Category Archives: i’m the asshole who talks about her dreams

bumpwatch terror alert: week 32

look at that perfectly round baby bump!

i can’t believe i am already 32 weeks pregnant. only seven weeks to go, tops, if my doctor has her way & induces me by 39 weeks (due to the whole gestational hypertension/pre-eclampsia issue). i am now twice as pregnant as i was when i started taking these weekly photos. let’s take a trip back in time & revisit week 16…

kind of significant difference.

even though i am kind of obviously pregnant in that photo, it’s hard to remember being that small. i am now so enormous that i have to turn sideways to squeeze between the dishwasher & the bathroom doorway. i’m just waiting for the inevitable day that my belly gets wedged in there & i have to get jared to butter it so i can be free again. getting in & out of the car is like a five minute endeavor. we were going to install the car seat this weekend, but i suggested to jared that we wait until the baby is much closer to being born–or possibly already born–because we’ll have to move the passenger seat forward to fit the car seat behind it & i’m afraid that i won’t be able to get in or out of the car at all if my space is limited any further. (jared does most of the driving while we’re together so i can space out & stare out the window & change the radio stations & deal with my constant braxton hicks contractions.)

i’m thankful that i am still sleeping pretty well. a lot of pregnant ladies complain of back pain or hip pain while they are laying down & i haven’t had to deal with anything like that yet. laying down is in fact one of the few times when i am almost 100% comfortable. i just have the world’s most boring pregnancy dreams. i literally dream that i am reading studies about the efficacy of episiotomies or whatever. other women have dreams about losing their babies at amusement parks, or their babies turning into ostriches, or giving birth to their grandparents or whatever. my dreams are super science-y. last night, i seriously dreamed that i was reading the footnotes in an obstetrics textbook.

with the baby’s arrival imminent, jared is getting more & more enthusiastic about holidays. he’s already brainstorming future halloween costumes for the baby. for baby’s first halloween, he wants to dress up as professor plum & i’ll dress as mrs. white & we’ll dress the baby as mr. body, dead in the billiards room. he has this big plan to construct a billiards room in the interior of a wagon & dress the baby is a dapper little suit & lay it down in there. it’ll work great if the baby falls asleep, but if the baby is excited & wiggly, it won’t look much like a dead guy. hopefully our costumes will help people understand the concept.

this is going to be our first xmas flying solo as a couple. usually we fly back to boston to spend xmas with jared’s family, but we can’t do that this year because i am too pregnant. so we’re going to get ourselves a tree & jared is teaching himself how to make origami cats with which to decorate it, since we don’t have any ornaments & don’t really want to buy any.

starter cat.

he wants to make them our of white paper & then paint them to look like calicos. i really like this idea. i think the calico coloring will look nice on a green tree, i think the cat idea is unique but in keeping with our tastes (we love cats!), & i am always a fan of not having to buy stuff. but once we have a tree, the pressure will be on to put some gifts under it, & jared & i are just terrible at buying presents for each other. neither one of us ever really wants anything, & if something does capture our fancy, we usually just buy it for ourselves. i could maybe use a new winter hat & the 2013 nikki mcclure calendar, & i’m looking forward to maybe a new sweater or pair of jeans once i’m not pregnant anymore & can go back to wearing regular lady clothes, but other than that, i’m all set. jared has been talking about wanting a meat grinder for years, but we now have two food processors & a food mill, so i don’t know if that’s still topping his list. (he wants to experiment with making his own sausages.) i have been thinking for a long time about buying a digital photo printer, but it’s hard to justify, because it’s such a large upfront purchase & then a money pit as time goes on, replenishing the paper & ink.

we don’t even need much more stuff for the baby. i guess you can never have too many cloth diapers, & we could maybe stand to pick up some toys at some point–a rattle, maybe a nice set of blocks. but if the baby was born today, i think we have everything we need to get started.

i keep toying with the idea of making a zine before the baby is born. obviously it would be mostly about pregnancy. it’s been interesting for me to think about how different it is to be the pregnant lady, compared with everything i thought i knew from midwifery school & doula training. i’ve had so many weird experiences i was unprepared for, like pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel, symphysis pubic dysfunction, pregnancy rage (which is apparently a real thing–in some cultures, the hormonal feelings associated with pregnancy translate to “the mean feelings,” rather than socially-sanctioned american weepiness, which i’ve not experienced at all)…to say nothing of my pregnancy getting hijacked by high blood pressure & turning into this carefully monitored high-risk situation. i haven’t made a zine in over two years. we will see…

ms. excitement

jared & i are flying to boston tomorrow to visit with his family for the holidays. so today i have to do laundry, pack, clean up the house so i am not embarrassed in front of my cat-sitters, etc etc. i am not saying that i definitely won’t be posting any more blog entries in 2011…but i’m not saying i will either.

i’m hoping to get back into the groove of writing for an audience in 2012. i have become very out of practice. i haven’t written a new zine in a year & a half, & i have definitely fallen down on the job of keeping this thing updated in the last few months. i have found it challenging to find my creative footing since i shut down the zine distro in early 2010. i know! that was almost two years ago! it was just a lot easier to keep up with my mail & feel like i had a legitimate platform when i was going to the post office everyday & maintaining a huge website (even if there wasn’t really any personal content on it).

the only “project” that i have really come up with to replace the zine distro is this whole trying to get pregnant business, which is turning out to be a lot more difficult than i anticipated. i wish it had been this hard to get knocked up when i DIDN’T want to have a baby. i had four dreams last night in which i did a pregnancy test & it was positive. in every dream, i was like, “no way. this is totally a dream, i’m going to wake up & not be pregnant. or is it real? maybe i’m pregnant!” but of course, i am not. i do have an appointment set for a fertility work-up after the holidays though. maybe my doctor will take pity on me, prescribe clomid, & at this time next year, i’ll be writing about how difficult it is to maintain a blog when i am caring for a newborn. or maybe i’ll just luck out & get pregnant without intervention. i can’t even work up any feelings about it anymore. the stress has been too exhausting.

i am a little bit anxious about boston because seeing people you haven’t seen in six months to a year always want to know, “what’s new? what’s going on?” & literally all i have to say is, “well, i’ve been trying to get pregnant & that’s not really going anywhere. but i know that you really wanted any information at all about my sex life, so let’s move on. i’ve gone to a bingo a few times & have won $210 altogether, which is pretty cool. that pays for like half of my share of the bed & breakfast we’re staying at. bingo is a little depressing because it’s a lot of oldsters blowing through their social security checks & a sprinkling of younger people in sweatpants looking like they probably make meth. but you know. i get social security too & would definitely just wear sweatpants if i didn’t think jared would break up with me because of it, so maybe i have found my people. i’m thinking about signing up for another water aerobics class in january because my arthritis has become increasingly crippling. i now struggle to button the snaps on my coat, & am sometimes in too much pain to drive or use utensils, keys, or my squeezy water bottle. i don’t know if this is a permanent aspect of the degenerative condition or if it’s just a temporary slump due to the cold, damp weather. & i’ve been reading a lot of library books. mostly children’s books. mostly the american girl historical books, truth be told. which i then recap over on goodreads in foul-mouthed, sarcastic, political reviews that are probably not suitable for children. how are you doing? what’s new with you?”

so. that will be fun.

but hopefully i will get with the program in 2012 & come up with some interesting things to say. same bat time, same bat channel.

of minimal interest (with photos!)

i’ve been getting more comically hateful comments here than usual recently. that tends to happen when someone links to something i wrote months ago & suddenly people start flocking to the blog & sharing their goofy opinions. i usually don’t approve the comments of people who just come over to write things like, “you suck!” i’ll approve a comment with which i disagree if i feel like it adds to the conversation or the person is arguing in good faith. but stuff like, “everyone wishes you were dead” is not really all that helpful or interesting. which is really too bad, because sometimes the most asshole comments are also the funniest.

i think my new tagline for the blog should be, “come for the controversy…stay for the babysitters club reviews!” i like to think i have a little something to offer everyone.

i’m going to be in san francisco later this week. i haven’t been to the bay area since the summer of 2001. any recommendations for things to do/see/eat? preferably nothing that really costs a lot of money. i am not really looking to do any shopping or eat at fancy restaurants. buying the car really decimated my savings & i need to be careful for a little while in order to re-build it. i have some friends that live out there, so i’ll have some locals to show me the sights, but i expect i’ll also be spending a fair bit of time on my own. jared is going to be presenting at a conference, so he won’t necessarily be squiring me around the city full time.

i spent the afternoon writing fiction, so my creative energy is kind of tapped at the moment & i’m not feeling the magic i require to write a coherent blog post. but! i dreamed last night that i had a baby. except that the baby was cat. & i actually gave birth to it. & i was like, “this baby rules! it’s so cute, & also so soft!” & then i would pet it. i’d put it down in its crib for a nap & i was so happy because it would sleep for ages. i was like, “wow, having a baby is so much easier than i expected. it sleeps all the time!” & finally one of my friends pointed out, “yeah, it sleeps all the time because IT’S A CAT.” & i was like, “no way, dude, my baby is not a cat.”

i don’t know what this dream means. maybe it means that i have unrealistic expectations for parenthood. maybe it means that i have realistic expectations & my brain is trying to create an alternative narrative that is easier to handle. maybe it means that CATS RULE.

i am starting to get pumped for 2011. new year’s day is my favorite holiday. because you really don’t have to do anything but sit around & relish the concept of a fresh start. i haven’t put together my resolutions or anything yet. i like to savor the process. but it looks like 2011 will be kind of big. i will learn how to drive, jared will finish his master’s degree, & there is some possibility that we will start trying to have a baby (that is actually human). & maybe 2011 will also be the year i finally finish a novel. it seems like it could be within reach. on that note, i’m going to get back to my researching & writing. please enjoy some photos in lieu of more content:

my office a few months ago when i was getting rid of my zine collection.
ellen & kelly, partying hearty.
jared picking apples. he really is from new england!
my zine sweatshop.
this is a two-parter. this is the reader window of the cute just-gay-married car ericka & i saw in portland.
this part two. so romantic!

from the slug files

i have been feeling really low-energy recently. yesterday was monday, & i am different from garfield in that mondays are my favorite day of the week. (i am similar to garfield in that i love lasagna & hate spiders.) i always like the idea of a fresh start. that’s why i love the first day of a new month, new year’s day, my birthday, moving into a new apartment, etc. i love that monday comes every single week, offering a new chance for redemption. but yesterday, i remained sluggish & didn’t get to a few of the higher priority items on my to-do list.

i have been swamped with orders since the new zine came out. ailecia & i made one hundred copies to start, & we each brought fifty copies with us to portland. i ran through my stash in a single day & had to borrow from ailecia to make sure i had copies to give to all my buds. i knew we needed to make more copies right away, but i wanted to re-write my introduction, & then i dragged my feet doing it. sometimes pulling out the typewriter & setting up a work space seems like an insurmountable chore. i finally got it done, & set a date with ailecia to go make the copies (we need her student discount to get 50% off photocopies & keep shit affordable–plus, i prefer to travel by car when i’m going out to 31st st., because it’s all intimidating strip malls out there), but when i came by to see about heading out, she had forgotten & didn’t want to do it that day.

we finally made another batch of two hundred copies last week. i lugged the box up to my apartment & spent the next several days collating, stapling, & folding.

my zine folding station. note wooden utensil doubling as folding tool.

when that was done, i put fifty copies in a bag for ailecia & had 150 left for myself. we decided i would handle most of the mail orders, since i have been more consistently involved with the zine community for the last ten years & have more contacts than ailecia does. so i felt good about having 150 copies. i figured they would last me a while.

it’s a week later & i’m all sold out again. & the orders are still coming. which is really awesome! & i can fill them. i’ll either borrow copies from ailecia’s stash or go make more copies. i am just dumbfounded at how quickly the zines are selling. this is the first time i have done a zine without running my own distro in over eight years. my zines always sold well…but i thought maybe it was because of the distro. like maybe people ordered my zine to be nice while placing larger orders for other zines. like they were maybe throwing the distro lady a bone & checking out her zine. but i guess people really do like my zine.

anyway, due to the sheer quantity of orders, it’s taking me a while to get them in the mail. i finally addressed all the envelopes & that alone took about two hours. even using the new address stamp i made for myself. i packed all the zines into the envelopes, but i didn’t have the energy to drag out the typewriter & write little notes to people. maybe no one cares about the little notes. maybe they just want to read the zine. but i think it’s better to try to include a note, however brief. so that’s on the agenda for tomorrow. that & the post office.

i am skipping karaoke tonight because i just don’t have the energy for it. on sunday, cait came to town & interviewed ailecia & i for her nerd lady podcast. i am concerned that i came across as kind of brusque & sarcastic…but maybe that’s just how i am. i wound up hanging out next door for ten hours that day. we grilled some burgers, & i had a heart-to-heart with a friend about some shitty stuff that’s been going on with her, & we played apples to apples (at which i dominated), & ailecia & i told ghost stories until we were too scared to be in the yard alone. on saturday, jared, ailecia, max, & i went apple picking.

jared is shining up a snack for which he did not pay.

we also bought pumpkin butter, which we haven’t tried yet because i think it will be better on something nice like french bread, instead of the hippie seven-grain we have on hand right now. & i got to pet a calico kitten. & i was swarmed by ducks. one of them had this crazy hairdo going on.

jared called him the lyle lovett of the duck community.

on friday, we stayed in & watched “america’s next top model” & “project runway” on the internet. on thursday, we went out with jared’s grad school cronies. such forth & so on. i guess it’s no wonder i feel tired. socializing always takes it out of me.

ailecia said that i should write a zine about self-care, since that is pretty much my full-time job, & yet, i so rarely write or talk about what it entails, or what i think it should entail for other people. i think this will be my autumn project. so…maybe look for a special self-care issue of “love letters to monsters” come january. i think it will be good for me to work on it & think about it as we lead into winter, because the wintertime is always so hard. it’s even hard on me physically because the cold weather makes my arthritis really bad. i realized the other day what arthritis feels like, in case anyone was wondering. it feels like having your skeleton stung by wasps. i was reminded recently of this time when i was seven years old & i was cleaning my brother’s room (because he was four & therefore too young to really clean that well himself). i picked up a pile of clothes, & a wasp was hidden beneath them, & it stung me seven times on my left hand & arm. it was an agonizingly painful burning feeling. that’s what arthritis feels like. if you have ever slammed your hand in a car door or hit yourself with a hammer, it can also feel like that–if that initial moment of impact just goes on & on without end.

i found out yesterday that they just opened a new american girl place in kansas city. i am so pumped that there’s an american girl place i can get to on the university of kansas shuttles. i don’t have any extra money to spend there, but really, just making the trip is enough of an experience. field trip!

i am 31 now

so, how awesome was my birthday? i woke up to a really weird nightmare in which the women currently living in the apartment jared & i are moving into in august were refusing to clean it after they moved out. when we asked them to clean it & avoid having the landlord have to hire a cleaner & take it out of their security deposit, they went nuts & started chasing us around lawrence, trying to beat us up. this dream involved my #1 anxiety dream manifestation: trying to call 911 & not being able to get through. one of the girls who was attacking us also encouraged me to use the unconscious body of her boyfriend as a weapon, & when i couldn’t find jared, i was like, where the hell is he? is he unconscious somewhere, being used as a battering ram?

anyway. that was a really weird dream. jared & i slept in (he came down to philly on saturday night & we went out to eat a somewhat sub-standard italian restaurant, & then enjoyed yuengling & cigarettes), kind of ridiculously late. he, amanda, & i went for breakfast at morning glory. i drank coffee out of a weird tin cup & ate banana bread piled with whipped cream, strawberries, & sliced bananas. walking down the sidewalk afterward, we heard a bunch of plaintive meowing & a frisky little tabby cat ran over to us, wanting to be petted. this was only my second direct cat-petting interaction in all the time i’ve been in philly! this little kitty was so excited about affection that it actually fell down the porch steps in an attempt to reach my hand. which made us all laugh.

we headed out to the zoo. when i was a kid, it seemed like the zoo usually stayed open until dusk, but this zoo closed at 5pm, so we didn’t really have much time there. we had hoped to take a ride in the zoo balloon, but the line was too long & there just wasn’t time for it. instead, we ran around checking out the animals. the peacocks are allowed to just wander all around the zoo & go wherever they want. we saw one sitting in the andean black bear enclosure. here’s hoping andean black bears don’t eat peacocks. i was most excited for the bank of american great cat falls (it cracked my shit up that the big cats enclosure was sponsored by bank of america), & the tigers definitely did not disappoint. one of them was feeling really frisky & rolled around on its back, waving its paws in the air. the other one wandered around & then went into a pool & swam around for a while. we saw a hippopotamus emerge from a pool, we saw giraffes trying to eat all the leaves off the trees in their enclosure, we saw a really testy puma attempting to break the lock on its enclosure, we saw really scary african hornbills running around at top speed, we saw otters going totally nuts chasing each other around their habitat…it was awesome. my only regret is that we couldn’t have stayed there longer.

we stopped by the grocery store on the way home to pick up ingredients for flourless chocolate cake. back at the house, jared asked if i was ready for my birthday presents. i had no idea he was going to get me birthday presents! i thought my presents were that he came down to philly to spend the weekend with me, & took me out to eat, & took me to the zoo! but he brought me his courier bag & i opened it up & lo & behold…he had actually made a solo trip to american girl place to pick up some surprises for me! i don’t even have the words to express how unbelievably thoughtful & sweet i found this. i’d made my peace with satisfying my bizarre obsession with american girl stuff on my own. it means a lot to me that jared is so supportive of whatever it is that makes me happy. for the rest of the night, i kept imagining him going in there to get me something (those of you who have been there are aware that the place is totally surreal & complicated & freaky) & it made me smile. the idea of him making that effort is maybe even better than the actual gifts themselves!

after that, we put the cake together, & i whipped up a batch of baked rigatoni for dinner. sarah & kate came by to hang out, & we all sat on the patio & listened to records. after sarah left, we moved all the chairs off to the edges of the patio & jared & amanda strung up the ludicrous strawberry shortcake pinata that amanda bought at the italian market. they blindfolded me & handed me a weird little stick & pinata shenanigans ensued. apparently, at first i was directing the stick at jared instead of the pinata. he kept saying, “no! help! stop! ack!” eventually they oriented me at the pinata, but that thing was fucking indestructible. i couldn’t see what the hell i was doing, & my arm got so tired that i accidentally let go of the stick & it flew across the patio twice. apparently i also took out an entire branch on one of amanda’s trees. but eventually the world’s best-constructed pinata came down & all that was left was cleaning up the incredible carnage of leaves & pinata bits scattered across a ten-by-ten-foot radius.

we ate cake & some people had ice cream & jared & i went to bed.

okay, maybe it doesn’t sound like much, but i loved every second of it. the whole day was so much more surprising & eventful & fun & special than i had expected. amanda got me a little tiara in the italian market & i wore it to the zoo. she took photos of us at the zoo & put them up on facebook (of course my digital camera died as soon as we got to the tiger exhibit).

i only have about a week left in philly. i’m not sure what else to do with my time here. i’m hoping to sell the rest of the zines i have laying around to the wooden shoes before i leave, & on thursday, i might go to the pizza olympics & then one last karaoke night at the handlebar. jared finishes up his fellowship this weekend & will be coming back down to philly to join me on sunday. i’m trying to wrap up the first draft of a story i’m writing for some weird “emerging writers” contest (“emerging” apparently means “no agent, no publishing credits”). the deadline is the end of the month & the story needs so much editing. we’ll see if i can cobble something together. meanwhile, the flash fiction story for the contest this month has been edited to perfection, i think. i really don’t see anything else that needs to be changed, or that can be changed without changing the direction of the story somehow. i feel good about it. not that i am holding my breath for a placement for anything. right now, submitting to contests is just about getting my stories out there & getting comfortable with rejection & critique.

last night i dreamt that jared & i were back in lawrence, & we were taking a walk by the train park. jared was in the lead, & he turned a corner & went down a little hill parallel to the path. but when i turned to follow him, the path ahead was a little stream & jared was gone. no trace of him whatsoever. like he had never even been there. it was pretty horrible. it was good that he was there in my bed, because i woke up & could reach over & touch his shoulder & remind myself that he is real & he was right there with me, not gone in some weird stream or something. i don’t know what this kind of dream means. maybe it’s just an “anxiety of love” dream, you know? like when you love someone more than you ever thought possible & you start to wonder what’s going to happen to ruin it. in my case, probably writing about my dreams will wreck it all. not cool, ciara

greetings from shady pines: TV & fashion

i haven’t written in a while. & i did not recap the “top model” finale. once again, my apologies. but once the season is over, it’s really hard for me to muster up the energy to give a fuck, you know? krista won, i knew she would, raina was a finalist, i knew she would be…the whole thing was pretty anti-climactic. neither of them even had hilariously ridiculous sob stories like overcoming psoriasis or struggling to walk a runway guided by only a strobe light when one is epileptic. both krista & raina felt unattractive as adolescents. has there ever been an adolescent that didn’t feel ugly? what a yawn. i do think it’s weird that CW chose to air the cycle clip show last night–after everything was already over. once we know who wins, why the fuck would we want to sit & watch a clip show full of manufactured drama we’ve already seen? i mean, i’ll probably watch it anyway, because it’s been really rainy & sometimes when it’s rainy, i like to sit around & watch mindless TV. but it does seem like a programming faux pas.

speaking of programming faux paseseses, how awful was last week’s episode of “lost”? i watched it & it was like something inside of me broke & suddenly i was overwhelmed with what an incredibly terrible television show “lost” actually is. thank god i didn’t devote the last six years of my life to it–only the last two months. i can write off two months. we all make mistakes. take it from someone who saw every episode of the american version of “farmer wants a wife” (spoiler: he chooses brooke). “farmer wants a wife” might actually be better than “lost”. i will watch the finale, & i admit that this week’s episode was a small step up in quality, but i’ve officially hit my wall.

mostly i have been reading a lot. & watching “the wire” with jared. now that jared is done with his first year of grad school (go jared!), he has had some time to sit around to do nothing. he already watched “the wire” once with his brother, but now he has gotten me into it. every time something terrible happens to one my favorite characters, i have to imagine the camera pulling back to reveal all the TV equipment & microphones & such forth everywhere, & the actor getting up & asking for a towel to rid themselves of the red corn syrup in which they are covered.

i started reading just kids by patti smith yesterday. i am reserving judgment until i am finished, but…i’m having a bit of trouble feeling invested. she used the word “vexed” twice in the first chapter. “vexed”? seriously? is she louisa may alcott?

kansas had had a lot of thunderstorms recently. thunderstorms in the midwest are different from thunderstorms on the east coast. i feel that there is a lot more thunder in the midwest. jared tried to disgree with me about this, & i’m not saying that thunder never happens on the east coast, but there are more thunderstorms in the midwest & more powerful thunder-free rainstorms on the east coast. this matters because charlotte is an east coast cat, so thunder is not a concept with which she is intimately familiar. probably no cat really likes thunder, but the cats i had when i was growing up in ohio handled it better than charlotte does. charlotte seems to think that the thunder is gonna get her, but only if it can see her face. so when it gets especially loud, she skulks into the kitchen & hides her head under the curtain under the sink. she’ll just sit there for huge stretches of time with her head under the curtain, waiting for the thunder to stop.

also lately, i have been feeling strangely old. when i was in high school, i used to be amused but also disturbed by old photos of my parents wearing fashions from the 70s. my mom had huge glasses & parted her hair down the middle & apparently made some effort to straighten it (not that it really worked). she wore bell bottom jeans with big square pockets on the front & lynyrd skynyrd t-shirts & such forth. my dad also had really long hair parted down the middle, but since he looked pretty much exactly the same for his entire adult life, i was more freaked out by pictures of him trying to look “nice” in perma-press olive-colored slacks & geometric print cosby sweatshirts & whatnot. also, he wore a white top hat to his own wedding. not cool.

then i would look in the mirror at what i was wearing. this is when i was 14 or so, which means i dressed like a “sassy” photo spread as much as possible. we’re talking sunflower-print baby doll dresses, engineer boots, enormously over-sized flannels, paisley polyester button-downs teamed with brown old man slacks, braided topknots, face glitter, etc. & i would wonder, is this look going to seem as dated in twenty years as my parents’ photos from 1973 look now? i found it difficult to imagine that i would ever want to wear anything EXCEPT ironic funky winkerbean ringer tees & silver airwalks. i mean, how could such a look ever go out of style? just one more example of the general short-sightedness of the average teenager.

i still think about this kind of thing a lot though. now that i am thirty, when i put my hair up in a bun & put on some nice straight-leg corduroys & sauconys & thick-framed glasses & a scoop-neck tee & a hoodie (my daily uniform…on those rare occasion when my daily uniform is not just pajamas), i wonder if i will look back at photos in twenty years & think i look like a jackass. or if my kids will look back at photos of me from now & laugh. there are little sartorial signposts that seem totally innocuous in the moment, & look totally dated & embarrassing just a few years later. like, remember when everyone was shaping their brows so have a really thin tail back in 2002-2005 or so? seriously, watch any movie or TV show from then, or look at any issue of “harper’s bazaar” or “elle” or whatever, & every celebrity (& hence, average american woman who follows mainstream beuaty trends) has the same eyebrow shape. & no one has that shape anymore. it just screams 2004.

sometimes i think about this kind of thing & feel unaccountably bummed out. it’s a reminder that time really does pass & the past is the past, never to be lived again. i spend a lot of time in my head (as opposed to hanging out with other people), so sometimes i forget that.

getting rid of the anxiety freight

what’s up with the vast numbers of people that have been flocking to my blog recently? every day, the view count is higher than the day before–& they’re all breaking my (admittedly modest) records. & new subscribers are signing on at a steady clip as well. it’s not like anyone high-profile has linked to me recently or anything. i don’t understand the sudden surge of interest. maybe some of the folks who are stumbling across this will take the time to comment & let me know what inspired them to stop by. hi! who are you?

there’s been a little dollop of drama in my life in the last week or so. blame it on spring fever if you wish, or perhaps mercury being in retrograde. or perhaps the true culprit: sometimes people are incapable of separating an individual & an argument, they get their panties in a twist, & they freak the fuck out. not being a big fan of toxic assets in my personal life (no energy for the drama-mongering), i’m all too happy to have seen the backs of two “friends” in the past several days. i feel a lot happier & lighter now that i don’t have their bullshit weighing me down. but i can’t help but wonder if the uptick in my blog’s popularity perhaps has something to do with said drama–people creeping around to see if i’m going to comment on it? perhaps wring my hands, weep, & throw myself on the coffin of the self-absorbed drama llamas? or maybe people are just into some of the shit i have been writing about lately. who knows?

in case you’re here for the drama, here’s a little taste, in the form of a conversation jared & i had this morning. parse through & see what you make of it:

ciara: can i ask you for some advice?
jared: buy low & sell high.
ciara: that does make more sense than what i was doing.
jared: buying high & selling low?
ciara: no wonder i wasn’t making any money.
jared: i’m here to help.
ciara: no, i was wondering about this situation with that girl i had all that drama with last wekk. she was putting together a sort of comp zine thing girl jealousy & riot grrrl or something, but it was taking the form of her just e-mailing people she thought might have interesting opinions & then adapting their e-mail responses for the zine. & she contacted me &, you know, i said some pretty critical things & then i felt uncomfortable because i don’t think she’ll be getting that many critical responses from most of the other people she asked. i told her i wasn’t sure she should use my stuff if it was just going to be all these people being all, “yay! riot grrrl!” & then big meanypants ciara hating on everything, but she said she was happy to have a more critical perspective, especially from someone who’d actually been involved with riot grrrl the first time around. but now that we’ve had our little falling out…
jared: you’re afraid she’ll print it just to rip it to shreds?
ciara: well…yeah. i’m glad you said it because it crossed my mind & i didn’t know if i was just being paranoid.
jared: it would be pretty funny if she did that, considering the topic of that zine.
ciara: oh man! that would be funny!
jared: maybe you should let her use it then! unless you think it’s an important project & that the possible positive impact it could have could be undermined by her falling on her own sword, as it were.
ciara: i sincerely doubt that she’ll be winning over any hearts & minds that weren’t already inclined to be won over, so–no, i don’t think it will be important…but i’m still not really comfortable being associated with her projects. i don’t know, maybe i’ll drop her a line & rescind my involvement, just to make sure we’re on the same page. not that i think she’s really chomping at the bit at this point to include me.
jared: i don’t know, i think you’re really missing out on an opportunity for comedy!

with that said, we can shift our attention to bigger & better things.

i am getting really psyched about going to philly this summer! i forget if i mentioned that we seem to have lined up a capable house-sitter to take care of charlotte & fend off burglars while we’re away. the details have yet to be hammered out, but the lady giving us a hand is a former lawrence resident currently living in missouri but considering the possibility of moving back. this is a good set-up for her because it’ll give her a chance to spend a real chunk of time here & make a decision, it works out for us because we won’t have to worry about charlotte being looked after by a motley crew of hen-pecked volunteers, & it works out for the neighbors, ailecia & alyssa, because they’re good friends with this lady & overjoyed that she’ll be right next door. this has been a big load of anxiety that i don’t have to carry around anymore. now i can just focus on figuring what clothes i need to pack for two months in a city in which i have heretofore spent a grand total of four days. i’m a little concerned that my default cut-off shorts are looking more like mom jeans & i just don’t know because i don’t have a full-length mirror.

i may have possibly started smoking again. it’s so hard to resist when the weather is nice & there’s a porch right there, begging you to come out & enjoy it! yes, i could just go out there with a book & a glass of ice water, or even a dark & stormy if i was feeling like i didn’t want to do anything else productive for the rest of the day. but a cigarette tops things off so nicely. i bought a pack on thursday, & i bought another pack last night. both jared & i are smoking them (me moreso than him, i admit), if it’s any consolation. i’m not sure i want to be a smoker like i used to be, when i’d go through ten to twenty cigarettes a day (& sometimes more, if i was having a particuarly stressful or alcohol-sodden day). i just want the option to dabble a little when the spirit moves me. jared’s been really good about being an occasional dabbler for the last three years. i want to cultivate that ability as well (if i can’t seem to just reject a cigarette when it’s freely offered).

the reason i started smoking in the first place (in the spring of 2006–the fact that i started smoking in the spring also makes me more likely to pick it up again in the spring, just because it brings back good memories of sitting on the back stairs of my house in brighton early in the morning & watching geese swim in the pond just beyond the property line) was to cope with anxiety. it’s such a good trick–take a time out, be alone somewhere, & do something that requires steady breathing. i’ve tried yoga, meditation, & mindfulness, but none have the same guaranteed success rate. & they all have the unfortunate side effect of making me feel like a bourgeois hippie. this is the same reason i don’t like scented candles, long skirts, or earth tones.

last night, i dreamed about the upcoming portland zine symposium. in the dream, no one knew that the symposium was in fact taking place on a spaceship that was going to suck all participants into an alternate dimension where they would have to forge a new society & be forever trapped in time. somehow i figured it out & was running through the place screaming, “everybody out! run for the doors! get out while you still can! RUN!” a few people were trying to gather up their zines & vegan cupcakes & such forth, & i was all, “leave it! there’s no time! save yourselves!” the doors were trying to close & trap the stragglers that were dragging their feet in heading toward freedom, so i dispatched zinesters to hold the doors open for the last few people. a few of them were like, “you know what? fuck it. i’ll just go to the alternate dimension. if i have to die with my zines, so be it,” & i was like, “trust me! you do NOT want to do that! now HAUL ASS!” for some reason, i knew all about which zinesters didn’t like each other (& let’s face it–every zinester has bad blood with someone; it’s the nature of being a nerdy loner for whom checking the mail is the highlight of the day–we just can’t seem to be entirely charitable with our fellow humans, though we generally love our cats), & i was like, “drop the zines & RUN! unless you want to be stuck on a floating death ship with THIS asshole for all eternity!” that usually inspired people to abandon their tables & run.