Category Archives: Picky Picky Princess

After all the dreaming, I come home again

Somehow it’s worked out that the only weddings I’m actually attending in 2006 are those that I’m really excited about. (I’m also a bridesmaid in all of them.) The second of those three is this weekend, and while I’m thrilled to see the bride and groom finally united in holy matrimony, I’m also really, really excited to see bunches of friends.
That’s got basically nothing to do with the fact that love and marriage have been on my mind lately (and in that order). What I realized in all of this daydreaming is that while I’m totally opposed to the idea of “settling” any time soon, I am not at all against the notion of running around the world with somebody else. (In fact, I kind of like the idea of finding someone who would be up for leaving the country for extended periods of time, even though it doesn’t maybe make sense.)
On the other hand, I’m still very good at being single. 🙂
I am seriously considering doing something crazy, though. Of course, by the time I take action, it’ll be a carefully thought-out and sensible plan. This means I’ll probably wait until summer-ish 2008 to do anything, although I am also open to January 2007. I kind of wish I had it in me to just be foolish, but I’m probably better off being me.
One thing I’ve learned lately is that I’m living and working here too soon. Or rather, I think maybe I’m here at the right time, because I’m learning that it’s the wrong time. I love this city, and it’s absolutely the kind of place where I could settle (we’re back to that notion) and raise a family. It’s just that I’m nowhere near ready to settle! I want to see so much and meet people who aren’t like me (even more of them than I know now) and see the world outside my sweet Southern bubble.
I’ve got the daydreaming bug, but as a friend said this weekend, maybe sometimes you need those daydreams to keep you going.

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Filed under Autobiography, Picky Picky Princess

But outside it’s stopped raining

We still don’t have power — in fact, it could be take as long as until Sunday to get it back. So I’m the rounds of free/cheap things to do in Tuscaloosa. The coffee shops have already taken a lot of my money, and now I’m parked in the visitors deck on campus, which will cost me $3 to get out of. It’s not the ideal, but well, it could be a lot worse.

Oh, and they cut off our gas, too, so we don’t have hot water either.

It’s kind of an adventure for Lydia and I, really. I mean, we’d rather have power any day (talk about realizing how spoiled we are..). But we’re making the best of it.

Tuesday night, Lydia’s boyfriend Michael came over. (His building is the only one in his complex without electricity, and he lives on the third floor, so his place was even hotter than ours!) We grabbed the bottle of champagne we had in the fridge and the three of us spent the evening sitting on the front porch with the cat and dog. We talked about playing Uno, but never got around to it.

The sleeping part wasn’t as much fun, though. It’s always harder to get to sleep when you’re sticky. But we survived. We would have slept in the front yard — it was much cooler out there! — if it were safe, but we don’t think it is… especially after watching this car circle our block roughly eight times. Sketchy?

Work was luxurious yesterday — which is pretty bad, given how much I like my job. 🙂 But it was nice to have A/C, my phone charger and internet. Yeah. I’m pretty much a big baby. I had PB&J from work for lunch, then Lydia, Michael and I went out for dinner.

Michael had to go home and sleep in the heat, because Lydia and I crashed at her sister’s SORORITY HOUSE! How funny is that? But it was so nice. We had beds, and A/C, and they provided us with towels, and the water in the shower was SO hot that I couldn’t even turn it to the strongest setting.

Through all of this, we realize how completely blessed we are. And how undeserving. Lydia had to interview evacuees (is that a word?) at the shelter on campus yesterday, and some of the stories she told me were heartbreaking.

Then today I was at Crimson eating breakfast when I started talking to the random guy trying to connect to the internet behind me. Turns out he and his buddies are from NOLA, so they were telling me all they had lost. (And it was a lot.) Somehow he finds out that I work at the newspaper, and he’s a photographer, so I set him up with our photo editor’s contact info. He’s looking to find a job and settle here, if he can.

As I drove away, I almost lost it. I mean, I’ve watched the news, I read yesterday’s New York Times — I know the stories are out there. But putting a FACE on it is what gets to me. That takes it from the “Wow, what a tragedy” level to “Holy crap, that man has no where to live and even though he’s got 35 years of experience, he has no one to pay him. He is going to move his entire life and rebuild in this little town because it’s the place where he ended up during the storm.”

Why does this city get destroyed and I’m so well cared for? (Well, because they’re on the coast and below sea level and I’m not… but that’s not what I mean and you know it.) I’m sure that’s a question we’re all asking ourselves right now. My thoughts aren’t anything different or profound. But somehow writing them down seems to be the thing to do.

But I’ll admit, I’m still really looking forward to having electricity.

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When life don’t seem worth living, come to Jesus, let him hold you in his arms

Susan passed this to me a while ago but I’m just now getting around to it… I’ll save my real entry for tomorrow (or well, someday)…

Total Number of Books I Own: Most of my books are in Birmingham… since I am not, I’ll have to guess. I’d say around 50 though. I’ve gotten really good at NOT buying books. Mostly I go through the library first and if the book is SO good that I HAVE to have it in my collection I start looking for a used copy. Not that this process always works…

Last Book I Bought:

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby… which, by the way, did not go through the aforementioned reviewing process and which I could probably live without. It’s good, but it’s probably my least favorite of his so far.

Books I’m Reading Now:

Nothing really. I’m re-reading Blue Like Jazz.

Books That Have Been Important To Me:

Ummm… gosh. I guess I’m not as attached to books as you might expect a writer to be. That’s kind of weird!

I’d say To Kill A Mockingbird, but that’s more because it’s my favorite novel (classic, prize winning novel, anyway). But it isn’t important to me in the sense that Susan described, the “shaped who I am” kind of sense.

Tim Downs’ Finding Common Ground, on the other hand, really got me thinking about my life, my goals, my gifts and my personality… and all of that kind of pushed me back on the path to journalism instead of considering full time ministry. (And by the way, that has to be one of the best decisions I ever made… which isn’t to say anything bad about the ministry I thought about going on staff with, but just that I love my job and I feel like I get to really know people more than I probably would have in that context, given my personality and such. Anyway. Ramble.)

Let’s see. So long as I’m talking about journalism, I really, really love The Landry News by Andrew Clements. I was so excited when I saw that they’re making mass market copies for $2.99 now! I really want it in hardback (and hey! my birthday is in 12 days!), but I couldn’t pass up a cheap copy of one of my favorite books. (And yes. It is a children’s book. And it is brilliant.)

And just so you know, Songbook, by Nick Hornby, is the book I wish I wrote. Only if it were mine, the f-bomb would be there in a few less times. ‘Cause I really hate that word. Unless Damien Rice is singing it, in which case it magically doesn’t matter.

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You’re the answer to all my songs

I knew Alisa was gonna pass this to me. 🙂 It’s time for (what seems to be) everyone’s favorite meme lately.

Amount of music on your computer?
I barely use iTunes because my computer is so unreliable (although I love love love iTunes!), so I’m only at 29 songs, 2.2 hours, 187.4 mb.

Currently listening to?
Time the Revelator by Gillian Welch. I think she was the highlight of my first concert in Birmingham (City Stages 2002… it was COLD that night!).

Mmmm, and now “Zombie” by The Cranberries… which reminds me of an eighth grade dance. And my first crush on a younger man… Chaz someone-or-other. (What kind of name is Chaz?)

Five songs that mean a lot to you?
“Reasons Why” by Nickel Creek
Besides the fact that I identify with the song all too often, it brings back a lot of memories. I remember the night when Amanda came over with this CD (before Crusade one Tuesday, I think) and played a few songs from it for me. I ran out the very next day and bought it, and Nickel Creek has been my favorite band ever since. They were also the soundtrack of several games of Clue.

Hmmm. I could go for a good round of Clue.

“Be Careful” by Patty Griffin
This isn’t my favorite Patty song–not even close–but it’s the one that made me fall in love with her music. A friend sent me the mp3 one night when I was pretty upset about boy stuff (blah blah), and I listened to the song over… and over… and over… and over again. And then I went out and bought everything Patty I could get my hands on.

“Faith My Eyes” by Caedmon’s Call (I almost just wrote Derek Webb… same difference)
Besides the fact that this is probably my favorite Caedmon’s song, it’s also the song that was playing as I crossed the state line for my big move to Alabama two years ago. It’s as appropriate now as it was then.

“Crush” by Dave Matthews Band
Because there’s not much better than flying down the highway on a winter night with the windows down and Dave turned up LOUD.

“Winter’s Ending” by Tara Leigh Cobble
(I was going to put “Clarity” by John Mayer, but I already had a good Alisa song on there. And then I was going to put “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Deep Blue Something, but I already had senior year of college memories included. So I thought I’d diversify a little bit and put something that’s more me than anything else.)

I’ve blogged about this song more times than anyone probably cares to read, but it’s so me! (Okay, it’s so TLC’s friend that she wrote it about. But I can relate.) I think I’m softening up a lot though, so maybe the song is decreasingly relevant to my mindset…

or maybe Alisa will respond to this and tell me I’m full of it. Who knows? 🙂

Top five albums?
This changes all the time, but for today I’ll say…
This Side by Nickel Creek
O by Damien Rice
Deceiver by Chris Thile
I See Things Upside Down by Derek Webb
1,000 Kisses by Patty Griffin

I’d say that’s a pretty good list.

Last album bought?
I believe it was Holly Williams’ “The Ones We Never Knew,” which I purchased with the $10 bill Aaron and Alisa argued over in California. Fun story (and great album)!

Recent discoveries?
I really don’t know. I’ve been listening to “Breathe (2 a.m.)” by Anna Nalick a lot lately, but I’ve had that song on my iTunes for… gosh… probably a year?

And the baton goes to:
Patrick (I don’t know if he’ll ever look here though)
Philip (if he reads this stuff anymore)
Cristin (well… she reads my LJ, I’ll cross-post)
Megan (she hasn’t updated in a little while anyway)
Danielle (I think the Patty Griffin exchange means we’re music friends now.)

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Filed under Bits & Pieces, Lyrics, music, Picky Picky Princess

…though it’s clear to me that you obviously do not adore me

Side B: Songs for the Cautiously Hopeful

On IceChris Thile
This song makes my little heart flutter. I think this is what it must sound like when I have a crush. “…didn’t remember she could be my first cue to run…” “…I had been taught love is a vice, took all these thoughts, I put them on ice.” It’s just… yeah. So dead on.

Mr. SunshineLori McKenna
Sometimes the chorus says it all:
“You scare me more than the hard times
I know they’re coming around again
You scare me more than the gray skies
Good morning, Mr. Sunshine.”

Counting to 100Matt Wertz
It’s no secret that I am a princess who wants to be pursued. That is, after all, why I’m such a sucker for The Bachelorette—I want to be pursued (and I want a hair stylist and make up artist to pretty me up as we go!). It’s therefore natural that I love the hide and seek analogy in this song.

CrushDave Matthews Band
A guy I once liked told me that this song was boring because the tempo never changes. I think I lost the tiniest bit of confidence in his musical taste that day (after all, I still remember the comment more than a year later!). He was wrong, you see. That one part near the song’s midpoint where everything goes wild is what makes the song. There are string instruments that dominate that section. You’re not focusing on woodwinds. Brass isn’t center stage. It’s strings. And string instruments mean love, apparently. Haven’t you ever been to a wedding with a string quartet?

Mistake of My LifeCaedmon’s Call
I knew that I am little miss “I will not ask a guy out”—that’s not news. (Heck, it still can take me half an hour to convince myself to call a male friend!) But as I review the songs I’ve selected, I realize I must be pretty hardcore! There are a lot of “I’m going to throw myself into chasing you, girl, and whatever the risk, it’s worth it” songs.

As an aside, this song reminds me of a theory a guy friend shared recently. He thinks girls like crazy romantic gestures when they happen to someone else.

I don’t know if that’s true… no one’s ever done anything like that for me. But y’know, if someone did, I would have to be more or less head over heels for the guy already. I think. I’m pretty skittish—something like this could really scare me off. So I guess there’s a degree to which said friend is right. Fortunately, in DWebb’s case, we know the theory doesn’t always apply.

Frontin’Jamie Cullum
Oh my word. I love the flirtatiousness of this song. Heck, I love flirting… and I think I’m generally pretty good at saving it for guys I am truly interested in, which is the whole point anyway, right? “I don’t mean to be full of myself or rude, but you ain’t lookin’ at no other dude. That’s ‘cause you love me.”

Oh, and if you’d been standing in my backyard an hour ago, you would have laughed so hard as I danced across my living room while this played. I don’t know what my problem is, but jazz makes me wanna move! I should go back to that jazz club downtown…

All My Songs—Tara Leigh Cobble
Is this not the epitome of cautiously hopeful? Tara Leigh, honey, there’s a reason “nobody doesn’t like” you!

Love SoonJohn Mayer
I’ll admit, it took me forever to get this song. (Why would you call it “love soon”? Oh! You’re soon going to call your relationship love? I get it!) Unlike the chick in the song, I’m not so good with secrets…. at least, not my own. 🙂 Oh… and this song basically has little to do with anything… it just sounds so optimistic!

Follow—Tara Leigh Cobble
Oh my, have I mentioned how I love Tara Leigh’s love songs? (You better be reading this entry! I am raving about your writing far too much for you to not accept the compliment.) Y’all need to read the lyrics (if you can find them)… it sounds like a prayer to me, a yearning. It reminds me of Ephesians 5, which is most of the reason I hope to someday have a chance at love and marriage. I want to experience that (imperfect) reflection of Christ’s love for His bride. I want to be sanctified in that unique way. I long to “love him when he’s wrong.”

It’s About TimeJamie Cullum
I think this song is the perfect complement to “Love Song for No One.” Yeah, I think it’d be nice if “Mr. Right” came along sometime soonish (the next… four years or so?). But I recognize that I am the pickiest person in the world (except maybe my dear friend Aaron, you should check out his list!)… and I have to find a man that not only meets whatever it is I’m looking for, but can also tolerate my insane pickiness. 🙂 Man. And I tell people I’m a catch? I may just be full of it. 😉 And though I’m little miss “I don’t need anyone and I’m not in any hurry” (both of which are true statements, thank you), sometimes I do feel like it’s about time.

“Got the feeling this could take a pretty long while to find that smile…”

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Filed under Love letters, Lyrics, music, Picky Picky Princess

Pink it’s the color of passion ’cause today it just goes with the fashion

I’m afraid that, if you were to meet me as the books I have on loan from the library instead of the marvelous, witty and reasonably attractive model of humility I am, you would instantly label me an airhead or a bimbo. Try this list on for size:

Legally Blonde, novel, by Amanda Brown
He’s Just Not That Into You, dating self help, by Greg Behrendt & Liz Tuccillo
Isn’t It Romantic?, novel, by Ron Hansen
The Hell with Love: Poems to Mend a Broken Heart, anthology, edited by Mary D. Esselman & Elizabeth Ash Velez

Have you stereotyped me yet? The above list isn’t so much a reflection of my personality as it is a testament to the power of pink. Of these, three books prominently feature pink on their jackets. (The fourth boasts the word “romantic” in its title and a strip of flowers runs across the bottom centimeter of its cover. That’s practically the same thing as abusing the girliest color of them all.)

I may not be a bimbo (as one friend suggested pink wearing girls usually are), but I am gullible. Dress something—anything!—up in pink and/or modern design, and I’m convinced. I’m a marketing executive’s dream.

But I’ve lied. I’ve just given you half of my actual reading list. Also sitting in a “to read” pile beside my bed are the following:

Why Read?, nonfiction, by Mark Edmundson
Not Your Mother’s Life, sociology, by Joan K. Peters
The 5 Patterns of Extraordinary Careers, nonfiction, by James M. Citrin & Richard A. Smith
Religion on Campus: What Religion Really Means to Today’s Undergraduates, nonfiction, by Conrad Cherry, Betty A. DeBerg and Amanda Porterfield

I’m not sure if this half of the list exposes me as a more serious, thoughtful individual or as slightly schizophrenic. Like the first half, these titles offer well designed, clean covers, though they center on more meaningful topics. (And when I say clean, I’m referring to more than appearance. I noticed some library books reek of cigarette smoke. I actually replaced a few volumes that I would have carried home if not for the stench.)

But in a collection of essays that I just finished reading, Nick Hornby (my favorite author) suggested that you’re more than what you read. You are what you buy:

All the books we own, both read and unread, are the fullest expression of self we have at our disposal. My music is me, too, of course–but as I only really like rock and roll and its mutations, huge chunks of me–my rarely examined operatic streak, for example–are unrepresented in my CD collection. And I don’t have the wall space or the money for all the art I would want, and my house is a shabby mess, ruined by children… But with each passing year, and with each whimsical purchase, our libraries become more and more able to articulate who we are, whether we read the books or not.

Perhaps I’m biased because of my own reading/shopping tendencies, or maybe because of my unshakable allegiance to anything Hornby writes. In any case, I much prefer this theory to judgment by library card. Take a look at my most recent purchases:

Searching for God Knows What, Christian nonfiction, by Don Miller
The Polysyllabic Spree, literature essays, by Nick Hornby
Cash: The Autobiography, musician autobiography, by Johnny Cash
Sex, Drugs & Cocoa Puffs, pop culture essays, by Chuck Klosterman
Songbook, music essays, by Nick Hornby

I’m far more selective about my bookstore purchases than my library selections; in fact, these are the only books I’ve purchased since returning to Alabama in August. (Compare that to upwards of 100 books I’ve laid down the library card to obtain.) Buying a book is a commitment, something of a claim that “this is me.” The books on my shelf mark my territory: I see myself as something of a pop culture observing, music listening, God fearing Christian twenty something. Legally Blonde won’t merit repeated reads (20 pages in and I can see that the movie didn’t stray far from the book), and He’s Just Not That Into You makes its point without even opening its pages. I may judge a book by its cover, but if you’re going to categorize me, at least take the entire contents of my bookcase into account.

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Elementary romance feelin’ nervous at the dance

this is an audio post - click to play

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Filed under Audio, Love letters, Picky Picky Princess

“When in doubt, wear red.” –Bill Blass

Enough black heels. One pair of brown is enough, especially when considered alongside a pair of brown cowboy boots. I don’t need any sneakers or winter shoes. It’s time for red high heels.

So went my thoughts in early October. I was on a shoe shopping kick, and a visit to Atlanta merited a shopping spree with my friend Adriene. When we entered the homeland (also known as DSW: Discount Shoe Warehouse), I walked straight for the clearance racks with one goal in mind:

I needed a pair of red heels.

Adriene accompanied me to the 6.5 section, and before I could properly take in the display before me she spotted a sassy pair of red shoes. She handed them to me and I fell in love. (I called Alisa that afternoon and told her to stop accusing me of commitment issues.) The red slingbacks with a fake wooden heel were not only my favorite brand, but they were ultra-cute.

The shopping trip would have been memory enough for a regular pair of shoes, but these sweet red shoes (or “lipstick for the feet,” as I’ve been known to call them) make each wear memorable.

In fact, they should probably be dubbed my new “Grand Ole Opry shoes.” When I visited the Opry with a group of four friends in December, all four of us ladies sported red shoes (three wore heels and the fourth sported red sneakers). We tried to convince our male companion to bust out a pair of red heels—in fact, we had an extra pair!—but he refused.

Hot mommas!

However, my Opry pal this weekend promises to be much more complaint. No, he’s not wearing red heels—I may be able to convince men to do crazy things, but that’s not one of them. 😉 But he planned his outfit around a pair of red sneakers (that he did not yet own!) after I mentioned plans to wear my red heels in honor of one of the musicians we’re going to see. (If Patty Griffin doesn’t warrant my lipstick shoes, who does?!) Once again, I’ll be planning my day’s attire around the shoes on my feet.

I wore them twice within a week of purchasing!
Red sling backs with wooden heel, Unisa, $35 (I don’t remember how much they were originally)

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Protected: Nothing’s gonna change my world

I think I had an epiphany last night. The thing is… I don’t think engineers are right for me. Take Charlie, my favorite of the bunch, and compare him to Josh or Aaron (to name just a few non-engineer friends). The conversation flows so much more comfortably with either of those guys than it does with my favorite engineer. And of those guys–one I’ve not hung out with in over a year and one I’ve never met. Charlie, on the other hand, is someone I saw daily for two and a half months. I adore him… but I still feel I have to perform just a little. (This is true of all my engineers, to some extent. One of them once told me that my talkative nature was probably part of why engineers surround me… I make it easier on them.) Our conversations are sometimes more me than we.

That’s not a critique of Charlie. I’d be fortunate to be with such a guy. I just don’t think he (or probably any of that “type”) is so right for me after all.

Funny how it took seven months (and how many engineers?!) to figure that out.

[EDIT: After discussing this entry with Megan, I have to add… Charlie is not a typical engineer, he’s way more talkative. But he’s still not as obnoxious as a communication kid… it’s like you have to put a muzzle on us to shut us up. Though he’s more chatty, I still have the performing complex. Anyway. The point isn’t Charlie, the point is CJ does not need engineers.]

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Loving is fine if you have plenty of time for walking on stilts at the edge of your mind

My friend Luke once said I have the weirdest interactions with men of any girl he knows. If that’s not because I attract drama, I must create it. I know I’m supposed to be a journalist, but I occasionally wonder if I should have pursued a more diva-fied occupation. (Or maybe I should just work at a women’s mag. Same thing, right?)

In any case, I suppose these dramatic tendencies account for the series of romance-oriented rants I’m about to unleash on you. There’s no other good reason! I’m not interested in anyone, there’s no boy drama in my life and I’m certainly not dating anyone.

But then, I guess that last reason is part of the force fueling this tirade. Somehow a conversation between my friend Patrick and I moved from movies to dating (a far less innocuous topic, particularly when my big mouth is involved!). He seemed a bit surprised when I mentioned I haven’t been on a proper date since 1999. (In fact, when I saw it typed across my screen, I was a bit taken back. That is an awfully long time.) I told him I have my reasons, not the least of which is an exorbitant level of picky-ness. He suggested that perhaps I should cool it a bit.

To some degree, I agree. I can be entirely too uptight for my own good. But there are some things worth these ridiculously high standards.

Which leads me—where else!—back to my favorite beef. What is the deal with Christian men?

I refuse to even consider dating anyone who doesn’t love Jesus more than he could dream of loving me. Though I don’t always alighn my actions with my faith (I sin too!), I do believe said faith should be the central driving force of my life. I want to be with someone who can both understand and encourage that. It is at least one point on which I refuse to compromise.

(Another such characteristic is a willingness to dance. But that’s just an aside. :))

Meanwhile, the vast majority of Christian men I have known are not willing to step up to the plate (at least, not for me, which is what matters when I’m raving about my lack of dating life :)). I’ve had plenty of friendships with otherwise amazing men who wasted my time with meaningless flirtation. I’ve been led on at least one time too many, and I’m left behind chanting “boys are overrated.”

Yeah. I’m not so much for a healthy mindset, I guess.

The thing I’ve realized is that I’m just as bad. I’m a wonderful tease. I employ the mind games so many claim to hate, even in most of my friendships. I should work at removing the plank from my own eye before bitching about the specks in the eyes of my brothers. (I would apologize for the profanity, but is it not appropriate here? Drop the niceties—bitching is what I’m doing.)

I know I should deal with the real issues—with the bitterness I struggle to release but then reclaim as my own. But y’know, I don’t feel like it. (And I know that’s not okay.) Sometimes I like wearing this “I don’t need a man” attitude like a badge, though it is more honestly something of a faulty shield. Sometimes I embrace the insanity I portray (and I realize I sound like nothing less than a crazy in these words). Sometimes I think I would rather give up and go for the not-quite-Jesus freaks—the only men who are actually willing to pursue this idiosyncratic woman I’ve exposed.

Then I realize, they still don’t boast the single most attractive quality I’ve found in a man—a heart willing to pursue Christ recklessly.

And when I allow anger and bitterness to control me… neither do I.

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