Petty Party

My friend Vicki has a live band karaoke party every year.  Well, I say it’s every year, but it’s only been two so far, which makes me feel optimistic there will be more.  Because It’s nearly my favorite thing that ever happens.

For starters, there’s always a theme, and I love a theme.  Last year was Elton John, and this year was Tom Petty, which was arguably way cooler.  But have you ever tried to sing like Tom Petty?

I did yesterday:

It’s not easy, and I’ve come to believe you need to be from Gainesville, Florida to do it. (Evidence: the best person at the Petty Party was from Gainesville, as is Tom Petty. SCIENCE.)

Also, you get to sing with a real, remarkably good band, which somehow legitimizes your whole existence.

Also, my sweet Bryan played bass in said remarkably good Petty cover band–maybe you can see him behind my pink polyester prom dress?


Hank and Katherine’s Survey 2014

Every year my friends Hank and Katherine send out a survey to all their friends. This is its twelfth year–and I imagine when it started people did things like email surveys.  Now nobody does email surveys, but Hank’s no quitter.  And because people like Hank, they do it, even if there’s always the question that’s like “So, what are YOU doin’?” I hate that question.  But I’ve been taking these surveys since 2006, and as God as my witness, I will fill out these email surveys until the bitter, BITTER end.

And since you, dear raders, probably don’t know what I’ve been up to lately either….

Here’s goes:

A DOZEN YEARS OF SURVEYS! You understand what this means, right? It means that, when I answer this survey, 36% of my life will be documented in surveys. In 2024, we’ll hit 50% of my life documented by surveys. That’s CLOSER THAN THE YEAR WHEN WE STARTED THIS THING! *shudder*
For those of you who are new, this survey is a tradition begun when I was in college in which I email a survey to all of the people that I will care about for the rest of my life. Those people then receive these surveys every year until one of us dies. 
If you do answer the survey, you’ll have a record in your email of the person you were in 2014 that will (barring apocalypse-induced email erasure) be available to you for the rest of your life. If you don’t, you will poop out an alien…and not a nice alien. Or a small one. 
This year, to reflect the fact that we have more demands on our time now than we did in 1999, I’ve slightly decreased the number of questions on the survey.

What have you been up to? Last year seemed really long and I did a lot of things. I kept on working at Georgia River Network, for a while helped Hank write a book about how different animals have sex, one of my grandmothers died and the other one got sick, so I started taking care of her every day so she could keep living by herself. Let’s see…. I started an outdoor school with my friend Catherine called Fall Line South Field Institute, which is great because I get to talk to THAT nice lady many times every week. It’s worth every ounce of work and worry that comes with starting a business.  Otherwise I’ve been taking care of my sweet angel child and Bryan, who finished his dissertation once and for all last month!

Best acquisition of the year? We got a puppy! His name’s Goose. (I think I’d give him one of my kidneys, but he’s not a smart dog.)Image

Favorite TV show of all time: I’m always gonna say My So-Called Life, even when I don’t believe it anymore.

Favorite TV show currently on air: Downton Abbey, bless it.  Oh! But Bob’s Burgers is so funny! I can’t decide.

The book you most want to see turned into a movie: Villette by Charlotte Bronte. Nobody reads that shit and it’s impossible to put down once you pick it up.  THERE’S A GHOST NUN IN IT, FOLKS.   But everybody keeps turning YA dystopian teen dramas into movies instead of giving us the Victorian ghost nuns we deserve.

What’s the weirdest thing you believed as a child? That there were 3 sexes: males, females and koala bears.

Last time you screamed? I tend to scream when I see people I like.  It happens all the time.

Opinion of Horror Movies? If I wanted to jack up my sleep cycle for a week, I’d get out there and get me a UTI. If I wanted to live in terror, I’d move to the inside of a volcano.

If you could give EVERYONE a super power…everyone on the whole earth, what would it be? The ability to stop thinking whenever they want.  Meditation power. It’s harder than it has any right to be.

What’s your favorite meal to cook? Buttered spaghetti with parmesan cheese. I’m just a simple lady.

What’s the biggest difference between now and 12 years ago? It’s been 13 years since 9/11 instead of just 1 year.  I refuse to acknowledge cell phones and the internet.

What movie have you seen the most times? Either Room With a View or the Delta Airlines safety video narrated by the hot ginger flight attendant.

In this space, write your own question and answer it:

Q: If you had a super power, what would it be?

A: I am able to forget a joke immediately after hearing it, if not while I’m hearing it.

What’s Your Favorite Joke? See previous question.

If the objects in your home had personalities…which one would be your best bud? The shower. I love taking showers. Me and my shower go way back.

Your most-played song of the last year: “Let It Go” from the Frozen movie.  It’s Odessa’s jam. One day this year, I might go to bed realizing I didn’t hear “Let It Go” even one time, but I don’t think that day will be soon.

Your Favorite Place to be alone?  The shower.

Your favorite place to be with friends? Camping.  I’m just a camping girl.

Favorite video of the year? 

Open your web browser, type an “c” into the URL bar…what does it auto-complete to? This blog. Wah-wahhhhhhhhhh.

Where would you go if time and money weren’t a factor? Maybe I’d go to the Kamchatka Peninsula. It’s a total bitch to get to.

What are you looking forward to in 2014? Bryan being out of school, Fall Line South’s first trip this June!

What’s the oldest thing you own? I would like to remind everyone that we are stardust.

What was the best moment of the year? The day Bryan got a job that allowed us to stay in Athens another couple of years was good times.

Another Bullshit Night in Suck City

Ladies.  Gentlemen.

You know what happens when you don’t finish the newsletter you are in charge of aggregating on the day on which it’s due? You have to finish it at night instead of going home and watching a Bob’s Burgers marathon.


More’s the pity.

Instead of finishing the newsletter today, I ended up going to the bagel place because I thought I’d probably be better served if I ate something before 2 PM.  In the parking lot I met my friend Angie who had a papier-mâché mask in the passenger seat of her truck, so I tried it on for a while.



Which is why I didn’t finish my newsletter.  Which is why I’m spending another bullshit night in Suck City.

But the mask was cool.

What Writers Do

I don’t write very often anymore. Just facts.  Every so often, I think, “I really should write something today.” And then I don’t,  for various reasons.  Some reasons I understand, and others I don’t.  But since I stopped writing for work OR even pleasure a few months ago, I’ve started feeling pretty low.  Which is okay! It’s normal! People feel blue sometimes!!!!  EVERYTHING IS JUST FINE I DON’T HAVE CANCER PROBABLY.

Honestly, I’m a bit of a mess these days, and my one consolation is that I’m fine enough with it to admit it to the entire internet.

But then I read this Ray Bradbury quote the other day:

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”

And it’s cheesy, but somehow it assisted my realization that I’m always a little bit of a mess.  Always have been. Everybody is, I think.  But the difference is that for the past 4 years I wrote something practically every day, and it kept me feeling okay.  It’s how I process shit.  I’m just a writer.

I’m a writer.  What’s funny is, it took me a long time to start saying that to other people–or even myself.  Which is dumb, but I felt shy about it for 30-whatever years.  And now that I haven’t been writing professionally for a few months, I’ve started feeling weird about it again.  But here’s the thing: I’m not a writer because I’m good at writing; I’m a writer because it’s what I do to make sense of stuff.  If I needed to do magic tricks in order to make sense of my life, I’d be a magician.  If I needed to shoot baskets in order to be okay, I’d be a basketball player.  But I’m not those things, I’m a writer.

The other day a friend of mine suggested I write something small–even just a haiku–every day, just to write something.  So that’s what I’ll do, and I’ll put it here, okay?


Baby Pictures

You know how some people look exactly like their adult selves as soon as they’re born?

I was not one of those people.

My Granny had a bunch of old pictures and drawings and letters of mine from when I was little, and my mom just brought a big envelope full of that stuff to me this weekend.  It was all pretty cute–drawings, poorly penned Christmas greetings, flyers for fairs and things Granny and I did together, etc.

And then there was this picture:



And I was like, “Mom, who’s this?”

“It’s you.”



And then Bryan and his sister got hold of it, and laughed for about 10 minutes.  Because, a) I look so aggressively like my dad that I can see how people say that babies are like little paternity tests, designed to prevent male-driven infanticide, and b) there is not one feature on that baby’s face that resembles my adult face.

In short, I wouldn’t recognize myself in a lineup of babies.

Good thing I’ll never have to.


Friday Afternoon Crafting

It’s been awhile, but here I am–back from partial retirement–to show you what Odessa’s been up to:



Let’s unpack what you’re seeing here.  It’s my daughter and her friend Tucker at 5 years old, dissecting tampons they found in my car.  People have started warning me that my life might start getting complicated in the next few years.

“Thanks for the warning!” says the woman whose five year is hiding in the back of her 2003 Toyota Prius mutilating a tampon with her hand on her hip.

From the Airport

I’m sitting in the San Francisco airport, and the man next to me wearing the Duck Dynasty ball cap has the hiccups. It’s a violent case–more like the croup, actually–but his wife is asleep on his shoulder and doesn’t seem to care.  It’s crowded in here, and one of those traveling days where everybody looks vaguely familiar, like an actor on a sitcom I might have seen a couple times in the 1980s.  It smells powerfully of hotdogs in here, and I smell like I’ve been on a plane or in an airport for the past 12 hours.  I’m supposed to wear this sweater to my Granny’s funeral tomorrow, and now it smells like airplane and hotdogs.  I knew this was going to happen.

Granny died a couple weeks ago, and, strangely, I’ve been a little ashamed at how uncool I’ve been about it.  Isn’t that weird? Your grandmother dies, and it seems like you should be able to be as sad as you need to be, for as long as you’ve got to be sad.  But somehow I’ve started feeling like my mourning period should have been shorter–like what exactly am I mourning at this point? Has Granny dying turned into something different? Like the sweeping out of the teensiest crumb of hope that some people might be able to live forever, or at least indefinitely? Because Granny was going to be 104 in July, and I’m 36, and I only have 68 more years to do everything I need to do.  But probably less.

Isn’t this fun?!  Sorry about this.  

So, how have YOU been?