Thursday, December 1, 2011 we are

My life is just moving so quickly right now. It's the "holiday season," and for most of us, that means lots of stuff to do, and very little time to do it in. I'm definitely going to be moving at the end of January, whether I buy my own house or rent another apartment, so I've been systematically cleaning out the closets in my house for the last several weeks. I'm starting to get frustrated because my mom says she's with me for the cleaning and the downsizing and all, but I just can't seem to get her to do it.

It's funny how we all react to stress in different ways. My mom shuts down, and I tend to overreact. Probably three months after we actually move, she'll be able to sort through her shit and be like, "oh, I could have thrown this away!" (or donated it, or sold it, etc.).

Everyone has parties at Christmas. There's wrapping parties (just an excuse to drink lots of wine and eat more cheese than is good for anyone. ...cheese...yum...), decorating parties (come over and decorate my house for me! I mean, with me!), gift exchange party (find something in your house that you hate and then pawn it off on someone else and then get something else that you hate from their house!), and then there are just the "you're really going to get loaded and eat way too much while we all sit around and watch "Christmas Story" for the eighty-millionth time" parties, and those are my favorite. Plus, you have to work in all the other stuff that you normally do like grocery shopping, school, studying for finals, hanging out with people you actually like as opposed to people you're obligated to see once a year. It all adds up.

I'll be happy when it's all over with, and I mean that. I don't revel in Christmastime. It's more of a burden than a gift to me, and I'm pretty sure the Christ Child wouldn't have looked kindly upon people grabbing a hundred waffle irons simply because they were $2.00, or pepperspraying each other in his name.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dear Dr. Psychiatrist

Hi. Look, I like you, okay? I actually trust you to do your job. That's why I won't roll up my sleeves. I'm not going back to The Hospital. No, I won't submit myself to a nurse so she can look. I don't care how discrete she is. We both know what she's going to find. I won't lie, I'm under a lot of pressure here, but if you try to send me back to The Hospital, it absolutely WILL be over my dead body. Literally.

Thanks for your understanding in this matter.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Yo tengo que hacer quimica...

So, I'm trying to get a good grade in Algebra. It's not working. Last night, I got my first B on a test. I've gotten D's on the last two. I'm pulling a strong C in the class, but I just can't deal with that. I'm too much of a perfectionist. I want that B.

Anyway, next semester I need to take intro to Chemistry and Biology. The good news is that Biology ought to be a breeze for me. I'm good at Biology. I've never taken Chemistry, though, and I'm worried that my D's in math are going to creep in there.

I think this might be good for me. I'm used to not studying much and just winging it. I write essays the night before they're due, research and all. I just hate not being inherently good at something.

The first person to call me Hermione Grainger gets punched in the neck. Besides, she was good at everything.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Atheist's Daughter: Review

When I was growing up, the best word to describe me was "precocious," though I think that was a misnomer. I was smart, yes, and older in maturity than I should have been, but I don't think there was anything inherently cute about me. I was a disturbed kid. I started reading Poe when I was in grade-school, and he spoke to me in a way that other authors just couldn't. When the rest of my class was having fun with cute comics and CS Lewis serials, I was memorizing "Annabel Lee" and being both repulsed and drawn to "The Black Cat."

I found that I loved Sci-Fi, and ate up Madeline L'Engel and Susan Cooper. I slowly but surely made my way towards Margaret Atwood and Isaac Asimov. I was onto Poul Andersen by my freshman year of high school, and the librarian introduced me to the Riftwar Saga by Raymond Feist, knowing I would love it.

My brother was really into Terry Brooks, and I snuck his "Magic Kingdom For Sale: Sold!" series one book at a time until he realized I was reading it, and openly allowed me to borrow any book I liked. It was actually a huge part of our relationship, because we hadn't grown closer as we grew older, and these books gave us something to talk about.

I found that I couldn't make myself like an author, such as Heinlein or Asimov. I just couldn't get into their books. I also found that just because a book was well-liked, such as Le Petite Prince or The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, that didn't automatically mean it was bad. It just meant that it appealed to more mainstream readers as well as Sci-Fi fans. I also learned to judge a book by its cover, or more specifically what the cover says about the book.

Now that I'm older, I'm branching out a lot more with my book selections, though I tend to stay close to Sci-Fi/Fantasy (or SF/F) genres, and I still find that YA fiction is better than just about anything else, George RR Martin notwithstanding. There seems to be a niche in the YA SF/F genre, though, that is becoming disturbing, and it encompasses the "Girl Hero" aspect. There are so few books in this category that are actually worth reading, and "The Hunger Games" trilogy pretty much makes up all of the books worth reading.

I don't have to expound on what's wrong with Twilight, since there are so many other people who have done just that, but even the Wicked Lovely saga by Melissa Marr is missing a lot of actual empowerment by substituting boyfriends for actual self-worth, though it is a good set of books so far.

The Atheist's Daughter, however, is sort of...bigger than these other books. It's different. The premise is Twilighty, only without the heroine finding mindless killing machines sexy. The idea is Wicked Lovely-ish, only without the heroine joining the ranks of the "other world" in order to change things from within. Instead, the heroine, Kristin, is her own stand-up self much like Katniss Everdeen, and she is not interested in becoming friends with much of anyone, let alone monsters.

Kristin has a special power much like all heroines in these sorts of stories. She is able to see when someone lies. Their mouths literally disappear, and it scares the crap out of her to the point that she was actually put in a mental institution for a while. The mental institution made Kristin somewhat of an outcast, but what was funny to me is that when her friend Gideon tells his father, the town pastor, that he's going to the prom with Kristin, Pastor objects with, "the atheist's daughter?" because that's so much worse than a mental issue. I really love it.

When I reviewed this book on my facebook page, the authors actually commented, and I have to say that they're pretty cool people (yes, Renee Harrell is a nom de plume). Some of the issues of note were: lying. Lying and not lying has a lot of mythological and historical significance. In times before literacy was widespread, a man's word was literally his bond. In Scotland, deals are still made binding by a handshake. Kristin can tell when someone lies, and if she lies herself, her mouth also disappears. The creatures she's up against...I suppose they're vampires after a fashion, but they're also sort of not. They worship deities of chaos and even make sacrifices to them, and the deities respond. I think there's this idea that if something is evil (and evil can totally be subjective in this book, depending on whose side you're seeing) that lying and cheating are just inherent in their nature, but lying is so important to not do for these creatures. Lying is bad. They feel and see the effects that Kristin feels and sees. The truth is that in lots of old religions, and even into new religions such as Wicca and neo-Paganism, lying is taboo. It robs you of your power. If you are a witch and you say you aren't, then you risk losing your power.

Next, I noted that this book is not without religion. The creatures talk to and are responded to by deities. Kristin has a physical reaction to religion, she can't even walk into a church because the church itself will repel her from its premises. The creatures note that most people like Kristin (so we know there are more like her!) don't survive in society as long as Kristin has, which makes me wonder if her mother's atheism is somehow connected to Kristin's continued survival and presence outside of psych wards. And while we're on the subject of Kristin's mother's unbelief, let's just say that she has very good reason for not believing in any God or god or greater power of any kind.

Lastly, I just have to say that this is perhaps the book that my reading journey has brought me to. There are two more in the works, and I absolutely cannot wait to read the heck out of them. Kristin is on her way to the top of the list, and I hope that people can get past the title which has that taboo word "atheist" in it, and really get into this saga.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Rain, rain

Well, we're having the first real rain of the season. It's rained a few times off and on, but today was the proverbial blustery day.

This hawk keeps flying by my window, and it's so big that it makes everything just a little bit darker. It finally feels like fall. I love it.

Next month, I'm going to finally meet my newest niece, and I'm so excited. She was born in July, and my mom went back to be with the family, but I couldn't go since she was going to be gone for the first week of school. I'm so excited about meeting her.

My older niece was just so amazing when I first saw her. She was so small and fragile-looking, but she had such a big personality. Even at six weeks old, she was talking and reaching for her mobile that hung over the changing table. She slept a lot too, but I just knew she was going to be an amazing human being, and she is. And now there's another one.

The jacaranda tree in the apartment complex across from my office is so green right now, and the dogwood tree that grows just outside my window has lost all its white flowers. Sometimes little sparrows perch on the top branches and sway with the breeze. I haven't seen or heard any of the wild parrots that roam around here. They must have all gone down south to Mexico.

My cat is getting his really thick winter coat. I brush him a lot more often now. Russian Blues have very short hair, but he tends to lose his glossy silver-blue tones if I don't brush him every other day right now. The guinea pigs used to get thick winter coats too. It was so funny, especially the little one would just look like a puff-ball.

Reflections in the water like shadows in my mind
Speak to me of passing days and nights, and passing time.
The falling leaves are whispering winter's on its way
I close my eyes remembering the warmth of yesterday

It seems a shame to see September swallowed by the wind
And more than that, it's oh so sad to see the summer end
And though the changing colors are a lovely thing to see
If it were mine ot make a change, I think I'd let it be

But I don't remember hearing anybody asking me...

-John Denver

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Family Ties

So, I was going to write an amusing observation about the current baby boom going on, but I need to work something else out first.

This weekend, I went down to San Diego to see my uncle and auntie. My uncle wanted to talk to my mom and auntie about selling my grandparent's house, as he's dying and he would like the money to go on vacations and see the world before he dies.

I'm not sure exactly what he has. I heard "congestive longword longword cardiopulmonary longword disease." I can tell you that his breathing is really laboured, and his coughs sound very deep-chested, like someone with bronchitis or pneumonia.

My uncle has alway been a part of my life. My dad was obviously not so great. He was an alcoholic, and abusive, and he clearly thinks that my worth is tied to my uterus. My uncle, on the other hand, has always loved me and been accepting of me. He doesn't have any grandchildren, but he takes my cousin's little girl out fishing, and his neighbor's grandsons, too. He's not perfect, but he's also not mean or cruel in any way and for a long time he was the only man I knew like that. He also totally loves his wife, and for a long time he was the only man I knew like that.

I don't know what else to say, or even how to end this. I hope he's okay. I hope he has more than just a few years left. I hope he sees the world.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Househunting: Buying a house when you're about to quit your job

It sounds like a recipe for disaster, right?

Actually, it might be the best decision for me, if I can find a place I can afford.

So, in order to get an apartment that has everything you need to live (like air conditioning and washer-dryer hookups) in Orange County, you have to pay upwards of 1300/month. We started out paying 1400/month for the place we have right now, and it's currently closer to 1600/ month. This is leaving very little extra for stuff like food, clothing, and paying off credit card debt, which is currently more important than food or clothing to me.

The other option is to buy a condo or townhouse, or, yes, even a mobile home. A 150,000 home will run you about 800/m mortgage payment. The drawback is that just about everywhere you go in OC, there is an association fee upwards of 200/m. The nice ones are around 400/m. The plan we have right now (my mother and I) is to have her cosign a loan if she can, get a three-bedroom whatever (I'm great with a mobile home as long as I can put flamingos on the lawn and christmas lights on the porch all year long) and rent out the master bedroom for about 500/m (depending) and have a goood chunk of the mortgage taken care of until after I get out of college, which I should start going to full time next summer/fall. (Summer I may go part-time, but just because you really can take only one class in the summer since the semester is so short.)

Now, on one hand this whole thing is frightening. I don't mind TMIing you and saying that every time I look at a property I like, I get a tickly feeling in my large intestine. It's scary as hell, but I feel like it's the best option for me and my mom right now. The only other option would be to get a one-bedroom, which would still run us aroun 1300/m. It's really horrid.

On the other hand, this is a really good decision. Lowering the house payment, hopefully taking on a renter, and getting an FHA or HUD loan are good things. They're designed for people like me. My job even has an assistance program, which is one of the only perks of working for the government.

We shall see how it all goes.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

American Holidays or, "No, really, not everyone celebrates Christmas."

So, I work in a multi-racial place for the government. There are a lot of people from other countries here, and a lot of them have no idea about Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter. So, they ask me. This is probably due to the fact that I'm easy to talk to and amazingly beautiful, but I like to think that it's also because I'm white.

I've explained that in the Christian world, Easter really is a lot more important that Christmas. Christmas is pretty much a secularized holiday, so I'm always surprised when people get a bee in their bonnet about it. I mean, if you really want to keep the sanctity of Christmas, then let's try to not kill anyone at Wal-Mart this year while you're pushing people out of the way (in the name of Jesus?) in order to get that $40.00 X-Box Kinect. I don't like Christmas, and the Wal-Mart tramplings are pretty much the reason why. Actually, what the Wal-Mart tramplings represent is really more my problem, but the dead people really upset me. Is an ipad really worth a human life? Is it?

Anyway, this always leads to wondering what I'm doing for Christmas, they always look a little disappointed that I'm just going to my brother's house, and we're going to have dinner together, and then the kids can open gifts. When pressed as to why I'm not surrounded by my huge extended family, I explain that they don't celebrate Christmas.

Well, they don't ignore Christmas. I think my buddhist cousin and her fiance put up some garland and fairy lights, and my unitarian Auntie puts out a Hanukkah bush for her granddaughter and lights some candles. My gay cousin and his boyfriend both head 'down the pub' to hang with their friends, and that's it. I mean, I don't have a huge family, and that's what we do. If my brother's in-laws didn't make such a big fuss about it (mostly because they have a tradition of opening packages of socks and underwear every Christmas), Christmas wouldn't be a big deal in my house at all.

I have to say, though, I have a lot of fun looking for gifts. Especially for my geekier friends. You wouldn't believe the different ways one can make something look like a blue police box!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

So, this one time my dad asked me if I'm gay...Hawwwwkward!

I need to preface this by saying that my dad did not ask me if I'm gay in order to help facilitate a coming-out for me, out of deep concern for my feelings and thoughts on the matter. No, my dad asked me because he's a narcissist who wants grandsons, and no one in the family seems to be giving them to him, and he wanted to know if he should give up on me or not.

I mean, at this point in my life, it's not like he could want anything from me other than grandchildren (specifically grandsons), right? Fathers just don't maintain relationships with their non-childbearing offspring, right?

The thing is, my dad's obsession with having a grandson rather than all the icky granddaughters he has is directly proportional to how much my brother loves his two girls. I have no idea if my dad's medieval way of thinking impacts my step-siblings much, but I know that my brother was determined to be a great father and show our dad what it means to have kids who actually love you and respect you.

The hardest part about the question is mostly that I'm not single by choice. I would love to get married and have kids--both sons and daughters--but it's just not working for me at the moment. I'm in a transitional phase in my life that I chose, but never mind about that. I'm still transitioning, and even if I were to meet a great guy, it would be a huge job to fit him into my life. I know this objectively, but in practise it's pretty difficult. I would like to be married. I would like to make some babies. I love my cat and all, but he's not a baby. He is a pretty good cuddler, though.

Still here...silent all these years

Okay, so I haven't been blogging or reading blogs too much lately. I've been busy sucking at algebra, dancing, and fighting stomach flu, and now just plain old flu. I guess the flu shot I had last year has worn off?

Anyway, I have done lots of stuff. I read a book called "The Atheist's Daughter" that I'd like to review, I went and petted penguins at Seaworld on my birthday, we celebrated Rash Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and just lots of good and bad has happened this last month.

Things I'd like to blog about soon:

Holidays in America: What to say when people ask you what you do for Christmas, and you have an unconventional answer

The Atheist's Daughter: Books are for reading, not for burning. Also: how not to judge a book by its title.

Babies: The pandemic sensation that is sweeping the nation.

House hunting: buying a house when you're about to quit your job.

My dad asked me if I'm gay: the perils of being over the age of 30 and still single.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Great Moments in Fiction

Last year or so (I forget when), I read and reviewed the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad story "In the Lair of the White Worm" by Bram Stoker , and I'm sort of trying to decide what I want to do with it.

On one hand, I'd love to re-write the story, and fix what is broken with it. On the other hand, I have two other books, plus a parody of Twilight partially written and floating around in my head, and I feel like I should finish at least one of those before I begin something else.

And then I think that NaNoWriMo is coming up, and what better way to do it, get the words written, and finish, than rewriting an abysmally apalling novel? And yet, I fell that's cheating. On the other hand, I'd be changing the book so much as to make it nearly unrecognizable from its former incarnation.

Plus, I'm trying to pass college algebra with a B or better, so there's that.

Must ponder.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Getting closer

I met with my college counselor last night, and the good news is that I only have 12 more classes to take! She and I talked for a long time, and I told her my fears and wishes, and she listened and helped me out. We both agreed on the fact that I need to stop working at my government job and start working at a vet's office. And that starting either next semester or the semester afterwards, I need to be in college full time.

I told my mom that she needs to wrap her head around the fact that I'm going to quit my job probably at the end of the year. She looked worried, but nodded. We have a few plans that we are going to implement between now and then, so hopefully we can keep everything on track.

Okay, I'm getting excited.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Getting caught up with the Kartrashians

So, there are parts of pop culture that I could care less about, like Twilight (movies, actors, and books) or the Harry Potter movies, or the Real Housewives of Anywhere, but the Kartrashians are one area that I am sort of creepily drawn to. Sort of like how my mom is obsessed with serial killers.

Anyway, I don't really watch them too often. I know the Real Doll one got married recently, and that the Tiny One wants another baby, but doesn't want to marry her douchy baby daddy, and that the Tall One is awesome, but we all knew that. I thought I'd put down in words my thoughts on what I've read on trashy websites like D-Listed and the like:

Kim's Marriage/Wedding: Okay, I have no interest in watching the wedding of a girl who totally thinks she's on par with Kate Middleton (hint: she's not), but I will comment on what I saw of her relationship with Kris Humphries. I think that, even if this arrangement has been negotiated by their respective PR people, they both truly believe that they're infatuated, or even in love with each other. Also, when Kim smiles, she usually looks like the plastic Real Doll that she is, but when she's with Kris, I've seen some genuine goofy smiles, and I have to say that she's actually pretty when she smiles like a human being and doesn't mug like Posh Beckham. And Kris is fine with her insane, completely not normal family, so that says a lot. I do think that he's in for a rude awakening once the honeymoon is over and he realizes that girls who spend 75,000.00 on earrings and then stupidly wear them out of the country are higher maintenance than a Mazarati, and probably a lot less fun to ride, but I can't say he's not going into this thing with his eyes wide open.

Do I think he's a fame lamprey to Kim's shark? Yes, totally. And when they inevitably divorce, I'm sure she'll be the one to come out on top, but until then, it'll be fun to watch. If I ever get to watch them again, which I doubt since I'm about to shut down my cable.

Pimp Mama Kris: I love this nickname for her. She is totally a pimp to her famewhore family. I mean, Rob broke down and told his mom he was tired of being a loser, and that he wanted to use his BS in business now, and maybe work on his MS. Aaaaaand now he's on Dancing With The Stars. Because no one in this family can actually do real work. And the other little famewhores, Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, Kendall and Kylie are all like, "Woot! We got advertising campaigns!"

I mean, I have to hand it to Kris Jenner, she really did teach her children that making a buck is making a buck is making a buck, and has not given them any sort of filter or self-awareness or embarrassment at what they do. Sears wants an endorsement deal? Sure! Why hold out for Macy's or Nordstrom? Heck, they're too busy with Madonna and Jessica Simpson. No, Sears is the way to go!

Kourtney and her Douchebag Baby Daddy: I don't know why this girl doesn't let him go. He's a leach. He's a parasite. He's an alcoholic. Not that I think she's such a great human being, but at least she has a job that makes money, and she has her house and everything, and owns stores (which, shouldn't the Kartrashian Sears line be in conflict with the Dash stores? Just saying). She is a viable human being. He's a douche bag. I can't help but think she's keeping him around as a sperm donor. That's sad.

Khloe, AKA Sasquatch: I think Sasquatch is a horrible nickname for Khloe. She's the only one who seems to have any sort of self-awareness in this family, and if her marriage to Lamar Odom is fake, then why did she refuse to leave him for a week while the rest of her family went to paradise? I actually have no idea about their dynamic, so I won't comment on it, but I think it's unfair to call her names just because she seems to be a normal size compared to her sisters. If Kim is too short for runway work, then she's under 5'8", but the younger girl...Kendall? is able to do runway work, and she's about the same height as Khloe, so they're probably in the 5'9"-5'10" range, plus Khloe is always putting on six-inch Louboutin's, so who knows her true height?

So, yeah, I'll call Kim a Real Doll, but I won't call Khloe sasquatch, because I think it's mean and unfair. Hey, if Kim wants to look less plastic, she totally knows how. She just doesn't want to!

So, now you are caught up on the Kartrashians. You're welcome.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Last night's algebra class was so much better! The night was cooler to begin with, and whatever problem with the air conditioner seemed to be fixed.

Last Thursday night got cancelled because there was a huge power outage from San Diego to Mission Viejo, and the school got hit, so I spent an hour at the gym with my mom, walking on the treadmill, and then doing some yoga. It was a nice break, but man did it make going back to school difficult last night! Anyway, good times. We had to restructure the class because of the missed day, and it means a lot of homework this weekend, but that's okay.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The stretching

I came to a conclusion last night. It's probably something that everyone else in the world has figured out, but I at thirty-something am just realizing: the people in your life have to stretch you. They have to make you more. They have to pull you out of your comfort zone, and you need to do the same for them.

Looking over the past, three friends who have gotten married in the past year, all of them are so different because of the people they married. The people they married challenged them, and trust me, they challenged the people they married. I can't get over the changes they've made in their lives, and that just one person did it.

Last night, I went to a swing dancing class with my best girl C and her dad. Her dad is recently divorced, and has met A Very Nice Lady who likes to swing dance. Before, when Dad was with Mom, and they pretended everything was peachy, Dad was very nearly clinically depressed. He was always shy, I'm told, but apparently marriage to Mom made him worse. He would shut himself in his study, or in a corner during parties. Last night at swingdance, I saw Dad in a whole new light. He was smiling. He danced with me, and we were terrible at it, but we laughed. Very Nice Lady smiled at him and encouraged him. There was a tiny, tiny baby being passed around (so tiny!), and it was just the most relaxed I've seen him.

I can't imagine how life would be different if Dad had met someone else. C was adopted, so it's possible she would still have ended up with him, but his personality, the relationship he now has with his children, would all have been different if he had married someone else.

It puts me in mind of Jane Austen's Emma, one of my favorite books. The Omniscient Narrator asserts that if Elton had married Harriet instead of Augusta, he would have been a better man because Harriet would have put him in different society than Augusta did. Not only that, but Harriet was humble, and believed she had room to grow. Augusta was convinced that she was at the peak of society, and that she had nowhere else to go, so Elton stagnated. His opinions became a parrot of his wife's and her acquaintance.

I can't help but wonder if I am stagnating. Sometimes, probably. But my friends challenge me. They make me do things like swingdancing and painting and other stuff that I happen to be bad at, which swingdancing pretty much encompasses.

Monday, September 12, 2011

One step closer

I just made an appointment with a counsellor at my current college so I can talk to her about transferring to my dream college. I also printed out my academic plan and looked at the many classes I have finished, and the credits that I have earned towards my transfer.

I've done a lot. It's been four years, but I always felt like I was getting nowhere fast. And now, I guess I'm seeing a little perspective. There is a light at the end of this tunnel, yo!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

So, last night at algebra...

My college is an older one. It started small, and has been growing for several decades, so some buildings are a lot newer than others. The oldest building is now called the "Science and Math" building, or SM. S & M if you're nasty. Some of the rooms are indoors, and some are out. It's a three-story building, and it's old and dirty. My current class is an outside class, and last night, the air conditioner gave up on us. Outside, the temperature was about 95. Inside, it was about 105. We opened the doors, which maybe lowered the heat to 103. I lost the ability to sweat about an hour in.

Of course all of the vending machines were out of water.

I swear my professor lectured nonstop for two and a half hours. I could feel my eyelids getting heavy. The chalk dust swirled around our makeshift fans, causing all of us to sneeze. "Bless You" was being repeated often. At the break, I went outside into the humidity and heat, which at 8:10pm was not lessened at all from earlier in the day.

My only saving grace was that I had my hair in a ponytail.

Thursday, I'm wearing a skirt.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


So, I've already noted that my algebra teacher was not who I wanted/was expecting, and I hope I noted that even so, she's pretty cool and a very good teacher. It turns out that she's married to the guy I had wanted as my professor, so I guess they both must have the same teaching styles or something. I like her, and even though she's a little too enthusiastically "OMG, let's all be friends and get to know each other!", she's cool.

I was just looking over my academic plan for transferring to Cal Poly, and I'm amazed at how close I am to being *there*. I just e-mailed Cal Poly and asked for a campus tour date. If they don't answer me by tomorrow, I'm going to call. I hate being called, so I try to e-mail first...

I'm actually starting to get both scared and excited. On the one hand, I totally believe that I can get to my goal. On the other, I'm scared to death that it's never going to happen. I also wonder if my ambition is putting other areas of my life on hold, such as being friends with people my own age and not early twenty-somethings at a community college, and meeting boys. Lots of boys. I miss having boys in my life.

But life is a journey. Nelson Mandela said that you can rest when you make it to the top of a hill, and look around at where you've been, and where you want to go, and that the resting doesn't mean you're giving up. You can call each day a lifetime of its own, I suppose, and each phase of your life is the same. It's a time and a process, and Mr. Mandela is right that you should rest and see what you've acheived, and be able to---I don't know?--mourn?---what you've gone through and lost and gained, and review the parts of you that had to die, and the parts that had to evolve and expand in order to bring you here. Awareness begins with every equation being set to zero. We move.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Learning Processes

Mental illness is a very difficult illness to deal with. Since you're not physically broken, there are no casts or scars to show. You don't have a physical form of cancer, so there's no chemo, no look of "sickness" about you. Most mentally ill people lead normal lives and stay very quiet about the pills they have to take, and the doctors they have to talk to.

I talk about my mental illness. I'm not sure why, but I also don't go up to total strangers (well, except strangers on the internet) and tell them that I suffer from clinical depression. But I talk to my friends and family about it. The family is the easy part. My family is completely messed up, so the fact that I only have depression almost kind of sets me apart. Talking to friends, though, is the hard part. Not all friends, but some friends. There's this idea in non-mentally ill people that some of us just need a good kick in the pants to get our lives back on track. You hear it when they're talking about the homeless guy who talks to himself on the benches outside our buildings, or when people discuss the Hoarding shows. "I just laugh when they get mad about throwing moldy food away!"

I think as a society, Americans have started recognizing that addiction is involuntary, that one person can do marijuana once and walk away while another person tries it once and can't ever put it down again. It's compulsory, it's something your body craves. Something, if you will, is broken and needs to be fixed, but no one can see the break or the tear. All they can see is addiction. The same thing goes with mental illness. Most of the time, I'm a normal, happy, functional person. In public. But sometimes, and in private, I'm just a big ole mess. And there's nothing I can do about it. I'm not sad because something happened. I'm sad because I can't help myself. You can't cheer me up. I have to just wait out the storm.

I had to explain this to someone I know because she was talking about a lady on a hoarding show, and she just didn't get it. I had to explain that she wasn't attached to a useless bolt of fabric because she was callously disregarding the many charities it could go to, but because she had an irrational emotional attachment to it. I likened it to the guy on the bench, talking to himself. Not because he wanted to, but because he didn't have any other choice. It took us fifteen minutes of going back and forth until she finally listened to me.

I really hate reality shows, especially when they exploit people who are drug addicted, or families that are waiting for their soldiers to come home, or forty-year-old women who haven't figured out how to use birth control yet, but I can't deny how Hoarders and Intervention have helped raise awareness to the mental illness that causes the symptoms of hoarding and drug use, and it makes me wish someone would make a show about depression, schizophrenia and self-mutilation in order to raise awareness about how it affects us. About how it's a symptom of a problem that you can't see. How we can't just take a walk and cheer it kills your soul and makes you wish you were dead because anything is better than living like this.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Book Dramazzz

I ordered my algebra book from because I could get a new book for the same price as a used book would be at the college bookstore, and I wouldn't have to pay for shipping. So I ordered it. And I waited.

I also ordered some birthday gifts for my niece, and they arrived at her house. My book still said it was in transit. I was waiting.

My class started on Tuesday. No book. Wednesday. No book. I told Amazon to send tracking status to my phone, which never happened. Probably because I did something wrong, rather tham because they did something wrong.



Saturday morning, I saw that the book had arrived at the post office in my town, but it didn't say "departure scan" at any point in the day.

I checked the college library to make sure they had the book because I have homework due on Tuesday, and I really needed the book.

I freaked out, and finally just went down to the library, got the book, and did my homework.

And I got home, and my book was on the porch.

Better safe than sorry?

Friday, August 26, 2011

The story so far...

I'm doing really well in Algebra so far. I don't know if the issues I had with Linear equations last year sorted themselves out in my head over the Spring Semester or what, but I'm really doing okay so far. I'm even graphing correctly, and let me tell you: that almost never happens.

My teacher is okay. I thought I was getting this one man who is supposed to be a really good teacher, but I ended up with a woman who is also a good teacher, but I hadn't heard anything about her. I really wish my college would post full names, but instead I got C. Gonzales, who could also be C. A. Gonzales, only I didn't know.

Anyway, she's okay, and I'm definitely going to do well at least on the first test. But she's one of those that thinks everyone in the class wants to be friends, and we don't. I mean, not that they're not nice people. I already have friends, I don't need new ones. (Wait...maybe I do...) It's just sort of annoying to have to 'turn to the person next to you and hand them your page! See if you both got the same answer!'

My book hasn't arrived yet, and I have homework due on Tuesday. If the book doesn't arrive today (fingers crossed), I'm going to have to do my homework at the library this weekend, so if you see someone walking around south Orange County with a silver and maroon argyle sweater on, it's probably me, being preppy.

Monday, August 22, 2011


I live in Southern California, a couple of cities away from Anaheim where Disneyland is.

No, it's actually not in LA! But then, neither are the Angels or the Ducks, and yet somehow LA gets slapped onto their names, so I guess everyone outside of California thinks Disney is in LA.

But I digress. I was talking about me, not you.

So, like most So Cals, I have a Disney pass, which is great because if you have a pass, you don't have to worry about cramming eight days worth of fun into sixteen hours. Some people, though, take their kids to Disneyland for that sixteen hours, and just can't understand why their children are bratty, unhappy, whiney, undisciplined, complaining, and begging for anything they can get their grubby hands on.

I don't understand parents. What makes them think that little Suzy and Benny are going to enjoy standing in hour-long lines, just to be able to look at Snow White or Mr. Toad for five minutes? Disneyland doesn't make sense to children. There's all kinds of fun stuff over here! There's a park green, and old buildings, and Mickey and Goofy and shops with stuff! Why are we standing in line?

This weekend, one of my friends who works at Disney (I have more than one, I'm telling you, I live RIGHT THERE) got us tickets to go to the D23 convention, and I saw the same scenario playing out. There were lines to go and see specific attractions, and while most lines were moving along, one was not. It was a line for the archives.

Let me just break this down for you: Archives are not interesting to children. They have no comprehension of history. Looking at old relics of Steamboat Willie and original stills from Cinderella are not going to excite much more than a cursory glance, and maybe a "that's cool" before moving on. Downstairs, in the main room of the Anaheim Convention Center (of LA), it was open and fun and full of toys and dolls and play areas, and make-your-own-crown, and crazy people dressed up as Disney characters just because they want to. There was a platybus and a gaming center and a store and chairs shaped like mouse ears and all kinds of really cool stuff.

But one family, of course, felt that they needed to drag their six-year-old through the two-hour line to see the archives. The moms were dressed like the evil stepsisters (Drucilla and Anastasia), and the little girl was dressed as Cinderella. Cinderella was very unhappy. We decided to stay away from the line and go see a making of Star Tours exhibit, and when we got back down to the second level, Drucilla, Anastasia and Cinderella were still about an hour from the entrance. Cinderella was unhappy, and voicing her opinion.

Now, here's the thing: I don't think that parents should entertain their children at every turn, and that children DO need to learn patience. However, I would never expect a child to be patient for a two-hour line to see (excuse my French) fucking archive material (or for any reason at all, really). Especially since there were two parents there. Two parents means that one can take the kid down the hall, down to the fun center to maybe make a crown. It's not like we live in a day and age where two people can't communicate by electronic means. "Hey, I'm about five people away from the entrance. Maybe you guys should get back up here."

Drucilla grabbed poor Cinderella by her arm, and dragged her across the hallway to right where I was ascending, and threw her on the ground while yelling, "You're in time out!"

I said, "Wow, I guess you're not just dressed up like an ugly stepsister. You really are one."

She was conscious enough to act embarrassed, and my friends and I shot them dirty looks because, really? You're obviously not here for the kid. You're obviously not here to have fun. You're here for yourselves. You're here to show off your costumes and see the stuff from your childhood, and instead of getting a babysitter at your house where your kid could actually have fun and play and maybe, I don't know, take a nap, you dragged her here promising a fun time, and then promptly pushed her into a line where she had to stand for two hours, waiting to see "the fun stuff."

People can say that kids are selfish and manipulative, but at least they're honest about it. Adults just learn how to hide their selfishness behind a cloak of, "I enjoyed this when I was your age. You will too!"

All of that to say, I walked around for seven hours yesterday, and I'm freaking tired and my feet hurt and I want to go back to bed.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Losing Translations

I've been going with my friends to movies in the park this summer. It's been cool, and I get to see my friends. Last night, I went straight from work to my best friend A's house. Her step-daughter was there, watching TV like most tweeners. The show was obviously aimed at the lowest common denominator of tweens, capitalizing on buffoonery and men in drag more than actual commedy, but I used to watch Saved by the Bell, so what do I know?

Anyway, on this show, one of the girls was "accidentally" put in a mental hospital. I have to give the show props for actually making the hospital look bleak and depressing, but I really hated the stereotypes of people who were there. One guy kept trying to make it seem like he was from outer space or something, and he thought he was invincible, so he kept asking people to punch him, and there were other people there with losing grips on reality. But it was still a nice, quiet place to be.

In the hospital where I was, the beds were hard and the mattresses were covered in plastic. The sheets were so thin that you stuck to the plastic at night while you slept, and even though you were freezing for lack of warm bed coverings, you would sweat because your skin was against that plastic. I had to choose between spending the night cold and sleeping on an extra blanket, or putting both blankets on me in an attempt at warmth. I chose to sleep on the blanket.

You have no personal space in a mental institution. Doors don't close, except at night, but there's a window on the door. The bathrooms have no locks. the only privacy you're really allowed is when you get a phone call, and then you get to sit in a little booth with windows on all sides.

My roommate asked me to pee into a cup for her. She snuck drugs and snacks every day. I didn't care about the drugs, but I really wanted the snacks.

I gained three pounds while there because all of their food consists of bread, bread, and more bread with a few slices of meat and maybe a vegetable or two. And you have to eat it because if you don't they won't let you out. There was nothing zany or funny about the hospital. The guys with emerging schizophrenia were not funny or zany. They were scared to death. They wanted to know why they were seeing and hearing what they saw and heard. They wanted to know why they couldn't care about being accepted to an ivy-league college or being able to beat everyone at Scrabble. Why couldn't they care? Why couldn't they recognize any of their "friends" after those friends left the room?

Some of the girls had tried to starve themselves to death, and when that didn't take, they tried slitting their wrists. One guy stabbed himself in the neck because his friends were pissing him off, and dared him to do it.

One lady was pregnant. One lady had a husband and put on makeup and did her hair every day so that she would look pretty for him. We all wore long-sleeved shirts and tugged at the wrists to hide our gashes, slashes, cuts, bruises, spots.

Yes, even me.

I'm one of those people. I tell you right now, that is the only place I have ever felt that I belong to, and that is what depresses me the most.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ya! Ya!

The fall semester is about to start for me and ten thousand other people at my junior college. This means that in two weeks, there will be no parking, standing room only classrooms, and a bunch of kids walking around with bewildered looks on their faces.

In four weeks, there will be plenty of parking, and most of those teenagers will have dropped out.

I never get this. I dropped out of only one class, and I did it after the first class, and it was Karate, not something I needed for life.

I've heard that some students sign up for classes just to get in the school, and then petition for the classes they really want. But I'm taking really specific science classes that are needed for those wanting a career in actual freaking SCIENCE, not for someone wanting a business degree. Yes, I know it's still a Bachelor of Science degree, but it's not REAL science.

Anyway, I hate those first few weeks. I hate it when I get a teacher who wants me to meet my fellow students, even though half of them won't last the first month. I do love school, though. I love the challenge, even in easy classes like languages (English, Spanish, German). There's always a project, homework, something to complain about, something to laugh about. New people to get to know from all different walks of life. I love it. I don't want it to end.

You know...until that first case of the flu I get because of all those germy teenagers.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Birthdays and sad days

Last year, I stayed at The Hospital during the month of August. The entire situation was hard on me. I had failed at committing suicide, failed at being a human being, failed at least from my perspective at the time. I still feel that way every now and then.

One of the hardest parts was that I would be celebrating my birthday a month from my release, and it was a birthday that I really didn't want to happen. It wasn't a milestone or anything, I just didn't want it to happen. I wasn't expecting it to happen. I was expecting to no longer be [dramaz]shackled to this mortal coil[/dramaz].

My friends were really cool about the entire thing. They ended up taking me "down the pub" for some good home-cooked Irish food and Irish band music.

Now I'm coming across the same feelings. School is starting in a week, and my birthday is right around the corner. How do you celebrate your own life when you wanted to end it? And really, you feel that if a tragic accident were to take place and remove you from life, you'd be all right with it.

I have maybe five more college courses under my belt than I had last year at this time, and I keep plugging along, so it's obviously fulfilling me in some way, and I'm still working towards my goal...I just don't know how to reconcile my feelings of despair with my ambition to be more. The two seem so contradictory. I guess I think that if I have to live, this is what I want, but if I die in the process, well, that's all right too.

And I swear, I just talked to a psychiatrist last week. I'm not keeping this to myself. I'm just trying to digest it all.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday, Monday...

It must be difficult to be married. My best friend, A, got married in May, and I was her bridesmaid. We've known each other for years and years, and we've been through a lot together. It was an honor to stand up with her, and I can't imagine a better person to have so much happiness. But I still feel like I got shuffled off to the side after she said "I Do." And I know I'm totally selfish for even feeling left out, but I feel left out, and there's nothing I can do about it because that's what I feel, and feelings aren't wrong!

Anyway, I know that she is suddenly a step-mother, a wife, and she has a huge family already, so it's only natural that I'm shuffled off to the side. I see her every Sunday at church. With her husband. And her step-daughter. And it's great, really. I love her, and I love them. But I've lost my best friend. She found a new best friend, and she married him. That's the evolution of life.

My other best friend, C, has been in my life since I was a teenager. We've known each other for fifteen years now, and she's great, but she's not a soul-friend like A is. A and I are sisters from another mister, as the saying goes. We look alike, we think alike. Heck, at her rehearsal dinner, her father-in-law came and gave me a huge hug, and I was all awkward because clearly I should have met this man at some point, and while I'm horrible with names, I'm usually really good with faces, but I couldn't place his, and then he called me A, and I was like, "Yeah...I'm the College Girl. Sorry! But thanks for the hug!" and we laughed.

Anyway, school will be starting up soon and I won't have time to wallow in self-pity. Plus, A said something on Sunday that made me think she's realizing we never freaking see each other any more.

So, the new school year is about to start. I have my backpack, my new notebook, both purple, and a set of owl pencils that my mom got for me. I need to buy my book for College Algebra, 10th edition. It's on Amazon for pretty cheap, or at least cheap compare to all the other books, and I'll probably need some test answer sheets and stuff, but my professor will let me know.

I can feel the school year in the air. It's exciting.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Crazy In Action

One of the worst parts about having narcissistic parents is trying to interract with other, normal people. The child of narcissism is programmed to put their wants and needs on hold for the wants and needs of the narcissist(s) that are their superiors, and then you get a people-pleaser who really has no idea that people are walking all over him or her. For me personally, the thought that someone might not like me is devastating, even though there are people I don't like, and not for any deep personal reasons, but that I just don't want to be their friend.

My mom's love has always been tied to things. If you love her enough, she doesn't have to buy you things, but if you don't love her enough, then she'll buy your love, by gum.

I have yet to experience my father's love, and after a decade of his harsh abuse, I don't really want to know what moves him.

I've really stopped wanting to buy people gifts, even for birthdays and important events. I hate getting gifts, too. They make me uncomfortable. Or even just someone buying me dinner. It's hard for me to let them. What will they want from me after that? Or will they think it's enough to secure my devotion, and then start treating me badly?

As for giving gifts, what if I overgift? What if the person is overwhelmed? I've seen that overwhelmed look just about every time my mom breaks out the debit card, and I don't ever want to see it on someone's face. I think I've figured out a good system, though. I get three small gifts of $10.00, two medium-sized gifts around $20.00, or one large gift of about $30.00. After buying the gift wrap and everything, it usually comes out to around $45-50, which I think is a good birthday gift.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My back...

So, I made the mistake of saying yesterday that kickboxing is getting easier. So my instructor made it harder. Oh, I hurt. So much. We laid down to work on our abs, and my back just started spasming. Ow.

I need a massage.

But not at Burke Williams!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


When I was in The Hospital last year, it was a very anxious time for me. And it didn't help that I had doctors and nurses asking me why I was anxious. I was in a freaking hospital. Duh.

I was worried that I wouldn't be able to go home within a few days, or that they'd keep me there indefinitely. I was afraid I would be hurt by one of the other, more violent patients, or that they'd start doing experiments on me.

One thing I wasn't worried about, though, was that I was worse than I thought I was. I kept thinking at first that maybe...I don't know...maybe I was schizoid or something else. Psychotic. Delusional. Something more than just very depressed. And then I met "Dave."

Dave was barely over the age of twenty, and he liked to sit with me and one of the other girls there. He confided to us about all of the people in the hospital, and how they would walk out the door, and then come back with new faces. "That guy is freaking me out," he'd say. "Don't let him look at me, okay? I like my face." If it was one thing that helped me know I could be okay, it was Dave. I think about him alot, and I hope he's okay. I hope he got the medication he needed to be right again, and I hope he continues to take it. He was obviously very smart, and he seemed smart enough to understand that what was happening wasn't normal, and that it was wrong, but because of the schizophrenia, he couldn't rationalize it.

This is basically mental illness in a nutshell: you can see that everything is wrong, and yet you can't rationalize it. You can't help yourself, and you're kind of adrift. Poor Dave. Poor anyone like Dave. Maybe some day, I'll get to see him again. I just hope I have the right face on when I do.

Lost Weekend

I had a great/odd weekend. It started by going to the OC Fair, and ended with a horrendous migraine.

I had a good time, though. I ate with abandon (only some barbecue and some gelato), looked at crafts, watched a man blow a vase out of molten glass, and purchased some hand-carved wood knicknacks.

I'm still going to my kickboxing class, and I have to admit that it's getting easier than it was in the beginning. I'm not sure if I'm seeing a difference in my muffin top, but I'm feeling better.

The death of Amy Winehouse...Oh, that was interesting. I had been keeping myself from liking her because of the drug issues. But I couldn't help myself. Her music was so very good. Valerie is probably one of my favorite songs. I wouldn't download her or buy her CD's, but I would listen to her on the radio and I am so glad that there were no drugs in her system. It's sort of like the whole Mamma Cass choking on a sandwich thing, probably everyone really thinks it was true, but I am glad that she managed to get free and clean from drugs. I'm just so sad that she's gone at such a very young age. There's so much life out there, so much to live, and I can bet she had more music inside of her.

Anyway, not a whole lot else going on with me. I wish my life was that exciting.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Back to school

Oh heck, is it that time again?

Well, not really. I still have a month of fooling around to do before I hit the books.

This semester, I'm only taking college algebra, and it will be the last math class I need, so that's something. After this, I can get going with biology and chemistry and all the fun stuff that I've been wanting to take.

I signed up for FAFSA last semester, so enrolling this semester was free. I still have to pay for my own books, though, and that's the most expensive part.

My mom bought me a little pencil set that has owls printed on the pencils, and an eraser shaped like an owl. It was sweet of her. I'm glad she's trying to be normal.

Anyway, I'm really bad at math. I've been taking remedial math so far and getting B's, so I'm hoping I'll get a B in this class also. It burns me to get a B instead of an A, but the truth is that I'm trying really, really hard, and this is the best I can do. So, I'm trying to accept that about myself.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dumping Ground

I don't know if it's my upbringing, the role I was pushed into from having an abusive father and a narcissistic mother, or if it's just my personality, but for some reason, I'm The Listener everywhere I go. People dump on me all the time, and I don't mind it, but it feels like I don't have a voice. In fact, I really don't think that I can articulate most of the time how I feel. Take right now for instance: I'm having a real battle with depression right now. But I can't really tell you how I feel because I'm not used to doing it.

It's hard, losing your voice. It's sort of like losing your identity. You have these friends who just go on and on and ON about their job, their family, their weekend plans, etc., but they never ask about yours. And I've tried it. I went for an entire day with my friends once, never interjecting anything about myself, but they never noticed. And it's not that they're this way. I seem to bring out the selfishness in other people.

I guess what I'm saying is don't be afraid to ask your friends questions, and be really careful about what you're saying. Let other people talk. Communicate information that is relevant. You never know when the person you're talking to might be feeling really horrible about themselves, and just needs someone to care.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"But Father, I wish to marry for love"

I always get a little annoyed when watching or reading a modern historical show/novel where the main character is convinced that he/she has the right to marry for love.

Up until about a hundred years ago, marrying for love was unheard of. You married a person that helped expand the family property, such as your neighbor with the large homestead. You married to improve your social standing, such as a rich privateer looking out for a poor baronnet or viscount for his heavily dowried daughter. You married to combine two companies, such as the mercantile and the confectionery getting their kids together. Marrying well used to be a duty that a child owed his or her parents. In many societies and religions, the husband and wife hadn't even met before the wedding took place.

In the movie "Fiddler on the Roof," this idealism is explored extensively. The main couple were put together by a matchmaker, and came to love each other. Their children, however, married for love, even after contracts had been made on their behalf.

Currently, in the "Game of Thrones" books, the arranged marriage is in the forefront. The marriages are both happy and unhappy, and in some cases, both parts of the couple are held together by their sense of duty alone.

It's an odd part of our current ideals: dowries have been exchanged for rings, contracts for prenuptial agreements.

But a bride still gets given away, doesn't she?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Brahm Stoker Sucks. In other news, so do vampires

My friend Cassandra posted a review that I did for Brahm Stoker's "Lair of the White Worm" over at her blog, Domestic Apocalypse. It's here in all its glory.

I just want to make a few things clear:

1. This book sucks.

2. It should not be read.

3. Ever.

4. At all.

5. Even if you're at a spa and bored out of your mind.

Although, I've heard a really bad 70's crackfilm was made, and that it's a cult classic. Oh, I will get my hands on it. Yess, precioussss.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cersei Lannister Answers Your Life Questions

Like a lot of people lately, I’ve been reading Game of Thrones by George RR Martin, and all I could do this morning while reading Miss Manners was wonder what advice the Queen Regent, Cersei Lannister would give. I cracked myself up.

Dear Miss Manners: My husband sent out my daughter’s birthday invitation to someone she had pulled from her list. How do I uninvite this child?

Dutiful Subject: First off, allow me to send my condolences on the matter of your husband’s stupidity. I assure you that I relate to your distress. Men are such bores, are they not? (Or boars as the case may be…)

As to your question. Unfortunately, it would be a terrible affront to uninvite a child to a party. It could cause a war. Literally. Fortunately, this is the perfect chance to train your daughter in the arts of segregation and humiliation. Segregation: Keep the unwanted child from engaging with the other children. This is generally done through Humiliation. If you want your daughter to always have the upper hand and be a woman to look up to, she must learn these arts as quickly as possible.

Dear Miss Manners: What is the appropriate waiting period after a contentious divorce to announce engagement to another?

Dutiful Subject: Why marry again when you can simply string along a group of men as your lovers indefinitely? If you truly do wish to marry, perhaps for money or political power, then there is no harm in announcing your intentions immediately. You will be able to gauge the reactions of those around you better if you take them by surprise, and dispose of anyone that might hinder you sooner rather than later.

Dear Miss Manners: Please tell your readers what to say to someone who has just suffered a miscarriage. My daughter recently had a miscarriage, and a relative said, “Well, there are worse things that could happen.” I thought that was pretty insensitive.
Why not just say “I’m sorry”?

Dutiful Subject: Simpleton, simpleton! You missed the perfect opportunity to bare your teeth and show the shadowcat that lies beneath your skin. The only way to save face now is to have that person’s child murdered in their sleep, and then at the funeral repeat their condolences to them. Then set fire to their castle.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Burke Williams, or Why A Day At The Spa Is Lost On Me

"A" took me and her other bridesmaid to Burke Williams on the day of the rehearsal dinner. Burke Williams is a very posh, exclusive salon (A has a membership there) that people are always talking about reverently, as though it’s the ultimate ultimate. So, I was excited about going. I didn’t really like a pedicure since I don’t really like people touching my feet, so I opted for a full body massage (I don’t mind people touching my body. I’m weird in case you hadn’t noticed).

The first thing you notice when you walk into Burke Williams is the silence. It’s just so quiet. There are huge Spanish-style doors to one side of the check-in counter, and the women behind the counter are pretty much just normal, average folk. I don’t know, I guess I was expecting super model trainees or something. They were very polite, and helped us sign in, and then gave us all keys to lockers.

Behind the enormous wood-and-iron doors is another world entirely. The lighting is muted. The hallways are silent. There’s a common room with a gigantic fire and sofas and squishy chairs everywhere. Fruit and water with cucumbers and lemons lay on buffets and sideboards with marble tops. Everywhere you look are people wearing large, white fluffy robes and black sandals.

I mean, change the water for kool-aid, and you have a cult.

See? This is what I mean. All I could think about was putting on that robe and giving up my independence for some sort of collective consciousness. A very quiet, muted collective consciousness.

The locker room is cavernous. In a back, dark area there is a room with bathtubs. It’s pretty much the only room that closes. Apparently, they put you in a bathtub and rub mud all over you, then wrap you up and let you steep, then wash you off. In the middle is a huge Jacuzzi surrounded by water carafes, fruit, and rolled hand towels soaking in ice buckets. Every corner has a wicker basket full of fluffy white towels, dry and warm. There’s a bank of vanities with every amenity you will need to make yourself beautiful after your treatment. Hair dryers, straightening irons, even makeup. The only thing it’s really lacking is a stylist to help you apply all of the lotions and mousses and foundation.
There’s a bank with toilet cubicles; great austere marble things with those dark wood and iron doors, and a marble bank of sinks with lotions, makeup remover, toner, sunscreen and moisturizer. Little glass blocks hold hairbands for if you need a ponytail, and at the showers directly opposite there are also shower caps. The showers are also marble. Huge rectangles of the stuff with molded glass doors. Razors, shaving lotion, body lotion, body wash, shampoo and conditioner are available. There’s a shelving unit with those huge fluffy towels.

Our lockers were just beyond all of this, and of course it’s the only part of the godforsaken place with decent lighting of any kind. We opened our lockers, and I hung up my hooded robe on the little hook inside and mused that the lockers weren’t nearly as grand as the rest of the place. I was expecting personal changing rooms or something, not glorified gym lockers.

Now, I have to say that I really enjoy clothes. I do. I love them. I think they’re great, and I think that people look better in them. I believe that bras are a must, no matter how tiny your cups may be, and if the occasion is right, a corset or Spanx may be in order. I wear bloomers under my skirts, and I don’t agree with bare legs, arms or bellies. At least not for me. I’m just not an exhibitionist, so getting undressed, even down to my cutest black panties with the white lace, in front of so many people, made me uncomfortable. I could not put that robe on fast enough.

And that was how they got me.

We all went into the common room to wait for our masseuses. I commandeered a sofa in front of the fire that was so fluffy and warm, I just had to curl into my robe and watch the flames. When my massage was done, this was the same sofa that I was brought to. My robe had been put into a warmer for over an hour, and I was groggy and relaxed and happy. A cup of water was shoved into my hand and a cup of chilled oranges was put on the table in front of me. When my friends came back, they wanted to jump in the Jacuzzi. This is probably a normal reaction for most people. I am not most people. I hate being wet. I like being dry and warm. I was dry and warm on the sofa. I could have sat there, staring at the fire for days. Bring me a book, and you pretty much have my favorite sport. But this was for my friend who was getting married, so I went back into the “locker room” and put on my bathing suit, and tried to be comfortable at the Jacuzzi.

I wasn’t. The water was scorching hot and the tiles were freezing cold, and the only way to work for any kind of balance was to drape one of those chilled cloths over your shoulders and hope for the best. So, my upper body was freezing, and my lower body was boiling. And of course, all I could do was notice that no one else seemed to have these issues. All of the other women were sinking into the water and acting like it was the best thing ever. Finally, I noticed a girl sitting on the tiles with a towel under her, so I grabbed a few dry towels and wrapped up in one, and put the other one under me. It was at this time that my friends decided we should sit in the cool steam room.

I like being cold and wet about as much as I like being warm and wet.

Ten seconds in the cool steam room (which is a misnomer, because it’s a lukewarm steam room) and I was soaked through, having trouble breathing, and decided I was going back to the fire.

“Yeah,” my friends agreed. “Let’s go to the sauna.”

Dry heat. Oh joy.

I really am proud of myself. I lasted two minutes.

“I’m going to find out what the quiet room is all about,” I told them. “Sorry, I just can’t take this.

Back at my locker, I changed from my wet things back into my underwear, my bra, and that robe. Yes, it made me look like a bleached druid, but I could wrap that thing around me three times, and it still held the lingering scent of the heater and the fire. I looked longingly back at the common room, where women who have no jobs were now being served lunch. One of them was sitting on my sofa, so I sighed and went into the “quiet room.”

The quiet room was odd, because the entire place was quiet. But there’s no talking, no cell phones, and no music in the quiet room. It’s almost a void. There are little cubicles with lounge sofas in them. The cubicles are only wide and long enough to fit the sofas, and they really aren’t that comfortable. You can’t lay down properly, and I’m so tall that my head and shoulders were well above the recline of the lounger, so the only choice I had was to slide down and slump, which didn’t feel that great on my spine.

“This place sucks,” I thought to myself. If I had just gone to the massage place down the street, I’d be home by now, taking a shower, or maybe sitting on my own sofa with my own fire, reading a really good book. Instead, I was stuck there, at this communal watering hole, forced to partake in rituals that I didn’t believe in.

Well, okay, except for the robe. I was cool with the robe.

As I was thinking about this, my friends came in to find me. Apparently, they were both on board with how much the place sucked, too, because they pantomimed us taking showers and then getting something to eat. We stole as much fruit and tea bags as we could on our way out. We also used the heck out of the free stuff they had at the showers and the vanities. In fact, I don’t think my hair has ever had quite that much product in it before or since.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Summer Sun

Wow, this year has been major. It's already July and I can't believe it. So much has happened lately, and I don't really handle lots of stuff happening all at once very well. Thank God for zoloft.

My best friend got married, and I was her bridesmaid. It was a really interesting view, from the other side of the nuptuals. A is so very happy now, married for just a little over a month, and she's really trying to keep her feet on the ground. Her new hubby has a daughter from his previous marriage, which I think sort of threw them into a more mature newlywed experience.

I got all A's this semester (in two classes, but they're A's nonetheless!), and I'm only taking a kickboxing class this summer because the next big class I need is college algebra, and I don't think I can do that over a summer, or with other classes next semester.

My SIL is thisclose to delivering my second niece, and I'm really excited about that, but I won't be able to meet the new baby until Christmas.

Oh, and I adopted a cat! My guinea pigs died over Christmas (one went right before Christmas, the other right after. Oh, my heart! I miss those little piggies so much...they were really the most special little buddies), and I've been wanting a new cuddly friend. Mr. Chekhov is a great cat, and very much a cuddler. But the weird thing is, he only really likes me, and my other best friend C. C and I did Tae Bo for a few weeks before our kickboxing class started, and Checkhov just loved her, would sit on her lap, purr, headbutt, roll on his back for her. Everyone else, even my own Auntie, is met with major suspicion and contempt. He is also obsessed with the black-and-white tuxedo kitty accross the way from me, and they just stare at each other for hours. Chekhov's tail goes at a mile a minute, and I have Roman blinds on my windows, so sometimes I'm woken up in the middle of the night because he's hitting the slats so hard, and they swing out. I'm worried he's going to break a few!

Anyway, I'm trying to stay on top of my issues. A getting married has really been challenging me. I can feel our relationship evolving and I hate change. Which is so weird because everyone else loves it so much!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Why I'm not throwing my hat into the ring for Prince Harry

Sure, he's handsome, and he seems to love dogs and children. Plus, he's a prince. I mean, who doesn't want to be a princess, right? According to the wedding shows on TLC, every woman in the world wants to be a princess!

Well, I apparently either handed in my tiara, or I was just never given that gene, because I can tell you right now that the last thing I want to be is a princess. First of all, being a princess is exactly the opposite of the spoiled, self-serving little girls buying $15,000.00 gowns at Kleinfeld's. Princesses need to worry about the people they serve, and how they represent themselves to those people. And lets face it: people suck. And people are troglodytes who want to pull you down to their level. Being a princess is pretty much painting a target on your back. The people will want to hate you no matter what, and you will always go to the wrong place for a vacation, spend either too much or too little money, be too accessible, or not accessible enough, too thin or too fat, not pretty enough, not fashionable enough, and you will always, always wear the wrong hat.

The pressure is just too enormous. Who wants to do that to themselves? Even for Prince Harry.

Besides, I can buy my own damn tiara.