We spent the second-half of our Christmas week with Sam's parents back in New York. They had already done the great and wonderful tourist thing, so it was a nice few days just getting to hang out and visit.
Saturday night, however, we spent New Year's Eve in Times Square.
That's right. TIMES SQUARE. And it was amazing. We got tickets to the Olive Garden's Party, and as cheesy as that sounds, it was spectacular. There was good food, an open bar and dancing. But, best of all, it meant we could spend the night viewing the giant hoards on Broadway in the warm comfort of a restaurant with bathrooms nearby. We sat at a great table and watched as the crowds slowly gathered to the point where there was literally not room for even one more person in the street. And then, at 11:30pm, with streamer-decorated tiaras and top hats proclaiming "Happy New Year!" we headed outside to join them.
And it was, in a pathetic understatement, awesome. We stood, in a crowd of tens of thousands and sang "Imagine" by John Lennon. Tears welled in my eyes as I thought about the hope I felt there. How all these people from these different places could all sing those words, and it seemed maybe things *would* get better. Be better in the new year. And to hear everyone take a breath and join in "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm nto the only one . . ." - it gave me chills. I get tears in my eyes now just thinking about it.
And then the countdown. Everyone yelling from 10, screaming in joy as the ball dropped, grabbing those close to them and kissing them, hugging strangers and yelling above the din "Happy New Year!" It didn't' matter we had never spoken, in that minute we were all friends - sharing this amazing beginning to a new year. Sharing where they were from, who they were, passing out hugs as if we had all known each other forever.
And then Sinatra's "New York, New York" began to play and before I knew it we were all kicking it up, arms around each other, singing again. And as I turned to look at Sam, his arm around me on one side - his camera snapping pictures with the other, his parents behind us dancing with our new found friends; I felt like the luckiest person in the whole of the world.
"If I can make it there, I'd make it ANY where, it's UP to YOU! NEW! YORK! NEeeeeeewwWWWW YooooooooooooRK! . . . ."
It was the greatest way to spend the beginning of this brand new shiny new year, and an even better way for Sam and I's first New Year's as husband and wife.
Hello, 2006. Awfully glad to meet you. I have a feeling we're going to get along just fine .
Saturday, December 31, 2005
We spent the second-half of our Christmas week with Sam's parents back in New York. They had already done the great and wonderful tourist thing, so it was a nice few days just getting to hang out and visit.
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Well, our Christmas week began amazingly. We spent Saturday through Tuesday night with my parents in the Happiest Place on Earth - and more specifically - our favorite parks. Epcot on Christmas day itself, Magic Kingdom the next and to finish it off with true flying colors, the Animal Kingdom the last day.
Most importantly, however, we got to just hang out with my parents for the first time in a year when we weren't planning (or having) a wedding. It was great. We went to all our favorite places in the parks, ate all our favorite meals, (discovered a few new ones) and celebrated the holidays in true Disney/Bell Family fashion. They spoiled us rotten. It was great.
We had such fun. It was like a little mini vacation and was MUCH needed. We arrived at the airport exhausted and feeling much loved. It seems every time we go visit my parents, I end up at the gate crying on Sam's shoulder. I always want the trip to last just a bit longer, I want just a few days more. I miss my mom and dad a lot and the times we get to spend time with them are only getting fewer and far-er between. But with this trip, I truly couldn't ask for more. We had a wonderful, amazing time. And it feels so good to have the four of us hang out as family. It was our first Christmas and it was perfect. Absolutely perfect.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Those of us today who have ever pondered the ramifications of a cataclysmic event such as a "nuclear winter" or the aftermath of a giant meteor impact after some ober-budget blockbuster movie can understand how frightening it must have been to see the sun slip away every fall. Harsh winter conditions and scarce food supplies made survival risky. Vegetation was dormant, migratory birds had long since disappeared to warmer climes, and many animals had vanished into hibernation. As the weeks drew closer to the solstice, it was a time of anxiety over ever-darkening days. What if the sun lost its vigor and never came back? Would light and warmth simply fade away forever? Would the earth be wrapped in eternal night and cold?
But then, magically, the long night would end, the sun would return, and slowly the earth would warm and provide for its people once more.
No one's really sure how long ago humans recognized the winter solstice and began heralding it as a turning point -- the day that marks the return of the sun. But that is what it is - a heralding of light, a joyous reach toward the future and all the beauty and hope it holds. Tonight is for reveling, for rejoicing, for accepting that the dark has passed and the light is slowly creeping in. It *will* return, it has begun to - and we in turn shall find joy in what lies ahead of us.
It's the root of the Christmas traditions - the birth of the sun, the birth of the son. Both stand for a world awakening, rejoicing, finding itself bathed in a blessed light. I hope you all have wonderful, beautiful and hopeful holidays.
Happy Solstice! Merry Yule! Brightest blessings, indeed.
"Shall we liken Christmas to the web in a loom? There are many weavers, who work into the pattern the experience of their lives. When one generation goes, another comes to take up the weft where it has been dropped. The pattern changes as the mind changes, yet never begins quite anew. At first, we are not sure that we discern the pattern, but at last we see that, unknown to the weavers themselves, something has taken shape before our eyes, and that they have made something very beautiful, something which compels our understanding." --Earl W. Count, 4,000 Years of Christmas
That's the name of Sam's new video iPOD. He won it at his company Christmas party and is, to say the least, very excited. (I am insanely jealous, by the way.) He has right to be excited, though, we have had a 40 gig iPOD for a few years now, but - being the only child I am, I refused to share it.
So now he has a new shiny full-color one all his own! He shall soon know the ultimate love of the iPOD owner. This is what he gets for making fun of me all this time! :)
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Alas, it's not going to happen. I've learned to live with it and, you know, if I didn't like it - I'd go look for a job that might provide it (good luck with that by the way). I've learned to make the best of my job, and while there are many days I'm sure your job sucks, today my job sucks a bit thanks to you. I want to be more sympathetic, it being Christmas and all, but I really only have one thing to say to you -
SUCK IT UP and go back to work. This madness you're causing right now is just bullshit.
I realize this sounds harsh, but the issues that are brought up publicly are ones, obviously, I feel should not be sticking points. I would have more sympathy if someone would come out and say "Look, we're working under 'X' horrible conditions and need help." But so far the points I read about are ones I feel like we'd ALL like; that are part of the "ideal" job we all dream about it. But that's just it, it's an IDEAL. I'm not retiring when I'm 55, I know this. I'd LIKE to, but it's not happening. I've accepted it, I've moved on.
But if anyone wants to tell me an issue that's WORTH causing the craziness in the city right now for, I'll totally support the strike. Til then my sympathies lie with all the businesses that will be hurting for lack of supplies, or even people. For the teachers and students that were forced to walk miles in the bitter cold this morning to get to school. For my friends who desperately tried to get to work today in hopes of finishing stuff up so they could NOT work over Christmas break . . .
I believe everyone has the right to work under safe and fair conditions. I guess I'm just not seeing what the transit union wants as "fair."
Monday, December 19, 2005
It's hard to answer when people ask why I live here, why I love it. Some ask as if they already know; some think it's obvious - the museums, the art, the culture. How could I not love it?
There are those, though, that ask really wondering. How could I possibly love it? What could there be? Why would I possibly want to stay? Why not just visit like everyone else? Those are the ones that seem especially relieved; that act like we have some special bond when I answer "I love it, but we probably won't be here forever."
And that's how I usually answer. It feels safer, it feels true-er. How could I truly love this smelly rotten over-crowded place? This place that makes me want to cry from the cold from December to March? How it could it really be home? But it is. In a million ways. And not because of the museums and the theaters and the amazingly cool jobs that are no where else.
It's because it's a place where my friends are truly international. Where I have learned more about how other people live and work and love than I have ever before. This place has given me a world view, and a new appreciation of where I came from and what now surrounds me. The city itself no longer scares me, it feels no different than any small town I have lived in, actually. I recognize my neighbors, I pass people on my way to work that miss me when I go on vacation. That ask where I've been. I am not a small town girl lost in the city any longer; I am a girl, living in Hell's Kitchen among friends.
(From the link below) "New York is indeed a hard and impersonal megacity. It is also very much a city of small towns. These are communities without Zip Codes or identifiable borders, and their memberships cross economic, racial, and language barriers. They are founded on kindnesses."
When I came here I was scared, and I felt very much alone. There are still people in my life that have perfected lectures on how babied I am, how incapable. But I am living here, in this place, and making it. Truly finding my way and digging in and enjoying it . . . I truly feel there is nothing I cannot do, no where I cannot go and be okay. In fact, not just be okay - but thrive. I love this place. For all it's taught me and all it's provided for me. I may not live here forever, but it will always truly be home.
And I'm not the only one who loves it! Check it out - http://nymag.com/news/articles/reasonstoloveny/index.html
Sunday, December 18, 2005
And, for the record, so do Sam and I. Dave comes to town for amazingly short stints approximately twice a year. And every single time, it's been good times. He's known Sam since they were both little and I love seeing them together. They have a million inside jokes and twice as many stories about people I'll never meet, and I never feel left out. I never feel like a third wheel. And that makes *me* love him all the more.
He's the best best-friend-in-law ever. Hands down.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Friday, December 16, 2005
So my company party was Friday. It's something I always have mixed feelings about. We've never had one that wasn't directly after some sort of company upheaval and therefore always had this tinge of uneasiness about them. I always hope for the best, but it seems I'm always itching for the door come the second hour.
This year, it was very different. They bussed (school buses!) all of us down to the meat packing district to a club named "ciello" and we had it all to ourselves from 5pm to 10pm. This year, for the first time, we were also invited to bring our "others" and THAT was awesome too. Almost everyone did, and it was great to hang out with the people we often only get to hear about. And since Sam's practically an official member of XM by now, it was cool he got to come and hang out as many of my co-workers are good friends of his.
And hang out we did. We drank from the top-shelf open bar (and I got tipsy for the first time in FOREVER), ate a magnificent dinner and danced danced danced. It was truly barrel of monkeys fun. We stayed til the very very very end, and then hopped into John's mini and back to our hood to our neighborhood bar, The Gaf, which happened to pick this night to celebrate FESTIVUS. Airing of grievances, feats of strength and all. James, John, Sam and I sat at a bar and made plans for future adventures a while til I totally pooped out (midnight or so). As I headed for the door they headed for the dart board.
It was a brilliant night. Once again I am reminded that I work with the best people EVER. I've been really struggling with trying to feel "christmas-ey" lately, with all the work I've been doing, and this night? Ironically, nailed it. I'm ready for the holidays. I'm ready to celebrate this past wonderful magical year and begin the next.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
So I've been listening to our ceremony music today. We've had a lot of people ask for CDs of it, and while I've been burning discs (and designing intriguing sites all about deodorant, of course), I've been listening to these songs on repeat.
And, well. Um. I don't know how to begin to say what's on my mind. Music has always been important to me. It's so entwined in my memories that often songs cannot be separated from their corresponding events. En Vogue's "Whatta Man" reminds me of Jamie Johnson in the red metro convertible. Godspell's "Day by Day" will always remind me of my friend Mark. I will never hear Madonna's Lucky Star without thinking about how on my first date, Lance and I danced to just that song. Or how (god help me) during Color Me Badd's "I Adore Mi Amore" Scott Haden saved me the humiliation of sitting by myself the Homecoming I got stood up and asked me to dance. Even recently I listen to "Montana Skies" by John Denver to escape this city a bit, remembering how I played it on repeat as I painted in the mountains this summer.
Music has always been important to me. Partly because a lot the people I love most adore it so, and thereby help me adore it. Revere it. Stand in its uncompromising power to move the spirit.
And today, today has reminded me of all that and more. These songs coming rushing at me with a power I cannot describe. The lyrics I so carefully listened to, printed out and ruminated over for months now hold an entirely new meaning. I cannot hear the music without picturing a ravishing sunset; feeling the wind blow across the fields. It takes me straight to everyone I love most, just like it took me to *the* one I love most just months ago.
But what's different this time, is I don't hear what's actually playing. I hear Nathan's voice filtering across the green at me. Hear his breath in the mic and his fingers on the strings. I hear Leslie's voice reaching up among the stars and can clearly see Ryan dancing behind the piano as the music picks up. I hear, during 100 names, Sam's voice whisper in my ear, "Ryan is amazing." I remember hearing Les sing that very song in my garage and still tear up at just the memory of its beauty. I love listening to Concrete and Clay and being able to picture Lance rocking back and forth with this amazing smile as he beat the bongos. Or, dear lord, Scott putting Huey Lewis AND the News to shame during Power of Love.
That was one of the greatest gifts we were given at our wedding. These people taking their time and their talents and doing nothing less than giving us something time can never fade or lessen. They gave me - us - something I can never thank them enough for. They took this little spot of grass in Olathe, Kansas and turned it into magic. It was open and sweeping and the wind blew through it, and yet they filled every inch of it. They filled it with love and hope and everything I had dreamed of. I don't believe I'll ever be able to find the words to thank them.
But I do know that every time I listen to this playlist, from now until I'm 80 years old, I will hear them playing, them singing . . .and I will thank the gods that they were there. That they gave us so precious a gift.
And I will forever be trying to find a way to thank them.
Monday, December 12, 2005
So Sam and I made a whirlwind trip to Kansas this weekend to go to a wedding. The groom had been in our bridal party, and Sam was in his.
I was the typical "girl with usher number 2" whom no one knew.
I hate being that girl. I'm not so good at making friends - take that back. I'm pretty decent with complete strangers. Put me in a room where no one knows me and I'll chat you up. On the street, waiting for a bagel? No problem. You'll know my whole life story and we'll be trading emails. But in a room filled with friends of Sam's I have never met?
I am as socially inept as a twelve year old girl in braces and glasses in a room full of high school football players.
I'm nervous, I'm antsy. I'm quiet and try to just stay out of the way. I want to be myself, but we all know my first impression is often a bit bitchy and while this is information I was told fifteen years ago - it has resided in my brain and made me absolutely terrified of coming off that way now.
To Sam's friends. To their wives. I don't want to be *that* wife. You know the one. The one that somehow captured the fun guy, the guy that was always a ball of excitement and adventure. . . and *god*, what DOES he see in her?
So I'm there and the wives, they are ever so kind to me. They act like I've been around forever. They ask about my life and what I do and they invite me to sit with them and dear lord, I feel like I just got invited to sit with the cool kids. And I have a blast. We snark about the DJ and laugh about our husbands. They tell me stories I've never heard and I go make a bar run to get them more wine. It was so fun. And I feel like maybe, just maybe, I made some new friends. And that makes me happy.
What else makes me happy? Speaking of me being a bit bitchy? Their wedding was nice, but ours? I liked it better. That's right, I said it. Ours was better. Hee. And I know it's awful to say - but I took a special kind of joy thinking as we were going through "I'm glad we did this and not this." I guess you make so very many decisions in the rush of it all and kind of just hope it worked out, and you *think* it did, but it's hard to tell. There are a lot of "what if's." And this weekend ended them all for me.
I loved our wedding the first time, reliving it in my mind this weekend again, I loved it all the more. I wouldn't change a thing. Not one small, tiny, infinitesimal thing.
I'm guessing this is how all brides feel. At least, I hope so.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Despite turning my back on the systems of belief that hold possession of this holiday, it is still one of my favorites. Despite not ever *truly* celebrating it's REAL purpose, I cannot help but celebrate all that accompanies it. I listen to the music, I am enraptured by the stories, I am enthralled by the lights, the candles, the garland.
And of course, this is natural. Christmas, in many ways, is home. It is the time of year you remember the itching of days when you were small, the trips home when you were in college. The grand reunions between you and everyone you love most. Just the sound of carols takes me immediately to the Little Theater, with my friends performing in the band, the chorus, the orchestra. I remember the first Christmas back from college, standing in Oakdale Park in the bitter cold, a million stars above us as Scott sang an Italian aria he had learned that semester we were all away. I remember sledding down Indian Rock, driving haphazardly through Salina, Kansas on the Tour DeLights . . . or even, most recently, carrying a giant wooden easel into the house for Sarah and then hours later driving myself to the emergency room, because I would not go earlier, would not miss her Christmas.
It's a magical time. It's filled with memories and sentimental traditions. How could I not love it? But you might not understand to the *extent* I am enthralled with this holiday. I fully embrace it and all it's ridiculous and tchotchkie-licious remnants. I adore for far more than the memories and warmth it has given me throughout the years.
It's greater than that.
And no, I don't' mean the birth of Jesus.
And, yes, that's exactly what I'm referring to.
This holiday stands alone to me, in the giant list of overly-marketed holidays, as the one that truly has a wonderful, magical, amazing message we should be shouting about. Ringing bells, grasping hands, lighting candles, raising wreaths. Not because of a messiah, not because of who this child was. But THAT he was. And how the world has since responded.
The world responded. That is what I find so very magical. This holiday isn't about giving presents or babies' birthdays or magical men and their deer to me. It's about the smallest of beings and the course of the world. It's about hope.
It's the promise to each of us that great change can come. Great change does happen. In the most remote of places, on the quietest of nights; in the smallest of beings.
Greatness exists. It does not shout, it does not render terrifyingly. It cries against the wrong, it whispers to a world ready to hear it. And it can be heard.
The smallest of humans changed the course of humanity. It can be done. There is love; there is hope. There is greatness.
And whether you believe that small babe born thousands of years ago truly walked the earth as the son of god, or whether you take this tale as just that - a tale told within the confines of a belief - the message stands as strong.
There is still a story of a small babe, born in the hardest of times; who, just by his appearance began to change the path of a world gone wrong. And that, to me, is worth celebrating. Worth revering. Worth taking to heart.
There is always hope to change the world. And none too small to do so.
Merry Christmas, my friends. Here’s to us doing just that, finding a way to change the course. In the spirit of an incredibly brilliant story.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Friday, December 02, 2005
This song reminds me of him - of us. I remember the first time I heard it I thought it was perfect - it was the two of us, with all our plans and hopes. Lives stretched out in front of us, filled with dreams and wishes and concrete foundations.
I always thought meeting the love of my life would go hand in hand with abandoning those foundations; compromising those dreams. And then, I met Sam - and it wasn't so much about compromising as knowing I could run as far as I wanted and never be behind. Explore and build and know I was never alone. I feel like what we have is right because, among other reasons, we *both* feel like that.
That we have all the sky we need.
You turn a blue eye to me
and you look right through me
You said, “Define what you think
freedom means, if you want freedom”
“’Cause we can wake up this lullaby town –
and burn through every red light we found
lift a dustcloud, break the speed of sound
We could break free…”
“If you want to run,
I’ll pack my suitcase
and if you want to stay,
I’ll make a front door key
and if you need space
to fly free,
take all the sky you need”
If I stand on the rooftops
I look down on my story
and it swallows me
Beyond the horizon
the tail lights, the glory
will you follow me?
I need to know who I am
I’m like a moth in your hand
Do I fly or stand
Or fall on my knees?
One good woman
makes a one woman man
She’ll keep your head straight
keep you walking a plan
You dream too big
the crystal ball breaks
Never turn your back
on a woman who waits
Thanks, Ellis Paul. You rock.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Can't much complain, though I would ever so much rather be taking a nap or watching a movie. Ah, well. It's good work. I don't mind. Tonight? I paint for this first time in way way way too long.
Listening to: Ellis Paul - The Speed of Trees
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Sausage and Artichoke Parmesan Stuffing
Cheesey-Hot Corn Casserole
Roasted Red Potatoes in Garlic Butter with Bacon
Cinnamon Struesal-topped Pumpkin Pie
Chocolate Banana Dream Pie
Hopefully, it will live up to the lunch Tim and Sam had of corn dog nuggets and fries from Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs. It occurred to me while they ate their meals of one color that perhaps I shoudl have tried harder to work more *green* into the mix of our menu. Ah, well. Next year.
*items not from scratch
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
And these are just the ones I decided I wanted to hear.
My current fave? "Daddy, please don't get drunk this Christmas" by John Denver.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
It shall be ongoing.
Look forward to it.
I had decided to do this earlier in the week and just hadn't taken the time. There was other stuff to write about. And then today I got a "good news" call from the dr. today, assuring me that what could have been a very very bad thing was in fact just an okay thing and I realized I should start my list today. I am choosing not to look like a selfish selfish unappreciating girl to the good-things gods. So off I go:
1. My health. It's not perfect, it's not great - but I can live my life to its fullest without worry. I can plan for the future without temper, and that is priceless.
2. My husband (of course). The man who patiently lets me completely lose it from time to time and seemingly never tires of helping put the pieces all back together again. Not everyone finds a friend such as he, let alone gets to marry him. He truly makes me a very happy, lucky lucky girl.
3. My family and friends. I'd list them all out separately if I could. But there's too many. See that? TOO MANY. I am blessed.
4. My apartment. Hell, I live in NYC and wake up to the sounds of BIRDS, people! And horses! And carriages! Seriously. It's amazing. And my neighborhood is called Hell's Kitchen. It doesn't get better than that.
5. Juicy Twists. I don't who invented these things but I WANT MORE. Thank you, inventor of the yummiest candy ever. I'd send you a Christmas card if I could. Or if I sent them at all. Or celebrated Christmas, even. Anyway, THANKS FOR THE ENDLESS JOY.
6. My job. It rocks. My co-workers kick ass and I am challenged every day. I'm a better designer now than when I started, and it is truly all because of them. And, bonus, I get paid to be creative every day. Oh, and they PAY me. Go me.
. . .to be continued.
Monday, November 21, 2005
This is a quote (which I love) from an article in the Chicago Tribune:
"In the remains of this exploded life, Joan reaches backward, back to the lessons about fate and fortitude she learned as a girl in a land where the summer sun was as pitiless as the winter wind and the snow along the empty roads could dwarf a man.
When people marvel that she's strong, as they so often do in admiration and bewilderment and relief, she shakes her head, says no, she's not strong. She's just from Kansas."
So I saw the Johnny Cash movie this weekend. And no, I did not see Harry Potter. I felt like he would get enough love, and with tickets at ten bucks a pop there was only room for one new movie this weekend.
So we saw John and June and I loved it. I thought it was brilliant. Brilliant performaces and a truly great story. (And I took special joy out of knowing who Waylon Jennings was.) I loved picturing Jerry Lee Lewis hanging with John Cash and Elvis and Roy Orbison. I love the thought that greatness every once in a while intercepts with itself. And I loved all the music.
And yes, I just announced that out loud. Internet, I loved every single second of that old-timey country. And not just in the context of the movie. People, I am not just walking the line - I've crossed it. I might be a fan of country music.
Now don't get me wrong. I would recognize very little of what plays on the radio. I'm not a radio listener, really, anymore. But I have found that since moving to this city and dating Sam, my musical interests have expanded a bit.
When I first got to NYC I relished the few bits of country music I had. It reminded me of home. Of pick-ups and state fairs and open fields. Of the smell of hay and the the farms along the interstate. I can try to be as metropolitan as possible, but I am a great plains girl at my heart. I prefer open spaces and long stretches of highway. Thunderstorms that tumble over the horizon and race to you. And yes, even the small, dirty, tacky wooden bars where all they serve is four kinds of beer and bad gin. There's home in all of that to me. And the country songs I had saved over the years to mix CDs brought of it all to me once again.
So I would walk the crowded streets to the sounds of Garth Brooks and the Dixie Chicks. I would fight down thirty fourth street, my heart heavy with absent friends and places. Then Dar Williams led me to Alison Krauss who in turn led me to all kinds of new music and people. And then Sam moved in, and DEAR LORD that boy. He's a cowboy at heart, really. And I now had more country music on my iPOD then I ever wanted or needed.
And I liked it. I liked two-stepping in the living room with Sam to Alabama. I loved driving through Texas late late at night and having Sam tell me about Luckenbach, Texas with Waylon, Willie and the boys. I loved listening to Biggie wax poetic to me about Keith Whitley and then buying the whole album, unable to separate Biggs and Montana and that wonderful week from the music. It's become a part of too many memories for me NOT to like it.
And now, my ever-growing repertoire has grown to embrace Johnny Cash. Which is ironic, to happen now. Only because out in Lawrence, Kansas ten years or so back I saw him and June in concert. Only I had no idea who they were. It was fun, I enjoyed myself, but I didn't think twice about it. Much like I didn't think twice when I tossed my signed "Man in Black" poster a few years later. I had no idea who he was.
And now I do. And I wish I could go back in time and see that concert again. Now that I know the history and the stories behind the music. But I can't. What I will do, however, is sit back as I design at my desk and listen to a little FolSom County Prison. And maybe after that some Denver's Montana Sky.
It's funny. I've become so much more Midwestern after leaving the Midwest. Everything I fought against growing up I find myself finding pride in now. Who knew. And I know still, I'm no country girl. And I'm no city girl, that's for sure. In fact, I'm not so sure where I fit, really. But every once in a while I like to listen to those songs about open fields and mountains and horses and wildness and simpleness and think some day maybe I can be a part of all of it again, and this time appreciate it a helluva lot more.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Pictures are of my Nana and Papa.
Not that my loved ones would not, if I were to one day just disappear. But to the world, my disappearance would be but a small breath of air escaping. A notion of relief; a clean space where there was once a place, a face, a being.
My impact on this world is not what I want it to be.
I do not know how to get to where I'm going. To where I wish to be. I once wanted to change the world, and in many ways, I still do. And yes, I know there a million ways to do such a thing - none of them large and fantastic. I well know that it is the small, the unnoticed; the minutia of the breeze that in the end can turn the storm. However, I am not where I want to be. And I must consider. I must reconsider.
I don't know where this will take me, if I will truly go anywhere at all. But I want to leave a mark, an imprint. So when I am erased what is left is some small line, some shadow from the crack - where I dared raise my fist and beat against the wall.
Monday, November 14, 2005
So I married someone, who let's just say, excels at the saving of the pennies. This, this is fortunate for me - for I am one who is truly magnificent at the spending of the pennies. The marriage was more than just the promising of a permanent chance for me to drive Sam crazy, but the combining of our household budgets and bills.
Now let me point out I got the better end of this deal. See the opening statement for explanation.
However, this past summer Sam got a promotion and just yesterday I got a raise. So Sam has been working on strange things called "financial plans." He talks of "savings accounts" and such. This is all beyond me. It's not that I don't understand, or couldn't handle the finances . . .I just could CARE LESS. I'd rather not be bothered. I have things I'd rather think about, like where will the DVDs go when we get our new TV? Or how shall we hang the pots? Sam, on the other hand, would much prefer to think of all the ways we can save to do cool things and I'm all for him doing that.
One thing that occurred to me, as he was unveiling his multiple plans was, if we stick to his budget - we could feasibly have a down payment for an apartment here in the next couple years. Let me say that again. An apartment. Here. TO OWN. And while I do not want to own anything here unless we win the lottery, assuring us space for our as yet unplanned family, it's nice to know that we are choosing to rent our home for now. Manhattan is in fact NOT shutting us out. (So there you rich, wealthy, stinky city! I didn't want to own you anyway!)
And you'd be surprised how much that has changed my outlook. I have always felt, since Sam moved here and we started building our home, that we were doppelgangers of a sort. That any minute someone would see us and say we didn't belong or we couldn't stay anymore. And I know that's silly, but it was like a splinter in my finger. Not enough to stop typing, but some days I'd hit it just right and it would shock me a little. Slow me down.
Now I look around and my roots sink into the hard cement a bit deeper than before. Sam and I can do this; I couldn't do it before, not really, not by myself. But together, I really feel like we can do just about anything. This whole budget thing is just one miniscule example of that.
That and the plans we're coming up with together? I really just cannot wait. Kenya? Ireland? Paris? I truly cannot wait to see the world with him. Even if it requires some pinching of the pennies and fewer pairs of new shoes.
P.S. The photo is a shot of my office taken from the front steps of our stoop. My commute rocks.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Friday, November 11, 2005
I love the city, don't get me wrong. This place as much as it drives me mad, like most good things in my life, rewards me for sticking with it. I'm am constantly barraged with ideas for paintings, wonderful, interesting, intelligent people - places that awe and inspire me.
But a piece of me wants to run away to the link up there. I could knit, Sam could build. We'd have a small garden and I'd sit on the rock wall and just watch the sea. The mornings would be brisk and cold, but smell of wind and sea and salt. The evenings warm in front of our fire; we'd sit at a large heavy wooden table. The kind that lacks grace, but is sturdy and steady and gathers old friends.
We'd live simply and quietly. We'd have time to take long rambling walks where we would see no other but birds. The noises that would invade our space would be that of water and wind, not cars and people.
Part of me wants to run away from it all some days. Go somewhere quiet and small. Somewhere where it's just the two of us for a while. With no other worries or cares. Just us, a rock wall, and the sounds of the sea.
This is me with the most wonderful smoothie made with our new most wonderful Magic Bullet (c). Now, don't laugh. When I used to tell people I wanted this they would laugh at me. A ton of them said it wouldn't work like it did on tv, or worse, wouldn't' work at all.
Well, I'm here to tell you differently. I've made fresh, delicious guacamole and yummy fresh pesto (the pesto was a bit of a disaster, but only because our new microwave is *nuclear.*) And these smoothies, dear lord. I might only eat them and Juicy Twists (my favorite licorice) for the next three months.
So, people, just when you think infomercials are ridiculous - do not believe the hype. THEY ARE REAL. Heavens, now I'm tempted by ALL the infomercials. That's how great this little bullet is.
I am now off to watch PAX and try to talk Sam into some of those Space Bags . . . .
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Okay, first off - how could I NOT buy this shirt for Sam? Seriously.
And second, the concert was amazing. It was Sam and I's first trip to Radio City and it was *beautiful.* Cross another thing off our list of things we want to do in NYC before we leave. Not that we're leaving anytime soon. This, strangely, has very much become home. I walk down the streets and they are filled with memories. A lot of Sam and I's "firsts." A million special dinners for no reason, a thousand wonderful walks hand-in-hand. When I head to or from New Jersey in a dirty crowded bus, a part of me always leaps with joy when I can point out "our building." We know the family from the hardware store and the family that works the video store. We know no one Amish works in our market. The doormen within a three block radius never fail to tell me hi and ask me about my day.
This is home. I never meant for it to be. I thought I would move here, have amazing experiences that would lead to good stories and then I'd leave. A hiatus, a sybbatical. An extended vacation of sorts. Living here rarely felt real. But now, after almost four years, it feels suddenly like home. Walking back from Radio City at almost midnight, the sidewalks packed with their usual thrust of tourists, Sam and I laughing and wondering home . . .
Well, it couldn't have been more familiar, or more wonderful. It's no small house with a big porch in an open field, but for now? It could not be more perfect.
And the concert was pretty okay too. :)
Monday, November 07, 2005
And she took my hand and looked at me, eyes brimming with tears, and told me everything would be okay. Not just now, but always. It would work out. Because Sam and I loved each other, and we were not alone in the madness. "We're fighting for you. You'll never be on your own. You'll always have us."
And then *my* eyes brimmed with tears and we shrugged and laughed it off like it was ridiculous, and who were those sappy girls?! But inside, my heart swelled.
And now, looking back at all the moments, all the precious things that whipped by at lightening speed . . . This is one I know I will never forget.
He understands I need short hair, too. So after a hug and kiss from Robb, I am now officially back to my sassy short red hair, and a little girl somewhere will benefit from my long-hair-just-for-the-wedding. A fair deal in all, I think.
PS - If any of you have long hair and want to share - go here: http://www.locksoflove.org/ They're good people.
Friday, November 04, 2005
And today, officially, Sam and I started work again. And as much as I hated doing it, as much as I would have killed for just one more day - it's nice somehow. Knowing that in many ways this is our first day. Our first real, normal day married. And I already love it. Marriage didn't change anything really, and yet, everything's different. And now, when I do something to annoy Sam and he calls me on it I get to look at him and say "FOOOOOOOORRRRR-EV-EEERRRRR!!!"
Which really made all the madness totally worth it.
Monday, October 24, 2005
Friday, October 21, 2005
My friend Joyce says weddings and funerals bring out the crazy in people. And as each day inches past, I'm begining to become more and more sure she's right.
Friday, October 14, 2005
I should buy stock in pharmacuetical companies.
All I want is to feel good on our wedding day. Not pretend to feel good, which I've gotten so professional at I sometimes can even convince myself, but *actually* feel good. I'm tired. Tired of feeling not well, tired of pretending otherwise. Tired of never having time to just stop.
And now, I must stop one thing. No more whining.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Thursday, October 06, 2005
I picture posing (ever so briefly) for photos beforehand, laughing and joking and having a blast - and perhaps driving whomever's job it is to corral us crazy. I imagine looking at those pictures someday, all of you dressed as beautiful and unique as you are and counting myself blessed that these women are in my life.
And yes, the designer in me DOES have visions - but they're simple really. Orange pumpkins and flames. A brilliant sunset; a crowd of flickering candles on the ground and swashes of stars in the sky during our vows. You and the bridesmaids in beautiful black dresses with brilliant, *wild* bouquets. Me in a white (and I still am getting used to this part) long beautiful dress, hair in a ponytail with a large orange lily . . .even a veil, but a short sassy one. A bouquet like yours, but white with feathers and berries sticking out all crazy-like.
But all the visuals? They center around one thing - looking over at you in one off-moment and having both of us smile - the kind of smile that comes when you want to wrap up the moment in the most precious silk and keep it uncreased and clear forever. The kind of smile that says I feel beautiful, this is beautiful - I'm so glad we're all here, together.
That's the most important part of my vision.
That and the hundreds of pumpkins.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
I have officially turned 31. An age at which I can no longer deny I have entered a new decade. I am no longer in my twenties or so close it doesn't really matter. Now, there's no turning back.
And in exactly one month I shall be getting married to the most wonderful, generous, loving, and infuriating man I know.
And of the two items, only the latter truly matters to me. I have found it strange all day to be receiving happy birthdays and emailed cards and phone calls filled with good wishes. Which, if you know me at all, is odd for me. I am the girl who has traditionally had a birthday MONTH. Who arranges elaborate get togethers for HERSELF and drags her friends, and whomever's closest more than likely, into one long arduous celebration of, well, herself.
I love birthdays. I love that everyone gets one day where they're are most important and everyone gets to tell them how much they are loved.
And I am a little shocked at myself for this year. Because, honestly, my birthday doesn't seem important. Not like usual, not even in the same universe as usual.
Because right now? I am on pins and needles with anticipation of our marriage. That soon, in a mere month, I will be someone's wife. Someone's partner. We will be a family. No greater, I guess, than we are now. But different. And I can feel the difference sneaking in. Drifting toward me from the edges of our life. And I like how it feels.
This birthday? It doesn't make me feel different, not in any lasting or revolutionary way. But the wedding, and all it means, all it encompasses? It does. And somehow, that weighs more inside me right now. I can't let go of it, I can't look away. I can just look forward, forward, forward.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
We're the quirky and kind, the handsome and pretty, the sarcastic comment and embarrassed giggle.
I found myself doing this constantly. Finding couples I loved and thinking "we're them." In a million ways. His personalized commentary; her sigh of his name. Her empassioned torrents; his patient and supportive hand on her knee. I would listen to songs and think - "us." I would horde them in fact, in playlist after playlist. Listening to them repeatedly. "Us." "He and I." "We."
It was like I needed comfirmation that this was real. That it wouldn't go away, that it wasn't made up. Because it was exactly what I would make up, if I could. It was all too perfect in a way. Maybe not perfect - but real. Too tangible. Solid. Beautiful in that way imperfect things are. In the way worn wood on a banister feels like coming home. I was searching for evidence that this was what I thought it was. What it could be. What I hoped for it to be.
And then I realized the evidence wasn't coming. Because it *was* real. Because it was he and I, and no one else. And we are, yes, a million lyrics of a million songs. And slight reflections of those we love most, cracked mirrored images of what I would find in books and papers. But we're so much more. He is so much more.
And I realized, we're writing those songs, we're creating those images. And I no longer need confirmation it's real, or permanent. Because I know it. I know it in a way I've never known anything in my life. And in itself that is scary and wonderful and amazing.
But I still listen to those songs on repeat, I still glance twice at those couples. I guess it's my way of runing my hand over the bannister, feeling that nostalgic overwhelming reminisce again and again.
I'm home. I'm home. I'm home.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
GET OUR MARRIAGE LICENSE (but that's another entry)
So I was on my own. As I have had numerous, count them, NUMEROUS medical tests all on my lonesome these last few years - suddenly now that there is someone who is practically obligated to hold my hand and be all logical and calm on my behalf . . . I have become nothing short of a raving lunatic. I'm am apparently no longer equipped to handle medical emergencies. This I have proven. I have spent the last couple weeks bursting into tears over NOTHING. Nothing, people. Me, sobbing at my desk at work, crying uncontrollably on the couch at home. I follow no social norms anymore. I am apparently a fragile delicate emotional woman who cannot remain calm under any circumstances anymore.
Though I will say that after two weeks of playing the WHAT THE HELL IS GROWING IN MY HEAD, near my *eyes* and BRAIN no less, I'd like to think my recent behavior is somewhat acceptable, or at the least, excusable.
So, I go to see the specialist. He's the best in the city and what's more, totally cool. And very very very tolerant of my child-like phobias. He sticks stuff up my nose, takes a sonogram of my ears, reviews my blood tests and scans - and, are you ready? This 50 year old Indian man HUGS me and says "It's not a tumor." Ha! A joke! So clever! It's the same joke I've been telling! Then he laughs a little and says, well, technially it is. But nothing scary. Whatever, I think. The scary was what I was worried about. But even more importantly, after lots of medical explanation and jib jibe, and some FREE DRUGS he tells me he doesn't think I need surgery.
Let me say that again.
DEAR LORD, THANK YOU. So, if I get this madness again, surgery. But for now, nothing. Some medicine, some taking care of myself, some being careful when I fly. But no cutting me open and digging around. Which is I really wanted. I can deal with being able to fly now, just not the whole opening somehow of my head and scraping off of my sinuses.
So I'm headed home today. To Kansas. All in one piece and very very happy about it.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine . . ."
I always loved Pablo Neruda. I thought he had the most amazing way of painting pictures with words. He entranced me, and all of his poems had a slow, languishing pace to them that drew me in. They were like brandy, warming me, slowly reaching my fingertips.
What I did not understand, is how they would affect me after I had met Sam. How the words would somehow carry more weight. And now I realize, as trite as it is, my whole world has changed. Songs are different, movies - a million things. I no longer see things through just my perspective, just my eyes. My world is different. On even the simplest levels. And all of it, each small shift - has been for the better.
"I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
that this: where I do not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep."
Sunday, August 28, 2005
And this is where I shall start.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
And I realized I haven't really had all that, all that "wedding stuff." When I went to try on my dress, I was by myself in the midst of a giant salon filled with young brides and their mothers and their friends, all fawning over everything they tried on and oohing and ahhing every time the dressing room curtain was pulled back. They all dabbed tears away when the veil was put on and they all giggled and hovered together as they left, receipts and swatches in hand.
Not my experience.
And I guess this is what it means to be 30 and getting married, and not 22. My best friends aren't all around me giggling and trying on insane dresses and veils. We're not all crowding into salons and drinking wine and fawning over each other. There are no surprise showers, no dates for lunches to talk about flowers, no one to tell me how my dress looks, or if the red of my hair is a bit too obnoxious. I have done the majority of my stuff without the girls I love best.
But don't get me wrong. They're at the other end of the phone, online, or in the mail - listening to me plan and scheme and try to maintain some sort of perspective - and because of them. I keep sane somehow. I *will* get to have the wedding I always wanted. Not becasue of a shower or a lunch or any silly old thing. But because I have the type of best friends who email me to remind me to sleep enough and eat carrots. Who know the change of seasons always makes me long for a cigarette, and to remind me to skip that small tradition. Who offer to make me jewelry and call me throughout the day as they go shopping for their bridesmaid dress. They send me photos of their lives and their babies. They listen, ever patiently while I worry and exclaim and dream at the the end of their phone.
Because they are not here, they constantly make sure I know they are not far. They examine pictures of bouquets I like, they critique my dress and then send me scathing remarks about the seamstress who tells me "orange and white are awful." They are the best friends I could ask for - the best 'maids ever. Both with lives of their own, both starting families, both with their own huge events of 2005.
But what they give me is more than a shower or a lunch or a trip to try on dresses. They give me their undying support, their straight unfaltering opinions, their sarcastic remarks, their hilarious observations, and their friendship. What they have always given me, in fact. And I guess that's why they are who they are in my life. They are not my bridesmaids out of obligation or return. They are my best friends, standing beside me soon for the most important moment of my life. And til then, they are doing what they always have done - being my best friends. Being my sisters. Being my sanity.
I wouldn't trade that for anything.
Sunday, May 15, 2005
I had casually invited him to my and my best friend's annual Birthday Bash in Kansas City, assuming he was like most of our mutual friends and would more than likely NOT to show up to a party that required he drive hours to get to.
I was gravely mistaken. He showed up, late into the night, and we danced and laughed and, as would become habit - stood in the parking lot talking for hours - until I was forced to drive away, only because I had a mere four hours before getting on a plane to LA.
We spent the next few weeks talking on the phone for hours at a time and, eventually, went somewhere just the two of us. It wasn't a date, more like friends getting together to do something, but I still pulled out all the stops when getting ready. We saw "They Might be Giants" play and had a downright fun time doing it. I saved my ticket to the show, slipping it into a box I where I kept things not to lose.
It's here, though, where our story goes astray. I mentioned we went out twice, didn't I? Well we did. But alas, there was a fateful weekend in between. One in which I went to NYC, got accepted into grad school, and began plans to move far far away from Kansas and all it contained.
And that included, in my mind, this new great guy I loved hanging out with. I had decided when I went, I would GO. None of this horsing around or pining for home.
Our second date was uncomfortable. We both initially thought we had been stood up, mis-communicating about where we would meet. It was the last time I saw him, or would talk to him for months. I stopped returning his phone calls, stopped answering the phone, really. In my mind I had already moved, and I was as good as two thousand miles away.
But I saw him one last time before I left for NYC. And at 4am in an empty parking lot in Overland Park, offered out another casual invitation that would, a mere year later, change both our lives.
Friday, May 13, 2005
But that day was sunny and bright, and happiness was shining from all our faces. Joe and Carrie were the first of "us" to get married, and it seemed in no small way they were guaranteeing all of us a chance at forever. That somehow, their promise of eternity was going to carry through to all our friendships. We were jubilant.
I had followed everyone around taking snapshots until I was sure the groom might smack me. I decided to go ahead and sit down, claim my good spot on the end of a pew, to get everyone One.More.Time. as they stepped down the aisle.
Sam, one of the groomsman, stopped me halfway down the aisle - insisting I be escorted like everyone else. More specifically that he escort me, as it was his "duty of the day." As we walked back to the beginning and started once more down the aisle, the videographer asked us to stand in for the couple.
"Could you guys come here for a second? Sam, stand here. Misty, walk down the aisle like you're the bride . . .yeah, that's it. Now could you stand together here for a moment while I set up the shot?"
I remember there being sarcastic vows and faces made. I remember sauntering innapropriately down the aisle, and Sam taking my hands in earnest joking fashion. I don't remember now exactly what we said. I remember we had fun with it and laughed. How we joked we were really married for months later.
I never did get my proper escort down the aisle. But that will come a mere six months from now, and Sam will be waiting at the end, just has he was all those four years ago.
Only I'm sure this time, I will remember what we say.
Monday, May 02, 2005
Our first "real" meeting was at a James Taylor concert. We all met and then reconvened at my house to save everyone long drives home. I remember pointing to my shag rug on the carpet and introducing him to his bed for the night. And then, not long after, retiring to my room - door shut - and throwing a pillow over my head while trying desperately to get some sleep. I had work in the morning.
The next I saw him we got married.
For the first time.