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a bit of shameless self-promotion? why, yes, I will.

15 Aug

This will be quite short and mercifully sweet:

I have other blogs. Wanna hear about them and visit them, too? Do you?

At Lonely Passport, I discuss my love of travel and my escapades here and there.

Did you know I was a Baby Steps Gourmet Chef? Now you do.

And then there’s my Tumblr. Visit, won’t you? Please?

And we’re done. See? Unlike your local dentist, I told the truth. Didn’t hurt a bit.

Support is good!

if music be the food of love…

1 Aug

Play on. We haven’t had a good music discussion in a while, have we? But before we begin…

I’ve decided to take on the 31WriteNow Blog Challenge, which means I’ll posting an entry every day for the month of August. (Thanks, Awesomely Luvvie, for the challenge, and ToBNatural for posting about it!) No delusions of grandeur this time. I think after successfully completing the NaPoWriMo challenge, this can be done! Join me, won’t you? Or at least support and read and comment and make me happy. Now, onwards.

Other than my family, friends, donuts, and Paul Newman, music is the great love of my life. See below for recent songs/bands/musicians that have been sweetly driving me crazy.

Florence and the Machine. Seriously, where have I been? How have I completely ignored this band and Florence Welch, whose soaring voice makes me want to throw my fists in the air and sob all at the same time? After my Sissy’s repeated recommendations that I listen to them, I finally gave in (it’s hard to listen when you’re the oldest, ok?) and promptly fell in love with F&TM’s lyrical and melodic and rhythmic goodness. If you haven’t (and you likely have, because I’m so late on this one), listen to Lungs and Ceremonials, their two albums. From Lungs, the following song is typically set on repeat on my iPod. The feeling it gives me is indescribable.



Emeli Sande. Not quite sure why I haven’t talked about this incredible artist yet. I don’t know. Maybe the trance she’s put me requires only listening and not typing. I first heard her beautiful voice in my local Barnes and Noble. After some quick research on the lyrics I was hearing, I knew who she was and her album, Our Version of Events, had been quickly downloaded into my iPod. Every single song on that album is good. I’m not exaggerating. Her voice is really her instrument. Here are two from her.




Ok, one more, one more. This is the one that got me in the B&N.



Who Do We Think We Are, John Legend. I think I’ve talked about my enduring love for Legend? If not, here you go. I love him like white rice. And this particular song from his upcoming album, Love in the Future, is simply beautiful. His vocals have never been better. And the song makes me want to learn how to swim. In other words, to do something that terrifies me.



Adorn, Miguel. There’s this, but things happen. Let’s focus on Adorn, shall we? It’s the kind love song that makes you squeal. No, it does, really. You will squeal and sing into your hairbrush and just be cheesy, but it won’t matter, because there are lyrics like “let my love adorn you” in the world. Sigh.



Lionel Richie, Tuskegee. Yeah, you read that right. I am an unabashed fan of Mr. Richie, his music, Dancing on the Ceiling, all of it. What? I grew up in the 80s. There was Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Lionel Richie. Anyway, Lionel decided–because he is a GENIUS–to re-record some of his biggest hits with a country sound and with some of country biggest stars right now, which is apropos, considering his background with country music (writing a hit song for Kenny Rogers, performing another song with Alabama). I’ve listened to album, oh, about 100 times. Listen to the whole thing. I couldn’t find songs to link, unfortunately, but honorable mentions go to Sail On, You Are, Stuck on You, Lady, and my beloved Pop’s favorite, favorite song, Deep River Woman.

Speaking of country, although I tend to largely stick with the oldies and the greats, like Dolly and Kenny and Reba, The Band Perry has a song out right now that kind of blows my mind. It’s gothic country storytelling at its best. Better Dig Two is about a woman who takes “till death do us part” pretty seriously. I love it so much.



Enjoy, and Happy First Day of August! What are you all listening to?


dear optimist/pessimist/realist…

24 Feb

Don't drink my water! (Said the Pessimist)

oh, theodore! and sylvia and carlos, too!

19 Jan

I’m deeming this Poetry Thursday. (Thursday will always be Thurstinkday to me, of course, but in my efforts to stop being a Negative Nancy about everything…)

For this First Official Thursday, find below three of my favorite favorite poems by some of my favorite favorite poets. Incidentally, I’ve decided that my future husby will have to be a poet. That’s one of the few prerequisites for Future Husby, along with sanity, goodness, and an understanding his wife (me) will be charmingly off her rocker. What if he’s not a poet, you ask? I’d like to imagine that we will meet at a poetry reading where he’s performing, which would cancel out the fact that he may not be, but really, whatever. Sanity, goodness, and the charmingly nuts wife understanding will do fine. (I think.) Anyway. Please: read, enjoy, analyze, take in. FOR READERS: What are your favorite poems/poets, and why?

In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood–
A lord of nature weeping to a tree,
I live between the heron and the wren,
Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.
What’s madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day’s on fire!
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall,
That place among the rocks–is it a cave,
Or winding path? The edge is what I have.A steady storm of correspondences!
A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,
And in broad day the midnight come again!
A man goes far to find out what he is–
Death of the self in a long, tearless night,
All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.

Dark,dark my light, and darker my desire.
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,
Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.
The mind enters itself, and God the mind,
And one is One, free in the tearing wind.

Lady Lazarus – Sylvia Plath

I have done it again.
One year in every ten
I manage it—–

A sort of walking miracle, my skin
Bright as a Nazi lampshade,
My right foot

A paperweight,
My featureless, fine
Jew linen.

Peel off the napkin
O my enemy.
Do I terrify?——-

The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?
The sour breath
Will vanish in a day.

Soon, soon the flesh
The grave cave ate will be
At home on me

And I a smiling woman.
I am only thirty.
And like the cat I have nine times to die.

This is Number Three.
What a trash
To annihilate each decade.

What a million filaments.
The Peanut-crunching crowd
Shoves in to see

Them unwrap me hand and foot ——
The big strip tease.
Gentleman , ladies

These are my hands
My knees.
I may be skin and bone,

Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.
The first time it happened I was ten.
It was an accident.

The second time I meant
To last it out and not come back at all.
I rocked shut

As a seashell.
They had to call and call
And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.

Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.

I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I’ve a call.

It’s easy enough to do it in a cell.
It’s easy enough to do it and stay put.
It’s the theatrical

Comeback in broad day
To the same place, the same face, the same brute
Amused shout:

‘A miracle!’
That knocks me out.
There is a charge

For the eyeing my scars, there is a charge
For the hearing of my heart—
It really goes.

And there is a charge, a very large charge
For a word or a touch
Or a bit of blood

Or a piece of my hair on my clothes.
So, so, Herr Doktor.
So, Herr Enemy.

I am your opus,
I am your valuable,
The pure gold baby

That melts to a shriek.
I turn and burn.
Do not think I underestimate your great concern.

Ash, ash—
You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there—-

A cake of soap,
A wedding ring,
A gold filling.

Herr God, Herr Lucifer

Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.

This is Just to Say – William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

possibly a baby gangsta?

17 Nov

Why was I looking at that kid to the right of me with such venom? Why was I holding on to that baby car like a Bentley, likely for the use of running said kid over?

Yours truly. Back in the Motherland, age: unsure, but clearly old enough to entertain murderous intentions, based on the aforementioned look on my face. Yikes. Oh, and all my photos were like this early on: frowning like an underworld boss Teamster.

I’m FALLing for It. Get it? Get it?

1 Sep

Oh, puns. How I love you so.

It’s autumn, as pictorialized here. Therein lies the pun. Anyway.

It’s not officially autumn, but today is September 1, and that’s when autumn begins for me. Never mind that the weather has never and will never acclimate to my wishes. Although, to my infinite glee, the past few days have been absolutely glorious. Cool mornings and clear, crisp nights. (I don’t know what happens in between. I’m in prison most afternoons, trapped behind a desk, my neck straining to gaze out of my colleague’s enviable window to see what the weather is doing.) Fall is indeed coming—despite the humidity that will be re-visiting us in the next few days, despite my mounting suspicions that the “meteorologists” love to just break our autumn-loving hearts with calls of said humidity, despite the fact that summer always does this to me, like the friend who just won’t go away—and I intend on commencing with my excitement now.

I love fall.

I love those endless autumn evenings, which I fill with long, meditative walks and breathing as deeply as I can.

I love imagining my home in Connecticut (because whenever it’s fall, I have a fake, imaginary home in Connecticut; go figure), where I stare, from my fake, imaginary Connecticut window, at the multi-colored leaves that decorate my fake, imaginary Connecticut lawn.

I love that weird, hopeful feeling that the autumn brings out in me, where everything I set out to accomplish will be accomplished, by gum—based, it seems, on the strange, electric sensation in the air.

I love the people I naturally think about when it’s fall. Arthur Miller, one of my favorite playwrights, who wrote a play called After the Fall, which is such a perfect title, which only endears me to him more. James Taylor, and we’ve discussed why. Every boy I’ve ever had a hankering for, because, well, it’s that weirdness in the air. (Plus, a few of them inspired the hankering when they admitted that autumn was their favorite season, as well. Didn’t take much, back then, for my devotion.) Alice Hoffman, another one of my favorite authors, who has a way of describing the seasons, particularly autumn, in such a hypnotic, almost edible way.

I love the following, autumn-y words: harvest, solstice, equinox.

I love that literary fall feeling. There’s a palpable eagerness to read everything and anything I can get my hands on.

I love that, in many ways, I try to include autumn in my own fiction and poetry.

I love boots and peacoats and scarves and trips to New York during fall and, and, and…heaven help me.

I love that melancholy understanding that my favorite time of year won’t last as long as I want it to. I do. Why? I appreciate it even more.

Sigh. To blessedly conclude this love letter/slightly unhinged ode to autumn:

A poem by John Keats, To Autumn.

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,-
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

For my few readers: what’s your favorite time of year and why?

to be real.

24 Mar

This day is already starting out bad.

I woke up late and exhausted (no one’s fault but my own; there’s no reason why I need to watch The Nanny at the wee hours of the morning, although the show is utterly hilarious); a cold rain is currently pounding the atmosphere (and I forgot my gloves, so, naturally, my hands instantly turned into icicles); certain ones I share the office with are extremely moody (no explanation needed); I have absolutely no motivation to do anything right now. And I’m cranky.

I hate days like this.

compliment, threat, same thing…?

17 Mar


This morning, as I made my way toward the metro escalators, I noticed a woman adjacent to me, also heading for the escalators. Even more notable was the fact that she was looking directly at me, a sort of knowing smile/smirk on her face. At first, I wondered if we knew each other. We didn’t. Nonetheless, as we arrived at the top of the escalators around the same time, she said, “you look pretty today.” I smiled, thanked her, and continued to descend down the stairs.

I was completely rattled.

The following thoughts took over:

  • who was that woman?
  • do i know her? have we had a conversation before on the train?
  • she wants to harvest my kidneys.
  • i’m wearing a huge coat, a scarf, sneakers. i look pretty?
  • i look pretty TODAY? as opposed to the other days when she had seen me?
  • what was with that weird smile?
  • please, please don’t sit next to me on the train.
  • where did she go? she was right behind me and now she’s gone!
  • did I imagine that whole exchange?
  • maybe she thought she knew me…
  • who WAS that woman?

The end. (I refuse to psychoanalyze myself in this instance. I’m accepting my reaction. The woman freaked me out.) 


Eternally Paranoid Girley

At least…gritting least the flowers are growing.

10 Mar

Today’s weather.

My Face is Burning. And other Hot Topics.

3 Mar

First, let’s get the gratitude out of the way.

If I did not regularly get a facial waxing (yes, I said facial; I am Teen Wolf’s older sister, 30-something Wolfette, and as a result, I must tame the Fu Manchu/full beard that erupts on my face every so often), I would look like Madame Frida Kahlo’s invention to the left. I am very thankful to the artistes that re-fashion the jungle on my face into nice eyebrows and smooth, smooth skin.

That said, this mess hurts. I got a fresh waxing a few hours ago. Yikes. I’ve been waxing since my late teens, so it’s not my first time at the rodeo, BUT IT HURTS. And it’s so violent. Is there a way to lovingly and calmly rip hair off someone’s face? Somebody, please find a way.

In other news, I plan on making a trip to the museum this weekend. It’s only Thurstinkday, but I’m already making plans! (My love of all things museum has been discussed at length…)Me and a pal will be heading to the National Portrait Gallery on Saturday. Can’t.wait. A report will be provided on Monday, of course.

In other, other news, I’m apparently trying to usher in the weekend against its will. It’s not Friday, Kitten Heel Marvel. It’s not Friday. (Long sigh).




Sincerely, Taj

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

Fully Awake and Alive

A collection of poetry and essays on politics, social justice and the condition of humanity

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