Dirge in an Airplane Aisle

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Guest post by Philip, written from a tiny airplane seat.

 

Dirge in an Airplane Aisle

Ladies and gentlemen, we gather here today,

To put this large and awkward duffel bag away,

That young man struggles with vigor and vim.

Note that he is trying, and be patient with him.

 

The audience grows, the crowds in the aisle,

Behind the dimensionally inept boy begin to pile.

Work harder, young lad, if you push hard enough,

Your duffel bag just may turn into a duff.

 

A larger space is found by an audience member.

The show’s over now, but this day we’ll remember,

As the time when a boy wouldn’t trust his eyes,

When his bag wouldn’t fit in a space half its size.

 

Complaining About Weather, or, Stop Being a Wuss


Weather.

It’s the one thing in life that is inevitable, yes? Rain, Sunshine, Cold, Heat, Clouds, Wind…we know the cycle. It’s been the same our whole lives. And yet.

Weather is the one single thing that people complain about, All. The. Time. As one friend commented recently, you’d think we would realize that every winter it is going to be cold, and every summer heat waves will come, and each and every day will either be sunny or cloudy. But no matter what the temperature, or what the sky looks like, somebody is going to complain about it. “Why is it raining AGAIN?” “It sure is dry around here.” “Snow is such a pain!” “Man, these sticky summers are horrendous.” “It’s a gorgeous fall day, but I can’t enjoy it because I know winter’s coming and I hate winter.” You’ve heard it, and I’ve heard it. And be honest, we’ve both said things like that too.


The thing that gets me most especially is when we have a snow day here in North Carolina. These are a rare occurrence, happening maybe a handful of times each winter. And while there are plenty of people that take full advantage of each snowflake, there are the inevitable mourners, going on about how awful life is because this white stuff fell from the sky and they want us to know exactly how much they hate it. Their hearts are devoid of childlike wonder and magic. If you are a committer of this crime, I have ten words for you.

Stop it or I’ll bury you alive in a box.

Just stop. It’s ridiculous, this complaining about the weather. First of all, the weather is inevitable. Your complaining changes absolutely nothing, except making all of your listeners’ days a little sourer and aiding in the growth of your ulcers. Secondly, it’s ungodly. Did you know that? There is nothing remotely Christlike about mindless complaining. If you don’t believe me, go read the story of the Israelites in the desert with all their murmuring again.


Snow is a magical gift from God, and if you could open your eyes and your heart a little, you could see it too. So is rain, and so is the summer heat, and we are fools to waste our time complaining about these things. If you feel the need to complain, go complain about child trafficking, or starving refugees, then DO something about it. As for the weather, grow up, buy appropriate clothing, learn the art of hygge, grow out your beard, run your AC at full blast, or move to Florida or Antarctica. There are more pressing concerns in this world than your silly little #firstworldproblem of disliking the temperature.


I know two people in this great big world that have resolved to not complain about the weather- my mother, and a cousin I admire. I aspire to be like them. Sometimes I slip up, when my least favorite season is at its peak, so it’s a work in progress.  And of course, it’s possible to comment about the weather without whining. But listen to yourself, and see how many of your weather comments have a negative tone. Help me make the world a better place, will you?

My Dream Life

Sometimes I feel like Walter Mitty, because I wake up in the morning in my gray room to go sit at my desk for 8 hours each day, and my life can look dull from an outside perspective, but you have no ideas of the kind of adventures I have at night when I’m sleeping.

For instance, I have survived being held hostage for twenty-five years, escaped from a skunk that was out to get me with a Tonka dumptruck, and done housework for Pharrell Williams. And that’s just a start.

I had a sister who was going to Montana, and her plan to return to New York was to take along a rope  that was fastened to a beam back in New York, and just swing back. Personally, I think that sounds much more fun than driving for a hundred hours.

One of my brothers who worked at Dollar General for $8.85 an hour, even though having that job meant living away from his family and only seeing them on weekends.

I went on a date during which we stopped at a little store in Honduras to pick up something. While checking out, a hand reached around me, trying to steal my phone. I grabbed the hand, and got into a tussle with the thief, trying to get it back. We ended up on the street, where in desperation, I bit him. And behold, I bit his finger off! On the bright side, I did get my phone back. However, I’m not so sure there was a second date, but this still remains one of my favorite dreams.

Speaking of dates, I was once proposed to by the guy having his parents call me and say sweet things. Shockingly, it worked. (Note: dream me and real me have pretty different tastes sometimes.)

Aliens keep popping up in my dreams, despite the fact that I don’t read or watch much science fiction. One time, I even discovered that I was part alien, so that was kind of cool.

My little brother was getting married to a girl I had never met. At some point in the proceedings, I realized he was wearing shoes made out of dried okra, and shaped like a minstrel’s shoes. I believe my siblings also have slightly different tastes in my dreams than in real life, although if anyone knows where to find these okra shoes, let me know!

Most recently my home was on fire, and I was desperately rescuing my musical instruments, and my mom’s wedding china. Since the china made it all the way to Honduras and back with every piece still intact (in real life), it was pretty important to rescue it from the fire.

So you see, while I might not always wake up very rested, I do often wake up quite entertained!

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Tela

Remember when I said I’d tell you about our flopped beach trip? Well, here you go. We have a long-standing tradition of renting the same little cabins every time we visit Tela, since they’re private and cheap, off the beaten track, and the cook that owned them was amazing. However, they seem to have gotten a little run down since the original owner died and left his son in charge, a fact we were going to discover thoroughly.

Our first evening there started out well enough, despite having the taxi driver rip us off a little. The double rainbow across the beach at sunset was simply glorious. But alas, do you know what rainbows mean? That’s right, rain. Soon we were going to learn that fact better than we ever wanted to. We took a little walk after our (delicious) dinner, but were soon driven inside by the bugs viciously biting our legs. We had both brought books, so it wasn’t too bad, as we stretched out on the beds and read. However, it gets dark at what, 6:00 there? so the evening stretched on and on, until it fiiiiiiinally grew late enough we could go to bed.

The next day we woke up to cloudy skies, and a still ocean. I begged Philip to go into the ocean with me, thinking it would be kind of fun to be in the water when there were practically no waves at all. Wrong. We stood in the cold, gray water, with cold, gray rain dripping on us, and no waves to jump, and thought, now what? After standing there until we were shivering and gray and cold ourselves, we decided that was not such a great form of entertainment and went into our cabins to, let’s see, read!

 

Forgive me, long-legged Philip, but this picture is just such an accurate description of the whole vacation.

The rain began to come down in swirling gusts, and we soon discovered just how holey the thatch and metal on our cabin roofs was, as we dodged puddles and tried to keep our electronics from getting too damp. Taking walks in the calm spots was not to be advised, as the sky would suddenly start hurling drops at you if you tried. One bright spot in our day was the seafood soup made by our host, filled with large shrimp and coconut milk, but even seafood soup can only do so much ministering to a vacation that is diseased.

One of the tiny cabins we usually rent, and the angry sky

After a long day spent in our dark cabins avoiding the rain, we decided after dinner that we needed coffee to warm up, and set out in a rain-lull to find some. But alas, apparently the Garifuna people in whose village we were staying do not drink coffee. So we settled for juice instead. Delicious, but cold. As we trudged along the muddy road, a little ways from the shelter of our cabin, huge drops began to fall. This was beginning to get funny! We dashed under someone’s porch (thank you, stranger) and stayed there until we judged it safe to make it back to our own cabins. And then, another long dark evening, with nothing to do but read. Reading is good. I like reading. I like reading at the beach. But man, there is a limit to what flesh and blood can bear. Lesson learned- when vacationing with just one other person in rainy season, stay in the middle of the city instead of out in the boonies, so that if everything is wet you can at least go to a coffee shop or something!

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The next day we were scheduled to bus back to Philip’s house, and as if in mockery at our attempted vacation, the sky was bright and the sun shone and the weather was absolutely tip-top, just as we were supposed to leave. We trotted about the city of Tela as long as we dared without missing our bus, drinking our long awaited coffee, eating mangoes and papayas and pollo asado with tortillas, assuring and reassuring the Garifuna lady that I did not, in fact, want corn rows, and enjoying the perfect weather.  The perfect end to a less than perfect vacation.

And that, my friends, is what happens when I try to plan a beach trip. Be warned.

Decorating for Fall From the Dollar Tree in Five Easy Steps

  1. Go to the Dollar Tree. This is very necessary, for obvious reasons.
  2. Buy some of the less plastic looking bunches of leaves, leaf garlands, and some spicy candles for good measure.
  3. Go home and paw through the stuff you already own. Pull out things like old books, those wooden candle holders you know you have stashed somewhere, and other things that look somewhat autumnish. Maybe collect a few sticks or berries outside as well, if you live in the country. IMG_9178
  4. Throw the leafy things and candles you just bought, your old books and candle holders, and the sticks around the room, aiming for the emptier spots on your shelves. However they land is great, since we all know asymmetry is very necessary for pleasing visuals. Smile and tell yourself what a great job you’ve done. Consider starting a home decor blog.
  5. You know those friends you have whose homes always look like Pottery Barn and Pintrest and IKEA catalogues? Don’t invite any of them over for the remainder of the autumn season. Note: This step is very important for peace of mind. Also, for maintaining your opinion of your awesome decorating skills, don’t visit your classy friends at their homes either.IMG_9175
  6. Bonus step (Not pictured): Dimming the lights does wonders for making all those plastic things look less fake. This is where those candles you bought come in handy. Now grab one of your books, sit on your blue couch with a fluffy blanket and a cuppa tea, and enjoy the view.

Confession: Some of the things purchased may have been bought at more expensive places than the Dollar Tree, such as (gasp) thrift stores or yard sales.

5 Tips for Finding a Roommate

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  1. Look for a person who has lots of possessions you like,  and is somewhat in your size range. This greatly facilitates the sly transfer of precious articles from her closet to yours when she is not watching.
  2. Find someone who doesn’t like watching sad movies either. That way you can sit on her bed late at night in gales of laughter at the comedies you both enjoy. Bonus points if she likes popcorn enough to not mind the smell, but not so much that she won’t let you eat three-fourths of the bowlful by yourself.
  3. Definitely find a good cook. If you can do that, maybe she will make Indian curries and Amish butter noodles and gourmet salads and if you smile sweetly enough at her, she’ll give you some.
  4. A fellow-adventurer is a huge plus. Day trips to Asheville, flying trips to Pennsylvania, risky rooftop adventures under the stars, long walks in the rain, all these can be had if one can find the exploring type of roommate.
  5. Pick someone who despises conflict just as much as you do. That way, you can work in the same office, have the same group of friends, go to the same church, and live in the same house without many skirmishes. In fact, you can even do all of the above and remain great friends! My roomie = proof.

Cheerio!

I realize that the title of this post is slightly misleading, as I am in fact saying hello, and not goodbye. But titles have never been my forte, as any of you that regularly read me (hello faithful little Rosie!) should know. Also, perhaps you should know that my good friend Merriam Webster says that sometimes cheerio can be used as a greeting, so don’t you judge me, don’t you dare judge me.

I have been busy doing many things. Blogging has not been one of those many things. However, I have spent considerable time having the following adventures:

  • Seeing The Biltmore Estate in all its glory. It…it was a real castle! I’m cereal!
  • Having an impromptu picnic on top of a parking deck. In our defense, the view was great up there, and I could yell things at the people below without them hearing.
  • Eating all the food in the world. Ethiopian. Indian. Mellow belly tea (I know that’s a drink, humor me). Pots de Creme. Homemade ice cream. Celery by the bundle. Cardboardy frozen pizza. An Earl Gray macaron.  Applebees, where the waitress thought I was impatiently asking for my food, when all I wanted was a fork. FORK, NOT FOOD.
  • Staying in dinky hotels and hoping I don’t get bedbugs and watching cooking shows, because food.
  • Watering my lavender plant and hoping against hope that it won’t die. It’s looking a bit, well, crunchy.
  • Plugging in my headphones and loudly playing love songs on the piano to myself, so my roomie can’t judge me. Not that she would. But still.
  • Alternating between spraying on oodles of sunblock and burning myself. Happy mediums don’t seem to be my forte either.
  • Lying on the beach on a large, Moroccan style tapestry in a white dress, pretending I look picturesque, when really, I can barely keep my hat on my head for the wind.
  • Eating a sandy picnic on the beach. Hey, I’ll take my Brie and cookie butter however I can get them, endowed with sand or not.
  • Studying algebra. Wondering about the futility of this exercise. Avoiding studying algebra.
  • Sitting in my local coffee shop pretending I’m classy as I study fractions and drink grapefruit tea. Failing miserably when about a quarter of my cup of tea gets poured into my lap.
  • Seeing Charleston, SC for the first time, and stuffing  my face with shrimp n grits and fried mac and cheese. Yes, that is a thing. Yes, it is exactly as delicious as it sounds.
  • Watching volleyball for many hours in the sun. Sometimes, when torn between two evils such as algebra and volleyball, you just gotta choose the lesser.
  • Getting scrapes on my leg from trying to start Philip’s moped, because I wanna drive it around so I can be all gangsta, yo. 
  • Planning my friends’ futures for them. If you’d like to know yours, you can ask me, and I’ll be happy to let you know.
  • Wondering why I have a pink spot on one of my toenails.
  • Watching Emma and eating popcorn all by myself, because INTROVERTS UNITE! (separately in your own houses and don’t you touch my popcorn!)
  • Getting coffee spilled over my back and lap. This drink dumping stuff seems to be a recurring problem.
  • Dreaming about living in NYC, and looking up apartments and reading articles about the pros and cons of the city, even though we both know I can’t move there quite yet. But a girl can dream, ey?
  • Trying henna in my hair, because nobody told me how hard it would be to wash out! Also, all those places that say hair henna doesn’t stain skin, don’t believe them. You’re welcome.

So, as you can see, how could I have written to you all during all that drama? How, I say? But I’ll be back someday, we hope. For now, off to study algebra and spill drinks on myself. Toodle-oo.

Photo credits to memeguy, whoever he may be.

The Clean Plater

Sometimes Ogden Nash just says it so much better than I ever could. Case in point:

“Some singers sing of ladies’ eyes,
And some of ladies lips,
Refined ones praise their ladylike ways,
And coarse ones hymn their hips.
The Oxford Book of English Verse
Is lush with lyrics tender;
A poet, I guess, is more or less
Preoccupied with gender.
Yet I, though custom call me crude,
Prefer to sing in praise of food.
Food,
Yes, food,
Just any old kind of food.
Pheasant is pleasant, of course,
And terrapin, too, is tasty,
Lobster I freely endorse,
In pate or patty or pasty.
But there’s nothing the matter with butter,
And nothing the matter with jam,
And the warmest greetings I utter
To the ham and the yam and the clam.
For they’re food,
All food,
And I think very fondly of food.
Through I’m broody at times
When bothered by rhymes,
I brood
On food.
Some painters paint the sapphire sea,
And some the gathering storm.
Others portray young lambs at play,
But most, the female form.
“Twas trite in that primeval dawn
When painting got its start,
That a lady with her garments on
Is Life, but is she Art?
By undraped nymphs
I am not wooed;
I’d rather painters painted food.
Food,
Just food,
Just any old kind of food.
Go purloin a sirloin, my pet,
If you’d win a devotion incredible;
And asparagus tips vinaigrette,
Or anything else that is edible.
Bring salad or sausage or scrapple,
A berry or even a beet.
Bring an oyster, an egg, or an apple,
As long as it’s something to eat.
If it’s food,
It’s food;
Never mind what kind of food.
When I ponder my mind
I consistently find
It is glued
On food.”

P.S. Thank you, leetle brother Philip, for introducing me to this gem.