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Birthdays, Birthdays

2 Jun

Well, hello world.  You’ve stumbled upon my own version of those 365-blogs everyone seems to be doing.  Here, on the daisyflyover, I will be writing once a day.  These writings may include some fiction…some non-fiction…definitely some pictures…or, quite simply, things that I observe or think of on any given day.

Today, for instance, was my 25th birthday.  It was pretty perfect, I’m not gonna lie.  Family, friends, good food, a pedicure – though quite honestly, anything that involved a pedicure is pretty high on the list of awesomeness.

I think this project will be good for me.  Anything that forces me to write is a good thing, and being forced to really see things, to think up something intelligent and halfway interesting to say every day will surely sharpen my writing skills, and by the end of this year I hope to walk away with…something.  Not sure yet, but definitely something.

In other, late breaking news, I’ve decided to move my new blog here; I want to start fresh, and if a new blog space won’t do it I don’t know what will.  Maybe you’ll see me back at daisyflyover after this year is up.

I’ll leave you with some pictures of the evening.

52

1 Jun

Stuff no one told me, but i learned anyway:

  1. Blogging every week can be tedious…but also FUN.
  2. Being in a good relationship is hard…but also FUN.
  3. You can teach yourself anything by reading about it…and there’s probably a YouTube video for that.
  4. If you really want to walk on ice, take off your shoes and walk in your fuzzy socks.
  5. People are kind.
  6. Carpet in an apartment isn’t as bad as I always thought.
  7. You CAN do what you love…you DON’T need to have a traditional 9-5 job…therefore, don’t listen to those people who put you down.
  8. It is possible to not have roaches in a place of living.  You’ve just got to have the right tools.
  9. Nights in, with pajamas, snacks, and a movie?  Priceless.  Most of the time, it’s better than a night out.
  10. Atlanta is an awesome place to live…no matter what anyone says.

Could I elaborate?  Probably.  Will I?  Most likely not.  I like leaving people with a little illusion, and sometimes what you create in your head is better than reality.

It’s been 52 weeks since I started this blog.  52 weeks of laughter, fear, happiness, sadness, and a myriad of other emotions that people should feel.  Life has changed, and so have I.

Here’s to the next 52.

Tomorrow, I start my new blog, where I will be posting once a day.  Tomorrow is also my birthday, in which I am a quarter of a century old.  Good things will happen this year.  I can feel it.

Until.

51

25 May

This week is a good week.  Why, you may ask.  Well, here is a numbered list that will hopefully answer that question.

  1. New things!  Last Tuesday night, mom and I made the exciting journey down to Virginia Highlands to pick up a coffee table I’d found on CraigsList.  It’s beautiful.  Simply wonderful.  And perfect for our space.  Instead of the dark, modern, rather boring and cheap Ikea coffee table we’d had for a while, this one (from Pottery Barn!) magically, and completely accidentally, matches the couch.  The base is wrought iron, with a nice shelf; the top is a dark wood, distressed by both the factory and by the people’s kids.  If I had a picture, I would include it – until then, you’ll just have to use your imagination.  Deal?  In addition to an awesome new table (that makes me feel like a grown-up), Ry became the proud new owner of a plant yesterday.  The mall was restocking its foliage, and had no use for this poor green fellow.  He is living on our porch until we can figure out if it’s poisonous to doggies and kitties, but I think I should name him.  He’s very tall and green, and leafy.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
  2. Friends!  Last night, dear Kristy and I went to Cafe Intermezzo, our restaurant of choice.  This is where we spend our days, catching up over dessert and a mixture of coffee, tea, and as of last night, dirty martini’s.  Time spent with her is always excellent, as good conversation is always the rule and never the exception.  I always come away with good laughs and a list of books to read. Friday night brings another journey, this time to Loganville where another old friend lives, and where we will play guitar, perhaps outside with a bonfire.  Saturday is the weekend, and a weekend date with my old friend Kristen.  Her husband is out of town, so we’re going to visit the pool (!!) while Ry is at work, then go out for some drinks and dinner after he gets home.  These weeks are rich with excitement and fun – maybe that’s what summer is all about.
  3. Exercise!  As I write this, I am racing against the clock, as it’s time for me to head to the gym for my 20 minutes of jogging.  Bother.  I started on Monday, and since then my calves, thighs, and hips have been yelling at me every time I get up and try to walk around.  BUT, I am very excited to see where this leads.  I want to run the Peachtree, preferably next year, so there is no better time to start than the present.  In all honesty, though, it’s time to be healthy.  I’m going to be 25 in one week, and since my last birthday my migraines have returned with a vengeance.  It’s time to kick them in the butt, rather than the other way around.

Alas, dear readers, the time has come for me to sign off.  I appreciate your comments, however, and urge you to leave as many as you want.  Really.  😉

Until next week.

50

18 May

As clichéd as this sounds, it’s quite hard to believe that it’s been almost a year since I started this blog.  Things have changed; yet some things have stayed exactly the same.  It’s hard to pinpoint exactly which things match this description, unless you dig down, sifting aside the mundane…maybe, eventually, you’ll uncover what really matters.  But does it really matter without the dust of the everyday?

As I sit here writing this morning, the gears of opportunity, luck, and talent are turning.  Did I mention that I’m writing book reviews for Random House?  My good friend George with Peerless Bookstore set me up with this gig; they sent me the first book, a few weeks ago, wrapped in paper and addressed to me.  The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern, was in short, perfect.  It was different, yet familiar.  Magical, yet with realistic tendencies.  I pretty much want to marry it.  Anyhow, the review I wrote (which you can find here) was sent back to Random House…and they loved it.  I was nervous, actually, as I spent too much time staring at the screen and trying to make my words convey how much I loved it.  I didn’t think it worked; apparently I was wrong.  There’s talk of a book club (that I would host??) and a competition, though I’m not sure of what kind of competition or what the prize would be.  But they liked it, and I have this feeling in my gut that this could really be something.

In other news, reading and reviewing The Night Circus made me quite anxious to start writing more of my own stuff.  I have some ideas, but have been delayed with worried ideas of lack of theme, narrative arc, and other kinds of writing terms that don’t mean much to the common reader but mean a lot to a writer.

Other than that, my time has been taken up by nannying, planning birthdays (mine and Ry’s), reading blogs and reading books.  It’s a good life.

I’m also starting a jogging program next week.  Running of any sort is not something I really want to do, but being healthy unfortunately, and fitting into my old jeans, is.  I’m sure I’ll have lots to say about that next week.

Until.

49

12 May

For some reason, this year more than any other in recent memory, I am looking forward to summer.  Not just a passive wishing, though, no.  This is a full bodied yearn, a fervent desire, almost palpable.  My insides are happy when the sun falls through the fresh green leaves, and when I can walk outside in the afternoon to warm temperatures.  I can’t even think about cold weather, or snow, or ice.  We had enough of that this year, and I think I’ve gotten my own personal taste of the North, and thank you, but no thank you.  I’m a Southern girl, through and through – no more ice.  Ever.  Except in my sweet tea.

Moving beyond the simple meteorological aspect of these upcoming months, I am also rather excited for the events the summer will bring.  From wild and crazy nannying (where I will get in the pool and get a tan), to reviewing books, to teaching a dear friend how to play her guitar, this summer is going to, quite simply, rock.

I’m happy here, in this little condo in eastern Sandy Springs.  The air is on, as are the lights, and dinner is awaiting the arrival of the boy while tainting the house with the smell of spicy sausage and dirty rice.  We’re getting cable and internet installed on Saturday, and mom and I have been exercising every night, which makes me feel an interesting kind of energized.

It’s interesting to me how we spend our evenings.  Ry watches shows or plays games on the desktop in the bedroom, while I settle on the left side of the couch, laptop in lap and / or book in hand.  For example, tonight Ry is watching Craig Ferguson (interviewing the actor who plays Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory, one of our favorite shows) and I’m settled into the couch cushions, a  new Word doc open and about to write a book review.  I write my reviews in fun fonts; I pick the one that reflects the tone of the book.  This most current book was about a circus, so the script is stylish, wavy, with flourishes here and there.  In any case, the coffee is brewing and the lights are all on, and I’m loving this life right now.  It’s peaceful, seemingly right on track, and while nothing is perfect I’m feeling pretty damn close.

And…my birthday.  Is.  In.  Three.  Weeks.  Three weeks from today, actually, and I can’t wait.  Lots of fun things planned, three days worth, actually, because one only turns 25 once!  That day will also mark the commencement of my new, freshly improved daisyflyover, a daisyflyover in which I, Laura, will write every day.  YES, you read that correctly, dear readers, it’s my own personal 365-day project.  I’m finally jumping on the bandwagon.  We will see how this goes.

Until!

48

6 May

This is the season when words that you speak sometimes aren’t enough.  Tomorrow, some of my old friends from Oglethorpe will graduate, will wake up too early, walk across a hot stage in front of those they love and take that giant step into life.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  I feel it like it was yesterday.

However, my current life is full of babysitting, reading, writing, and the occasional concert.  Just this week, for instance, The Decemberists came to the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center; Ry and I, of course, went to see them.

Quite frankly, they are poets.  They can weave words and melodies into something more than song, something almost ethereal.  You feel it.  From love songs to lyrics inspired by Japanese folk tales, The Decemberists music is an experience.  I’ve been singing their songs all week now, as always happens after a good live show.

Today, I added some Fleetwood Mac to the mix, mainly Rumours, but others as well.  Then last night while cleaning the bathroom I started to sing that graduation song from around ten years ago…the silly Vitamin C one, where she’s singing how no matter what happens we’ll all be friends forever.  The one line that kept circling in my head was, “So we talked all night about the rest of our lives, where we gonna be when we turn 25?”  I remember singing that in highschool and thinking 25 was so far away…ages, in fact, so far in the distance that I couldn’t even see it.  25, actually, is three weeks and six days away.  Where am I?

I’m in a damn good place.  I like my life.  And though it isn’t exactly traditional, it’s perfect for me.  It’s heading in the right direction, and I feel completely in control.  I know what I want, therefore, I will go get it.

From there, since my birthday is always my own personal summer kick-off, I decided I wanted to make a Summer Playlist.  Maybe that will tie in with graduation songs, of which I have plenty.

Music is amazing.  It makes you feel…it makes you dance…it helps you say things you wouldn’t be able to say otherwise.

When words fail…music speaks.

Happy graduation, all my young friends.  The world is giant and waiting for you.  Have lots of fun.

47

1 May

Last Monday, I returned to Ogle-land to see and hear Dr. Weiss deliver the traditional Last Lecture of the year, which also happened to fall upon the year of her retirement.  Now, Dr. Weiss was the very first professor I met when I set foot on campus all those years ago.  I was a scared, sheltered girl, not really sure why she had chosen something so new when she was just fine where she was.  I’d walked into the student center, and subsequently stopped, lost and bewildered, when this tiny woman came around the corner.  She instantly took me under her wing, showing me where to go, what to do, and even letting me sit with her at lunch.  I later took Chaucer, where I learned to speak and read Middle English, and discovered that certain energy that Dr. Weiss brings to her classes.  She is passionate, excited about her subject, literally jumping up and down and times as though her words can’t be contained.

Such is the spirit I got to behold once more on Monday.  As I settled into the red fabric chair I felt myself settling back into the familiar role of student, reverting two and a half years to a role I thought I’d left behind.  It’s funny how easily the past comes back, even when you think you’re so far away from the person that you were.  I felt at home, however, really, really, really at home…like slipping on a nice pair of broken-in jeans, fresh from the drier.  And as Dr. Weiss began to speak, I was pleasantly reminded of days long gone, sitting in class on the top floor of the library, pen and paper in hand, books opened before me, quietly listening, trying to absorb everything.  Seems a lifetime ago.

I later ran into another beloved professor that night, too.  Dr. Taylor (whom I believe I’ve written about before) spent many hours with me, both in class and office hours, helping me mold my writing into something worth reading.  I was good before I took her class; I was amazing when I left Oglethorpe.  Her favorite pastime was to drag me, metaphorically kicking and screaming, into writing what she knew I would be good at.  In a way, all my Ogle-professors took turns, each pulling me along, trying to mold me into the kind of writer they knew I could be.  And now that I’ve long left the hallowed halls, the responsibility lies in my hands.  It is my duty to make them proud, to make something of myself and my writing, because they believed in me.  I can’t let them down.

I hope I can one day pay these wonderful professors back for everything they’ve given me.  The lessons they taught me, I take with me wherever I go.  They are amazing people, both personally and professionally, and I feel honored to have had the opportunity to learn from them.

Dr. Weiss…Dr. Taylor…Dr. Brightman…Dr. Shrikhande…they’ve given me everything I need.  And so much more.

46

22 Apr

We lived that first year in a tiny yellow house, all brick, with a steep driveway.  The yard was overgrown, long neglected, and the front stairs were rickety.  We didn’t have heat, not because of a lack of opportunity but because of a lack of finances, and we spent those long winter nights huddled together under the quilt, watching movies, talking, or sleeping.

Spring came, and the whole world turned green.  The house was set back from the road, down a hill and in front of a creek.  The property was surrounded by trees and separated from the neighbors by bushes and brush.  I awoke one morning to tiny bursts of green, a relief after seeing so much brown for so long.  We slept with the screen door open, fresh air circulating through the house and providing us with solid nights of sleep and mornings filled with sunlight and birds.  We traveled to his family’s farm for Easter, two solid hours of driving, our new puppy sleeping in the backseat.  I met everyone that day, an overwhelming prospect even to the most outgoing of souls.  I forgot everyone’s name and relationship to each other the moment I stepped away, but the food was good and people were kind, and with that combination it doesn’t really matter if names are recalled.

The summer was hot and long, bringing lots of bugs along with it.  We killed roaches nightly, and it made me hate that little house.  And when we got that problem under control our air conditioner went out, leaving us breathless and sweating, moving slowly from room to room, taking cold showers and lying naked under fans.  We fought a lot, mostly because of the heat and the rapid way that our lives were speeding up to, leaving us fragile and confused, blinking in the new light of change.  He told me he loved me at the end of June.  Then his ex-girlfriend left that August for grad school, five states away.  We fought bitterly the night he went to say goodbye to her, leaving us both hurting deeply, in different ways.  But soon she was gone, and autumn came.

The trees lining the property turned fire-like when September rolled around.  Soon there were no leaves left on the trees; instead, they all lived on our deck and front steps and on top of the cars, flying about in a blaze of glory whenever the wind picked up.  He moved into my room in November, and spent Christmas at my house, braving my family, who prefers their holiday with a little drink on the side.

We left that little house in the last days of 2010, leaving behind a cold kitchen that we hadn’t used since the temperature dropped below freezing.  We spent the whole month of December in our bedroom, the space heater on high and planning where to go next.  We live in a generic condo now, where heat and air conditioning is included in our monthly rent.  I love it here (no bugs) and so does he (better floorplan); it’s a step up from the little yellow house.

I miss those cold nights, sometimes, when it was just the two of us and everything was new.  We spent the whole workday looking forward to going home, putting on pajamas, and climbing into bed with each other.  It was a good start; something I think I’ll always look back on with a warm, happy feeling.  It was the start of something good.

45

15 Apr

It’s Friday!

So, we just had a tornado go through.  Much excitement ensued, I heard the wind suddenly blow up and the hail started to fall.  Now normally, we can’t hear a thing.  We live on the second floor, with people above us – if it’s storming, we don’t know.

We heard this wind.

I, of course, wanted to open the door and watch!  R wouldn’t let me, however, and I had to resign myself to take pictures through the glass.  (Don’t tell, but I actually opened the door)

It’s times like this I love living in the South.  So much excitement!

I used to be afraid of storms when I was little.  When the tornado went through Dunwoody in 1998, I remember looking in the mirror and being literally pale from fear – there was this horrible lump in my stomach that barely let me sleep, and after that horrible night was over, I never again wore the nightgown I had on that night.  Eventually, though, the fear faded, and left in its wake is a new feeling of excitement and fun.  After all, we live in the city.  What’s the worst that can happen?  I think, after watching footage of storms in Kansas and Arkansas, I get paranoid that the same thing will happen here in Atlanta.  But, their tornado warning is not our tornado warning.  The stuff that happens already when we have a storm is pretty much all that is going to happen.  And that is nothing to be scared of; I rarely am, unless awoken at night by a giant storm.  Then I’m just disoriented and confused, not really scared.

It makes me wish I could transfer this newfound fearlessness into other parts of my life.  I did yesterday, when I went on a giant slide with my five-year-old.  There is a carnival near our house, and we got a jump-start on the crowds by going yesterday evening.  And as I climbed the rickety stairs, I tried not to think about the stairs possible collapsing under us and sending us to our doom, with broken bones and lots of screaming.  I didn’t look down to the end of the slide, instead focused on sitting down, getting J onto my lap, and then before I could chicken out I gave us a mighty push and there we went.  And you know, I’m glad I went.  I love the feeling of going fast, my hair flying behind me and the breeze in my face.  I’ve always loved that feeling.  And I don’t know when I stopped loving the feeling and started letting the fear win.  But I’m working on it.

Fear will hold you back.  I’m firmly convinced you can do nothing great until you let it go, and learn to fly solo.  In essence, you can’t give a damn if you fall.  Sometimes I think I care too much, in different ways, and sometimes it’s hard to say fuck it, it doesn’t matter, it’s only bringing me down…I have a hard time letting things go.  I’m an eternal optimist – I will always hold on, convinced that something good will come of it.  I can’t decide what’s better; probably because one needs a healthy mix of both.

Ok, that’s enough of that talk.  Be fearless, dear readers, and see what happens.

44

6 Apr

“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion… love actually is all around.”

In this aforementioned movie, Love Actually, one of the characters is debating a Joni Mitchell recording with her husband.  He can’t fathom how she listens to such silliness; she replies that Miss Mitchell is the woman who taught his cold, English wife how to feel.  She’s loved Joni’s music for a long, long time.  And “true love lasts a lifetime.”

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about love.  It’s crazy, to me, how many different ways you can love something or someone.  The way I love my coffee, for instance, is a good bit different from the way I love my family.  I hope.  But there’s friendship love, there’s family love, there’s the way you love your dog or cat; there’s the way you love your first love and the way you love your current person.  Sometimes I think that I’m not capable of the kind of romantic love that I read about in books; the head over heels, would follow you anywhere, I’ll die when you die kind of thing.  I’m more of a let’s be partners and spend our lives together, but not lose our heads and become one of those annoying couples you want to smack.  However, the “true love” that the movie character mentioned above…made me think.  What do I truly love?

Well, I love coffee.  I love music – listening to it, finding a new band, old songs that make me feel, new songs that make me cry, the triumphant feeling I get when I finish writing a song of my own, the way my fingers get sore and callused when I play too much guitar.  I love the South.  I love when the seasons start to change, and you get the fresh breeze in the air of something new.  I love the smell of freshly cut grass in the summer, and the feeling I get on Christmas Eve.  I love books, in a very intense and amazing way.  I love french fries, and sweet tea.  I love cleaning, and choosing cleaning products.  I love Little Women (with Susan Sarandon) and The Secret Garden (not the Hallmark TV version), because sometimes I think I am Jo, and the first view of the garden and the music that plays makes me feel something akin to falling or your stomach when you’re in an elevator going up.  I love getting together with my friends from high school – we’ve known each other since we were five, and they know me better than anyone.  The way I laugh when I’m with them is like nothing else in this world.  They are my sisters.

Maybe that’s not the breathless, head over heels, intense love that people talk about.  But it sure as hell works for me.  I think it’s better; it’s not just feelings – it’s a life.

Love.