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Anais Vionet May 18
I’m enjoying spending time with my mom - we have an intimacy braided like rope. I forgot how funny she is. At the same time, we’ve been softcore arguing for days.

She wants me to accomplish something this summer - to pad my med-school resume - do anything but relax. But I refuse. If I’m going to complete a master's degree next summer, then I’m going to have fun this summer. Periodt. I’m not an automaton for her to wind. Her stress radiates, as I play Animal Crossing on the couch.

I reach up towards her forehead, “Is there an off button?” I ask.
“Go away,” she chuckles, blocking my hand.
Before I turn away, I add, “You’re the most fun when you’re not giving advice or saying the wrong things..”
“Or breathing incorrectly?” She finished my sentence.
“Exactly,” I laughed, “then you’re practically perfect.”

The boys - Peter (my BF) and Step (my stepfather) - sit or stand, uninvolved, outside the action, like we’re in some other dimension - they try and look at anything but us when we’re wrangling.

Poetry time!

The phantoms of my discontent
are held at bay, by leisure,
are mollified by pleasure.

Am I crazy to set boundaries?
Am I lazy, cause I won’t let her chivvy me?
I’ve got my own voice; I’ll make my own choices.
We have the same goals - but I’m in control.

For every plan I’ve got, she has a hundred caveats.
Sure, I’ve done nothing, while she’s done it all.
I’m her little rocket that she doesn’t want to stall.
But she needs to understand, I’ve left the launching pad.
songs for this…
Mama by Spice Girls
Hey Mama by Kanye West
Mama, I'm a Big Girl Now by Nikki Blonsky, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Ricki Lake, Motion Picture Cast of Hairspray
periodt ← slang for absolute period
BLT Merriam Webster word of the day challenge: Caveat: a warning or qualifying explanation to be remembered
Anais Vionet Feb 1
This was last Christmas - 39 days ago - doesn’t that seem like ancient history?
We were in Lisa’s (parent’s) 50th floor flat, in Manhattan. It was mid-morning, we’d done the present thing, and it was coffee time. At 42°, the city was surprisingly warm, drizzly, and the weather service had issued a dense fog alert.

I had wanted a white Christmas and there it was, about 20 stories below us, a vast, dense, whipped cream sea of white stretching off into the holiday. The fog's surface wrinkled gently in places, revealing glimpses of the Hudson River, like an artist's fleeting brushstrokes. The pea soup brume undulated, like lava or a living thing and reflected the murderous morning sun like a mirror, making it klieg-light bright. Glare gives me headaches, so I had to avoid looking at it.

Lisa (one of my college roommates), her little (14-year-old) sister Leeza and I were spread out, under beige, vicuña throws, on one angle of their huge, white sectional couch and Lisa’s grandparents were nestled on the other.

A ‘Style Council’ playlist was playing on the room's sound system. Leeza had picked it and it was a great groove.
When “The Story of Someone’s Shoe’ ended, Lisa said. “That song’s so beautiful, honestly, it’s really lovely.”
“On God,” I agreed, (I’d introduced Leeza to ‘the Style Council’ last fall).
When Leeza said, “I forced you guys to like it, and now you do,” I just rolled my eyes.
“Well, your taste is usually so awful,” Lisa pointed out.
“My taste doesn’t need targeting here,” Leeza said defensively.

We all had our tech out - we young-ins were on our laptops; the grandparents were deep into their phones.
“I need to pick an elective,” I said, scrolling through the class catalog, “any ideas?”
“I took psyc 275 last term,” Lisa offered.
“Learn anything interesting?” I asked.
“Well, apparently Freud’s mom was hot,” Lisa said, distractedly focused on her laptop.

A moment later Lisa reported, “Texas Republicans are banning books about *******, because who does THAT anymore?”
“Women are getting ******-on by Republicans,” Leeza pronounced, and her grandma flinched as if slapped.
“Revelations,” I agreed. “We’re definitely getting ******-on by republicans,” Lisa undogged, while stretching.
“I think Republicans are the American Taliban,” Leeza pronounced, as if she spoke for all of Gen-Z.
“It’s a continuous topic on campus,” Lisa acknowledged.
“I’m not ON campus,” Leeza reminded us.

For a hot minute, no one said anything.. then.

“This is just my year, of, like, realizing stuff,” Leeza said.
“Oh, she’s realizing stuff,” Lisa moaned in fake sympathy.
“Her tenets are forming,” I commented dryly, like a news reporter.
“A year of realizing.”  Leeza reiterated urgently, like that was forEVER.
Then, refocusing on her laptop, she said, “I’m picking a song!” and ‘Water’ by ‘Tyla’ began playing.

Our solitude is always set to music.
(*BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Tenets: principles, doctrines and beliefs*)
AE Jul 2023
"I hope you find ease."

"This discomfort is temporary, and that is the beauty of time. I have found my ease in that mere thought."

"But pain is pain."

"And it passes, like grief, it buries itself deep within, growing its roots and blooming into gardens, disguised as triumphs and memories.”
AE Jul 2023
"I haven't laughed like this in forever."

"Me neither."

The laughter continued reverberating, threading itself into the wind and dispersing across the city glow. A moment of peace followed, and your company was a comfort, with each laugh we exchanged transforming into a life vest keeping me afloat.
Zywa Mar 2023
Talking and joking,

with you, here, at my home, but --

it's not a visit!
For Maria Godschalk

Collection "On living on [1]"
Who am I? Why am I here?
What is the Purpose of my life, my dear?
When somebody asks me, 'What is the Truth?'
I tell them to get to the bottom of the root

My life is all about conversations Conversations that become Inspirations For one needs motivation to seek Realization
And Realization will give Liberation

Must I suffer right till I die?
Am I just meant to live and cry?
What is the cause of this bad luck and fate?
Why is my life full of anger and hate?

People have questions but whom to ask?
Who will give answers to this arduous task?
Most of the times, we are filled with lies
We are told that God lives in the skies

Whom should I talk to, whom should I seek?
To which Spiritual Master, I must speak? Who will take me to the ultimate Peak?
I don’t know, I am so meek!

When I meet people who don’t know what to do
I try to tell them, just what is true
Everything in this world is nothing but a show
We are just actors who come and go

When somebody asks me, ‘Peace, how can I find?’
I tell them that they must still their mind
Peace is within, we don’t have to find
Open your real eyes, don’t be blind!

Then there are people who want Happiness
They want to live in Peace and Bliss
I just tell them, ‘Happiness is in the Now’
To be Happy in the Now, make a vow

So, my life is full of Conversations
I am glad for these are Inspirations
They lead people from misery to Liberation
And with the Divine to ultimate Unification

This is the purpose of my life
To help people be happy and free from strife
To help people achieve their ultimate goal
To realize that they are the Divine Soul

So, even if I walk, I continue to talk
And answer people, who come with a knock
I help them with a direction, those who just flock
I reveal the truth so the secret of life they unlock!

Book Link -
Anais Vionet Jan 2023

The other day Anna created a Pinterest board of wedding ideas (Cheesy, she knows). “It’s time to hop on the bandwagon,” she said. She insists every other girl she’s aware of - except her weird Yale roommates - has one.

We think her girls back home (in Oregon) - who didn’t go to college, are matching up with the Larrys and Gregs who stayed home to become auto mechanics and carpenters - and are now serially getting married. This trend seems to be exerting an odd, psychological pressure on Anna.

“You may be jumping the gun,” Sophie observes.

Anna’s never even had a long-term boyfriend before, but she wishes she had one now. A part time BF anyway, because who has time for more? Anna is self-proclaimed awkward with guys, especially cute ones.

She created a tinder account and uses it to see how many matches she can get - but she refuses to meet any guys there because she says she’s not “desperate.” She thinks everything about tinder screams awkward, unless people are just hooking up there - and that idea, in her mind, is absolutely disgusting.

saving the planet

Late last Friday night, a graduate friend of Peter’s threw a party at his house - far from campus. The house was packed with people and the music was thumping, the crowded rooms jumping - practically ******* - in time to a Sacramento horror punk band called “The cramps" that was playing on loop.

I made it through the living room mob to the kitchen, which was oddly empty and well lit. There was a disheveled girl gripping the island bar with one hand, like we’re on a rocking ship, while trying to light a cigarette with the other. I gently wangled the lighter from her - so she didn’t set her hair on fire - and gave her a light.

Afterwards, I slipped the lighter into her skirt pocket, and noticed half the island had coke spilled all over it. “I gave it a drink,” she said, slurring and wavering on her feet, “it looked thirsty.”

That’s when I noticed her now-empty *** and coke cup next to a soaking wet little cactus plant, two ice cubes now lodged in its dirt. I reassured her as I helped her onto a chair, “you were saving the planet.”
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Wangle: “get (something) by trickery or persuasion.”
Anais Vionet Jan 2023
I broke my personal record for days alive yesterday. Yeah me. I feel great today. This morning I swear my hair looked shinier and more lustrous and there’s the slightest glow to my skin. I’m just saying. I’m out and about for the first time this semester and you couldn’t slap the grin off my face.

The commons dining hall was a rolling buzz of conversations endemic to university life. At the next table, the topic is how many people can someone be in love with at once. A girl named Ariana, is at the center of the discussion. She’s a film-study major and I think it’s the topic of a documentary she’s working on.

Ariana has choppy purple hair with bangs about an-eighth of an inch long. Today, (34° and rainy) she’s wearing a short-short skirt, thermal tights that look like sheer leggings and about four tank tops. “You should pick one person and give them your everything.” Ariana argued.
“Monogamy used to mean one person for life,” another girl states, “then it became one person at a time.” I hide a smile and try to look like I’m not eavesdropping. It’s hard to explain how much I adore these overheard conversations.

Soon it’s time to head for class and we're up, gathering our bookbags and putting in our AirPods. When you’re making your way across campus, the goal is to be fast, fierce and bouncy. I love Miley Cyrus’ “Flowers.” It’s Eden on so many levels. People try to shame Miley but the woman goes hard, she slaps - all the things - and “Flowers” is one of those songs that get you there.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Endemic: “existing or common in a certain place”

eden = perfect
slaps = is excellent
Anais Vionet Jan 2023
Earlier in the week I was pretty sick and Peter was pampering me. One night, as Peter was taking away my tea tray, I took a selfie to send to my mom - as proof of life.
He looked at it from the side, “Ooo, no,” he frowned, “too slutty.” He put his hand out for my phone, “May I help?”
“Can you hear yourself talking?” I asked. My mouth was incredibly dry from the steroid meds. The entire world seemed an unnecessary irritation.
He gently tied my robe, straightened me and my pillows and took a new version. “Better?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said, a little more crossly than I meant to, “you’re always right.”
“It’s the world we live in. Get used to it,” he muttered.
When I tried to pick up my iPad and go back to work, he gently took it away, “Stop,” he whispered, “It’s 12am, you’re done for the night.”
I groaned, relieved really, then he took a small eucalyptus stick and dabbed it on my temples. “Gaa!” I said, “That’s cold!”
Who knew grown up, Californian men were so into homeopathy? After a moment though, it felt amazing.

The next morning, a cat appeared in our suite! It was a solid gray kitten with deep, brown eyes. At first, we stared at it like it was an alien (where’d that come from?) until Leong came in from the cold and said, “Cat.” Then it was welcomed.
About the time Sunny ID'd it as a British-shorthair, there was a tiny knock on our door and a little girl asked, “Have you seen..,” only to squeak “Cirrus!” when she saw her kitty. I’m telling you now, **** the rules, we would’ve kept that kitten.

bye Google. All Google’s been doing this semester is feeding me into CAPTCHA traps, Argh!
How, in 2023, can Internet searches be getting harder? One of my roommates, Anna, is helping me test alternative search engines.
Anna’s a wiry, freckled, 5’4” farm-girl from Oregon, with wavy, shoulder length, dark-brown beach-hair. In our first semester, Anna was a firecracker tossed into my life. She’d bang on my door at 2am (I didn’t even KNOW this crazy farmgirl) with her problems, klutziness and bad boyfriend stories, but she won me over with her vulpine-braininess, her impertinent straightforward secrets and laughter - all delivered in her exotic, western twang.
“Ok,” Anna suggests, getting way into my personal space to see my screen, “try - headache after ***.”
“Sure, GET me on odd shopping lists,” I snark.
“Black mole on armpit,” she countered or “intimate dryness.”
“Big help!” I laughed.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Vulpine: “shrewd or crafty.”
Anais Vionet Dec 2022
Gigi Hadid wore pearls, a t-shirt and jeans to Paris fashion week. So, our (Lisa, Leeza and my) theme for this New Year’s Eve is “Jeans and pearls.” To be accurate, Gigi’s distressed, slouchy bottom, boyfriend jeans were embroidered with pearls - the pearls weren’t worn as a necklace - but Lisa and I think anything involving embroidery is a trailer-park trend - so we’ll be wearing strings of pearls. If Karen (Lisa and Leeza’s mom) lets us, that is.

Karen has four strings of Tiffany pearls - called Essential, Ziegfeld, Akoya and South Sea Noble. They’re all 16-inch, single strand strings (which we all prefer) and they range in value from $600 (the Akoya) to the expensive (South Sea Noble) string - that she won’t lend anyone. The good news is, if anyone is thinking of buying me a string of pearls, I can’t tell the difference between the cheap string and the expensive string.

Leeza (Lisa’s 13-year-old sister) wants to be included in EVERYTHING this year, which is funny because last year she either attacked us or completely ignored us. This year, Leeza has a thirteen-year-old’s razor-sharp instincts and relentless curiosity.

As we’re Planning New Year’s Eve, Ethan Bortnick’s song, “Engraving” was playing. It’s a crazy song with middle-school, EMO, angsty vibes. One of the lines of the song is “strip for me”. As the song ends, Leeza suddenly asks us, “Have you two ever been to a *******?”
“No”, I answered.
Lisa said, “Once.”
“What?!” I asked.
“Really?” Leeza gasped, “Spill!” She demanded.
“This has random context,” Lisa begins, “I’ve been inside a ******* once in my life.”
Leeza and I tittered nervously. “I’m scared,” Leeza said, as an aside, grinning and rubbing her hands on her knees, clearly more delighted than scared.
“I was attending a middle school, Model UN conference, at Brown University,” Lisa continued, “and they took all the kids to a ******* for their model UN social.”
I gasped and blurted “There’s NO way this happened.”
“Yes,” Lisa insisted, “you can ask my mom.” she said, with a serious look, “And, and obviously, it was rented out for the night, but they didn’t, like, think to take away any of the normal features. There weren’t any strippers, but they didn’t take the poles down and they didn’t turn off the multiple TV screens on all the walls that were playing their normal rotating video content.”
“Wow,” I said, with my hand over my mouth. Meanwhile, Leeza was chortling like a mad woman and rocking back and forth.
“Everyone walked in,” Lisa went on, “and it was just middle schoolers, thirteen years old. There were pictures of the dancers on the poles, and our history teacher came in, and freaked OUT, saying, “Oh, no, No, NO!” Because it was a school event, we had taken school buses there, it was a boondoggle. They turned us all around and hustled us out of there.”
Leeza had stood up and was twirling with glee. Middle schoolers live for chaos.
“Taken out of context,” I said, “It was crazy you went to a ******* in middle school.”
“It was a jump scare, for sure,” Lisa confirmed, “we went from one vibe, a school field trip, to a *******.”

Anyway, for New Year’s, a lot is still up in the air - undecided - but we’re determined that we want to have a blast. We’re young and we want to support bad ***** energy (BBE).
“Oh, I have a BBE song!” Lisa squeals, “Mafiosa!” (by Nathy Peluso) She names it as it begins playing.

The songs in Spanish and when it ended, I’d looked up the lyrics because my 2 years of Spanish weren’t good enough. I tell Leeza the lyrics go: “Let the bad men fear me, when I arrive in my car - they speed off.”
“Yes!” Lisa Laughs, “We don’t drive - but, YES!”
“Emotionally,” I say, laughing too. “But verse two asks the great question, “What the frack is wrong with men when it comes to women?”
“It’s,” Lisa started, looking up and searching for words, “SUCH a timeless question.”
“Why’d you pick that song?” Leeza asked.
Lisa chuckled,” Because you don’t get more BBE than a female Mafiosa killer.”

Update: Karen agreed that as long as Charles is with us (and really, when isn’t he with us?), we can borrow the three inexpensive pearl strings (worth about 5k). So, I’ll be wearing the Akoya pearls, an Anna Molinari white, basic, cotton-shirt, washed denim cropped jeans with white bridal flats and Lisa and Leeza will wear their own, white tops, jeans, flats and pearls and we’ll be on-theme.

Happy New Year’s Everyone!
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Boondoggle: a wasteful activity involving public money or labor.
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