Wednesday, December 29, 2004

I flew home last night, over a country full of neighborhoods twinkling like low-flying galaxies from a million million Christmas lights.

Dear Seattle,

I missed you.


Dear All of the Nice Strangers I Met This Week,

It was so nice to meet you all. I really enjoyed making fun of the suburbs/rolling our eyes/throwing snowballs/being glad to go home/talking about cell phones with you. I hope that all of you (and especially the nice couple that offered me a ride home) have a fantastic New Year.


Monday, December 27, 2004

The museum was closed, so we went to the mall.

Thing number 1,943,003 that I Do Not Do Well: Ski. Actually, that's a lie. I could ski just fine, it was the stopping part that I totally failed at. And hey, that's a lie too. I stopped perfectly well once I hit the ground.

Home, home, home tomorrow. Oh how I love going home.

Friday, December 24, 2004

This morning I was in the kitchen putting together a stew for dinner. My youngest brother clomped downstairs and camped out next to the sink, asking, "Are you sure you know how to cook?" Eventually I told him that, you know, I live by myself, so of course I know how to cook. That doesn't make any sense, but he bought it anyway. He certainly inhaled the food fast enough come dinnertime.

I spent most of the day going through boxes that mainly house my porcelain doll collection. It's been wrapped up for the past 10 years, so I felt that the only polite thing would be to send the ones I didn't want to keep for future generations of samantha to other little girls who wanted them. Along the way, I came across a whole box full of stuffed monkeys, a collection of troll dolls, and the stuffed koala my grandfather had in the hospital before he died.
Later, as my brothers bickered and wrestled next to me, I watched video tapes of Christmases past. I find myself haunted by ghosts I didn't know were waiting behind me, but I'm glad that I came.

Now the presents are out and the stockings are filled, and I'm keeping an ear out for the boys, to make sure they're actually asleep and aren't going to sneak down and see the things that should wait until morning.

Merry Christmas, all of you! I love you all.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

When I handed the security check lady at SeaTac my driver's license, she looked up at me and said, "Samantha? You've been chosen!" and she smiled at me like I'd won something on a game show, rather than the chance to be felt up by a strange woman in the name of national security. Every time her wand passed over the rivets on my jeans, it beeped, and she would touch them and say, "Rivets," which actually sounded like "Ribbit."

The man sitting next to me at the terminal, waiting for my first flight, had been rude to everyone that had approached. He'd also been glancing sideways at the magazine I was reading, a science one (because, you know, I'm a big dork), and when I came to an article about weblogs he made a blustery noise and pointed at the page. "These...weblogs. I don't really get it. What do you think? Do you know anyone who writes in one?"
I had to laugh a little bit, because by now I know very few people who don't. "Yeah, in fact, I do."
"What do they write about?"
"Oh, they write about all sorts of things. Politics. Computers. Porn. Themselves. Everyone else."
"Do they enjoy it?"
"I think they do."
"Do people read what they write?"
"What about you?"
"Sure, I read what they write."
"No, that's not what I meant. Do you write in one."
"What do you write about?"
This gives me pause. Do I give him the simple answer, or the complicated one? I've spent most of the last week by myself, pacing, waiting for things to happen. I'm impatient and, admittedly, a little grumpy. "I write about, um, memory."
"I don't understand."
This doesn't surprise me. "Well. You know how, when you have a memory, it's really just a series of images that are vague, with a couple of points sticking out for reference? And then, when you try to put your memory in words, to tell it to someone, it comes out a little different than how you thought it looked in your head? What I do is, I try and find a way to make the words fit. I try to bring my life into focus. I bite my fingernails and try to tell people the contours of the jagged edges. You know. Like that."
He's nodding, and as soon as I trail off, he harrumphs again and moves onto someone else. I'm glad.

At the end of my flight, the pilot says, "Thank you for flying with us. We need your business. I mean, we enjoy your business."

I'm homesick. I enjoy traveling a lot, but there's not a whole lot happening and I'm so bored I might die. I'd love something new and enlightening to occur, but there's really just a bunch of bickering. I miss Seattle, and my quiet.

Next year's perihelion, the yearly near-point to the sun, is happening on New Year's day. On January 1st, 2005 the sun will be 7% brighter than any other time of the year. It hasn't happened on January 1st in a couple centuries. You can laugh at me, but I have to see this as an omen.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

When I was a kid I collected rocks. My favorites were always the ones that looked like plain old rocks, until you tilted them just right in the lights and could see, running along the sides in streams and pools, shimmers and colors. It was like opening a door to a room you know and finding something completely different on the other side.

These days, that's how I feel about flying across the country.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Dear Woman at the Leather Store,

I appreciate the fact that you exchanged my jacket with no fuss at all, which meant that I was actually downtown for about 10 minutes. That was great. And hey, thanks for remembering me too. It's always nice to be remembered. My next pair of leather pants is totally coming from you.
Also, thanks for the hug. I really like hugs.


Sunday, December 19, 2004

I'll be leaving on Wednesday for North Carolina, a few days out of town that I sorely need but still am not looking too forward to. I'm excited about the traveling, about spending time in airports, about interacting with people on a completely short-term basis. I like being a traveler, rather than just plain old samantha.
It does feel a little bit odd to be going to the east coast but not to Florida. A little disorienting. Posting, I imagine, will be sporadic and filled with my brothers. Don't say I didn't warn you.

I've been laid up for the past day and a half with a wrenching headache and my usual thick winter cough. These are both things that I plan to go to the doctor about in January, when life has gone back to being day-to-day and relatively solid. The holidays make things uneven. I haven't been to a doctor in ages, and they always make me nervous.
Eric will be back in town for New Years, for celebrating with Steph and Ryan. Is anyone else going to be in town? Do you want to participate in the drunkenness and debauchery? We love drunkenness and debauchery.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Downtown again today, wanting to give everyone whole bouquets of lucky three-leafed clovers.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

My, word travels fast. Thanks for all the emails and phone would think something tragic had happened. I really, really did cut off all my hair tonight. I hadn't planned on even noting it here, not to mention taking pictures, and yet here I am doing both of those very things.
It's blurry, but that's because I suck at taking pictures of myself. It's somehow less dramatic and punk rock as far as my camera is concerned, but you get the idea. The sudden lightness of my head is astonishing, and I predict that I'll be mostly bald come summertime.

For comparison? Jon has pictures from last night.
His imagination was oversized; if he could wear it on the outside of his body, he would need a size larger than his shoes. "They don't make boxes to fit ideas that big," I told him, but he didn't care. "Then the world will be my box," he answered, and walked out of the room. I watched him walk, admiring his feet and the way they gripped the earth with sureness, as though he knew without thinking that it would continue to hold him up. I was the one that was afraid of sinking into it like warm taffy. He took his stride for granted.

Happy birthday, Alex!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

When I walked into my apartment after work I was assaulted by a wave of cookie smell so thick I almost felt violated. It smelled like I imagine the inside of the witch's cottage from Hansel and Gretel would have smelled--you know, when it didn't smell like roasting children. (Actually, it smelled like the pound of butter that went into Steph's cookies.)

Oh, the baking that went on here last night. Steph made a million butter cookies, and I made oatmeal raisin cookies, gingerbread moose, and fudge. We managed to manufacture Christmas, and my hands smelled like molasses all day long.

Now, of course, my kitchen is still a mess. But it smells awful good in here!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

When I wake up in the middle of the night during the holidays, I lie in my bed with my eyes half closed and make sure the room is free of Rudolph. There are a lot of childhood fears that I've since managed to overcome, but that's not always one of them.

The winter that I was six was when the whole thing started. It was getting close to Christmas; the palm trees were all decorated and the little village of wooden houses that my grandfather had just finished building were carefully set up at the base of the Christmas tree. I woke up late one night--I was always waking up in the night because I was convinced that arsonists were lurking around, ready to burn down our trailer--and glanced at the window. Looking back at me was a giant reindeer with a glowing red nose. I knew that he was Rudolph because of the nose, but I couldn't figure out why he was so huge and standing at my window. Totally stricken with terror, I watched as he jumped through the window and ran out the open door through the hallway.

My mom, of course, didn't believe that it had happened. The glass in the window was intact in a way that it wouldn't have been if an enormous creature had recently jumped through it, and there were no hoofprints in the carpet. But I knew what I had seen.

I don't think I actually believe that it happened anymore. Most days, I know that I was dreaming, although just in case I've slept with both curtains and bedroom door shut. It's late at night that the scene returns to me, and I go back to being a little bit scared.

(PS, pictures of the 2nd annual Seattle Webloggers White Elephant Christmas party are here, courtesy of The Dayments.)

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Thing number 1,736 that I love about Seattle:

It's possible to go from one party, full of attractive people with accents and sugar cookie making (confidental to John: is it even legal to have that many attractive people with cool accents in one house?), to another party, where you don't expect to know anyone, and realize that you have an acquaintance in common with most of the room.

This is doubly cool if you're going to both parties with Cat, who knows everyone in the city.

Seattle is such a small town.

(The bonus here is that everyone at both parties will almost inevitably be really, really nice and funny and smart. Hugs from random strangers are great. One person even asked for a bite of my candy cane.)

Saturday, December 11, 2004

I drove home last night through the dark and rain-soaked streets of my city. Riding shotgun was a series of small sparkly turtles collectively named Eustace and a baby spider plant named Eloise. Folks were talking on the radio, and my car's defroster spontaneously decided to start working again.
Normally, I hate driving. Last night, peeking at windows and smiling at empty storefronts, I didn't mind it so much.

Today I braved the Christmas shopping frenzy to go purchase things for my brothers. Most of the people downtown were wearing some amount of red in their ensemble. Today's sky is so blue it looks fake, the way it only can be in Seattle and other places where blue sky in winter is rare.

Dear samantha,
Please stop buying sandals in winter. You will be tempted to wear them, and your toes will freeze off.


Wednesday, December 08, 2004

I know that somewhere, we are all reflections of the dead man in the street.

I was walking down 4th in Belltown last night, on my way to hang out with the photographers, when I came across an intersection crammed full of flashing lights. I had been walking slowly, crouched against the wind, thinking about phone calls made and not made, received and not received, and not paying a bit of attention to the city around me. I've been up and down the last few days, tired and sometimes a little sad. (I guess it's time that I admitted to you, Internet, that I'm a single girl again, having recently selfishly broken up with a perfectly nice boy.) Just as I noticed the flashing lights and looked up, I stepped past a parking attendant talking to an onlooker. He was saying, " jumped the curb and hit him. Ran into that cement wall. He's still under there."
I stopped walking, and with a faint "Oh, no!" that I didn't even realize I was uttering until it came out, looked across the street. Sure enough, there was a cab on the sidewalk with a crumpled front end and, I could see through the deepening shadows, a man-shaped figure laying underneath. He didn't seem to be moving, and no one appeared to be in a hurry to help him up. There was a crowd milling around, shuffling their feet, flexing their fingers against the cold, and storing up the details to bring home to their families. I did not want to be one of those people, didn't want to know what angle his arms had landed at and what shape the puddle of blood must have been making, and so I started walking again.
Before I had even finished crossing the street, I was annoyed with those people and how they were probably going to walk away from the scene feeling better about themselves because it wasn't them under that cab. How terrible, I felt, how darkly unpleasant.
But a few steps down the block my hat blew off, and in grabbing at it I realized that, right there, I had become one of those people, feeling better about myself because I'd decided that I wouldn't be just like them. I felt that there wasn't any way to stop being those people, because that's how people are.
I'm sorry, everyone, for so often being that sort of folk. I try not to gawk at your tragedies, but now and then my jaw falls open without my noticing it.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Dear everyone,

Hello! Winter is officially here, bringing along with it cold that wants to break off my ears like the poorly attached handles of old coffee cups. I'm feeling the cold less this year--or maybe it's feeling me less. Regardless, I've only recently noticed that it's now December and I'm always shivering. It seems sudden.
I guess you should know that today is this website's first birthday. It marks a whole year of relentless navel gazing, a year of facing two mirrors at each other and trying to make sense of the space in between. A whole year of looking for the bottom and finding only shallows.
I'd like to tell you that, after a year, I've reached conclusions that would let me shut down this vanity project. But that hasn't happened. What has happened is that, in the month that I've been tracking statistics, traffic to this website has double. What is that all about? Who are you people? I find it difficult to believe that a whole bunch of people spend any time at all watching me wiggle my own toes.
That said, I have come to a lot of conclusions lately. I've been trying to reinhabit my own head, to remove television and other distractions, to devolve. I've been spending nights and days back in my books, where I belong--chewing on mouthfuls of words, reading Raymond Carver poetry out loud to myself, squeezing myself inbetween lines and lines of hundred-year-old sentences and sleeping there curled up like a child. I find myself peaceful, and able to blush again.
I find myself.
I have decided to buy myself Nan Goldin's The Ballad of Sexual Dependancy for Christmas, her photo collection that I've been trying to convince myself to buy since I came across her work in 1999. It's all that I want for Christmas. I am contented these days in a way that surely won't last, but which I intend to enjoy fully while it's here. I am--for once--satisfied.
Things, you know, they're going to get pretty crazy for a few weeks. We'll all be running around and being festive, but part of this recent quiet is such an understanding of how important you all are to the good running of my life. Your evenings out and evenings in, your jokes, and your willingness to listen to me are the sparks that light up the darkness. So during this time for parties, you ought to know that I'm thinking about you.


Sunday, December 05, 2004

I was on the bus this afternoon, on my way downtown to see a movie. It feels a little funny to be doing things like that by myself, but since that's a situation entirely of my own making, it's something that I'll be getting used to. I was windblown and slightly curly-haired from all the moisture in the air, in grey with secret purple and green eyeshadow. (The movie that I was on the way to see was Closer, which suited my mood exactly and is extra-recommended if you are also in hidden purples and green eyeshadow.)
The casual observer, on the off chance that anyone was observing, would probably have believed that I was actually reading my Tolstoy. But I wasn't. I was staring idly out the window, thinking about how--as is usually the case--things in the past few weeks have gone in every direction except the ones I'd planned for. Recent interludes have left their marks and certain questions remain tingling in my fingertips until they can be answered. (Yes, Internet, I'm hiding things from you. Certain things belong between a girl and her typewriter, or at least a girl and her girlfriends over coffee.)
But the little girl sitting next to me was not a casual observer. She knew that although poor Ivan Ilytch was to be dying soon, I wasn't particularly interested. She looked up at me and said, "I like to bite my fingernails. What's your name?"
"Samantha's my name," I told her, "and I also like to bite my fingernails. What's your name?"
"Sarah. Is that a good book?"
"It is."
"Then why weren't you reading it?"
"Because I was thinking."
"Oh. I was thinking too."
"What were you thinking about?"
"Ponies." It's just at this interesting juncture that her mother rings the bell for the bus to stop, gathers their things together, and shuffles the girl out the door. I'd like to call after her and ask what color the pony was that she was thinking about, but before I can decide to do anything, the bus pulls away.
And now, you know, I'm thinking about ponies too.

This year's postmodern Christmas tree has officially been constructed. This year, it's made from a chair, the cushion for my porch chair, a copy of "The Age of innocence," my cane, and a stack of old middle school textbooks.
It's decorated with all of the ornaments I've made/been given my whole life, lights, and gasparilla beads.
Music, as per tradition, was The Arrogant Worms album "Christmas Turkey."

(A brief history for those of you not in the know: two Christmases ago I was in my first apartment and desperately wanted a Christmas tree, but couldn't really afford one. Frustrated and depressed, I decided that the thing to do was make one out of things we had lying around the house. My roommates at the time joined in, and we ended up with a pretty splendid tree. At that point, I decided that real trees are for families, and so until I have one I'll just make my own out of whatever I have.)

Saturday, December 04, 2004

I came home late last night from Cat's fondue party with a bag full of gingerbread men and a smile on my face. As I've always suspected, she throws a fabulous party.
Thanks for letting me join in the festivities.

Friday, December 03, 2004

I firmly believe (that's how I believe most things) that lawsuits are usually frivolous, a big waste of time and money.
But I went to high school with this girl, and we were friends, and I hope she wins.
Good luck, Lai. We're all still pulling for you.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

There was a story about an apple that I would tell myself whenever I was a sad teenager. (Ok, I was pretty much always a sad teenager, but fourteen-sixteen seemed to have been the worst years of the bunch, and that's when this happens.) The story was about an apple who was tired of living on his tree branch. So one day this bird lands on the apple's branch, and the apple starts asking it questions about being free and able to go wherever it wants.
The bird admits, at this point, that being free is pretty nice, but he doesn't fail to point out that there's a lot of responsibility that goes along with it. He then leaves the apple alone with its thoughts. The apple thinks and thinks. And eventually, it starts to swing itself, trying to build up momentum enough to release itself from the branch.
The point of this story about the story is that it was always possible to change the ending. If I wanted to, I could let the apple soar free into sunsets, never to be seen from again. The bird would always wonder what happened to that talking apple. Or I could make it smash onto the pavement below, juices mingling with the macadam, crushed. The bird would come back and peck at the broken remains.
And even today I'm not sure which ending I like better.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

There are days when I am a party hat, a bright pink spotted one with shiny streamers that spout out from the top and fall lightly to brush against your cheek. The sort of streamers that you only seem to be able to see from the corner of your eye unless you take them in hand and show them manually to yourself.
Those days, I'm filled with boxes and boxes worth of streamers and pinatas and watercolor paints and candy. I'm only five years old then, but I want to staple your polaroid inside my skull, and I want to bite your veins and slip myself inside them.
Because then sometimes, in a pausing like the blank space in between cd changes, I'm not a party hat anymore. And I'm not five. Instead, I might be something growly that lives in the back of your closet, and no matter how fast I walk away I keep following myself and stepping on the backs of my own heels.
And it's those days that I'm filled with filing cabinets stuffed with spelling tests and electric bills.
A few days later, when I'm five again, I regret the red pen marks I made all over your paper on bees. And I'm sorry about all the shoes I threw at you when you tried to open the wardrobe door.
But the thing about party hats and growly monsters is that they are a team, and they work together. Without a growly monster behind it, a party hat's really just a paper cone. And that same growly monster, without a party hat, isn't able to exercise the sort of restraint that keeps it crouching in doorways. So if you're looking for one of them, you'll just have to accept the fact that the other one is always there, waiting for its page to turn.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Remember how I didn't go back to Florida for Thanksgiving because I was unprepared to deal with all the crazy changes that my fairly sedate and pleasant life in Seattle has made me intolerant of? Right. Well, I just got off the phone with my stepmother for the Florida Thanksgiving Recap, and boy howdy was that ever a good decision.
I have eight female cousins, ranging in age from 18 to 9. And the bulk of this conversation involved my stepmother saying things like, "You know how [one cousin] was always so skinny and thin? Well, she's hit puberty, and now she has breasts bigger than your head!" And, "[My aunt] had to make [this other cousin] move out, because she was behaving so badly and smoking and sleeping with skeezy guys, and..." "Behaving just like her mother?" "Well, yeah..."

I was so concerned about the adults growing up that I forgot about the kids, and it's really very unfair that all this is happening on both sides. The rest of the world can grow up, but please, leave my family alone.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

It's time for the Thanksgiving weekend recap, so grab some snacks and settle in, 'cause it's going to be a long one.
The very first thing you all should know is that the turkey? It turned out great. Cooked away nicely in its little bag and yielded enough food for 11 folks, along with enough leftovers to keep drunken Steph and me picking at it for any number of hours later.

My lovely assistant Eric showed up Thursday morning, and we cooked and cooked like nobody's business. I assume that everyone else was doing the same, and the final menu ended up as:
Us: Turkey, stuffing (both with and without yucky things like celery), mashed potatoes, cheddar-sage biscuits, and a sweet potato-apple bake that was mediocre.
Tara: Superfantastic rice pilaf, which I want the recipe for right now.
Jeff: Cranberry sauce.
Kathleen: Cranberry-orange relish.
Lee: Braised sweet potatoes.
Oscar: Pumpkin pie.
Steph and Ryan (I don't know quite who made what): Green bean casserole and pineapple bread pudding.
And so, so much alcohol. Everyone who has come over to my house in the last couple of months, looked in the fridge, and gone "wow, samantha, that's a lot of beer" can now be silenced because it's gone. All of it. And so are the five bottles of wine that we killed.
At one point people just sort of suddenly started going home, and Steph and Ryan and Eric and Jeff and I were left to do the burden of the drinking and make the handturkeys. The usual hilarity ensued and altogether it ended up as a splendid day. With a dog. Did I mention that Oscar and Lee brought their dog? Because they love me and want me to be happy? Well, they did, and she was perfectly behaved even with all the turkey floating over her head.
Final head count? 12, including the dog.

Eric was only in town Thursday morning through last night, and he's never been to Seattle, so we had to sightsee like it was going out of style. And did we ever.

The last few times I've taken people down to the market, nothing's happened. It's ended up being me pointing and saying things like "Usually, they'd throw fish over there." So I was pretty pleased that just as we walked up this lady asked to take a picture with the fish guy, and he picked up this fish and made her hold it.

We went to most of the usual places, and I even managed to put us on a bus going the opposite direction I wanted to be going in, so Eric got a little tour of some plain old neighborhoods without any public art at all. It was a splendid time, and he was a great houseguest (and, you know, incredibly hot).

In the end, I can honestly tell you all that this whole weekend has hit the top of the charts both for Thanksgivings and weekends in general. It surpassed my expectations and was exactly what I needed. I have the greatest friends, and I'm even more thankful for you all now than I was before the holiday. I am a lucky, lucky girl.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

An email from my uncle this morning says "Remember, it's the people, not the meal, that make a feast." and I'm a stupid girl because I keep forgetting that part.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! You are what I am most thankful for.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Sometime in the next 24 hours or so I have to turn into one of those women who can pull together a Thanksgiving celebration for 11 people. Today's sake with lunch certainly helped on the confidence side, but it really is a good thing I'm not doing the whole shebang or I might just have to give up and go to the Bahamas.
I promise to be a charming hostess, but I do not promise not to do something like spill flour all over myself or undercook the turkey. I also do not promise not to propose a game of Twister to help us all digest.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

I have to admit that I'm a little blue today, a little haunted by the ghosts of Thanksgivings past. I'm glad that I didn't go back to Florida, didn't have to sit around with a bunch of strangers where my family used to be. I don't know most of those people anymore.
I happened to grow up with my whole family living in the same town. They were young and stupid but fun and undeniably alive, and I was overly grown up enough to watch them and feel on something close to level ground. But through the years sobriety and second marriages have happened. Dropping out of school and suicide attempts have happened. I'm still young, but they aren't anymore, and things change so fast the second you turn your back.
It's a good thing I'm not going back, because I would be unable to watch quietly while they make a mess of things.

So thanks to everyone who is coming over to celebrate on Thursday. There have been lots of things happening lately, lots of improvements and lots of milestones reached. You have all of you helped me, during my time in Seattle, in ways that I don't think I can even articulate, let alone properly thank you for. I'll do my best not to ruin the turkey.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

We took all the stuff, but we left the spiders behind.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

I apologize to everyone that I basely ignored last night, but I was much, much too intent on eating Annabel's hands and cheeks to pay attention to anything else. Thanks, Dylan, for lending me your baby.

When I was in kindergarten and first grade, I attended a private school that did not have a bus system. My mom drove me to school every morning, and she and I would turn the radio up to eleven and dance like fools in the car on the way there. One of the songs that came on occasionally was this goofy ditty about a guy with a moose in his house. We loved it. Years have gone by since then, and although neither one of us has ever met anyone else who knows the song, we have always remembered it. It's one of our little jokes, and she sends me postcards with moose on them and occasionally brings me a stuffed moose. We were talking about it on the phone today, and she went and found the lyrics for me. So if any of you remember the song "Moose in My House" by Big Head Todd And The Monsters, and you want the lyrics, I'll send 'em.

Thanksgiving is coming up, and if I get any more excited I might injure myself. I've never before had so much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Another issue I secretly have on elevators is that I get a little uncomfortable when people do not exit in the order in which they came on. If you and I are both going to the same floor, and you enter the elevator first, I'd prefer it if you walked out before me.
Just so you know, in case we're ever on an elevator together.

Monday, November 15, 2004

One of my coworkers stopped by my desk today to fret about how she came across a picture of her new boyfriend's last girlfriend, and the girl was so unattractive, and, oh my god, what if she's that unattractive too?
And I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake her and tell her that conversations like that were the reason girls are seen as so insecure, and she should pull herself together for the good of our entire sex, and of course she's totally adorable.
But I couldn't. Because I do my best to avoid pictures of the same girls for the same reason.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Dear Uncle Al,

I talked to my mom last night, and grandma today, and the general consensus seems to be that you won't be waking up from this sleep you've fallen into. I've been thinking about this since yesterday, searching through all of my personal nooks and crannies, and I can't find a single solid memory of you. And so I don't know how I'm supposed to feel.
You always seemed to be the family scapegrace, my mother's distant older half-brother who did shameful things. Everytime I find you in my head, it's always a conversation with grandma: "Allan dropped a tree branch on his head." "Allan's daughter is in trouble with the law." "Allan is getting another divorce." You were rarely seen during my memory-making years, although your children were around often.
Grandma sounded more worn out than I've ever heard her sound this morning. If I were to tell the awful truth, Uncle Al, it would be that I'm more concerned about how this will effect her than I am about you. Because I don't know you. But you're my uncle, my relative by blood, and there's only three of us in the world that can call you that. And I sincerely hope that you do wake up, for the sake of our family, so that my grandmother won't lose her oldest child and only son, and so that your children won't lose their father and their children their grandfather. Because you made your world, and you deserve to look at it for longer than this.
Good luck.


Saturday, November 13, 2004

I was downtown today, doing a little shopping in celebration of my official new promotion and in anticipation of the growing Thanksgiving ho down. Exiting Bed Bath & Beyond, my last stop, I paused to shift my bags and overheard the woman on the payphone just inside the doors say, "So, what, one of these days you're going to shit your pants and then come over to kill me?"
I feel a wee bit bad that the large portion of people who find this website do so by searching for things like "kissing lessons" and "lessons in making out(kissing)" and I don't have anything even remotely like that. So I hereby provide you with this little list that I snipped out of an early 1990's teen magazine article entitled "How to Kiss: the Basics."
1. Lean in real close.
2. Put your mouth on the other person's.
3. Open your lips.
4. Stick out your tongue.
5. Move it around.
6. Repeat.

I hope this helps. Good luck!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The combination of actually having a workload and post-election ennui has exhausted me, and I find myself spacing out and starting at people, focusing in on them. I feel guilty when I catch myself doing it, smiling vacantly at the old man on the bus and his interaction with the driver or watching a man on the street smoothing his daughter's hair.
It's always been the details that calm me down and smooth me out.

Monday, November 08, 2004

I bought an iron on Sunday, the first iron I've ever owned myself, and it's time that I admit to the world that I've never, ever ironed anything before. Seriously. We had an ironing board (and, I imagine, an iron) in our St. Augustine house, but no one ever used it so I made it into a Christmas tree.
So tonight, I broke out my new iron because I have this great cream cotton skirt that wrinkles whenever you look at it. This conversation happened:

"Oh look! It's got a dial thingie!"
"That's how you turn it on..."
"How do I put water in it?"
"Lay it down. No, on its side. No, not that side, so it's standing up. See that hole on the top? No, not the handle. Not the dial. On the front? There. You really haven't ever ironed before, have you?"

And oh, my friends, it steams and makes scary noises and makes my clothes flat! And that's so much cooler than I thought it would be.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Growing up, Thanksgiving was a huge event, the one time of year my family stopped being crazy and owned up to the fact that they really did love each other. My four aunts and uncles, their spouses, ex-spouses, children, and stepchildren would gather in one house along with whatever stray friends without local families they could trick into coming. It was always a holiday I could get behind, because no one was giving or taking anything, or being greedy. They were just there, enjoying one another's company.

So anyway, this year I'm hosting. Eric is coming up from California for a visit, and I find the idea of a Seattle Thanksgiving at least as delightful as a Florida one. I've sent out an evite, and if you didn't get it, chances are I thought you were going out of town. If you'd like to join in, just let me know.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Most of you missed Aleksandra's show last night, and shame on you for that. (Hooray, on the other hand, for Steph and Ryan, who were total troopers and came all the way to South Seattle for the festivities and the beer.)

Vascular Symphony used to play this all-ages club in Lakeland that reminded me a lot of where we went last night. A boy with a guitar wore a cape and a ski mask for some reason that I can't fathom, since he took off the mask after the first song. He did goofy jumping around with a guitar things, like you do, and then it was time for Scarlet Room and my rockstar friend Aleksandra.

They were, fortunately, so much better than the first band. Thanks for inviting us, A!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

I'll be spending Christmas this year in North Carolina with my brothers, and I'm beginning to seriously ponder what I'll be giving them. I've always been a big pain of a sister, handing out educational puzzles instead of toys and books instead of video games. But I'm really in earnest this year because I think that now more than ever they need someone who will provide them with ideas that will be censored and smashed to pieces by the new administration.
I'm especially concerned about the oldest, who is almost 13 and a lot like I was at that age: a little too smart, a little too quiet, and a little too prone to being teased and beaten up. I've failed them as a big sister in many respects but I refuse to let them be trampled under a doctrine of fear, hate, and ignorance if I can help it.
So how young is too young for a little Harold and Maude? 'Cause no matter what anyone else says, I still believe that there's a million ways to be, and I think he does too.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Dear America,

I'm not going to pretend that I'm not disappointed with you. I think that what has just happened is short sighted and misguided. But I kinda had a feeling you'd go and do something like this, so I've been shoring up my optimism since last night. And I'm ready to up again and take another.
We do, after all, have a history in this country of making really huge mistakes and then making a big show of fixing them later. Remember slavery? And how you didn't want women to vote? And how about that time you wanted to make everyone not drink? Boy, did you ever regret those. The rest of the world is still hearing about how you didn't really mean it.
But I can't fault you for that voter turn out. I'm pretty sure that this is one waked up country, and I have to hope that it means that you won't let that man get away with some of the atrocities he plans to commit. I want you to remember, America, that all people are the same species and worthy of the same rights. And remember that we only have one earth, and that it's the place that contains your whole history, so maybe you want to think twice about ruining it for short-term gains.
I can't say what's going to happen next. Maybe Bush will declare himself emperor of the world, start wearing a cape and tights, and declare war on France. Maybe we'll have to smuggle Bordeaux into the country like we have to smuggle absinthe. Maybe we'll all have to grow beards, stop showering, and riot. I'm ready for you, America, and whatever weird stuff you'll throw at me next.
But you should know right now, up front, that if that man tries to touch my uterus, I'll fucking slap him.


Tuesday, November 02, 2004

I've got my tin foil hat on already, and I'll even admit that I'm in my cubicle biting my nails and counting down until polling places start to close. My power went out in the middle of the night because of a blown transformer, and when I left for work this morning my doormat was mysteriously moved in the direction of the empty apartment next door. I'm admittedly melodramatic, and so I'm seeing signs and omens everywhere, and it's just too early in the day for that.
So instead, what I've got for you is a belated trick or treating story.

Trick or treating my neighborhood was always an interesting prospect. I grew up in a trailer park in Florida, and the thing about trailer parks in Florida is that most of them are made for the snowbirds, the Canadian elderly that only lives in the state for the winter. Most of them don't let families with kids in, and so the ones that will are usually pretty gross. Mine was full of pyromaniacal kids, strung out single folk, geriatrics, and poor families trying hard to go up a tax bracket.
You never knew what you'd get trick or treating. Candy was mostly gum and tootsie rolls and fireballs, but occasionally you'd come across pennies, bruised fruit, cigarettes, and other miscellany. I never minded the oddities, though. As far as I was concerned, it was all normal. What I minded most about Halloween was being scared. I'm a big baby, and I always have been. I don't like scary movies, and I can't read scary books before bed.
The last year I went trick or treating in that neighborhood was when I was six or seven. I walked up to a door down the street with the outside light on; the outside light was the signal that the residents had something to give out. I knocked on the door and waited, and then knocked again. Just as I was prepared to go somewhere else, the door opened slowly. It swung most of the way in and I peered hard into the darkness, trying to see someone with candy.
And just then, of course, someone jumped out from next to the door wearing a scary mask and yelling. I jumped and screamed and tried to get away, but the way that I went to was the wrong one. Instead of escaping, I fell into the space between the steps to the door and the side of the house, and I stuck there. And I cried. My mom and the man behind the mask (which, to his credit, he had removed as soon as I fell) laughed and laughed at me and made Baby Jessica jokes, and I vowed then and there to only ever trick or treat again in well-lit malls.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Dear America,
Please don't do something that we'll regret sooner rather than later. Vote Kerry tomorrow.


Dear Seattle,
Enough with the monorail recall already. Isn't the third time supposed to be the charm?


Dear Everyone Whose Phone Calls I Have Yet to Return,
I swear I'm planning on it, but I've either been grumpy sick or busier than a one-armed paper hanger recently. I promise I don't mean to neglect you, and I really want to talk to you. And I will. Eventually.


Dear Everyone Doing NaNoWriMo,
Good luck!


Thursday, October 28, 2004

I remember
My uncle Timmy breaking open a ripe pomegranate over my head, trying to land the seeds in my gaping bird mouth on a warm, warm July day. Tracking red footprints into the house after stepping on all the pieces I missed, asking for the sprinklers on, no one caring about the stains.
I was on the phone with my brother again yesterday, and we were talking about the election. Ryan's in middle school now, so they're starting to teach him things about the government. He asked me who I'm voting for and I told him Kerry. He said, "I would vote for Ralph Nader."
In the middle of explaining to him that it was a nice sentiment and that I hoped he'd always keep his independent spirit (I know, I'm a sentimental schmuck), there was a commotion. Eric was wrestling the phone away from his brother, and when he achieved this goal he shouted into the phone:
"I want to vote for Ralph Lauren for president!"
And I laughed for at least a day. Because really, I also support no separation between fashion and state.

For Halloween? Ryan is going to be Slash (which is entirely my fault) and Eric is going to be "a creepy dead thing."

Also, it is my duty as the friend of a rockstar to tell you all that her band is having a show next weekend:

Where: Studio 7
110 S. Horton St.
Seattle, WA, 98134 (South Seattle)

Time: We go on at 9:00 p.m. so be there a little early

Cover: $7

Other bands: Blood Star Halo (LA), God Machine, Cornerstone

Additional contact info: (206) 286-1312 / /

And you're all coming with me so you can just stop arguing right now.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Thanks to everyone who came over last night and willfully got their hands full of pumpkin goop (and also to those that watched). I have such cool friends.

In attendance: Jeff, Ryan, Mikey, John, Cat, Tara, Steph, and Ryan. (I'm particularly proud of the appearance of those last two, because I've totally adopted them in my usual 'you'll be my friend whether you want to or not' sort of way.) Also briefly around was Cat's friend Jacob, who carved a misshapen pumpkin and left, and who I didn't really learn anything about because I was busy being a bad pumpkin-goop-covered hostess. But I hear he has a hot tub.

It was as much folks and pumpkin as my apartment could handle.

Sometime during the party, John wrote the following on my typewriter:

"The Pumpkin News
IT was a dark and stormy night,
The pumpkins were hung by the chimney with care, in hope that
the gay episcopal bishop soon would be there.
The variety was vast and the carvings would last,
but the pumpkins ablaze had their candle burn fast.

The only thing that is really lacking at this party is a karaoke machine with a plethora of hot 80's hits. I would so like to sind or sing a rousing version of "You spin me right round".

I dont think that I would like to type a vonel onthis thinkg."

(Aside: It would be impossible to recreate the actual typos, so you'll just have to imagine.)

Monday, October 25, 2004

I sent my ballot out in today's mail, and so barring anything unpleasant, I have officially done my major civic duty and voted for President of the United States.

Now, I try to keep this website nonpolitical, and indeed relentlessly narcissistic, but this is not the time to be without politics. And although I think it's perfectly obvious, you should all know that I voted Kerry.

Because, you know, I believe most firmly that everyone has the right to have opportunities to be happy, healthy, protected, and well-fed, not just people who are male, white, heterosexual, and rich. I believe that my uterus is my own concern, because I believe that you own your body outright. I believe in science and in protecting our environment so that my grandchildren will not just be reading about trees in books. I believe that if grown folks want to get married, we should let them.

And beyond all that, I'm absolutely positive that we've been going in exactly the wrong direction for the last four years.

You don't have to agree with me. I imagine that if you don't, you'll tell me so at length. And that's fine. You do, however, need to vote.

(In a completely unrelated aside, don't forget pumpkin carving tonight. If you forget me, I might cry.)

Friday, October 22, 2004

Man, do I love me some fall. I hereby declare all three-leaf clovers lucky.
Dear Women Who Use the 6th Floor Bathroom,

I know that the fact that the toilets flush when you leave the stall is nifty, but please listen for the noise in order to be sure that everything has functioned properly before you exit the bathroom. This will make all of us, but especially me, much happier with our excretory experience.


I have a cold, and colds make me grumpy. (The bottom line may be that everything makes me grumpy, but I'll leave that alone for now.) I've been huddled in my cubicle for the last two days poking away anyone that tries to send me home. It's a funny thing. If they told me to go home early on a day when I wasn't sick, I'd be out of here so fast there'd be a little puff of cartoon dust behind me.
This has always been trouble. All the way through college I'd duck out on class for the slightest reasons, but the second I felt feverish I'd dig in and become studious. I went to class the whole week when I was so sick with pneumonia and bronchitis, and I wasn't even going to meals then. I'm sure I must feel that I have to prove something, and I'm sure I should stop. But I probably won't.
In which case, I should really disinfect my cube on Monday.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Dear Everyone,

As per usual, it’s been just slightly too long since I’ve written to you. I think and think about all the things I would like to tell you, but I get so busy thinking that I forget to start writing down. And then when I get to writing down, I’ve forgotten what it is I wanted to say.
I suppose you may have heard that I’ve finally landed a new job. I don’t actually do anything of a whole lot of difference to the outside world, but then I guess that what I do directly benefits people that are trying to make the world better, so that all works out. I heard recently that the place I just quit working at will be shutting down at the end of the year. I know that I shouldn’t be as satisfied as I am at hearing this, but it is nice to feel like I have the power to close businesses…even if I don’t have a whole lot to do with it. Anyway, the best part is that I can do things like eat lunch and pee whenever I want, and have holidays off, and go on vacation. It feels like the right thing.
Someone threw a rock through my sliding glass door last weekend. There was a crash and a couple of thumps, and I immediately ran through in my head all the places where I could escape or hide. It’s an instinct left over from the days when someone was often on their way over to kill us because of things my ex stepfather had done and I would have to jump out the window quickly. I remember spending afternoons practicing pretending to be just one stuffed animal in a pile in case a day came when I couldn’t escape fast enough. I know it’s been about five years since he attacked and I hit the road, but the first thing I thought was that he was coming to get me. He’s probably dead by now, but I have a sneaking suspicion that he will be lurking just behind me nonetheless for the rest of my life.
I know I say I’ve forgiven my mother for all of that, and maybe I have. What I haven’t forgiven her for is pretending now that it never happened. I may be just her daughter, but I deserve more respect than that.
In general, though, things are looking up. I feel better about everything than I have in a long time, and I’m nearly ready to resume taking it all on. The leaves are falling and the roads all look like car commercials right now, and the seasonal drizzle insists on leaving a curl in my hair and a spring in my step. If I could write songs, this would be the time for it.
But I go on too long. It’s been ages since I’ve heard from you, also. Are you happy, well treated, and nicely dressed? Are you making an effort to smile at everyone you say hello to? Will you be a pumpkin or a witch or a bouquet of roses for Halloween? I want to know. Even if I’m looking in a different direction, you know, I’m still concerned about you. I just sometimes forget to stop and tell you.
I hope everything is well. But then, you’d tell me if it wasn’t, I think.



Sunday, October 17, 2004

So who wants to come over and carve pumpkins? And when?

Saturday, October 16, 2004

I swear I'll stop with the lists soon, but for now, here's what I want to be for Halloween:

A flapper
A ladybug
A fairy
An elephant
Something involving leather

I was downtown this afternoon, finding birthday cards for Cindy and The Peach People. (Did I also buy a coat from GAP Kids? You bet your bippy I did.) While I was picking through the cards I starting thinking about those Create-A-Card machines that used to be in grocery stores and Wal-Mart when I was younger. I always thought those were the best, with their zingy Hallmark-y one liners and their zippy pens. I'd hover by the machine, waiting for someone to come and make a card, so that I could watch.
I haven't seen one of those things in years.

Thursday, October 14, 2004


I got a voice mail at work from the person who told me 6 years ago "you can pawn my knight any day, baby" and who I haven't spoken to in at least a year. The voice mail was the first one on my new work number that I've had for a few days. I hadn't told him about my new job.

I said "call me cowboy" to someone at work and they -did-, without even asking any questions.

I may have skipped most of the way home.

Tara was -really- cute.

My mom called to tell me that this guy will be playing at the Clearwater Jazz Festival. Anyone in the neighborhood who wants to go and moo and throw nougat and other sticky things at him has my blessing.

I actually had this conversation: "I thought it had 'samantha' all over it." "You mean than in an 'ew, someone got samantha all over this' sort of way, don't you."

I left some music on when I got into the shower because I'm a little nervous of the silence in my apartment these days. When I got out I heard noises, and as I opened the bathroom door I thought "oh no, someone's here. They're...uh...doing spoken word? Oh. CD."
Nobody ask me how much time I spend putting white out on my hands and then taking it off while I'm at work.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Things I like about walking home from work:

The feeling of the sun (when there is sun) on the backs of my legs.

The smells: chlorine from a hotel pool, Lake Union, construction sawdust.

Getting warm enough halfway through to take off my jacket.

That everyone else walking down the same side of the street smiles and says hello, like we're in a secret club.

The sound of driving from outside.

The plain fact that all I'm doing is walking and looking at my city, not working or reading or anything else.

That my own little apartment is at the end for me to stumble into because I'm out of shape.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Safety glass, when it breaks, makes a noise different from other glass. It's not like the satisfying shattery crash from when you drop something in the kitchen, but it also isn't the deeper, stunted thwack of windshield glass. Safety glass wants to explode dramatically into a zillion feet-sticking shards, but that's not in its nature. So what it does is, it waits. It cracks a little bit at a time so that you can hear it cracking, sounding like ice in a cup, building the suspense. And then just when you give up and decide it's not going to do anything at all, it falls in a sheet that disintegrates along the way. Sure, it crashes a little bit. But it also tinkles a little bit too.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

So you know those bumps in the night I was a bit afraid of? Well it seems that they all got together last night and decided to be a crashing banging noise, which made itself known when someone threw a big rock through my sliding glass door.
So now there's no sliding glass door and my building manager appears to be out of town. It's very cold in my apartment.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Goodbye, Derrida. Your "Grammatology" sliced open language universally, across all lines, and you once hit on Val.

Your sentence, "The center is at the center of the totality, and yet, since the center does not belong to the totality, the totality has its center elsewhere." once kept me up at night for a week. Your philosophy is self-consuming, but you constructed it well.

Sleep nicely, and dream of soccer. Tell Mr. Richard Avedon that I miss him also, I just didn't know it at the time.
So far today:

On the phone, my dad asks me what's going on. I say, "It's raining on my head, actually" and right then the sky clears. I immediately declare myself magic.

There are at least a dozen people playing different types of music downtown. My steps change to match each one of them, although I don't realize that it's happened until I reach the next one and can feel my stride adjusting itself.

I'm there to buy socks, so I go to the sock store. There's no one else there, and I feel the need to justify myself to the people working there. I say, "I need new ones because all my socks have holes in them." They don't appear to care, and I don't blame them.

Later, I go into a different store and one of the girls remembers me. She greets me by name and then looks at me again. "I like your new haircut," she tells me. "Bangs are good for you." I'm absurdly gratified; I like my new haircut too.

On the way home, the bus passes a big gray box with "Gentrification kills!" on the side of it. I read it wrong, though, as "Centrification kills!" and can't figure out what it means. A few blocks later, I figure it out.

Friday, October 08, 2004

I think that the thing to do is make all of my file labels in Comic Sans. Because I'm always thinking of you guys.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Dear Leaves,

Thank you for changing colors in the fall.



Monday, October 04, 2004

New job day 1:
I may be the only person in the entire country that is overwhelmingly excited about having a cubicle.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Some of you have listened to me complain about my job for the better part of a year, about the stuffed chickens, the bounced paychecks, and the activities of questionable legality. And so you might be interested to hear that I'll be starting a new job tomorrow morning.
I know this is all quick. I've been interviewing with the company for over a month now, and I had my last interview on Friday. They called a little bit later to offer me the job, and so I up and quit the other one.
I was never cut out to sell things to people, it's just something I've done for the past couple of years to make ends meet. Doing my job has not made me into a better person. It has, in fact, made me into the sort of person that thinks nasty things about folks just because they don't want to spend $300 on a lampshade. It has made me wretchedly unhappy, and I wash my hands of it all.
I feel that this new job will be a step in the right direction, which will be something new and different, since all I've done since I've been here is step backwards, sideways, and around in small circles. It is a job with growth potential, vacations, and lunch breaks. I'll be able to pee whenever I want to.
I hope that there will be no stuffed chickens, but then, a girl can't have everything.

I know I'm the last to hop on this boat, but hey, Mt. St. Helens is erupting this weekend!
It wasn't when I was there in March, when this picture's from.
I can't even begin to accustom myself to the idea that there's an erupting volcano two hours from here. I wasn't around yet for the first time it went off, after all, and until someone mentioned a few months ago that Mt. Rainier is a volcano, they rarely entered my thoughts.
Now, though, I feel a little bit like a kid on Halloween...I'm a little excited and a little scared.

Friday, October 01, 2004

So you know, I live alone. And generally I'm pretty good at it. But sometimes I get a little scared of things that go bump in the night. So if you ever come over to visit and find my couches stacked on top of each other in front of the sliding glass door, don't question it. Just sit on the floor and pretend that's how things are supposed to be.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

At the beginning of the summer after my senior year of high school, three of my girl friends and I made a bet: that we would not be having sex that summer. The whole point of this bet was to lose it, of course, but we made sure that it was structured so that either way we were winners.
This comes to mind today because the two girls sitting behind me on the bus were having the same sort of frank, highly italicized conversation that we had at the pool hall and Applebees all that summer. The lady sitting next to me, vaguely late-middle-age, was making squeaking breathy offended sort of noises. She was not even remotely as entertained as I was by the discourse happening behind us, but I wanted to turn around and join in.

I don't think that we were rampaging sluts at 16 and 17, we were just healthy teenage girls. We all had standards and expected them to be at least mostly met. Because of course we all lost the bet eventually. The last I heard, one of them was married to her, um, co-loser, and the other one was rapidly approaching that state. Bethany and I reset the bet after we all lost, and she, also last I heard, was living with the second guy. I'm probably the only one that still thinks about it.
Sure, we had big mouths and an uncomfortable habit of discussing our exploits in public places. (And I can't tell you how many times this habit has made me the center of a whole roomful of attention.) We were comfortable with ourselves and our place in the universe in a way that I've never been since.
So I don't think it's fair to turn all huffy at young girls being unfettered and themselves, even in public. Maybe even especially in public. They're the only ones who are brave enough.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Overheard on the bus:

"Do you know what? Do you know what?"
"No, what?"
"That's what you just asked me."
"I didn't ask you anything."
"Oh...are you high?"

Monday, September 27, 2004

The first time I spent any time with Val, she was wearing a vinyl corset and bat wings. We all went out for Chinese food, and when she ordered her dinner in Chinese, the waitress was so startled she almost swallowed her tongue.
I had, of course, met her before at various Symposium gatherings and events. But she was just so intimidating, with her style and her brains and her self confidence. If you'd told me that she was a year younger than me, I'd have laughed at you.
Over the next few weeks I passed a boyfriend off to her, and we all collectively pounced and hauled her into our little group.
I know that I'll brag to you all any chance I get about this girl, about how smart she is and the languages she speaks and the cool things she's always doing. But the thing is that over the last few years our friendship has become a focus of light, and one of the most important things in my world. Not just because her letters have postage stamps from far away places, and not even because I once walked into a room and quickly learned that she had pierced her labia...although these are all important. Val is so, so dear to me just because she's Val, and I don't intend to ever lose her.
Happy birthday, Val!

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Early fall is one of my favorite times of year. Especially here, where the leaves change color and the roads all look like car commercials. The weather makes me feel sassy. It makes me wear short skirts to work and dance around my apartment like a maniac. It makes me want to flirt with bus drivers, touch people on the inside of their knees, make suggestive comments to my female friends, and get another tattoo.

But maybe not today. Maybe today I'll just lay about and watch that Magic Bullet infomercial.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Jeff has got some photos illustrating a sticker art story by Samantha Storey in the Sunday New York Times. Pick up a copy, and ask him to sign it next time you see him.

Friday, September 24, 2004

I'm pretty sure that you are over reacting to something right now.
A little while ago I was sitting at a cafe down the street. I looked out the window just in time to see a large herd of small children run down the hill across the street and turn the corner. I can't even imagine what was going on.
What I was doing at the cafe was writing letters. I write a lot of letters, and I noticed today that almost all of my correspondence by mail is with females. This confuses me a little bit; I have friends on both sides, so why is it only the girls that write? You know, guys, all girls like a boy who writes letters...

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Yesterday's mail brought a whole mess of wedding pictures from the bride herself. The enclosed note mentioned honeymoon pictures as well, and I was a mite concerned because, after all, Sarah is the girl that sent me a postcard from her honeymoon to let me know that she likes having sex. None of the pictures, fortunately, involve her hairy husband wearing any less clothes than I'm used to. (We were a very close household.)

The one that gets me, though, that hits me right in the softest places of my sentimental little heart, is this shot of the two of them right about to exit the church: man and wife for a matter of moments. Jesse just looks relieved that it's over, but Sarah is positively radiant with joy. I've never seen her look so happy as she does here. Looking at it makes me stop and go "oh, so that's what this marriage thing is all about."
Sometimes I'm a little slow on the uptake, it's true, and I've had trouble getting myself around the whole idea of Sarah being married. But somehow, this picture brings it home.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Things, again:

1. My favorite cake is Red Velvet.
2. I like it when boys wear eyeliner and occasional nailpolish, but not foundation.
3. The knee high socks that I bought yesterday actually are almost as high as my stockings.
4. I wear thigh high stockings instead of pantyhose for many reason, one of which is that I hate the word 'panty.'
5. When I play games with dice, I have to count the individual spots to add them up. Something about the spots confuses my already weak mental math skills.

Monday, September 20, 2004

One of my co-workers tells a story about being in China and passing street vendors selling skewers full of scorpions. The vendors, not speaking any English, would hold a stick out to passersby and try to tempt them with the phrase they heard most often: "Oh my god." She says that visiting tourists would pass the carts and hop away from the scorpions in horror, pointing and shouting "Oh my god!" (They would also try to sell postcards with the words "No thank you.") That's what she remembers most from her trip: softspoken Chinese people, saying quietly and without inflection "Oh my god" over and over again, hoping to tempt someone over to their treats.

Someone once gave me a chocolate covered cricket and told me that if I ate it they'd give me money. I talked my brother into eating it, figuring that as long as it got ate I'd still get the cash, but it didn't happen.

This is all to say that there was a bug festival at the Burke museum yesterday, and joined by the adventurous Tara, I went. I like bugs best when they're dead and pinned down under glass.
I could talk for hours about all the things that I saw, but I'll spare you that. I'll just tell you about what I ate: a crunchy mealworm, barbecue seasoned, that tasted like Fritos and a cricket leg (which was sort of pointy and got stuck in my throat). The trouble with what the man cooked is that he mixed them with peppers and onions, and I am not a peppers-and-onions fan. But other folks ate whole bugs, and no one threw up.

I once had a tarantula as a pet, named Ghengis Khan. It escaped, and may still be roaming free across Florida, and looking at one yesterday, I can't figure out how I was ever brave enough to keep it. They're creepy looking. But I guess I was a kid then, and kids are much braver than adults.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

The little boy had a very red sweatshirt and very blonde hair, and was probably no older than six. A policeman and I were both watching him, and we seemed to be the only ones.
I was waiting outside the library book sale for Jeff to finish making his purchases; I'm not a bookseller, and so I only had a few books and they let me cut in line. The way out is through a hanging wall of plastic strips, and it was guarded by a policeman--a real one, with a gun and all. I can't imagine that book buyers are a high crime group, but I guess they do get a little tense.
The boy amused himself for a while with the plastic, running into them face first and all. But that bored him eventually, and so he came outside by me and started walking like a tightrope walker on the parking lumps. The policeman had stepped outside at the same time and was keeping an eye on him. Just before Jeff joined me we made eye contact, the cop and I.
"You'd think someone would miss him eventually," he said to me, gesturing at the kid.
"I imagine they will. He seems to be entertaining himself nicely."
As I walked away, I heard him hop into a puddle.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

My childhood smells like warm oranges and marijuana. It smells like chewable Flinstones vitamins, night blooming jasmine, and overheated speaker wiring. It smells like cheap beer and the sweat that comes from a long night of a roomful of people playing music together. Like hamburgers, like the inside of a motorcycle helmet, like rained-on dirt. Like shampoo, like the newly cracked spines of Dr. Seuss books, like sidewalk chalk.
If I could, I'd make it into a perfume, and then I would be four years old every day.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Everywhere I went downtown today, there was someone with a clipboard asking me if I had voted yet. The first few times I attempted to explain that I did my civic duty the lazy way, via absentee ballot in my living room, but eventually I just gave up and answered "Yes."
I'm pretty impressed by all the hoopla over the primaries hereabouts, though. The last time the governor's mansion was up for grabs in Florida, I'm pretty sure Jeb just reappointed himself. I certainly don't know anyone that remembers voting for him, although then again, that's hardly surprising.
Anyway, the thing is that later today I spoke with my brother Ryan, the one that's 12. He's a funny kid. (This is true: his New Year's resolution for this year was to say "um..." a lot.) When he asked what I did today, I answered almost mechanically "I voted."
"You did?" He sounded impressed. "Who did you vote for?"
"Oh, lots of folks."
"My teacher says that you can write down people you want to vote for if you don't like the people that are there."
"Well, buddy, it's not that easy. I mean, it is that easy, but just 'cause you write them down doesn't mean anyone else will."
"I know, but I would feel better."
"Who would you write down?"
"Sadie [the dog]. She's pretty old and she doesn't say much, so I think she'd do good."
I didn't have anything to say to that, so I changed the subject.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

I went to the outside of the Tacoma Museum of Glass yesterday with Cat and her friend Sameer, who was in town for about a day and a half.

There's very little to say about the outside of the Museum of Glass, because evidently they've removed almost all of the exhibits. But I can tell you that, from what I saw outside, I'm pretty sure that the inside is just chock full of glass. Really.

I had such a good time, glass trees or no glass trees. And that's really what counts.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

At the corner of third and Pine, on a grate, sat four women in black business suits. One of them had her legs stretched out in front of her, tennis shoes on the ends of her black stockings. Everyone was frowning except the lady with the tennis shoes, who was looking sheepish.
I walked a little bit away and waited for my bus. After a while, maybe 10 or 15 minutes, an ambulance pulled up. It parked on our side of the street, facing the wrong way, and all the women except the one with the tennis shoes stood up. The paramedics hopped out and one knelt down next to her.
I meant to pay attention to what happened next, but then my bus came and I went home.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

I bought a little blue electric typewriter yesterday, and the noise it makes seems to fill in the empty spaces inside my skull nicely.
I've named it Esther.
I spent the day thinking about my little typewriter in the hazy sort of way that I usually think about cute boys.

Everything has been difficult lately, and it all became more so last week when my stepmother called to say that my grandmother attempted suicide. She swears now that she didn't mean it but it turns out that 10 or 15 of the 40 pills she took would have done the job nicely, and no one seems to know what to do with either her or themselves. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to feel.

There are all these echoing empty spots like air bubbles in my brain, and the typewriter noise bounces around inside them and gives them something to do. It makes me happy, and I like the rhythm of words. I can't yet figure out if I like writing letters on it, but that just means I'll have to write more letters to find out.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Going to the zoo is like Where's Waldo or a word search, and I like how friendly people stand together in front of cages and exhibits looking for the same thing and letting everyone around know when they find it. I did my best to make friends with folks at the zoo.

The last time I went to the zoo was around this time last year, and we avoided the butterfly tent for reasons that I'm sure weren't worthwhile. I made sure to stop in this time, and the little girl inside wanted so badly for a butterfly to land on her. It reminded me of when I was small, trying to sit very still in our garden, waiting impatiently in the hope that one of the Monarch butterflies that visited our flowers would settle on me.

One of the zoo employees was standing by the lemurs taking notes. When we walked up she was being questioned by a little girl, and was patiently answering with, "Because this is my job." We pointed out a couple of lemurs behind a screen of bushes grooming each other, and she was pleased that they weren't fighting.
My favorites are always the monkeys.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

We went to the zoo for my birthday yesterday, and I can't even express how many birthday monkeys there were. I'll cover you all with monkey pictures soon enough, but right now all you need to know is that this was so cute it almost killed me:

Friday, September 03, 2004

Today is my birthday, and I am always nine years old.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

A birthday card in today's mail says, "I hope this year brings good things to you: fun, money, monkeys, and a Bush-free White House."

Somewhere, there are friends who know me just as well as I know myself.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Early in the evening at the Daymented August Everything Party, before most of the crowd showed up, I was loitering by the fishtank and happened on a couple of packages of kazoos. "Fantastic," I thought, "kazoos make a party a party." And then I went outside to watch people light things on fire, and promptly forgot all about them.
I was pretty excited a while later when Stacey turned up, passing them out. I do love me some kazoo. And I was a little surprised when we started playing the wedding march on our fabulous plastic instruments. But when a bride and groom showed up? That was a cool party trick.
I (heart) weddings, even when they're people I don't know.
Also of note at the party: this baby is as cute as advertised, Bonnie has 11 kids and doesn't seem remotely frazzled, and I never got around to introducing myself to Sonya because I'm at a loss for how you go up to someone and introduce yourself as your website. It just doesn't work for me.

We went for a walk on Saturday, and then I totally beat the pants off Bowser in Super Mario World. I'm so 1993.

Yesterday, TYD and John invited us to the Evergreen State Fair. The theme was "The land of milk and honey," which was a trifle confusing since there was no milk or honey to be found. I befriended a bunch of livestock, and a little girl walked right up to me and asked if I would like to pet her dog, as though there were anything else I'd rather have been doing. I failed to win a goldfish, and that's probably for the best because goldfish are pretty boring.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Jeff and I went for a walk around Eastlake today, something I don't haven't done very often in the year that I've lived here. So many things were growing, and I wanted to touch them all. (I also wanted to taste them all, and the cherry tomatoes were perfect.)

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

I regret to inform you all that the Mariners lost to the Devil Rays.

(Thanks, Cat, for the game!)

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

This is a few hours early, but since tomorrow's a busy day I'll do it now:

I was going to use an old close up of Jon pinching his nipple for this birthday post, but then I remembered that I have to keep this guy on my side for the rest of his life because he is in possession of most of the embarrassing samantha-related artifacts of the past half-dozen years. The samantha and bethany show? A notebook-length letter covering several years? A bunch of pictures, occasionally less clothed rather than more? Check, one and all. The public release of these treasures would be devastating to any potential public career.

There's a song lyric that says "I resent the way you make me like myself" which pretty adequately sums up the length of our friendship. Jon never goes out of focus and he's always there to call me on my bullshit when it needs calling. He's an expert at calming down and cheering up and making fun and being my friend. I can (and often do) tell him anything because I have absolutely no fear that he'll stop liking me. He even thinks I'm funny when I'm drunk. Jon's a once-in-a-lifetime sort of guy, and I'm glad he's been part of my world for so long already.

Happy birthday, Mr. Hayter! I (heart) you!

(Also, happy birthday to Jon's twin sister, about whom I know nothing except that she had a car with a leaky gas tank and that we got our tattoos around the same time for our 18th birthdays [our birthdays are 9 days apart, so that makes perfect sense]. It's possible that she was also studying psychology, but I'm not sure she has a name. Sometime in the -next- seven years, I'll remember to ask about that.)
I had two imaginary friends as a kid: Speedy and Kathleen. They came from Nova Scotia (which I thought was in South America) and they lived in a bus.
I don't actually remember them. I'm not sure what they did or if I used them as fall guys for my misdeeds. That I had them is no surprise--I was a pretty solitary kid. But the facts of them are gone. I've lost what they looked and sounded like.
(Aside: my brother turned into his imaginary friend. He'd put on his glasses and wear a backwards baseball cap and then he'd be Phil, who was a mean guy that looked an awful lot like my brother in glasses and a backwards hat.)
I don't remember the life of Speedy and Kathleen, but I do remember getting out of the bathtub to inform my mom of their exit: they'd gone down the drain in their bus, back to Nova Scotia.
I guess I didn't miss them, not enough to remember. And anyway, now I've got all of you for imaginary friends.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Next to the White Dove Gallery in Tacoma is a taxidermist. I was down there because TYD had set up a photo show with all the usual cool kids: herself, Jeff, John, Dylan, Cat, Jerry, and Chas, as well as Jeff Youngstrom, whom I've never met before but appears to also be a pretty swell guy. (I should mention here that Tara was with me in the 'no, I didn't take any of these' corner and that Cat was out of the country and Chas out of the state for the opening. There. That's all the linking I can manage for one post.)

Anyway. Taxidermist. John and I moseyed over to gawk at tufts of hair in the grass and peek in the windows, and when we poked our heads in the door a man who looked just like a taxidermist should walked out of the back and invited us in. They were having fish painting lessons, and so the whole place smelled like spraypaint, which was actually a relief considering what I had thought it would smell like.
A side room was crammed with stuffed critters of all sorts: a variety of mounted heads, a badger that was in my dreams all night, a couple of bobcats reaching for and just missing some birds. A wolf more than halfway as tall as me guarded the doorway, snarling and so realistic that I, big baby that I am, was a little afraid of it.
In the back stood a few men with fiberglass trouts on sticks, painting them.
I've never really been a big one for taxidermy. My stepmother's father was a hunter and his talk about trophies always made me a little uncomfortable. When my father brought home a giant deer head once, I told him that I'd bury it in the backyard if it wasn't gone by the time I came home. (It would never have happened: we didn't have a shovel.) But I was impressed by the happenings inside this shop, and the talent that must be part of the process.
I was pretty sure that if it had to pick, the wolf would have been ok with what they'd turned it into.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

When I was 16, I was going to marry Paul. He had all the qualities I wanted in a husband: he liked kitchen floor sock skiing, sticking his tongue out until it got all dry and funny feeling, and he'd lay down on the sidewalk during rainstorms so that there would be a Paul-shaped dry spot on the pavement afterwards. He'd occasionally play in the sprinklers with the neighborhood kids.

(He scanned his face and emailed it to me a couple years ago to prove that he'd just bought an obscene amount of Cadbury eggs, because we were both in love with them.)

Various and sundry things have happened since then, and I no longer want to marry Paul. But he's still one of my favorite people ever.

Happy birthday, P!