Sunday, February 26, 2006

It all started with Peggy Fleming

Peggy Fleming
Originally uploaded by MzOuiser.

I wrote this seven page long article about Figure Skating, and how I've loved watching skaters since I was in elementary school, and how I saw sides of myself in various skaters. Some were role models, some were reflections of my own inner struggles, etc.

I'm still not happy with it, so I took it down. But I posted some of the skaters I wrote about on the flickr site. I'll get back to that piece.

I'm actually very happy for Shuzuka. It's nice to see someone do their job and get rewarded for it, and as much as I'm loathe to see that stereotypically asian hyper-work-ethic rewarded, I think that gal deserves that gold medal. She is, after all, the only one that didn't fall. She didn't over-extend herself. She skated conservatively, almost without passion. Something about that seems to reflect a mood of the times. But, underneath it all, a mature woman who has been working for years, who didn't let her Olympian status go to her head, went out on the ice, did as she was expected, and brought home a gold medal. Man, if only the rest of us had that kind of professional reward for our day's work.

And, as one of the announcers said, that's a lady skating out there. The grace, the gentility, the quiet power, the child-like smile, the comparatively demure skating dress. I'm so sick of seeing kids handed gold medals by default, like teenagers in a drunken eurphoria after having snuck into a bar with a fake ID. And I admit, I'm sick of seeing seasoned professionals underperform. So thank the goddess for Shizuka - a grown woman of 24 who didn't get overconfident and who didn't choke. A professional. A role model.

Yeah, I really love skating. I wrote that essay starting with the divine Miss Peggy Fleming, and went through to last Thursday night. I don't have much time to work on big writing pieces these days, but I'll come back to it.

Monday, February 20, 2006

So where's my diamond collar charm?

So where's my diamond collar charm?
Originally uploaded by MzOuiser.

Hi everyone, Marge here. I figured Mom will never get around to writing about what she's been up to lately, so I'll fill you in on some details. Besides, she and my new Dad have been out of the house an awful lot, and I'm not getting nearly enough attention.

Dad's been the once keeping my litter box fresh, my food dish full, and my water fountain flowing. Mom's been gone a lot. When Mom is home, she's got this big heavy book in her lap, instead of me. I have to lie next to her, not on her lap. It's really stupid. I can't wait until she's done with these night classes she's been taking.

Last weekend she and Dad went away, and when they came back, they had flowers. Mom spent some time on the computer, then they both disappeared into the bedroom! At some point they came out and ate one of those round smelly things in the flat box. I don't know how they eat that stuff, it smells utterly unappetizing. Then they watched TV and went back to bed. I got some quality petting on the couch, but I could tell they were really tired. They are always tired these days. It's really unfair to me.

Last week Mom actually got home early one night, and what did she do? Fall asleep! She came home, put on that big black fuzzy wrap thing she wears in the mornings, laid on the couch, and fell asleep! Here I am, snuggled into her arm, rolling on my back doing my cutest pose every, and she falls asleep. I am so unappreciated. I used to get all the attention around here. Now I'm getting snores.

Then, yesterday, Mom and my new Dad went out AGAIN. They were both gone all day Friday, Most of the day Saturday, and all day Sunday. What are they DOING out in the cold world? Don't they know it's winter? Anyway, when they got back yesterday, Dad was holding this little blue bag, which I thought looked like it might contain cat treats, but it didn't, and Mom had this sparkly thing attached to her hand. She looked a little sick, her face was pink and she was sort of staring and wandering. I think that thing might be some kind of hypnotic device. She kept staring at it with this stupid look on her face. Actually, I've seen that look before on nights when she comes home really late, kicks off her shoes and goes to sleep without changing clothes. It's been a while since she did that so maybe this sparkly thing has the same effect? She usually wakes up with a headache after those times, so I hope this sparkly thing doesn't give her headaches too.

This morning she was wearing the sparkly thing again when she left the house. I hope she doesn't have headaches all day.

She is really happy though. And Dad is too. So when do I get more snuggle time?

Saturday, February 18, 2006


I massaged a very challenging client last night, and one who was relatively easy. Got home at 10:30. I'm leaving the house right now to go work on three more clients.

I have so much to write about, and no time! Maybe later today.

This has been such a wonderful week, and I'm so grateful. Blessed be.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

It's not about you

So I’m in Massage Therapy class, and we’re talking about abdominal massage. Basically, rubbing the stomach. This is a specialized technique that we won’t learn until next semester, but there was a question regarding abdominal massage on our final exam for this semester.

When performing abdominal massage, effleurage strokes should be applied
a. Clockwise
b. Counter-clockwise
c. Inferior to Superior
d. Medially to Laterally

The students were miffed. Once we finished the exam, and everyone had turned in the test, we asked our instructor to tell us which was the right answer.

She told us that abdominal massage should be performed with clockwise strokes, because this is the direction in which the intestines move. Light massage over this area can aid digestion and elimination, if your client has problems with that.

One of our students got very upset that our instructor wasn’t emphasizing the benefits to a woman’s menstrual cycle. “WHY aren’t we talking about that!?” she screeched.

The instructor simply blinked, looked at the student, and said, “We will. Next semester.”

I told a friend of mine this story. This friend is my mother’s age, and is also a teacher. She always seems calm.

“Well, for those of us old enough to remember such things,” she mused, “Schools didn’t used to discuss women’s reproductive health in any fashion. Your classmate may have suspected a deliberate exclusion of information on the part of the instructor.”

“But WHY,” I huffed, “would my fellow student make that assumption?”

“Didn’t you say your classmate is from the south?” My friend asked.

“Yes,” I replied, a bit disoriented. “South Carolina.”

“Is it possible that the schools she’s been to previously would have taken exactly that biased, exclusionary attitude?”

“Yes... I guess they might. She has a lot of stories about the mentality of the people she used to live around.”

“Well, this might be a hot button with her.”

We all have our hot button issues, and people can bring them to mind without realizing it. I used to make assumptions about people’s viewpoints and motivations based on things they said all the time. I was right occasionally, but I was usually wrong. Worse than that, when I spoke up about it, and I was wrong, I made myself look like a fanatical idiot, creating adversaries out of thin air.

I stopped filling in the blanks, reading between the lines, and putting words in people’s mouths. I started thinking carefully about what I had just read or heard, and exactly what those words were. I started considering the source of the statement. How well did I know this person? Did I really think they held the views I feared? I realized that my own sensitivity to certain issues caused me to pick fights where they were inappropriate, and caused me to mis-hear certain words and misunderstand phrases. I expected to be confronted with negativity… so I created it where there was none.

I want to say I thought I was being smart, or tough, or protecting myself by being alert and aware. That’s not the case though, and I don’t think it is for most people. My expectations of hostility and insult were simply a gut-level, learned reaction to previously experienced hurt. Sort of like those Vikings in that commercial who don’t know what to do with themselves, now that ransacking is out of fashion.

You have to learn what is about you and what is not. You also have to realize when you’re championing a cause because of a legitimate need in society, and when you’re tilting windmills because you need a way to vent your frustration. Both courses of action are ok, as long as you’re up front about it.

When I was in college, some friends of mine were telling blonde jokes, and we were all laughing. A buxom blonde friend of our walked through the area while we were doing so. She turned around, came back, and asked “Do you know why brunettes and redheads tell so many blonde jokes?”

“No,” we asked, enjoying the twist we knew was coming.

“Because they don’t have anything else to do on Friday and Saturday nights.” Our blonde friend smiled and went on her merry way. We convulsed with laughter.

I learned the next day that one of my brunette cohorts in that room had approached said blonde at a party later that night, and picked a nasty, vulgar, violent fight with her. Many names were called, hair was pulled, and the neighbors threatened to call the police when the fight spilled onto the front lawn.

We were all joking. If our blonde friend could take it and dish it out, and I could too, I guess our other friend couldn’t.

I saw my blonde friend at a departmental meeting a week or so later. “Hey, Red!” She called out across the room. “What, Blondie?” I called back. “What did you do last Friday night?” She asked.

“I bleached my hair and got engaged!” I shot back. We both laughed, and so did half the room.

“Oh yeah?” She retorted. “I dyed my hair red and had an orgy!”

We quit before the faculty yelled at us. The whole room was laughing.

I miss that girl.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Happy Back-To-Normal Day

This morning, the bitter ladies in the coffee room were back to screaming about how they think someone threw the coffee scoop away. One woman ranted and raved about this as though her taxes were being raised or her house had been ransacked.


I took two final exams Monday night, and feel good about them. Last night I coasted. Tonight and tomorrow night are my finals in my science classes.

Last night, as my class was returning from our 5-minute snack break, one of my classmates told me that the daytime instructor was telling her that there are some very smart people in the evening classes, especially this one girl. "He must have meant you," she said. I was embarrassed and said "No, he must have meant Shelly," indicating another gal in class. But inside I glowed.

I didn't say much for the rest of the evening. I've felt for a long time that the contents of my head were of little or no value to the forces moving New York. The jobs I get are grunt work, and I take them because, well, I'm not proud, and frankly, that's all I'm offered. Jobs involving creativity, or any headwork other than number crunching are considered plums these days, I suppose. So I've settled into a life where my ability to efficiently pack filing cabinets and boxes and answer the phone for others earns me money. This blog is where I do my thinking, my feeling, and my creating.

I guess, without realizing it, I managed to do some thinking at school as well. I certainly do a lot of feeling, but I try not to talk about it. I feel like quite the number there. The adminstration isn't exactly focused on student well-being, so I do what I'm required to do to stay in compliance, I get along with my classmates during the breaks, I bite my tongue with my instructors, and I go home and bitch to G when I need to. Hearing someone at school say that I'm thought of as smart... well, that's a validation I wasn't expecting.

Actually that's not the first compliment I've received there. One client I worked on in clinic told the supervisors that I was an asset to the program.

I'm just gonna hold onto these nice things for awhile.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Day of Bitterness and Marketing

To the lonely, blonde, bitter single woman down the hall,

You aren't pretty enough to be a goldigger, so stop bragging about how you need to be bought diamond jewelry or a man isn't worth your time. You don't have a man in your life and have never been married. The material girl image isn't working for you.

And I have a right to my happiness. I paid my dues. If you choose to blame the rest of the world for your lack of fulfillment, don't come spreading your malhumeur all over my $35 blowout.

Get a shrink, for god's sake. And try a miniskirt while you're at it. If you can't handle relationships at least go get yourself laid. A good orgasm once every ten years does wonders for your attitude. Here, have a condom.


There's a bar down the street full of hot firemen that will be happy to release as much of that pent-up hostility as you're willing to let go.

Oh wait. You need that, don't you? That's the entire basis for your personality.
Never mind. Just go away.

*taking back the condom*



Monday, February 13, 2006

But... I wanted to be Daniel...

You are Andrae:
You're a visionary and people see that right away; however, you tend to be too sensitive and under pressure you crack (or mumble inchorentley through tears and laughter). You have a kind soul and giving spirit. You may be too sensitive for the rags game.

Which Project Runway 2 Designer Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

This is the only reality show I've ever been hooked on. I love watching the creative process, and the competitors get along. What little discord we see is so very mild compared to most reality shows.

(From his blog)

And damn, I just love clothes.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Back to the Breath

Last Friday sucked, but I'm feeling better today. I had a really great weekend. See below.

And thanks for the phone calls and emails, you three guys. With peeps like you, a gal never needs to feel alone. Much Love.

The Sweetest Treat I've Ever Had

The Sweetest Treat I've Ever Had
Originally uploaded by MzOuiser.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.

I talked to someone I work with about my employment/job/career/calling/inability to make it on my own today.

I'm getting a new response these days. Now people, after listening to my story, are telling me I should go into business for myself. They agree that it's ridiculous that nobody has hired me. They can see how much brains and talent and energy I have. So I should go into business for myself.

Gee, there's an idea. ok, I'll do that. Doing what?

What can I do?
I can sing.
I can act.
I can make jewelry, but I don't really enjoy it.
I can write.
I can give massages.
I can organize closets.

What, of the above things, do I most love?

I keep thinking of that black lady from the south, the grandmother who loved to make pasta sauce, who got a grant from some women's foundation to go into business making and selling her pasta sauce. She didn't do it alone. Her son ran the business. All she had to do was make the sauce.

I'm alone. I really have no one. My boyfriend has a busy successful career of his own. My parents are struggling, and far away. I have no siblings. I have no friends who are the least bit interested in becoming my marketing and sales force.

Where do I start?

I need some serious counseling. I've been obsessing for so long. There are days when I can't stop crying, and today is one of them.

I have no health insurance. I need someone to talk to. Someone who can ACTUALLY HELP. My friends have nothing to say that I haven't heard a million times.

I have lost track of how many times I've felt I should just declare bankruptcy and get this debt off my shoulders.

I'm so upset today I don't know what to do with myself. My boyfriend is planning vacations for us, things to take me away from all this. I'm dating Calgon. He keeps saying that he can see a light at the end of a tunnel, even if I can't. Maybe today I have lost my faith. Maybe it's PMS.

The bottom line is, I am unable to be self-sufficient, and my gifts are wasted. That is really what's killing me. I have all this to offer, and NOBODY WANTS IT. That's what's got me so crippled today.

Singing in my living room at the top of my lungs used to comfort me, but it doesn't anymore, it just makes me angry. So I sing angry songs, and I wind up sitting on the floor screaming and crying. I don't even know where to go anymore. I don't even know what to google, who to call. I keep thinking over and over that this is why people kill themselves, that they feel their birth was pointless, that they are a waste of skin. That's what Kurt Cobain said about himself - "I'm a waste of skin." Well, Kurt, at least someone wanted to record you. At least someone wanted to hear your music. At least you had that.

I don't want someone to tell me I'm a worthy person, they love me, everything's going to be ok. I want someone to tell me they need me to show up on Monday ready to work, ready to use my brains and my talents, and not just my body, my brute strength.

Don't tell me to hang in there. Tell me where to apply, where to audition, where to send a resume. I've had it with the pep talks. I need results, and I need them soon.

However, right now, I'd settle for a counselor with Saturday hours. Having a rough time finding that as well. I've been trying. I'm still trying.

I'm going to die trying one of these days, and that's what they'll put on my tombstone. "Here lies Deidre. You never heard of her, but she died trying."

Thursday, February 09, 2006

We don't talk about the Donner Party...

And, of course, this blog is not mentioned.

I found this from a link on the Wikipedia site for the Simpsons.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Another Judeo-Pagan Holiday

When you come to the land and you plant any tree, you shall treat its fruit as forbidden; for three years it will be forbidden and not eaten. In the fourth year, all of its fruit shall be sanctified to praise the L-RD. In the fifth year, you may eat its fruit.
-Leviticus 19:23-25

Most pagans of the celtic or druidical traditions will have lots of nice things to say about trees. They can tell you the historic, mystical personalities of different species of tree. The Oak was sacred for this reason, the Willow for that, etc. Ancient pagan celebrations and rituals were held in groves of trees, which led the Christians, on their fatwa against everything out of their control, to decree that Satan ruled the forest and everything natural was evil. But I digress.

Every state in the US has an official tree. In our mine's-bigger-than-yours society, trees have become a status symbol. The presence of trees on your property indicates wealth. The plantation manor Twelve Oaks, the home of Ashley Wilkes in Gone with the Wind, was named for the trees which lined the approach to the property. The christmas tree at Rockefeller Center can evoke sighs of disappointment if the observer feels that "it looked bigger last year." And the Redwoods of California continue to be one of our nations most prized destinations. We all want to be around trees. Even if we must live in the city, we hope to be able to afford a tree-lined block. Modern society is as much in love with trees as the ancients were.

On February 15th, a minor Jewish holiday called Tu B'Shevat is observed. Shevat is a month, and Tu simply means the number 15, so this holiday has no real official name other than "the 15th of Shevat," like the fourth of July or Cinco de Mayo. It's unofficial name, however, is the New Year for Trees.

According to Tracy Rich of Judaism 101, the New Year for Trees is not mentioned in the Torah, so you won't find this in the old testament. Tracy found a reference to it in the Mishnah - a book of Jewish Oral Tradition, written down in the second century C.E. The quote from Leviticus above explains how we should harvest fruits from trees, but there isn't much explanation as to why the Arbolic World celebrates New Year's Eve in February. However, I have a theory.

Many holidays fall on February second. The Christians have Candlemas, the Pagans have the Feast of Brigit, and of course secularly we have Groundhog day. All of these traditions have to do with the return of Spring, of the re-awakening of the world. Candelmas, for example:

"The date of Candlemas is established by the date set for the Nativity of Jesus, for it comes 40 days afterwards. Under Mosaic law, a mother who had given birth to a man-child was considered unclean for seven days; moreover she was to remain for three and thirty days "in the blood of her purification." Candlemas therefore corresponds to the day on which Mary, according to Jewish law (see Leviticus 12:2 - 8), should have attended a ceremony of ritual purification. The gospel of Luke 2:22-39 relates that Mary was purified according to the religious law, followed by Jesus' presentation in the Jerusalem temple, and this explains the formal names given to the festival. the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Feast, called "The Coming of the Son of God into the Temple", is also celebrated on February 14.


Note the theological dispute of the date of Candlemas. I'll get back to that later.

From the pagan tradition, February heralds Imbolc, the approach of the Spring Equinox. From an agricultural standpoint, the approach of spring was assured by the lactation of the Ewes. Lambs were born, and the days started getting longer. Of course I can't talk about Imbolc or Spring or February without talking about Brigit:

"This season belongs to Brigid, the Celtic goddess who in later times became revered as a Christian saint. Originally, her festival on February 1 was known as Imbolc or Oimelc, two names which refer to the lactation of the ewes, the flow of milk that heralds the return of the life-giving forces of spring.


That date dispute I mentioned earlier? The Jews have their own dispute as to when exactly Tu B'Shevat should be celebrated. One Talmudic scholar says the 15th - but another says the first:

"...there is a dispute as to the proper date for the holiday (Beit Shammai said the proper day was the first of Shevat; Beit Hillel said the proper day was the 15th of Shevat. As usual, we follow Beit Hillel. For more on Hillel and Shammai, see Sages and Scholars).


What was the Christian's dispute again?

"In the West, the date of Christmas is now fixed at December 25, and Candlemas therefore falls the following February 2. The dating is identical among Orthodox Christians, except that the ecclesiastic December 25th of most Orthodox Christians falls on January 6th of the civil calendar (My emphasis) due to a theological dispute related to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, meaning that most Orthodox Christians celebrate the feast on February 14th.


So we've got supporters in both traditions arguing for the beginning of the month, and the middle of the month. What do the pagans say? It's the beginning. But pagan traditions are lacking a significant influence that rules the Judaeo-Christian world: The Gregorian and Julian calendars. I imagine, a few thousand years ago, far from the civilizations which created these calendars, Imbolc celebrations and the feast of Brigit might have taken place aywhere between the dates we recognize as February 1st and February 15th. According to Wikipedia, Imbolc is often defined as a cross-quarter day midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. This would place the date, in 2006, on February 3rd.

In Pagan traditions, Imbolc is not among the most important holidays, but it was important to the well-being of the people. In the Christian tradition, Candlemas is minor. Given the early Christian church's infamous efforts to assimilate pagan cultures, especially in Ireland, I imagine the prominence of a holiday celebrating the return of the sun (son!) in early February is part of those assimilative efforts. It's stories like this that made me saddest. How does a little party for the trees and the lambs hurt the Church? The government? The possibility of collecting taxes?

The Jewish faith doesn't have a history of forcing people to join or die. They are a live-and-let-live faith. Ironic, considering everyone keeps trying to kill and convert them, but there it is. Pagan Celts can relate. First it was the Romans, imposing their gods, then the Christians. We are sibling traditions, Celtic Paganism and early Judaism. Here's another tradition we have in common.

If you look at the passage from Leviticus again, it fals completely in line with pagan attitudes toward non-human growing things. Don't kill and eat animals or plants too young. They are creations of the divine like us, and even if you believe they were put here for our use, show a little respect for the Great Provider. Don't gobble and grab. Give a few years reverence, and plan your harvest. Use this time to reflect on what you have been given, and what you have taken from the earth.

In America, on Tu B'Shavet, Jewish children often collect money to be sent to Israel, to finance the planting of trees. According to an article published by the Beth El Temple in Massachusetts,

"In modern times, Tu Bishvat has taken on additional meaning. With the establishment of the State of Israel, reforestation efforts became a priority. It is a popular custom today to donate money on Tu Bishvat to the Jewish National Fund to pay for the planting of trees in Israel.

Due to the increased environmental awareness of recent decades, Tu Bishvat has taken on the character of a Jewish mini "Earth Day." A Holiday for trees inspires reflection on the human impact on the environment.


Another popular custom to recognize this day is simply to eat fruits and nuts. One of my favorite recipes contains the fruit of the Apricot tree:

Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Almonds
From Weight

Servings | 4
Preparation Time | 15 min
Cooking Time | 30 min

This Moroccan classic is known for its exotic blend of flavourings: sweetness from the dried fruit and honey and a spicy warmth from the cinnamon.

4 oz dried apricot halves
1 cup fat-free chicken broth
1 pound chicken breast, uncooked, boneless, skinless, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 medium onion(s), chopped
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup slivered almonds, or whole blanched almonds
1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp black pepper, or to taste
1 Tbsp honey
2 cup cooked couscous, hot

1. In a small saucepan, bring apricots and chicken broth to a simmer. Set aside.
2. Coat a large, nonstick saucepan with cooking spray and place over high heat; toss chicken with flour and then sauté chicken until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in onion, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until onions are very tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in cinnamon and honey.
3. Stir in apricots, broth and almonds; season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer 10 minutes and serve over couscous. Yields about 3 ounces of chicken, 1/4 cup of sauce and 1/2 cup of couscous per serving.

In 2005, I got really into the idea of ritual foods and magical meals. Certain things just feel right to eat at certain times, and I think this is because the latent energies in certain foods resonate in harmony with what is going on inside of us, or outside of us, in the earth, or in the collective memory of humanity.

a lovely article that addresses this holiday as a time to share our wealth and be thankful for abundance in our lives, and in the world.

Trees are benevolent spirits. They are passive, but they are tough. They outlive most other beings on the planet. They are symbols of strength and protection, the guardians of the world. Think of the walking trees from the Lord of the Rings, Tolkein's aggressive, active embodyment of protector energy. They represent cyclical change, bloom and fade and death-like sleep and rebirth.

Creatures all over the earth make homes in trees. Children love treehouses. If you're not afraid of heights, and you can climb, you just feel safe, sitting on the high limb of a large tree, leaning against the trunk, feeling the sublte, slow, relaxed energy flow emanating from the trunk, watching the soft leaves waving in the slightest breeze like hair. How many children have wished they never had to come down? Trees reach for the sky, and never lose their grip on the earth, their foundation.

Blessings to all who live among the trees.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I really don't NEED that bagel

I realized Saturday morning that I hadn't really forgotten to eat. I very subtly chose not to eat. I knew I could go awhile without eating, and I enjoy testing the limits of my body's starvation-coping mechanisms.

This is the sort of thing that eating disorders are made of. I've never had a full-blown disorder, but I have always manifested my control issues through eating - most often, through not eating. There were times in my life when I felt that the only choice that was mine to make was whether or not to eat. College was the worst. If I chose to eat, the lack of food options in my cafeteria was frustrating enough to produce that feeling of being trapped in a life I did not choose, that I did not want, that I felt I couldn't escape from. Chili, chicken fingers, salad and ice cream? Fuck this, I'm outta here. I don't need this shit.

More recently, I believe the times I choose not to eat, either consciously or subconsciously, it has been a denial of my basic needs, which translates, in my mind, as a denial that I have any needs at all. I'm fine, I don't need anything. I don't need girlfriends to hang with. I don't need to feel secure in my future. But I can't demonstrate that. I can demonstrate that I don't need to eat.

Yeah, fucked up. But this is what I do, what I've been doing, pretty much, my whole life.

Those who wish to refute this finding will say "Are you kidding? I've seen Ouiser screaming about not getting her way too many times!" Ah yes, you have. And I would have said, at the time, that I needed whatever it was. A more accurate statement would be that said thing was something I was ok with people knowing I needed. People give you shit for needing certain things, like friendship, love, someone to go to the movies with, eat meals with, talk on the phone for hours. One of the worst, most pathetic, most embarrassing things you can call someone is needy.

Whenever I realize I NEED something, I instinctively back away from it. It scares me. Always has. I don't like to need anything, and I don't like to admit it when I realize I do. I'd rather want thing. America seems to be ok with wanting things. Needing is pathetic, but wanting is acceptable.

I was comfortable being perceived as demanding, as spoiled, as tyrranical, even as selfish. But not needy.

The saddest thing is, in retrospect, I wasn't fooling anybody.

I've known for a number of years now that I had a problem with looking needy, and that I was actually very needy. I've grown more comfortable with my neediness. I've realized that most people I know need the same damn things I do, and I'm not ashamed of it anymore. It's human, people.

I didn't connect this concept with my eating difficulties until Saturday morning, on the Long Island Railroad. I had slept late that morning, lingering with G. I was showered and dressed in plenty of time to have coffee, maybe a hard-boiled egg and some toast, hell, at least a Breakfast Bar before I caught the 11:44 Train from Tarrytown. Instead, I puttered around the apartment, watching a TiVoed episode of Lost, checking my email, changing socks and shoes a couple of times. I'll grab something at Grand Central, I told myself.

When I got to Grand Central, I said Forget it - I'll get something at Penn Station. So I hop over to Penn Station, buy the ticket, eye the McDonalds, walk determinedly right past it, and go hop on the train.

I'm sitting there on the LIRR, reading my novel, while a part of my brain is going That was stupid. You're hungry and you're just going to be uncomfortable. You've done this before and you know that eventually, you'll get a headache. I re-focused on my novel and tuned out the voice. For awhile.

At some point, I stopped reading and started listening to myself.

I need to believe that I'm ok, that my needs are met, that I don't need much. My life, let's face it, is pretty cushhy right now. I don't have to pay rent. G is a great husband -oops, I mean boyfriend - and takes complete, loving care of me. I'm in school, studying something I enjoy, and I'm doing great in my classes, and loving the work. I have a fun temp job, and the pay isn't awful. My cat is healthy. My parents are in good shape. And I'm looking forward to more positive changes very soon. By a lot of people's standards, I don't have much to complain about.

So let's get honest.

I'm still thousands of dollars in debt. I've been managing it well, sometimes by the skin of my teeth, but the debt is still there, and its very existence is a stressor. Most of the time I have a realistic, workable attitude about it, but from time to time, the anxiety surfaces. So the debt is my #1 stressor.

#2 - Still missing my parents dreadfully. After ten years of seeing them a couple of times a year, and never really having a large chunk of time with them that wasn't riddled with extended family drama and lots of crying... I just am such Momma and Daddy's girl after all. I wonder if having children of my own won't seperate me from them, cut that umbilical cord. I don't rely on them for money, or really for anything... it's a simple comfort zone for me, to have their arms around me from time to time, arguing in the kitchen with them, making each other laugh over stupid things, commiserating over cub and packer games with Dad, shopping with Mom. I really thought I'd be ok, living far away, not seeing them much. Most of my friends have no problem with it. But I seem more attached to them than I'm willing to admit. I've actually gone so far as to ask them to move out here. I've given mom some shocking lines... asked her if, when I give her grandchildren, will they outrank her job at the daycare center? Honestly, I can't believe I even said that, but there it is.

#3 - no music. I'm not singing, anywhere. Haven't for a year. Recently, I had the opportunity to sing in a benefit concert at - brace yourselves - Carneige Hall. I would have been just one soprano in a 160+ person chorus, but hey. Carniege Hall. I had to make the difficult decision not to participate, because I had only two weeks to procure and learn the music, and one week into that time, I still had not bought the score. with my 17-hour days, and an all-day Saturday class last weekend, I just could not squeeze this in. I remember feeling somewhat cavalier at the time... but since the day of that concert has come and gone, the gravity of what I passed up has gripped me.

And it's not even Carneige Hall - it's the chance to sing. I just don't ever sing, anywhere, anymore. And I miss it more than I can say. I feel like something inside me is rotting, decaying. Sometimes I physically ache, and when I'm in the apartment and not sleeping (which doesn't happen often), I sing. The ache goes away. I don't know how to feel about this, really, I could say all sorts of dramatic things about letting a God-given gift go to waste, and such and so... but I think, simply, that there are things we all have that we simply must do. For me, ugh, it's sing.

I hate that. I wish it was writing. With writing, the blog might assuage this need. But singing is so fucking public. Singing in my shower and living room just doesn't cut it. Singing in choirs... frustration. And I've tried a few times, feebly, to hook up with a jazz session here and there, or just any kind of band at all in Rockland county. The frigidity is incredible. Nobody wants to hear from a singer. It's really amazing, the dismissiveness, the outright hostility, the turned backs. Jeez, people. I can't help but feel if someone would actually listen to me sing, give me a chance, then somebody might let me do it somewhere on a regular basis. But nobody is anything close to interested, at least, not that I've found yet.

Everybody is full of suggestions. Hang out at clubs! Try a new one every weekend! Have you gone to (venue)? They're great, they have new people all the time! Oh, email my friend, Ouiser, they have a band, blah blah blah. So far all those good intentions have yielded nothing.

I could write paragraphs on this, but the point is: Big Stressor #3.

Ok. So I need my family around me, I need to find a place to sing, and I need to be out of debt.

My goddess, this seems so insurmountable.

Uh... so, I've changed my mind. I'm ok with being in debt. And I'm ok not seeing my parents. And the singing thing, I'll do in the shower. No problem, really. Hey, I sang opera in Manhattan for seven years. I don't need to perform anymore. Yeah, I'm ok with all that. I don't really need those things.

You know, for a minute there, I thought I felt hungry. But I really don't need to eat. I'll do that later.


Oh - and the idea of want? Just wanting something doesn't justify getting it. We all want stuff, and we can't all have everything we want. My Mom's been telling me that for years. You don't need it, you don't get it. Wanting something isn't enough. We can't afford things we don't really need.

I want a bagel. I need breakfast. I'll have whole-grain toast and peanut butter.

I want to sing. I need...

I want my family around me. I need...

I need to be ok with needing some things, and with wanting others. I need to get better at identifying what feeds me (pun intended), and making sure I get enough of it.