Archive for December, 2009

Here’s to New Horizons

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

mood: list-less | drinking: all done

new_horizons

Everybody and their mother likes to make lists around this time of year. Lists of all the things they loved about 2009. Or hated. Lists of the top songs of 2009, the top movies, the top news stories, the top celebrity meltdowns.

I’m a list lover, too, I’m not going to lie. But this year, instead of looking back at the 364 days behind me, I’m going to look ahead to what’s on the horizon.

So here’s my contribution to the blogosphere’s collection of lists…

Ten Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2010

1. Settling into the new home with Boy and LeeLoo: Unpacking those last few boxes. Building new bookshelves. Sprucing up the backyard. Taste-testing all the neighborhood eateries. Finding new routes to walk to the beach. Discovering a whole host of lovely new things about my new ‘hood.
2. Shooting our new cinépoem: “The Tyranny of the Mirror” is our biggest cinépoem to date, with 8 separate shoots in 8 separate locations and our fabulous ensemble cast of 8 gorgeous ladies (including my very own sister). It’s going to be amazing.
3. Going back to Illinois to see my parents and various and sundry friends: This year was the first year since I’ve moved to California that I didn’t return to my hometown, not even for a quick visit. It was weird. So I plan to remedy that omission in 2010.
4. Getting back into the running routine: I was doing so well there for a couple of years, but the whole house-selling, temporary-apartment-living, house-buying thing kinda messed it all up. Time to get back into the groove.
5. Teaching my nephew new words: He’s two years old now and at that super fun (and dangerous) stage where he likes to parrot everything you say. Fun times for Aunt Lo.
6. Thursday night writing group: More great critiques, more great poems, more great bitch sessions, more great Chinese food. Bring it, girls!
7. Vacationing with Boy: We have a big anniversary coming up, and we’re going to celebrate that milestone in style, come hell or high water. The question is not “if” but “where?” and “when?” (I’ve got Prague on my wishlist, and my passport is itching for some action.) We’ll have to wait and see.
8. Exploring more gorgeous nooks, crannies, and weirdos in this gorgeous city I call home: It seems that every year I find something new here, uncover some previously unknown nugget of awesome about this place. I have no idea what I will discover or who I will meet in 2010, but I’m ready for it.
9. Growing my hair out: Yes, it’s a weird item to include on this list but I just keep whacking my hair off before it reaches the desired length and I swear this time I’m going to curb the impulse to whip out the scissors. Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow.
10. Finding something good in every day: It’s something Boy and I have been trying to do a lot of, a tactic that began out of desperation. In the middle of one of the most difficult years of our lives, we realized that moaning about everything that was going wrong wasn’t making a rough patch any smoother. So we started trying to find something to be grateful for every day, something good in each other, in the people around us, in the smallest, most random happenings. And it works. Not only by making life a bit easier, but by making yourself a lot easier to live with. A good way to go about new beginnings, wouldn’t you say?

Alright. You’ve got my list. How about yours? What are you looking forward to in 2010?

-Lo, who’s also looking forward to all of you lurkers figuring out how to use the comment section.

Merry Merry

Friday, December 25th, 2009

mood: chilled | drinking: tea

xmas

LeeLoo’s snoozing on the couch, Boy is the kitchen cooking bacon, the tree is twinkling, the sun is blazing, and I’m still in my PJs.

After a year chock full of nonstop crazy, Boy and I decided to have a super-chill Christmas. We’re staying in pajamas all day, we’ve stocked up on movies, and we’ve got a full box of microwave popcorn all ready.

Our friend Michael is joining us for the festivities, and we plan to be incredibly lazy all day, with the exception of a walk to the beach (which, since it’s only 3 blocks from our front door, doesn’t really negate the whole “lazy” thing).

Yesterday I downloaded an Elvis Christmas album, so I’m all set with my holiday cheer this year.

I hope all of you are somewhere cozy, snuggled up with someone sweet. Merry Christmas!

-Lo, who’s a big fan of fuzzy slippers.

In Dog Years

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

mood: content | drinking: tea

leeloo_12years

It’s true, what they say about dogs being man’s best friend.

My parents bought me a puppy when I was five years old. We lived out in the country and they wanted me to learn the responsibility of pet ownership. Mitzi the Beagle became a good friend of mine, accompanying me on most of my childhood adventures.

Mizti was joined later by Biskit, a blonde Cocker Spaniel, who had a natural mohawk and the sweetest temperament. They were better friends to me than I was to them. I went off to college and left their care to my mother, leaving them behind as if they were teddy bears I had outgrown.

I channel some of my guilt over my unfaithfulness into my love of LeeLoo, my current best friend of 7 years.

Although, let’s be honest, LeeLoo is easy to love for her sake alone.

Boy and I decided we wanted a dog 2 years after moving to San Francisco. (And after trying, unsucessfully, to cultivate warm fuzzy feelings for a tank of tropical fish.) We did our breed research and settled on Boxers–a medium-sized short-haired dog with a good temperament.

Then we scoured websites like Petfinder.com for a friendly face and a good backstory. We noticed LeeLoo’s giant underbite right away, and added her to our list of potential candidates.

Early one Saturday, we drove the 50 miles south to San Jose. LeeLoo was there, with Bay Area Boxer Rescue. She was 5 years old and had been abandoned by her family in LA: sent first to the pound, then to the LA Boxer Rescue. No one wanted her. So they sent her up north to try her luck, and that’s where we found her.

LeeLoo was the first dog we looked at, but after spending nearly 2 hours with her, we couldn’t leave her behind. When we left for home, she was in the backseat.

I quickly learned that being a dog owner in the country doesn’t mean squat when it comes to living with a dog in a metropolitan area. LeeLoo, Boy and I had a lot to learn about each other. We learned quickly with the help of a dog trainer named Dennis and logged a lot of hours of together just roaming the streets, sidewalks and park trails of San Francisco.

LeeLoo soon proved herself to be a loyal, loving and hilarious companion. After 7 years together, we know each other well.

She’s traveled with us on countless roadtrips all over California, up to Portland (where she met her famous Internet boyfriend, Henry D. Monster), down to Phoenix and all points in between. We’ve explored the beach, climbed the mountains; I’ve brushed snow from her paws and pulled out a few cactus needles, too.

She’s always waiting at the door when I get home and no matter how bad my day was, she manages to make me smile.

LeeLoo is part of our family, and today she turns 12 years old. That’s something like 84 in dog years, but as I told her this morning (while handing her a piece of birthday bacon), she doesn’t look a day over 65.

Boxers don’t often live into their teens, and many of them go before their time due to cancer. We’ve been lucky so far, and we’re hoping LeeLoo has many good years left to her. (If 7 naps a day on the couch can add years to your life, she’s going to be spry well into her second decade.)

Here’s to you, LeeLoo. We’re going to celebrate by going to the beach later, with a stop for some cheese on the way.

-Lo, who believes that dogs know a lot more than you might think.

After Dark

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

mood: dragging | drinking: plain old water

afterdark

Daylight Savings Time can kiss my ass.

I don’t like it. I’m not a fan of it. I really would rather not.

Already I feel that time moves too quickly, whooshing by me like a soft-footed thief. When the workday ends, there is barely enough dusk lighting the parking lot for me to make out the color of my car.

By the time I’ve joined the queue of halogens buzzing down the pavement, all vestiges of daylight have disappeared.

Getting home after dark is demoralizing. It underscores just how little you have left of your day after selling your best hours to the man for just enough digits to put a roof over your head and food in your belly (and your dog’s) and gas in your tank. (And, yes, pretty shoes on your feet and fascinating books on your shelves.)

I’ve begun to feel old, in the last couple of years. And I’m sure that sentence has my elders laughing and laughing. But really, this is the oldest I’ve ever been, and the numbers are really beginning to show signs of wear.

So I wish it would all just slow down, slow waaaaaaaaaaay down.
I want to hover here in the moment before it becomes a memory.
I want to savor the feelings while they’re still warm.
I want to bask in the colors while they remain vibrant.
I want to stay a bit longer in the light.

-Lo, who thinks it’s quite possible that creaky begets cranky.

The Great Grinchy Giveaway

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

mood: decidedly un-Grinchy | drinking: stuff

xmas_books

People keep telling me it’s the most wonderful time of the year. I don’t necessarily believe it… there are lots of other times of the year that are arguably more wonderful than this.

But I’m going to shrug off my inner Grinch and just go for the holiday cheer this year. Strap on your helmet.

This year, for the first time ever, I’m instituting what may very well become a yearly tradition: The Great Grinchy Giveaway. I’ll need your help though.

Here’s how it will work:
The first 5 people to respond in the comments (here on She Says, NOT on Facebook) will receive a shiny free poetry book complete with an autograph so you can sell it for 20 bucks when I’m rich and infamous.

You get to choose which book: Shedding the Angel Skin or The Secrets of Falling. And I’ll throw in some lovely postcards for you, as well. (You can even request which postcards you’d like to receive.)

All you have to do is comment down below and tell me two things:
1. Who’s your favorite poet ever: Tennyson? Bukowski? Frost? Eliot? Plath?
2. Which book would you like to get for free?

In order to comment, you’ll have to become a registered “user” of this site, by means of the little link which is either over there on the right under “Login” or down below this post under “Leave a Reply.” That way I’ll have your email address and I can congratulate you on your winnings and get your snail mail address. It only takes two seconds. Or maybe five.

This is a great time for all you secret lurkers to come out from under the bushes and wave hello. I know you’re out there. Don’t be shy.

So, how about it? Want a free book? (If you’ve already got a copy, you could always gift it to a friend. I’m all about helping you out with your holiday shopping list.)

Ready? Set? Comment!

-Lo, getting her wrapping paper ready.

{UPDATE 12/10/09:} I’ve got my 5 winners, even though several of you had trouble getting WordPress to let you add a comment here! I apologize for your troubles. Hopefully that pesky problem is now fixed, thanks to my trusty webmaster. But those of you who were determined and sent me emails have been added to the list of winners. So: Anna, Charmaine, Jennifer, Maria & Amy can all expect to receive shiny packages in the mail very soon. And Eric, you’re getting one too, just because you’re special. Thanks, everyone!

-Lo, off to the P.O.

About What Was Lost

Friday, December 4th, 2009

mood: transparent | drinking: liquids

test

Positive

I take the test on Thursday night.

I already know what the answer will be
but I need more than intuition
and swollen ankles
to prove it.

I place the stick on the sink,
peel off my clothes.
The purple plus sign begins to form
before I can unbutton my jeans.

I avert my eyes and turn on the water.

I stay in the shower much longer than necessary
draw the razor up to my knee
shampoo my hair a second time.
The katoush of my heart is louder than plumbing.

I want to be delighted. I want to be ecstatic.
I want to be something other than terrified.

***

I watch him as I walk down the stairs—
he only has a few seconds of ignorance left.
It seems cruel not to warn him.

But I carry no words,
only a positive plus
on a plastic wand,
which I deliver with unsteady hands.

The seconds it takes him to get it
stretch on for a hundred years.
But then
he grins.

We walk in the dark with the dog to the store
and buy two more tests.

At midnight, we lay three purple plus signs
in a row on the table and stare
until one of us starts to giggle,
and then the other.

We are giddy. We are hysterical.
We can’t go to sleep.

***

The next Tuesday, I begin to bleed.

It takes three days of doctors
to confirm what I already know,

and more than a week
for my body to expel
the tiny ruby bits
of a person I had barely begun to believe in.

When I am finally empty,
we grieve in separate rooms.

*****

The statistics say that 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, and that more than 80 percent of these losses happen before 12 weeks.

I am a statistic now.

On Thursday, October 22nd, Boy and I found out we were pregnant. Our best guess put us at about 5-6 weeks along. On Tuesday, October 27, the day we got the keys to our new house, I began to miscarry. It took 8 days.

Just two weeks before that, one of my very best friends suffered a miscarriage when she was nearly 7 weeks pregnant. When it happened to her, I didn’t even know that I was pregnant, and of course had no inkling that I would undergo the same loss myself just days later.

I didn’t know how common miscarriage is, until it happened to me. For some reason, we tend to suffer the loss silently, perhaps out of some sense of shame that it was somehow our fault, or just the need to curl into ourselves during a confusing, frightening and painful time.

But what I have found as I have slowly begun to speak about what I lost, is that so many women around me have gone through the same loss. One woman told me she had seven miscarriages in the space of two years before ultimately carrying her baby to term. My own mother had two miscarriages before I was born.

As lonely as it feels when you’re in the middle of it, there are thousand and hundreds of thousands of women who bleed like you. Who know exactly how you feel. I wish their voices were louder.

I usually keep the most personal aspects of my life off the internet, but in this I do not want to stay silent.

It has taken me some time to process what has happened–I had barely begun to even believe I was pregnant at all. I know I’m not finished dealing with the repercussions of this loss. Neither is Boy. And we will deal with it together, privately.

But in the meantime I want to put this poem out there, so that somewhere, someone knows she is not the only one.

-Lo, breaking the silence.