My nieces came over unexpectanctly tonight for impromptu babysitting on my part. They ran from the minivan like they had been launched at Cape Canaveral. I picked them up and dragged them into my apartment while they talked about how they liked my window, my door, and my floor. It was like they had never seen building materials before in their lives. I love these little girls like I love air and every word from their mouths amazes me. The five year-old told me how she thought they discovered cupcakes. (Discovered, like they were something to be unearthed. Ha.) Apparently, as she states, someone make some cake batter and put it in muffin cups and that made cupcakes. She talked about it with an air of “once a long long time ago.” We were spooning pumpkin bread into a mini-muffin pan. Then we spent 30 minutes reading books and I thought to myself that there could be nothing in the world better than smelling pumpkin bread baking while reading book after book to wide eyed beautiful girls who have so much to learn, so much love to give and so many cupcakes to ponder.



from far away

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. We know it, we’ve heard it, and yet somehow it’s not so true. Well, it is and it isn’t. Absence, I think, makes the heart grow crazy.

From far away things can look so magical and mystical. But, you say, “Oh, I know we’re not perfect. I don’t expect that.” It doesn’t matter; you’re playing the “absence makes the heart grow crazy” game because you’re imagining what isn’t and telling yourself that you’re being realistic. You’re not. He didn’t walk through the door and so you don’t know if the perfection or the messiness would be there. Maybe it would be magical and mystical. Maybe it would be the messiest mess in history and yet worth every moment. Maybe it would crash and burn. Realism in this game is subjective and subjective is a dangerous word. It’s like no speed limit on the highway. It’s like swinging doors without hinges. The only realism is walking through doors, making the mystical, physical. And you can’t control another person’s walking ability. (Notice the word “ability”) What you can control are your imaginings and the acceptance of the absolutes that you are given. If someone walks, or even wants to walk, through a door you’ll know. You won’t have to tell yourself you’re being realistic because that word will be redundant. Wait for it. Then move on.



tidbits and other things

The other day I went to the grocery store and while standing in the checkout lane of a clerk who took a millennium to scan my items, I decided to just stop and wait and listen. And in that 30 seconds or so I heard the mundaneness of life, the beeping of the scanner, the walking of customers, the swoop and whoosh of the bagger, muffled talking, and ambient music. I felt like I was in a movie, when the camera stays a bit longer on the character in order to focus on the boredom of her life, to spell out in visuals and audio what lies behind her eyes. And then I had to pay.

The Olympics ended tonight and I have no idea what I’m going to fall asleep to anymore and since Bode Miller is no longer being talked about on a daily basis I have no idea who to be disappointed in. I guess I can always go back to Bush.

I went to the Dr.’s office for a persistent sinus infection caused by that stupid persistent cold and I took a book this time and I got to read for an hour! No more wasting time in Drs. offices for me.

I really want to go ice-skating and join a book club. Who’s with me?



isn’t that a song

If I were a writer… I’d be as big as a house. It’s crunch time and my story is so in the beginning stages that it’s painful. I realize I have no idea what I’m doing and yet, I kinda love it. In preparation for procrastination I went to the grocery store because I decided that I needed bubbly water in order to coax the writing muse. Because sitting down to write without bubbly water is just stupid, apparently. It turns out my muse likes ice cream and Pepperidge Farm cookies and donuts. I’ve sat here and heard the muse call for more and more Pepperidge Farm cookies. Its favorite so far is the Tahiti, coconut and chocolate in a cookie! My muse was happy. And thus I went about writing about a still birth and the suicide of a narrator. I like to think of it as “death by chocolate.”



in not so many words

On Wednesday I am suppose to read to my fiction writing class the project that I've been working on throughout the six weeks. I wonder if they'll be able to tell that I started working on it yesterday, not because I'm a slacker with writing, but because I am afraid and absolutely clueless as to how to write fiction, even after taking this class. I have yet to read anything I've written to the class thus far and one member said, "Well, I think everyone here is talented. We've heard everyone read and there is a lot of potential here." I wondered if he had forgotten little ole me sitting beside him and if I could have talent by association. We're also suppose to bring in food that is in some way related to the stories we're working on. My story, as of now, is about a woman who miscarries in her 28th week of pregnancy. Not only does Hallmark not make a card for that, Betty Crocker doesn't make a cake. Mmmmm, I'm thinking pumpkin bread, just cause.

In other news, the surprise package I wrote about a few days ago was a mess up on the part of the disgruntled postal workers down the street. I don't know about them being so frustrated that they shoot each other, but I certainly wasn't pleased that the day after I picked up a package they dated and mail me a notice saying they attempted to deliver that same package and missed me. Mmmmmm, didn't know the USPS was into delivering phantom packages. Liars.

And the jinxing, yeah, I think I totally mailed that one in. Jinxing should be my middle name.



a good year

I could never be a true wine snob. I can’t wait for things to peak to open them up and share with everyone. At the beginning of things it’s hard to keep quiet. I like to talk. I like to tell. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I’m an open book. I’m a sophomoric cliché. To some extent, anyway.

It’s the possibility of the beginning of something and I can’t help but know in my heart that telling all is jinxing it, even this, this little bit of nothing makes me think I’m betraying what may or may not be. And yet, hear I am talking about something that I can’t even hold in my hand because it’s so much in the beginning.

Today I got a belated birthday card from a friend and she wrote, “to a year of adventure.” “I hope so, “ I wanted to say back to her and realized it was paper in my hand I would be talking to. Adventure and change and upheaval. I’m all for it, let’s see if it all for me.



in which i thank my lucky stars

How dependent is Middle America on cars? We know. We’re so dependent we wage a war on a terror that didn’t really exist. But nothing really makes it hit home until your car is up on the back of a tow truck. This happened to me once during a summer in college, the first summer I stayed away from home and in my apartment all by myself. I had gone to get coffee for everyone in our hippified musician wannabe or groupee (except me, of course) office. I had four mochas in hand when I turned the corner from the store and there was my car hooked up to chains and dangling in the air. I had to run a block down the street to a cash machine in order to get my car out of immediate hock.

This morning, it all came rushing back. I was late, way late, the latest I’ve been all year and I blame it on the ever-lingering sore throat that had me up at 5:30am. I stepped outside rushing and thinking only of driving fast through the main roads and side streets. And then I saw three cars up on trucks and dangling from chains and one cop car. My stomach lurched for those poor people and I thanked the dear lord that when I came home last night there was one last space in the parking lot and I avoided the street and the city’s random stupid “towing enforced” street cleaning. I was so late I would have had to call in sick or something had one of those cars been mine. Thank God for lucky stars, I surely used mine today.



in which you just have to bear with me

Today was a good day. For no particular reason, it just was. Probably so because today was the day after a sickness, THE day when you feel alive again like THIS is what breathing feels like, like THIS is what being awake and alert feels like. I just ended my workday not feeling like I wanted to crawl into bed, and that, that is some kind of feat.

And then I went to my mailbox and inside was a notice that the post office had tried to deliver a package to me and missed me and was now holding my package hostage. This is the third such notice I’ve gotten in three weeks. The first was from Amazon, a forgotten order I had placed that arrived unknowingly. I was so excited for an unknown package until I opened it and said, “Oh, yeah.” Then the second notice was for a birthday package my mom sent. I was expecting it even though I didn’t know she was sending me and umbrella stand. But, today, this notice was out of left field. And so, this is where you have to bear with me.

I’ve decided this package is from my semi-secret crush, that he has, in fact, realized that the stars aligned when we met and that he has only been avoiding fate since that moment and that he could think of nothing but to send me a package full of mixed Cds, a t-shirt of his favorite saying, and a book he thinks I need to read. And he tried desperately to get it to me on Valentine’s Day (a day I don’t really care about anyway), but the U.S. mail is just too unpredictable so the package came a day late, yet still holds all the goodness and sincerity of his heart being sent across the country to mine. I imagine that I’ll go on Friday (the first day I can) and wait in line with my heart beating more and more rapidly as the disgruntled workers help customer after customer and then it’s my turn and the postman returns with this perfect package of sweet, sweet joy and I race to my car and place it on the backseat with the door still open I use my keys to tear at the clear packaging tape and rip into a surprise from my one and only love and I jump with glee and joy as I read his handwritten note professing his undying love and I clamored through my purse for my cell phone to call him to tell him that I feel the same way and that yes, three children would be fine and a dog and a house in the country or the city, whatever, I just want to be with him and we make plans and then we live happily ever after. Whew!

Right, we all know it’s probably some oversized mailing from AOL trying to get me to convert, but geez, I had to fantasize for just a second.



tired of it

When I get quiet around here it's because of one of two things, 1- I'm in a funk and don't want to talk about it or 2- I'm sick. Well, number 2 has reared it's ugly head again. I'm coming back up for air tonight, feeling a bit better. It was just a cold, but one in which my throat closed up for 4 days and swallowin my own spit made me want to cry. After a visit to the doctor yesterday I was told that it was not Strep. That's a good thing and a bad thing. At least with Strep you get medicine and it will go away, with a cold you get bupkiss. I've been on a concoction of advil AND tylenol at the same time in order to dull the pain, oh no, it doesn't get rid of it, just dulls it so that swallowing doesn't make me want to jump out the window.

Anyway, enough about that. I could tell you that I went home with my nieces and nephew to watch the Olympics on my dad's enormous TV and that it snowed about 5 inches while we were there and that I slept most of the time because well, read the above. I love the Olympics the mostest. I love settling in each night watching those crazy people speed down moutains or ice covered slides. I love it.

And I'm so jealous of the northeast and all that snow!



list making

I don’t believe in making resolutions, those yearly one-line diatribes that will “make my life better.” Bahumbug is what I say to that. But, I LOVE making lists. Like love them. Sometimes when I make my “things to do” list, I hover for a few minutes after I’m done just hoping for something else to pop into my mind so that I can write in down. On that note, some things I’ve been thinking about, but really shouldn’t put on a “to do” list.

- submit something to be published
- sell some purses to an actual store
- take a million pictures which are worthy of sharing
- read at least 2 books a month
- write every durn day even when I feel like not
- find “the one”
- be OK if “the one” never finds me
- listen to “this American life” weekly
- turn off the TV
- make some jewelry, sew some things, paint some things, i.e. use up all the stuff in my craft boxes
- go to nyc, tx, charlotte, and d.c. for extended vacations in the next 6 months
- sing at a karoke bar
- write to an author
- write to one friend a week
- cut my hair short
- sell stuff on ebay
- paint my bed
- go to one of those 8 minute dating things (ahhhhhh)
- go see some improve comedy
- see at least one play, one concert, and one book reading this year
- have people over for dinner or munchies more often



on getting older

It’s not my favorite thing, the turning over of a year and looking in the mirror to notice a wrinkle that certainly wasn’t there a year ago. I can handle the fine lines, the graying hair. It all really doesn’t bother me. What I can’t handle is the time passing. It bothers me that I feel emotionally like I turned 21 today rather than one year below the dreaded 30. I wish our emotional and chorological ages could catch up to each other and join hands. Then we’d see each other for who we really are, be able to treat those fragile ones, the ones who haven’t escaped childhood, with kid gloves. And then some of us would hover around 25 in that “what am I suppose to do with my life?” quandary and our faces, wrinkle free and fresh, would always have that confused yet happy glow. But, if it’s time passing that bothers me then I guess the whole notion of my own birthday bothers me because it is nothing but about time passing and wrinkles and gray hair and finding your way and giving love and being loved. My 29th was splendid enough filled with Kindergarteners singing to me with happy, wide eyes and 1st graders giving me a giant card and emails from close and distant friends and a friend with an unexpected present and dinner out on a whim. I’m not a birthday doer. I don’t make a fuss, I’m uncomfortable with the receiving of things, but somewhere deep inside me I wish I could invite all my friends over and have a moon bounce in the backyard and Barbie doll birthday cake.



stupor bowls

My parents have lived in the same house for close to 40 years. In that time they’ve seen the neighborhood change with families moving in a out, babies being born, people dying, people growing old and jobs changing. When I was a kid there was a family on the corner who’s father was a judge. They had two girls who I later babysat for. They lived in two different houses in our neighborhood, the first on our block then the second around the corner in a mini-mansion whose living room was the size of two full living rooms put together. It was a house on a hill whose high position eventually caused lighting to strike it and blow up one of the chimneys and half a wall on one side of that house.

This family was a little bit wacky, but wacky fun not wacky weird. When they moved to the big house on the hill they began having yearly Super Bowl parties which they termed Stupor Bowl parties. I never went to one, it was adults only, but I heard from my parents about the endless supply of chips and dips and a sandwich that spanned the length of a table. I was always envious of that sandwich.

Since then, my family has called the Super Bowl, the Stupor Bowl, a name I absolutely love. So tonight’s Stupor Bowl had homemade pizzas with fresh sauces. There was a margarita, a pesto, and a vegetable. There were chips and dip and carrots and hummus and pita chips. I tell ya, I love my brother and his wife and their love of food. It keeps me well fed. And then there were birthday cupcakes, a day early. I’m stuffed and a little bit uncomfortable and that’s why we call it a Stupor Bowl.




I opened the birthday card and skimmed the words of friendship and happy wishes. I hadn’t seen the “Aunt Anna” at the top until B. said something about me willing to be an aunt for her. Suddenly it all clicked and this was B. telling me she was pregnant.

She’s an old friend and came to town to have tea with me at The Jefferson Hotel and to celebrate our birthdays. “I’ll pay for your portion,” I said to her expectantly. Her face was saying, “No, you can’t do that,” until it clicked and she then spoke, “And I’ll pay for yours. Happy Birthday.” “Happy Birthday to you too,” I retorted.

We were full and happy after a day of catching up and shopping. It’s been about three years since we laid eyes upon each other. Her hair is shorter, but she looks the same, cute and tiny, even with her growing belly. I can’t believe a baby is coming. My family just keeps growing.

What I love about my friends is that leaving them is difficult, but coming back together is so easy, so effortless, so much like I saw them yesterday. B. is just another wonderful friend to add to that bunch and even though we’ve haven’t been in the same room in so many moons, it doesn’t matter, friendship never leaves our spheres.

Here’s to tea at The Jefferson full of scones and cream and goodness. Here’s to friends you never truly leave. And here’s to a growing baby inside a belly of girl who’s got a friend who can’t wait to be an aunt, again!



3rd times the charm, happy (late) bithday m.m.

M.M has a new baby at her side who is beautiful and prescious and keeping her up late at nights. I don't feel sorry for her at all. I now hear all kinds of baby information I never really knew I didn't want to know. M.M. is turing 30 plus one and I'm turning 30 minus one is a few days so I suggested we do the math and have and M. and Anna turn 30 birthday party. She didn't buy it saying that I was a youngster. And I also just suggested it tonight so that would be, well, late.

Happy Birthday M.M.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



a camera and a pet

Before the sickness came, this is what I did on the weekend. I went to Byrd Park and watched the geese. Saturday was amazingly bright and warm and there were a million people about. I felt like I was in the middle of central park, well a little bit anyway. But, on Saturday my camera battery died after the second picture so I went back on Sunday when it was dark and gloomy and there was only one older couple sitting on a bench next to me feeding the geese with bags and bags of bread. See the look in this goose's eye. He wanted food, I had none.

For much better pictures of animals, I'd like to introduce you to my Cousin Love, Brookie Bell. She's finally and finely started a blog and she is one talented little photographer. All but three of the pictures up there right now where snapped yesterday because she needed something to put up. I wish I could walk around my house and just take amazing pictures. Anyway, welcome to and go see THE RED HOUSE.

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