Monday, December 29, 2008

if you think that i could be forgiven, i wish you would.

it's that time of year.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before?

ha, that's easy - i got married.

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

hmmm, let's see. i did mildly to moderately well on my resolutions from last year:

- start approaching life as something to be experienced, not just survived: not there yet, but goddammit i'm working on it.
- cook more: yes, i did - i bring leftovers for lunch all the time.
- run a five-mile race: nope. i abandoned this one purposefully, because i really wasn't into it. i do go to the gym on 5-6 times a week, but life's too short to force yourself onto the treadmill, you know?
- get over myself, in general: again, a work in progress.

for this year, i haven't formulated any concrete resolutions yet. but i think i will.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

nope, i don't think so.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

yes, my grandmother died of cancer in april and my uncle einar died of cancer in july.

5. What places did you visit?

i logged a lot of airline and highway miles in 2008! in chronological order, we hit: chicago for a wedding, vegas for our wedding, downstate illinois for a wedding, home for a funeral, great barrington for a wake, home for a party, downstate illinois for another wedding, and home for christmas. next year we're taking a proper vacation that doesn't involve someone getting married, i swear!

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?

more money would always be great, but i'm not holding my breath on that front. a little less static. a little more peace of mind.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

friday, may second, in the year of our lord two thousand and eight, as they say on the fancy wedding invites that we definitely did not have :) i know i'm not a big proponent of weddings and what not, and i'll always kind of consider january 17th our "actual" anniversary, it was no doubt a major step for jason and me to bind ourselves together in the legal sense :)

8. What was your biggest achievement(s) of the year?

i'd say asking for new title and a raise, and getting them both. that always feels good.

9. What was your biggest failure?

waiting so long to kickstart a process that needed to happen in order to improve my sanity and quality of life. but hey, better late than never.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

i got the flu from HELL back in february. i'm hoping to avoid a similar fate this year.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

plane tickets to vegas! twice actually, as i just booked our flight for next year too, yessssss.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

the person who turned my new ipod nano - which i couldn't have had for over a month - in to lost and found at the gym. amazing.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

everyone who voted for Prop 8 in california. what a step backwards.

14. Where did most of your money go?

rent. and savings. and plane tickets. and hotel rooms. and new ipods.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

i know i sound like a broken record here but vegas vegas vegas. the whole trip was so much fun, and i can't wait to go back next year. mcdonald's breakfast, and blackjack, and fontana bar, and free drinks, and cabanas, and gonzales y gonzales, and....

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?

viva la vida by coldplay. it came out during the height of a lot of emotional stuff, and i heard it often during the summer. i remember driving home on 295 from einar's wake, exhausted on so many levels, and it came on the radio - something about the insistent violins and the rolling drums as i made my way home at sunset - i just cried and cried. sad/beautiful, as they say.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? hmmm. probably a bit sadder. but i'm hoping for a really good 2009 to return the equilibrium.
b) thinner or fatter? i'd say just about the same.
c) richer or poorer? richer.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

reading. smiling. cleaning. happy hour-ing.

20. How did you spend Christmas last year?

same as every year, back home at my parents' house. and this year we got to meet the newest addition to the family, the little rotund kitten clarice. jason wanted to steal her.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?

stayed solidly in the "love" camp, yes.

22. How many one-night stands?


23. What was your favorite TV program?

mad men. wow i was a little obsessed with that show. can you believe elisabeth moss didn't get a golden globe nomination?? scandalous.

24. What did you do for your birthday in 2008?

escaped the DC august heat and headed home - went to a lovely lake party thrown by my family, and also spent much time by the pool. and golfed. yes - i can golf!

25. What was the best book you read?

the brief wondrous life of oscar wao, by junot diaz. though the title drives me crazy - a comma or an "and" pleeeeeease, you're killing me here! also, i became completely enamored with the kenzie/gennaro mysteries by dennis lehane - they are such page turners, i've read each one within 48 hours at most. can't put them down.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

beyonce! preachin' it! "if you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it" - god i could listen to that damn song 500 times.

27. What did you want and get?

a vacation with jason. a raise. a new phone. stronger muscles. tickets to the dark knight. a new president.

28. What did you want and not get?

a new tv (just have to keep banging on the top of the old one for now). a cat without chronic health issues (awww poor dottie).

29. What was your favorite film of this year?

the dark knight, definitely. that reminds me, i want to put it on my netflix queue to watch again.

30. Did you make some new friends this year?

i did! though i'd like to step up my efforts to get out and see people more - it can be so easy to get into hermit mode. so hey, if you ever want to hang out, let me know! and remind me i'm trying to avoid hermit-tude.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

pretty pretty ponies.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?

basic. key to this year's wardrobe upgrading - more color. my closet is like a sea of black, brown, gray, and white, with a little bit of green and blue thrown in. would it kill me to purchase something red??

33. What kept you sane?

jason. my family. books. naps. booze.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

obama. c'mon now.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?

if you didn't cry on election night, then you have no soul. and if you cried on election night because mccain lost, have no soul ;)

36. Who did you miss?

all my massachusetts darlings, as usual. the absolute biggest drawback to living in DC.

37. Who was the best new person you met?

clarice. oh wait, she's not a person. but whatev, she's a fat kitten and i looooove her.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.

"there are years that ask questions and years that answer." this one felt, in many ways, like one big question mark, so i'm hoping - and working - on getting some answers in 2009.

oh, and i tag toast, because he gets mad at me when i don't! but all you other meme-lovers, consider yourself tagged as well.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


did you know that when you buy a southwest business select ticket, you get a free drink? neither did i! until yesterday, when i needed to employ some travel ninja skills (which mainly consisted of picking up the phone and dialing) to change my flight home from tomorrow to today. trying to sneak myself back into new england between part one and part two of this weekend snowpocalypse. and while it cost me a little more coin, i can't lie - i'm pretty excited about the drink coupon tucked away in my wallet, waiting to transform itself into a glass of white wine.

so, send us some good travel karma and cross your fingers for our on-time departure - i hope you all end up where you want to be this week, too! merry christmas!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

note to self.

do not venture out of the house carrying only a small purse, and then proceed to purchase and/or procure:

-four christmas gifts
-eight apples
-one quart of apply cider
-five library books
-four pieces of dry cleaning

and do not - i repeat, DO NOT - forget to bring gloves along for the trip. because your fingers, your forearms, your elbows, and your shoulders? none of them will be very happy with you during the cold, windy six-block walk home.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

a declaration.

this happened a few days ago, but i still can't get over it.

these two women are getting on the metro escalator ahead of me in the morning - they are probably late 20s, early 30s. i infer that they're talking about some kind of office holiday party. and one says to the other, "they're only gonna have beer and wine. and you know, i don't drink that shit."


so many things about this statement cracked me up, i don't even know where to start. but i think the biggest thing, the thing that has me shaking my head in bewildered amusement days later, was the actual disdain in her voice when she said it. like this was a position that many other people must obviously share with her. i told jason about it pretty much as soon as they were out of earshot, then we were making up other very commonplace things of which to be irrationally disdainful: "water? i don't drink that shit." "food? i don't eat that shit."

but somehow - and i'm just guessing here - i bet her standards for refined imbibing experiences are just flexible enough to allow for the sneaking in of half a dozen nips inside her imitation coach bag.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

you've missed her. admit it.

dottie has that peculiar cat habit of desiring to sit on any article of clothing left on the bed. and if there's four loads of clean laundry available, well...

she's into that, too.

Saturday, December 06, 2008


yesterday, i was riding home on the metro when i noticed something interesting. i was sitting on a pretty crowded train, and there was a woman standing a few feet in front of me and slightly to my left. she was young-ish - early 20s? - normally dressed in jeans and a gray pea coat, and carrying some type of fat textbook under her arm. on her left wrist was one thick black plastic bracelet, and one thin white plastic...hoop earring.

she was wearing a big white hoop earring like a bracelet. and it wasn't even one of those full hoop types - there was a good inch between the end of the hoop and the metal backing, which was of course still attached. and then.

and then!

i noticed that she was wearing the other earring in her left ear.

a genuine commuting "wtf" moment. i was pissed that i couldn't get a good look at her right ear as i was getting off the train - i would've looked like a crazy person, craning my neck to get a glimpse of this woman's accessories as other riders shoved me out onto the platform. but who knows what i might have found there!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

things that are true.

i will wake up...

plan a whole outfit...

febreze the hanger stretch marks out of the shirt's shoulders...

blowdry the spot where i sprayed too much febreze...

get the outfit half on...

and realize the weather forecast for showers means that i probably shouldn't wear the brown suede flats i was planning on wearing. then i will put everything away...

stand in front of my closet for five minutes composing a new outfit...

throw it on and run out the door...

and it definitely -

definitely -

will not rain a drop all day.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

i would just like to report...

..that i am 64 pages from the end of The Brothers Karamazov. this is one long-ass book. but the second half? much better than the first. just in case you decide to ever pick it up, you know - soldier through those first 350. it's worth it.

i also need to go to the library soon for some fresh reading material. any suggestions?

Sunday, November 30, 2008


the other night, while lolling about with the family out in virginia, we got talking about the weird things you encounter in college. and i remembered this.

it is the very end of my senior year, late on a may night- 2:00, maybe 3:00 am - and we are walking through southwest on our way back to one of the dorms. we are, unsurprisingly, very drunk.

southwest, for those unfamiliar with umass, is sometimes referred to as the concrete jungle - it is brick and stone and pavement everywhere. five high-rise dorms and a dozen or so smaller ones. we're walking by one of these high-rises when a piece of paper falls at my feet. i look down. and suddenly, there's another. and another. and another. i look up.

paper is raining from the sky. big, white sheets of notebook paper, cascading from somewhere above us, fluttering and diving and sliding to the ground all around us. i bend down to pick one up. it is blank.

they are all blank.

at the time, i just laughed and laughed - the alcohol helped with that, no doubt - but the memory of it still makes me smile today. i think it's because it was so nonsensical - there was absolutely no way to answer the "why?" of it. i mean, who takes the time to cut the screen out of a window twenty stories up, just to toss sheaves of blank paper out of it? who knows. it meant nothing. so, of course, it could mean anything.

i think that's where i'm going to start.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

it's that time.

so i haven't posted in like a month. that's bad. but if anything can induce me to log back into blogger, it is that advent of that glorious day - you know the one - my sister's birthday.

it's today, people. today.

i sadly could not be in boston to celebrate with her highness, which i have been lamenting the entire weekend as i hear about the fun that's been had - dinners, parties, drinks, cheap dollar store tiaras, seafood at brown's - i'm missing it all! goddamn jetblue and their lack of reasonable last-minute fares. the facebook pictures are a lame substitute for actually being there. so sister dearest, sorry i couldn't make it, and i hope you've had an amazing birthday weekend.

maybe i'll tag myself in all the pics and note "there in spirit" in parantheticals....that wouldn't be annoying at all, would it?


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

i can see down this road.

i've been having a hard time with boundaries lately. literal boundaries. not really with setting them - people aren't actually walking around drawing lines in the sand that often, i suppose - but more with, i don't know, perceiving them correctly. putting them in their proper context. i am troubled by the concept, and by the inevitable breakdowns, a lot more than i should be.

two weeks ago, roaches and mice started appearing in our kitchen. seemingly out of nowhere. we've lived here for a year and a half, and never had a problem. and then bam - vermin. for someone who hunts down all the holes in a new place and stuffs them with steel wool the minute she moves in, this was a problem. i'll keep what has felt like a saga to my anxiety-ridden brain to this brief summation: we kept finding small spaces to plug up in the kitchen, they kept coming, then we found a big hole behind the fridge to plug up, then a mouse died somewhere in the fridge. so at the moment, we have a (knock wood) well-fortified apartment and a decomposing mouse somewhere in the kitchen apparatus.

this is not, of course, the end of the world. but it came on the heels of a lot of other odd boundary-related issues that kept cropping up for me. for months, anxieties about that inside/outside divide, and all the ways that it is and can be breached, had been pressing themselves into my consciousness. i worried about bug bites that took too long to go away; i lay awake at night scaring myself with house fire scenarios; i obsessed over whether the hallway smelled like gas; the tip of my tongue went numb. yes, numb. it was either a jalapeno injury or a psychosomatic thing. and honestly, i wouldn't be surprised at the latter. everything, it felt, was encroaching.

encroaching on what, right? the anxiety over the physical piercing of boundaries is, so my pysch major sister informs me, about control. i am not surprised by this, as this is certainly not the first time i've dealt with this particular problem, this irrational and impossible desire to control the uncontrollable. but this is the first time it has manifested itself with this consistent theme. my reactions have not been at all proportional to the situations at hand, and at the very least, i need to try to change that. because i can see down this road and i don't like where it leads. at all.

there's lots to be done. lots of slippery and distorted thinking to wrestle to the ground, expose, interrogate. lots of behaviors to put in check. lots of ghosts to get in line. because really, it's their doing - and while i've lived with them long enough to know that they're not going away, they are going to have to start listening to authority. because i've had enough of this acting up. i've had enough of feeling like i'm being forced to run along a cliff edge with my eyes closed. i've had enough of being held hostage by all the people i used to be.

and i need a decent night's sleep.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

other people's lives.

do you ever have the feeling that other people’s lives are so much richer and interesting than your own? even with all rational evidence to the contrary - we are, after all, surrounded by the pedestrian at every moment - do you find yourself imagining that other people are experiencing things in a thoroughly more fulfilling way than you are?

i find myself thinking this way sometimes. it’s such a subtle thought process that i have to catch myself at it red-handed. like the other day, i was reading a novel, and one of the main characters was home alone in his apartment while his wife was away. he got up, wrapped up in a robe, and made a pot of coffee and toast with butter and jam. totally boring, right? and yet, i felt like somehow he was getting more out of coffee and toast than i ever would, or ever do. the mere act of putting together breakfast somehow seemed enviable to me - like it was imbued with some type of pleasure that i’ve never been able to access. this is not restricted to fictional characters either. sometimes i’ll read a blogger’s account of an evening out or see a facebook friend’s photo album, and i’ll feel - loosely and faintly and with this vague, existential incomprehension - that i am missing some critical faculty, some way of living right.

it’s a strange thing, this impulse to overly romanticize other people’s lives and day-to-day experiences. i mean, on a rational level i am aware that the way they experience making a pot of coffee is probably, by and large, the same way that i experience it. so why do i give them more credit? why do i think they have access to some secret, some effortless method for infusing the mundane with meaning that i don’t?

when i see this in other people and not myself, what am i really looking at - what am i looking for? i do wonder about this.

Friday, October 03, 2008

it's settled, then.

i've found the best thing ever, courtesy of yvonne.

i just thought you might like to know.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

things i am doing. right now.

i'm watching the baseball game.

i'm drinking chai tea.

i'm refreshing toast's haloscan comments.

i'm talking to chemist about the mitten-shaped state.

i'm feeling remarkably cool air seeping in through the window unit by the couch.

i'm trying to stretch my shins, because they hurt.

i'm also noticing that my head hurts a bit too.

i'm pondering aspirin.

i'm hating this futon cover.

i'm hating the fact that i'm going on 30 and i still technically own a futon.

i'm hearing the downstairs neighbor's tv along with my own.

i'm wishing these fricking bug bites would heal.

i'm cursing, silently, because jason is sleeping.

i'm reminding myself to take out the trash and dust tomorrow.

i'm almost, i think, through with the day.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

a funny thing.

this might be kind of a juvenile thing to admit, but.

remember when the west wing came out? remember how great it was? it was a great show. and i would watch, religiously, as i wended my way through college and graduate school. cross-legged on the twin bed in my tiny dorm room in mackimmie hall, stretched out on the couch in the apartment i shared with my sister senior year, folded up into the papasan chair squeezed into my comm ave apartment. i watched, week in and week out, and i thought - maybe. maybe i could do that.

not be president, of course. but that - that life seemed like something i might be able to fit into, or at least try on for size. a life of policy and law, of thick-carpeted hallways and backrooms, of suits and cabs and wide avenues and the capitol coming into view. it was a feeling that i filed aware somewhere in my brain - put away in that recessed space reserved for everything that seems, somehow, too daunting. i thought it, but i never really considered it. it was too - too juvenile, really, and was best left in the realm of vague sensation.

but then, a funny thing - i kind of went ahead and did it anyway.

i didn't come here to DC to try to live out some aaron sorkin fantasy - i actually didn't even come here to get into politics or law. hell, i didn't even come here with a job. but looking back, i can see how the move here made sense - how it gave me a chance to slide sidelong into a place that had, to be honest, captured a bit of my imagination. i came here to do this. and while i'm no amy gardner and never will be, i go to lunch with the women who are. i've heard my heels echo as i walked down the marble-floored halls of the capitol building. my boss has the ear of the obama campaign. our reports are referenced in committee hearings. we are doing this work, and i'm part of it.

a while back, the speaker of the house threw a luncheon in our honor at her offices. i stood out on her massive private balcony overlooking the national mall - i pressed my palms into the cool stone of the massive railing and looked around. the sky, blindingly blue in the early spring, museums stacked up to the left and pennsylvania avenue reaching off to the right. i realized, at that moment, that i really had done it. wherever i went from there, whatever city i moved to or job i took or house i settled into - i had done DC.

and it felt really good. no - it feels really good. it feels good to have achieved a goal that you thought was too lofty, too hazy, too ridiculous to even set. a life like the west wing. really, who gets anything like that?

turns out, i do.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

a thought.

"you say i choose sadness,
that it never once has chosen me.
maybe you're right."

Friday, August 29, 2008

in which i actually utilize microsoft paint to make a point.

something tells me this wouldn't be a headline on yahoo this evening if tim pawlenty had been mccain's vp pick.

that's some hard-hitting political reporting within the first 12 hours of her candidacy, wall street journal. kudos.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

top three.

things i am looking forward to tonight:

1) wine
2) pesto pasta
3) mad men

food, drink, and good tv. sometimes, i am truly easy to please.

(and ok, any bets on when birdie's really going to crack up? we've had a shooting gallery on the front lawn, the return of the hand afflictions, and last week, a shoving match in the bedroom. it is imminent, non?)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

true or false?

kate got a little overexcited while watching michael phelps win his eighth gold medal last night, resulting in a broken light sconce and the need of her sister's expert medical assistance to dress a small flesh wound.


that one is true.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008



everywhere, it's hot. it's either you're in the midst of the hot or you're near an a/c, in a respite from the hot. the hot dictates everything. august is here, and everyone who is smart in this city is somewhere else. the train cars are half full. dupont circle is deserted.

you walk up the escalators and feel the grime under your finger tips, touching the rubber handrail only intermittently, for balance. you sit at happy hour in the breezeway and feel your legs sticking to the leather stool, and you fan yourself with the bar bill. you kick the sheets off at night, trying to conserve energy (and money), the old air conditioner working hard even at half blast. you embrace it, at the beach, with the sun at high noon, and the sting of sunscreen in the corner of your closed eyes, with the screeches of children and tinny salsa music on someone's radio.

it's just hot. there is nothing to do but ride it out. sweat, wince, cry, purify. wait. because it will all be over soon.

right? right.

Friday, July 25, 2008

who's in your five?

the tagging continues unabated!

so, the "celebrity free pass" list. got one? you know you do. here's my five:

george clooney

so he's like 85 years old. who fucking cares. look at the man.

tom brady

my tommy is not the brightest bulb on the circuit, i know. but really? intellectual prowess is not what this exercise is about.

matt damon

the thinking woman's brad pitt. who said that...i think it i'm sorry what were we talking about again?

freddy rodriguez

gio from ugly betty. i had a serious "is it hot in here??" moment after the end of the penultimate episode last season.

matt iseman

ok this is out of left field, i know. but my love for clean house's "go-to guy" is well-documented. at least in my apartment. where jason is pretty sick of hearing about it.

honorable mentions - disqualified from actual list for being fictional characters or residing in a previous decade:

dean cain, circa 1996

i don't care what you say. this man was HOT back then. and a superhero on the tv. yes please.

daniel craig as james bond in casino royale

it's not so much daniel craig, actually, as it is him playing this character in this movie. i nearly passed out in the theater.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

they are always the same thing.

it was just past one in the afternoon, and i had conquered most of Maryland, a small slice of Delaware, the entirety of New Jersey, and the upper reaches of Manhattan. i merged onto the Taconic State Parkway and reset the trip odometer – i could cruise for 80 more miles before thinking about where to turn next.

the journey through Westchester, Dutchess, and Columbia counties, out of the city and into the midsection of New York state, has little in the way of landmark or distraction. nothing but shades of green in the height of summer – everything at full flush, a blinding monochrome of grass and weeds and leaves. i had never driven it before, but i knew it – it might sound strange, but even with no distinguishing characteristics for miles, i still could have told you where i was. i could have told you where I was headed.

i rolled up and over hills, around wide curving turns flickering in deep shade, past the exits signs for town names: Yorktown, Cold Spring, Peekskill, Fishkill.



we all have our origin stories. each of us, on our own little odyssey, each of us always racing forwards and tracing backwards simultaneously. there is no logic, no continuity in life without it, the origin story. they are at once vastly complex and stunningly simple – beginnings usually are that way. i suppose that’s because beginnings are rarely ever just a moment, but an unfolding series of moments and parts and contexts – a thing, constructed, and then set in motion.


my grandparents lived in Pawling when i was born until i was five or six – then they moved across the Massachusetts border to Great Barrington, where they lived for the next ten years until their deaths. Pawling and Great Barrington are, in a way, of the same place – the Berkshire mountains, the great stretch of hills and woods and valleys between New England and the mid-Atlantic. since i was so young, the two are largely entwined in my mind – both generative spaces, full of so many things that pierced my mind clearly, twenty years later, as i drove past the exit for Route 55.

this origin story has so many moving parts, so many slippery images – i kept seeing them out of the corner of my eye as i sped along, northward, towards the Massachusetts border. long gravel driveways, low stone walls, saint statues. stray cats. foxes in the night, shotguns. sheds. barns. carved wooden mirrors, carved wooden signs: Mostly View. snow-laden pine trees, acres of lawn and forest dulled to shimmering yellow by the setting sun. oriental rugs, basement doors, birdseed kept in big metal tins. cereal with sugar in white and blue plastic bowls. wading pools, motorized trainsets, sandboxes, back decks. bedrooms behind bathrooms, steep wooden stairs painted blue. tv carts, china cabinets, rolltop desks with metal keyholes. canvas gardening gloves, tire swings, tennis balls. creaking wooden doors, windows scraped by tree branches. mahogany. silver. ceramic. wood. alberta spruce. green, green grass.


sometimes, it seems to me, we look in the wrong direction for answers. the future, though it holds many things, usually does not reveal solutions. it just creates more questions. why is it, then, that we don’t turn around, that we don’t reach back into the past? why do we so rarely even consider it? perhaps it is too frightening to acknowledge just how much is contained there. perhaps we would rather be without knowledge than be overwhelmed by it.


and so i was moving in two directions as i passed under the sign that said “Great Barrington – 10 miles.” forwards and backwards, ahead and behind, towards both what has past and what is to come.

when i reached downtown – the intersection of route 23 and route 7 – for a moment i was disoriented. i should have known where i was, but i didn’t recognize the surroundings. i felt, to be honest, a moment of rising panic – if i’m in a place that i know, but i don’t know this place, well…where am i?

the light changed, and i turned left, where a large white house loomed on the hill. a carved wooden sign: Finnerty and Stevens funeral home. one building, but it was all i needed to gain my bearings – the town spread out in front of me in my mind’s eye, and the reality of my arrival – my re-entry – punched me in the chest as i drove down main street. the wake would start in an hour.


in the high heat of summer, the mid-afternoon light in the Berkshires has a sharp quality about it – it clarifies the edges, brings the foreground into relief. in a few hours time, the opposite effect will take hold, a golden hour blurring of the scene, but in these moments, everything is clear and present. i begin to remember it even before i stop seeing it.

which doesn’t matter, really, because here – for me – they are always the same thing.

Friday, July 18, 2008

more meme-time.

i knew this day would come. sooner or later, someone would tag me with the book meme. and i am nothing if not honorable when it comes to being meme-tagged! so, without further ado - my completion of the book meme.

(oh wait, one moment of ado - does anyone else wonder how exactly they came up with this list of "the top 100 books they've printed"? i mean, "top" in what sense? and who exactly are "they," anyway? the Big Read website does not make it easy to track down the origin of this meme's statistical claim - the whole thing seems like a front for some kind of shadowy literature syndicate to me. bent upon world domination via internet propagation. anyway. end of ado.)

"The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed."

1) Bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list in your own blog.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Ronald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

food for thought.

i'm off to massachusetts for two days - the circumstances of the trip are essentially the opposite of ideal, but the faintest of silver linings means i'll get to spend time with some family that i haven't seen in a while. before i go, though, i wanted to share a Susan Bordo quote i stumbled across today in the comments section over at Shapely Prose. what can i say - when i read something that actually makes me say "yes!" out loud, in my office, in the middle of the day, i have the impulse to pass it along.

in my view, feminist cultural criticism is not a blueprint for the conduct of personal life (or political action, for that matter) and does not empower (or require) individuals to ‘rise above’ their culture or to become martyrs to feminist ideals. It does not tell us what to do [...] — whether to lose weight or not, wear makeup or not, lift weights or not. Its goal is edification and understanding, enhanced consciousness of the power, complexity, and systemic nature of culture, the interconnected webs of its functioning. It is up to the reader to decide how, when, and where (or whether) to put that understanding to further use, in the particular, complicated, and ever-changing context that is his or her life and no one else’s.

i love this idea. i love this kind of critical ethos. and it mirrors what a lot of other feminist bloggers that i admire have said, which is essentially that they refuse to condemn women for the choices they make in a patriarchal culture in order to survive and try to thrive. they'll condemn the culture that circumscribes those choices, the hierarchal system that bullies and intimidates and coerces and cajoles women into acting in its best interest and not their own - but women, when it comes down to it, are always just doing the best they can with what they've got. and that means different things to different people. but i'd like to think, regardless of those differences, we can all agree that MORE knowledge about the contexts in which we live, breath, think, and interact is always better than less.

anyway. that's all. now to go put that book on my DC library hold list...

Monday, July 07, 2008

you know what my problem is?

(part one of a 4,327,896 part series...)

i see ugliness everywhere. forget about seeing the beauty in all things - my inner eye often finds itself trained upon the down side, the dark side, the heartbreaking side of random arrangements, of totally inconsequential moments. and this is not surface-level ugliness - this is existential ugliness, the deep-down ugliness of life that you can only bear in short increments. that, so often, is what registers with me.

i see it on a perfectly normal day, at 4:15 in the afternoon, while standing in line at cvs to buy gum, altoids, and lollipops.

i see it where no one else is even really looking.

Monday, June 30, 2008

your comfort is my silence.

LaVena Johnson.

i just want to say her name, out loud, here on my little blog, and hopefully add one tiny little internet voice to the movement for justice on her behalf. if you haven't already heard her story, hear it now, and join the movement to compel the army to formally investigate her death. speak up for her, spread the word, carry a little piece of the torch.

the first step is refusing to be silent.

h/t to the tireless Waveflux - see his site and the petition page for ongoing updates.

Friday, June 20, 2008

a letter.

"Four years ago, when I was still at Ms. but had just learned about Bust, the editors of that zine asked me to interview Björk, the Smurfy Icelandic pop star, for their issue on motherhood... Trapped in my own earnestness about Third Wave feminism, I found myself asking a lot of goody-two-shoes questions about being a single mother. I wanted to know what had led Björk to divorce the father of her son after only a year of marriage. 'Why suffer?' she said, and picked her nose." --Jennifer Baumgardner

dear 2008:

you have been, by all accounts, a bitch of a year. i don't really believe in the cosmos (not in the fatalistic, sun sign-moon sign alignment sort of way), but if i did, it would seem that they asked you to wreak some havoc pretty much anywhere that you could. big ways, little ways, in-between ways - any kind of havoc was preferable to none. in just under six months you've brought me and mine, in no particular order: weddings, tumors, power outages, deaths, eye afflictions, heat waves, elopements, arguments, retirements, broken refrigerators, falling outs, denied medical treatments, tornadoes, the flu from hell, hospices, turbulence, ended friendships, surgeries, and one disintegrating pair of favorite jeans. just to name a few.

and honestly? it's been great. i mean, it's been god awful, a lot of it, but it's also been great. it feels like a year of forging, in a way - or maybe, more aptly, a year of being forged. of being both the sledgehammer and the red-hot metal underneath. a year of total upheaval, of these shifting tectonic plates that still have not quite decided where to settle. and i am learning so much.

after one particular decision i made recently - one that had to do with cutting off communication with someone that had once been very important to me - my sister made a very good point. she said, essentially, that we accept too much unnecessary negativity in our lives. if someone or something is bringing nothing positive to our table, why tolerate it? why not just cut it out, toss it aside, and move on?

why suffer, indeed?

i've been thinking a lot about this, this idea of excising undue suffering from life when you can. of embracing the positive, even if you're not the most positive person - because lord knows i'm not. but i think there's a way, even for the most committed of cynics, to refuse to engage with things that are not improving your life or helping you grow in some way. because, as far as life goes, there's good negativity and bad negativity. for instance, my work can be really depressing sometimes - the dogged societal persistence of inequality for nearly half the world's population will have that effect. but the reality of that negativity - as much as it sometimes makes me want to curl up in the fetal position and stay that way - ultimately fuels me, motivates me to take some action. whereas so many other kinds of negativity - pettiness, manipulation, fear, self-doubt - just wither you on the vine. they make you smaller, less engaged, less alive. and here's the thing - you don't need them. they are infinitely and continually disposable.

so, 2008, i'm rolling with your punches. i'm using everything that i experience as a filter, a lesson, a discovery, a new context. i refuse to be pulled under. i am more thankful, i am more mindful - i am easier on myself, much more gentle with myself. i admire shoes more. i worry about my hips less. i send facebook gifts more. i online stalk ex-friends less. i eat fruit more. i hurry through dinner less. i read more. i watch tv news less. i sleep more. i dwell less.

honestly, i have no idea what else is in store for us before new year's eve finally rolls around. maybe it will be harmony, maybe it will be catastrophe. who knows. but last week, i was home in massachusetts looking through some pictures, and i found one of my dad standing in the place where, thirty years earlier, my parent's wedding reception had been held - a big, warm, wood and stone-filled building which i'm certain has seen many a good party. on a wooden beam above his head, a carved inscription read: "enjoy yourself - it is later than you think."

and so i will.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

push and pull.

isn't it always a balancing act, living in the neighborhood? the good, the bad, and sometimes the ugly. always shifting slightly, so you never quite know - on the day you leave the place - what your ultimate verdict about it will be. big things, and little ones, happen every day, and your mood has to keep recalibrating. like, for instance, this weekend.

the good: walking down the street that bisects the park just outside our apartment, jason and i notice something. the parking signs, which had just been changed out a few months ago to reflect the new "pay to park" nature of this tiny through block, had changed again. gone were the fury-inducing signs instructing people to locate the few new-fangled, credit-card-accepting parking meters along the block and pony up for the privilege of parking there - a by-product of the new nationals stadium nearby, and a circumstance that seriously cut into our ability to park within a block of our apartment. in their place were new signs, ones with a blessed green background and white lettering lower third that reads, "zone six permits excepted." i am not kidding you when i say i did a dance of joy on the sidewalk - heel kicking and elbow swinging included. us, one, DDOT, zero! take that, bitches, your stupid idea failed and we can park here again!

the bad: as we returned from running our errands that afternoon, we got the last spot right on our block. walking over the curb, i noticed that the fire hydrant 500 feet from our apartment now bore that ominous plastic ring around its metal snount: "maintenance required." dammit. i would rather not die in a house fire, DCFD, so please do get on that.

the ugly: we are still playing the game called "hmmmm, how much will our rent go up after the landlord signs on the dotted line to sell our building?" this will happen, we assume, any day now, since the 45 day period all the tenants had to band together and buy the building instead (ha. hahahaha.) is just about over, if not over already. my wallet feels lighter already.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

thought for the day.

sometimes, i feel like a jumble of loose ends. and none of them seem to have a beginning.

which makes it hard, you know, to tie things together.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

a wee retrospective.

things that i have discovered (or re-discovered) during the month of may:
  • the midwest is flat. no, like, really flat. flatter than a native new englander can instinctively comprehend.
  • falling down drunk in a hotel hallway can be comedic gold. especially if you are drunk on magic wine that does not give you a hangover in the morning.
  • i have an enormous capacity to misread a situation.
  • big plastic bangle bracelets.
  • my man looks really good in a tux.
  • horse tracks have limited culinary options, and a distinct inability to accurately assess supply and demand needs for soft pretzel consumption.
  • if i get my hands on a little bit of resentment, i often have a really hard time letting it go.
  • what a tornado siren sounds like.
  • crispy leeks and lemon-butter sauce over linguini.
  • seeing someone walking barefoot on the vegas strip at 11:00 pm will kinda make me want to hurl.
  • 100 calorie packs (while they are still, generally, the devil) make remarkable convenient airplane snacks.
  • the little black dress still fits.
  • free breakfast is good. hot free breakfast is even better.
  • when i am off of anti-depressants, certain things can make me incredibly sad for no good reason. on the other hand, certain things can make me incredibly happy for no good reason. it is, in essence, a trade-off.
  • the drivers of the BWI airport parking shuttles can be assholes. especially at 1:00 am.
  • it is nearly impossible to find a $5, 3-2 blackjack table on the vegas strip after dark. or during the day, come to think of it.
  • american gladiators.
  • travel-induced exhaustion.

Monday, May 12, 2008

a (little) longer story.

i kept finding it hard to start this post, mainly because i didn't know where to start, period. but now that i'm here, i think it's best for me to just keep the story simple. because really, if i wanted, i could type until i pass out from hunger and exhaustion about my ongoing ambivalence regarding the institution of marriage and the role it plays in our lives. plus, you've heard me blah-blah about most of all that here already! so the main question is, i think, what pushed jason and i past the brink of indecision and into a mindset where we decided that marriage was something we wanted to do?

well, about six months ago, as i pondered the topic for some reason or another, i found myself viewing it from kind of a different angle. i remained (and remain, unsurprisingly!) very uncomfortable with the cultural institution and all its attendant stereotypes, hegemonies, paradigms, etc etc and so on. but as a legal matter, i realized that i wasn't against marriage so much in principle as i was troubled by how tied up the legal side of marriage is with the cultural side. i realized that i would never begrudge anyone the ability to petition the government to recognize their relationship with another person as primary (in fact, i wish there were far fewer restrictions on who is allowed to make that request). i started seeing civil marriage as a service the government provides for you - like a birth certificate, or a social security card - that offers you certain protections. and i'm actually all for that! (except in the sense that all societal institutions, government or no, are generally corrosive things built and dependent on systems of domination and oppression buuuuuuut anyway that's another story. and a far more depressing and intractable one.) so once jason and i started talking about it in that light, it just made sense to take that step and get that legal recognition for ourselves. we certainly didn't want a wedding per se, and vegas is the perfect place to do a marriage with no fuss, no muss, and no waiting. plus, vegas is fun! there are free cocktails! and up until that point, jason and i had only ever taken one vacation that was just the two of us, and that was an overnight in iowa - it seemed high time for a more substantial getaway.
so there you have it - desire for legal recognition plus desire for a true twosome vacation equals eloping to vegas. we wanted to "make it legal." and we have. and we're happy.

the end. (again. for now.)

Saturday, May 10, 2008


i know i know i know. i promised more details on the whole eloping to vegas thing. and i will deliver them, i swear. but for now, there are only memes. because toast tagged me. so yes, blame him!

anyway. without further ado. meme-aliciousness.

1) Ten years ago I was...

living in my hometown in massachusetts, and just a few weeks away from graduating high school. putting the finishing touches on planning the prom (yes dudes i planned our senior prom, just one more thing you probably wouldn't have suspected about moi.) wearing jeans and henleys a lot. listening to fiona apple's "tidal" to help me fall asleep at night. signing yearbooks. writing poems. watching this ridiculous new show called dawson's creek. musing. complaining. deliberating. hoping. kicking the stalls for college to start.

2) Five things on today's to-do list:

  1. go to the gym.
  2. go to our friends' yard sale.
  3. drink cheap beer at a penn ave bar.
  4. pick up a package at the post office.
  5. deposit two checks at the bank.

3) Things I'd do if I were a billionaire:

  1. invest.
  2. start up and run a foundation to fund programs that help women.
  3. set up my family for life.
  4. real estate! get a place in boston, nyc, the dominican republic, and dublin.
  5. send jason into orbit as a space tourist.

4) Three bad habits:

  1. a judgmental mindset.
  2. frugality that can border on, um, cheapness.
  3. a deep-seated weakness for salty food.

5) Five places I've lived:

  1. my hometown.
  2. amherst, ma.
  3. boston, ma.
  4. chicago, il.
  5. washington, dc.

6) Six jobs I've had in my life:

  1. GAP worker.
  2. landscaper.
  3. campus mailroom staff.
  4. development associate.
  5. grants and communications coordinator.
  6. manager of foundation relations.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

a short story.

so hey, get this.

jason and i eloped to vegas this weekend.

more later, most definitely, when my body clock is no longer spinning backwards and i can string a few coherent sentences together.

vegas is fun.

the end.

Friday, April 25, 2008

programming note

i've decided to quit using the Cat monikers here. i'm not really digging them anymore, in this new(ish) incarnation of the blog - i don't want to ditch the anonymity completely, but i also think that the Cat motif has pretty well run its course.
  • BoyCat's name is jason. you probably already knew that.
  • CatCat's name is dottie. her namesake is dorothy parker, but we mostly call her dottie. unless she is being bad. then we tend to break out the four high decibels. and sometimes, when i am in a strange mood, i decide to call her "dorrr-fie," in a sing-song voice, like 15 times in a row. ahem. anyway.
and as for the family:
  • MomCat's name she doesn't like it when i call her by her first name in life, so i won't do it here on the blog. you're welcome mom.
  • DadCat's name i'm just going to run with it.
  • SisterCat's name is..."my sister." i might substitute "j." if i i'm feeling wild and crazy. or just can't make the two-world alternative fit in the damn sentence. i can - surprisingly, i know! - get finicky like that.
it's been fun, Cat pseudonyms. see you in the archives.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

the edge.

there’s a perfume that i wore when i was 14 years old. you can still get it today. that particular scent – that smell – you can still buy it in a store.

i am actually wearing it right now.


during my freshman year of high school, we spent a few weeks learning archery. it was the fall semester. leisurely, low-slung afternoons in gym glass, out along the soccer fields behind the school, learning how to fit a bow into an arrow – how to aim – how to shoot.

no, maybe it was the spring.

i enjoyed archery. the first lesson taught the basic mechanics of the enterprise, which were so simple and so difficult all at once – to balance the tip of the arrow in the notch of the bow, to pull the surprisingly resistant string taut and load it for bear. but i got the hang of it. i stared down the length of the arrows to the fat canvas targets beyond – the red, yellow, and blue rings – and tried not to second guess my aim. or not to second guess it that much, because, of course, there are always adjustments to be made. and i could usually, at least, hit the thick wheel of foam and fabric, elicit the satisfying thud that meant a mark had been found. it felt good – good to do this, even absent any real reason why.

just hit the mark. just don’t miss.

the next day, i woke up in the morning to find a huge bruise on my right arm – a darkening, oblong welt the size of an oyster shell on the inside of my elbow. to the inside of the inside, really – next to the crook, just to the left of where the nurse stretches your skin to look for a vein, eases the needle in, pulls the blood clean out.

it had gotten in the way. the edge of my elbow, the edge of myself. and i had kept hitting it - again and again and again - without knowing.

while it was grotesque, i have to admit that i was proud of it, in a perverse kind of way. proud in that odd way that we can be about traumas – like they signify something bigger just by happening. something went wrong, but at least there was evidence that something had happened at all. undeniable – the marking of me, the mistake made tangible. i watched it turn purple, then fade into yellow and grey over days and weeks. i kept it out of the way of the arrow’s snap from then on, and eventually, it went away.


when i walked out of the store earlier today – after i had sprayed my wrists and the nape of my neck with a perfume i haven’t worn in fifteen years – i found myself thinking suddenly of those afternoons, of the sound of the arrows piercing the canvas, of the first startled moment of discovering that manifest consequence, that oval bruise. i thought about time, and how i can’t get a handle on the way it moves through me – its movement not just through years, and through space, but through flesh and bone. how? how does it do that?

it must have been spring.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

a question.

at 6:30 am, a small band of religious pilgrims walked past my bedroom window. i know this because they were singing - a strange, unfamiliar version of Ave Maria. i separated the window blinds with two fingers and peered out, bleary-eyed. i saw a few dozen people, shuffling along down the street in rows of two or three. kids in backpacks. old ladies with walking sticks. men that looked like monks, in their robes and sandals and corded waist-ties. someone was carrying a vatican city flag. they walked south, towards the stadium, singing.

pilgrims. outside my apartment.

and i thought, "i wonder if the pope exercises."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

the word.

well, ok.

so i just woke up from a nap. and this isn't the beginning of some obnoxiously metaphorical post, either - i literally just crawled off the couch after dozing for a few hours in front of the white sox game. it was a good nap. very relaxing.

and that is what i'm going for lately. relaxing. all this Getting Things Done and whatnot? wonderfully useful for a lot of people, but for me, right now? all i can think about when i hear the word "productivity" i need a fucking break from productivity, actually - i need a break from pushing myself. i need this breathing room. i need to keep working on learning how to cool it with the mental to-do lists and the worry and the anxiety and the self-propelled guilt trips.

(all right, who am i kidding, i'll never give up my mental to-do lists. but really - they need far fewer items.)

however, i have also learned over the past three months, i can really benefit from having this little outlet for putting down thoughts and opinions, for sorting it out, for connecting with people. i love how this blog has put me in touch with people that i never would have otherwise known, and how it makes me feel tapped into so many different streams and types of thought. i think that is an incredibly enriching thing. the trick, for me, is to learn how to enjoy that without feeling weirdly beholden to it - without again finding myself in a place where i'm posting because i feel like i "have to" - because really, that is some dumbass bullshit nonsense. right? right.

so, my plan is this: blog. when i want to.

(i wish i could fully explain why such a simple, self-evident idea proves to be such a challenge for me. but it would take hours of our lives that none of us could then get back, so i'm gonna refrain from even trying!)

if you've got rss, well, keep me on your feeds - i'll be popping up every now and again. if you don't, well - i hope you don't forget about me, because i'll be around. maybe once a week, maybe once a month, maybe three times in one day - i have no idea, and i'm doing my damnedest to learn to like it that way.

Monday, January 14, 2008

long story short.

i'm not sure how to explain this.

for starters, can i just say? therapy? is a good thing. do you have a therapist? well, go get one. because everyone - and i mean everyone, yes even you - could benefit from some quality time with an impartial observer. i've done therapy before, and right now i'm doing it again - this time i'm trying to get a handle on some aspects of my life that make me feel, at best, out of whack and at worst, out of control.

in the course of trying to get a handle on said w(h)ackiness, i've come to some interesting realizations about how i'm actually living life. i know, imagine that - how you live can affect how you feel! rocket science. and yet sometimes, the brain, it wants to avoid these these little life truths - probably because it thinks it's living just fine, thank you, as long as enabling your own neuroses, hang ups, and bad habits is the goal.

but you know, i've gone against a bit of my brain grain and said hey, that's not my goal! i don't want to feel like this anymore!

and my therapist kinda said, well, what're you going to do about it?

she said this in a nice way, of course.

so, long (and somewhat more private) story short, i've decided that one of the things that i really need to do is gain some perspective on what role writing plays in my life and why. i've always been pretty good at writing, and it seems like i've always been writing in some capacity - in school, at work, in my free time. in my life thus far, writing has served as that "thing that i do" -and more to the point, that thing that i'm good at. but underneath all the good grades and good jobs and validation and approval that writing has gotten me, i think i've lost track of the real question: do i really like to write? if this whole enterprise wasn't providing a sort of order and method of achievement for me, if it wasn't providing a space for me to prove that i can keep grabbing brass rings and "doing well," would i want to keep doing it?

in order to find out, i've got to quit. for a while. three months is the rough time frame i've decided on for now - a sabbatical from blogging, from pitching articles, from thinking about where my writing should be taking me or what it should be doing for me. of course, it's a somewhat imperfect plan, because i still spend eight hours a day writing at work, but it's something - and i think it will help.

so, my merry little band of loyal readers, i appreciate the fact that you've read what i've had to say here, whether it's been over the last two weeks or the last two years. if i were a betting woman, i'd say that i'll be back eventually - i have a sneaking suspicion that there is something more to all this, and that it's just buried under a pile of accumulated, um, issues. and i will definitely check back in three months time regardless and let you know how this little life experiment is going.

ok. that's it. thanks again, friends, and see you around blogland.

edited to add: wow. i hit publish thirty seconds ago and i already feel guilty. seems like i'm getting my money's worth from my weekly co-pay, that's for sure...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

do you hate chris matthews?

does the sound of his voice on the television make you want to run screaming from the room?

me too!

so check it, and do your civic duty. or something approximately like it.

if only asshole pundits like matthews actually had to face the electorate every two to four years, right...

Friday, January 11, 2008

friday cat blogging, the adorableness edition.

CatCat, taking a nap with her friend mr. hippo.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

this is sad.

so wednesday, i went to the gym and lifted weights in the first time since forever. ok, for the first time since last april.

when i walked out of the gym around 7:30 am, i thought "hey, that wasn't so bad."

today, when i got up at 6:30 and attempted to pull a shirt on over my head, i thought "oh my god did someone beat my arms and chest with a meat mallet while i slept??"

you'd think i would've noticed an occurance like that; however, the deep denial over severity of my muscular atrophy led me to consider such possibilities.

and for the record, they still hurt. ow.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

so i've been thinking.

what a surprise.

i overthink a lot of things. i think about a lot, a lot, a lot of things. i rarely underthink things (but that is something else all together). i am also fairly tired, so this attempt at putting various elements of my recent thinking/overthinking onto the proverbial page might be somewhat scattered. another surprise, i know.

so, this blog. as we've all noticed, it's kind of...blah lately. i've pointed this out before, and talked about how i'm not going to force myself to write, and said i should just use this space as an opportunity to write when i'd like to write, blah blah blah. but the truth? i do feel an obligation to posting somewhat regularly on here, regardless of how many readers i have or how irrational that sense of obligation may seem. whereas early on in my blogging life, that obligation tended to function in a more positive way, spurring me to read more widely around the blogosphere and try to add something to the discussion - enterprises which were both enriching in their own way, of course. but now that obligation is starting to seem both more futile and more tedious. there are fewer and fewer days when i am writing on here because i want to; there are more and more days when i am writing on here because i feel i have to. (and no need for reassurances about expectations - i know that ultimately there are none - i know i'm the only one putting this weirdo pressure on myself.)

i am thinking about this particular situation in a broader context - one in which i'm trying to consider a number of ideas and questions about my life and how i'm living it. what motivates me, really? what do i like to do? what do i want to do? what are my goals really all about?

these questions, at this point, aren't being met with any shiny happy answers - lately i've started coming into some interesting mental territory regarding my own personal hang-ups, weaknesses, and confusions and begun trying to really examine what might be at the heart of a lot of these shortcomings. i could say more about this - and maybe i will. i feel like if this blog is going to be useful, interesting, and beneficial to me (and really, to be honest, to anyone else) in the near future, i'm going to have to decide if i'm brave enough to start writing through a lot of this stuff instead of just thinking through it. because (in an obnoxious, confusing, meta kind of way) these questions and how i investigate/answer them will be central to how i decide to keep being a writer. or if i decide to keep being a writer.

so anyway. i just wanted to do a little direct audience address here to my little readership and let you in on a bit of where my head is at. i know the blog hasn't really been its usual self lately, and i wish i could say it'll be back to its usual self shortly. but i'm not sure. thanks for hanging in with me, though, while i haphazardly shuffle around, destinationless, trying to figure it out.

Friday, January 04, 2008

friday cat blogging, guest kitty edition.

just because this lolcat shit still makes me laugh...

a good first friday cat blogging of the year, for all my lovely readers who perhaps did not have the best 2007. onward and upward.

silly rabbit...

...there's no such thing as a "rape culture."

Of course not.

thanks to TMZ, one of the most popular gossip sites in the world, for that little reminder.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

a thought.

i am going to be so sick of wolf blitzer's voice by the end of the night, i might just die from the psychic pain.

then again, as i have caught BoyCat's monster cold, "the end of the night" could be about 45 minutes from now. less than an hour i just might be able to handle.

honestly, i'm just so relieved that we're starting this thing. for real. people are casting ballots! (well, republican people are casting little slips of paper than function as secret ballots. democrats are just milling around. but whatever.) it seems like this campaign season has been going on for 17 years already, so i kinda can't believe something's actually happening. of course, given the country's collective hunger for something other than stump speeches and talking head pontificiations, i'm certain we will make far too much out of whatever the results of the caucuses are. barack wins! he's got the nomination sewn up! hillary wins! she's got the nomination sewn up! let's just have the general tomorrow! etc etc and so on.

but whatever. i'll watch with bated breath tonight anyway. until i pass out from the cold meds and/or tim russert's inanity, that is.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

mama pajama, et al.

so, in his generous propagation of the 2007 meme, toast noted that the song of 2007 for him is "Here It Goes Again" by Ok Go. he says it's the

Greatest video ever made and just a kick-ass tune. The kind of song I put on when I absolutely need to be happy Right Now.

this got me thinking, and during my commute today i pondered the question. what song would i put on if i needed to get happy right now? this seemed like the kind of information that could come in handy some day.

after hours (ok, numerous minutes) of deliberation, i have decided that that song for me is "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" by Paul Simon.

(i have no idea what's up with the 30-second rap intro here - or the video in general, to be honest. but it's the only one of the original recording on youtube, and beggars can't be choosers.)

deep down, i think i really just want to be rosie, queen of corona. because whatever the hell that means, it sounds like it'd be a lot of fun.

so what's yours?