my nephew, bob (yes, the vacuum-obsessed one), became a four-year-old yesterday. man, i remember well the day he came around and made summer really happen for all of us newly-dadless sisters. our father bob died. a new bob came around. the sky heard many thank yews.
bob and i talked on the phone yesterday. to keep a four-year-old talking, you have to keep asking questions.
have you opened presents?
did you sing happy birthday?
did you blow out candles?
how much do you love me?
to question number four, bob answered: this much, aunt anne.
peggy said he held up all five fingers on one hand as he said it.
he loves me like five.
that's enough to almost let myself feel loved.
sometimes i get so tired that i can't word anything right on my own.
some things you want may just never be right patty griffin tells me.
today is hard.
the remnants of jetlag are a heavy blanket on decisions and dilemmas, hearts and souls. circumstances.
(darlin, i wish you well.)
how are we to live, grace paley's dying friend asked. like this, today.
is that right?
i'm so young.
May you dream you are dreaming, in a warm soft bed
And may the voices inside you that fill you with dread
Make the sound of thousands of angels instead
Tonight where you might be laying your head
just a quick note to say: hello. i am home. safely.
and i have to go to work tomorrow.
i'm already in bed, still-packed bags in the middle of my floor.
(did i ever leave?)
england. ireland: i miss you.
well, it is sunday afternoon in belfast, in jayne's red room, at her computer. (and she just started a blog, so do visit. often.)
we've kept the sabbath by sleeping in and watching amelie (make that #7 for me), eating wheaten bread with jam and cheese, and of course, book reading. it's semi-sunny today with non-ominous clouds serving as backdrop to the view out jayne's window.
the strangest part about such a quiet lazy day is the fact that in about 48 hours, i'll be back in the real world. rather, my real world. it'll be me in cubicle, catching up on two week's worth of email and voice mail, and mail mail. driving on the right side of the road. no public transportation or bodies of water within my reach. and no raincoats. strange. a girl could get used to this (i.e. non-real world).
i've found that it is easy to write here. inspiration has been pervasive and not very polite. i've woken up nights, sweating with something like an idea, hoping that the sweating in itself makes it a good idea, because i'd hate to sweat over a bad idea. and my friends ask, so, whatcha writing about? and my answer is, um....
muses, creativity, bravery, et al are an intimidating bunch.
back to my book.
(it's a good day to read, curled up in a chair, listening to the about a boy soundtrack or maybe even patty griffin. yeah, patty griffin...)
hello [jp/p] et al. as kind trevor (who had better never abandon me again...) suggested, i got my arse over to belfast, where it's raining again. (thank God for aforementioned raincoat, which is remarkably similar to jenna's: my belfast hostess extraordinaire.)
so. yesterday, curtis and i drove just a teeny bit south and visited ruins of a monastery and a couple castles. we took many pictures in our raincoats with hoods up, and ate lunch at a pub called daft eddy's. by midafternoon, the rain was falling hard and cold. and we went to see st. patrick's grave. and. i couldn't wait to get back in the car. sheesh. in retrospect, i'm embarrassed. but i did get a couple pics.
well. i must be off to shower and pack for a two day trip to castle rock with jenna and trevor. the fun never ends here.
oh, and i'm still listening to rosie thomas, although the amelie soundtrack seems to be a favorite in this house. and for anyone who knows i've seen the movie six times (they call me half dozen), the many spins of such a disc is more than OK with me (especially track # 11).
hasta luego, mis amigos. (i'm catching up on my spanish.)
just a wee note to say hello from london. have arrived. the only transatlantic mishap was a can of coke spilled in my lap by drunk man while i slept. i thought i peed myself. however, pee isn't carbonated. so. now i'm just sticky...
but happy to be in a breezy, warm london, although j-lo and ja-rule are on the radio. a girl is never safe.
i finally got my raincoat today, on my lunch hour, under a cloudless sky.
(on sale at REI for $18.00, fyi.)
the currency is officially exchanged; my wallet is a wad of british pounds and four dollars.
gonna take a sentimental journey sarah harmer is singing right now.
we leave for england/ireland tomorrow.
i doubt there will be much blogging to be done during the transatlantic trip, but please don't forget about me. i need you.
i'll be back. and i'll try to write while i'm gone. somehow. (annie dillard does not like the word, 'somehow'. avoid the jargon of the day she says.)
so. i am actually sad tonight. mostly, i think i'm tired and half-packed, hoping my jeans dry in time...
but. i love to travel, yet hate to leave home. i really appreciate my bed on nights like these (as i snuggle under blankets while typing). i'm homesick. goodbye book case. goodbye desk. goodbye hamper full of clothes i never get around to washing. i'll miss you.
i'm a friggin sap.
just think: friday night i'll be watching star wars in london with my dear friend, jude. unbelievable.
alright, friends. i'm off to bed. be well. be safe.
peace to you. xo.
(i'll miss you.)
ever have those days when unexpected friendship and encouragement come out of the woodwork, alongside a good bottle of cabernet? i have so many thank yews for so many life-speaking friends and their words.
i'm caught in the alleluias of it all.
everything was honeysuckle tonight.
the rain has stopped; the skies have flung wide the true gates of spring, and we had a sunset.
i saw it: i was there.
i felt like riding my horse after work today, and luckily i had mud-caked sneakers and a saddle in the trunk of my cr-v. so, i skipped down the hall of the office, bounded down the stairs to the parking lot, and peeled out. yeehaw.
it was just the two of us tonight. dakota and his girl. recently, horseback riding has become such a social phenomenon in my life. curtis likes to go with me. other friends like to come. et cetera. and it's wonderful, don't get me wrong. i love the company and sharing this bizarre other world. it's like spreading the gospel.
it's been a good while since dakota and i have had some quality one on one time. tonight was our night. i wooed him with a granola bar, caught him in the far pasture and had to ride him up the gravel road. we trotted. cloppety-clop. he spooked at his own shadow (a horse's random ohmigod!) i laughed and called him a goof. (i think he resents that.)
we meandered along the trail. i took my feet out the stirrups and closed my eyes a lot. we trudged through the thick, hanging brush of a rain-saturated forest. we dodged fallen limbs. we looked for dry patches of trail to gallop through.
we frightened small woodland creatures.
we smelled things. my God. the pasture, the meadow, the forest--it was all like incense: smoky air mingled with honeysuckle. jasmine. unidentifiable sweet scents. (i'm no horticultural expert here, friends...) every flower was bursting with life and color and water. here we all are, they said, welcome. myself and the horse nodded hellos as we passed.
i'm reminded of emily dickinson:
Some keep the Sabbath going to Church --
I keep it, staying at Home --
With a Bobolink for a Chorister --
And an Orchard, for a Dome --
Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice --
I just wear my Wings --
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton -- sings.
God preaches, a noted Clergyman --
And the sermon is never long,
So instead of getting to Heaven, at least --
I'm going, all along.
today is one of those rainy days that patty griffin praised the other night: "it's nice to sing about rain when it's actually raining..."
it feels like practice for ireland (though i have yet to purchase a sturdy little raincoat for my trip).
so. over my lunch hour, i popped into the brentwood neighborhood starbucks to have a melancholy chai. and of course, some kind of music played above the expresso machine's swish and drone. typically, i'm oblivious as to what is playing, since i usually own whatever they're playing already. but today, i heard bits of piano rifts and a pleasant female vibrato. i made my way over to the corner speaker, pretending to look at the various overpriced coffee paraphernalia gathering starbucks dust.
i liked what i heard. so much so that it took three grande chai for annes before i realized my beverage was ready.
i asked my friendly starbucks cashier what i was hearing. he said, 'rosie thomas'.
ok. rosie thomas.
i immediately set out to download whatever i could, and found two tracks >>HERE.
i am hooked.. so hooked that i asked curtis to pick the cd up for me (which is on hold with a big fat ANNE note taped to it) at the record shoppe before picking me up for our date for thai food and spiderman tonight.
oh crap. he'll be here in 5 minutes. i should get dressed.
do like starbucks would do: go buy rosie thomas' cd, when we were small.
happiness is not found in material things. i know. however, there is much happiness to be found in the spirit of said material things. and i am happy for these first two reasons tonight:
1. below-mentioned rosie thomas cd, when we were small, which is now making its 3rd rotation in my world, and it is all that i could have hoped: thick, delicious lyrics and real pianos and cellos and turns of phrase. creativity is alive and well in the music world. this is encouraging after my week of mostly monotonous next big things. thank you.
2. grace paley's collected stories. i have been meaning to read grace paley for the longest time, introduced to her name via a hilarious anecdote as could only be told by the incomparable anne lamott. i had simply forgotten, until last night.
last night, i was looking at the bibliography section of a book that constance is reading, and saw ms. paley's name. and i remembered! and then i providentially found myself at barnes & noble tonight between thai goodness (oooo khaeng phed) and spiderman (which i loved), thumbing throught the "P" section of the fiction department. i picked up the collected stories and melted at the intimacy of just the dedication:
it seems right to dedicate this collection to my friend sybil clairborne...i visited her 5th floor apt on barrow street one day in 1957. there before my very eyes were her two husbands disappointed by the eggs. after that we talked and talked for nearly forty years. then she died. three days before that, she said slowly, with the delicacy of an unsatisfied person with only a dozen words left, grace the real question is--how are we to live our lives?
ok. that was an easy $14 to spend. and i can't wait to start reading tomorrow!
tomorrow. guess what? for the first time in so long a time that i can't remember, i have no alarm to set. no schedule for my saturday. no 'have-to's'. i can lie in bed with grace paley (although just as friends) and read until noon if i please. and then i can go purchase a sturdy raincoat for ireland. and then...i can go ride my horse.
i would like to linger here in silence if i choose to.
i've had to be a bit of a corporate girl again this week for our semi-annual sales conference; i.e. business casual and toe-tapping to every new release we're putting out, like i believe every cd we release will be the next big thing. but hey, free food. and the next one--in july--will be in sunny anaheim, california, baby. i will rock the house with mickey mouse.
anyway, i'm not going to write about that.
during my lunch hour on monday, i had to drive over to school (click >>HERE if you would also like to attend my school) to drop off the jane austen paper, and on my way back, decided i would put in a brief appearance at taco bell (i was inspired after reading [jp/p]'s blog entry, apparently). well, as it happened, there was a shoot out happening between metro police and a bank robber just around the corner from taco bell as i was trying to get to the drive thru. so. here i am suddenly, in the middle of stopped traffic, endless police cars with blaring sirens and lights, cops with guns running between cars, and police helicopters overhead.
(please keep in mind that this is all happening in brentwood, tn, where all lawns are immaculately manicured, and there are banners on every lightpost with the seasons written on them. currently, it is spring in brentwood.)
i didn't see any action (un?)fortunately. the bank robber was shot dead near walgreens and two officers were shot in the arm and leg. i somehow found my way out of all the hullaballoo and into the captain d's drive thru, since it was all i could access. (i hate captain d's. i hate fish. the breadstick was good, though.) i made it back to work, about 45 minutes late (and for once, the i got caught in a shoot out excuse worked...) and we were soon put on lockdown, since there were rumors about a second robber, which turned out to be incorrect. so. that's my monday story.
tuesday. sweet, sweet tuesday. i got to go see patty griffin at the belcourt theatre, with dearest boy and lovely friends. we sat up front and i accidentally broke the 'no flash cameras' rule. really. it was an accident. oops.
patty. a cello. some guitars. accordian.
oy. it was such a fantastic show. tears spilled from my grateful eyes many times. emmylou harris was in the audience with her mama, as were buddy and julie miller, and so i was crossing my fingers all night, praying to Jesus for a duet: some kind of surprise, but to no avail. my faith is not shaken, however, it was a perfect evening. and i even spent $20 on a lavender tank top. it was all worth it.
that's all i have to report this evening, folks. did you know i leave for a trip to london and ireland in *eight* days?
(that's very soon, actually.)
vayan con dios, mis amigos.
pee ess: i got an A+ in one of my classes, i just found out. yeah!
at 9:33 am, cst, i am finally done with my jane austen paper. never again do i have to ask myself if Elizabeth and Emma: Jane Austen's Heroines Become Themselves is a stupid title.
it is finished.
hola. i was just perusing the latest [jp/p] blog, and snapped my fingers in a "d'oh! i shoulda thunka that" way. [jp/p] has asked for his readers to identify themselves, just so he knows he's not whistling in the dark all by himself over there.
could you do that for me, faithful patrons of this blog? simply click on comments below this post, and leave a note...something to know i'm not alone here. (i'm beginning to hear myself echo.)
(and thank yew, [jp/p] for the fantastic idea. hope it is not copyrighted.)
forgive me for dropping off the edge of the virtual world; i've either been sleeping or writing something about jane austen this week (and trying desperately not to make whatever jane austen drivel i've written sound like complete bs. so far, so good. i hope.)
so. it is friday night, and i allowed myself a bit of social interaction this evening. had a lovely spaghetti dinner with my friend, lisha. and what consecrated spaghetti it was.
linda called me while en route to lisha's, and asked me to join her at the sutler to hear a nickel creek-esque bluegrass band, daybreak, for which our friend deann plays fiddle. i stayed for a few songs, and left after deann sang a few a capella bars of deep river.
deep river. my home is over jordan. deep river, lord. i want to cross over into campground. an old spiritual filled with the deepest kind of longing; a plea for home.
the ironies start here: i sang that song before.
i used to sing. (do you remember?)
i sang that song with my whole eighteen-year-old soul, at my senior recital. mom and dad sat in the small audience. i sang with deep breaths and long, emphatic phrases.
and then i sang pie jesu, part of andrew lloyd webber's infamous requiem.
i sang prophecy.
i had no idea.
how could i have known that the last time my father would hear me sing would be a song of longing for spiritual home and a song for the dead? lord have mercy.
how could i have known.
memory is a strange, beautiful, hopeful thing.
i sang tonight, as i drove home. i sang hope: o don't you want to go to the promised land...where all is peace?.