I've known a few of these...

Of the genius waitress, I now sing.

Of hidden knowledge, buried ambition, and secret
sonnets scribbled on cocktail napkins; of aching
arches, ranting cooks, condescending patrons, and eyes
diverted from ancient Greece to ancient grease; of
burns and pinches and savvy and spunk; of a uniquely
American woman living a uniquely American compromise,
I sing. I sing of the genius waitress.

Okay, okay, she's probably not really a genius. But
she is well-educated. She has a degree in Sanskrit,
ethnoastronomy, Icelandic musicology, or something
equally valued in contemporary marketplace. Even if
she could find work in her chosen field, it wouldn't
pay beans--so she slings them instead. (The genius
waitress is not to be confused with the
aspiring-actress waitress, so prevalent in Manhattan
and Los Angeles and so different from her sister in
temperament and I.Q.)

As a type, the genius waitress is sweet and sassy,
funny and smart; young, underestimated, fatalistic,
weary, cheery (not happy, cheerful: there's a
difference and she understands it), a tad bohemian,
often borderline alcoholic, frequently pretty (though
her hair reeks of kitchen and bar); as independent as
a cave bear (though ever hopeful of "true love") and,
above all, genuine.

Covertly sentimental, she fusses over toddlers and old
folks, yet only fear of unemployment prevents her from
handing an obnoxious customer his testicles with his

She doesn't mind a little good-natured flirting, and
if you flirt with verve and wit, she may flirt back.
Never, however, never try to impress her with your
resume. Her tolerance for pretentious Yuppies ends
with her shift, sometimes earlier. She reads men like
 a menu and always knows when she's being offered
 leftovers or an artificially inflated soufflé.

Should you ever be lucky enough to be taken home by
her to that studio apartment with the jerry-built
bookshelves and Frida Kahlo posters, you will discover
that whereas in the public dining room she is merely
as proficient as she needs to be, in the private
bedroom she is blue gourmet virtuoso. Five stars and
counting! Afterward, you can discuss chaos theory or
the triple aspects of the mother goddess in universal
art forms--while you massage her swollen feet.

Eventually, she leaves food service for graduate
school or marriage; but unless she wins a grant or a
fair divorce settlement, chances are she'll be back, a
few years down the line, reciting the daily specials
with her own special mixture of warmth and ennui.

Erudite emissary of eggs over easy, polymath purveyor
of polenta and prawns, articulate angel of apple pie,
the genius waitress is on duty right now in hundreds
of U.S. restaurants, smile at the ready, sauce on the
 side. So brush up on your Schopenhauer, place your
order--and tip, mister, tip. She deserves a break

Of her, I sing. 

-Tom Robbins
Playboy, 1991


A couple decades ago there was a teacher named Shree Bhagwan Rajneesh, or rather this is what he called himself--kind of like in Spanish how they say, "Me llamo Shree Bhagwan Rahneesh."  Anyway, this guy came up with with the name "Zorba the Buddha" to describe the ideal modern man.  I would like to find a Zorba the Buddha:

A contemplative man who maintains a strict devotional bond with cosmic energies, yet is completely at home in the physical realm.  This kind of man will inadvertently know the value of the dharma and the dollar, know how much to tip a waiter in a Paris discoteque and how many times to bow in a Kyoto shrine.  He can do business when business is necessary, yet allow his mind to enter an acorn or his feet to dance in wild abandon if moved by a tune.  He will refuse to turn his back on beauty, and finds in sensual pleasures not a contradiction but an affirmation of the spiritual self.

Give me my Zorba the Buddha...or my Zorba the Greek.


Things I've Thought About Over The Past Month

1)  Is it just me, or do high school girls get sluttier and sluttier each year?
      a)  Grunge was not sexy.

2)  That millisecond when you think your chair is going to fall from leaning back on it too far is really very scary.

3)   I hate leaving the house knowing that I look good and then not seeing anyone all day.  What a waste.

4)  When I meet a new guy, I'm scarred of mentioning something that he hasn't told me, but was found by light internet investigation.  (you do it too!)

5)  Isn't Planned Parenthood inappropriately named?  Shouldn't it be called Unplanned Parenthood?

6)  I can't remember the last time I wasn't a little bit tired.

7)  Mapquest doesn't really need to explain to me how to get out of my subdivision.  I got that down.

8)  I actually look forward to a red light when I need to finish a text.

9)  Sometimes I watch a movie that I really liked as a child, and realize I had no idea what the fuck was going on.

10)  Morbid, but true: obituaries would be more fun to read if it told how the individual died.


Love Vigilantes

This is pure beauty.

Old Timey

I was such a young fogy that growing up for me has involved becoming less mature.

I think this is funny.  Somewhere in my mid-twenties I outgrew existentialism and discovered fun.  I just hope this doesn't make me seem like a rube in D.C. because quite frankly the thing I'm most worried about about moving to D.C. is whether I'll fit in or not.

But then I have to remind myself that life is about an emotional connection to people and things and it doesn't matter where you are on the globe.

A pointless endeavor

I've come to appreciate, to depend on, two dumb little passions--my painting and this blog, which both don't have any point at all. And that for me, is the point. My life is, and will continually be, full of points--deadlines, bills, recycling, emails and phone calls. Every time I finish a painting and put my initials in the lower, right-hand corner or hit the publish button, I find a little bit of happiness.

on the pResiDENcy

I'm not going to give my opinion on Barack Obama, but I am going to share Sarah Vowell's opinion on the qualities a president should possess.   I totally agree with her.

"I wish that in order to secure his party's nomination, a presidential candidate would be required to point at the sky and name all the stars; have the periodic table of the elements memorized; rattle off the kings and queens of Spain; define the significance of the Gatling gun; joke around in Latin; interpret the symbolism in seventeenth-century Dutch painting; explain photosynthesis to a six-year-old; recite Emily Dickinson; bake a perfect popover; build a shortwave radio out of a coconut; and know all the words to Hoagy Carmichael's  'Two Sleepy People,' Johnny Cash's 'Five Feet High and Rising,' and 'You Got the Silver' by the Rolling Stones.  After all, the United States is the greatest country on the earth dealing with the most complicated problems of the world--poverty, pollution, justice, Jerusalem.  What we need is a president who is at least twelve kinds of nerd, a nerd messiah to come along every four years, acquire the Secret Service code name Poindexter, install a Revenge of the Nerds screen saver on the Oval Office Computer, and one by one decrypt our woes."

Wouldn't that be nice?

Corruption at the Plant

Ok, so maybe Thomas Paine wasn't talking about working at an assembly plant when he said, "These are the times that try men's souls.", but I've recently become aware of the truth of these words.  My soul was truly compromised.

A little piece of me died as I filed burrs, drilled holes, and visually inspected those Ford chassis in 30 degree weather.  My whole lifestyle changed--I became a true woman of the night.  I'm not saying that I was better than the plant (ok, maybe a little), but what really killed me was the amount of corruption and waste that was entailed in my job.  I felt like a real Soviet.

Here's the basis of the job: I was hired by a contract company for Magna (the biggest automotive supplier). This company was to represent Magna in quality control.  Apparently the frames that I was checking had metal burrs on the end of the bumper brackets that were cutting the union workers hands.  There were also holes that weren't drilled at the proper angle, so the intended bolts for these holes did not lay flesh with the chassis.  Fair enough.  Sike!

What I slowly realized was that the union worker who supposedly cut himself on one of these burrs was actually looking for some whiskey so he falsely claimed that he injured himself.  In fact, he never once had to touch the chassis because he has a machine to assist in the lifting and attachment of this part.  Basically, I was wasting my time for some good ole' corruption.  How this works is like this: he claims to have hurt himself and report the problem to quality at Ford, who then calls Magna to tell them this mistake is going to cost them, so Magna hires me to check the frames so they don't loose money in any more accidents.  However, the guy won't go to quality if he gets some whiskey.  Same tune, different verse for all the other issues.

My last week I was in charge of inspecting for extra slag on the welding because some woman snagged her $100 Detroit Tiger's jersey.  Dude...you fucking make cars!  Don't wear that kind of shit to a factory job, I'm sorry.  So yeah, I made good money, but it was all such a waste of resources, time, and money.  So much bureaucracy and abuse of power by the UAW it made me sick.

On top of all this, my boss's car got keyed by union workers for driving a foreign car.  My car was fortunately (or unfortunately) got bypassed.  It did get towed, which was a whole other debacle.  Then my boss stopped showing up, instead opting for the bar/strip club and coming back and ganging up on me with other "men".  I've never been so demeaned in my whole life.  Not cool.  I could go on and on.  I won't.

I just had to keep reminding myself that it was a means to an end and an opportunity to learn about a very Detroit culture.

I find it ironic that Paine's words come from a pamphlet entitled "The American Crisis" that was written while the Revolution was floundering, especially considering where we stand as a nation today.  His words inspired soldiers and civilians alike to buck up and endure war so that someday "not a place upon earth might be so happy as America."  And now we use consumerism as patriotism.  Buy American!  Built Ford Tough!


Motown Assembly Line

Holy shit,  my life got cuh-ray-zee overnight.


I'm adding on painter.

check, check, check.


On Love

The love I give is so much different than the love I get.


Pick me, please.

One of the most difficult contemporary issues we face is finding our place within a multi-cultural and heterogeneous world.  In an effort to locate ourselves within our adult lives it is imperative to confront the aspects of multiculturalism in our formative years.  Through my experiences growing up in a cultural diverse community, studying abroad in Spain and working as an educator in Ukraine, I have recognized multiculturalism as a hurdle, but a hurdle worth overcoming to improve the pedagogical process for all participants.
            Throughout my primary school education, I was introduced to a wide-range of cultures.  With a student body of nearly 1400, we had large populations of Filipino, Chaldean, Chinese, Indian, Sikh, Lebanese, Armenian, among others.  In addition to that, having grown up in Detroit I was not naïve to racial differences.  In was not until my first semester at university in Columbus, Ohio that I was made aware that my primary education had been a privilege not shared by many of my new peers.
            I quickly realized during my study abroad in Granada, Spain that my early exposure to a multicultural learning environment in primary school was not nearly enough to fully understand and appreciate its assets and difficulties—in fact, I found my experience to be merely superficial.  It was not until I identified myself as an outsider that I the difficulties my former peers faced were manifested:  fitting into the institution, differing cultural nuances, lack of close friendships, communication barriers, sense of isolation, etc.  It was also then, culling my prior experiences that I began to see that the things that separated my classmates from myself could actually be used as a bridge in cross-cultural understanding.   Though the seed had been planted in seeing the benefits of this type of exchange, it was not really until I was an educator in Ukraine that I saw the totality of the challenge and benefits of cross-cultural exchange.
            A specifically profound experience I had while in Ukraine that has influenced my career goals significantly was Survivor Camp. The project, which I helped organize and facilitate, focused on the environment and brought together divergent populations of Ukrainian students from the east and west of Ukraine, as well as a group of American Peace Corps volunteers.   Each group came in with their individual prejudices and expectations; however, with a unified goal all groups were able to come together collaboratively to realize this task, while simultaneously breaking down previously held prejudices.  Upon departure I saw all the campers exchanging email addresses and Facebook handles, and I had a revelation as to the greater importance of what had been done and why inter-cultural exchange is crucial to the understanding, and thus “survival” of everyone.   This moment crystallized the base of where I want to build my education and career.
Life is a sum of the experiences within.  Through my life I have learned that life is viewed through a variety of lenses.  Within the educational realm I think it is the responsibility of the educator to encourage the exchange of experience and nurture all life experience to unify a diverse student body.  It is up to them, as educators, to increase, utilize and diversify the students’ lenses they use to observe life.  I truly believe that the best way to achieve this is through multi-cultural experience.   By bringing together cultures, and further using diversity as an asset is a challenge that I am eager to embrace in an effort for all participants to be better prepared for the increasing global interconnectedness of modern society.  


----->brooklyn with Aunt Pam.

Twenty-four years of friendship is total insanity.


Gabriel Garcia Marquez

A reminder for myself on my birthday:
"It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams."
-Gabriel Garcia Marquez


Dance, Dance, Dance- Lykke LI

I always like to imagine what the soundtrack for my life would sound like. This would definitely be song 3 or 4, because we all know song 3 or 4 is always the best groove. There's something about the spirit of this song that I just can't get enough of. And really, dancing usually solves most things.


Problems I Solved by 28

I. Aging

My beach is the length of three sonnets
with a  breathing width of fifty feet at high tide.
I want to live here forever, twenty-two so I can crack a
          thousand hourglasses at their waists
pour the torsos' mintues and fat seconds along the shore.
With handfuls of time I build myself a brown castle and tower,
but the foamy tide soon swallows my manor like a sinkhole moat.

II.  Love

Well, if I can't live forever, who not live in love?
I am lonely, Van Gogh's ear; I eat a dozen roses and
          wait for love to come,
but I spend the next four hours alone, picking thorns
         from my tongue
and flicking them in the sand.

III.  Mortality

I was necrophobic
until I was sixteen, when my dad died and
         I saw Bergman's Seventh Seal,
so I poison all the undertakers in town and
         Molotov the flower shops,
even steal every crucifix I can find and stack
         them on the beach,
pour ether over the pile and listen to the wood
         scream its small scream,
a sound like distant Sirens burned at the stake.
Having defeated death, I deal with my other fear.

IV.  Fate

I fear I'm becoming my lunatic mother with twisted
         logic, who has warped rationale
for breakfast.  I buy an old Cold warhead
on Ebay, erase the moon like a misplaced period,
        turn the crater smile to vapor,
and hope it will amputate Mother from my fate,
        only my hands are still numb,
but sea still washes over the ruins of my castle.
I drop to my knees and throw up my arms
under the falling shards of the firework moon.
The silent stars remain silent, the answers are
         handcuffed behind their backs,
so I snatch a blade of green glass from the beach
         and cut a new future into my palms.


J'Ai Deux Amours- Madeleine Peyroux

Ok, so I don't speak French, but listening to this song makes me want to. No, actually it makes me want to be wandering the cobblestone streets of a little French town, stopping for a glass of wine, watching the sunset. Those are the moments I most value-- the simple ones.

Dear Eddie,
Please tell Guillaume to finance a trip to Paris for me.

Oh wanderlust, will you ever be satiated?

The Gray Scale

Apparently I'm turning gray.  Shit, that scares me; it reminds me of the steel-gray skies, the gray hands that dug up my potatoes, the bastard dogs that followed me to school through the gray snow, the gray eyes that stared me up and down for my lack of hat, the gray meat, my gray apartment building and the one next to that and the one next to that...in Ukraine.

Three people have called me gray since Saturday!  What the fuck.

I've bought some zinc, folic acid, and omega-3.  I really don't want to be gray (but if I were, I'd want to be the fourth from the right above).


wartime beliefs

I hear speeches in sermons and sermons in speeches
I'll give you the scriptures the way they give 'em to me.
I'll skip the boring genealogies and tell you
my favorite parts.

In the beginning God shot the sun from a cannon, your book got it all wrong.
He didn't say let there be light,
He said let there be flight, so we can drop bombs.
God stepped from the trances of heaven,
marched through the night sky,
cut spaces for the stars from his bayonet, blasted holes in the ozone with his howitzer
so we could go swimming in winter

"Let there be two great lights in the heavens--
one to rule the executive and legislative
and the other to rule the judicial, to outshine
any green third light that might arise from the earth
to tell the white lights to go.
Let fighter jets fly in the expanse of the sky,
let the water teem with torpedoes
and submarines, radar screens."

So God created man in his own ideology,
man and woman he created them,
and created guns as a natural extension of the body,
that is why we call them arms

He planted the tree of the rhetoric good and evil
with protruding roots like trip wires.
"Do not ask the three branches, I mean, the tree branches
any questions or ye will surely die."

Soon after, terrorism entered the world
through Cane: the original Osama (or Obama)
Later, God blessed Israel's murders as they fought
for grain to fuel their llamas.
Luckily, Jesus saved us through briefings
on the beach with his apostles:
"Don't hesitate to spread the Gospel, the good
corporate-controlled news,
all authority in hegemony, I mean, heaven and earth
is given to you,
make Americans of all nations, blood-bathing them
in the name of the father patriarchy, the son conformity,
and the holy demonization."
And God answered our prayers, gave guidance
through walkie talkies:
"...keep the control bright and the front lines
dark...I repeat, keep the front lines in the dark...kill
Romans...invoke omens...hire tokens..."
"Do not turn away from the country that wants
to borrow from you to rebuild their buildings
you bombed, that is why
it is called collateral damage"...thus saith the Lord.
Lord yes Lord!
"At all costs do not let Justice remove
that damn blindfold again,
last time we had to kill a King!"
Lord yes Lord!
"And keep them coming on Sundays.  I don't care
if you have to put the churches in malls like stores
where the can buy salvation!"  Sir yes Sir!
"And keep them coming on Sundays.
Celebrate Thanksgiving in August and Christmas in March
if you have to.  If we can't have slaves to masters,
I wanna see slaves to Mastercards!" Sir yes Sir!

Two final orders from the sermon on
the secret base inside the mount:
"Do unto others as you would never want them
to do unto you,
and love enemies for Christ's sake,
your economy would collapse without them."


Questions for Jean-Michel

Do you ever look up through the grate and see the sun?
Do you still paint crowned oil skulls and acrylic bones
-a new sewer Sistine- God's hand touching the black glove of Iron and Wine?

It's too bad he damns artists to the bowels of the cities.  Have you ever seen Van Gogh?
Do you still paint crowned oil skulls and acrylic bones
onto New York City's intestines, whistling Coltrane while we sleep?

It's too bad He damns artists to the bowels of the cities.  Have you ever seen Micheaux?
I heard you escaped on Halloween and stole the moon's teeth.

In New York City's intestines, whistling Coltrane while we sleep,
you sold the molars, Warhol and MIles use them as lanterns.
I hear you

escaped on Halloween and stole the moon's teeth,
but that he took your eyes, just to see Eden's winter and Saturn's weather.
Is it true

you sold the molars?
Warhol and Miles use them as lanterns.
I hear you

sold your soul to the moon and took back your eyes,
just to see Greenwich winter and and Manhattan weather.
Is it true

that when we die we can meet our heroes from our favorite books?
Some say the ghost of an overdosed artist lives under these Mondrian streets,

and he paints a sewer Sistine with God's hand touching the black glove of Iron and Wine.
Your neighbor, now a young mother, wonders
"Does he ever look up through the grate and see his son?"


The truth about cats and dogs (and babies): we don't care.

There are far too many blogs and status updates out in the internets about babies.  Most people don't give a shit about the developmental progress of your baby, but you.  Same goes for your cat, dog, or chinchilla.

Just saying.


Bitch, I wish you WOULD burn my motherfuckin' clothes--with your triflin' ass.

A few weeks ago I witnessed an R. Kelly protest.  It's not often that I see protests in Detroit, so this kind of threw me for a loop.  Like, for real, of all the problems you could be upset with in this city, you choose to protest R. fucking Kelly?  I guess they're speaking their minds about something, right?

I'm sure you all know the "Real Talk" video he masterminded.  Pure genius in my opinion.

So when I saw this sign in the women's room, I couldn't help but laugh.

Bear emotions

I was talking with my friend the other day about things that infuriate us.  I answered with responses like: ignorance, racism, hate, lack of respect, obesity...you get the picture.  And here's a picture that fills me with an infinite sadness and anger.

At a farm in Vietnam, bile is pumped from a sedated Asiatic black bear, violating national law. Thousands of wild bears have been captured to supply this traditional medicine.