Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Whole again...

Whenever I'm feeling lonely, or bored, or sad, or triumphant, or dejected, or restless (or...) I go to Whole Foods.

Ahhh, Whole Foods.

Whole Foods is a big store that lives a block away from my new house. It has neatly packaged, generally environmentally copacetic food items neatly arranged in little rows on little shelves on long aisles marked with fun little signs that tell you what might be there, but always leaves room for possibility.

Ahh, possibility. For some, possibility is the first step on the Appalachian trail, a one-way ticket to China, a baseline job in a great business. For me, possibility is the smell of a hardware store. Or the endless rows of self-care ditties in a drug store. Or Whole Foods.

Somehow, the neatness, the endlessness of ingredients for any number of items--the lighting--the samples--makes me feel safe, but also invigorates me to no end. I don't even need to actually purchase anything. Just knowing that it's all still there, tirelessly maintained by its staff of tatooed and dread-locked twenty-somethings, is comforting to me.

In a way it puts things in perspective--that somewhere (or just around the corner) there is endless potential, all packaged and ready for your Whole Paycheck.

Thank you, Whole Foods. [And, no, I don't even care that your jerk owner is a Libertarian and anti-healthcare reform. Cause I don't even need you, it's just nice to stroll the aisles once in a while, is all.]

Whole Foods, this one's for you:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hard Knocks

This fall has been full of transition for me. Out with a lot of old, in with a lot of new. The big ones* were: I moved to a new house, I broke off a long-term relationship on bad terms, I switched jobs four and a half times. To boot, I've developed a healthy case of insomnia, which has probably changed my ability to deal with the constant flow of transitions ("In short, I'm TIRED!").

I'd say that the relationship bit threw everything else rather wildly out of control, especially after finding some particularly hurtful information, which put me solidly out for two full days. It probably triggered, or contributed to the insomnia, which in turn affected everything else. What might have been a fall of re-adjustment became a rather tumultuous exploration of what it means to be a grown-up.

Around the time when I wrote the Nonna/Nanny post, I also wrote two letters, one to each of my grandmothers, thanking them for being themselves, and expressing my admiration for them. My father's mother called me and asked about the break up**, and asked how I was. I said (as I've been saying, with relative noncommitment to the now tired subject) "The break up was hard. It's been a hard fall."

She told me that she thought all her grandchildren were "too pampered" and that we needed some good "hard knocks" once in a while to keep us in check. Typical Nonna mentality. Nonetheless, I felt I should respond with relative honesty. I told her I didn't think it was bad for kids to be pampered, and that sometimes hard knocks can make us "grow" and "learn," but we shouldn't go on encouraging them. She actually agreed, but still asserted that I'd be ok and that a hard knock still wasn't bad once in a while.

I've said this before and I'll say it again--this isn't the first or the last time I'll be feeling this way, dealing with all sorts of things like this. There have been two other times in my life that I can already remember feeling like everything was shifting below me, and that all I could do was kind of hold on and try to get through it. One was in the middle of high school. One was when I began my relationship with this recent ex-boyfriend. And one is now.

And while I already feel like a different person, I'm more aware of myself, and I'm acting with increasing resolve. That said, I still wish there were an easier way to get from point A to point Q.

*In between there's been a bunch of stuff, but it ain't worth getting into right now.
**Nonna it should be said, is fascinated with break ups. She can't hear enough about my friends' parents' divorces...She still wears her wedding band, though she's been divorced for forty years or so. More on that later.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Start watching the following clip at 4:50 to understand my current state of mind...

Did you do it? Good. Fittingly, Barbara Stanwyck's character is named Elizabeth--"identifying" doesn't quite describe this....

Hmmm, if only my tall, hot soldier would remember his cue!

Monday, December 14, 2009

I Fear

A lot of my artwork deals with trying to understand vulnerability. I think part of understanding what it means to be vulnerable is admitting what you are afraid of. I've tried my best to list these things below. But this is only a very small part of finding what it means to be vulnerable (which, ya know, we all are).

Vulnerability is the capability of being wounded. Understanding that means understanding that there are a lot of things that could hurt you very badly at any time for no reason at all.

I'm not there--I don't understand and I'm not fully able to let go of my invincible, endless, bodiless self. Articulating things that I'm afraid of can only do so much. I still don't actually realize just how wound-able I am. In other words, doing what I'm doing now isn't actually allowing myself be vulnerable, it's saying things that make me feel vulnerable, or, better, remind me that I am vulnerable when I think about them. Admitting that I have dreams that maybe won't come true, actually loving somebody a lot who then breaks my heart--now those are real fears, and it comes closer to accepting one's vulnerability. Pursuing those things without knowing, without caring about being pulverized by the world--that's scary. As far as I'm concerned, I think that may be the closest thing to truly coming into one's own vulnerability.

In other words, letting myself be what I am, un-armoured and unassuming, loving things that or people that I love regardless of the potential consequences, now that's accepting my own vulnerability. (Do you understand where I'm going here? I'm trying to understand how fear is different from vulnerability; how understanding fear is different than understanding vulnerability, though they aren't un-connected).

Ok? Ok, good.

As I was kind of saying, in many ways, my greatest fear is allowing myself to experience glimmers of real true hope, letting my soft body "love what it loves," and opening myself to this possibility of being trampled in the process. But you know what? Without trying for those things, without allowing myself the opportunity to really lose everything, then I'm not sure I'd be really allowing myself to live.

And I want to. I want to live and feel things and be hurt and try, and fail, and maybe be squished like a bug in the process. Bring it on, cause this is it. And I mean that exactly how I say it.

Food for thought.

Below, I've listed some of my fears (I'm sure there are more that I haven't thought of yet, but here's a quick taste.) Again, things that make me feel vulnerable, or that I think would make me feel vulnerable are different than understanding that I just am vulnerable. That said, I don't think it's is un-interesting to think about, and gather into a tidy little list on one's blog.


- spiders
- the dark
- basements (I still run up the stairs)
- being home alone/being alone in general*
- skiing
- sharks and big fish (they are quiet and have very big teeth).
- the ocean at night (one, solid black, black plane; thick, oily ocean; things below silently eating other things)

- becoming crippled (really--my feet and back hurt all the time)
- being really fat
- getting disfigured
- not being able to have babies if I want to
- being deaf (no dancing?)
- developing halitosis (it would be terrible)
- locked-in syndrome (also, terrible)

- being bitter or not enjoying myself because I'm very poor or in debt (which should be distinguished from debt or poverty, because I'm not afraid of those things--I am afraid of being a bitter, miserly jerk because I'm poor or in debt)

- getting really depressed again (the lethargic kind, not the kind I probably have now that keeps me awake too much. the kind i'm afraid of is the kind that keeps you in bed, and makes waking up feel like trudging through thick muddy swamps, and sucks the joy out of the things that give you joy--)
- being too serious/not enjoying myself in the moment
- the death of somebody close to me, or seeing/hearing a person who is close to me die (this I fear more than my own death; I've had many horrible dreams in this regard)
- not saying something important to somebody when I need to, and then never being able to (you know, like big things, like "I love you, you mean so much to me, I miss you, I need you" and then the person who I needed to say it to can't hear it anymore--because they die, because they marry somebody else, because they move away, because they have alzheimers and forget who you are)
- not allowing myself to love somebody 100% (romantically--I feel like I could do the 100% love thing, no problem, to most important people in my life --family [biological and surrogate], friends, unborn children, etc. everybody except somebody who I love and want to be with forever and ever and ever; maybe they hurt me, abuse my trust and then I can't bring myself to love them the same way again...or maybe I just can't let myself admit to them or to myself just how much I love them. That kind of thing, that's scary.)
- marrying somebody and then realizing that I'm in love with somebody else (I could never, ever be unfaithful; it isn't in my nature. But I can feel real unrequited love; and I can want things that I can't have--bad combo when it comes to already being married or something)

- waking up one day and realizing that I gave up on the one thing or person that I shouldn't have (e.g. the big ones: regret & failure).
- dementia / decreased cognitive functioning (not memory loss--I don't think I'd mind that--I would mind always just not understanding things--like, if everything felt like college calculus, every day...that would be awful).
- loss of integrity (having people not believe me, not trust things that I say or do)
- being totally delusional--not seeing things clearly; I like to see things as they are (even though I have a vivid imagination)

Well, that's all for now; hope to balance out the rant about unwanted hair with some things I've been tossing around in my head for a while now. What do you fear?

* it should be distinguished that I don't fear loneliness or "ending up alone," which is different from being alone in the present sense. I just get scared when I'm by myself sometimes.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ninety percent of my life is spent removing unwanted body hair

I think of all the other things I could do if I didn't care about removing unwanted body hair--like, translate Dostoyevsky's complete works to Arabic (no, I don't speak Arabic or read Russian, and I'm not wild about Dostoyevsky).

That said, believe you me, I ain't as diligent as I used to be (in high school, where it seemed as though my very life depended on artificial hairlessness). Even so, it's a real life-sucker. Yes, I am the dark-Irish, dark-Italian mix, and I am also a girl (which makes it not ok, somehow). I have hair, dark, thick hair, on body parts that you probably didn't even know existed. Yep. Everywhere. I could give Frodo Baggins a run for his money. Chewey--I could eat for breakfast. (Hey, there's a reason why I identify with our hero, el sasquatch).

And as I get older, it's only getting worse. I should be losing hair, but it keeps growing back, thicker than ever and in even more bizarre locales. On my last birthday I discovered some "stray" hairs on my eyelid (EYELID!). Later came a discovery on my chinny chin-chin...


And what luck. That I, more than anything, hate removing my body hair. Let's be real. Does any one out there like it? If so, what are you taking? I want some!

For me, it's always been a physically and emotionally straining activity, not to mention a huge waste of time, energy and money. I don't get why we can't all just live with the smells and the hairs we were given. Honestly. Think of the waste WASTE of all those little tools, products, all made of plastic or metal or paper or wax, made in factories using tons of energy and shipped using our precious fossil fuels. So that I can BUY it to torture myself and waste my own time, so that, what? Remind me?

And yet, despite all this, about every third week I take a little trip to the bathroom, and emerge, wholly primped and primed, smooth and hairless as a baby's you-know-what.

In the last two years, I've resorted to using these little wax strips which seem utterly sophisticated, undeniably European and generally in good, clean taste. That said, after I do the big pull, I have to circumambulate the tiny room at least four times before I'm able to bring myself to sit down once more. Why do I do this? Well, for one, to avoid the god-awful task of shaving, a ritual from which I've never emerged unscathed (usually there are about fourteen classic nicks in all the troublesome areas...knees are cumbersome, aren't they?)

I don't even mind it that much under my arms, on my legs, stomach, back, ears, forehead, teeth, whatever. I don't mind having hair. (I'd make a kickass Frida on Halloween, not to mention, I could make friends with the local sasquatch community). I have on more than one occasion gone on strike (for anywhere between two weeks and seven months), only to be shot down by peer pressure. The kind of peer pressure that is all breadth--seventeen people at different points in time, each 1) "noticing" and then 2) asking "hey, what's going on?" or "what's up with that?" or, even better, "WHOAA!" There's only so much a girl can take before she feels like she's a sideshow attraction.

Well, folks, I don't know what to do or say but to continue on this awful cycle of inflicting pain, getting indignant, striking, feeling like a freak, and then inflicting pain and wasting a ton of time so that--what? I can say I'm never EVER doing this again, and then within a month I'm back in socially normative purgatory.

Maybe, someday, I'll come to terms with whatever caveman castoff genes have made it through the evolutionary food chain up to my eyelids. Maybe I'll just lose all my hair and be sad because I look like a shiny, tall Q-tip, and mist up when I see the rusty, cob-webbed remnants of my razor.

But today, the struggle lives on. Daily. I notice new growth, and not the (emotional, intellectual) kind I need. And I try not to mind what people say, thinking about how nice it is that I have long eyelashes and big eyebrows (even though if it weren't for my relative diligence, I'd have big eyebrow)*.

And, heck, now I'm even writing a blog entry about it, so I'll cut my losses and leave you with this:

*Henson cast me before Burt came on board. The pressure was just too much and I had to move on.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lizzy Loves Trouble, Shame on You, Shame!

Oooh I can't help it.

I like to flirt and it gets me into trouble. Doesn't matter if it's a guy or a girl. Doesn't matter if I like them or they like me, or if they're my age. Intentionality is never part of the agenda. I just like it, it makes me happy. How can I flirt so shamelessly? Because, dear Watson, I expect nothing in return. I don't think they'll take the bait, which has no connection to any fishing line anyway. I'm just throwing my little flirt sardines into a big lake and walking away. Ye know, existential nihilistic flirtation, n'at.

However, it occasionally comes back to haunt me in the form of an unwanted return.
Didn't they know it was all for good fun? That when I actually like somebody, I can't say a word--not one. I contort my body and stare at the floor. Avoid them.

I suppose I shouldn't hold anybody to blame but my recklessness, especially when I'm under the influence of some kind of substance, namely, alcohol.

I should do better for my future self by:
1) never giving out my number
2) never giving out my real name
3) never caving into having senselessly witty conversations for the sake of having them

DUH. Or...at least not when I'm drunk. Slap, slap! Get some sense in that little head of yours!


* * *

When I'm not having fun flirting, I enjoy being contrary. This annoys people but doesn't end up haunting me nearly as much as an unwanted flirtatious text message from...?...early in the AM. That's when the contrary side kicks in, where I've probably enticed something (namely in giving out my phone number) which I never wanted anyway.

Why can't people just read my mind?! I suppose that's why I've started this blog, to help translate for those who are ESP-impaired. (And so that my friends can blame themselves, and not me for listening to/reading ridiculous thought trajectories like this one. Clever me!)

When I'm not flirting or being contrary, I sass. I tend to sass inanimate or distant people or objects. I sass Rafiki, our cat. I sass the Project Runway contestants, I sass my parents, I sass my roommates and their boyfriends. I also sass the poor flirter-backers, perhaps out of my love of the contrary, or just flat-out annoyance, which is then often taken the wrong way (as they haven't gone through contrary or sassy impulses, and they are still on the flirting track). They think my sass is flirting, and it isn't. It's pure, unadulterated sass-afrass. And then, all of a sudden a flirty response. I'm back to flirting again, down the slippery slope to replying to the silly repartees that today's social media sites have facilitated to no known end. No known end but trouble for Lizzy.

And now what to do, what to do?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Amsterdam Opens its Arms to Me

And it lights its joints for my brothers...

That said, I emerge from the perpetual cloud for a few observations...

I like this city much, much more than I anticipated. The first time I came here it was with my best friend, and we had no money, no place to stay, no map, and, well, no money (that's no money, squared). We went to the Anne Frank house, the Rijksmuseum, then ate hash brownies and 2 for 1 Euro donuts in the street, walked through the red-light district, and went to bed before sunset.

Now, I'm with my folks, and they're paying for shit. And I'm not hungry or lost. I can just eat, humor my parents, and let my brothers teach me about the wonders of cannabis culture. My younger brother used the sweetest tone I'd ever heard him use when he turned to me and asked, "Would you like to try to roll this one?" With the help of a Dutch artist friend, I know all the little trendy gallery venues, which I can escape to when my parents have thrown in the towel. AND there's a film festival (the IDFA), a chocolate festival, and the cannabis cup ALL AT ONCE.

So I love this city right now. I can float along the streets as if I'm drifting along one of the many canals here, not thinking about anything really. My siblings talk and complain, and I can just look, snap photos, and happily not express any thoughts, opinions or feelings as the world busies itself around me. I'm not part of it, I'm an implant. I don't get upset about long lines, about the rain and the wind. Want to go out? Sure! Want to stay in? Sure! Ah! A canal! Ah! A handsome couple on a bike. Look! Graffiti. Snap, move on, open umbrella, get dinner.

At the end of the day, I take my friendly little pill. I sleep. And then a new day starts, where I don't have to go to work, or owe anybody anything, or be worried that I might bump into somebody. Or understand someone else's conversation, for that matter. My lack of opinions (even to me) seem utterly virtuous. My cellphone is off because I'm out of the country. No complaints. I'm not getting emails from work anymore, everybody's on break. It's just me, my loud, opinionated family & the Dutch (who generally keep to themselves, tend not to shout out to girls on the street, and are tidy and respectful!).

Yes. I can just drift. Like a house boat. Pirl. Like the fraternal smoke plumes that envelop me.

Thank you loud, opinionated family, thank you foreign lands. Amsterdam, I love you! Let me just drift, be. Sleep. I'll think later.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I think that not allowing your blog viewers to comment on your blog posts is just friggen' abusive. Stop your self-importance and let ME respond!

...in a public forum. To your thoughts and...everything. I keep going back for more, even though it's a totally one-sided, sterile, comment-proof relationship! Can't you at least PRETEND that you care about what OTHER people think? Or are you just tired of the life of a celebrity blogger?! I need the attention just as much as you do, even if you have a bigger fan base than I do!!!!

What the heck. Alison Bechdel allows comments on her blog, why can't you?! Are we just supposed to gorge ourselves on your wisdom? And what is there for a self-respecting blog reader/fan to do?

And, while I'm at it, as for the Crumb newsletter people--I feel utterly pooped on! Why would I want to buy Crumb's Illustrated Genesis for like five-hundred bucks? Oh, right, it's because there's a serigraph print inside. An opportunity not to be missed! Oh, god, Warhol's wet dream. Good thing I know better, having lived in Pittsburgh and understood Warhol's industrial roots. It's a friggen' silkscreen and it wasn't even printed by anybody of remote importance. I'll take my first-print edition of the book for $24 at the corner comics place, thank you very much. And you know what? R. Crumb would never, EVER have a blog unless he could have the chance to earn a hot dollar. You think I don't know him? Don't know what you're doing? Have you no finesse? Do you not understand how you need to stroke a lady with a perpetual hole in her pocket??! Any notion of my feelings as a mindless consumer of your products?!?!?! The comics world is vicious! Vicious, I tell you! They pretend that they have all the thought bubbles spelled out, but really you should read in between the frame sequences. This industry prays on its innocent fans' obsessions! Hey! Stop it! Screw you! I'm going to STOP THIS it before it starts to possess me!!!

* * *

You know what? If I take just two steps back, I instantly realize that I'm experiencing something akin to sexual frustration in the comix fan world. Pooh, what's a girl to do? Guess I better read more comics to console myself...gee wonder if Kevin H. has updated anything since...hmm noo...ah and I'll just top it off by writing an angry blog message to nobody.

Hooked, lined, and sinkered,



And she called me a week ahead just to remind me so I wouldn't beat myself up for forgetting.

Except I did anyway. And did last year....And the year before.......

I guess I was busy doing other, more important things. Like shopping. Or updating my flickr page. Or reading the Illustrated Genesis. Or....

As always, I'm so lucky to have friends who appreciate (and put up with) me. I love you all.


*Note that all these pictures were at some point or other taken...while at work. (gasp!) Sometimes, midday, you need to take a picture to document your state of mind. And it comes in useful later when creating spur-of-the-moment whoops I'm a jerk videos for your friend(s) whose birthday(s) you forgot.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Total Girl Crush

Her, allison bechdel, and my yoga teacher---ahhh!

Monday, November 9, 2009

On schlooping...

I found out that somebody close to me is probably sleeping with two girls at the same time.

When is this ever ok?* I dunno. He doesn't seem to be conflicted about it. At all! I also found out that two other guys that I know, and had thought were relatively stable, respectable individuals (the quiet, reclusive creative types) had opted into flings with one or more undergrad (or recently undergrad) art major girls (in half of these cases, the girls in question were between 5 and 12 years their junior). And no, we're not talking not the genuinely quirky art girl undergrad, who wears dreadlocks, funky outfits and has "deep conversations" over a joint, but the kind whose very being is enclosed in at least 14 sets of quotation marks, the kind who has pre-calculated every pose, gesture, and silly little comment.

Well, it goes without saying that I'm pretty disappointed in these guys ~ why are they doing this? They each seemed so great to me initially, like, they stood on their own and had cool thoughts 'n' stuff. But then I find out about their absurd, superficial and somewhat extravagant relationships with a girl (or girls) who make me seriously question the judgment of the guy in question. (I'm also sure that if I knew any of the girls in these situations, I'd be equally perplexed ~ why are they dating these guys who so obviously seem to be using them...)

A friend and I recently reflected on this trend, in light of the aforementioned discoveries. It was unanimously determined that this sort of thing is in many ways a major part of the 20-something arts/arts university community dynamic. I guess I'd never noticed it before, as I was an English major at an all-women's college, and the worst thing I had to deal with was the Mary Gordon devotees, or, perhaps even worse, the PoMo Possee. Anyway, my friend and I came up with a term for this phenomenon: we call it schlooping.

A schlooper is most often a guy, in his 20's, (30's, 40's etc,etc), who is just conscious enough of his shortcomings to feel at a loss. He wishes to be whole, or at least to appear as such. His books of theory, complete 4th season of The Office DVD, and vinyl collection fails to keep him warm at night; they can't adore him the way he needs to be adored.

So the schlooper seeks out and sleeps with a younger, artsy-girl type, often the powdery pastiche of self-conscious, utterly deliberate effervescence. Such types are commonly known as schloopettes. Schloopettes are often younger girls. They are the spritely, free-thinking, politically apathetic dippy dabblers of mankind, in all their artful, calculated effortlessness: sentinels of sarcasm, monitors of the monotone, harbingers of hip, who are prepared to spread their "perspectives" at any moment. And, perhaps even more importantly, they are more likely than the average joe to dish out praise to that older, mysterious, aloof guy who seems to know so much.

Schloopers and schloopettes engage in a symbiotic relationship that is wholly self-referential, masturbatory, self-perpetuating, and theoretically self-contained. Theoretically because the schlooping few think of themselves as isolated, but in reality, sometimes a non-schlooping individual gets involved, and they get hurt, or their heart gets broken, or they find out that the guy they like is sleeping with two girls at once. Or they are just disappointed in individuals for whom they'd had higher expectations. In this sense, I'm think it's also fair to say that schlooping, generally, is highly (self) destructive behavior.

Why** do the schloopers seek the schloopettes (and vice versa)?***

Because they are insecure. Could it be this simple? I think so. There's a fine line between knowing one's shortcomings and hating them utterly. Schloopers think for some reason that they need something to make them better, brighter, to give them the air of being more mature, more mysterious, more in control. And then they hop on the stationary bike of doing cute underfed art student after cute underfed art student for that quick burst of satisfaction, instant grat, and a nice stroke of the ole ego.

They build up a shabby armor of alternative music downloads, obscure film references and VICE blog material, and pad their lives with Achievements, and, even worse, Experience. The more they build, the better the compliments they get as their superficial relationships splay out. The result? Frequent, empty, amaurotic (am-erotic) schlooping.

At the end of the day, our schloopers and schloopettes are using people, each other. And they are inevitably disappointing to people like me, who are so ready to accept their kinder and relatively uninteresting, real selves. Because, in my book, real is almost always more interesting. Give up the gauze, folks!

When will our poor schloopers and schloopettes learn? They should just accept their imperfections and move on, curtail the incessant witticisms, shrug the showism and try to direct their affections and energies in a more genuine direction.

Glug, can't we all just be friends?!

* Crumb's different.
** Echoes of Olympia Dukakis in Moonstruck, "Why do men chase women?" I'd like to think that the case in question is a slight variation on this epic question, as it is particularly rampant in the arts university community.
***Or what, more specifically, do schloopers seek in schloopettes (as they so vigorously dig to the core of each one)?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Happy Halloween Sasquatch Lovers of the World!

Peering out from the darkness

Bearing her TEETH

Do I detect a hint of vulnerability?

I have again found true love...Ah, but it has been there all along...

Last night I drafted what must be a fourth, fifth? sixth? letter to Robert Crumb. It is always initially a bit of a trite exercise, and then, usually after the first page and a half, it all radically devolves into a feverish, ecstatic scribbling of staccato burblings of praise and adoration, all peppered with mad, barely legible, child-like sketches (which are some kind of compromise between lack of words and an inability to friggin' squeeze the guy to pieces).

And then I usually put it down out of frustration in my apparent shortage of adequate communicative expressions and revisit the letter again in three weeks, or three months, or something. At which point the cycle starts all over--I'm like, what the hell was I thinking? And then I work myself into the exact state all the hell over again.

Last night I had an especially exciting psychological after-party, as I had a[nother] full-fledged dream about meeting R. Crumb, his wife, Aline, and me being totally unpuffed when he crawled onto my back during church, after I skipped communion (as my whole family was sitting in the pew next to me, mind you). (There was more, but I'd say that was the climax)(...cluck).

Ok, Freud, chew on that one for a bit...

The miracle of it all: I slept the night, unmedicated, for the first time in months.

And the thing is, I really do love Crumb in a very real way. No, really. Really! We met one time, and it was, honestly, the best day of my whole life. I drank four glasses of wine, and exited the building where he was about three and a half times before I could even stand seven feet away from him....

And then...

we had our moment...

It was a great moment (I'll tell you about it later).

And then I left, floated away, with a crystal-clear mentality that I could sincerely die happy.

His books are always close to my bed, as is a letter to him in semi-comic format, which I'm writing/drawing, but also hesitating to send, out of pure vanity, a vanity which is only the bi-product of total investment in my fantasy world.

He is why I am what I am in so many ways. Why I am oh, sasquatch. Why I am ok with my hefty thighs and my height. Why I am secure in the validity of my paralyzing shyness, and the depth and intensity of my INNER FEELING. Why I'm fine with the occasional rant-like outbursts. And my clumsiness. And my self-loathing. He is in many ways the reason why I make the artwork that I do, and feel the way I do about other artists, about myself as an artist. Lines on paper, folks. He's made me laugh, he's made me cry. And now--he's made me sleep! I love him, I love him!!!!

Here's to you R. U R. my sunshine. Ahhh, how I silently suffer in my endless, unquenched longing for you; bliss.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Nonna / Nanny

As usual I woke up this morning long before my alarm went off at 7 am. I had to be at work by 9, but I decided to go in a little early, because, face it--the house was clean thanks to not having TV or internet, and our heating doesn't really work, so what else was I supposed to do? While I still lay warm in bed though, I floated through the usual torturous thoughts that have been chasing sleep from my eyes for the past couple months. But, unexplainedly, and within a matter of minutes, my thoughts almost immediately turned to my two grandmothers, who I'm lucky to have and know. Thinking of them gave me a great deal of comfort and strength, and whisked me away from darker thoughts as if they were actually there with me. We haven't lived in the same state since I was two, but I still feel close to them both, and I identify with them very strongly.

They are both very different women: my father's mother (Nonna) is 82 and a practicing physician. She listens to Rush Limbaugh while driving in her Mercedes Benz to and from Lord & Taylor, where she eats lunch every afternoon, in heels, usually with a twinset, pearls or a thick gold chain, her Louis Vuitton bag, and matching tights.

My mother's mother (Nanny) is in her late 70's and works part-time at a Real Estate firm, devoting the rest of her time to making tote bags which she designs and sews herself and sells at craft fairs around New Jersey. She regularly sees a psychic, shops on QVC and loves Marshalls and American diner food. She really thinks that in a past life she was a Jew, talks often with her dead siblings, and has a strong affinity for Paris and for Saint Mother Cabrini.

Both got divorced after their spouses were unfaithful and abusive. Nonna took their divorce trial to the supreme court of New Jersey, spent what would be the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of dollars on trials which ultimately ruled in her favor and resulted in changes in New Jersey State law. Nanny asked for a divorce and my grandfather cut her credit cards in two. She had to ask her brother for a check to serve divorce papers, and he asked her why. "Does he hit you? [Yes] Does he drink too much? [Yes] Because you are married and these things should be worked through." It was only when she told him, my uncle Ace (Adrian Hollywood) that her husband had been sleeping with his secretary for years that he put pen to paper and cut her a check.

Both of my grandfathers (Grandpa and Pop-Pop) married the vapid, boring women they chose over my vibrant, intelligent grandmothers. Both of my vibrant, intelligent grandmothers never remarried.

I honestly can't imagine what they went through. Mind you, this was the 50's. Women didn't get divorced, being Catholic and of immigrant descent was already kind of iffy (my Nonna still thinks the Italians are the oppressed people...), not to mention it was super-unusual to have a job or to do anything but bring their husbands their slippers and make themselves presentable for bridge games with the ladies.

Nonna still wears her wedding ring because she "likes it." And if he was going to break the vow that made that ring mean something, then it was just a pretty rock in a bit of gold. Nanny thanks god for the day she got the divorce. She knows she'd be a different person had she not gone through with it. (She would probably be an obese alcoholic doing what my grandfather's new wife did: waited around while he played golf or took naps, or slept with other women.) Or maybe not. (Nonna would have probably been a bitter millionairess, had she invested her money instead of going all the way to the top of the food chain over in Jersey.) Nonna doesn't see it as a blessing or a curse. She just won't refer to my grandfather as such, or by his name. Just "my ex."

Well you guys probably know why I'm writing all of this at this point. Nobody ever cheated on me, but I've dealt with a lot of varied levels of betrayal and disappointment. Most of the time, though, these setbacks have led me, like them, to unexpected changes for the better.

Thinking of my grandmothers' heartbreaks, and how utterly pulverized they must have felt in the wake of such trauma helped me put things into perspective a little. But thinking about how awesome they both are in their own ways, made me want to jump out of bed, thrice clear my chakras, and think about what I might have been in a past life. I have a lot to live up to, and like them I have a world of undiscovered potential, and a world of un-lived thrills and disappointments around me.

As a wise fictional character once said: "I love my life! Sure it can be hard at times, but that's part of it." Here's to you, Nanny & Nonna. Hat's off.


That said, and not completely unrelated...maybe this was my past life...Let's dance!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Yeah, so, just to clarify:

The last blog entry was about how I'm ticked off that more doesn't happen, not necessarily because I want to light the torches and march in the streets, being part of the action, but because I wouldn't get to roll my eyes and complain about it as much as I might have wanted.

And another thing, which I don't think I made transparent:

I can't really sympathize with a lot of the protesters who are destructive or violent. I mean--it's definitely not working to any end, and most of the time it isn't planned at all. Yeah, let's crash the windows of a Boston Market, not because it's nasty, or a big business, or not vegan or whatever. But because it's right hear, next to where we are, with our hammers. Come on, people. If you'd opened your eyes for a second, you might have noted that that particular Boston market was conveniently located near three major hospitals AND a cancer center. Yeah, wonder who's eating there on a budget...

It just sucks for people to consistently be working towards these lofty ideals, and in the meantime, who are the casualties, and what is the real coste? It is never, ever justified to use violence, even if it is to counter violence, to be brutal, even if it is to counter brutality. Call me Christ, but there is always another way.

And, stop being so stupid. As my friend said to me today, "Who is a fan of the global economy?"

I'm just tired, folks. Tired of people not knowing what they mean, not meaning what they say, and not doing what they say they're gonna do.

A Brief Interruption of Today's Emotional Crises for Some Important Albeit Scattered Thoughts Concerning the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, PA

It's what we've been bracing ourselves for, and it's here!!!! We've been talking about it, Rust Belt Radio and NPR have been chatting it up too--even though I've missed much of the TV coverage on it as my TV is also a plant stand and has no pictures. Here in the heart of things, every bus that rolls by (or at least the ones that haven't been eliminated or subjected to incapacitating delays) says "Pittsburgh Welcomes the World!" Police blockades are poised throughout the city. GreenPeace has already been repelling from one of the newly-painted bridges downtown. Bring it on!

Understandably, I was so excited to get to work today and IMMEDIATELY log into Twitter. I had visions of the Twitter-tethered Iranian protests of earlier this year, or at least the e-hype that surrounded Ellen Degeneres' tele-visit* to CMU this spring. But alas, either protesters are too busy to tweet, or nobody, pun intended, gives a flying (or tweeting) you-know-what. (Or maybe the protesters don't have blackberries or iPhones, a more likely scenario...) The most social-networking momentum I got was: "Live in PGH #g20 1 NBC Crew, 4 protesters, 2 old ladies watching from porch"...priceless!

Pittsburgh, it seems, hasn't skipped a beat. We just go on. Doing. Talking. Eating. Drinking. Talking about all of those things. Taking a load off. And then going back to the mill (at least the metaphorical mill) in the mornin'. Come on, people!? Can't you give me something to fuel more exciting future blog entries? SOMETHING more distracting at work than 2 old ladies on a front porch? My needs are purely selfish and utilitarian. And while there is the activist impulse inside of me, I'd like to think it manifests itself in other ways than pure shouting-and-signage protest--through my art, blog, blah blah blah. Or I'm lazy. Can't I just blog the revolution?!

Ah, if I only knew what I wanted in all of this...

Ok. Back to the non-flow of this entry...While looping away some more time at work, I happened upon an activist (albeit Catholic activist) (~forgive me~) blog**, which referenced the summit's unique manifestations in Pittsburgh, and I thought one detail was especially telling:

"You’d think the city would be fuming at the imposition of it all. But from taxi drivers to Homeland Security staff, the goodwill and welcome has been astonishingly warm. And maybe that’s because many of them aren’t letting the summit get in the way of life as usual.

In fact on the other side of the water, just outside the security zone, the Pittsburgh Pirates are playing baseball tonight to a packed stadium. “It’s an important game,” a guy told me as we sheltered from a sudden downpour. “No world leader’s gonna stop the Pirates play.”

No. They wouldn't dream of it.

Is this just how this town is? Or is this a United States thing? When I was living in Manhattan, I was convinced that I was the lone outraged person on the island the day after Bush was re-elected. (Prior to this day, everybody was wearing anti-Bush tee shirts, and the weather report was flyers with a chance of more flyers, 80% chance of scattered angry gays and other activists.) And then he won. I remember those last states turning on TV and my friends and I blasted Madonna's "Like a Prayer" out our window onto Broadway, to people who danced and screamed "C'mon, Kerry!"

It was so quiet the day after. After crying a little, I created and donned a silly "WTF?" tee shirt, that everybody saw and then said something along the lines of, "Yeah, I feel the same way. Would you like room for cream in your coffee?" Come on...? Where's the fire! The PASSION! Bring on the REVOLUTION!!!! Or wait four more years of torture and scandal.

But then, gasp, a couple of years later, I was one of them. I remember finding out, oh, yeah, the President of Iran is here today, like a block away. And thinking, well, I guess I could go check 'im out if I get a bite to eat beforehand...It's disgusting, I know. (Granted, the issues in Iran just might not have been as important to me as more domestic trials...but still, I wanted to care more...)

But I don't know. I must be pretty lame hoping for something exciting to happen around me, but maybe my generation, this country, my socio-economic status, my personal interests, and my general whimsy have prevented me from even coming close to the revolution, wherever it may be.

Bah, who knows. Maybe maintaining normalcy is in itself a form of activism. Yeah? Or maybe the protesters will, as the old joke goes, show up in Pittsburgh in 5 years. Or maybe they are there right now and I have no idea what I'm talking about because Twitter is for losers like me who are bored at work!

Or maybe not. Pittsburgh is just a weird place in the world, with high estrogen levels in the water, funny accents, and two colors, two colors only. I'm not even sure what I want people to do. Chances are, I'd get annoyed with big protests anyway, and all of the inarticulate 23-year-old anarchists lined up to talk to Channel 4 news and whatnot. I guess I just want to gauge what the hell is happening, and then articulate it to you thirsty readers, as blogging is my sole end in anything that should occur to me, ever.

So, Lizzy, closure? Ok, getting there, getting there. Ah, I might have something! Ok we're listening...

Of course the litmus test is always based in personal experience. I'm keeping my eyes and ears WIDE open (as usual). Give me a sign!

This morning I did (literally) see a sign of the Pittsburghian social status quo when I walked by Pino's, an Italian restaurant near where I work. Yesterday I'd explained to the owner what the G20 was, and why it was sort of an important thing. This morning I saw their sandwich board read: "PINO'S WELCOMES THE G20 and the WORLD!" I thought to myself, huh, well that's pretty cute. But by the time I'd gone down for coffee a half an hour later, the sandwich board was on the sidewalk and said, "Welcome to PINO's!"

Well, I had to appreciate all the deliberation that must have gone into that chalking experiment. The change probably occurred due to some kind of protest (as it is a husband-and-wife-run business, and as the handwriting was different from the first to the second). I wish I'd've seen it...but I'd rather let my imagination fill in the details.

In the end, I was ok with their final impulse. The world, and anybody else (who pays) is always welcome at Pino's. Remember, it's BYOB! Sigh. Business as usual.

>> Folks, do me a favor and comment a little on this guy. What do you think? And while, we're at it, what are YOU? Don't answer that...But, is anyone out there?

* Yes, tele-visit. She wasn't actually there, a TV with her face on it was, though, thus amassing at least a couple hundred silly fans, myself included.

** The rest of the Catholic blog entry can be found here.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A little humor goes a long way...

Yeah!* Yeah!** Yeah!***Yeah!!!****

* Cheerleaders!
** High-heeled converse all-stars!!
*** Catharsis!!!
**** Lead singer with HIPS and NANA'S!!!!

Hope & Change c/o Glee! Thank you!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Let the sun shine...

After twenty-one straight days of hell, a moment to breathe. It has felt like one very, very long week, as I've been working seven day weeks at two different jobs, one of which had me work about eighty hours last week (including two twenty hour days!). Let's rehash: I moved house, got a stomach virus, broke up with my boyfriend, (who promptly took another girl out and f#@!!*ed her), I quit my job, started a new job, took the old job back (sort of), quit the new job again, agreed to give both places two weeks notice, came down with intense insomnia, total loss of appetite, worked 21 straight days, all culminating in one 80-hour work week and a very dizzy Lizzy.

So, yeah. Here's a little more of a window into the work side of things, which reached a crescendo on Friday with our annual gala. The entire staff of the nonprofit where I've been working essentially flaked out on me the two weeks before the one major yearly fundraiser (even as I'd told them I needed to not be working there so much). The most support I got was on the day of the event, when a staff member showed up for an hour, and then left on an errand, never to return...Yes, I was the only staff member, showing up at 6:30 am for work, and working until 1 or 2 in the morning again, no breaks. Towards the end I was so wired on adrenaline that I felt tingly almost all the time, as though I'd had too much coffee, except there was no time for coffee. My voice got deep and sexy out of fatigue. I lost a few pounds due to reduced appetite and insomnia. My eyes got that sultry sunken-in look. Va-va-va-voom.

The emotional shit really didn't help either. I was totally crushed to the point of being totally numb. You read my last post. I totally felt all of that stuff! It was bad. But being so busy and super-stressed was almost a relief from my incessant feelings of sorrow, self-loathing, disgust, grief, and rage. I occasionally felt that overwhelming nauseous grief I talked about in the last post, but I hardly let myself feel that. No time to feel! I let my voicemail box fill up. I didn't check my email. There is a mountain of laundry in my room and sour milk in the fridge, along with several other unidentifiable tupperware containers of....?

My roommate came home on Saturday night after the last loooong day to a delirious me, who burst into hysterics because we had no medium-sized plates* in the cabinet...oh my.

But today was sunny. I slept through the night with some help from ole medication, and I woke up and felt hungry, and ate, and read the Sunday Times (yeah it's Tuesday--at least it ain't Saturday!). I went to a graveyard with a good friend to cheer up. We took pictures of notable graves, including a Mr. "Ghost," a family of wishful-thinking "Guests," and a Mr. "Splatt." Oops. The "Heck" family. Oh, heck. Mr. "Gentile." Not to mention the whole "Rott" clan. And then my favorite grave in Pittsburgh, which I'll post sometime later this week. :)

Theeen I broke out in severe hives, and started sneezing and snorting and guffachoospelching because I brushed up against this shrub that apparently I was allergic to. Ho-hum no biggie.

The long/short of it is: the sun shines again. I can let it shine in now. And I am already a stronger, wiser being. Just a little bit. I can feel it. So--thanks to those who helped me, tra-la to those who didn't. I'm just going to take a little time for little me, give thanks where thanks is due, and move on in the world. Buy pre-made goodies from Trader Joe's. The works.

* for smaller food items.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

So this is what it feels like

It happened to me for the first time today. I know it will happen again, and I know I have yet to feel a lot of pain, and a lot of joys in my life. It is an overwhelming revelation. But right now I just need to take it one breath at a time. Although I know I'm not thinking very rationally about all this yet, I think it might be of some future value to write what I'm feeling now, marking this quietly monumental occasion.

It just happened all of a sudden. Couldn't have predicted it until it was already happening, like when you step on an attic floorboard and it creaks a little too loud and a little too long. And then you fall through and you aren't even sure how you got where you are, or if you'll be able to get up again.

This is how it feels. This wasn't going to go ideally. We wouldn't be friends.

I will never forget that pause on the phone. The unexpected silence brought a slight creak, "You did?" and then creaaaak, "You did," and I was falling. A hurl of emotion shook my bones so that they tingled, as I, trembling, tried not to drown in the sea of dissonant chords, foreign tongues, and rainbow sludge that was pouring into every opening in my body. Gasping for air, my chest, stomach, and head undulated in the wake of what hadn't been said.

So, less than a week after we'd last kissed, spoken, he'd slept with somebody else. Then called to tell me he missed me, and wanted me, and wanted to see me. How tragically mainstream.

But I didn't know it at first. So I tried not to indulge my still-strong feelings for him, and then, succumbing, agreed to see him sometime. And then he paused, he wanted to, but he wanted to think about it, and he thought I should too. Such thoughtfulness was uncharacteristic. So on a whim I asked.

The silence said it all. He'd been with another girl, regretted it, called to repair what never would be again. Played to the feelings he knew I still had for him, because I had told him. My feelings progressed in the following way:

Chapter I: The mudslide (described before).

Chapter II: After I'd somewhat surfaced, self blame. How could I have been so stupid? Naïvely chaussée-ing through the waltz that was going on around me. Then ending up in this hot, wet sandstorm, feeling dirty and used.

Chapter III: Anger and disgust. How could he? After almost four years. And then on top of it, he played it to me as if nothing had ever happened. I wanted to smash everything I saw, vomit, crush every ounce of anything that reminded me of his mindless typicality.

But then, and even scarier, and more quickly than the other two, came the fourth chapter: nothing. I felt nothing.

It has been said that the mind can only take so much pain before it just shuts down. My limbs felt heavy, my bones vibrated under my skin. I felt light-headed and exhausted, but my thoughts were cold and mechanical. Eventually I realized that I wanted to sleep for a long time.

And I still feel nothing, can think nothing, and feel utterly indifferent towards mostly everything. Then the pain comes back, like the nausea of grief, in intense waves, leaving me reeling and then just tired and numb again.

When we first started dating, when we first started to realize that we were falling in love, that this was different, we casually joked that whomever should break the other one's heart first had to, as a form of consolation, give the other a pack of Twizzlers, as they were very good. T was very afraid to fall in love. And although he was the first one to say he loved me, again, casually as we crossed the street in the East village, he'd still refused to say it again for months, an act which hurt and confused me at the time.

Four years later, and just as casually as we'd slipped into love, he brought my world crashing down. Twizzlers, I'm afraid, really won't cut it.

So this is what it feels like to have your heart broken. My heart is broken. It was broken by some one I used to know.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

At some point

I will be able to express my feelings about this week in a logical, cohesive and meaningful way.

Not now, though.

Monday, August 31, 2009

When it rains it pours

So this week has been pretty hard. I moved house, and the couch we got did not in any way fit through our narrow hallway, my boyfriend and I broke up after 3.5 years, I was sick to my stomach and not eating food for five days, I quit my job, started a new job the next day and worked eight straight days (going on twenty-one). And did I mention insomnia and the usual family drama?

But, I'll be ok. Going through some shit, while it's hard, really helps you realize where you are on the karma circuit. And you know what? I am so lucky.

This week:
-When I lost it at work, my friends came, picked me up, fed me lunch and dinner, and sat down and talked me through it for an hour.
-When I quit my job, the same day, I got another job offer with the first place I applied to.
-When I missed my bus going to my own art opening, a few friends pulled right up on a random back street and drove me there ontime.
-When my boyfriend and I broke up, my friends immediately picked me up off my ass, before I even realized I was down.
-When I got sick, my friends bought me soup and ice cream, my parents prescribed me some drugs and blood tests, my brother picked me up and drove me to the hospital, and my friend working at Whole Foods even got me some free pricey pro-biotic blackcurrant juice!
-When my couch didn't fit in my house, two days later my other friend bought it and offered to move it for me.
-When I found out my ex-boyfriend (rather tackily) decided to go to a fancy art dance party with another girl, less than a week after we'd called it quits, I ran into 12 of my friends at a local bar who were there to cringe and pat my back, and a couple new people who liked that I knew the play Twelfth Night so much that they bought me some drinks!
-When I came home again to an empty new apartment, there was a note from my roommate saying there were ice cream sandwiches in the freezer and home-made pasta sauce in the fridge.
-PLUS my friend from Greece said that she is planning to bring me a care package IN PERSON this fall--!
-Doule-plus we have a new roommate, an artist and 28 year old totally responsible and friendly and seemingly put-together guy.

So, wow. While I've been feeling a whole lotta bad lately, life and friends and family have helped to make it a little more bearable. For goodness sakes, organic pro-biotic juice? My heart aches (and so does my stomach), but it also swells with joy at my blessed life (and, lots of tasty food items, respectively).

Thanks guys.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


The boyfriend passed all his exams and is finished with college!

With that, a reprise, with an alternate video version of Sheila's hit!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Martha's Vineyard Osmosings

Sorry, dear readers, but I'm on vacation, and thus brimming with bloggerific potential! Read up, thirsty souls, for ye have not imbibed for too long...

Yesterday my parents and my sister and I went on a "Martha's Vineyard Ghost Tour" in the town of Vineyard Haven, formerly Holmes Hole. Our leader was none other than the author of Vineyard Supernatural, a Ms. Holly Nadler, who has spent decades researching the former lives of spirits who haunt the Vineyard.

Now. I am pretty comfortable believing in things people can't see. I like astrology, (as former entry will show) and I'm loosely spiritual. I also like reading fiction, and fantasy novels which, though it is hard for me to believe, some people don't. I'd like to think I also believe in ghosts.

But you see, any time I get close to people who really, really believe in these things to the point where they're preaching one thing or another, I recoil, utterly turned off by the bullshit.

So, as you can imagine, the ghost tour initially held promise, until, of course I realized that this bat actually believes in all of this crap. It's such self-important BS to think that humans have some sort of privilege that allows them to exist after nature says you're toast!

Granted, as Holly explained, I may not be one of the 20% of the human population that is considered "by psychologists" to be "extremely sensitive" to the "osmosings" (yes, osmosings). But, regardless of my physical sensitivities to the spiritual world, the stories she told failed to incite any level of pity or curiosity or actual belief in me. Holly explained that Vineyard Haven was victim to an imbalance in spiritual negativity; in fact, she was even able to identify a Negative Vortex on the site of the MV Bank, where some 17 year old boys had been abused by a nasty old man. She grimly stated that she felt sorry for the people of Vineyard Haven, because they were in really deep. "Things happen here." Give me a break. I mean, listen. Spirits of Holmes Hole: I'm sorry if you were struck by lightning in 1790 or if your infant child died in 1840, but get OVER it already!

(This callousness may be a bi-product of my trip to Poland just a year ago, where every block you walked about 40+ people were at some point or another shot dead under one tyrant or another. If you were "sensitive" and born in Poland, well, good luck, tortured soul!)

The best part probably came when she explained some extremely disturbing experiences she had at home (with her high-school aged son and EX-husband) after having used a Quija board to contact a dear, departed aunt. Apparently the week after, she:

1) Was unable to lock her door properly


2) Discovered a weird unidentifiable drawing of an Indonesian demon which somehow moved mysteriously from her desk to a neighboring chair one day when she decided to vacuum her place.

She concluded, based on these happenings that it must have been the Quija board. Apparently an evil spirit had impersonated her aunt and had successfully infiltrated their safe haven. She proceeded to put the board in a box, and put that box into a pillowcase and then stowed it in her basement. I could just imagine her then-husband and son having a real field day with this crap...

I don't think anything more needs to be said. I don't think her beliefs really threaten me, but I guess I needed to say something after respectfully listening to her half-baked stories for an hour. But in case your interested, here's a picture I took in front of the Negative Vortex. Apparently, with digital photography, "orbs can be detected." It didn't work for me, but it was worth it for this creepy pic.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Moth and the Flame

I looked up my relationship with my boyfriend in a bookstore (in the great work, The Secret Language of Relationships) and the description was: "The Moth and the Flame."

If T or I had been born a week or so earlier, we might have been something like "Intellectual Rigor" or "Too wonderful"...but no.

I read on, horrified, as two paragraphs summed up the trajectory of our relationship. I am the moth. He is the flame. It was all pretty simple. It could work--but it would require a delicate dance the whole way. Potentially very harmful.

The last line of the profile when something like, "If you are a Gemini and just started this relationship and have no idea what we're talking about, just wait."

Don't get me wrong, I take this truth with a grain of salt. I mostly enjoy thinking about how I can't possibly have control over things. It's enlightening!

Hmmm...but you know what I really love about astrology? It leaves a lot up to the imagination...raawr.

Thanks to Shannon* Dorn for this delicious** (and initially censored) image, which I found at http://www.elfwood.com/~dorns/Moth_Candle_Flame.2687856.html

**I'n'it great that the flame has the bigger rear?! How sinuous!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I just can't change my parents

They aren't bad people. Actually, they're really nice. Respectable people. And they love me and I love them.
That said--they drive me absolutely nuts.

Sometimes, well, most of the time, we just don't seem to mesh. Like when they invite me to dinner, and I get there, and there's pork on the table, and potatoes that were cooked with the pork, and bread. Then, when I go to make myself another dish, and my mother asks me, "Isn't this food good enough for you?" I refuse to answer because she knows I'm a vegetarian.
Or when my dad showed me his office, which is an office, in a building. And he was so proud of it because he worked 21 years in a windowless office to get this job so he can have these windows. Whereas working in an office at all is not on my agenda! (I HATE offices!!!!)

To boot, I've been having problems at work. I'm pretty sure my boss has an alcohol problem. She's nasty, and capricious, and rude. And their refrain has been: what can you do to make it work?
They shrug and roll their eyes when I answer truthfully to the question, "How has work been?"

My parents are so busy encouraging me to work hard in life for the "things that matter," that they forget to have a little fun and forgiveness in the meantime*. I worry about them a little bit, and hope they're making the right choices for them.

(*My dad spends about 4 hours at his computer every day of vacation so far, emerging, thrilled and saying "I got some good work done today!")

I asked a friend before I went away for two weeks with my folks what my mantra should be, as they were already getting under my skin.

And he said, "You know, it took me years to figure this out, but you really can't change who your parents are." And he would know; he still has to deal with his parents shenanigans, despite living in a different state, having a life & family of his own, and having achieved a great deal of success in his career. From all I hear, they were/are pretty messed up. Alcohol, abuse, adultery. The works. He went on to say, "For a while I thought I could, like get my mom to stop drinking. I thought that if I was really on top of it she would have to come around, but she never did."

While I saw his point, I felt pretty sad about this. I was first sad because of what he had to go through, which I can't ever fully comprehend, nor wish to. Pang--it hit me like a cold wind when your hair's wet. I wish that he'd had a better time of it; but I think he turned out wonderfully.

I was also sad because of the subsequent wisdom his experience provided me. He was right. (Fshhewww, follow up cold wind...)

So. I probably can't really expect to see my parents, like, loosen up a bit on my terms. Nope. They'll either be who they are going to be, or they'll change for the better or worse, but I can't feel like I have the power to do anything with them. It's like your freshman year roommate. Sometimes you get a perfect match, and sometimes it ain't perfect. I just can't change my parents. I. just. can't. change.
my parents.

This got me happily through the next couple days of family vacation.

But you know what? I'm not zen yet. [Note: If you aren't ready for an utterly frivolous, nitty-gritty vent session, complete with dialogue, go back to failblog where you will find more one-to-one satisfaction...]


Yesterday at dinner, my dad was trying to convince my 11 year old sister, that it might be more important to take up a rare sport for the "scholarship potential" in college. And I was like I can't change my parents, but in the battle over the sister, I'd like to reserve a small sphere of influence! That's bogus, I blurted, because then she'll have to do a sport all the way through that she might not like! Annie, do what you love, this will lead you do great things!
And the battle drums sound, a theatrical dance ensues:

Dad: I don't think so. Sometimes you have to work hard in life. Sometimes you have to make a sacrifice.
L: But she won't be happy. She will be depressed because she has to wake up and keep her scholarship! Annie, only do it if you want to!
Dad: No, I disagree. You can't always just do what you want. I worked hard to get where I am today.
L: Yeah? In an office with big windows? [L rolls eyes and twiddles pointer finger in the air] Well maybe some of us don't want that.
Dad: I worked hard for that office, 21 years. [Puts a mouthful of salmon into his mouth)
[Beat, L: This is, L realizes, not at all about Annie, but about Dad and L again...crud. Is it too late to back out now?]
Dad (continues): Your Mom had to take out loans in college and it has CRIPPLED us.
[Beat, L: Yep, in too deep.]
L: WHAT?! I think that's a bit strong!
Dad: How many two physician families do you know who live like we do?
[Set note: Gentle Martha's Vineyard sea breeze rustles the leaves of the 100-year old tree growing on the porch of my grandmother's condo, salty sea intermingles with the gentle perfume of lilies. Helloooo it's beautiful, we're on vacation on Martha's Vineyard, half the country is jobless!!!!]
L: How do we live?? I think we live FINE. VERY FINE. EXTREMELY COMFORTABLY! Are you KIDDING?!
Dad: It's crippled us. Think of where we could be.
[At this point L remembers the matra told to her by a wise man ~ I just can't change my parents ~ she turns dramatically to her 11 year old sister, who has now probably stopped thinking about college scholarships, and started wondering about when the s'more making will commence...]
L: Annie: If you are unhappy in what you do it's not worth anything. My best friend in college took out a ton of loans, and majored in Creative Writing! And she's fine! You should go for what you want in life. And if you have to wake up at 5 am to do lacrosse will that make you happy?
Annie: What's lacrosse?

End Scene.

Well, L's done it again! Gone and ignored very useful, sensible, even wise advice in favor of making the same damned mistake over and over until it's been beaten into her own non-fictional head. I feel, however, like I'm getting better each time. I'm not so emotionally bogged down by this kind of "discussion." And I'm starting to let go a little more each time, and be ok with their decisions, while I try harder to make decisions that are true to who I am.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My poor boyfriend has trouble in school

This is something that has been hard for me, born student, to understand. But he's helped me along, as I never doubt his intelligence, despite his repeated struggles in school. I get frustrated with how things turn out for him sometimes, because turning in a paper late, or failing a course was my worst ever nightmare in school. [This is also because I have a small problem with authority, which I can only attribute to my Catholic upbringing and my status as the oldest child.] I tried for a little while to "help" him, but I realized in the process that I was trying to change him so he could be more like I was. I'm over it now.

I mean. The poor guy. His whole life trying to exist in a system that just didn't fit his needs as a bright guy with trouble learning the way other kids do. His parents, forgive me, weren't that much help to boot--his dad's a big-time science professor and his mom is a lawyer. They are Polish, and their culture led them to be less inclined to pathologize (which in certain cases isn't a bad thing, but I think it might have helped him a bit had he known he had a disability of some sort, rather than an inherent flaw in his makeup). In other words, they didn't really believe in learning disabilities such as ADHD and so never had him evaluated. Instead, they promised to buy him a puppy if his grades improved, and, well, he never got that puppy.

I just wish he could get out of school already, and start doing the great things that I already know he can do, not to prove anything to anyone else, but so that he can realize how great he is.

This one's for you my dear, and this will be you when you have finished school ("l'ecole est fini!") - xo:

Friday, June 12, 2009

New goal:

Write shorter blog posts. I wouldn't read a blog post as long as my last few.
Will work on it and get back to you.


Don't give me that look...

Did you ever wish sometimes that you had a statistician at the dinner table with you?

Last night I met a med-school hopeful recent Harvard grad and his girlfriend, a fashion-design major turned dental school student. To be fair, I knew I'd dislike them before I even got to the ridiculous beer hall we went to on the South Side, and, honestly, before I'd even met them.

While I felt indifferent of their choice of going into medicine* as my parents are doctors**, I could not but be highly annoyed by everything else about them. YOU were going into fashion and you wore THAT?! The guy, in the first five minutes, even admitted that he "had a vicious mean streak" (yeah, nice to meet you too!) and met his lover playing dodge ball. He was the same kind of pompous ivy-league self-obsessed (and formerly teased, to be sure) Ivy-league jerk I'd tried (and repeatedly failed) to avoid in college. It's easier to deal with these folks in a class setting, when you can beat them at their own game, but at a bar, and without a statistician or some other source of validation, you might as well put your nose in your beer and save it all up for your blog.

One of the funnier and more peculiar aspects of the evening was that this guy, (who had all night been attempting to be the one with witty fast retorts that just came out mean-sounding and presumptuous at best) was actually afraid of "thunder."

No folks, not lightning as you would think that would be a mistake, but "thunder." He said, "It's really scary! It can kill you!" I first thought it was a joke. But then he told a story about how, during a thunder storm in his West Village apartment, he thought he was going to die because he had a metal air conditioner in his window that was (gasp) plugged in. I dropped my smile when he and his girlfriend took a totally morbid tone, eyes widened, etc. To her credit, the girl said, "I wouldn't have even thought to unplug the air conditioner!" And I thought, well there's a step in the right direction...though it wasn't even a gesture in the right direction which had to be: That is so funny and frankly rather absurd!

It would have even been endearing had the Harvard guy not started actually trying to convince me that thunder (yes, still thunder) would try to kill me.

At a certain point, it had gone on too long, and so I said, "You know, you're more likely to be killed by a person than by either thunder or lightning!" I smiled, hoping he'd also smile, roll his eyes, and realize the true absurdity of the situation. But he didn't.

Instead, he gave me this look. This, uh, wait, where did you go to school? what the hell would you know anyway so why would you ever want to start something with the likes of ME look that just made me want to hocker one right there.

Rather than engaging, I shrugged and cooly decided I'd look up the stats on CDC's website and post them on the internet to my little group of supporters.

So here it is folks:

PER YEAR in the United States alone:
0.042802 per 1,000 people are murdered - To break it down for you, there are 304,059,724 estimated to be living in America in July 2008, which, when divided by 1,000 and then multiplied by 0.042802, you get the nice round figure of 13,014.364 deaths by homicide in America per year.

In the United States from 1980 through 1995 (that's 15 YEARS, people!), a total of 1,318 deaths were attributed to lightning, (average: 82 deaths per year {range: 53-100 deaths}). It didn't even make the big list.

And 0 (zero) deaths were attributed to thunder, except for people who had heart attacks at the mere mention of the word.

So, Mr. Jerk, don't you give me that look! And, well, DUH!

* In one case, over working with Isaac Misrahi?! Yes, she quit working at Liz Claiborne to become a dentist. I mean. No judgment here, I'm sure as a result she'll be a better dentist than most because of this transition. But I just don't freakin' get it..Open wide!
**For the record, even though my parents are docs, I've never met a med student I liked, which makes me wonder what MY folks were like in med school...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Maybe you shouldn't go to Washington anymore...

Seeing as last time some missles got dumped in front of you on the highway, and this time a crazy 90-year-old gunman went ballistic in the place which was your invite-only destination?

Just a suggestion to my sole follower.

Dear Colin

I had this on my computer and no one has read it really. It's probably the most personal thing I've put on this little blog, and I didn't make any changes to it really. This letter is a time capsule--of how a college freshman learned about another college freshman who had died, stupidly, accidentally, unnecessarily. I wrote it the day I found out, the day it happened, in Butler Library at Columbia on my little Dell laptop. It was the same day that Pope John Paul II died, and it was daylight savings (spring forward). The last time I'd seen him was, eerily enough, at a restaurant called the Tombs in Georgetown with his sister and dad.

I reread it today because I occasionally think about grief and its manifestations--about why certain things affect me very deeply, for unexpectedly long periods of time. I mean, I hadn't seen this kid in years, and we were never close. But I felt his loss profoundly. It makes me wonder how I will survive if someone I know and love and need very much dies someday.

Grief, it's amazing, never really goes away once you've really experienced it. At least I don't think so. For me, it's always there, often just below the surface, waiting to be taken out--like an old book--skimmed or savored, or just handled and flipped through, and then placed carefully back for the next visit.

This time when I read the letter, I realized how much I've grown, how much better I can think and express myself now than before (I'm growing up!). But the feelings I felt were so real that day, that I didn't dare edit my clumsy prose in any way. I'm also not sure whether the language of grief really lends itself fully to translation; the intensity of grief is always reduced to the generic. Words don't cut it, in other words, I forgive you, Lizzy of yore!

So. To respect to my former self, I will swallow my present self's pride (as I'm sure I'll do when reading this shit in the next ten years...). I'm sharing it with you now, because it's special to me.

April 4, 2005

Dear Colin,

I know you remember me. I saw you when you were touring colleges at Georgetown with Louisa and your dad at the Tombs. The time before that I saw you at Squirrel Hill bowling arena. I don’t know who I was with, I hate bowling. I was struck by you, your height. Your face had thinned out a bit, revealing unusually high, angular cheekbones that seemed incongruous with your laughing eyes. Your face, however, still showed little signs of hair growth. Made me smile.
The Colin that had almost fully congealed in my mind was still a boy of about 13 or 14. Still shorter than me. Cried in play practice once because the play sucked. And made fun of me occasionally and liked my drawings always.

The Colin that had fully congealed was much smaller.

Seven years old.

Second grade chasing me and being chased around the green at recess. Making fun of me. Liked my drawings. Cried when somebody bullied him.

That was the Colin I thought about when I heard. The Colin whose behavior Sara F and Tess G and Helen D and Lara B and I discussed on the steps by the side entrance to school during recess. Maybe he has a crush on you. What’s a crush? I don’t think so.

I still don’t. Or I'm not sure at least...

We were never close friends. I wasn’t nearly mature enough for a male – female friendship (are we ever?) and you, you made fun of me and I can only guess that you were a little behind me developmentally. Or at the same level.
But even though I never said it, I know we made a connection. A connection. I don’t even know what made me say that. How generic, first-date-post-discussion-y does that sound? But you know. I don’t know.

Let me tell you what I remember about you all the time.

First: Mrs. Weiss’ classroom, I was drawing something across the table from you and you saw and came and sat next to me and told everyone else to stop what they were doing and come and look.

You acted like I was fucking Michelangelo.

I liked it, even though I acted embarrassed.

Second: at an art show at school we made masks and they were all up on a wall and you showed yours to Louisa (who seemed Gargantuan at that point) and I saw you in my peripheral vision you saw me and then you took Louisa (the ninth-grade Gargantuan) by the hand and showed her my mask and looked back at me and smiled.

I remember that too.

And then there was the time we must have been in sixth grade when I was going back to the math room after class and you and Dan S (Dan, whose name I chose out of Mrs. Henke’s hat which meant I had to pray for him during one lent) came up behind me and whispered is it still there and I heard you and I said what and you said just look and I did and there was toilet paper sticking on my pants and you and Dan laughed and I laughed even though my temperature escalated about a hundred degrees and then you asked how did it get there and I said I dunno.
And I still don’t. I listed that as one of my most mortifying experiences on a survey.
But I can still laugh about it. Even though I am not sure your intentions were wholly sympathetic.

Remember: in the play you cried when the barbershop quartet, that you were in, sounded so bad and you insulted Thomas and I laughed but still felt bad and then you insulted Cliff (who came to one of the Ellis dances and I avoided him and who sat in front of me in math class and I raised my hand and asked if I could move forward because Cliff’s head was too big and didn’t mean to be mean but everybody laughed and he blushed and then I moved) and I laughed harder but didn’t feel bad.

I liked you a lot Colin but I never told you. Because in grade school people don’t say these things. Or really ever come to think of it. You made me smile and feel good about myself and you made fun of me and I laughed because I didn’t really care.

And still don’t.

The laugh: That Coughy, Little Boy, Head Flung Back Uncontrollable Chuckle that was cynical and goofy at once, and your weird teeth that still had a few gaps hard to notice (did you ever have braces?) (that short hair that was so short as long as I can remember, while I am on the subject of appearance, and that rich perpetual tan that you boasted was because of your Filipino heritage). But the laugh stays with me and I hope I don’t forget it. I might. Though.

The sky is still clear and blue and it is 6:48 pm on April 4th. Daylight savings can be weird like that. As I walked here (I’m in the Library) I was mad because the sky was blue and people with pope buttons are walking around like they’re gonna live forever and the pope dying is so, so sad.

It might be sad.
But I am not sad because the pope died.
But because you did.

Saturday I told my friend Phoebe that I had grappled with death. She said she grappled with boys and metaphysics.

Saturday night was daylight savings time. Couldn’t figure out how to set my phone clock so I set the alarm an hour early just in case. I had to babysit at 8 am the next morning so I needed to go to bed. So I did. It didn’t take long to get to sleep. But then my friend Miranda woke me up asking if I wanted to come over but I said no I had to sleep. And so I fell asleep and I remember my arms were really heavy and I was rather bewildered and it felt kind of good that I really couldn’t move. I slept for about another forty minutes and woke up again when my friend Dan (not Stafura) called. And he was drunk. He told me that he had to tell me two things. One (1) that he was coming to New York next weekend and Two (2) that he was coming to New York next weekend and he could visit on Saturday night from 8 pm on and oh did I remember a Fred from GW no well he remembers you you introduced yourself as Stella to him and he remembers you as Stella and me as me but you don’t remember him either good because I don’t either. Good night, Dan. No I’m not crying, it’s late you woke me up that’s all. See you next Saturday. Well then after that, I got back to sleep but woke up all of a sudden like it was morning but it wasn’t. I looked at my phone clock and it had changed time and so I switched my alarm. My room mate was asleep too. I don’t know what came over me, but I couldn’t get to sleep. And then I kept thinking these thoughts. About college. About my future. About peace corps grad school grades study abroad money parents boyfriends family siblings. It all seemed so urgent. (unusual for a happyasaclown decidedly undecided major with not a care in the world for the next ten years let alone the next day.) But I had to organize my life then then then. Then. Then. Now. Now. Then.

We know what you were doing on Saturday daylight savings time time. Lauren H’s friend saw you around 3 am (when I got my second phone call, or 2 am not daylight savings). You were high (and judging by your facebook picture it must have been the norm). But not that out of it. Allegedly. Reportedly. Lauren H was lying in bed, she probably never thought about you all that much. Saw you around. Smiled. She hated Carlow (I did too some days. But loved the people there.) Lauren H was warm in her bed a few hundred meters from where you found your bed.
And then the next morning (“just before 9 am this morning”) (daylight savings time? Or 8 am normal time?) somebody or other found you alone lying cold in a field. They probably didn’t know your name. Or even if they did, did they know you cried about the barbershop quartet?
Declared dead on the spot. (You didn’t see the light you were saving.)

They make Daylight Savings a Saturday night so that everybody can miss church the next day because of the switch and still go to Heaven. Or return their library books an hour late. Or wake up and feel gross because the day is half over.

The confused calculating ambiguity of the day of your death was so fitting. No one immediately knew when, how. How. How. Everybody was in a flurry about the Pope. And complaining about being daylight-lagged. I went to babysitting and then to the Met. I didn’t think about you. But I wasn’t tired. Not lagged, in any way. Wondering why I had had such a strange time of it last night.

You were being taken from one place to another. Your parents had long since gotten the call. The Call. What could the president of Kenyon possibly say? Mr and Mrs B*: We (I) regret to inform you that your son died (son, dead, your son) and we might know how but we don’t know when and we found him just before 9 am. (daylight savings time) Would you like a Refund? Have you set your Clocks Back yet?

I am sure their clocks were set way back. To the moment you entered this world the moment they let you go to preschool kindergarten first second third fourth fifth sixth seventh eighth, the moment you stepped into high school graduation, Kenyon he chose Kenyon we are so proud of him we are concerned he might be partying too much. School was over in four weeks.
Too bad memories don’t work like daylight savings. Lives.

A few hundred miles away I called my friend Andrea to tell her that a boy finally asked me out that I (sorta) liked and she asked if I knew the B’s and Libby and who Libby was and she said their son Colin (don’t say it don’t say it don’t say it) died today.

I know him, Andrea. I know him, I know him.
I went to school with him.
For ten years.
I thought he had a crush on me. (My friends did, actually, but who cares)

Oh my God. (generic again, sorry) I was too shocked to cry immediately so I pretended to on the phone to sound human. And then I said oh and Andrea I hate the pope and I am not sorry he is dead. And she (rightfully) said Liz I can’t deal with you right now, I am going to have coffee with Mike Day, his best friend from high school. I am the only one he has in Pittsburgh.

About half an hour later I broke down. Memories and people were crudely exhumed from my past as calls flooded in and memories vomited out of me in the form of tears and what sounded like coos but were crying sounds (what happens when I cry really hard). It was cold and rainy. Your family. Your poor family. Mike Day. Katie. Libby. A countless number of other people that were affected by your refusal of daylight savings.
(bet you wouldn’t have thought I would write something like this)
(This must be a Tom Sawyer moment for you I bet.)
(I just wish you’d fall through the roof right about now.)
(But you won’t.)

You were the first, Colin. The first son. The first compliment. The first gone. It had to happen, you just couldn’t wait I guess. (I still just wish you’d fall through the roof right now.) You left the world cleanly, quietly. No supreme court battle. No tubes, no pilgrims. But alone. And that really kills me. Quietly but alone. (did you even know it would be your last breath?)

You (like the rest of us, eventually) will soon be a statistic. You = +.00001% (or something) of College alcohol-related fatalities.
You have entered into the realm of an elite aristocracy. (Monroe Dean Ramsey)
You have instantaneously gained the sort of wisdom Man searches for all his Days.
You are an echo. And a jarring reality.
You are Forever Young.
You. Are. Loved. Missed and Remembered.
Laugh gaps cries skin hair height. And Person. (with a capital P)
And I don’t think they can genericize you in a million years. (You are not a mere connection, condolence)
Not in a Million Years.

Well, Colin.
You must have already considered these things by now, but I am still trying to figure them out. I doubt I ever will. Figure. Them. Out.

(And you must know that some roofs are built stronger than others. And these and other vain, shriveled worlds only help to elevate and buttress.)

But. Right now I wish you peace. And hope that in all their days your family can find the same.
Glad to talk, hope you don’t think I am too weird, and see you around.

Respect and Admiration,

Lizzie D