Friday, August 26, 2011

The Most Romantic Thing

Did you guys see THIS?

The way I'm reading it, Moammar Gadhafi and Condoleezza Rice are soul mates. They found a whole photo album of her in his compound in Bab al-Aziziya when the rebels took it over and ransacked it. He's also been known to say weird stuff like this:

"I support my darling black African woman," he said. "I admire and am very proud of the way she leans back and gives orders to the Arab leaders. ... Leezza, Leezza, Leezza. ... I love her very much. I admire her, and I'm proud of her, because she's a black woman of African origin."

Aw. As they say where I'm from: "Bless."

Is it weird that I like them both better because of this? Because a tiny part of me wants to believe these crazy kids might have a shot at love. You know, after her country stops trying to kill him.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Perfect Day

Hello, you divine creature.

You know, today was really nice. I couldn't really tell you why, but it was the kind of day you suspect you didn't actually deserve. Like whoever's in charge of dealing out days accidentally handed me a way better one than I had coming, but didn't realize they'd done it until sometime this afternoon, at which point they were like "ah, just get on with yourself...."

So a big THANKS to that cosmic administrator. And Friend, here are some carefully-considered songs for you, in the spirit of Jesslyn's Good Day:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mashed Potatoes

We got back from California on Saturday afternoon and my expectations were not met. What I expected was this: I was going to get off the plane and it was going to be hot like someone emptied the contents of a jacuzzi over my head. Then I was going to drive home and all my zinnias were going to be dead and the sun was going to set through the trees behind our back yard tattoo parlor, and I was going to sit on the porch and drink a cold can of seltzer water under the rattly fan, and I was going to feel like Bilbo Baggins at the end of The Hobbit: relieved and pleasantly exhausted and victorious and a tiny bit bored. Because that heady feelings cocktail is a big reason people invented homes to begin with. It's also why people invented long term romantic relationships.

The funny thing was, coming home didn't feel like that at all. We walked off the plane and the heat wasn't half as overwhelming as I had hoped--in fact, I don't think it broke 90 that day. Driving home from the airport, I noticed the wind kind of rustled through the tops of the trees like it does sometimes in mid August, just before the summer goes through a midlife crisis, buys a really obnoxious car and makes everybody miserable for a couple weeks. My plants weren't even all that dead (thanks Ben!). But besides all that, something just felt weird. The only way to describe it is that I came Home and Home didn't recognize me.

So here's what I did: I waited until the sun went down and I went for a drive. I took some overdue books back to the library, slid them into the after hours book drop and listened to them clump when they hit the bottom of the box. I went to Daily Groceries and selected vegetables while the girl behind the counter tried to convince the night manager not to cut his hair. I drove past some parties that were spilling out of houses into front yards, and I knew by the looks of those guys that they were probably graduate students in the Poultry Sciences department. I went to Vision Video and forgot how to act around the cashier so that he wouldn't judge me for not renting something French. And then I drove home in a bemused sort of stupor.

But then it kind of hit me as I was driving up Sunset: it wasn't the place that didn't feel like home. It was me that was different.

I sometimes forget that I'm a little bit like a pile of mashed potatoes--my brain is, I mean. And, you know, I'm generally pretty pleased with the reality of my potato lump. Usually the pile just sits there on the plate in the regular old lump shape, but then sometimes it's like someone walks by with a butter knife and spends some time rearranging the shape of my potato lump. Like maybe they make it look like a topiary of a goose or something. And after that things just feel a little different for a while until the goose falls over and it goes back to being a lump shape again.

What I'm saying is, traveling sometimes makes you different. It made me different this time and though I'd like to discuss this in greater detail, it's one in the morning now and I have to get up at 7 to write a newsletter. So fun!

Bonne nuit!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Ya'll, I've been in California for over a week and here's the thing: it's freaking cold in California. No no no, Jesslyn--you are mistaken! California is full of tan people! Skinny, blonde people in bikinis! Swimming pools and Luke Perry! Wine tastings in sunny vinyards! It's the damn American Mediterranean!

Ah yes. I can see where you might have gotten that impression. However, the California I'm experiencing is chilly and socked-in like Greenland in November. But I'm notoriously thin-blooded, which doesn't make rational sense because most of my ancestors were ruddy-faced, heroically built, horse-and-dog loving Englishmen who would have chewed up the northern California coast and spit it into the Pacific. Apparently I'm an outlier.

The really remarkable thing, however, is that Bryan's family thrives under these barbaric conditions. And they're all about 4"11 and are constantly saying things like, "I know we didn't eat breakfast or lunch and it's 3 PM, but I'm actually not very hungry. Let's all 14 of us just share an appetizer." I'm currently at their family reunion in Santa Cruz and we've been hiking and going to the beach and kayaking and surfing and otter watching, all in freezing arctic grade fog. And they're all like, "Isn't it bracing? Isn't it divine? Who wants to play team building games on the lawn with this paper bag?"

This is the self portrait Bryan, Odessa and I took on the beach yesterday:

It was 49 degrees and Odessa was deeply unimpressed by the sand castle building conditions.

But we've been wearing wooly sweaters and I've been drinking quarts of hot tea and viscous, domestic red wine. So, don't feel too sorry for me. I'll just wear all these bathing suits when I get back to Georgia.