Sunday, December 31, 2006

Time keeps on slippin' slippin' slippin

As a kid I held a kind of sacramental reverence for the first time I wrote the date of the new year. Like most children, I never wrote a date like MM/DD/YY for any other reason than to mark the top of my homework. In school, the date was linked to TODAY.

Whereas the days and months changed consistently, the year was locked in what seemed like forever. Toward the end of the year I would remind myself that I had once written the year before at the top of my paper, and even though I knew it was true, I didn't believe it. It had been this year for so long that the ones before had never existed. I would imagine going to heaven and God telling us all that he had programmed the past in our minds, that the only year that ever really existed was 1989.

At 12:01 on January 1st, 1990, I stood under the front porch in awe that I had lived an entire decade, that it was a new decade, that the 80s were gone and that I would never again write "mm/dd/89" at the top of my paper. When I wrote the "90" on the far right of the dashes for the first time, I almost felt like I had done something wrong.

Many people I know subscribe to the theory that we experience time as a percentage of the time we have lived. Thus, one day to a child is much longer than a day to a 94 year old man because the old man has lived longer. Although time does pass more quickly now that it did when I was a kid, I think our experience of time passing has much more to do with whether or not we are waiting for something to happen in the future and the length of our attention spans (which is tied to our ability to distract ourselves). For me, childhood was just biding time until I could have all the privileges that came with adulthood. I wasn't very good at distracting myself either. Now, when I can't wait for something to happen in the future, such as drinking the French champagne I bought for tonight, I am able to distract myself and the wait doesn't seem so long.

However, the sancitity of writing the new date has changed. It's not that things diminish with time. It's not that I've lived so many years (which I haven't) that one more is insignificant. I'm not so busy that I can't be bothered with petty things. The special feeling of writing the new year's date has been corrupted by credit card expiration dates.

Yes, I have already written or typed 01/2007 hundreds of times. My next payment on my student loan has been due 09/01/07 for forever. I've already mentally journeyed to 10/15/07 every time I consider my car insurance premium. Thus, it's not that being an adult diminishes the passing of time, it's that our contemplation of future dates is almost always embedded in when our bills are due.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It's Christmas Time in Tuscaloosa

Greeting from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where I've reverted back to being a whiny, grumpy 13 year old girl obsessed with how her hair has gotten too frizzy.

I'm sitting in the newly built lobby, in front of a flat screen monitor, with the local radio station and their 24 hour Christmas marathon playing on the right.

My parents, who are surely kinder, nicer, more interesting, and less annoying than I find them right now, sure do take forever to leave this Comfort Inn and their lack of non-decaffeinated coffee and no drinks near the computer policy.

According to the radio, Tuscaloosa is rich in African-American history, as the first black mortician was licensed here!

Bitchy? Check
Anxious? Check
Spoiled? Check
Hair-style inspired by Alabama? Check Check

Monday, December 18, 2006

Well It's About Damn Time

No excuses, let us move forward. Onward Ho!

Personal Assistant/Social Secretary Top
Description: This person is responsible for keeping up with the social and professional demands of an employer. Duties may include keeping track of the family agenda, arranging for reservations of various events, travel bookings, event planning, some secretarial responsibilities, shopping and running errands.
Annual Salary Range: $50,000 to $110,000

--The Reimer Agency

In dealing with the wave of responsiblity I've neglected since I have been stressing about my grad school applications, I decided I needed to hire a personal assistant. The only problem is that I can't afford it. However, I realized that if I worked as a personal assistant then I could use the extra money to hire one myself. Or to hire myself.

And that is what I've done. I've hired Mindy, my alter ego. Mindy is detail-oriented, well-groomed, and emotionally detached from overdue library notices and forgotten jury summons. She puts things into piles and takes care of them.

She comes once or twice a week, and I pay her fabulously. The best part is that Mindy has also arranged for me to keep a housemaid (Marta), a laundress (Mrs. Gillagheey), a gardener (Jacques), a chaffeur (Henry), and even a groundskeeper (Mr. Purdue)!

The downside to this is that I now have to work not only as a personal assistant, but a housemaid, laundress, gardener, chaffeur, and groundskeeper. The work is easy, but I totally resent my employer. I just wonder, "why do I have to clean up her laundry and make her bed? Why can't she do it herself?" The maid work, especially, is really boring, but I just try to kill the hours before I can go get some beers with my hot boyfriend, Hank.

Even though the work is really hard, it's so nice to come home to my clean apartment after the maid has come!

P.S. Mindy is in no way related to or associated with my sister-in-law's sweet sister.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Wild Rose

I believe in my last post I said I was hardy, that I didn't get colds often and had good knees.

Well, the very next day I got a cold. This happened to me once before, waking up after a night of too much alcohol and feeling just fine. I told my friend on the phone, "I feel like a superhuman." That afternoon, I started coughing and was sick for two weeks, puffing on gauloises the whole time.

But this time, hopefully will be different, as there is no smoke going in these fine pulmonary organs, and I'm actually not crazy! Also, seeing as I'm taking the GRE very soon, it might be good to be, yet again, confined to my bed.

Although I've been immured by this sickness, if I remain assiduous and obdurate in my studies, I will not be plaintive. With steady acclivity, I shall rise to sing the paens of my GRE verbal scores and fulminate in a beatific, laconic neologism that will not obfuscate the truth of my magnanimity.

I think it shall be: She rose.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Resurrection

I return!

I had my wisdom teeth taken out last week. All four, including one that was perpendicular. I've just come off my yogurt, soup, ice cream, soy milk, juice, hummus, and percacet diet. No more lying in bed, wrapped in ice packs, watching footage of Antartic penguins, falling asleep every 15 minutes.

Although I felt like I was disappointing my dentist, I decided to pay the extra $80 and get laughing gas, which was essentially like being very very stoned. It's the EXACT same feeling as smoking marijuana. I don't understand why they are not both options. I wasn't laughing. It was 2:00 in the afternoon, and I was paranoid my dentist was going to find out I was high.

We all have our own reasons for hating to go to the dentist. Mine is the top 40 radio, the mauve and country blue trays, and the way every dentist (except for Mark Prestwich, a family friend) makes you feel inadequate. No matter what they're actually saying, I hear "YOU ARE DIRTY AND POOR AND YOU SHOULD HAVE FLOSSED!!!"

Since I had the surgery, many of my friends have told me that dentists have the highest suicide rate of any profession. This makes complete sense for the following obvious reasons:

1. People don't like to go to the dentist.
2. They don't receive the same respect that people in similar fields, like say
doctors, do.
3. It's lonely.

However, I also suggest the following reasons:

4. People who are attracted to dentistry have to be at least a little sadistic, especially dental surgeons. It's more like doing concrete excavation on people's mouths. At one point during my sugery, my head was braced against Dr. Khoury's hip and his arms were shaking while he pushed on my jaw. I could hear cracking. Apparently, it's not uncommon for dentists to put a foot up on a chair and brace themselves while pushing on someone's face. Sadism is a good way to work out some self-loathing.

5. Most of us learned in elementary school that taking care of our teeth means brushing and flossing after each meal and snack, not eating candy, and going to the dentist once a year. Yawn. How many people do you know who brush and floss every day, let alone after every meal? [Are you sure? Even after lunch? Even after eating some candy?]

I think if we're all honest with each other here, we'll admit that most of us brush once or twice a day and floss maybe once, twice, or three times a week, if that. It's okay. I don't think you're a bad person. I don't think you're gross. I once fell asleep with a sugar daddy in my mouth and it got stuck in my hair.

We're humans, not automatons. Being human is all about being flawed and weak. You sleep, you watch tv, you put things off, and sometimes you eat a popsicle late at night and wake up with gritty teeth and an orange tongue.

But when we go to the dentist, we have to be strong, and diligent. It's like interviewing at the Franklin Covey corporation: "Yes sir, I wake up at 5:00 am. After jogging, I enjoy a fresh oral rinse. And, as a matter of fact, no, I won't be requiring any breaks."

It's the same damn thing I've bitched about before: Americans' pride in being masochistic. It's like a sickness that's infested offices, schools, hospitals, gyms, knitting circles, and even Bikram yoga classes in New Orleans. You don't sleep, you don't do anything wrong, and you don't feel pain.

I think this way of thinking is contrary to being happy. And I think if I had a job where everyone whom I came into contact with felt ashamed or inadequate when they were around me, eventually, I'd probably want to die.

. . .

That said, I did some research, and apparently dentists do not have the highest suicide rate in the nation. It's more accurate to say that highly educated white men have a higher suicide rate than average. They're in the company of black men in positions of authority (security guards, for example), and middle age white female artists and craftswomen. Shit.

. . .

The worst part of the whole thing wasn't the pain. It wasn't even the nicotine withdrawal (I couldn't smoke, so I quit by default; yay!). It was the competition with other people who have had theirs out.
Such as:

"Some people leave my office and go eat a steak." Dr. Khoury told me.

"The only thing I had to do to recover was take the band-aid off my arm!" my Dad said. Thanks, Dad, but they don't give you a shot in your arm.

But the worst was a very good friend of mine who went with me to get a smoothie five days after I'd had the surgery. I'd like to extrapolate on how fucked up my teeth were, but let's not go there. Let's just say that they were pretty bad. Let's also acknowledge that I hadn't had a cigarette in five days, nor a cup or coffee, let alone solid food. And just to keep the pity party going, let's mention that I've recently ended a 4 year relationship. There I was clutching my face, my eyelids half-closed, whining about how I wish I were better.

"Maybe it just has to do with your pain tolerance" She said, sucking proudly
on her straw. "I went out the very next day."

I lunged for her chest with my fork. "HIIII YAH!"

She'd hit my achilles heel. Since I had this crazy case of chicken pox when I was 10 that involved a heat rash, a sun burn, and my mother kneeling to pray that my face would not be disfigured for the rest of my life, I've been able to zen-out on physical sensations like pain, nausea, or itchiness. I can tell myself that pain is just my nerves reacting to something and it works; I stop feeling it. I like to think I'm hardy and strong. I have good knees and I don't get colds very often.

"I'm not weak!" I yelled.

We were at Cafe Gratitude, a raw/vegan restaurant when you order your food by saying little sentences like "I am graceful" or "I am peaceful."

"I can tweeze every hair out of leg for fun and not feel anything!"

She just laughed at me and drove me home to my percacet and ice packs. I'll probably forgive her in another week, once my gums have shrunk back to normal.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Go Out and See What You Can Find

So my brother, Mac, in all his manly glory, responded again to the question set forth in the post "I Won't Cuss Or Hitcha" where I asked all three readers of this blog to name a song written by a white man that celebrates a quality in women that is usually derided. That post was inspired by the songs "Big Leg Women" by Muddy Waters and "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-A-Lot. I argued that the kind of values these songs embody are only appropriate in the context of songs sung by black men. Paul Dunn, one of Mac's best friends from high school, met my challenge with the song "Trashy Women" by Confederate Railroad.

In yesterday's post, Mac pointed out a whole genre of songs that almost fit this qualification: the I-Love-An-Ugly-Woman song. If you want to read what he wrote, just look at the comments from yesterday's post. As examples, he provided:

"Casimira" by Banda Machos. The gist of this song, which Mac was kind enough to translate, is that there is an ugly woman who a man dances with all night long.

"Get An Ugly Girl to Marry You" by Jimmy Soul. As Mac said, "Granted this song isn't about mutual sexual satisfaction, the asshole just wants someone to cook for him."

Then, Mac pointed to two "Butterface" songs. This term refers a woman who is ideal except her face. Elton John and Bernie Taupin's "Yell Help, Wednesday Night, Ugly" and Bob Dylan's "The Ugliest Girl In the World" (see Shakespeare's Sonnet 130). Dylan even notes that "she's not much to look at." These songs are about loving a woman, in spite of, not because of, some physical quality. Muddy Waters loves the women BECAUSE of their big legs, not IN SPITE OF their big legs.

He also suggested "In the Summertime" by Mungo Jerry. I don't quite understand what Mac intended by relating this song to the topic of loving a woman because of a quality that is usually considered unattractive. I think he's referring to the line: "If her Daddy's rich, take her out for a meal. If her Daddy's poor, just do what you feel." Mac thinks this song is misogynistic, but I think it's actually pretty sexy. Wanting to sleep with all the ladies isn't misogynistic; it's lovely. He's equal opportunity, which I am for. I think he's just saying that dating a poor girl is easier cause you can just hang out. I mean he even tells us, "we're not dirty, we're not mean." Plus, you have to love the naivete of "Have a drink, have a drive." And, to further prove my theory, here is a photo of this equal-opportunity man:

Mac also pointed out E.U.'s "Doin' the Butt." Um, I, uh, think this, kinda, um, refers to an action and not a specific body part.

Although I love the song, I didn't even think about "Maggie May" by Rod Stewart. After all, "the morning sun when it's in your face really shows your age, but that don't worry me none, in my eyes you're everything." Aw, this from creepy Mr. Stewart. However, again, he loves her despite the fact that she's getting old, not because of.

But, my sweet sweet brother, "Maggie May" reminded me of "Lady Midnight" by Leonard Cohen, which does work:

I came by myself to a very crowded place;
I was looking for someone who had lines in her face.
I found her there but she was past all concern;
I asked her to hold me, I said, "Lady, unfold me,"
but she scorned me and she told me
I was dead and I could never return.
Well, I argued all night like so many have before,
saying, "Whatever you give me, I seem to need so much more."
Then she pointed at me where I kneeled on her floor,
she said, "Don't try to use me or slyly refuse me,
just win me or lose me,
it is this that the darkness is for."

I cried, "Oh, Lady Midnight, I fear that you grow old,
the stars eat your body and the wind makes you cold."
"If we cry now," she said, "it will just be ignored."
So I walked through the morning, sweet early morning,
I could hear my lady calling,
"You've won me, you've won me, my lord,
you've won me, you've won me, my lord,
yes, you've won me, you've won me, my lord,
ah, you've won me, you've won me, my lord,
ah, you've won me, you've won me, my lord."

So, I guess Mac was right afterall. Thanks, Pooks.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

My Cat Sits Upright

Please, Mr. Postman

Bad news folks, I read recently in the newspaper that the postal service has decided to cut back on the number of free-standing blue boxes to drop a letter in. For shame. In Oakland, you can't leave your outgoing mail in your box cause people steal it. We have to use those blue boxes, and I'm always looking for one as it is to send off my Netflix movies. If they get rid of more of them, I'll have to go to the post office with all the tweakers and grumpy old ladies who don't know how to work the stamp machines!

OH, and the stamp machines. Apparently their nixing all those too by 2010 because they're too expensive to maintain. So we'll print our postage off the internet or teleport it from our synth-modes or something.

I just hope the future is more fun, and has cool sounds and flashing lights.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

It's So Nice To See People Get What They Want

Thanks to my brother, my friend, Chris Rogers, and my brother's friend, Paul Dunn for answering the challenge from the last blog: a song written by a white man that celebrates/sexualizes a quality in women that is usually derided in our culture.

My brother pointed out Queen's Fat Bottomed Girls:

Are you gonna take me home tonight?
Ah, down beside that red firelight;
Are you gonna let it all hang out?
Fat bottomed girls,
You make the rockin' world go round.

I was just a skinny lad
Never knew no good from bad,
But I knew life before I left my luxury,
Left alone with big fat Fanny,
She was such a naughty nanny!
Hey big woman you made a bad boy out of me!
Hey, hey!

I've been singing with my band
Across the wire, across the land,
I seen ev'ry blue eyed floozy on the way, hey
But their beauty and their style
Wear kind of smooth after a while.
Take me to them lardy ladies every time!

Hey listen here,
Now I got mortgages on homes
I got stiffness in my bones
Ain't no beauty queens in this locality. (I tell ya!)
Oh, but I still get my pleasure
Still got my greatest treasure.
Heap big woman you done made a big man out-of me!
Now get this!

Oh, you gonna take me home tonight (please)
Ah, down beside that red firelight
Oh, you gonna let it all hang out
Fat bottomed girls you make the rockin' world go round
Fat bottomed girls you make the rockin' world go round

Oooh yeah oh yeah them fat bottomed girls
Fat bottomed girls
Yeah yeah yeah
all right
ride 'em cowboy
Fat bottomed girls
Yes yes

I've never heard this song, but I did read online that it has many appreciative, fat-bottomed fans. The title of this song even parallels Muddy Waters' Big Leg Women. Big:Fat::Leg:Bottom::Women:Girls. I do like that his obsession began because he was seduced by his fat nanny. However, wouldn't that make this more of a fetish song? Isn't the nature of a fetish a weird, often inexplicable sexual preference that may have some root in a possibly traumatic or at least strange childhood experience? I'm thinking of Rosseau. In Confessions, he explains how, after being spanked by his Governess as a child, as an adult he could only reach sexual climax by being paddled. This isn't to say that there aren't many men out there who genuinely dig ladies with more flesh, and this isn't to say that Brian May (who wrote the song) wasn't one of them. However, there is a difference between a preference and fetish, especially if you are the one being desired. Remember that episode of King of the Hill when Peggy, after being paid as a foot model, learned that her feet were desired only because of how definitively bizarre they were?

My friend Chris pointed out Fugazi's song Suggestion:

Why can't i walk down a street free of suggestion?
Is my body the only trait in the eye's of men?
I've got some skin
You want to look in
There lays no reward in what you discover
You spent yourself watching me suffer
Suffer you words, suffer your eyes, suffer your hands
Suffer your interpretation of what it is to be a man
I've got some skin
You want to look in
She does nothing to deserve it
He only wants to observe it
We sit back like they taught us
We keep quiet like they taught us
He just wants to prove it
She does nothing to remove it
We don't want anyone to mind us
So we play the roles that they assigned us
She does nothing to conceal it
He touches her 'cause he wants to feel it
We blame her for being there
But we are all guilty

Thanks for this song, which I've never heard, and it certainly does deal with many of the themes from the post before. However, and Chris pointed this out, this song's purpose is to talk about the objectification of women as a problem. Thank you, Fugazi, but I propose another solution: equal-opportunity objectification.

Then, Thank God, Paul Dunn, who I can't believe even reads this blog, pointed out a song I already knew: Confederate Railroad's Trashy Women:

Well, I was raised in a sophisticated kind of style.
Yeah, my taste in music and women drove my folks half wild.
Mom and Dad had a plan for me,
It was debutantes and er-symphonies,
But I like my music; I like my women wild.

Yeah, an' I like my women just a little on the trashy side,
When they wear their clothes too tight and their hair is dyed.
Too much lipstick an' er too much rouge,
Gets me excited, leaves me feeling confused.
An' I like my women just a little on the trashy side.

Shoulda seen the looks on the faces of my Dad and Mom,
When I showed up at the door with a date for the senior prom.
They said: "Well, pardon us son, she ain't no kid.
"That's a cocktail waitress in a Dolly Parton wig.
I said: "I know it dad, ain't she cool, that's the kind I dig."

I like 'em sweet, I like 'em with a heart of gold.
Yeah an' I like 'em brassy, I like 'em brazen and bold.
Well, they say that opposites attract, well, I don't agree
I want a woman just as tacky as me.
Yeah, I like my women just a little on the trashy side.

Yeah, an' I like my women just a little on the trashy side,
When they wear their clothes too tight and their hair is dyed.
Too much lipstick an' er too much rouge,
Gets me excited, leaves me feeling confused.
An' I like my women just a little on the trashy side.

I'm tempted to dismiss this song as another ironic country song (like Redneck Woman by Gretchen Wilson), but it's so thorough. There is the part about the Dolly Parton wig, but it doesn't exploit the obvious advantage (and punch line) of dating a trashy woman: she puts out. Instead, he highlights the fact that they are "brazen and bold" and, yes, "wild." If this were just a fetish song, it would have some origin in his youth, such as his first encounter being with a trashy older prostitute. However, he liked them because his parents wanted something different for him, "debutantes and symphonies," and he rebelled.

I love this song. A year ago, I wrote a piece about the R. Crumb documentary and an experience I had at Office Max. The song's chorus was quoted in its entirety. I should have thought of it before! Thank you, Paul. You've completed my challenge, and for this, I will deliver as promised, another photo of me and my new boyfriend, Herbie:

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I Won't Cuss Or Hitcha

The sexiest album I've ever heard is Muddy Waters'Folk Singer. These are songs for a slow metabolism. They're Winter songs. Waters was 49 when it was released, and he's mellow and deep-voiced and heavy.

Most songs recycle the same themes, even lines, so much that sometimes they all seem like bible verses put to different tunes for us to memorize. LEARN OUR MYTHS, they say. THIS IS HOW TO THINK ABOUT IT.

Are you the one that I've been waiting for?
I can't live if livin' is without you
I'm never gonna dance again
When I fall in love it'll be forever
I will follow him
Our love was meant to be
I know eventually we'll be together
You are safe in my heart

These sentiments STRONGLY informed my ideas about love when I was a kid/young woman. Thank God for feminism, otherwise I'd still have a poster of Robert Doisneau's "The Kiss" on my wall:

Within Jazz and Blues there exists a different myth, a different set of values, and a different way of viewing desire. Billie Holliday laments:

Nobody knows how cruel fate can be
How close together love and hate can be
Goodbye, just clean the slate for me
That's life I guess

The first three lines could be any song, but the last line is about acceptance that things are difficult. She's not fighting, she's not asking, "why?", she's not saying that "eventually we'll be together," and she's not even threatening him with how much he'll miss her. It's just like: Life is shitty and love is difficult and that's just how it is so we might as well sing about it.

On Folk Singer, Muddy Waters has a slooooowwww song about things gone wrong. The first verse is about being on a ship. Read this s...l...o...w...l...y:

The cook's alriiiiiiiiiiiiiight. . . but the captain's so meannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn. . . . .the cook's alriiiiiiiight...........but the captain's so mean . . . . . I mean he's so mean... . . . . . . . . . . . ..mmmmmmm.. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Won't feed me nothiiiiiiiiiiin'. . . . . . . . . . . . . but Sawyer bean.

My wheel mule is crippllllllllllle...... my lead mmmmmmmule is wheel mule is lead mule is blind................
Ain't gonna buy my baby no more stockings ooooohhhhhhhhh........with the seam behind.

(How I want to live in a world where your man buys you stockings.) This is music from a history of things gone wrong. It's the Blues. It ain't gonna be okay, so we may as well sing about it.

But the gem of the album is this:

Big legged women
Keep your dresses down
You got stuff that make a bulldog hug a hound
huh, big legged women
keep your dresses down
you got stuff that make a bulldog hug a hound

If you roll your belly like you roll your dough
People's that cryin, they want some more.
Ah, roll your belly like your roll your dough
People's that crying, people's that's crying for more.

Big legged women sure got something good,
Peoples that crying bout it in the neighborhood,
Big legged women, Sure got something good,
Now, If you don't believe me, ask everybody in my neighborhood.

Jerry Lee Lewis of "Great Balls of Fire" fame sang this song, too, but he made the lyrics dirtier. His version includes lines like "I like the way you shake that great big fat behind," "set your ass down at that table," and "ain't a cherry in the house." Now almost everything I know about Jerry Lee Lewis I learned from the movie Great Balls of Fire when I was 9, but I do know that I wouldn't let the man ever give me a ride home. His version is either hyperbole or satire; he's either fetishizing them or mocking them. It feels like the song "Get An Ugly Girl to Marry You."

I have no doubt that Muddy Waters is sincere. I picture him sitting on a hot porch in a dry season, watching a big legged woman walk by in her house dress. Letting her pass and saying some sly, short, understated, something to his neighbor. This is a man who pronounces "pretty," "pruhty." There is such a fine, sweet line between misogyny and admiration, power and lust, objectification and appreciation.

Although both versions of the song are supposedly addressed to the women, Lewis' is really addressed to other men. This trait is all too common, especially in Rock music and Hip Hop: Warrant's "Cherry Pie," ZZ Top's "She's Got Legs," and The Hollies "Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress)." Songs may seem grammatically like they are addressed to women, but really they are for other men: The Rolling Stone's "Brown Sugar," and ACDC's "You Shook Me All Night Long." (John Mayer's song for 17-year-old soon-to-be-ex-virgins "Your Body Is a Wonderland" was a popular exception).

Now think about the legacy of Big Legged Women : Baby Got Back.

Sir Mix-A-Lot's song is a political rant on how white culture has made black women feel inferior. He's looking at "rock videos" with "knock-kneed bimbos walkin' like hoes." His song is addressed to black women to make them understand that most black men think that they are sexy, REALLY SEXY, just how they are: "take the average black man and ask him that, she gotta pack much back." He's "tired on magazines saying flat butts are the thing." He tells the ladies, "so Cosmo says your fat, well I ain't down with that." On the ideal dimensions: "36-24-36? Only if she's 5'3"." He even encourages the girls to "shake that healthy butt."

Can anybody out there name a song by a white man, in any time, addressed to women in general telling them they are sexy eventhough mainstream culture proposes otherwise?

If you can, I'll post another picture of me and Herbie. Talk about back. Damn.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Mac Attack

My brother was always way too nice to me. He's six years older, and could have been mean or at least distant, but Mac was the kind of brother who, at 13, spent his entire $5 at the Greek festival on a heart shaped box filled with potpourri for me. I was the kind of sister who kicked him in the face and made his nose bleed. And I was only two when I did it.

Now Mac is 32 and lives in New Orleans with his wife and their 4-year-old daughter, Marley, and 4-month-old son, Jack. He's fluent, and I mean fluent, in Spanish and is getting his doctorate in Spanish Literature at Tulane. Mac is consistent. He's impeccably moral. He alternates between periods of extreme sloth and activity. He'll watch 4 hours of Family Guy and then write on his dissertation all night. He'll play a game on a Sears website to take care of a virtual tree for an hour just to get a coupon. He's proud he can sing like the guy from Hootie and the Blowfish. He's an entrepreneur and actually has a savings account. He has beautiful light blue eyes with thick black lashes and a thick head of black, curly hair. I adore him.

Here's a photo of us posing like our ancestors in the hallway of my grandpa's assisted living facility:

Mac, the only brother, the best brother:

3 years old: He's babysitting me. We carpet the living room floor with newspaper and dried black eyed peas. He turns on the Oliver North Hearings and we simualate fart-powered aeronautics in my cabbage patch kids.

16 years old: He comes home from his job at an Internet gaming cafe at 2 in the morning and wakes me up. We go to Country Cupboard (an old gas station) and buy lemon-lime powerade and Reese's peanut butter cups. He drives me around Canton listening to 311 and Sublim with the windows down. It is a school night.

25 years old: New Orleans, his wife is in Utah and he's sad. After seeing Godzilla, we drive under a bridge singing, yes, Oasis, at the top of our lungs in his car named Bob Marley. At home we stay up all night listening to music from when we were in high school. Around 5, we decide to go to Cafe Du Monde and get coffee/hot chocolate and beignets. The sun comes up while we're sitting there. Then we go yardsale-ing.

But really, the best story happened before I was born, relayed to me by my mother tonight on the phone:

Mama (who deserves her own blog post, as well as my Dad) told me she was offended by how open Mac is on his blog.

"He talks about his sex life. He even emailed me some pictures of Jack's [his 4 month old son] first poop. He's always been obsessed with poop. I remember when we were at the Dillard House and he was five or six. We were all sitting at a family table and we could hear Mac in the bathroom. He yelled out 'Fire One!' and then flushed and then, 'Fire Two!' and then he flushed again. He was pooping in there! We could hear him perfectly. We were laughing so hard we were crying. Kermit Keezer had big tears just comin out of his eyes. He kept going 'Fire three! Fire four!' just going and going."

Sunday, October 08, 2006

My New Boyfriend!

His name is Herbie. We met in Chinatown. He was wrapped in cellophane, adorned with a "Good Luck" bow. Amen, Herbie, Amen.

It's pretty serious.

He works out.

That's why he looks so good from behind.

Sometimes we work out together.

He's SO cute!

13 years ago

I was thirteen 13 years ago.

October 13th, 1993

Homecoming is tomorrow and I can't wait. I hate how Chris always talks about his girlfriend, Rebecca. He didn't call me like I asked him to. Aja told me he was a pothead. I don't believe her. I like him alot, he's easy to talk to and he's nice. He isn't a pervert. The only problem is that dang girlfriend. Hopefully they'll break up because I like him. Melanie Grizzard (a girl at church) kissed him. Matt I don't think is going. My dress is long black velvet sleeveless and scoop neck. It has a slit about mid thigh. I hope I have alot of fun. I hope alot of guys ask me to dance--especially Chris. I like him alot.

Susanna [a smiley face and a flower]

p.s. [tomahawk] Braves Rock!

UPDATE: Chris did ask me to dance, and he was lying about his girlfriend. He still owes me $28 from the pictures. I stole his braided belt and left it on the lawn at church during a game of kickball. He told me about the "Tao" but he couldn't tell me what it meant. There was no kissing and nothing happened, except the next year I wore the same dress and split the front slit all the way up to my hip when I crossed my legs in the back seat of my mother's Ford Taurus sitting next to Tanner Acker, who also didn't kiss me.

Who were you in love with 13 years ago?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Teach me, teach me, teach, teach me, teacher

High Point of teaching:

My new, precious 13 year old over-acheiver. Her Mom is Phillipino-American and Nicole gets embarassed by how loudly she talks on the phone. Her Dad is Chinese-American and makes Nicole memorize two new vocabulary words in the car everyday on the way to school. She's the shortest girl in her 8th grade class. I'm tutoring her for the SAT. (I know!)

I was teaching her the word "erosion" and asked her to make a sentence.

"On Sunday, when there was a rainstorm, it eroded the cemetary and all the dead bodies washed into the ocean."

Thank you, Nicole.

Low Point of Teaching:

Two years ago I was asked to tutor a boy going into the 5th grade. I usually don't tutor students that young, but figured I could give it a try. His uncle, who was insanely beautiful, made the arrangements and paid for the lessons. David, the kid, was a tiny little guy who was very very very into Grand Theft Auto. For our first lesson I had found a simple essay about a young man's admiration for his father. We read the story together, and then I asked him what it was about. He just kinda sat there with his shoulders slumped. I asked him if the person who wrote the story loved his father. He just nodded his head; he wasn't talking. I pointed out sentences about the dog they walked together or going on walks or eating dinner.

I said, "what kinds of things do you do with your Dad?"
Then he said "My Dad's dead."

That was probably even worse than the woman who was trying to pressure me into helping her plagarize after she'd taken me out to some bitchin' dim sum. Her parents survived the Holocaust. God bless us, everyone.

Let's end on a high point, cause it started raining here and I'm having a hell of a time:

Today I taught a 79 year old woman how to read the words "address," "telephone number," and "Social Security Number" in English. That's her, Sam Jeom Jeong, on the left in the red blazer.

I'd like you to try reading anything in Korean when you're 79.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Whoever You Are

So yesterday I was waiting in rush hour traffic to cross the Bay Bridge. I had misjudged which lanes were the carpool lanes, and had to cut in front of an unhappy, grumpy, annoyed man. The girl-smile-wave-thank-you didn't even make him happy. So we waited and waited and waited and waited.

Then I did a terrible thing: I paid the toll with a $100 bill. It was all I had. They make a big production of it: sighing, writing on it with the little marker, holding it up to the light, and even getting out of their booth to take down your license plate number. Everyone is so pissed off behind you. Sometimes they honk. But it's not like you're doing anything wrong by paying with a big bill, you know? It's a good problem to have!

I decided not to look at the grumpy man behind me until I pulled forward 5 feet to wait in another hour of traffic. That's when I got to see him look confused when the operator told him his toll had already been paid. That's when I got to see him wave and smile. I knew he'd come around.

p.s. He wasn't hot.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

La Muneca

Last night I dreamt that I was at a party at Barnes and Noble. I talked with the supervisor there about how I used to be a supervisor. The technology of how they made those clear stickers they put on the shelves to divide the subsections had changed. I was there with Morgan, but all these boys I went to church with when I was a teenager (Seth Allen, Jacob Thomas, Micah and Logan Fagree) were there and they were trying to get me to come hang out with them. Morgan had pissed off this black woman who ran the store and she was associating me with him. I told her she was beautiful. People kept offering me a cake called "muneca" (there should be a tilde over the "n"), which means "doll" in Spanish. The cake was colorful, and each piece had another piece on top of it that was smaller and self-contained like a little debbie cake. A woman pulled off the top of a white piece of cake and handed me a chocolate piece.

I woke up and I wanted to listen Vic Chestnutt's song "Sad Peter Pan" from the album Is The Actor Happy? Here are the lyrics:

it's the plan of most
to discover that magnificent ghost
when did I get perverted
and my innocent eyes diverted
from the view so grand
imbued with distractions

I'm greedy like Senior Babbitt
I'm just chasing that electic rabbit
I'm a reluctant rebel
I just want to be Aaron Neville
with a crown on my head
and my denim shirt all dark with sweat

I'm just pushing the paint around
on advice from your lying mouth
you touched me and then you ran
and left some sad Peter Pan
all alone and awkward
but a transformation, I swear it will occur

A few months ago, I hung this poem by Mary Oliver above my bed:


All night
the dark buds of dreams

In the center
of every petal
is a letter,
and you imagine

if you could only remember
and string them all together
they would spell the answer.
It is a long night,

and not an easy one--
you have so many branches,
and there are diversions--
birds that come and go,

the black fox that lies down
to sleep beneath you,
the moon staring
with her bone-white eye.

Finally you have spent
all the energy you can
and you drag from the ground
the muddy skirt of your roots

and leap awake
with two or three syllables
like water in your mouth
and a sense

of loss--a memory
not yet of a word,
certainly not yet the answer--
only how it feels

when deep in the tree
all the locks click open,
and the fire surges through the wood,
and the blossoms blossom.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

You Must Go To Church

So last night I decided to go see this rehersal jazz band that has apparently been practicing since 1939. They don't play out, but they did have a gig back in the 1970s. I'd tell you more, but I found out about it from this guy in my writing class who made us promise that if we came to see it, we wouldn't write about it. It was that interesting.

They rehearse at 6th and Brannan, which is about 5-6 blocks south of Market street. For those of you who don't live in San Francisco, Market street is the main street in downtown San Francisco. The area known as South of Market or SOMA is part super-classy corporate and art museums, part leather daddy bars and sex shops, part spacious lofts marketed to young gay, (rich) foxy boys, and of course, 6th street.

Supposedly, the term "skid row" came from 6th street. Sixth street is alcoholics, crack addicts, and homeless people. It's all liquor stores and SROs and closed store fronts. The street is crowded, though, and well-lit. Maybe its because I used to work at 6th and Howard and I know the area that I decided to walk to the show last night from Civic Center. Maybe it's because most of these folks aren't desperate and violent, but down and out. Or maybe places just aren't scary until something messed up happens to you.

Sixth street is also the home of one of the best deals in San Francisco: Cancun Taqueria. There's one at 18th and Mission, but the 6th and Market one is my favorite. There are fewer hipsters (I'd rather someone ogle my chest than my band pins). Plus, there's a super fucked up Mermaid mural on the wall (they are all deformed and have skin diseases). A veggie taco is $1.89 and it's two tortillas, pinto beans, cheese, a big ole scoop of pico de gallo, sour cream, and half a sliced avocado on top. The filling doesn't fit inside the tortilla, you have to cut it with a knife and fork. There were at least two phases of my life where I ate this almost everyday.

I've started giving money to panhandlers again. Part of it is Walt Whitman's advice to "give alms to everyone that asks." Part of it is this hippy idea that if you give things away instead of judging people that your life will be more full (shaky and irrational, yes, but god bless hippies). Mainly, though, I just think it's the right thing to do.

So there I am sitting in the taqueria, and the only other woman is this homeless woman who is yelling in Spanish to the guys behind the counter about how nobody gives her food. I'm surprised they let her stay. She keeps asking around to everyone for help. She finally says to me, all like mumbling and futile:

"Hey m'am can you help me get something to eat?"

She looked extremely suprised when I said "What do you want?"

She's all "A Burrito!"

I told her to order what she wanted and that I would pay for it. I felt like a rich man on a date, but I was hoping in my heart of hearts that I could just pay for the damn thing and wouldn't have to talk to her (essentially, I'm a bastard). Now, I'm used to the men at Cancun staring at me while I eat, but last night they were looking at me like I was insane. I just nodded when he asked me if a "super" ($1.50 more) was okay.

I liked that she ordered a super.

While she's waiting for it, she went back and forth between shouting "No chiles!" over and over again and talking to me.

"Thank you so much Ma'am. . .you must go to church"
"No, I don't"

I started wondering if she said that because my hair was pinned back on either side of my head and I was wearing a cardigan.

"You must know what it's like to be hungry."
"I don't." I looked down at my food. "Not in that way." I'm was trying to be reserved but I felt like Goody Williams.

"I haven't eaten anything today. I'm so hungry."

"Would you like something to drink?"

"I only drink alcohol." Then I decided to look her in the face. I liked that she was honest. I really liked that she was honest. Her eyes were crazy and flat like someone who is seriously fucked up. "I'm an alcoholic." For a moment, I considered offering her a Negro Modelo. "My liver is all messed up."

"I'm sorry. That's terrible." I ate my food too quickly because I wanted out of this conversation.

When I stood up she said: "Are you pregnant?"

God bless her: she upped her burrito order, yelled at the counter guys, told me she was an alcoholic, and then told me I was fat.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Day We Are Awaiting

I'm applying to graduate school. Thank God. And it'll be a miracle if I get in, because the schools I'm applying to aren't just difficult, they are impossible. I've considered renewing my faith in God just so I can pray for help.

I have to submit a 15-20 page writing sample. I managed to get through my undergraduate English degree with several 5-7 page papers, and not one (decent) long one. Thus, I'm going to expand one of my existing papers, one of my papers on James Joyce's Ulysses.

In order to do this, I had to invoke the help of not only God, but my Mother.

My Mother, or Mama, or Laura Ellen, whose Daddy was an orphan raised on a peanut farm and whose Mama was a tall, ascetic, skinny, farmer's daughter named Mattie Mozelle (say it out loud like Mademoiselle). Mozelle gave an audible puff of air wherever she walked and once pushed a 10 year old me out of her way in the kitchen when I was trying not to step on the cracks in the linoleum (they would have broken my mama's back).

My Mama's eyes are like some mystical shade of 1970s eyeshadow: creamy, opaque, and lustrous (forgive me, it's true).

My Ulysses papers were hidden in my grandpa's storage unit and I asked Mama to search through boxes and boxes of china and crumbling Christmas decorations and porcelain miniature pitchers and Baptist bible pamphlets and outdated property titles. She told me to pray, and I did, and I swear to god it was sincere.

She called me on her cell phone when she'd found a box with some of my old homework in it.

"Is this one? 'O Rocks! Passion and Sensuality in Joyce's Ulysses?'"
"Yes! That's it!"
"What about 'Guilty of Killing Quilty and Being Dirty with Gerty?'"
"Yes! That one too!"
"And what's this?. . .Oh. . .those are just Grandpa's tax returns from 1968."

I left the church primarily because my prayers were not answered. But look at that, I don't even believe anymore and he's helping me out! Thank you Lord!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Neutral Milk Hotel Quote

"This is music from an impossible alternate history of zeppelins instead of packet switching, woodcuts instead of airbrushes, brick skyscrapers and soccer played in waistcoats and endless drizzle that nobody ever thinks to resent."

--The War Against Silence (

Saturday, September 16, 2006

My friend Stephanie calls these "Lolita" glasses

My very good friend Megan gave me that ring. She used to wear it when she worked at a t-shirt shop in some harbor town. She told all the creepy sailors she was married (I love creepy sailors!).

I wore it at BYU and told people my fiancee had designed it for me, that his love was a passionate burning heart.

Clara Rockmore's Theremin and Yao

Last night I watched a documentary about Lev Sergeivitch (Leon) Theremin, inventor of the theremin. The Theremin is an electronic musical instrument that makes sound whenever something with a magnetic charge (i.e. a human hand) is in its range. It looks like a box on a stand with a vertical pole on the right (which controls the pitch) and a loop coming off the left (which controls the volume).

The documentary focuses on the life of both Mr. Theremin and his friend, companion, and Theremin virtuoso Clara Rockmore (nice last name). After he immigrated to the US in 1920, he invented the Theremin, as well as other crazy electronic instruments and mad scientist devices like a crib that protects against kidnapping by emitting an invisible shield. Theremin courted Clara Rockmore on her 18th birthday by designing a cake whose candle was a theremin-like rod. As she approached her cake, it made music.

There is film of her 18th birthday, probably around 1930. Her hair is slicked back and she's in her evening dress. Her face is thick and unripe. As she dances with her cake, her body language is shy and deferent, her eyelashes flutter. She is relaxed and drugged with attention and being desired.

That's her around 1991, there on the right. Now, don't go getting any ideas. This isn't a post about how sad it is that old people get ugly. I actually don't feel that way. For the past three years, I have worked with senior citizens from Russia, China, Taiwan, Korea, Mexico and all over Central America, Argentina, Peru, and Uruguay, and France. And Cambodia. Sometimes they speak English and sometimes they don't. I speak enough Spanish to have the old ladies tell me "if I could do it again, I wouldn't get married."

I spend a lot of time looking at their faces and trying to see how they looked when they were young. Just like you might look at a baby picture of your lover to see his or her face (and you can see it), I like to look the other way. And people do look like themselves no matter how old they are. What was different about Clara Rockmore was that her image was caught on video.

In general, women who are seniors are tough bitches who don't put up with shit from anyone. My grandmother, Nanny, once used her cane to tease some teenage boys at Shoney's for taking too long in the buffet line. Old women have outgrown the collective habits that most women possess: they aren't trying to be nice.

I was reading yesterday in Bitch magazine (which is a feminist analysis of pop culture) that women are generally socialized to act clueless and silly. It's true, and I'm not making a judgement here (can I stress that twice? Do you understand?), but we do giggle, and smile, and look down, and act nervous. And we're beautiful and put flowers in our hair. Middle aged women do this too, but most seniors don't do this. They tell you what to do, or tell you their opinion, or remind you of what they have done. They look you straight in the eye, or they look over your shoulder and talk. It's different. It's not like another exception to typical female mannerisms: the East Coast power lawyer in a navy suit; it's keen and sharp and relaxed. They aren't trying to prove anything; when they talk, they provide information. I'm sure I'll grow into it, and if you're a lady, I'm sure you will too.

Thich Nhat Hahn says that youth is like a trickle of water at the top of the mountain whereas old age is like a broad river. God bless him.

Clara Rockmore's countenance had changed in the way that most old women must change. I only see them when they're already old, and I'm too young to have watched anyone really move into old age. As a senior, Rockmore told the film crew to step back when they were too near her theremin. She didn't say, "sorry but you'll interfere," she said "you can't stand that close. Get back." At one point she even told them to "cut" when she thought that they had what they wanted.

I always thought that the dopey bunny syndrome that so many of us young ladies posses was indigenous to our generation, that older women were raised to be direct and austere, but there she was in 1920 something walking around in her evening dress like some girl named Clarice at your semi-formal, being kissed by Leon Theremin.


I have been teaching a class at a senior center in East Oakland. The Center for Elders Independence (surely the name was chosen by a grant writer) is located in a mall in what used to be a Meryvn's. East Oakland is the Oakland that most people are scared of, and the mall that once served happy suburbanites in the 1980s has been changed into a social services/payless shoe store mall. IT'S SO BIZARRE! The police station, the social security administration, and the "Self-sufficiency Center" occupy the department store storefronts. The interior "shops" are things like the Black Chamber of Commerce and an afterschool tutoring facility. However, there are still some clothing stores and candy shops thrown in. The fountains are all dried up and the tile is chipped, and the parking lot has been reworked so that the spaces slant the wrong way and you have to back out of some of the rows to leave.

CEI is depressing because none of these seniors are independent at all. They get picked up and they come to this place where they get medical care, physical therapy, two meals, and activities. It sounds great, and it could be great, but the staff talk to the clients like they're in kindergarten. That, and I sniff that same old "office" mentality where everyone acts like they're working so much harder than other people while slyly hinting that their coworkers aren't doing their jobs. I hate both of those things so intensely; it was hard for me to go there.

I was hired to teach an ESL class, but they rolled in Gwen and Lola, who were native English speakers, along with Mary, a woman from Hong Kong who points to me and purses her lips and says "inspiration!" Frecia, a sweet gentle Peruvian lady, Mrs. Alizaga, a Nicaraguan woman with a tight perm and plucked eyebrows she raises instead of saying "I don't understand," Amadeo, a Cuban man who I delight carnally, Mrs. Figaro, a partially deaf Mexican woman who speaks English very well but says she can't, and Yao, a very quiet Cambodian man who revealed after two months that he can in fact read and speak English. I didn't know Lola spoke English perfectly and was from New Orleans. When I asked Lola what she liked to do with her family, she said, "Oh we have a good ole time!" I commented on her mastery of regional dialect.

After a week, I decided to turn the class into a poetry class. We would read a few poems written by children or people who were learning English and then we would write poems ourselves. The biggest challenge wasn't their English, it was that they felt like they didn't know how to be creative. I basically gave them a fill-in-the-blank kind of format, like "My home sounds like..., My home smells like..., My home feels like..." I taught them about metaphor and haiku and we even read William Carlos Williams' "This Is Just To Say."

Yao, the man from Cambodia, had tattoos on his hands. He surely fled Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge ( He didn't speak for a long time, but I kept looking him in his eyes and smiling and waiting way too long for him to answer when I called on him. Finally one day during writing time I sat down next to him and said "What do you see when you think of Cambodia?" This was his poem:

My hometown is Kampong Chhang, Cambodia

I see people working on a farm

I smell romchate flowers

I hear the song of small, white birds.

I loved Yao. They cancelled my class yesterday and I said goodbye to him in Cambodian (which I've already forgotten) underneath his denim baseball cap. His walker had those tennis ball things at the bottom. I thought to myself, "what else does he have before he dies?"


So last night as I was watching the documentary, and Clara Rockmore and Leon Theremin were reunited at age 94 (at least for Theremin), and she was walking this collapsed figure around her dramatic and formal apartment, I thought about how far away her youth had receded into her body, how the flirty, laughing, probably somewhat insecure girl was replaced by someone with keen eyes and a strong voice. And if Leon looked at her, he wouldn't see the girl he had loved.

And I sat there beside my boyfriend. We are always fighting and breaking up and getting back together and in between all of those things there is a heavy, intense, familial-like, passionate connection and respect and love. And I thought about saying goodbye to Yao and how Clara looked when Theremin put his arm around her and how this is my life, sitting here, beginning, being Susanna and knowing part of what will come.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

I'm the real thing

This is what I look like with too much makeup on

To Fag

I watched this documentary How to Draw a Bunny last night about Ray Johnson, a lesser known artist who was a contemporary of Warhol and Lichetenstein and that whole crowd. He killed himself on Friday the 13th at the age of 67 (6+7=13) while staying in room 247 (2+4+7=13) by throwing himself off a bridge. (Apparently he was obsessed with floating bodies too.)

I want to be a gay man. Seriously, and not just because I love men. Maybe its not having to think about having a family or not having to work too hard to get your basic carnal needs met, but whatever it is, damn if they don't get a lot of shit done. When Ray Johnson died, he had hundreds of boxes full of his art work tidly placed on shelves throughout his house. It's not that I want to die and leave behind a huge body of work; that's ridiculous. It's that I want to work that much. I want to be so consistent in making things, to have a practice, so that whatever idea I have actually gets made.

My other work ethic inspiration is Edmund White. White is most famous for the book The Joy of Gay Sex (which I haven't read) but primarily wrote autobiographical essays, novels, and an amazing account of the climate of the gay communities in all major cities in the US during the 1980s called States of Desire. His nephew, who lived with him while in high school, published an essay in the journal Granta a few years ago. He said that his uncle told him that a gentleman's day should be divided equally between work and pleasure, and that he should never wake up after 10 no matter how late he had stayed out the night before. Apparently, Mr. White composed The Joy in the mornings while listening to Brahm's 3rd symphony. This is balance.

And this is what I, like most Americans, and particularly the Williams lack. In this world, we are much more likely to be impressed by someone working out on a stairmaster for 45 minutes every day for three years than someone who climbs the three flights of stairs to their apartment everyday for 50 years. The stairmaster (to borrow an idea from Mirelle Guiliano) is an icon. We walk past it, feeling guilty for not using it but secure knowing its there, and get on the elevator. This is America. God bless us.

Perhaps many gay men have divorced themselves from that whole obsessional, Puritan, self-denial, masochistic thing that we love to roll around in like not getting enough sleep,
extreme dieting, over-working, over-exercising, not being able to not finish a book, eating diet cheese, and all these other bizarre things many of us do and secretly feel proud of. It's like we're afraid that if we stop doing all these things, we'll fall into a hedonistic cesspool and wake up gay, tan, and wearing a neon pink wife beater.

But by binging on self-denial and asceticism, you're already being extreme. I mean, some people find sexual pleasure in being hit in the face and others make themselves read Proust.

When I was at Brigham Young University, the epicenter of cheerful masochism, one of my classmates was amazed that I was eating a donut. She said, "I haven't eaten a donut in like three years." Now that is seriously kinky.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Grandma's Feather Bed

It was nine feet high, six feet wide, soft as a downy chick
It was made from the feathers of forty-leven geese
Took a whole bolt of cloth for the tick
It could hold eight geese, four hound dogs,
and piggy-wiggy stole from the shed
We didn't get a lot of sleep but we had a lot of fun
In grandma's feather bed.

Did you sing this song in elementary school?
For sixth grade graduation, we sang a song to the tune of Grandma's Feather Bed that went like this:

It was K-6 rain or shine, some snow but we didn't mind
Mother always made us come to school
Unless we were about to die
Oak Grove, you have so many kids
And I was only one
We got a lot of work but we had a lot of fun
At Oak Grove, but now we're done.

I hate the tone of poems for kids. They annoy the shit out of me. Last night I was reciting some of my old poetry from when I was a kid to Morgan and it was annoying the shit out of me.
I hate fake wholesomeness, and I'm certain it's because I relished in it at the peak of my awkwardness at age 10.

During my Laura Ingalls Wilder obsession, I wore an apron around the house while I picked shit up off the floor. I also braided my hair and wore mismatched kneesocks while I played in the woods that I had named "Susanville." Before I went into Susanville, I had to hold my hands like Dr.Spock and swear that I would "Play hard and have a good time." At this point I tried out for a play that I didn't make and my only line would have been, "Mother the pudding is singing in the copper!"

Bless my heart.

In the Bay Area, folks put stuff out on their sidewalks instead of taking it to the goodwill. I have some art girl neighbors and I got a couple of yards of clean fabric that looks like matress ticking. I should make a jumper.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Beet Soup

This is the best:

Take 3 or 4 beets and cut the stems off. Boil them whole, in their skins until their really soft. Let them cool. Slip the skins off and chop them into little pieces, almost like you've minced them. Mix them with a cup of plain yogurt (if you live in the Bay Area I cannot recommend Straus Family Creamery's whole milk yogurt highly enough), a minced shallot, a dash of cumin, and salt and pepper. Let it refrigerate for a few hours and serve it garnished with fresh dill.