Sunday, February 29, 2004

a dialect of secondary language

hidden in a sip of red wine, in a salty bite of a briny olive, there lies an impulse poised, unspoken, but emergent, an inclination passed from mouth to mouth. it is in sighs and murmurs nearly inaudible, it is a case of verbs in action, a study in the language of signs. i understand the meaning of teeth pushing in to the tender flesh of the thumb, the sudden intake of heightened breath, the music of unexpected laughter. i speak in letterless sounds, in silent prayers of gratitude, in tongue. my hips swivel in the vernacular native to my own personal dance floor, and the response is relayed in a beatific smile. in the quiet dawn i curl up in the monologue of your hand resting on my outer thigh. there is the signal of fingertips, the heat of gentle pressing, the welcome of the crook of an elbow, the sweet taste of secret places. and while words are never a struggle, we easily submit to the dialect of our secondary language, consent given with a glance, each statement reciprocated in dialogue, until finally i surrender, whispering "baby, baby," as you lay your head on my heart.


Friday, February 27, 2004

gotta do, wanna do: my friday in its glorious segments, complete with pajamas

8:45 a.m.: get up. make coffee. consume coffee while watching live with regis and kelly in my pajamas.

10:00 a.m.: step away from the television!

10:01 a.m.: write 9 page paper analyzing parent-child relationships as significant to chinese culture and 'american' self-definition as portrayed in gish jen's novel mona in the promised land.

11:09 a.m.: remain far, far away from the television. bribe self with whatever necessary so as not to stray from heinous paper i have to write. remind self that the little nerdlette must do a good job in order to gather another 'a' and remain teacher's pet.

1:25 p.m.: take long, hot shower and make sure to properly shave, pluck and moisturize, as it is, after all, date night friday!

2: 11 p.m.: pack overnight bag. (yeah, baby!) make sure to include pajamas.

2:27 p.m.: enhance natural beauty, spray on some good smelling stuff, tousle sassy red curls, select and put on alluring outfit.

2:48 p.m.: mail belated birthday care package to my beloved ashley.

3:00 p.m.: go to work. change in to pajamas. work in pajamas. pretend to love that i am working in pajamas. enjoy that my slippers are open-toed, thus displaying last week's saucy pedicure which has yet to see the light of day thanks to the deluge that has befallen los angeles this week.

9:00 p.m.: close up at work. make sure all the freeloaders in their pajamas are done freeloading by closing time to ensure my swift departure. change out of pajamas before leaving work. leave them in the car, as i won't be needing them later on.

9:30 p.m. rendezvous with wonderful new man in my life. spend the rest of the night and morning hours completely appreciative of the fact that my pajamas are both ironically and deliberately in the car...right where they belong!


Thursday, February 26, 2004

admitting the cheese factor

last night i sat with my hand clasped over my mouth in awe, tears welling up in my eyes, and a gasp caught in my throat as i witnessed something truly exciting and beautiful:

bachelorette meredith chose bachelor ian, and he proposed!!!!!!!

...yes, i am that cheesy to have been absolutely taken with the moment, and, admittedly, the whole show. every wednesday night my housemate l.q.t. and i round up some wine and often some ice cream, and watch this silly, ridiculously contrived excuse for television. and i'm sucked in. completely and unapolagetically. but looking at the happy couple last night--their body language, facial expressions--man, that's good tv!

about five weeks ago when this whole process began i'd pegged ian to be meredith's final guy. but i was fully suckered in to the whole journey, switching my vote to whichever fellow seemed to sparkle the most. but i laid my final bet on the line yesterday before the show began: "okay, l.q.t., " i told my housemate, "this is it. and i'm betting it all on ian. he's the one." the thing is, i'm always wrong about who they pick. i've always felt the bachelors pick the girl less-suited for them, and, surprise, surprise, the couple never makes it more than a few months, if that long at all. i completely missed out on the whole trista-ryan scenario because she drove me crazy. but i was pulling for the beautiful and fascinating meredith back when she was competing for that loveable but ultimately deplorable goof bob. (whatever, bob! i'm so over you!) so to watch miss meredith find her love... ahhhhh. total cheesy satisfaction.

congratulations, meredith and ian! for once i was right, so you two lovebirds had best make it last!

photos courtesy: abc-tv "the bachelorette" photo gallery


Tuesday, February 24, 2004

servin' up the dish

last night i paid a visit to my dear friend judy, whom i haven't had the chance to spend time with in ages. she lured me over on the promise of a home cooked meal, and i sweetened the deal with a bottle of wine. true to her word she served up a delicious dinner, and we dug in and ate... but what was infinitely more digestable was the real dish. you know what i'm talking about, ladies (and some gents, surely). the dish.

we covered all our bases: work, hobbies, boys, friends, adventures, finances, exes, food, drink and fun. there was hugging. there was laughter. there was an impromptu photo session. there was the required viewing of my big fat obnoxious fiancee (her idea). i drew the line at average joe. it was a great time. no matter how many meals you eat, sometimes you just need the dish; it satisfies this girl's appetite. delish!

from our photo session:


Sunday, February 22, 2004

the bearable rightness of being

the other day my boss, kelsey, delivered me a lighthearted smack to my arm, and said, laughing: "baby, didn't i tell you this was going to be your year?"

then, it was sometime after midnight on friday when i turned to my new favorite companion and said, smiling: "i've had a really great week!"

if life is indeed about collecting moments, as someone i know has said, then i have gathered myself a basketful of late. and, yes, it has a bit to do with the wonderful new man in my life, but it also has to do with everything else i take part in, from my home, to school, to work, to...well, you get the idea.

lately i've had this feeling that things are right. not easy, not simple, not pie-in-the-sky delirious, but right. that hard work does equal rewards. that some things are worth the wait. that goals can be accomplished. that there's a lot to be said for timing. and it feels fabulous.

my schooldays are marked with the laughter i share with classmates, the secret thrill of discussing the finer (and often not-so-fine) points of literature and the nagging but delightful realization that i have become a complete nerdlette and quite possibly a teacher's pet. and it's work--i'm being challenged and i am rising to the occasion and truly enjoying each moment.

my workdays keep me on my toes, proving my stuff in an environment i love. no price can be put for the moments i have with my boss, with the ever-changing staff members, with the kooks and, occasionally, cool folks who come in. there's a lot of bad, all outweighed by the good when all is said and done, and i thank my lucky stars for a job as great as mine.

my home is warm and inviting, my housemates ever a source of humor, inspiration, companionship, and insight. it might be a random evening when the three of us are making our dinners and get caught up chatting around the kitchen counter, or it's the standing date i have with l.q.t. to drink wine and watch "the bachelorette" while we giggle and hoot--but no matter what, my house is truly a home, and having been in situations where that wasn't always the case, i know enough to appreciate what i've got.

my friends are there for me in a pinch, or just to catch up on our comings and goings. there's the fun of spending time with new people i'm just getting to know and love, like miss cati fab. there's talking about life's big surprises and exciting developments with friends who've been in my life for ten, twelve years, like bunny, like junebug, like laurie. there's my beloved "twin sister" ashley, who, despite being hundreds of miles north in good old seattle, is part of my everyday life. there is quality in my friendships, a value that ranks far above any kind of quantity you could measure. and though we're all busy with our own struggles, loves, obligations, we make time for each other--and those moments are moments i treasure.

so things are right right now. right in the sense that for the first time in a while--maybe the first time ever--i have this incredible sense of myself and what it means to be a part of the world around me. it's exciting, it's challenging, and it's a feeling that creeps up on me and leaves me tingling. my basket of moments is brimming, and still there's room for plenty more. it's more than last week, hopefully more than just this year that seems to be truly mine; it just feels so awfully good to have things feel so awfully right.


Thursday, February 19, 2004

gone a-wall

at age 27, and less than a month from finishing my college degree, i am still the girl who comes home at the end of a long, hard, but fun, school day and pins all her "A" papers to the wall, or magnets them to the fridge.


Monday, February 16, 2004

columbus and the art of kissing

it was as though the story was writing itself in my mind: under a red lamp, fingers gingerly perched on the stem of a chilled martini glass, he and i leaning in for another kiss.

words and stories and peals of laughter had tumbled from our mouths all evening, like a ceaselessly spilling bag of marbles. i gathered moments like piles of artfully won treasure, each morsel of each other shared like a weighty, sparkling jewel in the palm of my hand. the space between us was a field of vibrant energy.

my surroundings melted away, and i forgot that i was part of an ever-turning world, part of the night's population in a crowded bar just off hollywood boulevard. my knees trembled with violent pleasure, we pressed closely together, and i turned my head away and bit my lip. there was infinite solace in his gleaming eyes, comfort in his fingertips laced with mine. this was no story of invention; it was an experience more incredible than anything my writer's mind could craft, save a single word: synchronicity.

like christopher columbus boldly staking claim to a land already discovered, i realized last night that i had just discovered the art of kissing. the action in both theory and practice became utterly redefined to me as the night progressed, as i wondered how i could dare stop, as i became aware of my desire taking on the sound of power lines humming on a sultry summer day.

it began, unexpectedly, on valentine's day, and where it goes is as yet to be determined. but like columbus i have landed on the shores of my wildest imagination--brazen, invigorated, and ready for adventure.


Thursday, February 12, 2004

on the street where i live

"i left you by the house of fun", sings norah jones, and i smile and turn the volume up on my car radio dial. then i remember you said hearing that song made you want to light a candle, "but don't get any ideas," you added as caution. i should have left you then, when you said that, or when you said any of a countless other heartless things, but we were driving, and the forward motion was about all that was holding me aloft, though i'd already fallen. we were always in motion, and even in rest i could sense your movement away from me, the internal sprint to some constructed notion of safety.

i think about the winter night it rained for hours on end, the drops falling heavy in a shroud of steam, and i ran down the block to the warm safety of your room, to the salty sweat of your body, to the familiar mounting tension of your mouth on mine. the humidity was palpable, the heat as delectable inside as out. no candles, no care packages, no long distance flights between you and i, just one short stretch of damp, slick concrete glistening under the night sky. in your house of fun i looked at a trick mirror that let me see past reality, past a framed photo on the bedstand, past a secret stash of notes, past my own trinkets and sundries hidden in some box under your bed. you had me with a trick of the light, a slight of hand, with the ease of convenience, and i ran to you as quickly as you ran away.

i should have left you for good that rainy night, but we'd left each other long ago so that it was no longer a matter of leaving. i walked home slowly, not minding that the rain was gently washing over me, washing a little of your scent from me, but leaving me with your taste, which lingered like the best morsels of the last supper. i was clean, but far from pure, and full, but far from satisfied; the closest i ever came to leaving was in walking out alone.


Tuesday, February 10, 2004

dear punkin: wish you were here! xoxo your brain

thanks to the horoscope for today that popped up in my inbox this evening i now know why i am tearing my hair out trying to read a stack of books, write tedious and nerve-wracking midterm essay exams, craft paper proposals and go to work and have to face an endless stream of nasty, rude and occasionally psychotic people who expect me to do their bidding and not thank me. oh, dear horoscope, this is no dream, it's a nightmare, and i'm completely trapped in it; at least i am for the next five weeks or so.

Today, Punkin, you may feel as if you've just woken from a dream. Though, on second thought, maybe you haven't completely woken up at all. That would explain why you are having such trouble grasping the reality around you. You sit at your desk and look at your work, but can't seem to concentrate on it. Could this be a sign that you need a vacation? We think so! You have been working too hard lately. Even if you are unwilling to take a vacation, your brain already has! You might as well join it.

...oh, i see! my brain has gone on vacation without me! that totally explains it.

do you think my professors and boss will accept my astrological excuse for abandoning all my obligations in favor of locking myself in my room with a container of chocolate frosting, the latest issue of in style mag, the remote control, my slippers and a do not disturb sign?


Monday, February 09, 2004

saturday morning and the smell of glamour

the first half of my saturday was like a vacation mini-break slyly inserted into the middle of my truncated and non-traditional work-week. though i'd stayed up in to the wee hours friday night (not partying, mind you, but being driven by the compulsion to see the latest episode of what not to wear through to the end, though i can guarantee the makoveree will reluctantly admit they love the new them), i pulled my sorry self out of bed on the early side and set to making my way up the 101 freeway, northward to ventura and the fine company of the fine miss cati fabulous.

cati was the unofficial embassador to ventura, the vibrant yet snug seaside town i tended to frequent more in my past when the boy i loved lived near there. we settled down on the patio of a local cafe and ordered up twin sets of breakfast. over french toast, scrambled eggs, sinful bacon and the requisite cups of coffee we dished on the blogger's favorite topic: blogging and bloggers. after the indulgence of gossip and grub we meandered down ventura's charming main street, perusing the many used book stores and also the thrift shops with the monikers of their affiliated charities; hence, "the retarded children's thrift shop" etc. in one particularly overwhelming bookshop, cati and i giggled over the young adult novels we'd read and those we'd sadly missed out on (eg. why did you leave me? and too young to die). if i could pick just one reason to love cati fab, it would be because she can give a verbatim text description of sweet valley high's jessica and elizabeth wakefield, down to their cornflower blue eyes and matching necklaces.

next we teetered on the verge of sacriledge inside the church at the mission, as i tried to take photos of the rows of candles flickering in the eerie dark and silence by the altar, and as we paused by the exit to poo-poo their, ahem, "literature" on controversial topics. we then proceeded to order blended mocha drinks and sniff every scented candle inside a gorgeous coffee and gift shop. all the while we chatted (daring to abandon the blog talk, even!) and i made time to do a weird hip-wiggle dance that i think was expressing my happiness non-verbally. we tried to get a peek inside the converted church-to-bed and breakfast that is rumored to be haunted, but no such luck. last we strolled down the pier and took in the sights and smells of the ocean. it was here we came upon the discovery of what can only be called "the smell of glamour". succinctly: it's a heady mixture of rotting fish and dog slobber. we've mulled the possibility of bottling and marketing it, but how can you capture something that's so of the essence, of the moment? it's one to think about, surely.

so, while the rest of my weekend proved to be a trial of temprement--mine, naturally--this beautiful saturday morning kept things in balance. cati (who recapped the outing on her own corner of the web) is someone that i'm delighted to have as a friend. she herself is of the essence, of the moment, and she's just good people. and i like good people.

photos: wall of books; view from the pier; looking down from the pier (aka "don't drop the camera!"); garden at the mission. **cati made me promise not to post the photo of her with the vinyl of debbie gibson's electric youth album. please take my word that i totally loved that she let me make an ass of us in the thirft shop as i ordered her to 'feel the spirit of debbie gibson. you are a youth, you are electric'.)**


Thursday, February 05, 2004

better late than a slideshow

my writing reflex is about tapped out thanks to a midterm of colossal proportions in my ethnic literature in america course yesterday. i could relate to you, to your delight, surely, ad nauseum, on relevant topics in contemporary african-american and native american literature, but instead i will treat you to a contemporary non-sliding slide show comprised of selected photos from my recent trip to new york.

lights, please...

ahem. i'm ready to begin.

my first day, or, hours, rather, in town, i went in to the neighborhood of turtle bay to check out the beautiful brownstones. you'll notice this one is for sale, and i understand the price is in the ballpark of five million dollars. what? five million? yes. well, the previous tenant owned the house from 1930 to 2003. bought it for about 30 grand. the previous tenant was, naturally, miss katharine hepburn. next slide, please.

not only did ashley and i meet several famous nyc bloggers, but on our way home after the soiree we attended, we ran into another famous new yorker, matthew broderick. cute as a button, and an incredibly nice guy. next, please!

(laughing) well, ok, i have a bit of a thing for architecture shots. who can resist the beautiful form of the empire state building? we didn't go up it (can you imagine the cold and wind up there, considering the cold and wind at street level?), but we sure ogled it. let's see, what's next...

oh, yes. look at the river. no, really, that's the river! we took a walk down one or another of the many tiny streets in the village and slid down the icy sidewalks right to the edge of the hudson river. wave hulllooo to new jersey over there!

well, we didn't go skating, but we posed in front of the skating rink at rockefeller center. this is the only picture of ashley and i together from the whole trip, because i didn't want to hand my camera over to just anyone to snap our photo. we eyed the tourists at the rink for quite a while until we found someone we felt we could trust. whew! it worked out ok. on to the next photo!

for all you californians, that's snow. s-n-o-w. real, live snow! it snowed and rained a great deal of the sunday we were there, and for some ridiculous reason that was the day i wore my glasses outside. "i just can't see!" i kept telling ashley. we wanted to see if we could score a dropped admission clip-tag to the met museum, but i could barely see my own two hands in front of me. our handy metrocards allowed us to board the bus, and while we whoosed down fifth ave, warm and dry, i got this shot of the snow through the bus window.

what is a girl to do in new york other than pose like felicity, all pensive and edge-of-adventure style.

lights on! well, that was brief, thankfully. not all the photos, but just a taste. and i didn't take nearly as many as i'd like to have.

...that's why i'll be back in the big apple in april, with my housemate l.q.t. get ready, new york!


Tuesday, February 03, 2004

the last time

it was warm when i woke up; maybe it was the sun itself filtering through the apartment-issue mini blinds that stirred me from my sleep. we'd managed to pass the night without the expected shared-bed controversy. i kept my word and to my side of the mattress, and he kept, typically, to himself.

this time he remembered that i like to start the day with a cup of coffee, and so he served me a watery cup of folgers instant shortly after rising. by character he was thoughtful, though, so i took the act as no sign of romantic interest.

"i thought we could go to the park today and look at the gardens," he told me, and i eagerly agreed. he'd left not a minute of our saturday to chance; not the coffee, the theatre tickets, the evening bar-b-que, nor the cavern of early afternoon time that necessitated the employment of activity would leave room for error, misstep, or, worse, misunderstanding.

i was the chatterbox in contrast to his routine of silence. every leaf, stem, petal or shrub was subject to my commentary. it was a gorgeous late-august day in golden gate park--how could i keep from gushing? my lungs were readily drinking in the clean air, my eyes the breathtaking views of the city by the bay. and i was bound and determined for him to see that i'd moved past the hurt of his dissolution of our intimate ties in the haze of early summer. i was hell-bent on my happiness, high on a katharine hepburn joie de vive, optimistic and keen on maintaining out friendship. when it was his concern that i would take advantage of the mutual sleeping space scenario, it was my mission to remain staunchly platonic. i promised myself i would under no circumstance initiate a darn thing.

his silence was maddening, and as the hours of the day marched on, and our feet marched us through the streets of san francisco, it became of game of tolerance on my part. as we rode knee to knee on the bart train to berkeley i realized i no longer felt a shiver of delight buzz through me as we touched. he was tiresome. and so i endured.

the evening was pleasant; i was chatty, animated, conversational, freed from the dumb-struck bonds of infatuation. i could hear my own laughter, sparkling, during the dinner we ate on plates perched on our laps in the backyard, and then during a raucous improv show where we saw friends perform brilliantly. but our last stop on the jam-packed itinerary was to some kind of hipster cowboy bar, where we were to make an appearance at some one's birthday gathering. inside the faux-ranch saloon i was finding myself physically shut out of conversations by people stepping in front of me. i couldn't breathe, i couldn't play the social game. i slid out of the fray and sought refuge outside on a slatted bench. he found me there, a cigarette and a half later, angry at my having left without informing him. he mocked me, he made a show of giving me a hard time in front of some friends of his. but i refused to accept it, so i spat out some retorts. finally he asked: "do you want to go?" and i asked back: "why?" he replied: "because i hate this place and i want to leave."

and i exhaled.

it was cold, dark, and rather late at night. my feet ached from our journeys, my mind tired of banter. we collapsed on the bed and rehashed the day. "i had a nice time," i told him, and asked if he had, too. "yes," he replied, "but not the part at the bar." i was too tired to argue, so instead i curled up and closed my eyes. he followed suit, his face just an inch or so from mine, and we lay there, sideways, wrong-ways, on the bed.

it must have been he who started the kiss, but my response was so remarkably instantaneous that it might well be argued that we started at the same time. and so we kissed.

my eyes were heavy, though, and i couldn't keep from yawning. i knew sleep was impending, so i insisted we shift to lie right-ways on the bed. i glanced at the clock. it was past one a.m. and so i slept. we slept.

i heard my name being called out in the dark. it was coupled with his exclamation of "what does it take to get some attention from you?" as well as an errant hand lingering on my body. i peeked at the clock. it was now well past three in the morning. i cited the time, the fact that i was, or had been, sleeping. but he persisted. it seems he felt i owed him something, that i was selfishly withholding sex from him. and i thought of an old conversation of ours, where he had said in no uncertain terms that he believed firmly that we should never be intimate again. that he felt that i took our sexual relationship to have more meaning than he was ever willing to invest in it. yet, here i was, awoken in the middle of the night, charged with one count of lack of willingness for reciprocity, one count of being rude for not giving him pleasure.

i didn't know what to do but laugh, and loudly at that. i laughed so much so that i feared i couldn't stop, even as i sputtered "i'm sorry!" and excused myself to the restroom so that i might splash water on my face and regain my composure.

when i returned he'd burrowed himself in the blankets, like a child, his face to the wall, leaving me nothing to address my words to but an expanse of back swathed in a t-shirt. i asked if he would turn over, which he begrudgingly did, so that i might talk to his face. i reminded him of the time on the digital clock display, of my exhaustion, of the very words he'd said to me on this very topic. he pouted still, and i offered an apology for not expressing gratitude for the attention he'd given me; our kissing had, after all, led to just a tiny bit more activity that was, i gather, geared more towards my satisfaction. and i told him, finally, that quite frankly, i was so confused by the events of the late-late night that i'd hoped to take what remained of the time to see how i felt, and if i was even comfortable with it.

and so we slept, wrapped in each others' arms, and when the morning sun woke us up we lingered in bed, and we both broke our promises to ourselves, and maybe each other, and it was geared towards mutual satisfaction.

it was the last time i saw san francisco. it was the last time i saw him.


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