Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Adventures in Not Dating

copied and pasted goodness, with certain redactions

Writer Guy: You know, you don't actually date. You agree to dates, then you cancel them.

Me: Yes. It is my 2007 version of dating.

Writer Guy: Just so you know, that is maddening. I know I said I would wait until next year, but I may start seeing other people from now until NYE. Solely in protest of your cancellation policy. RUDE AS ALL GET OUT!

Me: Completely understandable. If we were dating, this would be the time that I would tell you that I don't date men who are dating other women. No judgment, but that is just how I roll. I can't date more than one person at a time. Or won't.

Writer Guy: Do you know what dating means?

Me: Yes. Which is why I am not dating. Just making dates and canceling them.

Writer Guy: So you're telling me that when you do start dating in 2008, you are only going to date me?

Me: *silence*

Writer Guy: You haven't thought this plan all the way through, have you?

Me: *silence*

Writer Guy: Hold up. A question. Are you not dating anyone else right now?

Me: *pregnant pause* Well, no, not really.

Writer Guy: Discernible pause detected, cupcake (Ed. note: copyright infringement detected). Are you auditioning potential 2008 dates and I am just one of those vying for your affection?

Me: Dude. Do you watch The Bachelor or something? There will be no rose ceremony in this scenario. If you are a writer who watches reality television, we may have an issue here.

Writer Guy: God, you can be such a snob. And I LOVE THAT about you. Besides, you watch Top Chef.

Me: *silence* (egregious use of the word "love," plus use of a fact he learned whilst scrolling through my DVR)

Writer Guy: How can we have an issue if we are not dating?

Me: Exactly.

Writer Guy: Wait. You said we may have an issue. We have issues? Already? We aren't even dating. How can we have issues if we aren't dating?

Me: Exactly.

Writer Guy: So are we on for Friday, or should I just expect an email on Thursday night, explaining that your dog is sick and that you need to take her to doggie yoga or something?


It didn't seem to be the right time to ask him for advice on how to cancel the date I made Friday with Gym Guy, since (1) it obviously conflicts with the plans I intend to cancel with him and (2) it would be a little awkward to ask him for nondating advice. I had to say yes to the invite - Gym Guy delivered such a kickass line and I admire that kind of confidence and initiative. I think you owe it to those folks to reward the effort with an acceptance. Thing is, he set up something for Friday which is (1) very much a date night and therefore a date and (2) I am kind of nervous about going out with someone who is significantly older than me.

With two exceptions, one more recent, I have not been involved with anyone younger than me. I always dated older men. B is six years older and that was kind of perfect. Gym Guy seems older (I am guessing 45-47, but I am terrible at guessing ages), and for whatever reason, that has thrown me off base. Not that I am imagining any type of relationship with Gym Guy, but I can be remarkably immature and unrefined in my usual state of being. I say "dude" (which B absolutely hated). I am usually up-to-the-minute in stupid celebrity gossip. I have Tupac, Fergie, Justin Timberlake and Mandy Fucking Moore on my iphone. I went to a Halloween party this year dressed as a battered woman (two black eyes and my arm in a sling and on crutches, and yes, it was tacky but kind of funny). If you really are as old as you feel, most days, I am 29. I can certainly turn on my mature, politics-obsessed, well-read self, which is completely authentic, but I haven't yet had to stifle my inner goofball. And I really don't want to, anyway.

I know I am going to cancel on Gym Guy tomorrow, or, if I am feeling especially bold, perhaps rescheduling for tomorrow night, rather than Friday. I also need to cancel/reschedule the Saturday night date with Iranian Guy That I Met At The Grocery Store. Who was also confident and took a chance by gently hitting on me, which is why I said yes. If I had a shrink, which I don't, since I blog on a quasi-private corner of the internet, I imagine she (always a she) would say that I have control issues and don't like not knowing exactly how the date will go. That I would rather come home, play with my perfectly groomed dog, and muse about a potential date from afar. That dating is more fun in my imagination than in practice.

Well, fuck her. There is a reason blogger is free and shrinks charge $150 an hour. I can haz introspecktion 4 free!

(nope, still can't pull off the LOLCats meme)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I wrote this whole post last night about the banality of my shopping excursion this weekend but it was so remarkably uninteresting. My ipod nano died (RIP) and me and the pea shlepped it over to Bellevue (Eastside suburb - very new money and upscale and pretty much my version of hell, just with better, designer labels) to get it replaced. I had actually done the research and knew that I should just replace my Nano and vowed not to get the iphone, which I didn't need. I have barely begun to use the scope of applications on my Blackberry, which I have had for less than a year.

Of course, I bought the goddamn iphone. And goddamn if I don't love the thing. I have resolved to actually learn how to use its many applications and not just use it as a phone and an ipod. My retail therapy is absolutely over, as I have overwhelmed both my attention span and my bank account. Here's hoping for no emergencies in the next month or so, and that simple gifts will suffice over the holidays.

I hate malls. I always have - I have some weird aversion to florescent lights, such that after one hour in the mall, I am positively exhausted and need a nap. I'm really not much of a shopper, either. I get in and get out as fast as I can and am generally not prone to just....browsing. I buy things that I need, or, at least, things that I have decided I need prior leaving the house. I cannot imagine anything more mind numbing that aimlessly wandering a mall, hoping that I will find something that catches my fancy. This little round of retail therapy was focused, to a degree, although I also picked up some truly bizarre odds and ends.

I have an exception to the hating malls thing. I confess that I love the energy of the malls during the holiday season. To be clear, I positively loathe Christmas shopping and delegated it to B throughout our marriage. I loathe the whole idea of feeling like you have to buy something for everyone in your life. That takes away the joy of giving gifts. I feel the same way about the 'end of year tips' thing. I would just as soon pick a random month and bonus whomever I wanted to bonus without some feeling of obligation that an end of year tip was owed. Or just give a weekly tip. So no, I don't like the commercialization of the two month holiday season, which I realize is going to start in two days.

What I love is the energy and buzz. And the sparkly lights and Christmas music. I love all kinds of Christmas music and sometimes, maybe on occasion, have been know to rock out with my cock out on truly awful, cheesy Christmas music in the heat of summer. I love Christmas lights more than I could ever express and have also been known to spend hours driving around, admiring both the obscenely tacky displays and the artful, imaginative decorations. Growing up in Saudi, Christmas decorations were verboten (although this didn't stop everyone), and it wasn't until I first started living with B that I got to spend Christmas in the States. I probably idealized Christmas in the States for so long that I now refuse to acknowledge its shortcomings. All I know is that Christmas lights will be going up next month and I can't wait.

This year is going to be even more eventful because of my brother's wedding on New Year's Eve. I am planning the rehearsal dinner (Space Needle) and starting to digest the reality that my brother is actually old enough to get married. I hate that I failed at it and that, among the siblings, we already have one divorce among us. I hate that it was me, even though I know that things are for the better now. I am better now. I am better for having had the courage to end a marriage that, while at times was pretty damn kickass, devolved into something that wasn't good for either of us. There are many days where I hate myself for not taking corrective action earlier and doing the proverbial "anything" to save the marriage, but at the end of the day, I am more hopeful now. And I am very hopeful for my brother, who waited long enough to get married to the right girl and who, I just know, will be a great husband and (eventual) father.

When I was a kid, I loved, LOVED Halloween. Not the dressing up part, and not really the candy part of it, but more of the social part of it. I don't think I have dressed in costume since B and I did Fred and Wilma ten years ago, but this year, I am excited for the holiday. Not because I intend to acknowledge it in any way, but the day after marks the start of the holiday season, which will culminate in two very significant milestones. Keeg will get married on NYE, and on the same day, I will formally end my marriage, once and for all.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hot Yoga Pants

I have never been a gym glamour girl. I go in the rattiest workout shirt I have, no traces of makeup, which I don't wear much of anyway, and I am not there to make friends. I invariably have my tunes on, and while I will make the occasional eye contact, I am there to get the job done. Work hard, sweat like I am in hell, and eventually retire to the steam room, where I get all girly and condition my hair.

I mention this because today, I was handed the best pickup line I have ever heard, and at the goddamn gym. I was working the treadmill, running uphill. I had, as per usual, a magazine in front of me, my iphone playing the itunes (more on that later), but I was really only paying attention to the football game on the plasma televisions. This is pretty much how I roll at the gym - tons of distractions, but I usually only pay attention to one thing. Usually, it is just the music, and while I DO NOT SING ALONG, I often am mouthing the words or otherwise into the music. Again, I do not sing out loud. EVER.

So as I am on the treadmill, listening to the itunes and watching the game, I see a man enter the cardio room. I had seen him a few dozen times and always thought that he was a mischievious looking fellow - his eyes have this twinkle in them and he always seems like he is privy to some inside joke. I saw him out of the corner of my eye, made a mental note, then upped up the treadmill for some hardcore cardio as the football game heated up. I was at that point where I could barely breathe when suddenly, I realized he was standing next to the treadmill.

I shrieked like a little girl and damn near fell off my inclined treadmill. He laughed hard and apologized for startling me, and as I peeled out my earbuds, I gasped (was in an uphill sprint) "what's up? Can I help you?"

His response just about killed me. "Sorry to bother you, but I just had to tell you that you look exactly like the woman I should have married."

I started laughing hard, utterly tickled at the line. I told him "I don't care how many women you have used that line on, keep on keeping on with that line. That one is a keeper." He laughed confidently and said he was sincere, so I asked him what her name was. He was completely flummoxed and stammered and I said "there was no other girl, was there?" He said "no, you just look like the woman I should have married."

I laughed so hard - and it needs to be reiterated how ratty I looked -- sweaty, no concern for my hair or appearance, probably red from running uphill, so this was completely flattering. It takes a significant sack to do what he did and I appreciated the risk. Even though I am not going to date until next year, I agreed to have dinner with him this week. I have to reward the bold move, even if this guy is probably ten years older than me.

As I left the gym, I thought how weird it would be if I ended up dating this guy and introducing him to my dad, who is probably less than ten years older than this guy. My dad sent me an email today that I just loved, so he was on my brain.

Fast forward a few hours and I am at the grocery store, getting the fixings for my Sunday night at the pea's. I scour the wine section, making sure B isn't there, and immediately catch the eye of this man who was clearly an Arab. Having grown up over there, I am immediately drawn to Arabs, and this one was adorable. He kind of followed me around the store, then met up with me at the butcher counter. He remarked on the wine I had put in my cart (strong recommendation) and we ended up talking. Long story short, he ended up asking me out (in his beautiful accent, which I correctly identified as Iranian), so I have a full dance card next week.

Thing is, I really don't want to date. At all. I just love the forward actions of these men and will hopefully make some new friends. If I wanted to date, it would be Writer Guy, but we have this weird familiarity between us that leads me to believe he would want to move in sooner, rather than later. I am so very far from wanting that from him or anyone, yet I really like him. Truthfully, the problem is me. I can still smell the fuel from my last trainwrecks and have no faith in my judgment.

What made me giggle tonight was this thought: What would make my Dad more uncomfortable - the man nearly his age or the Arab? Tough call, that. He would love Writer Guy, as would my brothers. That somehow manages to freak me out and sort of reassure me.

I am blaming all of this on the Lululemon yoga pants. They truly make your ass look fantastic.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Et tu, Brutus?

David Sedaris quit smoking.

The man practically moved to Europe so he could smoke in peace.

I give up. I will give them up. You people have taken all the fun out of it.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday Night Lights

Today was a shit day. Fuck, this week was a shit week.

Friday brought the culmination of suckitude. The pea learned today that her sister has skin cancer and is having surgery next week. By way of background, the pea and I met through the internets, but every day, I think we will find our mutual Kevin Bacon, where we will discover that we either we had already met or would have inevitably met through mutual friends. In any event, for all of our differences and similarities, we have been friends for nearly five years. I have gotten to know and love her family, as she has mine. Her sister, Dayna, is nearly her twin. The first time I met Dayna, I couldn't quite get over the similarities between she and the pea. They look, sound and love alike. I loved Dayna the moment I met her, and she is my extended family, just as much as Keegan and Kyle are pea's little brothers.

Dayna, by the way, is amazing. She has had an auto-immune disease for most of her life, which has now rendered her hairless. No hair, no eyebrows, no eyelashes. Crazy thing is, she is still almost breathtakingly beautiful and striking, and she has the same look and voice of the pea. God, their folks raised them well. I am conveniently ignoring one of her sisters in that assessment, but even that one is deep down, a really wonderful woman. Dayna became a milliner (hat maker) pretty early on and she is startlingly talented in her craft. Dayna has toiled in her industry for years and is just now hitting her stride. She is so overdue to hit the bullseye and it just killed me to hear she has yet another medical milestone to surmount.

This, of course, is nothing compared to what she and the pea are feeling. I am just a proud member of her peanut gallery. It made me think about what I would be feeling if one of my siblings were faced with cancer or some other life-changing diagnosis. I honestly cannot imagine it. For all of our sins against each other, my siblings love one another deeply and we all know that we can rely upon one another for anything, no matter how pissed off or slighted we might have felt in the past. Tonight, for whatever reason, that makes me feel so blessed and fortunate.

The pea and I went to dinner tonight and had a fucking amazing meal. Fried green tomatoes with mozzarella and homemade tomato jelly as an app, then a perfectly roasted chicken with fall vegetable puree. It was goddamn heaven on earth, and, with a perfect Manhattan, reminded me of the healing powers of a good meal. Friends are the family you choose, and I chose pea and her family many years ago. I am so very fortunate to know and love her, and equally lucky to love her family as my own.

Through The Looking Glass

I am starting to think this little corner of the internet is stupid and self-indulgent. I am a pretty private person, yet I hit the publish button and share random, private thoughts. But now, even if I nuked this whole thing out of orbit, Google's cache would keep it forever. I don't give the posts enough thought before permanently putting it on the internet. I am not a thoughtful blogger, as often, I reread the previous night's post and just wince and cringe.

Why the holy hell am I writing this shit publicly (and I use that term generously, as this is pretty protected). I have had two high profile bloggers ask if they could link to this and I shrieked back in text that I DON'T WANT ATTENTION OR TRAFFIC. I have never been comfortable in the spotlight, or, probably more honestly, put under a microscope. I don't want to be examined under high definition. I would loathe the idea of being a public figure. Too many skeletons, too many mistakes, too many flaws. Fuck no. Internet people are just fucking mean, too. I include myself in that group.

I remind myself that I started this as an alternative to therapy. A way to hear myself talk, so to speak, and a record of where I've been and where I am trying to go. If I can hang onto that, I can keep this up. Right now, this all feels so goddamn immature, stupid, and useless.

Fuck it. I'll start a new post and see if I can soldier on.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Thank You For Smoking

I am losing the will to smoke. The terrorists (and nanny state) have won.

I think I was in 5th grade when I had my first cigarette, with Marla and Julie (?). Marla's parents were chain smokers, so cigarettes were easy to come by. Like almost anyone who has tried cigarettes, I remember thinking it was nauseating and more than a little disgusting. I hacked, gagged, and gave it little thought after our purloined cigarette was finally extinguished. A smoker, I thought, I would surely never be.

Oh sure, I smoked with my friends in junior high. This was Saudi Arabia, the land where everything was illegal and potentially deportation-worthy, so sneaking a cigarette was par for the course. I don't remember much of my smoking history in junior high beyond the social aspect of it. I do recall this one time that I came home smelling like an ashtray, as we were riding the buses (this was a frequent social activity) and everyone, including myself, were smoking (although I still think I wasn't inhaling back then). My dad immediately picked up on the stench and did the "I am going to buy you a carton of cigarettes and you are going to smoke every last one" thing. He didn't, and I didn't, and after that, I became quite skilled at hiding the smell of cigarettes. But truthfully, it wasn't a big deal to me.

When we moved to Colombia, they allowed smoking on campus. Only certain ages, and only with a signed parental permission, but these were easy obstacles to hurdle. Hell, I remember smoking with the high school principal in his office, and I certainly didn't have permission from my parents to smoke. But still, it wasn't an addiction or anything and, as an athlete, I didn't smoke enough to interfere with my sports. My best friend Tori smoked like a chimney (and could smoke in her house - holy crap), so when I went over there, we sparked up, but at home, I would only very occasionally smoke out my bedroom window. Besides, the coke was the real draw in Colombia.

God, the coke was good.

In college, I was paired with a very anti-smoker, but smoking was allowed in the dorm's community lounges and in certain study rooms of the library. I couldn't stand the smell of cigarettes in those rooms, but was not above having one in the permitted spaces before quickly exiting and, more often than not, heading to the showers before going back to my room. Smoking represented a break from studying, a reward for hours of concentration, but not a habit. I would go weeks without one and never felt the pull of a nicotine fit. Barely a habit, certainly not an addiction.

When I moved to Washington, I lived with my bio dad and his wife. Both were smokers who smoked in the house, so I became more of a regular smoker. When I met B, I kind of hid it from him, blaming my stinky shirts and hair on my house. When we moved in together, I couldn't believe how awful my clothes stank. Disgusting. I washed every piece of clothing I had and greatly reduced my smoking. Sure, I had a few every now and then, but he hated the smell and had a really sharp olfactory sense. Hence began my years as a closet smoker. I knew every trick in the book and became a master at hiding any traces of a cigarette. I probably wasn't fooling him all the time, but we're talking maybe two or three cigarettes a day at most. All bets were off, however, if I went over to my aunt's house, where smoking in the house was fine.

Incidentally, my aunt quit smoking after her dad (my maternal grandfather) died of lung cancer (nonsmoker, asbestos-related). I am credited with her picking up the habit. I hate that.

Flash forward to law school, where B and I were in different states and my old habit of rewarding an hour of study with a cigarette came back into play. Without having to account to B for the stench on me, I smoked more. We're still talking less than a half pack a day, and I never was the kind of person who reached for a cigarette first thing in the morning. I worked out, went to class, studied in the library, then usually had my first cigarette sometime after dark. Read a chapter, take a break, smoke a cigarette. I usually hid it, too, at least in the beginning. I wasn't a smoker, you see, just someone who occasionally smoked.

Did the same thing through studying for the bar, then promised myself that I would not evolve into a smoker. B still professed that he hated smoking (although I later learned that he smoked as much as I did, just hid it better because I had a lousy sense of smell), and I was not the kind of person who left the office for smoke breaks. No, I was the kind of person who only smoked in bars. After work, while taking an hour to decompress and read the paper, I would have a martini and a cigarette or four. I didn't smoke at home, so I would just take that time to check out, be anonymous and relax, whilst polluting my body. I still worked out every day and could go days and weeks without smoking, particularly if the social situation called for it.

I wasn't a smoker, you see, just someone who enjoyed a cigarette or two (or five, or ten) when socializing with friends in a bar, or at some other social event. I didn't crave cigarettes unless I was in that kind of situation.

And then, the pigeons came. Seattle passed the strictest smoking ban in the country, banning the cancer sticks from all places of business and, in fact, 25 feet in front of any business. Very strictly speaking, the only place you can smoke in downtown Seattle is the middle of the street, where you can either be hit by a bus or inhale the fumes that probably will do more damage to your health than a cigarette. I was so pissed that the city took away my guiltiest pleasure - reading the paper, sipping a martini, and smoking a cigarette. Since they implemented that law, I have not returned to my usual haunt, where I used to read the paper, edit my briefs, and suck down a martini and a few cigarettes. They - the legislators - ruined that whole experience for me.

And while I'm at it, I was a very considerate person who occasionally smoked. I never sat next to anyone who wasn't smoking and was always cognizant if my smoke was waffling towards a nonsmoker at the bar. I believed, and still do, that a cocktail and cigarette is properly enjoyed in a bar, if the owner so decides, and although it is unpopular to say it, let the market decide.

At the time the ban was implemented, I was already separated, so I was no longer hiding any trace of a cigarette, and, again, I didn't smoke that much anyway. It was a habit - an activity - and I still had never felt a physical need to smoke. It was just a break from busy activity, but now, it was no longer social. I was horrified at the idea of huddling outside a bar, smoking with the fellow social outcasts. I smoked primarily at parties and private get-togethers, where a few of the guests held on to the social aspects of it, a place where we could have short bursts of comraderie.

I started smoking more at home, though, albeit not in the house. I smoked on my deck because I could (no longer had B nagging me) and I could replicate the experience of having a martini and a few cigarettes. Slowly, I finally developed the nicotine addiction. Smoking was and remains the last thing I consider doing first thing in the morning, but, in the last few months, I developed unfamiliar symptoms of nicotine addictions. And mine are awful. I would gladly welcome general feelings of irritability over the tightening of my chest around 2pm. There is probably no greater irony in terms of lung humor (?) that my lungs hurt from not smoking. And we're still talking less than 10 cigarettes a day - less than half a pack.

My annoying coworker was, until three weeks ago, a smoker, and although I had never before done the "go for a smoke break" thing at the office, I started going with her. Of course, my purse had hand sanitation gels, Listerine strips, hand lotion and all of the usual suspects, and I wouldn't go down with her unless she would go where I wanted to go - someplace no one could see me. It is one thing to be seen having a cigarette in a bar, but out in public, no martini in tow? Hell no. I was not a smoker, just a girl who occasionally needed a cigarette.

Annoying coworker quit three weeks ago, owing to a health scare. She was a smoker, you see, and I am not. Except I became one. No, I still don't crave one when I wake up and usually don't think about it until mid-afternoon, when my body, now dependent on nicotine, has this funky chest tightening thing that utterly pisses me off. I know how to combat it, as a simple walk around the hilly block relieves it -- especially if I do three blocks. But still, I come home and have a few cigarettes and all is forgotten. Until tomorrow, at about 2pm.

The pea, who smoked much longer and much more than me, quit over a year ago. Why I didn't do the same, I'll never know, as she was one of my smoking partners. I'll take the convenient approach and blame the divorce. There was no reason to continue smoking after our Sunday nights became smoke free, particularly since that was when I did my heaviest smoking.

Incidentally, I never will say that I am quitting smoking. I will stop smoking. Pedantic? Sure. But nothing has to be permanent. I am going to stop smoking, as it has lost all appeal for me and I no longer have anyone to enjoy it with. It never ceases to amaze me that I came to this realization and decision for probably the same reasons that I started smoking - it was a social thing. I only know one other person who still smokes, and I don't hang out with her enough to keep it up. It no longer relaxes me, it pisses me off, and mostly, I am not a smoker.

I will soon just be a girl who used to smoke. On occasion.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Don't Look Back In Anger

Been ruminating quite a bit on anger and my weird handling of it. In the heat of the moment, I guess I can get angry, or, at least, pretty curt and cutting, but truth be told, I just cannot hang onto it. I often have pangs of it long after whatever set me off, but for the most part, I just cannot expend the energy on it. Being pissed off takes valuable emotional energy and, necessarily, that energy is directed at events in the past. That seems so counterproductive to me and an irrational approach towards problem solving and bettering the situation.

In a nutshell, I guess, that is it. Being pissed off and angry at something that happened in the past does nothing to improve the situation or resolve the underlying issue giving rise to the problem. It seems to me that you can either move forward, with an understanding by both parties of what occurred, why it provoked anger, and the importance of not reoffending, or you can sever the relationship entirely and let the bad feelings seethe and fester. That just seems like a no-brainer to me. Even if the 'event' giving rise to the anger is a deal-breaker, such that the relationship is over or irreparably damaged, I am still of the "hash it out" mentality. Everybody wins, and you get the all-important closure. Without that kind of conversation, you just have raw, loose ends that perpetuate the random feelings of anger and hurt.

Part of what brought this to the surface is my ongoing relationship with B. I know I talk about him too much here (according to my sister, among others, I am sure), but I am trying to figure out where I want to go with him. What we have now is either ridiculously unhealthy or a changed but ongoing friendship. I am kind of betting on the latter. B called on Friday and wanted to get together this weekend, but I wanted a quiet weekend to myself. I didn't call him back, and today, sent him an email explaining that I needed a quiet weekend. He called a few hours later and we had a half hour conversation about various random things in our lives. It was a not unlike hundreds of conversations we have had over the past three years of our separation, although there was probably more of a friendly and sharing tone.

He offered to have his boss, an artist, donate a piece in my grandfather's name to the charity of my choosing and I am considering that. We talked about various pieces of furniture at the condo and he offered to give me this chair that I had long admired at the Boathouse. We joked and teased and were, quite simply, friendly with each other. Yet at certain points of the conversation, I became irritated with myself. Why was I having this conversation with my soon-to-be-finally-ex-husband and why was he wanting to have it with me? Why am I utterly unable to cut off all contact with him and let us both move forward? Why am I unable to play the role of the pissed off ex-wife? Hell, why am I unable to play the role of the disinterested, indifferent ex-wife? Why do I keep myself tethered to him in any capacity, knowing full well our marriage is long past dead.

I don't want to get back together with him. That isn't even on my radar. I have no desire to exhume a very much dead marriage. I know that I already realized that I think of him as my family, and while that is a flawed assessment, it is my current reality. He is my history, to be sure, but if I am all about looking forward, why expend energy on someone who is just a part of my past? Maybe it is just as simple as the notion that he and I are familiar to each other and know each other's stories and shit. But if I meet someone with whom I want to build a life, I don't know that it would be reasonable to expect him to accept my odd relationship with B. I know damn well that B's girlfriend would be aghast if she knew how often he calls me and how connected we still seem to be.

I guess the bigger question I have for myself is why I continue any relationship with B. Perhaps even more vexing is why continuing it makes me feel weak. Divorced people are supposed to hate each other, or be completely indifferent to each other. As I sit here tonight, thinking about it, I don't know that I will ever be indifferent to B, and I have long believed that indifference is the opposite of being in love. I will always love B, and, further confession, I think that part of the reason I indulge him in these conversations is out of that love for B. I know that he has constructed a world that looks so very different from the one that we built together. I know him well enough to know that I am a security blanket for him and a touchstone to his and our past.

I also know, rationally, that I need to relinquish that role. Not my job, he doesn't often reciprocate, blah blah blah. I guess what I am really struggling with is how to do what eventually needs to be done. Perhaps it will evolve organically, with little advance planning. I know it boggles the mind of my family and friends, who just can't figure out why I have anything to do with him, especially given his antics during the separation. Which brings me back to anger and my inability to harbor grudges. I'm over it - all of the hurt and pain of our marriage and its demise. What is left is an abiding connection to B that needs eventual severing. I guess that means I am looking forward on some level.

Just so I'm clear - I am fretting that I am not a pissed off, bitter person who hates her husband of 10+ years. I'm not pining for him, either. I am conflicted because I cannot be mean, nasty or indifferent to him. I only know how to be a friend, or at least friendly, to him. And fuck it, I am proud of something - I have shown the end of this relationship as much care respect as I owed it while we were married. I am inordinately proud of that.

Jesus, this is boring.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


And having reread last night's post, I understand why I have a problem with anger. All I could read was textual sneers. I hate how I sounded. I woke up feeling shitty and a need to cleanse. I went to the gym and worked out hard and put all thoughts out of my head.

Got all organized and shit today. I had a laundry list of things I wanted to accomplish and was able to cross a good chunk off. Although I have a host of professional and personal stuff on my radar, I took today to handle a few things I have just neglected. The most amusing was getting my license plates. I got my new car on January 30, 2007, and had a temporary plate that expired on March 16, 2007. I have been driving around for seven months on that temporary plate and never got pulled over or ticketed. I got a standing ovation from my dealership today and they framed my temporary license plate. I also signed up for two dates to babysit the dealership's kids, as he is a very good friend and I love other people's kids.

I also had a pretty self indulgent day. I got a facial, complete with a peel (my first and yes, it kind of hurt). I then went to a running store to get new shoes and actually was counseled by a professional. My right foot is a pronater and it causes a great deal of discomfort when I run, to say nothing of the numbness I tend to experience on the gym machines. This guy asked all the right questions and immediately picked up on my foot quirks. We even went for a quick run around the block, with him five paces behind me to observe, just to ensure I had the right shoe on. I am absolutely stunned how differently I walk and run now. Poor Darby has been on five walks today, as I am basking in the comfort.

I went on a crazy cleaning bender, probably owing to the endorphins, and Darbs is sliding across my newly cleaned floors. I had a moment last weekend where I strongly considered getting a kitten or a cat to keep her company, but after her weird sickness this week, I concluded that I had all the pet I could handle. Especially since I just bought two rugs that I am hoping against hope Darbs doesn't decide to (further) christen.

And Writer Guy. He just left. He has definitely learned that the art of the unexpected date will occur if he just shows up and buzzes me. Lucky for him and me, I was just concluding my aforementioned cleaning bender and everything was as I like it (aside from my kitchen table, which is currently resembling a junk drawer). I was sort of tickled when he immediately recognized the two new rugs and various changes to the condo, but then again, this is a guy who just notices shit. I cannot stress how shitty I looked today (gym+facial+Greenlake run hair), but he noticed that I lost the highlights and had a brighter than usual complexion.

We putzed around the condo for a bit, adjusting random furniture, then lounged on the couch, watching a movie. (Also, I love that he can abide my random Bo Sox cheers and rallies. God love the Boston Red Sox) He wanted to stay, but is pretty cool about me kicking him out. Also, my dog hates everyone but me and the pea, but he comes prepared with bacon in his pocket and she has grown to like him. Except when he left. He hugged and kissed me goodbye, and Darbs went nuts. She tried but failed, to nip at him, then burrowed on the couch in defeat. Writer Guy found it all quite funny, comforted her, then said to me "I'll see you tomorrow at your soccer game."

I didn't tell him the time. If he shows, I will be astounded.

I finished the obit. Will post it here shortly.

Friday, October 19, 2007

End of Times

I wrote a few different tribute posts to the Grandfather, but none of them felt right. I have taken over the obituary-writing duties and hopefully, that will be cathartic. I have a heady swirl of powerful emotions where his death is concerned, including guilt (not visiting as regularly as I should), loss of a figurehead of my childhood, profound sadness, and this crazy, irrational anger. I also feel completely out of focus and am using this as a tool to try and sort through some wildly disjointed thoughts.

I have been watching Tell Me You Love Me on HBO. I am drawn to character-driven stories and powerful dialogue, and this show occasionally delivers on both grounds. It is also pretty goddamn irritating. Jury is still out. The drama involves couples in therapy, and the therapist herself is a compelling character. Some of the dialogue is excrutiatingly familiar. While watching, I have been reminded, more than once, of my ill-advised decision to go see Closer a few weeks after B and I separated. I was in a fetal position at certain points of the film. The scene with Clive Owen and Julia Roberts in their loft immediately comes to mind. Honest, raw, and brutal words.

In any event, last week, one of the couples decided to end therapy and the therapist asked them to come in for a final session. The couple, in a remarkable state of denial, were visibly uncomfortable at having to end their therapy in person. The therapist said something along the lines of "How you end a relationship is every bit as important as how you conducted yourself in it."

Fuck, that stuck a nerve that lasted all week. It is fucking important to end a relationship with as much honesty, dignity, and respect as you did or should have shown the relationship while you were in it. And miracle of miracles, I suddenly found myself mad. Really mad. Perhaps irrationally mad. But seeing as how I have a problem getting and expressing anger, I shall open up a small can of whoop ass.

Grandfather: I owe you such an apology for not making more of an effort to stay connected in the last year of your life. The last time I saw you, I know that you didn't know who I was and I hated anyone who kept trying to remind you of our connection. I snapped at anyone who did that and just wanted to hang out with you without regard to whether you knew I was your son's biological daughter. Truth be told, in the grand scheme of things, you shouldn't have been expected to know me in your encroaching state of dementia. I was a sporadic presence in your life, but I hope you know (or at least knew) that you were one of my heroes. I am sorry that I did not honor the end of our relationship with the the dignity and respect it deserved. Although I knew your memory was gone, I foolishly believed your body to be immortal, and that there would always be time. I loved you more than I told you, and I have to live with that.

MRE (Most Recent Ex): I am finally angry with you. I obviously am stunted in the anger department, as I should have felt this months ago. I loathe the weakness in your character insofar as it concerned the end of our relationship. I am angry at myself for being willfully blind to that weakness, among many other things. From what I knew of you, which I still believe was quite a bit, I cannot imagine how you live with it. I suspect that you, like me, have become a different person, but unlike you, I rather like the person I became. I have always shown you and our relationship the respect it deserved. I can hold my head high where all of that is concerned. I cringe when I think about what I would think of myself had I behaved as you did when we ended the relationship. And, perhaps as a testament to our relationship, I feel terrible for you. That is a flesh wound that will last your lifetime.

Former Very Close Friend: For all your alter egos, in the flesh, you are a chickenshit. You weren't forthright and confrontational, nor did you even attempt to honor our friendship. You didn't respond to my attempts to air things out, nor did you acknowledge my unconditional apology. Instead, you hid in your computer and were astonishingly duplicitous. You disregarded an entire friendship for reasons that I will never begin to understand and, as much as that hurt me, your cowardice continues to piss me off. You are no badass, by any stretch of the imagination, but I have every confidence you will convince yourself you still are. You are also quite the opposite of the loyal soldier you think yourself. This in no way is an attempt to minimize or justify my errors in judgment. I was just fucking man enough to deal with them up front and honestly, no matter the resolution. You weren't. Chickenshit.

(Hopefully Not Former Friend): Don't be like above-referenced character. You and I can hash anything out. Anything. You aren't passive aggressive and neither am I. Let's hug it out, bitch.

B: This is as much my fault as it is yours. We were apparently some freaky kind of co-dependent and are still acting that way. We can't be friends, B. Friendly, but not friends. You aren't coming to my grandfather's memorial and you shouldn't send me (or my family) flowers. We really need to break all the way up, and I think I know how to do that. I appreciate that now, you are trying to honor our relationship and treat me with the respect I (and our relationship) deserved. I do. I know that every night for the past few months, you have thought about whether we could ever get back to where we were. Thing is, I don't want to go back, and I don't want to go forward with you, either. We need to really break up and I will be the bad guy towards that end. I will make every effort to end it with the dignity and respect our marriage deserved.

Self: Don't cast too many stones. You have ended relationships badly and owe a few people apologies. Lose the fear and deliver the apologies you owe, and take the fallout you have earned. Have faith in your character, even though that has been lacking at certain points, and do the right thing. Life is too short to not have dignity.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Goodnight, Doc

My grandfather died last night, and so did a part of me.

This was an unconventional grandfather-daughter relationship. My parents divorced when I was very young, and my (biological) paternal grandfather sort of took up the slack for his musician son. My grandfather was the whole fucking package: WWII vet, founder of the FIJIs at UW, became an eye doctor (I never correctly identify the term), taught himself to play piano (to bond with his son, my bio dad), windsurfer, real estate investor, state senator, head of the Democratic party, die-hard Husky football fan -- I truly can't say enough about him. Dynamic is the word that best described him.

My well meaning mother and new husband (my dad) somehow embarked upon this idea that we would pretend the first husband (and family) never existed. We never spoke about the bio dad or his family, or the life we once had with them. So well intentioned, so incredibly fucked up -- asking 8 and 6 year olds to pretend the past hadn't happened. My (how I hate this term) step-dad (step up) was very old school and divorce, I am guessing, was a verboten subject back then. My (step - ugh) dad wanted to be the voice of authority and decision, and he made so many incredible fuckups along the way. Abusive, obstinate, violent -- he just fucked up every way you can. Thing is, in hindsight, he was just a kid who fell in love with a woman with two kids. I kind of adore him now, for making that difficult choice.

But back to bio-grandfather. Bio-dad was a jazz piano player and player all around and was anything but a father. Grandfather was fairly well to do and paid his son's child support. He was also the lone remnant of that family that we were somehow allowed to interact with over the years, as we saw him every vacation. We boated, hiked, swam - he was just great to us. We loved our grandmother Mops (her name was Lorna, she died of breast cancer, and I hate that our loving nickname might have had something to do with her wigs), but my grandfather always held us as family.

I am kind of in shock, so I realize this might all sound disjointed. Mops eventually died, and Grandpa married Nikki. That is another story unto itself, but I will just say that Nikki was a neighbor who was also an attorney. I always admired Nik for her accomplishments, as she was very well respected as a trusts and estates attorney in the Seattle area. My grandfather adored her, even if she was a little cold, and was an impediment toward dropping in on my grandfather.

My bio dad died in January of 1998. He is the subject of another post, but suffice to say, I miss him every day. We had become close friends, and Grandpa was an extension of him. Grandpa loved that we had become friends and loved that I was wont to drop in on him when I was over on his side of the water. B absolutely loved my bio dad and my bio grandfather, the latter in particular.

Which, incidentally, made for a telling text message tonight. After calling my sister and my mother, I sent B a text, letting him know the Doc had died. B's response was very caring, but he said "tell your dad I am so sorry for his loss." Ummmm..... my bio dad died nearly 10 years ago? You helped with the memorial?

Anyway, it was telling, and I probably shouldn't be writing. I am so very devastated the I lost my Grandpa and want to wallow in my loss. God, I loved him and will miss him every day. I lost my last connection to the bio dad.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Hokay, this shit is just fascinating.

When I first clicked on this link, I saw her spinning clockwise. Now, anyone who knows me knows I am the quintessential left brain thinker and, in fact, am kind of laughable when it comes to spatial perception and fantasy-based entertainment. I was sort of delighted to enjoy Pan's Labyrinth, as normally, I just proclaim that "my brain doesn't work that way." You know those aptitude tests that ask you to mentally assemble things? I just check out. Logic, words, reality - these are my touchstones. I don't get science fiction, I am bored by most special effects, and I get turned on by great dialogue in a plausible drama.

Yet I saw her spinning clockwise. After looking at it for a while, I then saw her spinning counterclockwise and became convinced the site was a hack, switching their GIF to fuck with their traffic. It was so clearly counterclockwise. The site said that if you concentrated, you could see the clockwise spin, which I had initially seen. After looking at it a while, I suddenly saw the clockwise spin again and couldn't go back to counterclockwise. I became so frustrated, as I know I am not a right brained thinker. I finally figured it out rationally (HELLO LEFT BRAIN), but am still fascinated by how my brain can see the same figure in two entirely different ways.

Am easily entertained, clearly.

I had another challenge to my tightly held beliefs on Gawker this week. The short version of this story is this: girl on sees profile of guy she thinks might be interesting and she "winks" at him (apparently, some kind of online dating ritual). He responds with a douchey-kind of email, boasting about everything from his housing (31 floor building), his education (Ivy League!) and his commitment to physical fitness (going to the gym in 26 minutes!). Understandably, the girl decides he isn't her type and sends him an automated response ("we're not a match, but thanks") and he responds with vitriol ("I think you forgot how this works. You hit on me, and therefore have to impress ME and pass MY criteria and standards - not vice versa"), and called her fat. Girl was gobsmacked and sent the exchange to Gawker, who published it.

Suffice to say, the guy is a breathtaking douche. It took less than a five minutes to unearth several self-aggrandizing websites (this is one of many, not including his publicly available dating profiles), and once the internet masses caught wind of him, they unleashed their google fu and unearthed everything about this guy. Lied about everything from his age to his education, etc. It was, quite frankly, kind of delicious to see a douche get his comeuppance. As the situation got worse and worse, however, the backlash started and a discussion began about the propriety of skewering a guy - a "private" guy - for sport.

I confess that I loved him getting his. He was a typical douchebag who lashed out at someone because he felt rejected. However, I felt this nagging hypocrisy, as I have very strong feelings about people sharing private emails, to say nothing of sending them to a site like Gawker. I have, on very rare occasion, shared a private email with a third party, and each time it was a mistake. A big mistake. I don't share private conversations with third parties and should have known better to send the written proof. Thing is, you can share what you heard, or what you received, but you can never share what the speaker or author intended. Context is everything, and it is the eye (mouth or fingers) of the speaker/author. Better said, you can have a conversation (verbal or written) with a friend and both parties will have a shared understanding. Recount or send that conversation to someone else? Totally different context.

I think I am really old fashioned where this is concerned. I hold every conversation between friends private and, as I said, have very rarely shared them. It isn't just the attorney-client thing, although that informs my opinion. I do believe that context is everything and sometimes, what someone says or writes in one conversation just doesn't translate accurately later. I could easily go into my email archives, cut and paste a few lines from one person's email, and forward that to someone else, with devastating results. I could fashion a whole new context from someone else's words, even if I knew it wasn't true, to suit another purpose. I can't imagine wanting to do that, let alone doing it, but having been on the receiving end of such conduct, it is a sore subject for me.

I just abide my personal rule that whatever someone says or writes to me stays between us, and I have a great deal of disrespect for people who behave otherwise. Those folks are kind of sleazy, and usually pretty self-serving. So with this in mind, I struggled with my delight in the schadenfreude happenstance on Gawker. The offensive email was sent to one person, and he surely never thought it would become the subject of public discourse or comment.

Thing is, he didn't even know the person he sent it to. It wasn't like they were friends or lovers, or anything approaching the sort. She was just a stranger who had expressed interest, then lost that interest after his email. He had no reason to believe or trust that whatever he said to her was private. That distinction is kind of key to me. If I got a douchey email from someone I didn't know, I would have no qualms about forwarding it to everyone I know, and I wouldn't feel the least bit guilty about it. To me, at least, that is so very different from sharing private conversations between friends with a third party, or the internet-at-large.

I hope I am not just rationalizing and this distinction has some basis in logic. Maybe I am just seeing the clockwise spin when I should be seeing the counterclockwise dance. I hope not. In any event, it made for some interesting introspection.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


She is deserving of her own post.

I met Hilarie in the elevator of our rich bitch girls' dorm. Hilarie is drop dead, stunningly beautiful. Effortlessly. Had I blogged when I knew her then, I would have compared her to Paulina. She had those kinds of features. She also had a caustic wit and a confidence that amped up her attractiveness and her ability to intimidate.

Truthfully, that moment in the elevator, I hadn't met someone so stunningly gorgeous. I was, quite frankly, taken aback. I wish I had a picture to validate my awe, but trust me, she took my breath away. We were introduced by Tiffany, her roommate (more on that), and she asked where I was going. I told her I was meeting some friends to hit a party and, as it turns out, that was where Hilarie was going. She said "cool, I'll walk there with you" and I felt my palms get sweaty. You walk into a room with this chick and you are immediately categorized (at best) as her "kind of cute friend." You simply cannot be noticed while with Hilarie.

[She would hate to know I was spewing forth about her looks, but it is part of the story]

What I remember most about that memorable elevator ride was when I was checking my ass out in the mirror. I was wearing something new and wasn't sure if it looked good. Hilarie caught me looking at my reflection and asked "what?" I said "Oh, I can't tell if these shorts are making me look fat." Hilarie looked me square in the eye and asked "well, are you going to drop ten pounds before the party?" I was momentarily stunned, as I was pretty sure she was telling me I needed to lose 10 pounds. I retorted "no, I already puked up what I ate" (clever, that) and Hilarie laughed and said "well then, let's go have a good time and not worry about your fat ass."

That is Hilarie. In a nutshell.

She and I became fast and close friends. Many adventures were shared, yet some of my favorite moments are of her and I, singing in my car. I became a second daughter to her parents, and later, would often go to the movies with her dad in the middle of the day. Hilarie's family was a mystery to me - so welcoming, yet I felt they were so much warmer with me. In the meantime, Hilarie and I had a whole host of experiences and adventures. She dated Matt Mc's best friend, which is how I came to know and love him, we wrecked motorcycles, crashed many a party, charmed our way into nearly every bar in the city, and developed a friendship that lasts a lifetime.

Funny aside - Hilarie's roommate was Tiffany, who also became a close friend. They might have been the worst matched roommates, and grew to dislike each other as our respective friendships developed. Hilarie couldn't figure out why I would be friends with Tiffany the square, and Tiffany the square (who is anything but) couldn't figure out how I could deal with Hilarie. My friendships with each of them remain some of the most important of my life, but they couldn't have been more different.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention this. Hilarie is also the girl that avenged my honor when I was sexually assaulted in college. She went after him with a bat, albeit with ten guys in her support - most of whom didn't really know me -- and beat the living shit out of a guy who hurt me in the worst way possible. I had barely been able to muster up the courage to tell her, and after she did it (and the fallout therefrom), I was horrified. In retrospect, I am so honored that she cared that deeply. Am also glad she broke his cheekbone.

So years and distance later, Hilarie loses it. Years and years of hearing how gorgeous she was took its toll on her, to say nothing of her own demons. She ended up stealing her roommate's credit card and racking up a hefty bill, then running to me in Seattle. I was just under a year with B and not quite ready to explain the tornado that was Hilarie. She showed up unannounced and we put her up in the boat (that we were then living in) for a week. In that time, she hit on B, stole money from our deli, and video tapes from our favorite video store. I said in an earlier post that I wronged her, and by that I meant I put her on a bus back home. I couldn't or, more honestly, wouldn't deal with her crazy while building something with B. A little part of me died that day as I put my friend on a bus, that I had paid for, hoping I wouldn't hear from her for a while.

Hilarie was never half assed and she went full on crazy. She joined the Navy (seriously, you would have to see her to get the nutty of that) and spent two years in the Middle East. She found her way to the kitchen and taught herself to cook for her peers. After her required enlistment (and one failed marriage), she went to the California Culinary Institute. Last I heard, she has remarried and has a beautiful baby. Her parents left Texas and now live in California.

Hilarie is probably my most paradigm example of friendship. I have no idea how to get a hold of her, but if I did? And, for drama's sake, let's say I called her at 2am, asking her to pick me up at LAX? Yeah, Hilarie would be there in a minute and we would be right as rain. Hilarie is one of a a handful of people I know that I could call in the middle of the night and they would wake up and listen. If I needed $10K tomorrow, Hilarie would find it, one way or the other, as I would for her. In short, Hilarie is the family I have chosen, and family is for life. I haven't spoken to her in over two years, but she is very much a part of my family.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Amateur Hour

Went to a rare mid-week movie tonight with the brother, his girlfriend and the pea. Kyle texted me a few days ago to let me know that he had two extra tickets to a special screening of Lars and the Real Girl. I had seen the previews and didn't give it much more than a passing chuckle, but hell. Free movie and all that.

As an aside (and really, don't I always have an aside), I have warmed up to Kyle's girlfriend. I first met her at my 4th of July party at which I was admittedly not myself. I tried so hard to get to know her, but she came across as standoffish. She is drop dead beautiful, but it would be really unlike Kyle to date a mannequin. They moved in together after a month, over my strenuous objections. It is funny how we assume that our past mistakes are repeated by others. I started housesitting for a friend from the ACLU just a few weeks after I started dating B, and just a few weeks after we started dating, he came home with me and never left. We moved in together after the six week housesitting gig was over and we bought a boat and married in the next two years. It is probably foolhardy to suggest to Kyle that he should learn from me, as no two relationships are alike.

In any event, we got to the theater and found four seats together on an aisle. Right before the show started, pea and I eavesdropped on the women behind us, who were discussing various television shows. Then, as the lights dimmed and we were all settled in, this couple slinks in our row to claim the two seats next to the pea (which she and another girl had used to store purses and coats). As they stumbled in the dark past us, we got the unmistakable stench of alcohol and then it happened.

Drunk guy fell into Katie. He didn't just stumble and brush against her - he completely collapsed into her lap and kind of stayed there. Katie, by the way, is tiny, and my sister instincts kicked in as I tried to push him off. Thing is, people falling is always funny and I got the giggles, big time. I started shaking with laughter, trying to stifle the sound, and tears started streaming down my face. Katie then made it 180% worse, as she whispered "look" in my ear and pointed to a mystery drop on her jeans. I was now in a full-on laughter seizure, trying so hard not to snort or otherwise make a sound. I put my hands over my face and let the tears of laughter stream down my face. Katie caught the bug and, mystery drop notwithstanding, started doing the same thing. This is all as the opening credits rolled.

After about five minutes of mind over matter, I got control and tried to focus. The movie is, obviously, about a guy who buys a Real Doll, and initially, the gags were pretty hysterical. Unfortunately, we were directly in front of one of those types of laughers - the woman who was talking television before the film. It was the perfect pitch that positively pierces your eardrums and sounds as bad as fingernails on a chalkboard. Grating doesn't begin to cover it. And she laughed at every gag, no matter how banal, and these were not chuckles. These were full throated, permeating the theater peals of laughter. The pea and I, experienced movie goers together, were both wincing with every laugh and shifting uncomfortably. It was that distracting and irritating.

At one point in the movie, the pea nudged me to alert me to the fact that drunk guy's wife was passed out. Did I mention the stench? Oh holy hell, they reeked. It was the kind of smell that gets in your nose and stays there. The kind of stink that you can't shake, even after they left, three quarters of the way through the movie. Mercifully, he didn't give Katie a second lap dance, but he did squash Kyle's popcorn on the slink out.

As for the movie, well, it was free. Ryan Gosling was great, as was the rest of the cast. I am sure there was a deeper meaning that was lost on me, what with the drunk and the hyena behind me. After it was over, I felt the same way I felt after seeing Waitress and Once - nice films, but not particularly memorable or affecting.

When we came out, my uncontrollable laughter started up again as we revisited the drunk lap dance. Tears down the face, shaking and snorting laughter. Katie showed the pea her mystery stain and it was all over for me. The pea also warmed up to my future sister-in-law (I just know this to be true) and we all went home. It has been a couple of hours and I am still prone to fits of laughter. People falling down? Always funny to me.

I think the lesson here is not to sit down with amateurs. I don't go out to dinner on Valentine's Day and I don't go to the movies on Friday or Saturday nights. The pea remarked that it was like going to the movies in Lynnwood (godforsaken white trash suburb north of Seattle) and she was spot on. This audience laughed at every gag, even after the novelty had worn off and a Deeper Meaning was being floated. As kickass as it is to be able to go to the movies with my brother on a school night, I don't think I would go to one of these free screenings again. Turns out, I am also a movie watching snob. Fantastic. I'll add it to the list.

Also, and I know I have already said it, but go see Michael Clayton. If you appreciate great acting, you won't be disappointed. Even after this whole botched movie-going experience, that film is still in my brain.

Finally, I am reading a book called Foreskin's Lament. How freaking awesome of a title is that?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

To All The Girls I've Loved Before

As bitchy and prickly as the last post sounded, I had a thought this morning (on the treadmill, where all deeps thoughts are currently birthed). Notwithstanding the pain and hurt that inevitably comes from close female friendships, I have been tremendously lucky. Yes, I have been burned and hurt and betrayed by people I would have laid down in traffic for, but even those relationships added a lot of value in my life and taught me a lot about myself and friendship.

When I stop and think about it, I have probably been more defined or influenced by my platonic friendships than my romantic ones. The latter are more difficult to end, at least for me, because they involve both platonic feelings and the heady feelings of romantic love. You lose both when you end those relationships. With few exceptions, every past romantic lover of mine was also a best friend at the time. However, I am still kind of focused on the platonic friendships.

Part of this came to nest in my brain because an old friend from Saudi found me on facebook, which I initially signed up for at the request of another old Saudi friend. I now use it almost exclusively for Scrabulous, which is a great sporadic distraction during the day. As an aside, for those of us who grew up overseas, then dispersed to the far corners of the world, these types of networking sites are kind of magical. When I left Saudi, I used to write and receive letters every week, detailing the updates in our respective lives and professing our dedications to the friendship. Eventually, these correspondences tapered off and we "lost" your former friends. This was particularly difficult for us Saudi folks, as we had an almost Survivor-type existence there, although only the government or Aramco could vote anyone off the island. We were all stuck in this camp, forced to resolve whatever personal disputes came between us. We all have this strange but wonderful shared history that transcends almost anything.

The girl that found me was my best friend in....shit...I think it was 3-5th grades. Her name is Ivy and she and I were as different as you could get. She was Filipina and (shit, my memory might be wrong here) adopted. She was an only child and what I immediately think of when I remember her was that she had her own room with her OWN PHONE LINE AND TELEVISION. As one of four kids, that was positively foreign to me and I envied it. Another thing I remember was that Ivy was completely OCD (by today's standards). She would wipe down the phone after she or I used it, all of her clothes were hung in her closet at one inch intervals, and she could not abide any form of disorder. Mostly, however, what comes to mind with Ivy was Michael Jackson's Thriller. She was really into MJ and we must have watched that video (in her room, on her personal television) a million times.

I don't think I was that great to Ivy, all told. Ivy was kind of reclusive and I am gregarious, and unless I am rewriting history, I think she was one of my first friends when I moved there. I eventually made friends who were more social, and my relationship with Ivy fell by the wayside. She and I were both competitive academically, so we had that, but I don't think I really honored our relationship back then.

She is absolutely gorgeous now, as she was then, and is enjoying a very successful career in Dubai. Her second email to me was "K, we need an attorney with Arabic skills! Send me your resume!"

But what motivated this post was the friends that I have wronged, at least in my mind. Ivy was sort of one of them. There are more.

Carrie F: Okay, you were kind of a disaster, but your house was the first place I ever watched porn. We lived together in the smallest town in Saudi and, consequently, it was easy for you to get on my nerves. I often regarded you as an annoying gnat and that was shitty.

Kathy VW: When I broke up with Todd, whom I knew you dearly crushed on, I never expected that you would go after him immediately. I know I told you to go for it, but I am sorry that I instead superficially wooed him back. If it is any consolation, I ran into him during college and he was a terrible, terrible lay. Seriously tragic. It was so bad that I didn't actually sleep with him.

Kristi B: When I first moved back to the States, you were my first friend. I loved hanging out with you, but all of your friends were stoners that I couldn't relate to. Still, it was so difficult, being the new girl, and I hate that you probably regard me as that girl whom you befriended, only to get dumped by when she found the cool kids. You have every right to have that perception, but truth be told, I wanted you to join my circle of friends and ditch the stoners. Still, I know how it looks and I deserve any derision you want to throw my way.

Sarah: I can't even remember your last name and we lived together for a year. We had a few key things in common, but should never have been roommates. I paid six months of double rent, just to avoid living with you and what I believed to be such a negative presence. I had fallen in love and walking through the door each night was the biggest buzz kill on the planet. I was elated. You weren't. You also hated Christmas and bitched about my Christmas tree and music. Heathen.

Hilarie: you are the subject of another post. How I love thee. I wronged you a little later, but you remain the gold standard in terms of enduring friendships. Every person on the planet should have a relationship like we have.

Girl Whose Name I Cannot Remember: I know I said I would live with you, but as we were painting my prospective bedroom, I realized you were more than a little nuts and possessive. You were also one of my first friends when I moved back to Washington, so I am recognizing a pattern of mine. If it is any consolation, it would have ended badly had I moved in.

Kelly M: I should have given you a 24 hour grace period in which to tell your boyfriend, my best friend at the time, that you were having unprotected sex, despite thinking yourself cured of herpes. Once you started fretting about being pregnant, I recognized the situation and was too disgusted at the time to balance the friendships. Even though we weren't terribly close, it was nevertheless a betrayal, and I am still ashamed of it.

Christa: I just suck. You were a great friend and I passively let our friendship die once you moved out of the city and had a kid. I suck righteously and purposefully and miss you almost every day. I am scared to call you, but know that you won't be an ass when I finally muster up the courage.

Shit, I am le tired and have a few more to contemplate. I need to remember this post the next time I want to bitch about friendships gone wrong.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Man in the Mirror

Been thinking a lot about this topic. You don't just break up with men - your boyfriends and your lovers. You break up with your friends, too. The latter gets little attention.

I have never actively broken up with a friend. Passive aggressively, certainly. Those are the friends whose phone calls you gradually stop returning and you never have the conversation you owe them. "You are irritating the fuck out of me for XYZ and I need a break." "You are a toxic drunk [substitute any addiction here] who embarrasses me or, in any event, makes me question going out in public with you." "I need to unsubscribe to your daily crisis newsletter." "I can no longer remember why we were friends." "Everything about our friendship seems one-sided and I feel taken advantage of." Also in this category are other friends who didn't necessarily irritate the fuck out of you, but from whom you clearly needed a break. Likewise included are the friends with whom lifestyle changes have distanced you and you no longer have the energy to maintain a long-distance relationship - in every sense of the word -- and you just let it taper off.

In my frustrating experience, there is a breakup of a friendship where you are the dumpee, so to speak, and the dumper lacks the sack to confront you. Unlike the passive aggressive endings that I fantastically described above, these are the relationships where one person feels wronged, but doesn't fucking say it. It is one thing to conclude that the relationship needs a break because of your reactions to it. It is another to be actively pissed off and not having the sack to say why.

Maybe this is all just the receiving end of the passive aggressive break up, and, in at least one of my friendship breakups, that is certainly true. I had that same experience in law school, with someone I have mentioned before. L was my friend in law school that I shared almost everything with and was someone I believed to be a friend for life. Unfortunately, L had little going for her in terms of network connections, and our friendship fell victim to her opportunistic aspirations. In short order, she sold me and our considerable friendship out because she thought she might be able to hitch her wagon to a stronger carriage.

Sadly, I have recycled this friendship more than once. She is not the last person I went out on a limb for, only to find out that the friendship wasn't worth it. I will spend the afterlife contemplating these and other folks. I feel guilty about every slight, unreturned phone call, etc. I cannot imagine abject betrayal, although I do think I once blogged about revealing a quasi-friend's STD to a very close (male) friend. I am still haunted by that and am not at all sure I did the right thing. I have mentally composed an apology to the quasi-friend a million times.

In an effort to come full circle, I think I am getting a taste of my own medicine. I have had a friend not return a phone call (understandably, I guess, as I had checked out for the past two months), and had another former friend not return a letter. Without sounding like Carrie Bradshaw, I am nonetheless wondering about the folks who shy away from direct confrontation. I never have. All of my passive aggressive endings were just that - passive -- where the former friend didn't challenge it and it just sort of died a semi-natural death. I returned H's calls (by way of example, and a great story for another time), as well as those from T and R.

I think I just hate being passive aggressive or being perceived as such. It would pain me to know someone out there thought I was a pussy. It really would. Am a lot of things, most of them flawed, but not a pussy. And tonight, for the very first time, as I was contemplating platonic friendships, I realized something that really helped.

MRE is a pussy. Big time. I wouldn't allow myself to think it, let alone write it, but now, I kind of need to. Such a fucking pussy. And worst of all, he has to know it, every morning when he looks in the mirror. Fuck , that has to suck. I have no idea how such folks can look in the mirror, although I suspect it involves a great deal of self rationalization. Good night and good luck with all of that. I would hate to know that someone I once loved thought of me as I think of MRE. Or B, for that matter. Although B has a lot more balls and spine.

With the litany of mistakes and missteps I have made, I can still say that I have no reason to blink at my reflection on account of being a pussy. I truly cannot imagine walking down that cowardly of a road that you cannot man up and have a frank conversation with someone you used to love. Perhaps that is why I cannot completely ditch B, or anyone else I ever loved, on whatever level. On this particular topic, B and I are strangely of like minds.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Early and Often

Well, tonight was fun.

The pea and I went to Michael Clayton, which fucking rocked my socks off. Honestly, it doesn't get much closer to porn for me than having George Clooney in a legal thriller. The story is complex, adult and demands patience, which is so refreshing after a summer of shit sequels. It is, absolutely, a movie that showcases acting, and Tilda Swanson was incredible. The whole cast is positively amazing. Watching the movie, I found myself thinking "fuck yeah, a movie for people who don't need special effects for entertainment." Although, spoiler alert, some shit does get blown up.

I fell in love with George Clooney many moons ago. He embodies everything I find attractive in men, and very little of that has to do with how positively gorgeous he is. He has confidence, style, clever, and, most importantly, lives deliberately and on his own terms. So attracted to men who are confident in their own skin and live by their own rules. And he is a fucking man. God, how I loathe weak men. As a special bonus, he likes brunettes.

So you're telling me there's a chance. Yeeeeaaaah.

Afterwards, we went to an exhibit that drew heavily on teh ghey contingent. Kevin, the photographer, does some really interesting work that often involves himself naked and with a gas mask. pea's sister was there, and it is always good to see her. As an aside, I find it funny and sort of endearing that pea and I have adopted one another's siblings as our own. I ran into my neighbor, who is gorgeous and gay and also an attorney, and spent most of the night reconnecting with him. Mostly I was back to myself and it felt good. Even if I am having an MRE bender this weekend.

Not going to get into all of that. Boring to anyone but me and truthfully, I don't even think I am being honest with myself. My sister kind of called this one. I liked the feelings, but ignored the obvious. Truth be told, I really just miss my friend, but we cannot be friends. On a related aside, I got four phone calls from B tonight, wanting to get together. I won't do it, but fuck if we shouldn't just have the angry ex sex and get it over with. Not even remotely turned on at that idea.

Came home to a handful of crudely picked flowers and a voice mail from Writer Guy, wanting to come over. I'm ignoring that voice mail and the text messages. If he comes over, we will probably sleep together and, by morning, will be completely a couple. And, right now, that is utterly unappealing. I want to really indulge these 90 days and get back to me. I don't know how to date. I am extraordinarily good at being a girlfriend, but still don't know how to just date. I inevitably leap straight into a full-on relationship, and truthfully, I am just not ready for that. Not for a relationship or, more honestly, the risk of another one ending and losing both a friend and a lover. I'll get there, but am nowhere near there now.

This would be TRA, or temporary rational abstinence, as the cool folks are saying. I urge anyone who stumbles upon this to vote for ellagood, as she is a great writer who deserves an audience. Gawker has this thing with Julia Allison, with whom I have no substantive beef. She is exactly what she puts out there - an unabashed attention whore -- but she isn't a shitbag of a human being as far as I can tell (holy ringing endorsement, Batman). ellagood, however, is actually really talented and interesting, which is more than I can say for JA. [Ed. Note: I haven't met ella, but have "spoken" to her on gawker and through our respective blogs.] I am not among the JA haters whatsoever, and, in fact, I would probably adore her in person and have a delightful conversation with her about men and shoes. In terms of talent, however, JA can't carry ella's knockoff Marc Jacobs. ella is the kind of girl I would probably be close friends with for life, and she has a voice, talent, and quite a lot to say. JA is, admittedly, vying to be the Paris Hilton of the NYC media circuit, but with slightly more substance. A vote for ella is a vote for clever and talent and a vote against Paris Hilton and shameless attention whores.

I just got another text from Writer Guy and need to make some excuses to justify my failure to wax Brazilian for the past two months. And indulge in some self pity. Tomorrow is a new day and the gym will forgive me this bottle of wine.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Because I'm Worth It

I have my natural hair color back. I had that shitbag of highlights washed out of my hair and I went back to me. This story is ridiculously girly and bloggy. And I don't care. I haven't had my dark hair in three years. It looked at once familiar and foreign. Therein probably lies a metaphor or some introspection, but alas, I am le tired and need a nap.

My hair is dark chocolate - nearly black - and, as I entered my mid-30's, it began to serve as a canvas for the grey hairs that I am genetically predisposed to sport. I put highlights in, for the very first time, about three years ago, because I hated seeing the stray greys. This was probably a month after separating from B. People do stupid shit at such times. I was advised by almost all of my friends not to fuck with my hair, but I did it anyway. I am going to remember this the next time I want a tattoo.

In the intervening three years, my hair has veered towards dark blond, which bothered the fuck out me. I am a brunette in the classical sense. I have never wanted blond hair, as it just doesn't fit with me. Growing up, I never tried to lighten my hair and never entertained thoughts of Marilyn Monroe. I never longed to be blond. Yet when I got those highlights, they inevitably faded to copper, which looks like blond streaks on my dark chocolate canvas of hair. I looked like I was trying to be blond.

Whatevs. This has become about hair, except it isn't. I now have a head of beautiful hair that is back to who I am. I am lucky to have this much hair and, as I walked/ran around Greenlake tonight, I had three people stop me to ask me where I got my hair done. I also met a man with a dog more girly than mine. Hell, Darbs was ready to mount her, and she doesn't swing that way. The guy inherited his dog in his last breakup. I would hate to have had that custody battle with Darby, although I would have won it. God, I love my dog.

One more day. So much to say, but tomorrow is a better day for that. Suffice to say, I have a potential job offer and have asked for a few days to consider it.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Ghost Town

This entry is a perfect illustration of why I have nothing to say. I had a weirdly contemplative day about MRE, triggered by a few dozen reminders. At the end of this day, I finally realized that there is something to be said for cleaning up your space, both literally and figuratively.

Got up insanely early and took Darbs around the lake. The weather has changed and October has brought crisp and unpredictable days. As we rounded the lake, I listened to a song by an artist I discovered through MRE. I think I have enough distance now, such that it didn't completely rattle me, but the words were terribly poignant. Her name is Kasey Chambers, the song is More Than Ordinary, but these details are unimportant.

I haven't yet posted the skinny on MRE and probably won't. Suffice to say, it was an important relationship that I miss terribly and yet then, in clearer moments, not at all. I do know that I won't get involved with a romantic wordsmith anytime soon, even as much as I love a good storyteller. Which brings me to Writer Guy, but I'll hold off on that.

I loved MRE. I still do, and I hope that I always will. As I said, it was an important relationship, even though, like every relationship, it was flawed. I know, very rationally and logically, that it probably wouldn't have lasted a lifetime, given the differences in our characters and personalities. Hell, I can honestly say that I actively tried to end it several times because of these crucial differences. But for whatever reason, I am holistic in looking back and can truly appreciate how goddamn important it was. I keep using that word because tonight, it seems to fit.

In any event, as I was getting my morning coffee this morning, I stuck my hand in the pocket of my leather jacket, which I hadn't worn since spring. I felt something that seemed to be a business card and I pulled it out. It was a card that accompanies a floral arrangement, and I studied it for a moment, thinking that it was a remnant from some B mea culpa or gesture of gratitude. When I turned it over, I saw the words "I love you, K. I love you more than I ever thought I could love this way. Love, MRE."

It wasn't exactly jarring, but a tangible reminder of something I am trying to work through, learn from, and put behind me. Last weekend, I was cleaning up my home office and found two cards from him that I had shoved into a drawer (romantic, that) and I didn't throw them away. I just re-shoved them back in the drawer. I still haven't deleted our considerable email history, even though I have not reread a single email since we ended it. Quite frankly, I have just avoided all reminders of it and him. This is more difficult than I would have expected, as he and I had a great time in this city. Every day, I pass places we went, and for some really fucked up reason, these are more haunting than the considerable universe of the story of K&B. In my more logical moments, I explain to myself that they were different because MRE and I were different. It was intense, different, frightening, unsettling, exciting, intoxicating and any other adjective I can muster.

It was also fatally flawed for a number of reasons. And I came to this realization tonight. I miss MRE - the man I knew and fell in love with. That is undeniable and I can deal with that. But the other part is that I miss the way I felt with him, at least most of the time. That is, I miss the way he made me feel, and that seems kind of selfish and superficial. I hope that I miss the way he made me feel because I made him feel the same way and that was the drug we were hooked on, and not that I was a needy female who became addicted to the adoration.

Fuck, this whole post makes little sense.

After getting my coffee this morning and making the discovery in my pocket, I trudged up the hill to my office. When I got to my desk, I saw the tell-tale signs of awaiting voice mails and hit the button to play them on speaker, as I hung up my jacket and got myself situated. The second one caught me off guard. It was just music - Captain Fantastic, to be specific. No words, just part of the song. I knew it was from Writer Guy and I logged onto my work email. He sent an message, entitled "90 Days," which said "I don't know what you think is going to happen in the next 90 days or who you think you will be in three months, but I'm going to wait and see. Do you have a date for New Year's Eve yet? Let me know. Because that is 90 days from now."

I did have a date for NYE, but we called it off. I will, in fact, be legally available that evening, as it turns out.

In the meantime, I am going to do what I never thought I would do, which is gather up all the remnants of the MRE relationship and toss them. Even though I don't ever stare at them longingly (or in any other way, quite frankly), it is time for me to clean up my space. Real and virtual.

Also, this is awesome beyond description. The Jim Caviezel line alone (with the high pitch) is worth the view.

Monday, October 01, 2007

90 More Days

I just haven't had anything to say. Still not sure I do, but am doing it for the exercise and personal growth (watch this space!).

I am on the cusp of change. I refiled for divorce today, a safety measure, as the court is considering my motion to reinstate the original filing LAST GODDAMN YEAR. However, today was the last day to file a finalized divorce in 2007. I have a hearing at 10am on December 31st, the day my brother is geting married, and I have to admit, I love the idea of waking up in 2007, getting divorced, going to a great party, then waking up the next day to a new year and going forward, legally single. There is a better than average chance that, in the interim 90 days, that the court will resurrect the original dissolution petition and I will be divorced before then, but I have my plan B to be fucking done with this shit by the end of the year.

As an aside, and I am so tired of talking about B, but the little shit has STILL not signed the revised property settlement agreement. It makes no practical sense, as we are not arguing about anything anymore and he is living with someone else. Yet he still calls me nearly every day and tries to arrange get-togethers and conversations. J said it best tonight - he doesn't want to lose his security blanket. I lost mine three years ago and am still dealing with it, but I don't miss it. I will always miss the B I used to know, but I don't miss him now, and I don't think I miss our former life anymore.

I just have no idea where I am going. Right now, I am so very close to quitting my job and starting a new career. I have had some interesting conversations with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, owing to the language, cultural and negotiation skills. Worse fates in life than spending Bill Gates' money, to be certain. Also talking seriously to Starbucks. That would be an in-house position and only one client, which sounds delicious. Hell, I am talking to my friend's company, whom I rep in litigation matters, and I can be persuaded to jump to his ship. Still on the table is the google gig and the semester position at NYU. Change is definitely in the air and soon. I just need to do some thinking.

As for Writer Guy, well, we are on a break from not dating. I am in no position to focus on a relationship, especially where my heart and head are still working through the last one. I hate that I am going to miss this opportunity, but the timing is all wrong. It always feels wrong when I am with him, as he is a great guy who deserves a full-time girlfriend. I will be better in 90 days. Maybe then. Maybe.

I feel like I am on the cusp of some profound changes in my life and that is totally unsettling and yet entirely welcome. In the short term, I have a list of friends that I have completely abandoned and let down, and I need to make some amends on the home front. This was a weird little tailspin that I fell into, but I think I am rediscovering my balance and clawing my way out.

Also, it is time to quit bad habits. Way overdue.