Archive for ‘Truth Serum’

Truth Syrup

May 22nd, 2010

The only upside to being sick is taking hydrocodone cough syrup. You’re still sick, but you don’t seem to mind it as much

Every time Sally Field hawks Boniva on TV, I want to break one of her fragile wings.

I know handmade crafts are the hallmark of hip sustainable eco culture, but why is so much of it ugly, and will felting ever die?

I’m terrible at conducting job interviews. I never trust myself not to hire a secret psycho, which has actually happened twice.

My new guilty pleasure is Kelly Cutrone on “The City,” but she scares me.

Every time I apply self-tanner I look like I’ve been rolling in dung.

I spend more time reading about writing than actually writing.

I find it difficult to cry in front of people, so I probably come across as unfeeling.

Sometimes when I’m cooking, I pretend I’m on a Food Network show and talking to an audience. So nerdy.

Today when I was packing to visit my family in Seattle, I came across an old travel brochure for Moorea in French Polynesia, which I thought at one time I’d visit. The cover showed a resort with thatched huts on stilts in the water, which was a beautiful transparent aquamarine, and I thought, I wish I could have done that. And I immediately realized I could do that if I really want to…the only thing holding me back is me. I could find the money, even though it would be quite a stretch, and I can take the time off work, so what’s holding me back? I think when I say I wish, I mean I wish I could imagine having fun by myself or I wish I were more spontaneous, or I wish I knew what I really wanted to do. I’m taking a book with me called The Wishing Year and I hope it gives me some insight into how to make wishing less wistful and more purposeful. Wish me luck.

In the Dark

April 23rd, 2010

It’s easy for me to be philosophical and full of hope when things are going well, but I don’t always set a great example for myself or anyone around me when things don’t go my way. Yesterday several things came unraveled at once, and I threw myself onto my unmade bed and sobbed into the pillow for a long time for no reason and every reason: the unmade bed, the grandson I love who can’t find his way, my daughter’s illness, problems at work, my lack of ideas, the broken dishwasher, my screwed-up knee, the stupid purchase I didn’t need that showed up in the mail just when I was worrying about money, a skirt that was suddenly too tight and nothing in the house to eat but flax chips and hummus (any connection with the tight waistband?). I can make up the bed, return the purchase and get the dishwasher fixed, but I have to admit that there are some things on that list that are too big for me, things I don’t know how to solve, things that I can only hand over to the universe, the great spirit, the holy fixer of broken hearts and people. I’m learning how to be in the dark and wait.

I.D. Please

March 25th, 2010

I want to be liked. I want to do good. I want to be a responsible adult. I want to be self-actualized. I want to eat 5 servings of vegetables a day and love sushi instead of just pretending I do. I want to go gray gracefully. I want to be politically and spiritually correct. I want to enjoy volunteering and believe my prayers actually go out there somewhere to someone. But I also want to be bad. I want to tan. I want to eat Irish butter. I want to wear fur. I want to have meaningless sex. I want to spend money on totally useless shit that will make me momentarily happy. I want to drive a gas guzzling truck. I want to put chemicals on my grass so it will be really thick and green. I want to eat out every night. I want to stop worrying about my carbon footprint and just buy more shoes. I want to stop feeling guilty about polar bears. I want to eat a whole bag of those cheese things that stain your fingers orange. I want someone else to be the office nanny and deal with problems at work while I put headphones on and tune them out. I want to smash palmetto bugs instead of respecting their life force and shooing them outside. I want to live beyond my means. I’ve fallen short and failed at several things lately that are important to me, and maybe it feels so devastating because I’m still trying to be the good girl I never was. I admire people whose lives are wholeheartedly pointed toward True North on the moral compass, but like my mood board, I’m a jumble of contradictory impulses and messages, always changing, constantly finding my way and losing it — over and over again and again.

Mirror, Mirror…

March 23rd, 2010

Doing my taxes last week forced me to face how much I spent on wants versus needs and how much I spent on personal indulgences versus personal giving. I’m not going to give up every little luxury that adds color and texture to my life, but I am going to hone the list to a few so that those few will be more meaningful and appreciated. Deciding to support a charity or community organization with regular donations forces me to turn outward instead of always gazing in the mirror at Me and My Stuff. I know I have problems with generosity of spirit, and although I can explain it by the way I was raised and the necessity at one time to barricade the doors of my heart, I can’t excuse it. Unfolding and opening sounds easy only to those who are already there. For the rest of us, it takes baby steps or maybe step-by-step reprogramming to trust that when you start to walk, someone will be there to catch you.

Seeing Myself

March 17th, 2010

Today on my way to work, I got caught in the staging of the St. Patrick’s Day parade and couldn’t get to my parking lot. I had no choice but to sit in my car at a standstill until the parade got underway. My reaction? Petulance, anger, irritation at all things Irish. But instead of feeling trapped in my car, I could have pulled out my Kindle (purchased for the purpose of passing time during travel and traffic jams), listened to an audio book on my iPhone or just enjoyed the craziness of the scene, like spotting the doctor who gave me my colonoscopy wearing a leprechaun costume. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to get that out of my mind. And what was so urgently awaiting me at work?  Nothing that couldn’t have waited, nothing that was going to change the world. When I finally pulled into my parking space, I realized what a jerk I’d been, and I was disappointed in the part of me that is so self-important she can’t be stalled in traffic, so lacking spontaneity that she can’t enjoy a parade, so impatient she can’t be entertained by her own thoughts for 15 minutes!  So many lessons still to be learned.


March 11th, 2010

There’s so much blah blah blah about how fashion magazines distort a woman’s self image, but I know I’m not going to be able to fit into or afford anything in Vogue. Shelter magazines and design blogs are a different story. I want the lives they suggest are possible to be lived in those gorgeous rooms. I leaf through Elle Decor and think my bedroom would be a haven of peace and serenity if I only moved all the furniture out and painted the floorboards white–you know, Swedish style in South Carolina. And oh yes, I need to distress the white chest sold to me as an antique  (also known as junk) whose drawers only open half way. I have to inch my hand in to drag out a pair of tights, but it’s vintage. On less minimalist days, I lean toward Bohemian Hippie Rich on a budget, but if I tried to create a mood wall of photos and art like the one on the magazine page above, it would look like one of those pitiful homes of a hoarder that pop up on the news every now and then. All grimy and random, not artful and studiously casual. And the rosy wall paint that references stuccoed Italian villas out of Enchanted April? It would look like Milk of Magnesia no matter how many times I went to Home Depot to remix it. Today, nothing in my life fits right, nothing is magazine-worthy. Not the living room walls (did I really choose Spearmint?), not the sheepskin rug (it looked so good in the magazine!), not the the wires hanging down from the TV and the multiple hideous cable boxes (I can’t commit to a flat screen wall installation because maybe I’ll give up TV or move it to another room) and especially not the thrift shop bedside table with a blue mirrored top (I’m sorry, but you’re so ugly). A friend of mine says this is a necessary stage you have to go through when you’re trying to change your life or shed your old skin. It’s like being between dress sizes — nothing fits and everything sucks. And all you can see is lack, not how lucky you are to be transforming.


February 21st, 2010

I went to an amazing workshop led by the poet David Whyte this weekend, and when I came home after the last session today, I pulled out this print by Olivia Jeffries that I bought on Etsy a year or so ago and decided to use it again but in a totally different context this time. It was on my mind because I realized I’ve been asking myself for months now, “What am I looking for?” and trying to push my way through to an answer right now. And for months, I’ve come no closer to finding it, becoming more agitated and frustrated as time went by. But at some point during this retreat, my question changed to, “What is looking for me?” That is a huge shift for me, because it suggests that there is a calling waiting for me that I need to spend time preparing the ground for, but not trying to force into bloom like paperwhite bulbs in the dead of winter. I’m only two months into this Year of Change that I’ve declared for myself, but just making it an official pilgrimage, if only to myself, has made me attentive to all sorts of messages coming to me from seemingly random sources that I might have ignored a year ago. A year ago I wouldn’t have signed up for, didn’t sign up for, this transformative workshop when it was offered. A year ago the poems that were read might not have lighted up the darkness for me in the way they did this time. A year ago I might not have been ready. But looking back, I can see that all the while, the field was being prepared in the darkness, the seeds being planted. The search that I’m on, the big decisions and change that I’m aiming myself toward, seem a bit less arduous and maddening knowing that while I have work to do on my part, something is looking for me as intently as I am looking for it.

Styrofoam Heart

February 14th, 2010

I found two odd objects on my desk on Friday: a pack of Fun-Dip candy powder from a sweet friend and a discontinued condom package we were thinking of using in the magazine. Sadly symbolic because there’s going to be no fun-dip happening for me on this doily-edged, red- velvet day. I’m embarrassed to admit that I have a heart-shaped void where a relationship should be. Not that I haven’t had more than my fair share of overnight hook-ups and years-too-long live-ins. But I lack the knack of day-to-day living together that grown-ups my age should have developed. I like the falling-in-love part better than the through-thick-and-thin part. Yes, I know that’s incredibly immature, but my teenage marriage was a terrible love accident that I never really got treated for. Lots of casualties as a result, and over the years, I built up a protective carapace of scar tissue where the wound was. After I had lung surgery years ago, a deep scar formed along my ribs and under my breast that for a long time was numb to feeling. I think it sealed off the terror I felt through that time, and in the same way, my love scar sealed off the sadness I didn’t want to feel. Unfortunately, it also sealed me off from the sweetness that can come with love. At some point, the scar on my ribs lost its numbness and became a badge of honor, but the one on my neglected, protected heart is more stubborn. I keep it mostly hidden because I feel to blame for it, but my word for 2010 is Change, so maybe there’s still time for me to have a change of heart.

Holiday Mayhem

December 13th, 2009

If you are stringing cranberries and popcorn while you listen to the Kings College Choir boys do their angelic thing, or if you are watching a Christmas parade with your children home on vacation from Ivy League schools, or if you are getting a lump in your throat every time

“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” comes on the radio, this is not for you. Because we are two weeks away from Christmas, and I just want to cut Santa’s throat. I grew up in a family who created idyllic Christmases, even when all the moms and dads and aunts and uncles were having affairs, lots of times with their in-laws. Later, I married into a large family whose traditions included going into debt for too many gifts and getting shitfaced on Christmas Eve. Untimely death and divorce intervened at Christmas when my kids were toddlers, so the tinsel became even more tarnished for me. Fast forward decades, and I think my adult children and I are still wobbling between A Christmas Story and Bad Santa. Will Mom visit Oldest Daughter in Seattle or Youngest Daughter in Yosemite this year? And whose feelings will be hurt? Will Only Son be living with his ex-wife for the third time, or will they have split up once again? Will I have spent equal amounts on everyone, or will someone get the short end of the stick? Why does it take a psychic to figure out what everyone wants, and where should all the damn presents be mailed (to my son’s temporary house or his ex-wife’s house?) I know that at some point on Christmas Eve all of this will fall away and I will convince myself that the dog will talk at midnight (probably to complain about his skimpy stocking), but right now, I’m at the bah humbug stage that comes after too much exposure to the Gap TV commercials. (Dear Santa, please take away their Adderall and get those models into plaid rehab.)