I Am Not A Reliable Narrator

29 December 2006

i am a sucker

coming into work the week between christmas and new years is for suckers

therfore, i am a sucker.

a sucker without any annual leave until the new year

i hate everyone and i hope you all die

28 December 2006


i used to smoke a lot. not like a pack a day a lot. but quite a bit. i enjoyed cigarettes. i liked the feel of them in my hand. i liked the scrape of the smoke against my throat. i liked the way they steadied me when i was drinking, they gave balance to my free hand.

i used to tell stories for the gift of spanish cigarettes from my writing professor in detroit. he would come back from his trips to madrid with the white and blue boxes filled with stubby cigarettes made out of fragrant black tobacco. they were so rich that i would usually be unable to speak after two or three.

i always kept a pack of cigarettes in the back of my glove compartment, just in case. usually marlboro or winston reds. even though i eventually switched to lights, i always liked to have reds just in case. just in case the boy i liked turned out to have a girlfriend. just in case i couldn't figure out where a story was going. just in case i hadn't finished that last paper for my senior seminar (the novel and the city). just in case my computer disk had a virus and was printing out wing dings instead of the actual content of Exorcising Robert (my mom's favorite "i like that one about the girl turning into her boyfriend, it's much nicer than the one with the weird mother. it's funny!"). just in case any number of things might occur.

for awhile i knew a guy, his name was john he lived with my cute friend chris (chris had no girlfriend but thought of me as a little sister, i am told he was a lousy kisser. now he is married and living on the east coast. i think) but john did marketing for the company that distributed camels and winstons. this meant free cartons. free. cartons. beautiful blissful free cartons of cigarettes.

see i had rules for smoking. no smoking before noon unless you hadn't been to bed yet. or unless something really really stressful was going on (see the above 'just in case' examples) and no buying cartons. the purchase of a carton of cigarettes, except at a duty free shop on the us/canada border which is just good fiscal sense, is the first sign of proper solid addiction. never mind the chronic bronchitis or the yellow teeth. cartons were the signal of the spiral. but free cartons are different. they are a gift and it would be wrong to turn down a gift. rude even.

this morning i found myself desperate for a winston light. i don't know why exactly, work's been kind of stressful, and it sucked coming back yesterday, but not so bad that i need a cigarette. they don't even sell winstons over. usually, in a pinch, i make due with marlboro lights. but this morning i wanted a very specific cigarette. a winston light from a free carton hidden behind my rickety bookshelf full of novels and textbooks purchased for classes at wayne state university. to be smoked in the lawn chair set up at my computer desk in my tiny room underneath my loft on a very very hot day.

none of these are attainable any longer. maybe it's because i just got secondhand greetings from my other writing professor (word is he was drinking coffee (COFFEE!) at his christmas orphans party this year) and i was telling jeremy and our friend kime stories about my time in detroit on christmas day. i don't know, i just know that if winston lights were available i would have at least broken my no smoking before noon rule. melancholy is a perfectly good just in case.

27 December 2006


it's nice to know i'm not the only one who gets annoyed by christmas cards for this reason.

last year people seemed to get that a: i have my own first name and that b: i also have my own surname. but this year they seem to think that i've grown out of the need for both.

i know it's not the biggest deal in the world, but seriously, my name isn't mrs jeremy anything, it's carolyn something else, take two seconds at the very least to allow me a first name, and just for kicks, try respecting the choice i made to keep my surname. it's short! only four little letters, and it means cabbage in german so it's fun too! and it's disrespectful to call me by the wrong name, jerkwads!

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22 December 2006

4 day weekend here i come!

i'm not taking any extra days off until the new year, but thank goodness for boxing day! boxing day means i get one extra day to sleep in and lounge around the house and not do any damn thing.
maybe i'll go to the pub, if i feel like getting dressed in anything that isn't flannel pyjamas.

then i get to come back to work and deal with a huge stupid project, but i won't think about that right now. right now i will only think about sleeping in, mulled wine, and presents

19 December 2006

i know i just embedded another musical youtube . . .

but this is important. the following video is one that jeremy and i have been trying to find for AGES. it played right before the video jeremy made to propose to me at our friend Rusty Nails's FilmSide night at the InnJoy on Apri Fool's day 2003. it's not on the FilmSide compilation DVD he gave us awhile ago and we couldn't remember the name of the film or the guy who made it, until today an old friend emailed it to jeremy.

i think it is safe to say that this is the best bon jovi cover ever. EVER.

oliver is a hater

i was going to put up a picture of oliver lounging beneath the christmas tree but i haven't uploaded it yet. so picture it, london, 2006, an adorable kitten sleeping under a slightly jenky (janky, how do you spell that) christmas tree, he looks content and happy, he appears to love the christmas tree.

but the next day, our narrator and heroine returns home to find ornaments everywhere! the earmuff wearing styrofoam snowman, he's wedged under the sofa. the picture of some cadles stuck between a couple pieces of contac paper with a doily and som glitter, oh, it is forlornly laying on the floor. the beaded white ornament, is rocking back and forth, its wounds still fresh from the battering of our feline foe! worst of all, the poor foam gingerbread lady has found herself a few toes short, was it frostbite? no, it was oliver's attack on christmas!

what has caused this antipathy towards my khan's bargain bin tree? why does oliver hate it so, i've sprayed it with pine essecital oil to make it seem less plastic, does he resent the presence of this almost tree in his home? does he reject the consumerist and capitalist hijacking of this our lord and saviour's birthday? is he, like his adoptive father, a jew and therefore in oppostion to all christmas goodwill? or does he just want outside more? this great mystery may never be solved, but until boxing day he shall be known as oliver scrooge, hater of cristmas and its ornaments.

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18 December 2006

zombie need sleep

i'm tired. i stayed up too late playing a stupid computer game and then reading a dirty book. and when my alrm went off this morning it was in the middle of a dream about writing. someone i used to go to high school with told my mom i wasn't a writer anymore and my mom was really really mad at me for not telling her and i had to prove to her that i was still a writer by reading this really good story. and it was really good, i could tell, my dream me was surprised i'd written it. but my stupid rooster alarm went off before i could see my mom's reaction and then after i hit the snooze button i couldn't get back into the dream.

whenever the bad men are trying to shoot me in the grocery store parking lot i can always get back in the dream, but when i am about to unlock the secret to good fiction, no such luck. bastard dreams.

i found out today that one of my coworkers applied for my job and didn't get it. and i can see why she didn't get it but i feel bad and sort of awward about it at the moment. it'll pass.
i don't think she cares that much as she's trying to move into a totally different department anyhow. but it must have been frustrating for her, and i know it's not my fault exactly, but i feel kind of weird about it right this second, because i like her, and she's been a huge help to me here, and she mostly gets my name right.

but enough work talk. i'm tired and i want to have the end of my dream. and tonight i have stupid houseworkk crap to do. dishes, a little bit of laundry, ironing clothes, and i need to actually write, so that no one from high school tells my mom that i'm not a writer anymore.

17 December 2006

pictures from denmark and our reception room

this is what i look like when i get to heathrow at 4am and realise that none of the ticket stands open until 5:15am

this is what heathrow looks like at 4 in the morning. there are no people, it's like the apocalypse happened and now i'm hiding from the zombies. there'll be zombies after the apocalypse right?

this is jeremy on the beach near Louisiana museum just outside copenhagen, it wasn't even 4pm and it was already dark! the poor scandinavians.

this is me looking awfully squat on the same beach

this is our christmas tree from kahn's bargain bin in peckham (only 9.99! that's probably why the stand broke immediately and it is now being held up by a bunch of books in a sainsbury's shopping basket.)

16 December 2006

this is for you alannah

happy early christmas

15 December 2006


we saw spamalot on wednesday night as part of jeremy's work christmas party. we also had a nice dinner where we teased his boss about glowing in the dark after having lunch at the millenium hotel on the same day as Alexander Litvenenko right before the polonium issues were discovered (don't worry , jeremy's boss has been tested and he is not, i repeat, he is not radioactive)

anyhow, spamalot was really funny. although if you don't like the monty python oeuvre you would probably disgree with me (you would also be a humourless jerk, but that's your business). it was largely a sort of greatest hits of monty python moments (the finland song, nods to the dead parrot sketch, always look on the bright side of life performed by dancing knights with parasols rather than dying men on crosses) but they also added some new material. the lady of the lake had a large roll and herbert the sissy in the castle had a much expanded part. the witch bit was left out and that made me sad, but they did some nice things with the french soldiers and the taunting, including one particular raspberry method that i plan to use if ever i have the chance. and tim curry was a very funny, if surprisingly portly, king arthur.

luckily everyone enjoyed it as well, two years ago at the last party they had we went to see jerry springer the opera and jeremy and i were the only ones who liked it. even though none of his coworkers are particularly religious, the whole bit with jesus in a diaper did not go over well with them. we just laughed and laughed though. they have since decided that we are tasteless americans. fair enough.

it was a good antidote to my office christmas lunch earlier in the day. everyone smelled nice, the food and service were better and even though there were no christmas crackers at all (shame!) it was still a very good time.

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14 December 2006


if you could see the view from my desk right now, looking towards aldwych down fleet street do you want to know what you think? because i can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt what you would think, this afternoon i am eeirly like the amazing kreskin.

you would think, as i just did: wow, london sure is grey.

save for the fluorescent office lights peeping out from the office buildings, i cannot see anything that is not grey. unless you count the sort of greenish grey roof down the way. i don't count it though.


on a more personal note

i am feeling grumpy and beligerantly american this morning.

  • i know, i know, i chose to move to london and it was a big dream of mine for a long time, but i want american things today.
  • i want cheap restaurants with huge portions and doggy bags.
  • i want people to complain to the right people (meaning: not me! i can't make the bus driver go faster, i also can't help you get better service at the bank, i can only help you with your filing needs and maybe if i think you are neat i will write you a poem. maybe).
  • i want a bigger apartment. not a flat, an apartment.
  • i don't want to say zed, i want to say zee.
  • i want you to say merry christmas not happy christmas.
  • i want a chicago style hot dog.
  • i want a decent cup of coffee.
  • i want to buy shoes without being stressed out about the size conversion.
  • i want to be a size 12 again instead of a 14 or 16, i know the clothes are the same size but it makes me feel better about myself!
  • i want more shared cultural references, i don't know who half the people you talk about are!
  • i want everyone to quit asking me where michigan is. it's at the top, it looks like a hand, it's easy to remember.
  • i want you all to pronounce my lousy name correctly.
  • i want to be able to meet my 6 month old niece in person.
  • i want to stop feeling like a hick when i pronounce certain words (eg: wolf, museum, barry, carribean, even iraq i keep saying it with a long I which is not as bad as my mom always saying eye-talian, but still).
  • i want everyone to swear more.
  • i want a taco that doesn't cost £5.
  • i want a bottle of bell's oberon beer.
i just want more comfortable things. even though i am mostly looking forward to christmas i am not entirely (not that i've ever been particularly well known for my christmas spirit) because it's going to be sort of lonely without either of our families around (even if his family doesn't celebrate christmas, obviously. i still get to be a spy in the house of david at the chinese restaurants on christmas eve) and i know, i know i always bitch about them when they are around. i'm a bad person, okay?

i'm just feeling grumpy and selfish and out of sorts today. not exactly homesick more annoyed at the distance and the lack of affordable mexican food. that is probably the same as being homesick, but i don't like to admit to being homesick since i never used to feel that way, not at band camp or confirmation camp, or college or after. well maybe a lottle in vegas and the first year in chicago, but across the ocean is different, and there were burritos and tacos a plenty in vegas and chicago.

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listen, right now i'm just interested in this

"i never do anything for less than £15"

another article from the guardian related to the murders in Ipswich. this one an interview with another working girl about life working the streets

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13 December 2006

more about the murders in Ipswich

i'm going to link a second news source in one day.

this is an interesting opinion piece from the independent about how laws in the uk make it easier for the bad people to prey on women working in the sex industry. to me a lot of it seems pretty common sense. even though i don't think prostitution is the best of all career choices (i feel the same way about the dental hygiene industry so don't get on me for ragging on women who make unpopular choices, i judge the popular choices too!) i still wish it could be made safer so that the women who do choose it have some recourse against violent clients.

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christmas lunch

we had our christmas lunch today. 2 hours in a social setting with my coworkers, sitting next to blue eyeshadow the yappity cockney caricature

there isn't enough wine in the world


i could have linked salon but chose the guardian instead

five women have been killed in Ipswich this month, specifically five prostitutes have been killed, this makes it okay to make jokes about it. even though it's not and they aren't funny. two of the bodies were just found yesterday and the murders have happened very close together. i can't imagine how scary it must be for all the women who live there right now.

i chose to link to the guardian article because in all it's liberal glory it links to another article about the fact that these women did not deserve this. it is not okay to kill them because they provide sex for money. and that people who kill prostitutes don't kill them because they hate hookers, they do it because they hate women.

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12 December 2006

freak out!

we might be closing on the house next week! shit!


from salon.com (because i want to be more like alannah!)

i've been wondering about this myself

i had a big long entry about this but for some reason it didn't take. maybe blogger isn't ready for either option!

now i don't have time to rewrite it all, but suffice to say, i find this to be a really interesting question, and like the author of the article i also find it troubling that black women are always left out of the equation.

there was also some mention of my general dislike of team clinton and then concern that this is caused by some latent sexism inside me that i haven't addressed yet (the horror!) and then a what if about the results if they ran together on a combined ticket.

there were a few more witty asides in parentheses as well, i do like a good bracket.

so, yeha, what do you think about it? i want to know.

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11 December 2006

new year's dress

I was going to share the exciting news that i found a really great dres for new year's eve by going to the top shop website and posting a picture of it, but my dress is so exclusive (read: on sale or last season) that it is not on the website any longer. however, they did have a picture of a skirt in the same color with the same print.


the dress itself is knee length with a high waist and a scoop neck with straps about an inch wide. i have also purchased sparklygold tights and some gold beaded yarn to knit a necklace from (knitty's Knecklace pattern in case you were wondering) jeremy thinks i ought to wear a red or orange belt or hair accessory but i don't know if he's right about that, but then i'm kind of crap with mixing 'unlikely' colors so i may give it a go. and by unlikely i mean anything that is not really really obvious. i write stories, i don't paint pictures!

i am pleased with the dress though, it isn't at all what i was expecting to buy and is at the same time very similar to my usual style while being just different enough to make me feel fancy(the cut, sort of 1960's ish is a very common look for me but the color is not my norm at all) i thought i'd be buying something strapless but nothing available looked like it would support the curves i am currently blessed with. this was a good compromise.

i don't usually give much of a care about my new year's fashions but this year feels a bit different to me. i have a spectacularly crappy new year's to make up for after last year (spent watching taxi driver and running to the toilet often thanks to the salmonella). i don't need this to be the best night ever, but a really nice night that doesn't involve food poisoning, crippling anxiety and plenty of good music and dancing doesn't seem like it ought to be too much to ask for. and the first step to acheiving that is having a really nice dress.

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08 December 2006

jesus, mary and god

i have a blue notebook made out of an old hymnal with an imprint of jesus on the front, you know standing on a pedastel pointing to his shining heart. all beatific, as he usually is. this is the notebook i write in when i'm at work or on the bus. it's spiral bound and hard backed so it's good for bus writing. i use it to keep score when we play dominoes at the pub, and i take notes in meetings when i forget my work notebook. i don't show off the jesus in professional settings but i am otherwise prone to giving people a flash of the jees. he'll brighten your day.

i have a green hoodie that i bought in 2000 in las vegas. about 3.5 years ago i embroidered the virgin of guadalupe on the back of it using an iron on pattern from sublime stitching. she has a blue robe and a pink scarf, black hair and she is surrounded by an orange glow. she is slightly crooked, but i chalk this up to the fact that she's floating, seeing as she is a spectre of sorts and all. i don't know a whole lot about the virgin mary, other than the fact that she was jesus' mom. i didn't grow up catholic, we're lutheran, and she doesn't play such a big role in the lutheran world. i suppose praying to her amounts to a form of idol worship according to luther and his followers. but i like the image of mary, i like how many images of her there are. i used to collect all the different mary candles from the polish / mexican grocery store around the corner from my old apartment in chicago. my roommate, dana, never liked having them around. she thought they were creepy and weird. i liked them though, i liked the prayers in spanish on the backs and the images of all the saints as well as mary and jesus. i liked the smell of the wax. i liked that i could find something so pure for only 50 cents on any given day.

when i was a kid i thought god was the light coming through the clouds on a rainy day. i know, most kids thought that. i also thought of him as a bearded chin seen from underneath, because he'd be so huge and so shining that that was the only detail i could imagine being able to take in. i went to church school until i was 8, every day i memorized a new verse. then my parents were asked to leave the church because the admitted that the pastor was an alcoholic. even though my mom was a sunday school teacher and we were really active in all the school groups. andy played basketball, i was in the brownies. public school was a shock for both of us. we went to a new church every sunday though. sunday school too. i still believed very deeply. my belief in god, as defined by my church was the thing i was most sure of. i went to confirmation camp when i was 12 and they did the stages of the passion. following jesus from palm sunday to the ressurection. the role of jesus was played by a handsome counselor who wore a trench coat held together by safety pins when he wasn't playing jesus. i was moved to tears.

When i got home my tears felt almost imagined, the whole experience began to feel hollow in my memory. i had a hard time believing that that counselor who played jesus could separate from being the counselor in the trench coat. i began to notice the way certain people at our church talked to me and to my parents. the way they treated us differently because we lived on the other side of town. because my brother and i didn't go to the more affluent school (i hesitate to even say wealthy, because no one where i come from is terribly wealthy, which somehow makes money and geography all the more important) and i still prayed about it. i still believed in prayer, but the act of praying no longer calmed me. i no longer found respite.

at 15, after my brother had joined the army, after we had been treated to the gossip and sidelong glances caused by the premarital birth of his daughter and the rushed wedding a week before he left for basic, and after a few months of people thinking that i was my niece's mother because they had never taken the time to figure out who i was, i sat down on the stairs at home one sunday morning and refused to go back.

i haven't been to church at all since i was 19, i think, i would go on christmas and easter without fuss, out of respect for my mom, even when we hated each other during my bad years. but she stopped going after awhile too. she thinks i don't believe in god at all now. i've never said that. i've tried in a vague way to explain to her that i just don't believe in that god. the god of churches and muddy confirmation camps.

i started to doubt pretty seriously last november after the cat died. people kept telling me he was in cat heaven and all i could think was that there was no way i believed in sucha stupid thing as cat heaven. which led me to think, well if there's no cat heaven then why would there be a people heaven? the one makes just as little sense as the other. and if there's no heaven, then why would there be a god? and all this on the district line at 9 in the morning in the middle of one of the worst runs of luck i've ever had in my life (eviction, death of cat, major fuck ups at work followed by 'voluntary' loss of job, and then the salmonella that brought the arthritis) and maybe that makes me weak, maybe it makes me honest, i don't know. i still haven't totally given up on the idea of god. i can't let go of it. i still keep my highlighted version of the good news bible that i was given by pastor clark when i was 9. i still have a favorite apostle (thomas, the doubter. i am also partial to mary, sister of martha, who refused to clean and instead asked questions) but i have not been moved to tears in a long time.

i don't know why i hold onto the images of the faith that i've walked away from, or really never even had, so much of what i cling to belongs to the catholic world. maybe i miss believing.


06 December 2006

no fair

i am still sick.

i've gone home early the last two days, in fact yesterday i only came in for one, TUPE related, meeting and then went directly home to drink some Night Time cold and flu medicine smuggled from the walgreens on the corner of broadway and granville in chicago and then fell directly into a coma for the afternoon.

i'm feeling better today, but my head won't stop hurting and i'm still coughing. being sick is for suckers and clearly, that's what i am right now.

stupid sick.

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04 December 2006

return from scandinavian environs

copenhagen was really nice. there were a couple of burps in the trip but mostly it was a good time.

burp #1 - i am sick. the sickness took hold on friday morning while i sat at heathrow waiting for the ticket windows to open. because it turns out that when they tell you to arrive at the airport 3 hours ahead of your flight they don't mean it if your flkight leaves at 06:30 because nothing at the lousy airport opens until 05:15 anyhow. but yeah the sickness, i have caught cold, or rather it has caught me and is working it's way steadily into my chest where it will likely become bronchitis even though i haven't touched a cigarette since guy fawkes day. luckily there is this nose spray called zymelin that you can buy in your friendly danish apotek and it makes the snot magically disappear from your nose. i love it!

burp #2 - the rough guide to copenhagen is out of date and full of lies when it comes to restaurants

burp #3 - when we got home we found two big spots of oliver pee on our duvet, oliver might be adorable but he is full of spite!

burp #4 - many citizens of copenhagen don't seem to get that whole rule about letting people off the train before they get on, even if those people are tiny old women with canes, the danish youth don't care, they will knock those grannies down, all in the name of getting a seat! lame.

happier copenhagen moments:

  1. the louisiana museum of modern art is fucking awesome! it has a crazy circular layout with sulptures sort of hidden all over the grounds. it's built into a hill right on the coast and when the sky is clear (uncommon in december) you can see the enemy aka sweden. they have a great collection and are currently featuring these wonderful cubes created by keith tyson that everyone should see.
  2. boutique liza - a very nice bar we were told about by jeremy's ex girlfriend mollie's sort of long distance boyfriend, the half indian half danish rahul. his friend's brother is one of the owners. the have a reel to reel tape playe and ask their friends to fill a reel with their favorite songs and this provides the soundtrack for the bar. they have lots of nice cocktails (i had the weeping jesus! with absinthe!) and the atmosphere was really good, it was crowded but still pretty chill.
  3. yoghurt with granola, fresh fruit and maple syrup! genius combination!
  4. i found the modigliani jigsaw puzzle i've been wanting and unable to find since our trip to barcelona last year
  5. i ate some tasty venison with mushroom gravy and roasted jerusalem artichokes
  6. tasty almond based cakes and good coffee in norreport
  7. all the yarn in the world at affordable prices (compared to london) i got some great thick yarn to make my brother a hat for less than £7, unheard of!
  8. law and order:svu with danish subtitles! do you know what the danish word for oops is? it's ups! thanks you tv for teaching me a new language!
  9. there was more, christiana, lots of nice shops, danish furniture, they pushy cat at the b&b, standing on a grey beach watching abig black dog swim into the waves after a stick, the nice man who gave us directions, and more. it was really good to get away even if i had to get sick while i was there.

now, back to work and the world of TUPEs and files. oliver slept on my chest for much of the night and followed me around this morning. jeremy and i had a big fight about the cat pee last night but then we ate chinese food and watched lost and everything was okay. conlict resolution at its finest. i brought a giant toblerone in to work (not exactly a danish treat but a treat purchased in denmark nonetheless) and now i must return to approvin D3 files and leave this interweb world. remember me fondly. at least until tomorrow.

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