March 13, 2014

It seems only fitting that there's a wind advisory today. 

The wind howls through the poorly sealed window and clanks the vent connected to my stove. I've about had enough of this weather. 
A three-day sliver of springtime, and you're tossed headfirst back into bitter winter. A taste of possibility, and you choke and spit it out. 

Into that vehement wind that unwinds your scarf, numbs your toes and makes you question. Swirling alongside the plastic bags and cigarette butts, you wait to settle. Even if for a second so you can get enough traction to hit the ground running — even if just to warm up. 

February 5, 2014

"As we will one day not be at all." -Joan Didion

Every fissure of the internet — social medias, list-sites that mask themselves with the news, credible news sources — has been deluged with the premature death of Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Monday at the office, I sat at my desk that just so happens to be outside of an acclaimed movie reviewer’s office. And I listened. I heard stories throughout the day. Anecdotes of his acting brilliance, hilarious remarks from interviews and disbelief of the man so suddenly gone floated over to my cubicle. There were bits cynicism, but mostly it was ‘he was utterly genius in this’ or ‘can you believe that scene was entirely improvised?’ There’s no question, he left his mark, and his departure was untimely.

I saw Hoffman this past October on a flight. I was causing a stir thanks to my standby ticket resulting in being the the last one on board and without space for my bag. In the midst of my embarrassment, a disheveled man whipped around from the first seat of the plane, the seat by the window with the shade pulled down. He was a familiar man under a Ghostbusters hat.

I froze, he scowled. Philip Seymour Hoffman was peeved with me. I was causing the ruckus that was preventing us from pushing back from the gate. Cringing on my way to my coach seat I chuckled. What a story, I thought.

Throughout that flight, I read Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking. Bravely and poetically Didion plunges into the grief of the sudden death of her husband. How apropos. 

I had the book merely because I knew I liked Joan Didion. I ended up spending that short weekend at the beach confronted with death, and despite the fact I hadn’t lost anyone, I devoured the pages with my lifelong infatuation with grief, which stems from my funeral director lineage. 

Stretched out by the ocean, I read Didion’s emotional account while donning a flopping hat and 45 SPF. Mama, a fifth generation funeral director, was already browned but still oiled in hopes of more color. While she flipped through an InStyle and we sipped beers nestled in koozies, I would share snippets of the book. My mother has the gift of handling death, grief and coping engrained in her being. I suppose that makes sense when it’s her business. 

I’ve always been how astonished at how handling the delicate time of death seems to be a natural part of her way. Is it because she’s removed herself from the situation enough while maintaining her grace and compassion? Is it because she has grown up in the business? Like the child of a grocer understands how to restock the shelves, she understands death? But I’ve grown up in it, and I’m not like that. Some are just able to confront and accept the inevitable better than other, I suppose.

As if it was in question, Hoffman’s legacy is now solidified in history like those before him that died too young. 

I come back to Didion, however, extrapolating that when we’re shocked of the passing of people we love (or even slightly familiar) it’s because we’re faced with our own temporary time here:

"We are not idealized wild things. We are imperfect mortal beings, aware of that mortality even as we push it away, failed by our very complication, so wired that when we mourn our losses we also mourn, for better or for worse, ourselves. As we were. As we are no longer. As we will one day not be at all."

January 17, 2014

Seasonal Settling In

As the weather freezes us out of our dresses and into three layers of leggings, I can't help but reminisce about the warmer days. 

What a brilliant time I had in that first summer living in the city. Outdoor concerts, picnicking in Central Park, leaving all the windows open to hear the Mariachi music, two months of outrageous heat before caving and buying a window unit, barbecues in backyards... 

The buzz of autumn was addicting as the air crisped and sunshine still lasted beyond the workday. It was a welcomed shift from the scalding summer. I remember my walk to the train, now blistery and seemingly five blocks farther away, and how it felt like uncharted ground as the city changed color. My neighborhood transformed and the day-to-day discovery was thrilling.

Unfamiliar happenings continued with the onslaught of winter. We had our first big snow — the most snow I've ever seen — the week before Christmas. Linked arm-in-arm with Mag so as not to slip in my ill-prepared footwear (and looking like adorable old women), we realized why the change in seasons has made us love Brooklyn even more. 

With every change in season, other facets of the city emerge. New smells, nuances and hurdles make us feel that much more knowledgable and that much more at home. 

The permanence of Brooklyn feels both unsettling and cozy. Time constraints — four years in college, a semester abroad — make everything feel temporary and trivial. I have no end date to my life here. I have nothing stopping me from living in New York forever or moving next month. Life is finally starting to feel real in both fantastic and complicated ways. 

But for now, I’m letting go the weight of the future and holding onto the sunshine.

**The ever-lovely Sarah Jordan (no not all Tennesseans have two names) is celebrating a birthday this weekend, which will no doubt provide wonderful stories and photos.

January 13, 2014

Music Video: "Morning Light" by The Dirty Guv'nahs

The Badland crew has done it again.

Remember the "Fairlane" music video (I may or may not have terribly thrown a football and stared dramatically at the camera)? Did you think it was fun? If there's any inkling of a yes, watch "Morning Light."

Why watch it? My darling LJ (Brown Cow babe, fellow January 26-er, overall ridiculous human being) can be spotted flipping her hair and working a saw (you read that right) while being the babe that she is. Also, the Guvs are a bunch of goons that having a blast dressing up and breaking things. Not to mention, they are great fellas that play great Southern music.

Watch it. Right this minute.

[You can also download the song for free.]

January 9, 2014

Brown Cow's Back, Back Again.

The Brown Cow* had its first reunion, and oh me, it was insane. So loud, so silly, so wonderful to be back in their presence. We sipped some bubbly, watched Bridesmaids (does this scene ever get old?) and caught up on all the missed happenings.

It's hard to believe we moved out in May. How time flies.

But also how things stay the same. xo

December 10, 2013

The Dormant Spiel

Now, as I recall the carefully crafted spiel, the one I share when I'm asked why this blog has become dormant, I can’t come up with much. I haven't written on here since October 3rd, and the other posts within the past six months have been sparse and, quite frankly, shallow. This post has been on the tip of my fingers, but begrudgingly and infuriatingly so, the words haven't wanted out. 

Holding onto the edge of the playground slide, my thoughts and stories have squandered all energy on fighting gravity pulling them down, wanting to fling them out onto the mulch below. It would be easier to just let go, enjoy the hilarity of static cling in my hair and continue romping around (sorry, playground analogy over). But I don’t know where to start.

I suppose I’ve changed. Not wanting to be inconsistent, I kept the same voice that I’ve used since I was a freshman in college. Sporadically, I’d mention how I felt like I was slipping. I was losing a fight with my insecurities in being authentic, and I eventually threw my hands up.

I didn't want the mask I’ve donned, the one depicting life through my blog-filter — a life that is simple, unobtrusive, quaint, etc. — to fit my face. 

It started to catch up with me the other night at a small gathering for our newly-doored apartment (yes, that means Mag and I have lived five months with a haphazardly hung curtain between our bedrooms). Sarah, a new friend, acknowledged my blog from across the room. I cringed. She said she not only enjoyed reading it, but it inspired her to start her own. And that was all it took to realize this self-doubt is silly. I must rethink and reconcile. 

What am I doing? Who the hell cares? I just need to do what I do, which is write. Besides, I have some stories to fill you all in on.  

October 3, 2013

Sundays in the Park

There are Sundays that go by unnoticed, spent in bed ordering takeout from bed. There are Sundays that are transcendent, however, and this past Sunday was one of them.

Mag in her spontaneous nature signed up for a half marathon out of the blue the week prior. It’s in three weeks. She spent her morning running Prospect Park. I spent mine reading and crocheting. Our separate mornings were respectively restorative.

I wanted to go to Sunset Park. She frowned at that. “We never try,” I whined not wanting to take the train to another green space. So we gave our park a chance. We packed my big red blanket, journals, books and pretzels to walk the two blocks up to our own elevated escape.

Couples lounged on the hillside. A mustached man in a newsboy cap ran up and down the slope. A hoard of kids kicked a soccer ball around us.

“There's something right and wonderful in seeing all the diverse kids playing together,” Mag said lifting her head from her journal.

The sun was beating down warming the cool air. Taking it all in, you could see Manhattan spectacularly to the left of our view and the expansive water to the right.

I collected a few more freckles, finished a book and reflected with Mag on our mere four months here. We are now settled and at home. There’s a vast comfort in coming back to a place all our own. There’s a reality faced with the change in seasons. We really aren’t leaving with the end of summer. And I feel so content in it all.
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