Thursday, September 30, 2004


with wishes as fishes, and fishing as such, it's underwater i go. i'm swimming in imaginations of flight, watching the heavy silver-bellied birds stretch their necks in the sky, headed towards anywhere but here. i put all my hopes in the kind of escapist fare i've come to know, on a springtime flight bound for the other coast. meanwhile, i wish for a windfall, an unexpected pot of green that could help me buy textbooks, a parking permit, car registration, dental work, new pants or some groceries. i wish that paperwork and long lines and red tape didn't force me to swim in tiring circles, telling me to wait, to wait, to wait for the chance to come up for air.

and all my petty wishes sound like whine and taste much worse. they're middle-class fantasies born from my status as the new working poor, or more eloquently put, as someone putting herself through graduate school. if i am, indeed, that starving student, i hunger for more than a good hot lunch. i crave the seemingly unattainable: someone to come home to who'll spend the night and hold me up when i'm tired of treading water, someone to break the deserted island sensation of spending hours alone at work, at home, at school, or in the car on the way from one to the other. i entertain fantasies of walking straight through to the aisles of the music store, able to confidently pluck a disc from the rack and take it to the checkout, without having to first stop at the trade-in table to surrender any number of discs in exchange for the glorious store credit. i'm lured by the familiar scent of comfortable consumerism, i'm utterly reeled in.

so i'm underwater, swimming in isolatory circles, eyes wet and limbs aching. i have the same conversations, and the words drop like slugs and stick to the sides of my tank, sucking away my energy, some making me sad, some making me swim faster and faster still. is it so very selfish, when you're underwater and water is free, that sometimes you'd much rather just buy yourself a coke?


Wednesday, September 29, 2004

the $156.75 pricetag on victory in a well-chosen battle

last night, at the urging of a former professor of mine, i decided to show up to the introductory graduate course that i'd been shut out of at registration time due to it having been filled to its capacity of 18 very early on in the registration period. rumors were flying around the department that if enough of us showed up, the chair of the department would open a new section for us. and, really, don't get me started about how the school happily takes our graduate-level fees and then forces us to take undergraduate-level courses in order to maintain enrollment and waste our time until we can take the one class that is the foundation course and pre-requisite for all other graduate classes, all the while not offering the course again until the spring quarter. just don't get me started.

but i sat there, and saw six other shut-outs biting their nails, cursing the system and adding their name to the list of those who wanted to add. and i felt a little secure, knowing that over the summer i'd contacted the professor, and she'd promised me that i'd be 'first on the list' should it be possible to add. but when the chair and the professor went out in to the hall to flip a coin and make it a lottery... i came in second to last. well, i nearly had a fit. "this just isn't right!" i exclaimed, angry. "would you like to talk about it in the hallway?" offered the department chair. "oh, you bet i would!" i replied. and, well, he asked, so i got started.

he walked me and another woman i've had classes with for a couple of years back to his office so he could hear our stories and try to place us adequately elsewhere. he tried to sell me on some poetry course, on classes that i'd already taken, on classes that were held while i was not free to be on campus. he tried. he mapped out my masters' program. he looked at what was being offered next fall. he settled the other woman's dilemma, and was still left with me. i think i was wearing him out. we made a little bargain for next quarter, and just as i was about to shuffle on off to the undergraduate creative writing class where i belonged by schedule for the night, he said: "go back to the grad class and see if there's a spot for you. i bet someone hasn't shown up, and i bet that the prof feels badly for making you that promise, and i bet she'll let you in. go. try."

and so i went. and so, i got in.

like i told my new classmate in the hall, who was delighted at my victory: "sometimes it pays to be brassy."

it also costs to be brassy. as in now, without financial aid yet (another battle i had to wage yesterday, and have been stalled now til maybe the end of october or in to november, egads!) i have to find $156.75 plus tax (and/or shipping) to purchase the five--count 'em, five--textbooks i need for this class. i don't think it pays to be brassy at the campus bookstore.


Tuesday, September 28, 2004

the plot thickens

in a dizzying and unexpected move of switch-'em-up, my side order of plain possibility has become a dish of close-to-home fries, and my cup of coffee is it's-a-small-world-sized. in this city of nearly nine million people, how is it that the boy i shared my sunday night with is the childhood and ensuing-life-long best friend of my beloved housemate l.q.t.'s beau? is it too early to attribute greater (or any, for that matter) meaning to this strange coincidence? does everything always have to mean something? why are my thoughts starting to sound eerily like the voice-over narration at the end of an episode of soap?

the realization dawned on me and l.q.t. at the same time--we clasped hands and broke into girlish squeals of excitement. visions of double-dates danced in our heads. we smacked our foreheads out of sheer stupid shock. we fumbled for our respective cellphones in order to pass the discovery on to the respective boys in our lives. and we marveled at just how small the world can be after all.

but i keep going back to the question of meaning. i keep going back to the age old argument about forces like fate or the futility to applying or searching out meaning in what might just be something altogether random. and i keep going back to my history of seeing too much too soon in a relationship, and my willingness to craft any small act or bit of information into something of great meaning and significance; yes, if you take my birth month and day and divide them each in half you get the exact birthdate of one of my ex-boyfriends, and yes, i swore up and down that obviously that meant we were destined to be together forever. clutching at straws, perhaps?

it's far too soon to tell if this is just meant to be a great reminder of how closely we're tied together on this big blue marble of a planet, or if this is the wonderful "how-we-met" story we'll be telling for years to come. too much meaning too soon can spell disaster, and my perilous past has taught me to err on the side of caution when it comes to matters of the heart. if anything, i think the recent outbreak of "it's a small world"-ness in my dating life is at the very least the universe giving me a nudge, an elbow, a gentle hint that maybe the guy for me is nearer than i think he is, and that, if i just keep my eyes, my mind, and my heart open...we just might find each other after all in this small world.


Monday, September 27, 2004

breakfast for the morning after

on the menu this morning are all my eggs in one basket--scrambled. i can't get past the taste of a piece of sharply flavored peppermint gum passed back and forth on skillful lips, between bursts of genuine laughter. in the daylight now i can hold up my earlier expectations against the much more satisfying actuality of a night of late night conversation and enjoyment. i remember a face with pleasing angles and features, i remember capable hands managing to make a floating map of africa, limbs aloft in the shadowy room as we lay stretched out and sleepy. today i am still sleepy, but alert enough to realize that the potentiality is frightening; that the balance of favorite colors, radio presets, book addictions, disliked topics of conversation, and levels of irreverance strikes a chord of "this-could-be-just-right." but i've felt this fire before on less fuel, with less awareness of the other person's limitations. i have the calm of knowing that the encounter could very well pan out as episodic, as a singluar but wonderful experience. somehow the usual ensuing nervous tension of my own invention seems less plausible, seems more elastic and less applicable. somehow, though i know i cannot indulge in theories set in future tense, i believe again that chemistry exists. this morning, at my usual table-for-one, my breakfast came with a healthy side-seving of possibility. and it tastes delicious.


Thursday, September 23, 2004

triple play

today is about the arrival of autumn and my falling into a familiar routine; today is the first day of classes and my first day as a masters' student. my pencils are sharpened, my folder full of loose-leaf and i'm ready to begin.

today is about my getting a shot at another fifteen minutes of fame; today i am being interviewed and photographed for a major national magazine for my association with a phenomenal organization that allows me to help some extraordinary kids create art.

today is about triumph, strength, good health and good wishes; today my mother has her second surgery to rid her body of the last vestiges of the cancer that she's been fighting so bravely and so well.

today is a very important day. today i need all the good vibes, good cheer, love, support, positivity and encouragement; not for me and my first day of school, nor for me and my media frenzy. but for my amazing, strong, brave and beautiful mother. in my little world she's just about the biggest thing. it's her part of my silly triple play that matters the most to me. the rest, well, it's just gravy and frosting and ribbons and bows and the cherry on top of it all.

today is a big day in my little world.


Tuesday, September 21, 2004

sweating the slow fade of the sub-par shag

at first, i gave him three days. i felt foolish indulging myself in a sort of superfluous game of wills, behaving as one might expect a follower of "the rules" to behave in a situation such as this. day one was an amusing volley between amusement and anticipation: would he contact me? and, (cue sound of laughter) i don't want him to contact me! day two was much easier: oh, right, it's day two of the will-he-won't-he show. la la la... nope, not today. day three arrived: oh. he's contacting me. up pops the instant messenger window. (cue 'waahhhh-waaaaa' sound signalling the game is over.) but who lost? and why was i playing? and, why, above all else, was i sweating the slow-fade of the sub-par shag?

one of the internet's wittiest women recently pointed me in the direction of an article by amy sohn in regards to the notorious slow-fade men succumb to (albeit not so much a succumbing when it's done with such willingness) in order to dissolve an unsatisfying union. i lined my experience with my sub-par shagmate to some of the examples ms. sohn cited, and i realized i had landed myself right smack in the middle of a fade-out. but why was it bothering me so much? if the shag was sub-par, and the relationship fast-tracking at breakneck speed towards nowheresville, shouldn't i be rejoicing that it was coming to its conclusion so early in the game?

but, no, i wasn't rejoicing. i was feeling, well... rejected. rejected by someone i didn't even like! it was preposterous, and i knew it. but there he was, on day three, popping up in that damned instant messenger box. and the conversation was infuriating; he held up his end with his usual one word communiques, like "nope" and "yup" and "okis" (whatever that means). so if he didn't want to fade away, why was he bothering to fade in for the time being? and so i asked him, with the tap-tap-tap of my fingers on the keyboard, if we'd ever see each other again. he seemed surprised that i felt that way; well, i inferred that from his reply of "of course" and "you were?" when i told him i'd begun to think he didn't want to. it made no sense to me. wasn't he supposed to fade away? wasn't i just supposed to move on?

if i'd been asked, say, years ago when i was in the midst of recovering from the colossal shock and pain of my first major breakup, if it was possible to simply pick up the pieces of me and move on, i'd have shaken my head vehemently from side to side and cried out: "no, never!!!" but the amazing thing of having moved forward, and forward, and forward since then is that moving on has become so much easier. so much so that, even though that last mediocre-at-best contact from the sub-par shag was indeed the last contact we had (and that having taken place over a week ago now), honestly, not even the three days of sweating the slow-fade really derailed my stride. because i've moved on, i'm moving forward. there's been no game playing, just me, happily gathering up the pieces and getting ready to set things up on someone else's table. like i rationalized the other night (granted, under the influence, therefore not accountable for unoriginality) that life can indeed be like a television series, a la sex in the city; sometimes it's okay to just go to a new episode, with an all new guest star. i'm not sure what the slow-fade has done to relationships, except perhaps make things a little more casual, a little more sloppy, and a lot less serious than perhaps they once were. and i'm sure my sweating the slow-fade of my latest sub-par shag is really just some good old fashioned insecurity. and now it's time to turn the page, to step in to my new episode, to meet my new leading man. and i'm looking forward to a much better kind of sweating... if you know what i mean.


Monday, September 20, 2004

hanging with the anna madrigals and the accidental long island iced tea-off

...or, in other words: punkin and bunny go out for 'a drink' and wind up hammered on some high-voltage cocktails in a transvestite/transsexual bar on lip-sync night.

things i said repeatedly: "no, really, i'm soooooo drunk," and "can i take your picture?"

so here's the proof. and speaking of proof, i never want to see another long island iced tea as long as i live, and i can prove that by offering testimonial that i have never felt sicker, vomited more, nor remained so confoundedly dizzy and spinning well into the ensuing nightmarish 'hangover' day in my entire life. so the witty banter might be weak, but, then again, so is my stomach.

i suppose, technically, this could be considered photographic evidence of "round three", since we started off with some wine back at my place, and then had a round of manhattans, and then dug in to the long island iced teas on a toast for the lovely and talented sarah jessica parker, who was accepting her emmy as the bartender was in the midst of his generous pour.

bunny made me promise to include this shot, because it combines her chest with the drinks. i like the way the straw casts a shadow on her right... well, anyhow.

really, what the movie thelma and louise did for me (life long worship of susan sarandon aside) was to give me the idea that taking 'best buddy' self-portraits was an obsession-worthy passtime. although the funniest one we took was the one that just had my face and bunny's eyebrow, this was one of the cuter ones. it's hard to get two drunk girls to keep their eyes open at the same time and take a picture without toppling over backwards. no, seriously, i mean it.

this is bill. i did manage to ask permission to take the photo, and i did try to warn him that it would go on my website. and while bill doesn't know me or bunny from adam (who was probably dressed as eve, given the locale) that didn't stop us from investigating bill's personal life, and unrooting a whole heap of what can only be considered "issues."

this is bunny with electra, i do believe after she performed her routine to jewel's "intuition". i don't think i can pass those damn razors in the drugstore again now without having a flashback of electra's electrifying performance. apparently electra also performs at the bar on karaoke night, but in a slightly different outfit. slightly different as in as a man.

i'm not sure where we ran in to billy, but he and bunny and i shaked our respective bootys on the dance floor to a madonna mega-mix. billy claims he's a little interested in women, and not just men, but we weren't entirely convinced. i'm pretty sure billy said he was an actor currently looking for a waiter gig--typical los angeles line. billy was as kind and fun as those blonde curls and baby face imply.

do you ever have one of those experiences where, for just a moment, you feel like you've stepped inside some strange art-house film? that's the feeling i got when, to my left, bill busted out the guitar from his trunk and began to sing a sort of country-twinged patter-style ditty that involved the words "pork chops" "peas" "truckin'" and "fuckin'" and required my participation. meanwhile, i was having a conversation, a debate, really, with a guy on my right, about whether or not i actually have an "ass" or just something to sit on. surreal. (i claim to have the 'family' ass most other women in my clan do: high and flat. but, to make up for it, all the action is up front on my chest.)

ah, loretta. claims to be 63 years old and a fixture at the sahara in las vegas. had a dress that would dip and tug to reveal her nipples at any given time. wasn't shy about lifting up the dress to show us her surgeried goodies, while boasting that she'd had the work done ages ago in the seventies. i don't see a lot of ladies' goodies, so i'm guessing that for 25 year old goodies on a 63 year old body, loretta was doing pretty good. i think she thought bunny and i were a couple, because as we hugged and kissed goodbye she told bunny to take care of me, because i was such a sweet and beautiful girl. i think it's cool to let loretta think what she wants, because anyone who calls me sweet and beautiful is cool in my book, no matter what's happening under their dress.

part of me wants to never set foot in the bar again because i'm afraid i made an ass of myself, guzzling drinks, taking pictures, and dancing like a prom queen on uppers; but then i think, considering that i was hanging out in a crowd of men dressed in gold lame and sequins and the men that adored them, relatively speaking i wasn't such a spectacle myself. what i do know is that the next time i'm confronted with anything remotely associated with 'long island' it best be a billy joel greatest hits cd or an encounter with a commuter on my next trip to new york city. (which, incidentally, will be around march 19-26, with my 'bitch' bunny.) now, if you'll all excuse me, i need to find some aspirin, the bathroom and a cool pillow... not necessarily in that order.


Thursday, September 16, 2004

for those in need of professional help

yesterday i was officially hired as a tutor at my school's writing center, thereby making me a potential mentor and influential force for those who seek professional guidance in regards to their university-level writing. and so begins phase one of my plan for total world domination...


Tuesday, September 14, 2004

baa baa, black sheep

i spent the past two days hanging out with some of my all-time favorite people in the world. right off the bat i assessed our little clique of loudmouths, cynics, eye-rollers, quip-makers and rebels as the 'bad kids' and included myself as the perfect example of the company-as-family's black sheep. so we "baa-baa"-ed the days away, talking shop, telling tales and cracking each other up the whole time. things at the meetings proper got a little heated at times, but it was nice to see that i wasn't the only one with an opposing point of view or two, and the guts to speak up about it. and even though the aim of an event like this is business-oriented, by far the best part for me is always the pleasure.

if it takes one to know one, it's no wonder this wonderful woman is responsible for nicknaming me "sassy" ages ago. i spent the past two days being introduced as "sassy" and then answering to "sassy" and loving every ridiculous minute of it.

the price tag for monday's lunch read 'free' for us attendees. however, the price tag on the serving utensils read '$1.29' much to our amusement.

if you're going to sneak out of a crowded meeting hall during a dreary and irrelevant motivational presentation, it's best to do it following two of the world's coolest people, and it's best to have the hotel bar as your destination.

of course, when you sneak back in after having a beer by the pool, the enormous and gaudy chandelier makes perfect sense as a photographic subject.

two of my favorite ladies, hard at work. oh, who am i kidding? this photo was totally posed.

if you're approached by a fellow 'bad kid' with the line: "wanna do a shot?" it's hard to say no. cheers to the delicious lemon drop shot, the perfect reward for barely surviving the volatile last half of the day's meetings.

later that night we all had to work hard to convince the lemon drop instigator to resist the overwhelming ambition she had to climb in to one of these giant suspended teacups. admittedly, it would have been hilarious and adorable, but a bit of a buzzkill when she would inevitably be kicked off the premises.

lest you forget, i'm fascinated by neon signs. i took this (and tons more) as we were straggling out of citywalk and towards the exit, where we had to walk down the hill because the shuttle had stopped running for the night. my group kept thinking they'd lost me, so i'd be taking a photo like this one and then hear "sassy! sassy, where are you?" being yelled from four storefronts down.

we wound up at one of the bars on what happened to be karaoke night. only one of us had the nerve to get up and sing (beautifully, i might add) but i did my fair share of dancing and singing from my barstool. i also insisted that my pals not pose for their pictures, so this giggly finger-wagging incident is the result of my orders. i wish i could offer a better explanation, but it was two-for-one martini night, and things get a little hazy.

the lemon drop instigator and the inventor of my alter ego as "sassy" and i, posing. i would have to say that these ladies are the sole reason why i happily attend these events, although a close runner-up is the pure bliss of my being able to toss a little "you thought you could just get rid of me!" attitude in the ring as a nose-thumbing to the folks in charge who let me go last year. it's a little like being the wolf in black sheep's clothing...and all things considered i think the look fits this "sassy" gal just fine.


Monday, September 13, 2004

work shindig thingee syndrome

it's that time of year again... my company's annual gathering. this year can't possibly be as scandalous as the last, as it's fairly well known that i'm going to be attending and everyone is pretty used to the fact that i still work for a branch of the company, even though one branch is responsible for my now-famous "fired for blogging" experience. i'd give you a link, but the two factors working against me are that i'm in netscape and blogger loathes netscape, and that it's about 6:45 in the morning and i'm not working at full physical or mental capacity. (i can, however, provide directions: under the archives of july 2003 you can read about my losing my job. under the archives of september 2003 you can read about my returning to the 'scene of the crime' and the annual shindig thingee. there. directions. i'm like an internet sherpa minus the wisdom and the sensible walking shoes.)

all work and little to no play makes punkin a cranky person, and pair that with being too poor to buy herself lunch tomorrow or to pay for parking (thus making her have to walk up a big hill at an overrated los angeles entertainment landmark in order to get to the meeting shindig thingee) doesn't help the situation. at least this year i won't be sporting the "recently fired" face nor have to tell the "my car just got repossessed" story. (sherpa interjection: to read about my car getting repossessed the first time, go to the archives of september 2003. to read about my car getting repossessed the second time, go to the archives of november 2003.) (writer's comment: yeah, last year pretty much sucked.)

so, it's off to the fine misty spray of the shower right now, in the hopes it can perk me up sufficiently to face the crowds and a long couple of days ahead of meetings and workshops and how-do-you-do's. my consolation is that this also means it's the one time a year i get to hang out with the woman who first gave me the name "sassy" and the sage advice to "stay sassy, it keeps 'em guessing." so all in all, a work shindig thingee isn't such a bad thing. i guess if this sherpa's going to walk up that hill this morning towards that free bagel and cup of coffee she's going to also have to find herself a pair of those sensible shoes...


Wednesday, September 08, 2004

please excuse punkin from gym class, as she has already seen the filmstrip on sex ed

recently i've spent some very interesting alone time with a nice young man. it was a brief time between our first encounter to our first evening together, and an even shorter time between our hellos and that anticipated first kiss. and once that got underway, well, i realized we had a problem: the nice young man has no bedroom skills.

although i never dated in high school, i have a pretty good idea of what it must be like to be a teenager in lust. i can imagine the all thumbs brand of fumbling during brief encounters in the back seats of cars or in the back row of the local movie theatre. lack of experience mingling with little opportunity equates to sexual disaster. and what's worse is when you know what's going on and how to do it right, but your partner is stuck at the bottom of the class.

the first problem, i discovered, was the kissing. he's a face licker. he's a slobber-er. he's got 'dead tongue' syndrome, which, as some of you may also unfortunately know, is when they put their tongue in your mouth, and just sort of leave it there, like a great big beached whale left for dead on the shore. i was surprised, the following day after such an encounter, that i had any skin remaining in the region between my chin and my collarbone. i mean, for crying out loud, he gave me an actual, honest-to-goodness, throwback to high school hickey. a hickey! at one point, i opened one eye to peek at him, and caught him as he began the approach, his eyes squeezed shut and his tongue leading the way, poking straight out in front of him like a facial version of... well, you know what i mean.

my girlfriends all assure me that in the case of the bad kisser, the behavior is trainable. the solutions offered range from the demure to the drastic; it's been suggested that i use my own skills to demonstrate the finer art of the french kiss, that i speak up in the form of a gentle recommendation for better usage, or that, if all else fails, i just bring some scissors and cut it off. i had hopes that a bad first night could just represent first night jitters, but like a pavlovian dog in reverse, the more i turned my head to avoid the oncoming tongue, the more said tongue found its way to my face.

the nice young man is nice enough, i suppose. nice enough for getting the job done and bringing my dry spell to a much needed end. nice enough to have as a pal, but, bad kissing aside, not enough to meet my 'datable' criteria, alas. so we'll just have to see if i'm destined for more teenaged groping sessions. but the nice young man needs to see the filmstrip, and this nice young lady has lived it already. could be we're looking at the sexual kiss of death. literally.


Monday, September 06, 2004

because knowing is truly half the battle

i’ve been thinking lately about the qualities i seek in a romantic partner; not a listing of things like “be rich” or “tall, dark and handsome,” because i’ve come to realize that it’s futile to make a recipe for a lover or life partner like a short-order dish at some all-night diner. and i’ve been thinking about what’s gone wrong in the past, or why some people and i just didn’t click, or why i’ve felt dissatisfied in some relationships. and i think what i’ve come up with is a fair and reasonable framework that i can work with. i realize no one, least of all me, is perfect. but i’ve also realized that if you want to get what you want, you’d damn well better know what you’re looking for. and so, this is the kind of man i’m looking for.

have a sense of humor
maybe you're addicted to the daily show. maybe you've got old george carlin bits memorized. or you find humor in life's little idiosyncrasies. perhaps you think life would be more fun as a christopher guest movie. or you're a sucker for slapstick. just know that laughter is divine, and that i will love to hear you doing it, that i will love it when you make me laugh, and that often i will try to make you laugh. what constitutes a good sense of humor is highly individualized; but for laughing out loud, at least have one!

be conversational, articulate and expressive
sometimes when i first start dating someone and there's a silence, i will ask the person to tell me a story. i don't care if the first line is "this one time, at band camp..." or if it's about some childhood holiday memory, a lost dog, a ski trip, your driver's exam... just tell me something. everyone alive has a lifetime of stories. know what you like and don't be afraid to vocalize it. tell me if you would or would not like: to see that movie, try that kind of food, drive on that highway, it a little faster or slower, go to that party, to hang out at 6:00. i am not a mind reader and when you leave room for guessing with statements like "i dunno" "whatever" or "doesn't matter" you leave room for misunderstanding.

be self-sufficient
have a job. have some bills and pay them. have an address different from your parents. have the ability to cook at least a couple of dishes that don't involve a microwave, unwrapping a big mac, two slices of bread with peanut butter, or anything made with an artificial cheese product. i am not your mother; i would love to get to know her if possible, i don't want to be her, and i don't want to see her every time i'm at your place.

be educated
you might not necessarily have a phd in medieval english literature, but your highest level of education should surpass the g.e.d. some might say i'm a snob, but the fact of the matter is i'm smart, i'm bright, i'm educated--why shouldn't my mate be?

be sensual
we don't have to go at it all night every night! we don't need to make home movies or frequent sex clubs. but like sex. hell, love it. enjoy it. enjoy when i give you pleasure. enjoy giving me pleasure. be open to a little experimentation. make out with me on the couch, join me in the shower. take the time to learn what turns me on, and let me know what works for you. and if being sensual means being sexual, then that means being sexually responsible; get tested for hiv and stds, be open about your sexual history, respect your body and mine, and above all else, be safe.

have goals and ambitions
if you don't like the job you have, what is it you want to be doing, and what are you doing to make it happen? do you want to someday open a bed and breakfast in a mountain resort? do you want to go to fantasy baseball camp? take an archeological tour of egypt? write a book? make documentaries? get your real estate license? learn to speak russian, to make cheese, to yodel, to sail? just be passionate about something, and work towards its achievement. dream big, dream little... just don't sit around complaining and talking in terms of "if only..."

be balanced
this applies to so many things. balance work with play. balance friendships with your romantic relationship. balance alone time with social time. balance your checkbook.

be honest
tell the truth even if it might hurt you to do so. tell the truth but do what you can to ensure it doesn't hurt the one you're telling it to. be honest with yourself, be honest with others.

be (what i consider to be) a good person
this means you are: courteous, respectful, a gentleman, loving, kind and caring. this means you are not: a nazi, a murderer, a plagiarist, a rapist, a republican, a cheater, a woman hater, a religious zealot, a freeloader, a drug addict/dealer, a right-to-lifer, a pimp, or a con artist. be someone who knows that: i have only good intentions, i was raised lovingly by four good people, i don't say things i don't mean, i will do everything in my power to not hurt you, and, if nothing else, that i only want to love you.


Friday, September 03, 2004

the shortlist

yesterday at work my boss, kelsey, was a little scatterbrained. she thought it would help her if she made a list of all the things she wanted to get done. item number one: eat. item number two: write checks.

now, granted, i was as excited as one could expect to get about item one; she'd brought us back some chicken tostadas and i was definitely hungry. but item two was where my heart was, to be frank. first, because it was payday, and i was pleased as punch that i'd finally taught myself the fine art of the budget, having created a nifty excel spreadsheet to map out my expenditures and to (gasp!) save from my last check to go towards the rent. and, really, considering what a nortoriously bad financial planner i am, this was no small feat.

but, really, the check i was stoked to accept was the loan kelsey was giving me that was designed to save my beloved ass. and why was my ass in jeopardy? well, because of the bureaucratic catch-22 i found myself in with being accepted to school late, thus forcing me to be late for the financial aid deadline that would enable disbursement of whatever grants and loans i'm eligible for prior to the start of the quarter, thus forcing me to be unable to pay tuition, register and actually attend school. a little bit of a pickle, you might say.

i hate asking people for money. i hate bargaining for salary, i hate asking for a raise. i hate being in debt to anyone, and the closer i am to you, the harder it is for me to accept money from you. i hate when money becomes a factor in any relationship, and i hate that so often money is my primary concern and a roadblock to a more functional life. (i hesitate to say "happy" life because funadamentally i know that money cannot buy happiness, but it can, however, make things easier when you are coming from a place of poverty or lack, which i am.) but i thought long and hard about my predicament, and about how my choices were very limited as to who i could go to in this time of financial need. and about how the loan i was going to ask for was exactly the amount of my tuition, and would be repaid the second the red tape is snipped over at the financial aid office on campus. and just as much as i loathed making a budget spreadsheet, and as much as i hate that i can't afford to do as much as i'd like to these days, and as much as i dread asking for money, i approached kelsey. and she said yes.

today i gleefully submitted my payment at the cashier's office, and next week i will be allowed to register for the first two classes i need to take towards my masters' degree in english. i'm really proud of my decision to carry on with my education; in the past couple of years i've realized that i'm happiest at school studying literature and fine tuning my talent for writing, and that it feels good to be doing what i love. and it hasn't been easy, and it most likely won't get any easier anytime soon, but that's okay. today i'm crossing off "pay tuition for fall quarter" from my own shortlist. and that feels fantastic.

now, on to the next item: "find a way to purchase textbooks."


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