Monday nights have been sacred to bellydance for me for about two years now, and ordinarily I’d be warming up for my first class of the evening right now, doing shimmy drills and cat-cow stretches in my skirt and hip belt. Sadly, this Monday evening finds your friend Chiara in her pajamas instead, blowing her nose and snurfling sadly into her tea. I’m sick. I was fine on the bus this morning, fine at work until about ten, when all of a sudden I started in with these oddly high-pitched sneezes I do for reasons I don’t quite understand. I always say that I laugh like one of the ballerina hippos in Fantasia, and I think that if I had to compare the tenor of my sneezes to any other cartoon character, it would have to be Smurfette. Not very dignified.

It’s kind of bad timing too…I haven’t been sick in forever, so coming down with a case of whatever it is that I have the week before I am supposed to have this big party at my house seems particularly perverse. Well, we’re not calling it a party. We’re a little too shy, my housemates and I, to have a “party,” although I did like the last one I had very much. We’re calling it an “open house” and we’re in a bit of a tizzy about it. We’ve been having meetings and taking notes and making lists, for this not-really-a-party thing we’re doing…”we” being Treasa and myself, since everyone else is sort of quietly horrified at the idea. I think we’re horrified too but much less quietly, as we keep bumping into each other in the kitchen or the TV room going “Okay, do we need rolls? How about Christmas lights for the café, you want to have Christmas lights for the cafe? Okay, assuming we start Friday night after work, how clean does the house need to be?” I feel a little of my usual hostess anxiety but, as Treasa and I keep telling each other, we are providing a cool house (with an outdoor café!), lots of food (with a pulled pork recipe direct from North Carolina!), a small land tortoise (named Joachin!) and Dance Dance Revolution (two pads! So we can duel!). If people cannot entertain themselves with those options, then there is no hope for them and there’s nothing we can do. We told ourselves and each other about eighteen times yesterday. We almost believe it.

Other than party planning (“How about a big jar of pickles, do we need a big jar of pickles?”—said by me Saturday afternoon at Fred Meyer) it’s been a nicely relaxed weekend, the kind of gorgeously crispy and invigorating fall weather that makes you want to eat lots of apple crisp as well as make you weep actual tears of remorse and longing at the anticipation of the rain that is probably only a week or two away. I ate some delicious tamale with mole sauce this weekend, gossiped a lot, moved furniture at eleven at night, and fell down the stairs and got spectacularly bruised in some very uncomfortable locations. Roller derby finals are in a couple of weeks and I’m requiring everyone I have ever known in Seattle to come with me to see my girls the Throttle Rockets compete against my other girls the Derby Liberation Front. I am trying to figure out my Halloween costume this year, even though I don’t have a party to go to yet…all I know is that I definitely want it to involve an octopus. I spent extremely stupid money on a huge jar of delicious raw honey at the market yesterday (although not the huckleberry-maple, just the regular widflower-blackberry-crack rock), where there are no more blueberries but where there are now beautiful pumpkins and decorative gourds.

I’ve had some very good days, lately, for which I am quite grateful, especially in the face of all the various and constant sadnessed in other parts of the country and the world. In my little part of the world I am trying to manifest some better health for myself and sneezing myself Smurfette-like to sleep, hoping for more good golden days to come.

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