Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Power of Family

I think about my grandma Delpha. She used to curl my hair. She'd loop my hair into the hot iron, and count down, saying, "1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10, big, fat, hen!" Then she'd move onto the next lock of hair. When I saw her last, she was still reciting this little ditty to cull the monotony of head-of-hair curling. I find myself doing it occasionally for a little giggle. And not just when I'm curling my hair.

So, if you hear me, you know what's up.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Near Death

An excerpt of a conversation overheard last night between several elderly members of my family. The talk was brought on by the death of a great friend of my grandparents, Bob Lyons, of lung cancer on Thanksgiving day. Bob died only 3 months after his diagnosis.

Donna [age 78]: I think the ideal last days are ones like Polly had. She was peaceful, quiet, and didn’t suffer any pain.

Spence [age 68]: Yeah, I wouldn’t wish my dad’s last days on my worst enemy.

Tom [age 81]: Donna, didn’t something happen with his medications?

Donna: Yeah, they weren’t supposed to give him any antibiotics but they did anyways and it just seemed to prolong his pain for another two weeks—

Spence: He couldn’t eat, he couldn’t speak...but he seemed completely conscious the whole time.

Stephanie [age 29]: Is this all you old people do?? Talk about death??

Donna, Spence, Tom: What else is there to talk about? We’re old and we’re about to die.

Stephanie: Alright, I’m hitting the bars. You folks have a great evening with your death talk and all.

Spence: Stephanie, you’re a Communist.

Friday, November 24, 2006

21 Mea Culpa

This is not a suicide note. Nor is it related to any 12-step program. But, there are a few folks I owe this to. Some I could tell in person, and perhaps I will...someday.

To Mrs. Rydan: for falling asleep in first grade math class.

To Renee Slemin: for that horrible thing Kelcie and I did to you in Mrs. Jackson's fifth grade class.

To Justina: for not keeping in touch, even though you tried.

To Joni: I could never figure out what happened with us.

To Kami: for all of the incidents involving or relating to that guy you dated our freshman year at LHS. You'll never know what a loss you friendship has been to me.

To Debby: I don't blame you.

To Joey: for the lie that I told that could have rendered nightmarish consequences had it fallen into the wrong hands.

To Mike: for never wanting to be your girlfriend, and for never telling you.

To Bobby: for ending it the way I did. Even after all of these years, I still remember you as my first love.

To Stuart: for not dumping your ass the second you told me I was fat.

To Matt: for not understanding how much you really cared for me, and for constantly taking our friendship for granted. Also, for not being honest with you.

To Dr. Craig Martin: for killing all of those plants by forgetting to water them.You still gave me an 'A' and that meant the world to me.

To Drs. Jocelyn Hulsebus, Venus Ward, and Patricia Hargraves: for always being late. I couldn't explain to you how messed up I was, but I think you was me struggling to get through it. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

To Kori: for acting the way I did after Mike's wedding.

To Spencer: for never choosing whether to love you or hate you.

To Dave: for not celebrating your newfound love, Rachel.

To Julie: for procrastinating on getting in touch with you again, and for not being there for you after you moved to Parsons. I will be calling you very, very soon.

To Jolene: for never waiting even though you said not to. Sometimes, your orders need to be disobeyed.

To Nancy: for making you feel as though we are sometimes married to each other. I really love you, hon, but I want a divorce.

To Gavin: I'm sorry...I can't...don't hate me.

To Mom and Dad: for screaming profanity down the block at a neighbor boy; for getting caught naked and in the act in 1996; for wrecking my car in 1999; for quitting; for the D's I got in high school Spanish and math freshman year (the college D in Organic is my trophy, though, and it gets no apology); for riding on the hood of that dummy's car in 1992; for smoking; for complaining when you asked me to watch Tom; for not being home on time and getting grounded; for treating you like a bank; for not telling you I love you every day since I learned you could hear it; for not loving you just because you loved me.

To myself: for everything I ever believed I could never be. Today is a new day because I think I'm finally getting to know who I am, and I am all that I never was.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Amelie...the Funktified French Version of Alice in Wonderland.

This was the best movie I've seen in years. I'm actually thinking of purchasing it on DVD, and I watched it twice! I hardly ever do that because I have little patience and 2 hours is a long time to do something I've already done (unless it's sex, of course). This movie and its star (forgive me for forgetting her name and this dial-up connection is very unforgiving so I'm not going looking for it now) knocked my socks off and almost literally. We start with Amelie and her childhood. The exposition is quirky in typical French nature, giving a lot of irrelevant details that will have very little to do with the actual story but nonetheless cause the audience to become enamored with the characters and their idiosyncrasies. We move to the present day, when she discovers a small box of toys behind her wall. She becomes determined to find the owner of the box 50 years after it was lost, does so, and proceeds to change other peoples' lives, and her own, for the better. Some of her feats include taking revenge on a mocking store proprietor, getting a coworker laid, and helping a garden gnome to acquire frequent flier miles. All of this wrapped around one of the most romantic love stories out there.

It's amazing the effect the French language has on my body. Uuuhhhhmmmmmmm......................

Olive Less Ordinary

Today was Thanksgiving, a day when, as a child, I would spend all morning and afternoon babysitting for my brother and the usual gaggle of cousins, and after hearing one of our mom's bleating our names at dinnertime, we would emerge bleary-eyed from the darkness of the basement where the Nintendo had been lobotomizing us all afternoon. We would wander into the dining room, complete with a "kids' table" which I was always relegated to despite the empty chair at the adults' table, to view the cornucopia aspread before us. Every single dish was full to the brim save one: the one that had, an hour earlier, contained the black olives. I remember with poignant nostalgia how my pre-pubescent fingers would slide into the pitless black olive as easily as Bode Miller into an Italian barista, and all ten of my tiny fingertips would be capped. Within 5 seconds of hearing my mother yell, "you'd better stay away from those olives," they'd be down my gullet in lightening speed in order to avoid getting caught. I wish had never taken for granted having those tiny fingertips, because now, putting an olive onto my fingertip is a fruitless act that ends only in disappointment. I still have my pinkies, though.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tonight on Jerry Springer

Tonight I found out that my cousins husband had cheated on her, and in response to that, she vindictively went out and cheated on him. They have two young children (ages 6 and 2) and really nothing to lose except for them and each other.

Cheating is unusual in my family. My cousin (above) has had immedate relatives who've cheated, but have then been relegated to marrying the lethario with whom they cheated with, so I guess that makes it okay in that they've been married for 25 years and are still madly in love. Oddly, it upsets me that my cousin wouldn't have learned how much hurt is caused by cheating, how it invalidates the concept of marriage, and if their children should ever find out...may god or whatever have mercy.

I don't believe cheating is the issue in my immediate family, just generalized discontent exacerbated by mutual disrespect and lack of common goals except that of supporting and rehabilitating my brother. Besides that, with the problems we've had, I don't know if either of my folks could have the energy to allow another person into their lives to fuck them up emotionally. I suppose it's safe to assume that neither of my parents have ever cheated, despite how suspicious it is that my mom and dad no longer sleep together, and my father periodically goes through spells of weight loss due to excessive exercise and extended business trips. (I've never thought to question whether those two were adjacent.) My mother refuses to allow another man into her life without question, regardless if she and my father were to ever divorce. Dare I ask my father if he is cheating or has cheated? Sure, I dare, in the circumstances that I want my death wish granted by Daddy Genie.

What's the difference between a cheater and a non-cheater? Is there something genetic? For me, just dating more than one person at a time is almost more than I can tolerate, and sleeping with more than one person is just disgusting. Shall I consider the idea that this could ever happen to me?

My question is: can I really give up the idea of ever falling truly in love because there is a chance of this happening to me? I suppose I could call myself a concientious objector and decide to opt out of ever taking the chance.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Jim Cramer's Horse Shit

I've been listening to Jim Cramer lately in an effort to learn more about the stock market in the careless hope of turning my eensy-weensy nest egg into a gihugeic one. I've lost faith. After hearing nameless numbers of money-monkeying morons call into his show and scream "BOOOO-YAAAHHHH!," I've decided that a man who is willing to let his target audience humiliate themselves on the air (podcast or no podcast) is not trustworthy. Personally, the thought of having to scream that load of nonsense into my phone receiver, knowing it might very well be distorted by the radio or by the listener's speakers, is enough to scare me away from calling. That Cramer insists that every caller holler that crap is what I believe to be him trying to create his own neologism in some ego-maniacal way. I understand why the Army (hoo-aah) and the Marines (hoo-rah) require this type of testosterone-inducine, brotherhood-bonding type of pep rally slogan, but Cramer?

The boooo-yaaahhhh is enough to make me stop listening, and not just because I'm still poor. I suppose I'll go back to "Newsweek On Air" and "All In The Mind."

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I Never Wanted Hair There

Back home when I was young and my parents served me a food which I found distasteful, generally asparagus or mushrooms or bologna or fruit or vegetables or meat or anything else that didn't have sugar, my grampa Fritz would say imperatively, "Eat it. It'll put hair on your chest." Well, what the fuck kind of incentive is that for a girl to eat anything?

My parents would eventually threaten me and coerce me into trying whatever disgusting gruel they'd served to me (in my mind, as punishment), and I didn't end up developing any of the hirsutism that runs in my family. Must have been a lucky genetic anomaly. But I ate it anyways. Even though I didn't like it--at all.