Words: Wisdom

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.

Henry David Thoreau

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Mental Paroxysm

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Living in a city like DC means, among other things, that if you wait long enough eventually all the worthwhile restaurants, celebrities, and theatre productions will trickle down from That City up north. So, yesterday afternoon I arrived early to stand with a crowd of strangers for a chance to snag Pay What You Can tickets to Sarah Ruhl's play, In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play.

After settling into the second row, house lights lowered, I was immersed in a two and a half hour production that left me both exhilarated and exhausted. You see, while the actors were being physically stimulated (with a contraption similar to the one pictured, which I snapped in the lobby during intermission), I was awash in the titillating mental activity of separating the playwright's various themes. Societal expectations of women/men. Science and sexuality. Relationships. (At one point, frustrated by her inability to breast feed her own child, the main female character utters the line: I suppose that makes me an inadequate woman! Which of course sent me into a reverie of what it means to. be. adequate.)

The production elicited layers of laughter. Uncomfortable laughter. Honest laughter. Laughter that then turned to tears. The final scene was a blur of snow and skin, where the two main characters finally begin to break down the metaphorical wall(s) that had keep them relegated to separate rooms.

My only regret? Not having someone to dissect the play with as I made my way home.

Falling In

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It was no coincidence that I saw Eat Pray Love over the weekend. It was just what I needed. A gals night out. Epiphany after epiphany. One hunk of hot gorgeous man. Healing tears. And so forth. (I'll be the first to admit that it's been a couple years since I've read the book, so the translation from book to film might have been a little off. But really, who cares?) It captures the essence, which, to me, was the most important element of the experience.

You see, I'll be traveling to Italy in a couple weeks.
Yes, Italy.

In preparation I've already loaded up with three Rick Steves' travel guides. Seriously, who does that? Really. Do I need three guides for one country? Apparently, yes.

Last night, I came across a few passages from Bill Bryson's chapter on Rome in Neither Here nor There.

Rome was as wonderful as I had hoped it would be, certainly a step up from Peoria. It was everything Stockholm was not— warm, sunny, relaxed, lively, full of good food and cheap drink.

I walked through the gardens of the Villa Borghese, up and down the Spanish Steps, window-shopped along the Via dei Condotti, admired the Colosseum and Forum, crossed the river by the Isola Tiberina to tramp the hilly streets of Trastevere, and wandered up to the lofty heights of Monte Gianicolo, where the views across the city were sensational and where young couples were entwined in steamy embraces on the narrow ledges. The Italians appear to have devised a way of having sex without taking their clothes off...

Having said this, Rome is not an especially good city for walking. For one thing, there is the constant danger that you will be run over. Zebra crossings count for nothing in Rome, which takes some getting used to.

I love the way the Italians park. You turn any street corner in Rome and it looks as if you've just missed a parking competition for blind people. Cars are pointed in every direction, half on the sidewalks and half off, facing in, facing sideways, blocking garages and possible way out would be through the sun roof. Romans park their cars the way I would park if I had just spilled a beaker of hydrochloric acid in my lap.

Even the litter didn't greatly disturb me. I know Rome is dirty and crowded and the traffic is impossible, but in a strange way that's part of the excitement.

Italians are entirely without any commitment to order. They live their lives in a kind of pandemonium, which I find very attractive. They don't line up, they don't pay their taxes, they don't turn up for appointments on time, they don't undertake any sort of labor without a small bribe, they don't believe in rules at all. On Italian trains every window bears a label telling you in three languages not to lean out the window. The labels in French and German instruct you not to lean out, but in Italian they merely suggest that it might not be a good idea. It could hardly be otherwise.

Meanwhile, I'll be doing my best to blend in; looking somewhat fashion savvy amidst all that pandemonium.

Games I Play During My Commute

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

1. Pick the color of the day based off the number of people wearing the same color sitting/standing close to each other.
Today's color: blue.

2. Find someone I know. Either on the escalator, platform, or in my car.
Today's count: 1.

3. Make up life stories about people, based strictly off what they're reading.

4. Count the number of men wearing pink dress shirts.

Today's count: 2

5. Find two people also sitting/standing close to each other, of either gender, wearing nearly identical outfits. (Just watch. You'd be surprised how often this happens.)

Summer Reading: Part Two

This is just a smattering of what I've been reading, as I desperately attempt to reach 50 books in 2010.

{ just finished }

To Kill A Mockingbird by Nelle Harper Lee is the seminal classic I read every August. Why August? Three reasons: I believe one's favorite book should be read annually, it's my birth month and when I received the book nearly a decade ago, the story starts in the summer. For book club this Thursday I'll be leading a discussion about the novel's less transparent themes.

{ also just finished }

I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley is just the type of book you can pick up and devour in one sitting. Apart from the pretty book cover, which I believe is a vintage mattress, the book both dispels and affirms the idea that ALL New Yorkers are neurotic. Good thing, otherwise there'd be no stories, or cake, to indulge in.

{ trying to currently read }

The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton is one of those book club suggestions that I immediately feel guilty about for NOT having read it yet. Unfortunately, the tedious high society characters make it even tougher to find a compelling reason to finish. (Side note: NOT finishing a book also induces large quantities of guilt in my bibliophile DNA.)

{ started this morning }

Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson is all kinds of funny, one I'm not certain is commute appropriate but is engaging enough to keep me up to the wee hours of say 11pm. Oh, and his sentiments about carrying a backpack the size of a horse...yeah, I get that.

{ up next }

Confessions of a Teenage Jesus Jerk by Tony Dushane came to me through another blog post. I have a sneaking suspicion that the overly zealous adolescent protagonist might unearth repressed memories of my own overly-religious formative years. To that I say, bring it.

Piccolo vestito nero.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Every woman needs one. A little black dress. In this case, I've been on the hunt for a LBD suitable for travel. (You know, something I could wash in a sink and wear over and over and over. More importantly, something for my upcoming adventure.) And can I just say, this dress is perfect. Perfect. It's lightweight, comfy, has a hidden zipper pocket on the right hip, a built in camisole, a pleasant slimming effect, and can be worn in endless cardigan/t-shirt combinations. I'm tempted to get one in port.

Having My Cake

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Turning a year older, especially entering an age bracket reserved for ostracized single LDS folks, can be traumatic. And while I've always loved my birthday (Loved that having it in the summer meant no school. Loved that, growing up, it was tradition to enjoy the same special Mexican meal— taquitos, refried beans, and rice with generous amounts of homemade guacamole. Loved that pool parties and piñatas were usually involved. Loved that I got to share the exact same birth date with my dearest best girlfriend, which we discovered when we just 12. Loved that multiple celebrations were the norm.) I broached yesterday's anniversary with a little more trepidation. You see, I wasn't ready to blow the candle out on another wish, the same wish I'd been making for years, only to have it fade into oblivion.

Turns out, I had nothing to worry about. Truly. It was a luxurious extended weekend, which included a road trip, a day off work, and some cathartic morning yoga. I received phone calls from two women I admire more than I can say. I arranged my own little gathering and baked a chocolate-chip zucchini cake with loads of chocolate frosting. I enjoyed the tactile sensation of opening actual greeting cards. I had a heart-to-heart with my recently married friend after all the other guests left. And when the group gathered to sing the usual birthday anthem, I smiled into their shining faces, thanked them for their friendship, and didn't blow out a single candle.

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