Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Keeping Promises (I Hope)

exorbitant, adjective, the exorbitant price of tickets.(of a price or amount charged) unreasonably high.
In efforts to try and keep myself in check, I am in the process of redecorating my bedroom. On second thought, the word "redecorate" implies that the decorated room/item was once decorated, which is not true in the slightest. (Unless you find crooked stacks of books and random items of dirty clothing strewn about the room modern art, or something.)
I have absolutely no idea what theme I am going for. (Bad start.) I only know that I have a black wrought-iron bed that has to be over 50 years old (maybe 100, really), a brown dresser that we salvaged from a neighbor, a rickety old wooden bedside table that I find oddly romantic and a sage green bedskirt that I bought from The Goodwill today for 4 dollars. It's very rare for me to go into The Goodwill with a precise item in mind and to then actually find said item for a cheap price. (You'd be really surprised at how expensive their items can get. $5 ties, $99 dollar patio table and chairs! Go Goodwill!) Anyway. I don't have much to work with, but I'm trying to be creative. I'm trying to utilize the large heaps of time I have after work to complete projects, check things off. All to quench the same horribly self-satisfying thirst that I have, that I will not shut up about (sorry).
Nonetheless, progress is progress. With a very small budget, I plan to acquire items piece-by-piece and hopefully end up with a calming sanctuary to come home to. As seen in the pictures, storage and space is a big issue that we (me and the boyfriend) have right now. He has a ton of random things, such as a huge hiking backpack, a guitar (?), suitcases, etc. Main storage issues would be solved very easily by another dresser. So the tentative list of furniture needs includes: another dresser, another (and maybe two matching) bedside tables, a small bookshelf and maybe a small desk. Just listing all of that makes me woosy, but patience is also something I need to work on, so perhaps this will be a life makeover as well.
So, here goes nothing. The room, from left to right, from empty to entirely too full is below. I clean everyday--sometimes there's just nowhere else to cram something!

Feeling very discouraged (already) I am going to try and pump myself up a little bit!! Here are some of the other room projects I have going on. The first is the kitchen, as you can see, it's a tough canvas to begin with, but I like the natural light that comes in from sliding doors that lead to the backyard. The stained laminate floor and dingy-looking counters and cupboards need some cheering up, so I tried to bring in some bright, lively colors like yellow and green. From left to right: Before main view, After breakfast nook, After main viewThankfully, the living room was a blank canvas, neither good nor bad. The challenge here was fitting all of our furniture into such a long room. It's still a work in progress. I tweak little things constantly, but I think this room is so cozy. There is plenty room to spread out or snuggle up for a movie or a good book! From left to right, Before View 1, Before View 2, After View 1, After View 2Stay tuned...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tag! I'm It!

rule, noun, the rules of the game were understood.
one of a set of explicit or understood regulations or principles governing conduct within a particular activity or sphere :

Respond. Tag 4 other people.

1. What is your current obsession? Blogging?

2. What is your weirdest obsession? I'm kind of a fanatic about The Cheesecake Factory's Pineapple Upside Down Cheesecake right now. Fatty.

3. Recall a fond childhood memory? Every time we went to go pick out a Christmas tree as a family. It's still one of my favorite things to do. With indecision and shivers, we would huddle among the aisles of plump, prickly trees. We would warm our hands and faces by the open bonfire and beg for styrofoam cups of thick hot chocolate to share.

4. What’s for dinner? Something simple for one, like a sandwich, since David has to work.

5. What would you eat for your last meal? Pad Thai with Chicken from Indochine

6. What’s the last thing you bought? Literally? Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks since David gave me some cash last night. :-)

7. What are you listening to right now? "Baby, I'm gonna keep on lovin' you. Cause it's the only thing I wanna do." Some Classic Rock station on the radio.

8. What do you think of the person who tagged you? Mean.

9. If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished, anywhere in the world, where would it be? The island of Mykonos, Greece.

10. If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go? Paris.

11. Which language do you want to learn? Italian.

12. What’s your favourite quote (for now)? "For what it's worth: it's never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again." -The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

13.What is your favourite colour? Pink or yellow.

14. What is your favourite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe? I guess my skinny jeans. I hate everything. I need to go shopping.

15. What is your dream job? Editor-In-Chief, Better Homes and Gardens or Vogue

16.What’s your favourite magazine? Vogue

17. If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on? Clothing and a wallet for David.

18. Describe your personal style? Comfortable, probably too comfortable. And black.

19. What are you going to do after this? Get back to work!

20. What are your favourite films? To Kill A Mockingbird, All The Real Girls, Revolutionary Road

21. What’s your favorite fruit? Strawberries

22.What inspires you? Watching a person treat another with love without knowing or caring that they're being watched.

23. Your favorite books? Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, How We Are Hungry by Dave Eggars and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

24. Do you collect anything? Postcards.

25. Any advice from bitter experience? Everything that glitters is not always golden.

26. What makes you follow a blog? I love reading what other people have to say!

Tag, Lin. You're it. Sorry that it's kind of boring.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sweetness and Goodness

resolution, noun, she made a resolution not to see Anne again
1 a firm decision to do or not to do something

In addition to the aforementioned resolutions, I would like to spice up my life with adopted dogs, like this one. He is a 10-pound Bichon/Poodle mix. He is a one-year-old baby boy with no name. (No name!) He has an angelic baby-doll face and a big nose. He has been mistreated and neglected. I find him so awkwardly lovable. I, despite my poorness, am considering adopting him because he is also soon-to-be homeless.

I cannot pinpoint the precise moment when I became a dog person. We had dogs (many) growing up and my dad was always griping about having to take care of them, and how me and my sisters were lazy and irresponsible. And while we probably were, we still loved them. All of them. Gibson the Jack Russel who baby Cullan called "Sippin." Maggie, the Rotweiler with staying power, who posed for pictures in a floppy hat next to a miniature tea set and my sister Whitney. We chased them, rode them, kissed them. They were part of our family. And every time one had wandered off to die, or became a casualty to the dangers of farm-life, we would mourn in a slow, steady way. Avoiding each others' eyes, pushing our dinner around our plates without appetites, going for walks alone out into the pasture.

But, without fail, in a matter of weeks, my mom would return from a extra-long errand with a small puppy in her lap. I can still call to mind--at a moment's notice--the image of her eyes sparkling as she introduced us to the new little creature. Her eyes dancing, she'd put him down on the grass slowly as we formed a semi-circle full of squeals and cooing. "THIS is Romeo," she would say with delight and emphasis on each word. She would clasp her hands together and smile down at us. Mimicking the sounds she made moments before, I would look up at her and say, "OH, Mom. He is SO CUTE. I love him already." And we would pick the puppy up and pet his small head. Laugh as he pranced between us, giggle as he licked our round faces.

In the photograph of my memory I can now zoom out or pan left and find my dad grimmacing in the corner, his thick tanned arms folded across his chest. After we were put to bed, we could always hear the faint traces of an arguement drifting out from beneath their bedroom door. But she didn't care. She never did. She was probably driving down some windy country road, her left foot propped up on the dash, tapping her fingers to Bonnie Rait, and suddenly, she just became consumed by the vastness, the emptiness she felt. No matter how fast I drive, she thought, when I go around this sharp curve, I will be on the same path. And so she would drive further and further. In to the city, next to the copy place, to the SPCA and pick out the next plump puppy she would use to plug the leaks that drained her, left her empty.

Twenty two years old, busy and contented, I feel full. But I still often sense an anxiousness within me. A quiet stirring that is pushing me toward spontaneity, no matter the manifestation of it. A stillness that provokes a sort-of sinking feeling--making me want to swim and swim until I don't recognize my surroundings anymore. Today, as an adult, when I look back at the way my mother was then, it seems simple to me. She just had so much love to give. So much energy and not enough valves to plug in to. She was restless, and often careless, but I can never bring myself to blame her for any of that.

I'd like to think I'm the former and not the latter, but there's a good chance I am both. Perhaps that's why I am considering this homeless pup who just needs some love and attention. Two things that I know I can give him. Two valves that I long to plug in to, with all that is in me. Maybe that's my calling. Just to be a lover and giver of attention and care. That's good enough for me. And I AM careful. I know I'm not careless. I'm responsible, mostly. I know I often do what's safe and clearly calculated and logical. But I just don't want him to be sad anymore. Or anyone else for that matter. I want all of us to be back in that semi-circle with laughter, all of us back together, safe and smiling and happy.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blog It Out

rigadoon, noun, they fell in love while dancing the rigadoon. a lively dance for couples, in duple or quadruple time, of Proven├žal origin.
Everyone else my age is jet-setting on weekend trips across the country, drifting down to tropical islands on over-sized boats, or staying up late for early-morning rages that become hung-over afternoons spent by the pool. Well, not everyone. But my everyone. And then there's me. Sitting in my cubicle, twisting a push pin between my fingers, paying bills, drinking a Coke and feeling guilty about it.

Daily, my boss says things to me like, "You just need to be irresponsible, for once. Go on a shopping spree with your credit card and don't think about it until the bill comes." Why won't my brain take this and run with it? (Straight to Macy's with my shiny red piece of plastic.) "Don't worry about everyone else," she says, resigning herself to my practicality,"you'll get rewarded one day." And then she does this odd like ca-ching! move with her left arm that always makes me laugh.

In my poorness and practicality, I'm going to be efficient, rather than wallow in this shallow pool I've drawn for myself. I'm going to distract myself with small do-able projects. (I know I'm repeating from a previous post. Oh well.) I'm going to write some short fiction for blogs. I'm going to decorate my bedroom. I'm going to suck it up and shop in the produce section and make good dinners. I'm going to run after work. I'm going to avoid stupid distractions that keep me from reading.

My current fling is Meat: A Love Story a non-fiction book written by Canadian investigative journalist Susan Bourette. It began as an expose on the meatpacking industry and evolved into Bourette's quest to find "the perfect meat," one that she could eat regularly without guilt. I love vegetables and am not a big meat-eater, but by no means am I a wanna-be vegetarian. I guess I'm just curious and I want to be a conscientious carnivore--as she calls it. Oh, suddenly I feel SO old. This whole post reeks of oldness, and two of my middle-aged coworkers just started calling me a 50-year-old and asking if my desk phone could be replaced with a rotary phone, technology I would be more comfortable with. I can't go on.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

For Wilmington (For Me)

want, verb, I want an apple have a desire to possess or do (something)
I miss:

  1. It being July and me being tan.
  2. Jam seshes with Lin. To Biggie, Third Eye Blind, The Chicks.
  3. Terrazzo. Everyone. Plus, Penne Messia with Shrimp & Penne Florentine.
  4. WBMag jokes & tootsie rolls I stole from the secretary.
  5. Tanning with Em. Even though she was always darker.
  6. The original gang at Charlotte Russe.
  7. Atlantis Release Parties.
  8. King-Sized Now & Later suprises.
  9. Cape Fear Wine & Beer with Em.
  10. Learning Community classes.
  11. Having reading to do for homework.
  12. Killwins Ice Cream.
  13. Nikkis. Ginger salad & sushi.
  14. CDs from Lee Tatum.
  15. Bluepost.
  16. Concerts at Cat's Cradle.
  17. The old worn out chairs upstairs in Randall.
  18. Being sunburned and finding steals at Hallelu.
  19. The dog park.
  20. Being annoying in person with Lin.
  21. France pictures on the walls.
  22. Late-night LOST & The Sopranos in bed.
  23. Ken's. Everything bagel. Light on the cream cheese.
  24. Long talks with David as he drove me home when we were only friends.
  25. The flighty weather.
  26. Port City Community Church!!
  27. Riding over the bridge to the beach midday when everyone's out on the water. Or at sunset.
  28. Chicken salad sandwiches from Robert's Grocery on a day at the beach.
  29. Running into the ocean on an average Tuesday afternoon in July.
  30. The Terrazzo kitchen staff.
  31. Parties at Em's.
  32. Henry's. Calamari.
  33. Mellow Mushroom. Kosmic Karma & Magic Hat #9
  34. My walk-in closet at our apartment at The Reserves.
  35. Pedicure dates & coffee with Em.
  36. Pita Delite. Chicken Salad Pita & a Greek salad.
  37. Fresh.year: never caring what I looked like. Before I had to put on eye make up every morning.
  38. Late-night runs to Taco Bell.
  39. When we had to sneak beer in book bags.
  40. Cross-hallway air kicks.
  41. Hibachi. Hibachi Chicken with fried rice & a side of zucchini and onions.
  42. Intermediate Non-Fiction w/ Lin & The Celebs.
  43. My old Volvo(s).
  44. T.A.L.K.K
  45. "My campus crush" & "my class crush"
  46. Parties at Leo's. All memories with Leo <3.
  47. The Connection. Smoothies!
  48. Daily yogurt & granola at Wag.
  49. $10 haircuts from Paige.
  50. Office Max nights with Dan & Nick.
  51. Grey's Anatomy nights with Lizzy.
  52. Lizzy!
  53. Being healthy with Lizzy.
  54. Totally Abs with Ms. Allison Ray.
  55. Wandering around downtown.
  56. Friends coming into town.
  57. House-hunting downtown with Michelle.
  58. Getting yelled at by Michael for being too loud/singing with Renee.
  59. Endless Sunday Night Dinners with Callie.
  60. Work-shop days.
  61. Classes with Diana Ashe.
  62. Family dinners.
  63. Having a big group of friends.
  64. Gatherings at Lin & Courtney's. (when Lin had a star for a head.)
  65. Running into people from the France trip around campus.
  66. Pierre LaPierre. Having French class every day.
  67. Classes with John Jay Sullivan.
  68. Email exchanges with Tim. Anything with Tim. (hah.)
  69. The one time I was on a boat.
  70. Lin & Courtney's old apartment. The inflatable mattress.
  71. Watching David coach the swimteam.
  72. Flaming Amy's. Fried Chicken Burrito.
  73. Starbucks Grande Iced Caramel Macchiato before a dinner shift.
  74. Before-a-movie rituals of Barnes & Noble and/or The Fox & Hound.
  75. Em's backyard even though we never spent enough time back there.
  76. Will Coleman being "around."
  77. Shopping with Em.
  78. The Simple Life/The Hills marathons on rainy days with Lin.
  79. Walking barefoot out onto the South End in the off-season.
  80. Airlie Road.
  81. Feeling like a well-respected writer.
  82. Elizabeth's. 'Bolis. Pizza.
  83. Ordering in bad Chinese food.
  84. Cheating at online gym.
  85. Proofreading the horrible and sometimes fantastic work of other students.
  86. Writer's Week.
  87. Bottomless fries at Red Robin.
  88. Homework/catching up at Java City.
  89. When Morton Hall was the Creative Writing building, too.
  90. Getting to use "I'm a student" as an excuse.
  91. Being forced to write.

Ain't Got No Plans, Ain't Goin' Nowhere

perfect, adjective, she was the perfect wife--almost.
having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.

...Take your fast car and keep on driving. Tracy Chapman reminds me of bumpy back-road car rides with my mom and sisters. The windows rolled down. Just a fast car, driving. Or, fast mini-van. (Whatever.) I love it when nostalgic songs come on the radio when I'm at work. It's nice to secretly escape from the office for a while. Free to come and go as I please within my own mind. It's the only way to survive here.

We watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button last night--it was the second time for me--and I just love how Fitzgerald is all over the script. He is in the chemistry between two young lovers, he's in the confusion of a difficult conversation, he's in the image of two silhouettes against a settling sky. The film is different from the short story in ways, but the language is so fitting to him, lathered on so thick, almost too much--but not. This is exemplified in the choice of Brad Pitt to play the role, too. Almost too perfect in that sailboat, and on their living room floor, and at his daughter's birthday party.

And it's not just his looks. It's his love for Daisy and their daughter. His desire for both of them to experience a freedom they deserved, one that doesn't include him. His words. "For what it's worth: it's never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again." Almost too loving to be genuine. Almost too pure to be real. Almost too perfect. But not.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

My Deadly Sin

envy, noun, she felt a twinge of envy for the people on board.
a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else's possessions, qualities, or luck.

My sister Whitney's are medium-sized, pretty white. They lay gracefully, quietly between her lips. Speaking only when spoken to, despite their gleaming presence. Despite the fact that they have much to say.

David's sit straight, with good posture, but only on top. On the bottom they are bold, turning their backs or sides to the front. Their rebellion hidden, like his. But the top row does all the talking, makes all the public appearances. They flash and his smile is born. They talk, you listen. Keen and honest, they lure you in.

My dad's are the perfect set--minus a few empty holes where stubbornness and frugality went on strike against root-canals and crowns. But they are hidden in the back, way back in the darkness that hides behind the glow of his upper and lowers. Their edges are sharp--clean lines that make almost-squares in some places and triangles in others. They are tough, like he is, biting into an apple or hitting the bone without flinching.

I want pretty teeth, in-the-public eye teeth, tough teeth. Big, bright white teeth. Big, bright white normal-sized Chicklet teeth. Not baby Chicklet teeth. Not barely-there teeth. Not braces 1, teeth 0 teeth. I want Julia Robert's-high-pitched-laugh-cackle teeth. Too-loud teeth. Not-afraid-to-eat too-much-red-meat teeth. Silly teeth. You-just-got-Punk'd teeth. John-Mayer-wants-your-wonderland teeth. Caught-one-without-bait teeth. Oh-my-God-Becky-look-at-her-bu- teeth. Too white teeth. So-perfect-it's-kind-of-annoying teeth. So-important-they-require-excessive-dashes teeth. Clearly.

When I brush them I scrub. I push and prod them with toothbrushes and fingernails, thinking I can get them to go one way or the other. They don't budge. I press Crest WhiteStrips down onto the top of them every 30 seconds I have them on. I say to them, Soak it up, babies. I coax them with compliments, and big glasses of milk. C'mon little guys, grow big and strong. But they stay in their shells, refusing to be inched out. With fists, I slam my hands down on the counter by the sink. Fine, I tell them, defeated, the show must got on. I smile wide, I smile soft. I smile deep, I smile skinny. But no matter what, when I catch a glimpse of myself in mirrors, they're there, just the way they usually are. Lazily hanging, the way a teenager looks after her sibblings. Half there. Lingering in the doorway. One eye half-open, the other sleeping. Half there. With a bad attitude and secretly, a boyfriend down the street. Half there. Longing for contact. A blunt-force trauma kind of blow to the head to cause them to detach. To send them free falling.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Good Riddance?

riddance, noun
the action of getting rid of a troublesome or unwanted person or thing.

Go to home page and try to find a story about the post-election fall out in Iran. SO GLAD all of that is over. I was getting really tired of having that Peace In Iran image as my profile picture on Facebook, I was tired of seeing people get beaten, and I was tired of fearing for the continued oppression of the Iranian people. I mean, I've been having a rough couple of weeks. I can finally sleep soundly now because the streets aren't crowded with marching feet and voices, and people are back in their homes. Peace.

But the trouble is, I can't sleep. I tossed and turned all night. I kicked the comforter off, I took a sip of water, I tried wrapping the sheet around me, I tried adjusting my pillows this way and that. I couldn't sleep, and not just because it was warm. I'm bothered.

I know there is not peace in Iran. I know that the election officials are standing by the original results, and that there is still plenty of punishment to be handed out on the heads of the protestors. I know that those who took to the streets in black and green, even those with broken bones and still-tender wounds, have yet to feel the real wrath of their leaders. And I sit here and try to wrap my head around all of it. Try to be rational with myself, as I have for the past few weeks and ask, what can I do? I mean, really, get on a plane? Call my congressman? And though I know it probably isn't true, though I accept that the losses of Michael and Farrah swooped in with pitch-perfect sound, a resounding distraction from "all of that," I can't help but wonder if it's because the boiler plate got a little too hot. That the accusations from inside Iranian leadership got to be a bit too sharp of a sword to swallow. How could they turn "meddling" into "instigating" and "infiltrating?" How could the repition of the headline "Ahmadinejad likens Obama's meddling to Bush antics," work its way into the American mind and screw things up?

We backed off. The world did, maybe. BBC states that Ahmadinejad cancelled a trip to Africa, 3 More British Journalists were released, and that Iran is standing by the original election results. Everything seems so quiet. So still. But is it? Or could it be that with all the noise and headlines--more than 10 on CNN's homepage on "Michael's legacy" or life-- it gets difficult to hear anything other than the noise we generate. Are they still chanting over there? Are they still asking, crying out, "where's my vote?" Is there no longer a reason (a way) to march?

This is growing up, though I don't mean to make this about me. It isn't. This accepting that well enough has a right to be left alone. (That it may be the ONLY right it has.) This acknowledging that things are not right there, they may never be, but the risk of us getting our hands dirty is more than we can wager. This admitting that we have to keep our best interests at heart. This is growing up. Just like my argument last night, over dinner, that it is better for a big company to come into a tiny foreign city and employ 200 workers, even though it puts a local Mom-and-Pop shop, that only employed 10, out of business. Am I really saying this? I thought as I argued. Do I really believe what I'm saying? That the employment there is what must prevail, that disposable income in that small community is more important than the preservation of that community's very culture? When does it stop being "about that?" When does one accept it enough to turn to the person who is arguing that side and scoff something to the effect of "Perhaps you'll understand when you're a bit older, when you have a family of your own...when you have to think and provide for someone other than just yourself."

Is there really just nothing we can do about it? Why is "sell all my worldly possessions and move to a hut in Tanzania" more like a joke, followed by laughter, than something moving? Something heartfelt. An admission that brings you to tears. I can't even make up an answer. To any of the questions that I'm asking, and perhaps that makes it all the more ridiculous and infantile. But I'm still asking, and I'm still losing sleep, and I'm still hoping that I'll never understand.