Curiouser & Curiouser

Life’s short. Get curious.

All Good Things… May 18, 2009

BinkysMovingVan_edited1Question: If a moving van leaves Columbus, Ohio at 8am on May 31st, and the moving couple departs from the same location at 9:45am (running late due to animals, long goodbyes and several “final” sweeps of the house), how long will it take said couple to question whether or not they’re making the right decision?

Answer: Approx. -17 days.

That’s right, it really hit us last Friday – the questioning of our sanity, that is. J and I were sitting on the front porch at a friend’s house, celebrating someone’s birthday with a cookout and good conversation on a beautiful spring evening. A warm breeze tousled our hair; we ate strawberries and cream and sipped gin and tonic and laughed. A lot.

I looked at J.

J looked at me.

And the look said something like:

“Dude. Wtf?”

It was the pained expression of how-can-we-leave-all-this-behind? I mean, what were we thinking when we decided to chuck the city we’ve both come to love and defend?? (Actually, I think we were thinking how much we loathe only getting to have real lives 6 months out of the year due to Ohio’s atrocious winters. And we’d just been to Miami in March, which will make anyone want to go beach bum). So, okay – we had our reasons. But that doesn’t make it any easier, now that the Dark Ages of winter have subsided, to let go of some of the more positive relationships we’ve established here.

It’s the few negative ones I’ve established, however, that are helping to ease that blow.

Like the guy at UDF who insists on being weird about my ice cream order every bloody time I go in there? Him I can do without. (If he’s not giving me 12 scoops of ice cream, he’s doubling my Deep Freeze into a melty tower of ice cream doom). And the parking lot attendant I walk past every day who finally put his head out the car window and screamed, “Hey pretty girl, what’s your name?” perhaps not thinking that if I took this poorly (which I did), we’d have to have a nice, awkward moment EVERY MORNING that I have to walk by his car.

And then there’s the literal relationships: the ex I won’t have to run into because we’ll no longer live down the street from each other. I cannot WAIT to live in a place where I don’t have to hear all about his g.d. band and to not have to tell people that, no, I do not in fact enjoy his music and, no, I would not like to go see him play at the local bar, and, yes, he DOES sound like a blatant rip off of Bob Dylan and/or Bruce Springsteen (depending on the song), and, yes, I have noticed that every song sounds like the last and, oh yes, he does really seem to like himself. (These conversations are admittedly somewhat enjoyable as they round the corner and become full-on Haterade toasts)

Finally, there are a few that I can’t even mention due to the expanding readership of this blog. You just never know, and I’m not in the clear yet. Lame People I Can Do Without – you probably know who you are, anyway.

Despite all of these, for the first time since I’ve started serial relocating, the mass of “Things I will Miss” is formidable. So much so that when J gave me that look, and I returned it, I really did have to think hard about what we’re on the verge of doing.

And yet….

I came out on the other end of all that contemplation still ready to pack my bags. Because this time, we’re doing it together. And this time, we’re going to do things the way we want to: create friendships that can be our own and not remnants of previous relationships; control our house (i.e. without the t.v.-as-background noise philosophy and as though Mr. Clean was our bald-headed third roomie – which could make a really awesome sitcom, come to think if it); fill our bedroom with playpen balls because we’re grown-ups now and it’s our turn to decide what that means!!! (Thank you, xkcd).

I’ve done one helluva job as a loner for the majority of my life, and I can’t speak for J (actually, I can; he’s lived with girlfriends before and is admittedly terrified of ruining everything…), but I’m hell bent on learning to live with someone else. I want a partner this time around. I’ve done Independence! and I’m tired of doing it all alone. Now that I know I’m capable of surviving without anyone, I want to do more than just survive.

And I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather take that ride with.

~a

In the event you have no idea to what I was referring...

In the event you have no idea to what I was referring...

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I Wasn’t Looking for Love… January 30, 2009

vday1This time last year, I was trying my damnedest not to be a Valentine’s Day Grinch, when along came the Girls!Girls!Girls! Valentine’s Day Edition to spare me the trouble. It was difficult for anyone (single, coupled, lonely, jaded) to not feel loved that evening as the whole night turned out to be a giant, singing, dancing (yes dancing) valentine from me and the girls to everyone in the audience.

We were unsure a year ago how many people would want to spend their Valentine’s Day at The Thirsty Ear (notably lively and energetic, but maybe not the first place to come to mind when seeking romance). But out of the cold and into the warm, candle-lit club they came in droves. So, this year it’s on again. For anyone who’s never attended a Girls! show, the quartet is made up of three ladies from other musical groups and myself. Our own projects run the gamut from rock to bluegrass, but we come together a few times a year to revive old standards (and a few not-so-old) in three- and four-part harmony.

So Columbians… or Columbusites… or those of you living in Columbus: If your plans for the 14th are looking a little, well, vague, allow me to clarify. No matter what you do earlier in the day or evening, arrive alone or with your date at The Thirsty Ear at 9pm and we’ll take care of the rest. We’ve never played a show that didn’t get a little out of hand (in the best sense of the phrase) at some point or another, so a good time is guaranteed.

See you there!

~a

 

The GHP Part III January 19, 2009

…. We met up with J’s Dad and sister at a little restaurant by the lake. It was late in the evening, and we were starving, and I looked like hell (still on the mend from my illness with a nasty, lingering cough that was oh-so-ladylike…), but I was excited to finally see in person at least two of the until-now fictitious characters in J’s stories. We arrived first, and ordered drinks, and as the two of them walked in, I felt this bizarre sense similar to what you might feel upon seeing Jude Law or Jennifer Aniston (or whoever) in your grocery store buying milk or kumquats (or whatever). I had seen them in so many pictures, and had such a crisp idea of them in my mind, and now, here they were, real-life people. And not at all scary. And, in fact, very much like myself and my family.

We had a great dinner, then headed home to pass out for a long night of much-needed sleep. It would be the last of its kind until we arrived back in Columbus.

There was much touring of the area, and the weather was unseasonably warm, so I fit in a run and we walked into town and around the local college campus. (It seems my campus-phobia is on the mend, and I may soon even be able to return to school, should I perhaps desire such things…) J’s older brother and mom flew in on New Year’s Eve, and his Dad decided we should all try this renowned soul food restaurant in Charlotte called LeWon’s. It was in a tiny little strip mall on a questionable side of town, and shared a parking lot with a gas station. The interior wasn’t much to talk about, but MY GOD. When they put that food down on our table, the smell was almost overwhelming, and everything we tried was phenomenal. We left stuffed and schooled. Never judge collard greens, mashed potatoes and candied yams by their cover.

From there, J’s parents took off for New Year’s in Charleston, SC, and the rest of us headed home to prepare for the festivities. The party began relatively early and wound down in the wee hours on New Year’s Day (actually, it even continued after that when, a few hours after some had finally gone to bed, others returned to make breakfast for everyone). What happened in between is hard to summarize, but the key moments were these:

-Evil Twin and In-Law return to join in the party.

-Massive, four-table beer pong tournament is organized

-At midnight, the hands-down biggest guy at the party pops the cork on a bottle of champagne, sends spray flying, splashes a bit on this weird, little guy that no one invited. Weird, little guy gets booted (by force) from the party. Peaceful merriment resumes.

-An hour later, flashlights are seen in the back and front yards. The local cops caught Weird, Little Guy who was underage and had an illegal blood-alcohol measurement. He sings like a canary and tells them where to find the party. They try to enter the house without a warrant, and we immediately usher the few underage guests (J’s little sister is only 18.) up to a little room upstairs. (Or, as one of the guest astutely put it, “We had to pull some Anne Frank sh#t on those underaged kids.”

-Cops try to search the house, but J reminds them that they have no right to do such things without a warrant, and appeases them, instead, by have all of us bring our I.D.’s to the cops. After ruining the mood for a good hour, cops let us off the hook, tell us to keep it down and finally get lost. Merriment resumes.

-We get a roaring bonfire going (by which I mean, Evil Twin and I use our pyromaniac tendencies to stoke the fire with empty beer boxes, random trash items and the occasional alcohol). Sparklers ensue.

Admittedly, I crashed early, but only because I knew very well that another night of partying would follow, and as my body is unaccustomed as of late to such hardcore debauchery, I knew I should rest up. The next night proved to be much of the same, with the addition of marshmallow-roasting and hot-tubbing. And this, my friends, is the origin of the newly-minted terms “brominizer” and “brominization.” Apparently the process of adding bromine to water is called brominization, but this also seemed the perfect descriptor for the excessive man-love that occurred as a natural effect of the joyous reunion of a large group of male friends and relatives. See below for examples.

And so it went, and there was plenty more I’m leaving out, I’m sure. But that’s a fairly accurate summation of how I went rogue for 11 days.

Thank you to all involved. We must do it again sometime.

~a

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The Great Holiday Post (At Last!) PART I January 13, 2009

I know, I know. I thought I’d had enough of the red and green, the twinkling lights, the tinsel, the mistletoe, the Santa hats and the radio station that plays Christmas music 24 hours a day (right – actually I HAVE had enough of that station), when suddenly in through my e-mail box came a deluge of photographic reminders of how exactly I had spent the past month.

Which is good, because they’re probably the only way I could’ve remembered all this. Between the delirium of illness (through which I partied hardy nonetheless) and the ever-flowing seasonal cocktails, piecing together the events of the last 30 days might’ve been much like recreating the birth of the universe.

But never fear!

J and others have come through with a wealth of evidence which I will use to regale you with tales of Christmas past.

Part 1: In Which Everyone Says, “I Told You So.”

We begin with a frigid evening early in December, which I believe I have already mentioned. As part of J’s Christmas present, I wanted to take him to see Wildlights, the Columbus Zoo’s annual light display. A friend to all things sparkly, J was bound to be captivated. I would give him the gift of lifelong memories! An unforgettable evening of whimsy and splendor!! (That, and I remembered they have phenomenal hot chocolate, for which I had a killer craving). So off we went, gallivanting through the icy park, laughing in the face of the great winter sky as he spat an icy mix.

And the next day I awoke with a sore throat.

And the following day I had to call in sick because I couldn’t remove my now 45-pound head off the pillow.

And so it began… Not the best season to be sick. With so much on the calendar, I decided I’d rest for a few days, then power through the holidays, cold or no. Sophie proved to be an amazing caregiver. Not only did she stay by my side as I slept, but in an effort to keep my spirits high, she would perform little shows for me using wrapping paper and bows for costumes. I swear. She performed the entire libretto of Sweeney Todd one afternoon. It was terrifyingly good.

That Friday was the office holiday party. I had spent hours going back and forth with the event planner, making sure everything would be amazing that evening, and now here it was. And I was still looking a peculiar shade of pistachio and having trouble staying conscious. It seemed I was doomed to miss out, but at the last minute – I rallied. I jumped in the shower, and it’s stunning how when you get cleaned up you can fool yourself into thinking that because you look pretty damn good, you must feel equally splendid.

This line of thinking got me to BoMA (the Bar of Modern Art) fashionably late, and the party was underway. There was the standard white elephant thing, in which, for a brief moment, I held in my hands a signed headshot of none other than MICHAEL BOLTON. With two (count ’em, TWO) subway gift cards taped around his face. The heavens opened up, light poured into the room, the ethereal voices of angels rained down (or maybe the was Michael, himself! Who knows?). Then, with a violent wrenching sound, like the crashing of thunder… Michael was taken from me, and I ended up with a How-To picture book instead. And no Subway to ease the pain.

But the party went on and the open bar remained – well, open. And things progressed as they do in these situations. When people started to venture onto the dance floor, I knew it was time to make a clean getaway. I was feeling light and euphoric, but had completely lost my voice and was starting to be at odds with my four-inch heels.

And the next day I awoke sounding like a frog. And feeling as I’d imagine a frog might.

And I had a show the next day.

I was supposed to join my roommate and another fellow musician to perform some holiday tunes Andrews’ Sisters-style at a local benefit for the homeless. And I was to sing the high parts. And I was currently capable of spot-on impression of Carol Channing.  But, as they say, the show must go on. And it did. There might’ve been a gallon of tea and some questionable doses of Nyquil involved, but I was there and I sang, damnit! (And I even smiled a lot, for which Vick’s gets my unwavering devotions).

Disaster averted. Parties attended. Free drinks unwasted. Homeless families aided.

And this was just the beginning….

~a

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The Incredible Disappearing Girl January 8, 2009

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But I can explain! I can.  There was this insane, almost two-week vacation (see preview above) I was granted during the holidays (from which I am still recovering but the busy week at work is preventing such things). But I will materialize in full force, New and Improved Girl, before you know it, and in the following mediums:

1) I have what may be my final show this weekend. At least for a while. It’s difficult to pound the pavement and sing frequently gut-wrenching songs that you wrote when you were a completely miserable, pessimistic Debby Downer once you’ve found serenity, hope and barf-worthy happiness in love. That, and I’ve been putting all these other projects on the back burner that I now think deserve their moment in the sun. Which brings me to….

2) A new blog. Never fear, Curiouser will remain as my personal blog. But, as I become increasingly enamored with my hometown, I wanted to find a way to express Columbus’ understated magic. While I don’t have the means to launch a publication (and besides there are too many of them – done poorly I might add, and the print format is losing steam in the current economy), I do have the ability to take what I’ve learned here and apply it to a new blog with a tighter focus. So… introducing “Keen on Columbus.” You can find it in its preliminary stages at http://www.keencolumbus.com, but content won’t really roll out for the next couple of weeks. And finally,

3) Curiouser will get its just deserts! The great Holiday 2009 post is on its way and can be expected this weekend. It is a bit of a massive undertaking, and is taking longer than normal due to the many breaks I have to take to avoid headaches as my mind strains to recall what the hell I was up to two weeks ago. It’s not the drugs, I swear 😉

So, now I leave you with an xkcd that has only served to validate my paranoia and give it a new outlet.

All the best,

~a

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The Unbearable Lightness of Bing December 23, 2008

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Oh, Columbus.

Yeah. I said it.

All this time, and I’ve never revealed the identity of my beloved, Midwestern city. But there you have it – Metropolis unveiled.

“But why now?” you may ask yourself?

Well, for several reasons. The first being that I’m sick of not being able to write in juicy detail about my daily adventures for fear of giving up Columbus’ identity. Also, from the stats, it looks like a good portion of you are from the region anyway, so why not fill you in on all things I’ve come to love so much about where I live.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes…

Oh, Columbus. Where else in the world can there be a veritable monsoon one day, then subzero wind chills that cause my car engine to freeze up entirely the next? True, living where the climate is as indecisive as… well, as I am – keeps one on one’s toes, but good GOD does it make it difficult to simplify your wardrobe (I have short-sleeved blouses alongside fleece hoodies), go out on the weekends (we got lucky for the benefit show last weekend – the temperatures dropped drastically AFTER people arrived – was a fun ride home) and stay healthy (at which I have failed miserably; I have coughed instead of slept for the past three nights).

Speaking of both not staying healthy and the benefit show – THAT was a trip. Of sorts. Ironically, in rehearsals leading up to this little show (a quick, 45-minute set of holiday music a la the Andrews Sisters with a couple musician friends of mine) I had been in fine form and chose to take the high parts on most of the songs. On the day of the show, I awoke with no voice. By mid-day I was a dead ringer for Selma Bouvier (as to whether or not this was an improvement, I’ll let you be the judge). In the end, after gallons of tea and a glass of champagne, I pulled it off (by which I mean: I sang the specified notes – quality and  pronunciation be damned). When we left the venue, the thermometer in J’s car read 3 degrees. It hurt to breath.

Back at home, we found Gabriel on the verge of an aneurysm. He’s terrified of the wind, and, in his heightened state of anxiety was lying under the kitchen table shaking. The only cure for this advanced state of terror: Bing. Yep – I’ve discovered by pure happenstance that nothing soothes the Gabe monster more deftly and instantaneously than wrapping him in a blanket and bringing up the Bing Crosby Christmas album on Itunes.

Not classical. Not opera.

Bing.

But I digress…. heading out of town on Wednesday for a couple of weeks, but I’m sure there will be enough downtime to squeeze in a post or two along the way. Everyone have a safe holiday and the happiest of new years. Looking forward to writing more in the year to come (possibly some music???).

~a

 

Raindrops on Mondays and Charming Stray Kittens December 15, 2008

Question for you on this dreary Monday morning (an adequate barometric representation of my feelings this morning, coming down from a festive weekend of holiday revelry): What has become of the once-ubiquitous Theme Party? If you ask me, we don’t hold or attend them nearly enough. Seems to me every gathering can benefit from a little labeling and a clever dress code.

Case in point: Saturday evening was our friend’s now-annual “Christmas Luxury” party – which sounds swank and stuffy, unless you know that we’re a group of late-twenty somethings living somewhat Bohemian lives that, while exciting and satisfying, are not what one might call “luxurious.” So it was essentially a bunch of people satirizing the upper classes, playing flip-cup and random improvisational games and singing carols (and the Christmas Luxury Theme Song – yes, there’s even a theme song) in fur stoles and bow ties and really bad Christmas sweaters and the occasional silk pajamas.

The results: A girl who normally can’t keep her heavy eyelids afloat beyond midnight found herself grabbing breakfast at 4am (Eggs! This place has THE BEST post-party grub on Earth. ON EARTH!) and not falling into bed until 5. Needless to say, good times were had. So – any of you planning a holiday or New Year’s Eve feast…. Tag on a theme, sit back and see how effortlessly the fun just happens. You couldn’t stop it if you tried. (A word to the wise, however – should, at one of this parties, a jubilant South African offer you a Springbok, be clear on this point: He is not hooking you up with his handsome, professional rugby-playing cousin, but instead a creamy, green and gold shot that tastes startlingly like Mylanta and has something of the opposite effect.)

Also this weekend: My roommate had her singing, dancing holiday extravaganza and it was insane. We showed up a little late after checking out a play, and the bar was standing room only. But it was lively and goofy, and we danced under misteltoe and cheered her on and had a grand time, all said.

OH – and one more notable piece of news…. that cute little guy who’s made himself at home in J’s house (see below)? He’s missing some pretty important bits and pieces. Seems J didn’t look very closely in his initial examination (can you blame him, really?).

That’s right. Our little guy is a girl.

Sophie, to be exact.

(And once you’ve named them, there’s no turning back.)

~a

(Below: The hangers-on at Christmas Luxury ((at this point, we’d lost a few, and people had dumped their costumes, but you get the idea)))

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