Wednesday, January 31, 2007

see previous post first.

I needed dog food anyway. So why let the madness go on any longer? The pregnancy tests are, of course, right at the front of the pharmacy in a big glass case with all the other dirty pharmacy products. The cabinet wasn't locked, but it made a big ol' screeching sound when I opened it as an entire row of people watched me from two feet away. Hi everyone, I'm here because some sperm may have squirmed up my vagina into my uterus. That's right, I had the sex. More than once.

I'm not pregnant. Why am I disappointed? Why did I wait and wait for the plus sign? (with piss all over my hand, obviously) Now I can go study, drink margaritas, smoke cigars, fall down stairs, eat lunch meat, take lots of meds, and live my life.

Crisis averted. Neurosis: still here.
love your barren friend,

don't have a heart attack; it's just a question.

Today instead of just hopping right on the study bus, I've found a new and significantly more neurotic distraction. Today is about wondering if I'm pregnant. (before I continue, the actual worry level hasn't driven me to the drugstore. It's almost worrying about worrying) Consequently, there are so many things to consider: should I stop taking my meds immediately so the baby doesn't have 5 heads? What will he say? Do I have to stop drinking coffee? I should go to the gym STAT so that when I start showing, people will know it's a baby and not rolls of fat. Will our marriage cave under the pressure of a pregnancy? I do know a few people who were "safe" and got preggers very fast. Is this a sign? If so, what kind of sign? Seriously, why does my left boob hurt? Could we ever keep a house clean enough for a baby? How the fuck would we get a house, anyway? Thank god we have our health insurance now. Etc.

I think I'm going a little crazy. Am I?
You are so qualified to answer this question. Have you ever done this (or anything like it?)

loving you, but testing positive for crazy,
your NOT PREGNANT pea.

p.s. It should be noted that in the last few weeks, I've been inundated with pregnancies and babies. Wherever I look or go, there are a million little babies and someone's pregnant. I think it's almost like my fear of contagious diseases.

p.p.s. Just took some klonopin which the doctor assures me is just for these moments. I'll be good in twenty minutes.

p.p.p.s. I miss you so much.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Morning Shots by M.K. Olson

Dear Morning Sunshine,

Here are some photos by our pal, M. Olson. She did not give me permission to use these, but what the hell. She can report me to the authorities if she wants. I love these and thought you would too.

Morning 1
Morning 2

Morning 3

You can find more of her work here: Have a glorious day. Missing you like raw sugar misses my coffee sometimes.



Sunday, January 28, 2007

Dear well-read pea,

In anticipation of your future brood of children, I did some research about what will make them well-rounded and literate...

Ran across lists of Books Kids Should Read Before they Graduate. Here's Andrew Motion's list:

The Odyssey by Homer
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Paradise Lost by John Milton
Lyrical Ballads by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
Ulysses by James Joyce
The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot

Seriously? ULYSSES???! For a kid? Ulysses gives me a panic attack if I'm within 50 feet of it in a library. This list only works if your 5 year old is in graduate school.

Hey, my wee one, I know you want to read Dr. Suess, but let's read the Lyrical Ballads first. Andrew Motion is a tool. Then I saw this list by Ben Okri:

There is a secret trail of books meant to inspire and enlighten you. Find that trail.
Read outside your own nation, colour, class, gender.
Read the books your parents hate.
Read the books your parents love.
Have one or two authors that are important, that speak to you; and make their works your secret passion.
Read widely, for fun, stimulation, escape.
Don’t read what everyone else is reading. Check them out later, cautiously.
Read what you’re not supposed to read.
Read for your own liberation and mental freedom.
Books are like mirrors. Don’t just read the words. Go into the mirror.That is where the real secrets are. Inside. Behind. That’s where the gods dream, where our realities are born.
Read the world. It is the most mysterious book of all.

Thank you, Ben Okri, for not being a pompous douchebag about books.

For your enjoyment...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

It's SOMEBODY'S Birthday Today!

Dear Birthday Pea,

Just one more day that I wish I was your neighbor. Or maybe a little bee who lives in your bonnet. Let's have ourselves a little birthday list:

What we would do today if I got to choose your birthday activities:
  • hot air balloon ride (with snacks and delicious refreshing beverages)
  • cupcakes and coffee for breakfast with banana pudding for dessert
  • matching party dresses with probably poofy skirts and polka dots or stars or little hamsters
  • a movie or three: one to make us laugh and pee our pants, one to make us cry and reminisce about lost love, and another that would be so preteen that we'd never tell anyone about it (probably a movie about kids who break out of their oppression through breakdancing or cheerleading)
  • manicures and pedicures (your boy may come along for this!) especially if we get some festive little flowers painted on our acrylic tips
  • new handbags-- fancy, solid, and expensive
  • new handbags--kitschy, flimsy, and obnoxious
  • chinatown for tiny cutie cute crap to fill our new bags
  • we'll design our own gang tag and very conspicuously put it on some stuff
  • buy big huge rings (that match, duh) that are super sparkly and cool that will be our Wonder Twin rings
  • 1st happy hour when we wear all black (with, like, gorgeous shawls and wool skirts with knee-high boots) and sit in a dark quiet bar whispering mysteriously
  • 2nd happy hour when we wear slutty shirts (backless, with criss-cross straps or something) with some sequins and flirt with the bartender and have frozen margaritas sent to our table. where we make out. and men fling cash at us.
  • 3rd happy hour where we have our boys (and sundry pals) and we wear party dresses (see above) and eat sushi
  • dinner. whatever-- I'm not picky.
  • dancing. lots of dancing. some more dancing and after that, some dancing.

Wish I were there. I love you a million times 31...

-your p

Thursday, January 25, 2007

post in which I may run on a bit and philosophize

Dear Pea-who-I-miss-so-much,

Today I had lunch with my friend, P. (she shall remain anonymous because she doesn't know that I'm writing this. yet.) I've told you about P. a lot of times-- she is an amazing powerhouse of a woman: a feminist, a mother of six, a Social Worker (the real kind, with the licenses and stuff), a Mormon, a writer, a thinker about social issues, and she's working on her PhD in social work. I've watched P. work (she is the clinical director at the drug and alcohol tx center where I work and was also the director of an enormous domestic violence shelter where I worked) and she is, to me, a model therapist. In the face of a screaming client, she is firm and calm. Despite the deep-rooted struggles of the clients that often cause them to lash out and blame others for their frustrations, P. always prioritizes their needs and sees beyond the requisite diagnoses to the raw, vulnerable person. I can tell you how hard that can be, but you know. In residential treatment centers, staff members have unusual relationships with clients. The women and little kids who are living at our center are being watched 24 hours and sometimes, instead of watching for ways in which we can help them in their treatment, or watching for their safety, or for opportunities to intervene and be a supportive, strengthening force, we watch for them to screw up. We sometimes anticipate, without cause, that we will be lied to, manipulated, and treated poorly. I wonder if they feel the same way about us. I think they must.

P. and I talked about therapeutic boundaries today and the emphasis that current practice is placing on care workers keeping themselves at (more than) arm's length away from the client (literally and metaphorically). I'm distressed by the assumption that the social worker and the client (or consumer, or whatever term you prefer) must be so far away from each other that one person is always vulnerable and examined, and the other is beyond reproach (at least in the office, tx milieu, or group therapy). P. remarked, "If they only knew..." and I laughed, knowing that my badge and keys don't make me any saner or "put together" than any of our women. What separates me from our clients is privilege. If I hadn't been given all that I have (school, money, love, support), there is a reasonable chance that I, too, could be a meth addicted mother who hasn't got a home or car. There are very few links in the chain that separate most of the people I know from being in serious trouble. Is this right? I think it, and say it, but I don't know if I just feel how dangerously close my life could have hit bottom (or could in the future, who really knows?) because every time I work I do the math of my own life.

We talked more about therapeutic boundaries and I lamented the lack of touch in most treatment centers. I was taught very well by two amazing women who work with adolescent girls, about the power of fingers on an arm, or a hand on the back. It's not easy to learn, and even more difficult to do well, but the gaps that can be bridged are enormous. At once, a connection can become warm, energized, or, most amazingly, familial. P. told me about a tx center in Canada where a kind of guru woman has developed a program for girls with eating disorders that is based on the richness possible in more personally connected therapeutic relationships. The center is an old house and every girl has an adult mentor and, as far as I could tell, the eating disorder was secondary to the whole health of the girl. As P. talked, I felt my heart kind of racing, because I knew you would be right there with me. THIS is what we can do. Whatever crazy scheme we hatch in the years to come will not be without connection and intimacy with those with whom we work.

Again, I have gone on far longer than I wanted. I'm thinking about you and others in my posse and dreaming that Bill and Melinda Gates will single us out for our charter school (or whatever we'll end up with). Here's hoping that when the cash comes through, there's enough for me to get a new pair of jeans and some Dansko sandals.

love you,

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Exam Preparation: a photo essay

Dear pea-with-a-job,
I'm crossing my fingers that the below subjects will be asked me by my committee in 93 days. Maybe they will forget the other 117 things (books, essays) that I'll get around to soon enough. Perhaps once they understand how thoroughly I know the subjects I've been studying of late, they will simply hand me my PhD and send me on a Caribbean vacation.

Dishes: Who's job is it? What percentage of the dishes are mine? Can I arrange them so they look prettier? What's grosser, crusted-on oatmeal or a bowl of cold water with floating oatmeal scuzz?

Sharpies: When does a regular pen just not do the trick? What color should "February" be on my calendar of reading for next month? Would Ovid like "The Metamorphoses" written in lime
green or burgundy?

Lip products: Is six new lippies in the last week too many? Why does lip gloss always disappoint? Should I try to have a color scheme to my lipstick and nail polish? Why does Smith's
keep having 30-50% off their cosmetics?

Sage and Citrus candle: Why can't my whole life smell like this?Why are you such a delightful green?

Coffee: Why do you keep me in that upper-downer-upper-downer cycle? Why can't you release me from your grips? Why must you taste so delicious?

Bathroom reading: Why are you so much more interesting than Donne, Marvell, and Coleridge? Why would I rather sit on the toilet all day with you than just go to the damn library to read poetry? The cover of Full Exposure is a nipple flower. Why weren't there more nipple flowers on Medieval manuscripts?

Internet: Why do you have People online so I can see that Victoria Beckham has chronic wasting disease? Will my committee be able to tell that I am getting most of my plot lines from Sparknotes? Will I go to hell?
If you have any suggestions for how to move on from
these topics to other, less fascinating ones (Ovid, Milton, Spenser--for example)
I'd be thrilled to hear about it. As it stands, I'm going to be signing
up for sword swallowing, juggling, and striptease classes
to distract my examiners from the awful truth: I don't know
a motherfucking thing and I'm not trying real hard, either.
your big success,

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Not to be Outdone

Dearest Sprout (isn't that the Jolly Green Giant's illegitimate son?),

I think I may have commented that having long flowing locks for the nuptials led me down a frizzy, sweaty, unflattering path. There aren't many wedding changes I wish I could make retroactively but the hair. Also, I would have made sure that someone was in charge of making sure my husband wore the right tie. Today I say SCREW YOU to everyone who told me I shouldn't even think about cutting my hair because I might completely ruin it for the wedding. (Really? MY haircut is going to cause the wedding to come crashing down? Really? I need to make sure I have the option of an "updo" or else my marriage is doomed?) After this week's cut, I wish I would have taken the chance. See for yourself:

Really, it's just not me. I don't have the je ne sais quoi to pull off the flowing mane. However, the good old bob has served me well for decades.

I don't think I have much to say except that this hair makes me happier and also do you have any coloring ideas? I might want to do a little something when spring comes around.

fond of taking my own picture,


p.s. I think there's something sexy about a vagina being a "clown car." That suggests some very jolly action.

Wise Words

Dear perma-epidural,

I believe this speaks for itself.

With love and Ortho Tri-Cyclen,

An alarmed pea.


Dear wishful thinking,

If you look VERY CLOSELY, you may just see them!


Are you looking?


OK, I'll tell you...they're VERY TINY little pigtails! Now my fantasies of having long, flowing locks on my wedding day are well within reach...


A hopeful pea.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Side of Pathology

Dear Miso Mama,

My least favorite thing about Weight Watchers: fried chicken is not the best idea.

My favorite thing about Weight Watchers: sushi is totally a great idea!

Every Monday night after therapy, I stop for take-out sushi on the way home. It's a delightful little feel-good package: healthy mind, healthy tummy. Tonight the whole neighborhood had the same idea, and my fave little sushi dive was packed in tight. I didn't care; I suspended my crowd claustrophobia and basked in the shared warmth and elegant parade of each symmetrical dish. Because we've been so very learned in our posts of late, I don't feel like an asshole for citing Roland Barthes, whose lovingly obsessive description of tempura in Empire of Signs well captures the sense of awestruck reverence I feel in the presence of sushi being prepared and served. It's at once sculptural and elemental, neatly compartmentalized and free from food's messier habits (like sizzling and oozing, for example).

Tonight, as I was waiting happily for my order, the hostess approached me to tell me, politely and without judgment, that there was something on my jacket. I looked, and sure enough; some kind of white powdery substance was brushed down the left arm of my parka, perhaps construction dust or chalk. I thanked her and went back to my sushi crowd watching. Before I knew it, she was back with a wet towel, offering to wipe me down. I said yes with bemused surprise, but it soon became clear that my consent was only a matter of formality. From the moment she saw the smudge, she was destined to attend to it, lovingly and slowly. She started at my shoulder, and wiped the slippery parka surface with gentle, circular strokes. She was all concentration--only she and the white powder remained. I surrendered my arm to her compulsive need, recognizing it completely and happy to oblige, grateful for the solace of shared pathology. Her dedication was amazing, her ability to shut out the crowd, to ignore the puzzled stares of fellow customers and the annoyed, knowing sighs of her busy co-workers. Minutes passed, then more, as she switched from circles to vertical swipes, then horizontal. Finally she released me, crestfallen, and said "it's not perfect, but oh well." For the obsessive compulsive, this is not a breezy dismissal; it is a gasp of defeat. I give you exhibits A and B:

Such is the tragic and constant failure of OCD, invisible to the naked eye. I promised her that I would wash it thoroughly when I got home, but it clearly brought her little (if any) comfort. In that moment, I would have destroyed the sleeve completely to have saved her the disappointment.

Raising a chopstick to you, my sugar snap pea,


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Rods and Holes

Dear Mature Pea,

Wondering about what I did yesterday? Okay, I'll tell. I read a kind of embarrassing primer on Structuralism and Saussure called "Structuralism and Saussure." I knew it was the undergraduate lecture (from UC Boulder that I found while googling) for me when I got to the rods and holes. The professor is really invested in using tinkertoys to explain structuralist concepts. This is what it was like: "A structuralist analysis of tinkertoys wouldn't look at what you made (a building, a race car, a windmill, etc.) but would only look at the structure governing every possible combination of tinkertoy elements. And that structure is that rods go into holes." Of course the professor contends that no matter what, RODS GO INTO HOLES. That's it; there's no way around it. Doesn't matter what color, configuration, set of social circumstances or sexual orientation: RODS GO INTO HOLES.

So, yes, that's structuralism, but he probably could have chosen another toy. Legos? (That might be a little less homophobic, at least) Anyway, I did what any scholar would do and scanned the lecture for any mention of rods and holes because? It's nerd porn. And it's funny and I'm glad that when I was an undergraduate my professors didn't try to sell me some analogy about rods and holes because I would have been totally disruptive with the giggling and coughing. And you would have done the same thing. Don't lie.


Saturday, January 20, 2007


My pea who I miss so much,

Powered by the infinite wisdom of local news producers, a tonight's-top-story promo came on during some crappy show I was watching. (No, it was during the Scrubs musical; that wasn't crappy, it was pretty fucking adorable) The promo? VOMIT VIRUS HITS THE STATE HARD! WHAT IT IS AND HOW YOU CAN AVOID CATCHING IT!

p.s. Remember my vomiting phobia? I thought it was gone.

I know that I was not the only one who immediately jumped up from the couch and googled "vomit virus," knowing that this had to now be a catch phrase used over all the local news outlets. And lo and behold, not one, but TWO vomit viruses! I'm pretty sure that you already know that I then showered in bleach, sprayed the keyboard with Lysol, and spent the rest of the night reading up on rotavirus and Norwalk virus. Do not come visit me; according to the news, if you are breathing and in this state, you will be wracked with violent upchucking and explosive diarrhea. For weeks.

So if you're missing me, at least you know what I can't stop thinking about.


p.s. to channel 5: Don't try to sell a story with a term as ridiculously unprofessional as Vomit Virus. Seriously, we're generally not the brightest viewers, but we can handle the medical terms. If you're going to go the route you did, make it good: Tonight's Forecast: Snow Showers and Blowing Chunks! In the meantime, tell us the goddamn name of the scariest-disease-to-hit-the-state so we don't have to have Vomit Virus in our Google history.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

You're Totally Like a Summer's Day But Not Exactly

Dear Readerly Pea,
There are a lot of things I should know and don't. I could feel guilty or stupid about this but I won't--today. I've never read Shakespeare's sonnets. I know "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun..." and then I hear Sting and I'm lost in 8th grade. I'm conducting Shakespeare Sonnets 101 for myself and found out some things that thrill me (again, probably common knowledge to anyone who's picked up a book, but not to me).

The sonnets (there are around 156 of them, give or take. FYI, Peter O'Toole has all of them memorized. He made sure to mention that during an insufferable NPR interview a few days ago. I wanted to barf in my cup holder. Seriously, P. O'T. is such an arrogant bastard-- the last thing he said when Melissa what's-her-name thanked him for his time was "Now which one are you? Oh, Melissa. Oh, you're welcome" in this we-just-met-at-a-cocktail-party way. Also, when he mangled his recitation of "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" he forgot the end couplet. So, to hide his own assholishness, he said, "well it couldn't have been a very good couplet then, could it?" Here's the damn couplet:
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and gives life to thee.
Pretty zippy, I'd say.) I'll start the sentence again. The sonnets are generally addressed to two people: a male friend/lover and The Dark Lady. C.L. Barber's lovely little piece, "An Essay on Shakespeare's Sonnets," addresses the trouble that readers have with sorting out Shakespeare's romantic situation(s). The long and short of it is that maybe the male addressee is the object of Will's love and lust. The short of it, as Barber elegantly explains, is that the male addressee, regardless of the precise nature of the relationship, is a glass into which Will sees himself. Hence there is self-love and love of another (who is ceaselessly described as his closest and most beloved friend). Furthermore, it is clear that Will writes for the pleasure and celebration of their friendship and love. In contrast, The Dark Lady is a dirty rotten 'ho. One day I will write about her, but not today. For now she represents the tormented, miserable, ugly-as-sin relationships we've all had and, if we're writers, try desperately to use as fodder.

The (metaphorical) Dark Lady gives me grief and makes me write, as the late Aga Shahid Ali said of one of my pieces in workshop, "melodramatic drivel." Indeed. There's nothing less cool than being melodramatic, am I right? But again, The Dark Lady is another story. It is The Friend who intrigues me most in the sonnets. I'm not terribly concerned about his or Will's sexuality right now--maybe another time. But I adore the way in which Will celebrates the gloriousness of friendship and the unabashed love between friends. It's not a thing most of us talk about. You and I do, pea. But I'm not sure that some of my other friends know that I've written poems and stories about them, for them, starring them. It is in that space of creation that I am terribly moved by that indescribable beingness of those I love. Maybe it's because, for me, there's always a hole between the usual ways I show my affection (presents, cakes, kisses, pornographic e-cards, endless links to awesome shit I find on the web, candy, Barbies, homemade crap, etc.) and the whole truth of my love for my friends.

I haven't always thought that art was for filling holes (not in the dirty way, you perv)-- at least for me. I think I've always wanted to yap about the holes because it's obvious by all the books I've published that my vast empty soul is exciting for others. No, really, now I think that the things I make clatter around in that space between the possible expressions of love (greeting cards, phone calls, gifts, etc.) and the impossible expressions of love (sleeping dreams, daydreams, hearing conversations I should have had, imagining times I should have been there and wasn't, or times you were there and I wasn't). In other words, writing fills the space between.

When Will looks at his friend and sees both his beloved pal and himself, I remember a moment when the expressible and inexpressible collided for a minute for me and it was almost like a sonnet. (Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?/Thou art more lovely and more temperate...)
Fall 2000? We were on opposite sides of a screen door and we touched hands through the screen, just a thing, a passing gesture, a hello, a been-missing-you, and whatever couldn't be said about how far away you'd gone and how much I pretended you were right around the bend, was there in that second. You saw me crying and you knew my deal. Since then, I have cried more at the sight of friends and family and less at the loss of a man or a boy.

I'm not sure that this train wreck of thought can go on much longer. This is the way art can happen. It can derail a whole day, make one sappy and impossibly long-winded, but the sonnets? They are to be fondled and licked. You may end up behaving ridiculously self-involved and confusing, but they're worth it.

Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
of Princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
but you shall shine more bright in these contents
then unswept stone, besmeared with sluttish time.
(sonnet 55)

Love to my beloved

Happy Birthday Bra!

Dearest Booby Buddy,

Did you know that 2007 marks the 100th birthday of the brassiere? Thank the lord above that I have a head cold and can justify the healing properties of lurking around online until I find a gem like this. The pic above is from and I wish I could make it bigger (mmmm!) because then you could see that not only does this fine-breasted woman have some sort of candy/sugary delight encasing her nipples, but she is also glistening with moisture on her shoulders and arm. Now, really. Really? Let's sort this out. This is problematic on at least two levels: 1) For the love of the tittie, why does there always need to be wetness involved? In real life (okay, in MY real life) the only time my boobies are wet is when I'm showering or SWEATING. I don't find myself, say, washing the car in my bra or lounging around naked misting myself with the spray bottle we use for the plants. 2) The wet would mix with the sugar and make things really sticky in the breasticle area and that's just yuck.

Also, are those some kind of twizzler things sticking out? The physics of that is intense.

And so, I should perhaps leave you with a bosom buddy photo that got a zillion hits on flickr. In celebration of the brassiere.
Promising more substance when the gunk clears from my head...
Much love for you and your boobies too,

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Deny that this is IT. Come on, try.

via XKCD.

No New News

Cutie pie,
At this point in the winter, most conversations include some chatting about colds, flus, infections, and snot. May this post be no different. Sources of pain from the last three days:
  • Boy: what's wrong? Me: I HAVE A COLD! I JUST TOLD YOU THAT! Why can't you just love me enough to coo over me? Boy: I'm sorry, what did you say? Honey, what's wrong?
  • My job spares no expense for tissues. Oh, no wait, they cost about 27 cents a box. And they feel that way.
  • The sudden sneeze that sprays yellow gunk all down my chin and shirt.
  • Why do my arms feel numb?
  • When I eat, I taste nothing, so instead of just not eating much, I eat spicier things and have no way of knowing if my breath smells horrid (which it absolutely does).
  • I'm so uninteresting; all I want to talk about is my cold.

Having said these things, now I shall share what I should be (and want to be) paying careful attention to, especially in my writing:

  • Boy with new government job will soon be investigating the most serious allegations of child abuse/neglect in the state. He came home bothered and stressed after a day at Children's Hospital being trained on child sexual abuse. Step aside, I have a cold.
  • Someone close to me has recently checked into rehab for a serious addiction and I haven't tried to reach him--not sure what to say or do, but I think of him constantly. I'll get around to reaching out when my head clears up.
  • I know a very low-functioning woman who is trying to beat an addiction to meth while raising 7 children alone AND being treated for serious cervical cancer. I watch her and know that she can't do it. I have almost never felt that about anyone. Okay, no cold touches that one.
  • A pregnant co-worker is miserable to be around (not due to hormones, due to history and personality) and I feel sorry that she seems to have no joy about her pregnancy and, soon, new baby. I feel even sorrier that her misery turns potential support systems away-- including me. I want to sprinkle my used tissues on her desk and see how her OCD craziness rages.
  • One of my best friends is battling a recent MS diagnosis. May I rot in self-indulgent hell.

But really, I have a cold. And it sucks and I want and deserve to sleep through it Also? I just ate a box of Milk Duds. When you can't taste, make sure you eat a ton of useless calories that get stuck in your fillings--that's my motto.



Sunday, January 14, 2007

Foxy-tons Real Estate

Dear 1BR PetsOK Wlkup Cozy GrtRenov NiceViews,

Boy and I will spend today attending Open Houses. Yes, we are considering home ownership. Never mind that my younger brother has owned his house for years now; I am feeling very grown up (and somewhat ambivalent about that fact). With great earning power comes great mortgage responsibility; also the expectation that I know what the hell I'm doing. I have this vision of walking into an Open House, realtors and other more savvy buyers staring me down and scoffing at my fumbling naivete. I imagine real estate lingo mangled in my mouth, as bloodthirsty sellers watch on and gleefully add a bevy of extra fees and costs because hey! How the hell would I know the difference? If you need to find me later, go looking in a *Super Spacious Walk-in Closet!* somewhere. I'll be the one huddled in the corner.

Part of the cozy middle-class American lifestyle is the tendency to take for granted our right to continuous and comfortable shelter. I am guilty of this as much as anyone; however, I have also always been keenly sensitive to how fraught and tenuous living spaces can be. I'm not talking about my misanthropic allergy to roommates, nor my clean-freakishness and its attendant stresses, nor even my deep hatred of moving (and tendency to do so often nonetheless). Rather, I have experienced and seen first-hand how very profoundly an address shapes the very contours of a person's life, liberty, and pursuit of relative emotional stability.

You and I are both now living in temporary situations, frustrating in their own different ways. Because we're both guilt junkies, we're both likely to try and keep our focus on how lucky we are to have the opportunities we currently have; I would suggest, however, that it's also OK to share a moment of fuck-off despair about the hole in your bedroom wall and the lumbering, significant footsteps over my head.

Someday, sooner rather than later, we'll look at properties together for our (charter school? ice-cream shop? crafting store? art gallery?), hand-in-hand and masters of the roofs over our heads. Boys can come too.

Love you miss you,

A pea.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Wherever you go, there you are

Dear melon mojito,

On Monday, I had this idea. A three day weekend approaches, and I am completely exhausted from holiday travel and family wrangling...why not take a quick jaunt to somewhere sunny, just me, low maintenance, last minute...could I do it? I weighed my options. Money in the bank. Boy takes care of dog. Beaches w/in reach, affordable with last minute airline specials. I suddenly fell in love with this idea; I have never done anything quite like it before, not ever.

On Tuesday I gathered information, floated the idea to supportive friends, checked plane fares, investigated whether a current passport is needed for Puerto Rico.

On Wednesday I thought about it some more. Also I ate too much. I had drinks with a friend, played darts. When drunk I rock at darts.

On Thursday I was very sleepy. I busied myself with many very important tasks. I drank wine and ate ice cream that should never have been in my freezer in the first place. I planned a birthday party for someone else. I investigated a strange red spot on my cheek. I avoided a friend who wanted to know how my vacation planning was shaping up.

Friday is well underway. My door is closed, and I'm blogging instead of buying plane tickets. I cannot comprehend why this moment is passing me by, why I have actively engaged and am still more actively avoiding a lovely fantasy that could, at this very moment, become a reality.

Wish I wasn't here,

A pea.

Helping America Stay Obese

Dear Far Far Far Away,
One of us is industrious, a worker, a go-getter (I hope that someone writes that on a performance review), an A+++ student, a Whirling Dervish, a superachiver. The other one of us is molasses in January, one who dusts around the knick-knacks, the one who crosses her fingers for bomb threats so she doesn't have to go to work. For those who are troubled by their motivation to work, exercise, and be sociable, I'll offer some low-energy alternative activities. It is, after all, winter, when many mammals are hibernating; shouldn't we go back to our primal roots?
  • Preferably in a reclining position, look outside and wait for snow. It's bound to happen at some point. Even Arizona gets snow every few years.
  • While waiting for snow, plan what you'll do when your city is shut down for snow removal and you can't go to work.
  • Paint your nails and then recline until they are completely dry. The hardening process of most nail lacquers is several hours. Also, you can possibly type anything or use the phone unless your nails look fancy.
  • Play "annoy the dog." Wherever the dog is sleeping kick him/her out of his/her spot and take a nap. When you wake up, repeat the process.
  • Watch the stories on the change. You'll have to hit refresh, but it's worth it.
  • Annoy your friends who are working. There are two sure-fire ways to do this: 1) send free e-cards celebrating the closest holiday, especially if the holiday is completely irrelevant to your friend (other excellent ideas are to send sympathy cards for the loss of their virginity, congratulations cards for being a douchebag with a job, etc.) 2) go e-shopping for them and collect eight million links for things you'd buy for them if you only had the money. P.S. Costco sells caskets. Not a joke-- look it up.
  • Put the dirty dishes into neat little piles. Don't wash them, just make them look spiffier.
  • Diagnose everyone you don't like with a mental illness. (use the internet to identify symptoms, duh)

I sure do hope that for those who aren't inclined to be busy beavers (BEAVER FEVER!) there may be some ideas for what they should do once they've accomplished the above list. Good luck watching for snow...

miss you,

your moving-so-fast-you-can't-even-see-me pea

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Cautionary Tale

My sweet,
Say you're a guy who stalks wild, fierce animals for a living (or rather, points pasty midwesterners in a general direction with some guns and a few pointers). Say you're a guy who just got married and has a devoted, gentle, nurturing wife at home who has your most crucial concerns at heart. Say she asks one day, "Hey, when you gut those wild beasts out, don't your hands get slippery?" and you say "Duh," and she says, "Doesn't your wedding band kind of, you know, slide around?" and you say "Dude, no way. It's totally and completely secure."

Should I finish or has the punch line made itself obvious? Say you're a guy who's gutting a ginormous elk when you realize, "Crap! My wife! She was right! This proves that she is, in fact, always right! Also, shit! Where the hell is the ring?." So you do what any completely screwed husband does and you dig around in the guts, yielding no results. You do it again. Nothing. You head back to camp and you're feeling (can I guess here?) like a giant asshole or else like you're a pretty funny(screwed) guy with a helluva campfire story.

But you're stand-up, so you go out the next day and you do, indeed, sort through the remaining elk parts that haven't been eaten by coyotes only to realize that to recover the ring would mean sorting through coyote crap for miles and miles. At that point, you call off the search and your tail between your legs, you admit that you were wrong and she was right.

The moral: When it comes to matters of bloody internal organs and the hazards therein, wives probably know best (what with all those periods and mysterious woman organs).

Confidential to the ring-loser: The next time I see you there had better be a ring on that finger. And perhaps a new piece of jewelry for your wife. (I've got your back, woman).

Because I know you haven't heard that one,
Your hopped up on dark chocolate (with orange infusion) pea.

p.s. much love to your blustery city from mine

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Marrying our Fathers

Late Night Pea,

The Ex sent me his wedding photos tonight. It was all tolerable-- like seing an old friend in pictures, until I saw his hand with the ring on it. It's the littlest things that bite. And yet, nothing is sexier on my Boy than his left hand with its ring. I remember touching my father's ring while holding his scratchy hand and somehow, through years of time with him and exposure to "traditional" (read: straight, American, 20th Century, etc.) marriage symbols, I have equated that ring with manliness. But more than manliness-- a kind of strength and fortitude that goes beyond any reasonable expectations a child (or a woman) should have for a father (or a husband). And yet. We've been through this before: invincible fathers, fearless caretakers, fierce daughter-protectors, and on and on. When you look down at the hand of the one you love and there is a shadow of your father's hand (especially if he is Super Dad): wow. So seeing that ring on Ex reminded me that he could not, would not be that man for me a mere two years ago. And yet, I have so much now. Does any of this resonate with you? Or is there something else that your Boy has/does that echoes with your own dad?

Half asleep with head wide awake,
your pea

Saturday, January 6, 2007

12 Steps/Napping Rehab?

Dear cozy pea,

Waking and dozing and waking and dozing in an RV is a fine way to start the day. A fine way to conclude an afternoon? Sacking out on the futon with a dog and a little snow coming down outside.

Would that this weekend behavior be allowable in my world! Somewhere between the manic/psychotic year or two in mid-grad school and now (husband aboard, gray hairs squawking away) I came down with the sleeping sickness which has as a sub-diagnosis: the tv sickness. Seriously no amount of meds and/or coffee has cured me. I can't sleep enough. Everything else can wait (including a shitload of serious academic work). I thought I'd die yesterday if I didn't nap through part of Little Miss Sunshine. Fortunately, I woke for the talent competition scene with Greg Kinnear heroically shaking his booty for love of his child. What a message; remind me that maybe the way to save my future children from their mother's neuroses is some serious rump-shaking. If I can get off the couch.

It comes down to this: most people don't have the time to nap. How the hell do I get to be so indulgent (right. it's the schedule based on self-motivation. got it.)? And really, as I've said in the past many times, there are very few real jobs that would work for me and my napping schedule, and that ain't a joke. I've tried to pathologize this need to no avail. Last year, after a million tests and questionnaires to clear up my sleepiness and pain, I was told I'm depressed (still. again. forever and ever, amen.) DUH! But for the love of all things alert and functioning, couldn't there be something else outside of depression? And so the good doctor upped the dose of my SSRI and here I am, still napping and now taking a multiple reuptake inhibitor. Yawn. The story of my life (and of 50% of the people I know) = doc gives new meds, says come back in 6 months, wonders why things aren't working, ups dose, says come back in 6 months, start over.

All of this is to say that I have decided to embrace my nappiness this fine new year. And also I want to remind you of napping in that giant bed with softy pillows and cool comforter where we napped away for days and days while NYC barked outside the window. Mornings of coffee and walking and talking followed by afternoons snoozing in the hot breath of summer. Let's find some cute dresses and try again this summer.

your snuggle-bunny

Sunny side up

Dear stick shift,

I never like watching your car disappear. Here's what you've missed so far:
  • Omelettes and plate-sized pancakes
  • City boy driving a car
  • City boy shooting a gun (for the first time!)
  • Dad's storage unit, wherein many forgotten treasures were rediscovered and transferred to bulging luggage
  • More Veronica Mars episodes
  • Chili on the stove
  • Pea blogging on couch while boy looks on and pouts

Will keep you posted as each new sensational event unfolds. Miss you like crazy.

A pea.

Friday, January 5, 2007


Dear dipped in gravy,
It needs to be said: what will I do when you are, once, again, so far away?
The drumstick and the thigh

Split Pea Blogging

Dear belle of the ball,

Everything I have is covered in your dog's hair. Your dog and I have much in common. Last night when BOY and BOY were bonding over kelp and flytraps and miniature things once again paraded lovingly into public view, I rejoiced at stolen moments and mutual confessions of delinquent friendship maintenance. My family folds you in with cake and TV and non-contact communion and why not? 3 on the truck seat is better than 2, though dads are not peas per se.

Truly there aren't enough sharpies in the world.

I forgot to notice whether you like wings or thighs, I was so hungry. I suspect, however, that you (like me) use your spoon to make a wee dimple in your mashes for gravy, just like me, and that this says much about us and how we fill voids. The forthcoming DSM V will tell us much about this no doubt.


A pea.

Labia Nation

Dear curly fry with horsey sauce,
This is my first post to you, nay, to the ENTIRE UNIVERSE! Hello, universe! Today was an excellent day. So excellent that the lowlight of the day was Arby's at 10 am. That means the fun got real big as we celebrated the new year like rockstars in the middle of Wherethefuck, Utah. Why I love today:

  • Retractable Sharpies a-go-go.
  • Kentucky-Fucking-Fried-Chicken and Arby's in ONE DAY.
  • A certain lovable someone's plankton in a bottle.
  • I know a secret about someone's wedding dress. It's juicy, folks. And it involves underwear as overwear.
  • Son of a gun, there's a blog in the house.
  • My jury's still out on Dane Cook, but it was a pleasure to watch him rhapsodize about droopy labia with a dad in the room.

Be well, my savory, salty friend. May your labia be short and sweet.

Until soon and a bag of love,

A pea.