Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bright Exhalation into my Bed

What in the world?? It's December. No, actually it's mid-December. My birthday, come and gone. Christmas in 10 days. Life! Slow down. I want to push pause.

My time in DC has flown by. As much as I wish to hold onto the days, I cannot do it. Actually, honestly, it's not the days I want to hold on to, but the evenings, the blue hour of night. Work has been incredibly busy for the past week and a half. I haven't exactly minded as the time at my desk has gone swiftly and flown into the evenings. But my nights are pretty busy too. Such is life when you live with 7 other girls in a merry blue house. I'm occupied with things like hearing stories about running into hundreds of Santa Claus's in a Santa pub crawl in New York City, or looking at wedding rings for friends who are about to get engaged, or watching ridiculous shows like "Keeping up with the Kardashains." Guilty side note: I kind of like that show. Stupid. Yes. But it's about family! Loving each other, yelling at each other, stealing your daughter's waffle iron....

Every now and then, I have to escape to my bed. With earplugs. I have this thing in me where I don't want to miss a good time. Or the deets of the date. Or the funny thing that your boss said that day. So, even in my bedroom, because the walls of our blue house are thinner than paper (this is no lie,) I have to actually put in earplugs in order to have some quiet time. In Henry VIII, Shakespeare wrote, “I shall fall like a bright exhalation in the evening, And no man see me more.” This is me -- falling with exuberance into my bed, glad the day is done but sorry to see it go, loving my pillows. Loving this time.

And then, I lay. In my bed. Lots of colors around me. Mainly yellows.

Ok, something good to know in life - your bed is really important. Treat that baby with love and she will love you back. Get yourself a good mattress, dress it up with some pretty quilts, I'm pretty sure a down comforter is a definite essential, and hunker down in the glory of at least 500 thread-count sheets. I believe that journals and beds have the same quality -- they have to look inviting and nice and make you want to get in them (beds) or open them (journals) in order to rest well or write enthusiastically.

My dear bed has been through the ringer. I think it appreciates my loving it no matter what condition it may or may not be in, and therefore, it really treats me well.

My bed was run over by a hysterical Asian woman in her Ford Focus. No lie.

Some friends of mine were helping me move my bed into my house back in early February. We didn't exactly tie the mattress down as well as we should have on the pick-up truck, but whatevs. Crossing the 66 West bridge from the District heading into Virginia, the wind picked up a tad and literally lifted my mattress off the truck, hurtling it through the air to land smack dab in the middle of the highway. Uhhh, bad. I cussed the same word 5 times in a row. Within .2 seconds, this crazy Asian lady plowed into it. Rammed her damn car right on top of it. Dragged it under her for a good 30 feet. Brakes failing, feathers flying -- that sort of thing. Granted, if I saw a mattress flying through the air and land right in front of my moving vehicle, I'd probably flip stars a bit too. But OMG. This lady tried to get us all killed as we dodged oncoming cars for the next 45 minutes and tried to get her to pull over to the shoulder from the flipping CENTER LANE! Ummm hello, it's not exactly wise to be sitting in the middle of 66 with cars going 50mph flying by. She didn't quite understand that part, so we had to wait for the cop to come to coax her to the shoulder. Turns out, I knew the cop's niece! We sang together in Black Voices at UVa. Yes, I was in a gospel choir called Black Voices.

Mind you, my mattress is still stuck, literally wedged, underneath crazy lady's Ford. We had to wait another hour (it was 44 degrees outside) for the tow truck to come and lift her car up so that we could pull out the mattress. Miles and Jim, my valiant friends with me, were certain that I'd want to throw it away. Springs exposed, black tire marks all over it, extreme dents in numerous places.....heck no, we weren't going to trash it! That bad boy was coming home with me. What else was I going to sleep on? Masking tape and several squirts of extra-strength Fabreeze later, I slept that very night on my new bed. Nevermind the strong smell of gasoline and burned rubber.

I have now slept for 10 months on that gem -- sweet dreams and beautiful nightmares included.

Here are a few pictures:

Oh yes, JOY. Lots and lots. Tis the season! I think it's important to get some quiet time, especially in the hustle and bustle of December. Go get in bed! Pop open your journal or a great book (I recently have read Bel Canto, The Guernsey Literary and Sweet Potato Peel Pie Society, and am currently on The Help -- all such great reads,) put on some classical tunes, pray, meditate, think, breathe. Be in the quiet.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Georgetown Sunday

Last Sunday, I had the rare opportunity to actually be......by myself! It's not a regular occurrence these days. I strolled through Georgetown to enjoy the morning.

Oooo cool:

Check out my new kicks:

Hello M Street.

Georgetown Flea:

This man and I talked about music. I said I used to play the piano. He wishes he knew how. He was pretty good on the little guitar he was playing though. Maybe that is a mandolin?

This picture is actually from Eastern Market on Saturday -- happy feet with the dogs.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Happy Sunday!

New favorite song -- 

"Looking for Paradise" by Alejandro Sanz (featuring Alicia Keys.)

Get it. Love it. 

Friday, November 20, 2009

New Moon Review

I may have been one of the crazies in the movie theater at midnight last night. At least I wasn't one of the crazies who got there 2 hours early to secure a seat. Although, I must say, had we not divide and conquered at the Georgetown Theater, we probably would have been stuck sitting front row, necks cranked up, sitting entirely too close to Jacob Black's really hot, I mean tan, body.

Yes, yes, yes. I was in the New Moon midnight premiere, the 2nd screen installment of author Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. Oh the hilarity.

First of all, Abianne, Shannon (my fellow Twilight die-hards,) and I were pretty surprised at who showed up for movie. It wasn't your average tween crowd in the least. Instead, the theaters (all 8 that were open to show the film last night) were jammed with girls, and an occasional guy, all about my age(going on 24) and older, who seemed rational and functioning enough to at least question why they were sacrificing sleep and the delights of having a well-rested Friday in order to see Edward Cullen's all too red lips light up the screen. I shouldn't have really been surprised by the make-up of the audience -- just yesterday, I read an article in the Washington Post describing the Twilight phenomenon particularly among women, not only teens, who have become completely engrossed with the series. One woman bought three dogs and named them after the Quileute wolf pack after the books apparently changed her life by unlocking a sea of sub-surface emotions. Hmmmm okay.

Secondly, and I always thought it would be a fun job to choose the previews that are shown before the main event, the previews were perfectly tailored to this audience of early 30 year-old lovesick women. There was first a preview for Daybreakers, some crazy, futuristic flick about vampires who rule the world and are running low on human blood. Hmmmm okay -- quite appealing to the few who are actually seeing New Moon because the blood-sucking side of Edward appeals to them more so than the "I'm in love with Bella and want her so badly but am torn to pieces because I also want to kill her" side of him. Next, there was an uber romantic film about a Romeo and Juliet love story set in Italy amidst two generations of destined lovers. Oooo la la. Then, there was Me and Orson Welles. Who cares that the majority of the audience has no clue who Orson Welles is. Zac Efron's in it; enough said.

And finally, Robert Pattinson's new movie, Remember Me. Wow -- you should have heard the murmurs and shrieks when his face lit up the screen. Time to see if RPatz can actually act. From the likes of the preview, he can.

And then the lights dimmed. This was why we were not all in bed at 12:05am on a Thursday night. New Moon begins.

In general, I thought the movie was way more hilarious than the producers intended. The music, albeit pretty cool, also created a pretty trippy feel throughout the film. Although yes, I was sipping a bit of red wine, the music was putting me to sleep more so than awakening my senses to Bella's pain of loss and then thrill of reckless adventure, Jacob's sweet yearning for her, and Edward's -- ummm Edward's ummmm -- Ok, truthfully Edward brought very little to the movie. Yea, yea I know, he was hardly in it, but even Edward and Bella's kissing looked forced and awkward. I shouldn't be too harsh. Edward is supposed to be a torn and broken character. Robert Pattinson plays that side of his character well, but there needed to be more passion. For crying out loud, Edward was trying to kill himself over the loss of Bella right before she saves his life. The gravity of their reunion wasn't captured at all. And the whole Volturi sequence was way more frightening in the book.

Here's the dynamic duo themselves:

Kristen Stewart's Bella was so mechanical and seriously annoying at times. I'm not hating on Kristen; she plays Bella really well, but the character Bella herself is just a mess. She can hardly string three words together without stalling or mumbling. The only time she really got it right was when she was mad; such as the rain scene with Jake when she yells at him for not being the friend he once was to her.

Taylor Lautner plays a mighty fine Jacob Black. I for one am definitely on his team. I don't think he can actually act at all, but no one's holding that against him. Excuse me, but what happened to the big kiss with Bella?? Major letdown.

Big highlight -- when we see Alice's vision of a vampire Bella frolicking in the forest with Edward --- HILARIOUS! Such a cheese-fest, but you know you love it. My whole theater was clearly already salivating for Breaking Dawn to hit the big screen.

Another highly entertaining part -- when Bellas crashes on her motorcycle and Jake takes off his shirt without a moments notice to wipe the blood away. Baaaaaahaha. You know you love it, times deux.

Seeing Edward recite lines from Romeo and Juliet wasn't half bad either -- are Edward and Bella the R & J of today? Star-crossed lovers with an ill fated destiny??? Ahhhhhhhhhh. No, because we all know the story, and can't wait for the next movie.

Until Eclipse on June 30th, au revoir...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

He knew he would have just one chance to impress her

I wanted to share my absolute favorite advertisement of all time. That is a big statement, but I stand by it. I tore it out from my American Way magazine on the airplane going to LA this past weekend. Rosetta Stone, the learn-any-language-really-fast people, have sold me on their product:

Language. I love it. I can only speak two of them, English and Spanish, but even those I can't speak that well. And they've combined LOVE and LANGUAGE in the same ad -- be still my heart. Thanks to my French-loving friend Virginia, (who is getting married in almost exactly one month!!) I know the meaning of some French phrases. For example,“L’amour c’est être stupide ensemble” -- This means "Love is being stupid together."

I remember coming back to the States after seven months in Argentina in 2007. My dad picked me up at the airport in Dallas and we went to our favorite late night, or in this case, early morning joint. You know it -- Cafe Brazil! Will wonders never cease. Many a late night coffee has been had there (ya, Amanda.) Well, cafe Brazil is not actually run by Brazilians, but by Latinos. Mind you, after seven months in the glory of Buenos Aires, I came back to the States relatively fluent. It was maybe the happiest I've ever been in my life -- soley because of that fact. I was thinking in Spanish!

To be able to communicate is a real and amazing thing. To be able to communicate in another language is incredibly freeing and opens the door to a whole new world.

While sitting at the table with my dad, I actually had to force myself to speak English with the waiter instead of Spanish. I know that sounds strange -- he is Spanish, so why not speak to him in his native tongue? But it's like it would have been rude to do that back in Texas. I can't quite explain it, but it's like you don't want him to think you are trying to be too personal with him, or act like you can identify with him more than the other guy over at table 2 because you can speak his language.

But why the heck not? Why not identify with him? I mean, I said I came back relatively fluent, not totally fluent; I probably would have said something not quite right anyway. He probably would have laughed at me and gone to tell his other waiter friends that some chica over there has a terrible accent. (Little would he know, however, that the Argentinian Spanish accent is the most beautiful in the world.) But the point is, why do we fear to identify with someone from a different culture? Language is a gift of connection with others. If you can speak, you can connect. If you can connect, you can love. If you can love, you have the world. So don't be afraid to open your mouth.

Here's an example -- In New York a few weeks ago, I ran into a French couple on the street. They asked me, in French, if I had just run the marathon. (They saw my spandex and probably how sweaty I was from trying to run after Amanda, my friend who really did run the marathon -- and at lightning speed.) I laughed, was flattered, said no, and then asked them if they were from France. Oui! I then decided to lay on them my one French line that I repeat all the time. It's from Kate Chopin's The Awakening, and of course it has to do with love. And of course I said it not exactly in the right way, and of course I got very puzzled looks. So I smiled, they smiled, we all were happy, I was about to ask them if they owned a French chateau that they wouldn't mind my crashing at come early April, thought twice about it, and bid them a fond farewell. It was a jolly exchange. We connected in some way. Me, the crazy American girl; them, the chic older French couple. I'm glad I tried to talk to them. They probably forgot me quite quickly, but I will always remember them. And wish that I spoke French.

Language, words, people. Life.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Hello November

I woke up and it's November. November 6th even. Goodbye October! This was my pumpkin that I carved with Natalie and Leighton -- it took 2nd place in our house competition during our Halloween party. Should have taken 1st place if you ask me. We named it "Starry Night." Thank you, Vincent.

Hello November!

This is a painting by Marcia Baldwin, an artist from Louisiana. Love the bright colors. I think I'm going to go under my bed next week and actually open my box of paints that I keep there. Might be hilarious what I create.....we'll see what happens.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Heart in my Pocket

My friend Archer shared this link with me today. It further shows the awesomeness of New York. Well, really just the wonder of the heart -- but it just so happens to be in NYC.

Garance Dore (she is French.... oui oui) has a blog that mainly follows fashion, but she also will sometimes post pictures from the streets around the shows she attends during fashion weeks. She took a picture of this guy (he happens to be French too.....oooo la la) sitting in the sunlight reading a book. She liked his shirt, and lo and behold, he showed her that his wife had embroidered a heart inside the pocket! He carries her heart near his heart.

If I had to paint a picture, or take a picture, to go along with one of my favorite poems by EE Cummings, it would be this heart sewn into his shirt. Read:

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in

my heart)i am never without it(anywhere

i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done

by only me is your doing,my darling)

....and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

"whatever a sun will always sing is you..."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sparkle Face

I went to New York last weekend to see one of my best friends run the New York Marathon. Amanda was INCREDIBLE. I mean it amazes me how fast she can run. She was a vision of bright pink flying by when I saw her at both mile 18 and mile 23. Boston 2k10 here we come! More on the marathon and friends and the stellar weekend later...

New York -- as I write this I have Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind" stuck in my head. Not only because it was played at Joshua Tree where my friends and I managed to secure a corner near the bar and dance for about three hours straight, but also because the lyrics fit my love of this city. "These streets will make you feel brand new, Big lights will inspire you..." Something about New York does inspire me.....to do what, you ask? I don't know yet. Maybe even just to walk everywhere and observe the condensed humanity. I lived on the Upper West Side for 6 months in kindergarten, so maybe NYC really is a part of me. The smell of bagels from H&H, mixed with the tantalizingly amazing smell of the roasted nuts on every other corner; the freaky but cool old subway stations that sort of make you feel like your in Gotham; the lady who literally shhhhed us on the subway for being too loud as we talked to each other; the fact that Avery ran into Ed Westwick aka Chuck Bass in a costume shop; the way you really will see your life flash before your eyes on most taxi rides; 5th Avenue where the rich walk on the street with the poor; the endless buzz of people talking to each other in every language; the eerie quietness on Broadway on Sunday morning without a car in sight at the marathon finish area. Oh New York, I love you.

On Sunday afternoon, I was on the subway heading to Penn Station to catch the train back home. Because of my parking spot at work in DC, I am rarely on any form of public transportation -- but I think the NY subway is way more fascinating than the DC metro. You never quite know what kind of people you will see on your ride in New York. DC and the surrounding areas are pretty sectional in regards to what kind of person you are and where you live, so granted, the people that I standardly see on the orange line from Arlington into the Capitol aren't exactly the hard-knocks. But in New York, it's everyone. All together. Kids from Columbia University going on a date downtown, Asian gangsters in trench coats (I don't know if they were really gangsters but that is the best way I can describe them,) and the Hispanic family making sure the matriarchal grandmother got a seat to rest her weary legs.

I stare a lot at people (pardon my rudeness,) and on this particular ride, I was fascinated by an African American couple standing near the door. The woman was gorgeous. Not at all in a put-together way, but more in a funky, independent, earthy but hip, tribal African way. Her short hair was predominantly dark and twisted in cool, braided spirals that rose off her head in several directions, and the ends of each spiral were dyed a light brown. Really almost reddish blond. Her amazingly smooth skin was not deep black but more like a chocolaty brown. What really made her fascinating were the sparkles that she had in her hair and on her skin. Body glitter. Gold, shiny, glowing almost. Shimmering with every angle of her head and body each time she moved. She was beautiful.

The man with her (husband, boyfriend, brother?) was handsome but not nearly like she was, carried a walking stick, and had a thick but groomed beard. Here's the clincher: he had sparkles all over his face too. Not as much as the woman, but his beard sparkled as he turned to face her, or to look down the subway car, or even just as he stood there. Obviously he hadn't put the sparkles on himself. They had come from her. From being with her and around her and close to her.

The whole time they were standing in the subway, she was beaming at him. I mean beaming. Like he had not only just hung the moon but also bought her a diamond necklace and thrown some red roses into the mix.

I was struck by this picture. I'm really not hyper-spiritual, but I couldn't keep from thinking that this is how God loves his people. How God loves me. He gives me his goodness, truth, beauty, and grace. He shares his sparkles with me. He makes me shine. Just like how that woman made her man shine because he was close enough to get some of her sparkles on himself. Because I am a sinner and screw up everything all the time (literally,) I might not be as bright as God is, but the more I spend time with Him, the brighter I'll get. Maybe one day I'll glow. And in the same way the woman was literally beaming at the man, God beams at me. He is proud of me, loves me, yearns for more of me, desires to be with me. And because of Jesus, he overlooks my bad parts and my sin and my failings. He sees me as shining just as much as he does. What love.

Shine on.

Life lessons from the subway in New York City. Who knew?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

When parents make you take pictures

You know it. Parents always make us pose for pictures. Sometimes it's all good, but sometimes it's totally forced and contrived. For example, note this buffalo shot:

Guess who are the kids of the mom taking this picture vs. who are the friends who have to smile because they just got a free dinner?

Gotta love Jackson Hole.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Here are some things that bring joy to my friends:

My husband!

University of Texas football

SEC football (mmm rivalry here....)

Sundays with family!!!

Laughing with friends.

Chanel Mademoiselle Perfume....There is something about this scent that makes me feel warm, confident, beautiful, sexy and empowered.

Friends Thanksgiving dinner....love it.

Voluspa candles....they remind me of love. They are powerful, consistent, peaceful, glowing, romantic, all-encompassing, and simply wonderful.

The deeper relationships I've formed with people over the past week.



Having a little girl at my school look up to me and want to be like me.

Putting on cowboy boots for the first time in the fall. Its been so long since you've worn them... And it means football games, fires, leaves changing, tailgating and mimosas, and sometimes drinking too many mimosas and skipping the game to stay at the tailgate and flirt with ______.

Dinner at Molly's.

Getting a compliment from my boss.

Going on a tour of the Capitol.

Reading in bed.

Snuggling with Piper.

Laughing with friends.

Huge breakfasts....I'm talking blueberry waffles, cheesy eggs, grits, homemade sausage patties....

Wearing sweatpants!

Sitting on the dock of the lake.

Being with ______ (insert boy's name here.)

Running outside with a beautiful view.

Christmas! and my dad still picking me up to put the angel on top of the tree.

Being outside.

Trying to speak French......“L’amour c’est être stupide ensemble.”

You! (Thank you Til and B, love love y'all.)

The vibrant colors of the changing leaves.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Snow-Covered Sand Traps

My brother and I once made an epic roadtrip from northern California to Dallas in order to get his car back home from college. Chris is so talented at a wide array of things, but bless his heart, his car is something he is not good at....unless you consider the hundreds of empty gatorade bottles that have piled up in the back of his tahoe since his sophomore year of high school. The general upkeep of both the interior and exterior of that green machine was pretty much shot and gone the moment Chris first gunned the engine. This included his air conditioning. Driving through Death Valley in July with no air conditioning? It was hot, let me tell you what. Also, for some unknown reason, we chose not to stop at the last gas station before the Valley, so I literally thought we were going to die in the desert. No gas, no AC, and some really weird lights coming at us on the horizon (long story, but we were convinced that aliens were coming for us. So convinced in fact, that we turned the car around and fled.)

The one thing we did have on that trip was music. I remember listening to Sigur Ros while driving through the streets of San Fransisco, windows up, with the world going by all around us. People, trolleys, cars, strollers, lights, life. But no sound. The city was silent, but the ethereal sound of the music made it more real than I had ever experienced it. When one sense is taken away, your other senses are so enhanced -- so with no noise from the city, I really felt the city with my eyes.

Lombard Street

As we continued our drive, the music definitely changed as we got tired of listening to the...ummmmm....maybe 6 CD's that Chris so expertly planned to have in his car on a 3-day roadtrip. So desperate were we for some new tunes that we put in El Ten Eleven and made up our own words to the wordless tunes. "DIET COKE--oh ya.....bubble gum! Diet Coke...oh ya." We also started thinking of cool band names. Hence, why I like that little game from yesterday's post so much. We started noticing the little snippets of things we would say in our ordinary conversation, and we realized how poetic it really sounded. I can't remember many examples, but I commented about the snow on top of the mountains when we were leaving Lake Tahoe, and said that it looked like snow-covered sand traps. Ooooooo good band name, eh?

Ever since then (this was 3 1/2 years ago,) I've tried to make a point to find the poetry in what we all say to each other on a regular basis. We talk. You talk. I talk. I live with 8 girls. They ALL talk. It's hilarious too. No matter what, there is always beauty in what we have to say to each other. I wish I had a voice recorder about 83% of the time when my friend Abigail says anything. She is a nut. And I love her. Taking her words in splices and bits and phrases, I'd have about 50 awesome band names right away. Or my friend Liz, her dad grew up in Mexico and practically breathes beauty into everything he says. Or my friend Cooper, he always puts funny things up on his gchat status. Today it is, "A coworker walked behind me and it got really cold. Is she a witch?!" Haaaa. Ok so maybe not beautiful. But great nonetheless. Words. Listen up.
Now I'm off to meet Beyonce.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Band

Ok, I sent this out in an email a while ago, but I still get the biggest kick out of it.

1 - Go to "wikipedia." Hit “random” or click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to "Random quotations" or click http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3 The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3 - Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days” or click
http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - Use photoshop or similar to put it all together.

5 - Relish in the 'new found glory' of your band!!
This is mine -- pretty saweet:

I have many thoughts about this -- and about some new tunes I have recently discovered. But I also really want to go eat my daily 4:00pm apple. I'm 44 minutes behind schedule. Oh my stars, here I go.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Am I in Europe?

Oh but I wish.

Today, finally, with some sunshine after a full week of rain, I ventured out for my daily cafe au lait at my neighborhood Starbucks. BTdubs, new favorite of the fall: Starbucks VIA!! It's their version of instant coffee. I love it. Combined with a little vanilla soy milk and voila. Deliciousness for only $2.95 for three cups.

What I really mean by "my neighborhood Starbucks" is actually my businesshood Starbucks. I office 2 blocks up from Barack Obama himself. I practically can hear his kids whine about the Guantanamo Bay protesters in orange prison uniforms who obstruct their scenic view outside their front windows. JK, I can't. I actually really think Malia and Sasha are pretty dang cute. I think it's time for a new movie on the PK's -- Chasing Liberty and First Daughter are way too dated.

Hey! I'm a PK too -- preacher's kid, president's kid -- yada yada, all the same.

To the point -- since I office 2 blocks up from the White House, in the heart of DC, next to the Mexican Embassy in fact, I hear about 5 different languages at any given time during my afternoon Starbucks meandering. It's so cool. I like to think of myself as really international and hip and cultural and Je ne sais pas....but it's pretty funny how un-hip and un-international I am compared to the real deal. Today, there was a group of five smartly dressed Germans, two girls and three guys, clearly in town on business, but they may as well have been in Milan during fashion week sipping White Russians in their minks. This one guy looked so much like Daniel Craig from 007 that I was convinced he was packing a gun and maybe a speedo as well. And his gal pal had on these crazy flowy pants that tucked into her ultra lacy boots. The kind of outfit that looks ridiculous but probably cost her quite a penny, or should I say, Euro.

All the while, there was an older French couple sitting to my left, (I was sure they were murmuring sweet beautiful nothings to each other,) and on my right, there was a group of four Mexican men who I see quite often since we all frequent the same Starbucks.

And then there was moi. Steve Madden ballet flats (I really like them) and my rad steel water bottle from Pottery Barn. Trying to play it cool but really just dying to speak their languages and be whisked off into the Tuscan sun....

Oh but it's all good. I was equally a part of that scene as Bond. Humanity. We're in the throngs of it. We are it. Las estrellas son brillantes en mi corazon.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Just a lumbering soul

I just finished reading John Steinbeck's "East of Eden." Steinbeck is a beautiful writer, capturing real emotions, thoughts and feelings just as if they were really happening to the reader. The characters in his books become like the reader's best friend because you deeply know and understand them by the time the book comes to an end. It's incredible. I wish I had the book with me now (due to its size, I left it home in Dallas) to post a few passages.

Throughout his life, Steinbeck ended his personal correspondance with his own "Pigasus" logo with this latin phrase over the flying pig:

It means, "To the stars on the wings of a pig." What he means is he considers himself "a lumbering soul but trying to fly." Hooooow cool. I think of myself like that too -- I'm just not as cool as Steinbeck and would never have a great phrase or symbol for it.

His Pigasus, and what it symbolizes, reminds me of the short film* that was at the beginning of the Pixar film, "Up." It's the one about the clouds that make babies or little cute puppies, but the one storm cloud just can't seem to make anything right. He makes an electric eel, a porcupine, and pretty much anything that isn't exactly easy for his loyal stork to carry. After several hard deliveries of the baby eel, or whatever, the stork doesn't abandon his cloud, as we are led to believe at first, but actually returns to his cloud with football pads on. Hurraaay!

I like these two analogies for life. Like Steinbeck, I'm just a pig with wings but trying to make it. Like the storm cloud, I just can't seem to make things turn out perfectly. But! Holla for the but! At least I am trying. And at least I have friends who don't give up on me and take my abuse sometimes, just like the loyal stork. Life would be lonely without friends. Hey Tilly. Yo Sarah. What up Molly Mac. Hi Claire!

*I saw Up with my friend Sarah and we were both so confused about the beginning short film. I thought that it was actually the beginning of the real movie, and that the storm cloud was going to make the grumpy old man. Pixar is so above my head....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

She's still my sweetheart

Last night, I was sitting at gate C31 waiting to start boarding at DFW. I was writing in my journal about the joy of coming home every now and then to Dallas, and at the same time, was eyeing this 50-something man who had his guitar out and was strumming it. He really did! My initial reaction was something along the lines of "the nerve...to disturb all these people sitting here in their own quiet peace..." But after eyeing him for about a minute, I realized he really wasn't trying to draw attention to himself in anyway. He was just happy, doing something that he likes to do, having a few moments in an airport lounge to stretch his fingers over the strings.

And then I got to thinking about my own heart in that situation. He's just doing something that he likes to do, in the same way that I was journaling because I like to do it. Who am I to judge? Yet I fear that I do judge too quickly far too often.
***Random aside -- I have no idea why, but Wes from the Bachlorette's song that he annoyingly played on his guitar all the time for Jillian is stuck in my head right now. "They say love, it don't come easy...." Uhhhhhhhg. Need a picture reminder?

While I was thinking about this, I was also eavesdropping on the conversation between the two 40-somethings sitting across from me who were eating rather garlicky-smelling Chinese food. The woman asked the man about his wife, and he said, "well actually, my divorce was finalized about 3 weeks ago." Pause.... "She's still my sweetheart, and I'm hoping she'll see that one day, but we've been separated for 3 years now." Pause..... and then the woman gushes her apologies for prying into his life, she really should not have asked, etc.

Two things struck me about this conversation: the brokenness of the situation, and the man's heartbreaking honesty and openness with a stranger. First of all, yes, we live in a broken world. Marriages aren't supposed to fall apart, but they do. Promises aren't made to be broken, but they are. However, many of us act like our lives are hunky-dory, perfect, fun, successful, free. It's rare to find someone who actually speaks of their pain, sadness, broken heart, or loneliness. As strange as it may sound since I didn't know this guy from Adam, I greatly appreciated this man's honesty. I wanted to give him a hug. I liked him instantaneously for showing real emotion. And to a total rando in the airport!

I think the woman's reaction to his disclosure was pretty spot on too. After all, what really can we say in that situation? We in ourselves possess absolutely no comfort to our fellow man. But PTL that there is a God in Heaven who does possess it. Not only comfort, but love, wisdom, and a coming wholeness to our broken world. And we can be little vessels, broken for sure, but vessels none the less of God's healing and love. PTL.

Another less random aside, but my parents marriage hasn't been hunky-dory (this is an expression my mom often says, by the way) for their whole 30 years of being together. But they have really discovered a new love and appreciation for each other in the past few years. On Saturday night, they went to the movies and my dad stood in line to buy popcorn for my mom. Finally at the front of the line, my dad realized he didn't have his wallet on him and jetted into the theater to get my mom's credit card. True sugar mama she is :) Anyway, the point is, he still serves her, and she still loves him, and I'm happy to see it. That's another PTL.

Parents, thank you for my late night popcorn. My mom eats like a bird and brought her popcorn home!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

"Double-Infinity Forever Cool"

In keeping with the trend of life experienced in my daily commute as mentioned in my last two posts, I'm now thinking of trading in my wheels for one of these bad boys:

Oh yes, the Cupcake Car, yours truly from Neiman Marcus. For a mere $25,000, you can "put on your matching hat, slip under the muffin top of your Cupcake Car, and let the world figure itself out for awhile." Escapism to the really weird max.

I'd rather get a book, grab a coffee, and lay around on a blanket all day. Wait, who am I kidding? I'll take carrot cake with butter pecan cream cheese icing and a whipped cream swirl hat.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Beauty and the Beer

While driving home from work yesterday, I saw a Blue Moon Brewing Co. delivery truck. I tried taking a picture of it but was too busy jammin to Jason Derulo's* "Whatcha Say" while not wanting to rear end the car in front of me at the same time. ("'Cause when the roof caved in and the truth came out, I just didn't know what to do" -- lyrics just don't get any better than that, right Abigail?) I completely missed the Blue Moon truck, but did get this picture.

Note the jag in the rearview. So posh.

What struck me about the truck was the print on the side of it. Far from the typical "tap the Rockies" jagged mountain scene of any other beer truck, it was a painting of Blue Moon beer in a glass, with the bottle next to it, and a couple of oranges and orange slices in a bowl beside it. It looked straight out of Van Gogh's "Cafe Terrace at Night" if you could zoom in and actually see what food and drinks are on the cafe tables.

I found it so cool that such beautiful art can be found on the side of a beer delivery truck. I went to the Blue Moon Website, and it turns out that the company featured an art contest in 2008 in different cities. No real point to it except that it's an awesome marketing tool to have artists depict how the beer inspired their work. The paintings are incredible and creative. One of my favorites is from the Philadelphia collection and is advertising the company's "Honey Moon" label. It looks like a French vintage poster from the Belle Epogue: a girl jumping over a moon that has little beehive holes in lieu of moon craters.

How amazing it is that real beauty is all around us. I once heard someone speak of God as the "Great Artist." He really is. We as human beings have the privilege of being created in God's image. Because of this, his creativity, wonder and beauty that he put into creation is reflected in us and in what we do. Even in paintings on the side of beer delivery trucks. His beauty is all around us. That is no small wonder.

Disclaimer: I'm not much of a beer drinker, but the first time I had a Blue Moon, orange slice of course included, was in Nashville, TN, at Mafioso's with my friend Ellen. I had just gotten back to the states from 7 months in Argentina, and it's a really happy memory.

*Jason Derulo took the chorus of his song from Imogen Heap's "Hide and Seek" which is a totally chilll song to listen to, was on the OC soundtrack during Caleb's funeral scene, and reminds me of skiing in Telluride during my 2nd year at UVa. My friend Nora introduced me to Imogen Heap's CD. Thank you, Nora.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My life today

My friend Molly encouraged me to start a blog today. So here we go.

Every day, I drive to work over the Potomac River into DC. It's pretty tedious most mornings, and often I find myself thinking about how cool it would be to be a giant. When I was young, I often imagined what it would be like to be one. I'm not talking like Fezzik from The Princess Bride, but I mean a giant. More like the BFG from Roald Dahl. I'm talking tall. Taller than the White House. I imagined that I had these longs legs - they could traverse half a mile with each stride. And obviously I was really fast compared to the normal human being, and compared to the average American car as well. So in my giant life, I never have to wait in traffic. Why would I even need a car? This is what I think about as I drive to work.

Speaking of Molly, she also told me something a few weeks ago that I think her dad told her. "We are human beings, not human doings," she said. I recently read an interview of Rick Warren, the author of The Purpose Driven Life, and he said the same thing. Both Mother Teresa and my own mother, Barbara, said that, "We are created in order to love and to be loved." I like both of these ideas because I don't exactly have the most mentally stimulating job in town (although I definitely have left my mark at the office. Literally. My third week of working here, I dripped salad dressing all the way from my desk, around the corner, and into the office kitchen. I am no match for Resolve carpet cleaner. My legacy will always be remembered and noted) and I have often ask myself WHAT IN THE WORLD AM I DOING HERE?? At the same time, I honestly do not feel the heavy burden that so many people do: the need to jump, run, climb, claw, or scrape their way to the top of whatever they are trying to climb. Not that this is wrong at all! God gives us abilities, desires, passions and interests that do allow us to succeed and to lead in the workplace. But there is joy, for me at least, in knowing that to love is enough. That I can rest in the goodness of the way the Lord has created me, that I can know the strengths he has given me, that I can be a human being! To live and to love and to share this life with others.

And yes, that especially includes my boss and my co-workers. And yes, that includes the people that I refuse to let into the traffic line on the bridge over the Potomac each morning. Maybe tomorrow I will let one or two get in the line in front of me. And no, I do not have a little Christian fish on the back of my car.