"When Maryann likes something...she really likes it."


I went to a college that--at the time--forbid its students from drinking, even when they were 21 or older. My junior year I was an RA, which not only meant I couldn't drink, but I also had to police other students' drinking. 

Cut to: my older sister and I decide to go to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico before Christmas. All-inclusive, those two wonderful words, mean OPEN BAR. At this point in my life, I had never tasted (non-Communion) alcohol. But, I would be old enough by Mexico's standards to drink, and far, far, away from my college and its administrators, most of whom I think would not have worried for my moral fiber if I had drunk in moderation on vacation with my sister in another country during winter break. 

Now, before we left for the trip, I was later told that my mom pulled my sister aside and told her, "Please look out for Maryann when she first tries alcoholic drinks. I'm worried because...when Maryann likes something, she really likes it." When I heard about this, I was hurt. Every day of our trip, while my sister sipped on Margaritas and Tecate, I ordered--over and over again--a juice mix of orange, pineapple, and guava. Or passion fruit? I can't remember. Even though I was out of the country, and well within my legal rights, I abstained, much to the ridicule of every waiter at our resort. Looking back, I totally regret it. "Integrity" is so overrated. It was ALL-INCLUSIVE. I will never get that back all that free booze money...

I bring this story up because as my mother implied, I am what's considered by many to be a serial enthusiast. When I find something I love--be it huichol Mexican art, members of the Jackson 5, historical cartoons, Broadway shows, or cats--I REAAAALLY like them. To the point of financial ruin, in too many cases.

So back in 2003, I was shopping for a duvet cover for my first ever feather down comforter I was taking with me to college. I told the lady at Macy's I was going to college in Canada so she sold us the comforter that could stand up to arctic levels of cold. I was just going to be outside Vancouver, but we decided to play it safe.

Wandering the clearance section of Target like one does, I spied a comforter so fantastic, so original, so colorful and intricate and beyond my wildest dreamings, I could hardly believe it. And it was $19.99 instead of its original $99! I know what you're thinking: a $99 twin duvet cover at Target? But it was Isaac Mizrahi brand. Thus began a lifelong mission to find and own anything and everything bearing this print. Which leads me to these photos:

Turns out, with the glory that is Target, they made not only duvets (and yeah, I bought a queen-size one as well so I can double up, also because I hope to never sleep in a twin-size bed again in my life), but shirts. And CORDUROY BLAZERS. This is my first corduroy blazer, and likely the only one I'll ever need. As I shout out Target, I also need to shout out Ebay, and the sellers who decided they no longer needed super-busy Russian (?), almost Christmas-y paisley duvet covers, shirts or blazers. Their loss is my tremendous, weird, obsessed gain. 

Poem: What Music Does


At night something whispers,
Go wild to the green maple
and by morning it's gone so far
it's redder than the reddest
fox--about to spring.

Its transformation startles,
leaps inside you,
yet you see it every fall,

know it the way you
what music does
to sadness, its deepest
listening, disturbed.

- Lorna Crozier, Small Mechanics

(x and x)

I Won't Regret the Lives I Didn't Lead


This week I was so lucky to see Idina Menzel, Anthony Rapp, and LaChanze in the national tour of If/Then, a musical with book by Brian Yorkey and composed by Tom Kitt. Not every song was perfect, and the majority of the choreography was flat-out ridiculous, but this show--even before I saw it--really sparked an interest in me regarding alternate universes, fate, etc. As I wrote about in my long-ass post about that Jim Gaffigan Show season finale that I'm positive no one took the time to read, I love thinking outside the confines of there being one best way to live life, our an ideal that's been set for each of our lives, as well as the concept of 'having it all.'

I've decided to share my top 5 favorite songs from the show. The first one I fell for after googling the soundtrack last year was "Learn to Live Without."

Favorite lyrics:
You learn to stand alone at last
So brave and bold and strong and stout
You learn somehow to like the dark
And even love the doubt
You learn to hold your life inside you
And never let it out
You learn to live and die and then to live
You learn to live without
Then I stumbled upon "Some Other Me" and I obsessed over it like crazy. Usually it's sung with Anthony Rapp but I really enjoy her version with composer Tom Kitt:

Favorite lyrics:
Look down each road left untaken
Trace every turn and twist
The lives that we just let go by
The dreams we might have missed
Now we're old enough to know that
One road ends where one begins
The moment where the what-might-be's
Turn into might-have-beens
And "Always Starting Over"--her song from the 2014 Tony Awards--crept in as well, a total blast to sing (and emote) along to.

Favorite lyrics:

Thank you for finding me 
And thank you for the care
And fuck you for making me think that this life might be fair
You promised to love me
A promise you kept
And I won't be sorry that you said
To leap and I leapt

That was all of the soundtrack I knew until seeing the show, where two more songs stuck out. "Here I Go" with James Snyder:

Favorite lyrics:
I'm not one for fortunes
Or wishing on a star
And I've studied all the stories
And what our chances are
Then my heart starts beating faster
And it makes this disaster worse by far
Still, here I go
Oh here I go
And "No More Wasted Time" with LaChanze and company (which I unfortunately couldn't find a good video performance of). I recommend listening to this one while working out or cleaning the house:

Favorite lyrics:

No more wasted time
No more time for doubt
You say you're not sure you're a hero?
It's time you should find out
So say you've made a few mistakes
Heroes know that's what it takes
To find their way
No more wasted time
Not one more day
We've got no time for playing nice
There's only time for strong
We've got no need for good advice
We've listened far too long
It's gone too wrong

Angel of Loneliness

Of course there's no one,
especially not an angel
though the air seems overly receptive
as if it's leaving room for something
to arrive. The only tracks in the snow
are her own, leading from the back door
to the birdfeeder where wind above the drifts
fashions wings of such a force and size
she can feel the muscles
underneath the pinions as they push her back
and sweep across the yard.

There's no one here
but her, a lone woman breaking
a path to the feeder, her body
all these years untouched,
unfeathered. It's the cold--
this winter there's too much of it--
that makes its presence known,
inside and out. She can feel it
blunt her skin, grip the morning
and all that's tethered to the earth
in its boneless fist.

- Lorna Crozier, Small Mechanics

Elsa Embroidery


It's been waaaay too long since I embroidered something. But the plan with the weather getting colder is to do more, though I've made that promise before, I'm sure...

Dear friends of mine had a baby last month and I was bringing them dinner. I thought about their older daughter--a toddler--and how the arrival of her baby sister must be changing her life, in great ways and in perhaps difficult ways. It's a big transition! I myself have never been an older sibling, so it's never a transition I've had to make, but I tried to think about what I would have wanted at her age.

I remembered that she was really into Frozen, and had an Elsa dress. So I decided to embroider an image of Elsa for her! (Please allow me to now state I do not own the image of Elsa. Please don't sue me, Disney!)

In retrospect, I might have opted not to satin-stitch her skin, and just leave it as the white fabric with pale skin color in outline. Minimalism has never been my strong-suit.