Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wednesday Words

"It is less about sexiness (and label worship) than it is about a gestalt of sophistication, intelligence, and humor."

Anjelica Huston via Pinterest.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Things That Happen

These are some things that happen that may or may not make me a terrible grown up.

To see if a shirt is see through, I go around to the different windows in my apartment holding a mirror in natural light to check.
Related: If I'm just running an errand, sometimes I don't care if it's a little see through.

To avoid going to the grocery store, I will walk to a restaurant almost at the grocery store to buy dinner.
Related: I won't make a grocery list but will make a Sephora list.

Instead of hanging up clean clothes after wearing or trying them on, I pile them on the bed to hang them up, and then move them from bed to floor and back for days on end.
Related: Since I wear skirts every other day in the summer, instead of hanging and rehanging, I've been keeping them in a pile by the bed.

Deciding at 9 a.m. that I'm going to have champagne and a cupcake for dinner and being really excited about that choice.
Related: Worrying that outsiders don't understand that I love my life and the choices I've made and that even though it's never pefect, it's where I want to be. And that champagne and a cupcake for dinner is fucking awesome.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fountain Friday

National Cathedral
Washington, D.C.

The National Cathedral is one of my favorite D.C. sights. Probably because I completely forget I'm in D.C. when on the grounds or in the area. Sadly, it was damaged a bit during the earthquake. But I thought it was a perfect time to feature a fountain on the Cathedral grounds. This fountain is bit oddly modern given its ornate surroundings, but when you consider that included in the Cathedral's gargoyles is a Darth Vader, it sort of works.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I feel the earth move under my feet

Seeing as how I've blogged about probably all of the other items on Davy DCist's list, I can't not mention that minor issue of the EARTH QUAKING yesterday.

To be perfectly honest, I still don't really believe it. I saw the buildings sway, heard the rumble, felt the shaking, but still just can't quite wrap my head around it. Give me blizzards, suspicious packages, and hurricanes any day, no problem. But an earthquake? In D.C.? Don't be absurd.

Tuesday was such an amazingly beautiful day: Carolina blue skies, low heat, and a gorgeous breeze. So around 1:30 I decided to take a work break and pick up a few things at Gap, two and a half blocks from my office. On my way back to the office, about a block and a half away, I felt a rumbling that I assumed to be a big truck. Then, I noticed the buildings start to sway. And I just kept staring at them sway. While the buildings in Old Town are only two or three stories high, they are also quite old and, oh yeah, generally stationary.

I sometimes have a problem with vertigo, and once they started swaying, my head got all wishy washy and nothing really made sense after that. Thus I went to my go-to mode for any stressful or unknown situation: rationalization. "They aren't really moving. It's just a big truck. It's scaffold falling. It's construction work. Or a big truck." (I kept looking all around for this damn truck.) A man on the street even stopped and asked if it was an earthquake and I scoffed, said no, and kept walking. (I feel really, really bad about this, that I just said no and kept walking.)

After I dismissed the big truck, construction, and earthquake theories, I moved on to the most obvious one: bomb. But even then I couldn't even panic or stir up any real emotion, so I focused on walking as quickly as possible to my office, determined not to draw attention to myself in case it did turn out to be a dastardly big truck. It seemed to stop almost as soon as it started  and I probably only moved 10 feet while it was still going, but with my head all wobbly, who knows. All I wanted was to get to the office and be around people I knew. For some reason that was a big deal, to see people I knew so they could tell me what happened. Because for some reason I didn't trust the earth moving and all the strangers standing in the street staring up at the buildings.

I got to the office to find everyone gathered in the hall discussing what had happened, no one quite believing it. After a little while I realized I was shaking and didn't stop for about an hour. But it really was just...fine. I stayed late to avoid the metro mess and then spent about two hours on the train due to speed restrictions. A few picture frames in my apartment fell and a glass jar broke, but that was it. It still doesn't quite seem real, especially given the destruction we've seen in Japan, though that one was of course much stronger.

I'm very good at packing my emotions down, telling them to chill out, and then pulling them out at a more appropriate time. But as a result they don't always appear when I need them, or when it would be most prudent. (If you know me I'm sure you have gathered this if you've ever seen me start yelling and crying because I can't find a lost shoe. Hint: It's not really about the shoe. I've probably just unpacked some emotions from a weak prior.)  But maybe this is a good thing, maybe I'm much better in a crisis or a potential crisis than I assumed. And right now everything is just...fine. I'm not sure I'll be taking any work breaks to go to Gap anytime soon, but for now, it's just...fine.

That being said, I don't ever care to repeat it. Ever. When I say give me thundersnow or hurricanes, I mean it, those are at least predictable. And lest ye think I'm being cavalier, I know the destruction they can bring, I just like a little warning. And I really, really don't like when buildings sway.

Wednesday Words

"So now I love the writer and the state both, as best I can: selflessly, eyes wide to the possibility of loss, always with my arms open, embracing."
-Zan Romanoff,
Paris Review article on Joan Didion, California Girls

Polk Place, UNC
Chapel Hill, NC

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Thoughts On...Friendship

In the words of Citizen Cope, "life is short but the summer is long." And this summer has been very long. For a number of reasons I just haven't really been myself most days. But I'm hoping that as the temperature continues to drop, I'll continue to get back to being me.

But this summer has also had plenty of good in it. One thing that has become more clear to me than ever before is that I truly do have the best friends in the world. And not just my three best college friends, but friends from work, book club, and just life. I keep people at arm's length, behind steel walls, and not everyone wants to push through. In fact, most don't, and that's understandable. But there are some really stubborn people out there and they seem to be in abundance in my life. They persist. They wait. They care.

Needing people can be so hard sometimes, and I fail at it most of the time, but there are people who know what I need and are just...there. And though they are probably a day away from grabbing me by the shoulders and yelling, "Hey, Dummy! I care about you!," they just wait another day. And sometimes another day.

There is basically one overpowering belief that governs my life and it is this: Everything happens for a reason. It's not always clear and it can be a frustratingly slow process before you discover that reason, but when it's clear, suddenly entire weeks or months make sense. It doesn't help in the interim, but it's always in the background, giving hope, and sometimes that's enough.

I've never had a ton of friends and have never really wanted them. I am more comfortable with a small, reliable, trustworthy group of women (because they are almost always women) that I can laugh with, rant to, drink with, whine to, and try not to cry in front of. And if all the ups and downs of life are necessary to make me realize what good ones I have now, in this city, then that's my reason. After nearly four years here I have some friends that are making every day worth it, making every laugh greater than the last, and making me who I am supposed to be. Even if I'm not very good at it most days. And even though I have trouble telling them what they mean to me without the aid of alcohol.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What Not To Say On A Date #1

This summer I've been doing the dating thing. As a result, I'm getting some great fodder for a novel. And from time to time I'll be sharing some of the things I've heard, or maybe said myself, that should never be said on a date. At least not on a date with me.

Photo source.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Long live the anxious!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Daily Mail, for validating 27 years of anxiety-riddled freak outs, crazy spells, panic attacks, and crying jags. Apparently all the worrying I thought for sure would kill me before 40, might, just might, make me live longer. The hyper-vigilant state I call my life -- where at any second I expect a gun-wielding stranger to attack me or a metro train to jump the tracks -- might actually be keeping me alive. (Though that doesn't explain the stress ulcer currently residing on my gums.)

And the idea that being awkward and antisocial might also make me live longer? I'd be dancing for joy in the streets were I not so awkward and antisocial. (And also a truly terrible dancer.)

Now, for a few article highlights.

"A new study by Israeli scientists has discovered that those who avoid close relationships and are more anxious are better at sensing danger than those who are more secure."
Can I print this on a business card and distribute on dates? "I avoid close relationships in order to better sense danger. So, really, it's not you, it's me. As in, it's me trying to prevent a shark from devouring you."

"Between 50 and 60 per cent of us are secure; avoidant and anxious types make up the remaining portion of the population in equal parts."
Wait. A. Minute. There is no way in hell 50 to 60 percent of the population is "secure." No. Way. In. Hell.

"Scientists believe that being anxious and avoidant actually boosts levels of self-dependence.
'Someone who is avoidant, with respect to attachment, is likely to value his or her self-sufficiency more than others. They are uncomfortable depending on others, opening up to them, or having others depend on them,' R. Chris Fraley, an associate psychology professor at the University of Illinois, told the site."
Anxious and avoidant=independence. That's really all I needed to know.

"'Someone who is anxious is generally less confident than others that their loved ones will be responsive and available during times of duress.'"
No funny joke because it's true that this is an actual anxious thought I've had and it's just really sad. However, considering how many of my loved ones are also emotional basketcases, I'm actually more confidence after this article that they have my back.

"The new data goes against the grain in terms of choosing social groups, Fraley told the site: 'If I were in a position to choose my friends from scratch, I would probably choose people who are relatively secure and well-adjusted.'"
Disagree. I like my friends to be just as much, if not more, fucked up than I am. No one likes normal, well-adjusted friends. Unless you are normal and well adjusted and, in that case, you're probably boring.

"Rather, the study...shows that, far from being an awkward addition to a social group and despite their insecurity, 'highly anxious and avoidant people have the potential to contribute to group dynamics in beneficial ways -- especially with respect to detecting and reacting to threats that put everyone in the group at risk,' Fraley said."
Do you hear that, friends? For every rambling, irrationally anxious email I send, that's one less dangerous situation you have to fear because I'm on it.

Have to run and get to bed so I can have anxiety dreams or, as I'm now calling them, life-lengthening rehearsals.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wednesday Words

I'm starting a new weekly feature entitled Wednesday Words, where I post a funny, interesting, or just random quote. (Which I've been doing sporadically the past few months.) A lot of bloggers do "Worldess Wednesday" and just post a photo, but as I am a big word lover and collector, my way makes more sense for me.

"I know that when things get like this it just means the universe needs you distracted so great things can be born, and I always remind myself of that when I feel at loose ends."
-Sarah Dessen

Gimghoul Castle
Chapel Hill, NC

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

So many things to see

My San Francisco pictures are finally uploaded, organized, and semi-captioned on my Flickr.

Painted Ladies.

Me and Jan

Golden Gate Bridge

Still planning on writing more about the trip...eventually.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fountain Friday

Outside Urban Country
Bethesda, Maryland

After getting turned around while walking in downtown Bethesda last month, I came across a store called "Urban Country" and this fountain in front of it. There was a bench across from it perfect for me to chill for a few seconds, check my iPhone GPS, and stare at this unique fountain. My favorite part of being a Fountain Aficionado are the variety of fountains I come across and the constant surprise at the materials incorporated. This was my first encounter with the use of pottery in a fountain and it was a great mix of rustic and modern. (Or, perhaps, great mix of urban and country?)

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

, and me.

"These lessons lay below the surface, but when I began to write, they rose like flowers and bloomed into words and stories and books, and me."
-Sallie Tisdale, Vogue

Journal collection, 2008

Monday, August 08, 2011

A Tiffany's Story

"The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that'd make me feel like Tiffany's, then I'd buy some furniture and give the cat a name!"
-Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany's

Other than Fred's monologue in the rain at the end, this is my favorite quote from BAT.  While Holly uses Tiffany's quite literally, it really leads to the much broader idea of a place representing comfort, ease, safety, and bliss. For years I’ve been collecting a bank of places, things, and ideas that compose my own "Tiffany's." From a place like Chapel Hill to an object like my blanket, they become armor that almost nothing can penetrate. "Nothing very bad could happen to you" because you always have these places to run to or these things to hold that will back you up. And it's an amazing feeling.

I've been in three different Tiffany's stores and while they are very lovely, they don't really give me that impenetrable feeling. But I still love to go and channel a little bit of Holly.

On Friday evening in San Francisco, as Jan and I strolled around Union Square, looking at all the stores and buildings, she suggested we start our Saturday morning by grabbing some Starbucks and literally having breakfast at Tiffany's. And this is why she's one of my best friends, people. There may have been an actual skip or dance on my end at her suggestion.

The Inspiration

The Reality

It was just a silly little gesture that felt really, really nice. It felt right to visit the store with Jan as she loves the movie as much as I do.

The Rest of the Story
My first trip to a Tiffany's was when I went to New York City in 2004. My friends and I went in, admired all the lovely items, and left without purchasing anything. I was just a 20-year-old college student who needed her money for more vital things.

 First Visit
Fifth Avenue, New York City
March 2004

When I went to Chicago with Brandie in 2009, we went by the store during our jaunt down the Magnificent Mile. After mentioning that I'd always wanted to buy something there, Brandie, in all her infinite wisdom, said something along the lines of, "Well, why don't you?" So I did. And every time I wear my necklace I think of a trip to Chicago with a great friend.

Second Visit and First Purchase
Michigan Avenue, Chicago
July 2009

In San Francisco, seven years after my first visit, I bought a simple silver ring that will remind me of another great trip with another great friend.

Third Visit and Second Purchase
Union Square, San Francisco
July 2011

And that's my Tiffany's story thus far. Next on the list: Ask for a sterling silver telephone dialer.

I resisted writing this because I don't want to come across as boastful or shallow. But I think everyone works hard so we can afford the things we like whether it be a nice dinner, a day off with the family, or a cool gadget. And I still maintain a fierce devotion to Forever 21 jewelry and Target pajamas.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Things I Learned This Weekend

It's perfectly acceptable to forgo plans so you can stay home and watch it rain.
I love rain just about more than anything and it has been ages since I was home during a good storm. So late Saturday afternoon, as the sky began to darken and thunder sounded in the distance, I grabbed some tea, a book, a blanket, and curled up on the couch to listen to and watch the rain hit the window.

The Hope Diamond really is worth the hype.
Brandie and I went to the Natural History Museum on Sunday morning. Our first stop: something shiny.

The rescue vessel for the Chilean miners is really small.
The main reason for our trip to the museum was to see the new exhibit on the Chilean miners. It was pretty small but did feature items on loan from the miners, including a signed flag, letters, and a helmet. There was also one of the test rescue vessels and I'm not sure I could have fit one leg in there. (Slight exaggeration but it was small.) 

According to a blood pressure cuff in a museum, I have high blood pressure.
There was also an exhibit on race at the museum and one of the displays allowed you to test your blood pressure. This is because apparently one of the stereotypes over the years has been that African-Americans have high blood pressure. Now, any other time I've had my blood pressure checked, including most recently last month at work, I've been normal to too low. Well, today I was in full on hypertension mode. I'm going to blame it on the fact that this was a blood pressure cuff in a museum and that as I sat there reading the warnings of "might faint or feel pain," my heart was racing a bit more than usual. 

Not all brisket is created equal.
A new restaurant opened in Penn Quarter called Hill Country Barbecue. Between numerous trips to Texas over the years and my Daddy's supreme grill master skills, I've had my fair share of brisket. (And probably the share of a few others as well.) This brisket was just good, but not great. Same for the beans and the cornbread. Very good, however, was the water out of a mason jar.

Ulta is amazing.
In the past few months I've kind of become addicted to beauty blogs and how tos on You Tube. As a result, I spend a bit more time in Sephora than is prudent. And while I thought I'd been in an Ulta before, today I discovered this was not true and that it is a wonderful, wonderful place.

Ryan Gosling is crazy stupid hot.
B and I ended the day in a cool movie theatre to watch "Crazy Stupid Love," which was crazy stupid good. (Is that getting old yet?) Funny, well-acted, and well-written; it was just a solid film.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Fountain Friday

Vaillancourt Fountain
San Francisco, California

This modern and unique fountain was located near the Embarcadero. As much as I loved SF, there were not many fountains, at least in the areas we visited. But this one was large, loud, and perfect for its location in a big open-air area. This is a good example of what I call an "inviting fountain," meaning it's possible to get closer to it than you can most other fountains. It had paths both above and behind so you could be "in" the fountain without getting wet. (Though more than likely you'd still get wet.) It was cold and just at the start of our day so I didn't get too close, but I appreciated the option.

*Have to upload all my SF pictures to Flickr and then I'll start blogging about the trip. This week has been crazy.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Pinterest Challenge

One of my favorite blogs, perhaps my absolute most favorite, is Young House Love. Mom and I are obsessed to the point that we will mention them in conversation like we know them. (I.e., "Ooh, John and Sherry would love this lamp.") Their blog is where I first learned about the visual bookmarking site Pinterest. It's easy to use and makes keeping track of inspiration a breeze. Now comes the Pinterest Challenge, which was their idea to stop just bookmarking inspiration and actually start doing.

I've already made and blogged about several things I "pinned," including chicken taquitos and a jersey necklace and bracelet. Another necklace I pinned was this one from Love Maegan, also a favorite blog. (I made another of her necklaces here.)

This is my version. (Which was briefly blogged about before but that picture was taken before it was completely finished.)

Mine was made using two multi-strand necklaces from Forever 21. (One and two.)

I just shortened some strands and doubled others, and then arranged and attached until I was happy. The large clasp made all the strands easy to keep track of and move around.

And here it is in action in San Francisco after dinner at Bourbon Steakhouse. (Picture taken using my iPhone in a mirror-lined hall, so it's not the most clear.)

And a blurry close up.

It's heavy and a bit dramatic for everyday wear, but that probably won't stop me. And I sort of want to make another one or five, just because.


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