The Demoralizers.

The title is in capitals… that’s how you know this is serious…

Demoralizer #1: Baking.

I love ginger cookies… like, a lot.  And Char Davis [no blahg link… she’s cooler than the internet] makes the best chewy ginger cookie I’ve ever had.  So, in a fit of self-betterment, I decided I wanted to be more like Char Davis and make a damn good chewy ginger cookie.  I got the recipe, and went to the fancy-pants organic/local market in town.  Ran into a friend at the market and told her on this exciting Friday night, I was baking cookies.  She was psyched for me and informed me about the store’s awesome bulk section and the reusable jars that people drop off to fill up.  AWESOME.

Got my stuff, went home, it was later than most bakers get heated up, but I heated up.  Got all the ingredients separated, mixing, going good.  And then it was time to put in the molasses.  I opened up reusable jar of bulk molasses, took one sniff and almost gagged.  It smelled HORRIBLE.  I then noticed what the reusable jar was from… Thai Peanut Garlic Spread.  I almost threw up… OMG, It smells like garlic molasses.

I immediately poured the jar down the sink, gagging the whole time.  I was livid.  I wanted to call this “awesome” grocer and chew. them. out.  BUT it was after 10pm… and that’s when they close.

LIVID.  I went to the less-conscientious grocer three blocks away [open ’til 11] and bought a bottle of molasses… because, well, I have a half-mixed batch of cookies… what else am I gonna do??

Came back.  Opened up the bottle, poured it in the 3/4 cups measuring cup… took a whiff… hmm… said… out loud…

– Oh… I guess that’s just how molasses smells.

Yep.  Yep.  I’m not a baker-lady.  Molasses smells sulfer-y.  Yep.  It was fine the first time.  That time when I poured the whole jar down the sink… gagged… eyes watering… livid… yep… that was just how molasses smells.

The cookies were delicious.  I made three batches for friends, co-workers, loves and myself… Yep.

Demoralizer #2: Cyclocross.

Have you ever cyclocross raced?  [this is a legit question to blahg readers because i know that Anna Davis and Dan Abraham don’t “read blahgs… sorry.”]  Anywho, IT. IS. HARD.  But it looks like so much fun!…

Okay, that’s a little different than the Missoula races.  The Missoula races are DIRTY.  Dusty.  And there’s about 70 people all going together.  Up dusty, steep hills, down crazy hills, jumping… a lot of jumping… and carrying your bike.

So, anywho, I decided to race this week.  Why?  Mehdunno… It looks like fun!… Right?  Am I right, guys?  Am I right?  Guys?…

After the race I sent this text…

– MOST DEMORALIZING THING EVERRRR.

…to three people.

And I’m not kidding.  Maybe the most demoralizing thing ever.  And that’s coming from the girl that dressed up in a full-on dog costume in high school to raise awareness about the Animal Shelter in her hometown at a public event.  [yeah, don’t think anyone else besides the two other kids that went on to be bio-chemists that where there knew about that one.]

Yeah, most demoralizing.

I started in the back… the very back.  Didn’t pass a single sole.

Did I get passed??  Oh, eff yeah.  Eff yeah times two.  I got lapped twice!

And AND I took a HUGE digger right in front of the most spectator-heavy area.  Not like in the video where there were a bunch of other people around me messing me all up… nope.  This was just me… crashing… all by my lonesome.  There was a collective…

– Ahhhhh…. Ohhhhh…. [silence]…. You okay?

– Me?  Oh, me?  Yeah, I mean, somebody’s gotta be out here to make everyone else look good, right?  [suppressing tears… flashbacks to my high school crush recognizing me through the dog head.]

And then there were about 35 more minutes of that.  It was the worst.  But you know what?  Almost not the worst.  Laughing… at myself.  And random encouragement that kinda made my day.

– You know you’re doing awesome, right?

[a passerby… flying by me… being so encouraging.]

I dunno.  It was a weird/demoralizing/encouraging/tear-brimming experience.

The start time is 5:30pm and a couple times I thought to myself…“You know?  I am so much better at happy-houring than this.”

But that’s what this move is about.  Starting anew.  Trying new things.

Pouring a stinky bottle of molasses down the sink, going out at 10:15pm on a Friday night to buy more molasses only to discover that all molasses is stinky.  Laughs.  Smiles.  Cookie-dough eating like it’s a competition.

Racing in a race that you are nowhere near prepared for.  Getting one encouraging word that you hold on to, capture in your hands by clapping around a firefly, hold on to it tight to place it in a jar and look at for the next couple hours thinking, “Remember that time I did something insanely hard and one person [one stranger] thought I ruled at it?… I remember…”

That’s what this is about.

And it’s fecking hilarious/beautiful.

[beautiful.]

and then there’s this for you to dance… dance…

when they ask me where i’m from…

Evan officially moved in a couple days ago.

It’s so exciting.

I talked to a friend on the phone tonight and he asked…

– Does Evan have a job yet?

– No… But we have a lot of rice, so I think we’ll survive.

We laughed at how poor we are but how much we love this life, this apartment, this rice, this wine [vinho verde, mom!], this stoop, this kitchen, this song…

Momma, do you know that song?  You should.  Band of Horses covering CeeLo… I mean, it should pretty much be your favorite.  And you can substitute “Georgetown” for “Georgia.”

Lovin’ it.  Lovin’ Missoula.

I didn’t know this place could get more awesome… and then Evan moved in.  [and THAT is how sappy this blahg gets… eat. it. up.]

live your life live your life live your life.

Maurice Sendak, author and illustrator, is best known for Where the Wild Things Are.  And he has a new book, which is so exciting.


But I don’t know if any of his books [which i love dearly dearly] will ever have the same affect on me that his interview from today’s Fresh Air has had… how it grabbed me… shook me:

http://www.npr.org/2011/09/20/140435330/this-pig-wants-to-party-maurice-sendaks-latest

Please listen.  It is so beautiful.  So sad.  So real.  So raw.  So precious.  The frailty of life.  The meaning of love.  The meaning of living.  The meaning of loss.  The meaning of losing.  The meaning of missing.

I listened today, while I worked, and I started crying… could not help myself.  Tears streaming.

I had to get up to go find a tissue.  Passed someone I’ve met once before, said “hi” through tears, saw the confusion in his eyes, no time to explain, no need, just confusion and a need for a tissue.

But when I got back to my desk and worked for a little more, had a meeting, came back to my desk and had to come back to this interview… listen again.  It feels too beautiful, too valuable… I was scared to forget any part of it.  And I cried again.  Even harder.

When someone is caught in the beauty of their own tragedy, it’s hard not to think it’s the most beautiful thing in the world.

And that’s how I feel about this.  About Maurice Sendak.

The line that gets me every time I listen to it… that brings the tears…

“And almost certainly I’ll go before you go… so I won’t have to miss you.”

Please listen.

we embrace our love/friendship and go.

This weekend has been brutal.

Why?  Oh, because my whole Texas-dwelling family was privileged enough to attend the Austin City Limits Festival.

Brutal?  Because I couldn’t be there with them.

Convincing my brother to go see Pretty Lights:

…and getting back a rave review.

Having texts sent throughout the days of favorite songs by favorite artists and then at night, being sent videos from “the youtube” to show just how incredible certain shows were… painful.  I love my family so much and I love Austin so much and I love live music so much… aww, man!  [bratty pitty party going on here.]

And though I was bumming, I smiled all weekend at the thought of how much fun my fam was having.  I loved every little bit of sharing they did with me… helping me feel like I was there… like I was remembered/loved/there in spirit.

My favorite thing that I got from my family this weekend was an email from my dad, received last night, that hardly mentions any music… but, somehow, he captures a music festival [the joy] perfectly…

“freebie field trench reporter:

     It was a perfect day, no hypebole intended.  We all had free ACL passes, Stevie Wonder & 25 other major acts in attendance.  We had clouds, a miracle in itself, then RAIN: are you kidding?  My oldest & dearest Tx Chainsaw Massacre house roomates/friends (77′) let us park in their driveway 4 blocks away from the entrance.  They are so dear & kind & just returned from a badly needed vacation in Maui where Mom&I honeymooned/recovered in 81′.  We embrace our love/friendship and go.

    Walking downhill in that wonderful old S Austin neighborhood with various parties ‘goin’ on’ ,10 minutes later we are going thru the front gate in a lite rain & its NOT 105 degrees under unmerciful sun hoping that someone doesn’t throw a butt on the ground to start a fire.  Miraculously pleasant compared to the last 6 months of biblical Drought.

    We hook up with other couple whose kid also ditched ’em, and have a great & wonderful time. 10hrs later our kids decide they need a ride home.  We reunite & head out with 60,000 other people walking down the street, goin home, shuttle, aftershow, bar, club, or wherever.

     We take a right uphill turn apart from the herd. Its been a long & glorious day with less than usual severe physical demands under the elements, but yet we are tired & we trudge to return to our car, uphill.  Mom has been doing fantastic all day with her leg endurance but now she voices concern as we go straight uphill.  She takes my arm for support.

    “I have some good news & some…….”  Good news is the1st part is straight up & the hardest, Bad news is its all uphill.   We trudge.
    We crest the hill to take an immediate left turn & there is a party ‘goin on’ at the first house we see at the top of the hill.  As we turn, on the curb on the right is a group of people mostly young women holding a bottle of whiskey saying ‘show us a tit & get a sip, men included’.

    I immediately lift up my bright yellow tshirt & get my sip and Mom & Ry move over to the other side of the street & don’t talk to me for the next block.

    It was a great hike back & so much family fun, how many times can you say that.  A pleasant drive home with a phone call from you to add to that.”

And in about ten minutes, they’ll be watching my all-time fave, Arcade Fire, and I’ll be listening to “The Suburbs” in my kitchen, drinking wine, being there in spirit, dancing, singing, embracing the love/friendship.

try pellegrino!

I just realized how awesome I must have looked walking down the street with my matching drink and outfit…

pellegrino girl says, "try pellegrino!"

 

My dress is green… you could see that if I stood… but I can’t be bothered to stand.

And a song for sitting… in the coolness…

just drop your dress a little bit…

When I lived in Australia, Skyping with my family was the sunshine for me.  Seeing my family was great, needed… but my daddy really stole the stage.

He would have a pile of props [unseen from the shot] and use them in a conversation filled with more puns than your own dad has used in all his life in that one conversation.  Example…

– Now, Rocky, I’m not HORSIN’ around…

[picks up a toy horse and makes it gallop across the screen.]

– Your mom and I have been going HOG-wild at the thought of talking to you.

[makes a stuffed pig and shakes it in front of the screen.]

And I would try not to laugh [old teenage instinct], but I couldn’t help myself… and I could hear my momma not helping herself in the background… her laugh making the room brighter.

Oh, how thankful I was for that webcam.  And I remember that webcam well… I remember the day [to night] I installed it very vividly… what a pain that was.

Cursing under my breath like no one would believe…

– How old is this sh*tty computer!?  Did we even have f**king moving-pictures when this damn thing was made?!

New parts, new programs, updates, taking apart some things, putting some things together… and then, HOURS later… voilá!  It worked!

Thank god.

So, when I saw this video, I immediately thought of my parents.  In 25 years, if I’m not in the vicinity to offer up my cursing-filled help, and my parents need to install a new webcam in their “vacation home”, this is what that will look like…

I love you, Momma and Daddy.

Let’s Skype soon.

to who? everyone.

I saw a girl on her bike get hit by a car today.  I’ve never seen that.

It was right downtown.  The whole block froze.

– ARE YOU ALRIGHT?!

…is all that was heard in the surrounding dead silence, yelled by many of us.  Still no one moved.  Everyone was still.

She stood up.  Shaken.  Embarrassed, she tried to jump on her bike and ride right off.  Her bike was broken… she couldn’t go anywhere.

I was still.  We were still, bound together by this frozeness.

The car that hit her drove off and still I stood frozen.  We stayed frozen.  Numb.  The car parked and a man jumped out and ran back to the scene.

The girl walked her bicycle to the sidewalk and waved to who?  everyone.  and yelled, “I think I’m fine, thanks!”

Emotionless, I moved on with my evening.  Everything was fine; it was time to meet a friend in need for a drink.

After the drink, it was off to the market with me for asiago cheese, a carton of wine and a hair brush.  [you know, the staples to get by.]

When done, I hopped on my bike and waited to make sure the parking lot traffic was clear.

A man, a man with obvious disabilities, a man with some kind of keyboard around his neck, a man with a limp and a slurred voice, ran into traffic.

This was terrifying.  And, for some reason, the first thing I thought was, “What is that keyboard around his neck?  I feel like I should know what that thing is… what it does…”

He yelled…

– STOP!  WATCH OUT!

A car stopped dramatically.  Everyone stopped.  Frozen again.  We watched.

The man ran, limping, across the lot with true fear in his eyes and a deep fear exuding that is usually only cured by a tight, genuine hug.

It was moving.  So moving.

I biked off and my chest welled.  I couldn’t control it.  A tear fell from my face and I thought, “What is going on?  Why are you crying?”

The couple blocks to my apartment were a novel… ending with counting every step up my stairs as the final pages.  But walking around my apartment were secret, hidden lines.

I walked around this apartment with determination, breathing out a couple, “woooooo”s and “hoooooo”s, calming myself down and fighting more tear… fighting hard… not knowing the strange, powerful feelings that had filled me.

And I still don’t know.

And I guess that’s it.

[that is it.]