Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.”
:: W.S. Merwin ::
sometimes all you need are three lines.
Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.”
:: W.S. Merwin ::
sometimes all you need are three lines.
A little rest and play in the midst of work. Hope you have a good week friends. . .Spring is here!
1. Love it or hate it. . .this was interesting to watch.
2. More art deco jewelry. I’m obsessed.
3. “That’s right. Somebody called the cops on Jesus.”
5. YUM. Found my new spring drink.
6. Freshen up your tunes.
7. May the force be with you. Thanks to Bobbie for turning me on to Vadering.
8. Not sure I agree, but she has a point with the uterus thing.
9. Miso deviled eggs for Easter.
10. My new favorite date night place.
Remember back in high school when you had yearbook signing day? Finals were over, and you got this glossy big, pristine book. First you found every picture of yourself via the index, and then spent the next hour (or more) devouring pictures of your friends, enemies, and—that most delightful of categories—frenemies. Club and team “candid” shots were the best, especially if your school gave the yearbook staff free reign to caption them. And then there were the glorious blank pages at the back for friends to leave their well-wishes for the summer. I went to four different high schools, and despite being everywhere briefly, the rush and anxiety of filling those pages was always the same. Did people really like me? Would Candice Camp even sign if I asked, or was she too cool for that? Would Desiree write “friends4ever” or the sweet but generic “2good2b4gotten” which might mean we wouldn’t hang out this summer? Were people going to like what I wrote? How could I sound affectionate but not needy? Were my pens sparkly enough? Too sparkly to be legible?…and so on. The signing came and went, and the number of signatures I got (yes, most girls count them) was pretty proportional to how long I’d been at that school.
I’d spend the next few days poring over those messages like I was learning to read Braille. All of them made me feel popular, because everyone knows that on Yearbook Signing Day, you must be nicer than you are. 50% of your messages are how you feel, and 50% are how you want third parties to see you. So Candice wrote “love and kisses,” despite not knowing my last name, and the cheerleaders signed all their names with a heart. (If you were in the top tier of high school like the cheerleaders, you just signed your name, like MADONNA.) Some people left their telephone numbers or (in the days pre-internet) their home addresses *gasp*. When I returned to school in the fall, the people who were really excited to see me were a small percentage of those who had signed my yearbook—only a slightly larger percentage than the 3 friends I’d hung out with over the summer. That’s why the first day of school is always hard—you think you are entering Yearbook Signing Day 2.0, but Yearbook Signing Day has its own rules. And the people you hang out with over the summer are never the people who say, “Can’t w8 2cya this summer K?”
It’s occurred to me lately that Facebook is a lot like Yearbook Signing Day, but it NEVER ENDS. Those red notifications (which I should probably turn off) accompany breakfast, lunch and dinner. If I’m sitting on the toilet for a long period of time, I will (truth be told) scroll through my newsfeed. Most of the news is unremarkable, although some of my friends post pretty interesting news articles. I’ve been on Facebook since April 9, 2005…or so my feed tells me. And I will probably be on Facebook until the next cool thing is invented (and no it’s not Twitter). But every few months, I leave Facebook for awhile. Present tense. Hardly anyone notices, and the friends who do just shrug and know I’ll be back. The FB always has a way of bringing me back to her soft, warm lap like a kicking, screaming toddler. It’s only a matter of time. During these Facebook “fasts” as I like to call them, these are my general thoughts:
Day 1: (Twitches for phone. . .) No. I can do this.
Day 2: Checks Facebook anyway. Surprised to be bored with the content.
Day 3: No Facebook at all today. Feel strangely alive.
Day 4: Nobody likes me.
Day 5: Do they even have my email address? Yes.
Day 6: People only like me when I’m posting pictures of my baby.
Day 7: Why is no one calling me?
Day 8: Oh, Bobbie called. Bobbie likes me.
Day 9: Facebook is for suckers. They don’t need me and I don’t need them.
Day 10: (Twitches for phone. . .) No. I can do this.
When Facebook first started, it felt like a Yearbook. I went back to some wall posts from 2005. Here is one: “Hey Heather! I just saw pictures of a cute dog on your wall. Is it yours? Love it. Well, hope to see ya in class! Love, Bekah.” Oh, those days. . .this is Facebook’s intent. It’s a giant yearbook that makes it easy for us to be mushy toward each other. Without it, we feel alone. Hell, without my cell phone in my hand and those notifications cropping up, I feel alone. Which is why I take Facebook fasts. 3 Weeks is usually the amount of time it takes for me to remember who my REAL friends are, and who I really am. Turns out I have friends who call, email and text and ask about what’s actually going on in my life. The ones that are saving for a visit. But I stay on Facebook ultimately because of those people who are between my actual friends and strangers. Those lovely people I may have been close to at one point who say they want to talk on the phone/visit the next time they are in NYC, and yet it never happens. I am 2good2b4gotten, but I AM forgotten when I’m not on Facebook. And what I want to say to myself and to you (because we all have friends like this) is that IT’S OK to outgrow people and for friendships to be modified. Facebook wants to convince you that you are in a perpetual Yearbook Signing Day. The FB exists to make you think that no matter how you move, grow, or change, the same friends are still there for you. But just because you peer into each others’ lives and give virtual high-fives does not mean you are still the same kind of friends you were. Or, as my REAL friend Chris put it so eloquently:
“Oh hey, we were friends in high school. And now I know that he had Cheerios for breakfast and can see daily pictures of his dog.”
Facebook prizes the Candices of this world with their red notifications, but those friends are not who we hang out with over the summer. I dare you to ignore Facebook all day today, or even sign out for a few weeks. Time will slow down. You will probably have mini-panic attacks like I did above, and gorge yourself on Girl Scout cookies (guilty!). But eventually, life will feel richer, and you’ll remember who is REALLY 2good2b4gotten.
PS. If you are a Facebook user and have found a good way to be Zen and detached from the whole thing, I’d love to read your wisdom! Seriously.
I’ve started running again. I use “again” loosely because the last time I ran several times a week was 2005. I signed up for a 5K that’s at the end of April. . .gulp. I try to run in the morning after breakfast, provided that Lucy is fed and not screaming like a banshee—something that never happens anyway, so I don’t have an excuse to NOT run. One morning I’m hoping she’ll freak out or projectile vomit so I can be like “darn” and avoid the whole wheezing-in-the-park-and-cramping thing. Kidding. Sort of. Here is NASA space-mission baby, ready for the park.Omelets are great before running—they aren’t too heavy and you get protein, dairy, and veggies. In experimenting with them I discovered my omelet methodology has been incorrect for years. One morning I randomly cooked the spinach first with a little olive oil, then added the egg on top to fill in the gaps once the spinach shrunk a bit. It ended up looking beautiful, like a restaurant omelet, so guess I should have been paying better attention when omelets are served in the first place. Or looked up how to actually make an omelet. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
My friend Bobbie taught me to top omelets with as much hot sauce as humanly palatable. I think of it as a coffee replacement to wake me up. Sriracha (so relieved that plant shut-down hasn’t happened yet) or good ol’ Taco Bell sauce are the best. I recently made a Taco Bell run at Penn Station for a bean burrito—and shamelessly put 12 hot sauces into my purse ;) There are only like 10 Taco Bells in all of Manhattan, so I have to maximize those moments of pilfering.Arugula works as well and I am going to try with more veggies. . .artichokes next? This omelet and tea in the cutest mug ever and I’m usually able to get my butt out the door a little faster. Enjoy!
Before you start: do NOT be intimidated by the omelet. The less time you spend on them, the better. Also, use the smallest frying pan you own, and flipping will be easy!
Put 2 cups of spinach into a small sauce pan—turn on high. Pour 2 tsp. olive oil on top. Stir around a little bit until the spinach has shrunk to half its original size. While spinach is cooking, whisk 2 eggs in a bowl. Pour whisked eggs on top of spinach and swirl around pan to evenly coat. Let rest for a minute. Swirl pan again so that the gooey eggs parts go to the outside rim of the omelet. If it’s still really gooey in the middle, break the middle of the omelet (making a hole) and let the gooey parts fall into that and solidify. Add feta cheese to the middle of the omelet, and sprinkle some pepper. Using a spatula, fold the omelet in half. Flip it so the sides are evenly cooked. Douse in favorite hot sauce. Note: You do NOT need to add salt because feta and hot sauce have plenty of salt in them!
I don’t read goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle blog, but through Facebook friends I was alerted to the fact that she and Chris Martin (frontman of Coldplay) are
getting a divorce consciously uncoupling. In case you weren’t aware, even her divorce is chic. My friend Sushmita posed an interesting question last night: Why does Gwyneth feel the need to present a perfect face on goop, even regarding divorce? Why do so many bloggers feel the need to be perfect? In her statement to the general public, Gwyneth made her divorce sound merely inconvenient but somewhat enjoyable—like getting a facial. She says basically that the old philosophy of marriage is that you get married for life, but really marriage is just “conscious coupling”—and when the relationship tanks it means you are growing apart naturally. I guess in order for divorce to not be a big deal, marriage has to not be a big deal. Which makes me think we should consciously couple with a different person every few years, and. . .oh yeah, that’s dating.
Sushmita’s question helped put into perspective some rather inchoate thoughts I’ve had lately about blogging. Gwyneth is not alone in her goop-iness. I follow a lot of lifestyle/food blogs, and enjoy many of them. But just like Gwyneth’s, everything is too perfect. The first post goes down like frosting—decadent and sweet. Then every recipe feels too polished, every product too staged, every “candid” selfie is a little too poised, and the frosting is coating my mouth with is cloying goopiness and I’m left wondering why the hell did I eat so much frosting? Why do bloggers go from sharing what’s on their hearts and minds to sharing promos and selfies and this-is-why-I’m-better-than-yous? I think it all starts off good-naturedly. And I hope this blog is in the good-natured stage. I share recipes because I’m excited about them, and because I want to keep a record for myself. Often I will search tags to find that dessert I made a few months ago, all typed out with explicit instructions (use HALF the amount of sugar). I rant about topics because I’m an external processor, a journaler, and ever since I was 7 years old I’ve carried notebooks and pens around to jot down ideas and inspirations. Blogging seems a natural extension of writing.
But I can succumb to this tug towards perfection, and I’m not a celebrity that is constantly scrutinized. So I have to give Gwyneth some cred. It’s wrong in the first place that I feel like I can be on first-name terms with her just because I admired her way back when she was dating Ben Affleck and wore that cotton-candy pink dress on the red carpet. It should be Ms. Paltrow to me, but it’s not. You see, when you put yourself out there (either as a normal person or a celebrity), you become both familiar and tantalizingly other. You are competing with other bloggers to be someone’s girl-next-door and also offer something new they have never thought about.
It’s okay, I want to say. You are getting divorced. We all have messy lives. It seems wrong in the first place that Gwyneth, or any blogger, feels the need to self-justify through other people. Blogs are not—and should not—-be our lives. Lifestyle blogs in particular fall into this trap. By documenting what they wear and eat, how they travel, who they love, etc., lifestyle bloggers enter a dangerous world in which their sycophantic readers think the image they are promoting is all they are. But we are people, not posts.
One summer in college, I attended a poetry workshop run by a fairly famous poet, and she encouraged everyone in the workshop to write for the last 15 minutes of class “just for themselves.” I contemplated this idea of writing just for myself, was inspired by the many rings this poet was wearing (she obviously had a lucrative career) and wrote the following poem during those 15 minutes:
She finished reading her book of
“You should write just for
And I thought
For all 20 of
us to huddle
on these wooden
At your feet,
From your fat,
As though we
Are only worth
I guess the point of the poem was that we DO write for ourselves. . .and we also don’t. We admire other writers because we want to improve ourselves so that our words don’t just end up collecting dust on a shelf. Some of the human spirit always wants to break through—to connect, to appeal to the audience, to immortalize our words so that they don’t just die with us. This outward-looking tendency is normal, but it can make the blogging world seem vast and important, when really it is a small, somewhat superficial arena for our thoughts. This screen does not contain life any more than the clothes we put on in the morning tell everyone everything about us. And I think that Real Life—where people actually get married and divorced—is much more interesting.
PS. My husband, in reading this post, just said, “Can we be subconsciously uncoupled?—’I didn’t even know I was married to you!’” ;)
My rant about the HIMYM finale will have to wait for later this week. It’s April 1st and I’m just hoping that was all a big April Fool’s joke by CBS. But anywho. . .April is National Poetry month, so at least once a week I’m going to post one of my favorite poems. These are the ones that get stuck in my head like little bits of music from films—I’ll sometimes think of the poem or quote a couple lines, and then Google it to remember. Margaret Atwood is one of my favorite poets (and fiction writers!); it is rare that people can do both. I may post a couple from her this month because they are worth reading again and again. This poem, “Against Still Life,” is from her collection, “Morning in the Burned House”—a beautiful, brief, cohesive collection of some of her best poetry.
I started off traveling with this collection in college because I liked the front cover and how easily it slipped into my purse/suitcase, and that the poems always gave me a new angle to ponder. Maybe it’s become superstition now, but I can no longer go without it—before a trip Michael knows that my Indian blanket and “Morning in the Burned House” always go in the suitcase. It’s no wonder that after wearing this book out, “Against Still Life” is burned into my memory. So how about you—what poems travel with you? Which ones won’t leave your heart? I would love to hear about some of your favorites in the comments!
Orange in the middle of a table:
It isn’t enough
to walk around it
at a distance, saying
it’s an orange:
nothing to do
with us, nothing
else: leave it alone
I want to pick it up
in my hand
I want to peel the
skin off; I want
more to be said to me
than just Orange:
want to be told
everything it has to say
And you, sitting across
the table, at a distance, with
your smile contained, and like the orange
in the sun: silent:
isn’t enough for me
now, no matter with what
contentment you fold
your hands together; I want
anything you can say
in the sunlight:
stories of your various
childhoods, aimless journeyings,
your loves; your articulate
skeleton; your posturings; your lies.
These orange silences
(sunlight and hidden smile)
make me want to
wrench you into saying;
now I’d crack your skull
like a walnut, split it like a pumpkin
to make you talk, or get
a look inside
if I take the orange
with care enough and hold it
I may find
an orange moon
perhaps a skull; center
of all energy
resting in my hand
can change it to
whatever I desire
it to be
and you, man, orange afternoon
you sit across from me
(tables, trains, buses)
if I watch
and long enough
at last, you will say
(maybe without speaking)
(there are mountains
inside your skull
garden and chaos, ocean
and hurricane; certain
corners of rooms, portraits
of great grandmothers, curtains
of a particular shade;
your deserts; your private
dinosaurs; the first
all I need to know
just as it was
from the beginning.