Friday, May 28, 2010


I've had a new breakfast lately, inspired by "Resolution Muesli" but simpler: into a round ziploc container, throw a handful or so of oats, a pile of defrosted frozen fruit, a dash of cinnamon or a drop or two of vanilla and then top with yogurt. Take to work and let sit in bag or on desk until hungry, by which time the oats will have softened, the fruit fully thawed and the flavors melded. Hearty, wholesome but not too virtuous-tasting. Easier than oatmeal. Portable. Non-squishy. Delicious.

I too like carefully plotted lists. I too like perfectly sharpened pencils. In the shelf below my new alarm clock, I have a small vase full of identical sharpened pencils. I find this extremely satisfying.

I do not have a story prepared for this evening's party. Theme: "the best i ever had". This is a story party, we are to come prepared to tell a story related to the theme. But such a tiny little life I lead! Shall I tell a story (ha! a paragraph) about the best mascara I've used? A story about the best poem I ever wrote (not very good, but I liked the conceit: a woman with a ragged hole in her chest, stumbling forward, offering her pulsing, gushing heart to a very horrified man. Silly lady! He didn't want your real heart! It's a figure of speech. You'll die!)? A story about the first time I used the word "fuck" in a term paper (most satisfying use of a naughty word)? About the best (only) date I've ever had with a woman (terribly stressful!)?

It occurs to me that I have no stories. I am story-less. I don't mind the mundane. But I think I might have more to say if I lived in a cloister (at least then I could have a best ever vision of god) (at least then when I talked about my best bowl of oatmeal, there might be appreciative nods and kindled wonder).

M acknowledged that some folks worried that the theme for this party could make the event kind of a downer but insisted that it didn't have to. I agree. But when I try to think of something amusing, it all comes out Miranda July. I like her work a lot, but even when she's funny, she's so very, very sad (or at least I think so). Best date with a woman: Winterson, natch (but subversively. hmm.). First use of the word "fuck": Lydia Davis. Best awful poem: Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt or Lorrie Moore. Flip a coin. Could be either one. All of these: sadly amusing, that is, amusing in sad ways, like a damp hand on soft down. Unless someone brings a heat lamp or the sun, these stories will not do.

It's nearly 3. Still want to work out. Still have 2 loads of laundry to fold and put away. Trash to take out. A shower to take. A story to imagine.

Monday, May 24, 2010


There was an impotence then. A thorough-going powerlessness. A hardly articulated ever present longing to escape. The moths would gather at the porch light by the back door (but there was no front door. It was the door. The side door. The door). They would cling to the screen and fly in sometimes. It got dark early and stayed dark long and the mornings smelled of mud. Mineral mud and fish and trees and damp.

How I hated it all! Hated it all so much I couldn’t love what I loved: the smell of morning, the pale light through the telescoped tree tops, the smell of fire every evening while the trash burned. These things I remember now and I love them. How I hated them all then, lumped them all together because they were together and they were my life and I wanted to escape. Embarrassed to go into town and stop at the Ben Franklin. Embarrassed at the Laundromat. Embarrassed to hear the story of the red ants. Again. Embarrassed to see the moths flying into the kitchen.

Rushed through the days to earn the comfort of night to remember that night here is just as long as a day. My sister’s curling-up ski slope toenails slicing my ankles in the bed we had to share. Wedged between the wall and my sister’s adenoids, deprived of the breeze that scooted around the bunk bed and hit the door, falling. The adults in the other room, walls cliché-thin, playing canasta (sometimes they’d head to Escanaba which sometimes, to amuse myself, I’d rhyme with “Canada”) or cribbage, voices low, keeping me awake. I was a very light sleeper and listened.

Morning brought the coldest milk I can ever remember. Or maybe it was not cold and I contrasted the warm milk with the perfect coldness which I thought I remembered milk could have. Whether the milk was warm or cold, it is still and always will be the coldest milk I can ever remember. I still wish my milk could be that cold.

This is not to say that there was never pleasure. Pasties with ketchup: heaven. Perfect food. I never did watch a fish being filleted but my great-grandmother certainly fried them up well. Walleye and bluefish. Free blueberries picked in wooded fields owned by no one. Or at least no one charged. I was a model berry-picker: I always picked far more berries than I ate. Like filling my basket or tin or bucket or whatever they gave me with virtue until I overflowed the tin and had to ask for a fresh one. No one picked as many as I did. Diligent. Quiet. Focused. Well-behaved. Sugar-plums, too (though you had to reach for those).

There was the pier and I think I sometimes sat there with a book. I think I also tried to look cool. I think I tried to look tall and lanky and beautiful. How I wanted to escape, escape everything, escape it all.

I don’t think of escape any more. Haven’t for years. I think it has occurred to me that there is no escape. Wherever I go, the days are all as long and the nights are all as dark. What a hopefulness there was behind that longing for night: later, when I’m older, when time has passed, things will be different. Something will have happened to me. Some magic something will have happened and will have taken me away from all of this. Some prince will have come and taught me how to be happy. Now I know that that is not the case. There is not a prince in the world who can give me that, who can teach me that. There is not anyone that can stand between me and myself and lift me off of myself and remove me from myself. I am what I must bear always. And so there is no escape. No running. No hiding. No new beginnings.

Still. What hasn’t stopped is the premonition of a future more real than this present. This can’t be my real life. No. not this. This is not yet it. I am still waiting for myself to arrive. That future one is the one to whom good things may happen. That future one is the one who may be loved. That future one is the one people will respect and admire and adore. This – this current one is merely a stand-in. Don’t get too close! Soon this inadequate one will be replaced and that future one is the one in whom you may confide and to whom you may entrust your very own self.

A new alarm clock sits in my new bookshelf. This clock belongs to that long-awaited future one who will replace me.

I no longer feel so powerless. My days are all my own and my nights are too. I am not consumed by that same helpless rage. I have things to do and often I do them. The embarrassment is not entirely gone, however. This might be already clear to those who know me.

I still think of those moths fluttering around the light at the back door (the side door, really. The only door at which a guest would knock. The door). The steps were red (and if they weren’t, they should have been). Standing at the door, back to the house, the trees formed a green-black wall nearly opaque in the night. It smelled of green and mud and fallen apples and the dying smoke of the night’s trash and the lake out back giving more light than the moon which was invisible for the trees anyway.

I am the one I’ve been waiting for.

Even so. Come quickly!

Friday, May 21, 2010

until next time

A new post is in the works. Seriously.


- nearly an entire week behind on my 10 week reading plan. Aieee! I hope to recover some of that this weekend, however,
- I have not been a hermit: lunch with J today. Then a drink with MK. Had a drink with a N on Wednesday and dinner with MJ on Monday. That doesn't even include the lovely time I've had catching up with D or the rescheduled coffee rendezvous with DG. So,
- Need to learn how to balance this healthy social activity with the intense amount of reading I've been doing; but,
- Have still been exercycling and strength training at super-star levels. Hooray! Feels very good (and not enduring belly-bloat during lady-time? very, very cool), even if
- I haven't been cooking nearly as much or as well as I should. Have been relying on my freezer (nearly empty), eating out (spendy!), and sandwiches and yogurt for too many meals in an attempt to save time.

To Do:

- Plan menus again. I don't need my meals to be very exciting right now. I do need them to be nourishing, packed with produce and relatively simple (so I don't waste [or 'waste'] time on food prep as an excuse to read less).

- Pack better lunches so I can stay in the office longer typing up my own notes

- Cut back on cardio (!!?!!!) to 30-45 min/day, 5-6 days/week and do 10-15 min of strength/calisthenics to keep my workout to 1 hour per day (yesterday, for example: 80 minutes exercycle, 20 minutes strength and about 10 minutes stretching. Decadent).

- Plot out my reading/writing/working/cooking/exercising etc. hour-by-hour every morning to keep myself on target (... that would be a little scary. Last resort).

soon: a post on waiting for my "real life" to begin

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

In addition to reading 260 pages of W.B. on Saturday, this is what I did:
I moved furniture around to give myself a little office (where my bed used to be).

I also gave Cat his chair back (which he already appreciates: he's taken several long naps on it already.)

I am hoping that having a separate space for work will be almost as good as doing work outside of my home - say at a cafe. It is kind of nice to be able to draw open a curtain in the morning simply by sitting up in bed. Not that it's gotten me out of bed any earlier yet.

Monday, May 10, 2010

penny-pincher reports

And hangs her head in shame.

I don't even know how much I spent this past week (mainly because all my receipts are at home and I am at work), but I did not stay within budget. This week's budget was already blown yesterday during another Target shopping spree. Den of vice indeed.

I am happier to report that I didn't fall too far behind in my reading plan for the next two months. I just have a lot of staying up/rising early to do in order to catch up. Staying up is getting slightly easier. Getting out of bed before 8:10? That's a much taller order. I don't know why: I'm usually awake by 6 or 6:15 (before napping with Cat until 7:45). I just can't convince myself to get out of bed. (It's cozy! And there's usually a cat snuggled against my feet! And I'll just stay in bed until I figure out what I'll wear .... zzzzz)

Goals for this week: catch up on reading, find costume for zombie prom, exercycle 5 hours, begin recording my reading notes and get out of bed by 7am every day.

Monday, May 3, 2010