Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Nightly Ritual That Goes A Little Like This

Questions best asked
Before bedtime
Requests for this,
Checks for that.
Can I have a fluffy blanket?
I'll give you mine. You need sleep. It's time.
Could I have a drink of water? My throat is dry.
I'm tired. I have to lean against the wall.
Can I get a puppy?
We can't have any more pets. A cat and a bird, that is all.
Where's Green Doggy?
I don't know. You need to go to sleep now. I'm leaving the hall.
I can't go to sleep without Green Doggy.
Yes you can.
No, I can't. Is there anything under my bed? Oh, I've got him.
There is nothing underneath your bed, except a goblin.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Last night was spent at the mall again. I must have taken 10 trips to the mall in the last two weeks. We saw the movie "Marley & Me." I had absolutely no expectations for this movie being bad or good, so I was neither disappointed nor pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be OK, or pretty good, with some flaws in the believability. I would like to know what time period the book was written about. As a newspaper reporter/writer in the mid to late 1990s, I know a newspaper writer does not make very much money. The houses this newspaper writer was supposedly able to afford just shocked me. At first, both Marley's owner and his wife both had jobs as writers for newspapers. Then, she stopped working so she could be a stay-at-home mom. Then, his boss doubled his salary. Does that really happen? Since when does any boss generously double a person's salary? Then, they bought a nice house in a nice neighborhood. They were living in Florida. The house had a pool. Then, they bought a beautiful stone, three-story, multi-sectioned, old, dignified, estate-type looking house. Of course, they were not trying to make a living in West Virginia like I was. And it was just a movie, I know. But about building peoples' expectations about making a living and doing well as a newspaper writer? Does that really happen? Does it happen to people, other than to about 20 people, maybe? I don't know. I have my doubts.
Moving on, about the actual plot, I did not like how the movie purposefully told you to become sentimental about the dog, about 10 minutes from the end, after the whole rest of the movie concentrated on what a nuisance the dog was. There was really nothing positive about the dog until it seemed he had reached the end of his life. That's when he was no longer a nuisance, because he did a lot of laying around and seeming affectionate as he no longer had the strength to overwhelm and overpower everyone with his energy and destructiveness. I am no fan of dogs. My parents did have a very nice German shepherd. Here was a typical story like Marley & Me, that many people probably share: the story of a young couple who bought a puppy before they had children. The puppy got huge and provided a lot of levity for the young couple. The couple had children and the dog adjusted. The dog died when the children were ages eight and 10. The children had not become attached to the dog like the parents had. It was very sad for the parents.
What I did like about the movie was the simplicity of the story, and how that simplicity carries over into the characters' everyday lives that everyone can relate to and appreciate. A seemingly normal family has the typical struggles and trite experiences, but the challenges within them are universal and important. Since this movie was based on a book that was either non-fiction, or based on a real-life story, I guess that explains why.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Advice and Sympathy

Interestingly, I actually had a conversation yesterday afternoon a little like the one I typed out earlier that day. Except it was only about half as long and I really didn't get the opportunity to pass on all that wisdom I was prepared to impart. Even if I had, it wouldn't have been heard. Sometimes you have to learn things the hard way. My mom always used to say this to me when I'd seemingly make mistake after mistake after mistake, like waiting until the last minute to get a big project completed, or ... well, that's about all I can remember. Later I learned that if we didn't learn things the hard way, then we wouldn't really be living. Or if we would be living, it would be a very stale, mind-numbing lifestyle. I still don't see how it's possible to live and not make mistakes in the process. Not that me making mistakes has anything to do with my attempts to pass on advice. I just mean that if I try to pass on what I perceive to be helpful, it might just be stuck in a void somewhere, indefinitely, because the best advice I ever received was by seeking and getting it myself. I'm just going to write down my good advice and slide it under her door. Like a really good greeting/sympathy card. Maybe it'll go somewhere, maybe it won't.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Generic Post-Breakup Advice and Support

For no reason in particular (or just in case I need practice for the future), here is my proposed Sensitive Dialogue In Response to Knowledge of Failed Relationship:
Meecutio: How are you?
Meecutio-rita: Fine. But I feel a little sick.
Meecutio: Why?
Meecutio-rita: I don't know.
Meecutio: How are things?
Meecutio-rita: OK, I guess.
Meecutio: Are you really OK?
Meecutio-rita: Stop asking me that.
Meecutio: All right. If you want to talk about anything, I'm always here. You never know, I might have something brilliant and comforting to tell you about something you might be dealing with.
Meecutio-rita: Like what?
Meecutio: Like, all good things must come to an end. Upon every life a little rain must fall. This, too, shall pass. Every cloud has a silver lining. What feels like something bad that has happened always has a valuable lesson; you just have to figure out what that is, what you can learn from this for next time. The bad things that happen in life make way for good things, and then the cycle repeats itself over and over, and such is life. Without the bad, we could never experience how great things can be. When something negative and upsetting happens, you'll feel much better exactly three days after it happened. Go ahead and let yourself feel upset for three days. Then you start working to cheer yourself up. Does that help?
Meecutio-rita: Uh, what are you talking about? I was asking what you think I might be dealing with.
Meecutio: I don't know. Nevermind. It's just that I saw your status change on Facebook to "single." Breakups are hard. Even if you're the one doing the breaking up. It's difficult to do, even if you believe you're doing the right thing, and you know it's going to end up hurting someone you care about.
Meecutio-rita: Yeah, well, there's nothing to talk about.
Meecutio: OK, well, just remember, I love you and I know a great Smiths song for a breakup that you probably shouldn't listen to. At least not repeatedly.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Grain That Is Not so Plain

The kasha smelled like old dirt with black coal dust and moth balls when I cooked it. I really, really, really did not want to put it in my mouth. I added what ingredients I could find in the house from a recipe I found -- all I had were about half the ingredients -- tamari sauce, basil, carrots, garlic and cayenne pepper. I didn't have tahini, onions, or celery. Well, I had some tahini, but I am pretty sure it has outlived its shelf life. I also added frozen peas, black beans and lemon juice, which were not in the recipe. The smell reminded me of a mysterious old smell of faintly remembered concoctions from my grandmother's "experimental" kitchen. I never could pinpoint what that awful smell was at her house -- it was mostly the smell of moth balls, I suppose. Maybe I have finally discovered the awful smell that lurked there -- cooked kasha.
I gave the kasha plenty of time to cool off. I was sorry that so much food would have to go to waste. I put a little on the fork. I put it up to my mouth. I put it down again. I put it back up again. It actually did not taste as bad as it smelled. I did taste a slight flavor of moth balls, though. Oh, what will I do with a whole five-pound sack of kasha?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Post-Festivity Post

The house is still and quiet. I tiptoe around the maple sugar cookies, lest I disturb them from their peaceful rest. I glance at the sack of organic toasted buckwheat my parental figure donated to the kitchen. My mind soars with ideas pertaining to the myriad of possibilities for the kasha, delighted that my mind is now aware of its healthful benefits. I take deep, cleansing breaths. I am alone and it is good. I wonder how many happy children are playing with their new Wiis, and I wonder how many unhappy children are still hoping for a Christmas Wii miracle.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Best Gift Ever

The Film Geek's post about his best Christmas gift ever brought back memories of the cassette tape recorder. That was his favorite gift, ever. A few of his friends and readers commented that it had been their favorite gift, too. I never got one. I didn't understand the buttons on the machine, what rewind, fast forward and play meant. Most of the ones I saw didn't say fast forward or stop or rewind; they just had symbols, and you just had to already know what they meant. Someone who was in my class and rode my bus and had the same bus stop as I did, pretty much all the way through grade school, made fun of me for not knowing. She had all the cool gifts, always. She always brought something shiny and new to school. Once she gave me a ride around the park on her moped. It was pretty exciting. I think I was in the fifth or sixth grade. (I wonder where she is now? Where are you, Natasha?) When I was about 10 my mom got a cassette tape player/recorder for herself, when they finally went on sale. I borrowed it. I did record from the radio onto blank tapes. I would tape myself being a radio DJ in between songs, introducing them and making DJ-like comments. That was pretty fun.
When I think back to what my best Christmas gift ever was, I draw a blank. I think about different stuff I asked for but didn't get. Like the $100 Barbie Dream House I asked for every year, for about five years, but never got (I bought one at the thrift store about seven years ago for about $15 for my kids and they never really played with it. I finally donated it back to the same store about three years ago). I think of the Christmas I was in seventh grade, when my mom was in graduate school and my sister and I received, including the stuff in the stocking, a sweatshirt with matching sweatpants, earrings, an orange and perfume. No, it wasn't perfume, actually -- it was a large stocking stuffer bottle of Jean Nate "after-bath splash." (I can't believe it's still available for purchase. Now they call it "a classic.") Good-old "after-bath splash" filled up most of the stocking. If you want to buy it now, I believe you can purchase a large bottle of it for $9.95. There was only room for a pair of earrings in there after you added the orange, to fill up the toe.
I know that the Santa in my house was being very practical, sensible and smart. I know there wasn't much to go around. I just wish that the Christmas holidays didn't have a way of setting everyone up for excitement and lavishment, leaving people bitterly disappointed and let down after all the anticipation.
Best Christmas gift ever? I'm still thinking. I guess the best gift from Santa was the lesson not to be materialistic, not to get my hopes up. That was pretty good.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Grieving Shopper

Dear B. Moss,
It was a dark day Saturday for me, shopping. Everything was going fine until I got to the mall. I had heard on the news last week that you, my favorite clothing store, was closing in another town a few hours away. The person on the news was trying to justify the closing of that store by saying that all of them were closing. I wondered if it were true. I refused to believe it. I thought I'd walk to your end, my favorite corner, of the local mall and see if there were any evidence of a going-out-of-business sale, or a warning our local store was about to close. I got there and it was dark inside. It was completely empty, except for a few shelves on the floor, leaning against the back door. There were paper hand-written signs on the doors, with the words "STORE CLOSED" on them. How could I have missed that? So sad.
The only store I ever found that had clothes that fit me well that I liked, that were very reasonably priced, had disappeared forever. My friend tried to reassure me by saying something along the lines of "there are other fish in the sea," that something else would come along for me to replace the space of the market that the clothing store filled. No, it won't. It will never be the same. So sad.
I was just there about three weeks ago and you seemed fine. I guess it was a little strange that everything in the store was 40 percent off. But there was no warning, no "going out of business sale" sign or anything. You even had a whole table full of free cookies (the frosted and soft good kind, not the cheap dry, wafers) and drinks for the shoppers. I found a few things that I thought I'd come back for later. Couldn't you have at least stayed open through the end of Christmas?
Almost everything I wear to work came from your store. All your pants were the perfect length. Everything fit perfectly. Your sizes were sized such that I could buy a size smaller than my usual size and it was comfortable that way. All my favorite necklaces came from your store. And now it's gone, all gone.
Yes, I admit, I might have neglected you recently. The last time I bought something from you was about five months ago, and now I feel just terrible that I hadn't been paying more attention to you.
Remember that one time I bought that navy blue, tailored linen dress with silky lining that came with a matching linen jacket, all for $10 -- and I liked it so much that I bought two of those, for a total of $20? I do. Remember all those shirts, dresses, pants and skirts that I bought from you that were delicately and beautifully adorned with tasteful, floral embroidery? I never failed to get compliments when I wore them. Remember that navy blue sweater set, with the sleeveless sweater and matching cardigan, with the navy and white ribbon trim? I used to wear it just about every week, and now, about five years later, it finally needs replaced because it's just starting to look a little faded and might have a small hole in it.
I didn't even get a chance to say goodbye. Please come back to me. I just want to send my kids one last time to the fitting room to the children's table to color on the papers that say, "I drew while mommy shopped." I just want to buy one last thing that is 50 percent off the Red-Line Clearance price. Why did it have to end this way?
With Love,
A Grieving Shopper

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wednesday evening

Day 3 of our marathon holiday office feast. The vast quantity and quality of food surpassed everyone's expectations and we just have to keep eating.
On the subject of non-stop feasting, on Monday I took a tour of a gym that has a pool. Despite my anti-gym membership sentiments, I came away from the tour happy, as THIS GYM has a POOL. If you knew me, you'd know that I'd open my eyes real big-like, for a few moments too long, when I said the word, "pool."
This morning I suppose I was lacking in adrenaline or ... what are those natural chemicals that make one feel happy? Endorphins, maybe. The ones that are triggered by exercise or good news or really good conversation.
And I haven't really crossed paths with any of those things today, but at the end of the day, I feel better (maybe it was the beaujolais). Who said, "This too, shall pass"? I read it recently. Ah, yes, now I remember. I found it in the wise words of Sue Haywood, professional cyclist, recovering from a broken leg and having lots of philosophical thoughts in the process.

Wednesday morning

This morning the shallow depths of despair grip me for no good reason at all. I am simply human. I will feel better in a few moments.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Top Five Holiday Delectables

5. Pumpkin bread.
4. Sugar cut-out cookies with white icing.
3. Chocolate fudge, with and without walnuts.
2. Ham baked with brown sugar and cloves.
1. Lime Jell-O salad made with cream cheese and pineapple. So sweet, creamy and light.

Almost all of the preceding delectables came from my maternal grandmother's kitchen. All of the preceding involve sugar, sugar, sugar, sugar and sugar. I wish these selections sounded more creative, but I had to tell it like it is.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Is it Me?

I thought I was going to have a little getaway visiting a friend yesterday and today, like a vacation, a change of scenery, a relaxing and fine time. Upon my arrival, I wanted to start it out right by treating myself to the simple pleasure of cake batter ice cream with cherry pie filling and chocolate cookie crumbs, and, while the ice cream worked its magic with its creamy, sweet goodness, I was admonished by my friend for making a bad choice during my cold recovery process. Later I was reproached for using what my friend misunderstood to be sarcasm. My friend does not like the sarcasm in my personality, but this time I was not joking at all. Some people have complimented me for having a "dry wit," whatever that is, and I don't know if that's the same thing or not. I don't really notice me being sarcastic. I'm just a really funny person and he doesn't appreciate or understand that. Either that, or I should be more kind and loving all around, and not joke around. I suppose a counselor or mediator would say the reality is somewhere in between.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Last Thursday night, at about 8:40 p.m., it was a little rainy. I happened to be looking out the window and I saw a couple flashes in the night sky. The sky lit up as bright as daylight, kind of like when there is lightning, but these flashes lasted a few moments longer than lightning would have. The sky flashed turquoise. The lights in the house flickered. Other people in the house had seen it, too, and we all rushed to the windows to see if it would happen again. It did, and this time the sky flashed pink. I thought perhaps there were fireworks, but there were no loud fireworks noises, and no reason for them, since it was a weeknight and I was pretty sure nothing was going on to have precipitated a fireworks show in the rain in December. Two of us decided to take a walk toward the area where the flashes seemed to be coming from. It was dark and rainy outside, but most of the sky was glowing pink. I briefly considered the scene from National Lampoon's Christmas vacation movie, the one where Chevy Chase's character lights up the house and blinds the neighbors, but I didn't see anybody putting up Christmas lights. We walked to the top of a hill, where there is a huge overlook over a small part of the town. We saw nothing. There were no more flashes. There was a man walking up the hill by himself with a backpack and an umbrella. We asked him if he had seen the flashes. (It reminded me of my friend Michealdiegolo, when he used to ask me every Thursday morning in art class if I had seen The Flash last night. He meant on TV, but I didn't take it that way.) The man was out of breath, and he looked at us carefully. I was feeling sick and unsocial, so I didn't speak; it was the 10-year-old with me who asked him very politely if he had seen anything unusual that led to the strange flashes in the sky. He said, "Actually I did see what happened. There was some type of electrical malfunction, or a short, in the power station for the school, and that let off a lot of sparks." He seemed kind of upset. We thanked him and he walked on. The power station that I think he was talking about is about two miles from my house, and on the other side of a very steep hill.
Last night, or perhaps this morning, I had a dream about the downtown where I live being attacked by bombs and taken over by the enemy. I happened to be in a crowded restaurant, and everyone decided to stay inside. There was food there, and my family was all there, so I felt safe. We had a nice table. I peeked outside a few times and the buildings were in disarray. One of the buildings at the top of the hill was picked up into the sky and then brought down to rest in another spot, completely intact. I decided to clear everyone's dishes and take them to the kitchen. When I got back into the dining room, a woman came in and she was telling everyone what to do. She asked me if I wanted a son to take care of because she had two boys with her who had lost their parents. I said no, I already have two daughters of my own. (Last night I was watching a news show in which a woman suspected of kidnapping a child said that she had six of her own children, so that supposedly proved that she couldn't have done it.) The woman was trying to tell everyone what to do. She locked the door so no one could come in or go out. She made everyone pay her $4, for what I am not sure. It was kind of like a bully demanding lunch money. Even though she didn't seem cruel or mean, she was just intimidating and scary. Later in my dream I realized I had given up my beautiful condo in someplace called Pleasant Valley. It had its own deck and a small, outdoor pool. All the front rooms, the living room, the dining room and the kitchen, had walls of glass. It was always sunny and bright there. I realized when I woke up I only have five windows in my house, but I like it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Recovery, please arrive swiftly, as I am not myself

As I am in the depths of my usual pre-Christmas incapacitating killer flu, I reflect upon how much nature has a grip on how we think and what we are. My mood and my ability to function normally by doing everyday things like thinking and reacting and talking and cooking are seriously compromised by what is probably a simple cold. But this brings me to think about how we are inevitably controlled by the factors of nature -- from birth to death and everything in between.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Gifts Not to Give
1. Candles. If you have ever been to my house, do I light candles? If you can't answer that question, then definitely don't get a candle for me. If you do, it will go in my box of candles I keep in the garage.
2. A scarf -- especially the gigantic kind that is meant to be worn with indoor outfits. I have received as gifts, on multiple occasions, gigantic scarves that I will never wear, or even look at after I've seen it once. Have you ever seen me wear a scarf? If you have, is it as big as a tablecloth? I think not. Some people look just fine in them, but I would let those people pick them out for themselves. If I got a warm and soft, modestly sized scarf that goes well with my coat, I'd probably be happy.
3. A sweater that looks a lot like one I already have. Are you trying to say my blue v-neck sweater is all worn out and needs replaced? Or did you see me wearing it once and see me so infrequently that you forgot that I have one just like it and for some subconscious reason think I will really, really like it?
4. Lotion that smells like Old Lady Going to Church.

Gifts That I Want But Will Probably Not Receive
1. Food processor. Are they really $200.00?
2. Crock pot.
3. Moosewood cookbook.
4. Gloves. My gloves have holes in them.
5. Socks. My socks have holes in them. I can never have enough socks.
6. Tall boots. Would go really well with new socks.
7. A subscription to fruit-of-the-month club. I know, it's too good to come true.
8. A radio/CD player that attaches to the bottom of a kitchen cabinet.

Gifts That I Would Want to Buy for Other People, But Don't Know If They Would Want Them
1. Food processor. Doesn't everyone need one?
2. Crock pot. Do you have one already? Wouldn't it come in handy if you don't have one already?
3. Cookbook, one with way cool recipes with colorful photos of interesting and simple-to-prepare delicacies.
4. You probably already have gloves you like that match your coat, don't you?
5. Socks. Is that lame?
6. Tall boots. You want tall boots, don't you?
7. I would love to get you a subscription to fruit-of-the-month club, but it's too expensive.
8. A radio/CD player that attaches to the bottom of a kitchen cabinet.


Today I did not go in to work, to spare the rest of the crew from the "sick me:" annoyed, impatient, frustrated, lightheaded, weak, disoriented and sneezy.
Last night I was questioned about whether we had any relatives who fought in the civil war. I brought out my stack of research I had done a few months ago to recall the names of my great-grandfather and my great-great grandfather, who had been a confederate soldier and was credited with firing the first shot in some battle or other, the name of which I cannot recall or find any information about on the Internet. Nevertheless, the genealogy occupied much of my sick day and my nap as I was sleeping. On a VMI Web site, I found a letter my great-great grandfather had written to his cousin about being on the battlefield. It was dated May 10, 1863, and contained his comments about how he'd heard a rumor about Stonewall Jackson dying as a result of an accidental attack by his own men. I tracked some of my relatives to the early 1700s, when they came from Sweden and Germany. That was about all I could find. Bits and pieces.
Even though I rarely like movies enough to watch them a second or third time, I caught most of I Heart Huckabees this afternoon on the TV. It had been about four years since I'd watched it. There were parts of it that I don't remember ever watching, but the movie goes so fast and so many things happen. There are multiple conversations going on at the same time about hard-to-grasp concepts. Some of my favorite lines from the movie are: "No manure, no magic," and "How am I not myself? How am I not myself? How am I not myself? How am I not myself? How am I not myself? How am I not myself?" and "Creation. Destruction. Creation. Destruction. Creation. Destruction." and "It is inevitable to be drawn back in to human drama."
Today and yesterday I drank lots of tea, and had chicken soup, juice, zinc, vitamin C, and echinacea. I feel worse now than I did this morning.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I kept getting the Backyardigans confused with the Kardashians, as I had never before watched either one of them or had known anything about them other than that they were names of movies or shows, or cartoons. Tonight I watched the Kardashians' story on E! and figured out that they are a family that has a reality show on TV. I realized it consists of a huge, spoiled family, and now I know I will never watch the show. Now I just need to figure out who the Backyardigans are. I'm not sure if it's worth the effort, though.
Last week I saw Role Models at the movie theater. I'm still waiting for the next decent comedy to come along. I like Paul Rudd, a lot, but he was the main character, and absolutely nothing he did in the movie was the slightest bit funny. It wasn't his fault. He just played a selfish, miserable guy who didn't care who his misery rubbed off on. I just want to see the same character he played in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, I guess.
Tonight, for the first time ever in my 35-year, almost 36-year life, I made my own spaghetti sauce without getting it from a jar. It was some of the best spaghetti sauce I ever made, or tasted! I figured that Prego couldn't be improved upon, so I never bothered. I also thought it would have to simmer for half a day. But I just threw a few things in the pan and I was amazed at my cooking talents.
Sometimes I feel bad about not having anything important to write about or talk about, like politics, and who the president is naming to his administration, and how we don't recycle enough.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


A lot of traveling around the state I have done. A lot of cutting of diamonds, of looking at photos, and talking, and missing the cat I have also done. I fear the cat has developed depression as she now cries sad cries of desperation, which I have not heretofore heard, now that we are back.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


After about a year and a half of virtually free reign on the Internet, the 13-year-old of the house has been reined in. I've limited her to two and a half hours a day online. Now we have her back. She talks to us, she fights with her sister, she reads books, she plays video games on her hand-held thing, she walks around a little, and she cleans up her room. She doesn't even complain that much about not being able to write to her friends. It's one of the best things I've done in a long time.
I'll have to check later if I used reign and reined correctly.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Last night the family watched Twilight during its opening. Judging from my visit to the theater last Friday night for the new James Bond movie for its opening day, Twilight is not as popular. Either that, or the Twilight people have to go to bed sooner and were therefore not out as late. However, as happened at the Bond movie, I had to sit too close to the screen and the muscles in my neck are sore again. And, the camera work involved a lot of extreme close-ups, which is hard on the eyes if you're only 30 feet from the gigantic screen. But too close to the screen or not, the extreme close-ups wouldn't have been as bad if the actor playing Edward Cullen hadn't been wearing so much red lip color. The book didn't mention anything about him having unexplainably red lips. In a lot of the scenes, they were the same color as Bella's. There were a few parts that were overdramatic, and could have been much more successful if they hadn't been played with such emphasis, like when Bella walked into Biology class, and she walked in front of a fan, and Edward could not contain himself. I don't think a fan was needed for Edward to know what she smelled like, given that they already should have been extremely sensitive to scents (maybe I'm getting vampires confused with werewolves, though). Bella's voiceovers were too much, too. I found myself formulating cinematic scripts to effectively replace what she was saying in voiceovers. Most of the voiceovers might just have been taken out altogether; but I read the book, and, therefore didn't need her explanations. More subtlety, less drama, I say. Another disappointment was that it was too unbelievable how Bella could have fallen in love with Edward so fast. A lot of scenes and characters were just as I'd imagined them, though, so not all aspects were disappointing. It wasn't horrible. After the movie someone told me that the author of Twilight had an appearance in one of the diner scenes, which I hadn't caught. Someone calls her Stephanie. I don't remember that part. Unfortunately, I almost want to see the movie again and sit further back so I can see the whole thing. On the other hand, I hardly ever want to watch a movie twice.

Friday, November 21, 2008

How I Feel When I Don't Get Exercise

I feel a heavy presence all around my body. It moves with me and drags me down. If I could describe the aura around me, I would say those little lines all around Pig-Pen in the Peanuts comics would be it -- black squiggly lines that denote chaos, scattered dust, and gritty strands that follow me in a sketchy cloud as I move. Nothing seems quite comfortable -- I'm too hot or too cold, hair is falling in my eyes, I have an itchy tag brushing against my side, and I feel tired. The back of my neck is sore and my teeth are clenched. It feels too cold to go outside to walk, and I absolutely refuse to buy a membership to go to a gym. It's not that I'm worried about the cost; I just don't think I would fit in. Those people with gigantic muscles and huge egos to match scare me. There's just something very unnatural and inhuman about them.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


This morning I went to a school book fair. There was promise of breakfast for the parents! At first, I decided I would not bother going. After giving it a minute of thought, as I pulled my car away from the school, I changed my mind and decided to park and enter. I wondered what kind of breakfast there would be. It turned out to be coffee, juice, milk, and granola bars. All the granola bars were set out neatly in rows on a table with napkins. I wondered if I missed the real breakfast. Many days, if I do eat breakfast, it is a granola bar. But I didn't think it was what other people considered a good breakfast.
Again, a very mediocre day, but at the end of the day I got excited about a project. Unrelated to the project, I made a pros and cons list last night. A problem I battle all the time, but I'd never taken the time to write out such a list. I was shocked when the cons part of the list was more than three times as lengthy as the pros part. To add to the confusion, do the points on the list need to be weighted? Will I ever figure it out? The Daily Om I read almost every day had some extremely good advice. It talks about how our lives don't come with instruction manuals, which means we have to experience life in order to make mistakes and learn and apply them to the next situation; and if we write down what we have done and what we have learned from what we have done, we are writing our own instruction manuals. It tells me that I am a beautiful work in progress, as are you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Trying to Fit Some Semblance of Interest Into An Otherwise Lackluster Day

Today was a day so much like so many other days. I woke up to someone offering to shovel the snow out of the driveway, which was like waking up to a day unlike any other day I've ever lived. Other than that, it was entirely normal and non-eventful, which I feel compelled to describe: I went to work, went on a field trip to downtown and back, complained a little, got some work done, came home, and made mini cheeseburgers and steamed broccoli. I thought about calling a friend I hadn't talked to in awhile, and she called me about 30 minutes after I thought about calling her. I was watching a show on TV about children who spend time in their childhood with no human contact whatsoever. It reminds me of a fiction book by Paul Auster I read about that very topic, about what would happen if we had no outside influences as our brain develops. I've noticed he's written at least two stories about long-term isolation. The scientists on the TV show tonight said the developing brain of a child shrinks if no one talks to the child. The language part of the brain suffers from atrophy. It never recovers. I wonder if that happens to us after childhood, that, as hermits, our brains transform themselves as they suffer from lack of human contact and isolation. I don't think it's quite the same, but I do believe it plants the seeds of madness. One of the men in one of Paul Auster's stories in The New York Trilogy ends up jumping off a bridge after he spent most of his life experimenting and studying about being cut off from everyone else.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Riding Along

People ride a crowded bus through a large town. The bus route goes past the commercial area, the bad neighborhoods, the good neighborhoods, the brand-new developments, the nondescript neighborhoods, the flat parts of town, the mountainous parts of town, the hospital, the industrial section, the beverage district, the schools, the museums, the churches, the grocery stores, the mall, the movie theater, the train tracks, the banks, and whatever else that town has.
Just about everyone on the bus has a plan and knows where they want to stop riding and start doing. A few people just keep riding, never committing to anything, never stopping, just watching the scenery go by. They'll know their stop when they see it, they think. They might die on the bus, never finding the right place to get off. What if the church is better than the mall? What if the beverage district is better than the church? What if I missed my stop and just didn't know it?
Today I am wondering if I'm one of those people who doesn't know where to get off, someone who wants to keep riding and watching the scenery, the colors, the flutter of activity, the people living life, go by, for the safety of knowing I won't get stuck somewhere I don't want to be.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Lots of time to myself the last two days. It's been pretty nice. I babysat last night and took care of a seven-week-old boy for about four hours. The last time I took care of a baby ... it's been quite awhile and it therefore brought lots of memories. This was my first time taking care of a boy baby. This boy was very strong! Like girl babies, boy babies like to be held and talked to and fed and burped. Had a dream after the baby left that I had my own baby in the hospital and it was stillborn.
I went to the craft fair yesterday for a few minutes, to find the pottery and maple sugar and to look at the quilts. Saw my basket-making friend at her basket booth and she was feverishly weaving strands of trees. She said she was selling them as fast as she could make them. There was no maple sugar table -- a colossal disappointment. There were fewer pottery and fewer quilts to admire. There was no fried crocodile vendor outside like there has been in years past. I came away with a piece of blue dragonfly pottery with a round mirror in the middle. It will have to do.
Friday I watched Quantum of Solace. On my tomatometer prediction, I projected a 50 percent. It was closer to 65 percent fresh. I didn't understand the first third of the movie. I thought it was introducing the storyline at the beginning, but it didn't really seem to take shape until the beautiful Bolivian Camille enters the picture and commands James to get in to the car. The best I can hope from a James Bond movie is to be impressed by the gadgets, technology and beautiful people. Not terribly disappointing on that front. There are no shortages of action, violence, fire, explosions and car chases. There were no intricate or interesting plot twists, and not a whole lot of intellectualism, but I didn't have my hopes up for anything spectacular. Before I saw the movie, I drove around with a coworker for seven hours, broken up in the middle by a work meeting. Had some interesting conversations with her about our intersecting lives while touring our beautiful state on the way home and back, not a direct route in order to fetch an accidentally abandoned credit card.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I Answer One of The Age-Old Questions

Yesterday a friend asked me for my opinion about how to let someone down gently. I gave it some serious thought and my thoughts are turning toward the direction of "there is no good way." The answer is, also, it depends. Is this person sensitive? Will they care whether the person is tactful, diplomatic and kind? Or will a simple yes or no, or even a "get lost" suffice, for the less sensitive?
The person he was asking about is someone he doesn't know very well. It's someone he will have to cross paths with occasionally for work. The question she asked had to do with whether he would want to spend some out-of-the-office time with him, and she phrased it in a way that would necessarily communicate that she meant it in a romantic sense. She did it in writing, so there is time for him to think about how he should respond, or whether he should respond at all.
My first thought in trying to answer this was to think about what relevant life experience I have to answer this question. I think back to junior high and high school, when, a few times, some boys asked me out who didn't know me well at all. I wondered, since they surely couldn't know me and didn't know me, how could their question be at all sincere? How could they possibly be interested in going out with me if they didn't know me? Therefore, such a question offended me because it was such a personal question given in such an impersonal way. It was especially annoying when it so happened (and it happened twice, with two different people) that they asked several of my friends out, who said no, and THEN they asked me. The second time that happened to me, I complained to that boy. He proceeded to send a dozen roses to my house that same afternoon, in an effort to convince me of his sincerity. That still didn't persuade me.
After thinking back to those insincere questions (maybe I am too much of a romantic), I thought about how I'd responded in the past. My past self would have, and did, answer those questions in a vague way, so as not to disappoint or hurt the person, and give me a chance to get to know them and possibly find a new friend.
The first time it happened to me was in the fourth grade. This boy had had several girlfriends in my fourth-grade class by the time he got around to me. His female cousin, also a fourth-grade classmate, told me he wanted to be my girlfriend. Then, not too long after that, his older brother passed me a note in reading class and asked if I would go out with him (the older brother, not my fourth-grade classmate). He left a place on the note for me to circle "yes" or "no." Even then, I didn't want to be pigeonholed into giving a "yes" or "no" answer, so I circled the word "or." I'm sure I'm not the first person to ever do that. His response was one of ridicule and confusion. He gave up after that and never spoke to me ... at least not until I got to high school. Six years later he ended up in my American History class and started bullying me and teasing me, and I said something to him that put him off again and he stopped speaking to me all over again. But I have digressed far more than I intended to digress.
I'm sure he didn't remember me circling "or," or even that I attended his elementary school, but I obviously haven't forgotten it. That event began a long string of my method of passive-aggressive rebellion against some impersonal request to get personal. Most recently, my present self would have seen it differently. It isn't fair to the person to lead them on. They don't want a vague answer. They really want a yes or no, so that if it's a no, they can move on. They probably don't want a new friend. They probably already have an abundance of friends.
When I told my friend my stories from the past, he responded by saying that it's disrespectful not to give a clear answer. His question is, how to say no without hurting feelings? Fail to respond? That doesn't seem very nice, either. If you never had to see the person again, there would be no problem with saying "no" and being done with it. Chances are good that the person is going to be in your life somehow, whether it's someone you have to see every day in school, sit next to in class, or run into occasionally or even daily at work-related functions.
I was hoping that if I had to write it out that I would have more clarity about the best way to respond to such a request. (Fortunately this is not my problem, as people asking me out is a thing of the past, which I shall not further explore at this time.) More recently, when someone I liked, but didn't know very well, asked me out on a "date," I asked him to clarify the difference between a "date" and an evening out between two friends. Again I tried to lengthen the time he would want to spend time with me, so I could use that time to get to know him and decide if I did want to date him, without committing to a "date." We did go to lots of movies together and out to dinner many times. Really, it failed miserably. He didn't have that kind of time. I think he got bored with me, and, after about three months of being "friends," decided he wanted to withdraw his request to "date me."
This brings me back to the options. If it sounds like an insincere and insensitive question to begin with, does the person need a sincere, well-thought-out response? Try diplomacy? Tact? Dishonesty (I'm with someone already/I'm gay/I'm recovering from the recent nasty breakup of a long-term relationship)? (I definitely disagree with the outright dishonesty. It's always a bad idea.) Just say no? Say yes, feel guilty about it, then find a way to get out of it later? (Absolutely not!)
Here's my proposed answer, after giving it a day's worth of thought:
"I'm glad you asked. What a confidence booster! If pressed about how I want to relate to you in the future, I must say that I would most prefer to call you my colleague, friend and work associate. If that involves the occasional phone call or after-work drink, then great. But that's all I have room for right now."
With this response, I express appreciation for the person for making me feel flattered. I hint that I don't feel comfortable about being put on the spot by saying "if pressed ... I must say ..." and then I'm honest and state with diplomacy and optimism that I look forward to a friendly, positive working relationship. And by saying "that's all I have room for right now," it suggests I have something else going on that would potentially interfere with a new potential romance, but doesn't leave much room for the specifics that I don't want to give.
It's brilliant, isn't it? How to let someone down easy. I've come a long way since "or."
How have people let me down easy in the past? If I've ever been the person to make the first move, I've always tried to make sure the answer will be yes beforehand.
On the other hand, there have been a few times that people have separated from me after a few short months of spending time with them. Here is one, circa 2002: "I just called to say goodbye. I'm moving away today; everything is packed and I'm on the road now. I won't be coming back up here." (My "friend" moved an hour and a half away and left this voice mail on my cell phone.) Another time, more recently, someone else, after he was persistent for about six weeks, and I gave in because he was so nice: "I still have feelings for my ex-girlfriend. I have nothing to offer you." To give him credit, I do believe he was being honest. Uh, at least I'm pretty sure he was. Kind of sure. A little sure.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

As the World Rotates on Its Axis

The other day someone who I had met a few times -- maybe had seen and talked to less than five times -- died. I felt sadness for the loved ones he left behind, and for my best friend, who was one of those loved ones, but I did not really, truly, personally feel a loss. Then I watched a slide show of his life, a tribute to him, in the sequence of his life. Photos began from perhaps the early 1940s, black and white photos of a handsome, kind-looking young man, playing on the baseball team, in the military, holding babies who now are well into adulthood, photos of him with his small children at Christmastime, at work with another man, both of whom wore funky 1970s polyester suits, and then photos with his grandchild and the rest of the family. It was a long slide show and I felt myself smiling in wonder at the seemingly happy, pleasant and full life he had. I felt I had a much deeper understanding of this man who died and the memories he left behind. It was like a huge puzzle being put together with all those pictures -- there was a man, at the end of all this life he had, who I met, but there was so much more life to him after having seen the photos. I have only gone to a handful of funerals, but of those few, I've never had the pleasure of seeing a slide show/tribute of the photos of a person's life, showing the milestones, changes, births, and other significant events of a person's life. It was beautiful. I like pictures.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Yesterday I was a homebody, watched two movies -- Baby Mama and Derailed -- and worked for about three hours in a closet. I finally came out of the closet for the last time yesterday when I had hung the door on its track. It took a long time to take stacks and stacks of kid stuff out of the closet just so I could re-hang the door. I think that anyone who has kids would know exactly what I mean when I say kid stuff: I mean old papers, socks, clothes, shoes, books, magazines, random game pieces, scratched CDs, empty movie cases, stuffed animals, Christmas tree ornaments, hangers, electronics, instructions for something that got lost or forgotten about a long time ago, kid camping stuff, poles, partial pieces from a fast food kids' meal toy, public service fair giveaways like unsharpened pencils, keychains and rulers ... the only thing I didn't find, that I'm glad I didn't find, was food. Working away, certain things kept popping into my head, thoughts that I wish I could push away. Not bad thoughts, just new thoughts that my brain was trying to figure out what to do with. When a new thought doesn't have a place yet ... manual labor has a way of forcing the mind to frame thoughts.
I watched Baby Mama in the morning and Derailed at night. I had low expectations for both movies, and I ended up liking both of them. Baby Mama was actually funny -- and I wasn't expecting to see Greg Kinnear, and he played a very likeable character; and, then, in Derailed -- there's just something about Clive Owen that keeps me interested -- as Jennifer Aniston put it, "he's tall, dark and handsome, and you just want to see what he's doing ..." or something like that.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Day 3 of a long headache. Still living at home with the Halloween stuff on the walls, table, and in the front yard. We have a really cool Tim Burtonesque tree on our table. It looks kind of like one of the sculptures in the house in Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas. It's metal, painted black and shadowy and has many arms. It came with goofy, cheerful, ceramic colorful ornaments of pumpkins, spiders, ghosts, bats and cats that don't match the tree. They should be dead and dying things. That seems to be what's happening around here, but the fall colors are still beautiful.
I heard on the radio this morning that the Obama honeymoon period has been short lived. It's only been slightly more than 24 hours since we've learned he won the election. Shouldn't the honeymoon period start after his term of presidency begins? I think a honeymoon period should at least last a couple of years.
On Sunday four of us watched "The Haunting of Molly Hartley." Molly Hartley is a teenager who hears voices and whose mom is trying to kill her. There is a really cute boy who pays attention to her. The cute boy's ex-girlfriend tries to be mean to Molly. Molly is confused and terrified about the voices and her mom's seemingly constant chasing of her with a knife. Later, she is fine.

Monday, November 3, 2008


All this election hype is energizing people to act, think and get involved. That's what's fun and good about politics. That's what I like about sports too. The only thing I like about sports (everything else I detest). I liked the people holding up signs, standing at the big intersections in town today. I liked the energy I saw in the crowds of people and in the newscasters' stories about election coverage on television. Every once in a while, people step outside their safety boxes and decide to live with more life. Oh, and By the wAy, having hope that things will change for the better Makes me feel hAppy.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Night and Day

This has been a confusing and frustrating few days. Amidst the clutter of my life, there are always constant and numerous demands, every day, all the time, just as every other parent who works has: working a stressful, demanding full-time job; transporting children to and from, and then to and from, every day; pulling the food together from the store and the kitchen to feed the hungry; straightening up at home so that we don't trip over the clothes, books, school papers, pens, mail, shoes, and backpacks at home; and trying to meet the emotional needs of the frustrated household members around me, some of which appear to have none, and some of which appear to have very many; and, while I know I'm not describing anything new or unusual, my point is this: when a break from all this appears to be possible, I look forward to it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Travel by Foot

While I've spent a good bit of my life walking, I have not tried to walk every single day in quite some time. But I've always believed firmly in this, and one or more of my parents instilled this belief in me from the time I could stand on my two legs, that walking is one of the best things a person can do for the body. It's an exercise that's good for your heart, your circulation, your mood, and it doesn't put any unnecessary strain on various parts of your body like other types of exercise can. After walking every day for a series of eight weeks recently, I have noticed a pattern. People and animals feel territorial when you walk by their houses, with one exception: the drunken college student neighbor, otherwise a stranger, who invites you up for a drink because it's his friend's birthday. The territoriality was evidenced in the frequency of questions I received about whether I was lost, and by the dog that bit me when I walked in front of its house on the opposite side of the street. My co-worker walked in the seemingly friendly neighborhood behind our office, and received comments from one of the residents several days in a row about whether she needed or wanted a ride somewhere. After the dog bite, I decided to seek out the mundane, flat areas specifically set aside for walking. There, no one asked you if you were lost, were looking for someplace in particular, needed help, or needed a ride, and no one bit you, which otherwise translate to: I definitely think you do not belong here. I probably would have gotten fewer questions about what I was doing if I had a dog in tow (on leash) with me. I decided that the circular track I had always resisted was a respite for peaceful exercise. Other people on the track were there for the same reason, and no one questioned or challenged my presence there. It's unfortunate and disturbing that I can't feel OK about taking a walk in my own seemingly safe, family-friendly neighborhood.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Can I Escape Evil and Still Find a Place in this World?

Recently I've been wondering about a personality trait. I will call it "exploitation." There's a very good reason this word exists. It exists because some people possess this trait, in which they naturally, possibly unthinkingly, operate by targeting a perceived weakness in another person, and figuring out how that perceived weakness can be used against that person for personal gain. What I've been wondering about is how people get that way. I think it must have to start with a judgmental attitude. An eager-to-judge and quick-to-judge attitude. Did exploitative and judgmental parents raise them to have exploitative and judgmental attitudes? I think people who do try to habitually exploit others' perceived weaknesses may have the mistaken belief that everyone operates this way, and that justifies their entrenched habits of manipulating the facts to make the other person look bad. When I find it happening, I have a brief mental image of me living in a cave as a hermit (my back is hunched over, I'm wearing layers of brown, torn cloaks, and I'm dragging a cane for a stick) -- the thought briefly crosses my mind that it might be best to live a secluded lifestyle, away from the painful social pitfalls of backstabbing, being judgmental, and hurting other people for personal gain. But I like and need people in my life. I like people especially when they are nice and not mean. It's often easy to tell, but sometimes it can be more insidious. And I don't want to be judgmental, so I try not to place labels on people, and I try to give them the benefit of the doubt that there is some decency inside them, despite what I may perceive. They may hide their evil plan to exploit the person, carefully plotting to gather information while they appear nice and accommodating on the surface. It's the typical plot for a soap-opera story. It's pretty pathetic, but it works. People watch that stuff. People get fooled by that stuff. It happens all the time. It happens in the movies. It happens on TV. It happens in school. It happens at work. It happens in POLITICS! It happens in court. That's why we have that word. It serves a useful purpose. It acknowledges that it is a part of life. I wonder if it easily translates to other languages.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


The weekend is not over yet, but much has been accomplished. I made White Grass vegetarian chili (with carrots), cleaned up around the house, did laundry, and took a great walk in the sunny cool weather today.
My eyes are tired. When I close my eyes, all I can think about is all the things left undone at work, and negativity.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

More reflection

Waking up to rain is a part of life, but one of those sad, depressing, bleak things that must happen in order for the world to work. It's one of those things that make you want to make your house glow on the inside with happiness, light and warmth.
Last night I talked about making decisions in the present that will affect life in the future. My friend said you can't live your life with the thought about how you'll look back on life when all you are capable of is reflection in your infirm days. I said that's not really how I live my life, but it's nice to be reminded of it now, to remember that there's no time like the present to live the life we want, so we don't regret doing something, or don't regret not doing something, later in the day, or the next day, or the next month, or 20 years from now. The whole time I talked about this, all I was doing was talking, making dinner, getting a drink, and pacing. I might regret those two and a half hours I lost talking about stuff like that and not living life to its fullest. On the other hand, I might have just been watching TV.
I had another dream about my grandmother still being alive. I was talking about her yesterday. She died when she was about 95. In my dream, she was trying to finish a bunch of artwork. They were collages and dioramas. She really wanted to do it all before she died and she did. She wore herself out, though, and I saw her near death. I have a need to create something beautiful, like a painting of a field of red and yellow flowers, with the sun shining bright, if I can do that.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Non-stop action today, almost as bad as yesterday. The chaotic day was interrupted by a nice peaceful walk along the river again. The windy fall weather strangely reminded me of my poem happiness that I posted last week. There is something surreal about the swirling leaves, combined with the starkly bright, sunny fall weather, and a person you know suddenly entering the picture. It's especially surreal if you talk yourself into believing so. A poetic mind is also essential. Minds are funny like that. A gloomy sky would probably have changed the whole experience.
Later on in the day, I went to a playground, where I was asked to fix the six swings that someone or some evil creatures had wound around the top of the bar. I had a feeling it would end in frustration, but I gave it a try anyway. Once I started, I didn't want to stop until all the swings were down. I tried swinging them really hard, and that did not work. I tried throwing the rubber, wobbly seats of the swings over the top of the bar, as one hurls a spear or a football, which eventually worked for three of the swings that were stuck. We found a long, tall stick, which helped a little when the swing and chains got caught at the top. My back already hurt when I started, and now it hurts worse as a result of my determination to not give up on the task I undertook. I wanted to defeat the evildoing of the people who decided to sabotage the plans of the innocent children who look forward to swinging there. I was only partially successful. Part of my stick got stuck in the chain where I couldn't reach. My fingers were numb from the cold. I almost got to the point where I sort of had to catch my breath. I really, really tried. Before that, I went to Kroger. Every time, as with this time, I inevitably run into someone I know. It doesn't happen to me in other grocery stores.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Today was a beautiful but cold day. I got to do something fun and different, which was be a guest lecturer for a college class. I had good vegetarian chili for lunch but had to forego all other meals as work responsibilities took precedence. I missed my favorite TV show, the only show I insist on watching regularly, for the college class. All day I was being pulled in three directions at once. It was a continuous battle among phone calls, other problems that demanded attention, and preparing for the class. Even though I'm busy at the moment, I must take time to call my sister to wish her a happy birthday, like she ritualistically does for me.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Recently in the book store I came across, in the photography section, the book Naked New York, which consists of pages and pages of photos of people in front of a brick wall, in the first photo with their clothes on, and then in the second photo with their clothes off, with a caption underneath stating their professions and their ages. No glamour, no airbrushed perfection, no statement at all to project other than reality. I think readers can't help but be curious, but I'm still kind of looking around while looking at the book, wondering if someone I know will pass by and see me looking at photos of naked people, even though, if that did happen, they might be just as interested in seeing it. It's the kind of book that, if you see the title, it may be difficult or impossible to resist the curiosity, and, once picked up, difficult to resist the curiosity of what's contained from cover to cover. I know that so many people can have so much anxiety about what they look like. I think the book helps to dispel the anxiety people have when they feel they don't measure up, particularly to the beauty portrayed in movies, books and magazines. I think that's what the photographer was trying to get across, and it works, in a light and whimsical way.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bottle Rocket, A Rumor of Angels, and Beat

I watched some older movies while on vacation this week. Bottle Rocket was made in 1996 and I watched it late Monday night. I drifted in and out of sleep, as parts of it caught my interest at times. Luke and Owen Wilson, in their first movie, starred as friends, who have energy and passion for committing petty crimes; actually it's Owen Wilson's character's enthusiasm and excitement about what he does, and he ropes in Luke Wilson and other people to go on crime sprees with him. I don't remember laughing, but maybe the funny parts happened when I was asleep. I do remember feeling mildly amused, but that was about all. Come to think of it, I felt the same mild amusement while watching the Royal Tenanbaums and the Darjeeling Limited. The movie was directed by Wes Anderson, the same guy who likes to put the Wilson brothers in other movies, like the Royal Tenenbaums and The Darjeeling Limited.
I only watched A Rumor of Angels because Ron Livingston is in it. It played out like a made-for-TV Lifetime movie about an older woman, a widow, and a 12-year-old boy who become friends and bond over the deaths of people who were very close to them. The widow, played by Vanessa Redgrave, is an interesting character with intelligence, quirky energy, and a touch of madness. As usual, Ron Livingston adds enough to keep me interested, but if you took him out, then the movie would have been the biggest waste-of-time movie since the last time I got accidentally hooked into a Lifetime movie (I think that was about four years ago).
I watched the movie Beat last week, with Ron Livingston as Allen Ginsburg, and Courtney Love as William Burroughs's wife, and Keifer Sutherland as William Burroughs (the guy who wrote Naked Lunch, among other writings). The Ginsburg character was my favorite, but he had a small part. However, the movie kept me interested and wanting to know more about the characters' lives. There was too much history to put it neatly into one two-hour movie, but I liked the pace of the movie and the struggles and conflicts the main characters were facing, and how the viewer could virtually put herself into their situations and feel the storylines.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Vacation, Sleep, Cooking, Fall

I took a few days off from work this week, doing nothing important except taking walks, taking in the spectacular fall scenery at all the local trails and scenic spots I could find around here. My big film camera seems archaic. I didn't get any photos. My friend keeps taking photos and saying they will be sent to me, but they don't get sent.
I've also been doing a lot of cooking, taking advantage of the older ages of the children in the household, hoping they're now open-minded enough to try experimental things, after years of trying to get them to try experimental things at an approximate 60-40 pass-fail rate. The usual complaint is, "it's too spicy," which pretty much means "it has pepper in it."
I had a bad dream last night. I was in court. Someone was suing me and I came to court, not knowing exactly what it was about, except that it involved people I know, people who are closest to me, in a very realistic setting. In real life, someone accidentally hit me in the face while I was trying to speak to the judge and explain why I hadn't known what the case was about, and me getting hit jerked me awake, out of court and startled into the blackness of the early morning. I was kind of glad. I've been randomly falling asleep lately, maybe because my sleep has been so broken up these past three days.
I don't know about anyone else, but I am excited about my discovery, finding my posts from 1999 and a poem I wrote in 1998 about an old friend coming to visit, which I reproduced below. They were posted on a Web site that long ago, and I thought they had been deleted a long time ago because I hadn't been able to find them. It's nice to be reminded of what life used to be like, that so much time has passed and so much has gotten better in that time.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My Long-Lost Poem Called Happiness, circa 1998

I thought I saw you.

I thought you saw me.

The wind curled strangely around the fallen leaves.

Cars ceased from passing on the road in the breeze.

A familiar thought wove mysteriously all around my head.

The smell of the trees and the stream entered instead.

Simple strides across a sunny field, hands in pockets.

A wall of surreal silence streamlined your entrance.


A smile spread across my body.

Sunshine poured in.

Here came you, to me.

And that’s when I knew

All good things were about to happen.


(First posted on

Blog from 1999


We went to Snowshoe first thing this morning. It was crazy getting out of the house. He kicked around the laundry at the frustration of not being able to find the shorts from yesterday that held his wallet. Once we were on the road, things started to get better. He forced some mood-altering, silly expressions into the van. At Snowshoe, the resort was offering lift ticket rides for $6 each. A side show of the Chili Cookoff. The four of us went all the way down the mountain and all the way up. It was beautiful. The breeze was perfect and made it great. Fresh hay from the slope we passed over really smelled great -- like being on a farm without the animal droppings scent. The ride down the mountain took about 15 minutes, and then of course it was about 15 minutes back up. You really didn't want it to be any shorter or longer. Once we got back into town, we were in a race for the countdown to the birthday party. First through three houses on the Daylily Days home and garden tour. Then to the grocery store, Kmart, and to the party. I had about 10 minutes to put the banners up and prepare. Just as things were falling into place, a few kids showed up. Then came the birthday girl. We had nine children, not too few and not too many. Then off to meet my dad and sister for dinner. Finally, we could breathe a sigh of relief when we got home. Then we had an icing catastrophe. Not only was the regular cake (orange) icing everywhere in the van, but the auxiliary cupcakes fell over also. Where was the plastic lid to the cake? Why wasn't it on the cake? We all had to change outfits and bring in the Spic and Span forces. A good day, but thoughts of impending doom crossed over a few times.


We went to Seneca Caverns Sunday. A great relief from the heat. It was 56 degrees inside, compared to the hazy and humid 90 degrees it felt like outside. Tickets were less than we thought they would be. The tour guide was very knowledgeable about what the cavern formations looked like. She gave us detailed stories about what each rock actually WAS: a chipmunk, an indian, a tombstone, a city, an alligator, bananas ... it seemed like it didn't end. We also stopped at Seneca Rocks and the newly constructed Seneca Rocks Discovery Center. It was a big, beautiful building. There were art displays, lots of brochures to pick up, a 3-D map that looked like it was made of plaster with paint, and a few stuffed animals native to the area. The seven to 10 stuffed animals were in the window of a room called the Discovery Room, which was locked. You could still discover, even though you couldn't enter. Many of the walls were made of what looked like indigenous rocks. Today is a vacation. From what, I'm not sure.


I can't help but be sleepy today. Just about every morning I awake to some sort of yelling or complaining from one of the other members of the house. Barely awake, struggling to remember those foggy dreams, noticing how good it feels to stretch my legs across that once-occupied space, and it almost could have been a good morning except for that predictable miserability. Yesterday some of us went to the movies for a pretty good time.


There is another birthday to celebrate today. Summer birthdays are great. You can do just about anything you want, I think, except play in the snow. I did some studying and drank lots of caffeine yesterday. I came home very late. I saw Jan Hopkins of CNN speak at Halliehurst yesterday. She was very articulate. How does she do that? I wonder how you get to be that way. A lot of people, like me, mumble aimlessly a lot of the time.


I've had this strange feeling these last few days. It's strange because it is this new thought, and it just creeps along slowly like a spill, getting bigger and bigger, spreading through my brain. The more I think about it, the bigger it becomes. If I would just stop thinking about it, it wouldn't be so bad. It's not all bad, but potentially unhealthy. This is just how thoughts and ideas work, I suppose, but when a foreign thought, unlike any other I knew before enters, I really take notice. I keep having this dream about a person I know. I want to talk to him and he avoids me in my dreams. I remember about seven years ago I kept having dreams that I would go over to his house to see him and he wasn't there. Last night I had this dream -- I looked all over for him at some kind of event and saw him several times but he was busy and talking to someone else every time. I told him a couple of times I wanted to talk to him, and he found a way not to. At the same time, I tried to talk to another person I know, and he did the same thing to me too. A few years ago I had a very faint memory of what I thought was a glimpse of my very early childhood, and I didn't know if it was an actual memory, a dream I had, or what. I was sitting with my sister, and she had this hood on her head, and a nightgown, and I could see the pattern of the wallpaper behind her. She was sick and things weren't good. And I remember thinking to myself, it doesn't matter whether it was a dream, memory, or something else -- it's something that exists in my head, as if it's a memory.


I've been having a hard time lately. In those ups and downs of life, this is really a down time. I know it will get better. It could be worse. It's a lot my fault, though. I guess that's the worst part of it. Maybe I will do something about it.


I've had about two hours to myself today for the first time in years, I think, and I feel so much better. I feel like I visited a part of life that I forgot about -- silence. It was very quiet. I wouldn't and couldn't have it this way all the time, but I am much, much, happier. All I did was take a nap. I don't think I dreamed about anything.


How do I explain that I've made this huge mistake and everybody knows it and it's too late now? How can I escape this miserability? What can I do to feel better?


OK, I calmed down a little bit. I'm not very much happier though. The day is the most beautiful sight outside. The sunshine makes the grass and the trees the brightest shade of yellow. The wind is blowing just a little bit and the sky couldn't be bluer.

I've been reading the advice given, and it has given me reassurance that I should make the changes necessary to make me happy. But that gets so cloudy. What if I make the changes, and I'm worse off than ever? What if I have it good now and just don't realize it? I should take that chance. I've done it before and when I did change my life, I wish I had done it long, long before. This morning I wished that I could go back about six years and erase everything. Then I wouldn't be miserable like I am now. Or would I? I have so many questions and so little answers.


I have been wondering if something different will happen today, if I can stumble onto something every day and learn something new and interesting. There is much to discover about the things that seem routine. I noticed that I drive by the same things every day, and see the same cars all the time. I pass the same cars on the road all the time, and can almost immediately spot cars that are driven by people who don't live here. I think everybody who lives here must pass all the same people all the time, with the exception of a few strangers every day. For some reason, I saw this one particular car passing by my house when I got the mail last week. A few days later, I was getting the mail again and saw the same car passing by. I don't know why it stood out. Every day, the same cars pass by. I wonder if the old neighbor who sat on his porch every day knew all of them. Some people who have lived here for a long, long time know just about everybody they pass. If you notice which cars are at all the businesses one day, you will see the same cars there the next day and the next day and the next. Those people have the same routines every day -- going to work, coming home, passing by. I was at Wal-Mart earlier this summer and saw a young girl who had shaved her head, and knew she wasn't from here. She was parked next to me in the parking lot and seemed to be passing through from Michigan. Of course, it must be true that the people driving the cars are the same people I pass all the time while walking and shopping and doing whatever else. It's all so obvious, but when you think about it, it's a little bit interesting. Maybe.


Early in the morning yesterday I drove through town. On the highway before I got to town, I passed a Mercedes which I had never seen before. The car was going exactly the speed limit. The car and the man driving it all the sudden seemed to be a symbol of something entirely good. He had a woman sitting next to him. Here he was, in a very luxurious, reputable and reliable car, plugging along steadily according to the speed limit. I went one way through town, which I thought would be fastest because I was short on time. When I got through town, he was in front of me -- still plugging away by going exactly the speed limit. When we got to the 65-mile-an-hour highway, I passed him again. Then I got to my turnoff and he passed me again, because, of course, I slowed way down. The point of my story is that this driver consistently behaved according to the law, under only the best of circumstances, and came out ahead. I wondered if that was a metaphor for his life, and I wondered what type of job he had. I imagined that he was some upstanding attorney.

Maybe I'll come back, but maybe I won't. To continue with this would be dangerous.

(First posted on

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Victory and Sunshine

Today I escaped the office confinement for a walk by a river, along a trail with grasshoppers jumping everywhere, butterflies flying around, a bright, blue sky, and brilliant fall colors everywhere. The river dam had water rushing out of it and a man was fishing there. Lots of people were walking, jogging, and riding bikes. What a difference the sunshine makes. I love vitamin D. Back at work, things were peaceful and happy. Our office won a prize for a window decoration contest. I might have won first or second place in a logo contest for work. I'm looking forward to a sunny, beautiful, happy weekend.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Recently I read some things I had written three years ago, and some things I had written six years ago. I learned so many good lessons, and they're so easily forgotten, not too many years later. Trying to move on with problems, and my advice of the day (recalled from the not-so-distant past) is that your troubles are just a tiny star in the infinite galaxies of our existence. It's usually so hard to keep the tough problems in life in the right perspective. Maybe a few years ago I had a momentary stretch of infinite wisdom and maturity, when the planets were all in alignment with something or other. Maybe journal-writing therapy is the best way to figure something out. Maybe being impressed by my younger self is a little like being impressed with something witty or clever your child says, that only you and no one else finds to be witty or clever.

Here's what I wrote about rejection, from June 2005:
I was happy that I could feel so happy and energetic again. My happiness was feeding upon itself. I have been through this before. I knew then and I know now that it's my own brain that causes me to feel happy and full of self doubt. I know that my troubles this week are but a drop of water in the babbling brook of life. I know that pain and self doubt and jealousy are natural and normal. Disconnecting myself from things beyond my control should be possible. I only know what's here and happening at this moment and nothing else is real. Of course, people are shaped by their experiences, but they're selective experiences and the lessons from them are subjective.
What lessons have I learned? Nothing I didn't know already. Listen to my intuition. I don't want to do this again. I don't want to repeat what happened. I need to have more strength and commons sense and act on it. I should say no. I should have discipline and restraint. It's not easy to do when it feels like there may be more happiness in taking risks.

And here's what I wrote about rejection, from April 10, 2002:
I feel like the mystery has been solved, the etherealness of this will settle soon, and then the clarity will emerge. My mind is going in a thousand directions until this happens, and I'm still trying to keep an open mind so no damage occurs to my psychological condition. Maybe I'm still too sensitive to handle this. Hopefully I'll look back on this in a few years and find it amusing. When did my emotional side do me any good, anyway?
He called, I guess to say hello. I guess he's not completely detached. A very nice thing to hear from him. I feel good. I had a good walk today.
From April 12, 2002:
I thought I was supposed to be getting wiser as I get older, but I feel just as naive as I was when I was 17. No matter how I feel about this, I need to put these feelings way aside so I can get my work done. I have way too much to do, way, way too much to address this right now. Just store it away for when I have time to deal with it. Clarity over the issues is not as important right now -- I have school to deal with and the more I don't deal with school, the more I hurt myself.
From April 29, 2002:
I am developing a healthy realization of this man's faults -- critical, arrogant, cold. That doesn't mean I don't like him ... but I feel better, good, happy.
From May 15, 2002:
The whole fabric of his relationship to me he designed such that he never gets hurt ... how ingenious ... he got what he wanted ... someone who lives what, and carries out what, he knows is right for him ...
From May 27, 2002:
I was reading for my class about how to deal with difficult situations, and it said to imagine yourself looking down on yourself from a balcony. From the balcony, looking down at myself, I saw that my thoughts are just agony, I am agonizing myself, causing my own detriment, and that there's a reason, well, good reasons, why he does not want to be with me. That if we agreed on how we wanted to maintain a friendly relationship, then we would have one. Instead, we are apart, because we have different ideas on how well we relate. I have so many ideas about this, but I have no idea about whether and to what extent he put any thought in it.
I was putting my clothes away and I got frustrated for just a second that the hangers got caught together. But then I maneuvered the two stuck-together hangers so that I could take advantage of them being stuck together -- so the problem became part of the solution, in that I could use both hands to separate the hangers once I had picked them up -- it was all in a split-second thought that's hard to describe in writing, but I thought that if I could just apply that to my trickier problems -- making the problem itself work as the solution, using the problem to my advantage, then that is the answer. I thought of that months ago, though ... I thought that I really appreciate my time with him because it has been a real challenge to keep up my self-confidence and a no-defeat attitude; that I really needed this, to see and know that it wasn't me, it wasn't that I did anything really wrong, it's just that different people have a different way of treating you, and that most likely it's not a reflection on me ... I think that's a good answer, maybe the best one I'm going to get -- that this happened so I could become a better person, and to figure out what will make me happy.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Wilderness Therapy

Last weekend I entered the land of sunny skies, brilliantly colored trees, and scores and scores of people. I checked out a smaller-than-usual but satiating art show, a disappointing photo show, a shorter-than-usual parade, and a few other traditional events of the time.
There was also a walk in the woods, where beauty surrounds at every single angle and the fresh air feels like ohm. I found a Burtonesque dead tree (Tim, that is), an orange and white mushroom scene in a dark spot in a log that looked like a small stage, yellow and red leaves suspended in mid-air by a spider web strand, dying ferns, several varieties of bright, green moss, sparkly rocks, and beaver teeth marks on some trees.
I felt so happy and refreshed, until the grind of work, and the jolt of a conflict from last week getting rehashed again today, reminded me of why I so badly needed a change of scenery. I need to go back to the woods. I never thought I would think that.

Friday, October 3, 2008


Today I took a trip all the way across the state and back and it was great to get a view of the leaves that are starting to change and the landscape of trees and sunny sky. How could one not be in a great mood, looking around, unless one were looking down? I wasn't doing the driving, was the passenger for once, and it was OK. I got to enjoy more of the scenery that way, but the jerks and turns and unpredictable braking of someone else's driving is hard on the stomach.
I got two compliments on my new green jacket.
I had fantastic plans of taking another trip, once I returned home, but I was unable to gather all the members of my household to pull it off in time. We'll have to go tomorrow.

Wednesday - Thursday

For the last two days we've combed the town for geometric shapes. They have to be outside, in this town, and they have to be part of "structures," for a class assignment. Upon trying to glean an accurate definition of what it means by "structures," I find that it is loosely defined but it has to do with buildings and things built outside. I suppose that doesn't mean a geometric shape that has been painted or drawn on a sign outside. We found an arc in a parking meter, a pentagon in a stone block pattern on a college building in the archway above the entrance, a trapezoid in a pattern on the sidewalk, a pyramid that makes up the post for a sign, a cone that has no other name but a cone, and various types of triangles in the frames of windows and doors. It took about three hours of work on the computer, not my work, but work that nevertheless took much of my time. Not that I did the work for someone else. I just had to provide the accommodations, travel, and money to buy the equipment.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tantrums and Mood Swings

I took another walk in the neighborhood and neither saw nor heard any of the canine persuasion this evening.
I fed the cat raw chicken last night, while I was preparing dinner at approximately 6 p.m., and tonight she harassed me the whole hour I was making dinner. Meow. No, I don't have any more chicken. Meow. No, I don't have any more chicken. Meow. Sorry, kitty. Meow. No more raw chicken. Meow. Nothing to offer but dry food. That didn't suit her at all. When dinner was finally ready, I sat down to eat it, and she suddenly figured out that the only available feast was the dry food sitting in her bowl. Now she's ignoring me. I'm her favorite when I give her meat.
I'm moving back into equilibrium again. I feel more myself today. I wasn't myself at work on Friday. I'm usually even-keeled, even-tempered, unaffected, amused and pleasant. I was not that person on Friday. It's really not like me to be suddenly moody, it's really not. I promise myself it's not.
Something happened to give me a jolt to make me feel that way, and I felt out of control of my mood. It is a bit of madness, but, thankfully, it only happens once in a great, great while. Maybe it's one of those remnants left over from childhood, when we let circumstances get the best of our emotions.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Retail Halloween

Shop, shopping, shopped. I've done more shopping for myself this weekend than I think I ever have, in all history. Now I have new shoes, new jackets, new shirts, and a new skirt. Six items. It feels excessive, as I usually only get one or two things at a time, about once every eight months or so. For some reason I'm wearing one size down. All I did was lose four measly pounds. Could I be any more self-involved?
I did make a few obligatory stops for the youngins to three Halloween costume stores, and despite my reluctance, trying on the 1950s and 1960s glasses was fun. I'm already tired of Halloween and I've got one month to go. I realize that a lot of women and female adolescents like to wear costumes that show off their assets in ways they usually can't get away with, but none of the costumes out there are creative. Most of them you can't even tell what they're supposed to be, with labels like "evening fire" or "moon woman" or "goddess of the night." I was trying to figure out if the people who owned the stores purchased only sexist costumes, or whether that was all that there was to order. The only costumes I've ever seen that I liked were worn by creative people who made their costumes, like Giant Styrofoam Eyeball Guy, or Giant Bottle of Ketchup, appearing with his friend, Giant Container of French Fries.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fighting a Losing Battle With Ghosts from the Past

It's hard to win when the ghosts from the past take the form of real people standing right in front of you, smiling and saying "hi," as if nothing bad ever happened (see yesterday's post about catty competition). It's kind of eerie.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Morning

No comments so far about why there can't be more love in the world. What is there to say?
I talked to the dog warden yesterday. He wanted to know how the dog bite on my butt is healing up. I said it's still colorful and still sore in one spot, but much better than it was last week. He said he is surprised that I still have any kind of side effects and that he's never had experience with someone who still felt the effects of a dog bite for more than 10 days and wanted to take another look at it. Hm.
I saw a brand new baby last night at the hospital. He is two days old and nameless thus far. Well, he does have a last name, but nothing else. He was tiny, and had a miniature baby I-V hooked up to his hand. It was all taped up to his left hand and he kept rubbing his face with it.
Today marks the end of a long stretch of beautiful, clear, crisp, sunny weather. I woke up to wet sidewalks and drizzly rain. Finally got to take advantage of 5-cent-coffee Fridays at the store on the corner.
I had a really good conversation with a co-worker yesterday. She gave me some good advice and finally made me feel better about having to face and deal with an unhappy situation that provides a lot of anxiety, having to do with the insecurity-driven, catty competition of some women who need to constantly boost their confidence by habitually luring someone else's love interest away. I never thought it would happen to me. I would have thought that, if it had, that I would not let it bother me, as we all have our own free will and I should accept that.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ah, Connectivity.

Isn't it great when you randomly run into people you really like and haven't talked to in awhile? AND they're happy to see you, and you can tell? It just brightens up the whole day.
We all need each other. Why can't there be more love in the world?

Monday, September 22, 2008

More Boring Dog Stuff

My tail end is much better today, thank you. Still a little sore in one corner, and still colorful as ever where the dog's teeth crushed my flesh, but it feels good to feel better.
The owner of the dog who said she'd call back with the name of the homeowner's policy didn't call back, of course. Someone told me there was a story in the newspaper yesterday about someone's beloved pet dog getting run over and killed by a car in my neighborhood. It wasn't the dog that bit me. If I had a dog, I'd have a fence, and I'd keep that dog behind the fence, unless we were going for a walk, and then it would be confined to a leash.
I went for a walk yesterday, the first one I've taken in the neighborhood since the dog bite incident (I had company this time, and my friend had a rock). We went by one house with a dog in the yard, and it barked viciously at us (a doberman pinscher, I think), and tried to get to us by reaching to the top of the fence, but it wasn't able to leap over the fence to try to eat us.
I did not want to walk by the house of the dog that bit me, even though I haven't seen any dogs wandering out there since I was attacked.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Pet Is a Menace

Today the dog bite injury feels better. It's only sore in one spot. I think I see signs that the big bread-size, dark-purple contusion is possibly getting lighter. It feels like there may be a few scratches on it. Only half of it is sore now, which is a big improvement. I found out Friday the assailant dog is a German shepherd Akita mix.
On Friday I talked to the person who owns the dog that bit me. She apologized and offered to pay my ambulance expenses. I thanked her and told her I have not received a bill yet. I asked her if she could tell me the name of the home insurance policy she has so I can file a claim. She said she does not have homeowner's insurance. I asked her why she wouldn't have homeowner's insurance when she is selling her house. She said that's her boyfriend's house, not her house. I asked her if she could find out the name of the company that has his homeowner's policy, and she said she'd find out and call me back. I will be surprised if she does.
I'm not really a squeamish person, or someone who is afraid of a lot of things. But I've noticed that I am skiddish and unnaturally nervous when I hear noises right behind me, after the dog snuck up behind me and bit me. It seems a bit ridiculous to be affected like that. I keep trying to tell myself that this PTSD is only temporary and will pass.
This weekend I went to a restaurant I've been going to for about nine years. It used to be my favorite restaurant in town. Every time it's been excellent. Except this weekend. The first unusual thing happened when we got to the door. A paper sign said they no longer serve alcohol, which is odd for an Italian restaurant. The marinara sauce, which should be their greatest and most delicious asset, tasted as if it had been cooking for way too long, as if it had cooked down so much that it had burned. The outside of my calzone was charred, and everything was overcooked. It is the end of an era. It was all downhill.
This morning I watched Silent Hill. I had heard it was supposed to take place in our state. I thought it was a horror movie, but it was more of a thriller/mystery/horror/adventure. No comedy whatsoever. Not one funny thing happened. Not that I expected it to, it's just that it would not have hurt to throw in a few funny things for some levity, to make it a little like real life. It had an interesting story and it ended in a believable and satisfying way, but nothing about the story was realistic whatsoever. Granted, it was based on a video game and no one should have had expectations of it mimicking real life in any way.
Last night I started to watch Army of Darkness, but the person I was with thought watching it was something close to torture, I think, so I didn't get to watch the ending. Sometimes we compromise and it's like defeat, a tragedy. Sometimes I am alone and I like it.
It was peaceful in the house this weekend. I didn't hear the usual deafening squawking of the aggressive and noisy female parakeet, feeling relief as I just heard the peaceful chirpings of the nice male parakeet. It turns out she was dead.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Chronicles of My Traumatic Injury

The big dog bite mark is quite remarkable in color. It changes every day. The colors are spreading out and the injury area is becoming larger and larger. The first day after the bite, it looked like a big pomegranate cut in half on the place where I sit down. The second day after the bite, it was red and pink and there appeared to be a blurry picture of a buddha in the middle of it. The third day after the bite, it was bigger and darker, with shades of black, dark purple, and a little yellow spot in the middle where buddha's belly used to be. Now it's about the size of a piece of bread, and is still very purple and dark. It still hurts. It hurts especially when I walk and when I sit down and when I stand and when I lay down. The dog warden gave me the number of the owner of the dog. I finally worked up the nerve to call her yesterday, and the message on her cell phone said the caller you are trying to reach is not accepting messages at this time.

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