because the girl can dream

September 14, 2018

jesus, picky's been pathetic, lately. i'm sorry about that. here's some pretty colors to cheer you up... i could spend hours in the container store, yall. HOURS. these are the kinds of things i would buy if i had the money...

for the bathroom

for the closet

for the desk


September 13, 2018

about a year ago, a friend invited me to join her book club. it's a great group of women, and i feel so blessed to be considered their friend, but since joining, i've read two of the books chosen, and one of them was my pick (also one i'd already read -- the language of flowers). the other was a man called ove. i eventually read a third, beach music, but not because of the book club so much as i needed a book for one of the categories of erin's book challenge (feel free to join... there are about six weeks left in this session, but she always welcomes latecomers, and she'll start another challenge in a couple of months... it's neat to flip through the albums and see what others have read). anyway. three books out of like twelve. that's not bad, but most of the girls have gotten in the habit of joking that i won't read it anyway...

we're reading beautiful boy this month. i'm on page forty-four. i'm reading it because i've chosen to watch the movie adaptation for the fall film challenge (we're only a couple of weeks in, and i, too, welcome latecomers... it's neat to flip through the albums and see what others have watched).

i've been more hopeless the past couple of months than i normally am. probably more than i've been in my life, actually. i'm not fighting as much, i'm becoming more and more merciless about the things i keep. gwyneth paltrow plays plath in the film sylvia. there's a line: i feel like there's nothing behind my eyes but air. i understand that line now. i understand how a person could feel that way. for most of my life i've felt like there's nothing behind mine but water. it doesn't feel like that anymore.

i started bible study this week. we're reading joshua. that name means the lord saves, by the way. or so my notes told me. i've gotten off to a good start, much better than i have in the past. yesterday and today, i spent the better part of an hour reading parts of proverbs, of my own accord, and the recommended reading from our notes: bits from genesis, psalms, romans...

and then i've taken my copy of beautiful boy and read while walking around my neighborhood.

off and on in the course of my life i've thought that i don't believe it's possible that a man could love me. i know why he should. i know i'm worth loving, even when i'm feeling my absolute worst, i know that in my heart. my head, though... the older i get, the more difficult it is for me to believe in that possibility. i've given up, actually. not because i want to, but because it's almost easier to live without the hope.

so i'm walking and reading and come across this passage on page thirty-two:

our first cautious date is at a friend's party on the upper east side. the fine young cannibals play on the music system, waiters circulate with trays of champagne and canapes, and then, though it is a sweltering night, i walk her the length of manhanttan to her downtown loft. it takes a couple hours, during which time we do not stop talking. whenever we come upon an all-night grocery, we get popsicles.
it's dawn when we say good night at her front door.

i stopped when i read that. stopped and read it again. and wished i could know what a date like that was like without having to read about it in a book. how sad is it that a forty-five-year-old woman only knows love from the books she reads and the people she sees?

before i fell into that well of despair, i made myself get moving again, reading and walking.

i want someone to see me the way ove's wife sees him, the way grant sees victoria. i want to know the man who can't help but stay and talk with me.

my friends are quick to suggest bumble. i've been on there. i can barely get a man to say hi. i don't want to meet my guy that way. it doesn't have to be anything fantastic. i don't need extraordinary. that's what books and movies are for.

i've prayed. i've gotten down on my knees and sobbed against my comforter and begged. 

the last gift my older brother gave me was at christmas: a bottle of ralph lauren's romance. i spray it and think of the day after he died when i was out running errands, getting things for the memorial service. i heard him say i'll find you someone. such a delusion, but i believed it.

which is worse? wanting love in your life and not getting it or wanting to live without it?

the best antidote

August 31, 2018

hey!! good people!!! i need there to be an especially ginormous abundance of love being shared today.
reach out far and wide and tell as many folks as you can
that they are loved beyond measure. please.

this was the facebook status i posted the day my aunt committed suicide. contrary to what it may seem here, when depression gets the better of me, i don't share that kind of stuff on facebook. like everybody else, my facebook page is generally uplifting. i post pretty pictures i've painted or videos that warm my heart... it is a source of light for me.

that post got nineteen likes and fourteen loves and twelve comments. most of those comments were friends telling me they loved me. i wasn't fishing for that. i truly needed my friends to put love out into the universe that day. it didn't need it to come my way. not then. of the five hundred some friends i have on facebook, only one knew that something was very wrong for me that day. only one.

she messaged me:

hey friend. what's going on today? it seems like a particularly "not great" day.

god love her for her perceptiveness. god love her for giving a shit about me. 

after kate spade and anthony bourdain left us, i saw a shit ton of posts on facebook and twitter about how we should think to check on the strong ones. like they're the only ones worthy of the check. 

  1. When they all swept out of there 4 hours later, my place was a home. Not only was everything put away - but now it had a memory attached to it, a group memory, friends, laughing, dirty jokes, hard work. These are the kinds of friends I have. Be that kind of friend to others.
  2. That's the end. The "ask for help" advice is well-meaning but not really thought through. There's shame, there's enforced helplessness, there's the feeling you're not worth it, etc. My friends didn't wait for me to ask. They showed up. They took over. They didn't ask.

these are tweets from a thread i found today, and everything about this thread is SPOT ON, but these two speak volumes to me. VOLUMES.

i don't ask for help when my world is caving. it's not your job to make me feel better... or so i tell myself. i've lived with this shit for thirty-seven years. i bring a lot of this shit on myself. i don't want to burden you with my problems. i don't want your pity. i don't want your preaching -- because here's the thing... i know ALL the ways to battle depression. i know them. i have to care enough to use the tools. and if i'm depressed, i don't give a shit. about ANYTHING.

not that many people reach out to me. that's probably my fault. i know i'm not easy. i've never known easy. kind of hard to be something you don't know.

one friend has two children, a boy in california and a girl who lives at home but is about to embark on a global adventure for a few months. the boy was having health issues, and i imagine when your kid's in the emergency room half a continent away you'd feel pretty helpless. and then your girl's leaving in a few weeks... i imagine that'd make you feel pretty sad. and this friend battles depression, like me. she and her husband have partnered with another couple to operate a snow cone stand. it takes about an hour to get to it. i drove all that way to get a snow cone. to see her. that's the kind of friend i am.

i wish i had more friends like the one mentioned at the beginning of this post. i wish more of my friends thought enough of me to check in with me. i wish more of them took time for me.

because to be honest, the best antidote for depression is life. camaraderie. kindness.

the fall film challenge: my list

August 29, 2018

one. still alice.
two. how to make an american quilt.
three. the bookshop.
four. life itself.
five. what they had.
six. beautiful boy.
seven. the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society.
eight. tag.
nine. deadpool two.
ten. john wick.
eleven. why him?
twelve. destination wedding.
thirteen. sleeping with other people.
fourteen. john wick: chapter two.
fifteen. outside providence.
sixteen. darkest hour.
seventeen. stronger.
eighteen. love, simon.
nineteen. operation finale.
twenty. first man.
twenty-one. the miracle season.
twenty-two. every day.
twenty-three.  hired gun.
twenty-four.  before i fall.
twenty-five. unbroken: path to redemption.

i had originally intended to watch a star is born and battle of the sexes
but have decided to replace those titles with hired gun and before i fall.

and after devising the bonus round list, i have taken boy erased, bohemian rhapsody and fantastic beasts: crimes of grindelwald off and have added how to make an american quilt, john wick and john wick: chapter two.

the fifth annual fall film challenge began september first!
it's not too late to join!

for the lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights - proverbs 3:12

August 18, 2018

things can only get better

August 16, 2018

i haven't been to church in a long time. a friend talked me into going saturday. the readings spoke to me. the songs did. i bought some tamales afterward. two batches.

i boiled them both. the first batch came out just fine. i scarfed those babies down. they were divine.

the second one? i cooked them last night. i accidentally punctured the bag. they were a soggy mess. i ate them anyway.

today i got fired. from a job i loved. from a place i had loved working. that's the first time in my life i've been able to say that. that i loved working somewhere.

i'm drinking dos equis. by myself. and there's a storm brewing. please god, let the days get better soon.

the demons... the dreams i drown

August 14, 2018

hey now, take your change.

that's one of the first lines in u2's stay.

the first memory that comes to mind when i hear this song is the drive from montrose to grand junction to visit my mother's family after my brother died. i plug in pretty much the moment we pull out of the driveway until we dump our bags wherever we're staying -- it's how i deal with being in a box, whether it's my father's explorer or the shuttle from the parking lot to the airport or cramped in the window or middle seat on a flight (though to be honest, i've been pretty fortunate with the aisle seat lottery lately). i plug in to keep from having an anxiety attack. my mom's complained about this on more than one occasion. she would prefer that i be communicative and attentive. i'd prefer to keep my sanity. i win. anyway... i remember hearing this song on that trek, and it suited my mood then. i was twenty-nine. the first chords put me back in that car, riding behind my father, looking out at a gloomy colorado.

then there's that line. take your change. and i'm not in colorado anymore. i'm in san marcos. seven years younger. stupid, crazy in love with a boy we'll call elliot. not a good man. not by any means. but he'd impressed me with his talent and confidence and wit and eyes -- he has black eyes, like my grandmother's. the first time my grandfather saw her, all he could see of her was her eyes, and he fell hard. the first time i saw elliot, i couldn't help myself. i'm a sucker for pretty eyes and mad skills. the boy could play guitar better than anyone i knew. yeah. musician. i'm an idiot. i know. everybody else did, too. it was laughable in my circle of friends-who-weren't-friends that i liked him. so san marcos. hasting's entertainment -- a video and music store. i'd gone to visit one of those friends-not-friends -- we'll call him ben -- and his girlfriend. they'd insisted on watching caddyshack because i'd never seen it. so we took my car. i left my cigarettes at his apartment because he didn't like me smoking. we were standing in line to pay for the rental. val kilmer was on the cover of premier magazine for batman forever. i'd said something about that. something about him being hot.

ben laughed and said i thought elliot was the love of your life. 

i could've shrugged it off, except ben and i had gone to school together from fifth to eighth grade, and in junior high, when i'd asked him to sign my yearbook, he'd written to the love doctor...  he and the rest of my peers were relentless then, always making fun of how ugly i was. the moment he said that, i was reminded of decades before. i started laughing to keep from crying.

the cashier was holding out the change she'd made. i couldn't move. ben said get your change, jenn.

i said i realize you've never seen me upset so you don't know how i get when i'm that way, so i'll tell you: i start laughing hysterically, and i get incredibly sarcastic, and in case you haven't figured it out yet, i'm pissed. and i stormed out. i would've left them there. i would've gotten back in my car and made the three hour trek back to my solitary apartment in houston. but i let him drive my car, and he had the keys. i couldn't smoke a cigarette. had to wait until we got back to his apartment. i sat in the rear, behind the passenger seat, as far away from him as i could, pressed into the side. i could hear his girlfriend whisper, why'd you say that? i could see him shake his head and mutter i don't know. when we got back to his apartment, i snatched my cigarettes and went walking around the complex until the tears got the best of me, and i collapsed on some sidewalk. he found me. he apologized. we watched caddyshack. i remember chomping on tums like they were candy. i remember him watching me, worried.

so i'm reminded when i hear this song of how awful i am at loving. how careless. how thoughtless. and selfish.

the other day my father and i took a drive after dinner through some of the neighborhoods. it's easier for me to ride in a car when i'm in the front. i can see out more easily. i don't feel quite so claustrophobic. we had a nice chat. i enjoyed the time with him. but this one comment he'd made stuck with me. he said that i seemed less angry lately, more able to go with the flow, that i haven't been fighting as much. he didn't know if it was because of the medicine i'm taking or what, but he liked that i seemed happier.

i'm not fighting at all now. i wake up. i go about my day, and when it's over, i crawl into bed. rinse. repeat.

stay with the demons you drown...

i have given up. people said you've to let go of things, to give up the plans you have for yourself so that the plans god has in store for you can come to be. i'm not writing. i go to work. i come home. i play on the computer. i eat. i get ready for bed. i pop my pills. i sleep. rinse. repeat.

and it's not just my demons i drown now, but my dreams, too.

the fall film challenge

July 31, 2018

begins one minute past twelve a.m. september first / concludes midnight november thirtieth. you may NOT use a movie you have already seen, even in part (excluding trailers), for this challenge. all films MUST be new to you. all selections MUST have a page on the internet movie database and MUST have (had) a theatrical release. titles released outside of the united states are acceptable.

in previous challenges, membership to the fall film challenge facebook group was a requirement for prize eligibility. that is NOT the case this year. if you choose not to join the group, please find ways to communicate your progress with me so that i can keep accurate lists and ensure prizes are awarded correctly. for those who do join the group, there are nine photo albums, arranged by decade, on the group's page. once an individual has seen a film, he or she leaves a comment on the corresponding image saying when it was viewed and for what category so i can track progress. if you are not a member of the group and are in communication with me, i will make the necessary notes to stills representing your selections.

each film is valued at ten points. changes after the challenge has begun ARE acceptable.

the first five people to complete the challenge prior to november thirtieth will each receive a redbox gift card valued at ten dollars. if you complete the original list, you will be eligible to compete in the bonus round, the details of which will be revealed october fifteenth. the person to accumulate the most points at the event's conclusion will receive an amazon gift card valued at fifty dollars.

once you've joined the group and selected your films for the categories, post your choices to the group's page or email it to criticalcrass at me dot com so i may add your selections to the master list and, if necessary, upload the correlating stills to the galleries.

for previous challenges, individuals chose films that suited twenty-five categories. this year, i have forgone those for a game of six degrees of kevin bacon. choose twenty-five films that you can connect to other motion pictures in which he has starred in SIX FILMS OR LESS, counting his work and your choice. for example, the cast of black panther includes lupita nyong'o... who starred with michael fassbender in twelve years a slave... who starred with bacon in x-men: days of future past. DO NOT show the connections in your list. some of the fun this year is in seeing how others connect the films you've selected with kevin bacon. a sample:

one. black panther.
two. avengers: infinity war.
three. incredibles two.
four. jurassic world: fallen kingdom.
five. deadpool two.

in the past i've given yall helpful links. you're on your own this time. get to it.


June 22, 2018

i used to imagine were i to get married what my wedding would be like. most of the time i envisioned it at a catholic church in the woodlands, not far from where i live, and because my father is who is and is so well-loved by so many, i doubt very much the guest list would've been fewer than two hundred people. it would've been big... not so much because i wanted big but because i would've felt a need to invite so many. more presents, right?

but what i really wanted was small and simple. i wanted to get married at my great uncle's monastery so he could be there. and because my faith was rooted in that place. and because i wanted to celebrate on the lawn at sunset with my family. i would've wanted my spouse's family to know the tranquility of that place, and i would've preferred that chapter of my life to begin in someplace quiet and content.

of course, the older i got the more difficult it was for me to picture this future. my twenties came and went. my thirties. i'm halfway through my forties. the older i got the more ridiculous the picture seemed to be.

and then the monastery closed last summer.

and my munkle died this week.

i broke down at work today because the thing i most wanted to give him -- the knowledge that i would find that kind of love and have that kind of a life... that all his hopes and prayers for me had become reality. i couldn't give that to him. 

an image of what that day could've been like came to mind so fully that i was taken aback. i gripped the counter for balance and then fell to my knees and wept.

thank god no one was in the store. no one came in while i was crumpled on the ground.

brett young's mercy was playing. if you're gonna break my heart just break it.

i don't know how many more times mine can break.

let there be light

June 9, 2018

my aunt killed herself on wednesday.

i have always viewed my brother's death as a suicide -- but his method was painstaking and debilitating. he drank and drank and drank until his body said enough, and it took about a decade for that end to come. i lost my brother a long time ago, but was fortunate, just before he left us, to catch a glimpse of the man i knew him to be.

this woman, she'd been gone for years. i was too young when she married into my family to appreciate her personality to the fullest, and as i aged, her character got dimmer and dimmer and dimmer... i did not know her. 

it's easier for me to cope with her absence because i didn't know who she was. i knew of her struggles, and i know how depression can intensify them so that light, faith, hope and love are altered or altogether lost. there's a part of me that knows relief for her now. it's done. she's no longer crushed under the weight of burdens too impossible for her to bear. 

that weight, though... it, like the darkness, has shifted.

it's easy to hate when this kind of death occurs. it's easy to be angry. all that darkness, despair, fear and hatred migrate from the body of the deceased to the hearts of the living. 

it's easy to attach blame. someone somewhere must've said or done something that caused so-and-so to break.

it's easy to say that person was weak and selfish and stupid.

then we immortalize the dead -- assuming we loved them, of course. kurt cobain and robin williams are some of the best examples of this. it's such a tragedy. such an easy topic for conversation. how sad! can you believe? why didn't that person reach out for help? did you know? her instagram is always so fun and upbeat; she couldn't possibly have been depressed. and then there are the pleas from the public to get help, to reach out. to stay. hell, i've made them myself. 

i have been depressed since i was eight years old. when i was in college, i gave a presentation in an education class on child suicide, and when i was done, one of my classmates -- a middle-aged black man -- asked, so you wanted to kill yourself because you weren't a good daughter, sister, student and friend? 

i wanted to slap him. i managed to maintain my composure and responded: when you're an eight year girl, your only responsibilities are to be a good daughter, sister, student and friend, and i was failing at all of them. i reminded him that during the school year as future teachers we would see these children more than their parents would. i insisted that it wasn't a teacher's job to judge the burdens a child carries but to help that child carry them, and if that's not possible then find someone who can.

it's easy to belittle someone's struggles. it's EASY to belittle someone's pain.

by the time i was ten, i had a plan.

i've had one for thirty-five years. several, in fact. i know all the ways it can be done. i know there's never been a day where i've not thought i want to be dead. i know i wouldn't leave a note. those who know me best know damned well why i would want to leave this place. 

i also know i would never do that to my parents and brother, to my niece and nephew. i don't want one of those children to ever have to say my aunt killed herself today.

my facebook and twitter feeds are raging with suicidal thoughts. i need this to stop. i need, so much, to see light and faith and hope and love in social media, now more than ever.

  please god, let there be light.

four things celebrated in may

June 4, 2018

one. dwayne "the rock" johnson was born on may second of nineteen seventy-two. watch one of his movies. share a couple of his lines you loved.

okay. i watched jumanji: welcome to the jungle. i did not love any lines of dialogue from the film. not a damned one of them was remarkable enough to recommend it here.

two. adam yauch of the beastie boys died six years ago on may fourth at age forty-seven. what's your favorite song of theirs? give me four reasons why it's better than the rest.

the four reasons are in the lyrics:
a. they be staring at their radios
staying up all night
so like a pimp, i'm pimpin
i got a boat i eat shrimp in
got arrested at the mardi gras for jumping on a float
my man mca's got a beard like a billy goat

b. making other records cause the people they want more of this
suckers they be saying they could take out adam horovitz

c. but i rock well...
the patty duke show...
and then i bust the tango
got more rhymes than jamaicans got mangoes
that's my peg leg, that's the end of my stump
shake your rump

d. never been jumped
cause i'm the most mackinest
never been jumped
cause i'm the most packinest...
running from the law the press and the parents
is your name michael diamond?
no, mine's clarence

three. george lucas will turn seventy-three on may fourteenth. solo, the latest film in his star wars franchise, will be released on may twenty-fifth. rank all the films best to worst. where does this one fall on the list and why?

empire strikes back
return of the jedi
a new hope
the force awakens
solo: a star wars story
rogue one
revenge of the sith
phantom menace
attack of the clones
the last jedi

because i loved seeing the history of his character; i liked how none of the characters, save chewbacca, are reliable; i love alden's portrayal of han solo; i liked how the story tied in with the rest of the series; and i enjoyed it more than all the ones listed afterward.

four. emily dickinson died on may fifteenth, eighteen eighty-six. read this poetry foundation article. what are five things you learned about her from it?

a. after her death, family members found her hand-sewn books, containing nearly eighteen hundred poems.

b. the first volume of her poetry was published in eighteen ninety, four years after her death -- eleven editions were published in less than two years.

c. a complete volume of her poetry did not appear until nineteen fifty-five, but the poems were edited.

d. the first edition that reflected her order, unusual punctuation and spelling choices was not published until nineteen ninety-eight.

bookshelf scavenger hunt

May 23, 2018

one. a book whose title begins with the letter n: now write! fiction writing exercises from today's best writers and teachers edited by sherry ellis.
two. whose cover is mostly brown: the catholic prayer book compiled by msgr. michael buckley. (my cover is brown.)
three. based on a true story: it's been a good life, dad: my son's struggle with cystic fibrosis by jerry e. hendon.
four. whose story is told in multiple perspectives: wonder by r.j. palacio.
five. read last year: caraval by stephanie garber.
six. most recently purchased: tell me three things by julie buxbaum.
seven. whose cover you find unlikable: beyond shyness by jonathan berent.
eight. that is a retelling of a story: the once and future king by t.h. white.
nine. that is also a film: the help by kathryn stockett.
ten. that was published this year: killers of the flower moon: the osage murders and the birth of the fbi by david grann.
eleven. that is nonfiction: skinny bitch: a no-nonsense, tough love guide for savvy girls who want to stop eating crap and start looking fabulous by rory freedman and kim barnouin.
twelve. that you have recommended to others: the language of flowers by vanessa diffenbaugh. (SERIOUSLY! READ. THIS. BOOK!!! it's AMAZING!!!
thirteen. that has a tree on its cover: the book thief by markus zusack. (there's a tree on mine.)
fourteen. whose author's name (first, middle or last) is the same as yours: come to the garden by jennifer wilder morgan.
fifteen. that you have read more than once: the fault in our stars by john green.
sixteen. that you didn't finish: the noticer: sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective by andy andrews.
seventeen. with a character who is a king: inspire bible nlt: the bible for creative journaling published by christian art publishers.
eighteen. whose cover beneath the dust jacket (the bookboard) is purple: it wasn't always like this by joy preble.
nineteen. that you will read by the end of the year: the one-hundred-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared by jonas jonasson.

i snagged this idea from beverly at confuzzledom. what books on your shelves can you find to suit the categories?

tuesday topics: one. plot twist in literature, television or film

May 14, 2018

the "abduction" of lyanna stark in game of thrones

(belated) tuesday topics: two. unusual costumes from films

May 10, 2018

elizabeth banks as effie trinket in the hunger games series.

that's all i got. sorry. i feel like i've let yall down with the posts this time around.