Saturday, March 31, 2012


Pick Up Boy didn't show.  First he lost his phone, and emailed to say "so how do we do this?" And I explained that the old fashioned way was to just show up at the same place at the same time, and he said he would "try that lol."  So I was pretty much expecting that I'd go, and have a drink by myself, and then go home again, which is exactly what happened.

And I'm not sad about him.  I'm not even sad about the night.  But there is something in this feeling I have, the feeling of I knew it, that makes me a little sad.  Because it is so familiar.  I never believe that someone will show, and when they show, I don't believe that they like me, and when they like me I don't believe that they care, and there is always that voice that says there must be something wrong.

I remember lying with Henry, on a mattress on the floor of my little yellow bedroom, our faces inches apart, and I thought you are so good to look at, and then I thought why do you want me?

Friday, March 30, 2012

This is interesting

Nothing here is surprising, exactly.  But I find this (information about Notre Dame Ballroom Dance Competition) to be particularly informative in ways that they perhaps didn't intend.

If the lead is male and the follow is female, then both lead and follow must have under 12 months experience to qualify as a "newcomer".  If the lead is female, then she will automatically qualify for "newcomer" status, regardless of her experience dancing either lead or follow.

There is no provision for a male follow.

ETA (again)

He replies.  I'm wondering if we're communicating.  I say:

I *do* want to actually, you know, hang out with you. I want some F with my FWB. If you're hoping to avoid that, I'm not the girl you're looking for.


I compromised.  Dinner first, public place.  But I gave him my phone number.

Should and should

So there is a boy.  He wrote to me on OK Cupid, and gave me a two-part pickup line.  Hence his working title, "pick up line boy."  Not very catchy, I realize.  But either he will get a real name, or he will disappear, and either way it won't matter for long.

And he moved immediately to hitting on me, very directly.  Neither porn nor romance novel, but certainly not anything ones parents should read.  Or anyone besides the intended recipient, really.    And he's been very eager to meet soon, with the implication that "meeting" would not consist of a coffee and a hug.  Also, he's 21.

I told him Maybe. How about we meet for a drink on Sunday and see how it goes?  I don't want him thinking that this is a hookup, because it won't be.  Some things are immediately on the table, depending on how it goes, some things might be on the table for later, depending.  But the thing is, there might not be any point in establishing the limits when he might kiss like Dan the Kissing Fish and make those limits irrelevant.  He suggested drinks and a movie at his place.

And that's actually what this post is about.  Because I know the answer is, needs to be, no.  I've never met this person before.  I have no idea who he is, if we'll like each other at all, or if he's going to try to rape me in his house.  This idea is entirely unsafe.  First meetings happen in public places where both parties are capable of leaving on their own, ideally with neither party knowing more than the first name of the other.  No phone numbers, no addresses, no last names.

I know what the sexual assault statistics are like.  Hell, I know what they're like in Iowa City, and it's Not Good.  I know that if something did happen, I would have to convince authorities and possibly a jury that having gone willingly to his house with the expectation of physical activity doesn't mean that I was giving up my ability to say no.  I might have to convince them that I'm not lying about saying no.  I know all these things intellectually.  I just can't manage to actually feel unsafe.

I feel like this happens to me a lot.  I never really have the proper amount of fear.  I can't manage to take tornadoes seriously, even though I've seen photos of the building I'm sitting in, not that long before I got here, torn up and hollowed out.  I'm afraid of silly things, like heights and needles, but not afraid of getting mugged in the bad parts of Oakland.  Despite the much larger chance of the latter.  Despite the personal experiences of people around me.  I live in a bubble, and I believe in my bubble.  And I know it's a problem, but I can't manage to take my problem seriously, either.

I don't like the right answer.  I want to watch a movie at his place.  So I dither.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Week 13, part 2: Making My Own Decsions and Other Silly Little Ideas

Weight this morning, 192 pounds.

I was hoping that by morning, after yelling to two housemates and one BFF, I would be feeling better.  But I'm not feeling better.  I'm fucking angry as hell.

I decided to try to go back to salsa practice on Wednesdays.  The last time I went was more than a little bit disastrous, because the guy who was teaching that day (it's an informal gathering of people who dance, rather than organized lessons) couldn't actually keep time or understand dance counts.  I kept looking around to see if we were part of some student's experimental film. I stopped going for a month or two.

A friend of mine is interested in social dancing with me, so I decided that this would be a good time to learn to lead salsa so that I could teach her.  I feel like I've been dancing salsa long enough to get the follow part engrained in my feet, so I can safely start learning lead.  (It's doing both at once that wrecks me, sort of like trying to learn International and American ballroom at the same time.  I just don't have enough room in my head.)

I expect that the first time I go somewhere as a lead, I need to announce that I'm leading.  No one will assume it.  That's fine and normal.  What I didn't expect was to have to assert this quite so many times, with quite so much refusal on everyone's part to accept my decision.

We got into a circle, paired up.  Everyone looked at me and someone said "there's a guy over there."

I said, "I'm leading."  Then someone else said, "you can go over there," and I said "I'm leading."  Then a guy switched places so he could be next to me and I told him, "I'm leading."  And he said, "No, you're not."  He did not say this in a teasing fashion.  He was simply correcting my mistake.

I told him, "I think I get to decide that."  He said he didn't think so.  Then he decided to "compromise," and we would switch off parts.  I agreed.  And then he tried to explain how this was all for my benefit to help me learn, because it's easier for me to learn a step when I know how it goes for the follow.  I think he was trying to make it sound like it wasn't a misogynist asshole move on his part.

I did not explain to him that his argument would work a little better if he had ever told a male lead that he should learn the follow part.  If the instructor had not made a disgusted face when asked if he would ever dance the follow part (with the line, "I am not getting in touch with my feminine side!"  If there weren't plenty of men in the class who were learning the step from scratch.  If it wasn't perfectly obvious that he thought that those men could learn the step from scratch, but I would need to learn it differently.  I danced with him.  When it was time to rotate partners, I danced with someone else.

Who immediately said, "There's a guy without a partner."

I told her that I knew that.  I was leading.  And she said, "You're so mean!"

Dear reader, it is terribly selfish and cruel to not dance with a man when I have the opportunity.  There is, after all, no possible reason for two women to dance together when there is an available man. 

What was I thinking?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fake ID

I don't miss her anymore. I miss what she was, what she represented, what I wanted her to be. Some things are irrevocably hers: the Dreamworks SKG logo, the Jeff Buckley version of Hallelujah, the opening credits of Bridget Jones' Diary. But I don't look at new things through through her eyes. I never think, "She would like this. I wish I could tell her." I think I've felt this way for a long time now, but I didn't recognize the change.

And now that I've finally had my epiphany, I would think it would be easier to change her name in the essay I just wrote about her. But I find that I am less and less willing to do so. Now that I can finally look at this story as old history, it has become more precious to me. It is something that needs saving. And anything less than her name feels like a lie, like I'm erasing her from the story by erasing her name. I am allowing someone else to be her.

She would not want me to use her name. And so I have to decide which is more important to me, respecting the wishes of the real woman, or respecting the truth of my memory of her.

If You Meet a Guy Named Ben

So I was at a Ladies' Art Society Quilting Bee, embroidering topographical maps of prairie in the process of being restored onto pieced handmade paper (made from, among other things, native milkweed), and I was talking about chainsaw sculptures of vaginas and ballroom dancing, and someone says

"I have a friend who just started going to the ballroom dance club.  I'm trying to set him up with all of my single friends, because he's a really great guy."

to which I reply,

"Who's your friend?"

And as soon as I say it, I realize it sounds like I'm volunteering myself to date this guy, when this is actually the one time in my life that I wasn't thinking that, I was just thinking that I would love to know more nice people in the club, especially leads.

The conversation drifts a little, before she says,

"So if you ever meet Ben ----"

And it turns out that the one guy she knows in the club is also the one guy I know in the club, and actually I'm the one who invited him to start going, and I won't be dating him because I already asked him a year or two ago and he declined, and this is one more story about what a tiny damn town I live in.

The End.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I am not looking at Creative Nonfiction MFA programs.

Like taking babies from candy

I have a problem.

You know Mormon missionaries that come to your door in suits and ties in the middle of summer with their sweet faces and pamphlets? 

I think they're hot.

Also prep school boys, especially ones that are secretly Chris O'Donnell from the 90's.  Or Warblers.  I apparently have a fresh-faced-sweet-buttoned-up-barely-legal-schoolboy fetish.  There are plenty of good-looking men in ballroom.  With broad shoulders and sexy arms and chiseled faces.  And yet the one I crush on doesn't look old enough to drink, even in Iowa City (which is saying a lot).  And he looks like it wouldn't matter anyway.  Dear god. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Rant Number 325

Every once and a while the same button-pushing meme goes around, and I feel the need to get up on my soapbox. Since they repeat periodically, I think I'll just start keeping a list of soapboxes, and so instead of retyping, I can just say "rant number 287"). So, here is Rant Number 325:

I am an English snob. The plural of 'medium' is 'media' and vice versa. 'PIN number' is redundant. I can correctly identify homophones, and spot a misplaced apostrophe at 100 paces. So when people get up on the internet and start ranting about improper English, I'm usually right there with them.

Every year, around Christmas, there is an outpouring of outrage over the use of "gift" as a verb. Why go around making up words (gift), goes the rant, when there is a perfectly good word (give) already available?

The anti-gift arguments generally rely on one or both of the following reasons:

1. "Gift" as a verb is a modern invention by people who either don't know or care any better. Its use is either ignorant or (even worse) intentionally wrong in order to sound cute or clever.

2. As an exact synonym of "give," "gift" is unnecessary and irrelevant.

Unfortunately for the people ranting, the word has been in recorded use since at least the 1600's. (The un-challanged adjective "gifted" was derived from the verb "to gift," rather than the other way around.) So using it in modern-day language may be an anachronism, but it's not a new invention.

To which, some people bluster, "Well, sure, just because it used to be a word doesn't make it correct now." Which I will grant them. However, if the word were actually obsolete, then I wouldn't keep finding people complaining about its use. Words in common usage, even if just common usage by people one doesn't like, are not obsolete.

And the direct equivilent of "to gift" is "to give as a gift." The specification is necessary because not all things given are gifts. Teachers give out grades, but they do not give them as gifts. Similarly, I may give someone something to take home, but expect it back the next day. Both "give" and "gift" denote a transfer of ownership, but "gift" is more specific. It implies both a permanent transfer, and an extra importance to both the item and the act. If I give someone their stapler back, it's unremarkable. If I gift them their stapler, it's funny. So replacing all instances of "to gift" with "to give," either removes a layer of meaning, or adds three extra words.

More importantly, I disagree with the idea that because two words are synonyms that only one ought to exist. No two words ever mean exactly the same thing. The literal definitions may be equal, but not the connotations. We should be embracing a larger, more expressive language, rather than trying to condense it into it's smallest possible form.

So there.

posts to write

gift as a verb

Mormon boys and manic pixie dream girls

If you meet a guy named Ben

"underwater nature photography"

and I still need to come up with a "simple living" post for Fenna, I've started and stopped a few but nothing worth reading

Week 13, part 1

Week 13, weight, 194 pounds.  Loss this week, 3 pounds.  Total loss, 23 pounds.

I started out with another Bad Dream Monday, but couldn't quite manage to stick with it.  Halfway through my shower I was thinking about how much fun I had at the dance and workshop, and how much fun it is now that I can lead, and I want to learn to lead ALL THE THINGS.  Because being able to lead is exactly as awesome as I thought it would be.  I can dance with cute girls!  I don't have to sit out a song when the leads are all on the floor!  There's even something kind of relaxing about showing someone else off.  I mean, good swing dance leads are a pleasure to watch, and there's a lot of fancy styling that can be done, but I think that at the heart of it, the job of a lead is to make the follow look good.

And it was funny when the things I wasn't used to having to do were suddenly My Job Now.  Like, keeping an eye out on the rest of the dance floor to avoid collisions, and that continuous calculation of what I should or shouldn't ask my follow to do.

I very nearly took the rumba lesson as a lead, but I'm not sure yet if I'm ready to switch back and forth on all the other dances.  I'm just starting to keep them all straight in my head, and they're almost but not quite instinctive.  I think I need to get them a little more firmly entrenched as a follow before I start to switch back and forth. 

But waiting is so hard.

The ballroom boy with the goofy smile is no longer off-limits at social dances.  And he is very pretty.  He is not, not, not a crush, but he is good to look at.  I can enjoy that.  (I think I have Manic Pixie Dream Girl fantasies.  More on that to come.)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The universe says stop whining

So it sent me a very lovely email from a fellow commie pinko who wanted me to know how much she enjoyed my essay.  And then it sent me a lovely dance, and a few more inroads with the in-crowd, and a chance to take advantage of having learned to lead lindy so that I wouldn't have to sit them out if I didn't want to.

Dear Universe, I am sorry I doubted you.  Carry on.

commie pinko

I am fourth out of eight.  I feel pretty crappy about that. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Listening to the blues while cleaning my office is almost as funny as singing along to "Sixteen Tons" while driving to work


When it rains, it sings Hallelujah

You know how bad things tend to pile up, and a spilled coffee turns into three shitty days?  This is the opposite of that.

It's funny, because I remember this from the last time.  I started losing weight, and it was like I had some sort of magic shield of happiness.  I was making work that I loved, and I was getting rave critiques, and I felt like I could do anything.

For the last few years, I've meant to learn the lead part in swing.  Because 1) it's considered standard for advanced dancers, 2) I could dance with girls, and 3) if I knew both parts, I wouldn't have to feel dependent on someone else knowing a particular part.  And every time I make it through one lesson, maybe two.  But leading is hard.  And I am impatient.  I have to fight my instincts.  And I don't want to lead when it's bad and boring.  I'd much rather follow well and with flair.  So I always give in and switch back to follow.  This year I made a decision to stick with it.  Even when the leads outnumber the follows in class, and everyone looks at me, because I could fix that, I stick with it.  It's hard, and I'm impatient, and my instincts are wrong.  But last night, for the first time, I felt it.  I was actually dancing, and not just doing the steps.  It was amazing.

This was after I saved the photo program a 4-week, $600 scanner repair.

And I know that some of this new-found largess is because mood affects performance.  And some of it is because brains like finding patterns.  And I don't really care.  Hallelujah.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I will make this, too.


Not only did I get an actual eye-contact-and-acknowledgment from another ballroom dancer, I got a goofy-face-and-smile.  I also met a girl who recognizes me from knitting and might start swing dancing.  And I discovered that one of the nice dancers is actually a gold-shoe-girl in disguise*.  She has the shoes, she just doesn't act like it.  This feels like a major breakthrough.

Also, I smiled at everyone.  I felt weird and insecure, but I did it.  One person asked if I hurt myself, no one else mentioned it.  I will be so very glad when I stop worrying about how many teeth I have at any given time, but in the meanwhile, I went to ballroom dance without my tooth and smiled.

* When I started noticing that there was a distinctive in-club within the ballroom dancers, I also noticed that all the women had matching gold shoes.  I'm pretty sure they're team competition shoes.

Friday, March 16, 2012

This Video Game Review Is Only 2 Years Late

(Or, Why I Love Mass Effect 1 and Not Mass Effect 2)

Mass Effect 1 is a strange game.  It's an RPG that doesn't care how much ammo you have, or where the dead bodies have fallen.  It's an RPG with real-time combat that cares about your aim, or using the terrain to get good cover, or what part of the enemy you've shot.  Or, at least, it's an RPG that can care about those things.  And if you're me, and fail utterly at first person shooters, it has a pause system that lets you take time to aim, and an optional auto-targeting system so that "aiming" mostly means "deciding which target to hit."  And you can take the time to pause, scope out the good hiding places, take a shot, and pause again.

But despite the oddities, ME1 is an RPG.  The gameplay depends on making choices about the storyline, resource management, skill management, and dialog.  You can spend forever tweaking your equipment (should Ashley get the +20 poison damage or the armor piercing upgrade to her assault rifle) and balancing skill sets (if I take Tali with me I can open boxes, but she always dies first in combat).

And it's a really good RPG.  The writing is fantastic.  The romance plots get a little clunky, especially if you're playing FemShep, because Liara is hippy-dippy-soul-melding-girl and Kaiden is a bit too puppy-like.  Ashley, on the other hand, is sweet and tough and funny and it's really too bad that she's totally not into women.  It's not Joss Whedon, but the characters are likable, and the story is engaging, and it hurts when I leave Kaiden on Virmire, even when I'm playing for the 4th time and have been keeping him at arms length the entire game because I know what's going to happen.

The departures from normal RPG gameplay are well-chosen and appreciated.  I don't really want to take tours after each battle, stopping by each body so I can loot them.  I'd rather just assume, like ME1 does, that I'm going to loot them, but we don't really need to go through the motions.  Same with skill sets; if Tali's on my team, I don't need to actually switch players to open something, we can just assume that she's the one doing the electronic overrides.  And the semi-real-time combat works for me, and it worked for my Halo-playing boyfriend.  He turned the targeting off and practiced his head-shots.  I left it on, and played it like KOTOR.  Win-win.

Mass Effect 2 is both more and less of an RPG in the worst possible ways.  Ammo matters again, and bodies need to be actually looted.  Which means that I'm going through the battlefield again, walking over each body, picking up ammo.  I'm also weighing my shots, deciding if an enemy is worth using up the gun I want to kill it with.  On the other hand, the optional targeting system is gone, the weapons are harder to use, the visibility is lower, the weapon and armor upgrade systems have far fewer options, and there aren't even statistics on effectiveness.  I no longer know that one pistol does 45-66 damage with 10 shots before overheating, while the other does 38-50 damage and overheats after 15 shots.  I just get a paragraph describing each item, with very little practical information.  I think, although it hasn't been confirmed, that each weapon is simply better or worse than the next in its class. 

Even the writing sinks a little.  Shepard comes back from the dead a lot sleezier than she's ever been, leaning casually against the table making eyes at everyone in the crew, giving them cheesy pickup lines in their first conversations.  The romances in ME1 start out in mutual admiration and respect.  The romances in ME2 start out like a bad party hookup.  I don't like this Shepard. 

I just want to give up, read the Wikipedia for the plot, and move on to ME3 and hope it's better.  Except that is a terrible way to get the plot, since so much of the story is dependent on player decisions.  If I don't keep my character from ME2 to move on to ME3, there might be another dead Wrex.  And dead Wrex is NOT okay.  So I turned it down to easy mode, which feels especially wimpy when I was playing ME1 on hard, and I get pissed because it's too easy, except that making it hard makes it hard in the wrong ways.  I can only choose between "dull and playable" and "exciting and impossible."  And even on easy I still die sometimes, feeling like there's nothing I can do to stop it.

So I stop a lot.  And knit.  Or order KOTOR 1 and 2.  And save the universe very, very slowly.  And hope that ME3 is worth it.

Don't tell me.  I want to wait and see.


The body tends to get rid of what it doesn't need.  Muscles and bone waste away when left unused.  So when the bone that holds my teeth in place is relieved of duty, it gets absorbed back into my body.  When they removed my front tooth, the dentists filled some of the leftover space with bone and membrane (cadaver and pig, respectively), to encourage my own body to start to regrow.  And maybe it did.  But without a tooth in place to need that growth, my body went back to its original plan, which was pulling back and regrouping.  So that bone they added last year is gone, and so is most of the bone around it.

This isn't in itself shocking.  This is how the body works.  But it shouldn't have happened so quickly or so completely.  There should have been time to drill a new tooth into my jaw, to give the bone a reason to stay.  But I work quickly, and there wasn't time.  So rather than getting a new tooth last week, I got a new bone graft.  This time, they put in a lot more bone.  This time they will watch me carefully to make sure that it isn't wasted.

When they pulled the tooth last year, I liked to tell people that I had a tooth pulled and a bone graft.  Because "bone graft" sounds like real surgery, the kind of thing that happens on TV.  The kind of thing to justify a nice long sick leave sitting at home playing XBox.  Bone graft.  The truth is, it was just like getting a tooth pulled, which did mean that I got some good pain killers, but the procedure didn't take more than an hour, maybe an hour-and-a-half.  It only hurt long enough to get the numbing started.

So when I went back for more bone grafting, I figured it would be more of the same.  I was sort of picturing the dentist opening my gum like a ziplock baggie, adding some bone, and then sewing it back up.  Cut, open, close.

Except it wasn't.  It took about 3 1/2 hours of stabbing and pulling, the scrape of metal against bone that I could feel through my skull, and the burning thread of chemicals creeping through my gums into the base of my nose.  And the fear that even now, after all this, it still won't be enough.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Week 11, part 1, part 1

There is much reckoning to do, and much to catch up on, but not quite yet.  In the meanwhile:

Week 11, weight, 199 pounds.  Loss this week, 3 pounds.  Total loss, 18 pounds.

Also, surgery: still rather unpleasant.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I've got a week of sitting at home, napping on the couch... figured I might add "obsessively checking my email" to my plans :)

More thoughts on Commie Pinko (another numbered list)

1.  In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have live-blogged my every thought while writing.  My blog presence is linked to my Real Name, which means that I am not actually anonymous.  And since names were not to be attached to submissions until after judging, I should have taken care to not attach my name to my submission in a public space.  Sorry.

2.  I made myself a reference sheet for the entries so I could keep track of them.  Just a list with story title, synopsis, and opinion, not more than a few sentences for each.  It was highly entertaining.  I can't show you yet, maybe never, because some of them are not particularly kind, so you'll have to pretend that you've read something funny and clever here.

3.  I am working on a few small extensions to CH3.  With the extended version, I think that I really should re-name Sheila.  So the question is, what kind of name is Sheila?  I have no memory of hearing the name in any other context, or referring to any other person.  Is it old-fashioned?  Girly?  Plain?  What kind of person do you picture with that name?  Help!

4.  The version of CH3 available for judging is finally acceptable.  It's still got question marks instead of apostrophes, and no italics to speak of, but those are unimportant.  No one thinks that it?s is anything but a formatting error, and while I do like my italics, they are there as guidelines rather than imperatives.  They don't change the meaning of a sentence, they help direct the way it should sound.  I can live without them.  This is an enormous relief.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


My essay for commie pinko is still wrong.  I have emailed the coordinator, and gotten an "out of office" response.  I have emailed another person in charge, and not yet heard anything.  It has only been 14 hours since my last email, but there are only 19 days of judging, and now there are 16. I wouldn't care if it were missing.  I care very much that it is bad.  It has a life, in the world, and I am ashamed of it.  And it's that feeling of shame that I can't stand, that leaves me sick to my stomach and miserable.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

1 through 6

1.  Writing is much more anti-social than photography.  Even though I am thoroughly anti-social when I am shooting, I am either working, or I am not.  I am not framing things in my head, or planning out the editing I am going to do.  So when I am not working, I am talking or reading or watching TV, or dancing, or any number of things that can involve other people.  Now that I am working on words again, I find that I am never not working.  Which means that it is on my mind at any given moment, and so even when I am trying to stop, and have a conversation with someone else, it intrudes on the conversation.

2.  I forgot why this was going to be a numbered list.



Essay #2 is about Women and Death, because that's the assignment.  It can be a very tangential relationship.  I think it will include something about squishing my calligraphy pen into cuts I've made in my arm so I can write out "for lifes not a paragraph and death i think is no parenthesis" in blood, which was really hard because the blood kept congealing in the pen, and in my cuts, which were very shallow because even my angst is wimpy.  That's why there are so many cuts.  The story will include something about my current dental woes and my new-found talent for bone assimilation.  It may also include, although I can't say why, the story of my first real concert when I was fifteen and I fooled around with a stranger whose face I'm not sure I ever saw.   I think I should learn something so it can include some factual components as well.  I suppose once I figure out what the connecting thread, besides "things about my body," is, I can learn something about it.

I also need to remember to go back to CHAPTER 3 and possibly emphasize "this is how things were, this is how things are," and also add more personal details.  There's a bit I had when I was trying to write the Sheila story, talking about my office with my name on the door that I share with the grad students sometimes.  And something about frozen rain making bumps on everything like braille.  That would probably fit.  I couldn't use it for the contest, because I put the words down before the writing period, but I can go back and add them now.

5.  Oh yeah.  I remember why this was going to be a list.  I was in need of make-me-feel-better food, except not so in need that I was willing to give up another full week of dieting.  Which means that now, when I feel bad, I eat fish, all the fish.  I got sushi and smoked salmon.  I left some for later.  And then because I couldn't have a pint of ice cream, I had a glass of chocolate milk and then later a bottle of cream soda.  Which, honestly, might have added up to a lot of ice cream.  But somehow it feels like less of a loss.

6.  This is the bit I might re-write into CH.3:

You are sitting in your office at a large public university in a small Midwestern town. Outside, little bumps of frozen rain cover the outside of your car, forming an epic poem in braille, or you think it might be, if you could read braille.

It’s your name on the door, although you still share the room with a scanner that cost more than you make in a year. The TAs who got kicked out in order to give you this office still come in sometimes to use it. You apologize for the mess, and they apologize for invading your space, which is the best that anyone can do. 

I'm not sure what details to add to the college part.  Maybe something about my dorm room?  The pillow that a professor brought for me because I didn't have my stuff from home yet?   More about Sheila?  That would fit.  I'm still a bit ambivalent about writing about her.  She hated it when I wrote her into my stories.  It was never her, not exactly, but I'd find some detail to work in, and she'd catch it and make me change it.  Except even if I change her name, it's still her.  I can't take that out.  And the only people who would be able to connect my memory of my best friend from college who isn't my friend anymore, are the people who knew us both, and they'd know whether I changed names or not. 

Give me the bones of your dead and I will consume them

The copy of my commie pinko entry that was sent out has been rather horribly re-formatted, in the kind of way that doesn't look like an error, it just looks like I'm a very bad writer.  Who thinks entirely too much of herself.  And the bone they installed last year is gone already, absorbed, I am apparently a cadaverous bone-consuming fiend.  So I will lie in the chair again, and they will open my gums again, like a shiny red present, and stuff the empty spaces inside with another dead man's bones. 

For Fenna

Never be ashamed of your laugh.

Never be ashamed of loving something.  

When you suddenly find a person with whom you can be completely yourself, treasure them for who they are.

Be honest. When you can't, know why.

Be you. You're the only person truly qualified.

If all else fails, take a long, hot, bath.

(See number 2.)

You are old enough to decide when you want to make your bed, clean your room, and go to sleep.

If you add vodka, be prepared for the consequences. 7 out of 10 times they're more fun.

Don't give up hope; sometimes even the DMV will surprise you.

You can, actually, make a pile of bubbles as tall as the tub itself.

Be the type of friend you want to have, even when you don't feel like it. It's called maturity.

Inventing your own cocktail means you're basically a first class bartender.

You're learning and so is everyone else. Cut people some slack.

Smile at strangers. Say hello.

Hugs are essential to your survival. Learn to give, receive, and let go.

You don't know everything. Google might.

Explore.  There are things you've never seen 2000 miles away.  And there are things you've never noticed about what's around you right now.

Life is constantly changing. Don't fight it, dance with it.

Just because today sucks doesn't mean tomorrow will. So, go to bed.