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irene joy

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march 2009: things i love & hate: a list [Mar. 25th, 2009|03:51 pm]
♥ san francisco
♥ nephews
♥ ankle boots
♥ klaus kinski
♥ pops
♥ my roller skates
♥ woody allen
♥ necklaces
♥ rock of love bus
♥ trail mix
♥ judge judy
♥ popov vodka
♥ obsessive cross stiching
♥ pears
♥ rice pudding
♥ spring
♥ sunshine
♥ the swimmin' pool
♥ long goodbyes

x airports
x burnt popcorn smell
x plumbers
x dumb ideas that just won't die
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"i suspect my son was born on st. patrick's day so we'd always remember how lucky we are." [Mar. 17th, 2009|09:23 am]
a while ago john sent me all of these photos of high school days, i think because they're our shared youth, at least in many ways. where they diverge, our youth and the shared aspect of it, is right around the time heroin starts appearing, photos start getting titled things like "john on the nod in some bathroom," and i stop recognizing everyone's face. i grew up, they all became junkies. the end.

no, not really.

i've talked about this before, heroin, usually in reference to my friend nathan, one of those very special and rare junkies who made it out alive, but not without leaving a fucking whirlwind of crushed emotions in his wake. i was young when nathan started doing heroin, but old enough to learn from it, to know that i would never, ever become the disgusting thing he became. but young enough that i didn't learn that much, and drugs were still something i could do when i felt like it, and, let's be honest, still are.

of course, i don't do drugs with the same frequency i used to, and i would certainly, probably not smoke meth or snort heroin now, but that doesn't mean i never did. and it also doesn't mean i didn't enjoy them, either, i just lucked out. it was only luck.

for some reason, after those photos, i couldn't stop thinking about this specific street name. it just kept popping up in my head. i figured i maybe had a dream about it, or saw it on a sign, as sometimes this is the source of things i obsess about. i couldn't stop thinking about it, so i looked it up, and it turned out it was a real street, really close to my house, close enough to walk, so i did. it was fucking freezing, and it was fucking heartbreaking, and i figured it out before i even got there, but i kept going, and i don't know why, but it was definitely a terrible idea.

you know what was on that street? this boy, he was an off and on and off and on sorta boyfriend for a long time - we held hands, we made out, i took naps in his bed, and he gave me presents - whatever you want to call that, two years or something, and then i moved away and then he became a junkie and then he died, obviously. he lived in a house on this street. i stood across the street and stared, burst into tears, thought about what might happen if i knocked on the door, and then realized i should probably just walk home. i mean, what the fuck if his family still actually lived there? and if his mother saw me? she would recognize me. that would be the end, no way will i ever look his mother in the face again. i walked away.

i cried and cried that day. for me, for nick, for everything i lost, for everything his family lost, for everything we all lost. it was a lot.

it's impossible to get through march 17th without thinking of him, feeling sad and wistful and digging through old photos.

today would have been his birthday.

i'll never, ever not miss his stupid face.

Photobucket

thank you, nick, for pop tarts and lazy afternoons and still life with woodpecker and nwa and the roof of the westin and you, just being you when it was really important for me.

here there is buried legend after legend of youth & melancholy --- henry miller
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february 2009: things i love & hate: a list [Feb. 24th, 2009|03:56 pm]
♥ noah hart
♥ lil wayne
♥ blanket piles
♥ puppies
♥ rediscovering 'grace'
♥ the brady bunch
♥ tight pants
♥ mommy & me ballet
♥ fudgsicles
♥ tyler's song of the day
♥ plannin' holidays
♥ library dates
♥ drew andrews
♥ squirt
♥ blind date mix tape
♥ peppermint cocoa
♥ tony bourdain's blog
♥ samosas

x my car
x colds
x too much rain
x drews i work with
x for that matter, having to go to work
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holes. [Jan. 7th, 2009|02:19 pm]
[Current Mood |moodymoody]

i ran out of blank canvas and had to resort to painting on old, used ones. not preferable, but sometimes you're poor, and sometimes you just need to paint. i found an old painting done by one of the kids i used to work with, and in a moment of uncharacteristic unsentimentality decided it was the one i'd use.

i took a photo of it, in a more characteristic moment of sappiness and nostalgia, and then proceded to gesso it.

Photobucket

later, i looked at the photo again and saw what i'd been missing looking at it before, a gaping hole in the heart.

those kids, sometimes they laid themselves so bare, and sometimes we missed so much.

i was unsentimental about the painting initially because this particular child had once cornered me in a room alone and tried to choke me, and very well could have killed me, given his size, his sneakiness and the anger he felt in that moment. it was the most scared i'd ever been, probably ever, and definitely in the house. he left a few weeks later, and he never got the chance to make amends with me for hurting me, the way other my other kids were able to after similar incidents.

i'm sentimental about this photo now because i missed something so obvious, and i hate when i do that.
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i'm over grant. [Jan. 6th, 2009|04:36 pm]
[Current Mood |crazycrazy]

he was SO 2008.
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ask a bitch: volume fifty-one [Dec. 23rd, 2008|12:10 pm]
[Current Mood |bitchybitchy]

happy holidays & stuff from the bitches!!
xoxox, irene & steph

q: what's the appropriate response when opening a xmas gift that is a duplicate of something you already own? i'm not talking about something that you have one of but could eventually use (like another bottle of your favorite perfume), but something where having an extra serves no purpose (like two of the same video game). it seems like a waste of the giver's money to just thank them and quietly give the duplicate away - especially if it's something that was fairly expensive - but it also seems rude to say, "oh thanks, but i already have this," and put them to the trouble of returning it. is it better to be truthful and ultimately end up with something you CAN use and enjoy as the giver intended, or is honesty not the best policy when it comes to gifts?

- pandora's box

a: every present you open has the potential to create an awkward moment. when opening presents, always remember the number one rule is to remain gracious and thankful, no matter how inappropriate, hideous, or weird. after all, it's a present - someone went out of their way to get it for you, and you shouldn't ever act like a spoiled brat.

if you've just received a present that's a duplicate (or, for that matter, a present you don't really like or will never use), thank the person who got you the gift, and then, at an appropriate moment when it's just the two of you, mention that you already have the gift (or, it's lovely but it's not your style, or, you need to get it in a different size, or something along those lines, that reflects thanks but indicates there's no way you will ever use this item). they may give you a receipt, or they might offer to return it. if they offer to return it, don't let them. that's something you can easily take care of yourself. after that, they'll either give you the receipt or they won't. if they're not forthcoming, many stores will take an exchange without a receipt, or we're sure you can find someone who needs or will enjoy the item, or it can go to goodwill.

if someone's offended by the fact that you're politely asking to exchange an item, that's their problem. gifts are only good if they get used, so it's really only polite to include a gift receipt in the box of every present you give, to spare the people you give gifts to the awkwardness of this exact situation.

***
q: my boyfriend and i were born and raised in different towns but met somewhere entirely different - where we live now. we've been together long enough that it's a given that we'll spend holidays together, but WHERE we'll spend them is NOT a given. it's a constant struggle with our families to decide which holidays we'll spend with which, or if we'll even leave town for a particular holiday. christmas is the biggest holiday our families fight over, which always leads to us fighting. i'd almost prefer to spend christmas at home with my boyfriend and just spend quality time with our families in the summer or something, but of course this doesn't fly. aside from alternating years, can you think of a reasonable solution that would satisfy everyone involved?

- xmas, present

a: well, there are only so many solutions, if you don't want to do alternating years. you could spend thanksgiving with one set of parents, and xmas with the other set. if you are blessed with an overload of vacation time, you could spend xmas week with one set and new year's with the other. you could announce to the parents that you are drawing straws for holiday destinations - or pretend to.

but you sure as heck CAN opt to stay home for the holidays, if you want! sure, xmas is a time to be with family - but if you and your BF are long-term enough that spending the holidays together is a given, then you two are a "family," too. if either of your parents squawk about your decision, calmly tell them, "this has become such a heated issue in previous years that we really don't want to go through all the arguing again. we would rather stay home and enjoy the holiday than upset everyone by having to choose who to spend our vacation time with." hopefully, that will shame them into realizing they've been stuffing your stockings with guilt and resentment.

you can get creative about breaking the news - wrap up a beach towel and a pair of flip-flops, and have your "gift" be the promise of a summer visit, when it will be less hassle and more fun for everyone. this year especially, you can plead recession-induced poverty, making airfare to visit both sets of parents unaffordable. spending the holidays with the family is nice, but only if it's more fun than it is miserable, and if they can't behave like adults when it comes to dividing up the holidays, then you have every right to spend xmas at ho, ho, home.

***

q: the older i get, the more i find that i just don't enjoy the holidays the way i used to. one of the biggest sources of stress and annoyance around the holidays is actually gathering with my family, every member of which is capable of finding a million things to criticize about me or my current life choices or my lack of significant other or what i'm snacking on at the moment. although they don't always focus on me - there are so many things to criticize about everyone else, too! i dread their hypercriticism. i mention this to my mom and siblings every year and am always met with promises that they'll try to lighten up and pass the word on to each of their families, but it just never works, or it works for the first two hours of the gathering. i love my family, but i'd almost rather pass on holiday gatherings because of this. what should i do?

- scary bitchmas

a: we totally get your not wanting to dip even a toe into that bubbling family cauldron of criticism, pettiness, and bitter sniping. whatever the reasons behind their outrageously rude behavior, it's completely unacceptable. and while it's definitely not okay for your immediate family to ridicule and tear you down this way, it's SUPER not okay for their extended families and in-laws to pile on, too!

let's face it, single people are doomed to get a certain amount of uncomfortable, unwanted attention from relatives during the holidays. whether it's well-meaning or pointedly humiliating, your best bet is to shrug it off with a bland smile and deliberately be oblivious to their insinuations. if they say, "sooo, all alone again this year?" give them a big shit-eating grin and reply, "looks that way! here, try this cheese ball, it's amazing."

and speaking of which, what you nibble on at holiday parties is nobody's business but your own. it's pretty hypocritical of your family to set out fancy snacks and then attack you for politely enjoying their hospitality, isn't it? again, your best bet is to take the sting out of their catty remarks by appearing to let it go over your head. when someone sidles up to you at the bar and murmurs, "should you really be eating all that fudge?" smile and say, "oh, did you make these? it's wonderful - you simply must give me the recipe." there is no appropriate response to their shitty, mean-spirited comments, so stay classy and just pretend like they made a socially acceptable remark, and reply to that instead.

since you've talked privately to your family before about their inappropriate behavior and they haven't mended their ways, your only real choices are to blithely ignore it and realize it has nothing to do with you, or to bail when things get too awful. if so, tell them beforehand, "once again, i want to remind you that i am not going to put up with criticisms or personal attacks during xmas, and if it happens again, i am going to leave." but you ABSOLUTELY MUST follow through with this, or they won't take you seriously. when they start poking at your tummy and insulting your outfit, stand up and say, "i don't appreciate your comments, and i'm leaving now." then... DO IT. sure, you run the risk of being labeled uptight or oversensitive, but at least this way you get to skip the holiday ordeal.

***

q: recession aside, i don't have the money to buy presents for everyone i'd like to this year. (honestly, i don't think i have the money for it ANY year.) i'd like to bow out from present giving (and receiving, of course), gracefully and without a whole bunch of awkwardness, but i have no idea how to. i've traditionally been a gift giver, and so is everyone in my family. i don't want to be the odd one out, either.

- wrap it up

a: there may not be a way to avoid being the odd one out, but there are definitely ways to opt out of the usual holiday gift exchanges. whether or not you feel comfortable telling the people exchange gifts with in person or not is up to you - a simple email should suffice if that's all you're up to, and would avoid some of that interpersonal awkwardness that might come should you decide to announce this decision in person.

all you have to do is simply let everyone know that you've decided not to exchange gifts this year. you can mention why, but there's no need to, really, as that's really none of anyone's business. if you want to, feel free to give people who might want to buy you a gift anyway the option of donating to your favorite charity. cheesy, we know, but also good.
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i'm not a woman, i'm a force of nature. [Dec. 18th, 2008|01:32 pm]
[Current Mood |contemplativecontemplative]

some of you may have seen this:

Photobucket
courtney love on the cover of elle uk.

some of you also might have seen these, some shots from the issue.

Photobucket

Photobucket

they seemed to set off a firestorm of "OMG CRAZY COURTNEY" (in the internets i pay attention to, anyway) and for some reason, i just couldn't stand it, AGAIN.

she said some stuff.

like, "i had a long, hard fall. i set the stage for britney to crash and burn. i went through it all first,” and "i believe that you’ve got to fix your karma. that’s why it’s so important not to be a victim" and "we were excellent parents and i say that despite pretty much always having an edge on. frances bonded very well with her father, at least in the first year and a half of her life," none of which i think are that outrageous or untrue. certainly, definitely more coherent than a lot of her myspace blogs, right?

courtney is, or was, the heroine of my youth. before she was famous for being kurt's widow and before she was famous for being the mother of his child and before she was famous for marrying him, she was big in my heart because she was in an awesome band, and because she had a big mouth and she said what she wanted to and she did what she wanted to. this, her attitude, her raw and visible talent and brains, made me love her, made me look up to her, formed her as an important and mythical figure in my life. i held onto her. i pay attention to everything she does now because of the things she did then, the things she said, the music she made and what it meant to me.

she wasn't a woman, she was a force of nature. and just because she was the one who characterized herself that way doesn't make it any less so.

i get that it's easy to blame courtney, because we want to blame someone sometimes, we need a scapegoat. and i get that it's to call her a failure and a fuckup and crazy, because she's made many, many mistakes and she is totally crazy. and i get that it's easy to criticize her looks because i wish wish wish she would stop getting plastic surgery and i definitely find it weird to look at photos of her now. i remember her face ten years ago, and i liked it better then, too, okay. i get why it happens.

but all of that stuff, that blame and criticism tossed in her direction? it just feels mean to me.

because courtney is still a person, and at that, a person who has had terrible tragedies to deal with, in the public eye, and in addition to all of that there's the trouble that comes with being a woman, and one who speaks up. she's still just a person, no more or less flawed than anyone else i know, just in totally different ways.

i feel like this is important to remember. not just for her, but for all of us.
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ask a bitch: volume fifty [Dec. 2nd, 2008|04:42 pm]
[Current Mood |bitchybitchy]

questions, as always, can be directed to the bitches at aabquestions@gmail.com!

q: i met a guy that i think i might like to have a long-term relationship with... but the first time i was invited over to his house to watch movies, i was startled at how messy his house was. you couldn't find a place on the kitchen table to put a plate on if you wanted to it was so cluttered and i couldn't tell you the last time he swept or mopped. how do you overlook something like that? it really turned me off to see such a mess.

- miss clean

a: it's a shame that there are so many people in the world that don't understand the value of a clean and organized and good smelling space, but the fact is, they do. and most of the time, there's not much you can do about it.

we hope, for your sake, that the boy you want to have a long term relationship is just young and not used to cleaning up after himself and that as he matures he will learn how to do this fairly simple thing. if he's older and lives in squalor, he probably just likes it. why? we don't know. some people just do.

the best you can do is be honest with him. tell him that you were grossed out by the mess he lives in, and that it really and truly made you consider not having a relationship with him or that you really and truly can't have a relationship with him because of it. he might be offended, but it might make him look around his apartment and realize that yes, it's gross, and that it's time to clean up.

if he doesn't want to clean it up, be thankful that you're not discovering how messy he is after a relationship has already begun and realize that you're free as ever to find someone with room on their kitchen table to eat dinner.

***

q: my boyfriend of 5 months and i are having a problem. we love being together and feel we are perfect for each other. he does not want to break up, but for some reason, which he says he can't figure out, he says he has to think of other situations with other girls in order to have sex with me. i asked if he wants to break up and try to be with other people but he feels that it is not a good reason to break up and wants to try to fix the problem and get past it. i am fine with it but not sure of if or how he can fix it. i can't see myself with anyone else and he says he only wants to be with me. am i wasting my time? is there anything i can do to help him?

- fantasy girl

a: let's dispense with this "fixing" a "problem" business right away, shall we?

what your boyfriend is doing is called fantasizing, and it's totally normal. we all do it at least once in a while, some of us more than others. some of us call it up as a desperate measure in desperate times while some of us thrive on it, making it the core of our sexual lives. your boyfriend sounds like one of those latter someones. certainly, there's nothing wrong with employing fantasy is your sex life, and we're almost tempted to commend your boyfriend for feeling comfortable enough to tell you what's going on with him. seriously, as long as your boyfriend is open, honest, and attentive to you sexually, this isn't a problem.

but if you're "fine" with it, you probably know all that.

it sounds like your bf needs a little bit of reassuring and encouragement. let the bitches reassure him that fantasizing is normal and encourage him to continue sharing it with you, as it could lead to a more fulfilling sex life for the both of you. let him know that you're happy to indulge him as long as he's happy to indulge you, and that both of you win that way. also let him know that if he keeps acting weird and uncomfortable, it's going to be damaging to your sex life, and both of you lose that way.

if he persists in his discomfort, encourage him to do what we encourage everyone else to do: see a therapist.

***

q: my boyfriend of two years wants me to move in with him. "count your blessings," my girlfriends tell me. well, that's exactly what i'm not doing...even though i'm very much in love with him, and happy with our relationship, which i'd describe as "committed and stable." i just got out of college a year ago (as did my boyfriend), and this is my first time living alone and being completely independent. even though my boyfriend stays over at my place a lot, and i stay over at his place even more, i like having my own space to come back to. i can't see how he and i can merge our styles of living, which are very different on major levels - namely, decor. am i being selfish and immature in my reluctance to compromise?

- a room of one's own

a: on the contrary! you're a young adult who's just finished school and is experiencing the thrill of total independence for the first time. you can eat what you want, watch what you want, and clean or not clean if you feel like it, with nobody to answer to but yourself. it's a great feeling, and you've earned it.

it's not selfish and immature to enjoy your own living space. you spend a lot of time there, and all your stuff is there - it's natural that you would want it to reflect your personal taste and be a comfortable haven from the world when you want to be alone. even happy, intimate couples need some time apart to breathe and recharge (in fact, you could argue that that's what MAKES happy couples), and your home is exactly that for you: a place to relax and be comfy by yourself when you need it. why feel guilty about that?

it sounds like you're in a committed, loving relationship, and your bf wants to express that closeness by moving to the next level. but that only works when both people want it, and if you're not ready to give up your cozy cave, forcing yourself to cohabitate won't be fun for anyone. in the meantime, work on those compromising skills. differing style habits can cause major angst, so try meeting each other halfway - figure out what you can live with, and what's too ugly to bear. if you hate his ratty old beer-stained couch, take him shopping to browse for a new one (which will give you a chance to compare your tastes and practice finding a mutually pleasing compromise). decor may seem important now as an expression of your personal style, but when and if you decide to merge households, you'll find that differing tastes in throw pillows is the least of your problems.

take some baby steps toward merging your individual lives, and give it time - if you're really going to be 2-gether 4-ever, there's no rush to move in at your tender age. but if you still find it utterly impossible to imagine living happily ever after with your man, we say dump the guy and keep the apartment.

***

q: when i was conceived, my real father was married to another woman. my mother knew that and gave him an ultimatum: divorce your wife, or you will never see the child i am carrying. he tried to see me anyway, but my mother put a stop to that when i was a year old. recently, i learned where my father lives. i want to contact him. if i were him, i would wonder how my child was and want to know if she was brought up with love.

my mother and father were wrong in their affair, but i do not judge them on that. i don't want to tell my mother if i contact him, because i don't want to hurt her. she and i have never gotten along because she constantly criticizes me.

i am 34, a strong person emotionally, and an optimist. my feelings of needing to contact my father get stronger every year. i will not be hurt if he says he isn't interested, but the wondering eats at me - does he wish to contact me, but is afraid of what my mother told me about him? he is now 77 years old. i don't want him leaving this world wondering, but i am afraid to do anything about it.

- thank heaven for little girls

a: in general, the bitches do not advocate family feuds, or shunning wicked parents for life. do people make terrible, selfish decisions all the time, deeply hurting the loved ones they should care about most? yes. does it mean they can't sincerely regret their mistakes, change for the better, and deserve forgiveness? no.

but let's look at the facts. your biological father was cheating on his wife when he got your mom pregnant; he didn't fess up and divorce his wife to be with your mom and you; and he allowed your mom to shoo him away from any contact with you. so maybe your mom was right to shut him down, because he kind of sounds like a selfish jerk. if he's been content to be totally hands-off all your life, what do you think will be different now? he may not even realize that you know he exists (since you call him your "real" father, implying that there's another non-biological father figure in the picture).

you say that you're concerned about his feelings if he dies with this matter unresolved, but his feelings are not your problem – he's an adult, you're an adult, and if he wanted to be in touch with you that strongly, he would have done so on his own, maternal fatwa or no. if, however, you feel that for YOUR OWN sense of resolution and forgiveness, you want to extend an invitation to him to be part of your life, you are free to do so – and you are not obligated to tell your mother about it, if you feel she wouldn't be supportive.

write a letter telling him what you know about your history, how it makes you feel, and what you hope to gain by making contact at this late date. then hold on to that letter for a while. you may find that writing it all out provides the catharsis and closure that you need, and allows you to make peace with the situation. Or you may decide to mail the letter after all – but try not to be disappointed if you don't get a reply. despite the romantic notion of a wicked mother tragically separating a father from his daughter, the simplest explanation for why you've never heard from him is that, for whatever selfish or cowardly reason, he just doesn't want a relationship with you. that's sad, but it's not your fault, so take care of your own feelings and let him deal with his.
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also [Nov. 17th, 2008|03:39 pm]
[Current Mood |blankblank]

i decided i would like my next boyfriend to have long, luxurious brown hair.
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the only thing i have to say about this election [Nov. 5th, 2008|09:35 am]
[Current Mood |jubilantjubilant]

no one's ever gonna be able to convince oprah 'the secret' doesn't work now.
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