Monday, January 28, 2008

The Smell of Spring

I moved to LA in September of 1994. And it rained like it was nobody's business. People kept apologizing to me for the weather. It was the first year of El NiƱo and it rained like it was Michigan or something. But I didn't mind. It wasn't snow. And it reminded me of home.

I had a newish friend who lived in Ojai and I had a terrible crush on him. When I was bored at my very dull temp jobs, I wrote letters to him and various other friends. Actual letters. That I printed out and mailed. Or, dare I say it, wrote by hand.

This is a letter I sent him once. (And I know how incredibly queer [i.e. corny] it was to write such a letter, but I was a literary twit. And he was appreciative. Or pretended to be. And what I wrote in my previous blog entry reminded me of this and I thought you might like it. Here goes:

The smell of spring reminds me of my mother.

In May and June my best friend Jenifer and I would ride our bikes to school. We’d meet halfway between our houses and then off we’d go. My mom, in her robe, would walk with me to the end of the driveway. (Our driveway had never been sealed after it was first paved, so over the years it became very gravely. After long drives, even if I was asleep in the car, I could always tell we were home when I heard the wheels crunch on the salt and pepper way. It toughened our feet in the summertime and hampered roller skating. I can hear my bike’s tires slowly scrunching down the drive.) The outdoors was magical, like it is only at certain times. Like a Friday morning at 7:15 in May in West Bloomfield, Michigan. The air all yellowy-new with the sun. Kind of cold. The magnolias blooming and their pink and white petals falling much too soon—they always opened too early, never waiting for that last killing frost. It smelled good, like my mom and the sun and spring. Like dew and grass. It smelled like the morning, like quiet.

I’d be scared to leave my mom and go riding alone down the long street that would curve so I couldn’t look back anymore to see her wave. But she did always keep waving ‘till I rounded that bend. Maybe even after, who can say? And there would be lilacs. And I would be afraid some bad person would get me before I got to Jenifer. My ears would start to feel very cold and my head would hurt, just like it still does when a cool wind sneaks into my ears, even on an early summer morning. I’d probably be a little late and Jenifer would meet me at the end of my street not bothering to stop at the halfway point. Then we’d ride together on our shiny ten speed bikes. No, then we probably still had the hand-me-down banana-seat bikes.

We’d always have sore throats and be thoroughly winded by Wellesley Court so we’d stop there and rest before the big hill at Buxton. These are the subdivision roads of my neighborhood, roads I could traverse in my sleep at one time, but now down which I haven’t been in years. We’d cut the corner at Nicholas and what was that street? I think I’ve jumbled them all by now. But we’d sneak through someone’s driveway to cut that corner. We always were careful, just as our mothers had admonished when they waved goodbye. No, I’m sure Jenifer's mom never troubled to see her out. But mine did, with concern on her face.

And when we got to school our silence was broken as so many other kids milled about at the bike racks. And by that time the good smell and memory are over anyway, because mostly the vision is of my mom, and the end of the driveway, and the golden misty quality of the light, and the placement of the houses on my childhood street, frozen that way. Before Mr. F went to jail and sold off the lots on either side of his big old house, and before some angry people burned down a house on one of those new lots, but after the boy in the house across the way molested me, but before I told my parents the whole story. And anyway, it was before a lot of stuff, and after other things, too. But even here, far across the country, in the middle of winter, I smell that Michigan morning and I am reminded that I have always been loved, have always loved, will always be loved.

And that's the end. It could use some editing, but that wouldn't be honest. What a queer mother fucker I am, huh?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Muddy Hillside

So. Frank E. Doherty Elementary School. There were two playgrounds: The Upper L and The Lower L. I don't know if L was spelled L or what. I'm assuming it meant level. The Lower L was for kindergartners through third graders and The Upper L for fourth and fifth. Now, Doherty is on a lovely plot of land in beautiful West Bloomfield, Mich. That sounds like I'm being facetious, but I'm not; most of West Bloomfield is really quite delightful. Doherty especially. You drive up a longish driveway lined by pine trees on at least one side. The other side might just be regular trees. Through the stand of pines on your right you can see the big field area of the rather massive Lower L playground. Then the school presents itself, nestled comfortably in the landscape. There's a cul-de-sac designed, my mother felt, by a mad man (once those buses were in there, you were trapped). If you go off to left of the school there's a small parking lot at the base of a rolling lawn (where we played kickball). It was a good place to park and neck when in high school. That lawn then melded with The Upper L playground which swept down to a fence, a river (stream?) and the woods behind. There was a path through the woods that led to a big field and then to a subdivision. Just before the woods ended and the field began there was a snowball bush from which I stole huge white puffs for my mother in the spring. They say the woods were haunted, but when don't they say that?

Why the hell am I giving you this tour, she muttered to herself. Oh yeah! Okay. In the spring it rains in Michigan. (In the fall, winter, and summer it rains in Michigan.) The Lower L playground had it's own hillside, a bit more steep then The Upper L's rolling lawn. And it wasn't so much lawn because it was more constantly covered with children. (Why did this subject come into my head this morning? Oh, I know. It was already 66 degrees in the house when I got up this morning. It's been raining (gleefully) in LA this week. This is a good thing. It makes my garden grow. And it makes me happy. The world looks good and smells good and reminds me of home. But it's been much colder in the mornings before today. And when I let the Wiener out the back door, the air was soft and it smelled just like my youth.) (This reminds me of a letter I wrote to a guy I had a crush on when I first moved here. A bit of a lyrical description of a moment in my childhood. I'll look for it. It might interest you.)

In the spring, the hill was mud. My best friend Jenifer (yes, just the one N) and I felt that we needed to create roads to help the water drain down the hill and out the front gate. It did not need us to do this. But my, it was oddly satisfying. We spent every recess (three a day) climbing up and down, dragging the heels of our boots to make canals that connected to other canals and so on and so on. It was a messy job. The mud caked high on my hand-me-down boots. They had zippers which became useless. For a while at least, that wasn't much of a problem because they were too big. I remember one staying sucked in the mud while I kept moving. Stepped right out of it. I stood there on one leg, my little white-socked foot waving in the air until Jenifer rescued me. She was good like that.

The tenacity with which we worked on our public works project was astounding. I suspect our tongues were planted securely at the corners of our lips, to ensure the world of our determination. It was so satisfying watching our girl-made river rush out the front gate as directed by our heel-dug troughs. We may or may not have been yelled at by the recess monitors. And our mothers, for that matter. And, truth be told, this might have just happened on one day. But I don't think so. I think it was an epic project, like the Big Dig. I think our work was never done.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Empty your mind.

My first instinct there is to say, "Don't tell me what to do!" Which of course I never mean, but it makes me laugh. Like when someone says, "Have a seat," and I respond, "Don't tell me what to do!" They're always so shocked. (FYI, you can pretty much always tell me what to do and I may well just do it. I'm the youngest.)

So, empty your mind. It's a thing in Yoga. Now your instructor knows that that is very difficult to do, so she/he encourages you to address thoughts as they come and go, but don't get fixated on them. Just acknowledge them and let them pass. HA! Well, actually, I am way better now (insert Zoloft comment here). I can often focus on my breathing, the deep in and the deep out. Sometimes I can do that for up to, say, one breath cycle. Then my mind wanders. But I bring it back!

What I've noticed now is that my mind tends always go to the same places. Yes, if I'm really really obsessing about something, I may go there. Like when I first started getting close to my boyfriend and I couldn't stop reciting his fabulously complicated German/Polish name over and over again like a mantra - a very attractive and distracting mantra.

But no, I mean very specific places every time. I suppose it makes sense that when class is starting and we're breathing and I'm emptying my brain (all over the floor) that I go to the old YMCA in Ann Arbor, Mich. That's where I first began Yoga in, I'm gonna say, 1993. And then I think of my boyfriend at the time. I'm gonna call him John, what with that being his name and all. We took Yoga together. I don't ever think of him, except in Yoga class, which means I think about him all the time. But that's okay, he was a nice guy.

I don't just go to the Y, though. I go to certain areas of Ann Arbor. I go West (???) on Liberty (???) (Dude, I haven't lived there in 13 years.). I always go West on Liberty. But the Y was in the other direction, so why am I going to this side of town? I picture myself out by Stadium Way. I think about the Thai restaurant there. And I also inexplicably think of my sister's (and my) friend who was our age but rather scandalously married a MUCH older, albeit sexy, professor. Why do I think of her? And her house? And sometimes I think about my brother's old girlfriend who stayed a family friend and who was "very wealthy" by her own admission and lived in just a lovely apartment on, maybe Liberty? and it had lovely French doors. Or lots of windows. Or glass in some way. I do think she and the professor-marrier both lived on a similar route, but route to where? Where has my brain been going in Ann Arbor for nigh on 15 years?! And do the ears of these people tingle at least once a week when I'm thinking about them for a few fleeting seconds in Yoga before I acknowledge them and let them float away?

For a few years I thought of my most recent old boyfriend during Yoga and I didn't care for that. And that happened because one instructor used to take us through guided meditation and describe a golden light flowing through our bodies and my sister Julia once told me she pictures it more like a golden liquid not unlike the scrolling back-lit beer sign on the wall at the club 14 Below in Santa Monica. I think she said that when were were actually at that bar, because just pulling that sign out of her ass like that would have been odd. And one time we saw my old boyfriend (though he was current at the time) play there and it was the first time I'd seen him in a while because he'd been touring and I gave him the scarf I'd knit him and it looked very good on him and he was standing in front of that scrolling back-lit beer sign with the golden liquid flowing through it. I don't even go to that same yoga teacher nor does anybody guide my meditation but for years I was still thinking of him against my will. I don't anymore, which pleases me.

I also think of the first time I ever learned a specific move in Yoga every freaking time I do that move again. (I'm gonna say "time" a couple of more times here: time time time.) What I remember are the phrases my teachers used (and what's freaky, though comfortingly consistent is that other teachers use those phrases sometimes, too.). I remember Mary, my teacher at the Y telling us, when in a forward fold, to hang our heads like a grapefruit on a stem. For 15 years I've repeated that to myself when hanging my head. It's very helpful. Really stretches your neck. And every time I go into downward-facing dog I remember when Beverly (the guided meditation user) first put her hand on my upper back and smoothed it to get me to relax it down and forward. I still have Beverly ghost hand there. And being told to imagine I'm between two panes of glass when in triangle pose. That's actually a pretty common image. My new English Yoga teacher (she's English, not the Yoga) said that very thing this past Monday. And in final resting pose, I want to shout out to my fellow students that it works really nicely if you imagine you're in a rapid flowing stream floating on your back and someone is gently cradling your head in their hands. It's so handy, I want to shout to them. I don't, of course, because that's just not Yoga (like that's ever stopped me before).

So, thank you ladies and gentleman, that's where I go in Yoga: Ann Arbor, Mich. It's a lovely place to visit. I recommend you only go in the Fall or the Spring (the weather, you see, is generally god awful).

Friday, January 25, 2008

Blogs More Interesting Than Cereal Boxes!

I blame my sister Megan for the McCann's Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal up my nose. 'Cause the thing is, I like reading. If I don't have something else to do with my eyes, I like to be reading. And lately, because after three years my DSL seems to be working continually (way to jinx it, ass), I've been sitting with the lap top at the kitchen table when I get up in the morning. Okay, it's really due to my obsession with Confessions of a Pioneer Woman and now checking to see how many people are reading my blog and sometimes checking to see if I've posted a new blog, but to my horror I'm caught up on The Pioneer Woman and bitch only posts like ONCE a day, and really there's only so many people (three) (naw, I'm kidding) reading my blog, and going to my own blog is, honestly, useless. So I thought I'd actually read the blogs Megan recommends, hence the oatmeal in my nose. 'Cause Finslippy was talking about a stinky book she got out of the library. And instead of putting down my spoon, I just kept eating and laughing. And I want to say to you, just say no to eating and laughing.

But golly reading blogs is way more interesting than the cereal box (even though how cool is it that I actually KNOW the woman on my All-Bran Buds box [a cereal I can highly recommend. It's like tiny delicious pieces of Styrofoam. And your colon will be thrilled!]. It's Kat Sawyer who was at my old voiceover agency. I see her picture a lot. She's a very attractive "older" woman (read: not very old) who I believe at one point actually had hints of gray put in her hair on purpose to succeed in a different acting age group. And she's nabbed it. I've even seen her hanging above the prescription counter at Target. Not in effigy, though. That would be weird. Just as a "smiling woman" in a photo.). The thing is, you can only read a cereal box so many times before you lose your will to live. And don't get me started on a tube of toothpaste. Sometimes you're just desperate for reading material.

I should go now.



Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I believe you can get me through the ni-iiiiight.

Last night I dreamt that Silence of the Lambs was true crime, there were seven movies that followed the story, I was in the area of Appalachia where the murders were happening, and I was watching the damn movies. And that wasn't the main storyline of my dream! I won't torture you any more with dream description because I'm pretty sure that's considered boring as all get out to the general populace.

But I will bore you with the history of my dreaming. So there. (Do you like how I entice you to read further?) I had an assload of bad dreams as a kid. Although perhaps not any more than any other kid. Can't say. But pretty early on I was having none of it. (Hah! I say that like I was all powerful. As if I didn't sleep with my blankets up to my chin - regardless the temperature - because of the vampire dream. Or had to have the shutters on my window securely closed ["shut the shutters, shut the shutters," I'd remind my dad] every night because of the dream about the Sleestak-like creature outside said window. And had to have all my hair covering my face before I could sleep because of monsters in general [if they couldn't see me . . .]. And of course I had to sleep with my legs hanging off the side of the bed because once I'd kicked the wall on the other side, angering the pale, rubbery-skinned witch under my bed who would reach her pale, rubbery-skinned arm up along the wall and GRAB my ankles. [Don't know why she couldn't just GRAB 'em from the other side. Thank god there were rules! This particular grabbing hand (they grab all they can, all for themselves, after all) I blame on F. Marion Crawford's "The Upper Berth".] Oh how I envied my sister Megan, lying there across the room, bedclothes at her feet, arms splayed, sleepin' free, man, sleepin' free. Why couldn't I sleep like that? Again [shall we say it together this time? In a singsong manner?] ZOLOFT!)

Where the hell was I? Oh yes, having none of it. I learned what I guess was lucid dreaming. I learned certain cues in my dreams. For example, is my dream sepia-toned? GET OUT GET OUT! That was a dead-sure sign that everything was gonna get bad, and soon. And I don't know why, but I could "get out." One dream - in which the role of Jo will be played this evening by Marsha Brady - I thought to actually pinch myself. I didn't feel the pinch and was like, see ya, I'm outta here. I also learned that I can breathe under water in my dreams! Still can. Super handy. You fall in the ocean? Hey, wait, can't I breathe under water in my dreams?! Sure the hell can! It's always a dash disturbing at first, but then I get used to it. It's messed with my real-life snorkeling, though.

I also figured out that I tended to dream about things that had been only fleeting instances in my waking life before I dreamt it. So if, just before going to bed every night, I thought about every possibly scary thing I'd encountered that day, I was pretty sure I wouldn't dream about it. And I generally didn't. But it also meant I didn't dream about things I wanted to dream about because I couldn't think about them in only a fleeting manner. Like boys.

Feh, it was enough just to stop the often devastating dreams. And I usually still can. Gee, now I'm all hepped up to tell you about my recurring dreams! And even better . . . Sleep Paralysis! All right, all right, I'll go make some eggs instead. For now! Moo ha ha ha ha ha!

Sleep well,


Sunday, January 20, 2008

From the Corners of My Mind

I have warm fuzzy feelings about the memories of my youth. I'm not idealizing my childhood. It was all well and good and all, but certainly not ideal.

Youth is crap; I much prefer being an adult. Why, you ask? First off, children's priorities are all 'effed up. God, I remember stuff that as a child I thought was the end all be all most important thing ever! And that was crap! Needing the electronic game Merlin? I assure you, I did not need that game (I did get it, however, for Chanukah I think? Although, then we had to get batteries for it. Argh, the angst.).

Oh the things I thought were a big deal - that I prioritized worrying about! Being disruptive in school (talking, duh) and living in fear that the teacher was gonna call my parents. And if she did, it was certainly going to be the end of the world. Or when I was a little older, once I had my period, spending the entire freaking school day terrified that I'd bleed on my pants. You can have no idea how much time I wasted suffering over that, figuratively wringing my hands. All right, I coulda used Zoloft back in the day, but still! If only my future self could have visited me back then and said, kid, listen, chill.

And children have no power! Not that I would have wanted power. Can you imagine if I'd had power? That would have been bad. I mean, come on, my priorities were all wrong.

And you're a real live person (albeit with ridiculous notions) in a tiny body and no one takes you seriously (for good reason). But I remember feeling mighty grown-up as a five year old. And at ten? Sheesh, don't get me started. (Too late.)

Anyhoo, my point (lordy, I wonder how often I'm gonna say that during my life of blogging). I like to think about things and places from my youth. Objects that I had. Places where I spent lots of time. I like to wander through my elementary school in my mind's eye (I feel like after saying, "mind's eye," I should make some oooo eeee oooo noise. Dunno why).

I had a pretty snazzy elementary school. Frank E. Doherty, West Bloomfield, Michigan. They built it, gee, probably around 1969 (also when I was built). I like to stroll around there in my brain. Do you ever tour places in your brain that you thought you forgot? I recommend it; I find it very satisfying. Doherty's architecture was very open, with a large oval library in the center of the school. It was sunken! Like a living room! And it was ringed by shelves that were topped by Formica counters. So as you walked through the halls outside of the library, those counter tops were proper counter-top height. And it was just open walls into the library, and of course across to the other side. Alrighty then, this can make no possible sense to you, so I'll stop. Suffice it to say, nice school. Wait, not sufficient, I do want to mention the little nook down the little hallway off the gym/cafeteria. Near the incinerator, the janitor (I want to say Mr. Booker, but that sounds suspect to me) had a small cranny (though he was not a small man). I think it was even decorated and had a TV and a wing-back chair. Not sure why I ever got to go back there (never for nefarious reasons, I assure you), but I do recall it being a cozy wonderland.

Seriously now, do you ever do that? Can you ride a bike through the streets of the neighborhood of your youth, in your brain? And just as you think you couldn't possibly remember what's around the next corner, you ride along and there it is, your memory of the next corner?

Go think about something pleasant that you haven't thought about in years. Report back.



Friday, January 18, 2008


I actually gossiped over the fence with my neighbor this morning, just like in song and story! When I moved here three years ago, it didn't take long to realize I'd moved into the most unfriendly neighborhood I'd ever come across. And it couldn't have been me because they didn't know me, so they couldn't know if they wanted to know me or not, right? My mom kept asking if any body had come by to say "hi." Brought cookies. Jell-O molds? It took her three months to stop asking.

And okay, I don't know that I'd go greet new neighbors, but it's more than that. These people sit mean-faced on their front porches just, just, looking at you. If you wave, though, they will wave back. And, truth be told, if you get right into their faces they'll talk to you and be friendly as can be. But you could go on a nice long walk with your darling wiener dog and pass many many people and not one will smile at you, let alone catch your eye. It's creepy. I blame the Soviet Union.

I do actually. I live in an Armenian neighborhood. And, as opposed to other Armenian neighborhoods in town, most of these people emigrated from the former Soviet Union not too long ago. (In other areas of town it's more a selection of people of the Armenian diaspora. They're from Syria and Lebanon and a bunch of other places. And they've lived here a lot longer. This was told to me by an Armenian [who says they don't really care for the Armenians in my neighborhood!]).

But it's my thinking that growing up under the Soviets, you weren't all that chatty with strangers. And maybe you didn't so much trust your neighbors. So I don't blame these people (who, again, are very warm once you force yourself on them), I blame Communism.

So this morning I'm chatting with a non-Armenian neighbor (it's actually a somewhat mixed street. We've got several of yer different types of people. No Blacks, though, which I thought was weird, until I found out that ol' Glendale, CA, was the west coast hub of the Klan back in the day. Real nice.). And she asks me if the police banged on my door Monday morning. Um, no, but I saw a few cop cars on the street when I came home around noon. And a forensics van. And some people standing on the street. I thought perhaps it was a break-in.

Apparently if I'd been home around 8:00 I would have heard a scary knock on my door only to find police there asking if I'd heard any gunshots earlier! I have lived in LA for thirteen years and it is the big city, and I have heard gunshots. But not in my neighborhood and certainly not Monday morning. She goes on to tell me that the lovely young (my age, I'll have you know) woman who lives with her extended family a few houses down shot herself in her shiny new black Escalade! I only know the her by sight, but she's a well-dressed woman with two kids and a big family and that's about all I knew. And she up and shot herself?

According to my neighbor, according to the newspaper they are, for now, ruling it a suicide. But the thing is, I've seen too many dang procedurals and too many episodes of The Sopranos to not wonder. See, this area is known to have serious problems with the Armenian mafia, which I kinda assume is the same as the Russian mafia I hear about on Law & Order. I mean they were all from the Soviet Union. But I could be wrong. These two mafias might not even be friends for all I know.

I used to go to a local cafe, but I would kinda feel anxious when these huge gangs of twenty-something guys who would come in. They all looked mighty slick. I actually thought to myself, man, if they didn't just step outta some mob movie. I didn't know then that they probably were in the mob (can you call it the mob if it's not THE mob?). And without fail, all these guys drive shiny black Escalades. And I like to judge and assume, and generalize for that matter.

But women don't shoot themselves. It's not a common way for them to commit suicide. It's true, you can't know what's going on inside someone's head (gee, especially if you don't know them), but to get ready for work, say goodbye to your two kids then get in the car and shoot yourself?

And then my neighbor tells me that several years back, two Armenian neighbors up the way a few houses were feuding and their respective sons shot each other in a fight on the street.

And then my neighbor tells me that the people in the house on the corner, where they're often BBQing, were doing just that a few years ago when there was a drive-by and one of their Armenian guests was shot. What the hey?!

This city is regularly voted in the top ten of the safest cities of its size in America. Are they not including my street in their tally? Geez oh pete, no wonder these people aren't friendly! Or I just watch too much TV and I'm singling out Armenians in a bigoted fashion. Hey, none of them brought me a Jell-O mold! Is that not reason enough to be suspicious?

Your intolerant neighbor,


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Why I haven't returned your call. Or your email.

It's complicated. First of all, I haven't returned your call because I haven't listened to your voicemail. Because I can't bring myself to. I know you're not going to give me any trouble; you're my friend. You're not going to make any horrible demands of me. You're not going to be mean. But still, there your voicemail sits, taunting me with its little yellow envelope.

Is it fear of the unknown? I dunno. It's only developed in the last few years. It may have something to do with the fact that once I get home, I become a nesting fool, cozily hiding from the rest of the world. It's true that I was raised with a mother who said, whenever the phone rang, "Now who's calling to give me trouble?" Ooh, look! I even used that same phrase above! Hmmm, telling. My mother also hid when someone knocked at the front door and urged us all to hide as well. I still do that, but I do have a lot of front windows so I'm often flying off the couch and pressing myself flat on the floor praying they don't see me pressing myself flat on the floor in a mortifying fashion. I think my mom hid, though, because the house was not the neat house she wanted it to be owing to the four lousy rats she'd given birth to, and, for that matter, the big lousy rat who put them in her womb and was known for his inability to eat toast on a plate.

Still though, why can't I listen to my voicemail and return your call? Well, come on now, you do want something from me. Even if it's just to chat. I'm a super chatty monkey, don't get me wrong, but somehow phone chatting has lost its charm. It may well have to do with my only having a cell phone for communication and really, they're just not as pleasant to converse through as their land-based predecessors. (So get a landline, asshole. No, don't wanna.)

And again, you might be trying to make me do something.

So, I suggest to you that you email me. "But Jo," you say, "you don't respond to my fucking email, either!" (Inh. Ah. Insert odd chagrined giggle here.) Yeah, about that. The thing is. Man, when your name pops up on my in-box list, I'm giddy! I swear! I race to read your email. And if it needs a simple pithy response, I'm there, I'm your man! Ah, but should it take thought, well, aye there's the rub. Should I need to ponder over and elegantly craft my reply to you, I'll set your message aside. For three months. Until I have 203 already read email in my box all awaiting my insightful witty musings. And they HAUNT me! They whisper to me. They shout at me! Finally, I have to break down and leave my hidey-hole and go to a cafe where I have nothing to do but email you back. And then what do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO? You fire back a response in seconds! Yeah, like that's helpful. But at least you're charmed that I held onto your missive for so dang long.

Anyway. I love you. I do care about you and your life. I do want to share my life's events with you. Just not right this sec, okay? I'm watching I Love Lucy.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Sheesh! That's the last time I put pictures up! Well, okay, not really. But my formatting got all messy and you really shouldn't have to think with this prefab blogging. Not that I can't think; I can think. I just don't wanna think about formatting.


So my sister Meggie said, and I quote, "Now you need something to write about. Although that doesn't stop a lot of bloggers." But I'm already too mortified to say out loud, "I'm blogging." (Yeah, you and every other Tom, Dick, and Bloggy.) It's embarrassing. I'm just some twit jumping on the bandwagon. And it seems even more presumptuous to say, "I'll be writing about _____!" Like I have some special knowledge of anything that you might need to know. But she's really right, I do need something to write about. Hmm. Something to write about. An intriguing notion.

People often say I should do stand up. Of course they're idiots. I don't think most people know what a crazy-assed skill that is. You don't just get up on stage and be funny. And I'm rarely funny on purpose. People in my family just happen to talk funny. We use weird words. We have, um, uncommon? speech patterns. In all honesty, if I try to describe any further why we're "funny," you're sure to think we're just awful. I'd go so far as to say irritating even. But honestly, we're not. People seem to genuinely like us. We entertain them. But I swear, they're laughing with us, not at us. (Insert "yeah, right" here.)

We we we, what's this we, white man? I've got last child syndrome. Whenever anyone has said I'm funny or smart or any one of a number of many many compliments they shower on me, I'm always like, you think I'm funny? You should meet my sister, brother, sister, etc., etc. But currently, with the exception of my brother-in-law, none of them are blogging, so I guess I'm good.

But it's that business of what could I possibly have to say. I don't want to assume that just anyone would be amused by what I have to say. But I like the writing! And sure I could go all personal and deep (I have NO shame and have no compunction about telling you anything), but that might be sorta creepy. Maybe in time.

What do muse over writing about, since I've been thinking of it? Well. Hmm. When I read other people's stuff, I like it when they describe something that I feel all the time, but never knew anyone else felt. Is that a catharsis? Perhaps not. I could look it up and you'd never know I questioned my word choice, but it's more amusing this way.

And there are certain things I'm fascinated by. Nostalgic folderol. I like thinking about things I haven't thought about in a really long time. I enjoy bizarre new tidbits of knowledge. Wow, none of this is very elucidating, is it?

Hell, I guess we'll just see what comes out of me.

Fyi, in addition to Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, sister Meggie likes to read:
Suburban Bliss
Laid-Off Dad

Maybe you already know about them and I'm just a dimwit.

Okay gang, I'll see ya,


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Who's this impossible wrigglepot, you ask?

Well, I'll tell you in a minute, because we don't want to give short shrift to my Wiener. And it's sentences like that that often confuse strangers. This is my Wiener:

photo credit: janet grey

She is beloved to me. Sure, little dogs are a pain in my ass. I grew up with a Newfoundland who could eat a box of 64 Crayolas and never bat an eye (though that anus was battin' a few lashes. Huh. That doesn't really make any sense. But oh if you'd seen those beautifully speckled piles of poop that were bigger than my whole Wiener.), devour all my Halloween candy, including the pillow case in which it was collected (they held so much!), and survive lip-flap dermatitis surgery with a furry stoicism.

But these little dogs! I tell ya! Eats a tiny sum of another dog's food: pancreatitis. Stung by a bee: allergic! Bit by a rattlesnake: well, okay that would be a problem with just about any dog. But would any dog curiously investigate until she finds a rattlesnake?! (please note fang mark on snout.)

AN ASIDE: You know? It may be helpful if you read my posts out loud. My train of thought is often horribly wrecked (but if you do read it out loud, please don't pronounce the "t" in often; I hate that.). I just think the parenthetical statements will be more easily understood if muttered aloud. Huh, what's the difference between out loud and aloud? I'm sure I know if I think about it. Or if you like, you can just call and I'll read you the entry. But then again, no (or a man who makes potions in a traveling show), because I probably won't pick up and I'll probably email you back instead of calling which would defeat the whole purpose.

All righty then, where were we? My Wiener. Sigh. So you know how unmarried woman get about their pets? Yeah, that's me and der Wiener.

photo credit: ryan sloan

So after I bought a house it seemed to me that Wien was ranging around her new domain looking a little lonely. Her manner suggested to me that I was boring her. My mom had always said that when Wien gets older, maybe I should get her a puppy. Well, she wasn't all that old, but clearly I wasn't fulfilling her needs. So I got Auggie, Wien's half sister (same dad).

I just don't think I should go into Auggie's life story this very second, even though, to my horror, it's only an 18 month story. I thought I should warn you that she's no longer with us before you see her pictures. 'Cause if I didn't, it would be like you knew her and then she died. This way you won't bond. So this is Auggie:

SHE is the impossible wrigglepot. See, I'm not sure if you an tell by this picture, but Auggie was really squishy. I wonder why it is that puppies have no bones? Anyhoo, not only was she completely boneless, she was a squirmy freak! My brother-in-law Simon (who soon I will begin referring to as "Simon," but without the "") adored lil' Aug, as did all others with a heart. And she'd get so very excited when he loved her up (but perhaps not as excited as when my sister Julia would fully let Auggie climb in her mouth. Simon finally put a stop to that as he had to kiss that mouth and it was starting to make him feel oogie.) that she would be writhing with joy in his arms. So one day Simon says, "She's an impossible wrigglepot." Damned descriptive, I'd say.

So I decided it was time for me to incorporate. I'd been daydreaming for years about what I would call my "company" once I incorporated. Something unique and darling, of course, but something reminiscent of me. And when Simon said that, I knew. Because I, too, am an impossible wrigglepot. Although I'm unlikely to clean your teeth with my tongue, I'm not so very different from dear Auggie, 'cept for that being alive thing. My parents always said, as I climbed all over them in my youth, that my boyfriends would love me when I grew up. Turns out, actually, it's taken years to find the guy who not only doesn't mind my squirrelly love, he actually yearns for it. The fool.

My accountant (also dead, curiously) told me I may regret having to regularly write out Impossible Wrigglepot, Inc., and, well, he wasn't absolutely wrong. There's rarely enough room on my contracts. And I generally don't spell it correctly on the first try when typing it. But dangit, I'm glad I did it. Now that Auggie is no longer, it's a tribute to her. And it makes me feel all boneless and cuddly. Julia and Simon, however, refer to me exclusively as Wiener. Hmm, telling.

I'm awfully fond of you,

photo credit: janet grey

I don't care for blogs.

It's true, I don't. I really don't care what other people think (I suspect you'll quickly note that I often vehemently say things that it turns out I don't mean.). Until a few days ago I read only one blog and thank god it's not daily. That would be Very Hot Jews. It's my brother-in-law Simon's blog along with our dear friend Sera. They are freakishly gifted writers and I regularly shake my head as I marvel at their facility with words. But my sister Megan likes blogs. Funny well-written ones. Now and again she sends me a link to an especially brilliant entry. She reads several whose names I may just put in here when I get off my ass to ask her what they are.

So anyway, Meg sent me a link to Confessions of a Pioneer Woman and now I'm doomed, DOOMED I say! It doesn't hurt that the blogger is fabulous and that I have a cold and the book I'm reading is slow.

And the thing is, I'm a writer. Albeit, a wildly undisciplined writer, but it is what I studied in school and what I intended to do as far back as I can remember (and that's purty far back, I tell you). I attempted to pursue writing as a career, but hey, did I mention undisciplined? And I was not able to properly deny my other and apparently stronger love, acting. So I ditched the writing for the acting, but can you really ditch the writing? Can you stop narrating constantly in your head (well, yes, with Zoloft)? When I read an especially good chunk of words, I find myself itchy to write. But what outlet? Years ago I had a web 'zine with a friend. Truth be told, that was not unlike blogging.

And damn that Pioneer Woman, she got my juices flowing. And again, I have a cold. So fuck it, I'm blogging. I've been doing it my head for years, 'bout time I spew it out over you people.