Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fight the Hoarding!

A few episodes of Hoarders today made me delve a little deeper into Bea's closet, which is more like the dumping ground for all of my junk. My goodness, what a ridiculous amount of useless things I have kept over the years.

I made a couple important decisions today:

1) I am throwing out all the wedding invitation catalogs that I accumulated while I was toying with the start up of "Emily Blair Designs" back in 2007. And with them go the half-dozen paper sample books that I took from my paper supply store in Illinois. It felt very professional at the time, but I'd be lying if I said I'd looked at any of it even once in the past three years.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not throwing away my hopes of starting up a paper/card-related type of business. It is an ongoing dream of mine, shared with my sister Amy. And maybe I'm just kidding myself here, but I really think we can do it...someday. Anyway, I figure if I ever do get serious about that again, there will be plenty of current invitation catalogs and paper samples to accumulate then.

2) I am throwing out (most) of my clippings from entertainment magazines which included pretty much anything I could find on Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow as a couple, Nicole Kidman in Tom Cruise days, some Mel Gibson, some Harrison Ford. In my sickness (mild hoarding that is), I've convinced myself for now that it's okay to hang onto any Audrey Hepburn, Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, or James Dean clippings because they're classic. Oh, and David Duchovny. I have such an extensive collection of X-files related stuff, it's in a different league. I know I will have to throw it out eventually...but not...quite...yet.

Ultimately, I know I am doing the right thing here. Or at least I'm doing a morally neutral thing, but there is still some part of me that is sad because I think that in 30 years it would be really neat-o to look through a bunch of old magazines and when I'm 60 I'll be kicking myself saying, "What I really need right now is a good full-page spread of Brad Pitt from 1997."


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Parenting Thought of the Day

I had a thought yesterday about parenthood, as I often do these days, and I'd like to write it down somewhere. I guess here is as good a place as any.

Allow me to severely preface this thought by saying that I do not think I am any sort of parenting expert just because I have one almost-six-month-old baby. Becoming a parent teaches you a lot; I think I have just barely begun to scratch the surface of how much. However, I don't think that just because I'm a newbie that I can't have one or two valuable thoughts on the subject. Also, I am not turning this into a "mommy blog" where I start posting you recipes for quick dinner casseroles, patterns for making your own organic cotton diaper bag, and tips on grass stain removal.

So, anyway. Here it is:

Parenting is a delicate balance between letting children be the exact age that they are and encouraging them to be older.

It's simple, I know. But that doesn't make it uncomplicated in practice.

Also, I am not trying to limit or define parenting by using the verb "is" here. This is just one aspect of parenting.

Can you tell I'm a little nervous about writing about parenthood? I'll try to get over it.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Shameful Memory #4: Playground Diva

The other day I was taking a walk outside in the sunshine with Beatrix and I was singing. I was making myself sing to her because I am usually a little reticent to sing aloud, but I think it's nice all the same. I'd like Bea to have fond memories of me, you know, singing in the kitchen while I bake chocolate chip cookies and stuff.

My singing repertoire for the baby is rather sparse. This is mainly due to my bad memory for lyrics. I should say that I can sing along to songs just fine; turn on the radio, it's like I know every word. But if I'm singing on my own, the lyrics just run out of my head. I sing hymns because I usually know the first verse really well. Christmas songs are good too. Most of the time I just end up humming.

The other problem is that I am an alto and I tend to start songs too high. (Secretly I suspect that I have perfect pitch and start them in the correct key, but that's still too high - I can never sing along with them in church either which is why I should really learn to harmonize.) Even some of my favorite hymns I can't pull off without dropping an octave mid-song. That's just not the kind of music lesson I want to give Bea.

So, anyway, the other day, walking and singing. I remembered that I knew this old David Wilcox tune rather well and I began to sing it. Unfortunately, this song comes with some baggage.

When I was a sophomore in high school, my closest girlfriends and I managed to befriend a particular group of boys. It was the hinge to the unfolding of our entire upper-classmen social lives. These boys were football players, and "popular". We were quiet and off the radar, though generally well-liked. The connection was sensational. I mean, we really hit it off. It started with one innocent invitation to hang out, a note on a windshield one afternoon, and suddenly we became one big happy co-ed family.

One day, over summer break or something, we (boys included) were hanging around one of the elementary school playgrounds in that sort of ironic, innocent, photo montage kind of way. Some of my friends were up on the monkey bars, others were going down the slide, I decided to be elusive over on the swingset. As I was swinging, trying to really soak in the beauty of teenage freedom or something as profound, I began to sing. (I was always doing this, posturing melancholy because I thought it seemed romantic.) I was singing "Show the Way" by David Wilcox. It was downright inspirational. You should have been there.

Somewhere around the second verse my good friend Betsy and one of the boys approached me and grabbed their own swings and we all swung together. I didn't stop singing...Why didn't I stop singing? I finished the whole song, chorus, verse, chorus, probably even added in the background vocal parts. And when I was finished, I think I just turned and started talking to my friends like everything was totally normal.

To this day I'm not quite sure what my motivation was. I think that I thought I was being appropriately reflective, possibly evangelistic, and that my friends would benefit by hearing the song. I think that I thought they would admire both my singing voice and my depth of character. As it stands, I actually have no idea what they thought of me, but I am nevertheless humiliated at the memory. I suppose it's fitting to feel humbled when you have undeservedly puffed yourself up.

Let's consider it lesson learned. Now, I just wish I could get that song back without the embarrassment attached. It's a good song. Go listen to it.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It Was Just Like a (Really Bad) Movie!

Digging through that box some more, I have found three different dreams that I wrote out. One of them was from October, 1997. The other two were from consecutive nights, June 4th and 5th, in 2008.

I should say that I have very vivid, intense dreams almost every night of the week. On any given morning, I can usually recall what I dreamt about, for the first few hours anyway. I have never regularly journaled my dreams, although I've considered it (at least twice, by the looks of it). Clearly, it has never stuck.

I'm not even sure why I wanted to write these particular dreams down. Perhaps it was just because I remembered so many details upon waking. Their content is certainly not of any lasting value. Somewhere in my narcissism, I have probably believed that I am actually precognitive and wanted it documented somewhere. On occasion, I have had an apocalyptic "vision", one that seems full of depth and divine clarity, with glimpses of judgment and rapture and heaven. You might think these are the sorts of dreams I would write down, but no.

Instead, here's a sampling of what I wrote:


The day I met Andy Garcia

I was sitting in some weird PTA kind of meeting with moms at his house. I look back and see him behind me. At an appropriate time I say, "...It's Andy Garcia." He asked me to come sit with him. He puts his arm around me and I cuddled up to him, but he is old and sort of fat with graying hair...After the meeting I turn to him and say, "So my name's Emily. I am a senior at Canby." There is some confusion here. "I am 20."


I don't understand why I say this. "No, I'm 17. Sorry, I guess I was thinking I was going to turn 20." Ha, ha.

Everyone leaves the meeting and I meet his mom. She is weird and sort of insane. Something goes wrong, like I annoy him or I don't know. He walks outside and I'm like, "I've seen lots of your movies." He doesn't really believe me. I'm like, "I have, about 5 or 6!"

He says, "some movie I can't remember?"

"No." I step through doorway. "But I've seen Dead Again with Kenneth Branagh and I saw When a Man Loves a Woman and watched it repeatedly and Godfather Part III."

Then it was like, 'is that all?' So I'm trying to remember because I know I've seen another one...I hurry trying to figure out the other movie. I ask his sisters (little kids) and they tell me there's a list hanging on the wall. I look and find Untouchables...I walk to him and say, "I just have one word to say to you - Untouchables!"...For some reason this was like all I needed to say to make him warm up to me again but I don't know why. He is beautiful now - not old or fat anymore. We know we can't be together, but it was just happy, innocent love so we part.

My friends all rush up to me but they don't really want to listen to me. I can only say, "It was just like a movie!"


The other two dreams are even more embarrassing because they are about people I actually know. Um, shredder.