So I’m on a flight to Florida right now and brought a bunch of work stuff with me. When I pulled out a manila file folder the guy next to me was like “Is that paper? Am I time traveling?” When I pulled out a pen, he was like “What is this? A 1980s Michael J. Fox movie?” And when the flight attendant announced we could use portable electronics he turned to me and said “Do you know what the internet is? It’s a pretty cool thing.”
I’m guessing this would be a bad time to tell him I work for a newspaper company.
When my Great Uncle Paul was 45 he had a heart attack. It changed the way he was living. He began to take off Wednesdays from his North Carolina small town dental practice. He and my Great Aunt Helen would pack a picnic basket and drive out of town to their nearby farm where they had a small house, a pond for fishing, and a big garden. Friends and family would join them and they’d fry chicken and eat fresh-picked vegetables and drink cheap whiskey and spend the day in the warm sun. They called them Mad Wednesdays.
Uncle Paul died when my mom was pregnant with me. When I was a kid with grandparents who lived plane trips away Aunt Helen was my adopted grandmother for grandparents’ day at school, and cheered me on at soccer games and swim meets. I can’t remember a Christmas Day without her. Last night nurses with smiles practiced to convey both welcome and sorrow greeted me at hospice on my second visit to her this week. She won’t be here this Christmas.
This week I’ve hugged one of my oldest friends at a funeral and I’ve had long talks with people I love whose grief and pain is so much their own I can’t write it here. This is a strange season of lingering sadness, trapped between a holiday of thanksgiving and one of joy.
It is, I think, indicative of life. I’ve noticed that often happiness and sorrow blend together so closely you can’t tell where one ends and the other begins. Catching up with family from states away in a room where your loved one is dying. Laughing even when tears are drenching your cheeks. Telling stories of a happy life after its over. Remembering Mad Wednesdays.
“Before I became rich, I assumed rich people just looked out the windows of their Hollywood Hills homes, eating truffled popcorn and congratulating themselves on being smart enough to go into the lucrative field of journalism.”—
“Ralph Waldo Emerson once asked what we would do if the stars only came out once every thousand years. No one would sleep that night, of course. The world would create new religions overnight. We would be ecstatic, delirious, made rapturous by the glory of God. Instead, the stars come out every night and we watch television.”—Paul Hawkens (via thatkindofwoman)
“As things stand now, I am going to be a writer. I’m not sure that I’m going to be a good one or even a self-supporting one, but until the dark thumb of fate presses me to the dust and says ‘you are nothing’, I will be a writer.”—Hunter S. Thompson (via andthenitsperfect)
I’ve blogged a few times about my brother’s wedding last month, but today he sent me all of the professional photos and I couldn’t resist posting a few because I love them a lot. There were like eight billion. I’ve put five of my favorites below.
I felt really honored that Ev and Jess asked me to read several verses during their ceremony. Reading words that are thousands of years old at your little brother’s wedding. It’s something too big in my heart to explain.
The first of many hugs to come as sisters.
There’s very little in life that I enjoy as much as these two guys laughing together.
When I was a little kid, I was a huge bully to my little brother. He would cry, which would make me even more furious. My mom would say “Sarah, don’t hurt him. Everett is tender hearted.” At the time, I saw this as the perfect thing to mock. (Seriously. I was a jerk.) Now, I see that she too is tender hearted and that she passed this trait of compassion to her sweet son. Jess is so lucky to have that heart.
“My secret fear is that I’ll miss life.
That I’ll miss this thing we’re always dissecting so adamantly in deep conversations and blog posts. That I’ll look up suddenly and realize I missed the stitching; how I wanted so desperately to make a quilt and yet I never slowed enough to learn how to make a sturdy stitch. That I won’t be the person I have always wanted to be. That I won’t remember to call when I think I should. That I will miss the things– little & big– that make other people say out loud, in the holding spots of the November air, ‘This made everything worth it.’ I want things like that. The things that make everything undeniably and unexplainable but worth it.”—Hannah Brencher (via homemayde)
“Please tell a story about a girl who gets away. I would, even if I had to adapt one, even if I had to make one up just for her.
—"Gets away from what, though?"
From her fairy godmother. From the happy ending that isn’t really happy at all. Please have her get out and run off the page altogether, to somewhere secret where words like ‘happy’ and ‘good’ will never find her.
—“You don’t want her to be happy and good?”
I’m not sure what’s really meant by happy and good. I would like her to be free. Now. Please begin.”—White is for Witching, Helen Oyeyemi (via intherightshoes)
"For instance, what is the business basis for print? In fact, is there any reason print should exist? What, if anything, is left of the historic partnership between Madison Avenue and a glossy page in a status-conscious title? If not enough, is there something that print can transform itself into, something that print people might be capable of transforming their craft into?" - The Guardian (via MeredithBklyn)
Today the print journalism company I work for made some pretty major changes—all of which reflect a rapidly changing/shrinking industry. So that last line about “something that print people might be capable of transforming their craft into” kinda hits home. So far, I’ve come up with the following three job possibilities to fit my skill set:
Dachshund Farmer (pro: lots of dachshunds. con: I don’t think this actually exists)
Bartender (pro: chance to enhance my mixology skills. con: I don’t like staying up past 10)
Chef (pro: make food/make people happy. con: I would be 700 pounds and yell a lot)
In December I’m co-hosting an annual Christmas party with two friends. Today a friend sent me a link to this Free People outfit (I have a Free People obsession that’s out of control) and my first thought was that’s exactly what I want to wear to the Christmas party. Then I remembered that I’m not a 22-year-old cocktail waitress so thigh highs in public might be inappropriate. But it was more than that. I also kept thinking this looked familiar.
And then I realized Free People is reminding me a little bit of Ms. Hannigan. From Annie. This should probably have discouraged me, but instead I perused the rest of Ms. Hannigan’s costumes. Turns out my new style icon is an alcoholic orphanage supervisor from the 1920s. I didn’t see this coming.
“We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living. We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma, and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house, and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive.”—Thich Nhat Hanh (via h-o-r-n-g-r-y) … Write that down. (via live-to-the-point-of-tears)
I have a cold. Like, a really awful one that keeps getting in the way of me doing things like sleeping and breathing. I also sound weirdly like Regan from The Exorcist. On Sunday morning I walked into CVS and the woman behind the counter was like “Hey, how are you?” and when I responded my voice was so deep, scratchy, and scary that she visibly jumped. It’s Halloween week. I guess people are actually legitimately afraid I’m a demon.
When I first started feeling sick last week I was all holistic-let-me-get-some-kombucha-and-a-few-grapefruit-and-I’ll-be-fine. Yesterday, I took like 16 pills and Cherry Vanilla Swirl NyQuil (seriously. who came up with that flavor?). I don’t know what happens if you OD on Robitussin, but I think there’s a solid chance I’m going to find out.
Because this cold keeps me up coughing all. night. long. it reminds me of the time I got really sick when I was traveling in New Zealand and I was sleeping in a room in a hostel with like 16 other people and one was this old German guy who was offering weird advice for me to get rid of my cold and then I woke up in the middle of the night and he was standing in front of me wearing black briefs and I shook my brother awake to tell him and he said “Sarah, I’m only going to say this once so listen carefully: Never ever wake me up again in the middle of the night to show me a man in his underwear.” And, to my credit, I never have again.
That’s the kind of cold it is. Not necessarily the kind that makes you wake people up to show them old German guys in their underwear. But the kind that makes you tell stories like that because you haven’t slept for DAYS and you’re on a lot of drugs. Speaking of which, I think I now know what happens if you OD on Robitussin. You write this blog entry.
On my way home from work Friday I stopped at Target, where I noticed that they’d put out their Christmas costumes for dogs. Naturally, I picked up some for Pawley and Rosie.
Once I’d seen how amazing Pawley looked in the beard, I couldn’t help but want to try a few more options. (What? Like you thought someone who was putting antlers on a dachshund on a Friday night really had any shame?) So, I tried Pawley out as Ernest Hemingway.
She wasn’t exactly a dead ringer, but she played the part well. I was concerned though that this costume might seem a little dated. So, I created something a little more timely with the beard.
I can only assume this put out expression on Pawley’s face is because she’s a Yankees fan. Anyway, this concludes my post. Please don’t report me to Animal Control.
I just noticed my grandmother on Gchat. She’s 95. I’d think this was strange, except last month she friended me on Facebook. And she loves for me to send her photos via email.
When I was visiting her a few weeks ago in Dallas we went out to dinner with one of my friends. She immediately called the waiter over and asked for a gin and tonic with the specific gin she prefers. She once told me how disappointed she is that no one drinks hard liquor anymore before meals. She also felt that men especially should be drinking serious drinks. When it came time to order our meals, she opted for the fried catfish with macaroni and cheese. We were at the Dallas Country Club where half the menu is in French. But she wanted gin, catfish, and mac and cheese.
My friend was charmed. I’d barely even noticed because it was so typical. She is, of course, who I aspire to be like—for about a billion reasons. But more importantly right now, she’s someone I feel really lucky to have as a friend.
In light of the fact that the world’s weirdest music video "What Would the Fox Say?" is EVERYWHERE (and I mean, literally everywhere. My dad actually quoted it to me the other day), I thought I’d share a person-dressed-as-fox story. Ah, plushy fox stories… we’ve all got ‘em, right?
A month or so ago when my friend Jenn and I went to Atlantic City, we ended up late one night in a club called mur.mur (I can’t even deal with how stupid that name is) where we were waiting for Jermaine Dupri to come DJ (because it’s 1996). So it’s like 1 a.m. and we’re dancing and all of the sudden I look up and see a giant stuffed fox holding oversized glow sticks and dancing behind Jenn.
This is why you don’t go to places that don’t understand the correct grammatical placement of a period.
Honestly, my first thought was “Well, this is going to be the final straw for Jenn. She’s been a real trooper dancing in heels to 50 Cent for the last hour, but she’s not going to have any of this.”
How wrong I was. Jenn took to the fox like he was a Disney character who had approached us for photos outside of Splash Mountain. Immediately. She was posing, befriending him, dancing next to him. We’ve been friends for more than 10 years. This ranks in my top three moments of our friendship ever.
The fox danced around the crowd some more before coming back our way. Which was when Jenn took this photo of me and the fox. It’s remarkable how in her photo he looks like a friendly woodland creature. While in mine he looks like a fox who is up to no good.
Anyway, we left pretty soon after that. Because frankly, once you’ve danced with a giant fox the night is really only going to go downhill. But from the entire glorious 48 hours we spent in Atlantic City, this is by far the thing we’ve talked about most since. Obviously.
Yesterday afternoon I went to a football game. When I arrived home after, rather than going in my front door, I walked around to the 6-foot-tall wooden privacy gate on the side of my house to enter the backyard. Pawley was in the backyard and as soon as she heard me coming, she began charging towards the gate.
When I was about 10 feet from it, she barreled into it with so much force that she literally knocked it—and the fence around it—down, breaking the thick, wooden 2x4 posts holding it into the ground in half like they were toothpicks. This shouldn’t even be possible. I’d literally just watched three hours of professional football and not one of those overpaid athletes came close to her brute force.
So I’m going to have to have a new gate installed. Probably made of thick steel. My backyard is about to look like a maximum security prison. Which, with Pawley, seems about right.