November 30, 2005

photo of the day.

helen and boomp on thanksgiving
Originally uploaded by ohchicken.
since i am obsessed with all things digital these days, i thought i'd start sharing some of my favorites with you over here, if you don't mind. (if you do, tell me. i'll stop. immediately. or when i get tired of doing it.)

this is my favorite photo memory from thanksgiving. my helen and her boomp. boomp in his chili pepper apron.

this was the first year in a long time i was not up north with my family for thanksgiving. we do it up big in erie; we all gather for ridiculously delicious meals on thursday with my sister, peggy, and then again at mom's house on saturday. we sip vodka-based beverages all day (compliments of eileen), until we're silly and flush-faced from the duralog in the fireplace. usually, it's snowing. i smoke outside with frozen fingers.

this year, work and the economy kept me in texas, and so helen and i drove to houston for the day to spend the holiday with her family: mom, boomp, aunt janis and cousin jessica.

everything is a first for them this year, as well. grandma (or gommi) died in january, leaving her faithful husband and caretaker, boomp, to go it alone with his dog jake. at 89, he is a bachelor with a new leather couch, and a quietly grieving heart.

the day was lovely, full of wine and pie. five pies for six people. [we gave one of them away to the guys at our favorite convenience store in austin: the foodspot. sean thanked us and gave me a hug from across the counter. his boss, abdul said god bless your kindness, and then confessed he is diabetic. he promised to have a bite of crust despite...] the dinner tasted familiar, like i was at home with my own family--and i was at home. i get kisses from boomp. helen's mom, beth, tells me she loves me and kisses my cheek as well.

i caught boomp in a quiet moment that night, as he was once again showing me all of his digital photos. he paused at a photo of his wife, taken at a time when she wasn't feeling well, and he rested his hands on his lap for a long time. "i still talk to her, you know," he said, maybe to me, maybe to her. "crazy isn't it?" i was crouched beside his knee. i shook my head no.

just then helen entered the room, and boomp announced to us both, "it's good that you have each other."

we have the classic don't ask don't tell relationship with boomp. i'm just annie, part of the family somehow. i do believe his statement was his blessing. i kissed his bald head.
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November 29, 2005

things i see.

alright, so i admit that, lately, my bloglife has been less than satisfying, both to you as reader, and to me as writer. everything has simply been a bit lackluster recently. here's the breakdown, the kind anyone gets on the phone when they ask "so how are you?"

i am working. a lot. voluntary overtime, which translates to passive-agressive mandatory overtime. fiftyish hours a week. i wake up, and groggily drive to work with a mug full of strong coffee. ipod loaded with tunes to wake me up (radiohead today), and two cigarettes for the thirty minute commute in austin traffic. and then i solve the myriad problems of apple consumers for the next twelve hours. and then i drive home. play with the puppies, and watch cable (!) tv with helen until nearly passing out on the couch. i take the pups out for their evening squat, feed the turtle, and go to bed. and that's about it.

but what about those in-between hours, you ask? well. there is so much to explore online between phonecalls, and i have been amusing myself with my flickr page. i've even been taking pics at work, enjoying the opportunity to find things worth looking at in such a suburban, business park world. (photoshop helps.)

also, i've been taking mental notes about call center culture, such as:

1. in a long line of bathroom stalls, stall #2 is everyone's favorite. it's almost always out of toilet paper. my rationale for this phenomenon? stall #1 is too close to the door, and if you were to take that one, everyone would assume you have diarrhea, and couldn't make it to stall #2. stalls further down the line are too far away from the door, so if you do have diarrhea, there is a chance you'll have to pass someone on your way out of the bathroom, and they'll know it was you making the weird noises. by choosing stall #2, you are choosing convenience, and making a statement to the rest of the bathroom: i'm just peeing here.

2. out at the smoking depot, it is very fun to be the conversation starter. usually, people just stand around like they're waiting for a bus, holding their cigarette like a joint, staring at their feet. but if you say something, anything, a conversation begins and evolves quickly into character-revelation. for instance, the other day i was standing outside with h, a guy who likes phish and jamgrass music. he's a corporate guy, but can tell he was probably a stoner back in the day. i mention his briefcase, tell him he looks so sophisticated with it: intimidating. he laughs, and says that he used to only wear ripped jeans and he used to have a fro. and then he makes a comment about how quickly my hair is growing, and how it always seems to be a different color every week. we laugh: we've noticed each other. mr engineer guy, the tall skinny man with cropped greying hair and wire-rimmed glasses, pipes in. "i used to have really long hair," he states and pulls out his driver's license. indeed, he did. it was a cross between headbanger/creepy long hair--waist-length--and thin on top. i don't want to mention that he looks way less scary with his engineer haircut, but he says it for me: "yeah, when i realized that i was going completely bald on top, i decided it was time to get rid of it, or else buy a big old van with no windows."

3. i've edited for job-security purposes. i don't want to end up like dooce.

so yes, i'm trying to remain awake in these sleepy days of vast repetition. every night, i drive home in crisp air darkness, and the stars are pinholes. the interstate is somehow backed up, even at nine or ten, and so as i drive over the decks just north of downtown, i get a good look at the city. austin shines at night, just over there to the right. she's really quite beautiful, and i wave hello every evening. most nights, i just want the slowpoke in front of me to pick it up a bit, but sometimes i get the feeling that i'm living a life while i'm driving. i'm getting to witness the city that is now my home, when it is at its most beautiful. it is a similar feeling to seeing your mother in a new dress.

more later. there are problems to solve over here.

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November 28, 2005

technical difficulties.

if you attempted to visit within the past few hours, you may have noticed that i disappeared. my fault. i forgot to pay the bills. fear not, however: bananie is now online for another three years. this will give me time to turn thirty in front of you.

how lucky.

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November 21, 2005

my filmmaking debut:


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November 15, 2005

please tell me i'm pre-whiskied out voice...

you are Tom Waits!
Tom Waits... charismatic story-teller with a
penchant for freaky people and unusual
settings. You thrive on the concept of the
underdog coming out on top.

Which fucked-up genius composer are you?
brought to you by Quizilla


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November 11, 2005

talking to myself at 5 am

nearly 5 am now. i can't sleep. i've been watching the clock between dozes since two. *yawn*
can't stop clenching my teeth. my jaw is sore.

the world is still sleeping. charley at my feet. chloe above my head (her tail draped over my shoulders.) i hear helen in the other room, turn over and sigh. she sleeps.

i smoked a cigarette in my robe just now. austin is waking up early today. already the beepbeepbeeping of a truck nearby, backing up. already cars headed somewhere on a friday morning. a train. but crickets still, in november.

"am i talking to myself?" i prayed, and stubbed out the cigarette.

what are we to do, honestly? i've been so on edge over propositiontwo, and it doesn't help that i ran out of my happy pills for one day. so i really feel it.

for the non-texan readers, propositiontwo has been the bleeding heart cause around here lately. the texas legislature-crafted just say no to the possibility of gay marriage. though, in austin, there was a reassuring vote of fuck that, the rest of texas did its big mob mentality thing. and with sweeping numbers, they slammed shut the door on MY ability to get married.

who knew. really. who knew, once upon a time, that sweet little bananie would grow up to be one of them? who knew that i could possibly become a threat to the institution of marriage? or rather, the stepford idea of an institution of marriage that has never existed. one man. one woman. one picket fence. one nation under god, quite divisible, with liberty and justice for one man. one woman.

"am i talking to myself?"

we are such a people afraid. afraid that if we open the door, let them come to the table, we might find out that we were wrong all along. if we acknowledge the fact that gay marriage is more than gay fucking with tax benefits, what then? will we have to rewrite the bible? will we have to take back words like "abomination", "faggot", "sinner"? unfathomable.

so we go to the polls, texas! after all, we're under attack. this is war! we've fought so long to keep our ears plugged tightly: i can't hear you i can't hear you!

homosexuals are not going to disappear, america. we live in your neighborhood. we're making the triple grande sugar free vanilla nonfat caramel macchiatos that you order in the drivethru on your way to church. (i've preached at your churches, by the way. i've written your devotionals. i've put my soul into you. you have held my hands in friendship, you know.)

if it is your soul that you are worried about, you're covered. don't fret. because i still believe in grace, despite all of your hate and fear. you're just as human as i am, and so maybe there is hope for an aboutface. i don't know.

i don't hate you, texas. america. i hate the fear that makes you choose oppression. i hate that i am now the oppressed because of you.

but you don't own me.
i am still free.
and i am still married. tear up the papers, but i'm still here.

and i still call myself a christian, even though i'm very afraid that i am talking to myself.

"why are we so quick to disinvite people from the table?" becca once preached. (she helps me believe.) "While we rip one another apart for our differences, our souls rest side by side at the final feast anyway...we spill one another's blood for issues that will die with us."

am i talking to myself?

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November 6, 2005

gregg turns twentyfive today.

Originally uploaded by ohchicken.
happy birthday my sweet gregg. you bring so much joy to our lives. you are our boy on the porch with your neverending menthol cigarettes. charley has never loved a boy so much since she met kevin.

...this says a lot.

your friendship is a gift.
we love you.
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November 1, 2005


this morning, i drove to work just as the sun was burning off the sleepy morning clouds. the trees north of downtown are tentatively changing; they've added subtle highlights, like they're not quite convinced they could make so drastic a change. i thought of mother nature with the dye bottles, hovering over the chair: come on little trees, reds and yellows and oranges are so in this season. i really think the change would do you good. look at all those beautiful trees from new york...they're gorgeous.

autumn in texas; it's all about coaxing.

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