Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday I'm in Love!



Even though my pulse is quickening and my anxiety is spiking cause I can sense summer speeding to a halt, I'm still so in love with these things today:

1. Brussel Sprouts


So freaking delicious. Today I sauteed them with onions and used them in a salad with field greens, strawberries, ricotta salata, and a vinaigrette. OMG--so good.


2. These brothers




3. Acupuncture



My dear friend Helen has been seeing Thuy at the Berkeley Community Acupuncture Clinic for a couple years now. She's been urging me to make an appointment for my terrible lower back, but I've hesitated . . . until today! This morning I had my first session, and I think I might love Thuy and her needles as much as Helen does. My back is definitely more relaxed after the treatment, and I'm pretty sure that if I keep it up, there will be long-term results. Also: SO RELAXING. Even if you're a fidgeter like me. Have any of you tried acupuncture?


4. Snail Mail



Lately I've been lovin me some snail mail. In the past couple weeks, I've sent out letters & cards to Marianne, Micaela, Heather, Phoenix, Summer, Kara, Lesley, Tillie, Faiza, and various other non-bloggy friends. I got a lovely reply from Phoenix this week, and can't wait to write her back again. I think I love sending letters just as much as I love receiving them . . . it's so fun, and the process of actually writing is so cathartic.


And lastly . . .

5. Summer B, the beautiful lady behind this Friday I'm in Love Series. She's darling, sweet, endearing, fun, gorgeous, so open-hearted, and an amazing Words with Friends opponent. :) I'm daydreaming of being on some rooftop bar in NYC having cocktails with her this afternoon!

Speaking of which, I'm also pretty in love with the girlfriends I'm hitting the town with tonight. Can't wait to put on my party dress and kick back with a glass of sauvignon blanc at the Beta Lounge!

Happy Friday! XOXO

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hair Envy

So there's this terrible catch 22 in my life:

I do nothing to my hair, and it remains dishwater blonde with uneven, slightly frizzy waves

-or-

I highlight, blow dry, and straighten/curl my hair, and it looks pretty in the moment, but then in the long run, it gets FRIED.

It's a dreadful conundrum. For the past eight years or so, I've been opting for the latter. I love my highlights, and I looooove my hair stylist (if you're in San Francisco, go see Lauren Kolb at Glama-Rama in the Mission!). But after years & years of all this harsh treatment, my hair is less shiny, less thick, my waves are totally muted, and the ends are pretty scary.

So I stopped dyeing it. I haven't put any color in my hair in almost a year (hello, dullest, plainest, most dishwatery blonde ever!), and I'm reeeeeally coveting a Brazilian blowout, not only cause it would make my hair look immediately more awesome, but because it would mean that I could get away with not blow drying/straightening it for 3-4 months. SWEET!

My sister is part of my inspiration for not dyeing it, cause her hair is au naturale and it looks like this:

she got better hair genes

And I found this old picture of my dad, stepmom, sister, and me from several years ago (when I first started highlighting my hair), and my waves were so much prettier!

before I tortured my locks

But in the meantime, I'm antsy and filled with the urge to dye, chop, straighten, take the iron to it, etc. Or, I want hair like this:








So I guess what I'm saying is: I want hair extensions. Ha.

Tell me your hair secrets! Products, techniques . . . what makes your hair look gorgeous???

Monday, July 26, 2010

All I wanna do is watch the Bachelorette

So I've been talking about tv a little too much for my own comfort on this little blog of mine. But I've always been an escapist in times of serious stress--nothin' like some foolish richies on Real Housewives of New Jersey or some down-home frat boys on the Bachelorette to distract me from my professional (and emotional and financial and physical) sorrows!

And so let's talk Bachelorette:

Ali Fedotowsky

I kind of hate her. She's about my age (okay: she's even a little younger than me), she lives in my city, and she has my same hair color. The difference between us, however, is that I'm sitting on my couch watching idiotic reality shows and searching for jobs while Ali "Fedotowsky" (seriously?) galavants around the world with 25 hotties vying for her attention (and in amazing clothes). WHAT???

Moving onto my favorite contestant from this season:

Kasey Kahl: "I'm going to guard and protect her heart."

Homeboy must have uttered that ridiculous phrase 184 times on the few episodes he hung around on the Bachelorette, and THEN he felt compelled to get a tattoo on his wrist indicating his desire to "guard and protect." Bless his heart.

All that said, I hope she picks Chris from Massachusetts. Roberto is, without question, the finest thing I've seen in a loooong time, but Chris has got staying power. And his daddy? Cutest man alive.

So my goal is to send out five resumes & cover letters each day (ay yay yay). Today I maxed out at three, but hopefully I can make up for it tomorrow. I've applied to all different types of jobs so far (copywriting, teaching, nonprofit managing, and perhaps most thrilling: investigator! yesssss), and I've felt kind of so-so about most of them, but I did happen to stumble upon the perfect job for me the other day (sent in my stuff today!), so hopefully they'll interview me despite my lack of an official California teaching credential.

What are y'all watching on tv these days?? (See, I'm feeding my sick addiction).

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Transport me to my childhood, please

My mama and daddy LOVE Jackson Browne, so I grew up on The Pretender, Saturate Before Using, For Everyman, Running on Empty, and in my teenage years, I'm Alive. Last night, Cari and I had a lovely dinner & drinks in Temescal, and then headed to the Greek Theater, which is definitely my new favorite concert venue. Outdoor amphitheaters are the best, especially when you live in California and the weather's perfect all the time!

I'd been stressing so much lately (job, apartment, relationship, some family stuff--it all comes at once, huh?) that I can't even keep my food down :( . . . but then Jackson Browne took my sorrows right away as I sat straight ahead of him in the beautiful Berkeley evening air and listened to my favorite crooner (who doesn't sound any different than he did 30 years ago, might I add. And he's still pretty hot for a 62 year old--just sayin').

Other bands/singers that take me right back to my childhood:

Allman Brothers
Neil Young
Van Morrison
Carole King
James Taylor
Bob Marley
Doobie Brothers
Billy Joel
Eric Clapton
Crosby, Stills, & Nash

What about you? Do you still love the music your parents brought you up on?

In totally unrelated news, I'm a little mortified to admit that I've been watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey this afternoon, and therefore have discovered Teresa Giudice . . . who I think is a little scary looking. If Tyra Banks has a five-head, Teresa has a two-head:

Right???

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday I'm in Love!


I figure today's the perfect day to participate in Summer's Friday, I'm in Love series in order to put off thinking about the job search I'm spearheading today . . . Craigslist jobs nonprofit/writing & editing/education, here I come . . . and I'm gonna try to keep a smile on my face about it.

(Still no word about funding for my job--SF's Department of Children, Youth, and Families is taking its sweet sweet time--and if they don't have a decision by the time teachers have to report back to school on August 11th, then it's a no-go).

So here's what I'm in love with today:

(Milo)

Sure, he may talk about his penis all the time. And he may grab my boobs and say "I wanna see BOOBS!" And there's the food-throwing at dinner. But . . . I love this kid so much! Here he is, yesterday, posing proudly beside his favorite thing in the world . . . a truck.

(Plus, when I took him on a walk to the fire station yesterday, he said "WHERE ARE THE HOT FIREMEN?" cause he's so used to hearing his mama & me talk about the hotties up there at the ol' fire station).


(roses on my back deck)

Don't get any wrong ideas: I definitely did not grow these. That's all my neighbor Doug's handiwork. But aren't they pretty? I'm especially in love with them when I cut them off and put them in a pretty vase on my dining room table.


from sfgate

The Pizzaiolo margherita pizza that will be MINE tonight!! My girls, Doro & Hauna, are trekking East for a much-needed ladies' dinner & drinks night in O-town, and I've had Pizzaiolo on the brain ever since Anna and I ate at its sister restaurant last week. I am serious, y'all . . . if you live anywhere near the Bay Area, head to Pizzaiolo pronto! It's cute, they play good music, they make their own tonic for cocktails, and their pizza is outta control. Also, they use all local ingredients, buy from local farmers, etc. (I mean it wouldn't be California if . . .)


(old school Jackson Browne, i.e. when he was still hot)

And although those days are gone, I am still so excited to see him in concert at the Greek Theater in Berkeley tomorrow night (I'm going with my dear friend & Milo's mama, Cari!). For years, whenever faced with the ever-important question, Who would you choose to see in concert if you could see anyone in the world?, I have firmly answered Jackson Browne. (I mean, I've already seen Neil Young, Mos Def, u2, Van Morrison, and Counting Crows, among many other greats). So tomorrow night, with a pretty dress, high heels, and some wine, that dream will become a reality!

See? Weekends are still fun when you're a teacher and you're out of school for summer and pretty much every day is a weekend. :)

XOXO!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday Companions

1. Miss Rosalie Lenora Porter


I have my friends' 8 month old daughter, Rosalie today. What a sweet little beamy baby. Last week I got her big sis, Naomi, for two days, and today I have baby Rosalie. I'm so lucky that my friends have cute kids! And doesn't she have the greatest name? Look at her sitting on my couch like a big girl!


2. Writer's Block


My girls--The Cobras--are coming over tonight, and I still don't have my poem written. Par for the freakin' course. These days we're only meeting every other Wednesday, which means that we have two whole weeks to get our assignments done. We rotate giving assignments, and go figure that I always have the toughest time getting it done when I'm the one who gives it--cruel, cruel irony! This week I gave us a Romanian poem by Mihai Eminescu to "translate" (look at the words/structure, having no idea what they mean, and let your own words emerge from the original language). So far, I'm two lines in. Goodness gracious alive.


3. Old School Beverly Hills 90210


Nothing like throwback episodes of 90210 in the middle of the day (maybe it's not so much writer's block that is my problem . . . ). Every episode I watch reminds me of how much of a boyfriend-stealing breezy Kelly Taylor is. And that whiny poor-little-girl voice. She's almost as annoying as Andrea. But speaking of 90210, I gotta get back to it pronto cause Donna and David are about to do the nasty for the first time.

xoxo!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

how much do they look alike??

And who's your pick?


Javier Bardem/Jeffrey Dean Morgan



I gotta say--they're both hot, but my pick is Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Maybe that's cause Denny Duquette is the single most adorable character in the history of television. Speaking of which, why's he always gotta be dead in his shows??


Can you tell how excited I am about Eat, Pray, Love?

Monday, July 19, 2010

"Horndog High"

So telling y'all about this bizarre news story I discovered today also means confessing that I spent the afternoon on my couch drinking coffee and watching The Mary Kay LeTourneau Story on the Lifetime Movie Network (sis, are you proud of me?). However, you should also know that I was at Freeman's house babysitting for 17 hours yesterday, so a lazy day was well-earned, I think.

Plus, I finally coaxed myself out of my apartment tonight and had dinner with my dear friend Anna (the most delicious margherita pizza and my new favorite wine--a sparkling rose--at Boot & Shoe Service, a darling little restaurant in the Lake Merritt neighborhood of Oakland). They were even playing great music (The Knife, MGMT, Sufjan Stevens), and it was dark with super chic deco. But I'm getting off on a tangent, and don't even get me started on Oakland, cause what's going on in my poor blessed city is for a whole different post.

All right, back to Ms. LeTourneau, whom I gotta admit has always fascinated me. Is it sick that I've always sort of rooted for her and Vili? And that I'm kind of happy for them that they're still married and have a family together? Hope I don't get fired and/or arrested for saying that. ;) In any case, after I finished the movie (another confession: it wasn't the first time I'd seen it), I did some e-investigating to find out what's going on with everyone's favorite molesteacher these days, when I came across more amazingly funny teacher sex scandal(s):

Check these ladies out:

(excuse the poor picture quality; it's from an old nydailynews)

What do they all have in common?

1. They were all teachers at Brooklyn's James Madison High School, later dubbed by news sources as "Horndog High."
2. They were all caught in sex scandals at school in the same week.

OMG, can you imagine how fun it would have been to be a student at James Madison High that year?? My friends and I would have had a BALL squealing about the following stories:

1. The one on the left is Allison Musacchio. Rumor has it that a female student was snooping through the teacher's phone and found her ex-boyfriend's (another student) phone number in the teacher's phone. When she reported it, officials found over 200 steamy texts & voicemails between Ms. Musacchio and the student.

2. The two on the right are Cindy Mauro and Alini Brito, and their story is even funnier! During a school talent show one evening, a janitor opened the door to one of their classroom's to clean, and found the two teachers naked on the floor together! HAHAHAHA!

But the antics at Horndog High continued . . .


(Lisa Guttilla)

Then, in January, a 14 year old female student came home from volleyball practice one day when her mama noticed a big fat hickey on her neck. Eventually, the student caved and confessed that she received the hickey from her volleyball coach, Lisa Guttilla. My mind can't really get around the fact that not only did this woman have an affair with a teenager, but she left physical evidence. Now that's a cry for help if I ever did see one.

And to top it all off, the very next week, James Madison's assistant principal was accused of sexual harassment and put under investigation. Now, as a disclaimer, I don't think any sort of sexual harassment and/or abuse is funny, of course, but all this at one school in a matter of two weeks? What on earth is in their water fountains??

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Outside Lands

*If* I get my job back, guess when the first day of school is? August 16th, aka my birthday. WACK,right?? Forget about my dreams of having a slow brunch at La Note and finally ordering the nutella French toast that I always covet but never have the guts to order. More like waking up at the crack of dawn and running around from classroom to classroom greeting this year's new little monsters.

(Though I gotta admit, it will all be worth it if I get to keep my job).

In any case, onto the good news! The weekend before my first-day-of-school-29th-birthday is San Francisco's annual Outside Lands music fest in Golden Gate Park, which includes three of my very favorite things:

music


wine


sunshine

Now I just gotta talk Lane into flying out to San Francisco that weekend to flit around in the sunshine with plastic cups of sauvignon blanc and the likes of Cat Power, Damian Marley, Kings of Leon, Amos Lee, Chromeo, Rebirth Brass Band, etc. etc. serenading us (though we'll be skipping the $395 VIP tickets . . . ).

Happy weekend!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mass Uncertainty

I've had pretty serious anxiety my entire life. This anxiety is exacerbated when there is serious uncertainty in:

a) MY JOB
We still don't know whether or not my job is being funded for next year, and by "next year," I mean next month! I spoke to someone in one of the San Francisco city supervisors' offices today, and she basically said that it was hopeful--that funding was more promising than they'd originally thought--but that there wouldn't be a final answer for a while. I can hardly bring myself to search for jobs when I want so badly to keep my current job, especially when I think there's a decent chance. So stressful. :(

b) MY LIVING SITUATION
My roommate is moving out at the end of the month, and I have to find a new one pronto. My apartment is way too awesome to leave.

c) ETC.
(Let's just leave it at that). :)


But here are some things I'm happy about:

1. These notecards I got in the mail from sweet Tillie:


Aren't they amazing? Maybe you'll be lucky enough to get one from me. :)

2. My marathon phone conversation with Micaela this evening. Seriously, we talked on the phone for over two hours--till her phone died--and then for another hour on g-chat. I LOVE THAT GIRL! I'm so grateful for our friendship. Micaela and I understand each other implicitly . . . without explanation, without justification, without any hesitation. Every time I talk to her, I feel like I'm experiencing a full-body sigh of relief--like I'm releasing everything I'm thinking and feeling to someone who totally understands every bit of it.

3. Skype. Today I video-chatted with my dear cousin (basically: sister) Jennifer and my auntie Pat via Skype, and I felt so close to my Georgia home. It was my first time using skype! I love it, and am so grateful for modern technology.

And here is that which I'm just not so sure about:


I always thought work out videos were for wusses . . . until The 30 Day Shred. Jillian Michaels inspires fear, loathing, disgust, and excitement within me--all at the same time! Every time she calls Anita or Natalie "buddy" in her gross, smarmy voice, I want to throw my hand weight at the television screen. But at the same time, she gives me a delicious workout in 30 minutes within the cool comfort of my own home. It's your classic love/hate relationship.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A San Francisco Summer Day

Today was one of those perfect summer days when you sit at an outdoor cafe with a friend in the city and yammer on and on with each other . . .

My dear friend Brady (child therapist extraordinaire + go-go dancer by night!) and I met a few years ago at Balboa. He's the AB 36-32 therapist for many of the same kids I teach. They're classified E.D.--Emotionally Disturbed--doesn't that sound like such a primitive label? In any case, we immediately bonded over wild kid stories (as well as each other's fashion sense). Brady has become one of my favorite people in San Francisco! He's fun, adorable, versatile, dynamic, and so zen. What a package.

Brady and I had lunch at Cafe Flore, a sweet little restaurant right in the middle of the Castro Distict of San Francisco. We sat on the patio, overlooking Market St., and started out with these:


Shortly thereafter, the waiter brought us our avocado salads--pretty much the most ideal lunch for a sunny/breezy summer day:

(I love salads as big as my head)

So delicious. There is literally nothing like California avocados in the summertime.

We sat in the sun for a couple hours and talked about love and dating and friendships and dancing and jobs. This is exactly the kind of afternoon that brings calm & happiness to my soul. I'll tell you what: amid job insecurity and a roommate moving out and dating woes, I am so grateful for my friends (near and far). Where do you go when you need to be restored?


**On a totally unrelated note: What on EARTH did The Bachelorette do tonight?? I can't believe she sent that dear boy home. I wish I could swoop him up and make him feel better. ;)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Blog Love ♥

Some bloggy awards from sweet friends . . . I'm afraid that some are from quite some time ago! Lesson learned: pass them along right away!

from the darling Jen at Nifer Musings:



The rules for this one are simple: list ten things about yourself, and then pass this award onto ten bloggy sugar dolls!

Ten Things About Claire:

1. Nightswimming by R.E.M. is my favorite song in the world.
2. I think mayonnaise is VILE and won't go anywhere near it.
3. I love astrology and am unreasonably attached to my "Leo" coffee mug. I'll literally ignore the ten clean ones in my cabinet and wash it if it's dirty.
4. My parents owned a restaurant when I was growing up, and it was like my second home. My friend Amy recently pointed out that I seek out restaurants that remind me of it (they sold it when I was in college). It's so true!
5. I'm kind of an anxious basket case when it comes to medical stuff. I can convince myself I have a brain tumor or a heart condition in the blink of an eye.
6. I went to college at Tulane in New Orleans, and I miss both college and New Orleans tremendously.
7. The most incredible year of my life so far was 2003-2004, when I had a fellowship to travel around the U.S. teaching creative writings in state and federal prisons. I hope I can get back to that someday soon.
8. My best friends are scattered all over the place--Pittsburgh, Atlanta, southern California, New York City, Virginia, Chile, etc.--and I think about each of them every single day.
9. I never wear pants. Literally. It's always skirts or dresses.
10. I haven't eaten any meat (seafood included) since I was 14 years old.

Okay, now that that's outta the way, here are ten Sugar Dolls whom I adore! Grab this award and pass it along, ladies:

JenRem @ absent minded
Marianne @ Royal Mail
Micaela @ Dolce Vita

***

Okay, moving on. This next sweet award comes from The Vodka Asylum, though I can't get the link to work properly! I'm supposed to list three things I love about myself (hello, modesty!), post a picture that I love, and tag five people:


1. I love that I'm a pretty loyal friend;
2. I love that I have strong legs!;
3. I love my commitment to the work I do, even though it isn't very lucrative and is sometimes emotionally exhausting.


I love this picture from my sister's bachelorette party in October. I organized it, and let's just say there was some serious negotiating about the details of the party (my sister is modest; I am wild). We compromised and had a wonderful time! Remind me to tell you about how my bf and I had a fake stripper show up in a tux and pretend he was there to humiliate my sister in a nice restaurant. Above is a photo of all of us after dinner in Atlanta (I'm the second from the left in the front row; my sister is the second from the right in the back row)--makes me so happy to look at it!

Okay, tagging these dolls:

Diana @ exPress-o

***

And from the precious Julie at Brown Eyed Belle:



Thank you so much, Julie! The rules are: Share seven things about yourself, and then tag 15 blogs. Whoa, that's a lot! Here goes. Even though y'all already know enough about me:

1. I'm from Georgia, though I don't have much of an accent (it pops up now and then if I spend a long time visiting home, drink too much, or am excessively frustrated). I think southern people often times get unfairly pre-judged because of their accents.
2. The first place I traveled out of the country was to the Cayman Islands. The farthest I've ever been is Beijing, China. Lots of places on the list . . .
3. I'm pretty blingy and I'm always wearing really big, loud earrings.
4. I love teenagers. Gotta say. I love teaching high school, watching teenager tv shows (the OC, Veronica Mars, One Tree Hill), chaperoning prom, etc.
5. A huge part of who I am involves working to end the death penalty and toward prison reform.
6. I have one sister, Kate, and one cousin, Jennifer, who essentially grew up with me as a sister. I love them both so much.
7. I think there's nothing more fun than a bottle of wine and board games with friends. :)

Tagging these ladies with versatile blogs:

Jeanette @ Everton Terrace
Julianne @ Lace and Leather
Danielle @ Dinosaur Toes
J. @ Life.

***

Lastly, Faiza tagged me a while back in this cute little question game. I'm supposed to answer Faiza's five questions, make up five questions of my own, and tag others (no number specified)!

Here is Faiza's original post.

And here are her questions/my answers:

1. What is your favorite topping on toast?
It's a toss up between butter & strawberry jelly and cinnamon toast.
2. What is your favorite quote from someone else?
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." ~Anais Nin. AND, "Everything is sweetened by risk." ~Alexander Smith
3. You are about to throw a penny into a wishing well...what do you wish for?
To fall in love and have a family.
4. Tell me what your favorite song is and why.
Funny that I've already answered that on this very post: Nightswimming by R.E.M. It's an exquisite song, I love the piano, the lyrics are beautifully mysterious, and it takes me right back to high school. That song still transports me.
5. What three things are you grateful for today?
My dear, dear friends (one of whom I just had a wonderful lunch with at Pyramid Brewery in Berkeley!), my sweet family (even though they're so far away), and good strong coffee (just finished my second cup).

Thank you Faiza--I adore you. As for tagging, consider yourself all tagged! Please play along--I'd love to see your answers to these five questions:

1. What always, without fail, makes you laugh?
2. In another life, I would be a ________________.
3. Who has the best name of anyone you know?
4. Where is the strangest place you've ever been?
5. What's your favorite city in the world?

Finally done! This post took me longer than any post I've written to date. Big thanks to all the wonderful girls who gave me these awards/tags. :) Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

All Things Pretty

Check out these gorgeous things I'm swooning over right now:

Karen Millen Extravagant Frill Satin Court Shoe, asos

So it's no secret that I love over-the-top stilettos. But these might just take the cake. I mean, they're like Mercury the messenger God (winged sandals) meets ballerina (pink satin). I don't know why I think it's such a good idea to browse shoe sites when I'm in no shape to purchase fancy footwear, but I just couldn't help falling a little bit in love with these beauts.



It's all thanks to Faiza that I found this print on Mae Chevrette's etsy. Faiza won it in a giveaway, and when she blogged about it, I had to pull a copycat move and go order the same print immediately. First, because art that incorporates text is my fave. Second, because this quote is like my dang motto! I was so excited when it came in the mail today. Can't wait to find the perfect frame + space on my wall.



A Literate Passion tank from Every Little Counts

Today I'm wearing this tank that Micaela sent me in honor of my love for Anais Nin (mine is flamingo pink, just couldn't find a pic I could snag!). Everything about Anais--her life, her writing, her ridiculous love affairs--is so captivating. Particularly her long and tumultuous romance with Henry Miller, around which this shirt was designed. LOVE IT!

Hope everyone's had a wonderful week. I've been sending out so many letters! Speaking of which, I'm a little obsessed with card-making and letter-writing, so if you want one, let me know!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Moving Day

but not for me! I've lived in my apartment in Oakland (just across the Bay Bridge from San Francisco) for 4.5 years . . . longer than I've lived anywhere since I lived at my parents' house. Let's see . . . I moved out of my mom's house in Marietta, GA just after I turned 18 and, not including two different dorms during college, I've lived in eight different apartments since then. Lots of different bedrooms, lots of different roommates, and five different cities: New Orleans, San Francisco, Miami, Burlington (Vermont), and Oakland.

Today a bunch of us convened to help my dear friend Meagan move from her apartment in Berkeley to another place just a mile or so away in Oakland (closer to me--yay!). Moving is such a strenuous feat! Fortunately, there were more than ten of us, so we got the job done quickly (and then immediately proceeded to hang out and BBQ and play games in her front yard). Bringing all her boxes and furniture and belongings filled me with a desire to purge and organize my own place . . . even if I'm not moving anytime soon.

When I talked to my mama on the phone today, she said they'd helped my sister and her husband move this weekend as well. Lots of shifting lately.

2.
On a completely different note, here are a few more blogs I love for those of you looking for more amazing sites to follow:

(Heather and I met my first semester of grad school, and she's remained one of my best, closest friends ever since then, even though she lives across the world now!)

(I wish I knew her in real life . . . HILARIOUS)

(she's a doll, and such an organized blogger!)

Danielle at Dinosaur Toes
(she's adorable)

I'm gonna keep sharing blogs I love as I think of them/discover them, cause I always like knowing who y'all are reading and loving! There are a lot more that I read every day than those I've mentioned, but this is just a start. And if you missed my Gratitude post the other day, click here for my first list of blogs I love. :)

3.
I've been in such a funk today . . . probably due to uncertainty about my job, my relationship ending, and missing lots of friends . . . but we can't always explain these things, can we? But then today I got to hang out with this little guy and things immediately started to look up:


Judebug at exactly four months

4.
The 4th of July always makes me think of this poem by David Baker:

Patriotics
David Baker

Yesterday a little girl got slapped to death by her daddy,
out of work, alcoholic, and estranged two towns down river.
America, it's hard to get your attention politely.
America, the beautiful night is about to blow up

and the cop who brought the man down with a shot to the chops
is shaking hands, dribbling chaw across his sweaty shirt,
and pointing cars across the courthouse grass to park.
It's the Big One one more time, July the 4th,

our country's perfect holiday, so direct a metaphor for war,
we shoot off bombs, launch rockets from Drano cans,
spray the streets and neighbors' yards with the machine-gun crack
of fireworks, with rebel yells and beer. In short, we celebrate.

It's hard to believe. But so help the soul of Thomas Paine,
the entire county must be here--the acned faces of neglect,
the halter-tops and ties, the bellies, badges, beehives,
jacked-up cowboy boots, yes, the back-up singers of democracy

all gathered to brighten in unambiguous delight
when we attack the calm and pointless sky. With terrifying vigor
the whistle-stop across the river will lob its smaller arsenal
halfway back again. Some may be moved to tears.

We'll clean up fast, drive home slow, and tomorrow
get back to work, those of us with jobs, convicting the others
in the back rooms of our courts and malls--yet what
will be left of that one poor child, veteran of no war

but her family's own? The comfort of a welfare plot,
a stalk of wilting prayers? Our fathers' dreams come true as nightmare.
So the first bomb blasts and echoes through the streets and shrubs:
red, white, and blue sparks shower down, a plague

of patriotic bugs. Our thousand eyeballs burn aglow like punks.
America, I'd swear I don't believe in you, but here I am,
and here you are, and here we stand again, agape.