Monday, June 18, 2012

okay. the truth.

I've been in a writing group since the beginning of the year. On Sunday evenings, the six of us gather with our notepads and laptops, huddling around electrical outlets in our Barnes and Noble to hash out details of our lives and our emotions and sharing the words we can assign to our life experiences.

I read last Friday's post to my writing group last night, and they called me out. Jami paused and conceded that perchance she knows me too well by now, but she was certain there was more to say. "That's a lie," Ms. Gregg* summarized.

The emotions that spill forward when friends get married are more messy and complex than just being happy for your friends. Even for friends, a marriage is a loss, in some way. Augusta will never again be my roommate, because she'll be Mitch's roommate. The three of us— Augusta, Mitch and Shanti— as three kids will cease, as Mitch and Augusta make big, adult decisions. Maria and I won't again be eleven-year-old girls watching The Parent Trap in her basement, playing with our dolls, running squealing from her brothers and eating French toast on Saturday mornings.

We wouldn't be whether or not she and Alex were getting married, but something about a wedding really puts a wax seal on the deal. As much as I like to tell myself that a marriage is just a legal contract, that's a brave face. Regardless of where it goes or if it ends, a marriage holds huge significance. I can say that once you're engaged, you've already agreed to spend your lives together, so what's the big rush to get married. (And Amy and I have said that in our conversations.) I stand by that on one count, as far as planning a beautiful wedding.

But to really get a handle on what marriage means to us as a society, I like to think of it through the lens of a blind date test. If I were going on a blind date with somebody, what's the baggage our mutual friend would share? A relationship? Maybe. An engagement? Almost certainly. A marriage? Absolutely. It's the marriage that we really want to know about before that blind date. How did the couple get to the altar? What happened? Why did it end? Was it bad?

What about marriage makes it more significant than living together? Maria and Alex have been living together for more than three years, but their getting married suddenly sounds so grown-up. When Elizabeth Gilbert wrote her sequel to Eat, Pray, Love, Committed, she explored what marriage means from a myriad of perspectives, and she mused on the concept that her deep, meaningful relationship that wasn't sealed with a marriage license meant nothing to U.S. Border Patrol, while two sixteen-year-olds who'd gotten married after an accidental pregnancy would have been given full protection in the same situation.

So marriage holds significance in our psyches and culture, whether or not we like it.

Another aspect of the emotions attached to the experience is the light a wedding sheds on our own situations. Last night, Ms. Gregg, in true form, made a most eloquent observation: "I don't think it's ever easy to think other people have an intimate completeness, no matter what it costs, if you don't have that right now."

It's true. I honestly don't want to get married right now. For me, it would feel binding and not liberating. But that's essentially because I haven't found the person I want to marry. To know that these women in my world have found someone who they want to marry, whether or not our dreams look the same, sometimes makes me wonder. Am I missing out on something? Will I ever find someone I want to marry?  And back to what Ms. Gregg said— it's that "intimate completeness." We dream about an intimate completeness, and when our friends are getting married, we imagine that they have that.

And they probably do. When Maria talks about the way Alex irons his shirts, it's so mundane that it speaks of an intimacy I've not yet known with a partner. I don't know yet know the person with whom I want to share that, and their intimacy sheds light on my own lack of intimacy at this point in my life.

I still operate as a single unit, and I love that on so many levels. The thought of  having my major decisions depend at least partially on someone else's desires literally inspires shallower breathing in me. I can't imagine being trapped in that way, because that's what it sounds like to me right now. Just the same, in those occasional situations where I find myself operating as two with someone, I am reminded of how sweet it is to feel that partnership. That's what my friends experience on the daily, and, like Ms. Gregg said, "no matter what it costs," they have it. Is it worth it?

There's plenty more to say on this topic, but I feel now I'm leaning more in the direction of telling the truth. Thank you for reading, and please feel free to leave comments.

*I call Julia "Ms. Gregg" because she was my teacher and advisor for two years in high school, and even though she says I can call her Julia, it still feels weird to do so. Maybe someday it won't.

Photo sources unknown.

Friday, June 15, 2012

friends getting married

After another long hiatus, I'm here to blog!

Now that I'm out of college, I am presently freelancing, primarily for magazines. I'm also serving/bartending, and watching half-a-dozen friends get married to their longtime beaus.

It's funny about watching friends get married when you don't even have a boyfriend. My friend Amy and I have been reflecting on it, seemingly on the daily. We both aren't dating anyone in particular, and yet our friends, many of whom are our same age, are diving into marriage with great confidence and ease. I alone have six couples in my life who have wedding plans within the next year. (And one got married just this past weekend.) In the next month, I will attend two celebrations for dear friends. After that, it will be back to hardcore wedding planning with Maria, who will finally be marrying Alex at some point within the next year. I'll be a bridesmaid for the second time next summer, in dear Augusta's nuptials to dear Mitch.

I'm so happy for my friends. I keep reminding them that their wedding days are their days, nobody else's. Since I've grown up in my dad's photo studio, I've spent a far greater amount of time with brides and grooms [and mothers-in-law and bridesmaids...] than the average bear. This kind of talk is second nature. What Amy and I are most in agreement on is that neither of us really wants to be getting married right now ourselves. There's nothing wrong with what we want, and there's nothing wrong with our friends' wanting to get married now. This is one of those times when it's important to remember that what we really all want is to enjoy ourselves in the best way we know how.

I'm so excited to go to some rockstar weddings, and finally go as a guest rather than a vendor. And I'm really, really excited to see my friends make their lifetime commitments with their leading men. Stay tuned for more on going to friends' weddings. And please share your experiences in the comment section. What advice can you share for helping your friends have incredibly special weddings? I'm itching to know.

Top photo and bottom photo: sources unknown.
Middle photo by the wonderful Joe Buissink, to whose work my Papa introduced me after discovering him at a PPA convention a couple of years ago.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

foul bachelor frog

Lynn and I are loving memes these days. A particular favorite is the Foul Bachelor Frog. Some of them are just so hilarious.


source unknown

Thursday, March 15, 2012

björk, busy being adorable

just saying. & I'm having a love affair with her eyeshadow/eyeliner/eye makeup.

Monday, March 12, 2012

creating your world

Do you remember Harold and the Purple Crayon from childhood? I think it's super inspiring that Harold can use his crayon to create the world he lives in. We can fly high with that. 

via Listal

via Sherri

via The Children's Book Review

P.S. A fascinating scientific article about our minds through the lens of reading Harold.

Friday, March 9, 2012

for the love of summahhh

I've been reading Ya-Yas In Bloom (HarperCollins, 2005, by Rebecca Wells).

I spent my early teenage years— from about age 12 to age 15— positively immersing myself in the stories of the fictional Ya-Ya Sisterhood. And it still fascinates me how Rebecca Wells created such a beautifully complex and complete world.

When we were 12, Maria's mom, Linda, took us to see the movie Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002, starring Sandra Bullock, Ellen Burstyn, James Garner, Ashley Judd, Maggie Smith and like a million other awesome actors). I loved it. Later that summer, I went to Italy with my parents and Auntie Michele, and I took the book. I devoured it. Then I bought the prequel, Little Altars Everywhere, and it was just captivating.

Then I re-read Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Little Altars Everywhere more times than I can count. I knew those characters, every one of them. I still have my paperback copies from those years. They are ripped and scuffed and folded and ever so worn.

Last year, I was really sick one weekend— like, couldn't-get-out-of-bed-sick. I watched seven movies (seven!) and also went through my Netflix Queue. And that's when I noticed that Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood was available on Instant View and watched it for the first time in years.

My goodness, how it makes me want to be southern! The way they talk is so beautiful. Their voices sound like summer, slow like syrup, melodious with the most simple one-syllable words. It's sensual and glamorous and relaxing. It reminds me of my friend Airin. Airin was one of my many mothers growing up. (My parents always surrounded me with a brigade of strong, beautiful women who cared for me as if I were their own.) Airin is from Kentucky, and she's a free-thinking, free-wheeling, life-loving, liberal massage-therapist. And really, while that may seem like a disconnect considering her roots, her voice is right there. It's  a meditation to hear her talk.

(Take a listen.)

The truth is, I don't think the American South gets nearly enough credit for being as awesome as it is. My experiences have been positively magical. North Carolina is such a delight— Asheville, Southern Pines, Chapel Hill. Georgia? Savannah is sweet and historical and romantic. Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia— they are purely of their own. I love the American South!

P.S. For more Southern love,  check out The Secret Life of Bees, movie or book. I read it, then watched it. The movie was just like watching the book. Seriously. Except that in the movie was a little more red than the pink I had imagined. I love Queen Latifah. And I actually got to meet her a few weeks ago!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

a few gorgeous gowns

loving these

image via Wallpaper World
Kate Hudson in Prabal Gurung at Elle's 17th Annual Women in Hollywood Tribute in 2010

via People
As if they even had to ask... Hit or miss? Hit. (Duh.) Kate Winslet in Jenny Packham with Van Cleef and Arpels diamonds at the César Awards in Paris this month.

this winter in holland

Oh, Holland. Way to keep up the charm.

The weather is so cold and icy there this month that Amsterdam's residents can ice skate on the lovely canals.
Equally exciting, the Dutch are finally getting their very first Apple Store, which, originally rumored to open a couple of weeks ago, has been scheduled now for March 3. I'd love to be there!

Monday, February 27, 2012

political iphone

 omg'dess, did you see? Obama for America has revealed their new iPhone cases. They are so crazy cute and genius for showing one's support of our dear president.

Friday, February 24, 2012

woody allen on making movies in nyc

In anticipation of Sunday 84th Academy Awards, I'd like to share this awesome video of my beloved Woody Allen's appearance at the 2002 Oscars, where he made a plea for filmmakers' continuing to make their art in New York City. It's also very funny. I would love if he showed up Sunday evening.

P.S. Here's the montage, if you're interested.

Monday, February 20, 2012

happy president's day

Hope you're enjoying a day of celebrating our nation's leaders. This video might certainly inspire a giggle. I first saw it my freshman year at IU, brought to me by the same ladies who introduced me to the puppy cam.

Friday, February 17, 2012

happy friday!

What are your weekend plans? I'm very excited to be on the radio today! I'll be on WNIN 88.3 (the Evansville-Henderson-Owensboro NPR member station) from 3-5 p.m. CST working for the pledge drive! If you're thinking about contributing, this might be a good time :)

Oprah at the Taj Mahal last month... one day before my parents were there :)
this is true for all girls but me (not) (& episode 2)
Create Your Own Luck is finally available!
a super cute wedding photography website design... recalls Juno :)
I just recently realized how much Claudia Schiffer looks like Brigitte Bardot!
seriously awesome iPhone cases
Mr. President can sing!
Indianapolis keeps it classy. (and I'm not being ironic. Way to rock the Super Bowl, Indy.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

happy valentine's day

I hope you have a lovely lovey day!

image courtesy of Alex's Facebook page :)

Also, congratulations to Maria and Alex, who got engaged this weekend! You are two beautiful people and I love you both. You are excellent for each other!

airport yoga

Do you practice yoga? I've taken classes and followed DVD guides for a few years now, and recently I made the big investment and signed up for my first month-long membership at a local yoga studio, Yoga 101. From what I understand, it's not Bikram, though it has some Bikram influences. The room is very hot, just the same— around 100º! I really enjoy it. It helps me clear my head a bit and it's so physically intense. Sometimes during class drops of sweat fall from my body to the mat (which, particularly during lying-down poses, I cover with a towel) and I frequently see beads of sweat running down my legs! I wear only tiny cotton stretchy shorts and a tank top or a sports bra, and when I'm finished everything is drenched in sweat. It's awesome!

I recently read about the San Francisco airport's new yoga room. How cool is that?! The airport is a wonderful place for yoga, since people can get so cramped on airplanes. I think it's particularly cute that they had to come up with their own icon for the yoga room, since there wasnt yet one in the international guide of airport pictograms.

via Runmem

Monday, February 13, 2012

on twins

What is up with the photographic fascination with twins? Or just fascination in general. I have always fantasized about what it might be like to have a twin. Maria and I were practically raised by the Olsens, and to be honest, we thought we looked just like them. I remember one time we went to get our hair cut and Maria literally brought the VHS case (ha!) for Our Lips Are Sealed so the stylist, Nata, could make something similar to what Mary Kate was wearing. We also wanted to be Hallie and Annie in The Parent Trap. (It's still my secret life-ambition to be one half of an adorable, super-cool and hilariously mischievous pair.)

seeing two Lindsay Lohans (The Parent Trap 1998)

seeing two Hayley Mills(es?) (The Parent Trap 1961)
via HelloGiggles

This recent article from National Geographic talks about the possibilities for discovery in studying twins' genetic codes, and features some awesome portraits. It even shares a national twin convention in Ohio. NPR recently published this story about photographers' love for twins, and still, stories like this one from Vogue about Mary Kate and Ashley (who are, of course, famously fraternal, not identical) captivate my attention. I think it's so cool that these two have memories that they share in a way that they literally can't always see the lines between each other. What would it be like to have such a strong connection with another separate person? What would it be like to share the womb?

Also noted: This woman isn't Angelina Jolie's identical twin, but she could have fooled me.

Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen
image source unknown

Tamera (left) and Tia Mowry, on Tia's wedding day (they're now Tamera Mowry-Housley and Tia Mowry Hardrict)
via TractHer TrailHer

Tegan and Sara Quin
via Jack Johnson

Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Bush
via Composite Drawlings

via Neatorama
The Siamese Twins: Chang and Eng Bunker

via TopTenz
Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss

Joanna Goddard (who is a fraternal twin herself) posted recently about naming identical twins and telling them apart.

image source unknown

Little Olsens, via Blueberry Lake

Friday, February 10, 2012

happy friday!

Photo of a painted harpsichord by Alexandra Roberts Photography, from Caroline and Cornelius' wedding day

<3 Michael McRobbie and IU <3

omg, you might just pee your pants when you see kitlers (thank you, Lynn)

In the spirit of kale-eating, my future-dietician, cooking former-roommate Augusta was wearing this t-shirt when we most recently Skyped. Have you seen them? Apparently, there's all sorts of courtroom drama because Chick-Fil-A got all riled up about "Eat More Kale," saying it sounds too similar to "Eat More Chicken." If you can, buy a t-shirt to support the cause. (The nutrients cause, of course.)

how did I get a degree in journalism without ever having heard of the Proust Questionnaire?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

some thoughts on names

via Hype Girls

January was a huge month for baby name mania, what with Beyoncé and Jay-Z making history with their little lady, Blue Ivy Carter (professionally known as "B.I.C."). I love the meaning behind the name, particularly the "Ivy," which I don't really care for in itself, but the pun on "IV" is really clever. (Beyoncé's pregnancy announcement was so uplifting. Give it another view here.)

I just love talking about names, which is of course why I visit almost daily. They always have stats on which names are most popular every day and great blogging on name trends and history. Its cultural commentary and a good sense of humor make it entertaining even to people who aren't parents or expecting.

In that spirit, here's some name info I've picked up recently and enjoyed.

Did you ever read The Indian in the Cupboard? Remember the name Omri? This commentary on his name made me giggle!

Am I the only one who confuses Mira Sorvino with Mena Suvari?
Did you know that Shirley was originally a male name?

a famous and fitting stage name born of a birth name

Ellen reveals the secrets of celebrity baby-naming

white-hot ultra-modern super-slick names

what comedians name their kids
Aaand... top names in pop culture in 2011.

image source unknown

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

that's why her hair is so big. it's full of secrets.

It's awesome to me how immediately most of my generation will get this joke. Pop culture, you are a minx.

found on Facebook

Also, I found out recently that Janis Ian is a real live person, not just a mean girl. AND the actress who plays Janis Ian, Lizzy Caplan (she's so pretty!), is apparently dating Matthew Perry, a.k.a. Chandler from Friends. Dude. What a small world. (I love how every Google result on the search "lizzy caplan matthew perry" right now is about what an odd pairing it is, and I do like how this article shows what a fantastic pairing they are.)

Friday, January 27, 2012

happy friday!

cuddly foxes, soo cute. via Blueberry Lake

Woot, I love a weekend!

Papa found this hotline to call when you've just gotta have some 80s music (I'm not joking, I actually called the other day.)

a website for moms who want— nay, need!— grandchildren

the name Dudley (that's all)

get your tush in gear (via— who else?— Susan Hyatt)

Michael Phelps as a porn star? So freakin' funny.

Friday, January 20, 2012

happy friday!

How can anyone not love the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge?

NPR's top 100 songs of the year

Little Italy

tips for living in your vehicle, written by my friend Liz's fiancé Nathan

holidays 2011 have passed, but this is hilarious!

this tiny little lady is a competitive eater!

an account of what it's like to hear for the first time at age 41— Ellen's reaction to hearing music is so awesome to realize. Isn't music amazing?

advice we'll give when we're grandmothers... if our grandchildren are born before our children...

not a fun topic— but very important

& let's appreciate some seriously funny and honest comedy, via a rant. I can't say I usually like rants at all, but when writing is this good, you kinda gotta appreciate it. Oh yeah, and I went to journalism school with Mickey. #bragging #copyingmickeysskillfuluseofhashtags

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

whale watch

via NRDC

a poem by Dean Young, sent to me by Karina

Sometimes you may feel alone and crushed
by what you cannot accomplish
but the thought of failure is a fuzz
we cannot rid oursevles of
anymore than the clouds can their moisture.
Why would they want to anyway?
It is their identity and purpose
above the radish and radicchio fields.
Just because a thing can never be finished
doesn't mean it can't be done.
The most vibrant forms are emergent forms.
In winter, walk across a frozen lake
and listen to it boom and you will know
something of what I mean.
It may be necessary to go to Mexico.
Do not steal tombstones but if you do,
do not return them as it is sentimental
and the sentimental is a larval feeling
that bloats and bloats but never pupates.
Lean what you can of the coyote and shark.
Do not encourage small children
to play the trombone as the shortness
of their arms may prove quite frustrating,
imprinting a lifelong aversion to music
although in rare cases a sense of unreachability
may inspire operas of delicate auras.
If you hook, try to slice.
I have no the time to fully address
Spinoza but put Spinoza on your list.
Do not eat algae.
When someone across the table has a grain of rice
affixed to his nostril, instead of shouting,
Hey, you got rice hanging off your face!
thereby perturbing the mood
as he speaks of his mother one day in the basement,
brush your nose as he watches
and hidden receptors in the brain
will cause him to brush his own nose
ergo freeing the stupid-looking-making rice.
There is so much to say and shut up about.
As regards the ever-present advice-dispensing susurration
of the dead, ignore it; they think everyone's
going to die. I have seen books with pink slips
marking vital passages
but this I do not recommend
as it makes the book appear foolish
like a dog in a sweater.
Do not confuse size with scale:
the cathedral may be very small,
the eyelash monumental.
Know yourself to be made mostly of water
with a trace of aluminum, a metal
commonly used in fuselages.
For flying, hollow bones are best or
no bones at all as in the honeybee.
Do not kill yourself.
Do not put the hammer in the crystal carafe
except as a performance piece.
When you are ready to marry,
you will know but if you don't,
don't worry. The bullfrog never marries,
ditto the space shuttle
yet each is able to deliver its payload:
i.e. baby bullfrogs and satellites, respectively.
When yong, fall in and out of love like a window
that is open and only about a foot off the ground.
Occasionally land in lilacs
or roses if you must
but remember, the roses
have been landed in many times.
If you do not surprise yourself,
you won't surprise anyone else.
When the yo-yo "sleeps", give a little tug
and it will return unless it has "slept too long.
Haiku should not be stored with sestinas
just as one should never randomly mix
the liquids and powders beneath the kitchen sink.
Sand is both the problem and the solution for the beach.
To impress his teacher, Pan-Shan lopped off
his own hand, but to the western mind,
this seems rather extreme.
Neatly typed, on-time themes
strongly spelled are generally enough.
Some suggest concentrating on one thing
for a whole life but narrowing down
seems less alluring than opening up
except in the case of the blue pencil
with which to make lines on one side
of the triangle so it apperas to speed through the firmament.
Still, someone should read everything
Galsworthy wrote. Everyone knows
it's a race but no one's sure of the finish line.
You may want to fall to your knees
and beg for forgiveness without knowing precisely
for what. You may have a hole in your heart.
You may solve the equation but behind it
lurks another equation. You may never get
what you want and feel like you're already a ghost
and a failed ghost at that, unable to walk through walls.
There will be a purple hat. Ice cream.
You may almost ruin the wedding.
You may try to hang yourself but be saved
by a kid come home early from school
or you may be that kid who'll always remember
his mother that day in the basement,
how she seemed to know he'd done something wrong
before he even knew
and already forgave him,
the way she hugged him and cried.
Nothing escapes damage for long,
not the mountain or the sky.
You may be unable to say why
a certain song makes you cry until
it joins the other songs,
even the one that's always going on
and is never heard, the one that sings us into being.
On the phone, the doctor may tell you to come in.
It may rain for three days straight.
Already you've been forgiven,
given permission. Each week, cryptograms
come with the funny papers.
You're not alone.
You may see a whale.

& just for fun

please see also: Marine-Life Mondays