well, hello there.

Over the weekend, we had some people over for dinner and board games and lots of tequila, and one of them suggested that I needed to be blogging again. One of the people, I mean. We had a lot of dinner, tequila, and board games, but none of the three made any suggestions to me whatsoever.

Anyway. It’s not something I hear all the time or anything, but every once in a while one of the few remaining loyal readers will mention it and it just echoes what I keep telling myself. I need to get back to this. It was a healthy habit that brought me lots of joy, and these days I actually have some stories to tell again.

So here we are. These are all the words I could manage to put into sentences over several hours today. But you have to start somewhere, right? And here is where I begin (again).

Onward and upward.

3 Comments December 10, 2012

adventures in commuting

In Lynchburg, I lived two miles from my office, and so my commute went kind of like this:

  1. Roll out of bed.
  2. Get in car.
  3. Be at work.

But life is about choices, and when we moved to Cville, we chose a bigger, more affordable house close to Seth’s work and about a half an hour from mine. So I became the commuter. It seemed only fair.

The only thing is, a good portion of my commute takes me straight down 29, which is possibly the stupidest road in town unless you count University Avenue, which I actually do, so okay, 29 is the second stupidest road in town. It is full of weirdness and random accidents and drivers who have some kind of particular, unique blend of stupid. I think it might be because so, so many of our area’s residents are transplants from other places, so they all bring the driving habits of their other places to Cville and then it becomes just a big fucking mess.

So. Route 29 is basically Frogger in real life. The other day, my drive in forced me to choose between driving directly behind the following: a tractor, a dump truck, a cement truck, and a logging truck full of logs, and dudes, I saw City of Angels so you’d better believe my ass was not behind the logging truck full of logs. I went with the cement truck until I realized that the cement truck was going approximately 21 mph in a 45 zone and so I did some fancy maneuvering between the other trucks in this toddler boy traffic fantasy so I could get OUT OUT OUT.

Today’s obstacle course was brought to us by the friendly folks at VDOT, who decided to mow the grass. All the grass. But not in like a consistent or helpful pattern, oh no. You’d be driving along, la la la, and then BAM! your lane ended, completely without warning, because they were mowing there. So then you had to sit there along with all the other stupid people who got stuck until you could get over into the other lane and continue. Until it happened in that lane too. So my brakes got a good workout today.

Oh! Oh, but then! Hey there, random girl in scrubs walking out into traffic all randomly and shit! That was so awesome how you did that!

And hey there, Mr. Disabled Plates Guy. That totally wasn’t dangerous at all how you just changed lanes 7 times in five seconds without signaling and also cut me off twice. Are you recruiting?

1 Comment May 10, 2011

dancing about architecture

Two years ago, my best friend went to sleep and never woke up. His remains were not found for two days.

This week has been on my mind for ages, a huge obsidian block in the middle of my springtime, a chasm of sadness that I know I must navigate each year. I dread it and yet it feels important to me to do it – as if I had any choice. Of course, I would much rather have Frank here.

So I’ve been really apprehensive about this week’s arrival, counting down in my head the events leading up to his death. Today he was at Gregg’s. Today he talked to Maria. Today he is decomposing. It’s kind of horrifying and brutal to contemplate and I’ve worried about its ability to stop me in my tracks when what I most need to do is keep moving.

The week approached like a tidal wave, inexorable and crushingly destructive, and I braced myself for its impact. This year, maybe, I would keep my head above water.

And then, against all odds, a series of events stacked up that have caused this week to become what I can only describe as spectacular.

Several weeks ago I won tickets to see David Sedaris do a reading here in town. He’s one of my favorite authors and our budget just couldn’t justify the cost of the tickets, so I was moping. And then I won them on the radio, and off we went, and it was exactly as funny and interesting as I hoped it would be. We waited in line for an hour and a half to have our book signed afterward. We arrived at his table at 11pm, near the end of the signing, and the first thing David Sedaris did was welcome me to his golden okra chest. And then he laughed and wrote that in my book. And then he offered me some of his fried okra, and I’m actually kind of sorry I declined because I was freaking starving and that looked like some killer okra. And a love for fried okra is among the most Southern of my Southern qualities. Then, David Sedaris astutely observed that I’d dragged Seth along, but that he was very patient about the whole thing. He asked if we were married, Seth said, “not yet,” and David Sedaris whose whole name must always be used as far as I’m concerned asked why the heck we weren’t married yet. Then apologized for being awkward. Then asked again. And we stuttered out some excuses and he kind of leaned back and, even though David Sedaris doesn’t know us from anyone, he said something like, “You guys are good together and I can tell you’re going to make it.” It was completely awesome and we thanked him and told him our dirty nun joke, which he rewarded with two of his own dirty jokes, and we were on our merry way.

That alone would have made this a great week. But then Tuesday came, and you guys, Tuesday was seriously badass.

Old 97s were in town. I freaking love Old 97s, I’ve never seen them live, and the minute their new album dropped I told Seth that this meant they’d surely be touring and I felt Charlottesville was a likely stop and that WE WOULD BE ATTENDING NO MATTER WHAT. I mean seriously, they hadn’t even announced a tour yet and I already knew there’d be a Cville date. Because I’m magic. So Seth was like yes, whatever, and then the announcement came and I squealed louder than I did when Mom surprised us with New Kids on the Block tickets in 1990. EEEEEE OLD 97S!!!

Then we looked at our budget.

We were broke broke broke, broke as a joke. We kept putting off the tickets in the hopes that our next paycheck would have more wiggle room, but alas, car repairs and vet bills and optometrist visits just blew massive holes in our “discretionary” fund over and over again. And since I’d won tickets to David Sedaris, I wasn’t eligible to win again from our local radio station. So I moped.

On Monday, the morning host on our station of choice posted a thing on Facebook telling people to email him if they wanted a chance to meet Rhett Miller. And within 30 seconds I think I had written a novel-length plea and fired that bad boy off to Brad. A few hours later, he responded: we were in! We’d been put on the list for a private acoustic studio session with Rhett. I figured it’d be a good consolation prize for not getting to go to the concert.

So Tuesday afternoon rolled around and we headed to the station for the session. I hadn’t been to their studio before and expected we’d be with 20 or 30 people on folding chairs outside the booths where the sound engineer and the artist would be. Imagine my surprise when we and 6 of our newest friends were ushered into a very small studio…and Rhett Miller was a foot away from us.

He played three songs and bantered with the hosts, and it was completely awesome to be up close for the session, which you can listen to here. We hadn’t been told much about what would be allowed, so I didn’t think photos or signings or anything would be cool. But they were!

After the session, we got to take photos and a professional photographer was in taking photos too. Rhett signed CDs and such for us, and then he asked us if there were any songs we’d like to see on the setlist. HOLY CRAP! I asked him to play “Murder (or a Heart Attack),” one of my favorites. And he wrote it down along with the other suggestions. We left the studio basically floating through the air, and the minute we hit the parking lot, Seth and I were like, “okay, now we have to go to the show.”

We made a quick huddle and an agreement to skip groceries this week and get by on Ramen and PBJ, and I ran down and bought the tickets.

That night, we drove to the concert through a torrential thunderstorm, and when we arrived, we snagged a spot on the front row. Seriously. I told you this week was freaking awesome, didn’t I?

So we’re on the front row, along with some of our friends from the session. And the band comes out on stage and they are exactly as awesome as I thought they’d be, and Rhett Miller actually recognizes us from the stage and kind of waves and raises his eyebrows at us while he’s playing, and we’re in the front row at an Old 97s show and Rhett Miller just waved at me from the damn stage and I’m pretty sure I’m going to die of the awesomeness.

It was way better than that NKOTB show. My parents were right about them.

So hey, is this long enough yet? We went home, and we were happy and half-deaf and exhausted. And then yesterday I continued the awesomeness by giving a guest lecture on arts fundraising at the university.

Today is kind of what I think of as The Day, when it comes to Frank. Today, he is gone. And I miss him still, and I will always miss him. But I can’t help but notice the timing of this fantastic, surreal week I’ve been having. Frank had a novel in progress he called The Architecture of Coincidence. Despite a general lack of belief that he and I shared, this week has been different for some reason. And I’ve wondered if maybe, just maybe, there is an architect after all.

3 Comments April 14, 2011

knockoffs

I have wanted tall boots for about a billion years, but I have what shoemakers like to call “extended calves.” They’re thick, okay? Maybe fat. They’ve been thick/fat forever, long before I myself qualified as thick/fat. So that made finding boots really difficult, especially when my budget was so small.

So I have this weird habit of buying something and then, only after plunking down the cash, going online to look up its reviews. I have no idea why I do this, but it happens all the time. Like maybe I need to have my life choices validated. If only I could look up online reviews on the friends I choose and whether or not I said the right thing at the right time, although I fear the answer in both cases might make me feel bad.

I happened across some really great ankle boots at Target toward the end of last summer, and while I was validating my choice by reading reviews, I saw another boot on the site that I might have liked even better. And those reviews were STELLAR, frequently comparing these boots favorably to a certain style of Frye boots that retail for over $200. These boots? $50.

cheap boots!
expensive boots!
The cheap boots are on top.

So I immediately snapped up two pairs, in brown and black.

And then I was all nervous about how to wear them so I left them in the closet for like 4 months.

And then, gradually, I started to break them in. And I freaking love them. I only rarely wear the black ones, as it turns out, but I wear the brown ones several days a week with a skirt or a dress and a little sweater or something, and I might look like a total douche in them but every single time I wear them I feel stylish and comfortable and I’m pretty sure I rock it.

So here I am, all awesome, feeling trendy in a pair of boots when for heaven’s sake I’m freaking surrounded by UVA students wearing much more stylish and expensive boots, but these boots fit my fatty fat calves and they were fifty bucks. Therefore, I am cool.

A month or so ago I went to do a site visit at a place where I was hoping to plan an event, and the very very nice and sweet staff member assisting me was about my age, and wearing the boots. At some point in the visit, I decided to both compliment her and bond with her by complimenting her on what a great deal the boots were, and how excited I had been to find them at Target, and so on and so forth. So I’m gushing about our shared love of $50 boots, and she gets kind of red and kind of quiet and says, “I didn’t get these at Target.”

Oh shit, I think. She’s wearing the $200 Frye boots and they look freaking exactly like mine.

So I immediately and quite awkwardly and unintentionally diss her very expensive designer boots by telling her, out loud, that they look freaking exactly like my shitty Target knockoffs.

And she’s like, “Normally Target is way more my speed, but I’m getting married and wedding planning has been really stressful and I wanted to do something nice for myself, so I saved up and splurged on these boots.”

And now I’m an even BIGGER asshole, because I have unintentionally dissed fancy boots that she SAVED HER MONEY TO BUY AS A STRESS REWARD TREAT THING. Also, she was very cute and nice and had very nice thin calves. And I made her doubt her designer boots.

I tried to make some little joke about how her boots would probably last her ten years and mine would fall apart by next fall, and later on she emailed me to say that we needed to do a boot check every now and then to see how they were holding up. She was very gracious. But boy, did I feel stupid.

1 Comment April 12, 2011

love the one you’re with

At the start of this year, a funny thing happened. I consciously avoided making many actual resolutions, and in the process I found myself embarking on a flurry of positive activities instead. How does that work? I don’t really know, but I’m liking the sense of control and stability it is giving me.

When I was thinking about resolutions, the one I kept wanting to make was along the lines of “work out more, lose some weight, etc.” I even told some friends that my single resolution for 2011 was to run the Four Miler. I was training for it last spring and I had to stop because my eardrum exploded and then I got mono. So I thought, I’ll get back to that goal and do that and it’ll be fine.

I might still run that race. In fact, I hope I do. But it’s not as big a deal anymore because the decision I’ve replaced it with turns out to be far more important.

As my life has become busier over the past few years, I have become a casual reader of blogs at best. I cruise around daily or so and skim some regular sites, but I am not nearly so active a reader and commenter as I once was. So in my blogosphere rounds over the last few days, I ran across this guest post about body image at C. Jane’s blog. And I skimmed it just like I skim everything lately. I didn’t give it any extra attention or read it with any extra purpose, but somehow, that post really got under my skin and seems to have begun putting down roots. And if what I’m going to attempt ends up working out well, I will have Janna and C. Jane to thank for it.

This year, I’m going to try a radical departure from every approach I’d ever tried before. This year, I am going to love the body I have.

I know, I know. It goes against everything we know, everything we’re taught. I’m fat, after all. I’m fatter than I’ve ever been. I should count my calories. I should schedule a workout regimen so ferocious I want to die. I should hate and hate and hate this body until the only reasonable option is to change it to a better one. But fuck that.

I have pretty, thick, dark wavy hair that glints red in the sun. I have eyes that shine gold in certain light. I have pretty pale skin that flushes pink sometimes. I have really soft hands. I have strong legs and a fantastic rack and curves that won’t quit. I’m dead sexy, and I’m not going to waste another moment looking for things to dislike about myself.

I am going to buy clothes that fit well and make me feel and look beautiful, and I don’t give a shit if that means they come from Lane Bryant. I am going to walk the dog because it’s fun to explore the world with him. I’m probably going to run that race because this body is strong and can totally do it, and if it turns out I feel like doing something else that weekend, I will. I am going to continue to refuse to buy reduced-fat cheese and sour cream because the real thing is ten thousand times better. I am going to dance more because shaking my ass makes me feel awesome. I’m going to take pictures and be in pictures with my friends and family and put that shit all over Facebook, and you know what? I’ll probably have double chins and weird facial expressions and unflattering poses, and I’m not going to care anymore.

So many things about my life are so good right now. I am surrounded by people I love who love me back. It’s high time I started to love myself, too.

4 Comments January 7, 2011

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