Thursday, October 31, 2002

100 Things About Me

1. I'm tall-5'11 3/4"...but let's call it 6,' it's so much easier to say.
2. I just got the worst dye job ever on my hair, and while that's not really big's all I can think about right now. You can call me "Mahogany" now.
3. I take little inconsequential things like 'hair' and pour all of my stress and fear and loathing from all of the truly consequential things in my life into them...bad hair=bad life.
4. Food is very important to me-the flavors, the textures, the colors, the combinations, sauces and batters and glazes and shapes and smells...
5. Love words...learning how to use them effectively.
6. Don't have tv, have the unit but no reception and refuse to pay for cable just to get rid of the blue I have very little to talk about with most people.
7. My son hates that we don't have television and I'm proud that I've held out for 3 years.
8. I have a ten year old son.
9. I am divorced.
10. I grew up in Southeastern Massachusetts in a neighborhood that was an Indian Burial Ground before all of the houses were built.
11. My childhood neighborhood was and still is haunted.
12. When I was six I did a cartwheel on the sidewalk on Easter Sunday and impaled my upper lip on the corner of the open Pea Green Vega passenger door. I only needed a butterfly stitch.
13. When I was five a neighbor boy and I pretended we were conductors on a train with a set of gradating overturned Adirondack chairs. He weighed about fifteen pounds less than me so when I sat where he had sat, I dumped the chair and myself over and landed on my arm and broke it. My mom thought I was faking and made me take a nap for two hours. When I regained consciousness my arm was twice its normal size and we rushed to the ER.
14. I can hyper extend that arm now so that when I extend it to the side, the forearm hangs down from the elbow at an unnatural angle.
15. I made a spectator throw up with that hyperextention when I was a basketball cheerleader in Junior High.
16. I made the Jr. High Cheerleading squad because I yelled the cheer as loud as I possibly could and they needed the lungs. "There's a team on the left-there's a team on the right-the team on the right is ready to fight. The team on the left's got lots of pep, but we're the team that knows the step," Whoooo. Goooooooooo Spartans.
17. I just wanted the saddle shoes.
18. I'm very gassy and I taught my son to talk in Burpese.
19. Most of the adults in my life are unhappy about #18.
20. I have 3 cats: Puck and Luna (brother and has an overactive anal depressing) and Oliver who likes to put thumbtacks in all of my shoes, repeatedly. It's an obsession. He also knows how to turn on the burners to the stove.
21. I keep my stove burners in a drawer.
22. I make amazing soups of all kinds.
23. I have a huge zit on my chin right now and I'm panicking that it won't be gone in time for my sister's wedding in two weeks-at which I am the maid of honor...
24. I'm having another piece of chocolate right now to make myself feel better.
25. I'm addicted to lip stuff...Burts Beeswax Lip Balm is my favorite. I love how pepperminty tingling it is. I keep a tube in every room and in my bag and in my car.
26. I use a headset on my cordless phone.
27. I love having cable I can surf and chat at the same time.
28. I suck at math-and consequently at money. Maybe they aren't related and I just suck at both independently.
29. I have huge credit card debt since the divorce.
30. I work as a graphic designer for a "major weekly newsmagazine."
31. I'd rather be baking bread and writing.
32. I live in upstate NY and commute to NYC and am soooo ready for that to not be my reality anymore.
33. I make an incredible Cosmopolitan and have a thing for expensive tequila.
34. I'm on the wagon this week so #33 doesn't much matter.
35. I like wasabi green peas.
36. I miss having a garden.
37. I'm terrified of heights and sometimes fall down when I get too close to the windows at work. I'm on the 24th floor. It's not unheard of for a coworker to walk by and say "There she goes again."
38. I have a pretty good relationship with my mother and can speak my truth to her most of the time.
39. My father on the other hand...
40. I don't believe in having favorites of anything...that can seem duplicitous at times.
41. If you ask me I'll tell you, but it'll take a hell of a lot longer if you wait for me to bring it up.
42. I can spin, knit and weave...but seldom have time for any of those things.
43. I'm paying to blog, but haven't quite figured out why yet.
44. The one thing I always wanted to do with my life was to write...and now I'm doing it almost every day.
45. I've never been alone-that is, without a significant other...ever. Except when I was a little kid, of course.
46. I'm not entirely sure, but I might be a tad uncertain of myself.
47. I didn't think I'd be able to reach 50 things, but the facts are still flowing...
48. I don't drink enough water in the winter.
49. I don't see the point of sex toys.
50. Kissing rules.
51. Kissing someone I probably shouldn't be consumes...not that that's happened anytime recently...
52. I take a lot of baths, and someday hope to have a monster tub that 4 people can fit in all for myself. Then I won't mind being alone. At all.
53. Care to dance?
54. I don't get pop music. I can see how it could be applied as a torture device, however.
55. My favorite candies: Haribo brand gummy bears and Old Fashioned Fire Balls
56. I'd like to run the ribbon candy making machine just once.
57. I have a mouth full of fillings.
58. When I was a kid my sister and I would come home from school and whip up a big ass bowl of frosting-the kind made with shortening...and eat it as a snack with a spoon.
59. I got worms once.
60. I'm one of those obnoxious women who must describe childbirth in detail to anyone who asks...or sometimes who doesn't...because I'm still so fucking angry that EVERYONE LIED TO ME about it.
61. I'm good with plants, my philodendron wraps all the way around my living room in two directions.
62. I wish I could sing well. I can't.
63. I'm 35. Tick, tick, tick.
64. I'm always waiting for something to happen.
65. I'm learning how to make things happen.
66. No matter where I go, there I always am.
67. Wow. I'm up to 67.
68. I realize that 67 was another form of me hiding...must be about to say something really deep and important.
69. I have a hard time telling everything that's true for me to the people I love, particularly the man...for the irrational fear of being annihilated.
70. Yup. 68 was true.
71. I never exercise anymore and I miss it.
72. I can't seem to get myself up on that cross of motherhood.
73. I worry that this makes me a bad mother.
74. I think it's important that my mother had me when she was 17.
75. I had my son when I was 25.
76. Age does not maturity make.
77. I have too many things and they get away from me too easily, which means my things own me.
78. I have to drive a midsize car to be comfortable and happy.
79. I only got stopped once in 19 years of driving.
80. I'm a flirt.
81. That didn't help me with the speeding ticket at all.
82. I can't use a palm pilot-I'm a paper person.
83. I don't like holidays. Couldn't we just have a big dinner for no reason instead?
84. I curse like a trucker, motherfucker.
85. One of my son's first full sentences was "Oh, fuck it!"
86. I'm proud enough of that fact to repeat it.
87. I wish I had been homeschooled.
88. I wonder if I can still tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue.
89. I can't be politic. I can only find the energy to work on my tiny corner of the universe.
90. I tried macrobiotics but was saved from collapse by a blood rare roast beef sandwich with horseradish and red onion.
91. I got married for all the wrong reasons, and I'm still sorry I hurt him.
92. Where can I get a banana cream pie immediately?
93. I might have to do a 200 things about me list here...
94. I have incredibly metaphoric dreams.
95. Whenever some big change is about to happen in my life I dream about losing my teeth.
96. I'm watching and waiting for a damned tooth dream here...
97. I'm finally getting to know my little brother.
98. I am learning to choose grace and peace in my life.
99. I am learning to take care of myself.
100. I will be more honest.

Saturday, October 26, 2002

The train is leaving the station with me on it but i have no idea what the destination is. I have no recall of purchasing a ticket, but I'm in the seat and the landscape is slowly moving by my window. As the train picks up speed it rocks me in steady rhythm. Where-am-I, Who-am-I, Where-am-I, Who-am-I. I am nothing. I am noone. I am nothing. I am noone.

I want so many things based on the certain knowledge of what I do not want. I want for it all to work out. I want to split myself into as many people as is necessary to live all of the possibilities because they're all so magical and full in their own ways. Each track charges forward through pitch black tunnels for days and days with no visibility. It's mine to trust that I'm where I need to be. It's for me to see the glimmering jewels in the dark. How can I know what is right. Which regret do I choose to live with? I know these are the things we all face. I know this. I know this. It just looks so much easier when YOU do it.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

I'm in need of a frolic! The Freestyle Frolic is an alcohol, smoke, substance free, barefoot dance event here in upstate NY. I know, hard to believe old Ms. Fermented Potato Head would even be interested in such a thing but let me tell you folks, ain't nowhere better for a frustrated chick to get her freak on. Yo. Tonight I be frustrated. I fantasized the whole ride home (which by the way I don't even want to know how fast my driver was going...hello...we made the 60 miles in 47 minutes from midtown and we left there when the theaters were getting out jayzus) about popping some music on and just losing my shit in the living room, but I don't think I could get to where I need to go without my babycakes DJ Haj-and it's probably not very neighborly of me. Hoo Chile, he sure can spin some tune. The last frolic I went to with Miss Kat was the final summer outdoor event. There's this amazing stage covered in linoleum and a tent over it with open sides, strung all over with white twinkle lights way up on this little mountain in Tillson, NY, right outside of New Paltz. That night I got out of the car in the field we parked in, pitch dark but for the stars and some torches lit in the woods. Rhythmic thumping beckoned us over the hill. We stood in the wet grass deciding if we should worry about the stench of burnt rubber pouring out of her car. I looked up and saw two shooting stars-bam-zoom, one right after the other, grinned at Kat over the roof of the car and said "Girl, it's gonna be a night!"

and it was...

Oh-and we saw the Northern Lights that night. No shit. This incredible tribal rhythm pulsing away as the green haze swirled in the sky up out of this little valley. It made me cry. Boo hoo.

I think that night I figured out what all the hype is with the whole Sufi thing...I WAS the whirling dervish. What I love about this dance is you get permission in advance to just come and be you. So I wore cotton pajama bottoms with my tat peeking out over the edge of the elastic in the back and a tank top and a little glittery cream on my face and ten minutes up there in the throng of undulating flesh I was deep in the hollow...the hootenanny singing high. I meditate, practice QiGong, make love, all these get some energy running to be sure...but nothing gets it up like dancing does. I find some groove and then body takes over and it goes like that until the muscle behind my left knee is half its usual length and shooting pains up into my groin and down into my foot, my hips are throbbing, my clothes and hair are drenched, my eyes are more clear than ever and if you were there I'd be able to see right through you like you were the night sky.

Now I know what I was trying to do every time I pulled those leg warmers on and scrunched them down just that right way and put on my Flashdance album in the basement. Transcendence. Transcendance. It's what I wanted when I slipped Mom's ice blue nightgown on and wrapped a lace scarf over my head for super long hair and let Deney Terrio and Motion hold the joystick to my soul every time Dance Fever came on. Roller disco? Same thing. Now let's flash forward to my 20's...let's talk about The Saint at the Fillmore East, The White Party...and 4 hits of ecstasy and more pot than any skinny white girl needed. Just as the room turned to liquid and my body floated up and began to swim, the all time take off song set to a driving beat filled the hall, Carole King's I Feel the Earth Move...I danced for nearly 12 hours that time, stopping only to pee and drink water and once to go up in the balcony to watch all those bodies moving together from above. Got scared back down by all the boys fucking in the bleachers.

Only thing about that time in my life is I can't really remember how it felt in my body because I was always so stoned. I went dancing once a week and I took a lot of drugs so mostly I remember the hangovers and feeling like a walking scarecrow, or an X-ray of myself. But I know that what I experience when I go to these dances now is exactly what I hoped to find back then. Me. Me in utter and complete abandon. Freedom from any unhappiness or attachment. Me hooked into a groove so organic that I AM ecstasy. Kat told me that this last time when she looked at me she didn't recognize me for a moment-that all of the stuff I wrap around me like a blanket was gone and I was just light. That's so cool. And the best part is I'm sitting here in front of this health hazard computer screen and I can feel it, right here in this body, now.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Where does the feeling of well being come from? I'm told that it originates inside the body, deeply rooted in the sensations that are the physical body free of the grasping clutches of the emotional body which is driven by the always changing monkey mind. I can see that this must be true because what takes me off of that solid and still center of well being is ALWAYS something outside of me...some event or small exchange with a person to whose opinion or approval I am attached. A piece of the past is activated in me and I'm suddenly the 12 year old girl trawling for love with the nervous stomach and hands and feet going cold and numb, aware of how painful it is inside my body because I've allowed someone or something to come in and piss all over the living room floor. Half the time I've invited them in and then run around apologizing to them for the puddles and the stink.

Then again, often enough something pleasurable is activated, a piece in me gets a hit of YES and OH and THANKYOUGOD because of some event or person and I feel all glowing and light, warm like a toasted marshmallow all gooey and sweet and clinging to the stick. Fire? What fire? But that NEVER EVER LASTS. So here I sit, feeling this nest of buzzing somethings in my belly and the flumping tumble of the bird beating against the chambers of my heart, wings scraping visceral tissue. My breath is unsteady, my lungs feel like they are slow-dripping full of fluid, my blood pumps faster than my veins can handle and I feel it in my teeth, my fillings pulsing in rhythm to my heart. I sit and I hold this unease and drop back behind the story of it, the questions and the uncertainties in my life and I acknowledge the only thing I truly know. I am here.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Dear Robbie,
You've been gone thirteen years now, gone to that place you thought you needed to go, the place where the voices in your head could no longer harass you. Is it true? Have the voices dissipated? Is it silent in there now? Or does your spirit echo eternally with the sharp crack of the bullet ripping from your pistol and through the roof of your mouth-that beautiful mouth I kissed when we were ten-up through that soft tissue of brain which held such a complicated and confused mind?

Do you remember playing Abby Road and The White Album over and over again with your sister Jamie and her hippy activist boyfriend? I think that was an actual date we had, our mothers suggesting we go out together. They had such high hopes for us from the time we first learned to walk. What movie did we see that night? Rear Window, that's right. After, we sat in your living room playing Clue, listening to the crackling records, talking about the time my mother suggested your mother wash your mouth out with soap and then put cloves on your tongue because you had said fuck to her.

You didn't even flinch when she did it. I was so afraid for you, my mom always meant business. God you were my hero.

We argued about the time you dropped that huge rock on my toes and squashed them and I took my socks off to show you how the nails had never grown back quite right and you tackled me and called me a mutant. You looked at me a lot that night. Were you trying to find the wild-haired girl who kicked your ass at kick the can and rose just as high and spun just as fast as you on the rope swing? Were you remembering the splintered cold afternoons when we'd skate hand in hand on the Peterson's homemade ice rink in that strip of yard between our two houses.

I was 16 and thought I might be having a crush on you again after all those years. But I don't think we kissed at all that night, or ever again actually...only when we were ten and I had slept over. Your bedroom was in what used to be our kitchen, still orange like my Mother had painted it. You'd turned the pantry into a pond and field exhibit, bugs pinned to Styrofoam, the sink filled with flashing metallic fish, a pump humming in the plugged drain. You had bunk beds. When we went to bed you made me sleep on the bottom, but left me a gift, tucked up above between the springs and mattress -- a milky white marble, swirled with blue and orange.

We told each other every scary story we could think of. We didn't know the scariest stories would be starting soon, the ones that happened inside your mind and kept you in a constant state of fear and paranoia. Had we known you would be driven to take your own life a decade later, would we have told such gruesome tales? If I had known would I have allowed our friendship to drift away from me like a rowboat carelessly left unmoored and at the mercy of the tide?

You left a letter-more accurately a note...a suicide note. You left the note to me. Your family didn't think you knew of another Kelly. I had no way of knowing-I really didn't know you anymore-just those few phone calls when you lived in Sacramento that year and I was an hour away in Marysville. We were adults then, paths crossing once again in a whole new stage of our lives.

I wanted to see you, but never made firm plans to do it. You always sounded so distracted when we talked, like you weren't really there. I was so afraid you didn't want to see me, would be disappointed at how I'd turned out after all. I was just as afraid that I would have to let go of the childhood fantasy I'd held since the time my family rented the upstairs of your family's house...that one day you and I would marry and have children and love each other very, very much.

One day I called to try to set up plans because my boyfriend and I were moving back east, and you were gone. Your roommate said you'd moved back home. No explanation. How long was it until I left? A month? Two? Three? I can't recall. Enough time for everything to crumble-when I got to my family's house there was a message from your mother. You were missing and there was a note for me...saying that you couldn't stand the voices any more, that you knew they were trying to get you, had been following you. They? Your Mom explained that you had stopped taking your medication because you didn't like how it made you feel. Medication? Serious paranoia? Paranoid schizophrenia?

This was a Robbie I knew nothing of. This couldn't be the same Robbie who pushed me off the picnic table when we were pretending to fly. I cut my knees and your family's vicious geese attacked me while I was down. You held me and rocked me and apologized through your tears. Was this the Robbie who dropped the rock-bigger than both our heads put together-on the tips my toes, crushing the nails permanently? Again, you held me and rocked me and apologized through your tears. Could this be you?

Was this happening inside of you even then? Can't we just go back to the cave inside the forsythia stand where we sat surrounded by ethereal green and yellow so bright it felt like it couldn't be true? Do you remember how you whispered to me that the flowers spoke to you and made you laugh and swore me to secrecy? When did the voices begin to say such horrible things? When did they no longer delight you, and instead begin to terrorize you? Where was I when all of this was happening to you-my childhood prince charming? How did I come to be waiting in the wings of some unfulfilled destiny-thinking we'd catch up with each other later?

I feel responsible for them not finding your body right away. I sent us all on a wild goose chase. My sister and I canvassed your whole neighborhood with posters, our old neighborhood. There were people who came to doors who remembered us playing with their children. So many had tears in their eyes when we told them what was going on. We walked by the woods at the end of the street. I remember my heart pounding as I stood on the hot blacktop at the edge of the tree line. I remember the buzz of katydids and crickets. A car whizzed by behind me. My stomach was flipping madly. I turned away and went on to the next house.

My friend and I got out her Ouija board that night and it quickly fed us detailed directions to your family's cabin in New Hampshire. Your mother and brothers and my sister and I piled into your family van and drove up there in the pouring rain. We stood in the lean-to by the lake calling your name into the empty wet green. We saw deer, birds, fish, moose tracks on the beach, but no sign that any other human had been there since the summer before. We left you a note, impaling the paper on a rusted nail. Please come home. We love you. I've often wondered if the note was still there when your family finally returned that fall without you.

Your mother sought out a psychic who said she saw you alive, in the area, living with a woman who was helping you. She liked that idea and held onto it for weeks. In the meantime I kissed another boy, my friend's younger brother-and slept with another man, a drummer in a friend's band...and prayed you were kissing that woman and that she was helping you to stay tethered to our earth.

You weren't. It was a good 6 weeks until a neighbor out walking noticed the overpowering stench of rotten flesh coming from that patch of woods at the end of the street. You had put your bed pillow over your head to muffle the sound. Your Mom had noticed that the pillow was gone, but hoped it meant you were getting lots of good sleep. Well, you were.

I had known you were there and refused to acknowledge that inside of me. I'll pay for that forever-especially on summer days when the humidity is just at the breaking point and the temperature is high even after the sun goes down-I'll get a taste of you out there on the wind. Your whole neighborhood smelled of your death that night when my mother and I arrived to be with the people you left behind. It clung to my lungs and the inside of my nose. I fully expect to live out my days with that a part of my senses, a potent sense-memory I will revisit, or that will revisit me without warning.

Your sister went to the woods every day for the next couple of weeks to visit with the maggots that were thriving on the patch of ground your body had covered. She called me in the night to tell me that she felt so amazed by these wriggling little bits of whatever the hell they were-that had lived because you had died, had fed on your flesh for weeks. As long as they remained, part of you still inhabited the earth. She watched green shoots pop up through the dirt and told herself again and again that you were gone.

I told her I had dreamed that I was pregnant with your child. That everything else was the same, you had died, but that first you had made me pregnant and the child had already taken on your spirit because you had changed your mind-and wanted another chance.

I would like another chance. Another chance to tell you that having you for a playmate made me one of the luckiest children on earth. You taught me what the long mahogany banister in the hallway between our apartment and yours was for-sliding at the speed of wind. Playing with you taught me that there is a difference between a girl and a boy, and that together they make a whole heaping load of magical everything and anything. How many little girls have a boy to play with, who will roll out the red carpet and make her feel like a real princess, and still wrestle in the mud until she pees herself or screams I give?

I give Robbie, I give.

Monday, October 21, 2002

My liver is still screaming at me in a thin yellow voice, a howling whine projected out my colon...."Whyyyyyy? Whyyyy did you feel the need to pour so many cosmos into our body?" It started the weekend before last with my sister's bachelorette party in Boston.

Ten women
One jug of absolut
One bowl of limes
Cranberry juice
Me with a shaker
Bad mix

Well, the other 9 broads might say good mix since I make such a mean cosmo...but bad mix because we all looked like something that had tumbled en masse out of Satan's asshole the next day. He'd chewed us up and shit us out, but we'd thrown ourselves up onto his mighty pitch fork and let him eat us alive in the first place, so we only had it coming to us. All that vodka was BEFORE we went out to Jacques to see the drag queen show.

Now let me just explain that I've been to Lipps and to Lucky Chang's in nyc so I had expectations. One should not have expectations-I've learned this having managed to digest many disappointments in my life, rising phoenix like again and again in conscious abandon from the ashes of my spent expectations for 30 bloody years. But I had expectations. I expected to see men dressed fabulously as women with still enough man there to make it, well, a drag show for fuck sake. This was more like the transgender show. One woman, Destiny -and I think I can say that she was a woman with some certainty-was dressed in a Janet Jackson glitter bikini and I'm sorry, but tape isn't that strong, that member was gone. I mean, pardon me but I really checked her out when she thrust her crotch in my face and I'm sorry but I'm a small framed woman and I've got bulge. She did not. She was hot. Jeesus, hot hot hot. That's some surgeon she had. Breasts. Just big enough, firm but not too firm breasts. Goldilocks would have picked them. Calves like a woman. Inner thighs, yup. Wow. If I had an ass like that, well, I'd be dancing half naked most nights too. It's gotta pay better than what I'm doing. What I'm doing keeps my ass slightly flabby and covered in this dimpled substance that I will deny is cellulite until the day I die. I do NOT have cellulite. Neither does Destiny. Or an adams apple, or hairy knuckles, or well, anything masculine whatsoever. So we stuffed dollar bills in her cleavage and drank more vodka until my sister ordered up a round of some nasty shit called grape crush shots. That's when the party turned into Night of the Living Dorm Ho's.

My workweek was special. Corporate America is draining me of my well being at the speed of sound, the sound of my head imploding.

This weekend was the Harvest Festival at the farm I get my veggies from. My honey came out and some friends came up from the city and we spent about 3 hours in and out of the greenhouse where they had the food and the band. This area didn't get much rain in the last 6 months. The dirt floor produced so much dust as people did their damnedest to dance to that impossible for the-white-SUV driving-cellphone clutching-isn't this band quaint-yuppie-ass-americans-to-follow-beat of the Mariachi band-that I'm still blowing great chunks of gravel out of my nose three days later. I feel like I snorted mile-long lines of my grampa's driveway through a garden hose. We usually stick around all night but the bunch of us started feeling poisoned pretty quickly. I think Guy parks his tractors in that greenhouse most of the time and I figure we were breathing diesel and motor oil infused dirt all night. He enlisted my honey who passed the job onto a bunch of kids-to fill watering cans and sprinkle the dance floor. It quickly became a mud-pit so what did we do but head back to my place, put on some Afro-Celt Sound System and Kruder and Dorfmiester on shuffle and I started mixing cosmos-this time with Grey Goose citrus.

I woke up feeling very old and hunched over, like someone with a terrible stomach ache and osteoporosis, one of those people you see who only ever looks straight down at the ground, bent at the waist and leaning forward, shuffling along the sidewalk in a way that scares small children and dogs, whose head is too heavy to lift higher than the shoulders to see what's coming. My ears were ringing and as my friend Bill so expertly put it "I feel like someone took a wrong turn during the night and shit in my mouth." Yeah baby.

I think It's time to call for the wagon.

Friday, October 18, 2002

So busy I can hardly breathe... But it's the way it is and I'd better just suck it up and keep on because there's worse things. At least I don't live in DC and have to pump gas while crouching or let some total stranger Guardian Angel dude do it for me cuz I'm too much of a pussy to take my chances. I don't have some degenerative disease that renders me immobile and incapable of eating, shitting, walking or making love. Yep. Got that on the brain again too...the honey's coming into town tonight. I get to come home from work at 4am to a nekkid man in my bed, so I don't have enough going wrong in my life to be complaining. I'm just too busy. That means I'm too tired to do the things I like to do, like write and post to my blog daily and go to the gym that I finally rejoined and get my pansy ass up on the step-mill (my favorite torture device). Ah, well. I'm brewing stuff in my head and will post something better than this soon.

Oh, and the kiddo had to be measured for a tux last week-he's in my sister's wedding next month-and he's in a men's size. He's a 48 short. He's 10. Christ.

Friday, October 11, 2002

Um...even better, a bit farther down on the list it appears I was googled for "How big were Dolly Parton's Tits" and came up as the second on the list. Whoo hoo. I'm in the BIG time now! There's a lotta sites that talk about the size of Dolly's ta-ta's. All hail the Goddess that is Dolly Parton's Breastesses!
I've been googled! fourth down for "baggage dolly". heh.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Complaining for a minute I've moved my shower 10 minutes earlier every day this week and Episcopal Joe is doing the SAME THING! He's either listening for when I turn the water on and jumping right in because he enjoys hearing me scream like I've been pushed off a cliff, or his schedule is changing by the day. You decide.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Religious Stupor I sat up last night having a long argument in my head with my new neighbor, Wayne the priest-who I'm calling Episcopal Joe. I haven't even met the guy yet and I'm already certain he's listening in on my life down here and cooking up ways to convert me and my kid. Tyler and I had our nightly argument about when to do the homework and I know my voice had a slight edge of you'd better start recognizing that I'm the one in charge here or I'm going to lose my shit! I could hear Episcopal Joe walking around in his kitchen right above me-then he went totally still while Tyler and I sniped at each other. I found myself trying to find that thread of patience that gets buried under all the stress and get the sweetness back into my voice and that bugged the shit out of me because I wasn't doing it for me or for Tyler, I was doing it so this stranger wouldn't come downstairs, knock on my door and ask me to come to Sunday services to save my soul.

Part of me wants him to. I feel isolated in all this life that I've created and I wish I had some kind of a community, a tribe to get my back and take over raising my kid for those five minutes when I have lost my shit. I wonder if underneath all of the negative ideas I have about organized religion there might be a congregation or two around the world that acts as a tribe for its people. But I think I'm just looking for the occasional potluck supper.

Weird too how the latest issue of The Sun came the other day and the theme is RELIGION. What's God trying to tell me? Do I feel much like listening?

All night his choral music invaded our space. Tyler asked me to turn off the aboriginal music he was listening to at bedtime so he could hear it-the little traitor. God forbid I put on Enya, he "hates that music." How is choral music all that different from Enya-never mind better than her? Actually it's lovely and I had a hard time fighting it. I kept feeling this peaceful calm settling over me whenever it broke through the rant going on in my head. It made me feel as if I was sitting in the middle of something holy—like my apartment would fill with golden light at any moment or like my mind might possible quiet down if I allowed myself to sink into the voices of angels. Of course I fought it.

Do the Episcopal's go door-to-door like the Jehovah Witnesses? I'm terrified of running into him in the hall after a typical Monday when I run all over the county trying to get my week back on track. He'll see the deep and glowing stress lines on my face like landing strips for the Save the Harried Mother Before She Abuses Her Child rescue plane. I'll become his little mission project for the next few months. But my big question is-do we get to be saved?

I don't have a problem with his having religion-or with you or anyone else having it for that matter just so long as none of you try to tell me that it's the only answer. I just have a problem with religion for myself. It seems too much like the caste system that high school was, only the stakes are much higher because it's all about getting God's love and approval-not just the handsome quarterback and his perfect girlfriend to shine their light on the rest of us surfs.

I prefer to worship God in the house of love that is this sexy sack-o-skin. Thus goes my argument with Episcopal Joe...Yeah, sure, I stress like a banshee. Life's hard. Some days I just can't quite even get it up for myself, never mind for the big guy! Let me tell you how I get the rise in my Penitent Levis. I let myself laugh with my kid. I speak to him straight about how I'm feeling and then I hug him tight and cover his face with big wet smooches. I tell him to pull my finger and I fart when he does it and we laugh some more. I remind a friend that underneath the shit that is the steaming pile of circumstances smothering her life that she's complete and whole just as she is, and that reminds me that I am too. I get skin to skin with my man and we remind each other that at least we can always come back to this...and this...and this...amen. Alleluia! Hosanna! Thank God. Praise Jesus.

I can't get any of that by sitting on some hard bench with my butt bones cracking and my slack-jaw sermonized drool trickling across my numb lower lip.

I can get it by hauling my ass outside and laying on the grass with the sun shining a cocoon of that same golden light from the choral music all around me, from taking a slow walk in the rain and inhaling all those musty dirt smells and green, breathing earth smells and taking them home with me in my hair and on my tongue. This is how I trust that God is already in my house.

Maybe a little more God is in my house now because Episcopal Joe plays that gorgeous music that makes my heart soft and I look at how I'm being hard in my life and with my kid and I slow myself down. Maybe it doesn't matter that I did that out of fear of judgment, maybe that's just the beginning of it and once I've seen it, it's mine. Maybe that's my religion.

Monday, October 07, 2002

Plunger Woes... I need a bigger toilet or a kid who eats less. Christ.
I'm haunted. I just finished reading Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones and now all I can think about is the year I was 12 — that in between child and teen time when the hormones hadn't quite kicked into overdrive and boys were still someone to play hockey with and I still spent hours in the woods making houses under the rhododendron bushes. That's the year the freedom to play all day in the woods was taken away. Mary Lou Arruda was kidnapped. I didn't know her, but I knew people who knew her and it happened about 3 miles from my house when she was riding her bike home from baby-sitting. She was in high school, maybe a freshman or sophomore. Her bike was found, beat up and tire marks at the scene. A boy who was friends with my friend Joyce's brother had been dating her. That was way too close for comfort. For weeks our quiet little county endured the onslaught of helicopters circling constantly overhead. I remember how Mom no longer let us just head off into the woods for the day-especially not alone. She made us travel in large packs like dogs-6 or 8 of us at a time, and if one had to leave, we all had to go with them. We became this pack circling and sniffing the air and flicking our tails, all of one mind driven by fear and the shameful excitement of proximity to a tragedy. We nipped at one another's heels and carried around pits of dread in our bellies—what if the pack threw us out, how could we stay cool and safely on the inside? Who did this make us? Mary Lou's body was found two months later tied to a tree in a state forest by some boys at Halloween...they thought it was a scarecrow. I cannot imagine the horror they felt, if they still feel it as adults, if that moment visits them in their dreams, if it sent their lives howling in an unseen direction. Her assailant had tied her to the tree after raping and strangling her. I look back at that time and try to see how the events have reached their gnarled fingers into my present, shaping how I am in the world and I am only certain of one thing. That is when the woods became a scary place—no longer safe—and the plants and trees stopped talking to me.

Sunday, October 06, 2002

Public Display Part 3
My disastrous performance
that night discouraged me, it's true, but it didn't convince the exhibitionist in me that her gig was up. I lay low for a while, then in 12th grade I became obsessed again and decided to participate in the regional Junior Miss Pageant-a gross display of scholarship driven public exposure, replete with last years' prom gowns and a choreographed group dance number. Right up my alley. Thank God they didn't have a swimsuit competition, I'd have needed those bowling balls again.

Of course, there was the obligatory talent portion of the competition. We had twelve weeks to prepare and I couldn't decide-or more accurately-I couldn't come up with a single idea. I remember those weeks as passing in an endless series of stomach aches and sleepless nights. I'd never felt so worried or foolish in my life. All I wanted was to get up there and do something I could feel proud of. That didn't seem like such a long shot when I first signed up but the big night gathered like a rolling storm on the horizon and I considered dropping out. When anyone asked me what I planned to do, I smiled mysteriously, lowering my eyes and whispered, "It's a secret." Big Mistake. When you set up an event as a surprise, it had better be impressive-especially in front of an audience and competing against every popular girl in the county.

My senior yearbook has a series of photos from that night. I'm certain the one of me made the cut for its comic effect. I'm dressed in a black leotard and tights with white ballet slippers, in a position I'm sure I hoped came off as graceful-but that looked like a very painful parody of modern dance. White ballet slippers? If only I'd billed it as a satirical comment on dance in the 80's-Solid Gold meets the 5th grade level of the Paula Coffee School of Dance. But I went out there in all seriousness, wanting to express my deep feelings about life and love and beauty and being a female through movement and music. At least now I know to just stick with words.

I started center stage in first position-which I remembered from my early ballet lessons. The music began-a rising crescendo of dramatic Moog synthesizer by Tangerine Dream-the theme song from the James Caan movie Thief. I threw my arms out wide and began to spin and leap back and forth across the stage. That music went on forever, even longer than forever, because I'd never choreographed any of my movements. I just threw myself around the stage like a drunken cat in a windstorm. I did a 3 1/2 minute impersonation of someone dancing in their living room. My poor mother. She actually paid for me to compete in this thing. When I left the stage it's possible that she was the only person clapping. The rest of the audience looked around the hall for some kind of an explanation, like they hoped the applause signs would flash and the canned laugh track would start. I wanted to run back out there and say it was all just a joke.

My family took me out to dinner after the show and they didn't have to be bribed to sit at the same table with me. On Monday morning my best friend gave me a huge hug while we waited for first bell in the lobby at school. "Kel, you did great!" I didn't ask her to explain in detail what was great because I didn't think she could come up with a single thing about that night in particular to corroborate the statement. I knew she meant it in general. I knew she dug me anyway. Now I know that all along it WAS about that plain and simple "my mother loves me because I'm me" type of special.

That was nearly twenty years ago. It still stings a little when I think about it, especially because I know there's proof out there-357 students got a copy of that yearbook. Mostly it makes me laugh at how I almost let go of that song and dance in my heart. No matter how hard I tried, I could never repeat the magic that happened the night I let Dolly drive my bus. Each time I got out there again I tripped myself up by expecting the magic and wanting to get something from performing instead of just giving myself to it.

Now I keep my singing and dancing to the shower and living room where they probably belong. But rest assured, I do sing and dance. In fact, they're the two things I reach for most often when I'm stressed and trying to balance all of the details of my life. I roll my hips in undulating figure eights while I chop garlic and broccoli and carrots for a curry. My son Tyler does homework at the kitchen table and yells to be heard over the music, "Mo-ooomm! I said what's a parallelogram?!" Dolly Parton's latest recording blasts from the living room and I trill along to my favorite song, "Little sparrow...little spaaarow, precious, fraaaagile little thiiiing. Little sparrow...little spaaaarooowwww...flies so high and feels no pain" Sometimes Tyler joins in, usually in an exaggerated voice-some creature from outer space making fun of me and Dolly, but sometimes he isn't paying attention and he'll sing along in a soft, clear voice. It's all I can do not to push him up onto a stage somewhere.

Bodles Opera House, a little club in my neighborhood has this open mic night on Thursdays. I've popped in a few times on my way home from work to check out some of the surprisingly impressive local talent. Nicky who runs the health food store is quite a blues aficionado. I've heard him play when I've gone in to buy my liquid multi vitamins and organic chocolate bars. What a trip to see him up there on the stage with that long silver hair and his worn out jeans and flannel shirt, picking away at the strings of that guitar he's always holding. Then there's Bob who towed my car when my thermostat blew a few months ago. Turns out he's a guitar teacher and he drags his students along with him to open mic every week. He sings Arlo Guthrie tunes in a low, quiet voice and I remember he spoke with the same gentleness and looked me in the eye when he handed me my receipt. They're all very good. Andy, the librarian plays a mean guitar and likes to make up bawdy lyrics to Dolly Parton tunes-a kindred spirit. I think he kinda likes me and I wonder if he'd be open to learning a few Lucinda Williams tunes and accompanying me. I've been singing along to her cd's for a while now and I've got one song down pat. All I need is a Stetson hat with a big peacock feather on the front, some shit-kickers and a silver belt buckle that says LOVE ME in big block letters. I can get up there with Andy strumming along beside me and let everyone know in the sultriest down in the bayou voice I can muster, that even if I'm not such an amazing singer, "I would burn soles of my feet, burn the palms of both my hands, if I could learn and be complete, if I could walk righteously again. Cause I want to get right with God. Yes, you know you got to get right with God."

that's the end of that...

Saturday, October 05, 2002

Public Display Part 2
Our Little Production of The Muppet Show did a few matinee shows for the area grade schools and paraded through the audience after the curtain call. Those kids went wild for Kermit and Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear and Gonzo. Our costumes looked so close to real that the little ones believed it with all their heart. They wanted autographs and to hug and shake hands with their favorite characters. Dolly drew a different kind of attention that I wasn't equipped to handle. Wherever I went, small hands reached up to tweak my giant breasts. I didn't know if I should protect myself or protect the kids. No one had ever tried to cop a feel of me before. Poor souls, imagine the shock and disappointment as their tender little fingers crashed against hard plastic and their brains struggled to make sense of it. All those tiny hands pulling back, fingers clenched into fists, scowling lips yelling "Ow!".

When the show finished its run I waited anxiously for the summer theater camp at the local college to begin. I couldn't wait to get out on that stage and feel all the approval again. We put on a variety show that we had to audition for and I tried out for the song "Hernando's Hideaway." A girl from another town got that part, and man, she sang it like a pint sized Rosemary Clooney!

I made it into some of the chorus numbers, singing backup to a star or dancing in formation behind a star. God, how I wanted to BE the star again. I hung around backstage singing bits and pieces of my favorite songs, Don Mclean's "Vincent": "Starry starry night, paint your pallet blue and gray...look out on a summers day...." I tried to make my voice soft and pensive, the poetic siren calling all potential adoring fans onto her rocky shore.

No one seemed to notice so I turned up the volume and gave my vocal cords a workout with Gloria Gaynor, "At first I was afraid, I was petrified, just thinking I could never live without you by my side..." A few kids joined in and the stage manager walked by, stopped in his tracks and turned around. This was it, finally he noticed. He walked up to Sheryl Harvey with a huge grin on his face, "Sheryl you sound so amazing, you should sing this song in the talent show."

I told myself that her voice carried better because she was standing closer to him than I was. I knew my chance would come at the talent show--anyone could compete in it. I rehearsed for weeks in the shower, folding laundry, washing the dishes, riding my bike-and defiantly ignoring my fathers running commentary that I sounded like a dying chicken.

The college auditorium seats 1500 and the house was packed that night. Most of the competitors had some real talent, singing, dancing, poetry readings, dramatic monologues. But the organizers seemed to have no problem letting a few of us get up there to howl like wounded animals in the wild. One of the instructors accompanied me on piano and I missed my cue so he hit the beginning chord hard one more time and started again. I got it the second time with my heart keeping time in my throat like a built-in metronome. Things went quickly from bad to worse. My attempt at Debbie Boone's "You Light up My Life" didn't exactly light up anything except for maybe the cartoon light bulb that went on over my head like the dawning knowledge of a bad idea-bink. Amen for stage lighting-it blinded me well enough to keep me from seeing the full scope of my damage, catching the pained expressions on just a few faces in the front row and the other competitors waiting in the wings. As the stage manager gently led me off to the sound of scattered clapping-nothing close to the applause I hoped for-he patted me on the back and whispered "We've gotta teach you how to get that voice out of your THROAT and down into your diaphragm." I thought that might be pretty hard to do what with my foot in my mouth and my head lodged so firmly up my ass...

Friday, October 04, 2002

Big, fat, juicy thanks to Niki who made a little mention of my linking to her abundant blog way over and down there in Australia! Do check her out my two trusty readers, Kat and Ray who HOLY CRAPOLINI! has put up a bit of my bit from yesterday on his site. Oh man. I'm all a-blush and a-flutter. Wow. Thank you Ray. And you a poet, no less. Damn. check them out Kat...and anyone else who stumbles across my blog by googling Dolly Parton or Enormous Bra.This is just too much fun!
Public Display-Part 1...trying something new-posting an essay I wrote last year. I'll break it up into logical chapters-get that whole cliffhanger thing going for my two trusty readers Ray and Kat...thank you for your continued support, please come again.

I fell in love with stage performance in junior high school when our 8th grade class put on a production of The Muppet Show. More than anything, I wanted to be one of the celebrated Guest Stars. I had my idea all planned out right down to the instrumental version of the song I wanted to sing. My family could attest to the fact that I didn't need to practice, I'd been singing that song while doing my homework or washing the dinner dishes over and over again for months. My sister joined in and we tried to harmonize, belting it out at least a dozen times in a row and vamping it up around the kitchen with wooden spoons for microphones and damp dish towels draped over our heads like long hair.

At 14 and already 5'10" and a slim- bordering on scrawny-100 lbs., I had frizzy brown hair and breasts that my first "boyfriend" cruelly but aptly described as mosquito bites. My choice of singers to impersonate had the whole school buzzing like an overturned beehive. I marched up to the audition sign-up sheet taped to the auditiorium doors and scrawled it in red block letters:

SONG-"9 TO 5".

I don't know how I did it, because I've never been able to sing like that again and believe me I've tried. It must have been a cosmic vocal convergence of puberty and passion, mercury out of retrograde and venus in my house. Audition time arrived and the first ten rows quickly filled with whispering and snickering kids. When the director called my name I mounted the stairs and handed him the 45 accompanied by jeering laughs. Someone coughed to try to disguise it when he shouted "tits". The needle hit the vinyl and I launched into the working woman's anthem, "Tumble out of bed and stumble to the kitchen, pour myself a cup of ambition..." I could see everyone's jaws hanging open and felt all of the muscles in my body weaken so I sang louder... "and yawn and stretch and try to come to life...". I did a little strut back and forth across the stage, keeping my eyes turned towards the lights on the ceiling until the end of the last verse.

The music stopped and the auditorium fell silent for a moment until Kim Hill yelled "She's lipsyncing!" and all those heads were nodding and the other kids yelled "Yeah!". Mr. McGullen, the music teacher agreed with her but the director shushed everyone and said "Listen," as he pulled the needle back to play the song again. I stood center stage listening to the instrumental, watching the second hand crawl around the clock and trying not to cry. Halfway through, they all started clapping and yelling. I felt myself lifted up, gravity stopped working and I floated above them all in a diaphanous cloud of pride and joy and vindication. I got the part.

The other Guest Star spot was a trio of girls who played the Andrews Sisters. They dressed up in little fatigue skirts and caps and high heels and sang "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy", of course. We 8th grade girls were a sophisticated bunch.

Buried in a box in my mothers basement there's a polaroid of me on opening night in full regalia. I had a huge blonde wig, curls piled like fruit on top of my head and my face painted so thick, I can still remember feeling like the makeup would slide off as a solid unit and land on the floor, grinning up at me in the heat of the lights. My sister's best friend's mother, Mrs. Arthur volunteered her enormous bra and my mom sewed my brothers blue plastic bowling balls into the cups and tacked round throw pillows into the rear end of a black skirt with slits up the legs. Curvy doesn't even begin to describe the transformation. I exaggerated my little strut to a full blown burlesque, my hips going ba-boom-ba-boom-ba-boom and my breasts, light as air, bouncing rythmically a full foot in front of me. I channelled Dolly that night, bless her heart, and by the end of my number the whole house was on its feet. People stood on their chairs screaming and cheering. I felt golden and sexy, like a rodeo queen who held onto the biggest, wildest bronco until the poor beast dropped from exhaustion in the middle of the arena. I didn't want it to ever end. This feeling was more powerful than anything I'd ever felt before and it planted the seed in me that if I did something extraordinary it made me special. This was no "my mother loves me because I'm me" kind of special. This was hardcore. This had global potential. Where could I get more?...
It's raining hard in Chester, and Harry Chapin isn't here to sing to me about it which is fine except I can't get that thought out of my head. I'm also thinking a lot about writing today and wishing I had time to just sit here at the keys and take it all down, but the paycheck beckons, the bills are in the background egging me on-"Go on! Get up off that chair girl. Think of all that revolving credit you're riding around on and hustle your ass to the bus now!" So I leave you with someone elses words about writing. I can't find my Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird and if anyone knows where it's hiding, tell me please. In the meantime, this'll have to do:

Progress, even if that progress is in baby steps, is what writing is about. It is a place of transformation, of spiritual alchemy. We take whatever life has served us and we make something of it. Sometimes it is a simple soup. Sometimes it is a banquet. Sometimes it is a bone to chew on. Always, it is something we can digest.-Julia Cameron, The Right To Write

Thursday, October 03, 2002

Can we talk about money? It's taken me 35 years to figure out that I'm the kind of person who spends every last bloody penny in the house every month and leaves myself short for the next round of bills. I've tried the whole tracking all expenditures in a little notebook thing, I've tried being disciplined, I've tried tricking myself by entering a lower balance into my checkbook and by hiding twenties in the cookie jar or under the mattress. Nothing works. It's clear to me now that I just don't make enough. What's a girl to do? Set up a phone sex line at home? Sell trinkets and doo-hickeys from Bangladesh online? Get a second job? GASP! My manager at my prestigious job with a profiteering weekly print news conglomerate says there's no money in sight. Cost of living raises (2-3% at manager's discretion) it is from now on or until they seal the deal in their merger with God in the ultimate media acquisition. I have a desk job. I sit at a computer all day and design pages or clean up the messes on the pages of people who are a rung or two higher than me on that ladder I keep trying to deny I'm standing on. Then I run those pages around like a relay racer-passing them from one editor to the next until I have the full array of OPINION about the pages at which time I must fly back to my desk like the wind and find a way to please each and every one of those people without pissing off any of them. Essentially I'm a janitor. It occurs to me that I could probably get paid just as much as a janitor at my son's school. I wouldn't have to make the ass-grinding commute, I could spy on the kid, and my butt looks great in olive or blue khaki. I could have a one of those cool shirts with the name tag sewn on it, Kelly in red script. The last few months have been so insanely busy-what with elections coming on and our Noble Constitutional Republic about to launch a full-scale war in the hornets nest of the Mideast-that I end the week feeling as if I've done physical labor, like cocktail waitressing at a keg party for 40 hours with no tips - nothing to show for it but the blisters on my ass where the cheeks rub together running up and down the stairs and around the whole building. Tips? Sorry, just the ass-reaming, that's all we offer.

My point besides complaining? Well, that's a fine question. I'm not so sure I had one when I started this, or have yet to find one now that I've reached the end. This is the end because I could continue with this shtick but what would it get me? No. Really it's just to stoke the fire-to get more energy moving in the direction of getting me the hell out of there. To end on a positive note, I offer this from Kara:

May you be financially blessed today. May the Universe open up and pour out a blessing, that you will be able to receive it all and to overflowing. May you be blessed exceedingly ... abundantly...above all you could ever hope for.

May you be blessed in such a way, that you will walk in a financial overflow, for the rest of your days. And may you be blessed with the Divine Guidance to use this abundance for the highest good. In the name of all that is Good. Amen...Ashe...Aho...So Be It...And So It Is.

Blessings are continuously flowing, we simply must tune into them and be receptive.

"I think not how lonely I shall be when you're gone, but rather how empty my life would have been had you never come."

I think not how rested I feel when I'm away from you oh job, but rather how pleasantly empty my ass feels now that your corporate dick is no longer filling it.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

New Template! I'm not so thrilled with the typeface, but I like the whole linking section, my other template didn't offer that and i couldn't figure out the code-try as I did with webmonkey. Tweeking to continue over the week...but I'm on the way. All this instead of working on the outlines I promised to work on. Now I'll be awake all night, which is fine, I would be anyway because I took one of those extended 3 hour naps, the kind with multiple phone interruptions dragging me breifly to the surface of consciousness, peeling my head up from the drool spot I was stuck to on the pillow, Oliver (meow) pawing at my mouth as I talked to this one and that one and whoever else it was then was pulled back down the well only to arise much later in a drugged state. Not tired at all now. Oops.

There are some nights when
sleep plays coy,
aloof and disdainful.
And all the wiles
that I employ to win
its service to my side
are useless as wounded pride,
and much more painful.

Maya Angelou

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

And again my inmost life rushes louder,
as if it moved now between steeper banks.
Objects become ever more related to me,
and all pictures ever more persued.
I feel myself more trusting in the nameless:
with my senses, as with birds, I reach
into the windy heavens from the oak,
and into the small ponds' broken-off day
my feeling sinks, as if it stood on fishes.

Ranier Maria Rilke
How? does one find time to do this blog stuff on a daily basis. I was so full of energy for it the first few days, and I just spent hours and hours...but if I go on at that rate, nothing else will ever get done. What my son? You would like to eat a balanced meal one day this week? You need help with your homework? You ran out of clean underwear on Sunday? All you can smell is the catbox? See? Another reason why I need a wife-so I can complain online all day. Does noone wish to be my wife?