June 07, 2002


Two friends from college are here visiting for my birthday. I've known them 20 years now--it seems like that can't possibly be so. I look at their faces, and yes they have lines I don't remember being there. Voices are more tired. But, not 20 years' worth. They are upstairs, still sleeping. Jenna's bouncing around getting ready for school--we're late as usual. And I'm thinking about roots.

Last night we sat on the floor eating sticks of pepperoni, hunks of italian bread (ripped, not sliced), and crumbled Fontinella cheese, all hand carried from Rochester and Utica with love, understanding--you can't get that here. (Did I mention the hard lemonade?). There were moments when it seemed otherworldly--the tastes so familiar and warm and my own. Intoxicating.

These friends aren't bloggers. They don't even know I blog. Between trips to the kitchen, I perch in my spot on the couch, flip my laptop open to see if George has blogged anything new, what Elaine is up to, what's new with RageBoy. I read posts as I talk, sneaking back into Blogaria just to make sure. Ah, new email. Good. Yes. Of course. Me too, sweet friend. I open and close my laptop, punctuating laughs about the past with the huge piece of me that lives here, my present and future.

These friends don't live on the net. They don't breathe the same words as I do. And still. They know me too--that other me, the one who used her bed as a desk, who always forgot to close her dorm window when the rain came, who couldn't go to the record store and come out without an armful, who spun and danced to imagined songs, who wrote at night and slept during the day, who laid down in the middle of East Ave one night, drunk as a skunk, daring the cars.

Curious. The things I tell you about that me, that me then, you buy, accept. Easy enough to imagine me doing them. ME is the person I bring here with me. But this me, who's here, now, these friends don't know. They would wonder, if they came here, "Why do you do it?"

And I would say, because I have to. You should do it too.
And they would say no, I would never do that.
And I would say, it's so wonderful.
And they would say, see you're still crazy.
And I would say no, it's okay here.
And they would say, but why did you write *that*? It's so personal.
And I would say, because I wanted to.
And they would say, Oh. Well, you're *still* still crazy.
And I would say, not here I'm not.

And they would love me still, shaking their heads, wondering if I'll ever change.

And here I don't have to.

June 05, 2002

Where Else in Blogland Are You Gonna Get This?

When you meet my husband, and you may one day, you'll be saying to yourself what everyone says... "He's so soft spoken, such a gentleman, such a sensitive man..." (and then there's his business side... and there's his artist side... but I too digress...) Part of me thinks, gee, it would be better if you were reading his blogging adventures after you met him... BUT... that isn't how this works, is it? We all know that.

Earlier this month, I wrote this loving tribute to my first encounter with my George (scroll down to "I've been waiting so long"). Interestingly, I was sober at the time of that writing. My husband of almost-16 years, on the other hand, has taken to Scotch to get through the wasted days and wasted nights away from home, playing not-even jazz in Hong Kong.

Earlier today, he and I were exchanging emails, and he told me, among many other things I won't share here, that he was going to start blogging his way through the rest of what has turned out to be a nearly-crappy adventure playing overseas. I'm thinking, sure, he might blog something. And part of me is like, well, you're a wee bit intoxicated--what might you write? Well, HE'S BLOGGING. Stunning. Just wait til he has all of his faculties about him. This could be a dicey and interesting journey, husband and wife parallel blogging about REAL stuff. Hmmm. Deserves some thought. (deeep thought.)

If it's amazing to you to compare our versions of our early encounter now that I pointed you there, imagine my surprise to hop over to George's blog and see it. Yep. He knew me. And look at this honesty:

"I've tried to keep her to myself for so long and now everyone else knows
the kind of wonderful woman she is. The secrets out."

And, gee wiz, you guys know me; would I ever be sending out signals like this?

"Boy, I know what you're thinking and I can read every thought in your pea brain."

The truth is in what he says about how he has nurtured me. I was really very young when we met, and we've grown together and come out into the world in amazing and sometimes terrifying ways together. So why stop now? Blog on, honey. This is the man who's been telling me "yes you can" for the 18 years I've known him. And while I'm living out here, with you all, and sharing some really personal stuff, George knows it, he reads it. He hasn't yet said, "That's not a good idea." (subtext: so if he does, i'll know he's probably right).

Honey baby, I'm yours. Now bring your sorry butt home so I can dry you out! Don't worry, you'll be back into Daddy mode before you know it. The bean's energy will wrap around you like an ace bandage and you'll know you're home-sweet-home. No time for drink, no money for fun. But we'll make fun of our own. ;-)

Happy Birthday, Helene Cixous

Wonderful blogger and fellow Blog Sister Tish of Fatshadow let me know that today is Helene Cixous' birthday. As I may have mentioned a dozen times, I am in love with Cixous' writing, and as I may have mentioned several dozen times, my birthday is Sunday. So today, I think of Helene and the gifts she has already given me, and I wish I could connect with her and give her something back, fellow Gemini, twins to twins, but maybe I have, somehow, in this weblog, and maybe she'll see it if she one day stumbles across this place. That image is good enough for me. In the mean time I wonder if google will ever boost me up in the Cixous standings, so she might one day happen upon me. And it would be so nice for her to find me that way, instead of coming upon me by searching up "shoplifting."

until later.

June 04, 2002

Busted by AKMA

Well, I thought my little K-Mart post (Bluelight Special) went mostly unnoticed. I guess it did, except for AKMA. On the topic of forgiveness, of which he has become the inspired master, AKMA uses my sins of the past as a jumping off point to discuss whether or not we are better off for having gone wrong in our early days, or whether maybe we just *are.* Would we change the course of events if we could? Would we erase certain experiences--ones we're not the proudest of? Or are they woven into our fabric in such a way that we wouldn't have become the same people if we hadn't run on the bad side for a time? All good questions. I'm not sure I have answers--at least not ones as good as AKMA's.

But I will say this--while I felt guilty for some time about shoplifting during my teen years, some of my best memories are those that resulted from a particularly good day on the prowl. Sitting with my best friend, behind Sibley's deparment store, sharing a can of Betty Crocker vanilla frosting, talking about things that mattered, why we wanted to run away, we'd make our plans, we'd pack our clothes in our minds, we'd grab a train, head south, who knows, but we'd make it. All the while, we're licking finger-full after finger-full of Betty Crocker until the sugar high kicks in just right, taking us to that place where 12 year olds shouldn't have to go, but if we had to go, vanilla frosting wasn't such a bad way to get there.

As a consumer and worker, I think I've made my amends. Would I recommend this abnoxious diversion to kids or anyone else? NO. (Wynona, are you listening?) Would I be plenty pissed if my child did what I did? YES. But I'd like to think I'd know if she were doing it. No one knew that I was. Therein, perhaps, lies the difference.

But, AKMA forgive me, I wouldn't take an eraser to those times either--I mean, if I could. Those were days of friendship and early bonds, we had a power out there that we didn't have at home. We were, for a few minutes every couple of days, in charge of our own destiny. Those were my days. Our days. And we did have our day, oh yes. We did.

And, why not...


Looky the pretty outfit daddy sent me from China!

Baby Blogger's livin large in her new threads...

So who is this husband of yours?

He's George Sessum, and he's here talking about musical improvisation, and here talking about the glamour of the music biz. See why we're quite a pair? He'll be blogging more. I made him promise. So link to his ass.

the hole

I'm sorry about the hole. I was looking up at it just now, up above the dresser, the shape of your thigh outlined in white plaster by the ceiling guy who never came back, never charged us, never finished the job. A half-broken reminder of that day, you walking carefully across the attic beams to get that box I wanted, me downstairs boiling water for spaghetti, then the crash. I remember rushing up, looking up, there was part of you--just a leg, just a shoe, a sock, a calf, a thigh, one leg of your denim shorts. You had become part of the ceiling and the ceiling was of you. "OH NO! OH SHIT!" I said. And you nailed it that very moment. I was moaning for the ceiling, the money it would take to fix it, the gaping hole up into the dusty attic, the insulation debris raining down into our bedroom. My words were not for your thigh, for your already aching back, for the cut sending blood down your shin.

This was the very worst of me.

If I could take it back, trade it, I would. I would forget about the house, the money, the insulation storm, the ugly gaping hole just above the dresser. Instead I would run to you, up the attic steps, pull you free, hold you, rub your thigh, help you downstairs, carefully, one step at a time until we're both safe, lay you on the bed, gently roll up the leg of your shorts, just to see if there are wounds to tend to, and sure enough you are bleeding, and I get a warm washcloth and bathe your sore leg, start with the ankle, maybe the toes, work up, shins and thighs, roll up the leg of your shorts some more, just to check, to make sure you're not hurt there, and I swab as I go, until the washcloth falls to the floor and its my tongue, just making sure you are fine, up here on your thigh, and there, and there, zipper has to go, and shorts, sure I have to check around there too, and did you hurt your stomach just there, look another hole, I should check. And you are so fine, but what about your chest where you grabbed the beam, here let me see, and I'm checking between the hairs with my tongue, and up your neck, and there are your lips, amazing full lips, and we're kissing now, your tongue so deep, and there is no more house, no more gaping hole in the ceiling, no more dusty attic air still spilling out onto our floor. There is only us, and sky not ceiling, and beach not bed, and all of your hurt is in me and I love it away, and all of my hurt is on you and you wash it away, tears absolve us, and it takes a long, long time to rub away all the hurt, and I'm riding and loving and screaming, and I'm with you. I'm of you.

And we don't finish until you come home, where I'm waiting, looking up at the plaster, the hole outlining your thigh, promising to make it up to you.

June 03, 2002

Frank Paynter Likes Women

...bloggers that is. Frank's adding me to his list of upcoming blogger interviews. The Barbara Walters of blog interviews, Frank prys and goads you into telling all. His job ain't over til you're crying and talking about potty training and puppy love. Just look at Elaine's interview. I hear Denise the Cyberlawyer Howell's interview is forthcoming. Followed by yours truly. And Mike Golby.

Will I spill the beans? You'll have to wait and see!

Here are my nominees for upcoming interviews:

Shelley Powers
Halley Suitt
Anita Bora
Gary Turner

Of course, any and all of the blog sisters would make great interviews too, Frank. I told Frank I wasn't very interesting. He said he knows horndogs on four continents who want the goods on me. My husband will be so proud!!!

June 02, 2002

count down to 40

Alright, I'm gonna say it and I expect you to remember it. June 9th. Got it? June 9th I turn 40. That would be a milestone, bob. Two friends are coming down from Rochester to pamper me on the 6th. They'll be leaving to go back on my birthday evening. It will be the first birthdays my husband and I have spent apart since we've been married. His is June 14th. But he's WAY older than me. ;-) (okay, three years.) Yes we're both Geminis. That makes four, and baby makes five.

Halley tells me that your 40s are an amazing and wonderful time--an energized, sexy, mature, knowing decade. So why am I thinking, "yikes"? The friends coming to visit me are friends from college, which feels like it was five or six years ago. But, it was 20 years ago. Holy cow--I've lived almost two college lifetimes already, and I feel like I just graduated a few years ago. Time continues to play tricks on me.

To me, aging is this mysterious thing, scary too. My own father didn't live as long as I have lived already. Maybe that's why I feel like I'm living on borrowed time. Or maybe it's because I almost died after having Jenna. Scooting by within an inch of my life. Leaves a nagging feeling that tells me I'm not supposed to be here, left over by chance, squatter's rights on a bizarre life. That's part of the power in Helene Cixous for me. She writes much on the feeling of exile, of having no country, of being at home abroad. These are things I feel every day. Feeling like I should have already died, and with that, feeling very much alive.

In the aftermath of a death that didn't happen, you are more aware, in tune, intuitive, open, electric. I tend to tune into things that I have no business tuning into, in people, in friends, in strangers. Ghostlike, I walk along observing, from here, but from the other side too, a little bit of both. Cixous would understand.

And so, 40 will come, a week from today. Whether I'm ready or not.

Get your party hats out.

to the pool

If I can stop coughing long enough, I'm taking Jenna to the pool today. It's hot here now--Georgia hot. The hot that makes northern transplants wonder: why did we come here again? So, to the pool to watch my golden girl flounder and splash her floaties with delight. And me? I love water.

I mean, I really LOVE the water, to be in water, of water. When I was 12, I'd spend the night on a rubber raft drifting about my grandmother's pool, star gazing, shivering, water temperature just 65, wrapped in a beach towel to keep me warm. I just wanted to float. As a teenager, I spent summers swimming my horse in Lake Ontario. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, like swimming with your horse, all power and snorting, reaching and floating. Aloft. adrift. apart from the earth.

When I was pregnant, I sometimes took 6 baths a day. Friends and family wondered if this might be obsessive, unhealthy. I didn't bother telling the doctors. It seemed every bit normal to me. My husband would watch the t-shirt come off, smiling, "Off to the bath again?" Belly full of stone-hard fibroids, some bigger than Jenna, it was like carrying twins, triplets. The dead and undead growing inside. All I wanted to do was float. And I did. And she would come alive in that tub, making waves with me, an elbow emerging from between two rock-hard tumorous lumps. The beauty and the horror. In my own little tub in my own little house in my own little world. Safe.

So today, the pool is calling. Healing? I hope so. I'm still not well. And so, I go back, give in to my need to float, to drift. To go home.