you remember these, right?

[db]

I am quite busy.
I always do this, you know.
Procrastination.Lots of things to do.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome– Yay!
I have no choice, now.

Eric likes new cars.
This is a good thing for me.
It makes me sleepy.

I think we found one.
Cute, silver Honda Civic.
Reliable, yes?

This morning Club Pro
Got angry with me again.
Battery is low.

We are now at war.
I will outlast this car, though.
I am the strongest.

Monday came fast, huh?
Hardly had time to clean house.
Kitchen and bedroom.

Goodwill thinks we’re cool.
Our friends are very impressed.
Eric cleaned the fridge.

Does anyone like
Johnny Cash’s music? Or
Are you all just nice?

Now, for the game, yo.
You pick where you’re gonna go.
Follow a thought line:

If you’re thinking about music, click here.

If you’re thinking about your weekend, click here.

[db]

  • Grease
  • Sesame Street Sings
  • Donnie and Marie’s Greatest Hits
  • Chicago, the Musical
  • Walt Disney’s Greatest Hits
  • Shawn Cassidy (Did this have a title?)

I listened to them over and over and over, dancing and creating sketches in my bedroom. The Sesame Street album had a great bit by Grover where he’d have you lay on your back and close your eyes. He’d travel from your toes to your head. I think he fell into your bellybutton, and you’d have to pick him up and put him on your head. He’d end up whispering in your ear how great you were. It always made me giggle.

I think I kissed my Grover poster just as much as Shawn Cassidy.

Mom and Dad had to put away the Chicago album when I was running around the neighborhood singing songs. I guess a neighbor asked my mother if she knew I was telling people they were screwing the milkman.

I got in trouble for the Grease album because I was calling my Big Wheel a “pussy wagon.” Mom didn’t have the heart to confiscate the album entirely, so I just wasn’t allowed to listen to “Greased Lightning.”

To hear more childhood stories, go here.

To read about my mail, go here.

[db]

I simply cannot believe how fast this year has gone by. It’s already half-way through August! It’s almost time for the fall, the holidays, the new year.

With the amazing way that 2000 has sucked ASS, I’m very excited about 2001. Seriously.

I have a feeling that it’s just going to get harder, anyway. Moving is such a big hassle, and you end up exhausted and nervous and lonely and sad. And then people always say you get to LA and then just freak out for about, I don’t know, six months and question your reason for living and wonder who should be in your life and where you should live and if it’s too late to get into accounting.

To hear my fears, click here.

To hear a song instead, click here.

[db]

Your birthday becomes a national holiday. Your face is on every magazine. People stop you on the street, tell you how good you look and that you are their hero.

You never worry about money or love again.

You’re a superstar.

To start over, click here.

[db]

I get lots of mail here at Squishy. This weekend alone I had someone ask if Eric and I were related since we look alike and live in the South. I guess this person never noticed that both Eric and I are from Pittsburgh… and I’ve mentioned both of our families several times.

A woman sent me her face on a cat’s body on Friday. I don’t even have anything to say about that. Just wanted to throw that out there.

I get questions on the care and feeding of baby swallows, how to find a bar in Austin, where to rent videos, which movies are better than others, how to register web domains, how to eat with chopsticks, and how to know if you’re really in love. I’ve never considered myself an expert on any of those things.

I think I was good with the swallows advice, though.

To start over, click here.

My parents took me to the Barnes and Noble in New York City when I was three. Apparently I was so excited about the floor of just children’s books that I started crying.

They took me to the beach that trip as well. I thought I was looking at the world’s largest sandbox.

Sometimes I’d like to have children, just to hear how new everything is through their minds. To hear life simpled down to a three-year old’s logic. The people in the television are performing just for you. Music is made for you to sing. Grown-ups know all of the answers. Diapers are annoying. Naked is fun.

I got in trouble in the third grade when I auditioned for “Oliver” because I decided to do a dance to “When Doves Cry.” It was apparently too suggestive. I think I made Chad cry.

Whenever we drove somewhere as a family, my sister sat behind my mother, and I sat behind my father. This meant that I was much easier to reach when my mother would put her arm into the backseat to pinch our legs when we were acting up. But this also meant that my sister was in a much more direct line to face my father’s wrath if we were being too loud. Sometimes we’d divide the car in half, and she was always bragging about getting the glove compartment because it had the cassette tapes in it. I thought it was a better idea that I had the gas and the brake.

My parents would confuse us on car trips with the following artists:

  • Anne Murray
  • Mozart
  • Neil Diamond
  • The Beatles
  • The “Stars On” collection, which was not made by the original artists
  • Air Supply
  • Dionne Warwick
  • Carole King
  • Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
  • Three Dog Night
  • Taco’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz”

Seriously, is it any wonder?

To hear about the one family vacation, go here.

To hear about my breasts, go here.

[db]

I am really afraid that I’m going to put all of this energy into getting there and once I move in and get everything settled and see all of my friends and have this big burst of fun, it’s going to get really quiet and time for me to work on myself or my career, and I’m not going to know what to do. It’s going to be too calm and too “well, now what” and I’ll just end up doing something else entirely.

Or nothing at all.

People have a hard time staying in relationships after they move. The culture shock changes you. Your relationship changes. I worry that Eric and I won’t be strong enough.

He thinks we’re going to be okay. I am letting him be the rock, here. I’m believing in him because I’m scared.

He’s scared, too, I know he is. But he’s being very good at appearing sturdy and confident.

He’s good for that.

Yesterday he gave me a Valentines’ card. I love him for that.

I’m scared that putting my stuff in an apartment in Los Angeles will be the last straw and the earthquake will just rumble all of my stuff right away.

I’m worried that it’ll happen while I’m in the process of moving, and I’ll end up homeless and stranded in New Mexico.

I’m worried that I’ll forget something. I’m worried the new car will break down on my way there. I’m worried that the new car will be too expensive.

I’m worried I’m not going to have enough money to live there. I’m worried I’m going to spend too much.

It’s possible that I’m worried I’m going to have too much fun and never get around to actually working.

Shit. I just need to go so I can stop worrying. I can’t believe by Thanksgiving this should all be over.

To start over, click here.

[db]

I wonder if anyone went to the family vacation route.

This year at Mardi Gras, I really didn’t think I’d do the whole Mardi Gras thing. I was never one of those girls that like pulling up their shirts and sticking out their tongues — ending up on commercials during the Howard Stern show.

And when I first got there this year, I was sure I wasn’t going to do anything. We were walking down the street and I’d see them grab a girl and pick her up. Once she’d lift her shirt, there were at least thirteen pictures taken, videocameras raised, beads thrown, and then HANDS that would go out and grab her. I’d watch men run from one raised girl to another, screaming and yelling, grabbing each other, bragging about how many bare breasts they had seen. It was funny, but that was because I wasn’t getting mauled.

That’s not true. Some guy grabbed me. I told him that he still had to give beads even if they were covered if he was going to be so bold as to assume I wouldn’t mind him grabbing my breasts.

It was once we got upstairs, overlooking the crowd, that my thoughts on Mardi Gras changed. I started feeling like a part of the party. We were very safe where we were. Just a group of friends standing over the crowd.

Ray was talking to me about something when I just leaned over and lifted my shirt to the crowd below. I think Ray said something like, “So I told that jackass… oh, wait… uh… um… W-W-W DOT PAMIE–”

I had just done it the one time, but it was fun. That and the air was nice and cool. You’re too far away for anyone to really see anything, and people are throwing beads at you as hard as they can. You can haggle for larger beads or whatever. One guy dropped his pants for me. I figured that was worth a couple of beads. Unfortunately for him, when I threw the beads down to him, some other guy picked them up. Pantsless Guy waddled off after his reward.

It was the next night that we were used like a bank. My friend and I were put in charge of getting beads for the group. I told her to turn her head so we wouldn’t make the cameras. We called it the Snoopy Flash, as you look like Snoopy dancing while you lift your shirt.

Let me say right here: we were drinking. This made things seem more rational.

To hear the wrap-up, go here.

To hear about the never-ending beep, go here.

[db]

You get closer to the hole when you hear a noise. You look up and see a giant hawk. It grabs you by the head, and lifts you into the air.

You spend the rest of your life attached to a hawk. You are the nanny to the hawk’s babies.

You realize that perhaps you shouldn’t act like you don’t care when Pamie is upset about something.

To start over, click here.

[db]

Taylor.
Taylor!
The cat with the fur on his face.
Taylor.
Taylor!
He eats and sleeps all in my place!

He’s usually rude.
He loves him some food.
And if he had thumbs he’d be wicked with some mace.

Shit. Okay, look, I thought this would be fun and like, a good idea to test how multi-tasked I could be, and to see if I could have like, three plot lines running at the same time, but now I’m getting confused and I ran out of coffee and now I just want to spit out random facts and non-facts or give you song lyrics or something. I can’t remember when I’m talking about kids or families or breasts and the whole thing is giving me a headache in my eye when I was just starting out with this choose your own adventure thing because i miss those books and wondered if it would work for an entry.

But you know what? Those guys that wrote those books? They’re good. This is really hard. This is much harder than I thought it would be.

If you sympathize, click here.

If you really don’t care what I have to whine about, click here.

[db]

Eric has this watch that he uses when he goes running. It has a stopwatch feature on it. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a manual for it. Somehow he’s pressed a button that has started an alarm. Every thirty minutes this watch now beeps. Every thirty minutes.

It was every ten minutes. I’ve pushed enough buttons in the right patterns to have it now be at thirty. And I’m not a stupid person. I should be able to push, like, three buttons, and get the alarm turned off. But no matter what I do, it’s still beeping.

I hid it in a kitchen drawer, under some hairball medicine. It’s still beeping. I can hear it in the living room.

I moved it to the other side of the apartment, in the master bathroom drawer. I can still hear it in the living room, although I’m now the only person who notices it every half hour.

It’s driving me insane. It makes the same noise that my handspring makes when it’s signaling an alarm. So now, every half hour, I think it’s time for me to take my pill or go to a meeting. My ears are trained to listen for that beep and then I get up and do something.

I want that watch gone.

I wonder what will happen if it accidentally gets wet.

To start over, click here.

[db]

One family vacation.

That’s all we ever took. All four of us, one summer.

We were moving from Palm Springs, California to Ft. Worth, Texas, and we decided to make a vacation out of it. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

We drove down to Mexico, up the coast of California, over to Nevada, down to the Grand Canyon, over to Texas, up to Tulsa, and back down to Texas again.

I was pretty young when it happened, so there are only certain parts that I remember now. They stand out quite vividly, though, and I hope that I’ll always have those parts of my trip in my head.

  • I was writing a journal during the entire trip. It was my mother’s idea. I have no idea where that journal is anymore, which is a shame.
  • My father thought Mexico would be a great idea. We drove in, he went about two miles into the country, shouted, “Well, everything here is in Spanish! I don’t know Spanish!” and turned around. It took three hours to get out of Mexico. People stand outside customs and sell their pieces of art. By the time we made it through customs, the back seat was filled with ceramic piggy banks, rubber tree plants, vases, wallets, wicker baskets, and two grumpy little girls. We had to stop at a post office and have the souvenirs mailed to our destination.
  • My parents hated Santa Barbara.
  • I remember one night my sister and I couldn’t sleep, so we closed our eyes and listened to my parents talking about our trip in the next bed. It was interesting to hear them drop the “parent routine” and just speak to each other. They were laughing and joking about which place they wanted to go next, what they thought we would like, what they hoped we’d remember from the trip. For some reason they were watching a TV movie on Hercules. Dad made a joke about Hercules’s mother getting set on fire. My sister and I couldn’t stop laughing.
  • This was the summer that “The Natural” was on HBO every single evening. I’ve now seen “The Natural” over thirty-three times.
  • At Knotts Berry Farm, my father was pointing out a direction for us to go. He didn’t see me next to him and he accidentally hit me in the face with his cigarette. It scarred for a few years. You can’t see it anymore, but I used to have a red spot on my cheek from that.
  • We were so cold in San Francisco that it would reduce us to tears. The cable car broke down and we walked to Lombard Street. I sort of remember Fisherman’s Wharf. When I went back to San Francisco a couple of years ago, I couldn’t believe how much I still remembered from those two days we had spent there when I was little. There was a man that was crying in the back of one of the cable cars and he kept holding my sisters hand and crying. She didn’t want him to be sad, but the two of us didn’t like being that close to a stranger.
  • My sister one a stuffed animal for me at Circus Circus. She could have picked a larger bear, but she wanted each of us to have a toy.
  • I learned how to play the arcade game “Punch Out” when my parents were in a Reno casino for three hours.
  • I was in the front seat of a helicopter riding over the Grand Canyon.
  • We saw Michael Gross in a parade in San Francisco. There was also apparently a riot that broke out while we were there.
  • I would get very carsick on the mountains.
  • I know every single note of the “Amadeus” soundtrack.

To finish with a wistful schlocky family thing, go here.

To finish with biting sarcasm and a bleak world view, go here.

[db]

You get closer to the hole when you hear a noise. You look up and see a giant hawk. It grabs you by the head, and lifts you into the air.

You spend the rest of your life attached to a hawk. You are the nanny to the hawk’s babies.

You realize that perhaps you shouldn’t act like you don’t care when Pamie is upset about something.

To start over, click here.

[db]

Oh, well, thanks.

Thanks.

Yeah, I can see which one you clicked, you know. It’s not like in the books where I don’t know if you flipped to the back first to make sure your adventure went just like you wanted it to. It’s not like the books where you can see that you’re going to end up dead, so you pull back and switch to the other page.

This is different. You clicked here. You’re here now, and I know that you clicked that you didn’t care.

That is so sad.

Y’all, this is sad.

How did I end up doing this?

You walk along the path and you come to a hole in the ground.

To walk around the hole, click here.

To inspect the hole, click here.

[db]

I was interviewing the woman that is now my new boss about a week after that night. She was saying this was her first Mardi Gras in Austin and how crazy she thought it was.

“I mean, there were girls all naked on top of bars and stuff. We were right under the [bar Pamie was standing on] and these girls were just lifting their shirts and their boyfriends were grabbing the beads.

“Were they now?” my friend asked, beaming.

“Hi, that was me,” I said, extending my hand.

“Oh. Oh! Well. Nice breasts you’ve got there.”

“Thanks.”

We hired her.

To start over, go here.

[db]

I know, right?

This seemed like a good idea, and then it all got kind of weird and I was busy and I’d turn to take a phone call and then I’d come back and couldn’t remember which path I was writing about or where I was supposed to be pointing things. I don’t know. It’s a lot of shit, here.

Don’t ever try this on your own. It’s exhausting. For real.

Here. You’ve been with me so far. That’s very nice of you. Here’s your good ending, since that’s what you’ve been looking for all of this time, anyway.

To hear the good ending, click here.

[db]

I wish that we had taken more trips as a family. We never got around to doing that again. Whenever we moved after that, my father would usually move first, and then my mom, my sister and I would finish up school and pack and follow him out there once he found a place for us to live.

I bet my sister doesn’t remember much of that trip at all. She was only about five. I remember she played with her He-Man dolls more than she ever looked out the car window. I hardly even remember being in the car, now that I think about it. I remember that trip started my father’s fascination with Talk Radio. I remember thinking that he was pretty young to be interested in Talk Radio.

I wonder what my parents remember from that trip.

It’s a shame that we didn’t get a chance to do it again. Now we get to go out in smaller groups, as my parents and I went to see my cousin get married last month. My mother took me to Vegas for my twenty-first birthday. I’m returning the favor for her birthday this year. But I wish I had enough money and time to just take all of them out. To have the four of us go somewhere and relax and play games and just be together for a weekend or something. It seems like we’re always too busy these days for each other.

You can start over here.

[db]

How did we ever have enough time to take a whole summer off to go traveling around? I can’t imagine having that kind of time. There was no mail, no cats, no responsibilities. We just bounced around from hotel to hotel.

I don’t think I’d be strong enough to be in a car for that long.

Man, we sure put up with a lot before technology got here, huh?

And I’ll never be able to get that Anne Murray out of my head. Damn Snowbird.

To start over, go here.

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