Monday, March 27, 2006

When I Dream

I dream of
Spring gardens dancing with poppies and daisies.
Of days in a row missing tears and empty echoes.

I dream of
Lazy summer days, ice cubes, sliced lemons and honey.
Of laughing between kisses and tag with a garden hose.

I dream of
Autumn trails fire-painted from the earth to the sky.
Of the sureness of your hand in mine, mine in yours.

I dream of
Winter crisp smoke rising from chimneys on rooftops.
Of the delicious indulgence of knowing your smile.

Friday, March 24, 2006

It's Friday

... and I'm so damn glad.

(Hooray for the weekend! Hooray for pay day! Hooray for my new bed!)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I Hate My Job

Sometimes this world of ours seems bent upon taking us down. Little by little, insults and injuries tear away at our defenses. Such things drain us of our energy and feed our self-doubts. Brutality, sorrow, greed, oppression, ignorance and cruelty seem to be everywhere. And even when the attacks aren’t personal, simply bearing witness to such negativity can wear on one’s soul. It’s a good thing we have each other. If we didn’t, we’d surely be lost.

No matter how bad it gets, it’s not nearly as bad when you know you’re not alone.
Brutality loses its ability to bruise when a tender word lingers in your ear.
Sorrow doesn't feel as heavy when held in the loving embrace of a friend.
Greed isn’t as devastating because of the gifts we share.
Oppression shatters to pieces at the sound of our genuine laughter.
Ignorance is overshadowed by wisdom when we see beauty through the eyes of another.
And the barbarism of Cruelty isn’t so frightening when my fingers are laced between yours.

In the end, it’s all about LOVE. If I weren’t loved so well ... if I didn’t love so well ... I’d never find the strength to walk out the door every day.

*Kisses* to you who I love … all of you.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Sign of Things to Come

Throughout our lives, we mark our growth and accomplishments with symbols. When we were little, our parents scratched marks on the wall to show how much we’d grown. As we grew older, we gathered trophies, diplomas and titles to mark our way. Some symbols come to us naturally, like gray hair, wrinkles, or kicking the kids out ... ooops, I mean launching the kids into adulthood. Others we invent, like wedding rings, body art and a second mortgage. As for myself, I’m currently embarking on a major change in my life. It involves claiming space and independence. My symbol for this change is a beautiful antique bed. This bed will be mine and mine alone.

Last weekend I bought a new mattress for my bed. This coming weekend I’m going to my sister’s house to pick up the bed itself. I feel excited, the way I felt when I got my first car or my first pair of pink high heels. The bed is an important symbol of how far I’ve come and where I’m going. It reminds me of the importance of comfort, freedom, and privacy.

It seems like there should be some sort of ritual or celebration to mark this momentous acquisition. If I’d gotten a ship, we’d smash a bottle of champagne over her bow. If I’d bought a new car, we’d take her for a spin and see how fast she could go. With a bed, the idea of breaking her in seems obvious, but I’m unattached at the moment and unwilling to engage in a casual fling.

* Sigh *

Perhaps I’ll get a good book and a nice bottle of Chablis.

Friday, March 17, 2006


Soft rain
Nourishing a parched soul
I open my arms to heaven
Welcoming such a tender rain

Hard rain
Never quite quenching
I bare my shivering skin
Needing more to ease the pain

A mighty fearsome force
Flooding all my senses
Drowning in my desperation

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Death in the Mojave, or Why I'm in Awe of People Who Don't Kill Their Kids

(Re-posted from November, 2004)

As the eldest child, one of the ways I amused myself while growing up was to devise new ways to make my brother and sister scream. While I was always pleased with this game, my parents didn’t find it quite so amusing. One such time nearly killed us.

It was the Great Family Vacation of 1974. I was 9, my sister was 7 and my brother was 5. The parents decided we would live the American Dream. We packed up the two-door Chevelle (with no air conditioning) and began the trip from Cedar Falls, Iowa to Los Angeles, California. Destination: Disneyland!

Each day we would drive for a hundred hours (kid time), stop and see some historical/educational shit, drive some more, and then spend the night at a motel. Mom was wise about insisting the motel have a pool. She could relax with a cocktail at poolside while her car-crazed offspring burned off enough energy to pass-out before she did.

Several days into the trip, somewhere between Yellowstone and Los Angeles, I found myself bored and seeking amusement in the backseat of the wretchedly hot car. Although tensions were as high as the temperature, my egocentric little 9-year old ADHD mind could have cared less. I completely ignored the random warnings from my father about making us walk to Disneyland if we didn’t settle down. Instead, I searched my little micro-world for anything more interesting than looking out the window at the fucking desert.

Our Barbies and Ken doll were spread chaotically across the back window. As a testament to the heat, Barbie had turned a golden peach color in the sun. I looked from peachy-Barbie to little brother’s Ken doll and finally settled on my plan. It occurred to me that Ken would look fantastic in Barbie’s chiffon ball gown and matching tiara. While brother was distracted, I stealthily turned macho Ken into a stunning cross-dressing Princess. Proud of my success and creativity, I presented the new and improved Ken to the rest of my sweaty clan. However, little brother was not as impressed as one would have thought. So, while little sister and I immediately began the ever-popular, keep a-way game, brother launched into blood-curdling screams.

That was the proverbial last straw. The car pulled over to the shoulder of the highway and my father got out. Everyone instantly became silent; except for mother, who turned about to give us a hastily whispered "I told you not to push your father too far" mini lecture. We knew she was really saying that conditions had gone beyond her ability to protect us. As we pondered if one or all of us would get a spanking right there on the side of the road, Dad slowly re-opened the door.

"Get out." he said calmly.We were frozen, hoping if we didn’t move he would forget we existed."All of you. Get out of the car." he repeated.

I was the first one out. I quickly moved past him, in case one of his huge hands meant to crack me on the ass as part of the punishment. My brother and sister joined me, hovering close, as if I was now their great protector.

Dad got back in the car. He turned to Mom and she nodded as he turned over the ignition and put the Chevy into gear. The three of us stared blankly at the tires which were actually moving. He leaned out the window, and with a surprizingly pleasant look on his face said, "I warned you that you’d have to walk if you didn’t settle down."

As we watched the car slowly pull ahead of us, brother began to whimper and sister began to wail. We shared the same fear. Soon, we would all be dead from multiple rattlesnake bites. The only thing to do was chase the car and hope we made it to Disneyland before dark. So with the car moving slowly ahead of us, and narrowly avoiding many imaginary rattlesnake attacks, we walked . . . and our parents finally had a chance to enjoy the scenery.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


"All humans are out of their fucking minds … They're not only disturbed. They get disturbed about their disturbances." Albert Ellis, PhD

Monkey-Man and I moved in together about 14 years ago. We’d been dating for about a year and had enjoyed a very sweet and gentle courtship. There’s no doubt in my mind that we were a good match for each other at that time in our lives.

One of the things I found most endearing about Monkey-Man, was his thoughtfulness and consideration, especially when it came to me. There was never a time that I doubted his feelings. There was never a time that I was concerned about his intentions. He always had my best interests at heart. I tried very hard to be the same for him.

About two months after we moved in together, Monkey-Man was working on a very important theater project. He and the other actors decided to do an over-night jam session in order to hammer out some of the tough stuff (If I remember correctly, it was Mamet’s American Buffalo … definitely tough). He’d be gone all day and return some time the following day … late afternoon or evening. That was fine with me. I’d miss him, but I accepted and understood his passion for theater.

Around noon the following day I started wondering about him. It was very unlike him to be gone for so long without calling. Eh …I let it go and busied myself with household chores and such.

Around 3:00, I had the same thought, but I added to it the fact that all the other actors were irresponsible dumbasses who drank a lot and did who knows what else. I tried to let it go, but I wondered if Monkey-Man had gotten caught up in the party atmosphere and forgot to call or come home. I decided it was really too early in the day to start worrying about such things. He’d probably walk through the door any minute.

Around 6:00, I started doubting myself. I wondered if I’d misunderstood. Was he going to be gone one night or two nights? I was sure it was just the one night. So where was he? Why hadn’t he called? Should I wait on dinner, or eat without him? This was so unlike him not to call and check in. Was he someplace without a phone?

By 8:00, little crazy thoughts had started to work their way into my mind. Where was he? What was keeping him from calling or coming home? Why hadn’t he called? He always called. He’d never let me worry about him this way. Something bad must have happened.

By 9:00, I was in full-blown crazy mode. My Monkey-Man was in a drunken-drug-induced coma. Or more likely, he’d gotten into a car with one of those drunken fools and they were killed in a terrible accident. His mutilated broken body was mixed in with a mass of twisted car bits along Interstate 270. That was the only reasonable explanation. He'd never ever ever be thoughtless and inconsiderate … NO, NOT EVER. He never had been before, so how could he be now? What else could I conclude? My Monkey-Man was dead.

By 9:30 I was sitting in the middle of the living room floor sobbing my eyes out. It was so tragic. He was so young and beautiful. We were just beginning our life together. How on earth was I going to tell his parents that their beloved son was dead?

… and I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.

At 10:00 Monkey-Man finally came home. He saw me crying on the floor and immediately came to me and asked what was wrong. When I told him, he felt terrible. He didn’t call me crazy (but I saw the look on his face), and he explained that he’d simply lost track of time and didn’t know that I expected a call. When he said the words out loud, they seemed so reasonable and SANE.

Since that time, I’ve vowed to avoid catastrophizing like that again. I’m usually successful in stopping myself before I get to the "mutilated broken body … along Interstate 270" part, but I can still be a crazy idiot sometimes. In fact, I did it again this weekend. There was no death, dismemberment or destruction, but I tip-toed on the edge of loopy-land for a little while.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Absence of Loneliness

I don’t remember why I was ever with him. He didn’t treat me well, the sex was bad, and I cried a lot. Maybe I only stayed for the absence of loneliness. I thought I needed somewhere to go, a number to call, someone who seemed to give a shit.

He’d get high almost every night, and when he did, he’d start telling me how to live my life. His own life was in shambles, but he always knew exactly what I should do. In his self-righteous tone he’d say, "You know Theresa, you should really think about getting a different job. That place you’re working now is sucking the life out of you."

I’d nod, knowing that defending my job would only lead to more unsolicited advice. I’d turn away and smile small, knowing that he was jealous of my work friends, especially one young man who enjoyed my company. He’d go on and on about how I should get different friends because the ones I had weren’t smart enough to waste my time with. He’d tell me where I went wrong in all my past relationships. When he really got going, he’d complain about spending time with my family, apologizing as soon as he saw me flinch.

Eventually, he’d put on a record and allow his stoned mind to sink into Dylan or Stravinsky. I’d watch him carefully and free myself from the weight of his arm when the time was right. Once unburdened, I’d use the opportunity to find the comfort and warmth I desired. I’d sneak into the bathroom, lock the door and immerse myself in the beautiful over-sized clawfoot bathtub. When filled with herb-scented bubbles, it welcomed me, supported me, and surrounded me with softness.

I’d soak in the tub, resting my neck on its smooth rounded edge. Leaning back, my thoughts dissolved into the friendly shapes of the peeling yellow water-stained ceiling. There was a dancer, an antelope, a shaggy dog and a long crooked ladder. I’d sigh with relief when I heard the sound of his deep heavy sleep-breathing on the other side of the door. Then, I was assured of as much time as I wanted. If he didn’t wake up to piss, I could stay in my water cradle all night.

When I was really brave and sure of his sleep, I’d use the shower attachment to masturbate. Those were the only orgasms he ever gave me. His breathing on the other side of the locked door allowed this brief pleasure of hot pulsing water and release.

I left him seven times in a year. The six times I returned, he welcomed me with kisses and heartfelt gladness. At those times it was okay to say, "Baby, I’ve had a long, hard day. Do you mind if I take a bath for a while?" Sometimes I even left the door unlocked.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


I looked at my watch as the library copy machine ate the last of my nickels. Such was the life of a student before the days of the internet. Look up all the reference articles, wander the stacks to collect the bound journals, haul armloads downstairs (but not on the elevator because it smelled like piss), copy them page by page, and leave the pile of volumes for some poor work study student to put away later.

It was Saturday night and nearly everyone else was downtown at the bars. I contented myself with the fact that all my diligence and sacrifice would be worth it in the end. I’d make something of myself. I’d make my mark on the world in some significant way. I wasn’t sure how, but for tonight, I just hoped to dig through my stack of photocopies and make sense of my biology assignment. I looked at my watch. I had 10 minutes to walk over to the Med Labs building to meet my roommate.

Breathing heavily, I leaned against the 3rd floor wall with my backpack slung over my shoulder. David was late, but I didn’t dare go looking for him. He was in the Cadaver Lab slicing on some poor dead person, trying to learn something about the living. Someday he’d be a doctor, save lives, and make the world a better place. He loved the Cadaver Lab. It gave me the creeps whenever he brought it up, but I knew better than to say anything. He’d find too much pleasure in taunting me if he knew it bothered me. It was bad enough that we had a human skeleton in our living room. We’d named him Gandi and let him eat breakfast with us because he looked so thin.

Five minutes went by before I started pacing. The hallway was empty. Everyone else was downtown at the bars having a good time. After a while a cleaning woman came by with a broom and a garbage can on wheels. She was short, fiftyish and frumpy-looking. I didn’t give her a welcoming look, but she started talking to me anyway. I suppose the Saturday night shift in the academic buildings could get pretty boring.

"I clean this whole building by myself every weekend, you know."
"Is that right?" I indulged.
"Yep. Other people have teams of two, but I guess they think I can do this all on my own." She said with a note of complaining, but mostly pride.
"You must be very good at your job."
"I suppose. I’ve been here for almost 22 years. I guess I know my way around."
"Wow. That’s a long time to be at one place." I said sincerely.
"My son just got himself a really good job."
"Oh yeah, what’s he doing?"
"He’s working for the DOT. They have him driving a truck around and picking up roadkill off the highways."
I blinked a couple times as the idea sunk in. "Huh, I guess I never thought about who did that job."
She said with more pride, "It’s a really important job, and he gets good benefits and everything."

About that time, David came walking out of the Cadaver Lab. He shouted down the hall, "I have a powerful craving for some kidney pie! How about you?" I shook my head and excused myself.

Later, as we shared a cheese pizza, I asked, "Do you ever wonder who goes around and cleans up all the roadkill off the highways? When you think about it, that’s a really important job."

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

You're a Big Fat Liar

A while back, I was chatting with a friend. We were discussing the nature of relationships and debating the idea of long-term monogamy. He was completely against it, choosing serial monogamy or multiple open relationships instead. He said, "All relationships are doomed. Sooner or later one of the people will lie. After that he/she resents the other person for making them lie. The lie starts the process, but it’s the resentment about the lie that ultimately causes the death of the relationship."

Anyone who claims to be completely honest all the time is a big fat liar. Everyone has done it but often we’re afraid to admit it, especially to the people we feel closest to. If we admit to lying, we’re guilty of betrayal. If we keep it to ourselves, our secret dishonesty creates internal conflict, guilt and emotional distance.

We lie for a whole lot of reasons.
We don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings, so we lie to protect them.
We lie to make ourselves look better.
We lie to avoid the consequences of the truth.
We lie because sometimes it seems easier than being honest.
We lie to get what we want.
We lie simply to amuse ourselves.
And sometimes
we lie because we wish our lie were the truth.

The most destructive lies are the ones we tell ourselves. We tell ourselves these lies for the same reasons we’re dishonest with others. Unfortunately, we’re stuck with our lying selves forever. We’re stuck with the dissonance between who we are and who we want to be. The only way out is to find the strength and courage to face our own truth. Without that truth, we’re doomed to a worse fate ...... ignorance and loneliness.