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thankful thursday / the good in my day: april

April 30, 2015

van halen. the wonder twins. mama. payday. julie. becca and adam. james and andy. bread and butter. roxanne. the woodlands waterway arts festival. cbs sunday morning. sawyer fredericks. smarties. nick, jenny and julia. chick-fil-a. richard. tax refunds. melissa. blake, sarah, billy, david, brenda, red roses, samantha, erin, becca, tito's vodka tonics with two limes, kyle eastwood's eyes, and the beautiful, beautiful love story of ira and ruth as told in the incredibly cheesy, predictable and highly improbable nicholas sparks' tale the longest ride (do see it for ira and ruth, though; her character--played by oona chaplin!!--is lovely, and that man is loving). kakeen and big gare. the manager of the men's department at the woodlands mall's dillard's. nyquil. becca and june. hamburger steak. april and ice. sarah. the green light on farmer to market road fourteen eighty-eight. black walnut. breakfast croissant sandwiches. dianne and josh.

wisdom wednesday: rainbow rowell

April 29, 2015

fangirl
"he's a perfectly good boyfriend," cath would say.

"he's an end table," wren would answer.

"he's always there for me."

"... to set magazines on" (p. 35).

i just got out of a relationship with a dude who'd proven to be quite the dick. worse than a coffee table. he was more like the cockroach droppings hiding underneath the coffee table. and i'm really conflicted about having dated such a douchebag. on the one hand, i was kind enough to give a guy the benefit of the doubt; on the other, i'd opened myself up to some truly scathing remarks and given much more than i should have to someone who was so clearly undeserving of the good. and i can't stress enough how important it is to cut ties when those ties could potentially, figuratively (or literally, depending on the douchebag), strangle you. if you find yourself entangled with someone who claims to love you but can't fathom the true concept of love, i urge you to find enough courage and strength in yourself to love you enough to get out of that relationship. there are people who can help if you need it. there are places to go. get rid of the coffee table. find yourself a cozy blanket instead.

landline
"i don't want to go out with jell-o instant pudding," georgie said.

"i would marry jell-o instant pudding."

georgie rolled her eyes. "i want to go out with mikey."

"i thought you wanted to go out with jay anselmo."

"jay anselmo is mikey," georgie explained. "he's the guy in the life cereal commercial who hates everything. if mikey likes you, you know you're good. if mikey likes you, it means something" (p. 136).

so i am forty-two years old. there's a quote i like from the film miss pettigrew lives for a day (and i know, i'm mixing my media, but the sentiment works really well with what i've got to say next). i am not an expert on love. i am an expert on the lack of love, and that is a fate from which i wish more fervently to save you. i didn't go on my first date until i was twenty-three. i didn't fall in love until i was twenty-eight. no relationship of mine has lasted longer than a year. and i've dated men in whom i've had little interest because i'd told myself that my oh-so-romantic heart, starving for attention and affection, needed to wake up and realize that love doesn't work quite like in the stories i've seen and read. and so i settle. i make myself try to make something work when i have no interest in the thing, when my gut's telling me not to give up on myself so easily because i can do better, i deserve better. i tell myself to settle when i'd rather go out with mikey.

and then i remember that those stories i've read and seen... i have seen honest examples of them... in my parents', family's and friends' stories. and those are golden.

so yeah. i'm sitting here alone at baker's street, in a booth designed to seat four comfortably. and i'm loving the sounds of all the camaraderie around me. and i've friends, newly married, who will meet me here shortly for drinks. and i'll be the awkward, odd chick sitting by herself. i'll be the third wheel. and yeah, sometimes that sucks.

but so does dating jello pudding.

eleanor and park
when eleanor was a little girl, she'd thought her mom looked like a queen... all her bones seemed more purposeful than other people's. like they weren't just there to hold her up; they were there to make a point...

eleanor looked a lot like her.

but not enough.

eleanor looked like her mother through a fish tank. rounder and softer. slurred. where her mother was statuesque, eleanor was heavy. where her mother was finely drawn, eleanor was smudged (p. 18).

that must be eleanor's mom, park thought, she looked just like her. but sharper and with more shadows. like eleanor, but taller. like eleanor, but tired. like eleanor, after the fall (p. 188).

people always say i look like my mother. i don't see it. my mother was the band queen in high school. she was in a sorority in college. and her face is always, always smiling, her eyes so wide and curious. i wasn't anything in high school. in college, when i'd told girls in the same sorority as my mother that she was in that same one, they'd said things like, "your mother," like there's no way that could possibly be. and my face is always serious, my eyes slits of skepticism and self-defense. maybe if i opened them a little more...

tunes for tuesday: songs that begin with the letter m

April 28, 2015

one. malibu. hole. celebrity skin.
two. man with the hex. the atomic fireballs. torch this place.
three. map of the problematique. muse. black holes and revelations.
four. marshall mathers. eminem. the marshall mathers lp.
five. material girl. madonna. like a virgin.
six. maybe tomorrow. stereophonics. you gotta go there to come back.
seven. me wise magic. van halen. best of - volume one.
eight. meet virginia. train. train.
nine. meg white. ray lamontagne. gossip in the grain.
ten. melt with you. modern english. after the snow.
eleven. mercy. duffy. rockferry.
twelve. middle of the night. what made milwaukee famous. what doesn't kill us.
thirteen. the minnow and the trout. a fine frenzy. one cell in the sea.
fourteen. missing you. john waite. no brakes.
fifteen. missy. the airborne toxic event. the airborne toxic event.
sixteen. more than this. the cure. the x-files: the album.
seventeen. mother we just can't get enough. new radicals. maybe you've been brainwashed...
eighteen. mourning. tantric. tantric.
nineteen. mr. brownstone. guns n' roses. apetite for destruction.
twenty. mr. jones. counting crows. august and everything after.
twenty-one. mud. middlefinger. three martini lunch.
twenty-two. mudshovel. staind. dysfunction.
twenty-three. must be dreaming. frou frou. details.
twenty-four. mysterious ways. u2. achtung baby.
twenty-five. mysterons. portishead. dummy.

motion picture monday

April 27, 2015

released: 1992.
starring: moira kelly, d.b. sweeney, terry o'quinn.
what makes it awesome: the dialogue and moira kelly's character.

two. dedication.
released: 2007.
starring: tom wilkinson, billy crudup, mandy moore.
what makes it awesome: it is beautifully, refreshingly. incredibly politically incorrect, a wonderfully unconventional love and life story with an interesting soundtrack.

released: 2009.
starring: joseph gordon levitt, zooey deschanel, geoffrey arend.
what makes it awesome: it's a fantastically-crafted, roller coaster of a love story.

four. love happens.
released: 2009.
starring: aaron eckhart, jennifer aniston, martin sheen.
what makes it awesome: aaron eckhart's character... his struggles and his strength.

released: 2010.
starring: rachel mcadams, diane keaton, harrison ford.
what makes it awesome: diane keaton and harrison ford.

released: 2011.
starring: ewan mcgregor, emily blunt, kristin scott thomas.
what makes it awesome: ewan mcgregor... and it's a beautiful story.

released: 2014.
starring: zac efron, miles teller, michael b. jordan.
what makes it awesome: it's pretty crass. it's pretty clever.

random quarter: the q&a edition-april

April 26, 2015

one. who are you fooling? no one, now.

two. who do you feel closest to? melissa. 

three. if you could wish for one thing to happen today, what would it be? seven blogiversary bash guest posts.

four. what was the last take-out meal you ordered? whataburger, small coke, onion rings.

five. what colors are you wearing? blue and brown.

six. what is your secret passion? don't feel passionate about anything.

seven. where do you feel most at home? dad's office at mom's desk.

eight. a chore you ignored today? cleaning my room. 

nine. did you have fun today? because? yes. hung out at baker's.

ten. switchfoot's dare you to move was inspiring.

eleven. what is your favorite thing to do on a sunday morning? breakfast at black walnut.

twelve. if you could acquire a talent (without any extra effort), what would it be? affability.

thirteen. what celebrity would you want to interview? ellen degeneres.

fourteen. what do you think is your biggest shortcoming? can't be what people want.

fifteen. write down a problem you solved today. figured out what to do.

sixteen. what famous person would you bring back from the dead to have dinner with? hunter s. thompson.

seventeen. how many times did you curse today? no clue.

eighteen. what do you want to say when someone asks "what do you do?" write.

nineteen. you wish you could stop stupid choices i make from happening.

twenty. how would your parents describe you? funny, cute, quirky and smart.

twenty-one. is life fair? yes? no? sometimes? not today? no. ain't supposed to be.

twenty-two. who do you need to call? ghostbusters.

twenty-three. how much spare change do you have? on me right now? none.

twenty-four. what type of person are you? awkward.

twenty-five. what are three words to describe your social life? forced, bumbled exchanges.

it damned sure ain't me, so it must be you

April 18, 2015

this morning i awoke to a text from that man i've been seeing... and it started out sweet. but that conversation, which ended up spanning a four hour period, ended quite sourly.

so we won't be shopping at victoria's secret for those scraps of silk and lace after all.

we won't be doing anything at all. fine by me. i'd given that dude the benefit of the doubt one too many times.

in the end, what cut it was that he'd said i was the ugliest bitch he'd ever dated. this from a man who claimed to love me. you keep using that word...

thank god for my friend melissa. one of the first things she'd done after i'd told her of the demise was to send me this...


... paired with the words he's the heffer. darn right. (and i didn't even care that the world was spelled wrong.)

thank god for the apple store and the ease with which one can exchange a phone.

it's a damned good thing i am capable of loving myself to some extent. there're way too many women who tie themselves to a man just because he's there. just because sometimes he's good to you. just because he does shit like insisting on getting the door for you.

being a man takes a hell of a lot more than opening a door for a lady.

and cutting a tie's really not so hard. i'd much rather die a single woman than date a douchebag.

so the next time my gut says that dude's probably an angry dick, i will go with that instead of giving him the benefit of the doubt.

the skin we're in

April 17, 2015

i'll be honest... i've been burnt out on blogging for a while now. i've been doing this for ten years. TEN. YEARS. that's a really long time. especially for an aries. our attention spans last about ten seconds.

there aren't that many topics i've not covered. some of them i've covered ad nauseam. maybe this is one of them. but i'm doing it again because of stories like those i found on facebook today.

my posture is horrible for a variety of reasons: i don't eat right; i don't exercise; i sleep on my side with my shoulders curled toward my face; i swam breaststroke in high school, which overdevelops the pectoral muscles; i have cerebral palsy.

i. have. cerebral. palsy.

look that shit up. it's wicked, wicked crap.

the first time i watched the theory of everything, and eddie redmayne acted out the scenes in which his character, the physicist stephen hawking, first learns of his ailment, of its diagnosis... i wept. i wept, people, because i have some understanding of what it means to hate your body. to loathe it. to look at it with such disgust, such great disdain because it won't do what you want it to do. i have some comprehension of the helplessness and the anger. and the fear.

my legs don't work so well. i cannot run. i can't. every time i try, my knees protest.

my eyes don't work so well. crowds terrify me. people move around like gaseous molecules with no concern for each other. i see things in two dimensions, not three, and in crowds, i cannot comprehend where everything is. i'm afraid to take a step, that i might collide with someone else and fall. so i spin around like a top, trying to find some safe place out of the way, and the longer it takes to find purchase, the angrier i become that people can't just stop for one second. just stop and let me get my bearings.

falling terrifies me, too. i fell a lot in my youth, in my adolescence, in my early twenties. in my childhood, i fell because i couldn't see. in my twenties it was because the tendons and ligaments in my knees were weakening. and it hurt. something awful. it hurt to fix it, too. that pain was much worse. i can't recall it well enough to tell you anything more than the first twenty-four hours after the surgeries, i was on a morphine drip, and for weeks afterward, i had a regular prescription for vicodin. i can recall one night waking up to pain so immense that i just wanted the drugs, which were across the house in the kitchen. getting up meant wrapping my knee, putting on my leg brace, and hobbling on my crutches. it would take too long. so i slid out of bed and pulled myself into the kitchen and up to the counter. and then there's the physical therapy. they put you on a stationary bicycle; they put your feet on the pedals and tell you to move the wheels. and it feels like things inside you are shredding. and you maybe moved it an inch. maybe. it takes weeks and weeks before you can make the thing turn one full circle.

then there's the cosmetic surgeries. the ones you have to make you prettier so people won't recoil when they see you because your eyes are so ugly. the doctor works some magic on your face, stitching your eyelids shut for a twenty-four hour period while that magic heals. there's the delusions that the stitches have come undone, and you can see the basketweave texture of the patches he's placed on your face. and then... then he takes the patches off and cuts the stitches. and you look in the mirror, and you want to recoil because your face, which you hadn't much liked before the surgery, suddenly looks like it belongs to frankenstein. and the doctors don't tell you that in addition to being blind for twenty-four hours, you'll feel uglier afterward and that you won't really be able to walk, either, because they're taking muscle out of your leg and putting it in your forehead.

my face feels like a picasso painting.

then there's the spasms. the ones that are more like a constant clenching in your neck, or your calves, or your hands, or your jaw. those are preferable to the others because you can soothe them, to some extent, with a massage. the ones that feel like a fluttering inside you, those are worse. they almost always come just before you fall asleep. they startle you. they make you feel like something's crawling on you or, worse, inside you. they keep you from getting to sleep at night. they wake you up several times throughout it. and in the morning, you don't feel rested.

and lastly there's the knowledge that that fluttering sensation, that spasm could occur in other muscles... like your heart. your heart that has a murmur. one that makes the doctors, who seem to be in such a hurry to diagnose what ails you so they can get you out of their office and the next one in, this murmur makes the world for them come to a screeching halt. everything goes quiet. and you sit there, waiting for the words to come out... the urging for the ekg. just give me my prescription for my z-pack, lady, and let me go... i don't want to think about my heart and how it's breaking.

but even with all that, i've had it easy. it could've been worse. it could've been SO. MUCH. WORSE.

i am five foot seven inches tall. i weigh one hundred seventy-three pounds. i wear large shirts and size twelve pants.

the man i'm seeing wants to take me to victoria's secret and pick out some pretty. there's a part of me--that passionate aries bit, i'm sure--that wants to go. i'd be interested to know what sorts of things he'd pick out. i'd want to see my figure as he does. i'd want to see if there's anything in that store that could make me feel sexy.

he wants to go shopping. the idea excites him. it mortifies me.

sometimes i do like my body. i have to tell ya, i love my rack. i'm quite fond of my breasts. that wasn't always the case. all throughout high school i was pathetically flat-chested, which served me well for swimming but not much else. i was also horribly straight and ridiculously thin. long limbs on a short torso with a ginormous cranium (for housing all that brain power that has been both a blessing and a curse). i don't like that i've allowed myself to get this badly out of shape, but at the same time, i am soft, when for so much of my life, i was brittle and hard. while this is the fattest i've ever been, i feel much more feminine now than i ever have.

still, i haven't worn shorts in years. he thinks i should wear them all the time. i think my thighs are disgusting...

and that brings me to the first story.

the man's quite fond of my ass. and, of course, i am not.

michael buble and his wife, whilst waiting in the lobby of what appears to be a hotel, notice a rather curvaceous woman wearing shorts that are, by most's standards, too short. so buble posed for a photo, and his wife got the woman in the shot as well as her husband. and buble posted it to his instagram where some forty-three thousand people "liked" it.

i admire that the woman was so comfortable in her skin that she would dare wear those shorts, knowing that they would call such attention to herself. i wonder why instead of others being in awe of her audacity and her confidence, we choose instead to focus on the fact that her ass is hanging out. we bash the woman for dressing "inappropriately." we bash the man for having taken the photo and making the comments.

we insist on belittling others' physiques so that we can feel better about our own. and it's not just those, like me, who weigh significantly more than they should. we say the thin ones are too thin. we say the tall ones are too tall, and the short ones too short... no one is free from the criticism. no one.

we shame a person's body because it does not fit some impossible mold (hell, we'd shame it if it did fit, out of sheer jealousy) someone created eons ago and said should be the norm. i don't even know what that is... that norm. i can tell you that any effort i make to get my body to that state would be for naught, because even if i could have that thirty-six, twenty-four, thirty-six figure (i'm assuming that's the norm?), i still wouldn't be tan enough and strong enough to carry it, to show it off. i've too many freckles, my skin is too reluctant to take on color--i know this because i spent the weekends of my childhood and adolescence in the backyard in a bathing suit without wearing sunscreen. my muscles too weak to ever have that kind of tone. also there are the scars--thirty or so--from all the surgeries and all the falls.

which brings me to the second story.

to fourteen-year-old jonathan pitre, whose body attacks him with every breath it seems. i've seen stories like his before. i've heard of the condition he has, due largely in part because of the blogging world. but i don't think anyone's ever managed to bring home the extent of just how awful this particular disease can be. and good god, it's hideous.

oh, dear lord, the things i've taken for granted...

my heart... my heart... it aches for this boy. it aches for his family--for his mother. such hell this must be. i admire his strength for plugging along. for living anyway. fighting when it must seem so unbearable to do so.

the worst part of his day is the three hours it takes to bathe. he must endure this every other day. his mother must administer it. to be him... to be her...

gisele bundchen just took her last turn strutting her stuff on the catwalk in all her golden, toned, feminine splendor. the good lord made her beautiful.

pink took to twitter to defend her choice of donning a little black dress when her figure was, to some, much too shapely for it. he made her beautiful.

he also made the woman in those short shorts and that little boy, wrapped in all his bandages, beautiful, too.

the woodlands waterway arts festival

April 10, 2015

patrons brave inclement weather to view works by artists from all across the country.

steven graber of kansas poses with two of his works.

more of graber's works.

chris hartsfield of kentucky chats with a guest as a festival volunteer views his collection.

hartsfield poses with his favorite selections.

wife linda poses with her favorites.

elijah bossenbroek of arizona provides musical entertainment.

austin's rick loudermilk, the featured artist from two years ago, relaxes in his booth.

john scanlan of iowa poses outside his booth next to a favored piece.

more of scanlan's photography.