Talkin’ About the French Quarter During the Fourth Quarter

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The indomitable and I watched the Tennessee Titans play the New Orleans Saints tonight, and I heard the commentators and reports frequently mention Katrina. I must admit that I am tired of hearing about the recovery process and how NOLA is still suffering from their losses. I realize that saying this opens myself up for a slew of criticism and hatemail. Let me first say that I do not disagree with the television personalities. Louisiana is still hurting two years after the hurricane and the tragic levee break. I pray Americans never forget, but sadly, I know that too many people have grown apathetic to these communities. In March, we traveled to NOLA and took Grayline’s Katrina tour. At first I was standoffish about exploiting the sufferings of others as a form of entertainment, but after the tour concluded and I got off the bus, I was thankful for the knowledge I gained. Everything you have seen or heard on TV or in the newspaper is absolutely true.

With that education, it’s amazing that I would complain about all the commentary. I just feel that the audience is not fully grasping what they are saying. And I may not be giving these reporters enough credit. Like me in March, they may be witnessing the devastation for the first time and finding it difficult to not talk about it. I just wish they’d find a new way to try to explain the circumstances that still exist in the Crescent city. Maybe their next campaign should say something like this: “Tired of all the Katrina talk? Visit New Orleans. Put money into our economy, and then we’ll shut up.”

In addition to a better understanding of human suffering, the trip would guarantee you a good time with lots of liquor, good music, and food that is to die for. Though they are still rebuilding and half the population hasn’t returned, they’re still New Orleans. Trust me.

Quarter Century

Today is my twenty-fifth birthday. It’s just slightly more exciting than my seventeenth birthday when I could finally go to R-rated movies without an accompanying adult. Now I can officially rent a car from Budget, Hertz, or Alamo without paying the extra $20/day underage driver fee. Some people also associate this mark with a decrease in their insurance premium, but since I’ve been married-divorced-remarried since I was 20, I’ve enjoyed that reduced rate for many years. (I’ve tried to use that as my silver lining for the first mishap.)

To me, it is just another day. Yes, it means that at least ¼ of my life is over. However, I managed to accomplish my only goal, graduating college, before it happened. I guess the things that scare me most are knowing what I’ll encounter in the next twenty-five. Before I am fifty, my life will begin to take shape into a more lasting, more permanent form. I’ve had the pleasure of do-overs until now. It will bring me children, a career, and many other currently inconceivable events. I find it all intimidating, but I do feel that these past years have armed me with a wealth of knowledge and experience. Most importantly, I now know that I should always seek my own happiness and worry less of what other people may think of me. Also, I have surrounded myself with loving people and have begun to break down emotional barriers that previously existed with friends and family. Last year I predicted that my twenty-fourth year was going to be the best ever, and I was right. But I think they’ll only get better from there.

I’m twenty-five. I’m now undeniably in my mid-twenties. However, I’m not bothered by it. Yes, today is just another day, but I will not let this be just another year. Or maybe that’s just the celebratory beer talking.

Indomitable Wedding

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For several years I wondered why anyone would hire a wedding coordinator. Now, multiple panic attacks later, I am beginning to understand. I’m starting to wish the indomitable and I would have saved the money we spent and eloped. We could have used the savings to buy ourselves the wedding presents. Truth be told, we are throwing the wedding for his mom. She is an amazing lady, and the indomitable has put her through enough tears and heartbreak that she’s earned it. His parents have also used the reception, which is in their huge backyard, as an excuse to do a major overhaul on their house. This may be the first week in about two months that their home will not see a carpenter, painter, or some other construction person. It’s appropriate because the wedding is eleven days away and I’m about four days from a total meltdown.

We’ve used the Memorial weekend to our advantage and started major wedding preparations, and things are coming together. However, tomorrow the wedding day will be in visible in the ten day weather forecast; so if you find me hyperventilating in front of my laptop, it’s a good bet that I’m at weather.com.

Because Looking At Him Makes Me Feel Good

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To Every Thing There is a Season

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Today is the coldest day so far this fall. The weatherwoman said there was a slight chance of snow, and though I’m doubtful of its arrival, the presence of gray snow clouds lingers in the sky. Kitty keeps staring at the falling leaves through the back sliding door, occasionally clawing at the glass. If I didn’t worry too much, I would probably let her go outside and pounce on the crinkly piles. As I sit in my warm house and lazily do my homework, it occurs to me that this will be my last Sunday to spend alone for awhile, possibly for the rest of my life. Even though I love Chris’s company, it does make me a little sad. I’ve really learned to value my solitude.

Last year at this time, I was desperate for peace. When I moved into this apartment last November, I had never lived alone. If you’ve never lived by yourself with your own thoughts as your only companion, it is something I recommend. I have learned to accept my strengths and weakness. I have challenged myself to overcome my past and the influences of the outside world. I have even frustrated myself and had no one to blame. It has been an enlightening experience, and if I’m being honest, one I’m a little sad to see end.

I am really excited about my upcoming move. When I woke up this morning in Chris’s bed and his arms, I had a feeling of comfort and love that I’ve only felt with him. He has been and continues to be a blessing in my life that I will always be thankful for. I know he will never ask me to give up any of myself or the lessons I’ve learned in the past year. I know this next year will be filled with as many discoveries as the last and probably more positive ones, but I know I will never feel the exact same peaceful feeling that I know right now.

Fall

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As I drove into work this morning, I noticed the rain that Middle Tennessee has experienced for the last 12 hours was moving out and taking the fall leaves with it. A new season was beginning to usher in. One that would replace the mid 50s drizzle with mid 30s sleet and bitter winds. Even though the late part of the year is my favorite, it made me a little forlorn. I thought I had more time. I wanted to capture the blazing colors through photography and be able to relive this amazing part of my life over and over again. Though I occasionally passed a perfect tree, one who’s orange resembled a setting Indian summer sun with undertones of green and yellow, most trees were beginning to look cold and bare at the highest branches.

Since moving from a place of completely misery to joy, I’ve discovered time is a curious concept. It moves at different speeds conterminously. School always passes too quickly and my “to do” list lengthens as deadlines draw near. However, my time with Chris is filled with so much laughter and love that I don’t notice it racing by. These next few weeks will mark the end of my world as I currently know it. The bright warm colors will be replaced with dark browns and grays. During this period, however, I will exchange this for another kind of warmth, human touch, as I cuddle and visit with loved ones. This year is quickly drawing to an end. Though I am glad to see it go, I will not let the remaining months thoughtlessly pass by.

Picture 136

Everybody Hurts Sometime

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I’m feeling the need to buy something. It has been an emotionally draining week, where every day has been increasingly more trying than the day before. My usual response to times like these is to numb the pain by consuming food and commodities. Buying new things gives me a endorphin inspired euphoria, a happiness that cannot be achieved with a responsible credit card payment.

However, I’m facing a dilemma. For the first time in my life, I feel that I have enough clothes. When we were in San Francisco, I was introduced to the awesomeness of H&M. I responded correctly to this by purchasing one of everything in my size. Buying something for my home is also out because of the impending move. Over the next month, I will be attempting to shave all my belongings into Chris’s already overflowing duplex.

Nothing is more challenging than combining two well-established adults’ possessions into a space limited to 700 square feet. It is especially difficult when one person is a pack rat that has lived in the same home for several years and the other feels the need to own every kitchen appliance ever invented. We have a lot of shit, and it’s the wrong time of year for a yard sale.

In order to avoid buying something worthless, like a castle shaped bundt pan, I’m seeking advice from you, lurking reader. What do you buy when you’re stressed? Better yet, what else do you do to suppress the anxiety?