Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm going to be absent from the Internet for the next few days as the hurricane that is my three sisters prepares to touch down for Thanksgiving. It will be great fun as always, but also as always the day before their arrival is a bit rough. This is due to the fact that my parents go into meltdown mode as they try, desperately, to prepare their empty nest to be filled to capacity. Staying this year: Jack and I, with David dividing time between our house and my parents', plus my older sister Anne, my younger sister Sara, her husband Wes, their 18-month-old Brayden, my baby sister Melissa, and Anne's good friend Rebecca. The matter of where to put everybody has been discussed in great detail and with considerable volume. Anne and I were the first to arrive home, and I'm afraid we've already turned on each other.

Still, the fury only lasts a few hours, and before you know it, everyone is here and there is too much joy to allow much room for fights (though we do fit in a few good ones normally). Tomorrow marks the beginning of my favorite time of year (I can hear groans coming at me from all directions. Yes, I love the holidays. LOVE them.) So my posting may be sporadic. For now, let me just wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. And here's a little something I'm thankful for:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Weight of a Thousand Small Tasks

I named this blog Bex, Perplexed because that's kind of how I feel most of the time. Not confused, but perplexed. So this is life, eh? Hmmmmm.

But I think a name that might be more apt these days is Easily Overwhelmed. Because that is what I realized I am. I feel completely paralyzed lately by a mounting to-do list, and a nameless discomfort that I carry around everywhere. If you know me, than you know I am more than a little obsessed with order and maintaining it, but that I also happen to be very bad at maintaining it. Imagine if you will a person with OCD who is also horrible at cleaning and you have me, ever trapped in a cycle of can't-function-because-of-the-chaos and can't-organize-the-chaos-in-order-to-function. So I do nothing.

The things that are currently overwhelming me, in no particular order:
  1. My house. Okay, so maybe this is in order because this, friends, is number one. The state of my house directly mirrors my emotional state and apparently my emotional state is cluttered, filthy, and unfinished. Because that is how I feel about my house. I hate the colors I painted it, I hate that I never finished getting it the way I wanted it, I hate the piles of junk mail and electronic gadgets and baby paraphernalia, and most of all I hate that I can't make myself do anything about it. It's like I've given up, and am letting it return to the earth. It even smells.
  2. My weight. This will eventually get a post all to itself, but for now let me just say that I have not lost a pound since the twenty I lost two weeks after giving birth. Not. A. Pound. And along with my former body, all impulse control has disappeared and I can't seem to control what I put into my mouth. What is that about?
  3. Writing. This is kind of a secondary infection, as it's actually all the other crap in my head that keeps me from writing. I sit at my computer and think about how I want to change my dining room, what art I want on the walls, where to find curtains I can afford, and I can't clear my mind enough to slip into that vivid and continuous dream that must be creating a story. Which, of course, overwhelms me more.
  4. Blogging. Again, something for another post, but in a lot of ways blogging is like high school in that, while opening up entire new avenues for friendship, learning, and self-expression, it can also open up new feelings of rejection, misunderstanding, and self-doubt. When I am healthy, grown-up me, this isn't a problem. When I am overwhelmed, paralyzed me, sometimes blogging feels like a big birthday party I didn't get invited to. Silly? Yes. True? Unfortunately. 
  5. Random tasks I have yet to accomplish. Getting Jack's British passport. Refinancing my house. Communicating with the IRS. Grocery shopping. All equally important in their way, all waiting to be accomplished. OVERWHELMED!
I feel a little bit better just writing that, as all obsessive people feel after making a list. God, I love lists. Tiny little bits of order to throw into the chaos, making it slightly less powerful for at least a half an hour, without requiring me to actually do anything. So lemme just shove it out there into cyberspace, see where she goes.

Behold my list!  Take that, Chaos!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fight for Preemies Day

I couldn't let this day pass without posting a link to the March of Dimes. Today is Fight for Preemies Day, an effort to raise awareness about premature births, of which there are around 500,000 in the U.S. every year. That's just over 12% of all births--12%! Prematurity is the leading cause of disability and death for newborns, and according to the March of Dimes the U.S.--supposedly land of the greatest healthcare people can afford--scores a D in caring for these little ones. My state, Ohio, scores an F. Wow.

So I post this in honor of my friend Jason and his family. They are one of the lucky ones. Their twins were born on August 30, 2008, at 26 weeks. Parker was 1 lb 12 oz and 13 3/8 inches long. Emma Jane was 1 lb. 13 oz and 13 3/8 inches long. Here they are with their Daddy:

 They were in the hospital for three months, struggling with underdeveloped lungs and a host of other problems, but they were blessed. Unlike so many others, they thrived.

To give you an idea of how they thrived, here are some newborn shots, and year-later shots for a little perspective.

Parker and her monkey:

Emma and her owl:


And the girls now:

I'm so happy for them, that they are healthy and happy and strong. But there are so, so many who aren't. So I'll be heading over to the March of Dimes and donating in Emma Jane and Parkers' names. You can too, if you want.

So I'm a little behind

I've only got 10,000 words, and the month is half over. But hey, that's 10,000 more words than I had before I started, right? The glass is half-full, my friends. Or at least one-fifth of the way full.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It's okay to brag sometimes, right?

My freshman year in college was pretty miserable; I went from a very diverse, liberal high school to a white-bred, upper-class homogeneous university, and I felt completely out of place amid the drinking, wild parties, and general cookie-cutter personalities around me. My sophomore year, I saw a weird looking guy with blue hair riding a bike through the quad, and I thought to myself, there's somebody who might understand me. A bit simplistic, maybe, but that's how I felt at the time.

Finally I heard about the improvisational comedy troupe, Tower Players, and I went to my first meeting eager to join. There sat the guy with the blue hair, surrounded by a bunch of other weirdos, and suddenly I felt like I belonged somewhere. It's hard to describe this particular group of people. Most of them weren't very popular in high school, most of them were a bit insecure and overcompensating--we all were--but they were very much their own people. Funny, strange, sarcastic, they were a group of misfits that became my best friends all throughout college, and remain dear friends today.

We used to sit around and talk about how one day, when we were all famous, they'd talk about how we all attended Miami University. Like we were Dorothy Parker's vicious circle, or the artists of Paris in the twenties. Oh yes, we'd start a new art movement. A movement of misfits. "Without deviation from the norm, there can be no progress," we'd say. A bit of an ego trip, maybe, but not a little inspiring.

So most of us are still on the bumpy road to fame (I hope you sense my sarcasm here), but one or two of us have already realized our dreams.

Here's my friend Amos Heller, whose dream it was to be a musician, on stage with Taylor Swift last night when she won Entertainer of the Year at the CMA awards. He's her bass player. And he's awesome, and I'm proud of him, and I reserve the right to brag about any and all Tower Players who Make It.

His facebook status today:

ME: You were AWESOME in "Tremors"!
REBA MCENTIRE: That was...NOT what I expected to hear!

And here are the Tower Players, from way back in the day, standing onstage at Second City in Chicago.

And another one from graduation, flipping the bird to Mother Miami:

How cool are we?

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Williams & Williams

So David managed to surprise me last night. Let me just say that David, my love, father of my child, is crap with surprises. He gets so excited about them that he either spills all immediately or starts dropping extremely obvious hints until I figure it out. Even if he doesn't tell me outright or hint me into submission, should I get even a tiny bit close to finding out he acts so dismayed that I know something is afoot.

But two nights ago, he simply said "I want to take you out on Saturday night, what do you think?" A wonderfully vague way to get my commitment without revealing anything--could be something big, could be just a movie. Beautifully executed, darling. Of course then he blurts out, "Do you want to know where?", and then I knew it was a surprise, but I said not to tell me and anyway, this counts as serious progress.

How meticulously planned the evening was I did not know until we arrived at Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra, and I see the program is a tribute to John Williams. Now, if you know me, you know I think John Williams is a musical deity, having basically written the soundtrack to my childhood (think Star Wars, Indiana Jones, E.T., Superman--what has he not written?). The place was packed; he must have ordered the tickets weeks ago. Weeks, people. Without so much as a single hint, with barely a blip on the oversharing radar. I was so impressed.

It was a lovely concert. Made even better by a bellyfull of wings and ribs a la Hot Sauce Williams, the home-cookin'-in-a-bad-neighborhood restaurant that was our only option once we realized that every place even remotely close to our destination had an hours long wait for a table. Still, Hot Sauce Williams? John Williams? Magic, my friends. Pure magic.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

NaNoWriMo, Bitches

Yeah. I'm doing it. Fueled by warm cider and Southern Comfort, I am attempting to hammer out 50,000 words of a novel before the end of the month. Along with 25,000 or so other people, 75% of whom are doomed to failure. The odds are against me, I'm afraid, but even if I only make it to 30,000 words? That's still pretty swell. It's about time I stopped calling myself a writer and actually wrote something.

Progress to date: 2500 words. Looooooooong way to go.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Jack O'Lantern

Until next year, folks.