The Week

Monday she woke up still drunk at 11:30 and called people to confirm her friend’s brother had indeed showed up at her ex-boyfriend’s door and together they finished the Johnny Walker Red, spiked a carafe of orange juice at Denny’s with cheap vodka, the color of light sunshine for a heavy heart, bottled oblivion. They stumbled around the lake until the sun came up and she would not see the brother until her friend’s wedding over a decade later, when she was slower and less angry. She was not old enough to have hangovers but the day was restless and heavy and she let it slip by at Vincent’s house in the form of a horror movie; 10 years later the plot would suddenly surface in her mind, while the name of the film remained elusive.

Tuesday she complained of transience, and dreaded Los Angeles’s siren song of hazy nights and rushed minutes. She declared selfishness a virtue some 12 years before she read Ayn Rand’s so-titled essay. Ex-boyfriends fed her conceit and let her talk up storms of emptiness as cigarette smoke floated by on the cafe patio. The day was gray, and the skinny blond on telly condemned the rest of the week to rain. Her friend came by wearing an expensive pea coat and she vaguely felt she would like a boyfriend who favored pea coats.

Inner Senses.

Wednesday, she wore angora and hoped it had not necessitated the killing of rabbits. She misplaced her journal and thought she might die without it. She was frantic and tried to steal books at the bar, but Chad stopped her. A Georgian told her Southern Californians were cold, suspicious, and self-involved. She laughed and told him to get used to it. She left the bar with Tuesday, put her hands around his neck, and afterwards her hands smelled like boy.

Thursday, she skipped Astronomy class because whether the white-haired, bearded man’s description of burning blue stars and fiery planets was fascinating or painfully dull was always a gamble. She watched Tuesday sleeping next to her and imagined swift irrationality stirring and boiling over like coffee. She slipped out of his bed. Her temporary preoccupation paired well with the pulsing in her head and she walked slowly to work.

Friday, her ex-boyfriend lectured her about being devious and self-centered but she only cared for her coffee and bagel. He left her on the patio in the rain and her prideful, clear nights opened the skies and gave way to the heaviest deluge, despondent clouds, and wet wretchedness. A stranger, a Geology major, shared his umbrella with her and she was grateful as she watched the sloppy crystals fall out of the sky, blurring her vision. When the kind Geologist and his umbrella left, she considered her numbness and her alcohol-based romance: 3 parts booze, 1 part unspecified attraction, drowned in slate.

Saturday, she ran in the rain while thin shadows of trees chased her. The city was drowned in the angry tears of some heartbroken god and it came down so violently she could barely see. At night, after the torrents receded, she sat on a large rock, hiding under a tree, and waited for him, her toes grazing a pool of ivy. He came stumbling around the corner shortly, and she remembered that when she thought she’d lost her journal she felt she would die, her trite thoughts floating among the unknown, abandoned in the corner of a bar, pages disintegrating and burning in golden whiskey, but her friend had sneered.

She blinked, she melted, she slept soundly in his bed, and it was Sunday again.

WTF I Ate Moldy Tortillas

Father, I have sinned, for I ate medium rare steak twice in the last two months, had sushi (salmon, not tuna, to avoid mercury), and also drank more than 12 ounces of coffee on one occasion, perhaps two. I also had a taster of beer recently and a bite of shrimp ceviche.

They tell pregnant women not to eat sushi, uncooked seafoods (ceviche! smoked salmon! sob!), medium rare steak, hummus, deli meats, among others, but no one said a damn thing about moldy tortillas, did they? I had a couple of tortillas that tasted fine, only to check the package later and realize some of them were growing mold. I then proceeded to have stomach problems for the next 24 hours.

Of course the culprit would not be anything listed in the first paragraph, but something like flour tortillas. Irony.

 

Rural Town

She’s at the cafe again, sipping coffee, watching her friend sweep the floor while the sun streams through the windows but when she is not looking the trees whisper ill-fated tales of childhood to each other and the familiar wind and snow rage on an empty field steeped in her blood. Every corner of this place is loneliness and desertion, the scent of which clings like a hungry leech waiting patiently for the spirit to suffocate. You can flee to California but this town crawls in your veins, bursts in your bones.

When Your Cat Seems To Be Training You For Children

Our cat Fiona has always taken it upon herself to train Kyle for having babies by waking him up at odd hours, making strange noises, and demanding food at ungodly times. Recently, she has really upped her game. Today, Kyle was gone for work but she must have pestered me for food five times after I returned home from work.

I wrapped a present for a baby shower for the next day, set it aside, only to return several minutes later to find Fiona had made a small tear in the pretty wrapping paper, and was sitting her ass on the present. That was not enough mischief for the night, though.

I turned on the hand steamer, set it down on the kitchen counter to heat up, and turned my back for not 30 seconds to grab a snack. When I glanced back to check on the hand steamer, I practically had a heart attack when I saw Fiona had her whole face pressed into the holes where the steam is supposed to come out. I yelled at her and she quickly retreated, exactly 3 seconds before hot steam came streaming out. I thought she was going to burn her eyeballs off! I think this is the first time I encountered a cat safety hazard while engaging in domesticity. I thought she needed to blow off some energy, so I played with her, but when it came time to use my computer, this was happening:

When I finally got to use my computer, she crawled into my lap like the spoiled thing she is and pretended she was totally innocent.

ADDENDUM: The next morning, she attempted to drag me out of bed at 6:50 am and pestered me to no end. She even bit my face at one point. I am a firm believer in not giving in to such antics, but although I ignored her bad behavior, I was not able to go back to sleep. I still refused to get out of bed until 8:00 and then went downstairs to have coffee before yoga class. To top it off, as I was headed out the door, Ophelia circled my legs, blocked me on the stairs, and clung to my leggings as I was trying to leave. I texted Kyle and let him know the cats are extra neurotic when he’s gone.

A Reminder to Myself to be Grateful

I’ve read in multiple sources that gratitude is a significant contributing factor, if not the key, to happiness. In a study by two psychologists from UC Davis and the University of Miami, researchers found that writing about things for which people were grateful led to more optimism and positive feelings about the subject’s lives (here and here).

Even in the absence of scientific evidence, this theory seems to make intuitive sense, and at the least is worth a try, because it can’t hurt. I am fairly happy in general regardless, but pregnancy is not always my cup of tea, so I thought this would be the perfect time to make a list of things for which I am grateful:

  • My husband, for being supportive and kind.
  • My family, immediate, extended, and in-law, for being wonderful people who will be positive influences and role models for my little fetus.
  • My body, for doing what seems to be a decent job so far – no vomiting, no complications, no abnormal lab results, no debilitating symptoms. Even my blood pressure, which normally runs a tad high, has normalized.
  • Financial stability, which makes this process far less stressful.
  • Google and the internets. Sometimes Googling medical conditions can lead you to believe you have cancer or a brain tumor, but sometimes it does the opposite. Sometimes you Google some symptom and find out it’s totally normal during pregnancy and that you are not, in fact dying. What a relief! Not only for myself, but for my doctor’s office as well because otherwise I’d be calling non-stop.
  • Yelp, so I can read reviews on doctors and classes and make informed decisions.
  • Living in a metropolitan area where the quality and standard of healthcare is high, and I am able to easily find providers, facilities, classes, and options suited to my needs, preferences, and philosophies.
  • Living in a time after the invention of ultrasounds, genetic/other types of testing/screening, breast pumps, pregnancy pillows, and life-saving medical interventions and procedures.
  • Wal-Mart, for all kinds of cheap shit, from baby gear to maternity clothes and more.
  • P.G. Wodehouse, for making me laugh when I was very tired in early pregnancy and did not have energy to do anything except sit on the couch and read.
  • All the little pleasures in life: roses, coffee, the beach nearby, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald on Saturday mornings, gummy bears (or maybe NOT, since I can’t stop eating them and they are not nutritious at all!)

Morning Coffee

They held daffodils between their teeth as they wove flower crowns and years later

Flipping through old books she found four-leaf clovers pressed between pages

Crushed flat and still, preserved for no one

She felt the heat and shine of the rising sun and saw her friend in his car, preparing to leave the summer behind

She called out to him from the patio and said I love you

He turned to her and responded Ugh stop drinking

The child molester sitting a table away asks her about a boy as the morning coffee begins to waft

She says Give me a cigarette and I’ll tell you

She takes a drag and weaves a tale of indifference

As he lectures her about fickleness

How I Found Out I was Pregnant

This is a true story and it could happen to you. My brother was in town for the holidays, and I planned some brewery hopping for a Friday night. It was a really nice, sunny, warm day in December (23rd), even by San Diego standards. I ran stairs at the beach after work, went home and showered, and we were ready to head out the door early evening. Before we left, I decided to take a pregnancy test, because ever since going off birth control, I thought it was a good idea to take a test before decadent, booze-filled nights out. I was down to my last test and strangely, after peeing on it, I realized it was broken. Seriously. Instead of the little lines that show up on each window of the stick, both windows remained completely blank, even after about 15 minutes.

I had never heard of this happening before, and I felt vaguely ripped off by Target. These things are not that cheap, after all. I was not too concerned and decided I could always stop at a grocery store and grab another one on the way to the first brewery. We made a quick stop at Vons for this purpose and then were on our merry way.

The first scheduled stop was Burgeon Brewing, a new brewery nearby which I had not yet tried. Like so many breweries these days, Burgeon is a sort of warehouse facility located in an industrial park, with 30-foot ceilings and hipster lighting.

I ordered a flight of beers, which were served on a tree-trunk-shaped taster holder. Based on the picture of their menu, if I had to guess which beers I ordered, it was likely the Carlsbad Crop IPA, Thuja IPA, Mixed Greens Double IPA, and the Moo Moo Farm Milk Stout.

Halfway through the taster, I was able to pee again and snuck off to the bathroom to take the test, which turned out to be positive. Barely. The blue lines were faint, yet unmistakable. I cannot say I was shocked, because at this age, I’d have to be an imbecile to be unaware of how pregnancy comes about, but I was still a little surprised. I did not want to return to the group and announce this to a table full of people, so I tried to text my husband while in the bathroom stall, but the reception was exceptionally poor and I failed. Finding out you’re pregnant in the bathroom stall of a brewery and texting your husband while on the toilet has to be about the most romantic and classy way to break the news, if you ask me.

 

I had no choice but to emerge from the safety of the bathroom stall and return to the table. Once I was able to discreetly pull husband aside and share the somewhat surprising news, continued indulgence in beer was no longer an option, so I opted for the cold brew coffee on nitro. This cold brew was smooth and delicious; it was practically a dessert, even though it is not sweetened. Thus concluded my beer adventures for approximately 9 months, and began an adventure of different sorts.

Cafe Conversation

She invented the cloudy dreaminess in boys eyes and their obvious intentions,

While drinking a golden tea rendered from a sunburst of alien tentacles with a red heart.

He explains he is a budding musician and believes in god so she asks why and says

You can find god in pews, or resounding from the throat of a holy man or

You can find god in the five-lined staff

Where your wings force their way through the skin of your shoulder blades

To glitter or reflect the steely pall of your confessions –

But then sacrilege appears on the patio casting his poison on every frame of her daylight

A blank ghost, with colorless, translucent skin composed of love molecules from her youth.

She suddenly feels she might be compressed to a vanishing dust to be dissipated with the breeze

Becoming only a glint in the saga of conquests

A dead, buried, short story with no premise.

She has forgotten about the young musician and his guitar

And her tea has turned to mud.

Hangover

drifting in and out of sleep floating through disturbances of phone calls and scrambled details of a faraway night-glory when riddled with shivers she found a warm body, let herself crumble to elusive plans not her own, victim to sloshing in the head, a warm bloody release of the fulfillment. she slept alone above a pool of aquamarine liquid, disconnected from infidelities.

there’s a vague flash of pink, metallic, chipped nailpoish, and bent wings. here’s the skin my flesh and all the youth for you to feast on. she raged and dragged a furor through the bones with a fresh madness and love that has never idled away in a pantry or been stored in a can.

waking up penless and thoughtless, light was starting to claw at the blinds and she was still waiting for unconsciousness and relief from the battle schemes of the day. coffee and spirits have flooded the veins, burst against reason, spun the head with heavy confessions in a rotation of heavenly uncertainties.

an entreating voice is on the phone, asking for warmth, because he is about to leave again, restless to wander while she stews contentedly in suburbia, breathing in a fateful and constant concrete, only half listening because she catches sight of a man on a balcony and trails off to stale thoughts and imagined with him there would be the final reduction of the fatal rush and the pleasure of letting the unknown melt in slate irises, gold-flared in the midday sun, a faithful and eternal reflection of unending sand and flawless sky.

now they suffer the musicless hum of the 405 together and she is reminded they have always been imaginary. you might be remembered best if you finished here violently and grandly and young because continuity threatens to be the most inglorious concession.

Daydream

i daydream about waking up in his apartment between cocoon sheets and quietly folded dreams of the faded night before

and padding down the hallway on his pine wood floors in the morning as a crisp reminder of reality

but he never calls me so

let us stare mindlessly at the yellow roses by the mailbox together until this song runs out

we’ll pick up guitars and play until i am ready for coffee highs and long days

we’ll make our own viscous, blurring nights with liquid destruction in our hands

you can have all my secret fascinations and my immutable kingdom

as long as we can spend all summer on the cafe patio

with old men

cigarettes

and iced tea