Saturday, 7 November 2009

The Art of Vegetarian Cooking, Among Other Things...

I haven't written anything in a while, at least anything of the non-fiction persuasion. One reason being that I've been reading a lot of Austen and pseudo-Austen lately so my inner narrator is tainted by tea things and a chase-and-four. But also, I just haven't had much to write. And now I am writing saying I have nothing to write... All time low.

I think I was expecting an adventure... Something involving camels, hot air balloons, and undead pirates. But instead I got... me. There's a lot of sorting out to be done and that's the adventure for now. And its an adventure because as I change the horizon changes too, like a ship slowly turning.

I turned 24 since I've been down here and somehow everything slowed down. In a good way. I used to feel so urgent... like I had to travel the whole world, write the next great American novel, get married and pop out a dozen or so kids before I turned 30. But somewhere in the last 2 weeks I went from feeling like there would never be enough time to feeling like I have time to do all that and also learn how to longboard and make vegetarian chili. Like everything was wound up into a tight coil full of tension and now I've taken that coil and stretched it out into a long line with lots of wiggle room. This doesn't sound like much but it makes the journey a lot less stressful.

And Now a Few Random Notes:

- It really annoys me that "an handsome" is proper grammar. I really feel like it should be "a handsome". But its not.
- Tempeh is really yummy, you should try it.
- I read Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. And I liked it. So shoot me.
- Despite the fact that it was 70 degrees today, I'm getting back into knitting. Maybe I'll finish a piece this year.
- I have a 6 foot Australian flag hanging over my bed. Just FYI.
- I am going to write The Next Great American Novel. But first I'm going to try to write a paragraph of fiction that doesn't sound like I'm in high school.
- At the grocery store down here, they push your shopping cart out to your car and load the groceries in for you. I was shock and awed.

That should do it... Hopefully next time I write I'll have something slightly more substantial to say. But don't count on it.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

The Gift

I have been told that I have a way with words and sometimes, like right now, that is a very difficult gift. Some people spend their whole lives walking around with their feelings stuffed down deep inside their chests and no idea what to call them. When I have something swimming around inside me I have a hundred words for that one emotion and it thrashes all around me and right in front of my face. I feel things, keenly, and then I take them out and put them down on paper for others to feel too.

You may not realize it, but you're the one that taught me how to do this. You're the one who taught me how to see myself. Do you remember that time we were in the grocery store and you pointed out something I was doing that you didn’t think was good? No one had ever done that before, and because you saw me and still loved me I knew that I could change.

Few people in life are given a gift like the one I have. And I don’t mean the words. I mean you. I didn’t think I could do it. But you showed me I already did.

Thank you, for showing me my heart, and for being so generous with your own. This is the gift that has shifted the course of my entire life. This is the gift that brought me back from death.

And I know I’m not the only person you’ve given this gift to, and I’m OK with that. In fact, I hope one day I can turn around and give it away myself. I use to think our hearts were something that had to be guarded at all cost. I use to think that I had to chain mine up and put in a box and bury it in the ground and kill anyone who got too close to it. But you showed me that its less like a treasure and more like fish and bread- the more you give it away, the bigger it gets.

So thank you. And I love you. And I’ll meet you on the beach.

Yours forever,

Saturday, 17 October 2009


I think more terrifying than being exposed to the world is being exposed to myself. To have to look at myself without all the smoke and mirrors is… disarming, to say the least. I break down and cry at least twice a week. Because the picture looks so bleak and the horizon is so narrow. Because, just like looking at myself naked in the mirror, the view from where I sit isn’t all that pretty. Because God doesn’t have skin and he can’t hold my hand through all of this. Because I’m just scared. What if the end doesn’t justify the means. And what if I raise my standards and then never meet them.

I’m discovering a really amazing life and a really fulfilling spirituality. Its something I’ve never seen written down on paper. Something we’ve always talked about but never had the words for. And I’m discovering things that are important to me. And I’m defining the things I want to accomplish in my life. I can’t say what its all leading up to but at least now the road leads somewhere. I’m off the couch… I don’t know where I am or where I’m going but I’m not on the couch and that has to count for something.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Something You Should Hear

My friend Natalie is an incredible musician. She and her guitar are one and the things they do together make me sing. Then she punches me in the arm and tells me to shut up. She's pretty great and she has a few tracks up for free download here. I really recommend you go get it and listen to it in the morning when you're having coffee and trying to convince yourself to face the day. It works for me. Number 7 is my favourite.

Just so you know she's not like obnoxious whiny-Jewel-I-just-learned-to-play-my-guitar music. She's pretty much Dave Matthews. But a chick.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Couch 2.0, or The View From the Last Row @ IHOP-Atlanta, or What Are You on About Mr. Miller

Ok, Mr. Miller, if life doesn’t happen on a couch, where does it happen?

I’m back in a prayer room. I haven’t been in a place like this for about 2 years now and it feels just as awkward and uncomfortable as it did the first time. It looks like KC does on the live feed with the monochromatic furniture and carpet and the mood lighting on stage. Right now, with sparse musicians and even fewer worshipers, it feels like a canvas waiting to be painted on… and I’m good at that.

At this exact moment all I can think about is Gateway and Ryan and Alayna and I’m actually sitting here crying. Yesterday I sat in a dimly lit sanctuary and watched a short curly haired man tell his almost girlfriend to come introduce herself to me, as though I was in some youth group for the socially challenged. She took the long walk around the sanctuary and I met my best friend. And I got a new life.

I don’t know what I’m expecting. Maybe I just wanted something familiar, and I don’t feel wholly uncomfortable here. But it doesn’t feel like home either. I’ll have to bring a sweater tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow. Because I will be back. Because life doesn’t happen on a couch.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

The Anti-Couch

I took dance classes as a little girl. I’m not sure how old I was but my parents were still together so I must have been 6 or 7. I have a picture of me in a hot pink sequined dance outfit complete with hat and tap shoes. My hair is all pinned up and my mom even let me wear make-up. I don’t remember much of my dancing days, except an incident when a girl made fun of how small my lips are. My memory tells me that her’s were, in fact, abnormally large. But I do remember getting my photo taken in that costume. I don’t even remember the recital, but I remember that costume. I remember feeling pretty.

My parents divorced soon after the photo was taken. Or at least I presume so, as there are no other pictures of me clad in neon and I know I quit after the divorce. I don’t know why I quit. Maybe my mom couldn’t afford the lessons anymore, or maybe I just lost interest. But I do know I haven’t done anything since. Except for a brief soccer career in 7th grade, but that’s where I learned I don’t like to run.

My brother took up karate at one point, and was actually quite good at it, but I never tried anything else. He went to tournaments and advanced in belts, but I resigned myself to the couch. Its like I just stopped trying.

I really love seeing people my age excel in something. Michelle Oudin captured our hearts at the U.S. Open this year because she was young and passionate, a combination we rarely see. The youngest person to compete in the Olympics was silver medal winner Dimitrios Loundros, age 10. I love it when people achieve a dream at such a young age because it gives them that much more room to achieve a lifetime of dreams.

While it would have been nice to discover something I could be passionate about at age four, when Tiger swung his first golf club, I don’t think 23 is too old. I’m not going to die tomorrow, so I have decided to do something in the meantime. After all, life doesn’t happen on a couch. (Thank you Donald.) I’ve decided to find out what I like. My life stalled after my parents divorced, for whatever reason. Its no one’s fault, its just what happened. But it doesn’t have to stay that way.

Here is a brief list of things I want to accomplish while I am living in Georgia. I’ll keep you posted.

• Get my certification as a doula.
• Take a figure drawing class.
• Write a blog entry at least once a week.
• Try volunteering with the homeless, at least once,
• Join a small group at a church.
• Watch one UGA game in a pub in Athens.
• Kiss a boy. (Why the hell not?)
• Buy an SLR camera.
• Learn to paint still lifes.

That’s all I’ve been able to come up with so far but I think it’s a good start.

Friday, 11 September 2009

God the Mother

I don’t know when it happened, but it happened. I fell in love. I thought I could prevent it, I thought I could hold it at arms length and never let it in. But it snaked its way up my arms and through my skin and into my heart. I’m talking, of course, about the babies. I didn’t think it would be possible to love kids that aren’t my own this way. I guess the best way to explain it is I want to do right by them. When they hurt, I want to fix it. And as tired as I am, I never doubt that they are worth it.

It first happened when I noticed how small they are. They are tiny and everything about them is tiny. Their hands don’t fit around my thumb. Their noses are so little. I can wrap both their feet in one hand when their toes get cold. And somehow it was their smallness that endeared them to me. It was the knowledge that, as they are lying there in my arms, I am entirely responsible for their life that broke me down. They are Future in my arms. They can’t do anything without me. They need me to feed them. They need me to change their diapers. They can’t even put themselves to sleep; they need me for that also.

Of course its God who made me this way. He turns my recognition of a child’s fragility into a deep and tender love. Seeing that a baby is small is not a feeling, it’s just an observation. And I could have one of two reactions to that observation. I could take their smallness as an opportunity for dominance and cruelty. A crime that sadly happens everyday. But that’s not the way we’re built because that’s not the way God’s built. God looks at us and sees how small we are and just loves us. He doesn’t rule over us, rather, He holds us in the palm of his hand. He sees us and He loves us and He gives Himself for us. And in a way, that’s what I want to do for them. Maybe God the Father sometimes has a mother’s instinct.

Sunday, 6 September 2009


I went to a new church today, my first in over three years. I hated it. The church was nice and the service was fine but I missed home so much I sat in the parking lot and cried for a full five minutes after service. I miss feeling comfortable somewhere. I miss being confident in my space. I miss being able to drive to the beach. I miss recognizing people. I miss people knowing me.

Saturday, 5 September 2009


I went to Athens today. It's a college town about 30 minutes east of where I live. UGA plays Oklahoma today and the campus is deserted. The streets mimic a centuries old western ghost town. The lights turn from green to red and back again without audience and I'm waiting for the tumbleweed to cross my path. But occasionally, when the wide receiver fumbles a pass, you hear a collective cry of despair pour out of ever open bar on College St. Two girls dressed in bulldog red pass me on the streets, their heads bent together over a portable tv following the game as they walk. I wander onto campus and pass fountains and trees and unoccupied benches. I stop at the President's Club garden, a semi-circle of wrought iron benches that share space with red and white perennials. I sat and finished Beider's revision of The Romance of Tristan & Iseult and in the final pages the church bells announced the bulldog's victory. On the walk back to my trusty Buick an inebriated man compliments my fringe boots. An afternoon well spent, I suppose.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Ready Now

Its Friday and the end of my first official week as a nanny of triplets in the illustrious state of Georgia. Soon I'll post pictures of the cutest babies you've ever seen and let you know all the interesting adventures I encounter, but my first words will be something a little more introspective and typically "Lydia." Enjoy!

The sun takes twice as long to set here. It hangs for an hour in the thick lazy air and turns everything it touches orange. The wind that comes into my car and flips my hair around smells sweet, like earth after it rains. The horizon gently dips and rises as the road plods forward and the constant drone of summer beetles is all the music I need.

Everything is different here but also strangely familiar. If you want groceries you go to Kroger. If you want a slushy you go to QT. If you want chicken strips you go to Zaxby’s. If you want iced tea you get sweet tea and you can’t buy a bottle of seltzer water. Highway 78 runs from Athens to Atlanta and everyone goes the speed limit.

Though the nostalgia of adventure hasn’t worn off yet part of me already miss home. I miss the smell of the shore, at least at high tide. I miss a Starbucks five miles in either direction. I miss anything five miles in either direction. I miss Duchess burgers. And I miss the people. I miss feeling like home. I’m nervous about a new church and new people and a new life really. I’ve never started over. I'm not sure I know how...