March 31, 2004


i've fainted twice in my life. this is the story of the first time.

when i was 10 years old my dad & step-mom took me to california to see disneyland. it was great, of course. but the next day we went to knotts berry farm, which wasn't nearly so great. not only were the rides lame, but it rained the whole frigging day. i promptly caught a cold. i spent the rest of the vacation sniffling and coughing.

that night, back at the hotel room, i remember lying on the rollaway bed, trying to sleep. the room was dark & my parents were already asleep. my nose was running, though, and it was keeping me awake. each time i'd drop off to sleep i'd feel a little trickle of snot running out of my nostril and i'd wake up to dab it with a kleenex. sometimes, if i'd actually managed to sleep for a few whole minutes, i'd wake up suddenly with a gob of gunk in my nose to blow out.

this went on for what seemed like hours. i was getting bleary with lack of sleep and i just couldn't believe my body could produce that much mucous. so i finally sat up, opened my eyes, and looked around at the pile of used kleenex that had amassed beside the bed.

they were all soaked with blood. not snot.

i jumped out of bed and woke my parents, who turned out to be even more freaked out than i was at the sight of all that blood. as dad ran down the hall to the ice machine my step-mom dragged me into the bathroom, sat me down on the toilet seat, tiled my head back and a pressed a cold wet washcloth to the bridge of my nose.

i think it was their middle-of-the-night panic... or maybe the idea of all that blood had finally gotten to me... but i fainted. the world went dark and my step-mom said i just kind of fell over, slumped sideways against the wall with my butt still on the toilet seat. when i woke up, though, i remember i was lying on the floor of the bathroom.

Posted by xta at 1:57 PM | TrackBack

March 30, 2004

 deep breaths...

things are slowing down a little. tonight's time-sucker at the ADF has been cancelled, and i'm planning on doing a little yoga with sarah instead. that'll be good. breathe in, breathe out...

while i was out running around doing errands this morning i made a new resolution for myself: every day i'm going to try to make a point to talk to someone totally different from me. even if it's just a quick two sentence exchange, i'm going to try to reach out a little.

today i was standing in line at the downtown post office when a big black man with dreadlocks down to his waist came in stood in line behind me. he had a cup of coffee in his hand that smelled amazing and i just turned to him, smiled, and said so. he grinned and it was espresso. "from blue coffee?" i asked. "yes," he said, "it's called 'eye opener'." "oh, i think i'm going to have to make a stop there on my way to work!" then it was my turn to step up to the window to send my package and that was it.

that little connection with someone new felt good. i'm going to strive for that every day. maybe next time it'll be a conversation with a kid or something. i dunno. perhaps if everyone did this the world would be a better place. at least the post office would.

Posted by xta at 1:42 PM | TrackBack

March 29, 2004


i've now had two very intense dreams about carter oosterhouse. i find him immensely attractive as well as very easy-going, unlike some of the other people on trading spaces.

after waking from these dreams, i find it hard to think about anything else but carter.

i feel so high-school.

Posted by xta at 2:04 PM | TrackBack

March 28, 2004

 i feel swamped

this has been a ridiculous couple of days. truly ridiculous. i can't remember time in recent history that i've felt less myself, more harried and even more insane.

saturday started out great... slept late, shopping with lisa & mary, then ray's musical. all of that was swell. then things went downhill when i got bad news about a friend. it put a damper on our impromptu cocktail party and i felt torn in two, trying to entertain while thinking --crying-- over the situation with my friend.

then today, more fundraising. i'm glad it ends tonight... by the last day i'm always totally brain-fried. it would be wonderful if i could have tomorrow off, but that's not the case. not only does work go on, as usual, but i also am coordinating a big project for the ADF and will be busy volunteering with them on monday, tuesday and wednesday.


i feel too tense and unsettled to even know how to begin relaxing.

the answer probably lies in the bottom of a bottle of wine.

Posted by xta at 7:00 PM | TrackBack

March 26, 2004

 what is in this box?

i belong to several clubs. 2 music clubs, 1 DVD club and 1 book club. each month they send me packets full of stuff to order. each month their envelope ends up in my trash can, unopened.

it's been ages since i've ordered any music, movies or books. i always decline their montly selections, too. why am i even bothering?

then, today i came home to find a package from BMG. but i haven't ordered anything. i must've forgotten to decline their monthly selection. now i have to figure out how to send it back to them. i don't even know what it is. i'm afraid to open it, else they might not take it back.

this is a dumb thing to worry about. i have bigger things on my plate. a week's worth of laundry. landscaping. tiling. knitting. big projects. and work is kicking my ass, too; i was there for 10 hours today, beggging for money on-air. i've got 10 hours scheduled for sunday, too.

tomorrow is a free day, though. thank god. i'm sleeping in then going shopping with lisa & mary. i'll also finally see ray's musical --ruddigore-- at the carolina theatre. dinner and joe & jo's, too.

Posted by xta at 11:24 PM | TrackBack

March 25, 2004

 what a day!

this was the most important day of the fundraiser for me... the day that we ask all of our internet listeners to pledge online. we were getting thousands of hits to our website, and what should happen? the earthlink server goes down! i about had a heart attack. the announcers were still unknowingly telling people to pledge online, and i imagined hordes of listeners getting pissed that they couldn't.

so i slid into problem-solving mode: i've got a phone on each ear, listening to menus at two slightly different earthlink support sites, frantically praying someone will answer SOON SOON SOON! after hearing that their "heavy call load" could result in a wait time of 30 minutes (!!) i simultaneously got on their online chat and eventually had a tech tell me that it could be a couple of hours before the server would be back up.

i was freaking the f*ck out by this point.

after about 20 minutes everything came back up. but by now it was way past time for me to leave for divaville. the second the server came back online i bolted to my car, feeling more than a little weird about leaving with everything so shaky.

i flew down 98 and got to XDU just in time, but i was running too late to stop for my beloved tacos. dammit.

divaville somehow went pretty well, though i felt really scattered from the get-go. imagine that.

one good thing i should mention is that my wrist is feeling better. i got a cortisone shot 10 days ago, and it really seems to have helped. so yay for modern medicine. and boo for modern everything else.

Posted by xta at 8:36 PM | TrackBack

March 24, 2004


this morning i had brunch with my old friend, rick. not that he's particularly old (it doesn't seem possible that he's turning 50 this year)... rather, he & i have known each other for a long time. about 10 years. we used to hang out all of the time, late at night. i'd frequently crash on his sofa after many long hours of bourbon-induced blather, tortoise or stevie wonder playing on the hi-fi.

sadly, we don't see each other much anymore --our schedules are completely different-- but when we take the time to go out of our way to schedule brunch or a movie or something we're always glad we made the effort.

(we met at the mad hatter bake shop. i've never had their breakfast before, and -yowza!- is it good! i had the ham & white cheddar scramble, which comes with some dazzling potatoes on the side. rick had the huevos rancheros which were weird-looking. they arrived in a fried tortilla shell, just like a taco salad. he said it tasted better than it looked.)

one of the reasons i love rick so much is because he always makes me see the world a little differently. some of the conversations we had this morning made me want to totally blow off work and just hang out with him for the rest of the day. he's fascinating.

he's also the only friend i kiss "hello" & "goodbye".

Posted by xta at 7:30 PM | TrackBack

March 23, 2004

 Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion. 

i found some time tonight to watch "donnie darko". i have been wanting to see it for a long time, and now that i've finally watched it i'm left scratching my head. i'm not entirely satisfied, what with the 3 year build-up and all.

don't get me wrong. i enjoyed the film. quite a lot. but i wonder... did everyone walk away from this film thinking, "huh?!?" or was it just me?

i think i might need to watch it again. maybe with commentary.

if you have any commentary of your own, lay it on me. i'm principally interested in the idea of whether it was his mom's plane that dropped the engine, and if so what the fuck was the whole movie about.

heading over to netflix now to put every single Jake Gyllenhaal film into my queue...

Posted by xta at 10:53 PM | TrackBack

March 22, 2004


for long periods of time over the last several days one of our cats has been sitting on the dining room window sill and staring at something on the ground outside. when i look over his shoulder i see nothing. he also gets upset that i'm looking over his shoulder and he glares at me. what is out there? it's driving me nuts.

pledge drive is going pretty well. regardless of how well it goes, though, it's always exhausting.

i know david byrne is supposed to be coming to durham sometime in september, but i don't think i can wait that long. i'm thinking about buying tickets to see him in annapolis on may 22.

this weekend i somehow found time to watch "21 grams". goddamn i loved it. i have arguments with myself over whether the disjointed narrative structure was actually beneficial, but the acting i don't argue about... it was monumental.

on april 14 TCM will rebroadcast robert osbourne's hour-long interview with betty hutton at 4:00 PM EST. set your VCR's now.

Posted by xta at 6:29 PM | TrackBack

March 21, 2004

 Inside The Mind Of David Byrne - [Sunday Herald] 

Inside The Mind Of David Byrne is one of the best articles i've read about him in recent history... the interviewer talks to eno, frantz, weymouth and his old business partner, yale, about the history (and current events) of david's life. it's pretty impressive.

Posted by xta at 8:38 PM | TrackBack

March 20, 2004

 another stoplight

today i was stopped at a light near northgate mall. i was on gregson street, 4th in line at the light, waiting to turn left onto club. there was -as usual- an orange-vested homeless man selling newspapers in the median. i always get uncomfortable when someone approaches my car asking for money and i was prepared to avoid eye contact.

this man, though, was having a heck of a funny chat with the people 2 cars ahead of me... he wasn't even interested in walking down the line to solicit the other cars. big nods, big smiles, and he leaned in a little towards the car.

as the light turned green the homeless man grinned really wide, said a fond farewell to the departing driver, and as we all moved our cars forward he raised a fist in the air and shouted joyfully to the sky, "WOOOOO!"

Posted by xta at 2:04 PM | TrackBack


yesterday was the first day of fundraiser. so far, so good. but it lasts for another week, and by the end i know i'll be bone-tired.

after work, dinner with charo & skip at the pizza palace. the waiter (fred) who served us on my birthday remembered me the moment i walked in the door and was equally goofy with us last night. when he asked, during the course of the meal, whether he could bring us anything else i joked that he could bring a free piece of cheesecake (just like he did on my birthday). and whaddya know... he did. with strawberries, even. he also told me he is playing music at the pizza palace tonight. i already have plans, else i might stop by for a few minutes.

anyway, after dinner was a/v geeks. last night's theme was "yesterday's tomorrow today". films from the past about the future. one was called "future shock", based on the book, and narrated by orson wells. it paints a pretty dour future. then a 1966 film called "1999 AD", which foretold more of a jetsons future. some predictions were pretty close... buying household items from a computer in your house, for instance. the last film was a CBS news special about transplants and prosthetics. the portion where they transplant a monkey's brain was perhaps one of the most stomach-churning things i've seen on screen. bleah.

now i'm up early this morning (the alarm went off at 6:25!) and getting ready to head into work for a few hours of fundraising. the afternoon will be free, then off to manbites dog for SMUT.

busy busy!

Posted by xta at 7:15 AM | TrackBack

March 18, 2004

 the new album. again. 

this may be my favorite photo of david byrne. ever. yum.

the accompanying article about his new album isn't bad, either. it quotes lyrics from my currently-favorite song, "glass, concrete and stone":

Skin that covers me from head to toe
Except a couple tiny holes and openings
Where the city's blowing in and out
And this is what it's all about

you can hear a real audio snippet here, though frustratingly it cuts off just before the chorus. geah.

so go buy yourself a copy so you can hear the whole thing.

and because you care so much about me, i'll share with you a short list of my other favorites songs on the album: "she only sleeps" (which contains very cute lyrics and a bossa nova beat), "tiny apocolypse" (which makes me wiggle when i hear his voice go low like that), "civilization" (a story of a first date) and "un di felice" (opera!).

Posted by xta at 4:14 PM | TrackBack

 get on the good foot 

this morning i was idling at the stoplight at roxboro & liberty, right near the durham county library. there was a car in each lane, waiting for the light to turn green. as i sat there, a slim black man in a large brown corduroy coat crossed the street in front of the line of stopped cars. he was in no hurry. he was singing. from the look of things, it seemed like it might be a james brown song.

he would pause in front of each car, and at the appropriate point in the song he'd do a great, flamboyant soul pose and point from the hip at each driver. he moved down the line, singing a song i wish i could've heard (the whole thing caught me off guard and my own radio was too loud)... stopping, a few quick dance steps, pointing.

when he finally got to the other side of the street i had a huge smile on my face. just then he got to the best part of his song. he swiveled his hips fast enough that his coat flew around, he bent at the waist and belted an impassioned "YEAAAH!!" into an invisible microphone.

Posted by xta at 11:26 AM | TrackBack

March 17, 2004

 10 things i should be doing instead of blogging: 

1) configuring moveable type. lisa helped me set it up a friggin' week ago, and i still haven't gotten around to playing with it. as soon as i do, though, this blog is moving elsewhere. so stay tuned.

2) knitting. i'm a little more than halfway through my baby blanket project. it's coming along nicely, but each square takes about 2 hours to complete... and i've got about 15 squares to go.

3) fixing the towel bar in the shower. it fell off about 3 weeks ago, and i need to chip away the old grout, and re-set it in fresh grout. i am not looking forward to this.

4) shopping for tile. my next big house project is to install the tile around the tub in the newly-renovated bathroom. however, i have no idea what's available, what color i want, or how much of it i need. i need to get moving on this if i'm going to take lisa up on her offer to help, since she's departing this dimension in a couple of months.

5) sketching plans for the dining room cabinet. this will get mounted right under my circle painting. i think i'll construct it out of nice-ish wood and try staining it. i'm hoping i can design something that will function as both a bar and a sideboard and will mount right to the wall without the aid of legs.

6) cleaning the bathroom.

7) finishing this damned aero bar so i can stop thinking about it. who thought bubbly chocolate was a good idea? i personally don't think it is. it's so strange it's taken me a week to get halfway through it.

8) organizing my divaville cds. i just bought a 300-cd carrying case, which i believe will make my life substantially easier. last time i set out on a similar organizing project, though, i walked away with a thousand paper cuts.

9) reading the extensive, squiggly liner notes to the new david byrne album.

10) sleeping. i'm running on a defecit, and the pledge drive starts in a couple of days.

Posted by xta at 9:02 PM | TrackBack

 story time

One of my most favorite co-workers suggested we have "story time" today. She read Old Turtle and the Broken Truth to several of us as we sat on the floor in one of the studios. She'd read, then show us the pictures, just like in kindergarten.

I really love children's books. This one, though... this one is incredibly special. I cannot even express how gorgeous, uplifting, spiritual, meaningful, lovely and inspiring this book is. I had tears in my eyes at the end. I'm sure I was as affected by her wonderful reading as I was by the text itself. It was an unforgettable experience for me.

Here's a link to the author's website, where you can see some of the amazing watercolor illustrations.

We should all have story time every day.

Posted by xta at 4:48 PM | TrackBack

March 16, 2004

 shoes. drool

i went shoe shopping last night. i wasn't looking for anything in particular (danger! danger!) but still ended up walking away with 2 pairs.

now that i know how good my feet look with a pointy toe, i'm never going back to anything rounded. my feet are so wide that the point helps elongate them and make them look narrower. the strappy back on these is a nice touch, too.

i found this pair in the clearance section, marked down 30%. what's odd is that the store had a jillion other pairs of the same shoes in the non-sale section for full price. go figure. advantage: me.

ok, i lied about the pointy-toed thing. you can't really buy casual tennis shoe things with pointy toes. (at least i don't think you can... if you know otherwise, let me know!)

these are by timberland, and weigh a fraction of an ounce. they're unbelievably light. they're incredibly squishy, too... like you're walking on a gym mat or something. i have no idea what type of astronaut substance they're made of. they make a flip-flop sound when i walk. they're replacing an old, stinky pair of blue slip-on tennis shoes i got at target a zillion years ago.

these red boots aren't new, but i love them so much i had to post a picture. pinky asked me, when i bought them, what i would wear them with. the answer: everything! i love them so much. they're the sexiest shoes i own and if i could i'd wear them every day for the rest of my life. i might look a little silly at the beach, though.

yesterday when i went to see my orthopaedist about my wrist, his first question was about my foot (last time i saw him i'd hurt it really badly). i was wearing these boots (of course!) and his jaw dropped to the floor. he said, "that's some kind of brace you've got on that foot! lookit those!!"

heh heh.

Posted by xta at 11:12 PM | TrackBack


i have twice worked with people who are crazy for prescription drugs.

1) i was working in a record store. one of my co-workers would spend all day on the phone trying to track down drugs. valium, percocet... i don't know. whatever he could get his hands on. he never did any work. he just called his 'sources' all day long. we all were totally annoyed by this guy, but he was --believe it or not-- the assistant manager, and therefore he was kind of hard to get rid of.

2) at a totally different job, a co-worker would notice medicine sitting on my desk and ask what it was, eyes greedily dancing over the bottle. other co-workers would know that, after an injury or surgery, any remaining pain-killers should be offered to this person. she'd sometimes ask for them, if you didn't volunteer outright.

3) there really isn't a 3rd instance of co-worker drug abuse, but i thought i'd mention the time a bottle of oxycodone disappeared from my bathroom closet after an out-of-town friend visited.

Posted by xta at 4:33 PM | TrackBack

March 15, 2004


ok, i just have to say... i'm really glad that boyfriend project is done.

in some respects it was fun taking a trip down memory lane, but midway through the process i started getting anxiety attacks. unable to sleep. couldn't stop thinking about the past. it wasn't pretty.

so it's over. i'm glad i did it, but i'm glad it's over. thanks for your comments and armchair psychology. i actually needed it quite a bit. :-)

i got a cortisone shot in my left wrist today, to help ease the tendonitis that my orthopaedist has diagnosed me with. the whole area is kind of sore right now, so i'm going to keep this entry short.

but first, one neilsonism from yesterday's dress rehearsal... during stravinsky's firebird suite, a particularly difficult passage sounded better than it ever had before:

"not bad, not bad... still pretty scary, but not bad."
the concert went well, btw. our next one is in april, in trinity park.

Posted by xta at 6:39 PM | TrackBack

 boyfriends: ray 

ray. 1999 - present.

ray doesn't want me to write anything about him, which i understand. i do want to tell the story of how we met, though... it's been told so many times, i can't imagine he'd mind.

it was halloween, and i'd been invited to a costume party thrown by my then-boss. also invited was an ex-boyfriend of hers... ray. i showed up dressed as a highway, and he had his face painted like a skull. ray noticed me right away.

he was sweet, and came and talked to me in the kitchen. he made me laugh, and he says i flirted with him by twirling my hair with my fingers. at one point he complained that the skull makeup was irritating his "delicate wink areas", which i thought was incredibly cute, and next thing i know he'd excused himself and left the room. he came back about 10 minutes later with precisely one-half of his face makup washed off.

he didn't explain this, but i remember wondering if he removed the makeup just so i could see what he looked like. we continued to chat (i honestly don't remember talking with anyone else that night) and the party started to thin out. ray excused himself again, and suddenly i was one of the last people at the party. i asked my friend mary if she was ready to go, and we left... without saying goodbye to ray. (if he was still there, i didn't know where he was.)

it turns out he was in the bathroom again, washing the rest of the makeup off his face.

when i got to work the next morning i asked my boss and sarah (who had been friends with ray for ages) about him. my boss warned me against ray (i guess their breakup had been bad), but sarah encouraged me. finally, my boss gave me his contact info and i emailed ray right away, blurting to him that i thought we should get together again.

he immediately wrote back, and we went on a date a week later. 4 years later we're living together. and i am happier than i've ever been.

Posted by xta at 6:24 PM | TrackBack

March 14, 2004

 boyfriends: "T"

i dated a few people right after i got to north carolina. nothing serious, but that was fine. i was into exploring a new area of the country, new friends, new music... new everything. this was the early 1990s, and it was the period in my life that produced most of the significant changes. my mind opened in ways i couldn't have possibly imagined. serious relationships were far from my mind. i was concentrating on me and my happiness. i was getting to really know myself --finally-- and it felt good.

"T". late 1990s.

i have lots of pictures of "T", but i feel so badly about this relationship in so many ways that i don't want to identify him, photographically or by name.

through a common hobby, T and i were around each other quite extensively. i was absolutely not attracted to him. he was dour, cynical and sarcastic, and i was bubbly, happy and free. i guess T was attracted to that about me, though, and he asked me out... over and over again. i repeatedly declined. i recall being pretty honest about my refusals, telling him he brought me down. i was happy to discover that he was in therapy (as was i, incidentally).

we'd email a lot, and over the course of a few months i noticed a distinct change in his personality: he started to sound optimistic. i finally accepted one of his invitations, and next thing i knew we were having dinner together.

after dinner we went back to my house. i was a little tipsy on wine, and feeling happy in the beautiful spring evening. while T was in the bathroom i grabbed a blanket, giddy, and went outside and spread it on the ground in the moonlight. i just wanted to absorb the sky and enjoy how good i felt. T emerged from the house, wrongly interpreted my horizontal-ness as an invitation, and he started to kiss me. i was surprised, but i only protested a little.

that night started a 2 year relationship. (i think it was 2 years... i actually have blocked a lot of this out.) the beginning was really easy for us... it was all magic & beauty. we'd travel a lot, look at art and enjoy music together. he met my parents and went with me to my high school reunion.

but his intellect combined with his latent cynicism ended up slowly driving me away. he was analytical and i was emotional. it became too difficult for me to reconcile our personalities. and i think that down deep i just really wanted to be free.

we went to couples counseling for a while, but rather than help bridge whatever divide there was between us, the sessions only made me see the chasm more clearly. after one particularly rough appointment i stood in the parking lot with T, crying my eyes out, and finally told him i had to break up with him. i remember saying some mean things, too, to make him get the point, and to this day i deeply regret saying them.

T hated me for a long time after we split. i don't fault him for that... i could have handled our break-up in a more adult manner. i was so glad when he finally decided to answer my emails, but it took months & months.

we're friendly now. i don't know what he thinks of me, deep down, but we're friendly.

Posted by xta at 10:27 AM | TrackBack

March 13, 2004

 boyfriends: erich p. 

like an idiot, i continued to make poor boy-decisions in high school. i probably shouldn't reveal any more of these fleeting lurid tragedies... many contain memories i really don't want to relive in detail, but more than that there are just some things that i shouldn't be publicly blogging. i'll just stick to the big relationships from here on. there are only a few more.

that said, even my freshman year of college was filled with questionable entanglements... i was getting numb to the idea of ever having a real boyfriend again. i was at a pretty low place in my life.

then erich came along.

erich p. sophomore year of college.

erich was a newly-arrived freshman at college when we met. he played french horn, too, and we sat next to each other in wind ensemble that year.

to be honest, i have no idea what drew him to me. by now i felt like a shrunken version of myself. given my bad experiences over the previous few years i didn't have a lot of interest in a relationship... i just wanted to disappear from everyone's sight. but erich didn't know that and he would lean over and write cute notes on my music folder during rehearsal, then he would walk me home. every day.

all of my friends teased me about erich. he was like a little puppy dog that would follow me around everywhere i went. he was very innocent and pursued me with a naive fervor like i'd never seen. still, i wasn't very interested... not interested in anyone, not interested in him.

he wasn't dissuaded.

when valentine's day came, he schemed with my roommates and decorated my bedroom with red roses, candy and a big white stuffed bear. i couldn't believe the trouble he'd gone to, especially since i hadn't been giving him any sign that i was even interested in him romantically.

but this valentine's present... it was so grand. so sweet. i learned that erich even pleaded with a shop owner to convince him to sell that big white bear, since it was the biggest one in the store and a central part of their valentine's display. i felt i had to reward erich in some way for his efforts, so i gave him a quick kiss. but he latched on, months and months of pent-up affection waiting to spill out, and turned it into much more of a kiss than i was intending.

erich & i ended up dating for 2 ½ years. midway through that period we even moved in together. it was the most serious relationship i'd ever had, and i came to love him more than i thought possible. we played like we were grown-ups in our suburban chicago apartment, and i took on the domestic role with enthusiasm. we were everything to each other. he was devoted to me, and i relied on that devotion.

but i guess that's too much adult stuff for two kids in their early 20s, and eventually he grew restless and distant. i suppose i shouldn't have been surprised when he told me he was leaving, but it never occurred to me --even with our relationship slowly dissolving around us-- that he could have ever had eyes for anyone else.

i felt like the world had caved in on me. even though it had been stagnating, our relationship had been so good for so long; his departure came as a shocking blow. add to that my unhappiness with my less-than-fulfilling job downtown (which required a soul-sucking, one-hour train commute each way)... and i decided i'd just had enough. it was time to leave. i had graduated, i had a degree, and i needed a change. besides, the thought of living in the same town with erich anymore was just too much to bear. so i left, and i came to north carolina.

Posted by xta at 9:27 AM | TrackBack

March 12, 2004

 boyfriends: kerry 

kerry. junior year of high school.

if the whole thing with brian left me feeling a little lost, then this escapade sealed the deal. kerry was one of the biggest mistakes of my life, and the epitome of Me Being Bad. i have no photo of kerry, and that's probably for the best.

kerry's girlfriend, lynn, was my best friend. she & i were in marching band together, and we spent all of our free time tooling around town in her old white chevy... i remember the blue leather interior like it was yesterday. lynn & kerry had been dating for quite a while, and there were rumors of an impending engagement.

sadly, whatever scent i had been giving off at that time in my life snared kerry, too. he started hanging out with me when lynn was working... we'd go to garage sales on the back of his motorcycle, or i'd visit him at work (he was an EMS in training). pretty soon he was wanting things to become physical.

big warning signs in my head were flashing "BAD IDEA! BAD IDEA!" but i felt helpless. one night, in a rainstorm, we had sex on my mom's front lawn and i felt like i had finally lost control over who i was.

both of us vowed to keep it a secret from lynn. i held up my end of the pact, though it killed me. a couple of weeks later, though, kerry caved in and i got a furious phone call from lynn.

"did you sleep with kerry??!?"

as if it were my idea.

so many things were flying through my brain... how did she find out? what do i say? did kerry confess? am i being entrapped? should i deny it? my heart was beating outside my chest.

in the end, my silence did me in. "the fact you're not saying anything tells me everything." she slammed down the phone and i never spoke with her again. i tried calling her back, but her mom always answered and told me lynn didn't want to have anything to do with me.

from what i heard through the grapevine, though, she & kerry went ahead and got engaged. i would have loved to hear his version of the story... what kerry told her that made her think that he was an ok guy to marry. i suppose he made me out to be an evil, conniving seductress, so hell-bent on sex that i was willing to betray my best friend.

and part of me wonders whether that wasn't true. just a little bit. but a bigger part of me realizes that i was just a mixed-up kid, making bad decisions.

Posted by xta at 2:40 PM | TrackBack

March 11, 2004

 boyfriends: brian v.

brian v. junior year of high school

it was my junior year and i had actually known brian for years and years. since 8th grade, i think. i was the best french horn player at my high school and he was the best french horn player at the rival high school, so he & i ended up at a lot of regional music competitions together. we also sat next to each other in a prestigious state youth orchestra.

brian was totally, utterly hot. he was also incredibly smart... my age, but 2 years ahead of me in school. he was a little cocky, but damn... that was also attractive. most of the other boys i knew were weird, insecure grabbers. brian was suave and confident.

suffice to say, i'd had a crush on brian since i met him. that crush grew with a white-hot intensity over the many years we knew each other. when it finally hit its peak i happened to be oozing that scent that was drawing all kinds of bad boys to me, so it's no surprise that brian was sucked in, too.

he never became my boyfriend, but we would date. i mean, i guess that's what you would call it. he would come pick me up at my mom's house, and for some unknown reason (maybe she was dazzled by him, too) she would hand him the keys to her RX-7. brian and i would go speeding down dark indiana roads and i turned to jelly right there in the passenger seat. we'd stop occasionally and make out in a playground or deserted parking lot, and one time in a fit of passion i told him i wanted him to be "my first."

it didn't happen right away, but it did happen. he was already in college and had the benefit of a dorm room. we were watching pink floyd's "the wall" and then suddenly we weren't. i was being deflowered while on tv faceless children marched into a meat grinder. at some point brian got up, turned the tv off, and put a thompson twins record on the stereo instead.

the whole experience was surreal. brian wasn't a boyfriend, but he was someone i'd been attracted to for a long time... so in that sense it was a fitting culmination. but because he wasn't a boyfriend (and he wasn't the kind of guy to settle down with one girl) i had to watch him date other friends of mine, which really hurt.

brian & i had sex a few times after that, but it didn't really make me happy and i didn't know why i kept going back for more. i felt like i was lost.

still... even today, my heart flutters when i look at that picture.

Posted by xta at 1:46 PM | TrackBack

March 10, 2004

 OH. MY. GOD. 

Look who is coming to the Carolina Theatre!!!!!!

Tickets on sale March 15th:
David Byrne & Special Guest
Tuesday, June 8, 7:30pm | $35, P3: $30, Pit: $38

I cannot believe He will be a mile and half from my house.

Excuse me while I go change my pants.

Posted by xta at 10:16 PM | TrackBack

 i bought my house from a dead republican 

yesterday in the mail was yet another letter addressed to the dead man who, while alive, resided in my house before i bought it. i get 3 or 4 pieces of mail for him each month. you'd think that some of these groups would get a clue. like the VA... don't they keep track of their members?? it's also clear that president bush doesn't keep a close eye on his contributors because yesterday a signed photograph of the first couple arrived for the dead man in my mailbox.

i was going to post the photo here, but i decided it's really not worth the pixels. basically, it's a photo of both dubya and laura, umcomfortably -yet casually- posed somewhere in texas. the grass is green and his belt buckle is larger than a president's should be. he is squinting a little and both of their signatures are at the bottom, just below their "personal" greeting to the dead man that used to live in my house. upon close inspection it looks like the whole thing was spit out of a mediocre inkjet printer.

along with the photo, of course, is an appeal for money, as well as a brief summary what he'd like to do with the dead man's donation. "make america safe from terrorists" was my favorite bullet point. geah.

look, if you really want to see this thing, i'll post it. otherwise it's headed for the circular file in a few hours.

and no, i'm not freaked out about living in a dead man's house. a republican dead man, though... that's something to worry about. i wonder if that what the tree-through-the-roof was all about... some kind of warning from above to stop funding democratically-supported environmental causes. i wonder what would happen if a republican ghost knew i supported planned parenthood...

after about 10 days' worth of attempts, i finally watched "seabiscuit". that makes 2 horse movies in 2 days. i've never really considered horses before. i mean, i see them and think, "oh, there's a horse" and that's about it. i never really gave them much thought. but after 2 horse movies i now have a desire to get to know one. just to see if that man/beast bond is all it's cracked up to be. i have a hard time imagining it, though.

i remember riding a particularly stubborn horse at girl scout camp about 25 years ago. that left some unpleasantness in my horse-memory-center. i also enountered a few horses at the southfork ranch in dallas, and they seemed a little stand-offish. i guess i just focused my love for animals on cats and moved on.

the most exciting thing that happened yesterday was that i finally, after years of wondering, visited "the house of better lighting": the pine state electric store on washington street, between trinity & markham. i was floored by their selection. when one of the friendly guys approached to ask if i needed help i couldn't stop myself from blurting, "these chandeliers are so much better than home depot's!!" he smiled the sweetest smile i've ever seen on a salesman.

their prices seem very reasonable, too, and they are even willing to negotiate. so, yay! i see some funky-fresh lighting fixtures in my future. i need 2 for the kitchen and one for the dining room... and maybe one or two for the front hall...

finally, i'm sorry to report there were no nelisonisms last night. it was our first rehearsal in the carolina theater (the concert is sunday) and alan actually gave us all a bit of a scare when he suddenly stopped conducting, stepped backward on the podium and held on to the railing for what seemed like dear life. the musicians were all deathly silent until one 2nd violinist meekly said, "alan, can i get you some water?" he said no and slowly got back into position to conduct. it turns out he was just out of breath and taking a quick break, but it still scared us all. alan is easily in his mid-70s and we all worry about how much he exerts himself during these rehearsals. (he later told me, "it's so hard to get them to give me a good run-through of that firebird suite that i feel like i have to beat time twice as hard as usual, and i just had to stop and catch my breath.")

here's to hoping he has a nice, restful week and the musicians present him with a stress-free concert on sunday.

Posted by xta at 1:34 PM | TrackBack

March 9, 2004

 boyfriends: jeff d. and derek w. 

jeff d. and derek w. sophomore year of high school.

so after sweet fred, i went back to rebelling with risky behavior. don't get me wrong, i was still a virgin... i was simply anxious about being a virgin.

jeff was in the band, too. he was really cute, but he was totally goofy in a dorky way. he played drums, but had no sense of rhythm. i think a lot of girls were simultaneously attracted to and repelled by him. i was one of them.

i think the onslaught of male attention that year was causing a number of guys to take interest in me. i must have had a scent. i could tell that there were boys who were curious, but jeff caught me by surprise.

during a break in band practice one night, he asked if i wanted to go down the hall to get a drink of water with him. i said "sure!", feeling happy for the attention but also slightly apprehensive; he & i had never really spent any time alone before.

we walked the long, deserted hallway and got to the water fountain. he took a drink. then i bent down and took a drink. and as soon as my head popped up he grabbed me by the shoulders, drew me to him, and gave me my first french kiss. it was totally startling, and frankly kind of gross.

still, i had been kissed by a cute boy and after i got over the shock i was not unhappy that it happened.

clearly, though, jeff ran off and told his best friend derek, because not a week later derek was inviting me up to the catwalks above the stage for a little rendezvous. i don't think i can bring myself to share the details of that tryst... i walked away in a daze, feeling a bit violated, a bit more experienced, but still a virgin.

things were beginning to move really fast.

Posted by xta at 2:07 PM | TrackBack

March 8, 2004

 getting better

the phlegm in my chest is subsiding. i think i'm almost recovered. my boss wants me to stay home one more day, though, just to be sure. (how civilized is that??!?) our pledge drive is coming up, so i'm sure he just wants to ensure i'm back up to speed for that.

i've been spending the last couple of days doing a lot of web-crap. i bought a domain name: use it for all of your jazz needs.

well, maybe not all of them. but some of them.

i also transferred my personal domain to a new hosting provider, and i'm in a weird state of limbo right now. if messages sent to me at "singintomymouth dot com" have bounced back at you, that's why. things are migrating as i type this. eventually i think i'll move this blog over there, too. we'll see.


after too many days of being cooped up i finally got out of the house:
1) i filed my taxes. i'm kinda bummed that my refund isn't as big as i was lead to believe, being a new homeowner and all.
2) then i got a massage. (is that wise when you're sick? no matter... it felt good.)
3) and also i saw a movie --hidalgo-- with lisa.

mmm... viggo.

Posted by xta at 11:15 PM | TrackBack

March 7, 2004

 boyfriends: fred m.

even though alan warned me against it, i did fool around with leroy a little bit. but leroy reminded me a little of david lee roth and his advances were way scarier than alan's... it totally freaked me out and i didn't stick around with him very long.

it's worth noting that i was not a very happy girl during this period of my life. my dad had remarried and i was not getting along with his wife at all. she & i would shout and fight every day. the guys i flirted with during this time were definitely "bad boys". and there were a lot of them. not at all good for me. take that, dad!

but then i met fred.

fred m. sophomore year of high school.

fred played baritone in the band. we had lived in the same complex of townhouses for many years when we were younger, but didn't realize it until we started dating in high school.

he was the funniest guy i had ever known. he laughed all the time. he made everyone else laugh. but he wasn't a clown and he wasn't self-depricating... he was just sweetly funny. it was a delight to be around him. he wasn't great-looking, though, so i think he was as happy to have a girlfriend as i was to finally have sweet boyfriend. we both felt pretty comfortable with each other (while, of course, still being totally awkward teenagers).

i remember thinking "this is my first real boyfriend." i liked him a lot. a lot. so much, in fact, that i was honestly really physically attracted to him. a lot of guys had scared me with their advances, but with fred i wasn't frightened. i even felt a little secure.

we'd go over to his house after school, then on the way up to his room we'd tell his mom we were studying (do they ever really fall for that??), and then lie down on top of each other --fully clothed-- and just wriggle around in a way that felt really good. we carried on this way for probably 3 or 4 months. it was sweet. he even took me to a dance.

i don't remember how it all fell apart, but i'll bet that i pushed him too hard. i do remember having an argument with him after band practice one night, which ended with him shouting at me in the parking lot. i probably complained that he wasn't spending all of his free time with me or something... i was always doing that.

when we finally broke up, i cried and cried.

Posted by xta at 12:03 PM | TrackBack

March 6, 2004

 this is not just a cold 

i had a head cold a couple of weeks ago. this is different. this is in my chest.

i can hardly sleep for the lack of breathing. my nose is stuffed, my lungs feel stuffed. i sound terrible.

sitting upright helps. taking cough medicine helps. but i can only do those things for so long.

i'm tired.

Posted by xta at 11:02 AM | TrackBack

March 5, 2004

 boyfriends: alan l.

alan l. sophomore year of high school.

there's a big gap in my love life between 3rd grade (david) and 10th grade (alan), and i'm not really sure why.

actually, i did have a frighteningly obsessive crush on my band teacher all through middle school; that must've sucked up all of my young hormonal lust for a couple of years. (in fact, when i went digging through all of my treasure boxes to find my boyfriends' love notes, i also came across countless hall passes that my band director had written to get me out of study hall every day. i may have had a foolish, madly consuming crush on him, but he was definitely an enabler.)

oof. i should probably do a whole entry on that band director, but i'm getting the shakes just thinking of the trauma that whole period caused me.

so back to alan:

alan was 2 years older than me. i was a naive little sophomore and he was a very experienced senior. we lived in the same subdivision and it was hard not to notice him in his bright orange nova. he was friends with my best friend, lynn (who later de-friended me in the most dramatic way; that story comes later); i'm pretty sure she was the one who introduced us.

again, this relationship started off with notes written back & forth. i knew he wasn't the brightest bulb in the box, but he had a car and he was older and therefore more exciting... so who cared how smart he was?

the notes he wrote were pages full of nothing. (the one above is far & away the most substantive of those i've saved.) they're not nearly as palpatation-inducing as david's, oh-so-long-ago. (though this one says "i guess you can call our relationship as we are dating," whatever that means. i suppose i had cornered alan into defining what we were doing. typical.)

so, our 'relationship' consisted primarily of me hanging out at his house, which was always creepily dark (and his mom was never home). i really didn't like being there very much. i felt kind of unsafe for some reason. not that he'd ever hurt me, but i was just uneasy about... well, you know.

i do remember driving around the neighborhood with him once. it was dusk and my parents were probably wondering where i was. he parked down the street so that my dad wouldn't see the orange car. we sat there in silence for a few minutes, awkward, before he slid towards me on the bench seat. i remember him kissing me, but it was sofast and then i was out of there and walking quickly back towards my house. it was my first real kiss and it was slightly traumatic.

reading his other notes in my treasure box, it seems like alan and i just stopped "dating" without cause or explanation. one of the notes warns me against a friend of his, leroy, who was "a ladies man"... so i guess alan and i just drifted apart as i became interested in other guys.

i do remember that alan got one of the lead roles in the school's production of "the music man" that year, and that i was proud of him.

Posted by xta at 2:37 PM | TrackBack

March 4, 2004

 sick. again. 

dammit, i'm sick again. sore throat, post nasal drip. i feel like a truck backed over me and hasn't gotten back into gear yet.

i slept 4 hours this afternoon, and felt good enough afterwards to trudge up to divaville, but then i came right home and collapsed on the couch. bleah.

the other thing that's pissing me off is that when vietnam vets came and picked up my pile of crap today, they didn't take with them the biggest items and the reason i scheduled them in the first place: 2 brass fireplace screens.

they're the kind that fit into the fireplace (not just a screen that decoratively sits on the floor in front of the fire), with glass, a pull-chain screen and everything. if you want 'em, let me know. you can have 'em for free.

you can also have this head cold if you want, too.

Posted by xta at 11:14 PM | TrackBack

March 3, 2004


so, lisa has been blogging about her fluevog collection, and sarah has been blogging about her collection of tights. so i've decided to blog about my collection of boyfriends.

it'll be more than just boyfriends, i think... i'll also feature the guys that provided significant milestones in my sexual development. (suffice to say, "my first" was never a boyfriend, but is still worthy of mention. alas.)

also, i can't guarantee this will be a daily thing. this whole process might send me back to a shrink if i go too fast.

so, with that... here we go.

david s. 3rd grade.

it was one of those beautiful romances that begins with a note. "i love you. do you love me?" i answered yes. and that was all there was to it... we were boyfriend/girlfriend.

in 3rd grade, that's all you need. a contract. we were too young to go on dates, but it seemed enough to just be able to say "david is my boyfriend." we lived too far apart to even see each other after school, and neither of us would have really known what to do as boyfriend/girlfriend anyway. i don't even remember playing with him at recess. all my girlfriends would just giggle, "chrissy's got a boyfriend! chrissy's got a boyfriend!" and i would smile with proud contentment.

but then my family took a vacation, and when we came back i heard that david had kissed pam. he denied it with another note. his fear of rejection is evident as "love" has now descended into "like". also the yes/no thing is becoming predictable, david.

i don't remember responding to his note. but i remember fuming. a lot. i was so upset that he kissed someone else (he hadn't even kissed me yet!) that i sat right down and wrote a letter to kasey kasem. i listened to "america's top 40" every week and thought he'd surely take pity on me if my story was sad enough.

so i told kasey that i was in 3rd grade and while i was on vacation my boyfriend kissed another girl... and would he please dedicate "torn between two lovers" for me on next week's show.

clearly i didn't grasp the concept of the song, and i never heard my dedication on air.

that campaign helped ease my broken heart a bit, but what cheered me up even more was the letter i got from david --in the mail!! not just a note!!-- just a few days later. i mean, look at that... he loves me very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very much!!

i was on cloud nine (check out the heart!! and no yes/no question!) but even being such a good wooer i really couldn't really trust david anymore and things were never the same.

interestingly enough, though, david was part of my life all through middle school & high school. we were in band together... he was the best trumpet player and i was the best french horn player. he even went on spring break with our big group our senior year, but by then he was born-again and he hid all of our liquor while we slept.

Posted by xta at 8:57 PM | TrackBack

March 2, 2004


tonight's neilsonisms were good ones.

the last 2 notes of stravinsky's "firebird suite"... one is held for a long time, then a brief pause, then the note reiterated. alan was trying to ensure that everyone knew that the pause was going to be very brief:

"it's only a quick pause. if everyone goes out for lunch it just won't work."
then while rehearsing prokofiev's "peter and the wolf", the strings were having a difficult time. the first violins were supposed to play on the downbeat, followed by the second violins playing on the upbeat. it should end up sounding like a very regular rhythm, but it wasn't.
"it sounds like morse code, and i didn't get the message."
the concert is sunday, march 14, by the way. at 5:30pm. the durham symphony will be performing:

* brahms - academic festival overture
* stravinsky - firebird suite
* borodin - prince igor overture
* prokofiev - peter and the wolf
* schumann - 1st movement, piano concerto
* ravel - 1st movement, piano concerto
(those last 2 works feature winners of the young artist competition; both girls look to be in their teens.)

tickets are available at the carolina theatre. that'll be me moving the chairs around on stage.

Posted by xta at 10:46 PM | TrackBack

 the sleep of the damned 

i did sleep last night. 12 hours. i should feel great. instead, though, i feel like my head is full of cotton.

i took a valium before going to bed, i was so desperate for uninterrupted sleep. i forgot, though, that valium makes me feel like crap.

so although i awoke feeling significantly more well-rested, i also felt groggy and stupid.

there's a target on my commute which has a starbucks inside. i stopped for a vanilla latte (and also bought a jar of raspberry+blueberry jelly, a belt, and 2 new blouses) and seem to be feeling a bit more with-it now.

but only a bit.

Posted by xta at 12:00 PM | TrackBack


if there's one place on earth i could be right now... one thing i could be doing... it would be playing golf with my brother.

this weather reminds me of when we last did that... warm, drizzly, and in the air a touch of the changing season.

i remember laughing with him... so hard i thought i'd pee in my shorts right there in the fairway. rob had hit his tee shot well to the right. it landed, in fact, to the right of the cart path. we drove up to it, he found his ball in the rough, then took a swing.

the ball went sailing high into the air, hit a pine tree (making a distinct "clock!" sound), then ricocheted directly back at him. it sailed right over his head, took a bounce on the cart path, flew right over the cart, and ended up coming to rest about 50 yards directly behind where he was standing.

i doubled over, laughing so hard.

that was a great day.

Posted by xta at 11:55 AM | TrackBack

March 1, 2004


i'm so tired i could cry.

i feel like i've been running on a serious sleep defecit since the middle of last week. if i'm not waking up in the middle of the night to pee, then it's the cat... every morning at 7 she wakes me up with her hollering. she wants in. meow! meow! me-OWW! i'm about ready to strangle her.

plus, i haven't been eating well. my face is breaking out. i haven't been taking my vitamins (too tired to remember). i feel like i'm on the edge of mental collapse.

so figuring out this CGI script today isn't really in the cards.

then, to top it all off, a reporter from the AP is coming to the station today to do a story on us.

i just really want to go home and sleep for 2 days. i don't want to have to be smart and charming for anyone.

Posted by xta at 10:52 AM | TrackBack

 the end to a busy weekend 

this morning ray brought home breakfast from le coco. i usually love le coco, but this particular meal was not nearly as good as past experiences. i usually get the fritatta, but opted for an omelet this time. also the home fries were weird-tasting. alas.

shortly after breakfast charo called for help with a flat tire. i don't think i'd ever changed one all by myself before, but i'd seen it done numerous times. as it turns out, it wasn't a problem at all, and we had her on her way inside 15 minutes.

then, another movie. "cold mountain" with lisa & mary. jude law is awfully fine to look at, and renee's character was funny, but beyond that i wasn't moved too much. maybe a 1/2 kleenex movie. i cried when the old hermit lady in the woods tenderly killed her goat, and that was about it.

after that the oscar hoopla began. we watched the gossipy red carpet stuff on "e!" for a while then went over to beth's for the party. the last 2 years in a row i've won the contest of guessing the most correct winners, but this year mary pulled ahead and beat me by one. damn LOTR.

and now i'm having trouble with a form on the website for work... it needs to be up & running now, but i can't seem to get it to work. and it's important. i keep getting "500 internal server error" and i don't know what i'm doing wrong. i wish i were more of a programmer; i feel totally lost trying to change this script, and no one else at work knows this stuff... so there's no one i can turn to for help.

but i'm tired, i have a headache, and i just want to go to bed. so i will, and hope that i feel smarter in the morning.

Posted by xta at 1:00 AM | TrackBack