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Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing recently.  Partially because I’ve been reading Lilibet’s book, and partially because I’ve been reading a lot of everything recently.  I know I’ve said it before, but I love to read, and I like to write.  I got the new Kindle recently, just the regular paperwhite, without the 3G.  This replaced the nook I have had forever.  My nook was the most basic and original nook, and we had a good run.  She still turns on, but the battery dies randomly, and when it dies, it reverts back to the factory settings and demands to have a software update before it will do anything useful like download a book, which is frankly unacceptable.   I obtained my first ipad, ever, this past Christmas, and I did a lot of reading on the ipad, however, the ipad is absolutely not summertime activity friendly, plus, reading on lit screens at night is suppose to cause insomnia.

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This is where I was going to sit and eat my lunch.

I have been on an intense reading kick*, and I’ve been checking books out from the library on my kindle.  Checking library books out on my kindle makes me happier than I can adequately express.  The tricky part though, is that you have to wait in line for certain books, and then you only have 14 days to read them before you have to give them back.  This is excellent justification for why I might have to stay home and finish a book instead of going out and interacting with real people.  Anne Helen Peterson (who I have a serious crush on) has an excellent article on the subject of obsessive reading.  It never occurs to me to stay home and write, and it is much more difficult for me to get lost in writing than in reading.  

My desire to write has more to do with this deep seated belief that we all need a creative outlet, a strange fear of being exclusively a consumer, and because it feels like something that I should be doing. My fear of being a consumer is not rational and does not apply to any other area of my life.  If it did, I would be compelled to be a member of the church choir and have a vegetable garden and take an art class and cook a lot more than I do.  It’s not like I’ve never done these things, I have, and I enjoyed them.

I am not under any delusions that I will ever write a novel or that my writing is adding significantly to the world. My love of reading is deeply ingrained, it is my primary mental escape, and I sincerely appreciate writers.  I guess it is similar to the intense desire of a foodie to learn how to cook, or the little kid that is obsessed with the Braves who goes out for little league, or the kid obsessed with whatever broadway musical is currently cool trying out for the school play.

I also think of it as an exercise in self reflection, and that the exercise in and of itself improves me as a person.  Sort of like jogging, or yoga, or any athletic endeavor makes your body feel stronger and better, writing improves my mentality.  My real job is almost exclusively writing, but it’s a different sort of writing.  It’s easy to blame my lack of writing to the fact that I write all day at work, but work doesn’t prevent me from writing insanely long emails on a daily basis and texting and gchatting for hours at a time, so this is pretty flimsy excuse.

I recently obtained a childhood psychological evaluation of 11 year old Charlsie.  I can not tell you how entertaining it is to read psych evaluations of your childhood self.  The test results document that at some point in my education I mastered the ability to read, while failing to learn how to write, and that by the fifth grade, I was reading at a 12th grade level, and I was writing at a 2nd grade level. Apparently this is a significant discrepancy in ability.   I was noted to have something called a “performance deficit” as opposed to a learning disability, attributable to my attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, that inhibited my ability to attend to details and to organize my thoughts for effective transfer to paper.  

From what I can tell, this means I couldn’t write worth a damn.  It’s almost hilarious that I now essentially write papers for a living. Eventually, I learned how to write (I think). I passed two bar exams, and they let me graduate from law school, so that’s encouraging. I remember fifth grade being a particularly difficult grade, but I remember most grades being difficult until I got to high school.  

Sometimes I wonder how difficult my life would be if I was unable to use a computer and I was dependent on my handwriting for written communication.  I see a good bit of childhood disability applications, and I read a lot of school records and psych evaluations and achievement testing results.  I think people get confused about how difficult it is to learn how to read and write, and don’t appreciate that everyone learns differently and at a different pace. Most of us learned how to read and write at an age where it felt effortless, and we can’t remember the actual struggle required to master the skills. (I’m not going to talk about math, because, ugh, let’s just not talk about it.  Unless you want to talk about Geometry, which I loved, because it involved words.)

It’s like driving a car, or riding a bike.  I recently brought my bike back to Charleston from Augusta, where my bike had been living.  I haven’t ridden a bike in a long time, and I’m deathly afraid of getting hit by a car.  But, growing up, I rode my bike everywhere for years, and I felt great satisfaction in my ability to navigate intersections and balance and take on curbs and gnarly sidewalks, and it did not frighten me.  I stopped riding my bike when I learned how to drive.  Learning how to drive was a skill I put off as long as possible.  I made excuses for why I didn’t want to drive, I was scared of my mom’s car, I was tired, I would start driving tomorrow. But the truth was driving scared the everliving daylights out of me, and I didn’t want to learn how to drive.  I wanted to be the DJ in the front seat. I remember having a particularly hard time with right turns, which is real stupid.  I thought left turns were easier.  I also had a complete inability to back out of a driveway.  

I’m still not clear how I passed my driver’s test, but I did, and then I had a pretty terrific wreck six months later involving, of course, a right turn.  Now, I consider myself an excellent driver, I haven’t had a significant wreck since that ill fated right turn in the spring of 1997, and I’m having to re-teach myself my biking skills and re-gain that confidence. Learning how to read, write, ride a bike, and drive a car tend to be pretty mandatory life skills.  But if they weren’t mandatory, I might have turned out to be an excellent reader who couldn’t write and had to walk everywhere.  I wonder what other skills I might possess if they were mandatory.

*My recent literary consumption includes: The Abominable, The Secret History, Into Thin Air (I’ve been super obsessed with Everest as of late), The Bone Season, Play Dead, Box Girl, The Handmaid’s Tale, We Were Liars, Me Before You, and I just started The Vacationers.  I tried to read The 5th Wave, but I found it too depressing.  I think I may be over dystopia for the foreseeable future.

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JT, I love you. Forever and EVER. Nothing makes my inability to go out for a run more upsetting than finding a gem like this. I could run to this sound on repeat for a long time. The version on my phone is eight minutes long, so I could listen to it on repeat like three times and feel like I got in a good workout. Right now I don’t think I could run for three minutes, which is sad. I thought I was doing better, I was really convinced of it. I went to one yoga class, and I really was okay, and my arms and shoulders and back were just as sore as my foot, and I was encouraged. Then a week later I went to a second yoga class, and during that class I felt AWESOME. I felt like I could do this yoga class every day and feel great. But that was Tuesday, and since then my foot has been a lot more painful than it was before. But I also haven’t been quite as careful with it, and I haven’t been taking the anti-inflammatory medication like I was before. I think I’m going to wear the boot for a couple of days and see if that helps at all, and take the medicine again.

Briscoe just got out of bed, I got up at 8, but she felt the need to sleep until after 10. I think she has already fallen asleep again on the floor.

I went to the Good Friday service last night, because Easter really snuck up on me and I felt like it would help me get into the Easter spirit. The service was REALLY long, but other than that, it was great. There was one passage that I really liked:

Hebrews 10:22-25

“Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you the Day approaching.”

Obviously this is a pretty sincere affirmation of God’s promise for his people, but I think that even if you don’t believe in God or Jesus, the idea that we should “provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet…but encouraging one another” is an inspirational aspiration. My own personal history with Church could be compared to an interstate slowly changing into a gravel road, but I’ve been a peace with that for a long time. We all take our own paths, but I believe that as long as you are searching for enlightenment and approaching the world with love and gratitude, the day to day theological problems will sort themselves out. And maybe I don’t go to church all the time, and maybe you never do, but the comfort of the ritual is there.

In other news, I just finished the book Gone Girl, and I thought the ending was really stupid. I had been warned that the book was questionable, and I went into it knowing it was questionable, but whatever. I am proud of myself for checking the book out from the library. I live directly behind the library, and I always say I’m going to check out books, and then I never ever do. And this time I did. And I was justified, because now that I’m done with the book I want to throw it across the room, but tossing it into the return box will have to suffice. My horoscope swore to me that this most recent full moon was going to be the most difficult full moon of 2013 for me, and that I was going to get some bad news that would leave me tense and possibly very angry between March 27th and March 30th. Since I had Miami wining the NCAA tournament and they lost to some stupid school that starts with an M by more than ten points, thereby ruining my previously beautifully unbroken bracket, I’ve decided that this was my bad news. But I’m also going to attempt a spray tan today, so if this goes extremely poorly, that could also be my bad news. It is amazing how much I care about my bracket, considering that I have yet to watch an entire (or even a large majority) basketball game this season.

I have so many things I need to do today, starting with taking my dog outside. I’ve already brushed my teeth and consumed a great deal of coffee. Oh! And I got dressed. Now I just need to put on some sunscreen (no one should ever leave the house without sunscreen, on any day, regardless of where or what you are doing. Pouring down rain is a maybe excuse, but it might clear up, you never know) and I will be ready to brave the world! After I take a zyrtec. I really want a shark mop. I think today is the day to investigate. Life is full of excitement and possibilities.

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What will be your Space Jam?

In other news, I think I have broken my foot.  If I haven’t broken my foot, I’ve done something else awful to it.  Or I’ve lost my mind.  Life is full of possibilities.

 

It was super foggy this morning. The first two photos are from this morning, and the last one is what the harbor is suppose to look like, without the fog, and with the bridge.  It is creepy to look out and have it look like the bridge was never there.  Especially when it is sunny.

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I literally cannot believe that is already 2013.  Life moves shockingly fast these days.  I feel like all I’ve done in the past few weeks is eat and drink.  Let’s think about 2012 for a minute.  I read a lot of books in 2012.  Most recently, I read Liars and Saints, which I highly recommend. Rarely, I come across an author that has a syntax or voice that I can only describe as hitting the right cord, where I don’t actually care what they are writing about, because simply reading the words is enjoyable.  I haven’t figured out exactly what I mean by that, but Maile Meloy writes in a way that I find immensely satisfying.  For example, I don’t particularly like depressing stories, but I love Jack London because of his writing.  There is something chewy and piercing about it.  Obviously, the really great writers make people feel this way, but I think there is something very personal about who hits me like this.  There are lots of fantastically talented writers who I can acknowledge that their work is quality, but who don’t resonate with me.  Steinbeck and Faulkner don’t do it for me.  Robert Louis Stevenson and F. Scott Fitzgerald do.

I read The Tiger’s Wife in early 2012, and that story really stuck with me.  The structure of the book was different, and there was a detached and dry quality to it that made the fantastical side of the book seem more believable.

My favorite book of 2012 was The Night Circus.  This book was highly fantastical, and maybe not for everyone.  But I found the emotion conveyed through the story to be moving and enthralling.

I also read the Silver Lining Playbook (awesome! read it), The Forgotten Garden (didn’t love it), Ready Player One (a fun read for any child of the 80s), The House of Mirth (Edith, you are so beautiful, and your stories could not be more depressing), Wicked (so much love for this book), Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (you will cry laughing and feel more normal), The Mists of Avalon (enjoyable, if you are into long drawn out medival sagas, and really, who isn’t?), The Casual Vacancy (J.K. Rowling’s first adult novel.  A good read, but certain things seemed forced for the purpose of proving it was NOT A CHILDREN’S BOOK), and I started Freedom, but then I got bored with it and never finished it.

I feel like I saw a lot of movies this year too.  It’s amazing how hard it is to remember.  Let’s see, maybe I can go backwards.  Les Miserables (awesome, obviously), Life of Pi (heartbreaking and visually captivating), Anna Karinina (I read this book in high school, and I was impressed at how they were able to pack the whole story into an appropriate length movie, but it’s a depressing story), Skyfall (I love Bond movies, and Daniel Craig is fun),  Beast of the Southern Wild (man, everyone should see this movie.  Unbelievable.  Hush Puppy is fantastic), Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson is a proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy), The Hunger Games (people who don’t like Jennifer Lawrence are just jealous), Magic Mike (people who don’t like Channing Tatum are just jealous), Being Flynn (everyone likes Robert De Nero), and finally, The Iron Lady (I felt more educated after this movie).  I feel like I had to have seen more movies at the beginning of the year, but now I can’t remember.  That’s a strong showing, but I still feel like I’ve missed some huge movies.  Argo, The Hobbit, The Silver Lining Playbook, Django Unchained.  I’ve also tried to catch up on some of last year’s movies in the comfort of my own home.  Hugo, Trouble with the Curve, Tinker Tailor Solider Spy, How to Train Your Dragon (my new favorite animated film), The Muppets, 21 Jump Street, and Coraline.

Basically, if you were curious about what I’ve been doing in the past year, I’ve been watching movies and reading books.  Sometimes I go outside and interact with something called other people. It definitely explains why I haven’t been blogging, because I’ve been reading and watching.  I am going to try to stop being such a consumer and start producing.

I did go to a few concerts – Blitzen Trapper, Patterson Hood, The Avett Brothers, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Brandi Carlisle, Miranda Lambert, Chris Young, and Jerrod Niemann.

2012 was an excellent year. It was a year full of new friendships, important re-connections, thousands of downward dogs and chaturangas, a 10k, a 5k, one of the best tennis teams a girl could ask for, abundant sunshine, oysters, shrimps, boats, coffee, beaches, bowling, late night dancing, handstands, thunderstorms (I had a dream last night I was struck by lightening, but it didn’t hurt, it just left a weird scar on my leg), Vail, Steamboat Springs (TWICE!), Williamsburg, Sea Island, Valdosta, D.C., a job I love more than I ever thought possible, and some damn good football.  And I cut all my hair off.  Everyone should try it.

I have high hopes for 2013.  I think it is going to be the best one yet.

Photo evidence of awesomeness.

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I awoke this morning to the semi darkness of the late sunrise of early autumn.  Getting out of bed this time of year is exceedingly difficult, and as much as I hate the darkness when I get off work, I appreciate the sunlight in the morning.  I intensely covet the ability to bounce of out bed at 6:30 am on a regular basis, and bright sunlight is the best way to get me out of bed.   I need windows, large, east facing windows on the opposing wall from my bed.  My bedroom has big windows, but none of them face east.  The real trick is opening the blinds at night so they will be open to the sunlight in the morning.  I might be a paranoid person, but I’m also slightly nosy, and if a light is on in a room in a house where the blinds are open at night, I am going to look.  So if lights are on at night, blinds should be closed.  Somehow turning all the lights out and then opening the blinds seems strange. 

Oh, duh.  What I need is a chamber maid, to come in the morning and open the blinds for me and leave me clean clothes and tea and toast with butter and marmalade and maybe a hardboiled egg.  I guess if I had a chamber maid I could also have a house with east facing windows on the water or on a mountain somewhere that blinds were not necessary.  Then I wouldn’t need my chambermaid, but breakfast would be pleasant.  Then I might bounce out of bed at 6:30. 

Alas, I was languishing in bed at 7:45 this morning, thinking about what I would wear today.  And I checked the weather, 71 degrees, 84% humidity.  This sounds like an improvement over 78 degrees with 97% humidity, but I wasn’t entirely convinced it was a significant improvement.  The fact that it is September 30th means nothing as far as what kind of weather could be expected. 

Have you ever wondered what the UPS guy does all day?  Because when you want a package to arrive at your house by a certain time, and you track it, it seems like regardless of anything else, the UPS man never gets to your house til after 5 pm, regardless of where you live, even though the UPS.com tracker told you he left the warehouse at 8 am this morning.  Well, apparently he is delivering packagings, because I got a delivery I’d been waiting on at 1:45 this afternoon!  It is like the UPS man knew i needed the package before 5.  Or else it’s friday and he just wanted to go ahead and get rid of all the boxes so he could go home. 

Why do I need this package before 5 pm?  Because I’m going to Augusta today for Britt’s 30th Birthday!  HOORAY!  Happy Birthday Britt!  Yay 30!

I have to admit, my 30th year so far has been pretty spectacular, and I feel sure Britt’s 30th year will be equally amazing!

Happy Friday, take time this weekend and smell the tea olives, and when it gets cold tonight, or tomorrow night, and you shiver in your tank top, remember that is finally the best month of the year, OCTOBER!  Just typing it makes me happy.  I’m going to go dig up some fingerless gloves with skulls and crossbones on them.

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My new favorite song is Amos Lee and Willie Nelson, with the above stated title.  It is soothing, inspiring, and brings to mind desolate, dusty roads with the sun on your shoulders (we are in a convertible of course) and wind in your hair.  I”m wearing faded jeans and a white tank top, no watch, flip flops and on my left wrist, an indian friendship bracelet like the ones we used to make at camp with smocking thread.  I have aviators, a doctor pepper, and maybe a tootsie pop or some sugar babies I bought at the last gas station.  There is a cooler in the back icing down cold beer and sandwiches for later.  What are you wearing? 

Summer has come to the low country, and the humidity is here to stay.  As are the tourists.  All winter, I would run through the main tourist district on week nights, mostly monday, tuesday and wendesday.  There were always people around, it is better lit than other areas of town, and it allowed me to be on the streets a little later than I would venture alone in less populous areas.  The time change and the lengthening days makes running through the tourist area less of a necessity, but last night I ran my regular route anyway.  I was shocked by the enormous influx of people.  Seriously, it is a different town.  It is the town I would expect on a Saturday, but yesterday being Tuesday, I did not expect it. 

The most amazing part of the late spring here is that the entire town smells like confederate jasmine.  I LOVE the way confederate jasmine smells, and there is nothing more enjoyable than being assaulted with wonderful flower smells everywhere you go.  Even Briscoe likes the way the flowers smell.  Of course, she likes the way a lot of things smell I find questionable, so her opinion probably doesn’t really support my point.  My point is that it is awesome. 

Libby’s bachelorette party was last weekend, and maggie bought some FAGE yogurt that made it to my refrigerator on sunday afternoon.  I’ve been eating a good bit of yogurt recently, trying to be healthy.  I must have grape nuts or granola to make yogurt work for me, and I can’t eat plain yogurt without some kind of sweetness in it, but with a little strawberry and cereal, I find yogurt fantastic.  On Monday, while stirring the strawberry jam portion into the plain yogurt portion of my FAGE container, I noticed writing on the container, in red lettering:  “Suggestion – DO NOT STIR.”  I paused my stirring.  Wait.  I need the strawberry taste in the yogurt, why can’t I stir?  Did they have to be so bossy about it?  Should I have known that stirring yogurt was bad?  Have I been eating yogurt incorrectly for years?  Am I killing the live cultures?  All those fruit at the bottom yogurt cultures murdered by me, the stirrer?  Who knew you weren’t suppose to stir yogurt?  Apparently, other people who are not me.  From what I can discern from the internet, apparently the yogurt tastes better and is lighter and fluffier if you don’t stir it.  Good to know. 

Life has been moving at a rapid pace recently, with lots of changes over the past month.  I had to retire the silver bullet, attend the funeral of an amazing man who lived a fantastic life, watch an impressive golfer and even more impressive person fall apart in the prettiest place in the world, get my little dog’s hair cut to transform her from a winter bear to a springtime lamb, run the bridge run with some great old friends, and really start to settle into this job that I love so much.  Thankfully, at the last minute, Congress got it together and I still had a job.  Haha. 

I think things are starting to calm down a little bit, so I’m planning on being much more diligent in my blogging.  But then again, I’ve said that before, right?

Before I go, I have some television recommendations – Blue Bloods (if you don’t like Tom Selleck, you hate america) and Chicago Code.  Cop shows at their finest.  I also watched the first episode of Game of Thrones, which has a great deal of promise, and scared me to death in the first ten minutes, and broke my heart in the last two.

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Last January, I struggled with the pronunciation of 2010.  Twenty-Ten?  Two-Thousand-Ten?  Eventually, I was told that the correct pronunciation was Twenty Ten.  Okay. 

This year, I’m again confused.  Twenty Eleven?  Two Thousand and Eleven?  Most of the radio commercials here in Charleston have decided to go with Tweny-Leven, which I’m fairly certain is not the proper pronunciation, but it sure does roll off the tongue real nice.

It is no longer dark when I leave work, which makes me insanely happy.  Sometimes I worry at my emotional stability by how happy certain things make me.  Like the sun setting a minute later every day.  I got so excited about the sun staying up longer, that I figured I needed to know more about when this whole daily light saving thing was going to happen. 

I found this sweet little website, and I learned a few things I’d like to share.     First, and most importantly, mark your calendars for March 13, 2011, because that is when summer officially begins as far as I’m concerned.  Then, I want you all to know that it is Daylight Saving Time, and not Daylight SavingS Time.  Saving is used here as a verbal adjective (a participle).  It modifies time and tells us more about it’s nature, namely, that it is characterized by the activity of saving daylight.  The site goes on to say that the term Daylight Shifting Time or Daylight Time Shifting would be more accurate, but neither is politically desirable.  (I find this interesting.  What makes it undesirable?  People don’t want the government shifting around their daylight?  Hmm.)  The US of A begins daylight saving time two weeks before Europe in the spring, and ends it a week later in the fall, giving us A-mare-ic-uns three more weeks of extra daylight shifting.  The website has a lot of other interesting facts, none of which I find interesting enough to discuss right now, other than to say that the idea behind DST is attributed to Ole Benjamin Franklin. 

I went to New York last weekend for an engagement party for Libby and Bryan.  The party was Mad Men themed, and I have to say I believe it was a complete success.  I succeeded in teasing my hair up about half a foot on my head.  I hadn’t been to New York in TWO YEARS.  It was a quick trip, and the weather was BRRR, but it was really fun.  There was tons of snow.  And wine.  Haha. 

The weather tomorrow is suppose to be sunny, high 63, and the weather on Sunday is suppose to be Sunny, high 67.  I’m so happy it is friday, and I’m so happy about the impending sunshine and the fact that it is only going to get warmer from here on out.  I anxiously await the day where my feet and shoulders are bare, the humidity causes my sunglasses to fog up when I go outside, and the inside of my car is consistently over 110 degrees.  I’m dreaming of beer with condensation, leather seats that burn the back of your thighs, and the smell of sunscreen.  Happy Sigh.

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