Wednesday, December 17, 2014

An evening

I thought I was going to break down and turn on the heat last night, but I didn't.

I figured Dec. 16 was too early in the season to do so.


While sitting in the futon all wrapped in blankets yet not quite warm enough, I decided on the bath route instead of the heater route.

I crumbled granules of salt from the blocky clump inside the bag of Epsom salt, massaging the plastic covering to coax them out into the water pouring hot from the spout.

I grabbed my recently organized candles and made a selection of a handful of them, which I placed in a line on the tub's edge. I enjoyed striking the match that lit them, down the line.

After peeling off my work clothes and fleece jacket, I stepped into the water. I rustled the salt grains sitting on the bottom of the tub with my hand, and they dissolved as more water plunged into my sitting chamber.

I noticed that the water was actually steaming, and that the candles I had selected were each a different color, a rainbow of sweaty wax. Thing I buy rarely match; I just like all the colors.

I turned the handle to stop the waterfall and, well, remained sitting. I immediately felt a little too warm, and reflected on our never-satisfied existence as grumpy, spoiled humans.

Eventually I leaned back, and as the water level adjusted the water started to drain, through an emergency chamber that keeps the bathtub from overflowing. I was mildly annoyed, but mostly just sitting.

Sometimes the cat visits me while I bathe, and I have terrifying visions of his tail catching ablaze from the candles and setting the apartment on fire, the fuzzy fuze doing its work.

He didn't visit me last night.

I alternated between sitting and lying back.

I shaved my legs.

I thought about the thing I'm trying not to think about.

I watched the flames of the candles and marveled at that which is fire. Marveled at how I struck a match and lit five separate wicks, then extinguished the match, then five separate flumes remained independent yet came from the same source. Thought about how fire was discovered. Thought about the sun, a boiling ball of fire that keeps me warm and fends off depression.

Thought, thought, thought. Though about that thing I'm trying not to think about.

I got into the bath to get me into a hands-off mode. The tub is a great place to tear one's fingers from the keyboard, from all our cycling habits, pacing repetitions that we do when given some free time. Nothing like stripping down and putting yourself in a bunch of water to keep you from doing anything else.

I lifted and lowered my legs from the water. Watched the water slide down the now-exposed thigh, the edges evaporating. Pulled the leg back under and watched the dimples of my knee create a dimple in the water.

Watched the water steam.

Watched the candles flicker and send black smoke upward, mixing with the steam.

Sat up and hugged my knees.

Looked at myself in the closet mirror.

Wondered if the cat would come visit.

Not quite sure if I was ready to get out -- if I had an appropriate enough "experience" of a bathtub experience -- but then pressed the drain plug and stood up to towel off.

Thirstily I poured myself a glass of orange juice -- one of my current almost-obsessions -- and petted the kitten, in the living room, simply sitting on the carpet. I love how soft their fur feels when I get out of the shower or bath. Holding them against your naked chest is the best.

After a little more Internet time, I pulled myself away from the laptop, got myself a glass of water, selected a book from the shelf, and got back in the futon.

I woke up around 3. It was raining. And thundering, which never happens in LA. The cat seemed a little confused.

My shirt was moist with sweat. Guess I didn't need the heater after all.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Fiction? Fiction!

Below is something I wrote earlier this year. I thought I'd try my hand at fiction. So while what you usually read on this blog is true, below is fiction. (I hope you) enjoy:

And so they laid in the grass.

The ground was not quite warm, and the earth between the million shoots of grass was a little wet, but once their backs met the not-quite-hard, slightly bumpy surface, it was an instant bond that made them powerless to get back up, at least right at first.

And besides, they had had it. They had done enough thinking and problem solving for one day. “Enough already!” they thought, and squished their shoulder blades around to get better acquainted with the ground, not minding that their t-shirts got wetter as they did so. Because as they lay there, they remembered how healing it can be to just lie on the earth and look at the sky. And sometimes it can be the best place to start when you’re trying to solve a problem and just don’t know where to go next.

Brady looked at a cloud and thought to himself that it looked like a rabbit – a boy rabbit, with stiff tufts of hair around his ears and buck teeth that made him look at once mischievous and impossibly charming. He laughed to himself, but only inside, a laugh that didn’t make it to the surface, causing no ripples of movement to move the folds in his t-shirt nor a sound from his mouth. He didn’t tell Jack, either, about the funny image he was picturing, because he just didn’t feel like expending the energy. He wasn’t cranky about it, but rather the longer he laid in the grass the more victim he became to its overpowering influence to make him relax. It was like gravity was literally pushing down on him, rather than just causing his body to fall downward.

This was the best he had felt in weeks, and it only took three seconds to get there.

How we forget to lie in the grass!

Jack let out a grumbly sigh, that both let out his aggravation toward spending half the day fighting their conundrum and expressed the same relief Brady was feeling at having met the grass.

Brady closed his eyes and took three rattly, relieved breaths, feeling safe, quiet, not rushed. Of course the thoughts were still spinning in his head, but when he opened his eyes again and looked at the clouds moving at their own pace he began to transfer the speed in his own head to the sky. “You do the moving for a while,” he thought, talking to the clouds.

He closed his eyes again, softly, and for several minutes would open them faintly, then his lids would close again, as if they couldn’t make up their mind what to do.

At one point the boys happened to let their heads fall to the side so that they caught a glimpse of each other, and they both smiled weakly; weakly but satisfied.

Finally. Finally, they'd stopped. Perhaps for but a moment, but at least for right now the world didn’t have its grip on us with its grimy, manipulative little hands, taking every moment and pointing us toward distraction, exhausting ambition, more more more. For now the world was holding them from a different angle, in the crook of its elbow, like babies. The boys were happy to be babies, babies who care only about food and milk, diaper changes and Mama being near.

And while Jack and Brady were teenagers, constantly shouldering the pressure to be manly, responsible, cool, tall, acne-free, they were in fact part baby, as all boys, all people, are. For the moment, they sank into their status as it was when they entered the world, free once again and not being watched, sized-up, not good enough. Mother Earth held them in her elbow thinking they were perfect, and they were, just as they were.

Short, pimpled, not always happy – all of it. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

What a sick person does and thinks about when she's sick

I could go for a boyfriend right now.

We'd order Chinese food and look at the cat and talk about how cute he is (the cat, not my BF).

I'd make him (my BF, not the cat) watch Felicity with me, and I would talk Noel versus Ben. He (my BF, not Noel or Ben) would think I'm so cute he would just let me talk about these fictional boys. And he would tell me I'm pretty and be happy he was my nonfictional boy.

Le sigh.


I'm actually feeling content to be single, but if a boyfriend were here and he wanted to have Chinese food and watch Felicity and talk about the cat, I'd be totally into that.

And my apartment is messy but not like disgusting-embarrassing messy so it would be OK if he came over.

Anyway. Again.

So I still have this fabulous cold. I spent the morning in bed, and took a nap -- before noon! I read, I made some lists, I watched Felicity (with guest stars John Ritter and Donald Faison), I ate some candy. Hey, I have a cold, not the stomach flu. I can have chocolate for breakfast.

Eventually I got bored.

I called Mom.

"I'm bored," I said when she answered the phone.

We talked for a bit.

We hung up.

I took a shower.

I went to Panera. Third time this week. Do I have a problem?

I went to what I thought was more of a shopping mall, but either I'm not good at finding secret passages to where the stores are hidden or this place was mostly restaurants and a movie theater. So I paid $3 for parking and got out of there.

Then I hit up the dollar store. Got a bunch of loot for me and the niece and nephew.

Then I returned the dead car battery in my trunk to Pep Boys.

Then I picked up my hold at the library.

Then I got coffee.

Now I am home.

Loot is spread on the floor, cat is on the floor, looking at me.

Who's enjoying this post? Show of hands.

The dollar store has a lot of jigsaw puzzles. I took note of this but did not purchase.

All righty. I've been thinking about a children's story -- I have a setting in mind and I think it's going to rhyme -- so I think I'm gonna go get to work on that. We'll see. My attention span is kind of, well, not there today.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Interesting flavor combination

You know, Circle K's Holiday Spice coffee (mixed with a little House blend, I think -- can't remember exactly which concoction I worked up this morning) makes a nice chaser to Rite Aid's Maximum Strength Adult Tussin Multi-Symptom Cold CF (non-drowsy, alcohol free).

The things you learn when you have a cold*.

I sincerely hope my neighbors in the office have enjoyed listening to my hacking and old-man-sounding nose blowing today.

*At least it isn't cold here. I'm wearing a sundress without tights or leggings. It's December 10th.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The 1,000 List, Installment #3

Three hundred things I'm grateful for, 700 to go! Click here and here for the first two installments of my ongoing gratitude list. Also, if I'm starting to repeat myself with some of these list items...well, then, I'm starting to repeat myself.

201. That scene in "Friends" where Joey accuses Ross of breaking his fridge.
202. Ridges on fingernails
203. Reading to someone
204. Being read to by someone
205. Watching a cat drink water
206. Watching a cat bathe itself
207. Being in bed on Saturday with all the blankets and sheets and lack of rush and responsibility
208. Scarves (with a spritz of perfume on them)
209. The smell of musk/men
210. Seagulls
211. The weight of another (animal or human) on or near me. Amazing the power of this comfort.
212. Riding a train in Chicago
213. Whipping out my Discman on an airplane
214. A really good book to keep me not bored during a flight
215. Vacation
216. A string of several days when I get to see several people who I really love
217. Psychotropic drugs that keep me feeling happy and regulated, calm -- that allow me to be me
218. Noel Crane on Felicity
219. That speech in Jack when Bill Cosby's character tells Jack he's a shooting star
220. The rare sighting of a butterfly -- live and in winged person
221. The scene in Miracle on 34th Street when Santa signs "Jingle Bells" to a girl who is deaf
222. Stickers!
223. Quilts
224. An empty -- or smally populated -- email inbox
225. Sara Evans' song "Stronger"
226. The fact that onion rings always make me think of my mom and my childhood
227. Disposable, paper bowls (I'm serious - it dates back, I think, to a grade school party I had involving ice cream sundaes)
228. When the opening credits -- music and pictures -- for Felicity start
229. Tomato soup
230. Fish sticks and ketchup
231. A bland breakfast with coffee
232. A sweet breakfast with coffee
233. Toast
234. The humidity that forms on the glass pane of the door when I start the dryer
235. Plain oatmeal
236. Oatmeal with pecans and dried fruit
237. A good day at work. No annoyances, fun coworkers. Either a highly productive day or one where I can get away with doing little.
238. Stale marshmallows
239. Roasting marshmallows by a fire and washing them down with beers. Particularly with my cousin David (a memory that may not be repeated, but it was a sweet one).
240. Quoting Cool Runnings with Corie and Riley
241. Ordering pizza
242. Watching the Home Alone movies with Riley or Jeff
243. A toddler in my lap
244. A baby in my arms
245. Smiling at a baby slung over the shoulder of a parent in a row in front of me at church
246. Avocado that is soft enough that it spreads across bread like butter
247. Clipping my fingernails (and pushing back my cuticles)
248. Watermelon
249. Romance
250. An encore
251. Live music
252. A burger from Five Guys with "everything" and jalpenos
253. Seeing a great movie in a theater, with popcorn, Junior Mints, soda, [and a friend]
254. Lunch dates with my coworker Shonna
255. Seeing my coworker Carrie afresh every morning
256. Walking across the hall to Carrie's office to gush about my cat and her dogs and how much we can't wait to see the animals we left at home mere hours before
257. Orange juice
258. Scott Speedman's smile
259. Benjamin McKenzie's smile
260. Javier on Felicity
261. French fries with room temperature ketchup (bonus if eaten seaside)
262. Blackberries with a little sugar sprinkled on them
263. Strawberries dipped in powdered sugar
264. Honeydew -- when it's perfectly ripe
265. A perfectly ripe pear
266. Tearing through a book
267. People who smile as much as I do
268. Thoughtful people
269. Funny people
270. Building someone up
271. Addressing a group as "Party People"
272. The phrase "Are you pickin' up what I'm puttin' down?"
273. Sticking my face in a kitty's belly
274. Running
275. Whipped cream on coffee
276. Whipped cream period
277. A great coffee date, with a friend or a family or a boy
278. Putting together a jigsaw puzzle
279. Live music
280. A beer on tap
281. This: "Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair." -- Khalil Gibran
282. Christmas stockings
283. Index cards
284. Wet hair, air drying
285. Saturday mornings
286. Friday nights
287. Watching hair tutorials on YouTube
288. Karaoke
289. Shopping at Fresh & Easy
290. Sushiiiiiiiiiii
291. Roller skating at old school (are there any new school ones?) roller rinks, carpeting and hot dog smells and all
292. Making friends with people on the single pretense that we attended the same university (and I suppose the other pretense that we live in the same geographic location thousands of miles from the university)
293. I don't do it anymore, but I always loved doing math homework
294. That feeling of peace and calm that hits a few minutes after a long run
295. All those glorious items one doesn't need at Target
296. Finding a gem of a book in a used bookstore
297. Hand-me-down clothes, especially from friends I love
298. Rainy days in LA
299. The way a knit sweater feels on a chilly day
300. Water, in its many healing and soothing forms