Friday, December 26, 2008

Year in Review

A Maudlin, Juvenile New Year That Needs to Grow Up

The beginning of 2008 was rather awful. This is an understatement. Mostly I slept, cried, drank too much, and threw up whatever I tried to eat. There's nothing like a close friend almost dying, then verbally assaulting you because you got sad after listening to two months' worth of his tragic stories.

It was much meaner than that, from my perspective. But I already posted all of the truly mean event and unposted them. It was therapeutic, although I sense no one probably read what I wrote and he likely doesn't remember what he said.

At any rate, those good times ended when said individual requested a "respite" from me. Although he has contacted me since to tell me that he's getting married and that I shouldn't forget that I'm an artist and other nonsense I don't care about, I plan to continue the respite, because I'm just maudlin and juvenile like that.

Technology Brings Us Closer(ish)

This year introduced me to such wondrous technological innovations as gchat, facebook, and (sigh) World of Warcraft. (WoW is entirely the fault of my little sister, who hoped I would play so that we could spend quality time together online. It's always helpful to be able to lay the blame for your addictions at the feet of another.)

Sure, I've had people discover me online that I had rather hoped would remain buried, but I've resuscitated old friendships and grown closer to several people I didn't think I would ever really get to know well. It's hard to imagine, but this year would have been infinitely more difficult for me without gchat. I would give gchat a big hug, if it had arms or a body.

No Nebraska

I just couldn't do it, at the end of the day. Really, I wanted to go to graduate school in Nebraska because I had given up entirely on love, and I needed a distraction.

Given what happened immediately after I decided not to go, I suspect that I made the right choice.

Cinco de Mayo

Everything changed on Cinco de Mayo, when my Knight in Shining Interpol T-shirt arrived. My knight's name is Chuck. (And so is his father's, and my father's, and my grandfather's.) More on this later.

Tim Russert

In May, Tim Russert passed away. Anyone who knows me decently well has probably heard me discussing the degree to which Tim affected my life. He was my Sunday, every Sunday. I was at my parents' house introducing them to Chuck when I learned that Tim had died. Friends called offering condolences. I cried into my new boyfriend's chest for days. I teared up seeing Tim's face on the cover of People in the grocery store. I never met Tim Russert, but his intelligence and humor and compassion will be with me always.

David Gregory is a suitable host for Meet the Press, but Sunday will never be quite the same to me.

The Axis of Evil

Continuing this year's theme of betrayal, I was outed by a close friend to some colleagues at my old place of employment as having referred to them as the Axis of Evil.

I denied it when confronted, but I'm willing to confess to it now. Because they deserved it, and it's wickedly witty.

Entertainingly, one of the Axis felt that I was referring to only her, and claimed that she "didn't even know what it meant!" I guess this explains why she thought she could be a triumvirate of potential nuclear threats to the United States of America.

This event reinforced for me that I will never, never, never be friends with anyone who was born on October 28 (see entry #1 for another offender born on this date). At least, they will have to provide compelling evidence that I should be their friend, and possibly cheese.

I Quit!

I didn't really intend to quit my job and leave Culpeper. It just happened. I went to visit Chuck in Richmond in the middle of June, and never went back. Radar enjoyed playing with his new friends, Charlie (who, as an adopted dog, my boyfriend did not name after himself, he swears) and Nomi. I interviewed at a community college and got the job. I unceremoniously dumped the prestigious middle school job that I had held for the past three years, and left.

I miss my old friends who now live two hours away, and I know that I don't communicate with them nearly enough. I'll be sure to add that to my list of New Year's Resolutions.

Good Rejections

After a streak of publishing success in the past few years, this has been the year of the Good Rejection for me as a writer. I was a contest finalist and quarterfinalist. I received a series of encouraging notes about poems that didn't get published.

So, while I suck this year as a writer, I could definitely have sucked worse.

In fact, the only thing I got accepted was a pedagogy paper for the annual AWP conference, which I plan on attending next February. Look out, Chicago, as I prepare to unleash my lesson plan on writing about ugliness.


I turned 30 this year. Honestly, it wasn't a big deal. I was teaching my second day of classes at the college, and some of my students wondered how old I was.

"How old do you think I am?" I asked.

"I dunno. Like, 24?"

As I grow increasingly older, I'm sure I'll appreciate these incidents still more, even when I'm getting carded trying to buy Bacardi Pomegranate Mojitos at the grocery store for the bazillionth time.


When I met Chuck, one of the first things he wanted was for me to meet his cousin Jamie. Actually, what he said was, "If you want to be with me, you need to meet Jamie."

Jamie had serious medical problems since she was born, and they grew progressively worse until she finally lost the ability to walk. By the time I met her, strokes had left her unable to speak, either. Still, she laughed watching Chuck pretend to fall down (apparently something that had entertained her for many years).

Jamie died in September. She was 23. I'm grateful that I knew her.


Like many others I know, I became excited about Barack Obama after the Democratic Convention in 2004. I remember sitting in Ex-fiancee's apartment listening to the speech and feeling as though, in some small way, something had changed.

After the election was finalized, Chuck told me that he remembered watching the convention with his ex as well, feeling the same sort of elation I had felt then.

This just goes to prove that, while love doesn't always last, Barack is Forever.


It's been an uneventful fall. I'm glad to be beyond the drama that usually follows me from place to place, to be sitting contentedly with Chuck's feet in my lap and the dogs loudly protecting us from squirrels (or neighbors on skateboards, or leaves, or whatever they're barking at).

It's refreshing that, as I write The Love Project's final entry for 2008, I am actually in love.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

How I didn't get killed

This is the story of how my parents called the cops because they thought I had been abducted and murdered by a stranger.

In a way, the story begins at Cinco de Mayo.

In another, it begins with the efforts I made to pick myself up off the floor in the aftermath of the Pseudoboyfriend Incident of 2008--primarily, venturing out in to the magical land of online dating once again. Perhaps I should have been wary, because that's how I ended up meeting Pseudoboyfriend in the first place, and that didn't exactly leave me unscarred.

But, on the other hand, I figured that I had an entire summer before me, and I wanted adventure. I wanted to meet some new people, explore new places. Get someone to buy me lunch maybe. Nothing serious.

(Anyone who is wondering why I would try online dating instead of meeting real-life men obviously has never visited Culpeper. But I can explain if anyone would like.)

Long story short, I was really enjoying talking to this one guy about our dogs and music, when he stopped talking to me. When he came back, I realized that I'd missed him. In an entirely unSanuvial maneuver, I actually told him. (Normally, I might blog about it or something similarly passive.)

We realized then that we'd like to meet each other. But he lives in Richmond, which isn't necessarily close to Culpeper, and it was going to take some planning.

But then it was the day before Cinco de Mayo, and my friends thought I should invite him to their party. It seemed a safe bet that he wouldn't attend, since it was a Monday night and, like most people, he had to work the next day.

And then he showed up. I really liked him. My friends really liked him.

This could have turned out creepily, but we got along so well that I agreed to go visit that weekend, which coincided with Mother's Day.

I turned off my cell phone to attend a comedy club and neglected to turn it back on.

When I got home the next day, I had several very sad sounding messages from my parents, and one from my sister, explaining that my parents thought I had been killed by this marvelous man I'd just met.

They had called the cops and everything.

Over a month later, I am still not dead, and I am ridiculously content with my new boyfriend.

Maybe that stupid saying is true sometimes, and love finds you when you're not looking for it.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Happy Birthday, Tim Russert

Tim, you know there's no 58 year old network pundit that I love more deeply than you.

Congratulations on your birthday, you sexy, sexy thing.

Just so this will now be googleable: Tim Russert is sexy.

There. I said it.

There's far more interesting news than Tim's birthday (sorry, Tim), but it's going to take more time to write than I have before bedtime. So you'll just have to wait.

Monday, April 21, 2008

For Those Who Are Wondering...

I decided not to go to Nebraska next year, but did take full advantage of my deferment option.

In the final analysis, it made the most sense to take some poverty-reducing measures this year, and petition for funding from every possible department in the winter.

And, perhaps, to apply to a few other programs.

Or do something entirely unacademic.

Or marry a rich man, as my grandmother always dreamed I would.

See here, Nebraska. The world is full of possibilities for me. Of all of them, you were the only one that would cost me.

Perhaps next year will find me hidden in the corn.

Perhaps not.

Commenters should feel free to offer crazy suggestions for what you think I might do with myself. The crazier the better.

I'm all ears (bad corn pun not intended, I swear).

A Letter to Jason Mraz

Jason, I remember the first time I heard you singing on the radio.

I said to my boyfriend at the time, "I really like this song. This guy has a great voice."

He said, "I think it's stupid."

It should surprise no one that he is long gone, and you still remain, a little flame warm under the skin.

It's safe to keep feeding this particular fire. We've practically met, now, pressed our palms against each other on a sidewalk in Richmond (and your palm was cool and soft). But we didn't really meet.

I was standing there with my girls, far too early for your concert, when you came out with your little guitar. Who could believe it was you, so close? We had never imagined it was possible. We didn't even have cameras.

You sang "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," (which is becoming a bit of a theme song for me these days) and even in the open air the notes rang like the purest of bells from your throat. But I couldn't tell you my name, or how I think we might fall in love, if we ever did meet.

There was just your palm against my palm, your palm against all the other palms of all the other strangers standing there, all the intimate skin of those dozens of hands touching and withdrawing. And how safe it is to love you, whom I can never lose, who will never remember me.

Thank you for that moment. Thank you for your song.