Friday, February 27, 2004


This just in (ok, it was in yesterday, but I didn't really feel like posting it right then):

Dear Ms. Reinke:

This communication is in response to your application for admission to graduate study in the Comparative Literature program at Vanderbilt University. Based on the recommendation of its faculty, we regret to inform you that Vanderbilt is unable to offer you admission to this program. If you have applied to more than one Vanderbilt program, you will receive a separate communication regarding your application to each program.

We experienced a significant increase in the number of graduate applications this year; thus, we are faced with the unpleasant task of turning down a number of well-qualified applicants.

We wish you well in your endeavors. Again, thank you for your interest in Vanderbilt University.

  • Ok, before you rush to the comments to console me--don't worry about it. It's a good thing. I don't think the program and I were meant for each other anyway and was probably going to turn down an offer, if extended. Not that it doesn't smart to have someone send you this kind of letter (especially when you've written them yourself and you *totally* know the thought process behind writing them) but perhaps my ego needed a little deflation. So, no "I'm sorry"s, k? If you do, I'll ban your IP :-)

  • In Other News

    I have decided from now on when people ask me what I do for a living I'm simply going to reply: "I collate." That's it. Nothing else. That's really all they need to know, anyway. That's the gist.

    Wednesday, February 25, 2004

    Mirror, Mirror in the Sand

    While walking along the shore, I happened upon a sand castle. It seemed to have been made with loving care. Intricate designs had been scalloped into its surface. Only the best sand had been used to make this castle. Little windows were carved in a couple of centimeters so that one might pretend to see inside. I planted myself a few feet away from the sandy manor, rolled onto my tail bone, wrapped my arms around my drawn-in legs, rested my chin on my knees and imagined sweeping ceilings lined with crown molding, marble pillars and intimate trinkets lining handmade shelves and cases. I dreamt of enormous ballrooms with brilliant chandeliers and private quarters with crackling fireplaces and cozy down comforters. Perhaps an octagonally-shaped library -- and one of those attached rolling ladders, the kind that every kid wants to play on and seldom can without getting in trouble, on each wall book-lined from floor-to-vaulted-ceiling. Except, perhaps, for the two walls made of three-quarters window kissing a cushioned cubby seat where one could curl up with whichever fruit of literature was picked from the surrounding grove of paper, glue and weathered bindings.

    I couldn't image anyone leaving this beautiful place empty, alone, deserted. I wanted to crawl inside and find my own candle-lit nook or cranny where I could fall asleep with shadows dancing along the walls to the surrounding ocean's symphony. I got lost in that sand castle- roaming its endless halls and its varying floors, exploring its secret passages. I'd lost complete track of time and space, drifting into my own figmented Elysian Fields, not even noticing the tide rolling over my ankles, splashing my hips. Not until, that is, it broke violently through my castle walls, threw down its turrets and revealed the muddy muck inside. Startled, I shot up, my sopping clothes clinging uncomfortably, coolly now, to my clammy flesh. The tide had changed with the setting sun and with it, tumbled my fantasia. Distraught by my washed-up dream, I trudged on home.

    The next day, however, I returned to that place. Instead of finding the expected ruins of my dreams, I found a child rebuilding that castle. I realized that it was not as murky as I thought, that although it was not made of marble and sonnets, it was constructed from countless, unique granules like any other sand sculpture. Yet, even knowing it was the same as others made it special, made it different. Knowing the simplicity of the design and the complexity of the grains clinging almost inexplicably together to create a shape of beauty. A shape which inspires fantasy and yet cries out for reality, for truth. A fortress, vulnerable to the phases of the moon, a hearty wind or the malice of the world-- yet rebuilt with love and care after every fall.

    I think I treat people too much like fantasy sand castles-- I build them up in my mind from a safe distance and too often count them revoltingly lost with the cascading tide of revelation. Not often enough do I return for the chance to embrace the wonder and complexity in the simple truth of reality.

    Tuesday, February 24, 2004

    Random Thoughts on Some Music

  • Maybe it's his dragging rock-n-roll style, but every time I listen to Pete Yorn's Come Back Home I swear I can hear him lisping

  • Aside from Disney, only Peter Gabriel could write a song about kissing frogs

  • I miss The Normals, period.

  • Ok, I lied, I have to say more about The Normals. I've been listening to a couple of their discs (again) recently. They are just so freaking talented both musically and lyrically. No, seriously. So to catch newer glimpses of them, check out Andrew Osenga's latest work Souvenirs and Postcards. I promise he didn't pay me (or even ask) for this advertisement, I've just been lately reacquainted with how great this music is.

  • Last night I lay relaxing in a lavender bubble bath while Shawn Colvin's Few Small Repairs drifted in from my bedroom and thought how wonderful it is that she can have such diversity in her musical style. I want to be brooding like "Sunny Came Home" or "Trouble" and then go into a song like "Never Saw Blue" or "Witchita Skyline" with their whimsically enchanting melodies and metaphors.

  • Then I wondered if I should put in Travis to listen to while falling asleep. But I decided to stick with Shawn.

  • I'm pretty bummed I missed the Buddy and Julie Miller show this past weekend with Matthew Ryan opening, but I'll get over it-- eventually

  • If you want to get a lot of hits to your blog, quote some Melissa Etheridge lyrics and be sure to give her credit-- it helps if you mispell her last name. oops-- at least I'm not the only one

  • If you made it this far, goodness, you need something else to do- I'm even bored with this post.
  • Thursday, February 19, 2004

    Bethany's Silent

    We were neighbors before we were toddlers, where you found one you'd find the other. She and I have shared since we were one
    From sandbox to bathtub to strawberry ice cream cones.
    Everyday we laughed when we played, till that day everything changed
    Suddenly Bethany's silent, and nobody's tellin' me why

    They say Bethany can't come out today, she's got to stay inside.
    I'm not allowed to go in and play, she'll not seek no, she's tryin' to hide.
    Used to see a shadow in her bedroom window, lookin' like it wanted out
    Suddenly Bethany's silent, and I don't see anyone now

    Bethany's been out of school for weeks, they say I'm better off not askin' why
    Her momma and daddy are lookin' beat, when they finally make it outside
    I've brought them their mail and all her schoolwork and a strawberry ice cream cone,
    But suddenly Bethany's silent, her parents just send me on home.

    We were neighbors before we were toddlers, where you found one you'd find the other. She and I have shared since we were one.
    From sandbox to bathtub to strawberry ice cream cones.
    Everyday we laughed and we played, till that day everything changed
    Now suddenly Bethany's silent and nobody's tellin' me why.

    Tuesday, February 17, 2004

    In One Ear

    There's a bench. It's sort of out of the way, and yet in the middle of everything. It's stone. It's been engraved. Well, not the bench, the stone wall behind it, commemorating the bench. I've spent hours at that bench. I couldn't tell you what the engraving says. Might be a famous quote. Yeah, I think that's it. Probably a quote about education or love or life lessons in general. I suppose I didn't pay enough attention because I didn't care what the bench meant to other people, just what it meant to me and what I always hoped it would be.

    There's a tree. In the early spring it flowers so beautifully. There's a marker next to the tree. Marble or stone, engraved in remembrance of a life lost to a drunk driving collision on that spot. I don't remember the name, I just remember that it's a few blocks short of a quarter into my run and I'm almost done when I pass it on the way back. Well, I revere it more than that, but sometimes I just forget.

    Yeah, that's it. Sometimes I just forget. It's not that I'm insensitive, selfish and vain-- that I'm so wrapped up in marveling at my own majesty in my own little universe, I just happen to forget to pay attention to other people; forget other people exist. Forget other people wake up and fall asleep. Forget other people do things differently than I do. Forget that my way may not always be the correct way. Forget other people are suffered to inhale the toxic exhaust that is my aura. Forget that I'm not running this universe.

    The worst, though, the worst is that I forget I can change. I forget that I can be forgiven for being such an ass.

    Friday, February 13, 2004

    It's alright, It only hurts when I breathe

    I used to think I was a good liar. Then I thought I was a horrible liar. Today I have realized that I am the biggest liar I know well, aside from satan. My adeptness at deception is such that my own lies betrayed me! Perhaps we all do this to some degree-- fool ourselves into believing things are different from what they are. Deception, denial, call it what you want. Me, I've been calling it home.

    I suppose I somewhat subscribe to the thought that if you ignore something it will go away. Not so much. Perhaps I have been protecting myself for my own good leading to my ultimate demise! Dramatic? Yes, but it's ok, I'm allowed, it is Friday the 13th after all. Instead of making a mountain out of a molehill (see above for example) I have been making a molehill out of a mountain. It's like the Melissa Ethridge lyrics above-- It's alright, it only hurts when I breathe-- which, by the way, happens to be every single second of every single day. Don't worry, I'm not hurt and things will be fine, I just have to face up to things that I've been avoiding before I run myself into the ground and take more responsibility for my life because they won't go away by ignoring them, they'll only get worse.

    (and yes, I might still be talking about that root canal--but hey, after 4 months, I'm kind of getting used to eating on just one side of my mouth)

    Thursday, February 12, 2004

    Brush Up Your Bikram
    (ten points to the person who gets that reference)

    How did working out become synonymous with tension and lounging around with relaxation? Why is it that we can only seem to have either/or, but not both? Over the past year, friends have touted the many benefits of a certain yoga class. So for the past month or so, I've started going a couple times a week to Bikram (or Hot) Yoga classes. Room temperature rises to a sweltering 105 degrees, only falling to a cool 97 if something's broken. The heat warms your muscles, providing a deeper stretch and greater protection from injury. It also can cause fainting, sickness or heat stroke if you're not smart, careful and paying attention to your body's needs.

    I enjoy the class. It kicks my butt and will in time hopefully help regulate my sleeping, breathing, eating/digesting and other health concerns. The thing that gets me about this class is how much it centers on relaxation. I'm telling you, when I'm holding some sort of contorted position for a minute that seems like thirty, dripping wet and gasping for air, relaxation is not the first thing that comes to mind. The different teachers have different assets to lend to each class. Saturday, the owner taught and focused on getting back to basics of endurance and form perfection. Last night, our instructor zeroed in on relaxation and breathing, reminding us when it gets hard to concentrate less on the strenuous pose and more on our deep air circulation.

    Then she would say the strangest thing, "Relax your face," only to have myself refresh my look into the mirror and see not my foot extended here or there, but my brow scrunched and furrowed, the corners of my mouth taut or pursed. So, I relaxed my face and my lungs loosed, freeing my breath, freeing all my muscles really. Balance came easier, the pose more relaxed and yet deeper, more effective. See, that's just it: you have to relax to get the full benefits from yoga. Contracted muscles won't stretch, they'll tear. Moving concentration from the acting muscles to the breath frees the muscles to ease into a deeper stretch. The pose may be the desired end, but sometimes working directly on the desired end only makes it worse-- you need to find the core.

    I've been hearing this a lot lately: that I have to seek the root of the problem in order to solve it. Superficial wounds may heal, but if the deeper lacerations aren't attended to properly they won't mend correctly, causing future difficulties. Those wounds might be physical, more often they're not. Sometimes we don't even know they're there until they've mended improperly-- like finishing a jigsaw puzzle by trimming a piece with a pocket knife. So I wonder- what have I passed over? What's under the surface? What am I trying to whittle down to make the big picture work my way? What about you?

    Wednesday, February 11, 2004

    It's true, it really is...
    Cooler Near the Lake

    In Wisconsin I guess I took for granted all of the accessible lakes. I grew up approximately 22 blocks from Lake Michigan, though I'm often heard bashing our bay's high pollution level being situated right between Milwaukee and Chicago. Seriously, hazing for summer lifeguards involves swimming from a boat to shore and then they are never actually on duty because the pollution levels are too high. They just put up these "No Lifeguard on Duty: High Pollution Swim at Your Own Risk" signs and deal with dumb parents who say asinine things like, "Oh, no, I wouldn't go in there, but it's ok for my kids to swim, right?"

    Then there were other lakes. Community lakes rimmed with large cabins, houses and rickety old docks, with anchored rafts floating 15-20 feet away. Public lakes with grassy lawns edging sandy beaches. My sister got her license just before I turned 9. That next summer she would pick me up from intramural drama classes (yes, during the summer I know, I'm a dork) and have to "watch me" for the rest of the day. On days when all the stars aligned (my sister didn't have to go to work, we had enough money to get in, or it was free), we would head straight from class to Silver Lake. Her best friend(M) and my best friend(L) were sisters, so the four of us would cram the car with beach blankets, towels, tanning oils, books, boombox and all the tapes we wanted. Ok, all the tapes *they* wanted, usually a wide variety from Metallica's Master of Puppets to NWA to Andrew Dice Clay. Needless to say, not the most wholesome listening choices for a 9 year old girl.

    We would spread out a couple large blankets and my sister and M would strip to their teeny bikini's, oil up and shake their 80's bangs to Sir Mix A Lot's "Buttermilk Biscuits" while scoping out the prospects. Meanwhile, L and I would swim past the buoys, do water tricks until we were blue in the face (and sand-covered and pruned-up everywhere else), beg for ice cream money and then sit back to soak up some rays and marvel at the majesty that were teenagers.

    We idolized our sisters, both of whom did some modeling for local places and we were their "mini-me"s. In a way, I think our sisters used us almost as men use babies and puppies. We would call over boys our sisters thought were cute so they didn't have to do it themselves. We tricked people into believing that M and I were sisters and my sister and L were sisters, that is, until they saw the real siblings next to each other and realized the younger could have been the elder's twin, just delayed by 7 years. L and I would inevitably get into some petty fight and our sisters would threaten to beat the living crap out of us or strand us on some roadside between the lake and our homes. We would settle down, only to get upset once again when we had to leave because we knew that once we got in that car, things just wouldn't be the same.

    Then we grew up. Life kind of got in the way. Although we still talked and hung out some, L and I sort of drifted apart through junior high and high school. My sister and M stuck it out much longer, but eventually found different people to hang out with on an everyday basis. Every time I go home I think about L and her family, just a quarter of a mile away from my mom's house. On a clear winter day, I could almost see their place through the abandoned field behind my house. I think the last time the four of us were out together was at some bar on my sister's 30th birthday and I left early to chill with my current best friend. Yeah, we still get together from time to time, we still fight and we still make up but it'll never like the times we had at Silver Lake.

    Tuesday, February 10, 2004

    The Amazing Race

    So, if I use the promotional fares to fly Nashville to Chicago-Midway on March 5-15 and promotional fares from Milwaukee to Denver March 6-11, I can combine two trips into one, actually see my family while I'm in the "north," spend more time with my cousin, have some crazy time with my friends from Madison, have some down time at my mom's, only take one more day vacation AND save at least $150. Yep, there's a fine line between crazy and ingenious.
    I understand hate. I have at one time held hate against someone and have been the object of someone else's hate. Hate spins from fear-- fear of the unknown, the known, the supposed. I almost understand love. I love and am loved by my family and friends in ways I get and ways I could never fathom. Love comes from protection, understanding, vulnerability. Vulnerability--not something at which I excel. It's not something I even pretend to embody although it sneaks up on me every so often. I am open. I am opinionated. These qualities do not vulnerability make.

    What I don't understand is hurt. Hurt comes when you least expect it. I'm not talking about emotionally-trying, tear-jerking chick flick scenarios or stepping barefoot on a 200 year-old, petrified, rusty nail. I'm talking about making eye contact across the room with someone you used to know. There, even spanned over a hundred faces, something hits you like a blow to the solarplexis; one that catches you off guard and robs you not only of your breath, but for a split second knocks all ability of sense or reason from your very bones so that you can never truly explain the feeling that happens next. Maybe that feeling is vulnerability. Maybe that's why I don't understand hurt, but I'm pretty sure I will whenever I buckle down and finally get that root canal.

    Monday, February 09, 2004


    Sorry, I haven't really been jonesin' to write lately. (ha. that just made me think of all my friends with the last name "Jones.") Anywhoo... Sure I've been a little under the weather, but almost everyone I know has, too, which probably doesn't help anyone get better. Nah, it's more like I'm just chillin' and absorbing the world around me. Opening my eyes to detail and compassion I've been deflecting for quite sometime.

    Which brings me back to this acronym: M.I.A. Missing In Action. Once a term feared by nearly 50% of the US population, now bandied about with jocular ease. My cousin recently married into the army. Since then, I've become more aware of our "forgotten troops" and the devastation of war--and the seriousness of it all. Last night "Pearl Harbor" aired on one of the 5 channels picked up by the rabbit ears atop my big, expensive television. It started an hour before the Grammys and, never having seen it, I kind of got sucked in and ended up flipping back and forth during commercials.

    Cheesy love triangle plot aside, that movie seemed to break my heart, because it shook me awake to the ruthlessness of war. So many people effected. So much unnecessary hurt and pain. So many innocent lives not lost, but taken. And not just on "our side." It made me think of Theoden King's stance in Two Towers and how all he wanted was to protect his people. How he wanted to shelter and shield his realm from the coming onslaught. How destructive hatred rushed to his front door, whether he understood it or not. I don't understand it. Makes me kind of walk around as if someone switched my soles with lead plates.

    Thursday, February 05, 2004

    (Amazing Technicolor Coat Optional)

    So, I have been having the worst dreams lately-- full of people yelling at me and hating me and then me getting upset and crying or yelling back. Apparently these dreams make me toss and turn more, too. In the middle of the night I'll wake up from one of these dreams to find myself sideways across my bed, head off of the pillow, at least one arm dangling over the side. And yet, as upset as I get in the dreams, they are just as upsetting when I wake up. The thing is: they're so freaking real. They have real people from different times in my life all together in one obscure place. The other night I dreamt that the boy I liked in second grade was picking on me all night at a cheerleading competition. Except, it was now. We were both grown up, I had graduated from college and we were at a pep rally or competition of some sorts for our city's high schools. I was dressed in a cheerleading uniform, but not the high school one, the junior high one-- surprisingly it fit. (I suppose there are some things that aren't too bad about these dreams.) It seems a few of the dreams have involved people from my old cheerleading squads--darn those cheerleaders.

    And my dreams will be shaped by odd factual things like this one: oh, I can't go to a new church because Lindsay needs me to help with children's ministry at 10am (which was completely factual-- she had just told me that night). So then I show up where we meet for church and Lindsay's outside with a gigantic vulture picking stuff from her hair. Then the vulture covers her and surrounding people with excrement and flies away. I go inside to clean up and it's a dorm now and I can't find a free bathroom. Once I finally do, I emerge clean to find my childhood best friend, Beth, looking out the window of the lobby. I say something like: what the heck are enormous vultures doing in downtown Nashville anyway? To which she responds: It's because of all the humus. The end.

    And there are always levels, stairs and elevators going up and down, up and down. Never on the right level, always running into obstacles. So I wake up totally stressed out.

    Can anyone help put a stop to this madness????

    Wednesday, February 04, 2004

    Miss February

    Hey friends. Shane asked me to be guest writer for today's story from yesterday's two'fer tuesday picture vote, so you can find me here!

    Tuesday, February 03, 2004

    I think Mindy Smith has been reading my mind, or perhaps my blog. I swear when I wrapped up this post I had only heard tell of Mindy Smith but never really heard her music, especially not the song Hurricane from her debut album released just one week ago. weird.

    I need a hurricane to empty out this place
    Seems it's the only way
    To salvage any sense I have left
    To move on

    Monday, February 02, 2004

    Little Dirty Confession

    No--not like that. Shame on you. What I mean is this: I hate bathing. No, not the actual act of cleansing or being clean; I hate the thought of being vulnerable to cold, unforgiving tile floors and spastic, inconsiderate water temperatures.

    In high school I would wake up insanely early just to take inexorably long showers. Our wonderfully large shower had enough space for me to sit down in the corner, legs fully extended or knees drawn to my chest while hot water rolled down the marble-esque walls and through my clumped bed-headed tresses, dripping from my sleep-swollen eyelashes like spring-ravaged icicles, making merciful saline-free trails down my pillow-creased cheeks and pooling near my knees or feet before finally slipping home through a drain of chrome.

    There I would sit for nearly half an hour, if not more, sometimes drifting back into slumber despite the risk of drowning in my own personal little sponge bath-waterfall of sorts. The rhythm of the beading water lulled me into subconscious dreams of tepid summer rains steaming on contact with cracked, sun-scorched blacktop. Had it been late college I may have dreamt of racing that summer rain; rolling thunder stirring in me an almost Pavlovian desire to lace up my sneaks and log in some serious miles--especially at night in Madison with my roommate KD, pushing each other every step up Bascom Hill before spontaneously tacking on another mile or two.

    That shower was, and still is, a wonderful retreat where I could be alone and content and subdued. Now, however, it takes a long run or some other sort of sweat-inducing activity for me to set one toe in the frigid, icecap-runoff-spewing, wannabe-porcelain contraption that is my current bathtub/shower from which I scramble to leave before all semblance of hot water. (did I mention it works better without a shower head? So it's like playing with the garden hose every... well, whenever I scrape up the courage to bathe) Luckily for me, decreased bathing is surprisingly healthy for your hair and skin. Luckily for those around me, my love of work outs tends somewhat stabilize my sporadic bathing frequency. The next place I live in, I should make sure there's a steaming-hot-shower-guarantee clause in the agreement.

    **Just for the record, my dream house will have bathrooms like Ashley's parents, with heated tile floors and amazingly large, you-can-actually-submerge-your-entire-body-at-once bathtubs with separate showers in order to remedy the horror that is the ice-box-bathing-experience.