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I am posting this here because it's nothing to do with Christmas, and I don't want to ruin that node. Those thoughts here, had today, will not have changed tomorrow. I'm sorry. Something has happened, and everyone is gone.

I am not interested in your wisdom. The benefit of your experience is nothing to me. There is no story you can tell that I cannot change, no anecdote you can relate the relevance of which I cannot deny. Say whatever you want. You’ve been there or you haven’t, you care or don’t, I’m not doing this for you. You cannot show me the way. The choice is mine.

I’m asking anyway, because I'm scared and do not know.

I spent Christmas Eve face down on the floor. Jewish, you know—that takes some of the sting from it. A crumpled mess, not a man. Cell phone held loosely to an ear, spit snot and tears spreading out in a puddle that soaked the ends of my hair and clogged my nose. Whimpering into the receiver, unable to make a sentence or think a thought until I managed to press End. Moments later a beep I lacked the will to answer, so sure I was another would follow. It did, I picked up, and we spoke for hours over questions and doubts, so far that I am still uncertain if we separated or not. You likely know the course. Uncertainty, remorse, disbelief, panic, tremendous desire and that desperate, final lust, all atop a nauseated shaking and cold before the cycle repeats. I see no future with you, nor any without. Do you love me? I do. I do, I love you, you love me. We love each other.

Is that enough.

Necessary but not sufficient. Her time here is running out, and her age makes demands I don’t know if I can meet. A child, in four years’ time. A baby. I see the words on the page and cannot conceive of the notion, the awesome responsibility of what that would mean. It is beyond me. Will it be beyond me then? Between twenty-five and twenty-nine, will something happen that prepares me? I cannot see it. But I would not see it. The future is best guesses and lies. What do you believe, and can you believe you will not change?

I wailed. I rocked and pulled at my hair, stood from the floor dizzy and crying, crying, crying. She tried to comfort me. The old jokes between us, moments over which we had always laughed in the past, the things that make me love her marched out in terrible new clothing. Where will you seek comfort now? She told me all the reasons she loves me. She told me I am smart and quick, I make her laugh, and can fold her in my arms. The way I look at her when I think she’s mad, my arrogance about proper syntax. My wit, my affection, the shortness of my legs. My writing. She tells me I am beautiful.

"I will call you tomorrow. Not until after ten, your time, or it might have to wait until I get back to ________, my mobile isn’t very good on the motorway. Will you be all right?"

"I will be all right."

She clicked off, and I threw up.

This has been long in coming. The question of our ages and the different places we are in our lives has wanted an answer since we first decided to ignore it in October 2000, when the future bore no real consideration. Easily put off, a three year reprieve and a deadline that began to loom just this past September. It was after the newness had worn off and before the shadow stretched out over us that I fell in love with her. I am in love with her still. Far from perfect, I have come to love her for her flaws. Congreve’s words in The Way of the World. The Way of the World, I read it four years before I met her and thought, "yes, remember, this is how it must be, this is one of the ways you will know."

Is that enough.

Doubt endows the mundane with unusual significance. I found a strand of her hair—I am always finding strands of her hair—and wound it three times around the ring finger of my left hand. I slept and showered, and looked down to find it gone. How telling. She called three times and each time I could not hear; I called at least as many but could not get through. Ah ha. The commercials have all had children in them, two shows in a row showcased wedding dresses. A pregnant Barbie doll on the shelves, news at five; news at six, pick the sex of your child. Synchronicity they call it; always there, nothing has changed, you’re only more attuned. But what of God’s mysterious ways? If He answered your prayer for a sign would you know enough to read it, and read it correctly? Or—read further. I noticed the ring was gone. I kept redialing the number. I got through. That should mean more. The Great Lord Therapist, answers questions with Questions to help you find the way.

Whispers in the dark. You shouldn’t need to think so much about it…when you know, you know…there should be no doubt. There has always been thought and doubt, and I have never known anything so well I did not question it. I am afraid, you see. Afraid. I have always been afraid. The step ahead is a deep one. To turn an ankle on it—the length of the fall terrifies me. To turn from this course or run its length, which takes the greater courage? I recognize my cowardice. It sickens me, makes me small in my own mind and cuts across my belly. I have always failed myself. Recoiled and retreated, conservatively retired from every adventure and risk, each opportunity to risk my pride for something better. Keep your brass rings and Holy Grails. I’ll just stay here and guard the castle. Let me know how it goes—so I can imagine myself there from the safety of my own tiny room, how great I would have been.

What does such a man deserve who dares to turn his back on this? And for what? To enflame the smoldering embers of your precious, wasted youth? Haven’t been drunk enough, fucked enough, arrested even once? So many women to sleep with, and surely if you were single again you’d topple the towers of the city with your awesome libido. Every girl you set an eye on would buckle at the knee if you were unfettered, and you’d welcome yourself to all. New powers need new subjects. Now that you know something about sex—you think you do—how can you not share what you’ve learned?

Liar. Know thyself. You’ve had that chance before and passed it up. It’s not for you.

Or is it some other shadow gives you pause? Some notion of another woman and a better future, that old image of perfection and the time at which there will finally be no fear. You wait for the right woman to make you strong. You think she will give you courage. You think she will make it right. You are fooling yourself, little coward. You are running again. It will not come from without. This choice is yours, no she can make it for you.

An old family friend, a year older than I am, got married the week before Thanksgiving. An old friend from high school just got engaged. My ex-girlfriend moved in with her boyfriend. They’re dropping like flies. And each time I hear of another, I am deeply, deeply bitten by a desire for the same. I am jealous because they seem to know, because they’ve found the certainty I haven’t. What makes them different, I wonder. Why him, why her. Why not me. How do you know, how the fuck are you supposed to know?

I love her. It isn’t over yet. Not yet. The moment has come, though. I suppose it comes to everyone. Relationships must move forward, or they die. Just like sharks. Must remember that line on some future anniversary.

She says her life is always a fight. She is a person of unbelievable strength. She is not afraid. I see her, hear her voice, look into her eyes and recognize that thing I most desire for myself—total fearlessness, the simple knowledge that what she wants from this life she will take, or die trying. She will make it all her own. It will not come easily. Nothing has ever come easily. But she fights. She fights, and never gives in. She never turns away.

Will I fight beside her. Will we take the field, and fall together.

Is it enough.

The year Christmas was cancelled.

This year, there was no Christmas, at least not for me. I thought I wouldn't care, not being a Christian for more then 10 years now, but the spirit of the season still affects me even if the story behind it means nothing to me.

But this year, everything was different: Living in Japan for more than a year now, I know things are different, and like them that way. Last year, everything was still fresh and new, and I could live with missing christmas, didn't even notice something missing. And it was always possible to get into the spirit somehow, have a party with friends, at least last year.

However, since I started working as an Intern at TBS last summer, schedules have gotten tighter, and Japanese companies don't go into holiday until next week-end, I have been sitting at my desk for the last few days, surfing the net as there currently is nothing for me to do. But physical presence is required, and so I waste away the hours, feeling bored. Yesterday I got to answer one letter, which is one more letter than the day before. When they find something for me to do, the position is interesting, and I can learn a lot but currently...

The supply package from home, carrying christmas Stollen, Spekulatius, Lebkuchen, Printen and the other necessary fatteners arrived late, too late for me to get into the mood, but in time to make me feel being alone. I miss setting out the tree, eating the traditional potato salad on christmas eve, but most of all, I miss being with my parents, my brother, my grandparents ...

Next year, there will be christmas, this year, I node!

I finally did it, and wrote a daylog. Wonders never cease.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to wake up and realize that I was still dreaming. I mean I think it would be really cool, to be able to acknowledge that, that what you are experiencing, that might seem so real, is really just an illusion. But, shit man, what the hell is an illusion anyway? I mean, I just don't understand how we can really differentiate between what is real and what is not, it's an egoistic claim that we can know such things.

This kind of thinking always brings me back to Waking Life. And how, in the film, it is proposed that there is no actual difference between what one experiences in a dream and what one experiences in one's waking life. So, if this is true, what effect does it have on our actions, on our perceptions, on our very existence? Is it a pointless observation, or hypothesis?

Questions go unanswered, and I wonder.

Dreams fuck with my head. I can't remember them really, I don't try to to be honest. I mean why the fuck do I want to remember my dreams? They always make me sad. Often, I wake with the sensation that you are still there, sleeping next to me, breathing


And I don't like that, and I don't want to remember that, or long for it. I want to forget it because none of it was ever real to begin with....

Oh well, moving on....

This time last year, I said Merry Christmas to a friend for the last time. I didn't know it then, but that was the last time I saw him. So strange how time can creep up on you like that. How one day you're complaining about how pathetic all this consumer driven Christmas bullshit is, and then it suddenly dawns on you that you're a fucking asshole cuz at least you are alive.

Sometimes I wish I could switch places with you.

Sometimes I wish I could go back and tell you how important you were, and how special you were to your family, but I can't. All I can do is remember your laugh, and your jokes, and your gentle kindess, and promise you that i will look after Shaun always.

Two of my closest friends are celebrating Christmas without one of their parents this year. And it makes me think of what that will be like, and what it must be like. And I hate that I can do nothing for them, except tell them that I know how they feel at least on some level, even though there is no way it can be true cuz words are dead, and they don't mean shit. But I still speak them and hope that at least they know I care.

Sometimes I can't sleep, and I wish that I would just wake up and realize that all this has just been a dream. Sometimes it is mear guilt that keeps me alive.Forced into continuing with this existence because I am one of those "lucky ones," whatever the hell that is. Ha, but there I go again, being an asshole, forgetting about those that can no longer play the yearly family game of Scrabble, eat the Christmas breakfast, and who can't hear the laughter of their family and friends as the stories of old are told.

Oh fuck this shit, it's too late for this now.

To my beloved e2 family!! I just want to thank anyone of you that I have ever talked to, or that has ever given me a positive msg, or kind word. I fucking love this place we got here, and I think it's an incredible sign of the true human spirit. Thanks for dealing with my rants....take care. ;)

A Christmas tale in two parts….

Part 1 – Some New Found Friends or How Jerry Springer Saved Christmas (well, for me anyway)

Christmas season is always stressful enough, for those you who don’t believe me, I refer you to my daylog of December 18, 2002. Well, after spending the earlier part of the week with my kid, the time had come for her to make her way to her mothers’ house. So it was that about 3:00 PM on Christmas Eve, she made her departure.

After she left the house and the quiet had set in, it began to feel, I dunno so… ….empty. The walls seemed to be closing in and I was desperate for company. What’s a person to do? My first thought was to make my way to my local watering hole to see if any other folks had been “orphaned” or faced a similar predicament. Hey, there’s some truth to the old saying that misery loves company and I was feeling pretty damn miserable. So I bundled myself up and out the door I went. Well, needless to say, the place was closed. No problem though, there’s always watering hole number two. Ditto that. Watering hole number three actually had a sign on their door saying that they would be closed both Christmas Eve and Christmas day and that they were sorry that they wouldn’t be able to save their patrons from their families. Shit, what am I gonna do? The last place I felt like being was at home by myself feeling the way I was feeling. As a last ditch effort I decided to try watering hole number four and was pleased to see the neon lights beckoning to me along with a few scattered cars in the parking lot.

As I made my way to the bar I soon had the feeling I had made a mistake. The other patrons all seemed to be regulars and I felt like I was trespassing.. But, another part of me thinks that its bad form to enter a place and not order something. I sat down at the bar and ordered a beer, content to keep to myself. At least I had some “company”. I turned my attention to the television.

At first glance I thought to myself “Oh, shit” – freakin’ Jerry Springer and his group of mongoloids chanting JERRY!, JERRY! JERRY!. Oh ye of little faith, little did I realized I was now in for a treat.

It seems the subject of Jerry’s show was along the lines of fucked up Christmases. Everything from the “Mistress Who Stole Christmas” to “Drunk Uncle Who Ruined Christmas” was there in all its spectacular glory. There were family videos of Christmas trees being throw out of doors and set on fire, there were food fights, there were drinks thrown in faces, there were allegations of adultery, incest and other ungodly charges. I started to laugh out loud at some of the folks being portrayed in the worst of circumstances figuring, hey, at least its not me.

Its at this point that a voice from the other end of the bar called out and asked if I wanted to join the little party that was going on over there. Emboldened by a couple of more beers, I was happy to oblige. We then spent the next hour laughing together at the Springer show and the next couple of hours discussing the world, family, and the holidays in general.

When it was time to leave, I thanked everybody for making me feel so welcome. In that short time span I felt I had made a few friends (though I doubt I’ll ever see them again) and that something was shared between us. Even if it was only to poke fun at Jerry Springer, a certain camaraderie had been established. I could now go home to my house, secure in the knowledge that at least I wasn’t as bad off as some of the poor folks that felt the need to have their lives put on display by Mr. Springer. Once I got home, I would tend to my latest addition, a kitten that my daughter had picked out earlier in the week. But first I need to go for a smoke….

A Kitten For Anna

That title might be a little misleading. You see, as I went about doing the “normal” things one would do in order to prepare Christmas for an eight year old such as shopping, gift-wrapping, etc, etc, etc, the idea dawned on me that my daughter might appreciate a kitten. The purpose of the gift was twofold. First of all, who was I kidding, I knew that she would love to have a kitten. Second of all, since I live alone on a weekly basis and don’t spend much time at home, I thought a kitten would make for some good company for me. It would at least be an excuse to forego a happy hour or two and get myself home in order to tend to the little beast.

At first I had this grandiose scheme to somehow smuggle the kitten inside the house on Christmas morning and it would be the first thing my little one would see when she woke up. Visions of her playing with the bundle of fur filled my head and I went about planning on how to surprise her. As Christmas week drew near I realized that this would be close to impossible. The way that the time was divided between my ex- and I (I again refer you to my daylog of December 18, 2002) was largely to blame. What was I to do?

The thought occurred to me that maybe she’d like to pick one out for herself and so on Monday last, I decided to surprise her. I brought her into my office and decided to leave at around noon or so. At that point, without telling her where we were going, we made our way to a fine institution called Cat Welfare where they had assured me that had a variety of kittens to choose from.

For those of you who are so-called “cat people”, what do you envision when you picture a kitten? For me, they range anywhere from 10-15 weeks or so in age and all they care to do is sleep and play with an occasional meal thrown in. It seems the fine folks at Cat Welfare have a different definition. They define “kitten” as just about anything under the age of two and that’s about all they had to choose from. Since we were already there I felt that we couldn’t leave empty handed. I just couldn’t picture saying to her, “Sorry honey, see all those cute, abandoned cats? You can’t have one.” Ugh!

So it was, with great fanfare and inspection that we made our way through what seemed like every cat in the place. They were fondled, played with, spoken to and played with some more. After an hour or so, my daughter decided on one that went by the name of Spice. He is a tortie, who played with abandon and has a pretty good disposition (until we got her home, more on that later). After she made her decision, paperwork was filled out, the cat got her final shots, a “donation” was made and she was boxed up and ready to go.

The ride home was uneventful. The cat didn’t make a noise as she lay resting in the box that sat on my daughters lap. A trip to the grocery store was made in order to pick up a assorted few cat toys and other added necessities such as food, kitty litter etc, etc, etc. I couldn’t wait to get home and let the fun begin. Sure, it wasn’t Christmas just yet but it was the next best thing.

Well, we get home and open up the box. Spice peeks his out and jumps out of the box. and takes a cursory look around downstairs and then makes her way to the upstairs.

It’s now Thursday and that is just about the last we’ve seen of her. Oh, we’ve seen evidence that she’s around such as a some food being eaten and use of the litter box but the cat has taken refuge under either my bed or my daughters bed and no-matter how much coaxing we do, refuses to come out. Both of us are a little disappointed. Me because of my pre-ordained notions about how Christmas was going to be spent and her because she was looking forward to playing with the cat.

Is it possible that the cat became “institutionalized”? Does it miss the other cats that it grown accustomed to? How long will it take before it acclimates itself to its new surroundings? How long do I give it until I call the fine folks at Cat Welfare and “exchange” Spice for a cat that is friendlier and more sociable in nature? (They have a ten day exchange/return policy). My daughter and I discuss these matters and as it turns out she’s a lot more patient that I am. She’s willing to wait nine days in order for Spice to show semblance that she’s happy. Me on the other hand, perhaps displaying my tendency to pass judgment, thinks I’ll give her until this Saturday. That’s almost six days for her to get over whatever “cat shock” she might be experiencing. If nothing is forthcoming, I’ll take her back to Cat Welfare and pick out another one. I hate to do it but I don’t want the three of us to be miserable.

If any of you noders out there have had a similar experience(s) regarding the adoption of older cats and have some advice to offer, by all means, please /msg me.


Woke up Christmas morning at 6:29 to my 11 year old sister's arm pressing down on my back, her voice yelling "Wake up, Sara! It's Christmastime!." I would have thought she would have gotten over it by now. So, instead of asking for five more minutes and making her wait ten, I made my way up the stairs to see if Santa had been good to us.

After 19 years of Christmasses, my parents have gotten lazy with the wrapping; instead of wrapping everything neatly in paper, they put it into giant Christmas garbage bags and tie a ribbon on it. Works for me... less mess, and less time to waste before going back to sleep.

So in my groggy state, I managed to muster up some excitement for my gifts. From my parents/sisters/brother:

--A 120 gig hard drive!!!! (thank god, i was running on a 15!)
--Some underwear and a really soft nightshirt from victoria's secret... very nice... (not slutty though, don't get any ideas)
--Some other pretty cool clothes
--A Hard Day's Night on DVD (I love The Beatles... and its a kickass movie)
--High Fidelity by Nick Hornby (SIGNED!!!)

Not great... but not bad... I got what I asked for (the hard drive and some clothes)

So then I went to sleep for like 2 hours, and at 9:30 I woke up and ate breakfast, and played Game Cube with my siblings... they like the motorcycle game thingy that I got them so I'm happy

Around 1 we went to my Grandma's house... she's filthy rich so we usually make out like bandits... but lately she's been kinda senile and weird... so here we go with what I got from her:

--a gold charm for my charm bracelet... (fine, but i have plenty and don't need any more.)
--Nice, but too colorful, makeup from Estee Lauder... (she probably got a free gift and wrapped it up for me and my sister... no big deal though, its not bad)
--(now we get to the good stuff ;) )- the UGLIEST sweater thing I have EVER seen... seriously... it's black with colored string coming out of it... it looks like tentacles. no joke!
--Old doilies of hers; framed (why?!?!?!)
--An old lace collar with a stain on it (even more of a WHY!?!?!?!?)
--(here's the kicker)HER OLD PERFUME... yes, its expensive perfume, but seriously... I don't really wear the kind of stuff she does... I like my Clinique Happy because it doesn't smell too weird... I don't wanna smell like rose-must-whatever... The only cool one was an old Salvadore Dali perfume thing... which is really cool, just cuz its from an awesome artist... but seriously...
--My Aunt Alice gave my mom (who is her sister in law, mind you) a print of one of her dead relatives... why this would have any significance to my mom, I'm not sure

so yeah... that was Christmas... nobody (on my dad's side of the family, anyways) really even cares about Jesus, its all about giving people good stuff one year so that they'll give you good stuff next year... really fits our family's compulsive gambling trait. My mom is choosing prints of her dead relatives to give to my aunt as we speak.

I'm pretty much glad the holidays are over... New Years is fun... Christmas could be fun if we really stopped making it about stuff. Well, I'm off to Florida now. Have fun, everyone!
Perhaps that has already happened to everyone but me, but it was the strangest thing.

I left my little pseudo-cubicle for my daily round of smoke-chinese food-smoke early due to the complete lack of any kind of managerial supervision in the office today. I gleefully step outside the office building into a blustery, below freezing, unbearable day. The first cigarette in five hours resting between my lips, hands in my pockets to keep them from freezing right the hell off. I move over into a sunbeam coming from between two buildings, hoping to sop some of it's glowy warmness.

And this is where things became weird. I saw the sun move. Kinda.

I was just standing there, minding my own business, when the sunbeam started to shift ever so slightly to the left. I moved over to get back into it, but within a few mere seconds, I found myself back in the shade. There was an outdoor ashtray a few feet in front of me, and I noticed that, if I stared long enough, I could actually see the shadow cast by the ashtray shift ever so slightly. I didn't think it was possible to visibly monitor the sun's progression across the sky without some fancy pants science equipment, yet there I was watching as I slowly slipped from sun to shadow in a short minute. I watched as the sidewalk faded from bright glow to darkness. It was the most surreal thing that I've ever seen.

I'll have to start taking my lunch breaks a little earlier.

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