Category Archives: inspiration

what i didn’t tell you about our (second) wedding…

us! getting married! legally! (look at our cute friends!) photo by Christopher T. Assaf, Baltimore Sun / March 17, 2010

was that there was going to be a news crew there. (i keep a good secret, right??) 

i’ll admit, i wasn’t really feeling the fact that there was going to be a Baltimore Sun reporter and photographer/videographer at our st. patty’s day outdoor ceremony–hell i had enough trouble having my photo taken at the first one, and we hired her (hi jaime!)–but holly talked me into it. after all, we’re a media-friendly couple, and i realized that our story could actually change some minds out there, so i decided to take one for the team. 

so for all of you not living in the baltimore area (or that aren’t facebook friends), may i present to you…our legal wedding. (cheers to reporter scott calvert for doing a really great job. i’m a tough one to please, and even *i* teared up!)

extraordinarily ordinary (license to wed!)

we did something so ordinary today that it was absolutely extraordinary:

we applied for a marriage license. in DC. we went to the courthouse, found a parking spot, went into the building, got scanned at the metal detector (got my camera temporarily confiscated but that’s ok) and…asked where we–my partner, my longtime female partner, and i–could apply for a marriage license.

“fourth floor,” the security guy said as his metal detector beeped over my wedding rings. “and congratulations,” he added with a smile.

i smiled back and said thank you. i felt like pinching myself. it was just…so ordinary. so normal. so everyday-weekday-just-another-couple-applying-for-a-marriage-license. i felt so happy (absolutely elated, in fact). i felt like part of the crowd, like everybody else. i felt…respected.

as a same-sex couple in america, you just get used to feeling–in “official” situations and everyday situations, too–less than. as not valid. i mean, for crying out loud, i still have to mark “single” on medical forms! and taxes! even tho we had a *huge* wedding and holly and i have been together almost nine years. but today we weren’t less than. today we were on equal footing like all the other couples in the marriage bureau. we had the same paperwork. the same people processed our information. we have to wait three business days for our license like everyone else. just like everyone else. oh my gosh how i love saying that. just like everyone else.

we got up to room 4485 and got in line. luckily there wasn’t a crowd (or protestors outside) like there was wednesday, when DC began issuing marriage licenses (or, rather, taking applications; regardless of gender, all couples have a three-day waiting period until a license is actually issued). there were a few couples in front of us, and then, eventually, behind us. we all stood on the institutional tiles together, waiting. i kept joking with holly that she could still back out. b/c, until this point, we have been, as i like to say, “unlawfully wedded.” i played a lionel richie song for her on the way to DC, “stuck on you” (i’m sure you know the one, even if you don’t realize it–good song!).

“you ready to be stuck?” i asked holding her hand, smiling mischievously as baltimore’s industrial scenery whooshed by.

you ready to be stuck?” she asked back.

we both laughed and sang along a little. yeah, we were ready.

eventually it was our turn, and we were called into the tan-carpeted, downright drab government office. it could have been the taj mahal as far as i was concerned, i was thrilled just to be there. we signed in and handed off the necessary paperwork (which we got online and filled out at home to save time), our drivers licenses and sat back down. then a worker with a thick accent called us up. he asked us to check out the forms to make sure he had inputted all of our information correctly. we told him it was and then, without warning, asked us to raise our right hand and pledge that everything we had written down was correct.

we raised our right hands and pledged yes. just as he was reciting his lines, i noticed they had a radio on, close by, it sounded like. it was that great new train song, “hey soul sister.” everything felt so perfect. even tho holly was so tired from a trying week (see my previous entry; we just got back yesterday afternoon) and was a little grumpy. and it was hard to understand exactly what the guy was saying with his thick accent. and i was hungry (hey it was past 11:30 and i hadn’t eaten lunch) and there were still little mounds of dirty snow piled up on the sidewalks here and there all over the city and i had the hangover of a five-day migraine…i swear it felt so perfect. more perfect than our wedding day, even, which was so rife with stress and worry. i started tearing up. i looked over at holly to see if she was, too, but quickly averted my eyes just in case the guy thought i was trying to hide something. i practically had to bite my lip to hold back tears.

we left and stopped to pay $45 at a cashiers office. then we went downstairs and picked up my confiscated camera.

“you do what you came to do?” the same security guard asked.

“we sure did,” we said.

and with that, we walked out into the cold and back to our car, which, thankfully, wasn’t towed or even ticketed since we parked it in a spot that we weren’t for sure certain was 100 percent legal. a miracle, i thought. a special present for our marriage license application day.

as we were driving away, i was like, did you hear our song? they were playing our song! holly asked which song. “hey soul sister,” i said. that’s not our song, she said, annoyed. i thought you were talking about our wedding song (technically, we have two, since we each dedicated one to each other at our wedding reception). i explained that although it’s not our song per se, it’s a song we both like and sing along with. and since i’m basically still five years old, i consider this one of “our songs” and figure she does, too.

“it’s one of our songs,” i said.

“no it’s not,” she said.

we agreed to disagree, and i told her to stop being such a grump. i couldn’t help laughing a little bit inside. we were really annoyed with each other for about 30 seconds there, not even 15 minutes after we, for all intents and purposes, were finally were legally bound to each other. the more things change, the more things stay the same. i’m smiling now as i write this.

so our day wasn’t perfect (we had other “moments” on the way to the courthouse; holly had some…road rage issues, we’ll just say–love ya, babe, no worries), but what day is? marriage isn’t about perfection. it’s about patience and love and understanding, even when you’re tired from a long week and the chips kind of feel down b/c life has had more climbing than coasting lately.

we wanted to have a celebratory lunch. i told holly that it was up to her, just not chinese, and she really couldn’t decide. we finally settled on raku in dupont circle. i surprised myself by ordering actual sushi, like with (a small amount of) raw fish inside (tuna–always a benign choice–and no seaweed; they now have a soy paper option, thank goodness) and topped it off with a tofu salad. holly ordered a huge japanese beer, which took the edge off and had her relaxed and smiling. i silently cheered once more as we got back to our car, which, again, was parked in a spot that was…mostly legal. another gift.

we stopped at our kosher butcher (they catered our wedding) and got a hug and a mazal tov from one of the owners that we’ve become friends with. we bought some chicken, one of the workers gave us a good deal on a couple nice steaks, and we picked up a few cookies at the bakery. we stopped at starbucks to get some coffee to enjoy them with, and drove home, the sun warming our knees along the highway. we were in maryland, and i felt a certain peace in my heart knowing that once our license is issued, we’ll be able to drive back and forth from dc to our home in maryland and still be married. what a huge couple weeks it’s been for us. i don’t take any of these victories for granted, and realize that there’s still a chance they could be taken from us. but for now, we won’t think about that.

no, for now, i’m going to sit here on our couch–next to my partner, my soon-to-be-legal spouse–who’s sleeping at the moment, actually, and keep living like we have, keep blogging, keep climbing until we can finally coast a little. i’m going to savor these victories we can one day tell our children about, who will, upon hearing about them, shake their heads with wide eyes that same-sex marriage wasn’t always legal in this country. the same way we shake our heads with disbelief that segregation even existed in this country. tonight i’m going to sleep well knowing that today we were part of a very significant time in our nation’s history. small victories, i keep telling myself. b/c rome wasn’t built in a day, you know? we each have to do our part to build it. we built our tiny little part of it today in a drab, tan-carpeted downtown dc government office sometime between 11:45am and 1pm. and all for $45.

(oh and for the record, yes, holly was tearing up, too. and whether she wants it or not, we totally have a new song now. sing along if you know the words! haha. goodnight!)

back in baltimore

east baltimore, amtrak train window, 12/1/09

annnnnd……

our house is still kind of stinky.

it’s kind of like, if you didn’t know what you were smelling, or weren’t looking for it, you might not realize the smell. but since we do and we are, we smell it. this is disappointing after so many days away and the work the city has done (see previous entry) but we remain hopeful. the painters/carpenters are coming back tomorrow morning to finish the moulding and caulking (when you gut a house down to original bricks and ancient joists and then rebuild it, there’s always things to finish). soon we’ll have our exposed brick sealed. if the house still stinks after we do all that AND they remove parts of the first floor/basement ceiling next door, i….i don’t know what we’ll do. but as i was just telling nicole, what *can* you do?? we own this house. we live there (for now). so…we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

amtrak was crazy today. i still managed to nab a window seat tho. oh i do love a good train ride. esp. w/some good new music to listen to. so funny how i used to stare out those same amtrak windows while attending umcp going either to or from dc. i used to sort of gawk at all the boarded up, bombed-out looking houses when we passed thru baltimore. and think all the broken down industrial sites looked ugly. but now they’re sort of comforting to me, despite all the crap we’ve endured here. kind of wild now, all these years later, i’m married and living not all that far away from those neighborhoods…

while i’m thinking of it, i’d like to mention that the new music i was listening to was none other than the new lady gaga album, the fame monster, which, for the most part, is so good it literally gives me goose bumps. i shall wax poetic about lady gaga some other day, i suppose, but i must say it’s nice to have a real musician–all musician and just as much performance artist–making pop headlines these days. not since madonna has someone pushed the envelope this far. not that there will EVER EVER be a replacement for madonna, mind you (you may know about my undying love for her, winkwink). but it’s about doggone time we have something really fresh out there. plus she is a major friend of the gays (also a tad gay herself). also ppl pop out of pods in her new video (below). and she loves ellen (also below). love you, gaga! glad you hung in there. keep it up, girl. you are totally boosting my spirits.

here’s why it’s important to be nice to people everyday

b/c you never know what’s going on behind someone’s eyes. the person you have some random, fleeting contact with some random day could be having the very worst day of his or her life. something kind that you do for that person, even just something really small, something you don’t even notice you did, could brighten that person’s day like you wouldn’t believe.

not to harp on the oh-woe-is-us, our-neighbor-died-weeks-ago-and-now-our-house-stinks-and-we’re-traumatized [b/c, to be fair, as i mentioned, the smell is lifting (altho today was kind of a doozie, since it warmed up outside, hence warming up his air-tight house, which, in turn, passed more foul-smelling death air into our house…but i digress)] but last week, as you know, was bad. in fact, i never felt so terrible in my life. never. i felt horrified. i felt sad. i felt sick and violated somehow. and overwhelmed. and out of control. (and honestly, without sharing w/you on this blog, i think i would have felt even worse.)

there were three times during last week’s really dark days when my mood was lifted. and all three times had to do with some random person being kind to me/us. i think they all happened wednesday and thursday. wednesday night was our first night sleeping back at our house. after a horrible sleep spent breathing nasty air and having bad dreams, we woke with a start. or i did, at least.

“oh my GOSH, honey,” i said. “it’s trash day. i think i hear the truck!”

we threw on clothes and sneakers (well, sneakers for me, slippers for holly) and ran downstairs. i made it to the back door, trashbags in hand, just as the green garbage truck was beeping its way out of the alley. since baltimore–low on funds, like everyone else, i suppose–switched to once-a-week trash, trashday, thursday, is big in our household. it’s probably big in every household around here. if we miss it, we’re absolutely screwed. we don’t have a garage. and storing trash bags outside isn’t an option b/c of all the rats.

“maybe you can catch them!” holly shouted as i ran out the door in the pouring rain. “hurry, babe! catch them! call out to them!”

so there i was, carrying three trashbags, stomping thru the sopping wet yard trying to avoid potential feral cat crap landmines–oh and rat turds, gotta love those–my hair an absolute early-morning disaster. lord knows what i was even wearing. i think a jean jacket over my pajamas. and white sneaks. i ran thru the yard (it’s not all that big, but i still had to run) and swung open the gate.

“wait!” i shouted, sounding–and looking–pretty desperate, i’d say. “wait! i have…i have…”

the truck continued backing up and beeping the way big trucks do, into the street. i stood in the alley and put down my arms, defeated.

“trash,” i said, dejected. i walked back into the yard, my head down.

suddenly i heard something. it was the trashman! he had walked back from the truck into the alley and then into our yard (!!!)  to get my trash. i was in disbelief. he was like…an angel. in the form of a garbage man. a garbage man angel in a yellow raincoat.

“you came back!” i said.

he smiled. “do you want me to get that stuff, too?” he said, pointing to our bags (and bags and bags) of recycling.

“no, that’s ok. it’s all recycling. we’ll put it out tuesday.”

“you sure?” he asked, loudly over the sound of the nearby truck. “b/c i can take it now if you want.”

i was flabbergasted. he was so friendly and it was so nice of him to come back. plus i looked crazy and wet, and it was brave of him to even talk to me.

“no that’s ok. but thank you!! oh my gosh, thank you for coming back. that was so nice of you. and we really needed it today. thank you.”

no problem, he said.

the day before. on wednesday, veteran’s day, we went to our local safeway to buy odor-controlling supplies. like baking soda (didn’t work), air fresheners (didn’t work), etc. i was feeling pretty much my lowest. it was shortly after we realized our house was smelling even worse than it did last sunday, the day they found our neighbor’s body. i think my face was still swollen from crying like a crazyperson on our stoop. 

as we were walking in, there was a safeway employee selling hot dogs outside. they usually do that for charity, i think, and usually in the summer. it was cold for a change (as in: november weather. not this weird stuff we have going on right now) and if i were her, standing in the cold and just barely out of the rain, i don’t think i would have been so chirpy.

“happy veteran’s day, ladies!” she said, loud and clear. “would you like a hot dog?!”

her sudden, and random, friendliness caught us off guard. it was wonderful.

“happy veteran’s day!” we said back, smiling while we politely passed on the hot dogs.

“let me ask you a question,” she said, leaning towards us over the hot dog stand. “do you know what the veteran’s day color is?”

we paused, looked at each other, and said we didn’t know.

“maybe red, white and blue?” i said.

holly guessed yellow.

“hmmm…good guesses. maybe it is yellow. or red, white and blue!”

“isn’t it kind of cold for you to be working out here today?” holly said.

“no, it’s fine,” she said. “i chose to be out here anyway.”

before we went inside the automatic doors, she wished us a happy holiday again and i swear i could have jumped over the stand and hugged her. i think holly and i both felt like crying. it just cheered us up so much. i don’t know what it was but i swear it helped.

since our house was still kind of foul and we just couldn’t get ourselves to cook, we decided to go to our favorite local diner for lunch. it’s greek-owned, just like in jersey, and has fabulous scrambled eggs and home fries and pancakes and pretty much anything else you order, regardless of the meal (despite the fact that i named off only breakfast foods! you can see where my mind’s at…) it may have been wednesday, it may have been thursday. but we were both so tired and deflated and dirty-feeling w/probably smelly death clothes.

i barely had an appetite but knew i needed to eat. holly felt similarly.

this great waitress came over to take our order. she’s one of those professional waitresses, that’s what i call them. a woman who’s been a waitress for so long it’s second nature to her, and she’s pretty much unflappable and calls everyone “hon” or “sweetie.”

i don’t know what she said to us, but she was just so nice. so so nice. we were really disoriented and holly was having a hard time figuring out what to order. she was struggling between two hot sandwiches w/gravy, mashed potatoes on the side, that sort of thing. it was either a sirloin/roast beef open-faced sandwich or turkey. she settled on the beef, with the waitress assuring her it was an excellent choice. i loved her demeanor. she was so nice. and funny. she was like…a breath of fresh air. which we needed. obviously.

our food came quickly, as it normally does there.

“enjoy, ladies,” she said.

when she was out of earshot, holly said quietly that she brought her a turkey sandwich by mistake. i could see the disappointment in her eyes. it’s kinda like, when you want a certain something, you want it. and turkey is surely not a replacement for a sirloin sandwich.

“why don’t you just tell her, honey? it’s not a big deal. i don’t think she’ll mind.”

“no, it’s okay,” holly said, starting to cut into her food.

“are you sure?”

“yeah. it’s fine.”

i looked at her face as she started to get ready to eat a sandwich that she really didn’t want. i knew she would never tell the waitress b/c she knew she would feel so bad she brought the wrong thing, esp. b/c she and holly spent such a long time debating the merits of each, with holly finally settling on the beef.

“you’re a good egg,” i said to her. of course i felt like i was going to cry again. she got emotional, too. she knew exactly what i was talking about.

“this is exactly why i married you.”

b/c even when she’s having one of her very worst days–and her partner is pretty much falling apart in front of her eyes and her house smells literally like death warmed over (and over) and we don’t have a single decent-smelling thing to wear and our world has been flipped upside down–she still cares about other ppl’s feelings.

i’ve told you all about my theory about breaking the cycle of meanness. well here’s the other side of that: just being nice to everyone, as much as you possibly can. even when you’re having perhaps the worst day of your life, try to be nice to ppl. b/c you could be the “old man next door” who has absolutely no one, practically, in this entire world. you  might be the one person he comes into contact with all day. or you could be the two girls next door who are having the worst day ever. hold the door for someone. smile. make some idle conversation in line at the post office. anything. you could be the bright spot in someone’s day w/out even knowing it.

in other news, i turn 31 tomorrow

wait, what?? what??!

wasn’t i just, like, 15…yesterday? it really feels that way. it seriously does. (the fact that i act like i’m 15 half the time only compounds this. the ashlee simpson circa 2005 haircut doesn’t help matters but oh i do love it so)

my dad warned me back when, gosh, i think i was a senior in high school or early in my college career that time really flies faster and faster once you get older. you all remember back when you were in high school (or maybe you’re in high school now): time. moved. soooooo sloooowly. like, you couldn’t wait to be done with it all. “older” and…”mature.” and then you’re finally older and you’re kind of wanting it to slow down.

my mom says that life just keeps getting better and better with each passing year, and i have to say i see where she’s coming from. ok, so i’m laid off. and i kind of live…in a…transitional neighborhood. where i can’t even take a decent walk  by myself  during “business hours” (omG what is w/all the crazies in the park between 10 and 4?!; also, haha, i remember business hours! they suck!) and the dead rats in the alley outnumber our friendly neighbors (ok, i’m exaggerating. kind of. but not by much.) but i have my wonderful unlawfully wedded partner by my side, i feel more sure of myself than ever and i’ll tell you what: i am having a damn good time.

i’ll tell you another thing: i have felt better the past three weeks than i have in years. i am not exaggerating. i went from having migraines two, three times a week to…well, i don’t want to jinx things, but let’s just say a whole helluva lot less. it’s amazing what stress and basically being unhappy from roughly 9-5:30 monday thru friday can do to a person. three weeks into this new chapter in my life, and i feel like a new person. i was full of knots before. my brain was a clenched fist. my days have taken on an entirely new rhythm. and i can devote myself entirely to what i love to do: write. i have just been so…happy. it’s a new feeling (i guess you don’t realize just how unhappy you’ve been until you’re actually happy) for me, this happiness that’s not just on a saturday and/or sunday. let’s just say i’m getting used to it quickly.

so here’s to this new chapter in my life. a new (jewish) year. and a new 31st year here on planet earth (wait, wasn’t that a duran duran song?!). i’m already thinking it’s a pretty doggone good one. and the fact that i’m eating lunch closer to 11am now makes it even better 😉

so i cleaned out my office today

office.jpeg

my office, last day, 2009.

and, honestly, it was a little weird. more than that, it made me incredibly sad.

i know i joke around a lot. and i’ve been a miserable sonuvagun there for quite some time. i didn’t think i’d feel all that bad packing up and leaving it all behind.

it was weird having to coordinate my visit w/the hr director at the place i’ve worked for four years. and it was weird having everyone look at me with…just so much sadness in their eyes. and getting hugs (tho i did appreciate them) from folks i’ve barely touched on the arm.

the executive hallway i sat in was so quiet. and a couple of those executives were there–including those that made the decision about who would go and who would stay (there were quite a few of us let go on monday). they knew i was there. i knew they were there. one called when holly–who came w/me, thank goodness–and i were taking my stuff off the wall, out of drawers and off shelves, all that was left of my 40-hr-a-week life there.

“hello?” i said, expecting a friendly voice. i thought maybe a buddy had seen me enter the building, and wanted to stop by and see me off. but no.

“uh, hello?” said the male voice, which i immediately recognized. i heard his voice echo down the hall, just slightly off-beat from the voice over the phone. the man that dropped the bombshell on my whole world monday morning. the man that never really kept it a secret that he didn’t want me, or my boss (also laid off), there to begin with. he was only steps away in his office.

“who is this?” he said, sounding shocked and pretty darn irritated.

“this is jessica,” i said, barely keeping my composure. oh how i wish i could have shot poisoned darts thru the phoneline.

“oh,” he spat out with an uncomfortable laugh. “what…what are you doing here?”

i felt like saying, dude, grow a set and come talk to me 10 feet down the hall!

“i’m cleaning out my office,” i spat back. (hey, why hold it in? i’m already canned.) suddenly it occurred to me that it was weird he was calling. why are you calling my number?? he answered my question before i could ask it.

“i’m, i’m just checking your voicemail,” he said.

“ok then! goodbye!” and i smacked the phone down. the same way i used to when i was a community reporter after dealing with a particularly obnoxious interviewee.

i noticed i was shaking, just the tiniest bit.

“honey calm down,” holly said. “let’s just do this.”

and so we did.

off came the framed madonna albums off the wall. down came the pink flamingo lamp. my collection of snowglobes. the ramones posters. photos of holly and her sisters. pencil drawings by my sweet little niece. down came everything.

this was really over.

we talked to a woman i’ve grown particularly fond of over the years. i joke w/her that she’s my office mom. she is one of the classiest women i know. she has always been so kind to me. always, always so kind. and when my own family didn’t seem all that interested in hearing the details of our wedding plans, she was.

she was the first person i showed pictures of what would later become my wedding dress (which i had made for me by a seamstress here in baltimore). she oohed and ahhed and gave me exactly what i needed last summer. she was so supportive. i will always be thankful to her for that. more than she’ll ever know.

she was also the first one i told about my layoff monday. i walked into her office and didn’t have to say a word. she already knew. and she gave me a good strong hug.

“i’m sorry,” she said, looking as if she might cry. i sniffled and we hugged again.

she walked us out, and there was something about having her see us to the door–even tho i’ve pretty much, despite financial concerns, been pinching myself that my monday thru friday nightmare is finally over–that made me want to just break down right there. i don’t want anyone reading this to think i’m sad. i’m not. it’s just…i don’t know. something deep w/in me cracked.

but i didn’t cry. the tears came as we walked out–arms full of the last couple bags, to holly’s waiting jeep out front–but i didn’t let them out.

the lady at the front desk gave me a big hug, too. gosh, she’s nice.

“don’t be sad,” i instructed her. “you’ll be hearing about me.”

“i know,” she said. “i know i will.”

i tried to swallow the huge lump that developed in my throat as we opened the doors and got in the car. it was unusually warm for this time of year, it felt like, and the car was hot inside. i noticed i was in a sweat. i wiped my brow and put on my seatbelt. we opened the windows.

we went to the supermarket. we went to lunch. the lump quickly faded as i saw the daytime crowd at trader joe’s (many adorable old ppl, i must say) and hip moms with kids at starbucks (really too cute; hopefully me sometime soon?). i started looking at everything with new eyes. this is what went on when i was in that windowless office for all those years, i thought. people living.

and it was all of the sudden that a completely unfamiliar feeling swept over me: i’m going to be able to live, too.

i took holly’s hand in mine, and we drove home, silently relishing this new time together. awake (we spend most of our time together asleep, i’ve realized) and ready, as always, for whatever life brings our way.

there are better things out there for me

i know this. i feel it. b/c i was laid off today. one door closes, a window opens.

i wasn’t the only one, either. ten percent of the organization was cut, 18 ppl.

i’ll tell you all, for those of you that don’t know me personally, or don’t know me well, i was miserable for a long time, so i’m looking at this as a blessing, an opportunity, more than anything.

i’m not going to go into it b/c, while i may have what some might call a big mouth (me??? never), i like to keep things classy. (anyway, all the juicy stuff is for my book, so you’re just going to have to wait 😉 ) but. i will say the following:

1) i have a sneaking suspicion i’m going to be getting a lot less headaches now.

2) while i’m stressing about cashflow (holly was laid off three weeks before our wedding, so, this doubly sucks) i am overwhelmed w/joy that i will be able to enjoy the season that i am ape-sh*t crazy for: fall.

 as in, i won’t be chained to my (ex) desk in my (ex) windowless office. i’ll be able to actually (gasp!) walk around, go to the park (with holly. during the *day*…sigh), stomp on soon-to-be-crunchy leaves and pet as many puppies as i want w/out any concern for time. as in: no busybody admin ladies who are all oddly obsessed w/my comings and goings noting in their little black admin books when i’ve left and when i return. the delight i feel at the prospect of this …well, i almost have no words for it.

3) twitter. w/said admin busybodies out of my hair, the tweets are unlocked, baby! it is ON! i’m in the process of putting the feed back up. bring it!

and, finally, last but certainly certainly not least:

4) lunch. lunch at home. and i don’t even have to wait til 11:30. (and i can eat it on the roof.)

good night, my lovelies. and to my facebook peeps: a million thanks for the kind words! (turns out facebook isn’t just great for coming out, launching blogs, having Big Fat Gay Weddings (BFGWs) and birthdays. it’s also pretty awesome when you lose your job.) you all are saying what i’ve been thinking since i got the news at 10 this morning, my breakfast barely digested and my to-go coffee mug from home still hot: this is a brand new beginning for me. and i’ll tell you something in case you don’t already know:

i’m completely unsinkable.

and like all those friggin cats that found their way into our walls this winter, i always land on my feet. something wonderful is going to come of this. i don’t know what right now, but it will. and altho i’m stressed in an unfamiliar new way, i have my life back. i. have my life. back. and i’m never going to lose myself like that again.

our ship is coming

war tapes

the war tapes rockin it last night in baltimore

i’m going to ignore my negligent blogging ways of as late and just launch right into things:

last night we saw an awesome new band (war tapes, photo above; check them out, srsly, they’re fantastic) for a free in-storeperformance here in bmore. they did a really great acoustic set (and were very cute, i may add, what w/the lopsided haircuts, skinny black jeans and brother/sister duo–i just *love* family band stuff, esp when it’s punky). personally, i think they’re going to go far, so i considser myself really lucky to have been a part of the small crowd there to see them. but it was talking to them after the performance, esp. their drummer, william, that got my mind ticking.

from the looks of their video (i’ll embed it here in my post) and their sound–also the fact that i heard them on a local, well-known radio station–i thought they were already the bigtime. turns out, they’re really just starting out. when i told them that, a couple weeks ago, i waited in my car until their song was over (i had just parked for the evening near our house) so i could hear what band did it, they were floored.

“did you hear that??” william said loudly to his bandmates. “she waited in her parked car until the song was over!”

“really?” they all said in unison.

i proceeded to tell them that their music really helps me write and gives me that much-needed inspirational boost to do things like my BFBP (Big Fat Book Proposal) b/c, you know, coffee doesn’t work on its own, no matter how much i drink (and i can drink a lot of it). this, too, made them incredibly happy.

william proceeded to tell me a little about their history, and how this was their first in-store performance. he was just so excited. and it got me excited for them. when i woke up this morning and got on the road to work, i was still excited, but the excitement had morphed into this general, huge excitement for the people i know, all my wonderful friends, who are working so hard, just wanting it so bad, chipping away, tirelessly, at all their creative endeavors. and then i got excited for myself, b/c i feel, truly, that i am riiiiight there. things are finally starting to fall into place for me–things i have worked years and years and years for. the same goes for my lovely holly.

things have been tough for us lately, and that’s the main reason for my recent absence(s) (and yes, i will tell you all about it, but you’ll have to be patient and wait for the book, winkwink). it’s just amazing how the human spirit can persevere, even when the lifeforce is being sucked out of you (dramatic-sounding, i know, but sometimes, unfortunately, quite true). even when you’re finally up and you get slapped down. i mean, gosh, i think about my lean years, so to speak, in the years after college, first as a reporter, then a temp in dc (omG as a temp, for a year and a half. now there’s some stories for ya. again: the book), then a reporter again in dc. i wanted it (journalism, opportunity) so badly. i could taste it. and while i’m much further along (i don’t have that early 20s desperation thing going on anymore) i can still taste it. the difference is now that i’m actually tasting it. as in: i know what it (success, reaching your goals) tastes like and, in those fleeting moments, i can say with full certainly that it’s damn good

back in those lean years, oh and they were very lean. so lean, in fact, that dear sweet nicolina would take me regularly to the diner and treat me to whatever it was i was eating. we would sit across those wooden booths and tables from each other, swirling spoons in our coffee, and talk about all the things we wanted to do. i was having a helluva time back then.

“your ship’s going to come in,” she’d tell me with full certainty. “and when it does it will be laden with jewels.”

we say that to each other still, more than ever, as we’re both having a helluva time lately.

OMG THE SHIP!  WHERE IS IT???? she emailed me on a particularly painful day earlier this summer.

the ship? i emailed back. ahh, the ship. let’s see…last time i saw it, it was stuck in some sludge in the inner harbor, like near the cheesecake factory and urban outfitters? i heard on the news that its rudders were jammed up with like, soda cans and bra straps and other junk. the mayor’s not  returning my phone calls either but i’ll let you know once i hear something…

oh but the ship. it is there. and it is coming, so you’d better watch out. it will be laden with jewels for sure, also whiskey/rye (tho i am not a drinker this sounds hardcore and pirate-y), dark dark chocolate, gold coins and many many freshly roasted coffee beans.

so here’s to just a few of my peeps wanting it bad and working to make it happen: nicolina and temim and j. green and john, jaime and andrew and violet and carrie(and lots more that may not have websites, like, hello! j.miller who’s working on her dissertation and is going to be a one of those kickass famous infectious disease researchers who bravely goes into faraway lands in scary white suits). 

all of us have–me, holly, my friends, maybe some of you that i don’t know out there reading this–have walked up this mountain and we’re almost at the tippy top. when we get there, which will be soon, we’ll part the trees and stand at the edge and look out the sprawling, majestic green green land and hills and sparkling blue sea before us–can you see it??–and breathe deeply and take it all in b/c it will be ours for the taking. and we will look back at all the struggling, all the hustling, the sheer want of it all, and it will feel all that much more spectacular.

i want to mention one more thing: i was looking thru this huuuuge andy warhol book in the library the other day and they printed copies of these two letters he received back in his lean years. one was from the museum of modern art rejecting a piece of art he had given them, saying they just didn’t have enough room for it, please pick it up. the other was from, i think it was the village voice, an art critic who basically wrote to the young andy saying: i don’t know what you think it is, but what you’re making is not art and you’re never going to be successful. now, say if you have a friggin napkin signed by andy warhol it’s worth thousands of dollars. how you like them apples??!

and with that, my inspiration for this blog post, the war tapes, who will be at the mountaintop (along with the shondes, ‘natch) with us, skinny jeans and all, providing the soundtrack for that spectacular view: