I wonder if parenthood is an exercise against futility. I’m feeling a lot of that these days, and I found myself wondering that late last night.

I’m struggling because yesterday I gave up my beloved baby cat Gypsy. She went to live with my brother Mark. This will be the best thing for all of us, I think – I will be without the stress of trying to clean up after her accidents all the time, Mark gets a cat that he absolutely adores, and Gypsy gets a good home that isn’t the Humane Society – but it was still horridly hard. She was so sweet last night – and cute and good. It broke my heart to give her up, but I know it was the right thing.

And I’m worrying about my other cat because this is the first time he’s been alone. He’s managing just fine so far by pestering the hell out of me, and in the middle of the night we had to have a talk about not launching himself off my side after the catnip mousie. In fact, there will be no launching off me period. But before the launching he was sad and snuggly, and I hope he’ll be OK.

And – I don’t know. My friends are struggling, and I can’t help. My cat is lonely, and I have to work. The boy that I love is far away and having a hard time, and I can do nothing but wait for him to need me, and hope he knows I’m here for him. I just feel like my hands are tied.

looking for a savior between these dirty sheets

My mixy disc. I’m sure I’m leaving stuff out, but this is what I came up with. Discs available upon request. Now tell me who you are – and what I’ve left out. (x-posted from my LJ)

1. Simon & Garfunkel – America. This is the sort of music I grew up with – S&G, Judy Collins, etc. This reminds me of high school, and of the little hippie girl I used to be. Of jasmine and patchouli summers, and long hair, and trying to find my place. Of coming of age, I guess. Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike/They’ve all come to look for America.
2. Ani DiFranco – Untouchable Face. I never really got into Ani until recently, and she’s still growing on me. And I know there are lots of better songs, but this one is me, through and through. i could make you happy you know/if you weren’t already/i could do a lot of things/and i do. Bitter and sweet, yearning and frustration. I know all those things well.
3. Cat Stevens – Father and Son. Summer between high school and college, and the years that followed in which I struggled for my independence, and my parents struggled to let me grow. All the times that I’ve cried/keeping all the things I knew inside/It’s hard, but it’s harder to ignore it/If they were right I’d agree/But it’s them they know not me
4. The Tea Party – The Messenger. 2000. I’m in London. I’m alone and out in the world. I have a chance encounter with Tea Party in Paris that leads to a not-chance encounter in London, that leads to an incredible “lost weekend” in Amsterdam. And time and time again since then this song has reinvented itself for me as I hear it in different contexts.
5. Pink Floyd – Fearless. The summer I was 15 was the last best summer at CHBC. We were a really small, really tightly knit group of kids who didn’t really want to be there – but deep down inside we wouldn’t have been anywhere else. We stayed up all night to watch the sunrise – we broke the rules – we had an incredibly memorable week. Dave found me one night and asked if I knew this song, then played it for me. He told me I had the voice of an angel, and we sang this song together for our friends.
6. Fiona Apple – Criminal. Summer of 1997 – the summer between high school and college, the summer of much turmoil and heartache. I didn’t know what I wanted, and I made choices I didn’t understand.
7. Ace of Base – My Deja Vu. April 1996. Coming home from Paris for the first time, thinking of the boy I met in the disco the previous night. I listened to this song obsessively for months. I wanna feel you with my senses/’Cause I’m almost sure the texture of your skin/Is gonna tell me who you are. Like I had any idea what that meant at 16.
8. Faithless – Insomnia. 1997. I can’t get no sleep. A clip from this song was in the radio bit for Zero Gravity, a place associated with so many random memories. I remember dancing there the first night Sarah and I went out, coming home with my hair and clothes full of glitter. Perhaps the beginning of my infatuation with house music.
9. Dido – Who Makes You Feel. This song has attitude, and I love it. This is one I turn up LOUD LOUD LOUD in my car and sing along – one I put on repeat for days on end. Who makes you feel the way that I make you feel/Who loves you and knows you the way I do/Who touches you and holds you quite like I do/Who makes you feel like I make you feel. It’s pride – and possession – but those things with a sultriness that wins me over every time. I don’t want to be a bitch – but I want to be the only one to make you feel like I make you feel.
10. Third Eye Blind – I Want You. This was a hard call because this entire album is 1997 for me – it’s too bad I can’t have an entire 3EB musical interlude here. Reminds me of Adam, of James, of the first month in the dorms with Mayra. Reminds me of me. You said to live this way is not for the meek/And like a jazz DJ you talk me into sleep/I said there will be no regrets when the worms come.
11. Damien Rice – Volcano. I kissed your mouth. What 3EB was to 1997, Damien Rice has been for 2003-4. Shawn sent me Volcano about two weeks after the party, two days before my world would change entirely. Shawn wrote somewhere that Damien says the things he’s feeling – or maybe he didn’t realize he felt them until he heard Damien. It’s the same way for me. The album had to grow on me, though at first listen I was utterly devastated – and then even the weaker tracks became so essential to me. Volcano is it for this disc, though, because What I give to you/Is just what I’m going through/This is nothing new/No no just another phase of finding what I really need/Is what makes me bleed. Burns right through to the heart of me.
12. Sarah McLachlan – Elsewhere. For some dark places. I know this love is passing time/passing through like liquid/I’m drunk in my desire…/but I love the way you smile at me/I love the way your hands reach out and hold me near… I understand this song so much better now than I did at 18, yet it is no more or less essential than it was then. Then it was just gorgeous – now I fully understand the drunkenness of desire. I understand the yearning. And I understand having to defend those things.
13. Melissa Ferrick – Everything I Need. Sarah gave me the lyrics to this song after she’d suffered a particularly rough first semester of grad school. It’s all about empowerment, about being OK, about realizing the person you are is pretty damned great. I played this for Mary and Amanda and Jen at Christmas – I can think of no better way to say I love you than to give the sort of peace that this song talks about. Everything I need/is right here in my hands.
14. NIN – The Perfect Drug. An odd choice, but I had to have some hella hot Trent. This song entrances me more than Closer ever could. And I want you.
15. Ludo – Hum Along. Another song from Shawn. He sent it to me while I was at work – I went to the website and read the lyrics while listening and just crying and crying. I don’t know if we have a song that is “ours” – but this song was there at the very beginning, and continues to break my heart time and again. It isn’t right/for me to paint your picture every night/but I do/It feels so wrong/to sing this song/but maybe somehow you’ll hear me/and hum along.
16. The Beatles – In My Life. I freaking love this song. In my life/I love you more. Always have. Always will. There are many Beatles songs that are better, but this one is it for me.
17. Portishead – Glory Box. It’s all about sexiness and the slow burn and swaying hips in a smoky room. It’s about letting go, giving in, surrendering. It’s about pleasure. I wanna be a woman.
18. Lizzie West – Chariots Rise. Another one I’ll put on repeat over and over again, and probably my favorite love song. What a fool am I/To fall so in love/What a wonderful dream/It seems to be/’Cause I love him.

just easier

Friends are a good, good thing. Spent Sunday pm with Sarah and Hannah, watching movies and eating good food. Sarah and I put together a bookcase, and I gave myself a nasty blood blister. I needed the companionship after a long hard night and morning – I am eternally glad of them.

Yesterday was lots of working – at home and at work – then Sarah came over and Jonathan later. Randomness ensued, and the cats were implicated in some sort of conspiracy. Nice to just have people here hanging out.

Tonight was pirates and tacos with Michelle and Diana – Michelle and I talked about our boys and how we miss them and what we miss about them. She misses having fun with hers, misses his smell, misses him being affectionate. I’ve gone through many phases of missing in the last 2-3 weeks. I’ve missed his laugh, his voice, his gorgeous blond hair, sex with him, his companionship, just being quiet together, watching him get dressed in the morning, curling into his body in sleep. Right now my bed feels really empty, and I just want him here so I can sleep next to him. Only a little more time. Michelle’s boy is in Iraq. I can’t even imagine.

Anyway, it’s been good, having friends around. Makes the nights less empty, you know? Some days it’s good to have time to spare – and others I just crave human companionship. My cats are lovely, but they are lacking in the communication skills.

And things are better with the boy, too. I didn’t hear from him today, but we talked yesterday and it was wonderful. I sent him a package of randomness, which he received and enjoyed muchly. We talked about silly and serious things, and laughed. He emailed me late Sunday night setting some things straight, and I emailed back in the morning when I was feeling much more stable. Michelle said today that long distance relationships are really hard unless you know definitely where you stand before you go away. I maintain that they’re hard, even if you know definitely where you stand. There are some things (and I’m not even talking about the physical) that are just easier when you’re near. It’s been a strange week already, and some days the ache is damned near overwhelming – but I know – I know – that this is what I want, and that it is worth the heartache. If you’re reading this – you – I love you far beyond words.

Crossposted from my LJ

I listened to a bunch of mix cds on the way home from Rockford this weekend – discs I burned before I went home at Christmas. They were pretty random, organized mainly by letter, as I filled them disc by disc going through my collection. Some mixes turned out really well, others were hit or miss. And that got me thinking about favorite songs, and that got me thinking about mixes again. So, here’s my question. If you were to make a mix cd to introduce yourself, a cd to sort of define who you are in 15-20 tracks, what would be on it? Please expound on why if you will, but mainly I’d just like a bit about you, in other people’s words and music. I’m still working on mine, but I will post it here when I’m done. Post it in my comments, or on your own blog, or gmail me. I’m looking forward to hearing from you – and hearing you. 🙂

Waiting for The Man

It is 8:45 and for the last 45 minutes we’ve been waiting for our trainer so we could start work. So for 45 minutes I’ve been sitting here, drinking my Maxwell House hazelnut coffee (with the terrifically buttery taste – this stuff’s freaking amazing) and checking my email and the blogs and such. Seems like a waste of 45 minutes x 3 (for my other training kids as well), but hey, that’s their choice.

Work was fine last night. I worked 6-9 with Megan, who just turned 21. No one splashed grill water on my food, and I got to actually talk to KFan while I ate my quesadilla (cheddar and chihuahua cheese, sesame mango dressing, black beans and corn). Every other time he’s been in I’ve been busy, or Shawn’s been there, so it was nice. Dave and I talked about cooking a lot – I’m bringing him cookbooks, and along the way got a little more inspired about cooking for myself. I went to Meijer after work and stocked up on produce, so this morning I had a smoothie with strawberry yogurt, OJ, half a banana, and a white peach. Tastiness.

I got to talk to Shawn for a little bit yesterday. I feel like I’m being the pathetic girlfriend at home, spoiling his fun by missing him – and I don’t want to be that person. On the other hand, I don’t want to have to beg for his attention, because I know I’m worth more than that. So I’m in a strange place, and I’m just trying to find my way. And I know I’ll be fine, and this’ll be over sooner than I think – but it’s still strange and hard at times.

Am actually finding people at work to talk to outside my training group – and that’s nice. I sat in the lunch room on Tuesday and felt totally out of place – like at the last two jobs. I’m fine with being overeducated and underpaid, but it’s always easier if there’s someone with whom you can commiserate. At AMCORE I had Dan, and at Busey I had great customers who thought our decorations equally lame (I miss my customers!). I’m still finding my way here as well – so maybe it’s an OK thing that no one talked to me in the lunchroom. Honestly (and this is terrible), I’d rather sit by myself and read than have to talk about reality TV and/or the latest deal on beef. Don’t get me wrong, I have trashy and superficial convos as much as the next girl – but the people with whom I have these convos can also talk about stuff that’s totally over my head.

OK, it’s now 9:03 and I’ve been doing nothing for literally an hour. I should’ve been reading – I could’ve finished Fellowship by now. Perhaps I should go pretend to be a diligent student – I think my frantic typing has given me away.

A night of spills

This was my night:
6:00-8:30pm: constant traffic, and terrible tips. tables with multiple meals. smiling and taking orders and hoping like hell that the new cook could keep up.
8:30pm: make dinner before the grill is turned off – turkey, provolone, tomato, vidalia onion sauce in a warmed-up wrap with peach salsa and chips. set aside because we have another rush.
8:45pm: decide to put food in the microwave to keep warm as eating will be a long time off. new cook is cleaning the grill. new cook has liberally doused my sandwich, salsa, and chips with nasty black grill water. throw away dinner.
9:30pm: finally get another break, make another sandwich (in the micro), read for a few minutes. finish a chapter, not the book.
10:30pm: clean the bathrooms. both toilets are backed up. finish the women’s bathroom and try to start on the men’s, but a line forms and i abandon the grossness for a bit.
11:00pm: finally get back to the men’s room, and the urinal hasn’t been flushed. i don’t know how men are so gross. gross gross gross. fix toilet number two, and officially declare myself off bathroom duty for the duration of the week.
11:30pm: lock up the patio furniture and check the trashes. back trash is half full of water, meaning half full of a watery sludge of cigarettes, food, drinks, dirt, etc. manage to dump at least half a cup of this mixture on my feet and legs and hands.
11:45pm: bring in front patio furniture. soak front of pants in some unidentified liquid.
11:50pm: prep mop. leave sticky line of mop bucket soap on my pants. these pants are having a really bad night.
12:15pm: mop the entire place. manage to NOT dump mop liquid on self (quite unusual for me), but soak my foot with hot water while rinsing out the mop bucket.
12:30pm: third trip to the trash. declare that the fragile trash bags aren’t a worry at this point because i don’t have the knock box bag.
total evening gross out factor: very high. all that was missing was vomit and blood-borne pathogens. and what got me through the night was the hope of talking to shawn when i got home – or maybe just an email. but i got nothing, and now i’m going to bed disappointed AND grossed out.

Tuesday already

It’s Tuesday already – Tuesday pm. I could say “where’s the week getting away to?” but I’m just glad it’s going.

This weekend was terrific, bookended by crazy. Friday we were supposed to leave at 6, but I got off work early (as you know). No word from the kids until 5:15, when Sarah called from the Saturn dealership – her car was dead with a four inch hole in the engine block. Terrifying, but a good thing it didn’t happen a couple of hours later when all three of us were in the car. We picked up Hannah, made a few frantic phone calls, then hit the road. On the way to Rockford Sarah expounded on her biggest news – that she and Greg are engaged. Aahh! It’s on the down-low for now (not that kind of d-l, Ice-T), but still exciting. Got into town around 10, and hung out at Jen’s for a while with Jen, Cassie, and Jen’s hella cute bunny Peter. I gave Hannah the tour of the house (yes, we do actually have five bathrooms), and we crashed.

Saturday was sleeping in, then breakfast with Mary J. We did some running-around-shopping, then spent the afternoon in the pool and the sun, smoking too many cigarettes and drinking wine coolers. It was a stereotypical girls’ day – and just what we all needed. I floated on my back in the pool for a while, thinking that it was the best sort of feeling – the cold of the water against the hot of my skin and the sun on my skin. I thought that the only thing that could improve on that moment would’ve been Shawn, but then it wouldn’t have been the same sort of day. Dinner at Beef A Roo, then I picked my parents (and Coo) up from the bus, where they’d just gotten in from Europe. They were deliriously tired, but it was good to have them home. More running around (including delivery of the naked mole rat book to Nicki and Cory), then more hanging out at Jen’s, this time with Krist, Erika, Devon, and Carly. Oh, and Peter too.

Sunday was a lovely breakfast with my parents, followed by lots of driving – to Lindenhurst to get the new car, then to IKEA, then home around the city. Sarah‘s new car is exactly like mine, except white and tinted windows. Good finds at IKEA – I now have kitchen canisters and ideas for the new apartment – and a nice dinner at a salad buffet place (name escapes me). The drive home was long and boring, but it was nice – I always forget how much I love love love driving in the summertime with the music up and the windows down. No word from Shawn, but it was the first day of the Academy, and I didn’t really expect to hear from him. Talked to Newman for a while when I got home, then crashed later than I’d planned.

Monday was a blur of lame-o training. My trainer has a Jennifer Tilly squeaky-voice and treats us like we have the intelligence of a flatworm. 4-5 more weeks of this might just drive me to drink – or to a regular smoking habit, which I’m trying to avoid. Sat on the porch for a long time when I got home, just reading The Fellowship of the Ring, then ran around with Sarah and had some nice quiet movie time.

Today was more lame-o training, plus a rainstorm and sub-par sushi. I have to work tonight, and am hoping to both finish my book and talk to Shawn later. A few other things on my mind to blog about, but I’ll put them separate from this great recounting-of-events. Hope your weekends were lovely. xo