1. This morning every sock that came out of the dryer had a match. This never happens. I am absolutely certain my excitement levels for the rest of the day will never reach what I felt when that happened.
2. I am trying to string lights around my deck and in the process have now broken five strands of lights. Essentially, I’ve spent my life savings on deck lights and the result has been a deck covered in shattered glass. This is annoying. What’s more annoying is that talking about my deck lights has become my new favorite conversation. I had a half hour discussion with my mom about them this morning.
3. This morning when Rosie wouldn’t stop barking at two fluffy Malteses walking by our house, I went storming from my bedroom and into the living room to yell at her. After a thorough verbal lashing, she quieted. Then, as I started to leave the room, she barked once towards me. I then turned on heel and without thinking about it yelled at her not to talk back to me. Seriously.
So I don’t typically link to things I write professionally on this blog. Mostly because I’m guessing all four of you readers (hey Rosie!) don’t care all that much about dining options in Charlotte.
However, in what can only be described as a total coup, my editor has allowed me to start writing columns for our publication. Basically this is a free for all. For my first one (linked here) I wrote about my thoughts on random Charlotte people. So far, one very angry reader has referred to me as “small minded” for this one.
For my second one I’ll be writing about the time I accidentally got a massage at a whorehouse. Can’t wait to hear the reader response on that.
Anyway, I’ll link to them here sometimes on the off chance you guys aren’t spending your days perusing my magazine’s web site hoping to read something with my byline.
I spent today at a fashion shoot for the magazine where I work. It was our fall fashion feature for the September issue and the shoot started at 7 a.m. this morning in an old dairy barn in South Carolina. Rosie accompanied me to the shoot and for the first several hours was a pleasant companion. She sniffed around the Louboutins and licked the model’s fallen make up off the floor.
Then came the third shot. It was to take place in a field, a short drive away from the barn. Rosie climbed into the car and we all headed off. When we got out of the car I put Rosie down without a leash, as we were in the middle of a pasture in the middle of nowhere. The second her paws hit the ground though Rosie took off at a full sprint down the hill. I looked ahead to see what she was running for. Standing in the middle of a field on the other side of a fence was a huge, white horse. And Rosie was running at full speed towards it, barking at the top of her lungs.
The thing about Rosie is if you run after her, she thinks it’s a fun chase game. So, often, the only way to get her to come to you is to run the opposite direction. This feels completely counterintuitive, but it often works.
Not this time. This time as I called and ran horizontally to Rosie, she blatantly ignored me, still charging for the horse until she was at its feet and barking and snarling up at it. Unsurprisingly, the horse didn’t take particularly kindly to what I can only assume it thought was a barking guinea pig at its feet.
The horse dipped its head down biting at Rosie and began stamping its feet. Rosie’s barking slowed and she started backing up. Then, two other horses came running out of the woods, headed for Rosie. At this point, Rosie went into full retreat mode, now yelping as if she’d been mortally wounded and running as fast as she could towards me and out of the pasture. I, who was by now certain I was going to witness my dachshund being stomped to death by horses, had climbed through the fence and was running down the pasture. In a dress and sandals, mind you.
And so, Rosie was running towards me yelping with three horses hot on her trail and I was running towards Rosie panicking and screaming her name. Due to the grass being taller than her, the run back was proving to be slower than Rosie would prefer as she kept tripping and rolling in the grass. One of the horses had its head down about six inches from her, clearly unhappy with her loud yelping. Rosie, in all of her infinite wisdom, decided to turn around and bark again at that horse. At which point I finally made it to the scene of the action and put myself between Rosie and the horses and chased Rosie out of the fence to where our intern and stylist were waiting.
I then climbed back out of the fence as the art director asked me if I was going to cry and the model told me she’d been praying the entire time. I grabbed Rosie, whose wagging tail indicated she thought the entire thing had been a fairly fun way to spend a Thursday morning.
This is why my career as a fashion editor will likely never go beyond its current status. Because you just know Anna Wintour never says “Well, there was that one time at a fashion shoot when I had to chase my dachshund away from stampeding horses…”
Yesterday was a strange day. First, I went to a kind of random guy’s house to interview him for an article I’m writing. He lived in what appeared to quite literally be the middle of nowhere. About ten miles before I got to his house, my cell phone stopped getting service (this is both because he lived in the middle of nowhere and because AT&T has cell phone service that should be relegated to 1997). Anyway, his house was tucked back in the woods on several acres with a large BEWARE OF DOG sign in front.
As I pulled in, I imagined what people’s responses would be after he murdered me and fed me to his dog. I figured most would be something along the lines of “I thought Sarah was relatively intelligent. I was obviously wrong.”
Then I met him. He was quite nice, but also about 6’5”. At 5’10” I usually feel like I could take most people if it came down to it. I didn’t think that about him.
Then we went into his house where I sat in his study complete with snake skins, a boar’s head, and various guns and bows and arrows on the walls. Oh, and also on the walls, were strange candle alters. Then we talked about Big Foot and UFOs and I noticed he had blood smeared on his pants.
Really just a typical afternoon at work.
Then, last night I went to see the movie Inception. It’s good. Just like everyone else in the entire universe seems to be saying. It also is the kind of movie you actually feel tense after watching because for 2.5 hours straight your mind has been blown.
After the movie, I was driving two of my friends back to my house where their cars were parked when, just as we were turning down my street, we saw a man beating a woman who was curled up on the side of the road. It was midnight, but they were on a busy street. I stopped the car and called 911.
Me stopping the car resulted in a lot of yelling from my friends who were concerned the guy was going to shoot us. And then yelling from me that I wasn’t going to leave a woman on the side of the road being beaten. In fact, for a moment, our yells drowned out the man who was screaming at her.
After explaining the situation to the 911 operator, we waited. The woman stood up and started yelling back at the man. It was clearly a domestic dispute of some sort, it was just taking place on the side of the street. He was pushing her, but she was standing up by now so we felt a little better. She was also yelling at him that we’d probably called the police. We watched them for about 15 minutes. We also watched two police cars drive by and barely brake. Eventually, we lost sight of them as we circled the block. The police never came.
And so, around 12:30, when I crawled into bed, I was nervous about UFOs, concerned about the concept of dreams versus reality, worried about the woman, and furious with the police.
Falling asleep last night was not the easiest feat.
“Life is not merely a series of meaningless accidents or coincidences, but rather, it’s a tapestry of events that culminate in an exquisite sublime plan.”—
I’ve been thinking about this concept a lot lately. So much, in fact, that most of my friends are starting to get tired of me repeatedly saying the words “everything happens for a reason.” Which is fair. Because it’s an annoying cliché.
Hot dogs and baseball have a long history, though the details of their relationship are as murky as the hot water that dirty dogs are cooked in. Harry M. Stevens, a vendor at the old Polo Grounds in New York, is widely credited with marrying the dog, the bun and baseball when, in 1901, he started serving “dachshund sausages” on rolls.
Thomas Aloysius Dorgan, a cartoonist, was supposedly at the game and could not spell dachshund, so instead wrote “hot dog.” Researchers later found that Dorgan was not at the Polo Grounds in 1901, and discovered references in The Yale Record from 1895 to students who “contentedly munched on hot dogs.”
This New York Times article discusses the age old dispute of which came first, calling dachshunds hot dogs or calling hot dogs dachshunds. We’ll probably never know.
Also, credit for finding this article should be given to my editor who sent me the link in an email titled “How Rosie is related to ballpark food.”
Saturday morning I got up, went for a run, did laundry, cleaned the house, mowed the lawn, and weeded the yard. Then I went to Costco (related note: I’m considering renaming this blog to “The Story of My Inevitable Decline Into My Own Worst Suburban Nightmare.” But, that’s kind of a long title, so we’ll just stick with what I’ve got for now.).
Anyway, Costco. So, I’ve turned my buy-local-and-fresh nose up at Costco and resisted obtaining a membership there for some time now. Plus, $50 for the “privilege” of shopping in your store? Um. No thanks.
However, I realized that it doesn’t really count as sticking to your ground on these kinds of things when you basically just make your mother buy you stuff when she goes and then have to pay her back for half your groceries. Plus, having my mom who lives an hour away be my Costco mule was getting kind of tedious.
So, on Saturday morning I resigned myself to life as a Costco member. I paid the 50 bucks, had my photo taken, and became a card carrier.
Turns out, this was one of the more exciting moments of my life (seriously. I’m going to have to look into that other title.). Not only does Costco have all the things I’d been making my mom buy me (hearts of palm, cous cous salad, crab dip, fresh mozzarella), but there’s so much more! It was glorious! And those little taste stations? I couldn’t stop buying all the things they were offering! What’s that? You’ve got canned bruschetta? Why yes, yes I do need that. Granola bars that taste like Snickers? Obviously that has to happen.
Somehow I spent more at Costco on Saturday morning than I typically spend on groceries in a month. Also, I am now the owner of thirty individual bags of Baked Lays. Unfortunately, there’s no room for those in one place in my house so there are now Baked Lays bags in various cabinets and shelves all over my kitchen. I’ve also eaten more mozzarella in the last two days than any human ever should and I’m trying to figure out how to incorporate my three-pound container of hummus into every meal.
Tonight was slowly sinking sun and fresh, warm tomatoes and softly buzzing bees and warm breezes and chilled white wine. I returned to my parents’ house with a friend and Rosie. My family is still in Germany, probably celebrating World Cup wins with toasts at Hofbrauhaus. My envy knows no bounds so I came to their house to stretch out next to their cool pool on this hot summer afternoon and steal their juicy garden vegetables.
As night fell, my friend and I streched out on the sun-warmed pavement of the driveway and stared up at the stars as they slowly emerged out of the inky sky. I pointed out the big dipper and we sipped wine and laughed and listened as Rosie ran through the grass near our heads.
Then, just as the moment was reaching the point of being so idyllic that it doesn’t feel real, a frog leapt across the driveway and onto my chest and we jumped up screaming as Rosie began chasing it and the perfectly peaceful moment was over.
I get paid to write. Me being able to do things like eat and buy clothing and sleep with a roof over my head is conditional on me being able to write.
But I don’t write to get paid. Without sounding overly dramatic or pretentious, I write because writing feels as natural—and as necessary—to me as breathing or sleeping.
I write in journals and on blogs and in notes on my phone. I scribble down sentences and phrases and thoughts before I fall asleep and when I wake up. Nothing—seriously, nothing—makes me as happy as the way it feels when words that work together touch a page for the first time.
But, I struggle a lot with what this article discusses. I want the approval of readers. Even as I journal privately, I sometimes wonder who might read it. Crazy and a little self absorbed, I know. But natural, I think.
If I could have one wish for my writing though, I think it would be that I do as this article says and separate myself from my readers. I can’t do that for the stuff I’m getting paid for—after all, those readers happen to be putting a roof over my head. But to create something with words that has no concern for its reception… that would be nice.
“I could use you here so I might get to shop for a few minutes since our hotel is in the shopping district. This does not seem to be on your father’s list of things to do, although he kept trying to get me to buy one of those Alpine maiden dresses yesterday.”—My parents’ emails from their visit to see my brother in Vienna just keep getting more amusing.
“We need to do stuff like this now when we’re young and single…
because when we’re old and single it will look less cool that we’re still doing it.”—
-My friend Katie discussing upcoming plans today at lunch.
When I first moved to Charlotte I had a hard time convincing my newly single friend Katie that being single is pretty much the best thing ever. She was all like “but I want a boyfriend” and “I miss my ex.” And I was all like “but now you get to do what you want” and “you cry a lot less.”
And so I took her out with me and yelled at her when I didn’t think she was having enough fun. (Yes. That is the type of person I am. Judge me if you will.) And when she’d get especially emotional about being single, I’d be especially insensitive. (Again. Sorry. I can’t help it.) But when she’d meet someone she thought giving up the single life was worth, I’d encourage her, because it wasn’t that I wanted her to be single, I just wanted her to be happy.
And so basically, for two years I’ve told Katie to enjoy it. It, of course, being life. Because when you’re in your 20’s and you live in the South and you’re a girl, being single can easily suck. At least, that’s what I’ve heard. For me, being single has been my excuse for having a hell of a lot of fun.
I doubt Katie or I will be single forever. (Ok. I doubt Katie will be single forever. I have Rosie and am quickly headed down the road to crazy dog lady, so it’s hard to say with me.) But whether I’m old and single or old and married or just old, I think I’m always going to look back on these first few years in Charlotte as being some of my favorites—because I am young, unattached, and apparently doing all the things that will look a lot less cool in a few years.
When I was kid my parents would send me for several days each summer to Savannah, where my grandmother lived in a house filled with shiny antiques and old photos and sparkling bottles of perfume. She and I would explore the city for one blissful—at least for me—week. We’d walk through historic homes and parks dripping with Spanish moss. We’d take trips to the nearby beach and spend hot afternoons on the cobblestones next to the river, ducking in and out of air-conditioned shops. We’d take carriage rides and my grandmother would patiently teach me about the Civil War and the famous people who’d inhabited the old homes. We’d go out for lunches and dinners where ordering off the kid’s menu wasn’t an option—when I was with her, it was fresh and flavorful southern fare and new delicacies I’d never even tried.
One summer I happened to be there over the 4th. That afternoon my grandmother packed a huge picnic dinner of fried chicken and vegetables and deviled eggs and hot biscuits and we picked my grandfather up from his office and headed to the beach. We spread a blanket over the sand and I dashed off to find hermit crabs in the tide pools and play in the crashing waves. The beach was almost empty and the sun slowly sunk until it was a pink-streaked dusk. My grandmother called for me eventually and I returned to the blanket, where she and my grandfather sat talking in the cooled night air.
We spread the feast in front of us and ate as the sky grew dark. From where we sat on the beach, you could barely make out the fireworks bursting in the distance, but my grandmother explained that that night there was something better than fireworks. She said something special was going on in the sky and if we watched long enough, we would see a shooting star. And so I laid down on the blanket on the sand in my damp bathing suit between my grandparents and stared up at the crystal clear sky.
We stayed that way for what felt like hours and counted more shooting stars than I’ve seen in the rest of my life combined. It felt like bright raindrops from heaven were pouring down into the black water in an extraordinary performance just for us and we were quiet except for the moments when one of us would shout excitedly, pointing to a falling star.
Eventually, it was long past my bedtime and my grandparents gathered our things as we trudged through the sand and back to the car where I sat in the back seat for the entire ride home, trying to see another falling star and recapture that magic I’d felt on the beach. What I didn’t realize then is that magic like that isn’t from stars or picnics, but rather from the people on the blanket next to you. Several years later my grandfather passed away and the summer after I graduated from college my grandmother followed him. I’d give anything to rest in the sand next to them this 4th of July, but I think that probably some of the beauty of life is the brevity of moments like those on the beach.