Dance to the Music

So, my new workout is supposed to help shape my very “European” arse into something more substantial. (Note to the people: bread without yeast doesn’t rise.) I am convinced that my trainer--who is very sweet and has the perfect body--has decided that the gym could use a little comedy routine disguised as a workout. Guess who the performer is? After she showed me a very detailed and intricate “walking” leg and glute workout, I reminded her that there was a reason I didn’t take Step Aerobics. I distracted the class too much the last time I attempted. I think step aerobics was designed to make upper-middle-class-white-women-with-educations-but-not-working think they can dance. Well, that plus one more Cosmo and “YMCA” and they can’t get onto the dance floor fast enough. We like to know what to do. I mean, how many ethnic varieties fill the spaces in line dancing? That’s what my new workout feels like, one big line dance, except that I have to do it to Nelly, Nellie, and Nas. The rhythm just doesn’t seem to work.

It being Thursday, the night the girls are with R during the week, I came home, soaked until my toes and fingers nearly dropped off while reading Part Two of Wide Sargasso Sea, and got into my bed (see # 4), where I fell asleep in about 12½ pages. See, my time is once again measured by how many pages I have read or need to read.

Oh Joy

I am not one of those overly exuberant people about working out. I mean, I don’t walk around the gym smiling and talking to everyone and watching myself in the mirrors the entire time. Well, I do look in the mirrors occasionally, because, you know, you’re supposed to watch yourself during the execution to ensure proper technique. I mean that I don’t go there to “hook” up with anyone, and I certainly don’t have any goals of becoming a body builder. (I have, however, been thinking of a purchasing a new t-shirt or ball cap to wear to the gym though I’m not sure that most people would understand the reference. And while I like this one, I might offend some of the other jasminlive females there.)

I exercise and lift because it is healthy and because I am vain. So, you can imagine my excitement about getting a new plan today. A new plan means working the muscles differently, maybe even new muscle groups, which means discomfort, perhaps even...pain. As a -- who dealt with many different kinds of pain--I used to wonder at the expression, “No pain, no gain.” How ridiculous! Now I know some German must have made that one up.

The older I get, the more I think Freud was right about a few things. And, no, that Particular theory isn’t one of the few things.

“Inside” note to Stacy: What do you think? Good crop, no?

Between midterms, preparing my anatomy of a page from the graphic novel Blankets (incredible book), spring piano recitals, and preparing for the Vagina Monologues (we open Monday and run through Wednesday evening), I am sleeping, reading, writing or driving.

I may have something for you next weekend.

A few random thoughts until then:

I like Tolstoy’s short stories.

I don’t like Ezra Pound.

I like finding old words to be used again like Noodle and whelp.

Amores Perros was an amazing film. I see El Chivo around campus, he’s down to one dog and rides in a motorized wheelchair.

Waiting for news of acceptance (or not) of a submission to a collegiate journal is torturous.


The smell of diesel and hot brakes wafted through the open windows. Two seats behind me, Tanti was making out with the third guy since we turned off Penn. I robbed her of her spectacle by staring out the window while I counted the number of homes with garage doors open. I imagined the people according to the car inside. Delta 88: elderly, Jewish. Vega: mid-thirties, Farrah-feathered. Mercedes Benz: lawyer, retired.

Three more stops and I would be free for exactly two hours and twelve minutes. My liberty was planned according to the CBS afternoon line-up: Gilligan’s Island, The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, I Love Lucy. The remaining twelve minutes would be for quick clean-up and fast escape to Tanti’s to hear all about French kissing, The Bee Gees, and which Hardy boy was the real fox. I would have a peanut butter and jam sandwich, maybe something else, if there was anything else. Tanti got off at her grandmother’s, her lips ruby and lumpy like a pomegranate. Her last-in-line flicked his tongue at her as she walked backward across the lawn. I know because I pushed my eyes to the farthest corner to watch, but I never turned my head.

The scent of Lima beans and boiled potatoes and things unwashed but not yet soured moved past me and I knew without opening my eyes that we were at Johnny McFat’s corner. That wasn’t his real name, but that’s what everyone called him since I can remember. The cruelty of my peers bothered me, but not enough for me to befriend him, ask him his real name, defend him when the McGann brothers climbed into the row in front of him to spit into his ear as he stared at nothing and nowhere.

I wondered if Jan would find out who her secret chaturbate admirer was this afternoon. Yesterday had been a rare “to-be-continued’ episode. Then I wondered if Tanti would be pregnant before high school, like my mother said. Maybe I would have a mustard, mayo, potato chip sandwich instead.

Rachael Gomez rose and walked the isle while watching her feet the entire length. As she moved, I smelled Fresh Start and Cling Free (the blue kind) and summer and heard her tights rub together against her thighs: fsht, fhst, fsht. She didn’t wear her glasses today, and when she had chosen a place one ahead of me, our eyes met briefly and I saw she didn’t really have brown eyes at all. They were a muddy, mossy hazel. They made me crave plunging my hands into the thickness, the coolness of mossy mud..

36 Candles

It snowed last night (still is). I am listening to Lori McKenna’s Bittertown. I had a piece of C’s birthday cake with ice-cream and coffee with cream for breakfast this morning.

More years than not, I have awakened around 3 A.M. on this day. I lie awake for a few minutes and wonder at what I will never know and because I never will, have reconstructed into short stories, novels, poetry over the last however many years of consciousness. There are no pictures from this day so long ago, no snapshots of birthdays or “firsts.” My only conclusion is that he must have been in them somewhere, perhaps his back, or part of his face, an arm or hand, so she removed them entirely, along with any memory of such things by which to answer my questions. The few pictures of my hood I stole from her. I was an adult and visiting. She was already in bed for the evening; E, five months old and full of her mother’s milk, was contentedly asleep next to me in the guestroom. I spied the basket in which she tossed all snapshots. I dug through them for hours, excavating only 13 from the hundreds. I fell asleep exhausted, angry, feeling only slightly guilty from my theft of the pictures that were safely ensconced in the bottom of my luggage.

Now, onto less melancholy things. A gift from you to me: Tell me your favorite Top 40 Hits from the past 36 years. You can give me all 36, or just 12, or only 1. Your choice. I am going to post mine later today on my profile.

R v W

Last week while A and I were driving home, she asked if I thought abortion was O.K. This has always required me to articulate what I demonstrate. She also, like any intelligent human being, prefers honesty rather than tickling of ears. I have been pregnant four times. As stated in “A Few Things,” I didn’t particularly like pregnancy. I always gained 50-60 pounds and delivered large . This isn’t easy to do. I don’t know a woman alive that will say so, and if she has bragged about easy pregnancies and deliveries, she has either learned to no longer do so aloud, or she is a complete feck because most women don’t like to hear just how easy it is to grow and deliver another human being. And as in all matters of mothering, I took it very seriously. I considered what I ate, what I viewed, what I read. I took it to the extreme.

So, I prefaced what I was about to tell her with the above information. I then told her that, honestly, about .05% of me doesn’t like the idea that some other entity can force me to do something that is so demanding. And since we are talking strictly about pregnancy, it is demanding. Kick your a$$ demanding. I then proceeded to tell her that I thought that if a woman’s life was endangered by pregnancy--and I gave an example of ectopic pregnancy or a woman who is battling a debilitating disease such as cancer--she should have the right to choose to terminate the pregnancy in order to not risk her own death.

She told me that she agreed and that she also thought that a woman who had been abused should have the option to abort. I agreed. I then informed her that those situations were lawful before 1973. What became law in 1973 was that a woman could choose to terminate a pregnancy without providing reasons why to anyone. After a few minutes of silence, she said, “I don’t think it is right for women to seek abortion just for the sake of convenience.”

I asked her to clarify. She told me that if a teenager had become pregnant or if a was conceived as a result of an affair, she didn’t think that was reason enough to abort. “Simply said, I don’t think it should be allowed to save a reputation or to prevent embarrassment.”

I told her that the highest percentage of women seeking termination of pregnancy weren’t those that would fall into the “life-saving” category. The highest percentage of abortions are had by white, middle and upper class females ages 18-24. I asked her what she thought most of those females were doing with their lives during those ages. Again, she thought for a moment.

“Attending college.”


Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows my position. I don’t feel the need to push it off on readers. It is simply an opinion, but as a person whose mother didn’t seek an abortion simply because it wasn’t legal, I know the power an “opinion” can hold over life..


I have been thinking about my faith for the past year. And maybe not so much my faith, because I do believe in God and in Jesus Christ, but there are issues that are centered more on denomination and interpretation with which I wrestle more than anything else. Some of the thoughts swirling around my head (along with Scrubs and Rousseau and Henry James and Saussure and Barthes and Saxon 54 and Mozart and They Might Be Giants and Suzuki and Taxes and Pork Loin Roast with Garlic and Shallots and Death by Chocolate):

1. Who’s right? The Catholics or the Protestants?

2. Of the protestants, who is correct? Does it matter as long as we are agreed on the basics (the immaculate conception, the deity of Christ, His sinless life, etc.)?

3. What is the real place of women within the context of church leadership, teaching, etc?

4. What is the future of Protestantism in America? What about for Catholicism?

5. By what standard are we to measure those who claim belief and genuine faith but who also are more “liberal” (i.e. Christians who personally disagree with abortion, but believe it to be guaranteed under the Constitution for a woman to choose to have an abortion)?

6. Are Christianity and culture diametrically opposed? Really and truly?

Exhaustion consumes my body most nights. In between the reading demands placed on me by my classes and mothering four girls, I slip in a paragraph or two from personal reading in hopes of relieving my wondering (not wandering) mind.