Monthly Archives: October 2006

Flowers, Rainbows & Pretty Things

I feel like there’s been an inordinate amount of gloom and doom issuing from my mouth and fingers this week, so here are two fabulous images I captured. One is the rainbow that lit up the sky on Tuesday night — there is no way to capture that amazing experience in pixels — it was a perfect arch from Gasworks to Capitol Hill, so bright it looked like it was plugged in.
The other image is one of the stargazer lillies I bought for myself that are blooming like crazy, the entire house absolutely saturated with their sweet, magical smell. I wish I could bottle the scent. Like the rainbow, the experience can only be truly appreciated first hand. But that doesn’t mean I can’t play with the macro setting on my digital camera.

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my entry titles can be as long as i damn well please

I have removed the NaNoWriMo participant icon from my home page. I am revisiting the value of such an undertaking under my current circumstances. My energy may be required elsewhere, and I avoid making commitments I can’t keep.
Welcome to my meltdown. Try this. Every single day for two months, go into work, uncertain if that day will be your last. Help your boss set up some appointments to interview candidates for your position, in case any of them turn out to be better than you. Hell, even scrutinize their resumes, comparing each line item to your own, hashing and rehashing old mistakes, certain that every skill you have can be trumped by the 1:00 interviewee. Then, have your boss routinely say, “We’re going to do your interviews tomorrow,” so you freak out all night and don’t sleep, and then show up for work ready for your interview, in ironed clothes, to have him say, “Actually, let’s do it in a couple of days.” Repeat that weekly. Check your pulse. Meanwhile, during this mindfuck, know that you are being judged every minute to decide your worthiness for hire, and despite not knowing if today is your last day of employment, take on increasingly difficult projects with a smile, go out of your way to do a fantastic job on everything in case that’s the example they’re using to decide whether or not to hire you, not feeling a shred of support or loyalty in your present position. Still with me? Okay, now on top of that 40 hours a week, add another part-time job in which your heart is ripped out on a daily basis as you try to save battered and abandoned animals, dealing with people who don’t give a shit about anything but their own comfort and convenience, and do that with a smile too, and be positive around others you work with because if any of you cracks and shows the desperation and futility you feel deep inside about this work every day, you’d all go down together.
Oh, and also — get rid of all your furniture and put everything in boxes in the living room floor so that you can’t walk from one place to another, or sit down to rest, despite the absolute need for something comfortable and familiar just so you can catch your breath.
And just one more thing. Add a sleeping disorder to the mix, so you’re handling all of this on about four crummy hours of sleep every night for six months.
MELT. FUCKING. DOWN.
I’ve been holding my shit together for the most part for the past month, hoping every day that some resolution would be found, and I could claim some peace. But I’m tired. I’m exhausted. And I’m slipping, my granite and ivory smile fading into sneers and non-compliance when asked to do some terrible task. I can’t remember a damn thing one minute to the next. You know how you feel when you almost get hit by a truck but then at the last minute, you dash out of the way? I feel like that all the time. My nerves are shot.
Much of this should come to an end this week — though I’ve been saying that for six weeks now. My second job, which is seasonal, ends after this weekend, so I may actually get a day off. And one way or the other, I will find out about my main job, whether my temping ends Friday or I become an actual employee (with health insurance) next week. Either way, I’m taking next week off. I’m taking lots of Kava Kava. I’m taking a meditation class, but you’ve got to be kidding me if you expect me to be able to clear this chaotic mind of mine for thirty seconds, never mind 20 minutes a day.
This week my meditation assignment is to eat one daily meal mindfully. I just had barley soup and mixed baby greens with a kalamata dressing I made from scratch. It’s amazing how little you need to feel satisfied when you pay attention to what you’re eating. Last night we mindfully went out for some of the best Thai food I’ve ever eaten. Swimming tofu. I love that things in Thai are swimming.
I have a department meeting shortly. I’ve redesigned the whole department web site — twice. I had to give two mock-ups of design ideas I came up with. One dark and wintry, one bright and spring-like. I’m betting on winter.
I hope everyone gets to enjoy a slice of fall today. We’ve got the last rays of October sunshine slicing through the amber leaves. It’s enough to almost make this crap not matter.

Hooters

Please hit refresh. I don’t know what it is about my ability to sit and design a style sheet for fourteen hours straight, yet I can’t write a 30 second email to take care of long-overdue business. There’s something wrong with my brain. That said, this is my favorite blog layout I’ve orchestrated thus far.
Just wanted to share a perfect craigslist moment. The Boy has about a dozen owl figurines that he wants to relieve himself of. He accidentally mentioned he liked owls at some point and so everyone in his family gave him owl figurines for every holiday and birthday for the next two decades. He wanted them to go to someone who would appreciate them; they are well-loved. So he posted an ad in craigslist, asking a meager adoption fee to ensure a good home. The subject line of the winning email he received in response:
“I am an artist and I NEED your hooters!”
This morning, driving to work with the rain pattering gently on the sunroof, admiring the flamboyant foliage lining Eastlake, I thought, “This is a perfect fall day.” And then I realized my definition of fall has changed, mentally, without anguish, without effort. Fall is cool days with dripping, lazy rain, gold and red leaves heavy with mist, foggy mornings with the air so thick the Space Needle is invisible behind the clouds. There is no crispness, there is no cold crunch of fallen leaves. There is mist, and saturated sunsets, and a PJ’s-and-slippers-and-tea feeling all around.
Speaking of clouds, I learned of the existence of something so fabulous — habitats dense with trees, rainforests elevated so high their rain is transformed into fog, into clouds, and you are left with a Cloud Forest. I want to live in a Cloud Forest. It sounds so breathy and clean and soft. And David Garza could write songs about it, and create an Art Cloud in a Cloud Forest, and it would be polycloudinous.
What are you going to be for Halloween? Greenwood hosts a big neighborhood trick-or-treating and Samhain party in the streets on the 28th, when I happen to be working at Cat City. I’m trying to come up with something perfectly ironic to dress up as while working. There is the obvious: a dog; or a mouse… but I’m searching for something purely genius. Without being disturbing. Little kids, you know.
It is time for me to clear out of work, and head home to my little sodden houseboat; autumn means 360 degrees of water. In the sky, in the air, below the floor. Floating. I’ve been drinking Madagascar Vanilla Red rooibos tea by the pot. Warms the insides.
Goodnight. And dream of Cloud Forests.

Dare

This just posted to the NaNoWriMo Seattle forum: (!!!!!)
~~~~~~~
Hi All,
I’m the assistant managing editor of www.seattlepi.com. We have an employee who will be blogging about his effort to write a novel next month, and I thought it would be fun to find two or three Seattle writers who wanted to write their nanowrimo novels in broad daylight — on a blog at seattlepi.com.
If you are planning to write G rated novel next month — and want to invite seattlepi.com readers along for the ride — please message blog@seattlepi.com. Please include a paragraph or two detailing what your novel will be about (if you know) and a page or two of some fiction you’ve written in the past. If you’ve been published, please let us know where.
Thanks Much!
Michelle Nicolosi
www.seattlepi.com

Foolhardy

The fun and exciting National Novel Writing Month participant icons for 2006 have been released, and they kind of match my site’s new stylesheet. I’m not sure what I’m going to write about this year. I’m kind of sick of rock stars. And teenagers. Maybe I’ll write a love story from the point-of-view of a truffle-hunting porcine protagonist.
Any suggestions?

Heywood

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New Haven, CT —
Heywood V.B., loving fish, brilliant oracle, lifetime cat companion and inspiration to all, died in his bowl yesterday of natural causes. He was four years old.
Heywood was known among friends as a champion swimmer and dedicated bubble nest builder. Always there when you needed someone to listen, Heywood knew the most important thing in life was to be there when someone needed a fin to cry on.
Heywood lived longer than any other betta splendens in the history of humankind, and had he not bid farewell to earthly delights via the commode, scientists would be arguing over his humble remains. In his lifetime, Heywood maintained no less than five addresses, and even survived the addition of a feline to the household.
In an unlikely state of affairs, Heywood took to reciting poetry to entertain the cat while the humans were at work all day. ChaCha and Heywood fell deeply in love, though could never truly consummate their relationship due to environmental differences.
Heywood leaves a cat, ChaCha; and a human, Victoria. A memorial service will be held this afternoon. In lieu of flowers, please send brine shrimp.

Hynagogic

Underworld coaxed me out of bed this morning, early enough that it may as well have been midnight judging by the darkness of the sky. The moon has been obscenely bright this week. Harvest moons. The dock was wet, though it hasn’t rained. The sailboats were creaking gently. I put on my headphones, the pink and white earbuds with the pirates on them. “Tiny wires in her ears/sliding through the city…
Running along the lake is a treat. It reminds me a little of running along the Charles in Boston, except the Esplanade is pretty much a straight shot for miles and miles. Lake Union is six miles around on foot. I’m trying to work up to running six miles each morning. It’s a little frustrating when you’re running three miles to run a mile and a half in one direction, turn around and come back. It would make much more sense to just do the loop. How many bridges is that? Two drawbridges. If I looped through Ballard, I could hit three. In any case, it was quite dark this morning, and with “Pearl’s Girl” in my ears I trotted the pavement, the other pre-dawn, dedicated urban runners nodding to me while passing, mistaking me for one of them.
I’m going to do the Jingle Bell Run 5K benefitting the Arthritis Foundation in December. My mother has been debilitated by rheumatoid arthritis for over a decade. I’ll be taking donations to sponsor my run — perhaps I’ll put up a PayPal button soon.
And so it’s Wednesday, halfway through a highly-caffeinated week — I’ve returned to my final remaining addiction with open arms after a cumulative nine weeks without coffee. (It makes me think of the Crowded House song “Into Temptation” when he says, “safe in the wide open arms of hell…” A little melodramatic, I know.) It’s also Pay Day, and Go Buy New CDs at Easy Street Day (having missed the traditional Tuesday-new-release-run to Sonic Boom). Coincidentally, it’s also 20 days until NaNoWriMo. I don’t know what’s coincidental about that. You’ll have to think about it. But last night the Tarot advised that in order to rekindle my creative flame, I need a period of rest and relaxation, preferably in solitude. Then I would be ready to accept a creative community, which will lead to an interesting and unexpected collaboration with another person. That’s pretty exciting. Maybe I will finally find an illustrator to do my Adventures of Mud Girl graphic novel with.
Oh and what else — Kitten of the First and Kitten of the Second have once again called a social truce — having two fighting cats in 200 sq. feet of living space is a little trying on the nerves. I slept with the bedroom door open last night for the first time in about 6 months since they don’t seem to need to be separated when I’m home — and Jasper slept quietly in his basket all night and Delia took over my pillow as usual, and there was no caterwauling outside the door by an abandoned kitkat at 3:45 AM to wake me up. I slept more soundly than I have in a while, which is quite exciting for a convicted insomniac.
Oh and I’m taking Paul Choi’s “Meditation for Life” class at the Experimental College this quarter. I took it in the spring, but was slammed with an illness halfway through that made me miss 3/4 of the classes. This class is now seven sessions long, instead of just four. It also features a full-day silent retreat at a Buddhist center in Seattle. I can’t wait to start — the first class is tomorrow. He makes me laugh at myself, which I need desperately. During the first class, he asked me how the meditation session was for me. I told him I feel like I’ve got this headful of bees — they are swarming around my brain and my ears, filling my thoughts, I cannot sit still with them there, I cannot be silent, it’s too loud in my head, too busy. “I need to kill the bees!” I told him in exasperation. He said, “No. The bees are okay. You just have to sit with them. Make friends with the bees. Let them exist.”
My mind, in a nutshell. Sitting with bees.

From Now On My Titles Are As Long As I Want

Well it’s fall, you know, and just a few days ago I was talking to Mon Frere and realizing it was time for me to throw all my furniture and sundry items out onto the sidewalk cause that’s what I do when the seasons change. I thought of this while talking to Mon Frere because he used to come take whatever items he knew I’d miss when I was done with my manic re-branding spree and store them for safe-keeping. What’s funny is that I went from laughing about how different things are now to last night loading the breakfast nook and table into the car because it’s sold and returning to an empty living area. It wasn’t even initially my idea. I just can’t escape a private episode of extreme home make-over every time the leaves change color.
I haven’t been posting because every time I go to post, there’s too much going on in my head — too much to attempt to wrestle down into coherent narrative. My life plans change on a daily basis now and I no longer trust my epiphanies and revelations. Last night at Wishville, sitting on the floor on a purple corduroy pillow, I wrote that I think I may be seriously delusional. I was assuaged only by the belief that delusional people do not wonder whether or not they are delusional. But I’m very good at being the exception to whatever rule is in question.
Wishville itself, my darling Ballard art studio, my slice of loftiness in a warehouse where you can smell the saltwater every night at sunset, my tiny corner of the universe and the home of everything I hold dear, was broken into, trashed and violated by someone with very mean intentions.
It was not the type of Sunday morning phone call I enjoy getting. The building manager leaving a message cause I was in the shower: “Your studio was broken into. I need you to come down and see what’s missing.”
That was only a fraction of the story, which became evident when I arrived at the building to find many tenants pissed off and pacing, a normally silent and empty hallway filled with people, angry people, trying to reconstruct the events of the previous night. The story evolved: a drug addict who was living in his non-resident art studio broke into the manager’s office and stole the master key. He moved on to loot twenty something units in the wee hours of Saturday before taking off for the closest pawn shop.
I cringed to unlock my door, slowly peeling it open inch by inch, and then peering inside. The floor was a sea of shelves, boxes, books, drawer contents, CD cases and vintage records. My eyes immediately went to the wall, imagining the outline of the two guitars that should have been hanging there. A group had gathered outside my door when I arrived. One of them called to me, “How is it?”
“It’s bad,” I said, and shut the door behind me.
I knew I should leave the place in the state I found it, but I simply couldn’t bear it and so went to work up-righting shelving units and replacing the contents of drawers. I felt sick to my stomach. It took the cop six hours to come and when he finally did, he recited the long list of units that had been broken into, including the two on either side of me. “The guy was obviously crazy,” he said. (Or high.) “He even left stuff — 223 had two guitars left there.” “My guitars!” I told him. We were equally excited by this. Though their state was not pretty, he said. My black acoustic Takamine with the purple butterfly that I bought when I was 18 had been smashed. He was unsure about the Ovation. But they were both submitted as Evidence, because of the fingerprints pressed into their robe of dust. He wasn’t accusing me of not playing them, he clarified. Just — they were really dusty. Thankfully. They’re the only thing recovered that might be useful in prosecuting the fucker.
So Wishville’s pillaging put me in a sorrowful mood, and just a week later the Animal Talk rescue shelter was broken into by thieves and ransacked, animals killed and cats drop-kicked for total sport. The combination has left me feeling like this world makes even less sense than it did before. Which wasn’t much.
Furthermore, my office job was unbearably stressful last week, so that I found myself crawling through the front door directly into bed two days in a row in attempt to hide from the world that wasn’t making sense.
It’s telling that two crazy days at my shelter job leave me feeling invigorated and mostly hopeful, while the office job leaves me feeling like I’ve been shoved onto the floor and struck repeatedly with a blunt object.
There are other things going on right now too — we got a biodiesel VW Golf, I’ve decided not to go to massage therapy school this year, and I’ve been doing a ton of web design. My hair is growing back in, I had to migrate all the sites to a new host, I’ve committed myself to running the 2007 Seattle Marathon, and NaNoWriMo is just around the corner.
Like I said, it’s fall. Time for a change.