Thursday, March 30, 2006

The 1970's Diasporic Film Festival

BECAUSE we weren’t feeling diasporic, apocalyptic and megalomaniacal enough, I rented Straw Dogs for our viewing enjoyment. I Namaste Sam Peckinpah. My brother dismisses him dismissively as a proponent of “gratuitous violence.” Phooey, I say.

Straw Dogs is the f%$# creepiest, most sinister, weird, fantastic movie in the world. It’s everything that’s “right” about the post-sixties, righteous, American, pseudo-liberal, ideal of bonded nations and genders, fractured right in two by deeply ingrained tendencies toward sexual manipulation, dominance and an instinctual caveman need to subjugate polite intellectual protocol in the name of the savage brutal desire to draw a circle of inviolate, proprietary boundaries around all that is sacred and holy. Namely, home, hearth and woman.

I love Dustin Hoffman, let it be known and say it proud. He is the EMBODIMENT of the whole ‘60’s ethic—the nerd side of the ‘60’s, with his perfect fitting beige cords and Irish cable knit sweater and look of intellectual and moral certitude. It also has Susan George, a toothy braless semi-tart (who also embodies everything I would mostly like to forget about the ‘70’s—bralessness, vapid babydoll stares—but some good things too—zee hair and those damn perfect fitting boot cut jeans! Quel insouciance).

After it was over, MZA, who is pretty laid back and able to absorb almost everything (he’s married to me after all!), said, “Um, that was a pretty disturbing movie.”

MZA has been a willing and able student of my bizarre, all-encompassing taste in movies. Because he is from Uzbekistan, a land colonized by the famously censoring Soviets, he brought with him a delightful cinematic tabula rasa that I have exploited and pilloried at will.

He is a slave to Hitchcock, but I have not been able to convert him to Woody Allen in any way shape or form.

My favorite “old” movie (classic, whatever you want to call it) is My Man Godfrey. Like, I love that movie with every fiber of my being—a topic for in-depth discussion on another day, you’ll be glad to know—and MZA loves it too. He watched it recently, tho, on his own, and said that I reminded him of the mother in the movie. Who is this daft, shallow, senseless cipher who flits around all day fretting, spending money and speaking in a superficial trill.

Hmph.

Oh cruel wronged comparisons!

And finally, just because it’s my website, I would also like to take a moment to talk about Two Mules for Sister Sara. This is another of my favorite movies and it would actually make a really good early 70’s sort of festival (along with Straw Dogs) of gritty “journey” movies that chronicle improbable and outrageous scenarios that test the outer limits of sexual suppression and dominance.

Seriously, I don’t know what's going on with me either, but it was fun! And I’ve only had ONE Diet Coke so far today!!!!!!!!!!!

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Eternal Face of the Sunshine Smile

Today Haiku

It’s a beautiful sunny spectacular day,
Sunny
And perfect
And spectacular.
When I should have been thinking about the social and economic factors that impact gender roles, I was thinking: “Should I cut my hair? Or let it grow?”
I walked to Fancy Chic, Slightly Intimidating Giant, peopled with Very Skinny Bethesda Mommies, for two prepackaged California rolls. For lunch.
Gingery soy goodness!
I also bought products for a basket they are putting together for my colleague with a Bad Diagnosis
I bought: Terra chips, lemon ginger tea and powdered Jell-O custard.
Bake and serve.
I walked by the kids behind the chainlink fence on the school playground.
Small dramas, whispers, a little girl in pink pants and a shirt with a pink heart.
I thought about my own little girl.
Eternal face of the sunshine smile.
The utter impish guilelessness of
That Child.
My little bonus baby surprise blessing.
I never knew I needed a little girl.
But I did.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Of Yoga and Inner Demons

I should clarify: On the whole office gig, my job is great. Honest. I work with really nice, intelligent people. My commute is--door to door--30 minutes. That is like a DC wet dream.

So what’s the problem? Technically there isn’t a problem. The fault lies not in my office, but in myself. (Clever, eh?)

The whole dilemma is the reconciliation dilemma, the old what-am-I-doing-with-my-life softshoe. I feel like a person who was plopped in a situtation and who is acting a part, playing a role. Sometimes I feel like the gardener in "Being There."

I do some exercizes in the morning, put on make-up (full drag) and get into costume more than anything else. I know a lot of people do that. I guess what I have a hard time reconciling with myself is: Is it possible to do something with your life that doesn't require a constant set of props, camouflage and mindsetters?

Maybe not.

I got up this morning and did a yoga tape. With MZA! Why yes indeedy we are the queerest couple in the universe! It’s confirmed. He’s naturally athletic, perfect, Asian, lithe and graceful, and I am the classic American OAF. It’s great!

I felt so much better after doing it, even tho the bambini came down just at the relaxation floor exercises and “joined in." They’re very “experienced," what with the Pajama Yoga Birthday Party and all. Ian does a mean downward dog. And eagle pose. Nick came down and took one look at all of us, shielded his face with his hand, and said, “Goodbye.”

I just have to: Figure it out. No one is to blame.

More importantly, there is the most amazing second hand bookstore across the street that is a DC institution, Second Story Books. I went there yesterday and communed with the Bookstore Archetypes. Oh yeah. The pale skinned woman with the frizzy hair, the giant yellow teeth, the overbite--the inevitable halitosis--who keeps appearing, with an enigmatic cat-smile, saying, “Excuse me,” in hushed, semi-apologetic tones. The guys behind the counter are all jazz aficionados, of course, arguing over a Benny Goodman “mint condition” record.

I bought two first edition novels by Knut Hamsun, because Henry Miller liked him, a biography of Coleridge (the early years) and an Andre Dubus story collection. As I pulled the Knut Hamsun books from the shelf, I thought about how books sometimes speak to you—I wondered about the psychological draw of the books that pull you in, the ones you want to reach for.

Just as I thought that, my eyes grazed over to the right hand shelf and I saw a copy of:
THE EXORCIST.

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Monday, March 27, 2006

The Willful Suspension of the Diaspora

We watched “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” on Saturday night. Nothing like a good exorcism film to get your Catholic on. Big time. It was, you know, OK, as those kinds of movies go. I thought the performance of the priest, played by Tom Wilkinson, was absolutely seamlessly stunning. Laura Linney gets on my nerves. She’s like a high rent Jennifer Aniston and I feel like everyone wants me to like her more than I want to. I thought she blew in “Mystic River,” for example, but I pretty much thought everyone blew in that, including Tim Robbins who seemed to be channeling Dana Carvey as Garth in "Wayne’s World."

The Emily Rose movie scared me a little bit in that the defense had a witness who said that Emily was prone to being invaded by demons because she was “hypersensitive.” Uh-OH! I thought, “Oh great, now I'm a welcome mat for creatures of the underworld and I'm going to have to hyperextend my back and speak in tongues and whiplash my neck around like a spazz.”

The movie also explained why waking up at 3:00 a.m. means that, while you are not possessed, per se, you are probably in the presence of demons. Because 3:00 a.m. is how the demons mock the Trinity. See?

So of course I woke up in the middle of the night and I turned warily toward the clock and—whew!—it was 4:41. But then last night I woke up in the middle of the night and I turned toward the clock and it was 3:39. OUCH! It might as well have spewed pea soup at me, non? That’s a whole lotta threes!

Speaking of possession, have you ever known a man whose marriage has sucked the brain right straight out of his head? Besides your own husband? (Because your sucking the brain out of his head was the best thing that ever happened to him.) Anyway, I have known about three or four men in my time to whom this has happened. And it’s not pretty. And I find, in my dotage, that my patience has sort of winnowed down to a very thin brittle reed and sometimes I blurt things out—not unlike Linda Blair—that are not very nice. Like they are things that have been festering in me for so f%$#@ long and all of a sudden one of these men—or pod people, whichever you prefer—says something in the language his wife has taught him to supplant the language he grew up with, and I just spit something out—hot green and viscous—and then DON’T REGRET IT AT ALL! Except maybe a little bit, around the edges.

I have become the same way at work, as I think we see evidenced in my last post—like I just can’t willfully suspend my disbelief anymore, you know? Because that’s what it takes to operate in this artificially constructed parallel life we inhabit, known as The Grind.

Seriously.

But just like any well-constructed novel, there are often “cohorts” in the world o’ work—those are people you can go to pull the curtain back and say, OH MY GOD I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING! Those are called “insanity touchstones” who verify that you have not, in fact, lost your mind, and they regard a certain set of circumstances to be just as absurd as you do!

On Friday I was commiserating—not that I am a malcontent—let’s be clear about that. I don’t go around fomenting anger and bad blood. I don’t believe in that. I am just referring to the “sanity sound check” sort of thing.

So I was talking to this woman and we were totally agreeing with each other until I took it too far—that old crazy analogous mind—and I said, “Well, you know what it is don’t you? It’s megalomania! Just like…” And I stopped myself before I went into a full blown comparison to Captain Ahab and the doubloon and the clam chowder and all. Because I could see that I had her right up until “megalomania.” That’s not a word you just want to throw around in an office. Like Diaspora.

Seriously, I was talking to this extremely nice person in the lunch room. As I told Belinda, I have a severe phobia of lunch rooms, but I made an exception that one day and decided to try and act like a regular person and actually sit down and partaketh of my lunch in the lunch room instead of hunched over my desk. And I happened to ask this woman about her doctoral thesis and she was talking about Jimmy Stewart—it’s a film thing, which I think is fascinating (but I TOTALLY don’t agree with her choices of film that are meant to represent nationalism in film)--and she brought up Diaspora.

I thought I better keep my trap shut because she seemed pretty keen on her film choices and she’s sick of the whole thesis and just wants to defend it and be done with it and if I came up with two different films (that would be much more appropriate) she would probably go off the deep end. Anyway, she said something about the Diaspora in relation to “It’s a Wonderful Life” and I was all like, “Huh?” Basically I think “Diaspora” and “miasma” are words that should just be kept on the down-low, in writing or something, and not really uttered in polite conversation. ESPECIALLY about “It’s a Wonderful Life,” for God’s sake. What did that movie ever do to hurt anyone?

Yesterday we went to our favorite zany Asian gardens and then had dim sum at our favorite zany Chinese restaurant. As we walked through the gardens, I could feel my stress and anxiety literally evaporate out of me—all those fussy demons extinguished by the calm, the placement of the stone steps, the reflection of the bare trees in the pond, the ducks arguing with each other and cascading into the water, the camouflaged fish just below the surface, the flowers in the conservatory, the kids running and pointing. And MZA saying to Nick, “Nick, do turtles immigrate?” And Nick saying, “You mean migrate? No. They move too slowly.”


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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Welcome to My Nervous Breakdown...Pull Up a Chair. Get Comfy.

Question for today:

Is it an existential breakdown or just a fussy cranky work day?

I am having One of Those Days. And I am having a really hard time figuring out if it’s just the usual roll with it, it’s OK type of thing or whether I am finally reaching the end of what has seemed like an endless tether of disillusionment.

You see I am struggling, mightily (as you may have discerned) with this whole “routine.” By routine I mean the relentless 8-track hamster loop of the 9 to 5.

Kids, I hate the 9 to 5. We all do. I know. But I REALLY do. But I am stuck—caught—in its necessitating grasp. It’s eternal vice grip.

You know that Ben and Jerry’s bumper sticker that says, quoting Jerry Garcia, “If it’s not fun, why do it?” It’s a bumper sticker. Made by an ice cream company quoting the wisdom of a drug addled dead musician. And yet that bumper sticker haunts me. Daily.

I have been counseled to honor the mundane in my life. I think that whole Biblical honoring of the mundane and reverence for the lilies of the field and the meek overcoming the earth and the tasks that make up our lives was referring more to wholesome “tasks” that we might find in Little House on the Prairie or something.

Everyone has their dilemma. My biggest dilemma, day in and day out, is why I have not been able to free myself from the rigidity of this schedule. I am obviously rebelling, in the form of this website. Welcome to my rebellion! Pull up a chair. Pour yourself a drinkie.

I am disillusioned.

I don’t want to do this anymore.

This is a good job.

I have finally come somewhere near where I wanted.

I went to seminar at the Mothership yesterday on sexually transmitted infections and the final speaker brought down the house by saying that adolescent girls are more susceptible to STI’s because they have “wimpy mucous!”

It was funny.

But I felt like Zelig yesterday, wandering around the impressive grounds of the Mothership. So respectfully hushed and important, so tended, so architecturally interesting…a collegial idyll with all that ivory tower reverence.

Sometimes I feel like Lucille Ball at work. I try SO HARD. I made one stupid small mistake today and I feel so bad. It went to the boss. At the Mothership of course. And I get crushed about stuff like that. And it’s stupid and so then I ask myself:

Are you doing the right thing? If you were home writing a novel there would be irritations there, wouldn’t there?

Then I start thinking in platitudes again: Life isn’t a dress rehearsal.

Life is not a dress rehearsal.

So if you don’t make the move and start heading in the direction of what you would really like to do with your life, what happens?

Are we supposed to just keep accepting the consolation prize? Is the “gratitude journal” the opiate of the people? Are we supposed to keep counting our blessings so we don’t notice that we still want something more? Is it arrogant to want more? Selfish? Is it missing “the whole point”?

I have to be able to discern whether this is really not for me or whether I am just being a petulant spoiled bitch.

I’m being too hard on myself.

I know what the answer is. I just don’t know how to attain it.

I just. Don’t know how to attain it.

I wish I did. I feel like I’ve made “breaks” in the past. But none of them has stuck, you know? I have made “breaks” but I haven’t broken the mold. Being a 9 to 5 worker is like being an addict. You return to it because it’s something you know, it’s a routine. I can do it. I am a high functioning recovering slacker. A very high functioning one. Because it takes everything I have in me to keep the illusion going.

I want to break out of this more than I have ever wanted anything. I am confronting it with the same sort of prayerful tearful dogged desperation that I approached my search for a soul mate. I think about that process, and how wrong you can be no matter how much you loved someone, he still wasn’t the right one. It takes a lot to persevere, to find the Right One. It’s all a journey. I am so fortunate to have found my man. Now I have to apply that same spiritual quest to this aspect.

Thanks for joining me on this momentary blip. Stay tuned…

[Gratitude journal moment update: I sat down at my desk and this one refrain kept coming to me and it made me smile. I think it was A Sign. I kept hearing my 3.5 year old Ian saying, in full surfer dude absurdity: ROCK ON freaky bro! Really, who needs the Sermon on the Mount when you have kids who can quote SpongeBob chapter and verse, eh?]

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Friday, March 24, 2006

Get the Hook!

The other day Nick, m’eight year old boy, absconded with my New Yorker when it arrived, as usual. I said, “What are your reading?” Thinking he would say the cartoons. He said, “The Talk of the Town. Listen to this Mommy,

There is very little doubt that Bush deserves censure, not only for the warrantless wiretapping but also for the many other catastrophes his Administration has generated, including the manipulation of intelligence to justify the Iraq war, the willful failure to heed warnings of what the invasion’s aftermath would entail, the sanctioning of torture, and the neglect of “homeland security”—to say nothing of a set of domestic policies that sacrifice solvency, safety, the environment, and elementary fairness on the altar of enriching the rich in the name of Christian compassion.”
Don’t thank be for raising a liberal, thank me for raising a liberal who is paying attention.

Aha! My li’l liberal’s auntie is paying attention too. She just called to tell me not to miss David Ignatious this morning:
Bush has lacked the tragic sensibility found in many of our great presidents. He works so hard at his show of easy informality that you rarely sense the inner man and the anguish that must be there. Watching him, you know he's wound tight even as he tries to act loose. The locker-room nicknames and the exaggerated Texas mannerisms are part of the enforced informality. The longer he stays in Washington, the more pronounced his Texas manner of droppin' his g's. It's a kind of camouflage, but it's wearing thin. This is not a president at ease.
In additon, my boyfriend (it’s unrequieted), E. J. Dionne, is ALSO slamming our Naked Emperor this morning:

Is President Bush the leader of our government, or is he just a right-wing talk-show host?

Let the feeding frenzy begin!

Happy Friday!

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Crystal Meme: THE RELAPSE

I was tagged again for a meme! I promise this is the last one, fer awhile. I could NOT turn down Mocha-Momma because she is so nice and smart. Furthermore, this topic is priceless! I have hereby abandoned myself to the potential of alienating EVERYONE with these naughty, embarrassing confessions (see #1 and you will understand).

Songs I'm Reluctant To Admit Listening To

1. “Hello”—Lionel Richie—Anytime I get to admit my “Slimy Lionel" problem is a good time. Full out car karaoke. Pray that fellow drivers around me do not read lips. Is it me you’re looking for…Cuz I wonder where you are…shall I keep going?

2. “What’s New Pussycat”—Tom Jones—would totally throw my skivs on the stage for him. TOTALLY.

3. Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass—"Taste of Honey"—play this at my funeral, please. Except you run the risk of me returning from the dead. It represents everything that's “right” about “cheeseball.”

4. “Signs”—Snoop Dogg and Justin Timberlake—I think the lyrics say it all: class, class, class:
[Verse - Snoop Dogg]
Don't think about it, boy leave her alone
(Ooh wee!!) Nigga you ain't no G!
She likes my tone, my cologne and the way I roll, you ain't no G!
[lyric misinterpretation: “she likes my ‘cabrone’ and the way I ‘bone.’” Please don’t ask what I thought a “cabrone" was. All the better to “bone” her with, I s'pose.]

5. The Johnny Mathis Christmas Album WITH Percy Faith and His Orchestra—favorite song is the wacked out hipster version of “Winter Wonderland.” I play this CD starting the day after Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day. Ask my husband. It is TRUE.

6. “Let’s Get This Party Started”—Korn—uh-huh! Who knew “started” had so many syllables?

7. Hall and Oates—“Sarah Smile”—full face contortion karaoke!!! With excellent alliteration!

8. Dave Matthews—“Say Goodbye”—I am a SUCKER for this damn song! It takes me DIRECTLY back to those naughty, persuasive cool boys (that I longed for but did not consummate anything with, well, except for one…). I CANNOT HELP MYSELF. I love Dave Matthews. I love his funny, impish ways! The good clean fun decadence! That hint of a South African accent! The crazy percussive riffs! That slightly teenaged prurient love of impossibly beautiful women! But also the knowledge that he is the kind of guy who would have been nice to me! (When I was 20). Let’s review the lyrics please:

And in your eyes I see
What's on my mind
You've got me wild…
[Is it hot in here, OR WHAT?]
Stay here with me, love, tonight [Extra points for calling her “love,” scrumptious!]
Just for an evening…
You and me twist up

Secret creatures [Mmmm hmmm]
And we'll stay here
Tomorrow go back to being friends
[Absolutely the dumbest most delusional all-male thought process. You know there is NO WAY she can go “back to being friends” after having Hot Monkey Love with DAVE MATTHEWS!!!]
But tonight let's be lovers,
We kiss and sweat…
Just a rogue kiss
[Rogue? Just where did that kiss go??]
Tangled tongues and lips, [This kills me—I am so weak!]
See me this way
I'm turning and turning for you
[She is fully in his grasp…]
Girl just tonight […THUD. Just tonight. AS IF!]

9. “Hey Ya”—Outkast—please. It’s a must. Shake it like a Polaroid picture? Lyric GENIUS.

10. “Come on Eileen”—Dexy’s Midnight Runners—will TURN THE RADIO UP full volume in the car and sing along like it’s...1982!!!!!!!!!! Every time.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Crystal Meme (note: highly addictive)

The term "meme" refers to any unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea or concept, which one mind transmits (verbally or by repeated action) to another mind. --Wikipedia

I was "memed" by Ms. Weaker Vessel. I'm with Gingajoy, a fellow tag-ee, on these things--I love them. C'mon and play!

Here is my reply:

Three things you wish for (just for you):

That I could finally have the big Oprahpalooza life-defining moment wherein I magically manage to do something—for compensation—that I love. I mean love to life-affirming pieces.

That I could finish my short story collection at the MacDowell Colony. Six weeks of subsidized writing in an idyllic cabin setting with little picnic lunches delivered to my door daily…

That I could travel more, with Greece and Italy in the current top spots, and Thailand as a perennial revisit.


Three things you would do to/for yourself if there was no one to judge you (or if you had the guts to do it!):

Dye my hair platinum blond.

Get a weekly spray-on tan. So I could have a consistent Anita Bryant/Oompah Loompah glow.

Maybe an eye lift? Since I have been looking more and more like Charlotte Rampling of late.

Three bad habits you have:

Pride

Gluttony

Sloth

(Are there any “good” habits?)

Three insecurities you feel:

Miraculously I have no insecurities! Whatsoever!
I feel perfect in clothes, I love my hair and my complexion is flawless.

Three talents/skills you wish you had:

The ability to sing in an ethereal, trippy, falsetto—acapella.

To paint beautifully, with generous, lush oil swaths on wide canvasses.

I wish I could be a contortionist love goddess…oh wait, I am…


Three things that you would do if you had more time

Write a big fat revelatory novel that would be Oprah’s favorite book EVER.

Become a yoga-butted, flowing-maned, spiritually-centered, granola-eating, neo-hippie who grows her own organic vegetables, tends to her bambini like an inspired, halo-lit, saint-mother, services her husband like a proper courtesan, and lives in a whitewashed, hand-hewn cottage by the sea.

Read PROUST, goddammit, once and for all.

Three things that bring you peace/relaxation:

Our ancestral lake house in northern Minnesota.

P-i-n-o-t g-r-i-g-i-o

The baby doll silk of my bambini’s hair.


Three things that spark your creativity:

Smart people.

Smart-ass people (you KNOW who you are).

Henry Miller, forever.

I hereby tag:

Brussels Confidential, Mom-101, Thumbless Wonder and Mocha-Momma

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Happy Navrus!!!

Navruz, the spring "New Year" holiday, has been celebrated for more than 2,500 years, perhaps for as long as 5,000 years. Originating in Persia and long associated with the ancient Zoroastrian religion, its name means "new day" in Farsi because to ancient Persians it marked the first day of the new year. On this day, Persian kings would have worn a crown with images of the annual solar cycle on their heads, participated in a divine mass in the Temple of Fire, and distributed generous gifts to citizens.

Today, Navruz is celebrated each year on March 21, when the sun enters the sign of Aries on the astrological calendar. In the northern hemisphere, this date frequently coincides with the spring equinox, the day on which the number of daylight hours equals the number of nighttime hours. On our modern Gregorian calendar, the spring equinox varies from March 19 to March 21. Although their calendars were different, ancient peoples followed the course of the sun and moon closely, and knew that the seasons began to change on this date. For them, it was if the powers of light had overcome the powers of darkness, allowing the earth to awaken and life to be rekindled.


I celebrated my first Navrus in the absolutely gorgeous ancient city of Samarkand, where the air is different from anywhere else in the world and the blue tiled domes of the madrassahs and mosques are meant to mirror the firmament.

My beloved husband is Uzbek.

Today is also my father's birthday. He would have been 97 today. I think of him happily every year on this day (except I'm crying a little bit right now).

Biramingiz Mubarek Bulcyn...congratulations on the holiday! (in Uzbek--I just called MZA to confirm I got it right)...and let's rejoice that those powers of light are overcoming the powers of dark, eh?

Note to Michelle: You might be able to get some Vernal Equinox party supplies in Tashkent! And a special shout out to Dash Riprock--have some sumalyak for me, bro! Oh, and Beatricia! Your drain clog is getting cold...

Photo: © Zeldafitz 2005

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Monday, March 20, 2006

Whither Meadowlark Lemon?

My friend Nicholas, who tested the very roots of our friendship by going away to MEXICO for a month, just got back. I received two emails from him. The first one contained one line—no salutation, no nothing—and it was this:

Pajama yoga party?

The second one said this:

Now I’ve read more Zeldafitz. Why don’t you come up and stay with us for a few days/weekend? A mental health weekend?
We’d love to have you……


I wrote him back and asked if he thought I was crazy. I haven’t heard back.

In my ongoing Zelig-like life, I happened to BE at the Patriot Center on the campus of George Mason University on Saturday night. Not watching the Patriots beat UNC or anything (is anyone impressed with this smattering of in-the-loop basketball terminology? Why or why not?). No. I was watching the HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS.

Now I’m going to get a one line email from Nicholas that says:

The Harlem Globetrotters?

It’s true! I was up in the Cub Scout nosebleed section wondering where in the HELL Meadowlark Lemon was.

I sat in the parental row and had Lady Miss Daisy and Nick with me. The Lady Miss Daisy part was Not a Very Good Idea. Nick sat in the Cub Scout row and loved the “game.” He thought it was real. I kept my cynical mouth shut and did not explain that it was rigged and that the “Nationals” (the almost all white team they were playing) were also fictional. I am a Very Good Mother. Take notes.

Lady Miss Daisy did splendidly for the first 40 minutes and then we descended into Toddler Purgatory, wherein she cupped my face insistently in her chubby yet dainty little palms and entreated, “Mooooommy? I want to go hoooooooooome.” Over and over and over again.

So Mommy and Daisy had to blaze. We informed Nick, who gallantly swallowed his tears and then was saved from Kid Purgatory by a Nice Cub Scout Mommy and Daddy who offered to drive him home. Whew!

Daisy and I gingerly descended the terse little concrete stairs, that only a Billy goat could scale, and made our way down to the “8th Portal” or “8th Rung of Hell,” whichever you please.

Oh yes!

We were luxuriating in the cavernous hot dough-filled belly of The American Obesity Problem! Big fat lardassed pretzels covered in blocks of salt, deep fried chicken “pieces” smothered in ketchup, plastic wrapped pink and blue cotton candy, and gobs and gobs of greasy, mushy, tomatoey, overcheesed pizza wedges. BLECHCH. For a few minutes that night, I became FRENCH in my unmasked horror at What We Have Become.

And yet I loved it too. I bought cotton candy for Miss Daisy because that is what I had as a kid, and so it is written and so it shall be. Forever.

Yesterday, we went to the Bad Feng Shui Playground and I did much better there than usual. It was an absolutely stunningly gorgeous day—clear vibrant blue sky, a fresh, slightly chilly, breeze.

It’s like your life descends into these slightly Fellini-esque burlesques of pretzels, soggy pizza dough and toddler mayhem and then you look up at the blond tendrils of your second son, as he sits perched on your husband’s shoulders, and you think, “Ah, now I get it.”

I thought of George Costanza at the playground because I am always having these philosophical conversations with myself along the lines of “What are you doing with your life?”

And as I looked up at the sky, through my jaunty tortoise shell shades, I thought, “Um, I like this." Being at the playground when the weather is nice and the kids are climbing onto the camel all by themselves and Nick is timing his “runs” down the blue tunnel slide like he is a luge guy in the Olympics, “Mommy, I shaved a whole minute off my time!”

I thought about George Costanza because one time when he was trying to think of what kind of a job he wanted he said, “Well, I like movies.” And I thought, “Well, I like being at the playground with my family on a sunny day.” How’s that?

I stopped being French long enough to see a Popeye’s as we were leaving the playground. We looked at it. All of us.

MZA said, “Wow, we haven’t had Popeye’s in a really long time.”

I said, “Mmmm hmmm.”

Nick said, “Yeah! It’s been a really long time!”

MZA said, “Two years I think. Do you want to get in this other lane?” And he started motioning frantically and I switched lanes—giving us a straight shot across Georgia Avenue into the Popeye’s parking lot.

Nick said, “Can we have some now, Mommy?”

MZA said, “We’ll come back sometime and get it for dinner.”

“Awwww.”

I said, “Well, do you guys want some for lunch?”

YAYAYAYAYAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ian and I went in and ordered four mild drumsticks and two spicy breasts and a side of fries.

Ian said, “I like this place.”

In a bow to my newly Gallic, healthy, organic heritage, I did not order biscuits! We are so enviably healthful and perfect.

It was a good day.

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Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!!!

Yeah, whatever, it's queerball, but there you go. Am I wearing green today? Of course I am, but if you've read previous posts you will know that I ALWAYS end up wearing green on "casual" Friday, the bane of my existence.

Am I Irish? OF COURSE I AM! I have one of those last names that is relatively uncommon in the States but you know, the whole Irish phone book is lousy with us kind of thing. Don't get emotional, I know it's stirring. My one goal in life is to get to the "homeland." Sniff...

More importantly, EVERYTHING good is Irish, especially Irish "twins"....



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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Office Archetypes

This is a random selection of office personages I have observed over the years…See if you recognize anyone…feel free to add any that I missed...

  • The Overbooked Chaotic Bluster Queen
  • The Skank—pointy toed stilettos, tight jeans; smokes furtively in front of the building with like-minded malcontents; is often “sick” and/or “late” (read: hungover)
  • The Kitchen Lurker—acts like it’s “his” kitchen; monopolizes freezer with specialty frozen entrees
  • The Bathroom Lurker—takes a dump at the same time every morning
  • Manager, Bright and Dark—sometimes nice but mostly pained, depressed and weird
  • The Bored Receptionist
  • The Person Whose Role is Not Clearly Defined—walks back and forth aimlessly in front of your office a little too often
  • The Nark—knows when everyone comes in the morning, leaves at night, and takes lunch; exercise caution
  • The Greedy Eyer—takes in every inch of your body (with special attention to flaws), makeup, jewelry, etc. in microscopic, near pornographic, detail
  • The Person Who is Nice When She Comes to Your Office to Talk, but who acts weird if you come to her office to chat
  • Loud Headset Talker—paces the entire floor carrying on officious conversations at full volume; substitutes Blackberry as necessary
  • The Laconic Drone—doesn’t “care” for ethnic foods; permanently set on ten second cognitive delay
  • The Chauvinistic Web Guy
  • The Nervous Pleaser
  • The Über Mom
  • Computer Screen Gazer—stares intently at your screen (disregarding all laws of personal space) to determine what you are Googling and why (hint: set screen saver to deploy after one minute!)
  • Mr. Cologne of the Damned
  • The Woman Who is Unable to Be Happy for Others
  • Surly Disaffected Tech Guy; intimidating glower optional
  • The Person With a Strange Personal Scent
  • Mr. Truly Scrumptious
  • Ms. Charm School Dropout
  • The Bitter Divorcee With Biological Time Bomb Issues
  • The Seemingly Innocuous Drone—quiet, but listens to ritualistic cannibal beats that spur disturbing side effects in neighboring office mates, such as wanton blood lust, heart arrhythmia, delirium, convulsions and intense hydrophobia

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Naughtiness and Noodles

I posted a short story, linked HERE for your viewing enjoyment, and several months ago I noticed a large amount of traffic—all for that particular post. Then I started noticing LAW FIRMS on my site meter, also similarly honed in on that post, and I became a little concerned.

Then I got an email from the person that I had fictionalized (thinly) in the story, “Mike Nazareth,” BECAUSE I used his real name (since changed). This, I will grant you, was very naughty of me, but I didn’t really think too much about it because it got published in a small literary magazine on the West Coast in 2001, for Pete’s sake, and when I reprinted it, the rights had reverted back to me and all. Honestly I did not consider all the Grandmaster Google ramifications that could occur.

Zut alors!

So, “Mike” wrote to me, FROM BAGHDAD, where is currently working (as a civilian) and asked me, rather haughtily, to cease and desist using his actual name in the story. I checked with my lawyer, aka my brother, and he forwarded me some advice. According to him, I was well within my rights, but because I am such a stand-up gal, I changed his name. No big deal.

He was very appreciative, especially since I portrayed him in an accurate, but unfavorable light. I thought it was behind me when I heard from him yet again today. It seems he had found yet another incarnation of the story that I did indeed post over a year ago on a different site. I was trying out a different venue for the olde blog and posted a few things there, but have been at this address ever since.

ARGH!

It was such a long time ago that I didn’t even remember my user name or password. But I knew that he wouldn’t let it die, so I mustered all my cognitive abilities and managed to figure it out. I deleted the post. I wrote him back and told him that, and also cheekily admonished him to stop Googling himself and GET BACK TO WORK.

Oh, that viperous Google!! What it unearths!

I never want to hurt anyone’s feelings—honestly I don’t. EXCEPT for when someone has treated me badly. Then maybe sometimes I feel the need to conduct a little naughtiness alchemy. But I learned my lesson and I will not use real names anymore. Even when it’s tempting.

In other news, MZA made his TRIUMPHAL cinnamon beef noodles again last night, which you can find linked here for your culinary enjoyment.

Now, excuse me while I go Google myself…

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Whatever FLOTUS Your Boat

Dash Riprock, our far flung correspondent, who is In a Country Far Far Away that was recently graced with a presidential meet 'n greet, took this renegade snap of the FLOTUS and faithfully sent it on to us. Thanks Dash!

At issue here is a certain dyed wig effect and the pancake does look a little "heavy." We admire her cat-like primness and the librarian certitude, tho. She is so correct! So "pulled together!" So without blame. And the tidy blue wool suit does effectively bring out the color in her eyes!

Do you ever feel like they're having a good cop/bad cop scenario over on us?

I do.

I want to like her. Why? Because I feel guilty for hating her husband so much? Maybe. Maybe we feel inclined to give a little more than we should to her. Kind of like we're kids in a bad marriage and it's DADDY who does all the bad stuff and MOMMY is the good stalwart force of ...what? Feline literary goodness?

Anyhoodle...I need a PopTart intervention. I haven't bought any, nor will I. But I think about them too often. It's bad. I am a blueberry NO FROSTING purist. In case you were wondering. And I know you were.

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Park The Cynicism at the Door (today only)

Saturday I took Daisy and Ian to a Pajama Yoga Birthday Party! I am totally serious! Yep, my friend Moira had the party for her beautiful li’l girl.

I will never forget driving up to the white clapboard community center in tony North Arlington and seeing Miss Moira walk out in flowing red silk Chinese pajamas. She looked at me and said, “Where are your pajamas?”

Ha! She’s knows me better than that.

What I failed to realize was that I had to do some yoga with the bambini!!! No phoning it in. Scary! But none of the adults batted an eyelash. They all put their mats on the floor and heaved to. We reached for the moon, the teacher banged a gong, everyone chanted, Ooooooooommmmm. I’M SERIOUS!! Even the wee ones.

I put Sweete Daisy Faire in this absolutely hilarious pair of lace fringed lime green pants—au couture doncha know!—with a pink leotard garnished with a tulle flower. I am crazy. It’s confirmed. Let’s just say my daughter was the only one who looked like Isadora Duncan.

The kids were so fer cute!! All angelic blond and red ringlets and a Very Attentive birthday girl who was grooving to the swami muse. Part way thru, mid stretch, Moira came up to me and whispered, “I'm getting you back for Chuck E. Cheese.”

That was Nick’s 5th birthday party and Aunt Moira has never quite recovered. Even Nick was stupefied. He was just going on the PBS ads, you know? He didn’t realize the whole carnival horror sequence that was in store for him. That was our one birthday capitulation to The Man. All other birthdays have been homegrown wackedelic Mommy psycho events. As it should be. And so it is written.

OK, so THEN, keep that cynicism at bay, on Sunday it was Scout Sunday. Nick loves it. It was 6:30 a.m. and he was already dressed in his full regalia (Mass insn’t until 9:00). He even voluntarily brushed his hair. Nick’s all about the “costume.” So’s Mommy.

Mommy piled into the shower to wash away the collective greasy film of Weekend Frumpadelia. Oh yeah! Then I grudgingly put on Work Clothes and we trotted up to the church. Nick sat in front with the other scouts and I sat in a tightly packed pew. Apparently my patented Don’t Sit Next to Me Radar was faulty because a man and his kid sat next to me. I was obsessed throughout Mass that everyone would think we were a family. I am so mature.

Mass started and lo and behold, there was a young, extremely telegenic priest in residence. Hmm. He introduced himself as Father Kane and said that he was formerly a parishioner and he had spent the past six months as a chaplain in Iraq. Lump begins to form.

He was really tall and attractive—sorry to write that about a priest, but HEY, we all read The Thorn Birds. Keep it real!

Sooo, he conducted the Mass and it was really beautiful for some reason to see this tall handsome man with such a pleasant and happy countenance manage all the steeped rituals of the Mass and talk to us like he wasn’t bored out of his tree, you know? Like he made connecting thoughts and related things to one another.

He talked about a sacred oasis in Iraq where Abraham used to rest and how they would take soldiers there. Then he told a couple of stories about the troops and how much it meant to him to minister them. He told about receiving the confession of one of the soldiers who was badly wounded.

Kids, I was moved. I mean here’s this young man taking on the sins and burdens of a fellow man. For some reason it was all resonating with me. Then he said, quite completely earnestly and guilelessly, that he reminded the troops all the time that people back home were praying for them and that our prayers were so important and they were keeping them safe and helping them. Lump reaches critical mass.

Then he looked out into the congregation and said that was it was so nice for him to be home, with his parents and family, and he looked at the scouts and said that he used to sit there just like them, as a scout, in those same pews, when he was a little boy. FORGET IT. It was a very emotional moment.

When he was finished, he turned to walk back to his chair and there was this palpable moment in the church when everyone wanted to clap, but you know, you’re not sure if you should, and then there was just this totally spontaneous burst of applause.

The weather was gorgeous all weekend. Nick made a fort across the street at our neighbors’. Ian and Daisy played out in the backyard. I made a plump oven stuffer roaster for dinner last night. It seemed like Norman Rockwell was waiting in the wings somewhere, all crinkled smile and knowing calm, watching us try to carve our own names into the suburban ideal.

Tomorrow: Cynicism will return in all its bounty. And look for an EXCLUSIVE money shot sent to us from a point FAR, far on the compass…

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Friday, March 10, 2006

Tiki Me Outta Here

I am working on this thing right now that requires my FULL attention (which is why I am procrastinating) and there is a woman who sits near me who plays a constant—CONSTANT—low-level South American jungle beat that sounds cannibalistic, ritualistic, pagan, sacrificial and deeply primal, in a ripping of flesh gnawing of bones kind of way, not in a liberating Mardi Gras voodoo kind of way.

It is replete with these unending, pervasive, frenetic CHANTS that all seem to be leading somewhere Not Very Good. Heart of Darkness sort of thing. And I cannot, FOR THE LIFE OF ME, understand how anyone would choose to listen to something like that AT THE OFFICE because I assure you, there is nothing soothing or relaxing about it. I feel my teeth gnashing in a feral salivating crouch for blood as we speak.

It's not that I am culturally insensitive either. I am practically the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador to every cultural phenomenon that ever existed. But I am drawing the line here.

I mean, I expect to turn a corner and see a patch of bloodied white feathers and a makeshift bamboo altar or something.

And honestly? I am about to go out of my mind. You know, and I don’t really need any HELP with that right now.

But I can’t say anything because, I have had Kennel Cough all week, which has not added favorably to the dulcet tones of the office environ, and I don’t want to be carted off by a coterie of masked men bearing shrunken heads (Think: menacing extras from Gilligan's Island). In addition, it is just "low volume" enough to be determined “considerate,” but annoying enough to be like aural slow water torture.

Maybe I should just don a grass skirt, shake some rhythmic bones and sashay over to a tiki bar for a comforting and obliterating potion to forever erase this AGONIZING perma-primate beat that is starting to reconfigure my central nervous system.

Ya think?

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Movie Night

This movie blew us away last night, “I am David.” I ordered it specifically with Nick in mind, but I just had this feeling that it was going to be something, and it was. And I don’t know if that is just because it really hit a home run with me in terms of where I have “been” this past week or what. I JUST LOVED IT. And Nick was absolutely, purely and completely blown away by it.

He went in skeptically, and what I love about Nick is, he honestly admits when he was wrong at the beginning—he doesn’t hold on to that stubborn kid thing of refusing to like something even though he didn’t initially want it.

He loves Netflix because I think more than anything it is a symbol of special time with his parents. We have had “movie night” with him on Fridays for several years now. At first it was a great solution for carving out time with just him when Ian was a baby, and now it is our steady way of carving out time just for him now that there are two little imps competing for our time and attention.

We get to revert back to the module we used to be, before the Invasion of the Bambini, and we all love it.

The movie is a coming of age movie, in a way. You have to suspend your disbelief, and it is slow in parts, but I gave myself over to the whole thing, fully. Yes, it’s implausible, all of that. But hello! The symbolism overrides that. At the beginning of the movie the kid manages to shinny up a ship’s mooring and stowaway and MZA chided Nick and said, “He’s a pretty brave boy. Could you do that?” And Nick said, “No. But he’s fighting for freedom and that is worth it. So I think I could do it if that’s what I was fighting for.”

No more chiding, eh?

I could see the parts that affected Nick the most were the flashbacks of the boy’s mother and father. The movie reaches this gorgeous crescendo and then out of the beautiful silence comes Damien Rice singing “Cold Water,” and kids, I thought my gentle, Irish heart would pierce through my being. No, seriously. I felt like I had just been blown through time and vapor and I could just feel the tears EXPLODE out of me, but in a nice way.

It has Joan Plowright in it and she will forever remind me of my mother because my mother LOVES HER and ALWAYS refers to her as “That MARVELOUS actress who was married to Lawrence Olivier…you know, Lele…”

Well, I got a strong indication last night why my mother is so daffy for her. And her character reminded me of my mother too, in her ability to observe and laser in on certain people that need a little help being drawn out. She’s really good at that. She gains the boy’s trust and I don’t think any of those messages were lost on Nick.

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Life at the Puppy Mill

Yeah, I guess what’s hard—why is it hard?—is the relentlessness of the whole gig. Like you’re sick, with an annoying cough, the office worker’s version of kennel cough, lightheaded, a little clammy queasy—just this ongoing vague malaise that needs to be in bed, but in deference to The Machine we slog through.

I took four horse pill vitamin C’s this morning; I think that contributed to the queasiness. Coughed up a lung, swallowed some CVS “Tussin” and sort of drifted thru the door amid the cheery sunny faces of my bambini. And the Birthday Boy, MZA. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MZA!!

Yesterday was The Discouraged Project Everything is Broken Opera. The printer was broken, the copier was broken—copies that I had to send FED f%$#@ Ex of course—and kept “jamming” every four pages. I went to the guy that sits in the copier room and I said, “You don’t mind if I shoot myself do you?”

He laughed.

Then he helped me. And laughed as I continued to mutter caustic frightening weird things. He has a good sense of humor and also must like children because I kind of act like a petulant child when Everything Starts to Go Wrong.

I was in and out of teary mode all day long—I don’t know why, who can explain these minor blips of sanity incontinence? I can’t.

OK, so then it’s 5 o’clock and MZA calls and asks when I’m leaving and I realize, oh, Kennel Cough Dog, time to go home. Time to make the donuts.

So I leave, all philosophically dejected and all, and I get on the elevator to go up in the parking garage. And you know what happens next. It stops. Between floors. OH YES IT DOES. And I am banging futilely on all the buttons, uh-oh, here come the tears. And I said, inside my head, “The paramedics are going to have to CUT ME OUT OF HERE with the JAWS OF LIFE because the nervous breakdown has BEGUN."

Pause.

Then the doors opened on the third floor and I got out. And drove home.

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Life, and Art, In the Balance

Juuuuuuuuuuuuust as I was skirting down the pitiless infinite chasm of complete and utter self pity and doom, I found out that one of my colleagues has a really serious illness—and there are small munchkins involved. I saw her in tears in the elevator last week and I knew—I just knew—that it was something serious. I have hypochondria for others, in additon to myself, as it happens. It was a very sobering moment that was preceded by...

Self pity—The Ballet

I was hit in the side of head by this tremendous wave of overwhelmedness as I stood at the kitchen sink last night. Are all women doomed to feel that crippling break with sanity while clutching the chrome outlace of a sink? It seems like it.

I just felt my knees buckle—it was all sideways and the tears just came, from nowhere—tears of complete and utter loss—like please sir, make the merry go round stop, will the merry go round ever stop? Will I ever have an unfettered uncluttered undemanded moment? Will another moment in time ever be mine. Ever? Again?

I think what I miss the most about my former self—before children—is my ability to concentrate. The biggest affront to my mind and my spirits has been the loss of that lovely, seemingly simple, function. The time to laser in and think, to contemplate, to course through subject matter—shit, just to walk through a grocery store with a list in hand and logically pile one product into the basket after another and come home and stack ingredients on a counter and make something.

Or to read a book.

Seriously? People recommend books to me all the time and I cry inside. I know! I too have no patience with people who say they have no time to read! But when I tell you I don’t have the “time” to read a book, it means I don’t have the time and concentration and solitary moment to actually sit down and read a book the way I need to read a book.

Read books! I am JANE BOOK. I am all about The Book. I used to go on vacation and read 9 books. Real books—lengthy lovely classic timely literary books. I don’t read “beach reads,” not because I’m a snob, but because I commit myself wholeheartedly to a book. And I want it to be good and worthwhile.

SO, the never-ending dilemma of my life is this: I have an artistic temperament and certainly an artistic bent in life, but I was blessed and cursed with an ability to manage, function, nay even succeed, in the “real” world.

These are conflicting sides of my nature that I have always been able to manage, after a fashion, by supplementing the creative side with plenty of books and museum trips and theatre and movies. Lots and lots and lots. I mean the ballet, plays—at Arena, the Folger, the Kennedy Center, the Studio theatre, New York!—and then my life became supplanted with obligation and a lack of “extra funds.”

I don’t know. My father was a cultural attaché in the Foreign Service and so my life was filled with events—happy events. Taxis, lunches out, plays, foreign films at Dupont Circle, museums, books, so many things.

So I guess when it is ingrained in you and then you wake up morning after morning to face only the mundane in life, it takes a crummy toll. Because art is the celebration, the explanation, the analysis, the interpretation of life. Art is the side of life I want to inhabit. Even though I can navigate the waters of the mundane so swimmingly.

As I get older I find it harder and harder to reconcile with myself. I never wanted to be one of those people who just read books in college and then that was it.

I think what I am saying is, I NEED TO GO TO THE BALLET. And maybe finish f%$#@ Kite Runner that has been sitting on my bedside table for two years. Under a scrim of steadily increasing dust.

I am locked in a semi permeable membrane of life.

I read the New Yorker and the Washington Post like a religious fanatic. Why? Because the only time I have for culture has been whittled down to what I can practically inhale from those two publications.

That’s sad.

But it’s not as sad as getting a really bad diagnosis. Or being a starving child in…

Americans are really good at perspective. What I want to know is, at what point do you get to bury the Puritanical guilt of actually feeling sorry for yourself because you want your life to be a little better—even tho you are so incredibly blessed with so many things? When is it OK to say, I think I am really depressed because I don’t get to the ballet QUITE enough?

Answer: It is never OK to say that. Just because.

However, I feel a shift in the plates of the earth (internally). Some portion of life—the cosmos, the universe, the inside voice of my insanity, is telling me that something has got to give. Something has got to give.

I left the house absolutely dejected. Dejection: An Ode! (that’s one of my favorite poems). I was driving down my street and the tears just spilled—damn f%$# tears.

The street was packed with walkers, commuters, joggers, while I coasted down, with the Cocteau Twins trying to aurally anesthetize me.

It’s OK. Life is good.

It’s also OK, I think, to ponder, to wonder, to want a little bit more. To break out of the relentless never-ending cycle of being on time and showing up and being dependable and working hard and pitching in and being available.

Jane is going to have to figure it out. Carve out a wee pocket of time in life that is my own. Hire a cleaning service. Start to augment the second act of my life with some pockets of what I was gently trained and guided to love—the ephemeral gauzy artistic reflections and recreations that mirror our daily struggle through a lens of compassion and perspective and stories and laughter and dire news.

Art. Mirrors life. I want the reflection, the chance to consider, concentrate and bask for a little bit.


Excerpts from Dejection: An Ode, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

III

My genial spirits fail;
And what can these avail
To lift the smothering weight from off my breast?
It were a vain endeavour,
Though I should gaze forever
On that green light that lingers in the west:
I may not hope from outward forms to win
The passion and the life, whose fountains are within.

IV

O Lady! we receive but what we give,
And in our life alone does Nature live:
Ours is her wedding-garment, ours her shroud!
And would we aught behold, of higher worth,
Than that inanimate cold world allowed
To the poor loveless ever-anxious crowd,
Ah! from the soul itself must issue forth
A light, a glory, a fair luminous cloud
Enveloping the Earth -
And from the soul itself must there be sent
A sweet and potent voice, of its own birth,
Of all sweet sounds the life and element!

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Monday, March 06, 2006

Ouch!

Oh, it’s a big day! There was the Oscar tragedy last night—quel horreur…Cintra Wilson at salon.com asks the question we are all asking ourselves on this fine and sunny morn:

“How … HOW did Jon Stewart suck so hard?”

Then she ponders this excellent thought:


I wonder if Chris Penn and Shelley Winters had to pass because there was no oxygen for their burning spirits in the airtight Hollywood terrarium this year. I hope Oscar decides to start breathing again soon. I hope America decides to be actually Free again, too, instead of just loudly congratulating itself for having freedom while slowly and sneakily cutting more and more small parts off of it.
I LOVE Cintra Wilson. She and Heather Havrilesky are what make it possible for me to get out of bed most days.

I could tell Jon had flopped within about the first five minutes. I mean, you just sat there like, um, Jon? Dude? Please? It’s time for a laugh now. But as Cintra says, it’s OK because Sasha Cohen taught us you can fall on your ass and still maintain your dignity.

Isn’t that funny? How we all relate everything to Olympic athletes? Like every two years we become this athletically philosophical creed toting mass that looks to SPORTS to inspire us through the deluge.

Why I thought of Olympic athletes only this morning as I struggled through a Kathy Smith exercise video—my elliptical is on the fritz. Why? Because I need it and that is the law of good intentions. Start exercising regularly and EVERYTHING will go wrong. Which is why I started in on my Wide World of Sports/Olympic philosophizing, like, injured skaters still TRAIN, they still GET OUT OF BED on cold frosty morns, NO MATTER WHAT, and they train in pain, in the rain, on the plane and without complain. Blab la bla.

In other news, I received a dispatch from my far flung correspondent Dash Riprock (a nom de plume to protect the innocent). He is in a Country That was in the Path of Bush’s Latest Meet ‘n Greet, so I wrote to ask him if he had a visitation with the Vile One, and this is what he wrote:


Yes, indeed I did get to see The Prez (or as I like to call him, Public Enemy #1) and have to admit that it was pretty exciting. His very pre-prepared speech was full of right-wing religious right drivel and I thought I would gag, but it is a rather once-in-a-lifetime sort of experience.
But here’s the money quote, what we are all REALLY WONDERING:


Laura Bush wears A TON of makeup, has bad liver spots on her hands, wears sensible shoes, and her hair is sort of weird, kind of like a wig or a bad coif from a Tashkent salon krasoti.
Ouch! Dash sure riprocked right into our favorite cat-like librarian goody two shoes! Everyone goes around saying this old tired piece of crap: Well, you might not Like George Bush, but EVERYONE likes Laura Bush. Right? Right?

I don’t like anyone I am “supposed” to like.

And that includes George Clooney. George Clooney nauseates me. Why? Because Tom Shales, one of my favorite journalists, said today in the Washington Post he always looks like the cat who swallowed the canary. To me he looks just looks like the asshole in high school who just got/is currently getting/or is about to get a BLOW JOB.

George Clooney is a walking advert for fellatio and that’s why men are always so “mad” at him for getting all the chicks. They know he doesn’t just “get” the chicks. They know that he is getting massively SUCKED and the women that are all goofball over him know it too. And he is the only man on earth they want to fellate without getting anything in return.

And that is not my kind of man.

Here’s another burning question: Why, WHY does Gil Cates keep inviting Salma Hayek to be a presenter? Why?

I also think I can answer why Brad Pitt left Jennifer Aniston—because a) she is not as pretty as he is, that’s a given, and b) maybe he got sick of hanging around a skinny weightless cipher who has the half-stoned charm of the nicest girl in high school but hardly the gravitas of our couch lipped, little mother, sex/earth/deity, Angelina.

Jen was on the red carpet and one of the wags shot her a real bruiser of a question like, “What movies did you like this year?” And she looked totally thrown, like that question wasn’t on her pre-approved list. I mean thank God he didn’t ask her where Ethiopia was or what Unicef stood for. Geez.

Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Philippe really give me cause for great, great alarm. They seem like John Travolta and Nancy Allen, the nasty teen shitbirds in De Palma’s Carrie. You know? Just kind of mean and devious and popular and tricky. I do not like them Sam I Am. They are having one over on us.

They are having one over on us. Mark my words.

I like Matt Dillon. Because he is cute and seems real and his eyebrows are very evocative. And he had the sense to kick Cameron Diaz to the curb so she could take up with That Thing.

I was dancing to a song last night. Guess who was singing the song? Snoop Dogg AND That Thing, Justin Timberlake.

I know, I get scared of myself sometimes too.

More importantly, Moira threw a SLAM BANG dinner party on Saturday night (with Jon, Sheila, Mary, Martin, Holly, Jeff and Suzanne), so we all got to have our buzz on, Hollywood be damned. We laughed and were smart asses and some people did shots of verrrrrrrdka and we slathered red caviar on crackers and supped on delectably marinated and roasted LAMB.

And it was lovely.

We talked about whether it’s racist to not want the fox, oh excuse me, the Arabs, to guard our henhouses and many other topics, like the Hot Dwarf, Peter Dinklage from The Station Agent, etc. FUN!

And we talked about That Sexy Brussels Lady—everyone likes your blog, hon, and if they didn’t know about it, we touted them on to it.

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Friday, March 03, 2006

Hot Monkey Love: The Dream, the Reality, The Cure

I had a supremely erotic dream last night about John Hurt.
Specifically, John Hurt as he was in Midnight Express. I am such a nerd I usually only have dreams about my actual husband, except for when I am having erotic dreams about Jack Black. Last night it was the full Monty with John Hurt, tho. But first I shaved his face with a straight razor. I guess I wasn’t into the whole “catfish” look, but I was into the whole cat-loving-dope addict-British accent-gig. Lemme just say, who knew John Hurt had such a package!

Anyhoodle, there was absolute flat-out, over-the-top, drooling, vibrating, insane, lord of the rings CHAOS going on at the hacienda this morning. All generated by this little super hero.
Looks angelic, doesn’t he? The li’l bow-shaped mouth, the white-blond locks. But lurking under that padded musculature is a little gremlin/sprite/king of naughtiness. He caused mommy to LOSE IT in stereophonic Technicolor Panavision. Like, I am a little hoarse. From screaming WASH YOUR HANDS! GO DOWNSTAIRS! But mostly, IIIIIIIAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNN STOP IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MZA was in the living room looking, honestly, like a man who had just been thrown from his horse on a medieval battlefield, confused, dazed, holding one shoe, while Nick kept on a steady monologue about how our fish, Bob Dylan, reminds him of a shark when he eats his food because… his fish food smells like other fish, you know why mommy? Mommy? Because he wants to attack other fish so they make his food smell like other fish…MZA was looking for Daisy's other shoe while Ian was set on perma-whine.

I surveyed the scene, as I felt my sanity start to slip out the side door, like, You’re not keeping me in here anymore, bitch, I am OUTTA HERE.

My sanity has left the building.

I said, “Excuse me while I run SCREAMING out the door. Thanks family for making me LOOK FORWARD to work!”

I walked out of the house and I felt like Frances Farmer sort of mid-electroshock therapy—half in, half out. Carrying my #@!&% porcelain coffee cup because I left my metallic one at work. DRAMA!!!!!!!!!!

And really, I don’t think I have written QUITE ENOUGH about how much I hate casual Friday. My whole bed was STREWN with unsuitable detritus: a black blazer, two unwearable black turtlenecks (due to stains), a button-down shirt that does a peek-a-boo thing right at the boobs, a weird stupid “ballet neck” shirt I bought when I was high on crack from Eddie Bauer, and other myriad unwearable tragedies. I finally settled on…hmmm…WHAT I WEAR EVERY CASUAL FRIDAY. Some puce green button-down shirt that I can’t find a matching necklace for.

Changed jeans, give or take, 8 trillion times because all the $#$@@! Jeans from Old Navy cut you right at the ever-so-attractive point of your tummy—right at the BAGEL AND CREAM CHEESE level—causing a dollop of flesh to seductively heave over the side—flab overboard! That is seen beneath the button down, so I have to dig deep—go for the gold—the strrrrrrrrrrretch Gap jeans that are a little more forgiving on this post-spaghetti morn.

It’s a sunny day. It’s Friday. I finally came to a realization that while I have been mentally ill most of my life, it was nothing a consistent diet of hot monkey love couldn’t cure!

Put that in your crack pipe and smoke it.

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

War, Art, Possibility and Subconscious Expressions

It’s not a good sign when George Will, the conservative’s conservative, is pissed and wary about the president and the war. I happen to love George Will—hear me out—because he is so fucking smart. I think he’s a pompous ass and I don’t agree with most of his politics, but I will take my hat off every single time for someone who can think and express himself as lucidly as he can. I have had this conflicted contradictory thing for George Will since high school. I feel like I am outing myself. This article is a prime example of how he sets his opinions in brilliant historical context and pulls no punches. He writes, “…the distinction drawn by the U.S. official in Iraq who, evidently looking on what he considers the bright side, told Eliot Cohen of Johns Hopkins, ‘This isn't a war. It's violent nation-building.’” Then he writes about the catch-22 of our soldiers who are “…blamed by an Iraqi population that is being infantilized by displacing all responsibilities onto the American occupation.”

George Will, Rhetoric of Unreality

Which leads me to art. I loved this piece because it shows what the seeds of all these “overprogrammed kids” might be sowing. Hmm, kids who are breaking right out of the gate into areas they want to work in! They asked one of the artists if she was concerned about having success this early in her career and she said she’s been taking art classes since she was 10. For olde Clydesdales like me, who are still struggling with the muse and trying to find a true place in life amid the unrelenting conflicts and demands on time and the tyranny of trying to manage the capitalist scheme, all the while staying true to some kind of artistic spirituality, this made me happy for the future generations. That maybe by being true to their talents and desires they won’t be caught in this never-ending vortex of partial dissatisfaction and unease known as this compromised adulthood.

Talk of the Town, The New Yorker

Then this made me sad. Sad to the core of my being because, I have often thought the scars of what has happened to us under this presidency will only come to us in art and in historical context. Because we are in the process of going through trauma and we don’t even realize it. Our whole nation is like a dreamer trying to scream in the night—mute, frustrated, unheard and not sure if we will ever be able to break through the illusion back into a world where things move when we touch them. This article is about how our collective subconscious is responding to the atrocities we are actively perpetrating overseas and about the daily internal strife we feel at this man who is leading our country into certain disaster while we all stand by, like the radiated victims of Hiroshima, unable to run fast enough or through the scrim hard enough to make the perceived fantastical illusion stop.

Red White and Bleak. The Whitney Biennial, By Blake Gopnik

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

From Here to Eternity

Lord have MERCY! Jane has been on quite an adventure this morning. I always have jobs where I feel like Zelig—I pop in and out of all these weird yet fascinating scenarios.

This morning I had to be up and at ‘em so I could help out with a HUGE conference at Our Client’s Mothership. This is a really cool conference—it’s all over the news right now--but loathe would I be to identify it directly. We’ll just leave it at that.

Anyhoo, the Client Mothership is the mother of ALL Motherships and I have never really navigated its “ship” solo. So I got up at 5:00 a.m. And went downstairs and, because the Clydesdale has been feeling a little impinged upon lately, she had some oatmeal. And some coffee. And read the paper a little bit. And then looked at the clock and it was 5:35. Shit! Then 5:45. Still in my robe. Glass of orange juice. I NEED MY POTASSIUM, DAMMIT.

Take a shower. Get dressed whilst MZA semi-slumbers crankily—he’s mad because I make so much noise in the morning, etc. etc. However the Law of Mornings goes: If I bloody hell have to get up this early, I’m taking no prisoners.

I sandblast the Clinique products into place—maybe a li’l too much mascara? Cabaret anyone? Willkommen and beinvenue? With a touch of Roy Scheider in “All That Jazz” thrown in. IT’S SHOWTIME! Gimme a little soft-shoe…

Suddenly it’s 6:24 and I am supposed to be AT THE MOTHERSHIP at 7:00 a.m. And I gotta go through two rounds of security AND PARK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have I become arrogant in my old age? Ignoring time like a diva?

I blend into the Beltway traffic, glide up some avenues, jog over a little and come to the Ship. I get to the security gate and glide thru—I have a “special badge” that is sort of like a decoder ring. Wave her through, she’s fine! HELLO DOLLY via Maxwell Smart!

I am terrified there won’t be parking. I drive right up to the huge building where the conference will be and I just pull in no problem. Hmmm. Then I breeze thru building security—look at that badge!!!

This was an all-hands-on-deck-command-performance kind of thing, so I helped out with anything and everything, but mainly finding people’s badges. Oh my. See I have a little “alphabet” problem, not to be confused with my “numbers” problem. I literally have alphabet dyslexia. And we had a lot of imperious dames on our hands!! Oh, indeedy we did.

We also had lots of Very Bad Plastic Surgery—I told my colleague it was a cautionary tale, as in: Don’t do it! Unless you want to look like a cat who’s been to a drunk taxidermist.

Furthermore, as I pointed out to my colleague, I think the idea behind plastic surgery is to preserve something WORTH PRESERVING. It’s not time to make those Helen Gurley Brown dreams come true—uh-uh. Basically, if you’ve got a face that’s worth the investment, then go fer it. If you don’t, suck it up. That's why they invented Valium--so you can relax and forget you're aging.

Oooooooooooooooooooo we had some imperious ladyloves on our hands. I saw one who was haughtily surveying the scene and I looked at her and thought, “I see your imperious bitch, and I RAISE YOU.”

Pass Lady Bracknell another cucumber sandwich.

And lemme just say this: If you are standing behind an “official table,” people just want to ASK QUESTIONS. I don’t care about what; they just want to ask them. Like, “I can’t get any reception for my cell phone down here. Do you think it’s better upstairs?”

I witnessed so many fascinating psychological tics and weirdnesses. One of the young members of our staff came up to me and said, “It’s like their whole world is crushed if we don’t have a badge for them.” And it’s true! People approach the table with the expectation that SOMETHING WILL BE WRONG and you feel the pressure and you search, and you get this pit in your stomach, like, “Oh shit, there is not a badge for this person,” and they look sideways like, I KNEW this would happen...story of my life…"It’s H-A-N-S-O-N…” and you’re thinking, Well if you spelled it “H-A-T-F-I-E-L-D" then we’d have a badge for ya! But you don’t! Soooooooooo, "Onsite registration is at the end of the table." And you motion toward the slum, the ghetto portion of the table, and they look at it like you are sending them to a manure heap for lunch. All pursed lips and torqued countenance.

It’s tough. It’s tough, kids. Then we had the Grand Poobah High Finicky Priestess. She was the prizewinner extraordinaire! So Huffy! So Pissed! So Indignant! Everything was ALL WRONG! Does Sylvia Hyde-Pierce-Plucked-Butt know about this? Well! When she finds out…” Yeah, right. We’re all quaking in our boots. NEXT!

I was EXHAUSTED. It’s a workout dealing with the public. And I must say, 85% of them were adorable and polite and sweet. Of course it’s the difficult ones that stick in your craw.

I stopped at Caribou coffee on the way back in because I was DESPERATE for a “treat,” a little soft cushion amid the drudgery, and I ordered a “shot” of hazelnut in it. I think just for the fun of ordering a “shot” of anything. Like I was in a saloon in the Wild West.

Gimme a shot Harry. Make it a double…

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Cynicism is another word for reality

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