Tuesday, January 31, 2006


The Heidi Chronicles were so big for me. I felt like I knew her.

And I'm a little spooked, not to mention very sad, that we are losing so many inspirational women at the same time.


I too, find them amusing.

Although my girlfriends and I have been doing this with Don Henley and Screamin' Jay Hawkins songs for years.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Food, Friends, and Fresh Aire

I am safely esconced back in my little home with G, after a delightful visit with my pals.

At one point, the three of us were in the car, and I suddenly exclaimed "Where are we?" Outside the windows was a large bridge, which we were already on, and water all around.

"This would be Long Island Sound," Marc explained.

"Wooooowwww," I said. Jess Laughed.

"Actually, this is the Great South Bay," Marc specified.

"And that up there," Jess said, pointing ahead, "would be Fire Island."

I just gasped and grinned and gawked. I don't see much beach, and the beaches I've seen in New York, well, not so nice. This place was beautiful. We didn't actually get onto the beach yesterday - it was pretty chilly - but we did take a nice stroll through the sand dunes, and met some deerlings (see Jess's photos). The air was amazingly clean, and clear. Driving back to their place, I watched the sun set, slowly, over the course of about 1/2 hour. I can't remember the last time I've actually watched a sun set. It was huge and bright, and everything turned golden.

Generally I don't think of Long Island as the Country. Heck, I live near some state parks, mountains, vineyards, a horseback riding stable, etc. It doesn't feel like country here. But I was able to do something in Long Island with the guys that I don't really get to do much: Relax. As in puddle on the couch, no need for idle babbling, chillin' out relax.

Marc describes his cooking, and all I can say is YUM. Last night we never actually made it to the sitting down with plates. The minute everything was cooked, we gobbled it up in the kitchen! I remarked that it felt like the Fourth of July. His "Smores Pudding" was so decadent I had to eat it in installments!

I recalled fondly my days in my little one-bedroom in Astoria back in 2001, when I had both time to cook and great places to buy ingredients. I usually have one or the other, but in Astoria, I had both. Sigh. I vowed to myself that once I get out of school, I'll cook again. And well.

Jess's music collection is all-encompassing. We listened to a lot of fun old tunes while dinner was being prepared, and at one point those guys had me singing Barbra Streisand tunes in the kitchen. Where I come from, among my peer group, it wasn't exactly cool to be a Streisand fan. Madonna, Cyndi, and Souxie and the Banshees were my generation. So when I was in high school, and my teachers wanted me to sing Streisand covers in swing choir, well, it didn't do much to enhance my social reputation. I was careful though. Evergreen got me a lot of attention, and by 1987, it was old enough that most of my peers didn't know where the song came from. "Woman in Love" was always one of my favorites to sing... but alas, that was a Streisand Anthem, and reeked of the disco era. A shame... Jess can now attest to what I can do with that music. Ah, Babs. Us gals with big noses have a rough time.

This morning, I waxed sentimental over the "omeletes" my grandmother and I used to make when I was growing up, while Marc and I emptied the dishwasher of last night's dishes. Grandma would make homefried potatoes with onions for dinner quite often, and the next morning, she would reheat the leftovers in the skillet, crack eggs over them, and call that an omelete. For years I didn't know that was actually a frittata. After I moved to New York, I noticed in diners that omeletes with potatoes in them were called "peasant omeletes." "That's very Italian," my mom would say, nodding matter-of-factly.

So of course, Marc made us fritattas with smoked turkey, bacon, and broccoli, with some magic spice blend that set everything dancing on the plate. Grandma would have loved it. What was in that spice blend - Chives, garlic, green peppers, shallots... must pick up some of that. (I get more cooking tips from that guy. The last time I was there, it was the Bloody Mary mix that I had to have.)

I spent a lot of time rolling on the floor with the dogs, Mandy, Bernice and Dodger. Today is the Chinese New Year, the year of the dog. All that puppy love just warmed me inside and out. I'm slightly allergic to dogs, so I did a lot of hand-washing, and I was a bit stuffy today, but it was worth it. And especially amusing to see the look on Marge's face when I got home. She yowled and sniffed and turned her back on me, sauntering disgustedly away. How could you, she seemed to say. Aw, Margie, they were just so loving. And it's not like you roll around on the floor with me and lick my face. How could I resist?

I confessed to my hosts that I had almost backed out on the visit a couple of times. Two weeks of 17-hour days, three exams, and an upcoming final had me feeling overwhelmed. I stubbornly insisted that I take this day just for myself, and I'm so glad I did. I have a rough time doing things just for me, and dammit, I wanted to see my friends. Usually I only see people at drink-ups, and frankly, it was so refreshing to just sit around, eat, sing, snuggle the puppies, watch a movie, even lounge quietly for a few hours, not worrying about what to do for the next few hours. A little peace and quiet and fellowship, and I'm ready for Monday.

Thanks fellas.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

A Weekend in the ...uh... sort of Country

I'm currently enjoying Jess and Marc's hospitality here in Lon Guyland. Ahh... Today we walked through some sand dunes on Fire Island and met some deer. Marc's doing something amazing in the kitchen right now, and Freddie Mercury and Annie Lenox are singing from the stereo.

Good Times.

Have a great week, y'all.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Rest in Peace

"It said that with The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, the family has made an indelible mark on Jewish life from Canada to Israel, evoking the deepest values of leadership, charity (tzedakah) and tikkun olam, repairing the world."

I never met them personally, but everyone who worked for Seagram felt as though we knew the Bronfmans. Andrea Bronfman was just 60 years old. She will be greatly missed, but her work will endure for generations to come. My prayers are with Charles, and the rest of the family.

Glorified and sanctified be God's great name throughout the world which He has created according to His will. May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and during your days, and within the life of the entire House of Israel, speedily and soon; and say, Amen.

May His great name be blessed forever and to all eternity.

Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored, adored and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, beyond all the blessings and hymns, praises and consolations that are ever spoken in the world; and say, Amen.

May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us
and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

He who creates peace in His celestial heights, may He create peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

Monday, January 23, 2006


Week 2 of the seventeen-hour days. I am SO busy at this temp job, I don't even have time to check my email. I'm actually working from 8:30 to 4:30.

Nice change.

I have completed my third round of exams at school, including one final exam. It was a stupid class and I'm glad it's over. I passed everything. I actually have two whole days off this weekend, and I'm taking the opportunity to soak in these lovely gents' hospitality, not to mention their hot tub.

G is planning a nice Valentine's Day. Smababy. Mush mush.

Tonight, one of my classmates who had to go home to Brazil for three weeks returned. He brought with him a bag of polished stones in the shape of hearts and eggs, and everyone chose one. I picked the amethyst heart. Such a sweet, loving, thoughtful gift for everyone. I just might carry that heart around with me for awhile.

I'm just feeling all kinds of love and good vibes and stuff.

Peace, y'all.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Wait - Don't Throw THAT Away

There are a few things I haven't written about on this blog, at least not in depth. Most bloggers have those sorts of things. There's no need to bare everything to the world simply because it exists. For my part, I write about things that I'm thinking about, mulling over. The times I decide NOT to post, it's usually because the issue isn't really resolved in my mind and/or heart, and I don't want some temporary view of something hanging in the air. I like to be sure of what I'm saying. I try to only post things that, if I were to find myself on the news about it, I'd have no problem owning up to it, and wouldn't be ashamed of what I said.

That's hard. But I try.

I haven't posted about That One Big Ex-Boyfriend of mine, for example. I posted a little about getting over him, and I posted some blurbs I wrote about him. But I've never really written about the relationship. Certain people who've known me for a long time might be surprised about that. Others might expect it - they might say I don't write about it because I'm still dealing with it. They're partly right.

That Big Relationship left an imprint on me that will last the rest of my life, and has affected every relationship I've had since then. I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing. I learned a lot about myself, about relationships, and about life in general from those five years. Part of the reason I don't post about it or talk about it much is, well, it ended almost eleven years ago, and I've talked about nothing but It for hours in countless therapy sessions. The blog is for new things, things I realize from day to day, things I haven't yet analyzed to death. That relationship is old hat. Effectively in the past, and not very interesting.

Today, I watched a repeat of the Dead Zone. I used to be addicted to that show. I watched every episode of the first season, right from the pilot. My ex-husband and I knew Nicole deBoer from DS9, and I like Stephen King stories, and everybody knows Anthony Michael Hall. I can't watch that show now, without thinking of my marriage, my ex-boyfriend, and the way I stumbled through life for the better part of a decade, trying to get used to the way my life had turned out, which was so different from how I'd wanted it to be.

The Dead Zone is about a guy (creatively named John Smith) who asks his girlfriend to marry him, then gets hit by a car. He is in a coma for six years, then one day miraculously awakens. When he wakes up, he's a psychic. The physician posits that the psychic phenomena comes from a part of Johnny's brain which, in most people, is inactive, but due to the accident and/or coma, has been awakened and is now fully functional. A "dead" zone in Johnny's brain has come to life.

That second hair essay I wrote was about sort of coming back to life after my marriage ended, about finding myself again, and getting comfortable with myself. But there was more going on in my life than my marriage ending. My closest friend who I had been constantly with for eight years had just left the country. The company I loved working for had been sold, and I was struggling to work with the new company. I was the fattest I'd ever been, and anemic.

However, I realized that the first hair essay had a lot to do with the ending of that five-year relationship, and with my shedding a lot of baggage from Illinois, including the image of myself as an actress. Most people who know me now would never recognize the 24-year-old MzOuiser, never mind the 21-year old. The 17-year-old is unrecognizable. I shed my old skin much like chopping off a foot and a half of long red hair.

I rehash all this because, as my 35th birthday looms, I realize there are things about myself from age 17 that I'd like to recapture, and from age 21 and 24 as well. I was so busy trying to leave those years behind, I threw out a bit of the baby with the bathwater, so to speak. (Hey Kristin, remember that play?) So all this comes to mind right now.

The night I found out that my Ex-Boyfriend was getting married, I almost caused a car accident. My husband was driving us home from a short vacation on my birthday, and Kristin called me to tell me. My reaction was extreme, and I was as shocked at myself as the Ex-Husband was shocked at me. We wound up having a long, painful talk. Somehow we got past it... sort of. I do think that that conversation, however, did push us farther down the slide to divorce. That night is a very dark black spot in my past, and was fodder for a lot more therapy sessions.

Something I thought wouldn't hurt me nearly knocked me out. Something I thought I had dealt with managed to take hold of me as though I had never had a single therapy session about it. Something that I thought I had left far in my past suddenly felt like a fresh, gaping, open wound. Sort of like waking up from a coma and finding out your lover is married to someone else, your parents are dead, and every foundation your life was based on has disappeared. Disorienting, to say the least.

That night was less than five years ago, maybe four. I feel as though I've lived a lifetime since then. Kind of like the lifetime I felt I'd lived between the day my ex-boyfriend and I called it quits for good, and my wedding day. It had actually only been four years. A lot of things seemed clearer to me in 1998, and a lot more things seem clearer now. A lot more hidden drives have also appeared. So I have some collecting to do.

I guess this year, I'm purging more than my wardrobe. Deciding what to keep is applying to more than just shoes and sweaters.


Originally uploaded by MzOuiser.
Hey Aaron - do you think they're me?

I'm Thinking Decaf

So I get up at seven, at work by 8:30, go directly to class after work, and get home at around 11 or so. Five days a week for the next five weeks.

It's after 1AM right now and I'm WIDE AWAKE.


Monday, January 16, 2006

Carpe Diem

I have this teacher who pisses me off. I've been grumbling under my breath about her all semester. Her focus has just not been on her students. She doesn't really seem to care about how well we do. She teaches us what she is supposed to teach us, seemingly to cover her professional ass, and hands out pre-fab tests with vague, imprecise questions that in no way show how much we have learned. None of us are getting the grades we deserve in her class. (Well, maybe some of us are... if you know what I mean.) She isn't open to discussion of results or validity of test questions, or anything along those lines. There are no opportunities for extra credit or special projects, or anything to show that we are better students than our grades show. I've said to G in disgust a number of times that she is immature, lazy, defensive, and uncommitted.

I learned tonight that my teacher has good reason, as of late, for not being entirely focused on our class. Her best friend of around 25 years is in a specialty hospital, having recently undergone two brain surgeries in a week. She almost died. As of tonight, she is still in the hospital, conscious, but unable to see, and very weak.

This is her best friend - that friend that, if you're lucky enough to have one, you know you can tell everything to, things you'd never tell anyone. Someone who knows you better than you know yourself. Someone no one else can replace. Someone you can't imagine not being in your life.

Tonight, she shed a few tears as she briefly apologized to our class for not showing up last Monday. We knew she had a personal crisis going on, and we all figured she had a loved one in the hospital or something like that. We didn't ask for details, and she didn't give many. She simply made a quick statement, and a heartfelt apology. There was no need for her to apologize, but she did anyway.

This is a woman who keeps her appointments. She always shows up to work, even when she's sick, even when she's got other stuff going on. She's always there. So for her to miss a day, we knew it was something big. But this floored us all.

After class was over, a few of my classmates and I sat with her and listened while she told us the whole story. I was stunned. She has been dealing with this situation since the holiday. She has been driving back and forth to South Jersey and Philly, being with the family and other close friends. Her friend has been in and out of the hospital, and had symptoms that pop up, then go away, then something else happens, then vanishes.

I am familiar with the specific neurological syndrome that her friend is experiencing. It's a rollercoaster, to say the least. It is very serious. It's not cancer, but no one knows how long she will live. She could have many long, happy years ahead of her. She could have a few days. Or, she could lose her sight. There is no way to know.

She told us that a couple of days ago, for the first time in her life, she had an impulse to call her friend and talk about something, and realized that her friend wouldn't be there. We all stood there, stunned, understanding. Feeling.

I saw my teacher tonight in the full light of humanity, as we all stood around her listening, empathizing, being there for her as much as we could, in friendship and sisterhood. We all prayed for her and her friend, in our own silent way... I could sense the spiritual outpouring from the other five women in the room. She may not be our favorite teacher, but she is one of us. I feel bad for my grumbling.

My heart skipped a beat tonight when I realized how lucky I am. I don't just have a friend like that - I have two.

We three Queens of the Cornfields
have been friends for so long, the very thought of losing one of them makes my throat constrict. I honestly do not know what I would do if I couldn't pick up the phone and call Lisa for advice, or call Kristin and rant about something. I don't know how I'd get by without my sisters. I don't ever want to find out.

Tonight, when I got home, I emailed them. We are planning a get-together in May of this year. I will be turning 35 this August. I am the youngest of our little trio. I feel it sometimes, in the sense of a little sister who looks to her older sisters for clues as to how life works. They probably have no idea just how often I have asked myself what I could do to be more like them. Lisa is so practical and just so damn smart. Kristin always knows what to wear. I always say and do clumsy things. ok, maybe I'm the entertaining one... but I know people laugh at me more than with me. But not them. They have happy marriages. They have houses and kids and their parents' approval. I still want to borrow Kristin's sweaters and make copies of Lisa's records.

I love that.

I love you two, sisters of my heart. I swear, you have no idea how much. Please always, always remember that. Both of you.

See you in May.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Conversation on the Cushion

God: Why do you treat yourself so hurtfully?

Ouiser: Because I’m afraid that if I don’t others will. I want to beat them to the punch.

God: But you don’t allow others to treat you that way. You have no reason to fear such treatment.

Ouiser: Well… I want to avoid such experiences.

God: Why, if you know they cannot hurt you?

Ouiser: Because they do hurt. Even if it’s only a temporary hurt. They make me angry. So angry that I scare myself. I don’t like the way I feel, the things I say, when I’m that angry.

God: What are you afraid of?

Ouiser: I’m afraid I will hurt someone in retaliation. I’m afraid…

God: Take your time.

Ouiser: I’m afraid of becoming bitter, of losing my sense of compassion. I’m afraid something inside of me will give up on people, and I will no longer care about anyone, about who I hurt. I will become selfish. I will become, frankly, a nasty, uncaring, unfeeling, selfish, callous bitch.

God: That’s a lot of really awful words there, Ouiser. Where did you learn them?


Ouiser: …From my ex-fiancee. Some of them, from my Mother.

God: I’m sorry, Child. Your wounds are deep. All the more reason you should treat yourself gently.

There it is... that warmth surrounding me. Like a blanket. Like an embrace.

Ouiser: I won’t become that, will I?

God: Of course not, Beloved Daughter. You never could.

Ouiser: Those are things that I absorbed from others. They are untrue.

God: Yes, child.

Ouiser: They are things that were pressed upon me, out of someone else’s anger and hurt and need.

God: Yes, child.

Ouiser: I’m not afraid of becoming those things after all.

God: Really? That was fast.

Ouiser: No… I realized. I’m afraid of becoming like those people who said those things. I’m afraid my sickness will rule me.

God: Ah. Now we are getting somewhere.


God: Why do you not allow yourself to make mistakes?

Ouiser: Because… I want to be perfect. I want to be better than other people.

God: You are perfect, just the way you are. And how could anyone be better than another person, when everyone is already perfect?

Ouiser: I don’t really like a lot of people.

God: That’s ok. Just because you don’t like something or someone, doesn’t mean you are a bad person. And it doesn’t mean the thing or person you don’t like isn’t good either.

Ouiser: But what if someone doesn’t like black people? Or Jews? Or women?

God: Then that person is still not bad… they are simply blind. They have their eyes closed, and they are wrapped in fear.


God: I know, it is difficult to grasp the idea that no person is essentially bad. You want to point at certain people and call them evil because of the horrible things they have done. But that is not how I made them. Humans are fallible. Evil is sickness. Some people refuse to be cured, and so cannot be, but even so, underneath the layers of time and experience, they are the perfect children I created.

Ouiser: How can you let people become killers?

God: I have to allow free will. Children have to be allowed to make choices. I have to let them go… and although I weep when they are hurt, and when they hurt others, I have to let the lessons of such events reverberate throughout the earth. People have to learn the hard way sometimes.

Child, your species is capable of greatness. You have not yet begun to realize your potential as beings. You are a mere few thousand years old, and throughout the generations, you continue to learn, and grow, and build. Yes, you also continue to stumble. But I have faith in you. I believe in you. In spite of everything, I still see my children as the perfect, fascinating, beautiful creatures I created. You must see yourselves that way as well. You must not give up on your species. You must not give up on yourself.


God: Beings who never make mistakes are incapable of learning, and incapable of growth. They are limited. Is this what you would prefer to be?

Ouiser: It does sound rather… boring.

God: Remember, for every Osama, there is a Dalai Lama.


God: Be at peace, child. You cannot fully understand such things at this point in your life.

Ouiser: BUT I WANT TO!

God: And someday, you shall. And you shall get there of your own accord. And the reward will be all the greater for your having discovered it on your own. I believe in you, Ouiser. Be patient.


Ouiser: I expect too much from myself. I disappoint myself often. Then I punish myself.

God: Yet you do not expect such things of others.

Ouiser: Yes I do!

God: Really? Think about last night. The secretary who hasn’t been returning your phone calls. When her boss flew to anger, and told you she would punish the secretary for disregarding you, what did you say?

Ouiser: I said that I know the secretary has been very busy. There have been a lot of things going on in that office lately. And I know the secretary isn’t in the office during times when I’m there.

God: You made every excuse for her. And you did it with a smile, and genuine compassion.

Ouiser: Yes.

God: You didn’t want her to be punished.

Ouiser: No.

God: Even though she had not lived up to your expectations.

Ouiser: All I wanted was for my problem to be resolved. Punishing the secretary does not serve that purpose. And I know that she really is that busy. I would feel bad if she were punished on my account.

God: That is progress, Ouiser.

Ouiser: But it doesn't exactly feel like compassion.

God: That's ok.


God: Your fear doesn’t prevent things from happening to you.

Ouiser: I know… but I’ve spent so much time being afraid that it’s hard to simply stop.

God: That’s ok. You’re learning.

Ouiser: (I'm glowing. I'm warm.) Thank you.

God: You have gotten better at creating your own world. You are learning to nest – emotionally and spiritually as well as physically. You love yourself in this manner, and you love others by inviting them into your space, by sharing with them.

Ouiser: When I learn to treat myself the way I insist others treat me… will I then be perfect?

God: You are already perfect, child.

Ouiser: Yeah, right, right… I mean, will I be... farther along the path to enlightenment?

God: Yes. But enlightenment is not a destination.

Ouiser: I know. It’s that whole patience thing I’m still working on.

God: I am proud of you, Daughter.


I meditated today, in my yoga studio, with my instructor and one other student. I've never tried to meditate with others before, and I've only ever successfully meditated once before in my life, and that was under very different circumstances. Perhaps the time was simply right. Perhaps the right doors are open inside of me. Perhaps my allergies are less stressful, in this glorious weather we're having.

Whatever the reason, I'm glad I have this blog. I don't know that I would have bothered to write all this down, were it not for the blog. And I don't know that I would have remembered it, had I not written it down.

I get defensive about being a blogger. I feel that people will say I'm an exhibitionist, that I need to be the center of attention (the worst thing you can say about a person!). The truth is that I need to be reminded that I'm not alone, that I am heard. Checking my sitemeter can be validating. I don't need to be on the news. I don't need to be bombarded with emails or comments. I just need to feel that I am known. And I'm ok with that. Let's face it... everyone needs that.

"Hey," I said to the Universe, "I exist!"
"Yes," said the Universe, "So what?"
And I am content.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Moving On

Today I have a job interview at noon. I just finished reinforcing the hem of my brown pants, so I'm ready. It's an alternative healthcare clinic. They need an office assistant who knows quickbooks. It's in Rockland county, and perfectly situated to ease my home-to-work-to-school-to-home commute. I imagine they won't pay much, but I don't need much.

I feel positive about it.

Last night, in class, we learned techniques for chair massage. I loved it. Tonight is Anatomy class, hardcore science. My favorite classes are my science classes. I love that after three months I'm still so jazzed about the science.

After class last night, several of my classmates asked when the interview was today, and told me they'd be thinking of me and praying for me. It warmed my heart.

G called me on his lunch break yesterday, and told me that he's already starting to miss me. He started his new job on Monday. He is out of the house by seven, before I wake up. By the time I get home, it's between eleven and twelve at night, and he's sound asleep. This month is going to particularly hard, as I'm working in the Student Clinic every Friday night. We will only see each other Saturdays and Sundays... but I'm ok with it. Things won't always be this way, and really, I'm just so happy with things right now.

After some wonderful talks, G and I are still on the same page, and we still cuddle like kids who've just met. This February will be our third Valentine's Day together, and he's admitted he's planning something special. Every time I think we're drifting off course, we get back on. Every time I'm uncertain about something, he clears it up. The guy has me, as much as I imagine is possible, figured out.

School just rocks. Damn. All I need is an income, and really, it feels like everything is falling into place. The only thing missing that I can think of beyond a job is a place to sing. I'll get to that. Something always pops up for me there sooner or later.

So long, 2005. So long, Glamgirl. So long, everything that weighs me down, that I don't need, that isn't useful to me anymore. Thanks for the good times.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Losing Friends

From an episode of Crossing Jordan:

Jordan: “I have this key, to the trunk of a car. Today I found out where that car is. I don’t know what’s inside, but whatever it is, it has something to do with my Mom’s murder.”

Lily: “So… go open the trunk.”

Jordan: “No.”

Lily: “Why not?”

Jordan: “It’ll make me crazy.”

Lily: “But you’re already crazy.”

Jordan: “(laughing) Some shrink you are!”

Lily: “I’m not a shrink. I’m your friend.”

Jordan: “Will you.. ah… stay with me?”

Lily: “As long as you need me to.”

It’s hard to reach out. It’s hard to ask friends to put their own lives aside, just to be there for me, just sit next to me while I go through something. It’s hard to admit I need it. It’s harder still to ask someone to prove their love for me by doing something for me.

That’s how it feels, like I’m cashing in on a loan. Friendship feels like a barter system. I care about you, and have tried to do things for you, therefore I feel entitled to your love and attention. I sang in your wedding, so you should come visit me for lunch and shopping. I came to your party and helped you clean up, and let you cry on my shoulder when you got dumped, so you should come to the movies with me, so I don’t have to sit by myself in a movie theatre, feeling alone. I helped you write papers and told you not to back down when you were being discriminated against, and told you no man was worth your slavery, that you deserved true love and respect. So I feel you should have come to my birthday party, or at least called to say why you wouldn’t come.

Love shouldn’t be bartered. But often, it is.

Kristin and Lisa. I always come back to them. They have really never let me down. Everything I’ve ever expected from a friend, and in many cases far more, they have been. I’ve been far less of a friend to them than they have to me. In the decade-plus that we’ve been out of our parent’s homes, I have never visited Lisa in Chicago, and since Kristin moved into that new house about six years ago, I have never seen it. I don’t always send them birthday or Christmas presents, and when I do, it’s usually something small. Granted, I’m broke, but still. Nobody’s exactly wealthy here. Kristin and Lisa have both flown to New York to visit me. Every single time I come to Illinois, unless we’re sick, or I’m only there for two days – and sometimes even then – one or both of them makes the four-hour drive down to see me. And they constantly reassure me, over the phone and in emails, that they love me, that they value our friendship. Wow.

Let’s just say they are the best emotional investment I have ever made.

Glamgirl and I are no longer friends. When we went to SCAMDA together, we were inseparable. I remember people saying we never went anywhere without each other – if one of us was in view, the other must be close by. The receptionist at school once remarked warmly how great it was that Glamgirl and I had “found each other.” I felt the same way. We called each other “sister.” We crashed at each others apartments. We spent so much time together, for about five years, that it was impossible to know one of us without knowing the other.

Then she moved back to Korea.

I was the last one to help her clean out her apartment, haul everything to the trash area, run around Manhattan at 2AM donating stuff to various friends, and sharing a Korean pear at about 5AM, before she had to catch her cab. I took a keychain and a magnet and a scarf, and a large kitchen knife that we didn’t feel comfortable leaving in the garbage. We were somewhat in denial, laughing and groaning with fatigue, eating that fruit on the floor of her empty studio on east 15th street. We believed we’d see each other often enough. We believed we’d keep in touch. We talked about my visiting her in Seoul. And when 6AM rolled around, I caught her a cab, helped load her two suitcases in the trunk, gave her a quick hug and kiss, and watched her roll away up second avenue, toward JFK, and a teaching job at Pusan University. I hugged myself in the February dawn, the sun not quite up, telling myself not to be so silly as to cry. Glamgirl and I were sisters. We’d always be friends. I’d be in her wedding in a few years. We had so much history together, such intimacy, such amazing transformative times behind us. My life in New York is impossible to remember without her.

Yet, as I subwayed back home to the upper west side, I sniffled. And when I lay down in my bed at around 7am, I cried. I sobbed. I cried for what seemed like days.

I won’t go into detail about the gradual decline of our friendship, the utter dearth of phone calls, her refusal to write letters or use email, etc.. but it has run its course. The last two times she came to town, she just didn’t care about seeing me. She refused to even consider coming to Nyack to see where I’m living, because “What am I gonna do there?” She made some disturbingly racist comments about southeast Asians on one visit, in front of G. And she has become so concerned with her appearance… I’ve never seen anything like it.

I think the last straw was when she chastised me for not wearing enough sunscreen on my face, because I have freckles. “Are you kidding?” I said. “I should have stock in sunscreen, I wear so much!” I pulled a tube of it out of my purse to demonstrate. “But you have so many freckles,” she said, wrinkling her nose. “I’m white, Glamgirl, and Irish. We have freckles.” She brushed my cheek with her finger, as though she could wipe my brown imperfections away like dirt. “But you don’t have to. You should use face cream.”

I stepped back and looked at her hard. “Why should I?” I asked her. “I like my freckles. My mom has freckles. My aunts have freckles. Why should I hide them?”

She shrugged her shoulders and turned back to her mirror. She picked up a hat and began adjusting it on top of her long, chemically waved and highlighted black hair. “Well,” she said, “If you don’t mind having them…”

I’m wrong. This wasn’t even the last straw. Even if my friend has become a self-absorbed, superficial, racist princess, she was still my friend and my sister.

The last straw was my birthday last August. This darling man had tried to throw Rich and I a lovely birthday party at this ultra-nice dining establishment. When I realized that they would only take a reservation for eight, and that all eight slots were filled, I asked him to change the location. I did that for two people – G and Glamgirl. My boyfriend, and my best friend, who was only in town for two weeks. I found a restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen where the food was mediocre at best, and made everybody go there, in the hopes that she would come.

When I called her and invited her, she balked. “I might be in California that day, with Donny (her boyfriend). But I’m not sure. We haven’t confirmed that yet.”

“Glamgirl. It’s my birthday. We haven’t been in the same city for my birthday in years. I’m having it in Manhattan, just a few stops north of you on the 1/9. I really want to see you, and I really want you to meet my friends.”

“Of course! I wanna see you too! I’ll check with Donny and call you when I know.”

Days passed. No word. I tried to call her again, and got the voicemail. “Please let me know if you can come to my birthday party.” I left the time, date, and location. “Please come, sister, it means so much to me.”

She never called. When G and I arrived in Hell’s Kitchen, we had a lovely dinner with Jess, Marc, Frank, Crash, Wayne, and Jeff. We missed Rich, and a couple of others who had given us maybes, but we had a lovely time, and I felt blessed.

Jess, guys, I'm sorry I was such a fool. Thanks for showing me what real friendship is.

I have no idea when Glamgirl left America. I never heard from her again. I am sure I never will, and that’s fine. I have no idea who that woman is. The girl who was my best friend is gone, lost somewhere between New York and Korea, somewhere between a failed dream to be an actress, and a career teaching acting. Lost somewhere between an independent, headstrong, outspoken, sexually aware American girl, and a society where women must be the exact opposite of that. Lost somewhere on a plane over Europe, a 40-year old Korean woman waiting for her 26-year old blond American boyfriend to propose. Lost in a cloud of Designer clothes that her father pays for and expensive hotels that her boyfreind pays for. Insulated by a sea of 20-something girls who follow her around, hoping they can achieve what she has: the appearance of eternal youth. They cannot conceive of anything more important in life.

But she could, at one time. I imagine that years of disappointment has led her to this state. She insulates herself in materialism. I suppose she has done the best she could. Granted, her disappointment in America must have been profound – eight years of auditioning, an MFA from the Actor’s studio, training at AMDA (which Koreans actually respect), and private lessons in voice and dance from some of the best studios in New York. She was never cast in anything. She couldn’t lose her accent, and sadly, in spite of all those voice lessons, she doesn’t have a world-class voice. I feel for her. I identify, in some ways.

I probably had more of a chance to be cast than she did… but I didn’t want it as badly as she did. And I didn’t come from a culture of achievement at all costs. I could go into a litany of things she had to struggle with, that I didn’t. But I had my own struggles. I didn’t become a selfish, self-absorbed spoiled brat.

Well, I didn’t become a spoiled brat.

This has been hurting me for so long that I just got used to it. Then New Year’s Eve came. Glamgirl’s birthday. Yes, I know, all Koreans count themselves a year older on New Year’s Day, but she was actually born on January first, 1965. My parents and I, and on a couple of occasions my ex-husband, would call her apartment every year at midnight on New Year’s Eve, right after we’d done our kissing and toasting, and sing happy birthday to her, in harmony. Often we would sing to her answering machine. Once, I called her from Aspen, where I was spending the holiday with my cousin, and had a street full of people shout “happy birthday” into the phone. Once I called from a party and had a roomful of revelers join in the singing. And on a one occasion, it was just me, singing alone to my sister, missing her, but feeling warm, knowing she was out there, and that our friendship was special, and sustaining.

This year, I felt sick. I got angry for a few minutes, but mostly, I felt sad. Then I got angry again. Then I spent some time focusing on my friends. When we went to sleep later on, I cried. And then next morning, I had forgotten all about her.

Losing a friend is so much harder than losing a lover. They are so much harder to find.

I can be harsh with people sometimes. I expect a great deal from the world. I expect the most from myself. Most of the time, I’m let down. This is my own fault, I know. I tell myself this all the time. I need to stop expecting people to give, to not change, to value me as much as I value them, to show their feelings, to appreciate what I have to give, to not need to be the center of attention. I need to accept the imperfections of the world, and the people in it.

What I haven’t been able to get past is the idea that when I have a need, and I have a friend, that I should be able to expect that person to help me fill that need. Someone who calls themselves my friend, who has done so for a certain period of time, someone who has told me on many occasions that they love me… when they let me down, when they disregard me, when they simply withdraw and leave me hanging… I feel, quite frankly, fucked over. I feel a sense of injustice. I’m angry.

I don’t think I can forgive this one. Other things in the past, I let go. I told myself she had changed, that we all change, that her life has been difficult, that underneath it all, she’s still my sister, that she still loves me, and that’s what counts. Well, this time, I saw no evidence whatsoever of her love for me. I saw judgment, and impatient tolerance, and disregard.

It’s over.

Glamgirl is not the only friend who has disappeared from my life in the last two years. There was one friend who I realized was never really a friend – I was her friend, but really, it was always a one-way street. And there was another friend who, for a while, was a real friend. Someone I felt a connection with, due to some shared experiences, and some common views of life. Both of these people simply stopped calling or writing me. I made one attempt to contact each of them, left a message or an email, and heard nothing in response. They are gone. Their lives in their immediate surroundings became their focus. I was out, with no explanation.

If I mean so little to someone, then losing them is no loss.


Saturday, January 07, 2006

Right I am...

I am Kenny!
You're Kenny Blankenship! You're the clown of the
group who just tries to have fun.

Which MXC Character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

G and I have been semi-obsessed with this hilarious little fake reality show for a while now. I thought we were the only ones watching it. Little did I know it's a cult favorite with a following to rival MST3K's during the early '90s, particularly on College campuses across America.

Nice to know I can still relate to college students.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Prayer of Thanks

I am grateful for the sunrise, and its reminder that new days are opportunities for new beginnings.
I am grateful for the moonlight, and the reminder that in my darkest hours, I am never truly alone.
I am grateful for my health. I hope the stomach flu is the worst I have to suffer. I wish that were true for everyone.
I am grateful to live in a time where root canals and fillings are possible, as I prefer them to toothlessness.
I am grateful to have friends who wish to spend New Year's Eve with me.
I am grateful for my parents.
I am grateful for my ability to accomplish important things under duress.
I am grateful for the love I have shared with G over the past two and a half years.
I am grateful for my voice.
I am grateful for my ability to see my talents and gifts, even in the absence of external validation.
I am grateful for my friends, who validate me on deeper levels, and remind me to laugh, and to rest.
I am grateful for my sense of humour.
I am grateful for those who provide for me all that I cannot provide for myself.
I am grateful for the lessons I have learned from my job interviews.
I am grateful that I met so many successful career women at so many different companies. I look forward to meeting more.
I am grateful for the three days of temp work that I have scheduled in February.

In this dark place, I sit with my eyes closed, and though I cannot see a light at the end of this tunnel, I feel the light of your divine love inside me. Forgive me, Mother, for my cynicism, for my faltering faith, for my feelings of entitlement, for my unrealistic expectations, for my pride. I am perfect as You made me, and though I cannot see my purpose in life, I trust You will lead me to my destiny.

I surrender to your loving embrace. Guide me, your child, and I will do my best.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Just to Clarify:

I think if I were going to get the job, I'd have heard by now. I made two phone calls and sent an email. No response. I got one person on the phone, and she said that they were still interviewing candidates, and they should have their answer sometime this week, and that HR should be calling me. Yes. I'm sure they will.

This morning, I was informed (gently) by G's landlord that as of tomorrow I no longer have a place to park my car. I'll get ticketed on the street, and I can't locate a rentable spot. This is a private area. I've worked out a handshake deal to discreetly stash my vehicle in the sparsely-filled lot behind the business office a block away, but this is not a permanent solution.

My teeth still hurt, and my dentist says the next step is a root canal. This may not be necessary. I have to monitor my pain for about a month until I can tell exactly which teeth are hurting. This is actually a long, complicated thing involving sub-clinical inflammation versus clinical inflammation. I do understand it, and it simply means that, after eight cavities and two which were very deep, it's going to be a number of weeks before the underlying nerves settle down. In the meantime, it's Anbesol and soft foods.

I suffered a mild case of stomach flu over the holidays. My entire vacation was spent with cough drops, sleepless nights, and stomach distress. I managed some very low-energy socializing with friends, but I didn't get to bake any Christmas cookies. The first year I can ever remember since I was in grade school that I haven't made cookies. There are other things I didn't get to do, private, family things that nobody would value except me.

Oh - I did manage to clean out my late grandmother's clothing from the closets for donation to the local women's shelter. How's that for a happy holiday tradition.

New Year's Eve was, to say the least, disappointing. The B&B our friends picked out was nice, but, as Slam indicated, "You don't come here for the food." Sadly, for me, food is life. We ate fried food, bad cheap chinese, and McDonalds. I had packed a nice dress, hoping we'd at least go for a nice dinner somewhere. What a dumbass I was. There were fireplaces everywhere. They were pretty, but the wood was moldy, and I was choking and gagging. Not allergy friendly. Never mind recovering from the flu friendly. My friends loved the place, and I spent the whole time there being a good sport. I went through cough drops like they were candy.

G gave me the impression that my insistence on living in a major city was the reason he wasn't proposing. Well, I guess that's a step up from "I don't know if I can handle your depression." I told him I could handle leaving New York if he preferred Boston, but even that wasn't good enough - G wants a suburban life. He says he doesn't like too many people around. I then proceeded to sell my soul to keep my man. I won't go into detail there, but let's just say I have been sick over it ever since. I'm waiting until the right moment to have a very difficult, painful conversation. I have no idea what the outcome will be. All I can do is pray that our love for each other is as true as I belive it to be - that we value each other enough to compromise. No - I hope he values me that much.

I learned last night that another one of my many ex-boyfriends is engaged to an attorney. They haven't been dating very long, but this guy has been the king of the lonely hearts club for a long time. There were many reasons he and I broke up, but the final nail in that coffin was our inability to see eye-to-eye on the financial necessities of child-rearing in a major city. I imagine marrying an attorney will eliminate these problems. I should be happy for him. Mostly, I'm feeling sorry for myself. This particular ex was someone who I felt would have been perfect for me, if I hadn't been still married when we met. Oh, that, and that he lived in what I termed "financial la-la-land." We were ridiculously close, and spent a lot of time after we broke up trying to accept that we really weren't going to get back together. We stayed friends and stayed in touch, and something between us was always there... but that's life. He's moved on and got what he wants from someone who is happy with him just the way he is. She loves him for who he is.

For who he is.

I expect too much from life in general. I expect that a great job interview - actually, a bunch of interviews - might at some point lead to a job. Any job. Lord, am I nuts! I expect that some company, somewhere, might need someone with my talent and skills and experience. Oh, I'm a riot! And I actually expect that a man who tells me he loves me and talks marriage to me for over two years, and promises that he won't string me along for years like that OTHER guy did, will shit or get off the pot. I'm a laugh riot here. Hey, remember that time when I thought that because people said I had a nice singing voice, that I thought I might get cast in something? Yeah, that was a good one too.

I thought that if I worked hard enough, kept my positive energy going, and tried to be a good person, and approached life with a smart, can-do attitude, that I'd make it in the world. I never wanted to be overly wealthy, or to see the whole world, or to wear Manolo Blahniks. I want to have a home in a safe neighborhood with my grandpa's piano, and my cat. I'd like a healthy relationship and to be able to feed and clothe a child. Before I die, I'd like to see Ireland, but my Grandmother died before she ever saw her family's homeland, so I guess if I don't make it, that's ok.

I expect too much. Hope, not Fear. Man, that was a good line.

Now I have to go to class. I just wish that, at the end of class, I could lie down on a massage table, go to sleep dreaming of a life where I get paid for my work, and my talents are valued, with a man who loves me for who I am, not who he wishes I was... and never wake up.

But don't worry. The cleaning staff will kick me out on my ass, and I'll be stashing my car in a borrowed space by midnight.