Month: November 2012

In the sky with diamonds

Sunday. The shaggy brown-black dog lumbers out from the garage. She moves slowly for her eight years, but with a simple appreciation for a beautiful day. Grass still green in early November. Clear skies. Bird song.

“She’s living on borrowed time,” my neighbor tells me. The words are quiet, heavy.

I scratch the dog’s head, and her black-rimmed eyes shine. Her tail wags. She seems unconcerned about the debt.

Friday. I’m at a café enjoying pancakes and hot chocolate. Conversation drifts around the sunny room. When my phone vibrates on the table, I answer it. My neighbor wants to know if I can let Lucy out next week.

“Of course,” I say. She’s such a great dog, it’s no trouble at all.

“Great, thanks. I’ll call you if anything changes.”

Sunday again. Even more beautiful than the last. Warm enough to make me take off my coat, but with a chill on the wind that raises the invisible hairs on my arms and promises winter’s approach. I wait as Riley relieves himself, then stoop to clean it up. As I stand and tie off the baggie, my neighbor drives up. She slows and pulls to the side of the road — my side, the wrong side. Her window slides down as the car stops. Her eyes are unadorned, making them look small and tired.

“I put Lucy down yesterday.” Quiet, heavy.

I gasp without sound. “Oh sweetie, I’m so sorry.”

She shakes her head, waves me off. “No, no. Don’t do that. You’ll make me cry.”

I nod, and she drives away.

I stand there for a moment, then remember the leash in my hand. The dog — my dog — still very much alive. We continue our walk up to the empty field. I let him run. I tell him that today, right now, he’s allowed to be bad. I promise I won’t even yell.

Later, when we’re home, I feed him breakfast, then wash my hands. There, standing at the sink, I finally allow my tears. Just for a minute. A little bit of borrowed time.

TV Talk: Across miles and timezones

Grey’s Anatomy
9.05 – “Beautiful Doom”

Spoiler level: Zero.

This opinion may go against the grain, but I thought Thursday night’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy was… fun. Refreshing. Borderline amateur, but at the same time — and maybe even as a result of that roughness — very real.

Despite the cheesy dialogue, the hammed-up subplots, and the terrible green screens, I liked that the episode was actually trying to say something. About working women. About modern-day friendship. About realizing that you are really and truly on the verge of becoming what you were always striving to be.

I didn’t necessarily know it when I started, but those are the same themes I was after when I wrote Twenty-Somewhere.

One of my not-so-secret fantasies is that 20SW will get picked up for a TV show. That someone, somehow, will translate Sophie, Claudia, and MJ’s adventures to the small screen. I know there would be challenges, with each of them living in a different city, but to me, the miles and timezones that separate them are just as important to the story as the parallel trials, troubles, and triumphs that the girls experience and support each other through.

So although it took me a while to adjust to Meredith and Cristina’s split-screen phone calls last night, I ended up enjoying them. Because they echoed the feel of my story, of my 20SW girls and their long-distance friendship. Because they echoed my own life, my own friendships. Because they were, as I said earlier, real.

Wireless, freedom, priorities, choices

We talk about the word “wireless” like it’s freedom. The ability to stay connected without a physical line. What a dream.

But real freedom is found in disconnecting. In stepping away from the keyboard. In not knowing what’s trending on Twitter. In not reading your Facebook feed. In letting your inbox pile up.

(In filling your lungs with cool fresh air. In crunching the dewy dying leaves underfoot. In watching the sun slowly sink below the horizon.)

That definition of freedom is something I forget time and time again. Fortunately, I’m reminded of it time and time again, too. (Usually when I’m forced to, by travel or other circumstances.)

On a related note, Sherrie Peterson recently shared a great anecdote about jars. Empty jars, and what we choose to fill them with. Perhaps obviously, it’s a metaphor about priorities.

In my heart, my priorities are very clear. But do my daily activities reflect them? Am I free to follow my passions, or am I a slave to the invisible wire?

Only I can answer those questions. And answer them I must. Each and every day.

Soul-searching and sketches

As I mentioned, Spain and I have a history. So on this most recent visit, I wasn’t surprised to enjoy the parks, the architecture, the food, or the street life. But what I didn’t expect was the Picasso Museum. Or rather, its particular effect on me.

(Especially because I’ve been to the museum before.)

The Picasso Museum is tucked into the alleys of Barcelona, nearly hidden within a tall, narrow labyrinth of cobbled stone. When I first went 6 years ago, the wait was long, the rooms were crowded, and the art was — honestly — underwhelming. So much so that I only remember a certain room from the Blue Period, and only because it was full of… awkward sexual stuff.

Anyway. This time. This time was different. This time, Picasso reminded me of how to be an artist.


The collection was curated to show his evolution. He’s most famous for his distinct style of simple lines and colors, his distorted geometric interpretations of the world — but it turns out that in his youth, Picasso was quite traditional. Like all artists, he started at the beginning, with drawings, studies, copies. He learned to imitate the techniques of the masters who had come before him. Most importantly, he sketched. Constantly. Everything.

Daily life didn’t bore him. It captured him. And in turn, he captured it. He rendered it. Faithfully at times. Imaginatively at others.

As I walked through his museum, as I followed along with young Pablo’s journey to becoming the Picasso we all know and admire, I was inspired. I was reminded. That my daily life isn’t boring. (Or doesn’t have to be.) That I need to “sketch” more. That I too am on a journey.

Thank you for visiting my museum. There’s more evolution to come.

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