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!