31 January, 2010

snowed in

Pretty, snowy morning. A glimpse from my bedroom window, which happens to be as thin as a few sheets of paper. I feel rushes of icy air whenever I get in bed. The rest of my body is cocooned under my blankets, but my head tends to freeze. It's an interesting sensation, to say the least.

The tremendous snowfall (for this state, at least) has created a lovely social effect on our house. Because no one can go anywhere, we've all been hibernating together. Sarah made us fabulous Indian food last night and all seven of us talked until 11, laughing, telling stories, spilling Meller's M&Ms all over the floor... it's been so peaceful. I almost wish the snow wouldn't melt so we could stay like this until the semester ends. I don't think we've had this kind of camaraderie before and I am reluctant to see it go.

I've never been this productive in my life. On average, I'm writing five to seven pages a day. It doesn't sound like a lot, but for me, that's a considerable rate of creation. Not all of it is even very good, but at least I'm getting it out there. Meeting with my adviser on Friday was more encouraging than I expected it to be. All of the work I've put into this thesis may not actually turn out to be worth it, but I'm not going to surrender now.

Song of the day: "Magpie to the Morning," Neko Case. It sounds like all the rest of her stuff--but it never gets old. So beautiful.

Dates to keep: Today is Win's 21st birthday, and Tuesday is Courtney's 22nd birthday and mine and Guion's two-year anniversary.

I think the moments of truest love happen like this:

"They had met first in Scotland, fishing--she from one rock, he from another. Her line got tangled; she had given over, and had watched him with the stream rushing between his legs, casting, casting--until, like a thick ingot of silver bent in the middle, the salmon had leapt, had been caught, and she had loved him." Between the Acts

28 January, 2010


This time it wasn't a joke...

Kemp and Rose got engaged today!!
Couldn't be happier for one of my all-time favorite couples. It's also going to be non-stop wedding planning madness around here--now two of my bridesmaids have fiances!

25 January, 2010


I feel exhausted, but brimming with praise. I have run the full gamut of the emotional spectrum this weekend. It is difficult to describe the span of sentiments between finding your wedding dress and finding out that your grandmother's cancer was worse than expected. I lost it in the middle of lunch with them; just started sobbing over my chicken casserole while everyone was talking very civilly and plainly. I couldn't think of anything else. The slightest memory of her would incite buckets of tears; my mind was a frenzied loop of prayer. But then, today, God came through and her scans came back negative. She will still have to endure what I understand to be a "preventive" form of chemotherapy and radiation, which is of course tremendously unpleasant, but it is infinitely better news than we had expected. If you know her, thank you for praying, and please, keep on; we covet your intercessions. God is listening.

Back to that other little bit of news: Yes, I think I found my wedding dress. I actually fell in love with the back of the gown first. Trying it on wasn't this supernatural moment that I feel most brides expect--when the heavens open and fairies alight on your shoulder and your mom has to have "a moment." (She did cry a little, though, especially once that cathedral veil was tacked to my head.) But I did feel very pretty and I felt, finally, like I was going to get married. I wish I could show you, but I think Guion reads this every now and then, and we just can't have that. Suffice it to say: The gown ROCKS. It's enough tradition with a dash of modern to please me and my no-strapless manifesto.

I'm hoping this thesis wasn't a terrible idea.

"Intellectual freedom depends upon material things. Poetry depends upon intellectual freedom. And women have always been poor, not for two hundred years merely, but from the beginning of time. Women have had less intellectual freedom than the sons of Athenian slaves. Women, then, have not had a dog's chance of writing poetry. That is why I have laid so much stress on money and a room of one's own." -- Woolf, A Room of One's Own

I read a helpful little piece on one of the many wedding blogs I subscribe to about why one bride chose to take her husband's name. Kemp, Rose, Guion, and I had a mildly heated conversation about this topic one night at dinner. Thanks mostly to my entrenchment in all things Woolf, I am predisposed to see the name change as a hold-over from the patriarchal past, when women actually were men's property. But after reading this article, and recalling my discussion with Rose, I see taking Guion's last name in a different light now. As a twenty-first century feminist, I'm exercising my right to choose by taking his name; women didn't have that choice centuries ago. And so, as much as I love my last name and its rarity, I am happy to take Guion's last name. But I'm definitely keeping my last name as my middle name; it's too weird to surrender.

21 January, 2010

the worst story in the Bible

While my orchid is blooming to life, other things in ARMO are dying. My goldfish (the last remaining decorations from the annual New Year's Day party) died this morning. (I had changed their names from Taylor Swift and Sonia Sotomayor to Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell, respectively). I was going to ask Amy to feed them for me this weekend, since I'm going home to wrestle through other wedding plans, but when I came upstairs to check on them, they were floating at the surface. I wonder if Virginia drowned in homage to her namesake. I am sad to see them go; Nessa was especially lovely. But they did only cost me 25 cents. So I'm not too torn up about it.

I read what is arguably the WORST story in the Bible this morning. Geez, Elisha, you can't take some teasing from little kids? Someone is still really sensitive about getting bullied on the playground. Please read, and subsequently cringe along with, 2 Kings 2:23-26:

"[Elisha] went up from there to Bethel, and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, 'Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!' And he turned around, and when he saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys. From there he went on to Mount Carmel, and from there he returned to Samaria."


1. That's a lot of little boys.
2. Talk about the super-fragile male ego...
4. I love that last verse: And then, pleased with the carnage, he went on his merry way.

Moral of the story: Don't make fun of prophets. Because then bears will eat you.

I am looking forward to going home. It's cold and rainy here and I'm already tired of having to deal with parking fiascos, school, presentations. Guion is going to come up tonight and spend the night with us and help me calm down and make some more nuptial decisions.

Observation about being engaged: Engaged women are supernaturally magnetized toward one another. Get two women who don't know each other at all in a room, reveal the fact that they're both getting married, and they will be BFFs in about 10 minutes. "Oh, you're using that florist? Me too! OMG, that's so crazy..." I confess. I do it, too.

19 January, 2010

a bird

I prefer unorthodox compliments. This may be one of the chief reasons why Guion has maintained such a strong hold on my affections. This afternoon at the Press, Elaine, one of the senior editors, looked at me and said, "You're so colorful today. Why, you look like a bird!" I liked that; I could be a bird.

I went shopping with my bridesmaids (minus Grace) at the mall yesterday and had a great time. Kelsey and Kathryn managed to find dresses, which was so exciting, and they look AMAZING. My bridesmaids are going to steal the show. For sure.

I wrote the first chapter of my thesis this week. At 20 pages, it feels like an accomplishment, but I know it's only the tip of the iceberg and I'm not even convinced that it's good.

Jonathan made me the most incredible dinner last night (minestrone soup, vegetarian lasagna, and poached pears--all from scratch!). It was one of those evenings of sincere conversation and laughter that you wish you could extend for days. I came home and watched "Pride and Prejudice" with Courtney and Caleb. Caleb and I cut up the whole time, prompting CoCo to exclaim, "What are you two, 12?!" To which we responded, "We might be."

I think I should be more worried about wedding planning than I am. I'm supremely laidback about this whole thing, and I'm not sure if that should concern me or not.

13 January, 2010

varying temporal rhythms

My head is full of distracted prayer for my grandmother. I am frustrated by my inability to do anything. I wonder if it is foolish to pray for miracles.

"Life is not possible without an opening toward the transcendent; in other words, human beings cannot live in chaos." -- Mircea Eliade in The Sacred and the Profane, a reading for my Place and Ritual in Religion class.

Eliade propounds this idea of religious nostalgia, people trying to get back to God and to initial creation through ritual and recreating space. He affected my thinking this week in three ways: one, by reminding me that we sanctify time and space daily, even when we don't recognize it; two, the religious woman or man is always hungering for the more "real" reality, which is God's presence; and three, my religion is just as fantastical or absurd-sounding as anyone else's.

08 January, 2010


Watch this:

The Cost

And, how do you feel about living in a yurt in Alaska? With every passing slide, this couple gets crazier and crazier.

06 January, 2010

one thing

Found this elsewhere on the blogosphere, and thought it was a good list to fill out:

One Thing in 2010

One thing I will learn: How to trust God with the unknown.

One place I will go: Boston (I hope!).

One physical habit I will break: Slouching.

One physical habit I will cultivate: Running weekly. I've realized, as I've written before, that I was built to run and I need to do this.

One mental habit I will break: Letting internal fears and ruminations control my mood.

One mental habit I will cultivate: Curbing my tongue and negative attitudes and thoughts about other people.

One relationship I’ll repair: A friend from high school whom I've drifted from.

One work habit I will change: Letting my workload control my mood.

One thing I’ll throw out: T-shirts I don't wear but somehow collect.

One thing I’ll eat more often: Leafy greens!

One thing I’ll eat less: Sugar in artificial forms.

One thing I’ll drink more: Water. (And Guion's beer, most likely.)

One thing I’ll drink less: I don't know, actually. I think I drink very healthy.

One overdue e-mail I’ll send, or overdue phone call I’ll make: E-mails to wedding contacts who are helping with the reception and ceremony.

One resentment I’ll get over: Don't have any resentments right now. I might later.

One person I’ll treat more respectfully: Guion. He treats me with love and patience every day and I don't always honor him as he deserves.

One thing I’ll spend less money on: Eating out.

One other change I’ll make in my finances: Relentless budget-keeping.

One thing I’ll spend less time doing: Complaining.

And a thing I’ll spend more time doing: Kissing Guion and telling him I love him.

04 January, 2010


145 days!

03 January, 2010

assigned reading

I am relieved to remember that I still have a handful of days at home before I have to return to the rigors of a new (and final) semester. My brain is reluctant to slow down when I consider all that I must accomplish between now and May:
small group
maintain friendships

Tis the season for headbands, for I have acquired five in the past week. They are the best remedy for a bad hair day, which I am certainly experiencing today. I haven't the energy to shower. Showers are such a pain. Headbands are the remedy. Grace made two of them by dismantling floral arrangements and using hot glue; they're adorable. And Guion gave me a gorgeous one from Anthropologie that will be featured in our Save-the-Date photo (we had a brief shoot with Grace yesterday).

A man came into the bookstore today to buy "Beloved" for his daughter. I told him that it was one of my favorite novels and his reply was that she had to read it for a high school assignment. My heart always sinks a little when I hear that. My assumption, proper or not, is that these students will read these great books and hate them because they are assignments and then never want to read them again, attaching the memory of high school drudgery to Morrison's name forever. I think one of the main reasons I love books as much as I do is because the great ones I got to read were rarely ever assigned. Since I was young, my mother turned me loose in the library and let me read literally anything I brought home. When choice is involved, the chances for love are much greater. (The same could be said for arranged marriages, perhaps.) I think about how I would solve this problem if I were a high school English teacher, though, and my belief becomes complicated. It would be impossible to teach if I let students choose what they wanted to read among five different novels. I don't know the answer to this dilemma, but the way they teach kids literature in school is the primary reason I'd homeschool my children. After tutoring English in public schools, I find traditionally educated kids who love to read something like Christmas miracles.

I am reading "Absalom, Absalom!" because there are at least 30 reasons why I should love Faulkner but don't.

Obvious numbers: This is my 200th post on this blog, and my first post of 2010.

"'I don't plead youth, since what creature in the South since 1861, man woman or mule, had had time or opportunity not only to have been young, but to have heard what being young was like from those who had.'" Absalom, Absalom! William Faulkner