Friday, July 8, 2011


Listening To: 20 Years by The Civil Wars (which is a free download on Paste!)
Watching: Avonlea Season 5. Judge me if you will, but this is the season when Gus and Felicity start courting (courting's what they called it back then, yes?) and I squeel just as much now as I did when I watched this show back in middle school. Amazing. Thank you, Lucy Maude. And Kevin Sullivan. And Netflix.

Good Morning Beauties (& Beastlies)!

I decided to roll out early(ish) this morning and take Biscuit for a walk. I thought this was a foolproof plan because: 1.) The heat index was only around 100 instead of 1,000. And 2.) I thought my favorite furball would be kinda sedate since it was early. But Biscuit? Is never exactly "sedate."

She is always cute:

But never sedate.

And yet. All was well until we happened upon the neighbor's dog, Charlie, who is a very sweet (and sedate) little puffer. Biscuit seems to like Charlie well enough (as much as she likes any dog). They touched noses and Biscuit wagged her tail and Charlie trotted off. But, from then on, Biscuit walked in a fast, swivel-criss-cross pattern. Charlie sends her into a frenzy. The frenzy was relentless.

All I did was walk my dog but I feel like I've been lifting weights.

Scratch that. All I did was walk my dog, but I feel like my dog walked me.

Not only did Biscuit go nuts when she saw Charlie, but she also caught some random scent - a Charlie-smell, a squirrel-smell, who knows - and she sniff-sniff-sniffed all the way down the road. She freaks out when she picks up a trail like that (Biscuit's breed can't go off a leash for this reason).

Biscuit finally stopped and I thought she was doing this for my benefit; giving me a breather. But I soon realized that she'd stopped to do her business on the street. And while I was trying to get the doodle-bag, which - for reasons I still don't understand, I had wrapped around my wrist like a friendship bracelet - Biscuit was trying to run after another scent.

I hollered: "Biscuit! Wait!"

Biscuit pointed her nose in a different direction and tugged on the leash.

I said: "You can't just poop and run! The neighborhood doesn't do the poo!"

Biscuit pulled at the leash and began "running" ... even though she couldn't move. She did the doggy equivalent of spinning her tires.

I hollered: "Just chill for a sec while I clean up the stank." {Neighbors love it when I yell stuff like that from the street.}

But Biscuit didn't really care what I said or maybe she didn't have time to listen. Biscuit is good at leaving the past behind her, particularly when the past stinks. So I had to keep yanking her back with one hand (the hand wrapped securely around her leash) while trying to untangle the doodle-bag from my wrist and wrap it around my other hand, so I could pick up ye olde poo. All the while, I was trying to balance myself so not to fall and bust face (or any other body part). I am not coordinated ever, but I am especially gravity-challenged in the morning.

I looked like I was imaginary surfing. Or hokey-pokey-ing.

It was a very long walk.

And also: it was a very long think. Something about walking gets a different part of my brain moving and I end up doing a ton of thinking. Walking isn't the type of activity where I disengage and "relax." Quite honestly, I don't think I'll ever find such an activity. I walk as many steps as I can fit into a day though, because walking (even when I'm just walking my dog) frees up the creative part of my brain somehow. Are you like this too? I have a working theory that getting outdoors in any capacity tends to free people up a bit.

This morning, I thought about stories and storms and goodbye-songs (all things I'm writing about). But I also thought about my dog, about how she's so wonderstruck by everything.

Here's the thing: Biscuit and I walk pretty much the same path every day. Biscuit has seen all of this before: the trees, Thumb Rock (I'll show you a pic sometime - a landscaping rock that looks like a gigantic thumbs up ;), the fields, the birds, the ninja-ducks, the butterflies, and The Charlie. But, no matter the day, she acts like she's seeing it all for the first time.

Not to go all gooey or anything, but there is a very genuine and sweet kind of joy Biscuit approaches the world with that I love.

Fact: My dog is so enamoured by the world that she considers stopping to use the bathroom a total nuisance.

I am not always this way. Sometimes, in fact, I seem to approach the world with dread (what will go wrong today?). Or, maybe even worse, I sometimes approach the world like, Eh. Whatever. (Apathy is no less debilitating than fear.)

I've stumbled through bored seasons, or seasons I would have described myself as getting bored easily.

And I've come to realize a very difficult truth: during those seasons ... I was not bored.

I was boring.

The Boring had nothing to do with where I got to travel or what I bought or how many obscure, hipster pop-culture references I could drop (which I've never been good at ... my repertoire of pop-culture references comes mostly from 80's cartoons) ("By the power of Grayskull..."). I think all of those could be typical, cultural solutions to boredom. Even though the world is bright and brimming-over, even though it's pretty easy to walk out and find a place to be inspired, to serve, to grow, to learn, I think maybe we've all been guilty of occasionally demanding one very specific thing from our environment: Entertain me!

Or maybe I'm the only one who gets Boring like that.

Don't misunderstand me: The Bored I'm describing had nothing to do with the occasional blah everybody feels or the meh-day everybody has. That's a given. Every single day cannot be an inspirational thrillride. But when I hit long, chronic seasons of BORED, I know something is off.

The kind of Bored I'm describing is the sort that comes from no longer choosing to see the good in a day.

I walk out the door with my eyes on the pavement,
and my mind a thousand other places.
Calendars are boxed days on a page;
confined and 365-the-same and boring.
Every day blends together
because I don't claim one thing,
one story, one poem,
one dance-in-the-living-room song,
one phone call,
one picture-memory,
and make it special.

A phrase I keep seeing lately in my Bible reading has to do with looking up. Hold your head up high. I thought that had to do with confidence. And it totally does; it has to do with walking in confidence and dignity and beauty too, claiming all that, even when you feel like it's all been taken from you. But I think it also has to do with being more aware, of looking at the day with a wide-open heart. I think it has to do with being the kind of girl (or beastly) who runs after the world with a little bit of wonder. And a whole lotta hope.

I ran across this quote recently:

"One of the qualities essential to being good at reading poetry is also one of the qualities essential to being good at life: a capacity for surprise." (The quote comes from a recent issue of Poetry magazine but I found it on Kate DiCamillo's Facebook page.)

I adore that. I want to give myself room to be delighted and surprised - whether I'm reading a poem or walking in a swivel criss-cross-pattern down the street.

Because maybe there is something magical in this ordinary day. Maybe having a big adventure actually has very little to do with my circumstances, but everything to do with how I choose to see them.

Biscuit gets this.

Biscuit has taught me many things, probably because Biscuit is an expert at many things - bird watching, butterfly chasing, tennis ball wrangling. But maybe one of the sweetest things she's taught me is to run out the front door and anticipate a big adventure.

Biscuit is very good at finding something beautiful and wonderful and worth exploring in the places she already knows. Set out to discover something new, and you will.

Choose joy, and you will never be bored.

My dog is resting beside me now, all cute and happy. Sometimes she blinks up at me, and wags her tail, and then she looks out the window and sighs up at the sky. She knows there's so much good beneath that blue; days and hours and glory-seconds that cannot, and should not, be wasted for anything.

Carpe Diem, my little adventurers.

... are you still reading? Or did I gross you out with the first mention of dog-doodles? :)

Because if you're still reading, I have two more somethings I want to share with you:

First, I want to show you the shirt I purchased for the Harry Potter premier. Because it is awesome:

And it makes me feel bendy:

Sigh. I Padfoot. This:

... is one happy nerd. Mischief managed, indeed. ; )

I bought my shirt from an Etsy seller called EvieTees. Not only did my shirt ship out the morning after I purchased it (!), but it looks every very bit as adorable as it looked online. I love buying stuff from Etsy artists. They are so professional and prompt and so darn creative. If you're stateside, there's still a chance you can order a shirt from EvieTees and get it before next weekend. Just in case you're interested.

At Deathly Hallows Part 1, while we gorged on boxes of Thin Mints and Sour Patch Kids while waiting for the movie to start, someone amongst my posse mentioned dressing up for the final installment. I yelled, "HAGRID!" first so nobody else would claim that costume. Because we all know that Hagrid is the first character people go for:

But that didn't work out so I'll stick with the shirt. This is probably for the best. Because I am only 4'11". So if I tried to dress up like Hagrid, I would end up looking way more like Gimli:

(Does that look sort of like a graduation picture to you? If you substitute the axe for a diploma?)

After I yelled, "HAGRID!" my brother called dibs on the next most popular costume: "MRS. NORRIS!"

That would be Filch's cat.

This is all very solid evidence as to why we're too old to attend midnight premiers. We get loopy.

Second! My long-suffering college roommate, Carrie Spalding (chic name for a chic girl) has a new blog called Lovely, Etc. Carrie is an incredible artist and she's most inspired by what she can restore: furniture, rooms, art, and so on. I love the way she sees the world and I am already addicted to her posts. If you're a DIY fan, I bet you'll love her too. (Did I mention she lived with me for four years and is still - for all practical purposes - sane?!) I namedrop Carrie pretty often, still. Makes me feel cool by association. She's one of the most creative souls I know.

I would love to hear what's new with y'all down in the comments! Happy weekending to you :)


  1. I love that you were listening to the Civil Wars because I just was, too. :)

    Biscuit is adorable, and I love the lessons we can glean from animals. And I love what you said: "Maybe having a big adventure actually has very little to do with my circumstances, but everything to do with how I choose to see them." Yes.

    Also, your shirt is awesome. I can't believe there's only one week until it comes out! :) My friend is going to be Voldemort...yeah. They want me to dress up, but I don't know who to go as. Hmm.

    Anyway, great post! I love how you can be deep and thoughtful but at the same time make me laugh out loud. :) Have a great day!

  2. Haha!! Mrs. Norris.. of all the things to yell.. I'm padfoot with ya honey!!!! Alltime fav! I'm actually also a Snape fan.. always knew he was good!!!!

    Don't say you're boring.. just say you always have time for people!!

    Much Love

  3. Oh my goodness, I love your shirt! I am practically exploding with excitement about Thursday night...I know I've probably mentioned this a time or two (or ten) in comments, but I've convinced my parents to go with me to a midnight showing. I've never been to one before, and this will probably be the last one I ever go to, but I am so excited.

    We've got it all planned out- my dad's going as a dementor, my mom's going as Bellatrix, and I'm going as Hermione. Not really...I'm not brave enough to dress up (but I would be Hermione if I did. I've got the bushy hair thing down). But I would totally wear a HP shirt- I'm thinking about getting some iron-on transfer paper and attempting to make my own. Or maybe doing some Potter-related embroidery or applique on a shirt.

    As for now, I'm in a mad rush to finish rereading the books. I'm not even halfway through number 5 yet!


  4. choose joy and you will never be bored. i love that.
    yes, i've seen that awesome shirt. i'm going as my house (gryffindor) PB's going to be a hufflepuff and our friends are going as ravenclaw and slytherin. although the last one is NOT a slytherin, we just wanted all the houses and she's such a nice hufflepuff she agreed to be a slytherin:) Mrs. Norris, THAT is awesome.

  5. Nat, thanks for the mention. Love the shirt by the way!

  6. I always love reading your thoughts on life. Thanks for the reminder to always choose joy and take advantage of the everyday moments!

    I can't wait to see the Harry Potter! I'm not quite as obsessed as some, though. My brother has managed to "like" about 300 pages on Facebook dedicated to Harry Potter in the past few days and is always shouting spells. :) I'm not looking forward to the 3D aspect, though. Not really too fond of things jumping out at me. I'm sure it will still be fabulous and it'll be sad when it's all over.

    Hope you're having a great weekend! :)

  7. Three things:

    1. I totally agree with being enamored with this world and BORED. I have been in a season like that, where I feel like I need art, and books, and movies, and the Word to get me out of the funk.

    2. I bought Hugo Cabret, and already love it!!! :)

    3. I am going to get that HP shirt, but I am obsessed with the cranberry color. I own two other shirts in that color and I wear them all the time. Yay for Harry!

  8. Great. Now my productivity for the next three weeks is shot because I'll be watching Road to Avonlea all day when I'm supposed to be packing. Thanks.

    But 5 points for the Civil Wars, 5 points for Biscuit (just because she's so darn cute), and 5 points for having an awesome college roommate named Carrie. I had an awesome college roommate named Carrie.

  9. You know, I read this days ago, and I'm still thinking about it. I want to be more like Biscuit. Minus all the body hair.

  10. Came here because of your articles in SUSIE. They're so good! And I just found out your blog is, too! I'll be back. :)

  11. Kendall, thanks for your sweet response! I am so curious ... how did the Voldemort costume go?! Did your friend wear a mask or do something weird with his face? Or did he just put off creepy vibes all night? :) That makes me laugh!

    Haylie, so with you on Snape! He is, imho, as much a hero has Harry. Snape is actually the reason the book is one of my favorites - talk about a backstory! She really had that planned out and woven together so flawlessly. I loved the way they did the flashback scenes in Deathly Hallows. Alan Rickman is amazing.

    Kristin, that's too sweet that your parents went too! I tried to talk my parents into doing the midnight premiere and they were like, "... uh ... no." :) How did your shirt turn out?

    LF, that rocks that you all picked a house! I've often wondered which house actually fits. I sometimes think I'm more of a Hufflepuff than a Gryffendor. Which is pretty fab. Tonks and Cedric were Hufflepuffs too! ( it pathetic that I know this?)

  12. Carrie, you are most welcome. Thanks for being awesome. :)

    Courtney, glad you enjoyed this post. Your comment about your brother cracked me up :) You'll have to let me know how the 3D thing works out! I've never been into 3D like some people. But I saw the Polar Express 3D and that was super fun (lots of stuff jumping out of the screen :)

    Steffanie, loved the Cranberry color! I wanted my brother to get the shirt with the names of the deatheaters on it ... so we would be, like, opposing forces. But he didn't seem as enamored by the idea as I was. Ha :) Hope you loved the movie!

    Ashley, you MUST break out Road to Avonlea. I didn't think I could love it as much as I did when I was little but I truly, truly do. And not just for the nostalgia factor. I'm really impressed by those characters - so vivid and bright and fun. My heart feels so happy when I watch this show. I've missed it. I'm almost to Season 5 now. Doesn't Gus go blind at some point? Or am I thinking of Little House on the Prairie? '

    Jen, ditto on the body hair. {... this is a fabulous comment when read out of context ...}

    Thank you, Michaela! You are too kind. I'm so glad you dropped by! :)