Monday, December 29, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Spotted: UTH's (Upper Tate Hall) very own A. Parker floating on stage, dolled up in a satin black gown and matching mortar board to retrieve his Masters degree with his family (need I mention they're as devastatingly attractive as he is?) proudly looking on. There's no question where he gets his fab fashion sense from when he you see him in the presence of his family. Makes you want to change your last name to "Parker!" Word on the street is that A is heading back to Kentucky and breaking all the UTH-ers hearts in the process. Don't go, A! What will UTH be without you? (Sniff. Sob!)
Friday, December 19, 2008
Oh, my achin' head.
Dustin here. There've been a couple of happenings we keep meaning to write about but haven't gotten around to yet, namely sledding and the Magic Tree. I got dibs on sledding.
Neesha claims she's fairly new to this, but she's a natural. We got to Stephen's Lake Park near downtown Columbia around 11 Wednesday morning, as the last sputterings of the night before's wintery mix drifted down. There wasn't much snow, but there was enough. Neesh snapped this pic. The batteries died before it was her turn.
There were clues that sledders had been there before us, evidenced by the broken S. William's Street sign we found (and kept). That's typical. Clearly, nobody read my blog about how you need to get a sled before there's snow or you'll end up scooting around on a cafeteria tray or a broken street sign, or on the hood of a car like the geniuses in this video my friends Trickey and Jesse shot a few years ago back in the Cape.
(If it doesn't play, click here)
Geniuses aside, Trickey got some wicked air on that first jump.
To Neesha, sledding doesn't make any sense at all. It's cold, for one thing -- a fatal flaw when it comes to activities Neesha potentially can enjoy. And it's too simple. Sitting in a molded piece of plastic and riding it down a slick inclined plane, then hiking back up and doing it again seems to Neesha like something on the level of insect behavior -- a primative, ingrained, repetitious tic left over from an age before the animal brain developed the capacity for enjoying more advanced kinds of stimulation like Gossip Girl. She does not like sledding, but she put up with it for a while so that I could go.
That was cool of her.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Today is my birthday. Thank you, thank you. I feel every bit of 31.
Yesterday I actually searched the closets for my great grandfather's cane. No kidding. I need it because I hurt myself trying to stretch. Something's not right in my left leg, high up, a little left of my groin. Chances are I pulled a muscle, but it's been years since I pulled a muscle stretching and I don't remember it feeling this bad. I'm hobbling around like a crotchety old geezer and I could use a cane. This is what 31 is like, kiddos.
Other than the constant muscle, joint, and tendon pain, the reduced recovery time, the decrease in athletic performance despite an increase in effort, the weight gain, the slowing metabolism, and the wiry silver hairs that sprout from my head twice as fast as their soft, brown neighbors, 31 is turning out to be okay so far. I got up early and went to the rec center to swim laps and sit in the hot tub, which was awesome -- a little preview of what being retired in Florida must be like. Then there was this birthday brunch bash held by Stephanie. Terrific food with outstanding people in her warm home. That's her on the left, Neesh middle, Alexis right. Not pictured: Anthony Connolly, Brandon and Niya Bond, and me. We love these people. They make hours feel like moments. They make our English department feel like home.
Later, while Neesha made a final exam for her kiddies, I had a glass of bubbly and took a nice long nap this afternoon, savoring the fact that I didn't even have to remove a set of dentures first.
Then there's this:
(Brief Neesha comment here: in my defense, there was music playing in the background and I didn't realize he was filming. I thought he was still trying to figure out what setting he wanted the camera on!)
I know. Hilarious!
Neesha took me out to dinner at Jina Yoo's Asian Bistro. That was seriously amazing. Great sushi. Neesha said it best: The flavors explode in the mouth.
At Jina Yoo's, Neesh ordered me a shot that was on fire! That's how one's supposed to drink it, too. I got about half of it down before the straw melted.
Like that fetching sweater? Birthday present from Neesha. And that handsome button down under it? Birthday present from Neesha. And the very rock star pair of black Sketchers (not pictured)? You bet your sweet butt. Neesha hooked me up this birthday.
On a birthday when he was a tad younger than I, the famous explorer Captain Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis & Clarke) journaled that his life was pretty much halfway over and he hadn't done enough to advance humankind or his nation. He therefore pledged, on his birthday (I think it was his 30th), to stop screwing around and get on with doing something important. And not long after that he was appointed, through a byzantine, old-old boys' club channel, to co-head the Corps of Discovery and find a water route across the U.S. to the Pacific Ocean.
I, Dustin Michael, hereby make no such pledge, and I'll tell you why. First off, considering that 10 years ago, when I turned 21, I awoke the following morning to discover I'd passed out early and been dressed up in my pal Rob's sister's prom dress, fitted with a pair of Groucho Marx glasses, and posed and photographed with the various people who had attended my birthday party, I'd say I've come quite a way in a mere decade.
Also, the illustrious Capt. Lewis, unable to keep a relationship going or outshine his glory days as a trailblazing icon of the American frontier, took his own life in some dark Kentucky backwater just a few years after he decided on paper to do something awesome with his life.
So look for more of the same from yours truly -- slow, steady professional advancement coupled with nonstop romance-department fireworks.
And look for me to complain about a headache if I do a blog tomorrow. Still, waking up with a headache is better than waking up in drag. For real.
I seriously love you guys.
Neesha, I love you.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
At this point the dog took off running through the neighborhood, again. I threw on some sneakers and a hoodie and charged out to help. A car pulled up two houses down and the driver got out and explained to us that he was the dog's owner and he was staying there in that house with his daughter for a while because his wife had just passed away. At that moment, the dog came whirring back down our street and we asked it's name which, strangely enough, was also Buddy.
"Two Buddys on one street!" I noted the irony, but neither D nor the lost-dog-owner thought it worth acknowledging.
Needless to say, we chased the dog, cornered the dog, ignored the dog, bribed the dog...did everything possible to help this man (did I mention the man is handicapped and has mechanized legs rather than real ones with which to chase this dog with?) coax Buddy back to his home, to no avail. My ears were frozen, the bottom of my pants were wet and I couldn't feel my hands by the time we decided to wait it out a bit and see if Buddy found his way home.
Just as we got settled back in the house and began to discuss our own dilemma of keeping Byz from jumping the fence again, our visiting neighbor returned to our stoop to thank us for our help and to let us know Buddy had returned home.
"Merry Christmas," D waved to the man as he headed back to his temporary house and shut the door behind him.
"His wife just died," I stated.
"She did? How do you know?"
"Cus he said it. That's why he's staying with his daughter. His wife just died."
Then his dog ran away and he already has no real legs and it's Christmas to boot. How merry could it be? I asked myself thinking of my mom and how hard Christmas is without her mother this year. He didn't even know us and he told us his wife died. I wondered if he just felt like he really needed to say it. Out loud to someone. Anyone. But, at the same time, he seemed ok.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Dustin here. Did you miss me?
(I missed you!)
As Neesh said, we plan to be back in full force soon, picking up where we left off with the Christmas song countdown and making up for lost time to boot. Patience, grasshopper. Patience.
Tonight I wanted to drop something on here that's been slipping my mind for weeks. When I was home for Thanksgiving, my six-year-old niece kept singing a snippet of this commercial jingle, over and over and OVER again.
"Peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo! You can have one, too!" Or something like that. I mainly remember the "Peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo!" part. She must have sung it four hundred times. Four. Hundred.
Today after my conferences were done, I looked for that crap on the Google. And I found it.
Having watched this thing, I can see why it got in her head. It's diabolical. This commercial could only have been made by the military as a weapon. Somehow it got loose. Seriously, if this were the 80s and Panama, our troops would be blasting this commercial nonstop right at Manuel Noriega's house.
And now it's in my head.
Needless to say, I didn't buy my niece a Barbie Peek-a-Boo Petite. I'm going to tell her that crap will give her eating disorders (I'm THAT uncle) as I hand her her totally badass Justice League Unlimited action figure set.
I cannot wait to get them back as soon as she grows out of them.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Lindsay, if you're reading this, my fiancee and I love you. You were great in Mean Girls, and I don't even know what you were doing in A Prairie Home Companion, but you weren't bad in that, either. Be honest with yourself this Christmas. You love Samro but you aren't in love with her. Thanks for accepting my Myspace friend request. Oh, and dye your hair red again because it was cute red.
(That's where we work)
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Dustin's Pick: "25th December"
At any rate, they have drastically changed things in Orr Street Studios since then. The entire background of this photo of me is now covered in artwork. The giant garage door is no longer a door, but a whole open passageway to a series of rooms that I went down in search of the bathroom (to no avail). Where I am sitting is actually where the entire audience and readers now sit. The readers face the wall behind me while the audience faces to my right. That spindle table was nowhere in sight and neither was the woman who spoke to Dustin and I about her poetry after the reading. (She had an office, so I assumed she worked there-in the studio-or something!)
Anyhow, needless to say: Liz and Allyson rocked! I love the way poets conjure up words and fit the unlikely pieces together to make something sound beautiful even if, ordinarily on its own, it wouldn't. Liz reads like a pro, I should mention. Not even the vaguest hint of the dry mouth that overtakes me when I attempt to read. I hate reading. Just one of the many perks of being a writer :) And when I return home, I will post pics of them reading so you don't have to imagine it. Plus, then you can see for yourself just how much this little studio has grown! I'm so proud of it. It's like the 'little studio that could!' I had my reservations about it at first, when we read there, and wondered if it'd be much like some of our local places that crash and burn under a year after opening...but, alas, this one has proved me wrong! Congratulations and continued success, Orr Street! You know they've made it big when they become a venue for the unmatchable Miller-Langenmak duo.
The downside to last night is that I felt really crappy. I suppose that loooooooooong trip back in the car didn't help the cold, not to mention I completely forgot to take the antibiotic I'm supposed to be taking to battle this cold, flu...whatever it is...for the last two days. I need to remember to do so upon returning home today. Being hungry and tired (since I did not obtain as much sleep as I should've the night I returned home), put me in a terrible mood. Poor Dustin didn't know what to make of it. I felt all lethargic and growly-both my stomach and my mood. I only perked up after eating some cheese and making a definite plan to eat food following the reading. Who knew the Monster of Starvation would come thrashing out out of nowhere!? That usually doesn't happen to me. I think it was the combo of hunger and sleep-deprivation. Anyhow, thank God for Flatbranch! We also had the pleasure of meeting Angela R's beau (is that how you spell that?) who was a sweetheart! Hope to see more of him!
As Fi mentioned, I am going to continue listing the songs I hate first of the Christmas ones. The noteworthy ones I feel need to be addressed, that is. I already know what my pick is for tonight, but have to wait for Fi to chime in, as well.
About the Christmas choice for the songs list yesterday. I do not like that stupid song about the whole year being a melodramatic breakdown for the girl who keeps forgetting shit like her cranberry sauce. She's been chasing some guy and then they have a "Christmas spirit" moment. Wake up, honey! Christmas is not about finally entrapping a guy you'd been half-assedly chasing all year, then bonding with him over canned cranberry sauce and a 7-11 Turkey for Two.
Last night's, just to clarify, had more to do with the desperation of the singer/narrator than anything. Tonight's, however, is an entire album! Just you wait!
More news on the desire to have a "Christmas ball" or gala later.
Congrats, Allyson and Liz! You guys were awesome!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
But home I arrived and Mom informed me my wedding gown cannot be ordered until they have my "hollow to hem" measurement. I like the sound of that...hollow to hem almost as much as I like the use of italics. I bet you wouldn't have guessed that about me, given my penchant for emboldening words and phrases in my blogs, but I really really dig italics and try to reserve them. After I got off the phone with Connie and assuring her I'd find someone who could accurately measure my "hollow to hem," I found myself seeking out other usages for this phrase. What else can I use "hollow to hem" to describe? Any ideas?
Monday, December 1, 2008
Right now, Neesha is roaring across the frostbitten landscape, and these two are watching to make sure she keeps both hands on the wheel.
Or at least Bogey, the squirrel-from-Ice Age-looking white one, is watching Neesha. Byzantia is holding her head up, but in her mind ... well, OK. Go turn on your TV and tune it to a channel that only gets static snow, crank up the volume as loud as it will go, stare at a point on the wall without blinking until your eyes burn, and hum Hall and Oates's "You Make My Dreams Come True," and that's the Bizzy mind, more or less.
She's my favorite. More docile. Like a brontosaurus. Brain like a walnut.
This is it, folks -- our big 25 Days o' Christmas Countdown! Neesha had a good idea earlier where we'll each post a song every day until Christmas, from least favorite to awesomest Christmas song ever. Get excited!
Neesha's pick: "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus."
Her reason: "I hate that song."
Dustin's song: "Wonderful Christmastime"
His reason: "It's like someone took my old Yamaha keyboard and synthesizer back in time to Paul McCartney's 1979 Christmas party, plugged it in, and said, "Uh, I don't really know how to play any songs, but the echo on this baby is wicked! Freestyle! Freestyle!"
And Paul McCartney, for lack of anything better to do in 1979, was like, "OK."
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Since I was home alone and the rest of the fam was out and about shopping or churching or heading to their respective homes, I ended up on the couch drinking lots of water, pumping in tons of meds and staring in horror at the women on the show Bridezillas. We don't get cable in Columbia since it's kind of a luxury we can't afford on our twenty-cents a day stipend. In fact, we only get NBC which was all we wanted during the election (SNL-Tina Fey as Sarah Palin-who didn't watch that???). Therefore, whenever I am faced with a television that has more than one channel, I can't believe it. It's overwhelming and I realize how great it is that we don't have cable or we'd be glued to the damn t.v. 24-7. I certainly didn't need to watch that show all day (I think it was a marathon), but I learned an awful lot about the kind of bride people are afraid you (I use "you" in a general sense) are going to be when you first get engaged. Also, I have to admit, I watched some of the movie American Dreamz with the adorable Mandi Moore and I must say-it was the worst thing ever! What were they thinking with that film?
Anyhow, after watching the marathon, I realized there are dozens of other things I need to get moving on in the next six months if we're going to have a wedding. Too many things to even begin labeling, but I hope we're able to really get going on these wedding tasks so I'm not a complete psycho bitch by the time the week before the wedding comes. I should say, though, Fi is helpful and excited about the wedding, which seems to be half the problem those brides had-they were doing it on their own, for the most part. The other issue I noticed is that they all had some sort of "ideal" picture in their mind of what their wedding would be like...this vision they'd been tweaking since middle school while playing MASH! Luckily, I do not have that vision and I do have a fabulous Fi so I don't think I'll have any wonderful stories for you all about how I've suddenly turned into a crazed lunatic the week before the wedding...but I'm sure if I do, Fi will fill you in!
As for the wedding gown, a decision has been made...but I haven't made it! That sounds awfully suspect, doesn't it? One of the dresses I loved isn't being "made" yet, it's only been revealed on the runway so it probably isn't an option, which is cool. I loved it, but the veil was even more amazing than the dress. That left two options-both of which I tried on earlier in the week and both of which my mom had seen me in. Since I couldn't decide, I left the decision in my mother's hands and I won't even know which dress she's chosen until my first fitting. Some might wonder whether this is really all that wise, and let me reassure you-I loved these dresses equally. Really. I could not make a choice and part of me wanted someone else to just decide for me! When my mom casually suggested it, I pounced. I told her there'd be one alteration I wanted and that both of the dresses would need it so it didn't matter at all which she chose! She says she already knows and it was a no-brainer for her, but I'm clueless...so now the wait to see which one will be my gown is on! And I'm thrilled the decision has been made and by this time tomorrow, the dress will have been ordered!
What do you guys think of that idea? Would you leave that sort of decision in someone else's hands? Or would you feel like only you could be trusted to make that sort of call? (These, along with some moments on the bridal shows today, are times when I wonder if I'm too laid back about the wedding planning.)
Speaking of tomorrow, I can't wait to get back to D and our home in Columbia. I miss him tremendously. He got home safely tonight, thank God for that! I get so nervous when he travels. I couldn't stand the idea of him getting stuck or in an accident...or God forbid, anything else! So-Beth, thanks for making sure he ate tonight! D-thanks for covering my classes and I'll be home soon, my love! I miss and love you!
PS-Also...tomorrow night is the return of Gossip Girl!!! And rumor has it, a death is in store!
Saturday, November 29, 2008
On to the Great Gown Search Part Two!
My lovely sisters, darling niece and Mom accompanied me on an outing to Savannah. The first bridal store we went to was called BleuBelle Bridal and it had the most incredible sales women. We climbed up a few stories in a historic old Savannah building, all wood floors and taller-than-the-sky ceilings. The gallery was stunning and so were the gowns! I tried on a bunch of absolutely gorgeous ones and left the store thinking I had found what I wanted. While we perused dress racks, I got to wander the store in a luxe white robe, white heels with a glass of champagne. Does it get any better than that? Plus, the color of much of their store (blue) was the exact shade of blue Fi and I have picked as one of our wedding colors. We dig the blue and brown combo: elegant, a touch conservative, but fun and classy, too. We love the sophisticated combo of the two colors and blue has been my favorite color forever, so it seemed rather appropriate that the store I thought I found my dress in used the color as it's motif!
When we finished at BleuBelle Bridal, we headed down to another store and tried more dresses. This place, however, was crammed with dresses. We struggled just to separate them from one another on the racks! It was like being at a department sale that's liquidating and trying to get rid of everything at once: a nightmare. We tried some stuff, but no one helped, no questions went answered, and we left feeling hungry and disappointed. Major credit goes out to my adorable three and a half-year old niece who was such a trooper. She never complained and even tried on a few flower girl dresses for us. It was awesome and she is truly the best kid I know.
Then we ate and I grew exhausted and overwhelmed. Everything started meshing together in my mind. I didn't like the dresses in the photos my mom and sisters took of me with them on as much as I thought I did. Dresses I thought I didn't like as much, I liked more all of a sudden and I was just a mess of confusion. Then Mom dropped the overweight comment and I thought Fi and I should seriously consider eloping. Luckily, he calmed me down and all kinds of rationale flooded back to me as I curled up on the couch to sleep. (Don't ask why I had to sleep on the couch when there are five fully furnished bedrooms in the house...it's just too ridiculous to get into!) When I woke this morning, I felt better about the whole situation.
The sisters and I went to a place called "All About Me" for my hair-trial and make-up appointment (keep in mind, I have to do this stuff any chance I get when I'm in town since it's rare and I don't know when I'll be back to the island from one month to the next and time's not getting any slower!). We all had mani-pedis together, which was relaxing, and sipped on mimosas. Again, another much-needed day of destressing.
The woman who did my hair was wonderfully happy to make any alterations and work with me on any and everything I wanted done and the woman who did my make-up used to do the make-up for runway models in New York. She was amazing. My sisters, Mom, brothers and dad all thought the make-up looked incredibly soft, natural and enhancing. (My family has a knack for honesty!) She did a wonderful job of listening to what I did and didn't like and understanding that I'm an idiot when it comes to make-up but that I did not want to look like a clown or someone that didn't resemble me.
When the day ended, I pulled up photos of the dresses I liked most, widdled down the list and have finally decided on three definites. As in-I would be happy with any of these three because they are all stunning and beautiful...I think, anyhow.
I got in touch with the bridal store and they are getting me more info on the dresses and then we'll be all set! Plus, they're having a twenty-percent off all their dresses sale, which technically ended yesterday, but that they've extended to me for as long as it takes for me to decide (which has to be now).
Ok-rambling. Anyhow, my sister-in-law Seale and I went to the Tanger outlets to try and get some Christmas shopping done and were incredibly successful. I'm nearly finished with everyone on my side of the family-and done with Fi for his birthday (December 18th!) and Christmas! I'm so happy about how productive it went and the stores weren't even crowded. It was truly the best shopping experience I've ever had so soon after Thanksgiving.
It's been a great week with the family and I am going to miss them like crazy when I leave, but I have to admit, I currently miss Dustin like crazy. It's ridiculous! It'll be wonderful to be home to see him and finish up the semester.
Today, since I missed yesterday, I'm thankful for all of the blessings I have in my life daily and that every day of my life is filled with happiness and love. And, of course, I'm thankful to all of you for reading-even when these blogs are mundane or less-than-exciting. You're all quite wonderful, if you don't mind me saying!
I leave you all with a photo montage of my family as it is tonight and some from Thanksgiving since I didn't share it with you earlier. Happy Thanksgiving, still! :)