I Dub Thee “You’ve Got Mail Day”

I’m revamping the “About” section of the blog day, so check it out and pretend it’s another post if you’d like.  It will be a couple of hours between this moment and the moment when anything is changed there, however.  Patience, grasshopper.

And now for the promised You’ve Got Mail moment.  That’s one of my all-time favorite chick flicks.  If you missed Meg Ryan mania in the 90’s, the movie is about a cute-if-slightly-bookish New Yorker who often feels insignificant and wonders what she’s doing with her life.  She runs a bookstore that her mother ran before her, and her life is turned upside down (just like the Fresh Prince) when a Barnes & Noble-ish store opens down the street from her.

Before all of the existential questioning and falling in love happens, she and an email pen pal share their feelings about fall.  Here goes:

Joe Fox: Don’t you love New York in the fall?  It makes me wanna buy school supplies.  I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.

After which my inner dork sighs.

I was one of those kids who couldn’t wait to start school every year.  Whether I was homeschooled or went to “real” school, I couldn’t contain the joy of having a fresh, blank notebook and a few new pens.  I organized my supplies just so in my bag or on my desk, and I waited anxiously for that first day.  Books and friends and more books were waiting for me just around the corner.  There were tests to conquer, hours and hours of solid procrastination to cram in, and all sorts of other unexpected happiness to come.

A friend did send me a bunch of new pencils when I started grad school, and it was one of the best care packages I’ve ever received (Yours are great, too, Mom!).  There’s something about fresh school supplies that will always take me back to those moments when I couldn’t wait to go back to school.  School wasn’t about pressure or success then.  It was about a new year, doing the best you could, and reading a trillion books.  It was good.

[Picture by Merelymel13.]

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Musical Life

One of my childhood goals was to live in a musical.  Some people dream of useful things like curing cancer or taking over the world.  I just wanted to learn a few dance moves and start singing on a whim.

A happy side-effect of having reasonable goals is that you can actually make them happen.  I used to make up songs and sing them pretty much non-stop.  My parents were saints to put up with that.  And when I wasn’t making up my own songs, I ran around pretending I was Belle from Beauty and the Beast.  Belle was smart, pretty, and not afraid of a pack of hungry wolves (well, only sort of afraid).  She even spent a freakish amount of time reading and lived in a musical.

Anyway, back to the real story.  Musicals always seemed like such a great way of life.  You’re trudging along, dealing with whatever happens, and you suddenly burst into song.  You can sing through anything–extreme happiness (which usually includes dancing and skipping), extreme tragedy, and everything in between.  You don’t have to worry about people knowing your deepest darkest secrets that you just sang in the public square, because it’s like everyone knows that you have musical Tourette’s and can’t help blurting out whatever you’re thinking.

So that was the dream.  Then yesterday, I sat down to watch Oklahoma! and realized that you would definitely need a fast forward option if you lived in a musical.  Sometimes you don’t need to say the same thing over and over again in different keys.  Okay, so you wish the cute prairie girl would go to the social with you.  I get it.  Moving on.  And how is it that I never feel that way about The Sound of Music?  What’s-her-name can sing about being 16 going on 17 as long as she wants to, and I don’t mind.  And those brown paper packages tied up with string?  Please sing some more about that!

Maybe the moral of the story is that Oklahoma! isn’t my favorite musical.  Or it could be that I don’t really like surreys with fringe on top.  Or (and this is the only option that’s remotely sad) maybe I got a taste of how guys feel when they watch chick flicks.  “Would you get to the point and make something happen already?!”

Part 2 of the Oklahoma! viewing is tonight.  Fingers crossed that I make it through the end and feel differently about it by then.

Untitled (#685)

Okay, I’ve been thinking about what I wrote yesterday and have come to a few conclusions.  The most important thing is that I am decidedly happy to be staying in the same place for an unknown period of time.  I have to get used to that concept, but I like it here, and staying put for a few years doesn’t mean I have to stay for the rest of my life.  It’s not like vines will grow up from my yard and trap me.  (Have you ever seen the movie The Ruins?  A bunch of college students visit an archeological site in Mexico and vines start growing into their bodies.  Things go downhill quickly.  Yuck.  I didn’t want to water my plants for a few days after that.)

I’ve also decided that I spent way too much of the last quarter century mapping out every detail of my life.  Yet, miraculously, I managed to totally avoid thinking beyond age 25.  I guess I imagined that once you find a career, everything else sorts itself into neat little columns and rows.  My columns and rows look more like a Jackson Pollock painting than anything else, so I was somewhat off the mark with that.

[Click on the image above, then on the image at the destination, and it lets you create your own Jackson Pollock-esque painting.  It’s surprisingly fun.]

My new plan, now that there’s a gaping void in front of me, is to plan a whole lot less and approach a few parts of my life more purposefully (prayer is number one on the list, painting is number two… really similar, right?).  That’s it, the entire new life plan in fifteen words.

Units of Measurement

For some reason, I used to think that if I lived in one place long enough to finish a box of dryer sheets, I would have been there forever.  I mean, that would be truly settling down.

In case you need some perspective on what that means time-wise, I’m pretty sure I was using the 40-sheet boxes of dryer sheets at the time.  I couldn’t imagine being in one place for more than approximately 30 weeks.  Between moves back home, to new dorms, and to various summer destinations, things worked pretty well within that framework through college.  Life was mobile, and home was where I found a pillow.  I liked it that way.

Around that same time, my life plan was to be an international gypsy.  I would be a Hannah-like gypsy, of course.  Instead of being known as a pick-pocket, I would get whatever job I could in a town and stay for a while.  (Work papers?  Nah.  Those are totally mythical.  Language barriers?  Also mythical.)  Then I would pick up and try out the next place I felt like seeing.  It was the perfect plan until I bought a couch and a dog.  They were the beginning of the end.

I sat down yesterday in my annual review at work and realized that it was in fact the second review I’ve had at this job.  Not only have I started buying the larger boxes of dryer sheets, I’ve also come to a place where I have no idea what or when my next move will be.  I’ll let you know how I feel about that when I find out.  In the meantime, I need to come up with a unit of measurement that doesn’t involve laundry (or years… I can never keep track of them).