because of you, I again Seek out the signs that precipitate desires

Because of you, in gardens of blossoming
Flowers I ache from the perfumes of spring.
I have forgotten your face, I no longer
Remember your hands; how did your lips
Feel on mine?

Because of you, I love the white statues
Drowsing in the parks, the white statues that
Have neither voice nor sight.

I have forgotten your voice, your happy voice;
I have forgotten your eyes.

Like a flower to its perfume, I am bound to
My vague memory of you. I live with pain
That is like a wound; if you touch me, you will
Make to me an irreparable harm.

Your caresses enfold me, like climbing
Vines on melancholy walls.

I have forgotten your love, yet I seem to
Glimpse you in every window.

Because of you, the heady perfumes of
Summer pain me; because of you, I again
Seek out the signs that precipitate desires:
Shooting stars, falling objects.

[Pablo Neruda, 'Love']


but the answer is simple. Love is a mix tape

It's easier to have tender, nostalgic feelings about a lost love when he agrees to stay lost. When he doesn't keep poking his head back above ground like a tenacious prairie dog with a death wish, exposing himself to threats of bobcats and hawks and jealous prairie dog exes. (See Exhibit A.)

Exhibit A
It's easier to think it was all fine, normal, and just a phase (in the past)--if it stays there. If he doesn't keep knocking at the door like he hasn't got a clue, or a life in the present. Like a ...  mutton for punishment. (See Exhibit B.)

Exhibit B
So he's on my mind, against my will. And I'm listening to the music from those days, trying to break the spell. Hoping that the progression from 'smitten' to 'head over heels' to 'in too deep' to 'what the f~#+?' will shake me loose. Here's how it goes (in abbreviated form)....

"I know I don't know you
But I want you so bad"

"Make a circle in the sand
Make a halo with your hands
I'll make a place for you to land"

"And all you see
Is where else you could be
When you're at home
Out on the street
Are so many possibilities
To not be alone"

"You never cut me deep enough to tell you no.
Ohhhh tell me you love me,
It'll hurt a lot worse when you go."

"I'll be the one to pick you up again
When you decide you've had enough of it
I'll be the one"

"I'm trying hard to never see you leave again
You know it was faith
Say good-bye to yesterday"

"But I hate it...
You know exactly what to do
So that I can't stay mad at you
For too long
...that's wrong"

"I swear we used to be so pure
But we can't be in love no more
'Cause I don't wanna fight this war"

"So please don't say you won't be going out today
'Cause anywhere I go, won't be anything
If you're not hanging around"

"I know it could never be different
But I wanted to say that I miss you
But you're not coming home"

"But no one is ever gonna love you more than I do
No one's gonna love you more than I do"

"It's like one step forward and two steps back
No matter what I do you're always mad
And I, baby I'm sorry to see
Maybe we're not meant to be"

[the title quotation is by Rob Sheffield]


the value of money is that with it we can tell any man to go to the devil

  • What is your favorite animal?
  • Tell me something you are planning to do tomorrow: after work, I am having dinner with a former coworker. We almost always have grand plans of either eating vast amounts, drinking after eating, or going shopping like madwomen on these excursions. We almost always behave, though, calling it quits before things really get out of hand. We are creatures of moderate habits.
  • Do you wear jewelry? What is your favorite type of jewelry to wear? I do wear jewelry, and I tend to wear the same thing every day with small variations: two toe rings on the second toe of my left foot; two captive bead hoop barbells and a diamond stud in my left ear; and a captive bead hoop barbell, a diamond stud, and a horseshoe barbell in my right ear. (It drives my parents--and probably lots of other people--completely around the bend that my earrings are not symmetrical.) I occasionally swap out the diamonds with other studs or hoops. And I wear a necklace or two maybe once or twice a week.
  • Fill in the blank: Today I am really sore because I haven't been sleeping well and my back is taking a beating because of all the tossing and turning.
  • What kids’ show do you like? are Peanuts on anymore, ever?
  • How well/fast do you type? I either type well or fast; it evens out to somewhere around 80 WPM.
  • Which would make you feel more appreciated by your significant other: bringing home flowers, doing a chore without being asked, or asking you on a “date?” this is the kind of question that makes me want to punch my gender in the throat.
  • Do you prefer to be behind the camera or in front of it? behind, of course
  • Do you wake up easily in the morning or require coffee, exercise, or something else to get you going? require exercise in the morning, to get going? What an awful thought!

    I just need time. It's like getting alcohol out of one's system. All in good time.
  • Are you anxious about anything today? What? Anxious? Me? Just money, job/career, living arrangements, friends, car, health, fitness, and love-life (or lack of same).
  • What is something fun you are planning to do? I'm going to read about 10 books this weekend. That's about as fun as it gets, for me!
  • Would you rather be in a really cold place or a really hot place? no, thank you
  • Have you ever had a boyfriend that you regret dating? there are a couple of guys that I don't regret dating. That's saying something, I suppose? I'm even FB friends with them, still.
  • Do you feel younger or older than your current age? oh, younger--particularly lately
  • What do you recycle at your house, if anything? that's a sore subject
  • Who is the boss in your house? Mrs N
  • Do you buy lottery or Powerball tickets? I'll buy scratch-offs now and then
  • Do you get easily embarrassed? that made me stop and ponder, because my first reaction was "of course," but when I consider it: no, I really don't. I'm more prone to feeling embarrassed on someone else's behalf, which may be less progressive or fair, but that's how I am.
  • When you were in school, did you speak up in class? it depends on the class. I never shut my mouth in some of them (Spanish, I think? And some of the English ones. And History, of course.), while in others you couldn't have pried my lips open with a crowbar. (Hello, law school.)
  • Did you sit in front or the back? if you have to ask...
  • If you are in your yard, front or back, what are you most likely to be doing? I'm not really a "yard" person
  • When did you first see your husband/wife? no one knows. I'm not being facetious: we literally do not remember, either of us, where or when we met. It happened sometime during my sophomore year, his junior year (or the summer after that?) because we started overlapping at parties and things where we hadn't before. His (H's) roommate (D1) was dating my best friend's (D2's) roommate (M). So when those girls (D2 and M and their three roommates) would have parties at their apartment, or when the guys (H and D1) would have parties at their place, we would see each other. The first few months that we knew of each other, I thought he was an arrogant prick. In the days of buy-a-cup beer keg parties, he was bringing a bottle of Canadian whiskey and sitting cross-legged on the floor, drinking from the bottle and generally being anti-social. Not the point of those parties, to be sure. Obviously, at some point he grew on me in a fashion. But it wasn't love at first sight, in either direction.
  • Do you wear contacts or glasses? I do. I wear contacts most of the time, and glasses when I'm not using contacts.
  • Who is your favorite reality TV star? Richard Engel
  • What is your favorite reality TV show? SNF
  • Do you color your hair? no, but Meggan does
  • How often do you wear makeup? pretty much anytime I leave the house, there's something on my face
  • Describe yourself in three words. Nimble, Unassuming, Independent
  • Describe your best friend. Clever, Tolerant, Loving
  • What is your favorite thing to wear? men's PJ pants, camisole, long sleeve t-shirt
  • What would you love to buy if you could afford it? financial freedom for my best friends
[from here {with some practical modifications}; the title quotation is by W. Somerset Maugham, from Of Human Bondage]


they are allergic to people

When I said I get good sleep every other night, I miscalculated.

I used to be more adept at the whole gift thing, both giving and receiving. Maybe it's that I'm becoming more furtive, generally, and less comfortable around people. I'm just awkward about getting presents, opening them, gauging whether my responses are correct and appropriate. And I can't tell at all whether my own gifts for others are right anymore.

Case in point: currently trying to decide between a trip to a film premier and a gift card for clothes. While I'm certain that either would be appreciated and enjoyed, I am of two minds with this. Further consideration is needed.

Elinor Lipman's most recent novel, The View from Penthouse B, was an extraordinary little treasure. It seemed light and unassuming until maybe 3/4 through, at which point I realized that if I put it down, I would be tormented by not knowing how it ended. I read the last few chapters very fast but closely, savoring, laughing with a lump in my throat. I liked this one on a par with Isabel's Bed and The Inn at Lake Devine--which, if you've heard me talk books before, you know to be truly high praise.

Tomorrow's probably going to be one of those days. The kind where I wish I had a few more moments to myself, but I also realize that it's about the connections I've made, so...yeah. Connections. Here's to getting out of that shell now and then.

[the title quotation is by David Foster Wallace, and reads in its entirety: “Lonely people tend, rather, to be lonely because they decline to bear the psychic costs of being around other humans. They are allergic to people. People affect them too strongly.” {from A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again}]


everything is not as it appears to be

Name Something...
  • wonderful: the secret smile of a beloved friend, chance-met, across a room full of people
  • wacky: the feeling of walking slowly through a hard rain, because whether you try to dodge it or not, you'll end up soaked to the skin--so why not just take it all in?
  • weird: my birthday kiss, should I get one, will also be my New Years' kiss
  • wild: contrary to some impressions that I may have given, the fellows in my past have not all resembled celebrities
  • wrong: I am apparently 'allowed' one decent night's sleep, then one awful night, alternating
  • well-dressed: that would be me, finally, having gotten a couple of pairs of pants that fit. There is more work to be done, but at least I've made some progress.
  • woolly: Rupert & me--both of us need haircuts in a bad way
  • warm: weather. Good or bad, there's no denying it's been warmer lately than it was before.
  • weak: my will, toward certain things and people that it should not be that way about
  • worn-out: my feelings about some people; no big battle, just done
  • wise: the counsel of my corgi friends
  • whole: the heart I'll be holding out in my hand on Wednesday
  • white: the color of my covered skin (well, really it's more of a silvery-blue)
  • wet: my hair, still, more than three hours after washing it

[from here; the title quotation is a proverb]


this was not a movie

After I Heard You Were Gone

I sat for a while on a bench in the park.
It was raining lightly but this was not a movie
even though a couple hurried by,
the girl holding his jacket over her head,
and the chess players were gathering up their pieces
and fanning out into the streets.

No, this was something different.
I could have sworn the large oak trees
had just appeared there overnight.
And that pigeon looked as if
it had once been a playing card
that a magician had transformed with the flick of a scarf.

[Billy Collins, from Horoscopes for the Dead]


...just remember, darling, it is pain that changes our lives

  • Tonight I am so relieved that, earlier today, I completed the errand that's been weighing on me for more than a week. It wasn't precisely onerous, just stressful.
  • Today was a stay-home-and-read kind of day.
  • The weather was not yet raining to beat the band this morning.
  • My favorite time of day is now, or even later: dark and quiet.
  • The last thing I do before I go to bed at night is take out my contacts and brush my teeth.
  • I wish that I could go home.
  • The first thing I do in the morning is want to sleep for just a few hours more.
  • I should have stayed in the office with the door locked all day yesterday.

What is your favorite...
  • Pair of shoes? it varies by the season, of course, and even then I tend to like changing them up more than wearing the same ones over and over. That being said, the ones I go back to more often than others right now are these:
  • Jacket? since this is absolutely not jacket-wearing season, it's hard for me to even consider such a thing. But for the sake of argument, I'll say my gray leather spring jacket from Territory Ahead. It's not a long-season piece, but it's stylish and comfortable.
  • Scarf? the gray wool loop that Heidi made for me--beautiful, soft and warm, I hate to take it off in any weather below about 50 degrees
  • Way to do your hair? anything dreamed up by Meggan at Shear Art by Meg; she's always done wonders with me!
  • TV show? meh. I can take or leave most of television
  • Actor? ...except Kit Harington
  • Actor over 50? George Clooney
  • Actress? Natalie Portman
  • Animal? I kind of like cats
  • Age to be? whatever you've got, I think. Not much point in pining for anything past, anyway, or living for something not yet there.
  • Shampoo brand? I'm phasing out of what I've been using for a while (Aveda Brilliance) and trying to settle on something new. It'll be a while before I accept a new favorite.
  • Toothpaste? Ultra Brite. I don't like microbeads, and that stuff has the right degree of mint "power" for my needs.
  • Place to buy clothes? I'm not much of a shopper. I'll get what I need where I can get it.
  • Place to buy cheap stuff? Likewise, wherever I am is fine, and cheap enough
  • Place to get ice cream? around these parts, it's frozen custard, more often than not. The best is Ollie's.

    My favorite actual ice cream is Stucci's in Ann Arbor.
  • Store to buy groceries? Hy-Vee
  • Halloween costume? I'm terrible at Halloween costumes. My ideas tend to be too cerebral.
  • College? favorite of those I attended? Or in general?

    My favorite unaffiliated college is the University of Toledo in Ohio. It's a gorgeous campus in a great city.
  • Grade? A, of course
  • Class in high school? who knows what it was at the time? I know I scored 103% in World History - that's probably close enough.

  • Do you have a green thumb? I do, yes
  • Are you a good speller? Yep
  • What kind of critters make you scared / nervous? canine
  • Do you collect anything? If so, what? shot glasses. Buddha figurines (the kind they sell in some Chinese restaurants). Fancy notepaper.
  • What is something that makes you cringe? people who say "LOL", out loud
  • Do you have any weird habits? What? I'm sure that I do, but it may be more enlightening to ask someone else for details. My perception of my own weirdness isn't likely as revealing as an observer's.

  • What was your favorite movie or book as a child? Beverly Cleary's The Mouse and the Motorcycle and Runaway Ralph.
  • What qualities do you look for in a friend? In other words, what causes you to really “click” with someone? I have no idea. It is very hard for me to get to know someone, very hard to actually make a move toward becoming more than acquaintances. I don't trust people, and I don't exactly trust myself. Therefore, when I do become friends with someone, it is sometimes over vast periods of time, and usually because whatever "click" happened is indescribable.
  • What can you tell about a task or project you have that you have been procrastinating about for a long time? I needed to write a letter, in response to a communication from someone else that was awkward and already fraught with expectations. I knew that the letter would be greeted with some dismay and possibly anger, but that there was no way through it but through it. After talking about doing it for several days, I finally pushed through it last night. I signed it this morning and delivered it (in the middle of a torrential downpour) this afternoon. No part of this process was easy, but it was both the right thing to do and not something that I could avoid. I feel better having done it, and I'm glad that it's over.

[from here; the title quotation is by Steve Martin, from Shopgirl]