Friday, August 29, 2008

The Long and Short of It

Okay, I always feel like a 12 year old girl on myspace whenever I try to take pictures of myself, but oh, well. Here's the new haircut, mother. I got it done at Ground Zero and the woman who cut it was Whitney. She was awesome.

See if you can spot a fat cat somewhere in this photo.

Sideview illustrating the layers and also my glowing computer screen in the background.

Hopefully, I won't always have to keep one eye shut because of the new long bangs.

Why do I always stick my tongue out when I try to take a smiling picture?

Friday photos

Here is your blessing for the day from a third grader. I give you Mother Teresa:

Kitty in the window, part 568.
I probably shouldn't encourage this, but there was a hole in the screen and he seemed to want contact, so...The hole got just a little bit bigger.
This is part of a larger exterior wall mural. I really hate these two. The baby looks like he's the same age as the grandma, just shrunken. An extravagant back yard. If you get a chance, click on it to make it larger and see if you can find the deer.
I like this cat because she just looks so worried.

Cute bicycle bell man.
And up close...
These are two dogs I pet. The one on the right is named Hercules. I'm not sure what the other dog is named. He's fairly new to the hood. Hercules has one blue eye. I think he might bite me one day. He doesn't really like to be petted.

The morning sky in South Philadelphia.

I'll try to post more later, but I feel like today will be really really busy. I'm getting my hair cut today, so maybe I'll put up a picture of that. Probably not though.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

How Did You Turn Out?

FYI, the Google image search words I chose for this post was "Indecision." This is what came up.

So, I finally got Soulseek to work and have been crazily adding all of this music to my i-Pod, including "Hazy Shades of Winter," a song by the Bangles that was also featured in the movie, Less Than Zero, based on a book by the 80s writer, Jay McInerey. Can't exactly remember the movie or the book, except that I think it was about these sort of jaded rich white kids who were trying to find themselves. As far as I recall, the whole point of the movie was that some of the characters never snapped out of their high school personas. The movie charts their lives after college, including a guy (played by Robert Downey, Jr.) who never stopped taking drugs and so he was a loser. A nobody. Washed up at the age of 23. He died at the end, I think. The message seemed to be that however you were at 23 was a sign of how you would be for the rest of your life. If you were a washed out druggie then, it was implied that you could envision the entire trajectory of your life from that moment on and so addicts were totally fucked. And that made me imagine my own life at that time. Okay, so at 23, I was just about to move to Chicago to escape my boyfriend at the time, a very sweet, still married man eight years older than me. He was the second person I ever slept with until I left for college. At college, I slept with three other people (hi, Mom!) mostly theater majors. He didn't like that I did that, but I guess he was trying to be accommodating or maybe I never told him. I can't remember.

But I knew I had to get out of Florida, and so I moved in with my former college roommate who was going to LA at the end of the summer to become famous. I promised him I would return in 2 months. But I never did. Instead, I stayed and found a new roommate through the free weekly newspaper and got a job as a waitress at Planet Hollywood and then a job at Northwestern University, where I took writing classes and met a professor, Rob Fromberg, who encouraged me to send one of my stories to University of Alaska's journal, Permafrost. I sent it and it got published. Then I got a job at DePaul and my Master's degree and wrote more stories and that led me to apply for grad school at Penn State. And they accepted me and gave me a scholarship. whole point is that if you had looked at my life at age 23, you might have thought I was destined to live in Florida forever with a man who couldn't decide what to do.

On an unrelated note, I don't think Barack will win. We are destined to have another crazy Republican president. This country is still so ignorant and racist; I would be shocked if they would elect a Black man for president. I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think I am. When we look back at this time in history, I think, like Umberto Eco, we will mark it as the modern Dark Ages. Maybe I'm wrong. I hope so. Lots and lots of peeps in Philly love Barack, but I don't think that's indicative of the rest of the country.

Aside number 3: I haven't had dinner b/c I can't eat anything with substance. And for lunch today, I had chicken fingers, which seemed fine at the time, but made me ache later. Please send pudding. Chocolate, preferably.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Root of the Matter

While lying with my feet higher than my head, biting down on a huge wedge of plastic, with my mouth held open by tools (this is not the beginning of a S&M post, I promise), I decided that the best way to survive the root canal would be to try to disassociate and think about what I hated most so I could write it here later.

First, I should mention that I had trouble falling asleep last night because I couldn't remember the name of this guy I dated (the term "dated"is used very, very loosely) when I worked at Northwestern University Dental School (the program is now defunct). His first name was Armen. He was also Armenian, but we never referred to him as Armen the Armenian. He and I had this off again, on again relationship, mostly off because he was deep, deep into the first year of dental school which basically is the same year that med students take. He's the one who showed me my first dead body, because one of the times we hung out after work, he offered to take me to his gross anatomy lab. Nothing is more romantic than looking into the eyes of your crush over a disemboweled corpse as he explains the major organs to you and lets them hold a slippery, heavy liver in your glove-covered hands. I couldn't remember his last name. I still can't. I think it begins with the letter "M." I kept thinking "Marzipan? Maserati? Melancholy?" It didn't even occur to me until today with the smell of my own tooth being ground down in the air for me to realize that I was thinking about him because of my appointment today.

I hate the waiting. I hate not knowing how long it's going to take or if it will hurt. When the dental assistant took me down the hall to finally get me situated in the chair, I said, Oh, awesome. I am so excited . I can't wait! She said, No one has ever told me that before. I said, Well, I'm lying, of course. The doctor was a very nice woman from India with a faint, beautiful scar across her upper lip. I imagined that she became an endodontist after being injured by one in the past, vowing to herself in that moment that she would be a better dentist. She asked me about my epilepsy, which most doctors don't. She said, If you have a seizure, how will I know it? I said, You won't. It's not like a twitch or jerk or bark or anything. The dental assistant said, Oh, dear! as if I had said something untoward.

The only thing that hurt during the procedure (aside from the bruise I gave myself from pinching my own arm in anticipation of pain) was when she gave me a shot in the top of my mouth. I wiggled and the endodontist stroked my chin with her thumb, saying, I'm sorry. It is almost done. But here are the things I hate about the whole thing:

1. What if, just as she's tugging out the tiny little nerve in my tooth, one that is not quite dead, in the same way that you extract the tender meat from a crab claw, the painkillers wear out or haven't worked as well as they should, and I suddenly can feel it?
2. It's hard to breath and swallow. If you are prone to anxiety attacks, you might even psyche yourself out about this. You might start thinking, I can't breath, I can't breath, and your mouth is just full of these tools and so if you were to suddenly suck in a breath, you might easily swallow one of the small little nails she's trying to place in the empty sockets were the roots used to be and choke.

3. Near the end, I really had to pee, but I didn't know how much longer was left. I didn't know if we were winding down or if she would say, Okay, one down, only five to go! So, I didn't want interrupt, but I also was getting increasingly uncomfortable and tense.

4. There's so much trust involved between you and the doctor. How does she know I'm not going to sneeze and then her drill or that thing she's using to melt everything in place could go write through my cheek, as easy as if it were made of tissue paper. It's scary to have this intense focus on this small space on your face, which contains all of these other vulnerable features, like your lips, your nose, your mouth. What if I did sneeze or jerk suddenly and instead of just grazing my cheek, the drill popped into my eye? How can she know that I'm not going to make a sudden move? I don't like having that much responsibility over possibly seriously injuring myself just because I want to cross me legs (refer back to #3).

5. The sound of the drill and the smell of burning whatever it is does not make for the most pleasant or relaxing of atmospheres.
6. I also couldn't stop thinking, what if this were happening 100 years before now? How primitive must dentistry have been then. What did people do? I guess they just lost their teeth and ate soft pudding. Or got wooden teeth (hopefully sanded). Though really third world countries without health or dental care still have to abide terrible pain or primitive practices.
Anyway, I survived. It only took two hours (3 days in dog time, which I adhere to more). It's 7:20 and my face is still numb, so I guess I shouldn't have worried that the painkiller stuff would wear out fifteen minutes after entry. I didn't get any drugs. She just told me to take Motrin or Advil. No pain yet. As soon as I walked in my house, I ran upstairs to look at my face. I smiled, and only half of my mouth went up. It looked as though I were being wry. For some reason, I can't see as well out of my right eye, the same side as the work was done. I have what I guess could be called a sympathetic eye.
Still can't remember Armen's last name. Maybe it will come to me when this whole thing wears off. Stay tuned for next Friday, wherein our heroine has a fractured tooth extracted!!!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Target Through the Eyes of a Ten-year Old

My new bff, Avis, asked me if I would mind taking her to Target this weekend to help her buy school supplies. I said, Sure! I will take any excuse to go to Target. So, on Saturday, I gave her mom my cell phone number and made sure we were buckled in and off we went. Avis was a very observant and careful passenger. She let me know when the light was green, when another car was coming, when I'd missed my turn, etc. She also brought with her a special edition of People magazine with Hannah Montana on the cover. This was foreshadowing.

We made it to Target (she found the parking spot), grabbed a cart, and started toward the kids sections. We found the school supplies--the folders and notebooks she needed--and then had to decide which of the 500 Hannah Montana notebooks she wanted. Until this trip, I had no idea how prevalent Hannah Montana is (insert "TM" here, as she's not really a "she." She's an "it;" a product). You can buy the follow things embossed with Hannah Banana Fo-Fanna Montana: pencils, pens, t-shirts, shorts, pajamas, slippers, lunchboxes, sheets, bedspreads, pillows, cameras, backpacks, purses, hats, jewelry, headbands, i-pod covers, underwear, socks, Band-aids, water bottles, furniture, and bicycles (to name just a few). By the time we left, I was even wearing a Hannah Montana bandanna and fanny pack. It was everywhere. That and High School Musical and this new rage, Camp Rock Band or something, starring another prevalent product, one of the Jonas Brothers. Avis herself purchased: 3 HM folders, 2 HM spiral bound notebooks (to match the one she already has), and was seriously considering a HM lunch bag, even though she eats the school lunch. I bought her a black HM t-shirt which she refused to try on first. My only worry is, what if that whole HM thing is out by the time she starts school (next week)? She has nothing else to accessorize with (she can't wear the clothes b/c she goes to a Catholic school).

I might be misremembering, but I don't think we had those kind of kid stars on everything when I was growing up, at least not mass-marketed like that. Some kids wore Disney stuff, I'm sure, but they were also the ones who got tater-tots thrown at their heads during lunch. We had a different kind of fashion pressure; the pressure of Nike sneakers and designer jeans and Lacoste shirts, none of which I ever really had, except my friend Wallis sometimes gave me her cast-offs. I do remember once I got a purple t-shirt from Key West with a drawing of an alligator on it and I wore that all the time. I thought it might seem like it was similar to the Lacoste gator. I was wrong.

On an unrelated note, caught part of this new reality show the other day, it's called I Can't Stop Having Babies. It's the story of a modern day Mormon family (oxymoron? Oxymormon?) with fourteen to twenty kids. The mom and dad got married when she was 17 and he was 19 and then they had baby after baby. The oldest is now 16 (time to get married!) and the youngest is a couple of months (to be married in five years). All of their names start with the letter "J." (Jebidiah, Jemima, Jermaine, Jello, Jeneva, Jen-nay-nay, Jorgie, Jorgi, Jason, Jackson, Jeopardy, Jo-Mama, Jolisa, Johannesburg, Jig-Jig, and Jangles-bo). I found myself unable to watch the show because it made me so angry. Like, why should I care? Okay, I'll tell you why I care, the girls were in pioneer dresses and churning butter! The mom with the cornflower blue, brainwashed eyes said, "People always ask me why I have so many kids and I say back to them, How could you ever have too many precious chirren? Each baby who drops out of my womb is a gift from Jesus Chirst of the Latter Day Saints and I love all of them when I can remember who they are." Adopt. Adopt children that don't have homes. Don't continue to populate the earth. Yes, Vagina, you can have too many kids. P.S.: this photograph is the actual family. I didn't create the tag line; someone else did. This is why I heart google image search. You realize you are not the only one...

Here's something funny Padhraig said this weekend. Carrie, he, and I were driving back from Germantown and we passed a sign that read, "Gravedigger's Ball." I said, Oh, look at that. He said, That's rubbish. They're aren't enough gravediggers in Philadelphia to warrant a ball.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Cat-astic + Five Friday Photos

This has not been a particularly good week for window photos, as you will notice. In fact, here you see a rabbit plant carrier, not a window. Partly, it's because I kept forgetting to charge the battery in my camera and partly, it's because I think I've taken pictures of most of the interesting windows around where I live. Looks like I have to change neighborhoods. But anyway, I like how this rabbit looks as though he's smiling.

Below, please find a clear-eyed tabby--I think he's actually standing in a doorway rather than a window. He looks like Emma Carol's soul mate. What a tragedy that never the twain shall meet.

Here is a Siamese cat flirting with Lisa Marie and me. I took this photo on the way back from brunch with her and John at Sabrina's. It has occured to me lately that I may be turning into a misanthrope. At Sabrina's, for instance, I found it totally irritating that when we were offered a table inside, this bunch of people who said they wanted to sit outside jumped forward. "We'll sit inside!" So, they toook the table we would have had and we never got on the list and ended up standing around for 15 more minutes drooling over the shoulders of the seated. Then today, I found myself annoyed by the people on the train who seem to live in fear of missing their stop. They have to stand and get to the door even before we've pulled into the station, as if the door stays open for a mere 3 seconds and you're likely to sever a limb if you don't get out in time or miss your stop altogehter. I suppose it has to do with different people's levels of anxiety. But really, don't jump up and then stand right up against me, especially when I'm getting out at the next stop too. Anyway, forget that and look at the goddamn cat.
Here's Ernesto again looking as though waiting for the conductor to cue the alto section. It took me about fifteen photos to before I acheived one that wasn't him as a blur. He is a creature of constant motion.
Emma Carol has once again been domesticated. She is back to wearing her collar with the chewed up tag. She doesn't seem to mind anymore. She has given up.

Tonight, will get to see Kelly and Amanda and some other peeps from Temple in celebration of Kelly and her twin sister's birthday party at Drinker's pub. Kelly is the first twin I've ever known in real life, though we did have triplets in high school: Annabelle, Ashley, and Allison. They were fraternal twins--two blonds and one brown haired--and they all wore dark eyeliner and turned out to be druggies to some degree or another. Ashley, I think, was the worst. She smoked cigarettes in the parking lot too. I remember them as being really a loose-limbed bunch and less interesting than I thought triplets would be.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Book Club 4 Girls Only!

Met Ingrid and Celia and Bethany for book club this evening at Borders. Celia had choosen one of my favorite writers, David Sedaris. We read When You Are Engulfed in Flames and, though I hate to write use this term, many of his essays caused me to "lol." Here's an essay by him that I like; it's called "Memento Mori." It's probably bad that I think like him. I understand his morbid streak and, in this particular piece, he writes about how buying this skeleton for his boyfriend makes him keep thinking, "You are going to die...You are going to die..." That phrase echoes around in my head in some form or another pretty much every day. It's why I keep my house neat and clean when I leave. Just in case I die, I want to present myself as a somewhat neat person who doesn't live in disarray (if you discount the ants, those tiny little black creatures I don't mind killing with my fingers. They are resilient. I've tried everything. Well, two things. Ant traps and Raid. I woke up yesterday morning to find that they had found their way to the box of Corn Pops I'd stashed on top of the refrigerator. A neat little black line of ants, diligently making their way into the box in a very organized fashion. I threw the box outside and sprayed. They have disappeared for now, but I fully expect to find them swimming in my coffee cup tomorrow morning). While walking to the subway, I wonder if today will be the day that I have my i-pod turned up too loud, am singing along to some Rilo Kiley song, step into the street without looking both ways, and am smashed by a wayward garbage truck. Or I might be over anxious about catching the train and accidentally step forward before it arrives. Or pet a dog with rabies. The possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Why I Don't Watch the Olympics

1. As an only child, I grew up competing against exactly no one, except for my pretend friend, Katcha, who I imagined as a slightly slow girl from Russia. She and I would play Sorry together and "sorry!" but I always won. Hence, I don't really get the whole competition thing. Can't everyone win?

2. No Olympic event could ever top Nadia Comaneci's gold medals and perfect 1o scores, nor her cuteness.

3. It's difficult for me to watch any of the Olympic events, even skeet-shooting, because everyone is so tense. You just know that the athlete is thinking, Don't fuck up, don't fuck up, don't fuck up...And then, guess what? Sometimes, s/he fucks up and then you know they will be reliving that particular moment over and over and over and over again for the rest of her/his life.

4. The announcers try to heighten the tensiosity. "Well, as you know, if Tatiana doesn't at least get a silver here, her entire family will be shipped back in a pet carrier to their native country and dwell forever after just above the poverty line."

5. At any moment, someone could be seriously injured or worse, embarrass herself by losing her knickers in the pool or falling off the balance beam and crying or shooting a javelin into the crowd.

6. The record you broke will eventually get broken by someone else.

7. Pretty much everything they do looks like it hurts or could kill you if you aren't careful.
8. "Women's Hammer Throwing."

9. Conflicts with all of the Law and Order episodes I must watch.

10. The whole "go USA!" of it all. Also, are we now going to have to pretend that Michael Phelps is attractive? Because honestly, this photo really disturbs me. It's like I've happened upon a badly-lit community theater production of Equus.

In other news, I think I've come up with a title for my next Maven piece about dating deal breakers: "You Make Me Want to be a Lamer (Wo)Man." It'll be about how dating lame people often increases your own personal lameness. You drink or shoot up more or become more slovenly, steal cars, pray to false gods, your taste in music and movies diminishes, etc.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bite Me

Finally went to the dentist today after about fifteen years. I realized that I have only visited a dentist maybe three times in my adult life. No wonder they have to now pull out all of my teeth and give me new ones! I asked for pink dentures with sparkles. I would rather have fifteen appointments at the doctor to get a series of rabies shots in than stomach than one dental appointment. You cannot escape pain. Even taking X-rays hurts because they make you bite down on a piece of cardboard. And I totally hate the scrapping of the teeth---the sound, the way it feels, the bits of plaque that fly out of your mouth. Today was not totally bad because it was only the X-rays and then her telling me how awful my teeth are and how I will have to have a root canal and also go to an oral surgeon so s/he can yank out this other tooth that fractured long ago and replace it with a $10,000 piece of metal after drilling a hole in my jaw.

I would sort of love to get braces to fix my snaggletooth. I don't mind it so much now, but what will I do if the one really crooked tooth keeps fighting its way out of my mouth and I end up with a single fang jutting from my lip?

Monday, August 18, 2008


Have not much to say today, but I will include a link to my latest article in Philadelphia Maven Magazine. Please keep in mind that I have to write these pieces two months ahead of time, so this piece does not in any way reflect my particular state of mind. I am totally, totally, over it. That said, I keep thinking about how I am too, too suggestible. The particular person mentioned as the last break-up I experienced also made vague references to the fact that he didn't want to date me because he suspected I was crazy. After he said that, I sat blankly for awhile and then stood up, pulled up my shirt and shouted, Is it crazy to have your name tattooed on my body after having dated for two weeks???? So, now, I occassionally take out his idea of me an examine it to see if he's right, even after never having considered it before. For instance, I realized recently in the process of clearing out my sent message box on my phone, that I had sent him the same text message 3 TIMES. 3 TIMES, like an insane lady (this is a morality tale about the dangers of texting and drinking). This makes me want to call him up and go, Yeah, sorry about that. I only meant to send it once. But of course, you can't explain yourself either, not after this amount of time, because that's another sign that you're cuckoo. And recently, I looked up his blog to see if he had posted anything new. He had added an entry that very day. I left a comment. Something like, Awesome that you're writing. I hope you keep doing it and that you're well...But then, I put on his hat, his hat that thinks of me as an insane person, and I imagined him going, OMG, she has been checking my blog every day for two months! Waiting for me to write! (Maybe he has a tracker and knows that I haven't been reading it). Or, what if he has seen me walking home from the subway, wearing my i-pod and sort of singing and swinging my bag and then stooping to pet a St. Bernard, talking to it, going, Good boy! Through clenched teeth in that way you must when talking to dogs. That vision would again affirm his opinion of me as a loose canon. Sucks that I can't have "do overs," if I happen to accidentally behave like a side character from Benny and Joon. "I'm not crazy!" she yelled wildly, shaking her fist at the sky. And even writing about it here is CRAZY! Using capital letters: crazy! But then I just remember the things he did that were somewhat certifiable. I can think of, oh, five or so just off the top of my head. I won't list them here though, because I am not that kind of girl. Even if he thinks I am.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Free Kitten! Very Smart! Doesn't Poop or Anything!

Here you will find a photo of my neighbor, Avis, who loves animals and always wants one, but then she gets the animal and realizes that she's only nine years old and not quite qualified to take care of the beast. So, she adopted this kitten. Then one day recently, she knocked on my door with the kitten in her hands and said, My mom said you want to adopt her? I said, No! She despaired because her cousin is allergic to cats and now, they either keep the kitten in the basement or leave her outside, where she meows pitifully and is in danger of being eaten by the tougher cats in our hood. Today, I peered over the fence to see what she was being fed and saw a chicken bone lying in her kitty dish. Which the sparrows were trying to eat. I told Avis that I would do my best to find a brand new home for no-name calico. Here is my attempt. Please tell everyone you know. I can't have another cat. One more would tip the scales and push me into cat hoarder land. But if you can't help, don't worry--if you don't, they have a nice little burlap sack with a heavy rock in it waiting in the wings. Glamour shot of kitten. She is very friendly (if a bit malnourished). See how cute her eyes are and please note how she has what looks like a little too much black eyeliner on the right eye, as though she has just come back from a long evening of night-clubbing at a punk bar.
This is Guillermo, a friend of the family. He is a little dude, so don't judge the size of the cat based on him. This is a kitten you could hold in your hand.

In other news, Lisa Marie and I went to Circle Thrift today and I found this adorable onesie; a handmade, old-fashioned garment with a doggie patch. I asked Lisa Marie what I might be able to do with this. She suggested cutting out the patch and adding it to a t-shirt. I then asked her what she thought the odds were that I would actually ever do this. She said, Slim to none. Despite this lack of confidence, I bought the onesie (only $1!) only after asking the clerk who resembles Bret from Flight of the Conchords if he thought it would fit me. He said, Certainly, and so I bought it.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Five on Friday Plus Un-Deep Dreams

I guess I should be glad that not all the dreams I have are stressful. However, it is distressing that they are often superficial. Last night, for instance, my dreams featured Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise. And KH's mother, whom I met while out shopping. She had stopped to look at a bunch of alligators in a nearby tank (they weren't dangerous). I tried to play it really cool; everyone else was turning around to look at her and take her photo (as if KH's mother has a well-recognized face). I think I did end up talking to her briefly. After her mom had left, Katie showed up. I said, Oh, I just ran into your mom. We chatted for awhile. Tom Cruise showed up shortly afterwards, looking as he did in the movie Magnolia. We all made plans to meet in Brooklyn next weekend.

Gave Liz a paper tiara for her birthday and some stick on earrings. There was a guy at the bar in a wheelchair and I think I want to write a story about some girl dating a similar person; I could write a whole book about dating non-typical types (like the serial killer dating story). I thought it would be interesting if the guy in the wheelchair is a total dick and she keeps rationalizing his behavior b/c he has a disability, but really, he's just a jerk and would be one in or out of a wheelchair. It would probably show how shallow she is too (so unlike me). And it would not at all be politically correct.

In case you were wondering, organic deodorant is not an effective form of antiperspirant. Since I lost my make-up bag last week (was I staying over at someone's house? Can't remember why I had it with me), I've been using this other deodorant I had at home; something I found at Trader Joe's. Soon discovered that it would be better not to wear any at all or to like rub mint leaves under my arms for better results. I looked at the ingredients yesterday: lichen.

Okay, not the best week in photos. Below, please find a knight. I like this window. It's noble. You can't see in this rendition but there's another knight statute on the far right. They're both just sort of hanging out in the window as if waiting for their Viking ship to show up.

This didn't turn out very well either, but you have several elegant, shiny, and well-dusted china pieces here, including a coy woman in a red coat.
One of my favorites. I've noticed that we have a lotta, lotta Obama supporters in Philadelphia. Most of the time, they just tack up one of those blue and red campaign posters, but every once in a while, you see something interesting. Here, we have a child's rendition of Obama.

This cat lives on my corner. She looks like she's in kitty prison. You can't read her tag from here, but it says "Lola." She was a show cat. But that was thirty years ago, when they used to have a show/Now it's a disco/But not for Lola...etc.

A baby Gretel calico. Speaking of which, my neighbors said that they don't really want to keep their calico kitten. I'll take a photo of her today and post it, but could you please, please, please ask around to see if anyone wants a fluffy kitten? She seems really sweet. This is not her. This cat lives somewhere on 10th Street.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Elliot Smith Returns

Just found a bunch of lost cds, including xo, the cd with one of my favorite songs on it, "Someone That I Used to Know." I listened to the song like 10 times on the way to work. What's funny/stupid though is that I can start to feel sad b/c the lyrics and the chords are sad, but then when it gets to the chorus, I'm always like, Shouldn't that be "someone WHO I used to know?" So I sing it that way instead. The song makes me wish again that I could play the guitar, because I bet I could learn that song in a heartbeat, if, that is, I knew how to play.

Happy birthday to City Liz. We have planned a celebratory happy hour tonight at this bar on 12th and Sansom...McCool's? Does that sound right? Feel free to join us, C & P. For the occassion, I am wearing a brand new used dress with polka dots. Here is a blurry picture of my chest. I know you all have been dying to see this. Later: Just back from the eye doctor who was very nice and gave me a free pair of soft lenses to wear until my prescription is filled. He also dilated my eyes, giving me that flirty, "I've been smoking opium in the parking lot" look. I only fell down like three times on the way back to work.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

And yet more photos

I don't know exactly what has come over me lately or why I keep posting so many pics, but these make me laugh even though they're of cats (or especially because they are?). Below, please find Ernesto. He laid immodestly like this for about twenty minutes last night. It wasn't even that hot, so it's not like he had to air out. I don't know what his deal was.

And Henri. This is the best of about 100 pictures I had to take of him. Every time I snapped the button, he would look down over move. He is bashful.
The fatness that is Emma Carol. I showed this picture to a co-worker and she said, Did that cat eat one of your other cats? Look how stumpy she is too. Her legs are like two inches long. She makes me laugh more than any of the other ones because she always just looks goofy and unkept. Here, she appears to have been shot.

More body parts. Someday, maybe I will post an entire photo. This is one of my favorite rings though.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More Stress Dreams

For some reason, I have had a recent spat of anxiety dreams--the same kind of dreams I always have when I'm worried about something; though, in this case, I can't think of anything that's particularly stressful in my life, unless it's just that I have no real savings, own nothing, am getting increasingly older and not any cuter, still single with no real prospects in sight, own too many cats, have broken out in a weird rash (shingles? I'm kidding, no rash that I've yet discovered), will soon be blind b/c I have run out of new contacts, haven't yet been to the dentist to fix my broken tooth (have an appt. with the dentist next week), will die someday, have been reading too many Joyce Carol Oates stories, have significant financial debt (IRS, Discover card, student loan, parents), my car hasn't been inspected for over a year, ants are eating the cat food, the stray cat has been absent and will likely turn up after having birthed 15 more kittens, my neighbors are also leaving their baby kitten outside, haven't finished like three stories due at work, have not written fiction in about ten years, and am missing Terry Gross who has been on vacation for a week. Other than those things, all is well. And yet, I keep having these repetitive stress dreams including:

1. You forgot you were taking a class. It's a class in geometry. You've missed all of the tests and the drop deadline and your current grade is a solid "F."

2. You have to move tomorrow. You have packed nothing and the cats keep escaping outside. You haven't cleaned the house either, so will likely not get your deposit back, the deposit you need to move into your new home. Someone is banging on the door, probably the landlord and you are wearing your pajamas.

3. You have to perform in a play but there have been no rehearsals and you don't know any of your lines. And guess what? The guy you worshipped in college, MC, will be in the front row. If you do well, he might fall in love with you. It's your turn to go onstage, but you don't have the correct props or the right costume on and you have to sing "I'm Just a Girl Who Can't Say No." Why were you even cast in this role? You have a terrible singing voice.

4. You have to drive a long distance but it's raining and (since you haven't had your car inspected in a year), your windshield wipers don't work, so you can barely see. Hurry up! You're late! The trip involves lots of high hills with no safety rails. You're also driving in your glasses, which are perhaps ten years behind in your prescription, compounding the inability to see clearly. Also, you have a U-Haul connected, full of unhealthy cats who keep trying to escape into the brush.

5. You run into your ex-boyfriend who has just returned from the Appalachian Trail. He's not sure if he's going to marry the girl he started dating four seconds after you moved out. He'd like to stay with you for awhile, but is it also okay if he brings his ten stray cats? First though, you have to help him catch them and you're wearing a baby doll dress and no underwear and you know that the staff from your work is nearby seeking fundraising opportunities.
6. Whoops, all of your teeth have fallen out of your head and you have to give a speech tomorrow on the importance of good hygiene.
7. You and Jodie are in a fight because you haven't cut the yard as you promised. She shakes her head at you, very disappointed. Her dad shows up and tries to get the two of you to make up but the dog is hyperactive and distracting and Jodie has to be back in Idaho in fifteen minutes.
It did occur to me today that for someone who is hard on herself about not writing enough, I am still producing at least a column a month for Maven and now another piece for Philadelphia Stories; I do write in my journal every day, and I have been trying really hard to do a blog post every day. And yet...and yet, I still feel lazy.

Tattoo You

Sat next to this woman on the subway today who had black writing tattooed on the inside of her left wrist. How much must it have hurt to have that done? What if the artist accidentally hit one of the bluish tributaries of her veins a fountain of blood spouted out? It makes me squirm to think of it. Anyway, on sidelong glance, it looked as though her tattoo read "just friends." It made me think that maybe she went to the tattoo parlor with some guy who really wanted their relationship to progress, and she agreed, but decided that she would make their status clear to him and thereby had "just friends" written permanently on her wrist. Finally realized that it really read "just breathe." That made a little more sense, I suppose.

I can expand my claims to regular column writings to include a writing tips piece I turned in today for Philadelphia Stories (from an adaptation of an earlier blog post about writing pet peeves). I feel hypocritical though since I haven't worked on a full story for a long, long time and haven't been sending out the pieces I do have.
I'm also having an internal moral struggle b/c I did receive this coupon from V. Secrets which allows me a free pair of panties PLUS $10 off any bra I want in the entire universe, but if I use it, that means that I will likely never, ever, never stop getting these emails and postcards and candygrams and sky-writing messages from them. Plus, I don't need another bra. But still, who wouldn't want to own this bra (and the girdle is only an extra $59.99):

My mom wants me to post more pictures of myself here, and not just my icky fingernails (see yesterday). Here, mother, here is another body part.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Picking Up Men and Carelessly Discarding Them

That was the plan on Friday in meeting up with a bevy of girls at Mantra for happy hour. We liked it lots because the wine was only $5 and we got to sit outside to people-watch. Because Celia is such a good photographer, it ended up also being a night of photographs. Consider her the guest picture taker, except you will note that I ended up taking quite a few of her. First though, check out our adorable waitress, Brie. We left her almost a fifty percent tip and hope to see her again as she is our new girl crush.

Here is Celia, demonstrating how not to pick up men.

Hands-off. I can't remember why we were doing all these things with our hands.

Here is my hand illustrating lovely fingernails with flecks of red polish. All the chairs outside were backless. I warned everyone that it was quite likely that I would start to fall backwards after a few glasses of wine. Celia noted that I would then reach for the table, but not be able to grasp the edge to save myself because of the chip.

Philadelphia, by Celia.

And again.

Unfortunately, this is the only photo I have of Ann and it's just really her torso. Ann is Irina's friend from college and my new bff. She works at Villanova where it turns out that everyone is named Ann. She said that she frequently finds herself writing nonsensical emails like this: "Hi, Ann. It's Ann. Here's the letter you requested to Ann. --Ann." We suggested that she start going by Annie, and she said she'd consider it.

Here I am trying to smoosh and pet this dog, Owen, that we met.

This is Owen's master, whom we also petted, albeit briefly.

More Celia.

The Irina series. If I could add thought bubbles to these photos, here's what they would read based on her facial expression. "This is fun. I like going out with the girls."

"I'm sorry, Celia, what did you say? I was distracted by Aimee taking my photo. No, it's okay."

"Well, I don't really know. I guess I agree that headbands are lame."

"Aimee, stop taking my fucking picture!"

On Saturday, didn't do much except read this book I ended up not liking too much, The Princess of Burundi by Kjell Eriksson, winner of the Swedish Crime Academy Award for Best Crime Novel. I thought it would be really interesting and compelling because, you know, it won an award, but it was kind of discombobulated and not exactly that intriguing and the writer kept using the same moment of "it was as if s/he had read his/her thoughts." This happened about 25 times among the many characters. But I finished it because it was a quick read and started Divisadero last night, a novel by Michael Ondaatje and I really like it so far. Here's one of my favorite passages (p. 16): "Everything is biographical, Lucian Freud says. What we make, why it is made, how we draw a dog, who it is we are drawn to, why we cannot forget. Everything is collage, even genetics. There is the hidden presence of others in us, even those we have known briefly. We contain them for the rest of our lives, at every border we cross." Isn't that cool?

Here's what's not cool: headbands. STOP WEARING HEADBANDS, HIPSTERS. It looks stupid. You know who wore headbands? Richard Simmons. And even though he's a total geek, at least he had a reason to wear them. I went to Rocket Cat on Sunday to do some writing (and really, to go to Circle Thrift the second it opened), and the coffee guy was wearing a thick blue headband and doofus 70's glasses, ironically of course. How clever! How clever that you and every other kid who manages to hit each Making Time scene has thought to put a piece of elastic around his/her head as a fashion statement because American Apparel said so. Here's my quick sketches of this weekend's headband guy:

In addition to him, some girl in ill-fitting rust colored corduroys was loudly relating a story about how she was so drunk the other night, she fell off her bicycle and landed in a small patch of grass and then started throwing up. She spent the next five minutes describing the whole barfing scenario in a loud voice while I tried not to listen or compare her description to the veggie cream cheese on my bagel. She was also wearing a headband, of course.

Headband addendum (per Kelly's comment): I don't mean to oppose headbands that you use to keep your hair out of your face. I'm talking about headbands that athletes wear when playing tennis or some other sport to keep the sweat from running into their eyes.


Not okay: