Saturday, July 31, 2004

On Thursday night Jeff and I were hanging around my living room when my neighbors started being loud. This is not unusual. People in my building are often loud. It sounded like a group of men and I couldn't figure out if they were coming from the balcony side or the front door side; this is often a problem, as my building is in an alternate acoustical universe. Finally, I decided that the noises were coming from the balcony side, down in the parking lot, and I snuck over to look.
I was right: they were down there. I could see one of them. He was standing at the back of a car, facing away, in a spot where if he had turned around he could have probably seen me. But I'm glad he didn't, because right then I heard a sound like running water. He was peeing.
Why are the men that live in my building and their friends always peeing outside? I just don't get it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Sometimes after work I walk a few blocks out of the way to catch the bus so I can gawk like a small towner at the tall buildings. I did this yesterday, and as I was standing on a corner staring at the sky, absently rubbing my sore shoulders, someone stopped next to me.
"What are you looking at?"
"Up." I gestured vaguely, but my angle of attack was off because my hand was on my shoulder and so I really just tangled myself in my hair. Looking over, I realized that the person standing next to me was a man wearing a suit and a baseball cap that had a plush pig head on the front and a little curly tail in back.
He looked down at me, his eyes floating a little before coming to rest in the middle of my forehead. I wanted to feel for my third eye. "How are you feeling?"
This made me laugh a little. I feel like shit--I want to chew off my hands. But these are not things you tell a man with a pig on his hat. So instead I said, "Some days I feel like ruining my credit and leaving the country."
We'd been walking during this and had almost reached my bus stop. I was suddenly exhausted, snowed under by the weight of everything I wanted to say--it's always easiest to talk to a stranger. "I like your pig," I told him, trying to forestall further questions.
"Thanks. His name is Leroy." I stopped then at my bus stop, and he tipped his cap jauntily and continued down the block.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Just a couple of minutes ago I was sitting in front of my easel, putting light blue paint onto a cut-out magazine picture of a crumpled condom wrapper. I stopped to look at it, and my mouth, apparently independent of my brain, said to myself "I should cover that wall with New Yorker covers!"
Now. There's a wall in my apartment that I've been thinking about painting, but I'm pretty sure I can honestly say that I've never even thought about covering it with anything but paint or fabric. The whole little episode makes exactly no sense to me, and I'm beginning to think I should be medicated.

Road berries.
It's probably a good thing that I don't have a backyard with its own berries, because I'd spend too much time looking at them and not enough, uh, laying about.

Yesterday was so hot. I've been getting a lot of, "But you're from Florida, so this should feel just like home!" and when I say no, they tell me I've gone soft.
In Florida, air conditioners (central air conditioners) turn on in March and don't go off again until November. Unless they want to, no one in Florida has to spend more time in the heat than it takes to get from the car to the building and vice versa.
In high school my car had 4/40 air conditioning, and so no one ever wanted to ride in it. Then the automatic windows stopped working, and it didn't even have that.

No one from Florida wants to give me sympathy. I called Pete a while ago to talk about the script (a conversation that consisted mostly about 'story conference' jokes, a phrase that once had a very different meaning), and even though he's in L.A. now he still doesn't feel bad for me. My mom just laughs.

I spent yesterday with all the blinds drawn, trying not to move. Today is shaping up to be much more tolerable.

(As a final aside [and more parenthesis], Dave called also [sorry, kids, no one I know outside of Seattle has a website] to say that he's going to have his midlife crisis by living on an island. He'll be island hopping until he finds one he likes, and I wish him luck.]

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Julia's on Capitol Hill isn't really one of my favorite places in Seattle. I don't actively dislike it, and given 15 seconds I'll probably tell you how it was the first place I ate in Seattle, but I generally just don't particularly want to go there. But we stopped by for a last drink last night, and it turned out to be a fabulous thing to do.
Earlier, we had been to Samantha Storey's going away party. We ran into the Dayments who let us hang out with them for a bit, but then they left and I found myself in a bar full of people I don't know.
Now, I have a dramatic lack of social skills. (Sorry, bar full of people.) I'm not particularly good at inserting myself into conversations but I wanted Jeff to have a chance to talk to people that he knew. So I decided that the thing to do was have some drinks. I'm not typically much of a drinker, but I decided that last night was the night.
After we left the party we slipped into Julia's. I ordered my drink and excused myself to go to the bathroom. When I came out my drink was ready, and it was fantastic. I was mentally cheering the bartender when he came back over and asked how my drink was. I gave him the thumbs up, and that's when he wagged the bottle of 100 proof Stoli that he'd made it with at me.
Hilarity ensued, the restaurant closed, and we ended up locked into the bar with two other couples and a bartender with sparkly straws. He made a batch of Hurricanes and chugged the remainder from the jug himself. I remembered why I like drinking, especially for free.

Of course, it all has a price, which I was noticing as I stumbled up to my front door this morning. (I stumbled, it should be noted, because my feet are all over blisters from my shoes.) I needed groceries and so I headed out to my car to go to the store. I got in and tried to clean the dusty window but nothing came out of the little holes. I figured that I was out of washer fluid, and it wasn't until I was almost there that I realized I had been tugging on the wrong lever, and had been flashing my brights at everyone. So I guess the moral of that is not to drive with a hangover.

I advise visiting the friendly bartender at Julia's.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

I talk too much, and so instead, here's a dude on a bench looking at the cranes.

(Well, it was either that or another picture of Jeff...)

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

So I guess it's the season for blackberries.
I didn't know until I got here that blackberries grow in curls and tangles and snarls on the sides of the roads and things, just waiting to be eaten. Last summer someone (I think it was Dylan) posted a picture of something to do with blackberries, and I made the dramatic mistake of admitting that I had never had one. Well, didn't that just open up a can of worms. So later, in September, we were walking along the train tracks in Ballard when Kathleen spied a blackberry bush and picked one for me. It was sour and I hated it.
After that I mostly forgot about blackberries. They were over and so even though I went a few places where they should be, all the berries were dead, and since they were so sour I wasn't interested.
But then last night Jeff and I were walking down my street on our way to get pizza, and I stopped dead in my tracks. Some stuff on the side of the road looked suspiciously like blackberries to me. That's because they were, and I hesitated over them. I wanted to try them, because here they were, but I hadn't like last year's. But Jeff explained that the soft ones are the ripest ones, and so I picked the softest one I could find, closed my eyes, and ate it. It was sweet and I liked it.
Today I was walking home and I passed the same snarl of blackberry leaves. I was fuzzy from hunger. I spent half the day at the DOL doing drivers license related things and just wanted to eat the sandwich I had in my hand. But I stopped at the bush anyway, and crouched over it, looking for a good berry. I was trying to hide that I was eating blackberries off the side of the road all by myself, but someone on the road honked and I jerked my hand straight into what I think you call a bramble. And that sucker hurt.
So, fuck that. I guess I'll be eating my road berries out in the open, and proudly. All this food's just lying there, waiting to be eaten, after all, and ignoring it would be sort of wasteful. I found the softest berry I could and pulled it off, bruising it a little, the juice staining my fingertips purple. It was sweet, and I liked it.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Dear Everyone,
I apologize for not writing. Life tends to get away from me, and when I catch up I realize that the whole time I thought that life was scheduled to start next week. And the whole time all I've been doing is reading books and watching movies, but I can't think what else I should have done.
Well, written letters, I guess.
Pete sent me the final script for Transmit last night, for editing and notes. It's a peculiar thing to have in front of me the end product of something I've watched grow for years. It's also strange to see people that I know so well as parts in this movie, and to look at where the script was three years ago and be able to point out my own ideas. I'm not sure if it's any good, but it has gone in directions I hadn't anticipated. I can tell that he's grown in ways that he wouldn't have here, and so I'm glad some good has come out of the way things went. I'm proud of them. And though I don't miss 99% of that situation, I do look back most fondly on the fevered creativity, on the days and nights full of talking and writing and planning. I miss being part of making something, of editing The Last Poem and celebrating when Jonas sold it, of filming Backwards until 5 am, of making soundtracks and correcting factual errors. Making things by myself just isn't as much fun.
I had trouble sleeping last night, tossing and turning until I would have paid someone to call and be friendly. When I did finally go to sleep, the little man with yellow fingertips and thumbs was there waiting for me, perched on his picnic table in the right rear corner of my brain. I haven't seen him in weeks--maybe even months. He said the usual things and I answered in the usual huffy way. He's annoying. I hate him, and I wonder if it's not a bad thing to have so much anger at a creature who must be of my own making.
Ellie the puppy came for a visit today, carrying a squeaky iguana almost exactly the height of her own legs. She would shake it, trying to break its little rubber neck, and it would get tangled in her front legs and she would stagger sideways like a drunk.
In case you missed the news, Sarah and Jesse are married now. I've only had quick notes so far from the land of marriage, and I'm waiting impatiently for news, like dispatches from the front line. I want to know what it feels like from the inside, what it looks like. I believe that all of my friends should get married so I can take notes from all of them. Really--the more information, the better. But all I've heard so far is that she cried a lot, which I knew, and that she likes sex. The last is a relief, and I'm so glad, but it isn't particularly helpful or enlightening.
Tomorrow I plan to change my license to Washington State, the final step in becoming a townie. The last time I did this was on my 16th birthday, and I just gave them a little slip saying that I had passed the driver's ed class I only rarely went to. So I'm a little nervous, but it will be nice to not have the funny looks my Florida license gets.
Things are moving rapidly out here and at the same time going so slow. I no longer have any idea what I'm doing or where I'm going and all of my ambitions seem to be on vacation. I feel drugged and unable to find my voice--I seem to speak too quietly now for anyone to hear. But things are not all bad. I am growing flowers now, and I can still see the Space Needle from my house. I love Seattle and haven't yet regretted this move. I still slowly make friends. I am trying to get better.
I had intended to write other letters today, but this has run on too long and will be the only one. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Give my love to your family, and also to every other person you meet.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Happy (late) 28th to Jonas, the joker on the left.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

I went researching headaches today, in an attempt to pin down why exactly it is that occasionally my brain tries to force itself out my tear ducts, causing me in reaction to throw all of my energy into pretending that no, actually, it isn't that bad. This was not a very good idea, because the problem with looking up medical conditions online is that there's no built in braking system and so things accelerate quickly from 'tension headache' to 'brain tumor.'
Or anyway, that's what happened today.
I stumbled across the phrase 'cluster headaches,' which I thought was very impressive and decided I should have. I was doing quite well with the symptoms, too, until I came to 'drooping eyelid' and some things that had to do with bits that have never even met my head. So I passed on that one.
In the end, I've decided that I identify most with the 'idiopathic stabbing headache,' although the most likely answer is that I'm having stress headaches from the exact same stress that is providing me with my soul-robbing depression. I'm working hard (or at least laying on my couch and thinking fondly about working hard) at making all of that go away, and maybe once I manage to make things change this bastard of a headache will make its final disappearance. In the meantime, it's time to research some 'idiopathic stabbing headache' support groups. Can you imagine? We'd spend our time comparing mewling techniques and discussing whether it's more useful to redirect the pain or to stare it straight on.
I didn't like any of the brain tumor symptoms, so I've crossed that one off the list.
These are the newest members of my family, Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern. (I name everything that I have two of and can't tell the
difference between Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. I find it terribly

They might just look like sticks in a pot, but really they're plumeria
cuttings that I brought back from Florida. And they're growing! The
leaves sticking up on top were tiny and curled under when I got them
last month.

I (heart) them, and can't wait until they make flowers. I hope that
they make it, here in Seattle, and I plan to make them socks to keep
them warm in winter.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

I was always stuck at the top of the see-saw (only we called it teeter-totter). I had been a gigantic baby but turned into a small child, and my best friend, Kelsey, was a year younger than me and twice as big. We played on the see-saw until her legs got tired of lifting us up and down, at which point she would simply sit there and refuse to move.
I would demand that she let me down, and she would reply with "No way, gozo, I'm the biggest."
My comeback was always "No way, gozo, let me down!"

I'm not sure where 'gozo' came from. My father liked to call me bozo, and so it's possible that it came from there. "No way, gozo!" was my favorite phrase, and I said it loud and often.

Eventually, after I had screamed and yelled and begged and demanded imperiously, Kelsey would let me down. Only by let me down I mean that she would throw herself off of the bottom of the see-saw, leaving me with no time to brace myself for the fall.
It was always the same. I would crash to the ground, yell, roll over backwards, cry, and then punch her in the face. As I said, I wasn't too big, so being punched in the face by me, especially when I was crying, was never a very scary thing. I've never done it since, and even then I never did it to anyone else, but at the time dropping me from the see-saw was an offense that deserved face-punching.
After I hit her she would push me down and cry, and I would offer to race her to the swings. I'd take off running before she got back up off the ground, and as she'd yell after me that it wasn't fair I'd toss back "No way, gozo, I'm just winning!"
Actually, I still do that part. Except I usually forget to call people gozo.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

I don't remember when I first figured out that scones and sconces were not, in fact, the same thing, but I do remember when I thought they were. A few times in school I had to write my own shorter version of the Inferno, and in one of them I mentioned that some hallway in hell was lit by burning scones hung on the wall. It wasn't the image that I was going for, but as I've gotten older I've started to really like the idea of the lighting in hell coming from burning pastries tacked to the plaster.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

At night, Jeff takes pictures of buildings. I don't have the equipment or the patience for this, and so I take pictures of Jeff.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Growing up, my mother grew things. The small side and front yards of our trailer were crowded with plants, and most of those plants produced flowers. Every spring and summer we would be walled in by riotous color and a million different scents, and because I didn't know any better I thought it was a paradise.

The rains that fell on our gardens were warm, and unless there was lightning (which I was always too close to being struck by), I would be out in it. I was usually alone outside; lizards and the elderly scurried for shelter when it started to rain. If I tilted my head just right I could make the drops hesitate on my eyelashes, the thin hairs drooping into my line of sight. I loved all the rains, the sunshowers and the storms with drops as big as my fist. Most of all, though, I loved it when the day had been hot enough that the cooler drops hitting the boiling pavement would make steam, the air thick and damp like our small bathroom after a hot shower.

I was a harvester of raindrops. Armed with half of a plastic box that had once held a deck of cards I would go forth into the rains after my crop. Plumeria plants held the water best: their wide flat leaves and ribbed surface supported small puddles until I could cup them and point them downward, herding streams into my hand. I would collect from the plants as much water as I could and I would drink it. I believed that they, so silent, held some special quality that I wanted, and that I could get to it by consuming the water that rested on it. Somewhere I had gotten the idea that by doing this I could be like a plant, and more specifically that I could learn to flare into sudden beauty like the flowers did. Children are mean, after all, and our first brushes with cruelty are sometimes the hardest to understand.
Sometimes, as a finishing touch after the rain ended, I'd stand under the Jacaranda tree and shake it so that a final shower of plant-y rich goodness fell on my head.

Anyway, it never worked. I'm still more girl than flower, and there are years where I forget that I used to believe any such thing. It's only at the times when I feel that I am dangling over some black hole filled with something that wants to eat me that I remember, and I wonder if I fell just one rainstorm short of what I was looking for.

And then I shake myself. Girls don't turn into flowers, not outside of storybooks and five-year-old children. And then I have some ice cream.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

This is my new friend Ellie. She's a 9-week-old border collie.

The very sad thing is that she belongs to my boss, so she's likely to become one of those very nervous dogs that chew on their fingernails and drink small scotches at lunchtime.

But for right now, she's so cute she gives me fits. I want to eat her.
Whenever I am on an elevator with someone and I get off before they do, I have an almost overwhelming urge to thank them. This happens nearly as often if I'm in an elevator with more than one person, especially if they know each other and if I'm the only one getting off on that floor.
I'm not sure what I want to thank them for. For not wrestling me to the bottom of the elevator and refusing to let me exit on the right floor? For not ridiculing my inability to use an escalator for a trip one floor lower than theirs? For not using the time that we are shut in together to comment on my hair/clothes/uneven facial features?
I don't believe I've ever actually done the thanking thing, but I still feel just as goofy each time I think it as I would had I gone and said it. Maybe I should try it some time and see if it confuses the person in the elevator enough for me to shift the burden of embarrassment onto them.

Monday, July 05, 2004

I have never heard as many dirty jokes about hot dogs in my whole life combined as I did last night. Thanks, everyone.

Two things of note:
Part of Sean's first memory of fireworks involves going to the bathroom and having to brace himself against the shaking of the port-a-potty. I love all the possibilities that go along with this story so much that I'm thinking about stealing it.

Cat, Tara, and Matt left at the same time. I walked behind them to the door, which Cat opened and stepped halfway through. She stopped and said, "Is that man leaning on the balcony or peeing off of it?" I couldn't see through the doorway, but then she finished with "We'll say he's peeing. Hi." She waved, and I heard a male voice mumbling something about there being a line for the bathroom. Tara says that he was going for a pretty long time.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

I don't know about you, but nothing makes me feel more patriotic than the head of the Statue of Liberty mounted on a hill.

Happy 4th, everyone!