Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sour Puss

Be Ye Prepared: poor excuses lie in wait.

The world did not accost me in any particularly harmful way today, but rottenness took hold. My excuses: 1) I have been creeped out by a new relationship I see evolving. Do you ever get creeped out by the relationships your friends find themselves in? Creeped out. 2) I was driving today (a novelty in the city) in weird Philadelphia and flipped through the radio stations until finally landing on a Christian praise station. I recognized some of the songs from my youth and chose to listen for awhile. I soon felt a similar creepy feeling washing over me. Some of these Christian rock stars are dead-ringers for swoony pop-singers begging for love and fulfillment (sexual overtones abound) and I couldn't help but imagine these "praise" songs in darkened youth group rooms, lyrics subtly wafting their way over pre-pubescent boys and girls swaying to the music. I don't like the idea of God as Lover. Giant Cassanova in the sky.

Then again, there is warrant for this notion, people. All kinds of mystics have written about erotic experiences in their communion with the Divine.

I digress. I was feeling all sour pants on my way back home when I got stuck in some delicious traffic. Delicious, you say? Yes. I say delicious. Because lovely, darling, smoochy, smoochy Bradley Cooper was shooting a movie in Rittenhouse Square and my car got stuck directly next to him. I could have opened my car door and smacked him in the thigh. I did no such thing, but my raisin-face soon gave way to smirk-face as I reflected on the depth of my superficiality. My entire day was lightened because I saw heart-throb movie star Bradley Cooper. Guffaw, guffaw.

Please do not worry, sweet boy who I am dating, I do not plan to ditch you for Sir Cooper. He's like Taylor Swift, but a guy.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

West Virginia, Mountain Mama

Meet Anneke. Anneke is one of the better Philadelphians under the age of two. Mild, strong-willed, curious, careful, and methodical, she is my favorite companion in the nursery at church if I am in the mood for cheerios, grape-halves, or a little TLC. Anneke wears pencil-leg jeans courtesy of her stylish urbanite parents and rolls through the world with big blue eyes and a surprisingly serious brow for a sprite who has been in the world for just eighteen months.

Last weekend I headed to West Virginia with Anneke and her parents to spend a couple of days in the Appalachian mountains. It was nice to get out of the city. I spent my time pretending to read, traipsing through the woods, and pressing myself as close to the fireplace as humanly possible, trying not singeing my hair or the heels of my tennis shoes. The forest was a magnificent array of reds, greens and yellows and I am inclined to believe they should give out blankets and copies of Thoreau at the West Virginia border this time of year.

I was feeling very John Denver and folksy imagining what it would be like to live in this state, growing and preserving things, charmed by the lethargic hornets dragging themselves across the woodpile and the lemon-yellow leaves dropping into the river at the bottom of the hill. The dream came to a glaring halt when I was reminded of just what a city girl I have become. One cannot sit on a sagging porch boasting two confederate flags, a U.S. flag, and a hand-painted sign advertising live bait and beer with any authenticity while wearing designer jeans and a black sweater from Anthropologie.

I'm no mountain mama, but I like this state.

P.S. Mock the orange. Do it. We deserve it. It was hunting season. We wore it because we did not want to get shot. And because we are ridiculous.

Monday, October 18, 2010

To Princeton and Back Again

I read a lot of blogs of women my age who are married with children. On occasion I feel weird that I cannot relate to mortgages, dirty diapers, and kiddie soccer games. When I see pictures of spectacularly beautiful children and anniversary celebrations I get that 7th grade feeling -- standing on the side of a gym, lights dimmed, pop music throbbing in the background, wondering if Kevin Ramonis is going to ask me to slow-dance. I'm the awkward outsider that buys shoes and gears up for lame dates and drags in my own groceries-- scads of dinners for one. This does not make me feel sad. My journey has other riches, as my friend Scotty reminded me this weekend. My life is rich, indeed. Not much money, but when I've gone down I've gone down big. And when I've won I've won big. I'm no magician, but I know magic. I have tasted and felt it.

We've had different journeys, but I find that blogs are the great equalizer. Best described as "online scrap-booking," I have a slew of favorite writers who share tidbits about their lives and somehow I feel close to them despite the miles.

This weekend I went apple-picking. Autumn is my favorite time of year and October is especially delicious. I love pulling on a sweater and a scarf. I love drinking hot apple cider and the unique golden light that brightens crisp cornstalks and flaming red leaves. I drove up to Princeton to meet my old friend Scott. I met Scott when I was 19 and full of idealism and dorky ideas about the world. Old friends provide good orientation and it was nice to ease into a seamless conversation that has been going on well over a decade. Scott came to Philadelphia on Sunday. He had not been to church in awhile and had never seen me in a leadership position. He said there were multiple times during the service he wanted to stand up and say, "Carms, come down from there."

Me too, my brother! Me too.

Church can be so very strange and even a little disappointing at times. It is not always the community it should be. After I waved goodbye to Scott on Sunday I hurried to change my clothes for a funeral. As I stood at the graveside of a young man who left this world far too early, I was reminded again of the sweetness of friendship-- those people who help us tell our stories. There was a group of Boy Scouts who grew up together and cried tears of grief at the grave of their dear friend. The weather was kind and someone whispered to me after the service, "I am glad you do this job." I pondered this for awhile. I'm not sure that I always agree, but If nothing else, I hope I will always be a good witness. A good witness, a good storyteller, and someone who treasures the stories of others.

Thank you for sharing yours.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Happiest Place on -Erh-


Old Walt had a dream of creating a place where dreams come true. Mickey Mouse, Minnie, and Donald Duck live side by side in charming Tune Town where tourists can buy churros (fried bread dipped in cinnamon and sugar), ice cream, and endless kitsch. Disneyland is great and truly weird. I spent five days with my fam in Southern California and we milked it for all it was worth. My poor sister was sick with a sore throat, but we all rallied.

Being an Aunt is one of my most favorite things in the whole world. I loved watching Tyson throw his arms around giant, life-sized chipmunks in true adoration and staying up late at night reading books with Tate. Tiny Alyssa is her mama's girl, but in stolen sweet moments I won a few of her smiles and cuddles.

Little known fact: my dad ran into Walt Disney once. Literally. He was on a street corner in Seattle for the 1962 World's Fair and my dad accidently bumped into a man, apologized and quickly added, "Walt Disney... Excuse me, Walt Disney!"

I am not convinced a fictitious land filled with bawling babies, long lines, and a hefty helping of gluttony deserves the title of "Happiest Place on Earth," but it was a marvelous place to visit for a few days. Thanks fam for a great vaycay!