a last look at fall

December 12, 2011

a letter to me at fifteen

November 22, 2011

you will want to quit swimming at the conclusion of your junior year. i'm okay with you doing this, because you will have been coached by a lardass geek rather than your current guru. but when the guru coach from mccullough high school comes to you after having heard of your retirement and asks that you join his masters team, say yes. without hesitation. and thank him for thinking so much of your abilities.

your knees will give out on you. it will hurt. you will not know physical pain as great as this. but you won't remember the extent of that pain a decade after they've cut. just that it was godawful. so take advantage of the fact that your knees work well enough right now. run. run lots. because there will come a time you won't be able to do this.

your mother is going to insist that you go look at stephen f. austin and cottey college. she is going to do this because she believes that you will get lost at a&m, that you only want to go there because your brother is there. i don't know about the lost bit ... i can't tell you what will happen should you go there. but i damned well know your wanting to go has nothing to do with his presence there and everything to do with the fact that you love that university more than life itself.

i know you're tired. i know you're angry. and ashamed. and disgusted with yourself. you've a right to be. you're entitled to it. but you're entitled to be happy, too. i need you to not rely so much on attaining goals that are the norm, like marriage and family. if you continue on this current path of yours, this trajectory, if you choose this adventure, it will not end the way you'd like. you will be single and childless. because that exhaustion and anger and revulsion will slowly, slowly erode all that which makes you good.

you are not normal. stop trying to be.

your brother, by the way, is not perfect. stop treating him as though he is a god, an ideal. he is flawed, just like you. there will come a time where you will feel inclined to tell him not to call you. you will regret doing this. let him know how much you appreciate him. every day, if possible. he will piss you off, moreso than anyone else. don't give up on him. you will regret doing this, too.

contrary to what your peers have told you, there will come a time in which men will find you attractive. it will not be soon. you will have to wait a long, long time for this. but someday, a man's gonna want to get his hands on you. i know. it's hard to imagine. when that time comes, don't be so hasty. yes, i know. patience is not your strong suit. at all. wait. just wait. you're gonna be so excited that it's happening that you'll rush things. and nobody likes to be rushed. least of all you ... so ... just ... wait.



money is not your friend.

you don't have a lot of friends, by the way. people don't necessarily outgrow their adolescent selves. stop expecting them to do so. it won't happen. you have such a high moral ground, most of the time. i know you doubt that right now. i know you've made some choices lately that have inspired you to question just how good a person you are. don't let these experiences cause you to think differently.

stop praying for death. it's not gonna happen any time soon. you're mostly depressed lately. it will be significantly worse in your twenties. significantly. it will be terrifying at times. but you will get through it. every time.

it doesn't mean you're weak. you're not. stop letting others opinions of you cause you to feel this way.

focus on your gifts.

draw. write. sing.

you're gonna be curious about smoking, too. don't be. it'll take you a really long to time to kick the habit. and quitting sucks. also, quit drinking all that goddamned coke. your teeth are gonna turn out like dad's. you're welsh and english, idiot! what do you think's gonna happen when you guzzle as much of that crap as you do. crowns? and root canals? they're not cheap. imagine what you could buy with seven hundred bucks! brush. and floss. every freaking day.

oh! and that cabin in basalt? they're gonna build a fucking apartment complex or some such crap across the river, right in front of yall's cabins, and screw up that lovely view. (it's been a while since i've seen it, but it looks a helluva lot like the hideous thing in the photo above), and they're gonna start developing a significant number of commercial properties in the area. so it won't be supremely-small-town, colorado anymore. it'll be an annex of aspen, sort of. and it's gonna lose all its charm. so take tons of pictures. there'll come a point you won't even be able to go there anymore. fight like hell to see that doesn't happen.

your aunt marge and mema jo have set aside a nice chunk of change for you to edumacate yourself. you can do a helluva lot better than a two point three grade point average. and every time i utter those words, i feel like i'm spitting on their graves. it's a damned fine gift they've given you. cherish it.

it doesn't matter what you do. it only matters that you do it well.

there are stories inside you. don't be afraid to share them.

you are brilliant. you are.

hang in there.

. . .

and in other news, i found this neato-bandito christmas project today.

the twenty-eighth question

November 17, 2011

a few months ago, my blogging friend lacie over at creative attempts was kind enough to pose a question for me for the griffin inquisition, a creative memoir project that began in college.

the thing lacie most wanted to know about me is thus:

are you inspired by anyone that you would be embarrassed to admit? 

for my answer, click here.

instead of my showing you samples of old posts from her site, like i usually do, i've invited her to post on picky. here she will tell you about oula, a nifty new way to shed some of those dreaded pounds.

so, welcome, lacie, and thanks for guest posting.  

If you really knew me you would know ...

Hello to my friends that have followed me here and my new friends via picky. I am so excited to be guest posting here today!!

So I have been wanting to blog about this for a really long time, but I think it’s the hardest to write about something personal that you love because you expose a part of yourself, but here it goes ...

Let me preface this by saying loud and clear that I have never done anything like this, and I am quite possibly one of the most uncoordinated people on the planet. That being said, if you really knew me you would know that I have become absolutely obsessed with something called Oula. If you haven’t heard about this, it is a cardio dance class that is literally one of the most fun things (especially exercise-related) that I have ever done. It is filled with top 40s music, and I feel like it is somewhere that I can let everything else go and rock out and let the music move me. I leave the classes feeling energized, happy and excited. How many times can you say that after you have been sweating like crazy at the gym for an hour?

Yes, this is me. Ugh. I am so not photogenic, but I was part of a project where we were photographed doing some of the Oula movements, and it was actually a blast.

In my head when I am dancing I look like this ... (p.s. this is not me. it is the founder and creative director of the program, and she is AMAZING)

But I am pretty sure I look more like Elaine from Seinfeld (if you saw that episode you will know what I mean) ...

The fact of the matter is that you don’t have to be a great dancer to go to this class and have it change something inside of you. It is amazing stress relief and great cardio, obviously, but more than that I feel like it is just plain good for my energy. How cheesy, I know, and I sound like an infomercial, but there it is, friends. I couldn’t imagine my week without this as part of my routine.

something wicked this way comes

November 6, 2011

one of my blogging friends posted on her page the other day that she basically kept the dark and twisty stuff to herself. that her blog was not a place for that. she wanted her page to be fun and friendly.

there are days where i wish like hell i could be one of those girls.

but unfortunately, i am not. i have been battling a pretty nasty bout of depression the past month or so. it isn't letting up. or i'm not strong enough to combat it. or both.

i don't have a social life to distract me. i don't have that luxury because i am pathetically socially inept. i am not like her. or any other woman, for that matter, who can contain the ugly under a lovely mask of sunny.

so the world would assume, anyway.

there are things i see in my head that i've never seen in person. horrifying things. tormenting things. things i don't want to know so well. i don't want to know if what i've imagined is better or worse. i don't want the visions to become realities. when that happens, the images stay with me forever. they don't become so clouded by and, therefore, insignificant with time. they are as vibrant in memory as they are at the time of their occurrence.

the trouble with having a mind that is affected by mental instability is that you're constantly battling those visions. doing your damnedest to see that they remain things imagined. and the more you struggle, the harder it is to protect yourself, your world.

i see horrible, horrible things.

it is for this reason that being home alone very nearly paralyzes me with fear. it is for this reason that i am so cognizant of suffering. i am incredibly, acutely aware of trauma and its effects.

most people believe me to be too nice. i lent a friend who had just delivered twins some movies while she was cooped up in a hospital bed.

i've lain on those beds six times, four that i can recall. the first two happened before my second birthday. and every time it was to correct a flaw. and every time my only visitors were my immediate family and my doctor(s). it sucks to be stuck in a sterile, white room with monitors and wires and that stench of hospital with so few distractions.

i had a majority of my movies stored in a portable case. i'd meant to give her that. it should've been a quick thing. run home, run upstairs, snatch it from the floor at the foot of my bed, and run back. but no. my room was trashed, like always. and i'd moved it, but couldn't remember where i'd put it, like always.

so a twenty minute trip became an hour as i filled a large, brown paper bag with dvds.

when i got there with my bag full of plastic cases, she called me crazy and said i was too nice.

there are times when i feel as though niceness is an insult.

but it's important to me that i be nice. because there is such violence in me. i am capable of doing some godawful things. in my mind, i've hurt people i love. and the more i love them, the more pain i've imagined causing them.

so i cling to kindness like a lifeline, a fragile tether tying me to a dingy rocked by a hurricane.

there are things in this world i no longer want to understand. i used to wonder how someone could abuse a child. how a man or woman could harm a toddler for being a toddler, especially one who idolizes that adult.

i wondered and wondered and wondered. and then, one day, as i was caring for my niece and nephew, i got one of those terrifying visions.

and thanks to the demons in me, i no longer need to wonder. i've a very good idea of what would compel an adult to hurl a helpless three-month-old against a far wall.

not that i've done it. i would never. i would commit myself if such a thing ever came so close to becoming a reality.

and i'm careful not to be in a room alone with those babies. and i'm not going to teach, because i'm confident that i am not strong enough to handle a roomful of children by myself. i don't trust me in there. so all that waffling i'd been doing? i shouldn't have wasted my time with it.

still, when i see someone drag a child across a floor so fast and with such force that his head is whacked harshly against a wall ... when that person laughs at his cries and assigns the blame for his injury to him, it's damned near impossible for me to sit silently.

but sit i must. because god forbid a childless woman comment on the care another does or does not provide for a child.

and i've yet another painful memory crowding my all-too-troubled noggin.

someone asked me once what i was most proud of accomplishing.

masking the violence in my soul.

i've been told my smile is amazing. i've been told i am too kind. so i can't shove the sadness down far enough. but the other ... no one will know just how bad that shit is. this is the best glimpse of that you'll ever get.

so this is my prayer today:

this week's wisdom

November 4, 2011

psalm twenty-seven
1 the lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall i fear? the lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall i be afraid?

2 when the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

3 though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will i be confident.

4 one thing have i desired of the lord, that will i seek after; that i may dwell in the house of the lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the lord, and to enquire in his temple.

5 for in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

6 and now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will i offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; i will sing, yea, i will sing praises unto the Lord.

7 hear, o lord, when i cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.

8 When thou saidst, seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, thy face, lord, will i seek.

9 hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, o god of my salvation.

10 when my father and my mother forsake me, then the lord will take me up.

11 teach me thy way, o lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.

12 deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.

13 i had fainted, unless i had believed to see the goodness of the lord in the land of the living.

14 wait on the lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, i say, on the lord.

two proposals

September 30, 2011

from time to time during games at kyle field, the cameras hone in on members of the twelfth man, usually the cute -- babies, toddlers and the physically blessed -- or enthusiastic fans, like those who have forgone shirts for body paint. just long enough that the individuals involved are aware their mugs grace the big screen in the south endzone.

last saturday, one of those individuals was a man holding up a twelfth man towel, upon which he'd written in black, block letters she said yes.

now, normally i'm not a fan of the proposals that call attention to themselves. i've seen'm advertised on big screens in ball parks, dropped in glasses of wine or buried in a dessert, or ...

written in the sky. like the one i saw today as i was walking from work to my car. there's a plane overhead. a banner with red block letters boasting a woman's name, the question and the man's name.

my first reaction was to smile and think how sweet. but that only last a millisecond. because, really? it's not sweet. that one's not about the joy of the thing. it's not even about the thing, really. or the woman. it's about the man. about the story the woman can tell her friends about the man.

there's no creativity there. there's no romance in that. he had someone fly a plane over a mall. so everybody could see. so everybody could, for that split second, think how sweet. it's horribly cliched and impersonal.

i'd much rather be the girl standing next to the guy with the towel. sure he asked her in a football stadium, surrounded by nearly ninety-thousand people. and sure, it got attention.

but the two of them were doing something they loved doing. together. and when he asked her, i doubt the people standing next to him were listening to his conversation. so the world, for them, for just a second, amidst all that chaos that is kyle field, was just theirs despite that cacophony. it was, for her, just about the boy standing next to her asking that question girls love and long to hear. and it was, for him, just about the girl standing next to him.

and when she said yes, they got to share in their excitement. afterward. in a way that made the people in that stadium smile and think how sweet, a sentiment that stuck with them for much longer than a millisecond.

do you know how i know this? because when i saw that stupid plane with its silly banner, i thought of that other proposal, of the sheer happiness on those young faces, and smiled again. and thought how sweet again.

that other one? i'll have forgotten it by next saturday. at the latest.

random quarter: the how-would-you-blow-a-shitload-of-dough edition

September 15, 2011

one. pay off my college loans.

two. get current with all my bills.

three. personal training on a much more regular and frequent basis, so my ass could once again fit into a size-six pair of gap boot cut jeans.

four. phineas restored to his supremely awesome self. i've scraped up his belly and his right side quite a bit.  also, i've not detailed the leather since i bought him six years ago. shame on me.

five. that apartment i was telling you about? i'd snag that sucker up and keep it forever and ever and ever. 

i know what you're thinking. why an apartment? why not a house or a ...

because there is no yard to maintain. there is no maintenance for which i must set aside funds or headaches caused by that maintenance that i must medicate. you call the front office. you say my so-and-so is busted. and you wait while they get right on that. that's about as much of a headache as i've had to suffer when it comes to that stuff. 

and i am one person. one person does not need more than the space one apartment would provide. this right here? this is plenty.

six. a graduate degree at texas a&m university.

seven. lifetime season tickets to kyle field, preferably in section one-forty-three, row one, on the aisle. 

eight. restoration hardware's lancaster leather sofa

nine. restoration hardware's churchill reading chair. once upon a time they called it buster. i like the old name a whole lot better.

ten. pottery barn kids comfort chair, slip-covered in walnut washed linen. 

eleven. modifications to the pad to make it more me.

twelve. pay my parents back.

thirteen. give some to my brother.

fourteen. give some to my niece and nephew.

fifteen. vacation in england, ireland, scotland, austria and greece.

sixteen. wardrobe shopping sprees at anthropologie, banana republic and the gap.

seventeen. new boots. because mine are literally coming apart. and this makes me sad because i loved them so. but alas, i will have to learn to love another pair.

eighteen. every album on rolling stones' five hundred best list. i never liked the who, for example, but then i made myself listen to one of their greatest hits compilations until i could at least appreciate them. and it's actually kind of easy to do that with some of their songs. so maybe if i immersed myself in some of the other selections, i might could acquire a taste for a few of those as well. because god knows the music scene right now sucks ass. i keep turning on the radio thinking that i might hear something that will speak volumes to me. and it rarely ever happens. (and every time i think about this, i realize this must be how my parents felt when their music went out of style ... it's not sitting well.)

nineteen. donations to aids and cancer charities and research and to the march of dimes.

twenty. new television.

twenty-one. pottery barn's printer's media hutch.

twenty-two. williams sonoma. i would spend hours in there. hours. and it would most likely be a total waste of that money because i can't even make cinnamon toast. but, oh, i have such a huge fetish for kitchen shit. shoes? handbags? not really my thing. not that i won't go on the hunt for the quintessential accessory, but really? that sense of near-orgasmic glee most girls get over a pair of manolo blahniks or whoever is the it-shoemaker for the moment? i don't get that. ever. i'm happy with a pair of forty dollar flats (although i would be ecstatic if i could find a near exact replica of the pair of boots i'm going to have to replace). a finely made cutting board, on the other hand ...

twenty-three. every film that's ever won any oscar in any category.

twenty-four. barnes & noble. i would spend days in there. DAYS.

twenty-five. get my teeth fixed.

the way is shut

August 21, 2011

my mother used to worry that she would lose me to alcohol or drugs. i'd get little comments here and there whenever we talked about my aunt or uncle or grandfather. mostly about my aunt. about how i am just like her.

twenty years ago, when she made these comments, i would be irritated by them because i knew myself well enough to know that drinking and smoking and injecting all that crap didn't do a damned bit of good. it made things worse, actually. i watched for years as it took its toll on my brother. i have to ask my family and friends about him now because he's not here to ask. to get to know. and the man i knew ... i got to know more of the things that made him detestable and less of the good.

the things i turned to in times of trouble were stories and swimming. i'd ride my bicycle around my neighborhood for hours sometimes. not because i wanted the exercise but because i was working through a plot i'd concocted. and if those didn't work, i took out my frustration on the water. and then i got tired of swimming. so it's just stories now. usually those told on the screen.

the two movies i'd most looked forward to seeing this summer were crazy, stupid love and one day. the first one made me happy. so much so that i felt compelled to see it again. will probably see it still again. the second made me cry. it made me lonely and miserable.

and i had nowhere to go with that when i left the theater. my friends? they're married. or have children. or both. and you don't call up a married parent at midnight on a saturday complaining about being the hopeless romantic. they wouldn't be able to comprehend that anyway.

so what did i do? i drove to pappadeaux seafood house with the intention of downing a shot or two of vodka and writing. i don't do this often. but the fact that i consider it from time to time ... it worries me a little. fortunately for me, my older brother was looking out for me. the doors were locked. i couldn't get in. and for some reason, the walk back to my car took most of the interest in partaking of adult beverages away.

i don't like how some love stories mess with me this way. i don't like how empty i feel after watching them. and yet, i would watch it again. it's a good story.

i was a better person twenty years ago. i don't like how life is chipping away at that. how the doors almost always seemed to be locked tight. and i was so much stronger two decades ago. i would've found a different way in then. now i seem to spend more time walking away.

two stories

July 22, 2011

tonight, i sat down with my nephew after dinner in one of the swivel glider rockers i love so well with one of the books, small saul, that i'd given mom for mother's day. usually when bambam is sitting with someone with a book, he wants to do the so-called reading of it. what this means is that he turns the pages back and forth and points out one of many objects on one page, then goes back to turning the pages again. and he is babbling all the while. babbling because he is so animated, so happy inside the realm of his imagination which has been stirred by that one object on that one page that he is content there. your turning the pages and reading to him the words printed on that paper? this disrupts that contentedness. a lot. and he will swat at your hands and yank the book from your grasp and snap at you.
i read it! i do it!

it's rare when he actually appreciates having someone read to him. so rare that i cannot recall more than a handful of times during which i've actually been able to read more than five consecutive pages to him in any one sitting.

tonight's reading began like it always does.

but eventually, maybe a third of the way through the book, he ceased with his fidgeting and his babbling and his attempts to yank the book from my hands and listened. he was totally absorbed.


maybe because he hadn't had a nap today. maybe because he was working on a number two.

maybe because we were reading about pirates. who knows.

but at the end of it, when we got to the last page, and i'd read the last word, he said two things:

the end.


i like that story.

and that's the first time i've ever heard him say that about a book. ever.

we started to read dirtball pete, which is also a pretty cute book.

but my father had to pull out his newly acquired ipad. and my nephew associates this thing with angry birds. and pete and i lost him.

random quarter

June 1, 2011

one. that adele song that they keep playing on the radio? the one i hear every time i change the radio to ninety-six point five? i am tired of hearing it. i was annoyed that it was playing in my noggin as i began typing this.

two. i was generally annoyed yesterday.

three. this getting up at three a.m. is really getting old. this going to bed at eight p.m. in hopes that i will fall asleep by nine is getting older.

four. i don't feel as though i deserve better work. more respectable work. more enjoyable work. better-paying work. i don't feel like i deserve it, and this is what keeps me from obtaining it.

five. but if i don't get out of my parents' house soon ...

six. while my father enjoys his hours of relaxing in his recliner, flipping the channels mercilessly, talking incessantly and then getting onto us for talking whenever the dialogue of the show is more interesting to him than ours is, while my mother caters to his every need (my parents are old-fashioned. most of the time, i'm alright with this. i'm a pretty old-fashioned girl myself. and i'm alright with that, too.) ... while my father has hours of relaxation time, i do not. yesterday, for example, i was seated on one of the glider rockers in the den, next to my father's recliner, playing on my laptop, reveling in the light of the evening sun that flooded the rooms of the first floor of our temporarily, blissfully silent house. i had about ten minutes of this before my parents came home. and then my father wanted my input on what we should watch. wanted to know why my day wasn't great. i could not have more than two minutes to myself to collect my thoughts and unwind. because there was his need for conversation. my mother's need for me to eat dinner when she was ready for me to eat it. my need to do laundry and shower.

seven. i do not understand why, when i attempt to do good and selfless work, when i attempt to volunteer my time and energy, when i feel compelled to drive ten hours out of my way to do this, the good lord says hell no. you must work retail instead, and beat people senseless with pressure to create registries and obtain store charge cards and solicit their email addresses so that your company may barrage them from a distance as well as at close range ... persistently.

eight. i do not understand why i cannot be content with my life.

nine. i'm excited to have gotten new followers in the past few days. and grateful and flattered that yall felt compelled to follow picky. now to just keep you here. :]

ten. the right corner of my mouth is so chapped that it's cracked. toothpaste causes this. i should know better than to try others, seeing as how my skin is so particular about the products with which it comes in contact.

eleven. i've had way too much caffeine lately. perhaps this is why i have felt so agitated. it could also be the reason i can't get to sleep by nine p.m.

twelve. back in the day, i got my kicks from music, movies, romance novels, writing, swimming (god, i loved being in the water, especially at a meet during a medley relay) and walks/rides around my neighborhood. come to think of it, i still get my kicks that way.

thirteen. best relay ever. the americans had a body-length lead going into the last leg, and ian thorpe reduces it to a head just by his dive. i'd been sitting on my coffee table, right in front of the tube when the relay began, and by the end i was jumping up and down on my fine piece of furniture. we weren't supposed to win this one. the australians were supposed to own it.

fourteen. sometimes, i am sorely, sorely tempted to start smoking again. yesterday was one of those days. but, thankfully, i managed to get through it.

fifteen. my mom made angel food cupcakes topped with strawberry icing. i think i've polished off about half of them already. oops.

sixteen. the question i am tired of hearing is something similar to are you working tonight? because four a.m. to my father is night to him. but really, i'm more tired of anyone asking me if i'm working on a certain day. i have three jobs. the chances that i am working at least one of them on any given day is quite good.

seventeen. the last thing i broke was one of the pushers the planogram team uses to divide product on a shelf. it's called a pusher because it functions sort of like a pez dispenser in that it keeps merchandise close to the edge of the shelf.

eighteen. i'm sick to death of hearing that there's someone out there for everyone. horse shit.

nineteen. my first frivolous purchase if i won a million dollars would be a plane ticket to ireland.

twenty. if i was given a choice between great wisdom and great wealth, right this very second i'd have to go with wealth. because with great brain power comes great depression. and with great wealth comes debt-freeness. (of course, i know that's not how it really works ... at least with the great wealth bit ... i'm well aware of the number of lottery winners who have blown their wads within a year or two).

twenty-one. the hardest luxury for me to give up would either be my laptop or my bed. the laptop because that is my time to chill ... to attempt to relax, anyway (i've such a difficult time doing this ... blame it on the brain power) and the bed for obvious reasons.

twenty-two. if i were stranded on a desert island for a hundred days, the five items i would bring are dickens our mutual friend, a carton of mead fivestar five subject notebooks, a carton of papermate comfortmate clicky pens,  a carton of off bug spray and a bic lighter (for which to set trees on fire when i've become bored with being stranded).

twenty-three. my favorite piece of jewelry is the aquamarine ring my younger brother gave me.

twenty-four. i don't make friends easily.

twenty-five. when i go to burger king in the morning, it's usually for breakfast, and i usually get the double croissanwich with sausage and bacon. if i go for lunch or dinner, i either get a whopper (the regular or the junior, depending upon how hungry i am) with cheese, lettuce and mayonnaise or the chicken fries. with a coke. always with a coke.

this post brought to you by iphone

May 17, 2011

the other day (a particularly miserable day, of course) i rounded the backside of a full-sized van to get to my car to find the hood and windshield covered in bird shit. just my car. huge splotches and long streaks of white. it looked more like someone had tried to play jackson pollock, and phineas was the canvas.

so i ended work feeling shat upon literally as well as figuratively.

and yes, i know. it's funny. i am almost to the point where i can laugh about it.

i would show you a picture, but i'm not allowed to touch my mac for another five days because i have no willpower.

pray that i can get to sunday. pray for good.

can you hear me now?

April 20, 2011

oh, how i loathe verizon.



i waited. patiently. for the provider to acquire permission to sell the iphone. months. years, practically.

i hate waiting.

almost as much as i hate verizon.

so i heard they'd be getting it in the fall.


then i heard they'd be getting it in the spring.


then i heard they wouldn't be getting the iphone ever.

and then i debated.

should i go through the hassle of changing service providers (because i did that years ago when i switched from sprint -- UGH -- to verizon)? or should i scrap it all and get the damned iphone already.

christmas was weeks away. i needed to find some resolve fast.

i'd bought the blackberry storm about three years ago, sometime around christmas the first year it'd come out.

i NEVER liked it. it is so NOT user friendly.

but i figured since i'd bought it, i should stick with it (are you reading this, mel? because this would apply to you, sort of, too.)

i'd watch my brother, his wife and their children happily tinker with their iphones with only a small amount of envy circling in my gut.

so finally, i decided to cut the cord and make the switch.

which i do, right after christmas.

my phone number was supposed to be ported from my verizon account to my at&t one. it wasn't.

when i tried to rectify this, the folks at at&t said they would need certain information from verizon which i didn't have on me and was too lazy to drive back to my house, dig through the hell that is my closet for a piece of paper, then drive back to the mall and find a place to park. again. so instead i went to the verizon kiosk not so very far away.

i tell one of the boys behind the counter that i am in need of some information. but i can't remember my password (still can't. not sure why i changed it, actually. the old one was quite memorable), and he's too reluctant to do anything for me without it.

oh, but he's quick to tell me verizon's phones are better. several times.

which is bullshit, really. and i'm not in the mood to hear it. i'm also not in the mood to mess with the whole porting thing any longer.

so i decide to keep the number at&t has assigned me.

you do realize what this means, right?

i now have two cellular telephones.

both with voice and data plans. which means i get two bills each month, each for about ninety bucks.

and i, i am not the most responsible chick.

which means i've been paying for two phones for four months.

in march, i finally got around to going to a verizon store to have my service disconnected. i waited and waited for a particular associate to finish conducting business with his current customer. i waited a really long time. i was asked by several other verizon associates if they could provide assistance. i was adamant that they could not. i waited. patiently. sort of. i spent much of my time spinning circles on my chair. i'm sure the store's employees were thrilled.

the guy finally wraps it up and gets my service disconnected.

so everything should be peachy keen, now, right?


i get that annoying, haggling phone call from verizon a week or so later. you know. the break-up call. like the ones you get from your ex because you've not clued in yet to either (a) how miserable he or she thinks you are, or (b) how miserable a person you should be thinking he or she is.

this guy wants to know what he can do to get me to come back.

i tell him something about how i use at&t and am quite content with their service and hang up.

today, i go in to pay what i think is my final bill, and i'm expecting it to be smallish, really.

no. it's like two hundred bucks.


because somehow my service was reconnected.

on a happier note, i found two nifty pairs of shoes today at dsw. to go with the two nifty dresses i bought earlier at target.

one is a chambray shirt dress. what i love the most about it is the wide skirt. the other is a sleeveless, cotton dress in rose with a grey trim around the neck. what i love about it is the color. it's a really good color on me.

i bought a pair of maroon patent leather flats with pewter buckles at the toes for when i wear the dresses at work. and a pair of red patent leather wedges for when i wear them elsewhere.

and yeah, i could've paid off my verizon bill with the money i spent on the shoes, but i was a little steamed, okay? and possession of those shoes is a more permanent thing, after all.

random quarter

April 2, 2011

one. i've noticed that i keep the fingers of my left hand curled up when i'm not using it. i walk around with it fisted. i wish i could relax. i wish i could be laidback or carefree or capable of saying to hell with this shit with some sort of conviction ... i wish i could be cool.

two. today, i sold approximately thirty-five hundred dollars in pottery barn kids' merchandise, suckered three customers into registering for a pbk charge card, set up two registries and an estimate and created three client profiles so that an associate or i could call a customer up at a future date and haggle them until they've felt the inclination to either spend more money or say to hell with this shit.

three. that i had such a good day at work (i sold more stuff than any of my coworkers ... this has never happened before) came as a shock to me, because i was horribly unhappy this morning, so much so that i was certain i was going to have a lousy day. but my first customer? she was my first credit card sale. so i guess i should've known it would be alright.

four. i do not like that i am now thirty-eight. i do not like it at all. it's actually incredibly depressing.

five. i love bloodstone, also known as jasper. sometimes i wish that were my month's major birthstone rather than its minor one. not that i don't like aquamarine. i do. but you can't confuse bloodstone with any other stone, really. and the aquamarine is so similar to blue topaz. and if i've not cleaned my ring in a while, it starts to look more like a dingy bluish gray, which has been confused for a diamond before (although i marvel at the stupidity of those who have thought it such).

six. i am closer to one-forty than one-fifty, which of course has deceived me into thinking, since my pants size is smaller, that my waist is smaller and therefore, my dress size should be smaller. i actually stepped foot in forever twenty-one today with the intent of buying a dress i'd seen a week or so ago that i'd learned was fairly new, so i thought maybe i might be able to snag one for myself.

seven. i tend to avoid shops like forever twenty-one on principle, by the way. too much product, too big a store, too much in the now. and when the line to try on clothes is as long as this store's was today, i feel a little bit repulsed.

eight. anyway, the dress was already sold out. i was not thrilled to learn of this.

nine. while i might have lost a bit of weight, i still look like a fat cow in a dressing room mirror under its bad lighting. i'm not sure why dressing rooms have to present such unflattering angles and whatnot. i would think the idea was to get people to buy the attire rather than leave a store empty-handed.

ten. i'm so not the girly girl. one of my bloggy friends commented on twitter a while back that she'd like it if the undergrad students would dress better. i'd remarked that she'd hate the way i dressed. and she would. some days, i don't much care for the way i dress. i've never had a figure i've felt inclined to show off. i'm all arms and legs (and hips ... good god, the hips ... thanks, mom. thanks mema). anyway. you would think being leggy would be a good thing. when i was younger, i was mocked because my pants were too short. those jeans that are long enough that you can roll'm at the ankles so that the cuffs are resting on your shoes? i've never been able to do that with a pair of jeans. ever. i like the way it looks. i like the bagginess of it. the ease it implies. the best i can do is turn a pair of jeans into capris by rolling them up twice. and i don't like it when the sleeves of a shirt don't reach my wrists. anyway, i'll see an outfit, a haircut ... a sense of style i admire, and i'll want that for myself. i'll be inspired to go shopping and dress better ...

eleven. but then i get into that fitting room, and the things i've chosen, the things that are girlier ... they just don't feel right on me. they don't look right. i don't look right.

twelve. i've never really thought i was anything like my maternal grandmother. but as i get older, i'm starting to see significant similarities. i'm not sure what she'd say to that. i don't imagine it would be good, though. in fact, i can see her scoffing at that and laughing at me. i never really felt as though she thought too much of me. i'm not sure she ever really understood me.

thirteen. but then, i don't think anybody understands me.

fourteen. i've been stuck on the script's for the first time. i am unthrilled by this. very much so. somebody please, please put some good music in my noggin.

fifteen. i want a dog. i know. i've mentioned this before. i want seven of'm. but right this second i feel a keen desire to have a big, red french mastiff. those are the best dogs ever.

sixteen. i wish i could create a story as easily as i could create a character. and then yall could be reading about isa and gus and piper and cate in a book rather than in snippets off this here bloggy. but i can't see their stories. i can only see them. and it's only for a second or two at a time. it's really irritating me.

seventeen. i've become addicted to that game angry birds. so happy my niece and nephew introduced me to it. i spent a significant period of time in baltimore's airport monday afternoon slinging cardinals, blue birds and canaries at green piggies. missing mostly. i'm sure the wonder twins would've gotten a lot more hits than i did.

eighteen. the medicine i've been prescribed for the headaches and whatnot? i'm not sure my ankles like it very much. they're a little swollen. joy.

nineteen. the hut makes a pretty good vegetarian pizza. so from now on, i might be ordering half pepperoni/half veggie lovers on a thin crust. that's some good stuff.

twenty. now i've you are my sunshine in my head. there are worse things.

twenty-one. i can't comprehend why steven seagal was ever popular.

twenty-two. a couple of weeks ago, i lent out my star wars trilogy to a coworker. he has yet to watch it. the thing had been sitting on my bookcase untouched for months and months and months. in fact, i don't think i'd watched it since i'd bought them (or received them ... i think they might've been a christmas present from two years ago or so -- because i'd hocked all my dvds and was rebuilding my collection). anyway. i hadn't felt compelled to watch it, so i figured it'd be alright to lend the thing out. and the longer he keeps it, the more interested i am in watching that series again. of course, the fact that i've been watching morning glory over and over again probably hasn't helped, either.

twenty-three. the top five movies at the box office from last weekend were the diary of a wimpy kid: rodrick rules, sucker punch, limitless, the lincoln lawyer and rango. crap. crap. crap. crap. crap. my god, whatever happened to good cinema?

twenty-four. bradley cooper seriously, seriously irritates me. i can't comprehend why he's popular, either.

twenty-five. or why the world needs the hangover: part ii? really?

over yonder

March 31, 2011

the world war ii memorial
and the washington monument

the monument's reflection in the potomac
through the cherry blossoms

and the cherry trees in bloom

this was a matlock project. learn about that here.

love is like communism

March 15, 2011

i think i've mentioned this before, but for the purpose of this post, you get to read it again ... i attended three different third grade classes at three different schools in a six month period. the first was taught by a woman who ended up becoming my favorite teacher. the third was taught by someone so unmemorable that i couldn't tell you if that teacher was a man or a woman.

the second ...

that one was taught at a catholic school by a sour-faced, plain and unremarkable woman. the only concrete memory i have of her is that she wore the black and white headpiece of a nun's habit atop her straight, chin-length, dry, dirty blonde hair.

my mother says this teacher placed me in a cardboard box.

i've no memory of this. i can, however, recall feeling segregated.

i can also recall the day we'd made valentines for our classmates. first we decorated those plain brown paper lunch bags and placed them on our desks. these were for the valentines we received.

and then we made valentines (or filled in the to/from on our storebought ones) for our classmates.

i remember that my peers' bags were stuffed with cards.

i remember that mine was not. in fact, mine was practically (if not) empty.

thirty years have passed since this.

and i feel as unlovable now as i did then.

i suppose that's my fault.

i love me. i do. so it's not that. it's that i can't believe a man i find attractive could love me. why should i?

twice in my life i've found the courage to say, in no uncertain terms, how i felt for a man. the first time was january second, nineteen ninety-nine. i'd driven from houston to austin to have lunch with a friend whom i'd known since i was ten. i was twenty-five at the time. i thought enough of our friendship, felt comfortable enough with him that i thought i could talk with him about what i felt and thought and not damage things. i suppose i should've known better. i was scared shitless of the consequences, good or bad, but i'd never really had the courage to be so direct about my feelings before.

he was not thrilled. in fact, he was quite upset with me. he'd been strumming his guitar when i'd said, after finally finding the gumption to spit it out, that i thought i might be in love with him.

there's a whole lot of possibility in that statement. a whole lot.

thought and might are a helluva lot different from know and am. but of course, he didn't take it that way.

his fingers fell over the strings in a way that created this jarring cacophony.

i said, i probably shouldn't have said that.

he just sat there, saying nothing.

i said something about how i definitely shouldn't have said that and muttered something about needing a cigarette and bolted for the door. he hated that i smoked, so when i was at his place, i left my smokes and lighter in my car. i sat there in the driver's seat, with the door ajar, one foot on the floorboard and the other on the concrete of his driveway, chain-smoking.

after a minute or so he'd come out to stand by my car, one arm resting on the top of the door. he looked down on me and berated me for what seemed to be a half hour at least. he couldn't understand why i would say that. he'd thought i'd learned by now it was better not to say that. we were friends. nothing more. i was never to mention it again.

i cried the whole way back. when i got to the intersection of highway two-ninety and f.m. twenty-nine-twenty, i realized i didn't want to go home to an empty apartment and couldn't go to my parents, so i drove north to huntsville and spent the night with my younger brother and his friends. i cried some more.

and in doing so, i wrecked two friendships -- the one he and i'd had and the one he'd had with my brother. so quite a bit of damage, that.

i went back to my apartment the next day. in my mail was a card from his mother, wishing me a happy new year and hoping it had gotten off to a good start. i cried some more.

the second was almost three years later, which is actually a surprise to me because the years between the first incident and the second? it felt as though twice that many years had passed.

i can't remember the date, which is odd, really, because i can tell you, even now, pretty much every date that this boy and i had seen each other. but this particular date escapes me.

we were sitting at his breakfast table in his apartment, having dinner -- pork and asparagus. i don't like pork. he'd volunteered to cook dinner for me, which was nice, but he hadn't asked what i wanted. which i guess was fair in the end, because when i cooked dinner for him the following week, i didn't ask what he would like. i made what i could cook well enough -- penne a la vodka. i did, however, know that he had a fondness for capers, so i found an appetizer that had those in the recipe and made that.

anyway. we were dining, and i'd gotten quiet. i was happy, though. really happy. it was a good quiet. i was just sitting there, thinking happy thoughts. a rarity for me.

he asked what i was thinking about.

i remembered that afternoon from the first incident, how it had gone so badly. you probably wouldn't want to hear it, i said.

he smiled at me and said that he did.

and i, being the ever hopeful girl that i am, the one who's been too much the coward for much of her life, the one who's always saying the wrong thing, said something similar to what i'd said three years before.

i can't remember it verbatim. kind of strange, really. i can't remember the date or the phrasing.

i can remember that his expression changed from one of amusement to wariness. of course, it did. i'd just ruined a perfectly good evening.

i said something about how i knew he wouldn't want to hear it. he replied that it was too soon. and i'd said something schmaltzy about it not being an obligation. the rest of the evening went well enough.

the relationship did not.

that was nine years ago.

i haven't met a man who's compelled me to feel that way since.

but i keep hoping.

silly me.

that woman i mentioned in a previous post, the one who educates me about current events and politics? the last time we met, we were talking about communism and how it's founded on this grand idea that eventually, if people were to adhere to its principles, a communistic society would evolve into this abundant, idyllic realm.

the thing is, that ideal is never realized.

love, for me, is like communism. it's a beautiful, grand, marvelous thing ... in theory. and yes, i'm aware it's a flawed thing. it's beauty and grandeur and marvelousness exist despite this. but the reality, for me, is horribly sad and depressing, and i am impoverished.

and yet, i keep hoping, keep believing that something good will come of all this. i keep thinking someday, somewhere, there's a guy with whom i'll wanna be who's not gonna balk at the prospect of being with me.

alex and rosie

the tenth book is cecelia ahern's love, rosie.

i'd said in the previous post that there would be moments you'd want to hurl that book. you'll want to hurl this one, too. with a lot more force and frequency.

because alex and rosie ... their story spans more than four decades. they are two of the most infuriating, exasperating, idiotic characters ever conceived.

but they're so cute!

the other thing i like about this book is that the whole thing is written in dialogue, beginning as the notes they write to each other in miss big nose bad breath casey's class and progressing to instant messages and emails, if not to each other then to their friends about one another. makes for a very quick read.

from: alex
to: rosie
subject: my theory

yes, i must, and you will read it. okay, if i had invited you to my tenth birthday party then brian the whine wouldn't have been invited. if brian hadn't gone then he wouldn't have thrown pizza all over jamie's sleeping bag, and if he hadn't done that and completely ruined my party then you and i wouldn't have hated him so much. if you and i hadn't hated him so much then you wouldn't have had to drink so much in order to be able to accompany him to the debs. if you hadn't done that ... well ... perhaps you wouldn't have been quite so drunk, and your darling little katie wouldn't have been born. therefore i did you a favor!
and that, rosie dunne, is my theory.

from: rosie
to: alex
subject: my theory

very clever, alex, very, very clever. but you needn't have gone that far back to accept responsibility for katie. here's my theory.
had i not been stood up by you at the debs, i wouldn't have had to go with brian the whine at all. had you showed up at the airport that day our lives could have turned out very differently.

from: alex
to: rosie
subject: life

yeah, that's something i'm beginning to wonder about.

henry and clare

March 13, 2011

next up is the time traveler's wife by audrey niffenegger. where the other books took me a matter of a few hours to read, this one took me about a month. it's long. it's hard. there will be times you will want to hurl the thing across the room. there are passages that you will wish weren't in there. it's another example of cinema fucking up a great idea. so don't judge it on the crap you might have seen in a theater, because that was the worst adaption i've ever seen. ever. but i LOVE this book. SO MUCH. it is perhaps the coolest story i've read.

it's hard being left behind. i wait for henry, not knowing where he is, wondering if he's okay. it's hard for me to be the one who stays.

i keep myself busy. i take walks. i work until i'm tired. i watch the wind play with trash that's been under the snow all winter. everything seems simple until you think about it. why is love intensified by absence?

. . .

it's ironic, really. all my pleasures are homey ones: armchair splendor, the sedate excitements of domesticity. all i ask for are humble delights. a mystery novel in bed, the smell of clare's long red-gold hair damp from washing, a postcard from a friend on vacation, cream dispersing into coffee, the softness of the skin under clare's breasts, the symmetry of grocery bags sitting on the kitchen counter waiting to be unpacked ... and clare, always clare. clare in the morning, sleepy and crumple-faced. clare with her arms plunging into the papermaking vat, pulling up the mold and shaking it so, and so, to meld the fibers. clare reading, with her hair hanging over the back of the chair, massaging balm into her cracked red hands before bed. clare's low voice in my ear often.

i hate to be where she is not, when she is not. and yet, i am always going, and she cannot follow.

. . .

henry and i have very different ways of looking at houses. i walk through slowly, consider the woodwork, the appliances, ask questions about the furnace, check for water damage in the basement. henry just walks directly to the back of the house, peers out the back window, and shakes his head at me ... i finally find it a month and twenty or so houses later. it's on ainslie, in lincoln square, a red brick bungalow built in nineteen twenty-six. carol pops open the key box and wrestles with the lock, and as the door opens i have an overwhelming sensation of something fitting ... i walk right through to the back window, peer out at the backyard, and there's my future studio, and there's the grape arbor, and as i turn carol looks at me inquisitively, and i say, 'we'll buy it.'

she is more than a bit surprised. 'don't you want to see the rest of the house? what about your husband?'

'oh, he's already seen it. but yeah, sure, let's see the house.'

. . .

henry walks out of the building looking unhappy, and suddenly he cries out, and he's gone. i jump out of the car and run over the spot where henry was, just an instant ago, but of course there's just a pile of clothing there, now. i gather everything up and stand for a few heartbeats in the middle of the street, and as i stand there i see a man's face looking down at me from a window on the third floor. then he disappears. i walk back to the car and get in, and sit staring at henry's light blue shirt and black pants, wondering if there's any point in staying here. i've got brideshead revisited in my purse, so i decide to hang around for a while in case henry reappears soon. as i turn to find the book i see a red-haired man running toward the car. he stops at the passenger door and peers in at me. this must be kendrick. i flip the lock, and he climbs into the car, and then he doesn't know what to say.

'hello,' i say. 'you must be david kendrick. i'm clare detamble.'

'yes--' he's completely flustered. 'yes, yes. your husband--'

'just vanished in broad daylight.'


'you seem surprised.'


'didn't he tell you? he does that.'

adam and tasha

March 11, 2011

okay. so now we're back in the fiction section of the store. yay! this next book is called straight talking by jane green.

but could i ever look at adam and see a greek god? shit, i don't think i'll think about that one just at the moment. i think i'll just pour myself another glass of wine and wait for the doorbell.

when it eventually rings i walk very slowly to the front door, and after i open it i see it isn't this terrible thing on the doorstep. it's adam, my old, reliable adam ...

he gives me a hug, and suddenly he feels different. it's not just adam anymore. it's a man, a man i could be having a relationship with, and i move my hand slightly on his back, just checking, just feeling what there is underneath, what his body might feel like.

'can i get you a drink?' i feel ridiculous, like a hostess inviting a stranger into her home, and yet the easy intimacy we've always shared seems to have disappeared, and adam feels much like a stranger ...

he looks down at his glass and then back at me. 'i've missed you.'

'i know. i've missed you, too.' i have. desperately. all the times those stupid little things, or funny little things have happened at work, i've picked up the phone to call adam, to make him laugh, and just as i've picked up the receiver, i've remembered, and it's been awful ...

'why am i here, tash?' he's not looking at me as he says this, and my heart goes out to him. he looks like a little boy, scared, unsure, and i just want to put my arms around him and cuddle his fears away. but do i want to make love with him? let's not think about that just yet.

'this has been the most impossible three weeks of my life, ad. jesus, this was harder than the run up to my bloody degree, so firstly i want to say thank you for causing all this misery.'

he smiles, and i think he senses it's all going to be okay.

'i love you, ad. you know that. i'm not in love with you, but maybe it could work. i don't know, but i suppose there's only one way to find out, so i guess,' i pause, not quite knowing how to say it, 'i guess the answer to your question is yes.'

'what was the question?' he's smiling broadly now, all the nervousness disappeared.

'i don't know, but yes, i'd like to give it a go.'

'give what a go?' he's teasing me now because he can see i'm still a bit awkward.

'give us a go.' there. i said it. the dreaded us, and you know what? it doesn't sound nearly as bad once it's out there. in fact it sounds quite nice ...

i know the kiss is coming. the kiss is coming. shit, the kiss is nearly upon us. what am i going to do? but when adam bends his head down he's still smiling, and he very slowly kisses me on the lips then sits back, smiling some more, and just looks at me.

'how was that?'

'okay,' i'm nodding my head. 'it was really okay.'

and he bends his head again, and we kiss again, for longer this time, but no tongues, all right? then he sits back and looks at me some more.

'are you sure about this?' he asks.

'nope. i'm not sure at all, but we can do it again just to find out?'

this time he kisses me for a lot longer ... and i think, jesus where in the hell did adam learn to be so good at this? ... and you know what? it's bloody nice, this is.

clayton and whitney

March 10, 2011

oh, i do so like it when an author pairs up two incredibly headstrong folks, as judith mcnaught does in pretty much all of her novels. the best example of this is whitney, my love.

i know. it's a lame title. and it's typical smut. but i think you're gonna like these two.

'he doesn't care about the money, but he hates to admit he lost. he's never learned how to accept defeat.'

clayton laid down his knife and fork, preparing to give stephen the brutal setdown he'd earned hours before, but whitney, taking stephen's cue, immediately drew off clayton's fire. 'how strange you should say that,' she said to stephen, looking genuinely amazed. 'i have found that your brother accepts defeat without even putting up the slightest struggle. why, faced with the tiniest discouragement, he simply gives up and--'

clayton's open hand slammed down on the table with a crash that made the dishes dance. he surged to his feet, a muscle leaping furiously along the taut line of his jaw. 'miss stone and i have something to say to each other which is best said in private.' he gritted out the words, flinging his napkin down on the table and jerked whitney's chair back. 'get up!' he snapped in a low, terrible voice when whitney remained frozen in her seat. his hand clamped down painfully on her forearm, and whitney rose unsteadily ... 

clayton hauled her halfway across the room, which was lined with books, recessed behind richly carved arches of polished oak, then flung her arm away and stalked to the fireplace. turning, he regarded her with a look of undiluted loathing, while he visibly strove to bring his rampaging temper under control. suddenly his voice slashed through the silence. 'you have exactly two minutes to explain the purpose of this unexpected and unwelcome visit of yours. at the end of that time, i will escort you to your carriage and make your excuses to my mother and brother.'

whitney drew a tortured breath, knowing that if he saw her fear now he would use it against her. 'the purpose of my visit?' she said in a small, distracted voice, her mind frantically counting off the passing seconds. 'i -- i would have thought by now it was obvious.'

'it is not obvious!'

'i've come to -- to explain why i said what i did to you at the banquet. you see,' she said, stammering in her haste to finish in the minutes he'd allotted her, 'earlier at the church, i thought we -- you and i -- still had an agreement, and--'

clayton's eyes raked contemptuously over her. 'we have no agreement,' he said scathingly. 'it's over. done with. it should never have begun! the betrothal was an insane idea, and i curse the day i thought of it.'

sick with failure and defeat, whitney dug her nails into the flesh of her palms and shook her head in denial. 'it never had a chance to begin because i wouldn't let it.'

'your two minutes are almost up.'

'clayton, please listen to me!' she cried desperately. 'you -- you told me a long time ago that you wanted me to come to you willingly, that you didn't want a cold, unwilling wife.'

'and?' he demanded furiously.

whitney's voice shook. 'and i am here. willingly.'

james and georgina

March 8, 2011

i think the first smut book i read was johanna lindsey's gentle rogue. and no, i didn't choose it because it's smut. i chose it because i like the malory family. they're some pretty cool folks.

georgina: 'i had to leave england.'

james: 'were you in trouble?'

'no, i just couldn't stand it there another day.'

'then why didn't you leave in the customary fashion, by purchasing your passage?'

'because the only ships crossing the atlantic were english.'

'i imagine that's supposed to make sense. give me a moment, and i might figure it out ... then again, i might not. what the deuce is wrong with english ships?'

she frowned at him. 'you wouldn't find anything wrong with them, but i happen to despise all things english' ...

he grinned, then chuckled. 'i'm beginning to see the light, george. you wouldn't happen to be one of those hotheaded americans, would you? that would certainly account for the accent i haven't been able to place.'

'and what if i am?' she demanded defensively.

'why, i'd consider locking you up, of course. safest place for people who like to start wars so much.'

byron and kate

March 6, 2011

i've been dreading this post. mostly because i had to run through my list to see just how many stories i could include by this one author and it turns out i can only do one or two depending on whether i include a work by another author.

and because the next two (or three) authors' works are classified as romance novels rather than chick lit, i'm a little wary of including them.

but only a little.

because i love them.

i've loved them longer than almost every book i've read, save for the love i have for thomas harris' silence of the lambs and red dragon. i know. odd, right? that i would mention his works and follow that up with nora roberts' stuff.

that i would love anything so grotesque and grim, really, is bizarre considering i can't even stomach the thought of listening to michael jackson's thriller or watching the monster squad (a film in which a young boy and his friends take on dracula, frankenstein, wolfman and a bunch of other heebie jeebies). a kiddie flick scares me, okay? that's how much of a sissy i am.

anyway ...

so yeah. nora.

it's been a while since she's written anything i've loved. but back in the day, when i should've been reading faulkner, fitzgerald, hemingway, shakespeare and steinbeck, i was reading smut. voraciously. and usually it was written by her.

back in the day, she was a pretty good storyteller.

so picking one (and it will be one ... i've decided) of her stories which i like better than all the others is kind of a feat.

but because it's my blog, and therefore the rules can be bent a little, i'm going to cheat and do a trilogy. hah! because technically, it can be purchased in one volume. (so really, the cheating's not so bad.)

it's called lovers and dreamers.

it's about margo, kate and laura and their boys, joshua, byron and michael.

since three snippets would make this a hella long post and since of those three couples' tales, kate and byron's story is my favorite, you get a bit from the second story, holding the dream.

'something wrong with your lunch?'

she glanced over, and the hand she had pressed protectively against her stomach fisted as byron slide into the chair that tydings had vacated. 'are you on dining room detail? i thought the brass stayed up in the lofty regions of the penthouse.'

'oh, we mingle with the lower floors occasionally.' he signaled to a waitress. he'd been watching kate for ten minutes. she had sat completely still, staring out of the window, her meal untouched, her eyes dark and miserable. 'the chicken bisque,' he ordered. 'two.'

'i don't want anything.'

'i hate to eat alone,' he said smoothly, as the waitress cleared the dishes. 'you can always play with it like you did your salad. if you're not feeling well, the bisque should perk you up.'

'i'm fine. i had a business lunch.' under the table she pleated her napkin in her lap. she wasn't ready to get up, wasn't sure her legs were strong enough. 'who eats at business lunches?'

'everyone.' leaning forward, he poured two glasses of mineral water. 'you look unhappy.'

'i've a client with an imbalance of passive income. that always makes me unhappy. what do you want, de witt?'

'a bowl of soup, a little conversation. you know, i developed this hobby of conversation as a child. i've never been able to break it ... i've noticed you often have a bit of trouble in that area. i'd be happy to help you, as i'm sort of a buff.'

'i don't like small talk.'

'there you are. i do ... i also have a habit of eating,' he continued. 'if you need help along those lines, i can tell you that you start by dipping your spoon into the soup.'

'i'm not hungry.'

'think of it as medicine. it might put some color back into your cheeks. you not only look unhappy, kate, you look tired, beaten down and closing in on ill.'

hoping it would shut him up, she spooned up some soup. 'boy, now i'm all perked up. it's a miracle.'

when he only smiled at her, she sighed. why did he have to sit there, acting so damn nice and making her feel like sludge?

'i'm sorry. i'm lousy company.'

'was your business meeting difficult?'

'yes, as a matter of fact.' because it was soothing, she sampled the bisque again. 'i'll deal with it.'

'why don't you tell me what you do when you're not dealing with difficult business problems.'

the headache at the edges of her consciousness wasn't backing off, but it wasn't creeping closer. 'i deal with simple business problems.'

'and when you're not dealing with business?'

she studied him narrowly, the mild, polite eyes, the easy smile. 'you are coming on to me.'

'no, i'm considering coming on to you, which is entirely different. that's why we're having a basic conversation over a bowl of soup.' his smile widened, flirted. 'it also gives you equal opportunity to consider whether or not you'd like to come on to me.'

her lips twitched before she could stop them. 'i do appreciate a man who believes in gender equality.' she also had to appreciate that for a few minutes he'd taken her mind off her troubles. that he knew it, yet didn't push the point.

'i think i'm beginning to like you, kate. you are, i believe, an acquired taste, and i've always enjoyed odd flavors.'

'wow. that's quite a statement. my heart's going pitty-pat.'

dexter and rachel

March 2, 2011

something borrowed is one of those stories i didn't like on the first read.

in fact, i was kind of put off by dexter in the end. i like my leading men to be men, not pansies, after all, and he has moments of utter pansiness (that's probably not a word, but i'm leaving it anyway) that are such a turn-off.

it's not a great story, either.

in fact, i balked at reading it originally. why? because when rachel and dex hook up, he's engaged to her best friend.

that's pretty shitty.

but for some reason, i bought it. i read it. i liked it, but not so much that i felt compelled to keep it or recommend it to anyone else.

so i wasn't going to put it in the ten-list.

and then i watched the trailer for it today, which of course made me go and buy the damned book again and read all the parts of their story i liked. turns out there were a lot of parts worth reading.

'you don't see yourself the way you are.'

i avert my eyes, focus on a spot of ink on my comforter.

he continues. 'you see yourself as very average, ordinary. and there is nothing ordinary about you, rachel.'

i can't look back at him. my face burns.

'and i know that you blush when you're embarrassed.' he smiles.

'no i don't!' i cover my face with one hand and roll my eyes.

'yes you do. you're adorable. and yet you have no idea, which is the most adorable part.'

nobody, not even my mother, has ever called me adorable.

'and you are beautiful. absolutely, stunningly beautiful in the freshest, most natural way. you look like one of those ivory girls' ...

i tell him to please stop. even though i love what he has just told me.

'it's true.'

i want to believe him ... 'whoever said i didn't want to date in law school?'

'well, you didn't, did you?  you were there to learn, not date. that was clear ... i almost asked you out, you know that?'

i laugh at this.

'it's true,' he says, sounding a little bit hurt.

i give him a dubious look.

'do you remember that time when we were studying for our torts final?'

i picture his thumb on my face, wiping away my tear. so it had meant something.

'you know exactly what i'm talking about, don't you?'

my face feels hot as i nod. 'i think so. yeah.'

'and when i asked to walk you home, you said no. shot me down.'

'i didn't shoot you down!'

'you were all business.'

'i wasn't. i just didn't think at the time ...' my voice trails off.

'yeah, and then you introduced me to darcy. i knew then that you had zero interest.'

'i just didn't think ... i didn't think you saw me that way.'

so, here's hoping that the screenwriter took all those parts that make this story good and capitalized on them while chucking all the parts that sucked.

because the trailer really does look good. but then, maybe that's just because i like the guys who are going to be in it.

george and liza

February 27, 2011

i am in love with these characters, this story. because this one made my heart gleeful and then yanked it right out of my chest. i swear. very few books have managed to evoke such emotion in me before and continue to do so.

this from ellen shanman's right before your eyes.

'so what do you do, george?' i asked.

'i'm in m'n'a. that's mergers and --'

'acquisitions, yeah, i know what it is.' i was grateful he didn't say 'consultant.' 

'of course. and you?'

'i'm a writer.'

'for whom?' he questioned.

'a playwright.'

'ah. for no one.'

'yeah, i'm having cards made.'

'so what kind of plays do you write?'

this is one of those questions i hope people will not ask in a bar because then i'll have to say something like 'well, right now i'm working on a piece about the perfect suburban widow and the way the neighborhood destroys her when she falls for the wrong man. it's a little bit ibsen, a little bit alan ball.' inevitably the other person will draw some parallel to 'desperate housewives' and i'll have to explain why that's completely off base without sounding affected and nasty.

'gee, george. i'm sure you'd much rather tell me about you. what kind of mergers do you aquire?

'point taken. so what do you actually do? for money?'

'i do administrative work.' i would not say the word 'temp' to this man.

'you temp?'

i hated him.

'what agency? we've always got temps in my office.'

so much.

and that is pretty much how the story of george and liza begins. that is what made me like it.

this is what made me love it.

'i was scared, george. i was just scared. why don't you get that?'

he looked at his shoes for a long time. i willed him to raise his eyes and look at me, but he wouldn't. i was saying it. i was saying everything i'd been unable, too afraid, to say for so long ... but he wasn't looking at me. i prayed silently. please, i thought, please, please, please ...

'sometimes,' he finally said, 'people should go with their instincts.'

'george. this is what i've been trying to tell you! my instincts were --'

'not yours.' he paused. 'mine.' he looked me in the eye for the first time. and there was a wall where i'd never seen one before.

'i don't...', i stuttered, not knowing what to say. 'i don't think i understand.' ... i opened my mouth, but i couldn't make a sound. i wanted to evaporate, to lose consciousness, to sprain my ankle so he'd have to take me to the hospital and we could start all over again and this time i wouldn't fuck it up.

but i just stood there.

he turned away.

'george...' it came out as an eerie, choked animal sob.

he stopped. he started to turn back to me. and then he changed his mind.


the first and last person i had wanted to see that evening was actually standing there waiting for me. i knew i had to walk past him to get out, but for a second i couldn't move. and then without even wanting them to, my legs started to carry me toward him. i stopped a few yards away.

he just stared at me.

'what are you doing here?' i asked.

'i don't know,' george said. 'i just couldn't miss it.'

'you watched?'

'you're extraordinary.'