Thursday, May 12, 2011

10 Things I Miss About the South

It's a hot one today in Chicago and I had a hankering for a cold, crisp glass of iced tea. That ended in failure:

But, it got me thinking about how my mama always has a pitcher of sweet iced tea in the fridge (and a stand by steeping on the counter) , in addition to "whatever kinda Cokes y'all want" and lemonade. And so, it got me missing home a little bit. Here's 10 reasons why.

10) Talking in lines and general camaraderie. Hey, how are you?

9) People asking "round about my family". They're fine. Daddy's back's been acting up - but he still shot a 72 at the club on Toosdee. Mama's good, has a new recipe for blueberry lemon squares. Sissy is still good, her garden looks better than the Biltmore's.

8) Upon entry to any southern home being invited to "fixyuhaplate" from a constantly tended buffet of southern delicacies such as calabash shrimp, corn muffins and cheese straws (my favorite kind is from A Southern Season).

7) Lilly Pulitzer capri pants and obnoxiously cheery and bright textiles to cover you, your family, your dog, your baby, your couch and your porch swing.

6) Enjoying the front porch and waving at neighbors from afar. (Because they live "over there" not upstairs.)

5) Complaining about the heat (not the snow/smog).

4) Acting interested and charmed when handsome fellas called Chip and Trey start debating about SEC vs. ACC football tailgates.

The Grove at Ole Miss is my favorite.

3) Wearing a sweater to the grocery store cause the Harry Peter's frozen foods aisle will freeze your daggone arms off. (Apparently in Charleston it's also a great place to pick up if you're not properly took jus' yet: read.)

2) Sitting on towels in your leather interiored convertible so you don't blister the backs of your legs.

1) All y'all other southerners.

Y'all take care now. Tell your mama hi for me.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bullying Beyond the Playground

You know that kid in elementary school that everyone picked on? The one with a weird habit of pulling on their nose or twirling their hair? The one that answered too many questions from the teacher and didn't play kickball all that well?

You know how you sort of giggled about that person and called them names and didn't want to have to sit with them at lunch or be on a team with them?

Well, that person was me. Sixth Grade. Still, one of the worst years of my life. I forgave my tormentors years ago (they were just kids after all), but I've never been able to forgive myself. And I still see traces of that insecure and scared little girl whenever I encounter today's version of bullies (at work, at concerts, wherever).

I wonder what I could have done to protect myself - what I could have worn, said, or stopped doing to make those kids stop targeting me. I wonder how I could get that co-worker to stop giving me a hard time - or that fellow cast mate. The truth, I guess, is, you can stand up for yourself - but I think you have to know a little more about your bully.

Bullies are insecure people after all - with their own problems and fears. Is the answer to ask them what's really wrong? To reach out and help them? How long could/should you simply ignore a bully (especially if they are really threatening or abusive)?

Get an Adult? But what if you your bully is an adult, and you're an adult?

The problem with bullying is you never do grow out of it - bullies are more than a part of growing up - sometimes they are grown ups. The roles may reverse (with bullies getting picked on later or "wimps" growing into bullies over time), but in any case - it's not all schoolyard scuff-ups. Bullies lurk around every cubicle, parking lot and grocery aisle. Cyber bullying is a whole new way for jerks to get a platform - and a whole new way for others to be mistreated or targeted.

In any case - I will try to stand up for myself more - but more importantly, try NOT to bully anyone myself. It's one of those things that is hardest to recognize in yourself...but an easy thing to fix. Just stop.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Failed Year as a Guitar Player

I took guitar lessons for more than a year. I can now play 2 songs: Southern Cross and Jane Says. The latter I already knew how to play before the year of lessons. At the height of my guitar playing career I could play around 4 songs.

I cried when I quit (I don't like to quit anything.) But I was never practicing, and it never came easy to me. How could someone who wanted something so bad not want to do everything it took to get where they wanted to be? Laziness. And a dislike of fingertip callouses. And a lack of accountability (had I been a group either my competitive nature or my fear of being behind would have kicked in and I would have practiced at least enough to be mediocre.)

I've been considering revisiting lessons...the guitar sits on a stand at the foot on my bed staring at me, reminding me of my failure, mocking my shortcomings as a musician.

It frustrates me that music does not come naturally to me at all - I can't read sheet music, can't stay on pitch when I sing, can't hear the difference between scales, can't sustain a note for very long. But I love music, and I really am moved by it, I just wish it was easier to participate in it.

I am going to revisit the guitar...and to start I'm going to take it to be restrung (I may not play it, but I can at least respect the instrument, right?)

I'll let you know what happens after that...


Friday, May 6, 2011

I've Put the Pressure On

So I decided it would be fun to host a "day at the beach" for my theater company...which raises lots of issues, the one most at the forefront of my mind - is the fact that I have elected to wear swimwear in front of these people.

Now, a theater company (especialy this one is very nearly your family. They are some of your best friends in the world, and they typically hold unconditional love and affection for you. However, I am usually fully clothed. On this day, I won't be, and hope to feel just as confident as I do in jeans and a tee shirt.

I have maintained a weight loss (40 lbs) for over a year now...but hit a wall on getting a few areas in check. I needed something to push me harder. And what could be more inspiring than a public reveal of oneself in a bikini?

So for the second summer of my life since I was maybe 14, I am not starting the season freaked out about how awful I look, square one not being too gross...but I would like to actually look good in a swimsuit this year, not just keep people from going "ew".

So over the next several weeks - follow along with me if you like - I've stepped up the work out game adding some sessions from P90X (only the ones where the girls in the sessions don't look like men), and upping my cardio and decreasing my calories.

Here's to a summer of losing the cover ups and feeling confident!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Current Obsession: The Blow's "Hey Boy"

So as I prowl around Pandora and other people's Facebook pages for ideas of new (to me) music (always looking - I guess I get bored fast) I occasionally bump into something I really like and can't stop listening to...until I can't stand it anymore.

Not sure why I'm so completely all or nothing about music, but when I really like a song or a band or a style, I tend to obsess and delve into it so deeply, I almost get mad about other songs trying to sneak space in my subconscious. I also listen only to what I really like, what turns me on so to speak, so I'm either way ahead of the curve or more often, horrifically, pathetically behind it.

Lately, it's this song, Hey Boy, an unassuming cut off a rather otherwise unremarkable album...however I can't stop listening to it. I work out to it. I ride the train to it. I walk around listening to it. I throw it on when I'm in the shower and in a hurry cause I know exactly how long it is (2:46).

If you're a glutton for punishment (it's catchy friends) check it out, it's on Poor Aim: Love Songs (Bonus Track).

Quiz Answers: Derby Horse or Indie Rock Band?

Quiz Answers:

Is this a Derby Horse

or a Band?

An Horse - Band (with poor grammar)
Morning Runner (Band)
Pants on Fire (Derby Horse)
Tennis (Band)
Dialled In (Derby Horse)
Moe (Band)
Uncle Mo (Derby Horse)
Archarcharch (Derby Horse)
Electrelane (Band)
Comma to the Top (Derby Horse)
Fences (Band)
Twinspired (Derby Horse)
The Blow (Band)
Derby Kitten (Derby Horse)
Santiva (Derby Horse)

Get your juleps on! My family's recipe:

Take one ice cold julep cup and fill with 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp water and 1 tbsp mint. Muddle until you get a nice paste. Fill glass with crushed ice. Chuck that in the grass somewhere in the infield and fill cup with Bourbon. Drink.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Derby Horse or Indie Rock Band?

A Quiz:

Is this a Derby Horse or a Band?

An Horse
Morning Runner
Pants on Fire
Dialled In
Uncle Mo
Comma to the Top
The Blow
Derby Kitten

Just thought this year's runners sounded like a pretty cool festival lineup.

That is all.