I actually had the thought, “What am I going to blog about today?” My day was uneventful and the thought that I would need to then leave my house and create a little chaos in order to blog about it popped into my mind. And then, I turned on the TV just in time to catch the President calling the devastation in the south, one of the worst natural disasters in our history. He then went on to list the manpower and the supplies (ice, water, blankets, generators…) that will be sent to those in need. As he talked, scenes from flyovers were being shown. The areas are either flattened and destroyed or they are a lake of standing water. I can’t wrap my brain around it. I’ve lived through a Hurricane and a Tropical Storm in the last 2 years. While Hurricane Isabelle downed trees and cut power and closed schools for a week and while Tropical Storm Gaston came ashore while I was in the Isle of Palms and then followed me to Richmond to flood downtown and kill 8 people, I can’t even fathom what life is like down south. And it’s so surreal because when such big hurricanes hit, we usually get a bit of them, at least some leftover thunderstorms. And we’ve had nothing from Katrina. Life has just continued, my alarm clock has woken me up each day, my car has gotten me to and from work, and the sun has been shining. To say I feel for these people is trite. To say I want to give money and help is not enough. Right now I feel a lot of guilt, not unlike I did after 911, that the best thing for me to do is to live my life and do my job and not take any of it for granted. It’s hard not to want to stop my life and suffer with them. It’s difficult to compartmentalize their whole lives, their whole communities, to my after work news clips. And none of it is fair.



a list

1- This post does not have a capitol A not because I don’t capitalize my post titles, but because this did not, in fact, begin as an A list kind of day.
2- The universe was against me this morning. I will not go into detail because it involves things I don’t talk about here, but I was saying some not so choice words on public streets. People probably thought I was “one of the crazies.” I’m OK with that.
3- People didn’t answer their phones. That helps me NONE!!!!
4- Driving around I decided that I love Death Cab for Cutie. We already established my love for The Postal Service. So, then I used some common denominator reasoning and decided that I should just marry Ben Gibbard.
5- I could have drilled a whole in my head today and it would have been more exciting and more pleasant than what I actually sat through.
6- If it doesn’t make sense then it really and truly probably won’t work. I’m just sayin’.
7- It is a dangerous thing to think that your opinion is the only correct one. It is dangerous not to listen to opinions that contradict your own. It is dangerous because no one, in any instance, is the absolute. We are human. We are fallible and because of this you need to be open to other views. You might just learn something and eat your own words.
8- I had to get my wheels aligned because that dodo place didn’t do it or offer to do in on Saturday and my Daddy told me to, so I had to go back there. I was totally scared that I would encounter HIM, but I didn’t, thank the DEAR FREAKING LORD ABOVE IN ALL FLIPPIN’ CREATION!
9- Maintenance installed a new microwave and they had to because the old one was shooting sparks and inside was a sticker stamped, "1989." Duh! But, let me tell you something about the new, 2005 version, IT ROCKS MY FOOD OFF!
10- People got things done that I desperately needed for them to get done and I’m all happy about that.
11- I really want to run to Lousiana, Alabama and Mississippi and wrap my arms around them.
12- I am stupid and selfish for worrying about the things I worry about when people down south have lost so freaking much. Thoughts and prayers people, thoughts and prayers.



the domestic goddess

So, you're totally sad that you don't live closer because then you could come over and have some homemade bread or some homemade lemon pudding and gingersnaps. Yep, you're totally jealous.

I haven't tried to make bread for years because the last time I tried, on two separate attempts, the bread was more of a brick than anything edible. This time, oh this time it was DELIGHTFUL! And it was totally bready.

Oh My Dear Lord you really are missing out on this one. And yes, I zested the lemons and squeezed them and cooked the pudding and then strained it to its velvety smoothness. You really are beyond jealous. And the ginger snaps just add a little somethin' somethin'. Dude, I rock.



hottie walking

The boy upstairs has moved. It started on Thursday with the disconnection of his wireless, which I’ve been mooching for months*. It continued Friday night with loud footsteps up and down the back staircase. Up and down, up and down. Every time I peered out the peephole to see what was happening, there was no one there, but there was sound, up and down, up and down.

At 7:30am yesterday it continued, but this time over my bedroom, his bedroom too. I gave in to the clonking and woke up for the day. Footsteps spread throughout the apartment, the living room, the bathroom, the kitchen. Hottie was leaving I was a little sad.

The first time we met was in the back stairwell, he was moving in. He was beautiful and polite. He was tall and thin with dark brown hair and brown eyes. I could have melted. The second time we met was in the parking lot where I asked him about the school sticker on his car. It was his brother’s he explained, he had gone to Notre Dame. The third time we met was at our mailboxes. It had been raining that day and I was wearing my new wellies. After some polite chitchat I walked upstairs ahead of him and proceeded to fall UP the stairs. He was so kind. I blamed the boots. I also avoided him from then on.

We kept the same hours, up ‘til 12am or 1, sleep, and then up at 8. I could follow him through his house through the sounds of his footsteps and the running of water through the pipes. I wasn’t stalking, just paying attention. During the winter at Stitch ‘n ‘Bitch sessions at my house I would often say to the group who was knitting like the 80 year-old women that we are, “hottie walking.” Looks would be exchanged and then I would tell them about hot boy upstairs and that whenever I heard him walking around I think to myself, “hottie walking.”

I could sometimes hear his phone conversations and there was one particular one that quelled my crush on him. He was shouting, “You make me so mad!” and stomping. I followed him as he walked through his apartment. He was pacing, heavily. He finally ended the conversation, but not before he hit his front door so hard that my ceiling and door rattled. I decided right then and there that you can be cute and polite, but also a borderline wife beater.

He would often come home from work around 7pm, come through the back door, go through the front down, down the stairs to his mail box, talking on his cell phone the whole way. Our doors are thin and the stairway echoes. I heard him say things like, “How is it with the girls?” and then he’d get back in his apartment and the conversation would be muffled. “Hottie talking,” I would think.

Around January he got a girlfriend. I know this because I heard things. And yes, I do mean those things and no, I’m not going to tell you about it. He also began spending less and less time at home. His walking was silenced, but there were days this summer that I heard him come home for the first time that day (like on a Tuesday) at 1am. I didn’t understand that one. So, when he began moving, I wasn’t surprised. The last girl to live above me moved because she got married. I imagine the same is happening for hottie or that he is moving in with his girl**. She was helping him move.

I'm sad to see him go if for no other reason than to give me cause not to be annoyed at footsteps above me. No more "hottie walking" going through my mind. But all day yesterday, with the clonking and the up and down, up and down, my mind kept saying, "hottie moving."

* not because I had to, but because his signal was stronger than mine throughout my apartment

** Maybe I should move a floor up because this floor is really not working for me, clearly.



autoshop boy

Standing at the counter, I have just given my name and address to the technician at the computer.

From behind me I hear, “Well, hello Anna.”

Bewildered I turn and watch a short, stocky, redhead walk around the counter until he is in front of me. My face is puzzled, but I try my best not to look like this man/boy is crazy. “Do you know him,” the technician finally asks.

“Um, I don’t know?” I look at the redhead with my brows furrowed hoping that he will answer my question and say something like, “Remember me? From high school? College?” Whatever, I have no idea who he is and I try to envision what he would have looked like if he were from my past. I get nothing.

“She looked like Anna Castwin for a minute,” redhead says to the technician. “You look like Anna Castwin,” he says to me.

“Well, do you know what her name is?” the technician asks the redhead. He looks at him for the answer. “It’s Anna. And her face looked like…” the technician is now mimicking my bewilderment.

“That was just weird because you said my name. That was strange.” I say finally, a hint of laughter behind my words. Redhead is walking away now. Then he comes back.

“I’m Zack, by the way,” he extends his right hand over the counter upside down.

“Nice to meet you, Zack,” I say shaking his chubby hand. He barely grips mine. “Weakness,” I think. He walks away and out of the room.

“He’s our resident misfortune,” the technician says.

“No one is a misfortune,” I think.

I go and sit down in the dirty chairs offered as a waiting area of the tire and auto service center while my car gets its yearly inspection. The TV is on the Discovery Channel talking about Vietnam. I sit beside a huge gold birdcage, get out my book, put on my glasses and begin reading.

“How are you Anna?” I am jolted out of my book by the sound of my name. Zack has returned and is now sitting behind the counter.

“I’m fine,” I say with a slight smile and bury my head back in my book.

“How old are you?”

“What?” I look up again.

“How old are you?”

“Oh DEAR LORD,” I think. “I’m 28,” I say with another slight smile. I own it. I totally own it.

“28,” Zack repeats with a blank look and a hint of you’re-a-freaking-old-woman in his tone. “I’m 22, but no one believes it.”

I want to say, “I’ll believe it, because you’re not getting my anti-social cues.” But, I just smile and bury my head back in my book.

Awhile later the yellow bird beside me begins to chirp/sing with such loud, high pitched intensity that I think my ears might explode. I give the bird a few stern looks. It stops singing, regards me, but as soon as I turn back to my book, it starts singing again. It reminds me of someone else in the room.

“He likes the ladies,” Zack says, unwarranted.

“Really,” I think, “is that what I am? Do you consider me a lady? Do date laaaaaaaaadies? Is that your Mack Daddy Pimp talk?” Instead I give Zack a quick glance and go back to my book.

I finish the book and look at the clock on my cell phone. It’s been an hour. I’m bored. Zack is playing solitaire on the computer behind the counter. He notices me staring out the window.

“Are you married Anna?”

“Oh my God, I am going to kill you.” “No,” I say.

“That’s too bad. That’s really a shame.”

“I will continue to stare out this window and this Misfortune will, in fact, stop bothering me,” my mind is racing.

“Do you at least have a boyfriend?”

“HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, YOU ARE GOING DOWN!!!!” I envision myself leaping over the counter and strangling this little man/boy to within an inch of his life. “No,” I say, quietly.

“Why not? Have you tried?”

“WHERE IS MY FATHER’S SHOTGUN WHEN I NEED IT?? I WILL TOTALLY CUT YOU, YOU LITTLE PIECE OF SH#$! YOU CAN TAKE YOUSELF AND JUMP IN A FREAKING LAKE!” “I just haven’t found him,” I say while shrugging my shoulders and with a hint of you-need-to-shut-the-f*c$-up in my voice. I then start staring at the TV, which is now talking about tornados and the horrendous sounds and crashing walls. “It sounded like a jet engine,” says a lady who is talking about her experience during a tornado. “I totally know,” I want to say back to her.



(part of) my life in (clear) pictures

My camera arrived yesterday via UPS. And I tracked it, right down to the second the man walked up to the door and when he did I opened it before he could knock and threw my hands in the air and said "Woohoooooo!" He was not so amused. And then there was some awkwardness. Whatever.

So, I've been playing with it and it's beautiful 5.1 megapixels. I'm still learning aperture and shutter speed and sadly don't have control of focus (the digital world, while wonderful, can suck too). Here are some things in my life. And stories to go with them.

This is the chandelier in my dining room decorated with Christmas ornaments all year long. It began with the star shaped picture frame. which you'll notice has no picture. I got it as a present in May from a family who's child with autism I tutored for a year and didn't know what to do with it so I put up. Then my brother and sister-in-law gave me the fish during a beach trip. Then my mother bought the red shoe at Neima Marcus for me while we were Dallas for my cousin's wedding. The ball with spikes was made by my niece and nephew and just might be my favorite. The purse was a gift from my aunt who loves my knitted purses and wanted to commerate them. See, even the smalles things can tell the story of your life. This is how I like to decorate, with my life stories.

Why my sister-in-law thought of me when she saw this, I don't know. But, I kinda love it.

I think you know that A is for Anna. I believe in putting it (your initials) out there!

A Kmart purse, Saks Fith Avenue shoes and a mess in the background. So my life. But that bag in the background is Liberty, love it, baby.

One shelf of one bookcase. There are many of both. On this one, an eclectic mixture. There is Elizabth Bishop, Bridget Jones, U2, Frank McCourt, Ezra Pound, Bill Moyers, T.S. Elliot. Please ignore the tarnished silver candle holders. It's the way I roll.

My billowy bed. This one is a little fuzy, playing with aperture, but notice purses hanging on the wall.

Part of my city through the 15th floor of a downtown building.



today is the day

Today is the day. And you have no idea what I’m talking about, but today is a fairly big day. You see, ‘round about April (or was it March?) I got the idea of doing my own little version of Lent, but Blogger style.

The idea went no where for a long while because that little thing inside my head that collects information, organizes it into some sort of semi-coherent dribble then transfers it to my fingers which then type it out and click “Publish Post” just wasn’t working on most days in the Springtime.

For some reason, Summer was the time. I tried in June, but vacation interrupted it. Then July looked promising, but something happened and I have no idea what. Then in mid-July it starting clicking and by day 20 I knew I could do it.

It took 40 days, and sometimes nights, but my Blogger style Lent finally happened. It began on July 15 and ended today, 40 days, 40 nights. Read ‘em and weep, or laugh, or get bored, or whatever.

Not every one of the 40 posts is as fabulous as I am, but hey, nothing really is. My goal was to put something up everyday. And because of this my blog now has an even bigger role in my life. It’s always in the back of my head now. I brought new obsession to “What will I blog about today?”

Some days I cheated, but only slightly. When you come home after midnight and have not seen hide nor hair of Internet access, well those are the days that you tell Blogger to fudge the date a little. Technically though, those posts were done during that “day” because a day to me extends from wake-up to sleep, not 12 to 12.

They say it takes 10 days to make a habit of something. I say it takes 40. Let’s just see if I can keep it up, maybe reach for the sky, like 100 straight days of posting, or maybe posting ‘til Christmas. And yes, you can check my truthfulness all you want, but just know that I (almost) never lie.



what’s your man got to do with me?

It’s 8:50am and I am still groggy from the whole waking up thing which happened an hour earlier, but which is entirely OVERATED. So, I get in my car and see a smudge on my windshield. I’m tired; I don’t really care about smudges on my windshield. I pull onto the road and then I notice a 3D object on the hood of my car directly in my line of vision. And then a gasp emits from my mouth and my right hand goes to catch it. My hood has caught a dead baby squirrel and it is so baby that it doesn’t even have fur, it’s all smoothed, gray, wrinkled skin.

I consider what to do and my first thought is to call my father. And then a pang hits me with the realization that there is no man around who will save me from dead baby squirrels and the notion that I need to, at some point in this day, become Brave Super Woman, starts to make me sad. I’m all independent, but I didn’t sign up for dead baby squirrels.

I drive to work because it is only a block away (I know, but I need a lot of teachery things that need to be hauled in a vehicle). And when I get to work and get out to have a look and say goodbye to dead baby squirrel I gasp again and cover my mouth because dead baby squirrel is missing half of it’s brain as if a bird pecked it out. I really want my Daddy now.

I go to work. I do my thing and when I get a break I ask a custodian for a shovel. I then go and as best I can without looking, I scoop up dead baby squirrel and put him in the dumpster. There are four men watching me do this intently. No one offers to help. I am making very girly, cringing faces. And then I think of the women that these four men are probably trying to love in their lives and I feel sorry for them too.



eating the honey of her words

The thing about blogging is that it is a bit like a drug, like, say, niccotine. Sure, you really want to quit sometimes and sometimes you do, just throw in the towel and leave a post up for months. But, then you'll meander back. Sometimes you might even go all out and leave a Dear Blog letter. And these are the sad times when you think you have nothing to say or that no one really wants to read the dribble from you head. But, somehow life changes and you really want to blog about it for some reason. And so, you eat your words and you amble back to blogland. And you kinda feel great when that happens like you found someone who will listen and could care less about your fabulousness, even though you know you are (and you are) fabulous!

The point to all of this is SHE is back. And I totally told her she would be. Welcome back Kiddo!

**in this analogy I do not actually hope that people revert to smoking and actually feel good about it because it's totally gross and disgusting. shame on you, in fact.



"your heart belongs to someone you have yet to meet" -death cab for cutie

To the precious boy who was standing alone in the lane next to me at the grocery store with a bouquet of pink roses in one hand a bottle of wine in the other:

I think you should leave her and come saunter over to my lane. I'm just sayin'.



it’s in the bag

I have a purse situation going on. I love purses, love them. And I have a lot of them. The other night a friend’s husband was giving her friendly grief for another purse purchase. Her girlfriends stood beside her and defended the purchase. Kristin said that a girl needs at least 8 purses. “Or 20,” I said under my breath. The husband laughed. “Or more, I might have more than 20,” I confessed because when I tried to visualize the purses I definitely got a visual of more than 20 purses spilling from my closet, hanging from door knobs, and hanging from the display hooks on my bedroom wall.

Purses are like art to me. The thought and calculation that goes into the design is fascinating. And the shapes and fabrics can create a purse that is just sexy. I have one orange leather purse that when it is sitting in my passenger seat in my car, I sometimes reach over and pet it, like a dog. I realize this is weird, but the leather is so smooth, so clean, and the design is so simple, so perfect. I can’t help but let that precious purse know how much I love it.

And yesterday I bought another one. That makes 2 this summer. That brings my summer purse total alone to eight and I’m not including the neutral colored ones like brown and black. I know that this seems excessive, but I adore my purses and I get compliments on them all the time. Boys even comment from time to time, so in the scheme of things, maybe it’s not so crazy after all. Maybe the man I’ll love will love my purses too and when he compliments them, well, then it’s in the bag baby!



happy birthday d-ola

D. is an old sorority sister and fellow Goon. We formed a semi-secret society within our sorority one year. Why? Because we’re really weird and absolute goons, hence the name of our semi-secret society, The Goons. We have semi-secret rituals. We have semi-secret greetings, that we'll do in front of anyone. So, why semi-secret? I don’t know, but if I did I could only semi-tell you and then I’d have to semi-kill you.

D. is all grown up and responsible with a good head on her shoulders. She is also looking FABULOUS these days. She’s been working on her figure and it shows. She’s making me a little jealous. She’s a gorgeous girl, both inside and out.

D. recently spent the night with me on our way to baby shower for a fellow Goon. And even though I hadn’t seen her in probably 6 months, it was like we just hung out yesterday. That’s what's great about her, she’s always at ease and comfortable even when it’s been a long time.

I’ve said it a million times; I love football games with her. We both indulge in the stadium hotdogs and hot chocolates. This year, I’m totally bringing (sneaking in) the chocolate liquor again, that was fabo! I can’t wait to dance with her. We made up our own dance to a particular song that they play on the loud speaker and she’ll do it with me every time. She loves making a fool of herself too. And that’s why I adore her. That’s why she’s a Goon.

I hope she’s having the Gooniest birthday ever! Happy Birthday D-ola!!!!!!!!!!!!!



beyond cute

For my friend M.M. who is going to drop a child from her belly in a month, for E.C. who already dropped one a few weeks ago, and for M.A. who will be dropping twins in a month or two (with twins, you just never know), I've made some booties. And yes, I love saying that I made some BOOTIES!

COME ON, don't you wish you were pregos too?!?




“Wow, your hair is straight and you’re all dressed up. You should do this everyday,” she said as I walked in the door at 10:30pm. “Yeah,” I thought, “but this takes way too much effort and time.”

I took the compliment, something that is so difficult for me. And then we chatted for an hour, catching up on our lives since she left town for what she calls her “tour of vulnerability.” “We’re all so breakable, vulnerable,” I wanted to say, “but isn’t that the point?”

When I finally got home at midnight I wiped off the makeup that had done it’s required 4-hour stint. The smell took me back to high school. The remover reminds me of nights I’d come home to my parents’ house, alone, not totally unlike tonight.

I wear makeup on an infrequent basis. I’m just not high maintenance. But, maybe I should leave the dew-faced memories of high school, where makeup remover was a welcome and fancy thing, and grow up a little and at least wear mascara everyday.

I can’t imagine it will actually happen, that I will wakeup and put mascara on every morning, it’s not in the cards. And maybe other things aren’t either. Like children.

He must have been just a year and half old with the darkest of hair, like me. He toddled around the playground just ahead of his mother who had a baby strapped to her stomach in a Baby Bjorn. She had light brown hair and it was cut in layers to her shoulder though not styled. She wore casual clothes, no makeup, and didn’t look exhausted. She walked toward me and asked the time. I answered. As she walked away I saw that she had on a t-shirt of my brother’s band. I thought about stopping her and telling her that her shirt was my brother’s band that she was, in fact, talking to “the sister.” But, I didn’t. The shirt was probably her husband’s. It must have been from her days where makeup, smoked filled clubs, and cheap beer in plastic cups were the norm. Now, she deals with diapers and baby proofing.



really, don’t be jealous

I have a zit inside my right ear. Do you know how much that bugs me? I’m a scab picker. I know, disgusting, but I’m obsessive about bumps and zits and things on my body that don’t belong there. I want them gone. So, in the recesses of this tiny brain of mine, I must have come to the conclusion that constant touching makes them go away faster. It does not. In fact, it can make it worse. That doesn’t stop me. And now, with the zit in the ear, I want have my hand in my ear at all times, poking and prodding this foreign object that should not be there.

My friend Post last night was telling me how lucky I was that I had clear skin. I told her that it doesn’t do anything for me. It doesn’t get me jobs or get me fired from jobs or win me hearts or help me break hearts. I concluded that while zits are annoying, clear skin really doesn’t matter in life. It’s like a $10,000 bonus check to a billionaire. It’s frosting. “Still,” she said, “I’m jealous.” “Blah, blah, blah,” was my reaction. There is definitely some trading of body parts and pieces that could go on if that were possible.

And then I remembered my gray hair. I may not have zits on my face, but gray hairs on my scalp I have. And they are not not noticeable. I have almost black hair so when a gray or white one shows up it stands out like… well, like a white hair on a head of black hair. And they’re multiplying. And I’m just not down with dying my hair. I love my hair color. I love that it’s natural and you couldn’t produce it out of a bottle or chemical if you tried. And I don’t want to touch my color because a few rouge white and gray ones decided to ruin the perfectly lovely party my hair was having.

And then I remembered that I will inherit my mother’s skin. I have already inherited the clearness of it, next up- wrinkles. I’m not so looking forward to that. My skin is smooth like a baby’s bottom right now. There are hints of crow’s feet, but nothing on my forehead. Botox would be wasted on me. And I love that. But, Post needs to realize that I will make up for every zit I never had by garnering a whole world of wrinkles on my face. I’ll get the flipside, old lady bad skin. I’m OK with it. I believe in aging naturally. I am just realizing that this whole thing I got goin’ on will not last forever. I’m kinda sad about that.

And when Post’s skin is finally clear, I’ll be shriveled with wrinkles and have a head of gray hair. And I probably will just have turned 30. It’s just what life hands you. While I’ll accept it and not fight and not add chemicals or inject botulism in my face, I will have a few mourning periods for the clear, smooth skin and the almost black hair. Because, these are the things I love about my youth and I really don’t want to see go away. And I’m OK with not being that OK with it.



things to do in the next 48 hours, aka i’m in a tizzy

1- sleep
2- work #1
3- work #2
4- go to nail salon and get them to fix the left big toe which I messed up and have been walking around with for a week and a half (pray they don’t charge me $7 for one toe)
5- bike ride (this may have to be canceled)
6- meet M. at T.J. Maxx to find an outfit because an outfit is the most important part
7- go to see this film
8- trim, file and polish nails
9- wax and pluck things
10- facial time
11- sleep (good luck with that one)
12- work #1
13- work #2
14- get ready
15- don’t panic



happy belated birthday g.l.

Yep, I did it again. I’m notoriously bad at remembering birthdays. It’s my anti-calling card and I’m not proud of it at all. And poor G.L., she is the current winner of the belated wishes.

I do hope she had a fabulous birthday. She’s getting closer and closer to my age, but she’ll never quite catch me. That’s OK; she deserves to be a few years younger.

So, G.L. and I lived together in a sorority house one year, but we probably never saw each other because she was a student and I was the cruel wicked house mother. There was one night though where went we out to Red Robin for dinner and had to go home, put on our pajamas then go back to our friend’s house to continue to hang. Why pajamas? Because we had eaten so much that we were in pain and the only clothes that seemed comfortable where pajamas. We were pain for hours after that. I will never, never eat that much again. Ever.

I became better friends with her and spent more time with her after she graduated and stayed around town. And then, of course, now there is the almost weekly football games in the fall where we dance to the music on the loudspeaker and get all excited about things like touchdowns and um…I don’t know what else happens in football. We are usually chatting.

G.L. is one of those people whom you never get enough time with. She’s so busy, so popular, that her time is spread thin. I can ‘t wait for football season if only to spend some good quality time with her because I NEVER get to see her and I don’t talk her enough. I didn’t even know that she had moved to a new place (uh-huh, you need to inform your friends, yo).

I miss her and wish her the happiest of belated birthdays she has ever flippin’ had.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY G.L.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



effing up

Every time I pass a cop on the interstate I am convinced that in a matter of seconds, I will be pulled over, whether or not I am actually speeding when I pass him. And if the cop does pull out into traffic I am convinced that it is because of me and not because of the person who sped passed me and him a few seconds earlier. During the moments that I am convinced that I will be pulled over and handcuffed and put in prison for not speeding or driving drunk, my stomach does flips, my heart races. But every time, every time the cop whizzes past me in search of someone who has actually broken the law. And then a sigh of relief is exhaled from my mouth that would make even the most dramatic of drama queens sit back and take notes. The cops always wiz past me until, of course, today.

I saw him sitting before the toll plaza and I noted that I had been speeding so I slammed ever so gently on my brakes so as not to appear that I was slowing down just for him. I went through the tollgate and sped up to enter my lane and spotted him in the distance in the rear view mirror. His lights were not flashing, but I was convinced he was after me. I chilled, I purposely went under the speed limit and he came up behind me then got beside me and for awhile we were neck and neck and I played it cool, like nothing was happening, like he was just a regular old ford driving beside me. Then he slowed down, pulled behind me and turned on the lights. A lot of things were going through my mind, many of them are not ladylike words and thus I won’t repeat them. I sat there with a quizzical look on my face. I rolled down my window and looked at this officer in brown who was walking up to me like he had three heads. When he came to my window he said, “I pulled you over because your tags have expired.”

“What?” I said. It was 7:45am and my brain was not in a place where comprehension was possible. I tried to rack my brain and remember if I had recently paid for or received said tags and replaced them on my car. My mind was like a chalkboard on the first day of school, blizank. He then asked for my license and registration. I panicked and prayed to God that he would make that registration magically appear in the glove box because I can remember on several occasions seeing important papers on my desk or kitchen counter with the intention of taking them to the car.

The old registration was there and yet I knew that was not good enough. I had flubbed up. Somehow I forgot or did not receive the re-registration information and here I was at 7:45 in the morning, 30 minutes away from my house and 2 months behind on my car tags. The officer was nice enough. I just have to re-register and go to court and show him my documents and then he’ll let me off. I thanked him. I didn’t know what else to do. I apologized like he really cared and thanked him again.

In other unrelated-related news, I realized that two links on my sidebar do not, in fact, go to the places that I have wanted them to go to. I’m sorry and I’m quite ashamed that no one, not one of you who come here regularly or those who’ve trespassed and left, mentioned that things were wonky. I’ve fixed them and now you can go straight to them from here too:

you can't see me, but you can hear me.

why i blog.

I hope all is well with you and that your week is not as effed up as mine has started out.



sleeping with the fishes

There are 11 definitions for the verb "play" in the Oxford American Dictionary. Ten of them are not at all strange. Play means what you think it means in all circumstances except, of course, for fish. Because for the poor little fishies, "play" means "to allow (a hooked fish) to exhaust itself by its pulling against the line." Oh the metaphors that I am going to let slide through my hands on this one. Actually, if you think of the metaphors as fish, I'm letting them get away.



the undomestic goddess

It's ironic that the book I'm currently reading has the same title of this post. Ironic because I like to think that in the area of baking I am a domestic semi-goddess. I'm not a perfect baker, but I'm pretty good, better than most (well, all) of my friends, but not better or anywhere close to my sister-in-law. The point is is that tonight, a Friday night, I stayed in. I stayed in to bake a repeat of a cake I made a few weeks ago for a friend. The idea was to "bake and take" because when you're single you don't need to be baking a whole cake for your lonesome. So, I thought I'd whip up a simple white cake with caramel frosting to take to my bro's on Sunday to share with the tots. And of course I'd make a few mini-cupcakes for myself because I can. So, here is what the cake I made a few weeks ago looked like.

I know, you're salivating. And you should be.

Up close and personal because caramel should runeth over. I think, anyways.

So, tonight, this lonely Friday night by my lonesome (did I mention that one) the baking was not so good. First I didn't realize the crowding in the oven and when I shut the door the batter splash all over the oven and almost burned down my apartment. Then I tried to salvage the slopped up cake which made one of the cake layers not the same as the other one. So, I let the cake bake and when I got it out to flip is over, part of it stuck to the bottom of the pan. This NEVER happens to me. Then one layer of the cake was a teeny tiny bit darkened, not burnt, darkened. And well, then it was like my hands were covered in oven mitts even when they weren't because things were slipping and sliding and I just couldn't get a handle on it. The baking gods were so not smiling on me tonight, this lonely Friday night. In fact, I think they were throwing daggers. And maybe, just maybe, baking immitates life a little. I'm just sayin'.



african friends

It amazes me how much we Americans don’t know about the world that exists past our borders. We are an amazing nation. We are strong, brave, and passionate. But, we are also extremely egotistical and selfish. We help and we give and we are kind. But, we are also narrowly focused in our generosity. And I blame a lot of this on our media because, as Americans, we have amazing hearts. We feel deeply and we extend our hands, with out hearts on them, when we are needed, but we wait until our media informs us. We are lazy in our education because we are so privileged. We forget that most of the world can only dream of the life we live.

I met a girl a few weeks ago. We had coffee today. She and her family are here seeking asylum from Zimbabwe. She’s white and was one of the privileged in her country until a dictator started doing this. And just look at the date, 2002. I didn’t know about what was happening in Zimbabwe until I met this girl. She’s been run out of her homeland and given nothing in return. It’s all political and partly related to race, but if you do more research, you’ll find that this is also going on. And I just believe that no matter what is at the heart of an argument, no one, NO ONE should be harmed. EVER.

I will never understanding evil and the corruption of power. But my heart hurts, not only for Zimbabwe, but also for all of Africa because it is the Dark Continent on so many levels and we need to shine the light on it and help Africa stand on its own feet and restore its dignity. Because all people deserve at least that, dignity. So,go here and sign up and respond to the emails they send you.



it's the end of the world as we know it and i feel fine

If you do not think that THIS is freaking hilarious then your soul is dead and I'm not sure we can be friends. I'm just sayin'.



happy birthday l.

L. is one of those friends you can’t believe you found. She is kind, sincere, funny, tough as nails, sensitive as photo paper, a partier, a doer, totally chill, sarcastic, and well, just fabulous.

L. is a kindergarten teacher whom I met my first month in Richmond. I was a little intimidated by her and her stern voice and complete control of her classroom. I was so wrong. She is one of the kindest teachers I’ve seen and by far, one of the best. She has taught me so much about teaching and about life.

She deserves of above all things to have a family, one that stems from her. A child deserves her as a mother because she would be one of the best. She’d show them the world and yet she’d protect them from it. She'd push and guide them in just the right places. She certainly does that with her friends and I’m so glad to be part of her friend family.

And her husband, well, he’s worthless. And he knows I’m joking, but ha, I got it on the internet. Take that Worthless! But, this is not about him. He’s a good guy. He likes to hunt while L. stays home and talks to me for way to many hours on her cell phone. He puts up with her girly talks to co-workers she has just spent the day with. Yep, that’s right, teachers go home and call each other and we gossip about you and your kids or you as a kid, or whatever. It’s our watercooler moment because we don’t have watercoolers!

Well, Son of a Biscuit Eater, it’s L.’s birthday. I hope that Dr. Suess comes to visit her and that she realizes how freaking amazing she is. I’m so glad I happened into her classroom 2 years ago and that she welcomed me, with open arms, into her life.

Happy Birthday L.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



willy wonka doesn’t live here

There are Jefferson cups that adorn almost every flat surface in my home. My mother has bought me one, or twelve, every year since I graduated from high school and headed to the university started by Jefferson himself. All those Jefferson cups, well 4 of them, are filled with chocolate.

I have a lot of chocolate in my house. I have had since I moved in. It started with the odd bag of Dove dark chocolate squares bought on a whim every few months. Then it morphed into Hershey kisses on sale after Halloween and Christmas and Easter and Valentine’s Day and well anytime chocolate is on sale. And the chocolate has spilled from the Jefferson cups to a large glass trifle dish sitting prominently in my dining room.

I don’t eat it that often. It’s really meant for guests and I notice and remember the chocolate when girl friends come over and I see them rummaging in the cups beside them or during voyages to the dining room. The girls move and shift the miniature tootsie pops, the miniature M Azing bars, the Lindt chocolate eggs, the kisses, and the Butterfinger Easter eggs trying to get to the one they want, the chocolate that will satisfy their need for love.

I’ve heard that chocolate contains some sort of chemical or enzyme or whatever that produces the same feeling that the emotion of love does in the brain. That explains a good deal about why women love chocolate. Because ultimately, we want that hazy, crazy love buzz.

I say I don’t eat the chocolate that often, and I don’t, but last night and tonight, the trifle bowl has moved from its place in the dining room to the floor beside the couch in the living room. Yep, wookin’ por nub in all da wong paces. Wookin’ por nub.



I just bought this camera. It hasn't come in yet. I probably have to wait a week or so, but get ready for some pictures soon on this site. Not of me, but of my world. I've been itching to take photos for a looooooooooooooong time. And while it's not a SLR I think it will do just fine until I can save for a Nikon D70. Hello world.



someone else’s bed

It’s a strange thing, someone else’s bed. It’s a territory that only the privileged get to trespass upon. I like my beds soft, billowy, voluptuous, a little bit like me. The bed I’ve been sleeping in is a flat surface, all hard lines and hospital corners. I don’t do tucking; I need room to roam in the night. Tucking is just restraint.

Like the eyes, a bed is the window into one’s soul. It’s where we begin and end the patterns in our lives, where we show our true selves. A messy bed equals a complicated psyche or a free spirit; a tidy bed equals an organized soul or a serial killer. Mine’s a mess, a big white cloud of disheveled down and cotton. I never make my bed unless company’s coming or I just really need a sense of structure in my life. I never got in the habit of pulling the sheets up in the morning. My mother didn’t create that pattern for me and like mother, like daughter, she doesn’t make her’s either.

What lies beside our bed can be just as telling as who lies within it because what’s on the horizon of the bed resembles what’s on the horizon of the life it sits beside. Bedside tables are the to do lists of the bedroom where books and magazines and alarm clocks creep into the peace and quiet of the night. A clean, cleared night stand or no night stand could be the sign of someone struggling to rid themselves of the clutter that the day gives us while stacks of books and glasses of half filled water could signal a loud, clamoring life that is reaching for answers from somewhere.

Who enters our bed, our psyche, is short list of person’s we deem important enough to witness the workings of our heads. Because hospital corners or clusters of covers can be the signal to abandon ship. Can “hospital corners” and “mountains of pillows” sleep in peace together? I’ve dealt well with the hospital corners for almost a week. I’ve slept soundly and effortlessly and I have not roamed. Maybe the disheveled pillows and stacks of books aren’t necessary for me. Maybe they are just space fillers. Maybe I can change and adapt to a minimalist approach to life. Or maybe I’ll just bring a book or two with me to bed tonight.



this always happens

As soon as I leave the nail salon I begin to smell bubble gum. Then I begin to wonder where the smell is coming from and what on earth in my life smells like bubble gum. Then I remember the pink lotion and the rubbing and the pseudo leg massage from the woman who shaved the dead skin off of my feet to within an inch of my feet’s life. And then I feel a little silly for all the obsession over the possibilities of a bubble gum scented life.

My toenails are covered with OPI’s Double Decker Red. Because I miss London, that’s why. I hedged toward pink, toward a last summer foot fling, but no, I heard London Calling. And so, now when I see my feet, dangling from a chair, propped up on an ottoman, or just walking in flip flops, I’ll be transported back to my favorite bit of earth. And it’s the closest I’ll get for some time even though it seems that everyone else I know is kissing that town.

I learned 3 weeks ago that a long lost friend was just there, studying. PK, my bestest friend, is off to the south of France today for 10 days and the people I’m house sitting for are jaunting around London and Greece while I take licks from their dog. While it’s love, it’s not London love. And then Kristin went sauntering off for 10 days as well. I have my toes at least.

My toes, even though in real life they’re just red, I like to pretend this color has actually touched a double decker bus, maybe one that was headed down Kensington High Street, dropping off passengers at Marks and Sparks for bargain shopping with style, the British version.



heaven in musicals

I’m a little bit in love with musicals. Because they’re a little magical and they transplant you to another place, sometimes another world. And I’m all giddy because I saw this trailer at the movies yesterday. Rent, baby. I’m so excited. And my girl, Idina Menzel is in it. She originated my kindred spirited Wicked Witch role in Wicked and Wicked is on tour in DC this Christmas. I’m treating myself and for at least 5 hours this fall and winter, I’ll be a little bit in love and completely happy.



i can't stop

So, now i'm just looking for a new name with these online thingies. Truthfully, it just keeps me from having to actually think and write stuff.

Your Hawaiian Name is:

Kaili Laka



target has ruined me

I adore Target. I’ve been enchanted with it since college when I would make pilgrimages from Charlottesville to Richmond and walk out of the super chain with no less than $250 worth of clothes, books, music, cards, toilet paper, beauty products, shoes, purses…. I felt like I had to stock up because who knew when I’d be back in town. And I’d get compliments on the clothes I chose from Target. Girls would swoon and I’d immediately say, “I know, I got it at Target,” with a look of surprise on my face. And they would respond in kind, “No way.” Way.

Now that I live in Richmond and there are a total of 5 Target stores that I could frequent on any given day, I don’t. And when I do go, I can as easily walk out with nothing or with 3 pairs of Isaac Mizrahi shoes. It’s bargain shopping with style. They even have trendy bamboo plants for lord’s sake.

But Target has ruined me in love too because I don’t want to waste my time with high priced mediocrity. There is no reason why I shouldn’t want to Expect More, Pay Less in my life, in my love. Because I deserve that.

We all have out limits, our cutoffs for what you will and will not put up with. It’s our shopping lists of things to buy, or things to love. And we’ve written and edited and re-edited this list with every relationship we’ve ever known. Idioms and idiosyncrasies have been passed down from generation to generation, from friend to friend, from lover to lover. In the end of these relationships, these exchanges of self, we decide, “I want this. I don’t want that.” Our shopping list is culled from avenues and backstreets and backseats and rearview mirrors. We know our direction, we know our position, yet we’re waiting for and eyeing the motorcycle that zooms past, shifting us a little out of our lane. Because in reality, the shopping list is an excuse, a reason we give ourselves for kismet not working, for the stars not aligning, for having to pay full price and not being happy with the purchase.

I have this fairytale notion that when the ONE comes along, time will sort of stop, that every item will be on sale. I hope that nothing else will be as important as making it work, that you will move to the top of each other’s priority lists. I don’t expect angels to swoop down and choirs to appear, I just expect honesty and openness. And I expect this because this is my currency as well.

A friend recently said, “I can’t wait for the man who says, ‘I can’t believe I’m the one that gets to love you.’” I’ve said the same thing in my head a million times. In high school I remember walking around my kitchen one particular day, potholder in hand (probably baking), thinking about what the man I would marry would be doing at that exact moment. I don’t have those thoughts anymore. Maybe it’s because I’ve become cynical. Maybe it’s because I’ve become a realist.

While I don’t think about what a fictitious man could be doing at this exact moment, I do think about the possibility of him. And I do hope and imagine that he says, “I can’t believe I’m the one that gets to love you.” Because if he does exist, if it’s in the cards for me then it better be a good love.

It is a wistful, fairytale hope, a Little Mermaid or Cinderella story and I know it’s sold on the shelf alongside books and movies about monsters and criminals, but it’s not so ridiculous. Because as much as women want to be a little worshipped and absolutely adored, we want to do the same in return. And I say to my friend, “I can’t wait for the man whom I say to, ‘I can’t believe I’m the one that gets to love you.’” Because I am Expecting More and I plan to Pay Less. It’s what I deserve. And it’s what you deserve too.




I just spent 2 precious hours on the phone with her. And let me tell you, there is NOTHING, nothing in the world like a good friend who absolutely and wholeheartedly has your back. Her site is but a tot, a little growing thing, but she, she is nothing like that site. Well, she kinda is…like the sidebar says, she’s freaking FABULOUS!

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