More paragraphs than I planned on.

Monday, December 29th, 2008

When we were kids, my friend Rebecca and I used to write stories together and read stories together and do basically everything together. Beck had those mildly gruesome little “Scary Stories to Read in the Dark” books, which I was always a little jealous of, because I probably wasn’t allowed to have them. We would take the instruction quite literally and look for somewhere dark, or semi-dark, to read them, like a tool shed in the back yard, which, with bright daylight peeking through the door, was just the right amount of scary for me. (If we had only known at the time that a teenage boy had murdered his entire family in her kitchen and living room just 40 years earlier! True story!)

I don’t know what prompted me, but I was thinking about this the other day, about when we used to read these stories to each other. Whenever it was Rebecca’s turn to read I would follow along with her over her shoulder and correct any time she read a word wrong or misinterpreted a particular mark of punctuation. Pretty much I must have been completely annoying! I could pick much more amusing stories from this friendship to write about, could in fact probably fill a book of memoirs-turned-blockbuster movie, but like I said, this ritualistic scary-story-reading is what most recently came to my mind.

And anyway, I just remembered what had sparked that memory. Last night Rachel and Molly and I went to see Holly play a show at IQs, which was great except for the smoke (Madison, my lungs and I love you for being smoke-free… Green Bay, get a clue!) One of Holly’s songs has a line about a toy drum, which made me think of that scary story with the toy drum and the gypsy girl and the woman with the glass eye… I remember reading that story with Rebecca and then a few years later hearing the very same story plagerized by some girl in the class above me, trying to pass it off as her own. Can you imagine? Trying to plagerize a classic like “Scary Stories to Read in the Dark”? Is nothing sacred anymore?

My family and I went to see the movie Marley & Me today. I was surprisingly engaged by it, and so, it seems, were all of the little kids in the theater who were sobbing. I cried a little too – partly because I could feel my mom’s tender heart breaking in the seat next to me. I don’t know if anyone loves animals more than she does.

Friday night I was at Holly’s birthday party and got to hang out with a 3 year old princess.  Really, she had two separate princess gowns along with her. She is my friend now. We played magic carpet ride and sinking ship and fort and when we got hungry we ate Holly (“Come here, you Lunch!”) Anyway, it was good for me. I wasn’t sure if I liked kids too much, but my new 3 year old friend proved that I do, or at least that I can.

On Christmas day my family went to stay at my dad’s cabin on the Wolf River. While we were there we watched Alone in the Wilderness, and I was reminded of how attractive it is for a man to know how to build things. I first realized this when I watched The Notebook with Laura and remarked that, “There is nothing sexier than a man who builds a house for the woman he loves!” So anyway, I’ve decided that my dream man will have the skills to build a cabin with his bare hands (and okay, a few tools). He will also play guitar and be kind to animals. There are at least 100 other qualifiers on this list, you can inquire to hear the rest of them.

While we were at the cabin the snow was everywhere and terribly beautiful. My dad has cross country skis and snow shoes hanging on the walls and for the first time in many years I actually felt some desire to go outside in the winterland and participate in some form of sport. Trust me, this is a new development. Being so new, I did not act on it, but I really think I might try some outdoor activities this winter. Considering how winter is just getting started! Don’t tell anyone, but as my family and I were driving through the state this week I said, with my eyes fixated on the gray and white landscape surrounding us, “I like winter.” Who am I? I tried explaining to my mom my theory that winter is the perfect climate for humans to exist (as the miserable beings that we are) and she thought it was kind of depressing. But kind of true?

We visited the Woodson Art Museum in Wausau and checked out the tromp l’oeil exhibit and the illustrated letters exhibit. The latter really inspired me to start writing letters again, and to do so creatively. That was the fun part of a long distance relationship, but of course letter-writing can happen between friends and family as well. I won’t make it an official goal, but maybe in 2009 I’ll do a bit more of this.

Hey, I just made two new friends. They are great. They are characters in my story. I mean, that is the only place that they exist. Is that weird? I brought my sketchbooks along with me this weekend thinking that I’d have a lot of time to get some pages filled. Well, I did have the time, but I am learning that I can’t write when there are people around, or even the option of being around people. So progress has been limited, but I still hope to have my designated chapter finished by the end of this month.

This has been a terrible summary of the past week… it is not chronological, it is not exhaustive, it is hardly descriptive. But considering that I just sat down as a matter of self-discipline and forced myself to start writing I’d say it’s not so bad after all.

2009 is going to be a big year…

And my father, the safety man, commended me.

Monday, January 7th, 2008

Ordinarily I try to spare you too many details from my every day life as I am inclined to be a bit of a bore. However, last night was really strange and this fog today has only reinforced the strangeness of recent events, and it’s my blog anyway so I can write what I want to.

So it’s last night. It has already been a bizarre piece of slumber, with my dreams drifting between deceased pets and the relative societal triumphs of the Bernstein Bears books (At last! A voice which represents the true humanity of bears!). I awake to the sound of someone tapping on my front door, which is odd enough on its own considering how, in my wakeful state, I do not ever hear when people knock on my door. And given that fact, and the sleep drunkenness which consumes me, I am a little confused and decide that the knocking must be something else, perhaps a neighbor tapping a stick on the fence post. But then I hear footsteps, up and down the stairs outside my front door, and then a voice, and it becomes clear that the action is happening here inside my home. My first reaction is one of annoyance at this rude disturbance of my sleep, but then with kind of a cold gripping of my intestines I remember that this month I am home alone, and a mysterious guest in the middle of the night could be less than friendly. It is four in the morning. The knocking continues for a bit longer, and grows a bit louder, and the voice and footsteps are right out there, and by now I’m just scared. It’s a showdown, but I wait it out, I win, and finally my unwelcome visitor retreats–I hear a car’s ignition turn and he drives away. The situation was unnerving, but not so much that I’m unable to fall back to sleep. I am.

In the morning I am half awake as an unseasonal January thunderstorm pounds outside, and it’s that droopy kind of morning when the rain has given me the welcome excuse to drift back to sleep. It doesn’t help that I forgot to set my alarm. It is eight o’clock and I should be at work. I am suddenly alert. I grab my phone to call the office and see that I have a voice mail. And here, friends, is where there would be a commercial break, or maybe in this case a Google ad, but I’m not so cruel. I’ll continue with the story (are you dieing of suspense?)

I check my voice mail and it is a message from my landlord. Apparently during the night an icicle fell from the eaves (yes, one of these icicles) and struck our utility box, wiping out gas service to our building. This happened early in the morning, and the utility company didn’t want to turn on the gas without lighting the pilot in our gas stove, which is considerate and I appreciate that they wouldn’t want to fill our building with methane while we slept. But really, whose idea was it to pound on my door at four in the morning, hm? Who thought it would be a good idea for a man in boots and coveralls (I’m guessing) to rouse a young, single woman from her sleep and say, “Excuse me, could I please come in and light your gas stove?” Do they really think I would have let them inside my apartment?? Would anyone have? Is that really their policy–they can’t come back when the sun is out? I am baffled by this, that this actually took place, and I don’t at all regret that I left the utility guy out on the stoop (and, by the persistent sounds of his knocking, pretty frustrated.)

Lock your doors at night, friends. It’s a creepy feeling.