Monday, November 21, 2011


I'm noticing a trend. The older I get the harder it is to ease into things—life old jeans... and especially the holiday season. When I was in college everything was organized into class periods, semesters and breaks. Everything was easier. Back then, the end of the fall semester meant it was Holiday time! I could easily shift into preparation for Christmas music, home-cooked meals, wrapping, shopping, family time. By the time I pulled my rusty old Volvo onto Treys Drive in early December, I was ready for it.

Everything is different now.

I am unprepared for the sights, sounds, moods of the season. I sprinted through summer, was jolted by a lovely Florida vacation at the end of it, then got slammed by fall's indecision—warm days blended with cold, windy, rainy ones—never knowing what I'd get on any given day. All the while I was buried—whether it was during weekly work hours or on weekend time—mentally stuck under the stack of articles waiting on my desk, the never-ending to do list that got new additions by the hour.

Now we are four days out from Thanksgiving. And I'm not ready. Not ready to tie up loose ends at work as best as I can and let it all go for a four-day weekend. Not ready to pack up my bags and head over the mountain. Not ready to cook and scramble for hours, to trek over to my Great Uncle's and see 50+ family members waiting to hug and catch up. I'm not ready.

I'm not in the mood. I want to hibernate until winter is over. Hide under pillows and blankets dark and heavy enough to keep all of the light out—at least for a while.

It's not the holidays themselves—I love them. I love the cheerfulness, the togetherness, the decorations, the traditions. It's not my family—I'm obsessed with them, and I miss them dearly. It's not even money or lack there of—because it's not about that.

It's that I don't feel thankful. 

I feel tired, overwhelmed, annoyed, unbalanced, unavailable, preoccupied. I know I am beyond blessed, but I am stuck in this I'm-not-ready-yet mindset. I just need some more time. I wish I could make time slow down—give me some of my weekend back, give me some of my morning back, and maybe I'll be fine. Give me back a month until Thanksgiving, two months until Christmas, and that just might do the trick.

I don't want to phone in another holiday. It's not worth it. It's not fair. But with the ability to adjust, adapt, I've lost the ability to psyche myself up at a moment's notice. There is no pep to be found in my step, there is no silver lining to spot with vision so foggy. So I go back to basics, the way I was raised. I go back to pen to paper, to pushing until some magic happens, to laying in the dark counting my blessings to bring on sleep.

I'm thankful for my amazing husband who is also my best friend. I'm thankful for a supportive and loving family. I'm thankful for my sweet dogs. I'm thankful for my job because even though it brings me down, it still puts food on my table and provides for my family. I'm thankful for my friends who listen to me and encourage me, and make me laugh. I'm thankful for my church and all of the ways it lifts me up. I'm thankful for Diet Cokes and corny jokes that help get me through the day. I'm thankful for my country—even when it lets me down so much that I ache inside. I'm thankful for people who believe in something so much that they're willing to stand out in the cold in protest for it. I'm thankful for warm socks that don't have holes in the toes. I'm thankful for unexpected shopping trips with my mom. I'm thankful for picture messages of my beautiful younger siblings. I'm thankful for an iron and an ironing board reviving the homemaker in me. I'm thankful for basic human compassion. I'm thankful for women who wear the pants. I'm thankful that books are back "in." I'm thankful for good health. I'm thankful for women and men who have the courage to serve in the armed forces that protect our country. I'm thankful for caller ID. I'm thankful for free coffee. I'm thankful for the amazing bloggers who give me a sneek peek into their lives and provide so much inspiration. I'm thankful for people who take a stand for the health of their families and maintain healthy diets and active lifestyles. I'm thankful for our humble abode. I'm thankful for soft tissues. I'm thankful for anything edible that involves pumpkin or sweet potato. I'm thankful for honesty, even when it hurts. I'm thankful for nervous/excited butterflies. I'm thankful for comfortable heels. I'm thankful for my faith. I'm thankful for photographs and how they sometimes capture memories better than a person can. I'm thankful Colin Firth was born. I'm thankful for unexpected kindness. I'm thankful for the ever-present hope inside me that keeps me from ever totally giving up, from believing the worst, that I'm not worth more, because it keeps me going with the promise that there is something bigger out there. Something better.

All l I have to do is stop comparing, dwelling, obsessing, complaining all the time, and just live for today, and then tomorrow, next month, at the start of the new year—go find it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Life Is Too Short

Oh, hey. Where have you guys been? I've just been waiting here to post something but no one showed up so I just went and did some other things, like dishes, and... OK. You caught me. I've gone and done it again; I've been cheating on this blog with a sly fox of a fellow called "real life." A portrait of our love looks like this:

But I had enough. I told him to bugger off and leave me to my little world of cheese and cuteness.

I have been preoccupied with thangs. Work thangs. Cute husband thangs. Dogs up all night thangs. Friends being happy thangs. Other thangs. I'm done saying thangs now.

And, yes, if you were wondering I AM forcing myself to blog today.

This morning I hopped my hiney out of bed at 6 a.m. as my alarm told me it was time to get up to work out before work. Before—did you hear me? Do I get a medal for that or something? Probably not, because the rest of the story is: I stumbled to my phone, slapped the snooze button on the screen and yelled—to no one in particular— "Life is too short!" as I threw myself back into bed and cuddled up to D. "Life is too short!" I yelled, excusing myself from working out today, something that will likely keep me healthy and kicking for a lot longer? Something is not right in my head.

I've been of the dog-tired sort lately. As most people expected, work spiraled out of control with the loss of two staff members, and I disappeared into all of it for a while. Into the mess of way too much to do and not enough time, enough man power, enough sense to do it all. I took on 3 jobs, welcomed a promotion in October, kept chugging along—stressing out, forgetting to take deep breaths, getting pimples—and juggled and juggled. A replacement for one of the positions started on Monday, so I've been enjoying the pace of a just-two-job day. I have time to come up for air, etc. I have time to peruse wedding sites, which is great timing because my perfectly wonderful dear old friends Emily & Jake just got engaged last Friday!!!!

Aren't they adorbs? After 6 plus years together they are tying the not! Wahoo! Party time! (And that's not even ALL, the day after they got engaged Emily ran her first half-marathon—making her a bride-to-be and a champ!)

Other than taking deep breaths, and cheering for my friends, I'm not quite sure where I am right now. I think I am just standing (sitting) here breathing for the time being. I am gearing up to start over again—to commence the job search, the excitement, rejection, exhaustion, interviews (hopefully) all over again and hope that this time I'll be one of the lucky ones. I've watched a few dear friends leave this place over the past year and while I have been so happy for them, it's been hard to be the one left standing, breathless. Walking empty quiet halls, keeping my head down until 5 p.m., missing the jokes, the joy I used to have here that made the work day a little easier to bear. 

I still have the feeling that I am on the verge of something amazing. A new chapter. A fresh start. And whether that is just another chapter of our lives, or a new career chapter, I am hopeful about what it will bring, the peace that will come with it. I feel like I've been emotionally running on empty for far too long, and a new set o' wheels might be just what I need. 

Life is too short, and so is the window of opportunity I had to compose this post. The phone is buzzing, the new guy is hovering in my doorway, the Inbox counter on my email is flashing a new number in my face every few seconds. All of it calling me back into the world of work, and I don't want to go, but I will—for now. Getting through today for the promise of something else tomorrow. Sticking around here so I can get there—eventually.

That's enough for now.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Punch Line

Of the strong suits that evolved as I grew from a young girl into a woman, self-confidence was just never one of them. I am a walking, talking "What do you think she really meant by that?"—self-doubting and self-loathing punch line. I have made myself the punchline of the joke of my life. That's not to say that my life is a joke, but that if my life were to be represented by one joke, I would be the punch line of my own joke of my own life.

Are you with me?

I don't think I ever asked for this, don't think I wrote in scribbled crayon letters, right below requests for light up tennis shoes and pillow pets, "Dear Santa, Please make me a punch line." Perhaps, in the comments section, my mom can even back me up on this. But none the less, it happened. Whether from mixed-up relationships, anti-social tendencies, negativity, geographical location or air pressure, I became a cutter of emotional proportions. To set the record straight, I am a tall, smiley 24-year-old who is married, gainfully employed and somewhere in the middle weight-wise when it comes to big girls. I have three loving dogs, a massive and loving family (and family-in-law), supportive friends, a good sense of humor. I'd like to think I'm kind to others—though David may dispute that ;)— but it's kindness, compassion to myself that I struggle with. I am not in denial about who I am or where I am, I acknowledge these things hourly, as the minutes pass me by, and I accept that I am not a failure, a flunky, floozy or a fatty. (Sorry, that just felt right.) I am also not in denial about the way I treat myself internally, and how true it is that I need to change. Because for too long, I have taken that self-consciousness and turned it all into a joke—Oh, it's no big deal, it's fine, I don't care—when it is a big deal, it's not fine, and I do care, a lot. I can't call the other person on this or that issue, so I will just make a joke of myself.

No need to feel inferior: I am a frumpy, oversized 24-year-old with a boring life, 100 bucks to her name and a dead-end job. I might as well be 50! Ha!

Whatever you have accomplished is far more important than what I've done: Everyday I go into a job I'm not crazy about and let those cowboys walk all over me! Ha!

You look great in that new outfit, I love your shoes: Here comes disheveled Lia, holes in the elbows of her sweaters, holes in her shoes, stains on her shirt. Ha!

Your opinions are probably more informed and significant than mine: I'm just here, taking orders, doing what's expected of me, staying in line. Go ahead, I'm listening! Ha!

It's not funny anymore.

Self-consciousness, on a surface level, could seem like the most opposite of self-involved or selfish, but lately I can't help but feel they are more similar than you might imagine. You think of the self-conscious girl—knobby-kneed, wearing glasses, big teeth, awkward—and then the self-involved girl—impossibly thin, white teeth, good hair, graceful—and that might be an accurate depiction in most cases, but that doesn't mean the thin graceful one is any more selfish than the other. You see, all these years I have been acknowledging my self-consciousness and rejecting the idea that I could also be selfish. The two are on opposite sides, right?

Not so fast. How can I honestly say that being self-conscious—everything you own makes you look frumpy, why can't you be a better sister, your hair sucks, why can't your stomach be more toned, you don't get what you deserve because you won't stand up for yourself (because you suck)—is not just all about me. It's not about struggling to achieve world peace, or shuttling orphans from war zones, it's about how I feel about me. How other people respond to me, how that, in turn, makes me feel about what they might feel about me. It's the "me" show. I take things too personally, because, well, my self is the number one concern on my mind. I can't make a big change, because my own oversized body is sitting on my potential.

Am I making any sense?

Can a gal be her own major problem and the solution, too? I know I need to make a change, to the find confidence, self-worth and pride that is inside of me, and let it all flourish. But first I have to get out of my own way. I promise I don't suffer from multiple personalities, I understand that this is not a me-myself-and-I situation, but it sort of is. Because it's no one's fault but mine, and the person it is hurting most is me.

I'm ready to stop feeling sorry for myself all of the time, like all of the eyes in a room are on me— scrutinizing everything I do, that each of my coworkers is slumping down into his chair and sighing at my ineptitude. I need to stand up taller, maintain eye contact, be proud of my accomplishments, my wit, even my figure. Embrace all of it, embrace myself.

I am worthy, I am no punch line. A girl with a few jokes, yes, but a walking punch line? No, not ever.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Stream of Consciousness Post

-Vacations should be done away with. I really mean it. For working people, that is. There should just be two groups of humans: the workers and the vacationers. The workers would never have to come back to work after a blissful vacay, and the vacationers would never have to deal with work stress. It'd be long as I'm a vacationer.

-In lieu of employee departure #2 this summer, I have been given (among other, many other, things) the task of posting to our Facebook & Twitter pages. The extreme levels at which my fake enthusiasm comes across in posts is scary. I mean, SCARY. "Check out this cool new gun! You can surely kill something with it, I bet, if you wanted!"

-For people who are plagued with a sweet tooth (as I am), that whole mouth/throat/stomach/body ache that occurs after drinking a Diet Coke and munching on a few SweetTarts should be outlawed in all 50 states. I cannot help that I have no self control. The self, in fact, has no part of it! It is that rolly polly voice in my head.

-Bug bites should never take place while in bed, because when they do, the bitten has no choice but to quietly freak out, rub Cortizone cream on every 20 minutes and believe she has indeed come in contact with bed bugs. And somehow, because of her rotten luck, will end up the first human bed bug-related death. (The bitten has not really come in contact with bed bugs, she is sure of it. She thinks.)

-Glitter nail polish is great because when it chips, it is busy enough that no one (except your OCD self) can really notice.

-H&M clothing was not made for anyone with boobs, hips or long and pointy limbs.

-I finished two books while on vacation. "The Big Sleep" by Raymond Chandler and "Gone Tomorrow" by P.F. Kluge. Both were good, "Gone Tomorrow" was really good, made me think a lot about teaching and writing as a whole. I have had the itch (bed bugs, bed bugs, bed bugs) to start writing seriously again ever since I put the book down.

-Can we all just agree that, if you don't have something of worth to say, you shouldn't say anything at all?

-In the past week or so I've had the strongest desire to move somewhere new and fun and exciting. Not sure if this place really exists. I told Dave I think we should do it while we still can, before we have kids, and jobs that we are too in love with to leave. We agreed that if we're not in a better place (house-wise, job-wise) by next June we will seriously consider just picking up and moving. But where?!

-I'm reading "Water for Elephants" now, it's kind of sort of keeping my attention, but barely. I see the writer on every page, in each conversation—she needed to pull back, way back. I wish I had been her editor. ;)

-I keep hearing this voice in my head (a normal thing for me) that asks: What are you waiting for? I don't know what the answer is yet. I know I want David by my side, I know I want to be editing and writing, but what else? What am I waiting for? I'm scared hard work will dissolve into years that I waited too long, and sat around thinking something would fall out of the sky. My biggest fear is regret—that I could have had what I deserved but didn't do enough—that one more thing—to achieve it.

-But I really mean it about the sweet tooth thing.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

September 4th by David

*Guest Post by David Dangelico

On September 4th, 2010, I married my best friend. Now, almost a year later, I can’t believe how much we have grown. How could I have made the leap then without knowing what I know now? Love gives you a confidence that is unparalleled. When talking to my dad about marrying Lia, he told me never to forget that love is not one person giving 50 percent and the other giving 50 percent, it’s both of you giving 100 percent. Now that I look back on our first year, I realize that he was absolutely right, and that the only person who I would be able to do that with was indeed Lia.

Marriage is a bizarre thing. So many books, movies and songs deal with the subject matter, though nothing can really prepare you for it. No self-help book can teach you how to be a good husband or wife. No movie can unlock the secrets of a man’s mind. No song can teach what is in a woman’s heart. These things are learned from experience and experience alone. Everyone is different in his or her own strange and beautiful way. On September 4th, 2010, I had no idea what I was getting into. All that I knew was that I wanted to get into it with Lia.

As a kid growning up in Wilmington, NC, I always tried to picture who my wife would be. Some famous person I assumed (because, of course I would be famous as well). We would live in New York or LA, I would be making movies, and she would either be acting in them or working on her singing career. Life would be awesome because we would be loaded rich doing crazy things. I would have an enormous swimming pool in the backyard and have a convertible parked in the driveway. It would be perfect, the life of my dreams.

But I got something better. I got Lia, the most real, honest, funny, and smartest person I have ever met. We are not famous; we get to eat our humble dinners by ourselves without being bothered. We don’t have an enormous house in which we would get lost and hardly see each other, we have a modest townhouse with one couch that is just slightly too small for both of us to lie down on (even though we do anyway). I don’t have a lavish car in the driveway, I have a car that is just slightly unreliable, thus forcing us to share a car at least once a month and carpool to work. My life is not the life of my boyhood dreams, but it is most certainly perfect, and I would not choose any other.

They say that the first year of marriage is the hardest, which excites me to no end. Sure our first year had its fair share of disagreements, maybe even a fight or two. But overall, it has been the best year of my life. And they say it is just going to get better? Well then I’m gonna say something that will most certainly make Lia roll her eyes:

Hell yeah!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


*A note: I hate the "embedding disabled" feature on YouTube. It has totally harshed my mellow this fine eve.

A little distraction does a body good, and more than ever I've been needing a mental break from the craziness that's been going on at work. It's all I think about, dream about, worry (and therein get pimples) about. Mama needs a break.

Dear Key West: See you in one week and two days. Love, Lia

Since I still have one solid work week between me and vacation, I decided to put together a lil' list of my Top 5 most romantic TV/movie scenes EVER for some fun. And oh, did I have fun. I was inspired by 1.) PW's amazing TV romances post and by 2.) my own insanity, including doing Harry's moan from "When Harry Met Sally" for at least half of my ride home from work today.

Here goes nothing, my people (in no particular order):

1. "Well then... your hands are cold."

I think that I thought I was the kind of woman who didn't like modern remakes of classic romantic dramas until I saw a remake of a classic romantic drama like "Pride and Prejudice" (2005). Everything about this movie is lovely: the cinematography, the clothing (swoon), the men (NOT the trollish cousin), the dances. I die for Darcy. There is nothing that wins my heart like a tall, dark and seemingly cold man.

My little sisters made me watch this movie in bed one weekend when I was home visiting from college, and I think we laid in bed and watched it at least 3 times in a row. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. There is no swoon like the swoon I succumb to during the final scene in which, just as the sun begins to rise, the figures of Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet emerge from a lush, dense fog and confront one another and the love between them. It is sweet, innocent, passionate, honest, raw and beautiful—and I love it.

2. "It was enough."

If you're not a "LOST" fan, well, first: I'm sorry and second: You won't really get this, but if you have a pulse it will still make you cry?

"LOST" is such a romantic show to me for many reasons—the main one being that David introduced (read: forced) me to the show, and the experience of watching it with him was very special.

This scene is from an episode called "The Constant," in which Desmond (one of the people stranded on the island) is finally able to contact his long, lost love Penny by phone. They are fragile, confused, broken, scared, but never more in love. Many years have passed since their last contact and it's very apparent that their love is what keeps them afloat. I get chills as soon as they begin to speak.

My favorite part of the whole thing takes place right after the phone connection goes dead and Desmond realizes their conversation is over. He turns to the man who set up the call, Sayid, who immediately apologizes that the call was cut short. So naturally, gently, thankfully, Desmond simply replies "It was enough." After years, across oceans, a one minute conversation was enough for him.

Couldn't find an embed-able video, but here it is on YouTube:

(Watch it if you know what's good for ya.)

3. "I was gonna get these to you."

In my many, many (24) years on Earth, I have discovered a simple fact: A lady is either into "Sex and The City" or not.

I am the former.

In the interest of full disclosure, I guess you could call me a "Sex and the City" fiend. I have the entire series, and I even have both a DVD and a Blu Ray of the first movie. I love all of it—except the 2nd movie. I'm sorry, but, just, NO.

The show is a journey, and the movie picks right up where the show leaves off. I eat it up. I love how even once the fairy tale of Carrie & Big has been tied up in a bow in the show, the movie puts them back through the ringer. That's real life. And, call me a sap, but the gut-wrenching heartache that Carrie and Big experience in the movie is perfectly presented by SJP and Chris Noth. They are the bomb.

It would be unfair for me not to tell you that I am also a Team Big girl. That will never ever change.

This scene moved and still moves me in ways I can barely explain. Maybe it's the swelling music, maybe it's the restoring of faith, maybe it's just two simple characters that I have been rooting for for so long finally getting what they really want.

You invest all this time and energy and tears in these characters and they become like family. If you think I'm a freak, you don't watch good enough TV. (Or maybe I am just a freak.)

Watch it here:

4. "It's gonna be OK."

Did you know that this post is really just all about me? You did? SWELL.

I die for Ben Affleck. I love him. I will even say that while "Gili" is playing in any and every home in America. He is smart, tender, kind, funny—and that smile. Lord, give me strength. I luff the man. Do you believe me yet?

Therefore, unsurprisingly, (and because it was a great movie) I loved "He's Just Not That Into You." Fun cast, great acting, clever writing, I was into it 100 percent.

All of the couples in this movie are great, but of course the one with Jen Anniston and Ben makes my heart melt.

They have broken up and haven't seen each other in a while. Jen is in pieces dealing with her father's recent heart attack and the chaos that stemmed from that. She is needing him more than ever, and just like that—he shows up for her. I cry, cry, cry so hard and it's not even the romantic scene most would think.

But a man showing up for his woman when she needs him most, is there anything more attractive than that??

Watch here:

"I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of the life to start as soon as possible."

Surprise! (Not.) It's the final scene from "When Harry Met Sally" when silly ole' Harry finally comes to his senses and runs—I squeal at his little legs moving so fast—to find Sally on New Years Eve and proclaim his love to her. I love the running, I love the out-of-breath-ness, I love her hair and neckline (I'm weird), I love the writing and how it gives me chills all over and makes me cry every, every time. This is the kind of stuff I grew up on, so David, if you're reading this you can point to movies/scenes such as this one as the reason I say things like "Whyyyy can't you be more romannntic?"

Heartfelt, poetic, honest, sweet, funny—here is Harry's final speech:

Well how about this way. I love that you get cold when it's seventy one degrees out, I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich, I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts, I love that after I spend a day with you I can still smell your perfume on my clothes and I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Years Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of the life to start as soon as possible.

Sally: You see, that is just like you Harry. You say things like that and you make it impossible for me to hate you. And I hate you Harry... I really hate you. I hate you."

(She doesn't at all, not one bit.)

Now you tell me your favorite romantic scenes, OK? OK! Go!

P.S: David would like me to add "the most romantic scene according to men." He would like to say that: "this is the epitome of romantic cool." Whatever the hell that means.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Accept The Good

I've had a tough last few weeks, we all know it's been a long and exhausting summer. I thought the storm was about to break, but with some bad news yesterday, I learned I have more tough days ahead. And the usual things happen: shock, anger, frustration, saddness—all stirring inside you until you collapse into bed sobbing like a baby the minute you get home from work.

But the moral of the story is: you get back up.

You step into the shower, letting the steam and hot water wash over you, your tear-stained face and bloodshot eyes. You stand there and take deep breaths and hold back more tears and try to wipe your mind clear. You dry off, put on fresh clothes and you go downstairs. You let your husband hold you like child, you talk on the phone to your sisters who encourage you, inspire you, comfort you, make you laugh.

You laugh so hard your stomach hurts. You let them warm your heart. You let yourself be happy. You remember all that you have to be thankful for.

Then comes sleep. No dreams. Just blackness, breathing, a knowledge that morning will come soon enough. You will rise again and face it all, and you will take it all in stride. You will overcome with kindness and with hard work. You will find a way to warm your own heart, and to move on and let a big change become the norm. Constantly moving forward until it's hard to remember things being any other way.

You get there by letting yourself be sad, crying all the tears you can manage, reminding yourself to take deep breaths and then managing a laugh—even if you have to fake it at first—just long enough to tell yourself you're going to be OK. Everything's going to be OK.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Things That Should Never End

I am here today to file a petition against the phrase "all good things must come to an end." I hope that you can get through my highly complicated, important and convincing argument, which is:


I hope I didn't lose anyone back there.

Look, I can swallow "life is not fair." I can take "the grass is always greener," I may roll my eyes, but I accept them—like a champ. But when you come at me with something as offensive as "all good things must come to an end," a girl has to put up a fight.

But per usual, I don't really have it in me to put up a fight, so instead of just crawling into bed like a lazy sack o' (big) bones, I offer you this list of things that should never, I repeat, NEVER, ever, ever, ever—get the picture?—end.

1. Good books that a lot of people didn't like

The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen

My love affair with Jonathan Franzen began long before people started hating him for this book and the novel that followed called "Freedom." Well, actually, "The Corrections" came out in 2001, and I first saw him speak in 2005, but that's all apples and oranges, my people. I'm saying I love the man. Critics who actually like him call his work "serious fiction," and while I would normally laugh at that, I can see what they mean. There is nothing simple about the plot lines, the characters, the language in Franzen's writing. His view of the world—perverted, cynical, hopeless—pervades the pages of his novels. It can make it hard to turn each page, more like a chore than an enjoyable task that many people look for in reading. But I am enjoying the struggle, the chomping on big words and—yes, a gal can admit it—using my dictionary from time to time. Franzen is an intellectual, and I knew it the first time I heard him read, back in '05, when he read excerpts from a piece on bird hunting. Within moments, I was hooked. He has a way of making me care about things I never thought I could ever understand, let alone have an opinion on. He never takes the easy route, spoon-feeding his readers, his fiction is work. It's a chore, like any other. But I know he is making me a better reader, a smarter one. And if he could just make it so these last 15 pages never end, I will vote for him for President.

2. This glass of red wine
Look closer, the bottle's empty.
There's not much to say other than, AM I RIGHT? There is nary a sadder feeling, a more depressed state than a gal with a just-drunk empty glass o' wine.

3. Bowls of pasta
If you don't want to swim in this, you're lying to yourself.
Stop whatever it is that you're doing and go make this pasta now. N-O-W. Pioneer Woman, with all of her butter and her whole milk, does a body right. (When right means full of calories and badly needing a gym membership.)

4. Good T.V. shows
Stop hating on LOST and go watch it. Acceptable substitutions include: Mad Men, The Big C, The Wire, The West Wing, Boardwalk Empire, everything but the last episode of The Killing, I could go on, but I won't.
I was born a simple girl in a simple world. I grew up in a farm house, on a farm with no animals. We had casseroles for dinner most nights, we didn't say "shut up" and we only had three channels on T.V. In our butter-yellow farm house, T.V. was for boring people who got bored and didn't like trampolines and pushing each other into cow pies. This behavior—minus the cow pies—continued up until college. That all changed once I met my sweetie pie, and he introduced me to the world of good television. I didn't know such a thing existed, but now I have seen every teaser and special feature, heard every commentary, watched each pilot, viewed fan videos on youtube on repeat, listened to the soundtracks. I am up on the current-TV times. And, there are few things more cruel and unusual than having to say goodbye to a show, a cast of characters–your friends—that you've grown into for hours, months, years of your life. I don't like life without Sayid breaking a bad guy's neck with his feet. I don't appreciate the great state of New Jersey without Tony Soprano in it. I don't even want to go to Crab Fest in Baltimore, because I know that The Wire is no more. I am too depressed to go on...

5. Colin Firth's life
Oh, the heavenly goodness.
Why did I even go here? But seriously. I am shouting this one right up to the Big Man's ears. Don't do it, please. Just don't. I read "Tuck Everlasting," and I'm pretty sure with all of your powers and miracles that keeping one sweet, handsome, funny, humble, loving, scruffy, curly-haired, romantic, lean, tall, smiley British man won't break Ye Heavenly Bank. At least, if you're going to do it, good Lord, please just take me first.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The 5 Best Things My Friends Have Taught Me

In life, a lesson can be learned every second. Don't do that again. Move more quickly next time. Be careful. Ask more questions the next time around. We learn them in high chairs, in classrooms, in our cars, at the mall, surfing the web. These lessons come together and make us who we are.

I look at myself in a photograph interacting with others, I watch a video, I re-read words I typed in a conversation and I wonder: Why do I say that? How did I learn that expression? Why did I act this way? How did I get here? And I can't help but open my eyes to the people around me in those photos and conversations, and when I do I realize just how much my friends have taught (and continue to teach) me about life.

1.) Don't be stupid:
Hither Jembere
We were college roommates freshman year, does it get anymore poetic? From day one—when Hither arrived at least 5 hours late for move in—I admired her. Her intelligence, her humor, her view of the world. I can hear her now—faint traces of her native Zimbabwean tongue in her speech–and I can see her hand on her hip and her face contorted in disgust as she chides someone for a dumb comment, an ignorant observation. Every ounce of her saying "You can't be serious. Don't be so stupid." While chronically late, misplacing things and restless, Hither is honest, practical. Complaining of a headache or another ailment, I would reach for a bottle of Advil. "Don't be stupid," Hither would say, not harshly, but lovingly—like a mother. "Drink a glass of cold water."
And to this day, I remember her words and I do just that.

2.) Act your age: Lindsey Johnson
Early on in our college career, Lindsey fell for me and my Thriller-Nights moves, and it has been love like heart-shaped chicken nuggets ever since. Lost already? I'm not surprised. Lindsey and I are such an odd pair—laughing when it's inappropriate, going out of our way to steal the attention in a room, squealing with delight, talking too much, not having the words to adequately convey just how freaking exciting, surprising, scary something is. We don't make sense. We are dramatic, silly, mostly annoying, a lot like children. But my time with her is unlike any other. I often tell her she lives in a fantasy world, and she does. I've been there. I go there with her whenever I have the strength to leave the worries, the responsibilities, the stress of life behind and just play for a while. Over the years, she has taught me to not take myself so seriously, to slow down, to laugh when things are funny and, every once in a while, when it's completely necessary, to roll around like a baby for a while.

3.) Be prepared: Emily Watkins
One of my most favorite memories of Emily is from the night of my birthday party when I was in 6th grade. After a tumultuous evening that stemmed from, well, us being 6th graders, Emily and I had some sort of falling out, and I remember laying (in my signature dramatic fashion) on our front porch watching the small, lumpy figure of Emily with her sleeping bag bunched all around her walking the less-than-a-mile walk back to her house. My birthday falls in May, so I know it wasn't a chilly night but Emily is nothing if not prepared. If she was going to walk home, she was going to have supplies in tow. That's just how she is, and oh do I love her for it. And it's not just lip balm or the occasional bobby pin when you need it, Emily is often the needed item. She is my de-stressing agent, just being around her makes me calm. She reminds me to take deep breaths, to gather my thoughts. She looks at situations from a different angle than most, always ready with a new plan of attack. She is quick-thinking and thrifty, she is a great listener and list-maker and accomplisher, and shoot—she just makes me smile.

4.) Accept the good: Rachel Smith
I can't lie, there have been times throughout our 10-plus years of friendship that I've thought Rach was too nice. Ever forgiving, ever offering another chance, ever forgetting as quick as she could, ever putting on a smile to smooth things over. As I've grown I've learned just how right she's always been in this regard, her tendency to see the best in people. To believe in them when no one else will. That's not to say she hasn't been hurt. She has endured her fair-share of heartache, but in true tough-girl fashion, she picks herself up, dusts herself off and moves on. She keeps her heart open to the people, the possibilities of tomorrow–and damn you if you think that's cheesy—cause it's true. Few people live the life she lives, because few are willing to let go of the reins and enjoy the ride. She is both carefree and caring, both daring and careful when it counts. Her optimism chips away at my cynical, cold heart whenever I'm around her, and when I feel myself slipping, her example of accepting what's good and beautiful in the world helps keep me afloat.

5.) Strangers can be cool: Shauni Goodwin & Alison Hughes
I was always an obedient kid. Slowing to look both ways before crossing the street, saying my prayers, treating others as I'd like to be treated, but I've failed my parents in one major way as I've grown into an adult: I talk to strangers, regularly. I "met" Shauni and Alison on The Knot while planning our wedding—think charming "You've Got Mail" online encounters instead of, like, the creepy "Swim Fan" kind. Despite the tens of twenties of frequent posters, we caught each other's eyes (*creepy) and continued to communicate after our weddings, and off of the boards. These girls have become two of my closest friends in recent months. With similar schedules, and at semi-similar stages of life, we can relate and connect in a way I can with few other people. They are open, funny, smart, engaging, obnoxious, emotional, irrational—just like I am. We look to each other for advice, for sympathy, for a laugh, and we always get it. And though we have actually met in real life (once), they are still strangers. But they are strangers I hope I will always be close with, and just maybe, one day, become real-life friends.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Come On

I had plans for this summer—yep. During the freezing months of wind and rain and ice, I dreamt of them: the dog-days of summer—days by the pool, work days that flew by without a struggle, plenty of sunlight and pretty-please mild temps.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Good ole' Murphy strikes again. Stupid Murph.

I am thankful for the moments of peace I have had, but I'd be lying if I said they weren't few and far between. Work has been nightmarish. The days have been unbearably hot. Emotions have been running high—so much going on with so many different people in my life. The country is being pulled in four different directions while the economy continues its downward slide.

But, us? We're good—things are smooth, as we approach one year of marriage. The world around us seems to be spinning out of control, but we are enjoying modest dinners, compelling films, day trips, guests in town, fair-weather sun tans.

Outside of our cocoon of happiness and simplicity, I often find myself treading water.

If you don't work full time (darn you) you just don't understand. You can't comprehend a summer in glimpses, tasting only droplets of the the heinously hot and the beautifully mild days—making your way to your car as the sun sets just breathing in the air, office meetings that drag on for hours without end in sight. Photos and posts of others playing, sweating, twisting and bending in the light and the humidity. It can make a sane person lose it. I have been practicing my breathing and keeping jealousy at bay, which hasn't been easy. It's been lots of prayer, breathing exercises, caffeine and pep talks help, but I still need more.

Way more.

So, there's this:

Key West, Florida or Heaven on Earth?

And yes, in case you were wondering, I AM drooling right now. We will be here in four weeks. Four teeny tiny weeks that—Lord willing—will be quick and painless.

Come on, little weeks.

Come on, one-year anniversary.

Come on, no work in sight.

Come on, only bathing suits for days.

Come on, lasting sun tan.

Come on, late-night star gazing on the beach.

Come on, cocktails.

Come on, romance.

Come on, little bungalow.

Come on, cutie Goodwins.

Come on, diet out the window.

Let's wrap this silly summer up and put it all behind us. Shall we?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sobriety Awareness Week

his week I made up a holiday and told myself that it was my moral obligation to observe it. And that made-up holiday would be Sobriety Awareness Week. Yeah, that's right, I gave up drinking for one week.

Now, let's not get all hasty and say, Wow, if you have to force yourself to not drink for one week don't you think it's likely that you have a problem? (Love ya, Mom) This is not a alcoholism test, it is more of a holy-shite, I drink way too many calories reality.

We all have our cross to bear, right?

So last night, approximately 24 hours into my drinking embargo, this scene takes place:

7 p.m. in the Dangelico household

Me: Babe, you want a beer?
Dave: Sure, thanks.

[End scene.]

Just kidding.

So, I crack open a beer, and then I stand there in the middle of my kitchen—a mature, adult, well-adjusted independent woman—and I sniffed that beer. Yes I did. And when I sniffed it and imagined the frothy goodness that waited just below the mouth of the can (Yes, all of this for a CAN of beer) I thought: Well, I could probably have just a sip.

I thought about it.

As my will-power wavered, and the randomly formed and seemingly pointless goal slipped farther out of focus, I almost took a sip. I almost pressed my lips to the mouth of the can and took an itsy bitsy sip that not even David would have noticed.

But I stopped.

"No, no, no," I actually said outloud to myself, placing the now heavily sweating can down onto the kitchen counter. "I'll just have tea," I said. "YUM, tea."

So, after all that, here I am almost 48 hours sober, and feeling great. Strike that, I am feeling sluggish and crappy but let's just blame that on summer allergies and not jump to withdraw-symptom irrationalities.

In an effort to last the week, I am drinking excessive amounts of coffee and tea—I've got the shakes and heart palpitations to prove it.

Next week it will be on to my next goal: a week without caffeine.

Only kidding, of course. I can't afford to lose my job, husband, friends and all human contact right now. :)