Monica Bielanko
A chronicle since 2005 of my marriage & move to Brooklyn in my twenties; becoming a mother in my thirties; moving to Pennsylvania and learning to amicably coparent after divorce in my forties while living 3 doors down from my ex-husband in a small country town.
That's What She Said
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Identity Crisis

I am standing on the edge of a rather high cliff.. below is water. Yes. There is water. But it's a long fucking jump, yo. Will the water be warm? Will it be ice cold? Shocking my system into paralyzation. Or action? Will I flap about vigorously in my frantic effort to get somewhere or will I sink like a stone? What to do. Knowing me, I'll sit around on this here cliff, sometimes dangling my feet over the edge, but mostly laying about, occasionally peeping over the edge, often talking about leaping off the edge.. but never jumping. But maybe I will. You just never know.

The computer doctor says my hard drive is terminally ill and is, for all intents and purposes, brain dead. That's why there have been no photos as of late. Which is not to say I haven't been taking any. I have a slew of goodies from the 4th and am sure to take a bunch in London this week... Eventually I'll resurrect the poor computer with a hard drive transplant.. Not now though, I only have one day here in Brooklyn. We leave for London tonight.

I am seriously contemplating moving from NYC. It's nice, yes. Interesting. Fast paced. But I want wide open spaces. Grass that I can call my own. Lakes close enough to walk, or at least drive to. Here, I have drank more alcohol than I did in my entire life previous to moving cross country. Here, I spend much of my time with acquaintances in bars. Acquaintances with whom very occasionally we accidentally stumble into meaningful conversations. That's different from real friends who share their troubles and fears, who don't anesthetize the hurt of life with liquor. I don't know. Perhaps I am depressed and blaming it on my location instead of myself. Grass Is Greener Syndrome. If I don't feel so suffocated in my neighborhood maybe I'll be happier. But when I get my own plot of grass and bitch about having to mow the lawn. Again, who knows?

I don't know who I am. What it is I'm about, what I want.. Some days I want to live in the city among creative people, write a book, and follow The Surge's band to Europe. Other times I want to move to the mountains, start a garden, walk my dog and yes, maybe even have a baby.

I feel crowded all the time. In my apartment, on the sidewalk, at the park, on the subway. I miss space. Driving my own car. Activities with friends that don't include drinking. Maybe I gave up and am just not making the most of all this city has to offer. I could forge my own lifestyle here instead of going with the flow. I can explore on my own. Then I think, for the rent I'm paying I could afford an extremely nice house in cheaper climates. I could make a home for my family. No, I don't want to live in the suburbs. I want to live where where I can't see the nearest neighbor for all the trees. I know places like that. I miss places like that.

London, soon. Must go pack.

Happy 4th!

Smells like: barbeque, grass, smoke

Grilled burgers and hot dogs, wiffle ball, lake swimming, fireflies, family, liquor, pot brownies, ice cold beer, coconut scented tanning oil, laughter, swimming suits, sunburns, grilled veggies, corn on the cob, baked beans, potato salad, blazing sun, blue sky, grass, fried chicken, watermelon, frozen grapes, picnics, iced coffe, red, white & blue, parades, cannons, beauty queens in sashes, marching bands, bag pipes, firecrackers, sparklers, popcorn balls, lawn chairs, flags, patriotism, friends, barbeque, carnivals, sweat, cotton candy, cut-offs, flip-flops, paper plates, root beer, Dairy Queen, mosquito bites, sun tans, charcoal, lighter fluid, camping, tank tops, tube tops, halter tops, fishing, fireworks, drunk, tan lines, sleep.

In Which Sally Hansen Saves The Day

It was time. The lone goat hair grazing on my chin had multiplied, seemingly overnight, just like a gremlin. One moment it was a seemingly innocuous hair.. and suddenly there were three thick, angry black hairs.

At first I plucked, so horrified by the tiny soldiers blazing a trail of hatred across my chin that I executed them immediately. But their brothers returned to avenge their deaths the very next day.

So I yanked them from their cozy home in my embarrassed chin as well. Take that, bitches! And then I brushed my teeth. While rinsing I noted in horror that they had already returned! I could make out their little black seedlings, sprouting like weeds, working toward sunlight and fresh air.
"Huh?" The Surge peeped around the bathroom door.
"You best step back, sir." I ordered authoritatively. "Mama's got work to do. Now where is my surgical safety pin and the alcohol? I'm goin' in."

The Surge, well acquainted with my Do It Yourself Kamikaze Surgical Stylings didn't need to be asked twice. Before I found my surgical safety pin the door was slammed shut. Subsequent footsteps skittering across the kitchen floor informed he had beat a hasty retreat to the relative safety of our bedroom. Shortly thereafter, the muffled plinging and plonging of blue grass music confirmed my suspicion. He was in hiding, trying to ride out the surgical storm at the other end of our apartment.

Ten minutes later my "seedlings" along with most of my chin were gone.
"That'll teach 'em." I growled Clint Eastwood style while blowing on the business end of my safety pin and tucking it safely back in it's holster.

But the hair came back the very next day. By week's end, like a reporter in Iraq, it was embedded in my chin... if I looked close the hair appeared to be flipping me a double bird. Cheeky fucker!
"I suppose I'm going to have to start waxing my chin now." I huffed resignedly to The Surge over dinner that night. "I'm starting to look like a pubescent boy."
"Yup." The Surge agreed, one eye cocked to the Discovery Channel's "Attack of the Great White", other eye on the stir fry he was shoveling in his own maw as fast as the shark on TV crunched through an unlucky surfer's arm.
"But I don't wanna wax!" I whinnied like Mr. Ed. "It's expensive!"

I left The Surge to his (and the shark's) feeding frenzy and wandered Bedford Avenue... That's when I saw it. Like a neon Diner sign at the tail end of a drunken night out, it beckoned me inside.


Surely I'll find something inside to aid me in my battle against the wily goat hairs. The chemical equivalent of the Atom Bomb, perhaps?

The harsh fluorescents cast a pallid spotlight on my offending chin hairs. I know because I stopped to inspect my goat hairs in the mirrors for sale on aisle 2.

On aisle 4 I located my ammunition. Rows upon rows of bleaches, lotions, depilatories, wax kits.. Boxes emblazoned with soothing sentences like BE BARE AND BEAUTIFUL! FAST LASTING RESULTS! WORKS IN MINUTES! GREAT VANILLA SMELL! You mean I can obliterate my goat hairs AND smell like cake? Sign me up!

45 minutes later I was still reading boxes. Although I suffer from post traumatic stress disorder caused by THE NAIR INCIDENT OF '96, I was fascinated by a particular product called SALLY HANSEN'S CREME HAIR REMOVER. (Incidentally, what is this 'creme' all about? What's the difference between cream and creme?) I had reached an impasse, debating the merits of wax over cream. Wax=painful.. but the worst that can happen is glopping the sticky mess on while it's too hot. Creme.. well, it's creamy (cremey?) and painless, right? RIGHT? Unless, like the NAIR, it eats my face off and leaves white bone behind, gleaming through angry purple marks.

But it smells like vanilla! And it was made by someone called Sally Hansen! It can't be that bad. I pictured Sally in my mind's eye... a bleached blonde with blue eyeshadow, rocking out to Fleetwood Mac in her pink Mary Kaye cadillac, a flume of Jean Nate noisily perfuming the air in her wake. Beneath Sally's artfully applied make-up were NO GOAT HAIRS! This Sally has to know what she's doing.

I emerged from the pharmacy clutching my bag containing SALLY HANSEN'S CREME HAIR REMOVER. I scuttled home high on emotions not unlike the time I bought my first vibrator; ashamed at the purchase in my brown paper bag but excited at the prospects.

At home, locked in the bathroom, just me and Sally Hansen, I uncapped the tube of "creme" and prepared for war.
"Incoming, motherfuckers!" I hissed to my rogue goat hairs.

Know what? Sally know's what she's doing. Not only did she get rid of my goat hairs, but she did away with the moustache I've been doing my best to ignore. Sure it's as thick as Tom Selleck's, but it's blonde, I reasoned with myself.

I made my triumphantly glorious exit from the bathroom sporting a chin as smooth as a penis... and thanks to our gal Sally, smelling like a freshly baked cake!

The Complexities Of Towel Diversification

"I think we're going about it all wrong."
"Why? How? Huh?"
"Well.. we need to put all the towels in one dryer. FULL dryer power on the towels."
"Whatchoo talkin' 'bout Willis?"
"The towels are still damp."
"So, I think we're going at this all wrong. We need to put all the towels in one dryer so they get FULL---"
"Yeah, I heard you. But towels take the longest to dry. You've got to diversify so that not too many are in one dryer vying for the heat."
"Did you just say vying?
"Yes, vying.. like fighting?"
"I know what it means, I've can't believe you'd toss out vying, all willy-nilly."
"Believe it. You married an intelligent woman."
"Uh-huh... About the towels. If you give them their own dryer instead of mixing them in with the shirts and pants they'd all dry quicker because--"
"Full dryer power?"
"This is what I'm saying!"
"You're wrong. You're fucking with your timing. Drying is like cooking.. You've gotta time it so everything is finished at the same time.. You go and do something crazy like throw a buncha towels in one dryer and you'll be spending the night in the laundromat watching your towels dry. Diversify the towels and the loads are dry at the same time. Can you dig it? And yes, I said diversify. That word to big for you?
"You're wrong. See, it's like two rivers..."
"Two what?"
"Rivers! I'm working out an analogy to explain--"
"I think you're swimming against the current with this river analogy."
"Ha ha. Intelligent AND clever."
"Seriously, at the laundromat, it's all about Towel Diversification."

Another Day At Bay

Sky the color of cement is spitting down at these here windows of the tiny internet cafe I'm typing you from. Yup. My computer is broken. Again. Which has been nice, actually. It's good to live life instead of typing about it. Typing forces introspection which, to be honest, this past month I've had more than I can take of self evaluation and such..

Lotsa travel coming up in the very near future. In fact, I won't be home for very many days in July. Heading to Mama Bielanko's in Amish country for 4th of July festivities..(just when I thought I kicked my pot brownie habit) Then it's straight to London for the nuptials of Nick Hornby.. The day after I arrive home from London I hop a bird bound for Utah. I'll spend about two weeks out west there in the Beehive state.

Man, I haven't been home in more than a year and a half. That's wild to contemplate. I am interested to see how I've changed, how Utah has changed and how I'll feel about it all. Will I interact appropriately with family members without my 2,000 mile buffer zone? Probably not. That's okay though. It really wouldn't feel like a proper Butler family hootenanny if the cops aren't called at some point. Somebody HAS to cry.. it just wouldn't feel right without the tears and jeers.

The Surge has finally finished the bulk of touring for his latest album. Holy fucker! He was on tour very nearly from January to July. Poor boy. But as I type he is back to working out in his beloved gym over there in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, U.S.A. However, the band is already writing songs for their new album in addition to working on the soundtrack for an upcoming movie. I love the writing-the-album-and-then-recording-it part much more than the touring. So it's a good time.

In other news... I've met a few of you over the past year.. but if ya'll are interested, The Surge's band Marah, along with The Shalitas and some other fine, fine folks will be playing a very special gig right here in Williamsburg, a few blocks from my apartment! There is a rumor Sicksadworld will be there along with Xmastime. If you're into it, come on out! Introduce yourselves and mingle with the gang.

Hey! Who's there? Are you out there? Are you still reading? Does anyone read this shit?