Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry and Bright... finally

Well Merry Christmas, Happy Yule, Rock-on Saturnalia, and all. I spent this festive day watching a ton of movies, cleaning and at long last - decorating my Christmas Tree. Yeah. Day late, dollar short that's me.

I mean I bought the tree and put it up right after Thanksgiving. Put a string of lights on it about two weeks later and then today actually got my ass in gear and pulled out a box of bulbs. It's a tiny tree so a dozen bulbs and candy canes pretty much did the trick but man oh man WHY did it take until today to do it?!

Well... couple of reasons. 1) the insomnia situation - which seems to have finally resolved itself with the help of serious 'calming' teas and a fabulous little holistic pull recommended by a friend called Formula 303. This stuff is chock full of the dreaded stinky Valerian Root, Passiflora and Magnesium. You have to take it throughout the day to get the desired effect (SLEEP) but it certainly seems to work. I've been playing catch-up with Mr. Sandman for the past week and a half and let me tell you - it's NICE! Sure it would be nicer to have just slept normally every night instead of no sleep for a month followed by nothing BUT sleep for weeks but I've never been really good with moderation.

The insomnia left me awake but ambitionless. The sleeping has given me the energy and a rebound of some ambition (like actually giving the dog a bath!) but since I'm unconscious most of the day and night now I haven't had the TIME to do much of anything! Really. There's just no winning with me.

I did however manage to make a pan of Baklava (veganized, nice.) which is nothing like my usual Christmas cookie festival of baking, but at least it's something. And putting the few ornaments it will bear on the tiny tree has made me feel like it's finally Christmas... of course tomorrow it won't be. *sigh* Not that it matters - it's just a day after all and as long as the tree isn't dropping needles the way Basil and Nick shed there's no reason to take it down just yet.

But now it's after 10PM and I am simply wiped out from the frenzy of putting 12 small ornaments on a tree and plugging in the twinkle lights so I'm going to go back to bed, curl up with my 4 current books and promptly (wheee! I love that) pass out.

Merry Merry to everyone.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Lazy, yes - but funny

Okay, okay maybe grabbing vids from youtube and using them as posts is a little lazy, but honestly I think these are so funny and adorable I couldn't stop myself. And let's face it, it was this or no post so I figure I'm doing okay.

These are from the fabulous Vampire Cowboys who do some of the most clever, innovative and plain ol' fun theater in New York.

First: Holiday Greetings

and now to get you through those holidays - instructions on making the Perfect Margarita

Monday, December 15, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday Movies

Thinking about my current bout of insomnia (for anyone keeping track I actually clocked a massive 5 hours last night with the help of a sleeping pill... not bad... oy.) naturally made me think of Christmas. Ho-Ho-Ho you say, Wha....? You see the insomnia has been with me since I was about 7 years old. I trace the roots directly to being awakened in the middle of the night by my parents fighting. It was the first fight I recall, the first of many. And it was a hushed sort of fight, you know the kind, when you still care about not waking the kid... To this day if I hear voices in that 'tone' through a wall I tense up. Any way, it was that first nocturnal sparring match on the other side of the wall that was, I believe, the primary cause of my lifelong sleep problems. Ah well, c'est la vie. Or c'est la guerre to be more precise. You'd think I'd be past it, yet I suppose I still have that deeply ingrained vigilance, as well as the fear of the vulnerability of sleep.

How in the hell does that remind you of Christmas, you ask. Good question!

Because I was up all night any way, I started my own little Christmas tradition when I was very young. One of the local tv stations would broadcast A Christmas Carol (the 1951 Alister Sim version) every Christmas eve at midnight. I would make hot cocoa for myself and grab a candy cane and whichever dogs and cats were around and watch the movie while my parents slept. It was a solitary, calming way to start off the one and only holiday that was peaceful at my house.

To this day, if it is being aired on television I will do the same. Of course, if it's not being aired I do have my own copy.

But while A Christmas Carol has its special time-slot and tradition, there are many other movies that say Christmas to me. These must be watched at this time of year, though several are year-rounders. (Have I mentioned how very much I need to get out more????) So here, in no particular order, are my holiday movies:


Die Hard

The Holiday

Miracle on 34th Street

It's a Wonderful Life

Strange Days

The Twilight Zone: The Night of the Meek

The Man in the Santa Claus Suit

The Little Drummer Boy (for when you REALLY want to get weepy!)

Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Home for the Holidays

and of course
A Christmas Carol

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Let's talk about Valerian Root tea for a moment, shall we? Yes. It isn't knocking me out the way I thought it might, but apparently it can take a couple of weeks of use before it starts to kick in. In the meantime it does seem to be having at least some relaxing qualities in my waking hours... which is good since my waking hours outnumber my sleeping hours by... a lot. Don't ask me to do this kind of ratio math. I have had a hearty 3 hours a night for the past few days. YES! Sounds like a lot huh? Think maybe I'm sleeping too much? Could be. ON JUPITER MAYBE!

So every night I'm mixing my sleeping draught... mwahahaha my magic potions... I feel like I'm in the 19th Century drinking my sleeping elixirs. Where's the laudanum, huh? WHERE? Oh the good old days when you could just get it over the counter.

I'm all for the natural sleep cures, I really am, it's just that I'd like to have something just knock me the hell out and let me sleep for more than 3 hours at a clip. I'm not asking for the moon here am I? Just 8-9 hours sleep a night. An Earth night. I know there are pills out there that will (or should) put you right to sleep. The fabulous 'dolls' of old... your Seconals, your Nembutals and other such "mother's little helpers". Oh sure there's reasons to avoid them. Things like that morning-after hangover, messing with REM cycles and of course that silly little problem of addiction but seriously I WANNA GO TO SLEEP already!!!

And I'd like it to be soon. I'd also like it to not have to be accompanied by cups of really, really foul smelling tea. I'm here to warn you right here, right now: Valerian Root S.T.I.N.K.S!!! Truly it smells absolutely awful. There's nothing about this fragrance that says: Yummy let me drink some of that and then go beddy-bye. No. It's nasty. (Though it does seem better mixed with something else, a little chamomile or another sleepy-time tea blend. It cuts the stench somewhat and makes it taste a little better too.)

Despite the fragrance issue I'm not discounting its efficacy. At least not yet. As I said, I am giving it a couple of weeks to see how it goes and even then (if it doesn't work... please, please let it work!) I wouldn't be able to discount it for anyone else. I'm a tough sleep. I can stay up and read, watch foreign films (subtitles, you know), play computer games, take the dog out, clean the apartment - all on two Lunesta. So I'm just pointing out that if the Valerian Root doesn't work for me, doesn't mean it won't work for someone else.

I just really, really wish it would work for me.


Sing with me, won't you? All I want for Christmas is a good night's sleep, a good night's sleep, a good night's sleep... See? This is what happens when you don't sleep. You post inane blogs about how tired you are. *yawn*

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Tree, The Tree

Last night I went to see August: Osage County on Broadway. What a fun show... dark, sure, but I love that sort of thing. Last night was also the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Tree. It is a huge event here, the type where seemingly millions of people push and shove to see the lights turn on a tree. It's the type of thing you want to avoid. I did attend the ceremony once back in the '80s with my mother. Let me tell you: it's as bad as Times Square on New Year's Eve - or worse. Too many people with no clue how to behave in a crowd. Or any where else apparently. But I was able to avoid most of that mess because I was happily sitting in a Broadway theater with one of my best theater buddies seeing a Pulitzer-prize winning hoot of a play.

But because I'm a sentimental Christmas-y sort I did bring my camera with me so that I could grab some 'first night' shots on my way home from the theater. Since the lighting was at 7PM and the show let out at 11PM I figured the crowd would be thinned. It was. Not entirely, but it was okay - if you knew where to walk. And as I've done this sort of thing before (note: Christmas sentimentality here) I got my views of the tree with no irksome crowding.

Here's a little slide show of my walk from the theater on 45th & Broadway to Rockefeller Center.

It's a touch bigger than the sweet little tree I picked up for my apartment on Tuesday (and have yet to decorate). But mine smells really pretty, it grew in North Carolina (hi Whim!) and truth be told who would want to deal with cleaning up the needles from that behemoth in Rockefeller Center? Not I, my friends, not I.

Despite being really tired (STILL!) I have been dealing with that ol' friend o' mine: INSOMNIA. So this evening I bought a box of Valerian Root tea. Here's hoping this stuff does the trick. *yawn*

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Good Mojo

A few days ago, despite my favoring dog-talk to human-speak of late, I got into a conversation with a very nice fellow who told me he could tell I had "the good mojo" by looking into my eyes. Which gotta tell ya, was nice to hear but hmmmm.... Now this was in the course of a conversation about suicide and mental illness so don't let's think someone was trying to pick me up. Let's take a moment to giggle uproarioulsy at the mere idea. Ahhhh... that was fun, eh?

The discussion was about some people in his life that had been through, and are still working through, some of the same issues I've been dealing with my entire adult life and it reminded me that, of course, that was the reason I began this blog in the first place. To offer some hope to others tht it is possible to overcome your demons, or at least keep them at bay, so that you can actually live your life.

For a long time now this blog has just been about what I've been doing with the life I had every intention of ending in 2004. I think that's valid, a show by example sort of thing. But I also see that by not delving much into what brought me here in the first place I might vereing off track a bit.

The trouble is that at this point I find it hard to go back and talk too much about the 'bad times' because in some ways they are still here. Not that I'm suicidal - just that sometimes I get tremendously blue. Navy to black blue. I'm sure some of it is due to my ill-thought out decision to wean off my Zoloft a few months back. I imagine my poor serotonin levels are still recovering from that silliness. Never again kids - the pills are a 'go' for life. Literally and figuratively. But then again those blues may just be a result of the fact that I still have no feeling of purpose. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. And that's a shame because... uh... grown-up here.

Still, there is something to be said for just living. In fact there's a lot to be said for it. It's unfortunate that I have a little itch in my soul to actually BE something. To do something meaningful, important and maybe (if I may) something that I might be remembered for after. It's unfortunate because I don't have any idea what that might be, and as things stand, I don't see it happening. Of course we never do see what might be around the corner. That's the surprise of living, yes? Maybe my 'mojo' will bring me to a place where I can turn that corner and find a purpose. Maybe not. But at least I'm alive - and nothing is impossible as long as we're alive.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

How do you read?

I was talking a bit with Miss Jill, the salty, when she was here in my pretty city, about reading. Miss Jill is one of those folks - you know the kind: they READ. Like books! I'm always on the look-out for a new (to me) author that I can fall in love with and devour everything they've written. It's always best when I discover them late and they've already got a pile of things I can catch up on rather than waiting anxiously for the next new book to come out. But that's me, I like my gratification to be instantaneous. Waiting sucks. Surprising just how much waiting I actually do, considering how much I hate it. Okay, that was a tangent. Back to the books.

Whenever I meet another reader, I mean someone who when asked what three books they'd take to a desert island looks at me as if I'd asked them which limb they'd like removed, I like to see what they have read or are currently into. I'm also someone who will pry shamelessly into your bookshelves if I'm in your home because it fascinates me to see what people have on their shelves. The books they keep. The ones they can't part with. With bibliophiles who have not broken the addiction this can be quite an eyeful.

But another thing that I've only recently started asking people is how they read. Not just what they read. It's interesting really. Some people only read when they're on the train, or commuting. Some only read right before bed. Some only do audio books... huh? Others have a book with them at all times for those odd times waiting on line or to meet someone and can dive into the pages for a bit. Some people read the last page first to see if the book will be worthwhile... which I could never do. (And in the case of certain books I wish I had!) Some read methodically - one book at a time, never starting a new one until the first is finished. Some swallow books whole, some savor them slowly and carefully.

My reading style is a lot like the rest of my life, which is why I think it's interesting to see how people actually read - I think it gives you some insight into their personalities. I have to have several books going at the same time. I can't bear to only have one at a time. This has always been my way since I was very young lugging tons of books at a clip out of the library. Oh wait... I still do that. Hmmm. The reasoning behind my reading style is that if I'm engrossed in a book, really swept into that world to the point of distraction, in love with the author's voice and never want to go any place else it is actually heartbreaking to me when it ends. I've been known to weep hysterically. So much so that I cannot even look at another book for weeks at a time because it's not THAT book. A new books means I have to shift gears, learn a new language, meet new characters and it makes it very difficult for the new book to win me over. Usually I end up leaving it. Those, sadly, are the rebound books. But I have found that if I start a few books at a time I will have a taste for that particular book banked in my mind and then I can go through whichever one pulls me in the most while still holding onto that glimpse of world in the next book(s). This way I'm not starting from scratch when I finish something I really loved. It makes the heartbreak easier to go from one beloved read to one that I've already begun and know will make me fall just as hard.

That's all for fiction, or biographies, of course. For non-fiction I'm a holy terror of never, ever actually reading the book through. I'll start somewhere in the middle, bounce around the thing picking out what I'm interested in and then put it down. Something about non-fiction just says research here, no need to follow the rules here, move it along people. But fiction... well, that's where the love is and that love is compounded if you find an author you can't get enough of and you're lucky enough that they have written a lot - all equally compelling (to you). That's a special love affair. If they are living you can catch up and then there is even more to come! If they are already dead, well... at least you know you will be able to read every-little thing they've written.

So how do YOU read? Come on, spill. I'm curious.

Monday, December 01, 2008

oh hai*

I have been completely wrapped up in the land of the wondrous and lovely doggies full time to the point of exhaustion for more than the past two weeks. It has been incredibly fun (you want to pay me for this??) and incredibly ass-whoopin'! Walking more than 7 hours every day - every day - can really take a toll. Of course one toll it took was removing 1.75" off each of my thighs. Hellll-o. I think that's kind of a 'gift from dog' as it were. Oh sure the scale hasn't budged, but I went down a jean size and you know, I'm really not going to complain about THAT!

Trouble with all that dog-time is that you forget how to communicate with people who don't have tails. I mean, humans. Full sentences that follow a logical pattern, with an actual point are typically expected. This is difficult after a day full of "Good BOY!" and "What a pretty, pretty baby!" Oddly I don't usually talk to the dogs that way, in fact when I do it to Basil he gives me the stink-eye. How DARE I speak to him like he was some ... some ... infant!! I typically speak to Basil, and the other dogs, in full sentences and as if they will in fact answer me in similar fashion. Not that they ever do, but it often seems they might. Still when confronted with human conversation during this canine-intensive time I have found I'm making little to no sense when I speak with people. I'm thinking it's because I've been so tired. Either that or the brain has finally decided to pack its bags. (I'm hoping for the fatigue.) I think I have more empathy for stay-at-home moms who forget how to speak-adult after a while. You're tired, you get into a rhythm and all that comes out of your mouth is "HOW CUTE ARE YOU???" Of course, I think puppies are far cuter than any human child, but that's me.

I've also been doing the bulk of this wild-eyed walking on the Westside. If you've read here before you might recall that I am an Eastside girl. I get confused once I cross west beyond Fifth Avenue. So avoiding getting lost while escorting the pups has added a level of stress that probably made me more tired than it would have if I'd been on my home turf. The fear that those Westsiders would somehow smell the Eastside on me and boot my ass back across the park was strong. For the most part however it was fine. There was the one encounter though...

I was walking the incredibly cool Bull Mastiff, who I will call Mr. D in the small park area that sits behind the Museum of Natural History on Columbus Avenue. On my way to pick him up I had noticed a polar bear on the roof of the museum which I am PRETTY sure I'd never noticed before. It being the sort of thing you would notice. While Mr. D and I were strolling we met an older woman walking a teeeny-tiny little Yorkshire Terrier. Cute as hell to see the giant dog and the petite puppy making friends. While the dogs made friends the woman asked me, completely out of nowhere if I knew where the Museum's ice-skating rink was. Now I have been totally out of touch with the world - no news, no nuthin' so I hadn't heard anything about this thing. But I HAD seen that Polar bear and I told her about it. We agreed that must be where the skating rink was located. Score! Then she asked if I was from the neighborhood and I told her (sheepishly and stepping back so she wouldn't hit me) that I was from the Eastside. She huffed, "EASTSIDER" and turned her back. (then she turned back, it was a joke - but a very, very appropriate one). Shocking... I didn't think anyone over there HAD a sense of humor. She must originally be from the Eastside. I have mentioned the New York East/West thing to people before (people who aren't from these parts) and they have scoffed at me. Because I'm clearly a big dork who knows nothing (I get this a lot). This small exchange was quite validating in that NO, it's not something I made up! Ooh, I must be angry with someone, huh? ;) Of course the East/West issue is not a feud of Hatfield/McCoy proportions, it's just a New York 'thing' and in fact I DO have some friends who live or have lived on the Westside... I hardly ever think badly of them. (I do feel a little sorry for 'em, though.)

So welcome to December! I hope the perkiness I'm feeling today will continue I feel like I haven't written anything in years.

*for those of you who are not quadruped-lingual, according to the hilarious site I Has A Hotdog that's "Oh Hi" in dog (and cat).