31 December 2008

A bit of bubbly to ring in the new year

I am sitting on my couch drinking champagne, painting my toenails scarlet and watching the Nancy Drew movie-- dreaming of cardigans with jeweled buttons and fitted-bodice, flared-skirt dresses, blondies and lemon bars and brooches and sailor trousers.  And good, old-fashioned courtesy.  
Tonight I will don my Victorian childhood dress, with either my 1950s Killer Heels (4 inches!) or my new Sparkly Girl Flats that I got on sale in the outer banks.  I will dance and dine and imbibe more champagne, perhaps a kir royale.  I will twirl my swirly skirt and dance with the girls and ignore all text messages.  My new year's resolution: to live with passion and happiness and success, in every aspect of my life.  Here's to being the best I can be!

29 December 2008

Floating down moon river

I am a thinker, and right now I am not enjoying that fact.  I am making myself miserable by analyzing issues that are not even issues.  And once again, this blog has gotten far more personal and whiny than it was originally intended to be.  Seriously, what is the point of reviewing the events of Friday over and over and over, when I myself am not even sure what I am feeling?  Maybe I should just lay low and let things work themselves out, without effort or stress on my part.  Stress is only there if I make it.  Stress is only there if I make it.  If things fizzle, clearly that was meant to happen.  I will be more passive than I am normally comfortable being.  I will focus on the beauty in my own life.  I will focus on ME.  
My friend Emmy has been a source of wisdom lately, and she's illuminated that I've been moving so fast in trying to get my life together that I've been forgetting to live it.  I have been trying to fix job, friends, boyfriend, graduate school, all at once...and in the process I am making myself miserable.  I have been making drama for myself when perhaps none is there.
Someone asked me the other day what makes me happy.  I found myself lighting up and babbling about beauty and the little things.  Dogs with curly ears.  Photography.  Intertwining vines.  Vintage clothing.  A discarded tube of lip gloss glinting in a puddle.  Poetry.  Words words words words words.  Wide-brimmed hats and crimson lips.  Music.  Anything that bubbles.  I worry that in my insistence that I need to move on, I am almost doing myself a disservice.  
Maybe things are supposed to be a little bit out of place.  I need to embrace fuzziness and coloring outside the lines.  I am not supposed to have a perfect life right now.  I read about Dabrowski and his Theory of Positive Disintegration, in which he basically states that those individuals who go through the most angst and anxiety become the most evolved, artistic, empathetic individuals-- they are the movers, the shapers, the names in tomorrow's papers.
Life is being good to me; now I just need to be good to me.

"And I say there's trouble when everything is fine.  The need to destroy things creeps up on me every time.  And just as love's silhouette appears I close my eyes and disappear tonight." 
~Rilo Kiley
"I believe in you my soul, the other I am must not abase itself to you,
And you must not be abased by the other." ~Walt Whitman
"I need shine, I need shine, I need shine." ~Laura Marling
"The supposed great misery of our century is the lack of time; our sense of that, not a disinterested love of science, and certainly not wisdom, is why we devote such a huge proportion of the ingenuity and income of our societies to finding faster ways of doing things--as if the final aim of mankind was to grow closer not to a perfect humanity, but to a perfect lightning flash."
~John Fowles, The French Lieutenant's Woman

27 December 2008

I think my heart may be crippled

Or I'm numb.  I think that I have forgotten how to feel.  What is WRONG with me?
I just spent the evening with a fantastic boy-- interesting, intelligent, thinks I'm beautiful and wonderful, which leaves me speechless and pink-cheeked.  But more like a "please stop that" pink-cheeked than a pleased and gracious pink-cheeked.  He, pardon my vulgarity of language, just kissed my face off, but I was not swept away.  Far from it.  I found myself planning my day for tomorrow and slowly panicking.  I wish I could be honest with him, but I have no idea what I am feeling.  My brain appears to have turned into chocolate pudding.  And my heart into moss-covered stone.  Moss-covered because I don't like to think that my heart could ever be that hardened, but maybe I underestimated the extent to which my past hurts have shaped me.  And my past loves, for that matter.  I just got so used to those feelings flooding in and overwhelming me, making me feel like I might deflate if Exbf ever left. Granted, that is not the healthiest of positions, but the point is that passion seemed to make my puzzle pieces fit together.  The way his eyelashes grazed his cheek when he sighed.  The way my heart pounded when he touched my hand, but it maintained its rhythm and never turned threatening-- it was a rush within reason.  The way we fit and I never questioned why.  Was that just my innocence?  Has it been taken over by jadedness and self-preservation?  I dread that the answer may be yes.  I hope that Fitzgerald's belief about second acts will not be prescient here...but the fact that I am terrified is just as worrisome.  Sigh.
Hello, is there anybody in there
Just nod if you can hear me
Is there anyone home
Come on now
I hear you're feeling down
Well I can ease your pain,
Get you on your feet again.
Relax.  I need some information first
Just the basic facts
Can you show me where it hurts
There is no pain, you are receding
A distant ship's smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move, but I can't hear what you're saying
When I was a child I had a fever
My hands felt just like two balloons
Now I got that feeling once again
I can't explain, you would not understand
This is not how I am
I have become comfortably numb
Just a little pin-prick
There'll be no more-- ah ha ha
But you may feel a little sick
Can you stand up
I do believe it's working.  Good.
That'll keep you going for the show
Come on, it's time to go
There is no pain, you are receding
A distant ship's smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying
When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown, the dream is gone
I have become comfortably numb.

25 December 2008

Just a girl. Standing in front of the world. Making a difference.

Merry Christmas to those celebrating, and Happy Hanukkah to my fellow chosen folk!  I'm feeling a bit lonely and exiled from the festivities of pretty much all of my friends, but this video made me feel like a bit less of a Negative Nancy.

22 December 2008

How time flies

Clap hard if you believe, boy.  Here's to the "authentic face," and to the remembrance of things not-so-far-past.  And to whatever "always" we can promise.
"I don't think I'll ever dry out." ~Big Fish

"Twice in her life she had mistaken something else for it; it was like seeing somebody in the street who you think is a friend, you whistle and wave and run after him, and it is not only not the friend, but not even very like him. A few minutes later the real friend appears in view, and then you can't imagine how you ever mistook that other person for him. Linda was now looking upon the authentic face of love, and she knew it, but it frightened her. That it should come so casually, so much by a series of accidents, was frightening."
Nancy Mitford, The Pursuit of Love

17 December 2008

"the last echoes died on the white slopes"

I just finished Brideshead Revisited.  It is magical and makes me think of Amy and her limes in Little Women.  And the heart's journeys and struggles...Will we ever be satisfied?  And yet there seems to be hope.  Every time I suffer one of life's disappointments and need to look for the silver lining, I will murmur to myself, "But the white raspberries are ripe..."
"'Do you remember,' said Julia, in the tranquil, lime-scented evening, 'do you remember the storm?"
"That night and the night after and the night after, wherever she went, always in her own little circle of intimates, she brought to all whose eyes were open to it a moment of joy, such as strikes deep to the heart on the river's back when the kingfisher suddenly flames across dappled water."
"That day was the beginning of my friendship with Sebastian, and thus it came about, that morning in June, that I was lying beside him in the shade of the high elms watching the smoke from his lips drift up into the branches."
"'Perhaps,' I thought, while her words still hung in the air between us like a wasp of tobacco smoke-- a thought to fade and vanish like smoke without a trace-- 'perhaps all our loves are merely hints and symbols; vagabond-language scrawled on gate-posts and paving stones along the weary road that others have tramped before us; perhaps you and I are types and this sadness which sometimes falls between us springs from disappointment in our search, each straining through and beyond the other, snatching a glimpse now and then of the shadow which turns the corner always a pace or two ahead of us."
"Julia wore the embroidered Chinese robe which she often used when we were dining alone at Brideshead...It was thus that I had rejoiced to see her nights without number, and that night, watching her as she sat between the firelight and the shaded lamp, unable to look away for love of her beauty, I suddenly thought, 'When else have I seen her like this? Why am I reminded of another moment of vision?'  And it came back to me that this was how she had sat in the liner, before the storm; this was how she had looked, and I realized that she had regained what I thought she had lost forever, the magical sadness which had drawn me to her, the thwarted look that had seemed to say, 'Surely I was made for some other purpose than this?'"
"Julia pulled off her hat and tossed it into the rack above her, and shook her night-dark hair with a little sigh of ease-- a sigh fit for the pillow, the sinking firelight and a bedroom window open to the stars and the whisper of bare trees."
"These memories are the memorials and pledges of the vital hours of a lifetime.  These hours of afflatus in the human spirit, the springs of art, are, in their mystery, akin to the epochs of history, when a race which for centuries has lived content, unknown, behind its own frontiers, digging, eating, sleeping, begetting, doing what was requisite for survival and nothing else, will, for a generation or two, stupefy the world; commit all manner of crimes, perhaps; follow the wildest chimeras, go down in the end in agony, but leave behind a record of new heights scaled and new rewards won for all mankind; the vision fades, the soul sickens, and the routine of survival starts again."
"Dearest Charles--
I found a box of this paper at the back of a bureau so I must write to you as I am mourning for my lost innocence.  It never looked like living.  The doctors despaired of it from the start...
I am never quite alone.  Members of my family keep turning up and collecting luggage and going away again, but the white raspberries are ripe.
I have a good mind not to take Aloysius to Venice.  I don't want him to meet a lot of horrid Italian bears and pick up bad habits.
Love or what you will.

Je l'aime

Once upon a time... from Capucha on Vimeo.

16 December 2008

Uncharted territory

Dating, that is.  I don't want to go too much into individual dates with individual people-- although, I will say that there are two different men, if they are not so put off by infectious disease (terrible cold) or unexplained freakishness (the usual)-- but it is unlike anything I have ever experienced.  The expectations, the unknowing, the best-foot-forward, the unknowing, the coquettishness, the boredom, the intentions (the unknowing of), the etiquette, did I mention the unknowing?  What is appropriate, when?  How should I feel?  How much attention is too much, and when should I feel something, if I feel something?  If a guy seems perfect, does that mean that by extension he is a psychopath?  Will I always be terrified by such perfection, or this perfection someday seem less than daunting?  I have been telling myself that I want someone who thinks I am luminous and brilliant-- and then I meet people who think just that, right away, and I am terrified and repelled.  
Perfection scares me.  I feel the need to put my fallible nature out there so that my complexity, my quirkiness, will be known from the very beginning.  But if someone thinks these qualities that I have tried so hard to preserve despite a culture of conformity are "cute" or "amazing"...are those the correct adjectives to describe my rebellion?  It almost makes my personality seem diminutive, like I'm transformed into Thumbelina being cupped in some guy's superior, stabilizing hand, even though they may intend to convey respect.  
I don't want to send good things scattering with the breeze, but I am at a point in my life where I am different and I like that about myself.  I do not want to normalize to suit anybody's whims.   I am passionate, and passion is messy.  I want to eat cookie dough and drink kir royales and wear tutus and read Waugh out loud and watch foreign films for their beauty and travel off the beaten path and go thrifting and burn candles and teach with all my being and be the beautiful disaster that I have come to be.  And even though sometimes-- many times-- I miss Exbf, and sometimes I wish for snuggling and holding hands while walking the streets and drinking hot cider, I find myself wondering if maybe I do not want to be in a relationship right now.  Or at least, not when I am forced to look for it, online (just writing the word makes me want to vomit, even though I know that many people have found love that way!).  
In the end, maybe I just feel like-- as terrible as it sounds-- I'm above it all.  That I'm not the type of person who is supposed to find love, but that rather, it's supposed to find me, at the most inconvenient time possible.  The best relationships arrive by happenstance.  When you least expect them.  Like a butterfly in the subway.
"Once I read a story about a butterfly in the subway and today, I saw one!  It got on at 42nd and off at 59th where, I assume, it was going to Bloomingdale's to buy a hat that will turn out to be a mistake.  As almost all hats are."
But then again, didn't Joe and Kathleen meet online?  If it is good enough for Joe and Kathleen, shouldn't it be good enough for me?  Maybe it would be different if I had someone writing me about bouquets of sharpened pencils...
Something else beautiful: Zooey's Christmas list.  I want.  If this is luminous, then so be it.  I want a life of magic and sparkles and hot cocoa.    

09 December 2008

Tu es vraiment special

This Dirty Dancing inspired number may be the hottest thing I've ever seen.

And Nico! Oh beauty, depth, intensity. Crystalline eyes. Fluidity, passion, grace, and surrender personified. Congratulations.

07 December 2008

At the edge of the night, dewed lives are set alight

What good are words I say to you?
They can't convey to you what's in my heart
If you could hear instead
The things I've left unsaid
Time after time
I tell myself that I'm
So lucky to be loving you
So lucky to be the one you run to see
In the evening, when the day is through
I only know what I know
The passing years will show
You've kept my love so young, so new
And time after time
You'll hear me say that I'm
So lucky to be loving you.
"We are mysterious creatures, aren't we?"
"What if we just sang and laughed together...for the rest of our lives?"
"Isn't it pretty to think so?" ~Jake Barnes, The Sun Also Rises

06 December 2008

I long for the moors.
"Too long I roamed in the night. 
I'm coming back to his side, to put it right. 
I'm coming home to wuthering, wuthering, 
Wuthering Heights, 
Heathcliff, it's me, I’m Cathy, I've come home and I'm so cold,
let me in your window."

03 December 2008

Petticoats and peep-toes

I love a good 50s-60s silhouette.  I simply adore the look of the cardigan, puffed out skirt, and heels a la Reese Witherspoon as June Carter in Walk the Line.  I am also finding myself newly obsessed with Mad Men-- I know, I'm late to jump on that train, but can I please raid the closets of the buxom Joan and the prim and proper Betty?  (And can I please have some of that Betty lingerie from when she's not being so prim and proper?)
I don't really watch Pushing Daisies-- yes, I know it's being cancelled-- but I also love Anna Friel's sophisticated but flirty 1950s fashion.  So very Grace.  So very Audrey.
If you want to fully embody the spirit of the age... (this) and (this) and (this) and (this)
I'll have a Brandy Alexander, please.  And a Kir Royale for later.

01 December 2008

Oui, bien sur...je le veux!

I have discovered So You Think You Can Dance Canada...and it's dangerously intoxicating. This is Nico-- of course I like him, he's the unconventional, beautiful, troubled one. (Take out the piercings, and it's even better.) And I now want to date a French Canadian.

I'm not kidding. I'm contemplating how to get to Montreal and where the French Canadians hang out in the D.C. area.

28 November 2008

To escape from it all...

I will admit it: when I lived in New York, when I was having a particularly blue day and some plumbing problems with my apartment (a constant onslaught of rushing water sounds that grated on my last strand of sanity), I booked myself a hotel room at the Algonquin Hotel.  I was with Exbf at the time, but his Murray Hill apartment-- much as I loved it-- would not have been the source of solace, the tool of prevention for an impending nervous breakdown, that I needed.  Also, all it takes is one particularly emotional girl and one helpless-feeling guy to turn a beautiful relationship upside-down.  No, it was the Algonquin for me.  They were having a ridiculously cheap deal online, and I figured that it was high time that I took care of myself.
There is something about a hotel room that calms the nerves.  It gives me a vacation from myself-- I am a blank slate, an out-of-towner, a gallery owner, a world traveler.  I once treated myself to a luxurious dinner at the Chase Park Plaza hotel in St. Louis-- I ordered a glass of white wine, trout, and warm chocolate-chip cookies with vanilla ice cream.  I kept my cell phone on the table, brought a book, had the waiter validate my parking and told him that I was in town on business.  (I actually lived right by the university, 15 minutes away.)  A hotel room brings that sense of freshness to me-- its soft linens, pillow mints, and heated towel bars speak of possibility.
To say that I snapped out of my funk from that one night at the Algonquin would be a fallacy.  But I will say that the Algonquin is a snapshot from a bygone age, when Dorothy Parker and Truman Capote ruled the city and acerbic wit was served with every dirty martini, along with the requisite two olives.  The hotel lobby, with its soft piano jazz and its Ruby Slippers cocktails, was a refuge, a soulmate.  I know that I slept well that night.  What is it about a hotel room that clears the mind...?
Leonard Cohen once said, "You always have a feeling in a hotel room that you're on the lam and this is one of the safe moments in the escape.  It's a breathing spot.  The hotel room is the oasis of the downtown.  A sanctuary.  A sanctuary of a temporary kind, therefore all the more delicious.  But whenever I come into a hotel room, there is a moment, after the door is shut and the lights you haven't turned on illumine a comfortable, anonymous, subtly hostile environment, and you know that you've found a little place in the grass, and the hounds are going to go by for three more hours.  You're going to have a drink, light a cigarette, and take a long time shaving."  Oh Leonard-- I wholeheartedly agree.  Minus the cigarette, of course, and add a bubble bath to that shave.
Algonquin Hotel, New York City
Thistle Hotel Bloomsbury, London
Intercontinental Hotel, Prague

24 November 2008

Every little thing she does is (clearly) magic



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photo by LeAnn Mueller
The sound at Park City, Utah’s Sundance House is terrible, and a chunk of the crowd is more interested in chattering and munching on hors d’oeuvres than paying attention to the duo on guitar and piano, even if it is the debut performance of what will eventually be known as She & Him—the collaboration between indie-music darling M. Ward and movie star Zooey Deschanel. This 2007 Sundance Festival audience doesn’t get high points for attentiveness—they’ve already pretty much ignored Glen Hansard of The Frames playing alongside Markéta Irglová, his co-star in the buzzing film Once.
Hansard is just another in a long line of musicians who’ve successfully crossed over to the silver screen, following in the footsteps of Tom Waits, Kris Kristofferson, Mos Def and Will Oldham. But the trail going the other way—from acting to music—is littered with punchlines: Russell Crowe, Kevin Bacon, Steven Seagal and Patrick Swayze. So, for the lucky few paying attention, hearing Deschanel croon standards like “Mr. Sandman” and “I Put a Spell on You” in her seductive soprano is a treat. She and Ward are in town to help promote The Go-Getter, a film that closes with the pair singing Richard & Linda Thompson’s “When I Get to the Border” as the credits roll. Anyone with children or a Will Ferrell fixation heard Deschanel’s lovely voice in Elf, so her collaboration with a quirky guitarist who’s also from Southern California isn’t a complete surprise.

Singing has long been more than Deschanel’s hobby. In 2001, she started playing in a cabaret act with fellow actress Samantha Shelton. “I did a lot of music and stuff in high school,” Deschanel says, “but as an adult, I just needed a way to play music, and [the cabaret thing] was a safe way for me to be able to sing and test out the waters. I would transpose all the music for the band, and it’s amazing to see all the core structures that Gershwin and Cole Porter and Rodgers and Hart used.”

The big secret, though, were the hundreds of original songs Deschanel had stored on her computer. She’d been writing songs since she was a kid, and by her early 20s she was recording demos, layering vocal harmonies over piano and guitar.     

Ward convinced Deschanel to send him some of the demos, and the two decided to record an album. The idea that this might come across as just another Hollywood starlet’s vanity project never struck either of them. “We talked about songs, we talked about records and music and how to record stuff,” Ward says. “And I guess the best way for me and Zooey is to record in some sort of bubble you create for yourself that doesn’t really take into account Bruce Willis.”

They quickly discovered that they shared an affinity for timeless music; they’d even grown up listening to the same oldies station in Los Angeles, K-Earth 101. “When I met Matt,” Deschanel says, “I was like, ‘I don’t want to record with anyone else!’ It was so clear to me: ‘This is the only person who will be able to do this. This is the guy who has to make a record with me.’”

“After I heard all of the songs,” Ward says, “they sounded like they all fit together in a really interesting way that I had never heard before. I just felt like I had been exposed to this great artist that nobody really knew about as far as her songwriting. When people think of Zooey Deschanel, they didn’t used to think ‘songwriter.’ The whole thing was just a complete no-brainer. These were awesome songs that needed to be heard.”

And they are. If you would’ve suggested back when we launched the magazine that Zooey Deschanel would write most of the songs onPaste’s favorite record of 2008, we’d have thought that about as likely as Arnold Schwarzenegger becoming governor of California. But the 13 songs on Volume One are lovely throwbacks to blissful ’60s pop, tastefully arranged and produced by the über-talented Ward. And Deschanel loves her new career so much, plans for Volume Two are already under way.

“I would rather be a songwriter than be an actor,” she says. “I’m grateful I’ve been so fortunate to have success as an actor, but being a songwriter is just creatively so satisfying. I know this is silly because I’m 28 years old, but this is all new to me, to be playing shows—there are people who know the words to the songs and are singing these melodies that were born in my bedroom. It’s amazing to me to give them a life, and they go and live on their own. I feel like that’s sort of some little microcosm of what parents feel like with children.”

23 November 2008

Following Lola: How to crawl out of a hole

I am sitting on my couch, in flannel pajama bottoms, wrapped in a soft-as-clouds blanket, and I am just so infinitely sad.  I miss my students, and I miss the positive changes I feel I was making in their lives.  I miss the bond we had and them telling me they finally felt understood.  I miss making them excited about material they'd previously considered as dead as its authors.  And as selfish as it sounds, I miss the sense of purpose that I gained by teaching them.  I am nowhere near an excellent teacher; I am not even a good teacher yet.  But I will be, and the primary reason is because I care.  I understand why I had to leave-- because it was a toxic environment full of teachers and administrators with the mental maturity of middle-schoolers, and that is not the atmosphere in which to learn about teaching-- but that doesn't change the fact that I feel like part of me is missing.  And that I feel completely purposeless as I sit at home, waiting.
I am awaiting my next placement, and I know that my next group of kids will be just as amazing and that I will find a way to touch their lives.  I just ache that the people who were supposed to be helping me become a groundbreaking educator are so incapable of modeling the values they want our students to exhibit.
This is my state of mind right now.  But I feel like I've been dwelling in negativity, and it's starting to turn me into the same bitter, hateful type of person against whom I've been railing.  That is not the type of person I am, and it is not the type of person I want to be.  As much as I struggle with faith and positivity, I can recognize that this negativity is only going to bring me down.  I don't want to be angry anymore.  I want to be the better person.  I want to take the high road, and I want to crawl out of this hole.
I will take a cue from Lola and make a list of lovely things to snap me out of it:
1) Ginger tea (I am sipping some right now)
2) The word "parapluie" (and the delightful film Les Parapluies de Cherbourg)
3) silhouettes
4) a stroll up the aisles of Trader Joe's
5) Brideshead Revisited and its lovely, luscious language
6) dry Austrian white wine
7) rain boots with bows at the tops
8) speaking of bows... (these)
9) a lavender-scented bubble bath
10) buying myself flowers...the types a boy would never choose
11) jumping in crunchy leaves
12) Lula
13) sugar roses, sugar mice
14) lantern-light
15) repeating to myself that I deserve more, I deserve more, and the path to brilliance is rarely easy

small steps, right?  
"I want to hear jazz with my eyes closed, and dig my toes into the sand dancing. I want to climb to the summit and yell and sleep under the stars. I want to laugh my head off and play marbles and sleep in and eat croissants in bed with butter and marmalade and spill coffee and wear lace and trip holding your hand because I am listening so closely..." ~Sabrina Ward Harrison

21 November 2008

We're the movers, we're the shapers, we're the names in tomorrow's papers, it's up to us now to show 'em.

This school district should be ashamed. I guess it just goes to show, the great ones are always doubted.

"We are each going to make a toast for change. And what that means is from this moment on, every voice that told you you can't is silenced. Every reason that tells you that things will never change disappears. And the person you were before this moment, that person's turn is over: now's your turn." ~Freedom Writers

20 November 2008

A passionate existence, and some Bloomsbury, please

I am currently inspired by the nonconformist Bohemian belles, the Garman sisters, occasional scandal-makers and prominent Bloomsbury set personnes d'importance.  Of course, today the sisters (namely Kathleen, Mary, and Lorna) are relatively inconnues.  They were lovers of life and lovers of many lovers...Vita Sackville-West, Roy Campbell, Laurie Lee, Lucien Freud... And they were drama queens, all of them.  As Kathleen said, "What muddy pitfalls one inadvertently steps into in search of the rare and the beautiful."  Do you see any resemblance to the model featured in "Dreams of Tomorrow" in the latest issue of Lula?
Kathleen Garman
Lorna Garman
Mary Garman
   Lula #7

18 November 2008

To market

I have been so inspired as of late by the myriads of fantastic, whimsical blogs in this wide universe.  Thank you all in my "ephemera, etcetera" links for providing me with such art, beauty, and zest for life.  It makes me feel as if mermaids were real.  And it makes me feel like my life, by extension, is beautiful, even if that beauty consists of humdrum realities like reading Oscar Wilde's poetry while drinking ginger tea and soaking up the wafting scent of a Baked Apple candle.
This past Sunday was such a glorious day.  It reminded me of my old inspiration searches in New York, but of course this time I forgot my camera.  I will try to paint the words.  My friend Sara and I visited Eastern Market by Capitol Hill in D.C.  As we drove through the streets of ramshackle (in the best possible way) houses, I noticed, up ahead, a glimpse of magenta.  Inching forward, I discovered that this gingerbread-house-made-real was a pillared wonder with pale pink siding, magenta shutters, a magenta base, and a mid-pink chimney against a white background.  It could have looked garish.  Instead it looked like a dreamworld, the setting for a Sofia Coppola film or a Lula photo shoot.  It was the sign of things to come.
Eastern Market is full of colorful textiles, old maps, Punch cartoons, clusters upon clusters of pearls, lavender pashminas, homemade soap, antique watering cans, floral and berry bouquets, Bronte books, photographs of silvery fountains, leather-bound journals, fur stoles, china.  Inside a small garage-like building we found hosts of the freshest fish-- beautiful sea bass-- and meat, homemade soups cooked by a Slovakian grandma, British jam, pumpkin gnocchi, chocolate ravioli, rosemary bread, clover honey, tomato sauce, triple-berry pie.  I wanted to live there.  Only bubbles floating through the air and a Glen Hansard-like troubadour would have made the moment more magical.
I spend my nights listening to A Fine Frenzy.  I want to inhabit her world.  She would be an excellent leaf-crunching partner. 
razzmatazz's flickr photostream
Watching the sky
Watching a painting coming to life
Shifting and shaping
Staying inside, it all goes it all goes by... 
~(a fine frenzy)

14 November 2008

Out of the darkness

That last post was depressing. Here is something lovely and timeless.

Should I give up, or should I just keep chasing pavements?

I have recently forced myself to start dating.  Forced is the operative word here, and the rationale behind the decision is pretty threadbare: that it is cuddling weather, that Roommate is in the throes of something new and fresh and adorable, and that I'm missing the days when somebody looked at me with that fire and intensity.  I have no idea how to date.  This is completely new to me-- especially since the situation is so forced, with me trying out this whole online thing.  It's as if an airplane should be flying behind every guy I meet, trailing a sign that spells out AWKWARD.  I guess I've been spoiled in the past.  Things have been relatively easy.  We've met and stars shone and twinkled and universes exploded and I knew, without doubt, that this person would be important and meaningful in my life.  I'm starting to lose faith in the sparkles.  But at the same time, I just discount guy after guy because they don't send me spinning through a kaleidescopic frenzy of color and light-- and I want to hit the moon, as Doris Day would say.  
I struggle with this idea of whether the magic is instantaneous-- or at least arrives over the course of a few hours' good conversation-- or whether it creeps in on tiptoe...it arrives unexpectedly, wonder spontaneously churning through someone previously deemed unremarkable.  I don't know.  I just know that I will never tolerate being called ordinary, and I could never spend my time with someone who is less than extraordinary.  But when does that marvelousness manifest itself??  How many mediocres do I have to wade through?
I just want someone to drink hot apple cider with.  jump in leaves with.  make my cold toes warm.  send golden champagne sparks of love and wonder shivering up and down my spine.    

12 November 2008

Surviving falling leaves and changes

MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes
I haven't made a mix in quite a while, and I decided to make what is in essence a Bittersweet Survival soundtrack to accompany me as my life shifts once again.  Let me know what you think.

1. And Then You Kissed Me by The Cardigans
2. True Love Waits Patiently for a Miracle by The Pipettes
3. One of These Things First by Nick Drake
4. Happy by Jenny Lewis
5. Go to Heaven by The Pierces
6. Alison by Elvis Costello
7. Nothing Better by The Postal Service
8. Here's to the Meantime by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
9. Cat Piano by Seabear
10. The Lucky One by Au Revoir Simone
11. Lloyd, I'm Ready to be Hearbroken by Camera Obscura
12. Breakfast in NYC by Oppenheimer
13. You Turn My Head Around by Dean & Britta
14. Change is Hard by She & Him
15. A Little Respect by Erasure

11 November 2008

Blog love

Just a quick post to proclaim Blog Love for Tiger Lily of The Unicorn Diaries.  Oh Tess.  Oh Lula.  Oh Sara Crewe, Mitford Sisters, snowy stuffed animals, and Peter Pan-dom.  I too know what it is to be a lost girl, but I carry a brass key on a chain around my neck so that I can always find my way home...
"I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse, perhaps, to be locked in." 
~Virginia Woolf
"each life has its place" ~"Virginia Woolf," by Indigo Girls 

08 November 2008

Oh, poetry

I wish that I could do the types of posts I did in New York-- wandering the streets, finding beauty, finding those external realities that reflect my internal sustaining medium (ignore my flowery language here-- I've been discussing Tess of the D'Urbervilles again, and it makes me speak in the equivalent of a watercolor painting-- all blended, languid tones).  But unfortunately, time is a factor here, and also my discovery of such "gems" seems to be inhibited by my ignorance of this new area.  So I seek beauty in poetry.  I navigate these worlds as if they were my own.  After all, isn't that the purpose of poetry?  To give readers an alternate reality?

Edgar Lee Masters (1868–1950).  Spoon River Anthology.  1916. 

64. George Gray 

HAVE studied many times 
The marble which was chiseled for me— 
A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor. 
In truth it pictures not my destination 
But my life.         5
For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment; 
Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid; 
Ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances. 
Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life. 
And now I know that we must lift the sail  10
And catch the winds of destiny 
Wherever they drive the boat. 
To put meaning in one’s life may end in madness, 
But life without meaning is the torture 
Of restlessness and vague desire—  15
It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.


07 November 2008

Take a breath.

It's been that kind of week.  And some changes will be taking place, starting next Monday...but I don't really want to go into it.  The purpose of this blog was never to air my grievances, but rather to find inspiration in the depths of the greyness.  I keep having an image of the tears I've been bottling up, cradled the the golden yolk of an egg in the bowl of a spoon.  Just settling in my lower lid, as if it may nest there or spill over onto my cheek...and then memories of fingertips brushing away those tears, tasting the salt, squeezing my shoulder and telling me that everything will be fine.
So what do I do, when the spoon is overflowing and the fingertips have left?  I curl up on my couch, with Once and Again DVD episodes, cocoa, and the latest issue of Lula.  And I ignore the millions of questions that are running through my mind, and instead I try to think about
 finding time to read Brideshead Revisited and how years from now, when I have my act together, I will look back in awe that I felt lost once upon a time-- and I will know that somehow that feeling subsided and I became fulfilled, and I felt infinite.

“Oh, and I’m adamant about this one—If he doesn’t like hot cocoa... On the other hand, if he knows exactly what to say…And if he doesn’t kiss you, but you feel like you’ve been kissed…”

16 October 2008

Les Misbarack

Just putting it out there...
McCain's education policies alone are enough to make me want to move to Australia and become a sherpa farmer. And we're not even getting into Sarah Palin!

15 October 2008

Is there nothing better?

I feel must interject here,
You're getting carried away feeling sorry for yourself
With these revisions and gaps in history
So let me help you remember.
I've made charts and graphs that should finally make it clear.
I've prepared a lecture on why I have to leave
So please back away and let me go
I can't my darling, I love you so...

Oh oh oh.

19 September 2008

Do the Frug

Anyone else enjoying the "intertextuality" of the line "I can do the Freddy"?
How I wish I were half as cool as Jenny Lewis. To have graced the screen in the glory that is Troop Beverly Hills and to currently sing in a fabulously quirky band that allows for equally fabulous and quirky solo albums? That's almost too much of a good thing!

18 September 2008

13 September 2008

Forbidden Images

Don't you all love the forbidden? I know I do-- the taboo makes it all so exciting. Can you believe that a glimpse of ankle used to be prohibited? Well, in the words of Cole Porter, "In olden days a glimpse of stocking was looked on a something shocking, now heaven knows, anything goes!"
If I were to recreate these scandalous apparitions, my legwear would have to be lavender sheer silk stockings. Luminescent legs! Brilliant.
(courtesy of jezebelstationary.blogspot.com)

03 September 2008

How do you be single?

I've just realized-- I am THAT girl.  The girl that everyone hates, the serial monogamist, the girl who doesn't know how to be when she's not in a relationship.  And what's terrible is that I have only just realized this, when a friend pointed it out to me.  In the past four years, since my junior year of college, I've always been either in a relationship or mourning one that ended. (I can't date anyone when I'm still upset over a relationship gone wrong-- it is not fair to me or to anyone else.)  My junior year I dated British Boy when I was in England, an intense four month or so relationship to which I did not know how to say goodbye-- so of course the aftermath/flirtation/mourning lasted until the next April, of my senior year, when I met Younger Guy.  He was Mr. Fraternity, I was Miss Sorority, and I found his obnoxious cockiness to be completely irresistible.  We had a brief but intense fling as I tried to compress my entire college career into a couple months, and then I mourned that relationship until early November.  And then I met Exbf at the end of November and we jumped into a relationship (literally!) in the beginning of December 2006.  A relationship that is only really just ending-- that tends to happen when two people can't let go of each other, even though things were difficult and complicated.  He has been mine for the last year and a half, and I have been his.  There has been nobody else.  We still have so much love for each other...just a different type of love than it used to be.  Not friendship love, not soulmate love any longer, just-- HollyG and Exbf love, unique to the two of us and stretching on, unending.  
This weekend I feel like something did end though.  A portion of our history-- the romantic part-- appears to have been clipped, and I worry that will change what we've had in the past.  He assures me that it does not and will not.  I sometimes call him Mr. Nonverbal, because like most guys, he has trouble giving voice to his feelings--so much as I know he loved and still loves me, it wasn't always put out there verbally.  Something like that tends to make an overanalytical girl assume the love wasn't meaningful and that as soon as he meets someone else (which he may have already...but that's a long and upsetting story that I'm not getting into now!) he'll say something like "Sure, I thought I loved HollyG at the time, but now I know that's not true."  But in my heart (and based on his recent words) I know I'm being paranoid.  I know that he loved me and we were happy, and his friends and family knew it; I know that once upon a time I had that love I thought only existed in books, specifically Francesca Lia Block novels, and that the ending of our relationship was a little too much like The Way We Were; I know that just because a relationship isn't conventional doesn't mean that it's not powerful, life-changing, and real.  And I know that not having him as my lover does make me feel a bit incomplete, although I'm ashamed to admit it.  I know that we are not supposed to be together right now, but I wish with all of my being that things were different, that timing had been different.
This past weekend I sat in Central Park with Exbf, my head settled on his legs and his hand stroking my hair.  I cried silent tears under my sunglasses and he wiped them away with his fingertips.  I yelled at him for things he couldn't change, things that still pain me today, and he told me that sometimes he thought I deserved more than what he could give me at the time.  We both struggled with the knowledge that we were changing and the fact that we still refuse to let each other go.  So now we begin the process of trying to be friends, when all we know how to do is love each other.
Which brings me back to my main point-- I am THAT girl.  I do not know how to be happy on my own, and I do not know how to find satisfaction from within.  I grew so used to having Exbf as a constant comfort in my life, and before that other guys as sources of "fixing," that I have no idea what to do now that I lack those things.  I do not want to be that woman who always has to depend on a man.  And I am not willing to settle for just any guy from now on, because I've had the real thing, and it was the most magical thing I've ever felt.  But at this point, when most of my friends are in serious relationships and I'm surrounded by diamond sparklers on left-hand ring fingers in DC, it is so difficult to not think that being single makes me less of a person.
How do I get happy with myself?  Until I am I will never be able to be in a successful permanent relationship.  I will also never be fulfilled.  So, how do you be single, grow to be happy with yourself, and grow to be self-sufficient?  And how do you then meet someone new, when you feel like you've already had the best?  I have no idea.   

01 September 2008


Hi everyone,

I'm so sorry that I've been so absent.  I feel like this is a frequent apology lately.  Moving has definitely been a roller coaster, as has starting grad school, starting "teaching" (first day is tomorrow and I have the jitters), meeting new people, and dealing with some changes and endings-- or transformations, I guess.  Anyway, the main point is that I've been overwhelmed and caught inside what often feels like a cyclone, and I'm trying like hell to fight being sucked in again.  I just feel slightly slant, hence my absence.  Please forgive me and stay tuned, because I need this blog more than ever as a stabilizing force and a sounding board.

Absently Emotional Educator

02 August 2008

Mark, you are so wonderfully weird...

I am a sad sad lady.  Mark Kanemura, my favorite dancer by far on So You Think You Can Dance, was eliminated yesterday, along with my female favorite, Chelsie Hightower.  Mark is just such a beautiful and passionate dancer-- his Viennese waltz on Wednesday actually brought me to tears.  It's a combination of his delicacy, athleticism, and innovation, but as attractive as his dancing may be, what really sells him is his FACE.  I look at it and it's so full of profound emotion that he seems less in the midst of a routine and more in the depths of a life-changing experience, albeit one with lifts and turns.  Passion is a must for me, and it is written all over Mark's face.  And his hands, for that matter.  He has such graceful hands, and we all know about my hand fixation.
The main reason, however, for the Mark love is how wonderfully weird he is.  He attributes his dance style to his always being "a bit left of center," which, being a statement with which I greatly identify, makes me want to conquer my clumsiness and take dance classes.  I can't sleep because my feet are moving under my covers, longing to participate in close holds and leg wraps and pirouettes and leg extensions.  I want to be interpretive and create my own weirdnesses.  Showing his true classiness, Mark thanked his fans in his final interview for giving him a chance despite his difference.  Being able to preserve your quirkiness and have that make you lovable instead of laughable?  That is what I seek everyday, and I'm so thankful for Mark's beautiful dancing to serve as an inspiration.  Best of luck, Mark!  If you're ever in D.C. maybe you'll do a dance or two for this left of center lady? (if that sounded dirty at all, it truly was not intended to be!!!)  Anyway, here are some stills of some of Mark's greatest hits.

29 July 2008

Oh Fred Flare, you are such a happy place...

So the next time I get sad or depressed, I'm just going to hug my tears.  That's right, I'm just going to embrace a big fluffy tear and say, "It's okay, you'll be gone soon enough."
Fred Flare has actually made this possible, with Hug Your Sorrow Plush Tears.  It's remarkable.  I can't justify spending $30 for a stuffed uh, bodily fluid at age 24, but it's nice to know that things like this exist!
And of course, while I was on the site, I couldn't help but notice this, this, and this.  The owl ring may have to happen.

I think I'm in love...with screen shots