Category: Art

Don’t count the stars, she says…

“Everything about you is extreme.”

This is what the tarot-card reader told me a few months back. “No shit, lady,” is what I wanted to say, but instead wore a smug grin, the occasional laugh escaping. I tried to hide my disbelief while I took notes in my book. I wrote everything. Extreme…

So what?

This is a question I’m often jotting in the margins of student papers. It’s so easy to use heavy words, concepts really, without definition: words without the picture-frame-like backs to hold them up. But she was right. Everything. The broad works here.

I feel a chapter ending. I feel… confused. I feel like I don’t have many chapters left to go if I keep burning through them so quickly. One person can only do so much. And I know it in my heart, yet feel I need to be superwoman. Even if I were—cape-clad and toting otherworldly powers—it still wouldn’t be enough.

On Tuesday, I left class and walked to my car alongside a very kind student of mine. She is from a middle eastern country, and so, startled by the bright eye of the moon [as always] I turned to her and asked if there were any myths or stories about the moon in her country.

“Sorry. I’m just sort of preoccupied with the sky a lot.”

She understood and stopped at the top landing of the cement stairs, our unspoken point of departure: “Let me think… no, but there is something with the stars.”

At this point, I may have been drooling. Something about the universe just does it for me. I guess I’m both THAT simple and THAT complex.

“My grandpa always warned me not to count the stars. I don’t know what, but something bad would happen. I always wanted to, but was too afraid to look for too long.”

After some later goose-chase online, I found what I was looking for: http://rosmee.wordpress.com/2009/09/02/count-the-stars-dhofar-sinkhole-shihait/

One blogger had an answer. While it is a fantastical folktale or not, I gleaned my own truth. What is the moral? What am I to learn? [The exact topic I’ve been lecturing about in class: the folktale.]

With no idea of it, this student gave me my own lesson. It wasn’t anything she said, but everything I knew that she didn’t need to say. I’d been stargazing too long. Wrapped up in my own head, striving for my own definition of “success”—essentially the unattainable. Time to come down to earth, lady.

It’s time.
mt

Lights out on Greensburg: “Weirdo”

It’s not every day, or any day actually, that this girl goes to the bar. Um… The “Errybody-Let’s-Get-Fucked-Up” gene must’ve skipped this pool. Trust me. I’ve got enough bad habits. I enjoy being social and gabbing and laughing and getting rowdy; it’s just… I prefer it over a latte. Besides a drunk chicken gets herself into a lot of unsavory situations: reckless flirting, a false sense of invincibility, vomiting and [often by the end of the night] end-of-the-world weeping. And for the love of Titan, keep me away from my phone.

All this said, I decided it was time to shelf my need for productivity and join some friends at a bar downtown. My new pad allows me the ability to walk and so I thought I’d stroll down. A lot farther than I figured, but I’m happy for that little feature on my iPhone’s map app that allows one to route by foot.

So as I’m making the turn off of Main Street and toward Harry’s, an ambulance whizzes by and I make my decent into… complete and utter darkness? No street lamps. No neon bar signs. Even the stoplight is blacked out, hanging from its rope like three dark eyes glaring an omen. I stopped in the sidewalk and waited. Listened. From the unlit guts of another local bar came an outpouring of stumbling 30- somethings.

I hesitated in midst of all this, of course, but ambled down the hill towards Harry’s anyway. What the hell. It was definitely more exciting than what I’d been doing previously. When I got there, a few loud drunkards were rolling out the door, beer-in-hand, apparently just as excited. But guess what?! There was light inside the joint!

It was my first time at Harry’s and I must say, probably one of the most memorable bar experiences. Maybe it was because I decided NOT to drink after all [sooooo lame, I know.] But I really believe it was the setting: the bar lined with tiny candles, the shadows of people laughing an harassing one another, the group of new and old friends that I hadn’t seen for quite a while, and even my own thing I had going on—doodling by a wee flame, taking it all in.

The owner, in his attempt to razz just about every warm body at the bar, came over a few times to shine his flashlight on my doodle, snatch it from me and then proceed to show it off to everyone at the bar. But, at some point, this sweet, somewhat gruff gesture was followed by a “Damn, weirdo drawing pictures at the bar,” at which I cringed and got a little blue for a moment. But then smiled because I knew he was just being a jackass, but also because I was having fun and I didn’t give a shit, you know?

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m strange, and sometimes it makes me feel 900x more alone. But most times it’s ok. And I realize the best strange is being strange with strangers. Ha. Make sense? Maybe it doesn’t. But I had a good night, even if the power never came back on. Probably because of it.

mt

Flavor Drop Update.

Some news. First of all, remember those Capella Flavor Drops that I blogged about a few weeks ago? Utter shit. While two of the five flavors I purchased, at least, have some flavor, the others are total duds. Unless you plan on putting like 10x the amount of drops recommended; in which case, maybe you should just poor acid on your tongue, too. The chemical-y taste is a bit too much to bear.

And to top it off, I wrote a pretty nice email to the chaps, just stating what I had found to be true—in a nice way. I didn’t request or demand FREE MERCHZZZ! or my money back. Just wanted to give them my piece. Forkers didn’t even respond. LAME! And before I get off the subject of these horrible little caustic, flavorless drops…

Word of advice: if you get a drop on your finger… DO NOT LICK IT.

Quick replay:

Note: zombie walk, baggy eyes, and the only positive thing about this picture (the coffee!)

And then I realize my order of tasty, sugar-free drops came in the day before! I couldn’t wait! I possibly didn’t sleep at night thinking about them. Kidding.

One of my favorite flavors OF ALL TIME… coconut! (: Perfect summery coffee flavor, no?

Not sure why I thought it was ok to lap up the rogue drop with my tongue, but um… it smelled good, right?

Just don’t do it. It was a combination of rubbing alcohol and tequila… and I’m pretty sure I received chemical burns on my tongue. The end.

A former colleague of mine (oh my god does that sound trite), Jason, runs an online lit mag called decomP. Kudos to him for that, first of all. But yea, he used one of my paintings (“earthbound”) as the monthly cover thang. How cool? Thanks for the pimp action, Jason. (:

Time to get ready for some Independence-style partying. Hope everyone has a great holiday weekend!

xx
mpt

ps: If you didn’t click the “Forkers” link, you may want to do that.
ps2: For you all, I refrained from CASEY ANTHONY bs. The trial has suddenly taken over my life.

Day 2: Desperation (already)

I’m sad to report that I’ve been struggling with the no-sweets deal. In fact, I probably should’ve clarified the No Goodies list before I began… because since Holy Day, I’ve had animal crackers, fruit snacks, and Twizzlers. I know. I mean, these are all things that could be deemed sweets, but I guess I had more of a no-cake-cookies-or-ice-cream thing in mind. I’ve been getting grief from those around me. That’s the thing with abstinence (from anything). It’s not just pressure from yourself you deal with, daily, but the pressure of those around you, prodding and poking like they’ve never tried to give up anything before. This is why I fail over and over again with the smoking crap, among other silly habits (hair-twirling, saying “psyche” after things–I stopped, I swear…etc).

I’m not good with pressure. I’d like to say I’m one of those cats who holds her own under a deadline or habit-breaking, but to the contrary, I crumble like a boneless otter. Bah. To compensate for my lack of “sweets,” I’ve begun gorging on my meals, eating seconds (even thirds). From past posts, we realize this is nothing new. I get in phases where I need to eat until I want to puke. Plus, I think knowing that I can’t do something is making me want to do it. Classic, right?
Due to this whole thing, I’ve been aimlessly making laps through the kitchen with x-ray vision, imagining all the goodies my shelves contain, as if they were going to pop out and jump down my throat. I wish. It’s fine, though. I mean, the only time I really crave chocolate is… who am I kidding? I crave it all the time. Bad, Chicken.
So yesterday, which was Day 2, I thought I had found the loophole. I pretty much thought I was brilliant. Chocolate Mini Wheats.
Teesh, probably feeling cheated by her own chocolate-depravation, caught me “left-handed”–as my coworker’s kid called it one day. Obviously, I made the rules, so I decided right then and there that I was allowed chocolate cereal. The first bites felt a little like heaven. Pathetic.
I refused to stop then. I devoured biscuit after biscuit as she scolded me. I even poured myself a glass of milk. In my defense, it is cereal. And though Teesh wasn’t having it, I just kept screaming the same desperate line over and over:
I guess that’s the end of my tale. Sadly, Teesh and I were at odds for the rest of the night and we ended up tackling each other, then boxing. Boxing. It’s a new hobby in our house. Sort of like Fight Club. That’ll be saved for the next entry.
So long, kids. <3

40 days… and nights, I guess.

In lieu of my friends’ journeys into Lent season (crazy Catholics), I’ve decided to test my willpower. I mean, Jesus and I aren’t necessary homeboys, but it’s sort of for me, you know? When I was younger, I was more interested in greasy, salty foods (see below), but these days, I’m way into sweets. In fact, I’d choose ice cream over the lives of most people. Ha. Not really, but you get the idea.

Anyhow, today begins my journey into non-sweet-land. It’s like the opposite of Candyland. Sounds like hell to me, but why not? It’s not like I couldn’t stand to lose a few pounds, help my diet a bit. I just wonder how close I’ll get to the edge, especially when those mencies come.

Wish me luck, kiddies! And to those of you riding the Lent train, what did you give up? Oh, and good luck!

Eat Like Good Friends Do

Believe it or not, there are better things in life than friends who love you endlessly, support you when you need them most and would give the shirt off of their back for you. (Has anyone ever had to apply that theory?)

Friends that eat. A lot. With you.

Now, since I was a young one, I loved food. I might be downplaying this a bit. I didn’t just love food. I had a relationship with food. I married food. My dad was old-school Italian to the max, feeding anyone who stopped by. Every kid on the block had their run-ins with dad. And if you were thin, look out. This was a sign that you were malnourished, and he might just ask you to eat (over and over again), until you finally caved. This was his tactic.

And I was a mischievous, though naive, tomboy with an affinity for Legos, Barbies (whaaa?) and Happy Meals. Imagine a parent (or parental unit) who would fulfill your every food whim–no matter the time of day, the cost or the sincere inconvenience. I had a double cheeseburger at 11 AM, a pizza-parlor style Italian hoagie at 3 PM and then perhaps a heaping plate of spaghetti for dinner. It didn’t stop there; depending on the evening, I might have had French-fried potatoes around 10 PM, or an MTO from Sheetz with a side of Combos. Listen, I’m pretty sure my dad made up the Taco Bell term “fourth meal.” Often, there were fifths, sixths. And if you weren’t hungry, he would ask you until you were, until you were pretty sure you were, at least.

You hungry? How about a Chalupa? Tacos?


Want a Twister? Get you an MTO, if you want?


I’ll get you 20. As long as you eat it.


Hoagie? Sub? Whatever the hell those things are. Want one?


Oooh, I could go for an entire dozen of donuts. Whaddya say?


Boston Cream? Chocolate Frosted? Glaaazed?


C’mon, Animal. You haven’t eaten for an hour.

Between then and now, I have worked hard at losing weight, overcoming about 70-75 lbs. total. It wasn’t easy. I choose salads and grilled chicken. I stay away from mayo and ranch dressing. Making healthy choices is the EASY part. The hard part is the portions, right? Just because I can eat vegetables and prepare my own overly-vinegary salad dressing doesn’t mean I don’t have the FFK appetite. FFK = Former Fat Kid. Though I can keep it in-check most often, I allow myself a day a week to treat myself. This is when having hungry, good-eatin’ friends make all the difference.

I tend to attract (even find attractive) those who can stand up to my appetite. There is nothing worse than going out with someone who picks at their meals, uses take-home boxes and/or claims they are full after what just may be a ONE PERSON PORTION. I spit at that person. For example, my string bean roommate Adam, who considers eating two plates of food at the Panda Buffet “a lot.” (Must I also verify that these “plates of food” consist of 2-3 items, hardly generous.) I remember being unsure of his presence in my life just from this fact.

So yesterday I decide it is time for my weekly pork-out. I put on a pair of loose jeans, a brightly-colored sports bra and refused to brush my hair. This was my moment. Because my friends and I (we’ll call them Teesh & Queen) were already in the Pittsburgh area–the only “adults” without a child visiting the Carnegie Science Center, we decided to eat there. Since none of us had been to Fat Heads on the South Side, it sounded like a nice choice. 4:21 PM.

By the time we skidded through lanes of confused traffic, soggy afternoon drunks in green t-shirts and found an actual parking spot. (In Pittsburgh, we like to “make up” parking spots.), we arrived at our destination, tummies rumbling and ready. And then the heart-drop. How long of a wait? 45 minutes, the attractive, hipster at the counter tells us. FORTY-FIVE MINUTES?! When you’re ravished, 45 minutes might as well be tomorrow. But I turned to see my friends optimistic, shrugging at this seemingly impossible wait.

“Eh, anywhere we go will be crowded, you know?” Right. They were right, logical even. But can we just try, I wanted to ask. There is no logic in hunger. Instead of whining my concern aloud, I puffed up my chest and gave the host my name. 45 minutes. I could occupy my brain for 45 minutes. 4:50 PM.

Time passes at an incredibly slow pace. I doodle. I draw pictures of unicorns and cats and gerbils in plastic balls. It’s fine. Everything is going to be ok, because I know after each doodle, I’m just 1 majestic unicorn away from food. Right.

I’m going to skip to the part to where we actually get a seat, because the dull time in between could be painful to read. But it was nearly an hour (or more) before we actually got waited on, about 6:15 PM. The waitress, bubbly and smiling, brought us our waters. Had she been psychic and could comprehend our subsequent pain, she may not have asked the question…

Can I get you ladies an appetizer?

At this point, we were drooling. Our stomachs had caved in on themselves like raisins. And though we were not starving in a literal sense, the anticipation induced by the unordinary wait time gave us a near-death sensation. So when we heard appetizer, a word, which, in fact, means “before meal,” the question hit us as FOOD RIGHT NOW? And we accepted the offer. Obviously.

While it wasn’t the waitress’s fault, I mean, we could’ve picked something smaller like their Arrogant Onion Rings or something, but we chose Pedro’s Nachos. To put it lightly, this mound of nachos could’ve fed four people as a meal. In silence, other than a few satisfied groans we shared, we devoured it. In fact, we would’ve won an award. The waitress in a moment of shock exclaimed she had never seen a plate of their nachos disappear so quickly.

At this moment, it would also be safe to note that we had no idea what was ahead of us. I believe our stomachs were most likely already full, but we didn’t believe it. Though this should have clued us in, those nachos were just an appetizer. We had burgers and fish sandwiches coming. French fries. Yes. And we had no idea how big these things would be. The prices were reasonable, cheap, in fact. I could imagine anything extraordinary. Boy, was I wrong.

Our reactions were as follows: excited, stunned, worried. But we continued to plow on, as though we hadn’t just ingested nearly 2 lbs. of nachos a piece. It was ok, because it was delicious. It was sooooo goooooood.


Needless to say, the car ride home was a long one. 45 minutes, in fact. And besides the grunts and moans of pain and discomfort, there was a strange intermission of laughter, like we were in some unfortunate food delirium. It was disbelief coupled with pain coupled with disbelief at our pain. Laughter wasn’t the end-all-be-all. All ups have their downs, and suddenly we were pressed with painful, uncontrollable gas, (which then, of course,  resulted in more laughter and more discomfort.) It was a deadly loop of downhill spiraling that ended with the three of us passed out on the couch.