30 September 2004


From the time I got the invitation in the mailbox, I was excited. An 80s costume wedding. Is that not the coolest thing?

Then when we arrived in all our 80s glory—and I mean auqa-netted hair, fushia lipstick, pink-and-black fishnets and pink plastic earrings—everyone outside the place was in a black suit or cocktail dress, and I felt a moment of panic. I'm not getting out of the car. Did we misread the invitation, did they change their minds and not tell us?

But I had spent so much time shopping, not to mention getting dressed, I decided there was no way I was going home. And you know, I really enjoyed being one of the fun people (and did I have fun). I always was kinda bummed that I missed the 80s, now especially. Maybe I'll wear the costume to the next Appetite for Destruction concert...

27 September 2004

but how?

There are two kinds of people in the world. People that are waiting and people that are living. I've been turning this thought over for a while, trying to figure out what it means. I've seen so many websites from people who had happiness, and lost it, or maybe just know it's out there. It consumes you. The feeling that something else is out there, and you won't be happy unless you have it. I've done it myself. I have a place where I go when I'm sad and lonely and need to be sad and lonely. But I try to keep it disconnected from the rest of my world. I try not to dwell on it. I try to work on today, and not yesterday or tomorrow.

Because I've discovered a kind of person who can enjoy who they are today instead of wishing to be different. And that is who I want to be. And I think that is one of the secrets to life. Live today. (I'm not saying to live like you have no future. Although this moment is the only guarentee. Life can change so quickly.)

By happiness I don't mean never having a day to lay on the couch and be depressed. I simply mean having more good days than bad. Liking the quirks and imperfections that make you, you and me, me. That's all I really want.

I'm not sure exactly how to become this other kind of person, partly, I think, because I was raised to be the first. Sometimes I feel like I've taken a step, then the next day I feel right where I started.

21 September 2004

wake up

Why does my body refuse to wake up smoothly until I am running late? I've been like this since I was tiny. People said when I got older, it would change, I would need less sleep, but that simply hasn't proven true. One of my wishes is to make it up in the morning in time for breakfast, a cup of tea, and putting makeup on at home instead of throwing on clothes and rushing out the door. And imagine waking up early enough to squeeze in yoga and a shower. That is my dream, but I'm just not wired that way. I'm the quintessential definition of not a morning person.

20 September 2004


What can I say about this past week? Disjointed, crazy, fun, horrible, sad and happy at times. It's like telling four or five stories in one. I can say the weirdest holiday I've ever been on.

We started out on Sunday driving to Lafayette, where we were stalked by turtles and pigeons. Was going to be an overnight getaway. We visited a little recreated Cajun village. We played checkers in the one-room schoolhouse. We got caught in the old Catholic church during a sudden thunderstorm, then finally decided to run for it in the rain.

We stayed in the most charming bed and breakfast for the night. Right off the highway but felt like another world. T'frere's is supposed to be haunted. I don't if it's because we had just listened to Amelie's ghost story, but as soon as I turned out the lights I got this creepy weird feeling. And the whole night I was awake from nightmares. Dreams like I hadn't had in forever. The odd thing is that at breakfast in the morning (which, by the way was wonderful...) the girl from the next room said that she had terrifying nightmares all night and wondered if it was the ghost.

We left early on Monday from Lafayette when the hurricane decided not to turn east right away. We got home in time to stock up on cans of tuna, water, Gaterade, batteries and flashlights. We boarded the windows and unplugged the house and moved everything to the tops of closets and chests. We packed the important papers and all of my photographs and loaded the car. It's quite a depressing feeling to sort through years of belongings and try to decide what is worth keeping. It's very strange to drive away knowing nothing might be left to come home to.

You assign values to your belongings and stack them accordingly on different levels of furniture. It the water rises past the beds, I wouldn't mind losing these things. If it rises to the chest of drawers, I wouldn't mind losing these. If it rises to closet tops, I wouldn't mind losing these. And if it gets high enough to get these things, well, I tried at least. Because I figure the attic heat would be just as damaging as the water once the power's out and the heat's on.

For I was quite certain that New Orleans would get this storm, that the bowl would fill and everything remaining would be dead and destroyed. I've been hearing theories for years on what would happen to New Orleans if a real bad hurricane hit directly up the mouth of the river. We have a disadvantage anyway by being so far below sea level, and everyone remembers Betsy, whether you were alive then or not. So, I don't take my chances, I leave whenever I can.

This time, we left midday Tuesday, and after twenty-three straight hours of driving in a six-car caravan with walkie talkies to keep connected, we arrived in Dallas. I stopped for gas at every available station, because I was certain we would run out and end up stranded on the highway during the hurricane. I had toilet paper and tuna fish and flashlights and enough water to last a while, so we would have survived, but I hated to take the chance.

My sister had booked rooms at the Best Western for all of us, which was a horrible mistake. I have to add all of this here, just because they really did wrong us. Why I will never stay at the Best Western again (and why you shouldn't either):

They wouldn't let us stay with pets even after we offered to put deposits, pay charges, give credit card numbers, and also keep the pets locked in their carriers the whole time or keep them out on the balcony. But, they were kind enough to cancel our rooms without charge. So, half of us moved to the Sheraton (which was much nicer anyway) and half stayed at Best Western. Later that night, owner's and their dogs were swimming in the hotel pool. When we asked the front desk about it, they pretended they didn't know anything about it, then admitted they made an exception since those people had evacuated from the hurricane. Then they said they couldn't make an exception for us, and their solution was that the manager promised to kick those people with the pets out (which was ridiculous and needless to say they didn't do it). In all, we saw about five different families walking their dogs around the hotel.

From talking to people around the hotel, they gave half price rates for evacuees, however they charged us full price. My sister told them clearly when she booked the rooms that we were fleeing New Orleans because of the hurricane. They refused to discount, again, their solution was for us to tell them what room numbers and they would charge the others full price. My cousin's boyfriend asked if they offered military discounts, and they did, but it was twenty bucks more than the regular nightly rate.

They refused to give the owner's name or address so we could complain, and would only let us talk to the manager (who was no help at all).

I've never had such a bad experience at a hotel before, and even though I know the hotel was independently owned, I still will never stay in a Best Western again.

But, the Sheraton was really nice, classy, and friendly. We had our cats and dog in the room with us, and they didn't even charge us the standard fifty dollar a pet deposit. We slept for a day and a half once we checked in Wednesday, waking up now and then to watch the news. It looked like New Orleans was in for it until the last possible minute. Later, I watched footage of the destruction to Alabama and Florida, and I wonder what it would be like to drive home to nothing but mess and destruction. How do you start your life over?

We made a mini-vacation out of the rest, spending time at the Galleria (I fell in love at Sephora, thankful I don't live in Dallas), dinner and swimming, until we left Saturday morning. And the drive back only took ten hours and our house was hot, but hadn't even lost power or flooded. We lucked out, but the scary thing is this validates people who decide to ride it out, and makes people who left wish they hadn't. I can't tell you how many people said they will never leave again no matter how bad the hurricane is projected to be. But one day, that bowl will fill up. I will be long gone, because I just don't take chances like that.

And the next day was such a gloriously fall day, with a nice breeze cutting the sun. We spent the morning out on the boat. I had to wrap a torn-up flannel shirt around me to keep from freesing when we were moving, but standing still shorts and tank top were more than enough for basking in the sun. I love being outside on days like that.

08 September 2004


This is the city. The sky, if you look straight in front of you, dull grey and tired. Tied to webs of power wires, punctured by radio towers and, smaller, buildings. Only if you decide to look up, higher and higher, does it fade to blue, lighter at first, then brighter and truer saturating the sky, endless and alive, clouds pinned on display, cotton bandages.

You could spend years never noticing that it is actually blue.

07 September 2004

standing still

Let me tell you about memories, and time, she said, because I know some things about them.

At first, all you can see is the bad. You remember so vividly that all you can do is hate. You can’t remember one good thing, one beautiful moment, nothing but the bad things. Then as time goes by, the bad fades away and all that’s left is the good. Things you forgot come flooding back and things you remembered fade away. You are left with everything perfect and wonderful and you try as hard as you can, but you can’t pinpoint any of the bad things. And that’s why you miss him so much.

You’re right, he says.

I know, I told you I know some things about time, and memories, she said.

And he said, You’ll know about time when your sixty.

And she said, I went through a lot of memories in a little time. I’ve slowed down so much, now more time goes by with much less memories. And lately none at all, I feel like I’m... and she stops.

You’re what? he says.

I finished it with a song, and it was a little too Reality Bites to say out loud, she said, thinking of Jewel.

And he laughed, but she didn’t think he understood. You know the song? she said.

And he said No, I was just thinking about you singing.

06 September 2004


Everywhere I went today, someone asked me what was wrong. Truth is, I don’t know. Nothing really, everything. You’re not yourself, she said. How’s that possible? Myself, whoever that is, is impossible to escape. It was just one of those days. A frozen-mocha- with-so-much- whipped-cream- you-have-to- take-the-top- to-go day. The coffee shop girl always knows what kind of day it is before I do. Hope this helps, she said. And it did.

05 September 2004


I’ve been taking a lot of photographs. I don’t mean anything by it, I just see and picture and have to take it. Sometimes the moment is so real, so alive that the picture doesn’t begin to express it. But sometimes, the picture makes the moment more alive, more true, more beautiful.

04 September 2004

web stats

I got a little bit of a shocker a few days ago when something made me realize how un-anonymous the web actually is. See, I write online exactly as I do in my little leather-bound journal, at home, usually in pajamas late at night and it feels so private...

Then I discovered something called web statistics, and saw that sometimes in a day 500 people visit this site, probably by accident, but that half came referred from a site that had my personal information on it. And that’s just creepy.

I’ve always been a private person and seeing my name, address and phone number displayed without me even knowing made me feel not good at all, foolish and vulnerable and a little like looking over my shoulder all the time. I guess it’s not much people by web standards, but it’s a lot more people than I let come over and read my diary! I don’t mind people contacting me, and that’s why my email address is listed, but I do like to feel anonymous.

So, I thought about whether to keep this site, or start a new one, or none at all and I decided to keep it. I like writing it and recording little snippets of life, that’s why I do it, and that’s why I’ll keep doing it. And I’ll just hope no creeps or weirdos are reading...

So, since I’m going forward with it, I’ve gone ahead and put last week’s post up today.

03 September 2004


I was wrong. It is starting to show on the outside. I know this because my sister asked me if I was using drugs. She said I was acting different and that my eyes were red. So, I told her about my walk, my skirt, my finally not caring what other people think and living each day. I told her about being a vegetarian and writing in my journal and volunteering at the animal shelter. About discovering I actually have will power. And she asked wasn’t I trying to do too much at once. Should I focus my will power on one thing at a time? And I told her that I need to do whatever I can whenever I can, which is now. And the redness, that’s from staying up too late typing on the computer.

02 September 2004

eat what?

I got out of my car this morning and the lady next to me got out of hers. She made this horrible face. ewwh, you like that? she said. And I tried to figure out what the hell she was talking about. I thought of this horrible rotten stench that sometimes presents itself, but that’s in the afternoon after the leftover shrimp and catfish has baked in the heat for hours. This morning there was nothing in the air.

Then she said ewwh, you eat that? And I looked down at my bottled water, she can’t be talking to me. She can’t think water is that gross. But no one else was anywhere around and she was standing a foot away from me looking directly at me. Then, she must be crazy. But I don’t like to be rude, so I smiled and nodded anyway.

Again, ewwh, you eat that? louder this time. Are you talking to me? I had to ask. What? she said. Are you talking to me? And she removed this miniscopular earpiece and said what again. No honey, I’m talking to my mom. And what, mom? she said shoving the speaker back in.

01 September 2004


Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.—Henry David Thoreau

The past month has felt like a lifetime. It’s been a journey for me, one I knew I needed for a long time, but couldn’t figure out where to start. And I am a completely changed person for it. No, I guess you wouldn’t be able to tell from looking at me, but I feel it.

I knew I needed to change something, but I didn’t know what. I knew I didn’t feel alive, I felt like I was waiting for something. Waiting for things to change, so I could be happy. I knew I was overwhelmed, not by anything in particular, but by a lot of little things added up. I felt buried.

I looked for answers. I went to church, I even got suckered into using my home for church meetings. I wound up with a few christian cd’s to listen to in my car (which did help renew my spirit), but that wasn’t the answer. I bought books. Clear up the clutter. Find time for yourself. Organize your life. Change your mood through the colors you paint the walls. Feng Shui for beginners. I don’t remember all the titles, but that’s what they were about. I wound up with a few trunkloads of stuff for goodwill and a organized bathroom, but they didn’t change my life.

One part came close. I brought one of the books and a journal with me to the hospital where I was sitting with my grandma for the day, and the book told me I needed a life’s mission. Which is true. I tried to think of what I’d want people to say about me when I’m dead. She was a good secretary. She had good grades in school. She had some trouble, but finally learned how to keep a clean house. She had a nice sofa. (which I don’t and it bothered me for a while.) No. So I thought about what I did want people to remember and wrote it down. Then I was supposed to make a list of the steps to take to get there, but instead I made a list of specific things I wanted for my life. Then I left the hospital, put the book and the journal in my glove compartment, and there they lived. I felt like I had accomplished something small, but then I forgot about it and when on with life.

And for a while I gave up. I thought about all of the aspirations I had when I was younger and how I hadn’t done anything I had wanted to do. I thought about how much I hated my job and how unhappy I was with my life. I thought about everything I had been working so hard for and how it meant crap to me. I thought about what I had wasted time on and spent money on and it just depressed me more. And I felt old and ugly and useless and unhappy.

And I drowned in it for a little while, on the inside. On the outside you probably wouldn’t have noticed a change, except maybe that I didn’t bother putting on makeup or washing my hair. And I was a little meaner than usual and hated a lot of things. I hated this city, I wrote in my journal how ugly everything looked. I hated my house, I hated my pets, I hated my job most of all, and I didn’t see it changing. I felt tied to the choices I had made. Tied to bills and pets and salaries.

And then I found out my job was being eliminated. I was crushed, worried, angry. But also relieved and actually estatic. I felt happy. I felt free. I knew there was a lot of things I needed to do, but also knew that whether I did them or not, in a month I would never have to walk into that office that I hated so much again. But I did do them. I updated my resume, I met with counselors, I figured out what I was good at and what were my qualities that made me special and unique. I wrote them down. And I read them over and over. And I believed them. And I started to get a little confidence. I started to feel like I deserved better. I deserved to be happy, to feel complete. To enjoy my life, to live my dreams, that it wasn’t too late.

And I got call backs and job offers. And I got a lovely job. An office job, yes, but one that I like and can feel good coming to. A fresh start. And that was the first thing I had written in my things-to-do-to-change-my-life list: get a new job. I took out the list and I started to figure out that I could do the other things too. That they weren’t abstract and things to aspire to, but things that I need right now. Because if not now, when? I saw that on a t-shirt on television and I wrote it down. And I thought about it forever. Because now is all that I have. And I answered for myself, and the answer was never. If not now, then never. And somehow I figured out how to feel alive, and that was to start living. Or maybe I started living and that’s when I figured out how to feel alive. I don’t know. But all of the things I thought I couldn’t do and I thought I would try to do when I got my life back on track, I’ve just started to do.

So, you might not notice the change, but it’s there. It’s in the core of my being. It’s in the way I see things, including myself. I don’t hate who I am, I don’t feel lost in myself anymore. I feel like me. I might still have moments, but it’s not my life anymore. And that’s why I say I’m a completely different person. Because the old me couldn’t do the things I’ve been doing. She couldn’t do them because she was afraid to try.