Saturday, May 31, 2008
We grapple with romantic devastation, wade through professional disaster and meander through personal disappointment - without a partner to help carry the load.
Through it all, we lean on our fellow single sisters for support - and some great cocktails.
I caught the latest celebration of Girl Power to hit the silver screen Friday night. GOP Big Wig and I took in the Sex and the City flick, along with a throng of giddy women decked out in hot stilettos, dresses, handbags and every other imaginable accessory.
I'll skip a review (D Money's blog has a nice discussion on the movie), but I wanted to write a bit about a quote of Carrie's that struck a chord for me.
"Your 20s are for having fun, your 30s are for learning your lessons and your 40s are to pay for the drinks (paraphrased)."
I love it.
A year and a half in to my 30s, I have to say - I am facing many experiences with an open perspective and a desire to learn and improve both myself and the world around me.
Where my 20s were (mostly but not completely) a drunken stupor of debauchery and decadence, my 30s are more restrained, more responsible. I am more apt to forgo a night of spectacular dining and imbibing, instead dedicating my finances to more pressing obligations - most recently, auto repair.
I am also more likely to seek out more genuine personal connections, rather than those relationships that leave me feeling empty or dissatisfied. It's great having a bunch of drinking buddies, but I just can't have the same conversation more than twice... and if it's gonna be about your college glory days or sexual conquests - please leave me out.
I am learning a lot in my 30s.
I've discovered you don't have to shell out a lot of cash to look dynamite. By the same token, I've learned you definitely get what you pay for in regards to shoes - BCBG Girl will feel so much better than Payless at the end of the evening.
I've learned that it's okay to wait for love, because sometimes we commit too early and are left with something messy. These days, people my age and younger are getting divorced, proof that maybe it's alright I've decided to skip the "starter marriage" and wait for the real deal. In a related matter, my mom has occasionally reminded me that perhaps I can score a retread.
31 is great. I won't try and tell you it's all wine and roses, but the disappointments aren't as dramatic, and I can't help but believe it's because I know myself better and am more committed to my convictions than I was in my 20s.
And I know Carrie says the 40s are so you can pay for the cocktails, but I think I'm doing alright with that, too.
In honor of the flick that celebrates the Big Apple and single girls everywhere, here's a drink recipe I invented when I was 17. It won a contest at the restaurant where I worked through high school and college - and the management decided to serve it all summer long.
Long Island Sunset
3 oz. Captain Morgan spiced rum
3 oz. Peachtree schnapps
3 oz. Cranberry juice
3 oz. Sour mix
Shake after poured, garnish with cherry and orange slice.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
That's because I am now up at 4:30 in the morning and I am finding myself blogging about one of the last things I thought about before sawing some logs.
*** *** ***
I noticed this phenomenon quite by accident probably a year and a half ago. I had received an email from a new friend who signed her name with the closing Best, Suzy. I thought it an unusual way to end a note that had personal intentions, only because Best, Suzy or Best, Johnny or Best, Gertrude was the kind of enclosure I noticed on the litany of press releases landing in my inbox.
And so that's when I began wondering when we dropped the Sincerely from our correspondence.
I ask this because Sincerely is the kind of end to a letter I learned in grade school, I think perhaps even in college (and I graduated in the last year of the last millennium - so not that long ago). I never remember getting any formal email from Grammar Girl (love her podcast) about this official switch to Best, and yet I am now discovering it is everywhere - even in the emails I send to folks.
Best what? Best wishes? Best regards? What about Best day ever? or Best email you're going to receive today? How about the more likely and more sassy Best be hitting reply, fool?
No. I guess maybe only Mr. T means that when he signs Best, Laurence Tureaud (aside: I guess I'd change my name to Mr. T, too).
I spent a few moments (less than normal - c'mon it's 4:3o am and I DO intend on falling back asleep) looking online for some debate on this concept. Unfortunately, I did not find anything specifically addressing the best vs. sincerely smackdown. I found one relevant forum on a website that also featured a personal ad seeking Married American Male Seeks Married American Lady, so I can't be too sure of its validity or appropriate sourcing.
Despite the lack of substantial evidence confirming the official switch, I guess I'll stick with this Best concept. It's the enclosure I find on all business correspondence that makes its way into my work email these days, so I guess I should do the same.
Monday, May 26, 2008
It seems like such an incidental concept, one week and two days after my family buried my seven-month-old niece. But chocolate is one earthly gift I am happy to have experienced, and so it is with a heavy heart that I think about all my little niece missed out on before her passing.
A chunk of chocolate is just the tip of the iceberg.
Fine wines, fun late-night conversations around candlelight - the ones that are punctuated by laughter so hearty it makes your sides hurt - first kisses. Swimming lessons. College graduation. A lifetime of experience that will fail to come to fruition. And yet I know in my heart that all of these celebrations and milestones and occasions pale in comparison to the many blessings and wonders she is experiencing in heaven.
It still hurts, though. And I guess that is part of the burden of being left behind with the rest of humanity.
*** *** ***
Too Late To Apologize - it's the title of a popular song by One Republic, and for the past few months I've thought about the validity of the words. Is there, in fact, a point when you can not go back and undo the wrongs of a hurting relationship?
Relationships with friends and loved ones can get messy from time to time. Most of the time I am inclined to forgive and forget, if only because the relationship is too important to me. There have been a few times, though, where I have decided to end the relationship rather than subject myself to persistent, unforgivable behavior.
We choose to maintain these friendships and close relationships because they make us happy, they make us learn, they make us feel. And when the going gets rough, we try to put our pride aside and admit our faults and ask for forgiveness. But every relationship requires a two-way channel for this atonement. The situation will never heal itself if one person is consistently doing all of the apologizing, all of the gesturing, all of the work.
And that's when it's likely best to dissolve those ties, however painful it may be.
But is it ever really too late to apologize? Hmm. I guess it depends on how bad both individuals want to maintain the relationship.
*** *** ***
For some reason I experienced a great deal of loneliness this holiday weekend. Perhaps it was in part because I am feeling a massive severing of ties in one aspect of my personal life, perhaps it is also because I was exposed to some heavy coupling - a few scenarios where I was the odd chick out. Most of the time I don't mind being the only singleton at the party, but I guess my emotions got the best of me and I was a bit down in the dumps.
Usually I am content alone.
I like the solitude my life provides me - I also must admit I like the unrelenting demand of selfishness. But in the evening, that's when it gets a bit more painful, when lonesome washes over me and I am huddled beneath my comforter alone. Sometimes I try and envision what it would be like to have a pair of strong arms wrapped around me as I sleep, and I doze off dreaming of deep laughter, a trusted confidant, a future planned around two souls.
I wake up to the slight sadness of solitude.
Friday, May 23, 2008
That's a nice chunk of change that could go towards a ticket to the West Coast (though I have no plans to give them a stand-up routine in L.A.)
I also covet a sweet Coach bag that checks in at $498 (this is really more of a pipe dream).
The Coach Ergo Patent Leather Pleated Framed Satchel - a girl can dream, right?
That handsome sum of money would go far in other worthy pursuits like dining (fine or otherwise) drinking (not choosy there, either) or entertainment (I do have some standards in this arena).
Instead... I got hit with the Oil Change Whammy.
You know - the fun moment when you take your car in for a quick lube and leave with far more than you bargained for.
Let me preface this.
Over the past two weeks I have experienced two occasions when my glorious, graphite-colored, 2001 Saab 9-3 opted to not start.
Both were at horribly inconvenient occasions - the first was just hours after I found out about Maeve's passing and desperately needed to get to my parents' home. The second was this past Tuesday, when I was headed back to the office after visiting a local lunch spot.
Yeah, those were both fun moments.
The mileage on the ol' car indicated it was time to take it in to the shop for an oil change, so I let the good folks know about this recent, inconvenient predicament.
I am now the proud owner of a new temperature sensor, a new thermostat and a new "PCV system," whatever that is (clue: the folks at the auto shop said Saab designed a new-and-improved version that I just had to have. Riiight). My snazzy investment also includes the needed oil change and the nice $90 fee to hook my car up to some diagnostic computer to assess whether anything else is wrong.
I am so so in love with this idea of car maintenance that I will, over this next summer, be shelling out for new front brakes ($450) a new oil pressure switch ($160) and a new serpentine belt and lever ($110). That doesn't include replacing my two front tires, which are worn, and the two back tires, which are dry rotted.
Life is totally a bitch sometimes.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Please tell me you decided to make a stop at the Main Street Wine & Spirits while cruising the streets of Amelia on a whim last week.
Please tell me that while visiting the Main Street Wine & Spirits in Amelia you had a hankering to buy a Mega Millions ticket.
Please tell me you decided not to tell anyone you bought the winning ticket.
Please tell me you are still working at the office – even after buying the $196 million winning Mega Millions ticket – because you love your job so much.
Today would be a nice day to become your personal chef.
Monday, May 19, 2008
One large cannoli
One square of baklava
One bag of pita chips
One container of fresh mozzarella
No, it won't make the pain go away.
No, it won't fix a damn thing.
But it sure made me feel good for a brief moment.
And yes, I ate it all in one sitting, and in light of everything, I think that's quite alright.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
There really is nothing to say.
No perfect set of words strung together to make everything all better on a day like today. Today Atlanta was graced with a perfect azure sky, glorious streams of sunlight poking through big puffy clouds that looked like cotton candy. The spectacular spring day was a perfect blanket to conceal the grief held in the hearts of so many mourning the loss of an angel taken away too soon.
No. No right thought or sentence can wash away the pain my sister and brother-in-law are carrying inside.
I saw so many surreal, heartbreaking images today I thought I'd never have to digest. My sister draped across a pure white infant casket, weeping over the body of her tiny baby. Brigid inspecting every inch of Maeve, making sure her baptismal gown looked fine, checking Maeve's socks and caressing the sweet baby's cheeks. Running her fingers over her daughter's fine, glistening strawberry blonde hair. Kissing her baby's forehead.
A young couple, not yet even 30, hovering over their infant child one last time, shattered at the thought of what could have been and what was. Later, kneeling at the gravesite, kissing the porcelain coffin, my sister intentionally leaving behind the mark of her lipstick.
The Georgia clay was a beautiful brick red. Maeve's coffin was lowered into a space about three feet by two feet, surrounded by sprays of stunning pink roses, bright white daisies and gentle carnations. The bagpiper played Danny Boy and Amazing Grace. He looked to be about 17 years old and I am sure he had never seen such a sad scene in his entire life.
I surely hadn't.
And yet for all the crying, for all the grief and anger and sadness and desperation, I had to remind myself that Maeve was in a far, far better place.
My niece's tiny, tired body doesn't have to fight anymore. She does not live with bruises and tubes and machinery, she lives with the glory of Christ for all eternity. She is at peace in Heaven with my grandparents and my brother-in-law's relatives and so many other people who love the Maevey Bean.
Crushing situations like this one can leave people with hardened hearts. I am working to remember the blessing that Maeve was in life.
I can say with complete honesty that Maeve was the happiest child I had ever laid eyes on. I say that because I have never met another child who was given so many difficult circumstances to overcome, and yet my niece spent so many of her days smiling, giggling and loving her parents.
I will never forget her smile. I will never forget how soft Maeve was, or her mesmerizing blue eyes. I will never forget the perfectly shaped heart birthmark on the back of Maeve's head. I will never forget the gift of that amazing trip to Atlanta in March.
I will never forget the time Maeve talked to me.
Though she was only seven months old, Maeve's legacy lives on, having touched so many lives around the world.
People in South Africa, England and Ireland have prayed for Maeve. People in Minnesota and New Jersey and Maryland. Friends in Kentucky, Connecticut, Florida and California. Family in New York and Missouri. Loved ones in Georgia, Ohio and South Carolina. Folks in Tennessee, Virginia, Oregon and Colorado.
So many people have been touched by the miraculous story that is Maeve's life. However brief, her life was a testament to the power of human will, and that little girl's example will live on through the rest of us.
It's amazing - Maeve's heart was the most broken thing about her, and yet in a way it was also her strongest asset.
Maeve's love for life and the love for her parents helped her fight each day like it was her last. That love will continue to live on in my heart, and in the hearts of Maeve's family and friends.
And we will continue to live each day like it's our last, as a way to honor that amazing little girl's legacy.
I love you, Maeve.
Love, Aunt KK
Friday, May 16, 2008
I'm rocking you to sleep
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
My niece, Maeve, passed away Tuesday morning at approximately 11:00 AM.
My sister, Brigid, says, "She was too perfect for this world and will be missed every minute of every day. We thank all of you for your thoughts and prayers along the way and ask that you say one more prayer that Maeve is resting peacefully in heaven since she was unable to do so on earth.
"Our hearts are broken."
The visitation is Friday night and the funeral is scheduled for Saturday morning at St. Benedict's Catholic Church in Duluth, GA.
Monday, May 12, 2008
It's a holiday that, by rights, I can't claim. Every year since 1977, I've marked that day with cards (those first ones were penned by my dad) and then crayon drawings and painted artwork and poems and stories. Later it was small trinkets bought after weeks of babysitting or schlepping dishes at a local restaurant. These days its nice lotions and potions and gift certificates to special restaurants.
I've always been the celebrator on Mother's Day, as opposed to the celebratee, but this year I decided to ask for a gift.
This Mother's Day was my sister's first as a mommy. Most young mothers enjoy their first special holiday with breakfast in bed and kisses and cuddles with their precious baby, but that wasn't to be for my sister. My niece, Maeve, was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance eight weeks ago after complications with her congenital heart and lung defects. Doctors and nurses at the Sibley Heart Center Intensive Care Unit have cared for that sweet baby ever since.
Yes, this Mother's Day holiday was a rough occasion for everyone in the family, and we were all hoping Brigid would finally get a chance to hold her determined little girl.
Brigid was handed a world of heartache and challenge since Maeve was born October Fifth. Since then she has discovered the strength and bravery within to face the challenges of having a truly ill little girl. Brigid has dedicated every thought and moment and intention to helping Maeve as she recovers in the hospital. My sister has remained committed to the hope needed to survive the crushing emotions that come with a gravely ill child.
All of Brigid's struggles and fears and emotions melted away as she got a chance to hold her seven-month-old daughter. Doctors were amazed that Maeve was ready for such a thing, and one can only chalk it up to a gift from God.
Maeve was taken off her ventilator last week and doctors had to perform a rush procedure to remove fluid from one of her lungs. Both of my niece's lungs collapsed after the procedure and doctors were concerned Maeve would have to go back on the ventilator - a circumstance that would have prevented my sister from holding her baby girl.
But Maeve persevered.
She is the most determined person I've ever met - with an internal drive to survive and live and thrive. Maeve is miraculous.
Brigid and Steve got to hold their sweet girl this weekend - on Saturday Maeve was "tracking," or following the conversation happening between her mother and father. Sunday my sister and brother-in-law found their little girl freshly bathed and wearing those little socks that are knit to look like Mary Jane dress shoes - a little girl ready to celebrate with her Mommy.
That's what I wanted for Mother's Day. A brief moment for my sister to forget about her worries and just be with her baby girl. A chance for Brigid to take Maeve in her arms and love life's greatest gift.
Maeve is miraculous, and so is her mother.
My posting has been seriously lacking as I've been up to my eyeballs in publishing details - photography expenses and layout concepts, etc. I am taking charge of one of the Junior League's most exciting fundraising opportunities - a new cookbook. The League hasn't created a new cookbook in about 14 years, so I am really excited about putting a fresh spin on a spectacular publication that will represent our organization, our fine city and of course our love of food.
That's why I was in Nashville for a few days last week - the League sent me and our Cookbook Marketing Chair down to a Cookbook Convention who knew those existed? to learn a little - no, a LOT - about this new venture we're taking on. My head is swimming with spectacular ideas and I am excited to share some of them with you over the next year.
The cookbook comes out in Fall 2009 - in the meantime, I am happy to take suggestions, ORIGINAL recipes and other advice from my readers.
*** *** ***
My posting may have diminished over the past week, but my ideas have not. Here's a brief rundown of a few things to watch for over the next few days:
1) Mother's Day - The Greatest Gift (I'll forgo the suspense and share with you that Brigid finally got to hold Maeve! The baby has been in intensive care for eight weeks - Brigid has waited a long time to hold her little girl... More on Maeve tonight, but I'll say that she is sloooowly getting better. That's all we can ask for...)
2) You Can't Beat A Southern Boy's Charm - a tale from Nashville
3) A Tale of Two Souls Diverged - two people living the same circumstances with completely different perspectives on life
That's all for now...
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Take a look at today's menu:
Nutri-Grain Bar (blueberry)
Few swigs of Diet Sprite out of the two-liter in my fridge
$.35 cup of coffee/vanilla latte out of the office coffee machine
Vanilla fat-free pudding cup
Special K cereal bar with chocolate drizzle
100 calorie snack pack - some sour cream and onion flavored variety
100 calorie snack pack - Ritz Bitz snack mix
Venti fat free/sugar free caramel Frappaccino from 'bucks
Entire bag of Snyders honey mustard and onion pretzel bits
Diet A & W root beer (like that's really gonna make a difference at this point)
I think I was eating healthier when I was consistently dining out.
I say normally only because Yours Truly was snapped in action by one of the fine photographers working for the local weekly newspaper.
So there it is, in black and white and hypercolor pink.
Lenna Lou and I had a great time working as Hyde Park Square's unofficial cheering section (along with two new friends, we were by far the loudest spectators in the otherwise refined and dignified Hyde Park).
LL and our new friends all say they're gonna wear wigs with me and turn our rah-rah-rah into an annual tradition.
The wigs: I'll believe it when I see it.
At least I managed to pimp my non-profit employer's new branding message.
My sister continues to visit her now seven-month-old baby girl twice a day.
At one point this past weekend, Maeve held on to Brigid's finger for an hour and a half and looked up into Brigid's eyes.
My sister started talking to her baby girl about how she's hoping Maeve is home in time for the Fourth of July and all of the fun they'd have when Maeve returns home. Brigid is promising Maeve cupcakes - big, fluffy pink cupcakes.
We are praying that Brigid will get to hold her little girl by Mother's Day.
My sister told my parents that only 20 percent of patients survive the heart procedure Maeve experienced Friday March 21st. We are amazed at how strong our Maevey Bean is and how determined she is to live.
My parents are extremely proud of their only grandchild, and I must say, Aunt Katy is pretty damn proud, too.
Thanks for keeping Maevey in your thoughts and prayers.
Sunday, May 04, 2008
She was the chick.
Filly Eight Belles got her chance to run with the big boys, and run she did. Pulling out all the stops and giving outright favorite and eventual winner Big Brown a literal run for the money.
Eight Belles was the only one out of the remaining 19 to contend with the massive feat of agricultural engineering that was Big Brown. She had the heart, the determination and the drive.
But as fate would have it, the ol' girl crushed both of her front ankles immediately after she crossed the finish line.
Equine crews had to euthanize her right on the field, wheeling in massive trucks to block the horrific scene from the crowd of 157,770 frenzied racing fans.
Eight Belles literally ran the race of her life - a magnificent finish to the three-year-old's brief career in The Sport of Kings.
She was the first filly to run for the roses since 1999. The exclusive venue is known as an old boys' club - a club made of four-legged members whose strides are the result of precise breeding. But Eight Belles had Derby-winning blood running in her veins - grandpa Unbridled and great-grandpa Northern Dancer.
This lady had the pedigree to really give things a go.
The Women's Lib movement is apparently not exclusive to us humans. Eight Belle's trainers pumped their athlete up with encouraging talks - think Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better - trying to motivate their horse for the big show. It was her first face off with the men, and it would be the last.
Try as she might, it was not meant to be for Eight Belles.
She came in second behind a magnificent piece of muscle and legs. Big Brown was the outright winner furlongs before the finish.
But, for Eight Belles, second place means she will be remembered as a champion by so many.
Friday, May 02, 2008
My father's daughter was making a pie while you were sleeping.
I woke up at 5:30 am to whip up a Kentucky tradition - Derby Pie Mayday Pie (the name is trademarked by an industrial baker).
Any self respecting lady from Kentucky has a family recipe to serve, and though I am not a native of the Bluegrass State, I spent ten years in Lexington - making it my home away from home.
I like to make my Derby Pie two times a year, for Oaks Day (the day before the big race) and Thanksgiving.
Step 1 - Make a great pie crust from scratch.
Step 3 - Stir the "gravy" until it's well blended.
Step 4 - put assembled pie in the fridge until you're ready to bake (bonus points if you can find the four kinds of beer in the pic).
Step 5 - Bake for 55 minutes at 325* - the pie comes out looking golden brown.
Now, I must admit - a lot of prep work went in to this creation. I assembled the crust and filling ingredients during the 11 pm news last night (I do not have assistants like Rachel, Martha or Giada).
I hope my new work friends love my special treat!
Thursday, May 01, 2008
I am so glad you've arrived at what I like to call my literary playground.
As the title of my blog implies ~ the thoughts, opinions and concepts discussed here are completely random. I am likely to discuss faith, my spectacular shoe collection, a hot local restaurant and the comings and goings of my family in a single week.
I've had this blog since 2004, and I've thoroughly enjoyed meeting new internet friends and reacquainting with old friends along the way. As you can see by my stat counter at the bottom of the page, I've enjoyed a healthy dose of random traffic over the years (137,258 unique page loads at the time of this writing!)
That said, I think it's time we go over some blog etiquette. Whether we are sharing a meal together or enjoying a phone conversation - manners are extremely important to me (I keep one of Emily Post's books in my powder room). I expect to be treated with respect and kindness at all times, including on da blog.
So here are some ground rules to follow as you meander through my site and all the other blogs on the WWW.
First and foremost - #1 Don't steal my stuff. I am not God's gift to the written word, but I'd like to think I can successfully string together a few sentences from time to time. All of the posts on this blog are considered intellectual property, with me being the soul creator and owner. If you want to use a bit of it, ask. That's why I provided my email address below my pic. If you ask nicely, you're more likely to get a nice answer.
Now that we got that bit out of the way...
#2 If you're going to leave a comment - make sure it's a well crafted idea that contributes to the general idea of the post. It doesn't have to sound like a Shakespearian sonnet, but I'd like to think you put some thought into it, after all - I spend quite a bit of time mulling over my ideas and editing them before you get to read them. I expect the same from my readers.
Also pertaining to comments: #3 Please don't use my blog as a forum to pimp your own page, your business, your event, your art etc. If you really want some recognition, re-read Rule #2. Be witty. Be insightful. Be open. Maybe I'll like what you have to say, maybe I won't. Either way, chances are I'll take notice and check out your page.
I am so grateful for any occasion when someone thinks enough of my blog to put a link on their own page. That said, #4 just because you link to me - that doesn't guarantee I'll link back. I actually am quite discriminating about the links I include in my sidebar. All of the featured blogs offer either excellent writing, intelligent insight about the world around us, or unique content about my hometown. I don't throw up links willy nilly, so don't be hurt if I don't include you.
Finally #5 Please respect my private life. Three years ago I discovered my former employer and my father had both started reading my blog. That's when I started toning down the content on my pages. These days, I don't talk about my personal relationships or my workplace. That's just bad business (on both accounts). Please keep in mind I am a real person with real problems who may or may not reveal to you the full story. Just because you read my pages - it does not mean you know me. I am happy to continue email correspondence with my blog readers, but I likely do not want to meet you face-to-face. As you can gather, I have a pretty busy life socially and professionally and do not use my blog to enhance either aspect.
Thanks again for checking out my blog! I hope I make you laugh, think, and feel along the way, and I hope you do the same for me.
PS: Please check out the following blog posts for more reference on blogging etiquette