Friday, June 10, 2011

happiness is...

A cool photo (from Erin Abbott Kirkpatrick...check out her stuff at her shop Amelia in Oxford!).

Life leading you back to a long lost true friend who remembers a better and more inspired me...and inspires me to be that person again.

Hearing a word used in casual commentary that you didn't expect and that shakes it up a little (in this case, the strings of a destroyed guitar being described as akimbo).

A new album that makes me feel dreamy (Bon Iver by Bon Iver), and a rediscovered artist seen in an entirely new way (Ray LaMontagne).

Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup on a hot June night...and a friend who gets it and craves it the same way I do.

Knowing, in spite of frustration and occasional ingratitude, that I am good at my job.

A niece insisting that her grandfather call me back because she didn't get to tell me goodbye and that she loves me.

A cold beer on the balcony at City Grocery, and the blessing that the thought it inspires ("I can't believe I LIVE here...") is actually a pretty common one for me to have.

High thread count sheets and a late wake-up time.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

40 days without facebook.

Yesterday was Fat Tuesday, a day for excess and celebration. The weather here in Mississippi did not cooperate. My friend Tayla and I went to pick up our friend PJ at the new law school to go to lunch. "It looks like a Bronte sisters novel," I commented as Tayla zipped the wrong way through the one way circle in front of the building. "I know I'm going the wrong way," she offered in reply. I shrugged.

The law school absolutely looked like a scene out of Jane Eyre. Gloomy gray sky backdrop, massive rain soaked stone column facade...and PJ appearing as a teeny figure in tweed at their base. He walked down the long pathway to the parking lot, shoulders hunched up around his ears in a vain effort to combat the mist and wind. I joked that perhaps he was trying to make himself more aerodynamic.

We drove to Tallulah's, since it only made sense to eat Creole food on Fat Tuesday. The fact that Laurie had king cake from Bottletree made up for the wait on the cold rainswept patio. After stuffing myself with red beans and rice (and of course the aforementioned cake) and dragging myself back through the awful weather into my office, I spent the rest of the afternoon alternately working and inwardly debating my plan to give up Facebook for Lent.

I initially decided to give up Facebook because it's an addiction for me. I stay online long after I've read all the status updates there are to read, seen all the pictures posted, commented on everything I care to comment on. It takes up too much time, prevents me from more productive activities, and weirdly leaves me feeling a little empty and depressed when I finally log off. It's the perfect choice for me...a challenging sacrifice that will provide me with a little extra time for spiritual reflection (and possibly make me more productive in the meantime). But then I started noticing that Facebook decamping for Lent has become something of a popular trend.

I know the point of Lent isn't to give up something UNIQUE, but I started to wonder if perhaps I should change my thing. I wasted a significant amount of my afternoon and evening...on Facebook, stalking out how many people I know who are giving it up. And upon realizing this, I knew that my initial decision was the correct one.

I'm almost 24 hours in, and apart from a few moments of boredom, I have to admit that so far my first day in years without Facebook has felt remarkably....light. Focused. Freeing. But we'll see how tomorrow goes.

Monday, February 7, 2011

mississippi welch.

My niece is two and a half, but she seems a little confused when we tell her that. I'm pretty sure she assumes she's at least 30, or possibly older based on recent events. The other day the following exchange occurred between her and my father...
Bitty: "Oh-Oh, what are you DOING?"
Dad: "I'm just getting this gadget for the TV."
Bitty: "What does GADGET mean?"
Dad: "'s like a device, that, um..."
Bitty: "Oooooh (with a knowing nod of her head)...a DEVICE..."

A couple of weeks ago my sister was woken by Bitty insistently tugging at her arm. When Sara roused herself enough to ask her what was going on, Bitty solemnly informed her that she was Jake's daddy. Jake, it should be noted, is my sister's husband and is, in fact, Bitty's daddy. Sara pointed this out to Bitty, but she was not to be swayed. "No. I am Jake's daddy. You can call me Mike, and I am fifty and a half years old."

No one is sure why this specific name and age were selected, but it's not the first time she has surprised us with interesting takes on familial relationships. Over the holidays my Mother and I were at the kitchen table, shuffling around the Southern Living magazines and Christmas books and cookbooks and shopping lists that hold our world together during the last two weeks of December. Bitty was set up at the table as well, coloring in satisfied companionable silence while Down Home With The Neelys on The Food Network provided low background noise. "I just don't know, I'm not sure about that recipe," said my Mom, "but I feel like we HAVE to have at least one chocolate dessert..." We both paused and mulled this over. Bitty glanced up at the television screen and then watched with interest as Gina Neely (African American woman in her forties or so, in case you're not a cooking show person) wielded a hand mixer over a bowl of butter and sugar while shaking her hips to an imaginary beat. She pointed at the screen and declared "That's my grandmother," and then went back to her coloring. We watched her with confusion for a moment before Mom tentatively asked her if she was sure that was her grandmother. She said "Yes, it is," with a finality indicating that suggestions to the contrary were futile. "Well," said Mom, "there you have it."

Even more fascinating was Bitty's interest in the trophy presentation after a New Year's day bowl game, when she gestured toward the several dozen football players crowded on the stage at midfield and announced "Those are aaaalll my daddies." Jake glanced up from his magazine, mumbled "I certainly hope not," and looked back down.

Bitty will have a new baby brother joining her in the next few days, and we're all curious as to how she will handle this major life change. She has proven, at least, that she somewhat understands the concept of "having" and naming children, as she recently informed my Dad that she is going to have a little girl, and will name her Mississippi Welch.

I am not ruling out the possibility that she may very well understand all of the concepts I've mentioned and just actually be a creative comedic genius.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

i want.

My five minute breather at work just went a little longer than I'd anticipated after I came across the Sukan shop on Etsy...lately I'm obsessed with all things ikat, suzani, and kilim, so this is like the jackpot for me!

I highly recommend checking it out.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

inspiration treasure trove.

I live in a pretty basic apartment. When I picked up the key it was about as generic as they come...beige carpet, white walls, boring linoleum. The only notable thing about it, really, was the wallpaper in the kitchen and bathrooms...and it was only notable for it's early 90s hunter green/navy/burgundy awfulness. Thankfully my landlord was perfectly OK with my intent to paint over all of it, so my parents (an unstoppable wall painting duo-seriously, they're like a well-oiled machine) set to work covering the walls in the colors I'd selected: a pale gray blue in the living room, a light and minty robin's egg blue in the kitchen and bedrooms, and a warm light peachy pink in my bathroom.

My mother and I have been on something of a mission ever since. After reading countless decorating blog stories featuring characterless apartments and homes that have been transformed into gorgeous, charming abodes, I decided that I might as well try it myself. Since I don't exactly have loads of disposable income for the project, I'm lucky to have a mother who can turn a twenty minute trip to Hobby Lobby into a one-of-a-kind coffee table. Or curtains. Or a lamp. Or headboards. In just a few months my place has already grown significantly cozier and more chic than the blank canvas I moved into. The only challenge is getting a little inspiration for projects to come.

That's where Lonny comes to the rescue. Lonny is (so far) my favorite of the online shelter magazines popping up everywhere on the internet. This is mainly because of its awesome collection of archived images, organized by room. I could spend hours sifting through them (OK, so maybe I have), so maybe some of you would like to as well.

Check it out here!