Thursday, August 28, 2008

Gratitude: A Letter to the Universe

Dear Universe:
Thank you for the cool water trickling through my veins at last. Thank you for sending me the impulse to buy the Harper's Bazaar Fall Fashion issue so that I could read very nearly the whole four-pound book while waiting for a plane.

Thank you for an old, worn-in and wonderful friendship. For someone who cared enough to track down and drive to the only second-run theater in the St. Louis area still showing Sex & the City so that I could see it on the big screen. Thank you for the release mid-movie where I started to cry - and I so needed to. Thank you for a dream to own the Something Blue Satin Pump.

Thank you for time surrounded by flowers and plants of both the common and exotic variety. For time spent wandering through a woodland garden that transported my spirit to England. For the spontaneity to jump in a fountain and spend the rest of the afternoon slightly damp.

Thank you for chocolate - in martinis and cupcakes and mousse and truffle cake and plain old Hershey's chocolate bars eaten in a dark theater.

Thank you for art. For the burning red intensity of the Rothko. The charred haunting representation of Chernobyl in Burning Rods. For images and lines and color and textures that coalesced into visual emotion.

Thank you for a burst of laughter, for airplaning around a living room singing "That's How You Know" - badly. Thank you for turning laughter into giggles.

Thank you, Universe, for a little break. Thank you for the joy of hugs, the joy of words between friends. The joy of silence between friends. The joy of food shared with friends.

Thank you for friends. And thank you, friend.


Monday, August 18, 2008


After yesterday's blissful nothingness, I'm going to embrace it for a few days. I'm going to dive into it like cool, blue undulating water and let it wash over me. In the ongoing dog days of summer, I'm going to live in deep water. I'm going to turn down the volume on life, let the waves mute the outside world and slice through the crystal-clean silence. I'm going to live in my head for a few days and make that a nice place to be. I'm going to see a friend and let that nourish my soul. I'll be back soon...until then, enjoy the silence.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Lazy Sunday

This morning, Mom made an executive decision: we'd all had enough.

Instead of getting up at the regular time for church on Sunday, she got up, let the Ranger cat out the door and went back to bed. I finally cracked an eyelid around 10 and ambled down the hall. Mom was still in her pajamas. Dad had just thrown on a shirt to go downstairs. I could hear the coffeepot downstairs was issuing the gurgles of its first round of percolation.

We all sat around drinking coffee in our PJs until almost noon, when we realized we were hungry. We had eggs, grits, toast and fresh sliced tomatoes. I indulged in a third cup of coffee.

I took a long, hot shower. I let my hair mostly air dry. I put on a cami-tank top and shorts. I read a book. About 2 o'clock, I fell asleep again on the couch in the living room.

Dad fell asleep watching today's NASCAR race. When I woke up, Mom was back in bed reading a book.

The phone didn't ring. We talked in snatches, but it was mostly quiet. Calm. Serene.

We had tomato sandwiches for dinner. And then retreated to our respective druthers - books and computer games. Catching up on emails.

And the sun fell below the horizon and night stole quietly across the lawn. And for the first time in weeks, I felt still inside. Instead of droning bees stinging every corner of my mind, it was whisper-quiet.

Even though the weekend is over, the Sunday Dread seems to be held at bay by - of all things - nothingness.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Separated by - Olympic Edition

Separated by the 9-0 Area Code
(Phelps' swimmer pal Ryan Lochte and Jason Priestly, aka Brendan Walsh)

Separated by a Cape & Kryptonite
(Amazingly strong and fascinating Chinese rings gymnast Chen Yibing and Superman)

Separated by the Mean Green
(Big-mouthed swaggering French swimmer Alain Bernard and Incredible Hulk Lou Ferrigno)

Separated by Slightly Annoying Scoring Tips
(Gymnastics gold medalist and commentator Tim Daggett and consumer advocate Clark Howard)

Separated by the West Water Wing
(Swimmer Aaron Piersol and Bradley Whitford)

Why So Scrunchious?

I understand that Olympic competition isn't about vanity. As noted by Nik, the swimsuits tend to make the women look, well, less than feminine. And let's face it - there's zero room for boobs at the Olympic games. But one thing I don't the scrunchy.

I know the gymnasts have to keep their hair out of their eyes. Whether for sheer aerodynamics or because a stray wisp will cost them a one one-hundredths deduction. But that's what hairspray is for. Don't have any? See the US Men's Gymnastics team.

The use of the scrunchy as an instrument of severe hairstyling doesn't even make sense. Back in fourth grade when I wore these - hey, hey, they were acceptable at the time - they were rather loose fitting and I always had to wear a rubberband under them. The scrunchy was simply for aesthetics.

And though I don't condone the millions of barrettes dotting the scalps of the competitors, I can see how these clips would keep the hair at bay. But the scrunchy - oh, odious scrunchy! Why dost thou plague the Olympians?

I find myself particularly surprised by the US athletes sporting them. Somehow, I can convince myself that in Eastern Europe, scrunchies are still partying like it's 1999. In China? Maybe it feng shui to wear a scrunchy. But in the good ol' U.S. of A.? I know it's simply not done. Low marks for the fashion faux pas.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

An Addiction of Olympic Proportions

Last night, I crouched in our living room at 11:45, tense, coiled and watched Jason Lezak start to overtake Alain Borden. And then I leapt into the air and whisper screamed, “Go! Go! Go!” Lezak touched the wall just eight hundredths of a second ahead of Borden, who had bragged earlier in the day that the French team would “smash the Americans.” Michael Phelps let out what could only be described as a barbaric yelp – and took home his second gold of the ’08 summer Olympics in Beijing.

This is the confession of an Olympic junkie. So far, I have watched men’s and women’s gymnastics, beach volleyball, water polo, double scull rowing, badminton, weightlifting, swimming, synchronized diving – need I go on? Events I haven’t yet watched likely just haven’t happened yet. If it’s Olympic competition, I will watch it. (With one exception – I don’t enjoy watching Kobe rock his NBA star attitude during the Olympics, so I don’t watch men’s basketball…but that’s another story.)

I love the stories – the journeys from humble beginnings to greatness. I love the unbelievable feats – 41-year-old Dara Torres already taking silver; a 33-year-old woman competing on Germany’s gymnastics team. Michael Phelps and his quest for record gold. It makes me scream and cry and jump up and down. I want to hug someone. I want to call them heroes. I want to give the world a Coke. Go World!

P.S. I'm posting this in between watching the men's gymnastics finals - at quarter past midnight!

Thursday, August 07, 2008


...went to an event tonight that was outside. People. Come on now. It's August. In Georgia.

...want to post more than a list but it's like, my brain is too...humid?

...kind of love Paulo on Shear Genius

loaned my intern my She's the Man DVD because she hadn't seen it. Criminal.

...can't stop listening to Adele's "Chasing Pavements" and Estelle's "American Boy" (featuring Kanye)

...have eaten nothing but tomato sandwiches all week. Seriously. playing the world's longest game of phone tag with Kim Shable

...hate being disappointed in people

....think that Terry on Project Runway kinda looks like Michael Jackson, circa Thriller, but maybe it's just that red jacket she wore last week

....thought Paris Hilton's mock presidential ad was hilarious. Well done, Paris Hilton.

...have never before been reading so many books at one time

...bought a plane ticket to go see Jenn in St. Louis in two weeks! tired. And going to bed now.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

TTLY Syndrome

I've always had a particularly pronounced sense memory. Smells, sounds, even a certain atmosphere, light - all provoke the return of sharp visceral memories for me. This little trick came in handy at times during acting classes when I was in college. But on a day to day basis, this sensitivity piles up into what I refer to as TTLY Syndrome or "This Time Last Year Syndrome" (TTLYS).

The oppressive heat and humidity of the last fews days have thrown me into last year's frame of mind. Indeed, the past few weeks have brought on a bewildering myriad of memories. This time last year, I was interviewing for The Job. I was feeling bereft and rootless. I was waiting.

And inside, away from the shimmering heat, in the cool darkness of my brain, the chemicals were sliding out of the proper equation. My stomach was burning, turning itself inside out almost every night. The Panic was coming.

This time last year was a tipping point, away from what was and toward what is. It was a precarious lean into the unknown. Everything was tossed into the air, floating down in a slow-motion freefall with no end in sight. Everything was all questions and no answers. The unknown was my only friend.

It's back again, like a second wave. I am waiting. Waiting for a movement away from this stalemate of grief. This terrible endgame, all the pieces on the board and nowhere to go. The Panic is rising. I waffle on the edge of nausea, try to push it down, pray through it. The unknown is siddling up next to's reminding me that in a year, I haven't made very many strides. I haven't built the life I envisioned.

The heat lashes down on me when I walk out of work each day. I stumble through the evenings, fight the TTLYS washing through my veins. I remind myself that I have moved down the road, made progress. That I'm waiting and panicking and befriending the unknown because I had not choice when life jumped the rails in February.

Tonight, Dad said to me, "I feel like...we're never going to be normal again." And somehow, seeing the weight of it on his face, hearing the crushing reality in his words, I thought, "Not any time soon."

As I stare down the barrel of TTLYS right now, I rue the next season of it - the last season where everything was normal. And that season followed by the one where everything fell apart.

Monday, August 04, 2008

The Breakfast Club: Now Requiring AARP Membership

I went to see The Dark Knight on Thursday with my intern, Kat. She's 21. Before the previews started, the new JC Penny back-to-school promo aired. It features a revved up version of "Don't You Forget About Me" and steals the general premise of The Breakfast Club, compacting it into one minute to sell jeans and other tween fashion sensations.

I leaned over to Kat. "You know, the funny thing about this is that the audience they're trying to appeal to wasn't even born when this movie came out."

"Oh," she said. "This is based on a movie?"

Sunday, August 03, 2008


*Helped Mom and Justin can six gallon-sized freezer bags of fresh tomatoes today. Dad picked up two five-gallon buckets from a friend of his on Friday night. We've had tomatoes for every meal since - including Justin's and Mom's summer marinara pasta sauce with sausage. Deeelish.

* Went to see The Dark Knight with my dear intern on Thursday night. It was delightful to go with a 21-year-old who giggled every time I mentioned how hot Christian Bale is. Oh, and the movie lives up to the hype.

* Dreamed last night that I was at a conference (in Hotel Entrapment, as fate would have it) at which I was forced to attend a Civil War reenactment.

* Due to my father's weekly watching, I' of beginning to like NASCAR. And, for the record, Kasey Kahne is very cute.

* The Tales of Beetle the Bard will be available from Amazon in December. I reserve judgment. It's both thrilling and...well, also potentially a recipe for extreme disappointment. I hope it takes us back to a delicious, bittersweet bit of the Potterverse...and doesn't fall flatter than an overused Fanged Frisbee.

* I wish I could resist the urge to click on the link and feed the Brangelina Baby frenzy. But...I...just...couldn'

* Hired a real dynamo at the office last week. No really. She's conversational in 13 languages. I felt my job security slipping.

* School is starting this week. It makes me want to buy pencils. And a Trapper Keeper.

* Today we made blackberry cobbler out of the last of the summer blackberries, and it was August.