Monthly Archives: June 2010

Dream Interpretation?

Okay, so I was a super lazy housegirlfriend this morning (mostly because I cleaned all night) and I slept in until 11…but it was only because I was having dreams I wasn’t ready to give up on.  Now, those of you who know me absolutely know that I can’t interpret a dream.

I recall a night in the ER with Amy, Carmen, and Loretta while darling Amy was fearing appendicitis and we were all by her side.  So with Amy in a snazzy hospital gown, Cosmo magazines all around, and a bunch of pissed off nurses walking by our thin curtain walls, I was talking about all these dreams I had about being pregnant, and I mean there were a lot of them.  I even asked my students what they made of it.  Don’t worry.  According to Carmen, who is my #1 dream interpreter, I am lacking something, beginning something new, and I was evaluating my relationship with live-in boyfriend who you all hear about so much, Mike.

So calling Carmen, and the rest of you again, to tell me what this means:

I was climbing the stairs to my friend Mikey’s (not the same guy as boyfriend) house and found him playing video games.  Then all of the sudden, the same place was my house, and my mother came over.  I had two of the older housewives from the neighborhood over with their dogs (two Basset Hounds, a black lab, two Akitas, and Mikey’s German Shepherd Sable) and they were gossiping.  One had brought their baby girl, dressed in red on a tiny pillow.  And I mean tiny.

One of the housewives asked for a deck of cards.  My mom said no.  Then the housewives wanted dinner.  Mom said she’d order a pizza.  It was evident that she did not want these women around me.  And then they began talking about how she was under the thumb of my father.  So I stood up to take my mom into another room.  Before I stood, though, I was holding a Basset, the lab, and the baby.  But the baby was ridiculously tiny.  As I stood to hand her back to her mother, her head was so tiny that it rested on my fingertip with plenty of room all around it.  And she was that small when they had handed her to me, hence the ability to hold two dogs and a baby on my lap.  Then my very first boyfriend’s mother was standing in the room with us and my  mom knew her, so finally calmed down and spoke to her.

Then I woke up from some texts, and fell back to sleep and dreamt I was in a huge golden field.  It was absolutely gorgeous, and I was enjoying just looking around.  And then my very first boyfriend was perched on a stone bench.  He kept looking at me like he knew I was confused by the change in surroundings, but it maintained his spot on the stone bench, as stable and steady as always.  He kept asking me if I remembered specific things, and for some reason, I had been remembering exactly what he was talking about.  And everything he talked about, I had a painting for, a recently painted painting of white birch trees and big brown mountains, and the light was always doing something interesting in the paintings.

Occasionally I was transported into a window in my grandparents’ farmhouse in Clyde, Ohio, where my cousins were mocking me about something and I kept wanting to go away.  At the window, I stared at my grandfather’s old drive-thru/carry-out store, and all the rocks in the driveway were clear, glassy, and colorful.  And I kept trying to collect them, but I was flying.  I was flying so high that I couldn’t always grab the stones.  I wanted to reach down, and with my feet tumbling over my head, finally I surrendered to it and left myself flip all the way over.

Then all the sudden, outside the window, there was the Atlantic, just like Wrightsville Beach in NC.  And the waves got huge and a sea lion shot out onto the beach with a sea lion cub.  People chased it down, but there were hundreds of sea lions and cubs coming out of the water and onto the beach.  It was miraculous.  but I couldn’t jump from my window because I’d lost my ability to fly.  And I wanted to get back to the glassy rocks and the field, but these men I didn’t know came up to my window and began asking me a bunch of questions about running, and swimming in the ocean, and humidity, and what I thought of all these sea lions.  All I could keep saying was that at home in the North, I could do so much more.  I was better there than I was by the sea.

So there you go.  What’s all that mean?

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Posted by on June 23, 2010 in Daily Happenings, Domesticity


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A Man-Spa?

So my good friend, Brian, sent me this site.  I’m really interested in the concept.

Man Spa?

It seems like a good idea for a getaway (a little late for Father’s Day, but there’s always next year, or a birthday or something).  But is it counterproductive to gear a bed’n’breakfast towards men?

Let me know what you think.  I think as long as you don’t take your wife or girlfriend, it could truly be a man’s getaway.

See you soon.

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Posted by on June 23, 2010 in Domesticity


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Kitchen Sink Windows and Cardinals

First off, I’d like to say how intimidating it is to begin seriously writing after graduating from UNCW.  It’s scary.  I’m sick and tired of looking at my thesis material.  I no longer feel enchanted by my life working at Whirlpool building washing machines.  I did once.  I did for a long time.  I need a break, I think.  But there are moments, though, that make me miss it, like walking past Joy, the mining machinery factory here in Franklin, PA, that I’ll itch for it.  For the yellow glow of light over my head, the sallow skin that stretched over my bones between the scares and nicked knuckles.  And I’ll miss the buzz of the machines, and the way I could begin to differentiate the machines by their specific noises, the clangs and clicks, and the voices.  I miss being a part of something bigger.  With my hands in the machine, I felt connected to something.

Lately, I’ve been running the hills here in Franklin, one in particular, the one where the roads wind up the mountain, and end at Rosemont Farms.  It’s where I go when the panic sets in.  Lately I’ve been panicking about stupid things.  Panic brought on probably from spending eight hours a day alone, about love and life and jobs and money.  I go for these walks becomes sometimes I need a sign.  Ever since I started thinking Mike could be *cough cough* it, ever since I graduated with my Master’s, ever since I’ve realized no one wants to hire me.

I get this panic honest.  Every woman on my mother’s side of the family has it.  The other day, I called her, told her how the attacks felt, and how I reacted.  “Mom, I’ve convinced myself of the worse possible outcome in every situation.  Everything goes to the bad end of the spectrum.  And I scare myself out of believing in anything good.

“Oh God.  You are like the women in my family.  You need to be more like your father, and his mom.  They never thought bad about anything.  They just turned their cheeks to bad.”

And this makes sense to me.  During these attacks, I convince myself I’ll never get a job, that all my education will have been a waste of time, that I’ll be stricken down by some disease, that I’ll never get married, that I will get married, that I’ll never be able to have children.  And I fear these things so irrationally sometimes that I lose it.  Truth is, I think this anxiety spawns from not having a whole lot going on right now, from feeling like I’m putting in and putting in, and never getting anything out.  And this doesn’t have to do with Mike at all.  This is about filling out countless applications and kissing so much ass, and still not having a job.  How much can I do before something comes back to me?  Economy.  Ugh.

So things get to me and I climb the hill.  I like how the road gradually approaches it, how i can feel my footfalls becoming shallower as the concrete rises against me.  And I pull myself up.  That way, when my heart pounds and my head sweats in anxiety, I can blame it on the exercise.  I blame it on the way the sun feels hotter between trees, like all the heat is concentrated into the patches between the shade.  And it beats down mercilessly.  I can  blame it on the humidity, and the way the air is thinner here, harder to breathe in the Appalachians, so much different than the sea level air of Wilmington, NC, and the near sea level air of my Ohio fields.  And I blame the pounding heart on how quickly I scale these roads and trails, and the uneven pavement, and the way I clumsily roll my ankle on this stone, or that one, because I got caught up in staring at a branch that shook with the prospect of what I need to see…


As a child, I sat on Uncle Grandma’s counter top.  Uncle Grandma was my father’s mother, will always be his mother, and my grandmother.  I called her Uncle Grandma because her youngest son, my father’s only sibling, Jim, never left home.  He’s a towering seven feet tall, and bearded, with thick glasses and hands the size of tennis racquets.  His beer gut was like the biggest ice cream scoop of a sundae, with his belly button protruding like a cherry on top.  When I was young, I must have been astounded by his size, and related everything under my grandparents’ roof to him.  So Grandma became Uncle Grandma most of the time, and that was the one that stuck.

Uncle Grandma had worked during most of her childhood until she got married, and her job became housewife and homemaker.  I used to sit next to her kitchen sink while she did the dishes, one arm always ready to guide me back to safety if I scooted too close to the edge.  I loved her kitchen window.  So much.

There were stick patches on the wooden pane, a clover and a little Irishman.  There was also a double frame with two black and white pictures; one was of my father holding a birthday cake, the other of my Uncle Jim in the same pose.  There were two cacti on the window sill, one tall and smooth, the other round with a white fur around it.  There were no more than five inches high.  Uncle Grandma only ever let me touch the one with the white fur-like needles.  And in the corner, down by the small faucet of the sink, was Uncle Grandma’s drinking glass–the one she refilled every time she took medication, or needed a drink.

Outside of the kitchen window, we always waited for Dot, the Dalmatian that lived behind the house, to come around for after-dinner scraps.  I was afraid of Dot; she’d accidentally nipped the skin between my thumb and forefinger when she was just a pup.

But the real beauty of the kitchen window was the set of bird feeders that Uncle Grandma had hung from the eaves.  For hours, I sat on the counter with Uncle Grandma behind me, a light blue book in her hands to identify the birds.  They were mostly finches, canaries, other brown birds I didn’t care about.  But Uncle Grandma always got ridiculously excited about the cardinals at the bird feeders.  She called them “Cardies” and she always pointed them out to me:  the color, the tuft on the top of their heads, the way even the females had a red tint to them.  And I loved the cardinals, the way they were so much bolder than the other birds, the way they held themselves so confidently.  I liked the way the other birds seemed to move out of the cardinal’s way.  It was majestic.

So when things–things being the anxiety attacks–started happening during my last year of grad school in Wilmington, I’d go for a run through Forest Hills, a neighboring community.  I mostly stayed on the roads, but the first time I ran down a bike trail, the sun was hiding behind gray clouds, the grass was wet with rain, and I was worried about something.  It was probably money or my thesis.  But a cardinal flew from a tree to the grass beside the trail.  I had thought about it in years, and my Uncle Grandma had passed away in 1997, when I was eleven years old.  And there I was, a twenty-four year old woman, and the cardinal instantly made me think about Uncle Grandma and her Cardies.

It was instantly comforting, and I immediately felt her presence, like the way she used to meet me at the door and kiss my face with her hands on either side of my face.  She was the cardinal.  And that cardinal made me quit worrying.

Everything panned out.  I mean, I graduated.  And I’m not bankrupt (yet).  But I did become reliant on the cardinals, these good omens.  From the cardinals that I began watching from my Uncle Grandma’s kitchen sink window to the ones that appear to me now, embodying my Uncle Grandma, I’ve noticed that they always calm me.  Grandma’s spirit always shows itself to me when I’m worried.  And I think of the conversation with my mother, and how she told me to be more like Uncle Grandma.


So here in Pennsylvania as I live jobless and friendless in this town under my boyfriend’s roof–rent free–I go for walks to make the pounding heart and sweat seem worthwhile, and I go to look for cardinals.

It’s strange how quickly peace overcomes me, and every time, I literally say out loud, “Thanks, Grandma.”  And then my heart only pounds with the exercise, and I move forward, okay until the next attack.

She never lets me down.  The cardinals even make noise sometimes if I’m not looking in their direction, seemingly to make her presence known.  Today, for instance, I found myself on the hill expressing my anxiety to a friend on my phone, and I stopped mid-sentence and said, “There’s my cardinal.  I’m gonna be okay.”  I’d explained this phenomenon to my friend before.  He, too, seemed more at peace with my anxieties.


So the reason for the poll–and stuff.  Lately I’ve been doing a lot of dishes.  With no job, I have no excuse for Mike to come home to a dirty apartment, or to a sink full of dishes.  And while so much time is spent at the kitchen sink, I find myself thinking about the window.  Outside of Mike’s kitchen window is a huge Maple tree, the branches draped in front of the glass creating a barrier between me and the apartment building across the alley.  Almost every house I’ve ever lived in has had a window above the kitchen sink.

And I wonder why.

Is it because so much time is spent there?  At the sink?  With our hands elbow-deep in suds and water?  Is it a nod to the housewife, who was caged in at home in the 1950’s?  Or simply a way to see when her husband pulled into the driveway from his job, her cue to get dinner onto the table?  Or maybe a way to watch playing children?  A way to see what was going on in the neighborhood?

Most of you seem to have had kitchen windows above the sink, and you all seem to enjoy them.  I love(d) mine.  But now I’m interested in your theories about why we put windows above the kitchen sink.

Should we be angry at the feminist view of it?  That it was for the housewife?  Or should we be thankful that there was a window outside.  I mean, men do dishes.  So why do none of the arguments go that way?  And when did it start?  Why do we do it?

I think I could get angry about it.  Or I think I could be grateful for it.  All I know is that I enjoy it.  And the cardinals.  Without a kitchen window, I would have never seen the cardinals.


Posted by on June 16, 2010 in Domesticity, When I Was Young


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POLL: Kitchen Sinks

This is for my own knowledge and the next post:


Thank you.


Posted by on June 7, 2010 in Domesticity


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The Apartment

So this is the apartment.  In case you were wondering.

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Posted by on June 3, 2010 in Daily Happenings



The Menaissance? HELL YES.

Okay, before I get to my excitement about the Menaissance, just a few things.

It’s 81 degrees outside, and I just went for an hour long run.  As I bent down to tie my shoe, I found myself staring face to face with a four-leaf clover.  Now, I’m not really superstitious, but by golly, running along the Allegheny River and smelling the purple wildflowers and watching the heat come off the water…  I had a good feeling.  Yesterday, I got a free belly button ring (score) and then Mike and I went to the Grove City outlets because my running shoes were falling apart.  The outlets are nestled among a bunch of farms.  Quite literally, there is a big red barn and a combine across the main highway.  It smells of cow manure and air conditioning, English food from the Elephant & Castle, and new shoes.

To make a long story short, I lucked out and got $110.o0 shoes for $52.40.  And these are the amazing shoes I was tying on the trail when I found the clover.  I’ve been feeling pretty lucky.  I’m getting the housework done daily, and getting Mike’s lunch around before he gets home.  I’ve been vacuuming with a glass of water trying to see if I should risk the carpet to red wine or a margarita.  It’s not that hard.  Maybe I need the added elements of heals and a petticoat.  I’m so not opposed to this.

Today, I get to sew a button onto Mike’s shorts that fell off.  Life as a housegirlfriend is good.

And because of the little clover, which is now stuck between a piece of glass and a picture of a friend from home in a frame, I felt that maybe I ought to apply to some jobs today.  Maybe today’s the day when someone will call back.

To be honest, I get a little bored here during the day.  I could get a puppy, but I think getting a job is probably better, seeing as the loans I used for grad school are no longer providing a six-month grace period and I’ve got to pay.  Now.

And now… The Menaissance

^I figured out the link thing.

So this is a good way for me to talk about gender stereotypes, but also about the Menaissance.

Click the link and read it first.  This is important.

Men are becoming manly men again.  And this is a good thing.  A very good thing.  It was getting to a point out there where I could see the genders seriously becoming the same thing.  I’m not saying a man can’t get a pedicure or a facial, or that he can’t be stylin’.  I’m just saying MY men can’t do that.  😉 

But really, there has been immense pressure on people to look a certain way.  It’s not fair that it happens to women, but for men to feel this?  When did men become so farking sensitive?  So I think it’s important that the Menaissance is rising again. 

Let me tell you where I’m coming from.  I do think there are certain things men and women should do.  Women should cook, but I’ll tell you that I’m a horrible cook, and most of the time, Mike hands me a spoon and lets me stir the boiling noodles while he makes an amazing shrimp pasta sauce.  I’m content living out of the microwave.  I cannot make a pot roast, and I am slowly trying to get over my fear of touching raw chicken.  The yellow globules of fat just make my stomach turn.

But I’m good at breakfast.  And damn good at vegetables.  It’s evident, though.  Mike’s the cook in this pseudo-family.

And while Mike is the spackler and actually knows what he’s doing, he has no problem leaving me a sanding pad and telling me to do it while he’s at work.  He told me that the floors could be vacuumed last night…and that I could scrub down the walls…and sweep the front steps…and so on.  He has faith that I can do it all, so I have no problem telling him to make me shrimp pasta then fix the TV in the front room.

So I guess what I’m saying is that household duties (both domestic and mechanical) can fall to either person.  I truly don’t care who does what, but I think each party should be ABLE to do things.

But here’s the thing.  Men care what they do…when they do it…how they do it.  I don’t.  I’m not going to change my own oil, even though I’m interested to know how it works.  I get it.  Drain it into a pan, change the filter, plug it back up, fill it up with new oil.  Seems simple enough, but I’m going to let someone who knows HIS way around a car do it for me.  Not to say that I wouldn’t let a woman mechanic do it.  I just don’t want to do it myself.

Mike, on the other hand, cares like hell if it isn’t done right.  Same with my daddy.  Same with most of the other men I’ve dated.  They want to know it’s done correctly.  And while Mike and I were driving to his parents’ house the other day, he said this, “There’s something about knowing that you can do something.  You don’t have to, but knowing that you could if you ever needed to is important.  And you tend to trust your own work more than you trust anyone else’s.  That way you can’t lay blame because it’s your fault.”  I like it.  A lot. 

So maybe it’s about responsibility.  I’d never let anyone else sew my quilt unless they were a professional.  I’m not going to let anyone else write my words.  I make my salad a certain way; so I tend not to trust others to do it for me.  Hell, I don’t even like eating out most of the time because I like to be there to watch what’s being put into my food.  Mike will tell you.  I am constantly over his shoulder.  But I don’t think this is a problem.  At all. 

Maybe it’s about what each individual is attracted to, expectations from their partner.  I can’t date a guy that can’t fix stuff, but I can certainly hang out with them, swill a few beers, play some boardgames, and so forth.  My hormones just don’t roll for these people.

But other women swoon at Ryan Seacrest…or Edward Cullen.  Just sayin’.  😉

So if you’re up to joining the Menaissance, men, here’s a guide to manliness.  Compliments of Corey, a former student. 

The Art of Manliness

So there you have it.  Back to vacuuming, and scrubbing.  Sorry for the delay on this one.


Posted by on June 2, 2010 in Domesticity


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