Monday, November 19, 2007

The giblets came flying out on the approach!

There is just something about chucking a 15 pound frozen turkey down a 25' linoleum hallway to knock over a bunch of pins.

It is especially satisfying when it smacks against the overturned table against the wall and juices spurt out of the end.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

what i did last weekend

i'd never seen a lavender moon
except for in my dreams.

but there it was,
escaping sunset and changing
its face
through pink and purple hues
in rapid, short, gasps -
hanging low over the outer banks
basking in the north carolina wind
caught between blades
of swaying beach grass
above the cool, shell shocked sand.

it climbed high into the
peach fuzz clouds
battling with the ever darkening blues of dusk
to be the most arresting view in the sky.

and as night fell dark and warm -
wrapped in stars and satellites -
the moon completed its cycle of color
and changed back to its flat face
of bone and teeth.

at peace.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

In the cool humid morning, traffic backed up as usual. The same commuters who drive I-95 each day still left way too many car lengths between bumpers and slammed on brakes to switch lanes. NPR blabbed Petraeus. We talked about it being a harsh winter.

I thought of the things I had to do today and played with ideas for my novel. And as I crested over the hill on 395 on my way to work, the Pentagon in front of me put things into perspective.

Six years ago today, in the same hour as I was arriving to work this morning, freedom in America adopted an eerie new feeling.

There are points in our lives that we all remember. In the days, hours, and months after the attacks when the phrase "nine-eleven" became a rallying cry and we briefly united as a people, one of the most significant things I remember is that the feeling of safety I once enjoyed was never going to be present again.

And the worse realization for me was that many people in the world had never felt safe at all.

And I was ashamed to be so lucky.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Maybe Rove will go that way too...

Roxy has been out and about in the sweet backroads of Virginny and feels compelled to post a bit of news that she learned about one Mr. Jerry Falwell, the leader of the Morally Bankrupt.

It seems to be a confirmed fact* that Mr. Falwell's death wasn't reported 100% accurately.

While I must say it pains me to tell y'all that NPR was wrong, I am abso-posi-fucking-lutely happy as a redneck watching Nascar to inform you that Jerry Falwell did not die in his office at Liberty University as reported.

Your pal Roxy, while doing field research in Lynchburg, Virginia this past weekend, discovered that the Fartwell went out just like the King.

That's right folks, Jerry died on the shitter.

Which is so apropos since it really doesn't matter where he was - in the office or on the john - he was definitely full of shit.

And that is reason enough to resume posting on my blog.
*Fact confirmed in a bar by a reliable source who confirmed with EMT's on the scene.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Roxy is taking a hiatus from her blog because she is worn out, spent, has no creativity and in general is pretty much bored with life.

And so I sign off, in typical yearbook fashion,

Enjoy your summer! Stay sweet! Don't ever change! K.I.T!

Monday, August 06, 2007

I do declare!

Why Chapel Hill, you're as refreshing as a cool glass of tea on a hot August night. In fact, if I didn't know better, I'd have thought you were trying to woo me away from your sultry cousin Virginia.

Despite my hatred of North Carolina (on par with my feelings about New Jersey), I must say I'm simply delighted to be staying at the Carolina Inn at UNC Chapel Hill with its richly appointed entrance, lovely grounds, elegant sunroom, and delectable four-star fare. What a charming seductress of a town, all cafes and college cottages tucked between flowering butterfly trees and long slips of brick pathways. I'm simply mesmerized at the enchanting atmosphere of the places I've seen so far: UNC (I linked their awesome "Virtual Musuem of Univeristy History" - check it out), Vespa Cibobuono, and Franklin Street.

I'm half tempted to take back what I said about this state earlier this year.

Then again, even though you did launch such fine acts as The Squirrel Nut Zippers, Ben Folds Five, James Taylor, and those fine hunks of redneck rockabilly Southern Culture on the Skids, (and soccer great Mia Hamm), I don't think I'm prepared to love you as a whole entity just yet.

We'll see what happens next month when I come here again.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Forget the taming mousse, I'm shaving my head

It is so humid here.

I was deceptively lulled into believing that our East Coast summer was going to be all breezes and butterflies.

Apparently not.

When I left the house this morning, I caught my reflection in a window. With my unruly, curly hair running wild on top and the kitten heeled peep-toes adorning my feet, I could have been mistaken for a Jersey whore.

Thankfully I don't have 2 inch bloodred fingernails with little rhinestone designs. I'm sure that's the only thing that kept the guy outside the Metro from offering me $50 and a good time.

Friday, July 20, 2007

A fairytale for people with trees in their belly at 3:00AM

Once upon a time, there lived a girl who had a tree living inside her belly.

It wasn't an ordinary tree grown from a wayward pit or carefully sewn seed; in fact, the girl didn't knowingly plant the tree at all. She didn't remember how it got there - just realized it was there one day even though no one else could see it. And while the girl never asked for a tree to grow inside of her, she knew that it was very important that she care for it for all of her days.

Even though she didn't have an instruction manual for her tree, the girl could sense it was flourishing inside. Her healthy tree was any number of rainbow bright colors - sometimes a daring pink or converging shades of orange and yellow. When the girl was content, new green leaves festooned twisting silver and gold branches and a royal purple trunk. And when she was excited, the leaves changed colors and sparkled as if lit from within. Even better, when she felt really happy, the tree sometimes curled up its roots inside itself and flew through her, a cool soulful wind blowing through its long-leaf hair.

But the girl knew that her tree wasn't always healthy. She felt it one Saturday afternoon when nothing seemed right with the world and she didn't know what to do. She began to sense the change in her leaves almost immediately - the tendrils curled and turned a muddy green and the branches cracked, slightly brittle. Her mouth had the distinct taste of Brussels sprouts mixed with tar. In that moment, the girl learned that no amount of water or food could feed the roots or nurture flowering bulbs on the delicate branches. Her thoughts and moods alone were responsible for growing a proper and brilliant tree.

Most days, the girl only thought of the tree in her belly once or twice. She listened to the leaves rustle in the wind of her soul and learned from them - heeding their warnings and celebrating the little things that made life so wonderful. The tree rooted itself deeper and deeper and got bigger and bigger with time. She never worried about it getting too big because it became part of her core and backbone. And it was beautiful. The strong clear trunk supported long limber twists of branch covered with thousands of different colored leaves in hundreds of textures. Before long, the girl didn't know where the tree ended and she began. She wondered if other people had trees in their bellies too.

So she went on her merry way in life, dancing around the world and thinking of trees and dreams. Occasionally though, she forgot peek inside to check and feed her tree.

And then one day the girl woke with a start. The clock on her bedside table read 3AM and she tasted tar and Brussels sprouts and fear in the back of her throat. She knew her tree was dying. The branches were black and brittle, turning to ash, and the crisp brown leaves scattered the floor of her stomach. She couldn't feel her roots in that moment, but sensed that they were somewhere uncovered and exposed to harsh thoughts and wilting dreams.

And the wind was so quiet it scared her.

She sat straight up in the darkest part of the darkest night and cried. She howled for the impending loss of her tree. She screamed on the inside. Why hadn't she paid more attention to those strong roots, the delicate branches? Anger, frustration, uncertainty, and fear poured out of her through Brussles sprout tasting tears. Her stomach churned. She was hopelessly lost.

When she finally stopped crying, her body felt bruised and broken. She felt as if she'd never feel safe and whole again. She laid back down as the clock silently turned to 4AM.

As she lay there in the dark willing sleep to come and deliver her from sadness, she felt an odd stirring in her belly. She inhaled sharply. Was that the end? Was it gone?

The stirring continued.

A single, yellow-green leaf sprouted from a tiny branch toward the bottom of the tree in her belly. And in that instant, she felt thick roots grasp her tight as the wind of her soul began to whisper to her softly.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

All in all, it's really cool to be me right now...(aka I think I've had too much wine)

It is the end of Day Two.

I have vascillated on what to do with my entire career - am I excited? Should I quit because I'm overwhelmed? Should I dive in even though I don't know what the hell I'm doing? I'm riding the roller coaster -wanting to quit my job seconds after thinking I have the best opportunity in the world.

I've met 20 new people, helped finish 6 bottles of wine, and obtained 3 new hefty promotion prospects.

I love conferences.

The only thing that would be cooler is if this meeting was in San Diego or Vegas instead of Chicago.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Fireworks, anyone?

The evening started - and ended - with a bang.

We show up with sparklers and fireworks, ready to catch up with old friends over charred meat and drunken strawberry Jello.

Ginger needs help, so we arrive early to hoist bags of melting ice; toss the cold, crisp broccoli salad; artfully carve a watermelon; and manifest an outdoor, mosquito-netted harem room which serves more as a love nest for mosquitoes than it does for party goers.

Bill arrives early, inquires whether or not we had brought the pictures of his naked ass from New Years Eve, and then leaves again to retrieve Kelly Commander - our resident party girl and flasher-of-the-boobies. Later, it doesn't take long for the entire party to weigh in on an over/under bet on when she would peek first. (Before midnight, after 10; SCORE!)

Ginger and I suck down a Jello shot, then two more. As I'm slurping the third, there's a knock at the door. I throw it open. The Three Wiseasses appear bearing gifts of beer, sarcasm, and stories of years I've long forgotten.

"Hey, Roxy! Last time I saw you, you were drunk on a bar at Awful Arthurs downtown!" McLeary bellows. "That was the first time I sang karaoke too - I sucked."

I laugh. "Didn't you also flash us your penis?"

"Yep! If you're lucky, you'll see it again tonight." McLeary takes the cooler to the kitchen, making way for the Second Coming.

"Oh, shit folks, she's back. Long time no see."

"Hey Scotty-karate. Been in Arizona for three years - that's why."

"Been that long? Damn."

I move away from the door, not recognizing the guy bringing up the rear.


I turn around. Oh shit.

"I haven't seen you in forever, Roxy! I never thought... well, you know... um, I'd see you again. You back? For good now?" His face lights up like an exploding firework. I know what he's thinking.

"Hey, T. Yeah."

I see my husband come in from the porch as T moves in. "T, this is my husband. Husband, this is T."

T eyes me, eyes my husband. After a quick hesitation, T pulls it together and shakes Kevin's outstretched hand.

I think about the last time I saw T - two nights before I moved to Arizona, illegally skinny dipping in the pool after hours. I blush with what I remember.

Ginger laughs, hands me another Jello shot. The awkwardness is over.

We spend the rest of the evening languishing in the retreat of the usually humid East Coast July - wholly succumbed to the cool summer night. The hours pass- wrapping us in the rich smells of citronella, barbeque sauce, and roasting marshmallows.

I see people I haven't seen in months, years. My brother and future sister-in-law are there too - and they know most everyone from their bar. We laugh and talk, mingle from group to group, everyone switching locations and people as if performing an elaborate ballroom dance. My husband hears stories that I had forgotten. He laughs at the end of one and says he knew what he was getting into when he married me, and that life will never be boring.

We eat ice cream cake and light homegrown fireworks in the backyard. Flashes of green and silver ignite the evening. Sparklers pop and sizzle in our outstretched hands. I pause to look around at the illuminated faces.

It is so damn good to feel like I'm home.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Monday, June 25, 2007

Candlebox and Contact Highs...

I wasn't even out of grade school the first time someone accused me of living in the past.

It was the last day of sixth grade and I was going to be leaving the private school I had attended my entire life to go to a public junior high school so I could "make friends closer to home" before high school. I was weepy and melodramtic at the end of the warm May day (I know, me melodramatic? Never...), and many of my friends spent their time telling me it would all be ok.

And then this boy - this boy I thought I hated - told me that I should let go of the past, not try to hold onto it. I emphatically denied his allegation and I told him that I wouldn't miss him, even though I knew I would.

I had just turned 11 years old and this little punk made an observation about me that is true to this day - and I was in my late 20's before I realized it for myself.

I'm obsessed with the concept of time - planning for the future, revisiting the past, trying to eek out the seconds as they tick away on the clock. And I still miss moments that I wouldn't bring back if I could.

Maybe it's because I'm getting older and I want to relive certain moments. I know, that's why we have reunions and hang on to people and places...

Maybe it's a coping mechanism - nothing's happening right now (or something crappy is happening), so I'll think about something that was thrilling or someplace else I'd rather be.

Maybe I should stop spouting the psychoanalyst bullshit and focus on the topic at hand:

Mandatory Wild Turkey Shots.

Yes, required snuffs of sweet rich liquor on a hot Arizona summer evening in 1994. Well, either 94 or 95, since neither Remi nor I were old enough to buy liquor on our own.

We had decided to go see Eddie Money & Candlebox in concert at Westworld of Scotsdale when we were both home from college. It was hot - probably June since we hadn't yet had enough of the summer sizzling to keep us from being outdoors.

The group of concert goers consisted of me, Remi, Remi's brother and all his soccer friends (one of which both Remi and I had a crush on in high school). We met at the house the guys shared before the concert to caravan because it was the safe thing to do.

Well, ok, we met there to drink first.

The guys had a rule, every time someone entered the house that person was required to take a shot of Wild Turkey. Keeping with this line of thought, the rule soon evolved to include people leaving or entering the house from any one of the numerous doors around the spacious living room.

We managed to keep it together enough to drive to the concert venue - at least a 90 minute trip without traffic.

Upon arrival at Westworld, Remi's brother issued a blanket statement to the guys that they would NOT be getting us drunk. Naturally, no one listened and before the first band left the stage we were obnoxiously drunk, drinking out of any and all of the strewn beer and liquor cups throughout the group, shooting Wild Turkey from hidden flasks and leaning into the circles of people passing joints so we could get a contact high.

I distinctly remember Remi looking at me at one point and telling me she had to pee after Candlebox had finished their set and we were hoarse from scream-singing and jumping around. The problem? We were sitting at the top of the hill overlooking the pavilion and the port-o-jons were at the bottom of said hill. Guzzling down the last of the cups, we forged ahead (sending EC, the one we crushed on in HS for more beer for us) and rolled down the hill. I don't remember climbing back up, but we must have because I remember Eddie Money taking the stage as the evening turned cool and Remi's brother yelled to everyone that we were "CUT OFF!" (while we laughed).

I only remember snippets of the evening from that point on. Eddie Money did an entire set in what seemed like 2.5 minutes and then we were hurdling down the hill toward the parking lot. Somehow, we convinced them that Remi was sober enough to drive home. We made it out of the lot and to the nearest gas station to pee and surprisingly didn't get arrested in the convenience store for drunk and disorderly conduct.

And do you know why this story is relevant to the beginning of the post?

Just like Eddie Money sang that night, "I wanna go back, and do it all over but I can't go back, I know."

And while I still wonder how we got home that night (since both of us blacked out after the gas station and woke up the next morning at our respective houses), that isn't the main reason I want to go back.

There are just moments in life when the bigger picture doesn't matter - when there is nothing outside that moment, when all that matters is what is happening in that second - not what has passed, nor what is to come. And there is peace in not giving a damn about anything else for that brief time except the feeling of being there, caught up in something that will never happen again.

And then we spend our lives trying to cultivate that feeling because really, isn't that the point of life?

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Actually, this blog is rated:

Online Dating

Site for - Rating

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

* sex (5x)
* ass (4x)
* fucking (3x)
* shit (2x)
* piss (1x)

I'm fucking pissed that fucking was only referenced 3 times.

And I definitely need more sex...

Thursday, June 21, 2007


No, not Friday.


Tonight is the final for the English class I'm teaching.

Which means I'm class-free* for TWO WHOLE WEEKS.

Not that I didn't love my class - my students were great and it was probably the best college course I've ever taught.

But I'm tired and glad it's over.

*Class-free doesn't mean classless, which is usually the case.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

And the President too...

If you were me, you wouldn't like...

Presidential motorcades that stop rush hour commute.

Living in Northern VA.

Pretty much everything in the news.

Being so far away - from friends, from Paris, from where I want to be.

The terrible things we do to eachother.

No Child Left Behind, and how we educate our children.

Spam - email and original.

Reality TV - except for Dog the Bounty Hunter. (yes, you may mock me)


Fou-fou drinks, unless it is a godiva martini.

Bad customer service.

That we live to work, work to live.

That the desert is disappearing.

Nasty lyrics on ringback tones when I'm calling you about a job offer.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Jeremy turned me on to this awesome site where you can build a playlist and then listen to the music you just picked.

You can visit my page here.

or use the control below to listen to my picks:

Go make your own playlist too - and add me as a friend dammit - so I can listen to yours!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

And I thought he was allergic to kitties...

Roxy: Mr. Wizard died today.
Husband: Who the hell is Mr. Wizard?
R: You don't know who Mr. Wizard is? The guy had his own show from the 60's through the 80's - maybe even later - to make science interesting for kids...
H: Oh, like Bill Nye?
R: Before Bill Nye.
H: I wasn't around then.
R: You act like I'm so old. You should remember the 80's - you were born then.
H: The only thing I remember about the 80's was the movie Willow. I couldn't understand why everyone hated it. But I guess Val Kilmer should never be an elf. And the evil queen was ugly. Evil queens and witches should be tempting sex kittens - not ugly.
R: Oh dear god...
H: I have my evil sex kitten right here.
R: The girl in the car that just passed?
H: No - you. I love evil sex kittens. I say hello to them. If they say "Meow", I say "Hello". (Starts humming The Beatles "Hello Goodbye" song)
R: Meow?
H: Hello, Helllooooo!
R: Your nuts.

Good to know...

Husband: Come with me. (Dragging me by arm)
Roxy: Will you stop dragging me around like I'm some sort of whore?
Husband: If I was dragging you like a whore, I'd be dragging you by the hair, not by your arm.

Friday, June 08, 2007

100 Things I Want to Know

In no particular order...

What the world looks like from a hot air balloon.
Your thoughts.
How my former students are.
The way the Northern Lights look in person.
Where Myles Montgomery, Jason Witty, & Shawn C. are now and if they are happy.
The hue of an African sunset.
What it is like to have a child.
If he thinks of me as much as I think of him.
The feeling of home.
My parents' and grandparents' memories.
How to make the best bread pudding ever.
If this is all that there is.
How to dissipate my anger.
The rules of, and how to play, craps at a Vegas table.
What my dog is thinking.
The adrenaline rush of sky-diving.
How to focus.
If peace will ever be rampant.
How to sew, can, grow a garden, and be domestic.
Another culture.
How the world will end.
The place to obtain funding for Java-n-Jammies.
How to make a difference.
If there is anything new under the sun.
Where to find the ultimate eggs benedict.
The answers, 90% of the time.
Fluent Spanish.
What to do when my writing sounds trite.
If Nessie really exists.
The most important thing.
Where my friends from Rancho are now and how they are doing.
How to stop being so fucking annoying and self-absorbed.
If I'd feel alone if I got rid of my cell phone.
The spray of salt water on the open sea.
How to simplify.
If my dark secrets are really that different from your dark secrets.
A ghost or two.
How to ski.
What would happen if all of the world's technology suddenly crashed.
Why I wasted so much time with sociopaths and bad boys.
If the Queen has dustbunnies in her house too.
The best lines from my favorite poems.
The way to sing - and sound like - Melissa Etheridge, Tori Amos, or Liz Phair.
10 great novels, from cover to cover.
If I have the stamina to get my PhD.
What the inside of a tornado looks like.
How to rise above ordinary.
The right thing to say at a funeral.
The dance of the morning light here.
The view of earth, from outer space.
How to be a better sister.
What happens when we die.
The definition of a new word each month.
How to play the guitar.
If I'll ever finish Middlemarch like I promised myself.
A better way.
What kind of life forms exist in outer space.
How to not procrastinate.
Intimate details of my favorite cities.
The way to hold it all together - and look great while doing it.
If it is possible to move things with my mind.
The feel of making art with my hands (pottery, glass, wood, etc.)
How we have become so corrupt.
What it's like to be effortless.
A clean, funny joke.
If anyone, anywhere will ever be safe.
The quickest way to make a million dollars.
If the mailman reads my postcards.
When I'll see Tokyo - or Greece.
Where I'll be when you're gone.
If you are happy.
What it looks like when a star explodes, frame by frame.
How to surf.
If I'll see your face or hear your laugh again.
The end of my first novel.
Unexpected happy news.
All those grammar rules I have forgotten.
How to disappear.
What it's like in the underwater restaurant.
If time travel will ever be possible.
The light in your eyes at sunrise on the national mall, after staying out all night.
How to transfer the images and memories in my mind to something permanent and tangible.
More about art.
Another 100 things.
The lyrics to all my favorite songs.
How to forget.
If I'll remember all those stories from childhood when I'm older.
If you'll even read this whole list.
Why I'm always so anxious and restless.
What would happen if I just left.
How not to care what others think.
The best garden plants to attract butterflies, lazy afternoons, and luck.
When to tie up loose ends.
How to play, and remember rules, for card games.
A way to reconcile the argument of innocence vs. experience.
When to let go.
If there is enough time.
What is enough.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Deep thoughts from the fortune cookie

Society prepares the crime; the criminal commits it.

Roxy say: ominous, spooky, true.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

I'm feeling a little bit cheated...

by tonight's Sopranos.

Anyone else feel this way?

Apparently it only takes 50 minutes to down two men and a Ukranian. WTF?

As for Anthony Jr., get a grip you fuckin' pussy.

And was that the last hurrah for Dr. Melfi? Kind of anticlimatic, don't you think? Though I did love the part where she was reading about sociopathic behaviour... it reminded me again that Tony is NOT a guy I want to know - even though the entire show makes him seem like someone I do want to know...

After the past few incredible episodes, this is what they leave us with on the second to last one?


Update 1: I have no life. And neither do these folks.

Update 2: Lys, if you are reading this and watch the Sopranos, I'd like to know if Tony reminds you of anyone we mutually knew (think sociopath, evil, charming...)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

And now back to our regularly scheduled reality...

Does anyone ever go on vacation and want to come back and go to work? If so, good for you. I don't feel that way.

I'm sunburned, exhausted, content, contemplative, and really missing some friends and family after my vacation this past week. And I'm dreading the return to reality. I've already gone through all my email and erased all the webinar invitations, emails from organizations to which I belong, mass emails, traffic alerts, job announcements, and things I don't need to handle so that I can now delegate my weekend to the approx. 250 messages that need my attention.

Is it really worth it to even go on vacation? Is this all there is?

Reality bites - and I didn't even get to make out with Ethan Hawke.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

eve of the storm

i'm open -
palms up,
extended to the point of heartbreak
and ecstasy.

you are nowhere
to be found.

Monday, May 14, 2007

A poem on aging

A new age
Is now upon --
I say goodbye
I'm moving on.

My twenties great
My teens some fun
Not much to say
'bout thirty-one.

A new day dawns
Through clear blue,
What the fuck,
I'm thirty-two.

At sweet sixteen
yes, half of now,
I glimpsed my core,
my path, my tao.

Now I'm lost
Can't see through trees
The road not taken
Beckons me.

I thought by now
It would be clear,
What the hell
I’m doing here.

Every night,
I toss and turn.
I’m not settled--
Still I burn.

I question what
I thought I knew.
Where's your wisdom,

I feel as if
I've regressed.
To simpledom
I've acquiesed.

The clock keeps ticking
Chimes time away.
Still frozen on
This spot I stay.

At thirty-two
Who wants to be
An empty drone
For all to see?

Barely living,
All washed up --
The same stale drink,
The same chipped cup.

I used to think
So differently
No commonplace
life for me.

What have I done
To make this so?
I talk to much,
No act, no show.

Still I laugh
And dream to be
The me I always
Thought I'd be.

Perhaps I'll find her by thirty-three.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


It is a perfect day in Virginia today. I think it dawned especially to celebrate mothers.

Yesterday was full of oppressive, humid heat. It was sticky. I could chew the air.

Late last night a violent thunder and lightening storm rolled through, the air pushed those humid clouds to the ground in the form of rain. The earth was drenched; the storm passed.

And on this glorious day, the calm and beauty after the storm emerges. Just to celebrate moms - I'm convinced.

My mom is an amazing woman and most days I try to show her how much I appreciate her though am not always successful. She did the typical mom things as I grew - she healed my cuts (and talked me through the broken hearts). She ruled our house with a gentle command, but she too could be the violent storm when we needed it. Now that I'm an adult, I see so much more - her dedication and commitment to her family, her grace and style, her intelligence.

I am blessed that my mom and I have attained that level that many moms and daughters don't reach. She is my mom - I look to her for guidance still. But more importantly, she is my friend and confidant and the first person I want to call when things go awry.

My grandmothers - Mom's Once Removed - were also there to help raise me. Nam is always soft spoken to me and always was, unless I was driving my mother crazy (and then she dropped her voice and said in dead calm tones that what I was doing was wrong and I needed to rearrange my priorities immediately). Mamma brought me the love of all things Italian - her heritage. Gram was my confidant and partner in crime though we were separated by two generations.

Growing up, I had many mother figures in my life.

Remi's mom, Sally, was always a second mom to me. I was a part of their household as Remi was part of ours from the age of four until college. And then she stepped in and reaffirmed her second mom status again before my wedding, helping me get through a very difficult time. I think of her today too - and miss her - because I'm selfish and want my best friend to have her mom today too.

Through high school, I had Rosemary as another mom to me. And then when I started college and my first job - Eileen and Mickey were my moms at work. When I left home for the first time and went to Tacoma, Kris took me under her wing as her own daughter was at school in Chicago. When I had to be rushed to the emergency room in college for passing out, Kris stayed with me and updated my mom who was 1000 miles away.

And now my friends are moms and I watch them grow stronger because of (and in spite of) their children. They are amazing to behold.

And I hope to have qualities from each of them when I become a mom someday too.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

North Carolina is the armpit of America

Well, aside from New Jersey that is.

I really don't mean to diss you North Carolina, but damn honey - you do not look good. Let's talk candidly about your haphazard urban planning, streets with holes the size of craters, bumpkin housing, overgrown and nasty weeds of varied and unusual size, and run down art deco shopping malls with less than three vendors. Did you know every lake and river I crossed looked like a bastardized version of Willy Wonka's chocolate river? I know you aren't churning Hershey's so what the hell is up?

Everything about you is falling apart. I just want to know how you could be so unsightly - your two jeweled sisters, South Carolina and Virginia, shine on either side of you! How is it that you are just one long consistent strip of ugly?

The time has come, North Carolina. Take a week off, get a pedi and a wax! Gussy yourself up pretty - you have the right idea with the NC Wildflower project, take it to the next level.

I expect to see you shining on my next trip down this fall.


Friday, May 04, 2007


Dawn rose in hazy pink hues this morning, breaking sunlight just east of the white domed Capital building. The golden rays turned the silver spikes of the Missing Man Memorial into a golden crown.

Thin clouds veiled the horizon, a humid cool skyline punctuated with spires and obelisks.

Days like today make me love the nation's capital.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

My Daemon

Working on a few big posts right now - about hope in our time, musical interludes and other such stuff. In the meantime, I leave you with my Daemon.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A is for Asshole

Last night, we were in a very cute little restaurant in Shirlington drinking margaritas and laughing at life. I was about halfway through my on-the-rocks big gulp when a couple with a small child (2, maybe 2 1/2) sat down next to us. I may sound critical, but these were some annoying yuppy parents. Perfectly coiffed and dressed, trendy bags and accessories, with a kid who looked like she stepped out of a catalog. And each time the girl made a noise - not a yell or a scream or even a sound of displeasure - the parents would try to distract her using too-loud voices and high pitched sing-songs. At one point, the mother whipped out her copy of "A is for Apple, B is for Banana" and began to read at the top of her lungs. The child looked disinterested and played with the food in front of her and the father gulped his margarita like he was dying in a desert.

To amuse ourselves, we came up with our own A, B, C, for any yuppy parent (or alcoholic).

A is for Amaretto Sour (or Apple Martini if you are a 20-something mom)
B is for Bacardi
C is for Carbomb
D is for Dirty Martini
E is for Extra Dirty Martini (mmm)
F is for Frangelico
G is for Goldschlager (or Glenfiddich for dads that knocked up their third wives)
H is for Hypnotic
I is for Island Punch
J is for Jaegermeister
K is for Ketel One (my fave)
L is for Limoncello (for the well traveled yuppy) or Long Island Ice Tea
M is for Margarita (make me another)
N is for Nipple Shots (for the nights when you leave the kids at home)
O is for Oatmeal Cookie shots
P is for Pina Colada (and getting caught in the rain)
Q is for Quaalude (the shot, not the pill...)
R is for Rum
S is for Sex on the Beach
T is for To Go, Please
U is for U come here often? (for divorced yuppy parents)
V is for Virgin
W is for Why is Mommy passed out on the couch?
X is for Xerox your ass on the copier - you know you've done it before...
Y is for You drunk ass
and Z is for zzzzzzzzz

Thursday, April 19, 2007

we are heartbroken in the wake of tragedy

Hey Roxanne,

Thank you for the e-mail. It has been difficult. Luckily, Jon is okay and all of our friends and my students (I teach ESL at Tech's Open University for the YMCA in a building behind Norris Hall) are okay. It is pretty scary to teach kids who can have severe reactions and who want to copy criminals at this time... but we are slowily moving forward. We went to the candleight vigil last night, and I think that really helped Jon. His classes are cancelled.

What the media isn't reporting is that this was right before finals, and there are a lot of students (Med and Veterinarian students especially) who are really under a heap of pressure with so much chaos, because a failing grade means you're out. It took them two days to get the reorganization of the school schedule explained to everyone, but they have been very caring and have been incredibly fair in dealing with this.

I wish the media would also note that there has never been a case where someone did a small scale shooting like that and then went on such a rampage... there was no way for the Administrators to adjust in a more timely fashion. It is just so devastating.

The media presence has been incredible... I just hope they can remember to be kind in the end. The President lost his co-workers, too... and he doesn't get to take time off to deal with his grief with all of this intense scrutiny... Anyway... it is just so overwhelming... we'll just have to find a way to try to be kind and understanding during this time, and to understand that anger of the families is natural and not an indicator that something actually was done wrong.

I was really mad in the beginning, because we were home... Jon was home and safe when it began, but he had gone to school by the time the second shooting was started. I was really upset, but when I look at the timeline that was provided and think about the logistics... they had less than 30 mintues for a meeting of 10 people to come to a concensus about what should be done... they thought they had the guy.... I can't imagine how they would have done differently given the way the campus is set up. There just wasn't any way they could have guessed.

I hope you and your husband are doing well, and are safe.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

and now we wait for the oops

3 months ago
roxy: let's have a baby. you know, a little of you and a little of me all mushed together?
roxy's husband: no baby. well, maybe in 2020.
roxy: my eggs are shriveling.
husband: then we'll build it in a test tube in 2020.

a week ago
husband: let's have a baby.
roxy: no.
husband: i'm ready now.
roxy: you do realize it's first word will either be "fuck" or "martini," right?
husband: no, it'll be "playstation."
roxy: this is exactly why we shouldn't have children.

last night
husband: i want a little person.
roxy: a little person?
husband: a baby.
roxy: crap.
husband: no a baby.
roxy: you do realize that while I may talk tough, i really will be the most conservative and overbearing mother alive, right?
husband: yes.
roxy: ok.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

a girl in a hotel bar

ignoring the slip of doubt in my throat i order the dirty martini to chase down two extra strength advil. my head throbs a staccato melody - a fireworks explosion after shotgun bursts in my tender brain.

i suck on an olive, tease the pimento out with my tongue.

the bartender asks me if i'm here on vacation. i shake my head. the smooth surface of the pimento glides a salty trail along the roof of my mouth. sharp liquid swells over my lips. i play with it before swallowing. my entire drink becomes an event - tip, swirl, coax, twirl, slide sweetly down. i'm having sex with icy vodka.

fox news is reporting the father of anna nicole's baby. i'm sickened by the media attention, the display, but i continue to stare at the tv. i'm not the person i used to be.

if i was another me, i'd talk to the bartender, the person deliberately sitting too close to me making loud comments and staring at me out of the corner of his eye. tonight, i ignore both.

the bartender refills my water. everything ok there, honey? i nod. how's your headache? fine, thank you.

i scribble words on a cocktail napkin.


the guy next to me laughs, tries to draw me into conversation.

it occurs to me that i never was an extrovert - my outgoing nature a grand performance with props and costumes. more often than not now i'm introverted - more true to myself, sometimes akward to others. i simply don't need approval, and don't desire small talk.

time is too important and i just want another fucking martini.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The next time I feel dumb,

I will think of this clip below and realize that - even if i never learn another thing for the next 50 years - I will never be as dumb as this guy or the people who believe this:

Freak clip

What a load of shit. Peanut butter as a baseline for the theory that evolution doesn't exist? Maybe he is using it as an example of what is in his head. At least if it was crunchy I'd hope there were some chunks of knowledge.

Peanut butter is manufactured! It doesn't sit around for billions of years waiting to morph into something else! It is MAN-MADE you idiot! Oh crap. I think I've got it. People are man-made too! Well, there's an obvious connection. And when we arrive in our freshly sealed packages with preservative chemicals it is proof that we couldn't have evolved from anything!

I guess proof that evolution doesn't exist can be found in this clip. It is proof that this man's brain hasn't evolved past three year old logic. I'm sure that's god's fault too.

Monday, April 02, 2007


I'm finding it increasingly alarming that I do not want to have a place in today's mainstream workforce. I'm an intelligent individual with a varied background, a Masters degree and creative tendencies. I like to play with the team, plan and execute projects, teach classes and help those around me. I just don't want to spend the majority of my time on office politics, sweating the small stuff and doing work that doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. I don't feel like I'm a valid member of society anymore.

A few years ago, I quit the corporate world to teach high school in an "at-risk" area. At times, I felt like I was wasting time there too. That I can't do enough to help. That there are so many people who need things and I could do more. We all could do more.

Why can't I spend 12 hours a day (which is what I currently spend, including my commute - 15 hours on the days I teach class) working on something that may help someone in the long run? And I mean the full 12 hours - not 30 minutes here or an hour or so there.

In a country where church, state, media, and neighbors judge morals and perceived personal values, why doesn't our society embrace cooperation, assistance and helping eachother?

And since I'm not stupid, I do know why - money and control.

And while none of this is an epiphany, the title of this post is an invitation for what I most need. I need an epiphany, a cosmic slap to the face so I can begin to carve the path for something different, something risky.

"It seems to me that people have vast potential.
Most people can do extraordinary things
if they have the confidence or take the risks.
Yet most people don't.
They sit in front of the telly and treat life as if it goes on forever."

- Phillip Adams

And I guess a little confidence wouldn't hurt either...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Not like Monica...

I'm kicked back reading the latest issue of my Cigar Aficionado magazine puffing on a mellow Romeo Y Julieta Reserva Real and drinking an olive-sullied Ketel One up when it occurs to me that Easter Sunday is only 11 full days away.

The day of His triumphant return, the day His Resurrection will occur. And then, in a few short months, Tony will be out of my life.

You didn't seriously think I was talking about Jesus, did you? Vaffanculo, I don't think so.

And, ok, I don't smoke cigars. But I did buy this months Aficionado - have you seen the cover? Madon'! Delicious.

There are way too many endings this year. Tony. Harry. Johnny. I may have to kill myself.

Then again, I'd miss the only ending I'm looking forward to - the one that occurs in 2009.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Today, I feel
__x__ Surly
__x__ Overwhelmed
__x__ Like nothing will ever be happy again

I will most likely:
__x__ Rethink Life
__x__ Drink
__x__ Snap
__x__ Get counseling

Tonight, I need a:
__x__ Drink
__x__ Miracle
__x__ Sedative
__x__ Swift kick in the head

You can help by:
__x__ Being supportive
__x__ Cutting me some slack and not expecting anything from me anytime soon
__x__ Shutting the hell up
__x__ Booking me on a flight to Tahiti

Tomorrow, I hope to:
__x__ Forget today
__x__ Make it through
__x__ Wake up in someone else's body
__x__ Get over myself

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Rocking out

It's Friday morning and I'm in my office working on a report. I'm streaming (thanks to Squint) for the first time. I like the music, but it is taking a back seat to the numbers I'm crunching.

Then it happens.

Supervixen by Garbage.

I crank up the speakers (I'm usually the only one in on Friday's before 9) and don't even close the door before I start doing my "Bow Down To Me" bump-and-grind dance. Friday gyrations are serious business.

After the song ends, I think back to the article I read last month about picking a theme song and singing it to boost confidence.

Outwardly, I scoffed. But secretly, I knew it to be true. The first notes of one of my faves always brings out the sexy, in control me - the one who walks taller, moves better, smiles more, and knows that the world wants me.

So why do we need a soundtrack to choreograph our lives?

This is not a new question, or a new concept. Music is more than just entertainment, it is a respected field of study. Click on any of the links here and see what scientists and industry say.

Music does make your brain happy. And that happiness translates directly to a spring in the step, a smile on the face, and out of control grinding and shaking on the dance floor.

When I think of my theme songs - admit it, you have them too - they invoke a feeling that equates to my most powerful moment - my undergrad graduation.

On that lazy Tacoma Sunday, the sun peeked through the clouds - a golden backdrop for nebulous clouds and a shining beacon in my nebulous future. My hair was afrolicious for a white girl, the humidity sparking ringlets amid wild frizz, and I was in great physical and intellectual shape. As I crossed the wide stage, amid cool sprinkles of rain, hope and power were tangible - firmly settled in my palm.

I don't remember what song was in my brain that day - there were several I played in my mind and let slip from my lips that year that I was 21 and knowing. But that day the soundtrack began to change from innocence to experience.

And when I hear one of my theme songs now, those palpable feelings from that day return.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Kenyattasaurus Rex is as real as it gets: A GDC Overview

I take it back. In my post about GDC07 I stated that video games were pointless. I was wrong. In this small space between today and the future, I am simultaneously excited and terrified.

Nifty things I saw:
The very funny, hip and talented Shigeru Miyamoto
A marriage proposal
Don't be surprised if you see new games from here - these independent games were amazing.
I Am 8-Bit (Go Burgertime!)
An excellent presentation by the GDC geek of the week.
The Expo booths (I'll have pics up soon, in the meantime you can find some images here)

The people we encountered at the Playstation pavilion and manning the booths were consistently assholes (the night of the booth crawl, at the expo, and in the hallway). Given that my husband gives them a hefty chunk of change every year, I found this disconcerting. We will be spending more money elsewhere after that experience.

Within the next 10 years, games and sims will be ubiquitous. From education to entertainment, hi-fidelity technology is changing our future landscape. And wars will never be the same.

Video games are our future. Not just mine, but yours too. The world of simulation is rapidly replacing the world we live in.

That the future is a combination of serious games and casual games.

More karaoke is coming!

After talking to hundreds of industry insiders, I found that careers are still possible, but it is a competitive industry. While this isn't news, I'm not going to go into everything I learned as that would include the entire report I'm currently preparing for my company and really, do you want to read that?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Wax museums rock

Touching down on the left bank today washed me in calm. I feel at home in the west immediately.

San Francisco is bigger than I remember it - and more of a city than I recall. My wide eyed wanderings here over a decade ago (1996 a week after I graduated from college and embarked on a road trip, and 1995 when I came here with my boyfriend and nearly left his ass here even though he was the one driving) left me with memories of me here with my innocent self. I'm no longer she, and I'm working on this trip so my aim is different.

I can say that the plane ride getting to San Fran sucked. Although I've rambled about consistently shitty service before, the airlines are the worst offenders. I can deal with no meal service, cattle call boarding, luggage restrictions, and the outragous expense for booze and in-flight headphones. What I can't deal with is that our ticket prices are astronomical and the planes are so fucking filthy I feel like I'm visiting a frat house after a vomit-filled party. There's shit on the ceilings, dirt in every crevice, tray tables breeding bacteria in streaks of filth, gross seats, even more disgusting floors, the interior siding peeling away from the insulation between the cabin and the outer shell of the plane, and at least two or three things malfunctioning on any given flight. AND WE GLADLY FORK OVER OUR MONEY FOR THIS. The airline industry has it made. Get the consumer hooked on travel. Make him think that he is free to hop on a plane at any time day or night to go work, explore, and escape. Provide good service until he is hooked (travel in the 80's and most of the 90s) and then rip it away from him. He will be so dependent on his illusion of freedom and his Airline-Given right to travel that he won't bitch when he sits on a tarmac for 2 hours in hot, filthy conditions because we can't figure out why the hell one of our tailights is malfunctioning. Never mind that he'll miss connecting flights - not our problem. Why should we clean the plane? He'll fly anyway. Not our problem that the guy next to him hasn't bathed - we're packing 'em in like sardines folks! Yes, we ran out of water. No blankets on this flight. The monitors don't work. The plane doesn't work. You'll have to switch planes even though you were supposed to fly straight through.

And the kicker I heard today, "Ladies and gentlemen, if you see an empty row toward the front of the economy section, you may not move to occupy it. Economy passengers are able to purchase these Economy Plus seats closer to the entrance and exit and may enjoy up to 6 additional inches of leg room. You must stay in your original seat."


And the last two times I have flown (both within the last 30 days) the captain has made an effort to refer to the passengers in the bulk of the plane as "economy passengers." Last time I checked, $450 wasn't a piss in a bucket. I could go to my favorite gourmet restaurant for 3 times on that amount and they kiss my ass there. I'm economy because I didn't spend $1500 to fly first class?

My intention for this post wasn't a rant. It was actually to clear my head because it is currently almost 3AM in DC and I'm still wide awake. Let's shift away from the airline industry and talk about a completely pointless industry: wax museums. I had the distinct pleasure of visiting the Fisherman's Wharf Wax Musuem after a glorious Dungeness crab dinner on the water. The museum was $10 well spent. Talk about absurd, ridiculous, gross and entertaining. I could go 45 times for the price of one flight and have a ball talking to all the weird wax statues. I don't know what possessed us to go in aside from the fact that one of my counterparts had never been. Come to think of it, I haven't either. Happily, I am no longer a wax virgin.

Some of those statues were incredible. The one of Barry Bonds was so lifelike I could almost see the steriods! Sadly, Michael Jackson looked Greek and Princess Di looked like an 80's modern business woman on her way to church. But, I am absolutely thrilled to know that there is a representation of The Last Supper done completely in wax just down the hall from a wax Adolf Hitler. YEA! And, in the chamber of horrors, the paint spattered floor (red to resemble a massacre) lent credibility to some fo the very creepy creatures. Anton LaVey was very real looking and there was a really scary guy in the corner who, upon further reflection, I think was really a scary guy in the corner. My friend and I booked it out of there PDQ once we saw him. The highlight of the chamber of horrors is the "electric chair" that we all took turns in so that we could be, what else, electrocuted! It scared the bejesus out of me because I didn't expect the cold air to blow up through the seat, but I guess electrocution isn't so bad if it truly feels like a Swamp Ass Cooler.

Ok kids, the Magic Bullet infomercial just came on so I must go be enthralled (nachos anyone? fancy coffee drinks in 7 seconds!). Besides, the alcohol has relaxed me enough so that I may be able to sleep. Plenty of networking to do tomorrow and lots of geeks to meet at GDC07!

Nighty night!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Religion, part two

And then there was the Daquiri Drive-Through shack filled to the brim with churning hurricanes, pina coladas, and bellinis in 36 ounce To Go cups. And we were in New Orleans where imbibing alcohol on the streets is encouraged.

And life became full of giggles... and beads.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Snow day, a memory, a birth and New Orleans

Today is a SNOW DAY! No work. Why I'm up doing email at 6:00AM I just don't know.

Today is Valentine's Day. Three years ago, I received a Valentine from my husband and first new that he "liked" me. Aww, how 6th grade. But, here we are married and happy - and about to leave for New Orleans to escape the frigid East.

This morning, I thought of last Valentine's Day. We were in a hospital saying goodbye to an extraordinary woman. We had spent the night before in the critical care unit, just below the maternity ward. Throughout the 18+ hours, we paced hallways, brought food, talked with friends and family, and crossed fingers and toes to cling to hope. That time was punctuated with strains of "Lullaby" from the hospital loudspeaker announcing to the world every new birth on the floor above us. I remember thinking of new life even when one was so close to leaving.

This Valentine's day began when I opened the email annoucing the birth of little Ethan. I cried for joy for Shalen and Pat. And then I shed tears of sadness for Remi who lost her mom last year on this day.

Later today, Oliver will arrive into this world for Amy and Travis.

The cycle continues.

Death, birth, renewal, and hope - what miserable and wonderful things. Life is too short, too serious most of the time. The only thing left to do is celebrate it all. Starting tonight, I plan to drink and flash with my husband, best friend, and Aunt in New Orleans. We will be celebrating those we lost last year (in order) - Sally, Claudia's dad, my great-gram and co-conspirator Ruth, Bettina's dad, Uncle Dave, Uncle Larry, and Gene.

In the crowd, we'll see their faces and our memories.

And I'll have some King Cake for you, because all the drinking I do is going to be for me.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Twenty five reasons I love you...

25. Your disdain for Brussels Sprouts and all cooked vegetables.
24. Your love of salads.
23. The look on your face when you see a baby.
22. That you don't snore.
21. Your sense of adventure.
20. Your sporadic dancing for no reason.
19. Your sporadic singing (and making up your own lyrics) for no reason.
18. Your sweet laugh.
17. Your stories about history - you seem to know all the "behind the scene" stories for every major event in American and British history (actually, for most locales and cultures), in addition to your knowledge of most world religions.
16. The way you want to help people - especially older ones.
15. Your big heart, brain, and well, your big feet.
14. Your excitement over the little things - and the big things too.
13. The way you can just relax, and how you try to get me to do the same.
12. You share my love of pirates, harry potter, books, travel, art, hardwood floors and shoes.
11. Your patience.
10. Your ability to always win at Roulette, unless I am around.
9. That you love me unconditionally even though I drive you absolutely nuts most of the time.
8. How you make up "Would You Rather" scenarios as well.
7. That you write stories in your head.
6. Your endless adoration of Elvis.
5. That you always are thinking of what would make me happy.
4. How you care for and love your family.
3. That you live in your PJ's, but love suits just as much.
2. That you clean up after the dog when I don't want to.
1. Who you are and who you will be.

Happy 25th Birthday, my husband.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


And then there was a dirty vodka martini. Four perfectly ripened large olives, a single straw snaked through their green flesh. Smooth Ketel One sullied with a splash of salty green.

And all was right with the world.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Gaming, gamers, games, GAWD!

Commodore 64. Nintendo. The paddle. The Pacman table at the pizza parlor.

I loved the joystick. Still do.

While I do realize the blips, bleeps, and limited graphics are six feet down in the video game graveyard, I miss them. I miss the simplicity of the challenge on old video games - eat small pellets, avoid the ghosties, eat bouncing fruit and get to the next level. Jump over barrels, climb ladders, rescue the badly drawn girl from the big monkey. Do a triple tuck rolling dive into the pool at the Summer Olympics (does anyone else remember this game on the Commodore 64)? And my fave, typing in command prompts to find Dr. Livingston. We had to presume it was him - there were no graphics at all on that game.

Video games today are alternate universes. Full bodied characters with tits more real than mine feel like they are practically in the room with you. Vampires, gang bangers, militia men, marines, monsters - is there any character off limits? If I let him, my husband would sit in front of the big screen TV blowing shit up in surround sound 24 hours a day.

My personal opinion of video games? They're a way for the powerless to be in virtual control, to feel omnipotent. They're the brain break for the millennial generation. (Why the hell does the millenial generation need a brain break? Even us X'ers weren't as lazy and flippant.) They are coping mechanisms. And they've evolved into complex, crazy worlds that we use to escape the complex, crazy world in which we live.

Still I must admit I do play Trivia on the X-Box upon occasion. And, I love Karaoke Superstar. And the boxing game at Jillian's where I put on boxing gloves, step under the sensors, physically dodge punches, throw right hooks and uppercuts, jump around a bit, punch my opponent in the gut, and then laugh as he erphs and ouphs and bleeds before he falls and I am celebrated as the victor. I like that one too.

With all these conflicting emotions, I embrace my upcoming trip to GDC07. The Game Developers conference is an orgy of companies showcasing the latest and greatest video game technologies. There are expos, presentations, workshops, and plenty of games to explore during the first full week of March in San Francisco.

And I'm plenty excited about the "I am 8-bit: version 2.007 Preview Exhibit" session. And the 5 days in San Francisco at the Serrano can't hurt.

Added bonus? I get to see Heather!

Friday, January 26, 2007


I love the word Wednesday.

Just look at it...


I especially love it when it is written just as above, with proper capitalization. The big W, the round front loops of the d's, and nes right in the middle.

It makes me think of when I was in Ms. Guiffre's first grade class and I was practicing careful loops with my number 2 pencil. The smooth, thin handwriting sheets.

...and the W fills the space between the 2 solid blue lines...

...and the d's are written so the top of the loop reaches the the red dotted line but the backbone of the d - the line portion, if you will - reaches as tall as the capital W...

...and my y always with flourish. Showed a bit of personality...

Friday just doesn't pack the same punch.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

State of the Union - Still FUBARed

The best part about the State of the Union:

"Madam Speaker, the President of the United States."

Because even though Bush should bow down to Nancy Pelosi, it's good enough for me to hear her title first.

Other thoughts...

If Bush spoke this well during the first few years of his regime, his approval rating might not be so far into the toilet. Then again...

Balance the budget? I think someone already thought of that. Wasn't it Clinton? I wish Bush had followed more of what he did. I wouldn't care who sucked his dick - just as long as we weren't at war.

You want Medicare & Social Security to become sound? Make it so that every person in the Congress has to retire with only those two options. It will become sound real quick.

As for NCLB, bullshit. It is the solution to make a mediocre nation - not one that excels. We may need more focus on Math and Science, but what about critical thinking? Today's youth don't know how to think, to problem solve. There isn't time in a classroom to teach that, to develop it. Regurgitation of information to pass standardized test will NOT make a nation intellectually strong. Only true breakthroughs can do that. How about paying teachers more and demanding more of them? Help them get their Masters degrees, their PhD's, and then pay them to build the future of this nation.

Remind me again why we are in Iraq? The 9/11, Al Qaida smokescreen fails to impress. Way to slip in Iran followed almost directly by the word "wicked" instead of evil. While I've known for a while that Iran was our next target, hearing Bush say it crystallized the dire situation this is about to become. I'm curious as to who will profit from this one. Probably the same white men - private and public - that are profiting from Iraq. Make no mistake America. Your boys and girls aren't dying for freedom. They're dying for oil, for profit. And you'll never see a dime.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

the cost of happiness

For two brief months, I lived better. I thought about the kind of life I want - a smaller home, a brief commute, a city existence outside of suburbia. Kevin and I planned to think small rather than sprawling. We want to travel, to enjoy things outside the home.

And then, today, we bought a house. It's really beautiful. The lot is surrounded by trees. The house is bigger than we need right now - we have room to grow. The mortgage will be hundreds above my comfort number.

Will we travel? Will we still enjoy life? Is it really just about making a home, raising some kids, and trying to stay out of crushing debt? I think about debt on a regular basis. What amount is too much? How much does happiness cost?

For this moment, I have my answer. Happiness (with a morning room, walkout basement, gourmet kitchen, bay windows and a luxury bath) runs about $350,000 (before design upgrades).

Monday, January 15, 2007


In the picture she is smiling, open-mouthed, face forward, eyes slantways watching him.

He is not looking at her, but directly through the lens at me on the other side of the camera. Lips parted, hair cropped close in the attempt to look GQ or Abercrombie - or like someone from some other place I don't shop. His short wool coat is dark gray, clean lines. I'd like to know him better.

She's wearing tan mules with small heels, desperate for sophistication. Loose blond hair betrays her truth. She has her legs crossed under her short handkerchief skirt, exposed knees held together against the fierce wind and the camera's watchful eye.

Her toe points toward him. She hopes for their future. His feet point west, away from her. He knows he'll be gone by the end of the month. Maybe even the end of the week.

I hold the camera out as he crosses the plaza to me. She grabs her cell phone out of her Dooney & Bourke bag, faces east.

"Thanks for taking our picture," he says.

Between the two of us, four hands on his camera.

I let go. "Not a problem. It turned out well."

He inhales to say something. I look down, smile, and turn west.

The wind smacks us as we walk separate paths.

Friday, January 12, 2007

still i drive

i drive the wide arizona surface streets. it's only 85 degrees today, in new july. a departure from desert summer. through my windshield i see jutting hills - purple and perfect on the eastern horizon. mountains close in and surround this yawning valley of heat and people.

this sky is full slate - brooding gray at 1pm on a wednesday. the time isn't really significant, more a marker in my mind to separate the time between when i felt fine and now, when i don't.

physically, nothing of note is wrong with me. but a blackening sky and kick of wind has pushed me into contemplation. yesterday's demons and today's loss of hope written on a paper top and spun into my manic brain.


i press the accelerator, lean into the curve, and it's 6 months later in virginia's january. it was 75 degrees in the mid-atlantic this past saturday reminding me that arizona followed me to this green state of rain and sprawling suburbs.

the streets here are lined with trees not fully dormant in this unusually warm winter. spring buds threaten to break free of the branches and the baby birds who are born too soon and will die in the snow that will surely come in late march.

i'm angry about a lot of things - more than the surface anger of someone cutting me off or the annoyances of being overworked. it's an anger without regard to consequences - a hopeless one born of being ordinary with the want of something more. it is nearing despair.

still, i drive these roads through sunlight, rain, and pinkish dusk. in my car, and heart, i am solitary - looking for a twist of road, an adventure to find what I've lost.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Of Shells and Angel Wings

New Year's Eve and I'm standing on the beach with my toes in the cold, frothing surf promising things that can't be promised - shouldn't be thought of even since they are just future failures waiting to happen.

I found angel wing shells earlier today - blue and purpley smooth on the inside encased in a rough black exterior. The two sides fold in on eachother joined by a thin supple spine. When opened, each side looks like two halves of a chipped and barnacled heart.

I laugh. "A metaphor for me?"

The shelled heart appears as one entity - weathered but resilient. I pocket it and continue to comb through the collapsing tide for jewels and hermit crabs. Later, after we leave the humid beach and the shells dry, I see the tumbled halves are waiting to snap free from one another. Each are plain without the other. I think of this as the darkened sky lights up with the red pops and silver snaps of fireworks shot haphazardly by people on the pier. One misses his aim and the beach erupts in green glitter stars.

Should I notice that my spirit feels as thin and fragile as stray seaweed, my soul bruised and half broken like the coral washing up at my feet? Should I dive into this hopeless fear - of being lost, of being forever unhappy - and experience yet another journey toward renewal and rebuilding?

The tide makes me feel small. I want to be unruly, to gain control of the moment, be wild, be free again. Instead, I drink too much and throw up for the entirety of the first day of this brand new year. As I bend over the bowl, I catch a glimpse of my face in the water and wonder when I became so ordinary.

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Stupidly self-centered for over 3 decades!