Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last post of 2008, or "I couldn't come up with a better post title"

I've decided to start a different blog. Tomorrow something or other will go up. It will be more of a column type deal, the type of thing I've always wanted to do. I'm not getting rid of this one. This one will be reserved for other things, like the occasional Al-anon angst and hard core nudity. No, not really. Just dirty lymricks.

It's been...well, a terrible year frankly. Not all of it has been a heart breaking, grueling monstrosity of a growth period that feels more like the bad kind of growth, like a tumor, and less like the good kind like a kid's shoe size or a bank account. So I'm trying to reflect on the good moments with the bad, and even how the bad stuff had good outcomes in the end. This is all very vague, I know, but trust me it ain't been pretty. To Chris and the kids' credit, they've been pretty good about it all. I imagine that I haven't been fun to live with lately, and this new person who's emerging isn't exactly what everybody is used to.

I'm still doing well with the book. The kids being home for the holidays has seriously cut into writing time, but I know I'll get back into a good routine soon. And the kids and I have had fun this Christmas. I'm still looking for a full time job. Tulane is suppose to get back to me either way in the next couple of weeks, according to the other editor. He said things move slow over there. Yeesh.

And yes, I'm still in Al-anon. Monday night I went to a meeting in the city and I think I like it better than the Metairie meetings. There are more hippies, and truthfully I feel more at home with them. They're bohemians at heart, and they've still got jobs and they're trying to be functional. I'm still going to go to the Metairie meeting, though. My sponsor and a couple of other awesome people go to that one. I'm still working with the steps. I'm stuck on two. I've been stuck on step two for a couple of months. It seems I'm struggling with the "higher power restoring me to sanity" thing. Could it be that I'm not sure that anything could restore me to sanity? This is possible. But I'm beginning to suspect that the problem is I'm angry with God. That and step one keeps slapping me in the face. All of the things I haven't wanted to look at for years and years and years are taking turns revealing themselves to me, and I have no idea how many of them are still waiting behind the door. Jesus. Christ.

So why is it that meetings, any kind of group meeting, is always in the same kind of room with the same kind of smell? When I was a girl scout we met in a multi-purpose church room with old, mismatched furniture, and a musty smell. It's the same with Al-anon, particularly the place I went to on Monday. The chairs are stained and torn in places. There's a jigsaw puzzle of an autumn forest that's been glued and framed on the wall. There are slogans like "It works if you work it" and "Al-anon spoken here" that look like they were pinned up in 1974. There is a plastic vase of dusty, fake flowers on a green coffee table. And somehow the room is comforting. Maybe it's all the people who smile at you and tell you they're glad you're there, and they don't even know you. Or maybe it's the things they say. I was telling one woman, a much older recovered addict-of-everything with long, oily black hair, a long nose, a football jersey, and a brown leather fanny pack (Did you know they came in leather? Yes, the fanny pack just got classy) that during the day, Monday, I was severely depressed, and she offered me a ziploc bag of dark chocolate M&M's and said, "Oh Al-anon lows are way worse than my AA lows."
"They are?" I asked.
"Shit!" she said. "When I hit bottom in AA, the worst that happens is I drink til I pass out, or I OD and end up in the emergency room. My Al-anon bottom is when my family's fighting, I tell off my girlfriend, I feel guilty about everything, and I just feel stuff. It sucks."

I agreed and took a handful of M&M's. Leather Fanny Pack seriously put things into perspective. It's when I talk to people like that I remember to be patient with myself, and that during this period where I'm learning how to stick up for myself and set boudaries (rotten, fucking, stinking, no good period of dumb ass time) it's not going to feel good. But eventually, as they say, it will. Just keep the M&M's comin'.

So perhaps 2009 will be better. Or perhaps in 2009 I'll be better. More patient, more self-accepting, less "I must mother the world and several dogs and cats." Peace with God would be nice.

Happy New Year, guys. I'll post the new link tomorrow. Rock 2009, my children!! WOO HOO!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Wal-Mart poem

Dig the line "as if he steered a soap bubble." I love poets.

Coming Out of Wal-Mart
by Mark DeFoe

The child, puny, paling toward albino,
hands fused on the handlebars of a new bike.
The man, a cut-out of the boy, gnome-like,
grizzled, knotted like a strange root,
guides him out, hand on the boy's shoulder.
They speak, but in language softer than hearing.

The boy steers the bike as if he steered
a soap bubble, a blown glass swan, a cloud.

On the walk they go still. Muzak covers them.
Sun crushes. The man is a tiny horse,
gentle at a fence. The boy's eyes are huge
as a fawn's.

He grips hard the orange and pink,
and purple and green striped handlebars,
smiling the fixed sweet smile of the sainted.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Interview

I'm typing this in the front room of my house where the dessert table is still littered with crumbs of fudge, chunks of cakes and a punch bowl of eggnog left over from the Christmas party last night. It went well. There is much to clean, but as I told Chris, I have to just sit down and blog for 15 minutes before today's craziness ensues. Ooooh, the craziness.

Anyway, the interview went well. It was weird, though. There were three other applicants, and all four of us were scheduled to show up at the same time. So we all met in this library, sitting at a table facing each other and struggling to make polite small talk when, really, I believe that all any of us wanted to do was stare each other down and say, "They's only room round these here parts fer one of us (spit)!" This is actually how editors talk.

We were interviewed by five doctors who called us into their offices one by one. They seemed like nice guys. Some of them asked tough questions like "where do you see yourself in five years," and "what do you think is your greatest weakness and your greateast strength?" I think I answered the questions well, though. If I don't get the job it was atleast a good interview experience. I got along with them all pretty well and I totally hit it off with the other editor, the guy who's so overwhelmed with work that the doctors decided he needed another editor to help. We joked around the whole time, so I hope he has a say in the hiring. Out of my three competitors, I'm only worried about one of them. He's a little younger, good looking, experienced, and has no children. I think I'm a little more experienced than he is, from what he was saying. But, you know. I worry. The other two I'm not too worried about. One of them showed up 45 minutes late and the other was very mousy and quite dull. The editor and I were talking about what we liked to read and, in an effort to include her in the conversation, I asked her what she enjoyed reading.

She adjusted her glasses and said, "Oh, I don't have time to read."

The editor and I were taken aback. She doesn't have read? Editors...they, like, read. Sigh. With my luck she'll get the job.

There was one doctor who was really funny. In fact, he asked me if I had a sense of humor. I asked him if that was important for this job and he replied, matter of fact, "Yes." Then a few minutes later he asked if I play sports because I "looked athletic." I never know how to take that observation. On the one hand it could be a compliment that means, "You look strong and in shape, yet feminine" and it could be "you look like a pit bull." I'm going to assume he meant the former. I told him I play softball, and I don't know why I said that because I haven't played in a long while. But he seemed interested in that and asked me a couple of questions about it, and then there was this silence. He began jotting something down and I felt pressured to say something so, without thinking this through, I said, "I had a sports injury once. I took a line drive in the head when I was pitching and got a concussion. It was cool, I was proud." He looked at me and then he scribbled something in his notebook and said, "Brain damage."

So besides that everything was smooth. I gave them some samples of my writing. They want someone to start by January so I'm hoping I hear something soon. If I don't get it I'll keep trying, but I hope I do.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A pot luck of topics

We got a new puppy. I know, I know, don't ask. Let's just say that 1) I've put a cap on allowing any other living, breathing, pooping creatures in the house, and 2) the next time I go into Wal-Mart and there's a man standing near the door with a box of puppies that he says he'll give to the pound if they don't find homes, I will turn around, get back in my car, and not allow myself to leave the house until I'm sure that I can shop without homeless puppies being waved in my face. Her name is Caramel because she looks like caramel. Sometimes I call her Mello. I must say, Chris and the kids are doing a wonderful job taking care of her. Claire even cleaned up after her this morning. They take turns taking her outside and everything. I told them that a new puppy means there will be more responsibility so things have to shape up around here. (notice that I included Chris in this number) It's like the puppy was a catalyst to make them all more responsible for picking up after themselves and helping me take care of the pets. I was kind of beating myself up over the weekend because I thought, "Damn it, just when I reduce the stress in my life, I invite more back in," HOWEVER I've dealt with it well! By putting other people to work!

Here are random thoughts I've had lately:

I wonder if either Emma or Claire will grow up to be one of those girls who gets breast implants and then walks around asking everyone to feel them. If they think their father and I are buying them breasts they're crazy. I didn't eat well for nine months of gestation, nurse them, and take them to the doctor regularly just so they can shove silicon up their chests, they need to work with the boob DNA they got.

Last week's snow has taught us some things. First, snow is wet. Second, snow is cold. Third, cotton gloves and tennis shoes provide no protection from the cold, wet snow, and I can only enjoy a snowball fight for so long before my hands and feet go numb.

Tattoos are great, but honestly, there's a limit. Man who went through tattoos and surgeries to become a tiger, I'm looking at you!

Sometimes, do you ever, like, just stand there in the middle of a room and look down at how far your feet are from your head and think, "Jesus, I'm tall. It's almost like my legs don't stop at the toes, they just keep on going." Yeah, I have those thoughts sometimes too.

Sometimes I can't enjoy good writing because it makes me jealous. There, I said it, it's out.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


It's snowing!!!! I know you yankees are probably going, "Duh, it's December," but it never snows here! It's coming down in sheets! The kids and I have just come in from playing! We're soaked and freezing! It's glorious!!!! Have I typed enough exclamation points????!!!! No emoticon can express what I'm feeling! I'm freezing my ass off!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Some good newses

First the fantastic news. One of my short stories is going to be in an anthology! During the Faulkner Festival, a Canadian editor approached my writing instructor (who, by the way, just won this year's Faulkner Award! Yay James Nolan!) and said that she wanted to do an anthology of New Orleans writers. She asked if he could send her some of his students' work. I wasn't surprised to hear this. The whole reason I took this workshop is because James constantly encourages his writers to submit their work so over the years his students have had many short stories, essays, and even a few novels published. He asked if he could have one of my short stories to add to the anothology! It's been rejected a few times, but he liked it. The super cool thing about it is that it's going to be printed in English and in French. I'll get to see my story in French, dude! When is this going to happen? I have no idea! Will it now all fall apart because I'm telling people about it? Probably! But James had a lot of good writers to choose from so I'm honored that he asked.

Secondly, I went to a good al-anon meeting last night. Afterwards, my sponsor and I went to get a bite to eat and we went over some questions about the second step. She asked me if I pray differently now than I did before, and I had to think about it. At first I didn't think so, but then I realized that something was very different in the way I pray now than before. I say thank you more often. I say it all the time, and I think it has a lot to do with the serene way I've been feeling (for the most part) lately.

I have to get back to book edits. The kids are in school and the day goes by too fast, man. I will blog again later about nothing in particular, but I just wanted to share the joy.