Thursday, June 30, 2011

obscurity and the internets

I have a sewing machine I inherited from my grandmother. It's a pretty nice machine (has lots of different stitches, can do embroidery, etc.), but it's also quite old and I was having some trouble figuring out how to use it. I couldn't find a manual on Ebay, but I finally found a PDF for $10. Thanks, the internet. Now I have even more reasons to spend money on material and not work on my thesis.

First up, an adorable owl-print skirt, then some yellow lace curtains and an A-line green poplin skirt.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

faith, love and finality

I mentioned, in this post, that my cousin's wife has cancer that has spread to her spinal cord. I've felt pretty down this last week, and I think a big part of it is this whole situation. I can't stop thinking about it. On Sunday night, I was driving back to New Orleans, doing 90 down I-10 and blasting Third Eye Blind (don't judge me; their self-titled album is amazing), just sobbing because the whole situation is just so. fucking. sad.

On one hand, I feel almost like a hypocrite because I'm not exactly close to my cousin or his wife. We see each other on holidays, we kind of keep in touch via Facebook, but it's pretty telling that I'm only hearing this information third-hand. I remember when Candace died and all these people showed up at the funeral, like they were close to her. That still rubs me the wrong way, though I understand better now how far grief can extend, how it shocks people and how they need some sort of closure from it, even when it's not directly a part of their lives. But I still feel kind of guilty about being all, "oh I'm so distraught."

On the other hand, I am pretty distraught. Because it's is an incredibly sad story. Apparently S, my cousin's wife, lost her own mother to this exact cancer when her mom was in her early 40's. So when S found out she had it, she had a radical mastectomy to prevent the same thing from happening to her kids. But the cancer has spread to her spinal fluid and now she's having to explain to her kids, who are young teenagers, that she's dying. I can't even begin to imagine the grief. The anger? The complete and utter sorrow. I keep thinking, "What if it was Alex and me? Having to hear it from our mom?" We're older than those kids are and still, the thought alone drives me to tears.

The one bit of comfort I find here, and I can thank William James for this, is that they have something to believe in. I found myself wanting to pray or SOMETHING, wanting to do some small thing that ultimately probably wouldn't matter but would make me feel better and I thought back to William James and his idea that it doesn't matter if God exists or not if people's belief in a higher power makes them happy. So I prayed/hoped/thought to myself that I was so glad, so thankful that they have something to believe in, something that I hope makes this horrible situation just a bit more bearable. That it helps S to believe that she has an afterlife to look forward to and it helps her kids to think that she is in heaven.


I realize this blog has been kind of a downer lately (always!), but I would like to note here, for posterity, that I had a good night. I got a lot of reading done and had a really fun conversation at Z'otz and made plans to go drinking and got hit on by a lady and ate the best red beans of my life with some Greek yogurt at my new dining room table.


goodnight :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

"who would have known how bittersweet this would taste"

I'm having a bout of melancholy right now. I can't quite put my finger on it but I think a lot of it is the approaching year anniversary of the breakup/move. I've been listening to a lot of sad love songs lately, thinking a lot about living here and, at times, unintentionally recalling and reliving the stress and pain of last summer and winter. This past year has been a period of intense growth for me, something I realized in part at the time but am continuing to grasp more fully now. And, sometimes, that's overwhelming. So I lay on my back in my bed and belt out songs to the ceiling like I did when I was 17.

Friday, June 24, 2011

all lit up

Earlier I decided that, in spite of feeling miserable, I was going to walk to Little Tokyo to get some soup. I'm pretty sure I have strep throat. All these people around me have it (2 coworkers, a professor, my mom) and, judging from my polka-dotted uvula and low-grade fever, I probably do too. I Googled it at the MLK/S. Claiborne stoplight while nervously hoping one of the cops on either side of the intersection didn't check out my been-expired-for-a-year inspection sticker.

When I stepped outside, I thought it might be raining. I stuck my arms out, felt drizzles, then turned around to go back inside. "Getting the car keys?" my neighbor asked. I think I've conditioned them to realize headphones equal walking. "No, the umbrella." I replied. They gave me a funny look but didn't say anything.

This marks my second walk in the rain this week, the first one being Monday. I left Z'otz and made it half a block before the deluge began. I ran back and the barista, the cute one who thinks I sound like I'm from another country, invited me to wait it out and gave me some water. Things cleared up and I gave it another 15, which was a mistake, because this time I made it 2 blocks before it started pouring again. But, my walk today was nicer. Most of it was a drizzle, so I didn't even use the umbrella. And yeah, maybe it's stupid to take walks in the heat when you're ill, but it felt refreshing, healing, to walk fast and breathe in short bursts and sweat a little. It's not necessarily about "getting some fresh air," but just getting some air at all. One interesting thing about New Orleans is the litany of smells. Everyone knows the Quarter smell, that smell of old piss and trash and beer and food. Sometimes, I get a whiff of the CBD, like today, when I had to walk across the Saratoga parking garage to get checks and this sickly sweet smell of garbage and heat (yes, heat has a scent) wafted by. The smell tonight seemed familiar too, very familiar, and I kept trying to pick it out. I finally realized it smelled like old timber, making me think of my dad, the carpenter. Specifically, I thought about the time that he and his crew were gutting and redoing the old Heidelberg Hotel back in 2005 and he let me come in and take pictures of the inside (some of those can be seen here).

I've thought about my dad a lot lately, specifically relating to my desire to learn to sew again and to build stuff. He's always been a man who worked with his hands, who created and worked, many times thanklessly, always with a fierce pride and determination to never half ass it. I have a lot of conflicted feelings about my dad, but he's definitely imbued me with that same determination...a kind of drive that comes off casually but burns deeply, making me infuriatingly stubborn about doing something with my life. I've always attributed my stubbornness to my mom, but he played a big part in that side of my personality.

So, anyhow, the skies open up right when I'm about to cross Willow, so I skip the last few steps and I guess my little burst of energy convinced me that I could eat more than the soup I'd come there for, because I ended up ordering soup, seaweed salad and 2 sushi rolls. While I waited on my take out order, I texted myself to remind me to blog. I wrote, "Walk in rain, umbrella, old wood smell, why am I writing blogs instead of poems?" except "blogs" autocorrected to "blobs," which seems like just the kind of pretentious observation about life that this blog/blob is all about. ;)

A girl at Little Tokyo complimented me on my red hair scarf, which made me laugh because I'd worn it to class tonight and gotten some commentary on it there too. I almost skipped class tonight because I felt like shit, but it was our last class and I'd skipped the one on Tuesday, so I felt compelled to show up. When I walked in, 10 minutes late, Horowitz stopped talking and said, "How are you?" I said, "I'm okay?" and he said, "You look grumpy." I said, "I don't feel well." Another guy said, "You didn't ask me how I was when I walked in!" and Horowitz said, "But she looks like she's in a bad mood!" and other guy said, "Oh sure, it's all an attempt to woo her." A couple of people snickered and I blushed, because I already think that people in the class think Prof and I are fucking, because he mentioned me coming by his house to drop off a book and letting me borrow movies and stuff and he always wants me to talk in class. I assure you, dear readers, I have had no improper relations with my professor, not even a chaste hug.

So I sat down and Horowitz said, "You know, I think it the hat, the...bandanna?" I touched it and said, "My bandanna?" and he said "Yeah, you know, Rhoda always wore them, they'd put her in them when she was mad and she was kind of the contrast to Mary, because she was always happy." And then I was delighted, because, guys, I spent a lot of time watching Nick at Nite as a kid. I even had a Nick at Nite board game. I own the complete Lucille Ball collection on video. I remember specific episodes of Taxi. And Rhoda was, by far, my favorite character on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

I got home with my large food bounty (after another long walk in the rain. I finally abandoned the umbrella and just walked in the rain because it had died down some and it was easier to get wet than try to hold a bag of food, an umbrella and a purse) and realized, halfway through eating the seaweed salad, that I wasn't hungry, but I hated to waste all that food, so I kept trying to eat the sushi. I'd chew it and quickly swallow while trying not to think about it (insert euphemism of choice here), then I tried peeling off the rice and finally I threw the rest away. What I really really wanted was a Sprite, but my walk exhausted me to the point where going anywhere was no longer an option. I posted a whiny FB status that said, "I really want someone to bring me a Sprite :(" Within a minute, my friend Blake texted and said he'd bring me one. I texted back and told him I was sick, that he didn't have to, that I was whining but I didn't want to get him sick and he wrote back, "I'm immune. What's your address?"

I felt kind of like an ass at this point because a) I felt too shitty to entertain anyone (the idea that was going to have to put on pants was enough to make me want to pass out) but I felt like it would only be polite to invite him in and b) I really wanted a fountain Sprite, but one does not make special requests of one's friends when they are going out of their way to fulfill your bitchery.

About 20 minutes later, I hear a knock and I open the door to find Blake holding not just a (delicious, wonderful, life-giving) fountain Sprite, but a Powerade, a bottle of cranberry juice and a Hubig pie. I was so touched, I almost started crying. I was also kind of astonished that someone would be that nice to me. He gave all of that stuff to me and then said, "I'm not going to stay because I have beans on the stove and I know you probably feel like shit, so gimme a hug and I'll check on you tomorrow."

It's been an enlightening day.

Monday, June 20, 2011

one step forward, two steps back, in the hole, broken leg.

me: I am tired.
and I feel stagnant
Steve: in general or today?
me: sometimes I want to do so much that I get paralyzed by it and then I do nothing at all
I dunno. I think part of it is some residual sadness from things happening around me
one of our dr's wives had to get an abortion this week because they found out the baby had no cerebellum and wouldn't survive outside the womb
then I found out my cousin's wife has cancer that's spread to her spinal fluid and she has 2 kids and he's trying really hard to deal with it and they're treating it but, you know, you always think the worst
and then I keep...fantasizing (for lack of a better term) about attending her funeral and just the idea of it makes me feel guilty
I don't know. its not just that. it's just the idea that we will never be able to achieve everything we want to in life, that we will always have to settle for less and hope that what we settle for is fulfilling enough, that we make the "right" choices
I'm normally okay enough about this stuff, optimistic enough that I can and will be happy, but sometimes it gets to me.
Steve: It's hard to face that you have to settle and it's hard to ignore the could-have-beens
me: yeah it is.
and, in thinking about all this, I start thinking about loose ends, etc.
like, there was this guy (I think I told you about him?)
Steve: the abusive guy?
me: and I feel...fucked up about the way things went with him. to the point where I still think about it, still think about contacting him even though he cut off contact with me and probably has absolutely no desire to hear from me
no no, this is a different guy
*stuff here*
me: and, I don't know. it kind of broke my heart, surprisingly so, because I really LIKED that guy.
and I hate the abruptness of shit like that because I feel like contacting him isn't going to do ANY good, will probably just make it worse...but I still want to
Steve: I'd recommend against it at this point in time
me:yeah. I'm not going to. I know it's stupid. But it just saddens me.
because there are other situations like that. you were a situation like that, for me, for awhile and that saddened me too
but I guess it was different because I was angry at you and I'm not angry at him
(not that I am anymore )
I guess I tend to tie those situations in with the bigger picture of trying to be happy and it's hard for me to be happy when I feel like I've hurt someone.
it just...frustrates me about myself. that I can't let shit go, that I seemingly self-sabotage myself when things are happy and good
I feel like things can never be good enough
and sometimes that's a motivator, you know? to make things better. other times, it just makes me want to crawl in a hole.
you were laughing at me and calling me zippy, but there is something inside me that insists I be productive, that I not run in place. because the biggest depressor for me is feeling stagnant. it is absolutely my worse trigger.
I obviously needed to spill 
Steve: np
Steve: act like bp

Times like this, I like to listen to Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald's "Tenderly" and try to remember to be kind to myself.


When a dude tells me "don't go all feminist on me," I want to tell them "if you believe in male superiority so much, why don't you go eat a bag of dicks?"

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

the world of our experience

That unshareable feeling which each one of us has of the pinch of his individual destiny as he privately feels it rolling out on fortune's wheel may be disparaged for its egotism, may be sneered at as unscientific, but it is the one thing that fills up the measure of our concrete actuality, and any would be existent that should lack such a feeling, or its analogue, would be a piece of reality only half made up.
William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience

This book is one of the most profound things I have ever read.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I cannot stop listening to this song. Thanks, Alyson.

Friday, June 10, 2011

101 in 1001- May update

16) Donate $100 a year to charity.
New Orleans Food Cooperative- $20

23) See 26 movies I've never seen, starting with each letter of the alphabet.
F- The Fighter (2010)

24) Learn 1 new word a week.
Though this project, I learned a lot of new words! Here are 4 random ones:
Vacivity- emptiness
Antipelargy- reciprocal or mutual kindness
Omniregency- complete authority
Quaeritate- to ask

56) Cook a dish with one ingredient I've never used.
I used radishes for the first time in this dish. I'd never really even eaten radishes, but I really liked them.

70) Discover 5 new-to-me poets.
1) Dan Beachy-Quick

82) Pay off my Visa and find a card with lower interest rates.
I found a card with lower interest rates awhile back, but I paid off my Visa at the end of May. Yay!

83) Review 20 places on Yelp! and/or Urbanspoon.
4) Elizabeth's (Urbanspoon)
5) Z'otz (Urbanspoon)
6) The Massage Emporium (Yelp!)
7) Pal's Lounge (Urbanspoon)
8) PURE Yogurt Culture (Urbanspoon)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

happy little things

Things that brought me pleasure today:
Talking to Blair twice
Praise from a very respected professor: And thank you for reading so carefully. What you wrote this week displays more sensitivity and understanding of the text than anything else I read this week.
Listening to Sigur Ros' "Glosoli" in bed right now while petting Marla
Finishing the Insanity fit test and feeling good
Buying a plane ticket and a hotel room for Mike's wedding
Having a good friend tell me about regaining his confidence and sense of self
Really great lecture on William James' The Varieties of Religious Experience (more on that book later)
Perfect water temp in the shower when I got in
This news story
Feeling loved by so many people around me

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

INSANITY workout

Just a place for me to track my progress on the Insanity fit tests. Pay no mind!

Monday, June 6, 2011

oh fuck you, workout.

58 minutes ago
Me: going to give Insanity another try
and probably want to kill myself
Steve: right on
just pace yourself
and remember it is supposed to kick your ass
Me: that helps
because otherwise, I'll be like "I"M WEAK"

53 minutes ago
Me: okay
going now
wish me luck
Steve: cluck

45 minutes ago (The Warmup)
Me: oh noes
I just tried planking and my whole body was trembling
I am so fucked
Steve: umm
what was planking
Me: the pushups
Steve: oh
girls have problems with those
Me: ok fit test time
Steve: are you doing the fit test?
yeah remember that this is a "before" test
just do what you can do

14 minutes ago
Me:oh my god
Steve: are you ripped now
Me: I made it 1/3 of the way through the fit test
and I must ask you, why do you hate me?
that is satan's workout
Steve: haha
slow it down
Me: I finished the knee lifts and I was reduced to trembling
I realized I was going to throw up, so I stumbled to the bathroom and did
then I came back, vainly hoping to try and do some more of the video
and I realized I was either going to puke or pee myself and really, I wasn't sure which
Steve: thats hilarious
Me: so I sat in the shower, trying to unhook my sports bra and shaking
and turned the cold water on full blast
and sat in there throwing up
I'm still shaking and I feel sort of euphoric
my legs are kind of numb
Steve: the only thing i can recommend is to repeat each day until you learn to pace better and build up some cardio
the workout i did today was the same one i had to do 4 times in a row
but now i can get through the whole thing because i know how to pace it better
Me: I'm going to keep doing the fit test til I can finish it
then try the first workout
I WAS going slow
Steve: if you can only do 3 of something, you can only do 3
Me: by the end of the switch kicks, I was having to stop
Steve: how many did you do?
Me: I did 67 switch kicks (probably too many), 31 squats and 53 knee lifts
Steve: fuck
there's your problem
i did 55
22 squats
50 knee lifts
Me: so what you're saying
is I was doing better than you until I lost all control of my bodily functions and almost pissed myself
Steve: yes

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

street cred

I just registered to become a minister through the Universal Life Church. I'm also looking into requirements to become a notary public, just for shits and giggles. I figure it's a potential income booster and also, a notary is not a bad thing to have around.

I hope to have a string of initials 2 lines long after my signature.

Food Diary

I'm going to keep this post to document my foods that I've eaten this month to try and convince myself to eat healthier. This isn't a shame thing (I might actually manually change the date on this so you guys don't have to read it), but just an easy means of keeping track of my day to day so I can monitor myself better.