I am firmly convinced that my next life will involve a career in waste management. Eight hours a day riding on the back of a truck, schlepping colossal trashcans filled with heaving mounds of reeking, fly-infested rubbish into the back of a garbage truck. I have no aspirations for such a career; I rather fancy myself as a young, stylish and fabulously popular Queen of England for my next lifetime; but I’m sure this is how Mother Earth will settle the score for my actions this weekend.

I was consumed by the ridiculous goal of completely purging my basement this past Saturday. 6 1/2 years of dusty possessions sorted, packed and removed from my home within 48 hours. My only hope to accomplish this absurd feat was to donate massive amounts of this stuff to my local landfill. I have been devoted to recycling long before it became fashionable and felt quite sinful about chucking away so many things. I tried to bargain with Mother Earth…“I’ll use candles instead of turning on the lights; I’ll drive my car without the air conditioner; I’ll sleep with the windows open instead of using central air.” My career in waste management will probably involve servicing routes of persons who refuse to recycle and therefore generate gargantuan quantities of the most unpleasant, stench ridden trash. This will surely be further penance for my untruthful promises…I live in Georgia for goodness sakes! It gets hotter in the summer than a room with Brad Pitt, Jason Stathom, Sean Connery, Jeff Goldblum and Djimon Hounsou (minus the salt and pepper goatee). Yes…I said Jeff Goldblum and I will accept absolutely no comments from the peanut gallery on that subject!

The montage below includes some photos I discovered during my frenzied purge. It’s rather interesting that my hair style, or lack thereof, has remained eerily similar all these years.

“You really need to stop to whining” my friend Chris gushed impatiently.

I am completely confused since we were having a pleasant discussion about how to prepare summer squash. “What on earth are you talking about?” A question I ask frequently during our conversations. I love him dearly but his self-involved personality and short-lived attention span make conversations difficult to navigate.

“You have been whining about the end of your treasured sabbatical for the last six months. I honestly have no idea how you spend your time besides whining about the end of your spoiled lifestyle”

I am approaching mild annoyance. First of all, we talk almost every day; he knows perfectly well what I do from day to day. Secondly, for him to employ the words “spoiled lifestyle” about anyone other than himself is completely outrageous! My friend Chris is a self-proclaimed personal assistant but who he actually assists remains a cryptic subject. Judging from his very posh lifestyle and almost nonexistent work schedule I suspect him to be a kept man.

“You’re kidding right?” I am incredulous to his tirade and refuse to process it. “How about this? I’ll stop whining about the end of my sabbatical when you stop whining about your love life. In fact, if we have one more discussion about all the good men being taken or confused about their sexuality I will be forced to charge you an hourly rate for therapy!” My voice was thick with sarcasm.

“I don’t need another therapist!” Was his response and without another word he perfunctorily hung up!

Now I was officially in a wicked mood! Whining? Spoiled? Lamenting the end of my sabbatical…absolutely! Solemn about having no other schedule but my own…most certainly! But whining & spoiled? These are two traits that are simply not part of my DNA. I furtively began to review my blog entries and our last few conversations. My friend, though I was almost nauseous to admit, was partially correct! Unfortunately the details of my daily life would probably be boring fodder for most. My friends often question me with wide eyed amazement; “What have you been up to? International travel, lunch with the girls, sipping afternoon beverages at every posh restaurant in town?” Their eyes usually glaze over with disappointment when I share the reality of my daily schedule. Take Wednesday for example…

6 am: Went for a morning walk with the dog; made a small detour to check the progress of the last known muscadine vine in my neighborhood; a few weeks of ripening to go so we continued without a mid-walk snack.

9 am: Parked car at Marta station and went for a morning run; I’m running almost 8 miles these days.

10:15 am: Run accomplished and ended in Midtown. Window shopped for a bit, purchased a protein bar and bottled water from Georgia Tech Publix, walked to Piedmont Park to read my social bible (a.ka. Creative Loafing); and finally walked to the Marta station to travel back to my car

12:30 PM: Picked up weekly supply of locally grown goodness from my farmer; went to the library and checked out several books on global vegetarian cooking

5:00 PM: Retired to my bedroom for an early evening nap

8:45 PM: Evening walk with the dog; watched the sunset

9:30 PM: Oven is on the fritz so I fired up the grill (charcoal is the only true way to grill in my humble opinion); grilled corn, squash and two hamburgers; one for me and one for the dog (my CFO was out of town).

10:30 PM: Craving Haagen-Dazs; loaded the dog into the car and traveled to Kroger; a pint of lemon Haagen-Dazs sorbet for me and a bone for the dog.

11:00 PM: Settled into bed with my snack; watched an hour of Will & Grace and of one of my favorite British sitcoms, Mapp & Lucia; nodded off around 2:30 AM.

Not very glamorous and definitely mundane but I’ll miss days like this when I return to work. The last twelve months have been quite wonderful!

So…my dear friend Chris, if you wanted me to switch the subject of my blog entries you simply needed to say exactly that. Nasty names were completely unnecessary! He called 40 minutes later to offer apology by way of completely ignoring our exchange ever happened. (Another product of his non-existent attention span) “I’ve got four words for you dear girl; Brad Pitt…Absolutely Dreamy!” And with those four words all was forgotten!

My home is littered with remnants of my personal mantra. Last winter I purchased an impressive collection of knitting needles in preparation for the ridiculous quest of knitting my entire spring wardrobe. Most of those knitting needles now support the pepper plants growing on my back porch. The yogurt maker once utilized with staunch devotion now houses an expensive array of paint brushes. Those brushes were purchased to create artwork for the empty walls of my home but several months later the brushes and canvases remain pristine and untouched. There are several ex-loves of this sort residing in my home; a constant reminder of my failure to commit. My personal mantra…”Try One New Thing Every Week”…has been an enlightening albeit expensive adventure for the last several years. I’m excited and blindly committed at the start but easily distracted by the lust of trying something new. My latest devotion however promises to be a relationship with longevity.

My friend Will is a fabulous social companion and especially knowledgeable of all things related to food and gardening. It merely took his passionate account about the workings of a CSA to transform me into a smitten school girl. Thanks to my fantastically knowledgeable friend I am hopelessly devoted to locally produced vegetables and meats. How could I be so faithful to the perceived convenience of Kroger & Publix? Asparagus shipped in from Peru? Strawberries trucked in from California? Bell peppers flown in from Canada? I feel embarrassed…ashamed…filthy from the stench of blind consumerism! Thankfully this weekend I was able to cleanse my transgressions for the economical price of $35. On Saturday, and every Wednesday going forward, I collected a bushel of beautiful, organically grown, seasonal vegetables from my local farmer. Rutabagas, beets, baby carrots, turnips, green onions, Tatsoi (Chinese Spinach), butter lettuce, Lacinato kale, sorrel and watercress. All harvested in Georgia and complete with recipes from my farmer. LocalHarvest is an excellent resource for all things locally grown and I highly recommend Moore Farms for Atlanta residents. They offer the most flexible CSA and minimum orders begin at $20.

I think my new love and I will be going steady for quite some time. Perhaps my next adventure should involve becoming a vegetarian?

So what if I wasn’t celebrating my birthday in San Francisco. This was my thought as I spit another sunflower kernel out the window on our way to Hilton Head Island. I was determined to be optimistic and despite the departure from my traditional birthday excursion I was quite happy to be whisked away. I began the process of cheerfully reasoning with myself; “South Carolina is kind of like going to San Francisco. It’s near the ocean. I can gorge myself on fresh seafood and cold beer. South Carolina and San Francisco both start with the letter S.” Yet much like this terse list of similarities my optimism was also destined to be short-lived. My dear husband, and financial benefactor for the past year, decided it would be the opportune time to discuss my return to work. His conversation went something like this…

Dear Husband: “Well…my beautiful, dynamic, fabulous wife…we need to talk about your return to work”

Me: Silence…Panic…Sweaty Palms…

Dear Husband: “I am so happy that you’ve taken the last eleven months to become so skilled at balancing the rigors of cooking healthy, delicious meals seven days a week, effortlessly managing all the household details, walking the dog four miles every day, working out six days a week, and being the perfect, alluring, and attentive companion. This will make for a much smoother transition when you return to working 65 – 70 hours a week.”

Me: Silence…Trouble Breathing…Holding Back Tears…Overwhelming Nausea…

Dear Husband: “So I really want you to enjoy your birthday and the remaining six weeks of your sabbatical because when you return to work the only free time will be in your dreams at night. If you do in fact have time to sleep”

Me: Open window…Breathing Deeply…Resisting the powerful urge to vomit the contents of my stomach…

I have taken some considerable dramatic liberty with his conversation but it was exactly the way my brain, in its panic stricken stupor, processed the words. My dear husband and generous financial benefactor certainly had no idea I would have such a violent allergic reaction to the conversation. After all he has been more than gracious during my year away and one must return to reality at some point.

So after 11 months of denial I have finally accepted my menacing future and am currently networking my resume. I desperately need a career change! I am seeking the immensely lucrative but highly elusive career of Professional Television Watcher. I specialize in reality shows, foreign films, classic movies and television sitcoms from 1950 – 1960. I am very optimistic that my diverse talents will land me such a position in no time!

My stalkers, all three of them, have been obstinate cohorts the last several weeks; Mr. Murphy, Time and the traitorous Scarlet. (You must read earlier blog entries if you are unfamiliar with the exploits of this trio) The three of them have been an absolute wicked nuisance; like a girl with an evening of fabulous social engagements but must report to work at 6:00 am the next morning. I’m having a marvelous time, not a care in the world, (except perhaps how to finance my social calendar), when suddenly, with merciless, cold-hearted calculation, the treacherous union extricates me back to the reality of my future. Today I spied them having a splendid time; they were laughing and gossiping quite audibly. “It won’t be long now” all three of them chimed in unison. They are of course referring to the imminent conclusion of my treasured sabbatical.

I’ve given up completely with regard to Mr. Murphy and Time. Exhausting my savings in the first few months, our home that I assumed would be complete by last August and after 16 months of construction is still not finished, the days, hours, and minutes moving forward to quickly and without my approval. I simply cannot control these things and therefore have given up agonizing about them. However, it is with great anguish and indignation that I must speak of Scarlet. The very party most responsible for securing our coveted option to remain on indefinite sabbatical has become fast friends with the nefarious Mr. Murphy & Time. Scarlet has abdicated her responsibilities entirely. To further exacerbate matters she has taken my pleasant disposition with her… wicked bitch!

Though I have not given up entirely I have surrendered that I will be living a bit more traditionally come July. Regrets? I should should have played the lotto more frequently or perhaps just saved a LOT more money! However, aside from this bothersome fact I am quite happy with the last nine months. The year doesn’t even remotely resemble what I fashioned in my mind; my international travels, learning two new languages, volunteer work, etc. but I still have three months to go right?

Consider this a warning, you contemptible trio, I’m not defeated yet and you most certainly aren’t going to ruin the rest of my party. And Scarlet…you have something that belongs to me, I want it back…NOW!!!

evidence-of-god.jpg

My dear friend SPS shared some feedback with me today. One of my blog readers mentioned to her that I might consider writing shorter entries as I tend to be wildly verbose and she has very little time. I was completely unaware that she was even reading my blog since she never leaves a comment…no time I suppose. So today’s succinct entry is dedicated in her honor; a haiku about one of my most prized possessions…

Evidence of God
A cherished purchase from Rome
Love being a girl

Commenting on the absurd tomfoolery in the lives of others is of little interest to me. I’ve always considered it tremendously ill-mannered, I have an almost paralyzing belief in Karma and, most importantly, my own life has always been notoriously entertaining (in my humble opinion). Sometimes however there is behavior of such infinitely comical proportion that it simply cannot be ignored. The video below is just such an example.

I happened on this performance, and I use the term performance with fantastic sarcasm, very much by accident. Upon viewing it I was hit with a wave of three emotions; each one stronger and more forceful than the last. First there was irrepressible laughter. Side splitting, tear inducing, almost peed my pants but they were too stylish to ruin, laughter. Second, there was confusion. Migraine inducing, bewildering, I’m a clever girl but I honestly can’t figure this out, confusion. Why would anyone help this man produce such a performance? There really could only be one answer to that question. Every single person, in front of and behind the camera, has since entered a witness protection program and lives in constant fear of ever being associated with the project. Finally there was fear. Paralyzing, can’t bear to look, is that Chucky, Freddy Krueger and Jason having coffee in my living room, fear. Was it possible that back in 1995 I actually thought this video was…dare I say it…cool? As even typing this question has evoked a powerful reaction of nausea and vertigo it is one that must never, ever be answered.

Yes Prime Time, I am cofindent that it was in fact the money since it certainly was not your sense of fashion, vocal ability or dance moves.