Saturday, September 25, 2004

Books I adore....

In order to make it on the favorite book list, it has to be something that you have or plan to read more than once....

*From my childhood...the Nancy Drew mysteries, the Little House books, anything by Beverly Cleary, especially Sister of The Bride...

*Annie Dillard's The Writing Life

*A Book of Love Poetry, Stallworthy

*Love Poems by Women, Mulford

*Kate Chopin's The Awakening

*E.E. Cummings Selected Poems, Kennedy

*Donna Tartt's Secret History

* Jean Hegland's Into The Forest

* The Bean Trees, Small Wonder-Barbara Kingsolver

* Amy Tan's The Opposite of Fate

* Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees

* Operating Instructions: A Journal of my Son's First Year, Rosie, Bird by Bird- Anne Lamott

* The Courage to Be a Single Mother by Sheila Ellison

* Memoirs of A Geisha by Arthur Golden

* Favorite cookbooks:
-The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Family Style, Ina Garten
-The Best Recipe, Cook's Illustrated Magazine (Thank you minime!!)

* Favorite Books from my how to make a happy home library:
-from a house to a home, Jemima Mills
-the Shabby Chic home, Rachel Ashwell
-Home Comforts, Cheryl Mendelson

There's so many more...I'll add them as I think of them.

A second list of children's books that adorn my little one's shelf:
*The Big Big Sea, Martin Waddell

*Tea For Ten, Lena Anderson

*Just Like You, Jan Fearnley

*In November, Cynthia Rylant

*My Visit To The Zoo, Aliki

*The Water Hole, Graeme Base

*Dusty Locks And The Three Bears, Susan Lowell

*Bunny Day and So Many Bunnies, Rick Walton

*Alphabeasts, Wallace Edwards

*Love You Forever, Robert Munsch

*Go, Dog. Go!, P.D. Eastman

*Toot & Puddle trilogy by Holly Hobbie

*Christmas In The Country, Cynthia Rylant & Diane Goode

*I'll Be Home For Christmas, Holly Hobbie

*A Little House Christmas, Holiday Stories from the Little House Books, Laura Ingalls Wilder

A List of Things I'm Supposed to Be Doing rather than blogging...

*Researching a topic for an argument for my Critical Thinking Class

*Reading Jane Eyre

*Reading Shakespeare's Twelfth Night

*Studying a chapter on Genetics

*Cleaning out my garage

*Packing up this week's outgoing ebay sells

*Composing my thoughts for Tuesday's therapy session

*Reading Women Who Run With The Wolves as requested by therapist....Oh, please!!

*Putting together some sort of menu plan for next week

*Make some invites for K's upcoming slumber party..My baby is turning 12!!!

I did do the laundry, respond to all my emails (ebay and otherwise), pay some bills, clean the bathroom, paint my toes, vacuum, brew some iced tea, take a ten minute nap, and read one chapter for my Critical Thinking class--ironically about the art of procrastination via rationalization, suppression and denial.

Things I wanted to be when I grew up.....

Onward to list two!

1. While other four and five year old girls were dreaming of floating across a stage as a ballerina or assuming their role as someone's long lost Princess, I had aspirations to be a "cash register lady". Yes, I wanted more than anything to follow in the footsteps of my Grandmother who worked downtown at the five and dime clicking away at the musical register. CHECK! I did have a two year old stint as a cashier at a fun little shop nestled in San Francisco's Noe Valley. I didn't have the chi-ching of the register I fancied but instead a computer keyboard...oh,well.

2. Between the ages of six and nine while visiting my Aunt May for several years in a nursing home, I vowed that I would someday get a job there making life better for all the old and lonely people. I felt so bad that some of them had no visitors...ever. CHECK! My first job out of High School was a three year adventure working in the dietary department of the local hospital. I was responsible for preparing and delivering meals to diabetic patients, one of which proposed marriage to me (who says hair nets aren't sexy?!) and I was able to become very close with a lot of the elderly patients.

3. From 10 and onward I held fiercely to the desire to be a teacher. No CHECK! yet....but I'm working on it. My sister and I spent many a hour playing school where she was the unlucky recipient of my lesson plans and unforgiving grading system.

4. Around the age 13, I was sure I was destined to be a Solid Gold Dancer. I faithfully tuned in every week and practiced all the moves along with my spandex clad idols. Not quite a CHECK! although I did have many an audience at our local roller rink when I would hop up on those round dealies that everyone sat on to put on/take off skates and perform my latest routine.

5. Jr High found me toying with the idea of being a librarian. Another CHECK! that I'm still working on....I see a MLS in my near future. As a painfully shy seventh-eigth grader, our public school's librarian took me under her wing and I acted as her first assistant. Those were the days of the actual hands on card catalog. No computers in our school yet. I adore books and fancy myself as the mysterious (aka, very sexy) librarian who lets her hair down with the equally brooding, mysterious intellectual man who becomes a suspiciously active patron of the library I service.

6. High School found me surrounded by my kindred spirits, the drama geeks/freaks. I was sure I had met my fate...I was to be an actress! CHECK! And then some! I can't tell you how many Academy Award worthy performances I have pulled off in my lifetime. The pinnacle of my career being the role I just finished where I convinced an entire community that I was happily married to a man who in his own right has managed to successfully create the illusion that he is a faithful, devoted, loving husband and father, honest and true friend, honorable son and brother, and a morally/ethically sound physician. Big Fat CHECK!

7. After talking some sense into myself and realizing I probably wasn't gonna find my big break as an actress while living in Arkansas, (even against the best efforts of my P.E. coach/history teacher that I could...look at Mary Steinburgen!) I turned to my fantasy of being an interior decorator. I had been creating wonderful furnishings for my Barbie's for years out of mere tissue boxes and empty band-aid boxes. CHECK! Although I have had no formal training, I have furnished and decorated a total of ten different homes and counting.

8. After marrying at 20 yrs old, I used my job as featured writer for my High School newspaper to inspire me to pursue a degree in Journalism. That lasted all of about five minutes when I realized that as a journalist I wasn't going to be writing about what *I* wanted to write about, but instead what I was assigned to write about. I shifted towards free-lance writing. Yeah, I would be a writer. We moved out of our apartment and rented a small house with an extra bedroom where I set myself up with a desk, a TYPEWRITER!, various muses, the latest edition of Writer's Market and lots and lots of lofty ideas. I also enrolled in a creative writing course where I realized I sucked at writing fiction and that coupled with the right number of rejection letters from various magazines I attempted to get published in promptly ended my dream life of a writer. Well, I do still have my blog and I do still write really awful poetry. I admit that I have the fantasy of being the next Emily Dickinson...someday when I'm long gone, someone will discover the dusty volumes of poetry from underneath my bed and I'll be revered evermore...."what a shame she isn't here to discuss these masterpieces with us"--

And now for some things that I never dreamed I'd be:

* A long and yucky depression led me to drop out of college and take a job as a bookkeeper. Fabulous answer to depression! After three years, I was promoted to office manager and continued on for another two years before having my first child. I didn't think I was cut out for the role of SAHM and so I took a part time job as a hostess in a restaurant. The hours were super flexible but it didn't take me long to figure out that the real money was in the tips that the servers were making. Thus began a long career in waitressing. Two years at a Mexican restaurant, followed by a one year job as a restaurant manager/dining room coordinator, finishing up with another two year's of waiting tables at Ruby Tuesday's. You are not allowed to dine in a restaurant until you have waited tables. End of discussion.

* I went to work for my husband's family business as a Photographer's Assistant. Lots of hoosier weddings and too much Fried Chicken or Roast Beef. I decided I'd be more suited in the position of production....away from the public. Cropping negatives, cutting prints, assembling albums and portfolios, *more* bookkeeping, lots of appointment making and booking of weddings. I finally graduated to Studio Manager and I loved my job. That's about the time I met Prince Charming (NOT!) and he socked a big fat diamond on my finger and whisked me away to San Fran.

* Finally, now. I never dreamed I'd be a single mama of two, a 36 year old college student, a feminist (that's a big leap from my southern girl roots but I'm pretty darn sure there's no white knight in shining armour out there...shoot I'm not even sure there's an ounce of chivalry left--ok, that's another post) , saving up to buy my own home, and in short, planning a future that even without a man by my side has me filled with hope and excitement.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Lists, lists and more lists ...

I love lists. I'm talking everything from your basic grocery to what I want in a man and then everything in between list. Lists give me the illusion that I am organized and at the same time allow me to procrastinate even more by spending all my energy compiling perfect lists instead of actually getting anything done. I wish I could discipline myself enough to journal or even to steal more time to blog, instead I keep little scraps of paper, backs of napkins and envelopes, pocket calendars, wall calendars, appointment calendars that hold all the snippets of my day to day life. All of them lists of some sort. So begins the first installment of Lust for Lists....

In the spirit of one of my favorite movies, High Fidelity, let's list our favorite, life-defining songs. OK, the songs don't have to be life defining, but you at least have to get a pang of excitement when they cross your radio dial in the car. Please be advised that these are in no particluar order unless otherwise noted and that I would never be able to complete this list...I'm sure I'll remember other songs along the way and add them accordingly.

1. Gotta be Magic Man by Heart. This is the first song I remember knowing all the words to and belting it out in the back of one of the many piece of crap cars my mom owned, this particular one she named Betsy, while struggling as a single mom. She somehow thought by naming the car it would bond with us and not fall apart before she could scratch up enough cash to buy the next one. I had no idea at the age of eight what Magic Man was about, but I thought it was pretty cool nonetheless.

2. When Saturday Night Fever was all the rage... You Should Be Dancing - Bee Gees..this was the song I first danced with a boy to. Not any boy mind you, Mike Lambert, the first love of my life, and not any dance either....we practiced our routine for weeks and ultimately won first prize in the youth center's dance contest. 1977, baybee! We looked so cute in our outfits and our matching feathered bangs.

3. Beth by Kiss. Again somewhere around 77. I had a very short-lived fling with Mike Lambert's best friend, Robert, while he and I were taking a break. Mike wanted to french kiss in Robert's basement and I was having none of it. Robert was just so happy to have a girlfriend that he was willing to look over my lack of enthusiasm in having a boy's tongue shoved down my throat. That was the year that Robert and the rest of his buddies (as well as every other 5th grade boy we knew) dressed up like the members of Kiss for Halloween.

4. 77'-78' ah, days of Disco, and Donna Summer was the Queen of Disco. I Feel Love, Last Dance, etc.

5. If you have babies, songs that will make you cry:
*Little Star by Madonna
*How You've Grown by 10,000 Maniacs

6. Some of my favorite break-up songs:
*I Will Survive ( of course)!
* Already Gone, The Eagles..."and you'll have to eat your lunch all by yourself."
* Someone Saved My Life Tonight Elton John
*It's My Life Talk Talk ...this one I just remember going out to a club for the first time ,after the break up of my first marriage, with a bunch of friends from work and this just happened to be the song I danced to. It just seemed so liberating. I also like the No Doubt version.

7. If you are ever really, really, hopelessly depressed and need to break down and laugh at how pathetic you are the cure is: The Smiths "Louder Than Bombs" If you don't find yourself driving in a car at night with snow falling all around you while listening to track 15, OscillateWildly, there's something wrong with you.

8. More Eagle's Music I didn't like when it was in it's heyday, but love now:
*Take It Easy
*Lyin Eyes
*Hotel California

9. One of my favorite 80's songs: David Bowie's Modern Love

10. More Elton John faves:
*Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word
*Your Song
*Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

11. Sister Golden Hair by America I never get tired of singing this one....

12. At Last by Etta James...I'll be damned if I'm gonna let the fact that this was our song at our wedding ruin it for me!

13. Things I was listening to while being completely, head over hills, tragically in love...
The Cure, Disintegration, The Cure, Mixed Up, especially Love Song, Lullaby, Pictures of I said, it was tragic. The song that would sum up the whole of the relationship would be Jewel's Foolish Games

14. Recovering from said tragic love....
The The, Dusk (a very dark look at love), Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness by The Smashing Pumpkins,

15. Falling in lust....
Cake, Motorcade of Generosity....this man still has the power to make me belly laugh, he sent me a copy of track 8, Is This Love? when he found out I was dating someone new...Mazzy Star, Fade Into You. Radioheads, Creep.

16. Two Step by The Dave Matthews Band....ex husband (the one closely related to Satan) wooed me with this one. It always makes my heart beat faster.

17. Beautiful Girl by Poe....My godsend of a friend, Jenny, made me an Angry Women CD and I so needed to hear that song....made me cry a good long cry. BTW, Jenny, I lost that cd!!!! That idiot probably has it stashed in with his 200+ cd collection.

18. Speaking of cd collections, I only have a handfull. I treat cd's like poetry, I don't treasure it and sock it away unless it really speaks to me. Along with the CD's I have already mentioned, two of my all time favorites are Radiohead's The Bends and Sarah McLachlan's Fumbling Towards Ecstasy.

19. Another song I genuinely love to sing, Steve Miller's Take The Money and Run...You know, "This is a story bout Billy Jo and Bobby Sue...."

20. Sweet, Sweet Jane, Cowboy Junkies

21. Don't Dream It's Over, Crowded House "counting the steps to your heart"...swoon, swoon.

22. Fleetwood Mac faves:
*Gold Dust Woman...."rulers make bad lovers, you better put your kingdom up for sale..."
*Go Your Own Way

I know there's more, but it's time for this chicklet to call it a night.

I wanna hear your faves!

Friday, September 10, 2004

Now I remember....

I brought him flowers on our first date. I wrote him poem after poem. I told him all my secrets-how I was lost, hurt and my life, and well, me, were a mess. How after my divorce I felt as if I had failed my daughter by morphing into a self-absorbed accident waiting to happen and that I even sometimes resented being a mother. I was completely honest when I told him I truly felt as though I had lost the one I believed was my soul mate just two years before we met and that I didn't think I would ever love him or anyone else in that same way. I had filed bankruptcy, literally and emotionally. I was hollow.

He burnt me cd's of perfection. He baked me a cake. He told me I was beautiful. He told me of his adventures in France, in Africa and what it was like growing up in a commune in San Francisco. He told me had been waiting for me. He loved the way I felt, smelled and tasted. He put his hands on my then flat, taut belly and told me he wanted to feel the place our babies would grow. He whispered Goldilocks and the Three Bears in French to me. He told me I didn't belong here--that I needed to be surrounded by like-minded people. People who weren't afraid of being real...people who were creative and honest. He wanted to take me away and share the ocean, the mountains and the romance of his home in San Francisco. He designed a ring for me, we climbed a mountain together and at the top he asked me to be his wife.

We made love by candlelight and always with a soundtrack. We took my little girl to the zoo, on picnics, to the movies and camping together. He pushed her on the swings, read books to her and watched her favorite movies with her tirelessly. I could see that he would be an amazing father. We visited his mom at her home in Hawaii. She showed me his baby pictures. He gave me permission to stop being so hard on myself and to honor the mother that I was. He promised me that he would always love me, protect me and never hurt me.

We moved in together. We made fabulous meals together. Shared all our favorite music and movies with one another. He read favorite passages from cherished books and I read him journal entries and bad poetry. He tutored me in the art of Zen. We stayed up all hours of the night listening to music and drawing up the blueprint for our life together. Our dreams of our home, our family, our travels around the world. He held my hand while I took my first shaky steps in San Francisco. We married at the Palace of the Fine Arts and became a family. We made a beautiful baby together and a little sister for my first baby.

Some time not long after that, he fell apart and so with him did our world. I watched desperate and helpless as the man I loved deteriorated. I hardly recognize him now...I catch ever so brief glimpses but he's a mere shadow of who we once was. I did truly love him. It takes a lot of courage for me to admit that. I wish I could say I never did and that the whole of our six plus years together was just a big mistake. For a long time I felt like I had to believe that, to believe that perhaps I never really loved him in order to somehow make this all hurt less.

The saddest part is that I feel even more afraid to love than I did when we first met but at the same time I'm terrified of the prospect of being alone from here on out. What if I have already cashed in all my tokens, this is it, and I'm done? I am so rich in other areas of my life but I ache for a lover, a partner, a best friend. I'm told it gets easier. Seven months and counting....