Monthly Archives: December 2010

2010 in review! (feel free to steal this. self-reflection is good!)

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What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

COMPLETED A NOVEL!!, saw a man dressed as sarah palin pull an amerikan flag from his ass onstage, rode my bike across state lines, rode my bike 320 miles in a week, camped for more than one consecutive night, visited mainland canada, had a 2-guy threesome, had a full-time job with benefits, got my passport! (not in chronological order.)

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

yes, they were to get my passport and finally leave the country and make a significant dent in my debt. i’ve done all 3. next year’s goals: leave the continent, get outta debt, find a home for my book.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
someone who i used to be close with did, i think.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
no one close, as of this moment.

5. What countries did you visit?
canada!

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
some new stamps on my passport. a published book. friends at work that i actually get to see during the workday.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
mostly awful things that i don’t really want to remember, or else sexy/romantic things that i don’t want to share here. um. i remember getting pizza tattoos on valentines day, the aforementioned american flag incident, that beet dinner with stephanie and pino, toronto funtimes, going swimming with my sibs in the polish hill pool, some dinners at landslide, a ridiculous time on the southside,  the bike trip, some other things…

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

besides the book, i really didn’t achieve anything. i spent most of my time working jobs that made me really sad; giving most of my money to student loan officers; being misunderstood by strangers, friends and lovers alike; raging, crying, being heartbroken in every sense of the word.

9. What was your biggest failure?

see above. also, i really wish i’d gotten off the bus when i’d gotten a certain beseeching text message, but i just kept on going like a drone.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

not really.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

the front rack & panniers for my bike. the occasional cute outfit.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

most pittsburgh people, my siblings, my old-school friends and my sweetheart.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

my co-workers & my sweetheart.

14. Where did most of your money go?

student loans, delicious food, cute outfits, and good books and music. oh and the bike trip!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
quitting my god-awful job with child prtective srvcs. getting more tattoos. going to toronto. going on the bike trip. seeing the ocean again. and several things that didn’t happen.

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?

i don’t want to be reminded. but probably arcade fire, lil’ kim and 70’s punk rock. (i know these are artists/genres and not songs)

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder?  sadder.
b) thinner or fatter? the jury’s out. i really don’t care.
c) richer or poorer? richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
writing.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

crying in the bathroom at work. trying to explain things to people who just don’t get it. working, in general.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

already spent it. in new york. got off to a rough start but then it got way better. full of delicious food, berets, a vuvuzela, much hilarity, and my long-lost sister!

21. Did you fall in love in 2010?
no.

22. How many one-night stands?
two. surprised?

23. What was your favorite TV program?
ru paul’s drag race.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
no. but i have stopped being friends with a lot of people this year!

25. What was the best book you read?
i actually read a lot of really great books this year. some of my faves were “a visit from the goon squad” -jennifer egan, “will grayson, will grayson” by john green & david levithan, “sex changes” and “public sex” by patrick califia, “freedom” by jonathan franzen, more i’m sure.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
i really loved “the suburbs” by arcade fire.

27. What did you want and get?
a finished book! and a halfway-decent job (although it’s been AWFUL these past 2 months)

28. What did you want and not get?
sympathy. empathy. consideration.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 28 but you woulda thought i was 12 by how i celebrated: cake & girl talk (the game, not the band) & lots of giggling. it was actually REALLY fun.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

see question #28.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

have i ever had a personal fashion concept? i mean, really? i wore skirts more often than i ever have in my life, perhaps.

33. What kept you sane?
reading good books, my bicycle, my ipod (esp. at work), sometimes my friends and lover.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
i am numb.

36. Who did you miss?
kastoory, eric g., emily, sheena and lucy. axi, as always. and a few people who i don’t want to name.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
danny and hilary, i think.

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we run away, but we don’t know why.

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saw the sun for the first time in weeks. i’m on long island now. lots of shitty familial drama already. so i got dressed, drank some coffee, processed with my stepmom, and then decided that the best thing to do in this situation would be to ride a bike around the neighborhood while listening to “the suburbs” by arcade fire. been obsessing over that album anyway, it’s been making my chest ache with the memory and emotions it brings up, things long left buried. plus it’s sonically brilliant. plus, you know, i’m in the fucking suburbs. and a common theme of that album is the act of driving around and around.
well. i don’t have a car or a license, but i do have a chrome-and-steel barely-functioning 70’s bike that my dad rescued from the trash a few years ago. he can’t stand to see a functional bike thrown out, which is one of the reasons why i love him. it’s too small for my lumbering frame, has no brakes to speak of, and has drop handlebars, which are less than ideal when you’ve got glasses that are always sliding off your face, but whatevs. we take what we can get. i rode around in the winter sunshine and thought about things. let the music wash over me. it was nice.
i want to go out again but i have to wait by the phone in case my sister calls. she’s been travelling for over 72 hours, trying to get home (she currently lives in a suburb of paris, teaching english to wee schoolchildren) but all of europe is in a snow emergency and no one knows where she is or when she’s getting home. first world problems, i know, but it’s still scary and it still sucks. my mom seems to think that calling me up yelling and crying is going to fix the situation. sigh. lil’ sis called collect from dublin, ireland last night, crying and frustrated, and no one’s heard from her since, no clue what country she’s in or if she’s okay. i like to imagine her falling in love with another frustrated traveler and laughing about this mess one day. (jill, if you’re reading this, please call home! mom is a hot mess!!)

proud.

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did you know that this page is the #1 google hit for “tough dykes”? just thought you’d like to know, dear readers. someone also found this page by googling “i fucking love passports!” haha. me too.

also, today on the elevator at work, i heard two women talking. one said, “ugh, i need a hat. my hair looks so bad today!”
the other one responded, very sassily, “i never wear a hat when my hair looks bad! take me as i AM, you know?!” it made me smile. i never wear a hat when my hair looks bad too. and i know peeps talk shit on me, clients and co-workers alike, for being a little too messy & silly for office work, really. but that’s another post, and i’ve got a plane to catch.

i love updating while intoxicated.

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hello. in defiance (or, perhaps, because of) this stupid winter weather (it is currentlly 19 degrees, with a windchill of 14) my BF and i got drunk and watched “showgirls”, which is one of my fave bad movies ever. he’d never seen it! gasp!

lately i have been seeing all sorts of blog posts about winter survival. i think this is important; winter sucks and makes me kind of not want to live anymore. here are the ways i have found to deal with it…

1) get drunk and watch “showgirls” with one you love. cuddle & keep each other warm.

2) apply for LIHEAP! (full disclosure: i work there!) it stands for low income heating energy assistance, and it’s a governmental grant that helps low income people (in PA, the threshold for the program is if you  make under $17,238 per year for a 1-person household, or $23,542 for a 2-person household) pay their extraordinarily high winter heating bills. every state in amerika (including, strangely, hawaii, where the lowest temperature recorded all year has been 60 degrees) has a liheap program and if you have any trouble at all paying yr bills you should really look into it.

3) if you have the physical capacity for it at all, winter biking can be really great. just dress for it. wear multiple layers, a scarf, a balaclava and (if it’s under five degrees) you need to wear goggles so your eyeballs don’t freeze. sad but true. luckily it hasn’t come to that yet in pgh (it has gotten below 5 degrees w/ windchill but i’ve just taken the bus). today me and the dude rode our bikes to go holiday shopping and yes, we were cold and yes, it was occasionally miserable but sometimes it was great. we rode home thru the graveyard and saw an awesome sunset. if we were in the car it would have been all mediocre, all the time.

4) uh, look at pictures that might  make you happy? here are 4 pictures that have made me happy this week:

a) (stolen from autostraddle, i’m not in the mood to link to that particular post but they’re linked in the link list)

b. this is my friends jen and teresa and their amazing BFF tattoos!

(photo taken by the amazing caldwell linker)

c)(ray putting on lipstick! i forget why. but i love this picture.)

d)stolen from the dainty squid. also don’t feel like linking, but there’s a link in the blogroll to your right.

on bleeding, cramps, self-care and the fuckin’ patriarchy.

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so. i am one of those people who very rarely calls in sick. i dragged myself to work throughout a hellish cold last month, because i didn’t want to lose any money or seniority at work.

but today i woke up at 7:15, when the sky was still dark and the world was still cold, bleeding profusely, and i was like, “you know what?! fuck it!” i called in sick to my manager, who seemed mildly horrified that i was honest about having cramps, despite the fact that she is a woman and the mother of several daughters. but whatever. the funny thing is, i wasn’t even feeling crampy. i do get really sick usually, but i didn’t get sick today, because i took care of myself.

sure, i could have gotten out of bed, taken a shitload of pain medication, packed my heating pad, and trudged out into the snow and single-digit windchills. i could have waited for the bus, gone to work, plugged my heating pad in and snuggled it next to my abdomen, hiding it under my desk all day. i am very fortunate to have a physically easy, sit-down desk job. it wouldn’t have been the worst thing in the world. i’ve done it dozens and dozens of times.

but today i decided to opt for some self-care, to act like i am a person whose needs and comfort matter, and so i called off, and snuggled with my sweetheart underneath our blankets, and slept for a total of 12 hours, and took a bath, and just didn’t push myself on this day where, month after month, i am completely exhausted.

well, on the lucky days i am completely exhausted and just feel vaguely like shit. on the unlucky days i am on my knees puking violently and crying about all the things that i can handle the rest of the month, just crying hysterically about my friend in solitary confinement and my other friend in the graveyard and all the fucked up things going on in the world, every fucking thing, i can feel it then, i feel it so intensely and it’s so, so awful.

and i also called off (you see, you see how much i need to justify it to myself? crazy i tell you) because i was thinking, if the world were run by women we’d all get an automatic day off every month to deal with this shit, no shame, no questions asked, no docked pay, just a day to curl up and reflect and not push your body past its breaking point. and of course in the world as know it now that wouldn’t be possible, all these men would be making a stink about how “unfair” it is that women get an extra day off, when what’s actually fucking unfair is how half the population has to go to work, or school, or go about their daily routine,  feeling totally horrible and sick, and not only that but we have to hide it, act like everything’s fine, be vague if a crack in our armor shows and people ask what’s wrong and keep smiling! keep smiling! oh, you’d better keep smiling because if you are not smiling through every situation that life throws at you, you have completely failed as a woman. gaah. i don’t even care how much this sounds like a 15-year-old new-to-riot-grrrl rant.

all i am saying is, i am glad that i took that day for myself. nobody gave it to me, i took it. i am glad that i have a job where it isn’t a super big deal if i miss a day (although i don’t have paid sick days and i lost about $80 not going into work, i am also glad to be in a financial place where a day’s pay lost isn’t a disaster), i am glad that i was able to wake up and say “fuck it” and spend the day taking care of myself, and i am in a much better mood in general for having had that experience.

on a much-lighter-but-still-menstruation-related-note, i ordered this poster from iheartguts last month and it makes me so happy! it’s soooo cute!

snowy times, tough dykes, & possibilities

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winter is here and it sucks the breath out of my lungs, that first step outside. i didn’t believe it would happen. i don’t know why, i just thought things would be different. but i’m sleep-deprived & over-caffeinated, just like most people, wandering through the days in a numb haze. already tired of it, with many months to go.

i saw “rise against: the tribe 8 documentary” last night with a bunch of fun queers, and it was so good, so snarky and relevant to my life both now and long ago, made me miss my crazy punk dyke friends, all gone now in one way or another. and just seeing a movie, seeing something, that made sense to me, that i could relate to, was like a salve. there’s one line i thought about all day, where silas flipper says, “i read somewhere that a woman’s worst fear is being raped, and a man’s worst fear is being laughed at. i think that says a lot about how things are in our society. so, i try to laugh at men as much as i can!” i spent all day wondering how any woman gets by in this world without subverting it in some way. all the women that i work with, who i don’t like at all, i still feel bad for them. all the dieting, the endless trying to please everyone in their lives, all the casual self-hatred tossed out all day. “i’m so fat.” “i’m so stupid.” how have they done it for so long?

i don’t think that i’m making the point that i want to make. so i will change the subject. i was thinking of moving back to new york, not this summer but next, and working for the union for a little bit, mainly because i want my next novel to be a lesbian construction worker romance (which will not be as ridiculous as it sounds!) i worked construction the summer of 2004, in the union that my dad is a member of, that my grandfather and great-grandfather were a member of. fourth generation. all the grizzled old union guys were impressed when i told them. it sucked, getting up early and sweating all day with a bunch of dudes, half of whom were so pissed that i was there because they felt like they couldn’t scratch their balls all day or whatever the fuck. but it was also a really interesting environment that i kind of want to talk about. and i want to talk about how the women in that environment took care of each other; we had to. there were about 500 guys in the building and about 20 women. and it was so beautiful, what we saw in each other, what we nurtured and protected.

plus, funny things happened there every day. just little things. i don’t feel like telling any of the stories right now, but maybe i’ll be in the mood some day. the graffiti was great, the conversations were sometimes great, just being in those buildings while they were still new, before anyone else, high above the city as the sun slowly crawled above the buildings. and the first-born in my family has always been an electrician, for three generations before me, and i usually hate tradition but there was something about swinging that hammer, about cutting that pipe, about running that wire through the ceiling, that felt so right, that i felt deep in my bones. so maybe i’ll do it again, just for the summer when i’m off from my other job, gathering stories like little figs, underslept and overcaffeinated, just like i am now.

one good day after five bad ones.

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today i kinda had a new lease on life, finally wasn’t sick, and the sun fucking came out even if only for a few minutes, and i kept overhearing the funniest things that made me feel like i live in a world that’s got some magic in it and not just endless piles o’ shit….

….like, at the library, i saw this crazy-ish woman heading towards the door with a white dude (who i’m pretty sure she’d just met a few minutes earlier), saying loudly to him, “well look at us, a white man and a black woman, we gonna rule the world! i KNOW i’m a queen. i’m tired of the bullshit, we’ll run the world right!” it was oddly inspiring.

also, in the elevator at work, i heard two women talking. one was telling the other a story that went like this: “so, she’s following me, and she keeps saying, ‘bitch! bitch!’ but i didn’t turn around because i didn’t realize she was talking to me. i didn’t even realize it was her until she reached out and smacked my ass with a cookie sheet….”