i officially have a cold. i'm sporting a 100.1 degree fever, right nostril breathing, sneezing, and pink cheeks. i'm gorgeous.
before i collapsed--a wheezing whiny thing--on my bed for the afternoon, i gardened.
i do not garden. i had volunteered to help with cleaning for the magdalene house, an amazing project that my priest, becca stevens started. (please, please read more about this HERE.)
my volunteer job was to hoe a weed-infested garden all morning. i found out that i have a talent for hoeing (um, right...anyway,) but more than that, i learned that i believe in the Gospel, because i saw Jesus today.
i've always been a do-gooder in theory, but when it comes to actually connecting with the people i'm do-gooding for, i'm not the best girl. what could a girl like me possibly have in common conversationally with a former prostitute, four months clean, living in a rehab environment, picking up the pieces of her life? the answer--i found out today--is: much.
i met two wonderful women today. one has been clean for 4 months, the other, 8 months. they told me stories of fierce independence and, through their experience at magdalene, having to let themselves be cared for by someone else. they struggle with trust, autonomy versus community, who drank all the orange juice. in short, they're girls just like me, trying to make sense of their lives.
certainly, these women have lived a sort of violence and brokenness that i cannot comprehend, but hope is hope, and we're all struggling to keep tight hold of it.
these women are the kingdom of God. and i sat on their front porch today.
(they invited me back for a barbecue.)
ok. going to sleep now.
i think i'm coming down with something; i can only breathe through one nostril.
it all started with a couple sneezes. ick.
figures. of course, i pushed too hard this week.
there is some sort of pungent, chemical paint-ish smell wafting from the vents tonight. they're painting in the basement, and through one nostril, i'm choking on fumes.
however. i'm listening to my new sarah harmer cd: songs for clem. clem is her dad. he is apparently a big fan of old standards, because i'm listening to "your cheatin' heart" right now, after "just a closer walk with thee". sarah recorded this cd with friends and clarinets and guitars on her back porch. (you can hear crickets sometimes.) nice. a distraction from the fumes burning holes in my lungs.
i became an npr member today. finally, after years of phone-a-thons, they got me. i knew that if i did not commit, i could never listen to all things considered with a clear conscience again. robert siegel and/or noah adams would begin to give me the news and wacky slice-o-life stories, and my stomach would churn in knots. if i did not become an npr member today, i would be a thief. a criminal. or worse, i'd have to give up npr altogether and listen to ja-rule and linkin park (while holding out for *nsync) every morning on my drive to work.
so. i became a member. and now i'm awaiting my very own mug. yeah!
the fumes are making me sleepy. oh no. what if i don't wake up?
(if you don't hear from me tomorrow, send a search party...)
translation: this is the week when i travel on autopilot and try to ignore the thick black circles under my eyes.
translation of translation: i pretend to be traveling on autopilot, when in reality, i am an emotional basketcase who suddenly realizes that she cannot handle the pressure of a demanding week. furthermore, i suddenly become entirely too aware of all the suffering in the world and how i am completely inept at alleviating it in any way at all. i come to the conclusion that i am a fake. i cannot do anything right. everyone else is better than me. i am a failure, ultimately.
and it is only tuesday (?)
wow. time is not consistent. my minutes have consisted of 73 seconds each this week. really.
sometimes, i just want someone to say, "Anne, these feelings of panic and bigness are quite valid. you're not overreacting, and everything you're telling me is probably right: you'll never make it through this week, you may just die before the day is over, and your life is, in fact, meaningless." now that is what i call commiseration!
however, it's probably better that my friends respond to my stressed, neurotic self with, "i love you. and once you get a few hours' sleep, you'll feel much better."
(blah blah blah.)
all that to say: tonight, i blog. i read my week-old issue of rolling stone. i watch the osbournes. i email friends who have received despairing emails from me in the past two days with four letter words that were probably inappropriate and melodramatic. my apologies. i was just a little stressed out.
it's amazing what a post-nine o'clock, pressure-free evening can do.
i feel better.
we drank wine. ate cookies.
(we're so nashville.)
on the 45 minute drive to linda's, we listened to patty griffin, which julie has not bought yet. and on our way back, we listened to sarah harmer's you were here cd, whose lyrics i have made into my blogname. anyway, both cds are wonderful driving music, fantastic contemplative music. and julie said that she wished she could write like patty and sarah: outside the nashville rut. neither of these women have succumbed to the predictable, packaged, C-D-G chord boring love songs with drum loop, and that is inspiring to a songwriter like julie. ultimately, julie wishes that she could write from a place of blissful unawareness. you know, without 'the man' watching, listening, taking notes, rewriting...
yeah. i wish that too.
we psych (sike) ourselves out, don't we?
when i trip while walking--even if no one is around--i'll fake like i meant to do that, at the risk of raised eyebrows.
cross your tees...dot your eyes, girl.
i suppose we need to write (to live) as though we're unaware, despite being so obsessively aware.
the great despite. it's always such a freaking mystery.
please click right HERE.
(it may just save your life.)
there are two spheres of anne: the cubicle-working, mild-mannered student who loves good literature and music, conversation, and blogging.
then there is the horseback-riding, boot-clad (how many hyphens can i use in one paragraph anyway?) cracker barrel-dining girl.
i have no phone booth in which to change identities. i simply have a honda cr-v that takes me about twenty miles east on I-40 to mt. juliet, tn. where i board my one-woman horse, dakota. the transition happens somewhere between the nashville airport and exit 226a: you know, the exit with the mapco and cracker barrel. i somehow become this girl with dirt-caked boots and messy hair. my fingernails are hopelessly split and dirty and i add a couple "y'alls" to my vocabulary. i talk horse talk; about the best kind of tack and the controversy of nylon versus leather, sturdiness versus aesthetics.
tonight, i have a saddle in the back of my cr-v. i did not plan this.
i simply needed to go riding after work, since the rain is coming tomorrow, and i have homework to do anyway...
so, at 80 mph down the highway, i became cowgirl annie, unaware that i was going to buy my first saddle.
short version of story: a co-boarder was selling a lovely (and sturdy) saddle for a very cheap price. so, dakota and i tried it out. we rode across the pasture to the creek and back. i was quite content with it. so. i bought it. it's an old saddle--40 years old, actually--and in its immaculate shape, i wonder about its history. who had what kind of adventures with it, etc.
after the saddle purchase, we all went to cracker barrel. descriptions of 'we' will suffice for a story. sitting at the round table in the corner, we were:
jim, aka skeeter. never stetson hatless, except when saying quiet grace over a meal. he wears spurs to dinner and chain-smokes handrolled cigarettes, which he can do while riding a galloping horse. he taught me how to ride. he writes poetry that rhymes about beautiful women and the range. he once rode from east tennessee to amarillo, tx on horseback. calls every horse a pony.
jim and brenda. married. jim is in his early 60s and brenda is in her late 30s. they both board horses. jim is missing 3 fingers. brenda spends more time brushing her horse than riding. they bicker a lot.
dara and her construction-working husband, whose name i don't know, because he never rides. dara bought their 7 year old daughter, sally rose, an old appaloosa horse named chip for christmas. dara rides chip more than rose, who gets quite mad about it. rose is known to say, "cool it, mother" a lot. dara's husband says that dara is 'from the mountains'. i don't know what that means. dara special orders grilled sour dough at cracker barrel. "you have to special order it," she says. "no one knows they'll even serve it because you have to ask for it special." i bought my saddle from dara.
these are cowgirl annie's people.
jim paid for my steak and biscuits.
and now i'm back in my studious environment, with a saddle in the back of my car.
what a night.
still listening to patty griffin. i've moved on past track one (though i often return) to track 4: "making pies". no commentary here. it's too rich for my little words. just click here for your own pie-making experience. (you can listen to "rain" as well, for the record.)
my friend, karen, went to sewanee, tn last weekend to experience the dogwoods. she brought me back a t-shirt.
episcopal and proud it says. the back of the shirt dons a lovely top 10 "why episcopalians are cool" list.
Number six: all the pageantry, none of the guilt.
karen's spiritual director tells her to eat her greens. i had a spinach salad for dinner tonight, and am holding out for some kind of insight.
everything feels like fog. it's not just sight, even. everything is thick. humid. it will pass. fog always lifts, right? and in the meantime, i can see swirling orbs of light around lamp posts. show me that on a clear night.
to homework now.
a spider just ran across my CHEST as i lay in bed, typing!!!
what is this, spring?!?!
i stripped my bed and killed it with my anti-gravity technology slipper. (thank you, peggy, for such useful christmas gifts.)
the spider is dead.
and if you have a problem with that, feel free to comment, right below. thanks. -mgt.
pee ess. please leave no comments about the many babies that spiders carry that could possibly be exploring my room.
so. i leave nashville for a weekend and come back to find 80 degrees and crickets. today was balmy and sunny, or so i saw out the corporate window.
as i was parking my car before class tonight, i heard the strangest sound coming from the parking lot bushes: crickets. after months of silent bushes, the first earful of crickets is strange and loud and wonderful, and i'm reminded of last summer and the summer before that; of bonfires and wine and mosquito-bitten conversation.
and it's something like hearing the new green leaves on formerly dead branches for the first time: you stop. you cock your ear. you actually listen to what will be background noise for a season. it's a moment of some kind of awareness or connection in a world of disconnect and boredom. (i heard the season change.)
we gots crickets here.
and now it is about 2 hours past my bedtime and i've just come home from an impromptu visit with my friend, julie. subtle eurekas. silly jokes. it was way better than the homework i should have been doing.
i found 1000 kisses in chicago and have been stuck on track one. 'rain', it's called. it's sadness and grief and hard, hard hearts, with a moment of i'm holding on underneath this shroud. and i can't get past it yet. the melancholy and hope.
i read in the liner notes that patty recorded this cd in east nashville, where i used to live. i smile to think she was singing her songs over and over in a little studio nearly within earshot.
i'm feeling quiet and tired now.
before i began procrastinating and er-watching last night, i went to borders to pick up the new patty griffin record, 1000 kisses, and they were sold out. boo. so, i purchased the soundtrack to the hit tv show, roswell instead. i've never seen the show, but apparently it is good (or at least its episode song-pickers are) since it boasts such artists as dido, coldplay, ivy, travis, sheryl crow, sarah mclachlan (who just had her first child the other day. a girl named india...) et cetera.
definitely not patty griffin, though.
anyway. it is off to chicago in a few short hours for a weekend of fun and boyfriend's-family-meeting (which i am anticipating will also be fun).
i have not been to chicago since my 10th grade chorus trip (during the aformentioned brown eyeshadow days). hopefully, i will find more entertaining things to do than posing for pictures with yoda at fao schwartz.
crap. forgot to pack.
i have a nearly four-year-old nephew named bob who has enormous, blue saucer eyes, and a strange obsession with vacuums. since he was a wee boy, he has loved to spend hours sitting with the family hoover, pushing buttons and taking apart attachments. santa claus or my sister, peggy, gave him a child-size hoover for christmas last year, and he makes sure to have it at the foot of his bed every night: his guardian angel.
yesterday, the 'big' vacuum blew up. after billowing smoke and sparks, peggy laid the hoover to rest in the garage, and immediately set out to replace it.
a sears associate regretted to inform my sister that their particular model of vacuum is no longer made.
after hours of searching, peggy brought home a new vacuum--with a name like 'cyclone'--and bob sat at a safe distance as she assembled it. he didn't want to be in the room as she tried it out.
he needed to grieve his loss, she said.
dejected for two hours, bob sat in his room, quietly.
then, he asked to play with the new vacuum by himself for awhile.
peggy said sure he could. warily, he touched the handle and pushed the vacuum around the living room for a few minutes. then, he put it away in the closet, and told peggy, "ok mom."
and all is well. bob and the cyclone have bonded.
this is my family.
so. do not be shy.
tonight, i am procrastinating. everything that i am supposed to be doing is shoved in a corner of my bedroom. do not tell.
i did watch er this evening, though i knew it was a repeat, and worse, an episode i had seen before. simultaneously, i unpacked books and put together bedroom furniture from my recent move. and of course, i found old photo albums and glanced through them with a critical eye, judging my evolution of character by former makeup and clothes habits. i am a much better person now, i decided: i got rid of all the brown eye shadow. alleluia.
so, now it is nearing 11:30 and i've got the candles lit and lights off and music quiet. it's a good night for thinking, doing, writing something worthwhile, and maybe it will come. maybe.
1. What would people be surprised to know about you?
that i used to sing opera in high school.
2. What was your first job out of school? What did you learn from it and why does it stand out in your mind?
i am still in school, so i haven't had a first out of school job. however, my first job out of highschool was working at 'samantha's sunny corner restaurant'. i learned that one should never work under the table, nor should one's employer have a father who is prison because one's fbi brother-in-law put him there. once that little tidbit of information came to light, i was never on the schedule again. i wasn't fired, i simply didn't work any more.
3. If you had to pick a song to be your theme song, what would it be?
my friend, julie, wrote a song called 'you're not crazy' that may just sum up my life.
4. What is the craziest story you have regarding one of your pets? Kids?
the best one i have is the fact that i went out and bought a horse one day last august. i'm still getting used to being labeled 'horse owner' at all. the whole thing is crazy.
5. If your house was on fire, what 3 things would you grab first? (Excluding spouse, children and pets)
laptop, journals, and family photos.
6. What is your dream vacation, location and why?
a month on nantucket. because i'm a sucker for gorgeous new england.
7. What fictional character is the most like you and why?
the sidekick best friend in every novel and movie. always behind the scenes a bit but always seems to have the best one-liners.
8. What is your favorite weather and how do you enjoy it?
2 types: a blustery snow day, and i love to sit in front of the fire with a good book.
and a warm (no warmer than 75) sunny day, when i can hike or go horseback riding or sit outside at a cafe. mmmmm.
9. If you had to take a paid sabbatical and couldn't work for one year, what would you most likely do?
i would spend that month (or more) on nantucket and work on my first novel, uninterrupted. and then i would spend time with friends and family who i never get to see. and i would finish my degree.
10. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
i would live in san francisco, probably, b/c i love the bay area...just can't afford it. it's a great, creative environment, and i feel home there whenever i go!
one. i got an hour-long massage at essential therapy (note: essential) and also got to "have a sauna", as my massage therapist likes to say.
for once, i admit that i am happy to feel like complete jello.
two. i had fantastic tiramisu at pizza perfect afterward. although served in a plastic, "this can't be good" container, this tiramisu redeemed plastic containers everywhere. i am now going to reconsider those plastic-bound sandwiches, potato salads, et cetera.
what a night.
my own little e-corner.
i certainly hope i have something to say.
...but not necessarily tonight, because it is nearing midnight, and i must get up and run before going to work tomorrow morning, like the fitness goddess i am not.