September 28, 2005


I found this painting by Francis Bacon this morning. A few days ago I was hurting my head trying to remember his name, the painter who painted such horrific stuff. I have been having nightmares again, really dark ones that remind me of this art...smeared faces, morbid colors and an unfinished look. I like this one but it isn't my favorite. I read his name this morning paired with Burroughs and thought, How perfect that they ran in the same chronology. Though I saw a picture of them walking together, I do not know if they were friends.*This morning I woke up with a tight throat. I spent the greater portion of All Night tossing around, sweating, kicking the comforter and dreaming about the Importance of Something...though I cannot remember of What. Last night Craig and I had gone to the mall, and I wonder if someone with a sick bug hadn't just crossed a path I crossed in that huge public place and left the sick bug there for me to catch. But today I am drinking plenty of water (and only one coffee earlier this morning) to flush the tight throat feeling out. Last night something else happened that makes me smile even yet this morning: Craig and I were watching the new Jason Lee sitcom, and we both fell asleep without knowing the other was asleep and missed the very end. I was drifting and it would have been safe to assume so was he, seeing as he adores naps so, but I was too oblivious to notice. Then, when we woke and moved our sleepy selves into bed, I commented about him splashing around in the bathroom, which still makes me smile at the thought, and he commented that every night with me is like a slumber party (smiling over that also). He is right about that. This morning I woke up to cook pasta for his lunch today because in the fridge we had leftover spaghetti sauce but no pasta. Even with my tight throat I could still smell the full thick air of pasta, and it reminded me that my sense of smell is extra sensitive in the mornings. I can smell the soap on his skin out of the shower, the detergent in a clean shirt, and even the light sleep smell left in the air after we've been awake for a while. Then I get to work and make the coffee, and can detect if I have made it too strong by smell alone. Regardless, this morning I think I was running a fever. I stuck a thermometer in my mouth after Craig left for work and the digital numbers clocked me at 99.1, which is really not that bad. But I still feel a little weak. Ideally it will work itself right out because tonight is Vince Vaughn at the Tabernacle and we have 5th row seats! And tomorrow is my last day at work for the week, and we must do laundry and pack...and Friday we get to sleep in, just a little. So much traveling this month. October will be quieter. Craig has another trip to AZ, for work this time, mid-October, and that night AB is going to come to Vinings to keep me company. She will have just returned from the Bahamas with her husband so she'll be pink and tan.*One other thing I wanted to mention about temperature, not so much the temperature down south but the climate of the north in the fall, is the cool crisp air. I missed it a lot this morning. I was reviewing some old St. Louis pictures from the winter of '04 and recalling how fresh cold air is when it hits your nose and skin. Fall and winter run right into each other and though there is a remote distinction between the two seasons, the air is similar...akin to the color blue, if blue had a scent. Not just because of the temperature of blue but because of its depth and the way that cool air bites. If I were in it, if the fall had arrived upon me and my nose were red and running, I might be complaining about it...but without it, in the 80-something degree temps in Atlanta in October, I miss the fall. That air is what Craig would call "perfect football weather." And he's right about that, too.

September 26, 2005


I read this particular story in Willful Creatures on the plane to Detroit while my boyfriend slept. It's the most powerful story, in my humble opinion, thus far in the collection. Never mind that it is only perhaps the 5th story I've read. Craig wondered why, if that book is so very good, I have not finished it yet. He doesn't quite understand this, but if I finish it all, I have nothing new to look forward to, at this point, in the literary sphere. Though that is not entirely true, because there is a book called Nice Big American Baby that I want to purchase, as well as a swell-seeming novel by a contemporary writer named Krista Madsen. Regardless, this particular story would read very well at, say, a wedding. Or maybe at an engagement party. The theme is dark but its appearance overall is hopeful, in a sense. This isn't the best excerpted quote, in my estimation, but I don't have the book with me and this line was included in a review on line.*Being a bridesmaid is exhausting work. Craig and I met at Hartsfield Jackson Friday around 4, and our flight left around 6-something. We landed in the old D about 8...JW picked us up and he had, in tow, an old subcontractor buddy of ours, DW. Things change. He's now divorced, living in a bachelor paddish condo and bald, in contacts instead of glasses. But some things do not change. Ed's Hangar Lounge, while now named something different and owned by someone different, is still the smokey shoebox bar in that anonymous strip mall on Eureka Road with approximately 15 patrons (on a good night, which Friday was one of those) and Miller Lite in buckets. DW drank Bud Lite--I didn't recall that. But honestly, how is one to keep track of long lost friends' drinks of choice? Anyway, we polished off a few beers there, left to check into the hotel in Southgate, settled ourselves at a table at Hooters of Taylor (MI) and proceeded to eat wings and drink beer. I finally reached ST and she resolved that we should come see her new house. That said, we picked up additional beer and headed over. In the back yard were several of my old Taylor team mates: A, K, S, N...BW, of course. A and I were partnered up for the procession the next day. I was relieved to have such a gleeful and helpful escort, seeing as I had missed the rehearsal as a result of not getting to Michigan until the weekend. Seeing ST was, as always, very exciting for me. I miss not having her to give a hard time to day in and out. She sincerely became my adopted sister in those days. After mingling with them for a while, Craig and I climbed into the back of JW's beastly white too-big truck and we went to a bar in Dearborn that DW loves called Kelley's Irish Pub. Not the Double Olive as I hoped, but fun...Craig passed out sitting there, how completely like him. He's undeniably the most tired person I have ever met.*Her big day came too soon. I couldn't sleep well--too much beer, or too little beer? Whichever. I showed up at JN's roughly late (typical KB) but it wasn't a huge deal...we were getting what I like to call "updone" by JN's sister-in-law, or what have her relation. She did a fabulous job pinning these little girlie curls all over my head, spraying the whole nest to beat the band, then even spraying it with what Craig lovingly deemed later "stripper glitter". I think I looked more like a girl than I ever remember looking. Oh, and add make-up to my face. I'm still yanking clumps of mascara from my eye lashes. So, basically we were drinking mimosas and getting updone and dressed and one point, OK, who is ST's cutest and dearest, oldest, and most interesting friend, in my book, said, "I can't take this. I'm calling off this wedding." She was cute...nervous, more nervous, perhaps, than ST. But we survived--all mimosa morning, beer afternoon, smoking cigarettes standing on the other side of the bridge later at the park waiting for the male portion of the wedding party to arrive, soothing ST's nerves, laughing that we all should have definitely used the bathroom before heading out to the park seeing as none of us would be able to fit ourselves whole plus the puffy dresses inside the single port-a-john at the entrance to the park. ST was a lovely bride, and the ceremony went without a hitch. Her dad walked her up to give her away and that was emotional, that was all of us moody women bawling from behind waterproof mascara (and, obviously, can't-ever-come-off mascara) and streaking "toner" (that's what JN called it when she brushed it on my cheeks). Following the ceremony there were family photographs taken, and following that, entire wedding party pictures. I look forward to seeing them eventually upon release to the public. I wonder how plastered my smile looks. It sure felt like it...after 10,000 of them your mouth starts to feel like it's been wiped like a huge smudge of gloss across your face. But that's what's fun. ST was tugging at her jaw saying she couldn't take it anymore. After that was the reception. Craig made me swoon by playing the ever-doting sycophant, telling me I was the prettiest bridesmaid there. He knows how to win big when he wants to. He then made a misplaced and irrelevant point of reminding me that my one eye gets squinty when I am tipsy, which ranks right up there with scoffing at my purple teeth when I drink red wine, particularly like that time in front of TW and his girl A, during our hot tub time in North Carolina. It would be specifically helpful and sensitive if he were to privately alert me to these things instead of shouting them across the room for everyone else to take notice, too. But, can I say I did not know he was like this? I'd be delighted if he would read "The Meeting" so that he could get a sense for what I feel sometimes when I am with him. Other times I don't feel that, however...such as last night, when things fell right back into place. I'm beginning to recognize that things are not supposed to stay in place constantly. What good would a puzzle be if it were all put together already and never came apart? Offhanded and lazy-minded cliche, but ringing true regardless. Anyway, ST's day was, as near as I can reveal, nearly perfect. Everyone cleaned up well, and she and BW exchanged tearful vows in front of those they love and who love them. The reception was a massive party with free booze for all and a good dinner and a DJ who, well...let's just say that he didn't forget to play "Celebrate Good Times Come On." At least he managed to unearth Craig's Outkast request. Craig and I decided that at our wedding (when we're 60, ha, if we stick out everything in between) we're going to create a play list on the iPod and just push play. But then Craig recanted and claimed he wants a band. I don't think we're hiring the guy who loves Kool and the Gang, sorry ST. Everyone had a great time, though. What more could a girl have wanted on her special day? One wedding down, one to weekend Indianapolis, here we come.

September 21, 2005


It makes me positively sick to my stomach how I act sometimes. This rotten sinking feeling crawls right into my middle and harvests all sorts of terrible thoughts, occasionally prompting me to act irrationally in defense of myself against the ill thoughts, but my defense mechanisms are weak and only make me seem weaker to others. This is a huge flaw in my personality that I 100% intend to correct. It may just take the rest of my life to do so. In the meantime, I have returned from Sandestin looking tan in certain lights and yet pale in others, or tan on certain spans of skin and pasty on others, like the forearms get pretty brown and the creases of my knees stay chalk, and feeling like a heavy block has been lifted from my chest only to be replaced by another, only this one perhaps heavier. I met some very wonderful women, enjoyed their company as I could given the circumstances surrounding my paranoid existence. LB and JL picked me up Thursday morning and we got to know each other better along the dread-filled (for me) 6 hour drive away from home. LB drove like Andretti and JL rode shotgun while I sank against the back of the seat feeling my chest pushed deeper and deeper in. Not from LB's driving. So what I did is this: I made up my mind to protect myself by hiding every bad thought in the spaces between the seatbelt and the car seat. Then I wore this frilly frock of good-naturedness which was not at all even me. Even my typical sense of wit was broken. Anyway, we arrived in lovely Sandestin, at the resort, dropped off our things, and headed to Finz (lovely) for appetizers and wine. And the remainder of the evening was spent with these girls only, concluding with an explosion of sorts that did not pertain to them, but was isolated to myself and my phone and 3 a.m. (cheers Rob Thomas!) and a balcony...and a place in my heart I hope to never meet in that salty air again. Here, being cryptic is key, because I am ashamed of how broken that night left me and how trapped. The remainder of the weekend was less than noteworthy, based on my internal conflict, but included and was not limited to beach time, nice dinners, a fabulous (understatement) public speaker who delved into the art of time management in her hour-long speech, which, when done, I felt was not enough time spent listening to on Saturday afternoon a wine tasting event at lovely Finz for some of us girls who were brazen enough to drink that much wine in the middle of the afternoon. This is where the best portion of my memory will remain of the weekend, because I got to hang with the "cool" girls (I covet their friendships, anyway) and we were all lined up against a mirrored wall facing the others who were less fortunate and had their backs to the connoisseurs...we arrived, another KB, LB, MP, EW and I, first, and were poured a taste of a white before the shuttle arrived with the other 20-odd women, and in the span of about 2 hours we wound up having so much fun and drinking so much wine that our stumbles down to the beach later were likely comical. The other KB and I were laughing (but making vain attempts to hide our naivete and immaturity) at every turn of the presentation. At some point, the turning point or where the fun began, the connoisseur made a comment about how the server at a fine establishment will only pour a swallow to swish and sniff, and LB remarked in her fancy smokey chic rasp, "Oh, it isn't just to piss me off?" which had us all tittering. From then on the floor was open to hilarious commentary and debate as the guest connoisseur to Finz tried to maintain a sense of decorum among us. At one point MP had 3 glasses of different reds in front of her and she pleaded helplessly, "Wait! Let me catch up!"* I suppose I could color Saturday night, which consisted of me dancing so long and much in front of the dueling pianists at Rum Runners (thanks boys) that later, before the streets shut down for the evening, several bar-goers stopped me to thank me for having such a good time in their midst, for being a Dancing Queen, for looking so unbelievably happy. But where was I while I was that happy? I don't know what place...not physical place, obviously...but someplace hiding from the stab wounds. I hid well. The pianists played total KB faves upon request, like "Dancing in the Dark" and a shitload of Mellancamp during which I became exceptionally enthusiastic, shouting to fellow dancers, "I'm from Indiana!" as if they so much as cared. It definitely didn't matter. And I definitely consumed more wine in one weekend than I ever have, and I fairly well believe I won't go near alcohol again until this weekend in Detroit, at which time I will be watching myself reproachfully. I am devastated by the way I slid around from circle to circle and smiled so dishonestly the whole while my heart had huge holes in it. I should have stayed home. But altogether, a huge thanks to all the women who figuratively held me in my cloud.*When I returned, Sunday night I dreamed the population of the planet was being depleted person by person. A monstrous entity was crushing members of my dream, and in fact, once, a person's skull was crushed in my very presence. I managed to hide (common theme?) and in the dream I thought the word "poetry" as loud as I could. Somehow my life was spared, and I realized poetry really does save lives and spin the globe. Then last night I dreamed that Renee Z (celebrity Renee) and one other blonde were seducing Craig right in front of me. He kept glancing at me and smiling half coy, half sheepish, and in the meantime that torn gut feeling sounded again, a near throb in this dream. Renee Z wore this shredded glamorous bikini made of sweatshirt material, almost a cross between an outfit Xena Warrior Princess might wear if she were going to have a cameo in the remake of Flashdance? and the other woman stood to Renee Z's right and I could barely see her. But one of them, which I couldn't figure out which one, kept running her hands across Craig's chest, cooing, and the 3 walked off. I know precisely where the violence and fear in my dream originates, and it doesn't seem to cease to swell into something larger. I don't know that I'm much good for him after all.*

September 13, 2005


I definitely felt like a busy girl at work today. It was relieving to have plenty to take my mind off other various elements of being alive, but I also recognized a few moments of mania, along the lines of standing in Times Square, have at me. I did receive a visit from a co-worker of whom I'm particularly fond, in the best kind of brother fashion like in the old days when I used to have all of my D boys to look up to...or down to, in this case? as MP is substantially younger than me. But he's not to be looked down to. He's normal, nice, funny and drops by to deliver drawings on occasion. I appreciate his visits seeing as my office is a quiet and lonesome place most per cent of the time. So thanks for the laughs today, MP.*I have one more day left in the office and then I'm headed to Destin. Sandestin? Sandestin. Whatever it might be named, it's located in the panhandle of Florida and evidently there are white beaches there. I've seen white beaches before...but only once, as the lucky recipient of ticket number 2 to Barbados when my buddy BG's then-LD girlfriend (that would be long distance abbreviated, those are not her initials as in other cases here...) broke it off two weeks before the free trip to the island. I went along not knowing BG that well at the time, but it turned out to be one belly laugh after another. We veiled ourselves as a bro-sis duo so that we could "get [BG] laid." We have the ability to pull off the resemblance thing, both lanky and light-brown haired. I suppose. Anyway, after realizing BG had the incorrect birth certificate to get him into the country, a day trip to South Bend, IN from Cleveland, an Indians' baseball game and a bunch of drinks later, we arrived in Barbados for what turned into quite the comedic tour. I wasn't much confident in our conversation flow en route from Philly to the Caribbean, until the pilot announced, "To your right you'll see the outline of Puerto Rico," only, the plane was tipped far enough left that no one could glimpse Puerto Rico. That cracked us up and we were instant friends from there. I also vaguely recall a flight to outer space being advertised on the drop down mini monitors on the plane. BG wondered if he could collect frequent flier miles on that trip, and in addition, "Can I just throw the ticket on a credit card?" We had a fun time. Beaches were gorgeous, sand white, water aquamarine and rum a constant. When tired of "rum and whatever," we would order Banks beer, the only beer we really found to be available. And BG managed to woo a couple of British ladies who were also at the resort on a free getaway. These women were otherwise engaged in various relationships and did not permit BG to really sink his proverbial teeth in. However, did the bro-sis trick work? In fact it did. BG swept an unassuming young American woman with Caribbean-fashioned braided hair off her feet our last night on the island. I managed to hang with a couple of Portland, OR artsy type guys whose admiration I had definitely earned, however innocently, given I was fairly attached at the time. To Craig. Even then.*Here's to one more day at the office before I add to my collection of sandy white beaches.

September 12, 2005


I feel a remote sense of urgency in paying due respect to the St. Louis Cardinals as they near post-season play with a magic number of only 6. I'm also trying to get the taste of football out of my mouth, seeing as it was on in our apartment the entire weekend, college and pro. I'm not of serious sports origin but you can't live in St. Louis and not fall in love with baseball, particularly Cardinals baseball. It's by all means a fever. And there are particularly favorable conditions for Cardinals fans this year, what with this being old Busch's last season and now months away from the demo (implosion!) thereof. Anyway, when asked if I will always love the Cardinals, I explain very innocently to everyone who asks that the Cardinals are like a first kiss that will not be forgotten, but at the same time I'm beginning to believe I will always be a fan. I definitely have not shifted alliances here in Braves country.*Saturday the B's came over around 1.30. AB and I had pure intentions of spending a mere 2 hours at the pool while MB and Craig spent their afternoons roped into college fb, but AB and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves to the point of not returning to the apartment until like 6.00. I called Craig at one point and he goes, You do realize it's 4.30, don't you? AB wondered if that was a cry for help, if he wanted us to come back to the apartment so he and MB weren't alone with only beer and tv as entertainment any further. (I don't understand! We made them plenty of bite-type foods to keep them fed, as well! Little dogs in blankets, cheesy meaty football mess dip, as AB put it, spinach-artichoke dip, etc.) AB and I were knocking back our share of beers poolside and laughing at the gentleman in the wee-sized white trunks. They were actual trunks but more like the short shorts teenage females purchase at Abercrombie. I told AB that it was obvious he must have gotten those trunks in France. You know, without having been, I am under the conditioned impression that the French are more daring in skin exposure. Well, we would be 100% wrapped in a serious conversation about relationships and marriage and celebrity hunks and what have you...French trunks would walk by, and she would throw her face into her towel to prevent him from spying the guilty pleasure she was taking in watching him walk by. Too funny. In our last half hour at the pool there were two over-30 gentlemen doing this running/leaping thing into the pool to catch a thrown football. Like, guy #1 would get out, rear back, run in the general direction of the water, and attempt some fancy whoosh of his body into the pool while reaching for the ball thrown by guy #2. Then they would switch spots. At one point one of the men spotted AB watching and gave her a toothful grin. After all this, AB and I drove to a liquor store in Vinings. We had checked in on the boys and alas, they were fine. So I was explaining on our way to the store that the cashier was really cute, that I had only been there one time but had noted how cute the counter guy was. We walked up and AB noticed a giant ceramic bird (turkey? AB said it might be a "quail," which made me laugh all the more) sitting in the front of the store. She commented that this was just asking to be stolen. Its size would require at least two people to hoist it into the back of a car. We went inside, wandered somewhat directionless in search for Miller Lite, found it, then approached the counter where cute boy was indeed working. AB went ahead and let him know that that bird needed to be stolen by someone, and he responded that he saw the Mustang (my car that we had chance in us stealing the bird after telling him we might.) AB or I, I cannot remember which of us, dropped a big fat Napoleon "gosh" and the counter guy said, "idiot! you ruined my life! gosh!" and AB and I were delighted that he recognized the pop reference. She also pointed out accurately that this guy resembles Orlando Bloom. It isn't often that a gentleman behind the counter at a liquor ("package," as they call them in Atlanta) store resembles a celebrity hunk, particularly one as sword-wielding as Orlando Bloom, but when it happens, take notice and drag your girlfriends to see for themselves.*One of my favorite days in St. Louis was the afternoon game in July 2004 versus the Cubs where RL (aforementioned crazy Asian friend) and his wife and I had purchased 25 tickets for family and friends to come join us. It was a fabulous chance for us to get a lot of people together. My parents came and got to meet a lot of my friends they haven't met before. My dad, Chicago-native, was the sole soul adorning his Cubs' gear while the rest of us cheered the Cards to victory. Actually, I think RL had some buddies wearing Cubbies stuff. St. Louis is brilliant, I miss it. It's my small city.

September 07, 2005


Labor Day weekend came pretty quickly and equally quickly was gone. Much of it was filled with minutes of nothing, but overall I am relieved Craig and I relaxed as well as we did. We have a behemoth of a month. This coming weekend there was talk of travel to Athens for a little UGA college football tailgate event with AB and MB, but we're now weighing the options of staying home instead, having the B's over for some beer with college football on the big screen (our big screen, though hi def deficient since our apartment complex has a contract with a cable company living in the cave days). Following that, though, Craig flies to AZ for college football and whatever else, and that same weekend I hit the beaches of Sandestin, FL with co-workers. That has me up in arms because I ducked out of the shuttle option and now gas prices have me shaking in my shoes...I still haven't figured out a viable option. It's a 6 hour drive, yet it's a drive I've never taken before so it could be soothing, but affording that transport solo is questionable. Following that Craig and I are off to Detroit for ST and BW, and after that, to Indy for KB (Craig's sister, not me, obviously) and BB's wedding. Last night we found out Craig's parents wanted to come to Atlanta to see us, however his big sister recently had detached retina surgery and it didn't go now instead, Craig's mom (possibly dad, too?) are headed out to NM to take care of the little ones while sister has re-do surgery. Hopefully that goes well for her.*A highlight of my weekend was of course seeing Jack Johnson. Craig and I tailgated beforehand in the Chastain Park Ampitheater parking lot, which was cool. I bought an outfit at Wet Seal that morning for the phenomenal low price of $14.98. So I felt cute. Next to us on either side were other tailgaters; on one side some younger kids played their CD's and at one point, Tori Amos' version of "Angie" came on. I pointed this out to Craig. Way back, while Craig and I were somewhat in and out of our relationship, I joined him in AZ for his cousin PR's wedding to a woman named Angie. At the mingling-hour pre-reception, a gentleman played acoustic guitar and sang songs in a corner. Craig had managed to drain around 2 Jack and Cokes already, maybe 3...and had the brilliant idea to ask the cover artist to play "Angie" in honor of the lovely bride. Then a very pink-cheeked gleeful Craig (tipsy already) announced to me proudly what he had done, and proceeded to announce it to Angie, who had just gotten her reaction was one of mixed thanks and distracted chaos from trying to ensure everyone was having a good time. It was a cute picture. Anyway, at the Jack Johnson tailgate there was Craig, straining to hear that the song was, in fact, "Angie," and when his sing along voice managed to catch the chorus and upon realizing Tori's voice wasn't quite headed in the same direction as his own version of the Stones' ballad, he declared, "She's really butchering it." He's so very precious to me. I also managed to drag him to the pool the next afternoon for some Georgia rays, and we took a couple beers, and he lay there peacefully (or what seemed to be peacefully) for roughly an hour, before turning to me and saying, "Does this make you happier that I'm here?" (referencing some stress I felt the day before because he desperately had to see that NM college football game instead of joining me poolside.) But I assured him that Yes, I was much happier having his company on that gorgeous afternoon by the pool.*The reality of what happens day to day can become confusing, if you stop to analyze it. I'm becoming increasingly concerned that I am not devoting any creative energy to the portion of my brain that thirsts for it, like there is an increasing spread of drought up there. I remember when I was a little girl and would go to dinner theaters with my family. I would watch these grown people dance and sing in their costumes and I was always so amazed at the grace of it. I wondered all through my youth if I would ever be that grown up, that smooth. I suppose the physical nature of their developed presences impressed me, in addition to the animated expressions on their faces. However now, as I near my actual 30's, and as I research a continuum of fiction writers and memoirists and primarily female voices, I am well aware that these are the fountainheads that I look up to, the type I'd like to become when I grow up.