Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Here's to a peaceful year full of healing and love. In 2009 I'm gonna change the way I live. Vague, I know, but it's something I need to do. It feels like it's time to reconnect with things and people who are real. Last year I learned all about sitting and being quiet and listening to what I need. I learned to live in the moment and not fret about what was or what is coming. But though I learned it all I haven't put it to use in my life. I think it's time.

So here's to a good year ahead for everyone.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


This song...I can't get it out of my head. But seriously, ELO sounds really good lately. Why is that, I wonder? It's definitely a guilty pleasure, but I'm not ashamed to admit that I want more.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

My Crimmis

Quelle Christmas! I spent basically the whole of Christmas Day in bed. I was sick, and all I could do was sleep. Some kind of cold/flu/upper respiratory bug invaded my body over the weekend prior to Crimmis, and once I got on some antibiotics it was like I had taken a sleeping pill, so I missed most of the day. I did drag myself out of bed for 1. Santa, and 2. lunch and the opening of the presents. Somehow my camera stayed in bed, it seems, so all I have to show are these pictures from Christmas Eve, when I was still awake.

My mom's tree. We protested but she's at the age where all she can handle is a 'little tree.' I don't know why it matters, since she has a handyman who puts it up and takes it down, and I honestly think he even decorates it for her. But oh well.

Let the unwrapping begin!

Just what every 13-year old boy dreams of...monogrammed towels! My mom, what a riot.

Oh, that's much better...

The artist, making a painting for Santa. He ate the cookies she made and left for him, but he didn't take the painting, much to her chagrin.

And Claudine got a mouse. I mean, "Mouse? What mouse? I don't see anything. Yawn."

So that was my Christmas. I'm not in any of the pictures because I had on pajamas and dirty hair. Mom somehow isn't either, though she was clean and in nice clothes. But take my word for it, I got some fabulous, a scarf, some silver hoop earrings and a crock pot. I'll take pictures of those later.

So what did all of you get from Santa?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry merry~!!!!!

Hope it's a wonderful Christmas for all of you!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Unseen photos

Man, there's nothing like trying to get over a love, being pitifully unable to do so, and suddenly having someone post photos of the two of you that you'd never seen before. I was in FB today, and saw a note that Jackie had tagged me in three of her pics. As soon as I saw the title of the album they were in, "Halloweens over the years," I knew it was gonna be pics of me and Paul. And I was right. These two:

Plus another one of him I hadn't seen, from the same party. I think I must have taken it.

I remember this night so well. It was what proved to be our last Halloween together, 2007. I had found a dress at Rebecca's house that looked just like a playing card, and I decided to be the Queen of Hearts. Paul didn't want to dress up, of course, but he'd do anything for me so he agreed to be the King of Hearts. On our way to the party, which was at Rebecca and Jackie's friends house, we stopped at the liquor store on LaVista, across from McDonald's. Afterwards Paul and I later had a running joke about the guy who worked there, cause when we went up to pay, he looked at my costume and said "Oh! What are you tonight?" or something, in kind of broken English (Paul, do you remember what he said exactly? I can't...) and I said "The Queen of Hearts." He nodded exhuberantly and said "Oh yes, yes! The mother of Jesus!" and we bout died laughing. I'm still unsure what the disconnect was, but it was priceless.

We cut out all the little hearts and I safety pinned them to our clothes in the hotel room before leaving for the party. Paul (or did I?) painted the hearts on my face with an old lipstick, but he wouldn't let me put any on his face...had to draw the line somewhere. We had so much fun at that party, mainly because it was seriously the dullest party either of us could remember ever going to. We kept waiting for the fun to start, then realized that, um, this was it. After finishing all our vodka or whatever we had brought, we left. It was seriously that boring (I apologize if Jackie or Reb are reading was!) We went back to the room and I remember having a fight about something, then making up and having passionate make-up sex for hours and hours.

It was a typical night for us, and I miss it so. I'm happy and very sad at the same time to have seen these pics of the two of us. I remember Paul and I had brought his mother's really old digital camera to the party for some reason (where was my regular camera? How did we get his mom's? And why?) and we took several pics, but never could get them uploaded. I'd always wanted to see the two of us as the King and Queen of Hearts, and I guess I got my wish. A little late, but there's something cosmic in the fact that they just now showed up.

It kind of kills me a little to look at these, especially that second one, where I'm tucked up underneath his arm, his hand on my hip. He always said that we fit together perfectly, and indeed, our body language speaks everything that there was between us. We were very close, in every way, and I have no idea where all that went. We were a part of each other, and that part of me that was his is just all broken to hell. How is it that he doesn't feel this split, this shattered-ness, too? This wasn't just a fling, it was the real deal. These pics verify that for me. Odd that they showed up today, when I've been feeling some things so incredibly strongly about him and me. I'll wait to see what it might mean.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

An Open Apology

I've been feeling really shitty lately. Not the usual shitty, as in why is life so hard, but shitty in a kind of guilty way. I feel like I've hurt a lot of people over the past few years, and while I meant to lash out at some, others kind of happened by accident. I feel extremely bad when I think of the people I used to count as friends who now seems more like enemies, and wonder how it happened. It's been a bad few years, I guess, and certain friendships got caught up in the mess and I lashed out in anger and those friendships ended. I hate it now, and wish I could go back to the year of Rewind, in fact, and start over. I can't, of course, so I'm writing this post to say I'm sorry. Many of those I've broken ties with won't ever read this, but I need to put it out there into the karmic/cosmic swirl and hope to mend some fences.

Several people I've called in the past year to try to talk to them about what happened between us, but either they didn't want to hear it or were embarrassed to talk about it. Others I actually have made up with, and started new friendships with. But I'm sick and fucking tired of sending bad energy out into the world, and as I was cleaning out my closet, it suddenly hit me how much I've done it, and how much I miss the people I've shut out of my life through my actions. So as of today, I am putting to rest all bad events, both those done by me and those done to me. It's just time to open my heart and move forward in light and love. Sappy, new age-y, pitiful, whatever...but something about that closet-cleaning experience made me realize how much I've lost. Actually, I know exactly what it was about the closet. I pulled out several old purses and was tossing out some of their contents when I found receipts, old notes and letters, even a hotel bill from the Holiday Inn in Athens, either a Rewind-related outing or just fun, and it made me miss my old friends like hell. I don't want any more sadness, I don't want any more regrets. I've done enough and it's time to clean up my act. I am very sorry for hurting you all.

So there you have it, a kinder, gentler Julie. Can you handle it? Can I handle it?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

"If you were a jacket..." 2008 style

Rosie and Zoe re-enact their video fun of last year, as our party winds down:

I think my favorite part of this is Dorothy. And oddly enough, I make the exact same cameo appearance as I did last year! Gotta work on doing something besides sticking my tongue out at the camera. It was a good party, not as crowded as last year but nice and relaxed. Something has happened to my children and their friends, quite possibly they're growing up. There was no screaming, no running in the house, nothing got spilled or broken, it was almost like they weren't even there! Odd, yet not unpleasant. I have lots of delicious wine left over, and cheese, and chocolate. Yummmm. Come on over and help us finish it off!

So tonight I'm taking it easy, not going to Athens, due to the fact that I couldn't find anyone to go with, instead staying in and vegging on the couch. In a way I'm relieved, cause I'm really exhausted, and I have compositions to grade and pressies to wrap. And in a way I'm let down, cause I have absolutely no social life. Truth is I'm a little sad tonight. Ah well, Cops and AMW and Cheaters should cure that! Hope everyone else out there is at an incredibly fun Christmas party...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Party time!

This weekend is my big party. I got all the food and had the house cleaned today before taking the kids to piano, tomorrow I'm buying booze and doing last-minute decorating before going to Rosie's Christmas party at school, and I'm grading papers and writing Christmas cards in between. Whew! So, a few years ago, pre-party, I remember writing a post about how I needed a chimenea for my party. I never bought one, and would love to have one before tomorrow. And some nice outdoor seating. Maybe I'll squeeze in a trip to Target or something for some plastic chairs. They'll go nice with the crystal wine glasses. We bought some fabulous food, Nicholas is making his famous guacamole, I got some of those decadent Sister Schubert rolls to make little honey baked ham sandwiches with, and some brie and crackers. And fabulous wine. Cause it's all about the food.

I'm also going to Michael Lachowski's annual Christmas party in Athens G-A this weekend, which I haven't been to in years. I am very excited, but also nervous that people I can't see will show up. If so it's okay, cause I am going to go with a man (still not sure who) and I'll be able to handle it, but still, it makes me sad. Paul and I loved Michael's parties. Blech.

Here's the 2004 party: Curtis, Heather, and our fearless host

Kathleen and Michael "I think I knew you 20 years ago" Stipe. This was the party where he actually said that...

The lovely Lynda, the handsome Curtis

Paul and Curtis, before the joke-telling extravaganza

Mr. Lilje and me

In other news, I'm almost finished with my chapter. I am meeting with Candace in early early January and give it to her. I may actually finish the PhD this year, as in 2009. How exciting is that? I've got a lot of work to do still, especially with teaching three classes again in the spring, but I'm going to try to squeeze the last drops of inspiration out of my poor brain before the end of spring semester. I'm becoming embarrassed at myself for taking so long; clearly it's time.

Of course all I can think about it what to wear... who knew there were so many choices? Though I suppose Emory will tell me which one I'm supposed to wear. I hope I get one of the fun little beret hats...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tree decorating

Tonight I'm decorating the tree but my heart's just not in it. Normally nothing can spoil this season for me. I love Christmas, even last year when I was all heartbroken and miserable, I still really enjoyed the parties and dressing up and seeing people. But this year I just feel old. I've gained too much weight and don't ever to go out, not to mention that no one's invited me anywhere, I'm really really sad for some reason and I just don't feel the spirit at all. But life goes on.

So I am pulling out ornaments and putting them on the tree, and I came across a box with my favorite ones inside. You can easily guess why these are my faves:

At top left is Rosie's reindeer, from I believe the three-year old class at Glenn School. Next to that is Nick's pine cone sprinkled with glitter from the baby room at Glenn. Next is Rosie's rice wreath, from first grade. Next to that is a beautiful stained glass window from her kindergarten class. Next is a teeny tiny pine cone with glitter, also from Nick's baby room days at Glenn. And last on that row is Rosie's Thanksgiving leaf from third grade, I think, where she wrote what she was thankful for. It says "I'm thankful for my parnets for taking care of me. Rosemary :)" Next is a beautiful globe made by Nick in about third grade. Underneath is a pine cone tree, all decorated and with a star on top, made by Nick in about the four-year-old room at Glenn. Next is a popsicle stick star made by Rosie at Glenn school. Then come my two very favorites.

This is Nicholas' first Christmas, when he was only four months old. We went to see Santa at Lenox Mall and Nick wore his Micky Mouse Christmas long john outfit with little white and red socks. They gave us this gingerbread frame/ornament holder to put the pic in. I just love this picture cause he is soooooo tiny and Santa is sooooo looks to me like he's a little football in Santa's arms!

And this is Rosie from the Glenn School two-year-old class. This was her favorite Christmas dress that year, and her teachers took the picture and made it into a CD ornament and she gave it to us as the Christmas gift that SHE made. I love her little happy yet forced smile and her sweet face. Every time I look at this ornament I remember this year and what a cute, sweet little baby Rosie was.

These kid-made ornaments should actuallly make me more melancholy yet, on the contrary, they make it all better. I love my little guys; they're amazingly sweet, smart, handsome and good, and I'm lucky to have them. They love Christmas so I'm gonna love it this year too, for them. Plus the house looks beautiful, and next weekend is the big party! It's all good, just a bit lonely this year.

Paul Hester

Sadness, as Nick Cave notes, has a bad reputation. "We can't live if we are completely impervious to sadness," he has said. American poet Anne Sexton felt "creative people must not avoid the pain they get dealt". It is an idea with a long history. Philosopher Spinoza felt that sadness recoils from desire, and it is desire (for life) that is the real anti-depressant. Nineteenth-century neuroscientist George Gray thought it was a gradual "unlearning of optimism". Now sadness is confused with depression, and thought to be a chemical imbalance in the brain.

But while most scientists have turned away from notions such as soul-loss to describe the numbness that comes with depression, British biologist Dr Lewis Wolpert thinks it is a useful term. "With such distress we are at the very heart of being human," Wolpert writes in his best-selling Malignant Sadness. No one has yet found the cerebral substratum of passion and discontent.

I stole those lines from an article on Paul Hester's death in 2005. Hester was the drummer for Crowded House who killed himself unexpectedly, as if suicide is ever expected. He'd battled depression for his entire life, apparently, as many creative types do. He was a smart guy, funny, talented, and sad. My friend Tod says he can't listen to Crowded House anymore, after the suicide. It does change the music which, though for me was always melancholy, really makes me want to cry if I think about Paul. A waste and a shame, and we'll never know what went through his head as he went out that night to walk his dogs, and ended up hanging himself in the park.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Freaky horoscope

Your Lovescope - Tomorrow, December 9, 2008
The planets are radiating an energy that dictates that rather than merely looking absolutely stunning, you will also have to have a sexy brain. Forget the lipstick and the mascara; instead focus on learning some of those awe inspiring quotes that knock the right people out when spoken at precisely the right time in the midst of a boring conversation. This is what will get you noticed - apart from also being a published writer.

So be smart and get a guy? What a concept!

Friday, December 5, 2008

I love this song

The video, however, leaves something to be desired... ;-)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanks, Bug

This is ten kinds of wonderful:

It's not so clear, so click on the image to see the text. The only one they left off is "drunk live-in boyfriend yelling at girlfriend's kid who he's babysitting." Too hilarious.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Papin sisters

So the dissertation is finally moving along. I went back and began at the beginning, which is always a good thing. I'm analyzing the actual testimony of Christine and Lea to see where there are gaps in their statements that may have drawn in other writers. Here's a bit of what I've found about the crime scene, just for a taste of what I'm dealing with. Get a load of this stuff:

Physical evidence:

Two photos extant of the crime scene. Show weapons still on the ground. Notes and a diagram identify the various hubris surrounding the bodies: keys, handbags, hairpins, an eye, a package of soap, broken plates, buttons, skin, a bracelet, a hat, dried flowers, part of a wig, a comb, a knife, a chain, socks and gloves.

Medical report of Dr. Chartier:

Madame : At the morgue, part of an ear (determined to be that of Madame Lancelin) and two eyeballs are resting “dans le tour de cou” – they had been found under the body when it was lifted and put there by the attendants moving the body. Madame is practically scalped. Much description of damage done to the face…no longer recognizable. Arms not injured. hands are still in gloves, are cut and bones are broken. Watch stopped at 7:22. Right hand is more injured than the left.

Mademoiselle : Watch stopped at 7:47. Face equally unrecognizable. Left eye found on staircase. Skin sliced in the form of a V on upper lip and right cheek. Skull fractured and brain matter coming out. Left hand, holding brown hair. Right hand, palm sliced open. Thigh sliced after death. Several cuts through the muscle. She had her period, wearing “une garniture tachée de sang.” Left leg cut through to the bone. Pants pulled down by the killers and shirt pulled up.

Christine's (pictured at right above) testimony:

They left the house before dark – I don’t know exactly what time it was. They didn’t give us any work to do and we had already been working very hard. The iron blew out; I had just picked it up from being fixed. When they got home, around 5h 30, I told Madame I was unable to iron because the iron was broken again. When I told her that, she acted as if she were about to attack me. Seeing that she was going to jump on me I lunged at her face and pulled out her eyes with my fingers. When I say it was Madame I attacked, I was wrong – it was Mademoiselle whom I attacked and pulled out her eyes. During this time Léa jumped on Madame and also pulled out her eyes. They fell down and I went to the kitchen to get a hammer and a kitchen knife.

I closed and locked the doors downstairs because I wanted the police to find the bodies, not out patron. We washed our hands, which were very bloody, in the kitchen, and took off our bloody clothes. We put on a nightgown and locked the door and got in the same bed, where you found us.

I do not regret what happened, in other words, I can’t tell you if I do or not. I would rather have the skin of my mistresses than for them to have mine and my sister’s. I didn’t plan the crime, and I didn’t hate her, but “je n’admets pas le geste qu’elle eut ce soir…à mon égard.”

Léa (pictured at left):

My employers left the house around 3:30, they left us alone with my sister. She ironed and I cleaned. Before leaving they did not scold us, there was no discussion at all. They came home around 6h or 6h 30.

Here Lea refuses to continue; the investigators read her sister's statement to her.

Everything that my sister told you is exact, the crimes happened exactly as she told you. My role in this affair is absolutely that which she indicated. … No more than my sister, I haven’t the least regret of the criminal act we committed. Like my sister, I would rather have the skin of my employers than that they have mine.

When asked “Before you hit your employers, were you and your sister hit by them?” she replies: "They didn’t hit us, they only made a gesture as if they were about to strike us. I repeat, I would rather have had their skin than that they have mine and, I repeat again, I have no regret.”

Some kind of case. It's a creepy world out there.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy Anniversary

Athens, December 2004