm not going in search of any photographic proof, you'll just have to trust me. He and Adam Ant (nee Stuart Goddard) could be the poster children for Just Say No.
Anyway, LNR is basically Bauhaus minus Peter Murphy, with Daniel Ash and David J sharing vocals (sometimes within a single song). This was their first release, and there are several solid tracks - the aforementioned "Heaven Above," "The Dog-End of a Day Gone By," and "Haunted When the Minutes Drag" stand out. The band's cover of "Ball of Confusion," a highly popular song in dance clubs, is included on this CD but it is not on the album.
Freedy Johnston, Blue Days Black Nights – Well, I love Freedy Johnston's This Perfect World, and although I've had this CD - two releases past TPW - I can't say I remember ever having listened to it. Ha! I'm sure I listened to it once or twice, but obviously, it never connected with me. We'll see if it does today.
Ugh. This is depressing. His earlier two CDs are so much better.
January 27, 2004
What Do You Want to Be...
... when you grow up? I know what I want to be - a Patient Navigator.
For a very long time I've wanted to go into cancer patient education. I'd be the person who helps you find information about your disease, how it's treated, what options you have, how to deal with the health care system, etc. But the more I researched that kind of job, the more I realized that most of the people working in patient education are either registered nurses or have an MSW (Master in Social Work) degree. Neither of which I have any interest in being, or getting.
So then I was thinking about being a patient advocate - someone who would assist cancer patients in understanding what is happening to them and being a second set of ears during their doctor's appointments and therapy sessions. But again, there didn't seem to be a clear path to getting started in that sort of career.
And then I read an article in Self magazine that talked about a cancer hospital in Harlem that was funded in part by Ralph Lauren's charity. The interesting thing about this hospital was that they have this Patient Navigator program, and as soon as I read about it I just knew – THAT is what I need to do with my life.
Now I just need to figure out how to get into that. There is currently legislation pending that would provide federal grant money to communities and hospitals in order to start local Patient Navigator programs. If that goes through, there should be several opportunities for this opening up.
I think my next point of action will be to get in touch with my oncologist and see what he thinks about this kind of program. He's fairly influential at Morton Plant Hospital/Powell Cancer Pavillion, where I was treated, so getting him on board would be an immense help.
But enough about me. If you could do anything with your life, what would you do?
January 22, 2004
Here is my first winning game of Minesweeper:
Yes, it is true - up until yesterday, I had never played this game. And with Overg's instruction, I am now playing on the Intermediate level. I am some kind of prodigy!
January 20, 2004
Mo' Money, Mo' Product
So Teem and I are doing this thing where we list all of our lipsticks/lipglosses and then look like deranged and obsessive beauty product whores. *cough* Not that we really are.
Although, um, I did buy two new glosses on the way home (the lovely Revlon Super Lustrous Lipglosses in Coffee Twist and Cherries in the Glow).
Anyway, here's mine! (and since Teem only counted her Stila double-ended glosses once, my BB Mini Tints are only counting as 1/2.)
Chanel Glossimer in Unity
Chanel Glossimer in Giggle
Laura Mercier Ambre Rose Glace
Lancome Juicy Tube in Sun Bronze
L'Oreal Colourjuice in Exotic Orchid
Stila Lip Polish in Lacquer
MAC Lipglass Stain in Restrained Rust
Bobbi Brown Tea Tint
Bobbi Brown Tea Rose Tint
Bobbi Brown Mini Shimmer Tints in Dusk and Twilight
Revlon Super Lustrous in Raisin Glaze
BB Mini Tints in Cherry and Clear
Bliss Cherry Good
Bobbi Brown Cream Lipgloss in Brown
Lancome Mini Juicy Tube in Cerise
Origins Liquid Lip in Cognac
MAC Lust Lipglass
Bobbi Brown Cream Lipstick in Brown
Maybelline Wet Shine in Cola Slushie
MAC Sophisto Lustre
MAC Hug Me Lustre
MAC Honeyflower Lustre
MAC Touch Lustre
Clinique Pink Bamboo
Bobbi Brown Naked Pink Lipshine
Clinique Almost Lipstick in Honey Red
Bobbi Brown Mini Lipsticks in Toasted Pink and Raisin
January 16, 2004
My CD Collection (3)
CDs for Friday, January 16 – U2, Gordon Lightfoot
U2, The Best of 1980-1990 – What to say about this CD? I love singles collections and greatest hits releases from my favorite bands, and this is no exception. The only songs I'm indifferent to are "When Love Comes To Town" and "Angel of Harlem." Other than those, this CD is flawless. I love the song "Bad."
Gordon Lightfoot, Gord's Gold – I don't care what kind of geek it makes me, I love Gordon Lightfoot! I even saw him perform one year on my birthday, at Ruth Eckerd Hall. And let me tell you, he was FABULOUS. Of course, the gems on this collection are "Sundown," "If You Could Read My Mind," and "Carefree Highway," but I'm also quite fond of "Canadian Railroad Trilogy," "Summer Side of Life," and "Cotton Jenny."
January 14, 2004
So I was minding my own business, having gone to Dictionary.com to look up the correct spelling of, as it turns out, BURGUNDY (no "a"). I got a popup adverstisement for an IQ test, and since I'm a sucker for that kind of thing, I took it. On my 15 minute break, of course. My results:
Your IQ score is 146
This number is based on a scientific formula that compares how many questions you answered correctly on the Classic IQ Test relative to others.
So, uh, according to this explanation of IQ test scores, I am some kind of genius.
An EVIL GENIUS, MUAHAHAHAHA!
January 13, 2004
My CD Collection (2)
CDs for Tuesday, January 13 – Sugar, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Desmond Dekker, Soul Asylum, Fountains of Wayne
Sugar, Copper Blue – This is one of my most favorite CDs ever. Normally I skip the first song, "The Act We Act," but since I've got a no-skipping rule going, I am now listening to it. And you know what? It's really good! I don't know why I've been skipping it all these many years. This entire CD is amazing; it's the kind of CD that I can listen to over and over and not get sick of it at all. Every song is good, but my favorites are ... heh, I listed them and then realized I only left one song ("Fortune Teller") out. Just buy this already.
Toad the Wet Sprocket, Dulcinea – Just so you know, I've got eight Toad CDs in this binder. This selection is courtesy of Teem (16/4). I don't listen to this particular Toad CD all that much, but it's still good. Probably more skipable songs than most Toad CDs, though. It is noteworthy for the inclusion of "Fall Down," which the band played live for many years before recording it for an album. I never knew what it was called, but I LOVED it. So when I first bought this CD and listened to it, when the first notes of "Fall Down" started a practically drove off the road in excitement. I also like the triumverate of "Something's Always Wrong," "Stupid," and "Crowing" (tracks 3-5).
Desmond Dekker, Dekker – I can't remember why I bought this CD. Probably because I read that "Israelites" is a great song, and it is. Desmond Dekker is ... REGGAE MUSIC. Or ska, if you prefer. I also like the song "Licking Stick." Because I'm 12.
Soul Asylum, ...And the Horse They Rode In On – There was a time in my early 20s when I listened to Soul Asylum constantly. Of course, this was before singer Dave Pirner totally sold out by dating renowned starfucker Winona Ryder (breaking up with his longtime girlfriend to do so). Not coincidentally, it was right around then that Soul Asylum started to suck.
But there was a time - a glorious, beautiful time - when Soul Asylum did anything but suck. This release was the second of a three-album arc (bookended by Hang Time and Grave Dancers Union) that found the band in peak form. The music, the lyrics ... everything fits together perfectly. The disc starts a little slow, but the brilliance kicks in on tracks 3-5, "Veil of Tears" (I was recently considering taking the pain with the pleasure), "Nice Guys Don't Get Paid" (No one knows what's going on, but you've got to show up for yourself at the end of the day), and "Something Out of Nothing" (My desperate disposition keeps me itchin', keeps me wishin' for some shelter from within).
Feel free to skip track 6 but listen to track 7, "Brand New Shine," even though it sounds kinda hillbilly, because it has some great lines (One child plays with what another throws away). The next tracks are good, not great, but the disc wraps up with something fan-freaking-tastic - "All the King's Friends":
The papers read that the king is dead
The people said what we need instead
Is to be on our own
But people, they do the strangest things
You never know what they might do
When they are left alone
There's men without gods
And gods without men
And a spirit of which none of them can transcend
But something peculiar is happening
We should just be happy with just what we've got
And the problems should be too few to mention
But they're not
But I'm not going to recommend this one because I think that, if you're only going to have one Soul Asylum CD, it should be Grave Dancers Union.
Fountains of Wayne, Utopia Parkway – This will be good, because I haven't listened to this CD all the way through in forever. FOW isn't for everyone. Their lyrics can be a little goofy and cheesy. But here's the tradeoff that makes it all worthwhile - their songs are catchy as HELL. When I bought their debut, self-titled CD, I made a cassette tape of my favorite songs to play in the car. I had one song on the tape, like, 10 times. Because I liked it that much.
But this is their second CD, and it is apparently a love letter to their home state, New Jersey. Which I couldn't care less about, but hey! The songs are still good, and the standout tracks are "Red Dragon Tattoo," "Denise," "Troubled Times," and "Amity Gardens."
January 12, 2004
My CD Collection (1)
I've put most of my 200+ CDs into a binder, and now I'm determined to listen to them all. So I'm going to bring the binder to work with me several times a week and listen to at least 10 of these CDs from start to finish (no skipping). The selection is random (i.e. I close my eyes, open to a page, and pick a CD). In six months I will have listened to all of them. Go me!
I will provide links to CDs that I can recommend buying.
CDs for Monday, January 12 – Vertical Horizon, Lemonheads, Tragically Hip, Japan, Beatles, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Pixies, Shawn Colvin
Vertical Horizon, Everything You Want – Very good first half that trails off into average and forgettable. The title track was the big single, but other highlights include "We Are," Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning)," and "You Say." In fact I think I've heard "Best I Ever Had" on some random television show.
Lemonheads, It's a Shame About Ray – Well, I hate the first song, but after that this CD is pretty close to perfect. Perfect if you like harmonic alternapop, that is, and fortunately I do. I'm looking at the CD booklet and didn't realize that Juliana Hatfield is credited as a full member of the band on this CD. I thought she was just Evan Dando's groupie. And Evan thanks "surrealist cruel sea beasts" in the liner notes. Damn stoner (and the song "My Drug Buddy" is sucktastic). But anyway, standout songs (and it's hard to narrow down that list) are the title track, "Confetti," "The Turnpike Down," "Alison's Starting to Happen," and "Ceiling Fan In My Spoon."
Oh, quick Evan Dando-related digression - the Lemonheads released another CD after this one (can't remember the name) and it was after Dando had taken some big drug-fueled sabbatical to Australia. So he comes back, records this new CD, and puts out a song called "Into Your Arms" as the single. Now, this happens to be a good song - it's very upbeat and catchy. However, both Evan and some other guy are given writing credit, and I swear to you this is just about the entire song:
I know a place
Where I can go
When I'm alone
Into your arms
Into your arms
I can go
Yep, that's it. And he needed help with it. Evan, honey - just say no!
Tragically Hip, Music @Work – How appropriate, no? I'm 1:10 into the first song, the title track, and my reaction is "I'd forgotten how FANATASTIC the Hip can be." Seriously. I know that Gord Downie's voice just doesn't do it for some people - he's not the most mellifluous singer out there - but I just think it is perfect in combination with the music. And the lyrics ... damn, don't get me started with quoting the best lines. Some of my favorite songs are the title track, "Tiger the Lion," "Lake Fever," and "Putting Down."
This is another CD that I think starts very strongly but then trails off midway through. And since there are better releases in the Hip's catalogue, I'm not going to recommend this one.
Japan, Oil On Canvas – Holy cats, this CD is old. 1983. I very much liked Japan when I was a freshman and sophomore in high school. It helped that the lead singer, David Sylvian, was the kind of effeminate hot man that I totally used to go for (i.e. cute, but nonthreatening). It also helped that Japan used a lot of piano, string intruments, and oboes in their songs.
Heh, I'm listening to this and I feel 14 years old all over again. The CD opens with the title track, which is just a piano instrumental. The second track is called "Sons of Pioneers," and it starts with two minutes of rhythmic drumming and synthesizers. Oh wait, I just remembered - this is a live CD. That's why there are people making noise in the background. I actually have a Japan video collection on VHS tape at home. I should watch it and experience anew the hormonal charge elicited by David Sylvian (and his brother, Steve Jansen) in the band's heyday.
Beatles, CD1 of 1962-1966 – This was an interactive selection. I asked Rappy to pick a number between 1-40, then between 1-4, and she picked 37/3. I think I like the "old school" Beatles better than the "drug fueled" Beatles. The red double album not the blue double album (although that one has its moments). The great thing about early Beatles songs is that if you don't like them, that's okay - they'll be over in two minutes anyway.
Toad the Wet Sprocket, Coil – This is so ironic. I let Roo pick this one (17/3) and she happened to pick a page that is filled with a band we both love, AND my tied-for-favorite CD of theirs. This is just a terrific CD, and every time I listen to it I curse the day that Glen Phillips broke up the band. And you're not better as a solo artist, Glen! *shakes fist*
Some of the best songs on this CD are "Whatever I Fear," "Come Down," "Dam Would Break," "Desire," "Throw It All Away," and "Crazy Life."
Pixies, Bossanova – I haven't listened to this CD all the way through in ... well, ever, maybe. This should be interesting. Overg chose this one (42/1). This CD starts with a surf-rock instrumental track "Cecilia Ann" before seguing into what is the finest screamed-lyrics-that-I-cannot-understand song ever - "Rock Music."
Hahaha, I just looked up the lyrics online:
Your Mouth's A Mile Away (repeat about 8 times)
I'm already gone...
Hey you know me
encatuse --(someone told me it's spanish for "And I know you?")
Your Mouth's A Mile Away
Yeah, I had no idea. ANYWAY, this CD is probably much better known for songs like "Velouria," "Allison," "Is She Weird?" "Dig for Fire," and "Hang Wire" (which rocks my face off).
Shawn Colvin, A Few Small Repairs – This CD has one of the songs I put on my Soundtrack of Myself CD that I did for a recent Looking Good CD swap ("If I Were Brave"). The single from this CD was called "Sunny Came Home" and if I'm not mistaken it was nominated for a Grammy of some sort (as was this CD). "Get Out Of This House" is also very good.
January 03, 2004
Now Leave Me Alone!
Are you happy now? Well ARE YOU???
That's me, scowling and puffy.
(Incidentally, my hair looks fan-freaking-tastic in that photo.)
December 19, 2003
Which Muppet Am I?
Normally I don't really like these quizzes, but this one is dead on!
December 09, 2003
So I was talking to my gay friend John today, and as I walked past him after we finished our conversation he exclaimed:
Your ass looks FABULOUS in those pants!
I do believe that only gay men can get away with comments like that.
So what did I do? I ran right out to the mall and bought another pair of FAPs - Fabulous Ass Pants. This pair is in khaki; the original FAPs are black. I also bought a pair of the FAPs in black in a smaller size, because God knows they won't still be in stock when I lose more weight. And dammit, my ass needs these pants.
If I turned around and looked at my butt, I bet it would be clamoring for the FAPs.
There's also this one black shirt I have that I think makes my ... um ... chest look really good. And I feel especially cute in my Swell pajama pants (both pair!).
Is "pair" or "pairs" correct in that usage?
Everyone should have a few special items of clothing that just make them feel wonderful, unstoppable, unbeatable whenever they wear them. Like Overg and his suits. And you in your ...
Oh! Before I forget - can someone please reprogram me to both enjoy and crave exercise? Because I don't, and I really should.
December 02, 2003
I think I've figured it out. No, not the meaning of life, or how to achieve world peace, or end hunger. Nothing that grand.
I think I've figured out what's wrong with me.
Have you ever felt an ongoing sense of cognitive dissonance? Something is "wrong" but you don't know what it is. You just know that something is off. Something is not quite right.
When it starts its only mildly annoying, like a mosquito bite – scratch it a few times and forget it.
And then the days turn into weeks, which become months, and all of a sudden something happens - maybe it's something seemingly insignificant, like a rough day at work, or a disagreement with a friend. Or maybe it comes to you in one of those momentous revelations people have when they're standing in the shower or taking out the trash.
Mine came last night, when I was brushing my teeth.
Here's what I've figured out:
I was given a second chance and I'm not doing anything with it.
Well, let me rephrase that – I'm not using my second chance in a way that makes me feel like I'm honoring my good fortune in getting that second chance. The fact that I'm not doing something that I, personally, feel has meaning (meaning beyond myself, I mean) ... well at this point, it seems offensive to me. It feels like an affront. Not to God, but to myself.
I should be doing more.
I know I should be doing more.
My life should mean more.
I should be more.
More than what I am. Definitely more than what I feel like I'm (not) becoming.
My challenge is one of inertia. I'm comfortable. I'm not miserable with my life; in fact I'm mostly happy. I've got nothing forcing me to make any changes, and quite honestly, it's easier not to change anything. I mean, I've already had my life changed in a large way through something that was completely out of my control. Why would I willingly make the choice to do that again?
But then I remember – that experience changed me so much for the better. I know it sounds incongruous, but ... most of the time I feel very fortunate to have had cancer when I was 26. Blessed. Lucky, even.
I'm laughing as I read this. I must be insane, right? I was lucky to have had cancer? Certainly, when my lungs stage a rebellion, I rue the day that I ever had to have Hodgkin's disease.
But overall? It's been one of the best things to ever happen to me.
So why am I not using everything I learned from that experience? Why I am not taking the experience and using it to not only make my own life better, but the lives of others? I look at job postings online on the weekends, and every time I run across one that involves helping cancer patients I think about the time when I was volunteering at Duke Cancer Center in the Cancer Patient Support Program. I think about how happy that made me, and how for the first time since I had been sick – maybe for the first time ever – I felt like I was doing what I was meant to do with my life.
I felt like my life had a purpose.
I want to feel like that again.
November 25, 2003
Who's That Girl?
I'm not sure this will work, but: How Well Do You Know Me?
November 19, 2003
Wait Watch Her
Okay John dammit! I'm sick of sticking to this dumb Weight Watchers plan and either not losing anything or gaining a pound.
The last two weeks have been like this. Yes, I'm lifting weights a lot more. But I was lifting weights all along and still had good weekly losses.
But NO MORE! *kicks WW in the head*
I can, however, stick both of my arms down the front of my pants. I guess that's a plus.
Oh, and here is what is in my makeup bag. Everyone comment with the contents of your own makeup bag! Why? Because I like lists.
Origins Gloomaway roller ball perfume pen thingie
MAC Blot powder
L'Oreal Quick Stick foundation
Bonne Bell Pink Lemonade Lip Smacker
Little GWP bottle of Clinique Happy
Stila Lip Polish in Lacquer
Tiny bottle of Purell Hand Sanitizer
Bobbi Brown mini Tea Tint
Bobbi Brown mini clear lipgloss
Lancome GWP eyeshadow quad in brown shades
Matchstick book of teeny emery boards
Clean & Clear Blotting Sheets
Mini vials of eyedrops
October 30, 2003
Here In My Car
Okay, I'm doing this because Overg told me I should keep track of everything that has happened. And since I always do what Overg tells me to do ...
On Saturday, October 25 at approximately 12:45 p.m. I was involved in a minor accident at the intersection of Dale Mabry Highway and Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa, Florida. I had just left the Saturn of Carrollwood dealership after having my oil changed and the recall work done on my car.
As I was heading south on Dale Mabry and approaching the turn off for Hillsborough, I began applying my brakes to slow down before manuevering into incoming, westbound traffic. I slowed down to approximately 15 mph, then noticed resistance in pushing down the brake pedal further. I backed off the pedal a bit, then pressed it hard again. At this point my wheels started spinning a little bit, and then - going about 5-10 mph - I slid into the car in front of me.
I got out of the car and looked down at my brake pedal. I saw that the driver's side floor mat was folded over on itself, so that it was bunched up underneath the brake pedal (which resulted in my not being able to depress the brake pedal all the way). I then went around to the front of my car to assess the damage.
The other driver's husband exited their car and inspected the cars with me. Neither of us could see any damage to either car. I kneeled down to look more closely at each car's bumper. I didn't see anything on mine, but on closer inspection of the other car I noticed a vertical nick on the bumper. I pointed this out to the husband and he told me that the nick was already on the bumper before I slid into their car. He refered to the nick having occured from something his wife had done.
The husband told me that his wife was on the phone with the police, so I stood beside my car. He leaned into the car to speak to her, then came back and told me that the police dispatcher had told his wife that, since there appeared to be no damage, they would not send an officer out to the scene. The dispatcher recommended that the involved parties exchange insurance information.
The husband asked me to drive a short distance and meet them in the parking lot of Pep Boys, about 1/8 mile away. I did so and parked my car across from his car. I got out of my car and walked over to the other car to talk to the driver, Anne Roberts. I asked her if she was injured, and she said no. I asked if her husband or daughter was injured, and she said no. I looked at her bumper again and expressed my shock that there didn't appear to be any damage. She agreed and we both commented on the having late-model cars with flexible bumpers.
We then walked over to my car. She asked me if I was injured and I said "no." She asked if my car was damaged and I said it was not. We walked around to the front of my car to look at the bumper. She didn't see any damage to my car either. We then exchanged insurance and driver's license information while standing at the trunk of my car. We also exchanged home addresses and phone numbers, "just in case" something was damaged on her car that could not be seen.
I mentioned that I appreciated her husband being honest about the nick in her bumper not being from the accident. She said that she did that herself by closing the garage door on her car the day after she got it, on April 1.
She left first, and I pulled out onto Hillsborough Ave. behind her, heading west. I drove behind her for approximately 2 miles to make sure her car was driving okay. Then I continued home.
I did not hear from Mrs. Roberts on Sunday. On Monday night I came home from work to find a message from her on my answering machine (which I have saved). She said that she had called her insurance agent in order to make a report about what happened so it would be on file, and that her agent said that I was supposed to call my agent and do the same. She also mentioned something about how this needed to be done to avoid a fradulent claim of some sort, but I didn't really understand what she meant.
I called her back and asked her specifically if there was any damage to her car, because I was concerned that maybe something had happened to it after I left her on the weekend. She said that there was "no damage that I can see" but that she just wanted something on file in case there was damage "that isn't visible." She gave as an example something being bent underneath the car.
I agreed and asked her again if she and her husband and daughter were physically okay, and she said they were fine. I also asked if her car was driving okay and she said it was. I apologized again for inconveniencing her on Saturday and told her I would call my agent the next day.
I called my insurance agent, Bill Ruggie, on Tuesday morning to report what had happened. The assistant I spoke to said that since there was no damage, there would be no claim.
About an hour later I got a call from Mrs. Roberts' agent's office, asking me if my agent was going to put in the claim against my insurance. I replied that I was under the assumption that, since there was no damage, there was no claim. Then the person told me that no, Mrs. Roberts was claiming that there are scratches on her bumper. I said that there were no scratches on her bumper on Saturday other than the one she and her husband both admitted was already there prior to the accident. The person told me she would call Mrs. Roberts to clarify and then call me back. I never heard from the person again.
On Wednesday night I got a call from a State Farm claims representative who wanted to ask me questions about the accident. I again reiterated that I was surprised there was any claim being made, because there was no damage. The claim rep refered to "scratches" being in the report. He couldn't tell me if a claim had actually been filed. So I gave him all of the details about what happened. He seemed to think the discrepency was strange, too - especially the fact that I talked to Mrs. Roberts on Monday night and she told me then that there was no damage to her car. He has scheduled an inspection of my car for Friday, Oct. 31. He told me he would be calling Mrs. Roberts after he got off the phone with me to schedule an inspection of her car as well.
October 28, 2003
My triceps, they are killing me.
I've been lifting weights again. I am hardcore. HARDCORE, I SAY! And my triceps are paying for it. Wait, triceps are the muscles under your arms, right?
So anyway, my triceps are apparently weak-ass bitches, because they ache like a mofo and my biceps? Laugh at their agony. My biceps are like, "DAMMIT, triceps, that was nothing! Feel the burn! Embrace the pain! Microtears are your friends, and you'll be stronger for them!"
In response, my triceps cower in the corner and whimper.
I was basically doing backwards rows. Wait, I just realized - I have no idea what the hell I'm talking about. I don't know the terminology. I was essentially doing the backstroke while holding 10-pound weights in each hand. What is that called? (My triceps: "Stupidity!") Is that a row? Or is it a fly? At any rate, it was difficult to finish those 20 reps (and I did two sets!) and by the end I could envision the lactic acid coursing through my body. Mmm, acid.
Oh, and I'm also on this kick where I'm doing situps. I know, I know - what the hell? What is that about? I hate abdominal exercises. But I just got this weird idea that it would be cool to be able to do 100 situps.
Right now I can do 20. Go ahead and laugh. I would, except I'm in too much pain from them and my sides might very well explode if I did laugh. So I'll just chuckle.
You, on the other hand, can guffaw.
October 24, 2003
… And Seven Years Ago
What a weird day it's shaping up to be. It was actually cool this morning when I left for work. Well, Florida's version of cool, which is approximately 65 degrees. In almost-November.
So it's cool out, and I'm tired this morning for some inexplicable reason. I woke up, showered, fed the cats (a can of IAMS wet food, which they snottily refused to eat at first - but eventually they got hungry enough and they slinked back into the kitchen to eat when I wasn't looking). All standard morning activities. Couldn't decide what to have for breakfast, so I had another Flavor Adventure - otherwise known as a Healthy Choice Grilled Chicken Marinara frozen dinner - caught up with email, read a few threads on Looking Good, and fed Otis.
My betta fish, Otis Redding, is being a pistol lately. He's halfway flaring at me all the time. Which is funny and yet upsetting. He's supposed to love me, not bite my face off.
It was right around this time - about 7 a.m. - that I remembered what today was.
So I blowdried (hmm, Word is telling me that isn't a word) my hair, and decided that I really wasn't in the mood to care how it looked, so I didn't bother with any styling products. Screw 'em if they can't take a joke. Finished that, sat down on the bed and petted Caygeon a little bit, then sat down to do my makeup. And in the interest of documenting all the minute details of this day, here is what I put on:
Olay Complete moisturizer followed by Lancome Adaptivé foundation in Beige 4 (I'm doing this from memory, and being able to recall these details is either going to be jaw-droppingly impressive or extremely unsettling) followed by Origins Quick, Hide concealer in Medium (under the eyes and at the corners of the nose) …
Wait, let me do this as a bulleted list. *fires up Homesite*
- Olay Complete Moisturizer SPF 15 Fragrance Free
- Lancome Adaptivé foundation in Beige 4
- Origins Quick, Hide! concealer in Medium
- Sonia Kashuk loose powder in Flesh
- Nars blush in Lovejoy
- Clinique Touch Base in Canvas
- MAC Honestly eyeshadow on the lid
- MAC Samoa Silk eyeshadow at the corner and in the crease
- MAC Brulé eyeshadow on the brow bone
- Cover Girl kohl eyeliner in Espresso
- Curl lashes with Shu Uemura eyelash curler
- Jane Hi-Fiber Mascara
- Fill in eyebrows with Sonia Kashuk eyebrow palette
- Revlon Moisturous lipstick in Tawny Dew
Good god, it really seems like a lot. I fully admit to being a product ho, but all of those steps only take me 15 minutes to do (20 if I'm being slow), so yeah, hush up.
And then I contemplated clothing. I just didn't really care about anything this morning, for some reason. I'm not a big fashion person anyway, but this morning I just felt ... not blah or depressed, just ... indifferent, I guess. I'm wearing jeans, a red/yellow/black striped shirt and black loafers. And the appropriate undergarments.
My choice of anti-perspirant today, as it is every day, was Almay Clear Gel in Unscented. And then I scented my body with MMU Shea Butter Body Soufflé in Lemon Blondie.
And then I went to work. Here's where the day gets interesting. (I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "About damn time.")
I'm walking out of my apartment when I realize that that stupid "Soundtrack of My Life" CD theme last month has really messed me up. In both good ways and bad. Because I walked out of my apartment this morning and just started thinking about all these different people in my past that I've lost touch with. They were all important people, too. But I don't know them anymore. I've been so busy in the last two years that I haven't even really thought about it, but working on that mix CD brought everything to just below the surface, and now it's all coming out.
So I've spent the morning reliving moments from my past with various people. All men, as it turns out. That's either typical or depressing. People like Pete Hansen. I would love to know where Pete Hansen is, but I'm not even sure that Pete Hansen is still alive.
And Jason Carter from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. And Steve Burnett. And Lee Dempsey. And Ryan Warden. All friends who once meant so much to me, but whom I now have no idea if they are living or dead. I haven't thought of them for so long, and now I can't stop.
It doesn't help that I'm listening to the soundtrack. I really should stop that.
So anyway, today marks seven years that I have been in remission from Hodgkin's disease. I'm going to buy thank you cards for my oncologist, radiologist and surgeon and send them out next week. "Thank you for giving me a life." It's a different life than the one I had, but I'm so lucky to have it.
How do I feel about this anniversary? Mostly I just feel like, hey, it's kinda cool that I'm still alive. And then I think about all the really difficult stuff I went through to get to this point, and I feel a certain measure of pride in myself. And then I remember that, um, I really just sat there while they pumped me full of chemo drugs, or laid there while they blasted me with massive amounts of radiation (the equivalent of 312,500 chest x-rays over a period of four weeks - a chest x-ray delivers .008 rads of radiation; I received 2500 rads to my chest and neck).
So really, what did I do? Physically, at least. Mentally and emotionally I do think I dealt with it pretty well. I explained this well in the liner notes I wrote for my mix CDs. Here's an excerpt, from the second disk, "After":
8. Wilco, "Nothing'severgonnastandinmyway" - This is an important song. This CD (Summerteeth) came out in early 1999. This was the point in my life, about three years after I finished treatment for HD, that I think I fully accepted everything that had happened to me and the fact that I was irrevocably different because of it. And that being different was okay. My experience has made me worse off than most people (from a health standpoint), but better off as well (I think I have a fuller understanding of the value of life). Neither thing makes me superior or inferior to people, it just makes me different. This song became my new anthem - I had embraced my experience and was going to do everything I could to make it something that ADDED meaning to my life, and I wasn't going to let it hold me back in any way. And that's the way I've tried to live.
9. Gin Blossoms, "29" - This was another song that gained so much meaning for me later in my life. I played this a lot when I was, in fact, 29 years old, because it resonated so much with what I had been through in the last few years. "Time won't stand by forever." "Only time will tell if wishing wells will bring us anything." And especially "Some rides don't have much of a finish, that's the ride I took. Through good and bad and straight through indifference, without a second look." The overriding theme of the song, I think, is that you just can't know what is going to happen in your life, and only the passage of time can make some things clearer to you. That's definitely what happened to me. At the time I was diagnosed with cancer, I didn't know what I was supposed to gain from being sick, but after a few years I started to understand, and to really truly believe, that the experience had enriched my life beyond measure.
That about sums it up.
And my 15 minute break is over, so I have to get back to work.
October 18, 2003
From the Archives III
And this is our final archive entry. This is about my friend Derek Going, and it's probably one of the most emotionally honest things I've ever written.
February 28, 2003 - 9:49 a.m.
Mister Rogers died yesterday from stomach cancer. There's already been so much written about the man, and his death, so I'm not going to go into much detail on that here. Suffice it to say that a part of my childhood - a wholly positive and happy part - died along with him.
So I'm not going to write about Mister Rogers. I'm going to write about what Mister Rogers' death has reminded me of, and that is Derek Going.
Derek Going is the only thing I regret in my life. I've done many stupid things in my life, and made many rash decisions, many mistakes, but I can honestly say that I've learned from those things and they've made me the person I am. I like the person I am, so I don't feel regret when I look back on those silly, immature acts.
But that's not the case when I think about Derek. Derek was someone that I met when I was going through chemotherapy for Hodgkin's disease. We met in an AOL chatroom for young adults with cancer. He lived in south Florida and used to attend USF over in Tampa, so we had an immediate bond. Well, in addition to the instantaneous bond of being afflicted with cancer in our early 20s.
Derek had a type of bone cancer called Ewing's sarcoma. You don't want to be diagnosed with this. It is, typically, very difficult to recover from. Especially when you have it in certain locations of your body, like Derek did. His tumors were in his tailbone area. By the time I met him they had been beaten back by radiation, only to return again, stronger and more vicious than before.
But Derek still had a sense of humor about everything, and we became fast friends. We would email, IM and talk on the phone a few times a week. He was a silly, sweet boy who had a sarcastic sense of humor that I found wildly engaging.
There was just one problem. Over the course of our friendship, I was getting better. Hodgkin's disease is fairly treatable as cancers go, and when I was diagnosed I was Stage IIA and had a pretty good prognosis. Chemo was knocking me on my ass, especially towards the end of my six months of treatment, but all my CT scans showed the tumors receeding.
Derek's scans showed his tumors were spreading.
I began to feel guilty about getting better. At the same time, Derek started trying to hold me closer. I think he just wanted to be close to someone who was beating their disease, since he was having a hard time beating his own. Maybe it helped give him hope to talk to me and hear that I was doing well.
But I couldn't deal with it. We would talk, and Derek would tell me about his latest scan, how the cancer was advancing into his spine, how his doctors thought it was only a matter or time before it showed up in his brain. I didn't know what to say. I was so happy to be getting better, and Derek's situation would either remind me that I could still die yet - Hodgkin's is treatable, yes, but I knew many patients who died from it nonetheless - or that I shouldn't be so happy about my recovery because my dear friend wasn't going to make it.
Because he wasn't. Derek was going to die. He knew that, and I knew that, and I couldn't find the words to tell him how sorry I was that he wasn't going to make it. I couldn't begin to formulate the thoughts that would lead to the words that I would need to speak in order to tell my friend that I was sorry he was going to die.
My brain just could not reconcile that fact with my own reality. Why was I so lucky? Yes, our cancers were vastly different with different prognoses - was that it? People have beaten Ewing's sarcoma, and people have died from Hodgkin's disease. Why wasn't that the case for me and Derek?
I'm a strong person. I've always been proud of that fact. I've always been the friend who could listen to your problems and come up with something to help - some alternative you hadn't considered, or some plan of action that you didn't think was possible. That is me. When you need a shoulder, I'm there. When you want the truth, come to me.
But I failed Derek. All he wanted was someone who would listen. Someone who understood what happens when you have cancer, what you think about, how your entire life turns on a dime and becomes something you never dreamed it would be. I couldn't be that for him in the end. I wasn't strong enough to listen to him die. I wasn't strong enough to get past what was happening to me and provide the comfort that he needed. All it would have required of me was to listen to him speak, and I could not do it, simple as that seems.
So our friendship started fading away, just like Derek. I stopped responding to his emails, and I didn't return his calls. I avoided being on AOL. I know he understood what was happening. When you're diagnosed with cancer, you find out very quickly that people that you thought were good friends are going to fall drastically short of your expectations. You truly do find out who your real friends are.
I wasn't a real friend to Derek, I guess. I wanted to be. I can't even say that I was doing the best I could at the time. I knew I was failing him. I knew I was taking the coward's way out, and I did it anyway. I pulled away and left him, and his dying, because it was the easiest thing for me to do. And I needed my life to be easier.
About three months after I finished treatment and was declared to be in remission I got a phone call. It was Derek's aunt, calling to tell me he had died. It had been about six months since he and I had spoken. He had made a list of the friends that he wanted notified when he died, so that his family could contact those friends and let them know how much Derek loved and appreciated them.
I was on that list. I didn't deserve to be.
So I think about Derek whenever I read about a beloved person dying of cancer, like Mister Rogers. I can't think about Derek without crying.
I don't know if I'm crying for him, or for me.
From the Archives
Here are the first of three entries that I made in my Diaryland diary that I want to make sure I bring over to my permanent website (i.e. the website you're on now). This one involves some of my poetry, as well as one of my favorite opening paragraphs of a book.
March 11, 2003 - 12:37 p.m.
And here's the other poem I need to unleash upon the world. It was written one day when I was pondering my life after having had cancer, what I felt about the situation, etc. This is copyright me, 1997. Please don't steal this one or the other one ... but if you like them, feel free to bestow me with all kinds of praise.
This poem has the best two lines I think I've ever written.
Mine is the one, life's prison
Standing still to listen in the silence
A toothless beggar
Holding out their cup
Depending on the kindness of strangers
Is kind of strange
Always with a hand out, grasping
Sagging under the weight
Like a tree branch heavy with rain
Reaching for comfort
Love labors and is lost
Bound by freedom, found by pain
To rest the day weary
Tell me a story and sing me to sleep
Or chase the fireflies
Scars are a map and a record of history
Of my borrowed time trickling
Down the drain
March 11, 2003 - 10:13 a.m.
Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man has the best opening paragraph of any book, ever:
It goes a long way back, some twenty years. All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naive. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to be born with: That I am nobody but myself. But first I had to discover that I am an invisible man!
March 11, 2003 - 8:18 a.m.
So last night I woke up suddenly, bolted upright in bed, and realized that I have never committed some of my best poems to the ether that is the Internet. I started thinking that if something happened to the journals where I'd written the poems, they would be lost and gone forever.
So I jumped out of bed, dug out the old journal from its hiding place, and resolved that today I would commit the poems to the posterity of the World Wide Web.
Here's the first:
Life Among the Ruins
Turned upon himself
A boy walks down the road
Matter doesn't matter
And regrets are for the weak
Stopping there in the swirl of dust
Running headlong into nothing
Another day, another dollar
Another lamb for the slaughter
Teach me, he thinks, or I will learn
I will be, I will live, I will burn
Set upon the stars he wanders
Aimless as the clouds
Spinning yarns, resting twice
Until his mind no longer fights
Skipping stones and bending time
Denying the past, anticipating
And the questions left unanswered
Forging an alibi and shifting the blame
There is no self
Only part of the greater whole:
Dependent and anonymous and excluded.