Friday, May 30, 2014

Oh, Memory/Won't You Speak To Me?

In chronological order, the 30 most important songs from the year I was 25:

1. Sex on Fire, Vitamin String Quartet
strangely bright nights in my lonely AK hotel room
2. Heartbeats, The Knife
exploring small coastal towns in Alaska
3. Safe and Sound, Capital Cities
summer love in pools and cars
4. Sexy and I Know It, LMFAO
a constant friend on the sweltering Vegas strip
5. What You Want, Legally Blond
"keep your head down and get things done" jam of 2013
6. Mirrors, Justin Timberlake
sweeping the cabin with my teen kiddos
7. Seize the Day, Newsies
teaching boys how to improvise and dance at summer camp
8. Sing Me A Lullabye, Daveit Ferris
driving the tree-lined Michigan roads, goodbyes
9. We Can't Stop, Miley Cyrus
moving into the new pad
10. Everybody (Backstreet's Back), The Backstreet Boys
middle school dreams realized
11. Whistle, Flo Rida
getting ready in my stuffy 100-degree September bathroom
12. He Loves You Not, Dream
belting around the house with roommates
13. Breakfast at Tiffany's, Deep Blue Something
intermission music for my thesis play
14. Middle Distance Runner, Seawolf
respite from never-ending rehearsals
15. Let Her Go, Passenger
light at the end of the tunnel, coffee shops and laptops
16. Let Me Go, Phantogram
worry about the future, a laser light show
17. Untitled (Love Song), Counting Crows
solitude mornings, chopping berries
18. Don't Save Me, Haim
dog days of teaching Improv 101
19. Let It Go, Frozen
making it in, making it in despite the cold
20. The Trapeze Swinger, Iron & Wine
loving that Bisque
21. Friday Night, Eric Paslay
radio anthem during South Carolina Christmas
22. Story of My Life, One Direction
free falling winter break
23. Maybe I'm Amazed, Jem
walking in the Santa Monica sun, sure
24. Roar, Katy Perry
how I started every single marathon training run
25. Pompeii, Bastille
the reminders that life is good
26. Everlong, The Foo Fighters
the times I didn't need to be reminded life is good
27. Soldier, Gavin Degraw
reflection while working with prisoners
28. Stuck Like Glue, Sugarland
the dawn of a new happy aerobics era
29. Will I?, RENT
graduation, the melancholy of night and money
30. Timber, Ke$ha
Italy was lovely, but it's no escape

Last year's list: 24

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Not Listening When You Say Goodbye

I never thought I'd be this old and still feel the first days of summer. But here it is.

Walk out of the grocery store, it's like I'm inside an Easy Bake Oven. The light-bulb glow has tanned my skin. Sauntered through the gate of the high-end hotel pool with the salt water and falls. Live band playing "Chicken Fried" and "Santeria." I sing along and Bisque dunks me.

Cager and Ro come home at 9:30 on Friday. We go out for shaved ice. I got cherry limeade. Feels like high school, we're talking about AIM. People in our living room when we get back. We sit around, we sit around, what else is there?

I try to clean my room and get bored easily. Close my eyes to Third Eye Blind, eat Cap'n Crunch at 2 AM and watch Breaking Bad until dawn. I'm jet lagged but it's more. It's bein unemployed and out of school. I keep having these half thoughts of "Next semester," and then they evaporate because it is done.

I could worry about money and try to eat healthier, but I haven't been. It's early and I'm young. We watched Scream Sunday night. I will always love it. I'm too defiant for a regular work out. I just want to run and run into the sun.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Italy: Part Four Point Five

The amount of time you have in a place is usually the amount of time you need. Over our final dinner in Rome, which, by the way, could not get more Italian (see photo), we reflected on what we might change.
Checkered tablecloth, vino, red sauce, bottled water.
Because earlier that afternoon we had made our way off the beaten track to find a pizza place only locals went to and enjoyed the feel of real city--not tourist explosion--I wished we had done something similar in Florence. On our way back into the city hub we passed Romans buying shoes off sidewalk tables, and I ate a rose gelato.
The best mushroom pizza ever.
My other regrets were a contemporary art museum in Venice (I had plumb forgot on our one short day) and not noticing our hotel in Rome was adjacent to an excellent-looking bakery until we were walking to dinner and it was closed. Three minor regrets? Overall, we killed it.
Hotel breakfast.
The Vatican was expensive, but now I've seen the Sistine Chapel. It looks like the pictures though. Not sure if that makes it more or less important to see. We also accidentally planned our visit for Wednesday morning mass. No wonder there were so many people milling around the piazza! I've now seen the pope.
Pope, yo.
Borghese Gallery was the best way to spend our last afternoon. If you don't know, the Borghese is all about making connections from various aesthetics and time periods to conformed ideas. While Renaissance art isn't necessarily my jam, the nectar of inference is. Fitting for a big trip. When we return to where we're from, our biggest baggage are the connections we carry.
Me as an extra in a Wes Anderson film set in Borghese Gardens.
We woke up at 6 to offer plenty of time for an 11 AM flight, but once we were ready we were alerted via email the flight had been bumped two hours later. "You know what this means," said Bisque. And of course he meant that regret bakery would be open! We bought a tiny apple pastry, a napoleon, and a ricotta fluff. Coupled with the light Italian breakfast we always had at hotels and the copious orange juice I drank on the plane, it was a sugary trip back to Arizona. I was ready.
Ciao, Italia!
It's easier to be Puff, but it's harder to be Sean.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Italy: Part Four

The coolest thing about Rome is also what makes it one of the hardest places to travel: there's just cool ancient junk everywhere. It's exciting at first like, "Oh my. What is that huge marble thing! Let us take photographs and reference the guidebook!" But after half a day you're like, "Yeah, yeah, I know. Some important dirt clods." It's tiring really. There's a disease I began to catch called "over-taking-things-in."

That said, I enjoyed eating sweet bread in the shade a stone's throw away from where Cesar's house once stood. "He walked this road," Bisque said. "He probably ate his lunch here once or twice." It was exciting and the smallest bit heart-breaking to see directly into the Coliseum ground level. All those scared little gladiators. We made a lot of Russel Crowe jokes.
The catacombs were cold and creepy. The best was getting out into the country. The greens and the white flowers that bloomed everywhere. The same petals that fell in my childhood backyard. I hadn't smelled them since, and I pressed my face to the plants as we walked to bus stops.

Gelatos, The Spanish Steps. Allegedly romantic but bunkered with annoying peddlers. A good view. A good view. Goodnight, Rome.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Italian Birthday

Hoisted our duffels and made our way (regretfully) trainward ho. Goodbye, Cinque. I stopped in the teeny market for a little block of Parmesan and some native sweet bread. Four hour trip to Rome requires snacks.

We had a two hour delay in a quaint station with nothing but a trashy gift shop and a McDonalds. We decided to enjoy a couple lattes and were delighted by the assortment of pastries McDs had. I ate a super flaky, dusted with powdered sugar, ricotta cheese poof. Quite honestly it was the best breakfast I had all trip. If a year ago you would have told me my birthday breakfast would be from Ronald himself I would have probably assumed my life somehow unraveled to disastrous shambles and not that I would actually be very satisfied.

The weather was perfect. Creamy clouds and faint smells of countryside. On the train I planned to read more of A Room with a View, but we ended up in the most serendipitous of cars! Six little seats filled by three couples in their twenties from the US, Austrailia, and India. We spent the entire time asking each other questions about our cultures, comparing, contrasting, commenting on what we'd seen of Italy so far. I still can't get over this really. It seemed almost planned, but it was just the luck of the 19 Mag!

We decided to cab to our hotel in Rome to avoid pickpockets and a transportation headache after a longish trip. It was cheaper than we expected and much appreciated. I opened my window as the new city air whipped in.

For dinner we found a little checked-tablecloths and all pizza place. My main request was to have two gelato for dessert. The night was young. We visited The Pantheon, people watched for hours with gelato number one (chocolate orange) in hand.
We watched a street clown for a bit and headed to Trevi Fountain. Stayed on a bench from early dusk until it was completely lit watching couples kissing and large groups tossing coins behind them.

I chose a delightful lemon gelato two, Bisque made good on his promise for a backrub and we planned our very busy marrow. I reflected on the year as I drifted to sleep.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Italy: Part Three Point Five

Donned my new polka-dot suit. AM ferry to village four. Onion foccasia. Bisque saw the boat from afar, said, "We will be on the top level." As in, "We will fight anyone to the death if they try to take the unadulterated sunshine and ship breeze from us."

At Monterossa we had panna cotta cones and shuffled to the beach. We set a fifteen minute timer for Bisque's lily white skin, but he still came out pink.
The ocean was very cold. We waffled about how far we'd wade in, but finally I dunked  and never looked back. Every time I've gone to the ocean I waffle and then dunk and never regret it.
"My brain's a raisin," my lobster guy said re: the tired conversations we were having. Sunsleepy. We had dinner at the same little place. A cheese plate and followed it with real ciocollatta and cream. I ate a dang biscotti, which I had been clamoring about since arriving in Venice.

Italy: Part Three

This was the Italy I imagined. The vines of tiny green grapes wrapping up the hillside. The dark swimming hole. Cemetary perch.
We had our "Big Nice Meal" in the nicest spot our guidebook recommended. Reservations are "a must" we read. Our little host greeted us with vigor and shots of lemonchello. We asked about dining tonight at the top of the hill. He was on the phone in a flash. "9 PM balcony? He is my friend." I wore my new cream dress.
We were seated just after sunset, when the ocean glowed pink. Bread and cuttlefish ink pasta and fresh anchovies, mozzarella prawn, calamari, sweet onion tuna--all in tiny boats, bite-sized and increasingly divine. I drank a vanilla tea and we shared a tiramisu. Bisque left for the bathroom, and I sat, as I now often do with no cell service, quietly enjoying my loneliness.
When he came back he asked me what time I thought it was. I didn't know. But, my, was it dark. "Eleven," he said. I asked for a second dessert--a chocolate almond cake--and we made it home close to midnight.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Just Rosy

More updates to come, but for now, this snap of a moment on the vineyard trail of Manorola.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Italy: Part Two

Uffizzi was probably a couple of the worst hours of my life. Menstural cramps hit hard and I was like "Venus? That's cool, but I think I might scream and/or rip out my own womb and fling it onto this Michaelangelo real quick." I felt bad for hustling Bisque through, but later we discovered he doesn't enjoy lingering in galleries anyway. Actually, the whole ovary explosion was probably a benefit for him as I would usually have been diddling around the plaques and leaving him bored at the end of every hall.

I spent most of the day crying or trying not to cry because I was emotional about basically everything from the street violinist playing Cats (interestingly enough I was not moved by "Memory" but more enraged that people internationally still love Cats when it's really just fine.) to extreme sadness that we had little slabs of only mediocre pizza for dinner and never took a bus anywhere and I saw a hurt pigeon outside the Museum of Modern Art and why didn't Bisque hold my hand through that crowded sidewalk?

David was impressive, sure. We saw some neat crypts. Churches that are so incredible you start to walk into rooms with only one phenomenal piece of stained glass and think, "Pfft. People are supposed to pray in this dungbox?"

Florence was good to me in that it stayed cloudy while we walked everywhere and I had this surprise fantastic Parmesan gnocchi for lunch. But, sigh, you can take the girl out of the Midwestern May, but you can't take a Midwestern May out of the girl. Mainly I was ready for Friday to end.
Luckily it did. And when I awoke our breakfast in bed of coffee and croissant included a small berry muffin. We had one item on our itinerary before the train. We climbed the Duomo. The sun burst in through the patches of concrete in the steep steps. The top was real Italy like you see in books. I felt my smile pump back into my face.

It was a joyful day of transit thanks to Bisque's navigational skills and the vending machine milk bars.

I listened to Light in the Piatzza while he slept. We arrived in Cinque Terre, literally breathtaking. Welcome to Leg Three.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Italy: Part One

This gull sat on top if St. Mark's square like it owned the place. It doesn't even know who St. Mark was. (Neither do I.)

Nevertheless, on an evening stroll in this same square, we heard a gorgeous orchestra version of "My Heart Will Go On." That morning we tried to have coffee in the first cafe it was sold in Italy. It was a 12 euro fee to sit. I ate a small flower-shaped cookie on the sidewalk and we had lattes around the corner. We caught a boat to the cemetery island to see Stravinsky's grave. Men with roses shove them aggressively at you. I tried very hard to learn the phrase for "I would like" but it escapes me always, so "please" has to do.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mum's Day

Been thinkin' a couple nice mom thoughts today. I remembered this lil happening from ten years ago (!) scarcely important, near forgotten.

The spring and summer before I moved to St. Louis--end of my sophomore cusp of my junior high school days, the beginnings of licenses, the end of hanging around with nothing to do but watch Degrassi--I was always with the gruesome twosome Liss and Knoze. The three of us were a weird crew, but there were were.

It didn't even matter who was speaking the words at some point. I was going to summer camp in a month. None of us were quite old enough to have jobs. "Hey, let's hang out." "What should we do?" "I don't know." "I don't know." "I don't know." "Let's just go--"

When someone did have a semblance of desire, it was exciting. On this one summer day in 2004, Lissa really wanted to see Mean Girls. I had my license but couldn't drive more than one passenger until I was 16.5. I asked my mom to take us. She said yes because she wasn't working at the time and generally up for drop-offs. My mom never made me feel bad for driving me places, which I always really appreciated. I got ready. But suddenly Alice Sr. was pale, half-opened eyes.

"I'm just not feeling that well." She said. I made the calls. No on Lissa's mom. No for Knoze. We could walk. It was far. I told my mom we'd go another day. She said, "No, it's really okay." I hadn't heard much about the movie besides the Parent Trap chick was in it, so I truly didn't care. But the lady grabbed her keys and walked carefully to her car. She drove at quarter-speed as to not throw up. The theatre was about ten minutes away. She stayed quiet and we respectfully said thank you. I worried a little, but there was kind of a goldenness to the whole thing. She said she's be fine to pick us up, and I knew she would be.

Mean Girls was an important movie for me to see. I would have seen it another time, I'm sure, but maybe not in theaters, maybe not before my move, maybe not before I needed to hear Cady explain the uselessness of judging a mathlete with a unibrow. Thanks to my mom.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

26 Snapshots, Spring Semester 2014

-Eating greek yogurt on the new poofy couch, watching The Real World: Explosion.
-Defending my thesis with a big smile, a bleeding thigh, and a chocolate stain on my dress.
-The three yahoo freshmen who sat in the front row every Screenwriting class: the backwards Sox cap, the famous name, the blond with a rubber bracelet.
-Dropping the bowl I was cleaning in the sink, screaming hysterically for Bisque, cockroach scuttling under the dishwasher.
-Getting the "rocking horse" and "reverse basic" on Monday night Step.
-Cartwheels in bare feet on the Santa Monica beach after winning improv regionals.
-Bex snapping photos in the Tucson salon, my hair on the ground.
-Crying in the Target parking lot. Hot day.
-Webpages about periods and Italy open in the hip coffee house.
-Trotting the outdoor mall with my sister. Palm trees and blue.
-Wet, tired, aching feet--welled with hope--mile 24.
-Henne ordering me to buy trash because we entered the rare food store with snowy boots.
-Three coaches cuddled in one bed watching Poltergeist on a computer.
-Clenching my fists, a person speaking behind me I could not like. Talented women only.
-Chelle in the 80s chair, we talk issues, we write our movie.
-I use the side door out of Literary Management. Classmates don't.
-Playing High School Musical until the playwrights woke up.
18. -The longest ride to New Mexico there ever was.
-Lights up after The Whale. The whole row in tears. Apple pasty.
-We eat chili. Muffy's family explains everything about zombies.
-Talking until the end of time in two neighboring twin beds with kid sheets.
-The post-gym shower on Saturday afternoons.
-My multi-color pack of felt-tipped pens. Doodling article notes.
-Sittin' with the kid in shorts above the auditorium, talkin' drama.
-Are You The One? and buttermilk donuts with the women of DZ.
-"The more I think about it. The more less interested I am."

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Finals Tradition

Every spring of grad school, the night I complete my grading, I go swimming, sit in the hot tub, cook mac & cheese, and eat a huge Reeses's product over a TV show I have been saving for the celebratory occasion.

I took this photo after I had eaten Kraft pumpkin-shaped mac, watched Girls, and consumed a rabbit. I was noting how full I felt, and also my tan lines from sunning with my finals notes.
Last year. Velveeta Shells & Cheese, half-price Reese's egg, SNL.

Tuesday. Annie's Organic Cheddar Mac, full-price Reese's egg, Mad Men. I don't live in the condo with the pool anymore, so I snuck in. 

I look different in each because I am.

I watch the ripples change their size,
but never leave the stream.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

People in Pictures from the 90s

20somethings in pictures from the 90s look so fierce and joyful. And a bit like slobs.

There's a PostSecret this week with two 90s college friends jumping, estactic. The caption, "And in this moment we were infinite." I believe it.
Photobombing a touching graduation memory in 2012.
Photos were still rare then, but not so rare you would need to sit still holding a parasol to pose for one. The disposable was king. You never knew how it would be. At this point in my life I've seen more pictures of myself this year than those grunge-os saw in a decade. There's something careless about the poses. Most likely they'll rattle around in someone's car for a few months after being developed at the drug store, flutter out the window on a brisk day.

Anything could be seen by quite literally everyone now. There must be a part of us that knows, even when we're not fixated on the fact. Just someone holding a phone vertically is a threat. "What are you doing? Reading something? Likely story." We sit up straight and add the tiniest smile to ourselves. "Now I look lovable," one might think. "And thin."

And I thought I'd live forever, but now I'm not so sure.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Were We Wild And Young?

When we were 16, my friend wrote on her LiveJournal, "I shouldn't be sad. My boyfriend's awesome and the Sox are winning." I doubt she remembers the day or why she was blue. The journal has been deleted, but that line has always stuck with me. And perhaps high schoolers can be myopic and immature, but sometimes they're more keen than any of us could dream to be.
I don't remember, were we wild and young?
All that's faded into memory.
I feel like somebody I don't know.
Are we really who we used to be?
Am I really who I was?

The lights will draw you in,
and the dark will bring you down.
And the night will break your heart
only if you're lucky now.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

There's Only One

After a full decade relationship with the series, I finally finished One Tree Hill. In high school a friend lent me the DVDs so I could join in on the lunch table discussion. I was sad that fall. I couldn't sleep one night, so I watched the first episode. There was something right about One Tree Hill. Yes, it's a teen soap. Yes, the main characters got married at the end of the first season (also known as their junior year), but the feel was real. A high school that maybe didn't always exist, but one that sometimes did. Something resonated. I watched until four AM that night. And when I slept, I slept well.

It went from bad to terrible fast. Too many kidnappings, exhausted heart transplant plot lines, a stalker step-brother. You know. It's trash. The last good season was Four. It lasted 'til Nine. But there was always a bit of sweetness at the bottom of the cup.

The final season was fine. The producer must have known. The characters waded around in superficial messes. But I will miss you, One Tree Hill. There is always something about the end television. These people who guided you for more than a third of you life--they no longer exist. These people who once got you through that long night as a confused teenager.

Me at the River Court. Yes, I visited the set. 2011.
It's the oldest story in the world. One day you're seventeen and planning for someday. And then quietly and without you ever really noticing, someday is today. And then someday is yesterday. And this is your life.