We were there for the stories, which we found in abundance. I made these flowers out of a dough made of sugar, taught by these ladies in what’s called the Sugar Craft Guild. When I get married I’ll order a sugar craft cake from Scotland, despite the fact that they’re hundreds of dollars! Posted by Hello


The first Buddhist monastery in the U.K., in western Europe, is outside Lockerbie — Samye Ling. It’s home to monks and nuns, but also those from the community who want, or need, to remove themselves into its solitude. Posted by Hello


So spring gets me thinking, especially March’s impending warmth. Last time I was in school I spent break in Lockerbie, Scotland, working on a book. This is the town hall — the stained glass window features the flag for each country that lost a victim in the Pan Am 103 bombing in Dec. 1988. Posted by Hello

I don’t like working. I really don’t. I dunno, maybe I got it wrong, this go to school and get the education and get a job and, of course, be completely fulfilled.

Two problems with that equation: First, it takes much more to be fulfilled than work, and those who think that it’s the be-all-end-all frighten me. I work for them—I don’t want to be them.

But, then again, and this is No. 2, were I doing something I truly loved I might be, nay, would be more than willing to keep at it until my fingers were bloody stumps.

And that’s where I may have gone wrong.

Bad planning, that’s all. Much in my life has been a lack of, or lack of decent, planning. And for the most part I’m fine with that, I follow my path, a combination of dumb luck and laser-like precision in regard to the goals I set, when I set them, but quite honestly, had I been better at the planning/goal thing from the get-go, I’d be somewhere else entirely, working my fingers to bloody stumps in a cold, damp studio making little money but, at the end of the day (or night, as tended to be the case), eyes bloodshot and mouth slack, it’d be worth it.

But maybe I’m at a crossroads. Perhaps. Before the holidays I met my roommate at UArts, wandered with her to her studio space, wandered around, and got so sad: Different school, same smells, sounds, feel. It took me eight years to get my bachelor’s degree, partly because I did it myself and sometimes money/ambition was hard to find, and partly because I simply did not want to leave.

Unfortunately, in this country you don’t get anything for free, and the student loan trolls are always breathing down my neck. Thus, Plan B., go with something else I love to do and seem marginally good at: writing. Only, journalism is no longer journalism, it’s clock punching and advertorials, and it pays complete and utter shit. So, here I am, working at a job that pays the bills, ain’t so bad—the people are cool, the cause it good, the end result is well worth the effort—and I’m still thinking, at the end of the day (when it eventually comes—ugh!) that it’s Just. Not. Right.

So where do I go from here? Who the hell knows. Nowhere if I don’t want to, but that’s never been my style. I just wish there was an easy way, a flash of lightning and the answers are clear, the direction obvious, fate steps in and tells me the way. Or, maybe that’s what it’s been doing all along. Fate. Karma. Destiny. I’m big on them all. I believe there are people who come into our lives for a reason, leave for a reason, and while I know there’s not just one person for all of us, there are those we meet who inspire us to be more than we are, who just appear and you wonder how the hell you got by without them before.

Maybe I’m just being impatient.

And intensely introspective, with a glass of wine, of course! (I am a writer after all. It’s one of the few perks—brooding over something alcoholic.) A combination of a conversation I had with one of my roommates this weekend and a book I’m reading about Pennsylvania coal miners has me in a funk. Maybe I’m just being picky, or spoiled, or unrealistic, but I feel as though I have a responsibility to follow my talents, due, for different reasons, to ancestors on both sides.

On one side you have the Pennsylvania coal miner and his wife, who worked in a sewing factory. Doing anything else was never an option, and survival was everything for my grandparents, whose own grandparents weren’t even born here. I watched them as they hid cash throughout the house and stock-piled canned goods, the behavioral remnants of the Depression. I watched them work, and, in the end, I watched them die–he from Black Lung, she from Leukemia. I ran the Dublin marathon with her name around my wrist, and lit a candle in St. Patrick’s for the woman who always wanted to, but never did, travel outside the U.S.

On the other side you’ve got my grandfather, the artist who traded paintings for alcohol and lived in a log cabin by a fjord, and his son, my dad, who also did his own thing, coming to the U.S. in his 20s to fly planes—something he had no idea how to do. These days I think he flies 747s, or something equally loud.

So, I feel I owe such a tremendous debt to so many people for making it possible for me to have options, and to know that, if you have a goal, you just have to work for it until it happens.

I have such a hard time living in the here and now sometimes, like now, thanks to a nagging at the back of my brain: “More. There’s more.” I’m just not sure what it is or how to get there. Perhaps I simply need to get some sleep …

SPRING! SPRING! SPRING! SPRING! SPRING! SPRING!

So I did something I’ve never done before today: I took a spinning class.

‘kay, so, I’m all about the street, the sights, sounds, dodging cars, people and pets. You name it, I love it. But, after a bad day I decided I needed to kick it up a notch. And oh shit did I ever. It’s so surreal, all these stationery bikes in a dark room with dance music blaring. And, for the first half it was me gasping, sucking air like a fish flailing on the floor, pedaling like a granma, feeling like Ullrich getting the smackdown on the Alps in ’01.

Thankfully, riding a stationery bike is just like, well, riding a bike, and these gobs of muscles remembered what the fuck they’re supposed to be doing, and I think, had I been moving, I might have been able to pass that granma….provided she was using a walker…and was blind.

Whoo. How many more weeks before I get to ride for real?!!?

Of course, the month of February must be done away with first. Good thing it’s moving at a steady clip, and I swear to god if I see one snow flake I’m out there with my blowdryer!

The thing I hate most about this time of year is not the manic weather, but rather Valentine’s Day, and not for the reason one might think. Oh sure, yeah, “Valentine’s Day makes single people feel so baaad! Wah wah waaaah!” Naw, with or sans boy I still hate it, goddamned Hallmark-induced-mindless-spending-and-no-sex-for-you-should-you-forget-to-spend-an-inordinate-amount-of-money-on-red-shiny-crap-day!

You can spend all the money in the world on roses, but if your socks are lying around on the floor for weeks at a time, growing their own ecosystem and scaring even the roaches, it’s pointless.

I guess I’m old and jaded. Fine. I’d rather be old and jaded than old and hanging with someone I want to see on the side of a milk carton on a regular basis!

But, I’m not the only one like me. It’s an epidemic, and I for one would like to see some changes, goddamn it. I mean, we can stay single forever, we can make our own money, change the oil in the car and fix the plumbing, but it gets boring after a while.

Thus, I have deduced a Spinsterella manifesto for me’n’my girls: I am hereby placing a moratorium on 20-30-something-year-old boring lifeless chicken-shit pussy men. To date we chickies they must:

  1. Have the ability to converse. Period.
  2. They don’t have to be highly educated or have a lot of exotic experiences, but for chrissakes don’t hold our lives against us. We’re not better, just more in debt, and can probably win at Trivial Pursuit.
  3. Know what you want, and do something about it. As Grandma used to say, “Piss or get off the pot.” You want to date us, then date us, you’re not sure, then don’t. No vacillation, no uncertainty, yes or no, and no going back and forth between us and your baby mama, or we’re going to gang up on you and stab you in the neck with chopsticks.
  4. If you want to date us, then you kinda’ have to let us know. Sure, we can locate misplaced items with the weird homing device hidden somewhere in our uterus’ (uterii? And, yeah, it’s a weird thing…..I think it’s right next to the gaydar button…) but we’re not psychic. Well, except for that chick on that TV show…
  5. This is just for me, but you have to know how to use the word peloton in a sentence…
  6. And this is the hardest part, and I’ll be the one to admit it, and possibly risk losing my girl club card, but no matter how much dough we rake in, or how well we can hammer a nail, there’s something to be said for being “wooed.” I know, old fashioned and such, but there’s a reason chick flicks are all about that shit. I for one would gladly spend the rest of my life with someone who knocks my socks off. Well, not literally. That’s crossing a line, and see No. 3 for the resulting punishment.

But, the best part, is that in return for all this you’ll get a damn cool babe who’ll knock your socks off in return… and maybe even pick them up off the floor for you every once in a while…with chopsticks, of course!