carose59: my mother's family (it seems to absolve us)
I Couldn't Go To A Queer Halloween Party Once Because The Only Rule Was You Couldn't Come In Costume And Darling, I Had Nothing To Wear.*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

I've written this never-ending series of Wiseguy stories called Roadhouse Blues. I sort of thought I was finished a few years ago, but other stories popped up and I wrote them and did nothing with them (except the one I wrote for Christy; I showed it to her. Considering the number of stories I have that I wrote for/dedicated to her, Christy telling me she didn't think I was her audience is abso-fucking-lutely bizarre.)

Anyway, I'm writing on them again for reasons. But I'm breaking all the characters and at three of them are having meltdowns and I'm crying. This is effect and cause; I'm doing this because I need to cry and I'm a lot Irish and crying over imaginary people is what we do.

(I once wrote a story I only worked on when I was depressed or having PMS. And one I finished right after Pat died. You could wipe out a whole dealers' room of fans with those two stories.)

And in two days it's Thanksgiving and I've been invited by my cousin.


1. I love my family.
2. The food will be good.
3. There might be a few moments of feeling like I belong.
4. It will make them happy. I guess. *shrug* They invited me.


1. It will take four hours I could use for writing.
2. It will be loud and I will come home with a headache.
3. I will feel alienated and alone.
4. There will probably be a political argument which will leave me feeling even more alienated and alone. Unless I keep my mouth shut, in which case everybody will agree.

What I get when I see my family is sarcasm and whimsy. It's the language we all share; we're good at silly.

But it's like a garnish. Would you order an expensive dinner just for the garnish? (I might, because I'm like that, and if I had a use for the rest of the meal, like giving it away.)

It makes me so sad that it's this hard, that I do not feel a part of my family.

When my cousin in Texas wrote me that he had been thinking of coming to Indianapolis to look at train stuff (don't ask) (but now he wasn't because he was punishing us for something—again, don't ask), I wrote back and told him I'd be happy to go with him to look at train stuff.

He said he didn't know I was interested in trains.

I'm not. Except for liking to listen to them, I have no interest in trains. I'm interested in him.

I didn't tell him that because he wouldn't understand it!

And so it goes. I'm supposed to be interested in their lives when they're not a bit interested in mine. I'm endlessly weird, and as such, a source of amusement. I cause endless trouble by not enjoying my role as prop in the latest holiday special, sitting on the sofa and pretending everything is fine when nobody is talking to me (except my one cousin's husband who sees me as prey and wants to argue politics. It's fun. Fun. The destruction of our country is fun).

I want to say no and I want to be honest but I don't want to hurt them (well, yes, I do, but I also don't). I want them to actually be able to see me and that will never, ever happen and I need to stop wanting it but I don't know how.

And even if I tried to be honest, how many words do you think I'd get out? How many of my meaningless, incomprehensible words is anyone willing to listen to? I've written almost seven hundred right here. Nobody's going to listen to seven hundred words. Maybe I could pare it down to four.

I won't be happy no matter what I do, but staying home is a more productive use of my time. Sonny's having some serious PTSD, and Vinnie's throwing up from stress, and I don't even know what happened to Roger. It would be more fun to stay home and untangle those tangles and watch Humphrey Bogart. And I can make my own damn food.

(I did buy food. I decided to make smoked sausage and carrots and potatoes and onion and cabbage. I'm partial to red potatoes—I like the ones that are so small, you can hold two or three in your hand at a time. So I picked out a bag of small red potatoes. And I thought I'd get red cabbage instead of green, for no particular reason. And then, of course, when it was time to get the onions, I got red ones. I don't know if you've ever cooked with red onions, but they turn a sort of pale mauve, and from what I've read, so does red cabbage. I should have a really interesting-looking dinner. And while my family might find this funny, it would be in a despairing sort of way. Pat would find it hilarious. She'd hunt me down some red carrots, without me even asking.)

*Aaron Raz Link


Wednesday, 2 March 2016 07:49 pm
carose59: amusements (a medley of extemporanea)
[Originally posted elsewhere December 18, 2005]

Five things about today

1) I had a very strange dream last night. I was sitting at a picnic table outside a grade school where a TV station was doing an interview with Robert Downey, Jr. and Val Kilmer. I have no idea what I was doing there, but during the whole interview Robert Downey, Jr. was eating vanilla ice cream, and every so often Val Kilmer would surreptitiously flick some onto his face. It happened several times and Robert Downey, Jr. never caught on how it was happening, he thought he was doing it himself, and he kept apologizing for his messy eating. Just before I woke up Val Kilmer smiled at me like, "He's cute, but God is he dumb."

2) I'm watching America's Sweethearts right now because for the last three days I've had Julia Roberts in my head saying, "Kiki! Someone in the universe is smoking, Kiki! Make them stop!" and I have to hear her actually say it again or it will never go away.

3) I'm having a hard time organizing my thinking, so if there's any way Christmas could be postponed a few days, it would really help me out.

4) Earlier there was a mouse taunting me. Really. It was over by the closet door squeaking at me. I'm thinking it was either telling me it wasn't going to go near my traps, or it was demanding I bring it a cookie.

5) It's snowing again.

-:- -:- -:- -:-

[Originally posted elsewhere January 21, 2007]

My mother's car hasn't been starting lately—probably the battery, since it only goes on very short trips unless I need to drive to work. Anyway, she went out yesterday to see if she could get it started.

My phone rings, and it's my mother. She tells me she's out in her car, it won't start, she's talking about what it's doing and not doing. She lives right next door to me, so while we're talking, I'm putting on my coat, and I go out to talk to her. When I reached the car, I said, "I'm right here by the car now."

She looked out the window at me and said into the phone, "I have to go now. My daughter's here."

Leap Year Day

Monday, 29 February 2016 09:07 pm
carose59: holidays (i got a rock)
"Nice Solid Citizen, With One Tiny Problem: He Shoots At People."*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

Meg developed an abscess where he got bitten/scratched last week.

I thought his face was looking fuller, but he's difficult about letting me do anything with him, so I wasn't until yesterday I could positively tell something was wrong. And he was acting perfectly normal. Well, normal for him.

So, this morning I stayed home from work and called the vet's office when it opened. I got an appointment for ten fifteen and spent the next two hours crying. You know, about the usual things: Meg was going to die, I'm a terrible cat-owner, the vet was going to tell me I should have brought him in sooner, Meg deserves someone better than me, the vet was going to tell me I'm a terrible cat-owner for letting Meg go outside, Meg was going to die, I was going to die.

Nobody died. They took Meg's temperature (he had a fever), drained his abscess, and gave him a shot of antibiotics. Nobody said anything about how he should be an indoor cat. In fact, the vet said it's very difficult to change an outdoor cat to an indoor cat against his will. She also said he was a lovely cat, very well-behaved and sturdy.

I was instructed to keep Meg in the house for a few days.

I brought him home, left him in the house, and went to work for the afternoon. When I got home, I let him out.

I had groceries to bring in, and decided he could have a few minutes to run around and do his business. (He hates using his box. It's only for emergencies; the proper place to do one's business is outside.) He walked around and sniffed things while I unloaded groceries and came right in when I told him to. He's been sitting in the window in the kitchen ever since. He really is a remarkably good cat.

I've been watching The Pirates of Penzance because today is Leap Year Day, which makes it Frederic's birthday. If my figures are correct, he'd be forty years old. Well, forty birthdays old. I could watch On Catlike Tread over and over again.

In case you don't know, the story is this: Frederic was indentured to the Pirate King when he was a little boy because his nurse misunderstood her instructions. What she'd been told to do was indenture him to a pilot. But now Frederic is twenty-one and he's leaving the pirates. He loves them, but abhors what they do—although they're really lousy pirates. They never attack smaller vessels, or orphans. So everyone they meet claims to be an orphan. Anyway, Frederic vows to exterminate them.

Once ashore, he meets Mabel and her seven sisters. He and Mabel fall in love. Then the other pirates show up and try to abduct the sisters, to marry them against there will. (Because that's what pirates do.) Their father, the Major-General arrives, finds out who they are, and claims to be an orphan, so they leave the girls.

Plans are made to get rid of the pirates with Frederic leading a bunch of bobbies. But the Pirate King and Ruth (Frederic's former nurse) arrive to break some news: Frederic's contract says he's to stay with the pirates not until he turns twenty-one, but until his twenty-first birthday. And since he was born on Leap Year Day, that won't come until 1940. He is honor-bound to return to the pirates.

He's also honor-bound to tell them that the Major-General isn't really an orphan, which enrages the Pirate King, who swears vengeance. Frederic tells Mabel he has to go and she rallies the bobbies.

The pirates all come back and fight the bobbies. The Pirate King is just about to execute the Major-General when the constable calls upon him to surrender in the name of the Queen. And, because they love their queen, the pirates surrender. Then Ruth tells everyone that the pirates are really noblemen, to which the Major-General responds that they can then marry his daughter. And they all live happily ever after.

*Joe Mannix
carose59: holidays (i got a rock)
"All I Really Need Is Love, But A Little Chocolate Now And Then Doesn't Hurt!"*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

Last week, I made earrings for three of my friends at work—Irene, Juli, and Sara—and brought candy for Laine. That was a lot of fun because it seemed to take them all by surprise and make them happy.

Over the weekend, I marathoned all the Andy Hardy movies, in order. Now that's a series of movies a fan can love. There's great continuity (except for some cast changes and an older sister who disappears after the first movie) and they actually talk about things that happened in previous movies.

My favorite thing about them is the attitude about necking. Andy is always talking about it being "good, clean fun," and the girls like it as much as the boys do. Of course, kissing is as far as it goes, but still, this is not something the "Family Values" people would approve of. Oh, and Andy's sister dates a married man—and keeps seeing him even after he tells her!

Not that the "Family Values" people would approve of most of the messages the movies have: fair play, kindness to others, helping people who are less fortunate than you are, being fair and honest. It's very soothing to spend two days in Carvel.

Saturday, I cleaned out Meg's litter box. It was a big day.

Sunday, it snowed and I never left the house. In the afternoon I made cupcakes.

I found out you can replace the eggs and oil with a cup of yogurt. It makes the cupcakes more dense and muffin-like. I used yellow cake and added nutmeg and cinnamon to make spice cake. I also put in some red food coloring, in an attempt to make them pink, but you know something? Red plus yellow does not equal pink. I used two mixes, so there should have been forty-eight cupcakes, but the batter was much thicker and I only ended up with thirty-six, but it didn't matter—I couldn't carry more than thirty-two anyway. I put butter cream on them, then drew hearts with red decorating icing. I got pretty good at drawing hearts.

Monday, I took the cupcakes in to work along with candy for Pam, and a pot of tulips for Jeanne, who was coming to have lunch with us. Again, much surprise and pleasure. And lunch was a lot of fun, and I got a nice surprise when it Jeanne paid for my lunch as a birthday present.

*Lucille van Pelt

Another good day

Sunday, 7 February 2016 08:21 pm
carose59: holidays (i got a rock)
If You Want To Survive You Must Find Out How To Love What You Are.*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

Well, it's starting again. I'm cleaning. I mean, today is my birthday and I took the recycling to the park and cleaned two of the shelves in the bookcase in the hall. This is not how I usually celebrate my birthday. There was leftover pizza and chocolate cake, so that was nice. But the cleaning was a thing I wanted to do.

My mother called. Yesterday she told me to have breakfast at Texas Roadhouse which, I don't understand. They're not open for breakfast. Today she called to see how my breakfast was. I told her they don't even open until eleven, and she claimed I used to tell her all the time how I'd gone there for breakfast.

And it stopped being about a present for me and became a story I was supposed to act out because she wanted to see it. So I didn't go at all. Honestly, she's acting like my father when he was having a breakdown: we were supposed to have "fun" and be the "happy family" because he was telling us to. I don't respond well to that.

I did watch a few movies I'd been wanting to see again. First was Applause, which was on TV in 1973. I had loved it then—and I still love Lauren Bacall. But now I've seen All About Eve, and much as I love Lauren Bacall, she's not Bette Davis. She doesn't have the edge. And the rest of the cast really isn't that impressive. Nor is the music. But I'm still glad I got to see it again.

The next one is a comedy with Mary Tyler Moore and George Peppard called What's So Bad About Feeling Good? and it was as good as I remember it. It's a sixties comedy about a virus that makes people happy. Of course the government is against it because happy people aren't dependent on alcohol, tobacco, or anti-depressants, and they don't vote. It's a silly movie, and I enjoyed it very much. It was also Thelma Ritter's last movie, so there's that.

And finally there's Penelope with Natalie Wood. Another sixties comedy, this one about a bank president's wife who robs his bank to get his attention. The best part of the movie is when Peter Falk, the cop, is suspicious of her and they walk around town talking. I with she'd ended up with him, but it was still a fun movie.

Fun is the name of the game. I'm trying to be happy. And I am better. I know this because I watched a horror movie a while ago. Last month I couldn't have, I was feeling too fragile. Between that, and cleaning, and having ideas, I'm definitely better.

*Aaron Raz Link
carose59: poetry (by Henry Gibson)
-:- -:- -:-

You can live without me,
without thoughts of me.
I do not hover in your mind,
I live in a box in the shed in the backyard,
one you do not go to except to take out holiday ornaments.

I work better as a memory anyway,
not so troublesome, and I compact and sit where I'm put.
I don't ask why.
I don't ask anything.

Small things 2

Wednesday, 3 July 2013 10:01 am
carose59: drama of the theatrical kind (life with the dull bit cut out)
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

So, because I work for the government, I have Thursday (the Fourth of July) off. And because I'm having a hard time in my head right now, I took off Monday as a mental health day. This has led to more holiday cognitive dissonance than should be allowed in the middle of summer. (Winter holiday cognitive dissonance is the norm.)

Because I was off Monday, Monday was Sunday and Tuesday was Monday.
Because Tuesday was Monday, Wednesday is Tuesday, but because I'm off Thursday, Wednesday is also Friday.
Thursday is Saturday. But it's also Sunday, because I'm working Friday, which will be Monday because of Thursday being Sunday, but it's also Friday because the next day is Saturday.

The real Saturday. You see.

I actually checked the calendar, and the next holiday I get off is Labor Day, so I have about two months before abject confusion sets in again. Then I checked and discovered that the longest period between holiday days off is the one between Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Memorial Day, followed by the period between Memorial Day and the Fourth, followed by the one I just mentioned. In case you were wondering, though I have no idea why you would be.

In other news, I have no other news.

*Movie and song title. Have you ever seen this movie? It swings wildly between sixties sitcom comedy and depressing sixties gritty. But the song is a freaking dirge, it's amazingly depressing.


Monday, 14 February 2011 09:02 pm
carose59: FPA (finding something else on the way)
If, my dear, you seek to slumber,
Count of stars an endless number;
If you still continue wakeful,
Count the drops that make a lakeful;
Then, if vigilance yet above you
Hover, count the times I love you;
And if slumber still repel you,
Count the times I did not tell you.

--F. P. A.
carose59: dreams (whose mind watches itself)
"As I Let Go Of My Feelings Of Guilt,
I Am In Touch With My Inner Sociopath."*

I slept badly New Year's Eve, because of the fireworks. (I was in bed long before midnight, and falling asleep in my chair before that.) I could hear the fireworks in my sleep, and I kept dreaming that someone was knocking on the door. (In my family this is almost never regarded as a good thing, and the correct response is to say, "Oh, shit, who is that?" before going to hide in the bedroom and let the sane person you're living with answer the door. Since I'm living alone now, I'm very glad practically no one ever comes to my door. Oh, and it was my grandmother who started this tradition.)

Anyway, in the dream Pat and I were in various houses we lived in—it was as though they had all been joined together to form one big, sprawling house. I'd hear the knocking, and we'd discuss whether I could sneak out and close the curtains so whoever it was wouldn't be able to see in. (This is straight out of Wait Until Dark when Gloria hides and tells Suzy about Carlino looking in at her. Pat was hiding under the picture window, out of sight of whoever was outside. I don't exactly know where I was, or why I couldn't be seen. And every so often I'd say, "You know, it's not really knocking, it's fireworks."

Then the fireworks got louder and actually woke me up, and I got out of bed and started for the front door. Then I heard the booming outside and realized that there wasn't any knocking, and I went back to sleep and quit dreaming about knocking at all. (Really, you'd think I'd have dreamed about The Haunting of Hill House, what with the knocking. But I'd just watched Wait Until Dark on Christmas.)

Then last night I dreamed about Brad Pitt and George Clooney. The only part I'm completely sure of is, George saying, "Well, you're still very good looking of course, but you're getting a little pudgy." And he pinched Brad's stomach where, in my dream, he was getting a little pudgy. Then they talked about clothes, and what Brad could wear to avoid anyone noticing that he wasn't quite as perfect as he used to be. That's what he said: "I need something so people won't notice this, I don't want it to be in all the papers." And George nodded sympathetically—as you know he would—and said, "You're just not as perfect as you used to be." Then they went shopping for clothes for Brad. Then later, George said, "It's to be expected, you're getting older, and you're pregnant. You're never going to be perfect again." And Brad nodded sadly.

The vaguer parts were the clothes-trying-on, and George repeatedly patting Brad's stomach, which was softer and rounder than I've ever seen in real life.

In the movies. I've never seen Brad Pitt in real life. But compared to my dreams, movies are real life. In the sliding scale of reality, my dreams are at the bottom.

(no subject)

Tuesday, 25 December 2007 09:00 am
carose59: holidays (i got a rock)
Happy Melody's birthday, everyone!

Oh, and Merry Christmas, too, if you celebrate that kind of thing. *g*

ETA: if you've been following my laundry chronicles, you'll love how they end: I killed my washer! I burned out the motor! With a load of wet, soapy clothes in it!

Hey, for me this is a good Christmas—at least I'm not sick. *g*
carose59: MKK (richer than i you can never be)
What Good Is It To Hold Yourself Rigid, Waiting For the Inevitable Disaster to Strike? Because, Honey, Take It From Someone Who's Tried That, It's Miserable and It Doesn't Work Anyway.*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

I'm sitting on the sofa, looking out the front window, watching the sun come up. (That's one good thing about very short days: you don't have to get up at some ungodly hour to see the sun come up. Seven-thirty will do you just fine.)

Is there a practical difference between sunrises and sunsets, or is it an emotional difference—is it that we know that one ushers in the beginning of a new day and the other proclaims its end? (Of course, a sunset is the beginning of night, but somehow that sounds rather ominous. Nights are things to be gotten through, survived.)

My mother called yesterday. Mary, the Eucharistic minister who brings my mother Communion, invited us over Saturday night. Did I want to go? I ignored the feelings of panic, dread, and despair and said, "Oh, sure, why not?"

My mother said, "Really?" And she didn't sound too pleased when she said it. Then she said, "Well, we still have two whole days to think about it." And then she told me she'd had this dream where she had asked me this same question, and I had said, "NO! Definitely not!" And she was so happy and relieved. (Are you sensing a pattern here?)

I asked if she was overwhelmed by feelings of panic, dread, and despair, and she said yes. And then I said that we didn't have to go, that doing things that are supposed to be fun but that one doesn't really want to do doesn't make any sense. (I tell myself this a lot. I believe it, but I can't seem to make it stick.) And then she said that she was on retreat anyway and couldn't go anywhere. (This is a self-imposed retreat from the world which is supposed to last a year and which she keeps moving up. She's agoraphobic. She's a Taurus. And she's part Swiss. It adds up.)

(The sky has stopped doing dramatic pink and purple and orange things and has settled into blue sky and white clouds tinged with the most beautiful shades of gray. Or grey.)

Later I went to the bank for her, and then to the grocery for myself and I bought her some of the Italian bread she likes, and when I took her her money and bread, we were talking about me getting my driver's license renewed and how you can go anytime from six months before your birthday, which my mother said was very nice because if you were having a good day, and your hair looked good, you could just go spur-of-the-moment.

It overwhelms me sometimes, how much alike we are.

I got my Christmas packages mailed yesterday, so if you're someone whose address I have, you might be getting something from me shortly after Christmas.

I know it's early, but I'm making my New Year's Resolutions. I'm going to try to let go of my fear of other people, and just fall in love with the world. It's going to be warmish today (forty-something), a perfect day for walking.

*Sarah D. Bunting

Reindeer games?

Wednesday, 20 December 2006 06:26 am
carose59: amusements (a medley of extemporanea)
"Reality Has Absolutely No Place In Our World."*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

Every morning I drive down Delaware Street, which is a one-way street with a lot of big, old houses on it. (I like one-way streets if I have to drive in the dark.) This year the first house to turn on its Christmas decorations had lights all over, and one of those reindeer that slowly turns its head back and forth. The reindeer was standing on the porch roof, and it looked like a sentry. I was very amused by it.

That went on for a couple of weeks. The guard reindeer even managed to stay put through a big windstorm. Then one morning, it wasn't on the roof anymore. Instead, it was standing on the lawn, and there was another reindeer with it. I, of course, immediately made up a story about how the other reindeer had lured the guard from his post. (You know that line at the end of The Open Window? Romance at short notice was her speciality.? Well, except for the part about using it to drive a person crazy, I've always identified with that. I look at things and see stories. This is the reindeer story.)

Anyway, the next day the sentry was back at his post, and the other reindeer was gone. That was the situation up until yesterday morning.

Yesterday morning, there was no reindeer at all; not on the ground, not on the roof, no place. The reindeer had run off together!

But alas, their love has been thwarted. Today, on the porch of a previously unlit house, there was a reindeer—obviously the one who had lured away the sentry. The reindeer was behind a fence, imprisoned after being captured and returned home!

The sentry reindeer is still AWOL. I'm thinking seriously of driving to work on Christmas, just to see if he comes home.

*Lorelai Gilmore
carose59: holidays (i got a rock)
"You Got a Siren? Cool! I Can Hardly Wait!"*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

There were lights last night, but first there was pie. Pumpkin pie, which I put in the oven (it was a frozen pie that I'd bought early in October, on sale at Kroger) and took to my mother's house. She had chili for Thanksgiving; I had hamburger casserole. I spent about half an hour at her house, eating pie and talking, and then it was 8 o'clock and she told me to go home so she could watch Survivor. She kept the pie, except for a piece she wrapped up tightly so I wouldn't get it all over myself. (I know I'm clumsy, messy, I know I'm maladroit, I know, but had thought I could walk across a driveway without getting food all over myself. I carried the pie and the Cool-Whip, so I don't know why this was necessary, but I didn't argue. There's no point arguing. People decide who you are, and that's who you are, whether you are or not.)

I left the pie in the house and walked over a block to where the lights are. The house on the corner has had theirs on for a few days now–they have, among other things, a couple of reindeer, one of which turns its head back and forth like it's trying to pick up the scent of something. Santa Claus, maybe. The other one–

I've hesitated to mention this to anyone, but this year I have to. The other one is bending over, probably in a simulated eating grass pose, but the very splay-legged stand, particularly right in front of the other reindeer, gives it a "come fuck me" look. Which, I dunno, maybe was the intention. Maybe I need to get to know my neighbors better.

And down the street, at the house with the enormous yard and all the lights, sometimes it seems like all the lights in the world, they were lit up. Shooting stars and reindeer and blue penguins and a color-changing sign that says NORTH POLE. Santa Claus on a big, old-fashioned bicycle, and a nativity scene, and another nativity scene and the gazebo is strung with lights, and the fence, and the house, and the side fence. And there are trees, trees made of lights, multi-colored lights, blue lights, red lights, green lights, white lights. There are churches and another Santa Claus, and some carolers, there are polar bears, there are angels, and there's a train that goes around a track. And there are things that I can't even identify and have to go look at in the daylight and try to remember when I go back in the dark, but it's hard because I'm dazzled by the light. Christmas-tree-light blue is my favorite color in the world.

It's sunny today, bright and cold, and tonight will be even colder, but that's all right. There will be lots of lights.

*Shane Scully

Post Script:

Saturday, 27 December 2003 07:37 am
carose59: RSS (music set me on fire)
They're Talking About You, And It's Bringing Me Down.*

My dryer was delivered Friday morning.

And I went to the doctor, got myself a prescription (sinus infection, surprise, surprise). How much of this excess emotion is post-Christmas let-down and how much is just being sick? And how much is me just trying to self-destruct.

I had my first Christmas without my father, without his voice (with me being sick, I wouldn't've seen him—I haven't seen my mother—but I would have heard him wishing me a merry Christmas).

Christmas was also the only day I didn't get out to see the lights, the only day I didn't take your hand and lead you to those miracles of beauty.

Christmas I laid myself wide open, and spent the day waiting for the verdict, for judgement to be handed down—praying for absolution. Once again, I chose you over everything.

It would be easier to be quiet, of course. But I can't let myself be loved except for myself—I can't let myself be loved for lies—of commission, of omission, it doesn't matter. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth was burned into my mind at an early age, and while I'm not above prevarication, it's important to me now that the people I love see me, so I know that they love me (or don't).

When a guy moves into your head, you'd think he'd be perfect, you'd think he'd be like Heathcliff—

Wait. Heathcliff was perfect? Heathcliff was hardly perfect. He wasn't perfect either, the first guy I wanted so bad, back when I was in grade school—perhaps the least of His imperfections was that He never really saw me.

All right. You're not perfect. But you'd think, I'd think that if someone was living inside you, if your heart and your mind opened up like automatic doors, just slid asunder of their own volition, you'd think it would be to the arch-angel Gabriel, perfect and golden and perfect—

I went to NY in the middle of a manic episode, perhaps the first one I've ever had; perhaps the only one. (I only seem to be able to recognize them in retrospect.) And there, in your mother's home, I suddenly saw everything through your eyes. I was home, and I never wanted to leave.

Not leaving wasn't an option, of course. I left, I came back here, and I've stayed. I still dream of sitting at the kitchen table of your mother's home, having toast and tea for breakfast. Some nights I dream your dreams.

Since that summer, I've been different. There has been a second heart pounding in my chest. Except for moments of my own utter, dark despair, I've felt your breath fill my lungs, felt your blood in my veins. I've lived with a love for you so fierce it devours everything else inside me, and I feed it all I have with such joy it bewilders me.

I know how crazy people think I am because of this, people I've told more than the oblique accounts I tell here. I can't help that. I've been looking for someone who could believe with me, someone besides Pat (whom I could not live without, but who is so much a part of me it hardly counts as someone else). Every exposure of every intimate moment is another opportunity to be written off as crazy, or sick, or bad, or any combination thereof.

Until today. Oh, Jesus. Until today.

Today I opened up and Told All to Giovanna, and was embraced and kissed and petted and told I was not bad, or sick, or crazy. That same sweet understanding love I feel so strong from inside myself (from you), I felt from outside myself (from her).

I know there is nothing I could say that would make her leave me, and the security I feel is like love incarnate.

Which, when you think about it, is pretty much the perfect Christmas present.

All my love,

Monica Rose

*Take It On the Run,REO Speedwagon
carose59: health matters (an intuition of mortality)
"So Don't Come Too Close Or I'll Infect You With My Celibate Prophet Germs."*
(Yes, I know, I'm going to hell for that one.)

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First, merry Christmas, everybody!

And let me just say that that small expression of enthusiasm pretty much depleted my energy reserves. It's Christmas Eve, and I'm sick. My mother, though sympathetic, will be amused.

Does that sound cruel? It's not. Underneath my headache, swollen glands, and all-over-yucky feeling, I'm amused, too. Monica Rose sick for Christmas (or, let's be honest here, any holiday, or birthday) is as much a tradition as tinsel on the tree. Believe me, it's one I've tried my best to outgrow.

When I was little, in grade school, it was strep throat. I remember Thanksgivings and Christmases through a haze of fever—imagine being eight years old, watching the Star Trek episode Mirror, Mirror with a high fever. I thought I was hallucinating . . . why did Spock have a beard . . . !?

By high school, it was inner ear infections, which left me dizzy and disoriented, and the medications for which gave me yeast infections.

Now it's whatever flu that's going around (the ones not covered by the shots) or sinus infections, which, really, are my own stupid fault. It gets nice out, warm, springish, and I go out without my coat, then I get sick. It's not just holidays, or my birthday, of course. But those are the times that stand out.

Though I'm sorry Pat no longer goes to see her family at Christmas, I'm glad she's here with me now. I hate being sick by myself. (I don't much care for it with other people either, but by myself . . . my imagination works overtime. Which should come as no surprise.)

I've spent two Christmases sick, alone, in this house. One was the year we moved in, and after my father drove me to work I had to call and have my mother send him right back after me. I spent the next two days in her bed, being looked after. Not the worst thing in the world, having my mommy look after me.

The other time was a couple of years later, and my fever went up to one hundred. That's when I started having chills and I lay in bed with my electric blanket turned all the way up, watching Gunsmoke because I couldn't bring myself to crawl out from under, into the cold. I didn't know yet that the only way to get rid of chills was to tough them out, to get out from under the blankets and move around. (I don't know if it's starving a cold or feeding a fever, but I do know what to do about chills.)

Um, what was the point of this? I dunno. But if you don't hear from me for a few days, it's probably because I'm curled up on the sofa, watching TV and drinking ginger ale.

Just like old times, right?

*Jesus (in The Pantheon)

Rambling ennui

Wednesday, 3 December 2003 07:01 am
carose59: holidays (i got a rock)
I Have Given Up Reading Books; I Find It Takes My Mind Off Myself.*

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Have I mentioned the Christmas lights on Kildare are on? Just as lovely as ever, of course. And the house on the corner has more lights than they did last year—a fringe of old blue ones (old because the paint is fading, the color only a suggestion of blue in some places) around the eaves, then newer blue ones (my favorite color, a deep turquoise) on the south railing of the porch, and what I believe is a very new blue (a very deep, truer blue) on the front and north railings. There's also a reindeer, one that changes from white lights to white, green and red lights. It's actually a bit difficult to make sense of just what he is when he's multi-colored. The first time he changed I thought there was something bad happening to my vision.

I'm feeling exceptionally lonely today; not all day, but suddenly, around 10 this morning it just dropped over me like a blanket. It was an act of will to walk to Wendy's for lunch; I had to tell myself to put one foot in front of the other, that I was hungry, that food would help. (It didn't.) Some of it is that my father is dead, and I'm suddenly feeling it.

I've been pondering this for a while, my tendency toward delayed reaction. I don't seem to get the message, whatever it is, while I'm having an experience. My mind puts intense moments into a holding cell, waiting for my body to get used to them. Father goes to phantom father, goes to no father. But it's not just bad things; good things require an act of will, and even then there's this me-voice saying, "Look at this, you will want to remember it, touch it, taste it, listen to it, you will want to remember, this is good." Riding through the rain to Long Island, giggling with Pat about the sunroof (just a shame we didn't have a Winfield Special). Holding Celia's hand. The secretary in my brain wanted to write it all down before it disappeared, and even now, I'm recovering memories that want to burst out of me like helium in an over-filled balloon.

I don't seem to be able to live in the moment, and I'm not sure why not. Is it that everything that happens has to penetrate all the layers of protective padding I've put up, to keep myself from being hurt? Is it some inherent emotional/psychological flaw? I know that in-the-moment intense emotion is so painful, I run from it, metaphorically and literally. "It's all right," I say, preemptively, trying to smooth over any discomfort. It makes my heart race, it frightens me, even when it's good.

I don't know what I'm talking about.

The sky was sooty last night, the sunset full of old rose and indigo filtered through gray smoke. It was sort of hovering above the line of lighter sky, just in the tree line, a backdrop to the dark, leafless trees. I kept staring at it, it was so dark and beautiful and portentous. If it had been a movie, I'd've gone home, coughed long into the night, and died of consumption just before dawn.

Everything seems out of place. We had Thanksgiving without my father. We'll have winter, and Christmas without him. It's quieter, easier; my mother and I laugh a lot. But it's off-balance, everything is off-balance. Maybe that's why it seems like I can't walk anymore, why I run into walls, and feel like I'm going to trip over things that aren't there.

And for no reason I can understand I keep reliving the heady ride back to the hotel from my short tryst with the Cyclone. I was devouring the buildings with my eyes, absorbing the moments through my pores, remembering it all so hard it would make such a deep impression you could slide a pencil across my next life and still read the water against my ankles, the sand in my shoes. Something in my brain is stuck, and I'm sure if I just turn around, I'll be back there.

It hasn't happened yet.

*Oscar Levant
carose59: the world in general (while spring is in the world)
"And I Know My Life Would Look All Right, If I Could See It On The Silver Screen."

I'm beginning to believe that nobody in this country knows how to live in the moment.

Maybe that's obvious. But Christmastime always makes me think of it because of the way people do Christmas music, and Christmas lights. People have their Christmas lights up before Thanksgiving—OK, up I understand, it can be cold and nasty here at the drop of a hat, so putting the lights up on a nice day in October is very reasonable.

But what I don't get is turning the damn things on. I mean, seriously. Just hang them up, and leave them there. Just because they're up doesn't mean they have to be turned on, right?

OK, let's be honest here. I don't even mind them being turned on really early, because I think they're so pretty, and I'm too much of a hedonist to turn down pretty when it's offered. OK? So, go ahead, turn them on, I won't complain. They're too pretty to complain about.

And on the oldies station they had an all-Christmas music weekend—the weekend of Thanksgiving. What is the rush? I will give them that they waited 'til after Thanksgiving—which was de rigueur in my mother's house—you weren't allowed to play Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. I remember that from when I got my Partridge Family Christmas album. I know I had the plastic off it, and it sat on the turntable, but did I play it? No!

But it really isn't the earliness that bothers me. It's the way it all ends Christmas day! My mother was telling me that the people next door turn on their lights the day after Thanksgiving, and take them down Christmas day. Christmas day! What's the deal? It's like it's the end of some kind of race, and having run it, it's over, we can forget it now. It's certainly not like it's a real holiday, where you might like to actually enjoy the moment, the day that is Christmas.

And has anybody ever heard of the Feast of the Epiphany? The Adoration of the Magi, when the Wise Men brought their gifts to the Christ child? Twelfth Night? How about the Twelve Days of Christmas? All those gifts, starting with the partridge in the pear tree, started arriving December twenty-sixth, because that's when the twelve days of Christmas are—December twenty-sixth to January sixth.

I know, hardly anybody knows this, and nobody really cares, and it's not really my point anyway.

It's the huge rush to have it over with that gets me. Radio stations that have nothing but Christmas music for the week preceding Christmas will stop playing it that afternoon. Hello—the day isn't over! What's the big rush? What's wrong with hearing Silent Night Christmas night, or ever the day after Christmas?

And it seems to me to be connected to the whole not-living-in-the-moment lifestyle that's running rampant in this country. Now, God knows I do this too. I have movies and TV shows on tape that I know I will never get around to watching—but I somehow feel I have experienced them just because I own them. Why? And now it seems that people are doing this with their whole lives. Everything has to be photographed, videotaped, recorded in some way . . . because our brains are going to be erased sometime in the near future, and we might need this record to remember who we are and what we've done.

I mean, yeah, I took pictures in NYC, and I wish with all my heart I had more. But I wouldn't give up having played in the surf for more pictures.

And now the pictures are being staged. Oh, I know it's always been that way for weddings, at least to a certain extent, but now they're taking pictures of "the happy couple" before the wedding. It's more practical . . . but it's not real. I know if I did that, I 'd look at those pictures and think of them as the pictures that were taken before my wedding. How can a fake picture capture a real memory?

"That's OK, I got it on tape!" But, what were you thinking while it was going on, what were you feeling? Whatever it was, you were one step removed from what was happening, you were behind a camera. You can look at it later, but you can never experience it again. Or maybe again is the wrong word.

I know I've been trying to hang onto pieces of my NY trip in a way that seems obsessive, but no matter what kind of pictures I might have, even if I'd taken a picture every second of the trip, I'd still be longing to go back. In fact, I'd probably be longing for it even more, since I wouldn't have experienced the trip, I'd have experienced a camera experiencing the trip.

It just seems terribly empty, this living life through a camera lens.

*James Dean, The Eagles
carose59: FHK (feed them on your dreams)
That Which Does Not Kill Us Makes Us Very, Very Tired.

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Freshman year of high school was the first time I ever knew my father was manic-depressive.

He'd had breakdowns before, but I had been unaware of them, at least consciously. Our house had been bigger, which seemed to play a role in my ignorance.

I wasn't surprised to find out he was manic-depressive. I'd known he'd gone to Recovery meetings (though I couldn't've told you what he was Recovering from). I'd known he'd been in the hospital (though I didn't know what for). But I was really seeing for the first time what was happening. I don't know why it was the first time–because they kept sending him home from the hospital, so his craziness wasn't cloistered? Because the house was smaller? Because my mother was having her own problems, panic attacks, and she wasn't between us, no longer a privacy fence?

Even thought I didn't know what was wrong, it came as no surprise. It was the same experience I'd had in the 7th grade, when I opened up my reader, read through The Highwayman once, and could recite it. It was already there in my brain (from my mother having read it to me, over and over, when I was a baby), waiting to be recognized.

I read up a little on manic-depression then, though I don't know what I read. It helped me make sense of my own moodiness, delusions, confusion. It helped me, you should pardon the expression, find myself.

That Christmas was weird. I did the tree all by myself. (My mother has issues with Christmas trees, though I've forgotten why. Something to do with ill-treatment during her childhood, she resents them . . . I don't know. And I'm not making light, really, it's just that I'm tired.) I refurbished the old ornaments, added new gold paper where needed, new feathers to the birds, a new dress for the little glass ballerina. (It was also the year I broke the ornament my aunt Shirley made me when I was 4. I loved that ornament; it was magenta, with silver glitter and little blue . . . things on it. Sequin fleur-de-lis-type things. Just an accident, but still . . . ).

My father was in dictator mode. Up all night, pacing the halls, driving like a maniac (hey, why do you think they call it that, huh?) being thoroughly obnoxious to everyone. The doctors told him how he was acting, so he changed from "WE'RE GOING TO DO IT MY WAY!" to "WE'RE GOING TO DO IT MY WAY BECAUSE IT'S FUN!" It wasn't. My mother and I stayed up all night Christmas eve, drinking gin and making bad jokes. My favorite was one about a little self-help snippet in the newspaper, that told how to fix a loose screw. We discussed whether it would work on my father . . . .

After the first of the year, they moved him to a the VA in Illinois (where they'll keep you for longer periods of time). We were dead broke (he'd lost his job again) and on food stamps at that point. I think the only money coming in was from the rental property. We had a freezer full of cheap hamburger, so every Saturday I made a meatloaf, and took meatloaf sandwiches to school every day. My mother burned out on meatloaf very quickly, but I never did, until I was in my 20's, came down with the flu, and spent the night throwing it up. I've never felt the same about meatloaf since then.

It was a strange time, though. I remember feeling very . . . cozy, in a bunker-mentality sort of way. I'd come home from school and my mother and I would play Mille Bornes. I felt very close to her that year. And spring was a wonderful time that year, like coming out of a long illness.

July 2017

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