Archive | August, 2011

Haiku? Thank You. #4

24 Aug

There will be haikus, yes, but first, a few updates. It’s been a while, Kitten Heel Marvel.

And heeeere come the bullets…

  • So there was an earthquake on the East Coast yesterday. Yes, the preceding sentence was typed. An earthquake. On the East Coast. I happened to be at work, went through utter confusion and a few nervous breakdowns when it happened, and ran like the wind to get out of the building. Yes, the preceding sentence was typed. I ran. Like the wind. Later, much later, I learned that I should have stayed in the building and gotten under a desk. Somehow, getting out seemed natural. Anyway, following said earthquake, enter bedlam. It took me THREE HOURS to get home on the Metro and I learned the following: it’s not always Metro’s fault when chaos and/or mild disaster strikes. There are a lot of stubborn, unlistening, priggish, immature, ridiculous people out there. And most of them rode the Metro yesterday. Ugh.
  • I got a new ‘do. And I loves it. It gave me a much-needed boost. Quite honestly, I’d been looking a bit like a wild-haired zombie lately. This happens. Going through the motions, stressed out, kinda blue—all of which do not inspire new hairdos and updating the looks. So I’m happy for the boost. I’m happy to be forced to maintain an actual style and removing the option of throwing on a headband and being done with it. So yay for little changes. And yay for a new stylist who listened to me, made some awesome suggestions, and gave me a great overall experience.
  • Got to visit the bestie this past week for a nice respite and vacation. Tons of fun, lots of vacation eating, good, grand times. More updates on the trip itself will come on The Lonely Passport. I just have to say, if I haven’t said it before: I just adore the bestie. There’s really nothing like a good friend.
  • Fall is in the air. Fall is in the air! I can feel it. The boots are coming…
  • I’m writing. A lot. This is a good thing. I’m a weirdo, so I won’t elaborate on the plotting and characters and all that. Suffice it to say: I’m writing…
  • I saw this movie:
  • And cried like a baby. It was moving, touching, hilarious, thought-provoking, and dignified the book version. Absolutely wonderful.
  • I also saw this movie:
  • And loved it. Well done and thrilling popcorn fare. And Andy Serkis, the guy who does all the motion capture stuff for these movies, deserves more accolades for his work. Excellent.

Bullets end here. Just a tiny update on what’s been going on. Now, without further ado, a haiku (intentional rhyming). In honor of yesterday’s event:


is that an earthquake?
feet failed me before, not now–
the new Flash Gordon.

Haiku? Thank You. #3

10 Aug

On this Haiku Wednesday, I decided to feature a haiku written by a certain poet. That noise you’re hearing, dear reader, is my contented sigh…

Japan by Billy Collins

Today I pass the time reading
a favorite haiku,
saying the few words over and over.

It feels like eating
the same small, perfect grape
again and again.

I walk through the house reciting it
and leave its letters falling
through the air of every room.

I stand by the big silence of the piano and say it.
I say it in front of a painting of the sea.
I tap out its rhythm on an empty shelf.

I listen to myself saying it,
then I say it without listening,
then I hear it without saying it.

And when the dog looks up at me,
I kneel down on the floor
and whisper it into each of his long white ears.

It’s the one about the one-ton temple bell
with the moth sleeping on its surface,

and every time I say it, I feel the excruciating
pressure of the moth
on the surface of the iron bell.

When I say it at the window,
the bell is the world
and I am the moth resting there.

When I say it at the mirror,
I am the heavy bell
and the moth is life with its papery wings.

And later, when I say it to you in the dark,
you are the bell,
and I am the tongue of the bell, ringing you,

and the moth has flown
from its line
and moves like a hinge in the air above our bed.

Delusion of Grandeur: 0 / Reasonable Goal: 1

9 Aug

I will go to bed, at the latest, by 9:30pm. I will wake up at 5am, get in the car, and drive to the gym. I will work out. I will do this four mornings out of the week.

It is a delusion of grandeur for many reasons. For one thing, my poor brain/body does not recognize “9:30pm” as a viable time of day. My poor brain/body recognizes 8am (best time ever to wake up, really), 5pm (quitting time) and 12am (when I begin to watch my nightly episodes of The Golden Girls) as viables times of day. “9:30pm” is for school nights, and I haven’t been subject to a school night for–cough–fourteen years. So. Setting that kind of time for me to actually close my eyes and commence with REM sleep was laughable.

What more? Waking up at “5am.” Other than, again, choosing not to recognizing that as a viable time, I’m convinced that “5am” was reserved for murderers and taxi drivers. (I’m aware that there are plenty of nice, crime-free people who wake up at this time and yikes, even earlier, but in my opinion, those nice, crime-free people are in the minority. The majority of those awake at that time and earlier? Murderers and taxi drivers.) It’s dark enough to commit a crime, and it’s the best time to pick up people who made the wrong drinking choices the night before. As I am neither a murderer (would love to solve one, though) nor a taxi driver, waking up at “5am” has never, ever been a voluntary option. So. Setting that kind of time for me to actually open my eyes and engage in normal, human activities like getting dressed and getting in the car was extremely laughable.

All of that said, the idea that I would then take my exhausted brain/body, tired and trapped within an unholy hour, into a gym to commence with exercise? Yeah, one of the more amusing delusions I’ve ever entertained.

But I did it.

You read that right. Today marks Day Two of my former delusion of grandeur. Personally, I think it’s now a reasonable goal.

For the past two mornings, I have jumped (ok, there was no jumping) out of bed, put on my socks and shoes (I slept in my workout clothes; this is intrinsic because having to wake up and actually put them on would mean getting right back into bed), and headed straight out. Woo hoo!

The first morning was interesting. I got on the elliptical, had the music blasting on the iPod, and subsequently, after 22 minutes, thought I was going to lose my non-breakfast.  I quickly moved to the treadmill and spent the remainder of the hour there, holding on to the bars in case the nausea and dizziness returned. In hindsight, I think not eating before exercising caused the nausea; although I can’t imagine eating that early in morning, something had to be burned off, and having an early dinner the night before didn’t help. As a solution, I bought some Gatorade, aka, liquid carbs. This morning, I had no problem at all. No nausea, no dizziness, no problem.

I’ve heard several variations on how long it takes to form a habit. Everything from five days to 66 days. Whatever the answer is, I certainly hope this new reasonable goal becomes a habit. It’s going to continue to undoubtedly hurt. I’m going to continue to lay in bed, gaze at the ceiling, and commence with all kinds of bargaining (“it’s ok if you miss a day; who will know but you?”) and reasoning (“you need to sleep!”) to get out of it. But I made concessions for that with the goal itself, didn’t I? It’s reasonable. Four days out of the week instead of an unrealistic seven days; going to bed by “9:30pm”, at the latest, to ensure that I least get 7.5 hours of sleep, if not 8, if I can get into bed by “9:00pm.” It can be done. Just needs discipline, consistency, and some form of painful self-pinching to get myself going. And a dose of reality, as well, because I won’t always get it 100% done. But that’s ok.

In the end, I hope for more early mornings. (Pigs just took to flight, dear reader, with the utterance of that statement.)


amy, amy, amy.

4 Aug

Here on Kitten Heel Marvel, I try to steer largely clear of entertainment-y things. Honorable mentions have come here and there, such as Mr. Darcy winning an Oscar, anything about my beloved Paul Newman, things like that. But for the most part, management (i.e., me) feels that “the wonder of it all” is less about life in Hollyweird and more about life itself.


Amy Winehouse passed away almost two weeks ago, on July 23.

A lot has been said about Amy dying at 27, which adds her to the pantheon of Dead-At-27 musicians, such as Kurt Cobain and Ms. Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.

A lot has been said about the general lack of surprise at her death, being that her addiction to drugs and alcohol was both well-known and well-chronicled by the media and paparazzi. In other words, most knew that her passing would be coming, just not exactly when. 

A lot has been said about Amy paving the way for the British chanteuse craze that is currently permeating the airwaves, primarily with artists like Duffy and the wonderful, wonderful, wonderful Adele.  

A lot has been said.

So I’ll say the following. I was on an airplane in 2007, en route to Alabama to visit the bestie. We were mid-flight. I finally woke up from my stupor (I fall asleep, invariably, once I buckle in and lean back in my chair. It never fails) and pulled out my iPod. I had recently downloaded Amy’s second album, Back to Black, after reading a plethora of amazing reviews about it. It was time to listen. I listened.

I fell in love with her voice. I fell in love with the feeling it gave me, like we were in a jazz club somewhere (huge for me, hardly a jazz lover) in the 50s or 60s and she was performing and I was sipping a nice, non-headache-inspiring drink. I fell in love with the sound, with the horns and the thumping beats and all that. I fell in love with her music. (I fell in love with iTunes, which had offered me the option of purchasing a clean, edited version of the album, being that Amy was quite the pottymouth.)

But something happened with *Tears Dry on their Own, one of the tracks on the album. I sat up in my chair. I opened my mouth. I closed my eyes. I swooned. It slayed me. I remember wondering where in the world Amy Winehouse had been all this time and how she had written a song with so much depth, so much sadness, so much truth. That’s when I became a fan, with that song. That’s when I realized that the beehive and the slurred speech and slight off-kilter nature of the artist didn’t really matter.

She.Was.Talented. And that’s all I’ll say.

*I can’t link to the song. There are no edited versions of the song online. No edited version of the lyrics, either. But following are two pretty amazing songs in their own right: one from her first, more obscure album, Frank, and another one of my personal favorites from BtB.

there’s a footprint on my heart! there’s a FOOTPRINT on my heart!

2 Aug

Because that’s what crushes are, right? In the end, your heart is crushed, dusty from the outline of the shoe that stamped all over it, you’ve eaten your entire daily caloric intake in one meal, and you’re alternating between man-hating tunes from Alanis Morrissette and tear-inducing tunes from every other lady singer. (Here’s to you, Sarah McLachlan, Jewel, Tori Amos, and Joni Mitchell.)

No one can understand love who has not experienced infatuation. And no one can understand infatuation, no matter how many times he has experienced it.
~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960
I thought my first crush was in the fourth grade. He was the spitting image of Michael Jackson, so naturally, I was quickly moony-eyed over the boy. However, my mother believes that my first crush was this guy:
Little Ricky Schroder. (He will always be little Ricky to me, always.) Apparently, as we watched The Champ, my mother says that I walked up to the television and placed my hand right on little Ricky’s televised cheek, stroking it. As far as little Ricky being my first crush, the jury’s out on that one. I may have been trying to comfort little Ricky and his tear-streaked face, being that The Champ arguably has the saddest ending of all time. (Watch it if you dare.) I don’t know if it was a crush then (I was about two years old at the time)…but it became one years later, when this show came out. Sigh…

Infatuation Love – a wildly misunderstood although highly desirable malfunction of the heart which weakens the brain, causes eyes to sparkle, cheeks to glow, blood pressure to rise and the lips to pucker.

From the Michael Jackson look-alike to the thousands that came after, my journey down Infatuation Highway was filled with the usual impossibly long gazes, imagined gazebo weddings, smiles in my direction that propelled me straight to the moon, love letters stuffed in hall lockers (yes, I did that), and so much more. In the end, when reality and heartbreak would invariably finally set in, I would caution myself to never do it again. To let it all go. To stop it. To straighten up and fly right. To open my eyes. To stop essentially breaking my own heart, being that I always knew what the finale would be. To, to, to…until the next crush.

It’s so easy to be infatuated with someone but hard to find that someone who will catch you.
For a long time, however, I did keep to my promise. I was crush-free for a while. It was freeing. It was also utterly boring. So is that it, then? Are crushes a way to keep the old brain occupied? Rather than silence and boredom, do I long for the distraction of a crush? 

I know I am but summer to your heart, and not the full four seasons of the year.Edna St. Vincent Millay

Or is it less about boredom and more about that feeling? There may be a footprint on the old aorta in the end, but my goodness, that feeling in the beginning. The giddiness, the butterflies in the belly, the simple sight of that person, the sweetness and craziness of it all—it just feels awesome. After all, it really has nothing to do with the individual, does it? It’s not love. Love is real. Infatuation is celluloid/matinee idols/8 year-old co-stars of The Champ/boys who may be jerks but are super cute/who grow up to be men who may be jerks but are super cute/so on and so emptily forth. But nothing beats that feeling, does it?

Cinderella didn’t love the Prince. She loved that shoe. – Kitten Heel Marvel

So what is it? What motivates me to break my own promises and allow the stars to fall right back into my eyes, when the outcome is pretty much unavoidable? Is it the distraction? The feeling? Footprint on the heart, remember? Infinitely crushed, bloated, angry because of Alanis, crying because of Joni? What is it?

The essence of love begins when infatuation ends. – Anonymous


why i love him so.

1 Aug

I have an enduring memory: I am driving in the car with my Dad. We are en route to his chemotherapy appointment and are listening to the radio. “Fire and Rain” comes on, to which my Dad exclaims, “that’s my man! James Taylor.” I regard my father with a huge smile on my face and tell him that, yes, he’s my man, too, that I also love James Taylor. I tell him it must be genetic, to which he laughs and agrees. We listen to the song in appreciative silence, after which I promise to make my father a CD of JT’s greatest hits.

For several reasons, the memory is quite fresh in my mind. Why? I’m in a JT mood and am presently listening to some of my favorite songs by him. Second, it is one of many moments I enjoyed with my beloved father before we lost him to cancer. Lastly, it’s a sweet reminder of how both my parents shaped my love of music.

Another enduring memory: my mother surprises me one evening with tickets to see James in concert. I proceed to run around our house, screaming at the top of my lungs, before throwing myself onto the couch in contented glee. While my mother and siblings laugh about my reaction, I hold up the tickets in the light and gaze at them in wonder. I was going to see James Taylor! (It was a wonderful show, by the way, absolutely grand. A year later, I was back in the same pavillion for the second time, watching JT with wide, teary eyes and going hoarse from my insistence on very loudly joining him on every song. Amazing. Amazing.)

What about this memory? Turning to VH1 one evening and finding that they were broadcasting one of James’ early concerts. And falling in love. With that face below. Yeah. (It didn’t help that at the time, I had a crush on a silly college boy who looked just like a young James Taylor. It was all I could do to keep from collapsing every time I saw him on campus. Anyway.)

Another one: sitting on my sister’s bed (her bed was so neat and clean, and mine…well, mine was going through a disorganized chaos period. Like Picasso and his blue period. It was art, you see, never making my bed and piling mountains and mountains of clothes on there. Oh, my artistic past), listening to *this song on my cd player (so archaic, I know), and weeping like a little child. I couldn’t stop crying. The song was moving me in places I couldn’t really understand and evoking feelings that simply boggled my mind. I was identifying with the song, but wasn’t sure how or why. (I do now, though. That’s for another post.) The only way to respond to that kind of stunned feeling was through streams and streams of tears. And that’s what I did. Cried and pressed repeat.

Memory #676: making my way through a crowd of millions, it seemed, to see James perform at an Earth Day rally in Washington DC. I was about 20 years old. And I squealed when he came on stage.

This one: watching James and one of my other big favorites, Carole King, perform “You’ve Got a Friend” at a televised reunion concert at the Troubador last year. Yeah, I cried. It was gorgeous and emotional.

Ooh, these memories: moments when I would recognize that the lovely, melodious voice in the background of some of my treasured JT songs, like “Shower the People” and “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” belonged to Carly Simon, one of my other favorite favorites (I have a lot). It made me giddy because they were married at one time and that fact inexplicably thrilled me. Why? Couples working together? Hearing my two favorites blend their voices in sweet harmony? Who knows? I loved it all the same.

Speaking of “How Sweet It is…”, another terrific memory: playing the song repeatedly for my little brother and hearing his infectious, toddler-y giggle when James says, in the middle of the song, “it’s like jelly, baby.” Oh my goodness, it was so cute. That kid.

Memory #5,112: Still in love with that face to the left. Never gets old.

This one: when autumn comes, I think of James Taylor. Likely and largely due again to *”Walking Man,” which has lyrics that bring everything I love about autumn (the air, the leaves, the orange) to the fore. In addition, songs like “September Grass” and “October Road” pretty much solidify it for me. Autumn, James Taylor, one and the same.

It’s amazing, to have loved an artist your whole life. Since I was a kid—sitting in my uncle’s car, whizzing about New York City and hearing “Handy Man” on the radio and being instantly hypnotized—to now, when I get daily, online updates about JT. I need to keep track!

One day, I’d like to meet James Taylor. After security warns me to stop hugging him, I’d like to tell JT about that afternoon in the car with my father, when hearing him exclaim, “that’s my man!” filled me with so much happiness that I almost let go of the wheel to hug my Daddy. I’d like to tell him that whenever I hear him sing now, I always think of my father. Then JT will sing, I’ll cry, and I will make yet another memory. Until then, I’ll press repeat.

*Lyrics for “Walking Man”:

Moving in silent desperation
Keeping an eye on the holy land
A hypothetical destination
Say, who is this walking man?

Well, the leaves have come to turning
And the goose has gone to fly
And bridges are for buning
So don’t you let that yearning
Pass you by
Walking man, walking man walks
Well, any other man stops and talks
But the walking man walks

Well the frost is on the pumpkin
And the hay is in the barn
An pappy’s come to rambling on
Stumbling around drunk
Down on the farm

And the walking man walks
Doesn’t know nothing at all
Any other man stops and talks…



Sincerely, Taj

Dear World, I have stuff to say, so get cozy. Here, I've got cupcakes.

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