Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The story goes that when Tolstoy was preparing to marry Sonya, he asked her to read his journals up to that point. What he wanted to do was destroy all of her romantic notions of him, to show her just how human he was. Whatever sort of gesture that might have been--and it's certainly cause for debate, whether that was more "come here" or more "go away"--it all fell apart in the end anyway. Because really, if you insist on seeing yourself as a tragic hero, you're sort of asking for shit to hit certain fans.
Tolstoy's been on my mind again recently, is all. It's that time of year.

I know I've been wallowing in being a great big dork more than usual lately, but sometimes I get tired of suppressing all of this enthusiasm. Despite my mother's great big box of backyard oranges, I have a head cold. And, according to the dentist today, what may or may not be a malignant growth in my jaw. Which sort of covers all of my options. I'm not overly concerned because my family has a habit of growing spare pieces of bone, I guess in case we need them later. (My littlest brother has surgery on the bottom of his feet every three years or so to remove brand new bits of extraneous floating bone.) And anyway, it looked pretty cool on the x-ray, like a little star right below the roots of my teeth.

I could use some good news. Anyone got any good news for me?

Monday, November 28, 2005

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It took most of the morning for me to stop being excited like a terrier about the frost on the ground--I roamed the office, squeaking, "Ice! Outside!" at everyone I passed. They've all lived in northern climates long enough to develop a much cooler veneer about the winter than I have. While I chased my tail, they bitched about the treacherous commute. And that's really what they get for living in the suburbs.
It's just that, you know, I love my city. And when I woke up this morning and it was out of nowhere sparkling like a sixteen year old who's just gotten her braces off, well, it was more than I could handle.

I've been sneezing all day, which could mean I need a new nose or am allergic to consciousness, but which more than likely means I'm coming down with a cold. As though I have time for colds, what with snow possibly coming to visit.

My mother, ever the bearer of cheerful news, called yesterday to let me know that she was nearly crushed by a falling tree branch during her "I don't celebrate Thanksgiving anymore" camping trip this weekend. I am a well-behaved daughter and so I refrained from telling her that it's what she gets for forsaking her only child's favorite holiday (and only partially because now that she has step-children, that argument doesn't hold as much water).

Tonight's French lesson was canceled and so I've found myself with an unexpectedly free evening. If you need me, I'll be sitting with my nose pressed up against the sliding glass door, waiting for it to start snowing.
Ice! On things! Outside!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

When I woke up in the night my pillow smelled of roses. This was, I realize now, because of the rosewater splashed onto my hands at the Moroccan restaurant. At 3 am, though, with my apartment glowing softly from the lights of my city, the smell of roses was just right. Everything was sweet and warm, and I went back to sleep.

An artist I have always admired is Felix Gonzalez-Torres, who in his too-brief life created tributes to love and memory and anger through ephemeral installations. Whenever I feel like my skin is showing all of my secrets, I remember how he put up billboards of an empty bed all over New York as a tribute to his deceased lover, how his strings of individual lightbulbs were each a memory, and how a pile of candy was an invitation for passers-by to take a piece of his devotion home with them. It's those times that I take down my blue-wrapped candy and remember what the point of going further is.
These are the reasons I study art.

reason #375 I should be in a band: to try out fashion adventures that are ever-so-slightly too much for every day.

Call me if you need me, if you're looking as lost as I'm feeling. I can offer a hand and if you take it we'll head off into the woods like Hansel and Gretel.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

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The big discussion at the space store this afternoon was over whether certainty ought to be heavier than uncertainty. A small boy named Luke came in and told me that he was from the planet Seattle.
I hear it's lovely there this time of year.

People have been trying to talk to me today, and I'm only realizing it after they go away. I must seem like a terribly rude girl.

Last night I went to see Caribou and Super Furry Animals at Neumos. I was a little concerned about Caribou because there are bands who just sound better on the radio, and I worried that they would be one of them. But then I realized that there were two drum sets with each drum individually mic'ed, and I knew we'd be ok. I was really, really pleased with them.
SFA was also good, but I haven't been feeling very well and ducked out before the end of the set--I'd lost track of Kathleen anyway, and Neumos was uncomfortably packed.

Despite still feeling vaguely yucky, I'm heading out shortly for Moroccan with the Steph and Ryan crew. One of these days, I'll finish cleaning my apartment.

Friday, November 25, 2005

I hope all of your Thanksgiving celebrations were as much fun as mine was. There was much food, much drinking, a bunch of hand turkeys, and Twister.

I cooked and cooked yesterday, and only burned myself a little bit. Julie brought over a table so that we would have somewhere to put all the food. And lord, was there food. There were about fifteen people in and out of here, and I've almost recovered from my hangover enough to start cleaning my apartment.

Tonight I think I'll be going to Neumos for the Super Furry Animals/Caribou show, and then tomorrow I'm up in Greenwood at the space store.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I sat alone at a bar in a club last night, between sets, drinking Stella. Stella tastes like Tsingtao, and it was one of the few times that I have found myself feeling nostalgic for China. And not even China so much, just the night that Scott and I found ourselves drinking and dancing and babbling drunkenly until late into the night. My usual ease has gone on vacation and I notice that I'm stopping and starting sentences where once there would have been no trouble.
It makes me wonder, is all.

If you've ever wondered what the boy with the crooked smile looks like, I can tell you that he bears enough resemblance to the guy singing for Band of Horses that, when he walked in the first time, I found myself looking for a place to hide. Which I guess just goes to show how over that I'm not.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I think I'm being a little too cavalier about the whole thing. Last year I was completely twigged and over-organized. This year I'm going, "Well, I just had twenty people over a few weeks ago, and that was fine. Cooking dinner for almost that many won't be any big deal." Which is so, so wrong, and I need to get my act together. Also, I need to start my thankful list:

That I showed up two years ago with nothing but a car full of stuff and now find myself surrounded by the most amazing people I've ever known.

That there are people all over the country that will pet me like a kitten when I'm sad.

That Seattle is full of boys with tattoos.

That my family, if not happy, is at least healthy. Same goes for me, too.

That I have a job that I love and an apartment that I love in a city that I love.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

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Sometimes the nights smell softly of wet paint while an album I remember from the days before freedom plays in the background. That's the only time now when an animal faith in the length of my bones is enough. Too often I find myself looking into the wrong parts of people's eyes.

And in any case, the pitter-patter of certain feet isn't to be heard in these parts again, thanks to the tearing of membranes too fragile to be seen. I think of the story "The Veldt," and how the walls come alive--how there are lions on the other side of all of our walls. I'm not sure what the gaps in our skin are meant to tell us, but if we don't concatenate correctly, you and I, we might combust.

Monday, November 21, 2005

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Grocery shopping yesterday, I crushed my right ring finger in between my eighteen-pound frozen turkey and the side of the freezer case. It's still a little munged up today, sore and bruised. Train Wreck harassed me about it all day long, but I think that any man who agrees to the nickname "train wreck" should not be the one throwing stones.
During my walk back to my apartment this afternoon, something got trapped underneath one of my contacts, and I ended up going most of the way able to see out of only one eye. This is how I spent my freshman year of high school: with only one contact.

You know, I really like it when a band is so good I find myself grinning like a dork through their whole set. It's the reason I go to so many shows. Just a couple more weeks, and I'll get to see them again.
Tomorrow night Band of Horses is playing, and I'll probably be at the White Horse beforehand. Wednesday, I'll start peeling-and-cutting vegetables for Thanksgiving.

For a lot of years, I ate approximately four Thanksgiving dinners. Festivities would be held separately with each parent's and step parent's family, all usually on the same day. By the last stop I'd be in tears, begging them not to make me eat any more. Eventually the gatherings from my dad and my stepmother's families merged, and my mom and ex-stepfather's families pretty much stopped celebrating. Those were some of the best years, the years when forty or fifty of my closest friends and family would invade someone's house and eat until they couldn't argue anymore.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

One of the first albums I ever owned was the soundtrack to The Muppet Movie. I'd spend hours laying on the floor, giant headphones plugged into the record player, singing along with "Rainbow Connection."
And so I wonder if I'm temperamentally predisposed towards sentimentality, towards going mushy too much and yet really not often enough. Or can I use the frog defense, and blame it all on the hours of Kermit?

I finished knitting my first ever pair of mittens yesterday, and wore them out last night. As is the case with most cold-weather things, I had no idea how complicated mittens actually are. It turns out that, for one, you have to put them on before you put on your coat, otherwise the cuffs get all bunched up and annoying. Also, they have to be taken off in order to do anything, which means that when you put them back on the coat issue comes up again. It's altogether terribly confusing. Fortunately, my mittens are fantastic.

And lastly, the hand turkeys. I made them, in 1999 right around Thanksgiving, into a symbol of my frustration with the work of the artist Rothko. My humanities teacher and I argued constantly about abstract impressionism, until one day I led a hand turkey uprising and convinced all of my classmates to make them so that we could cover her room in my point. She bribed a group of younger students to tear them down, but the obsession had already started. (At the end of that year, we gave her a photo album full of hand turkeys, as well as a hand turkey manifesto that I wrote. Yes, I have always been this girl.)
Every Thanksgiving since then, we've made hand turkeys. We made them all the way through college and the last couple of years in Seattle. When the Peach People came to town, she left a hand turkey on my wall. I keep them all, of course, in a file in my filing cabinet. They go back up on the wall for Thanksgiving each year.

Of course, they have to come down by the beginning of December, because then it's time to make the Postmodern Christmas Tree.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

I went to a lecture yesterday on transgenics and zebrafish, the burden of which was that scientists really like to make things glow. Actually, it was all about using zebrafish embryos to watch development because they're see-through, and then making them glow later to help study things like TB. It was truly cool, and I got to look through a microscope at little wiggly things.
I like science.

Later, there was an impromptu happy hour with my coworkers, at which I managed to tell a joke so offensive that John swears he hadn't heard anything so bad during his 5 years in the Marines. I'm absurdly pleased with myself. Afterwards, Steph and Ryan made a yummy dinner and we went downtown to see the new Harry Potter.

Today was my volunteer training for the space travel supply store, and then a trip to pick up some stuff for Thanksgiving. Waiting for the light to change, a man told me that he liked my jeans. This was gratifying--they're my favorites. The Muppet Movie is tonight's midnight movie, and then tomorrow is grocery shopping for Thanksgiving and then the Tullycraft show.

I think I'll probably start my annual Thanksgiving wigging tomorrow. I need to make a couple of lists.

I am so, so overbooked these days. This is fine in several ways, but I keep forgetting to return phone calls and emails, and I'm neglecting the new people I've met because the friends I already have are so much fun. It's also my excuse for being even less interesting than usual. I'm not used to being so busy.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

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I had coffee with Alissa this morning. Alissa is the only Fulbright Scholar I've ever known that wasn't someone who was teaching a class that I was taking, and so even though we're friends I still hold her in a little bit of awe. We spent a bit of time talking about how nice it is to live in a place like Seattle where we can be girls that do things alone. Neither of us grew up in towns and families that cotton to things like that. It was a lot of smoke-blowing and prevaricating, really, but also mostly true. It is nice that I can be in public alone. These are baby steps.

In the spirit of this, I headed down to Eliot Bay for the John Hodgman reading. (Actually, it appears that there may have been people I know there, but I had fallen into Raymond Carver and forgot to pay attention to who was walking in.)
Now that I have heard an acoustic version of "Baby Got Back" sung by a man in a coonskin cap, I can die happy.

Mornings, I kick through piles of leaves and think about slugs. I like how a slug's feelers are its eyes, how it has to be very careful just how it's seeing things so that it doesn't get hurt. I'm not sure how I manage to smile at my city but frown at its people, but most of my trouble is that I'm scared of you. Someday maybe I'll learn how to stop avoiding your eyes, learn to stop talking so fast, and then you'll see. And I think it's that day--the day that things slow down and you are able to see--that scares me so bad.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

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According to the dentist, I have super-fine teeth, and it's the rest of my mouth that's a problem. He's going to have someone remove Edward, the lump of scar tissue on the inside of my lip. But about the real problem, he said a lot of scary things like "splints" and "jaw surgery."
All y'all bitches who mocked my abject fear of the dentist can come over and help me eat soup through my feeding tube.
(This is probably a good time to tell you all that I've never had anything done to my teeth aside from some sealants when I was a kid.)

Monday, November 14, 2005

We knew, as kids, that 32 degrees meant freezing, because it was only when the temperature got that low that we were allowed to wear pants instead of skirts to school. It's not something that happens often in Florida--the freezing--but starting around December I would put a dish of water on the top step most evenings in the hopes that it would turn to ice in the night. It never, ever froze, and while I'm not sure if that was because I picked the wrong night or because there was too much water in the dish or because the overhang on the side of our trailer kept out the worst of the cold, I am sure it's something I've never forgotten. My winter mornings for years were a little bit like finding out anew daily that there is no Santa Claus.
I was nineteen before I actually saw frozen water that hadn't come from a freezer, at a lake in Asheville with Pete and Jonas and Phil. Every winter since then I have considered returning to my little dish experiment, but I am scared and childish and shrinking from disappointment. So I don't, even though I know that someday it might.

We all realize that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, right? And that you can all expect buckets of sentimentality from over here for the next week or so? Ok, just making sure we're all on the same page.

The flannel sheets have gone back on my bed, and whichever of the fellows was here earlier this year making fun of my flannel sheets can just bite me. They're cozier than cozy.

I have a dentist appointment tomorrow, an appointment that I just remembered as I'm sitting here eating candy. I do not like dentists, and while I have been joking about having him replace all of my teeth with gold ones so that I'll be prepared to go marauding on the high seas, I'd really rather just stay away.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

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I have trouble cutting round vegetables into rectangles. This is probably a metaphor for something, but I'm too tired for metaphors. In case you were wondering, I used this recipe with zucchini instead of squash, which I added halfway through because zucchini cooks so much faster.

Josh joined me for a drink at the White Horse last night before the show, and then we made it to the Showbox just in time for Leslie Feist's set. The girl standing in front of me never stopped talking and Leslie's equipment was a little screwed up, but the woman has one of the coolest voices going.

We elbowed our way through the crowd from the bar to get closer to the stage for the Broken Social Scene set, which is something that I'm getting better at doing. While we waited, they played most of a Jackson 5 album. It turns out that after a song or two, the Jackson 5 are really, really annoying.
Broken Social Scene is made up of, I don't know, like 30 people, most of which were wandering around the stage at some point or another. I'd lose sight of someone playing the trombone, and he'd turn up a few minutes later playing the drums. I couldn't keep track of what everyone was doing, which didn't really matter, because it was all amazing. They played for about two hours, and seriously brought the rock (as Scott would say) for all of it.

Once upon a time I took pictures for a boyfriend's band, and I've realized lately that I really miss doing show photos. My new camera came yesterday and I got to try it out last night, and I'm pretty pleased. The trouble is that I like to try for a tight frame, and in a concert setting it's really hard to get that to focus with the light available. Which just means that I'll have to fiddle with the camera some more, and go to more shows. Scarlet Room, anyone? Band of Horses? Caribou/Super Furry Animals?

Friday, November 11, 2005

As I juggled my bags at the front door earlier this evening--the veterans gave me a chance to stay out of the office and do things like go shopping in the rain and wander around a Japanese supermarket--a man in a jumpsuit asked where he could find my building manager. I told him and walked inside, where everything felt darker than it had when I left this afternoon. Things that I had left on were off, and I realized slowly that the power had gone out and the man in the jumpsuit belonged to the truck from the power company.

You know how, in John Cheever's story "The Enormous Radio," the people's marriage looks perfect until some outside object comes in and shakes the cracks to the surface? Well, the first time I wrote about that story it was because I believed that their trouble came from our habit as people to believe that everyone else has everything figured out, and the snapping back when we realize that's not true. But the story has been on my mind lately, and I've decided that the problem really is that we believe that other people hold the keys to our secrets.
That's the same, only different.

I have parsnips that I need to figure out how to cook, and an acorn squash with which to do the same. I'll be cooking and cleaning and knitting, hopefully, before tomorrow night's Broken Social Scene show. I'm not going to tell you about the disturbing dreams I had last night after yesterday's evening with some of the funniest people I know, but rest assured that they were strange. And that you all were there. Occasionally, naked.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

If you've been playing along on the home version, you'll be aware that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and that it is coming up quickly. You might also remember that last year I hosted a Thanksgiving extravaganza. So! I'll be hosting again this year, kids, and you're all invited.

No, I mean it. I do not know who is going to be in town and who isn't, and so if you're going to be around and would like to join in, let me know. The more the merrier.
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I was bullied into a flu shot today, and as a result haven't been able to lift my arm all day. The people that told me that it wouldn't hurt are so fired.

I am very, very tired, in ways that cannot be cured by quitting with the going out and drinking. Which is a little bit awful, because the going out and drinking were supposed to be the cure.

(p.s.: There are a bunch of trees on my walk to work that are a lovely sort of deep peach color right now, and I'd like to make my whole wardrobe out of them. Also, my insider at last night's Def Leppard concert informs me that not only were there banana clips and tapered black jeans, there were hand painted wolf jackets.)

Monday, November 07, 2005

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Hereabouts, it's open season.

Tomorrow is happy hour with my coworkers, Wednesday is the photographers, and Thursday is Cat's going away party. After this weekend my friend Cat will no longer live in Seattle, and that's strange beyond belief.
If anyone wants to help me interpret my 403(b), I'd be much obliged. There might even be cookies involved.

Looks like I'll be in Nashville and then Boston in March. In case anyone wants to hang out.

I'm beat. If you want to thumb wrestle, then we'll talk. Otherwise, I'll be napping.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

My voice has been losing all of its higher notes lately, from going out too often and drinking too much in too many bars. I sound like I've been smoking unfiltered Luckys for the last 60 years--on the phone this morning, Tobes thought he'd called the wrong number. I kind of like it when this happens; it becomes harder for me to get shrill when I'm nervous.

My apartment smells yummy from the zucchini bread I'm making for brunch tomorrow. My coworkers will probably be getting some cranberry-raisin coffee cake later this week, and the little bits of free time I can find for the next few weeks will probably be taken up with trying out recipes for Thanksgiving.
I can't help it--it starts to rain and I get domestic.

Cat sold a few prints on Thursday and Janet sold some paintings, and in all the event was satisfactory. My plans for last night went from staying home and drinking tea to the Minus the Bear show to Will's house in West Seattle. Tonight, I'll be at movies and bars with the ladies. Everything promises to be entertaining, at least for the immediate future.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Tonight is Cat and Caroline's show in Pioneer Square, and I expect you all to be there. No, I don't care if you don't live in Seattle.

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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

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At night, when I'm riding the bus home from Capitol Hill, I find that my scamper from 10th to my street approaches a gallop--the closest I ever get to running unless the ice cream man is getting away with the last screwball. This is because my route takes me under the interstate, right past what is going to be a park but is currently mud quilted with Honey Buckets and homeless guys. I wouldn't look threatening if I was carrying three handguns and a Marine, so I do what any smart diminutive single girl would do: I scuttle and hope for the best.

Along with covering David Bowie, the cool thing in bands seems to be switching instruments. This is just something I've noticed recently, where the guitar player will go to the drums and the bass player will pick up the maracas...and then a song later, they switch again. I don't know what's going on there.

Hurrying towards the bus in the rain tonight, I was stopped by a bald man with an English accent and a suitcase on wheels. He asked if I happened to smoke and I said no, and a little while later I realized that I hadn't seen him come from anywhere or go anywhere. I'm not at all positive he actually existed.