New Tricks

The thing about social media, about using it, is that people can respond to each other. That’s the whole point. But sometimes I forget that I’m speaking to other people and instead pretend I’m speaking to myself. I send statuses and tweets into the ether expecting nothing. For sure, this makes me feel better if no one “Likes” or “Favorites” or “Hearts” something I say or post. But also, it freaks me out when people actually do respond.

Last night I tweeted:

IMG_4296

Nandini responded. Continue reading

Advertisements

In the Company of Women

A week ago I spent three days in the exclusive company of women. We were celebrating the dwindling bachelorette status of my good friend, Leyna, in the oddly German town of Leavenworth, Washington. I went into the weekend with unconfronted nerves — I mean a houseful of women, most of whom I didn’t know, for three days, sounded like the opening of horror story.

IMG_4054 Continue reading

Objective: Swagger

Every Sunday, between 9 am and noon, I go to the Walmart on 82nd avenue. It’s a Walmart with a reputation. That might seem like a redundant thing to say about Walmart, but for this one it’s particularly true. It’s not very far away from where we live, just three miles, but in true Portland fashion & I think like most cities, the neighborhoods can shift with just a stop sign. This Walmart is in the beginning section of a not-so-nice part of town. It’s always an adventure, I always go looking for excitement, and I’m usually rewarded, but this last Sunday was completely uneventful, or so I thought. Continue reading

See Ya, 2014: Another List

I heard someone say that lists were annoying, like those end-of-year lists or the ones that comprise a lot of Buzzfeed. But hasn’t this been the year of Buzzfeed? So, a few someones must enjoy a good countdown. And as much as lists require ten times less attention than a well-written essay, they are so wonderfully tidy. So I made one, too, for this blog, because I can. Here’s my top 5 favorite post thus far. Happy New Year and thanks so much for reading.

5. Prince & Patrice Do Hollywood — Once my brother and I reached California, we took a side trip to LA for the day. With no plan, we wandered into one of the funniest days of my life.  Continue reading

Closing the Loop of Christmas 2010

IMG_3696-0.PNG

I’m pretty excited about this Christmas. Not because of any presents, because we’re too poor for anything extravagant, and not even really for the fact that it’s a holiday, both TJ and I being fairly agnostic. What I’m really excited about is that one of my oldest and dearest friends, Kori, will be spending Christmas with us, an event in itself but particularly to close the loop on the impactful Christmas of 2010.

I don’t like to admit that I’m in to woo woo stuff like crystals and scented oils, colored candle with meanings inscribed in their wax. It embarrasses me to write life affirmations, though I’m the only one in my family who feels that way. At my mother’s home, at any given time, in any given bathroom, someone has written him or herself a note of encouragement in dry erase marker. “You can do it!” has never been written by me. But all this to say, there are some woo woo things that I believe. I believe in a very simple idea of Karma, and that the Universe is cyclical, and I couldn’t help but wish on the few falling stars I’ve seen.

Just before the Christmas of 2010, I’d moved from NC to Washington for graduate school, as had my best friend, Kori. She was in Seattle while I was in Spokane. In those first few months, we both threw ourselves into silly relationships, the only kind justified by a huge life transition like moving to a place where one is a stranger and wants to fit in as soon as possible. Thankfully, Kori never said that my relationship was much worse than hers, because I think in the long-run of our friendship that was an old conversation. But I had definitely done worse. I’d been dating a guy (from Portland, no less) who wanted to meet up in Seattle for the holiday. Two days before Christmas, I arrived first, parked by the Needle, and waited for him. Three hours and a dead car battery later, he arrived and we tried to carry on. But the next morning, Christmas Eve, I knew something was off but I paid it no mind. He jumped my car and told me to give it a moment to fully charge, while he just popped around the corner for some gas.

Twenty minutes and several unanswered texts later, I knew I’d been left. I called Kori, who was at work, but who quickly picked up on my hysteria, and directed me to her. We bought wine at Trader Joe’s. She made plans out of thin air. And like two single girls (her soon-to-be ex was out of town) we went out and met up with a group of friends who were also orphaned for Christmas.

We drank champagne. A lot of champagne. I’m not sure we knew when the night had slipped into Christmas morning. We woke at noon, in her soon-to-be ex’s bed, to the phone ringing: my mother calling. We tried to pretend we hadn’t just woken up as she spoke to us both on speaker phone.

It was, for all the comedy of the situation, a hard Christmas. For the next two years it would be the holiday I dreaded the most. But now, being back on the west coast, and able to spend this holiday with the person who was there for me before makes me excited for the first time in years. And in our woo woo way, we can say an affirmation, light a candle and enjoy our Christmas.

My Boyfriend is My Roommate is My Boyfriend

IMG_3357.JPG

  • I’m a slob who was raised in the household of a clean freak.  I learned to keep my mess to my room, a trend that would follow me through college — when I had only a side of a room — to my first apartment where only the rooms that guests would see were consistently clean.
  • My boyfriend is my roommate in the most explicit terms. We share a room, a bed, and sometimes, a blanket.
  • Since he’s the one working right now, I’ve commandeered our home as my domain.
  • I have an unofficial cleaning schedule that harks back to teenage years in my mother’s home: Saturday morning, the bathroom gets a good cleaning, and the laundry is done. Sunday is for grocery shopping. Vacuum as needed, and not needed. Chase the dog around the living room. Do not skip vacuuming the stairs.

Continue reading

Letting the Dream Die

photo (1)

There were maybe five full minutes in my MFA studies, when I imagined myself as a full-time writer. We, all of us writers and poets, spend some time with that day dream. But for some of us the possibility of that lifestyle (because it is a lifestyle) is quickly interrupted by real life: the bills, the debt, the lack of time, the lack of discipline, and the desire for real-life relationships. Whatever the reasons are, many of us will never be those people (icons, martyrs, saints) with coffee mugs and oak desks watching the sun rise as they craft sentences. And of those folks, even fewer will be able to earn a living. The odds are ever not in our favor. My graduate mentor, Chris Howell, offered a solution to this problem of writing versus living called the Muffin Man. Basically, you found a job that only required you to work really early or really late, a job that paid the bills (barely) but didn’t require much mental strain or consume your every waking minute, so you could dedicate that free time to your writing. He never offered any advice on how to maintain relationships with your partners or family or how to be sociable, probably because he wasn’t one to speak about something he wasn’t an expert at himself.

Continue reading