coldest longest days

This article from the Missoulian is about their recent memorial service for the 13 homeless who passed away in the city last year. Missoula is a very hard place to be homeless, with winters that are regularly below freezing for weeks at a time, and usually quite a bit of snow and ice. Luckily there are places like the Povarello Center, but there is never enough room or food for everyone who needs it. I'm very thankful that my family has always had everything they need - home, good food, medical care, etc., and has been spoiled with internet connections, television, videos, and music. We are very lucky. I met a woman in a college sociology class who had been homeless after her husband went into the hospital for heart treatment and she couldn't pay the bills. She sold their house and lived in a cardboard box that she shared with another homeless woman she had met. She ate from dumpsters, and the whole sociology class spent an afternoon dumpster diving around Walla Walla, finding things that might be edible. I was surprised how much good food is thrown away, but that didn't make it any more appetizing once it's come out of a dumpster (particularly behind the frat houses). She didn't tell any of her children or family members she was homeless, because she was ashamed and she didn't want to burden them by coming to live with them. She must have gotten back on her feet somehow, to be in a college sociology class, and that's good. So many people have problems that make it difficult for them to ever gain a footing in "society" the way it is set up - regular jobs, rent, bills. Hopefully organizations will continue to improve in providing ways to help them survive. If it's this hard for people who have been out in work force to find a job, imagine being someone on the fringes. I guess part of the reason I empathize with homeless people is that I've never considered it impossible that one day that could be me. Things happen that you never would expect, and you can't predict the future. So, appreciate the good things you have - your computer access, your warm meals, your comfy furniture, because someone else out there doesn't have any of it.

more friday five

You have just won one million dollars:

1. Who do you call first?
First my husband, then my parents to tell them I won't need to borrow any more money.

2. What is the first thing you buy for yourself?
A new pair of Dansko clogs and a new pair of glasses (I don't have expensive taste. Although Danskos are expensive for me actually.)

3. What is the first thing you buy for someone else?
A house for my parents-in-law and my sister-in-law anywhere they wanted to live, an Apple G5 and a major spiffy professional video camera for my hubby.

4. Do you give any away? If yes, to whom?
After the buying the houses, there is probably not that much left I am guessing. I'd give each family member some money, and if I had enough extra, I'd like to spend a day walking around downtown B'ham, handing a $50 to each homeless person on the street. If any is left after that, maybe take all our friends on a cool vacation somewhere. That would be fun.

5. Do you invest any? If so, how?
Sure. I have no idea how. I'd need to ask my dad where to invest it. He knows about that sort of thing.


media, schmedia

Here is the commercial you won't see on television during the superbowl. So go watch it now. Score one for the evil empire.

Also, only a couple of days left to cast your votes for the Bloggie Awards. Two of my favorites that I read regularly are up for awards - hunkabutta for best asian weblog and dooce for best american weblog and weblog of the year. All while she's getting ready to have a baby any day now. A baby and a bloggie - that would be kinda cool.


new spam poetry

Here's a brand new spam poetry, courtesy of my work e-mail inbox. No words have been changed, I just added the line breaks.

Then the Trills...

Smudge wishful blab
Brownell conjure
Blantant delphinus
Requisite view Biltmore

Quitting soot
Bemadden brockle Bella
Exclamatory farina creche

Secede gaucherie!

Bouquet blanche


another converted

Check out mysterio's new blog. Because he's mysterious. And he likes stuff.

I wouldn't mind being her...

You're Brigitte Bardot!

What Classic Pin-Up Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

another friday five

I'm not really awake enough yet to be coherent this morning - Fridays are my most sleep-deprived day because I've been building up the sleep loss all week. Luckily, today's friday five does not require me to think too hard. My answers for these change every day, but it's asking about this moment. I can handle that.

At this moment, what is your favorite...

1. ...song? Currently PDA by Interpol is stuck in my head, but pretty much any song off their Turn on the Bright Lights album can qualify as my favorite right now.

2. ...food? Not to brag or anything, but I made a chocolate cake/pie-type thing with a liquid melted chocolate center a couple of weeks ago, and it was SOOO good. With vanilla ice cream. Yum.

3. ...tv show? The Family Guy. The most entertaining and intelligent commentary on American society I've seen in a long time. As well as being completely off the wall most of the time. It's great.

4. ...scent? I have so many scents I love, and I am hopelessly addicted to scented bath stuff and lotions, etc. I'm a very scent-oriented person - if someone smells good, I instantly like them. At the moment, my favorite is probably my cocoa butter soap. It has a really subtle buttery nutty scent, and it smells like you could eat it. Don't worry, I won't. I also really love the scent of my husband's cologne.

5. ...quote? Well, I don't have a quote, but my favorite word this morning is "kerfuffle".


that is a lot of hits

I just got my 1000th hit to this site today! Woohoo! I feel so, well, either popular or exposed, but maybe they are about the same. Also - I have a cool new map that you can put a little icon on to show where you are. Please, if you are reading this, add an icon! It is a cold and lonely world on my map right now! Add a pin and let me know where you are reading from. It is kind of a neat experiment. And I know lots of random people find my site looking for the jelly bracelet meanings :) I think I should create the domestic version of jelly bracelets - if I break the blue one - he does the dishes, if I break the red one - he vacuums, if I break the BLACK one - he cleans the bathroom! Sounds like fun to me!


friday five again

Maybe I'm addicted to this friday five thing already. Or maybe it's easier not to think of my own topic at 7:25 AM on a Friday. Yes, I'm at work early - ugh. But, at least I have a glorious English Toffee latte and an almond butter sandwich sitting in front of me. Life doesn't get much better than that. Anyway, here it is:

1. What does it say in the signature line of your emails?

I don't have a signature line anymore, but it used to be a line from the Tori Amos song "Leather" - "If you jump, you'd best jump far." Sounds a lot more profound when she sings it, I swear. It was a motto of mine in high school. I've actually done a lot of things in my life by this philosophy, which is why I do things like jump into teaching yoga after a few months of training, and decide to move to Japan without knowing what the hell I'm getting into. And marrying a cute guy from my high school. So far, it's been a great philosophy to live by.

2. Did you have a senior quote in your high school yearbook? What was it? If you haven't graduated yet, what would you like your quote to be?

I most definitely did not have a senior quote in my yearbook, and I wouldn't want to have one. We had the most lame yearbook and the most lame school, and I tried to associate myself with it as little as possible. I even refused to give a speech at graduation, even though I was supposed to. I had one ready, which consisted of letting the principal know how good his wife was in bed, but I didn't think they'd let me use that one. Did I mention I was kind of a rebellious dork in high school?

3. If you had vanity plates on your car, what would they read? If you already have them, what do they say?

I would never have vanity plates on my car. I used to have a bumper sticker that looked like that fish/Darwin symbol everyone has, but it had an arm coming out with the hand curled under the chin like Rodin's the Thinker, and it said "Think" in the middle. I really liked that one.

4. Have you received any gifts with messages engraved upon them? What did the inscription say?

I got one of those gold Spiegel bracelets with my first name engraved on it when I was in junior high and they were the rage. I asked my grandparents for one for Christmas. It was one of those fancy expensive things you really want, then when you get it, you never actually use it. I wear it occasionally, but it's a little fancy for everyday for me.

5. What would you like your epitaph to be?

Here lies Michelle
She lived long and well
Travelled the globe
Til she was old
Was loved by everyone
and now her living's done
at the age of 110
she'll finally rest again. (Tee hee)

If I live to 110, it would be 2088. Holy cow. I cannot even imagine what the world will look like in 2088. My grandfather lived from about 1910-1997. It must be incredible to see that much change in the world. I want to be able to do that.

The sky outside the window here looks really incredible right now. The fog on the foothills is melding into the clouds, and they are all moving horizontally in front of the outlines of the trees on the horizon of the hills, and the sun is just coming up with a luminous frosted sort of light. It looks like a painting or something. I wish I had a cellphone camera!


spam poetry

My e-mail at work is set up in an "autopreview" view, so I can see the first couple lines of text of a message without actually opening it, which helps protect from viruses, as well as making sure undesirable html spam doesn't show up on the screen. I've found that most of this undesirable html spam has really interesting text entered into it somewhere. If you open the e-mail, this text doesn't show up anywhere (generally just a picture of a nude woman or something), but if I just look at the preview, I see these lines of text. Some are more poetic than others, but it's almost a form of found poetry, of sticking words together that don't seem to make sense, but flow into a poem. It's fun. I'd like to share with you the "poem" I just received in my inbox:

black knob shaped

supply snook
cool antique degenerate
parenthetic bogota
hibernate assiduous lao
malign rushmore
chisholm chairmen
tenuous quid

I added the line breaks, but the words are in exactly the order they were in the e-mail. I think "parenthetic bogota" is my favorite line - I looked up bogota at merriam-webster.com and found out that it is the capital of Columbia. Didn't know that. What a cool word.


friday five

Because I don't have enough time at work to write a real blog entry that involves thought about what to write, I decided to just do the Friday Five thing today. This is actually last week's five, but it doesn't matter because I didn't do it last week. I think the Friday Five and things like it are neat ideas - they are basically the same sort of exercises we used in creative writing classes to get the juices flowing when you have no idea what to put on the page. Anyway, enough introduction:

What one thing are you most looking forward to . . .

1. ...today?

Getting home tonight and taking a hot bath after going to the gym.

2. ...over the next week?

Starting new yoga classes. It's exciting to begin the first week of class with a bunch of new students, meeting a bunch of new people, and introducing them to viniyoga!

3. ...this year?

Moving to Japan. I've been thinking about it more now that the weather is thawing and it feels spring-like for a while. I can't believe in the spring we'll be getting ready to go!

4. ...over the next five years?

In the next five years? Am I supposed to be able to think that far ahead? If I have to choose just one thing in the next five years, I guess it would be having a child, since we do plan to eventually and I think our first will be within the next five years (probably closer to the end of that period!)

5. ...for the rest of your life?

The one thing I am most looking forward to for the rest of my life? Can I even begin to guess what that would be at the naive age of 25? I guess I am looking forward to surrounding myself with interesting wonderful people, both family and friends, for hopefully many many long years.


lazy snow days

When I told my mother-in-law yesterday afternoon that I was home because of about four inches of snow, she laughed and said they had four feet in Billings. And below zero temperatures. Which makes the little bit of slush and snow, and a few days of temps in the teens seem just a little wimpy. Anyway, I had yesterday off, I guess because the forecast for 8 inches was too intimidating for anyone to wait around to see if it actually happened. It was a very lazy day - I actually haven't really gone anywhere but work since last Friday, not even to a grocery store or anything, so it's been a little weird. Not so much because of the snow, but more due to the fact that we're broke. Good timing of the two though. I don't feel so bad about not going out and spending money when there's a good excuse to stay at home. So, I baked homemade bread yesterday (the 2nd time in a week) and I tried to read Hemingway, but he puts me to sleep. I was excited to finally read some of his work, because he basically invented the clear sparse writing style that I love. Unfortunately, his stories really do nothing for me. I far prefer Ray Carver, who has sort of the same style, but for some reason resonates with me much more. Hemingway's stories don't really have any plot or any endings, and while sometimes I really appreciate unconventional ways of doing that, it just ended up annoying me. I do admit, some of his prose is really beautiful and I don't deny that he was a very talented writer. But that doesn't mean I have to like him. So, I tried it. I'll probably finish the book just because I always finish books, but I'm not expecting any great revelations. The odd thing is that the stories that are lauded as being his great works are the ones I liked the least, and didn't really understand why others would think they are so great. Just goes to show how different peoples' tastes can be. My favorite short stories are still Aimee Bender's, and I love the essay collection Boys of My Youth by JoAnn Beard, although I don't know if that qualifies as short story. It's more on the creative nonfiction essay side of things. I love authors that write about ordinary life, and the ones who take life and make it completely fantastical, like Bender or Federico Garcia Lorca. Anyway, I'm happy that it snowed because it was so beautiful. Walking home Friday night in the giant flakes falling through the streetlights was completely magical, and reminded me so much of home. I guess Montana will always be home, no matter where else I end up. It just feels familiar to have the dry cold weather and snow piled up outside. I missed it. And now it's a gray slush day instead, as we head back into the regular old Bellingham weather. We apparently even had two small earthquakes yesterday, I didn't feel either of them, but I've talked to people who did. Hopefully not a precursor of things to come...


drag queens from a former life

Okay, not really a former life, more like ten years ago. My god, has it really been that long. Anyway, today I was looking up one of my all-time favorite movies Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and I realized why Guy Pearce and Hugo Weaving have always looked somehow familiar to me in recent movies I've seen them in. Because they were the drag queens I was entranced with when I was in high school! So bizarre... Anyway, I guess I was thinking about drag queens because we are most likely going to hit Rumors tonight for New Year's and I believe the Betty Desire show is scheduled. Not sure if that means just Betty entertaining or what, but sounds cool to me. In 1994, we went to a midnight showing of Priscilla in the basement of the Wilma theatre in Missoula, dressed to the teeth in disco gear (courtesy of raiding Chantilly Theater's costume racks). I have a photo somewhere - I should scan it in. Anyway, we sat on an old couch (there wasn't real seating in the basement screen area yet) in the corner and had to crane our necks to see the screen, but it was great. Fabulous 70's music, outstanding costumes, and some really good-looking actors. It's an incredibly fun movie. And it somehow sparked a lasting obsession with drag... je ne sais pas.

Happy New Year to all! Have some fun tonight whatever you do!