Monday, January 15, 2007

Ice Storm

Hailing from a place with notoriously mild winters, I don't remember ever seeing this phenomenon in person before. Sooo...this is what a tree looks like when it's encased in ice. Actually it's quite pretty, besides the fact that it's interesting from a meteorological perspective. These are both from my yard.
From Ice Storm 01-...

From Ice Storm 01-...

Officially Winter

Well, it snowed today for the first time this winter. Well, snowed enough to stick to the ground anyway. This is my backyard. Yes, it does need to be mowed. Please direct all comments and complaints on this topic to Lunger. Just click on "My Husband" on the right over there and fire away. It was a beautiful day and it's supposed to snow more tomorrow. I kind of feel bad for all those poor shlubs with jobs.
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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

It’s a clear night and downtown Burlington glitters across the lake. Down the hill, the traffic light at Highway 8 and Millen blinks from red to green. The big front window in my living room reflects the low, yellow light from lamps and the soft shimmer of my Christmas tree. The furnace rumbles and sighs through floor vents while Marko chortles in his sleep. I click out a few new paragraphs on the computer, but otherwise the house is still.

I didn’t put any clothes or linens in the washing machine today. I didn’t sweep the floor, mop the bathroom, or wipe down the stove. I slept until noon and read a novel in the living room, then warmed up a pork roast in the oven for Marko to eat when he came home from school. I stirred some instant coffee into boiling water and ate a toasted bagel.

That’s what I did until Marko came home and my mother called. I talked with her on the phone. She says my brother is fine, but it’s hard to tell if you can’t see his face. She says Aunt Brenda is sick but won’t go to the doctor. And Grandmargaret is happy because it snowed on Tuesday, and she likes to see the flaky fairyland slough down through the air.

It snowed here on Tuesday too, but nothing stuck. Canadians are happy with their mild winter, except for the ones who work at ski resorts. Even though I’ve lived here for a year, I still like to see the snow just like my grandmother does. It’s still novel, magical to me. Maybe if I had to get up and go to work everyday like normal people, I wouldn’t like slushing through the snow. Maybe.

It’s January 11, 2007, and the good folks down at Immigration Canada are processing applications for permanent residency that they received on March 27, 2006. They received my application on April 9th, and I’m hoping that they’ll process my application by the end of February. After all, I am getting a little bit bored.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Return to the Frozen Tundra

Whew. That was a whirlwind week-and-a-half. I’m very popular when I go home now, which contradicts all other social situations throughout my life. Knoxville is basically the same except the traffic is even worse. I never got a moment to myself, but I wound up taking the back roads everywhere because I40 and Kingston Pike are so bad.

My grandmother is sprightly as ever, thanks for asking. All the people I used to work with at the hospital are still completely messed up; thanks to Aunt Brenda for catching me up on the ER gossip. Cousin Wesley changed his major halfway through his first semester of college, and he broke his finger playing basketball for the college team, but he still makes excellent grades. Cousin Chandler is seriously naming his first child Chloe, bless its little heart. Dad’s office is moving out west, and it’s weird that he doesn’t work downtown for the first time in my life. Mom still works 16 hours per day, every day, but at least she works from home. My brother, revealing his secret tight-assed side, tells his children not to act like hooligans in public, which makes me laugh so hard that I choke. My best friend, always obsessing over her teeth, now gets paid to do so.

What else? I saw Running with Scissors, which if you don’t know, is a movie based on the memoirs of Augusten Burroughs, whose childhood will make you thank God yours was so easy. Very funny, but completely heartbreaking. Also saw The Departed, which is the best Scorcese movie I’ve seen in years. Seriously, it’s Shakespeare meets the Irish mob in South Boston. I watched about 12 DVDs at my mom’s house, almost all of which were cheesey chick movies. Nothing particularly sticks out in my head from that bunch. Although I did see Brokeback Mountain finally, which was very pretty but not dense enough for a two-hour film and quite poignant, but not necessarily oscar-worthy. There are still about a gazillion movies I want to see, but probably won’t get the chance to.

I got to satisfy all of my southern food cravings. I even had Krystals twice. I also got to try out a new Mexican restaurant called Abuelo’s, very good. What else? Wound up getting smashed on cheap boxed wine at Ash’s house while she cooked me and her friend, Michael, dinner. My flight home got cancelled and I ended up hanging out in the Philadelphia airport for eight hours trolling for a ride, but that’s a whole other blog.

Anyway, I sometimes really miss good ole K-town, but I like where I live now too. Plus, I really missed my husband, way more than I miss my hometown. Glad to be back, for real.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I feel compelled to do certain things when I’m home in Knoxville so that I feel like I’ve really been home. My agenda always includes the followings things. First, I have to sit in my grandmother’s living room for at least two hours and gossip about family issues, past or present. Next, I must rent sappy chick movies with my mother and fall asleep watching them in the den.

Sometime in the first couple of days I have to go to lunch with my dad downtown and discuss the newest books we are reading. On the weekend, I must go to the movies with my father and see some weird artsy flick that no one else will go to see with us; this time I’m thinking Running with Scissors or Little Miss Sunshine. At some other point, we have to eat breakfast at Shoney’s, because let’s face it, if you’re in K-town you’ve got to go to Shoney’s breakfast bar.

Another must-do involves some sort of fun activity with my niece and nephew to further solidify their belief that I am the coolest aunt ever. And let’s not forget their father. I have to get my drink on with my brother, either at Toddy’s or the Olde College Inn. My mother has to have something to worry about, right? I won’t talk about the time we got thrown out of that cheesey west end night club. It wasn’t our fault, I swear!

Further, I must not forget my bestest friend. I have to spend at least one night in Loudon smoking too many cigarettes, drinking too many Jack and Cokes, bitching about our lives, and possibly dancing to the Violent Femmes. God love her husband for letting us. Ok, I know I quit smoking, but I think I’m going to have to relapse. Maybe Ash and I can take in a show somewheres in the Old City too, maybe maybe. Can you tell I’m getting excited? I don’t think I’ve seen any live music since we caught Southern Culture on the Skids at the Blue Monkey like a year ago.

Now, as for the food I cannot get up here in the frozen tundra. Krystals, yeah baby. Mom and I are definitely eating some Krystals. For those of you who don’t know, they’re tiny little square greaseburgers ala White Castle, but they’re way better. I gotta get me some Buddy’s Bar-B-Q as well, because you know they don’t have barbeque in the great white north. Oooh, and Pelancho’s. They don’t have Mexican food around here either.

Then, if I can find some time to myself, I’ve got to drive around town reminiscing about how it used to look. I’ll drive to Farragut the back way, down Bob Gray Road, across Lovell and then onto that street I can never remember the name of that stops at Campbell Station. On my way back, I’ll take a dip through Hardin Valley, come back up Pellissippi Parkway and get on Northshore so I can see the water. I’ll take it all the way down to Lyon’s View and up to Sequoyah Hills because I like to look at all the old mansions. I might even take a quick drive through campus if I can stand all the damn pedestrians.

That’ll just about do it. I might squeeze in a visit to Perkin’s if I’m feeling masochistic. Somewhere in the middle of all this I’ve got to help my mother do some “spring” cleaning and maybe paint her kitchen cabinets. Dude, I am so homesick.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Melody of You

I’m going home for a week and a half on November 1st. My husband decided I was homesick and just bought the ticket. Even though we have no money, even though he’ll miss me like crazy, he knows that I need to see my family. That’s just the kind of man he is.

Yesterday, I wondered what I would do without him. He said, “You would’ve graduated two years earlier, have a job in Atlanta, maybe New York, and own your own house.” I said, “Maybe, but I’d be so lonely.”

I met my husband when I was going through a depressive breakdown, which is probably not the ideal time to begin a relationship. However, he kept me afloat. When I didn’t have the power to reach out to my old friends, to my family, he reached out and caught me. I think I healed myself a lot faster because of his support.

He may not be what my father wanted for me (southern atheist PhD with six-figure salary), but that's not the person I needed. He knows how to love me exactly the way I need to be loved. He accepts me completely. He couldn’t think of his life without me even when we’re screaming at each other. He’s smart, completely hilarious, handsome, principled, and sweet as pie.

Our life together has been difficult, but we can power through because we have each other. Life is easier when you have a partner, which is something I haven’t always believed. I take care of him, but he takes care of me too, which is something I’ve never had before. He really sees me, and no one else ever has. I am lucky to have him, and I know it.

See, I made a choice. Maybe I could’ve had all that career stuff. But that’s not what makes me a complete person. I chose the life I have now. My life’s not perfect, but it’s the one I want. Life is a struggle, and you fight the whole way through. I’m thankful I’ve got a sidekick who’s got my back.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sole Sessions

I'm feeling frumpy, dumpy, and gross today. I keep thinking about those shoes in my profile picture. You know, I've had those since the 8th grade.

They were not my first pair of Chuck Taylors, nor my last. However, they are my most loved. I say "are" because I still have them. I can't really wear them any more. I mean, they still fit, but as you may or may not be able to see, they are wounded. In the sole. Heh. But seriously, there's a hole in the sole that I covered with some duck tape. There's a piece of green yarn tied to the laces from a high school friend's lesbian girlfriend. I wrote all over them. Mostly poetry, but some from books and other stuff.

For instance, the tip of the right one says, "Everything is Cool and Froody," which, if you're a Douglas Adams fan, you should know is from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The left outside sole screams, "Yippy-skippy super monkey!" which is something my high school buddies and I used to yell. I think we may have gotten that from one of those novelty posters of a chimp wearing a baseball cap. Maybe. The right outside sole warns, "Muppets don't smoke." I don't actually know if that's true or not. Let me know if you can think of one who does.

And yet, the catalogue continues. The inside left reminds us that "Blueberries are our friends." I've completely forgotten what that's about, but I still think blueberries are our friends since they're full of antioxidants. The instep of the right is a double whammy, an eerily prophetic P.J. Harvey lyric: "I was born in the desert, been down for years. Jesus come closer, I think my time is near," and the dubious assertion that "You are the devil's cupcake." Aren't we all?

I named my right shoe, "Harliss P. Pickleseimer," a name I heard once and immediately fell in love with. I christened my left shoe with the equally unique moniker, "Bob." But on the tip of the left is something I wrote on all of my Converse All-Stars, the first stanza of Lewis Carroll's poem, "Jabberwocky." I think I've quoted it here on this blog before, but let me remind you all: "Twas brillig in the slithy toves/ Did gyre and gimble in the wabe/ All mimsy were the borogroves/ And the mome raths outgrabe."

Whenever I feel I'm losing my joie de vive, I get them out, not forgetting to hold my nose, and think about how carefree I sometimes felt in my youth. I'm thinking of the brief manic episodes that blossom forth from the hell that was my adolescence. There's a lot of miles on these All-Stars, a lot of tear drops, a couple of blood stains, and a lot of dirt from all the places I love. I can't throw them away any more than I could throw away my childhood.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Sangria and Star Trek

Yesterday, Lunger and I made a pitcher of Sangria with homemade wine and watched three episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation in a row. Needless to say, we got a little tipsy. Despite our inebriation, we still couldn’t completely suspend our disbelief.

“When is that Tasha Yar chick going to die? Is it this episode?” I asked, scowling at the television.

“I hope so, she’s so boring. I mean, what, besides random security questions, is her purpose on the Enterprise?” Lunger asked and poured himself another drink.

“I have no idea! And her hair is so weird. It’s short AND poufy!”

“Noooo...I like her hair. Short hair is cool.” Here, I chuckled derisively.

“Commander Riker is so the Shatner of this series.” I shook my head.

“He gets better.”

“Not much. Besides, he’s always getting with the ladies and making that weird face where he squints one of his eyes.”

“Hmmph.” Lunger slurped the last of his drink. “You know how they made those beaming images? They put glitter in a glass of water and filmed it. Then they super-imposed it over people in the transporting scenes.”

“No way!” I shouted, “That’s so cool!”

“Yeah, look at the sparklies.”

“Hah! You know, I always thought they made Data for the Federation.”

“No, they found him on this planet. Look! It’s a plastic mould of his face!”

“I wonder why they made his nose so big. Oh wait, didn’t that Dr. Soong guy make him look like a younger version of himself?”

“Yeah, he did.”

“Is it just me, or does Data seem jealous of Lore? I thought he didn’t experience human emotions.” I crunched on some ice and cocked my head to one side.

“I think he’s just suspicious of his ‘brother’.”

“Yeah, he seems kind of evil. Isn’t Lore evil or something?”

“Nah, it’s more like he’s agendafied.”

“What’s his agenda?”

“I don’t exactly remember. We watch a lot of Star Trek. Does that make us Trekkies?”

“No, we just like it. I think you have to go to a convention to be a Trekkie, and like wear Vulcan ears or something.”

“Well, I did go to that one convention.” Lunger conceded.

“That was an accident.” I argued. “You just stayed at the same hotel.”

“True. We should look up the definition of Trekkie. Do you think it’s in the dictionary?”

“Surely not.”

Actually, it’s not. But, on Wikipedia it says: “Trekkie (or Trekker) is a term that in recent decades has been used to describe a fan of the Star Trek science fiction franchise.” I think that’s too broad a definition. I’m not willing to admit I’m a Trekkie until I possess my own Klingon mask and federation uniform. I don’t even read those crazy novels based on the TV series. I’d like to hold on to what dignity I have left.