Friday, June 25, 2010

Love and Not Love

Things I'm loving this week:
  • Gap jeans. I bought a new pair of skinny jeans there a few weeks ago and love them to death. This week I tried on a boot cut pair and they shall be mine. Just waiting for them to go on sale. Or not.
  • World Cup. I've become even more obsessed. A thrilling finish for the U.S. and England's through to the next round, too. Very sad that Italy's out but Portugal and Brazil should keep it interesting.
(A too-cute baby shirt at Target. They didn't have U.S.)
  • True love. A story from the Washington Post about two men who first met in the 1940s, have been together for 60 years, and just made it "official." 60 years! And gay marriage would be an affront to the institution. Ha.
Things I'm not loving this week:
  • The weather. Oh my goodness. I know back in February I would have killed for warmth, but this is just too much.
  • Metro. Delays, poor safety, thefts, scant air-conditioning, and now a series of massive fare hikes. Not. Happy.
  • This post.Nearly a week without writing and this is all I can muster. It's just too hot to do anything, even sit in a cool room and write. A week into summer and already the dog days are here...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Reasons Why, part two

I wrote last month about how I have the greatest mom ever. It should come as no surprise, then, that I also have the greatest dad ever. (I mean, like it would be any other way?)

Here are ten reasons why.

1. Hello, goodbye. Whenever I'm home and he has to leave early to go out of town, he wakes me up to say goodbye. This is very brave because I am not a morning person but I don't think he's ever not done it.
January 1984

2. Mr. Fix It. My dad can build and fix anything. This means computers, cars, and buildings. Our house is full of things he has built, from our deck, screened porch, and pool to our playroom and hardwood floors. We rarely if ever had to have "professionals" work on anything because he always knew how, or, would figure it out as he went. (Directions not necessary.)

3. My hero. I wrote about this before I think, but in the sixth grade I was upset that he didn't come back to my classroom after graduation so he came home on his dinner break and brought me a rose. To this day it's my favorite rose ever.
Dancing at my cousin's wedding, spring 2001

4. Dorkdom. Apparently Daddy didn't like that I called me and mom dorks in my mother's day post. Mom explained that it's a good thing in our minds, which it is, and it's also undeniably true. Well, I'm sorry Daddy, but you're a dork too, and a good one. He likes to read the weather and news stories out loud from the internet and still checks NORAD every Christmas Eve to see where Santa's at. He also can watch the NASA channel or C-SPAN for a very long time. (Both of which I have now done too, it must be genetic.)
NC Mountains, fall 2001

5. Letting go. His blind faith in me and understanding of why I live away from home and do what I do helps me do both.

6. Importance of family. He loves us so much and I just know he would do anything for us. He has set an amazing example not just for my brother, but for my sister and I as well, of what a man, father, and husband should be.
After high school graduation, May 2002

7. Pyromaniac. He has taken the practice of amateur fireworks and elevated them to an art form. And still has his vision and all his fingers. (Knock on wood.) It's not the Fourth of July without either a jumbo set of fireworks from Sam's or a variety of less-than-legal goods from South Carolina, with Daddy, and Joey, huddled together coordinating each act for maximum effect. And then running away not quite as briskly as I would like.
Fourth of July 2009

8. Just us. When I was younger we weren't supposed to go shopping together because we'd always come back with something expensive. (A swingset, motorized car.) He would only listen to the oldies station in his truck and I fell in love with a number of those songs on the long rides to and from camping trips. When he had a day off in the summer he would take Joey and I to the army surplus store or Lowe's. He picked me up just about every other weekend my freshman year of college.

9. Dog lover. Though not crazy about our first dog, Peanut, he helped mom, Joey, and I get through the summer he got really sick and then when he died a few years later. And now he's just a big ol' softie with our current dogs, Peanut and Dimples. He is wrapped around their little paws, talking to them and spending ages petting them.
21st birthday, January 2005

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

Happy Father's Day, Daddy.


Friday, June 18, 2010


Proof I am indeed an American: I have developed a sudden interest in professional soccer. I expect it to last a maximum of four weeks, minimum of two weeks, depending on who advances or if something else comes along to distract me. But no matter what, this sudden interest won't be seen again for four years. Sad, but true.

To be perfectly honest, the actual games are kind of secondary in my interest. Don't get me wrong, I believe soccer is one of the most physically demanding sports and the games are interesting and engaging to watch. But even after years and years of watching games of my brother's, I still don't know the positions, fouls, or understand their offsides. (Of course, I don't always know these for college b-ball either but it's still an obsession.)

My primary interest is just in the spectacle of it all, the history, the back stories. I love reading about the players, the teams, the countries. I am a sucker for a good human interest story and the harder it makes me cry the more obsessed I get. (I'm the same with the Olympics, but worse.)

A few things I've observed/learned/picked up on thus far:
  • The nationality of the fans doesn't matter: when they realize they are on they Jumbotron, they will immediately devolve to the universal language of dork.
  • I'm beginning to think some of the American press doesn't understand how this month of games thing works. It seems like every headline declares "Team X STUNS Team Y." (I'm looking at you, HuffPo.) There's no way every game already has a clear winner. If this were true, then there would be no point in having a month of games, now would there? Therefore, there should be more headlines that just say "Team X, 1, Team Y, 1."
  • Because, of course, every game has to end with a draw. I assume it's in the World Cup guidelines? So far all the games I've been able to see have ended in a tie. But I am looking forward to shoot outs in the next round. I love a good shout out. Primarily because I love to see grown men cowering with their hands over their groins. I mean, I would assume as a professional athlete that your most precious commodity would be your feet or legs or eyes, maybe cover those. Nope? Just the groin? Ok.
  • Those blasted horns wouldn't be so annoying if they were used in the vein of a cowbell or other noisemaker: to reward a good play or performance. Instead, the incessant droning is just that, an incessant droning.
  • Though polls routinely prove that a terrifying number of Americans don't know the vice president's name, our country's date of independence, or what comprises the Bill of Rights, the costume choices of soccer fans and some of the insults they hurl, suggests otherwise. (I.e. Elaborate colonial costumes and references to the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 before the match with England last week.)
  • Soccer players are hot. It had to be said.

I won't be purchasing a jersey or figuring out that offsides thing anytime soon, but it's something fun to occupy the days and it has been too long since I got into a sporting event without overwhelming dread and nausea. (See: North Carolina Tar Heels men's basketball, 2010)

All pictures taken from Yahoo Images.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Oh no

Since writing about book covers a few months ago, they've been catching my eye more often in bookstores. I was in Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago and noticed these:

Look familiar?

And in case it isn't obvious enough, there's this bright shining "endorsement" on "Wuthering Heights":
But of course it would be their favorite book. A dark and creepy story about obsessive love is right up their alley.

There will be a post about it one day, but just know, I HATE Twilight. HATE it. I was hanging on to the tailpipe of the bandwagon a few years ago and read all four. Not because I enjoyed them, but because I kept hoping they would get better. Not the case.

If this is how we have to get teens and tweens to read the classics then, well, ok. But I'm still not happy about.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


From Politico:
First couple takes in 'Thurgood'

According to another article, they arrived at the Kennedy Center around 7:28.

I was at the Kennedy Center from approximately 5:28 to 7:02. For the first time in months.

So close, yet, not.

(I went to the Millennium Stage 6:00 free performance they have everyday. Friday's was a blind Japanese violinist. Very impressive.)

Friday, June 11, 2010

And it seems like it goes on like this forever

There's a feeling that hits me whenever I go home to Carolina. It's like I've been holding my breath and didn't even realize it. I exhale and for a little while a weight is lifted from my back, neck, and shoulders that I forgot was there.

Finally, I can breathe.

The most noticeable difference, at least to me, is my accent. Despite what the Yankees I work with and live around say, most days I don't have one. But once I cross that border South, suddenly, I'm drawling. And I don't even care. As soon as I exhale that breath I exhale the energy needed to keep two syllable words from becoming five.

I can't stress enough that I am happy where I am. My life's not perfect but I'm doing and working toward what I've always wanted and still want. But some times you just have to go home. And that means "home home" to my hometown, and the places that feel like home. Like Chapel Hill.

And despite what North Carolinian Thomas Wolfe said about home, that you can never go again, I think you can, and that Mr. Wolfe secretly agreed, too. Because he also wrote this, about our beloved alma mater:

"But sometimes when the springtime comes,
And the sifting moonlight falls --
They'll think again of this night here
And of these old brown walls,
Of white Old Well, and of old South
With bell's deep booming tone,
They'll think again of Chapel Hill and --
Thinking -- come back home."

Not a day goes by that I don't think and go back there. Some days it's just a peaceful feeling and some days it's an all consuming desire to be anywhere but where I am. But I don't romanticize my time there. It was hard and demoralizing and stressful. Some days I needed to be anywhere but there and by the end of it I felt completely broken. But I am who I am because of it all and it just goes to show how you can love something all in even when it isn't perfect.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

How sweet it is to feel the Earth move under my feet

Concert pictures on my Flickr.

The event that spurred this trip South was the James Taylor and Carole King concert. I came to love their music through my mom so when the tour was announced it was a given I couldn't go without her. With dates in the middle of the week for both D.C. and NC, we settled on the Charlotte show, which meant we got to go with my aunt, too.

It was a wonderful show. Three hours full of every song you could imagine and would want them to sing. Basically two concerts in one. The stage was in the round and constantly turning and we had amazing seats. My pictures didn't come out great, however, but that's ok. The most wonderful thing was that they sound exactly the same, or even better, as they do on CD. JT has the melodic and peaceful voice that soothes me, while Carole King has such a powerful voice, more than I realized, and the energy of someone half her age.

Of course the highlight for this Carolina Girl was when JT sang "Carolina in my Mind." And now having heard him sing it live I get to cross an item off my bucket list. Just perfection, all around.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sunny days we thought would never end

Last week I went home to North Carolina for the first time since Christmas. The week went something like this: D.C. to BWI to RDU to Home to Oak Island to Home to Garner to Home to Charlotte to Stanly to Lincolnton to Chapel Hill to Home to RDU to BWI to D.C.

Or, in an unartistic and butchered geographic rendering:
And that's just the travelling. The actual days went something like this: Saw my brother for the first time in months and my aunts for the first time in a year. Met the two second cousins I hadn't yet and the 2-week old son of an old friend. Ate Bojangles cinnamon biscuits only available in the Western part of the state and Wilber's barbecue. Drank copious amounts of Pepsi. (I don't keep soft drinks in my apartment but my mom stocks it at the house.) Played with dogs, saw the stars, watched HBO, soaked in Chapel Hill, talked to mom and daddy, watched a concert, spent time with the sister and fam, slept on the surface of the sun. (The skylights in my former bedroom/mom's current craft room are no longer covered, thus letting in the brightest light known to woman and waking me up ever morning at 6ish.)
But all of this is just a bunch of words that can really be summed up with just one: home.