Saturday, March 26, 2005

Like a Bowlful of Jelly - Warning: Intimate Posting

Since I hit my late twenties (and beyond), I've developed a belly. I never had one before, I swear to you. It was the only unfat part of my body until about two years ago.

It happens that in the morning, I am often naked, and Alexis often makes me laugh. This results, of course, in the aforesaid "bowlful of jelly" comment, which makes me laugh harder and verifies her assertion.

Recently, though, we realized something shocking. The only way that Major Henry Livingston Jr. (author of "Twas the Night Before Christmas") would have known about Santa's midrif would have been to see his belly naked. It is not obvious that a belly will really, really look like a bowlful of jelly (despite the obvious corrolation-via-rhyming) when it's laughing, it has to be observed first-hand.

Well, Lincoln was gay, perhaps Santa was an exhibitionist?

Monday, March 21, 2005

Pre-Erev Post-Birthday

It is, of course, no extreme surprise that I am mightily confused by math. Everything seemed to be going fine for me until I learned that there were an infinite number of numbers between integers. This did not make me happy. In a post-modern spate of Xeno-inspired angst, I asked myself when and how one moves finally from 1 (and all the space around it) to 2 (and all the space around it). Is there some sort of imperceptible "ding," an alarm that goes off when you finally take the step from 2?

I feel the same existential confusion about my sister Jessica's birthday.

The only point of reference I have about her birthday is that it happens to fall on the Vernal Equinox (which I remember primarily because my mother was considering calling Jess "Vern" for the sake of consistency). But what do we know about the Vernal Equinox - that it has equal hours of light and dark - so, when exactly is it? As I understand, the equinox takes two days time to fulfill, or, more precisely, it straddles a period that is neither the 20th or the 21st, it is both. So when the hell is my sister's birthday?! I go through this every year, and end up, as I did again, blatantly missing the date itself.

Sigh. Sorry, Jess.

(By the way, when I just spell-checked this entry - which I seldom do because it doesn't work on Safari - it insisted that "Jessica's" was misspelled and suggested "cheesecake". This, I believe, just about sums it up.)

Friday, March 18, 2005

Slipping through the cracks of a Liberal Arts Education

This is an exerpt from a paper I wrote towards the end of my undergraduate career. My voice is there, and for those of you who have spent time in my kitchen, it may answer some questions...

There is a Sunbeam Mixmaster in my house.
Its body is a creamy tan, the color of tea with milk, its handle a pressed charcoal, and its bowls, integral to the machine, glow a foamy green. The mixer had belonged to my great-grandmother, Raizel, and was passed down through three generations until it landed solidly on my countertop. Its cord remains intact, and it could still be used were it not for an odd, hot smell that comes from the motor.

I thought at first I kept it because it was Raizel's, but it became clear to me, when others of its ilk began to appear in my kitchen, that my interest in it was far more than familial.


It's sad, then, that my mixers haven't been displayed for over a year. Remember how they used to sit on that rickety Ikea shelf in the kitchen - all rearing into the air like proud, wild horses?

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

When You Go There, They Have to Let You In

I haven't felt at home for years.

Since we moved to Ann Arbor, I've maintained this state of vigilence. It's a little bit imperminence, a little wariness, a little hate-of-place...I can't relax, I never have been able to, here.

It suddenly occured to me yesterday, that I used to relax when I was getting close to home. I grew up on a dark-dirt, rural road, where all of my friends were 45 minutes away and I stayed out until 3am. There was never a soul awake on the roads, and if I'd fallen asleep and crashed my car (as I came close to doing many, many times), I would have been on my own. I often counted the turns and the houses, thinking of how long it would take to walk home from there if I had an accident...there has never been cellphone coverage in them there mountains. The closer I got, the safer I felt.

Then, when we lived in Pittsburgh, I would experience a revelation each time I got myself safely back on the East Side of the city. As the Squirrel Hill Tunnels came into view, I would breath a sigh, my body would quietly calm, and my soul would smile. Coming home was so good, every time.

Here in the wilds of suck-ass Michigan, I've never felt safe. I don't feel relief when approaching my home, I don't feel calm. Instead, I feel a stiff numbness. Dry eyed and balled throat...I steel myself everyday to live here. We hardly leave the city, we barely have the confidence to venture out, even though we hate it so much. We used to travel from Pittsburgh all of the time (though, that was before the days of the 80 claws), seek out new places, wander the city with wide-eyed joy and confidence. We'd comment on architecture, mock the signage, steal daffodils, and chat up the neighbors. We had a sense of place and a sense of contentment.

Why do we hate it here? I honestly can't put my finger on it, and we have tried to adjust. I swear to you, we've tried to woo this damn pseudo-city. We've tried to develop a place for ourselves, to feel at home, but we never have. It's a quiet desperation, a quiet longing, so when I drive back to see the Pittsburgh skyline, I often have to pull over because of the tears in my eyes.

Now, I identify home with people.

There are people in my life who give me that sense of comfort, that deep sense of knowing and being known. People who make me feel like I'm coming home. No vigilence, no pretense, just a quiet calm.

~take off your shoes and relax into the deep cushion of my heart~

Monday, March 14, 2005

Not the nice one

I realized suddenly last week that of Alexis and I, she's the nice one. I told this to Alexis, Cy and Val over mouthfuls of pink prime rib and pink chick wine, and I expected a different reaction...

Vehement denial would have been nice.

Not that Alexis is mean, you understand, but that I always have identified myself as a "nice" person. Fairly likeable, un-offensive...occasionally humorous. This turns out to be a mistaken identity.

So, all of those attributes I thought would appear charming individually - rudeness, abrasiveness, loudness, gassiness - when taken in combination, make me a boor. Not a bore or a boar, mind you, nor even a Boer.

I am a boor...

as in: boorish,
as in: get out of my way,
as in: you're not backing up fast enough,
as in: be quiet so I can hear myself,
as in: comfortable with your idiocy, are you?,
as in: did you hear my burp in the back?,
as in: I could break you like a twig,
as in: carry my things,
as in: why are you still talking?,
as in: I'm sorry, I chose not to pay attention to your whining

I really don't know why it took me so long to figure it out.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Just passing through

I'm still feeling the affects of both jet-lag and sea/land legs. The latter of which is manifesting through a sort of listing to one side.

I feel much, much heavier on my right, and find myself leaning way over against a wall or an arm rest - viewing the world (screen) from a 25 degree angle. It's as if all of my beans have concentrated on the right, and my left is full of fluff and miracles. I will need some sort of adaptive anti-gravitational device that I plan to build from ace bandages and plastic sheeting.

The jet-lag is also kicking my butt. I think I'm getting older, and am not as spry as I once was. I am proposing, then, different flight patterns for those of us over thirty...we should only travel WEST. West is the good direction - you get to sleep in upon arrival.

Therefore, a round-trip ticket from Detroit to Sacramento would now go like this:

Detroit to Sacramento (for to eat the oranges)
Sleep in.

And Back...
Sacramento to Tokyo (for some sushi and a quick round with a soaking tub)
Sleep way in.

Tokyo to London (to stock up on tea)
Don't sleep - it's London.

London to New York (to get a knish)

New York to Detroit
Arrive fresh as a thirty-year-old daisy.

Easy, right?

The world is round for a reason.

Monday, March 07, 2005

New crush

It's true. Aren't we all secretly in love with Super Nanny?


Use the off-the-hip technique.
I promise to learn my lesson this time.

Dreams do tell all

Ah, the semester starts again...and my stress is manifesting in my dreams:

Alexis and I were standing on a hotel balcony, looking out over a vast city. I saw the far-off sky implode and reform into a black ring of cloud. There was fire and crashing, really bible-horror movie stuff, and buildings began to collapse in the distance. I grabbed Alexis and ran as fast as I could towards space, openness, anything. We made it to the ground floor, and there was a center courtyard with, fairly flimsy stone tables. I screamed "Get under the table! Get under the fucking table!" And people dove for cover...and I stopped my own dream to berate myself for not finding better shelter. I don't even know what happened - I was too busy being disappointed in myself.

Not quite as good as the previous night's dream when I won an ultimate fighting match against Mr. Das by kneeing him in the 'nads. Do other girls have dreams of ball-crushing? I've never fought like this in a dream before, but perhaps my fighting technique is stuck in the 3rd grade, when that act was called out from the sidelines as a viable and crowd-pleasing option.

Alright, I admit, I've never been in a fight - 3rd grade or otherwise - but if I'd been, I'd probably have attempted to take down my opponent with a withering glare. And perhaps a dismissive flounce. Then I'd go for the 'nads.

Friday, March 04, 2005

It should be a team effort

My mother and I were poking at the sodden center of a Cinnabon when they called my name.

We had leisurely wandered into the Sacramento airport, read about the art installations (including a 23 foot pile of luggage called "Samson"), and sat down to our second cup of coffee and the aforementioned pastry as my plane was boarding.

Luckily, the Sacramento Airport is fairly small, and my gate was nearby, because they were just about to close the door to the jetway as I ran up, clutching my bag, laptop, jacket and burrito salad.

You see, I had misinterpreted my flight information, seeing 11:00am, and thinking that was when my flight left, but, no. My departure time was cleverly hidden in the upper-left hand corner...

...under the staple.

This, my friends, is very good evidence why I am not only poorly qualified to solve problems in other people's lives, but need some help handling my own.

(Perhaps I'll blame it on the continued gentle swaying - my brain says that the Las Vegas Airport is rocking continually back and forth as I sit quietly. The slot machines are pinging and whirring in the background, and I look up from my screen and realize: We Americans truly are an ugly lot.)

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

A siren's call

Funny thing - I'm living on a boat.

Not just any boat, a houseboat in the central valley delta outside of Stockton, California. My mother's houseboat, to be exact, looking out over cormorants and pelicans, and filled with three computers, a 14-year-old dog, and a significant collection of liturgical music. But of course...

That's not the funny thing.

At night, when it rains, and in the day as the wind blows, the boat rocks and rocks. It's a sort of soft chaos, a ghostly galleon, a pontoon cradle, making it difficult to emphasize or gesticulate without staggering.

That's not the funny thing either.

What's funny is when I step off the boat, up the deck and out to do business in the real, solid world...The world I trusted, the world I thought I knew, the world I live in, it now rocks. The same sort of gentle roiling I feel on the delta, I feel while sitting in a Vietnamese restaurant, or buying bread, or scamming wireless, or merging onto Rt. 5 - all of it in constant motion. It makes it hard to concentrate, and I think I sound stupider than I usually do. My head is so busy overcompensating, there's room for little else.