Author Archives: irreverence press

chapter one

i’m a week and a half away from starting my new gig. so many things flooding through me – excitement! fear! sadness! anticipation! elation! it’s been a long time since starting a new job. i’m taking my own “be where you are” advice and just rolling with it, emotions and sentiments changing like the wind. one thing i know without a doubt: i’ve been lucky to work with truly amazing and exceptional souls, and i’ll miss them so much. especially my mentor, whom i’ve adored more than any previous professional, and who’s had so much to do with my growth and development and overall READINESS to take on this new challenge.

looking forward to the next chapter.


threadbare 3: threadnekkid

packing a suitcase can really paint one’s clothing situation in a harsh light. if i only have two pairs of jeans that fit me, but the inseam of each requires heel-wearing, then what do i wear to slog through a muddy vineyard?


love’s letters lost

i started thinking about this last week, and it’s in my head tonight again so i figured it’s time to log it. blog it.

you know what makes me a bit sad? i wonder if people growing up today will ever know the wonder of the love letter.

like back in the day, when you’d write your heart out to someone on actual PAPER, using an actual WRITING IMPLEMENT.

or you’d receive one – your breath caught in your throat, your heart skipped a beat when you saw your name written on it, and you’d open it to scan it quickly to see how much was written, to know how much you had to look forward to before you sat down and slowly digested every delicious word. then you wanted seconds, thirds, even dessert.

i probably still have most of mine. i still remember much of what i wrote to others. these words and the resulting emotions are etched on me forever.

kids today text. if random social media stats are correct, kids don’t even email anymore. you think about how easy it is to text things to people. short, snippy snapshots at 160 characters per. anything of substance? hang on a couple minutes while you wait for the three-to-four texts to roll in, one after another. your auto-correct changes “heartbeat” to “harvest,” but you’ll still get the gist, right? your heart might still skip a beat, but it’s more from the wait than the words. email and text versions? too easy to delete when things turn sour. paper has a permanence that digital doesn’t.

it’s too easy. too choppy and too disjointed.

that the love letter might be a lost art is a blow to love (and life) as we know it.


love list

oh, goodness. today is just one of those DAYS and it deserves to be recognized.

i’ve only been up for two hours, but it’s been amazing.

  • sunlight streaming through bedroom window when i woke.
  • fluffiest pup in the world curled up like a bean right next to me.
  • rumpling her further for a few minutes while she stretches, snouts & paws.
  • put on my favorite new outfit: tunic sweatshirt, leggings, big socks & uggs.
  • fireplace cranking it out when i got downstairs.
  • that fresh fall scent sneaking in when i let loo out.
  • coffee – peet’s french – a big pot.
  • two mugs full, leisurely.
  • packer game on espn gamecast, phone chirping me score alerts.
  • inspiration hits – asked loo if she wanted a walk; she responded enthusiastically.
  • stunning, gorgeous, cool fall day – colorful leaves, crispy breeze, shiny loo-fluff rippling, big doggie grin, waterfront beauty, ominous clouds moving in, racing ahead of the rain.
  • another cup of coffee? sure.
  • decided to poach eggs. excellent decision. perched on crispy toasted english muffin, salt & pepp.
  • day ain’t even done.


threadbare 2: the threadbarest

the big, huge, official closet cleanout has begun. my spare bedroom holds boxes and bags of clothes ready to be donated to working wardrobe. i’m down 45 pounds as of today. all good things, right? so why does it feel so strange?

when i set out last year on this journey to lose weight, i definitely had goals. 10-ish pounds still to go, in fact. but what i hadn’t really accounted for, beyond the danced-around thought of how fun/cool it’d be to fit in smaller size clothes, was what that really meant. i’m not a packrat, and i’m certainly not overly sentimental (at least that i’ll admit to). so at least in theory, i shouldn’t have a problem with letting go of these clothes.

but some of them? some of them were really hard to put in that donate pile. the amazing tweed slacks that i had tailored just for me, and which i probably only fit in four times? gone. all of my cute little blazer-jacket-throw-it-on-over-a-cami-and-call-it-good(s)? gone. the camis themselves, for that matter – ciao! most of my cashmere, my beloved chartreuse things, the items from my love affair with j. crew, all gone.

i’m getting what i wanted – i’m downsizing, literally and figuratively. i get to start fresh, rebuild. but this has been a really interesting, unexpected, introspective experience.

what i hadn’t counted on was looking like a schlub for most of the past year. bumming around in ill-fitting clothes, because i couldn’t go down a size yet, but i didn’t quite fit in the previous one. trepidation over buying replacements, some financial and some knowing (hoping?) that they’d only last a few weeks. a sense of waste, getting rid of some unworn items, and some which were only worn a couple times. but then also a sense of happiness – donating some really nice, good-condition professional clothes to a great organization that helps women look and feel their professional best. and because of that schlubbing around in old or ill-fitting stuff? i better understand the importance of that.

i’m a very lucky, grateful girl. i’m getting what i wanted in more ways than one. and i’m appreciative of it – every pound, every size dropped. but this other, unforeseen side was a real surprise.

the dark side of the closet.


sidebar:

linking to my old blog in that previous post made me go visit it, and i totally miss cinnamon & arsenic! why did i change spaces? is it cool to go back? i don’t know the rules for things like this. discuss.


wanderslut

i know i wrote an entry on my previous blog about wanderlust. it was a while ago.

it’s gone beyond that. the only thing i could think of beyond sheer lustful lust is slut, which is conveniently made of the same letters. coincidence? maybe. clever? not really. is it the widmer talking? likely.

get. me. out. of. here.


threadbare

j. crew and i were inseparable, circa 2007. their aesthetic was my aesthetic – feminine but classic, ruffles, chiffon, cashmere, everything i loved. when i look at them today, they’re almost unrecognizable – now they’re just somebody that i used to know. yeah, a few carryovers from that beloved relationship still hang in my closet. it’s like that ex-boyfriend’s t-shirt that you shamelessly kept, and why wouldn’t you? it still fit.

in high school, my boyfriend was calvin klein. i found my first pair of calvins at a thrift store, old label, fabulous, and i knew we’d be matched for life, like albatross. i still love him in that way that you love someone but aren’t IN LOVE with them. but he’s not really bringing it like he used to. it’s become a dispassionate affair.

the gap and i were besties when i was 14. childishly, their jeans (and their dream perfume) were everything i wanted. but as we grow up and leave childish things, i left them years ago and never looked back.

today i feel threadbare. it’s funny, actually, since i’m fitting into clothes better than i have in forever. but i don’t have that go-to brand that i love, so i don’t really look forward to shopping or rebuilding my wardrobe.

i’m facing another epic closet cleanout, and what will i find to fill that void? i just want to find something i love – something that fits me.


she, myself, and i

d’you ever have those out-of-body experiences where you’re almost looking down at yourself, watching yourself in a certain situation? this rarely happens to me – but when it does, i pay attention.

i went to portland last weekend to stay with one of my besties and her family. lots of quality girl (and chrissy/elliot) time, playing with pups, taking tons of epic walks.

there was a moment where i had this out-of-body thing, as i was chatting with alexis and chris on one of our walks. i don’t even remember what we were talking about, but what struck me was my genuine enthusiasm and happiness. the me that hovered above myself, observing this, immediately called bullshit and accused myself of being fake. “since when do you talk like that?” i asked myself. “that’s not you.”

and then it hit me. that enthusiastic, happy me? that’s actually the real me. it’s just been so long since i’ve seen her that i kind of forgot about her. my first reaction was that she seemed fake – that quiet positivity and confidence that i haven’t seen in myself in ages.

that’s heartbreaking. i’m living in a place that’s so inauthentic, i can’t even recognize the rare glimpses of the me that i know i am.

i thought i was at the bottom a month or two ago, and then i learned that it was actually two weeks ago. and now i know that it’s today. and i’m trying so hard to just let myself be here until i don’t need to be here anymore, so then i can get to where i need to be.

just she, myself and i. i’d like to welcome back the me that i know and like, since we’re going to be together for a while.


with like colors

catching up on laundry today, and noticed that i have about three loads of dark stuff to one load of light. metaphor for life, much? i think it’s time to whiten and brighten.


foul ball

have you guys seen this video of a kid at the baseball game, sobbing his little eyes out because the people next to him caught the baseball?

if you haven’t, go watch it here, because this write-up is a perfect example of what i think about it.

probably not in the way you think, though. i cannot believe the anger over this couple who caught the ball instead of the kid. i’m floored by it.

read the headline: not only are they mean, they are thieves. they robbed this kid. and then gloated. the author says they are “heartless” and showed “bad behavior.” they “should be ashamed.”

are you kidding me? the guy caught a baseball. when a baseball comes up into the stands, what do you do? do you sit there with your hands down? do you rely on the dubious catching skills of the toddler next to you? nope. you catch it.

would it have been cool if they decided to give the kid the ball? sure, if that’s what they wanted to do with it. are they obligated to? not even remotely.

the thing that kills me is how outraged people are that this guy would DARE keep the ball for himself and deny this poor child what he wanted. what a selfish prick, right??!?

we know nothing about this man who caught the ball. he may be the biggest baseball fan of all time, and he may have been waiting his whole life for a chance to snag a ball at a game. maybe he attended games with his dad since the time he was small, and he’s been trying for years to catch one and this was the first time it ever happened for him. maybe he has a young son at home who he can’t wait to give the ball to.

none of that really matters to me, because i don’t think this kind of justification is required for the dude who caught the ball to feel fine about keeping the ball. but for people to judge him so harshly without a shred of back-story is pretty lame. people label this couple as assholes and lob personal attacks, commenting on the apparent age difference between them, throwing barbs about how the guy’s gonna be in trouble when his wife at home sees him on tv with his young mistress. really??!? all he did was catch a baseball, people!!

and then the commentators say they’re gloating about it? taunting the kid as he cries? um, did they watch what happened? they’re clearly holding up the ball for a photo op. yeah, the woman happens to be facing the kid as she poses with the ball, but to infer that they’re somehow intentionally taunting this child who they’d just finished “robbing” is preposterous.

the story does have a happy ending of sorts, however, as another player takes pity on the sobbing child after seeing it broadcast around the stadium, and tosses him a ball.

except that now, what was previously a teachable moment from those parents to their child is totally shot. instead of the parents consoling their child and saying “it’s ok, we’re not going to catch it every time. let’s keep trying!” the kid has now learned that sobbing will not only get you what you want, it’ll get you a viral video and a spot on the today show the following morning.

cheers to his parents who describe in the today show interview how the couple had actually been quite friendly to the toddler, and even offered him the ball later on – which the parents declined because they’re trying to teach him that he doesn’t get everything he wants all the time.

just another fascinating example of how quickly something blows up and spreads around the world, without a shred of back-story, but how quickly everyone rushes to judgment about it.


their turn to speak

fight club is arguably one of the most brilliant movies of all time. i loved it so much, i wrote a narrative theory paper on it in college. the best part of the research process was getting to watch the movie over and over and memorizing pretty much the entire script.

today i was reflecting on this particular quote:

“when people think you’re dying, they really, really listen to you…instead of just–“

“–instead of just waiting for their turn to speak?”

thankfully, i can’t currently attest to the first part of the quote – i’m not dying. (though as jack would argue, in the tibetan-philosophy, sylvia-plath-sense-of-the-word i know we’re all–we’re all dying, right?). but i feel like i might have just a tiny handful of people in my world who really, really listen – instead of just waiting for their turn to speak.

maybe it’s because i talk too much. i’m not exactly shy, and i tend to say what’s on my mind. i’m sure it gets repetitive sometimes. that’s what happens when there are ongoing pieces of your world that aren’t changing, right? things stay the same – and if you’re a talker, you keep talking about it. i totally understand where that gets tiresome.

but it’s more than just that. you ever throw out something that happened in your day and before you even finish the thought, your listener interjects with “oh i know, that’s like this time that…”? so you kind of give up and swallow your thought-that’s-now-an-afterthought. when it happens once or twice, it’s no big deal – or even if it’s an ongoing-but-occasional trait in a friend. but when it becomes the norm, you start shutting down instead of sharing. the message you’re getting over and over is that your world isn’t important, that they don’t care about your contribution to the conversation. you’re simply a prompter. a platform for their thoughts, their feelings, their experiences.

i like to give the benefit of the doubt and think that maybe we’re just wired to want to relate and to share experiences. and sometimes we get so caught up in that notion that we unintentionally hijack the whole thought train.

but the older i get, the more irritated i get by conversation hijackers. so then i get hyper-conscious about my own behavior – i’ll kick my own ass whenever i catch myself hijacking. but i also find myself giving up much, much faster when the hijacking happens to me, and that makes me sad.

i care deeply about my friends. i want to know about their experiences. i want to ask them questions and explore how they feel, see what they think.

but sometimes, you hope they return the favor.


the light of the darkness

there are some things in this world that just make you inexplicably happy.

last night, my brother and i went to see one of my all-time favorite bands, the darkness, at the last show of their first US tour in 8 years. actually, this tour and this show should never have happened – the band split up 5 years ago and seemed unlikely to ever reunite. but they did, against all odds, and will be releasing their third album early this summer.

i remember the first time i ever heard of the darkness. it was 2003, and i saw their video for “i believe in a thing called love.” my first thought was “are they fucking kidding?” with justin hawkins’ over-the-top falsetto, the flamboyant costumes and serious 80s throwback sound, the only justification seemed to be that they must be a parody. it became clear very quickly that they were entirely serious, and that they seriously rocked.

“permission to land” was their first album, and i remember discovering each new track with an almost childlike delight.

here’s the thing about the darkness: they make me ridiculously happy. always have. i’d wake up in the morning, throw on the album as i was getting ready for work, and it never failed to put a smile on my face. i’d rock around the room to the amusement of my roomie, and i swear this album was singlehandedly responsible for making me much less of a morning crank and much more of a morning person.

there’s a lot to be said for something that makes a huge amount of joy well up inside you. for whatever reason, the darkness does that for me. they’re fun, they’re campy, they’re positive, their music is massive and personal all at the same time.

i had a hard time reining in my glee as i waited for them to come on stage at the neptune last night. i was hoping hoping hoping that justin would come out in one of his trademark catsuits, cut rakishly open to the navel. i couldn’t wait to hear these guys live.

they exceeded all my expectations. while he didn’t start out with a catsuit (instead, a three-piece denim ensemble, of which he periodically removed pieces), he did two costume changes, which i have never seen at a rock concert. britney spears or some lip-syncing pop act? i’d expect to see costume changes there, but this was just awesomeness as only the darkness could bring. the first change brought him back out in a lemur-striped catsuit job with a codpiece (lol!) and a plumy tail appendage (LOL!). good god. the second change was even better – a white/pink/silver business with cutouts and a feathery spinal stripe down the back. he strutted around the stage like a pink spandexasaurus, scissor kicking and stage leaping to my heart’s delight. pure, unapologetic, unadulterated joy.

and they fucking ROCKED. they sounded so amazing live, it was unreal. the notes that man can hit? the guitar licks? unbeatable. they played a near two-hour set, which included all of the tracks from their first album, many from the second, and some off the upcoming new album. can’t wait to hear that thing in its entirety.

as a bonus, the two openers were rad. crown jewel defense was fun, campy and awesome, and though it’s probably not anything i’d listen to on my ipod, they were fun to behold in live form. then came foxy shazaam, who were a huge surprise of awesomeness. andy and i both loved their set, their energy and their totally hilarious and irreverent frontman. we both plan on looking into their stuff and i’d definitely go see them again.

basically, i feel like i got to cross off a bucket list item – a real mylestone. i think most people will never understand my sheer and deep love of this band, and i’m not sure i fully understand it myself. all i know is that their music has been putting a smile on my face for 9 years, and i hope i never lose that. i hope they keep producing and touring and rocking as only they can. i will be along for the ride, and judging by the crowd’s reaction last night, i’m definitely not alone.


arrogant bastard

he wasn’t the first person to call me arrogant, and he wouldn’t be the last.

it popped into my head today, years later, causing me to delve into some serious self-analysis. how do we define arrogance? what makes somebody arrogant? and do i really do that thing?

i think i’m pretty self-aware. i can easily rattle off some of my worst qualities to you: i’m selfish; i procrastinate; i’m kind of sloppy; i’m a worry-wart; i have hypochondriacal tendencies; i’m commitment-phobic; i really struggle with change. plus, in my personal life (though for some reason, not at all professionally), i’m virtually incapable of making a decision; i have been known to spend 30 minutes in a shampoo aisle trying to choose a brand.

but surely, self-awareness isn’t only knowing the worst parts of yourself. isn’t there something to be said for knowing the good stuff, too? everyone has things they excel at. everyone has a particular bag of tricks that they bring to the table.

the first accusation of arrogance that i really remember came during a rocky relationship. he practically spit the word at me; there was definite intent to wound. and while it didn’t exactly hurt me, it did make me think. the accusation came after a particularly heated disagreement (of which there were many) which ended with me saying something about being smart, having a good head on my shoulders, and being able to make up my own mind. he accused me of being arrogant because i thought i was smart.

i guess that deserves a little bit of background: the truth is, i’m smart. i do have a good head on my shoulders, and i feel lucky for it. i feel lucky that i have parents who encouraged me and bought me books and read to me since i was small, who sent me to good schools and supported my goals. i embraced reading and school and extra work – i studied hard, took honors classes, went to a great college.

i tried to clarify with him. “so let me get this straight: it doesn’t matter that my whole life, people have labeled me as smart. i’ve been raised to believe that i have a good head on my shoulders, and for the most part i’ve proved it. but for me to simply acknowledge it makes me arrogant?”

yep. that’s exactly what he thought.

i hadn’t bragged about anything. i wasn’t prideful about it. i didn’t say i was smarter than anyone else, him included. there was no sense of measuring myself against someone. it was simply me, observing a quality about myself.

another time, after a discussion with a coworker about proofreading: he said it was arrogant of me to say that i’m good at spelling and never use spell check.

but i am good at spelling! it’s actually a measurable thing!! why is it arrogant to know that about myself after years of having demonstrated it?

it seems like simply acknowledging any positive quality about yourself makes you arrogant. and that’s so disappointing. if that’s really the world we live in, how fundamentally sad and small of us. it seems like the world and the workplace and everywhere in between would be so much more positive if people were allowed or (gasp!) encouraged to recognize some of their positive qualities.

there’s a huge difference between that recognition and being a braggart or taking credit for things you shouldn’t. there’s a huge difference between knowing some of your better qualities, and that knowledge making you think you’re better than others. i’m not perfect, and i’ve totally been guilty of that at times. do i think i have a better sense of humor because i love things like arrested development and the league, rather than two and a half men or everybody loves raymond? sooooooo guilty. and i’m sure there are other places where i toe over that fine line between self-awareness and arrogance.

but it’s disheartening to think that you can’t ever say anything positive about yourself. does that mean we’re all doomed to this half-life place of waiting/wishing/hoping someone will say something good about you, because you’re too afraid to ever acknowledge it yourself? does this mean we all live in this space where self-deprecation, false modesty and fishing for compliments is the norm?

even if no one else will ever understand it, i’m happy that i am in a place where i know that there are good things about myself. it took me a while to feel comfortable in that place, and ending that rocky relationship was the biggest step toward self-awareness and happiness that i’ve ever taken. not because he was such a bad guy, but because i realized that the things he didn’t like about me were things i really valued about myself.

if that makes me an arrogant bastard, so be it. there’s a beer for that.


morning glory

woke up about 15 minutes ago.

there was the most gorgeous peachy-pink golden light coming in the windows. it’s been forever since i woke up and had that beautiful morning light stream in and pull me out of my dreams.

then it dawned on me that this is the last morning of 2011. so fitting! i’d been dreaming deeply, and it took a few minutes to shake off the sleep. i remember swatches of the dream – several people from my past, a place i dearly love, my family and some current friends – they’d all been prominent pieces of the dream, but the threads that connect all of them were fuzzy and blurred.

this whole year has been crazy and it’s blurred by. i love the idea that this beautiful morning is a send off to this year, and i’m choosing to think it’s a foreshadowing (fore-sunning?) for 2012.


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