Cleaning the clutter

Wednesday, December 20, 2006
I knew better. But I did it anyway.

I went through the messy hall closet tonight, even though Jason is away and all my friends are busy or gone.

Pretty soon the night involved less cleaning, more nostalgia. Eventually I was curled up on the floor in a puddle of old things, old mementos, an old life.

Mix tapes. Photos of friends before our relationships shattered. My favorite shirt for clubbing. A toothbrush with a photo of a man on the handle -- turn it upside-down and his shorts disappear. Sad journals. Clippings from magazines that once meant something to me. Promise rings. Strips from the photo booth, featuring a revolving door of men. A feather boa. A card written by my mom, back when she was sane. Half-burnt candles.

And this tattered letter from a boy, long before he broke my heart:

I was alone for the longest time and then I found her ... Maybe she was just a dream and maybe she wasn't. At this point, it doesn't much matter.

She is beautiful -- tall, perfect body, wonderful skin, and amazingly beautiful; mythically beautiful.

I miss her.

If you find her, tell her she was my only thought. My head loved her heart, and my heart loved all of her.

I want to hold her beside me for a hundred years and love her forever.

That closet is like an altar of everything that could have been; the paths I didn't take, the things I left behind, the choices I made, the pieces that have all fit together to make up this very moment right now.

I packed everything back into the boxes and shut the door.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Some days, it just doesn't feel like it's going to get any better.

The cat gets sick, then becomes well, then gets sick again.

I get ahead of my bills just long enough to have them drown me again.

My work goes through a period where the story ideas are plentiful, the words flow easily, the readers are open and receptive. And then it all seemingly stops at once.

My relationship with Jason is comfortable and happy, and suddenly we're tested by a firing squad.

Days like this, it's hard to feel much gratitude.

And then I read this quote this afternoon, and it really struck something inside me:

“For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.” – Alfred Souza

THIS is my life. And it is not easy or shiny or pretty.

There will be stress. There will be difficulty. There will be messy desks, credit card debt, dirty laundry, a full in-box, cloudy skies. There will be bitterness and sadness and people who don't yet know how to forgive. There will be days where I don't feel valued or loved or respected. There will be tests and trials and obstacles to overcome ... and all of that will be my life.

But there will also be sunshine and lemonade too.

Oh man

Monday, December 11, 2006
On Saturday night, I was THAT girl -- the one who cries at the company holiday party.


It was no huge deal. Somebody drunkenly said something to me that hurt my feelings. And because I had a little wine in me too, I immediately became emotional and weepy and sad.

The worst part is that I am not a pretty crier. There are some people who cry and look like the tearful stars of dramatic movies. Their features weaken and their faces start to look all soft-focus. Their eyes spill over with tears, their bodies curl up like pill bugs, their lips get all puffy and pouty. Their sadness only makes them look more delicate, more adorably tragic.

These people don't cry; they weep.

I don't cry like that: I moan. I hyperventilate. And I'm never wise enough to use waterproof mascara.

So at the company holiday party, I wasn't able to catch myself before my face began to swell, my skin got splotchy, my nose and eyes were bright red.

At least I matched the poinsettias.

Great spam

Friday, December 08, 2006
Got this in my inbox today:

"The climate inside her, he had come to discover, was like springtime in the Midwest.
She seized him with panicky strength and pulled him into an upright sitting position. He worked his way out from under her like a man burrowing his way out of a snowpile. He saw her pulling her lip out, digging her short nails into its sensitive pink meat. The wagon was reversing down the driveway before he got his door all the way closed."

Hmm. What's the climate inside you?

Everything Zen

Wednesday, December 06, 2006
My column for this week's paper is about my visit to the Zen Mountain Center, near Idyllwild.

I'll post more about it, once I wrap my head around everything I want to say.

In the meantime, there are pictures.


This is the building where I had a one-on-one beginner's class with a monk named Travis:

Zen classrooms

These are Tibetan prayer flags, though when Jason was looking at the photos he said, "Aw, how sweet! They all had their clothes out to dry!"

Prayer flags

The center is located on 160 acres. Part of it is very mountainous terrain and includes hiking trails that join up with the Pacific Crest Trail. The other part looks out over Lake Hemet:


I can't wait to return. It did my soul good.

Shiver me timbers!

Friday, December 01, 2006
I'm not sure what's happening with the temperature in Palm Springs right now, but I suspect it has something to do with global warming and Al Gore and the fact that I haven't rented "An Inconvenient Truth" yet.

It's COLD.

How cold is it?

Last night Jason and I had to turn on the heat. And I don't think we did that until at least mid-January last year.

At 5 a.m. this morning when I went to my boot camp workout at the soccer park, I wore knee-high socks, yoga pants, a long sleeve tee, a hooded sweatshirt, a thick sweater from Tibet, a fleece hat with the hood of the sweatshirt pulled up and ski gloves. And I still didn't get warm. Not even once.

It was so cold, there was frost on the field. As we did our warm-up -- no joke -- we all created melted patches of grass around our feet. By the end of the class, there was ice on the bottom hem of my yoga pants.

It was so cold that my butt went numb. And not in a good way.