Wednesday, December 27, 2006

and i don't feel any similarity


I'm feeling pretty good about this whole new-year thing.

There are regrets. Losses. Some trepidation - worries that may or may not be warranted. But holy crapazoid, has this been a year for the books.

I had a dream not long ago - a trippy, fractal sort of dream. I was watching the tree of my life's decisions grow. The roots of the tree, stretching into an infinity of underworldly blackness, were the decisions that conspired to create me; the point where the actual tree emerged, my birth; the first branch, my first independent decision. From there, the tree careened into the stratosphere - the strong lines of made decisions, big and small, dwarfed by the smoky phantoms of those that were possible, yet left unchosen.

This has been one of those years that really puts some growth on that tree, and I'm going to put some heavy fertilizer down for 2007.

I'm not much of a 'resolutions' girl - not, at least, on January 1. I like to make resolutions as they come up, and keep them on a closer deadline than the gaping expanse of an entire year. This year, however, I really feel like I'm looking at newness - the death of hiding, and an up-front facing of where I'm headed...literally.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

the little whispers of a good morning


Your sleeping head on the pillow, lips pouched ever-so-slightly around your long, slow breaths.

Your company to my car - a kindness that's never taken for granted.

Leaning against a whitewashed brick wall with a waxpaper cup of Kenyan co-op coffee, using my long red bangs to curtain off some of the strong Venice sun as I'm flirting with a pony-sized husky with big brown eyes. His owners are talking about the Iditarod, and suddenly I want to go sled-dog-racing with you.

The ginger bundt cake somebody brought in to this light-filled new office, redolent of maple and orange and slightly sticky to the fingers, that I nibble thoughtfully as I sit back to watch seagulls in the skylight.

Monday, December 11, 2006

At 4:15 AM, Los Angeles is a sleeping giant under my window, snoring traffic noise. Helicopters occasinally tiptoe overhead, sending her fleas skittering.

I'm awake and headed for the shower, last-minute worries distracting me from really applying myself to the job of shampooing and scrubbing and rinsing. There's so much to keep track of; so many details, and each one is integral to the overall function of the machine.

I always find it wickedly hard to leave this bed, with your smell in the sheets and your long legs a toe's reach away. It's even harder when I know what kind of day it's going to be. So when I emerge from my half-assed primping and find you dressed and waiting to help me to my car, it's another moment to think about how lucky I am that you're here in the world - a chance built of unthinkable statistical insignificance - and that you found me, which is even more unlikely.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

zen


I.

This is something of an interesting moment in my professional life - working on a project directed by the fellow who mentored the very first video I ever put together, at the company I courted fairly heavily when I really hadn't the minutest of clues as to what I was doing.

So now I'm here, drinking their coffee and using their internet. It's an arrival, of sorts.

II.

There's a graceful simplicity in having only one certainty in your life - and graceful simplicity is the name of the game, for now.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sometimes I feel like I'm swimming in an underground cave in the vast geology of subtext beneath the life I'm living.

I wish there was a map of some kind - even a wonky, my-continent-doesn't-look-anything-like-that map.

Monday, November 27, 2006

one question, not so gently asked


It's taken a long time for the question to actually reach me. I know.

The question first flickered across my thoughts on that last, grasping day, when I saw the fence torn down by the weight of a thousand untended sweet peas and the old battleground reclaimed by a once-lost army of weeds. I had made assumptions here - assumptions about seasons yet to trade this eggplant for that pepper; for a different tomato trellis; for running beans up the walls and painting and rethinking the herbs a bit. I had made assumptions about a lot of other things, too; I had lost myself in a tangle of them. Assumptions had replaced my dreaming.

What do you want?

In trying to remember the last time I really, really knew, the years slip through my hands like flour. I was on a stage in Napa, high out of my mind on the standing ovation spread out in front of me. The love of an audience is a hell of a drug - once you've felt it wash over you, you'll do anything - crazy things - to get another fix. So I did. I went to L.A., goddamn me. But I never saw an audience again - at least, never clasped hand-to-hand, grinning madly, makeup gleaming with sweat and light and the whooping affection of hundreds of onlookers.

The first time I produced a project, I got a little bit of that back. It wasn't much, but it was enough. And I was needed. Like baby birds, they couldn't manage without me. It wasn't a thundering theater, but it was genuine and it was real and it was intense. The project itself was a silly, blood-soaked horror film shot surrepetitously on campus; our shooting hours were roughly 1 to 4 AM, and it dragged on for weeks. But I was good at it. So I did it again, and again, and again, and when I graduated it got bigger. And all the time, I got involved with too many people who were more than happy to fulfill my desire to be The Thing Holding It All Together. I wonder how many people ever got to meet the girl under all that project-moving torque. I wonder how many people even really wanted to.

And then it all blew up in my face, as these things tend to do.

And I stared at that garden of stupid assumptions, swathed in cobweb and bulletholed with bugs.

And now, there's the first person who's just in it for me. He doesn't need me to move his mountains; he enjoys the process of moving them himself, with me to cheer and bring cookies. He loves me with a generosity and thoughtfulness that aren't in any way contingent upon my usefulness. I don't have to want what he wants and bleed myself into it to make it grow. He doesn't want that from me.

So - what do you want, Annette?

I feel like I'm in gradeschool, looking at a set of cartoons in the Weekly Reader. Will I be a fireman? An astronaut? A horse trainer? A businesswoman? A feature producer? A diplomat?

Will I ever figure it out?

In the meantime, I'm going to hang herbs from the ceiling in this tall, tall place, dangling greenly in front of a big window that faces the great secret mountains to the north. The dream will settle into focus in time; until then, there will be little miracles of kitchening and the minor magicks of fresh basil leaves drifting over steaming, eggy seas.

Friday, November 17, 2006

workbook


Things I Want

- to develop to the point where I ride beautifully, with great skill and athleticism.
- to someday have a smallish house by the sea, with great big open spaces, big trees, and an eatin' garden
- to instill habits that ensure that I will age gracefully, and in vibrant health
- Definitely.
- to keep you.
- To grow a not-too-massive collection of art that satisfies me deeply, no matter what "real" collectors think of it.
- To grow my knowledge of wine into that of a full-fledged expert.
- To never, ever stop getting ahead of myself.

Things I Do Not Want

- To get trapped by stuff.
- A huge house.
- A status car.
- To ever feel beholden.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

moon in venus


This description of my wacky cusp sign takes, like, a vurrrrry long time to read, but it's quite startlingly accurate.

I've been thinking about stars, lately. My face has been tilted to the sun of late, my freedoms fully embraced and my worries tucked down into the shifting tides of perspective. It feels good to be here.

My dad came out to San Diego for a conference. Talking to him for five hours about just about every freakin' thing was exactly what I needed. I have a startlingly awesome dad.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Thursday, November 09, 2006

i'm a robot


Or, at least, Ima Robot makes me want to be. A dancebot. A wild dancebot in candy colours and no off switch.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

awesomest decision ever


So it's 6pm on October 31st, my most favouritest of holidays. The prospects are not good. Just parties - the same old parties. It's long since been decided that we aren't slogging it down to WeHo again.

So I'm sitting on the floor with my head rested on his lap, drawing in the carpet with my big toe.

"We aren't doing anything this year, huh?"

"I dunno."

Pause.

"How long does it take to get to Vegas?"

"At this time of day, with this traffic, about four hours."

"I can pack a bag in five minutes."

"I'll be ready in six and a half."

So then it was running and laughing and making faces at slot machines and sucking down a couple of gin and tonics to drum up the cajones to sport an extremely breezy beer-wench outfit watching everybody's eyes on the jaw-dropping man on my arm and discussing effective buffet-line strategy and probably waking up the entire wing of the hotel at roughly 4am.

Like, the best Halloween ever.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

location, location, location


dream house
Originally uploaded by annette_oneil.
I'm on location today in Thousand Oaks. This place is jaw-dropping.

Monday, October 23, 2006

boo!


Notable happinesses of the past couple of days:
1. Sushi on boats, and plans for an imminent rubber-duck-pirate invasion. Qua-yarr. Yarrack? Shiver me tailfeathers.
2. Movies about magic (one of the most magical aspects of which being a pair of mysteriously expanding mammaries), and sneaking into Jackass: Number Two again because the last time we snuck in we only got to the Firehose Rodeo, and this time we got all the way up to the Anaconda Ball Pit.
3. Bear's first "real" haunted house, plus a corn maze, a mountain of hay, some amourous rabbits making scandalous use of the petting zoo enclosure, too much shaved ice, people running after us with chainsaws, and Dale (photos of the latter fellow to follow.)
4. Leiderhosen.

Friday, October 20, 2006

your face is a map of the world


I wrote this first bit last week, ploddingly stabbing the keypad of my Treo, but haven't gotten round to posting it until today.

I.

It's been a hell of a week.

In my dreams last night, we were alone on a great big plane.

There was a shiver and a pop, and the cabin lost pressure in a terrifying rush. All the oxygen masks popped out of the ceiling - an orange forest of plastic cups and tubes filling the cabin.

In the midst of the screaming wind and flickering emergency lights and beastly shivering of the injured plane, you sat still and silent.

I had to do something. I kept pressing mask after mask to your face, into your hands. I must have tried dozens as the orange plastic morass around us tangled and twisted in the rush of disappearing air, catching on my arms and in my hair, clammy as they pressed against my skin.

You just locked your sad eyes to mine.

I remembered just before everything went black that I hadn't taken one myself.

So I'm a little unnerved by the turbulence on this plane I'm currently riding to see my sweet sister married off in the wilderness outside Boston. I have more than the typical amount of dream-to-conscious bleedover, and besides - I've slept so little in the past several days that everything is starting to feel a little stagey. Early call times, long prep days, longer wrap days, and sleepless, worrying nights have left me longing for that point when a quiet moment is just a quiet moment and not a silent one.

This is an enormous effort, keeping on top of everything that's happening to me, and to you. There's just so much to process.

Your reassurance is all I've got; your hands on my face are my very last line of defense against...well, pretty much everything.

I have never needed anything as much as I need what you and I have built together.

II.

Today, waiting for your return...just don't leave me here.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

that compulsory last hurrah


There are some things with which my comfort level is just really, really low, no matter how the logic works, and I hate the act of tamping out thought after thought like acrid cigarette nubs. Don'tthinkaboutitdon'tthinkaboutitdon'tthinkaboutit.

And y'know what? I wouldn't mind a crowded bar and frenzied socializing, myself.

Or maybe I'm just...meh.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

just breathe


My feet are in agony, my hands rubbed rough by leather and wood.

I've spent the day tromping back and forth through the barn, my ears full of mutterings and hoof on hardpack and the occasional stuttering whinny of startle or disgruntlement, my nose full of hay smells.

The rain touched us lightly - just enough to set a gentle rhythm on the metal roof and calm the stirrings of dust around the hooves of the horses as they ambled to their classes and back in again.

I taught a tack class. I learned how to treat cracked hooves and girth sores. I helped run interference for a birthday party full of squealing, grabby munchkins. I pressed my cheek to several outstretched necks. I doled out sugar cube after sugar cube, marveling at the agility of those funny, muscley lips, and tickled the tender-soft chins underneath.

I watched riders spin around the ring on a cushion of air and confidence, and marveled that I have so much left to learn.

I hope I have time for some of it. I'm watching my hourglass, nailed firmly to the table, as it shuffles the sand neatly along.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

higher now than ever before


Say what you will about music videos, but this one has a few moments that are almost painfully beautiful and very, very human.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

step from cloud to cloud


step from cloud to cloud
Originally uploaded by annette_oneil.
This was a red-letter morning.
I.

I was missing a piece yesterday.

I woke up and felt a space inside - a distinct space. I'd say "I just wasn't feeling like myself," but I was...except without a component thereof that completes the rest.

I recall a moment in The Dark Crystal, when the Skeksis strap the teensy, pop-eyed Podlings to a chair, tap their plump little arms with cruel-looking needles, and drain their life essence into gothic-looking glass jars. I felt as though someone had pulled a similar trick with me as I slept. I knew it upon waking, and automatically intuited that the best course of action would be to tuck in and stay there until the missing bit reappeared.

It made me think about the incredible chemical balance that we all tiptoe across - how can it stay with us, this thing called 'happy'? It's coaxed out so capriciously, and chooses its companionship with an unbelievable fickleness.

On introspection, it amazes me that we are ever happy, healthy, or sane at all. These things are miracles. That fact should command more respect.

II.

this is freedom

lying on the backs of angels knees apart head tossed back and laughing throat lain open and throbbing and chalk-white to the world because none can threaten the thinness of this skin if those blue eyes are on me

we are a rock we are an island we are full of each other we are each others' worthiness we are each others' blood

i have walked through the shell-strewn wastelands to find you
so many narratives
so many third acts abandoned

i have left footprints on water for you

i have left my old skin crumpled and rejoice when you touch the new pulling it around my shoulders lips pressed to my forehead

the fullness of history is in our keep

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

today's thoughts


- Happiness is getting out of the production office before official sunset.
- Twenty-hour days can be good for you, if the moho WC isn't broken.
- Happiness is receiving a correctly filled-out timecard, petty cash envelope, and mileage log (but while I'm dreaming, I'd like a pony.)
- Barns smell good.
- I will never have to eat sushi, cake, or ice cream with my own chopsticks/fork/spoon again.
- I've realized that I've had so much to do of late that I'm triaging.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

going down


I'm not feeling terribly writesy today, but I'll muddle ahead - my mind is in a bit of a jumble, so I suppose I'll just expectorate what's inside.

I.

Santa Barbara was exactly what I needed - hours zooming around in the breezy coastal sun, cuddled up to my Bear. We wine-dabbled. It was't a real out-and-out, serious tasting day - just a lackadaisical meandering through the valley, stopping here and there. I wasn't up for serious, anyway, and the undeserved snobbery of so much of the over-Rhoned wine culture up there doesn't really support the fee system. The tasting fees are almost as obnoxious as the sommeliers, honestly - $10 for four one-ounce pours? C'mon. Let's drop the pretense and acknowledge that you're just running a bar that happens to open early, aaight?

I could go on in my snooty-poo anti-snootiness rant, but I was really overjoyed to be up there, making faces at kids as they ran around us in circles in the park and stealing sugarcubes for the horses and discovering that - yes! - they do make a pretty good Albarino over here. And always there's my Bear beside me, surprising me over and over again with his incisive mind and preternatural observational powers and endless capacity for play.

In any case, it was a brilliant end to one hell of a summer.

II.

I booked a job for this coming week (beginning tomorrow) that's shrouded in mystery. I'm sort of on the edge of my seat about it. This setup will be new for me. I can hear the rollercoaster clickin' away underneath me, and at 9am tomorrow morning I'll be hearing the catch spring and the sound of my own screaming. God, do I take every single job really freakin' seriously. I mean, It's just a bunch of pretty pictures. C'mon, me. Get over it. Um - wish me luck?

III.

I'm starting to marinate in the Los Angeles Public Library's extensive collection of books about relocating overseas. Damn, this is going to be a hell of an adventure. I'm stumbling all over myself with joy and trepidation already.

It's making me remember that evening after school; it was several years ago, true, but it feels like another lifetime entirely. I remember being on the stationary bike, pedaling away - an evening like any other, with mom close by in the kitchen. As I'm sweating my way up a massive invisible hill, dad comes sweeping in the door. His face is drawn almost imperceptibly into the I'm-working-through-it tightness that I inherited for use in stressful situations, so I'm automatically on guard - and there it was. "We're going to the Caribbean," he grins.

And really, it was just fine. More than just-fine - defining.

But this time, I get to choose who, and I get to choose where, and I get to choose (y'know, sortof) what. And that fills me with toe-tingles and dreams of adventures to come and that prized, but sometimes elusive commodity - hope. Lots and lots and lots of hope.

This will be fun.

IV.

I guess I was feeling a bit writesy today.

Friday, September 01, 2006

degauss


I went to a raw-stock house the other day to grab an armful of HD tapes.

Behind the front counter were four women - all between 26ish to 33ish, I'd say. None of these women were particularly jaw-dropping. None would have drawn notice in a crowd.

The thing that caught my eye (and, as it turned out, my musings) is that as all four were on the phone, their receiver-clasping hands were all pointed directly at me. I couldn't help but notice the ginormous rocks they were all sporting.

I got to thinking about the practice of engagement rings. Where do they come from? As far as I can tell, it's a quaint tradition that stems from the same women-as-chattel practices that have been followed since time immemorial. It's a mark of ownership. It's purpose-driven to make the following statement: "This woman is owned by someone with the financial means to keep her in luxurious worldly goods." It's designed to be ostentatious, obvious - and removable. Ain't that sweet.

I got to thinking about how far from love that symbol is.

Cut to a moment later that week, when I met a girl who had taken the gesture and made it express what I believe the symbol should be about.

She had a simple tattoo of a ring around her finger, with her love's name forming the band on the inside. She was no pierced-up suicide girl, either - it seemed to be her only tat, from what I could tell. The "ring" was simple, elegant, and permanent - a mark of her own intent, not of anyone's worthiness to possess her. I was struck by the elegant simplicity of it, and of the glimmery, ruddy-cheeked glow that she got when I asked her about it only underlined the fact that she was doin' it just right.

I'm having a lot of moments like that lately - the millions of revelations of a life re-examined with a perspective so fresh it's completely unrecognizable from What Was.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

everything changed, then changed again


On the heels of a startlingly difficult, aggro-intense project comes a gift so simple - yet so profound, and so jaw-dropping, and so hoped-for and longed-for and almost discounted.

We sit under a mantle of starless sky and twinkling city, near-buried under skyscrapers. This restaurant is excellent without being unnecessarily fussy, and we're nursing glasses of a smoky, tannic tempranillo as we inspect the lit windows of the hotel across the street for shenanigans. We're waiting for our crayons to arrive; this fancy-pants restaurant has paper over the linen tablecloths, and it's clear that no restaurant that dresses the tables thusly would dare to shirk the sacred reponsibility of crayon supply.

You're thinking about something that matters. I can always tell. I try to tease out the not-matter stuff, 'cause I love to burrow down into your thought process - but especially because I like how your lips move when you talk, and how the deeps of your voice nuzzle my eardrums. But this time, it matters. I can tell you're going to speak, so I finger the stem of my glass and wait for it.

I don't think I could have prepared myself for what came next.

"I think we should either go to Italy this winter," you said, "Or move to Europe next spring."

I could feel every heartbeat.

Yes.

Friday, August 25, 2006

I.

This has been an extraordinarily weird, trying week.

Extraordinarily.

Exciting, sure. Whirlwind, sure. But extremely, chillingly alienating.

My body has been screaming for attention - for touch, for comfort. To be wrapped up in warm and to have succour pushed into me through my worn-thin skin. I'm so raw; so needy; so unsure of where these steps are carrying me.

I feel like I've had my teeth knocked out all over the room, and I'm scrabbling around in the dark for another shared dream because my own are still so nebulous and unformed.

All I know is that I'm a gypsy - that my blood runs hot with wanderlust, and that this ache is only rubbed away with a good, hard run into the unknown.

II.

I saw a really incredible thing the other day, and watched it again today - but I can't tell you about it. I want to. I guess everybody will see it soon enough, but I feel (justifiably!) like I'm being watched. It unnerves me.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Today is a worky, worky, worky day. Very worky.

So, in the early winter we shall escape. We shall fly to Florence. We shall rent a bike. We shall stay in one of these and it'll be full of this and this and this.

It's settled, then.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Vivir con miedo es como vivir a medias


I.

When is fear properly motivated? When is fear healthy?

I realized yesterday that I need to evaluate my feelings of fear very closely.

'Cause really, I'm not as much of a pussy as I was getting so furious at myself for being. Sure, there are things I'm afraid of that I shouldn't be afraid of. But y'know what? I tackle them. Head-on. My motivations may have been deeply, deeply flawed in a few cases, but damnit - I have not shrunk.

II.

I feel naked, sometimes, with all my talking. I don't know why I admit what I admit; especially in those moments when there's no relief in the telling. When I'm just laid bare in my gaping imperfections, all insecurity and open wounds, and there isn't a thing that can be said in response that doesn't sound ungenuine and hollow. When I'm too far gone to comfort.

When I let the part of me that really doesn't care for me very much do all the talking. And lately, it has been amazing how much that part of me has to say.

This morning, mulling over what my internal and external monologues have sounded like over the past few days, I'm pink with fury at myself for listening to any of it.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

meet hank


Bear is from San Francisco. So it makes perfect sense that he's a sourdough fan.

I've never made sourdough, but I'm always more than willing to experiment. So I decided to forge ahead and make some natural sourdough starter.

Bear, being something of a germphobe, was a touch dismayed when I described the process of sourdough-craft to him. It's sort of like bacteria-gardening. You mix up some flour and some lukewarm water until it makes a ball the consistency of week-old Play-Doh, put in in a bowl, slap some plastic wrap over it, and 'feed' it a couple times a day until it's bubbling and piquant with life.

The dough starter has been going for a couple of days now, and I showed it to Bear this morning. As it is alive, he insisted on naming it.

So now Hank, the new member of the family, lives on top of our refrigerator.

Monday, August 07, 2006

oh, man...


Here it goes again.

And people wonder how they fit into those tight little pants, year after year...

Monday, July 31, 2006

per our conversation, enclosed please find


For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin — real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.
- Fr. Alfred D'Souza

Saturday, July 29, 2006

technology is a funny thing


Have you ever had a moment where you flip through your own Flickr stream and think, "Hmm. I have a good life."?

It strikes me that I massacred the punctuation of that little note, but I'm not nerd enough to go MLAing for it right this moment - anyway, there's fresh-made tortilla chips in the oven and I've whipped up a batch of avocado salsa, so I'm not hangin' 'round.

Mm. Beer.

I miss you guys.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I have GOT to get out of town.

It's been, now, officially, years since I've left the country. Yes. A plural of 'year'.

I. Have. Got. To. Go. Now.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

no traveler returns


Today, I had another little reminder - I am going to die.

I don't want to. And it's not that undiscovered country that I'm afeared of - it's all the other undiscovered countries, within and outside of myself, that I don't want to miss.

It's the fear of a slow and steady decline. It's the fear of losing my physical faculties while my mind remains intact. It's the fear of becoming a burden - and then, suddenly, discovering that I can't take care of myself and that nobody else wants to do it. And that I won't want them to do it, either.

It's fear of pain that keeps going and going and nothing stops it.

It's fear that I will have put important, meaningful, necessary, dreamed-about things off for silly reasons, only to abruptly realize that the window to do those things has closed.

Fear of resentment, basically. Fear of the monumental beast that is my own resentment.

For now, my body is more or less whole. But I feel my own fragility today, like a tiny baby bird in cupped hands.

Monday, July 24, 2006

the week ends, the week begins


I.

Saturday found me in Santa Clarita, hangin' 'round Bear's feature set on Sable Ranch, an unimaginably crappy shooting ranch in Santa Clarita. His call time was 1pm, but it remained heart-stoppingly hot until after the sun went down. I chased some horses, traded stories with the crew, choked down some catering, and poked around the landscape for diversions.

I love the fact that everything that I do contributes to my work. Chasing Bear around town to his sets, exploring LA, seeing art, going to shows - it's all a contribution to my professional development.

But it's easy to forget how I'm quickly I'm professionally developing when I'm sitting on a lift gate, watching a showy sunset with a hand on my knee, swinging my feet above the dirt road, my senses full of warm-grass smells and walkie murmurs.

II.

Sunday started at Auntie Em's - there's nothing like farmer's-market scrambled eggs and cavernous-bebubbled toasts and endless mugs of organic coffee to start a fabulous weekend day. Suitably satisfied, we ambled over to bring carrots to my homeboy Minnesota at TES (as is becoming a weekendly habit) and picked up an accessory at the tack store that Bear ended up joyfully wielding for the rest of the day (leading to a bevy of raised eyebrows in a supermarket and at least one Starbucks.)

Then I learned how to smoke a cigar, emptied a bottle of excellent red wine, and dedicated the rest of the day to tandem langorousness.

They're just incomparably sweet, these moments that whizz by.

III.

He's swimming under a wide night sky and I'm perched at the edge of the pool, my submerged feet moving with the wave-borne rhythm of his strokes. With each perfect butterfly, a rivulet of silvery water pulls together between his shoulderblades, tracing the strong channel of his backbone along precisely the same line that I love to run my fingers.

He is a never-ending discovery; he is as fresh as that first nerve-stinging handshake even as he enfolds me with familiarity.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

This is not turning into a media review blog.


But, y'know, when something this good happens in the world of music video, I've just gotta share.

Not that you haven't seen it already, if you pay one lick of attention to the world of music video.

But nobody pays attention to the world of music video.

That's why I'm so comfortable here.

Yep.


A Softer World tickled my thinky bone this morning.

I do not feel well.

This is really too bad, since things are going really well and I'd love to be present in the moment to appreciate it. But whenever I return to the moment, I return to the headache and the iffy tummy.

Bleargh.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Monday, July 17, 2006

open your heart, catch my disease


I.

Yep, there are roadblocks. And speedbumps. And traffic. And, this weekend, sortof a police barricade. But somehow, with him, it's all just part of the adventure.

This is bragging, but hell. I mean, he sent me a postcard. At work. From our apartment, five miles away.

He comes with me to witness really, really atrocious Shakespeare in the Park. I mean, Shakespeare so terrible that everyone is wearing a different period costume (from Civil War to 1920's plaid, no joke) - and one dude is even wearing a laptop case on stage. But we're under a blanket and he's hand-feeding me sushi and uproariously MST3King the whole thing to the point I can hardly bite the laughter back. So we give up on it after we finish the bottle of Hatcher Tempranillo and trundle across the lawn to look out over the water, and I'm tucked away again in those immense arms as the ("matches-my-hair") orange sun slides back into the ocean.

II.

So I'm reviewing this weekend's crop of promotional CD's, and I found a gem in an utterly unlikely place - the soundtrack for John Tucker Must Die, which is by all appearences yet another 30-year-olds-playing-18-year-old-high-school-douchebags-on-the-prowl-for-validation-and-sex-not-necessarily-in-that-order piece of atrociously-written schlock. There, tucked away in the middle tracks, appears a Ben Lee cover of Modest Mouse's 'Float On'. And it's great - playful and brainy and lovable, right down to the hiccup at the bridge.

I'm becoming a bigger and bigger fan of Ben Lee (a fella I once knew only as "that funny-lookin' guy who used to date the My So-Called Life chick.") This love affair began, for all intents and purposes, as a direct response to this dare-you-not-to-smile music video. He's continued to win me over with the way he never fails to wrap a little envelope of humour around his lyrics before he delivers them. Really, the new record is quite worth a listen.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

i'm a real live girl.


...and i've finally decided to enjoy it. Less jeans, more skirts. Less clogs, more heels.

I picked up the perfect scootering-though-northern-Italy skirt at Buffalo Exchange this weekend, which is inspiring me to do just that.

And, when I've managed to square a few things, I'm fairly sure that I'll be finding this and some of these in my future.

cold, wet, and barely legal


I.

Last night, we explored our new playground - our city, under a mantle of harvest moon, all twinkly and full of treats.

We somehow ended up facing the formidable Dorothy Chandler Pavilion fountain, and I said we ought to come back some night in our bathing suits - to which Bear responded, "Um, are you wearing anything particularly valuable right now?"

Before I know it, I'm squealing bloody murder as we're racing through the spray with all our clothes on, getting soaked to the bone under the disinterested gaze of a bicycle cop.

Every moment is important.

II.

I'm making a conscious effort to own my actions - to own my motivations and speak to them, because when I externalize those impulses and point elsewhere, I always end up feeling unfulfilled.

There's somebody inside of me that I'm trying to get to know better, 'cause she's great. She's above the posturing; she's above the flashing teeth. She understands that her needs are simpler than the world insists. She's enveloped by a sense of trust - not out of blindness, either, but out of confidence and fierce love. She takes care of herself in a way that eliminates resentment. She knows that toughness and strength are not the same thing.

She's sorta hard to pin down, but I've left word and am hoping to hear back soon.

I never get what I want when I don't swallow my bullshit and just spit out what's really going on, no matter how I'm judging myself for the feeling.

And I want you to know how deeply grateful I am that you stand willing to accept my truth, though I blush and stammer, just as you take my hand and put it firmly in yours when I'm reeling off the leash.

Monday, July 10, 2006

a lot of love and compliance


I.

I'm not sure where this falls on the brave/stupid spectrum, but I did something very out-of-comfort-zone yesterday. I drove out to Zuma Canyon and did the entire route on my own - complete with scrambling, grappling, leaping, wading, and sometimes swinging from rock to rock.

I was very nervous about this. There are a lot of variables out there. It's miles off-trail. The creek - and its shore, where there is one - was teeming with watersnakes and big ol' honkin' spiders (I am a fairly dedicated arachnophobe) and poison plants, and the rocks themselves are none too safe to go scrambling around on without someone to count on. I told one person where I was, but he's never been there; there are no real landmarks, and it'd take forever to find me if I needed it.

But I did it anyway.

And it was good.

I mean, I banged up my knee a bit - but it was worth it to see just how fast I could go (quite admirably fast, I'm happy to report). And to hang out with a many-spotted bullfrog, which was the size of a kitten and flirted amiably as it swam around the choice real estate of its beautiful little waterfall.

II.

I'd have an easier time finding the rhythm of my own proprietary space if everyone hadn't disappeared so fast, I think. I didn't have time to make peace with my own company. But I'm beginning to. And building anew. Again. Like breadmaking - you have to let it rise, or it comes out all flat at the end and you're sorry you didn't take the time to do it correctly.

Soon, I believe I will find ways of dealing with the sound of my own thoughts that don't involve taking four NyQuil and tucking myself in at 9pm.

Friday, June 30, 2006

toothbrush


I swore I'd never do it again.

Nuh-uh, not ever. I am a rock, I am an island. I am the only name on my lease.

But why would I put miles between our dreamtimes? Why would I abbreviate mornings full of waking up slowly and warmly? Why would I not want to share this window?

Shocking, that in the wake of wrongness there is so much right.

material


"He was still too young to know that the heart's memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good, and that thanks to this artifice we manage to endure the burden of the past."
- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera


I went through my closet yesterday, stem to stern.

It's amazing, the story a small collection of clothes can tell - and I, yesterday, became its editor. The story of my body; the story of my aspirations. The story of my travels, and my friendships, and my lovers, and my family. Of what I like and what I do not like about my long, pale body - its bony escarpments and cushiony protrusions and shaded hollows. My insecurities, my confidences, my practicalities.

The dress I wore to that wedding at Beaulieu when I was just barely sixteen - one of the only long dresses I own, and I wore it barefoot that day to walk through the English rose garden on the vineyard grounds. The fireworks of exploding Champagne flutes when the dozens that had been carelessly set on the dance-floor heatlamps simultaneously exploded. I remember the dress catching my calves as I was tossed around, whizzingly, to that swing band. I knotted that skirt up in my hand to ride home perched on the window-ledge of the old beige Mercedes, and screamed with joy at the wind in my hair and on my skin and at someone holding my ankles to be sure I didn't fall out onto the road. And I cast it on the floor to the strains of that old Bakenaked Ladies album (Gordon, I'm sure it was. Hello, city.) playing softly, as I wiggled into a swimsuit and we all piled drunkenly into the hot tub on the back deck, toasting the advance of early-morning fog. I hadn't fit that dress for years, but when I slid it on yesterday it was 1996 again.

And then, the enormous pleasure of the purge. Conservative suit after conservative suit, collected from years of pursuing a job in corporate animation and TV. Suits collected with the wallet I fattened at CBS with my own lifesblood. Suits that represented who I thought I wanted to be but really, really didn't - black and camel armour for a pointless war. As I put each one on, I became unrecognizable to myself, draped in georgette hanging benignly over my curves and buttoned up to my neck. Get out, old self. Get outta here.

Out go the holdovers: This never fit well, but he gave it to me. This isn't my colour, but she lent it to me and I never gave it back but now she's gone. This really doesn't suit me, but it makes me remember this one moment in time that I like to think about. The pile grew in the middle of my bed, and I was struck by a glance I caught of it - this represents so many of my past iterations. My not-quite-right doppelgangers, locked in bondage to people and pursuits that were doomed to sputter out. And another pile, slightly to the left, of clothes that are ready to be nipped and tucked and tailored to suit the creature I have become.

This morning, much of my closet is possessed by clicking, empty hangers - like a mobile made of ribs.

I am at home, here, now.

Monday, June 26, 2006

on wanting


The last two videos I've worked on have involved a gaggle of women in very revealing clothing grinding around in ecstasy as they listen to the subject band.

I'm reminded of a lecture I listened to in film school about the theory of the male gaze. This particular shoot's content was interesting to frame in the context of that theory, just by the nature of its content. The short form of the project's treatment is this: the band performs in the stage space of a nasty red-light-district peep-show booth (the sort where you sit in a chair to watch the show and you pay by the minute to lift the opaque screen from the window between you and them). A sequence of hottie girls pay for the chance to peep at the band as they play and work themselves into a sweaty frenzy over the performance.

Essentially, the entire treatment of the video is about women watching men. But, you see, the driving force behind the idea is that we are watching the women as they have their private moment of bliss - their images are captured in a way that implies that they're bringing themselves to orgasm over the band's performance. And they're revealing all sorts of skin where the band is not - they're fully clothed as they play. So it's not about watching the band at all, really.

Then, of course, there's the content of the lyrics themselves - specific to a point beyond suggestiveness. ("What do I have to do to get inside of you? I love the way you move when I'm inside of you.")

Given my somewhat unique perspective on femaleness, participating in these two shoots back to back - and visiting a couple of Playboy shoots in the past week, too, one of which apparently involved women getting blasted in the face with bottle after bottle of champagne in super-slow motion - really brings this seminal feminist theory into relief.

Let me preface my thoughts here by saying that I do not define myself as a feminist. I'm a peopleist. I roll my eyes at the shortsightedness of women who insist that men's lives are unmarked by their gender - male or female, we all strain at the expectations forced on us by merit of the respective reproductive systems we were assigned. But there's something that chafes me about watching these women bumping around in their underoos, faked expressions of ecstasy on their made-up faces, rubbing french-manicured hands on their mystic-tanned skin.

I'm not anti-porn. In fact, I'm pretty darn pro-porn - with the very specific qualification that everybody looks like they are legitimately enjoying themselves. The other stuff turns me right off - listening to people go through the motions of desire without actual desire ever coming into the picture gives me the same creeped-out feeling as watching the audio-animatronic housewife in EPCOT center talk about her stove.

So I'm standing next to some of the crew guys, watching girl after girl climb into the booth chair and give it the ol' college try, listening to clinically delivered instructions on where exactly the girl is to move her hands and hearing bets placed on whose ta-tas are going to accidentally burst forth from their moorings during the goings-on. And at the same time as I'm titillated by the show, I feel a sadness well up. 'Cause these are people. People who were born very pretty, which is almost as bad as being born very ugly - 'cause they're at the mercy of those abnormally succulent bodies, as obviously and materially as a burn victim, just in a different way. And the very nature of their job requires them to strip themselves of their personalities and their personal preferences and their modesty and their actual wants and needs.

Like those Playmate interviews I used to laugh at: "I like guys with confidence. I like animals. I like to shop." It's never, "I'm Muslim. I like guys who make seven figures and can scrub laundry on their eight-pack. I scored a 1600 on the SAT and am getting my PhD in Organic Chemistry at Columbia."

Take the girl away, and you're left with a great set of punching balloons and the empty calories of feigned accessibility.

Sigh.

Friday, June 23, 2006

fuck politics i just want to burn shit down



I'm giddy.

Giddy, giddy, giddy.

I'm a car that's been kicking up a useless spin in gravel for so very long, and I just found my traction. Ka-pow, and I'm moving sofastIcanhardlykeepgtrackofmyselfwheeeee.

When I was researching and practicing my Irish spiritual heritage, I read a phrase that has stuck with me ever since: Magic is simply focused intention. The wands, the stones, the smoke, the flame, the colours - it's all just little tricks to help keep focus on the intention.

I'm making magic right now, wandlessly. Breathlessly.
all your worries
be gone
"you're the one"
put your arms around me
while i make the coffee
and think about everything you said
"bring your thin skin to my hands,
to my lips, to the bed.
let me in."

these everyday days feel like
treasure

-lori carson, 'treasure'

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

the closer i am to free


"Do you think we'll miss how simple this is right now?"

Everything we need - what a powerful statement. Everything we need, we have. I'm constantly reminded of a blog post I read a few months ago that keeps rolling through my mind - we're taking the path of least resistance. Not out of laziness, but because it's right. Because when it's right, the hard stuff becomes simple, clear, zen.

And that song keeps prodding my subconscious as I write this. It's hokey, but...y'know.

I had become so accustomed to struggle; to the plate-balancing act of a life full of compounding denials and diametric oppositions. To complication. To modularity - a la carte fulfillment.

"Six months ago, if I'd gotten an e-mail like that..."

I know. Heh. See - we're forged of the same stuff, darlin'. And at the same moment that I understand exactly what you're saying (to a sort of intimate extent), I feel something rise up in me. It overasks. It overthinks. Do you miss it? Will you miss it?

"It's the bounce effect..."

Lying on new carpet, laughing, as there's Marvin Gaye and a wiggling tickly prickly chin in the cleft of my clavicle and a mostly-empty winegless perched on a TV that's still plunked on the living-room floor.

We're on your set, and you're walking away from me. I love to watch your body move - a symphony in paint-splattered shorts and a stormy-grey t-shirt that drapes over your shoulderblades and follows the triangular line of your back as you make your way through the shuffle and bustle of the working crowd. The economical, easy grace of your movement is hard to tear my eyes from, and as a breeze pushes my cotton shirt lightly against my belly I'm reminded of the first time you touched me.

Watching morning traffic, hands wrapped over big bowls of coffee, forearms marked by the edges of a cafe table that's wildly overaccessorized with ampules and dispensers and jars of condiments and toppings. A drooling lab puppy watches your chocolate muffin with greedy eyes as you take your customarily oversize bites, and I marvel at how the white-gold morning sun seems to light you from the inside. And then you're looking sideways at me, and the corners of my lips still taste like the belgian praline butter I remember from breakfasts in St. Margrethen, and I want to just get in the car and drive us to the airport. And the trials of the early morning melt, because it's just a tiny thing and it's going to be just fine and anyway, you're here. Simple.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

songs i know the words to that i want to repurpose that cranial space instead of remembering


Peabo Bryson, 'Tonight I Celebrate My Love'
Melissa Manchester, 'Theme From Ice Castles'
Gummi Bears Theme Song
Limp Bizkit, 'Nookie'

...and, finally...

Shakira, 'Hips Don't Lie'

I figure I could get a couple of chapters from 'World History For Complete Idiots' memorized if I were able to utilize this space.

pink ribbon scars


I.

This season shocks me with its sharpness. Everyone I talk to is experiencing some major loss or transition. Everybody's fighting; trying to keep a stiff upper lip. And there's a funny feeling in the air when this many people are struggling, together, at the same time.

I'm reminded of a recent blog post by a friend of mine:

"Time is too fickle and swirling around the dark waters of despair only wastes time. Aren't things supposed to get easier? With age is supposed to come understanding and experience...maybe these problems just don't have a solution."

I don't think they do. I think the only solution they have is to continually assess the situation and be ready to move with it.

I think everything passes, for better and for worse.

I think this is just a day.

I think I need to be sure to enjoy it, 'cause I might get hit by a bus tomorrow.

II.

As I feel clearer, as I regain momentum and context and sensibility - I realize that, like you always say, we have the power to make this what we want. Relationships, jobs, everything - it boils down to attitude, and to flexibility, and the ability to view your habitual responses clearly and objectively.

I mean, we're all burn victims - in so many ways, simply the summary of our scars - and the way we react is based on What Happened Before.

But this is now.

Monday, June 12, 2006

prioritize


I realized something, yesterday. I'm an endurance athlete.

I like the lonely. I like the burning. I like the thinking. I like feeling the rhythms of my body - the toughness of the first couple of miles, the relative ease as I work into the middle, the wiggly exhaustion of the last bit, and the burst of energy that sends me sprinting into the last couple of miles - this time, literally.

It's forgetting. It's the pure version of Me. It's accomplishment, in a world that consistently denies me any trophies.

It's the fact that I started this post at 9 AM...12 hours ago.

Zzzzzzzzz.

Friday, June 02, 2006

I.

Lately, everything irritates me. Everything. If someone waits too long to pick up a phone, I find it tooth-grindingly excruciating. Morning traffic makes me want to strangle a puppy. Lines at the bank jimmy my sanity up at the edges.

My focus is almost gone...too many close calls in traffic; too many slipped tasks. I didn't want to know that I was this close to nonfunctionality. Argh.

My creativity suffers pitiably from the amount of energy it's taking to handle the mussed logistics of this transitional moment. I miss creative-me - whether it's cooking or building something or so much as taking a few photos. I wonder how long it's going to be before I have the reins back in hand.

It's like Eddie Murphy in Bowfinger - "Keepittogetherkeepittogetherkeepittogether." And don't show it to the Lakers girls.

II.

I do so love to make plans. I love graphs and spreadsheets and charting a course. I love to talk about things that will happen weeks, months, years from now. Decades, even.

I'm starting to wonder if this makes me, officially, stupid.

If plans never come to be, then what's the point of expending the energy to make them?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I need help, I said.

Do it our way, they said.

No, I said.

And that closed a heavy door.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

your own adventure


There was a Choose Your Own Adventure book that I read in grade school. It was about making your way through a haunted house, and it terrifed me. Of course, I read it over and over and over - until my signatures were the only marks on the checkout card tucked into the front cover. It was only when I knew the entire book from cover to cover, with no choice unexplored, that the book began to lose its heavy grip on my adrenalin. Knowledge fills the hole that fear makes a home in.

I was reminded of this book, however, over the weekend. One of the turns you could take in this haunted house was to open a door that led to a room that was made up to look exactly like your own childhood bedroom - with all your familiar toys, furniture, posters, blankets. But if you chose to sleep with your feet too close to the edge of the bed, a monster would reach up from underneath and, well...eat you. It was the scariest place in the book, for me, because it was about a malevolent world using familiarity to catch you off guard. To this day, I can't sleep with my feet too close to the edge of the bed - and, being six feet tall, this can be something of a trick to work around.

In any case, I was invited into a home that bore intense resemblance to my own parents', down to the most minute details. A father that, in carriage and manner and even hairstyle, is strikingly similar to my own. Same fake flowers. Same color walls, cabinets, furniture. Same faux-marble shower. Same cat toys. Same bookshelf. Same luxury suburban subdivision with the same landscaping. Same homogenized-America-meets-random-knickknacks-from-forays-'round-the-world.

I'm sorry, my mom told me once. I'm sorry, sometimes, that when we were raising you we didn't have a house like this. A yard like this.

That's bollocks. I had so much more. I didn't need custom cabinets to have an enviable childhood. I'd have taken our cement-block base housing any day of the week.

So, in this place of almost too much familiarness, being gently explored in conversation and fed wonderful blackened salmon and plied with cookies and being shown the quilt room and knowing already about Ott Lites and advanced washing machine technology, I reacquainted myself with the list of things I say about myself. Who am I, in bullet points? Do you like it? Is it acceptable? How do I compare?

I had wanted so badly to show you my Napa - my hilltops, the long drives through greenness and gold light, that house by the creek that still pops up in my dreams. Oakville Grocery chocolate. Cabernet Sauvignon, done perfectly. Your skin glowed perceptibly under that sun that I remember with such squeezing fondness. I have some of your geography, now, and you have some of mine. Such old maps, and getting older, but these are new roads.

This is a moment of major accomplishments, discoveries, transitions. This makes graduation speeches sensical, if hokey. This is new. This is good. This is ours.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I.

On the long drive back from the Ridgecrest shoot, the girls and I discussed the questionable health affects of soy overintake - increased incidence of cancer in the female reproductive system, cycle inconsistencies, mood swings and breast tenderness.

Of course, all this did was make me crave chocolate soymilk, so I've consumed two cartons of the stuff in as many days.

Just call me Princess Phytoestrogen, and get the hell out of my way.

II.

Do normal people dream about their jobs? I've been having the most anxious, breathless production-related dreams. Apparently, I spent most of last night tossing and turning and mumbling credit card authorizations.

III.

I feel anchorless and feral; like a stray cat that charmed its way into a warm house on a cold day and wants to stay but knows inwardly that strays are put on porches when the rough stuff comes.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

misty morning


misty morning
Originally uploaded by annette_oneil.
I took this photo on my last hike up in my hills. I know i'll be back through there, but that most favourite of my habits is now pretty much lost to me. I've subbed the much-closer Franklin Canyon, with its matchy-matchy Juicy Couture joggers and marauding purse dogs, for my coyote's marching grounds.

It's just not the same.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

relationship math


Relationships are bank accounts. You make deposits and withdrawals and rack up a credit history with the love and treats and abuses and the multitude of logistical criteria that are the cash-in-hand of human interaction.

Lately, I've come to understand that this metaphor also includes a lot of foreign currency. Sometimes, you can exchange what you get at an agreeable rate. Sometimes, you can't. Sometimes, your currency's no good.

Over the past few weeks, I've had a crash course in this - the fact that sometimes, people around you just can't give you what you need. My realization of this began with the most major possible forced acceptance of the fact that I simply couldn't, for love or money or prayer or nagging or cajoling or pleading or grumbling, force somebody I care about to understand and meet my needs.

We all have a tremendously convoluted backstory. We're all trying. Love is a many-splendoured thing, but it sure ain't all you need.

I guess someone either meets your needs or they don't. And it's not their fault if they can't - really, it isn't.

I've come to realize that I've just got to accept the fact that they can't, and I can't, and it isn't anybody's fault. Mismatched needs are a fact. Like not being able to conjugate in Esperanto, or being allergic to Yellow #5. And to stop lying to myself that they can, and to be honest about the needs that I have to have met and not run around looking for shysterish ways to fill in the blanks.

'Cause I can't give everybody what they need, either, obviously. I try, but sometimes I fail. And I hope nobody begrudges me that too terribly deeply.

Oh - and to get to know myself a little better. 'Cause I'm so full of self-surprises, it bowls me right over.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

everybody look what's goin' down


I'm learning quiet, but I'm not learning it well. I like words so much; I like to sit with you and make cats' cradles of them, twisting mine into and around and under yours. I like to listen, and I like to watch you listen back.

This job is a crash course in quiet - silent drives under wide-open sky. The stars are staggering, set moonlessly above a nothing sort of town, and remind me that:

1. I am teensy.
2. This too shall pass.

It's one in the morning, and I need to be up at five. Time to drift deeper.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Barcelona was going to be a dream trip.

Mexico was going to be the best way possible to shake this off.

Despite all my rage, apparently, I am still just a rat in a cage.
I just realized how hard it's going to bite when the Mexico pictures get Flickr'd.

Ouch, ouch, ouch. Ow.

it sure does pour


...two parking tickets in as many days
...a shoot that just can't seem to be convinced to go smoothly
...being stuck working in the actual-factual middle of nowhere while friends are playing in the sun and the saltwater, eating the lobsters i've been looking forward to for months and frolicking
...absolutely everything coming to an ultimatum
...that major health question-mark poking at my mortality again
...my beloved pussycat and all my worldly goods locked away from me

My head is full of Joni Mitchell. Winter. And Urge For Going. And, inexplicably, California.

And, of course, A Case Of You.

I feel alternately stronger and more lost, with gathering intensity...tiny, silly slips of the toungue can throw me illogically wide, and equally tiny gestures of affection burrow deeply into my well-tenderized heart.

This is a moment of enormous change, and it makes it no easier to know that it's the only way.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I'm sorry I've been so quiet.

I'm okay.

Thanks.

It's just going to take a moment for me to process all of this. I appreciate your understanding.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

the snake has no hands; they can never be tied



I.

I had to stop for a snake today as I came up the hill.

It was long enough to stretch from one side of the path to the other and, since I find it to be something of a bad-luck move to hop a snake, I patiently waited until it was annoyed enough with me to move into the hillside shrubbery.

As I watched it move, I realized something - if you took the trajectories of each individual part of the snake as it moved, it would seem as though it's going in a thousand different directions. We know instinctively that the traction this produces is what drives the snake forward, but it looks like directionless flailing if each bit is taken individually.

II.

What if someone wasn't fooled, but they liked you anyway?

The clarity with which you see me is rubbing off. What if it's okay to see things exactly as they are? What does that change?

Everything.

Friday, May 05, 2006

still in mind


"Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle,
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing."

— Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5, line 19)

flitting


I.

The most important thing you can learn from horsemanship is the art of getting up. You can have the most gorgeous equitation known to god or man, but it doesn't matter how lovely your posting trot is if you can't pick yourself up from a dusty arena floor, daub the blood from your split lip, and hop right back up there.

II.

I discovered that I have missed the Foreign Service examination by just a few days. This bummed me out - until I downloaded the examination study guide and realized I'm going to need that year to relearn the vast quantities of knowledge that my poor little brain has data-dumped since AP History. And Calculus. And American Government. And pretty much every other category.

Good lord, when did I get so dumb?!

III.

I miss cooking. I haven't cooked in months - not really. Not enough. I need inspiration. I would like to cook for someone. How's about spring-mushroom risotto and a salad fluffy with lettuce from the garden out back and fruit with fresh whipped cream and old-vine zinfandel? Any takers?

Monday, May 01, 2006

weekend


I.

I hadn't realized that the chocolate tasting was in the imported-cheese shop under the apartment we lived in together for a couple of years. The cheese shop has since closed, and the owners have focused their efforts on artisinal chocolates.

The space has changed. It's empty - the gourmandish goodies that used to line the walls, the handsome Frenchman with the piano hands who was ever-so generous with the samples, the little bistro tables squished up against the panel windows, the constant crush of customers chatting about the quality of cream manufactured in Provence as opposed to Greece. The store's only real accessory is brand new - the smell of cocoa, round and rich, fills the place with a warmth that belies its starkness.

I used to take people here. It's silly that an empty cheese shop reminds me of everything that's changed, but I can't ignore its poignancy. Furthermore, there was a gentleman at the tasting who reminded me quite sharply of my granddad - The Incredible Self-Estranging Grandfather - and it gave me a scratchy feeling in my belly to watch this stranger interact with his environment in a way that was so familiar to my memory.

As I held my little plate on my lap, I had a few thoughts about memory. Memory, that snickering little thing that shapeshifts even as you record it.

And I relearned the meaning of bittersweet, laughing and playing and tasting wonderful, exotic things even as these thoughts boiled in the heavy iron bowl of my gut. We had chocolates made with French cream that was infused with the most surprising ingredients - basil and kumquat and even kalamata olive (shockingly scrumptious). All this was set to the accompaniment of the chocolatier's flambouyant Frenchness and the ladylike giddiness of his Korean wife, whose facility with chocolate-making exceeds her English language skills by a hundredfold.

picholine couple

Saturday, there was drumming class. Then there was girlish bonding at M Cafe, where the freshness, health, and stunning aesthetic beauty of the foodstuffs is mirrored perfectly in the clientele.

Then there was a lecture on Roman history at the Hammer museum - but wait! 'Cause it's Terry Jones who's doing the lecturing, and there's a lot of guffawing interspersed with the learning.

Sunday, there's a quickly earned sunburn on the Verdugo slopes. And, then, salsa class. See? I'm doing it! Sarah is amazing, slipping in some of the spinny-grindy moves she used to use in her club-dancer days. I'm excited about this, really and truly. Maybe it's the yoga, or my sheer determination, or my relatively newfound excitement to own this body - but I was thrilled to watch the afternoon light swirling through my skirt. And the bumpin'-ness of my hips as they rolled and popped. I can't wait to go back.

II.

There's so much that I'd like to get into, here. To share with you. About the things that preoccupy me so much that I accidentally fill my little Echo with supreme gasoline when it's $3.75 per gallon, and type the wrong number into the microwave twice, then leave my green beans in there for an hour. About electrical storms and lightning. About the things I have lost, am about to lose, fear losing, and need to shake off.

But I'm not ready yet.

Friday, April 28, 2006

c'mon. it can't be that hard.


I am


...thinking, today.

seemingly incapable of developing a dependency on cigarettes
but never more than three days away from caffeine addiction

so overcommunicative
but always fighting the fact that i'm scared of what you will or won't say back

constantly surprising myself
but wishing those surprises weren't so questionable and dumbfounding

in love with visiting my hills in the morning
but hate shaking myself out of bed to greet them

selfish as hell
but so ready to give, it consistently scares me

the proud possessor of a really sexy job
but always thinking about the next challenge

determined to get my gumby on
but too poor for the classes i need to make my downward dog less upward

willing to admit that i know next to nuttin' 'bout 'nuttin
but not willing to use that as an excuse not to learn

the world's biggest fan of albacore
but vegetarian

cruising for a bruising
but totally unwilling to strap into my protective gear

a total rock-show fiend
but secretly ache for somebody to drag me out to them, not the other way round

better than i was before
but overarchingly aware of how very far i have yet to go

a big talker
but full of listen

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

uproot


I am going completely nuts.

I had the dream last night. Again.

It started like it always starts - I'm walking alone on the endless expanse of a frozen lake, dusted with fresh-fallen snow. I'm not wearing enough. I can't see the shores from where I'm walking, under a silver shroud of cloudcover and grey skies.

I feel something under my feet. It startles me. The ice is thumping.

I drop to my knees and wipe the snow away. It's my sister. She's under there, pounding the ice with her fists, trying to get out. Her eyes have had a cartoon-puppy poignancy since the day she was born - so wide, so sharply emotive - and I'm watching them on fire with desperate terror.

I pummel the ice with my fists, legs, arms, feet. It hardly shivers with the impacts. My skin is red and raw; my bones bruised from trying to save her. Her struggles are slowing; she's getting tired, and the cold is getting to her. I put my palms on the ice where her hands are still scratching underneath, and try to tell her I'm sorry.

I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I'm sorry it wasn't enough.

She slips down into the darkness. She looks like a mermaid falling asleep. Something tears under my solar plexus.

Then I feel it again, behind me. And beside me. And, suddenly, everywhere.

They're all there, trapped under the ice. All of them. Everyone I care about, and I can't save them. I crawl around the ice, wailing and pounding and stomping. And watching everyone's inexorable disappearence - the loose undulation of hair over closed eyes as they drift down below the light. I can't say enough to them. I don't have time. I can only say I'm sorry. I love you. I'm sorry.

And then I'm alone.

Every time I have this dream, I wake up with my fists still clenched.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I.

Turn off the phone. Turn off AIM. Turn down the cigarette. Turn away.

Reread your life, starting from its earliest recent records. Reread some older records, too. Reread other peoples' records. Reread lyrics.

Play music. Play mental dominoes with remembered choices. Play dead.

Want to share. Don't.

II.

Donde hay amor, hay dolor.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

I.

"It must so bittersweet," she said, "To have these people in your life, but all the way across the continent."

Yeah. It is.

I was so lucky to stumble on you, and something in me changed irrevocably (and unquestionably for the better) for the meeting. In any case, part of me lives in Boston now. And runs along the bottom of my mind like a TV-news ticker, always wondering how y'awl are doing - and wishing I were here to join in, to share this city of cobble streets and flower petals and unlikely pronunciations and hour-long restaurant lines in the rain that end in yet more laughter and lip-biting scrumptiousness.

II.

I've spent the past couple of days having things pointed out to me - dorm rooms, dining halls, patches of grass, rooftops, libraries. Of course this is important. Perhaps it's my DoD upbringing, but geographical intimacy is a major component of understanding somebody. I know you better now.

III.

I feel like I've swallowed mercury.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

with your feral little secret scratching at you with its claws


I learned some things today about secrets.

A secret should be respected for what it is.

It's a mistake to think that a secret is a gift. Sometimes, it's like pulling the pin and handing someone a grenade. You're not doing anybody a favour by passing it around.

When someone says they'd like to know all your secrets, they're lying.

Confession is a lonely art, and understanding is a farce.

Monday, April 17, 2006

not with a bang


"APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain."
- The Waste Land, T. S. Eliot

Saturday, April 15, 2006

imation in southeast asia


They were the first flowers he'd ever been given, he said. If I'd known, I would have picked up more than just a handful of garden daisies - but they looked so comely in the florist's window when I was driving by, all lipstick-red and strongly drawn against the field of nondescript roses. In his vaselessness, the daisies took up residence in a blender.

Later, on a lark, I looked up the meaning of the flowers I'd given him. And it gave me a chuckle, 'cause it was as true as it was chanced upon.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

to know the pain of too much tenderness


I feel like I've been awash in words in the past week or so - every moment I'm left to myself, I'm sifting through them. But they always crystallize into silence when I draw them out.

So I'll summarize. I'm happy. Messy. Open. Curious. Sappy. Overserious. A little off-balance. Changing. Fast.

I'm at a loss for words.

A little less conversation, a little more action. Please.
i'm sure everyone sees the light seeping out from between the cracks of my ribs i can't hold it in or the nubs of the wings i'm growing as they creep creep creep from the crevice of my shoulderblades every breath that fills my lungs pumps me full of the iron lightness of choice after choice after choice and you're holding me together with your bare hands again as i try to find us on this burning map

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I.

I've been dipping into this wonderful wine blog that makes me rue my current beeraciousness and finely fuels my growing desire to do that thing.

Y'know, that thing - in which my world reverts back to the rhythm of windy vineyard springs and the crush and the release and the burst of tipsy weddings over a few dizzy months. Summer days spent in the cool womb of an oaky cellar, listening to the slap of my sandals against the stone floor as I smell the inexorable push of the wine on the old wood. Everyone loves cheese; everyone cooks; everyone wants to come with us to the grass under the big oak tree, pluck at a bottomless basket of treats, and tell stories - 'cause we use real glass on picnics here, and there's this great new bottle from the fella up the road.

What if everything changed? What if I really wanted it to? What if I didn't stop it?

II.

I'm sad about the persistence of rain. Actually, I'm bummed that I'm sad about it. Wasn't there a point when I was one of those people who loved rain?

Oh, yeah. That was in Panama. And it was warm.

I miss you, tropical thunderstorms. And coatis. And ferry trips.

III.

I'm a war of head versus heart. It's always this way: my head is weak; my heart always speaks before I know what it will say.

Friday, March 31, 2006

shameless survey


Okay, everyone. It's time for another one of my famous surveys.

Usually, I do these to request bits of wisdom - I'm lucky to have such sage folk as friends - but this one, inspired by a recent conversation, is of great interest to me.

And the question is: is there a song that reminds you of me? If so, what is it?

If you're feeling blogshy, please feel free to email me (annette_oneil at yahoo dot com).

XO, loves.
I.

I was caught in the rain on the hill this morning. The grey was already heavy in the sky when I left the house, but I was determined to go out. I was already at the top of the slope by the time the rain started to come down, and all that remained was to barrel back down. The insistent series of tiny shocks as my face, hot from exertion, caught cold raindrops.

Do you remember that kiss? 'Cause I sure do. Your hand between my shoulder blades, catching me as I leaned back. Your warm lips pressing and releasing mine as icy raindrops strike the skin of my face and neck. My clothes are soaking through a little bit, but there's a blossom of warmth opening under my belly button. And you're smiling.

II.

I bet that you look good on the dancefloor.

III.

I've been listening to the Big Night soundtrack for a few days now, and it's making me want to mambo Italiano. Actually, it's making me want to...remember that TV show, 'Dinner and a Movie'? Like that, but at my house - with you guys! Anybody want to help come up with a first event? Lemme know.

IV.

I've already shown this to anybody who'd really care about it, but I am starting to weave fantasies about it. Green, of course, as a nod to my heritage. Oh, I'm a ways off yet - apparently, I have to buy something I can smash the crap out of first, to get it out of my system. I'm fascinated with this culture, though. Done right, it's just like hanging out with the pilots at the Officers' Club - 'cept this time, I'll have a 'plane' of my own.

And a helmet with a four-leaf clover on the back.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I want to cook something.

I want Sarah's fritatta and Rhee's uber-potatoes.

I want to give everybody here some of the double-chocolate-chip cookie batter I whipped up last night to a pearl sake (and Paso Robles cab) accompaniment.

I want to kiss you.

I want to stumble upon thousands of dollars in a hole in the plaster.

I want plane tickets and a really great, wide-brimmed hat.

I want to go out to play.

one a.m. and i'm cold again


If ever a bit of reading made me want to laugh myself into an uproar, give a bear hug, and make a batch of cookies for the writer, it's this. Honey, I can't believe you're not already happily raising nine children with a canonized, PhD-bearing supermodel.

Guess what? I went out to one of the best sushi restaurants in town...and had not one bite of albacore. Leaving the restaurant, I felt like a stoner right after a chaste sprint through a vast field of budding ganja. It suffices to say: that fish, it may not own me.

But oh, do I want it.

The second box of goodies arrived for the Cowboys & Indians party: some extra straw cowboy hats, gingham tablecloths ("I don't even know what gingham is, but she goes through about 10 rolls a week of that stuff."), enough clip-on sheriff badges to start a goodly row, and a couple dozen cowboy-attired rubber ducks. My outfit - I think I'll call my character 'Little Runs With Scissors' - came yesterday. It's a hoot and a half, I tell you. One and one half's worth of hoot, give or take a quarter-giggle.

In my dreams, I've seen it all. But y'know what? I still haven't seen Fucking Fiji - and I'd love to see you standing in a crowd like a tree in moving water. Could be fun.

Monday, March 27, 2006

I have come to realize that, when I'm under stress and exhausted, the (normally already tenuous) connections that knit together my logic melt away completely. I was breezing over a couple of conversations that I had over the past weekend. Remembering the looks on the faces of the people I was talking to. Coming to realize that I was making little or no sense, and trying to come back to equilibrium - which only derailed me more.

And then, last night. I was supposed to come home from the shoot, make a dent in the cleaning of my completely filthy, utterly ignored house, clean up, and go out for drinks with the crew - which I really should have done. Instead, I ended up having the same conversation for the eightieth time - a conversation I'm getting less and less equipped to handle - which wrung me completely dry. I ended up practically sleepwalking over to the shower, which I took leaning against a wall. And collapsing into bed immediately thereafter.

Somethin's gotta give.

Friday, March 24, 2006

power animals, the daily news, and words of strength


I.

I drove home late last night.

I was coming across the tiny Franklin Bridge in Los Feliz when she found me. At first, I thought she was a dog - but then, just as my coyote has done so many times in my hilly wanderings, she sat down - right in the spill of my headlights.

She faced me. She gave me that long, familiar yellow gaze, bushy tail curled around her on the tarmac, unmoving. After my startle wore off, she blinked at me, dipped her chin groundward, and ambled off into the overgrowth of someone's untended yard.

She couldn't have been my coyote - that's miles away, not in this little urban enclave of tighly packed houses and thin, wandering streets.

I'm having a little trouble understanding why they're seeking me out. I've come to look forward to the company of my coyote on the trail in the morning, but this is getting curiouser and curiouser.

II.

I've come to realize that, in the last three months or so, I have read/listened to little or nothing current-events related. Perhaps this means that I've finally turned Amurrican. Am I paying heavy taxes for it? Are they bulldozing my house on account of it? Is my immediate family/lover/extremely close friend dying of/over/because of it? Am I infected? Then I don't care! Pass me the Cheetos. Burp.

III.

"But who can say what's best? That's why you need to grab whatever chance you have of happiness where you find it, and not worry about other people too much. My experience tells me that we get no more than two or three such chances in a lifetime, and if we let them go, we regret it for the rest of our lives." - Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

will i pay for who i've been? yeah.


I forget what the context was, but my dad once shared something with me that marked me deeply with the telling. "We're always alone," he said, "But we have to learn how to be alone without being lonely." We all have our tricks for this.

I don't know about you, but I never feel more alone than when I've been mulling and musing and tearing myself apart over something - when I've offended my dearloves much too much with the discussion of it, and the bellyaching has turned into an ulceric gnaw. When I finally realize that I'm the only one who can help me - which was true, all along, like ruby slippers pinching my feet and bringing up great big blisters on my heels.

There's something empty about the carefully constructed artifice of not-aloneness going slack in your hands with the repeating realization that, at the end of the day, you're it.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Back to the place where there is nothing wrong


Just me and a moment. That's all.

Thanks for sharing that, mko. I know that it was aimed at somebody else, but you got me right between the eyes.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

I know I'm not supposed to drunk-blog anymnore, but DAMN am I good at shuffleboard!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

a dozen blushing cherubs wheel above


So I'm waiting at a stoplight for the light to turn. There's a girl waiting across from me. She's stunning - all big green eyes and long, wavy auburn hair spilling a bit out her open window. She's leaning her head against the door panel and singing along to her stereo, sorta musingly. She's driving an old Volvo, which somehow makes her even cuter. I lean my head against my driver's-side window, give a little sigh, and watch her sing until the light changes.

And when it turns green and I pick myself up to drive away, I notice the guy sitting in the black Explorer at the other stoplight. He's leaning his head against his window, staring openly at me. He gets all flustered when I catch him, recovering with a little wave. I nod and smile back.

In the metal-bubble world of L.A., love and distance are the best of friends.

I'm going somewhere this weekend. It's gonna rain. I feel minxy. All I can think about is lightning. And pumpkin ravioli in marscapone.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

What a weekend. Thank god for the bliss of Sunday night, cause otherwise it was kinda like my favourite line from the latest installment of Star Wars.

Time for coctails, everyone!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

for anne-elisa, many years ago


if you listen very closely
you can hear
the agony of a piano, played.

each key giving a tiny gasp
at the striking,
pouring out tones and partials
like
a little gush of blood
the strings shivering,
shivering,
stilled by the steady smash of
a felt clapper

beauty in the collected sound
of its wounds

the sweet, sudden violence of
flesh on ivory.

Friday, March 10, 2006

trying a little understanding


I took a little test the other day - a Myers/Briggs - which boiled me down to a few little indicators and stamped me eNFp. Y'know what that means? I'm a Champion Idealist, folks. What a giggle and a half that is.

I took a look at the description of my personality type (first paragraph bloc below), and couldn't help but think that they were glossing over a few points. So, in the interests of clearer understanding between my core personality and you, dear reader, I have taken a moment to edit the content of the description, shown last.

Champion Idealist: Official Description

The Champion Idealists are abstract in thought and speech, cooperative in accomplishing their aims, and informative and extraverted when relating with others. For Champions, nothing occurs which does not have some deep ethical significance, and this, coupled with their uncanny sense of the motivations of others, gives them a talent for seeing life as an exciting drama, pregnant with possibilities for both good and evil. This type is found in only about 3 percent of the general population, but they have great influence because of their extraordinary impact on others.


Champions are inclined to go everywhere and look into everything that has to do with the advance of good and the retreat of evil in the world. They can't bear to miss out on what is going on around them; they must experience, first hand, all the significant social events that affect our lives. And then they are eager to relate the stories they've uncovered, hoping to disclose the "truth" of people and issues, and to advocate causes. This strong drive to unveil current events can make them tireless in conversing with others, like fountains that bubble and splash, spilling over their own words to get it all out.


Champions consider intense emotional experiences as being vital to a full life, although they can never quite shake the feeling that a part of themselves is split off, uninvolved in the experience. Thus, while they strive for emotional congruency, they often see themselves in some danger of losing touch with their real feelings, which Champions possess in a wide range and variety.


In the same vein, Champions strive toward a kind of spontaneous personal authenticity, and this intention always to "be themselves" is usually communicated nonverbally to others, who find it quite attractive. All too often, however, Champions fall short in their efforts to be authentic, and they tend to heap coals of fire on themselves, berating themselves for the slightest self-conscious role-playing.



Champion Idealist: Anti-Bullshit Edit

The Champion Idealists are completely daft, astonishingly codependent, and extraordinarily difficult to shut the fuck up. For Champions, nothing occurs which does not have some deep significance; and this, coupled with the awesome power of their nosiness, equates a tendency to overthink, eggagerate the importance of piddling little things, and fuss endlessly. This type is found in only about 3 percent of the general population – thank fucking god, because if there were more of them it’s fairly certain no one would be safe from the runaway train of their social behaviour. Champions are always running the line between “endearingly engaged” and “completely fucking insufferable”.


They can't bear to miss out on what is going on around them; they must experience, first hand, every goddamn thing. And they’re planning to take you with them, whether or not you’re a willing participant in their madness. And then they’re gonna talk your fucking ear off.


Champions consider intense emotional experiences as being vital to a full life, putting aside all logic and human decency to be certain they’re not ever, ever sidelined. Watching a Champion deal with the world is like watching a puppy in a room full of bouncing tennis balls: it’s almost as exhausting to watch as it is for the puppy to be in there.


Thus, while they strive for emotional congruency, they often see themselves in some danger of losing touch with their “real feelings,” which are splattered all over the map. In the same vein, Champions strive to “keep it real,” though what’s “real” for a Champion changes pretty much fortnightly, which makes it pretty problematic to keep up with. The most maddening aspect of this, interestingly, is that none of it’s faked.