November 30, 2003


ray & i had a really nice vacation at the beach. there were a few bumps in the road, but overall it was very relaxing.

we arrived at oak island around 11pm wednesday night, thanksgiving eve. we had a little difficulty finding the house we'd rented, but that consternation dissolved as soon as we parked the car and stepped onto the sand. the stars were magnificent, and the sound of the waves was instantly relaxing.

the house i'd rented was essentially sight-unseen. i'd seen these photos, but that gives a very limited idea of what the interior of the house is actually like. i knew it was going to be wonderful having something right on the ocean, and the screened porch looked like it totally rocked. but when we actually walked in, i thought the interior left a bit to be desired. it was completely paneled in wood -- identical to what's in my den. the bathrooms were tiny and poorly remodeled (my remodeled bathroom looks better than these, and that is saying a lot!). and the bedrooms were so sparsely furnished that it was kind of creepy. my initial instinct was "oh no", but ray's first comment was "you did good, baby!" and in the end it was just fine. i got used to the overabundance of wood and enjoyed the big kitchen overlooking the waves.

the first thing ray & i did was find some beach chairs and blankets and headed onto the shore. we laid on our backs and stared at the stars, which were incredibly vivid and bright. he pointed out constallations and while i admit i was only half-listening, it was wonderful to hear ray get so excited. you can't see stars that bright in durham.

the next morning, after we woke up, we lounged about for about 45 minutes or so before we got a call from our cat-sitter, lisa. i immediately panicked (she's very experienced, and wouldn't be calling if something weren't an emergency) and almost lost my shit when i heard her first words: "you're going to kill me."

visions of lost or dead kittens flashed through my mind, but thankfully it turned out that the only problem was that lisa couldn't find the key to our house. my relief over having safe kitties was short-lived, though, when i realized that this, indeed, was going to be a substantial problem. no one could get into the house to feed the cats!

we ran over several options. break in. call a locksmith. meet halfway to deliver our key to lisa. we even called the durham police for advice. we figured we had most of the day to sort it out before the cats really started to get hungry, so we tried to distract ourselves with fun on the beach... but both of us were pre-occupied with what our evening would hold.

this day was, of course, thanksgiving day. so i had many phone calls from family to take my mind off things. i also had planned on making a bit of a thanksgiving dinner that night. we had pork tenderloin, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and asparagus (all carted from durham). pumpkin pie for dessert. it was good, but by this time ray had decided that he didn't want to make the kitties wait for their dinner any longer and he said that he just wanted to drive home, feed the cats, spend the night, and return to the beach in the morning.

this is no small feat. the trip is 3.5 hours. but he was up for it, even though i cried buckets when he left. he seemed happy to make the journey, though. not only is he immensely, sickly devoted to our cats... but he'd also forgotten to pack his underwear. so this trip was doing double-duty for him. :-)

while he was gone, i tried to entertain myself with a 'west wing' marathon on bravo and some crazy-ass sex shows on oxygen. i stayed up too late waiting for ray's call, telling me he was home safe.

but when i awoke in the morning i was feeling pretty good, and was really surprised to see that the sun was shining again. the forecast had called for rain throughout the day, but it was absolutely beautiful. i threw on some shorts (!!) and walked down to the pier (which was only about 2 blocks from our house) and sat and watched the sun on the water. when i got back i grabbed a book and sat on the beach and read for a few hours.

ray finally got back around 1, i think. we had a few leftovers for lunch, then took a nice long nap. i napped every day i was there, which is highly unusual for me. (that's how much i needed this vacation!) when we woke up we decided to have dinner out that night and then maybe go catch a movie.

we had a few ideas for restaurants, but none of those panned out. so many places in the area are seasonal, so our selection was limited. we ended up at a seafood restaurant called 'sandfiddlers' or something, and it was only moderately good. it was better than cooking, though!

we had some time to kill before the movie started, so we decided to drive to southport and futz around. there's not a lot open there, either, but the houses are gorgeous and it was really neat to just explore the area. we were having a good time just looking around, driving, when ray spotted a wal-mart and said "let's go buy me some pants!" i'm never one to discourage ray from shopping, so we went in. he has lost so much weight that he's dropped a size! i'm really proud of him. i think that made shopping a little more fun for him that night.

but by that time we were pooped and decided to skip the movie (and we hadn't yet decided on whether to see 'master and commander' or 'haunted mansion'). the stars were out and bright again, so we stargazed a bit when we got home and then began cleaning up the place for our departure the next morning.

you know, i read all of what i just wrote and it sounds like we were busy busy busy. but we really weren't. i spent a lot of time reading (and watching dumb tv) and just sitting, listening to the waves. the weather for the most part was really nice (though late friday into early saturday the wind was blowing like crazy, which made the whole house -on stilts- rock like a boat), and the water was gorgeous (but much too cold for me to get into, though ray went in waist-high). there were several families hanging around the beach, but it was definitely low-key and the place was not overrun by idiots. it was very quiet, relaxing and nice.

then we ran home saturday and started painting my bedroom. so much for relaxation! but we're making good progress, and hope to finish the job sunday (sometime between my committments to the durham symphony; i'm not only stage managing their dress rehearsal & concert, but i also was asked to play 4th horn as well... and i haven't picked up my horn in probably 9 months or more. eep!)

so it's time to go to bed. hope you all had a great holiday!

Posted by xta at 12:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 26, 2003

 the books you recommended 

last week i asked for book suggestions. i thought it might be helpful to post a list of all the submissions i got.

  • The Apprentice by Jacques Pepin
  • Kitchen Confidential or A Cook's Tour by Anthony Bourdin
  • Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters
  • Cryptonomicon by Neil Stephenson
  • Uncivil Seasons by Michael Malone
  • Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon by Chuck Palahniuk
  • A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  • The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
  • "anything by Michael Moore, Al Franken, or Molly Ivins"
  • Jonathan Franzen's book of essays, How to be Alone
  • Paul Auster's The Book of Illusions
  • Philip Roth's The Human Stain
  • Kurt Vonnegut's Hocus Pocus
  • Gore Vidal's Myra Breckinridge
  • Connie Willis' Passage or To Say Nothing of the Dog
  • "anything by Tim Sandlin"

there's a ton of good stuff here! thanks for the tips! i hope to read a good deal of them.

i checked out from the library tim sandlin's "honey, don't", david sedaris' "me talk pretty one day" and a book of short stories called, "the dictionary of failed relationships" (which actually looks pretty funny).

somhow i got signed up for a trial issue of "budget living" magazine, too, so i'll be taking that with me as well.

the trip to the beach begins in about 4 hours!! yay!

Posted by xta at 1:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

 listening local, eating local

in the most recent issue of harper's magazine is yet another article about how evil clear channel is.

of course, i couldn't agree more, and thought it was a really well-written article. after i turned the last page, though, i found a second essay about clear channel that resonated even more deeply.

this second article deftly equated local radio with local food. it spotlighted radio station WDEV and farmer's diner, both in vermont.

what the radio station and the diner both have in common is a passion for keeping things very local. on WDEV you can actually hear local councilmen and high school girls basketball games. and the farmer's diner only sells food that is grown or raised within a 60-mile radius of the restaurant.

it was a beautiful piece of writing, and i hope you all get a chance to read it.

Posted by xta at 10:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 25, 2003

 i must be the hottest girl on the face of the earth! 

another of my co-workers complimented my appearance today. and this was a guy. a middle-aged, geeky-engineer guy at that. he said i looked "positively feminine" and asked if there was anything different.

after i finished giggling like a damn schoolgirl i confessed to him that i've started wearing a little makeup lately, but it was possibly the cute pink-striped shirt that was making me look so gosh-darn attractive.

it makes me want to go out and flaunt some stuff!

but alas, there is no flaunting in my immediate future. i've got to work tonight, then come home and pack for the beach trip. we're leaving right after work wednesday. (unless ray convinces me that we need to stay at home until after survivor is over, then drive to the beach. i swear that guy is waaay more hooked than i am!)

before coming to work this morning i stopped at the wake forest home depot to pick up the paint for the bedroom. "vin rouge", the color is called. it's going to be beautiful & bold. i also got ceiling paint & a gallon of primer. this is going to be a damn huge job. so far it looks like it's going to be lisa, me, ray & maybe joe helping with the painting when we get back from the beach saturday night. i'm contemplating posting a "help wanted" notice to the neighborhood listserv but i'm always begging for stuff over there, so my conscience may prohibit me from public pleading this time. we'll see.

i wish someone from HGTV would just show up and "surprise" me with a finished room at the conclusion of my vacation. hey, 'while you were out'... i'm going to be out! come on over!

a couple of weeks ago i got a haircut at the garden and the owner, erin, has her friend regan's jewelry displayed for sale. i totally fell in love with this necklace with an old antique locket, but it was too small for me. so i emailed regan, and she said she'd alter it for me. she just wrote to say it would be done next week... and i'm so stoked!

gawd, a couple of months ago i could have cared less about necklaces, but here i am drooling over them now. i'm positively feminine!

Posted by xta at 2:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 24, 2003

 no soup for you!

(just kidding. you can have all the soup you want.)

i've been sick a lot lately, so i've been eating a lot of soup. in a perfect world i would make my own soup, but when you're sick you don't really want to bother. (at least i don't really want to bother.)

i have to say, i recently discovered the best canned soup on earth. it's wolfgang puck's canned soup. i can't stand campbell's (except for cooking casseroles with), and progresso always tastes like tin can to me. so on a whim i picked up some of wolfgang's. YUM! the chicken pot pie soup is excellent, as is the chicken tortilla. i've got a can of the hearty vegetable that i can't wait to try.

and yes... because i'm talking about food, it is safe for you to assume that i'm feeling much better today. in fact, i jumped out of bed this morning feeling GREAT. go figure. i guess i puked out all the bad stuff yesterday, 'cause i'm feelin' fine now.

i must be lookin' fine, too, because i got two compliments on my appearance today. it must be the new outfit. (the beige cords & light blue sweater i bought on thursday.) one of the compliments was from my boss, who said, "are you losing weight?" that, of course, is the best compliment of all, but i've gotta attribute it to the new clothes, because i just don't think i've lost any weight. i can't say for sure, though, because i'm rather scale-phobic.

ray, however, has lost about 6 or 7 pounds since he started biking to work. so yay for ray! (i wish i could bike to work, but it would take me 3 hours to get there. as soon as i arrived, i'd have to turn back around and come back home.)

so, i've decided to put off painting the bedroom until we get back from our vacation. it kills me to do that, because it means another week of not living in that room, but i just don't have the time. tonight i'll take TSP to the walls to clean them, and i'll prime the plaster... so i'll be ready for paint when we get back.

if anyone wants to help paint next week, just let me know! :-)

Posted by xta at 6:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 23, 2003


I woke up this morning feeling not-so-great. The sore throat seemed a little better, but I had a headache. How much does that suck, to wake up with a headache?? It sucks a real whole super lot, that's how much it sucks.

So Ray offered to cook me some breakfast and I said that the last of our Wellspring sausages sounded good.

What a bad choice that was.

Apparently, they had passed their prime and I spent the whole day praying to the porcelain god, if you know what I mean. (And I think you do.)

In between offerings, I tried to stave off the nausea with a "Real World" marathon on MTV. I don't know if that made things better or worse. It sure didn't make my headache go away. Plus I was too weak/lazy to mute the commercials, which didn't help. Those damn Cat in the Hat Burger King commercials are truly awful. And I could strangle Carrot Top. What an idiot.

I'm feeling a little better right now. I managed to have a few Ritz crackers & water, and things feel OK down there. The calories make me feel a little better, anyway.

Oh yeah, and right in the middle of the worst of it, the floor guys show up for the 3rd coat of polyurethane. Surprise! I had no idea they were coming; I was still waiting for their return phone call. I'm just glad Ray was here to help me deal with them; I was in no shape to confront any aspect of home repair today.

So, I guess it's technically possible that we could paint the bedroom tomorrow night, but I haven't even picked out the color (though I'm leaning towards a burgandy, like Lisa's living room). I'm not sure I'll have the energy, either... though it would be SO nice to be able to move back into that room before we head off for vacation on Wednesday.

OMG, I just realized I've been using capital letters! I *must* be sick!!

Posted by xta at 6:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 22, 2003

 are pictures really worth a thousand words? each?? 

ray and i thought we might try going to a portrait studio, thinking the pictures would make easy christmas gifts. so we booked a sitting at sears portrait studio for last night.

i think it had been 15 years since i'd been forced to do that, and now i remember why i haven't done it since... the photographers are dunces.

i swear, the woman only would pose us in positions she'd found in a photographers' manual. "face towards each other, put your hand around her head, place your arm around his waist, tilt your head to the left... no, the top of your head to the left."

good god.

all of the shots looked totally corny and after a half hour we just left. i think the woman just didn't know what to do with us. we kept saying, "something less posed. something more spontaneous!" but she just didn't get it. there's a chance we'll be able to see all of our rejected poses online in a day or two, but since we didn't buy anything the woman didn't know whether we'd really be able to or not. believe me, if they get posted online, you'll see 'em.

so ray & i came home and we decided we could do better ourselves with the auto-timer function on our digital camera. who needs a formal portrait studio, anyway? we had lots of fun playing around with the camera:

this is one of my favorites from our impromptu session, but ray thinks he looks weird. i guess we'll keep trying.

i watched what not to wear afterwards, and i suddenly started to feel ill. my throat got really sore. (i just knew i wasn't going to be able to weather ray's illness without getting sick myself. feh!) but as i swallowed cold medicine before heading to bed, i calculated in my head... if i get sick now, i bet i'll be better by the time we get to the beach. *fingers crossed*

we were awaken this morning by the floor refinishers knocking on the door (how prompt they were this morning!). they buffed the work they did last night (that's them doing friday night's work in the photo) and then they put on a second coat of polyurethane. it didn't take long at all and on their way out i said, "so, is that it? are you guys done?" and the guy said "i don't know."

what do you mean, you don't know??!?!?

grr! that's it. i'd gotten such great recommendations for these guys (bullock's floor refinishing), but i don't know if i can recommend them to anyone myself. they're doing truly great work, but dammit if i have been left feeling totally left in the dark about scheduling.

the guy actually said "you need to call bobby bullock (the owner) and see if he's going to have us put a 3rd coat on the floor." i need to do that?!? sheesh! so i called... and got his voice mail. which means i've been waiting all day for a return phone call. they kept me waiting yesterday, and they're keeping me waiting again today. dammit.

the reason it's so important for me to know this information about the 3rd coat is that it's the last step before we can inhabit that bedroom again. actually the very last step is painting the room, and then moving back in. but it's really difficult to know how to schedule the painting and the moving-back-in until i know when they're done with the floor. garh. it's been over 2 months; i want that room back.

so anyway, while i was waiting for the phone call, i went to work on the baseboards in the bathroom. (at the bottom of the photo you can see what it looked like without the trim, and at the top of the photo, well... duh. trim.)

this is definitely a difficult job. the cutting is relatively easy (though the measuring is hard). but the nailing.... god, the nailing. it's terrible. i hate it. i actually went to home depot in the middle of the project, just to see how much nail guns cost. $200-$300 is the answer (you have to buy the nailer and an air compressor). and that's just too rich for my blood. it's a tool i would love to have, but this is a bad month for my finances.

so i got about half the room done before i quit for the day. i am feeling a little sick and run-down, and it just seems sensible to take it easy for a while.

i have to say, though, that sitting around doing nothing results in anything but a relaxed feeling for me. i get so totally anxious thinking "i could be working on the baseboards. or i could be working on the sink drain. or i could be raking the yard." that nagging voice always propels me from the couch and gets me working... even when i shouldn't be. i hate that voice.

Posted by xta at 4:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 21, 2003

 They're finally here!

The floor refinishers are finally here. 4:46pm.

Mimo is currently terrified, underneath the slipcover on the couch. Sherpa wants to play fetch.

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 God bless the mailman... it has finally arrived: "Once in a Lifetime" 

Oh my god. This boxed set is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my whole life.


Dimensionally, it is verrrry long. I had to make sure I took the photo with something in the background for scale. The "Talking Heads" sticker was just part of the packaging; it comes off when you take off the plastic... meaning that there is no indication as to what it is after you unwrap it. There is wording on the spine, but if you didn't notice it you'd be left scratching your head over what it is. You'd never guess it was music.

It's amazing. And it's and filled with almost 80 pages of photos and stories for drooling geeks like me.

The CDs are in paper sleeves that rest in little art-pockets on the inside covers.

I can't wait to show this to each and every one of you.

Now I could care less that the floor guy hasn't shown up yet!

I'm in heaven.

Posted by xta at 12:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


There's nothing I hate more than waiting. I mean, I can handle waiting in a line if I know it's moving, however slowly. I don't have any problem waiting until Christmas morning to open presents. But I CANNOT STAND WAITING FOR FLOOR REFINISHERS TO SHOW UP FOR AN 8:30 APPOINTMENT when it's 11 friggin' o'clock... without the courtesy of a phone call.

So I'm stuck here at home, waiting. Waiting, waiting, waiting. I've left a message, so not only am I waiting for him to show up, but now I'm also waiting for a return phone call. Double waiting. Great.

And there are so many errands I want to do this morning. Buy baseboards, prime baseboards, paint baseboards, rake yard waste into bags (which need to be purchased)... I desperately need a trip to the Home Depot, and I'm stuck here, not knowing when he'll show up.

He'd better not show up at 1pm; I have an oil change appointment then.

I had such a productive day planned, and now I'm stuck here... waiting.


Posted by xta at 11:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 20, 2003

 shopping galore!

well, today was supposed to be the first day on the job for the floor refinisher, but apparently he had to fire one of his assistants and is therefore a whole day behind schedule. he'll start tomorrow.

however, i didn't know this little tidbit before i asked to have the day off, so -yay!- i have a bonus free day to play.

well, not totally free... i had to go fulfill a work obligation first. i love going to the bose store. i always want to sign over my whole paycheck and just tell them to go load up my car. (or my front seat, anyway... my paycheck wouldn't buy a trunk's worth of their stuff.)

anyway, when i was done there i snuck over to hecht's (which i admit i'm fully addicted to) and browsed through the jewelry (which i'm also addicted to) and some clothes (ditto). i actually bought a pair of beige corduroys (which i'm not addicted to, but felt nostalgic about since i haven't worn any since middle school), a pair of green denim slacks, and an ultra-groovy white button-down shirt with a big collar and crazy white ribbony-applique squiggles over one shoulder. sweet.

when i got home, i fixed a quick pb&j (jed bartlett ate one on 'the west wing' last night and i wanted to feel a little presidential), did a little work-from-home (aah, the life of a webmaster) and started calling pawn shops... i was looking for a compound miter saw and an automatic nailer so i can begin putting down the baseboards in the bathroom.

when lisa & i put the floor down, the pergo instructions said to leave 1/2" gap between the floor & the wall, so that's what we did... and now i've got a giant gap that i need to fill with moulding. lots of moulding. which requires a miter saw. conveniently, i've wanted one for a looooong time (i drool over them whenever i enter the mall through sears) and this is a wonderful excuse to go ahead and buy one. and a nailer, too.

lemme tell ya something, though. if you're gonna go buy something at a pawn shop, try "affordable jewelry & pawn" first. they're over at cole mill road & hillsborough street, just behind the cook-out. the guys in there were totally nice, and gave me lots of good advice on which of their 6 (!!) miter saws i should buy. (and only one of the guys was creepy, too. and only mildly-creepy at that. an added bonus.)

so, yes, i did it. i now own a 10" delta compound miter saw! RAWK! (i didn't like the looks of any of the nailers they had in stock at the pawn shop, though. so i'll either do it by hand, or scope the nailers out in the home depot tomorrow.)

i'm so excited to use the saw... i can hardly wait to go buy wood. perhaps that's the first thing i'll do after i let the floor refinisher into the house tomorrow morning. i hope to start putting the baseboards down this weekend.

i also need to sand the edges of the plaster-work in the bedroom. the plasterer did a fanstastic job last week, but there are a few rough spots, which he said to use a random orbital sander on. (thanks, sarah! :) i'll try to do that this weekend, too... depending on what shape the the floors are in when the refinisher leaves.

now you can see why i need a vacation at the beach next week... too much damn work on the house!!

Posted by xta at 2:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 19, 2003

 worst album covers... ever 

charo sent me these links. i don't know if i should thank her or flog her publicly.

(don't forget to view page 2, too!)

enjoy! (and good luck purging from your mind the image of millie jackson on the toilet.)

viva les crepes!!

Posted by xta at 11:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

 suggestions, please!

ray & i are going to the beach for thanksgiving, and i'm looking forward to reading a book.

that sounds silly, but i haven't read a book in so long. i want to read something fun, light & quick. david sedaris. daniel handler. short stories. something like that.

email me if you have any suggestions.

Posted by xta at 10:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 18, 2003

 uncle gene

for the past week or so i've been thinking a lot about my uncle gene.

he's one of my mom's siblings; the only boy. my mom was oldest, gene was next. there were 3 others behind him.

gene killed himself last year.

i'll never forget the day i heard that news. annie was driving me to work. it was a carpool day. my cell phone rang and it was my mom, sobbing. she first asked if i was driving, and i said, "no, but i'm being driven." she wanted me to pull over if i had been driving.

she then somehow managed to tell me that gene was dead. her brother had killed himself. i immediately broke into tears. annie didn't know what was wrong, but she pulled over and watched me cry into my cell phone. i tried to comfort my mom --who was incredibly distraught-- and trying to make sense of it myself.

after the inital shock, i told mom that if she flew to RDU, i could drive us both up to virginia to take care of whatever needed taking care of. so she did, and a few days later mom & i were headed to manassas.

what we found there is difficult to describe. i didn't know my uncle all that well... i have vague memories of gene being really fun & goofy at family reunions, but the last get-together had been decades in the past. my mom probably purposely chose to keep a lot of things from me, but i really could have used more background before stepping foot into his house.

apparently, gene had been slowly descending into depression, paranoia and insanity for some time. we walked into his tiny shack of a house with his son and his friend, marti, and encountered a scene like nothing i could have imagined. the front room had no floor. you had to walk on beams to get to his one liveable space... a tiny, unheated, filthy kitchen that also housed his bed. cigarette smoke and the kerosene heater had turned everything white to an ugly shade of grey-orange. there were piles and piles and piles of aluminum cans to be recycled. bags and bags of beanie babies. a bathtub full of craft supplies. unopened christmas presents stacked on the rafters where the ceiling should have been. and just mounds of *stuff*. things he'd collected over the years that had no meaning to us. things that didn't make sense. notebooks of scrawl that were too difficult to decipher. my mom broke down and cried when she saw it all.

she'd tried to save gene several times before by sending him samples of zoloft when he was too poor to see a psychiatrist, and by mailing him letters of support and suggestions for help. in the end, none of it did any good. he'd had enough. he'd carefully packed his truck with things he wanted his son to have, left a note on the drivers seat for him, then attached a hose the the exhaust of his saturn and started the car. his friend, marti, found him the next morning when she came to take him for an appointment with a social worker.

the reason this has been on my mind so much lately is that the one-year anniversary of that event is approaching. i hate that i can't remember the exact date, but maybe it's better that way. i asked my mom if we were going to have a memorial service for him, like we'd all discussed when we were up there, communing together in virginia.

she said she wasn't even interested in attending anything like that. and not because she didn't love her brother, and not because she wanted to avoid the site of his death... but because she hates marti.

marti was gene's friend for many, many years. she, i suppose, was his girlfriend, too, though i'm not exactly sure how intimate their relationship was. it's clear that marti meant the world to gene, and that she was his connection to a sane world.

marti, though, is married and has children of her own. but marti's husband knew about gene. mom still can't get past all of this, though.

i've tried, over and over, to help mom forget marti's marital status. i tell her, "marti clearly loved gene. gene loved marti. everyone knew about everyone else, and no one was upset... except for you. let it go." but she can't. and she continues to refuse to participate in any memorial ceremony that has anything to do with marti.

from what i understand, the rift goes deeper than just the 'affair' (if you can really call it that) between marti & gene. i guess during marti's care of gene she was constantly searching for the root of his illness and kept coming back to his family. his mom, specifically. my mom's mom. marti apparently would contact my mom for 'dish' on the family, and would try to pin gene's mental instability on whatever history mom dredged up.

this sharing didn't last very long, though. it's no surprise that mom got tired of having her brother's insanity pinned on the woman that gave birth to gene and mom. it begins to reflect a little badly on mom, i guess. so mom's got this whole pent-up history with marti, and the marital status just is the icing on the cake.

i just find it tragic that mom can't forget her anger with marti and find some way to memorialize gene with her. gene loved both of mom and marti and he wouldn't have wanted these two women to be so disparate.

Posted by xta at 2:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 17, 2003

 high school memories

i had a crazy high-school dream last night. i was at an impromptu reunion, but most of my class was there. (must not have been that impromptu!) it was at a hotel, and people were dressed all swanky and drinking cocktails... very different than my actual 10 year reunion, which was held in some generic reception hall with white/grey walls.

anyway, i remember one of my old high-school friends, michelle huser, coming up to me in this dream and just beaming. gushing over seeing me again. i was totally taken aback by that and not sure how to respond. i think i was mostly freaked out that she looked exactly the same as she did 15 years ago. (oh god. 15 years!)

the details of this dream are getting fuzzier as the afternoon progresses, but what i remember most was how incredibly hard it was to wake up from it. the alarm went off and i remember feeling totally and utterly stunned that i wasn't actually at the reunioin, and that this was, in fact, only a dream. utter confusion... that's what sticks with me most. and also that i desperately wanted to go back to sleep to finish the dream, which never, ever happens with me. usually the alarm goes off and i'm awake... no going back.

i was seriously considering indulging myself and hitting the snooze a few times, but i had to be at work on time this morning (ruth calls me monday mornings at 10 at the station, and i can't be late) so i hauled my ass out of bed, much to my dismay.

it's not hard to figure out why i was dreaming about high-school... an old classmate (who i barely remember) emailed me after she found my page of reunion photos, asking if i knew anything about a 20 year reunion. (don't freak me out, woman!!) i actually had to look her up in my yearbook because i couldn't place her name. i suppose all of that paging through bad 80s haircuts resulted in a deep-seated trauma that manifested itself in my dreams that night. whew.

in other news, the interior damage from the tree-through-the-roof is almost complete. the roof is fixed, and the plaster has been repaired. the floor guys are coming later this week to refinish the wood, and then all that's left is paint! i can't friggin' wait to move back into that bedroom. i feel like life has been entirely too chaotic since september 18. (it's totally weird to be getting dressed in the den, and having my shoes in front of the fireplace.)

before i forget, one final plug for my new hairstylist, erin. she runs a salon in downtown durham (go, girl!) called "the garden" and it rocks. she rocks. my new haircut rocks, too.

Posted by xta at 2:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 16, 2003

 so, baby... where have you been all my life? 

so, ok. this was a long time coming, i know.

my only resolution for 2003 was to journal. it was something i'd been wanting to do for a long time, and for the first several months of the year i was pretty good about it, writing at least 3 times a week... sometimes more. this was very helpful when i was going through the process of deciding to buy a house, narrowing down my search, and writing about my many many many many many many fears.

but i've got to say, after that hugely important event was over, i almost totally stopped journaling (much to my dismay). the reason? it hurt.

that's the most pathetic reason you've ever heard, right? but it's true. i have little occasion to actually physically write something with a pen & paper anymore, so my hand would cramp up after 2 paragraphs. plus it's SLOW! damn slow. i can type 18 times faster than i can write.

julia cameron, in the artist's way, specifically recommends *physically* writing in a journal every single morning as a path to creative freedom. i don't know... it's hard to be truly free if your hand is cramped into a mangled claw.

so here i am, blogging. typing. it's the civilized way to journal. right?

Posted by xta at 9:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

 testing, testing... is this thing on?

it seems like it was far too easy to set this up.

Posted by xta at 9:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack