Saturday, February 25, 2006

2, no 6, no 12 - baker's dozen

Why does February always sneak up on me as one of the busiest months of the year? It seems so odd. I realized yesterday I haven't posted in a week. Lame.

I just finished eating a single chocolate iced glazed Krispy Kreme donut, and it was the best thing that's happened to me all day. As I pulled out of the KK parking lot and drove toward home, donut in hand, I started getting nostalgic for a number of pivotal moments in my life that have revolved around donuts (I know this is weird, just stick with me for a minute). From the time I was about 3 until I was 5 or so, my dad used to take me to school on Tuesdays - his day off. Before school, we would go downtown to this bakery called Waites for breakfast, where I would have two chocolate glazed donuts and a glass of milk. The same two waitresses - Bernadette and Thadine - waited on us every week. And every week, when we would take some donuts home to my mom and my baby sister, they would put in one extra donut for free and not tell the grouchy lady at the checkout register. They even threw me a birthday party once in the back room of Waites (I think I was four) and gave me a red toy race car.

There are other moments worth remembering: one of the best little league baseball games I can remember was one Saturday morning in 2nd grade when our coach brought us glazed donuts and orange juice; my high school friends and I downed half a dozen each one night cruising around town; I went to Krispy Kreme on September 12, 2001; I kissed someone in the Krispy Kreme parking lot once; I had a donut for dinner before the Coldplay concert last fall; and today I cashed in my "free donut" valentine.


Friday, February 17, 2006

free at last, free at last

Sometime about 12 or 13 years ago, I got my braces off. It was a glorious event, marred only by the fact that they glued this thin metal wire to the back of my lower front teeth to keep them from moving. It was a permanent retainer that I was (potentially) supposed to have for my whole life.

A few days ago, my teeth rebelled and took up arms against their metal oppressor, tearing the sliver of metal away from the glue on one side. And yesterday, when I went to the dentist for him to take a look, my teeth won their freedom, completely and forever, with the removal of the great metal monster. Hallelujah! It's like getting my braces off all over again. The real estate in my mouth feels as if it's increased threefold. The speed bump on the back of my teeth gone, it now feels more like a ramp that's been greased with Crisco. The only bad thing is that, apparently, said retainer acted as a sort of "seat belt" for my tongue...and for the first two hours it was gone, I felt my tongue wanting to slip up and loll forward (and out) of my mouth like a panting dog.

Nevertheless, it is unspeakably great to be able to feel the entire surface of the back of my lower teeth again for the first time in over a decade.

Monday, February 13, 2006

a little too personal?

This is the post of personal shout-outs, because several people deserve them this week. Here we go:

- To my sister, for a number of reasons: for putting up with my ridiculousness for 25 years; for sending me several good books in the mail; for being patient when I don't mail her things in a timely fashion; for trying to teach me Spanish; for calling me while I'm on a date and chastising me (rightly) for picking up the phone.
- To Alyssa, because today is her birthday. And she just flat out rocks. And makes me laugh endlessly.
- To Josh, who also sends me good books in the mail (what is one to do with all these literary friends??). And who always has sage words of wisdom in times of need...or at least a confusing zen koan or two.
- To my favorite old woman in Miami, who's working her magic on some new guy. Keep up the good work, playa...and keep an eye out for my sister - she just moved down to Miami yesterday.
- To Nancy, who bothers to read these posts even though I see her multiple times a week. You and Colin (and Scout) make hanging around my own house a worthwhile endeavor.

OK, I think that's enough - the saccharine proportions of this post are making me throw up a little bit in the back of my mouth, so I'm going to give in to my current state of exhaustion and go to sleep.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

under the weather

I have a cold. Man, I'm pissed. I always seem to get sick one time every year, usually in February. Last year I made it all the way to May before I got a cold - I thought I was out of the woods, and BAM! This time it came upon me in a matter of hours: went to sleep last night feeling pretty good, woke up four hours later with a scratchy sore throat. What could have caused it? Could it be the erratic sleep schedule these days? Maybe the bourbon and gingers I had while watching the Duke/NC game last night? I don't know. I'm just hoping it's a short illness. Meanwhile, I can feel the NyQuil starting to kick in - I suppose that means I should go to bed before I write something exceptionally brilliant and interesting (read: stupid).

Sunday, February 05, 2006

iron and wine, and the occasional moped

I saw a moped biker gang on Friday afternoon. For real. I'm not even kidding. They drove past the outdoor patio of the bar where I was enjoying good beer, good company, and amazing February sunshine. One guy even pumped his fist in the air and gave a "Woo hoo!" in a totally tongue-in-cheek moped-riding sort of way that made everyone on the patio laugh.

But the moped gang is not what I'm intending to write about because it doesn't do much good talking about it without pictures. The effect is lost.

Instead, can we talk about the fact that I might be the last person I know to begin exploring the music of Iron and Wine? I know it's shown up in a commercial or two, and I feel like I've skated around it for a couple of years but never really listened directly. But how amazing is "Naked As We Came" (shown here with audio and video), both lyrically and musically? Or, at the very least, the two fit together like peanut butter and jelly. The lyrics are beautiful, and the music suits it in a very gentle, thoughtful sort of way:

She says "wake up, it's no use pretending"
I'll keep stealing, breathing her.
Birds are leaving over autumn's ending
One of us will die inside these arms

Eyes wide open, naked as we came
One will spread our ashes 'round the yard

She says "If I leave before you, darling
Don't you waste me in the ground"
I lay smiling like our sleeping children
One of us will die inside these arms

Eyes wide open, naked as we came
One will spread our ashes 'round the yard

It's one of those songs I wish I'd written. Even though at this point the song may be cliche to those who have heard it a million times, I've been inescapably hung up on it for a couple of days now. In fact, it's inspired me to begin compiling a list of other songs I wish I'd written...which I will put in a separate post in the near future.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

it had to happen sooner or later

To date, I have refrained from posting anything overtly spiritual in nature on this site because I think everyone (myself included) has his or her own way of figuring out and dealing with spirituality and religion...and everyone deserves the right to do so on their own terms without unwanted interference. That being said, this is my blog, these are the things I think about on a day to day basis, and they constitute a large part of who I am. So, if you feel as if you might need a little spiritual feeding today (or at least something to think about), keep reading...and if not, no worries: just sit this one out and catch the next post.

I came across an article written by The Rev. Ben Campbell about the nature of prayer that I found extraordinary. Ben runs Richmond Hill, an ecumenical retreat center in a converted convent here in Richmond's Church Hill (the old part of the city, just down the street from St. John's Episcopal Church where Patrick Henry delivered his "Give me liberty, or give me death" speech). I've met Ben a couple of times - he's incredibly involved in community outreach in Richmond, especially across racial divides. Very energetic and centered in a way that makes you feel as if you've known him for years. All in all, a brilliant guy...and it doesn't hurt that he sounds strikingly like Johnny Cash.

Anyway, the article appeared on the cover of Richmond Hill's January newsletter. This is the paragraph I find most compelling:

"There are many points at which prayer can become rote, superficial, or deflected, but this point is one of the most deceptive. When we pray for the salvation, healing, and transformation of people's lives, nations, and histories, we are not asking God to do something he does not want to do. We are rather aligning ourselves with what we already know is God's will - his love of each human being in particular and of humanity in general. We are praying with God more than we are praying to him."

The concept of intercessory prayer as "alignment" is not one I'd thought about before. It makes more sense to me than the idea of asking God for things that seem obvious and unnecessary (as if God doesn't get it and we have to ask in order to call it to his attention). There are several other interesting bits later in the article, and I definitely recommend the full text if you have the time and inclination to read it.