Sunday, January 31

Starts With ...

It began on Thursday. My ear felt like I was traveling through the mountains. It needed to pop. The pressure was building. And all day I thought, this is weird. Why does my ear feel like this?

Then on Friday. My head was stuffed, practically exploding with mucus and whatever else it is that plugs brains and sinuses.

Then Saturday. Sleep sleep sleep and sitting around.

Today I'm a bit on the mend, feeling antsy and feeling like I need to go on a long walk to get rid of my restlessness. I hate this stage of illness; not quite well enough to be well but well enough to be sick of being sick. AND. All of the crap that's been stuffing my head is trying to come out ... and I don't blow my nose because I hate blowing my nose. Eww.

Thursday, January 28

Not "New Year's" Goals

I want to TRY and do some things this year. They are not goals. I refuse to call them a goal because then I will inevitably fail because I will place the "goals" on the shelf of "tomorrow" and never complete them. Like last year. Plus, I think when you make it a goal you make it a job. And I already have one of those. These are more like self-improvement, make-yourself-more-interesting-to-yourself things. I call them things, not goals.

So in order to prevent hate and loathing of self, here are the THINGS ...

Become a ballerina again
Find a suitable penpal
Write a lot
Cook more
Eat less
Go running
Get promoted
Get into graduate school
Learn to play the cello -- cellos are awfully sexy

Where is My Avis?

I wish I had a penpal.

When I was younger I was a TERRIBLE penpal. But now I'm grown and I think I would enjoy the old fashoned-ness of it. I have a typewriter that my husband has tried to throw away several times. But I continue to protest. I cite here my many uses:

Poetry comes out better on a typewriter
I enjoy the hum of the motor ... or whatever makes an electric typewriter run
I like the deliberate process of typing on the keys
I like the crooked letters
I like to press the shift key
If I had a penpal, I could write lovely letters and then sign my name at the bottom. In pen.

Typing on a computer is not the same. You can backspace, you can type nearly as fast as your thought process, you can delete entire sections and paste them somewhere else. When you type on a typewriter you think hard. You can't just spit out pages and pages of garbage because a: you're slow, garbage doesn't come out AS MUCH when you're typing slower and b: that would be a waste of trees. My granny had a typewriter and I would practice typing on it, playing secretary when I was stuck at her house for weeks at a time during my summers off of school. When Grandpa died and I found his old blue typewriter, I lunged for it. Old Blue comes in its own carrying case. It smells dusty and delicious, like thoughts and fingers and years of words. How could I ever throw it out?

But I should take advantage of it. I really just need to plug it in and start writing letters. Just boring stuff, the day to day of life. In Jane Austen's time letter writing was like an Olympic sport. It's time for me to participate. I'm going to pick a random address in some nice town in Anywhere, USA and mail a letter. I will describe myself and tell my new friend that I am searching for my own Avis. If they want to be my Avis, all they need do is respond. Avis was Julia Child's penpal. She accidentally mailed a letter to her and they started corresponding. They became such good friends; Avis was the one who helped Mastering the Art of French Cooking get published. The best thing about a penpal is the waiting. Waiting by the mailbox in hopes of a letter coming. And getting to know someone a little at a time. I tend to get so excited when I meet someone that I just go BLAH and tell them everything about me in two point eight seconds. Then I become the bore I really am and they don't want to talk to me ever again. With a penpal, you have to go slow and they probably won't find out what a snooze I am for at least a year. Wow. I am so excited. Now, I know that it will probably take several tries before I receive a response and actually GET a penpal. But this is as good a start as any.

Next, I'm going to work at bringing back formal dinner parties. Who's with me?

Wednesday, January 27

The Twenty Seventh

Today is my dad's 59th birthday.
To celebrate, we're going to their house for cake, ice cream, and dinner.
Not in that order.

For dinner I'm making cheesy spinach enchiladas and yummy cowboy caviar.
Mom is making the cake.
I bought a pint of personal mint chip ice cream for my dad.
Everyone else gets heavenly hash.

Happy birthday, Dad.
Love to you.

Monday, January 25


Dear Friend:

Thank you for
making me strong,
making me interesting,
making me adventurous.

Because of you
I will have a life
full of sadness,
full of disappointment,
full of anger.

But because of you
I will have a life,
full of love,
full of triumph,
full of peace.

Again, thank you.

Saturday, January 23


I woke up this morning thinking about my grandparents. Perhaps this was because I was talking to my mom about my uncle possibly having Parkinson's, like my grandma did. But anyway.

I dreamed of them.

My grandma's name was Rose. I never knew her. She is the person my middle name is named after. She became crippled by Parkinson's by the time I was old enough to remember her. My first memory of her disease is when their car broke down. I was perhaps 7 or 8 and she had to drive. She was nervous because already her brain was not firing as quickly as it should have been and she was worried about her response time while driving.

My grandpa's name was Harold. I loved him more than he or I or anyone will ever know. So often I try to write about him but the words sounds hollow and artificial; contrived somehow. I guess this is just one of the weaknesses of human language. He had strong hands. He was in the army during WWII and those events made up the most interesting part of his life, I think. As he grew older he talked a lot about what happened in the war. It was the only time he ventured out of the country. He loved to go camping. And he loved me.

I awoke thinking about both of them. Was I dreaming about them? Was my mind just wandering in the early hours of sleep? I'm not sure. All I know is that I woke up surrounded by my memories of them. How well does a grandchild ever know their grandparents? If lucky, perhaps a little. I knew mine only in the basest of senses; grandchild to grandparent. I never knew them well, as adults, as their true selves. But maybe that's the best. You never know each others' flaws. You just love and love and love.

They used to take me camping. I mean, the whole family would go, but they would sometimes steal me away a couple days early.

I remember Grandma making breakfast in the trailer. The mountain sunshine seeped through the window across the table. She used the countertops as makeshift crutches. Grandpa would come in and we would share a cup of Pero. He liked his with milk and sugar. They had a blue plastic sugar bowl.

I remember singing the oldies with Grandpa. He had a leather briefcase that was made to hold cassettes, and his collection was extensive. I would pick out a tape and we would sing all the songs we knew. Sometimes he would fall asleep in the lazy chair and Grandma would point at him and laugh in her gentle way.

I remember how strong his hands were. He would lift Grandma from sitting. He would pick her up when she fell. He could wring out almost every drop of water from a washrag.

I remember driving with them in the cab of the truck. Grandma called him Pa. She kept a bag of hard candy in the glovebox; root beer barrels, cinnamon rounds, butterscotch. Every couple of hours she would pass him one -- to keep him awake.

I remember Grandma used to do word searches. I still love them, probably because of her.

I don't know if they had a happy marriage. I only know they were happy. There is a picture of the two of them, I don't know who took it. They are in the mountains, no doubt camping. Grandpa is driving a dirt bike with Grandma, her arm raised in greeting behind him on the seat. Did they love each other? I only know that Grandpa took care of her, as her speech left, as her hands shook, as she lost the ability to walk and bathe and could barely eat. He kept her close to him for as long as possible. Beside her open casket he said, "I wish I could pick her up and take her home." Are they in heaven? The only heaven I know is in my heart. And they are there. And we are together.

I miss them every year. Maybe more, maybe less. When my grandfather became ill, I cried every night he was in the hospital. I lie awake, my hand on my aching heart, grateful for my husband's warm body next to mine, tears streaming down the sides of my face. Splashing onto the pillow. I remember him lying in the hospital bed, dying. He whispers to me and to Tom, individually, that he loves us -- lucid to the very end. His last words to us. His strong hands holding ours. I will never see him again. I will never hear his voice again. But I am so lucky to have been loved so perfectly.

Friday, January 22

Making This

I'm going to make this lovely:

Mexican Souffle
6 large eggs
8 0z. sour cream
1 cup salsa
1 cup cheese (your preference)

Preheat oven to 375
Take out your 9-inch dish -- like a pie plate
Cover the bottom with salsa
Sprinkle cheese on salsa -- like a lot
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs ferociously with the sour cream
Pour the egg/sour cream goo over the top
Bake for 45-50 minutes until yummy (or middle is firm)

Supposedly this is delicioso. I will have to try it out and and see. I like all the ingredients: eggs, salsa, cheese, sour cream; so I should like the finished product. Of course, I should be making it this Sunday, but we're going out to brunch with my best friend from work, Jen. @ Mimi's. Our favorite. So perhaps next Sunday. I'll be sure to let you know how it goes.

The laundry is complete and put away.

Ears Shut

Typically when I'm at work in the early morning hours I listen to NPR. I love the voices of the newcasters as if they were old friends sitting in my office. But with the recent horror in Haiti, I've had to stop listening.

It's not attractive to cry on your paperwork.
It's not appropriate to cry at work.
It's not good to slam your fist on the desk in frustration at yet another sad story.

So, I hope things are going well there, although I'm sure they aren't much improved, but I can't tune in right now. The urge to quit my job and run down to Haiti to help organize relief efforts is too strong. And when that urge dies down, my sad no-control-over-anything feelings seep in.

Haiti -- you are in my heart.

Tuesday, January 19

Laundry Continued

Well, I wanted to get up early today and finish the laundry. The whites were folded (beautifully, I might add) and put away in their proper place. I slept in my shabby chic sheets and a clean comforter. And all my best intentions were aimed at finishing the laundry today. But it's 10:13 PM and I am running the washing machine -- again -- and fluffing the clothing in the dryer. So, enter plan B. As soon as I am done writing this post I will take the colors out of the dryer and hang up all the shirts (on white hangers in color order) immediately (or immediantely, as some people say) and then I will divvy socks from underwear. Match the socks. Fold the underwear. Put away. It is only due to my love of my closet that I go through this ordeal. I so wish I could throw socks at random into a drawer or hang up clothes willy nilly. But honestly, getting dressed in the morning is hard enough; what to wear what to wear. If the closet is beautified the selection process is decidedly more pleasant.

Sounds simple. I will update you tomorrow on my progress, nay, my COMPLETION.

Monday, January 18

Issues with Laundry

Perhaps someone can help me out. I hate myself when I do the laundry. Notice, I didn't say I hate the laundry; I hate myself when I do the laundry. This is why:

I wash.
I dry.
What's in the dryer doesn't make it out -- see previous post.
So what's in the washer doesn't make it out either.
Then I have to rewash.
And rewash.

I have an incredible abhorrence to mold or the smell of mold or even the possibility of mold. That moldy smell is my worst enemy. Sometimes I get a whiff of it from people that I interact with and I am sorry to say, I think, why don't you wash your clothes? Have you ever dried your hands on a towel, only to find that afterwards your hands smell moldy? It's the strangest smell; slightly piney with a hint of sharp old water that's been underground in a bucket. Once you have it, it is SO hard to get rid of. Maybe it's in my head, maybe it's stuck in my nose, but I keep smelling my fingertips, my clothes, the washing machine, the towels -- and I swear it's still there. Stinking. Like mold.

Now, I know that the best way to avoid all the water and detergent waste is just to DO THE LAUNDRY. But it's so hard. I have like 50 gazillion things that I can't dry, so before I can even put them in the dryer I have to sort. This problem is compounded by the fact that I have a strict laundry process. Things have to be washed in a certain order and put away in a certain order. So I can't just take things out of the dryer without the intention to fold, match, hang, and organize. And sometimes I don't get around to that step in my process. So the clothes sit. And I rewash and rewash. Does this happen to anyone else? Or am I alone with clothes that probably don't even smell like mold, but are washed multiple times, because I couldn't get them out. Or get myself out.

What Procrastination Means to Me

I am a procrastinator in my personal life. @ work -- never. But when it comes to my own goals, I am always late and running behind.

I have ample examples:

*My niece just turned three. I was supposed to make her a baby quilt.
*I have a half finished afghan for my mother ... that was supposed to be given to her 2 Christmases ago.
*A quilt for my bed, 3/4 finished, sits in the closet.
*The whites are still in the dryer waiting to be folded and put away.
*I paid $17 in late fees @ the library.
*My car receives an oil change every 5,000 miles.
*I still haven't bought Christmas presents for my friends.
*This blog. Only 36 posts last year. What a disappointment.

I suppose I delay things because I am a leisurely sort of person when not at work. I like naps and eating in bed and watching tv with my puppy and husband. And the nagging disappointment in myself? I can push that aside, too. However, it's a new year, and while I like to put-off self-assigned tasks, I also am a fan of self-betterment. So.

I will finish projects.
I will love my loved ones more than ever.
I will write and write and write
... and perfection be damned,
I will still procrastinate.

Monday, January 11


Bonjour, Marie Antoinette.
You are perfectly lovely.
You seem to have been made
just for us.