Friday, May 28, 2010

Getting it together

In general, as appreciated as they are, I don't handle compliments well. There is always the urge to immediately deny the truth of the compliment, steer the compliment-giver to another subject, and of course, pay them a compliment back. I'm not sure why this is, other than being supremely uncomfortable with both attention and even the perception of conceit. This is especially the case when people compliment me on being "together." Even writing that out is hard because the arrogance and cockiness oozes out of the word. But let me finish.

Whether it be my clothes, actions, or decisions, they've been described as "together" more than once. And in some ways, maybe it's true. I know myself and my goals, plans, and beliefs. But 99% of the time I am most decidedly NOT together. And I never know what to say when that "t" word is thrown out. Except to immediately start listing the litany of reasons why this is laughable and pretty much unbelievable.

Like when I realize there is a stain on the hoodie worn to work. Or when a co-worker introduces me to her family and my shoe comes off as I get out of my chair. Yes, I met this person's family with one shoe off. While wearing a Beatles t-shirt. And earlier this week, wearing a new top and jacket, the tags still firmly attached to each as I went about my day. (Thankfully, they were tucked in and no one saw.)

That is not "together."

I have bad days. Actually, bad weeks. An entire month of bad. And even an entire semester once. Some days I just can't seem to shake life and get it together. Some days are so un-together there is no choice but to give up, come home, put on my pajamas, and get in bed.

Some days my room looks like this:

Is this the room of a together person? Dresser drawers that are never closed, an over-flowing laundry basket, an unusable desk chair, piles of paperwork, and jeans and shoes that forcefully eject themselves from the jungle that is my closet? Hardly.

No one is as "together" as they think they are or may seem to others. No one.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cooking with Martha and Tiffany

My love for pretty things is no secret. Especially when they are pretty and functional things. And shiny. Especially shiny. (Another alternate title for this blog: "Bring me the Pretty and Shiny.") But this is about pretty and functional things. Specifically, pretty and functional kitchen items.

Pause. What did she say?

Yes, she of the "never preheat-cook everything on 450-burn is just a variation on well done-what the hell is mince" school of cooking, likes to go to Macy's and explore the basement (Metro Center store) or third floor (Pentagon City store) kitchen department. This started about the time this woman:

Introduced Tiffany-blue accessories, appliances, and awesomeness.

My love of Tiffany's -- the movie, store, and color -- hasn't quite been documented here but trust me, it's deep and it's real.

It started with a batter bowl and has since escalated to a spatula, measuring cups, and a salad keeper. There's no guarantee that the next step won't be a tea kettle, colander, or mixer. (Ok, likely not the mixer, but a girl can gaze.)

There may or may not be an entire post coming up on my strange affinity for colanders:

The only citrus fruits I don't hate are lemons and limes, but still, this must come home with me one day. Perhaps to hold trinkets on my dresser?

Not Tiffany blue but in the same section. Were this not $12, it would definitely have been in my hand. So freaking cute.

Just to prove that this foray into domesticity, or even maturity, is only temporary, this morning I supplemented my breakfast of pineapple and apple with a bag of peanut butter M&Ms. You can put the girl in the kitchen department but you can't make the girl know what to do in it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

She keeps Moet et Chandon in a pretty cabinet

Sunday night was supposed to be a night of serious blogging: Finish at least three posts in drafts and think of ideas for new ones. But instead my computer freaked out, as it often does, and Sunday and Monday was spent trying to figure out why it wouldn't connect to the Internet, why there was no sound, and why the classic restart option -- attempted no less than 10 times -- failed to work.

Thanks to my supreme Google-fu and an alarming amount of fellow 'net denizens with the same problem, the solution was found, implemented, and Francisco is back in service. (Until the next time he decides to act out like the surly toddler he is.) Of course now, at this point, there is no energy or brainpower left to intelligently blog so I resort to the writer's crutch: bullet points.
  • Since writing about Anne Shirley, one of her blossoms has died. Hoping that's just the lifespan of an amaryllis and not a statement on my sickly green thumb.
  • Last weekend, I tried on more than 30 items of clothing, and bought none. This weekend, a trip to Georgetown and trying on about 10 outfits, ended empty-handed. Sunday's trip to Target only set me back $14. What has happened to my shopping-fu?!
  • Sunday the roommate and I went to brunch with/exclusively for bottomless mimosas. So many years wasted because of a disdain for orange juice; if only I had realized my glass was just missing the champagne.
  • It's season finale time. "30 Rock" was amazing and the summer is going to be long and dry without it. "How I Met Your Mother" is pissing me off and it better stop being lame. Or else I'll still keep watching it but not happily.
  • The oil spill in the Gulf is breaking my heart. I think every person that ever uttered or even thought the words "drill, baby, drill" should have to personally clean off a bird or sop up some of the mess from those wetlands.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spring is here

I got my first houseplant two years ago. Her name is Adelaide and she is an "assorted foliage" from Ikea. I have since expanded a bit and now have ten. (Several courtesy of my Mom.) And yes, they all have names and no, I am not listing them.

One of my nieces gave me the amaryllis bulb for Christmas. I planted the bulb a few weeks ago, not expecting much. All the other plants came to me as fully formed, which is good, because I have never been able to grow something from a seed. (Thus why I am still holding on to the edelweiss seeds from my Salzburg trip five years ago.)

But bulbs are different, clearly, as this is what now graces my lovely window scene:

Her name is Anne Shirley. It was going to be Marilla from "Anne of Greene Gables" because the flower name made me think of it, but Anne was a fiery little redhead, and so are the flowers.

It makes me smile every time I walk by. Now, maybe, I can try my hand at those edelweiss seeds.

Monday, May 17, 2010

"It's not stupid or pathetic, it's hopeful." (Stephanie, Reasons to be Pretty)

On Sunday I went to the theatre to see Neil LaBute's Reasons to be Pretty. I saw LaBute's This is How it Goes in London 5 years ago (!) and really loved it.

I bought my ticket late in the week through a discount site and wasn't expecting great seats or anything. Wrong. Even though it was on the side, it was a thrust stage, so it didn't matter. And did I mention it was front row, so close I could touch the stage? Or take a discrete (and blurry) picture of it before the show started:

(Note: I know I shouldn't have taken the picture, but I did. And I would never dream of taking one during a show or doing any other un-couth theatre behavior. Promise.)

LaBute is not for everyone but I love his work. His plays tend to be a commentary on some societal issue and he uses powerful language, biting dialogue, and even physical violence to get his point across. (If I recall correctly the first line of this play, or maybe second, was fucker.) Both of the plays I've seen and the few I've read make me quite uncomfortable, but that's the point, and it makes me think, too.

I realized Sunday that so far this year, I've only seen two plays, one ballet, and one orchestra concert. No concerts, no comedians, no free events at Kennedy Center. This is unacceptable and needs to be corrected.

And to end on a happy note, the tiramisu on a doily I had before the play. It wasn't the best, but not the worst, either.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

May Flowers, Part 2

Pictures on Flickr.

After the embassies came the National Cathedral. After a long uphill walk in the blazing sun and the realization that I had not had a meal in almost 24 hours, I hightailed it to the food section. Where long lines at every turn led me to promptly backtrack to the over-priced bratwurst stand, the same over-priced bratwurst stand I ate at last year, and probably for the same reason. But oh my was it good.

I then got my cash and debit card ready as I meandered through the stands. The main draw of the flower mart, of course, are the plants and flowers for sale. I browsed them but just ended up with some fake flowers and a pretty vase. The main draw for me was my favorite booth from last year, a lavender farm from Pennsylvania. I love lavender and they have it all: honey spreads, sachets, cat toys, and my favorite, tea! They were in the same spot as last year and I hit them first.

I then just wandered around, looking more than buying. Spent awhile in the book tent where I managed to not buy anything. Bought a wonderful strawberry and pineapple smoothie and continued browsing as the brain freeze sat in. Then I made my way to the main goal of the visit: the bell tower climb.

First and foremost, I am not good with heights. I've discovered over the years that I'm not so much afraid of them, it's more that my body and my head just can't handle them. I have vertigo and perception issues that make me light-headed and weak, which is pretty much the last thing you want as you ascend 300+ stairs in a centuries-old bell tower.

But the way I see it, I have been to the top of St. Paul's in London and St. Peter's in the Vatican, and I thought I owed it to my own country to go the top of one of its cathedrals. And so I did.

It got a bit scary at times. I had trouble breathing and I got really shaky, but I gripped the railings/walls and kept my eyes focused on the person in front of me, and made it to the top. And oh so very glad I did. From the views of Washington to the humongous bells to the bell ringers making their music, it was worth every rickety step. (I uploaded a video of the bells here. They aren't ringing the bells I walked by, but some different ones that we can't see.)

On the way down they led us through a Cathedral balcony. I went inside a few months ago for an orchestra concert, but this was different. With a stunning view of the soaring ceilings and stained glass, especially the rose window, I just couldn't have asked for more.

Friday, May 14, 2010

May Flowers, Part 1

Photos on Flickr.

It has been a crazy week and so I'm just now getting to writing about my busy last weekend before this one kicks into gear.

Of course I go weeks with nothing to do and nowhere to be, and then all of a sudden everything I want to do happens the same week. Such was Saturday, with open houses for the European Union embassies and the annual flower mart at the National Cathedral. I've done the embassy thing the past two years and the flower mart last year. I love them both and look forward to them every year. But this year I decided I wanted to focus more on the flower mart, so I only did one embassy: Great Britain.

Now, it might seem a little silly to get so excited to see the embassy of a country I have lived in and travelled all around, but trust me, it's not. And considering that it has been an unbelievable three years since I last set foot on precious English soil, it felt right being surrounded by jolly old England/Scotland/Wales again.

The main draw was to see the ambassador's gardens, which were lovely, of course. There was a real English telephone booth and a band playing British invasion songs. They also had food, with bread pudding and bangers and mash on the menu. Not to mention the whiskey samples which, oddly enough, was the same whiskey whose distillery I toured when I went to Scotland.

I walked around and just took it all in. I am happy with my life right now and have no regrets because I feel that my life will take me back to Britain one day. And until then I'll get my fixes however I can.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Reasons Why

I feel like everybody probably thinks they have the best mom. But the thing is, I'm really stubborn. And, not to brag, but I'm almost always right. So I think the only logical conclusion is that I, in fact, have the best mom.

And here are 10 reasons why.

1. She knows what I need. Case in point: the blanket in this picture, which is pressed to my mouth as I write this. (Albeit a little worse for wear.) She never tried to Mr. Mom me and take it away and whenever I'd lose it she'd let me sleep with her satin robe. And when I went to Europe the first time and was afraid to take the blanket with me, she let me cut up part of the robe.

 Coming home from the hospital, January 1984.

2. Sugarcoat isn't in her vocabulary. Yes, sometimes, or a lot of the time, this drives me crazy, but everyone needs someone in their life to tell the truth no matter what, and my Mom does. But she also gives really good hugs so that can soften the blow.

3. Things unspoken. She knows when I am upset and am holding back tears, even on the phone. And I know that as soon as she asks me if I'm fine, that I'm not, but that I will be.

 Blowing out birthday candles with Poppa, January 1987.

4. Letting go. When I asked her if I could move to London she said I was an adult and didn't have to ask. A month before I left she didn't think it was safe for me to go. Before I got on the plane she told me I didn't have to go. But she crossed the ocean to see me. And she sent me care packages with peanut butter and grits. And three months after I got back and broke down about how much I missed it, she said, "Well, what can we do to get you back there."

 Spring 2001

5. Spreading the love. There are a number of things my mom has introduced me to over the years that I now love but that she loved first: Books, Mary Tyler Moore, The Beatles, Dick Van Dyke, Sound of Music, Auntie Mame, Carole King, Avonlea, James Taylor, Gone with the Wind, Brad Pitt, First Ladies at the American History Museum. (First seen at a sprint as we were running out of time: "That's an ugly dress, keep moving!")

December 2005

6. Looking beyond. She never let the fact that we lived in a small town limit us. From trips to Raleigh to shop and trips to Cary to the movies, to the viewpoints and beliefs we were exposed to. But...

7. Appreciation of place. ...she taught us to love our town and our home. And home is always home and  and I can't imagine growing up anywhere else or having some place else to go back to.

 Abbey Road, London, November 2006.

8. Dorkdom. She's a dork. I'm a dork. I think since she's mom she has to be the bigger one, and that's comforting to know.

9. Tar Heel Bred. Even though she's not a "native," she loves our state and defends it more than anyone. Though neither of us can claim the "Tar Heel born part," both can surely claim the "Tar Heel bred." She knows every time I come home I need a little bit of Chapel Hill. And she gets teary-eyed when we leave it, too.
 Key West, March 2009.

10. This. It just wouldn't be anything without her.
After graduation, May 2006.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.


Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Life is short

My officemates and I have a small candy dish on one of our desks. Usually the candy of choice are Dove chocolates. They come in a variety of flavors but no matter what, the wrapper always has a little saying. (Or, as was the case at Christmastime, decorating tips from Martha Stewart.) We always read them out loud to each other because, well, we just do. Today I got one that was just so fitting and so reflective of my life philosophy. It read:

Drink champagne, wear a tiara,
use the good china.

Don't you worry, Dove, I will.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Born in a cross fire hurricane, died in a fire

I just finished watching the 2008 concert film/documentary "Shine a Light" about The Rolling Stones and directed by Martin Scorsese. I am not a huge Stones fan and only have a few of their songs, but I absolutely love Scorsese and all the previews of the movie looked interesting. In addition to all of the beautifully shot and performed songs, there was also some interesting behind-the-scenes footage and some even more interesting old interview clips of the band.

But of course, since this is me and I am anything but normal, I think what I will remember most about the movie is the following exchange between Scorsese and some set designer or assistant.

Assistant:  If Mick stands in front of the light for more than 18 seconds, he'll burn.
Scorsese:  What do you mean "burn"?
Assistant:  He'll burn up. He'll get too hot.
Scorsese:  You mean, like flames?
Assistant:  He might catch on fire.
Scorsese:  We can't do that. We cannot burn Mick Jagger. Very simple.

Scorsese didn't seem alarmed, he wasn't smirking, and there was no devilish twinkle in his eye. It was just said very simply with the perfect amount of incredulity. Incredulous that he even had to clarify that Jagger could not be set aflame. And yet also incredulous that he couldn't use the light he wanted to make the film exactly as he wanted.

Perhaps some deeper meaning is buried in this exchange, some play on the title, "shine a light." But I'm tired. And I really do think Scorsese just didn't see setting fire to a rock and roll legend as conducive to his art.

Pure genius, that man.


Related Posts with Thumbnails