Sunday, September 27, 2009

Weekend in Review

Since I just went through my first close-family-member wedding and flew a total of 1200 miles in the space of one weekend, I'm going to sum this up and hope it's sufficient for the 6 of you nice enough to read this. *breath* Also, just for clarity, this is Mom's family (she has 5 siblings whose children constitute 23 cousins for me).

Thursday: get up, go to work, take a test that I'd lost sleep over the night before (it wasn't that bad). Pack a suitcase, drive back to parents' house, go to bed earlyish, can't sleep again.

Friday:3:45 AM-get awoken by mom, gather things and get dressed,have dad drive us to the airport (he's grouchy, I'm excited, mom's indifferent). Get to the airport, take off for Pensacola FL at 5:45, arrive at 10ish (smooth flying). Grandpa and Aunt Amy (the bride) pick us up. Amy's glowing. Go to Grandpa's house and crash for 2 hours. Get up, get dressed, go downtown to St. Michael's (300 yr old church) for the rehearsal. Dinner served afterwards (it's seafood...really yummy). Cousins (ranging in ages 23 to 14...there's 15 of us involved) conspiring for an after party. We wind up at cousin Matt's beachfront suite in the Hilton on Pensacola beach (it's pretty legit). Pizza, booze (for the of-age cousins, naturally), late-night beachwalking and funny movie. Get locked out of Grandpa's house where I'm supposed to sleep, wind up at another cousins' hotel room and crash for the night.

Saturday: Day of the wedding, up at 7AM and over to Grandpa's first thing. At the hair dresser's by 8. Me and the 6 other bridesmaids primp for hours, my short hair winds up looking like a weird boufant, but kinda retro so I like it. Go to the church with 2 cousins (also bridesmaids), begin steaming Amy's gown. Spill water on the train, panic, take a shot of whiskey from an anonymous person's flask, calm down, salvage it. Rest of the party arrives, we get dressed in a tiny room and a flurry of female fluster, most of which centers around making Amy the perfect bride. Ceremony goes beautifully. Pictures take forever. Business where the reception takes place is "Big Sexy Food". It's a blast - everyone super happy, 78-yr-old Grandpa dancing better than most of us. Open bar (which I took advantage of), Spend most of the evening dancing like an idiot with my whole extended family and loving it. No after-party, we're all too tired, so go to our respective lodgings and crash.

Sunday (Today, as I write this): Get up at 8AM, eat breakfast at Grandpa's with aunt, cousins, Grandpa, Mom. Dress again, go with the family (in straggling, dis-organized bunches) BACK to St. Michael's for church/cousin Elizabeth's confirmation ceremony. Chat/mingle at that reception for a bit, then head back to Grandpa's, pack, scarf down lasagna w/mom, and head to the airport for a 3:45 flight. Cry the whole way there because my mom's crying and the whole weekend and the whole family has just been so overwhelming and ohmygoshit'sjusttoomuch........say goodbye to Aunt Linda and Grandpa and take off. Flight's roughish, can't sleep. Land in Dallas. There's a plane surrounded by fire trucks on the runway. We take off anyway......

....Land in OKC without any hitches. Drive 30 min back to parents' house. Dad bought a giant new TV while Mom and I were gone. Drive an hour BACK to norman. Get back to my house, living room's full of people (it's my roommate's weekly movie night). Some prick is sprawled on the floor in front of the door and won't move even though I'm dragging luggage. Drag my 15lb suitcase right over his lazy ass. Lock myself in my room and brood. Go to bed because I'm a zombie and don't know HOW I'm going to make it through the week ahead.....


Sunday, September 13, 2009


So apparently my wanton blog advertisements on facebook have harvested more readers than I ever predicted.

As I sat down to write this, I mulled over a topic or 4 to write about and, after some deliberation, scrapped them all on account of the potential toe-stomping each would likely instigate...I suppose it's in poor taste to discuss my complaints about various social or work circumstances when those involved might possibly be reading them ;)

But this consideration did get me thinking about how ignorant writers, musicians, artists in general are to the repercussions of their work.  While writing is probably the most explicit form of expression, it can still be interpreted (almost) as variably as, say, a painting or sculpture. Just look at court rulings based on written law...or the heated debates over texts from the Bible.

But this is true even on as small a scale as a blog, or even facebook photo captions.  The few strings of words a person chooses to describe their picture or even their current state show such a special, succint aspect of their personality which, I think, can only be appreciated by an outside observer.

For example, my parents have been happily married for 23 years. Experienced all sorts of life's ups and downs together, and, by all accounts, know each others' ways through and through. Yet my mother is as tickled by my dad's off-hand witticisms on facebook as if she'd just met him. Not because she doesn't know him well (obviously), but because a person's writings show a special aspect of them which is otherwise inaccessible...even if you've been married to them for 2 decades.

It's the reason people resort to written words when they've got something very important or difficult to say. It's the reason many people (myself included) never throw letters or greeting cards away. Perhaps it's the reason texting and twitter have enjoyed such wild popularity. What a person chooses to write (even in fragmented, sporadic blurts) speaks volumes both in terms of what they're communicating and how they're unconsciously reflected and interpretted.

It's enough to make even a compulsive writer like myself stop and think about what will meet your eyes and more importantly, your thoughts. And therein...hopefully...put my best word forward.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Snapshot of my Brain

And now for a snapshot of my brain as of Sept. 7, 2009, 9:38 p.m. (written from the yearbook office...yes I'm in my office this late....on Labor Day)

-Had to lead a desk meeting alone for the first time ever. Bribed my writers with cookies so they'd show up...probably would've taken it personally if they didn't. Can't shake the feeling I went about it all wrong. Am not used to being in a leadership position at all. General feelings of unease and paranoia.

-Went hiking through Wichita Mountain Wildlife Reserve/Park in Lawton OK today. Climbing giant, precariously-high boulders with my family never gets old. Probably never will. It's that nice blend of rugged outdoorsy-ness, nerve-grating roadtrip-with-the-family experience, danger, and authentic fun that leaves you feeling like you've got a good story and an interesting life. General feelings of accomplishment, pride in my family, and satisfaction

-Topics for yearbook to cover that I'm actually enthusiastic about: an OU student who does commercial fishing in the Bering Sea every summer...makes $36,000...sounds like a Deadliest Catch kind of part? It's a girl. Also a frat boy who lost of chunk of his arm to a shark over the summer....during Discovery Channel's SharkWeek. Oh the delightful irony. General feelings of intrigue.

-Tomorrow a photographer and I take a media tour of the OU Stadium to view recently-renovated stuff. Sounds all professional and legit. I'm kind of excited I guess. General feelings of "am I really the right person for this?"

-Following the Mountain excursion my family and I dined at Cracker Barrel. I devoured 2 1/2 biscuits, roughly a tablespoon of butter, mac n cheese, roast beef, hash brown casserole and green beans. Sum total of fat, calories, and carbs probably enough to send the average 50-yr-old into cardiac arrest. General feelings of self-consciousness and "I should probably get the gym soon".

-Just glanced at the clock, it's almost 10 pm and I'm in the office. What's wrong with this picture. Just perused the Bravo Bucket. Not a single "drop" of gratitude addressed to me. What else is wrong with this picture. General feelings of disgust, frustration, and being under-appreciated....resisting the urge to check and see if I've been paid, knowing this will further my wrath.

-Deep breath. Think of things I'm grateful for. Decide to quit blogging and get away from this rectangular nightmare of macs, paper, and ingratitude (aka the yearbook office)


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Baby Garden

Monday we (the PW students) went around the room and talked about the first funeral we went to. The variety of experiences and the students' emotions about each were quite impressive. Their reaction to mine ("they" including the professor) was, unsurprisingly, morbid fascination and mild horror. I'd be remiss if I didn't admit to relishing the rather sick thrill of sharing something truly unusual with a classroom full of my peers.

My first funeral was when I was about 12 years old, and it was my good fortune that I wasn't close to either the greiving family or the deceased. It was held for a late-term, miscarried infant: a girl who I'll refer to as Anna. To this day I have wondered why Anna's family chose to have a full-fledged funeral mass (the family was Catholic, like mine) instead of the more customary private burial service, but I'm content with not knowing, as the reasons are probably personal.

The baby's coffin was placed centrally in the chapel for the whole service. I barely knew the mourning family, but I still felt that my initial mistaking of said coffin for a to-go box was a little shameful. I also recall my guilt for almost bursting into laughter when the family's surviving child almost dropped her sister's coffin while carrying it in a procession to the gravesite. (Please rememeber this was my first funeral)

My mirth died (no pun intended) when we reached the gravesite; it was in the middle of the Baby Garden (not its official name), a special section of the cemetery reserved for miscarried and stillborn infants. Trinkets like pacifiers, baby shoes, rattles, lace barrettes, and stuffed animals had been strewn about the graves by their respective families; quivering slightly in the cold morning's gusts.

One tombstone bore an inscription which haunts me to this day (aside from the quivering mementos). Instead of a Bible verse like its neighbors, the marker had a simple sentence that read, "We'll hold you in Heaven."

Suddenly this weird, almost cartoonish ceremony for a baby in a to-go box became real. Suddenly I noticed that some of the infants' tombstones bore the same names as some of the families in attendance, their mothers quietly weeping nearby. Suddenly this special kind of tragedy and sorrow was tangible, understandable, and relatable to me, despite my never having experienced it first-hand.

Just one simple sentence and yet it tells so much. It communicates the excitement of expecting a child, the incredible sorrow at losing it before it's even born (and the family is able to hold it), and the faith-based hope of meeting this lost life in the next life.

The mere fact that one well-written sentence was enough to snap a nervous, ignorant 12-yr-old out of her childish perception (and into a much more mature one) AND still be just as meaningful 9 years later is miraculous to me. It's a powerful testimony to the art of lingual expression, and though I could never have known it then, that experience would never leave my list-of-inspirations as I pursued said art as a career.