Thursday, August 30, 2007
I love love LOVE this song.
And all together unrelated, but brought to my attention...see dreaded plague, paragraph 5 and also the entire eighth paragraph.
Life is ironic :)
This morning I swore to leave 30 full minutes before class was to begin even though my campus is only 3 miles from my front door. It seems that with the influx of freshman, a simultaneous disappearance of parking slots has also occurred. I've thought about calling Roswell to investigate, but instead I attempt to remedy the problem with futile curses contained within the solitude of my car. It isn't really working. You should also know that time management is a great weakness of mine, but this morning I was on my A-game. I was prepared to be prompt in my attendance.
At exactly 9:05am I stepped outside, locking the door behind me.
First hurried step, phone - check.
Second, iPod - check.
Third - I'm gonna be on time!
Fourth, keys - che...where are my keys!?
I didn't yet launch into panic, although it was more than warranted. This would be my third missed class since the semester's beginning from which I would be absent. I'm pretty sure that under such circumstances, a student becomes a top candidate for immediate failure or dismissal from the course. I calmly turned back and lunged for the spare...I should probably add it to my list for Roswell's research, seeing that it too has mysteriously gone missing.
Shit!...and panic ensued.
To make a short story not as long as I would otherwise make it, The Roommate left work to let me in, I sped to class, found a miraculous parking spot in the garage, the door wasn't locked today, and I sauntered awkwardly into the classroom only 10 minutes late. I was at odds with the universe! After a solid effort of flawed preparation, I think I'll stick to my preferred by-the-seat-of-your-pants method.
On happier notes, The Staff Sergeant and I have a date tomorrow. I believe we'll be attending an indie rock affair in the Gulch. Hopefully it will prove to be as good of a show as the talk seems to bill it.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
It rained today, briefly. Just enough precipitation to make the consistency of air a little more like that of syrup. But rain nonetheless. I almost required a moment of silence for the phenomenon we have not born witness to in ages. It was the talk of the town - that quick sprinkle.
It seems that I will either freeze in this office or parch outdoors, and I'm beginning to think that the idea of autumn is a farce all together.
I'm failing miserably at the photo-a-day project now that I am officially four days behind. It doesn't seem to be all that critical to the continuation of life's cycle and maybe it should be celebrated as a sign that I'm beginning to give more meaning to my hours than I did in the throes of Summer's Apathy. I'll try to catch up, because I said I would do it.
For the sake of something positive: Living Wage meetings begin again next week! Yay! for fair wages! I've also got my fingers crossed for some involvement in a refugee replacement organization this semester - Yay! for the evacuation of Sudanese refugees!
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
We've all been there:
...the please don't let me run out of things to say, first date. The one where you realize his eyes are the color of the black coffee he almost ordered. The one where you learn his profession, his origins, his favorite band, the books he's read, that his smile is perfect. Where you wish that you had invested a bit more time in the application of your make-up, that you had checked your teeth before he arrived, that you could tame butterflies. Before you make the surreal drive home through imagined clouds, he hugs you, and for a moment you forget to breathe.
...the can this frock possibly transcend the dress code of anywhere in this city and/or state that might be contained beneath the umbrella of "dinner, at eight," second date. The one where he comes to your front door like a gentleman. Where he's even more dapper in dress pants and a button-up than he was in jeans. Where he opens your truck door and you think Xanax thoughts to calm yourself as he walks around to the other side. The one where you try not to spill the wine, or spatter your entree as you move it in small fragments from plate to mouth in unnatural deliberation. Where you are ever more drawn to his sense of humor, his effortless display of intelligence, his class, his allure. You finally calm your nerves to the point of easy conversation, and you wonder if, rather you hope, he moves in for a kiss before the evening ends.
...the please don't let my cooking skills fail me now, third date. When you drum your fingers nervously on the kitchen counter in percussional prayer. Where you hope that of everything in your closet that might count for "casual," the GAP jeans and tee are the most perfect. Where you buy back-up, pre-packaged pasta an hour before he shows just in case. Where you cross your fingers under the table as he takes the first bite and seems successfully impressed. Where the details begin to act as mortar to the facts. The ones that you scrawl into mental notes. Where your heart jumps when he wraps his arm around you in the dark, and the unexpected burst of fireworks have somehow just made the night more epic than memorable. Where he tells you that this date tops all of his others and all of the others about which he has ever heard. And as you gaze out over the city lights, your fingers momentarily entwine and you try to hide the telltale smile that is strung from ear to ear.
This is my favorite part. When you move slowly and slightly past "strangers" and brave a step toward something more.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Where is Dhi Qar?
...for that matter, where exactly is Iraq?
See what I mean? And it digresses from there. Maybe Miss Teen South Carolina and I can go get a latte and talk about...er...stumble over...uh...attempt to converse about The Iraq or possibly Everywhere Like Such As. She'd be in good company. My knowledge spans no further than the plastic boots of G.I. Joe and his action-hero jointed limbs. Even then, who am I kidding? I was a thoroughbred Barbie girl. No camo for this Princess.
...and completely overwhelmed.
My adopted soldier, who we'll cast now as The Private, will perhaps be a test of informational endurance. As for The Staff Sergeant, well, I'm a bit smitten and also, he has good shoes. So, please someone remember to make that justification in my eulogy when the capacity of my brain overloads and I burst...
1. Whatever the eff-ing hell this travesty calls itself...
2. That CNN story about Seniors and oral sex that aired between unnerving footage of soldiers in Iraq...
3. (said unnerving footage courtesy of CNN, and the theoretical heart palpitations I credit to the intensity of their musical score)
4. My masochistic tendencies and the search capabilities of YouTube and Google: [base location], [military branch], [specific category] = the virtual deflowering of my mind and eyes
5. The prospect of another long weekend spent with one of the parental forces of evil...a predicted 3 days of psychological warfare hidden behind the smoke and mirrors of, "I know that you asked not to be put in the middle of this, but there's something you should know..."
Sunday, August 26, 2007
How did I get here?
Where am I going?
This road, where will it lead?
My abstract, eager search for Home.
Time and again I want premature answers. I want certainty, to know the result before I give myself to a direction. Like wanting to package the stars, this too is impossible. What is my purpose, what do I have to offer that fuels my small existence in this world? Is there a niche, a place in the puzzle where only I fit? Will there be someone who fits me, who fits with me in that place? And when will these answers be unveiled? Foolish thoughts...foolish, unanswerable inquiries, and still, I am ever hopeful that this journey finds a destination where infinite doors will be flung open for new but rooted chapters in my life. In my mind this state of home is that foundation from which everything else flows smoothly.
It is the proverbial anchor wedged fixed in the sand where everything tethered to its weight makes sense and holds steady.
I'm still a bit taken aback from such an inquisition from my mother.
Despite the display of family dysfunction, the date was indeed fabulous. The menu consisting of caesar salad, homemade baguettes, homemade spinach ravioli with tomato sauce, white wine, and balsamic peaches with vanilla gelato (again, homemade) was well received. Afterward, our trek up Love Circle was also a hit. The weather was pleasantly unseasonal for the norms we've been experiencing. The daylight heat had subsided some and a breeze was an added bonus. Heat lightning flickered above the cityscape - a low glow in the dark clouds. It was perfect, and then when it seemed as though the night had peaked, an unexpected firework show erupted in the sky.
Friday, August 24, 2007
|6 peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced into thick wedges |
3 Tbs (45 ml) brown sugar
1/2 tsp (2 ml) freshly ground pepper, or to taste
3 Tbs (45 ml) balsamic vinegar
Serves 4 to 6. (I omitted the pepper...and opted for homemade vanilla gelato instead of ice cream or whipped cream)
Better than Vanilla Gelato Made in your ice cream maker For 1 quart you will need: 5 large egg yolks - 3/4 cup sugar - 2 cups whole milk - 1 cup half & half - 2 tsp. vanilla extract.
Combine egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat at medium high speed until the mixture is thick and pale yellow in color. Heat milk to a simmer. Add half of the milk to the egg yolk mixture and whisk until blended. Stir in the rest of the milk and cook over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, when the mixture coats the back of your spoon. Stir in the half & half. Pass mixture through a fine strainer into a bowl and set over an ice bath to chill. Stir in the vanilla extract. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.
Gelato in the works.
The Ravioli insides: 3/4 c. ricotta cheese, 6 oz. frozen, chopped spinach (drained), 1/2 c. Parmesan, and a pinch of nutmeg...salt and pepper to taste.
Five Minute Tomato Sauce
I'm very particular about the tomatoes I use in this sauce. Look for canned crushed tomatoes, some cans you will come across will say "with added puree" - this is also fine. I avoid diced tomatoes, pass on pureed, and skip whole tomatoes as well. Avoid the crushed tomatoes with added herbs, seasonings, etc. You want pure crushed tomatoes if possible. I also look for organic crushed tomatoes which can be tricky, I often come across the Muir Glen brand, it has added basil in it - that one is actually fine. The San Marzano crushed tomatoes are great as well. Any leftover sauce keeps well in the refrigerator for three or four days
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
***1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
3 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 28-ounce can crushed red tomatoes
zest of one lemon
Combine the olive oil, red pepper flakes, sea salt, and garlic in a cold saucepan. Stir while you heat the saucepan over medium-high heat, saute just 45 seconds or so until everything is fragrant - you don't want the garlic to brown. Stir in the tomatoes and heat to a gentle simmer, this takes just a couple minutes. Remove from heat and carefully take a taste (you don't want to burn your tongue)...If the sauce needs more salt add it now. Stir in the lemon zest reserving a bit to sprinkle on top of your pasta.
Makes about a quart of tomato sauce.
***I SUGGEST CUTTING THIS BY AT LEAST 2/3rds (i.e., 1/2 tsp, if not less)
*recipe courtesy of 101cookbooks.com
AND, the aftermath:
My roommate loves me...
And tomorrow the Goddesstry continues with homemade noodles for the ravioli and a baguette or two. Oh, this is date No. 3 with the Staff Sergeant :)
Thursday, August 23, 2007
It was that course that bonded us, a group project, a late night with a morning deadline and a glass or two of champagne. Our thoughts were brilliant in the bubbly haze, in the 4am fog of good ideas and hopeful efforts. It was only later that we realized the ridiculous nature of our proposed idea, but too much time had passed and we had already committed to the lunacy of hosting a Single's Soiree. FOR A GRADE.
I won't go into the painful details and the embarrassing numbers of people who didn't show. I won't dwell on how all of us would have chosen a slow and lengthy death over standing before a classroom of peers to present our disaster. But I will say that without our stupid party, V and I probably wouldn't be friends.
She was the mutual entity in my meeting The Virginian. She was friends to us both then, and as I, without regard, without any sense of logic, fell for his facade, she was friends to us both still. There was one night, the day he left Nashville for home, that she and I embarked together on the therapeutic journey of drinking away my sadness. Again, I will omit the painful details in order to maintain a thread of respect from anyone reading this. I'll just say that I drank the bar. The whole bar - several of them, I think. When I reached maximum capacity, she was there to help me in more ways than I care to post publicly...I'll just mention that there was some hair holding and leave it at that. A true friend holds your hair.
Some weeks later I packed my car and moved. She stayed behind to tackle a horrific final semester of 21 hours. Even though we strayed in separate directions, only a day or two ever passed that bore an absence of contact. The Virginian and I began our slow saga of atrophy. She was there, most always, when I needed to cry, and the only times she couldn't be were those when she was honoring the insane obligation of too many commitments.
August became December and with the turning of seasons, came also the changing of minds. She was my encouragement when I knew I needed to come home. She was always an optimistic voice on the phone, and when I triumphed over the long drive and the lonely and confusing holidays with my family, she was there New Year's Eve to be my friend once again in person. We had successfully weathered our long distance spell.
Over the course of the last eight months, her advice has still been spilled forth as I fearlessly test the waters of silly endeavor after silly endeavor. We still go out. We laugh and cry both on the phone and in whatever riotous moment we might find together. She is conservative, I am...not. She's the epitome of class. She puts up with a lot of crap, and I put up with the occasional late night phone call when she is in need. She's a great friend to have, and those of you who don't know her are missing out on a little piece of joy in the world.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
It's no secret that I botched the summer session originally intended to aid in December's graduation. I kind of want to kick myself when I think about it. But what's done is done and doting on the loss will not rewrite the current reality of an additional semester. May 2008 can't come quickly enough! I shamelessly blame my parents.
It was a Thursday night as I sat in my car beneath the dense heat of summer, and in a continuous flow of garrulous chatter, she slipped in divorce - effortlessly.
There it was in it's finite moment - the verdict. From her lips it flowed so smoothly, and almost literally knocked the wind from my lungs. OK, so it wasn't a startling surprise since they have harbored a hatred for one another since...well, sometime prior to my existence. Despite this previous notion, it was nonetheless far more final than the talk of "separation" ever was. It poured from her mouth and settled in my heart, stale like set concrete. It has hindered my every move since, and has made appearances throughout my summer weeks under the guise of apathy.
So today when I (finally) parked my car, and (finally) reached the safe haven of the School of Business, and (finally) took a seat in a familiar classroom, it was as though my subconscious mind permitted my lungs to again breathe freely.
Friends and family have afforded a barrage of advice on what to say, the optimal parameters for relationship boundaries, how not to be pulled into the middle of the hot-zone of parental hostility, etc. I have yet to master the methods, but paralysis was never an acceptable option.
I am not a failure and I will prove that to myself in the 16 weeks of unmolested opportunity that lay before me.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
"When you’re the liar, you are that guy we’ve all sat down to a friendly game of poker with, the overeager, smarmy one with the odd tells, the one who repeatedly claims he doesn’t understand the rules but seems to know his way around the table just fine. Not only is no one sure exactly who invited him, but he takes all the fun out of the game. And he’s an ass when he wins the pot, scooping up your cash with a sweaty snort while you give the knowing glance to your regular players. This is the guy from whom you hide your good beer in the farthest reaches of the fridge. The one you rant about after he’s cleaned you out. The one you promise will not be invited back.
I’m not playing that game anymore."
I swear I've met that guy before. I just...hmm...I can't pinpoint WHERE.
The question of honesty makes my nerves draw up inside my skin, like when you anticipate the piercing sting of a finger prick. It's hard to wager yourself after the burn of deceit, very hard indeed. It's hard not to assume that everyone's intentions are the same. We are a culture of "every man for himself," are we not? I just wonder if he's out there...he doesn't have to arrive on a majestic white horse, or come to my door with bouquets of flowers or compliments, or a twinkle in his eye - I'd be skeptical of the twinkle anyway. I just want him to be honest. Honest and absurdly in love with me.
...and maybe good shoes.
And also, Tuesday's snap-shot:
I signed up to "adopt a soldier" this morning, which basically means writing letters and sending the occasional care package. They say "when it rains, it pours" and only too many times in this too-big world has that reigned true (oh, puns).
First, I met The Staff Sergent, then there's the war in Iraq (actually that came first), and following my curiousity, I've waded a bit into the shallows of The News (i.e., I'm educating myself - cautiously). Today I was aimlessly surfing the world of blogs (again) and stumbled upon *Red. She had posted a gruesome rant after receiving an email from her cousin (also a soldier, in Iraq) and listed the "adopt a soldier" address as a means by which to send some comfort. I clicked. I registered. And now I wait (3-5 days).
If nothing else, The Staff Sergeant has prompted a limited amount of enlightenment, but enlightenment nonetheless.
Monday, August 20, 2007
OK, so I just want to be that happy...
I randomly flipped open the pages in search of something profound - "I see Johnny." The first thing that captures me is the 1960's setting and Miss Betsy's coral coat. She waits for the El in the chill of a Chicago winter season (having missed the "summer of love"). Miss Betsy is the host of a children's show, but awaiting the train, we interrupt the recollection of her first sexual escapades at 16 with an older boy, Johnny. She remembers telling herself that she doesn't love him, yet when the Korean war takes him - by means of a shot to the head - she realizes the flaw in her nay-saying mantras, for years later she is still plagued with thoughts of him. Standing on the platform in the opening paragraph, in her coral coat of course, she thinks of the grease trapped beneath his fingernails. She loved him, you see. Love is a tricky thing.
Her life is monotonous. I imagined her as a bit of a prude, a straight-line perfectionist. She probably wears pearls, probably dresses like Jackie. As a part of Miss Betsy's character, she carries a hand mirror lacking the reflective center. It's used on the show as an interactive prop allowing her to peer into the viewing world and "see" her audience. She sends salutations through the t.v. screen, and likewise carries one in her purse for those occasions in public when children ask her to perform the bit.
One morning for reasons undisclosed, Claire, the show's make-up artist, invites Miss Betsy to a party. The host notes a significant age difference, and also that she has no idea why she opts to attend the event. Nevertheless, Miss Betsy obliges Claire's request. Between a marijuana joint and several pills, Miss Betsy finds herself locked in the bathroom and for the first time, irrefutably high. She reaches for her mirror frame and peers deep into it's emptiness. It offers an image of Johnny, a painfully disturbing image only produced by the torment of lost love...and hallucinogens.
Her behavior deteriorates, she increases her drug use and attends more parties with Claire, with whom she falls in love. At the height of their interaction Claire disappears - again Miss Betsy is abandoned. She begins seeking any social event that might result in a reunion with Claire, but never finds a trace of her. The climax of the tale brings us to one last psychedelic occasion. Miss Betsy, having stumbled on an unusual invite, knocks on the unfamiliar door of a sketchy neighborhood (foreshadowing at its finest). The door opens, she drops acid upon entry, and quite literally runs into Claire - screwing a mutual friend in the bathroom. I wouldn't usually use such casual descriptors, but it's just that casual of a scene. Miss Betsy has spent countless hours pining, and when they are again face-to-face, Claire gives nothing more than a careless and blaze greeting.
This is the tipping point as emotional trauma and a "bad trip" begin to mix. Miss Betsy bumps into the children of one of the party goers in the hall. She locks the young girl in a closet, and attempts to kidnap the small boy, whom she has convinced herself is the childhood embodiment of Johnny. Before getting far on foot, Miss Betsy is stopped and the child returned. She loses her job, moves back in with her mother, and refuses to speak. She begins to feel that speech is overrated, and no matter how hard her mother coaxes, she shuts down. Oh, and Claire becomes the show's next host...a daily mockery.
I had a point, an idea of why this bizarre piece of literature has lingered in my head. I am ashamed to admit my ignorance to the actuality of this war, to military culture, and the previous luxury of maintaining a faceless image of our soldiers. I arrived on Thursday for our coffee date, mine and the staff sergeant's. Only then, I knew him as an "out of work writer." Although a bit put-off by the initial lack of profession, it seems that the struggling artist persona would at least foster worry on another, less intense level. But such is life, and I was captivated by the conversation. Date number 2 ensued, and again I was intrigued. Over the course of the last few days I have learned a bit more about the Army, a bit more about the culture and the expectations...and the tours. He has suggested not to take up News watching, has mentioned a friend of a friend who didn't make it home and the reality that event provided.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
- This has always been my character.
- I'm not a failure just because I move against the grain.
- I hurt and love with equal intensity...and pretty much everything in between.
- Even though they sometimes seem absurd, the things I'm willing to experience always offer something new and significantly valuable to be learned about myself, relationships, etc.
And also, Sunday's photo:
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
Thursday, August 16, 2007
OK, so it isn't from today, but it's less than a week old and is still pertinent to my current routine. I'm still struggling to get my camera back in working order. The battery situation seems to have been a fluke, but Friday's party has rendered my poor Canon's lens cover unpredictable...due to an apparent spill that has sealed it shut. Soon, I will be in working order - hopefully.
Anyway, this is my new most favored meal of the day. I previously mentioned the breakfast I threw together on my morning in Johnson City before heading for Asheville...organic granola, lots of blueberries, and milk. It's like heaven, no joke. My roommate teases me about the way in which a I carry on about breakfast. I revel my few moments of morning bliss of crunchy granola clusters, fresh blueberries and skim milk. I'll even credit it for motivating my morning awakening on more than one occasion.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
It sometimes makes us Nashvillians jaded to be fortunate enough on any given day to be able to flip open The Scene to scope the evening's shows, or just to stop into our favorite bar/venue and be blown away by incredible talent. Other times, at least for me, it makes me sad that not everyone can do the same. Last night was...for lack of a less overused adjective, amazing.
Kate York, K.S.Rhoads, and Brooke Waggoner started the show off with a typical round - and by "typical," I mean only in format. Every song moved me with the sorrow that wrote it. The three even laughed in jest at their cumulative dismal tone. We've all been there, though - broken, I mean. Their brokenness, however, was far more beautiful than any state in which I have found myself. Inspiring is what it was. Beautifully inspiring.
Lowercase Collective followed the round in what I can only describe as the most boring performance I've ever seen. It wasn't the music, or the songs, it was the lack of energy in the performers. A few times I half expected the bassist to numbly flip the pages of a hidden magazine atop the speaker against the wall, or for the keyboard player to be sipping coffee, making out his grocery list between cud-chewing chomps of his gum. They were bored, hence, we were bored. I feel for the lead guy. If the others had his energy, the show might have been salvaged.
Third on stage was Matthew Perryman Jones. He rocked (hard). No less do I want to bear the children of his music, in fact, I may want to more. I purchased his album, "Throwing Punches in the Dark", on iTunes yesterday. It's incredible. He's incredible. His band was in NO way bored. He performed a version of an old spiritual song that I simply can't recall right this moment...but, wow. It flustered me, moved me, inspired me. Everyone should love him. OK, enough. He's married. ::sigh::
My roommate had mentioned her excitement to see Katie Herzig. I however, had not heard of her. She opened for The Fray a few months ago, she had written a song that caught my ear on the local indie station, but wasn't singing it. I must say that my life is further enriched now that I know of Katie Herzig. She seems the unlikely "rockstar" by appearance, but her voice will quite nearly move you to tears. She pours herself out on the stage - empties herself. For us to even feel a percentage of the passion she offers to her audience, we as society would be changed as a whole.
Four hours, a Michelob Ultra and turkey sandwich later, we headed home. Following so much creative energy, more than anything I wanted to paint, but alas, work waited in the morning hours, and I'm attempting to retrain my body to sleep.
Monday, August 13, 2007
Love is a bitch. The mean, catty kind.
...and the photo-a-day campaign is on a temporary delay as I figure out why my camera is devouring batteries. I have a few from the weekend that I'll try to post. Or won't.
Out tonight with the roommate to see Matthew Perryman Jones again. He's incredible. His love songs are...
I may want to rip out my heart before the night ends.
But his voice...Oh, his voice.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
It's ONE-HUNDRED AND FOUR degrees! ...but it's his birthday.
He smiles and says that he likes the heat because he's an old country boy. I politely inform him that I am not, and then clasp the sweating plastic of my frigid cup and suck down a bitter-creamy gulp.
I step inside to use the "patrons only" restroom, and pass the pastry chef as he is stuffing something that resembles eclairs without chocolate. He calls me baby girl and it startles me...I hate to be called that anymore, even by my own mother. I don't hate the chef, just the name and I stop to talk with him on my way out. His name is Kimberly. He has a house in Sardinia where he lives 3 months out of the year. When he was 18 he moved to Japan where he was engaged to his pen pal's sister. She died 2 weeks before their wedding. He turns away and I hear him mutter, "that broke me in two."
A fly has begun to challenge the ownership of the sweets on the counter and Kimberly swats at it, cursing, as he continues his work. I chat with him for longer than I should seeing that my Dad is roasting outside, alone, on his birthday, but I'm so intrigued. I think the chef tries hitting on me...something about eating sushi later, but I tell him I can't - "It's my Dad's birthday, after all." I shake his hand and head toward the door, and as I walk away, I hear the triumphant assassination of the fly he has defeated. "I got you, bitch!" he exclaims, and I smile at the irony of the enemies.
I swing open the heavy door and again enter the inferno. A man resembling a pirate has laid claim to the bistro table adjacent to my father. A powder blue wrap encompasses his head, his mouth is covered with warm-brown whiskers, his over sized white button-up is rolled sloppily at the sleeves and hangs below his waist, unkempt. His khaki pants are dirty and have been cut off at the knees. He wears big, black, unlaced boots that raggedly hug his feet and ankles, and the remnants of an aimless strap hang limp across his body from shoulder to hip. I am unsure of it's purpose since it attaches to nothing. His name is Dan Smith, perhaps an alias, and he used to fly planes for Northwest. I choose to imagine him adrift the seven seas with billowing black skull and bone sails instead. He asks my Dad if he understands death, to which my father unbiasedly replies, "no."
My Dad "understands" everything.
The pirate sits back against his wrought iron seat and agrees that he doesn't either, but it seems to him that Heaven and Hell just take up too much space.
Blues music pumps soulfully into this sidewalk. My father clears his teeth with that popping sound he makes with his tongue. He thinks for a moment before claiming ignorance to both modern art and jazz, but blues he says, "blues, I understand."
On the corner of Main street I roll my eyes at his dramatic tone, and shift in my seat to find the coolest position in this miserable heat. And between the pastry chef, my pirate, the characteristically southern temperatures, and Dad, I feel at home for a moment, at Home.
Friday, August 10, 2007
From Franklin, we head back to the city. She wants to see my studio so I oblige the request...two phone calls later (that I kind of dread answering - the drummer and the florist), I come back inside to give her the "tour". She loves the space. She loves the work. And flipping through the old albums she comments on how slim she was 20 years ago, and how cute my "chubby cheeks" were as a babe. She says, "Look at how skinny I was after I had you, and I was 38! See, there's hope."
Yeah, Mom, there's hope...
We then decide on Bosco's for a light dinner of fire roasted pizza and micro-brewed beer. Dinner is delicious, the conversation however, revolving around debunking myths my father has generated, leaves me suddenly wanting a few more drinks, or to scream, but mostly to cry - right there at the bistro table in front of the cute couples playing bingo at the bar.
I call out from work Thursday morning on account of Mom's impromptu visit. We go to Fido for breakfast instead, and I relish my fruit and granola and cup of coffee as an alternative to numb limbs that often occur in the meat locker I will call my office. Afterward she needs to, "get on the road back home to get some work done." So, we say our goodbyes and she and the Magnum head South.
I don't ever do well with that sinking feeling that follows "Goodbye." But the therapy of choice I opt for is a healthy laundering of dirty clothes and finally unpacking the suitcase full of Asheville.
Can a cap-full of laundry detergent possibly dilute an entire weekend? Probably not the generic brand...
I shut the lid of the washer and grab my laptop. I'm going to a coffee shop...one with WiFi. It's time to blog the damn trip to North Carolina.
Portland Brew is sunny and Jeff Buckley is a good mellow choice of background tunes. I sit down with my Odwalla Limeade. I've already had a cup a' joe today...and it's SO too hot for coffee. The blog takes about 2 hours, but I'm happy it's posted when I'm finished. The pictures I think turned out well, even if V told me that I was taking photos like a tourist of sorts. It was a perfect journey. It was the destination that left me a bit surprised. It's over, door closed. It's blogged and laundered now.
Cue window opening.
In a very roundabout way, I stumble upon an incredible musician - Matthew Perryman Jones. And he's playing in an hour and a half at The Bluebird. I'm so going. I IM my future Californian for company to the writers round and he agrees to come with me. Once there I declare that I will marry and bear the children of his chord progressions - his voice and the melodies give me chills. My future Californian raises a brow and whispers to me, "I think that you have devalued the sanctity of marriage."
We go back to my apartment where I do not hesitate to pull out my soapbox. We are both emotional masochists so I know what he's doing to himself. I guess, it takes one to know one. Maybe it frustrates me because I don't understand why I do it to myself, the self-induced torture, or maybe it's just that I want him to understand how much better he is than the mental hell he's creating for himself. I try to explain that by the time I decided to rip off the proverbial band aid instead of continuing its slow and painful removal, I was so angry that I had wasted 6 additional months on the Virginian. I know that it doesn't matter what I say. I'm that person, too.
We put on Little Miss Sunshine. I book a ticket to New York. He tells me about some housing options in LA, shows me some furniture he's been eyeing at IKEA. I take a shower and he's asleep when I get out.
Today I head for Memphis, another weekend away, another 400 miles (round-trip) of loud music and contemplation. I'm beginning to love driving for the first time in my whole driving life. It's Dad's birthday tomorrow, and The Florist's was Wednesday - his party is tonight. It will be an eventful weekend away, and I'm looking forward to not sitting around my apartment trying to relive and pinpoint what went wrong a week ago.
I think I'm going to start my "photo a day" project. We'll see if I can keep the commitment. It's just one picture per day, right?
Thursday, August 9, 2007
The flights are booked. I am so there the 4th weekend in September! I can't wait! I'll see The Guggenheim, The Met (again)...and spend an afternoon lounging in Central Park...coffee in The Village...H&M and Century 21 shopping...the sounds, oh the sounds of the city - cabs honking, the people, the buzz...the hum. The food, the bars, maybe Warhol's Factory, a stroll down 5th Ave...
I am the happiest girl in the whole world!
In the WHOLE world!
Leave Nashville around 1pm
Our journey begins with a full tank of gas, a peach Enviga, and the open road. More play-by-play updates as the miles close in. Asheville or bust!
Nearing Crossville w/ ears popping, I am accompanied by Maria Taylor and the notable silence of the new front tires. The temperatures are forecasted to be 2 degrees shy of 100 at home and for yet another reason I am thankful to be pressing Eastward. The growing hills are a hazy blue-green in the Aug. heat and humidity, but appear to remain beautifully tranquil. I want an old aluminum Airstream trailer to travel roads like this in search of myself.
2:45pm - mile marker 347
Mountain overlook to hazy valley, winding roads, sunny sky. Slam on breaks for first police car speed trap. Kudzu blankets everything and I am reminded of the things that I love because they are characteristically Southern.
drive away...just get on the interstate...you said don't let love break you down...well, just show me how and let me never be broken.
First pit stop - Watt Rd.
Petro station advertises a "Travel Plaza & Iron Skillet." This is a truck-stop mecca. Maria Taylor still keeps me company. Stopping is non-negotiable or I would not be here...damn all that caffeine!
Traffic halts in Knoxville. The sky weighs heavy and hangs low with the gray foreshadowing of more rain...it's so hot and the air is wet and heavy before the storm.
Finally a cool breeze before the storm moves in. Knoxville traffic sucks!
I just passed a motorcyclist with really big horns attached to the front of his Harley. And the rain begins. I laugh at his bike, but not at his current situation.
Downpour. - thankful for the new tires!
The storm passed quickly. Second stop...somewhere before picking up I-81.
Windshield catches a rock and breaks. Damnit!
SUNLIGHT! And cows, and hazy mountain silhouettes.
Arrive in Johnson City sometime around 6:30pm. I'm so happy to have arrived at my first stop! We head out for groceries and stop by TJ Maxx where I nab a hot little kimono-style mini-dress on clearance before stocking up on organic veggies and shrimp for pasta at Kroger. Once we're back to her apartment we drink a bottle of wine on the front stoop and attempt to solve the problems of the world from right there on that concrete slab. There is nowhere I'd rather be than right here...except Asheville with my drummer. Hindsight is crystal clear...I should have never left that stoop and that bottle of wine and the view of the mountains from Tennessee. The rest of the night is fabulous.
Dinner is amazing and eventually we all pass out at an early hour of the morning.
I rise around 8:30am and call to see if he's on the road yet. No answer. Begin to worry he's not gonna show.
Everyone leaves for work or summer classes and I eventually get dressed and scrounge up a most fantastic breakfast of organic granola, lots of blueberries, and milk. Heaven.
Anxiety sets in. It's been 10 MONTHS since we've seen each other!
I get a final "OK" on my "first impression outfit".
Stop by her office to say "goodbye" and "thanks!" She sends me off with a Sprite to settle my churning stomach as the butterflies have turned into mild panic.
Leave Johnson City on I-26 toward Asheville. I'm VERY nervous.
I've finally heard from my drummer. He's running late, but is en route (whew!). Stop at a scenic overlook. The mountains are gorgeous. The crack in my windshield has worsened in the heat.
Rest stop. Welcome to North Carolina!
I'm so anxious that I stop logging time and events and concentrate on not throwing up or launching into a panic attack.
Check into the Days Inn Downtown Asheville. Pace the floor. Check the mirror. Check mirror again. Put on Ingrid Michaelson. Check the mirror. Open the door and the windows. Check the mirror. Try to chill out with Jack Kerouac and his travels. V calls. I calm down a bit talking to her.
He texts: I'm 2 miles out. Calmness canceled. Check the mirror. Try to read.
::gasp:: he's here!
Dinner at Ed Boudreaux's Bayou BBQ
Coffee at Double Decker Coffee Co.
Purple Hazes and an attempted game of pool at Barley's
Drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway. The mountains are perhaps the most gorgeous thing I've ever seen. We drive through clouds. The temps drop so we open the windows and Incubus blares from the speakers. We are quiet for the first time in weeks. Peace.
20 mile hike through the mountain trails...in flip-flops.
Mild exaggeration on the distance traveled.
Back to the hotel for last night's leftovers and some relaxing by the pool.
Stranger Than Fiction.
A hunt for "legit" coffee begins (i.e., a coffeehouse). We land at a cute little place on the corner with a cupcake for the sign. Ugh, it's hot! He gets a sticky bun and I order 2 iced coffees. Even though it's nearing 7pm, I'm still stuffed from lunch. We finish our coffees and decide to drive back up the Blue Ridge Parkway to see the sunset.
Sunset. Brr...I comment at my surprise that there is anywhere in the southern United States that has temperatures this low in August. It's so quiet up here. Just this inherent peacefulness. Gorgeous.
Dinner at Tupelo Honey Cafe
Breakfast at Eaties - the coolest "cereal bar."
We walk around for a bit.
My heels are blistering in these wedges.
Goodbye. I cry 'cause I'm a baby.
Nashville Bound...I'm reminded of how I loathe Sundays marked for leaving. 300 miles of I-40 stretch Westward before me...lots of thinking time. Sunny and 89 degrees. Ingrid Michaelson again serenades me. Tank on E - must get gas.
wrong way on 40. Turn around.
The drive through the mountains is awesome.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
What is that, even?
That guy at the other table looks just like...
I order a Purple Haze. (Reminiscent mistake.)
The MC announces the trivia answer to be. "Washington Redskins." (Are you kidding me?)
"Girlfriend" screams from the car speakers. Hey, Hey, you, you...!
(Be careful what you wish for.)
Boys 2 Men is selected as the next karoake track. (Will you dance with me? Only at arms length.)
I. want. to. take. my. phone. into. the. non-gender-enforced-bathroom-of-this-lesbian-bar. and DROWN it in the toilet. (in the name of phone chemistry.)
Instead, I send a text. I don't know what I'm thinking a text will change. Perhaps those tiny short-hand words on a cell screen will redirect...the alignment of the stars? (I missed talking to you.)
::laughter:: at the absurdity of myself.
On the way home we drive by the building that will soon house my 671 sq. ft. of urban bliss.
It isn't often that I'm out in the heart of downtown on a Tuesday - the throbbing, pulsing middle of downtown.
I find solace in the street sweeper traveling the wrong way on our one-way street, and the water he leaves standing on the asphalt.
I'm sitting next to someone who will love and adore me even when phone chemistry is all we have to link us between Tennessee and California.
It's so hot outside, even driving fast with the top down I'd swear I could swim home in the August humidity.
Sometimes this feels like home, and beneath the stars with the engine shifting up a gear I again know that I will be OK.
Back to degrees.
Back to cats.
To hell with phone chemistry.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
I'm thinking September. NYC in late September, and a place to stay in Brooklyn. It's like anticipating Christmas...that actually comes. With forecasts of snow...that are every bit as glorious as you had hoped!
I spoke to a friend yesterday. She says, "Come see me! There will be lots of single guys who have seen your picture and want to meet you – and distance won’t matter to them.” I swallow in an effort to stifle that choking sensation before the tears well in my eyes. And I whine to her again pathetically, "I just want him to change his mind." Then I inch my way deeper beneath the jersey sheets of my refuge. It's only been 24 hours and already I'm so tired of this disgusting, morose version of me...
When I embarked on my exodus from the East Coast, I retraced my interstate journey with certainty about some things. I knew that I was making the right decision. I knew that even though it was terribly painful it was for the best. I knew that something better was out there. Even if it didn't always seem that I knew it, I did. Deep in the ruins of my heart I didn't question my actions.
Eventually I came to the inherent realization that being single would be OK - I wouldn't love it, but it was an inevitable fate, and it worked well with the plan to lock away my heart in an impenetrable vault. Accepting and letting go of the disappointment was another thing all together, and as most will recall, it manifested itself as a very unhealthy version of trying to right things that were much too wrong for fixing.
I predicted a year without love...without being willing to give it and too afraid to think about trying to accept it. "Vulnerable" was the last thing I hoped to be - ever again. Sometimes heartbreak just wears you down. I began to be content with the single life - a handful of first dates, the thought of living on my own in my chic little loft, becoming a fantastic emulation of my independent mother. I put any hope of domestic life with the man of my dreams on the back burner - more in the dark corner of the pantry (so I couldn't be tempted by it's visual presence). For the first time in a long while, I wasn't trying to fulfill that dream, I was moving in a different direction and all was coming together. I was really proud of myself.
As it occurs all too often, life sends little hiccups into steady plans to veer them ever so slightly off course. This time it was something as simple as an email - harmless, endearing, flattering even, but they were just words. It's funny to think of the magnitude that 173 words can bear once they've started gaining momentum. It was all in the name of honesty...that truth said to free one's soul. I can't speak for him, but I suppose it did - act as some form of liberation, that is.
I've been somewhat baffled at the ease in which the shackles fell from my timid heart. I tried to guard it. It was a valiant effort, but to no avail. Stupid heart...my stupid, stupid, hopeful heart. It wasn't supposed to leap like that. It wasn't supposed to fall. It certainly wasn't supposed to break (again).
I'm not really experienced in walking away from someone who matches so closely to my ideals. I've never been on this side of the game...the one where I'm not convinced that getting the hell out of dodge is the only right thing to do. It isn't really my decision, though. This time it just hurts, and I wish that there were some 173 words that would free my soul, or at least my mind and heart momentarily.
Monday, August 6, 2007
“We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment.”
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
This morning, BBC news reports a watered down version of the original plan. Apparently, the Sudanese government wasn't so keen on yesterday's idea...which should certainly prompt an immediate reluctance among peace keepers. I mean, it's not like the Sudanese government is funding the militia! (note sarcasm)
Another annoyance with today's article occurred when it clarified that the peace keeping force will be made up mostly of "African countries, a move also hoped to appease Sudan's initial antagonism to the force." Can there be a bit more hospitality for these guys?
I'm confused as to what exactly the message is supposed to be..."We're here to stop your rebel Janjaweed, but please let us do it comfortably and on your terms."? They are scheduled to meet Friday...we'll see what other footholds are lost after the weekend.