Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Attention Skinny Bitches...

I am reading 3 books right now which is entirely ridiculous. Last night after I dined on salmon rolls and spicy shrimp rolls accompanied by white wine with my co-worker, I dropped by Barnes and Noble because I have found that I seem to happier at bookstores than just about anywhere else.
I have found that in bookstores, I lose all of my self-professed inadequacies and actually just enjoy myself. It’s almost like I even become prettier once I step inside the doors. I wade through the titles in the art section and pretend that I know what I am looking for. I don’t. But I have found that surrealism is my favorite art. (A huge accomplishment for me! It’s taken me 28 years to discover this!) I even have a favorite artist! Her name is Dorothea Tanning. Look her up. Look up the work “The Truth About Comets and Little Girls.” It’s gorgeous and eerie and sadistic and beautiful and faintly hopeful in a way.

Next, I will maneuver about to the poetry section where I might read some Edna St Vincent Millay for a bit or Pablo Neruda. (If you haven’t ever read Pablo Neruda and enjoy poetry with hints of romance and eroticism, read him.)
Last night, I even wandered around the sports section for a bit, staring at the glossy covers of books on “Everything You Need to Know About Running.” Then, I thought better of that and escaped the aisle seemingly unscathed.
If you aren’t able to tell by my writing, I tend to get obsessed with things easily. I will compulsively pick up knitting, buy books, needles, thread…It will dominate my life for days before I quit entirely. I will develop an addiction to peanut butter bars and bake 4 recipes a week for 4 months before I stop, 5 pounds heavier and broke.

I have done this with running. I started jogging in Houston. I was running 4 miles a day…nothing crazy. I then met a running partner who pushed me into running races and soon after (what do ya know?) I was addicted. I was running 6 days a week, 5 miles a day with 1 long run scheduled on Monday evenings.
I ran a marathon.
I quit running.
My compulsiveness, not to mention my impulsiveness, exhaust me. Long story short, I can run and contemplate going back into training and enjoy it. But if I start buying books, it’s all over and I am hooked and then I am committed to a marathon which I am not yet ready to be.
So…I walked away.
But! This presented a different problem. I walked past a stand of books which you may or may not have seen, entitled 'Skinny Bitch,' by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. What’s slightly comical about all of this is that I don’t read books like this. I never even pick them up. I am a “Live to Eater,” and not an “Eat to Live-er.”
But I picked it up anyway and the first few pages made me laugh in that their language is a lot like mine and before I knew it, I was purchasing this book along with a couple of other novels. “Hey,” I thought to myself, “It absolutely never hurts to be healthier.”
I sat down on the couch last night in my Alpharetta, GA apartment and read.
And then I read some more.
And now I have read nearly all of it.
I forced myself to stop reading it due to the sheer graphic horrors presented on slaughterhouse abuse to farm animals.
I was hysterical.
It’s a great book which promotes a vegan lifestyle which I did not realize going in.
Sometimes it’s nice to live in your pretty, pink little shell…safe from the knowledge that exists outside of you. Let’s face it. It’s easier NOT to know. Why else do we buy US Weekly and People instead of Newsweek and TIME? Because we WANT to know if John Mayer regrets breaking up with Jennifer Aniston and NOT the death count in the war. That’s why. It makes us sad. And we don’t like being sad.

Anyway. It’s horrendous, tragic, sickening and SAD.
And I threw up my sushi.
I’m not going to go into what I read because I don’t want to force it on you if you don’t wish to read it. But, if you want to learn more about slaughterhouse abuse and what you can do to help, pick up this book wherever books are sold and give it a go. To read specifically the horrors that I am speaking of (writing of), read pages 69-72 which are excerpts from the book 'Slaughterhouse,' by Gail Eisnitz, chief investigator for the Humane Farming Association who interviewed dozens of slaughterhouse workers across the country.

This book prompted me to delve right back into 'Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food' by Gene Baur who is my personal hero. Again, “Readers Discretion” is advised. The content is graphic. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

So…when all is said and done, it appears that I have once again become compulsive/impulsive. I have already visited
www.goveg.com for a free vegetarian starter kit.

But this one, this compulsion…I fear…may be long-lasting. My poor husband and dogs don’t know what they’re in for.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I wouldn't buy you a drink either...

It was a good weekend. It was beautiful weather, just a touch too warm for football season. But it was good. Really.

We had sushi on Friday and listened to music on the patio. Kings of Leon came out with a new album last Tuesday and so I was doing my best to soak that in. Saturday was a huge day in college football upsets but my Sooners managed to survive despite the odds and we are now #1 in the nation. And I can breathe again until next weekend. Whew.

Here is something interesting…

My husband and I went to a bar on Saturday following the close of the OU game. I was tired, but in good spirits and wanted to get out of the house. One of our friend’s friends was having a birthday celebratory pub crawl and so we made our way to midtown where they were gathered. After the initial pleasantries had passed, I went up to the bar to retrieve a beer and as is customary on a Saturday night at a bar in a college town, the line was 3 deep and I hung back to seize an opportunity to squeeze in to the front. Here’s where it gets interesting.
A couple of guys…probably of college age but perhaps a bit older, were hanging back a little ahead of where I was. They were pleasant.
One of them motioned for me to move ahead of them as they had already ordered and received their drinks.
“Here,” one of them said. “Come up here. Sit next to that guy in the red shirt. Make him buy you a drink. Hey,” he motioned to the guy in the red shirt at the bar, “Buy her a drink.” I smiled because I am nice. Let me be clear here. I am ALWAYS nice. I would find it extremely odd to EVER be considered anything BUT nice.
I said to the guy in red, “Oh, it’s okay. I have money.”
He smirked and replied, “Oh honey, don’t you worry. I would NEVER buy YOU a drink.”

Now…typically I’m pretty quick-witted. I have the uncanny ability of snapping back smart comments that not only blend the perfect amount of sarcasm with nastiness but also manage to seem semi-intelligent at the same time. But, when someone is this blatant in their “a$$-holishness,” I must admit…I become rather baffled.
I patted him on the arm as if to say, “Good for you,” and then sat on the bar stool, simmering until I retrieved my beers.
I did go to his friends following our little exchange and told them that their “friend” was “really cool,” while giving a mock thumbs up. They apologized and muttered some expletives which, although making me feel better, didn’t curb my latent desire to have someone show this dude just how disgusting he was.
Here’s another thing: he was entirely unattractive. His eyes were so small they were all but missing from his pale, greasy face. Honestly, this dude is lucky they even let him in a bar at all. They may as well tell him at the door, “Dude, if you’re not already married, I feel obliged to tell you that because of the unfortunate circumstance of your face, you are certain to get NO play tonight. May as well throw in the towel already and go home.”
Maybe they did. Maybe they hurt his feelings and consequently, he felt the need to insult me.
(See how quick my nastiness comes out when someone is nasty to me first?! I’m telling you, it’s a vicious cycle)
Whatever the cause…I don’t care. I just know that I didn’t deserve it. What happened to all of the gentlemen out there? The ladies? Did someone really RAISE that guy?

What about the guy that you accidentally bump into at a bookstore and after sincerely exclaiming, “Oh, I’m so sorry,” he merely looks at you like you are the largest idiot of all idiots and says nothing.

Or the girl working the counter at Seattle’s Best coffee who asks “Can I help you?” with such a snarl that you order water instead of coffee because you forgot what you were there for.

Or the word “please.” Listen to how people use it now. Humans managed to turn a pretty word…a term of endearment that was intended to convey only niceties, into a word that comes off as a command. Really, listen! You’ll be appalled!

There are so many more examples I could use…

My sister always used to say, “Wouldn’t the world be a better place if no one broke the law?”
Hey man, I’ll make it easier than that! I don’t even care if you speed or drink when you’re 20…
Be nice. Just do your best to be nice. No matter what. See what happens.

In the words of the great Ani DiFranco:

“Maybe you don’t like your job. Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep. Nobody likes their job. Nobody got enough sleep. Maybe you just had the worst day of your life. Well you know there’s no escape and there’s no excuse. So just suck up, suck up and be nice.”

Wouldn’t it be great?

Here’s to the guy at the Shell Station in Buckhead the other day in the midst of a gas outage in the greater Atlanta area. He was directing traffic for angry drivers who didn’t understand why they were waiting in line. You should have seen Roswell Road. It was a circus for nastiness. And this guy was just smiling and directing and helping and…

Things are gonna get better…I can feel it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sad but with toys

Okay...this is probably completely uninteresting to most. But, I found the line that I was discussing in a previous blog in my review of "Songs Without Words."

Liz, who is the mother of the teen who attempts the ultimate act of desperation, is reflecting on a friendship that she had with a mother of three children, one of which was a newborn. The new mother is sensitive to the hardships of older children when younger siblings are introduced into the home. She remembers the woman asking friends to please not send gifts to her older children, because the oldest, when the second child was born had received various offerings which were really "just an unsuccessful distraction, making this sad little girl sad but with toys."

Liz rambles on for a few more paragraphs in her distraught state of misery following her daughter's suicide attempt. She contemplates the actions to take with her daughter who is now home from the hospital and she maneuvers through random thoughts about her day and what she does and similarly does not feel like doing. To put it simply, she is moving methodically through her day with no real goal in mind. She has reached a numb sort of misery at this point.

Soon after this, she recalls that "Right after New Year's she'd ordered some luxurious new sheets from a catalog having a white sale: pale yellow Egyptian cotton, 420 thread count. She was sad but with bed linens."

This may seem to be hokey or even rather simple to some. But to me, sometimes it's the smallest things that reach down and pull you up. I loved these paragraphs. I know that there are people out there who have invented airplanes and all and that in comparison, well, this is pretty small. But wow...it's my idea of beautiful. Even in a "just okay" novel.

My creative streak is dwindling today. I think that perhaps during my flight yesterday evening, I must have scattered all of my wit from the plane, where it is now blowing through the trees somewhere around some farmland in northern Georgia. In this same farm field, an introverted cow is wondering why today, of all days, he seems to be the life of the party.


Happy With Dogs

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Conversation with my sister...

Have you ever closed your eyes and for a split second, you see something that doesn't make sense? Just a second ago, I closed my eyes to rub them ( which is horrible for wrinkles I hear, but it's something I do when I'm sleepy) and I saw the back of a girl's head. She had purple hair but not the usual purple. Instead, it was lavender. Odd. I wonder who she is. Am I supposed to know her? Is she a fairy?

I phoned my sister today as I am in the habit of doing when I'm traveling. (Have I mentioned that I travel every week for work? I do.) I wanted to ask her to come visit in October because I had a craving to see her and had only just realized that November 1st (which is when we will meet in Norman for a football game) is such a very long time away.
It was settled rather quickly. "I can't. "S" (her son) has games every Friday and I could miss one but I would be a bad Mom..."
And we moved past it with rapidity. It was a crazy long talk. It took me from Roswell to Buckhead to a DSW (because I forgot my heels in Memphis and have been working in flip flops although I decided once I was there that I couldn't fathom buying a $60 pair of heels when I have perfectly good shoes at home) and then out of DSW and to the property where I applied my make-up and threw my hair up in a neater version of my messy bun.
My point is:
It was supposed to be a 5 minute conversation and instead we covered everything. We covered my trip to LA and how she would love the "8oz Burger Bar" with the spare rib grilled cheese and fried olives. We discussed how I had a conversation with one of my best friends C regarding the fact that I may mention my ex boyfriend too often in conversations with my husband, and that even if it means nothing to me, it may mean something to him. (This can be another blog but for the record, my sister agreed with C...as do I, I suppose. I am rude and disrespectful and never even fathomed it because my husband is so amazingly awesome and just sits back and lets me talk.) We covered whether one can justify purchasing $150 sheets if, in fact, the sensation it provides is one comparable to napping on a bed of very short angel fur. (We decided that one cannot justify this even if one wishes to justify it.)
We discussed teenage drinking and what actually constitutes a drug dealer. We also pondered when to consider a 15 year old kid "bad news" and "not-worthy to hang out with your child" for his actions at Homecoming after-parties.
We covered the fact that she "does NOT" like California and how "I totally DO" and that there is "very little not to like."
We had conversations about Mom and Chinese Chicken Salads at Granite City Cafe.
We finished off the conversation with my assurances that my toenails were pretty and polished enough to enter a Buckhead property in flip-flops. (They were. Crimson nails to match my Oklahoma Sooner football team.)
It was a conversation that we have had many times a week, in that we typically talk for 40 minutes or more, and a conversation that we have never had in that the content changes with every passing day.
What remains the same is that I love my sister. I love it that I have someone to talk to who somehow is my biggest fan, even when I'm wrong. It's cliche, I know. But sometimes, when Johnny Raincloud settles in and I wonder where I am, who I am and if anyone has ever, EVER felt so alone...it's so nice to know that I'm not. And the best part of it is, there is very little that I could do to convince her to stop loving me back.

Sappy sappy...
Here's to sisters and best friends.

I am reading...

After You'd Gone...by Maggie O'Farrell. It's an older book. By older, I mean, "not current." As in, the copyright is 2000.
It's sad and I love it. A love story that I am enamored with even though it doesn't fit my usual standards for a love story.

I am halfway through. I'll keep ya updated.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I am also growing my hair out...

Stay tuned. I will have my husband take a picture of me when I wear it down again so we can monitor this mane together.
Oh yeah, I'm dyeing it brown in two weeks as well.

Yeah! Change!

For those of you nervous about having children...

Wouldn't it be fantastic if you could give birth to dogs? How great would this be?!
Imagine the element of excitement!

Conversation between friends:

"So, are you going to find out what you're having?"

"We did! We're having a dachsund! It's a boy!"

Imagine if you didn't find out:

Doctor to new pet owner:

"Congratulations! It's a Corgi!"

Pet mother to Pet Father:

"I had a feeling with your long torso and my short legs..."

And imagine the conversations between catty women regarding the pet pregancies of their friends:

"I totally knew she would have a great dane. Look at how BIG she is. Seriously."

Just think how much it would change EVERYTHING. So when you're fearful that if you DON'T have children you may never truly know the sheer joy of creating something with your loved one, you could! And your responsibility would still be that of a pet parent. (Note: I am very aware that the responsibilties of a pet parent are large. I am one. No, I did not give birth to one, but I did adopt two. I take my pet parenting very seriously. However, while I can leave Bill and Lily for a few hours with nothing but Animal Planet, I would not be able to leave my six year old and 2 year old children.)

Still planning on them (children)...yes, I am. I just get so nervous about it. Giving yourself over, even if it's willingly...doesn't it seem frightening? Maybe miraculous, but also scary?

For now, I do love my dogs. Even if I didn't give birth to them.

Songs Without Words: Ann Packer

Good. That's about it. It was good. To sum it up:
It is the story of a friendship between Liz,a suburbanite mother of two and her bohemian best friend Sarabeth. When Lauren, one of Liz's children commits a desperate act, it challenges the friendship that at one time would have helped them through said difficult time.
Like I said, it was good.
I identified with Lauren (the daughter who commits the tragic climax of the novel)...probably because I always identify with dark, masochistic, suicidal characters. However, Lauren, to me, was the only true exciting character in the novel.
Liz was sad and superior in a way...and sort of boring. Sarabeth was emotional and her actions were either troubled or supremely unrealistic. (This is my opinion...doesn't mean that you will feel this way)

But, I did read it all rather quickly. It was well-written. There was a line in the book that I found fantastic: "Sad but with toys."
If you read this book, you will understand how gorgeous and true this statement really is.

When all is said and done: Sort of blah, sort of pretty.
Worth the read? Depends on whether or not you find a pretty basic friendship and an even MORE BASIC plot, interesting.

Close to 5 miles of suckiness...

I knew immediately when I started off my run tonight that it wasn't going to be as exhilarating as last night. Not only did I not reach exhilaration, I was flat out tired. My calves hurt, my right shin, my right knee, etc...
But! I will say that my breathing has improved immensely!
I have decided to run a 5k on October 11th and a 10 miler in late November. I am going to go ahead and train for the Germantown half marathon on March 15th, 2009. We'll go from there...
I'll keep ya posted.

Help Me Grow Out My Nails

Let me stress that I have never been successful at this. 28 years of being desirous of long, pretty hands and shapely nails and I just….can’t…do…it.

First off, I am sort of like a dirty child. I wash my hands constantly and then somehow get them dirty again. My nails always seem dirty. I wash them…they’re clean. I sit still for 30 minutes and they’re dirty. Why is this?

Secondly…I have a chip in my left front tooth. During football games or sometimes to keep myself from murdering someone in traffic, I run my fingernails through this chip and file down one whole side of a nail, forcing me to file the other side off. Yes, I am 28.

Third, I have hangnails and I mess with them until it nearly looks like God put my nail on crookedly.

Fourth, once I bite one nail down, it takes all of 3 minutes to get rid of his nine friends. It’s just how it works.

So I am trying again, this time, with your assistance. I bought some cuticle oil, a white pencil to whiten the tips and a fingernail file that won’t wear down. Deep breath. Here we go. Above, you will see a picture of my hand as it is now. I will keep you updated.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I will be adding to this...

The Awakening: Kate Chopin


I just read this again for the 90th time. It's my favorite book.
Fitting that it should be my first review.
I'm not going to go into any history of the novel. You can do that yourself.

Suffice it to say, I find it amazing. I find it beautiful. Cliche words and I don't care.
The main character, Edna Pontellier, finds that she has been living a life that truly isn't hers. She is married with children and slowly begins to realize her full capabilities as a woman and soul. She awakens emotionally, sexually, somewhat spiritually (in that she finds she is oppressed by it); in addition to awakening to discover who she truly is.

Although these discoveries of self open Edna up to an enlightened world and existence, she is also reminded of all that is impossible in her life which inevitably lead to...
Read it!

It's a Madame Bovary of sorts...but to me, it's so much more beautiful. For anyone who has been moved to tears by a song or the ocean or contemplated leaving it all behind in the name of love, please read this novel and let me know what you think.

Should I train for a marathon again?

So I ran 6 miles tonight. I ran a marathon back when I was 22. 6 years ago. I ran a small marathon in Amarillo, TX called the Lonestar Paper Chase. It was fairly horrendous. You shove chocolate GU down your throat and suck mercilessly on peppermints and cry and hurt and cry some more and then you cramp once you finish. Sounds lovely doesn't it?
But I'm considering it again. My brain seems so happy to be out near the trees again. I run with the IPOD when I feel like pretending I am performing on American Idol or So You Think You Can Dance. My friend C's friend from LA says she creates music videos in her head. I just perform. Usually someone I know is watching and they're so impressed.
So anyway...
I started up again slowly. 2 miles, 3, then 4...then 4.5...
Then I went to LA and took off Friday, Saturday and Sunday which is somewhat of a setback...but we truly never stopped. I can't wait to tell you all about my trip.
So, I figured that I would do a long run tonight. And then maybe I could run 7 next Monday? We'll see. I'm still uncertain if I want to make the committment. It's a lot of work and it's exhausting and my right knee is still troubling me.

Stay tuned.

Avatars / Icons

Atlanta traffic

Atlanta is amazing. Eclectic. What's more, there seem to be small countries within this one state. Decatur, where the hippies live...Buckhead, where the intricate coffee shops with the best lattes served out of the best mugs reside...Martini bars and live music...
Atlanta is alive. And I like it that way.
I love it here. I essentially live here. Although my dogs and my husband live elsewhere. I love having an apartment that is all mine. I read and I write and make bacon, egg and cheese english muffins for dinner and I watch Fox News AND Gossip Girl for hours because I can.
I stay up until 2:00am and listen to the crickets because my mind is racing and full of all of the thoughts that I may have missed if I weren't alone.
I enjoy my mornings whether they include my 4.5 mile jogs or not because I stop at either Starbucks or Caribou and order a medium coffee which for some reason, even in the dead of summer, reminds me of fall.
I LOVE stopping off near the Perimeter area for sushi and wine all by myself and I am seldom happier than when I am at a movie theatre seeing a movie that my beloved hubby would hate.
My solitary life makes me...me.

The traffic is enough to drive me to sheer madness. Truly. And so here I sit at work on a Monday evening, awaiting 6:30 when I can drive home without murderous thoughts clouding my brain.

Golden Los Angeles

My husband and I flew to LA this weekend to see my best friend from high school. I seem to have a life hangover. One of those headaches from realizing that you have been living in the wrong place for 28 years. How disturbing. When I reflect on the trip, I picture LA, Venice Beach, Malibu, Beverly Hills, etc...
All of them to me seem golden. As if shimmery, muted lights reflect off the windows and store fronts and everyone seems to be smiling even if they're not.
It is not my intention to blog about my vacations but rather about books, novels, novellas, short stories, magazine articles. As an avid reader, I have always wished to read book reviews written by real people and not writers that only wish to impress you with their ever-expanding vocabulary. Chances are...they desire to be writers as well.
Anyway...I am too exhausted from my trip to blog on this day about the novel (s) I am currently immersed in. But I will return later.
I wish to tell you all about my trip and all about my books.
If there is anything that anyone out there wishes me to read and/or review, let me know. Chances are that I would love to...