Tuesday, June 8, 2010

journal entry 2008

i tend be kind of crabby, if you haven't noticed, and sometimes people ask me if anything makes me happy.  today i was going through some old papers and things, and i found my journal.  you know, you are supposed to write things down in order to work through your feelings and all of that crap.  sometimes, after a few drinks, i actually do it.  my last entry was on april 08, 2008:

hi diary.
i feel like i want to write about my dog, ella.  i get so much joy from her.  i love her so much, so fully, with all of my heart.  i am so terrified of the day when she dies.  she seems healthy and happy, but she is getting old.  i love everything about her--i love the way she smells when i bury my face into her fur, i love her stinky dog breath, and i love when she rolls onto her back exposing her stomach which doesn't happen too often.  Anyway--the reason for this entry is to talk about what makes me happy.  so here goes.  my dog, my cat claudia who is so old, and so beautiful and affectionate for a cat.  rowing my kayak into the center of a lake in the hot sommer sun and then eating lunch there, and reading a good book is about as perfect as it gets.  Cooking for someone that i love makes me happy.  enjoying my guests at work makes me happy. creating does.  going on vacation and exploring new territory makes me happy.  i enjoy talking to my aunt darleen.  remembering people's birthdays makes me happy.  being in the ocean.  singing.  shopping does.  being in a bookstore does.  spending money.  making money.  holding hands with someone i love does.  when my dog lets me snuggle with her.  when my friends need me.  hanging out with maggie, annie, and hayden.  my family, even though i tend to avoid them. and crying does.


so there rachel wandrei.  still bugging me after two years, apparently.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

who is costco's bitch? i am. . .


have you ever been to costco?  i love it so much, with it's aisles of televisions, ink pens, blenders, jewels, dog food, bagel bites, sweater vests, bulk cheese, kayaks, antacids, couches, fresh bread, video games, the audrey hepburn hatbox dvd collection, pregnancy tests, sinus irrigation kits, lentils by the pound, gasoline, and my FAVORITE favorite thing--food samples.  sometimes, if i'm a little low on money, i'll just go to costco for lunch.  i don't even mean to buy the hot dog and soda for $1.50, or the slice of pizza for $1.99.  i mean i will flash my membership card at the door, walk past the eye care center and the lawnmowers, walk straight to the cheese and salsa section to get a tortilla chip topped with hummus, then move to the dog food/cleaning products section to eat some pressed, breaded chicken in the shape of a circus animal.  next, the frozen foods aisle has a lady in a plastic hat handing out spinach ravioli (slimy).  If it's a thursday through sunday, there's a little old guy deeper into the aisle handing out 1/8" squares of cheese pizza.  the pizza is the apex. i like to take off my jacket after the first pizza sample, leave it in my cart in the next aisle, and sneak back to get more pizza looking like a different person.  on the backside of the hill is granola, vitamin water, and a tiny slice of protein bar for dessert.  i once took katie there for lunch on a date.  (it's not like i didn't pay for lunch, the dues are FIFTY DOLLARS A YEAR!)  however, i am not the only person who has found a free lunch at costco.  i accidentally went there on a saturday once, the day that all of the cheap rich  people have off.  beginning in the parking lot, chivalry and civility are dead dead dead.  waiting in my car with my blinker on, indicating that the spot i have been waiting for while the family of seventeen pile their purchases into the minivan,  a tiny, wrinkled old lady steals my spot.  then i get the finger from the frat boy behind me for sitting in the aisle.  i dodge a lady in a sparkly baseball hat with a fanny pack dangling from her neck on a cord to park in a spot fourteen miles from the entrance.  on my way in, a girl returns her cart and the cart attendant says, "thank you".  too quietly, i guess, because the girl says, "WHAT?" looking for a fight.  the attendant repeats, "thank you".  the girl says, "oh" and walks off.  inside, everyone is navigating their boat sized carts among the aisles, which isn't too bad until you get near a sample table, where the line looks like the girl's bathroom line at a professional sports event.  everyone brings their cart with them to the sample table, and things get a little out of hand.  as i was waiting for a turn at a little smoky, an old man in a riding cart hit me with his motorized basket.  I WAS STANDING STILL, and it hurt, and i said ouch.  the withered mister looked at ME like I was the problem.  then he followed me around for the rest of my visit giving me dirty looks.  i think he even tried to hit me again near the produce, but i can't prove it.  rounding the corner in the pharmacy, i find a lady telling herself out loud what a good deal the price of citrucel is. i feel a little crazy. on the plus side, everyone in there is wearing sweatpants, so i feel kind of pretty, as well.  I feel pretty in two places, costco, and the salvation army.

finally, i get in one of the two open lines with three items:  pens, dishwashing liquid, and turkey jerky for dogs.  the guy in front of me starts writing a check.  a check!  who the hell writes checks anymore?  enter into the 21st century, jerk.  okay, okay, i'm a little crabby, i need some caffeine.  i head to the snack center to buy a diet coke ($0.68), and the girl in front of me is getting a berry smoothie AND WRITING A CHECK!  for $1.85.  i hate costco.  i'm never coming back.  i say this every time.  and then, like a battered wife, after a little time has passed, i think of all of the nice things about costco, and how when it's good it's really good, and how much i really do love it, and then i start to miss it a little.  and then i go back, because i need a giant bag of sun chips, and a floatie for the swimming pool, and a brick of cheese, and some floor mats for my car, and then someone's kid hits me in the back of the knee with a wiffle bat, and i quit costco all over again.  i was complaining to my friend traci about all of these things, and traci asked me, "why do you even need to go to costco?  don't you live alone?"  shut up, traci.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

the pullover




so i was talking with an old work friend, joe, the other day, and he mentioned that he had lunch at the old place, it had been years. he said, "i saw that one guy that always used to eat there, still eating there, you know, that guy in the wheelchair." oh, i know that guy. that guy in the wheelchair. his name is jeff. he is in his fifties, i would guess, no use of his legs, minimal use of his arms, which are encased in braces. real, real, crabby. now don't get me wrong, if i were in that position, i would probably have paid someone to knock me off, so i give him a pass on being cranky. but this guy takes it to a new level. he used to come in two or three times a day, wheel up to a table, and before he even says hello, he demands that you take his coat off for him. okay, fine, not that big of a deal. i can do that. then he makes you get a straw for his glass of wine. again, fine. then he makes you cut his food into little pieces. sure. then he asks one of the male servers to empty out his bag of pee. wait, what? well, i'm not one of the male servers, so i just snicker as marc or david or benji heads to the restroom with jeff. we all do,(snicker, i mean) it's not just me. then the tip. one dollar. this goes on for years. i swear i am not making this up. so one fine fall day, jeff enters the restaurant again, pulls up at my table, and asks me (i mean demands of me) to take off his jacket. but for the first time, jeff is wearing a pullover. you know, the kind of nylon jacket with a hood, and it opens from the neck all the way to in between his nipples. the man has braces on his arms! underneath his pullover! a pullover is hard enough to remove for the ablest of people. i poke myself or someone else in the eye every time i try to take my own off. i am not a registered nurse, nor have i ever been a home health care aide. not that i wouldn't, i just haven't been up until now. so i help jeff take off his pullover. his sleeves keep getting caught in his braces, i keep hitting him in the head with his own hands, (NOT ON PURPOSE) and resist the urge to say, "why do you keep hitting yourself? why do you keep hitting yourself? why do you keep hitting yourself?" yeah, i know. but here is the real question: how in the hell did a paraplegic end up wearing a pullover? did someone think to themselves, "hey, i know what to get jeff for his birthday---A PULLOVER!" or did jeff say to himself, "i know how to fuck with those assholes at the restaurant, i'll buy a PULLOVER! then i'll make them take it off and then put it back on me! that will teach those bastards for grumbling about emptying my colostomy bag!" i think it's the latter, i really do. when i finally finished pulling off the pullover, with (accidental) bruising, i stomped downtstairs into the office and blew off a little steam to the accounting staff, who i think didn't really care, but welcomed the interruption. then i went back upstairs, got a straw for jeff's glass of wine, cut his soup into bite sized pieces, lit his cigarette, and then disappeared until he found someone else to put his pullover back on. my tip? one dollar. yes, joe, i remember jeff.

Friday, July 24, 2009

the names are changed to protect the innocent


talk about a sunday drive. i'm sitting in the back seat of tris' bright yellow submarine (i mean suv) with two dogs, paige and tris in the front seat. riding north on nicollet avenue, trying to keep dingo the dog from chewing off my ear when paige shouts, "hey! what the hell!" tris and i both look toward where she is pointing, and see a car parked facing south at a meter. no big deal. but then we notice a middle aged white woman with short, ginger colored hair lying on the street next to the car. as tris makes a u-turn, the woman grasps the driver's side handle with one hand and then the other as if she were pulling herself up a rope. we park behind the car parked behind her car, but we needn't have, since the guy in the car parked behind her car pulled out and away giving an exaggerated wide birth to the fallen woman and her car. was the woman sick? was she having a seizure? it was five in the afternoon, and paige had to pee thanks to the two bottles of water she had consumed at the dog park. did she let that stop her? not yet. not being a big fan of conflict, i sat in the back seat while paige and tris got out to see if the woman was alright. the windows were closed, so i heard nothing and watched a lot of arm waving and gesturing. to my right, there was a lone twenty something brown haired girl sitting outside of a chinese restaurant sitting in a chair and reading a book. no table, no food, just a chair and a book. then it got kind of hot in the car, and plus things were beginning to look interesting, so i decided to join the conversation and i got out. ". . . fucking bitch! i'm fine! leave me alone!", were the first words i heard upon hitting the sidewalk. no, not paige, the sick woman. i mean the REALLY REALLY drunk woman. tris and paige were trying to tell her that she certainly should not drive and she was not having it. then paige kindly informed the woman that if she got behind the wheel, the cops would have to get involved. the woman then angrily stated that she was WALKING HOME! and lurched spasmatically up the street to the corner where she tried to open the door of a bar. which was locked. leaving her car with the door open and the keys in the ignition. so the three of us waited paitently while she lurched back, now trying a less angry tactic, saying, "ssserrioussly, i'mmm fine. i jussst want toooo go home. i can drrrrrivvvvve." uhm, no. you can't. we asked if we could call a taxi, but she seemed to have no money, so i was elected to drive her car to her house, with her in the passenger seat, paige and tris and the dogs following behind. paige now has to pee even worse, but she agrees. gotta give her credit. i slide into the driver's seat of the light blue 1993 chrysler, and turn the key. nothing happens. "ohhhh, yeahhhh, it only starts in neutral," i hear from my passenger. she was right, it started in neutral. on the drive, i inquire about the woman's day. turns out she has had a bad weekend, she says, big break-up. she spent the day at the lake. lake harriet. i didn't know the lake had an alcohol content, but i let it go. now it's all sweetness and light. "thhhank you gggirrrls ssssoo much, i love you girls. thhhank yyyoooouu for all you havvvve ever done fffffor me." instinctively, i want to pat her knee and say everything is fine, don't worry, but then i change my mind and just say everything is fine, don't worry. i left out the knee thing. upon arriving at her apartment complex, the woman directs me to her parking space three different times, until we find the right one. i say goodbye and run to the yellow suv, where i see a clear plastic bag filled with dog poop hanging off of the windshield wiper on the back window, slurred thank-yous ringing in my ears. i grab the poop, toss it in the trash, and get into tris' car. we speed off, toward a bathroom, and all is well. but is it? if paige had not seen the woman lying in the street, what would have happened to her? the man parked behind her didn't care, the girl in the chair outside of the chinese restaurant didn't care, and the many people walking and driving by didn't care. what is that about? how has it become that we can see a woman lying in the street, and just drive, walk, rollerblade, (or read) by? a sunday drive shouldn't just always be a drive. we need to look out for each other, even if we have to pee.
p.s. i don't even know anyone named paige or tris, i just made those names up.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

waiting for an epiphany

RACHAEL: YOU HAVE DEFINITELY ALREADY HEARD THIS STORY


i have had one major epiphany in my life, it came when i was nineteen years old, first week of august, 1990. there were a lot of signs i could have seen, looking back, but at the time it was as if a brick hit me on the head and in one day my life had changed irreversibly.
summer, 1990. i had just finished my first year of bible college in minneapolis. i was planning to return in the fall, but my father had told me that he wasn't going to pay, so i took three jobs. (in retrospect, he probably would have paid, but i took him at his word.) i worked in a diner, at a cafe in a hotel, and at victoria's secret. go ahead and laugh at that last one. a few months went by, uneventfully. one night, i had a dream. i was in a living room with a woman and her two children. for some reason, i knew that we were together, even though in my real life that was unthinkable. the kids were acting up, and i scolded them. their mother was angry with me for that, and she sat on the couch, pouting. i sat next to her and placed my hand on her leg, and said, "don't be mad, i'm sorry." that was it, really. but it was intimate and strange and i didn't understand. i woke up and sat bolt upright in bed. it was about 3 am. my heart was racing, and i was terrified. i didn't know what to do, so coming straight from bible college, i did what i knew. i prayed. out loud. in the pitch black. i told god that he probably knew everything about me anyway, but i was going to say it so he could fix it. i told him that i didn't want to dream about a woman. i told him that i wasn't gay. i told him that if a really pretty girl wanted to kiss me, i might want to kiss her back. i said i just want to tell you the truth, so you can make it go away. then i said, i don't even know anybody that's gay, and i probably never will, so it's a mute point, right? i'm just saying, god, okay? get rid of this please. after this prayer, i went to sleep feeling like i had taken care of the whole mess and i didn't have to worry about it anymore. what do they say about the best laid plans. . .
the next day, i worked several hours, and was in my bedroom awake around 2 am. i was just getting ready to turn out the light when my phone rang. first of all, i don't have any friends. and even if i did, none of them were up at two in the morning. but i answered the phone anyway. do you remember three-way calling? that's what this was. two girls, calling. i said hello and they said, is this one nine hundred something? indignantly, i said no this is a private number. and then i talked to them for two hours. halfway through the conversation, they asked me what i looked like. i thought that was a normal question to ask a stranger you've been speaking to for an hour, so i answered. five four and a half, 110 pounds, (this WAS a long time ago) long curly dark hair. (yeah, i had a perm. they were real popular back then. i was in style, okay?) then they asked me if i was feminine. WHAT? what the hell did that mean? i knew what the word meant, but they were asking it in a weird way, i could tell, but in what way i didn't know. i said, um, i guess, i work at victoria's secret, so yeah, i guess. then they asked me if i was gay or straight, because they were gay and i sounded cute. EXCUSE ME? GOD? WERE YOU NOT LISTENING LAST NIGHT? I SAID FIX IT, NOT MAKE IT WORSE! somehow, i got through the rest of the conversation, and the girls said they would come by and visit me at the store. since i had spent my whole life up until that point in a small town bible banging bubble, i did not take into account that it was two in the morning, the girls had probably been out at the bars all night, were drunk when they called, and had no intention of finding me if they even remembered our conversation at all. i waited for them to come in for two weeks. i couldn't eat, i lost 15 pounds. they never came.
finally, i took matters into my own hands and found one of the girls at her job in a restaurant in st. paul. i won't bore you with the details, actually, that's a good story too, but for another time. after her shift, we went to her apartment where she had a mattress on the floor and special export cans everywhere. i didn't stay long that night, but we met again, this time with the other girl, and we started to hang out. through them, i met my first girlfriend. she was sweet, and beautiful, and very vulnerable, turns out she was also a ward of the state. i didn't know what that even meant, all i knew was that she was the most loving, kind person i had ever met, and she liked ME. i couldn't believe it. the first time we kissed, my heart exploded, and it wasn't about sex, not even one bit. i just could not believe that someone so wonderful liked me, and wanted to be around me more than she wanted to be around anyone else. and just like that, i knew. i knew i wanted to be loved by someone like that. so that was it. my epiphany. i called my parents the next day to tell them the news. they were not happy. but what could i do? i told god my problem, i asked him to fix it, and within 24 hours, the gays called me at home.
so my life changed in an instant, and it has been wonderful and horrible since then. but here is the problem: since then, i have been waiting for another epiphany, because i had one once, to show me what i should do with my life. in the meantime, i have been working in bars and restaurants, drinking beer, hanging out, all the while telling myself that it's coming, my OTHER epiphany is coming, any day now, i'm going to know what i should do. well, it's here. i've had it today. i need to stop waiting for some stupid sign, for some dumb luck, to show me the way. i need to take action, be pro-active, get something started, live my life to the fullest, live like it's 1999. except that was a bad year. but you get the idea. so now that i've got that down, does anyone have any ideas? feel free to call me in the middle of the night.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

went to a party last saturday night


so, i went to a party last saturday night. and although it's true that i didn't get laid, AND i got in a fight, (actually it was more like one of my friends yelled at me and then stomped off to her car and left) that part is not what causes me to write. i didn't know a single person there besides the friends i came with and also a girl named nader(don't ask me, i don't know why). i tried to mingle but i was very stiff and wooden, mostly because i hate being around a bunch of people who already know each other but don't know me. during the course of the evening, i noticed that several people suddenly were wearing pieces of masking tape above their chest with strange tags on them like "man boy", or "living large", or "bodacious beauty". i didn't think much of it until nader approached me weilding a spool of masking tape and a sharpie asking me to put one on myself. i impolitely declined, because i hate wearing a name tag. it makes me feel all vulnerable and exposed and weird. it's not like i don't want you to know who i am, i just prefer not to have it posted on my boob. what's wrong with that? which brings me to my actual point.
last winter, i attended a volunteer orientation at a non profit charity group. these people make healthy, intersting meals for people who are afflicted with a terminal disease. they make the food onsite, (volunteers) and then distribute the meals (more volunteers) around the city. i really wanted to volunteer for several reasons. 1. i feel sorry for myself far too frequently, and i should, instead, feel sorry for somoeone else for a change 2. i don't have too many reasons to get out of bed in the morning, because it seems like getting up just means moving to the couch, and really, the bed is much more comfortable 3. i have experience cooking food, and i also have a car so i could cook and i could deliver. 4. i really need to stop feeling sorry for myself. oh, right, i already said that. ANYWAY, i show up at the volunteer orientation, and the girl at the desk asks me if i would like to put on a nametag. the classic nametag. . .HELLO MY NAME IS. . . so i politely decline the nametag. i think i may have said "no, thank you. i hate nametags". and she says, (by the way, i am in a position where i know no one, and am feeling a little icky) "WOW. no one has ever said no to a nametag before. which made me feel a little chagrined, but thankfully, she doesn't make me wear one. i sit through the whole thing, and really, i am genuinely impressed with the organization. they do a lot of good for people. when orientation ends, i give the coordinator my availability status, and leave feeling kind of good. she says they will contact me. except that she never does. contact me. i send several e-mails saying that i can't wait to get started, i can deliver, i can cook, but i hear nothing. it's been a year and a half and i still have heard NOTHING. i think i was rejected by the charity. i told my friend laurie about it, and she thinks it's because i rejected the nametag. SERIOUSLY? who gets rejected from volunteering? really. who? i do. apperantly.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

GIRLFRIENDS


i have a gripe. weird, i know. it starts out kind of nice. picture this. i'm at work, and a few cute girls come into the place and sit at the bar. see, that part is good. it kind of breaks up the monotony, and who doesn't like to look at cute girls? even gay guys like hot chicks. for different reasons than the rest of us, and i don't even pretend to understand, but still. like a slab of medium rare new york strip is always good, cleavage is also always good. anyway, they begin to talk among themselves, and eventually i hear, "so my girlfriend and i went to" and then i have to go away because those drinks do not deliver themselves. but then i come back to pick up more drinks, and sometimes the drinks are not ready, so i say something funny to the girls who say "my girlfriend". girls laugh. deliver drinks. push customers to order more drinks so i can pick up drinks at bar near hot girls. flirt some more with hot girls. repeat a few times. finally, hot girls are a bit tipsy. because i can be a conversational genious when the need arises, i get hot girls to open up. (not like THAT you pervert) i know you can see where this is going, but of course it turns out that the "girlfriends" these ladies speak of are just their straight friends because the hot girls are also straight. of course they are. no offense, gay ladies, but you know what i mean.

so i ask the girls, why do you refer to your friends as girlfriends? they never know the answer. it's like i asked for the meaning of life. they giggle, and shrug, and look confused. (straight girls giggling--never gets old) i ask, if you go out for lunch, let's say, with a guy from work, do you tell your friends that you went out with your boyfriend walter for lunch? no, they do not. why, then, if you go out for lunch with you friend brenda, do you say my girlfriend brenda and i went out for lunch? they don't know. but they see my point. don't say girlfriend, straight girls, it confuses the gays. and that is just not nice.