Tuesday, July 31, 2007

on a lighter note

A few things I've heard from perfect strangers in passing lately:

"I'm hanging up. I love myself too much to be a part of this conversation any more."
(Said by a tall, bald guy walking past a Creperie in Berkeley.)

"Put that away. We don't buy toys at bookstores."
(Said by a young mom to her son at Powell's bookstore in Portland.)

"The only bush I trust is my own."
(O.k. I didn't hear this, I saw it on a bumper in Berkeley - it was just too good to pass up).


dropping the ball

A few weeks ago when I wrote this I thought I'd put to rest some recent anxiety that has effectively squelched my ability to post as much as I'd like to. Unfortunately, I'm not quite past it, and while I'm constantly making notes of things I'd like to write about, or more often issues I want to try and dissect in my little blurbs - I just haven't had the energy to get much out. What I can say is that in recent weeks I've been confronting emotions that I like to think I'm better than - anger being the primary one. My mom and I were talking about anger recently and she thinks it's a very separate emotion than hurt - I find they often go hand in hand - anger's just easier to respond to when something hurtful happens.

Fortunately, life isn't lived in the blogosphere (or at least not in mine) - it's just processed here. So I know at some point I'll get back to doing just that. Until then, I'm going to my favorite place in the world next week and when I get back I'll do my best to continue romancing my history, reflect on all the growing up I've been trying to do this summer and recap my recent trip to Portland, Oregon - Kentucky Derby party and all.

Thanks for sticking with me - hope your own summer is treating you all well!

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

in case I can't type tomorrow

Today I went to the gym for a lower body workout with my trainer.

I am leaving that first sentence in as a reminder to everyone the importance of saying what you're writing inside your head before committing it to the page.

Anyway, after said workout, I met up with my cousins and we went to a friend's house for a workout of a different kind. A workout that is one-part trendy and all-parts sexy - two things I tend to avoid (the first by choice, the second by the sheer reality of how I was made): pole dancing.

I've known this trend has been going around, and I haven't held it against people as I do the workouts that require three easy payments of $39.95 and come with fourteen free videos that so many suckers fall victim to. Still, I never thought it would be for me.

But hey, I'm in a new (albeit old) place, I need to get out of the house, I'm trying to get in shape - and I'm desperate for girl time. So red wine and pole dancing? Sign me up.

You know what? It was fun! I attempted to sit and watch and stoically drink my wine in the beginning, but after my cousin who has two metal rods fused to her entire spine (due to an insane case of scoliosis when she was in high school) started twirling around effortlessly, I had to give it a try. The great thing about pole dancing? If you have two left feet, it doesn't matter - you're feet aren't even on the ground! Sure, there are other things to hang you up - hand placement, the less-than-comfortable friction caused when tender skin meets cold metal under the entire weight of your body - but in the moments when you manage to spin around just so, you discover a grace you didn't know you had. Hell, it's more than grace - it's a sense that if a certain someone was in the room, it wouldn't matter in the least that you're wearing a sweaty sports bra and ugly running shorts.

I tell you this, I've never walked away from a weight machine with that feeling. Now I just need to see if I can handle the leg bruises that are sure to show up tomorrow, and the potential of what someone tonight referred to as "inner thigh callouses." Talk about killing the sexy.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Quite possibly the most boring post ever

But I've got health insurance - yay!!!


Thursday, July 19, 2007

"I hella heart Oakland"*

For the past couple of weeks I've renewed my love affair with blogging, revisited my deep desire to break up with Work once and for all, and then watched it all come to a screeching halt in light of family drama that knocked the wind right out of me. Perhaps that's being too dramatic - but to be quite honest, no matter what the situation - no matter how long it has gone on, no matter how much it's to be expected - when something goes wrong in my family, it hits me to the core. Unfortunately, it hit me so hard that for the last few days I haven't wanted to write at all. This has SUCKED because for me, whenever I experience an excess of emotion - be it joy or sadness, confusion (can that be classified as an emotion?) or fear, I write. I don't write novels or poetry or deep thoughts (though I admit, I hope a few sneak in from time to time), I just pour whatever is churning around inside me onto the page in some form or another, and then I feel better. If it's happy stuff - I feel better for recognizing it, for taking the moment to commemorate a blessing. If it's bad stuff - well, it's a form of release. It's a process to get it out, reflect on it, and realize it's never as bad as I think - especially if I can in someway keep my head on straight about it - which writing seems to do.

This week, however, I haven't been able to do any of that. I've been so angry and so sad that I've just let the thoughts rage around in my head - sometimes bursting out in entirely the wrong manner (like when I broke into tears when I got my second veto from a health insurance company**, or rather, the computer program that decided in less than 30 seconds that I was not a candidate for Tonik - which is geared towards young healthy people. You know, like me). Or, going practically ballistic on my dad the one day I let him make us lunch (I've been heading up a healthy salad kick for us while my mom's been out of town) and instead of creating the perfect salad I'd dreamed up in my head with last night's salmon leftovers, he mixed them in with the salad he'd made three days before (this lettuce was not just tired, it was fucking fatigued), and ruined it. Kicking a gift horse in the mouth? You bet.

I know when I get like this, when I'm angry and sad for all the right reasons, but can't find anything but the wrong ways to get it all out, is when I need writing the most. It's taken me a few days, but I'm finally back at the page. THANK GOD.

*This is actually the subject of what will have to be my next post. I got kinda side-tracked here...

**Probably not a good thing when you're trying to explain to the insurance company that's just denied you how insignificant the low dose antidepressant you take (for which your application was denied) is in the scheme of things. "What, you can't understand me through the tears? I said I'm fine. What's my problem? WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM!?!" No really, I'm fine.***

***Do NOT get me started on the fact that you are effectively denied coverage if you actually seek help and/or counseling during stressful times. Would this really be a healthier country if people chose not to see a counselor when marriages ended, or loved ones were lost? That's not necessarily why I went - but I sited "transitional life event" (that makes it sound like I had a sex-change doesn't it?) and apparently, you're not allowed to have had one of those within the last year to join the Tonik gang. Funny, as one of their slogans is, "Not that we've tried, but you can't walk off a broken ankle." Well you can't always walk off a broken heart either, asshats.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

where I find myself

There's a white sign with a red border on the side of the road. If you turn off from the east you have to cross double yellow lines, and pray for the patience of the car behind you to wait as you make your turn.

The edge of the road is lined with blackberry brambles, and from time to time you'll see a deer or a wild turkey making their way through the brush. About a hundred feet in you'll see a stack of mail boxes, the only clue that some 30 people live on this property.

Turn right and you'll pass the lumber yard office, boxed in by American trucks and hauling equipment. Up the drive you'll find the house where your sister was married, where hundreds of eggs are hidden each Spring, where you used to find garden snakes in the little metal sprinkler well on the side of the big lawn.

Up the hill is a small ring of apartments and an old oak that succumbed yesterday to the honeybees who made its' inside their home. The honeybees will be saved as their numbers are dwindling and they play a critical role in the life of the fields and orchards that sustain our valleys. This little apartment community gathered yesterday to mourn the loss of this tree, and my six year old cousin burst into tears today as he saw it laying on its' side and he reminisced about all the times he explored its branches and swung beneath its leaves.

To the left of the apartments is a horse corral and beyond its fences the field my grandfather could have bought some fifty years ago, but simply never got around to. It houses the oaks that I treasure, whose branches my generation conquered and made our own.

Make a loop around the old tree and head back to the highway and take the only right offered to you. At the top of an oak-lined driveway is the business grandpa built. The labors of a Polish immigrant whose parents encouraged him to leave his language behind and embrace his new country when he was just a boy. The business his sons still run, and which four of his grandchildren now earn their living from.

Pull into the old carport. Hear the sound your shoes make as you cross the cement and step up to the walkway between the old house and the apartment that's housed friends and family throughout the years. Catch the faint smell of Grandma's roses as they mix with the oaks on the breeze, and pass under the grape vines you took so much pleasure in when you were a child.

Open the door that has no lock, hear the latch click behind you - the same sound it has made your whole life. Step into the house and you're home.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

romancing my history: a small tangent

I don't know many people who credit middle school as the best years of their life, and I am no exception. Aside from my first flirtation with romance, some great T.P.ing stories and two of my best friends to this day, I left middle school with little more than a heavily bruised psyche and a desperate need for a change of pace. I convinced my parents to send me to a private school in another city (one that required driving through the Oakland ghetto to get to - it kept things interesting) and was surprised to find that many of my new classmates were people I'd met my first half of kindergarten before my family moved cities and I changed schools mid-year. I don't know if that distant connection helped me get to know people, or if it was my determination to start afresh, or perhaps it was the wicked cool plaid flannel vest and baggy jeans I'd cajoled my mom into buying before school started, but I found myself part of a tight group of friends from the get go. While we weren't the most popular kids, we were basically friends with everyone, with plenty to do, places to go, and people to crush on. Things were going great, so naturally, I got a boyfriend.

He was gorgeous. I saw him at a spirit rally and set my sites on learning everything about him. It turned out he was good friends with the two guys I'd become closest too (a shared hatred of algebra made for quick bonds and creative note passing) and suddenly we were an item (high school didn't seem to be that different to middle school in this way). But oh, there was a catch. I soon learned from his buddies (quickly becoming my closest confidants - man that can make things tricky in high school) that my new man was just that, a bonafide MAN, whose virginity had been lost the year before to a beautiful older girl. Oh, what a dilemma. I had the biggest crush on this guy, but I had yet to even fully make out with anyone (the majority of my kisses still having been done in the company of numerous girlfriends, for verifications sake, I suppose?) and now I found myself in the big league. This is not to say that he put any pressure on me - sex was nowhere near on the table, and looking back I cannot imagine the patience he had with me as I dealt with this news. The effect it had on me was to stifle any urge I might have to start acting on the ever-present high school hormones we were all juggling, as I desperately feared that I wouldn't add up, that I didn't know what I was doing, that I would be sub-par in my kissing. It is entertaining to think what a big deal this was at that time. For, just as in middle school, our makeouts (or lack thereof), were still everybody's business.

I don't even remember how long this went on for - but it was a number of months - probably close to six, in which we spent lots of time together, got to know each others' families, went snowboarding, smuggled beers up to my cabin with our friends, snuck out in the middle of the night and hung out all the time after school. And all the while, I wouldn't put out. Like, at all.

Oh how badly I feel about this now! I feel for him for putting up with it, and for me and the fear of that contact that I had. It all stemmed from insecurity - from my inexperience with how simple kissing can be, with how basic physical contact works. As soon as his history was introduced to me, I was completely unable to progress naturally in getting to know and be comfortable with him, I simply set all physicality to the side.

I had to tell this part of my relationship history, which in all its awkwardness and immaturity actually had a few moments of true sweetness - but which more importantly paved the way for my first great romance that would eventually unfold. Had I not had to face the consequences of the tension, insecurity and doubt I did in trying to make something work when I had an impenetrable wall I couldn't even define surrounding me, I don't think I would have known how to take such a wall down when I realized I was in love with his best friend two years later.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

falling slowly, and slower still

(Please play before continuing with this post - sometimes life just needs a soundtrack, just ask Cameron Crowe)

Every so often in the midst of life returning to wharp speed and the inevitable heart breaks and joys that ensue, you have to take a moment to think of where you've been. And when you've been half way across the world, immersed in the reality of lives so far from your own comprehension that you still can't wrap your head (or your heart) around where the differences end and the shared humanity begins, you really need to take these moments. They'll catch you off guard - the emotions, the longing, the guilt - so you just try and take it all in as it comes. You attempt to ascribe some sort of definition based on the life you find yourself back in - be it in your relationships, in the lyrics of a song that showed up at just the right time, or in the picture you've framed so you see it first thing in the morning and remember where you were. In this mess of emotions you realize there is no sorting it all out afterall, so it's time to start sharing.
You need to start sharing.

"Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice"

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

the first of a few

I'm going to try and tell my romantic history. First, because I have one - and every day I realize that far too few women truly do. Second, because I cannot yet figure out how the romance of my past affects the reality of my today - and no matter that the people of past romances are now dear friends or lost lovers, I find myself thinking back on the purity of young love, of gifts born of creativity as funds were simply not available and expectations of more worldly items not yet dreamed up. I'm starting to rediscover that creativity on my own as I try and make a cross-continental relationship work - but it's amazing how rusty I am, when years ago such sweet-nothings came to me as effortlessly as saying "I love you." Still, I'm having fun dreaming up new ideas, and I thought it would be fun to reminisce and share some of the romantic things that have been part of my history in an effort to get these juices flowing once again.

"Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start..."

The scene: 6th Grade camping trip.
Me: glasses, braces, more than one jumpsuit and a very flat chest.
Him: A mop of dirty blond hair bleached on top from spending the summer sailing, a crooked grin and a blue and yellow old-school baseball jacket.

He asked one of my friends to ask me out (we'd never spoken), and after she pointed him out across the campsite I gave my response, "o.k." Thus started my first relationship, which would lead to my first kiss (in front of 6 of my closest girlfriends, just seconds before my dad pulled up in the old Colt to pick me up from school), the first kiss that made me swoon (he dipped me after the cool boys in shop class asked us to kiss in front of them) and my first true break up - which I really don't remember, to be honest. Even at the tender age of 11 though, I was beginning to understand what attraction was all about - what it meant to excite someone of the opposite sex just by being you (all pre-pubescent and bracefaced that you were).

But our story didn't end there. Fast forward to 8th grade - there have been a few boyfriends in between, my first FRENCH kiss (in front of some of the same girls), a number of disastrous middle-school girlfriend dramas and my sixth grade boyfriend and I found ourselves sharing a class and getting to know each other as real people for the first time. The year progressed, the attraction returned - but we were shy, and two of my girlfriends liked him too, so we sat on our feelings until the end of the year. But then we found ourselves at the eighth grade dance, the night upon which all of middle school came down to. I was dressed in the most ridiculous ruffled shirt my mom had bought me, (which happened to be see through - though she convinced me it was o.k. because it had a busy print and I'd bought a pretty bra in a coordinating color from the Victoria Secret catalog to go underneath - I promise I was the unlikeliest candidate to suddenly show up as a little whore-monger at the graduation dance). He was there, we both knew this night meant something to us, the end of an era we entered into together three years before, though it was only starting to make sense to us now.

The night went on, the last dance started. He grabbed me, took me to the dance floor and the moment was ours. There was no definition, nothing happened after this night, but in that moment, my heart leapt and I understood that some moments exist purely for the romance they bring.


Monday, July 09, 2007


Cherry tipped me off to Corbis awhile back in one of his posts. Corbis is a stock image catalog where you can download various pictures for print/internet/media publications. I'm putting together a demo for my new job, and thought I'd check it out.

On my last search I entered "Man computer" and then, "Man using computer." Both returned the same results.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Fantastic Friday

"I've got the world on a string, I'm sitting on a rainbow..."

If I were just a bit cooler, I would be showing you the following in a pdf copy of the actual letter I received tonight. I'm not (cool), so I'm retyping paragraph one (with a few geographical redactions) because I'm in no state to take on a scanner:

"Dear Megan,

Congratulations! The Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship Committee for District [****], with the approval of District Governor [redacted], is pleased to award you an Ambassadorial Scholarship for the academic year 2008/2009. Through your hard work and dedication, you have earned this scholarship.

The selection of this year's Scholars was not easy. The committee felt that you would be an excellent representative for the United States and Rotary as you continue your education and become a part of Rotary's program to further international understanding and promote world peace."

I'll stop there, because that is pretty much all you need to know in terms of exactly how big and fat the afore mentioned rainbow I am currently sitting on is. Whenever I feel as if I can't be blessed anymore than I have, something comes along and blows me out of the water. This is by far the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me. Not only have I managed to earn support for a year of study in an African country (just which country I won't know until December - EGADS December!?!) BUT the scholarship is all about representing the ideals of Rotary - which as they say above is to promote international understanding and world peace. What an honor to do this on behalf of my country at this time in history. I am so thankful that opportunities like this exist - they give me hope, not only in my own dreams - but in the idea that as a community, as a country, as a world - we can make a difference.

Congratulations. That word has never been so sweet.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007


There's a moment when the static of life falls away and the soul you cover up on a daily basis is raw and exposed to you, its owner. Its the energy that attracts people to you, that causes them to walk away after meeting you feeling as if a golden ticket has been passed into their hands, and yet for you it is always a bit too far off to recognize. You glimpse it sometimes through the gifts of others - a beautiful song, a well-told story, a generous heart - you're reminded of that strength inside you, the blood that courses through your veins only. The ancestry and chromosomes that combined to make you: complex, daunting, spectacular. And in that moment, perhaps brought on by fatigue, the throwing up of your hands to the chaos around you, or sometimes at the end of something - a dear friend's life even - you find that core that everyone else sees so easily. You let the tears fall, you raise a glass, you retreat to a beautiful room you've created to explore the music that swirles inside you and so rarely has a chance to come out in its purest form.

I rarely see you at these moments, rarely have a chance to hear those notes unobscured by your anxiety and self doubt. Unlike you, I always know they're there -and I find myself burdened by the resentment of such infrequent access.

Then I start to think about how I must be the same. A different chemical composition, sure - but capable of at least as much. And of course just as likely to let the static cover it all up, force others or worse, randomness - from the most infrequent of moments to the despair of loss - remind me of what's inside, remind me of what could be.


Monday, July 02, 2007


I hate anger. I hate being at the receiving end of it, but I hate even more being the one to dish it out. The past few days I've revisited the cesspool that can build up inside when you're forced to watch something or someone that is out of control - be it a disease ravishing a helpless child (one of the last things to insight this sort of feeling in me), or someone disrespecting and threatening someone you hold dear (the most recent). The worst part is that somehow as you try and sort through whatever emotions these sorts of things invoke in you, you can't always do it quickly enough, or orderly enough to not affect the people around you. Throw in the general day to day complexities of life and every once in awhile it all comes hurling out in all the wrong directions. Unlike when you're sad, or stressed, and you just need a good cry to let it out and let it go - when you let out anger, it inevitably makes you feel worse in the end. And then you have to confront whether you're someone who can admit when they've made a mistake, say sorry and move on - or whether you're going to cling to that ugliness for a little longer as you try and sort it all out. Ick.


I was not cut out for phone-lovin'

Now now now, don't you jump to conclusions - this is not a post about phone sex. It is a post about how hard it is to carry on a relationship over the phone. It's not awful, it's just that my unique self-diagnosed ADD and the family I now live with ("Meg, are you on the phone" (as she looks at me holding the phone? "Tell (redacted) I say hello! Is he coming for Christmas? How's France?" etc. etc. etc.) make it really hard to focus. Combine that with the language barrier (which in person is practically non-existent, but somehow over a trans-continental phone connection is glaringly obvious) and it just doesn't flow 100% of the time. And then I feel guilty because for now, this is what we have by way of communications - and while sometimes all that matters to me is that I get to hear his voice, at other times I struggle to make substance of a few minutes of trying to cram in all that a relationship in the flesh entails (again, NOT about phone sex!). I think I need to do better about setting aside specific times where I can close my door, shut off the distractions and just focus on this man who makes me melt when he looks into my eyes. I can't see them, but if I close my own eyes, I know they're there.