Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006

on this last day of the year, it's hard for me to resist summing up what has occurred over the last 365 days. here are a few bullet points, just for kicks.
  • i was incredibly sick for an entire fiscal quarter (more, actually....more like a third of the year).
  • i joined a gym, worked out like a fiend for awhile, and then couldn't go for long stretches of time due to illness.
  • i celebrated with salimah as she completed her master's program and mourned with her as she lost her dad and both his parents.
  • i got to escape to the mountains for a week, which completely and utterly reminded me how much i love them and wish i could be near them on a daily basis.
  • i got rid of henry david and acquired my beautiful bella.
  • i was able to let go of anger from a dissolved long-term relationship, forgive, and move on with my life.
  • i met some new boys, some of whom i still know and rather enjoy, and got my heart good and broken by one in particular.
  • i took on a second job.
  • i came to the realization that, although i still have a lot of growing to do, i'm emotionally healthy and, therefore, attracted to others who are the same.
  • i became a "conoisseur of good rap" (according to salimah).
  • i reconnected with a couple of old friends and made some dear, dear new ones whom i hope to keep for life.
  • i stopped being quite the worry wart i once was.
  • i perfected my cornish game hens recipe.
  • i upgraded my kitchenaid mixer, my mattress, and the artwork on my walls.
  • i complete nablopomo!
  • i fell in love with books on CD (and my beloved gogol), clif bars before a workout, poultry breakfast sausage (love that protein in the morning!), sudoku, BLING, hair elastics, satellite radio, skim decaf peppermint mochas, 2-point softserve snacks, brooks running shoes and crocs, and buying presents for children i'll never know.

onto the next adventure. whatcha got for me, '07?

Friday, December 29, 2006

irreplaceable

you know, growing up, i was always a girl that would pick a sappy love song over one of those 'screw you, i'm leaving' kind of anthems. in fact, i never really understood why some women didn't just give love a chance...why they had to be so angry...why they wanted to tell the whole world that the next guy had better check himself before stepping up to the plate.

beyoncé, who is in a committed relationship (currently anyway) with jay-z has this to say in her latest pop hit:

so since i'm not your everything
how about i'll be nothing?
nothing at all to you
baby i won't shed a tear for you
i won't lose a wink of sleep
cause the truth of the matter is
replacing you is so easy


you must not know bout me, you must not know bout me
i can have another you in a minute
matter fact he'll be here in a minute, baby
you must not know bout me, you must not know bout me
i can have another you by tomorrow
so don't you ever for a second get to thinking
you're irreplaceable

at the age of 20, i never could have imagined something similar to those words coming out of my mouth. in fact, even up until a couple of years ago, i wanted to give other people the benefit of the doubt....to not give up so easily when others seemed to hesitate....to wait while things got figured out.

okay, well, i'm over it.

i mean, i haven't turned into an angry woman who blasts en vogue songs from her car stereo (a little 'never gonna get it' anyone?), but i seriously do NOT have time to be waiting around for someone who can't make up his mind...who isn't sure how he feels...who doesn't know if he can 'handle' this or that or whatever. i have seen this happen to myself and my friends time and time again. and i'm putting my foot down.

it has meant that my interactions with people are very much 'what they are' with very little 'what they could be.' i hold things with a much more open hand. i can, in most cases, 'take it or leave it.' and it's not that i don't care - far from it. i'm just not interested in investing my heart into relationships that have no chance of going anywhere. because the truth is - if you don't want to love and care about me, someone else will. and so maybe you're unique and all of that, but you're not really the only one who can fill the position.

so, i've started realizing that these women have been saying something all along that i actually needed to hear. don't take less than 100%. and anyone who's touting crappy wares? let him keep touting - elsewhere. i don't have the 'money' to invest in such things.

you can know one thing for sure with me: if you invest in me, you will get a return on your investment. i don't do anything half-hearted. if i love you, you won't ever have to question it. but i'm going to be more selective from here on out when choosing the recipients of that love.

so go ahead and get grown, men of the world. stop wasting your time while good women are moving on with their lives without you. i suggest you figure yourselves out and go prove just how irreplaceable you really are....

Thursday, December 28, 2006

last night i got kind of rejected by some 20-something male singers.

justin timberlake, as it turned out, lived in salimah's building, and while he wasn't disinterested in hanging out with me, he also wasn't super interested either. well, actually, he was at first, but then he backpedaled. oh, and JOSH GROBAN, for crying out loud, also tried to downgrade plans that we had and suggested that instead of something truly interesting that we go to see some cameron diaz movie. whatever. i didn't have time for any of it.

instead, i comforted myself with the thought that i had been asked to be on jc chasez 's (a former 'nsyncer with justin) softball team. even though it was a DC team, some other celeb (a woman, but i cannot remember who) asked me to come down from baltimore to play. i had to consider it for a moment, realizing that i'd be a traitor to my city, but when i realized it was jc's team, it was kind of a no-brainer.

to be honest, i don't even like josh groban that much anyway....

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

home

i spent the weekend in richmond for christmas....had a nice, relaxing time with my parents and friends, ate some great food, and slept in a bit. it feels good to be back in maryland, though. who are we kidding? my own bed is more comfy and i'm used to the noises in my house....

perhaps i'll post more in detail later (if/when i feel slowed down enough to think), but in general, this christmas perked up a bit, even despite my general feelings of ennui beforehand.

and just think - in another few days, this year will be a memory. now THAT is some good news....

Sunday, December 24, 2006

my girl wants to party all the time
(or why i love satellite radio)

i'm in virginnie now, visiting my folks for the long christmas weekend. the trip down was interminably long, but i have to say - i managed to keep my spirits up due to a decision to enjoy the sunshine and warm temps and, of course, my sirius radio. i was rocking out to some tunes of the 80s and 90s all the way down. so fun was the music, in fact, that despite the 2 hours i spent going 40 miles, i was relatively unfazed. that's some good radio, people.

today i visited with a dear friend and her kids. tomorrow, i hang out with two more dear friends (one of whom has my beautiful friend lucy), and then christmas day (or the morning after, before departing), i'll see yet ANOTHER treasured long-time comrade. seriously, that's the only way to spend a holiday....lots of people you love in your immediate vicinity.

actually, now that i looked at the clock, i realize that it's already tomorrow, so i'm off to bed. this promises to be a busy day; i'm making my parents my now-famous game hens for our christmas eve repast, and somewhere amidst the making of merry with friends, i hope to schedule a power nap.

sleep tight, world. morning comes all too quickly.

Friday, December 22, 2006

there are millions of words but no way to say what i'm feeling.

hundreds of birds are flying up into the gray-blue sky outside my window.
i was haunted by the walking dead in my dreams last night.
it's raining in baltimore and yet nothing else is really the same.
everything costs something.
make a list. check it twice. really.
ecclesiastes said it best.
i feel like i've lost something huge.
dead rappers make a lot of sense to me.
if i stop singing, i might disappear.
i wonder if i already have.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

the devil wears prada

last night i finally got to see this much-anticipated (by me) movie, and i have to say - meryl streep is SO fantastic. i mean, i've always known she was a great actress, but she just embodied this role. i guess it doesn't hurt that the script was good, too. i imagine it's hard to act well when your lines are truly crap.

in other high fashion news, i got my hair chopped off, and there are moments that, if you look at it from the right angle, i could seriously be a flapper. now all i need is a fringed outfit and a little headpiece....

and on a more personal note, in these last couple of days before i go back to richmond again, i'm scrambling to get everything wrapped and to find a measure of calm in the midst of it all. there's a part of me that hasn't unwound fully. i'm hoping i can before it's time to get back into the grind, but i'll also say that it's difficult to enter the holidays with so much uncertain and so many loose ends dangling. then again, perhaps nothing is dangling; perhaps i've just failed to come to some terms. whatever the case, i'm unsettled and that's no way to start a new year.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

i know i've been remiss lately. salimah was commenting to me the other day that now it's odd to her to NOT see me posting every day, when before nablopomo, that was kind of the way things were.

honestly, i'm on vacation in a lot of ways right now. i've wasted no time in slowing way the heck down and putting everything on the back burner for a few days. to celebrate my first (almost) full day off yesterday (i'd been doing a bit of freelance for my regular job, and i didn't finish it until yesterday morning), i did absolutely nothing - other than bake off a batch of cookies that were in the freezer, make some dumplings and snow peas for lunch, and watch the patsy cline story 'sweet dreams' for the umpteenth time.

this morning, i'm off to the dentist, then another appointment this afternoon to get my hair cut, and other than a few mild get-togethers with friends before i leave to go back home for the holiday, my time is basically my own. i can't remember when i last said that....

on my mind's docket these days: ways to impact needy children's lives; my need to get back to the gym; a persistent and continuing ache for a stage in my life not yet coming to fruition; the huge stack of magazines i need to process and remove from my life; my speeding ticket (more on this later).

for now, i'm off to have my teeth cleaned.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

a season of giving

this weekend, i went to virginia with salimah to visit my parents and to celebrate salimah's completion of her master's thesis. it was a fun, relatively relaxing trip (other than the fact that i got my first speeding ticket ever on the way down - a SERIOUS bummer). we even got some christmas shopping done while there.

i'll admit, though - i've been feeling a bit bah humbug-ish about this season. everything has just felt so utterly pointless to me lately, it's been hard to take any pleasure in preparing for the holiday.

but then, on saturday afternoon, after running a few errands, we were on our way back to my parents' house when salimah suggested we stop in at the dollar general near their house (we are suckers for discount stores). while in there, i kept walking past some toys and thinking about the little girl for whom my mom had bought a bunch of clothes for christmas. (she's a ward of the state, in foster care, and on her christmas wishlist had asked for clothes....you know it's bad when a child doesn't even request toys.) i kept thinking over and over about the gifts i had bought for other people, and in that moment, the only thing that made any sense to me...that meant anything...was the thought of this child - whom i will never meet - getting to open not only a bunch of really beautiful outfits but some totally fun toys that are ALL HERS. i told salimah my idea, and we were suddenly alive with a fervor i haven't felt in awhile. we scoured the aisles and decided upon a little trio of dolls (multiethnic, no less), all of whom have raincoats, umbrellas, and dogs in rain gear as well. we also got her a mermaid barbie and a little activity/drawing board with markers and crayons and some socks (my mom had been unable to find them when clothes shopping the night before). at the end of it all, i wound up wrapping probably 10 or 15 packages for her to open. i love that. it made me want to do more.

i've reached a point in my life where i don't often feel like i'm making anyone else's existence much better....more than on a personal/relational level anyway....and i'm really tired of that. frankly, the thought of making a child feel loved means so much more to me than doing something for myself or for other people who may or may not like me back. i know this is a strange thing to say, but i'd just really rather be completely selfless (which sounds like a reasonable goal, but i admit that it's not one i often think much about) than anything else right now. i wish i had more to give. i'd like to find the means so that i can start doing just that.

and honestly, if you're reading this out there, please consider buying a toy or some food or some warm clothes for a child who needs it this christmas season. you could change somebody's life. maybe even your own.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

up to here

i'm starting to get good and mad in a way that always makes me take action. honestly, this is the best possible place i could be in. anger can be super productive.

also, just fyi, boys thrill and frighten me all at once.
i've been here before, and i deserve a little more....

as usual, i've been pondering what exactly i'm doing with myself these days. for the last few years, i've been particularly focused on the fact that i needed "time" to deal with myself....time to pull aside and settle my heart. and it seemed that time was nearly indefinite. i knew it was where i was, and i knew that when i wasn't there anymore, i would know. i think i'm over it. i mean, i feel like i am. i definitely want to be. i think i can only feel that way because i actually am....

basically, i'm aware of my existing shortcomings, and despite them, i'm ready to forge ahead into the great (or at least mostly) unknown. i have decided that, for me, 2007 will be the year of proclaiming what is in my heart and watching things bloom. i have already started saying out loud some things that i feel ready to receive. may they come back around and find their way to my door. i'm leaving it unlocked....cracked open a bit, even....

Sunday, December 10, 2006

i lie awake....i drive myself crazy....

i feel very on edge right now. there are a few reasons, none of which i'm going to delineate in this space. but i just sense that it's going to take a small miracle for me to fall asleep at a decent hour tonight.

one question: why isn't the phone ringing?
sushi, love, and acid-free paper

yesterday, devika came up from our nation's capital to hang out with salimah and me (originally, it would have been also for salimah's thesis reading, but since that went out the window last week, it was just girl time - our preference anyway), and we went to sushi hana for the most delish lunch (devika, thank you SOOO much for the treat!).

after stuffing ourselves silly and then stopping by starbucks for a quickie beverage, we dropped devika off at the train station and headed back up to my neck of the woods. i gave bella a bath at the exxon (which involved some hijinx with these slight miscreants who were trying to get me to pay them to wipe my car off with some rags...um...right), went to the bank, and then we came back home for awhile to hang out before making the decision around 9:30 or 10 to head over to kinko's. i had high hopes that the whole process would be easy-peasy, but we were brutally rebuffed by the dude behind the counter (mental note: i will not be patronizing that particular establishment ever again), and we wound up trekking over to white marsh to complete the deal.

oh, and i should mention that, while there, these two random nightcrawlers had come in to use the internet. it was just the weirdest thing at 11:30 on a saturday night to be sitting in a copy store under artificial lighting, feeling like these men were up to something no good, and in the midst of this, my fake bling earring kept falling out.

the bottom line, though, is that we got everything salimah needed, and after a late-night snack of some greasy food, we headed back home to collapse into our beds.

intermingled with our adventures, though, was some seriously good conversation with salimah about our views on love and men and expectations and how those things have changed over the last couple of years. i have realized something about myself: i haven't lowered my standards...on the contrary, in fact...but i HAVE loosened my grip on some of the unrealistic expectations i once had about the state of a man's heart and what that really means at the end of the day. we also talked about struggling against the judgmentality we see in so many churched folks we've known (and loved) - of their own standards of what is 'right' for someone else and their inability to see outside the box of conventional 'wisdom' on various matters of relationships and other things. i found pain inside myself during this conversation - realizing that i have been wounded deeply by past exchanges with people who once professed to be my friends....but i have learned to take it all in stride and know that God is the only one who will deal with me and each of those individuals in a way that will have real meaning in the end.

so, it's sunday all over again, and tomorrow is the last monday i'll have to be at work before it is 2007. to say that thrills me is a serious understatement. there is much to do before the holidays, but i'm hanging back a bit this year, even from my usual festivities. i'm reevaluating, even if just for this time around, how much energy i can put into certain endeavors. in the end, i find just as much peace with a clean house and a bit of quiet at the end of the day. i don't need a tree with sparkling lights and all my trinkets hung about.

and besides, with all the joy that this holiday encompasses for me, there is a bit of sadness wrapped up in it as well...the awareness of all the loss this year has brought...the terrifying hope that next year will be more about birth and less about dying...for now, though, i'm just thrilled to love the ones i love and to be loved in return. i'm richer than i deserve to be and lonelier than i want. but perhaps in the coming days and weeks and months, that, too, will begin to iron itself out.

one never knows what the holidays will bring.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

quiet is the new loud

the silence in my room right now is ringing in my ears. really, how am i supposed to think when it's this quiet? i need sleep, but my brain is troubled with silly notions and thoughts of what was and yet wasn't.

plus, the cheese calzone i had for dinner is wreaking havoc on my stomach. i'm going to try for some rest. may it come quickly and without apology....

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

it's coming on christmas....

tonight i went christmas shopping after work. i managed to score several people's presents, which made me feel rather accomplished....while at borders, i realized that james taylor (my all-time favorite) has a new christmas album. you best BELIEVE i came home and downloaded that bad boy from i-tunes as soon as i had a free moment.

so i'm sitting here in my room chillin with jt and feeling psyched that i have a few new holiday offerings this year (i also got sarah mclachlan's 'wintersong' and mercyme's 'the christmas sessions'). next weekend, i'll travel down to virginia and salimah and i will have some good songs to keep us and bella company on our way....

oh and jt doing joni mitchell? lovely....

Sunday, December 03, 2006

eat it raw

last night, i remembered why i love singing with bands or groups - and specifically in a live venue. caryl's show was fantastic, and the band (eat it raw) was tremendous. there was some seriously SICK guitar playing going on...and i'm not one to point that out normally. it amped me up inside in a way that only live music can. and what's more, i was just so proud of caryl for putting together a really complex set of songs to honor her dad (and grandfather). it was no small undertaking, and she pulled it off with utter finesse.

oh, and would it be horrible of me to admit that a few of the boys in this band were rather adorable? :)

here's the gang, post-show. what a great night. i hope for nothing but utter success for the whole lot. their talent deserves to be experienced.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

because i am self-congratulatory....



in the interest of avoiding utter legalistic thinking about this whole blogging thing, i made the decision to take last night off. show my blog who's boss. it's here for me, not the other way around, hear?

yeah, so, whatever. i'm back anyway....

[reader, please forgive me for sometimes being more bark than bite.]

so, let's see, what's new?

hmm....

*crickets*

okay, nothing much, really. but hey, i'm here! that should count for something, right? right?

okay, maybe not.

but ahead on the docket today is a trip down to st. mary's to see salimah's sister caryl's concert to honor their dad. it was originally going to be this past week, but it got rescheduled, so now i can go:).

this means another opportunity to take bella for a nice long ride. she loves her some open road. then again, so do i....

per salimah's suggestion (yesterday notwithstanding), i'm gonna try for decemblopomo....and then after that, just pomo in general.

here is what we have learned: write = good. good = right.

that's all i got for now....