the gregarious homebody

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Grief has a way of sneaking up on you when you least expect it. It's insidious, like a toothache that announces itself with a first bite of ice cream but then lies dormant until you find you need an emergency root canal. When it comes, full-force and not hiding anymore, the surprise you feel is almost as jarring as the sadness.

After 5 years of loss, I've come to the point where at a party I can even joke about it. I've laughed about my loss. I've moved on to the point where it's another part of my DNA, like having brown eyes and wide hips. But then something will happen. Something Big or something not even large enough to be noticed in any obvious way and it is crushing. Anger, pain, deep gut-wrenching sadness, and a complete feeling of Life Not Being Fair washes over me. Logic and good manners have no place in these feelings. There is a lot of me feeling, fair or not, that the wrong person was taken. There is no mercy in these feelings and I make no apologies. It makes me into a person I almost don't recognize, so unlike how I am on an average day.

And then, just like that, the tears stop, the anger subsides, and all that is left is the routine of loss. An understanding that the phone can't be used. That there will be an empty seat at a bar mitzvah. That I must remember to make happy/silly/lasting memories last for my children and for me.

That I am, in fact, privileged to have loved and been loved by such a person in the first place.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

She Had a Farm in Africa

It's been awhile since a book has really pulled me in and made me read it from cover to cover. I've started a few but couldn't finish them. Blogs have been my sole source of reading and even though there are some that qualify as LITerature, I missed the feeling of a good book in my hand. And since the last book that pulled me in was for kids, for god's sake, I'm actually relieved that, yes, I can enjoy Grown Up Books too.

I'd heard Alexandra Fuller interviewed on NPR a long time ago; 2001, I'm guessing because that's when her book was published. Her book, Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, is a memoir of her childhood in Africa. I've never read a memoir like it before, both for the subject matter and the style of her writing. Though there are plenty of reasons for her to be, Fuller is rarely, if ever, judgemental. And though she tells us she loves Africa, she is rarely sentimental about it. She is one of the most straight-forward writers I've ever read and I found that incredibly refreshing.

Her story is very often cringe-worthy. Her parents, expats from the U.K., move their children to Africa to farm. They move from farm to farm in Zambia, Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) and Malawi, with, it seems, their only goal being to find the most remote, the least modernized, the most difficult living conditions they can find. The descriptions of the insects alone made me incredibly thankful for my surroundings, not to mention the non-malaria-carrying mosquitos here in PA. In Fuller's childhood, lack of good plumbing, alcoholism, dangerous wild animals, inherent racism, war and death are almost commonplace. At times you wonder if she will crack like others in her life. Most times I just wanted to reach inside the book and mother the child she was then.

But, unlike other memoirs I've read, the author never seems to ask the reader to feel sorry for her. That was the most amazing part of all. Though the subject matter is pretty heavy and I would never have wanted to trade childhoods, I felt so uplifted by the story. It made me wish I felt so much a part of where I live, so connected to the place I've come from. And so forgiving of the people in my family who have disappointed me.

It's rare that I read a book that I want to read again, but I think I'll be starting at the beginning very soon. It's such a full book. I'm sure there are things I missed in my hurry to gobble it up the first time around.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Free Pass Five: Part Deux

Why do another FPF? Well, even though I've been faithful to one man for almost 22 years, apparently in my fantasy life I'm sort of fickle. AND IT'S FUN.
I was going to name this FPF Cougar Edition until I realized that only one of the entries was slightly inappropriate (and only slightly...he IS legal!!)
So perhaps this whole mid-crisis thing is nothing to worry about. Go me!
Without further ado....

#1 still-reigning champion...

Ewan McGregor
stop looking at me like that, you saucy minx

Why is Ewan number 1? Well, it's not because of his latest movies, that's for sure. Not only have they been abysmal (even I couldn't finish them), they've been American which, as you know, usually means we see no frontal nudity. And let's face it, he does always have that to fall back on in a pinch.
Nope, it's got to be that cheeky grin, that Scottish accent, that willingness to show a feminine side, that adventurous spirit...and have you seen his full frontal?

#2 Robert Pattinson

I know, I's disgraceful. I could be his mother (if I was a slut when I was 16 which is something that everyone who knew me then knew I wished I was but instead was "everyone's friend, nobody's lover," alright, yes, Mom, you're right I know, I know!!).

I'm sorry..where was I? Right. Yes, I am "too old" for him. Yes, he can look kind of girly at times. Yes there are those stinky rumors. But all this tells me is that
he must be taught.

#3 Craig Ferguson

I have no bloody idea why this picture is so small
because my Craig is very very BIG (I'm talking about his height here, people...)...). But I think this picture nonetheless sums up his suaveness, his debonnaireness....actually, he seems to be none of those things (if, in fact, that second one is a word). He is a big goof ball. A smarty pants who acts dumb but isn't. A great Scotsman with a flair for the perverse.
And not too hard on the eyes as well.

#4 Anthony Bourdain

nice joint, Tony
(teehee...dirty foodie humor!)

Now this one is odd, even for me. Because although I find Tony here attractive---he's got great legs, a nice snarky sense of humor, he's smart--I actually really want to be him. He's got the most awesome job ever. He travels. He parties. He eats. He apparently has the best metabolism known to man or woman.
Does that mean I want to free pass five with myself?

#5 Dave Grohl

This may be my weirdest one yet. I LOVE DAVE, don't get me wrong. But I think I want to have sex with his mind more than anything else. Is that too graphic? It's just that he's so talented (for this I'm willing to overlook his dreaded gum-chewing)---he's amazing musically, he's got a wicked sense of humor, he's nice, and he makes me smile when I'm running. Maybe I want to be his best friend.

Who occasionally snuggles.


Jennifer Garner

Look at her. She's magnificent. I would forgo the rest of her if I could just have her shoulders (as my own...not as some kind of creepy trophy). But, like Davey Baby above, I must admit that I'd really like to have her as a friend. She seems so cool. So normal. So fun.
I would have to make a No Ben rule when we went out though.
He seems like a douche..
See? She's not perfect! Love her.



Friday, April 3, 2009


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