Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Done Dirt Cheap

Yesterday I wrote in my journal again.

I only bring it up because it's kind of a big deal.

Sometime last June I bought myself a 9.5x6 inch notebook. Just a regular notebook from the drug store, nothing fancy. I picked blue because it reminds me of the ocean. I vowed to carry it around with me every day and write down all of the things I overheard or thought of or was told or read and thought were funny or awesome or deep or ridiculous. My first several entries include the following lines:

"I'm so hungry I'm afraid my stomach is going to climb out my mouth and start digesting peoples shoes."

"For the first two years I lived in New York, I felt like my friends and my family were in Los Angeles, living my life without me. And I was trapped in the city with no life at all."

Us: She looks like a
A: midget.
T: someone who's had a few kids.

A: We're going to hell in a big yellow school bus. You're driving, I'm holding the map.

And my personal favorite:

"Is my eye twitching? Because that's how I feel about that."

I loved my little journal. I carried it every day and I wrote in it constantly. I often started blogs in the journal, finishing them online. I knew the little notes I made would be used at some later date, little treasures tucked away for safe keeping, the way a quilter might stash bits of pretty cloth for a quilt she hasn't thought of making yet. Then, about four weeks into my journal-keeping, I wrote in it for work.

You're probably thinking, So? So what? You wrote in it for work, no big deal.

But it is a big deal. Because then it became a "work" notebook and I started using it exclusively for work. I could no longer separate my personal thoughts from my work thoughts and so I had to dump it. I replaced it with my sales book, something I absolutely cannot be without and am able to take notes in.

Yesterday I took it back. I took my journal back and I wrote it in and I wrote dirty things that would make your eyes pop out. I wrote about dogs who vomit and dogs who eat vomit. I wrote about taking photographs of dead animals I find on the street. I even wrote about ... MY PERIOD. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote.

And it felt. So. Good.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

An Open Letter

Dear Project 365+:

I just want to apologize to you for dumping you like a stinking piece of poo. I hope I didn't hurt your feelings. The thing is, I still really like you. I mean, I like you, like you. I think you're the coolest. It's just... I've been really busy. And, I know, I know. You'll say, "But it only takes about five seconds to take a photo and write a blurb about it!" The thing is, it takes way more than five seconds. It takes at least thirty minutes to write the blurb, and if I want a photo to write about then I have to haul my camera around all day, and as it is, I'm already breaking my back with all the other stuff I have to carry around for my j-o-b. Did you know that part of my j-o-b requires that I drag around a heavy suitcase and carry a heavy shoulder bag too? In addition to my purse? And since it's gotten cooler, I'm dragging the heavy suitcase, the shoulder bag and the purse either while wearing a heavy coat, or carrying a heavy coat because I got too sweaty to wear the heavy coat.


As a result? I've had to ditch unnecessary items. And I'm sorry, Project, but a camera is unnecessary. As are the following treasured items that have been dumped because of all the heavy shit I have to carry every day:

1. Chap stick
2. Hand Lotion
3. Pocket Mirror
4. Good Luck Charm
5. Extra Pair of Panties

So, basically, I didn't dump you, Project. I love you. I just dumped your baggage. Maybe one day we'll be together again, but that one day? Only God knows when that will be.


Friday, October 23, 2009


Michael is making me sit here. He's forced me to sit here and type. I tried to come up with some really good excuses, reasons why I'm too tired, it's too hard, I don't remember any of the stories I wanted to write, I have nothing to say, it's not like anyone is going to read this anyway. But he sat me on the couch with the laptop on my lap, just the way I like it, a cat on one side of me and a cup of tea at my elbow. Then he said: "Just START."

This sucks so much I can't even tell you. I'm just typing words here so that I don't have to look at a blank page because looking at a blank page is worse than typing a random string of words that no one gives a fuck about. Including me.

I think I might be a little depressed.

Or maybe it's just writer's block.

Or it's writer's block caused by depression. Or maybe depression caused by writer's block.

Did you hear about the 7 year-old-girl in Florida? It's terrible. And whatever happened to the woman who ate her three-week-old infant's brains? And that 23 year-old who was accused of murdering her 3 year-old daughter? What really got me about that was when the little girl first disappeared, her grandmother, the 23 year-olds mother, told the cops that her daughter's car smelled like rotting meat, as if there'd been a body in the trunk. Then, when the little girl was found dead, Grandma changed her story and said that what she'd meant to say, what the car really smelled like was rotting pizza.

Rotting pizza? Really?

My neighbor died on Tuesday morning. She was a lovely woman, very sweet and cheerful. I was planning on making her a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving and a peach pie for Christmas. She'd lived in the building since the 1940's. She raised her children here. Her husband died three years ago and she'd had several heart attacks in the last couple of years. Tuesday afternoon the neighbor across the hall, a 50-something woman who grew up on the block, noticed that Mrs. Washington hadn't picked up her paper that morning. Mrs. Washington never left the paper on her welcome mat because she always met the delivery man downstairs. The paper on the mat at 5:00 p.m. was a bad sign. So Alice called Mrs. Washington. And called her again. Then Alice called our neighbor Janine, and Janine called Mrs. Henry and Miss Lawrence, and the four of them kept calling Mrs. Washington who did not answer her phone. So they called her son who lives in New Jersey. Then they called 911.

Even when someone has had a wonderful life and lived to a ripe old age and then died peacefully in their sleep, it's still sad to know they're gone. Or maybe what is sad is seeing the people who loved them, left behind. I didn't really know Mrs. Washington. I always enjoyed chatting with her on the elevator and we always smiled and visited for a minute when we saw each other in the hall, but we didn't really know each other. And yet, I feel an ache whenever I open my door and see hers and am reminded she's gone. And then I'm knocked out by the realization that I live in a building where people notice if you don't pick up your paper. They get to know your routines and your schedule. They keep an eye out for you.

While Mike was on his hiking trip, one neighbor in particular won my heart when he realized I was walking my dogs alone after dark. "You make sure I can see you from the stoop. You make sure you're in my eyesight so if anyone messes with you I can be there." I baked him cookies for his birthday last week.

I'll never forget the Christmas right before I moved to NYC. I was doing massive amounts of holiday baking and I'd made huge batches of decorated sugar cookies and decorated gingerbread cookies. I bought 15 of these really cute little felt gift bags and stuffed each one with cookies. Then I hung one on every front doorknob of each bungalow in the courtyard. When Mike and I came home from my parents house on Christmas night, our stoop looked as if Santa had paid us an extra visit. Fresh cut flowers and homemade tamales tumbled over cakes and cookies and handmade holiday cards. It was incredible. I was so touched I cried. Three months later I moved across the country and into a building where even if a girl screamed bloody hysterical murder in the hallway at 3:00 a.m., not a single person poked their head out to see what was going on.

But now? Now I live here and maybe I'll stick it out long enough so that when I leave? I'll have the pleasure of leaving a bit of my heart behind.

P.S. Mike's trick worked, you guys! I wrote a post!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

A breath in the middle of it all

Oh my gosh it feels so good to be here again.

I have been away for far too long and let me tell you, it has hurt. I'm sorry about all the snake-eats-mouse photos. I fell off The Project wagon a few weeks back and kept thinking I'd be able to pick it up again and so had all these photos laying around, photos I'd taken all on the same day, of Meph eating these four mice, and I just set them all to scheduled posts because I didn't want to disappear completely. But I disappeared anyway.

I have so many stories I want to write and so many things to tell you that I don't even know where to begin. And yet? I have no idea when I'll be able to write them all down. But it is a priority, it really is, I am terribly in love with this thing called writing.

I'm also really in love with our fabulous new apartment, which isn't so new anymore, we've been here for exactly six months now and I cannot believe how our life has changed since we've changed our space. I think it is not a coincidence.

Mike has become completely consumed with school and it is one of the most wonderful, exciting, beautiful things I've ever watched happen. I don't use those words lightly, I really don't. It really is exquisite how hard he is studying and how much he is learning and the relationships he's developing with his teachers. He's turned being a student into a career and he is advancing beautifully. He consistently earns the highest grades in his classes and sets the curve for the rest of the students. He has real conversations and debates with his teachers that cause them to ask him to stay after class because they want to talk to him more, know more about him, why he's in school, what he did before, what his plans for the future are. The other students email him and call him asking for help and advice and he tutors them happily because it helps him learn. I imagine that he is the kind of student that makes teachers glad they are teachers.

There's a story I need to write about the time I nearly killed Meph by loving him too much and how it set a red flag for Michael, the way I love by smothering. It's kind of funny and very scary and something I need to watch. It turns out there is some obsessive-compulsive in me and while it isn't a joke, it is manageable.

And that leads into a story about how I move about my home arranging and decorating and dusting and scouring how I feel as if I am moving not in my body, but my mother's body. Or Aunt Sue's body. How much I see them in me, the women before me, and how happy I feel in those moments.

I want to write about how I'm figuring out that all the things on my to-do list will eventually get done, maybe not on my timeline, but eventually. There is no need to worry. And I'm not talking about my laundry to-do list. I'm talking about my life to-do list.

I want to update you on the worms and the dog's raw diet and our CSA and our new furniture.

There are so many things I want to say.

And also? I need to catch up on what's going on with you.

I get between 30-50 unique hits a day on this website. I can only account for about 20 of my readers. That means that there are between 10 and 30 people checking out this site and I have no idea who they are. Of the 20 people I can account for, 15 have their own blogs, which I usually read consistently. But I have been a bad internet friend. I haven't been able to read anyone. But please don't feel bad because I've been an even worse personal friend.

I'm working on that.

I love you all.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Saturday, October 03, 2009


Two Headed Boy
Michael Frost, 2009
Acrylic, dog hair, pencil on canvas.
Hand-carved frame, built and carved by the artist.

Friday, October 02, 2009


Tastes like pasghetti!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Waitin', hopin', dreamin'.

Anybody who says that dogs aren't brilliant creatures with thoughts and wants and needs and hopes just like ours, has never actually spent time with a dog.

Theo nearly always finishes his food or treats or whatever we're feeding him before Valentine. As soon as his meal is done, he'll slowly, quietly creep up behind her. He'll creep and creep, closer and closer, until he gets just close enough that she lifts her lip at him. Then he'll take a small step backwards, and sit. And wait. And watch patiently, hoping, just hoping she'll walk away and leave a little bit for him. And sometimes? Sometimes she does.

Also? Don't judge me for letting my dogs slobber all over my yoga mat. I know it's gross, but it happens. Luckily those rubber mats are washable!