Wednesday, March 28, 2012

everything all at once

Sometimes i think i have already written all of my words. I have been prodigal with my talent, squandering it early in my life on diary entries, unfinished short stories, and unnecessarily witty Facebook statuses. I worry that i will spend the rest of my life editing the same thirty or forty poems over and over and blogging about what other people did at work.

I feel empty, drained, squeezed, scraped, dry.

And then i'm in class watching two students present, and M is talking way too slowly and giving far too much detail while K does absolutely everything he can think of short of pulling the fire alarm to get M's attention and signal him to wrap it up. After all, part of their grade is based on the time they take.

And then i'm at home cleaning and Adam is blown up and i'm lighting candles and tattooing my flesh.

And then i'm at the beach with John eating fresh doughnuts and i am overcome with love and joy.

I'm stuck because there is too much to say. My words aren't gone, they're piling together so fast that they are clogging the funnel of my hands and mind. I can't write because it is impossible to choose just one word, one image, one moment.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Clearly I Need To Get More Tattoos

Today marks the one-year anniversary of my first ever blog post. It was a poem i wrote for class; i edited it and posted it as the introduction for who i am and why i do what i do.

The year has gone by quickly. April was when i started dating John and moved into my first real apartment, May was my college graduation, August was when i started my first grown-up job, September was when i started grad school, October was when my brother was wounded, February was my first "real" Valentine's day and my first venture into vegetarianism AND the time i met Mark Oshiro AND the day that my brother's leg was amputated, and my first year of blogging closed out with a continuation of reasons that i should live with my boyfriend, reflections on my brother, and a very strange piece of short creative non-fiction i wrote in my sophomore year of college.

I have to be honest: i'm still not totally sure what this blog is. It's probably most honest to call it a diary (or LiveJournal, if you're Benji and want to make fun of me).

My confusion is shared by my readers, as evidenced by some of my search terms. The most popular search term of all time is "never settle tattoo", which makes sense, since my most popular blog post of all time is the one where i talk about getting a tattoo that says 'never settle'. My second most popular search term is "Diana Lark", which means that i'm famous because people are actually searching for me by name. Right? Third is "awasiwi odinak", which was the title of this post about how i like nature and travel and walking and such. For those of you who may have Googled this term looking for a definition, i got the phrase from the TV show The West Wing. According to them, it means either 'beyond the village' or 'far from the things of man'. My fourth most popular term is represented by several variations of "world's happiest turtle". My favorite variation is "picture turtle eating a strawberry you'll never experience this joy". That seems awfully threatening to me. (Is threatening the word i want?) Anyway, if you want to know the kind of joy you're missing out on, the picture is at the top of this post.

As of this moment, i have gotten just over 2,000 pageviews. Total. In one year. My boyfriend keeps getting excited about my blog stats and telling me that i will be a famous blogger, and doesn't really listen when i tell him that many bloggers who are not really "famous" generally get several hundred pageviews a day. My record is 284 in one month. Furthermore, most bloggers are only famous to other bloggers. We're a weird bunch.

Anyway, i'm glad to see you all here. For those of you who are looking for more tattoos, rest assured that i am working on it. In fact, i've gotten another tattoo and just haven't written about it yet. For those looking for Diana Lark, you've come to the right place. For those looking to get away from it all, maybe start by turning off your computer and going outside? And for those looking for cute turtles eating strawberries, ME TOO. They are absurdly precious, aren't they?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Overheard in the Office 12

One of my coworkers just asked me to "tell the internet that I watched Die Hard last night."

Monday, March 19, 2012

Red M&Ms Really Do Taste Better

I know, there's no flavoring associated with the colored coating. It's just food coloring and sugar. My brain is hard-wired to interpret colors as flavors, and red is my favorite color, so i think that they taste better when they really taste exactly the same. In a blind taste test, i wouldn't be able to tell one color from the next.

Except that the red ones are clearly superior.

Notice how all the other colors are supporting the red one.

I have carefully researched evidence to back up my claims: Mars (the company that makes them, not the planet or the god) makes more red ones than any other color. I know this because i have started buying bags of their peanut butter M&Ms to keep in my desk for when i need an afternoon sugar/protein boost. I bought a bag at the end of the summer, and as it was running out, i replaced it with two bags of the "fall colors" candies. These were, in their turn, replaced by Christmas ones, which were replaced by Valentine's ones.

Each of these bags contains a variety of colors, but they all have red. Furthermore, they all have a higher proportion of red to other colors.

How do i know?

So orderly and delicious.
Because i like the red ones best, and because i am slightly (extremely) OCD, i eat my M&Ms in reverse spectrum order. I also count out the exact same number each time for my serving. This means that when i eat the non-seasonal ones, i eat two of each color: brown, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red. Twelve total. The fall ones have four colors: brown, dark yellow, red, and a dark purply-red. This means that i eat three of each of these, and i eat them in this order: yellow, brown, purply-red, red. Christmas is red, dark green, light green, and white; again, three of each, and dark green-light green-white-red. And Valentines are three each of white, light pink, dark pink, and red.

The significance of this is that when the bag is new, i always eat the same number of each color. But some colors run out faster than others. I compensate by eating more of the other colors to ensure that i eat exactly twelve every time. I often compensate with the red ones, because they are my favorite. Yet red is always the last color to run out.

You could explain this in one of three ways:

  • I am delusional.
  • Mars knows that people like red best (Kool-Aid's default color is red, as is Hawaiian Punch, Twizzlers, and many popular fruits like apples and cherries), so they make more red ones than any others in order to subconsciously trigger consumer's brains to think that M&Ms are inexplicably slightly better than all other candies. This is also why the original M&Ms spokescandy was a red M&M.
  • The Mars company is actually located on the Mars planet (the red planet) and owned by the Mars god (god of war).

I suppose it's possible that this is all coincidence. Maybe somewhere in the world, there is a person who never gets any red M&Ms, or at most, one or two per bag. Well, if that person is you, and you are reading this now, i am not going to share.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

You Gotta Watch Out For Those Naps

Once, I woke up to go to class. And it was dark and quiet in my room. And my bed was sooo warm. And the room was cold. And my pillow was whispering sweet nothings in my ear. And I had an A in that class anyway. And I'd never skipped it before.
So I went back to sleep.

I woke up an hour later, wishing I hadn’t stayed up to finish the movie the night before. I couldn’t miss the next class. I dragged myself out of my bed. The impression left by my body looked strangely empty and desolate. As I opened my dresser drawers, picking out clothes for the day, my pajamas rubbed against my skin seductively. “Come to bed with us,” they murmured. “You know you want to.” I glanced back towards the bed. My pillows were shooting me covert glances. I began to waver, and was just about to crawl back under the covers when I glanced at the clock and realized that I was about to be late to a class that I absolutely couldn’t miss. Frantically, I yanked off my pajamas, shutting them in the drawer, and hurriedly made my bed. There. That was better. Surely I’d be safe now.

But I’d forgotten about the naps.

This being my sophomore year of college, I knew a lot about naps. I had learned the year before that naps are vicious. They attack suddenly and without warning. I was attacked by one in my freshman year: I was sitting on my bed, doing homework, when suddenly I was forced down onto my stomach by a nap. Once I was reclining, the battle was over.

Today was different, though. It began stalking me as soon as I sat down in class. It sat in the seat behind me and stared holes in the back of my head, making concentration impossible. In chapel, it sat beneath my pew and snapped at my ankles. It wasn’t ready to devour me yet, however. It just wanted to play with me for a while, wear down my defenses. Finally, it cornered me in my room, an hour before dinner. It didn’t let me go until well after dinner had begun. I almost missed my meal.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

shopping 3/13

  • 1 citrus air freshener
  • 12 rolls toilet paper
  • 1 box penne rigata
  • two boxes various condoms
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 2 artichokes
  • 1 rutabaga
  • 1 bouquet small red lilies
Sometimes i wonder what the cashier is thinking as he or she rings up my purchases.

Monday, March 12, 2012

slippery sanity

When John and i visited Adam, something happened on our last morning that i wanted to write about. But i couldn't.

I was prepared for Adam to die in Afghanistan. I understood the possibility. I was doing my best to be ready, just in case. I wasn't being morbid about it or anything, but i knew that this was what he wanted to do with his life, that this was his calling, and since we all have to go sometime, why not go doing what you were meant to do? I was okay with it.

I was prepared for Adam to live, and come back with severe trauma. I was prepared for depression, for PTSD, for him to feel directionless and confused and disconnected. I was prepared for him to need lots of therapy before he could really adjust to civilian life again.

I was not prepared for him to be broken. I was not prepared for him to be injured almost to the point of death. I was not prepared for cognitive damage. I was not prepared for my brother to be anyone other than who he always was at the core.

I think he would rather be dead than be handicapped in any way. I don't want to denigrate those who have lived happy and fulfilled lives in wheelchairs or otherwise inhibited physically, but my brother lived nearly twenty years with fully functioning limbs, and he defined much of his personality by his physical health. He was active and athletic. He loved to play sports, to run, to compete and fight. I don't know how he will cope with limited movement. I don't know how he will cope with pain, with physical rehabilitation, with learning to use a prosthetic limb.

And for a long time, we didn't know what his cognitive function would be. Between the drugs and the brain injury, it was hard to tell how much of his confusion was something that would go away in time and how much was permanent damage. I didn't know if my brother would ever really be returned to me.

As i was preparing to leave on my last morning, my sister Ruth texted to ask if i wanted to talk to Adam before i left. He was pretty lucid on the phone; he tends to be clearest when he first wakes up.

Honestly, this conversation was harder than the ones when he was less lucid. When he was speaking in Chinese, when he was convinced that he was pregnant, or when he didn't recognize me, it was obvious that things were not okay. It was obvious that he was confused, and we were able to laugh a little at him. We could draw a clear circle around those moments and say, 'Here is the confusion,' and that made it easier to think that, aside from those moments, he was fine. But on the phone that morning, he was so ragged around the edges. It was hard to tell exactly what was going on in his head. I couldn't draw clear lines.

He asked if he could come visit me in Quincy, and i said, "Not yet. But soon." I promised to be back to visit again before long.
"Why would you want to do that?" he asked me. "Why would you want to come here? I don't even want to be here."
"Yeah, i don't really want to either. But you're here, and i want to see you."
"I'll just come up there."
"You can't, bud. Not for a while."
"I could if I wanted to," he muttered. My trademark stubbornness may or may not be shared by some or all of my siblings.
"You'll be out of here soon," i lied.
"Maybe. Sometimes I don't really know what is real. Is this real?"
I held back tears. "Yeah, bud. This is real."
"Are you sure?"
Painfully certain. "Yeah. It's real. But it will be over soon."
"Hey, i have to go now. We have to catch a bus."
"Okay. I'll talk to you later."

What do you do with someone who knows that they are uncertain? He was aware that he didn't know what was real. How does he cope with that? How do i cope with seeing it? How do i find my brother inside of the shreds of his mind? Will he be the same person after all of this is over?

We're still answering some of these questions. But now, Adam is helping us. He is almost always clear on the lines between reality and dreams. He is almost always aware of what is happening and where he is. He is almost completely himself. Almost.

On February 29, 2012 (Leap Day, ironically), Adam's left leg was amputated, which is the first step toward being fitted with a prosthetic.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Happy Birthday, Boyfriend

I and a friend spent about five hours making this cake for John's birthday. Who knew that erotic pastries would figure so largely in my life?

They're a little mismatched. Just like real ones.