Monday, February 25, 2008

A Message Of Love In Palestine

So, it didn't quite happen in time for Valentine's Day, but this is what I gave Ish.

There is a wall between Palestine and Israel. The whats, whys, and hows of this wall are highly controversial, but even if you know nothing of the conflicts in these lands, a wall is a wall. If nothing else, it is divisive.

"Send a Message" allows you to send money to the people who are hurt most by this wall; in exchange, they graffiti your message on it. According to their site:

Your text on the Wall reminds Palestinians they have not been forgotten. It helps them keeping hope alive. That's the message you are sending to them, whatever the words are.

*Emily of Ben & Emily, aka "Bemily," dubbed me and Ish (Peter Bartlett) "PB&K"

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Best Blogging Experience I Have Ever Had

Writing my divorce story was a very positive experience for me. I had never before written the story of how my marriage ended, nor had I written about how and when my mother got sick. I did not know how it would go over, blogging about something so uncharacteristically sad, but once I started I could not stop. And your comments were incredibly moving and helpful and encouraging.

The piece about my mom and my stupid bottle was the first time I have ever ventured to write anything about her death.

Here is the plain truth:

Mostly the reason I don't write about my mom is because I honestly don't know where to start. It would be easy to write about all the happy times, and even easier to write about all the funny times.

But what about all the bad times? The crying times? The cripplingly depressed times? The I-can't-believe-you're-doing-this-to-me times? I could pretend to be lofty and say that, looking back, none of that matters anymore. But that's not true. She made a lot of horrible mistakes as a mother, and I made a lot of horrible mistakes as a daughter, and we did not have the time we needed to get past that.

We had some more work to do.

And let me tell you (although it is heartbreakingly evident that many of you already know) -- it is very hard to resolve a relationship with someone who isn't there.

I would love to paint an only-joyous portrait of my mom, because that's far more pleasant, and she absolutely was joyous. But I stop myself from telling the happy stories because to only tell those is dishonest and revisionist. At the same time, I also stop myself from telling the bad stories because that's not what I want to remember, and because it seems unfair to give my perspective without her having any opportunity to pose a counter-point.

I don't want to hurt her feelings.

I have worked and healed and come a long, long way since the hospice a hundred million years ago. But I have been reluctant scared to write plainly about any of it, or that, or her (the good and the bad). And then when I got up the nerve, for no reason I can pinpoint (although I do think it has to do with moving in with Ish), I went and wrote about the hardest thing I can think of.

(It can only get easier from there, right? Gotta start somewhere?)

And you know what happened?

The single worst thing that anyone could possibly have said about me, to me, did. That anonymous poster below? That was the single scariest comment I could ever receive. It was, in fact, the thing I feared hearing most in the world.

And I''s...okay.

Your response has totally, unexpectedly overwhelmed me. I didn't know how many of you had similar experiences. I am so happy you have been willing to share them. I have been harboring this guilt, along with the but-I-did-the-right-thing-right? question so deep inside for so long, I could have sworn I was the only one in the universe who felt it.

I am actually grateful that the anonymous poster said what s/he said, because it forced the real issue to the forefront. And your responses have meant the whole world to me. The good does outweigh the bad, about a million times over.

For years, I've needed to hear the things you've said, and I didn't even know it.

Thank you. Thank you for reading and thank you for being honest and thank you for being kind.

You've changed my life.

(I will be thanking each and every one of you in the comments below, too. Please bear with me.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Ours Alone To Share

It comes up now and again.

I generally haven't written much of a very personal nature lately, because it's hard. The internets are judgmental. I want to share my stories because "putting it out there" makes sense to me.

The argument goes: you can write whatever you want on your blog. But by making it public, you are subjecting yourself to the opinion of others.

Generally, I have found that opinion to be good. But sometimes it's not. Sometimes, it's really quite awful and harsh. As follows:

Anonymous said...

You left your mom when she was in hospice? And you think you are an example of a "loving daughter?"

My mother had brain cancer and I never left her side even when she went into hospice. I moved from the Bay Area to Ohio after 25 years to be with her and take care of her.

Your post sickens me. You ran out on the last days of your mother's life, and you think a lotion bottle makes it good and erases your guilt? Shame on you. Just another self-centered person thinking of herself.

11:19 AM, February 19, 2008

I assume that most people who stop by and read here know that no entry can be the full story. These are all just snippets. I share what I can, but the depth and complexity of my life and my relationships does not lend itself to a couple blog entries.

Does yours? Does anyone's?

It would take me hundreds of pages to describe the six weeks of my mother's tenure in hospice. To even scratch the surface of my relationship with her. To try in any way to capture what it was really like.

Anonymous 11:19, I cannot know the relationship you had with your mother, or what all informed your decision to move and be the model of a loving daughter. Just as you cannot know what informed my apparent failure to do so.

You are quite clearly a far better person than I am. I will merely take some solace in having provided a platform for you to illustrate your comparative goodness: you're welcome. Your comment otherwise had its intended effect. I hope that you and your self-righteousness are satisfied.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A vignette on moving, and life, and guilt, and moisturizer

I held the green bottle in my hand and thought that maybe now, maybe this time I could throw it away. I stood in my bathroom holding a tube of moisturizer I've owned since 2002 and while I was contemplating keeping it versus throwing it away, tears started down my cheeks. Apparently I am still not ready to let it go.

I packed it. Again.

It was my choice to move 3,000 miles away from my family, from my mom, when she got sick. I am mostly sure it was the right decision, but I will harbor pangs of guilt about it for the rest of my life.

Seven months after I moved to San Francisco, my mom was transferred to the hospice. So I packed up myself, I left San Francisco, and went to New Hampshire to be with her and my dad and my sisters. I figured I would be gone a couple weeks, maybe a month. Hospice isn't long-term care.

How do you pack for a trip like that? I don't know. I don't know what I packed, other than the bottle. I don't know what I wore. I made a mix CD that included Julie London and Sammy Davis Jr. and we listened to that sometimes. I had a laptop and sometimes I did editing work. Healy and I would stay up late in the room, drinking wine like water and doing jigsaw puzzles. My mom was awake a lot of the time, but rarely coherent.

Every second we spent there was the worst second of my life.

And so a month did pass, and her condition didn't change at all. She hadn't improved, certainly, but she hadn't gotten worse.

I have never spoken of it with my family, but I think having me there changed her resolve. Don't misunderstand -- my mother fought all along, showing a tremendous, inhuman strength. But having me "back" changed something. Maybe it was that we were all together, and she didn't want to leave the party early.

No, she was absolutely refusing to go. And eventually I had to give her permission. I had to give myself a break, and I had to let her know it was okay. At least, that's what I told myself.

Tell myself. When I'm trying to give myself permission for doing the most awful thing I have ever done and ever will do.

Because I left.

I said goodbye to her and left the room and I didn't know if I would ever see her again. I thought maybe I would fly back to San Francisco, and my sisters would call me when she'd taken a turn for the worse and I would fly back and say my real goodbye then.

But I waved as I walked out of her room, and she waved back, and that is the last time I saw her.

I left. And three days later, late at night after my father had gone home and my sisters had fallen asleep, she died.

It is the most ridiculous thing ever, my moisturizer. I bought that "soothing" lotion for the trip to New Hampshire to visit my mother for the last time. I remember putting it on in the mornings, because even though it was muggy, that kind of constant air conditioning is very hard on skin. It was also nice to re-apply it mid-day, following a morning of gut-wrenching heartbreak and the physical strain of not crying. Hours of trying to appear brave and in good spirits is really quite exhausting.

The thing is, unlike clothes or trinkets, the moisturizer was utilitarian, and its very purpose was life-affirming. I was -- am -- living and breathing and flesh and blood and taking care of my skin. Five years later, I am still my mother's daughter and somehow, having that soulless green tube connects my living-now life with my then-life, when she was still alive. I can't otherwise explain this connection or attachment because it makes no sense.

But I will move to a new apartment, and place the moisturizer on my shelf again, and it will sit there unassumingly among all the other tubes and bottles filled with products I use to take care of the body she gave to me.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

OH! And It's Valentine's Day

I have been working on a series of posts about my pre-Ish dating life, because let's face it, it's a rich tapestry.


I don't think it would come as any surprise to you that I have made some, how do you say, "unwise" choices in my life. And I have been on a LOT of dates.

(Note: "dates" is not "boyfriends." "Boyfriend" is a sacred term, one that I reserve for those few, special guys. This post does not involve them, nor is it meant to reflect poorly on them.)

Here are two I've started with, for no particular reason and in no particular order.

Enjoy Valentine's Day!

* * * * *

When I was in 5th grade, for no discernible reason, I received a Valentine's day card and present from a boy I'd gone to kindergarten with and hadn't really seen much of since. It was entirely unexpected and mostly inexplicable. The gift was a gold pin of some sort of bird (emu? ostrich?) with some fake jewels stuck into it.

It was my first indicator that I was going to have a long and bizarre history with men.

"Here, Kiki. I know we haven't been in touch since we were 6 years old, but now that we're both 1o, I wanted to let you know that I had a crush on you. So I acquired this golden bird pin that I may have stolen from my grandmother's jewelry box, who's to say. The point is, ostriches always make me think of you."

He did not say any of that explicitly, but that was the message.

My mom thought it was sweet. I thought it was weird. We were probably both right.

* * * * * *

I once broke up with a guy in a chat room.

I am not kidding, and I am not even sure that chat rooms still exist (do they?). But we met online back a hundred million years ago when AOL cost $4.95 an HOUR to use, so I was instead using a service that did not have a graphical interface.

I realize I'm already veering off-topic (surprise!) but let me just say that I have been in love with Teh Innernets for a very long time. I have never been especially technical, however; I have always known JUST ENOUGH to ensure that I could find and communicate with boys.


So back in the days of chat rooms like IRC (anyone?), I decided we had to have The Talk. And since we effectively started our relationship online, I figured it was totally reasonable to end it that way. No need for the sticky, uncomfortable "it's not you, it's me" conversation in person or even by phone.

The funny thing was, I created a "private" chat room for us to Discuss Our Relationship and forgot to "lock" it. So right after we got to the room and I launched the We Should Stop Seeing Each Other conversation -- and I am in no way making this up even a little -- someone named Fred entered the room. And because I thought that was kind of amusing, I let him stay.

And once Fred realized what was going on, he started chiming in. Like a referee.

Which was made especially amusing by the fact that the guy I was trying to end it with was arguing with me about breaking up. He thought we should stay together, specifically because we had so much in common.

It kinda went like:

kristy: it's just that i realized we don't have anything in common.

greg: that's not true. you're wrong. we have a lot in common.

fred: like what?

greg: you and i both think that family is very important.

kristy: i don't think that makes us unique. a lot of people feel that way.

fred: that's true

greg: but we're also funny.

This was, really, the crux of my problem with him. It occurred to me that actually, only one of us was doing all the joking, and one of us was doing all the laughing.

I wasn't the one laughing.

Once it dawned on me that I didn't really have any fun with him, that I wasn't really attracted to him and that -- ohmygod -- he was pretty much a complete loser...

(Has that ever happened to you? Where you're going along dating someone for a while, and it's not great but it's not bad, and then you start to think about it and realize you actually can't stand the person you're with? Hmm.)

...I broke up with the man in a chat room.

Greg left the chat room before Fred, who then told me once it was over that he thought I'd handled myself pretty well and that it did seem like it was for the best. And that Greg kinda seemed like a loser.

So there you go.

While I'm Out-of-Pocket

I'm assuming I won't be blogging much with the move and all (but then, who knows?).

But I want to remind everyone that registration for BlogHer Business is official open, and that the conference is going to be really cool. (I'm working hard every day to make it be cool, so it's not for nothing that I say this.)

Marc took this rockin' pic at last year's event.

Please consider coming. Or if not you, then your boss. Or your colleague. Because this event gets some of the most amazing tech/bloggy/social media people in the whole world together, in the same room. We have discussions and use real case studies, so attendees actually walk away with actionable information. (BlogHer is anti- the "talking heads" thing.)

The event addresses such relevant topics as:
  • Does your company really need a blog? (The answer isn't always yes, btw.)
  • How do you go about getting involved with bloggers?

  • What about Facebook? What about LinkedIn? What about...?
And all sorts of other things. Check out the agenda and speakers here.

Okay, that's my spiel. The point is, it's a cool, small event that is chock full of information you can't get anywhere else. I'm proud to be associated with it.

Plus if you come, I will give you Chipwiches*.

*If you read Liz's post, you may note that this year, she's coming as a speaker.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Movers Arrive in 36 Hours

I'm at Ish's apartment, taking a break from my own box-tape-dust-book-lonesock-hell to help with his.

I am currently sitting on the little bench in his bedroom because that is the only seat left in his apartment. (The futon has gone to its final resting place.)

In front of me is a side table, which has a taped Rubbermaid container (contents: unknown) on top of it. That's where I am balancing Ish's laptop while I finish a couple things online.

Ish just walked past me, heading from the bedroom to the kitchen with something in his arms, mumbling the following statement, in all earnestness, make of it what you will:

If you're looking for your lingerie, it's in the coffee maker.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Today Is The Day We Declare That Chocolate-Covered Pretzels Have No Carbs

Coincidentally, this follows the evening wherein we declared that salt-covered chocolate truffles also do not have carbs.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Oh Right. THIS Is Why People Hate To Move.

I wish I could be witty right now, but it's hard when the only working things you own that aren't packed are your computer, your television, and your cats.

I am working from home today and at one point had to write something down very quickly and went to grab a pen and realized that I had successfully packed all of my writing implements. ALL OF THEM.

Except, of course, the Sharpie that's three inches thick that I use for labeling boxes. So yes. I have someone's name and phone number written on a delicate little notepad in big black block letters.

Anyway. The cats are a little wigged out, but also think that the ninety trillion boxes everywhere are very interesting! And when a cat finds something interesting!, it must sniff it. And walk around it. And sit next to it. And sit next to it on the other side. And then sit next to it over here. And then sit on it. And in it. And jump in and out and dart around and ISN'T THIS SO FUN I BET MOM DOESN'T EVEN KNOW I'M IN HERE! LET'S SURPRISE HER.

I'm also kind of annoyed because yesterday while I was packing and all day today while I was working I kept thinking of funny things to write about except I couldn't because I was busy and now that it's after 5 I'm all like, I CAN GET TWO MORE HOURS OF PACKING IN before rehearsal. You know, instead of blogging.

But hey - I also wrote a couple American Idol recaps over the weekend if you want to read them. My friends over at midseason replacements asked me to! Here's the first. The next one is coming soon.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Damn Project Runway And My Clever Punnery!

Seriously. Ever since Ricky got auf'd, I've had the song, "Hey Mickey" in my head except, right, with the lyrics "Hey Ricky."

Kinda like:

Oh Ricky, said good-bye
said good-bye
but didn't cry
Hey Ricky (hey, hey) Hey Ricky
Oh Ricky, said good-bye
said good-bye
but didn't cry
Hey Ricky (hey, hey) Hey Ricky

And now it can be stuck in your head, too. You're welcome.

And I guess because it's Friday and whatever, I have decided to write more. You're welcome again.

[This entry assumes you know the original "Hey Mickey" song. Of course, if you do NOT know the original "Hey Mickey" song, we cannot be friends anymore. Because even if you're too young to remember when it first came out (ouch), it was revived for the movie, Bring It On. And if you don't know the song AND didn't see Bring It On, I have no words.]

Hey Ricky!
You made it past prom night, and that's a little long

(Worse than Kevin's? Really?)

You thought you got it right but that sheath was oh-so wrong...

(Photo: Project RunGay) (Also, wtf?)

Now it's time to say goodnight, yeah it's time to go on home, Ricky.

'Cause when you made it work

it seemed to make you sad
Or were those tears of joy?

Or did Nina make you mad?

So much weeping all the time, dude, come on
it's not that bad,

[I know, shutup. Here we go with the big chorus.]

Oh Ricky, what a pity,
think it must be said
All those crazy caps
just couldn't hide your balding head

Oh Ricky, you're so pretty,
we don't understand
Who cries like you, Ricky?
Ooh what you do Ricky, do Ricky
Is cry boo-hoo, Ricky!

I think I've made my point. Probably another couple of verses wouldn't really add anything, you know?

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

YAY BOOBS, And Also "What I Learned From Super Tuesday"

As one of the more enlightened bloggers out here (HAHAHAHAHA), I'm sure you will all appreciate my rundown of the learnings* I gained from Super Tuesday. I mostly watched MSNBC (but also maybe American Idol because while I may be enlightened I AM NOT MADE OF STONE).

You may also note that this post is far less serious than the Hillary quagmire below, what with my wanton use of the phrase, YAY BOOBS throughout. This is because, as "apparentwomanhater" and "Ed" pointed out, politics tends to make everyone cranky. Whereas BOOBS are boobs. And so YAY.

1. It was a tie for the Dems. Wow! Also, this whole process is totally crazy, and historic, and I'm sure that if our Forefathers could have forseen all the invisible interweb peeps live-blogging and Twittering the primaries, they would have been all "u r teh shiz, americanz!" Probably also they would have been like, "wot r u wearing?" because let's face it. Our Forefathers were kind of slutty.

2. Watching Chris Matthews try -- I mean it, really, really he tried -- to be even-handed and non-sexist was kind of endearing, almost.
(For those of you not following along, Chris made an absurd remark following the NH primaries, stating that the real reason Hillary is making strides is because people feel sorry for her because her husband messed around. Yes, really he did. And then later even he realized that this is maybe not the weightiest point he should be making. Here's his real apology.)

3. I am in love with Keith Olbermann a very much lot. He is my type in every way, understanding that I have two types.

Now, sure. One is quite obviously men who are about 5'10 with shaved heads and goatees, which Keith is not.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B


But the OTHER type is tall, dark and brooding.

(This is an exceptionally dorky photo of Keith, but I guess it's his standard MSNBC headshot. It captures none of what makes him so alluring to me, except maybe the glasses and salt-and-pepper hair.)

4. I don't know when it happened, but I do not like how all the Big News shows have constantly moving backgrounds. Have you noticed how when a talking head appears, there's like a hundred things going on behind her/him? There are all sorts of floating columns and numbers and shiny things dancing about. If the commentators are SO BORING that the networks think viewers need flashing lights to stay engaged, um? Let me tell you. No soaring, golden "2008" behind Pat Buchanan is going to make him be interesting.

5. I have a mad girl-crush on Rachel Maddow. She is smart, funny, and charming. Interestingly (or at least, interesting to me), Ish also tends to develop crushes on smart, funny, charming lesbians. (YAY BOOBS)
(Photo from her wikipedia page.)

And so we can both pine for her in our own unrequited ways. I think it brings us closer together as a couple.

6. Getting serious for a moment, I am incredibly frustrated that the news coverage has been all but silent on two KIND OF BIG things. First, on the numbers. They have discussed the number of votes for each candidate, they have discussed percentages, they have been making all kinds of noise about turnout. But I have not heard any big story ANYWHERE about the comparative turnouts of Republicans and Democrats. Did I miss that somewhere? Second, a whole lot of lip service has been given to the idea that both Hillary and Barack are "change candidates." Change, change, change. But change FROM what? WHY are so many people SO DESPERATE for change? I'm only half being rhetorical. None of the newscasts I watched on Tuesday bothered (YAY BOOBS) to discuss this.

7. I can do many things while watching election coverage and American Idol. Like...
  • I can sit on my sofa and look around my apartment and think: wow. I have a LOT of packing to do. And before you're all like, so? let me remind you that this is, actually, a very impressive skill. It requires concentration, spatial relations, and a firm grasp of "time management."

  • Also, I can drink Diet Hanson's Black Cherry soda and feel very good about it because even though soda is not something the human body was built to ingest, it is better for me than several glasses of wine. I am not sure that it's better for me than spraying low-calorie Redi-Whip directly into my mouth, which I was doing because Ish was late and bringing dinner and I was hungry and you know. Desperate times, blah blah.

  • I can maybe also spray just a little bit of Redi-Whip onto Sherlock's head to see if it looks as cute as I'd envisioned in my head. Turns out, it does.

*I can turn verbs into nouns ("learnings") because I used to work for a management consultancy and that's the rule. Look it up.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Moving Day Is Feb. 15

Unfortunately for me, I have discovered Twitter (see my ever-increasing sidebar ---->).

I'm sure it's just a phase, but I'm wondering how one can both Twitter and put all of one's belongings into boxes in a timely manner.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Why I Am Voting For Hillary

So I was going to make this long, dramatic post all about why I'm voting for Hillary, but I have changed my mind because it's really pretty simple:

I did not believe I would ever get to vote for a woman for President in my lifetime. I do not know that I will ever get the chance again.

Mr. Obama may very well win Super Tuesday (I do believe he will, frankly) and it will be utterly fantastic to see a black man as the President of the United States.

But I cannot believe that Hillary is still standing. Still running, still going strong, even with the heaps of hatred, misogyny, and vilification she's had to endure. There are a lot of things you might not like about her, but what I can't get over is how much of the "not liking" has to do solely with the fact that she's a woman.

She has taken a LOT of crap to get where she is. She is strong, she is wickedly smart, and she has proven that she can get things done. Having the Clintons in the White House again would make me happy, as I believe that they (yes, "they") have the ability to stop the Bush machine and turn it around.

Then, once we're on an improved course, we can turn to the younger and less experienced folks and let them run with it.

* * *

Updated 1:23 p.m. PST.

This essay republished by Raving Loon is worth the read. Again, you may disagree with much of this and may not be voting by gender, but it DOES matter that she's a woman.

(Although truth be told, I love the nutcracker.)

Why I Am Friends With Ben. (Also, GO GIANTS!)

We were very pleased that the Giants won yesterday, and followed up an entire day of celebration by going to a local bar (the Hyde-Out). This is the email he sent to me, Pete/Ish, and his wife this morning, verbatim and in its entirety:

Subject: 3 Things

1) Was there a football game on yesterday? Who won?

2) The way I feel right now is exactly why sports exists...also Pepto Bismol. Who let me eat leftover chorizo from the chaffing dish at Hyde-Out?

3) Were you guys still there when I was doing the New York New York leg kick dance arm-in-arm with the homeless guy and then gave him a whole pack of cigarettes that didn't belong to me?