Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Thy wonderful works

My paper (due tomorrow) does not have a conclusion and I still have 30 pages of basket-weaving text to read (due tomorrow) and forget even doing that Thoreau reading (due tomorrow) and I am pretty sure that I will be single til I am 38. 

And yet - I'm happy. 

Or rather, thankful so deep it runs to gladness. It's one of those times where life isn't perfect or easy (um, definitive No), but the blessings are so rich you can't help but be light. There are lots of things to say Thank You God for. 

Not the least of which is that I just titled an American Lit. paper after an Auden poem ("The More Loving One: the Pattern of Male-Female Relationships in Hawthorne's Short Stories"). But you have to be an obsessive English major to see anything happy in that. 

Thankful things include a wonderful winter retreat where we laughed and talked and hiked and generally bonded; going to dinner with famous poet C.D. Wright (5 minutes before she takes the podium: Dr. Johnson - Want to go to dinner with us afterward? Me - YES! Yes, I'd love to. I mean, ohmygosh, that would be GREAT), moving from casual friend to real friend level with neat people, devouring my free stack of pancakes at IHOP tonight with Deb and Joanna, and getting a very productive cane-splitting lesson with Dr. Brown (eight, count 'em, eight strips). 

Tomorrow I've planned a working lunch: picnicking on the quad and stripping cane. 

The daffodils are blooming - and what's amazing is that I care this year. A year ago Spring, everything hurt. Everything. A year ago Spring, I was trapped under a boulder of depression, a rock so big that even now I think of my life in terms of Before and After. A year ago Spring, it hurt too much to think about blue sky and resurrection and what life was like Before.

The daffodils are blooming - and I care so much, it hurts. 

 He brought me up out of the pit . . .

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Confessions of a young basket weaver

I'm so tired . . .

. . . of thinking about Hawthorne and Thoreau. 

It is very frustrating, this conflict within my personality. I like to cross things off lists and accomplish concrete things. But my mind is good at analyzing and theorizing and, well, playing with thoughts. If the professor doesn't require outside critical sources and you're already familiar with the text, then writing a paper requires: 

A lot of staring into space. 

Sometimes this is absorbing and fun. And sometimes . . . sometimes you spend two hours checking Facebook every two minutes. 

In other news:
- RUF Winter Conference this weekend. Please snow.  

- Ode to Decongestants: I do not sound like a chain smoker anymore and I can sleep at night. 

- Brother is coming to Winter Conference, too. 

- Reaching for the Invisible God by Philip Yancey. I love.

- The Survival of the Bark Canoe by John McPhee. I do not love. 

- One hour and ten minutes +  one helpful instructor + one college girl lacking artisanal skills = one bamboo cane strip. Out of the 100 needed to weave basket. 

[I hope no one finds my bamboo. I hid it by my sorority house. And I really am not eager to journey the way of the Possum Carcass to harvest some more bamboo. Although, as Dr. Brown pointed out, it did sport a great example of omnivorous canines.]

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happiness is . . . golden flowers

So Jim came to town yesterday to see Step-Sing and we hung out all afternoon. Lunch at Sabor Latino, shopping at the Galleria, coffee at O’Henry’s. [Note: Yes, Jim likes to shop, too. A

 shopping buddy brother who still manages to be straight? I feel the lack of a sister less and less. Although it does weird me out a little bit when he’s telling me about the ridiculous sale at Gap.]

 And we sang and stepped pretty well, last night, I think. I did wake up with the Misery - a mix of some wicked Step-Sing hangover and the beginning stages of consumption.  (such is the price of performance). When I called Mom to ask what I should do to stop hacking up nastiness, Jim grabbed the phone from her.

“Anna. Wild Sweet Orange at Starbucks. With lots of honey. Like, gobs of it. I’m serious.”

 I am at Starbucks now, drinking my Wild Sweet Orange tea, and indeed I can feel the health flowing back into my bones.


I love Folklore but I am not excited about reading Survival of the Bark Canoe (main point: they don’t make canoes like they used to), even though I am very excited about canoeing. So instead of doing my homework, I am going to share my tulip bud with you.

 This is my tulip poplar bud. Say hello, darling

These are all its friends. Happy ribbons. Happy happy happy.

In fact, Spring (!) is almost here. Not really. But I did see my first daffodil last week and now they are everywhere. Also forsythia. 

Which was too lovely not to bring into the room. 

Hello, spring. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Candle trees

Physical location: computers in the food court. The lady who dishes up Chik-fil-a fries singing gospel songs in the background.

Mental location: brain fried after magazine editing test. I'm an English major. I thought I could edit. I was wrong.

Spiritual location: Trying to stay on the path and keep walking. Wanting to hold His hand instead of grasping for some other sign that this is the right way.

Emotional location: Just reached my coffee limit for the day. Scowl.

On the other hand, I'm still alive after the Big Winds. And Dr. Brown's Fantabulous Proppian Analysis Folklore class at 1. Oh oh oh, later I will post photos of my poplar (a.k.a. tulip tree, a.k.a. Leriodendron Tulipfera) bud with its happy blue ribbon. And photos of my less happy artistic rendering of said poplar bud.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Hemp and Hashbrowns

My flip-flop disintegrated off my left foot when I was walking to the library. I have gone barefoot ever since. 

Mainly due to Step-Sing practice. But I did have to trod shoeless all the way back to the dorm. And it actually felt pretty good to walk barefoot in the sun after four hideous days of iceberg weather. But I took the long way back, so nobody would see my descent into hippie-dom. 

It didn't help that I was wearing pigtails. 

This has been an odd week. My hard drive crashed and I lost everything. All my music and documents and photos. And I've surprised myself with a calm acceptance. Jim and I trade music to the point that I can rebuild my library from his collection. Most of my important papers exist somewhere on a thumb drive or hard copy. And I spent the summer scrapbooking my favorite photos. So I'm sure I'll keep discovering things to miss, but on the whole - it's ok. 

Step-Sing has crossed the fun line into utter exhaustion. I'm staying sort of frantic over the internship articles. I poured my soul into a letter begging the Dean to give me $2000 so I can research "Poetry and American Culture" with Dr. Steward this summer. I can deal with all those things and be fine, but then the slightest misunderstanding with a friend will leave me crying in a bathroom somewhere. Crying in the bathroom is my favorite new activity. You should try it sometime. I prefer the Divinity School after hours, because there's no one around and you can weep til the world looks better. 

Ahh. Catharsis. 

In other news, I made my required Waffle House run last night.  WaHo is my drug of choice for difficult sorority things, like all day Step-Sing practices (which I do not begrudge. I want a good show). Mostly I just needed people, for goodness' sake. And Lee and Erin and Michael and Stephen met that need most admirably. Thank you, dear friends, for making me laugh and putting up with my neurotic self and just being really cool people.

Also I discovered that Waffle House will make your biscuit extra crispy if you ask. Nicely.