Friday, December 18, 2009

Health Care

I want to take a minute to talk about health care.

Clearly, I don't usually use my blog on a political front- but that's what blogs are, right? Public forums where you talk about personal injustices, or your cats, or the crown you just got on your tooth, or the final fitting appointment for your gorgeous wedding gown (all of which are relevant to the last 12 hours of my life).

But today, I want to talk about health care. When I moved to Madison, unable to receive health insurance here, I extended my policy from my former job through a Cobra plan- which seemed amazing at first. Reasonably low cost, no fuss with changing to a new plan, and I could continue on with life. Until a month or two into the plan, when I was already living in Madison and realized on my Cobra plan I wasn't allowed to see any doctors OUTSIDE of the state of MASSACHUSETTS. Which is entirely unhelpful when you're 600 miles away, and you're epileptic. Blue Cross recommended I go to walk in clinics or the ER if I needed to seek medical attention- which makes total sense. I mean, that's why I have insurance, after all. So that I can go to walk in clinics.

But I've been healthy and happy and my seizures have been under control, so my health needs have been kept at bay.. until now. Now that I've been on my Cobra plan for 9 months, I'll have to start paying the full premium, which is no longer affordable, so I've been exploring other options (which are few and far between, as private health care is through the roof expensive and I make too much money- a laughable prospect- for Medicaide). Knowing that I'll be married in roughly 3 months time, I figured the easiest thing to do was figure out something for the interim, and then hop onto my husband's plan in February. He called Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield today to figure out the details- since I take a time sensitive medication (that costs $800/ month without insurance, by the way) we wanted to make sure there was no lapse in coverage.

In infuriating calm and friendly demeaner, an agent from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield told my fiancee that they won't take me on, even onto his plan, even though I'd be paying for it, because I'm epileptic. He told Charlie not to "waste his time trying".

I'm sorry- last I knew, health insurance was created for everyone. And I'm not even trying to get it for free- I'm PAYING for it.. and one of the top insurance agencies in the country is turning me away? It's absolutely ludicrous that the sick are denied health care because they're just that- sick.

So now, I have no current prospects for a health care plan even just to get the medication I need, and no future prospect for a health care plan after marriage- though I can hold out hope that my next employer offers it. And heaven forbid I get sick or need to visit the ER or see my neurologist because I can't do that either.

This is preposterous.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Nu Shooz

As the big day approaches, things are falling into place- which is exciting. I can't say enough great things about, which was a formerly undiscovered territory for me... I knew it existed, I knew it had cute, albeit moderately expensive shoes, and that was the extent of it. But I seemed to remember that when Mikki was getting married, she ordered 3 or 4 pairs of shoes at once from Zappos and sent all but one pair back with free shipping- so I decided to check it out.

sure enough, Zappos offers free shipping both ways! How cool is that? Who does that? But that's undoubtedly why their shoes all cost more than $90... which isn't necessarily a lot, unless you're making Midwest wages.

to avoid a costly hem, the seamstress told me to get a 3 inch heel- which was a daunting task. I wear heels sometimes... but my feet always end up sore by the end of the night. And then I found the greatest, cutest heels ever, which had 14 glowing reviews praising their comfort and the memory foam footbed... I figured I had to give these a shot.

Turns out... they are the greatest heels ever! I've been wearing them around the house to break them in which is quite a sight, esp when coupled with my purple sweatpants and flannel shirts.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

25 Lines

I found this poem i compiled in high school, it was a project for AP English... it's all lines from different poets making one big poem. It turned out pretty cool.... I called it "25 Lines"

Somewhere on the other side of this wide night
The bloodthirsty spring has awakened in the woods.
We are the clumsy passerby, we push past each other with elbows
Sometimes perhaps you don't want to be a part of me.
If I can keep you attached to me, I can anchor you to the world.
I regret bitterly the years of loving you in both your presence and your absence.
I became a criminal when I fell in love.
Fortunate are those with the gift of knowing
Freedom is such a poor excuse
Self-destruction is the star that hangs burning above me
in the catacombs built by man.
The nights are lonely without him
The room is turning slowly away from the moon.
I know that salvation is on the way...
Or should I cross that out and say this is sad?
I used to tell you my dreams
Morbid fascination kept me hanging on
but don't bother about this--
We are all guilty, we are all sinners
The stranger beside you is the same
I am trying to be truthful
I guess you learn from me.
I love you...
whatever "in love" means.
When it's over, I don't want to wonder.

(I was kind of morbid in my younger years...)

Wicked Game

I've been really into a few things lately when i'm cooking for myself: potatoes, beets, lemon, fresh fennel, and tofu. Generally, all in the same dish.

Charlie's been on my case for replacing breakfast with coffee, so I've been working on little tricks to make the breakfast hour go smoothly. I've realized I'm extremely lazy in the morning. I wake up in order to have a half hour of time to relax, and then use that time to sit on the couch, drink coffee, and either watch the news, or check my email, or both. So I've been preparing breakfast at night so it's ready to go in the morning. Whence forth I open the fridge upon waking and see prepared potatoes, beets, and tofu seasoned in yellow curry like I did this morning, there's no resisting.

Madison finally got it's first snow. On my drive to work Thursday morning I was greeted with a few flurries, and by the time I came home it was coming down like a champ. At least I can put my snow tires to good use.

Yesterday, with my day off, I decided to go to Joann Fabrics early in the morning to get more supplies for the bridesmaids gifts in progress, and other little wedding things. As I was sitting in the parking lot, sipping an Americano and listening to Chris Isaak's Wicked Game on the radio (not a good scene) it hit me that the outside of Joann Fabrics is an awful color of taupe with forest green lettering. Suddenly, a wave of depression hit me- sitting in a parking lot, early morning, in the midwest metropolis of Odana Road, filled with every commercial shopping center you can imagine and equally peppered with shops you'll never enter in your life...

So I texted Non, "Hhhaaaaaaiiiiiiiii don't wannnnnnnnnna fall in looooooooooooove" and she instantly recognized that it was Chris Isaak, Wicked Game, and I was reassured that we were meant to be.

Here, for your listening & viewing (dis)pleasure (it's kind of lewd but at least we'll all be on the same page):

(PS I wrote this entire blog post while listening to that song... yeah, it's creepy, I know)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Billy Joel kinda Day

It's a saturday at the store... I've made a Billy Joel pandora station at Adrian's urging. That man can prompt me to do (almost) anything.

I can see him now, in his sing-songy voice, button-down shirt, handsome face, sitting at his desk (my old desk-- bittersweet memories) in the green Magic Beans office struggling not to sing along to Benny and the Jets in his headphones and answering telephone calls from customers... annoyed to pause right in the bridge of B-B-B-BENNY! Hoping Sarah doesn't look over and see his toe tapping, his fingers jiving on the keyboard as he answers stroller matchmaking emails. Love him.

The Happy Bambino website continues to occupy all of my time. What little time I have left is occupied by my dearest hubby-to-be, wedding plans, bridesmaid-gift-making, and plans for april. Not that I'm complaining, because I'm the kind of person who's built to stay busy. When I run out of things to do in 6 or so months- check back in with me. Hopefully I won't be pregnant, or adopting puppies. I kid! I kid!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Confessions of the Queen Security Guard of the World

I love going through old writings. This piece is SO ME. From the Fogg Art Museum

April 2006.

Humans are funny creatures. I feel like I learn a lot about humanity through the coat room Sunday shift. I can sum up a relationship through one simple question, "Do you guys want me to hang this together?"

It's like I've asked them to define their relationship: sleeping together, seeing each other, dating, boyfriend/girlfriend, married..

Sometimes the answer will be, "We're not together.. but you can put our coats together." followed by an awkward laugh, which I return with a nod.

I feel worst for the couples who come in and one eagerly smiles and enthusiastically says, "Yes!" at the same time that the other one says, "Uh....... well, yes. I mean, sure. That's fine."

Sometimes one feels the need to define the relationship for me, saying, "well... if it means we only get one tag, I guess that's easier..." or "IF they'll both fit together..." I feel like I should take the other partner and pat them on the head and say, "Honey... get out of that relationship, because it's going NOWHERE." If it fits? Two jackets on one hanger? It doesn't take a brain surgeon to know that almost any two jackets can fit on one hanger. And not JUST because I'm the Queen of the Coatroom. I generally end up feeling more like the patrons personal therapist. Sitting behind my desk with a clipboard and glasses, listening to the frustrations of being sent to me to drop off their bags (which have their laptops in them, because they are the type of people that bring laptops to museums), or having to get passes to take pictures, which took an extra three minutes out of their already overstuffed day. And imagine, being asked to leave a backpack or an umbrella in the coatroom! The injustice of it all! And so I'm forced to coddle them; pat their heads, tell them I understand; and all the while hope that at the end of their stay, there's a tip for me so that I can make my way to Starbucks to be coddled by my grande soy caramel macchiato. It's a vicious cycle, it really is; but at the end of the day, I'm glad that I answer to a cup of coffee and not a coatroom attendant.

Humans are strange creatures, especially the ones that frequent art museums.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

3 Minute Therapist

Everyone's heard the phrase "retail therapy". Most everyone's probably guilty of the crime every now and again... break up with your boyfriend? buy some new shoes. lose your job? buy a new dress. instant gratification, and there's nothing quite as refreshing as feeling great and getting complimented in a new outfit.

I always understood the concept, but mistakenly thought the "therapist" behind retail therapy was the expenditure of hard earned money and the buying of clothing or household items that seem to redeem your sense of value and self worth.

that is, until I worked in retail (for three + years)

now I understand that as the sales clerk, I am the therapist. Especially in small business, where the success of your business is hinged on your great customer service and helpful, happy, pleasant employees. I like to call myself a "three minute therapist". People come up to the counter and dish their lives greatest woes or biggest joys to me in three minutes... while I'm asking about their day, ringing up their items, wrapping their gifts, and bidding them adieu.

two weeks ago, I was sitting in the store on a rainy tuesday when a woman walked in with teased blond hair, misinformed blue eyeshadow, and a long leather jacket. She was staring at me when she said, "I... have a little problem. Your fence is ok... but my car..." and then she started crying.

I followed her outside to the front of the store, where her car was perched precariously on top of an iron fence outside of our store... fence wedged between the back bumper and the back tire so she couldn't move backwards... and she couldn't move forwards. She continued to cry and said, "I just don't... know... what... to... do"

Quick thinking as I am, I realized that every thursday morning we have a very steady Dad's group that meets. I popped my head into dads group and they all looked up at my invasion as I asked timidly, "Could I get an opinion on something? A... a car thing?" Two of the dads hopped up immediately to our rescue and ran out into the rain to look at this messy situation. We all knew it was bad. My new friend continued to cry, and being the prepared therapist that I am, I patted her wet leather-clad back.

In timing I can only describe as 'divine', my favorite mailman Gil (complete with an amazing handle bar mustache) walked by, in his safari-style rain hat (reserved only for heavy precipitation) and said, "you know what I would do?" and then described to the two dads, my new friend, and myself in complete detail how to jack up the car and rock it off the fence. Which is exactly what they set about to do.

One dad got the car completely jacked up, and the other dad kicked with all his force to free the car from its entrapment on a steel ball topper on the fence. The woman stopped crying and hugged each of us- twice- before leaving. The dads returned to their group... soaked... and I went back to work, a therapy session well done.

I was all-too-pleased to come into work a few days later and see that she'd left a letter for "the automobile angels" highlighted in pink highlighter. I have yet to give it to the dads. but it is thursday.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mom scolded me recently for horribly neglecting my blog.

I figure between launching a new website at work and planning a wedding, I have license to neglect a blog here or there... but what can you do.

charlie's a big eagles fan. my nights have been spent at the local sports bar (because we don't get the eagles on cable) watching any and all philadelphia teams- eagles and phillies mostly. it looks like the phillies are taking us to playoffs-- see, this is something i never would have considered before, much less blogged about. life takes you weird places.

so february 27 is our day of nuptials. i seem to be a very prepared bride... dad has expressed his thanks that i'm not a "bridezilla"... hah. I'm sure charlie feels the same. tonight we made the journey to men's warehouse to find tuxedos for the big day. it was a success. next up? engagement photos.. wedding bands

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Next week is my birthday. 25.

Charlie says 25 was his defining year. He thinks it's everyone's defining year.

I disagree. 24 was definitely my defining year. I.... Lived with two guys in Boston. Traveled to Vegas. My brother fell in love. My sister got engaged. My parents adopted a child. My first cousin got married. I moved across the country. Got a job. Fell in love. Bought a car. Established myself in the Midwest. Made a whole new set of friends. Kept my old ones. Got a credit card. Spent hundreds of dollars at the dentist (sorry mom). Bought a GPS. Spent lots of time missing friends. Jetskied. Learned how to budget (albeit badly). Planned for the future.

In the scheme of my life, though I'm sure to have many more defining years, 24 will definitely be one of the defining years of my young adult life. I look forward to more to come...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Yesterday Charlie and I were out in Middleton, eating lunch at a place called Quaker Steak and Lube (the menu had far too many "lubes" in it for my taste- "Luberita" as opposed to margarita, Lemonade Lube, etc etc- I've made it a personal mission in life to never order a food if I'm uncomfortable saying the name... even the "biker chick salad" seemed a bit obnoxious and derogatory, but it was a great salad so i digress).

About halfway into our meal, we heard the familiar vibration of twin cylinder engines... and out of no where, 150 to 200 motorcycles rolled into the parking lot. and riding on these trusty steeds? a huge pack of wisconsin bikers. now- anyone who knows me knows that this is exactly the kind of activity that makes my day. i mean really. i could have gone home and done nothing else all day and would have been overjoyed. but icing on the cake- a local blues band known as the Blue Olives happened to be there as well, and once the bikers rolled in, the music started. fantastic.

we had the most random and fun saturday, and probably drove around most of dane county two or three times. The weather was gorgeous and not overwhelmingly hot, and it was great to spend a day together having fun and allowing spontaneity to be our guide.

the highlight of the day? Either the motorcycle gang (rallying together to support an end to child violence- love it!) or sitting on the dock in Maple Bluff, overlooking the city at midnight. I love this guy.

Edit- No, Cassie, your dad was not there.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Slow Saturday

But it's only 29 minutes into the day, so I'll be lenient with my customer base. And, it's hot.

Of course I'm rocking Eric Clapton... Come back Baby, let's talk it over one more time

Tonight we're going to the Claddagh Irish Pub tonight in Middleton to dance and see the Blue Olives play- we haven't been dancing since the wedding, and I'm excited. I'm the kinda gal who needs to dance at the very least once a week. It's like maintenance. Luckily, I have a cute boyfriend who also happens to be an excellent dancer.

Dancing compatibility has to have a lot to do with love, I've decided.

But I should work. I'll bid you adieu- and hope I don't eat too many Nilda's Chocolates.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

on my porch again- this is my new favorite night time place to write... underneath the tomato plants, struggling to produce fruit through the bouts of heat followed by days of rain, in their little place of captivity.

two days ago, i went for my normal run and it induced a seizure. nothing serious, but nothing good... and i've been afraid to run since.

right away, i knew something was wrong. i was rounding the corner out of my complex when my hands and arms became tingly and tight, as if i'd been running for days straight, but i kept going. next thing i knew, i was blinking back spots of black and willing myself not to faint, and still, i kept running... kept pushing myself to continue, to not quit, to make it through the run.

when my former boss, eli, promoted me to a new position at mbeans he said, "elissa, do you know why you'll be perfect for this job? because you have the highest GSD in the company. that means you get shit done." it's true... my gsd drive is almost overactive- definitely a trait inherited from the loins and lineage of keri bristow, and one i'm proud of. but it's not the best trait to mix with epilepsy. it means that when i need to stop and take a breather, either physically or mentally, i won't allow myself to. because i just have too much shit to get done. charlie's good at patrolling this trait... sometimes irritatingly so.

anyways, post-run i was fine, and spent the evening watching tv and drinking water and felt mostly back to normal though a little glum... but the residual feeling of fear still lingers. that's the worst part about epilepsy. it causes a reaction of fear in your body so that you will cease and desist whatever you are doing and seek safety. even if you are safe. but it's all learning- growing- understanding.

apparently there's a meteor shower tonight though i see no signs of that now. the sky is dappled with a few stars. jingles of dog collars and people coming and going from their apartments remind me that i coexist. hopefully there will be a good show tonight, but like i said- the skies are pretty empty now.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Night Air

I've been running my AC all day but I'm sitting on my porch right now, past midnight, starry night, warm.... intense rain water from last night evaporating and making the air humid and thick. Both cats keep popping their heads out to see what I'm doing out here- they probably think I'm crazy. Maybe.

There's a nice breeze out here- my skin is welcoming organic air. My apartment complex (which is huge) is kind of like a tiny community- like a giant college campus... where no one knows each other. Pool, workout center, community hall with a pool table and game area, hot tub... i use the pool at night when all the bronzed, sunbathing, smirnoff-ice drinking girls have left and it's dark and peaceful. no kids, no creepy guys... just me and the moon.

i was on a walk tonight, and acutely aware of my surroundings. sometimes i'm not- sometimes i walk and see nothing... just think; my mind, rapidly going through the day, the past, the future. this evening i was calm, happy... able to soak it in. i took a new route- appreciated people's blossoming gardens and little houses, peeked in windows when appropriate... continued my realization that wisconsin is now but not my future.

to be candid... i'm happy. love is a new feeling for me- i've grown accustomed to it. lea said last night that although she couldn't believe i'd been working for her for 4 1/2 months, she also couldn't remember a time before me. I know the feeling. I remember life before now... but i've become so used to life now, that it's right. it's comfortable. it's supposed to be. it's me. charlie's wonderful. we're so well suited, it amazes me sometimes. finding a partner who completely understands me... who challenges me, who compliments me- it's fun. it's growth. it's expanding.

Mike and Jacqueline were married today... I wish I could have been there. Pat's giving me a mini play-by-play now and it makes me wish with more fervency that I was there to celebrate with my friends- but I knew making this decision to move that I wouldn't be able to be at every wedding, every party, every celebration- or see every friend on a whim. It's been challenging to be so far from my dear loved ones. But I make new relationships every day, and I'm continually thankful for that.

I should call it a night- my morning will come on full force... but I'm not ready to bid my saturday adieu yet. Soon.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Time Savers and Babies

This morning I had a novel idea: instead of eating breakfast and coffee, why not blend it all together?

I'm into time-saving ideas. So I made a "coffee smoothie" which consists of my coffee, ice, yogurt, and a banana, all blended. It turned into a frothy beverage resembling some sort of health shake. Not terrible though, and definitely saving me time- which immediately wins it major points in my books. Though I love novel ideas and new discoveries, I doubt I'll do it again. The prep and cleanup is not a time saver.

I often reference the blurred line between my work and my life. Really, if you spend 40 hours of your week at a place, and you actually enjoy it, the lines are going to get blurred a little bit. My dreams are often laden with children, babies, breastfeeding, pregnancy. And the more advanced I become at my job.. the more expertise I gain on the products, the more knowledge I share- customers are becoming convinced that I'm a childbearer. Maybe it's Madison, too... maybe I don't look as young as I did (I am, after all, a month shy of 25) because in Boston it was a question, "do you have kids?" and in Madison, it's a frequent, almost constant chime of, "and you use this with your kids?" or, alternately, "how many kids do you have?". I've skipped past the point of possibility and jumped right into the realm of indefinite.

Hopefully, no one's holding their breath for grand kids, because I can't promise any. Most adults go into parenting totally ignorant and excited- no idea what's in store for them- and that's why the human race works. That's why people keep procreating. Don't get me wrong- children are a blessing, but they're equal parts work to blessing. And if everyone knew just exactly how much work and money they are, earth would probably be way less populated. Yesterday, when I was holding Ali's baby Rocket, looking into his tiny dark eyes, I felt so overcome with affection for this tiny being. Tiny humans will do that to you- make you feel overwhelmed with love, overprotective, overcome with joy. And they remind you of the future- to stay forward thinking; they invoke good will, they bring peace. I'll probably have kids, too. It's what we do. For now I have cats, and they haven't failed me yet.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

To combat boredom and get to know and appreciate our environment a bit better, Charlie and I went to Cherokee Marsh yesterday afternoon. The marsh is 1210 acres of living wetland that filters upland runoff, using excess fertilizer to grow marsh plants, and slowly releases cleaner water to the lakes below. Nature's fantastic, especially when unhampered.

It's huge- the marsh. There are 7 miles of hiking trails which we did not embark on, and then winding boardwalks all throughout the marshy ground which we did travel upon. The grasses and cattails are taller than I am. You get a feel for what wisconsin should be like, was like, before all of the veridian homes and apartment complexes started popping up. I swear, everywhere I turn there's a wingra plant, a gas station, a target, or a housing development in wisconsin. You can see the land beneath it- you know it's great farming land (what are we, zone 4? like vermont?) but instead it's been overdeveloped. Beautiful sloping hillsides and draping, weeping willows now sit, part of someone's yard. Sometimes, you escape that. Sometimes, you're driving and all of a sudden- BAM- you're in the middle of farm country. And there's just rolling farmland for as far as you can see. I love that about WI. It catches you off guard every time. But then, as soon as you were in it, you're out of it again, finding yourself amidst an edward scissorhands housing development.

This is life, though. The world's overpopulated. People need places to live. Housing developments are cheap, and give some semblance of home and neighborhood.

Though I try not to live by the things Jim Morrison did and said, he was right on when he said.. the future's uncertain and the end is always near. Let it roll, baby, roll.

Friday, July 24, 2009

So our grand adventure (which will probably just end up being our ridiculously long and unnecessarily busy extended weekend) starts today. Woke up at 6:15 ready to drink coffee, clean the litter box and go... oh, to be an adult.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Text Convo between Mom + Me this am

Mom: What r u doing in boston on friday
Me: Probably visiting with the little girl and mom i used to babysit for- why
Mom: Bored on bus and sending random messages
Me: i love how candid you are momma. crack me up
Mom: Glad I can entertain u
Mom: Headset on listening 2 emo music
Mom: And 2morrow nite?
Me: I know you love emo music! Tmrw out to din with mik and ezra
Mom: Fun. Is chas nervous?
Me: He's preemptively annoyed.
Me: Doesn't like schedules.
Mom: Hope cosmic recovers
Me: Hahaha! He's excited to see you guys and looking forward to meeting fam
Mom: Good he should see some good sights
Mom: Bring camera

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Me: well, one of my best friends from foreeeeeeeever called me at 8 this morning (and i was up writing html in bed, OF COURSE)

Friday, July 17, 2009

I found...

Some old writing.

I mean, it's like 3 years old. And it's kinda angry. I'm sharing this one piece (mainly because I don't think many people read this... or particularly care)... and because i'm thoroughly amused by it.

3-12-06 -- beginning of a letter, but I don't know the recipient (oh, elissa bristow, you and your mysteries) Oh. And it's facetious. I think.

Just to let you know, I'm about to set myself up for my suicide. Just as long as we're clear on that... and you should probably feel guilty. You did, after all, persuade me to stay. Life. Ahhh... sweet, sweet life. It seems only natural that when something enters the world, bloody, naked, and screaming, something else should exit the world.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

It's the kind of morning where sun is just starting to peak around the corners of the houses and birds are blithely chirping over their breakfasts and the warmth on their bellies.

Last night I allowed myself to entertain a vision of life in a few years. I was sitting on the porch with charlie smoking a tiny cigar in my sweatpants telling him about when we live on a farm on the west coast, and sit on our front porch in rocking chairs overlooking fields and fields of crops. Then he described, in avid detail, how to till a field and I pretended to listen, but really surveyed the landscape that falls out of my window.

I live in an apartment complex. Though they try to make some semblance of "community" in this grand complex, it will always be that for me. I'm proud to be who I am, have the parents that I do, come from Vermont.. but it has seriously hampered my ability to enjoy city spaces to their fullest. Because deep down, I know that before my housing complex sat on this land, there was a huge, beautiful, rolling field with wildflowers and wheat grass and a myriad of trees.

The breeze that's coming in right now is cool and refreshing... it smells like spring (though we're definitely half-way through July.. wait, when did that happen?!). The bird feeder is swaying and Leopold is on guard, ready to pounce on anything that comes this way (though he can't even catch flies when they buzz around the house, nervously looking for an exit, slowly dying) I have a dress that needs to be hemmed. That's what I'll pour my pre-work energy into now.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I have a young friend who has clearly just learned how to use email in the past half year... evident by that vivacious, overzealous piling up of emails in my inbox.

Now, I'm generally a good emailer. Like any other emailer, I drop the ball from time to time.. forget to write back for a week or two; but when i do write back, it'll be a witty, fun-to-read, kick-ass email (oh, go on...)... but when I get continuous "how are you" emails from a 9 year old, my creativity tends to run dry.

She's learned the fwd button as well. And the capslock. "OMG LOOK AT THIS SO FUNNY MUST READ" is quite frequently the subject line in my inbox, in various forms. And no, they're usually not that funny, or cute, and I can spare myself the image of another small digital puppy face cocked to the side looking at me with sad eyes and a caption coming out of his head.

Oh, what to do, what to do. I suppose at one point, I was that age... and though I wasn't using email, I was doing equally obnoxious things to people in my life (should I ask my parents? because I'm sure they'd be quick to remind me). Now I'm off to work, and then we're taking a quick weekend jaunt to Chicago where my aunt and uncle live... it should be fun. weekend boating and such. Nothing to complain about.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Mystery: SOLVED

The two of us are lying side by side last night, talking about inconsequential things... space and time, aliens vs homosapiens- the usual- when charlie interrupts me and goes, "OH! Did you like the CatGenie?!?"

me- "Ohhh! Did you put that on my computer?"
charlie- "Uh, what, you think it just popped up on it's own?"
me- (launch into thought process re: entire blog post from earlier that day)... "I just didn't know you knew how to do that"
charlie-(hurt)- "What, pull a window up on a page and then shut the screen?"
me-"Yeah... well.. I thought it may be out of the realm of your technological abilities"
(charlie, not impressed)
charlie- "I was watching this infomercial, and all of a sudden I heard, 'Never clean a catbox again!' and i was like, 'DING!' I think we should buy it, Cutie."

And then, he launched into a full 20 minute discussion about the pros of the CatGenie, and made me watch the video of it online (it actually is really cool... after the cat uses the box, there's a sensor that starts the "cleansing" process- it drains the pee and scoops the poop, and then cleans the entire box. the poop then gets liquified and the purified... or, something- they make it not smell bad.. and the entire thing is hooked up to your toilet, so it all gets poured into there and then you flush it later)

And now i'm sitting here researching the CatGenie. Do I really need a $300 cat litter box? But... if i never buy litter or clean the box again... is it worth it? Oh jeez.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


This morning when I awoke my computer from happy hibernation and impatiently waited for the screen to show up while my coffee brewed (thus- pre-caffeine.. this happens every morning... the first 2-5 minutes I do anything on my computer is completely pre-caffeine... i sit there, jerk the mouse around, squint at the screen with a headache, feel irritated... if you ever get a super mean, super early email from me... it was probably in the 3-5 minute span every morning where I'm awake, but not yet caffeinated. I tend to stay away from all forms of communication until I know I can handle it)... but I digress....

this morning my computer screen wakes up and on it is a huge page for the CatGenie- The World's Only Self-Flushing, Self-Washing Litter Box.

Now, this thing is cool (and probably costs as much as 3 of my paychecks combined) but I promise it wasn't the last page I had up before sending my computer into hibernation... or even a page I've ever seen before. Which left me wondering... is my computer trying to send me a message? Or did charlie go onto my computer, pull up the page, and leave it there.. as a subtle hint?

Now, this is something I would certainly do to him, but I happen to know the span of his technological abilities and I'm pretty sure this is out of that range.

So............I'm left wondering.. late night, while I was sleeping, did the cats sneak in here with their furry little paws, open up my computer, and type me a message about the world's only self-flushing, self-washing litter box that they just have to have?

Now I may not be the best at keeping their litter box fresh (sorry guys) but my dear boyfriend is. I mean that litter box is washed more often than a litter box ever should be.... (not that we can complain...)

But still I sit and ponder... who left me the message about the CatGenie? My trusty laptop, tired of smelling cat litter wafting out of the cat bathroom day-after-day, my cute boyfriend, done cleaning the box, or my conniving cats, who, despite all other forms of luxuries, just need more? I have to solve this mystery.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Alligator Gar

Charlie's making me lunch (sweetie) and i'm watching a tantalizing show on the history channel about alligator gars. ew. these creatures look like a cross between an alligator and a fish.... and boy are they ugly. i'm going to link some images, just for viewing pleasure- i can't seem to stop looking at these huge beasts. and in the show they keep talking about the thrill of not knowing if you'll keep all of your fingers and toes at the end of a good fishing session...

But on that note, we're off to go clothes shopping, so i'll leave you with that sweet taste in your mouth.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth of July, Elissa

Working at the store today.

11:34 am update: slow, but moving steadily.

Just talked an older couple into aden + anais swaddling blankets. Not much "talking into" involved in that sale- those things sell themselves. Amazing blankets, really, but no need to delve into it on my personal blog... (sheesh, what am I, a 24-year-old baby product fanatic? This is getting to be a problem. You should have heard the aden + anais gush-fest I had with charlie the other night. he was less-than-impressed with my "muslin is the greatest because it's so breathable; it has a loose weave and helps a baby to keep cool in hot weather and heat up in cool weather... and you should see the size of these swaddlers!" lecture. he's my partner and he doesn't even know what swaddling is- i think my mouth dropped further than the floor and i lost a bit of faith in humanity.)

I opened the doors to encourage traffic... for the first 10 minutes it was nice to have the summer pre-rain scent drifting in, but now the scent of trash and rotting animal is wafting in from the back door- not quite sure from where it comes, but i smelled it last night as i was locking up. i'll blame milios, for lack of better scapegoat.

ok, back to work.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I hope you're happy, CKM

This one's dedicated to Colleen... sorry for my spurts of enthusiasm followed by long periods of silence. I know for many of you whose bated breath is held on my words, my stretches of absence leave you blue in the face.

In a conversation with Robert (graphic designer from Magic Beans) I realized I haven't dreamed in a while. I used to dream all the time. I wake up more frequently at night- not the way I used to, comforted by the dark, relishing in the night.. now I wake up, toss around, listen to the night sounds, pee, go back to sleep. It's not uncomfortable, it's just different.

We thought for a short period we'd cancel our trip to the East Coast (I never thought of home as the "east coast" until i lived away from it. Like when I lived in Costa Rica 15 years ago and I thought of home as "The States" and had previously never thought of it as anything but "woodstock")... not to delve into anything too personal but funds are tight- as with everyone right now in this economic state. We've shortened our trip incredibly, going from 10 days to 4, only flying in for the wedding and in time to see a few friends and family members. It's important to me that Charlie meet my family and friends, though. The more serious we get, the more I love him, the more I need everyone to know him, and him to know everyone. I was sad to cancel the trip, and reinvigorated to be able to go again, even if for such a short amount of time. It's hard to recover (not only financially but emotionally) from such a long trip, so we're probably doing ourselves a favor in the long run.

Colleen- since this is dedicated to you, i've been really into eric clapton lately. More appropriately.. desperately into eric clapton. His bluesy rock-n-roll just soothes my soul. I know you appreciate music so I deemed it time for a shout out. And you do follow my blog religiously, and hold me accountable to writing in it... thank you. I asked charlie if he would be offended if my love for clapton was on par with my love for him and his response?, "i'll kick his ass!"

I'm eating ridiculous chocolate toffee at work and pricing breast pumps- * welcome to my world. *

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I just got totally lost in somebody's blogging world. I love it when that happens... an hour goes by and you realize your coffee's cold, and you're totally entrenched in someone elses life stories.

It's been nearly 100 degrees the past two days. So hot that even the pool isn't appealing.. charlie aptly likened it to baby bath water last night... luke warm, not overly refreshing, and all you can think of when you submerge your head and open your eyes underwater to do some moonlit laps in the murky, cloudy chlorine is sweaty bodies and sunscreen and everything else that must be leaching into the water and breeding there.

Anyone up for a swim? It seemed like a good idea last night... I worked from home yesterday, but I've been laden with cramps for the last few days and described as "totally unapproachable" (that went over well) so we went to charlie's friend bryan's house in the evening. When bryan said he was having a "sausage party" charlie misunderstood... thought it was sausages on the grill... as opposed to an all guys party. So, there I am with six guys who all work on a tree crew... swapping stories about the times they nearly died, or the pink baby squirrels they saved (or alternately killed) in trees, and then we found two teeny, tiny, downy birds that had mistakenly found their way into the yard, and watched the mama bird feeding them little morsels of food. It was sad, knowing they were going to die- either find death at the hands of some raccoon in the night, or roast in the inevitable sun that's still on it's way today.... But- we came home (eventually), bellies full of food and beer, and decided it was time for a nice dip in the pool. It was late... 9:30ish, but the heat from the day still hung heavy in the atmosphere, radiated out of the pavement, the air was stagnant and warm... so we swam in the moonlight... and that's when we realized the pool was no more refreshing than baby bathwater, and quickly abandoned that mission.

This is summer. Every year I forget, and every year I'm harshly reminded. Summer's hot. I'll get used to it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

It's a lazy day. 3 pm and I've done nothing this far; not even nothing worth discussing, just nothing to speak of.

I should go to the store at some point today and buy a fan. Waking up entrenched in sticky sweat with the sheets clinging to my body is definitely a sign of summer, but not necessarily one I have to experience to make this season authentic.

Yesterday was a classic tale of dish satellite (or any technology company, really) screwing you over. They told me to be at my house from 12-5 to expect someone to arrive (in that five hour block) to install my dish. I was pissed, but I stuck it out. The hours dwindled away, my wasted Saturday as I cleaned out my studio, made some really cool art with old pills (eventually I'll post pictures), tried to stand as close to the AC as possible at all times, and sat on my porch to tan my legs. Finally i get a call at 4:30 that, sorry Ma'am, they're running late... they'll be here at 7.

7!? After I've spent my entire Saturday of captivity, i have to CONTINUE to stay here? I ran to target, bought a bathing suit, picked up the dog i was sitting, took him for a walk, and came back. Made more art. Put in a movie. They didn't get here until 8. And then, they were here about 5 minutes whenceforth I told them that no, they couldn't drill holes into my apartment walls, and they informed me that they couldn't complete the job tonight and left.

i was a little more than irate. What a waste of a day. Not to mention I've got Jack, the nervous, barking, pacing black lab all up in my business, trying to eat the cats at every turn, and I've got the cats locked in one room all day, trying to rip up the rug....

in short, to make up for my waste-of-a-day yesterday, i should really do something today.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Is there such thing as the calm after the storm? Two nights ago was thunder and lightning all through the night, rain all through yesterday, lightning up until I went to bed at midnight... and today, totally calm, clear skied, sunny, birds chirping... the calm post storm. I'd say it's more of a heat-post-storm, really. All the air is stagnant and the humidity seems to just hang thick where ever you go. I was going to go to the Farmer's Market downtown with Jenny, but she took her baby Miles (he's not much of a baby, as he's almost two... but I like to call him a baby... because he kind of is a baby, in the scheme of the world. I mean, I'm 24 and I'm still kind of a baby) and they went early. She advised me not to come, in the heat and business of the day. Everyone's out to stretch their legs on this first beautiful day post storm... even though it's actually hot, sticky, and gross... and it's just after 8 am. What will the rest of the day hold in store?

Charlie's going to a Phish show this weekend, leaving me to fend for myself... the dish satellite guy is coming today... at some point... between 12 and 5. Love how they block off five hours of your day and you know damn well they never show up until 4:45, but if you'd left at noon they would have been there at 12:01 to set up your dish. It's good... I've been stir crazy with movie watching. But still. I'm also babysitting his brother's dog, Jack. A skinny black lab that's more like a child than a dog. The cats will really love me this weekend. Four of us in a tiny apartment, three of us being quadrupeds.

What'll we do with ourselves? Sun ourselves on the porch, perhaps? Go for frequent dips in the pool? Eat fresh veggies out of our tiny, growing garden? Watch all the dish satellite we can get our paws on? Take a field trip out to Cherokee Marsh? So hard to say, really, and the options are endless.

Friday, June 19, 2009

It's interesting how we become so immune to the pain of death. Maybe because we see it so much in movies and on television... charlie and i were watching a movie about a guy who killed for the sheer joy of killing- it was just an addiction like smoking or drinking... and i found myself justifying it in my mind... the movie guides you along this path, of course, so that you're siding with the killer, feeling sorry for him, pardoning his bloodthirst. That's our day-in-age, when you watch someone's throat get slashed and see blood spurting out of their jugular and it doesn't even phase you.

But it means when a real death happens, you're hardened to it. A friend of mine from home died last week of an overdose, and it was hard for me to separate fact from fiction. Fact: He's dead. Fact: I will never see him again. Fact: this is life. Had I been home, or even on the same coast as home, it probably would have hit me harder... but I'm not. I'm in the middle of the country where everything is easy-peasy, friendly, fun, and summer-time. I go to work and I work hard, I come home, cook dinner, drink wine, and watch movies with my boyfriend. Sometimes I go for a jog ("to better myself"). This is my life right now. There's no room for the death of a buddy. So my mind didn't make any room. I'm still grappling with it now- sometimes I'm overcome with waves of realization or sadness, but most of the time I just haven't accepted the fact that he's not on this earth anymore- that I'll never see him again.

What is this lassitude?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

am i crazy?

woman just calls about swim shirts, we don't have the size she wants... I offer to give her a call when they come in and go to write down her info. somehow we get disconnected. i wait a few minutes for her to call back, and then i'm like, "well, i can just look at her info on the caller id and call her back..." so i do

"hi, this is elissa calling from happy bambino..."
"i...think...i...was just talking to you about swim shirts"
"yeah, i didn't have your number so i didn't know how to call you back."

oh, i'm sorry ma'am, YOU CALLED ME
Just got back from a run... and I feel good. This morning was the kind of 7am that lends itself to a run... misty, cool, gray... you don't overheat, you feel good, and you get the chance to watch the mist rise off the wisconsin fields as you go. Really lush and green, and all of the irises are standing tall in their yards, proud to represent their houses (even if the houses aren't much worth representing).

I changed charlie's ringtone to "sexy back" unbeknownst to him... he probably shouldn't leave his phone lying around? and now I can't wait to see the reaction when it goes off. I wish I could plant it... so it went off when he was out with the boys or something. He probably doesn't even know the song, let alone who justin timberlake is. silly boy.

that got me thinking about ring tones. how do they represent us? i've had 4 main ringtones in my life. Sophomore year of college, it was 50 Cent's In Da Club, and that was back when ring tones were pretty terrible and it was just a midi file of the beat of the chorus... and then I had "I Ran" by Flock of Seagulls, followed by Stevie Wonder's "Part Time Lover" to the recent, "Stronger than Me" by Amy Winehouse.

I really see no correlation between the four.

Monday, June 8, 2009

In general, my epilepsy is very manageable. I'm well controlled on medication and besides a few small breakthrough seizures, most of which I'm conscious for (epilepsy's a strange and often misrepresented disorder- it's not all falling down/ shaking/ biting your tongue, just fyi), I'm pretty healthy.

But then there are these weird episodes when you know your body's not quite right, and you're pretty sure it's linked to your epilepsy, but you're not totally sure... good signs that you've had seizures in the night? Waking up with blood on your pillow, waking up with a burst blood vessel in your eye, wetting the bed in the night, spraining thumbs in your sleep....... it's scary to wake up and think that in such a vulnerable and safe place- sleep- your body was out of control. Sleep/ night/ bed is such a haven for me- a shelter- and I hate to poison it with fears of seizures while i'm dormant.

you probably sense that i'm getting at something. I'm pretty sure I had a seizure in my sleep last night- but it's just that whole realm of the unknown that I hate. Does it really matter, the knowing? Maybe not. But my very nature- and maybe all of human nature- drives me to demand answers... to want to know, to seek truth, and facts.

it can be frustrating.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Both cats are on the porch, crouching on the water-logged boards, watching a loud, obnoxious and radiantly red robin chirp his heart out and hop up and down the banister in hopes to get some food from the feeder.

He must be trying to ward them off with his strikingly loud chirp- he stares right at them while hopping up and down, beak opening and closing, sounding like a squeaky toy underneath a foot.

I can see the muscles tighten in the cats' bodies as they wait, impatiently, to make their move. Tails swishing about. But the robin knows all too well that this is his game, and they're only pawns.

Now Leo has decided to make his move- he found that charging the robin didn't work, as the robin relocated to the small, sloping rooftop from where the birdfeeder hangs but did not cease and desist his horrible chirping. In a last ditch effort, Leo, pretending to lose interest, ran back inside to the other side of the room, under the dining room table, crouched down, and started chattering (and, if you've never seen or heard a cat chatter... it's very creepy).... then ran across the room, low- belly down to the ground like a stealthy black and white soldier and lunged again, unsuccessfully at the robin.

The robin has called in some reinforcements now... two are outside, chirping and bouncing around the porch and the cats are feigning non-interest. Itty Bitty, never the huntress (besides a few buzzing, dying flies here and there) has flopped over on her side- a clear indication that she is done with this game... and Leopold, in his defeat, has resorted to lying, hunched in the corner next to the recycling bin, yellow eyes squinted mostly shut and peering around.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Today is absolutely beautiful... blue skies dappled with unobtrusive, fluffy clouds, bright sun, chirping birds...

I'm eating hummus and chips, leopold is watching kids in a field out the window. Life continues to be good, albeit a bit tumultuous as times, as life can be. Nothing I can't handle... nothing I don't dislike, even- what's life without a little spice?

There's just enough breeze coming through my bedroom window to remind me that it's summer- that I'm alive- that things are good- that I'm content. We're all content here, and that's a beautiful thing. I hear tell of rain in for the weekend but I'll live- there are worse things in life than rain.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

If you miss my daily charm and wit (and come on, I know you do..) this is the blog I've been dedicating most of my time to:

TRUE, TRUE, it mostly deals with baby products, cloth diapering issues, and chemicals like BPA and phthalates but my voice rings true, and at least you'll get a little tastes of my effervescent charm. ;)

.........................I'm too busy.....................

Monday, May 25, 2009

What to do with my holiday?

I think I'll celebrate by running errands at target. Then, I may sun myself by the pool (the pool in my apartment complex just opened... niiiice)... and maybe clean the litter box and organize my crafting desk a bit.. throw out things I don't need... clean the bathroom, scrub the tub... oh, what a great holiday I have planned!

Tonight we're going to Tina's to cook portobella mushrooms and make caprese salads and wine and dine with her and the kids and betsy.... yes. In the meantime, I'll entertain myself with various charades of homemaking.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Up at 6, despite my alarm scheduled for 8. Leopold and Bitster are sitting in the sliding glass window, watching rain water the plants on my porch. Two tomato plants fell over and I had a weak moment wondering if I should bring them in, but all of my plants are so thirsty, it seems necessary.

I think I'll get in 2 hours of work before going to work. We're building this new website and it's kind of kicking my ass. It can take hours to upload one product at times. There's just so much to do. I'm working completely solo today, and I feel a bit nervous about it. Opening, closing, everything... alone. It's rainy, so maybe it won't be super busy. Hard to say.

This weekend is "Brat Fest"- Cassie, can you explain to me Midwesterners obsession with cheese, beer, and smoked meats? This is a huge draw for people, I've heard mention of brat fest more times than I deem necessary for such an event, and then yesterday charlie says, mid-day, while i'm working, "Sweetie! It's BRAT FEST!!!"

yeah. no.

I guess if I had spent my entire life in the same flat, long-wintered town, cheese, beer, and smoked meat would excite me too. And really, if you examined the things that do excite me, they're no better. I'm just not represented by a group of people.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I was standing on my porch last night in the very beginnings of summer heat, surveying the lush green arboreal landscape, watching the wind blow through fields of grass, turning it belly up and exposing its purple side, smelling the sweet, new, lily-white flower blossoms that hang heavy and full in the trees.. and i was flooded with this overwhelming sense- I'm happy.

Happy. Not just content. But actually happy. Happy to be alive, happy to be here. Happy to be there. Just, in general, happy.

Maybe it's just love that does that to you? I hear that love is blinding, but I don't find it to be so. I think I'm faced daily with many of charlie's faults-- and vice versa-- and we just know, accept, and love each other regardless.

sometimes we talk about moving to the west coast, starting an organic farm... that makes me excited. but for the first time in my life, i'm not chomping at the bit to advance my situation. I'm content right where I am, and I could stay here for a while, happily. It's nice to not feel restless. It's nice to feel right.

Monday, May 18, 2009

today is a *real* day off.

i slept in, and didn't feel guilty about it. then i lounged in bed. thought about life. enjoyed myself.

played on the computer. caught up with friends.

got my hair cut. went to target. bought a beautiful rug for my kitchen (beautiful little circle rug with a flower on it, matches the red walls... it's great).

now i'm home doing a deep conditioning treatment on my hair and sewing. I'm about to pop in a movie. today is a complete day off. pamper. don't do any work. I love it. my days off thus far have been task-oriented and busy. Later, I'll go to the bank. that will be an errand. But I can handle it. It'll be nice to get out for a minute. i should consider eating something too... but, I'll get to that :)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Up eating chips and salsa after midnight. Charlie told me recently that he didn't want me to gain or lose any weight because he thought i was perfect, and that if i started losing weight, he'd start feeding me carbs at bedtime. funny.

i'm listening to music from last summer. doesn't that always mess you up? it very well may be the habanero and lime salsa that's bringing tears to my eyes... in some ways, a year ago seems so close and in others, so far. my mindset right now is so different, my thought processes evolved so drastically over the year. I went through big changes in a mere 365 days. I'm not just talking about the move, though I think I was becoming prepared to leave, unbeknownst to me, through a growth process.

I never would have been ready to leave Boston, my job, my friends. And then, all of a sudden, I was. Even the day that I packed up and left boston, I didn't know if things would work out with charlie, but I did know that the move was right. And here I am. Living. Surviving. In love. And happy. I made the right decision.

so sitting here, listening to music from last summer, thinking about how fresh and green everything was, how my heart beat so differently, for different things, how my mind was entangled in different thoughts... and feeling a sad tug at my heart... it doesn't have to do with wishing i was back there. it's a form of reminiscing.

in a year, i'll look back and reminisce about this night that i stayed up late in that cute Madison apartment listening to okkervil river, Leopold meticulously cleaning himself on top of tina's mattress, crab apples fresh in bloom, love new in my heart, city fresh, unfolding, and full of secrets.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Coffee and greek style yogurt with maple syrup- this is how i start every morning.

I wish I didn't have to work today, it being saturday. At least it's raining, so I don't feel so much like I'm missing something great.

The constant rain has caused green to creep in every which way. Flowers are blooming, plants are coming up, and the smell of spring hangs heavy in the air.

Though I miss my friends, I'm still happy, continuously. And I'm making new friends, which is exciting.

I'm excited by the thought of moving farther west someday. To bigger mountains (because, wait, Wisconsin's flat), to greener fields, away from modular homes. I spend my free time thinking of building a house at the end of a long driveway somewhere in the hills of california, or oregon, or washington....

it's nice.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Love Conquers

I find myself on websites like checking out their pregnancy calculator and filling out my own fertility charts for research' sake... and I have to wonder when it's gone too far.

Google has picked up on my frequent searches. When I type in "trying to" it auto-fills with "get pregnant", even on my home laptop. All of the ads on my sidebar always have to do with cute baby clothes, BPA-free bottles, or cloth diapering techniques. And I think about babies all the time. This isn't new to Madison- so don't fear (I'm not baby-minded these days). It's an occupational hazard, one I've been dealing with for the past 3 years. But mapping the fertility chart today tapped an all-time low. I wondered what charlie would think if he found that. What he'll think next time the sugary-sweet pink email pops up in my inbox, "Elissa, you're ovulating". Even the ease at which i talk about all issues regarding babies, ovulation, breasts, and the like is a bit alarming, especially for a 24 year old.

It's past midnight and I'm eating salad and pizza in the kitchen, drinking out of the Love Conquers Sig that Mik got for me for my road trip across the country. She could barely part with me then for the two weeks I'd be gone... and now i'm permanently out of the East Coast. The midwest has treated me well, that's for sure. And I don't regret my decision to come here. It feels like home, and I can't ask for more than that. Being with charlie feels like home.


Morning now. Ridiculous to-do list. I'm actually going to follow it today, unlike last Wednesday on my day off when I found myself so incapacitated that I didn't do anything. It happens.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Leo and I are watching a downpour outside.

I went upstairs to shower and it was mildly sunny. I came out to thunder and torrential downpours.

I love to watch the cats while they figure things out. Leo, sitting in the sliding glass door, head cocked to one side, staring persistently at the rain soaked blades of grass and the seedlings we planted. The field has a tendency to fill up with rain and flood and then the ducks come.

Leo, now, stretched out on the cool tiles in front of the fireplace. probably dreaming about destroying more of my plants and escaping out the sliding glass doors to his freedom. what would he do with such freedom? no one to feed him, scratch his belly, kiss his nose. he doesn't know what happiness is because he's too busy toeing the lines. i appreciate him anyway.

the thought has occurred to me that this should be elissa's cat blog rather than elissa's art blog... but i'm not ready to go down that route.

a text from my mom: "it's sunny n going 2 b 80. I luv u 2"

now i hear birds chirping and chattering away but see only rain and gray skies. the midwest is strange.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

it's 10:51 am and i'm already working on lunch. i've been up for awhile so it feels excusable.

my list of 'to-dos' is so overwhelming that i feel incapacitated. days like this are inexcusable in my book.

the cats like to sit outside and look longingly at the green field. wisconsin's nature is to be flat, so i can see the field where charlie and i play frisbee, the road that i drive to work, and a fence that's meant to serve as a barrier between us and a residential neighborhood. wisconsin is into those cookie cutter, modular homes piled on top of each other and clustered onto tiny hills.

i feel guilt ridden. tired. used up. but i'm not unhappy, and i know it will pass. it's just one of those mornings.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Dad arrived in Wisconsin this afternoon to deliver the rest of my belongings- he flies out tomorrow morning at 6 am. Which means we're up at 4 am to get out of here. Wow. What a guy!

He got here around 2 and charlie entertained him. they came by the store and surprised me. so cute, my men in my store. they spent 3 hours watching jimi hendrix music videos... hey, whatever makes them happy.

things are going amazingly. we are planting right now- tomatoes, peas, beans, poppies, peppers...

i'm not feeling totally articulate. tired. but life is good, and i am so happy.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I've been neglectful of this.

I've been neglectful of everything except my boyfriend.

Such is life.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Still uploading CDs. Seriously, this guy has got thousands. Its fun though. He brings down new stacks to listen to on a regular basis and I just take my free moments to upload them while he sleeps, or cooks, or cleans.

Yeah. Did I mention that charlie cooks and cleans? cooks well. And cleans all the time. I'll wander around his house leaving a trail of things- my dirty socks, papers, hair clips... I turn around and they're all neat and in order somewhere. And he's probably vacuumed in my wake as well.

Good guy. good guy. and so damn cute. not sure how I got so lucky.

It's Easter today. Thus far I'm celebrating with a mug of coffee, a box of nerds, and the internet. I think we're going to the 4 pm church service. I tried to talk him into brunch but he wasn't really being baited. mostly because that included getting out of bed in the morning.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Despite the lost purse episode of last weekend, things have been great.

Love sort of crept up on me. I didn't expect to find it, I didn't expect to leave my job, I didn't expect to move. Then again, where's the fun in a life that meets, rather than exceeds, all of your expectations? Surprises are one of the best parts of life. God seems to love throwing little surprises at me- curve balls if you will- but I've learned to roll with it, and life is better because of that.

charlie's sleeping... as always... and i'm uploading music into his itunes for him. He doesn't understand the value in having thousands of cds uploaded onto your computer. And he literally has thousands of cds. i just can't let this be.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

so, i'm officially here.

charlie and I drove here in two days- full car, two cats, two of us. The country is pretty boring between Vermont and Madison. There's a long stretch of New York, a tiny piece of Pennsylvania, and quite a bit of Ohio to muscle through before you feel like you're getting anywhere.

we stopped in china town in chicago to use the bathroom- not something I'd recommend. The attendant was locked behind a glass window, and the bathroom was literally drenched in urine.

last night we went out to see a talking heads cover band- which was excellent- and dance. someone broke the window of charlie's car and stole my purse. which had everything in it- phone, passport, social security card, insurance card, all of my makeup (may be what i'm most sad about.. that's expensive!), my car keys, my medication...

but, what can you do? be thankful they didn't find his GPS or anything more valuable in the car. and for me, i just start over. get all my shit together.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

In typical Bristow fashion, I meandered downstairs after my shower, prepared for cereal and a second cup of coffee, when I found a note on the kitchen counter scribed by Dad that simply stated (to no one in particular) "Aunt Fran is dying".

Background information- Aunt Fran is actually my great aunt, who has been, effectively dying for 10 years, as she has alzheimers (which is degenerative). But now from the sounds of his note, her death is in close proximity. which, though sad, is actually a relief for everyone- especially my grandmother (her identical twin) who has watched her spend the last five years lying in the bed of a nursing home. she eats, showers, gets dressed, gets her hair done... while she's asleep. when we visit, we all talk to her and say nice things and kiss her wrinkled, fragile, paper-thin skin... while she sleeps. she's been sleeping for five years in a bed. she's ready to go. her bags have been packed.

bristow's love shock value. hey, if mom and dad are going to adopt a child and get a puppy, I'm going to move to madison. And then Lydia's going to go ahead and get engaged.

will calvin announce a pregnancy?

Monday, March 30, 2009

It was weird to try to sign into my mbeans mail and have my access denied.

It's not that I needed anything in there. It's just habit. Check my gmail. Check my mbeans mail. Check my facebook.

Dad, Cass and I got an enterprise van totally filled with my stuff, and then father and I made the quick trek home. I'm currently lying in my sister's childhood room, cats- in complete anger and fright- huddled under the bed.

I miss everyone. This week has been a whirlwind. None of my goodbyes felt real. I'm still wrapping my mind around the idea that this is not an extended vacation, but an actual move. A change of location with no planned return. Still, I haven't been plagued with worry, doubt, or regret. For someone who always worries and doubts decisions, I'm impressed. Dad told me how proud he was of me. I love my family.

Still can't believe Lydia's engaged. What does a Maid of Honor even do?
Mostly packed.

Dad is coming to get me tomorrow morning/ early afternoon. Mik's coming to help me pack and clean. Cassie and I are supposed to get breakfast. Breakfast may not leave my kitchen, however. I don't think I'll be able to... but I'll play it by ear.

I can't wait to see charlie. that's tuesday. we start driving wednesday.

Hopefully this guy, Nathan, tells me he's able to rent the apartment for the month of April. That will be a huge weight off of my shoulders. If not, I'll figure it out.

today is gray, dismal, rainy- the kind of day you secretly celebrate while resigning yourself to movies and the couch all day. sadly, that was not in the cards for me. I don't even know when I last watched a movie. but i still appreciated the rain. and all the visitors (sarah, ben, betsy, lydia, todd, hillary, beth).

i've been reading about how to take a road trip with a cat. it's a shame my situation is plural.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I woke up in a fit of panic early this morning. My mind raced through every box that I've packed so far, as well as everything I haven't packed, as I was overwhelmed with the sudden realization that I haven't downsized enough. There's no way it will all fit.

When I was able to come to terms with the fact that yes, indeed, it would not all fit and I may need to repack in terms of necessities and dispensables, my mind cycled through random last-day thoughts. This is the last day I'll ever spend in Boston. This is the last day I'll ever spend in this house. Tonight is the last night I'll ever sleep in this room. Tomorrow is the last time I'll ever see this house. The finality of it all.

Sarah has been snoozing next to me in bed and now Leopold, in a rare and touching moment, is cuddling with her. The cats are bent out of shape with the packing, emotions, and shift in schedule. Frequent visitors don't sit well with them.

In exciting news, my sister is engaged. Todd proposed to her on Friday night and we all surprised her last night at a bar called Sweetwater Cafe where we danced, had drinks, and admired the ring (and her recent manicure). She wants to get married in less than a year, which means that along with a new city, state, and part of the country, I have a wedding to orchestrate- as Maid of Honor. it too early to start looking at dresses?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Orchestrating a move is kind of a big deal.

but, I digress.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Marcus walked into my room, whence forth he saw me in bed on the computer and burst out, "What are you doing sitting there in the middle of boxes and piles of clothes! Get up and pack!"

Of course I sheepishly dragged myself out of bed and emptied my bookcase into a crate. I can't just pack and go though... I have to spend time reminiscing. I stumbled upon a reasonably new Pablo Neruda book that I purchased shortly after Christmas- fat, thick, and rich with word, verse, prose. It's truly amazing. I promised myself that I could flip open to any page and find a poem that I loved instantly. Which I did. And though this is one I would generally be a bit timid to post on my blog, I do, in jest, love it.


Carnal apple, woman incarnate, incandescent moon,
seaweed's sodden aroma, the bog's and the mash of the light--
what shadowy rigors open between your columns?
What primitive night is touched by a masculine nerve?

Ah, love is a voyage with water and a star,
in drowning air and squalls of precipitate bran;
love is a war of lights in the lightning flashes,
two bodies blasted in a single burst of honey.

Kiss after kiss, I recover your little infinitude,
rivers and shores, your body's diminutive clan,
the genital spark, made dear and delectable,

that races the delicate pathways of your blood,
breaks up from below in a gout of nocturnal carnations
unmaking and making itself, leaving only a glow in the dark.

Naked, you are simple as a hand,
minimal, supple, earthy, transparent, round.
The lunar markings, the pathways through the apple,
are yours; naked, you are slender as wheat.

The Cuban blue of midnight is your color,
naked, I trace stars and tendrils in your skin;
naked, you stand tawny and tremendous,
a summer's wholeness in cathedral gold.

Naked, you are tiny as your fingernail;
subtle and curved within the daybreak's pink
you thrust yourself into the subterranean world

a tunnel's length through our duress and clothing:
your clarity trims its flame, unfurls, or covers over,
and again you issue, naked as your hand.


You come from the destitute South, from the house
of privation, regions made hard with the earthquake and cold
that gave us hard lessons in living in the chalk and the clay
while the gods whom they worshiped were spinning away to their death.

You are a little mare carved in black clay, a kiss
dusky with pitch, beloved, a clay poppy,
a pigeon of twilight that fluttered its way on the roads
and followed us into a childhood of want, with its tears.

You who always preserved your heart's poverty,
girl with the feet of the needy, accustomed to stones,
whose mouth was not always acquainted with sweetmeat and bread:

You come from the destitute South that once nurtured my soul;
in her heaven, your mother goes on washing clothes
with my mother. Therefore I have singled you out to be my companion.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

This always happens with cereal.

I'll have a bowl of cereal in bed with my coffee. (Lately, it's been trader joe's maple and brown sugar frosted mini wheats.. patrick turned me on to them and they come highly, highly recommended) I put the bowl on the table next to my bed, and continue drinking my coffee, reading my emails, helping angry customers resolve their problems, etc. At which point some wily cat catches the scent of the milk and slinks its way up the bed for a drink.

Some mornings I shoo the cats away and frown upon this behavior and some mornings apathy takes over. This morning? Itty Bitty- it's all you.

Today is the 8th day of my 8 day work week. I hope I can make it through without offending any customers. Then I'm to enjoy Friday, Saturday, Sunday off. By "enjoy" I mean pack. Or attempt to schedule my life as such that I'm not in the house at all... time shall tell.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Marcus, Brian and I ate a delicious (albeit overpriced) dinner at Zaftigs tonight... potato latkis, steak tips, vegetables, cupcakes, coffee, soda....

for some reason, we thought it was a grand idea to buy three cigars at a sketchy citgo station in the neighborhood. marcus and i sat huddled in the car while brian went in to do the deed.

the cigars were horrible. the three of us sat, legs crossed like men in the living room, puff puff puffing these cheap, big cigars, picking the stale, dry crumbs of crackling leaves out of our mouths, listening to cars drive by and watching candles glow. it wasn't as romantic an affair as i just made it sound- i have a tendency to do that.

today i finished day 4 of an 8 day working stint. it's excessive. i feel tired and ready to retire to my bed.. permanently. except my room is in constant disarray getting things packed up. it seems early to pack (if I'm leaving around the end of march) but i'll be thankful when moving day rolls around in 2 weeks and i'm all ready to go.

this is all good. but it's all hard to believe.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

early morning subway musings:

The familiar, musty scent of male cologne is wafting down the train platform. Like an older man, in his attempt for youth, bathed himself in Stetson, letting the pungent oils settle into every crease and fold in his skin- dousing his face, slicking back his hair. As if this strange ritual was sure to attract every eligible woman in a 50 mile radius- offending their senses, berating their nostrils, and leaving them light-headed and vulnerable to his advances.

I'm trying to find the culprit- usually it's a 60 year old Italian man with a gold chain nestled into his overabundant chest hair who catches your 1/2 second gaze and nods and smiles. I know then that I've only encouraged his behavior- furthered his belief that these tactics are effective mating rituals. That every woman fantasizes of drowning in a sea of ambrosial sweat underneath a hairy, Italian man. Ignore his advances and you're simply playing hard-to-get. Can you win?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Charlie is convinced that I have a sleeping disorder.

He offers adorably helpful suggestions such as "drink tea before bed" or "get into a stretching routine", "take Valerian root", "relax your mind" "count sheep" and I keep reminding him that it's not that I *can't* sleep.. it's that I don't *want* to sleep.

Is it so bad that I consider sleep to be a colossal waste of time? That it inhibits my creative genius? Think it an unnecessary expense of time? There are a million things I deem more worthy of my time than sleeping.

It's hard to look into his precious face and tell him, "sorry, baby, I just hate sleeping".

It probably is a disorder. But fixing it would definitely be a colossal waste of time. And then, my time would be doubly wasted- once on fixing my sleeping disorder and twice on actually sleeping.

His thoughtful, caring suggestions are starting to wear on my willpower, however. He may prevail after all.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Oh- 5 am, I'm up blogging.

It does happen occasionally.

I should have slept more last night. Generally speaking, I don't get as much sleep as the average human, but it's enough sleep. Last night was definitely not enough. With the time change, and the early flight (that I will soon embark on), bedtime didn't happen until midnight, wake up happened at 5... which felt like 4.


Hold that thought, I'm going to make a second cup of coffee.

Though night holds some of the same characteristics as early morning (dark, warm, quiet), night vibrates with life, thought, anticipation, excitement. Morning is tenebrous and serene. No buzz of sentience; the thought-space is clear.

If I had to choose, I'd choose early morning. Not too early- when it's too early, desperation sets in. The fear that you're the only cognizant being in existence. But I love night too.. that warm trepidation, perturbation- being part of a city that seems to live and breathe on it's own, in a beat, a rhythm.

and that, friends, is why i hate sleeping. to miss out on any part of being extant- to put my introspection, my intuition on hold for even a time is almost unbearable. but also, infinitely human and inescapable. Oh, life!

Friday, March 6, 2009

I'm thankful for...

dismal, gray days. A quiet heart. rooftop gardens. chewing gum. the whiskery profiles of dog snouts. nervous anticipation. patient bus drivers. the warm, buttery scent of coffee. the wake in puddles as you drive through them- like a tiny lake. skeleton trees. the thin layer of froth that sits atop a fresh Americano. airplanes. seagulls. headphones.
Sarah Stehouwer, thank you so much for your concern. My sleep habits aren't so terrible that I get up at 5:47 am to blog... at least not generally. I changed my blog to "Eastern Time".. though in haste, almost "Easter Island Time".

Thursday, March 5, 2009

you know what came of slumbering next to my computer for a while? waking up, blinking and confused, at 2:30 am with my lights and all of my clothes on. it's not even worth describing what my eye makeup looked like at that point, but you can probably imagine- all up on my cheeks.

leopold is ridiculous this morning. he tore me from my comfortable morning, resting in bed, because he was up to something... skye let me borrow her beautiful dwell tote for my trip to wisconsin this weekend (wait, give me a minute to swallow the excitement of uttering that phrase)... he was on top of the dwell tote, reaching one long, black arm into the bag and then jumping straight up into the air. Repeatedly. I quickly intercepted- you don't do that to a $300 bag, I'm sorry kitten, and then went to make coffee. He followed me, used the rug to sharpen his nails, and when I stopped him, scratched my naked foot. Ty-pi-cal.

you know, i stopped liking john legend on premise. all of his songs are about cheating. seriously, listen to the lyrics sometime. yeah, he's hot and all.. but if he can't stick to monogamy he should try being single. then he won't have to cheat on girls and write albums about it. right? i'm all about simplifying people's lives for them. want me to simplify your life for you? just tell me... i love to micromanage.

Now cue the smoke machines and the simulated rain
But not too loud 'cause the baby's sleepin
I wonder if it knows what the world is keepin
Up both sleeves while he lay there dreamin
-Lupe Fiasco

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

so I've been experimenting with twitter as you can see on the right hand side of my blog. it's kind of fun. and very self-indulgent.

the word "self-indulgent" always makes me think of chocolate. It's a shame I don't have any.

some days are exactly the same. work, come home, turn on the computer, get into bed, let a cat crawl into my lap, work until I fall asleep. Switch it up with a mug of tea, some television, thirty minutes staring out the window; but other than that, the formula is down. i'll stay awake until midnight in case charlie calls. not that i'm waiting by the phone.....

my bed is warm and comfortable, and i feel dozy. i may spend a while slumbering next to my computer. now there's an exciting way to really switch it up.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009

In case anyone was wondering... i tried the sea salt spray today.

And I am proud to say that I have succeeded in taking totally clean hair and making it dirty. My hair was tangly and unmanageable all day- not unlike beach hair, however. Not sure what I expected. Oh, Elissa.

My day was spent at Cassie's lounging on her bed, job searching while she did homework. It was comfortable. Even the same boring task can benefit from a change of scenery.

Now it's back to busyhouse, drinking tea with the Fatcats, watching the traffic light outside of my window change from green to yellow to red and back again. A cycle that continues regardless of traffic.

sometimes, charlie will write me a text and it will leave me totally incapacitated. I'm not used to feelings like this. The way that a heartbeat aches in your chest in excitement, joy, and anticipation is not familiar to me. My heart has never truly beat for a boy. Red light again- reflecting onto the wet pavement. car intercepted. Green. my chest will tighten, it becomes difficult to draw a breath, and i smile for miles and bury my face in pillows. these aren't typical elissa bristow gesticulations. Though I come off as impulsive, raw, and wild it's generally calculated and precise. I'm not the kind of girl you find smiling and burying her face in pillows.

oh- what is happening to me?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

After a day at the beach, your hair leaves with this amazing, incomparable texture made up of sticky sun screen, sand, and the salt water. Though a shower is inevitable for your body, you'd almost prefer to go on a date because your hair is

This afternoon I was perusing the aisles of target and I decided- hey, salt water is just sea salt... and water... right? I'll make my own. Millions of women do this. I found a spray bottle and was on my merry way.

Approximately 2 tsp (I never measure, it's against my very nature- often cataclysmic though it hasn't stopped me yet) of salt, about a cup of warm water... and for good measure I added a couple drops of an oil-based perfume... and voila! My hair is bone dry and pin straight at the moment and yet, something told me, "Elissa, it's a good idea to try it now". Obviously false, but I'm impulsive. So now, I have salty, messy-in-a-bad-way but smelling great hair, and a strange powdery film (of salt) covering my hands. Tomorrow, when my hair is damp, I shall try again. And hopefully emerge victorious.


Early morning train journaling, transcribed:

It's perplexing to think that I'm leaving- and have no plans to return. This isn't a long vacation, it's a new chapter in life.

It brings me back to my formative years, when I used to spend hours pondering the omnipresence of God. The fact that He had no beginning and furthermore, no end. That He continued regardless of human fallibility. One day I would cease to exist, and God would still exist. Like a cycle, a circle. No end, no beginning. It took a leap of faith to grasp this concept- to know that there are things in this universe that I'll never understand- that go way beyond human comprehension.

I'm taking a similar leap of faith here. There's no way for me to see or know the future. Do I disregard any opportunities here because I'm scared to fail? Or do I take a leap of faith- trust- and go in knowing that I may not succeed in all of my endeavors, but that the lessons validate the journey. And any endeavors that prosper along the way I count as blessings and take joy in. After all, we were never promised success in life. The joy is in the journey.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I'm cooking tonight after a couple month hiatus. I always equate lack of cooking and cleaning to unhappiness. Being too tired physically and emotionally to spend the time cooking, indicates conundrum. Tonight, on my walk home, as if I did it every night, I swung into Harvest Market on Centre Street and bought food to make a little mango stir fry and came right home, cleaned the kitchen, and started cooking.

Charlie sent me a Nina Simone cd that I've been listening to while cooking/ dancing. It makes me miss him more- is that possible?

The kitchen table is littered with Madison rental magazines, boxes of tea, an antler of some unidentified animal, glad wrap, candles.

I'm amazed at how quickly and naturally this decision has settled into my heart. And it just feels right, natural, normal. Like I was born to do this. As if I've been making impulsive decisions my entire life. Everything's aligning perfectly. staying here and continuing on my current path would be the wrong decision. I've been granted much clarity. epiphanies are wonderful.

If Leopold eats another plant, I might actually kill him. wish he weren't so cute.

watch this. you'll feel better.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

There are big changes in my near future, and i have no idea how to tackle them. Do I take them head on and dive in, no fear for tomorrow? Or do I go about it in my typical, calculated, practical way?

I don't want to be practical. Is that because I'm impatient? Am I being foolish? I'm being cryptic- for that, I apologize. So much to figure out.

Sodom, South Georgia:

Papa died smiling
Wide as the ring of a bell
Gone all star white
Small as a wish in a well
And Sodom, South Georgia
Woke like a tree full of bees
Buried in Christmas
Bows and a blanket of weeds

Papa died Sunday and I understood
All dead white boys say, "God is good"
White tongues hang out, "God is good"

Papa died while my
Girl Lady Edith was born
Both heads fell like
Eyes on a crack in the door
And Sodom, South Georgia
Slept on an acre of bones
Slept through Christmas
Slept like a bucket of snow

Papa died Sunday and I understood
All dead white boys say, "God is good"
White tongues hang out, "God is good"

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I can't seem to break this cycle of early morning wake up... maybe it's because I don't particularly mind it. My sleep cap seems to be 7 hours... often less but definitely no more. Once I reach the 7 hour mark, my eyes open regardless of time and that's that.

There's so much for me to think about. most days it's hard to tell if I should laugh or cry. it's not a bad thing, though.

I moved the roses into my bedroom this morning. Formerly, they sat on the kitchen table in all their glory (long stem roses, by the way, are really glorious) but this morning I decided that I spend more time in my bedroom than in the kitchen. and I want to appreciate them at all times. Of course, Leo was the first to accost them- jumped up and started biting the petals. I wasn't a huge fan of that.

I wanted to say that this was the first time a boy had ever given me flowers, but that's not totally true. Valentines day, circa 2002 I was dating a very sweet punk rocker (turned sour now- ask me about his tattoo sometime) and we went out to chinese food. of course, he had no money so i paid. and he gave me a fake black plastic rose that smelled of baby powder and came from cumberland farms. somehow, this was permissible. I loved that stupid, ugly rose and kept it for years. It even had a hot glue gun bead of fake dew on it. later, he admitted two things- one, that the rose had come with a little smiling bear clinging to it that he'd ripped off because he didn't think i'd like it (how perceptive of him! oh how that made me adore him more!) and two, that he'd stolen it because he didn't have the $.99 that it cost. oh, life. needless to say, the relationship didn't last long. but what a cute thing he was.