raybear: (tattoo)
I was feeling a bit lazy, but just convinced myself to cook a real breakfast this morning by telling myself it wasn't really cooking, I was just heating things in a pan, namely leftover brown rice and salsa (with two eggs in the middle). Then layer them together in a bowl. Bless that past self, because this is the most delicious breakfast ever.

So, a couple months ago my (great-)Aunt Margaret passed away, my father had e-mailed me about it. I didn't respond at the time, it was around the holidays and I'd made that decision. He e-mailed me a week and a half ago, a few line 'checking-in' e-mail. I wrote him back on Wednesday and told him about my layoff. It was partly to feel out whether I want to contact them about my impending visit. He wrote me yesterday to say Uncle Dub (Aunt Margaret's husband) has died that morning. That is last of my childhood elders. I've been grieving in small bits their loss for 8 years because of their absence from my life, and now its almost a relief, I feel reflective of their presence and the memories imprinted at a young age. Thinking about Uncle Dub specifically, and Aunt Margaret, I'm even realizing how their marital dynamic has similarities to my own. Also, I found it remarkable as a young child that they were the first male-female couple I knew where the woman drove the car all the time. I was never explicitly told that men have to drive or that women can't, but who needs to be told that is a rule when every example around you verifies this observation? I know it is generally the standard way that all children's brains work, studying closely the behavior of people around for clues on how everything works, but I always felt very aware of myself doing it, and doing it for longer and more intensely than others around me.

Last night was an unexpected friend sleepover involving tuna melts, peanut m&m's and the original Friday the 13th movie. J-Hud has never seen it, and I saw part of it at a slumber party when I was 10 or so and didn't recall much of anything about it. We screamed several times. I feel totally compelled to rent the sequel. This was "research" for going to see the remake next weekend -- I'm looking at a midnight showing on Thursday.
raybear: (tattoo)
I'm back home! Well, I've been back home for nearly two days now, but I got pretty sick on Monday afternoon, so I've been spending my time at home still recovering from it, procuring antibiotics from my doctor via phone and fax to deal with the infection that occurred because of being sick, as well as spending some crucial time lounging with [livejournal.com profile] dommeyourass who I'm not really going to see again for 9 days.

The residency met half of my expectations and exceeded the rest. Truly. And it probably would have exceeded the former expectations about how much work I would complete, if I hadn't lost 2 full days to illness. (And maybe a morning or two to hangover, ahem.) In the end, I came home with nearly 3/4 of a second draft of my novel complete, and a renewed vigor in the novel itself and my ability to finish it. (August 31st I am sending it out to readers. For real.) But also, despite physically languishing, I feel emotionally and spiritually renewed by the experience, of being in a bubble where I carried no keys, no wallet, no phone, where my dominant role was as artist and creator, where people assumed the best of me and in turn I often acted the best version of myself. I had a bad day or two, I had my moments, but my overall anxiety and preoccupations were distant memories. This is what I'm trying to cultivate in small doses and bring back with me. In some ways, being sick is helping me do that -- I'm being very slow and intentional in my reintegration to everyday life, I'm stitching all the best parts of each bubble together. I didn't fully realize how much periods like this are integral to my work, and I basically don't want a year to go by without me knowing I will be attending some residency, somewhere. Ragdale again, for sure, others across the country and world, or at the very, very least ones of my own creation, but really, there are so many existing ones out there, so many possibilities, its ridiculous for me to even box myself into thinking I can't get into others if I just take the time to apply.

And I also came home from the residency with 11 new spouses. Our group bonded very intensely, and I loved that when I came down the stairs, or walked across the courtyard, when I heard voices in the kitchen or dining room, it didn't matter whose they were -- I knew I would sit down and have a great conversation and laugh and learn something new. And when we would turn to each other at dinner and say "how was your day?" it had a whole new meaning and understanding. This is my first residency/artist colony experience, and I know this is somewhat of an anomaly (normally it would happen with a handful of the group, not everyone so cohesively). I didn't expect it to happen, no one did, it was just the alchemy of us we couldn't control. I'm grateful to know that this experience of finding creative kindred spirits didn't stop at grad school. And I look forward to those visits in the next months, years, decades, where I know we will reconnect and break open a bottle of hungarian apricot brandy and dance and laugh even more.

I intended to write more concrete stories, like conquering the most nauseating carnival rides, or adventures in north shore shopping, or bird-watching, or midnight trespassing swims, or taking the whole fleet of beloved ragtag bicycles through the mansion streets to the beach where the new Kennedys played touch football in the sand, or viewing lightning storms under the safe canopy of a screened in porch and a circle of friends and a bottle of Jameson's. Maybe I just did. Longer versions aren't guaranteed to do it justice anyway. I'm probably too dewy-eyed and misty anyway.

Now I must go to the grocery store, because I suspect in the whole time I was gone, that didn't happen.
raybear: (sunglasses)
Random Body Change Observation of last week: my armpits are more muscular.
The observation of today: my elbows have more pointy parts.

A couple weeks ago I bought a full bottle of cologne from my dealer, Lucky Scent. I think this might become the 'signature scent', i.e. the one I wear most everyday, and also maybe the one I don't tell people what it is. But then again, I might just be embarrassed because of the extreme ridiculous colonialist designed cap on the bottle that this French company uses. Bottles with bay rum or gin, they love to put some imperialist images, don't they? Luckily its just the outer cap so I threw it in the garbage this morning. With my purchase, I requested any CB I Hate Perfume samples they had. I've come to terms that CB-IHP doesn't live up to the overall hype, but there are still things to smell there. And I was so thrilled that the three vials they sent were all things I was most curious about: In the Library, Russian Caravan Tea, Patchouli Empire (aw damn, there's that word). In The Library did NOT impress me at first, I was just like whatever, its Demeter's "Paperback" which I already have, just with slightly less 'grandmother's dusty perfume' notes. But today I did a direct comparison, Paperback first, and I realized whoa, In the Library is way more complicated, I totally underestimated it. Now I have a crush on it. Which will soon be squashed when it abandons my skin after an hour, I'm sure.

I was wary about Patchouli Empire, because I recently tried the CdG 'true' patchouli scent and it made me kinda nauseous. But this one is nice, more woody, more the faint hint of new age book stores and yoga shops, the part that smells good before it gets totally overwhelming and heady. Russian Caravan Tea smells so much like my mother's skin products, its uncanny. Like the mix of jergen's hand lotion and dish soap and laundry detergent. A sort of clean scent like aloe vera. I know this one is on [livejournal.com profile] anjibobanji's short list, so I plan to wear it as the fellow scent-addict's equivalent of internet *hugs*.

Speaking of mothers, yesterday I found a card for mine and sent it off. I am so proud of myself for doing this, and not just for the complicated relationship reasons, but just because I can be so horribly bad about mailing things in a timely fashion. I dropped it in the magic post box downtown, so I'm thinking it'll get there on Friday, or Saturday at the latest. There's a significant chance she can read a mother's day card ON mother's day! Astounding. I also wrote a message inside that I feel good about. I've been thinking lately more holistically about what my parents have given me, how they have informed me and created me in ways I forget. And looking at myself, my sense of being kind, gentle, patient and respectful have come directly from my mom. I've spent a lot of time looking at the hard parts that have arisen from these qualities taken to an extreme (by becoming silence and paralysis), but I don't often look at the good parts. So I said something to that effect in the card. Well, just the part about thanking her for those traits, not the other processy part. I'll probably call on Sunday too. I'm actually somewhat motivated though after a conversation at Stanley's last weekend, I'm curious to know what my mother craved while she was pregnant with me and whether that informed my own preferences. I had initially thought of two things I frequently eat, chocolate and bananas. But now I'm thinking that my bet would be chocolate/peanut combinations.

Perhaps this is how I should approach all my phone interactions with my parents -- set up talking points and an information goal.
raybear: (profile)
On June 14th, 2007, sometime in the afternoon, Granny died. At 9:15 pm that evening, my father called to tell me. I got off the train a stop early so I could call him back and we chatted for close to fifteen minutes. He told me she’d been in hospice care, they knew it would happen soon, it was only a matter of time, and that she died of a respiratory failure. Even while typing that word, I had a time spelling it, I kept hearing how he said it, with his relatively thick southern accent: “RES-patory”.
Read more... )
raybear: (scream)
You know what's fcked up? I just went to create a google news alert with my grandmother's name and the Mississippi town where she lives, so I can find out when the obituary is published, because I don't trust my family to notify me until after the funeral. Except, I had already created one. There was no recent news that prompted this -- she hasn't been doing to well healthwise for a couple years now, and it's always on a steady decline, so it's sort of just a matter of time. But damm.

You know what else is fcked up? This morning I drove up to Evanston and listened to WLUW which plays Amy Goodman's Democracy Now in the morning. It's not my favorite show, I can't hear it every day (she's no Rachel Maddow), but it's way more interesting than anything on NPR or other news. So today was this guy who'd written a book on Donald Rumsfeld, and they're talking about his history, and how after working with the Ford administration (um, dude is old), he became head of Searle Pharmaceuticals. See, the Searle family were buddies of his, as fellow privileged rich north shore Chicago folks, and the company was starting to sink and go under, but they had created (accidentally) this artificial sweetener that they were calling aspartame and were trying to get the FDA to approve it. Except, studies showed it caused brain cancer so the FDA was saying no way. So they hired Rumsfeld as CEO with his politico connections to help get approval because they knew it would make them buckets of money. Except, see, Rumsfeld wasn't able to make it happen. He's no business man, he was a lobbyist, and apparently not even a good one of those. Well, not until Reagan got elected, and he booted out the head of the FDA and the new head of the FDA said, wait, it doesn't cause brain cancer, let's approve it.

Searle went on to sell its empire to Monsanto. And now we drink Diet Coke.

Well, not 'we'. I hate diet sodas. Because I don't like how they taste and I'm a paranoid freak about certain health things, like brain cancer, and the possible link to aspartame (this started in high school when my high school bio teacher taught us about the controversy). But I know lots of people who rely on it for caffeine intake or because they're diabetic, and that's just fcked up to have it peddled on us like it is.

Which reminds me of last night, and how I reached my own personal tipping point of these attorneys at work constantly making sarcastic comments about how 'healthy' the dinner is here. Now, don't get me wrong -- they aren't always the most balanced meals, but if you have moderate portions of the fried meat and large portions of salad and then maybe add a banana or apple that's usually lying around, you're doing okay, plus, really, they probably are eating out all the time at places that are no 'healthier'. It's really just anti-fat bullisht bias. Last night though, I just cracked. I had a half a plate of salad, half of plate of baked ziti, with a piece of garlic bread on top, and one of the attorneys walked by and said, "that looks healthy" (their sarcasm isn't even especially clever), and I'm like, mtherfcker, you go through two cans of diet coke in the last hour I see you, so you probably drink 5-6 cans a day, which is half a gallon daily of toxic aritificial chemicals. I am eating a plate of a food that a country in southern europe has been eating for centuries and they are alive and well and doing just fine.

Wow, I didn't realize how ranty I was feeling until I started typing.
raybear: (Default)
It's 8:00 am and I'm trying not to burn my toast this time (the toaster died and I'm using the broiler and I'm out of the habit so I tend to forget and leave it to long) and listening to "Raybear V.1" which came in the mail from [livejournal.com profile] sharkysmachine. I am hungry and tired. Last night I was at Trader Joe's and I normally eshew the mandatory chit-chat with the coporate-encouraged extra friendly cashier, but it seemed so soothing, I couldn't help myself. I think because he said "how has your week been?" and I paused an inordinately long time at the question because I was confused as to why he was talking like it was the end of the week. Then I remembered, oh, it's Friday. I'm still thrown off by Thursday, where I woke up in Long Island and drove through NYC and New Jersey, and all of Pennsylvania, which is an exceedingly long state. I saw possibly the most beautiful sunset of my life driving through the mountains on the western side (Poconos?), then on through Ohio and Indiana and I almost didn't make it, but right around Gary, the ipod cut out and we switched to radio and it was a Chicago hip hop station's Throwback Thursday" and they played Mobb Deep's "It's Mine", and seriously, it saved my day, and possible our lives in the car, since I was driving. I also channeled [livejournal.com profile] thebrownhornet in that moment which aided me.

Christmas was good. Ate impossible amounts of food. Played lots of games. Everyone enjoyed my homemade candy. No tense or awkward moments. Slept late, read, took a walk. Felt grateful for in-laws and the person who brought me to them.

On the drive home, during a moment of exhausted compulsion in trying to stay awake and motivated, DYA called the home phone to check messages and my dad called. We got home and he'd also sent a card and gift, i.e. a check to buy a shirt, underwear and socks (as the card semi-instructed). It's hard to describe the voicemail. While listening, I was fixated most on how he sounded, it had been so long since I heard his voice, yet it was so utterly familiar, like a song the radio that you haven't heard in 8 years but you can sing every word. The other part that pleased me was his mention that he knew I was out of town for for the weekend. I was impressed he remembered my e-mail from last month telling him that, since paying attention is something obviously lack in our relationship. DYA pointed out that he called me Ray and he said he loved me. I said the love part wasn't the problem. They've never said they didn't love me. In fact the often say it, though it's always immediately followed by a "but", whether literally or just through the actions of their inaction. But the name thing, I'll take that. Steps forward, steps back. It's a slow game. I will call him later.

But not today! Today I am preparing for tonight where I will taste six different wines and rum punch and eat cheese and stuffed mushrooms and bacon-wrapped dates.

May 2010

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