Friday, November 28, 2008

Joe's turkducken is a brilliant creation for many reasons, but the main one is that he makes a stuffing to match each bird so that none of the birds taste like the others. This frankenbird is art in poultry, and I am thrilled to be eating sandwiches made out of it for days.

The only trouble with a turducken is that all of the birds are de-boned for maximum stuffing capability, so there's no wishbone to be broken. Josh's tofurkey promised fake wishbones, but turned out to be made only of lies. I'm not sure what I would have wished for in any case, so maybe that's all for the best.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tomorrow we're going to wander around a table full of food like in a Dickens novel, all covered with birds and cheeses and bread and wine, all warm and safe, fielding phone calls and text messages from people who are also warm and safe but elsewhere. Not just well-fed, but overly fed. Stuffed, and only capable of watching Step Up 2 for the eleventh time and imitating the puppy cam yet again.

And this is perhaps what I am most thankful for, to have the great good fortune of being safe and warm and loved and full, in times when so many everywhere are none of these things.

Happy Thanksgiving, internet!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Shockingly, I have come out of this weekend with an enhanced version of the cold I started on last week. This is almost certainly a direct result of doing things like coming home at dawn after piling onto a couch like the puppy cam with a bunch of my friends and kissing all manner of people, and I accept full responsibility, because it was awesome. I should probably learn to comport myself with more decorum, but there's time for that later, when there isn't so much fun to be had. After all, it's not like anyone ever looks back on their life and thinks, man, I wish I had had less fun. I could really use some more frown lines.

Honestly, I just can't think of a better way to be spending this section of my life than by drinking champagne at a tables full of people who are funny and passionate and creative. These are the times to enjoy, and sleeping and head colds can wait until later. In the meantime I will be romping harum scarum all over Seattle.

Tonight we're having a pre-Thanksgiving potluck with a bunch of people that I won't see on The Day itself. Because I don't know if you've heard, but Frankenbird Day is this week, and I will spend all of it cooking and cuddling with the dog and watching dance-off movies and laughing and probably playing Rock Band really badly.

This is what I plan to be paying attention to for now. In matters of the heart, I am on hiatus.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My counselor called a few days ago to let me know that today is National Survivors of Suicide Day, in case I wanted to go to Redmond or Tacoma and talk to strangers about my dead ex boyfriend. (I didn't.) In a little over a month it'll be a year since Dream killed himself, and I can say without hesitation that it has been the hardest year of my life.

I am a girl with the arrogant trait of taking blame for things that no one has offered blame for, for seizing burdens that no one has given up. This year has been a constant fight to get not just over but past that, because it would have destroyed me this time. It was a fight to stop feeling guilty for ending a bad relationship with a good person, and to stop feeling guilty for needing to cut off communication with him in the couple of weeks between our breakup and his suicide. I didn't kill Dream, Dream killed himself, and even today I have to remind myself of that regularly.

Even still I often feel like poison.

In any case, I am spectacularly lucky to have the people in my life that I do, that all of those friends and family and strangers rallied around me and kept up a constant stream of support. Not a single person ever let me feel like I was burdening them with my grieving and recovery, up to and including the night that my next door neighbor heard me crying through the wall and came over at 2 am to make sure everything was ok. In January I quoted Love is a Mixtape where he says, "You lose a certain kind of innocence when you experience this type of kindness. You lose your right to be a jaded cynic. [...] People kept showing me unreasonable kindness, inexplicable kindness, indefensible kindness. People were kind when they knew that nobody would ever notice, much less praise them for it...I had no idea how to live up to that kindness." And that has never stopped being true. I don't know how I ever deserved such kindness, but this is not a gift horse whose mouth I am going to open.

Although I have dated a little bit since Dream I haven't yet had another relationship, and I am constantly rehearsing that conversation in my head, the past relationships conversation, where I have to admit that my last boyfriend committed suicide just after we broke up. This is always going to be a part of who I am, now, and it has shaded my color just a little. It will never go away, no matter how far into the background it fades.

It always gets easier as life moves on, and I've tried to use the experience as a reason to grow deeper, to try harder to live with deliberation and kindness, to not waste this time that I have here. Henry Miller said, "What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such." I think that's the only way to make getting through this worthwhile, to not have wasted the lessons of this terrible year.

(PS, Jon Madison also has a SOS post up.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I am on the exhaustion plan this week despite my oncoming cold, because apparently I didn't learn anything at all from my throat infection in March, back when my throat was so swollen that all of my speech was muffled and thick and sounded like a bad Kermit the Frog impression, and my doctor took one look and gave me a fistful of vicodin. I don't heal very quickly, and spending a lot of time in crowded rooms full of germy strangers is not going to help me improve, although I would prefer to avoid a repeat of March's experience. (Although, for the record, none of this week should involve ugly male strippers or shotter pops or running into exboyfriends outside of strip clubs or Canadians taking off their pants in the street, like the weekend before that epically disgusting round of illness did. So maybe I'm safe.)

What the next week will involve will be a whole mess of shows, at the Showbox and Neumos and Sole Repair, and a last-minute visit from my favorite girl in San Fransisco, and a hilarious dinner party, and probably a lot of whiskey and champagne, and hopefully also a whole lot of soup. I'm getting a little alarmed whenever I look at my calendar, because there are a bunch of other things that I also need to put on there even though there are no open days left, but at least it keeps me from staring at my telephone that is stubbornly not ringing.

All of which is just to say that I am waiting for a phone call that I am not getting, and if I have to infect the entire Seattle metro area with head colds to avoid thinking about it, well, that's just what I'll do.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Constantly washing up on the white sand beaches where I grew up were tiny clams called coquina. It's not hard to get tossed along by the drag of the sea when you're so small, and each retreat of the waves would leave the sand strewn with their soft pastel shells. They would immediately and speedily rebury themselves in the dirt, heading back toward the water. It was easy to find them if you dug up a whole deep shovelful of sand, but individually they were always a lot faster than we were, always just below where we thought they would be.

Near the roots of the mangrove trees on the bay coast behind my grandparent's house lived sand crabs, who vanished almost as suddenly as they were seen into holes they'd dug in the ground. Sand crabs can hold their breath for six months, and so they had no interest in popping back out to check if we were still there. Where the ground had once been covered with scuttling legs was suddenly only emptiness and dismayed seabirds. I like to imagine them gossiping by clicking their little claws and listening closely at the walls of their tunnels, talking in crab Morse code.

In China, Scott and I met a man at a noisy crowded nightclub who had learned English in Ireland and therefore tried to speak to us in a garbled Chinese-Irish accent. The only word the three of us had in common was "Budweiser", but it seemed to be enough.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I have no head at all for heights, although you wouldn't know it by the way I keep climbing up to the top of the wrong buildings and peering down, just to make sure the ground is still there. I like the feeling of spinning, and it seems that the only way to get near to that is to trick my own brain. Outside of my head the world has a tendency to stay disconcertingly still.

Sometime in the last few days I tripped over my big stupid feet and fell back into this rut, which must be following me, or else I'm going in circles. I splashed down knee deep in memories, memories that are staining my tights and seeping into my shoes, memories which do not smell as good as one would think that they should. Feelings are pretty boring, especially since I keep having the same ones over and over again, and I think I have already used every single word I know in every possible order. I must be going in circles. (Fortunately, next week is Thanksgiving, and nothing hauls a girl out of a rut like a roomful of friends and a bunch of dance-off movies and a plate of meat wrapped in meat wrapped in meat and covered with meat.)

But you know what I've been thinking. In Trinidad there's a member of the order Embioptera, the web spinners, that makes sheets of silk with its forearms. It uses them to build a tent wrapped around trees, and it lives under these webs, safe from predators, waiting for rainstorms so that it can chew tiny holes in its covering and drink from the droplets. They might not be the cutest of creatures, but I think they have the right idea.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My favorite sign today was held by a small boy with giant eyes and brown curls. He had clearly made the sign himself, and it read, "Marrie hoo you want." All around us today were families of all kinds, and tons of kids who had made their own signs. This morning my hangover and I walked up the hill to my best gay's apartment and we rallied and then marched under a clear blue sky, because he deserves the same opportunities for joy and misery as I do. It all no longer felt futile and frustrating. It felt essential.

When we reached downtown, at the bottom of the hill, there were people as far ahead of us and as far behind us as we could see. We marched with something more than 6,000 people today, and I will tell you for free that seeing that giant line of people stretched for blocks and blocks and blocks made me all wet in the eyes.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tomorrow, I'm going to my first protest/rally, to protest a vote that was made in a state that I don't live in. Which feels futile, and frustrating, but not as futile or as frustrating as it feels outrageous that a state constitution is potentially going to be amended to take away rights that people already had. Florida is disappointing too--and I donated just as much to the No On Prop 2 campaign as I did to No On Prop 8--but California is terrifying.

I think that this will all end sooner rather than later, but now feels like the moment where to stay silent is to agree. We like to do this, in America, this thing where people vote to deny their fellow citizens the same rights that they themselves enjoy. I have a pretty privileged position, being a white heterosexual middle class female, but it wasn't that long ago that people just like me had to fight for the right to vote, and the right to marry men of another color. Everything that feels like a given to me was something that someone else had to work for, and now it's my turn to struggle for the rights of my friends.

All we can do tomorrow is say, "Sorry your neighbors took away the rights your courts gave you, California." We don't have gay marriage in Washington State, either, but we didn't get a chance to vote for it, so I guess we have to start with the places that did.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

In the stories the Lotophagi sit under trees on a mysterious island and eat a fruit of forgetting, a fruit that leaves their visitors shore-bound and without a thought for returning home. Maybe Odysseus bundles them back on the ships and ties them to the floor and makes them go back anyway. Maybe. In Tennyson, certainly, the weary seafarers stick around to "live and lie reclined." And why not? The only thing waiting for them after they leave the land of the Lotos Eaters is a cyclops and a lot of going around in circles. Better to stay in the hollows and keep forgetting.

It could be that what they were eating, stretched long under the trees, was a kind of persimmon. Science and poets are still unclear on that point. Persimmon are the sort of fruit best eaten gently rotting, because when they are firm and ripe they are also bitter and astringent. I remember that there was a persimmon tree in your yard a lifetime ago, and one afternoon we pulled the old couch outside and under the limbs, lounging there for hours drinking vintage bourbon and waiting languidly for the afternoon rains. Each bite of fruit numbed our tongues and kissing in those seconds tasted like nothing at all, not even ourselves.

Sometimes when this lifetime's cooler rains roll in I think about that warm day in the hollows, the sound of cicadas rising on all sides, the soft thumps of ripe citrus dropping from the trees, the clink of ice in our glasses, the worn upholstery itchy on my skin. The warm drops that soon flooded over our skin, and the light kisses that tasted only of forgetting.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I wonder how many times we are going to have to do these circus acts before we are freed from this wizard's enchantments, how many times I will douse myself in kerosene and try to run across this tightrope before the flames burn through under my feet. We didn't sign up to be carnival folk, but then we did offer up our skins in the name of progress in the only language we knew at the time.

I wonder at the effort, though, not sure why I am constantly scraping off the salty charred remnants covering my bones and only waiting until the next layer grows back still shiny and pink before picking up the lighter again. It occurs to me that there must be a less costly way to pay myself out of this pattern. Misadventure is only fun in hindsight if we all make it out alive.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I guess at one point there had to have been some water. Steam, maybe? In any case, glances condensed like fog and dripped down inside my eyeballs, that's for sure. And we all know that water's super power is that it wears away, incrementally, without notice. So that before I knew it your winking had broken through my cornea, had leaked all into my vitreous humor, had streamed down my cheeks and soaked my clothes.

All of this I could have stopped, had anything other than those drops been driving the car. Laying down in front of the wheels is only a romantic gesture as long as it stops them from moving.

Once we caught a field mouse, because it stood frozen there in front of us and it seemed cruel, somehow, to leave it there paralyzed in the path. Better to stoop with our huge hands and settle it gently out of harm's way, in the way we so earnestly wanted something larger than ourselves to do for us. Because we couldn't relocate each other, with hands so cold they would freeze to skin, and so we stood there stricken in each other's path and looked to the mouse to show us how to be lifted.

But I remember the frantic beating of its heart against my fingertips, the way it looked up into my face, terrified and bold, watching for a hint of its last moment. I was sure in that second that we were not saving the mouse from anything, that it would have been infinitely less cruel to leave it there gently trembling in the grass and instead merely stepped around it. To have left it to the momentary fear of our shadows rather than introducing it to the air and our skin and to a new patch of land where it was probably not even attempting to travel.

Things would probably have been less confusing, later, if I had paused then to notice how my own heart sped up and throbbed in my own fingers in concert with the mouse's. I missed the warning from my own blood, crouching bent below your shadow in the grass.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Enceladus, one of Saturn's moons, is maybe covered with volcanoes actively exploding with ice, in defiance of what we want volcanoes to look like. Those volcanoes could not only be shooting the ice into the air, forming clouds and clouds made of cold little particles, but out into space itself. Enceladus' ice volcanoes could very well be what makes up Saturn's mysterious blue E ring.

A cold volcano is somehow much more frightening than a hot one, possibly because we have no rings made of lava, no matter how high our own mountains throw their insides.

I was reading recently about a volcano in Japan, Mount Mihara, which has a spot close to the top from which you can jump straight down into the lava. (It's also where they imprisoned Godzilla in Godzilla 1985.) Thousands of people have likely hopped into the fire over the years, no matter how much a fence at the bottom might have discouraged the uncommitted. It erupted for the last time in 1986, and I can't help but wonder how many molecules from those people were tossed into the air along with the lava plume. Perhaps we don't have rings made of fire, but instead rings made of the missing, rotating softly, never actually gone.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Friends, I am still high from Tuesday. We've still got a whole lot of work to do, a lot of things to fix and build and swap around, a few state constitutional amendments to knock down, but it doesn't feel like we're going to have to go it alone anymore. We try so hard to make the world worth living in and safe for other people, because we honestly want to leave behind a better place than we've inherited (although my worms probably wish I would not take out my enthusiasm on their taxed digestive systems). But for so long it's felt like we've been trying to make paper snowflakes with safety scissors, and all of a sudden someone has walked up and said, hey, I've got the keys to a place where there are real tools. Let's make something beautiful together.

On Tuesday I stood there in a room packed full of friends and acquaintances and strangers, full of people I have laughed with and volunteered with and with people I might never see again, and every single one of those people was laughing or shouting or crying or hugging or kissing or everything at once. One giant joyful organism. We wandered from street party to bar to dance party and eventually, it was time to go home. My cab driver was elated, and I was elated, and the streets were blocked and people were laughing and hugging and dancing still, and our eyes met in the rearview mirror. My cabbie--who will be a citizen in six months, and thrilled to be joining this America--and I shrugged at each other and hopped out of the cab and melted back into the throng, which welcomed us with open arms and open beers.
Nothing else would have made any sense.

Later, in the earliest hours of the morning, the street party broke up and the revelers grabbed brooms and trash bags and cleaned up the party before daybreak. Always trying to make things better, and finally believing that we can.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I have finally come home from celebrating, stone sober, and it is only now starting to hit me what has happened. Because this is History. In Washington State, it's beyond that--not only did Obama win, but Gregoire is winning, Darcy Burner is winning, Death With Dignity is winning, mass transit and parks and happiness and hope are all winning, and Florida managed to not ruin it for everyone.

I don't think it would be an exaggeration to say that this has been the best night of my life.

Once we knew what things looked like, we took to the streets. I have never hugged so many strangers, stopped traffic at so many intersections, felt so much a part of anything before. After everything that has happened, everything we've been through, suddenly none of it matters.

I think we clogged the city tonight with thousands of people who felt the same way. Thousands of people who finally feel like they have been heard. The real work is yet to be done, but this is the best of all possible starts. This is really why I have taken tomorrow off of work--to be able to walk the streets of this new world.

Monday, November 03, 2008

What with tomorrow being election day, and all, I'm feeling constantly a little bit queasy. On top of that, I suddenly find myself deep in some totally unexpected potential-romance angst (resolved), and then there's all of this with my grandfather. So basically, tonight feels like every Christmas morning ever all rolled up in all of the stage fright I've ever had, stuffed into a concrete ball in my stomach. I swear I keep getting the vapors. None of this was what I had in mind when I said I was thinking about giving up No Feelings. Foreign friends keep sending messages of good luck from all over the place, which makes me all wet in the eyes each and every time.

So I guess my plan for tonight is to turn up the tunes, eat a pizza, and figure out something to wear to election night parties, and try not to injure myself while doing any of the above things and staring at the telephone. I'll slip a little booze into some hot chocolate, maybe, watch something in black and white, and hope that by tomorrow at least some of this will be over.

Good luck tomorrow, America.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Dear everyone,

Aside from the giant, devastating loss of my grandfather yesterday, October was the month I have been waiting for all year. It was made of sweetly crisp evenings and technicolor trees, a beautiful wedding, new friends and old friends and a little bit of heartwrenching change. I love that we have so much rain in Seattle, but even I can not argue with how lovely all of these clear blue and white days have been.

Losing my grandfather feels like falling and having all of the wind knocked out of me. He was a gruff and difficult to know man, I'm sure, but he was the best grandad a little girl could have had. My family has decided not to have a memorial service, so I'm struggling with whether or not to go back to Florida, wondering if there is any use in showing up a week late and stumbling around town trying to find some sort of resolution and starting things over for my mother and grandmother who would have had all that time to grieve. He was an old man who died quietly at home, and that's the best that most of us can hope for.

Last night I gathered myself together and went out dressed as a giraffe to have too many drinks and hug a lot of people and afterparty at the speakeasy. It was a pretty epic evening, and I think that the events that were set in motion will have interesting effects in the months to come. Might be just about time to roll up my No Feelings work.

Housekeepingwise, I started one of these things to keep track of things I want to keep track of, lots of which will probably end up back here all twisted around into a metaphor. The air is thinner out here, but I like it better.

And just now it started raining again, and I am preparing to fill my freezer with food, and thinking about my next steps. They look more like dance steps than ever before.