True Confessions

Confession #1.

I always used to say that the only music I absolutely couldn't stand was country, not because of the music itself, but because that nasal twang that so many country singers possess really grates on my nerves.

Lately, though, when flipping channels and winding up on the country station, I've found myself lingering, and realizing that if you can move beyond the twang, country's really very singable.

Especially if you have a voice that's best suited for belting, or torch songs.

Confession #2.
Sometimes, reading through the journals of the people on my friends list, or even just talking to them, it sends me into retreat mode because everyone else seems so damned cool, and I'm so disgustingly dull and ordinary.

Confession #3.
Sometimes, I like fruitcake.

Not Sure if I’m Venting or Seeking Advice.

This isn't locked down to any particular group of people – there are only three people on my friends list, in fact, who have been restricted from reading it. I want to make one thing clear, though. Even though this starts with “I have a friend who…” I really am NOT talking about ME. It is a friend. One who posts to LJ, in fact.

I have a friend who hasn't worked since she married her now-husband five years ago. She seemed so happy when they married. Six months later, when she wanted to reaffirm their committment at a con for a fandom we were both sort of interested in, she asked me to help her write the ceremony…and I did.

She found online diaries long before I did. In fact, since she had copious amounts of time in which to play on the net, she would often IM me with funky/funny/cool/inspiring websites. So she started writing at OD, and got me hooked.

Her first OD was pretty fluffy, really, but then she started remembering things from her childhood, and started going deeper. And then she became afraid of what she was remembering, and stopped posting.

When she started posting again, it was darker. This was a woman who was obviously depressed. She admitted to having been molested by a teacher as a child, and said her parents had never believed her, and still don't.

Another lapse in posting, and then she came back, and said she was writing about stuff she didn't want her husband to know.

In the last few months, in her latest incarnation, she's written that her supposedly happy marriage was her calculated design to leave home, and that she never wanted to be any more than a friend to this man. And, more recently, she's written that he's abusing her, that her parents have seen her with bruises at family events, and that they've said, “You're better off with him then alone.”

I know…it sounds like a really bad novel.

And here is why I'm posting.
First, there's a part of me that really wants to help her, but when it's pointed out that she's home all day alone, with no one to stop her from calling the authorities, or calling for help, she makes excuses.

Second, because she has a history of hiding the truth, exaggerating things, etc, there's a part of me that can't help but wonder if she's making it all up.

A mutual friend of ours has been a good sounding board, and we go back and forth. Sure, it'd be easy to loan, or give, her the money to get out, but what if she's lying, or what if she isn't, but turns it over to him. I've spent enough time volunteering for crises centers that I know that even the most educated empowered abuse victims have trouble leaving their abusers.

And then, we've considered confronting the husband, but, we have no guarantee that he'd tell the truth. And, if SHE is, we could be doing more harm than good.

And then, there's a part of me that is angry with her, not for being a victim, but for being so picky about how she gets out. “Oh, I won't take help unless my family offers.” “Oh, I won't take money unless you give me enough to live on my own, because I don't want you to see me not make it.”

So, I'm alternately puzzled, confused, and angry, and feeling like a horrible friend for not doing something.

This was all very circular.
Sorry about that.

Dear Santa…

Courtesy of and

Dear Santa,

I have been a good girl.

It really wasn't my fault what happened at Maury's Christmas party. It was Cathy who spiked the punch with too much tequila. I can't help it if I drank seven glasses. It was so good—smelled and tasted just like wasabi.

I thought it was funny when I put Geoff's bustier on my head and danced the watusi on the papa-san chair while singing `Smooth'. I didn't mean to break Maury's calculator and don't know why Maury would sue me for wasting paper.

I don't remember calling Erik's wife a callous sheep—even though she looked like one with puce eye shadow and tangerine lipstick!

And when I threw up on Nicole's husband's earlobe, it was only because I ate too much of that rice pudding.

After all that fun, I admit I was a little tired. So I fell asleep on my way home and drove my tricycle through my neighbor's coat closet. I don't think that was any reason for my neighbor to call me a vicious mongoose and have me arrested for poisoning tadpoles!

So, Santa…here I sit in my jail cell on Christmas Eve, all well-coiffed and morose. And I'm really not to blame for any of this monstrous stuff. Please bring me what I want the most—bail money!

Sincerely and quietly yours,
Xenobia (Really a nice girl!)

P.S. It's only seventeen bucks!

I should be sleeping…

…but instead I've dug my old visor prism out of the depths of my desk drawer, so I can set it up for Fuzzy. I even found the minstrel modem that goes with it, and both are blinking on my desk.

Much as I like the sleekness of the Palm Tungsten, the Handspring PDA's are better when it comes to connectivity. There isn't a minstrel that works on Palms, as far as I can tell. And while there is a cable that connects to a cell phone, I hate that concept.

Still, it's not like I need to be able to have yahoo chat on a PDA. I'm not usually away from regular access. Even here at the house without our t1 installed, we've rigged internet connection sharing, and my at&t account is giving us impressive speeds (better than Earthlink, I'm afraid.)

We didn't do much this weekend, I was tired, and in a nesting mood, so we slept and read and watched movies. For the record, I liked the CGI in Reign of Fire but the movie itself seemed more like watching a badly constructed video game, and a waste of the talents of the cast. I quite enjoyed Glengarry GlenRoss, but when you consider that the cast included Jack Lemmon, Alan Arkin, Ed Harris, Al Pacino, and Kevin Spacey, can that be a surprise. I hadn't realized it was as old as it was however – the fact that these guys use pay phones and not cell phones really dates the movie. The third movie, one Fuzzy didn't watch any of, was Kissing Jessica Stein which was quirky and funny but the lead actress's voice was in that annoying high pitched “I've been stuck in academia too long” range that really grates on my nerves. Still, there are far worse things I could've watched, and it had some hilarious moments.

Last week I spilled an entire glass of water on my bedside table, and this week I couldn't find the Christmas cards I'd done, and managed to convince myself that I'd thrown them out when we were cleaning up my little flood. I went to Borders in Santana Row, partly to check it out (I'm in love with Santana Row, right now, and will be spending next Saturday at the Aveda/Altiera salon there, getting a cut and color and manicure before France), but mostly to add more Christmas cards to those I had left.

We didn't find any, so went to Barnes and Noble instead, where I was very strong, and only bought the cards I thought I needed and one book, Quentins, by Maeve Binchy. It's a quasi-sequel to Scarlet Feather and Tara Road, and yet it's also completely its own book.

Of course when I got home I realized that I'd zipped the completed cards into my dayplanner, and then I felt stupid. But I redid my list, and realized I needed the extras anyway.

Tomorrow: Work. In the meantime, I'm leafing through magazines trying to figure out WHAT to do with my hair. Fuzzy says I should leave it long, but men /always/ say that.

It's nearly three AM, and the blue christmas lights on the house are glimmering like a veil of stars outside the window. The dogs, having spent the entire night fighting over the last inch of Cleo's piece of ostritch bone, are curled on the ottoman, waiting to be told it's time for bed, which I'm going to do now.

Santa Baby, I’ve Left a Survey Under the Tree…

Survey swiped from Phantastica at OpenDiary.

1.) COOKIE: Pfefferneusse, or those green leaf butter cookies with chocolate.

2.) CANDY: Peppermint sticks.

3.) MAIN COURSE: We made an amazing roast with fresh herbs rubbed all over it and roasted red potatoes, last year. Mmm. Beef.

4.) STORE: Cost Plus Imports, for their amazing glass ornaments, and general niftyness.

5.) COLOR OF OUTDOOR LIGHTS: For icicles, blue; for wrapping around tree trunks, white; for outlining windows, single strands of multicolored lights. And I detest blinking things.

6.) TYPE OF TREE: Faux. But real pine wreaths and garlands.

7.) COLOR LIGHTS ON TREE: Mix of pearl-shaped and teardrop-shaped crackled white lights, and multicolored twinklelights.

8.) TREE TOPPER: We have a very Celtic looking Santa Claus for the top of our tree, this year, but I grew up with a silver foil butterfly as the topper.

9.) ORNAMENTS or BALLS: Ornaments. Every single ornament on my tree was hand-picked either by me or for me, and has it's own story.

10.) GARLAND or TINSEL: Tinsel, but only sparingly, and never put on the tree til Christmas Eve. (Yeah, there's a story there, too.)

11.) HIDING PLACE FOR GIFTS: All over the place.

12.) BEST TOY YOU EVER GOT FOR CHRISTMAS: The year I was nine I got a very cool microscope, but that's not truly a toy. The year I was seven, my anti-Barbie mother caved in, and made doll clothes for a wedding party of NINE dolls. I'm told the echoes of her curses as she tried to make darts that small still linger in the walls…

13.) THING TO WEAR TO BED CHRISTMAS EVE: Oh, the traditional new nightgown for Christmas, of course.

14.) TIME YOU GOT UP CHRISTMAS MORNING AS A KID: Early. But I didn't leave my bedroom until eight or so. In my family the tradition is that Christmas stockings are left on the foot of the bed, to keep the kids busy until the adults roll out of bed.

15.) TIME YOU GOT UP CHRISTMAS MORNING LAST YEAR: Not so early. Nine-ish. My parents were visiting, and it was neat having coffee made for me, for a change.

16.) DO YOU ENJOY SENDING OUT CHRISTMAS CARDS: Yes. I love physical mail, even if it's a mere card.

17.) HOW DO YOU DISPLAY THE CARDS YOU RECEIVE? Generally, we cover the back of the front door with them.

18.) HOT CHOCOLATE, EGG NOG or APPLE CIDER: All, but never at the same time.

19.) ALCOHOLIC DRINK: Hot buttered rum.

20.) DO YOU HAVE A NATIVITY IN YOUR HOME? At my house? No. When my grandparents were alive, they did, and we'd get yelled at for playing with the baby Jesus.

21.) HOLIDAY SONG: Serious: “I'll Be Home for Christmas” makes me cry. Humorous: “Santa Baby.”

22.) HOLIDAY MOVIE: White Christmas or Miracle on 34th Street

23.) BEST HOLIDAY EPISODE OF A TV SHOW YOU EVER SAW: The “Lovers Walk” episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or any Christmas ep of M*A*S*H.

24.) HOLIDAY TV SPECIAL YOU EVER SAW: Does the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade count?

25.) DO YOU WRAP THE GIFTS YOU PUT IN A STOCKING: Of course. In fact, the stockings are my favorite part. It's a fun challenge to by things that MUST fit in a certain size-range.

Seriously…I don't think I ever believed a real person was coming down the chimney, it's a seasonal game. In fact, I still get presents from “Santa” every year.

27.) HOW DID YOU FIND OUT? See above.

28.) HOW DID YOU TAKE THE NEWS? See above.

29.) DO YOU GO TO CHURCH ON CHRISTMAS EVE/CHRISTMAS MORNING? Despite my total lack of religious affiliation, I love midnight mass on Christmas eve – the music and the sense of harmony – it doesn't last long, but for that one moment, everything's perfect.


New Toy of the Moment!

So, I got tired of carrying around (or, to be honest, NOT carrying around) my very clunky Visor Prism. I mean, sure, it had a cool blue case, and all. And, the wireless net attachment is kinda cool, but…it's so big and bulky.

And then I found it.
It's teeny.
It's light.
It's suave.
It's the Palm Tungsten|T, and even though I don't own any bluetooth-enabled devices (yet), I love it already.
And I haven't even totally set it up yet.

Oh, and the really nifty part?

It comes with Scrabble®.

I just love new toys.


I'm having one of those days when I just want everyone to GO AWAY. Except that I really don't, I just want them not to be harassing me with questions.

And it's frustrating because it all started out so well – I was in a groove, and I had my peppermint mocha, and the sun was shining and the dogs were barking at the FedEx guy – and then it all went to pieces.

My mantra of the moment: 18 days, 18 days, 18 days.

Reading Survey (Stolen from Closer2Myself)

Which books are you reading right now?
Wild Designs, by Katie Fforde
French Lessons, by Peter Mayle
Spin Cycle, by Sue Margolis

When is your favourite time to read?
-Any time. Especially first thing in the morning, before I've even showered, or right before bed. When I'm home alone, reading takes place whenever there's a meal. When my mother visits, or I'm visiting her, breakfast time involves all of us at the table, each with our coffee and book.

Where is your favourite place to read?
-I do a lot of reading in the bathroom, because, if I have to sit there I might was well keep my mind occupied, and because it's the place where I'm least likely to be disturbed. I could spend an entire day at the table with a stack of books, and endless pots of tea, with oranges as nourishment, or curled up in bed, with the dogs for company.

What is the first book you remember reading?
-The first book I remember having read to me is Winnie The Pooh. The first book I remember reading is either Fletcher and Zenobia, In the Night Kitchen, or Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

What is your favourite quotation?
-Aaack! Evil question! My favorite quotations change almost daily.

“Mom says some days are like that…even in Australia.” — Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

“If you mean libel, I'd say so, and not talk about labels as if papa was a pickle-bottle.” — Jo March, in the opening scene of Little Women

“Friends help you move; real friends help you move bodies.” –Anita Blake, but in which novel I don't remember.

Who is your favourite novelist?
-When I find an author I like, I tend to read everything they've ever written, and then forget about them for a while, but perennial favorites include Louisa May Alcott, Laurell K. Hamilton, Lilian Jackson Braun, Sara Paretsky, Katherine Neville, Orson Scott Card, and Dick Francis. (I actually read way more mysteries than I do fantasy.) I've also found that I enjoy Madeleine L'Engle's adult fiction as much as I ever loved A Wrinkle in Time. Also, and these might surprise some people: E. M. Forester, Allan Drury, Stephen King (can we say guilty pleasure?) and Tom Clancy. And I'm a total fan of Sherlock Holmes and Nero Wolfe.

Which school text did you most enjoy?
-I have a special fondness for that little green book, Warriner's Guide to English Grammar and Usage, because my writing professor in college was Warriner's daughter. But, really, I never had teachers that used textbooks, except in math and chemistry, and those don't count. If assigned reading counts, then my senior year AP English unit on The Importance of Being Earnest wins, absolutely. (Imagine an AP English class at a performing arts school reading this play – doing all the accents, and nibbling on cucumber sandwiches the whole time….)

What is the most difficult book you have ever read?
-The first time I read Pride and Prejudice I just couldn't get into it, but when I went back and picked it up a year or two later, it was fine, and I began my lingering love affair with Jane Austen. I still have difficulty reading any James Joyce. His stream-of-consciousness style is so much like the way I think just before sleep, that I simply cannot stay awake to do him justice.

What is the most erotic book you have read?
-In terms of explicit erotica, probably the Sleeping Beauty series.

What is your funniest book?
-I've been reading so many “BritCom” novels lately, that I don't think I could pick. A decade ago, I'd have said “Anything by Douglas Adams,” but his work got so overexposed…. If you know Jane Eyre well enough to appreciate the parody, then The Eyre Affaire is hysterical.

And the saddest?
-Madeleine L'Engle's Crosswicks Journals aren't particularly sad over all, but one volume in particular, The Summer of the Great-grandmother is really very poignant.

What is your favourite children's book?
Fletcher and Zenobia is my favorite for the artwork – how can anyone compare with Edward Gorey? A.A. Milne's books are special to me because I received one for every Christmas and birthday, and I knew when I turned six I'd be getting Now We Are Six. I loved Where the Wild Things Are and I had two amazingly comprehensive collections of fairy tales (not picture books) that I've misplaced in one of my many moves, and miss a lot. Oh, and The Story of Hiawatha took on special significance when I moved to SoDak and lived in Minnehaha county.

What is your most overrated book?
-I hate to say it, but Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald just never lives up to its reputation.

Name your most underrated book.
-The person I stole this survey from listed The Eight, by Katherine Neville, and I have to agree. It's kind of a sleeper, but it's a great read, and comes across as being totally plausible. It's sort of a ghost-mystery-science fiction-historical-romantic comedy-epic. My other choice is a children's book: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiller, by E. L. Konigsburg, about two kids who run away from home and hide in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Who is your favourite character?
-Again, this changes as my moods and tastes change. Among them: Anne Shirley, Jo March, Claudia Kincaid, Harriet M. Welsch, Cat Velis, and Cleo Spearfield.

Which characters do you hate most?
-Pretty much any ever created by V.C. Andrews.

With which character do you most identify?
-Harriet, Jo, Anne, and Cat – but only specific aspects of each.

With which character would you most like to have an affair?
-Solarin. Or…Solarin. And then there's Sol – oh, um – Seriously, I don't think about stuff like that.

Who would be your ideal literary dining companions?
-I could never make such a decision, and the people I'd pick would cause utter pandemonium. Dorothy Parker, Kathleen Norris, Natalie Goldberg, Katherine Neville.

What is the worst screen adaptation?
-The things Disney has done to Pooh are just scary.

Name three desert island choices?
The Eight, The Complete Works of Shakespeare, and The Chronicles of Narnia which I count as one book because they're a boxed set.

What is your favourite poem?
-Oh, tons. Sappho had a lot of very cool stuff to say, and Poe is amazing. From childhood, I still have affection for Robert Lewis Stevenson and Shel Silverstein.

Which book changed your life?
Writing Down the Bones, and Dakota: a Spiritual Geography, and probably The Mists of Avalon as well.

Which book would you make compulsory reading?
-I'm sort of a throwback in that I still think everyone should be familiar with a wide selection of the classics. I'm not saying to go read Moby Dick and make it your passion, but, there are certain novels that most well-educated well-read people should be familiar with. From a compulsory standpoint, though, I'll take a leaf from a teacher who influenced me a lot, and say, The Compleat Angler.

Frothy Fairy Tale

(Concept kidnapped from )


Once upon a time there has a young PARKING-LOT ATTENDANT named JEAN-PIERRE. He was SLOWLY SLINKING in the SKIMPY forest when he met MALODOROUS CLARENCE, a run-away WINDOW-WASHER from the FRACTIOUS Queen ISABELLE.

JEAN-PIERRE could see that MALODOROUS CLARENCE was hungry so he reached into his TEST-TUBE and give him his FERAL BAGUETTE. MALODOROUS CLARENCE was thankful for JEAN-PIERRE's BAGUETTE, so he told JEAN-PIERRE a very SILLY story about Queen ISABELLE's daughter BERNADETTE. How her mother, the FRACTIOUS Queen ISABELLE, kept her locked away in a SKATING RINK protected by a gigantic IGUANA, because BERNADETTE was so FROTHY.

JEAN-PIERRE SWAGGERED. He vowed to MALODOROUS CLARENCE the WINDOW-WASHER that he would save the FROTHY BERNADETTE. He would IMITATE the IGUANA, and take BERNADETTE far away from her eveil mother, the FRACTIOUS Queen ISABELLE, and SKEWER her.

Then, all of the sudden, there was a OBSEQUIOUS HURRICANE and MALODOROUS CLARENCE the WINDOW-WASHER began to laugh. With a puff of smoke he turned into the gigantic IGUANA from his story. FRACTIOUS Queen ISABELLE OOZED out from behind a HAMMOCK and struck JEAN-PIERRE dead. In the far off SKATING RINK you could hear a CRACKLE.


Make your own Fairy Tale at