It’s just me and my dog…

Mom asked if I’d take our dog, Lily, for a walk tonight.  I was wearing shoes and Mom wasn’t, and I never really mind getting  out and seeing the stars, so I agreed happily.

But we couldn’t find the leash.  It’s one of those nice, retractable ones, and it’s hot pink, so it should have been easy to spot.  But it just wasn’t there.  Mom went digging through a cabinet and found something that would do: Sam’s old leash.

Sam was the first dog I ever had, the only other dog I’ve had.  We got her when I was eight, when my family was living on a ranch in Hollister.  I think I must have named her, because “Samantha” seems like the kind of thing an eight-year-old girl would name a puppy.  She was a mutt, apparently part Husky and mostly Question-Mark, and she had the coloring of a German Shepherd, but the coarse hair of a Lab.  She weighd about 50 pounds and was good at responding to verbal commands.  You could walk her without a leash.  She had the softest ears I’d ever felt.  I called them “velvet ears.”  She got stinky when she didn’t have a bath for awhile.  Sometimes we’d let her wander the neighborhood, and I had a special way of calling her, almost a song.  “Sa-MAAAAAAAAN-thaaaa.  C’mere, c’mere puppy!  Saaaaaa-mmmmy!”  And she’d always come, and you could hear the fast beat of her paws seconds before you’d see her.

She was a damned good dog, was Sam.

She got old and she died.  She was a shell of herself by the time she finally went.  I was maybe 23 when I got a call saying that Sam had died.  By that point, she wasn’t fun anymore.  I hadn’t really cared about her in years, if we’re being honest.  She was more a stinky, incontinent burden than anything else.  And she just made me so sad, seeing her so old and feeble when she’d been the best dog a kid could hope for.  It was a relief when she finally died.

I hadn’t really thought about Sam for a long time until my mom pulled that leash out of the cabinet tonight.  And I attached it to the collar of my spunky little Lily-Pie, my sweet puppy who doesn’t always come when called, who you can’t even think of walking without a leash, and I thought about my first dog,  my Sammy.  And I remembered what a good dog she was, what a sweet dog, and how much I loved her.

And now I’m crying harder than I’ve cried in months.

Damned dog.

training myself not to care

I am intense.  While I think that’s an inherently stupid statement (what does it even mean?) it communicates an idea I don’t know how to say any other way.  I feel intensely, think intensely, express myself with great intensity.

It can be a great quality.  When I’m at my best, my intensity is like a turbo-charger for awesomeness.  But it can be overwhelming, how much I feel, think, talk… it can be a bad thing, too.

I’ve been throwing myself at someone for the last few weeks, seeing what sticks.  And he’s been remarkably game, very sweet and charming, and he hasn’t seemed too put-off by my obsessive late-night emails or my bizarre text messages.  I think I had him a little worried for a bit after I said I was going to drain his spinal fluid, but I convinced him that I wasn’t serious.  And there’s been a lot of flirting, racy (but not pornographic) photos exchanged, hundreds of text messages, several email exchanges, and we’ve hung out and had fun three times.  With kissing!

I’m fucking sick of this.

Not of the guy, he’s done nothing wrong.

I’m sick of settling for being tolerated and occasionally indulged but never, not really, cherished for my quirks.  I’m exhausted by my own desire to test people, to haze them by being as INTENSE as possible, to see… to see what?  If they can take it?  If they’ll return it?  I act crazier than I really am (quite a feat!) to see if they’ll be scared off, and if they aren’t, I act even crazier.

It’s easier to be a caricature of myself than it is to lay bare what I really am– scared.  And sad.  Weary and wary of the same mistakes I keep making, but still eager and willing to try again.  I’m looking for something real and sincere and, in its own odd way, wholesome.  So of course I make lots of jokes about chloroform and stealing sperm and strange sexual practices.  I’d rather be rejected for being too crazy for someone than for being, y’know, too me.

I have the ability to love with a great, big, forceful intensity.  I have a variety of awesome qualities that I’d like to believe more than compensate for my bad ones.  I’m very intelligent, I almost always smell good, I’m funny, and I try very hard to be kind.

What am I doing?  Why am I, once again, chasing after someone who doesn’t, when you get right down to it, want me?

So I’m trying very hard to scale it back a little.  Don’t bother the poor boy unless I have something to say.  Stop trying to test boundaries like a velociraptor throwing herself against an electrified fence in Jurassic Park, damn it, trying to find the weak spots.  I cannot trick anyone into wanting me.  I wouldn’t want to, even if I could.

And here’s the thing: I’m also afraid of commitment.  I don’t know that I’d want a serious relationship (with him or anyone) even if I could have it.  I don’t know how well I’d do living with someone again.  I don’t know if I want anyone having that much influence and control over my life again, and I don’t know how to be in a relationship without subjugating my will to the other person in all these huge and tiny ways until I lose myself, and lose all the qualities that drew my partner to me in the first place.

I could have a really cool friendship with this person, and instead I’m obsessing and worrying about what won’t or can’t be regardless of whether I’d actually want the things I can’t have.

I do want someone to love me back.  I want someone who wants to be with me.  I don’t want to always be the one initiating contact.  I want to not be the one asking “when can I see you again?” while always suspicious that the other person would do just fine not seeing me again for awhile.  I’m tired of being the only one who calls, writes, plans because I fear that if I’m not the one to call or write or plan, the other person will just sort of forget about me.  If I don’t keep it going, it won’t go.  Why do I keep settling for that?  Why don’t I just back off and wait and see instead of trying to force things?  It’s got to be easier than constantly throwing myself against that fucking electrified fence.

And it’s really not fair to the Object of My Affection, either.  Because rather than appreciating all the wonderful qualities of The Object, I’m just repeating the same behaviors that I act out for every boy.  Instead of approaching him as an individual, I’m treating him as just another boy.  Another object of fixation.  And that just isn’t very nice.  It could be awesome, even if it never goes anywhere.  And chances are, it isn’t going anywhere.

I stayed at his place Wednesday night, and when I was driving back down to Carmel, I had a lot of time to think.  Even though I’d had a great time, I felt very sad on that drive.  What I figured out is simple: I don’t want to keep making an ass of myself the way I have been.  Even though he’s been, as I said, lovely and game and all, I’m making myself sick.  I can’t do this anymore.

Someone will come along, eventually, who’ll appreciate my intensity.  Maybe what has to happen first is that I learn to give people enough room to walk away.  Otherwise I’m never going to stop thinking that the only reason these objects of my fixation spend time with me is that I’m bullying them into it.

I need to take people as they are.  And I need to stop being scared to show who I am.  Otherwise I’ll keep tearing myself apart trying to change things that are, in reality, kind of amazing just as they are.

10 Books

Off the top of my head, not in order:

  1. L.A. Confidential
  2. The Lord of the Rings
  3. In Cold Blood
  4. She’s Come Undone
  5. Under the Banner of Heaven
  6. Small Gods
  7. Reaper Man
  8. Lamb
  9. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  10. The Little Prince

Comfortably Numb

I will turn 29 next Friday.  The age seems important, although I can’t figure out exactly why.  Because it’s the last year of my twenties, perhaps.  Maybe just because it marks the start of another year.

I am afraid because I know that one can have great faith in something or someone and discover, painfully, how wrong one was.  How nothing is ever certain or finally decided.  How we can lose so much so quickly.

I used to think that I would be married and have a baby on the way by now.  It just seemed logical, obvious, assured.  Now that another year of my life is drawing to a close, I am considering how silly it was to think my life would follow a typical course.  I certainly didn’t think I’d be closing in on 30 with no real direction in my life, no great drive to be anywhere or do anything much.  My peers and friends are marrying off and having children, although no one very close to me these days is following a very typical course, either.  My close friends don’t have regular work weeks, or spouses, or mortgages, or salaries, or retirement funds.  I fit right in with the misfits.

I always thought I was destined for greatness of some sort.  I am, so they tell me, attractive, intelligent, clever and funny and talented.  Blessed.  It seems such a waste that I should be doing so little with any of it.  I have created nothing worthwhile or lasting.  I’ve done nothing very noble or grand.  I have always been told that I have great potential, but I’m not inclined any longer to strive toward anything much.  I don’t feel particularly interested in or passionate about anything.  I’m bored and aimless and oddly indifferent to it all.  I don’t care, and I don’t care that I don’t care.

Maybe this new year will bring change.  Maybe I’ll discover forgotten or unknown passion for something– anything.  Maybe I’ll get shaken up enough to do something interesting with my life.  I hope whatever’s coming isn’t too painful.  I’d like inspiration, not panic, to be my motivator this year.

I hope.

time makes you bolder

I had bad self-esteem my whole adolescence and, indeed, until a couple of years ago.  I think that’s fairly normal for women.  We don’t tend to like ourselves.  Too fat or too thin or my boobs are too small or whatever.

Look at what a fucking badass I was!  And I didn’t like myself.  I didn’t think I was pretty.  I must have been 20 or 21.  And I could hardly stand myself.  It was a bad time in my life.  These pictures were taken by someone I was desperately in love with at the time.  He messaged me tonight on Facebook and then sent me these pictures.  It’s weird to see myself so young and remember who I was back then.

I like myself much better now.

I made a decision about two years ago that I wasn’t going to talk bad about myself to myself anymore.  I wasn’t going to feel bad about my small boobs or my chubby belly or… whatever.  What had happened was that I found some photos of myself at 18, and I remembered how insecure I always was about my body/hair/face/teeth and… how stupid that was.  I had spirit, and it showed.  And whatever “flaws” I might have, well, this is the me that I’m stuck with.  I decided not to waste any more time despising myself.

I have good days and bad days.  I still think my tits could stand to be bigger.  And lord knows I could lose some weight.   But…  well…

I’m a badass.  And some people think I’m pretty cute.

You’re so fine, you blow my mind


Aren’t crushes on actors so silly?  I know, I know.  But, you see, this one’s worthy!  Oh yes.

I am trying to watch (500) Days of Summer, but I can’t.  Because of Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  He is so cool.  He is so dreamy.  Oh.

I also love Ze Frank, but he’s married, and that guy who played Archie Hicox but only as Archie Hicox and I have an unhealthy attraction to Gary Oldman who is way too old and also a conservative Republican.

But Joseph Gordon-Levitt is my age.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt is boyishly handsome!  Joseph Gordon-Levitt can sing!  Joseph Gordon-Levitt is smart and lovely and and he seems to have depth!  So I can’t watch this stupid movie because I keep getting all flutter-hearted and having to turn it off.

I need to get a life.

and i start to complain, but there’s no rain

I live in a city famous for its dreary weather.

People always talk about the gray.  I moved here for the green.  When I first visited Portland in September, 2005, I’d driven up from California on a whim.  If you’ve ever done this drive, you know that you’re on Interstate 5 for a very, very long time.  From Carmel, CA to Portland is about 730 miles.  About 550 of those are I-5, and it is not always a beautiful drive.  Much of it is flat, dusty farmland, small nowhere-towns and miles and miles of seemingly endless asphalt.  Finally exiting the highway in Southwest Portland, I was suddenly surrounded by tall white trees which had yet to drop their abundant green leaves onto the streets below.  For the five days I was here on that first visit it only rained once and never got chilly.  The weather was nice enough to wander the city and visit the Japanese Garden in only a hooded sweatshirt.  I fell in love with this place.

So I moved here four months later and didn’t see the sun for three weeks.  It was an adjustment.  What I didn’t know at the time was that we were in the midst of a particularly nasty winter.  In the years since, I’ve learned the value of a parka, absorbed the fact that no self-respecting Portlander carries an umbrella (the wind ruins them) and nearly perfected the delicate art of driving in the rain, which takes not only skill but also great stores of nerve.  I also learned that there’s a particular beauty to a freezing-cold day, that there’s a sweetness in walking fast enough to warm up and maybe rewarding yourself with a hot cocoa for your trouble.  I’ve learned that the seasons, even the cold, grey seasons, are glorious and made more glorious by their contrast to one another.

On a clear day here, Mount Hood is visible to the east and St. Helens to the northeast.  On a warm day people flock downtown to the riverfront and laze on the banks of the Willamette.  Out of the city on 84 is the Columbia River Gorge which is the best place I’ve ever been to watch a sunset.  West about two and a half hours is the Oregon Coast, which is a stunningly beautiful sight even to someone who grew up spittin’ distance from the beach.  Go North the same distance and you’re in Seattle.

Yes, it rains all winter, through much of fall, well into Spring and sometimes even in summer.  And that is why we have such voluptuous rivers, internationally famous gardens and rolling green hills.  That’s also why we’re a booming agricultural area where the idea of sustainable local food isn’t just a pipe-dream, it’s a happy reality.  I feel better knowing where my meat, dairy and produce comes from.  Have you ever bought Tillamook cheese?  Well, I’ve been to Tillamook.

People talk about the rain, but people don’t talk about our gorgeous summers where it’s never too humid and seldom too hot and it stays light until ten at night and you can sit outside your favorite pub (there are, after all, some great pubs here) and drink fruity drinks until 2am.  Does no one notice?  Before I moved here, I never heard anyone talk about how the smell of clover and fresh-cut grass drifts through the air here in April and May, or how the leaves turn gold and red in October when the days are still, as often as not, warm.

This is the time of year, early spring, when the grass is growing again and the flowers are beginning to bud and while, yes, it’s raining today, it got up near 70 degrees yesterday.

We get less rain here annually, in inches, than New York, Boston, Atlanta, Miami or (get this) Houston.  Compared to where I’m from in California, sure, it’s rainy here.  Compared to other cities outside California and the Southwest, our rainfall is about average.

I visit California and its eternal springtime whenever I can.  On Christmas day, 2007, I drove up into the golden hills near my mother’s house and watched the sun sink down on a 75 degree day.  A few days later I flew back into Portland, and upon stepping off the plane into the freezing, damp air, I thought clearly and happily, “I’m home.”

Don’t you hear the laughter on the way down?

I keep having sex dreams about exes.  I wake up in a tizzy.  Have managed to resist the urge to call said exes and try to make dreams come true.

Went to the Gap yesterday.  The Gap is where I find pants that fit.  Nowhere else can I consistently find pants that fit.  Pants shopping, no matter what size I am at the time, always makes me so frustrated I want to cry.  NOTHING EVER FITS RIGHT.  Ahem.  But, of course, at the Gap, I find pants that fit.  They make pants for my big ass, and for that, they’ve got themselves a long-term customer.

I’ve had this stupid sinus infection, and the sinus-unblocking drugs from the drugstore work pretty well but also make me verrrry sleeeeeeepy.  So I’ve been sleeping a lot.  But then I wake up at weird times like 4am and am awake until noon.  Today I woke up at 8!  Which is somewhat a normal time!  But every minute now is passing extremely slowly!  There is nothing to do at 8 in the morning on a Saturday!  Nothing I want to do, anyway.

It’s supposed to be warm and beautiful today.  It isn’t warm and beautiful yet.  Curses.