Natalie Zed: Defying Gravity

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

some skin remains intact

My cat has raging dandruff.

Ever since I moved from an arid climate to a humid one, Lydia's skin has had trouble adjusting. Initially, she got kind of oily and clumpy in the humidity, and so I took to occasionally wiping her down with a pet wipe , and that seemed to take care of it. In the last month, however, she has gotten quite flaky. Theories for the cause of her dander have included a reaction to the smog and a return to drier atmosphere (not that it's cooler and the heat in the building has been turned on). Whatever the reason, my cat has been distributing skin cells all over the place, and since Gennie C is allergic to cats, this is especially problematic.

After a lot of advice-seeking and hilarious google searches, I came to the sad conclusion that there was no way to get out of it: I would have to give Lydia a bath. I'd also be starting her on a regimen of fish oil (which she loves). But first: the dreaded cat shampoo.

Lily the Pirate bravely offered to assist. I quietly went about turning the water on in the shower, getting it nice and warm, and laying out every towel in the house. Then, quietly, I picked Lydia up, carried her to the bathroom, and popped her in the tub, and hoped I could get the process over with before she realized what had happened.

Well, she realized it, alright. Getting her feet wet was more that she could bear. She crawler up my whole body twice in an attempt to get away from an entire inch of water. In the end, I quickly got her wet, sudsed her outside of the tub, and rinsed her by holding her over the sink while Lily poured warm water over her. She stopped panicking as soon as she was actually out of the tub, but the entire time she wailed like her toenails were being pulled out. George was convinced she was being tortured and hit under the bed in despair.

In the end, I ended up with only half of the skin on my back flayed off, Lydia cleaned herself for two hours, and peace again reigns in Menagerie House. I just hope that we have defeated the Mutant Dandruff, because round two might require a tranquilizer dart and some body armour.

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Natalie Zed updated @ 11:04 PM!! 0 comments

Sunday, November 23, 2008

your ontario town is a burial ground

I have just woken up. I am still partly deaf. My throat is raw and I feel like I have been worked over with a lead pipe. On my right thigh is a bruise the exact size and shape of a men's size 13 combat boot.

Friday night Lily, Gennie, Sampucker and I headed out to the Trash Palace for some debauchery. We watched 13 Frightened Girls, a William Castle film that intended to cash in on the James Bond craze. It was a heartwarming tale of a 16-year-old girl, home form her Swiss boarding school trying to save the 40-year-old dude she has a crush on (blech) from being fired by donning the guise of the superspy "Kitten." There were vigorous spankings, ridiculous accents and one pair of supertight tennis shorts that made me lose my shit entirely.

Later on that night, Bill K came over to Menagerie House for drinks.Things got a bit vague for a while. When we finally came to early Saturday afternoon, Bill mentioned a rock show he was going to see that evening with good friend and fellow metalhead Dani C. Now, when I say "rock show," I of course mean a black metal show that involved two bands called Wolven Ancestry and Woods of Ypres. He mentioned, in passing, how there might still be tickets available. Despite possibly seeming very gauche and inviting myself along, I announced that I would absolutely love to go. Lily the Pirate seconded the motion. a quick ipone/facebook check later and my plans for the evening were solidified. I donned all the black eyeliner and after some pre-concert bourbon the four of us headed off to Kipling.

It turned out that the concert was technically in Etobicoke, and the directions included gems like "go under the bridge, past some powers lines, and down an alley." In the West end. We wandered around in the dark for a while, losing feeling in our extremities, certain we were either going to be knifed or run into a troll. Finally, down a very sketchy side street, the bass began to swell. We passed a wreaking yard, turned a corner, and encountered a warehouse. A very rickety door, out which furious trashing blared, was propped open and bore a sign that read: "No In & Out." After we were all ID'd and out presence on the guest list confirmed, we were in.

We arrived just before Wolven Ancestry took the stage, and so got to see them hoist their drum kit, a monstrosity that needed no less than six men to lift. The frontman was wearing white and black makeup and a silver fur cloak. It was then that I knew it was going to be awesome.

Wolven Ancestry killed it. I found myself having a particular affection for the keyboardist. In their second to last song, a proper mosh finally broke out. It only took a body check or two to make me wonder where metal shows had been all my life.

Dani C knew the frontman for Woods of Ypres, and so we got to meet him during the break between the two bands. He had on a black toque and was surreptitiously sipping something from Tim Horton's. He shook my hand and smiled and struck me immediately as someone I could develop a dreadful crush on. Then he got onstage. And revealed his mohawk and sweet trillium tattoo. And began the opening chords of a song called "Your Ontario Town is a Burial Ground."

I can't remember the last time I screamed like that. My underused headbanging muscles got a hell of a work out. Something in my chest took over, and after my first bout of mosh shyness I started throwing elbows with a glee and surprised me. I was happily shocked at the good-naturedness of the scene, the friendliness to the violence. Even when a crowdsurfer came down on my leg, I was overcome with a feeling of well-being and benevolence.

Now I am a complete wreak. Bill K, the self-proclaimed Stately Guardian of the Mosh Pit, blew out his knee, and is faring even worse. We are moaning and sore and tired and sound like we gargled iron filings.

I can't wait to do it again.

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Natalie Zed updated @ 1:36 PM!! 0 comments

Friday, November 14, 2008

fumbling towards

Jordan Scott is in town; the chat I had with him Wedneday night after Influency did wonders to dissipate the general cloud of blarg that has been hovering over me for the past week and a half. Hearing that someone stood up for me made me feel human again.

Jordan and Meredith Quartermain tie, I think, for the best experiences I've had in Influency so far. I took the class because I didn't recognize all of the authors on the curriculum (4 out of 9 were familiar, I think), but the chance to see Jordan read was a huge draw as well. Watching him fight through the words is excruciatingly beautiful. I am not sure I'll ever get tired of it.

I've also had to bury myself in work a bit lately, since we're in the midst of one of the four small crunches that happen each year, and nothing lets me slip into intellectual oblivion like pushing myself to produce. At least, that's what I though. But the work, while absorbing, has a bit of a pattern to it. Unlike composing, my higher lobes are often left free to wander, and as a result I end up working though a lot in my mind while my hands adn discursive, surface mind are busy. It's a lot like knitting or crochet, the latter of which I'd like to pick up again.

I am picking up things again. I am starting to see myself, slowly and tentatively, looking for new projects, planning things, even being slightly eager to pitch in. It's an exciting prospect, as it means I've healed even more, but it also makes me nervous. It's an impulse I have to keep carefully in check. I am finally sleeping a bit at night, like humans do, and I don't want to go wrecking any newly-sprouted healthy patterns just yet.

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Natalie Zed updated @ 10:53 AM!! 0 comments

Saturday, November 08, 2008

pincushion girl

It's been many years since I was properly single. Ed and I were together for six all together. We started dating when I was only nineteen; we met, in fact, while I was still messily extracting myself from a nearly-three-year relationship. I don't really count the time between the end of that experience and the beginning of my relationship with Ed as being "single," but rather more a mad dash to put myself back together, to sew up all my seams and reattach all the limbs I'd lost in the process. That means, honestly, that in the past nine years I have no experience being single.

I am enjoying it. There is so much time, so much space, a great big world to explore and very few tethers preventing me from spiraling out into orbit. I am responsible only for my cats and friends. I love the ownership that I have over my choices, the sense of being beholden to nothing.

That said, the experience is also terrifying. A dull fear has been building at the back of my mind, but in the first few months of this separation it was easily drowned out by the wailing panic and screaming, searing pain that dominated most of my emotional register. As I got better, the sheer excitement of the move to My City and life with my friends shut it out. But now, as I am starting, just a little, to test my wings and interact with new people a bit, the fear has suddenly picked up a megaphone and started a terrifying monologue.

The thing is, I am afraid I won't find anyone else. This probably sounds incredibly stupid, since I've been single for five months and am still a basketcase and shouldn't even begin to be concerned over it, but there it is. Seeing Ed last weekend at The Wedding only intensified this irrational terror of dying alone and eventually being eaten by the cats. I found myself in the same room with a man who could not only deal with me, but with some cajoling actually agreed to marry me. That marriage was broken. And now, as I pick my way through the wreckage of the relationship, I find myself increasingly terrified that it was a fluke. That I am somehow intrinsically unlovable, and that I blew my one shot at happiness by not being able to make it work with that one person who could do more than tolerate me.

The rational part of my knows I am being utterly ridiculous at best and dangerously emo at worst. The self mockery doesn't seem to be alleviating the fear, however.

So this has been my state of mind of late. Not that peachy. I've been trying to prove myself wrong by actively pursuing interactions with the opposite sex. I am certainly not looking for anything -- quite the contrary -- but it seemed like a good way to show myself how stupid I was being would be to have some positive, mildly flirtatious encounters that would hopefully provide a bit of a confidence boost.

Instead, I have come to the only somewhat startling revelation that people are actually afraid of me.

It started with the little old ladies in Yorkdale and Forst Hill who clutch their purses tighter to their sides when I approach. I do have very short pink hair and dress like Tank Girl, so I wasn't initially shocked by their nervousness. I am probably the weirdest thing they see all day, poor loves. Then, a clerk in a comic book store actually scurried out of my way after I simply stood my ground in an argument about the writer behind a certain run of Constantine. And finally, in a conversation that marked the end of what I had hoped was a fun little flirtation with a co-worker, I had the singular pleasure of making a man several inches taller and a full decade older than me take two full steps back and then flee my presence by merely uttering the phrase "I am not most women." I wasn't even angry at all; just intense.

Forgive the whining; this week's been a bit tough on me, to put it mildly.

Wanted: Someone who is not afraid of a 5'2" gypsy-punk who might just be smarter than you. Handlebar mustache, top hat, and penchant for the circus not mandatory but desirable. Must like cats.

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Natalie Zed updated @ 10:38 PM!! 3 comments

Monday, November 03, 2008

after the war

Tara and Neil were married this weekend. There ceremony was performed by the same pastor who baptized Tara and her family. The weather could not have been more perfect, the mood was incredibly joyous, and no couple has ever been lovelier than "the dashing bride and the blushing groom."

I've been simultaneously looking forward to and dreading The Wedding for weeks. Ed and I introduced Tara and Neil to each other, and so I've had the unique privileged of watching a relationship from the very very beginning. I've also been very close to both of them, so watching them marry was very much watching the union of two people I've loved very deeply. For these reasons, I was thrilled to be there.

However, this was also the first time Ed and I were in the same room since we separated. Also, there was going to be quite a few people in attendance whom I've also lost, and seeing them was going to be difficult to varying degrees. And, of course, it was a wedding. For these reasons, I was terrified to be there.

The weekend was, in the end, relatively peaceful. I did not have a psychotic breakdown, though my hands shook so badly throughout the ceremony I was certain I was going to drop my bouquet. Everyone was polite, no matter how distant. and seeing Ed was like getting hit in the chest with a blast of wet concrete, but I made it through. I did not fall apart.

And today, when I got home, I found that the very first bit of paperwork had come in, The process has started. Is the worst, maybe, over?

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Natalie Zed updated @ 10:39 PM!! 1 comments