Tuesday, December 30, 2008

December may as well have run straight up my ass and called my colon home

The last time you heard from me, I was moaning about my period. Now my period is over, and so is Christmas! Time flies when you're desperately trying to provide gifts for your friends and family and FAILING. I didn't fail a lot, but I definitely failed a little. I'm hoping to remember to buy the people I shortchanged in December an array of weird gifts throughout January so they will continue to be my friends. I'm just not very good at this, y'all.

OK, now for the holiday rundown.

On the Saturday before Christmas we had a housewarming/holiday potluck at our new place. I had to scamper myself around readying things that evening because I had the vodka hangover from hell when I woke up that morning. When someone like Zach calls, and offers you access to an "ocean of free booze," let me tell you that you should go, and it will be fun, but don't try to move before 3:00 p.m. the next day. I made some food and some mulled wine with orange zest, star anise, cinnamon sticks, and more importantly, brandy, in it, and our teeny-ass new apartment was soon filled with a bunch of people. It was kind of like a party in a dorm room. But, there was a reading & dramatic reenactment from an erotic lesbian spy novel, as well as li'l smokies, so it's safe to say a good time was had. When you make l'il smokies, the good time is pretty much guaranteed:

Doesn't that look wonderful? Tubes of meat, soaked in sauce, you have a deliciousness that is guilt-inducing on several levels.

On to the next major event of the past couple of weeks, which is the news that my adorable, loving, intelligent, hilarious, erotic, and thrifty husband, genius photographer, has started a little blog of his own in which he waxes poetic about the photos he has taken. It is right here. Also, remember that he is probably the best photographer in the Mid-South as far as weddings, parties, portraits, and anything else that could possibly ever be in need of photographing is concerned. So hire him! And read him! And look at him!

He's something I like to call "PFC," or Pretty Fucking Cute.

All right, onward and upward. On the afternoon of the 23rd, we hopped in my roller skate-like car and drove to my mom's house, where a time in my life that I like to call Amanda is a Fucking Lazyass Glutton began. Sure, I helped my mom with some cooking and picking up around the house, but otherwise we watched a lot of satellite tv and ate approximately 4,000 calories per day. Highlights of this time included my assemblage of Deb's chocolate peanut butter cake, which was probably one of the best things I have ever eaten in my life, with not a single crumb going undevoured. I have got to post some pictures of it, because I wanted it to look perfect and it came pretty dang close, if I do say so myself. Gift exchange with the family on Xmas eve was mostly pleasant, only occasionally punctuated my five-year old nephew offering screaming fits. Somehow he makes up for it when he starts talking about things like digging poop out of his sister's butt with a knife. I know, what the hell, but I LOVE IT SO MUCH.

Brandon and I exchanged letters to one another on Christmas morning, which I am hoping to make a yearly tradition, and it was pretty nice to see us reiterating a lot of the same things to one another in them. On the 26th we drove to Knoxville to see our friends Rebecca & Michael in her parents' pimped out new house. While we were there, we watched The King of Kong, which I had heard a lot about but never seen. It was the best movie I saw during the break (although it doesn't take much to beat out Jurassic Park: The New World). Also, I have to say, BILLY MITCHELL IS A DOUCHE. Thank you.

I love documentaries more than anything. Good documentaries, I mean. Another terrific one I saw this year was My Kid Could Paint That. You should check it out. Totes.

All right. We drove back from Knoxville yesterday, stopping in Crossville at a wonderful used bookstore called The Book Cellar. We got a huge bag of books for $30, including A Summons to Memphis, The Kitchen God's Wife, Women Who Run with the Wolves, Household Saints, Bag of Bones, and a bunch of others. They were all $1 or $2 apiece! I love books. I could have stayed there for two hours, but B Dill gets bored after awhile. Also, we had a date with a Mexican buffet in Ashland City. That's right, I said Mexican buffet. I had told myself it would be my last hurrah before returning to Memphis and doing extreme penance for 6 days of unlimited cheese, bread, and chocolate. We ate at this buffet last year when returning from Nashville; it is Effing Ridiculous. Would you like some quesadillas? Oh, here's a huge pan of them. How about unlimited cheese dip and guacamole? Oh, right here. I ate some, realized I had not yet made myself sick, and returned for seconds. Or thirds. Who can keep up at that point? I was in a salsa haze.

That was our holiday, pretty much. Oh, of course there were all the little details that are none of anybody's business, but that's the news that's fit to print. I am working today & tomorrow and we're going to Chattanooga to visit B's brother on the 1st. Then we'll be going to D.C. in two weeks! It's a travelling time right now. But I tell you, I couldn't have a better partner. Yesterday I got my giggle box turned over and everything Brandon said made me collapse in laughter, which is maybe the best feeling in the world??

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ow, ow, ow: The pain of nature

TMI if you can't handle menstrual talk. I'm talking to you, single dudes. (The other night at the potluck, it was confirmed that men in realtionships can handle period talk much more easily when a group of ladies somehow brought up the P word and after 3 minutes, the only men left in the room were Matthew and Zach's step-dad, Bill).

So, I am experiencing my first period off the pill (technically the ring). It hurts like hell. I am someone who never, ever got cramps and I've been hunched over my desk all morning, sweating and swearing while my uterus feels like it's being folded in half, and then in half again, and then in half again. And again. This is shitty. I think I must have been that lucky, lucky person who experienced the best hormonal birth control had to offer -- no depression or weight gain, clearer skin, and no fucked up periods. I keep trying to figure out via the internet what's been really going on all these years of my life when I've been bleeding despite the fact that I haven't ovulated in 10 freaking years, but I'm too much of a dummy that can't grasp science to figure it out, other than the fact that my body is apparently now going back to its natural state. Which apparently includes the kind of pain that makes me want to curl up in the nook of the couch with a stack of recent tabloids and eat cream puffs.

I did sign up on this website, My Monthly Cycles, which helps you track your periods. It is pretty interesting to me, since I bought and browsed Taking Charge of Your Fertility last year, but decided it wasn't time to go off birth control when a discussion with my mother regarding the rhythm method resulted in her saying, "That's for Catholics, Amanda. Don't do that unless you want to have a baby." Also, I wasn't sure I was smart enough to chart my cervical fluid & other symptoms daily.

Ow. Ow. Ow. Cramps.

A completely on-topic link: My Beautiful Cervix. Midwife-in-training, with the help of an industrious boyfriend who owns a headlamp, photographed her cervix for every day of her cycle. I like this website because it enabled me to show B that everytime some seemingly odd substance comes out of my vagina, I'm not sick. Except that time with the salamander. KIDDING!

Even though it hurts, I'm really enjoying the idea that my body is slowly getting back to the way it's supposed to be.

Monday, December 8, 2008

One day late.

Yesterday was the six-month anniversary of our wedding (which was 6/07/08, fucking darling, right?) I wanted to post because in the past little while we have been so happy, or as we like to say at our house, "et up." As in, "I am feeling absolutely et up with love for you today, honey." And I wanted to say "Happy Anniversary," to myself & Brandon, eventhough a) it's really only a half-anniversary, and those are generally not recognized in our house, and b) B doesn't really read my blog very often. He's a technophobe.

I have this spooky, mystical, rock-solid certainty in our relationship. I can see all these ways that we have made each other different, happier people, and I just thrill at the mystery of our future.

I walked down the aisle to the Cat Power cover of "I Found a Reason," recovered by our wonderful friend Pete, who flew down to TN from NY just to come to the wedding and play guitar & sing at the ceremony. Here's the Cat Power version, accompanied by the least-weird homegrown video that I found on Youtube. There was one "for House fans." The internet is weird.

If you're reading this, I love you, darlin'.

Friday, December 5, 2008

personal history, by address

So, we are all moved in. That's the best feeling ever, although it is accompanied by the crushing reality that every room of your new place is filled with boxes. I have moved A LOT since I graduated from high school, I thought that I would document the list here for posterity.

1. Fall 1999. Moved from my parents' house to dorm @ Lambuth. Ate many cheeseburgers and cup-o-noodles there, and was generally miserable.
2. Spring 2000. Lambuth ---> parents' house. Worked at the newpaper that summer. Had sex with ex-boyfriend in our respective cars in many locations around Decatur County.
3. Fall 2000. Parents' house ---> dorm @ MTSU. I lived with Angela, who really lived with her boyfriend. Had a light mental breakdown, I think. Met Liz.
4. Spring 2001. Dorm @ MTSU ---> Parents' house. See Spring 2000. Plus more pot, I think (It's hard to remember that kind of thing, heh heh heh).
5. Fall 2001. Parents' house ---> Apartment @ Nottingham in M'boro. Liz and I lived together and had a really good time unless we were having a really bad time. The bad times may explain why we didn't really talk from 2002-05.
6. Spring 2002. Nottingham ---> Parents' house. See previous summers. Later, rinse, repeat.
7. Fall 2002. Parents' house ---> Lytle apartment w/Wendy. It was a really weird place, and WF stayed @ her boyfriend's, all the time too. You know, that's a common phase for couples in their early 20s who are still too scared of their parents to officially move in together. The apartment was the upstairs of a big house that our landlord lived in, and he got really grumpy with me when I repeatedly let in a stray cat that frequented the yard. The cat loved getting high. From shoddy recollections, this was the time in which my substance abuse really kicked off.
8. Spring 2003. Lytle ---> Havenwood w/my ex, Logan. First time we officially lived together. Acquired two cats. Smoked many bongloads. Graduated from MTSU but continued an illustrious career at Bellacino's Pizza & Grinders. Was fat. Embarked on ill-fated experimentation with "open relationship," that would eventually destroy both my relationship with the ex as well as my then-best friend. In an incredible twist of fate, this was the same apartment complex that LT lived in with her ex-boyfriend. But we didn't know each other! Weird!
9. Spring 2005. Havenwood ---> Poplar (still with ex, but it was definitely the beginning of the end). Many, many sexy/dark/depressing things happened at this place, but I also lost 20 lbs., and isn't that all that matters? Weight loss, ladies, bottom line.
10. Spring 2006. Poplar ---> Parents' house. Stayed there all summer since my Daddy was sick. Drank a lot of cheap beer. This was when I started drinking in front of my parents. Started dating Brandon. Very exciting, very terrible time.
11. September 2006. Mom's house ---> E. Nashville. Signed the lease on the same day my dad died, horribly enough. B & I moved in together pretty immediately because it was GD fate. Called this place "ice house" because the floors were granite and it was so cold, all winter. Little did I know this was a precursor to every other winter we've had so far.
12. April 2007. E. Nashville ---> Mom's house. Actually just my stuff moved down there, and B & I went Wwoofing. My mother was certain of a disasterous fate, but looky, I'm still alive. Got engaged in Madrid, and a hundred other things happened too.
13. August 2007. Mom's house ---> Monroe in Memphis. We moved in on the Elvis death anniversary and it was so hot I thought B & T would have heatstrokes moving all our shit in. We realized that we were happy in Memphis in ways we never were in Nashville. Landlord unceremoniously kicked us out after selling the building (it's now Restaurant Iris).
14. December 2007. Monroe ---> Lawrence. Nice but very cold. Had several good parties here. And got married! And got fleas! And had lovely out of town company come & stay!

So that makes this last move, Lawrence to Evelyn, my 15th. 15th! I don't know if this is normal or not. Granted, lots of time I was simply moving from one place to another in the same city (I beat the dead horse of Murfreesboro for a ridiculously long time, and I'm here to say, it is totally possible to leave that town & never look back. People bitch so much about M'boro, and my advice is, if you want to leave & you can leave, save a little of the money you're spending on watered-down beer @ Jim's, and get together a deposit on a new apartment. Dream the dream, people.)

I liked making this list because I got flashes of memories I thought that I had forgotten. Flashes of myself standing in certain rooms of these places, and things that happened to me in them. All the afternoons I spent packing bowls with my ladyfriends, watching shit TV and eating loads of crap food. Having a sobbing fight with my ex in my car, parked outside our place since his friends' house caught on fire and they were staying with us in the interim. Meeting somebody for clandestine afternoon sex while our for-real partners were at work/school. (All these memories seem to have happened post-2004, because my brain is mush).

OK, you can return to whatever you were doing before I wasted your time.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I am, indeed, dreaming of a Smoky Mountain Christmas

Made it through the first of the family holidays more or less unscathed. We've never had a truly awful family gathering at my house, as we are of the "Avoid Public Confrontation at All Costs" school of Southern families, but unfortunately there are certain parts of my immediate family who fall a little short of the tolerance level that I am comfortable with, and there were a few tense moments in which family members vocally expressed both homophobia and racism. That's right, folks, it was TWO TWO TWO for the price of ONE, all in the course of maybe 30 minutes.

Because of the enlightened, liberal friends that I have who were also raised in rural West Tennessee, this is a topic that has been on my mind a LOT as of late. I cannot express the ultimate respect and awe that I feel for Liz, who recently committed the ultimate sin of verbally sparring with her father over the most tiresome issue of our region (make that our fucking nation), race. Anyone who knows me is aware that I am inherently anti-confrontational, and the simple knowledge that I have to, say, make a phone call to demand service, fills me with an anxiety so great that my hands shake while dialing the phone. HOWEVER. I don't know how much longer I can take this. I don't know how many more years I can be complicit to this fucking hate because it makes me sick and sad inside to know that it's being passed directly into the next generation. I can't imagine how I will react in the years to come, when I have my own children. I don't want them to hear shit like that, especially from people they're supposed to love & respect.

It makes my heart hurt, and I don't know what to do. It makes me wish Daddy was around, for some reason, although that may just be a kind of futile reaction to my own impotence in this situation.

In other words, DEAR ABBY, HELP!

Q: How did moving go? How are things in your new place?
A: I don't want to talk about it.

I'm getting all jingly/sparkly/jazzed about the upcoming holiday season. I'M GETTING A FUCKING CHRISTMAS TREE. YES I AM. And I plan to make paper snowflakes and cover them in glitter for a thrifty Christmas. Kind of like this:

Did anyone read that book? There was also a made for TV movie based on it, starring the incomparable Jason Robards:

They were poor, and her Daddy was kind of an authoritarian asshole and refused to let her have an Xmas tree, ever. And her mom was dead. (That's her grandmother knitting up there). And she was super-nerdy. But then, in an act of charity they got a free Xmas tree and she had saved the silvery paper from cigarette packs for MONTHS in order to create beautiful silvery decorations. I'm a bit foggy on the details from here on out, but I do know that at the end, her father's ice cold heart was warmed by all the Christmas good cheer and he was magically cured of assholism.

My favorite Christmas movie of all time, however, is probably this jewel:

Can you believe that this is the best image Google could come up with? Where in the fuck are all the Smoky Mountain Christmas enthusiasts? I know my Dolly-loving Tennessee girls are going to say "Amen" on this one... A Christmas movie with a Snow White plot! Orphans living in the hills! A sexy witch! Mountain Dan! What in the fuck?!?! I'm just glad it exists. Also, I have to say that I will uphold until my dying day that Dolly Parton is indeed a good actress.

Lord I've degraded very quickly. I'll hit "publish" before anything else flies from my fingers.

ETA: Goddamn, I love Dolly, but this makes me a little scared, then ashamed for being scared, but then scared again (click on it, it's too wide for this DUMB BLOG):

Please stop, Dolly! At least stop fucking with your face. I'm afraid you're approaching Wildenstein territory.


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