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The flesh that lived and loved will be eaten by plague, so let the memories be good for those who stay

12.28.2010

Welcome to my New Year's Resolutions 2011!

First we need to see how we did in 2010. The resolutions were threefold:

1) get a cat
2) get a tattoo
3) bleach my hair


I can proudly say, all 3 of these were accomplished. My cat is one of my greatest sources of comfort and companionship (and entertainment); I got--ahem--4 tattoos, and I bleached parts of my hair (the plan for 2011 is to truly go all platinum again).

Unfortunately 2010 was a shitstorm all its own, despite my hopes for it to top 2009. But 2011! Surely YOU are the promise of good things. And by good things, I quite literally mean no surgeries, no non-check-up medical appointments, no catheters, no IVs, no bedpans, no bed-rest, no hospitals.

I have lots of hopes for what I'll do in 2011, but only a few resolutions. The hopes are to find a new therapist: to help repair my relationship with myself (and others). To find a church to attend and serve (hopefully finding some kind of urban volunteer work there as well): to help repair my relationship with God. To start building my physical strength up again, and I should make it clear that I couldn't give a FUCK if I lose any weight. I won't be weighing myself at all. I just want to be active and in good health.

The resolutions are much less serious (even less serious than last year's!).

- Read the complete works of William Shakespeare. I may abandon this before February, but I'm gonna give it a try! I've been put off by literature, especially fiction, since my medical crap. I figure why not dive back in with the best?
- Listen to all of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Thanks to YouTube and my library, this shouldn't be too difficult (read: expensive). I might disagree with some of their choices (and rankings), but I hope to find a lot of new music to love and appreciate! Plus, with iTunes, I rarely listen to whole albums anymore, and an album that is awesome start to finish is always such a gratifying discovery.
- Maybe take a big step into 'adulthood' (whatever that is) that I don't want to discuss on the interwebs until it really happens...but it's a big deal in my little world. No, I will not be pregnant or married.

2011, please be amazing.

You were what I wanted, I gave what I gave: I'm not sorry I met you, I'm not sorry it's over, I'm not sorry there's nothing to save

12.21.2010



Song of the day: "Your Ex-Lover is Dead" by Stars.

I think I'm now an offical MSTIE.*

12.20.2010

Did I tell you I've now seen every episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000? Except for the 2 that aren't on Youtube or DVD? Yeah.

That's 10 seasons. 196 episodes. Which is roughly 326 hours of watching bad movies with Joel, Mike and the 'Bots.

This picture pretty much sums up my pride:



And this one sums up my feelings about it being over:



(Both taken from Ep. 609: Sky Divers)

*I'm actually a bit confused about this title, because the People of the Internetz seem to write 'MSTIE' but the note thanking said fans at the end of later episodes is spelled 'MISTIES.' I'm assuming both are acceptable.

Tip of the iceberg, people.

12.15.2010


Remember that one time I said I wrote a lot of Christmas cards this year? Well, I also made a hella lot of magnets.

a tiny miracle took place

12.14.2010

"... I remembered another woman at our church, very old, from the South, tiny and black, who dressed in these ersatz Coco Chanel outfits, polyester sweater sets, dacron pill-box hats...She was always cheerful until she turned 80 and started going blind. She had a great deal of religious faith and everyone assumed that she would adjust and find meaning in her loss, meaning and acceptance and then joy; and we all wanted this because, let's face it, it's so inspiring and such a relief when people bear up to the unbearable. When you can box things up nicely and see that a tiny miracle took place and that love once again turned out to be bigger than fear and death and blindness. But this woman would have none of it. She went into a deep depression, and eventually left the church. People kept taking communion to her, but she wouldn't be in our community anymore. It must have been too annoying for everyone to be secretly trying to manipulate her into being a better sport about being blind than she was capable of being. I always thought that was heroic of her, that it spoke of such integrity to refuse to pretend that you're doing well just to help other people deal with the reality of impossible loss." [Anne Lamott - Salon]

When my neurosurgeon called to give me my MRI results this month, I was prepared for bad news. Not prepared like I was last time: DOOM! ABANDON HOPE! BOOK OF REVELATION! But more like, gird your loins, love.

I
think most of us who had been there in the hospital last May...and then in June...were waiting for the confirmation of what we had been told repeatedly: that the second surgery did not go as planned, and an additional abdominal surgery would be required.

But when the call came and I was told that the meningocele hadn't grown, and that I didn't even need to do more scans, I couldn't really believe it. All the trepidation and dread and hard decisions, *POOF* gone. This gnawing, gaping hole inside me that I fed with tears and anguish and pity sealed up and disappeared as well. (Well, the one that existed concerning the future. The one concerning the past 16 months is still open and ready for business. But it's considerably less time-consuming.)

It's strange to have an 'impossible loss' that has that option. People, like the woman in the story above, are dealt impossible losses that can't ever go away. A chronic/terminal disease, the loss of a spouse or child, or any other horrific tragedy that strikes a life, and cannot be fixed with a surgery or procedure or treatment.

I wonder at why mine was healed, or fixed, or if nothing else, temporarily repaired.
Was it prayers? Very possibly. In fact, I believe undoubtedly, that was part of it. For which, to all of you who prayed, I am very humbled and grateful. Thank you for doing often what I could only do some of the time.

But as I look at myself and what it would have meant if it hadn't been healed, if the surgery hadn't worked, if the sac was still filling with fluid...I wonder if the prayers were answered because God knew I just couldn't handle it.


My impossible loss was becoming more and more impossible, not less so. For every bit of meaning or acceptance or piece of wisdom I gained, there was twice as much heartache and despair and anger and bitterness and hopelessness. For every night of fun laughter with friends and appearance of functionality, there were weeks of crying myself to sleep and self-created nightmares. I chose again and again to be defeated by my fears and pain, rather than rise above them to be an example of what a good Christian looks like when they face adversity: a joyful beacon of fortitude. Instead, I shat my pants (numerous times) and hid under the covers with my iPod playlist titled 'Sad Times' and Anne Sexton's Complete Poems, waiting for brave people to bring me food.

I got four, FOUR tattoos and cut off all my hair and became unhealthily obsessed with a cat and fired my therapist and went to Vegas and didn't memorize one effing Bible verse the whole time. (P.S., that's the proposal I'm using to sell my memoir to Zondervan.)

But when I got the good news, I decided right then and there to send a Christmas card to everyone I'd ever met, telling them how I love them so, so, so much, and I could never have made it without them. Which is God's honest truth. And so far, I've written 61 cards, and it feels glorious. I've been so loved and cared for this year and last, and I want to go all Ebenezer-Scrooge-on-Christmas-morning on people, bringing them turkeys and presents and toasting them because Everyone is Family and My Heart is Free Once More to Love and Cherish the World Freely in Freedom.

And thank you, God, because I was doing baaaaaad.

Celebratory Feast!

12.06.2010

In case you haven't read the post below this, or we aren't friends of FB, let me clue you in:

I AM FREE OF MY MEDICAL ODDITY*

So tonight I treated myself to the best dinner Metropolitan Market had to offer (after 8pm, at least).



Mac & Cheese, broccoli salad, Christmas cookie, and Prosecco.

Also, THIS:




*As far as we can tell/for the time-being.

Remember in A Muppet Christmas Carol when Gonzo is narrating and he says: "And Tiny Tim, who did NOT die..."

Well, if Gonzo were narrating my life, he would say: "And Maryann, whose meningocele did NOT grow back..."

It's true. My neurosurgeon saw my MRI, and the radiologist's report literally said my meningocele had disappeared! He's a bit more skeptical, saying that they found fluid in my pelvis, and he thinks that might in the meningocele, but either way, it's much smaller and not pressing on any organs, so we should be able to leave it alone unless I start feeling any symptoms to the contrary.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

When waiting for a call from a neurosurgeon



there is nothing else to do but wait. And as Tom Petty tells us, that's the hardest part. So we also post cat pictures! And Tom Petty videos!

Song of the day. (Yesterday, actually.)

12.03.2010



And when you walk inside I feel the door
I’ll never let it push your arms no more
And when your legs give out just lie right down
And I will kiss you till your breath is found

My love affair with Jenny Nyström

11.29.2010



Say what you like about lutefisk, the Swedes do Christmas RIGHT. I bought a tin of pepparkakor at IKEA on Saturday, mostly because the tin was so damn cute! It was covered in Jenny Nyström pictures, and let's just say I now want my whole apartment to say I-Pretend-I'm-Scandinavian-at-Christmas.


So grateful for snow!

11.22.2010

After a walk in my neighborhood, I am now cuddled up in slippers and bathrobe, sipping on chicken noodle soup before I start my roasted chicken sandwich (The Palatine Pleaser: arugula, basil mayo...) and then finish up with sparkling cider and ginger-lemon cookies.

Oz is curled up warm with me in our hobbit hole, and I remember how thankful I am for snow, for shelter, for good food, and rest. Somehow a world covered in soft white crystals is such an easier one to love and to live in.

Song of the day.

11.19.2010



Within the past few years I've realized that both Elton John and Billy Joel are not beloved by everyone as much as--well, in my opinion--they should be. I mean, how can you not love these men and their piano ballads? When I think of how integral their music has been in my life... Oh, my soul.

If I could have any food right now, it would be this.

11.16.2010



Honestly, when will we get a self-serve frozen yogurt shop? WHEN? This pic is my frozen yogurt from the Mirage in Vegas. We hiked back up the strip just to visit it a second time when my mom and I were there. (Her choice of toppings was, however, quite different than mine.)

oh, I'm done knockin' on your door

11.15.2010



Song of the day. A cover of Pete Molinari's "Love Lies Bleeding" by The Ettes.

You know how some people get really attached to their pets to the point you worry about them? Yeah.

11.12.2010



But I can still laugh at myself! And I haven't yet bought a baby-bjorn to carry him around in! (Though Christmas is right around the corner if you're looking for gift ideas for me.) No, but seriously, you guys. Shame be damned, caution to the wind: I am in love with my cat. Not in the way people fall in love, because our physical affection stops at cuddling and grooming, but rather in the 'special' way that animals and people fall in love. You know, where you're attached enough that other people doubt your ability to maintain a healthy social life, but not to the point where it's illegal (in most states)?

Like, for example, there are certain songs that make me think of him. Say, "The Air That I Breathe" by The Hollies. Or "How Can I Tell You" by Cat Stevens. Or, sometimes, I'll spend over an hour taking pictures of him or the two of us together.

Yes, he is only potty-trained in a very loose sense of the word(s). Yes, he knocks over cups of water onto books. Yes, he leaves bite and claw marks all over my hands, drops bits of food all around his dish, covers my clothing in hair, scratches my favorite furniture, and isn't nice to other animals he's met since moving in with me.

BUT YOU GUYS. He loves to eat cat-nip, and go on wild drug-fueled trips as a result. When we change the sheets on the bed, he loves to be under them on his back, attacking any movement above with all four paws. He loves to show his belly, all the time, any time. One time we were driving and I was crying, and he meowed so I let him out of his carrier, and rather than hide in the back seats he silently sat stretched on my lap as I pet (petted?) him for the whole half-hour ride home.

As I awkwardly and boringly confessed to my co-workers the other day, I'm shocked by how much I love him. Like, I knew I'd probably like him a lot. But now I totally get how people become crazy obsessed with their animals.

A scene from Peter's Friends (1992) hits a little close to home. Emma Thompson's character, Maggie, is about to leave her cat, Michael, with a sitter before she leaves for her vacation.

[To the sitter]: "I've never left him alone before. I've left pictures of myself everywhere."

[To the cat]: "Look, Michael. MAGGIE."

[Back to sitter]: "That's supposed to help. Please don't let him follow me into the hall 'cause he might try and...run after me." [realizes cat is gone] "Where is he?"

Sitter: "He ran into the bedroom."

Maggie: "He's putting on a brave face. You have my telephone number, just in case you need to get in touch. Please don't hesitate to call... Bye, Michael. Bye. Bye-bye, Michael. Bye, I'm going, bye. Don't let him follow me, alright? Bye."

6 months ago tomorrow.

Today's post brought to you by the letter S.

Yes, another video. Someday I promise to write again!

Guaranteed to turn your day better.

11.02.2010

This video:



HEROES IN A HALF SHELL!

Month of a Thousand Shows!

I haven't ever kept a steady diary or journal, except maybe when traveling or one time I had a prayer journal (filled mostly with anxious pleas that my desired prom date would say 'yes' or at least let me down easy). But this last month has been so full of events that I sort of wish I had a place to keep track of all I've been seeing, but I suppose that's something I can use the ol' blog for.

With December and its MRI approaching quickly, I'm glad I've redeemed my 'Lost Summer' with such a packed Fall.

- Burn the Floor (twice, with Jennifer then Leigh)
- In the Heights (with Kristen)
- The Doctor In Spite of Himself (slightly drunk)
- Jim Gaffigan (with my Mom & Sis and MB)
- Sweet Charity (with Karen & kids)
- The Sound of Music Sing-Along (with Janelle and Theresa)
- Mumford & Sons (with Janelle)
- Sufjan Stevens (with my sis and Matt)
- And tonight, Kate Nash (with Janelle again!)

Song of the day.



"It Doesn't Have to Be Beautiful" by Slow Club.

Song of the day.

11.01.2010



"Single Girls" by Laura Jansen.

Men Maryann Wants To Live Out Her Days With: Part 4 & 5 in a 98 Part Series

10.29.2010



In preparation for this segment of MMWTOHDW, I endured several hours of strenuous research watching every video clip I could find on youtube of The Friday Night Project, The Sunday Night Project, The Alan Carr Show, The Justin Lee Collins Show, and Justin Lee Collins: Good Times. You're welcome.

I had previously decided that the best way to honor these two delightful men was with two separate parts in my series. But the more I watched them on their own in their more recent endeavours, I wanted to see them together again. So I'm dedicating one monster post to them both. You probably won't read it. God knows if I didn't love them as I do, I probably wouldn't. It's likely you haven't even read this far. But by God, I need to speak my heart about these men, and I'll take all the space and time and text and pictures I need to. And good grief, are there a lot of pictures. Like, you'll be worried I have too much time on my hands. If either of them stumble across this, I hope they're flattered, not concerned I'm stalking them (though that might be on the itinerary when I finally go to the UK someday...)

I first came across these two when searching the internets for David Tennant videos. When I saw that not only had David been on the show, but so had Billie Piper, Catherine Tate, etc. I decided it must be a pretty cool show. I started watching and couldn't get enough, especially of the hosts. They (and the show) were unlike anything else I'd seen on TV. What makes them Men I Want To Live Out My Days With? I'll try to explain.

If I had to sum it up to one characteristic each, it would be Alan's giggles and Justin's public displays of affection. Let me expand on that.

Alan is one of the campest men I've ever seen on television. It's who he is, and it's also part of his comedy. He is constantly pulling 'bitch, please' faces and feigning snarky attitudes about anyone and everyone. He's also somehow inherently innocent and, for lack of a better word, precious. Even though he is quick to make sexual innuendos, he always manages to respond to other people's sexual jokes with shock or fake disdain, as if appalled people can be so dirty-minded and yet instead of making people feel ashamed, it lets them feel mischievous. It's literally amazing. When caught off guard by other people flirting with him, he is overtaken by giggles, adding to his totally charming way of being able to make the dirtiest of jokes, but when it comes to actually 'putting out' he is like a fish out of water (in the most adorable, lovable way--AND on television. I'm sure in his private life he isn't half as awkward). As you can see in the collage to the left, many celebrities love to make him giggle (click to enlarge).

Justin, on the other hand, is the most physically affectionate person I have ever seen on television (click on collage to the right). But I stress the word 'affectionate'--because if he was any less lovey-dovey about it, he would have been locked up for sexual harassment years ago. Honestly. The man touches, hugs, and kisses anyone who'll let him. And instead of seeming creepy and invasive, it appears to come from a sincere desire to make others feel desirable and cared for. Honestly, he is like a big cuddly bear who just wants to hold you and caress you and sure, make out with you if you're up for it. To top it off his it-would-be-sexual-harassment-if-it-weren't-so-damned-endearing manner, he calls everyone--EVERYONE--his 'angel'/'love'/'darling.' I was stunned by my first episode of Friday Night Project (with Elijah Wood) where I couldn't understand how these two men could sit so close to each other and act like a couple, when they were just friends and co-hosts.

It's no wonder celebrities (well, most) feel at ease with these two. The hosts offer them the opportunity to misbehave in a bubble of sweet affection. And isn't that the dream? To let loose inhibitions and fears of judgment with people who think you're tremendous and aren't afraid to tell you and show it? (Maybe that's just me.) Both Alan and Justin are also quick to be self-deprecating, which is the icing on the cake. They constantly make jokes at their own expense, and constantly jump into ridiculous (and unflattering) costumes and situations.

I have taken many more screen shots of Alan than I have of Justin, and there's a reason. Half (if not more) of his comedy is in his face. His expressions put me in stitches. Whether reacting or creating an impression, this man (whose response to someone joking he'd been shot 9 times was "all in the face") can do some amazing things with what he considers his ugly mug (be sure to check him out 'ghosting' with David Hasselhoff):



At the end of the day, I love them both and will always want to see what they do in the future, but there will never be another show like The Friday/Sunday Night Project and the immense chemistry and sharp wit they brought to it. If pressed, I would say that I find Alan funnier. But I think he's able to be so funny because of the effusive support and playful inter-change he has with Justin. It's no wonder so many celebrities were willing to make such fools of themselves on the show: they had a blast. My personal favorite segments were the Friday/Sunday Night News with Alan, the field trip they went on to 'bond' with the host for the week, the word-association shock treatment during 'Who Knows the Most About the Guest Host' and finally, when Alan started going into the audience for 'Ask Me Anything.'



Alan Carr and Justin Lee Collins, you should let me love you.

[BONUS: Some of my favorite Alan jokes from SNP.

Alan: "I don't need a ring on my finger to say I'm not having sex. People just know."

Alan: "She says I can't have a ring. I'd look like gollum."

Alan, dancing: "This is my swan bit. Yeah, I'm taking flight."

Alan, on sex positions: "I only know 2 and 1 of 'ems with me-self."

Justin: "Tell Cilla how good I am with my hands." Alan: "He plays me like a violin."

Therapist to Alan: "Do you think David could have caught the whirlwind that is you?"

Mariah Carey: "In my house I have a room dedicated to something, but what is it?"
Alan: "Those who fell during the Korean War."]

Here's a taste...

10.22.2010

I've been screen-capping the hell out of every episode of The Friday/Sunday Night Project, and let's just say I went a little crazy. I will soon post segments of my popular series, Men Maryann Wants To Live Out Her Days With (MMWTLOHDW), devotedly entirely to Justin Lee Collins and Alan Carr. To tide us over 'til then, here's a collage of Alan and Justin's "Can you imagine..." faces that they make before segueing to a dream sequence. You're welcome.

Ryan Gosling + Kids + Halloween Costumes

10.21.2010



Being out of touch like I am, I had no clue Ryan Gosling had a band. It's no "Cry for You" but I like it. Another Halloween appropriate song they do is "My Body's A Zombie For You."

Couple things about this photo.

10.19.2010



a) I want Jennifer Nettles and Captain Awesome to be a real-life couple.
b) the video of them is cute (even if super immoral and illegal).
c) I think Jennifer looks a lot like my friend Bridget.


I've been meaning to show 'Freaks and Geeks' to my parents for awhile now. Here's one reason.

10.18.2010




Can you spot it?

Your morning satire.



Maybe this has made your internet rounds before, but I only just saw it for the first time. Good ol' BBC.

I walk into my bedroom, turn on a light.

10.12.2010

This is the first thing I see:


I angrily turn to the corner of the bed Oz has been favoring lately, and see this:


Naturally, I had to administer a stern cuddle followed by 10 belly kisses. That'll teach him!

Morning, Job Seekers. Hello, Dave? Scood beef!

Although often disgusting, vulgar, creepy, disturbing and revolting, the characters created by the four members of The League of Gentlemen are some of the most memorable I've ever seen.

Seriously, they're gross. But you might just learn to love them, despite it all (or severely judge those who do). Some of my favorites:









The League is made up of British writer-performers Mark Gatiss (now a Doctor Who producer/writer!), Reece Shearsmith, Steve Pemberton (from Blackpool!), and writer Jeremy Dyson. Thanks to Dom for introducing me! (I blame you for the nightmares.)

Bookshelf stairs.

10.04.2010

Happy 75th, Jules.

Mystery solved: Scabiosa Pods

9.28.2010




The bride herself came to my rescue! They're Scabiosa pods, & I adore them!

(x)

And there goes today's chance for feeling like a contributor to society.

9.27.2010



Irish dance duo Up & Over It do a hand dance.

I've been waiting for this day.

9.25.2010




I've always loved cats who sleep in sinks. Thank God I take my computer with me to the toilet so I could snap these pictures, yeah?

Calling all people who make it their business to know flora and fauna.

9.21.2010


Someday I'll get around to learning it myself...but until that day, can you tell me what this flower is? It was in a bouquet table setting at a wedding I went to. A wedding where I knew the person who did the flowers, so maybe I should ask him. But before I do that, can you tell me its name?

A library desk made of books!

9.17.2010


You dress up as Oscar Wilde and I'll sing Noel Coward songs.

9.10.2010

What I'll be eating this weekend: S'mores

What I'll be wearing this weekend: thermal underwear and Birkenstocks

What I'll be reading this weekend:


What I'll be drinking this weekend: Summer Brew

Where I'll be sleeping this weekend: my new sleeping bag

What I'll be listening to this weekend: John Denver, James Taylor, and Sandra McCracken

Who I'll be missing this weekend:

Apparently Jimmy Fallon knows more about my fantasies than I do.

8.30.2010



Because it took watching this introduction to the Emmy's to realize that the greatest fantasy of all is Jon Hamm and Joel McHale singing Bruce Springsteen to me.

It feels like 10,000 nights of thunder when I spend one with you

8.27.2010

I'm currently listening to a lot of Alphabeat. They're Danish and have both female and male* lead vocalists, which is the best.



*His name is Anders and I lurve him. (And thanks to Dom for introducing them to me!)

Ok, ok. I'm warming up to Mike.



Photos from Mike's acting scrapbook, Ep. 519: Outlaw.

Thank you, Twitter, for making me laugh at love...again.

8.25.2010

Remember this? Remember when Kenny Loggins started following me on Twitter? That was a good day.

Well I had a little gift waiting for me in my e-mail this morning.



And he's only following 36 more people than I--a lowly nobody who mostly follows former So You Think You Can Dance contestants. Kenny Loggins is following 759 people. Also, I'm pretty sure his twitter is just for promotion and run by staff. Trace's is the real deal. He tweets about things like mowing the lawn and how cool his dad is and how one time when he went on a date with his wife the soundtrack was from the FRANK CONNIFF PLAYLIST. I've just realized all of this may mean nilch to you, so I should give you some background just in case.

Who, you ask, is Trace Beaulieu?


(click to enlarge)

The original puppeteer and voice of Crow T. Robot. The original Mad, Dr. Clayton Forrester. Writer, set designer, host segment director, and all-around pillar of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Also, science teacher Mr. Lacovara in Freaks and Geeks. And he has fantastic legs, if we're being honest. (See episode 314: Mighty Jack.)

I'm tempted to post 25 videos of my (so-far) favorite Crow/Forrester moments, but let's be honest. My lack of wanting to share personal musings on my blog as of late has left it already chock-ful of videos to load whenever you visit this page. Which I doubt anyone does anymore. Because all I can write about is television shows. Becuase everything else is so gawddamn depressing.

TRACE BEAULIEU IS FOLLOWING ME ON TWITTER.

The face I get to come home to

8.18.2010



Is a pretty great one. Photos by my dad.