Birth control. You won't find any form that is more pure and more effective as babysitting four nephews. Overnight. It is also a great fitness motivator ("Are you pregnant?" "Hey, you're fat.") or else, a good reason to take up an eating disorder.

I threatened one of my nephews three times with locking him in his room if he didn't obey me. It was pretty dang effective. He wasn't motivated by cookies (psh, and he calls himself a Gosney), going to bed when it was still light outside, or the thought of his mom finding out the next day of his impotence — OK, actually, that was effective too. But the being-dragged-upstairs-by-his-ears-and-locked-inside-with-no-bathroom-privelages was the best though. I'll have to remember that with my own kids.

I guess it doesn't help that I smile and laugh when they start mouthing off or being sneaky. It helps the whining part though, because they can't whine while laughing at me in return for laughing at them. (Did you follow that?) I have a problem, laughing at kids. Like when babies are screaming bloody-murder? I laugh. It's a defense mechanism. If I don't laugh, I'll start crying from the stress. Fellow mothers are going to think I'm psycho when I bust up laughing at my wailing child. But maybe, if I act unstable enough, they'll put me in a mental hospital for observation, thus giving me a break from my children. Believe me, I'll take whatever break I can get. Especially if it involves padded rooms and white jumpsuits. Whaaaat.

I love my nephews, they are super sweet. And not just because of the 16 cookies and Go-Gurts I fed them before drugging them with NyQuil and putting them in bed (I kid, I kid). They give the best hugs, come up with the best stories, and I will never be expected to talk with them about adolescent girl problems — ah jeez, at least I hope not.

Oh, and my nieces are pretty fly too.


It's disconcerting, at times, to see how perfect peoples' lives are on the Web. No one's life is that good. Except maybe mine. Mine is good.

I'm contradicting myself, aren't I? I mean, did you read my post from yesterday? It sounded pretty, uh, awful. But sadness is fodder for writing. Fodder. Funny word. For less of a cattle-driven feel, let me say sadness is fuel for writing. Every strong emotion is. But happiness doesn't produce, for me, writing of substance. I cannot evoke — or is it release? — positive emotion like I can negative. Perhaps this says something about me. Perhaps not. It's just how it is.

So the point is, I know I sound manic in my posts — ridiculously depressed or ridiculously funny (I'm ridiculously funny at times, admit it) — but the truth is, things are about midway between those two points. Average.

Imagine that, my life is average. And it's good.

(This post is for all those who are concerned about my mental state. Mostly my mom.)


There is a numbness that comes upon me. It creeps and slithers unnoticed until I am overtaken by it. I let my head succumb to the static. I find no use for words. My eyes fade in and out of focus. I am awake to the world, but in every other way unconscious.

No, not unconscious — for I am very conscious of what is happening — Rather, I am unwilling to truly awake. I lose, for a time, my desire to live — not that I want to die, I simply see no purpose in going forward. Sometimes living feels like flying, skating, repelling down a long rope; It is smooth and seemingly effortless. But the numbness comes when living has become a trudge. A tar pit. Quicksand, but not quick. A slow, hopeless sinking. Nothing so spectacular as being lashed and suffocated by a tornado. Nothing so dramatic as a whirlpool's merciless pull into drowning. No, the numbness comes silently, wrapping its soothing arms around my eyes, my neck, my arms, lulling me into nothingness. Nothingness that is so pleasant, a respite from the endless struggle.

I have many fears. Numbness is not one. I welcome its ability to calm my over-analyzing mind, to quiet my temper, my voice, my sadness. It seems to feel nothing is better than feeling the bad.

I'm never left alone in the numbness long. People, responsibility, guilt — something chases it away. But not all of it, not all at once. Some of it lingers, easing me back into reality. Into life.

I fear drowning. Suffocating. That's why I use them often in my writing: to portray the ultimate hopelessness, panic, solitude. I do not want to be left alone with my fears, so I must share them, even a part of them, with readers. Even imaginary readers. To write is to release. It is to give up fears, if only for a moment, so others can experience them. So I can breathe. So I can take courage once more and trudge on.

Feeling the bad. It's been happening more lately. But there is a sweetness to grasp on to: The chorus to the song, the marshmallows amidst the milk and grain, the Saturdays and summer mornings and soft blankets. And the arms, the embrace, not of numbness, but of hope. That the trudging will be worth it. It has to be.

It has to be.



Dreams — 4.10 - 4.13

#1 -  We were shopping for easter candy and clothes — me, Mom, Dad, Thomas and Catherine. The stores reminded me of the NBC store in New York City. I don't remember actually seeing any clothes or candy, but a boy from my past appeared. He grabbed me around the waist and began waltzing around the store. It felt so effortless and fun. I then stopped and said, "You're 6'1" aren't you?" He was so shocked that I could guess his height that we had to discuss it more. So naturally we were transported to a picturesque meadow/woods/stream scene with a wooden bridge. As we walked toward the bridge I told him it wasn't hard to guess his height because my head came above his shoulder — duh, everyone knows that trick, right? As we crossed the bridge, he started talking about a girl we both knew, how much he liked her, and I listened without even the slightest jealousy. In fact, I was happy for him. For them.

#2 - Racing day. I was a top competitor in this cross-country drag car race. I drove for what I assumed were hours, and then hit some ice. More like the Bonneville Salt Flats, but in ice form. I wasn't nervous as much as I was mad that the ice was delaying me. Luckily it all melted away into a Southern swamp scene where I pulled up to a riverboat house (apparently my car was also a boat) belonging to a prominent fisherman. I assumed he was prominent because he wore a very stylish ear-flap hat that was a puke green color. Plus, he ran the ferry. Which, unfortunately, wasn't running that day until the waters calmed. "The waters ARE calm," I told him, pointing out the window toward 10-foot waves and torrential rain. He just looked at me with pitying eyebrows. "Poor city girl."

Mom, Thomas, Catherine and Jessica arrived to lend some support since I was having a panic attack about being in last place in this racing competition. As soon as they arrived, I looked out the window and the waters were calm. Placid, even. We made it across the river on the log ferry and I kept asking questions. "Where's Sara? The other front-runner? She's held-up somewhere, too, right? Is she sleeping, or just driving? When can I start again?" Turned out I had to wait until the next day to start the final leg of the race. By then I figured it was a lost cause, so I talked with Mom and Thomas, played a game with Catherine, and waited and waited for Jessica to be ready. Obviously I didn't start on time. I contented myself with finishing in fourth place. I figured I couldn't win, and if this were to be made into a movie, that's how it should end: Not first place, but glory and honor in finishing — in being the hero of the people.

P.S. The other front-runner, "Sara," had dark brown hair that was long and straight. Her nose was very thing and long and she wore a blue coat.

#1 - I arrived at night to what seemed like a mild-version of Woodstock, version 2012. There was one huge stage with lots of colored lights and black curtains. I looked up and saw an old friend announcing his engagement. He was no longer to be known by his birth name, but by Niall. I laughed. He didn't look like a Niall. He must of heard me, because he then started talking in a British accent and I thought, "Ah, yes, now he looks more like a Niall."

The main event was a Rock Band competition. Like the Wii game. I was immediately called up by Niall to participate. I was hesitant, but because I'm pretty decent at Guitar Hero, I figured this wouldn't be too hard. I was partially hidden by one of the black curtains, but I could see the screen with the notes and I could see the crowd. I began to play, but no matter how hard I tried, none of my strumming and button pushing matched. The guitar was out of sync and I couldn't fix it. I was so frustrated that I looked like a fool, and that I didn't have to — I really was good at this game, but no one knew it! I finally threw off the guitar and left. No one noticed.

#1 - I'm at a tattoo parlor that resembles a wood shop. I'm sitting at a large wooden table, scanning the possible designs and colors I can have put on my body. I decide on a cartoon-like face of a boy. It's no one I recognize, but it's the best design I can find. I tell the tattoo artist, who is a slight man of 50 with a weather-worn face and gray beard, that I want it to be temporary, I want it in white ink, and it's going on the back of my left arm. He begins to explain how temporary tattoos work by pulling out a partially rusted Exacto knife and pricking the skin on his own arm. "That doesn't look very temporary," I tell him. He then pulls out a design of a Polaroid camera to distract me — it works. "Ooooh, I want that instead." He then gets very serious, turns to face me straight on and says, "Now, I'm not active in the LDS religion, but I need you to know this is against the Word of Wisdom." Without saying a word, I get up and leave. To get a cup of coffee.

#1 - The concert is about to begin and I'm one of a four-part music group that resembles the Dixie Chicks. I'm extremely excited as I go out on stage and see thousands of screaming fans. The noise is deafening, but I'm lip-syncing anyway, so all is well. After the very brief concert, I'm asked to sign autographs by people of all ages as I make my way back to the dressing rooms. Each time I sign, it's different. One time in all lower-case cursive. Another time in a very elementary school-style, perfectly crossed T's and dotted I's. And another in my quick, credit-card-receipt-needs-signing-and-the-clerk-is-impatient signature. I'm satisfied with each, just by the mere fact that someone wants my autograph. That has been a secret wish of mine since I was 12 years old, watching the US Softball team compete in the Olympics and deciding I'd be doing that someday.

Devon was back near the dressing rooms waiting for me. "Hey, can I get a couple — like 12 — of those signatures along with your bandmates' autographs? I want to sell them on eBay." I didn't have a problem with that, so I started leading him further backstage. I passed one girl and thought it might be one of the group members, but I wasn't quite sure, so I decided to come back later. By the time that happened, she'd been murdered. "Crap. Now what are we gonna do?" But before the police could even clean up the body, we'd recruited a very awkward girl I know, who suddenly wasn't awkward, to be the fourth member. It seemed to work out just fine.

#2 - Stevie and me are at a Justin Bieber concert, in section A13. It's pretty empty, but she insists this is the best spot to be, way up in the bleachers, away from most of the crazies. I'm filming the concert and the fans with a mid-sized camcorder, when suddenly Justin appears in the tunnel leading to section A13 (picture the Marriott Center, or any basketball arena, for that matter.) Surprisingly, there's little screaming, and I'm able to follow him up the nearly empty benches to where a 15-year-old girl is dressed up like Cinderella — dressed up like she sewed the dress herself. There's also a little girl, about 5 years old, who's found a blue plastic bag on her seat. Justin picks it up and the girl dressed like Cinderella puts out her arms to receive it. "NO!" Justin yells, yanking it out of her reach. He then hands it to the 5-year-old who opens it to reveal a huge strand of Christmas lights, each bulb covered with a plastic mold of Justin Bieber. The dress turns into a gaudy blue, plastic dress, which I take and put on Stevie. Then the little girl reads the note. "To Elizabeth. From Deon and Kelsey. Don't forget to take a picture of Justin wearing these." I nonchalantly take the bag from the girl and simply say, "Oh, hey, that's mine." Justin gets really upset and stomps away, apparently thinking the bag HAD to be for him. I mean, it was HIS concert. As he walks away I pull one of the plastic molds off the bulb and hold it out in front of me. "Well, you can have this!" He didn't hear me.

I'm scared that Deon and Kelsey are going to be mad I didn't get a picture of JB wearing the lights, but I have to meet them next to the souvenirs eventually, so I head down with Stevie. There are two lines. "Unique Fans," which is understood to be "Psychotic Fans," and "Normal Fans." I find Kelsey, Deon, Mom and Susan Lee, from Washington, standing around talking about Deon's name. "No, really, it's my real name. And my grandma's too," I hear Deon say to Sue. She doesn't seem convinced, but it's time to leave for the Mary Kay party I'm hosting, so she drops it. We arrive at my apartment and everyone awkwardly takes a seat in my kitchen. I enlist the help of Gayleen, now blond, to tell a story about how she got stung by a hornet. She's telling it from a TV monitor in the corner of the kitchen, and a robotic hornet is flying around her. I sneak away during her story to find some Mary Kay makeup to sell, since I don't own any. I never did find any.

Instead, I'm transported to what seems like a combination of a South American ghetto and Tokyo. Jessica and I are walking down the streets, and she talks and acts a lot like Krystin Anderson. We're talking about moving, since we live in a really sketchy part of the ghetto. She's complaining about how her parents burned their vinyl collection and she didn't get to keep any of the albums. I come to the conclusion we shouldn't move away. (Obviously I really cared about her lost records.) This is after we take a turn on a spiral escalator where I get sick and throw up, watching my lunch seep through the grated escalator stairs. I can't get off, even to spare the other people riding with me — once you get on, you're stuck there until it reaches the bottom. We get home and my decision to not move seems very, very wrong. I seem to have forgotten about my two Japanese roommates, who have not only borrowed my jeans and ripped them in impossible ways, but they've also killed my cat. "I didn't even know I HAD a CAT!"

Then I woke up.


Last night I told my roommate I was going to curl up on my bed and cry myself to sleep. (Mom, this is satirical, I'm fine.) Instead, I sat awkwardly on my bed with a heating pad on my shoulders for two hours watching "Hunger Games" videos on YouTube. By the time I actually decided to go to bed, I was still determined to cry myself to sleep. I turned out my light and prepared for the onslaught of tears. Then I woke up to my alarm this morning. So much for dramatics. Poor narcoleptics. They can never picture themselves in a movie, lying in bed as sentimental music plays and the camera gets closer and closer to their face as they sniffle over their recently deceased cat and weep uncontrollably at the realization that Peeta Mellark is a fictional character.

Speaking of sleep and Peeta (for those of you unfamiliar with this strange name — pronounced like "Peter" with a British accent. ... Or, you know, the bread — he's from "The Hunger Games") I had some wicked awesome dreams last night.

First off, I was in a large stone courtyard, like something you'd see in Romeo & Juliet. The north and east sides were framed in with huge stone walls. The west was lined with several stories of balconies where on-lookers sat. To the south was a low stone fence that dropped off into a pool/garden/ping-pong area. Here's a visual (bird's eye, no less):

So now that you have the setup, let's continue.

I'm standing on the southeast side of the courtyard, near the unknown. I'm talking with Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and I'm Katniss (I know cuz I have a braid. Duh.) It looks something like this:

He's talking strategy with me, because we're about to play soccer against Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and Jessica (my roommate. No one in the books has a normal name like that) and he's seen me play soccer. It's pretty horrible. We walk towards the center of the courtyard to greet our opponents. When Peeta (Josh) gets closer, he reaches up to give me a hug, having suddenly transformed into Gary Coleman, tiny sweatshirt and all. Oh the injustice!

The game commences. I'm doing alright. I mean, I haven't tripped yet. Then Peeta (no longer Gary Coleman) kicks the ball over the low stone fence and into the pond. The crowd starts to panic and the lights go out (apparently this is an indoor courtyard.) The four soccer players huddle up and try to figure out how to get the ball back when it dawns on us: Peeta can FLY! But it's a secret, so we decide to keep the lights out and let him fly down to get it. But, to throw off the onlookers so his secret isn't revealed, Jessica, Liam and I start tweeting and whistling like birds, you know, because if it SOUNDS like a bird, than that object that looks like a flying man must actually be a bird.

So Peeta (Josh -- whatever) is circling around and around, you know, to evade the sight of the onlookers, and is now wearing a nightgown (Michael and John Darling style. I hope you're starting to see the heavy Peter Pan similarities here). At one point Woody Harrelson comes out with a huge MagLight and tries to illuminate Peeta, so I scream, "NO FLASHLIGHTS!" and smack it out of his hands. Drunken idiot.

The whistling and circling continues to a few more seconds and finally, oh sweet justice, Peeta grabs the ball out of the pond and lightly touches down next to us. The lights come back on almost instantaneously and we try our best to be all like, "Oh, hey Josh, you've been here the whole time and you don't fly or wear nightgowns or look anything like that little black kid from 'Diff'rent Strokes' .... hey let's play soccer."

Dream number two. It has nothing to do with "The Hunger Games," but it did involve indoor surfing, me meeting a middle-aged woman named Mackenzie and her daughter, who asked me if I graduated from Purdue, a tiny newspaper that only had stories on how A-Rod and the Yankees won the NCAA men's basketball tournament ("Huh," I thought, "I didn't even know they were in it. Damn Yankees."), and the piece de resistance: Phineas (yes, from "Phineas and Ferb") was competing in the indoor surfing competition and I was so close to being able to see him when Kelsey, Catherine and the twins came out of the surfing area and informed me they were done so we were going home. Do you know how rare it is to see a cartoon character in real life, AND surfing, no less? Obviously Kelsey and Catherine did NOT.

Man, I love sleeping.


I'm sitting at home on my lunch break. It's a great feeling, being home in the middle of the day. I think about all the other people eating their leftover meatloaf at their desk in their dingy office in the industrial district of some no-where town and laugh. Laugh! Because I'm not one of them. And then I die a little, because most days, I am.

I'm home today because I was just at the dentist. Blessed dentist. They used a mini-sand blaster to carve away part of my tooth in order to fill it with ... stuff. And then they sprayed and suctioned and pulled and prodded and — I had a cavity, OK?! Get off my back! My mouth still has sand in it. And sometimes it smells like burning sand. — No wait, that's my roommate, burning something.

My mouth hurts.

Aaaaaand, you're welcome ...