Monday, April 30, 2007


No, not that kind of submission.

I've actually submitted the first three chapters of my NaNoWriMo novel to the world at large. Everyone in my writing group submitted to the competition, so I bowed to the peer pressure and sent mine in, too.

My submission is postmarked in time, in the mail, on its way.

I have no illusions of winning, but each submission is getting a "professional evaluation" which should be helpful (not to mention interesting).

Keep your fingers crossed.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Like a Deer

I've recently realized that I am only aging and I will never get younger. This revelation shouldn't really be a surprise, considering that every year, I get older on my birthday (I just want to mention that the Doctor recently turned 29--last year in the decade of the 20s!).

Maybe they're right about the dawning realization that I am not immortal, that time is flying the older I get, that grey hairs sprinkled through my head are inevitable.

It's shocking really.

So, I've decided to start running. I need to begin to incorporate some form of exercise in my life on a regular and (this is key) permanent basis. I am only getting older, my metabolism is only getting slower and my ass is only getting bigger. It's time to step up to this challenge.

So I signed up for a 5K. There's a women's training program that meets for the next ten weeks every Saturday morning; tomorrow is the first Saturday. I started training on my own a few weeks ago so I don't look too slow. I'm in my third week of training and I'm starting to get it. I don't like running, but I like the competition. I like pushing myself by running another minute in my intervals. I like walking less each day when I leave the house. I like running the hardest I can my last interval, pushing myself to the limit, feeling my lungs burn inside my chest.

I'm feeling happy again. I no longer feel like I'm drowning. The skies have gotten blue again. And I'm am able to breathe again, exhaling with a force of life I never thought possible here in this place.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

My Mixed Tape

Sorority Sister Cristin sent me two books (highly recommended) and I got the package last week, so excited to have some new books to read. I still haven't been to the library here yet (nor do I read book reviews in the Washington Post anymore) so I'm slightly out of the loop as to what is current lit out there in the wider world. Anyways, she loved these books and like any good bookie, passed them on to me (thanks, SSC).

Last week, I devoured Love is a Mixed Tape by Rob Sheffield and that book just about broke my fragile heart in two. I actually laughed and cried on the bus to Santa Fe while reading this book. As a newlywed, this book terrified me a bit though. The Doctor is older than me, and being a woman, I naturally assume that I will outlive him. Medically speaking, I come from hardy stock with few "family histories" of any illnesses. My Doctor is less genetically lucky. But even assuming that I'll live longer, I still don't expect death to haunt us for at least another 45-50 years.

I've been lucky enough to find love so young, and I'll be damned if I'll let that go to waste. All week, I've held on to him a bit tighter at night when we're falling asleep, kissed him a bit longer when I say goodbye. It's worth remembering that I am lucky to have found him, flaws and all.

In a somewhat related tangent, Golden Brother made me a 3-disc 90's "mixed tape" appropriately named "Do You Remember?" for my birthday this year. My brother was only 5-14 during that decade and experienced the 90s mostly through a haze of childhood observance, yet somehow managed to make the most kick-ass compilation I've ever gotten. When I asked how he came up with all these songs, he replied, "I just tried really hard to remember what songs were on the radio or tape player a lot when I was a kid." Some of these songs, I have not heard for years (Harvey Danger, anyone? How about The Toadies or Superhog?), but all were at the top my listening list at some point during that decade (and HFS's). In fact, these CDs bring back hot memories of standing in front of a stage at HFStival, smelling beer on people's breath, being pushed by crowds, my sunburned skin sticky with the residue of others.

These memories are making explore my CD collection, rediscovering music and bands that I've long forgotten (Save Ferris? Cherry Poppin' Daddies? Jimmie's Chicken Shack???). Sometimes, it's good to remember where you came from.

I've been listening to these CDs a lot this week. Somehow hearing these songs that my brother carefully selected for me makes me feel closer to him. He's been through a lot this week and my heart hurts knowing that I cannot be closer to him (truthfully, if I were there, I am not sure what I could do), but listening to Golden Brother's CDs while I go for a run makes me breathe a bit easier as my feet pound the pavement.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I wasn't going to say anything about Monday, because there isn't really anything I have to say that is worth adding. The media blitz has begun, the barrage of hindsight, the voyeurism that invades our modern media coverage.

But I can't seem to shake this sadness--despite my Southwest location, I'm still a Virginia girl, through and through. My heart swells with pride at the mention of anything Virginian (presidents, tidewater, Richmond accents, ham, peanuts, even get the point). My Golden Brother attends Tech (and thankfully, he's okay). Countless friends, neighbors, neighbor's children, acquaintances attend Tech or are alumni (and thankfully, everyone I know or know of is okay).

Since visiting Tech's campus for the first time in the summer of 2002 with my high school friend Mawls, I always maintained that if I could do college over and had to switch schools, I'd have chosen Tech in a heartbeat. There's a vibe on that campus that I love--a camaraderie that can only be referred to affectionally as "Old-School-Styled-Spirit."

I hate that this happened and I hate that Tech, despite everything that is so wonderful with the university, will be known for this event for some time to come.

But this post isn't really about Tech. What shook me the most was my mother.

She called me, mid morning, at work to tell me what had happened, that a student had died and seven others wounded. I already knew what had begun at Tech and having called him earlier myself, I knew Golden Brother was safe in his apartment. The call was short. Not even two minutes later, she called me back to tell me that the news had just broken that it was not 1 student dead, but 22 and the count was rising.

I've never heard my mother's voice sound like this before. She was crying, but it wasn't normal crying. Her voice had this primal wavering quality, shaking through phone line, all the way to my core. It was a sound of pure desperation, of devastation, of disbelief. I can't even adequately describe the feeling that her phone call left with me.

When I close my eyes, I can still hear her voice echoing in my head, that raw quality reverberating in my ears.

Is this what it must be to have children? To know that at some point, crisis could befall them and you as the parent be utterly helpless to change their situation? To know that even though your own child is safe, there are 30-some other parents who will be getting the news that their child was not so lucky? To feel this naked pain for all those families?

Reading these words I have written, I see them fall flat, sincere as they may be. But these words are all I have.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Light Green Thumb

Unfortunately, the freakish weather of ABQ has persisted. I'm really starting to not believe anything anyone here says about "normal" weather. When we first moved to ABQ, the rains came down like it was the second coming of Noah and I thought perhaps we took the wrong highway and ended up in Portland by accident. "This is so unusual--it never rains like this in ABQ."

Then, the winter progressed quickly and the snow dumped down from the sky in not inches, but in feet. I thought, again, perhaps we had accidentally been teleported to Newfoundland, my own personal version of hell. "This is so unusual--it never snows like this in ABQ."

March is known for its winds here; "March is an awful month, so cold and windy." Too bad it was so warm and sunny during March, I thought I was back in Tucson.

Then, yesterday, it snowed.

Yes. April 13. MID-April. Snow. Cold, white stuff.

Today? Upper '60s.

I think the weather here is schizophrenic.

The point of this is, a few weeks ago, I planted all of my seeds in the pods and amazingly enough, the seeds sprouted! I'm the proud owner of some beans, lettuce, cucumbers, carrots and some morning glories and cosmos (the bell peppers are just coming through today). I'm impressed they sprouted--I actually doubted they would! In fact, the bean seedlings are taller than my cats (Jack and the Beanstalk, anyone?).

But it's been so cold here, I can't transplant the seedlings outside....but I really need to. Hopefully next weekend the ground will have warmed up enough to move them outside permanently.

Please start praying for some warm weather!

Friday, April 13, 2007


No, I'm not pregnant.

But people around me are starting to get pregnant or have babies. And lots of my friends are talking about that march towards parenthood. Baby talk is popping up around me everywhere and I'm starting to feel the pressure to contemplate parenthood. I still feel so young. I mean, children are a very real possibility in the next few years--scary considering I was in high school less than ten years ago.

But then yesterday, I watched that television show, "Notes from the Underbelly" which is a sitcom on ABC about a couple in their thirties making the decision to have a baby. I know it's television and I know that tv is not real life. Duh. But the show got me kind of scared. I don't want to turn into this insane woman that can only talk about "Tummy Time" (which I truthfully still don't understand that much--why wouldn't the baby be on his tummy most of the time when he's not sleeping??) and what little Timmy ate for dinner and show photos of my babies to people who really could care less. And second only to my fears about myself turning into a woman like that is, what if my friends (some of whom are bound to have les bebes before me) do?

Lets face it, pressure to be not just a mother, but a perfect mother, has the potential to turn otherwise normal women into diaper-wielding, minivan-driving crazies. My friends could turn into crazies! Thankfully, none of my friends with children have turned into obsessed DIY Eastsiders....but it's certain to happen to me or one of my girlfriends eventually in the next 15 years!

I know that motherhood is an amazing experience, a shift in identity that is incomparable to anything else a woman probably experiences. I know I will never fully understand this until I have my own children. But the truth is, I'm sometimes not sure I want that identity change.

I LIKE who I am, as I am. I feel very complete as the person I am. My marriage feels complete. I like sleeping in until 11 on the weekends. I enjoy reading US Weekly and not making dinner because I'm feeling lazy. I like making love all over my house, anytime of the day, with the only thing to worry about is if the curtains are closed. And from what I know about motherhood from my contemporaries (and let's be honest, what I see on TV), I am not sure I will ever get to the point that the lure of motherhood and the love of a child will ever make me truly want to give up these selfish behaviors which I adore. I don't know if I want to identify myself as a mother, first and foremost--which seems commonplace for women with children.

Being a "Wife" was tough enough for my feminist sensibilities to come to terms with. Will I ever be ready for "Mother?"

Can I ever reconcile myself with these fears? Probably. But it does have me thinking about our future and what I want. Alot.

Saturday, April 07, 2007


So in honor of the Doctor and my respective religious spring holidays, we're having brisket and hot crossed buns tomorrow.

I always have a hard time cutting the fat off the bottom of the brisket. The thick white slab of fat is adhered to the bottom of the meat and I can never get it cut off right--I always cut too much of it off or not enough.

The Doctor is standing behind me, watching me struggle. He says to me, he says, "Lemme have a go at it." So I step back and hand him the knife. He steps up the cutting board and begins to methodically slice off the fat, and 10 minutes later, the bottom of the brisket is just meat, no fat. I ask him, "How did you know how to do that?!!"

He replies: "Surgery!"

Friday, April 06, 2007

Making Fiends

When I woke up this morning, with my head pounding (still pounding), I realized...I think I'm actually making friends.


When you wake up in the morning and realize you have a headache from too much tequila, your voice is hoarse because you talked and laughed too much and your wrist hurts because you got bit by a dog, you know you had a good night.

There are two girls my age at work and we've hung out now a few times. We tell each other stories of our past, laugh and when we go out, we don't talk about work at all. Maybe I am a Charlotte after all (that is, likeable).

And No Buy month is going nicely. We've had a two slip-ups, but they were minor. I'm impressed by how much money we actually still have in our bank account!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Declaring a No-Buy Month

The Doctor and I live on a budget. During my childhood, expendable income was almost unheard of and my parents lived on a tight budget. Thankfully, I have learned from their experience and the Doctor and I have put a lot of their methods into practice in our lives as we struggle through these lean years.

But this month, we are declaring a "No-Buy Month." This means that aside from a budget grocery amount and, of course, bills, we are not buying anything. No dinners out, no pairs of shoes, no coffees, no sodas from vending machines, no books, no REI trips, no Target, no anything extra.

Why? Did I hear you ask that?

Perhaps because it bears repeating to ourselves that there is a distinct difference between want and need. Perhaps because I want our family motto to be "Live simply so that others may simply live." Perhaps because we live in such a consumer society that too often uses debt to get what we want instead of what we need. Perhaps because so often, we are greedy in our lives, always wanting more but truly needing little. The reality is, I would rather buy new than fix old. Our couch is in a visual state of disrepair, but structurally is fine. I want a new couch, but I don't need one--a slipcover would be just as effective in hiding the dog damage.

Perhaps because this will force us to be more creative in the time we spend together. If we can no longer default to eating out, we will remember parks and hiking and bike rides. Perhaps because we want our family values to lie in experiences and adventure and not in merely accumulating stuff.

Perhaps because we will walk away from this month thankful that we do not have to live like this always and say a prayer for those families in this world who do.

Will we meet the challenge? I don't know. Even though we're already fairly frugal in our day to day lives, we forget how often we do purchase those little things. And I'm certainly not against material comforts--I'm not ascetic; I like nice things as much as the next person. But the Doctor and I too often fall into the traps of our consumer society. In a fairly short time, we will actually have quite a bit of money at our disposal and we want to start incorporating these values now before we see dollar signs behind our eyelids. I don't want my children growing up feeling entitled, getting whatever they want all the time. We want our family to have an appreciation for what we have, monetary or otherwise. We want to focus on those values of giving back to our community, working for equality and social justice, valuing adventure over a new car or a house that is too big for three people. We want to declutter and embrace the fullness life has to offer.

So, thank you, Bebe, for your suggestion--it is a good challenge and I am looking forward to this month.