Archive for the ‘Nostalgia’ Category

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Coffee? Check. Delicious rye for sandwiches? Check.

Large stack of books that I absolutely will not get through and – let’s be real – will probably forsake for audiobooks while I knit or jog (indoors, because Texas is stupid hot in summer) or one of the four ebooks I am about halfway through? Check.

This is one of my favorite ways to spend a weekend. Reading. Sleeping. Eating. More reading.

It’s not too late to join. You can sign up at the 24in48 website.

Or you can just read with reckless abandon, and not just this weekend. That’s an anytime thing. You don’t have to sign up to do that.

Now on to the books! I think I’ll start with Molly Wizenberg’s Delancey.

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This post has been edited from its original form to exclude extraneous, navel-gazey drivel and include commentary from Witty Guy, who actually became a fun online friend.

Let’s say that you have a lot of time on your hands, and the world wide web at your disposal.

Let’s say that, in your urge to entertain yourself, you weave through the labyrinth that is livejournal, through your interests and friends…and through people who share those interests and friends.

Let’s say that, in said weavings, you run across a witty friend of a friend of a coworker’s dog (or something like that).

Let’s say that this new-found witty guy (oh…didn’t I mention he was male? No? Huh. Must’ve slipped my mind) also happens to be fairly attractive. Scruffy, even. Right up your alley.

[WG: Aw, shucks. I’m blushing. I’m a little upset that I’ve never been told that you like my face, since that’s apparently your go-to move. But whatevs.]

Let’s say that he also posted his address. In a public post. And he’s local…ish.

[WG: Ah, back when I was young and stupid. Why…]

Let’s say that you comment on this wealth of information that is, quite literally, at your fingertips in your livejournal, say something like “rawr,” and then promptly forget about it (you do, after all, have a short attention span).

[WG: HA! I forgot about that. I don’t remember you flirting, though. You were like, “Dude. Your address is showing.” I thought you were bossy. I remember being offended. 
Me: That’s an accurate assessment. I do enjoy being bossy. You took it down, though, so apparently you like being bossed. I regret nothing. And I probably saved your life. So YOU’RE WELCOME.]

Fast forward one week or so.

Let’s say that you are engaged in a conversation with the coworker (whose friend is Witty Guy’s friend) about online communities, and you mention that you have a livejournal and tell him/her your screenname.

Let’s say that this same coworker, whilst actually reading your livejournal (which people seldom do even if they say they will, so this was surprising.) runs across the post wherein you mentioned the scruffy hotness that is Witty Guy.

[WG: Really? I always read people’s blogs when I say I’m going to.
Me: Me, too. I think we’re outliers, though.
WG: We would be.]

Let’s say that this very same coworker suddenly develops a need to meet with you for coffee.

Let’s say that you have a coffee fetish and, thus, readily agree.

Let’s say that you show up at the agreed-upon coffee shop and scan the room for Coworker.

Let’s say that you see him/her.

Let’s say that s/he is not alone.

[WG: Oo! Is it me?!]

Let’s say that there is someone scruffy and, judging by the way Coworker is laughing, witty sitting at the table with him/her.

[WG: It is! It’s me!]

Let’s say that you consider fleeing, but don’t. Because hey – you could really use a cup of coffee right about now.

Let’s say that you wave to your sneaky traitor of a coworker and nonverbally indicate that you’re going to order coffee and seek to regain feeling in your legs.

Let’s say that Coworker cheerfully waves back, and his/her companion turns around.

Let’s say that this moment is glorious but did nothing for your legs.

[WG: You like my face. 
Me: I did.
WG: It’s ok. You can say it.
WG: You don’t have to, though. We both know it’s true.
Me: ...literally just said…never mind.]

Let’s say that you stumble dart walk normally to the counter and order a bottomless cup of coffee.

Let’s say that, while waiting for your cup, you are simultaneously planning something witty to say to Witty Guy and plotting the demise of Coworker.

Let’s say that you get your coffee and walk to the table.

Let’s say that you manage to sit down without spilling anything on yourself or others.

Let’s say that Coworker claimed to have forgotten that s/he had plans with both of you, so s/he decided to just combine said plans.

Let’s say that Coworker is a horrible liar, and it’s clear that both you and Witty Guy understand this. *cue raised eyebrows and knowing glances*

[WG: Least sneaky person ever.]

Let’s say that Witty Guy’s online picture does not do him justice at all.

[WG: You like my…
Me: Stop being needy.]

Let’s say that you, on the other hand, didn’t even bother to comb your hair before arrival.

[WG: I don’t remember this. Your hair looked fine. Probably.]

Let’s say that Witty Guy, it turns out, is also Kind Guy, and doesn’t seem to mind.

[WG: Oblivious guy. Who possibly wasn’t looking at your hair.]

Let’s say that, lucky for Coworker, you all have a very, very good time drinking many, many cups of coffee.

[WG: So much coffee.]

Let’s say that, although there was talk of “doing this again sometime,” there was no actual exchange of contact information.

Let’s say that, after Witty Guy leaves, Coworker huffs at you, “Why didn’t you ask for his phone number?”

Let’s say that sometimes you use sarcasm to avoid confrontation and that this is one of those times, so you quip, “Why do I need his phone number? I already have his address.”


Let’s say that Coworker thinks you’re serious and actually says, “You know, that’s a good point. You could just show up at his house. That would be cool!” Coworker might have then launched into a game plan for doing this mad, mad thing.

[WG: Um…]

Let’s say that you assure Crazy Coworker With Apparent Stalker Tendencies that you were joking and, just for the record, mention that such behavior would be wrong and bad. You might also have accidentally called Coworker “creepy and weird.”

[WG: You already knew that about this person, though, right?]

Let’s say that Coworker is now determined *cough*stubborn*cough* that showing up at Witty/Kind Guy’s house is the one and only way that you will ever see him again.

[WG: Thanks for not doing that. That would have been weird. Probably. I mean, maybe. You’re pretty nice. And I did put my address on the internet. Maybe I would have been okay with it.
Me: It would have been weird.
WG: Yeah. Probably.]

What would you say should be done next?

[WG: Was one of the answers “lecture me about internet safety?” If so…then check.
Me: No, my livejournal flist mostly just lol-ed and recommended that I wait for you to contact me. Also not my strong suit. Ergo the blog follow and slow, normal getting to know you on the internet. As a person does.
WG: I remember reading this post, having no idea it was about me.
Me: …you really are oblivious, aren’t you?
WG: Lol yeah. Well, thanks for not stalking me in person. Although that would have been a good story, too.
Me: I prefer good stories where I don’t wind up with a restraining order, thanks.]

I love internet friends.


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I’m gearing up for the first Sunday of Advent this weekend. Advent is one of my favorite seasons…in theory. I love it, but I want to do all the complicated things to make it Meaningful with a capital M. Which I recognize in my head is ridiculous. Especially for a season that is all about waiting and expectation and hoping, which frankly often means a whole lot of sitting around in stillness and quiet.

But last year, I endeavored to light the candles every day. Which in itself is not that much. But then after I lit the candle, I wanted to complete all the readings from the Book of Common Prayer for the day, which is not a bad goal but maybe not one to take on suddenly during one of the busiest months when I am not so great at doing that on a regular basis any other time of the year. Then after I read all the readings, I wanted to complete an art journal page reflecting the readings and also the word prompt from Advent Word (see image above) for the day that I had in my Advent calendar (which the previous year I had knitted and sewed together with my own two hands). This ritual was designed to play out against a playlist of seasonal hymns, perfectly timed to last the length that it took to finish all of the above.

This is not what waiting looks like. I’m exhausted just reading about it.

As you can imagine, there weren’t many days this actually happened. Specifically, looking back on my journal, I see that there were seven days out of the whole four weeks when I had time to do all of that, and I vividly remember doing two days’ pages at once on more than one occasion. Plans are only as good as their execution, so as plans go, this one was not awesome.

This year still has a plan, because otherwise Advent will pass on by without my giving it a thought other than on Sundays and Wednesdays. But it’s a slower plan that’s more conducive to hope and peace and joy and expectation. I still (will) have the candles (as soon as I buy them), because that part I did do every day last year, even if it was just during dinner. I will still use my cute calendar, but this year, as I have discovered that its little pockets are the perfect size for a tea bag or an Emergen-C packet or a single-serve bottle of hooch, I will simply be enjoying a daily beverage along with my candles/supper/staring at the Christmas tree lights.

There will likely be music in the background from my record player or a Spotify playlist. I will probably still read through some of the daily readings, as that is a habit I’d like to pick up this year, but I’m not going to make an issue of it or feel like I’m running behind if I don’t. I will also sporadically play along on Instagram with Advent Word or with Susannah Conway’s December Reflections prompts, because that’s fun.

But no extra stress or unreasonable to-do lists. Just waiting. And hope. And expecting. And joy. That’s what I hope to take from Advent this year.


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If I Had a Band…

photo 5It would be a cover band, because I am not a songwriter. And I have an obsession with cover bands. I could totally see myself being in one. My first album would be a collection of my favorite songs to belt out on a long drive.

In order of appearance:

1. Build Me Up, Buttercup (The Foundations) – I love this song. I might even say that it is my favorite song of all time. A theme song, if you will. The album will start with a regular cover or a respectful nod to the original. Who wants to be the drummer?

2. Don’t Fence Me In (Roy Rogers) – So much fun. Favorite line – “Gaze at the moon until I lose my senses.” Okay, I’m going to need a guitar player.

3. Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye (The Casinos) – This is the song that I want to dance our first dance to at my wedding reception. You know, if ever such a thing should happen.

4. Rebel Girl (Bikini Kill) – Oh, riot!grrl music – yeah, this one’s going on there.

5. Crazy (Patsy Cline) – Because I’m from Texas. And this song sounds awesome with a jazzy vocal arrangement that the people of the world just need to hear.

6. Dream a Little Dream of Me (The Mamas and the Papas) – this one reminds me of an old friend, which is exactly what the middle of an album should be.

7. Scotch and Soda (Kingston Trio) – An opportunity to show off my smooth piano skills (that I would brush up on if I knew I’d have to play in public) to cover up the fact that my voice is, at best, mediocre? Yes, please.

8. Black Coffee (every jazz singer since the beginning of jazz) – Do I really need to explain why with this one? Although I’d have to bring in a guest vocalist on this one. Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald sang this, y’all. I can’t compete with that, nor would I sully the memory of their renditions by trying to do so.

9. For Your Love (Ed Townsend) – Such a pretty yet simple song.

10. Love Me (Treat Me Like a Fool) (Elvis Presley) – Another crowd pleaser. Thank you. Thank you very much.

11. Build Me Up, Buttercup (The Foundations)- ending where we began, except with a punk or riot!grrl version – because that’s just how my cover band would roll.

I really, really want to make this album now.

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TW: eating disorders

I read a book tonight called Binary Star by Sarah Gerard. The main character was anorexic and bulimic, so it had the potential to be a little triggery for me. It wasn’t. I didn’t come away with a need to binge or starve. I ate dinner. I finished my water. I did a couple of loads of laundry. And now here we are.

I was prepared to put it down, though. It would have triggered something earlier in my life. I’m glad I didn’t have to, not only because I like to finish books when I start them but also because not getting triggered was an amazing experience. It’s one I’d like to have again.

I haven’t dabbled with consistent disordered eating or lied about my eating habits in a long time (like, the kind of long you can measure in decades). But I’ve wanted to. At some times more than others. It’s always been there, that unstable feeling like I’m standing at the edge of a canyon and need to concentrate very hard on not toppling right on in.

For a moment, it wasn’t there tonight. I saw the character’s behavior for the downward spiral it was.

Tonight I feel like I’m in my right mind, which is a new feeling for me regarding food issues.

I had a post scheduled to write today about being judged for my weight, both when I was thin and now. More accurately, I had planned to write the first of my nostalgia posts where I take old blog posts and reorganize them slightly to shed new light on the subject. I am going to take rampant liberties with this one.

The original post was about external messages that people (women, specifically) receive about weight and its ties to their perceived worth. That is a conversation I have often, and it is a conversation worth having. These messages are a plague. They’re dangerous. Particularly when they come directly from people we love. And the people who bear the heaviest burden of the effects of these messages are hardly ever the people actually responsible for them.

Tonight, however, I’m thinking more about how people in general and I in particular absorb(ed) messages about body image, process(ed) these messages, and turn(ed) that processing into behavior that’s not always healthy.

I have always suspected that problems can be alleviated but never really go away. I assumed that my history of disordered eating and all the messages that helped to lead me there would mean I’d always be stuck in doing the work of the cycle:

  1. A message is sent. It could be one of the abominable judgy messages, or it could be a message like a book with a character who has some serious eating disorders. It might even be a great message, like body positivity statements.
  2. The message sticks because I absorb it as a trigger.
  3. I reframe my internal reaction to the message. To me, reframing is different from adapting a positive attitude. For starters, the term reframing doesn’t make me want to punch the person who suggests it in the throat. To me, reframing is about getting to the truth of a situation rather than just throwing a blanket of sunshine over it, blindly hoping it will smother anything untoward that lies beneath. I filter through the message’s layers, attempting to separate them into piles of true and false, healthy and unhealthy, helpful and destructive. For the record, this doesn’t always go the way it ought to go, despite very good intentions.
  4. I react/respond with external behavior. Sometimes, I process, and the truth does set me free, and I behave with sanity and reason. More often, there’s no time for that, and the chances of making a good vs. bad choice are about 50/50. Sometimes I think it out and still make bad choices, such as eating more than my body is comfortable holding just because it’s there and I can.

Whew. Are you exhausted? I’m exhausted. If you’ve ever wondered why a person with an addiction or mental health issue can’t just get over it, this is why. Getting over it is hard work. If it weren’t, it never would have been a problem in the first place.

Tonight I caught a glimpse of what it was like to arrest the cycle at stage two. I received a message, and my gut reaction was to see the truth of it. No trigger. No exhausting process just to get through the night intact.

This must be what people with a healthy relationship with food and good body image feel like all the time. It’s incredible. I highly recommend it.

And I have no idea how it happened. I mean, I suspect it has something to do with the years and years (omg the years) of working through that cycle (with and without qualified professionals) with varying degrees of success. But even the thought of that is exhausting, so if you are reading this and it hurts you more than it helps, let me just carry that to the unhelpful pile for you.

Nor am I done. I’m not saying that I’m cured and that I’ll never struggle with food issues or the temptation to engage in disordered eating again. I have no way of knowing that for sure. I kind of doubt it, actually, although that would be really nice. I learned tonight, though, that moments of right-mind, true, gut-reaction, health are possible. And that I want a whole lot more of that.

For all of us.

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