Thursday, December 31, 2009

happy new year!

My husband and I "celebrated" by buying champagne and leaving it in the fridge, and watching part III of our unintentional three-day horror movie marathon. The first movie was There Will Be Blood, then The Shining, and tonight was Paranormal Activity. There Will Be Blood was chilling, and has lingered the past few days in our house. We keep revisiting scenes, and Gabe has the main character's voice down, and uses it generously (i.e. shouting "I scoop it up", as he's by himself in the laundry room scooping up cat poop). He was similarly inspired by Jack Nicholson's performance in The Shining. He woke me up yesterday morning by crouching by my side of the bed at eye level saying "I'm not going to hurt you; I'm just going to bash your brains in!" (Yes, he knows he is VERY lucky to have found a wife that finds this amusing and not traumatizing.)

Paranormal Activity is an awesome haunted house story, but even better because you can't just leave the house. The kind of movie that makes you keep lights on at night. In between these horror movies we've also seen an OUTLANDISH action movie, which I think was on-purpose ridiculous, which makes it not so bad. The movie is even called Shoot 'Em Up, and he kills at least a handful of people with a carrot. Yep. And the other was Planet Terror, which Gabe said was an action movie but was like From Dusk Til Dawn with zombies.

So that's how we wrap up a decade - watching scores of people die on screen in countless different ways. Not so cheery, I suppose. We're both looking forward to what's in store for 2010, though neither of us have a clear vision of what's ahead. It's been hard for me to name goals, to focus a vision... I just feel curious about the future, more than intensely driven to create a specific future. It's a shift for me and I'm trying not to judge that. 2009 has brought so many big changes - quitting a job, settling in a new state, becoming a wife, beginning a new job.... It's been a wonderful, amazing year... and 2010 is its own big mystery full of changes.

I do have one concrete resolution, though, and that is to begin a certain new blog. Details soon!

Sunday, December 27, 2009


We just drove more than 10 hours to get from South Jersey to Chapel Hill. It was very slow going, a trip full of restlessness, dirty restrooms and bad fried food. I am home, and am resting with a cat purring on my tummy. I should sleep. I am enticed by the heated mattress pad we just put on, and our Christmas gift of 800 thread count sheets. Despite the luxury that awaits, I put off sleeping. Each night I do the same, even with sickness or exhaustion. My husband inevitably drifts off within a couple minutes, leaving me alone listening to his soft breathing. I always wonder where he has gone, and how he has gotten there so quickly. I envy him. Sleeping for me is such a process, one I usually dread. I usually have to go to bed before I really feel ready (which would be somewhere around 4-6 a.m.) As I try to sleep my mind swells with thoughts and images and lists, I'm oversensitive to every light and sound, my body feels it's time to move, I always need to pee, and my new tinnitus has not helped the situation.

My relationship with sleep, however, is still better than my relationship with waking up in the morning. It is violent, grudging, drenched in dreams. This morning Gabe woke me up with a song, and said 'time to wake up'. To which I replied 'no, it's simply a time. what you're saying is arbitrary.' Or something grumpy-sleepy like that.

It takes me a long time to sleep. It takes me a long time to wake up. I'm hoping I make better friends with both of these things in the New Year. At least I'm comforted by some beautiful poetry on the theme. Go for it, Margaret Atwood:

Variations on the Word Sleep

I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,
sleeping. I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head.

and walk with you through that lucent
wavering forest of bluegreen leaves
with its watery sun & three moons
towards the cave where you must descend,
towards your worst fear

I would like to give you the silver
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from the grief at the center
of your dream, from the grief
at the center. I would like to follow
you up the long stairway
again & become
the boat that would row you back
carefully, a flame
in two cupped hands
to where your body lies
beside me, and you enter
it as easily as breathing in

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.

Monday, December 21, 2009

review of a review

It's nearly 4 a.m. and I work tomorrow, so obviously I am up reading random things on the Internet. I saw a review of the movie "Nine" and remembered seeing a preview a long time ago and thinking wow, that looks really good. I read a few very normal paragraphs talking about the theme, and the cast. Then out of nowhere comes this line, in which Penelope Cruz talks to the interviewer:

“Guido is a very charismatic figure. Even his mental chaos is very attractive,’’ Cruz contends, accenting her words with more sizzle than her petite frame should be able to manufacture legally.

Huh? I'm baffled because it really was so unlike any other line in the review. And also because it doesn't make sense. How does one "manufacture" a sizzling accent? Maybe if she put on an accent I could almost understand. But she doesn't. And what does "legally" have to do with anything at all? The writing deteriorated from there, ending sentences with prepositions, and describing Nicole Kidman like this: "The veteran actress, generally pretty hard to read behind her sharp-angled face". I'm not so sure about 'behind' the face - don't they mean the face itself hard to read? Well, whatever. What struck me was 'generally pretty"... two adverbs in a row, both unnecessary.

I don't mean to be the writing police, but the writing so badly distracted me from the content I don't even know what I read - not unacceptable for a major newspaper. And I don't know why I'm even blogging about this, except that it's 4 a.m. and there's not a lot going on around here.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

a feline dilemma

Dear Abby,

I need some advice. I have two cats. One is Daphne, who is about 11. Ookie is 2. Ookie was little when we got her but then got big, very big. Daphne had always been a grazer so we always had food out. Ookie is like a dog, and eats anything, and lots of it. We tried different solutions and finally have settled on this one. We have an automatic feeder so a little bit of food comes out 3 times a day. But now Ookie is just ever-so-slightly slimmer and Daphne is getting pretty skinny. Plus the worst thing is that it's made them competitive. EVERY time the food dispenses, Ookie runs like all hell towards it and gobbles up food really fast, the whole time growling. When Daphne gets there, she bops Ookie on the head, eats her little bit, then Ookie can finish. They've worked out a system, and Daphne is ultimately the one in power, but I don't like the consequences.

Daphne probably isn't eating enough, since she only eats a very little bit three times a day. Ookie is consumed by the attainment of food. She will sit in front of the cat dispenser for hours. Literally hours. She licks the empty bowl. She scavenges around the kitchen floor for crumbs. It's painful to watch. I think we've given her an eating disorder because I'm always telling her to get out of the kitchen, stop getting fat, and I'll pull her away from food so Daphne can eat something too. The cats, though never best buds, seem more like enemies, with a lot more catfighting.

We can't leave food out all day because Ookie will get REALLY fat. We're not here enough to monitor separate eating times/rooms (plus that's crazy). We're not going to get two automatic dispensers with their different names on it, because they can't read.

Any advice?

Confused in Catville

Saturday, December 19, 2009

say what?!

My favorite-person-ever, Sarah Palin, has hit a new high in her ability to articulate intelligent arguments. This one is regarding climate change. She tweeted this, which I suppose accounts for her use of the English language in this way:

"Arrogant&Naive2say man overpwers nature". Note how she wisely and widely overlooks any evidence to the contrary.

In case that was not clear, she further elucidates:

"Earth saw clmate chnge4 ions;will cont 2 c chnges.R duty2responsbly devlop resorces4humankind/not pollute&destroy;but cant alter naturl chng"

She then goes on to talk about 'agenda-driven' science, but then again this is a woman who thinks evolution is absurd 'agenda-driven' science too. I understand how politicians have issues with cap and trade, might have different priorities, etc. but I didn't fully realize that some just denied our part in climate change altogether. Every time I read anything about this women, or see her on tv, I SWEAR TO GOD we're all being Punked.

Friday, December 18, 2009

pre-holiday, new-work buzz...

then crash. I'm able to write now because I'm sick, which means I've stopped moving, because it hurts to move. Well, a few hours ago that would have been true, but I seemed to have gotten better almost exactly 36 hours after it started, just as suddenly. I've never been so bizarrely sick. Yesterday I woke up really achy, with a wicked sore throat, headache, earache and a fever. All day I was sweating and I am ALWAYS cold. (Strangely, I was really hungry throughout all was it not flu then?) This morning I didn't feel much better but all within a couple hours the aches and fever left and the sore throat mostly went away. I'm still feeling weak and body-tired, but not feeling mildly deathly like yesterday. Hooray for immune systems.

The new job is going well, it's just going to take a while to get in a routine. Well, there probably won't be a routine, but at least I'll be able to navigate the chaos independently. I went to juvenile court for the first time and was grateful that somehow I found it easy to be a pretty good kid. I was surprised by a lot of things there, not least of which was one of the attorneys, with teased hair and really really high stilettos who kept putting on lip gloss as she sat on the bench. The judge herself was such a character. She spent at least 45 minutes on each case, doling out tough love so exuberantly you would have thought it was a made for tv movie. I've never before seen someone interrogate so inspirationally.

It is now one week before Christmas, and the combination of new job and sickness has put me behind on gift making. Okay, like I really would have been prepared otherwise. It's hardly felt like Christmas here, though, with above-freezing temperatures and no Christmas tree in the house.

But today it snowed! In Chapel Hill. Believe it or not. Very briefly, just enough to coat the cars, then rain. Apparently the stores were all out of milk and bread, because people here only see snow twice a year or so and they get very, very afraid. Which makes me sort of afraid of them.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

working girl

After a brief, yucky encounter with financial reality I applied to a bunch of jobs one week, interviewed the next, and started a job the week after that. My husband is admiring of my whirlwind waste-no-time process. Maybe a little too fast? I accepted a job and am still getting calls for interviews.

However, I have a really good feeling about this little mental health agency. It's run unlike any other, in a refreshing way. I also get a lot of flexibility and respect, which are key for me. (I'm not terribly good with authority.) I also get to introduce the arts and that's always fun! Oh, and I get to drive around beautiful countrysides with cows. I learned today that only 5% of American cows get to graze on grass or hay.

It's good to have some focus now, and some funds, but I'm trying to keep up some other little venture since I'll have some time for that. But now, time for a nap. I am so not used to getting up early.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

oh, the indignity!

if Miss Daphne could speak that is what she would have to say about this.

i was taking pictures of her the other day, and snapped the photo above. when she takes a bath, every once in a long while she'll lick herself and then forget to put her tongue back in her mouth for a minute. i laugh so hard, and she looks at me like i have a problem - while the whole time looking like that. i can't even believe i caught this rare phenomenon on camera.

in defense of daphne's fragile ego i'll post this picture of her napping. doesn't she look so peaceful and well put together with her fluffy tail and ballerina slippers?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

happy birthday

to me... I'm 32. Hmmph. Last year was great for the most part, and I think this year will be even better. I feel slightly older, but I suppose this is what happens. I am the oldest I've ever been :)

Gabe celebrated last night (not sure why) by getting me flowers, my favorite candy, beer from Mexico and a card. I was confused by the card, which wishes warm birthday thoughts 'from both of us to you'. Hmm... I opened and Gabe writes that now that we're married we're in this together - so he signed the card from both him and me. The man cracks me up.

Gabriel woke me up today with a serenade, and after a quick breakfast we went to the TechShop to learn laser etching and cutting. So many projects we can do now! The guy mentioned how the machine is prone to fires, so I am fairly certain this will happen on my watch. I am 32 and have not outgrown clumsiness; in fact, it's gotten much, much worse this past year. For example, today I burned myself with a glue gun, yesterday I hit my head hard on the pantry shelf, and two or three days ago I got a really nasty, big second degree burn on my forearm while making fried chicken. I had to get the 4"x4" bandages. However, that was my first attempt at fried chicken and it was SO good. I know they make it with buttermilk in the south, but my buttermilk smelled a little weird. So I mixed butter and milk :-/ In the flour part I mixed flour, obviously, pepper, sea salt, thyme, marjoram and cayenne.. I think that's it. It was like a magic chicken potion.. so yummy! I went back and forth with wet and flour twice, not sure if that helped.

Anyway, from TechShop we wandered Durham looking at houses on the market - there's tons but nothing especially called to us. And the neighbors were right, um, next door and I was already glum just looking at the place. I think I really want to live in the country. Then we ate lunch at a pub, went to The Scrap Exchange where Gabe got bored, and Home Depot where I got bored.

And now I'm home, curled up by the fire and making some crafts. It was a very good day, even thought it was by far the coldest one since we've moved. (Part of me got a little jealous of the Boston snow, I admit..) The picture below is some materials I'm using for my Christmas crafty gifts. If you can guess what I'm making I'll mail you a present! (And no guessing if I've already told you!)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

playing house

wow, a week with no blogging. it's been quite a full week. thanksgiving in south carolina, in which all teeth stayed in my head. i did have a nasty head cold, which went away surprisingly quickly after a few days. hooray for immune systems.

on sunday gabe and i celebrated our one month wedding anniversary. mostly by saying, 'wow it's been a month'. and then we saw a house. we were not planning on buying anything soon, especially since we have no money. (details, details.) but it was a fixer upper with tons of space and land for really cheap and i just had to check it out. turns out it was custom built only a few years ago, but then they ran out of money. so it's more unfinished house than a fixer upper. there's about 17 things that have to fall neatly in to place in order to get this. and we got an estimate on the amount of work that needs to be done and it's very substantial. so i'm not counting on anything. all i gotta say is wouldn't this be a nice front door to walk into each day?

and a nice kitchen to cook in every day?

and beautiful french doors to a beautiful deck overlooking acres?

and wouldn't this be a good place to unwind at the end of the day?

or maybe in the giant shower with THREE shower heads plus jets?

well, a girl can dream.


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