of you

The thoughts started early in high school, standing in my kitchen, the pale, worn woodened floor under my bare feet, an oven glove on my hand, waiting for something to finish cooking, probably a cake. I wondered what you were doing at that moment and how it was going to happen, what that future day would look like. Every now and then I’d think of you again and the circumstances that would bring you into my world, my life, my… Somehow you slipped away from me. Quietly, you walked out of the room, probably backwards, probably while I was sleeping not wanting to wake me and trouble me. And I let you go, I didn’t fight for the thoughts to return, I let them dissipate and filled their void with other life. They’re back, coming slowly at first and now crashing into me when I stare out the window, drive my car, hear the phone ringing. It’s not a good feeling, limbo, not knowing which way to turn, which direction is the one you’re headed in. I just wish I knew. I wish I were certain and could reach out my hand and touch you. It happened again today, in my kitchen, an oven mitt in hand, a roast chicken in the oven, I wondered where you were, what you were doing, what future events will bring you into my life, how one story ends and another begins.



come find me

The screens are splashed with water. Everything outside is a little bit blurred and it’s like there are diamonds in the window strewn from the light across the way. It’s dark outside, my favorite time of day, when the sun is gone. I watched the unexpected storm gather and pour down from my new reading room, a makeshift oasis that makes me feel like I am in a tree house. I’ve decided I love it there and don’t understand why I didn’t build it years ago. What we could have done. What we could have done…

I’m reading a book about time travel and I’ve adopted the author’s tone. I do this often, get mashed up in the text so that my thoughts, my words, mimic what is reverberating in my brain. It’s confusing yes, but also quite fantastic, not unlike what an actor feels, I’m sure, when he disappears into a role. I’ve just disappeared into some words. I’m hiding in the commas.



"nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could"~the sound of music

I called it my “summer of nothing” meaning that nothing was on the agenda. And in this sense the nothing makes anything wonderful, an unexpected filler of time, a little present in the void. But, it wasn’t all nothing. There was actually a lot of something. So, I’ll count them off for you.

In the 1000’s
-hours slept in
-money saved (not spent)

in the 100’s
-emails to friends and strangers alike
-mosquito bites endured (i’m too sweet)
-hugs and kisses and silly songs sang with my nieces and nephew (the bestest hours spent)
-hours spent writing or thinking about writing
-figs picked
-times checked to see if there was a picture of Suri Cruise (i’m not a pop culture junkie and i hate tom cruise. this obsession was an anomaly.)

in the 10’s
-hours napped
-books read
-lunches done
-hours rearranging my house
-movies watched via Netflix
-hours lapping up pool water
-hours spent contemplating getting a dog
-songs by new artists fallen in love with
-money acquired from Amazon via coinstar($57!!!!)
-times watched Regis and Kelly and The View
-coffees drunk in the morning sitting at my desk looking out the window
-times gabbed about Project Runway
-bridges crossed

on the 7’s
-birthdays achieved/ celebrated
-hours spent walking through NYC

on the 6’s
-hours spent tutoring a little precious boy

on the 4’s
-cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery devoured
-coffee mugs from Starbucks bought on sale (i realize this is lame and boring, but i pined for them for months and it was a joyous day when they were $4 each)

on the 3’s
-trips to Busch Gardens
-movies in a theater seen

on the 2’s
-weeks at the beach
-article queries sent (yikes!)
-cousins moved
-old friends reunited with (they moved to MY town!)

on the 1’s
-purses knitted
-scarves begun
-baby shower attended
-“save the date” for weddings received
-baby friend born
-baby cousin begun
-sunscreen bottles used up
-rejection letter received
-wedding present mailed more than a year late (i know)
-weekend spent with my bestest bestest friend (i wish this was in the millions)
-movie sets toured
-guitarist for famous singer seeing me in my pajamas (the ragedy ones with holes in them, it was unexpected AND i said something stupid like, "I'm barely dressed, just running home. How was your flight? Great.....")

on the 0’s
-days until summer break is officially over



in which i reflect and bore you

I've been reading voraciously since December. It started with a Steve Martin book before Thanksgiving then morphed into Christmas themed books, but at that point I was just reading for fun and during the extended breaks from work. Then just after Christmas I started The Kite Runner and a door opened that I decided I would not be closing anytime soon.

Every summer since probably middle school, I vowed to read 10 books during summer break. Every summer I would line up a few books that looked fun and begin by tackling them, usually always starting with a John Grisham. Then I would just peter out and then stop altogether. I never really enjoyed the act of reading. I loved the stories and the books, but the actual, physical act of reading was not pleasant for me and I saw it as something to be surmounted in order to reach the precipice which was the story to be told.

Then I went to college and after a failed attempt at majoring in Psychology, I majored in English because I fell in love with the analysis of stories, the dissecting that my friends with boring, regular majors didn't seem to understand. This switch however still came at a time when I hated the act of reading. I fudged and squirmed and didn't read about 80% of the text I should have for all of my college classes. In some ways I'm proud of how I skirted and played the system in my #1 public education college. I like to think that it's my version of street smarts. In other ways, I'm ashamed and mad at myself for not reading those books and texts and absorbing every morsel my learned professors dished out. Oh that wicked hinesight!

Needless to say, the summer before I turn thirty has proven to be many things I didn't expect. It's been the summer I didn't travel nearly as much as I had intended to because of a strict and resolute decision to adhere to a budget with a Stalin's fierceness. It's been the summer I discovered the love of a island in the North. Being Southern, this isn't something any lady thinks might happen. It's been the summer I fell in love with my house and all my things because I had to reintroduce myself to them as I shuffled and flipped the house around. It's been the summer that a cousin moved and I got very upset about that and refused to travel to her new destination, holding steadfast to the hope that she will visit me here after 3 years in the same place. It's been the summer that I came to grips with the fact that I may never fit back into the clothes I still cling to from high school and decided to clean out the closets and sell them or give them away. It's also been the summer for the first attempt to publish something, a big hurdle that only places more and more in front of me. It's been the summer where another cousin and wife have put a bun in the oven and since they live in TX it is the last summer I could have seen them as two rather than three in their home. And other babies arrived or kept growing (word to B. and J.) And lastly, it's been the summer that I read 10 books. And I wasn't even trying. It just happened. When I least expected it, a goal I set for myself a million years ago came to fruition. But, isn't that when they say it goes, when you finally let your guard down and stop wishing for the thing, the thing appears? I hope other things appear like that. Wouldn't that be nice?



tomato as pop art

I grew up with tomatoes in the backyard. Starting in late July the red fruits would pop from the bright green vines my father had tended so religiously in his small “L” shaped garden that took up about a fourth of the yard. There have been many a crop rotation in that tilled soil from corn to squash to okra to green onions and lettuce, but the tomatoes have always been my favorite. The freshness of a tomato so fresh that the heat of its growing could still be felt in your hand as you sliced the ripeness for juicy sandwhich on wheat bread with mayo, salt, and pepper. We ate them over the kitchen sink. I’m sure my father still does this. And so, every late July and especially in August, I hunger for these tomatoes that cannot be replicated in any grocery store and barely in farmers’ markets. Today my father delivered to me a portion of the 2006 summer crop and some of the tomatoes spoke their own little red language to me so loudly that I had to take pictures of them and thus: Tomato As Pop Art

A tomato nose things we don't.

"It's not a TwoMa!"

Roma tomatoes who have jalopeno pepper envy.



happy birthday d.b.

I just almost wrote “jappy birthday” which D. might find funny, but she is anything but jappy. She’s freaking fabulous and she needs to have a fabulous birthday.

D. got engaged this year to a man that I like to say she shares a brain with and it’s the size of a pea. I’m weird (who isn't?) and thereby my friends are strange too, but D. and her man might take the cake in that they are constantly introducing themselves to each other. Like, “Hi, I’m D.” she says to him extending her hand in all seriousness. “Oh, hi, I’m D.” he replies shaking her hand in equal seriousness. They have been doing this for years and this is preciously why they share one brain and that that brain is so small.

I’m really psyched that I get to spend another Fall watching football with her and dancing to the songs on the giantastic loudspeaker. It’s the best time, the Fall football games where we meet up, park our cars and million miles away, walk a million miles then just chat and catch up while the game goes on below us. It’s the 7th year in a row that we have gotten these tickets. That’s some non-football watchin’ love right there. And we’ll have these tickets ‘til we die in hopes that one day our team makes it to some kind of national level and we hold tickets worth gold. Right now, they’re worth bronze.

That’s all besides the point because it’s D.’s birthday blog and I hope she has the bestest, bestest, humpy danciest birthday ever!

Happy Birthday D.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




"If you catch a leaf before it hits the ground, you'll have good luck for a few days," he said.

So we went about trying to catch leaves.

It's harder than you might think, trying to catch your own luck.



happy birthday g.l.

I haven't seen G.L. since last winter and that is way to long ago. I miss her. I've said this before, but she is the kind of girl you want more time with than you ever get because everyone wants more time with her and so, who wins? You take what you can get and I get football games in the fall. We sit and chat about our lives, our loves (or lack thereof), and dance to the Wahoowa songs on the loudspeaker. I can't wait to see her again and I will very soon, in a few weeks. Until then...

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



the sweetest sweet

I've been eating Magnolia recipes long before I ever got down to the Village shop to eat a fresh one in person. My sister-in-law has been cooking out of the famous bakery's cookbook for years. I'm sure, even, that I've had a birthday cake from one of thier old-fashioned, butter filled concoctions. Just look at the swirls of that colored buttercream! My favorite was the vanilla cupcake with chocolate buttercream frosting, it's hidden in the back of the picture. Oh to eat those things at any time. If I lived in NYC, I'd go broke on Broadway and Magnolia Bakery. Ah, baby, it's the sweetests sweet you ever did eat!



happy birthday l.

L. turns 33 today even though I thought she was turning 32. Somehow I missed a whole year and I think it has to do with the denial that we are getting older. Ugh!

Today L. looks like she got in a bar fight or that her husband beats her (both of which are not funny) all thanks to me. I stood by while this precious dog jumped on top of her in a pool and he went for her like he had a vendetta. I thought he was just swimming toward her while she was underwater, but when she popped up she looked like she was crying blood. Thank God her eye is fine and I’ve told her not to touch it lest she turn out to have a hideous scar from her eye to her lip. It’s bad ya’ll and I tried to warn her to which she said, “I’m trying to think that it is really awful.” “I am too,” I replied. “Why,” she said, “So I won’t be alarmed when I actually see it.” “Yes.”

L. is moving on from me. She’s switching to another school district. I’m not really sure how in the H-E-double hockey sticks I’m going to survive without her. She has made my teaching time in Richmond wonderful. She’s an amazing teacher who rules her classroom with an iron fist, but also listens and allows suggestions. She deserves a gold star or a sticker that says, “Great work!” I’m sure I’ll feel the effects of her absence suddenly and with much weight.

It’s OK cause now it’s her birthday and I’m going to her house for dinner tomorrow and I’m bringing a surprise desert. Shhhhhh!

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




All you need is a pool and your best friend, and some other people scattered about. Her husband is off saving the world, at least Haiti, so I got her for the weekend. She's the bestest. I don't think God could have made anything better than a best girl friend. And it's so nice to introduce her to new friends and share our stories, stories that go back to seven years-old. It's good to have that history with someone. Sometimes, I realize how lucky I am and count the stars above me and stare at them in awe.




I've just sent two query letters out to editors in the last two days. Today, after some hounding, I got my frist rejection letter. God, glad that's over. Not that I expect that any and all other letters I will recieve will be accepting by any means, it's just that your first time is the one you anticipate the most and sometimes it can be a bit painful. This first time was rather non-descript, kind of a "What's all the fuss about?" You see I didn't know what editor to send the piece to or even if it was newspaper material and the editor I sent it to kindly guided me to another one. One rejection down, a gagillion more to go I suspect.



in which i have nothing to say

Not being on vacation makes my mind a bit dried up. A friend told me to use Nantucket and push it through my writing. I've done no writing, here or in real life, since I left that perfect bit of earth. I'll stop talking about it now. It's better that way, to let the silence create the distance we need, to heal a wound that was never even made.

We did go to NYC on the way home and I took pictures of the cupcakes in the window at Magnolia Bakery -they were heaven, everything I've heard was true-, but my computer won't download my pictures for some reason and so you just have to imagine precious vanilla and chocolate cupcakes topped with fat swirls of pastel colored buttercream. If you are anywhere near New York City, go down to 11th and Bleeker in the quaint and quiet West Village and grab some cupcakes. You can thank me later.

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