Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Me: just kind of having a generally bad day, body image wise
I threw up my lunch
Steven: Why, is no good
Me: just feeling gross
I just feel really fucking unattractive sometimes
and then my friends are all "oh you're beautiful!"
but then...they make fat jokes about people. or ___ will comment about how skinny his girlfriend used to be and how she's fat now, and ugly
and things people say about other women stick in my head
like when you said E had put on weight when you guys were dating and you weren't attracted to her
dudes make those kind of offhand comments all the time. so do women.
and that shit sticks in my head and every time I feel self-conscious about my weight, that's what comes to the forefront so even when people are like 'no, you look great!" it sounds hollow.
Steven: Not everyone is attracted to the same things. It doesn't matter what I or anyone else thinks. Tree only person who does is the palm you're with
Me: no, that's not quite true. the only person it should matter to should be me.
Steven: Not trying to imply you were
Me: but that's not really how it works in practice
Steven: That's too Sunday morning special for me
Me: it bothers me that those kind of offhand comments get to me like they do
at the same time, it bothers me that they're made.
that I make them myself.

Monday, November 21, 2011

scholar in training

letters from professors, in response to requests for letters of rec:

Dear Mandi,
Very good idea. I'm busy but I really think the world of you. I only worry about the job market in academia. But go forward anyway; you don't know where it will lead.
I can do it, but will they send me links?

Sincerely, B. Horowitz

Dear Mandi –

Yes, I will write the letters for you. I don’t need any extra information.


Hi Mandi,

Good to hear from you. I was wondering how you were doing. And I'm sorry to hear you've had a difficult semester personally.

I would be happy to write you a letter of recommendation for graduate school. I can do the OSU letter right around the deadline, probably December 12 or thereabouts. So they will have it by the deadline.

In the meantime, leave me in my mailbox any information that might be useful to me in writing the letter, including your resume & also a draft of any kind of statement of purpose you will have written by December 12.

I'll also look at the paper you wrote for the independent study & give you some feedback about revisions, but again, I probably won't have time to get to that until December 12.

If you want to meet in the meantime to discuss the application process, my office hours this fall are Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays, 3-5 pm. I know you work regular hours, so if there's some time that would work particularly well for you, let me know & I can try to make that time available.

More later, but you can definitely plan on my doing these letters for you. Yours, Tom

Hi Mandi,
I'm happy to revise the letter I wrote earlier. Could you send me a
revised CV and statement of purpose for your applications? I'd like to
be able to comment on what you've been doing. What is the deadline? Let
me know where to send letters or if they can be uploaded electronically.


SO MUCH RELIEF. I am clapping in my office.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


I had a really really bad day yesterday.
I went to the funeral on about 4 hours of sleep. I spent most of the time beforehand talking to my cousin Joe, the one who recently lost his wife to cancer. The funeral itself was very very hard, made more so by the preacher who spent the entire time trying to convert people to Christianity and making comments like, "I've never had anyone I know die in...this manner but..." I wanted to stand up and shout, "NO ONE GIVES A FUCK ABOUT YOUR LIFE, YOU SMUG FUCK."
One bright spot was hanging out with my 8 year old cousin, who regaled me with tales of how his sister loves cookies, how he loves cookies, how he does a great dog impression, how the Tigers are going to go all the way unless they lose to Arkansas. At one point, he solemnly looked at me and said, "Mandi, you sure did grow a lot since I saw you." I replied, "Well, no. I'm just wearing heels." I took them off and he said, sagely, "I thought so. You're pretty short. I'm almost as tall as you."
On the way back to New Orleans, the front tire on the truck blew and there wasn't a jack in the truck, so my mom and little brother had to come out and Alex changed the tire. Then the spare was flat. So we filled it but it's leaking air.
I finally make it to Richie's and he went to Bayona to pick up his paycheck so we could go out that night for dinner. But his check was postdated, so no one would cash it and I ended up just giving him the cash to pay. Both of us were so frustrated by that point, that we almost skipped dinner and stayed home drinking.

Instead, we ended up having a really fantastic night. We went to Cochon (Richie's birthday present to me) and I had some prosecco while we waited for a table. The food was absolutely incredible--we split the boucherie plate (cured ham, salami, prosciutto, pate, hogshead cheese, crutons, bread and butter pickles, pickled tomatillos with dijon mustard), followed by a amuse bouche of grilled oysters and a bowl of seafood gumbo Richie ordered. For dinner, I got a seared pork belly on a bed of mashed turnips and garlic green beans, while Richie got the cochon with braised cabbage and turnips and topped with cracklins. We split a dessert of a chocolate ice cream "sandwich' filled with caramel ice cream and topped with chocolate strudel and peanut brittle. I seriously almost cried, the food was so good. Hands down the best meal I've ever eaten.
Afterward, we met up with a couple of friends and had a little coffee and a few beers at Avenue Pub.So, a really wonderful way to end an incredibly shitty day.

Unfortunately, I forgot my camera last night, but here are some pics from birthday celebrating:
Ladies at my Fancy Pants Party
lady p-i-m-p
Jason and me...I'm drinking from a "woozie"--a wine glass with a coozie--and he's drinking from a wine glass made from a Mason Jar
Nancy and I posing with Margaret Atwood books. Nancy is so gorgeous.
Richie and me, wherein I look exceptionally drunk
Nano and me, after lunch with the family. I am hungover.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

come in close

Me: my mind is broken right now
Im on sinus meds because my glands keep swelling up, I've been looking at grad school applications all day and I need to start on my thesis
plus, everything else. funeral, etc
Eric: ugh
we should have traded days
i just sat on my couch the whole time
Me: hahaha you don't want this day!
it's been informative at least
Eric: if i could take your day off of your hands i would

Maybe I don't expect enough from my guy friends, but I thought this was so damn sweet that I barely knew what to say.

Friday, November 11, 2011


So, I've got bronchitis and the GRE is tomorrow morning and I'm having a party tomorrow night and Marla woke me up at 6:45 trying to puke on my head and she's got worms in her poop and I got a call from my mom this morning telling me that my aunt blew her brains out this morning.

Aunt Pam and Uncle Gene at Pam's son's wedding

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

the kindness of strangers

Me: I love zotz
I just had a horrible coughing fit
the barista brought me water, a friend gave me a mini twix and some stranger gave me a cough drop
I feel the love.
Christie:haha. musta been a bad one!
but that's cool
they wouldn't do that at perks. FUCK THEM THEY DONT CARE
Me: yeah, I was doubled over
well, that dude at perks did give me meds that time
maybe I just have a pitiful look about me
Christie: naw, peeps is just nice to you
Me: I appreciate it
I still feel like blanche dubois though

101 in 1001- October update

16) Donate $100 a year to charity.
Louisiana Partnership for the Arts- $10

19) Read 1 unassigned book per month.
July '11- John Knowles A Separate Peace
Still playing catch up on these. I can't believe I'd never read A Separate Peace, but I bought it for a dollar at the Borders going out of business sale and figured the present was as good a time as any. Such a wonderful book. I've seen it compared to A Catcher in the Rye a lot and while it didn't give me the same kind of deep, existential questions and feelings that Catcher did (maybe because I'm not a teenager anymore?), but I also found A Separate Peace more relatable somehow.

24) Learn 1 new word a week.
Obarmate- to arm against
Impanate- embodied in bread (o.O)
Damier- large-squared pattern
Etrier- a short rope ladder with a few rungs of wood or metal

69) Buy a set of lingerie.
As hinted at in this post, I bought some lingerie. I did a full set: bra, panties, garter belt, and stockings. I'm still a little iffy on lingerie, but Richie loved it and it was fun to wear pretty underthings.

70) Discover 5 new-to-me poets.
3) Marie Howe

83) Review 20 places on Yelp! and/or Urbanspoon.
13) The Ruby Slipper Cafe
14) Oak
15) The Lucky Ladle

85) Attend at least 1 music festival a year.
an extra!
Voodoo Fest

93) Become more familiar with local and federal politicians and vote in all major elections. FAIL (sorta)
So this one pisses me off. When I moved here, I changed my voter registration but SOMEHOW, I became UNREGISTERED to vote. I received a voter registration card and everything, but I wasn't registered in Orleans Parish and my registration in EBR was canceled. So when I went to vote in the most recent election for governor, etc., I wasn't able to. I am annoyed by this unintentional failure.

96) Attend 10 cultural events.
3) Save Our Souls
This was really fun. I was asked to cover a screening Save Our Souls, a documentary of a local burlesque troupe, for GoodNola. It was at Republic and there were lots of free drinks and dancers and the documentary itself was great.

Left: At the screening with my friend Matt, some drunk eyes and my bra showing. Classy!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

slow death

I've been telling this story a lot and it still gives me awkward cringes.

When I was in 7th grade, I wasn't exactly the hottest thing ever. I had super frizzy, poofy brown hair, I wore bad red lipstick, I was starting to put on weight (including boobs that I alternately wanted to show off and cover up) and I was what might kindly be called "bookish." Oh, and I was a choir nerd. I wasn't exactly a hit with the boys, is what I'm getting at.

But there was this guy who was even MORE uncool than I was...he still played Power Rangers at break and there was a rumor he ate his boogers and he was really dumb. And he had a HUGE crush on me. I tried to make it clear to him that I wasn't into him, but I guess he didn't care.

One night, we were at some middle/high school dance and I was sitting in the bleachers with some friends when this guy, A, (who I had a bit of a crush on) came over and said, "W really wants to dance with you." I look down and W is standing expectantly at the foot of the bleachers. I shook my head. "No." A is insistent, telling me it's just one dance, that it'd make W's night and I'm nervous--a mix of never having slow-danced (except with relatives at weddings), not wanting people to laugh at me, not wanting A to think I was a bitch. I finally agreed.

So I get up to walk down to the dance floor and I see that W has darted over to the DJ. I look at A, like "What's going on?" and he says, "Oh, W requested a song for you guys to dance to." Suddenly, Usher's "Nice and Slow" comes on and I feel my whole being try to sink into the floor and W walks over with this overly-excited swagger.

I stared at my feet the entire time, stalked off into the bathroom as soon as the song ended and hid from W for the rest of the dance.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

old poems and love songs

Also, while studying for the English Lit. GRE, I found this poem in one of my old notebooks from 2005 and it's not so bad. Not the best thing I've ever written, by a long shot, but not bad.

You told me how you felt
lonely when you listened
to "Strawberry Fields Forever"
how "living is easy with eyes closed"
made you feel useless,
as we sat on your floor
with legs aching.
We haven't moved for hours.

Sometimes I feel like I'm drowning
sucking your apathy into my lungs
sweet toxic gas,
you're putting me to sleep
with your self-righteous
uninvited talk about how
you feel, what you think.

You're making me sick
with your pretension, your lack
of original thought. Maybe I just feel
guilty because the song makes me
feel lonely too.


I'm so grateful that Ravi and I had the breakup that we did and that he's still in my life and willing to listen to me lose my fucking mind and be kind to me about it.

Me: I learned something about myself today!
not a good something
Ravi: ?
Me: I think I have a problem of getting incredibly attached to people in part a a way of not having to deal with my own life
Richie and I got in a rather big fight last night (it's too much to explain really but he broke plans with me to go drinking with his coworkers)
and he said to me "you're NOT the center of my life" and I said "I don't want to be" but I think I have a problem with making my loved ones, friends and boyfriends, as a kind of main focus because it distracts me from how stressed and worried I am about my own life
I started crying in the middle of it about not having any idea what was going to happen if I didn't get into a doctoral program or even what would happen if I DID and he was like "wait, where did this come from"
I think that's why I had such an existential crisis when you and I broke up. not just because the break up itself but because I had to deal with that stuff head on
Ravi: makes sense
Me: still really fucking depressed 
I don't know how to have a...casual relationship.
I know how to have a sex only thing. and I know how to have super serious "we're living together" relationship
I'm not good at regular dating. 
I also think I'm a difficult person to date
Ravi: I'm not good at dating in general ;)
i wouldn't say you're difficult to date
Me: no?
Ravi: I mean, you have your moments.  everyone does
but in general no
Me: thanks 
I just feel like I'm a total emotional wreck
I've also been throwing up my food again 
I think I'm going to try and see a counselor
Ravi: on purpose?
Me: yes
Ravi: :/
yea, you probably should
Me: I know
I just....it's just a fucked up way of enacting control on my life, you know?
and also just because I've felt so ugly and awful lately
Ravi: you aren't ugly!
Me: thanks
I just feel like it lately
this is what happens when I get stressed/depressed
I eat like shit, then I start feeling super fat and ugly
then I start vomiting up my food
Ravi: you are beautiful
Me: thank you
Ravi: freak :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

a collection of tiny stories

The Perils of Jungle Juice
On the 22nd, I went to a friend's costume party and there was a large bowl of "Witches' Brew." I had two large cups on an empty stomach, followed by a beer. Then I drove to the Quarter to go pick Richie up, but his phone was dead and after an hour of waiting for him, I angrily went home and locked the deadbolt, because I am vindictive. He came home via taxi (turns out we'd just missed one another and he'd been in a cab for awhile) while I was in the midst of removing my makeup. He started knocking on the door and as I walked into the living room to go unlock the door, I realized I was going to be sick. So I ran to the door, slamming my leg into a side table in the process (resulting in a really beautiful bruise), unlocked it and yelled "I'M SICK" in response to his "what the fuck is wrong with you?" He followed me into the bathroom and held my hair and stroked my shoulder and gave me water while I asked him to go away. Then he put me to bed and asked me if I wanted a PB&J. I said yes, then promptly fell asleep. He found me asleep, ate my sandwich and also went to bed. I woke up around 2am, feeling dismal and looking for my sandwich.

Fall Festivities
Jason, Lianna and I carved pumpkins and drank pumpkin beer in a non-ironic festive way. Jason carved a yin yang, Lianna carved a TV and I carved a martini glass and a bottle because I'm a drunk.

Voodoo Hoodoo
I went to Voodoo all three days. On Friday, Eddie and I biked there and saw Ani Difranco, Band of Horses and Soundgarden. All were great shows.
Saturday, I went alone and caught a bounce show, Social Distortion, Snoop Dogg (with Mystikal) and Blink 182. Blink's set kind of sucked, was full of inane dick jokes and I left halfway through, after my inner 14 year old was mostly satisfied (I really only wanted to hear "Dammit" and they didn't play it before I left). I admittedly teared up slightly during this set, despite it sucking, because it made me think of when Candace and I used to blast Enema of the State in her backyard and sit upside down on her swing and sing the lyrics to her next door neighbor (the crush of my teenage life). I biked back to Richie's, where I'd left the truck and as I was tying up my bike, two gay guys approached me and asked me if I'd give them a ride to Palmer Park. I was kind of hesitant at first, but I figured what the hell and let them in. They invited me to a party, but I politely declined.
On Sunday, I went with Richie and Matt. We saw Dr. John, then met up with Lianna at TV on the Radio (fantastic show). The boys left to go see The Meters, while Lianna and I caught the rest of TVotR, grabbed food and went to see The Clash. We wandered over to catch the end of The Meters set, met up with the boys to see The Ranconteurs. I got pretty high during the TVotR show and I started getting kind of paranoid during The Ranconteurs, but Richie and Lianna calmed me down (I'm not good at being high. I either get stupid silly or paranoid.) Richie and I went to Finn's afterward and got drinks that I almost fell asleep in, because I'd only had 4 hours of bad sleep.

Frenchman Follies
On Saturday night, post-festival, I got dressed up in voodoo doll drag and Matt and I headed down to the Marigny. We met up with friends at Mojito's, started drinking a lot. I had a brief blood sugar episode, which passed when I found a muffin. We went to The John and there was a boyfriend/girlfriend incident that culminated in the decision that everyone needed to eat, which is how we ended up at some hot sausage place on St. Claude at 3am, eating poboys and taking ridiculous and cute pictures. Then we walked over to Big Daddy's to play pool and finally ended the night at Mimi's until dawn. Richie and I ate more PB&J in bed (it's kind of a thing), before falling into some really bad sleep. We finally got out of bed around 1, coffee'd up and headed back to Voodoo.

T.C. Obsession
I've been reading T.C. Boyle's The Women. I really ought to know better than to pick up a Boyle book while I have other pressing matters to attend to, because he always sucks me in. I started it because I didn't want to be bored between shows at Voodoo. Richie said, "You're going to a festival with tens of thousands of people and you're going to be the one reading a book?" I replied, "I don't think you understand how antisocial I really am with strangers."
So now I'm toting the book everywhere, reading it until 2am and it reminded me of the first time I ever read Boyle. It was "Greasy Lake" in my high school English class and I was so taken with it that I went to Barnes and Noble that weekend and bought every collection of his short stories, which cost around $80. I remember being worried that I was spending that much but then I went to the car and started reading at stoplights on the way home and forgot all about it.

Trains and Planes
Mike posted on FB that he's going to AWP and staying with Erin in Chicago. I've wanted to go to AWP every year and I was toying with the idea when I saw that Margaret Atwood is the keynote this year. That settled it for me. I signed up to volunteer at the event, to get my registration covered, then I started looking into flights. They were about $350 round trip, which is way more than what I wanted to spend. Then I checked out Amtrak. I ended up booking a train passage, leaving New Orleans on Feb 28 and arriving in Chicago the next day at 9am. (I'm taking a one-way flight back to NOLA that Sunday...still cheaper than round-trip flight). I'm really really excited--I've never been on a train and we're going to go through Memphis. I was thinking about bringing some 1920's lit to read on the ride, until I remembered that I will be deep into the thesis at that point, so fun reading will probably turn out to be something like Halberstam's Female Masculinity. Ah well. Train! Atwood! Friends! Chicago!