Saturday, December 31, 2005

Counting down the hours of our lives

It's almost 8 p.m. on New Year's Eve. We're at home, but when I look at Dave, I know that nobody's home. He's sitting on the floor, reclining at the foot of the couch, fast asleep next to an almost empty glass of Pepperwood Grove Syrah. He rolls over, eyes me as I study his eyes and apologizes for some reason. It's beautiful to know that 2006 will hold one of the happiest and most memorable days of my life, and I'll share that day with the man curled up on the carpet in the fetal position next to a bottle of vino.

Quaint, isn't it? I mean, most people my age would be getting dolled up and going out on the town to get wasted and pretend like they know the words to Auld Lang Syne then run about the dancefloor to find some random person to kiss before the seconds run out.

And then I'm reminded of an earlier moment; limping on my way out of the market, we run into one of Dave's old roommates and his wife (who was wearing the pelt of another animal, might I add) and their carrot-topped son, who was cute as a button, and knew it, too. They, of course, are staying home tonight.

So, as I see it, it's okay not to go out tonight to some crowded place and risk my life on the trip home after midnight with other partygoers. It's perfectly okay for us to stay in, as he still naps on the carpet with a fleece throw wadded up as a pillow under his sweet, sleeping face. Maybe next year we'll host a party in our own home.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, I'm reminded of something completely different, but nonetheless applicable. The Ice of Boston by The Dismemberment Plan:

Pop open a third bottle of bubbly
Yeah, and I take that bottle of champagne
Go into the kitchen, stand in front of the kitchen window
And I take all my clothes off, take that bottle of champagne
And I pour it on my head, feel it cascade through my hair
And across my chest, and the phone rings.
And it's my mother.
And she says, "HI HONEY, HOW'S BOSTON?"
And I stand there, all alone on New Year's Eve
Buck naked, drenched in champagne, looking at a bunch of strangers
Uh, looking at them, looking at me, looking at them, and I say:
"Oh, I'm fine Mom, how's Washington?"

Thursday, December 29, 2005

An occasion to sip from good crystal

I wonder how long she waited behind the glass door that leads into their quaint one-story home. Was she watching us, peering from between the blinds of the front window as we unpacked gifts and goodies from Dave's Jeep, dubbed Gertrude, or "Gertie" for short? She was standing in the doorway, like a sentry of good tidings, and with a broad smile and a warm hug she hastened us to drop the gifts at the tree and our bottoms in a seat at the dinner table. Who were we not to oblige?

For a gathering of six, his parents had put together a bounty, probably more than enough to feed my family, all eight of us. Between potatoes, pork and pie (and of course, the obligatory poultry), we coasted through coffee and a few gifts before Grandma turned into a pumpkin and had to be shipped off to the "retirement community."

But the best was yet to come. Dave tore at the wrapping of a narrow, thin, weighty box and as he opened the cardboard, it was as if a golden light shone out of the package, a light so beautiful that immediately, he began to weep. In all, it was the best gift reaction, ever. I'm sure that it can't be topped.

The next day, albeit three hours late, we headed out to Houston from Dallas to spend Christmas and its eve at my parents' house. Everyone, from in-laws, outlaws, fiancees to friends, was there. And where there is a family gathering at the clan's outpost, there is booze; not just a little, but a lot. Beer, wine and everything fine; from Jack to Jim and a little tickle from Dickel, we were all in the Holiday spirit shortly after Big Country arrived with a tipper of Crown.

After three bottles of HRM Rex Goliath California Pinot Noir and diligent prodding from Big Country, Dave stood and proposed a toast. Somewhere between his misstepped thanks, which was broken up by flits of laughter here and there between sisters, it came out of his mouth like Jello after a shot of Novicaine; he asked my father for permission to marry me.

Dad was stunned, and he smiled and I think he said yes, or something. God knows that if Dave had planned it, it didn't go according to plan (but in situations like this, what does?). A couple of minutes later I was in Dave's arms, happier than I can remember being. So, it's official, I'm off the market. Not only that, but the whole thing was done Southern, blue-collar proper.

And soon thereafter, a stray hand from a slightly intoxicated, newly engaged man brushed against a crystal and gold goblet. In pieces, on the tarrazzo floor; I remembered a time when I begged to use one of those goblets, but my parents were afraid that they'd be broken, that a clumsy child with unruly arms would knock them from the table. We retired from the burgundy in all our good news.

Friday, December 16, 2005

There's no title because I haven't thought of one yet.

Maybe I should try to understand a little bit more about Dave before I read his poems on his blog and become wrought with petty jealousy. I know that he's had a ... ahem ... colorful past, not to mention the fact that he has a few more years of life experience under his belt.

I read about his ex-girlfriend folding freshly dried clothes whilst he reclines in front of a Cubbies game, or her beckoning him back to bed and the mention that his body (which, might I add, is something I constantly admire for all of its anomalies and undulations) was bare as he stood in front of the window, and I get jealous. Not really jealous, but it's more like knowing vaguely that there are girls in his past versus seeing the evidence from a first-hand account that there are girls in his past. The view makes all the difference.

His friends tell me that as they see him now, he's never been happier in his life, which to me is interesting, considering all of my shortcomings. But knowing that his heart is full and he's thriving makes me feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

When I read in his work about how depressed and self-destructive he once was, I pity him. But I know in my heart that this will work, that we'll be happy. I know more than anything else that our life is really what I need. I know that I'll thrive with him, just as he thrives with me.

So, we're both happier than we've ever been in our lives. That's to say, I'm happier living and believing than living and thusly trying to perfect my life experience through a constant psychoanalysis of what I'm doing right and what I'm doing not-so-right.

Yes, I have a glass of burgundy nightly. Yes, I relish my carbs. Yes, I love to do my yoga to music. Yes, yes, yes ... I'm happy.


Yesterday as I exited the southbound Cedars-terminating train, I walked toward the center of the platform to await the train's departure in order to cross the tracks. As I strolled toward the awning, I noticed a briefcase and an arm protruding from the train car's double doors.

After walking a few steps closer, the sight of the elderly black man stuck in the double doors hit me like a tidal wave. I dropped my coffee and my knitting bag and rushed over to him. He seemed quite hysterical, just flailing, unable to release himself from the mechanized grip of the doors. A young man came to our aide an as I tugged on the man's torso, he grappled with the door in an effort to free the man from what was probably the most frightful experience he's had in ages.

The doors released the aged gentleman's body and he gulped air to fill his panicked lungs. Gravity grabbed hold of the poor old man and after a single step he collapsed, scattering his cane, briefcase and other personal items. Trying to lift the codger from the ground, the young man pulled in vain on his arm. I gently put my arms under the man's shoulders and with all of my might, we lifted the man to his feet from his painful posture on the ground.

He showered me with thanks as I helped him gather his things. It was no problem to help a person who was in desperate need of it.

What really came as a shock was the number of men that just stood idly as this old gentleman needed assistance. The fact that the train's own driver didn't exit the front of the train to help or make an effort to open the doors manually made my blood boil once the episode was over.

What would it take for some people to shun such apathy? What would it take for some people to realize that it is their duty as decent human beings to help others when they obviously need it?

Maybe they weren't all that decent after all ...

Monday, December 12, 2005

Shoulders hunched, eyes intent

He leans in, gazing deeply into screen as if it's a crystal ball that recites his future. I want to tell him so badly that the folded, creased and yellowed pages in his lap are good, too. He thinks that all of his best work was lost when his computer crashed. I want to tell him that his best work is yet to come, but that might be insulting, somewhat.

And now I read his work, and I'm constantly looking for myself in it, even though I know that the act is incredibly arrogant. I can't help it. I love it too much. I just want to be a part of it.

And then it hit me, like a knock to the jaw from Fernando Vargas; I went to the mat with inspiration. So, ladies and gentlemen, my virgin voyage into the waters of poetry:


I want to be your muse
and you be my lover
I want to be the reason
you dash to your desk
to record your next masterpiece.

I want to inspire you
and when we make love
I want you to think of the magnificence
of the Great Wall
or heaven
or the complexity of both.

I want you to see my body
and desire it
and want nothing but to get drunk
on the touch of my bare skin.


There you have it, folks. I hope you weren't expecting a murder of words in iambic pentameter. Something about red roses and violets being blue? I scrawled in in my steno last night while I was knitting and he was working with his own words in front of the neon screen. All I could see was his back as he pecked at the keys with one or two fingers. His chestnut hair set on his shoulders in waves as the curvature of his body shone as the jersey of his t-shirt draped down from his shoulders.

I wonder if he made any changes as he was transposing the text from the yellowed pages in his lap to the illuminated screen... I wonder if there are things that he modified in order to fill a time gap, to make them seem more applicable today, or yesterday, for that matter.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Baby, it's cold outside ...

Well, it is for Texans at least. Right now it's 17 F, which for all of you Metric readers, is 15 F below freezing and -8 C. So yeah, it's cold. In fact, this is the coldest day of the year so far. We got a few flurries of snow last night, it didn't stick but it sure ushered in some wonderful ice. I walked out my front door this morning on to the stoop and finally ... FINALLY ... it felt like winter. It won't get above freezing for the rest of the week, which is interesting because we couldn't stay below 70 F (21 C) last week. That's weather in Texas.

My mother called this morning, just minutes before I woke up, to inquire about the "snow." She said that she heard we got a couple of inches. Well, while I was walking to the train station this morning, I was wishing that we had gotten a couple of inches, because maybe that would have made the blistering cold wind, which made half of my face numb, worth it to some degree. A glistening, white landscape would have taken my mind off of the pains of winter, which include long-handled underwear, layering socks, ugly stocking caps and not being able to get your contacts in because you turned the heat off before you went too bed and now the saline solution they're stored in is so cold that it burns your eyes when you attempt to place a contact lens on your cornea.


I was knitting on the train this morning and a woman asked me what I was making. (I cannot divulge what exactly I was making, but it's really, really pretty.) After learning how to pattern stitch last night, I'm just really excited about knitting! How nuts is that? I mean, it's fun and yeah, it's difficult, but how often does a hobby produce something that's not only fashionable but very pretty and totally useful? So, knitting is teh w1n!

The only downside to knitting is that you want so badly to stock up on all kinds of yarn, and yarn can be very, VERY expensive.

Like, I spent over $65 last night on YARN! YARN FOR GOODNESS SAKES!

Anywho. Maybe soon I'll learn how to make socks! I gotta buy some circular needles first. I'm thinking about asking for one of those Denise sets for Christmas or my birthday. That'd be cool.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The paradigm

I don't want you to worry when I exhale audibly. I'm just tired and anxious, impatient and obsessive. I want to finish what I'm doing, baking chicken and potatoes with a sweetpea sauce, and sit next to you. A simple thing, just for the two of us to enjoy, sitting so close to one another.

I always know that you'll rest your foot on the rung of my chair, recline against the wall and furtively glance at the game on tv while you laud my cooking. I find so much comfort in knowing what to expect from you. Your intentional surprises, the simple, elegant daisies and sunflowers, they make me see that I love the unpredictable in you as well. And I love the comfort in knowing that there are two sides of you -- baseball fanatic and poet; jazz and Jimmy Buffet.

You say that you're an aging hipster; I see you as a life that's just begun living. You don't know that when I read your words I fall for you more and more intensely. You don't know that every kiss I can steal from you is treasured.

I can't wait for the day that Orange will speak for me as I dangle a treat above his plump, fuzzy figure. I can't wait for the day that he and Dawsey have warm beds in our home. I can't wait for the day that your book collection rests permanently in a study -- a room clad with framed pictures of Nolan Ryan, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Willie Mays and shadowboxes filled with your multiplying pinback collection.

In the corner, The Divine Miss Dawsey and Mister Orange will rest on padded fleece, you will recline behind your desk on a cold winter's morn, thinking through the plot of your second novel while musing on a short story you might include in your third collection.

My only question to you: When you put me in your poems and they bring tears to my eyes, does that make them any better or worse to you?

Friday, December 02, 2005

What Geno does to Liz, nobody can ...

"Geno nevah gave a fuckabout me!" Liz whined as her thumb wiped the side of her reddened, wind-chapped nose. "Ain't nothin', NOTHIN' you kin do when dat man's got his mind made! NOTHIN'!"

She looked physically tired; quaking in her thigh-high boots that almost met the edge of her micro-miniskirt. The tears trickled slowly from the corner of her heavily made-up eyes. Her mascara-mixed tears migrated down her cheeks making her resemble a sad, slutty pantomime.

What made matters worse was the oversized, acid-wash jacket, which had shoulder pads bigger than anything seen in Napoleon's closet. It dwarfed her small frame and made the crying, hairspray-laden blonde look even more ridiculous.

"I jus can't do it. Not anymoe, Jen. Doyah hea me? No mowah, evah!"

Liz had never been much for words. Besides not beating around the bush, the outspoken youngest child of a large, Jersey Catholic family could string together profanity so well that you might call her expletive binges closer to soliloquy than depravity.

That's what attracted Geno to her. As he often admiringly said, "Dat gurl don't take no shit from nobody."

Simply put, he was right -- well, almost right. Liz wouldn't take shit from anyone, with the exception of Geno. He did something to her, albeit involuntarily. That fighting-bred Pit bull on a one-quarter scale melted into a lap-loving Maltese around Geno. She was defenseless.

And now for something completely different

Courtesy of The Boston Phoenix, this is the reason I'm a Sarah Silverman fan. This is the reason why I'll see Jesus Is Magic:

When I talk to her about limits and the thin line between funny and offensive, she agrees that it’s always funny for members of an ethnic group to see themselves parodied by one of their own. Jackie Mason, I say, could make me laugh with the simplest observation about Jewish behavior. But, I point out, when he takes on Puerto Ricans, his act goes flat. Silverman interjects, "And yet Don Rickles gets away with that and it’s hilarious."

"I think Andrew Dice Clay was just plain offensive and I didn’t find him funny," I offer.

"Ah, but you just said, ‘I found Andrew Dice Clay offensive and I didn’t find him funny.’ But you found him offensive because you didn’t find him funny. I think the thing is, if it’s funny enough, if it’s more funny than it is offensive or upsetting, that’s the gauge. But of course it’s subjective. So that’s why when people don’t like me or get offended by something, I never try to defend. I just say, ‘I’m so sorry!’, because it’s subjective — everyone’s watching it from the context of their own life experience, there’s just no way to say who it’s going to offend. If someone doesn’t find something funny — and comedy being subjective there always will be someone who doesn’t find you funny — then it is offensive. And that’s why if you don’t find Andrew Dice Clay funny, it’s offensive."

The infamous Conan Chink incident was originally from a bit about trying to get out of jury duty. "I wrote, ‘As long as you write something racist, like "I hate Chinks." I don’t want to be racist, I just want to get out of jury duty. So I filled out the form and wrote, "I love Chinks." ’ Well, before I went on, they were like, ‘Don’t say "Chink." You can say "Spic" or "Jew." ’And I thought, okay maybe I can say ‘dirty Jew’ or something. But you know what? I can’t say ‘Jew,’ because it’s not offensive enough. Because I’m Jewish. So it has to be the most offensive thing I can say on television — for the joke to work. And if you’re saying that I can say ‘Spic,’ then I’m going to say ‘Chink,’ because how could you possibly say one is okay and one isn’t? You can’t possibly justify that. I’m going to say ‘Chink’ because it has the funny ‘ch’ and the hard ‘k’ and that’s why I’m going to say ‘Chink.’ But I’m not going to not say ‘Chink’ and you tell me I can say ‘Spic’ — that’s absurd. And it comes down to who writes letters — it has no moral basis."