Friday, September 30, 2005

the sky is the limit

Last weekend I went to a physician-organized charity event with a friend of mine. It was pretty uneventful. There was a cover band and there were lots of good looking people. We were standing at the bar when a guy squeezes in next to us, holding out his money. He looks at us and then down at our drinks. Before I know it, his wedding-band adorned left hand is passing us drinks. We talked to him for a couple of minutes. He was cute in an Andrew McCarthy sort of way. Later he brought friends over and they unsuccessfully tried to sway us into doing some tequila shots.

Now for the strange sequel. The young, married, drink-buying physician was on my plane yesterday. What a small, small world.

Also on the plane three rows behind me was dermatologist. I only know this because he was developing power point slides while sitting next to me at the gate. Being a bit of a voyeur, of course I read them over his shoulder. We had matching computers. He asked me if I knew where he could plug in his computer. I felt safe talking to him because he reminded me of my father in age and appearance, but part way through my innocent comments about how our computer's match and my asking him how he likes his, I began to doubt his smile and his heavy gaze were just polite. It all came into focus quickly and I worried that he was taking me the wrong way. I turned my attention back to my own screen. A few minutes later he asked me where I was sitting on the plane and to my relief we were not together. On some level I felt like I had done something wrong. Why should it bother me? If he was attracted to me, why is that my problem? Why do I feel it is my responsibility? I don't have to be attracted to him and it should be ok to be friendly without fearing misinterpretation.

Why can't I be oblivious for ONE minute?

anything can be everything

In what seems like only moments later I am in a sweeter, kinder place - literally. I flew 'home' to see my family. To the coast, where the air is saline, the pace soft, and the people real. I love living in a big city, but when I come back here I feel like I discover a new level of comfortable. As I get closer I yearn for the ocean, for family-full kitchen cupboards, for meals cooked with love, for traffic that stops to let me cross. I melt back into this life for an instant, but then the stresses re-affirm themselves, dwarfing all of the rosey memories I managed to collect, lubricated by distance. My anxiety level will build as my visit comes to a close. I will cry and feel desperately lonely as I say goodbye. I will worry about the inevitable bad thing happening. The plane will lift off and as it levels, so will I.

On approach to my current home, I will begin to look forward to the hustle of 16 lanes of traffic, to the garish billboards that line the way into the city, to the most breath-taking of skylines, to the 2-minute walk to everything, to my routine, my cupboards that house only carefully selected healthy foods, to the possibility of pioneering a life.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

writing on the box

On the window of almost every newpaper box in my city, in the same hand, one word is written: "lies". Efficiently, the act and the word reflect angst, dissatisfaction, defiance. I can almost hear the deep, raspy accusation. At once I am proud and amused. It is so clever I wish I had thought of it first.


I haven't left the house all day. This cold is moving into my chest. I am incabable today. I wash the dishes and then I have to lay down. I take care of a little business and then I nap. I want my Mama.

tender skin

I have some kind of viral thing. At first it felt like strep throat, but then yesterday it turned into fever, aches, congestion. I haven't slept much, but since I am not going to work today I am not too stressed about it. I can sleep through the day if I want. Reminds me of being home sick when I was little. There is very little on TV at 5 AM (or at 1...or 3...). My mother is not a sleeper. She watches tv off and on every night, and sometimes all night. It is bizarre that she can still function. I get so stressed if I have trouble falling asleep.

Lately I have been falling asleep without incident, but I wake up an hour or two later. That is new for me, and it is very much like how my mother "sleeps". I hope that it is just an anomoly.

Yesterday I had to do a million things at work on no sleep and not feeling well. So many changes. Change leaves me vulnerable. Nothing dramatic, but enough to stir things up. I need this to happen to bring in some fresh air, but it stings. My skin is tender lately and change leaves me wincing. I am comforted by the notion of routine, settling deeper and deeper into a track, but that is not living.

Sunday, September 25, 2005


I took an ativan to help me sleep. It is a pleasant dizzy. I welcome the subtle wave of lightness. Subtle.

If it wasn't nestled into a backdrop of coursing electricity I might even miss it. Nestled, warm, calm, like a hot bath.

Monday, September 19, 2005

as I lay sleeping

It was better than a Monday should be. I was busy enough so that I felt semi-productive, but not so busy that I couldn't have coffees, ponder life, and take a walk in the warm September sun. How I love the warmth. This summer has been a gift.

I met up with Shoshanna for a run after work. Thick grey clouds began to fade in over late afternoon and thunder storms were looming, but they held off for the whole run and then some. We strolled around the hood, stopping in various fruit markets, picking out the best produce. She got strawberries and rasberries. I bought blue prunes, which I had never had (they were delicious), and picked up some heirloom grape tomatoes of the most unbelievable deep orange and burgundy. They were like candy.

By the time I made dinner it was almost nine - just in time to watch Prison Break and eat frozen yogurt to the sound of thunder. I took a hot bath and I am about to read and go to sleep.

I so rarely have trouble reading - it's my thing, but not this book. I am trying to get into "As I Lay Dying", by Faulkner. I feel like I am reading chinese. The only good thing is that for an occasional insomniac, two pages in and I feel like I am reading an organic chemistry text - out like a light.

Bon Soir.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Vedder and butter

I saw U2 this weekend - had the worst seats in the house, and that is no exaggeration. In fact, to say I had the worst seats in the house is an exaggeration. I didn't have a seat. I was in the back row, standing room only.

I have never been a big fan, but someone bought me a ticket and I knew it would be a good show. It was. One of the big highlights was when Eddie Vedder appeared on-stage and sang a song with the band. I love the surprise appearance. The only problem was the sound quality. I could hear the music well enough but could never hear what Bono was saying.


Sunday night....always a crappy feeling for me. However, I did play a great game of tennis today. My serve was like butter.

Friday, September 16, 2005


How do you reconcile ruthless living at your most human moments: a
deathbed, a crisis, at a birth.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


The city is dense with tourists and stars. On my way to work this morning I saw people that were clearly new to the city, looking around, taking everything in. It is a summer September day and I am a part of the city.

When I go away, I too drink in everything I see. Since I can remember, wherever I go, I am captivated by and in envy of the people who belong, doing their normal everyday things. I wonder what it would feel like to be them, going to work, running errands, impatient under the weight of a world so unfamiliar to me. Somehow the mundane becomes exotic. The people I watch are not aware of the significance of their lives, just as I seldom see my life as unusual. But this morning I did.

Seeing people seeing me living this life, in this place and moment, was exhilarating.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


The date went well I think. I found him handsome, cute, and bonus points for being tall. He was a gentlemen and good to talk to. He had interesting things to say, but he didn't put it all out on the table at once. I could be tempted to spend some time with him. I think that the best sign was how I behaved. In the presence of some people I am almost unrecognizeable. It is always good when I am as close to myself as possible. And I was.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

a perfect match

This afternoon: me, the waterfront, and a blind date. We will see if this character is worth further development, but in the meantime, I am too nervous to have lunch before I go, but I don't want to get shaky/hungry when I get there, so I just had such a perfect snack. Almonds and blueberries. Now that, is perfection. If only I could find that kind of perfect in my date.

looking back, looking up

I just wanted to say a little something to commemorate the sad anniversary of September 11th. Where were you and what were you doing 4 years ago today? I will always remember what I was doing. I don't know how to link back to a previous post of my own (if anyone knows, feel free to let me in on it), but I will leave you with my experience of that pivotal day - one big stone thrown into the pond.



There was a segment on the news about 911. It still rouses up so much in me. I have always meant to record my memories of that time. I was afraid they might start to fade, but they haven't.

I remember it was a beautiful warm morning. It was my last day of work as a nurse in a pediatric ICU. I was in a four-patient room when I noticed some of the parents gathered around one of the televisions mounted on the wall. I was at the bedside with my patient who was having a cardiac ultrasound. The ultrasonographer and I both stopped to see what was capturing everyone's attention. It takes something big to pull parents of critically ill children away. The only sound in the room came from the cardiac monitors. Hands to mouths, we all stood starring at the screen in collective horror, shock, disbelief. I will never forget the tears streaming down the face of the ultrasonographer when the second plane hit.

Soon the unit manager went room to room, telling us that the televisions would have to be turned off for the rest of the day. The world might be permanently changing, and while none of us knew how much more was to come, the manager wanted to make sure we retained focus.

I almost never took a break when I was working, but that day I did. I ran to a payphone and called my friend Shane who lives in NYC. It took a few tries but I got through. He told me he was ok, but was at that moment, standing by his window watching what was left of the towers. "Oh my G-D, Rachel! You wouldn't fucking believe what I am looking at. You wouldn't fucking believe it", he repeated again and again.

Hanging up, I could barely breath. I needed to get outside. I stepped out of the climate-controlled hospital into an unseasonably warm September day. The sky could not have been bluer. It was the same clarity and vibrancy of the sky in NYC at that very moment. I sat on a bench a block away. There were these bushes with the most beautiful huge white flowers. Fall flowers. I lit a cigarette and looked up into the blue sky.

Friday, September 09, 2005

move over grover

It is no surprise, really, that if you take away the fear and vain attempts to manage an unmanageable world, the original trigger remains. It makes sense that it persists, only without blinders to obscure the view.

My life used to be a series of limitations and ruminations, but I shed those skins. I thought I would never be able to get out from under them, but now I travel, I plan, I make decisions without feeling the weight of the entire world. That's great, right? But I always thought that if I could rid my life of those things, everything else would be fine.

I think this is a lesson to us all in a world where we expect either a pill to fix everything, a book packed with catchy slogans to have the answers, or a bald Texan on TV asking, "and how's that workin' for ya?" to change your life.

Problems don't just dissapear. They never will. You can't spray your life with an antibacterial cleaner. They might not be as big as you thought, and you might not need to spend your life in a defensive stance, but problems persist.

Like the monster at the end of the book, maybe I will discover that the vastness of my great abyss was but an illusion.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

what I know

Maybe when the stitches come out I will stop being afraid I might come apart at the seams.

I am anxious and angsty. I think I made up that word. I am afraid that this is not a transient problem, but more of a personality trait.

Tonight one of the friends I met for drinks told us about how, over time, her soon-to-be ex transformed into a completely different person from the one she fell in love with.

"He became increasingly sullen, depressed, resentlful, and so angry", she told us, an eager audience.

It turns out that the 'person' she fell in love with was just a phase, and that everyone in his life knew him the other way.

'He has always found things difficult', his best friend told her. 'We didn't know who this new guy was'.

We were all absorbed in the story and shocked that someone could change that way. No one could blame her for leaving. Life is too short, right? She gave it three years. Who could blame her? Really, what could anyone expect?

I could never blame anyone for leaving and THAT is the problem.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

miracles and noises

It was Chanukkah in September. My Ipod was dead, dead, dead. Five minutes before I had to leave work I remembered I forgot to re-charge for my trip home. I plugged it in, went to the washroom, came back and left for home.

It lasted the entire way!!!

Simple pleasures.

My soundtrack:

Subway train, New York Dolls
Sexy Plexy, Jack Johnson
I gotta getcha, Jermaine Dupri
Sleeping in, The Postal Service
Creep, Radiohead
Let your backbone slide, Maestro Fresh Wes


That noise from the Emily Rose movie trailor scares me. I feel like hiding a knife under my pillow.

Monday, September 05, 2005


I am the proverbial intelligent, attractive 31 year old woman that feels like she may have missed the relationship boat.

Through high school and university I was always in a relationship. Since I moved to the big city at 23 I have been single. My initial goal was to experience being just me at first. Then it became about fear and I started on the path of least resistance.

I was still ok because I had great friends and a lot of fun, but now I have endured too many waves of friends engaged, married, house-hunting, and baby-making. I am at my limit. My friends and my therapist aren't enough anymore. It would be so nice to share a bed, the rent, the weekend, the future. I spent the last 8 years not trying. I have dated lots but I haven found few men that I feel anything for. The couple of men that I thought might have potential still saw fucking as the object.

If I have to look at one more ring or house...

Unless they are mine, I am just not interested.


The two red-heads in my life came to me in my dreams, together.

When they were real they were surreal. Each in their own way.

Ethereal, ephemeral, cream and curls.

He held her hand and they smiled, telling me they were alright.

Saturday, September 03, 2005


I have been planning it for months. The next time I make a tangible mistake, I want to capture the object of my human error.

My mind doesn't want to cooperate. I have spilled, I have broken, but immediately I become selectively task-oriented and I clean it up without a thought.

Maybe like in the previous post, I will be able to wait this one out. Maybe everything will float.

choose your own adventure

I was hurt. I was afraid that a slight was intentional. The end of the world.

Only this time I didn't absorb it. I didn't pretend it came from me. I took it for what it was. I made it clear it wasn't cool with me. I listened and then I let it end. It didn't stay with me any longer than that.

It lifted off in a vapor.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

on the fear of crib death

I remember when he was born, being afraid of crib death.

I heard on some television program that there was a risk for up to 2 years. I felt like I was holding my breath every day for 24 months plus a few more just to be safe. This memory comes to me as my visit with my brother comes to an end.

I was angry and anxious when he didn't arrive at a meeting place on time and he didn't call. When he finally called to say what happened, I was furious.

"I am going to kill you! Where the hell are you?"

I - am - going - to - kill - you

As the words came out of my mouth, I knew I had made a mistake. How could I say such a thing? What if something happened to him and that was the last thing I said.

"I'm sorry Rachel, I had no signal", he replied in a meek apologetic teenage voice.

He seemed unscathed, but I carried around a lump in my throat until I saw him again. Later that night I found somewhere to slip it into conversation.

"Sorry about saying I was going to kill you today. I have no idea why I would say something like that. it just wasn't-"

He interrupted me, putting his arm around my shoulder and grinned.

"It's ok Sis"

It's ok.