(this is annie)

more happy things

When I briefly lived above the Clark Street subway stop in Brooklyn, Trevor came to visit. In the evening, it began to rain. We walked south on Henry street, paused near a brownstone's stoop, and took a snapshot of ourselves. So now: I have a picture of you and me in Brooklyn on the porch it was raining I remember that day.

- - -

Chris and I have been friends for almost ten years, which doesn't feel as long as it is. We had many wily hijinks in our little group. He and Matt Paris were kicked out of school for piercing their eyebrows (Matt did it first, was suspended, and in protest, Chris followed suit). My other friends and I thought the school district was in error, so we interrupted a pep assembly. Oh, the rebellion! A handful of us marched up to the principal as he was babbling about Ram Pride. We were so smarmy as we asked why certain students weren't allowed to show their Ram Pride. Then we were escorted into the AV auditorium, where we were all given a lecture on the importance of school spirit. Later, I was pulled aside and admonished by the Vice Principal: "You're a role model, you get good grades, you need to be a leader," etc. Eventually, with the help of the ACLU, Chris and Matt were readmitted to the school.

Now Chris is parent to a toddler boy, and on Wednesday, we finally met! He was blond with a perfectly rosy little-boy pallor, and he was wearing overalls and a turtleneck with trucks. I found him absolutely charming. The three of us ate grilled cheese and hot cocoa (which the little one barely touched; he wanted milk instead). When we left, I got hugs and milk-breathed kisses.

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Somebody has sent a package to me! A package! I love receiving and sending packages! The mail carrier will be bringing it by within the next day or two! Package package package!

(Please do not read anything into my enthusiasm over the word. Sometimes a package is just a package.)

This morning while on the Amtrak, a four-year-old began tossing chocolate coins at me. Goshdamned rugrat.

Other happy thing going on: hanging out with Brian Sholis this week! Triple yay! Going to meet Internet Chum ("Ooh, nice hats," said Betty). Everybody liked the holly jolly handmade gifts.

Excerpt from e-mail sent yesterday, describing my Christmas afternoon; baby Jesus would certainly disapprove of such foul-mouthed adventures on his birthday:

So yesterday, get this: parents and I go to see LOTR. This is a big deal because it's hard to drag them outside of the house, and the movie theatre is in Kalamazoo (16 miles away). So I finally get them to go to the 3:00 showing. We arrived at the theater aroudn 2:15, and some kid who works there says, "No ticket sales until 2:45." We agree that it's a silly idea, but instead of staying put (my plan) they decide that we need to go to Walgreens. So we pile back into the car, go to Walgreens, and stand in the bandage aisle while my mom tries on wrist braces. She does not buy any. We drive back to the theatre, where there are literally 50 people in line. Then we wait in line. LOTR sells out and I (very audibly) say, "FUCK." My mom gives me a dirty look, my father starts giggling, and the gentle citizens of West Michigan look at me oddly. Then, instead of seeing a different movie, we drive back home. Ridiculous.

holly jolly

I have been in Michigan for sixteen hours, and already (already!) ther eis nothing to do. My parents always do the ol' bait-and-switch. "Come visit us," they say. "We'll go do things as a family!" This time, they lured me with the promise of going to see Lord of the Rings. But instead, it's the same thing as always: father napping, cat hiding, mother doing chores. It's not as though I demand a circus, but would a board game kill us?

One of the ways to pass the time here is to read the local newspaper's birth announcements. Without fail, some poor baby is given a "clever" first name like Harley-Quinn. Today, my mother mentioned that she had wanted to name me Paige. I feel that would be a cooler name than my current one, which is best suited for a six-year-old.

Usually, the whole New Year's Resolution thing seems like a sham. I tend to make jokey resolutions like last year's "More rock, less talk." But this year, I think I am going to make some and stick with them. When I have followed through on these decisions, I will then reveal them.

I feel like I have been doing things lately that, while not overtly destructive, are not overwhelmingly affirming or positive. And therefore they often become destructive in little bits, chipping away at the good things.

Both this year and last, I was presented with a "mystery" of sorts. Last year, I felt lousy about it and tried to find a logical explanation, so I could pretend that there was no reason for me to feel that way. This time, I do not care so much about the reasons, but the results.

- - -

This morning, I watched Say Anything and wondered why Lloyd is so hung up on prissy Diane Court. Sure, she's smart, but, to paraphrase Lloyd himself: he gave her his heart, and she gave him a pen. Even though Lloyd embodies most of what you could want in a person (wit, kindness, Clash t-shirt), something about that movie always felt off to me. Why didn't Lloyd wise up and think, "Hey, I've got a great career ahead of me as a kickboxer and ladies' man. Diane, though often awesome, is consistently inconsistent in her treatment of the Dob. All of these other ladies seem to realize how rad I am, but instead of opening my eyes, I think I will stand here and play some Peter Gabriel for Diane as she snootily ignores my potentially embarrassing stance."

Hmm? I think that somewhere along the line, Diane breaks poor Lloyd's heart, he moves to Chicago, changes his name to Rob Gordon, opens a record shop, and the rest is history.



Last night I ate dinner next to a father and his four-year-old daughter. We were all seated at a counter. As her father tried to get her excited about Christmas, the little girl slowly slurped her soup and dangled her legs from the stool. When my food arrived, the father said, "Look what that lady has. Doesn't that look nice?"

The little girl looked at the food and then up at me. I was wearing a shirt that I'd worn twice already this week. I hadn't washed my hair in two days. I was the only person in the place eating alone. She looked at me with as much pity as a child can muster, quietly hmmphed, and returned to her noodles.

lentils mean love

Je ne crois pas que tu sois une weirdo, ou alors d'une weirdness absolument charmante. J'aimerais bien que tu m'en dises un peu plus sur toi...

- - -

Last night, Miss J and I were in line to see Lord of the Rings. I was wearing my Camper shoes (I tried to find a picture, but they are black with a red felt heart on the left foot, a red felt diamond on the right). The man in front of us said, "Hey! Are those CAMPERS?" with the pep of a Mentos actor. He seemed faint when I told him how much I'd paid for them ($20) and then the whole exchange became a Value City commercial.

- - -

We had a potluck today. I made curried lentils and couscous with dried cranberries. It was tasty, but nobody else had any! I slyly looked at all of the plates, and apparently nobody loves a vegan treat. Everybody does love Cheetos, though.

- - -

Albums Lumbergh Played Loudly and Repeatedly Today:

1. A Very Snoopy Christmas

2. An Ally McBeal Christmas

3. Kenny G Christmas album

(I see the Destiny's Child holiday perilously near her desk...)

It's kind of funny how I find myself creating little scenarios sometimes, piecing together coincidental scraps until something "logical" comes together. And then I function off the assumption that my scenario is the only reasonable one, even if all tangible evidence suggests otherwise. Gah. It might seem like I am a conspiracy theorist, but they probably said that about Inspector Clouseau, too.

Today was a rather glum day, for no real reason. Naively I imagined that I'd spend a nice evening creating great wildlife art, and that our woodland friends would cheer me. I went to Pearl Art Supply after work to buy some acrylics (some for me, most for papa) and to see if Andy was working. He wasn't, which was actually kind of good because I look like Sergeant Schlep today. I don't want to reunite with my childhood friend like that!

So then I rode the Brown Line home, being crushed by a giant man in plaid. I've noticed that men often splay their knees out on public transportation. Women tend to keep our knees together. Symbolic? Yeah.

I got home and worked on the painting. I made a blue bunny by mixing cerulean blue with titanium white. He looks a little bit like a blue bunny mummy because of his blank, harrowing stare and the way I messed up the feet. Plus, the paintbrush lost a lot of its hair (turns out the cheap ones really don't work as well; who knew?) and therefore the bunny looks scarier than usual. It's outsider art.

pop tarts

"I like your barrette," my boss said this morning. Uh-oh. I wasn't wearing a barrette. I patted the top of my head and found the residue from a strawberry Pop-Tart stuck to my hair. Fullofgrace!

"So you see, Kevy, Destiny's Child is no Ezra Pound!" —yours truly, pointing out the obvious (along with everything on my desk)

What does one do at a high school reunion? I may have to go stake one out and observe, as there's very little chance that I would ever want to attend my own.


In kindergarten, my teacher asked me to write it on the board. and I couldn't spell it correctly. She must have thought I was a moron, but really I just didn't know if it was COLOR or COLOUR or COULEUR; my parents had given me American books, my sister had given me British books, and my mother had given me Babar's Vocabulaire.

a night of johns

It's 10:45 and I just got to work.

Last night I went to Schubas to see Love as Laughter and Mazarin. There were only 14 other people at the show, half of whom were in the bands. I found a table and drew some rabbits. A few seats down was a WOO guy (you know, the kind of guy who has to yell WOOOOO loudly after every song, even the quiet ones). Woo Guy slid over and started complimenting my bunny drawings. I had to 'splain to him that the four hares were New Wave Bunny, Punk Bunny, Riot Girl Bunny, and Mod Bunny. That's when he got a funny look on his face and returned to his seat for more WOO.

On the way to the water closet, I saw Jonathan Mahalak, who is a FOM (Friend of Maysan). We've e-mailed each other here and there, but we'd never met. He writes music pieces for New City, and I was excited to finally meet a FOM/e-mail chum... but apparently he knew people at the show, and I returned to my seat alone.

On the way out, I ran into John Dugan. I keep running into him randomly. We talked about writing, our similarly named cats, his girlfriend, and parties. I gave him the bunny drawings and proceeded to walk home.

Oh yeah: Mazarin was such a disappointment! The vocals were too quiet, and the rhythm guitarist was trying in vain to do loud droney feedback a la "You Made Me Realise." Guess they're one of those bands who are better on record than on stage.


This Beautiful Squirrel Crystal will be yours for a mere


Don't step on me.

I'm cute.

I'm gorgeous.

I'm Invincible.

- - -

Ah, thank you, Todd, for forwarding that spam. What squirrel isn't cute and gorgeous and capital-I invincible?

Sometimes I wonder about squirrels and what they think about. Studies have suggested that squirrels are much smarter than one would imagine, although their memory is limited. I once toyed with the idea of trying to tame one of our fluffy tree friends and observe it, even luring one inside the apartment on Oakland. But then I realized that Squirrely might poop on the bed, or try to pull my hair out for nesting material.

Sometimes at work, I daydream about squirrels chasing each other from tree to tree. Without fail, this type of scene prompts me to gleefully coo, "THEY'RE IN LOVE!" like a syrupy lunatic.


buy me tie me

This morning on the bus, a tiny old woman climbed aboard at Halsted and Division. She took her seat directly in front of me. Instead of facing forward, she placed her wrinkled little hands on the back of the seat, resting her chin on its plastic top. And then she stared at my hands. It would have been slightly endearing if she were seven, or if she weren't twitching her left eye and breathing in heavy groans. It occurred to me that she might be a Bus Weirdo. I thought, "What would Urban National Geographic suggest in a potentially uncomfortable situation such as this one?" and then realized that, by god, if she came at me like a bat, I'd have to use my 6.5 millimeter. Six-five millimeter Susan Bates knitting needles, that is. Fortunately, she was a restless little thing, and just past Grand, she scurried (really) to the front of the bus. She then regaled the bus driver with the many reasons why Judge Judy shouldn't be trusted.

Mumsy is coming to town tomorrow. I don't know what to make of this e-mailed sentence: Well I'm an early bird, as you know, so if there were some morning errands you needed done Friday, I could drive you wherever if you're contemplating tha day off. Did you see that? Tha day off. Tha. Has Betty started taking the creative spelling of the rap world to heart?


meeting ephraim

Yesterday, Brown line, Chicago Avenue. An old man slowly ascended the metal stairway. He had greeted me before launching into a description of his Sunday: "Parked my car down the street. Now I'm going to Marshall Field's to find a gift for my wife. What should I give her?"

Hell if I know, I wanted to say. But instead, I suggested something that the two of them could enjoy together. Cooking, maybe? "I gave her a $7000 fur coat last year," the old man said as we stood on the platform. "Diamonds the year before that." Oh.

"You got someone?" he asked. His eyes were blue with cataracts. "Yep," I told him. I always tell men yes, no matter the veracity. "That's the best thing in the world," the old man said. "Best thing in the world. I married my wife when she was 18. I was 21. We've got five children, no grandchildren." We got on the train.

We were two stops from the library when he said, "Name's Ephraim. I'd like to talk with you some more. How about you give me your number?" Oh no. "I don't think so," I told him. "You have a wife." Not to mention the fact that you are, say, fifty years older than me. Ephraim's blue eyes met mine, and he winked, and he said, "Girlfriend, not wife. I was married once, for only two years."

Now it seemed that he was either a manipulative liar or a crazy old man, and thankfully, there was the library stop. "It was nice talking with you," I said. "Have a good Sunday." I walked onto the platform and didn't look back.

No, Moz, you are not the Jock Reader, unless I've seen you on the bus. Jock Reader is a nice, "normal" type guy who I used to see on the bus every morning. He looked very much like a "hey brah" guy, but had all sorts of funny observations about books.

I haven't washed my hair in almost three days. I keep having these hurried mornings, and instead of busting out my lame drugstore shampoo (that's another story, the moral of which is that being cheap is a waste of time and money), I just switch my part around a little bit. "Nobody will ever know!" I tell the mirror. The cats meow in agreement.

Cleaning out my old directories, if anybody wants a peek... This rabbit was supposed to have little arms, but instead, it looks like she has saggy bunnyboobs. Ben's birthday. Another rabbit. You may remember him from the "Bunnies Need Love" sticker series (ca. 1997-98). Portrait of the artist as a young woman (at home, before learning the difference between gifs and jpegs). Yet another bunny—this must have been during the time I really wanted a pet bunny. Frat boy/squirrel. Intentionally bad banners for Andrew. Early Michigan Fest page. And of course, our celebrity friends Bea Arthur, Bob Saget, and Billy Ray Cyrus.

poetic license

I should have been a quartet of furry paws / Scuttling across boughs of silent trees.

Grimace drove the bus today. Grimace is a fortysomething black woman with bright purple hair. She is always friendly, and she doesn't slow for yellow lights. This morning, the sun made her hair shine; she looked oddly happy to be driving the bus. Some other time, you'll get more stories of CTA passengers: Grizzle, the Aging Punk Rocker; Insurance Prevert; Man Who Rides The Bus For One Block; Jock Reader, the Bus Chum; Fraulein Cellphone; and many, so very many more.


say hello

    it's anniet at gmail.


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