Footloose + Fancy

Someone asked me the other day if I have a favorite word. The question both amused and stumped me. At the time I tried to call forth a word from the deep parts of my brain, the back of my tongue, to whisper out, to share, to answer with. But I couldn’t think of one word that I consider to be my favorite.
Instead, I was overwhelmed with words I love, words in other languages, names of foods, babies, foreign countries, types of liquor and cake and so on. It didn’t seem fair to give the prestigious title of “favorite” to just one of them. I didn’t have an answer.
A few days later, I thought about the question on my subway ride home, climbing up the stairs to my apartment, reading in bed. Words and syllables filled my brain as I made my way past the city lights and skyscrapers, past the bins of trash and hordes of people. 
It was of course, this question, that inspired me to start yet another weekly addition to this blog, this time, le parole (the words, in Italian). This addition may be less interesting to some and more interesting to others. It may not be as put together and will certainly be more conceptual.
Today’s feature is the word ebullience. It is a lovely word, one that rolls off the tongue with the tiniest hint of a pout.
To me, the word sounds like a fancy restaurant in Spain, the twist of a French silk scarf, the sound of the air settling after it rains, the quiet ringing in one’s ears after the final note of a Broadway show. It is graceful and expresses happiness with every vowel and consonant. It is a pleasure to say. 

Images: 1, 2 and the best of all, 3

Someone asked me the other day if I have a favorite word. The question both amused and stumped me. At the time I tried to call forth a word from the deep parts of my brain, the back of my tongue, to whisper out, to share, to answer with. But I couldn’t think of one word that I consider to be my favorite.

Instead, I was overwhelmed with words I love, words in other languages, names of foods, babies, foreign countries, types of liquor and cake and so on. It didn’t seem fair to give the prestigious title of “favorite” to just one of them. I didn’t have an answer.

A few days later, I thought about the question on my subway ride home, climbing up the stairs to my apartment, reading in bed. Words and syllables filled my brain as I made my way past the city lights and skyscrapers, past the bins of trash and hordes of people. 

It was of course, this question, that inspired me to start yet another weekly addition to this blog, this time, le parole (the words, in Italian). This addition may be less interesting to some and more interesting to others. It may not be as put together and will certainly be more conceptual.

Today’s feature is the word ebullience. It is a lovely word, one that rolls off the tongue with the tiniest hint of a pout.

To me, the word sounds like a fancy restaurant in Spain, the twist of a French silk scarf, the sound of the air settling after it rains, the quiet ringing in one’s ears after the final note of a Broadway show. It is graceful and expresses happiness with every vowel and consonant. It is a pleasure to say. 

Images: 1, 2 and the best of all, 3

I love a lot of ladies. For starters, I love my Mom. She’s my favorite human. In addition to that, I love my childhood friends, Liz, Stephanie and Maya. I love my step-mother, Wendy. I love ladies who lunch, and brunch and talk about politics. I love ladies that wear cool hats and have really strange looking coats, and who walk the streets of Brooklyn. I love ladies who know what they want and order it at a cake shop (“I’ll have one of everything please. Yes, it’s for one.”). I love historical ladies. I love ladies who filibuster. I love ladies that cook, walk marathons (yes, walk), design handbags, and write mystery novels.(But I DO NOT love ladies who exhale way too loudly in yoga class). 
And so, with all that love I thought I’d start a weekly “column” or gathering or showcasing of the ladies that I love. Here is today’s group (a very special one indeed).
Kathleen Bennie. I have known Kathleen my entire life. I met her on the day that I was born and I try to call her every morning to ask her what she had for breakfast (usually French toast or a toasted fish sandwich, these days). She is the strongest woman I know, and by far the most intelligent person I’ve ever come across in my twenty-four years. Her collection of books and wealth of knowledge are inspiring—if not completely intimidating. She refuses to put up with disrespectful and ill-mannered people—a trait she has graciously passed along to me. She is gentle and kind and loving in the most honest way. And she makes the most wonderful scrambled eggs, macaroni and cheese and cups of tea. I know that I am lucky, in so many ways, but I feel even more lucky and grateful that I got to grow up with a grandmother like Kathleen. She is someone that I loved from the moment I met her, and a person I will try to emulate as I grow older. She’s the greatest there is. Truly.
Julia Child. This one is a tad cliché, but then again, I can’t really see a world in which a person doesn’t love Julia Child; everyone loves Julia Child. With her infectious laugh, her unapologetic attitude and delectable recipes, love for her overflows from kitchens and homes around the world. I first learned of Julia and Mastering the Art of French Cooking in college, when I was still eating from the salad bar and stale boxes of cereal. The summer of my sophomore year, I was an intern at a local newspaper and I worked closely with the food editor, expanding my palette and widening my waistline. Julia’s name was thrown around a lot, and it was her recipe for Potato Leek soup with which I first impressed friends at an intimate summer party. A few years and a new address later, Julia and her recipes have followed me to Brooklyn. I keep her close by—for I know who to turn to when I need to cook for a dinner party, console a friend with a comforting dish or make a meal that will remind me just why I love food—and Julia, so much.   

Jane Campion. More people may know who Jane Campion is now that her new series, Top of the Lake, is available for streaming on Netflix. But I have loved her for at least a few years prior to the new show. The first Campion film I saw was The Piano, which sparked in me a love and fever for her work and dialogue. I respect her films enormously, and enjoy watching them as they usually have a component of mystery, of passion, of female desire that I find particularly curious and realistic. It is as if Campion examines not just what her characters think, but how they think, delving into the world of the human psyche, particularly the female psyche. Top of the Lake, which stars Mad Men’s Elizabeth Moss, is bold and stylistic and interesting and extremely compelling—I watched it in a weekend and have recently begun re-watching it. It’s worth the time you will spend in your bedroom, huddled under a pile of blankets, ignoring all calls and eating copious amounts of Annie’s mac n’ cheese. 

I love a lot of ladies. For starters, I love my Mom. She’s my favorite human. In addition to that, I love my childhood friends, Liz, Stephanie and Maya. I love my step-mother, Wendy. I love ladies who lunch, and brunch and talk about politics. I love ladies that wear cool hats and have really strange looking coats, and who walk the streets of Brooklyn. I love ladies who know what they want and order it at a cake shop (“I’ll have one of everything please. Yes, it’s for one.”). I love historical ladies. I love ladies who filibuster. I love ladies that cook, walk marathons (yes, walk), design handbags, and write mystery novels.(But I DO NOT love ladies who exhale way too loudly in yoga class). 

And so, with all that love I thought I’d start a weekly “column” or gathering or showcasing of the ladies that I love. Here is today’s group (a very special one indeed).

Kathleen Bennie. I have known Kathleen my entire life. I met her on the day that I was born and I try to call her every morning to ask her what she had for breakfast (usually French toast or a toasted fish sandwich, these days). She is the strongest woman I know, and by far the most intelligent person I’ve ever come across in my twenty-four years. Her collection of books and wealth of knowledge are inspiring—if not completely intimidating. She refuses to put up with disrespectful and ill-mannered people—a trait she has graciously passed along to me. She is gentle and kind and loving in the most honest way. And she makes the most wonderful scrambled eggs, macaroni and cheese and cups of tea. I know that I am lucky, in so many ways, but I feel even more lucky and grateful that I got to grow up with a grandmother like Kathleen. She is someone that I loved from the moment I met her, and a person I will try to emulate as I grow older. She’s the greatest there is. Truly.

Julia Child. This one is a tad cliché, but then again, I can’t really see a world in which a person doesn’t love Julia Child; everyone loves Julia Child. With her infectious laugh, her unapologetic attitude and delectable recipes, love for her overflows from kitchens and homes around the world. I first learned of Julia and Mastering the Art of French Cooking in college, when I was still eating from the salad bar and stale boxes of cereal. The summer of my sophomore year, I was an intern at a local newspaper and I worked closely with the food editor, expanding my palette and widening my waistline. Julia’s name was thrown around a lot, and it was her recipe for Potato Leek soup with which I first impressed friends at an intimate summer party. A few years and a new address later, Julia and her recipes have followed me to Brooklyn. I keep her close by—for I know who to turn to when I need to cook for a dinner party, console a friend with a comforting dish or make a meal that will remind me just why I love food—and Julia, so much.   

Jane Campion. More people may know who Jane Campion is now that her new series, Top of the Lake, is available for streaming on Netflix. But I have loved her for at least a few years prior to the new show. The first Campion film I saw was The Piano, which sparked in me a love and fever for her work and dialogue. I respect her films enormously, and enjoy watching them as they usually have a component of mystery, of passion, of female desire that I find particularly curious and realistic. It is as if Campion examines not just what her characters think, but how they think, delving into the world of the human psyche, particularly the female psyche. Top of the Lake, which stars Mad Men’s Elizabeth Moss, is bold and stylistic and interesting and extremely compelling—I watched it in a weekend and have recently begun re-watching it. It’s worth the time you will spend in your bedroom, huddled under a pile of blankets, ignoring all calls and eating copious amounts of Annie’s mac n’ cheese. 

You could do a few things this weekend. You could: 

1. Catch the new, and fabulous, film Blue is the Warmest Color, and love it so much because it is so good. 

2. Celebrate a week of good living by living it up (Ja Rule style) in a room filled with giant disco balls.

3. Leave someone you love, or hate, a gift. In this case you would be leaving someone you love some flowers. I’ll leave the hateful gift up to you. 

4. You could take a trip to somewhere extra fancy, or diplomatic, and pose in front of small buildings. 

5. You could don a pretty blouse, and head to an art gallery opening, a new restaurant, a roller derby or a book club meeting. 

We are headed to the Brooklyn Night Bazaar, to see some galleries in Chelsea, and throwing a house warming party in our new digs. Whatever you do, I hope it’s grand. 

I’ve been reading the Best American Short Stories, edited by Salman Rushdie and last week on the train I read one story that really resonated with me. The story is called “The Year of Silence” and is written by Kevin Brockmeier, and it is so well-written and the concept behind it made me feel like the many issues I’ve had about living in New York have been validated.
It begins in a city, and this city is like every other city in the world: busy, bustling and full of noise. But in this case, the people of this metropolis experience something like a phenomenon in which a moment of silence passes through their lives—a moment where everything stops and all is calm and no noise is emitted. Nothing moves or breathes or makes a sound. Rocked by the hush, the people of the city begin to long for another moment of noiselessness, so much so that they decide to manufacture their own city-wide silence.
By using their wits and their skills and putting their heads together, the people are able to silence nearly everything that makes a noise. In the story, they live like this for quite some time, reveling in their quiet environment and taking in their own thoughts and feelings without the burden of sound to interrupt them. But then, something funny happens—a rare moment of noise passes through their day—a blip of vibration, where everything makes the sound it used to make before it was silenced.
Rightfully so the people of the city are shocked. They are so shocked and moved by hearing the sounds that they used to hear that they begin to long for the lives that they used to live. Underground clubs that promise “live sounds” of water rushing and leaves crunching pop up all over the city and people crave the daily disruption of noise they used to call living.
By the end of the story, the people have removed the noise hindrances that they put in place and they once again live in a city filled with noise.
What I love so much about this story is how it seems to get humanity—we experience something exceptional and we appreciate it and like it so much that we have to recreate it or duplicate it and then, once we’ve done those things our duplications are never as good as the real thing. It’s almost always better to wait and to experience these rare and delicate moments in life rather than attempt to reconstruct them.
It’s funny—but this sort of theory of waiting is how I’ve learned to cope with the noise levels in New York. I cringe at the sound of the subway’s wheels scraping on the metal rail and to quiet my stress I think about how later, I will take a quiet walk down a street in Brooklyn or sit on my roof top and watch the airplanes fly high above. Amidst the hustle and craziness, moments of stillness are hard to find but I like to remind myself that they are usually always there, waiting for me, and for you.  

This story is just a story, of course, but it illuminates a part of my life that I find particularly difficult and it reminded me that at times it’s better to just settle for the real thing and to never take for granted moments of respite and silence. They exist for a reason—to balance everything out. 

I’ve been reading the Best American Short Stories, edited by Salman Rushdie and last week on the train I read one story that really resonated with me. The story is called “The Year of Silence” and is written by Kevin Brockmeier, and it is so well-written and the concept behind it made me feel like the many issues I’ve had about living in New York have been validated.

It begins in a city, and this city is like every other city in the world: busy, bustling and full of noise. But in this case, the people of this metropolis experience something like a phenomenon in which a moment of silence passes through their lives—a moment where everything stops and all is calm and no noise is emitted. Nothing moves or breathes or makes a sound. Rocked by the hush, the people of the city begin to long for another moment of noiselessness, so much so that they decide to manufacture their own city-wide silence.

By using their wits and their skills and putting their heads together, the people are able to silence nearly everything that makes a noise. In the story, they live like this for quite some time, reveling in their quiet environment and taking in their own thoughts and feelings without the burden of sound to interrupt them. But then, something funny happens—a rare moment of noise passes through their day—a blip of vibration, where everything makes the sound it used to make before it was silenced.

Rightfully so the people of the city are shocked. They are so shocked and moved by hearing the sounds that they used to hear that they begin to long for the lives that they used to live. Underground clubs that promise “live sounds” of water rushing and leaves crunching pop up all over the city and people crave the daily disruption of noise they used to call living.

By the end of the story, the people have removed the noise hindrances that they put in place and they once again live in a city filled with noise.

What I love so much about this story is how it seems to get humanity—we experience something exceptional and we appreciate it and like it so much that we have to recreate it or duplicate it and then, once we’ve done those things our duplications are never as good as the real thing. It’s almost always better to wait and to experience these rare and delicate moments in life rather than attempt to reconstruct them.

It’s funny—but this sort of theory of waiting is how I’ve learned to cope with the noise levels in New York. I cringe at the sound of the subway’s wheels scraping on the metal rail and to quiet my stress I think about how later, I will take a quiet walk down a street in Brooklyn or sit on my roof top and watch the airplanes fly high above. Amidst the hustle and craziness, moments of stillness are hard to find but I like to remind myself that they are usually always there, waiting for me, and for you.  

This story is just a story, of course, but it illuminates a part of my life that I find particularly difficult and it reminded me that at times it’s better to just settle for the real thing and to never take for granted moments of respite and silence. They exist for a reason—to balance everything out. 

I know that it’s not really possible, but at times, I think that I can feel myself getting older. I don’t mean gray hairs, varicose veins and an inability to hear—what I mean is, I can feel myself developing and moving away from the person that I used to be or the things that used to occupy my time in college, in high school, or even last year. Of course there are the obvious behaviors that have faded from my day-to-day—less drinking, Cheez-It eating, Ebay shopping for “fancy face cream”, but there are also behaviors that are not as tangible that have up and left the building, like worrying less about where my life and career is headed.
The last one is the one that gets me—it is the trait that has defined my personality and how I have dealt with things for most of my adult life. For the past five years or so, I’ve always fretted about whether or not I’m on the “right path” or, what the “right path” is, or if I’m smart enough, talented enough, cool enough, attractive enough. Re-reading that sentence, my fears and worries are so trivial, so seemingly juvenile and, I’ve noticed that now that I have a year of actually living and doing and surviving on my own, I worry about what’s right and if I’m doing it, infrequently.
Maybe getting older isn’t about forgetting to pick up your dry cleaning or not knowing who Rihanna is, maybe it’s just forgetting to worry about the shit that is absolutely meaningless when it comes to living a good life. I just don’t have enough time these days to worry about why I didn’t know this shade of lipstick was a beauty trend last year, or how my life would be different if I would just give juicing a try.
November in the city is a cold month. Most of the leaves have fallen from their respective branches and the residents tend to walk a little faster, with a little more intention, as if they’re headed home to a warm fireplace and good book. This autumn, I’ve noticed a change in my perception of the things around me. It could be the bareness of the season or the acute sense of change, but whatever it is, it has imbued the way I listen and interact with others with a kind of quiet, of ease.

Instead of interrupting my boyfriend, my parents, my colleagues, I hush myself and listen to arguments, monologues, and opinions. I accept the things on my life to-do list and take them one day at a time, worrying not about whether or not I will get them done or if I can afford a house with a sauna/raise a show pony, but instead just trying to enjoy them as they come and know that someday things will all work out. Because if they don’t I have a backup plan: move to Italy and open a cake-by-the-slice shack/margarita bar and raise golden retrievers with French names like Croissant, Chouchou and Crème Brûlée . 

I know that it’s not really possible, but at times, I think that I can feel myself getting older. I don’t mean gray hairs, varicose veins and an inability to hear—what I mean is, I can feel myself developing and moving away from the person that I used to be or the things that used to occupy my time in college, in high school, or even last year. Of course there are the obvious behaviors that have faded from my day-to-day—less drinking, Cheez-It eating, Ebay shopping for “fancy face cream”, but there are also behaviors that are not as tangible that have up and left the building, like worrying less about where my life and career is headed.

The last one is the one that gets me—it is the trait that has defined my personality and how I have dealt with things for most of my adult life. For the past five years or so, I’ve always fretted about whether or not I’m on the “right path” or, what the “right path” is, or if I’m smart enough, talented enough, cool enough, attractive enough. Re-reading that sentence, my fears and worries are so trivial, so seemingly juvenile and, I’ve noticed that now that I have a year of actually living and doing and surviving on my own, I worry about what’s right and if I’m doing it, infrequently.

Maybe getting older isn’t about forgetting to pick up your dry cleaning or not knowing who Rihanna is, maybe it’s just forgetting to worry about the shit that is absolutely meaningless when it comes to living a good life. I just don’t have enough time these days to worry about why I didn’t know this shade of lipstick was a beauty trend last year, or how my life would be different if I would just give juicing a try.

November in the city is a cold month. Most of the leaves have fallen from their respective branches and the residents tend to walk a little faster, with a little more intention, as if they’re headed home to a warm fireplace and good book. This autumn, I’ve noticed a change in my perception of the things around me. It could be the bareness of the season or the acute sense of change, but whatever it is, it has imbued the way I listen and interact with others with a kind of quiet, of ease.

Instead of interrupting my boyfriend, my parents, my colleagues, I hush myself and listen to arguments, monologues, and opinions. I accept the things on my life to-do list and take them one day at a time, worrying not about whether or not I will get them done or if I can afford a house with a sauna/raise a show pony, but instead just trying to enjoy them as they come and know that someday things will all work out. Because if they don’t I have a backup plan: move to Italy and open a cake-by-the-slice shack/margarita bar and raise golden retrievers with French names like Croissant, Chouchou and Crème Brûlée . 

So far the weather this August has been calm, with cooler temperatures and a heavier breeze than July. I keep expecting to turn around and see September already, but we’ve only just begun the eighth month of the year, and I’m already ready for some change.

At the beginning of this month, I began a new job and moved into a new apartment. I now live with three men in Brooklyn, in an apartment with funky wood working and a rickety fire escape. Right before I dove headfirst into these two new parts of my life, I stopped to think about how much my life has changed since I first moved to New York.

Over the past year and a half, I’ve stopped worrying about things I can’t control: my own inevitable demise, other people’s eating habits, what people think of my shoes, etc. I’ve gotten better at crossing the street, I know the best times and locations to hail a cab, I can dole out directions to nearly anyone who asks and I know where to buy the best tomatoes in my neighborhood. I’ve snuck into the MOMA…twice. I’ve danced on a rooftop overlooking the city-scape, Empire State Building all aglow. I’ve played whiffle ball with random park people and held conversations with the homeless.

And, looking back on my fear and initial unease, my hesitation and stress, I wish I could just take the shoulders of that girl and shake her and say, it’s going to be fine. Everything will be fine. It will. Trust me.

This past weekend I was walking home alone—a rather long walk from Prospect Park—and I was listening to a podcast where two people were having a conversation about what it’s like to be in your 20s. They wondered aloud if they’d ever want to go back to that period of their lives, knowing what they know now. They agreed that if they knew now that everything was going to turn out well, and fine and good and even better than they thought it would, then they would absolutely go back and re-do their early years.

They would re-do that time when you don’t have kids to worry about, or marriages to upkeep, or mortgages to pay. They would re-do that time when you’re so scared that one misstep is going to alter your life forever. They would re-do the penny pinching and the whole-day sadness and the questioning everything and falling in love with so many different people and that what-ifs and if not now, but whens. They’d re-do it all.

And it kind of gives me hope, you know, that such admirable people who’ve been so down before, would re-do what many claim to be the most difficult time in our lives. Even though I’ve got six years to go in my 20s, I wish I could yell at my former self, squeeze her, and ask her to let go of so much worry and live a little. To stop thinking so much about my future and start caring more about what’s going on right in front of my face.

I’ve got plans, you know, a brewin’. There are so many things I want to do before the summer is over. Most of them though, are pretty easy to accomplish and they are less concerned with 401Ks and financial stability and my career and shit-ton more carefree. Number 1 and Number 2? Do a handstand in the ocean and drive a go-kart.

Here’s to an upcoming fall. It’s gonna be good. 

You could do a few things this weekend:

1. You could go to the farmer’s market and buy some veggies, or you could just  take a picture of them and wish you bought them #poor.

2. You could get caught in the rain with a loved one!!!!!!!!!!!! (barf)

3. You could do some reading in the sunshine or some writing by the window.

4. You could read a good book in the park while someone paints your portrait.

5. You could learn how to make a fly cocktail and impress your friends.

6. You could host a potluck.

7. You could take a much needed nap with a loved one. (sweet).

I have been lucky enough to have had some amazing teachers influence my understanding of the world: my English teacher senior year of high school, Mr. Krill. My Scottish grandmother, manners coach and fireside companion, Kathleen Bennie. My Post Modernism professor/ Vermont state senator, Phillip Baruth. But the teacher that stands out in my mind as someone who taught me how to appreciate education as it applies to life and living and joie de vivre, was Marybeth Browne.

Initially she was my fifth grade teacher and later, my sixth grade teacher—a transition my fellow classmates and I attributed to our charming influence and addictive personalities. We assumed she wanted to teach us so much more that she couldn’t bear to let us go on to another teacher, another year, another set of readings lists. And despite our arrogant pre-teen temperaments, we knew that we were relieved, elated to have her for another year. We, a small group of wry, outspoken and welcoming Mainers, loved her.

Memory is such a strange thing, the way it operates. I am willing myself to think of classroom lectures or projects we may have worked on, books we may have read—but instead I just remember small, little details about my time with Marybeth. I remember what her hands looked like: long, elegant fingers that were always cold and sometimes coated in chalk dust from writing on the board. I remember the long straw on her water bottle and how much water she drank on a daily basis. I remember the layout of each classroom, I can see her talking in my mind and I can see myself listening, smitten. I remember she treated each and every one of her students as if they were important people, people who had something to say, people who had emotions that were just as real as someone 10 years our senior. And, I remember her laugh. She seemed as if she was always laughing or smiling or happy about something.

Throughout the two years that our circle of classmates spent with her, she got engaged, she became pregnant and she talked often about her cat Scout. One of her milestones was announced via a hangman game, but I can’t recall which one.

I realize now, that I can’t remember if a certain spelling test or math problem changed the way I thought about education. What I do remember is how I felt about learning, how much more I wanted to know when I was in her classroom, how much I could appreciate in her presence. “Joie de vivre” doesn’t quite cut it for Marybeth. It was more like an intense passion for everything, seeping out through her eyes and ears and mouth and voice. Having kept in touch with a few classmates from this inner circle, I know they too, feel the same way about her: she came into our lives for brief, fleeting moment, but changed them forever.

I have been lucky enough to have had some amazing teachers influence my understanding of the world: my English teacher senior year of high school, Mr. Krill. My Scottish grandmother, manners coach and fireside companion, Kathleen Bennie. My Post Modernism professor/ Vermont state senator, Phillip Baruth. But the teacher that stands out in my mind as someone who taught me how to appreciate education as it applies to life and living and joie de vivre, was Marybeth Browne.

Initially she was my fifth grade teacher and later, my sixth grade teacher—a transition my fellow classmates and I attributed to our charming influence and addictive personalities. We assumed she wanted to teach us so much more that she couldn’t bear to let us go on to another teacher, another year, another set of readings lists. And despite our arrogant pre-teen temperaments, we knew that we were relieved, elated to have her for another year. We, a small group of wry, outspoken and welcoming Mainers, loved her.

Memory is such a strange thing, the way it operates. I am willing myself to think of classroom lectures or projects we may have worked on, books we may have read—but instead I just remember small, little details about my time with Marybeth. I remember what her hands looked like: long, elegant fingers that were always cold and sometimes coated in chalk dust from writing on the board. I remember the long straw on her water bottle and how much water she drank on a daily basis. I remember the layout of each classroom, I can see her talking in my mind and I can see myself listening, smitten. I remember she treated each and every one of her students as if they were important people, people who had something to say, people who had emotions that were just as real as someone 10 years our senior. And, I remember her laugh. She seemed as if she was always laughing or smiling or happy about something.

Throughout the two years that our circle of classmates spent with her, she got engaged, she became pregnant and she talked often about her cat Scout. One of her milestones was announced via a hangman game, but I can’t recall which one.

I realize now, that I can’t remember if a certain spelling test or math problem changed the way I thought about education. What I do remember is how I felt about learning, how much more I wanted to know when I was in her classroom, how much I could appreciate in her presence. “Joie de vivre” doesn’t quite cut it for Marybeth. It was more like an intense passion for everything, seeping out through her eyes and ears and mouth and voice. Having kept in touch with a few classmates from this inner circle, I know they too, feel the same way about her: she came into our lives for brief, fleeting moment, but changed them forever.

Today is my very first birthday—well, my blog’s very first birthday. Though this isn’t exactly a momentous occasion or one that even requires a cake (but you can bet I will get one later), I’m excited that I’ve been blogging for 365 days and that people stuck it out with me and continued reading even when the writing got shitty and the cake jokes became rampant (see above). It’s exciting in a way.

Looking back on my notes and posts and pictures, there are some that are slightly cringe-worthy. But, I guess writing is an evolving process and we’re all bound to make mistakes along the way. I think it’s alright as long as I resolve to try harder in the future and brush up on my grammar and stop talking about gin and cake, because it seems like I’m either hugely fat and drunk all the time or have little to write about.

Browsing through my posts from the past year, a few stuck out. Some are good, most are bad and some are just senior-yearbook-picture-ugly. Let’s start with the terrible and then end on a good note:

This little post is so disorganized and there are waaaaay too many commas and I say “y’all” and it’s so embarrassing, but it’s my (blog’s) birthday so I can cry over my bad writing if I want to!
This post is terrible. And the outcome is even worse.
This post may be a bit on the rambling-side of things, but I enjoy it because it’s true and makes me smile and also makes me loathe those people all over again.
I love this post just because I still love this feeling and think about these little moments from my childhood and was daydreaming about this very thing this very morning.
And this, people, is just good advice.

Here’s to another 365 days and better writing.

Today is my very first birthday—well, my blog’s very first birthday. Though this isn’t exactly a momentous occasion or one that even requires a cake (but you can bet I will get one later), I’m excited that I’ve been blogging for 365 days and that people stuck it out with me and continued reading even when the writing got shitty and the cake jokes became rampant (see above). It’s exciting in a way.

Looking back on my notes and posts and pictures, there are some that are slightly cringe-worthy. But, I guess writing is an evolving process and we’re all bound to make mistakes along the way. I think it’s alright as long as I resolve to try harder in the future and brush up on my grammar and stop talking about gin and cake, because it seems like I’m either hugely fat and drunk all the time or have little to write about.

Browsing through my posts from the past year, a few stuck out. Some are good, most are bad and some are just senior-yearbook-picture-ugly. Let’s start with the terrible and then end on a good note:

This little post is so disorganized and there are waaaaay too many commas and I say “y’all” and it’s so embarrassing, but it’s my (blog’s) birthday so I can cry over my bad writing if I want to!

This post is terrible. And the outcome is even worse.

This post may be a bit on the rambling-side of things, but I enjoy it because it’s true and makes me smile and also makes me loathe those people all over again.

I love this post just because I still love this feeling and think about these little moments from my childhood and was daydreaming about this very thing this very morning.

And this, people, is just good advice.

Here’s to another 365 days and better writing.

You could do a few things this weekend:

1. Paint a picture of some cacti.

2. Watch the rain fall.

3. Sip on a drink, seductively.

4. Host a dinner party for two, in your cool green house (alternative: in your home, duh.)

5. Hang out with like-minded people.

6. Explore the great outdoors on two wheels.

Whatever it is, have a good one.