bah humbug

December 24, 2019

weeks ago -- before thanksgiving -- i bought a tiny christmas tree for my room. it stayed in the bag in my trunk until tonight. i was in heb getting a plant as a housewarming gift for a dude i'd been talking to for a couple of weeks -- i'd chosen not to get a poinsettia because those are so temporary, so i bought him ivy instead. ivy that clings and smothers -- how fitting. two days after i gave him the plant, he said he'd enjoyed getting to know me and talking with me but he felt there wasn't a connection. i remember giving him that plant. i remember that i sat on the stoop of the east shore condominium he'd purchased waiting for him, i'd thought, to get back from a home depot run. i'd sat there for an hour with my clingy, smothering plant, waiting for him to text me back. there was some sort of a glitch. so i left the plant on his doorstep and went home, and when i was in our driveway, i finally got a response from him -- wondering if i still wanted to come over and help him unpack. so we went to flower child for dinner, and it was bland. and then we went back to his place where i helped him unpack his dishes and cram a dishwasher. and i was thinking, this feels odd, and i need an excuse to leave, and not long after that my brother called me because he needed me to go get his loosed dog, and so i left. and two days later, i got that text -- not connecting. so be it. i gave you a plant. i watched you pick it up off the stoop after i'd said, that's from me. i watched you marvel at it. and then the next day, i had that other jerk for whom i'd driven to elgin tell me that i'd not dressed sexily enough. yall, i'm tired. i've had two adult beverages -- all the liquor that goes in a mudslide sans ice cream... chased one after another. i'm inebriated. in front of my family -- that hardly ever happens. i was wrapping gifts tonight, and for the first time in my life, i didn't give a shit about how well they were wrapped. i didn't give a shit about christmas, and i'm too inebriated off six ounces of liquor to give a damn. i hate this. this isn't me.

it should be enough...

December 18, 2019

me: are you okay if i'm in jeans and a t-shirt?
bumbler: yes, i prefer it.
days later...
me: what sort of woman do you seek, and where do i fall short in comparison?
bumbler: you wore a t-shirt and brought a backpack with you on our date. that's fine, but it doesn't really suggest femininity or maturity. if we were in college that might be ok, but i graduated college twenty-five years ago. next time, wear something that shows off that great body of yours and have a purse. you are really smart and interesting. i think you just need to work on your packaging/presentation a bit.
me: i asked you if jeans and a t-shirt would be okay, and you said you prefer it. i came straight from work (bumbler lives in elgin--two+ hour drive for me), so i had some time to kill. i brought some work with me while i waited for you.
bumbler: [dead silence]
yall? i'm done. D O N E. and it breaks my heart a little to say that because the lifeline for me in my youth when i was struggling to live was that one day, some day some dude was going to really see me and not the crappy packaging. and i know now that's not going to happen. that i'm really smart and interesting should be enough. it SHOULD, but it isn't.
pray for me, will you? because my heart... my heart...

the lord of the rings

December 14, 2019

why i wanted to read it: because i LOVE the movies and the story, and it's been on my to do list for decades.

what i liked: i listened to it on audio, yall, so i can't share specific lines. good god, tolkien's world-building ability is amazing. his descriptions are beautiful. his mastery of language is astounding. his creativity is enviable.

meriadoc brandybuck and peregrin took are my favorite characters. SUCH fearlessness and curiosity. i love, LOVE samwise gamgee and wish like hell i could have a friend as dedicated as he. SUCH loyalty. i listened to the second book, then the third and finished with the first, and am so glad i did because the memory of sam's steadfast love and resoluteness are such beautiful things.

what sucked: the songs.

having said that. READ IT, people. it's damned fine storytelling.

the fall film challenge: update

December 5, 2019

i did not watch a single film from my list this year, and it wasn't because i was less interested in those films i'd selected than those of previous challenges. i just wasn't in the mood. i've seen two flicks in theaters this year, yall: men in black: international, which pretty much sucked, and ford vs. ferrari, which i saw twice and will most likely see it again because it's amazing.

two contestants, christine and joanna, completed their original lists, and erin managed to see not one but TWO lord of the rings films. i call that a victory.

the fall film challenge: my list

August 23, 2019

one. richard armitage: brain on fire.
two. sean astin: the goonies.
three. sean bean: mirror mirror.
four. cate blanchett: song to song.
five. orlando bloom: new york i love you.
six. billy boyd: the flying scotsman.
seven. marton csokas: the amazing spiderman two.
eight. benedict cumberbatch: war horse.
nine. john rhys-davies: aquaman.
ten. luke evans: midway.
eleven. martin freeman: ode to joy.
twelve. ian holm: young winston.
thirteen. christopher lee: the three musketeers.
fourteen. evangeline lilly: avengers: end game.
fifteen. ian mckellan: stardust.
sixteen. dominic monaghan: soldiers of fortune.
seventeen. viggo mortensen: green book.
eighteen. mirando otto: the daughter.
nineteen. lee pace: captain marvel.
twenty. andy serkis: inkheart.
twenty-one. liv tyler: dr. t and the women.
twenty-two. karl urban: red.
twenty-three. hugo weaving: the dressmaker.
twenty-five. elijah wood: green street hooligans.

the fall film challenge

July 31, 2019

begins one minute past twelve a.m. september first / concludes midnight november thirtieth. you may NOT use a movie you have already seen, even in part (excluding trailers), for this challenge. all films MUST be new to you. all selections MUST have a page on the internet movie database and MUST have (had) a theatrical release. titles released outside of the united states are acceptable.

in previous challenges, membership to the fall film challenge facebook group was a requirement for prize eligibility. that is NOT the case this year. if you choose not to join the group, please find ways to communicate your progress with me so that i can keep accurate lists and ensure prizes are awarded correctly. once you've selected your films for the categories, post your choices to the group's page or email it to quirkypickings at icloud dot com so i may add your selections to the master list and, if necessary, upload the correlating stills to the galleries. there are eight photo albums, arranged by decade, on the group's page. once an individual has seen a film, he or she leaves a comment on the corresponding image saying when it was viewed and for what category so i can track progress. if you are not a member of the group and are in communication with me, i will make the necessary notes to stills representing your selections.

each film is valued at ten points. changes after the challenge has begun ARE acceptable.

the first five people to complete the challenge prior to november thirtieth will each receive either an amazon or itunes, as is preferred, gift card valued at ten dollars. if you complete the original list, you will be eligible to compete in the bonus round, the details of which will be revealed october fifteenth. the person to accumulate the most points at the event's conclusion will receive an amazon gift card valued at fifty dollars.

"this is a serious journey, not a hobbit walking-party"
(peregrin took -- as written by j.r.r. tolkien in lord of the rings: the fellowship of the ring)

and so this year, we celebrate the cast of tolkien's tales. choose one film for each actor.

richard armitage
sean astin
sean bean
cate blanchett
orlando bloom
billy boyd
marton csokas
benedict cumberbatch
john rhys-davies
luke evans
martin freeman
ian holm
christopher lee
evangeline lilly
ian mckellan
dominic monaghan
viggo mortensen
mirando otto
lee pace
andy serkis
liv tyler
karl urban
hugo weaving
david wenham
elijah wood

seventeen weeks, two days

July 8, 2019

that's how long it's been since i've posted anything. seventeen weeks. that's a LONG time. i'm sorry to have been so absent. i haven't had anything new to say.

i spent much of march and april fighting a hellacious and tenacious sinus infection. it was so severe it caused significant bouts of vomiting. i was unthrilled. i've never been that sick for that long in my life. i'd started to worry it was something more severe, but no... it's just allergies.

i've rejoined bumble. because i'm an idiot. glutton for punishment. i actually drove to katy to meet a guy last weekend. i drove. something's wrong with this, right? when... W H E N is a guy i find interesting going to think enough of me to make the effort? when am i going to get a damned clue that if I'M the one making the effort, he's not worth the time and energy. WHY, W H Y do always, A L W A Y S feel as though i've to convince a dude of my worth.

and, goddammit, i have value.

of course there are those dudes who make the effort, and the words that come out of their mouths are so wrong... and then i feel guilty for being so judgmental. i don't need a man to impress me with this exhaustive, fifty-dollar-word vocabulary. i've spent years studying english and creative writing from some of the finest professors in the state, and one of the first rules they teach you in writing is don't use fifty-dollar words when fifty-cent ones will do. if you use fancy schmancy words in dialogue, i'm going to assume you're a pretentious son of a bitch, and i don't need that kind of man in my life. on the other hand, if you spell words like later like l8r, i'm going to assume you're a lazy son of a bitch, and i don't need that kind of man in my life, either.

i keep doing this. i keep hoping it will be different, and it never is.

see? nothing new. but it's been seventeen weeks and two days... i didn't want yall to think i'd forgotten about you or that i'd disappeared. i'm here.

the unreliable narrator

March 9, 2019

i don't know how old i was when i learned i had cerebral palsy. i suspect it was when i was ten, when i had to have the third of six surgeries... the first one i was old enough to remember. i had a navel hernia -- something to do with the abdominal wall and a hole... and if it's not fixed, your stomach could mesh with your intestines and you die. or at least that's what i remember from the explanation of the thing all those years ago. i'd been suffering suicidal ideation for two years by this point in my life. i would've preferred death, but... i was ten. my parents found a doctor and scheduled the surgery and here i am.

i'm always amazed at how full of irony life can be. seconds before i'd begun typing this, the group messaging app used by the gals in a bible study i've been attending started sounding off notifications. a friend's husband was life-flighted today and had a surgery that lasted eleven hours, the results of which have so far been unsuccessful. it's funny to me how the ones who don't want to live get to linger, and the ones whose lives are so detrimental to the well-being of others can be snatched away in seconds. i'm writing about the need for a patch in my abdominal wall... and another's in need of the patch in his heart. the patch in mine worked. the patch in his isn't.

i've been volunteering at a christian academy since september. the kids are out for spring break this coming week. wednesday next, i'll be presenting at the school's chapel service. i'll be talking about the fruits of the spirit -- one in particular: faithfulness.

i've shared some of the details of my story with the gals in the bible study. the other day, one of them commended me for my faith. i was surprised by the compliment.

there's some passage in the bible about how we're fearfully and wonderfully made. fearfully. yes. absolutely. i am full of fear. wonderfully? i call bullshit.

i was browsing through netflix and came across the theory of everything. i can't watch the whole thing. i can't. i HATE seeing how the body is ravaged, how its destruction ruined so much, was so catastrophic to so many and in so many ways.

what i have, it's nothing compared to lou gehrig's disease. my body isn't rotting. but i recognize the anger stephen hawking may have felt in the days... the decades after his diagnosis. i've been PISSED at mine for almost all my life. and i've been pissed at me for being pissed because, as my mother has said over and over again, i can do so many things.

it'll get worse as i get older, though. and at some point, i'm not going be able to keep my muscles from spasming... and the heart... it's a muscle, too. most of the time, i think this can't come soon enough. i dread it, though. i dread how this disability is going to break me.

this is the story i've chosen to tell... this one of anger and hate and fearfulness. i played the part of the unreliable narrator. i've become so accustomed to the role, i don't know how to make the necessary corrections.

what was i thinking? how could i possibly begin to talk to ten-year-olds about faithfulness?

because one reading challenge isn't enough

January 13, 2019

okay. so i'm gonna try my hand at this year's pop sugar reading challenge. i spent the morning at brio's with a couple of friends chewing over the list and the books on my to-be-read shelves and have come up with this list:

one. a book becoming a movie in 'nineteen. the rosie project by graeme simsion.
two. a book that makes you nostalgic. every last word by tamara ireland stone.
three. a book written by a musician (fiction or nonfiction). this life i live by rory feek.
four. a book becoming you think should be turned into a movie. the last summer of you and me by anna brashares.
five. a book with at least a million goodreads' ratings. the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime by haddon.
six. a book with a plant in the title or on the cover. the care and handling of roses with thorns by margaret dilloway.
seven. a reread of a favorite book. lovers and dreamers by nora roberts.
eight. a book about a hobby. let's pretend this never happened by jenny lawson.
nine. a book you meant to read in 'eighteen. elinor oliphant is completely fine by gail honeyman.
ten. a book with pop, sugar or challenge in the title. the sugar queen by sarah addison allen.
eleven. a book with an item of clothing or accessory on the cover. the seven rules of elvira carr by maynard.
twelve. a book inspired by myth/legend/folklore. the lord of the rings by j.r.r. tolkien.
thirteen. a book published posthumously. the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society by shaffer and barrows.
fourteen. a book you see someone reading on television or in a movie. dandelion wine by ray bradbury.
fifteen. a retelling of a classic. alice i have been by melanie benjamin.
sixteen. a book with a question in the title. where'd you go bernadette by maria semple.
seventeen a book set on a college or university campus. maybe someday by colleen hoover.
eighteen. a book about someone with a superpower. miss peregrine's home for peculiar children by simsion.
nineteen. a book told from multiple points of view. the bookshop at water's end by patti callahan henry.
twenty. a book set in space. the martian by andy weir.
twenty-one. a book by two female authors. between the lines by jodi picoult and samantha van leer.
twenty-two. a book with salty, sweet, bitter or spicy in the title. hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet by jamie ford.
twenty-three. a book set in scandinavia. bear town by fredrik backman.
twenty-four. a book that takes place in a single day. one hundred two minutes by jim dwyer and kevin flynn.
twenty-five. a debut novel. reconstructing amelia by kimberly mcreight.
twenty-six. a book that's published in 'nineteen. all we could have been by t.e. carter.
twenty-seven. a book featuring an extinct or imaginary creature. the hobbit by j.r.r. tolkien.
twenty-eight. a book recommended by a celebrity you admire. where the crawdads sing by delia owens.
twenty-nine. a book with love in the title. love walked in by marisa de los santos.
thirty. a book featuring an amateur detective. the lake house by kate morton.
thirty-one. a book about a family. the weird sisters by eleanor brown.
thirty-two. a book by an author from asia, africa or s. america. the number one ladies' detective agency by smith.
thirty-three. a book with a zodiac sign or astrology term in the title. water for elephants by sara gruen.
thirty-four. a book that includes a wedding. the glass kitchen by linda francis lee.
thirty-five. a book by one whose first and last names begin with the same letter. probability of miracles by wunder.
thirty-six. a ghost story. a room away from the wolves by nova ren suma.
thirty-seven. a book with a two-word title. saving june by hannah harrington.
thirty-eight. a novel based on a true story. the promise by ann weisgarber.
thirty-nine. a book revolving around a puzzle or a game. legendary by stephanie garber.
forty. your favorite prompt from a past popsugar reading challenge. furiously happy by jenny lawson.

random quarter

January 5, 2019

one. three things i like about myself: intelligence, compassion, generosity.

two. three things i dislike about myself: insecurity, temper, laziness.

three. the happiest person i know: michelle.

four. the two people i like and respect the most and why: aurora and cynthia because they are like sunshine.

five. i am: a child of god, one who is never quite happy with her lot in life.

six. the five qualities i most admire in others: perceptiveness, honesty, dedication, resilience and affability.

seven. my mission: to last the day.

eight. what i would attempt if i knew i could not fail: the things that come to mind are ideas put in my head by family and friends, and i am not confident that these wants are truthfully my own so i don't feel comfortable with this topic.

nine. five people who can help you achieve your goals: the only goal i have now is to survive the day, and the people i would most like to have near me for that are aurora, cynthia, erin, rebecca and traci.

ten. five things i've been procrastinating doing: cleaning out the closet, creating a prayer corner--a war room--in my bedroom, cleaning out my vehicle, applying for full-time employment and cleaning out my storage unit.

eleven. ways to make monday magical: i welcome ideas for this one. all i can think of is allowing myself a long, hot soak in fragrant bubbles and salts whilst sipping a glass of some kind of a white.

twelve. do you know how amazing you truly are? no. no, i do not.

thirteen. natural gifts: i can sing. that's pretty much it.

fourteen: wonders of the world i'd like to see: the great barrier reef, the grand canyon and the northern lights.

fifteen. ancestral lands i'd like to visit: austria, ireland and scotland.

sixteen. i've always wanted to: attend a red sox game at fenway park; drive the length of route sixty-six; drive the length of highway one; take the train across the country; spend a week on a beach in fiji.

seventeen. if the average lifespan is an estimated twenty-seven thousand, three hundred seventy-five days, how many do you have left? ten thousand seven hundred seven.

eighteen. what did you worry about six months ago? a year ago? five years ago? my well-being. always me first because i'm a vain woman. my biggest fear in life is that i would become a spinster, and yes, that has come to pass.

nineteen. when was the last time you did something for the first time? december twenty-fifth: i played game of thrones settlers of catan with my mother.

twenty. about what are you passionate? nothing.

twenty-one. what is something you've always wanted to do but haven't done? know romantic love.

twenty-two. how will you change the world? no fucking clue.

twenty-three. about what do you care? my family and friends.

twenty-four. how do you want to be remembered? for my heart... as scarred as it is, it is good.

twenty-five. people who have made you feel appreciated and special: amelia, megan, cassady, jace, maylee, elizabeth, nicki, luke, landon, liberty, colton, piper, cam, bentley and justin.