laugh it up

My housemates always say that I have the best stories. Really, they mean that they enjoy hearing tales of the ways that I embarrass myself on a daily basis. For whatever reason, I tend to land myself in awkward, cringe-worthy situations with great frequency. Be it falling down stairs, saying the completely wrong thing in front of an attractive member of the opposite sex, falling over my own shoes, getting lost, falling on completely flat ground, or dropping some sort of food item/hot beverage/fragile, irreplaceable heirloom on the floor, I seem to experience in one month the amount of embarrassing moments most people are awarded in a lifetime.

Even this morning I managed to mortify myself only about an hour after waking up. I was opening the cafe, getting things I needed from the back room and innocently listening to the classic hit "Disco Inferno" on my iPod. As luck would have it, someone from the cleaning staff decides to enter the room to get a mop just as I was following 50 Cent's instructions to "shake that ass, girl." It figures.

After that incident, I started running through the list of awkward/mortifying things that have happened to me in the past year. None of them are epically horrible or life-ruining, but they are certainly numerous. Thinking of them almost made me want to change my name and run away to Alaska, where at most I can only embarass myself in front of polar bears and the occasional Eskimo. But then I realized that these moments sort of shape who I am, and I don't think I would take back any of them.

Laughter, and humor in general, are two things that I adore almost more than anything. I'm sure that's because I have learned (and am continually learning) what it means to laugh at myself. Maybe it's a good thing for the ego to be humbled occasionally, for one to realize that perfection is far from attainable and that life is fun and joyful and shouldn't always be thought of so seriously. The act of living becomes a colorful process because it is full of risk and things don't work out as we plan them. I don't know anyone who always does the right thing or says the right thing - not even characters in books (or if those characters do exist, I sure don't want to read about them). So who are we to let something like being less than perfect make us feel awful? I'm going to screw up - maybe more often than others - because I am human. This fact, I've found, is directly correlated to the fact that life is hilarious. This world is full of stumbling idiots and that is something I am so grateful for.

So here is my advice, as a sage expert in experiencing "embarrassing" moments: go talk to that cute boy even though you might say something dumb. Go walking in the snow even if you might slip on the sidewalk. Go shake your ass. And if this results in some funny looks or muffled snickers, don't let yourself blush and be embarrassed or go buy a parka in contemplation of a move to the Arctic. Just throw your head back and smile big. Laugh it up.

my inspiration the past few days:

these people


these places




this book




this CD




my new rubber alphabet stamps


Wii wish you a merry christmas

Ever since my brother opened Mario Kart for Wii yesterday morning, my biggest conflict in life has been whether or not to race as Princess Peach (she's got the cute-factor) or as Waluigi (he's fast, but has an evil look about him). For someone who has, as a rule, never liked video games, I am getting way into this one.
Typically, video games nowadays seem so violent and realistic. I can't handle them. I get so nervous that I can't even function or defend myself. I just scream or yell at the screen or tire of constantly loosing. (I'm sorry that I just sounded like an ornery senior citizen). But Mario Kart is different. In fact, I wouldn't mind living in Mario's world for a bit. You get to drive as crazy and fast as you want through magical lands like Yoshi's Falls or Peach Beach, and if you get hit by a bomb or fall in lava, no big deal. You magically reappear for another shot. Better still, if you win, everyone comes to cheer you on and you get a big shiny trophy and even get to do a little victory dance. Sounds like a good life to me.
Plus, using Wii makes me feel better about my gaming abilities. Whenever I've played video games on other game systems where you have a normal controller, I look like an idiot. I move the controller all around in the air and my brother will always be like "Emily, the buttons make it move, not the controller, so you don't have to spazz all over the place like that. You are stupid." But with Wii, you HAVE to spazz all over the place. In Mario Kart, you put the controller on this little wheel and you steer it in the air! It's magical and so fun. Thank you, Wii, for making it OK to be a complete fool, because I am one and it's nice not to be laughed at so much.
I'm not the only one professing love for Mario. This guy in the video below made up this great love ballad based on the game. Maybe I'm just becoming a brain-washed gamer, but I would say it's pretty romantic.

What about Santa's cookies? I suppose parents eat those too?

22 Seconds of Fabric Communicating a Merry Christmas Message from VsTheBrain on Vimeo.

Jesus: Savior, Healer, INFJ?

Those Myers-Brigg Personality tests are always fun. Whenever I take one, I come up as an INFJ (Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging). Apparently, this is the rarest personality type (only 1% of the population). It's kind of fun to look up your personality type and see if it really fits. According to Wikipedia (such a scholarly source, I know), the INFJ is a romantic, a peacemaker and a reformer. They are independent yet interested in the well-being of others, care more about intimate relationships than having numerous surface-level friendships and establish those close relationships slowly. They have strong intuitive senses, are often creative and have a stick-to-it attitude towards their idealized goals. They focus more on fantasy than reality. INFJs also tend to be sarcastic towards others, have unrealistic expectations of those around them, and are wishy-washy in decision making (hmm). Most INFJs find their niche in writing, counseling, or teaching. Interesting.

As fun as all of that is to think about, I was sort of pondering these tests in a new light yesterday. I was thinking back on taking a Myers-Brigg test with some friends late last spring. We were scrolling through our results and I looked at the list of notable INFJ's. There was Chaucer, Billy Crystal, Martin Luther King, Nicole Kidman, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and . . . Jesus?! I remember getting really excited and telling my friends that this proved, in fact, that I was pretty awesome. My friend Taylor was quick to remind me, however, that this was just a website and that between raising the dead, walking on water and saving me, Jesus probably didn't have time to take a Myers-Brigg personality test.

While the whole thing was pretty funny and has become a running joke about the validity of my Christ-like personality, I've been thinking lately about the bigger implications of this fascination with these silly tests. We're always trying to discover ourselves, but where are we looking?

We (and by that I mean ME and probably you and definitely the majority of Americans and maybe most other members of the world) are obsessed with ourselves. We are head over heels, can't get enough, pridefully in love with our own egos. Every inch of this world tells us that the key to happiness is looking at ourselves and knowing ourselves and loving ourselves. Walk into any bookstore - you'll see rows upon rows of feel-good self help books, all promising to stoke this affair with our own wonderfulness, promising to unlock our inner success story, sex goddess, confident business person, exercise guru, relationship master, perfect parent, etc. etc. Go online. In two seconds after taking a ridiculous personality test, you can discover anything about yourself from which Pokemon you would be to what country you should live in. I'm not saying that I don't have fun with this stuff - I do. But deeper down, I love it because I love me. I love when people talk about me. I love hearing good things about myself. I love letting other people tell me who I am (if it's flattering). I love it, and you love it, too. And something is off about that.

This whole Jesus as an INFJ thing makes me wonder if I'm trying to get to know the wrong person. I spend so much energy investing in my own self-discovery, thinking about who I want to be and what career I want to have and how others see me. Today is Christmas Eve, when we are supposed to be celebrating the one who was born for ME and YOU and EVERYONE, and yet, I sit daily celebrating myself. I'm so often concerned with knowing me, but do I know HIM?

My prayer throughout this holiday is that I would remember how precious and wonderful my Savior is. I want to hunger for a better picture of Him. I want only to love myself in terms of loving what HE is in me. I want to stop putting myself in the spotlight, stop fruitlessly seeking for who I am, and let the one who made me have that job. I don't think that self-discovery is a bad thing. But I think that what we often discover is a false-self. In other words, not the self we were created to be.

I hope this post doesn't come across as preachy or sharp, because it is mainly preaching at myself. But I just wish that for once I could rid myself of this human condition of pride and self-obsession. It is so easy to buy into because it is everywhere. All over the media and the stores and my friends and yours friends and our hearts. And it shouldn't be there.

I love the way Lewis closes Mere Christianity. I'll post the quotation in closing because I think it's really wonderful. Here's to hoping that your Christmas is blessed and incredible and full of beautiful, remarkable glances as Jesus - savior, healer, and maybe INFJ.

"I said there were Personalities in God. I will go further now. There are no real personalities anywhere else. Until you have given yourself to Him you will not have a real self. Sameness is to be found most among the most "natural" men, not among those who surrender to Christ. How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been: how gloriously different are the saints.

But there must be real giving up of the self. You must throw it away "blindly" so to speak...As long as your own personality is what you are bothering about, you are not going to Him at all. The very first step is to try to forget about the self altogether.

The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. . . [It's a] death of your ambitions and favorite wishes everyday...Keep back nothing...Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in."

dating

every sunday that I'm home, I rip open the Washington Post magazine. Not for indepth personality features or for an update on anything crucial. . . no, I simply want to pour over Date Lab. (for those who don't know, Date Lab is a weekly feature in the WPmag where they set up two people on a blind date and then interview them afterwards)

Almost every sunday, I walk away disappointed. Typically, they don't see it going anywhere or in the time that they applied to Date Lab and then were choosen, they started dating someone else, blah blah blah. It's gotten to the point where I cannot even emotionally invest myself in their date, because I get too sad at the dud results. I'll just skim to the end where it says "update" and will throw down the paper in huff because it crushes my dreams of them finding true love. All I want it to say is "Tom and Sue are getting married in two weeks and cannot wait to build a family together and are looking for homes in a cute suburban neighborhood". that never happens.

But this Sunday, it actually worked out!! Megan & Grant, a student and a school social worker, were set up on Date Lab. In the Update box, Megan said "I'm excited to see him again." She is excited to see him again!!!! EEEEEEEEEEE! I'm so happy. It also says that they are planning a museum-lunch date. How cute is that? Gosh, I hope I'm invited to the wedding.

Date Lab has had me thinking about dating in general. There are so many funny terms associated with it. I'm sure that in several years my children will be making fun of me for these words, in the same way I laugh at the idea of "necking" (I still don't know what that is) or "going steady". In this modern, crazy dating world, you've got to keep up with the definitions of: talking, DTRS, hanging out, hooking up, sexting, texting, making it facebook official, etc. etc. It's too much.

Another reason I've been thinking about dating is
this article that a friend shared with me earlier today. It's really humorous and is about how smart people have it hard when it comes to relationships. I'm not sure I agree totally, but the author makes some interesting points. And although I definitely don't fit into the academically-super gifted category, if anyone ever laughs at my cluelessness in the dating world, I can just be like "yeah, it's because I'm a genius, suckas!"

cuddling, cookies, common courtesy, cold, chance

what a dream come true - I am snowed in!!! I was fantasizing during finals week about how lovely it would be to come home to a snow storm and it actually happened. Being snowed in is such a joy. I think I will spend all day snuggling with one of the three books I've started (I've gotten over-excited about leisure reading) & eat cookies & make snow angels. yippppeee :)

Being snowed in also gives you plenty of time to think about things. Currently on my mind: bathroom etiquette. yes, this is quite a venture from the previous paragraph, I know, but stay with me. This is (slightly) related.

Yesterday was my first day back to work. I work in a coffee shop that is the upstairs of a Borders book store. It has several perks: lots of coffee, books, music, and my personal favorite - people watching. There are some characters that come in, let me tell you. And apparently, there is no escaping them. So yesterday afternoon, I go to use the restroom (that happens a lot when you consume your weight in caffeinated hot beverages every shift). Almost immediately upon closing the bathroom stall, the woman in the stall next to me starts engaging me in conversation. It went something like this:

overly gregarious woman: well goodness gracious, I didn't think I was gonna make it up here in time!

me: ----

woman: gosh, sometimes you just gotta go, right?! you know what I mean?

me: umm, yes.

woman: do you know where Opal is? I was just driving through Opal.

me: ----

woman: When I was driving through Opal, WTOP was on the radio and golly, they are calling for some snow. It's going to be a real blizzard, let me tell you. In fact, I was just at the library and I said to the woman at the desk "See ya tomorrow, Darlene!" and she said "well no you won't! we are already closing!" can you believe that? The library is closing!!!

me: well that's, ummm, wild.

woman: shoot, they are just making this toilet paper thinner and thinner, aren't they?

and after that statement, I flushed the toilet and quickly booked it outta there. Since when is it acceptable to try to befriend someone as they use the bathroom? I know everyone can't stop talking about this snow, but that is a little extreme. Not that I don't enjoy getting to know people, but I would prefer to do it in a more acceptable setting. Say, when I can actually see more than someones footwear or when I don't have to think about them answering nature's call as they are talking to me. Call me a scrooge, but I visit the restroom for one reason, and that isn't to make a new BFF.

I'll bring this full circle and end with more on the snow day. please see my precious puppy play in the snow in the video below. I tried really hard not to laugh at him but a little escaped at the end.

sorry, I'll stop posting about warrenton soon :)

It's a short walk
past Winchester Street, the graveyard, the bakery with an annually changing name and the woman in the window who rises with the sun, with the bread
Dong
Dong
Dong
and three o'clock comes
MAIN street sounds off
maybe "THE BLACK SPECKLED PLACE THAT HISTORY TICKLED AND WHERE YOU WALK YOUR DOG"-street or even "THE ROAD THE WOMAN IN THE BLUE DRESS CROSSES TO GO KISS HER HUSBAND INSIDE THE BARBERSHOP"-street
It could be beautiful, to follow the slow mosey of cars
walking steps and the circle of
the mailman
delivery-man
lawyer-man into the courthouse
It could be beautiful to trace yesterday
into today
into tomorrow
and then back to when there were three buildings on this street and one of them was the church from which a choir is singing "Silent Night" and it is three in the afternoon
There is togetherness in the doorways
and in the sidewalk
touched by first light
touched by drunken steps,
the bar across the street
touched by a hundred homecoming parades
and by you, also

only a few hours back in dubtown and...

Delicious meal cooked by mom. Check. Play time with Chance. Check. Hang out at Frosts. Check. A chapter into my first book of leisure reading (The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde). Check. An already messy room. Check. Big, fabulous snow storm that makes Main Street look like a fairytale? Not yet, but I have a good feeling that it's coming. (see pictures below for previous snow loveliness). OH Christmas season, you have finally arrived.
.

we're feeling higher&higher&higher

PTL! two exams down today, and they weren't even that bad. now just uno mas. . . and then I am dunzo!
When I got home tonight, I had a little celebratory dance around my room to this song. (which anticlimactically is fading into a celebratory nap. . .) It was great. you should have one too.

my brain

is a big pile of mush. gross, oatmealy, disgusting, useless gloop (is gloop a word? well, it should be). I don't want to study physics anymore. Heck, I don't even want to read poems anymore. I just want to go snuggle in bed and fast forward through the next two days.
I'm tying to be optimistic about exams. I mean, will I die if I fail them? No, I'll just drop out of school and become a zoo keeper. no big deal. I like elephants.
But we might actually be going psycho studying here in the chemlib. Ellen just admitted taking a nap on the floor of Clark a few days ago. Kendall is going crazy ,too. She is wearing her scarf like a turban on her head. I guess it is cold in here. Even Leigh Anne is slightly insane. She went TO BED. as in, left the library to sleep. who does that? And how about me! I think I'm starting to have a crush on Nathan AND Doogie!
To keep sanity I take a break every now and again (probably a too-often "now and again") to gmail chat or blog stalk. Or, you know, take the normal study break and watch videos about poisonous cone snails and aerobics competitions from 1987.
I think they are actually cool. But then again, this comes from a girl with oatmeal for brains, so forgive me if it isn't.

seasonal songs, shenanigans

Late last night we opened the front door of our house and found that we were the victims of a harmless holiday prank. There was a bale of hay on our stoop. An entire bale of hay. It was accompanied by a note from "Santa". (aka taylor & kirsten, who have been wondering for the past few days what to do with the hay they bought for a costume. looks like they put it to good use)
It was pretty funny. see the note below.
ps. happy almost-Christmas!! If you haven't listened to Sufjan Christmas music yet, you need to. please click that link. right now.
pps. don't forget to Boogey to the Elf Dance :)



finals....YAY(?)

I am a glass-half full sort of gal. So I was thinking today of all the reasons why finals are fun despite the standard thought that they are awful.

1) We get to look gross
I'm a sweatpants/casual/comfy clothes advocate....I'd rather dress down than dress up any day of the week. I never understand why girls show up to all my classes in designer dresses everyday of the year. And that is why exam time is awesome....everyone looks like they just rolled out of bed. I have no reason to feel bad about throwing my hair up in a bandanna or about wearing big baggy sweaters and the same pants eight days in a row. We all look real bad and it's great.

2) We get away with going a little crazy
I may or may not have had mac&cheese & funfetti cookies for breakfast. I may or may not have relieved stress by singing Whitney Huston ballads on rockband karaoke last night. I may or may not have forgotten to shower yesterday. I may or may not have found myself driving towards 14th street last night after leaving a friends place and thought "wait, I don't live there." But are you going to say anything about this erratic behavior? No, you aren't, because if you do, I'm just going to look at you pathetically and make you feel like a jerk by saying "well gosh, I've just had such a hard exam schedule"

3) We realize the hilarity of every situation
My friend and I just laughed at a girl sneezing. we laughed. at a sneeze. it was just a normal sneeze, not really a dramatic one. and we laughed at it. for awhile. a very long while.
something might be wrong with my brain, but I like that the hilarious-ness of life is magnified by the stress of exams

4) We make instant best friends
Hey, look at it this way- we are all in this together. (unless you are through with exams already. and if that is the case, would you kindly go die?) I like when complete strangers see each other with the same textbook studying in the library. It's like destiny or something - there is that whole sympathetic look - "yeah, I know - it's awful, right?" and then the funny laugh as they wave their books at each other. it's so cute. we all love each other because we all hate life.

5) We all become incredible story-tellers
The art of the hyperbole is perfected around exam time. I love hearing compared study stories. "Yeah, I was in the library for 89 hours yesterday!" "Yeah, I know what you mean. I had to write 583 papers, and that is just for one class!" "Seriously, yesterday I was in Clemons studying for 908 hours writing 10999 papers too! and then zombies came in and started attacking everyone, so I created a zombie-killing elixir from a chemistry formula I found in my textbook and saved everyone, which was actually a pretty sweet way to review, so I'm feeling pretty good about this exam"

partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for yoghurt



I look
at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world

this website was made for me

need a study break? please check out these funny kittens at averagecats.com. It's cats brought to you by the makers of MLIA (mylifeisaverage.com) so, it's perfect.

I actually HATE those pictures that always appear on facebook or e-cards with cats doing something in a picture and then some stupid caption that's like "I'm driving a car!!!" or "I'm a cat and I'm fixing this toaster!" so I'm really glad someone is mocking them and making them into comedy-gold. Or at least comedy-gold in my opinon. . . because this is either really hilarious, or exams are finally getting to me.

the end of things, books matter & other ramblings

Walking back from class today I felt that heavy, pit-in-my-stomach sad feeling that comes with the end of things. It happens at the end of a good story or going home after vacation or waving goodnight to your friends after a night of laughing on the back patio. Strangely, this came to me because it was the last day of classes. I thought maybe I should be skipping or throwing graded papers into the air while I sang about freedom Goofy Movie-style, but instead, I was oddly distressed.

I've been lucky to be surrounded by what I love this semester. The worst thing I can imagine is being in college and hating the classes you take. It just makes no sense. This is possibly approaching the sappy and sentimental, but really, I'm going to miss my teachers and the discussions and the books and poems and ideas we've explored. I have been exposed to SO many new things this semester, it's incredible. It's been good, too, to be surrounded by others who care for things, who want to learn, who are fascinated by language and thoughts and the things they imply.

Even though I am disclosing how embarrassingly cheesy I am with this statement, I must say that I LOVE the clap on the last day of classes. The sound gives me goosebumps. It's like the crowd singing together at a concert - there is something powerful about a group of different people all celebrating and rejoicing around the same thing.

I was a part of a quality clap-experience yesterday. It was my last History of Literature (ENGL 383) class and I was quite depressed. I want to be best friends with my professors (Levenson & Cushman). They gave their closing words, we said our class name (we all say our name at the same time and it makes a really cool sound in a class of several hundred) and then the clap began. It was great to look around and see everyone cheering and smiling - a definite "awww" moment.
But what really made the clap so great were the words they were celebrating that came before it. I (as the dork I am) took notes on the final lecture. That class makes me want to pump my fist in the air and yell "YAY ENGLISH!" and then kick all science-y people in the knee. I love hearing from people who are passionate about what they do and why they teach it. To close, here are some words Lev&Cush said in their final lecture. They aren't exact as I was frantically trying to write down what they were saying, so these are unofficial quotations and more of the general ideas, but they are wonderful nonetheless.

Maybe that image of putting your nose in a book isn’t real. Maybe your
nose doesn’t really touch the binding and get all wrinkled or inky. [But
it does display] the intimacy of reading. Everyone has the memory of staying
late up reading while the p’s thought you were asleep. Everyone has a
favorite position for reading, a certain posture.
It's not exactly a lover, a book, but you can hold it a certain way. You
can gaze at it from a distance. You can remember it when it isn’t
there. Some books are just textbooks, but some of them are your
books. And if someone steals them, you want them to fall in a ditch and scrape
their knee. It is profound to me, [this idea that] there is something so very
sacred about the act of reading.

Reading gives this tense and nervous and exhilarating mix between private
life and the life we share. There is this solitude of reading on your
own and then the compulsion to talk about it with someone else- it is impossible
to keep the reading pleasure all the way private. You run home to your room for
your favorite book, hide under the covers, read as if your life and then jump up
to call your sister...we come up out of solitude to show what we can find.

But what are the social implications of reading? Will reading literature
make us better people? No is the answer. Not if we are determined to be
jerks. What literature does, however, is help make real to us the interior
lives of real people. And here is the next thing: if we can make real to
ourselves the interior lives of others, we have a way to make real the
associations between ourselves and others. That seems, to me, something of
importance.
Reading helps us see the connections between the drops of
our individual selves and the larger world each of us is boiled down from.
It develops the sense that other people’s lives are real. When we can fully
grasp that, we go and we make change. Powerful things happen.

Roy has said "All we can do is to change the course of history by
encouraging what we love instead of destroying what we don’t. There is beauty
yet in this brutal, damaged world of ours."
This is exhilarating- that
through reading and literature, we can keep imagination alive in the age of
terror and excitement. We can discover and create in this brutal,
damaged world of ours.

We all know what we need to resist: the culture of cynicism, embarrassment
in the sight of ideas, the flight from emotion, the poison of the
predictable. But we have what we need to do so. We have the books,
and we have each other.

synesthesia.

[[if Falling In Love had a sound, I think it would be something strange&simple&beautiful like the piano/drum/xylophone instrumental of this song]]

my best friend is three years old


Chance's birthday is today!! Can't believe this was him three years ago. what a cutie.
fyi, he is chewing on a stick. not winking. although that would be cool.

light is cool.






I really like this light graffiti. (found from toxel)
happy friday, friends.

what not to wear

Yes, I am one of THOSE people: the type who annoy you in the movie theater because they feel the need to comment out loud on the film. I am that person you want to throw your popcorn at and "accidentally" bump in the head as you find your seat because I tend to yell things out like "NO! The murderer is in there! Don't go in the house!!" or "Finally!! KISS HER!!! awwwwwwww that's precious!" I apologize, but hey, it's who I am.
This character flaw, unfortunately, also translates to the world of television. Not a show passes in which I refrain from interjecting my personal opinion or any advice I find necessary to share with the characters. I try to hold myself back if with others, but if I am watching something by myself, it's bad news for the television actors who are going to get all of my two-cents.

Take, for instance, last night. I was in the living room, no one at home, watching the TLC show What Not to Wear. After about half an hour criticizing the poor old woman that was Stacey and Clinton's victim with slurs such as "wow, you REALLY need help" or "oh honey, that coat was NOT a good choice", I looked down at myself. My high-fashion outfit of the evening was an over sized plaid men's flannel shirt and some amorphous purple poncho thing. Maybe I'm a bit hypocritical? Irregardless, it's fun to sometimes place yourself as the expert and look down from your lofty pedestal, pointing and mocking those lowly inferior beings and all the pathetic things they do.

One of my favorite places to be a bad person is at gofugyourself.com. It's this hilarious blog that puts up pictures of celebrities and their wardrobe woes, as well as offers snarky commentary on their bad taste. So take a break, embrace your inner awful and enjoy. You know you want to.



if Youtube says it's funny...

hey, at least she got her 30 seconds of fame.

instead of working

I often wonder what the space is between loving something and wanting to be the best at it. Where does the difference come, or is there one? If you love doing something, should you strive ceaselessly to be the very best at whatever that is? At dancing? At playing basketball? At cooking french food? Or is it alright to be satisfied with loving something fully, so much that you are O.K. with not being the best? Are you O.K. with knowing that no matter how hard you try, there will always be someone out there more brilliant than you, someone one step ahead, someone who attracts more attention and praise than you ever will?

In high school I was often concerned with what it meant to be the best. I so easily gave into stress - the idea of not getting straight A's was terrifying. It meant that someone was better than me, that in the field where I usually excelled, academics, I was no stand out. My worth was my GPA and the number of awards I got and the number of praises I received from my teachers. That self sort of sickens me now.

I'm not sure what happened when I got into college, but that part of me just took a deep breath and decided to run away. My friends in high school could always anticipate my stressed out, Hermonie Granger-esque moods before they actually arrived. They would be ready with sweet notes of encouragement or a surprise vanilla latte. And first semester of first year, I remember getting calls from them around exam time in which they timidly tried to gage my stress level, afraid that I was on the verge of explosion. I don't think they really believed me when I said I was alright. I'm not sure I actually believed myself, but I really was fine. And now, I still am. Occasionally I'll relapse and exhibit some type-A personality traits, but the foundation of my self worth & even my very sense of identity has shifted. I've started answering my own questions about worth, started realizing that life is about loving what you do, not so much proving yourself in it.

This shift in perspective is gradual though, and still not complete. Tonight as I wade through papers and other work and look toward finals on the horizon, I feel the old me crawling out of her hiding place. What if I'm not a good writer? What if no one ever knows my name, ever reads my words? What if my best isn't good enough? Isn't good enough to get into the poetry workshops I'm applying for? Isn't good enough to ever make any sort of difference? Those possibilites are terrifying, but really, are they important? How much weight should I give them?

Here is how I feel about this right now, at 8:56 in Alderman Cafe on a sunday night. This could change in two milliseconds, but I'm thinking that the answer to that central question is: Keep Going. When I write, I feel myself breathing and expanding and alive in ways I don't feel with anything else. Poetry fascinates me and challenges me and I'm falling in love with it - so how could I stop? Why would I? It's where I want to become. It's what I adore. And maybe that is answer enough - do what you love. Even when everyone else around you seems brilliant and better and out to beat you at your own game. Even with the threat of being denied or hated or misunderstood. Do what you love, because that is what matters. That is what lasts. Maybe trying to be the best is important, but only in the sense that you work hard to become the best you, you work hard at what you adore in order to discover yourself more and to fall in love more. It is a challenge of being more yourself, even if that doesn't look like being better than anyone else. Does that make sense? Maybe not, but it's a pretty comforting life philosophy, so I'll go with it for now.

if Satan decided to dress up as a sugary treat...

...it would be Candy Corn.
Did you know that each year Americans consume enough Candy Corn that if laid end-to-end, would circle the earth 4.25 times?
that makes me want to barf. I have had it up to here with candy corn and their evil ways. here is why.

me, today at about 6:20pm-la la la, I'm just innocently going to drink some tea. Gotta find a mug. Oh look! a bag of delicious candy corn hiding behind the mugs! that looks like a good snack!

6:25pm-yummmm these candy corns sure are great! I could eat them all day long!

6:26pm- hmm, these are kind of filling...but still pretty tasty!

6:27pm- ok, I think if I eat much more I'm going to feel sick. I wonder what a serving size is. . .20 pieces? WHAT?! Twenty pieces go into my mouth with each handful! What in the world...I've gotta stop eating this.

6:29pm- Why am I still eating these?? They are just so little and cute, I can't stop!

6:29:15pm- Seriously, I HAVE to put these away. I'm going to vomit.

6:29:32pm- Really, I am about to vomit. ughhhh candy corn, WHY???? This feeling is awful, it's like a sugary hell......someone kill me now!

6:30pm- What's that, mom? Time for dinner? Thanksgiving leftovers? you mean, the meal that somehow manages to taste even better than the first time we eat it? And we are eating now, when I feel like all I want to do is run into the street and let a tractor trailer run me over? NOOOOOOOOO!!! DANG YOU, CANDY CORN!!!

And that is how Candy Corn ruined Thanksgiving. well, the day after thanksgiving.
warning: learn from my mistake. DO NOT let a candy's cute-factor deceive you. Stay strong.

hi friday.

Today I'm in love with this video & song. Kings of Convenience is great & I can remember the very moment I discovered them, which isn't true of most artists. I was almost 16 & in high school & in NYC with my two best friends. It was Zoe's birthday & she got this CD as a present & we listened to it as we napped on the way home. His voice is so melancholy but sweet. And in this video, he is precious. I love his goofy glasses and green scarf and borrowed hat.

This project,
Amsterdam Acoustics is pretty cool. . . they record acoustic sessions with different artists as they wander around, using Amsterdam as the backdrop. The project only started this past summer, so I'm excited to see who else they record! check it out.

Amsterdam Acoustics - Erlend Øye (Kings of Convenience) - Mrs. Cold / Ask (The Smiths) from Mokummercials on Vimeo.

insomnia

When I can’t sleep, I come to the living room and sit on the couch and drink 2% milk and read William Carlos Williams. Or sometimes Neruda. Or if I want to make things easy on myself, I’ll go with Austen. I allow Colonel Brandon and the Dashwoods to hand me off into night. They tell stories perfect enough for dreams.

Sometimes when I can't sleep, I like to think of all the other people not sleeping and I feel better about myself. I think of Kevin from Kentucky who is up counting postage stamps in his collection. He gets to about 2987 when he looses track and has to start all over again. He organizes them in colors and then hates that so he organizes them by year instead. I think of Carla from China who lays awake making shadow puppet dragons in the dim light, wishing her mother had given her a more Chinese sounding name. She gets up quietly, youtubes the latest Miley Cyrus song and memorizes the dance to show her friends at school. It's that slutty Party in the USA video that's ruining the innocence of all the world. I think of Sam the Space Station astronaut who lays awake not knowing what time it is since it's always black. He looks down at earth and thinks of me, too, and wonders what page I'm on in Sense & Sensibility. He's read it once because his girlfriend, Evelyn from Earth, told him to but he didn't think it was that good.

Sometimes when I can't sleep I think of all the sounds I'm not hearing. The clocks in the living room downstairs. The honk of horns in New York City. The shouts of shortorder cooks at 24 hour diners. The roar of planes flying over the ocean. The thunder of a storm where it is storming, somewhere. I wonder if all those sounds together would be something neat and artsy, like this video a guy made once that my friend e-mailed me. It was a really cool song made from the sound of spoons and pancakes flipping and bacon sizzling. I guess those went together. . horns and clocks and angry chefs might just be a cacophonous headache all forced into one.

Sometimes when I can't sleep I think of each piece grass in the yard. They each must get so angry being seen all together. They just get called "the grass" and not "the grasses"; they aren't individual in the slightest. If I were a blade of grass, I would complain about that with my friends if the yard. I would say "Hey, look here. I stand up on my own! I have my very own root that goes down there into the ground. OK, so I look the same as everyone else, but isn't it what's on the inside that counts? Don't you teach that to your kids? Like we really chose to grow in a group all, well....grouped together. Read Whitman sometime. That dude really got me."

Sometimes when I can't sleep I reread everything I've written in other times when I couldn't sleep. Even if it's in a notebook with other things, I can always pick it out. I always manage to make myself sound more brilliant than I do when I am fully awake and normal. I wonder what the world would see if I was the me I am when I am on the edge of my bed, pen in hand, hair frazzled, glasses astray, rebelling against the doctor's recommend hours of shut-eye. I think I'm slightly more interesting.

homMMMe

I love being home. I love the familiar sound of the coffee pot beeping in the kitchen. I love curling up on the couch with Chance at my feet & the fireplace on. I love my big bed, so big that I can leave piles of books and notebooks and clothes at the foot of it and still have plenty of room to sleep. I love hearing the courthouse bells. I love the Christmas lights already strung around Main Street. I love reunions with friends. I love that a cow made the cover of The Warrenton Lifestyle magazine this week. I love seeing half of Fauquier county at Panera, plus Robert Duvall. I love my grandmother and mother pouring over recipe books and filling the sink with dishes. I love planning midnight Frost-milkshake dates. I love how the piano waits for me in the living room. I love how small and wonderful this town is.

things mean a lot

I'm really excited about this project. Check it out. This stemmed from an idea Ellen Picker had and one that we've been discussing and working on together. I think it's such a cool thing that we are in a community (a world!) of people who just naturally love. How often do we think about that? Yes, there is hate. People do that pretty naturally, too, and it takes up a lot of our attention. But I think something more natural to us than that is the ease with which we love things. It takes a lot of energy to despise something, but not so much just to fall head-over-heels for something good and wonderful. Everyone knows what it mean to look at something or somewhere or someone and feel connection, purely out of untainted adoration. It's powerfully simple and universal. We love. It's not so much the what that intrigues me - it's just the fact that it happens so often and so strongly and so innately. We were made for it.

"Things Mean A Lot" is an art project, social experiment, community endeavor. We are so thrilled to start it. Please check it out and consider sending in or dropping off something that means a lot to you. It's super exciting for us to get the ball rolling on it, to begin to explore and build a monument to the fact that this is a community of unique and wonderfully made lovers. We can't wait to see where TMAL takes us!

5 Rules to Falling in Love (as understood from disney princess stories)

1) utilize your lovely singing voice (obviously, guys find it irresistible when young ladies communicate mainly through sing-song narratives. Whether it be about household chores or serenading a little bird outside the window, ladies should always proudly sing for many hours of the day. If one sings loud enough, chances are that their soul mate will hear their voice echoing through the forest and know instantly that they have found the one)

2) pretend to be someone you're not (boys probably won't like you if they know exactly who you are from the start. Better to keep them interested by employing the use of a mysterious alter-ego when you first meet. Act like a poor peasant girl even if you are royalty. Dodge tricky questions such as "where are you from?", especially if the answer is "under the sea." And of course, utilize any magic-help you might have on the side. Fairy Godmothers are totally fair game. When the man of your dreams finds that they got to know you based on a total lie, NBD. It was all in the name of love)

3) don't waste time (When you find the one you're meant to be with, you will know instantly. This is true almost 100% of the time, except if your soul mate has been cursed and has spent many years trapped inside the body of a beast. Then you'll have to go through that pesky business of "getting to know" them. But that is only the rare exception. If you look at a boy and find him attractive, chances are that he is your future husband. Do not dilly-dally. Marry him right away, even if all you know about him is his name & that he conveniently showed up to help in some dire situation)

4) master the flirty stare (Do not underestimate the power of a strategically-planned stare. It's how most relationships begin. Make sure you open your eyes as wide as possible, until they take up about 1/3 of your face, hold eye contact for a long period of time, then blink, look down and shrug away shyly. It's a sure-fire method to happily-ever-after. Heck, if you've got the stare down, it doesn't really matter if you're good at much else. Most men aren't interested in similar interests or personality anyway. This stare can also be very successful if paired with thematic orchestra music, but that is not a necessity)

5) Just don't do anything. (Who says that women should be more assertive in this progressive age - my advice: let your prince come to you. Take a tip from Sleeping Beauty - just take a nap, preferably a really long one, and when you wake up, your soul mate will be kneeling down at your bedside, asking for your hand in marriage. Piece of cake.)

shout out to: precious

don't you just love those things that make you say "awwwwww" and feel all warm & fuzzy inside? here are a few items that are, in a word, precious:

-Hey Julie by Fountains of Wayne (proof that they are more than "Stacey's mom." I love these song lyrics. they are presh! and this video cracks me up.)




-Babies (I think I just died a little)

















-puppy-precious-ness (look at the freckles on his little nose. ahhh I want him!)
















-Mr. Darcy in P&P (even though I know it's coming, everytime I read this part I tear up a little and sigh and squeal. don't judge, it's sooooo presh!)

"In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you." Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 34.

-baby laughter (I know I said babies above, but baby laughter is the greatest sound ever. Plus, this little girl makes me feel better about myself because she seems to agree that people falling down is pretty stinkin' hilarious)

true life

gotta love an MTV-channel original series. True Life in particular. Sometimes it's a pretty entertaining show, but I kind of get sick of the subject material. The episodes are always something like "True Life: my baby daddy broke up with me over text message" or "True Life: I ain't gonna stop eating McDonald's even after my 6th heart attack."
So today I was thinking about episodes of True Life that I myself could star in. I think they'd be pretty fly.

TRUE LIFE....

I frequently burn things in the microwave.

I am afraid of birds.

I cry at commercials.

I dress up for Harry Potter release events.

I can't remember the last time I did laundry.

I am a coffee-holic.

I am awesome.

:) HAPPY THURSDAY

today's project

Today I got super frustrated thinking about my writing and feeling like I never escape this place of being cliche. So I did what I do and wrote a (rather long) poem about it :) Think of it as an ode to the creative process slash me just blowing off steam. You don't have to read it but it makes me feel good to get it out. Poetry > those squeezy stress balls. . . in my experience.


part one.
Sunsets are experts on seduction.
They saunter in, that typical hip shoulder hip shoulder
swagger. The whole thing is deliciously ordinary.
All thoughts are these thoughts and they are all thought.
Together you end up at a Comfort Inn and it’s his thoughts
and her thoughts and their thoughts and mine. The TV blares some
mediocre report about street cleaners on strike and the local
elementary school changing the world one box top at a time.
Your skin and her skin smell like paper-wrapped soap
and the TV is blaring. Bob with the weather heads home
to a wife who secretly wants a divorce but is holding
it together for the kids. Jane at the news desk thinks Bob’s
cute but heads home to Lean Cuisine and silence.
Sunset takes up her orange-red towel and you think
of how those colors, mixed up at least, make brown.
Your life is plain.
Ten years down the road you realize you let go
of the love of your life because it was hard work and now
you are left writing checks to a cliché. You are the bald spot
on your head and the 9 to 5 and the mask in a jar
by the door - an Eleanor Rigby.
One more line about the dazzle of the sky as it sets
just might kill you. And yet you are obsessed.

part two.
I wake up and hear the sound of coffee brewing.
I see the way the dew clings onto the green,
fingers scratching, holding tightly and asking
“Is this blade any higher than yesterday?”
“Is this all the same?”
“Maybe I should just fall.”
/
Even in my waking I am envious.
Not of the flowers as they scream and
push their way into existence.
I am them because my words are them.
They ache to be colorful, fertile,
even to be plucked from their roots to live
half-remembered in vases on coffee tables,
so desperate for love.
No, I am angry at the sound of coffee rain
in my kitchen. It knows the things
I cannot know and cannot produce.
More beautiful is the sound of it,
More beautiful is the creating than
what I consume so quickly in my mug.
And even in every kitchen in every house in every state
it’s there. Peacefully making, day after day making.
That’s what it does and should do.
and still I cannot.
still I am not satisfied.
and when I am satisfied, I arrive later to think that
my satisfaction was held in vain and I am really
bitter-tasting and stale.
when will I be alright with being alright?
should I be?

today is GOOD.

It's monday. I spent most of the day in a typical start-of-week, blah-mood. Then, while heading home, I caught the sunset. Did you see it? It was incredible.
Sometimes that's all I need to know that life is pretty darn wonderful.
happy monday.

prose poem?

I'm not sure what this is or what I'm doing with it. But it was just an "I don't feel like doing anything but write" type of late afternoon, so here is the first draft of a prose poem (at least I'm calling it a prose poem) I'm exploring/maybe will keep working on. Who knows?

The sun made sense to her. Little strokes of shadow and not shadow, here and not here, manageable pieces of real and not real. What confused her most was the color red. It was everywhere, all around, and yet she was not sure how or why.
The only red she remembered knowing was the color of that night when the sky was setting deeply and the pool water was so still. He had helped her over the fence and they were laughing so much. Everyone else put loud s’s and h’s together in fear of being caught. The exit sign glistened red in the still blue. Her cheeks, if you could have seen them in the dim light, were pink flushed sculptures of happy. There was music: the sound of the water parting as their skin made it stir, the quiet of cicadas in trees and whispered conversation, the breaking of blue and reentry into air. The red faded out of the sky and became black, and it was then that he put his hand on her hair and they kissed for the first time. The happy pieces of art exploded and, if you could have seen it in the dim light, a bigger than life smile made home on her face.
It was August Light then but not August Light now. It was Late December Light. This was a whole new character – it was cold-blooded and sharp and broke into pieces, highlighting things not to be seen or imagined. She hated it and wondered where it came from, who carried her to his den. She was overcome by him and she was dying by him.
But then again, Late December Light has illuminated their hands a few hours ago, tickled their fingers as they brushed together on the radio knob. It was this animal that played up the smooth of his face as she stole sideways glances while gliding down the highway. It was this beast that crawled through the sunroof, warming their shoulders that she felt were much too far apart because of center console. She squinted and stared it right in the eye, anticipating pulling into the driveway and him opening the car door, anticipating the way he’d smile at her and offer his hand in the old-fashioned way she adored, anticipating the good feeling that came from just being held and loved without words or wisdom of age. She closed her eyes and she let Late December Light lure her in. And now she thought only that things seemed more than shadow and not shadow, here and not here, real and not real. What was life and not life? What was sun, and what was light? Where was he?
The red again. It clung to her skin and to her hair, the hair he breathed in during that night of breaking in, of August Light and then not light. There was music: loud voices, a screaming woman, a screech of some sort of radio or walkie-talkie, crunchy steps, the insistent repetition of her name. . why not his? Late December Light put a spotlight on the dashboard and she found she was resting against it. Then he nudged her arm and she felt it limp and aching. He stung venom in her eyes and she noticed the highway they had been gliding on stood still and harsh outside the broken glass of window. She put loud s’s and h’s together in her mind, afraid to hear if he would come up from the blue stillness beside her, afraid of hearing no reentry into air.

you knew this was coming

Dear Cat-haters,
I am sorry that you are so unaware of how awesome felines can be. I am sorry that you have embraced the stereotype the world has thrown on you that if you are a cat person, you are some sort of loser/loner. (totally false, right? I mean, look at me! I'm awesome!) I am sorry that you do not get to experience the great joy that cute, adorable kittens can bring to life. But mostly, I am sorry for the entire cat-community when I think of the lack of love they receive on a daily basis.

Puppies get all the limelight and what do cats get? Oh, a musical named after them. A musical no one even cares about anymore. Great. Life just isn't fair sometimes, is it cats?

People always give cats a bad rep because they say they are less "loving" than puppies. But maybe that kitten that mulled your arms all up with it's claws was just trying to play. Or maybe you just really deserved it.

Cats rule because they do what they want and don't apologize for it. They say "heck yes, I'm going to sleep on the armchair for 14 hours today! And no, you cannot sit here even though it is your favorite spot, because guess what? It's now MY favorite spot. Suck on that." You go, cats.

All it takes for a cat to be fine is a clean litter box (that's right, they are smart enough to go to the bathroom inside. take that, puppies!) and some Friskies. Occasionally they would like a belly rub. Sometimes they want to purr and let you scratch their ears. But mostly, they just want you to acknowledge how awesome they are and admire them from a distance. I respect that.

Also, who says you have to choose cats OR dogs? I happen to love both and see no problem with that. It's like chocolate & vanilla - both are delicious, so why battle between the two? Just make a twist cone & it's all good. (Although a puppy & cat twist cone might be slightly less delicious)

I hate to be antagonistic, but I hope this letter has prompted all you anti-cat folks to rethink your erroneous ways. I think I speak for cats everywhere when I say that all they want is love. and your favorite sweater to snag. Seriously though, cats are simply looking for someone to take the time to care and reach out to them.(but don't reach out too quickly or they might paw your hand and then bite you)

with friendly feline feelings,
emily

youth

I said to myself: three days
and you'll be seven years old.
I was saying it to stop
the sensation of falling off
the round, turning world
into cold, blue-black space. 
-"The Waiting Room", Bishop

I think it's been the combo of being outside in terrific fall weather plus reading some amazing Elizabeth Bishop poems that has made me think about childhood. I miss the days when my brother & I could spend whole afternoons building mountains of leaves & creating new worlds & exploring the yard.  I miss being dazzled at the little details of a small snack or an earthworm or the branches of that apple tree I called my own.  I miss when Taylor & I would spend hours writing little stories - his were always adventure/science fiction & mine always had a protagonist identical to me in every way, except her name was Kimberly and she usually had magic powers or was friends with ghosts.  I miss eating tomatoes right from the ground in Granny & Dado's garden.  I miss the thrill of standing on the fence & watching the horses they sometimes kept.  I miss playing make-believe.  

There is something so beautiful about a child's perspective of the world. When I was little, I felt like I could reach & reach & r e a c h and never find an end.  I think a tragedy of getting older is thinking that we can put words to the universe & close it off & make it small.  But when we are young, there is this incredible self-satisfaction with just being in awe of all of it, an acceptance of knowing that our days are big & beautiful & beyond us.  It seems like with age comes this tendency to freak out over where we fit and how we define everything.  I think I'd prefer just to twirl with arms s t r e t c h e d wide and enjoy life like I did when I was little - when earth seemed dizzy but really sweet and colorful and endless.  

tips for the fellas

hey boys-
I'm not sure if you've listened to any top music hits recently, but DANG are there some romantic song lyrics out there. I mean, I know that if any of ya'll were trying to holler at me, I would be swept off of my feet by some of these moving, poetic words. Just thought I would post a few suggestions that could help you woo the lady of your choice. Ah, what a romantic age we live in!
affectionately yours,
emily

"Shawty, [you're] like a melody in my head that I can't keep out. . .It's like my iPod's stuck on replay!"

"I'ma tell you one time: when I met you, my heart went 'knock knock', now I met you, my heart won't stop stop."

"Somebody call 911! [you're] a shawty fire burning on the dance floor, WHOA!"

"Hey baby girl I've been watchin' you all day! Man, that thing you got behind you is amazing!"

a thursday affair

As Jenny Lewis would say, you are what you love.
If that's true, then today I am:

crunchy leaves. my purple cable-knit. gorgeous words by Whitman. a lunch date with a good friend. this song. dancing around the house in my comfy Mukluks. letter-writing to much-missed pals. rediscovering a lost notebook. Deaf culture. the piano practice rooms. Alicia Bock's photos:





to silly songs

one time when I was a wee little first year, I did dumb things like procrastinate my work and make up weird songs/dances with Kirsten. (I am SO above that now....hehehe)
for example: (I'm sorry if this makes your ears bleed. we are not musical geniuses, we just enjoy Pez & Backstreet Boys)



Although that has not yet made us Youtube stars, one of my good friends, Abena, is actually on her way there. She made up this great song called "You're the man of my dreams even though you eat babies". Do yourself a favor & watch it. It is incredible, I promise.



Here's to ridiculous musical endeavors & lovely thursdays :)

road trip anyone?

the wizarding world becomes the real world?
I think I might pee my pants.


that darn Sufjan

some people can pull all-nighters. I don't think I can.
I only got 2 hours last night & felt like I was an extra from zombieland walking around grounds all day.
and then I projected my frustration with my lack of rest onto several undeserving victims. Such as Sufjan Stevens. I just read this article that says he isn't actually going to make albums for each of the 50 states. OK, so I guess I sort of knew that.....was he really going to make 50 state-themed albums? No. but still, I wanted him to, so I was mad. I yelled "DANG IT, SUFJAN!" really loudly and then hit my fist against the arm chair, and that is when it occured to me that I have a problem and I should probably go to bed.
...now my watch alarm is going off. it goes off every night at 8:44 and I can't figure out how to turn if off and I lost the directions. DANG IT, WATCH!!! arghhh
ok, goodnight world. see you when I'm not a horrible Sufjan-hating person.
. . . I still really like this song:


in the name of love

This is a hugely stereotypical-girl thing to enjoy, but I could look at wedding photos all day. They are wonderful. It doesn't even matter whose they are....I just adore them.
I get super depressed by divorce rates & sad, Hollywood depictions of what marriage & love should look like. But wedding photos are great because you just get images of joy and nothing else. They are like capturing real-life fairytales.
I have recently fallen head-over-heels for this website. enjoy a piece of my wedding-photo obsession :)