Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Don't touch Me

(Pre-Script: This post makes the most sense when read as the song,"The First Cut Is The Deepest," #66 on the playlist, plays in the background, so go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

I am once again painting my nails.

"But Michelle, why would you do that when you can just go get a pedicure? And have someone else do it? That's what WE do."

Well, now here you have raised a good question, Dear Gentle Reader. I have nothing against pedicures per say, if I wasn't such a control freak about how I want my nails precisely painted, which knows no rhyme or reason except that no one on earth who isn't me does it to my satisfaction. And I have nothing against pedicures per se, it's just I don't like the idea of strangers touching my feet as they make fun of me in a language I don't understand. Then tell me that whatever color I choose is such a "pretty color." And I have nothing against pedicures per se, it's just that I run a lot of miles, a lot of days, So if I get a pedicure, and I get a staph infection, and as a result they have to cut off my entire foot at the ankle, this will put a damper on my distance running. Especially if I want to go fast. And then I'll never make it to the 20?? Olympics. Heck, I've never even run the Boston Marathon yet. At some point, a girl has to ask herself, "Is getting a pedicure worth possibly missing out on the Boston Marathon for?"

"Michelle, most of us don't have to think too long or hard to decide that 'yes, yes it very much is.'"

Good point, Gentle, Beloved Reader. And you have just made my next point for me. I Am Not Like "Most Of You." I am very much like Most Of Me, though. I will keep painting my own toenails. Now, after I run the Boston Marathon, ask me again. Maybe then I will be willing to risk the pedicure. At least then if I get the dreaded Staph Infection and they have to amputate my foot at the ankle, I can have the entire foot bronzed. In Platinum. I would add a placard to the mounted, bronzed (in platinum) foot, amputated at the ankle:

"This foot ran the Boston Marathon. IN fact, this foot would kick your booty if you were standing next to it at the starting line of the Boston Marathon. This foot rocked my world while it was attached to me. I still have phantom pains like it is attached. Then I try to stand up on it and I fall over on my face. All for the love of Cherry Jubilee Nail Polish. Beware the Cherry Jubilee."
Yeah, so I'm just gonna go finish painting my own toenails here, do you mind? I promise to not overcharge myself in the process, too. I promise to not insult myself in a different language as I do it, too.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Kickin' Up

(Pre-Script: This post will come at you like a swift kick in the tires when read as the song, "Half Of My Heart," Number 65 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

Try to keep up with my emotional dust and see where it lands you.
On your metaphoric face, eating my...symbolic dust;
the fluff that gets churned into the air from my back bike tire.
Careful kids, 'cause it's all just an analogy,
until someone gets on a literal bicycle and starts to peddle.
You stand on the sidewalk,
watching her legs pump.
You may have never noticed how strong her strong glute, quad, and calf muscles are;
how focused ahead her gaze can remain,
her long determined arms,
steadily focused on forward flight,
never causing the wheels to swerve left or right.
Just kicking up all that dust,
and you stand coughing into your flannel sleeves
blinded by the sunlight which has never seemed
so brilliant before,
yet still so, and never more,
out of reach.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Very Scandalous Things

(Pre-Script: This post will involve you in your own internal scandal when read as the song, "Lollipop," #51 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

There are two Very Scandalous Things I've done in my life so far, more if you're counting. The first I will not mention; the second I will mention; the rest I am still in denial about.
My Imaginary Reader wants to interject right here, and I imagine that said reader has just come in from a long day of surfing:

"Woah, Dude, why are getting all confessiony? Are you like on your death bed or something? Gnarly, dude; Far OUT! Righteous!"

(Not that I know, Gentle reader, not that I know today.)

My other imaginary Reader wants to interject something here, and this is the reader who just got back from her latest Psychotherapy Training Session:

"Wow, Michelle, the fact that you are in denial and won't admit even to yourself thing that you have done, in order to project an image of goodness to the world, shows that you are more flawed than if you had just been honest in the first place. And also that you have a large ego. And also that you are not as in denial as you say, since you did actually make mention of Scandalous Things."

(Actually, Dear Reader, I made mention of Very Scandalous Things...and the rest of what you said just flew over my head.)


So anyway.

Here is my confession:

After birthing yet another human being into this overpopulated world (not that I'm counting)* I was at the gym one day reading an article in a magazine. I don't remember which, Self Or Shape or somesuch magazine who's goal is to cheer you on to physical fitness glory. And while I was reading, and feeling so encouraged and full of hope that all of my personal fitness goals were, actually, yes within my very reach, if I would but be brave enough to grasp for them, I found an article with a workout plan that I could do at home which required no equipment. There were even little pictures and step by step instructions on how to do each exercise. So I ripped out the pages and took them home.

(Insert moment of horrified silence here as you realize what I just said)

(And if you need to take a moment to weep and wail and gnash your teeth right now, just go ahead and do that too.)

Before this, I was a person who didn't even realize I prided myself on being a Person Who Would NEVER Tear Pages Out Of A Gym Magazine And Take Them Home. (or P.W.W.N.T.P.O.O.A.G.M.a.T.T.H.) But then I did that thing which I never thought I would ever do, and suddenly I was a person involved in a Scandal. No one knew about it but me, but a scandal is a scandal.

Do you know that I never even wasted one second of guilty guilty guilty self bashing and loathing on it, either? I actually wasted TWO seconds on guilty guilty guilty self bashing and loathing on it. But then I blinked, and it was gone. Because the truth is, I felt the article could help me out, more than I cared about sticking to some notion I had always thought was what I "should" do...and in my case, it turned out to be a good decision. I used that article for many months; I did that series of exercises at home whenever was convenient for me. I gained from my own scandal. What I gained was mostly muscle tone and a bit of endurance.

I think that more often than not, when faced with a scandal that looks like an answer to what a person thinks he or she needs, a person will do the scandalous thing.

Call it "Human Nature," if you will.

In the five years that have since passed, I have decided that I don't want to be a person who removes pages from magazines that belong to the gym. I have been very, very good.

Except for last week. When I did it again.

(For the record, it was a completely different article, on a completely different life altering topic)


And with that, this confessional booth is closed for the day, before the cops start hunting me down and pounding on my door, before they get out that big megaphone and yell "Come out with your hands up. We have you surrounded."
Gosh, can you even begin to imagine just how embarressing that would be for me? No, I don't think you can.


*If my tongue in cheek sarcasm is not obvious, let me tell you: I was using tongue in cheek sarcasm. OF COURSE I don't see my own children as overpopulating the world. I don't view anyone else or their children that way, either. Duh.

Monday, May 17, 2010


(Pre-Script: This post will lock you up and throw away the key when read as the song,"Good Intentions," #62 on the playlist, plays in the blackground. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

Well, traffic court was interesting.

By "interesting," I mean completely boring.

Raise your hand if you have never been to traffic court.

I could have raised my hand with you anytime in my life before 1:30 pm today. I walked into the building and stood where all of the other losers stood, also awaiting their day in court. At 1:30, they let us into the room and told us to sit. Then when the judge walked in we were told to stand. Then she immediately told us to sit, so we sat, and listened as she told us what's what in traffic court. About a third of the way through her monologue I realized that the bench on which I was sitting was hard, wood, solid. I had forgotten to bring my stadium buddy and my beer hat. I had forgotten to wear my foam finger. Occasionally people would enter the courtroom, late. The judge got all kung fu ninja on them for that, and this was the most entertaining part of traffic court.
Judge, from her perch: "What is your name and why are you late for your court time?"

Defendant: (Insert name and excuse here)

Judge: "You're an idiot, get out"* (*general paraphrase)

So then I sat there and listened to the million cases which were of course called before mine. I thought, "Surely after listening to all of these people, I will know exactly what to say" Friends, I am here to tell you that even though I was almost the last person the judge called up today, there was still a bunch of stupid stuff that came out of my mouth. I am not nearly as eloquent in person, in front of a Real Live Judge, as I am in my own head, circa 1987, and I am 11 years old watching Judge Whopner on the People's Court.
This is also due in part to the fact that being in court makes me feel like a Horrible Criminal. Like the state of California has something against me, the state of California knows who I am. Even if it is just traffic court. I can just imagining my life in an orange jumpsuit with shackles around my ankles as I shuffle through the cafeteria carrying a tray of unrecognisable gray prison lunch slop. Oh what a life; and I was always such a good, good girl.
In the end I got a reduced fine, a payment plan, and a mid life crisis.
So I wont actually be wearing the orange anytime soon. I'll just maybe wear the t-shirt that says "I went to traffic court, and all I got was this Massive Identity Complex."
and then I'll carry on with my life of crime, 'cause once you're in the clink, it's all you know.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Salt Water

(Pre-Script: This post will feel like you've been pummeled by an unexpected wave when read as the song, "Healing Begins," #67 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

Salt water is good for cleansing wounds and the preservation of things. I guess it makes your wounds more flavorful, too, if you are the type to lick them. Dogs do that. I wonder if they have an inexplicable knowledge that there is healing medicine in their saliva or if they just do it because they are dogs, and dogs like to lick things. And most of all they like to lick themselves because they are their own most favorite things.
I think that a vigorous workout has the same effect on a body as a good hard cry. My body is dripping with the tears when my eyes are not. I am refreshed on some level, feeling in my heart the intensity of the ache on another as the water pours out of me, cleansing from within. But it's gross too and I have to wash it off. My face is bright red and beating with a pulse. My entire head is reminding me that it is alive. My legs take me far, and farther each day. From what am I running, to what am I going? The sand is good for joints. I can run and listen to the crash and crash and crash of the waves on the shore, and think, "I know how that feels"
The ocean is completely salt water. What's it preserving, what's it grieving over? How many stones and shells are hidden in it's depths? What sort of beautiful and terrifying things achingly delicate and graceful, and horrifically huge and clumsy, are lurking or floating about therein? There is a stone, and a shell, and I have a stone inside of my own chest, with names written there on, and and I have a shell too, and something used to live inside of it.
I think all of this and keep running and running, my body keeps pumping and pumping the tears my eyes were too small to express.

People like to ask "how far did you run?" The answer is always, "I ran the whole way."


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wind Smacked

(Pre-Script: This post smacks you in the face when read as the song, "Winter," #60 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

I opened the door to walk outside and immediately was slapped in the face by a fierce wind. It shrieked accusations at me that must have come from the bottom of the universe. I felt the tone, but could not make out the words. I don't think it mattered anyway, and I probably agreed with all of it as I tried to push through. But no matter how many steps I took, the wind was with me, right in my ears. I had to go out the door though, as only I knew, I had to get out there, for the very wind that wanted to push me back was the air I needed to breathe, even if it was just my head that made it out, and my feet stayed on that side of the threshhold. Maybe my face needed a good wind slapping as the rain pummeled down, as the sun blinded my straigtforward eyes. If I walk outside tomorrow and my shoulders are burnt, my cheeks rosy tinted, just let me walk, and I'll figure out where I'm going. My feet will show where they are headed.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Long Linking Chain

(Pre-Script: This poem will set sail when read as the song, "Where we Gonna Go From Here," #59 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

Like anyone can be
a thick chord of rope
or a long linking chain
that connects an anchor
to a boat
to keep the boat from floating away
and also from sinking
so the boat stays put, rocked a little by waves, sure, but
stays put none-the-less.
And if you were, wouldn't your links start to corrode
over time, wouldn't rust start to eat away at it,
and little fish, too?
and if you were, how would you protect the boat from holes,
from burning down,
from any attack that comes from an outside source
above the water, or from the air?
how would you keep the boards from being eaten by termites
which may have been in the wood, unseen, before the wood was ever
fashioned to form a boat?


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Through the looking glass

(Pre-Script: This post will blow your mind if you read it as the song, " Good Intentions," F#63 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)
I remember being a cutting edge 4 year old in 1980. Two of my favorite TV shows were Sesame Street and The Love Boat. My favorite Sesame Street character was Ernie. Who could not love Ernie? Bert always had that pessimistic uni brow and was such a stick in the mud. But together, they worked.
My highly intelligent cutting edge brain also had a few things figured out. I knew, for instance, that Bert and Ernie could see me through the TV. I could see them from my side of the glass; surely they could see me from theirs.
I remember watching an episode of Sesame Street where Bert and Ernie were looking in a closet, then they looked up, right through the TV screen, and acted like they could see the children on the other side of the screen. I was delighted and thrilled, because it just proved to myself what I already knew, which my brothers had harshly mocked me for believing. Now, here was an episode of Sesame Street that completely proved my point. Bert and Ernie really could see me; at least on that one day, they could. Take that, brothers who thought they were smarter and wiser than me; especially to the brother with red hair.
The Love Boat was an entirely different TV show. Sesame Street came on sometime in the morning; The Love Boat was on in the afternoon, when more mature people turned on their TVs. I liked being part of that class. On the Love Boat, they always drank something that sounded like "Shampoo," and I remember thinking it must be so disgusting. Grown ups were weird like that. I enjoyed the theme song; "The Love Boat, soon we'll be making another run; the love boat, exciting adventure for everyone." And there was always a scene where two people would go outside and stand near the railing with drinks in hand, talking. Who knows what they talked about, probably more boring grown up things, but there was always a breeze on them, and it looked cold to me. It also made me nervous to see them standing so close to the rail. How easily either one of them could topple right over, his or her perfectly poised glass of Shampoo totally ruined by the ocean water. These are the types of things I thought about while watching television as a child.
As I got older, (read: 7,8,9 and beyond) I also developed a love for sitcoms. The first thing I noticed and fixated on while watching sitcoms was the way the rooms were decorated. I payed more attention to the background behind the people saying their scripted words than the people themselves, and tried to pick up on even the most minuscule details. I then tried my best to decorate my bedroom to match as closely as possible what I saw in the houses of the sitcoms.
The other thing I noticed in sitcoms was that people would come in the front door, then leave the door wide open. They never took the time to close the front door.
Families in sitcoms kept a lot of bottled juice in their refrigerators. I was jealous; I wanted there to be more bottled juice in my own refrigerator, so that I, too, could casually saunter into the kitchen, open the refrigerator, pull out a bottle of juice, take a sip, close the lid, say something witty, then leave the room with my bottle of juice in hand. Sitcoms made me realise that my own parents required me to drink from a cup far too often; juice from a bottle was oh so glamorous to me. What a luxurious way to live! Just imagine!!
Also in Sitcoms, if a family was sitting around a table to eat a meal, there was always one side of the table that no one would sit on. This was as annoying as an unscratchable itch. I vowed that if I ever created a sitcom of my own, the characters would always close the front doors they walked through. The family would sit on all sides of the table.
In fact, I did make up my own sitcoms, several, and I would act them out in my room. I would provide my own laugh track. I would make up many a theme song, then rehearse the staging of how we/I would present myself to the camera as the song played behind me. Usually I would laugh infectiously at the camera, or at my imaginary sibling who had just said something witty that the TV viewing audience could not hear, but could only wonder about.
So be careful lest you assume you know just what a child is picking up on in the Television he or she is viewing. Sometimes what you think may be damaging will fly right over their heads. Other times, the things you think are innocuous are exactly the thing the child is fixated on, and fascinated by. Watching television as a child gave me something to mentally chew on, process, wonder about, and in general, made me a more well rounded, creative person. Which completely defies most conventional current wisdom. But it's like I always say, sometimes conventional wisdom is not conventional, not current, nor wise. Think about it, people. Enjoy your TV, children of all ages.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Not Seeing

(Pre-Script: This poem takes flight if you read it as the song, "The End Of The Innocence," #25 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)

Once there was a man who captured a bird

because he felt he loved it so much.
He loved it so much and wanted it with him always.
It was so colorful, so pretty, and oh the songs it sang.
So he clipped those colorful wings,
and put it in a cage.
The bird did not fly to the top of the cage
or sing the songs that had initially called his attention to it.
The bird lay down in the bottom of the cage
it's dull eyes
straining to stare off into a distance it could no longer see.

"Oh well at least the bird is colorful and pretty"
reasoned the man.
But the bird's colors were hard

to distinguish without the sun
lighting them as they stretched out,

soaring to a limitless horizon

until the bird was so hope filled and joy filled

it had no choice but to open it's mouth

and let out the song

collecting there, too large a thing

to contain inside it's bird body frame,
shaky, small boned, but with promises

of where,

of where,

of where
it's determined

wings would take it tomorrow.
"Oh well at least the bird can sing"
reasoned the man, not remembering
that he had not heard the bird sing
ever since he had brought it home
and made it his.
"Oh well,
at least the bird is with me"
reasoned the man not seeing
it was only the bird's eyes

that continued to blink out at what
it could not believe it was not seeing.