Lunch Spot

From today's spectacular 3-hour hike.


Room With a View

So a two-and-a-half hour bus ride from the Denver airport landed us at the Beaver Creek Resort. Biggy and I will be renting mountain bikes and taking to the hills. This is OK. BUT all the stress has given me a fever blister. Add it up:

>Hair the color of your grandpa's army boots.

>No warm clothes, because when they said to pack jeans, I just packed what I always wear for jeans occasions--sun dresses.

>An extra head growing on my lip.

I'll keep you posted.


So I haven't posted about this, because it's somewhat traumatic for me. I'm sitting at the airport right now, waiting with about a hundred of Biggy's coworkers plus their SO's or guests, to catch a flight to Denver (why?), a destination we just found out this morning after boarding the charter buses (on which Jello shots were consumed, but not by me) to the airport. We were informed about this shindig back in December but not told where we were going. Guesses ran the gamut from Atlantis to Dollywood, but no one pegged it. We were given t-shirts, suitcases, and a packing list.

Does this sound like fun to you? Then you are not me.

To make this even better (Rupert, you will love this), I colored my hair last night, and it looks like a used shoe polish. So picture it--me, in a bad-hair ponytail, wearing a bad logo t-shirt and a name tag, waiting to fly somewhere that is NOT the beach.

Good times.

Stay tuned.

Kathy, I'll call you.

Friday Nostalgia

Because Biggy didn't get Jon Stewart's "Guess Who's Coming to Denver" reference:


Sweet Nothings

Here is the conversation Biggy and I had in regard to two school events scheduled on the same day:

Biggy: Would you rather go to Jack's Open House or Lola's Target Orientation?

TR: Well, at Jack's, I'd have to change classrooms every five minutes, which means a lot of walking the halls, so I'd just as soon go to Lola's and sit in the trailer.

Biggy: That's fine. I'll go to Jack's then. Anyway, it will be good for Lola's teacher to know she actually has a mother.


Biggy: If you want, I can draw you a map to the classroom.


The Bert Show Blows in a Storm

Because of the monsoon here in Marietta, I had to take JackMan to school today. (When he drives his big boy car, he has to park about 3/4 a mile away at a friend's house.) On the way, I had the radio turned to Q100, as always in the morning.

TR: Wow, they really crack themselves up, don't they?

Jack: Do you listen to the Bert Show just so you can hate on 'em?

TR: Yeah.



TR: Do you hear that cackle?! Doesn't Melissa's laugh make you want to pull all your hair out?

Jack: Pretty much.

TR: It's like biting into aluminum foil.


TR: Let's count the grammatical mistakes. Last week, she said the drinking age was RISEN instead of RAISED. Like Jesus.


Pot Roast

Biggy: Why did you cook it in a bag?

TR: It had all the seasonings and stuff.

Biggy: So it was a kit?

Voicemail from Georgia


Number one: Thanks for telling me to google Harlequin babies, because now I'm gonna have nightmares for the REST OF MY LIFE!

Number two: I'm having pains in my leg that feel like restless leg syndrome mixed with a migraine mixed with a toothache, so call me back and let me know if you think it's nothing or if I'm going to die from a blood clot or something.


Waxing Nostalgic on Sunday

I came across this image of the old Cobb Center, which was all we had before the mega-mall phenomenon. I grew up shopping at its Woolworth's, which had a diner and a pet department with goldfish and parakeets. For really special occasions, we bought dresses at the anchor store, Rich's, pictured above.

When I was a teen, I worked there at a clothing store named Saul's, which sold women's and men's clothes. Saul's catered to the Polident crowd and had the biggest Sansabelt slacks selection north of the panhandle. I was one of about ten 16-19-year-olds they employed, and we were managed by a handful of housemothers in cat-eye glasses and sweater sets. Further up the totem pole was Mr. Warbell, a stern-looking middle-aged man whose dour expressions inspired us to see how much we could get away with.

We acted like a bunch of rowdy cousins, sneaking around behind the racks, sticking each other with push pins, and messing up each other's stations. We were always getting fired and rehired. We partied together, went to the beach, and dated each other until we split up to go to college. One of the boys, a beautiful blond I used to go parking with (necking only) by the lake, went to UGA like I did, but he ended up being a cheerleader and all that implies. (And I'd always thought he was scared to "do it.")

My friend Ann, whom I'd grown up with, got me the job at Saul's. She also convinced me to use her hair stylist, Mr. Lee, at the mall salon. Mr. Lee was kind enough to stay open late for us, so we'd go after work and be the only two clients in the shop. He always made us scoot forward in the chair and stood right between our legs to cut. He also had to measure an important hairstyle angle distance by placing his thumbs on our nipples.

We discussed his methodology, Ann and I, but decided he was like a doctor, so it was okay. A little less okay was the good-bye kiss he gave each of us, trying to slip us tongue. I swear, if my girls were as stupid as Ann and I were, I'd beat their meager brains out. Then I'd go kill me a pervert. Our hair looked great, though.

Happy Accident

I was Youtubing for a new diabetes meds commercial I wanted to make fun of, one where this 45/50-ish dad claims he's gonna dance at his four-year-old's wedding. (Not to imply he won't live that long, but rather to quip along the lines of how he also has a daughter from his first marriage, who's the same age as his second wife, with whom he had the four-year-old...) I never found the tv spot I was looking for, but I came across this, which makes me feel better about marriage in general:


Friday Nostalgia

The Carol Burnett Show, 1967-1978. My mom and I thought Lyle Waggoner was such a hunk.


Another Case in Point

When I came downstairs this morning, I found the usual collection of glasses and bowls in the sink, with the tell-tale film of protein shake and peanut butter that is Biggy's hallmark. So after I got Lo off to school and fed the dogs, guinea pigs, turtle, and hamsters, Biggy sashayed in freshly showered, trying to decide what he wanted to eat:

TR: I've come up with an analogy that might be helpful.

Biggy: Let's hear it.

TR: Your leaving your dishes in the sink, which is right next to the dishwasher, which I always unload, is the equivalent of my leaving trash on the floor by the pantry door instead of opening the door and putting it in the trashcan--because the trash is your job.

Biggy: Let me think about that one a minute.


Biggy: That's a good analogy, but we still don't have any paper towels.

TR: Don't go off subject.

Biggy: Maybe it's more like: My leaving the dishes in the sink is like your leaving your shoes all over the closet floor instead of putting them on the shoe shelves.

TR: As an analogy, that doesn't work, because you don't have to put the shoes on the shelves in order for something else to happen. The dishes HAVE to go in the dishwasher in order to be washed. My leaving my shoes on the closet floor is the equivalent of your leaving your shoes in our bedroom floor. I put your shoes up EVERY DAY.

Biggy: (Who's been writing something on a piece of paper as we chat.) Here, read this out loud. (Turns paper around, on which is written " I AM A WEE TODD. I AM SOFA KING WEE TODD IT.")

I, of course, am too smart to fall for it.


We Can Argue About Anything

Last night, it got pretty heated over which Olympic sport looks the most ridiculous.

Biggy's opinion, trampoline:

or mine, curling.


Nails on a Chalkboard

For me, Mama Mia was a lot like liturgical dance--appalling and slightly nauseating. So why did I like the movie so much?


A Look at the Future

When we got Timmy a couple of years ago, he was the size of a quarter:

It's been a little worrisome that he's already grown to the size of Biggy's head:

But after the news this morning...

Dog Hair

Because wrinkles aren't bad enough.

I ironed skirt and shirt, laid them out on the bed, went to take a shower:


Moe, Larry, and Curly

Lola on School Lunches

TR: What did y'all have today?

Lo: Grilled cheese. I want to bring my lunch.

TR: Noooooo...

Lo: Yes. The hamburgers are flat, and the hot dogs stick to the wall.

TR: How would you know that?

Lo: This kid tested it out. A bad kid. He had nothing to lose.

A Good Tuesday Song

While I was at Mt. Holyoke, fellow Warren Wilson alum Catherine S introduced me to the music of Catherine Feeny.


Dear Georgia,

Biggy and Blaise are sitting on the couch, in front of the TV, bonding over women's olympic volleyball tonight. It's really heartwarming.

First Day of Third Grade

The tradition endures:

Biggy makes the pancakes.

Lola eats the pancakes.

Pose for a quick pic in the white undershirt.

To the bus.


A Comment that Became Longer than a Comment

This is my response to a comment I received on this past Friday's "Nostalgia" post. First, let me be clear: I feel great gratitude mixed with sorrow for those who serve this country.

Second, I actually appreciate and value the tradition of the yellow ribbon--the same way I understand and appreciate the impulse to hang wind chimes near a loved one's grave in a cemetery. Feeling so powerless against certain powers, we must, sometimes, express our grief, fear, or hope through gestures and objects.

But I was indeed poking fun at our ignorance of the ORIGINS of our symbols. In my previous post on the subject, I didn't go back very far into the roots of the yellow ribbon, which go well retro-beyond the 70's classic, harkening back to an old folk song of dubious subject matter. This from Wikipedia:

In the United States military, the symbol of the yellow ribbon is used in a popular marching song. The first version copyrighted was the 1917 version by George A. Norton, which he titled 'Round Her Neck She Wears a Yeller Ribbon (For Her Lover Who Is Fur, Fur Away). While he tells in the song about the love between Susie Simpkins and her soldier lover Silas Hubbard, his chorus goes:

'Round her neck she wears a yeller ribbon,
She wears it in winter and the summer so they say,
If you ask her "Why the decoration?"
She'll say "It's fur my lover who is fur, fur away.'

The lyrics were altered and the song was titled She Wore a Yellow Ribbon by Russ Morgan for the 1949 movie of the same name. This was performed by several popular musicians of the 1940s, including Mitch Miller and The Andrews Sisters. The text of the Army version approximates the following, with local variations:

Around her hair she wore a yellow ribbon
She wore it in the springtime
In the merry month of May
And if you ask her why the heck she wore it
She wore it for her soldier who was far far away

Far away, far away
She wore it for her soldier
Who was far, far away

Around the block she pushed a baby carriage
She pushed it in the springtime
In the Merry month of May
And if you ask her why the heck she pushed it
She pushed it for her soldier who was far far away


Behind the door her daddy kept a shotgun
He kept it in the springtime
In the merry month of May
And if you ask him why the heck he kept it
He kept it for her soldier who was far far away


On the grave she laid the pretty flowers
She laid them in the springtime
In the merry month of May
And if you asked her why the heck she laid them
She laid them for her soldier who was far far away


The fact that we get so far away from the origins of our symbols is funny--and poignant-- to me, because it says so much about our NEED, and how we pick and choose what we appropriate--and what for: Besides "Support Our Troops," the yellow ribbon is also used to raise awareness for bladder cancer, endometriosis, hydrocephaly, teen suicide, "Boycott Aruba," and "Free Harry Wu," among others. A comprehensive list of ribbons and their meanings says much about how desperate we are for symbols, as well as our taste for kitsch. Not to mention our ability to capitalize on all of this.

I could trace certain aspects of Christmas and Easter, whose symbols have their roots in pagan rituals, but I'll save that for another post (over the holidays!). I'll say, however, that I believe it's what's in our hearts that really matters, as we glom onto our ritual and symbology, that what we BELIEVE we are celebrating is the important thing.

Furthermore, knowing (and facing) the truth about these traditions doesn't change anything--any more than the truth about how this war started has changed the fact of our fighting it.

May all our young men return home to us safely. Let the yellow ribbons make it so.


What's Wrong With This Picture?

Saturday Things You Might Not Know

Yesterday, at lunch, I was telling my fellow writers about the time my cat gave birth to a two-headed kitten, which led to a discussion about how cats can have a litter of kittens who have different fathers, which led to the question of whether that occurs with humans. Turns out, twins can have different fathers, but the odds for it happening are just slightly better than for my winning a Nobel Peace Prize.


Friday Nostalgia

Just a reminder about the origins of our 'yellow ribbon' tradition here in the USA. While yellow ribbon folklore dates back to the Civil War or earlier, it was the 1973 Tony Orlando and Dawn song, which made a dramatic comeback eight years after being recorded, that is responsible for the ribbon's current ubiquitousness. When the 52 American hostages held in Iran returned home after 444 days of captivity on January 20, 1981, the song--about a convict who's served his time-- was played throughout the land as a joyous homecoming theme.

It's true, boys and girls. You gotta love this country!


What's Wrong With Me?

I'm grateful to be here. Aside from two days of rain, I've got no bloggable complaints. And the classes have been great. I mean, where else could I go for a class on nothing but interjections and how they work in poems? It made me happy.

But I'm homesick. It's true. Just call me 'Georgia.'

I'm ready to come home. A week is too long to be away. I need Biggy and the kids in slapping distance. I miss Fay's constant rebound off my shins and the end-of-week smell of the guinea pigs' cage.


Things My New Friends Don't Believe

1. That I have ten pets.

2. That my aunt once had a teacup chihuahua that smoked cigarettes.

3. That my father wore one driving glove.

4. That my grandmother broke her arm jumping on my pogo stick.

5. That my grandfather thought he was Jesus and went around dressed in robes and sandals.

6. That, to practice her acting skills, my best friend in fifth grade would sit in a bathtub full of scalding hot water and smile like it didn't hurt.

7. That my husband wears socks with flip-flops.

8. That my mother puts up more Christmas lights than Graceland.

9. That sometimes I take a bath with my dog.

10. Anything I tell them about the Clermont Lounge.


Playing Hooky

Until now, I've attended every official function of the conference--all readings, workshops, classes, and lectures. I don't want to miss anything, because I want to take advantage of this rare opportunity to learn more from people I admire.

BUT, I am, at the very moment, ditching an event. Not because it's an unworthy one, but because I never acquired the maturity to sit still and appreciate certain types of theater or performances. Interpretive dance, for instance, or poetry that's accompanied by drummers, dancers, or a chorus. Or anything at all with nudity--even partial. I'm also given to fits of giggles during weddings and funerals, occasions I cannot always simply opt out of. I don't know how that's connected, but it seems to be, so I put it. The maturity thing, I guess.

Anyway, one of the alums does characters. She dresses up like Emily Dickinson or, in today's case, Zelda Fitzgerald, and inhabits that personality for an hour or so. There's a monologue, and then she takes questions from the audience (as Zelda).

Once, I accidentally saw a woman in Marietta who does the same thing with Mary Todd Lincoln. Mary showed up at a reading, surprising everyone. It turns out, the lady was a pretty well-known historical impersonator. I hadn't even known there was such a thing. As was inevitable, I had to sneak out in the middle of her monologue, faking a coughing fit to disguise my snorts of laughter.

I can't explain why these types of things lead to paroxysms--or why they make me so uncomfortable, which is more likely the case. All I know is it's a huge risk for me to attend, and I'm not doing anyone any favors if I do.

I'm sure it was lovely.


Lesson for Today

Today, a great class given by Babo Kamel and Alex Pierce on the Glosa, a form of poetry that requires one to borrow four lines from another writer's poem. Besides learning the rules of this form, the discussion centered on the ethics of such appropriation and borrowing in general, a subject I find fascinating as it relates to all of us who create anything in this culture of media bombardment. And I don't mean to sound critical with that last statement--just making an observation. We ARE bombarded with media, for good or bad, and as so much information lodges into our subconsciousness, we're going to see more blurring of the lines between "original" work and derivative. That's why it is SO important to find our authentic voices in the midst of it all. But I do think we can borrow from one another, to the extent that we inspire one another, giving credit where credit is due. I once came across (online) a collage in which the artist had used the text of one of my poems. I was honored.

Anyway, during the class, they played this Leonard Cohen song, based on his own translation of the Frederico Garcia Lorca poem, Little Viennese Waltz. See if you can hear the differences in the Cohen lyrics.

Little Viennese Waltz

In Vienna there are ten little girls,
a shoulder for death to cry on,
and a forest of dried pigeons.
There is a fragment of tomorrow
in the museum of winter frost.
There is a thousand-windowed dance hall.

Ay, ay, ay, ay!
Take this close-mouthed waltz.

Little waltz, little waltz, little waltz,
of itself of death, and of brandy
that dips its tail in the sea.

I love you, I love you, I love you,
with the armchair and the book of death,
down the melancholy hallway,
in the iris's darkened garret,

Ay, ay, ay, ay!
Take this broken-waisted waltz.

In Vienna there are four mirrors
in which your mouth and the ehcoes play.
There is a death for piano
that paints little boys blue.
There are beggars on the roof.
There are fresh garlands of tears.

Ay, ay, ay, ay!
Take this waltz that dies in my arms.

Because I love you, I love you, my love,
in the attic where the children play,
dreaming ancient lights of Hungary
through the noise, the balmy afternoon,
seeing sheep and irises of snow
through the dark silence of your forehead

Ay, ay, ay, ay!
Take this " I will always love you" waltz

In Vienna I will dance with you
in a costume with
a river's head.
See how the hyacinths line my banks!
I will leave my mouth between your legs,
my soul in a photographs and lilies,
and in the dark wake of your footsteps,
my love, my love, I will have to leave
violin and grave, the waltzing ribbons

Federico GarcĂ­a Lorca


College Days

All this college talk has me thinking about my own undergrad days at UGA. This was my house on Milledge Terrace. Well, the right side of the bottom floor, with the screened porch. I'm working on an essay about the house, but I'll mention that Kathy's garage apartment was directly behind me, on the next street over, and there was a trail through the little bit of woods between us. Too bad I can't tell all the stories.

More on the conference tomorrow.


What the F*&%!

There was fried chicken for dinner, so no complaints there. But during the meal, the subject of manuscript titles came up, and I mentioned that I needed to change mine--to which someone in the group, who's read my manuscript, readily agreed and suggested, "I was thinking Princess Diaries." Ouch is all I gotta say.

Anyway, we heard some inspiring readings tonight, and now it's time for me to watch Lawrence Welk. Not really, but someone else at dinner mentioned nervous breakdowns, which reminded me of my schizowack grandmother, who always watched it on Saturday nights, 8 o'clock.

Blogging Live, From Mt. Holyoke

I feel like a monk.

In the Car With Biggy

On the way to the airport:

TR: Did you listen to the Bert Show yesterday morning?

Biggy: NO. Why?

TR: It was a "best of." I swear, they don't work more than they do. Anyway, I turned on just in time to hear a re-run of "Annie," the stupid 13-year-old they have on to give advice. What do they think it is, Radio Disney? It was boring enough the first time. Like, like, like....

Biggy: You know how, when you bite into a food you hate, you don't go back for seconds--

TR: --Yeah, yeah, well, I turned it to the The Real Guys, but that was like listening to three Jeff Daulers. Idiots.

Biggy: That show is FUNNY.

TR: No, THEY think they're funny. They crack themselves up. Just like Jeff. Ugh!

Biggy: MEN think they're funny. Trust me.

TR: No, 14-year-old boys think they're funny. Not smart boys, either. The kind of boys who light their farts.

Biggy: Well, I guess I have a 14-year-old's mentality.

TR: Exactly. Hey, I ran into my old AA sponsor at Publix the other night.

Biggy: Did she have alcohol on her breath?

TR: (stares out the window.)

Biggy: What did you WANT me to say?!

TR: You didn't have to say anything! It was just nice to see her.

Biggy: Did y'all do the secret handshake?


Because Misery Loves Company

Except for the beautiful Cirque Du Soleil, which isn't really one at all, I've always hated the circus--the clowns, the freaky carnies, the smell of elephant shit. Not for me. I'd rather stay home and clean out the guinea pigs' cage.

Once, when I was visiting various churches, trying to find one I could tolerate, I went to the Unity Church in Atlanta. It was in a huge contemporary building (cedar, high ceiling, lots of exposed wood) that reminded me of my friend Josie's house when we were growing up. Everything was going okay (in spite of the slobbery old man stationed on the front steps whose job it was to hug the newcomers), until about halfway through the service, when they decided to promote their upcoming carnival. A flock of clowns descended from the balcony--my idea of Hell on earth, and I was out of there. Really, I should be safe from clowns at church.

I felt the same way tonight when I saw a unicyclist on the bike trails. I felt violated. It might as well have been a mime or a juggler.

Overheard at Portfolio Center

Student 1: I'm having a hard time deciding what to do for my environmental design project.

Student 2: How 'bout an eco-friendly strip club?

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Writer, teacher, student, mom.

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