Tuesday, December 30, 2003

so many things we really don't control

My father grows less and less capable of using his right hand, a situation that I understood the doctors thought might have something to do with one of the chemotherapy drugs he was taking. So last week, they did an MRI on his brain. As of last night, when I had a rather clumsy phone conversation with my mother from the dripping stairway of the Civic Center BART station after a dance class, the results aren't back. Other than the news that he has carpal tunnel in both hands from so much keyboarding (he's fine at the computer, it's handwriting and gripping objects that fail him), we don't know anything yet.

The fear, of course, is that the cancer has metastasized and gone to his brain. I rather wish I would have had today free to really think about that, but I'd already promised Poi I'd go help him look at fabric for curtains. Strangely enough, this makes two days of the past three that I've spent most of the day helping a man shop, which is a whole 'nother thing, but I won't go there right now. So instead of sitting and letting myself have a reaction to the possibility, I've talked about it--briefly--with a few people. Mostly in the context of, well heck, I don't think I'm going to go look for an apartment yet after all, I think I'm going to see about putting all my stuff in storage and heading back to Detroit for a spell.

In some ways I'm totally prepared. It's frustrating to not have a "real" job with benefits and the kind of income I covet (especially after spending two days watching my employed friends shop, and wishing I could spend money without thinking about it so much), but the flip side is that if I need to jump, I can. Relatively easily, outside of the logistics of my stuff. If I leave the area for a while, it's not like my vaunted, much-beloved career as a waitress is going to be forever lost, for example. I made a point of trying to keep my life loose so I would have the flexibility to go home if I needed to.

What's getting me is that somehow, I still thought we had more time. And maybe we do, who knows? This could be some relatively benign thing (many things become benign when you compare them to cancer) and we could be worrying unnecessarily. For that matter, if it has gone to his brain, it can still be beaten. They have technology for that. But. But. But. Up until now the fact that my father has made it as long as it has can be attributed, as much as anything else, to will--my mother's in particular, but dad's as well, and that of his doctors, some of whom are phenomenal people by any standard. My mother was the one who first noticed that something was weird with dad's voice and made him see the doctor who found the first tumor, and like the warrior she is, she has pushed steadily for two years. I pity the doctor, pharmacist, or assistant who has given less than their all to the project of healing my dad and had to contend with my mother.

No. Scratch that. I don't pity them at all. I'm impressed as hell with my mom, and I don't think my father could have a greater champion. As the cancer has burned away the superfluous in him, revealing him as a manifestation of grace, it has done a similar thing to her; every day she becomes more clearly the embodiment of love. Not necessarily that pinkish, lacy kind. The harder, fiercer kind that comes in darker, more saturated colors; the sort you might find inside the body where this fight is taking place.

Her strength; and his equilibrium; and the doctors with their radiation, and bags of fluid, and pills that cost more per ounce than most street drugs; and whatever little I have done and will do (mostly finding ways to stuff him full of calories, peeling potatoes and grating cheese without crying). All of these things taken together still serve as no guarantee that we are really in control of anything. We do our best to slow it down, to distract it, to cut away what we can and stifle what we can't.

But none of this means we can plan or anticipate. It's not like figuring out what classes you're going to take to fulfill your major, and in what order. It's not like breaking a project down into steps and ticking off the steps as we complete them. Cancer does what it wants, when it wants, on its own quixotic schedule.

I hope to hell this isn't what we're afraid it is. I am not ready.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

nihongo ga joozu ja arimasen

Something that's bumming me out about moving out of my place is that I'm really enjoying Ohayoo. He has a friend visiting from Shizuoka, and she and I tried to have a conversation this morning while Ohayoo laughed and stirred fried rice at the stove. I studied Japanese for a couple of years in college, but it's all gone now; of all the things I've stuffed into my brain in the past thirty-odd years, why did I have to hold on to all those cereal commercial theme songs and lose the Japanese?

Anyway, Sayaka is a charming young woman, she likes the Haight-Ashbury very much, and hopefully tomorrow it won't be raining. That's the grand sum total of our communication. After she left the kitchen, Ohayoo turned around and said, "I'm listening, but I'm trying not to help." I couldn't tell which of us he was trying to force to practice--Sayaka her English, or me my Japanese? It turned out that he was making some kind of fried rice with Spam and things. He let it cool, and then he made four little packets shaped like pie wedges by filling a square of plastic wrap with rice, and then swiftly shaping it with his hands. When I asked, he told me he was bringing them to a friend who has to work in an office today, as a treat. What a sweetie!

My friend Risk, the only person I really keep in touch with from high school, is coming through town on the 31st. He has an 11-hour layover between Washington and Australia, and several friends in the Bay Area he wants to see, so he's going to BART into the Mission and hang out in a coffeeshop for a few hours, hold court. Introduce us to each other. I'm getting excited to see him. Risk and I had the kind of friendship that you usually see among girls--you know, hanging out on the phone all night, "you hang up first," "no you", like that. And then he graduated and I didn't see him for eleven years, until I needed a place to recuperate in Europe and he was working in Brussels, so I visited him there.

The thing that impressed both of us was that it was if those years hadn't passed. He met me at the train station, and of course I'd worried that I wouldn't recognize him, but he looked pretty much the same. And conversationally, we picked up pretty much where we'd left off at the wedding of a mutual friend--when I was 18. Of course, we had a lot to catch up on, but it was really nice to see that he was at heart the same decent, intelligent person he'd always been.

Brussels was an interesting visit all the way around. I was recovering from a bad Lariam experience, so I spent a lot of time in Risk's flat with his cats, working my way through his chocolate stash and his science fiction novels. Occasionally I would go out and take pictures of decorative ironwork (which I look at with great puzzlement today), eat pitas stuffed with corn, and visit galleries specializing in African art. It's a mixed thing, that last; I loved being able to see those pieces, but my awareness that they came to be in Belgium as a result of a particularly bloody colonial presence (King Leopold was anything but benign) was sobering. I also toured a chocolate museum, made the obligatory visits to the statues of peeing children, and got to see a solar eclipse (the photos of which I'm much happier with than those of the ironwork). I highly recommend Brussels for anyone who's getting worn out with Europe--the pace isn't so crazy, and you don't feel like you have to move-move-move the whole time you're there. Also, they have fruit-flavored beer.

It will be good to see Risk, and then go to my friends' parties. Last year's New Year was an awkward, anxious, and ultimately sad affair that ended in my driving a retching, viral E back from Santa Cruz and getting dumped a few days later after he'd recovered enough to do it. This whole month has been saturated with sadness, I'll be glad to have done with it. Having my friends around is making a huge difference.

Monday, December 22, 2003


I've lived here too long.

I just sat through two earthquakes, the first a 4.7, the second a 6.5, without a reaction. They were down in Central Cal, of course; pretty weak up here, but still. There's no way of knowing that when you feel the first one. Sometimes the second's a lot bigger, and of course there are aftershocks.

I was sitting on my little bed, with my little red plastic IKEA bed table popped up over my legs, working on my laptop. When the shaking started, I thought, gee, I guess I should go stand in the doorway.

Or at least I should probably blow that candle out.

Naw. I'd have to move the computer and everything, and I'm almost done with this paragraph.

Weird few days here. Strange electrical fields, maybe, a disturbance in the force. Two nights ago the lights went out as we were getting a party set up for some wealthy regular clients. They flipped, we stayed calm; most of our cooking is done with Sterno anyway, and if you're accustomed to regularly staging elaborate parties in temporary locations, working by candlelight in a real kitchen is still an improvement on being in a tent in a parking lot. The power went out all over the city, and hasn't come back everywhere yet; there were still lights out downtown last night and around Civic Center. Cops directing traffic. I'm also noticing that my WiFi connection has been really patchy this session. I should stop re-reading the 'Invisibles' graphic novels ArchitectX has been feeding me; I'm seeing ultraterrestrial conspiracy everywhere. Tom Ridge sees terrorists, I see Archons.

Anyway, the USGS has a cool site where you can find out about your earthquake in real time, and tell them about your experience of it for their calculations. So far, I'm the only person who's responded from this zip code. I am amazed. I mean, you'd think everyone would drop everything to touch base with the USGS, you know, check in.

Which reminds me. Last night, AX and I were driving around, trying to find Picasso's house. "Look!" I said, pointing, and feeling a lot like a little kid. "Airstreams! Two of them!"

"And people ask why I like you," he said.

I know it's hard for some folks to follow my mind. When I visualize my mind, it's a sort of shiny greenish bird that's been fed too much caffeine and can't hold still. My mom's the same way; long ago we had to cut a deal with my father that we would make some kind of noise, like the car backing-up beep, to indicate that the subject had changed, so he didn't get lost. He's an intelligent man, is Dad, but his mind is a very different animal.

So AX and I finally found Picasso, who marched us at gunpoint to a Moroccan tapas sort of place and forced us to eat delicious things like prawns grilled with lemon-sumac gremolata. AX's best friend and her affianced were there, exhausted from a day of nesting, and the five of us had the sort of conversation that my little green bird loves. I couldn't really keep up, however; I was still suffering from pre-holiday-get-shit-done sleep dep, two hours trudging in circles through the Dickens Faire dressed like a nineteenth-century Romani (the important detail here being that I was doing it in boots that don't care for the floor of the Cow Palace, even covered in sawdust), an intense play about wrongly accused people on death row, and then rushing around watching AX do his holiday shopping. Fortunately nobody else seemed to be firing on all their cylinders either; but as Pavlova noted, as long as one person at the table knew the answer to whatever esoteric question had been raised, we were fine. We're not quite ready to field a Trivial Pursuits team, however, as none of us know anything about sports.

Now that I've turned in my piece about fad diets (do not EVEN get me started on Olestra) the week stretches ahead of me without a single work commitment. I can't even begin to fathom it. I haven't had this much time to myself in months. Tomorrow I'm going down the coast a piece, stay in a youth hostel a couple of nights, go out and visit the otters and egrets and elephant seals at Ano Nuevo. This is the elephant seal breeding season, which is about as noisy a spectacle as you might imagine. They migrate, you know; they've been spotted as far north as Alaska, so when they do come to land they hang out and get fat to prepare themselves for months in the cold water. I'm bringing all the silliest books I can find, none of which will be about theater or dieting, and I'm going to read in the sand dunes and draw bad pictures of birds. Merry flippin' Christmas! I did roughly the same thing last year, around Thanksgiving, and it was so restorative. I had two conversations in three days--one with the elephant seal expert, and one with a fellow hosteller about environmentally sound building practices. Otherwise I was quiet and still and loved it. This year I understand that the hot tub is working (!), better and better.

I suppose before I go, I should move as much of my stuff out of the house and into my studio as I can, so that I'm not coming back to face that particular task, but I am feeling supremely unmotivated to do anything more complicated than microwaving a Gardenburger and going back to bed.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

five golden toques

I wish you could hear Princess doing his mother's voice saying, "I just love Christmas music. I wish we could listen to it all year!" Princess is one of the sweetest, best people I know, hands down, and even when he's catty it's not like a nasty big cat, it's more like a fluffy kitty with a bow in its fur (god, he's going to shoot me). Even making fun of his mom, he does it lovingly.

Every year at this time, I've got this in my head.

Yesterday, I had the music itself pouring endlessly all over me. I try to stay out of stores after, oh, Halloween, to avoid the 1001 Strings versions of Little Drummer Boy and all the rest of it, but I really needed some office supplies. So there I was in Staples, gritting my teeth through the third version of "Let It Snow" they have on their tape over there and remembering my one professional foray into Yuletide retail, lo those many years ago when I worked at the Stonestown mall one Xmas. Ugh.

And then something came on I could relate to. I wonder if anyone else automatically substitutes "five golden toques" when they hear "The Twelve Days of Christmas"? Does anyone else remember Doug and Bob MacKenzie? Hey hoser, am I totally showing my age?

I feel like I'm also showing my provenance. Like, having this meme stuck in me will further the fiction that I'm Canadian. I didn't know this, but apparently the word "washroom" is a shibboleth indicating Canadianhood, and I regularly use "washroom". Growing up on the border confuses the issue, I guess.

Feeling particularly inane today. I had all these things I wanted to write about, but then I visited the raunchy, hilarious Pussy Ranch and she's so funny that I'm just feeling, well, maybe I'd better go take my shower and get ready for work and let someone else be amusing today.

Hark the herald angels and all that.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

I love candy

The troublemakers over at Misanthropicity have posted something that's tickling me. For your delectation, a fable
all-time favorite hits I don't own

Just between you and I. Don't tell, some of these are embarrassing.

Golden Earring, Twilight Zone
Howard DeVoto, The Rainy Season
Ocean Blue, The Captain of Her Heart
Alphaville, Big in Japan
whoever it was that did Lunatic Fringe
The Divinyls, I Touch Myself
A-Ha, Take on Me
Live, pretty much their whole first album
The Eagles, Hotel California
Gipsy Kings, Hotel California (see a pattern? no?)
Almost everything Adam Ant ever did, or at least up to and including Friend or Foe. After that, he pretty much jumped the shark with Viva le Rock, and whatever the one was right before that.

I'm trying to decide if it's worth getting into the whole file-sharing thing by making a list of songs I'm looking for. You know, the songs that if you hear them on the radio in your car, make you swing your head around and frighten other drivers.

My first real meal, post-chorizo incident: Pad See Ew, at King of Thai. I always bring a book when I go there, and never end up reading it; tonight that would be because they had the television turned to "Blind Date," a show I hadn't seen before. I wish I lived in LA so I could be on the show! It would make as much sense as anything else I do with my time. And then, as I was finishing my Thai iced tea, "Ex-Treme Dating" came on. The hostess seemed too mindless to maintain the brain function required to hold herself up, but the concept--like "Blind Date" except that one of the daters has an earpiece transmitting catty comments from the other dater's exes--reminded me a lot of a play I once thought about writing, so I watched for a while.

Can you imagine? I started to ponder which exes I would suggest to the producers, were I to go on the show, and what they would say about me. You really don't want to go there. The date they showed--between a very cute personal trainer and a nice-enough seeming professional bowler with a bit of a vision problem regarding himself--looked like it was going okay, until one of the offstage commentators told the guy to ask the woman about the time she stuck a fork in a guy's head on a first date.

Geez, aren't first dates hard enough? Of course, she was also doing this weird thing where she was deep-throating the egg rolls and asking this poor sap whether he was more like an egg roll or some other piece of food off her plate (I couldn't tell what it was, but I think it was a bit of deep-friend meat.) She must have thought the whole display was cute and spontaneous and flirty, but it was just weird; especially as bits of the egg roll were falling off her chin. I shuddered to think of every thing I've ever done that I thought was cute and spontaneous and flirty on a date, but probably came off as mildly psychotic.

This is why I don't own a tv. I get sucked in by this inane crap and afterwards feel like I've had the vital energy sucked out of me. Jerry Mander and his Four Arguments For the Elmination of Television aside, I just don't feel like I have the time in my life or the energy to sacrifice to the glass teat.

The first big dose of tv I had in several years came earlier this year, when LabRat had to have some outpatient surgery. I brought him home from the hospital, and decided to hang around until his roommates got home. So we watched his DVDs of Thunderbirds, and then it was the Discovery Channel doing something about Stonehenge that was sort of interesting, and then we watched:

Pet Psychic.


As I said, life is too short. And after THAT we watched Joe Millionaire, by which time LabRat's official painkillers were wearing off and his roommates were firmly in attendance. So I skedaddled, shaking my head in disbelief.

Eventually I have to go home and face the Howlers. God, they must be asleep by now, right? I started thinking today about looking for a studio apartment, and consolidating my living space and office/studio space again. Studio because I may just need to live by myself after this whole fiasco with Mama Bear and the Howlers and the skinny pothead boyfriend, consolidating to minimize costs. I can't really afford to live alone, but can my sanity afford to live with other people? Maybe I just need a place where I can let the egg roll dribble off my chin in peace.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

the lagomorph fights back

Remember that big chorizo burrito a couple of days ago?

I sure do. Because either it, or perhaps the pizza I had later that night (I know, I know, don't say it) has put up one hell of a fight, and I've been in some serious gastrointestinal distress for two days now. Fortunately I was able to get LabRat to teach my class yesterday. I didn't think being on the mat was the best idea, the shape I was in. I've been eating very sparingly--mostly apples, and the chocolates Almeida gave me for my birthday, and swearing that I will never touch meat again.

We'll see how long that lasts.

I keep meaning to mention this woman I saw on BART. Tall, reasonably well-groomed, but the most frightening toenails visible from under the skinny straps of her shoes. I mean, they were neatly polished (mauve), but they were long, long enough to seriously threaten the structural integrity of her pantyhose. I was fascinated and grossed out at the same time. All I could think about was how afraid I would be to be in bed with those long toenails. I couldn't stop staring at them.

The other excitement, and the reason I'm loath to go home, is that Mama Bear has lived up to her name and threatened to strike me if I speak to her child again. The background: Big Howler is feverish, and spent the night screaming. The whole night. I would have more sympathy (and I do have some, mind) except that Mama Bear has apparently taught her children that screaming is a more acceptable way of getting someone's attention that getting up off your little ass and walking down the hall and knocking on a door. I mean, they scream all the freaking time, sick, healthy, asleep, awake. And I have it on good authority that all children do not scream; this is not necessarily a given. So anyway, we were all up last night--Big Howler screaming, Mama Bear yelling at her to stop screaming, Ohayoo and his out-of-town guest listening to jazz and speaking loudly in Japanese, and yours truly, desperately trying to get an article done to catch the early holiday deadline and occasionally making a mad dash to the washroom.

So this morning, a friend of Mama Bear's came over to take Little Howler out to the park, but it seems they couldn't find it or something, and they came back almost immediately. And I got to listen to the discussion, right outside my door, about whether there's a park on that corner or not, and Little Howler decided to start, well, howling, that she didn't want to go to that park. And I couldn't stand it any more. So I opened my door, and asked Little Howler if she could scale it down just a little for a few minutes, while I finished my work. Which was when Mama Bear threatened to smack me. "I'm talking to my friend!" she said. Well, yes, I fucking KNOW that, how can I miss it, happening at full volume outside my door? I mean, my tone with Little Howler may not have been as sweet as it might (I tend to talk to children as if they are adults, and usually it works) have been and I do feel bad for Mama Bear, who isn't well either, but come on. Smack me? I'd like to see her try. Although she outweighs me by sixty pounds, I could take her, easy. And her skinny boyfriend, while I'm at it.

I am so glad that I'm moving out of there.

Things that just sound odd: Johnny Cash singing "playing Jesus to the lepers in your head."

I still haven't heard about Brazil, and it's two days after the foundation's deadline. I assume this means they chose someone else and I'm not going, but it would be nice to hear it from them.

Monday, December 15, 2003

still no word

I'm getting a little antsy about Brazil.

I was up way too late writing an essay about race and childhood. Well, to be totally honest, I was up way too late alternating Spider Solitaire and paragraphs of essay. I wasn't totally committed to finishing the latter, but eventually I figured what the hell, do it. You've been thinking about it long enough. If it gets chosen for the anthology, that's a hundred bucks and a couple of contributor's copies, and (more importantly) my name in print in another market. This is going to be the year I collect some scalps; I'm aiming for twelve new markets (roughly one a month) so I can list something on my resume besides "has also written for Hinduism Today."

Hippo came up from the south for lunch, and I introduced him to chorizo. I was probably way too jagged to be any fun, but he seemed okay with my wackiness. I have not, however, gotten the nap I was hoping to take before modeling tonight, and I can tell that my burrito has made me an entirely different shape. I feel like a python that has just swallowed some massive lagomorph.

Kern's apricot juice. Cold fingers (Mama Bear still has not managed to get PG&E out to turn on the heat; I am about to hire someone myself if that's what it takes) and nose tip. Off to work.

Sunday, December 14, 2003


Still waiting to hear about Brazil. Tomorrow is the day by which they announce their selection. Almeida reassures me that my topic is interesting, and I fantasize about asking the cute Brazilian who works at the pizza place across the street from my house to help me learn Portuguese.

One more day. Grrrr.

Bizarre weekend of work, involving a great many things catching on fire. I will write more later, but as friendly as the Goth barrista is to me (we have a certain service worker camaraderie), eventually he's going to boot my butt out of here. Also I have an essay to go write. I am wired on mocha. A friend has loaned me a car for a month (!) and I am tempted to drive around all night simply because I can. It's not currently raining, and yesterday I spent a whole bunch of money on a bottle of expensive perfume for my birthday and I've been thinking a lot about female identity again. Just looked at a (male) friend's blog for the first time and realized that we are sort of like the two sides of the same coin in where we are and what we're thinking about right now, which was very interesting. Or maybe the same side of two different coins. Huh.

Must go home and ride this wave.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Snufkina, Mike, and Princess save the day

I know there's some interest in how I am going to write about my birthday. At least, I know I'm curious, and the two of you who were there for the piece de resistance that capped off the single worst birthday I have ever spent certainly seemed curious. Speaking of which, Mike, I'm so sorry about all that howling I did in your car after unexpectedly seeing the man I'd been stressing out about all day, for the first time since we broke up all those months ago. In the company of the one person I have good reason to believe hates my guts (versus all those people who probably just hate some smaller part of me, like my Islet of Langerhans, say, or my tragus, or perhaps the tiny bones in my ears.) Please tell your lovely wife that I am not usually quite so much of a freak. Ahem.

But I find that the whole fiasco of the day just begs to be written in a very specific and humorous way that requires more energy than I have right now. Also, I am still vaguely hung over from all that vodka (two shots! Watch out, I'm a lush!) and I just worked a Christmas party where I ate too many desserts and I am exhausted.

So I'll say this. For now. The day started badly and promised to end worse, but thankfully Snufkina was with me for the last several hours--even if she couldn't prevent me from accidentally cutting myself with my own fingernail, fercryinoutloud--and she brought flowers and cookies and a big warm heart. And after Mike had dropped us off at Dalva, Princess came out to meet us, bearing gifts (including the one for last year's birthday) and looking cute in his little round glasses. The two of them, who hadn't met before, hit it off instantly, and then we slid past the bouncer who had offered to give me my birthday spankings and went to another bar where Snufkina's honey tried to refine my pool-playing technique (did I mention that I won? But only because he scratched on the 8. Although I'd been holding my own up until that point) and their friend the doorman fed me quarters so I could kill plenty of nasty Area 51 aliens. Area 51, one of the most fabulous ways to waste quarters ever invented, and the only video game I can say I'm any good at. Now that it's so hard to find a Joust machine anywhere. Anyway, I am currently number 6 on the highscore list at Bender's.

So that would be Sergeant Major Indri to you, soldier. At one point I was up to 65% accuracy!--astonishing. I have learned several useful things. One, I am a better shooter drunk than sober. Two, the edges of my ears turn red and get very hot under those same circumstances, but not necessarily both ears. At one rather disorienting moment, a whole bunch of drunk people seemed to be squeezing my ears to ascertain which was the hottest. Finally we all dispersed, and Snufkina and her snortling, warfling, wrinkly pups walked me home and made sure I got my key in the door properly and so on.

Some theater people believe that a bad dress rehearsal presages an awesome opening night. So I'm telling myself that my birthday was the dress rehearsal for the year. I really hope my thirty-fifth year is a little better than the couple preceding it... although I recognize that I've had some wonderful things happen, and I've done some things I'm happy about, it just seems like I've had enough grief for a while. I could use some good news. Like, oh, my father's cancer going into remission for a dozen years. My soulmate finally getting on the right bus and showing up. A huge apartment with cheap rent and decent water pressure. Getting chosen for Brazil would be nice right about now (and I should know by Monday, eek.) Like that. One truly good thing that doesn't flippin' melt away on me.

Something I wanted to write about sooner, but got distracted. The other night I was burning my very first CD, music for modeling, and the first track I put on was Zoltan somebody and his gypsy orchestra doing "Dark Eyes", which is of course Hungarian (and which I believe the Elvises have covered), and of course there's that wonderful, sad movie by the same title with Marcello Mastroianni. I really like this song, and (having dark eyes myself) have started to identify with it. So anyway, a day later, I was coming home late from class, and as the escalator at the 24th Street BART station pulled up even with the main level I heard familiar music... and there were three guys playing the same song, on mandolin, violin, and guitar. What are the chances of that? As I was heading up out of the station into the rainy evening, I turned back to look, and a young man in a light blue raincoat and dark blue backpack was spinning ecstatically to the music, his backpack bouncing.

I used to think it would be really cool if every person had their own musician walking around behind them, playing their theme music. This was a lot like that.

This is a truly amazing city.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

I am now officially leaving my Jesus year


Tomorow is my birthday. Three-four. Not quite on the dowhill slope to forty and still getting carded, hallelujah.

This morning I made the mistake of thinking about where I'd been at this time last year. And remembered that I'd been anticipating going out to dinner and dancing with friends, and that E had said he might join us, and I was wearing my little pink top with the sparkles that was probably way too young for me then and dancing with abandon and joy... because I was in love with him already. As it happened, he didn't make it--I later found out that he was having an anxiety attack--but he called on my cell to wish me a happy, and the next night (which was really my birthday) he took me out to a totally lovely Italian dinner and we necked in the booth and I did not think I could contain everything I was feeling. As I wrote in my notebook this morning, on BART, with not enough sleep and too much sugar in me; "I thought that I was finally about to have the beautiful, intelligent, sensitive lover I had been looking for my entire adult life." It did not help that there was a boy on BART who looked like E, if a bit heavier, or that I am still a little viral and draining and the water is coming down out of the sky like it's got a quota to meet, or that Matt lost yesterday (but by a very narrow margin--Newsom had better watch his back), or any of the other things that were sticking in my craw. I don't think about him all the time any more, but every now and again I start thinking, am I going to spend the rest of my life looking for him?

I'm much better this evening, if soaked to the skin. Had a good modeling session this afternoon, for a class that was having its end of the semester party, so there were plenty of tasty snacks lying around unguarded. Found some good books at the library, including one about the effects of the Black Death on fourteenth-century European culture (what does it mean that such a book sounds like fun to me?) and several for the article I have coming up for Kitchen Sink. Had a great Jill class. Am counting down the days until I finally get a break, and can lay in bed for a few days reading and napping if I like.

Thirty-four. I'll know better tomorrow what that feels like. Trying not to get too caught up in everything I haven't accomplished by this time.

Monday, December 08, 2003


Yesterday was the Guild's model marathon, and as a new model it behooved me to participate--it's an opportunity to be exposed to lotsa artists who might want to book me, and it also takes care of my "community service" obligation to the Guild.

It turned out to be a lot of fun. I could only do the first half, as I was scheduled to cater in the afternoon, but next time I'll try to do the whole day. I met a bunch of my colleagues, finally, and got to see them work--people do some very cool stuff on the stand. There were four stands set up--one for long poses, one for twenty minute poses, one for five and ten minute poses, and one for one and two minute gestures. A stand might have one model, or as many as four. There were dozens of artists there, all drawing away like maniacs and eating the snacks we sold to raise more money for the Guild.

I started out on the long pose stand doing a double model pose with a guy. This is the third time I've worked a double with a male model in two weeks, after years of being solo on the stand; it's interesting for a lot of reasons, not the least of which being that some models (not all) try to use the opportunity to create a pose with some interaction, or even a little emotional narrative, but without being overtly sexual. But there's the whole matter of being in physical contact with this other person, holding perfectly still, and trying hard not to think too much about the naked-and-touching thing. Last week I laid with my head in my partner's lap, trying not to think about having my hair down and touching a part of him my hair hasn't touched on anybody lately; yesterday if I shifted my eyes I was staring right at this stranger's (meaningful) equipment and wondering if he shaved, or just wasn't particularly furry. When I was an art student, I always had some trouble drawing men. How can I put this? I hadn't spent that much time looking at flaccid penises, so they were a challenge to draw. My drawings, which might be very precise around the face/hands/feet, tended to have this... blank spot. I guess I'm not the only one. The Guild regularly books a lot more female model jobs than males (about 70% to 30%), so I gather a lot of artists just prefer drawing women, for whatever reason. Which is a shame--there are some great guy models out there, and I got to see them work yesterday.

Anyway, another really nice thing about sharing the stand is that if you know your personal pose isn't great from every angle, the artists do have another model to look at. When I went over to do short poses with two or three other people at a time, it was a total blast.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the "inner game" of modeling, now that I'm doing it so much and for new people. I have a lot of ideas about that, but I have to get down to City College to do my second drawing class of the day. Yeehaw!

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

how long have I not noticed how odd this is?

Soft Rock.

Just think about that for a minute. Soft Rock. Never mind for a moment that rocks are by their very nature hard; Hippo notes that perhaps the term is meant to refer to music that is schist-like (composed of a laminar structure that breaks easily?) or perhaps more porous than your granitey music. Okay, porous is a good word for some of this stuff, if we can also use the words spongey and damp. But I, not surprisingly, digress.

Now there's Soft Rock and Hard Rock and Death Rock and Rock en Espanol and so on and so forth, and I'm thinking that just maybe the term "rock", relative to music, has been stretched to cover so much territory that all the oomph has gone out of it, like the elastic in those panties you keep just in case you're late to laundry day, and now they're effectively much larger than they were when you first bought them, and felt sexy in them.

And I wonder why people wriggle away from me at parties.

Had a meltdown in Jill's class last night; too stressed out by the newest eviction and the goopy weather and then she was having us do things I'd never done before, and she wasn't breaking them down because it was an intermediate class, and I just lost my shit and had to sit out the drills. Not proud of that; even worse was that my other teacher was there, and a couple of people I'm friendly with, and they were all concerned and I was embarrassed and wished I'd made it look like I'd just remembered that my oven was on and slunk away gracefully. So tonight's class with Patience was much better, especially since nobody else showed up and it was all about me, me, me, and Reverse Egyptian and Fake-Out Turn and Over-Shimmy until she probably wanted to scream. But she didn't because she is a good and kind and thorough teacher, and I am now feeling much more competent.

The funniest part, though, was hanging out afterwards with her and a couple of other women from the pro troupe, and talking about body hair and the sleep habits of friends. Grace's boyfriend not only talks in his sleep but tells complicated jokes in any of the three languages he speaks. Fluid's cousin sleeps with her eyes open and rolled up in her head (ew!). Meanwhile the conversation about body hair was enlightening... all I'll say about that right now is that if you think women don't notice hair on other people's bodies (male and female), oh boy.