December 2009 Archives

Go easy

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I am totally and completely in love with the Ryan Adams & the Cardinals albumCardinology. If I've talked to you in the past week, I've probably mentioned becoming obsessed with this album. Also if you Audiostalk me, I can't imagine you missed it.

I've listened to the song "Go Easy" about a hundred times and somehow it just perfectly encapsulates my mood these days. Whatever snapped the other day has snapped back, and I feel irrepressibly happy most of the time. That's a wonderful way to feel.

Album version:


And a really nice live version:


Love, love love love love love love.

The other night, my very dear friend Mike and I went out in Red Bank, to a bar where I used to drink underage in high school (Dublin House, if you're from the area). I found a good summation of my current life philosophy:

I also remembered just how completely I adore Mike, and we had one of the most spectacularly awesome fun nights I've had in a long while.

We had so much fun we violated physics and became specters of ourselves.

Pretty damn perfect.

Merry Christmas!

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I've probably said this before, but many years ago we were wrapping up a package to send to my grandparents and aunt. My mother asked my father to fill out the card, and he drew a blank.

"What do I write?" he asked, "Eat It, The Boardmans?"

"Yes, Bill, that's exactly what you should write," my mom laughed, and we've signed cards to his side of the family that way ever since (once we told them the story, of course).

We had a very lovely and extensive Christmas celebration, which has left me plum exhausted.

So to you and yours, a very Merry Christmas, and... well, EAT IT! - The Boardmans


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Sometimes I get a thought and I just need to act on it, to see what will happen. Wet paper, in the snow, with hot water and ink.



The music, btw, is This Will Destroy You, "They Move On Tracks of Never-Ending Light."

Not seen, the paintings started to freeze, and the ink eventually captured some of the crystallization and weird patterns forming. Will take finished photos when they're done thawing.

Stark realizations

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Increasingly, lately, I've been startled awake or pulled out of a reverie with the sudden realization of some fact. I'm not sure what kind of haze has descended on my conscious mind, but it's disturbing to have such abrupt flashes of immediacy and relentless reality.

Saturday morning I woke up in tears, like actually crying in my sleep. I'd been having a dream that featured a lot of friends and family at my parents' house, and I was having some mundane argument in the backyard. Frustrated, I walked into the living room and came face to face with my father's best friend, who died four years ago. His death was sudden and surprising, absolutely devastating for all of us. In my dream, I was so stunned to see him that I burst into tears, and then the dream turned lucid with the realization that he was dead and this was just a dream. He said, "I know, I look just like him, and I'm sorry you weren't prepared to see me here," which just made it worse. In that space between sleep and waking, I had a heart-wrenching settlement of gravity, starting like sand and then accumulating into an impossible density that filled my chest and throat. I couldn't believe the overwhelming sadness, the fresh mourning all over again, and having to work through such a complex emotion in such a vulnerable state. I too was sorry I wasn't better prepared.

In a different way, I recently realized, or rather finally understood, the way I feel - and have always felt - about a particular person. On one hand, this was an incredibly elating experience, to really know my own heart with the kind of certainty usually reserved for things like unconditional love for my cat or extraordinary sensory experiences. I have been carried along as if the beauty and intensity of this understanding were a special buoyancy, and my feelings became a fact of my interactions with this person. But then I have these moments, cold slaps of reason, that point out that my feelings are only mine and I have no idea about their reciprocity, or, even more confounding, that I will probably feel this way as long as I know this person, a fact which will become either one of the greatest joys or one of the greatest sorrows of my life.

That is just....heavy. It's a risky thing, to look into your heart, and terrifying to let yourself experience what's in there. Again, I wish I were better prepared.

One of the signs that you may have a debt problem is so-called "debtor's anxiety," which includes an avoidance of opening the mail, checking your bank balance, etc. It's as if ignoring the bills, statements, and bottom lines will somehow make them go away.

I used to drive an ex-boyfriend crazy with this, accumulating so many unopened items that they filled a laundry basket and then a big moving box, which I eventually just mashed shut, labeled "Box of Awfulness" and used as a bedside stand for nine months.

These types of habits die hard, and as I've tried to be more responsible in my personal and financial life (so I can like, move out of my parents' house one day), I catch myself still avoiding the things I don't want to deal with, facing envelopes with the dread of bad news I can't afford.

I have in the past opted out of my school's health insurance plan, since it is pretty expensive and the coverage has historically been spotty at best. An emergency room visit that was supposed to be covered in full resulted in a more than $16,000 bill because the CAT scan (that determined if I would need scary surgery or not) was classified as purely "diagnostic" and therefore not covered (that was a lot of fun to fight). I did the math, I looked at what my doctor actually charged, and I figured out how many times a year I'd have to get seriously sick to make it worth the cost of my school's plan. Up to this semester, I decided I could manage with massive bottles of Robitussin and compulsive use of Purell.

This year, to be allowed to research in Italy under our memorandum of understanding, I was required to have health insurance. I was annoyed as all hell because it costs almost half of my semester's stipend to pay for insurance, and I saw no need since I was flying to a country with socialized medicine and had paid for the repatriation policy that would fly my body home if I died abroad.

Three grossy sicknesses later, and I couldn't be more thankful that I was required to get this insurance! I wouldn't have been able to fly, let alone breathe or function at all, had I not been able to go to the doctor and get prescription steroids and cough suppressants in October. That alone has made having insurance worthwhile, but the peace of mind is kind of incredible too.

Then I got an envelope in the mail, followed by two or three more, from my doctor's office, the insurance company, and so on.

"Damnit," I thought, certain that this was the other shoe dropping.

I was utterly convinced that this was the billing cycle where I would learn I owed hundred of dollars to all of these doctors, that I had used all my benefits in the first visit and that my insurance didn't cover anything anywhere anyway.

I was sorely tempted to shove the envelopes into my "mail pile" which is growing an alarming resemblance to the Box of Awfulness of yore (it contains mostly student loan interest statements, which I still can't bare to look at while I'm still in school).

"No, Vic, come on," I said in one of my only inner monologue voices which doesn't sound like a Muppet, "you have to deal with this, whatever it is."

My hands were actually shaking as I opened the envelope, wondering just how astronomical a figure I would owe.

I saw it and actually gasped aloud.

That can't possibly be right, not for three illnesses. Maybe the decimal place is wrong?


Twenty-nine dollars and eighty-five cents. $29.85!!! I have bras that cost more than that!

I kept blinking, looking at the insurance contribution (cheapskate jerks) and then my wonderful doctor's adjustments because I had insurance (who knew they did that?!) and I almost cried from gratitude and relief.

There are still so many problems with the health insurance system and the cost of basic medical care in this country, but for the moment, I am so incredibly happy to be insured.

Now if I can only find my checkbook...

I want to pronounce it "hiney"

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Inadvertently, I've continued in my reticence, and the longer I go without blogging, the more topics I amass in a backlog of "Things I Want to Tell the Internet." This is getting absurd, since I've already made and abandoned half a dozen of those lists in this past year.

I had a vague plan to spend some time this week catching up, which yes, really did include a bullet- and promise-heavy blog post, and then I got swine flu, also known as h1n1, hamthrax, and a plethora of other charming names. I would have thought for sure that I'd eaten enough bacon and pork products/by-products in my day to have rendered me immune to anything even tangentially related to swine, but hey, my immune system sucks these days.

No really, this is the third bed-ridden debilitating kind of illness I've had since September (including a charming bout of bronchitis / borderline pneumonia which almost made it that I couldn't go to Italy in October). And I wasn't really the picture of health this summer either, which leads me to believe that a chronic deficit of sleep plus a ridiculous commute, emotionally and psychologically taxing work and school situations, multiplied out by a junk diet and nowhere near enough exercise leads to... this. Andthis is not gonna fly.

(Parenthetically, I'm otherwise really happy, like happier than I've been in years. Just sickly and fat and prone to falling asleep anytime and anywhere.)

In addition to gleefully watching almost every episode of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" this week, I've worked on revisions to my short- and long-term goals, life plan etc. I have some very specific things I'd like to achieve in the next few years, and I have a lot of things I need to get moving on, if I'm ever going to get there.

Of course, because I'm superstitious, mildly paranoid, and weirdly overprotective of my hopes and dreams lately, I don't want to talk too much about the specifics of these plans until they are irreversibly in motion, but I will be traipsing lightly on the topics in days to come, along with resuming some attempt at regular blogging.

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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