Saturday, March 22, 2014

not from concentrate

I'm sick with a bad cold and lost my voice just long enough to have to back out of a reading, but I would have backed out anyway, because I am at that point in a bad cold where everything kind of hurts and there's all this stuff in your head that wasn't there yesterday and you wonder how it got there. Seriously, like, a quart of extra fluid in my head. Where does that come from?

Things have been very bad and very good. And that's all I can really say before I distract you with something shiny. Oooooh. Shiny. Pretty. Maybe I'll tell you another time.

Oh, hey, advanced reading copies of my book are out! People who write reviews have them in their hands! They are thinking, I don't know what to say. That is what I want people to say. I want people to be quiet for a little while and maybe just listen to their insides, what things might mean to them. For the record, if they did say anything, I would like for it to be nice. Glowing is acceptable, as well. There are mistakes in this version, but I think we caught them all, and I was able to sneak another story in(!!), so I think maybe we're close to having the final version done. It's weird to hold a book with my name on it. In a totally good and foreign way. No, it's just good. I worked hard. It's some old stuff with some new stuff, molded partly into a novella, which is so cool because my editor did that with mostly old stuff, so it feels new again. And then there's a section that's just stories.

Here's something you want to know. The hives. They seem to be chronic and tenacious. Sometimes they go away for awhile. A friend had this condition for awhile and then it just went away. But it took a long time. I enjoy having mysterious health ailments. No, I really don't. But one would think I did if one took a good hard look. Don't do that. All I'm really saying is I'm itchy and snotty, which is grosser and less interesting that my usual TMI, but it's where I am this evening.

Oh, my head is filled with other stuff, too. Changes ahead. If you know the changes, please don't say, as anyone could read this blog and I'm not quite ready for anyone to know about my changes. I remember days of not having to worry about things like that, and of not having holes and scabs and welts on my body. It could be worse. It could pretty much always be worse.

I went to Trader Joe's earlier. For some juice and other supplies. (Ooh, I have popsicles! I forgot.) And the dorky cute checker wasn't there. He wasn't there last time, either. How am I supposed to have a harmless crush if people don't make themselves available? Come back, tall, unruly dark-haired dorky checker. We will talk about whatever weird hobby you're into now, and I'll give an inward sigh. Oh, dreamy weird checker guy, I at least hope you got a better job involving knives or bees or something.

What I was going to tell you about Trader Joe's was, I got this fresh-squeezed orange juice. It is fantastic. My lips are kind of dry and cracked and the juice fills them in. It hurts some, but I like the feel of fresh orange juice filling crevices in my mouth, like it wants to stay awhile. I still taste it on my lips. Maybe better than in my head. Fresh-squeezed orange juice can be my new crush. Attainable, but more special from far away. Making me feel better when I'm sick. Better than a crush or a boyfriend because it will always be there, on the shelf at Trader Joe's, right where it should be. And that is why I love fresh-squeezed orange. juice. The end.

Friday, February 14, 2014

hi, it's late

I went to bed about 2 and a half hours ago. Then I woke up. And I'm pretty much up. I'm sure I'll fall asleep approximately 15 minutes before the alarm goes off, and I will be bummed and groggy, but I'm up now, so I thought I'd say hey. I won't say Happy Valentine's Day, because, jeez, what a ridiculous holiday. I think some pagans made it up and Hallmark jumped all over it. And See's candy and Zale's jewelry and people who grow roses and make other snacks and grow other flora and manufacture crappy heart jewelry, so people can tell the people they love that they love them that one day a year. I once told this boyfriend I'd rather get daisies on a Wednesday than roses on Valentine's Day. He gave me daisies the next Wednesday and about ten packs of Bazooka bubble gum on Valentine's Day, because I was pretty into Bazooka bubble gum at the time. He was a nice guy. Things didn't work out (clearly), but I remember him fondly (also clearly).

Speaking of boys, I got over that vet crush pretty quickly. Because he made an appointment for Noah to get his teeth cleaned without me saying that he should do that. Because getting a cat's teeth cleaned costs a lot more than getting a person's teeth cleaned. Like, it can cost up to $1000 depending on extractions. And he would have to go under general anesthesia and stuff. And I tried to reach the vet to get him to tell me why he made the appointment and to explain the procedure a little more. And I finally got a brief email from him telling me a vet tech would call me. So, I cancelled. The appointment and the crush. My cat is about 17 years old and he has brought me a lot of joy. His teeth are not in great shape, but he is not uncomfortable, and I don't want to have him undergo surgery from which he might not wake, and make him lose teeth that he uses to enjoy his food. In fact, I started feeding him a little more because it makes him happy. But then I cut back because he used to be diabetic and he gained a lot of weight pretty quickly, and I don't really want to expedite his demise. He's just really hungry, and I wanted to give him some joy. So, we're good. He sleeps on me and it's pretty darn cute. Except sometimes he makes me really warm and I have to take him off of me.

I've had some health problems lately. Nothing too serious, but I've had some doctors' appointments, and this cuts into my working and watching competitive cooking shows time. The strange thing is, I'm kind of not that into the competitive cooking shows thing or TV in general, or, unfortunately, writing all that much. What am I into, you ask? If you did, in fact, ask, or had any curiosity, I am into sleeping and reading Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace. It is more than 1000 pages. With footnotes. And I have wanted to read it for a long time, but it just hasn't worked out. It is a commitment. I'm not that into some of it, but I am enjoying a lot of it. I am on page 187.

I am working on working up some motivation to work on my novel. Or one one them. I have about half of one (not the 1000 page kind of one) done, but it's very rough, not only the writing, but some of the content. I also have about 1/100th of another done, which I think could be pretty good, but I am not really feeling it right now. But I think maybe feeling it is beside the point? Maybe if I work on it, I will feel it. Like I am feeling Infinite Jest. As I am awake at the moment (and for the foreseeable moments), I might take a look at one or both of these books and work on one or both of these books. There aren't any rules. People think there are, but, with all due respect, those are rules for them. I don't write every day. And I don't read books about writing books. I ask some people about how they do it, but I mostly just write when I want to. I am not a person who gets up every morning and writes for two hours. That would be cool, but I am not that person. Like I am not a person who pays retail or eats mushrooms.

Because of the vague health stuff, my friend, Tony, inspired/cajoled/guilted me into starting this super-healthy diet. Like, all organic, no gluten, no sugar, no fast food, etc. And, though it's a little extreme and I've loosened the restrictions a bit, I like it. Especially this green chia kombucha. Chia is not just a seed used for growing unusual pets on terra cotta. It is super healthy and delicious. The drink is somewhat viscous and vinegary (it's raw with probiotics and stuff), and the chia seeds are chewy. It's sort of like a food-like drink. I know it sounds gross, but I'm kind of obsessed with it. I wish I had one now. I wish you had one now.

Hey, I might be feeling semi-motivated to write something. Even if it's just a little something, it's probably good to get my head back in it. So, I'll catch you later.

And don't forget to love people every day. Or at least have crushes. I'm still a big fan of both.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

can i change my mind?

If anyone finds their way here, or maybe read the blog in the past, I wrote a post - the one before this - in which I said I was retiring Gray Sheep. But I can change my mind, right? I mean, even if you say no, I don't have to accept it. I think I'm coming out of retirement. Because I'm not that writerly writer who only writes about writing. I write about a lot of things, most sort of silly or rambly, and, quite possibly, irrelevant, but they're my things and I think I'd like to write about them sometimes. Here. So, if you're still around, this is my official retirement from retirement post. I'm giving back the gold watch and memorial plaque. I will take the office out to happy hour to repay for those drinks we had on the last day of the blog.

OK, so it's 2014. I decided to get over my resolution to never make resolutions. Resolutions are not bad. Unless you're resolving to do impossible stuff, like traveling to the moon, meeting a decent guy, writing more, eating only healthy foods, and exercising.

I met a decent guy. I'm not dating him, but I have a crush on him. I hope to not see him soon, unless the impossible happens and he calls me up and asks me on a date. He is Noah's new vet. I got a whole bunch of hives the other day. Like, hives covering a lot of my body. I was very itchy and in some pain, and feeling like Charlie Brown when he tries to kick the football and Lucy pulls it away and he keeps trying, believing that someday, he will kick the football. Minus the part about keeping trying. I was pretty dejected. I was pretty woe is me. I was not pretty in pink. Because the pink was large welts, mostly on my thighs and mid-section.

I was worried that I might have some sort of bugs. I thought maybe it was fleas, because Noah was being sort of weird. So I took him to the vet. I had been to the dermatologist that day. Well, the doctor wasn't in, so I saw a physician's assistant, which is normally fine, but this one wasn't particularly nice or compassionate, and she sort of didn't listen to my concerns. And she cut out part of a hive for a biopsy. So, that was fun.

Anyways, this vet was a wonderful person who takes care of animals and said he was sorry Noah didn't have fleas because I really wanted to know the cause of my hives. He spent a long time with us. He is tall. He started to leave the room, and he turned around and asked if he had done enough, like he really wanted to tell me something that would help me and felt bad thad he hadn't. And I told him he had and he was great and thanked him. He told me to call him anytime this weekend because he would be there. I'm not kidding myself. I don't think the crush goes both ways. I was wearing a black skirt and black sweater, covered with cat hair. I was not looking my best, in general. But isn't having a crush fun? I looked him up (only because the site for the animal hospital was still an open tab on the computer) and he is single. I wrote this story awhile back about this girl who was sort of dating this jerk and she meets a nice veterinarian, but she had already figured out she was better than the jerk. Who she wasn't really dating. She was just sort of a convenience for him. And the vet sounded really nice. So, I have a crush on a nice vet, but I want my cat to be healthy, so I'll probably never see him again, or I will, but I will be covered in cat hair and upset that my cat requires veterinary attention. But it's still fun to have a crush.

I had a pretty nice New Year's Eve, despite the fact that the hives were starting. I stayed home. I was ambivalent about that. I thought I should want to go out and I think I maybe did want to go out a little, but I didn't have anything to do. I don't really care if that sounds lame. I really don't actually care. I usually care a lot when I say I don't care. But not this time. First, I had to work that day and was sort of tired. Second, New Year's Eve is one of those high expectation holidays. Like Fourth of July. It's one of those holidays that is supposed to be SO MUCH FUN. How does a holiday live up to that? It's a lot of pressure for one day. Third, there are a lot of drunk drivers, and generally drunk people, out on New Year's Eve, so your chances of getting dead or annoyed are higher than usual.

The biggest reason I did not care that I wasn't out on New Year's Eve was that I talked to my friend, J., who I haven't talked to in a long time, for reasons too lengthy and pretty much irrelevant. Part of it is that he moved away. So, we talked for like three hours. I love J. because he is not a bullshit kind of guy. He is a straight talker. Funny story (I think I told this a long time ago, but it bears repeating, as I don't know when that was and don't want to find the post because it would be four or fives years old by now): I met J. when I was out with this girl I didn't know well and she turned out to the THAT kind of girl. The one who competes with other girls. So if any guy talked to me she got sort of aggressively cranky. So, we end up at this bar and we're sitting in a booth, I think, and these two guys come over and we are all talking. And she's getting all friendly with the one she's talking to and I'm, like, thank goodness she's off my hands. And I'm talking to J., having a good conversation. Not flirting. Then we left the bar to go somewhere else or something. At any rate, I'm walking with J. and somehow the issue of us walking and talking together comes up and he goes, "I like brown girls," and I go "I like guys with big noses," and since neither of us had what the other likes, we became friends that night.

I was very surprised when he called me. I mean, you meet people at bars and elsewhere all the time. And you have nice encounters with them and never see them again. But he called and we started hanging out quite a bit. We were both looking for new jobs at the time, so we had some free time. He would text me "Ruby?" at like 4pm and I'd be like, "yeah," and we would go to the Ruby Room, this cool dive bar near where he lived. And he would drink this cheap beer that was a dollar a can, I think. And I don't like beer, so I would sip a well whiskey (that was $4, I think) and we'd just talk about stuff. And we'd talk to other people. And we were friends without any flirtation or anything on either side, which is pretty damn cool. The only time anything ever came up was when I asked if maybe he wanted to move into my place for us both to save money, and he said it wouldn't be a good idea because we'd probably hook up, and I was like, no, we wouldn't. It was weird to even think about it. But he said it very matter-of-factly, in the sense that if a non-unattractive guy and a non-unattractive girl moved in together, it's not totally improbable for them to have a few drinks one night and it's not far to get to the other person's bedroom or something. So, he didn't move in.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. So, we talked the other night and I like talking to him because he is so genuine. Sometimes he's kind of blunt in a way that isn't all that socially acceptable, in general, but he doesn't say things to be mean or confrontational, and he's not trying to please everyone. So, when he laughs, it means he thinks something is funny. And when he smiles, it means he is having a good time. And when he calls or returns a call, it means he finds a person worthwhile. We talked about a lot of things, one of which is he's probably never moving back to the area. I wish he would because I miss him and I am a better, more genuine person with him, but he's got to do what he's got to do, and I respect that.

I never got around to those resolutions, did I? I'd like to be healthier in mind, body, and spirit. That about covers it. More specifically, I want to be more gracious. I want to write more often and better. I'd like to finish writing my novel. I want to read more. I want to learn some new things, like maybe how to knit and use my slow cooker. I can't do much about the rest. I want to make some new friends. I want Noah to stay healthy and live forever. I want to meet a nice man who I like and who likes me back.  I want people to read my book and like it. I want anyone reading this to be healthy in mind, body, and spirit. Thanks for letting me change my mind. I like it here.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

thanks from the sheep

I've been writing here for about five years now and, though I have loved having the space and opportunity to ramble, whine, inform, promote, and generally divulge entirely too much information in a ridiculously vague manner, I have decided to retire Gray Sheep.

I truly appreciate the readers who have dropped in, commented, followed links, and just been around. As my time has grown more limited and other concerns have taken precedence, I feel this is the right thing to do. I plan to put up an author's site (more writing stuff, less brain and heart dump) sometime in the near future, as my book, If I Would Leave Myself Behind (a novella + stories) is set to release on June 10, 2014. I will be doing a West Coast book tour and having a raging launch party in Oakland around then, in case you're inclined to make purchase and travel plans!

I'm leaving Gray Sheep up for awhile. First, I need to figure out how to archive this all for my own posterity (ha) - really, to just document this time of my life. There are things I forget. Some of them are here. Second, I don't like it when things just disappear.  Or disappear abruptly. Ideally, I will have some way of directing you to the aforementioned future site. Finally, and most importantly, I don't want to leave without saying good-bye. And thanking you for visiting. Writing can be so solitary, and I tend to lead a somewhat solitary life in a lot of ways. Knowing there are good people - friends - out there who pop in once in awhile has been more meaningful than you. know.

And so I thank you.

Monday, October 28, 2013

see you later

I talked to my friend, D., yesterday. She lives far away, but I texted her that I missed her because I really, really did. Because she has been a wonderful friend for close to 20 years. And I know she will be there. Even when I cry. Even when I need her. She loves me, even though she has four young daughters and a new husband and she was on the way to meet up with her husband and her friend, she took the time to call. She offered to loan me money during the government shutdown. Her friendship makes me feel very lucky and sort of lonely, because she lives across the country and I would like to have coffee with her on a regular basis and talk about normal things and laugh and read books and talk about all sorts of things. She is not a writer, but she is a reader, and a thinker and a feeler and we have seen each other through difficult times and she remains, and always will remain, there.

For their own reasons, which I have to respect because they are their reasons and you can't put your own stuff on other people, two people blew me off lately, effectively ending our friendships. And it has been difficult, because I feel it speaks so much to who I am and my worth and then I remember D. and J. and K., and some others. and it inspired me to work to reconnect with some people who fell  by the wayside. And I had a nice response to one such effort, and haven't heard back from one, who I know will always be a friend, but travels a lot and has a serious girlfriend and our schedules no longer mesh well. But I love him absolutely, and I know he feels the same. And we will catch up one of these days.

I am far from perfect, but I try to be supportive. I helped someone find a job and he's sort of providing day labor and I don't know what more I can do to get him formally hired. But he did something unbelievably insulting, and I have to be done with that. And the other ... it is in her court. I don't want to be angry or hurt. I want to reassess my own choices. And I am excited about the possibilities, with old friends and new. I am excited that things are moving forward with my book and that I have an amazing editor. Things are not simple. I wrote a follow up to the Rumpus piece for Nailed Magazine. It's been a tough week. But the support and encouragement have been humbling, and it's so nice to have people believe me and want to help. And I'm wary, because a good number of people have disappeared. And I will take what I can get as long as it's offered, because it helps.

It's late. I can't say much more. But what I can say is I'm trying hard to be gracious and understand other people's perspectives and motivations for going away. And I'm tired of feeling rejected and judged, and realizing that maybe I'm not.  And I wish these people love and happiness and hope they wish me the same. I do not plan to wallow. I am reaching out and the results are good thus far. I am moving forward and it is exciting.

There is hope. There are friends. I forgot. I remember. I mourn those who are gone, but it makes me appreciate those who are there even more.

It's very late and my cat is very hungry. I am going to feed him and go to bed with the lights off and door locked. Good night, all.  I wish you safety and friendship and love.