21 December 2003

i am a runner.

five a.m. foggy. freezing: hat, mittens, scarf. still cold.ten p.m. rain mixed with hail. visibility difficult. 30s.
two p.m. sunny. humid. thirsty. 104°

whatever it’s like outside, i’m still gonna do my thing. i once heard this woman saying, “of course i didn’t run today. it’s raining!” as if she’s going to melt?! please! get to it! be strong. i’ve been strong for eleven years, and it’s tough. you go out there and do it to make yourself proud. me, i have role models. including my friends, and others: my li’l sister Melissa Louisa (national qualifier, race walk), pre, joan samuelson, and every single other person who runs is an inspiration to me! so what if i’ve been through six coaches in four years? i don’t need them! i just need me! i run—you don’t understand why i do unless you do. when you’re running 15 miles and feel like dying and someone yells, “yay, keep going! you’re awesome!” you feel great. or when you see a deer in the woods. or when you just get that feeling—that high—runner’s high, and you feel yrself going fast, faster, fastest, and you feel like you are flying, as if it’s effortless, and you feel like you are flying, as if it is effortless, and you never ever want to stop. the endorphins! the energy! i’ll feel sick, or lethargic, and after a run, i feel completely re-energized. people always ask, “you run? why? how many miles? you’re crazy!” if only they knew my goals…adventure racing, and definitely, ultra-marathons! i want to travel to race—alaska, africa, sweden, california, everywhere. see beautiful places in tough cross-country races.

mark belger said, “you know who i look up to? i look up to the five-minute milers. because they don’t get any of the good things i get. they’re out there running just as hard. they’re the guys with guts, the guys with a lot of inner determination.”
(five-minute milers are slower; decent milers are sub-4 minutes)
yeah, i’ll probably never be in the marathon or a world-class runner like those muscle-masses, but i’m gonna try, keep running, working my hardest, for me.
i love to feel excellent.
running is my excellence.
i am a runner. any questions?
saw a female teenager
wearing many animal
rights and vegan buttons
on her black leather jacket.

20 December 2003


How to deal with it

Okay, so you have all these stupid people to shop for. Oh, I'm sorry, you love those people. Like your boyfriend who loves bizarre electronics and your dad who collects windchimes. Well, here's how to deal with the holidays.

Via internet:
It's almost too late to do that now--unless of course, you do the express shipping. (Like Trevor prefers.) However, internet is a great way to avoid the long lines! Highly recommended. It's also easy to comparison shop via the web--just click and minimize! Go internet shopping!

Via Macy's:
Okay if you are insane enough to go to say, Macy's, go at 6am. That's what we did this morning, and it was smooth sailing. Of course one normally might think it was eleven in the morning at Macy's instead of 6:30. But still, it's a good time.

Via various stores:
Go, go, going, gone! You are going to hurt someone. Please don't bring a granny cart on the subway and run all over the city to 8,000 different stores on the same day and still have shopping. Instead, teach people the words "gift certificate" and "check."

Via gift certificates:
A great idea. Checks are also a great idea. Gift certificates show that you actually put some time into going to the store that they would like (or you could always get one of those American Express gift certificates) and a nice thing to do is buy something small, say a Godiva chocolate bar, or a pair of socks, or some deep conditioning treatment. They'll love the little present, and the ability to pick out something for themselves.

Via you, i.e., crafts:
I'm going this route. I won't say what because some people will lose their surprise! Sorry! But here's a few ideas that I'm not necessarily doing that may give you hope if you're crafty:
* knit something.
* sew something. an apron, perhaps.
* bake some time-consuming yet delicious treats.
* make candles.
* make ornaments.
* paint watercolors.
* write poems.

via nothing:
A nice idea except you will hurt people's gifts, maybe get into fights, and receive no gifts for the rest of your life.

via tell me:
Easy. But of course like a librarian knows, sometimes these things don't exist, and you will spend more time looking for that specific item than you would finding something they would like.

On that note:
Happy Shopping, and
Happy Holidays!

Merry Winter Solstice!

16 December 2003

coney island

it is coney island. the boardwalk. a little kitten on a pink leash and a girl smoking cigarettes, following the orange tabby. the girl is wearing too much lipstick and speaking on her cell phone, obviously an important conversation. she is crying and her makeup is smeared.

“but you can’t, you just can’t.” the caller says something and the girl crouches, presses her hands to her face, nearly dropping her phone. the cat leash is wrapped around her wrist twice. “i can’t take this, i need it to just work.”

two men were following the girl. they said nothing, except once, the guy with the red hat said, “cute cat.”

she hung up the phone. “oh marbles,” she said, grabbing the squirming cat to her chest. she suffocated her sobs into the cat’s fur. they were on the sand now. she let the cat free of her tight clasp and watched it scratch the sand, go to the bathroom, and bury it. they walked on.

12 December 2003

An Addendum:

I love my legwarmers. Last week, it was too warm to wear them in the morning, but the forecast warned of cold. I had them tucked in my large pocket, and thought of how nice these huge pockets of my coat were. Then...the G train came. I ran to catch it. People were around me. I got on, sat down, and realized...my beautiful sparkly lavender legwarmers were gone! Gone! I got off at the next stop, ran around to the other side, took the G back to Greenpoint, and ran to the other side of the track where I originally was. Unfortunately, some other legwarmer-lover snagged my beautiful legwarmers! Sob! I was quite depressed, and now, my life is just a bit empty where those beautiful, stretchy yet strong, stylish yet long, legwarmers remained.
An Addendum:Houseguests

I realize that you may read that email and decide never to be friends with me! NO! That is not it! You may visit me but I'm just saying that some people don't know how to respect a host/houseguest situation. Be polite, and I will spoil you as you spoil me. Otherwise, we will end up hating each other.

And you don't need to buy wine when you visit because I don't like it unless there is fruit floating in it...I LOVE SANGRIA!

09 December 2003


This is not meant to intimidate you. This is just meant to encourage you to look into the idea of a hotel.

Hi, you want to be my visitor. I know I have a cute little Greenpoint apt with colored walls and an adorable kitten. I do have food in my refrigerator, but I stock up because I shop infrequently (I don't have time). I have a comfy futon and supposedly decent water pressure. However, if you'd like to stay, here's some rules on how to be a good houseguest. (I'm learning from the bad ones!)

1. Thank them. Often. Repay your gratitude by doing housework, taking them out for dinner, buying them a little present for their house. I've been in this situation before, and I've bought groceries, house knick-knacks.

2. Don't eat their food. Even if they say it's okay. (Which sometimes they don't!) Buy food. Honey, this is Brooklyn. There's a pizzeria on every corner.

3. If you are starving and need to eat, there are rules:
never start anything
never finish anything.
I thought this rule was pretty much unspoken but I guess I have to remind some people. If there is a little bit, they may want that last bite or bit, and if there is an unopened whatever, they may be saving it for something.

4. If you eat their food and ask they may say yes because they are not comfortable saying no. Also, if you are eating their raviollis with catsup, do them the favor and eat it decently; sauce. (Remember her, Trev?)

5. No sex in their house. Unless you are their goodest bestest friend they may not like this.

6. Do not messy their house. This is not cool.

7. Don't go through their stuff, or borrow their clothes or whatever you think it's okay to borrow. It may not be.

8. Offer to do your host favors, such as fetching dry cleaning or preparing dinner. They'll thank you.

9. Ask your host places to see in the neighborhood, and allow them to take you on a tour.

I don't mean this to be disparaging, that I don't want houseguests. I like houseguests, but I just don't want a roommate. Especially in my one-bedroom apartment. (Trevor, you're clear; you're my boyfriend.) (Marie you can stay over still, this isn't you!) So respect your houseguest. I try to start off on the right foot--a bottle of wine if you are going to be impeding their lifestyle, maybe some pastries (yum!) or just some love. But please, don't take things for granted. DON'T!

07 December 2003


The voice:
it’s like when you’re in an airplane. it starts, the engine warming up when the flight attendants are showing you how to buckle a seatbelt, in case you didn’t know by now, hearing the low rumble of the engine. when it starts, it’s like you start off the runway, and when she really starts, you’ve lifted off the runway, your plane tilted upwards, you forced back into your chair, your head pulled back, the rushing of unreality around you.

you are glad you wore a seatbelt.

06 December 2003


Maybe you don't live in NY. But honey, it's snowing! Blizzarding, although Dustin my Ohio-born-and-bred friend, says this is nothing. This is chaos!

Why do I hate snow? I don't. I think it's beautiful and fun. The energy is great. Everyone is running around my neighborhood, shrieking and drinking hot cocoa and "oh, do we have any more marshmallows at home" kind of day. It's the perfect day to spend curled up with a nice book. Well, my cataloging book doesn't seem so terrible. (I love it but I'd rather be outside right now.)

Here's a few reasons why I do not like winter: (Sorry Trevor)

1. Cold.
2. You are in SO many layers--ridiculous. You always have to lug around a coat and scarf and mittens and hat and you are hot inside and cold outside. It doesn't make sense. No one looks cute in winter-time.
3. Snow may be fun, but if you are a runner, it brings unfavorable consequences alongside, including:
a. Hard to run in the snow if it's deep.
b. Your feet get cold and wet.
c. After the snow melts, you have slush and ice. Slush is yucky but manageable; ice is not. Stay inside and get fat.
4. You can't take your cats on walks because she refuses to wear a hotpink sweater in the winter cold. She'd rather be naked, but she's cold.
5. Seasonal Affective Syndrome--I've got it and most people probably do. I deal by lighting lots of candles, keeping tons of lights around me.

What to do:
Check out and enter various locations until you find one that is warm enough.
Then go to and look for plane tickets and hotel reservations.
Then look sad to the love of your life (whether it be your husband, girlfriend, best friend, mother, or wealthy schnauzzer) and convince them you need to leave. Wear sunscreen (especially if you are calling out "sick" from work because they may have trouble understanding why the Bahamas are a cure for your illness and depression, which it is!) and build sandcastles. Send postcards to everyone, hahahah. Don't worry, they'll send you some several weeks later when they're in Bermuda.

03 December 2003

BOULDER: An observation from this summer. Can we say, history? Ah well, those were the easy days, and it'd be nice to spend all day writing......


it seems as if every other person in boulder wears flip-flops; the other fifty percent wear either sneakers or sandals. i haven’t seen a pair of dress shoes, god forbid high heels, since my last time at DIA, and those people are all going or coming someplace, not from or to boulder, that’s for sure.
a large woman in a blue flowered muumuu wearing fluorescent orange flip-flops flip flops her way to the circulation desk. she has a volunteer pin bearing her name, “DONNA,” and hanging from a heavily tarnished chain, a silver sun medallion. she slams four books-on-tapes on the desk, and speaks before she can be spoken to. “ignore how many talking books i have checked out. it’s one of my perks, after being a volunteer for ten years.”
across from the circulation desks, a man in a gatorade t-shirt hides his computer screen to others. he laughs too loudly for being in a library, and blushes. he types furiously. he is wearing worn brown sandals, the type you buy at target or k-mart for $9.99.
behind him, pacing, loud flip-flops smacking as he paces back and forth, back and forth. a man with a long face and his hands awkwardly supporting his back, waits for a computer, sighing, checking his watch, sighing. his sneakers are tattered brown hiking sneakers, and there is a hole by the big toe, and his white socks are visible.
with stomach that looks like the owner’s “boulder road running club long-time member” t-shirt is lying, a man insists the library should purchase every neil young cd. “i drive my record shop crazy. and you don’t have this new neil young book. “a place to go?” “a journey to go?” i think it’s called one of those. you can look it up. look it up. i drive my record shop crazy. i love neil young. he’s a god. to those who realize it. really. don’t you realize it?”
behind him, a petite girl with blonde curly hair, red flip-flops, short shorts and a black bebe shirt smiles nervously. her larger boyfriend looms over her, grinning his white teeth. he is one of the few black people in boulder. she giggles as she applies for a library card. “oh really? online renewals? that’s just great.” she checks out men are from mars, women are from venus, recommended by her ex-boyfriend she tells me. her boyfriend doesn’t seem to notice the look in her eyes, that sparkle, when she mentions her ex. the woman behind her, wearing a tacky knee-length black skirt covered with sea anemones and brightly colored fish, smiles and agrees, “men seriously are from mars…maybe even another solar system.” when told about her overdue fines, from four weeks earlier, she writes out a check for one dollar on a charlie brown check, and smiles absently. “that fine was from so long ago.”
another person wearing their bike helmet indoors shakes her head, showing off her jingling turquoise earrings that match her turquoise corduroy shirt and her turquoise flip-flops. she drops several books on the table. tony hillerman. faye kellerman. jonathan kellerman. what do these people write about anyway? they’re awfully popular. the mystery fan’s husband comes up behind her, grabbing her tightly. his face is completely covered with hair, gray moustache and beard and sideburns. you can’t even see his lips. he says something and only hair moves.
a hippie girl with long blonde hair and flowered flip-flops holds on to her boyfriend’s arm. she comments on every book he checks out. he is quiet. she can’t stop laughing. “the elevator, that elevator,” she whispers loudly in his ear, laughing. her cheeks are red, her eyes sparkling. he lets her carry most of the books and walks quickly ahead of her. “wait,” she calls. he is oblivious.
a woman with cellulite on her calves and a black and white print skirt laughs aloud, talking on her cellular phone. she does not notice her husband, who wears black dress pants with matching jacket and black and green tevas, flirting and smiling at the librarians and circulation clerks. handing over his books and his card, “you look so beautiful, so pretty. you must have a boyfriend, many boyfriends.” his wife, oblivious, smiles into the phone, “make sure you take care of that, really now. i have to take care of the michelan accounts, so you can handle that one.” the man places his hand over the small one belonging to the clerk at the desk, grinning. “truly beautiful,” he continues. he can hear his wife saying goodbye, and he collects his books.
“thank you. goodnight.”

30 November 2003

Welcome to the World of Cherie! This is my blog, and here I will share stories, rants, reviews, and praise about my cat. (heehee)

Today I'll spare you from my writing at the start, but instead will talk about the weather. Gorgeous. You'd think it'd be fall, but I'm so glad it's not. Everyone is in denial. During my evening run, I could feel the crunching of leaves under my feet but the people around me denied that: people were drinking on the sidewalk on lawn chairs, wearing halter tops and long skirts. I really hate winter, cold, although hot tea and warm cocoa is great for it. But in the summer...everything is alive, flowers, trees, animals. I am not looking forward to hibernating!

question : what happens when you die?

lately i have been wondering about this. i am not sure. in some ways, i think, you die you’re dead you’re nothing. but then previous visions by so many people suggests to me that reincarnation is very possible. i am so frightened, petrified of death. is there anything we can do to stop death? if there is, let me know because i am so scared. i have so many things i want to do, so many things in this world that need to be done, and not enough selfless people who are willing to help out and make the world a better place. but what if i die and that’s it? what if this doesn’t matter and my mind doesn’t matter and my thoughts don’t matter? what then?
How to Procrastinate

(Designed for the student, or for those dealing with something they'd really rather not)

It's that time of year again: no, not holiday time! It's procrastination time. With finals approaching, here's some great ways for you to procrastinate studying, writing those tedious papers, and doing other dull matters involving homework or something you'd rather not be doing.

1. Check your email. This is a great task, particularly if you rarely check it. Spend your time deleting old mail, rereading sent mail, and actually replying for a change.

2. Get in shape! Go running, do stomach crunches, do something. At least if you're not doing your homework you can be in shape. If you don't want to work out, pretend, and go shopping for a pair of sneakers!

3. Do I even need to mention the phrase, "Surf the web?"

4. Do your Christmas, Channukah, and other holiday shopping.

5. Bake holiday cookies.

6. Write you holiday cards.

7. Plan a party, write invitations, plan a menu.

8. Clean your house. Come on, when was the last time you scrubbed your bathtub with a toothbrush and a bucket of bleach?

9. Groom your cat. Brush, bath, clip nails, brush teeth, and give her other kinds of love.

10. Go to a petstore and play with all the animals.

11. Call all your relatives.

12. Call those people whose messages are still on your answering machine from four weeks ago.

13. Send friends in other countries and states postcards and clever letters.

14. Get a cookbook and stare at it for hours, without actually making anything.

15. Read overdue library books.

16. Go to a 99cent store and spend $20 on 20 different things you don't really need.

17. Organize you books in alphabetical order by the author's last name.

18. Arrange your spices in alphabetical order according to name of spice.

19. Rearrange all your cabinets and shelves.

20. Do laundry.

21. Listen to holiday music. Go to see the tree, wander around shoppers, sing outside people's houses until they give you hot cocoa or throw tomatoes at you.

22. Practice some Yoga.

23. Write up your new year's resolutions.

24. Make a list of Christmas gifts.

25. Buy Christmas gifts.

26. Read the latest J. Crew and Victoria's Secret catalogs. Circle many things, leave it around the house until a new catalog arrives, then throw the marked up catalog away. Repeat with each issue.

27. Talk to everyone on the street and in all the stores. If a cashier needs to change their receipt tape, assure them that you're not in a rush and tell them to take their time.

28. Paint your toenails.

29. Work on a story.

30. Hang out in the crazy cafe up the block and drink chai teas and play chess with some guy wearing a cape.

31. Go to CVS, Duane Reade, Eckerd, Rite Aid, and spend an hour throwing items in your basket, pulling them out, and end up buying nothing on your original list.

32. Sew a stocking for someone you love.

33. Go shopping for gifts for your pet. (Luna made me put that one.)

34. Try to find the lyrics for, "So this is Christmas" (War is Over). Apply to any other song you have a mild curiosity. Email to all your friends so they can see what you're doing in your spare time.

35. Decorate your house with holiday decorations. Remember to avoid tinsel if you have a cat because this is tasty to them.

36. Call Trevor Horwell, my boyfriend, because he knows every trick to procrastinating! (I love you, T!)

37. If you have exhausted these, and paying your bills, clipping coupons, reading the Sunday Times, and your house is spotless, you are properly groomed, your cat is perfectly groomed, well, I hate to break it to you:

It's time to do that homework!

25 November 2003

You've decided to aim to be a professional runner!

This is an admirable decision, and to ensure you are taking the right steps, I've decided to give you some practical advice. See a doctor or a coach for any specific advice.

1. I hate to break it to you, but you will probably will never achieve professional fame. It is extremely hard. Also, despite common belief, pro runners are not celebrities, and do not associate with such people. Have you ever looked a runner during a race? Yup, that's why. Spit and snot all over our faces does not prove a photo op.

2. Making a committment. Some people find this the hardest part. Finding a training partner or joining a track group is probably the best way. Figure out a time for you when you won't slack; I prefer morning. You get more energy for the day, plus you get the added bonus of really understanding the weather for the day. ("Ahh...so I really can't wear my miniskirt today. I need snow pants!") You also get to know your neighborhood, another plus, when there aren't as many cars and people out. (Unless you run DURING rush hour...ouch.) Stick to it. Get pumped!

3. Attire. Make sure you remember this: In running magazines and advertisements--that's for rich runners. You are probably not a rich runner. You can of course buy nice running clothes (do it on sale) but you probably won't. I have clothes that I literally wore when I was twelve--wear it till it falls apart. You are running, not in a fashion show. Make sure you don't get chafing or have any other uncomfortable problems.

4. Attire, feet. Wear good socks or no socks--what your preference is you will soon discover. But a pair of sneakers that fit well and are durable is a must. Everyone has different feet, so although I love Saucony, they may feel awkward. Go to a sneaker store when it's not crowded, and run around in the different sneakers. If you can't decide, buy several pairs and wear them for a night in you house and see which is the best.

5. Before running, try to get something in you. I can't eat, but I know people who'd eat double-stuff oreos on the starting line of a race. I prefer two or three bites of a power bar, and a few sips of water.

6. Don't bring headphones or a cell phone. Amatuer! You are exercising, not socializing. Besides, it's hard to hear the cars and other noises that may save your life.

7. Be aware. Listen and look.

7. If you will be encountering cars on your runs, hang out with some sailors first. Then apply their language to the cars you encounter on the road. Remember, you can always shout the old, "Pedestrians always have the right of way."

8. Wear a watch. You will get lost, if you are like me and Crista.

9. Dress according to the weather, please.

10. If it is raining and you want to go running, remember: you will not melt. I use sunglasses as my windshields. Then you can see.

11. If you think you are incredible, run a road race. That's always fun, especially when someone forty years old (or younger) than you beats you.

12. Some dogs are good companions,- but cats are not. Trust me.

13. You will never look like Oprah. Keep running.

14. Eat well, treat your body good, get a lot of sleep, hydrate yourself, and shower so those around you don't have to get that close to your running. And now you are a runner!

23 November 2003


Real life sucks. We always want to grow up and start that job and etc etc but really, working 9 to 5 sucks. So here's some ideas, in light of a certain JP, that may postpone life. Please don't blame me for ruining your life--this is simply something to laugh at.

1. Go to an MFA program. It's fun and you'll get to work on your writing, so it's not a waste of time. Make the most of your time.

2. Go to a second MFA program at another school. This, however, unlike number one, is a waste of time. (Didn't you already get an MFA? Why do you need another one?)

3. Go to a Ph.D. program. Someone actually told me this (you know who I mean, Marie and Andrew) because they didn't want to approach real life. Um, let's see you struggle with that Ph.D. program and then get a job answering phones and tell me which is easier. I love research, so I'd def. prefer the Ph.D.

4. Live in Williamsburg, dress in clothes from Beacon's Closet, hang out in loft parties, at crappy cafes and restaurants on Bedford Avenue, live in a total dump where your toilet may be in a closet and your shower (no tub) is in your living room/kitchen. Get a job at a thrift store or simply mooch off your parents. (Option #2 is much preferred.) Call yourself an artist. Cover yourself with paint before leaving the house and stay up all night discussing Rimbaud, Camus, and other French-sounding people who you probably don't know what's going on. See a therapist that your parents pay for and bring your laundry home to your parents whenever they take pity on your hard life in the big city and pay for your plane ticket/train ticket home.

5. If you have loans, keep going to school. (This is a very popular option, as deferral is wonderful!)

6. Become a cat lady. Lose your job and when welfare comes over, they'll agree you're insane. Go to all the animal shelters in NYC metro area and claim you don't have a cat but want to rescue one. With one cat from each shelter, you're sure to have well over a hundred. Keep track of their names, feeding habits, and toys. Move into a studio apartment if you don't already and live there with the cats until someone complains about the ammonia-like smell emitting from your apartment.

7. Become a porno star.

8. Since #7 is probably unlikely, feign illness and tell someone who loves you that you can't work. Because you are not really sick, doctors won't be able to figure out your ailments. Stay in bed all day and when you're alone, do stomach crunches so you won't get fat and watch Pretty Woman.

9. Have people over who make your sheets smell like a gas leak and then you have to call the fire department. The smell will surely keep you out of work for a while. GLP.

10. Become a bike messenger. Quit after three days because your legs are sore. You can't afford the paper to look for jobs so just collect unemployment.

11. Temp.

12. Sell your eggs.

13. Raise rabbits and sell them.

14. Call yourself and actor and never study script or attempt acting; just carry around a play in your bag, preferably a Mamet.

15. Listen to Hot 97 and try to win all the contests. Maybe if you call enough you can win enough money to pay for your rent, and enough free concerts to take care of your social life.

16. Move in with your parents.

17. Move in with an older brother/sister who is cool and doesn't mind that you sleep all day on their couch as long as you wash all the dishes.

18. Call yourself a writer and sit in cafes (smoking cafes a plus) scribbling grocery lists, potential crushes, and other notes in a moleskin journal. Carry around something that screams, "WRITER!" Kerouac's "On the road" always seems to do this. Added plus: everyone loves (and occasionally, hates) Kerouac so you can have further distractions. Sip capuccino loudly and check your watch. Dress carefully, all in black.

19. Get certification and teach Yoga, swim classes at the Y.

20. If you are into S&M, open up a cat bathing service. After the scratches set in, close down and think of another business. An ice cream store in the winter. After that fails, find one of those "Dummies" books about opening a business and fail yet again.......

(I hope you get my humor!)

22 November 2003

REVIEW: Vitamin Water
Mmmmmmmmmmmm! Smart water, fruit water, and vitamin water rules!

However, let me recommend "Essential": a blend of carrot and orange is the absolute best. Experiment with flavors, and try to buy them on sale.
REVIEW: The G Train

everyone hates the G train. how can they not? it’s slow, runs fairly infrequently, and “goes through all of the worst neighborhoods in brooklyn” (as someone once said, except, of course, for Greenpoint; my theory is no one wants to move to some of these neighborhoods because of the G train so the neighborhoods never got yuppified, yay!). although because it’s the crosstown local, you can’t get directly into manhattan, and pretty much need to take a cab late at night, or walk from the L, there’s a few good things about the G.

+ it is very rare that i don’t get a seat on the G—even during rush hour.
+ makes commuting through brooklyn much faster than taking a bus.
+ easy to get to queens college.
+ because it’s so small, you get to know your conductors and train operators and fellow passengers.

HURRAY for the G!

17 November 2003

A message from your pets, this holiday season,
Courtesy of Luna Yanek

This holiday season, while you run around like a chicken with your head cut off shopping and buying the perfect gifts and wrapping and writing holiday cards and baking sheets of Christmas cookies and drinking bowls of egg nog and feeding each other chocolate-covered-cherries under the mistletoe, might I remind you: we pets would like a holiday too?

We're not asking for a plasma TV or a PDA; a new scratching post or some new toys would be perfect. I would like a hanging scratching board to hang around the doorknob so that I may irritate my mom further when she is asleep. Please, no doggy sweaters or kitty collars; we do not consider those presents.

If you claim financial strife, changing our litter box more than usual (or walking us if we are a dog, or changing our cage if we are a bird...you get the drift. I speak mainly for and as a cat, but other animals desire attention and love too!), or playing with us, or brushing us for hours are all low-cost or free options. On the other hand, clipping our nails, bathing us, and affixing a red bow around our neck, or a faux-Santa costume (especially if your pet is a ferret) is not a cute option. If we wanted and liked those things, we wouldn't struggle so.

In addition, remember as you are carving that turkey, or stirring that pudding...we'd like some please! I know dairy does cause flatulence in me, but if you really love me, you'd serve me extra treats, cat's milk, and big heaping bowls of warm wet food. MMMMM!

So remember us this holiday time. As we roll around in the tinsel, chase the ornaments rolling around the floor, attack the wrapping paper, and provide other holiday entertainment.....


14 November 2003


I know there’s a boy out there (maybe it’s my boyfriend) who is saying at this point, “Duh, wear warm pants.” Simple enough for those of us who have a large warm pants selection or those of us who like pants. I prefer skirts. I know it’s stupid, but I have nice legs and I might as well show them off when I’m young. Plus I have lots of cute skirts. Here are some tricks on staying warm in wintertime if you love showing off what you’ve got!

Macy’s has a great selection of stockings. Stay away from cheap drugstore brands because they have a tendency to run within hours, maybe minutes, of wearing them. It’s better to spend more money because they end up lasting longer—years, even. Go for a variety of colors and styles, and of course stock up on basic black.
My favorite brand is DKNY. Hue is also good. Stay away from Tommy Hilfigger; although they are costly, they tend to rip as easily as the cheap brands.

Ah, the old favorite. I feel like such a proper secretary or corporate powerhouse whenever wearing them. Especially when you can see my pale skin and my legs are “tan.” (I wish they would make a variety of colors for a variety of people’s skin colors but they insist that “tan” is what everyone wants. I think it looks ridiculous on almost anyone.)
The best brand that I’ve discovered is No-Nonsense Great Shapes or No-Nonsense Long Lasting. Just get any of the No-Nonsense ones that seem to be a bit more durable—they last many times and the shaper ones are great because they are thick like tights—warmer! Yay!

My personal favorite. They can be hard to find, but supposedly, they’re coming back. Check out dance stores, thrift stores, and E-bay. Put them on your Christmas list and let someone else run all over the city looking for them for you and you don’t have to do any work. Get different colors and mix and match them. You’ll get tons of compliments. The best thing about legwarmers is that you can get really warm when it’s not outside. Last weekend I wore pink tights with my hot pink legwarmers over them. I pulled up the leg warmers to make them tall when I was outside, and when I was in the bar, I scrunched them down for style. Yeah!
If you want to get me something for the holidays, legwarmers are great!

Wear pants underneath your skirt in layers; leggings and running pants make for a great look. Take them off when you get indoors if you’re self-conscious but they look hot!

They give you a bit extra warmth but not really. Unless they are fur-lined. Then wear them until your heart’s content! Yay!
If they aren’t fur-lined or warm-lined, wear some super thick socks, like fleece or cashmere, something warm anyway, and you’ll feel toasty!

12 November 2003

(okay so i'm really writing this for myself)

supposedly we all think life is stress. the happiest time in my recent time was when i was unemployed this summer--i went running twice a day, prepared soups and elaborate (for me!) meals, played with luna, worked on stories and writing, read books, listened to bille holliday while drinking tea and staring out the window from my rocking chair, practicing yoga. what's now to love about being unemployed? you tell me!

oh, the money. well who needs money anyway?

okay i really don't want to be evicted...

but since i'm taking three classes and working full time, trying to finish editing my novel, and raising a curious cat, i am very stressed.

i miss being unemployed.

i want to be finished with school.

well, i do need money to pay rent and i do need to go to school so i can get my degree. so how to deal with it?

1. take a day to say, "i don't care." this can involve going out and getting really drunk and spending all the money in your wallet. you might go shopping for a day when you should be reading some trite theory, or go dancing when you have a paper to write. you are not going to absorb any of that knowledge if you're miserable. RELAX!
2. figure a way to maximize your time--do your homework on the train, read novels in the bathtub, brush your teeth while peeing, mop your floor while talking on the phone.
3. order out. why bother cooking? you need more time. get disposable plates from the place and cutlery if you are really too lazy/busy to wash dishes.
4. drink lots of tea. that's really relaxing.
5. laugh a lot. even if it's not funny.
6. practice yoga.
7. take baths.
8. light candles around your apartment while you study.
9. read something by andrew weil and be convinced you just need to eliminate dairy. or learn his awesome breathing exercises--4-7-8!
10. dance. put on a cd, and study with it playing softly. when track 19, or whatever your favorite track is, comes on, get up and dance. crazy. play it loud. then reduce the volume and resume studying. put on repeat. repeat.
11. make to-do lists and cross things out. how satisfying.
12. meditate.
13. sleep. (rip van winkle, my boyfriend, told me that one.)
14. spend some time with somebody who is not stressed, like your grandmother. play rummikube with her and hold her hand. sometimes being around people who are not stressed is relaxing--and often they can help out, whether it be brushing your hair or just spreading their love.
15. tell your cat how stressed you are. then give your cat a treat. she is fine either way, but happier with the treat. now drink lots and lots of water. make sure your cat does the same.

i don't know how to do it. so i figured i'd post and you can email me at cheriecat@aol.com and we can help each other out.

09 November 2003


I lived in Colorado for two years. Having traveled to other New England towns and other places around our little country, I have decided to give you some advice: NY pizza is good; everything else sucks.

If you don't believe that and you want some more advice, or you want to try pizza and you're living in Kansas, here's some advice.

1. Pizza Hut will make you ill--too much grease. Don't try Dominos, or most other "chain" pizzerias like that.
2. If it says "New York pizza," it probably isn't. Go in there and ask if you can use the bathroom. (New York pizzerias usually let you so if they don't, get out of there quick.) Listen to the way they talk--if they sound "New York" or "Italian," eat there. But if you hear them say, "eye-tayl-yun"--get out of there as soon as you can!
3. If you go in and see no pizza but a menu, don't eat there. Either it's a "spot" (in which case you don't want to eat there) or they are awful cooks. One instance I had in Colorado was very bizarre. I ordered a spinach slice, figuring it's going to be your usual spinach slice. Instead, from some compartment underneath the cabinet, they pulled out a slice of pizza, and then sprinkled some dried spinach on it, and then put it through some weird toaster oven with a conveyer belt type of thing. Very scary, and disgusting too. Avoid this type of "cooking" at all costs.
4. If they call their heroes "grinders" or some other weird Midwestern term, this usually means they are scary.
5. If they serve something that is definitely not pizzeria material. (Kinda like how all the Chinese places in New York have started serving chicken fingers and french fries--What???)
6. If it doesn't smell like pizza, it WILL NOT taste like pizza.

So basically, don't eat pizza outside New York. If you must have pizza, Jetblue and Song are both fairly inexpensive. Everyone has their favorite pizzeria. I love mine on the corner, Triangolo's. The guys are very friendly and the food is awesome and cheap.

If this isn't an option, my aunt recommends Boboli (you build a crust, something like that). Trev takes frozen pizza and sometimes jazzes it up with peppers or whatever it is that he likes.

NB: There are some decent pizzerias outside of New York, though they are few and far between. For instance, some Brooklynites moved to Melbourne where they have an incredible pizzeria on the beach. This is okay. Remember: listen to the way they talk.

Above all, smell, look, and keep some Tums on hand if you're really not sure. But honestly, if you're really not sure, you shouldn't even be eating there in the first place!


06 November 2003



in case you sadly don't know, luna is my adorable brown-grey-black striped tabby cat. she is so cute. in order for you to understand her, i decided to interview her.

cherie: tell us a bit about yourself.
luna: meow.
c: something a bit more substantial, luna. the people on my blog don't understand our language.
l: excuse me. well i am a beautiful cat and very wonderful. everyone loves to pet me. if you want to get on my good side, scratch around/behind the ears. meeeeee-ow!
c: what about brushing?
l: that's good, i'll let you brush me.
c: let me?
l: it's all about pleasing me. i didn't choose you, you chose me.
c: that's so mean.
l: well, i did cuddle up in your arms when you got me. you seemed like someone who feeds me a lot. and you did but then you stopped. mean.
c: luna, the vet even insulted your fat stomach.
l: people can lie!
c: luna, you lost some weight and now you're so much healthier. i even increased the amount of food you get.
l: but you still feed me diet food.
c: luna, let's not discuss this now. let's talk about your hobbies, and what you do when i'm at work all day.
l: i usually wake you up but meowing and running around the apartment at the same time your alarm goes off. you can't snooze a cat so i haunt you and follow you, meowing and rubbing against you--until you feed me. i sit on my little window seat, looking out the window, and hide under the futon when i hear a loud noise. if something is really scary, i hide under the bed, in the back dark corner.
days i spend eating--my number one hobby--drinking, clawing the futon, the orange tabby stuffed cat, whatever else i can attack. i play with little pieces of paper, ribbon, and sometimes, the toys i have. oh, and i love chewing on the little strings from the vertical blinds--the best.
c: what else? do you like to sleep?
l: i love to sleep. at night i sleep on my special pillow next to you.
c: isn't that cute? she's so cute.

04 November 2003



i say i want a nice ring for our anniversary.

it is supposed to be some sort of “promise” ring. you give me tanzanite and pearl on white gold. sitting on your living room carpet, you deliver some sort of speech. “the world’s supply of tanzanite will be completely mined in the next ten years. this ring will be worth a lot more in the future.” and, “this is a promise ring. i promise my life to you. i promise my love.” it is stupid to marry someone who lives 2,000 miles from you so we will wait for all that stuff until we are geographically together again. you also say the promise of love is stronger than marriage, and the promise of the self is stronger than any sort of legal vows.

i am careful with the ring. i never wear it in the shower, like i do with my other jewelry. everyone comments on its beauty.

but two weeks later: “i’m not sure if i’m in love with you anymore,” you tell me. the ring you gave me, this promise ring, the point of it invalid. i am crying, wear it in the bathtub this once. two years and then two weeks and then what?

a month later. we are still not together but we are not broken up. i say you are having issues and you say i am your issue. i wear the ring everyday anyway. “i’m never giving this back,” i tell you. “i’m not asking you to,” you tell me, calm at my hysteria. i cry daily, everywhere: in class, in the supermarket, on my bike, at work in the bathroom on break.

at a party, i meet another man. we are talking over loud house music and i look at my finger. a pearl is missing. “it’s missing!” a friend of mine says it is a sign. but i find it on the floor, right next to the other man’s shoe. i wonder if that is another sign.

i give the ring and the pearl back to you. it cannot be fixed and you cannot return it. you put it in a ziploc baggy in your sock drawer.

we are together again, sort of. we say we are figuring our issues out. you buy me another ring; amethyst, three square stones of it, on a simple white gold band. it is too big for my finger so you return it.

we are in orlando and i can smell disneyworld. we are shopping amongst tourists. i pretend to look at engagement rings. not pretend to look but pretend you are giving me one. a saleswoman, “can i help you?” the rings are expensive but i want one anyway. i want the whole kneeling “will you marry me” ceremony. you point out a non-engagement ring—two tanzanite stones, three opal stones, and little diamonds, on white gold. it is beautiful but “too expensive.” you buy it for me anyway.

i suppose you are in love with me again.

29 October 2003


Browsing through www.yourdictionary.com, I noticed that Hors d'oeuvre was there! I was just thinking of it yesterday; one of my favorite words.

When I was younger, I called them "whores day vour" and thought Hors d'oeuvre was different from "or-derbs." Two different words, two different spellings, but the same meaning. Like sick and ill.

My mother cleared things up one family party when she was serving the elegant pigs in a blanket and potato puffs we so cherished when we were younger.

And so, time to eat! Not tapas, but Hors d'oeuvres!

Today's Word:
Hors d'oeuvre (Noun)

Pronunciation: [or-'dêrv]
Definition 1: A small savory appetizer served before a meal or with cocktails.
Usage 1: The plural of today's word is straightforward (hors d'oeuvres); it is the singular that throws us the curve. The [h] isn't pronounced in the first word and there is a superabundance of vowels in the second. And why do we need that apostrophe in the middle? Still, we have to spell it correctly, so here is the opportunity to learn how for any who might not have done so already.
Suggested usage: Of course, the object in the creation of hors d'oeuvres is to incorporate the most exotic ingredients obtainable: "She served a rich assortment of hors d'oeuvres made from small ugly creatures on the periphery of the animal kingdom that we would ordinarily try to avoid." However, since hors d'oeuvres are tasty tidbits, they lend themselves deliciously to metaphor, "Stepping on Claudine's toe as he helped her into the car was but the hors d'oeuvre to the resplendent feast of faux pas (blunders) Humphrey regaled her with the first time they went out together."
Etymology: Today's word means "outside of work" in French. When it originally entered English at the beginning of the 18th century, it was used as an adverb and noun meaning "(something) outside the ordinary." Later, the meaning settled on what was at the time called a "whet," a savory morsel served outside the regular course of a meal. The word "oeuvre" has a rich artistic heritage. Not only does it refer to culinary art, but it is the natural descendant of Latin "opera," the plural of opus "work" which, in the phrase opus magnum "great work," refers to the most important work of any artist. (Speaking of which, we must recognize the great work of our old friend Dr. Richard R. Everson, who prompted us to write up today's word and as he has so many others.)
—Dr. Language, yourDictionary.com

Each day yourDictionary.com offers a description of a word prepared by a linguistic expert. Each Word of the Day is an authoritative guide to the pronunciation, definition, and etymology of the word with caveats about any pitfalls in its usage. We even give you some ideas for using it in innovative ways. And since it's from the world's most comprehensive language portal, you can be assured it will help you master the language and keep your vocabulary growing.


28 October 2003

please note:

also at my mother's prom, my father insisted upon bringing her to the coolest after-prom place. (i don't know, i went to a club afterwards, and then the beach. isn't that pretty much standard? except in boulder, colorado, the kids hang out in the pearl street mall.)

my father's idea was to go to the airport. i'm not sure what this involved, i guess watching the planes maybe. (a la wayne's world? i hope not!) apparently everyone in his high school did this.

my mom was not happy about this decision but went along with it anyway. (why mom?) no one was there and she was stuck with the guy with a dodge dart and brown shoes/black pants.

and she's still with him! must be something pretty special...

26 October 2003


the loving courtship of kathy russell and ken yanek

december 22, 1969
she met him at a bowling alley, where he was working. he said there weren’t any lanes available. she was with his friend lynn. after she left, he asked around about the mysterious blonde, but a mutual friend denied him access to her phone number, saying, “if you really want it, you can get it.” he called lynn to get the phone number of her blonde friend. lynn thought he was calling to ask her on a date, not kathy.

when he went to pick her up for their first date, which was a night at her parents’ house, he spent most of the night playing ping-pong with her father.

“he wore an old-man button-down sweater vest. i hate those,” she remembered. he felt it was “in vogue,” with leather trim on the pockets.

the first valentine he ever gave her said, “you’re one in a million, the wrong one.” he thought it was funny. she didn’t. he also gave her a stuffed rat so big she could use it as a pillow.

“i almost dumped him because he was sometimes annoying. but i figured i should stay with him because he wrote me really nice poems and i thought there must be something more than meets the eye.”

he said, “open the glove compartment. there’s something for you in there.” there was a necklace box from a jeweler’s. she opened it. inside was a rubber snake.

in the poems he wrote for her, with titles such as “true love was found” and “close your eyes and sleep,” he called her a “mystical woman” and thanked fate for placing them together.

for her prom, he wore black pants and brown shoes. she made everyone who took pictures of them not include his shoes in the pictures. also, he drove them to her prom in his brown dodge dart. her best friend’s boyfriend drove a camaro. she really wanted a man with a corvette. but she didn’t have a car so what could she say?

when he proposed, they were at bay park. a friend of his gave his fiancé “a rock so big she couldn’t even hold up her hand properly.” this inspired ken to say, “here’s a rock for you.” it was a rock from the beach. he wrote “i love you” on it. he said, “this is your rock until i can afford a ring.” he gave her the ring a year later. they were going to buy it from the diamond exchange where he wore a hawaiian shirt and baggy shorts and sandals with socks and nobody would help them at first because who would expect a man who wore socks with sandals to buy a ring? but they didn’t buy it there because everyone told them what a rip-off the diamond exchange is so they got it down on canal street.

29 years later, they’re still married.

the bowling alley is now a toilet factory.

23 October 2003


I know it's not a real review, but everyone keeps asking how my job is. Well, it's good. So I figured I'd review it.

What I do...I'm a library assistant. I do stuff including photocopy articles to be put in the archives, file stuff, sort the mail and log it into our magazine database, catalog books, work on projects and update the magazine archives. It's good; not the super-perfect library job I was seeking but that probably doesn't exist and this is a great job that's a good learning experience for library school. And it pays well.


It sucks. I work at the bottom of Manhattan; I take the 6 to Bowling Green or the E to WTC or the A to Fulton; either way, it requires two or three trains. It takes about 40 minutes. Yes, I really hate the G train. But it's not so bad. I'm thinking of that studio in the East Village that could've been mine, how nice it would be....ah, but even with a 15 minute commute, I'd still have roaches. Yuck!


They're all nice. Very VERY NICE. They're good to me, especially my boss; the idea that if I'm good to you, you're good to me. Etc. I really love librarians. They're always the coolest, you know that. Just think of Mary in Party Girl.

Different from the commute; it's right down by Wall Street. I pass the Stock Exchange on my lunch hour and can see the ferry from my job. It's a very corporate-y environment, a much different vibe from Midtown or Chelsea, where I've usually worked. But it doesn't seem as stressed or cranky as Midtown; I almost like it better. But yeah, Chelsea's much better. Food is $$, as anywhere else, but it's not bad.

Ultra-modern with super-$$ architecture that may not be function, but attractive. VERY different from Naropa (not to mention that it's corporate...hahah, who'd've think? Cheryl is corporate! But the setting is stylish and durable and comfortable. The ergonomics!
Another plus: I can see the water from my window! Yay! And if you walk down the hall, you can see the Statue of Liberty. By my desk, there are huge windows--I get lots and lots of sunlight and like to stare out the window.

Casual corporate.

The company I work for uses laptops---barely any desktops. You lock your laptop in a drawer at night. Makes easy for meetings..."well, let me just find that file here, I have it on my computer."


21 October 2003


I've always been a fan of old Quentin since the old days, so I thought for sure I would adore this movie like all his others. Let's just say I left the movie before it was over, and I've never done that. (I barely watch movies as it is, but hey...)

Back in my MFA program at Naropa, one of my writing teachers had us watch reservoir Dogs to study the dialogue--it was that good, according to Keith Abbott and others. Yes it is. A friend of mine when I was younger was obsessed with Pulp Fiction so I've only seen that about four times...

My sister called me and told me she just saw the worst movie.
"What movie?" I asked her.
KILL BILL, she told me. "It's SO violent."
I laughed, "That's Quentin." Melissa did not like a bit of gore, but I guess it's standard in movies, like it or not. (And I don't.) Just look away when they're slicing the ear off and then you're good to go.

Later, my neighbor told me that supposedly, Kill Bill has been labeled the most violent movie ever, and has used the most blood in a movie. That's not a fact though.

The movie opens with a closeup of Uma spattered in blood. Then you hear (maybe see? I closed my eyes) her get shot. Then credits.

Next Uma and this other woman kick ass martial arts style--good effects but a bit too bloody for me. Apparently, this woman was one of the few who tried to kill Uma and company at her wedding. In the end, Uma (the bride, I can't remember her name in the movie, but the bride is what we all see on the subway platforms, so you know what I mean) ends up killing this other woman--in front of her own daughter.

Artistically, great. The writing, director, cameras, wonderful. I'm not a bona fide film critic but it was wonderful techniques. I know film school students who idolize Tarrantino. The story is NOT in chronological order, which makes it more interesting, Quentin-style.

So then you go onto the wedding. Basically, the groom, bride, and others at the wedding are all shot. The bride is the only one who lives. And yes, she was preggers. :( Covered in blood. Disgusting. Too much blood.

There's a story of one violated character whose horribly violent childhood is told in the form of animation--very creative. However, these cartoons were sick--too much blood. Yuck.

Eventually, I had to leave. The amount of blood was too much for me to stomach. Instead, I went across the street to Sephora and bought eye makeup remover. Better than the movie.

When Trevor came out, he met me on the corner and told me it got bloodier. He liked it. I don't want to spoil the ending and tell you what he already told me, but I'm supposed to be reviewing this anyway. But I can't review it because it made me too upset. However, Mr. T, I love your movies except this one was too violent for me (and others). You're still great.

Rating Scale:
Creativity: A+
Violence: beyond the extremes
Overall: 10 if you like violence, 1 if you don't, 5 if you are neutral

17 October 2003


Douglas Coupland is clearly my absolute favorite author. He’s been witty and clever throughout his works. Instead of offering in-depth reviews of all his works, here’s a brief description of all of his titles. If you want further suggestions, email me at cheriecat@aol.com

Generation X (1991)

Featuring photographs, quotes in the like of Barbara Kruger, this is the book that made Coupland known. Fabulous. Sometimes, however, the columns make you wonder where to put the bookmark.

Shampoo Planet (1992)

Coupland’s second published novel is story of an image-obsessed young man ready to profit from our consumerist country—born to a hippie mom. Hilarious!

Life After God (1994)
A novel in several short sections. Complete with mini-drawings here in there. With characters named Pup-tent, this shows you life in all its forms, gritty and not. Let’s try to stop time, the characters insist, only to learn, no, it’s truly impossible. Most importantly, like all of Coupland’s works, but especially LAG, he makes you think.

Microserfs (1995)
A young “Micro-nerd” who works at a computer company, who ends up wooing a coworker, another microserf. Incidents involving a coworker who barricades himself in his office (Hilarious—he sustains himself by the flat food—including Kraft individually-wrapped sliced cheese—his coworkers slip under the door.), as well as lists, emails, and other formats make this read entertaining!

Polaroids from the Dead (1996)
Beautiful photographs. Includes true stories (oooh! Nonfiction!) with some short stories about 90’s deadheads and others.

Lara’s Book: Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider Phenomenon (with Kip Ward; 1998)
This book is actually mostly a comic book that Coupland does the words for. It’s not a true comic book; it has beautiful graphics and Coupland’s writing makes it take off.

Girlfriend in a Coma (1998)

**My favorite of Coupland’s novels!**
In senior year of high school, one mysterious night, Karen slips into a coma for seemingly unexplainable reasons. Seventeen years later, having had a baby with Richard via caesarean (the conception occurred hours before she fell into a coma), Karen wakes up and is introduced to a completely different world with no more Communism, the Berlin Wall down, microwaves, and airbags. You read it, because if I go into any more, I’ll spoil it for you!

Miss Wyoming (1999)

Former beauty queen/actor survives a plane crash but hides to avoid her overbearing mother while a major movie director hallucinates about Susan, and is convinced she’s the one. Wild adventures lead them apart, and together, and apart.

City of Glass (2000)
A book with gorgeous full-color photos by various photographers. Coupland takes us on the tour of his hometown, Vancouver, and convinces us why we should love it. I’m ready to move there myself!

All Families are Psychotic (2001)

Hilarious! A family reunion when overachiever and astronaut Sarah is taking off. Her divorced parents, stepmother, and two brothers all come to witness, with girlfriends, wives, and an insane adventure involving illegal money, diseases, and sneaking around.

School Spirit (the Encounters Series) with Pierre Huyghe (2003)

Pierre Huyghe is creating a series, Encounters, where he works with one individual on a chosen theme. Coupland picked “school spirit,” and it’s interesting the way Huyghe’s photographs complement Coupland’s words. Wow.

Hey Nostradamus! (2003)

His newest work tells the tale of Jason, who never has gotten over his first love, Cheryl, murdered in an incident highly resonating of the 1998 massacre in Columbine High School, Littleton, CO. Told in voices of different characters, it really helps to fill out the story in a rounder way, even though sometimes I don’t believe Reg. And of course I don’t like Heather, Jason’s girlfriend in a later time. (Long lives the murdered heroine, Cheryl—not to mention that we share the same name.)

13 October 2003

Music for Torching by A.M. Homes

A.M. Homes is slowly but surely becoming my favorite author. I began with Things You Should Know, then The Safety of Objects, followed by In a Country of Mothers. But none captivated me as Music for Torching did.

When a book makes me cry, it's powerful. When I can't put it down, it's a classic (in my mind). This novel is the story of one family: Elaine, the tired and unthanked housewife; Paul, the philandering and sleazy husband; and two sons, one the angel and one the brat. While it seems like it's a story that's been told dozens of times, it hasn't.

Too tired to cook dinner one night, Elaine asks Paul to barbecue. After some joking around with lighter fluid, Paul begins seducing Elaine by their barbecue. What happens next results in a fire that Elaine and Paul hope to purify her and start her anew: but which ends with both hilarious and devastating results. (Lingers on the theme that you can't run away from your troubles; they just follow you.)

I won't spoil anything, but the characters encountered include: a very, very sexy cop; the perfect housewife who puts Elaine to shame until Elaine really gets to know her; a "date" who manages to convince Paul to alter even his private area, among other humorous characters.

A.M. Homes brings these characters to life--and you can relate to them. Humorous, delightful. Even the end, when a tragic incident occurs involving a school hostage situation, when I was crying, still, I was thanking A.M. Homes for delivering such a powerful and beautiful novel.