Monday, December 10, 2007


On a normal night I would be at his house, arranging some concoction of over-priced goods in a skillet and pretending that I know what I'm doing while ridiculous re-runs sound off in the background, making me smile. I like to sip white wine while I cook and despite unfavoring comments, prefer to be barefoot in the kitchen.

On a normal night we would be lying together in a tangle of us and sheets, the smell of our fumbling skin shaking up an intoxicating cocktail as the sound of our breathing drowns out the television just three feet away.

On a normal night I would know what he wants and how he feels; I would know where he is.
On a normal night I would know, with no uncertainty, that he wants me.

I wish tonight was a normal night.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

100% real cheesy

It took awhile to get everyone out the door this morning. My niece Elliana was cranky, my parents were quietly and covertly making jabs at one another, my father and his sister (who is up visiting from Peru) were arguing over the Iraq war; Cecilia, for once, didn't say a word and quietly got ready and escaped this morning for work without setting off fireworks somewhere over something.
Rhiannon eventually left with her two cranky little girls to head over to her mother's house, Cecilia took off for work (on time!) and my parents and my aunt argued their way out the door and to the car, on their way down to Atlantic City to take Tony for a follow-up appointment. I propped open the storm door and helped Tony wheel his way out as he made some ridiculous comment about not being able to wait until he could rock a walker. I leaned over to kiss him on the cheek and whispered "good luck", my parents' arguing voices still accenting the air. He rolled his eyes and headed toward the car.
And here I am now; I actually cooked myself breakfast this morning and am enjoying a cup of coffee (somehow I've become a coffee drinker these past several weeks). I realize now that this is the first time I've been alone in quite a long time. Probably several weeks, or even months. Yesterday there were 13 people in this house; today, I am all alone and it kind of feels nice.
I can stretch, and I can breathe without the tension that is typically floating around this place I love to hate so much.

Tensions have been oh so high lately.
Thirteen people and thirteen thousand opinions... it's been a disaster waiting to happen. We've all been handed a new life and none of us have had any time to adjust to it. Or maybe it's just me that feels this way - I confess that I've not necessarily talked to anyone else about their feelings on this.

Ugh. And now, for whatever reason, I feel like scrapping this entire thing.
But I won't. I won't because I've not written anything in so long and it kind of kills me a little.
My brain continues to write; sometimes I write some pretty damned good things, but they never make it far enough to reach my fingers; to reach the page.
It's sometimes a little frustrating. Sometimes a lot.

But then there is this: there is snow when I least expected it. And I was grateful for it and I'll tell you why. Because every year Christmas sneaks up on me in a furious way and makes me feel like it's a project rather than a celebration. I face yet another deadline and it's here and gone faster than I can (usually) handle.
But this snow - it started falling unexpectedly and at all different crazy paces. It was fast and thick, then small and slow. I sat still for a minute, or two, or twenty. I did nothing for awhile but sit and stare, watching it fall and noting the changes in frequency, density, and speed.
And then I whipsered a small bit of thanks to God.
This is all it took for me to feel prepared for Christmas - for me to feel like it wasn't sneaking up on me out of nowhere.

Pretty groovy, eh?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

more miracles

And this year, Thanksgiving comes a little early.
It's become easier and easier to thank God for things; small things even. First it was that Tony was alive at all, of course, but then it evolved into small gestures such as a wiggle of the toe, or a brief opening of his eyes. From there it was the fact that he was awake, and that he could take small sips of water. His moving from the ICU last week was huge and now, today, he will be transported from Atlanticare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City to JFK Acute Rehab Center in Edison (for those of you not from the Garden State, Edison is about a half hour from our house - certainly a lot closer than the 2 1/2 to 3 hours that we've been driving down to Atlantic City).

I cannot tell you how excited I am for the move. I'm excited to be able to see Tony far more often and for others to have the ability to go in and see him as well.
This past weekend, for the first time since he's been awake and alert, I was able to steal a few minutes with him alone. I want to be able to hug him, but that's a little difficult. So instead, I just told him to slide over in the bed a little bit so that I could just hop up there with him. We laid there and talked for about 20 minutes and I was glad to have the chance to ask him all the questions that have been brewing in my head the past week; how much does he remember before the accident? What is the first time he remembers waking up? What is scaring him the most right now? How gross is the food (ok, so I already know the answer to this question)?

I told him that we don't even know the exact number of people that have been praying for him, but we know it's quite a lot (upwards of 15,000) and we know that those prayers are coming from all over the world.
I read him some of the numerous (NUMEROUS) cards and postcards that he's received. He didn't care if he knew the people sending them or not, he didn't care if they were short or long - he only cared that people were telling him that they were praying for him. It made all the difference in the world to him.
He stared at the wall, listening for a long time and then interrupted me.
"I should be dead."
"Hmmm?" I knew what he was saying, but I wanted to hear his
"There's no reason I should be alive. I should be dead right now."
I nodded my head and started into the cliche comments that I've been trying to avoid the past few weeks.
"Yeah, but Tony, God knows what he's doing. He had everything perfectly in place that morning...".
He interrupted again (he's not much on manners these days), "No, it was an accident. Accidents happen all the time. God knew it was going to happen and he kept me safe. He kept me alive even though technically, I should be dead."
It was the first time since the accident that I was sure he was beginning to understand full gamut; the severity of his injuries, the variables that were 'just so' that morning, all the things that could have gone wrong - if not for a millimeter here or a shift in direction there, things would be far different today.

And so I have a confession to make: sometimes my faith falters. Every now and again, I have a lapse. There are times when I've felt completely static in my love and desire for God's role in my life. I've questioned every single facet of the belief system that I grew up with. I've questioned whether or not, at the end of the day, when my faith is under fire, if it would completely collapse. And there was a moment (a brief moment) when I wished it was me in that hospital bed. I wished that it was my life that was being shaken to the very brink - I wanted to know that I wouldn't buckle.

Friends, my faith has been under fire. A month ago, I received news that I found devastating. 'I'm not ready to lose a brother' is the thought that cycled through my hyper active brain over and over and over again. It wasn't until last week that I realized how under fire my faith had been, and that I hadn't buckled.

If I wasn't sure what I believed before, I am right now;
Miracles really do happen.
Faith can be strong enough to survive.

I ask that you continue praying for Tony. He's slightly discouraged, but the news of every miracle keeps him from staying that way.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of the cards. Keep them coming! You've no idea how that simple act has helped to keep Tony encouraged! Some have asked, and the address that you can send postcards to is:

Tony Navarro
One Haver Place
Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889

additionally, his pictures (which will be updated really soon) can be viewed at: under Tony's album.

I Love you all madly and I'm so grateful for each and every one of you. Seriously. No joke.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

the strike(ing) effect

And anxieties really can be overcome. Would you look at that?

The pavement was slick today, and I must confess that I positively love it because of the satiating, sliding sensation that I get when my flip flops move across wet pavement. It is August, and I am gleefully flip flop skating in the parking lot of the Strike 'n' Spare in Greenbrook, New Jersey. Hoo-ra.

And I'll back up a bit -- it seems that somewhere along the line I intended to jot down a few notes regarding my apparent fear of bowling. And while I realize that people are permitted one or two irrational fears throughout the span of their life, I find the fact that one of mine seems to be bowling to be absolutely insane. Or inane. Or both.

I'm going to go ahead and be honest here: I've never broken a bowling score of 100 in my entire life.
I have unusually large feet for a girl my height and have harbored a secret insecurity over bowling shoes since I found out that I was a size 10 (at the fresh age of 10).
My thumbs never fit correctly into the thumb holes on bowling balls, ending up either too large or too small. This creates one of two possible conundrums: either the hole is too large and my grip is not strong enough to keep me from tossing the ball into the air (always coming back down and hitting the hardwood with a painfully cracking thud) as I attempt to roll it down the lane, or the hole is too small, squeezing the life out of my innocent thumb and forcing my tendency to sort of trip down the first few feet of the lane along with the ball before it finally squeaks free (and again, hits the lane with that same, cracking thud).
These things combined with the fact that each time I step up to bowl, I feel a tremendous pressure to perform and be clever (of course, to make up for the fact that I am so embarrassingly horrible at the sport) are what have cultivated into my severe case of Bowler's Anxiety (BA).

Bowler's Anxiety is apparently a disease that can remain silent and invisible for quite some time before it is discovered. I was completely unaware of my case until early last year when I was invited to go bowling with a group of friends. I'd not been in several years, and as soon as the invitation left his lips, this overwhelming anxiety overcame me. My instant answer was "no thanks".
My friends were confused and I myself was left with little to no explanation because I myself did not understand it.

You see, friends, I've no worries of performing every now and again. You show up at a party, you go to a wedding with a friend, you meet a group of new people... these all call for one or two performances over the course of an evening. But bowling? Man.
You're called to the platform at least 10 times within a 45 minute period. And that's only if your group has wussed out at just one game! The pressure is far too great for a night of supposed fun. Additionally, NJ bowling alleys (with their creepy staff and day-glo color schemes) used to at least keep two saving graces within their God-forsaken walls: alcohol and cigarette consumption. Copious amounts of alcohol and cigarettes could definitely heal the fresh wounds of bowling, but now one of those delights has been taken away (round of applause for the NJ State Legislature, please) and who knows when the second one will be snatched from our hands (and sore little thumbs).

And please, spare me the numerous comments on how bowling is supposed to be "fun", and "goofy", and "a great idea for a birthday party". I've heard it all. I won't be shaken. I have a condition for pete's sake. I can't be shaken.

However, I digress.
I digress because I'm here today to tell you that I've finally taken my first therapeutic steps to recovery. Of course, it will be a long process, but I feel that quite a lot of progress was made today.

And dammit, I still only bowled an 80.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


There are two ways that you can delete friends on MySpace.

1. By clicking on the "Delete Friend" button on the edit page of your My Friends section.

2. By clicking on the "Delete Friend" button at the bottom of one of the survey bulletins that friend has posted.

Tom knows. Tom knows that there have been times I have seen bulletins and have been tempted to delete a friend. He has probably felt this way too.

I just noticed this option this evening and it made me laugh.

God bless Tom.
And God bless MySpace.

Friday, May 04, 2007

the flesh eaters

This is ridiculous, but it makes me happy. My professor requested that we submit our papers in letter format (as opposed to a more traditional format). As it turns out, I managed to pull a 90 on the paper (regardless of the fact that I mentioned David Hasselhoff more than I mentioned the actual piece of artwork).


Dear Abby,
I am a 27 year-old woman and I’ve always had trouble sleeping. But it seems lately that I’ve had a particularly bad time. I wake-up consistently every two to three hours and always having had the same dream.

I keep seeing this image in my dreams that I can’t seem to get out of my head. The image is obscure and colorful, but doesn’t seem to hold any relevance to my every-day life. The forms in this image are relatively indiscernible and it drives me crazy every day trying to figure out why I continue to have this dream and how it relates to my life.

So I guess my question to you is have you ever helped anyone make sense of an absurd dream, or on how to get rid of a recurring one? I hate the constant waking up and I’d like to start getting some sleep for a change!
-Dreaming in Dakota

Dear Dreaming,
It sounds like you’re having quite the predicament! I know that I myself went through a period of sleepless nights, continuously waking up to disturbing thoughts of David Hasselhoff, American Idol reruns, and Twinkies. Many times when we dream, we forget what we’ve dreamt about and go about our daily routines. With recurring dreams, however, the message may be so significant and powerful that it just refuses to go away.
You’ve given me little to no information about your background or on even the image itself. I’m curious to hear more – I’d like to help you figure this one, but I will most certainly need more information.

Dear Abby,
This image… well, it’s kind of difficult to describe. As I mentioned in my first letter: the figures are pretty difficult to discern. It reminds me a little of a painting; probably modern. There are a lot of colors, and a lot of interesting lines. Green squiggly lines run parallel to one another on one side (it’s difficult to say which side they are actually on because the image turns and flips quite a lot). A violet zig-zag dances along the green squiggles, touching on every zig and separating on every zag. A light blue shape that I cannot quite identify sits right in the midst of the green squiggles – it sort of looks like a person sitting with their feet straight out in front of them. I’ve thought in the past that it is the silhouette of someone that I know (my nephew perhaps?) The only detail of this blue blob is a black, very linear, spider-looking thing with 11 spindly arms that reach out from the center – each arm has a little ball at the end. This spider-looking thing is right where the face of this supposed person would be and it always has me racking my brain to think if I know anyone who looks like a spider. While it sounds like this little spider would be horrific, it actually looks more pleasant than it sounds. I always think of it as being a fun little spider (is that weird?) The opposite side of the image looks like a lovely salmon sky with a green lined blue cloud that fades down into a very dark earth-like area. In front of this darkness is another seemingly silhouetted image that kind of reminds me of myself on a very bad hair day. It looks like a grayish shoulders, neck, and head that moves up into a crazy haircut from the early ‘90s. The hair-like spikes reach up into the darkness and toward the pink sky like sinister fingers. The space created between those fingers and the background is actually quite lovely (despite its being sinister). If this is a person (as I suspect it might be), their back is turned to the other person (blue blob) that I mentioned. Is this perhaps meant to suggest that I’m turning my back on someone I care about?! Or maybe I ought to be turning my back on someone who is really a spider?
Oh, and to further answer your question, I am an art student. And I really enjoy the opera and Thai food. I hope that this information helps!

I’m looking forward to your thoughtful reply!
-Dreaming in Dakota

Dear Dreaming,
Wow. I must say that is quite a lot of detail that you have given me. Your dream must have occurred many, many times for you have recalled a great deal of detail in your description of this recurring image! I can honestly say that I almost find it unbelievable and really have to ask if you are yanking my chain here. It is not uncommon for me to receive letters that pose an entirely ridiculous and entirely fake inquiry, and while this does not seem altogether ridiculous, it does seem pretty unbelievable (surely you understand).
I really hope that it is a true concern that you have written about, because otherwise I would feel just a mite embarrassed for mentioning the whole little David Hasselhoff bit.
Pray tell me.

Dear Abby,
I hope that your letter was a joke. I was expecting a reply, not an accusation. Perhaps I ought to bid you good riddance?
-Dreaming (and disgruntled) in Dakota

Dear Dreaming,
I am so incredibly sorry! I did not mean to accuse, merely to clear the air. You do understand, do you not? I submit my sincerest apologies and I hope that you will reconsider that bit about good riddance.

Meanwhile, I will go ahead and advise you to consider the relationships in your life. Are there people that you are close with that you’ve recently had a fight with? Are there people that you work with that have treated you poorly or who have had a venomous influence in your life? It is a possibility that those figures you see are silhouettes and that they represent people that you interact with on a day-to-day basis. It is also possibly that the figures themselves mean nothing at all and that the colors are more significant here. Of course, the colors that you have mentioned present a fairly broad range (green, violet, blue, grey, pink, black) and all of them hold very different meanings. I would suggest making a list of these colors and writing their significant meanings to you personally. What emotions do these particular colors invoke in you? Do pink or green bring up special memories or mean something specific to you? Look at samples of these same colors and keep notes on your responses to them. Do they invoke anger? Peace? Anxiety? I will help you, but you have to be a partner in solving this mystery!

Please keep me informed on how this develops, and once again I offer my sincerest of apologies.

Dear Dreaming,
I have not heard from you in quite some time. I hope that everything is going all right. Are you still having the dreams? Are you still upset with me? Did you take my suggestions to heart? I have been thinking about it a bit more and have taken my own advice in regards to the little recurring instances I myself was having. It is amazing what one can learn form their dreams! This is the sort of instance that makes my job so worthwhile. After three or four more occurrences, I decided to act on the Hasselhoff thing and send him a letter. I still have yet to receive a response, but that is not the important thing. The important thing is that I have taken action on something that is important to me, regardless of how vulnerable it makes me. And let me tell you: I am not one to make myself vulnerable. I would like to think that I am always strong and stable, but like every human being I have weaknesses. There are times when I cry and when I feel incapable of doing the simplest of things. There are times when I feel lonely. I know that I would always prefer for people to see me as flawless and as having all of my stuff together, but I am learning that is perfectly all right to wear my heart on my sleeve every now and again. I hope that you are having the same revelations!

Dear Abby,
I’m sorry for not getting back to you sooner. Wow! That’s pretty amazing about Hasselhoff! Has he written back yet?
Well, I feel really silly about this entire dream thing and I’ve been putting off responding because I was just a little embarrassed. I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art a few months ago to do research for a paper I was writing for school and while I was there (wouldn’t you know) I stumbled across the very same image that kept popping up in my dreams! My first response, of course, was complete disbelief and amazement. I felt like I was having a little episode of déjà vu until it occurred to me that yes, I had actually been here before, in this same place looking at this very same painting. I had been there two years earlier for yet another school project when I originally saw this painting by William Baziotes, an American painter. It’s called The Flesh Eaters, and I remember my initial thoughts as being that while I thought the color palette was fantastic and that the images were a great use of space that it was just a little unnerving. I decided then not to do my project on that painting and apparently it was trying for months and months to not let me forget it. In essence, the painting came back to haunt me. It still pops up in my dreams from time to time but at least now I know that all my loved ones do not go thoughtlessly ignored by me. I do have a woman that I work with that I can’t stand, but I would hardly call her venomous as you’d suggested. So naturally, I feel pretty stupid right about now. Sorry for my nasty response earlier. I especially feel bad about it now that this has all turned out to be nothing! Silly me.

I went ahead and enclosed a copy of the painting with this letter. I thought I might as well share it with you since you’ve had your time invested in this little investigation of sorts!
I hope that everything works out with Hasselhoff! Let me know if anything interesting develops.

PS: My real name is Mónica, and I’m actually from New Jersey and not Dakota. Dakota just sounded better after the word Dreaming.

PSS: Did you ever further investigate the American Idol or Twinkie dreams? Just curious.

Friday, April 27, 2007


I'm going to keep this short and sweet (something I'm not frequently prone to do, me being a person of a rather verbose nature).

For those of you who do not know me all that well: be aware that I often injure myself in mysterious ways and I am often taken to strange ailments. If there is a rare and undiscernable illness out there, I will probably at some point be stricken with it; often with more than one at the same time.
This having been said, I will also preface the announcement of this most recent injury with a disclaimer that is meant to assure you that said injury was not inflicted during any sort of questionable or suggestive activity. I was actually (and most truthfully) injured while really doing nothing at all. I was sitting. In a computer chair. scanning photos. There's really nothing else to be said of my injury (get your minds out of the gutter, I beg).

So, without further ado (and with only slight embarrassment) I announce to you all that (somehow) I've managed to moderately strain the ligaments of my sacroiliac joint.

Don't know what that is, do you?

Basically, I've sprained my butt. I didn't know that it was possible, but by golly I've done it.

And don't waste your time; I've already heard all the jokes.
Har har - yes, I'm a real 'sprain in the ass'.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Her fear was evident.
It was evident in her touch and in her look. It was evident in the constant shiver that seemed to surround her and affect anyone that stepped within 3 feet of her. She never appears scared, but she was definitely scared now.
She had been praying off and on for hours and I joined in with her now as we held hands, my head resting near hers so that she could feel the movement of my lips on her cheek as I repeated that prayer with her over and over.

I wasn't nervous for her health or for the success of the surgery. I wasn't nervous about the doctor's capabilities. None of these things concerned me. I didn't pray for the sake of these things, but I did pray for my mom - I prayed so that she knew I was joining with her in prayer -- so that she would feel prayed for.

My mom has been waiting for this surgery for quite some time. Her hips began giving her problems so long ago that I can't even recall when it began really. First some moderate pain. Then came the slight limp. Sometime after that was when she could no longer put on her shoes by herself or shave her legs on her own. I don't remember exactly when it was that she began walking with a cain or when the doctor told her that the cartilage was completely gone in her hip and that she was functioning bone on bone, or even when that bone itself began to crumble completely. I don't remember the exact time frame of these events, but I know that it's been a very long time since my mother has had the functional use of her legs.

So here we are in the pre-op patient room, and being wheeled into the OR, and waking up from anesthesia, and being catherized. Here we are feeling dizzy with nausea from the pain medication, and trying in vain to keep some food down.

Here we are, mom.

And here we'll be tomorrow and the next and the next when you go to physical therapy and when you put this surgery to the real test - it's where the metal meets the road (so to speak).

And I am grateful.
I'm grateful because despite all the pain and the misery, she's been waiting for this for so long.

Folks... mama's got a brand new hip.

Monday, April 16, 2007

high molesterol

I'm really good at forming lousy habits. I'd say I'm a bit of a pro in fact. One of these lousy habits happens to be getting myself into lousy situations by performing outrageously absurd (and lousy) little stunts.

I recently learned that I demonstrate passive aggressive behavior. When I become upset (or sometimes even enraged), I say nothing at all, never demonstrating outwardly the rage that I'm feeling and the source of my rage, as a result, is never any the wiser. You see, instead of saying anything, I perform small acts of absurdity that make me feel inwardly satisfied and (somehow) that the situation has been rectified.

I once had a roommate that was frequently the source of these sorts of sentiments. * I realize that pretty much everyone has had a roommate that enrages them from time to time, but you have to understand that I (miss butt) almost never get angry. It takes quite a lot. It takes something like consistently not cleaning up any of the messes that you make in the kitchen, scarcely ever turning off your air conditioner and then not ever once reimbursing me for your portion of the electric bill, moving your boyfriend into the apartment without even mentioning it to me first, asking me to dish out upwards of $100 for the communal goodies you purchased for the apartment and then taking them all with you when you moved, inviting hordes of people over for dinner parties without making me aware that there would be a dinner party (furthermore not inviting me to join in and then leaving your dishes for me to wash)… it takes all of this, and then yelling at me for spilling oatmeal on the stove and forgetting to reimburse you for some gas money (no, I'm not still bitter… really).

Regardless, I had a roommate that did all of this (and more). I never made it evident to her that I was inwardly furious. I never once said a thing when she left her dishes; I simply scrubbed in disgruntled silence, pretending that I was being a cheerful giver. Not ever did I mention her two weeks' worth of mail stacked on the table, or her insistence that I split with her the (absurdly $80/month) cable bill even though I never watched t.v. (not that I could actually – she had a pretty strong grip on that remote; the strongest I've seen to date, I believe). I refrained from ever mustering anything but a lovely smile because to me it wasn't worth a fight. It wasn't worth making my living situation any less tolerable than it already was.

So instead, I ate her cereal in the mornings, folding the bag back up nice and neat and leaving it just the way she had left it.
I took her car twice during the day while she was at work to go shopping in Arlington without asking her first (I was still too nice to not put gas in it when I was finished).
I used her shave gel in the shower; I used her laundry detergent despite the fact that I had a perfectly good (and full) bottle of it that I even preferred over hers. I think I took a book of hers once too. I lent the book to Alejandra who then lent it to someone else, who lent it to yet another person. We had this discussion over this past New Years actually, at which point I had completely forgotten about the book only to learn that it had traveled across 4 states, two countries, and at least one gender. I don't think said roommate even realizes that it's missing. That's ok… she has at least 2 of my CDs and a book that she never returned.

I always knew that my reactions were irrational. I knew they were, but I didn't want to stop them because they were small, internal victories for me. She was the self-proclaimed smarter, more capable, and less ridiculous roommate. She never shied away from sharing this opinion with me (often in the company of several other peers). So to me, she wasn't even worth outwardly standing up to. It felt better to "beat" her in ways that she would never know about.

Now, believe me, I realize that I wasn't beating her every time I poured myself a bowl of her Peanut Butter Puffins; but I at least felt like I was beating someone at something which in turn didn't make me feel like I had to beat her so much.

The breaking point – the day of absolute insanity – came when I agreed to help Alejandra move out of her apartment and into a new one (into the apartment building of the late and famed intern, Chandra Levy). Roommate had generously agreed to allow me the use of her car for the occasion on the condition that I had it back by 5:30 so that she could go grocery shopping with a friend.

Alejandra and I got an early start. Well, let me rephrase that: I got an early start. As I recall, when I arrived at her apartment, Alejandra was still frantically stuffing clothing from her closet (still on the hanger) into oversized plastic trash bags.
It took us nearly an hour to load up the first load and about 15 minutes to drive the 18 or so blocks to her new place. Add another hour to unload and drive back for the next trip. I don't remember how many loads we did, but this process took us all day. The unfortunate part is that Alejandra had to be moved out by the end of that day and I was the only person she knew with access to a car. So here I was completely stuck at around 5:00 or so in the afternoon as we were still loading up the last of her belongings. I knew it would take time to finish up, unload, and drive all the way back across town to get the car back.
I called the roommate at 5:30 to let her know that I was almost on my way back, but was going to be a bit late. She wasn't thrilled, but she didn't say anything. Honestly… she was going grocery shopping. No big deal, right?

Friends, I did my absolute best, but the car didn't get back to her until 6PM. And apparently this was too late to go grocery shopping because all of her plans were already ruined. Additionally, in my anxiety and haste in getting the car back, I forgot to fill up the tank.

Two days later I woke up to a rant over some oatmeal that I had splashed on the burner the night before. She told me she was trying not to be a bitch. She told me that she didn't want to seem unreasonable, but the oatmeal was grossing her out and there's no excuse for why I hadn't cleaned it up. She then handed me a sponge and said in mock sweetness,
"And also, I don't mean to be rude or anything… and I'm really trying not to be annoyed (long sigh), but it's usually customary to put gas in someone's tank when you've used their car…"

I smacked my forehead, apologized profusely, and then handed her a $20 bill for the $5-$10 of gas that I'd used.

And then I raided her closet when she left for work.

I don't know what came over me, but something had to be done. I made a grab for the new suit that she'd just had tailored to fit. It was still wrapped in the plastic bag – I made sure not to destroy the integrity of the wrapping.

Slipping into that suit was like slipping into a suit of armor. This is the real definition of a power suit. I zipped the zipper and felt awesome. I buttoned the buttons and felt even awesomer (oh shoosh. I don't care if it's not a word). I didn't care that I was a size 8 and she was a size 14. I didn't care that I might splatter some peppercorn ranch dressing on the lapel during lunch. I didn't even care that our third roommate (and my co-worker) might notice.

OK – so maybe I cared about that last portion just a little bit. Or, at least I did when co-worker saw me in the suit and her face lit up like a grand opening at Bloomingdale's.
"MOE! Where did you get that suit?! That looks amazing on you (apparently I can pull off a few sizes too large?)!"

This made me… well, a bit nervous. I stepped carefully the rest of the day and regretted ever breaking into roommate's closet. What if she came home early from work and saw me wearing it? What if co-worker recognized the suit the next time she wore it? What if I really did splatter peppercorn ranch on the lapel?

The regret bumper-carred it's way through my brain the rest of the day and by 6PM, I was a wreck. The office wanted to go out for drinks, but all I wanted to do was run home and (carefully) change out of this damned suit. Ugh! My stupid stunts! My ridiculous passive aggressive behavior!

Somehow, I managed not to get caught. Well, not by the offending roommate anyway. Third roommate/co-worker became one of my allies over the months that we spent living with the offender. We were both aware of her begrudging behavior and as a result were both in a similar boat. Many weeks later, roommate wore that very same suit to work and then met us all for drinks afterward. Co-worker looked once, and then twice, and then glanced my way with a smile. She never said anything, but I knew that she knew. And I knew that I wouldn't have to explain my outrageous behavior to her. So we left it at that: a quick glance, and a knowing smile.

Friends, I still do stupid things on a daily basis.
Luckily, I don't have roommates anymore.

* I realize that after this entire story you might think that I was rooming with a complete and utter disaster. The fact is that she was really ready to have her own place with her boyfriend and didn't have much use for roomates. The other truth tis that she had a hard time cleaning up after herself... wait, I already highlighted that. Regardless, we get along much better now that we're not rooming together. It also helps that I only see her once ever two years or so.

Currently listening :
Neon Bible
By Arcade Fire
Release da

Monday, March 05, 2007

the lovely gnomes

Dusk in Lima flickers and glows the way that you imagine dusk would;
it flickers and glows the way that you imagine it should.
It's the kind of dusk that you read about in mystery novels or harlequin romances. You see them quite a lot on television.

Dusk in New Jersey mostly abbreviates rush-hour traffic and (if it's summer time) catching a whiff of six separate barbecued suppers in the span of a single block. It has its own nice little quality, but it's not the same as having this feeling like here in Lima. It's not like walking through a huge, rainbow glow necklace; like the kind that we used to get at the Frenchtown roller rink for $1.

Tony, Cecilia, and I landed last night in Lima somewhere around 12:20 AM and in a haze of prescription pain killers, muscle relaxers, and airplane peanuts. The doors on the aircraft had not yet even opened when I could already smell the warm, damp air that I associate so strongly with Peru. It smells salty and sweet - this surprisingly pleasant mixture, like kettle corn.
My cousin Roxanna came to greet us as we exited the baggage claim with a hug and a cigarette and looking exhausted. Of all my cousins here (there are 16 of us grandchildren in total), I've always been closest with her despite my being 6 or 7 years her senior. I look out for her and she looks up to me even though the scenario could easily and justifiably be in the reverse. She hugs me long and hard and holds my hand all the way out to the car, saying nothing and everything all at once. I immediately know that she's tired and weary of her job although she feels that she's very successful with it and wants to advance in this career. I know that she has missed me and that she wishes she will get to see more of us over the course of the next two weeks. I know that she wishes she'd never started smoking.

We continue in the usual routine back to Mira Flores, a cleaner and more pleasant district of Lima where my grandparents live and where my father grew up. I am reminded several times to keep my bag on the floor by my feet and to make sure that we only keep the windows cracked slightly until we exit this part of town.
It always feels like we never left - or that we were just here last month. Last week, even.

Sitting on the rooftop and hour later, cigarette smoke coiling from (almost) everyone's lips, we're all quiet. I haven't had a first night in Lima like this in a long time. I'd become accustomed to arriving to a house full of people and persuasive cousins who would literally change me out of my travel clothes and into appropriate going-out clothing in a record 5 minutes before wisking me away to a bar or a place to dance in a more active district of Lima. I'd roll in the door somewhere around 5 or 6 in the morning and feeling more tired than I ever had in my life, but very glad that they persuaded me to go.

But tonight is different, and serene. It's a Sunday and everything is shut down, including us. There will be tomorrow night, and the night after, I'm sure.

It feels good to be here.

Currently reading :
The Lovely Bones
By Alice Sebold
Release date: By 20 April, 2004

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

re: buttle

Yes. Twice in one day.
Two for the price of one.
Who'd've thunk?!
(I don't even really know if that's proper, but I'm sticking with it).

I realize that the last post was a little crappy. It was written hastily and I am fully aware of my over-usage of the semi-colon (that little slice of punctuation heaven that I love and herald so much). This having been said, however, I find it newsworthy that I have received an amusing rebuttle so quickly.
I mentioned that Alejandra might comment.

She has.

Visit her fantastically witty compartment of the world at Sent from my Dell Desktop.

And for those of you who don't make a habit of reading regularly, you ought to.

Currently listening :
Wincing the Night Away
By The Shins

a certain game that i have

Monday January 20, 1990
Today we had school when just about everyone was out of school!

School was really confusing! Math is as confusing as someone telling you that theres a corner in a circular room!

I hate math! but I love, spelling, English, & art!

Cecilia is cleaning up her mess right now.

Today we went to grandmas so Aunt Kay could go to Uncle Eddie’s funeral. Tomorrow we got to go to Uncle Eddie’s burrial.

Kitty bit me twice!

Laura & Cherie are moving to Flemington I think. Sometime next month. I’m gonna miss them! I wont get to see them as much during the summer.

My Uncle Fred is thinking about moving into their house! He’s really crazy!
I pray that I can see them pretty often in the summer!

Well Gotta go!


Memory Verse – 2 Kings 13:3
Breakfast – Oatmeal
Lunch – Chicken Cardon Bleu
Dinner - Soup


Scattering dust bunnies from the corners of my closet, I came across this old journal of mine from when I was 10 years old.

For reasons unknown, I found it necessary to record everything that I ate on a daily basis.

This is… well, it’s embarrassing but very funny and almost sweet (dare I say?). And it makes me realize that I think it’s become pretty easy to forget that I've grown up. After all, there are no clear boundaries drawn between the age of 10 and the age of 27 until I come across an old journal, or photos from summer camp, or a letter from a pen pal that I haven’t heard from in ages; there is no line in the sand from that time when I made the decision to grow up. I never received a date stamped receipt for my purchase of adulthood.

In fact, the debate is still out on whether I’ve actually yet become an adult at all.

My first response to these journal entries is to laugh and to think how different I am now. And that’s partially true; I’m not as simple minded, I suppose; and I’d like to think that my writing has improved a bit. I had little to worry about when I was 10. I was a book worm who constantly chose function over fashion. I was too practical for my own good and my friends thought I was strange because of it. And I only really had friends because I was active with my church – they were people I had known nearly my entire life. They accepted me as-is because… well, because we were church kids and that’s just what we did. I think most people would have considered me a little naïve and quite the tomboy. I played matchbox cars with my brothers and preferred dirt bikes, climbing trees, and building forts out of scrap materials to my sister’s Barbie house and fashion plate transfers. Not only was I nerdy and bookish, but I desperately strove to be such. *

So really, what’s changed between then and now?
Life; I suppose that would be an acceptable answer.
Bills, debt, heartache, death, loss, broken dreams, broken promises, broken glass **, mistakes (tons and tons of mistakes)…

And I focus only for a moment on how different I was until I realize that almost nothing has changed; almost nothing at all.

I still (at least mentally) compartmentalize my day into digestible fragments.
I still hate math (some of you know this first hand), and find it completely frustrating.
I still love art and enjoy the English language a great deal.
I still keep obsessive tabs on the food that enters my mouth in a given 24-hour period.
I still don't care for cats.
My Uncle Fred is still crazy, and Cecilia is still cleaning up her mess.

I take a pill every morning to make me happy and I take one every night to keep me that way. I enjoy drug induced sleep because it’s the only good sleep I get. I don’t listen to music anymore to dance – I listen in hopes that someone else’s words will help me make sense of things. I still strive to memorize scripture, but I often just find myself quoting what I memorized when I was 9 years-old instead of trying to memorize something new.

“Blessed is the man who walketh not in the council of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in that law doth he meditate both day and night…” ***

The words cycle through my mind in a continuous round, peddling slower and slower until I finally drift off to sleep.

When I was 10 I was too stupid to feel helpless, or lonely, or trapped.
So yeah, I guess life is what happens in between then and now.
And I might still be a little too stupid to feel lonely.
The difference is that now I know the difference.

* I had a specific outfit that I wore whenever we were going to the library. It involved a red, plaid, pleated skirt; penny loafers, a blazer, and a pair of my sister's old glasses that she used to read with. I didn't require corrective lenses at the time, but I desperately wanted them. They completed "the look" (I'm almost certain Alejandra will have a comment about this).
** In February of 2000, during my family's annual visit to Peru, an overhead window fell from its framing and broke over the back of my neck, leaving a nasty scar. I have some picture lying around here somewhere that I might share with you all at some point...

*** Psalm 1:1

Currently reading :
The Fasting Girl
By Michelle Stacey
Release date: By 25 September, 2003

Friday, February 16, 2007

exploring harmony

I've decided to make the move to skinny jeans.
Well, let's not call it the move, let's just call it a move. *

I've not ever had any opposition to the skinny jean. The God's honest truth is that there have been just a few things holding me back. The fact that (number one) they are called skinny jeans - it's sort of similar to my original apprehension toward Gap's long and lean line of jeans. I am neither long, nor lean and so I saw no reason to give them a try. Wouldn't you know that the jeans are just supposed to make you feel long and lean. Egads.

Beyond their name, however, most skinny jeans I have found are so laden with spandex that I can't stand to wear them. I like my denim with a little give, but I'm no fan of super stretch jeans. The third problem has been length. I mentioned earlier that I am not long... or lean for that matter, but let's focus on the length portion. My legs are short. Really short. 28" inseam short. Flare and bootcut jeans allowed me to get away with a slightly longer pant leg because the cuff went over my shoes anyway. Skinny jeans afford me no slack on the inseam whatsoever and finding a pair with a 28" inseam has proven difficult.

Please believe me when I say that I am fully aware of how dull a subject this actually is.

I have a little secret to share. I sort of consider myself to be somewhat of a denim expert. This consideration is not completely unwarranted; I served a short sentence at the GAP in the Menlo Park Mall a few years ago. It was... interesting (I give Kelita a lot of credit here). Regardless, one of the first things I did when I started working there (over my 15 minute break) was try on every single cut of jeans available in every length, spanning 3 different sizes. It was a sizable task, but I persevered. I learned a lot about denim and a perhaps even more about the self-misconceptions of middle-class, mainstream American women. I learned that the low-rise curvy flares don't necessarily look good on curvy women. I learned that the low-rise long and lean don't necessarily look horrible on short and non-lean women. I also learned that I (mysteriously – considering my misgivings on dealing with people in general) love the challenge of helping people find the perfect pair of jeans.**

So, dear friends, in my personal quest for the perfect pair of jeans, I have been intrigued by the skinny denim comeback. Initially, the idea was perfect. Oh so Audrey Hepburn (and those closest to me know that I have a little bit of a "thing" for her) a la Funny Face, in her little skinny pencil trousers. I used to prance*** around in a similar pair of black trousers wearing black flats and mock turtle neck sweaters while at what was probably the peak of my nerdiness. And while obviously I look nothing like the famed actress (and at one time sweetheart of American film), I felt like her.

I was looking forward to once again living out this fantasy when I noted the return of skinny jeans, skinny pants, and skinny (period).

So you can clearly imagine my disappointment when I had a hard time finding a decent pair. I had hoped that you didn't actually have to be skinny to fit into skinny jeans. I had also hoped that once I found myself finally in a pair of skinny jeans that I wouldn't have to be doing a lot of standing around like this. But apparently that's what it takes to sport the skinny.

So here I sit, in 2-Dimensional design class (still not really doing anything – although I think we begin doing something as soon as next week), wearing the new skinny jeans that I found at Old Navy on the clearance rack (which might mean that by next month, no one will be wearing them anymore). I'm still in the experimental stage and I'm not quite sure how I feel about them. I'm even less sure of how they feel about me.

The bottom line is: I miss my old black pencil trousers.

* This move was most inspired by Alina's and Amanda's recent encouragement and brave move to the skinny jean themselves.

** My nerd-dom has never been disputed. I've always openly embraced it and even wrote a blog about it once or twice.
*** The word prance being used quite liberally in this context.

To get more skinny on skinny action, click here.

Currently watching : Funny Face

Monday, February 05, 2007

go wild

I think I'll start writing again.

Whether this decision has been inspired by my new subscriber (who mysteriously subscribed despite my rather long absence), or by my trusty effexor, I'll never know. Regardless, I feel as though it's time. I've had a long enough vacation and I'm (pretty much) ready to be back.

That having been said, I'm in class right now and this keyboard is really noisy. We're creating a color wheel in Photoshop. My professor does not really know how to use Photoshop and I finished the project about 20 minutes ago.

I think she hears me typing. She keeps looking in my direction. I'll be back. I promise. For real.

Read on...

and in the meantime, read this. Or this.

Currently reading : Color (5th Edition) By Paul J. Zelanski Release date: By 01 February, 2006