Thursday, March 31, 2005

Heartbreak: Month 2

Status: Still Kinda Sucky

But first, some background stemming from something that is the Opposite of Sucky...

I'm seeking all sorts of distraction, and so I just finished reading a second draft of Gwen's novel. (No kinna hurra here, folks, but seriously- The Book? Is *so* good.) Knowing Gwen as I do, and remembering the last 15 years of her life as well as I do, one of my favorite things about this book is that I can tell, for the most part, she made it all up. She has created a family, a home, a whole other world, really, almost entirely from her imagination. It's great. There's a name here, and a phrase there, but other than that, it's a damn good work of fiction. It makes me wonder who else might be living in her imagination, and I can't wait to meet them in whatever she writes next.

Gwen's characters stay with you throughout your day. They start to feel like people you know. Without giving too much away, one of the characters is working through the aftermath of a very violent experience. We see a few of this character's friends- college activist types- any of whom could have been my women's studies friends in college.

Veering away from fiction now, every year about this time, my college hosted a speak-out for survivors of violence. Someone I Love very much had something to say, and then one year- Someone I Love said it. At first, SIL sat in the audience and held my hand- and Someone Else's hand, too- and refused our offers to stand beside her at the microphone.

When SIL got up there and faced the crowd, the tears began to fall. SIL turned to me and SE and said, "I lied. I need you up here after all." SE and I immediately scooted out of our seats and ran up, saying, "Yup, yup, here we come!" We raced up the aisle and enveloped her in a big bear hug. To my surprise, I felt one, two, three, four-five-six-seven bodies pile on top of us, a football tackle of feminists.

I lifted my head out of our huddle for a moment when I realized the audience had burst into spontaneous applause, and then there was Stephen, one of only five men at the event, shyly jogging up the aisle to support Someone He Loves Too, arms outstretched from the sleeves of his trench coat, his toes turned out as he blushingly made his way up the aisle, and I fell a little bit more in love with him for it. We sat on the stage in a line, SIL holding my hand as I held Stephen's and he held the next girl's. And the next year, SIL stood up there, proud and tranquil, and on her own.

Gwen's book only briefly touches on something like this, but something about it is emotionally provocation enough to help me see that that's what I miss most about Stephen. At least today anyway.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Random Musings

"Real isn't how you are made...It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become REAL...It doesn't happen all at once...You become. It takes a long time...Generally, by the time you are REAL, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
-Margery Williams

When I was about 15, I had a very profound experience re-reading "The Velveteen Rabbit." It was one of my favorite books when I still young enough to shyly show my age on the fingers of one hand. When I read it again, I was so moved by its description of unconditional love that I gave it as presents and re-told it on long bus trips and added a track of my own voice reading it to mixed cds. Stephen gave me a copy for our first Valentine's Day. He special-ordered a copy with the illustrations he grew up with. For now, it's in THE BOX (dum dum DUM).


I'm re-visiting a lot of books and songs and places I haven't been in a while. I remember listening to the Indigo Girls when I was 15 and feeling very cool, very empowered and very sophisticated. I remember wanting to see them in concert SO BADLY that I bailed on my final section leader responsibilities when Amanda and Kelly got me tickets one Memorial Day weekend. I got really, really sick, but I still wanted to go. Amanda offered to stop at every gas station along the way if we had to, but I ended up giving the ticket to a friend after I fell out of the shower and threw up on the floor before we could get on the road.

So I 'm listening to "Indians, Nomads and Saints" again, for the first time in years, probably. I find myself humming along and laughing out loud when I remember the connections my High School Self made to the lyrics. And it's cool in its on own way, imagining what the "Velveteen Rabbit" will mean to me when I'm a mother, a grand-mother, a spunky old lady. For now, it's just part of the journey, learning to be by myself, knowing who I can trust. So there that is.

"there i am in younger days, star gazing
painting picture perfect maps
of how my life and love would be
not counting the unmarked paths of misdirection
my compass, faith in love's perfection
i missed ten million miles of road i should have seen
meanwhile our friends we thought were so together
left each other one by one on the road to fairer weather
and we sit here in our storm and drink a toast
to the slim chance of love's recovery"

Friday, March 25, 2005

I am a happy person who thinks happy thoughts.

I am a happy person who thinks happy thoughts. I am a happy person who thinks happy thoughts. I am a happy person who thinks happy thoughts. I am a happy person who thinks happy thoughts. I am a happy person who thinks happy thoughts. I am a happy person who thinks happy thoughts. I am a happy person who thinks happy thoughts.

Just in case you had your doubts.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Maid of Horror

I don't live in a Hillary Duff movie. I live in a Debra Messing movie.


Sunday, March 20, 2005


I am proud of a man I've come to know very well, even though he was dead before I learned his name. I met his comrade-in-arms who lost the use of his legs in the same battle that took his life. I've been to his high school, his church, his childhood home, and his wake. I've petted his cats and hugged his neighbors.

To paraphrase, once again, the amazing Jodi Picoult-- the English language offers us words like "widow" and "orphan," but there's no word whatsoever to describe a parent who has lost a child.

Go in peace

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Domesticated Animal: CSI

DISCLAIMER: Hungry/eating readers should be avised that this entry contains frank feline content and graphic descriptions of litterboxes.

It's time for another post about my pets. I came home last week to find something I had never encountered before, and I think we need a little "Domesticated Animal: CSI" to figure out what possibly could have happened.

First of all, it's a disgusting, horrible fact that dogs like to eat poo. They especially like to eat cat poo. Cats metabolize really differently than dogs. They'll never digest all the salt and fat they need because they break down food so quickly. Consequently, cat kibble is full of sodium and fat, because the Good People at Iams know cats will only absorb about half of it before it's, um, eliminated. Dog food, on the other hand, has as little fat and salt as possible, which is why most dog treats are created in the theme of salty/fatty/bacon-inspired products. You see where this is going, right? I don't need to go all the way there, do I?

So Fred has a special covered litter box with a flap that keeps Bella from doing things that make me give her a bowl of water that she must drink NOW, don rubber gloves, brush her teeth with chicken-flavored toothpaste, give her another bowl of water, and prevent her from licking me for at least 24 hours.

Now, we all know the cat is Special Fred. He's a wonderful, funny cat, but he experiences unique challenges that don't seem to confound other cats. Like the aforementioned litter box. He has had this litter box with a lid and a flap for more than two years. The cover and the flap are TRANSPARENT. There's only one way in and one way out, but he gets... lost. He uses this thing at least twice a day every day. At least once a month, I find him mewing and scratching against the back, flapless wall, trying to get out. Sometimes he pulls the flap toward him with his paw, repeatedly whapping himself on the nose.

Last week, I came home from work to find the litter box upside down in the middle of the living room, its contents filling the lid, the lid detached from the base. The litter box is usually located in the bathroom, a good 15 feet from where I saw it when I walked through the door. Now, the thing is designed so the lid comes off for easy cleaning. It has a latch on either side, attaching it to the pan full of pine pellets (feminist, environment friendly litter). One of the latches was gnawed off.

Fred does not gnaw on things, persay. Bella only gets chewy when she gets bored, and she usually sticks to rawhide bones (which she has to have sparingly, for other disgusting reasons; although two months ago she figured out how to nudge the cabinet door under the sink open and helped herself). If no rawhide is available, she'll chew on pens. The only exception to this has been in Miami. She would find this book about the end of apartheid and chew on it, no matter where I hid it, until I had to throw it out. Saying "Dude, Bell- it's okay! Nelson Mandela is freed at the end!" didn't help.

As for the Great Litter Box Caper, this is my best guess: Fred went into the litter box and got stuck while I was at work. He must have been freaking out in there. Bella probably nudged the litter box out of the bathroom. Fred is big enough, but not smart enough, to do it; Bella nudges cabinets open (see above). I think she then flipped the litter box (how else could the contents have ended up almost completely in the upside down lid?) and gnawed one latch off to free him. She didn't take the latch to her favorite chewing places. (She gnaws on the pens while sitting on her dog bed, or alternatively on my bedspread...Mmm..inky). She left it right there.

My first thought was that Someone! Was In! The Apartment! because it was so odd seeing this object in the middle of the living room when it never leaves the bathroom. However, the TV, computer, DVD player, and spare cameras were all present and accounted for. Nothing else was touched. Fred couldn't have done this. It had to be Bella. She wasn't foraging for turds, either, because there was a turd (sorry) in the upside down lid. Can YOU think of any other explanation?

Seriously, I can not. However, "foraging for turds" is an excellent description of my attempts at rebound Internet dating. And that's all I'm going to say about THAT.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Happy International Women's Day

I love this holiday, but I haven't remembered to really observe it since I no longer spend a minimum of 12 credit hours a week in a Women's Studies program. There are 18 minutes left, people. Find a woman and celebrate her.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

This is going to sound crazy.

But sometimes really important published authors google themselves and read what people are saying about their books, as we all learned when an important published author commented on Alissa's blog. So, Jodi Picoult, I just read My Sister's Keeper and had I loved it, loved it, loved it. I can't remember the last time I was so engaged by a book that I read it straight through, weeping and laughing and changing my mind about the characters as they developed.

When I put it down for brief intervals- to go to the bathroom or grab a banana or reach for chocolate- I missed the characters. I was moving in that vague, hazy way that makes you feel like maybe you were dreaming, or maybe there's phone call you need to return, or maybe there was a movie you were watching... Then you dive back into the book the way you dive back under the covers. Delicious.

I am astounded that it is 6 a.m.

You know, a lot of people have said to me: "In a way it's good that you and Stephen were long distance because he's not really a part of your daily routine." While that's true, and getting past 1:30 a.m. (our daily talk time) was hard the first ten days or so, I'm really in a bad place at the moment. Let's say, for instance, that a Hypothetical Exclusive Couple has a weekly routine. They spend every weekend together, staring with a Friday night date through leaving for work Monday morning. They break up, and damn- that first Friday night is absolute hell.

This is my first Friday, metaphorically. I had solid plans to see him for the opening night of his show. I am so angry, and so hurt, and I can't get the notion of driving to Boston to egg Stephen's car out of my head.

I don't know what to do. I want to drive up there. I want to call. I want to scream into his voice mail. I worked today, seeking out "found features" and finding extra things to make my day last longer. I volunteered to work Monday, because my co-worker threw his back out. And the overtime is pretty sweet.

I'm trying to spread the tearful phone calls out among my friends. I'm trying so hard not to call them too late or too often, trying to be sensitive to sleeping boyfriends, visits with grandmas (sleeping grandma!), husbands returning from South America, pending mortgage approvals, wedding invitation stuffing, fighting illness, and not fighting with visiting apartment-hunting mothers. Tonight my future brother-in-law did a heroic job of listening and reasoning and joking me through what should have been an ordinary, relaxing night of TV watching.

But it sucks. Because everything sucks. Because the phrase "Waiter, there is too much pepper in my poppy-cosh" sucks now. Because "Surrey with a Fringe on Top" sucks now, in part because Stephen used to play "Oklahoma Baby Chicken Hat" (something Dave Barry made up) where you balance a baby (Andrew) on your head like a hat (you hang on to the baby) and you dance around clucking like a chicken to the tune of "Surrey With A Fringe On Top."

Changing the channel to Finding Nemo isn't a better option because last Thanksgiving Andrew got really sick, the scary little kid kind of sick with a really high fever. All he wanted was to watch Finding Nemo and have Stephen hold him. And I know, because I cherished that kid, because I held on to every anecdote and treasured every detail, because even though I wasn't there, I know he kept asking Stephen to "play the fishy movie." Over and over again. And I took that as evidence for the great father Stephen would be to the kids we dreamed of having together, AND YOU TOOK ALL OF THAT AWAY FROM ME WITHOUT WARNING, YOU FUCKER. (Which, by the way, is what I would scream into Stephen's voice mail, if I weren't, of course, following my future brother-in-law's excellent advice to take the high road.)

So, I went to Borders, (which is what all Good Americans should do when overwhelmed with the desire to vandalize something) where my pseudo-friend Rhea (store manager) asked how I was. I laughed and said, "I've moved into the Angry Phase." and she said: "I think that's a good thing." and I shrugged and said: "I really want to egg his car." She laughed and said: "That's not a *bad* idea. Just don't get recorded by the convenience store security camera buying the eggs." I said: "True" and she said "If you want to lose yourself in a book, buy this." Which is how I ended up reading My Sister's Keeper and forgetting about everything else for six dreamy, hazy hours.


Wednesday, March 02, 2005

A New Record....

.... for spilling something on clothing I really, really like.

Get this: I hadn't even taken my brand new clothing out of the Ann Taylor Loft bag when I SPILLED SOMETHING INTO THE BAG.

Grrr. Arg.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

My sister looks *fierce* in a bow hat!

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
Thanks for everything, guys. I had a really nice weekend. I miss you already.

My sister looks *fierce* in a bow hat!

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
Thanks, guys. I had really nice weekend, and I hope you guys had as much fun as I did.

My sister looks *fierce* in a bow hat!

Originally uploaded by GypsyPeach.
Thanks, guys. I had really nice weekend, and I hope you guys had as much fun as I did.