ho ho holiday

good christmas morning, world.

I’m so happy I can’t sleep– so totally relieved to be off work until january 5– I’ve been desperately craving some good big swathes of uninterrupted time to just do whatever, mull, write, play at the art table, address christmas cards.

I woke up cold from a flock of dreams that immediately took wing and went and grabbed another quilt and lay waking for a few minutes just watching the steam from the heating unit of the building across the way float white across the dark sky.

last night chris and I opened a bottle of wine and agreed that we couldn’t wait for christmas morning, so opened our presents before dinner– my gifts to him were haphazard and necessary– sneakers, slippers, socks, coffee cup–  last-minute dispensable items to fill the space beneath the tree– because we’ve so danced around the issue of gifts with one another– while I’ve run around in my free moments to fetch and pack and ship gifts to family hither and yon, even little somethings for work colleagues, I ended up by and large neglecting to figure out anything special and surprising for my favorite person. I’m going to chalk this one up to my harried and aggravated state of mind lately and coach myself to move on, since he’s clearly not sprung about it– but it’s there. in contrast, my most excellent and handsome feller went out and got me an ipod touch, which I’ve slavered over for a year, since they gave one out at last year’s work christmas party raffle. wheeeee! a most excellent toy! it’s making me feel like a very lucky girl indeed.

yesterday I was thinking about the modern mythologies of this season– vividly remembering one specific night, lying in the radiant glow of street lamps through the window curtains, wide awake and determined to remain so long enough to witness santa’s arrival– I remember this, how determined I felt– in retrospect I tend to think I was half-believing, half-skeptical, dead-set on settling the question once and for all. I have no specific memory of learning about the vast conspiracy of fabrication on the other side of this credulity– unless it was neighbors laurie and mary ann smith finding all their hidden christmas presents ahead of time and being punished with disillusionment and spoiled surprises alone. I remember annie hoey and I bearing witness to their collective hubris of cleverness in discovering the stash and the subsequent shared shame and regret.

I recall a pervasive sense of being a fifth wheel in that society, a tolerated rather than treasured and coveted participant in the play, as annie was. we actively vied for her best friend status. to this day I have trouble with groups of girls– always have, have always felt not quite jibing with the whole groove. more and more it strikes me that in many ways we never grow up. yesterday a 60 year old woman was complaining to me about how “mean girls” had ruined her day by not including her in lunch plans. in the midst of this weird and ongoing social limbo I’m experiencing in chicago, I’ve had occasion to ponder these phenomena. I miss my own dear girlfriends, the ones I imagine actually enjoy and value my company– but, if I’m honest with myself, I’ll own up to the fact that I’m only considering the little moments, islands of sync and grace in a more general ocean of discord, resentment, miscommunication, and petty strifes. lately I’m thinking that all my preoccupation with community is as much about difficulty getting along peaceably with girlfriends as it is about forging some idealized family structure.

and I know I probably have too much time or energy on my hands to be preoccupied by such thoughts.

chris has installed The Clapper on the christmas tree– surely a device devised by a man if ever one was– who else would consider loud, percussive handclaps to be preferable to getting up and flipping a switch? only a guy enchanted with the fact that he could do it. and, for all that, it’s still pretty cute. guys are really kind of awesome.

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thoughts on having babies and what signifies in being a woman, not necessarily related topics

occasionally I’ll have a terrible, terrible dream in which I kill a baby– someone will hand a newborn or 1-yr-old to me, and while I struggle to hold it most responsibly and carefully, some combination of factors (the baby arching backward, someone else pushing by me, my own clumsiness or incompetence) will conspire to result in a dead baby in my arms. I woke this morning with a dead arm from sleeping on it and in a panic from just such a dream: tiny dead newborn in my hands.

I know these babies are not representative of babies alone– they stand in for many things, projects, hopes, other people’s hearts, a multitude of delicate, mortal worries– but they are also babies. I have for many years now lived with a good deal of ambivalence regarding the choice to parent– with concerns running the gamut from my own competence, selfish hoarding of my personal space and sleep and general autonomy, financing and clothing, feeding, housing such an important venture, the basic terrible vulnerability of loving and being responsible for something so vulnerable in a busy and difficult and dangerous world. in the midst of my not altogether chosen childlessness, I wrestle with these myriad pieces both in my waking hours and inside my dreams.

recently chris and I have been discussing our future together– all the various steps and pragmatic considerations that weigh against one another– we’ve gently, and so sweetly, begun weaving our visions together, laying timelines, projecting into the months and years ahead the important pieces of a life together. children are part of this for us– an undertaking that we both approach with humor and gravity and much hope– we would like, I’m sure it’s no surprise, to do it as right as we can– which involves, for us, arranging pieces, paving the way in this way and that.

so the other day I had a dr appointment to discuss new birth control options in the interim, finally having conceded to the fact of my lackadaisical pill-taking. in the course of this appointment I told my doctor that we wanted something relatively short term and reversible, as we would be wanting to begin trying to get pregnant at some visible point down the road– and she sat down and fixed me with a serious look, recited to me my age and statistics regarding ageing eggs and genetic disorders and a host of other complications, told me that she was going to proceed with the prescription for the birth control but that she hoped we’d choose never to use it– in short, not to wait.

well. I suppose sometimes we need to hear serious advice from our doctors. so chris and I are now sitting with this perspective. which is to say, nothing has changed substantively– only that this is the landscape, the various large bodies moving on the horizon– this is the frame of mind in which I dream of killing babies.

and in which I receive this video of writer kelly corrigan reading a piece she’s written on women and life to a collected audience of women– intended surely in the most loving way by my sister in law, who likes to forward on such pieces of inspiration to the women in her life. yesterday my computer was acting up, so this morning was when I managed to get it to play and watched it, fresh from this dream of the dead baby, in the midst of a more general frame of mind of missing friends and trying to find some inroads toward building my community here in chicago, fed up with my isolation two years in– and I watched this video and listened to the words from within my own position and perspective– and hated it with all my heart. I hated the constructed map of significance for women’s lives which is so inconsonant with my own experience, all the chanted coordinates of commonality that spell out my own dissonance with this picture of being a woman, being meaningful, having relevance and connection.

I could, perhaps, write this all off to the populist, best-seller perspective which fails to take into account all the different permutations of difference in women’s lives– but this isn’t enough for me right now where I am. I’m angry. on a lot of counts. among the many things I’m angry about is the tyranny of ideas around what constitutes a valid, valuable life in this world. I’ve struggled with my own prejudices and expectations for many years, trying to experience directly and honestly, trying to silence and set aside a host of conditions and judgements. and so when I’m confronted by texts in the world that are so rife with these thinking frames, which presume to speak in the voice of some universal “we” that purports to include me yet fails to reflect me in ways that feel salient, I take offense at the presumption and self-congratulation. I understand that each person can only write from our own experience and that we do our best to offer what we can to the world– but, by golly, this piece of … inspirational writing resulted in my feeling more pronouncedly outside whatever definitive fold of women it is addressing than embraced and included in it. bah and humbug.

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beautiful horrific awesomely curious

from curious expeditions:

including a delicious reading list.

mm, cabinets of curiosities. that is what I would like to build, after a fashion. with the wooden boxes, I mean– of course it’s rather what the blog pursuit is about (not an original observation, I know)– but there’s something in physical agglomeration and arrangement toward juxtaposition and harmony and dissonance that pleases. it seems a greedy, squirrelly inclination, of which surely the sources are inherited, but for all this “explanation” it still appeals to some deeply gratified part. the more abruptly associative, colliding together victoriana and happenstance, textural and poetic, the more inexplicably enrapturing. it’s playing with nostaglia and torquing it here and there toward it’s cousin, novelty. it’s engagement at that border with the weird and unsettling and the beautiful or sad or ridiculous.

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o tannenfish

Your sheets are how faithful!
You do not only become green to the summer time,
no also in the winter, if it snows.
O fir tree, o fir tree,
Your sheets are how faithful!
O fir tree, o fir tree,
You can please me much!
How often has already during the winter time
A tree of you me highly pleases!
O fir tree, o fir tree,
You can please me much!
O fir tree, o fir tree,
Your dress wants me which to teach:
Hope and stability
Courage gives and
Kraft at each time!
O fir tree, o fir tree,
Your dress wants me which to teach!


ah, the mysterious babelfish. it speaketh in tongues of absurdity. ich liebe.

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all my internet friends

this is awesome– forwarded to me by my friend laurel: her friend amanda french sings about the kind of culture we know here on vox.

All My Internet Friends

Monday afternoon I gave a presentation to the staffKicked off with a knock-knock joke to liven up the charts and grapThat crowdNever laughs out loud
But all my internet friends were tickled pinkThey put animated smileys when they passed around the linkThey said Hey, girl, here’s another awesome thing we foundSarah Palin getting smacked down With a Prince song in the backgroundBetter watch it quick before they take it down
Wednesday night I figured I’d go out and buy a DVD Walked into a store and walked right out again immediatelyThis sucksThey want thirty bucks
But all my internet friends give things awayThey just really like to make stuff even when it doesn’t payThey say, Hey, girl, here’s a picture, here’s a poem tooHere’s a blog post, here’s a podcast Here’s a song and here’s a lolcatAnd an iPhone application all for you
Saturday I had a date with Dave the software engineerTold him bout the time I got my headphones wrapped around my earI swearHe just didn’t care
But all my internet friends they listen wellThey make sympathetic comments when I say that I’m in hellThey say Hey, girl, what’s your status? I say, Omigod,I’m not sleeping, I’m not eating I can’t take another meetingWith the clean, well-meaning morons at my job
There are those who say I spend a little too much time onlineSometimes I agree, but on the whole I think I’m doing fineClick, buzzI feel strong becauseAll my internet friends are here with me Saying Love and information want only to be freeAnd we’ll take no crap from anyone who says that they know betterWe won’t stand for that because we all came here together We’re remaining interwovenWe’re a net, and we have chosenTo be knotted tightly to each otherYou be client, I’ll be server We won’t ever have to be alone

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this morning

raspberry muffins and russian angst.

On a rugged cliff, the very edge, above the endless chasm I keep lashing at my horses with my whip clenched in a spasm But the air is growing thinner, I am gasping, drowning, crying I can sense with horrid wonder, I am vanishing, I’m dying
chorus: Slow your gallop, oh my horses! Slow your gallop I say! Don’t you listen to my stinging whip! But the horses I was given, stubborn and so unforgiving, Can’t complete the life I’m living, cant conclude the verse I’m singing
final chorus: Can’t complete the life I’m living, at least let me finish singing
I will stop for a blink, I will let horses drink For a brief second more, I will stand on the brink…
I will perish, as a feather that the hurricane has swallowed, In a chariot they’ll pull me through the snow in blinding gallop All I ask of you my horses, slow your pace but for a moment To prolong the final seconds of approach to my last comfort
chorus
We have made it. Right on time, God has left us with few choices But the why are angels singing with such fiendish scolding voices, Or it that the horse bell ringing in a frenzy drenched with tears, Or is it I the one who’s screaming for my horses to shift gears?
chorus

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