Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Preoccupation With Cats and Bjork

This hilarious video has many of the usual funny cat clips that YouTubers have seen, but set cleverly to Bjork's "It's Oh So Quiet".

Whiskery snuffles,

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


My friends over at Addison Road are all taking their turns at this, so I thought that I could get away with it, too, and call Narcissism an infectious disease that I couldn't escape:

1. My real name isn't Cerise.

2. I wear almost nothing but black, but am not even close to being categorize-able as Goth. I like colors a lot.

3. I adore my parents. My entire adult life is spent trying to make up for the fact that I was a total asshole from birth to about Just kidding. I got a little better around age 27 or so, and Mom's got an awesome case of amnesia about the whole thing.

4. (Stealing a bit from Michael) I can't decide if I'm an arrogant prick who gets around it by passing myself off as humble and self-deprecating, or if I've got the lowest self-esteem on the planet and compensate by being an arrogant prick lots of the time.

5. I tell people a lot of really personal stuff about me because I just do. I'm not that private about my personal information. It doesn't mean that I feel close to the person I'm addressing, and the people I like are the ones who get that.

6. I never want to be a mother. I like most kids a lot, I think I'd be OK as a Mom, and I know Ramon would be the best father ever. I still don't want children. I'm deathly afraid that my aversion to being a parent is a result of selfish cowardice. But that's still not a good enough reason to have kids.

7. The last time I peed myself on purpose was age 7 or so. I was playing outside and couldn't be arsed to interrupt my fun time.

8. My brother is my best friend.

9. I have about 5 best friends and they're all REALLY my best friend.

10. I've been peculiarly blessed with my in-laws. I love Ramon's parents almost as my own, and I gained 3 sisters and a brother from our marriages that I'd literally have a super-tough time living without now.

11. I generally don't tack "-in-law" on when speaking about my in-laws. People must think I have four parents, 2 brothers and 3 sisters. I love that.

12. Ramon has saved my life at least once that I know of.

13. In college I thought I had high blood pressure (I knew because I gave blood every 8 weeks and got my pressure taken every time). After college it fell to normal and has been normal ever since. It was just college that was wigging me out.

14. I give blood every 8 weeks and platelets (for free) every two. This dampens my enthusiasm for getting any more tattoos since I can't give blood for a year after.

15. My blood type is O negative; universal donor. This is why I donate blood so regularly.

16. I stopped gaining weight at about 225 pounds.

17. I hate diets, websites, support, charts, calorie-counting, blogs, statistics, advice and plans that have to do with losing weight. Hate them. I'd rather stay fat.

18. I have never doubted that I'll achieve and sustain a normal body weight in my lifetime. And I'll do it without compromising on any point in #17.

19. I have no sympathy for overweight people as a group. None. I'm not even very ashamed of that fact. I know too well the process of choosing that brought most of them to the same point I'm at, and I'm allergic to hearing them or me whining about it.

20. I live in perpetual fear of being thought of as a racist.

21. In my life I have been both a racist and a homophobe. These were both during and connected to my time as a Christian, and before my 20th birthday, though I'm not abdicating responsibility for my own mental choices at that time.

22. I got a lot happier when I left the church. Conversely, all the bottled-up questions, doubts, skepticism and sheer nonbelief that I kept under wraps as a Christian have now blossomed into a vitriolic hate of almost all things Christian that I'm slowly siphoning out of my psyche.

23. I don't hate god. I'm not angry at god, either. I never was.

24. I love living so much. I love this planet, this country, this city. I'm grateful for my chance to look at trees and stuff every day. I even like the weather here. I hope that if everything were taken away from me that I could still look at trees flowering in the spring and feel lucky.

25. My ability to sing is my most cherished gift and my greatest torment.

26. I vacillate between "I'm a lazy, apathetic bum and I'll never amount to anything" and "All things will come in time. I'm doing more than I realize."

27. Stealing from Michael again - I grew up believing that losing your virginity before marriage was just about the biggest sin any child could commit. In order of severity, it was above assault and battery, just below murder, tied with smoking.

28. Ramon's my rebound guy. He befriended me after my fiancé (unofficial engagement) dumped me.

29. I got dumped because I was depressed (college again) and losing my religion. I kind of deserved it, and it's one of the best things that ever happened to me.

30. I understand Baz Luhrmann's movies so much better when I watch them under the influence.

31. I think Ramon's way hotter with a beard.

32. I truthfully think my nephew Oz is the best-looking baby I've ever seen.

33. Ramon and I both have active and very real freebie lists that we continually and mutually update. We have an ongoing fight about who gets first dibs with Angelina Jolie.

34. Regarding #33 - Ramon would shake his head and deny that last bit, but it's still true.

35. I am an unconfirmed bisexual. Unconfirmed because my only sexual partner has been my husband.

36. I married way, way up in the looks and self-actualization department. I'm not kidding. Knowing Ramon for more than a decade has turned me into a calmer, steadier, funnier and nicer person. And I'm noticeably better groomed.

37. Ramon loved me even during my soccer grunge stage.

38. I only attended public school for Kindergarten and first grade. The rest of my schooling, including college, was in private Christian academies.

39. I got a great education.

40. I know the Bible pretty well and am still glad of it.

41. I think I'd be a great English Literature teacher. I'm just not sure I want to.

42. I lived in four different countries in Central and East Africa for a total of ten of my first 18 years of life.

43. My parents' missionary career ended with them getting hurt very badly by the Free Methodist Mission board. If the guy who was the primary author of that hurt stood in front of me today I think I could at least seriously consider killing him with a knife.

44. I think the African American community's general aversion to American police is pretty well founded.

45. I love comic books.

46. My favorite comic artists/graphic novelists are Keith Knight and Neil Gaiman.

47. I currently envy only one person on the planet. He shall never be named, but he is neither rich nor famous. You'll never guess who he is.

48. I was a vegetarian for 3.5 years. A year ago I gave it up because I really missed eating meat. I love being an ambivore but still think it's morally wrong for me to be so.

49. I'm opinionated and quick to judge, criticize and anger. It's one of the things I dislike most about myself. For that reason I rethink, really fast, nearly every opinion I form about everyone and everything. Which means I don't trust my instincts for good reason. I'm kind of mad about that one.

50. I wish to god I could think and act more compassionately first, not second.

51. Every day the fact that I am so much more (concerning my health and profession, chiefly) than what I have become nearly drives me mad. But I value my current way of life too much to effect an overhaul. I pray that fact changes, quickly.

52. I blame my parents for nothing concerning my current life and way of being. I believe my own choices brought me to where I am and that, good or bad, gives me joy.

53. I honestly think that people and the world are no worse off or more evil or destructive than they ever were before.

54. If I could adhere to any set of religious rules, I would probably be some sort of Buddhist.

55. I lie for social comfort and/or personal gain. No big stuff, but still.

56. If I tell you I love you, it's the truth, every time, and means more than I could ever say.

57. I'm trying to get comfortable with the fact that I'll always be talkative, loud, opinionated, mercurial and kind of a diva. I don't think I'll ever be able to change those things, I'm trying to believe that they can be good things and I'm coming closer and closer to not hating them about myself.

58. I don't mean 'demanding, self-aggrandizing and pushy' when I say diva. I mean 'thinks she's got to be performing almost every minute she's awake'. Get the diff? I might be a bit of those first things, but not much.

58. Oh yeah, and I think about myself WAY too much.

59. There's a blog that I wish would invite me to guest-author on. I've wished it for a long time and will never ask.

60. I've forgotten a lot of the grammatical rules. I should really bone up on those.

61. I used to speak French and Swahili almost fluently. I still dream in French a lot and hope to re-learn those languages.

62. Languages I'd like to learn: French, Spanish, Swahili, Mandarin, Japanese, Russian, Italian, German.

63. I've toured many countries and think that for the most part American tourists' bad rep in other places is well-deserved.

64. I miss Africa like I've lost a limb. I try not to talk about it very much.

65. My Dad and I have always been a lot alike.

66. The older I get, the more traits come out in my personality that remind me of my mom.

67. I really enjoy being so much like both of my parentals.

68. It pains me that my Dad wasn't loved enough as a child (in my opinion). The fact that he is the person he is in spite of that makes him some kind of miracle. I'll spend the rest of my life trying to love him enough to make up for what he didn't have before.

69. I'm pretty sure my Mom will be canonized after her death. If she isn't, she should be.

70. I'm starting to bore even my own self with this list.

71. I'll never believe that I was a good enough sister to Nathan.

72. I really, really liked the second boarding school I attended. I spent my Junior and Senior year of high school there and wish to heaven I'd gotten sent there in the first place.

73. I think Eugene, Oregon's feed-two-people-for-about-$20 cuisine far outstrips Seattle's.

74. I am a rabid fan of the following: Quentin Tarantino, Rick McPeak, Frank Miller, Trent Reznor, L.J. Arensen, Imogen Heap, Metallica (the black album got me through my senior year of HS without offing myself and others), Charlie Peacock, Aly Hawkins, Lisa Gerrard, Kate Bush and Wes Anderson. This list is actually much longer, obviously, but these are the people I'm currently digging on the most.

75. I dye my hair black because I think it looks better that way and because my mom's hair was that color in her youth. My real hair color is almost-black brown.

76. I will miss out on cool concerts, festivals and activities to avoid being in a crowd.

77. I used to think it was my right to spill to my girlfriends as many details as I liked about Ramon's and my physical life. I don't think that way any more.

78. I once asked for a Corona in a brewery, got yapped at by the waiter, cravenly apologized and embarrassed my dinner companions. I'd never been in one before and was new in Eugene, where I swear every other restaurant is a brewery.

79. I'm a beer weenie, in that I don't like anything dark or hoppy. However, I love love love microbrews (of the yellow and mild variety) and prefer them to all other beer, even Corona.

80. Our favorite brewery, the McMenamins chain, had two restaurants in Eugene and it pained us to leave them. We got to Seattle and found that their branch here, Six Arms, is literally one block away from our apartment building. I did the Snoopy dance and promptly went and consumed a pitcher of Ruby.

81. [ go...] I've had a machine gun and a knife (more of a shiv, actually) pointed at me for real. Instead of giving up my awesome mountain bike to the Zairewa soldier who wanted it (and was pointing a machine gun at me to further his agenda), I rode away like hell and prayed he didn't have the balls to shoot at a missionary kid. It's not the stupidest thing I've ever done. The guy who pointed a shiv at me was a crazy dude in Bukavu who had undone his pants and was fixing to violate my honor (I'll never know if he'd have really gone through with it. Like I said, he was clearly crazy). This missionary auntie of mine caught him and screeched and he ran off. I got a pathetic blow to his shoulder in before he did so. Hey, I was only 13.

82. I also fought off another would-be stealer of my virtue with a metal folding chair (I was on my way home from church. We carried our own chairs there) and got rewarded with nothing worse than a slap on the face that made my head ring for hours. I ran straight to Dad's foreman, Msosi, and cried my head off.

83. I got a lot of attention in Africa (the wrong kind) because I was buxom from age 9 onward. It kept me in the house reading books instead of being outside in the land I still love best in the world. It's one of my most painful regrets.

84. My last spanking was when I was 12, for slamming my bedroom door in a temper and nearly breaking my brother's arm.

85. I really like drag queens and movies about them.

86. Some Favorite Movies of All Time (in no particular order): Stealing Beauty, The Royal Tenenbaums, Pulp Fiction, The Empire Strikes Back, Gosford Park, High Fidelity, Grosse Pointe Blank, all period films no matter how badly they've been done. Your basic nerd stuff, really.

87. I almost lost my life swerving to avoid killing a chipmunk sitting in the road, doing 70 in a Ford Festiva. This may be the stupidest thing I've ever done. I'd do it the same way again.

88. I'm very loyal, and become The Angry Friend who'll defend you to the death and probably embarrass the shit out of you in the process.

89. I love all reptiles, but bugs, spiders and especially praying mantises make me want to scream.

90. I once killed a bunch of baby praying mantises (manti?) with a magnifying glass - I think my karma's already coming to get me on that one.

91. I never intentionally kill anything any more. I don't even pick flowers.

92. When I was 11 I got sick with what my parents think was leukemia. They believe I was miraculously cured - I think it was some sort of weird-ass tropical disease that they couldn't diagnose and it just eventually passed. It was the worst pain I've ever felt in my life.

93. Someone I really loved died very suddenly of a weird, undiagnosed tropical disease.

94. I'm afraid that my life is too easy and too good - I keep fearing that What Happens to Everybody will happen to me and I'll lose something or someone that I can't afford to be without.

95. I'm less and less comfortable with my raging potty mouth. I'm considering curbing it gradually to coincide with my nephew Oz's development of speech and imitation skills. He's about 4 months old, so I've got some time.

96. I think Joss Whedon is some kind of minor deity. If he had never created Buffy, Angel and Firefly I'd get a lot more done.

97. I've wanted to meet and have been actively looking for my One True Love since I was about 5. I don't even believe in One True Love anymore, and am the better for it.

98. I knew Ramon was it almost as soon as I met him. He took a bit of work to bring around.

99. The hardest thing I've ever done is the continual work of letting him go (figuratively).

100. Did I already say that I love my life and I'm really really happy? Even when my life is bad it's good.

101. If you're reading this chances are that I really, really like you. There's possibly love involved.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

In No Particular Order

1. This whole early Daylight Savings thing would probably go easier on us if we'd stop watching Buffy re-runs until the wee hours (her mum just died so it's understandable that we're terribly riveted and netflixing the subsequent disks as quickly as possible. Somebody buy me the set.) and waking up severely sleep-deprived.

2. I wish to god we'd watched the "About the Movie" featurette for "A Scanner Darkly" before we actually watched the movie. I still liked it very much, though. It just baked my noodle a bit.

3. Did I mention that I quit the Symphony Chorale? Yes - back in October, I think. It was a good decision that I've never regretted.

4. I also quit being a vegetarian. Back in January 2006, actually. I have no defense or even a very good reason. My karma's screwed. I don't want to think about it.

5. My poor mum just released her annual family newsletter and once again didn't have anything newsworthy to report about her daughter. It's all right for the other 3. Nathan's a doctor and that will provide fodder for years to come, Elizabeth brought forth the first grandchild for both sets of families, Ramon released his book, and I...nothing to report here, folks. Move along. Though it rankles a bit in theory, it's not nearly as upsetting as you might think...

6. We may use my March bonus in its entirety to get my cat Simone's butt operated on.

7. If my apartment building owners decide to turn our home into a condo I'm ending it all. I'll most likely do this with some sort of explosive device, so I can take my beloved apartment with me.

8. The trees are in full-on "we're not kidding around, this is no false spring, punks" bloom. It makes me very happy.

9. Ramon downloaded every Kate Bush album for me yesterday. He is the King of All.

10. I'm working on a WordPress website, so this blog will most likely move. That will benefit us all, because if I pay for a domain I will most likely write more. That's the idea.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Joy as a Thing to be Cultivated

Yesterday was such a good day. I'd had a quiet, sweet, leisurely weekend with Ramon - we took it easy as we were both recovering from illness. I woke yesterday alert and refreshed, with "oh, goody" foremost in my thoughts - a vast departure from my normal state of mind upon rising from bed. It's usually something along the lines of "if someone killed me right now, I could sleep for as long as I liked and face life nevermore." Walking to work was refreshing and, as I said, exposed me fully to the joy of new-budding spring. I spent the day in a haze of bewildered happiness, unable to account for my lightness of heart, quick smile or gracious reactions to the usual irritations that arise in a job in the city. I wish I could convey to you how unaccustomed I am to feeling cheerful and sanguine, how rare it is that I come away from any interaction satisfied that I sought to keep the other's dignity and comfort foremost in my mind. I'm usually so surly, at least on the inside, easily injured, quick to resent and become irritated, harboring small offenses those around me have unwittingly committed in my heart much, much longer than any sane person would. Part of it is is that I've dwelt in darkness these last few months and a heart in distraction and mild despair has no grace to give anyone else. And yes, part of it is that I am not a very joyful, cheerful, sanguine, comfortable or gracious person overall.

I'm passionate, yes, interesting, sometimes amusing, mercurial and jocular. But not kind, not normally. And not happy.

Yesterday was a precious gift both in the pure happiness I felt and in the sudden clarity it afforded me. I had pleaded (with whom, I know not) for insight into myself, for some beam of light to illumine What is Wrong With Me and What Must I Do to Fix It. Well. I didn't get that, necessarily, but I got joy. I'll never know where it came from, but I had it, all day (until 1 in the morning, which is when Ramon and I finally stopped our wonderful, meaningful conversation and settled down to sleep), and I vowed to Tracy that I would do all that I could to hold it in my heart for as long as I could.

I know that happiness is unpredictable and fleeting and that moods change like the sun shining through shifting clouds (most especially in a personality like mine), but one of the good lessons I learned in the church was that joy was a thing to hold in your heart. More than happiness, it is a decision you make, every moment. You can choose joy, cultivate it, act on it, even in your darkest hour. I'm not certain how - I don't have a lesson plan for how my wish to choose joy will batter down walls of hurt, fear, anger, spite, intimidation and dishonesty that I've carefully crafted in my psyche. I don't think I'll be able to go against my unhealthy habits as easily every day as yesterday. But just as Lucy, in the Dawn Treader's escape from the Dark Island, saw the white bird guiding them to safety (amidst blinding and impenetrable darkness) and felt Aslan's breath assuring her that all would be well, perhaps my memory of my decision to live with joy will guide me if the fog (shudder to think) falls on me again.

For now I'm living a small miracle and furthermore have been given the sight, for once, of knowing it for a rare gift and being grateful for it. As I am for all of you.


Monday, March 05, 2007

Deepest Apologies

To my loyal and long-suffering readership of about 3, who all wonder why in god's name I haven't written anything for almost 2 months.


I'm on it, people. This was one of the worst winters to date for me. I thought I had conquered SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder - you Seattleites should know this well) for good but it came for me with a vengeance this year and I fought it not at all. Ever since the days started to shorten in earnest (November?) I felt the fog of apathy, sadness and (this is a little melodramatic - see new blog title - but still) despair envelop me and no amount of Tracy's peppermint tea could assuage it. But I didn't fight. I didn't exercise, eat right, have lots of sex, force myself to play along the Internet Tubes, keep up with my friends and/or family. I didn't do any of the things that would have kept me alive during the long winter. And the saddest thing? I didn't know how bad it was until I opened my eyes today (not those eyes. The other ones), saw buds on trees and really knew for sure that spring was coming. I was nearly dead, exhausted and unhappy and kind of desperate. Today I'm alive and awake and disgustingly cheerful.

Signing off, but not for long,