Wednesday, June 29, 2005

On Depression

Dogpoet is always riveting to read. His experiences are uniquely his own, but he has that gift of communication that makes us look inside ourselves, and make connections to our own experiences. By sharing himself, he exposes us all.

I have battled depression and anxiety since early childhood. If I'd had a different set of parents, I might have been on anti-depressants since I was fourteen, or Ritalin since age six. I'm glad I wasn't, and I'm especially grateful for the fantastic therapist I saw when I was seventeen, who helped me to stop torturing myself for typical coming-of-age angst, and to acknowledge the more serious events in my life. I came to realize that I was far more "normal" than I gave myself credit for; I was simply surrounded by a small-minded, uneducated, judgmental and sometimes cruel community. In a lot of ways, it really wasn't me - it was them.

I am a depressive though, make no mistake. They call it "situational depression," which simply means that I have plenty of crappy things in my life for me to be depressed about. My doctors never recommended antidepressants because my brain chemistry was showing every sign of functioning normally, given the life situations I was living through. Deaths in the family, abusive boyfriends, toxic girlfriends and sadistic acting instructors all played a role. It was when I stopped going to therapy that I exhibited self-destructive behaviors, such as not eating, or drinking to excess. As long as I kept talking things out in my appointments, I was able to remain objective about my life, and feel better about the person I was growing up to be. In this fashion, I've managed to lead what many would call a successful life.

My demons haunt me when I am alone and have no one to talk to. I might be at home, or I might be walking down the street. If I'm not talking with someone else, I'm vulnerable. It doesn't happen all the time - it doesn't even happen most of the time. It has to be triggered by something. It's usually anticipation, often of a social situation - I'm going to a party alone and am afraid nobody will talk to me, or I'm going to a new jam club and I'm afraid I'll make an ass of myself when I sing. If the fear is sufficient, something rises up from deep within me, a black tide of negative thinking, threatening to overtake me. Pure and simple fear.

Most recently, the uncertainly of my job-hopping has been sending me into fits of nervousness, making my heart pound in my chest, and I madly channel-surf the television for a distraction, or the internet. If I can't find a distraction, I can still, to this day, find myself crying over the bathroom sink, splashing water on my face, staring at myself in the mirror, wondering how my life got this way. Reminding myself that it has always been this way, that I have always been a failure, spiraling downward into self-loathing, my feet stinging from pins placed in my toe shoes by mean twelve-year-olds, hearing echoes of cruel playground laughter ringing in my ears...

And then it ends. Just like that. I look at myself in the mirror and say Oh, please, you're doing it again, just stop it! I know I'll get another job, and in the meantime, there's unemployment. My expenses are low, and I'm going to be fine. I'm being ridiculous, and I can laugh about it. I look at my arms in my sleeves, remembering why I picked out what I am wearing that morning. I look at the dirt in the corners of the shower stall that needs cleaning, and trot out to the kitchen for a paper towel. I'm back to normal.

At some point I call my Mom and say "I had one of those days today."

"Oh, honey," Mom says. "You ok?"

"Yeah," I'll say, "I just really hope I get another job."

"You will," she'll invariably say. And then we talk about other things.

Often I'll take a few minutes to just stand still and say out loud the things that my therapists helped me come up with: "I'm not afraid of you anymore!" to my self-doubts, to my grade-school tormentors, to the imagined specter of death that took my grandpa from me at thirteen, to my screaming, red-faced gym teacher, to the creepy old man in my neighborhood who asked me to take my shirt off when I was ten, to the pack of dogs that chased me, snarling and barking, on my bike for several blocks when I was nine. "You can't hurt me and you never will again!"

Sometimes I'll say "I don't need you anymore!" to my self-doubts, which once kept me from trying dangerous stunts that kids used to dare me to do, eagerly anticipating the good laugh they'd have when I fell out of the tree. My feelings of fear of the unknown were once useful to me... but now, they are obstacles.

Don't get me wrong - it took until I was 30 years old to be able to do this.

At least once a day, I stop in front of my altar to the Goddess, and touch the talismans that I have made over the years, reminders of my strength, my determination, my belief in myself, and my blossoming faith in the larger world that maybe, just maybe, there aren't monsters waiting around every corner, waiting for me to slip and fall, so they can have a good laugh. Maybe there never were. Perhaps I was always stronger than I realized. I am out-growing the victim mentality. I reach for the Goddess to remind myself that there is a warrior inside me, an Amazon and a queen. My fear crumbles to dust and blows away on the gentle winds of faith.

Hope, not fear.

Two things define my pathology: I am in the habit of suppressing my emotions, and when something does touch me, I feel my emotions more strongly than most. When someone hurts me, rather than strike back, I immediately swallow the rage before it gets expressed, and withdraw in some fashion. I am not sure when I first developed this behavior pattern, but I have been unable to break it completely, and may never do so.

I have gotten better at expressing emotions as they come, but I still suppress at times. Thankfully, the times I instinctively repress are usually in either professional situations, or in situations where I don't know someone very well, such as on the subway or the highway. In these two situations my instinct becomes a benefit. I will likely never have a problem with road rage, office insubordination, or smarting off to a gunman in the East Village. I am also the perfect person to work in customer service. No matter how much a customer screams at me over the phone, I will never reveal anything but a calm demeanor and an honest desire to make things better.

And at thirty-three, if a customer screams and insults me to the point that my voice breaks with a threat of tears, they know they have gone too far... and they apologize. Granted, this doesn't happen often, but when it has, accountability is held. This isn't the playground anymore.

Recently, I read an article about Cyclothymia, which is a very mild form of Bipolar Disorder. You still experience mood swings, but not to the point of suicide. The article's author suggests that too much situational depression can cause the brain to adapt to the stressed state, and be unable to stop functioning in this manner even when things brighten up. In other words, there is the possibility that situational depression can lead to endogenous, clinical depression if it goes on too long.

After twenty-one years of ups and downs, I admit this could be a possibility in my case, but I'm not ready to go there just yet. I did a trial of Paxil in May of 2003 when my company forced me to commute from Manhattan to White Plains, and I had an immediate need to get over my fear of inter-city trains. (Post-traumatic stress - that's another essay.) I was fascinated by the blunting of my fear instinct, but disgusted by the peripheral nerve side-effects. However, the meds did a great job at teaching me how to better handle fear and uncertainty. In the past, if I had found myself on the wrong train, speeding off to God knows where, I would have stayed in my seat, too embarrassed to admit I'd made a mistake, paralyzed, heart pounding, until I hyperventilated and someone called 911. On the Paxil, however, because my fear was dulled, my logic took over, and I was able to seek out a conductor when I realized I was on the wrong train, who calmly showed me where and how to transfer, and I completed my journey as though nothing had gone wrong, only 15 minutes late for work. Nobody noticed.

This experience and the realization of my power over my fear changed my life. I have treated virtually every new situation in my life different since then. Once I connected my shame of being seen as a screw-up with my inability to ask for directions, I wiped it out of my mind. There were no demons waiting to humiliate me when my inadequacies were revealed. This was a simple mistake that any adult could make. Indeed, I was not the only lost passenger on that train. I connected this with many other "mistakes" I had made in my life, and opportunities I had passed by for fear of screwing things up. There are a lot of assholes in the world who enjoy seeing others in pain, and I'd known plenty of them. Suddenly, they lost their power. One demon effectively slain.

Eventually I stepped off the meds, but since that time I have ridden not just the Metro North but the Long Island Railroad, New Jersey Transit, and an Amtrak. I haven't had a single "attack." And I actually enjoy telling the story of getting on the wrong train. It's pretty funny, in retrospect.

My father's work as a clinical neuropsychologist spurred him to develop the terms "Realistic Despair" and "Unrealistic Despair." As I understand these terms, Realistic Despair involves tangible, real-world things that anyone would realistically be depressed about. The death of a loved one. The loss of a pet. The contraction of serious illness that you may have to live with for the rest of your life. It is perfectly normal and natural to experience despair in these situations. It could be something like the dissolution of your company, or the loss of a beloved home. A person doesn't just "get over" these things - they will be experiencing periods of grief for a long time. In some instances, for the rest of their life, these feelings will resurface from time to time, and they may have to deal with it all over again. This is situational depression.

Unrealistic Despair, however, involves extreme statements such as "Nobody will ever love me" or "No matter what I try, I will fail at everything." Even these types of thoughts are experienced by normal people at one time or another - who at 15 hasn't looked at their braces-filled, acne-covered face and felt that they would never be loved? Who hasn't screamed in frustration that any further effort toward achieving anything is hopeless? Many of us feel these things from time to time - but the feelings fade. Pathological, unrealistic despair is when a person feels this way all the time, every day of their lives. This is endogenous depression.

I believe that it is possible for some people to choose to be happy, as Dogpoet mentions, but I am also of the firm belief that not everyone can, and that even those of us who can will never be able to sustain it indefinitely. Life is both beautiful and horrible. Life is unpredictable. Fear will immobilize us from time to time. Sadness will result from the loss of loved ones, and may stay with us for years. Human life is a roller-coaster, and despair comes and goes. How we deal with it, and how effective our support systems are, makes the difference between anxiety and mania, between sadness and suicide, between a person who says they'd like to kill someone and a person who commits murder. Medication is essential for some, and medicating is never an easy choice. I applaud those who have the courage to get the help that they need. But many others of us are simply dealing as best we can, and failing often, at working through the nightmares of life.

Dogpoet's post is a reminder to me that I have to remain aware of myself, and continue to seek help, like he did, when I catch myself sliding down that slope again. It is also a reminder that I have a right to be sad about the losses in my life, and that fear of the unknown is natural, as long as I don't let it control me. Of course, his situation is not mine, but I am moved to look inside myself, acknowledge myself, and start taking better care of myself in the same way he has. Thank you, Dogpoet.

Right now, a lot of things are going well for me. I am not out of the woods yet. I can see the edge, but I'd better not run for it. I've gotten as far as I have by stepping slowly, carefully and bravely forward, day by day. I have to remember to continue this slow, steady pace to my future, whatever it may hold. Last week, while meeting with my women's spirituality group, I stated my ongoing prayer request for "temperance and compassionate restraint." I'll know when the time is right to party. Not just yet.

Postcript: I just want to be clear: Tom Cruise is a moron.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Guilty as Charged

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

Another Meme!

She knows I'm a sucker for anything musical...

List your current six favorite songs, then pick six other people to do the same

{I don't have an IPod this is what i've most recently downloaded.}

1. "Stormy Weather" by Lena Horne
2. "Ah Leah" by Donny Iris
3. "Lost in the Stars" by Tony Bennett
4. "Our Lips Are Sealed" by the Gogos
5. "La Vie En Rose" by Edith Piaf
6. I just bought "Point of Faith", an album by Aeone. Celtic New Age Amazingness.

I don't think I have the heart to tag anyone. I did some memes recently and don't want to piss anyone off...

I'll just invite all of you to ask yourself: why are you drawn to the songs you are? Do they remind you of someone or someplace from your past? Do they represent a side of you that you'd like to show more of? Or is the singer just really hot?

"Point of Faith" is mind-blowing. If you're into New Age or Irish Music, if you're Irish, if feminine spiritualty intrigues you, or if you just dig lush, deep grooves, I highly recommend it.

Personal Essay Writing 101

Last Saturday I took a 7-hour long class from Gotham Writers Group. I wish it had cost about half what I'd paid for it, but I'm glad I went.

I met a lot of nice folks. Nobody in the class was talentless. In fact, I was very impressed with everyone's work. Some were eerily good.

It was a group of about 15 women and three men. The women were all well dressed, friendly, and generally really cool people with normal lives, jobs and families. The men, however, perhaps since they were in such a minority, seemed to be characters.

One of them appeared to have a mild disability. He was rather quiet, but not shy. He practically doubled over his desk to read aloud, and took off his glasses to do so. He spoke very softly, but wrote very poignantly. One snippet of an essay he shared with us had to do with acting out while in the hospital. He described the act of spitting up his food as defiant. I can only imagine how much time this gentle young man must have spent in hospitals, and how he must have been treated by New York City nurses, many of whom, sadly, do not have the best of bedside manners. He talked about throwing himself out of the bed, lying on the floor, wondering if anyone would help him back up, and referring to the difficulties one must endure "in the line of duty." I wish I had gotten this young man's name. I will be on the lookout for his work.

The second guy was a typical college white boy, frat-friendly haircut, black shirt and jeans, sexy strong hands and a handsome face, which was slow to smile. He barely spoke at all. I wondered if he felt disappointed in his classmates. His essay snippets were amusing, but he didn't really write from the heart. I hope he learns to plumb the depths of his feelings, although everything about him screamed sport-watching, emotion-avoiding male. I hope I have misinterpreted him.

The third guy was a Doctor with a name so stereotypically Jewish, it was like meeting an Italian named Sal Santorini. This man has a LOT TO SAY. He touched a nerve with me - he seems highly opinionated and judgmental. I thought he was a lawyer at first. Indeed, he reminds me so much of my divorce attorney I nearly asked him in the hallway if they knew each other. He is in his fifties and has lived through a great deal, and has probably been holding in years of opinions on many social issues. I think this guy is looking to spew - and I wish I had encouraged him to start a blog. Talk about a great read! From what I could see, he's a liberal in all the best ways, albeit a bit of a know-it-all. Although I find those types irritating in person, I love reading their stuff.

I had lunch with a stunningly beautiful young girl with caramel skin and shimmering pink lipstick, curly ethnic hair dangling around her shoulders. Like me, she has explored several possible career paths, including some which involved some soul-selling. She is now attempting to follow her heart. We exchanged phone numbers at the end of the class, and I'm hoping to see her again at a free workshop this Wednesday. I recognized a need for community in this gal. She has friends, but I think she needs someone to talk about writing with. Do I ever know that feeling. Maybe I can pay something forward here.

I felt very different from the other students in the class, as I got the distinct impression that none of them have ever seriously studied writing. I minored in it. I've been blogging for a year and a half, and using my blog as a workshop of sorts. I've submitted to a magazine and got awesome feedback. Plus I have a lot of experience with other types of writing. For me this class was very validating, as I got positive feedback, and was able to ask some more advanced questions of the instructor, but I didn't really feel any doors opening inside of me. That's ok, I wasn't really expecting that anyway. I did learn terms like "nutgraf" and "lede," and being a Virgo, I like structure, so I appreciated the tips on how to break down essays and analyze them in parts.

The class overall was very entry-level. In the evaluations, I suggested they hold an advanced section of this class, to address re-writes, and more sophisticated issues of essay-writing, such as how to write about an issue you are passionate about without it becoming a rant.

I'll post the first essay that I was commanded to write as an exercise. I've corrected it grammatically, but it is otherwise unaltered. Surprisingly, I had no problem pulling this out of my ass on a moment's notice. I guess I'm used to it. Isn't that just a step away from Blogging?

Exercise #1: My Name

I am named for Deirdre of the Sorrows, who, for a brief time, was Queen of Ulster. She's most famous for the lament she sang when the king, after a cunning trick, viciously beheaded her lover and his two brothers, whereupon she leapt into the open grave and burst into a keening, the death cry of Irish women, which she put into words of mourning. The king then married her. During her reign, she was said never to have spoken, smiled, or raised her head, hence, Deirdre of the Sorrows. Not long after this, she threw herself from a cliff, committing suicide in a most dramatic form, the only escape she knew.

My parents had no idea who they were naming me for - just that she was once considered the most beautiful woman in the world. I was not happy with them when I found out the story.

In high school I went as Didi, taken from "Waiting for Godot," although nobody knew this, so rather than appearing cultured and well-read, I appeared ditzy. I switched to Dee once I left home for college. I like nicknames. They make me feel closer to people.

I have grown so accustomed to mis-pronunciations of my name that, about two years ago, I began to introduce myself as Deirdre - the most common error. My name is actually Deidre, but what the hell. By the age of 31, I had become very comfortable with - even proud of - the poor woman for whom I am named. I studied and researched her, and read many accounts of her life and death.

Today, on official documents, I am Deidre, but I call myself Deirdre, the great-great-granddaughter of that ancient queen. I, unlike her, choose my fate, and need fear no kings with heavy swords or absolute rule. (This drew twitters from the class.) I have known heartbreak, but have never felt the need to kill myself as a result. I'm not the most beautiful woman in the world, but I don't need to be. My comfort with my namesake rests in my vision of myself as a more evolved version of her. I hope she is proud.

Frankly, this wasn't much of a challenge, but I don't think it was designed to be. I think it was just a way to get us started and introduced to each other.

So the conclusion is that I'm glad I took the class, since I got some good things out of it, but I wish I'd paid $75 for it, rather than $150.

Monday, June 27, 2005

It's All About the Pants

You know how sometimes
When you're walking through the office
Or down the street
You can feel people looking at your ass?

It's like two holes burned into your cheeks
like lasers

Well today,
I wore red pants.
Flaming Lipstick Red Silk Shantung Cigarette pants
With a black oxford shirt
and black pumps

I don't feel a thing.

Just now,
Coming around a cubicle,
The fat sack of shit in the office two doors down
Who has lasers for eyes
Started to make eye contact.
His eyes drifted down...
and then darted away.
He scuttled out of sight.

I guess it takes guts to stare at a bad girl's ass
But it's no sweat to stare down good girls.

If you can't beat 'em,
take the fun out of it.

The writing style of today's entry was inspired by Nicky of the vibrating pants, who I'm positive looked far hotter than all those other boys in muscle shirts and beads.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Wow, something I did MATTERED

I am really proud now that I signed that petition.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

UPDATE: New Pics!



Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Fenway Park Posted by Hello

Where's the Sox Pic!?

I know, I was supposed to post a pic of me in a Red Sox Jersey. I'll do that tonight. I just have had so much on my mind besides last weekend. It was a fun weekend though. Highlights:

I spent Saturday lunchtime at Suffolk Downs. Lord those animals were beautiful. I've never been to a live track before, and I just loved it. We got to see all the horses up close before each race, and I was excited to see a young female jockey winning most of her races. It wasn't too long ago that the idea of women as jockeys was, well, frowned upon. Now a young blonde gal is whuppin' ass. Yee-haw!

I spent Saturday night at the Red Sox game, which was the surprise Father's Day gift for G's dad. My own dad and I called each other several times during the game, just to compare notes. Also a really fun time, doing something which, a number of years ago, I never imagined I'd enjoy. Fenway Park is beautiful. It's small, which means those seats are PACKED, which is so much more fun than sitting in a half-filled enormous stadium. The Fenway Frank is almost as tasty as New York's Hebrew Nationals, but really nothing can touch a Yankee stadium dog. The most impressive thing about Fenway though is the surrounding neighborhood. It's surrounded by really cute sports bars, restaurants, a little shopping, and nice, normal, family folks walking about. It's very clean, very well taken care of, and seemed very safe. After the game ended, the crowd spilled out into the bars and clubs, and the nightlife was humming.

Sox fans, for the most part, are very civilized. (Of course I didn't mention that I was from New York, but I have a feeling that might not have gone over so badly... I was there, after all.) G's Mom pointed out that we were surrounded by hundreds of fans - and the team was losing - and we didn't hear one four-letter word! Even the kids were well-behaved, really enjoying the game and not having food fights or running all over the place. The people sitting next to us were friendly and offered to take a family picture. The vendors are smiley and good-natured, and they wear these freakishly bright yellow T-shirts, and you can see them moving about the crowds like bumble-bees in a field of poppy-red Sox shirts.

I missed my Daddy though. It was really sad for me, not being with him this year. As much fun as I had in Boston, my heart was in Illinois. I'd have loved to take him to Wrigley Field this year. I virtually never see my parents on Mother's or Father's Day; I just always send cards and flowers and small gifts. This year though, I was yearning to go home. We just couldn't swing the outrageous plane fares. We decided we'd wait until the family party this weekend to see each other, although it's not really the same. I'm hoping Friday night we can go out for a nice dinner and I can give him the sappy card I got.

I spent Sunday riding bicycles with G and his Dad. His Mom wasn't feeling up to it; she has tired ankles. I rode her bike. It has a wide seat, one hand brake, and the back wheel brakes by pedaling backward. It's got fenders and it's bright green. It looks like an overgrown kid's bike, which is a good thing, since I have never ridden an adult bike in my life. The last time I straddled a bicycle I was in junior high school. That's over twenty years ago. I was a little scared, but I loved it. The faster we went the more steady I felt on those wheels, although G's dad said if I was driving I'd be taking a breathalizer for all the weaving back and forth. I was very wobbly, but I didn't go careening off into the creek or take out any other bikers, so I did ok. We biked along a beautiful tree-lined path through Lexington Mass. Of course my butt has been bruised and sore ever since, but I was loving the great cardiovascular workout. I need more of that in my life. Cardiovascular workouts I mean. Not sore bruised butt. Anyway.

After the ride we all pigged out on mediocre Chinese buffet food.

For now, miscellaneous odds and ends of crap:

My "best friend" Glamgirl was supposed to be flying in from Korea this week. I've heard nothing from her. She might be here, she might not. She might call me at 2 or 3 this afternoon demanding my presence this evening, or not. Most likely not. After having this girl in my life for almost a decade, I'm used to this. I'm her bitch, she knows it, and when she says "Get on the train" I ask "How fast?" I put up with it because the amazing talks we have are worth it. And I'm hoping she'll ask me to be her maid of honor someday. Right now I'm hoping I'll get to see a Broadway show with her, or go dancing at some glitzy nightclub. That's all she does when she comes to town: see shows and go to dance clubs. Sometimes a little shopping if she likes the collections at Dolce and Gabbana or Gucci. I can't help but love tagging along.

I CAN'T GET MY HAIR CUT. The salon near my house in only open after business hours on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and even then they close at seven. I have to cross the Tappan Zee bridge at about 5:30 every evening. I virtually can NEVER make it on time. I tried to get an appointment with Peter, ready to fork over the plastic for his expertise, but he is BOOKED SOLID. At this point, I'm looking into salons in Norwalk, which is where I will be with my parents on Saturday morning. My hair is driving me SO crazy, it is too long and summer is here and I want it cut CUT CUT OFF OFF OFF. *pant pant*

I have a friend who works in Stamford and I'm hitting her up for salon advice. She works in an office full of Connecticut girls. Wish me luck.

I have officially submitted applications for the School in New Jersey and Federal Financial Aid. I'll need about 8 grand. Now I wait.

Seven more days left at this job.

Fourteen days until I fly home to get my car.

How much longer until I can get my friggin' hair cut?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Happy New Year: 2005

For me, the new year doesn't really begin until Spring anyway. I'm a little late this year even for me, but then, well, it's been quite a year.

Nearly one year ago, shortly before my birthday, I spent a week at my Grandmother's old apartment in Jersey City, helping my parents box up her belongings. This was a very emotional time for me, and led to some revelations concerning my own life, what I wanted out of it, and changes which I needed to make. My Grandpa's piano was the catalyst for this - an item worth very little monetarily, but priceless to me, on several levels.

Reading back on the long, emotional essay I blogged at that time, this passage leapt off the screen:

At some point I wiped my eyes, which surprisingly weren’t red or puffy, and went into the living room where Mom and Dad were fussing with moving boxes. I picked up a large amethyst crystal with two small tubes sticking out the side, some knick-knack from God knows where. “Isn’t this a lamp?” I asked Mom. “No, it’s a geode,” she said. I persisted. “But look - there are holes in the side. I think those are connectors for a lamp apparatus.” “I don’t know,” she sighed, “maybe it is. Put it somewhere.” “I’ll keep it,” I said.

I looked at the piano. The piano did not look back at me. It sat there, shiny, old, damaged. My parents ignored me. I fingered the amethyst crystal, knowing there was a light bulb somewhere inside it.

And then, a few paragraphs down:

...a charge has been laid.

No more surviving. It's time to live. With or without New York, which has been a playground, boot camp, and the biggest educational institution anywhere. If I can't afford to live here, I'll move. If I can, I'll stay. But wherever I live next... I'm staying for awhile.

I have reached a turning point in my life. I believe that from now on I will live my life very differently. I will not prostitute myself again. I can't afford to.

That amethyst crystal has never left my immediate living quarters since I brought it home that weekend. It sits in a place of honor on the altar to the Goddess which I maintain in my living room. It sits in the North, the direction of Earth, representing groundedness, the comfort of the Mother (pun definitely intended), solidity, and, being an Amethyst, spiritual awareness, clarity, and intuition. At some point this past winter I placed a golden Sacajawea dollar on top of it as a symbol of abundance, hopefully encouraging even more of those vibrations and qualities to flow through me.

Well, let's see how different things are for me, almost a year after I made those revelations:


I am legally separated from my husband. Last April, when Grandma died, I was working at job I hated. Recently my position was eliminated, which is a relief to me, but let’s face it: I’m unemployed, and living on severance, which is going to run out in four months. I have no job prospects as yet. I will be filing for divorce in November. I may have to move in February. I do not know what I want to be when I grow up. I do not know where I will be living six months from now. I do not know if I will even still be in New York. I have no savings, and plenty of debt. I have no car. If I have to leave this apartment I will likely have to sell or donate all my furniture.


1) I am merely days away from being legally, finally divorced.
2) I am temping for a decent salary
3) I just mailed off my application to Massage Therapy School, and have begun the process of applying for a student loan as well.
4) I am living with G, who has lifted the burden of basic living expenses.
5) I have significantly reduced my debt.
6) My furniture and other precious belongings are safely stowed in a climate-controlled storage space.
7) I have accumulated savings

*blink blink*

And the best part of all - the part I haven't told anyone yet:

8) My parents just bought a new car, and are giving me the old one!

This happened rather quickly and spastically - I found out over the weekend that they had traded in Mom's old Buick LeSabre for a newer model. I kicked and screamed when I found out they hadn't even thought of whether or not I could use it, and Daddy dearest went straight back to the used car dealership. This dealership, after 30 years of knowing my dad, has agreed to sell him back the car for the trade-in amount, which is less than two grand. Granted, that red sedan is eleven years old and has over 100,000 miles on it, but Dad kept it in tip-top condition. The only thing broken on it is the cupholders.

I'm going to fly out the week of July 12th and drive it back.

My ability to do this is evidence of the financial overhaul I have done, thanks to G. If he hadn't taken me in, I wouldn't be in New York, and I wouldn't be half as far along in my financial rehabilitation as I am. Oh, I'm not secure yet - still in debt, still not really gainfully employed, and utterly without health insurance, but I'm close. Oh, man, I am this close. I can smell the independence. I can taste the freedom. I can almost see the future.

New Year's Resolutions, 2005

1) Pay off my first student loan in full (current ETA: October 11th)
2) Resume my Maiden Name (Current ETA: July 1st)
3) Become a licensed Massage Therapist. (Holy Crap. I said it.)
4) Build up my savings
5) Increase my debt payments
6) Submit articles to at least four magazines by year end
7) The minute I have health insurance, get to the dentist. (I should blog about that. It might push me harder.)
8) By the end of the year, two things:
a. Strategize how to eliminate the last of my loan debt
b. Begin preparing to buy a place of my own.

Actually this sounds more like a Mondo Beyondo list, but I'm determined. Unless something serious happens to derail me - and if it does, I'll deal with it as best I can - I see no reason why I can't accomplish this. I am determined to never, ever allow my life to be dictated by my fear. Not anymore. Never again.

So my motto for 2005 is:

Hope, not Fear

This is not the first time I have typed those words. Live from hope, not fear. Work from hope, not fear. Maybe, just maybe, from hope springs belief? And from belief...? Well, some would say that anything is possible if you believe.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Monday, June 20, 2005

The Good a Few People Can Do

Last Friday night I went to a lovely little ice cream parlor in one of the smaller towns outside Boston - I think Concord. The ice cream there is aparently a local brand, which was utterly scrumptious. There's a lot to the theory that New Englanders know ice cream better than the rest of us. Rich, creamy, flavorful, tasting like all-natural, even though I doubt it was. Watching G and his dad scrap over the last bites of banana split is priceless. The two of them revert to about age 10 when they are together. They keep each other young. His Mom and I roll our eyes and enjoy the show.

At some point, a candle-lit procession passed by the window of the ice cream shoppe. When we had finished our treats, we went to see what was going on. It was just a bunch of normal people in normal clothes. I had been hoping for a historical re-enactment of sorts, but instead these folks were holding a simple candlelight vigil. We found a group of about 20 or so gathered in front of one of the many memorials in that town, holding up photos of an Asian woman, speaking very quielty, talking about Myanmar (Burma). I did a little Googling and found this article:

"The NLD -- which scored a landslide victory in 1990 elections but was never allowed to take office -- said the party had standing orders not to accept any gifts for her but to donate them to the families of the other more than 1,300 political prisoners here.

Aung San Suu Kyi's latest incarceration -- her third stint under house arrest -- began in May 2003 after her convoy was attacked in what was seen as a botched assassination attempt ordered by the junta.

Her birthday has proved a lightning rod for international criticism of the regime, an international pariah for its human rights abuses."

We were witnessing some of that international criticism. G's dad asked what good it did, and everyone seemed to feel that it did no good to the cause at all - it just made the participants feel as though they were doing something good.

Well, I beg to differ.

That woman in the photo was awarded the Nobel Prize. What good did that do?

Irish Musicians - famous for political righteousness - are writing songs about her. What good does that do?

England's report

The International Herald Tribune's report

The Voice of America's report

Scotland's report

Even the Californians pulled their heads out of their asses for this one

What good do all those newspapers do?

They raised awareness. A New Yorker with a website (that, granted, nobody reads, but still) did some Googling and learned about this issue, having known nothing about it just three days ago. Some people who care did the only thing they could do - they made me curious enough to find out why they would stand in public with candles on a chilly evening, talking about it to whoever walked by and asked. They made me give a damn, and I put it on my website. And now you're reading it.

But really, what good will that do?

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Meade

It's up to us to decide what good is done in this world. Thank God people are at least trying.

Frank reminded me of an important detail I left out: At the delightful ice cream parlour in Concord, New Hampshire, I had one scoop of Peppermint Stick and one scoop of Mocha Chip. In the same dish. And I ate them so fast, they didn't melt together. And I did NOT get a headache, because I'm just that good.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Why I Cannot Go Online The Minute I Get Home

My Little Queen Posted by Hello

Marge must have her snuggles. Pics of me in a Red Sox shirt tomorrow.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Last Word

"We believe it is God's work to practice humility, to wear tolerance on our sleeves, to reach out to those with whom we disagree, and to overcome the meanness we see in today's politics.

For us, religion should be inclusive, and it should seek to bridge the differences that separate people. We do not exclude from worship those whose opinions differ from ours. Following a Lord who sat at the table with tax collectors and sinners, we welcome to the Lord's table all who would come. Following a Lord who cited love of God and love of neighbor as encompassing all the commandments, we reject a political agenda that displaces that love. Christians who hold these convictions ought to add their clear voice of moderation to the debate on religion in politics. "

- The Reverend John C. Danforth

Blessed Be.

Disturbing Site of the Day... and Off to the Weekend

I saw this on a message board for IT techs:

(Don't ask me what I was doing on a message board for IT techs. It's a quiet day. I'm bored.)

IT techs tend to talk about all sorts of things besides IT. This particular message board is based in a pretty conservative area and they all hate PETA to begin with. I have never been a PETA person, but I have donated to the North Shore Animal League, and am in general a person who loves animals and supports Animal Rights. I've always thought of PETA as the lunatic fringe. Everyone I've ever met who was really into PETA has been unpleasant - usually very pushy and judgmental, using their activism as a way to grind some personal axe. LAWD I hate that crap.

Anyway, I have yet to see anything about this in the "legitimate" news media i.e., a regular newspaper or other such regularly-perceived-as-objective news source, so I have no idea how true this all is. Just the idea of it sickens me. I hope that some "legitimate" news source picks up this story, if for no other reason than to confirm whether or not it is a brilliant smear campaign.

I will look around for news on this on Monday. Until then, I'm putting the upsetting issue out of my mind.

Today at 3pm, I will hop into the convertible and ride up to Boston, to spend Father's day with G's parents. I won't say what the surprise is, because I once gave his Dad my URL. I'm sure he's never read my site... but just in case. ;)

Please, please, please, can we have this nice weather for just 48 more hours?

As for my Daddy, I'll be calling him on the phone from Boston. I wanted to fly to Illinois but we couldn't find a ticket for less than six hundred dollars. *Gasp*

I'll be seeing him the following Saturday anyway. Mom and Dad are driving out for another family party. Oh. Boy.

Other previews of the upcoming week: a visit from Glamgirl, an actual writing class that I paid money for, a party with my Goddess-Girlfriends, and - if I can get the appointment - a visit with Peter.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

What I Did Last Night

Last night I took a sojourn into the wilds of northern New Jersey, to Pompton Lakes, to explore a possible future.

My mother grew up in Jersey City. Ever since the 1970's, it's been an example of urban neglect. Oh, I know some will say there are some beautiful parts of Jersey City, but not this neighborhood. No matter what hour of the day, there are chemically enhanced individuals staggering in front of that old three-family house, and they are not shy. We heard gunshots in the middle of the night on several occasions during the 1980's. We knew the apartment building across the street and a few doors down was a drug house. Everybody knew it. But for 20 years nothing ever seemed to change. There were juice boxes and fast food wrappers littering the streets, and a small percentage of windows were boarded up. The last straw came in around 1990, when my four-foot-eleven, 78-year old Grandma was mugged in broad daylight, waiting for the bus at about 10am. Some kid bopped her on the head, grabbed her purse and ran. After that she lived with my parents for the duration of every summer. Years later, when I moved to New York, I noticed some small changes, indicators that a police presence had materialized and the worst of the criminals may have moved on. The residents were keeping the yards and house fronts cleaner, and younger kids were playing in the streets. It seemed safer during the day. After dark, however, it's still far from welcoming. Even the police are menacing.

Contrast this to Neptune City, where my cousins grew up. My aunt and uncle owned their own business. They built themselves a two-story house, very modern design, in about 1985. The house was on the shore of the shark river, along the south Jersey shore. The Belmar area. They and all their neighbors had pools and boats. My cousins wore very fashionable clothes. (I was still wearing hand-me-downs and clothes from Zayres.) The few times I got the opportunity to stay with these cousins were some of the best times of my life. We went to upscale shopping malls. We went to an under-21 dance club, which, at 13, I thought was heaven on earth - no such places existed in my hometown. We walked home at 10pm and didn't think twice about it. We swam and boated and flirted and just enjoyed being young. Their neighbors lived in houses just as big and fancy, and when the cop cars rolled by, they smiled and waved to us, and left us alone.

Since then I have seen some other areas of New Jersey that are even farther along the spectrum: the mansions of Wall and Deal, Asbury Park, on the brink of Gentrification, and the New Jersey Aquarium in Camden, which wasn't in nearly as bad of an area as I'd heard. I’ve seen Rutherford, which looks like any suburban American town, manicured Spring Lake, background of half the wedding photographs on the eastern seaboard, and Lambertville, the artsy twin of New Hope, Pennsylvania, where you can buy street fair clothes in stores that have air-conditioning and fitting rooms.

My recent excursion into New Jersey was to Pompton Lakes, where the Institute for Massage Therapy is located.

I have been interested in this line of work for a while now, but I’ve been letting it simmer slowly on the back burner of my mind. I'm really not a career person, in the sense that I don't believe I will ever find something that I'd like to do for the rest of my life. I have both Uranus and Pluto in my house of Career, and was once told that this means I will basically job-hop all my life. As much as I hate that... part of me doesn't hate it. As insecure as that sounds, not to mention a hell of a lot of work constantly reinventing myself, it also sounds like a lot of fun. I'm working on being more comfortable with this idea.

I've been interested in Holistic Medicine ever since I had to have some fibroids removed on the day of the 2003 blackout. That's a whole other essay, but the fact that I made it home from the hospital a mere 20 minutes before everything went black... well, I had a lot of time to ponder the many close calls in my life, and my emotional and mental state of being that co-existed with my health issues. I lived with a holistic health counselor for awhile. I have experienced wonderful results from massage therapy myself, and I have quite the interest in aromatherapy, nutrition, reflexology, and other practices that can augment western medicine. Add to that my very disillusioning experiences working in hospitals. Sprinkle on top my awareness of my own gifts of listening, feeling, and care-giving. Stir well… That's what's been simmering all this time. I'm not sure when I really first thought of it, but I keep coming back to it.

I remember saying to these guys in a bar once that I was sick of prostituting myself to soulless corporations, being paid barely-big-enough paychecks to do work that I found tedious for companies whose practices offended me to the core. When I was let go from the Siberian Work Camp, I promised myself that things would be different from now on. Well, they have been.

The company where I've been temping for the last two and a half months is a municipal bond insurer. I had no clue what that meant - I only knew that the offices are gorgeous, the company spoils its employees rotten, and the pay was sufficient. However, it didn't take long for me to learn that this company's clients are city municipalities, school districts, and hospital systems. We help them build things like a school in a crowded district of Chicago, or a new cancer wing at a hospital in Minnesota, or a new set of low-income apartments in southern California. The day I realized this I almost cried. I asked if I could be considered for permanent work there. They interviewed me once and I felt that it went well.

No dice. I have no financial background. I've been in consumer products for four years, and healthcare before that. Yes, I felt a twinge of bitterness, but after all these years in the workforce, I know how the game is played. And as great as this company may be... somehow, deep inside, I know this is not where I belong. It is, after all, still a giant corporation. I gracefully said thanks for the consideration. I'll leave on July first with happy memories, and maybe even a bit of restored faith in the good that money can do.

I'm just not really cut out for business. I've known this for years, but have been terrified to do anything about it – how could I live without those paychecks? How could I possibly take out another student loan, tripling my debts? What if I have a sudden family obligation? What if…

Well, a lot has happened. Looking at myself now, all those “what if’s” don’t apply anymore. With no rent to pay, with lots of my debts paid down, with many of my other obligations and burdens lifted... what's stopping me?

The drive down through Rockland County into Passiac County is unremarkable. Pompton Lakes itself appears quite blue collar, although I was rather impressed with the assortment of cheap dining options, the pet adoption agency, the dance studio and music studio, and the cute salon all within blocks of each other. The Institute for Massage therapy is two doors down from Jimmy the Shoe Doctor, who has the largest property on the end of the tiny block.

We parked right in front of the building. The clinic where the students practice is next door to the entrance to the school. It looks like east fourteenth street, with less traffic. I stepped over the crumbling curb and muttered "To quote Bette Davis, what a dump!" G agreed, not saying much, looking around. We were tending far more toward Jersey City than Neptune here. The streets were swept clean, but the storefronts might date back to the 1950’s. Various junior-high kids on dirt bikes hi-jinked around, looking over G’s convertible with the New York plates. “Are you sure you want to go in this place?” He asked. “Yes,” I stated unequivocally. “We came all this way, we’re going in.”

I opened the door, and inside was a stairway, looking like a run-down apartment building on the upper west side. The railing showed decades of layers of enamel paint. The carpet was dingy, the walls were painted mustard-yellow and brown. A rather bent over man in his fifties, wearing what looked like an undershirt and a pair of trouser shorts, emerged from a doorway behind the stairs and shuffled by, looking sweaty, glancing at us in mild irritation. “What a dump indeed,” G said.

I grabbed the railing and marched upstairs. The school was on the second floor. I tried levity: “We could go with the Angela Lansbury quote: ‘Welcome to the junkyard!’” G chuckled politely.

At the top of the stairs were two doors facing in opposite directions. One had a hand-typed sign that said “Institute for Massage Therapy Open House End of the Hall to the Left.” I barreled through.

Sure enough, at the end of the hall, to the left, was a small conference room. There sat the Admissions Director, a lovely woman in her forties, and three other prospective students. They were a nice bunch of people. The room was clean and comfortable, and there were bowls of pretzels and bottles of water strewn about. The AD was talking animatedly about the program, and her personal insights on various aspects of the profession of Massage Therapy.

G and I were impressed right off the bat. We asked questions about placement services, do they have a “feeder” system into area hospitals or other businesses, do they license for New York as well as New Jersey, how many clinic hours do students get, etc. The AD answered all our questions with exactly what we’d hoped to hear, and then some. She talked extensively about not rushing too quickly into practicing on the general public. She talked in detail about the insurance required for student practice versus post-licensing, and touched on basic business sense, for when the salons want to hire. The school helps you to formulate a business plan. Over 75% of their students are also holding down full-time jobs.

Then she took us to see a class.

There were about 10 students. A very energetic male instructor talked extensively about the muscles and ligaments in the hand and foot, while he demonstrated on one of the gals in the class. There was a lot of laughing and light-hearted humour regarding the Manolo Blahniks this young gal clearly favored, and a detailed explanation of the difference between Carpel Tunnel syndrome and simple Tennis Elbow. The instructor’s knowledge of anatomy seemed endless. The students seemed like a little family, joking with each other and enjoying their class. They clearly had a great rapport with the instructor and the AD. I was completely fascinated. G was too.

I felt that little shift inside my stomach again. Something was moving… and clicking. I felt warm all over. I was laughing along with them. I felt that I was already part of this group.

After we returned to the small conference room, G asked about fees. The total cost of this program shocked me – it is far lower than I had expected. I may not even have to take out a student loan, if I can get steady, well-enough paying temp work. And the total time it takes to complete the program and become certified to practice isn’t measured in years – it’s in weeks. I could conceivably be out there doing this in less than a year.

On the drive back to Rockland, G and I mused on the low rent they must have to pay for their classroom space. We talked about the fancy academic buildings featured on the websites of some of the other schools I’d been looking at, whose tuitions were thousands of dollars more. We talked about getting me a car.

G looked around at the surrounding neighborhood, and expressed a bit of concern over the thought of me driving alone out of that area. Isn’t he darling? Pompton Lakes isn’t exactly Spring Lake, but it’s not Jersey City either. I reminded him that I’d lived in New York City for the last decade. He laughed. “Never mind,” he said, merging onto the highway.

Over dinner that evening, I asked G “Would I be totally stupid not to pursue this?” His answer was a confident “Yes.”

Classes Start in July and October. I have some planning to do.

shift-shift… click.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

You are Registered for: Shameless Hussy 101

This post is to my secret online crush, who I'm sure none of my regular readers have ever heard hide nor hair of.

My Dearest Professor:

My profoundest apologies for not including you in my updated set of links. This was a gross oversight. As you are one of that exceptionally rare breed of internet users, the Straight Male Bloggers, I am horrified at my slack-assed self. I should have been more careful. My shame is compounded by the fact that I have remained linked on your blog for all this time. I humble myself before you. Not that I'm normally a submissive type, but I can be if you're more comfortable with that.

But I digress. You will notice that I have reinserted you into my link-list. I will never overlook you again, Professor. I just had my head stuck up my own ass for a few months there. But I'm feeling much better now, and I have a new hairdo. Check out my new profile pic. A bunch of gay men say it's really hot. Although I must say, my favorite picture of you is not the profile view you are currently using, although, being of your sweet face, it's not bad. I still prefer your photo from when I first found you, with your bangs dangling into your face, while you looked up at the camera. I felt like I had tapped you on the shoulder, and you turned around to see me, and smiled. (violins)

I know you have a name, but I prefer to call you Professor, because I have a thing for intellectual, nerdy, Uber-Smart Men. My crush on you is largely fueled by the knowledge that you are 10 times smarter than most of my college professors were. Well, except maybe Dr. Day who taught "Life of the Geologic Past." He once said "cool" something like 30 times in class. The students had a betting pool as to how often he'd say "cool." I'll bet you say "cool" from time to time, even though you're "Generation Y" and ought to be saying "Sweet." You're just so much more advanced than your average 24 year old. Forgive my Paris Hilton moment, but that is so hot. Like in breathe on your glasses and I'll wipe them clear with my skirt hot.

I'm sorry, that was probably too overt for you. You seem like a shy guy, and I don't want to embarrass you. The smartest guys are often shy. I know how smart you are, because I read your blog. Your sheer brilliance is indicated by the following:

1. You watch Doctor Who, and aren't ashamed to admit it. Being a longtime fan of Dr. Who myself, this is clearly evidence that you and I were made for each other. I've been watching the Doctor zip around in his Tardis since I was eleven. Maybe our first date should be in front of your TV. Do you want to see my calendar that Colin Baker autographed? I'll bring it with me when I visit. Just think of it. We can sit around your dorm room in our skivvies drinking imported beer and arguing over who was the best Romana. I'd win. I can be very persuasive. You wouldn't mind. The next morning you can make me your anti-hangover breakfast.

2. You know the history of countries other than the one you live in. I, as a typical American, had a crappy public school education, and haven't been anywhere outside the country other than Stratford Ontario, to see the Shakespeare Festival. Twice. Oh wait, I went to England for 10 days. I hit my head really hard on a low ceiling in an old castle, and bought a leather jacket. Other than that, everything I know about other countries I've had to read for myself or date someone from another country and get him to tell me about it. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get someone to talk about international socio-political history when all they want to do is get in your pants? I'm telling you, it's work. However, I'm good at it. I am now educated in such countries as Japan, Korea, England, Ireland, some parts of Canada, Israel, and Maryland. Sadly, all I know about Ireland I read in books. I know you could tell me all sorts of great stuff about Argentina, Germany and Texas. I'm especially interested in Argentina. I know all the lyrics to Evita. I could play that role anytime. And I love Argentinean wine.

3. You post things like this:

First we need to start an Xnest session. That's easy, but comes with a trick. Just run 'Xnest -ac :1' (preferably in a new ion workspace). The '-ac' option will turn off access control. This should not be necessary, but on Debian/unstable it is. To be on the safe side, make sure that you have 'X11Forwarding no' set in /etc/ssh/sshd_config (unless of course you're running a remote X server, but in that case you don't need this help anyway, do you?).

Hell, I don't know, do I? I don't know what the fuck you're talking about in 90% of your entries. That is the biggest turn-on there is. I swear to God, please wait until we're alone to talk computerese to me, because I will not be held responsible for my actions.

I've been reading your blog for around a year. I've been true to you. Not like those other girls who read you once or twice and get bored when they can't decipher your computerese. I wander the earth in search of men that are a) smarter than me AT SOMETHING and b) really cute in a swanky fedora. I'm sure none of the Canadian girls up there appreciate you like I do. I'm ready for my final exam, Professor.

You may be saying to yourself: "This girl, although hot, is clearly nuts." Well, ok, maybe a little. My friends would probably say yes, I am just this side of certifiable. But that's what you do to me. Besides, I am hands down the most fun date you'll ever have! I'm funny, I'm a good dancer, and you don't have to be. I can hold my booze and there's no type of food I won't eat. Well, except olives, and bell peppers, but we can work around that, I can feed you my olives if we go to a Tapas bar. I like all kinds of movies. I even like attending sports events, especially in shorts and halter tops. I get a lot of free beer. I like all kinds of music too. Basically whatever you're up for, I'm prepared for class. Professor.

And I promise, I can be as demure as you like in public. We can go out incognito - no gay bars at all. My blog gets lots of hits and I don't want you wondering why you're being photographed. Ok, I don't really get that many hits, but a lot of people do want to take my picture. I have this pink mini-dress that's really sweet. I mean cool. Whatever. And now that I'm straightening my hair I look like Polly-Pure Bred, so you can take me to really nice places where the waiters pull out chairs for you and they have tablecloths. I can be totally PG-13 for you.

Unless of course you'd rather get wild in Manhattan. Between your fedora and my cowboy boots we'd get tossed out of every bar in town, which is the ultimate American Party Experience. And you know, it's a lot warmer down here, which you might like, given all the glaciers in Canada that you probably have to walk over to get to class. So let me know when you're coming and I'll book a room. I know some pretty nice hotels.

Sadly, my living situation dictates that I cannot share said room with you. Although I am loaded with innuendo, I am currently in a relationship with a guy who has not only tolerated me for over a year and a half, he lets me live in his house and eat his Chee-tos and Fried Chicken Wings. I'm sure you appreciate how valuable this resource is for a tramp like me (make that reformed tramp), and wouldn't want me to jeopardize it. So I'll have to go home at the close of our evening festivities. But that's just as well, since I'm nowhere near as much fun to be around when I'm sleeping. I snore. Delicately. And really, my innuendo is better than anything explicit you'd get from most girls. (Now there's something I don't blog about!)

Ah, Professor of the dreamy eyes and the sloppy forelock, accept my humble apologies for carelessly de-linking you for a few weeks, and know that I dream of our future liaison, wherever it may be. Until then, I remain your most devoted and faithful student,


Another Dream

From Last Night:

I was at my home in Springfield, Illinois, where I grew up. I was in the front yard, and I found a baby bunny, a young sparrow not quite ready to fly, and another baby animal, the specifics of which I cannot recall. I brought them into the house, and my Mom and I began to take care of them. I felt somewhat trepidatious doing this, afraid I might be doing them more harm than good, but I felt compelled.

Once we were in the house, they needed food. The bird was especially fragile. We tried feeding it grain, but I knew that this wasn't right. The bird was too young, I told Mom, get some milk. We wound up feeding both the bunny and the birdie milk, and they did well on this.

The bunny we had to watch very closely. It wanted to hop away. In this dream, my cats that I grew up with were still alive, and in the house. Mom and I couldn't take our eyes off that bunny for a second, or the cats might get it. This caused us to occasionally divert our attention from the sparrow, and the sparrow had a couple of close calls. At one point we felt that the sparrow needed some water, so we filled a saucer with a small amount, and let the birdie splash around, and drink some. It seemed happy. However, the bunny diverted our attention, and when I looked back at the sparrow, he had dipped his tiny beak under the water and was drowning. I pulled him out, and he chirped. I sighed in relief. The thought of these animals dying in my care was sickening. Mom and I fumbled a bit, but we seemed to be able to take good care of them.

I can't visualize the third creature in my mind. I'm thinking mouse, maybe reptile or fish, but I'm sure these are all wrong. I can't recall anything about this third creature except its life force, and the delicacy of it.

Once Mom and I realized that we were able to save these three animals, and that they would survive, and everything would be ok, I woke up.


Perhaps these three animals represent sides of myself.

1. The Bunny
Rabbits are the quintessential Earth creatures. They have little means for self-defense, but they are very quick, and great at hiding. They are generally pictured as timid, but their timidity saves their lives. They are master diggers and create complex, warm, safe homes for their families. The only times they are not gentle are when they feel an immediate threat, and their instinctive kick-and-claw can be nasty. They defend and run. Mostly though, they avoid confrontation whenever possible. They are vegetarians, they are soft and snuggly, they are soft-voiced, seldom making noise at all. They are unambitious. They are also, of course, incredibly fertile. The rabbit is a powerful symbol of the Mother.

I'm a Virgo.

2. The Sparrow
I have not seen many sparrows, so I don't know why I'm compelled to call this a sparrow. Given our location, it was more likely a wren, a finch, or a robin. But a sparrow isn't out of the realm of possibility.

Birds represent the Air. Qualities of the air: free-spirited, open to anything, flighty, non-committal, lightweight, free. Being an earth sign, with a very low percentage of Air in my chart, I have never been comfortable with air signs. My ex-husband was one, and my most recent roommate. When air signs are dysfunctional, I can barely tolerate them. I find them to be unreliable and unconcerned with me and my feelings/needs. I see them as dreamers who avoid dealing with important things if they find them to be unpleasant. They push all the wrong buttons with me, and I have very, very few of them in my life at all.

To be fair, I imagine they see me as a stick-in-the-mud. I'm dragging them down, starting fights by worrying too much about finances and the state of the house. This was certainly the case with Ex-Hubby and the ex-roommate. They don't handle my emotionality very well. Pouring water on a bird is not going to help anything.

However, in the past year, I have been courting the air. I have specifically been sitting in the East in circle, and I have gone out of my way to invite the spirits of the air into my world. I told one of my Weaver-sisters that the very fact of my discomfort with the air tells me that I need to explore it. I burn incense carefully, I choose more white and blue colors in my clothing and decor, and I try to be more receptive to ideas which seem to float into my head from out of the air. My current interest in a new career is a result of this. So I'm working on "being more airy."

3. The Third Creature
This morning, in the car on the way to work, I was recounting this dream to G, struggling to remember what sort of animal this was. It struck me that this may not have been an earthly creature, or perhaps I am not ready to deal with the part of me that this creature represents. Was it a lizard, representing fire, and spirit? Was it a fish, representing water, or emotion? Neither of these seemed right. I couldn't see another bird or mammal in my mind's eye, or remember the feeling of it. I don't remember how it felt in my hands - fuzzy and soft like the bunny or scratchy-footed like the bird?

It occurs to me that this may be a spirit-animal, in the Native American tradition. It may be something that I cannot see or touch, or experience with any of the five senses. It may only be known via spirit-connection. This makes me want to find a Shaman and explore this, but all in good time. It's quite possible that this is an earthly creature, but I'm not ready for its message yet. Possibly, all it's saying to me now is to be care-full.

4. Mom
Nobody takes better care of me when I'm sick than Mom. When I was in college, that woman drove an hour and a half to take care of me, cans of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup in hand. She stayed with me for most of the day. I miss her sometimes when I'm sick. She always seems to know how to take care of things.

She also nursed all three of our elderly cats to the end of their lives, sparing no effort or expense to make their remaining time on earth as comfortable as possible. Everyone should go so peacefully. More recently, she did the same for her own mother. I imagine she will be an amazing Grandma someday, if I ever get my shit together and have that baby we're all hoping for.

5. My Old Home
I would never pick up a baby animal in New York. For starters, I wouldn't find one in the first place. For second, disease runs rampant on the streets, as do the rats that carry it. I'd be afraid, no matter how my heart ached to help. Once in my life, in Astoria, I rescued a baby pigeon who had fallen from it's nest and hobbled out onto the sidewalk. Despite my consultation with animal rescue agencies, and my purchase and use of many baby-pigeon rescuing supplies, even naming it Lucky, it died. I was heartbroken. Never again.

At home, however, with Mom there to help, I brought in all sorts of creatures when I was growing up I had various pet fishys and three cats, not to mention the occasional outdoors-only turtle or frog. If I brought anything wild into the house, we eventually released it. Creatures seldom died in my family's care. Even my human friends, particularly the ones from more dysfunctional homes, seemed to soak in the healing comforts of Mom's cooking, Daddy's doting, and the comfortable nest my parents made. Several of my young friends came from abusive homes where drugs, divorce and alcoholism were prevalent. They had no privacy. I knew even then that my house was a haven for them. Home is a nurturing place.

I think this dream is a re-interpretation of the one involving Omar. I have been experiencing a type of rebirth myself. The move from New York, the loss of my job, the removal of the majority of my living expenses, the drastic change in the company I keep... almost every aspect of my life is radically different than it was 5 months ago. I've been scared a lot, and feeling displaced. In spite of G's constant presence, and my friends' wonderful support, I've felt very alone. I've lost virtually all my independence - I can't go anywhere unless G drives me. Without a steady income, I can't even pay my own rent. I am being taken care of. Right now, I have to be.

I have been fighting despair, rage, and depression during this time, not to mention disappointment, heartbreak and the occasional dark void of perceived failure. I've said goodbye to a lot of people. Especially since the loss of my grandmothers, I have felt more than a little abandoned.

I am that baby bird. I am that bunny. I am that other newborn spirit as well, and it will reveal itself to me in time. Right now, I require care. I am extremely vulnerable. I have got to relax, and trust, or I'll give myself a heart attack, like a bird will under prolonged stress. I need to rest comfortably in the Mother's arms, rather than run all over, or I'll be exposed to danger. As sharp as my teeth and claws may be, there are sharper, bigger, hungrier creatures out there. I have to be careful. I am far from realizing my full power potential.

However, I can do this. I can be safe. I can take care of myself, with the Mother's help. The Mother inside me, the Mother above me, and my own Mom here on earth, who I talk to on the phone nearly every day. I can do this. I will grow up. I will survive. I have a new life now, and it is just beginning.

Blessed Be.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

...and What it Meaned. Meant.

I believe that Omar was my last link to my high school years, a time when I felt I still had everything in front of me. A time of hopes and dreams that poked through the layers of crap that I lived through at school. A time when I promised myself that if I could just survive until graduation, I’d find a life. Friends. Love. Freedom. Little did I know that I would later say the same thing to myself about College.

If I can just survive this. The refrain of my life.

After college, it was SCAMDA. After that, it was my period of poverty while I tried my hand at auditioning. After that, it was my first job. After that, it was my marriage. After that, it was the Siberian Work Camp. And then the period of uncertainty while I searched for both a job and a new roommate. Then the moving process. Now…

Well, now I’m paying down debt. That’s something to survive, but I don’t feel trapped like I used to. I have a great deal more say over how my days are spent now. I’m not exactly free, but I’m freer than I ever have been.

I was homesick my first year in New York. My heart was broken into dust as I pined for the lover I had left behind. I missed my family, I missed my girlfriends, but mostly I was just scared. The “better life” I had hoped to find after obtaining high school and college diplomas had not materialized, so I had no reason to believe SCAMDA would produce any better results. Oh, sure, it was supposed to be a way to kick your foot into the door of the theatre world, but I never really believed that would happen, and I really didn’t want that anyway. I didn’t know what I wanted, except to live in New York. The academy was just something else to survive.

I grasped at Omar in an attempt to recover something. I was still smarting from the brutality of my peers in my hometown, and yet part of me still wanted to belong there. Omar had known me in high school, and liked me. Maybe I was looking for closure. In retrospect I guess messing around with a stoned actor wasn’t the most mature way to go about this, but I was 23, and for a brief time, all I saw was the nice boy I used to know. It was a way of not letting go.

I didn’t want him to be my new boyfriend, but I was hoping that we’d develop a stronger friendship. The realization that Omar wasn’t even interested in that really hurt. The last remaining Springfieldian in my life treated me like a bar pick-up.

Maybe he was equally disappointed in me. I wasn’t the eager-to-please seventeen-year-old anymore either. When he vanished, I simply let him go, and I let my whole life in Illinois go right along with him. I had severed an important link to my past.

It has been almost exactly 10 years since I hugged Omar goodbye. A recognizable span of time. A circle of feeling is indeed visible in my life right now: Just as in the summer of '95, I am newly relocated, and feeling somewhat lonely, missing my old life, and my old crowd. This dream, perhaps, is a warning to myself.

Right now, I am vulnerable. The scenes at the mall with Omar warn me that no matter how lonesome I may be, I must choose my companionship wisely. I cannot allow myself to be used or taken advantage of, or needlessly expose myself to harm. I say I’m tougher than I used to be, but I think what I really mean is jaded. I expect far less of people. I have G, so the prospect of “hooking up” with someone has lost its appeal, but there are other ways I can be hurt. I already have been, actually, last month, and I was licking my wounds for well over two weeks. I need to be more careful with myself, deciding how much of myself to give to whom, and in what situations.

I think the scenes in the house indicate several things:

I can look ridiculous in many situations. If I’m feeling insecure or scared, no amount of makeup or fancy clothes will hide that, and I ought to stay home and call a friend rather than go out alone. (Mistake #1 that I made last month.)

Many of the things I fear are harmless. If that had been a bee in the room, things would be different – I’m allergic to them. Dragonflies, however, do not sting. (

An insect buzzing around an area where I am having difficulty, in my dreams, is always a symbol that I am in a place that’s not good for me, and I should leave. I imagine, in this case, that refers to my “job.” Ironically, I have no real job now. I’m temping for a really cool company, which I was hoping would hire me for real, but in truth, it’s just a money job. Not that I don’t NEED a money job, but this really isn’t the ideal environment for me. Eventually I would become very bored here, and irritated that I’m wasting my life doing NOTHING BUT paying off my debt. I would, in the end, be counting the days until I could quit this job and pursue something that matters to me. No matter how cool this company is, it would become a burden after a while. Translation: Something else to survive.

Somewhere deep inside me, I have known this for a long time. I’ve been looking to escape the corporations since the end of my last real job. Now that I have the leeway that I do in my life, I’m taking steps. I’m planning to attend an open house of a school in North Jersey where I could get certified into a whole new line of work, independent of corporations. It excites me, it invigorates me, and it calms me at the same time. It’s an idea.

(Some might suggest that the “bad place” I need to escape is my living situation with G. They’re right. We need to get a bigger place. One I can decorate. As soon as I can pay my own rent, I’ll suggest that.)

Interesting note: I was informed this morning that I have indeed NOT been hired at this uber-awesome company. They have hired an outside candidate with a “financial background.” My supervisor was very sweet, explaining how happy they have been with me and my work. I was a touch disappointed… but the overwhelming feeling I had was relief. This marriage wouldn’t have lasted forever, and maybe we both could tell.

I sure am going to miss the free Starbucks though.

Friday, June 10, 2005

The Good, the Bad, and the Fabulous

Last night I upped my serotonin output at XES celebrating birthdays of Michael the Good, Patrick the Bad, and Jase the Fabulous. Trust me. Anyone who remembers this can back me up. Of course, he has his own definition of good. I would refer to him as skilled. We lamented the fact that his recently upgraded citizenship status renders our marriage unnecessary. I was so looking forward to wearing the tux. Oh well. If you still want to register at Bloomie's, let me know. These two can give us pointers.

Although, in defense of Patrick's goodness, I don't think he started the frosting-fight. I was too involved in re-living my high school days with the 80's music videos, and didn't see exactly how it started, but I think Patrick was the first one to have frosting on his face. One of the highlights of the evening was watching a very coy Greg lick it off. Ever so delicately. That boy is demure like Melanie Hamilton. His ears were red! Come to think of it, Patrick's were pink. Yes, very nice, good boys. Patrick the good and Greg the gentle. Between them and the Long Island Sweethearts, there was a lot of love in the room. It warms my sometimes frigid heart.

Oh lawd, that frosting. Oh man. I haven't decided yet if I need to run three miles to work it off or go get another cupcake first. There was a banana cake with buttercreamy frosting, and those mind-blowing cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes, from Billy's Bakery. You know, Jase has done this to me before. The last two times I've seen those damn cakes, Jase is in the room, and it's on a day when I've already pushed my calorie allotment TO THE SKY. And every time, I still wind up eating them. Damn Billy. He hates me and wants me to be fat. I know it. Either that or my mother has a secret life. Oh the hedonism of Billy's frosting.

And I had been doing so well! All I had for dinner was a shot of bourbon and water. Until that cake arrived. Oh well. Dessert! Hedonism. Bourbon and banana cake. I called Crash once I was slightly smashed and expressed my sadness at missing him. And gloated that I was eating cake and he wasn't. My Eric Cartman moment of the evening.

Oh and Kevin - do you know how many blogs on the internet have "deviant" in their title? Shameful. Seems everyone is a deviant these days. Actually, correction: everyone wants to be thought of as a deviant these days. Which is a powerful statement about the mainstream. But I digress. I think you should change your blog name to Deviant Darling, because you are SUCH a one.

At some point, everyone should get to see Jase dance. Mm. That slinky body of his has rhythm. He is long and muscly and supple like a snake. Damn boy. Pump it up jes like dat. Fabulous is the word.

My favorite country music fan was getting his groove on, shakin' his hips with that hawaiian lei around his neck. I'll bet he can come out of a Texas dip after four mint juleps, but those hula moves were a fun surprise. I was shakin' my hair to the Go-gos, while the "Our Lips Are Sealed" video played on the wall. I was overcome with a sense of nostalgia - happy nostalgia - man, I pretty much never have happy nostalgia. I was so into the Go-Gos. I used to dress like that when I was about 13, all black with my hair ratted and tied with a ribbon, my eyes caked in kohl liner. My mother had heart attacks. There was my metal phase too, with the bandanas tied alluringly high on my thigh, and my black and purple shirt with the sideways zipper neck. God, bondage lite at 12. I had so much fun and was so clueless. Which is probably why it was fun.

Gotta give some snaps to the DJ, even the bad music he played had funny videos. I was missing Bob's snarky commentary. I think JC Chavez's haunting rendition of "All Day Long I Think About Sex" might have brought out the best in him. That video is so retro-80's that for the first few minutes of it Kevin and I were very confused. Ugh.

I was going to email this chick when I got home, but I fell asleep on the metro-north train and almost missed my stop. Such the lightweight I have become. G was beaming when I fell into his car. "I see the boys gave you a happiness-infused evening of fun!" he said. "Yeah," I sighed. "They're good for that." G steered us over the Tappan Zee, pointing the air conditioning vents at me. "Good, good," he chuckled. "You needed this." I tied my sweaty hair in a knot and closed my eyes. "I love those guys," I drawled, as G fiddled with my knee, and I snoozed the rest of the way home.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

the Dream I Dreamed...

Yesterday morning I woke up with aching jaws and a headache that reached up to the crown of my skull. I had been clenching my teeth in my sleep. I had been dreaming.

I went to high school with Omar, a very sweet, nice, Egyptian-American boy. Everyone liked this kid. He was humble, had an easy nature, was kind to everyone, and had a gangly build that endeared him to the ladies. He dated pretty much everyone but me.

Years later, we both found ourselves living in New York, and I fixed that little oversight. We hung out a couple of times, had a few laughs. Then one day his phone number was disconnected, and I heard through the grapevine that he'd moved to California. The next thing I knew, he had made a film with Bruce Willis, playing a very small role, but still - he was in the movies now. Since then he's done a couple of other small things, and has a listing on, but mostly I hear stories through the grapevine from old family friends in Illinois.

When I knew this kid, in high school, he got good grades, participated in a number of extra-curricular activities, was very popular, and was the kind of kid that all the teachers and his parents were proud of. However, when he enrolled in that nice private college, he shocked everyone by majoring in Theatre. This kid wanted to be an actor. I remember my father telling me that Omar's father had implored him to have me try and talk Omar out of majoring in acting. My Dad and I shook our heads sadly. No way was I getting involved in that.

By the time I saw Omar again, in New York, he was all chatter and smiles and clouds of pot. He told me all sorts of stories about touring the country with the Grateful Dead for a year, and about attending SCAMDA - apparently he had attended for one or two semesters and dropped. He told me about his girlfriends, his parents divorcing and moving out of Illinois. He talked about how he'd rediscovered his Islamic faith, now that he was surrounded by others who practiced it, living in Brooklyn Heights in 1995. He was happy, but he wasn't "making it" as an actor yet. He was young though, and able to be patient, and pay his dues.

I was brand new to New York. It was so awesome to see a friend from the old days. We hung out a few times, listening to Sinatra CD's, getting high, eating Chinese takeout and fooling around, being free and young and ignoring the past and the future. I remember being disappointed, though, in the drastic changes this kid had undergone... and wishing there was just a remnant left of the nice young man he'd been. I was disappointed that we couldn't hang out without smoking. I wished that we could have seen each other a few more times, maybe outside his apartment, never mind his neighborhood. He seemed to be more than willing to host when I came to Brooklyn, but he wouldn't cross the bridge to see me. He was incredibly lazy. One time, he called to invite me over, and when I said I had to work the next day and couldn't come, he practically begged. He had no respect for my time. I knew he was just wanting to get high and mess around again. I wanted more than that from a guy, and definitely more than that from a friend. I realized I was nobody special to him, just an old high school chum who had grown up to be cute.

Eventually I started seeing a guy who lived in my neighborhood, and I decided to stop calling Omar. He never called me, and next thing I knew, I was moving to Queens, and Omar had left town. I never heard from him again. I think he took my high school yearbook with him. From time to time over the years, I think of him and wonder if he ever found his momentum again, and if he's made any of his dreams come true.

I remember telling a friend once that Omar and I had "hooked up" for old times' sake, and I guess that's accurate. I have always been glad that we didn't actually sleep together. He remains an old friend, and that's really nice for me. I don't have many of those.

Last night, I dreamed of him. I dreamed he had driven me to the Palisades Mall, to have dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. I don't remember anything about the dinner except the low lighting in the restaurant, and my dress. I was wearing a long red sequined gown, with a high collar, and tiny gold seed beads sewn into the center of each red sequin. I shimmered in red, with a gold sheen. I have no idea why I was so dressed up. I had red satin heeled sandals on, and my hair was up, pinned into a knot on top of my head, with curly tendrils hanging around my face. I looked like an Asian tourism poster.

As we were walking out of the restaurant, Omar's hand on the small of my back, he met a friend of his coming into the mall. This was an older gentleman, about 50, with graying hair, wearing a silver gray suit with no tie, the jacket unbuttoned and his top shirt button undone so that his t-shirt neckline was visible. He and Omar began speaking to each other in Egyptian. They shook hands and clapped each other on the back and forgot about me.

At some point, Omar gave me a gentle shove in the direction of the stores, indicating I should do some shopping while he chatted with his friend. "I thought we were going home?" I said. Omar tossed a set of keys at me, and a money clip. "Call a taxi to take you home," he said, disappearing into the mall with his friend.

I was stunned. Suddenly I found myself alone in the mall with a set of keys, a money clip, and an armload of clothes that I hadn't been carrying when I left the restaurant. It looked like a man's suit coat and pants. (G's tuxedo from the wedding?)

I was furious. This was the height of rudeness. I had been cast aside; a pretty dining companion, but not worth the trouble of driving home.

I woke up briefly to the sound of my cat yowling outside the bedroom door. She does this a lot, and lately she's been acting odder than normal. I'm taking her to the vet on Saturday.

When I got back to sleep, I dreamed I was in the living room of a very small house. It looked like the inside of a milk carton: white walls, no windows that I recall, square, about 12x12 floor, an open doorway leading presumably to a kitchen, badly air-conditioned (LOUD air-conditioner!), no furniture but a TV and odds and ends of chairs – one easy chair, a couple of ladder-back dining table chairs, and a few folding chairs. A beat-up card table sat in the center of the room, and it looked like nobody had bothered to clean up after last night’s poker game. Everything was dingy.

I was in the same flashy outfit as before, and had no place to sit. I sort of leaned on the wing of the easy chair, where an older man sat. He was not my father. He resembled a Saudi Arabian gentleman who I once met at my church, a very friendly, nice person, but rather slovenly in appearance, shirt untucked and sweaty. I don’t know what my relationship was to this man, but I was clearly in his company for some reason.

A dragonfly was buzzing around the room. I was utterly terrified of it. I am terrified of bugs in general, especially when they fly, even more so when they are big. Everyone in the room was laughing at me. I was too busy being scared to be angry or embarrassed. I was determined not to scream, but I wanted to. I don’t know why I didn’t bolt from the room. My skin crawled. I shook like California at the low-pitched buzz of its wings as it glided idly around the room. I was crouching to hide behind someone's chair, listening to everyone laugh at me, when...

...I woke up.

to be continued…

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

G and Ouiser, Trip and Slam

The very next day, after the Cambodian Wedding, G and I went to his best friend's wedding. G has been friends with this guy since they were, like, eight, or something, and this couple has been together for the better part of a decade. The stories are plentiful. The in-jokes abound. I'm just coming off about a year of knowing them, and I'm still trying to keep it all straight. I have to take a few minutes to talk about these individuals, because in a lapse of better judgement I gave Trip this URL. And frankly they are too much fun not to talk about.

G's best friend Trip is, well, a complete Trip. I mean the kid is nuts. As in Woo-HOO bouncing off the ceiling nuts. Especially when he's around G, and, well, I've never seen him not around G, so this is all I had to go on. I did see a whole other side of him at his wedding, but more on that later. He's a compu-geek, he's a gamer, he's got a redhead fetish, and he drinks Vanilla Coke. With nothing in it. Even when regular coke is available. He and G used to set stuff on fire all the time when they were kids. G tells me that he outgrew this at about age 14, but I think he just corraled the urges. Today, Trip lives in a house with a fireplace, and he lets G play with it, which is as sure a sign of trust as I've ever seen.

His girlfriend of somewhere around forever - now his wife - is an absolute slammer. She wins every board game we play. She is sweetly ruthless. She's one of those uber-smart Jewish girls who might not get straight A's, as she has a life outside her classes, but stupid people won't stand a chance around her. She'll leave you groaning on the mat. Not that I've ever argued with her. I just listen and take notes. She has a wicked sense of humour and paints her nails in colors as bold as her personality, bright red and purples and sparkles on holidays. She has her flaky moments, but she is one powerful, funny lady. For a brief time I was afraid she'd beat me senseless, as, you see, her man has a redhead fetish and gets goofy around me. That fear vanished pretty quick. That man is blotto over her, and she knows it. Which speaks to Trip being a lot smarter than he initially appears.

They are cute, they are cuddly, they are sex maniacs, they are Ren Faire fans, they are warm, loving people, they are cat lovers, they are survivors, and they are impressively well-adjusted and healthy individuals. Most of the time. You know, like me.

I remember when I was first introduced to them, G was a bit nervous. He wasn't sure how I'd take them. It does take a certain amount of ...openness... to get used to Trippy, and Slam can be intimidating on that "am I cool enough for this?" female level. But she has become one of my fave peeps now, and I wish we saw them more often. When G gets around his best friend, it gets very very loud, but I find this cathartic. It's hard for me to really relax, even in the comfort of my own living room. When I have two grown men spinning around screaming on either side of me, somehow my muscles slack. It is the oddest thing. It's like the tension gets sucked out of my pores through centrifugal force.

Anyway, anything that has me laughing so hard I'm running for the bathroom I need more of in my life. And G is always more relaxed after hanging with his buddies - "recharged" is the word he uses. I laugh my ass off, have great conversations, I'm stimulated and relaxed at the same time, and I feel comfortable enough in my own skin to sit around, say nothing and let the madness swirl around me. It's been a very, very long time since I've had friends like this, and man, what I have been missing.

So. The wedding.

G was the best man. OH MY GODDESS WHAT A FORMAL TUX DOES FOR A MAN. I'm gonna carry the memory of this tucked in my bra for a long time to come. He wore tails, people. Complete with white gloves, top hat, and a cane. Surprisingly, he didn't resemble Fred Astaire... more like Freddy Eynsford-Hill.

Trip and G Posted by Hello

That's my baby G on the right, with the superman haircut and the smug look. It's too bad you can't see the knock-me-out-green eyes. Trippy is a dirty blonde with squeezy love handles, blue eyes, and check out those Queer-Eye-Approved sticky-outy bangs. They're holding up his too-big top hat. Can you stand it?

I decided to go with more of a Rita Hayworth look than an Eliza Doolittle:

Dressed Up and Feelin' Fine Posted by Hello

Ok. Anyway.

These pics were snapped the morning of the wedding, and as you can see, it was break-out-the-shades sunny and near 70 degrees. Trip had spent the night before his wedding with us, so I got to be the first to see him in his groom finery. Mm-mm. We couldn't stand ourselves. The boys were fencing with their canes, while I couldn't keep my hands off my own slinky silk gown. At some point we all decided to get over ourselves and actually drive to the wedding. Cruisin' with the top down and the tunes blasting all the way from Sudbury to Andover. Perfect day, perfect clothes, perfect hair. What could go wrong?


The tent didn't collapse.
The Bridal party looked high-holy incredible in their formal finery.
G's best-man speech was riddled with in-jokes and made Slam cringe, but he kept it clean.
The photographer had a true artistic eye. The photos should be well worth the starvation.
All the personality conflicts were put on hold for the day, at least, when I was watching.
Nothing actually caught on fire.
The Andover fire department is very efficient. In and out in less than an hour.
The food, when we were allowed to eat it, was uber-delicious.
Nobody got drunk and puked.
Nobody woke up with Pneumonia the next day.
Nobody had to rush a child to the hospital after being summarily beaten by adults who had FUCKING HAD ENOUGH.
The DJ somehow escaped without having limbs torn from her snide self. Which belongs in the list of good things because, let's face it, nobody outside of daytime TV needs a murder at their wedding.
That cinnamon flavored decaf coffee was surprisingly delicious.
MORE cake! MORE! YEAH! MORE! Two nights in a row!

Rather late during the reception, after the fire trucks had gone, and the caterers were folding up the tables, the groom sang to his bride. He sang from his heart. And on key. And for a few minutes, although he and the Bride may have felt they were the only ones in the room, the rest of us were suddenly in a warm, dry, soft, loving place as well. I gripped G's tuxdeoed arm and tried not to cry. I didn't succeed.

Do I have to mention how radiant the bride was? How flushed with happiness? How we were all caught up in it? At slightly less than five feet tall, Slammer was elegant and adorable at the same time. She wore a traditional ballgown style gown, strapless, heavy white satin, lightly embroidered and beaded, about a four-foot train. She had a delicate tiara-thingy placed in her glossy black curls. The veil just hit the top lines of her dress, and when Trip lifted it at the start of the ceremony that tent suddenly felt a few degrees warmer. The cute little shoes. The slightly nervous smile.

Beautiful Slam Posted by Hello

A few minutes before the ceremony began, I snuck into her waiting area, where she was sitting on a green velvet couch in front of a heavily draped 20-foot window. I crouched down, held her hand, said something supportive, and tried not to get wishy-washy. The photographer snapped a picture:

Slam & Ouiser Posted by Hello

I just couldn't resist soaking up all that romance radiating from her. Even a cynic like me...

By now, they have spent a week in Cancun, doing what fish do. All our best to you, Mr. and Mrs. Truth. See you soon.