Thursday, September 29, 2011

Things I Should Stop Buying: Belts

A few weeks ago, my roommate mentioned she needed a belt to wear with a new dress. I have a few and told her she could see if any would work. She said that would be good since she only has two belts. Cue the sound of a record scratching. Because I have...more than two belts. A lot more than two.

Like, 33. But, the thing is, unlike the cardigans and flats, I will probably not stop buying them. They are all very different and serve different purposes. Some are better in spring/summer and some in winter/fall. Some are skinny and some are wide. Some go around my stomach and some go around my waist. Some keep my pants from falling down and some prevent me from looking like a boy since most tops are too big on account of my barely-there chest. All are most definitely necessary. And now I need to go donate to charity because I'm feeling a wee bit excessive.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday Words

"Every day I think I believe a little less and a little less and a little less and that sucks."
-Ted, How I Met Your Mother

It has been a long rainy week. As was last week. And possibly the week before that. And the week before that. When Ted said this line on last week's premiere episode, it jumped out at me because the character is such a bastion of hope and romanticism. Granted, he has now been telling the same story for about seven years and it's getting extremely frustrating waiting to discover who the mother is, but to hear even him sound defeated, made me feel a little better. Maybe everyone just has a bit of the September doldrums.

PA 112

Rainy Day Rose
Hershey Gardens
Hershey, Pennsylvania

Monday, September 26, 2011

30 Years

Closing out September with one more anniversary, the biggest of them all: my parents' 30th anniversary!

They are just amazing people and I am, for the most selfish reasons, very glad they got together. I don't really believe in soul mates, but I do believe that people can belong together and to each other and I think my parents do. They are such strong individuals but at the same time it's hard to picture one without the other and I think that's probably how it should be.

Happy anniversary, Daddy and Mom!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Four Years

September is a very anniversary-heavy month apparently as today marks four years of my living in D.C. I truly don't know where the years have gone. And my hands get clammy and I lose feeling in my face because this is the same amount of time I was in college and I just haven't done enough!

I don't have anything profound or even reflective to say but just wanted to acknowledge the day somehow. So this is me. Acknowledging the day. It was also acknowledged in the form of a cupcake from my friend, Gloria, who insisted on buying me this red velvet one from Lavender Moon. I could handle four more years of these.

Now for a few random pictures from four years ago that were never blogged. First, and this should be embarrassing but isn't, a couple shots of my room from home in the middle of the packing madness. It's weird to look at these because though it was my room for nearly 20 years, and it still is really, I barely remember it looking like this.

From the dinner at a now-closed Italian restaurant on my last night. It was the best worst dinner of my life. A waiter that was the bartender because all the other waiters quit. Mike having to order three times because they kept running out of what he ordered. Mom declaring that her "lasagna doesn't have any meat" before realizing she was eating my manicotti. Hmm, perhaps this is why they closed?

Me a few weeks after moving up, outside a fountain in front of the Capitol.

And for comparison, a few weeks ago in Pennsylvania.

I don't know where I'll be in four more years but I can promise there will be a white shirt involved. And cupcakes, too, of course.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Goodbye, summer

For Christmas one year in high school, my parents gave me a CD changer that held 51 CDs. This enabled me to control my music selection with a remote from anywhere in my room. And from the right angle, the bathroom, too. It was my personal jukebox in the pre-iPod days. There was a small binder with numbered slots to hold liner notes so you'd know which slot held which CD. As a rule, *NSYNC always took the top spots, soundtracks at the end.

The CD changer got the most use in the summer, when I could spend hours lying on my stomach on my purple plaid bedspread, with a small gray chenille pillow bunched up under my chin while I read a book, the cool air from the ceiling vent pouring over me. As a result there are a number of songs that, 10 or more years later, always make me think of air conditioning. There are certain songs that I swear make me instantly cooler, just by memory.

My interest in music started around the seventh grade. I used to think I wasn't allowed to say this because pretty much all the music I listen to can easily be found on MTV (when they played music) or in the Top 40 charts (when they were still printed in the paper.) But that doesn't bother me anymore. More obscure music is great but it doesn't mean it's automatically better. Plus, I just don't think you can easily judge the musical tastes of others because you don't know what a song means to them. Don't know where they are transported to with that opening riff or soothing chorus.

So here is my summer 2011 playlist. For better or worse, there are a number of songs that I won't be able to listen to without thinking of this summer. Of sticky hot days, of rainy days in the office, of long walks in DC, of air conditioning.

Summer 2011 Playlist
Animal - Neon Trees
Hair - Lady Gaga
Call it Off - Tegan and Sara
Answering Bell - Ryan Adams
Power - Kanye West
1000 Julys - Third Eye Blind
Turning Tables - Adele
Knock Down Walls - Tonic
Little Lion Man - Mumford and Sons
Rolling in the Deep - Adele
Constellations - Jack Johnson featuring Eddie Vedder
Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart - Samantha Ronson/Mark Ronson/Alicia Keys
Why I Love You - Jay Z and Kanye West
F**kin' Perfect - Pink
19th Nervous Breakdown - Rolling Stones

Wednesday Words

"He said, 'The key to curves is straightening them out.' Which sounds like basic common sense, but...I don't know. It just kind of hit me that I don't straighten curves as much as hurl myself into them, then curse myself when I crash."
-Sarah Dessen, in a blog post


Sunday, September 18, 2011

The best laid plans give way to better plans

I have a really busy week ahead and needed to have a very productive weekend in advance of it. Things to do included:

  • Buy plates at Target.
  • Grocery shop for life.
  • Grocery shop for book club potluck.
  • Read my stack of magazines.
  • Sort mail.
  • Switch out summer and fall clothes.
  • Clean bathroom.
  • Clean room.
  • Clean kitchen.
  • Clean living/dining room.
  • Make a skirt.
  • Make a bracelet.
  • Buy other stuff for book club potluck.
  • Prepare for brother's visit this weekend.
Of all the items on that list, exactly zero got done. Zero. While I don't often get all my to do items done, I damn well get at least one done. But nope, just the zero this weekend. Instead I:
  • Hung out, shopped, and ate Bojangles with Gloria.
Thumbs up for her first taste of Bojangles
  • Slept late on Saturday morning.
  • Ate a candy bar for breakfast.
  • Pulled out my fall clothes and went through them but didn't unpack or put them away.
  • Went to a concert with Shana.
Avett Brothers. I am now a fan for life.
  • Slept late on Sunday morning.
  • Stayed trapped in my bedroom due to a suicidal mouse in my living room. (More on this later.)
  • Ate a cup of hash browns for lunch.
  • Took a two-hour nap on couch.
  • Started to make the skirt but stopped.
  • Ordered pizza.
  • Watched the Emmys.
  • Painted nails with gray and glitter to usher in fall.
  • Wrote this blog post and realized just how completely insane this week is going to be.
  • Had no regrets because sometimes a girl just needs her friends, some sleep, and candy for breakfast.

What Not To Say On A Date #4

Photo source.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

In which I complain about numbers

My current work project involves economic and business processes. Or, more simply, my current work project involves numbers. Lots of numbers. And formulas. And math. I'm a word person. Give me numbers and I shut down and can barely remember my own name.

Let me break it down a bit more. In high school I got As. That's it. From freshman to junior year, six classes a year, four report cards a year, an A for every one of them. That's 72 As. Senior year, block schedule, four report cards, eight classes, 28 more As. What's that, there are two As missing? Why yes, and not just because I'm bad at math. But because the first half of the last semester of my senior year I got...a C. In AP Calculus. It still hurts.

As you might imagine, as someone who not only got 100 As but still remembers them 10 years later, I was more Ms. Neurotic Over-Achieving Basketcase than Ms. Easygoing. Thus the C did not go over well. My parents didn't even have to punish me because I was so hard on myself. But I raised C to a B and wept with joy because it really was that difficult for me and I was grateful just for the B.

Needless to say, I haven't really shined the past few weeks. I have, however, cried, panic attacked, pulled hair, and whined. A lot. I've also started taking what I call "word breaks," where I do something that involves my first love. I write a blog post or an email or, my new favorite, slip out of the office for 15 minutes to read. I come back happy, refreshed, and ready to tackle those numbers! Yeah, not quite, but there are significantly fewer tears after a word break.

There's a small church and cemetery near my office with ample shade and stone benches that is a great place to get away for a few minutes. This is where I've been taking most of my reading breaks.

View from my favorite bench.

Pretty day.

Most recent reading material: Stranger than Fiction by Chuck Palahniuk.

Cute sign by drinking fountain.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A few more Wednesday words

Today's earlier Wednesday Words were from the Rolling Stones documentary I'd blogged about before. Since then I've expanded my Rolling Stones catalogue and have come to really rely on a number of their songs. One of my favorites is "You Can't Always Get What You Want." This really hits home because, well, I always want to get what I want. I can't think of anyone who doesn't want to get what they want. But since sometimes I'll pursue what I want to an obsessive degree and/or at the expense of others, the song serves as a good reminder to calm the eff down.

When I saw this print on Pinterest -- that also perfectly matched my room -- I pinned it, printed it, framed it, and hung it. Now I have a constant reminder that my way isn't the only way or the best way. Hooray.

What it looks like on the shelf. (Along with my MTM-inspired "B;" a crown picture frame with a postcard photo of Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mother; a diamond paper weight; and the Tiffany-blue book "Stuff Every Woman Should Know.")

And what it looks like in the context of my room. (Please also note the pink pillows with bows that I just made; I'm kind of proud of them.) For the sake of honesty in blogging, while I do make my bed and arrange my pillows every day, they don't usually look that good at 10:00 at night.

I think the location of this new mantra beside my other mantra, "keep calm and carry on," is a good combination.

Wednesday Words

"We're both pretty lousy but together
we're better than ten others."

-Keith Richards discussing he and Ronnie Wood,

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years

View from Home
Goldsboro, NC
September 11, 2001

We took this picture from the front porch of my parents' home because we thought the sky looked like the colors of the flag. I still remember, of course, many things about that day. Learning about the attack in second period computer class. Feeling cold immediately and my best friend coming up behind me and giving me a hug because we both just needed it. Going home and watching Peter Jennings for hours and hours. Standing on the porch and seeing this view.

One year later I was a freshman at UNC and went to a candlelight vigil in the Pit. Five years later I was in London and forced myself to leave my flat and take the bus and the tube so "they" wouldn't win. Now ten years later I'm in a city that was on the front line then and still is now. I stayed closed to this home today because I had stuff to get done and football games to watch. (Though I did run a few errands to make sure "they" didn't win.")

It's always been hard for me to think about that day and not think about all the stuff that followed. The invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. The trampling of freedoms under the guise of patriotism. The religious and ethnic stereotyping. But reading remembrances this week and watching the memorial services today, seeing the names of victims and watching their loved ones grieve, all that other stuff faded away and it was just them. Just them and their stories and sacrifices. Just as it should be.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Things I Should Stop Buying: Flats

I previously wrote about my cardigan problem. (Which I have not stopped buying, by the way.) Now let me introduce my flats problem.

That's 7 pairs of black flats and 12 pairs of other flats. At this point, it qualifies as an addiction. But an addiction that came about for a few good reasons because I:
  1. Like them.
  2. Can't walk in heels.
  3. Need to make up for lost time. When Sam & Libby flats were all the rage in the early 90s, my high arches prevented me from wearing them. The effects of not being able to wear what I wanted, when I wanted, still linger. (Though Mom did eventually find me a pair that worked. But they weren't Sam & Libby and the actual name escapes me as Daddy always called them Fred & Barney.)
So, really, blame my childhood and genetics (height, poor balance, high arches) on the fact that at 27 I now own almost 20 pairs of the same kind of shoes.

Fountain Friday

Rose Garden Fountain
Hershey Gardens
Hershey, Pennsylvania

While in Hershey last weekend, Brandie and I visited Hershey Gardens, located on a hill by the Hotel Hershey. The gardens were a nice size with a great variety of trees and flowers, especially roses. This fountain was located in the rose garden. I love when there are random water features in ponds; every pond should have one. This one was just lovely, no other words needed. (Though, given the size of the gardens, there really should have been more than one fountain. But I'll let it slide as the focus was on the flowers and trees, as it should be I suppose.)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wednesday Words

"People live their lives, knowing the interior of their existence, and can only compare it to the exteriors of the lives of others."

Amish Buggy
Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fountain Friday

Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois

These two fountains were tucked away in a courtyard beside the Art Institute. The courtyard was heavily shaded by lush trees and, combined with the fountains, made for a nice little respite from the busy city just a few yards away.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Five Years Old

Five years ago today, I took a break from packing for London to write my first post on this blog. (And then took an even longer break to fiddle with the layout, pick a background, and make a header.) I can still picture all my clothes lying on the floor. Can feel the panic rise up in my chest because I'd never be ready. Can remember preventing a panic attack by writing instead. A lot changes in five years, but losing myself in writing has definitely been a constant.

And a lot has happened in five years. For starters, it's the difference between 22 and 27, between 3 months out of college and 5 years and 3 months out of college, between moving 10 times and moving 14 times, between having no job and having the same job for 3 years and seven months. I never imagined I'd be where I am now five years ago -- which isn't a bad thing -- and I can't imagine where I'll be five years from now.

I do know that it will be the difference between 27 and 32, between 5 years and 3 months out of college and 10 years and 3 months out of college, between moving 14 times and moving who knows how many times, and between having the same job for 3 years and seven months and having who knows what job for who knows how long. But I guess I'll just keep doing what I'm doing and figuring it out along the way. Which means sometimes I'm laughing until I can't breathe and sometimes my heart is breaking. Sometimes every piece is perfectly in place and sometimes I can't find a single pair of matching socks. But no matter what I'll find the time to blog about it. Eventually.

Photo source.