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{October 23, 2008}   breathe deep and let go

“But if you’d try this: to be hand in my hand as in the wineglass the wine is wine. If you’d try this.”

– Rilke

When I read this brief poem a knot forms in my throat and my eyes brim with tears. Rilke does this to me.  I read his words and so often feel as if he has looked within me and and is writing of my desires, my fears. With this one line he both tells me to let go and eloquently begs, on my behalf, for the one thing I want.  Stop thinking. Don’t be afraid. Just be.



{October 17, 2008}   Juuuuust a bit outside.

Originally published August 4, 2008

“Yes! Yes! Yes! The Atlanta Braves have given you a championship! Listen to this crowd!”

I’m sitting in my office, trying desperately not to cry, as snippets of the Braves’ games I’ve watched and listened to since childhood play on the radio in my head.  Watching games with my granddad in the summer when I was a little girl; countless nights sitting up alone in bed as an adolescent, truly believing that the tomahawk chop that I was doing would incite the Braves to a win; the 1995 world series win watched from Center East up at YHC; listening to games on the radio during long drives home from Virginia; wandering around Turner Field during a game in search of funnel cake or some other such piece of delicious goodness — so many of my memories are tied up in the sound of Skip Caray’s voice.  To me, the most recognizable voice in the world.

Today is a sad day for Major League Baseball — a sad day for Braves’ fans all over the world — a sad day for me.  This, then, is the sound of silence.

You will be missed.



Originally published June 6, 2008

let me start by saying that i’m fairly certain all snakes have it in their dna to find and kill me.  this is a belief i’ve held since childhood.  i’m pretty sure my daddy told me.  and my daddy’s never wrong.

now, to the point: i have never camped. this will come as a surprise to all of you yhcers, but will make perfect sense to anyone who’s ever heard me say, “I’m afraid of snakes and I don’t like to get dirty.” it’s just not something i’ve ever done.

well, times, as they say, they are a changin’ – i am going to learn to camp.  as is my want, i have been discussing this upcoming venture, ad nauseam, with friends.  their reaction, almost universally, has been…laughter.

so, last night i sit down with a friend and say, “do you really think i’m going to hate camping?”  that started a very informative discussion of what it means “to camp.”  about mid-way through the conversation he asks what i am most worried about.  my response, naturally, is “peeing in the woods in the dark and having a snake jump up and bite my vagina.”

once he stopped laughing he looked at me and said, “the worst part is when you wake up and the snakes have shit all over your face.”

i haven’t stopped cracking up and i’m not afraid of running into snakes while camping any more.



{October 17, 2008}   I love Jordan Catalano

Originally published June 5, 2008

I was watching My So Called Life last night (thank you Netflix for that trek down memory lane) and came across Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130.  In this day of mass-marketed, homogenized, plasticized cultural ideas of what a person should be, a sonnet that celebrates the imperfect, flawed, but ever-so-much more real version of what is lovable was quite refreshing.

So often I see the amazingly wonderful people in my life, both men and women, compare themselves to society’s “ideal image,” find themselves lacking and begin to doubt their own worth. Why, when we look in the mirror, do we see only our flaws instead of the beautiful creatures we actually are?

So, today, I give you Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 and hope that you can try and see the beautifully flawed, amazingly real person that you are…

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red:
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask’d, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak,–yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go,
My mistress when she walks, treads on the ground;
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.


Originally posted January 24, 2008

today, like every day, i could not be more grateful for the wonderfully supportive women in my life.  they show their love in a wide variety of ways — a listening ear, a sympathetic heart, an amusing distraction and sometimes, when i really need it, when i think i can’t take (insert problem here) a single moment longer, one of them delivers a swift kick in the ass.  knowing when i need what is no mean trick.  so, to those wonderfully clever, amazingly beautiful, mind-bogglingly resourceful, unbelievably strong women — thank you.



{October 17, 2008}   Once lost, can faith be found?

Originally published December 25, 2007

Where does faith come from – faith in people, faith in god, faith in ourselves? But more importantly, once lost, can it be found?

These are the questions I struggle with on a daily basis. I was once so full of faith in all of the facets mentioned above. As I traveled down the winding path that has been my life, my faith slowly eroded and then, somewhere along the way, I lost it all together – first in others, then in god and finally in myself. My spirit withered in my body and went into hiding.

And then something happened. I shed the skin of my old life and slowly, tentatively began a new chapter. That essential part of me crawled out from her hiding place.

The last two years have been a beautiful exercise in rediscovery – figuring out who I am, what I want and who I want to be. To some degree I have, through trial by fire in a myriad of circumstances, begun to believe in myself again. God and I are slowly coming to an understanding – although it is neither by the same name nor within the same framework under which we previously interacted. Finding the strength within myself to have faith in others is proving the trickiest of the three.

It again begs the question:

Once lost, can faith be found?

The answer:

I hope so, but I can’t say for certain.



{October 17, 2008}   Roller…girl?

Originally published September 18, 2007

last night i bought roller skates (and the required knee/elbow pads to accompany them).  i was excited — bouncy even.  i couldn’t wait to get home, slap them on and re-teach myself to skate.  in my head i imagined myself, next spring, decked out in striped tube socks, skates and cutie-pie shorts zipping around piedmont park feeling the wind in my face.

good thing my imagination gave me until next spring because in reality i wobbled down the stairs and made it almost halfway down my walk before my feet came out from under me and i found myself flat on my ass, glasses several feet away in the grass, swearing loudly into my phone (yes, one of my best friends did insist on staying on the phone to observe/call 911 if necessary), and thanking god that i listened to my mom and bought elbow pads.

somehow between when i left my house to purchase said skates and arrived back, skates-in-hand, the “flat” parking lot in front of my building had magically turned into a hill.  i wobbled through the grass to another parking lot (next to the laundry, no less, so i had an audience) and proceeded to shuffle around in a medium sized circle for 15 minutes, all the while having a highly inappropriate-in-public conversation.

once tracye trusted that she would not, after all, need to call 911 we hung up the phone and i discovered that it is WAY easier to balance when using both hands — shocking, i know.  I skated about, poorly, for another 15 minutes feeling like a total spazz, but having a good time none-the-less.  i am now resolved to finding a tennis court near me on which to practice.  i am determined to become, by spring, that lithe roller-skater i see in my head.



{October 17, 2008}   A Leak in the Dike

Originally published August 17, 2007

some people turn out to be more than you ever imagined; others are so much less than you hoped; and then there are those people who are exactly as you see them to be.  i have experienced all three this week.  add to that the truths and patterns i have learned about myself, or been shown, and i am overwhelmed.  all of my energy seems to be slipping right through my fingers and i’ve no idea how to close the gap.

where’s the little dutch boy* when i need him?

(for an explanation of that reference see:  http://www.poetry-archive.com/c/the_leak_in_the_dike.html)



{October 17, 2008}   Spain at a (very long) glance.

Originally Posted June 6, 2007

After twenty-four hours of travel (and a maze of four airports) Mom, Tracye, Nina (Tracye’s mom) and I finally arrived in Malaga.  We headed to our rental car, whipped out the directions hotels.com had provided us from the airport to the hotel, and proceeded to get lost for two hours.  The upside of this was that mom and Nina got to flirt with two hot Spanish cops (the benefits of being a MILF).  The downside was when Tracye backed up in a one way street in full view of another cop…who strangely didn’t seem to care…welcome to the world of Spanish driving.

Once we found our hotel, checked in, and freshened up we headed to a neighborhood restaurant (the only thing open that we could find on a Sunday afternoon) for some much needed beer and food.  Our barely-there Spanish (the few words that were the same in Mexican Spanish and Spain Spanish) worked wonders.

We explored the town a bit on foot that afternoon and found that it was quite beautiful (even though we were dragging from not having slept in 30+ hours).  Around seven pm we headed out to a pub hoping that several beers would help us stay awake until a suitable time.  They did – and how.  A bit tipsy, we stumbled back to our hotel around nine.  The mom’s bunked together (early risers and all) and Tracye and I headed to our room under the (completely wrong) assumption that we would have a quick nap and head back out to see what kind of nightlife we could discover.  Yeah.  We woke up the next morning when our moms knocked on the bedroom door bearing café con leche (I’m now in a support group for withdrawal from said delicious beverage)

After breakfast we walked around Malaga a bit longer – exploring the harbor area, gardens and old town.  You can see my photos from Malaga at: http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8Aasmzhy4YtWMb

Around noon, we left Malaga and headed for Ronda (about 1.5 hours inland).  This time, we only got lost for a half hour or so.  Thank (insert deity of choice here) Tracye has an overdeveloped sense of direction.  I was, of course, useless.

We arrived in Ronda and it was one of the most beautiful towns I have ever seen.  We walked around for a while, had some café con leche (Tracye and I) and sangria (the mom’s – now you know where we got our tendencies to drink), and decided to stay the night.  After inquiring at a few hotels, we found one that suited us, deposited our luggage and continued to explore the town.  Ronda has a beautiful (and famous) triple-arched bridge overlooking a deep gorge.  We thought it would be a good idea to hike down it (at 7 pm).  It was.  What a beautiful evening.  The view was incredible.  The hike back up at 9 (still daylight) was killer – but worth every minute.  After that, we figured we owed our body some more beer and went in search of an appropriate place to indulge.  As we bar-hopped we learned that a rum and coke (mom’s drink of choice) in Spain is 3/4 of a Tom Collins glass filled with rum and a tiny bottle of coke on the side.  Needless to say we were all tipsy again.

When Tracye and I got back to our room, we noticed an orange tree outside our balcony.  What would be better than for one drunk girl (Tracye) to climb over the balcony and pick an orange while the other drunk girl (yours truly) holds onto her waistband?  Well, I’ll tell you – had the orange been edible, that would have been better.  We popped our bravely (brave = stupid) gotten orange segments into our mouths only to spit them directly back into our hands – sour!

The next day we did a bit of shopping, had a bit of breakfast (the daughters bringing the mom’s coffee this time) and headed out.  You can see my photos from Ronda at: http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8Aasmzhy4YtWMo

Our next stop was Tarifa.

To give you a bit of background – this trip started because my friend from university, Nicole, lives in Spain and was getting married in Tarifa.  As such, Tarifa was our ultimate destination.  We would use Tarifa as our jumping off point for several adventures.  It is a busy little surfing town located on the very bottom tip of Spain – white sandy beaches, blue as blue can be ocean, surfers, pizzerias, cafés, tourist shops, over-priced imported surf wear from California and yet somehow it is still utterly charming.

We actually didn’t get lost this time.  Now, that doesn’t mean that we went the way Mapquest said.  It just means that we didn’t get lost.  This drive wound us down some incredibly beautiful mountains – I think the vastness of the view kept us all from getting carsick on those curvy roads (that and Tracye’s award-winning driving).  Just as we reach the bottom of the mountains what do we see on the horizon but the beautifully blue Mediterranean.  We drove along the coast for a bit and arrived in Tarifa.

The first day we checked in to our spaciously basic room (4 single beds and a bathroom – no frills, no phone, but two cans of bug spray), changed into our swimsuits and headed across the street to check out the beach.  Brrrrr.  Did I mention Tarifa is the windsurfing capitol of the world?  Well – windy it is.  The beach is quite enjoyable when wearing a sweater (or a wetsuit as all of the kite surfers were sporting), but not the place to lie in a bikini and soak up the sun.  It was, however, intensely beautiful.

Some highlights from Tarifa were a two hour horseback ride through the mountains and the beach, many an alcohol-fueled conversation at the hotel bar, an afternoon or two in the sun by the pool drowsing and enjoying life, a forbidden poolside picnic, hilarity with the adorable children in the neighboring cabana, countless cups of café con leche, topless sunbathing “pin-up” photos by the pool…ask Tracye or I for more details on any of this.

You can see my photos of Tarifa (no, not the pin-up photos) at:  http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8Aasmzhy4YtWM5

On Wednesday we headed into Gibraltar.  From the internet, we thought we needed to take a ferry to get there.  So, we went to the port and drove around looking for it.  After a bit, we stopped at a bar and Tracye and her mom went in to ask.  It made the day of the all male clientele of the bar.  We headed further down the road, took the Gibraltar exit and lo and behold suddenly we were driving through passport control – ah ha!  You can drive to Gibraltar.  We arrived just in the nick of time to meet Nicole for lunch and a stroll.  It was lovely to see her (it had been six years).  We decided to come back on Saturday afternoon so that we could do a tour of the Rock and see the monkeys.  It was just amazing.  I now know why monkeys so fascinate men.  I think I took at least 50 monkey photos, but don’t worry, I didn’t post them all.  Check out my Gibraltar photos at: http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8Aasmzhy4YtWNO

Friday had us heading to the harbor in Tarifa to catch a ferry to Tanger, Morocco.  Here are some photos from the ferry journey (35 minutes in open water, eyes drinking in the sea):  http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8Aasmzhy4YtWNs

We arrived in Tanger, Morocco a bit windblown, not quite knowing what to expect, but every one of us eager for an adventure.  We declined to take the first tour offered to us – something just didn’t feel right about the guide.  Then we met “Jim” – a sweet Moroccan guide who was incredibly knowledgeable about the city and who won me over when he stopped and bought a triangle of cheese about two seconds after I squealed “kitty!” when I saw a stray in the street.  I know, I know, I’m a sucker for kitties.  He doubled my faith in him when he yelled across the square for the showmen to put the cobra away so that we could walk past after learning of my “big fear” – quite the gentleman.  We explored the old town, rug shops, and an apothecary and then had lunch in a typical restaurant.  It was, by far, the best food we had during the entire trip.  You can see my photos from Tanger at:  http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8Aasmzhy4YtWN9

Saturday night, mom and I headed over to Nicole’s wedding where I finally met her husband.  He was one of the warmest, loveliest men I have ever met.  Well done, Nicole.  We ate, drank, danced and made new friends (the hottest guy at the party spent about an hour hitting on mom) until midnight when we headed back to the hotel to pack for our 6 am departure the next day.  Twenty-four hours later had us arriving, grumpy and bedraggled into Atlanta where my dad (prince of men that he is) met us with a cooler full of beer in the car.

Sorry that was so long.  I still feel like I barely gave the highlights, but I’m sure you’ll all be hearing stories for months.  We had a really wonderful time and I missed all of you guys.

B

P.S. These are just a few photos. I have around 300 good ones, so if you want more, ask and I will bore you to death, I am sure.



Originally posted January 5, 2007

this is belated, but last friday afternoon was amazing.  i was pretty down for a variety of unmentionable reasons and tracye (aka my heterosexual life partner) devised a plan to turn my frown upside down.

i traded in my perimeter for athens, and tracye and i hit pain and wonder so that i could finally get that new tattoo i’ve been wanting.  i felt better just walking in the door and after a half hour or so under mike’s needle i was all smiles.  from there, we headed over to the globe to relax with a beer (mmm, belhaven) and snack on some globe chips (homemade potato chips covered in blue cheese).

i believe that’s what they call a perfect afternoon.  it certainly cured my blues.

thanks, tracye.



et cetera