Sunday, March 24, 2013

On Blogging.

Last night I was at a small get-together when one of my friends proclaimed that "blogging is useless."

Of course, he's (mostly) right.

Yes, sure, there are blogs such as The Sartorialist, which are now so large that they're just websites, not  what we think of when we think "blogs." But when it comes to tiny blogs like mine, with everyday thoughts like mine, my friend is right.

Who the eff cares?

Perhaps I've done myself a disservice by not picking a blog "theme," like traveling or food or photography, because, let's face it, simply being Denise isn't a theme.

But, the thing is, it feels like one sometimes.

For instance, yesterday my roomies and I went to Chick Fil A for brunch - and when I say brunch, I mean it. I ordered a chicken biscuit and waffle fries, after the friendly employee told me that they were now serving breakfast AND lunch during those hours on Saturdays.

"That was delicious, and it was just what I wanted," I announced to Genessa in the car, as we drove to pick up her television from a guy she found on Craigslist. "I think I might blog about it."

No one was surprised. My fellow housemates are accustomed to me saying I'm "going to blog about" anything that strikes my weird fancy. And it's not always hipster, trendy, social media-worthy shit.
In fact, it never is.

So, I guess my friend had a point. Writing about my random-ass life on blogspot IS useless, if he means as reading material for him. But as a writing outlet for me, it's perfect.

And I make no apologies for this hodge-podge.

Monday, March 18, 2013

When Opportunity Knocks...or Telephones.

I was sitting at my work desk early this morning when my phone rang. I answered it chirpily, like I always do, wondering if it was Brian on the other end. But it wasn't.

"Hi...This is an odd question, but my son needs help on an English paper for school," said a woman's voice on the other end of the line. "Do you have any ideas about who I should call?"

I sat up in my chair. "Your son needs a tutor?" I asked. "Why did you call Mount Pleasant Magazine if your son needs a tutor?"

"Well, I figured you guys would know someone and he could get help right away," she said. "The paper is due this week."

"You've found your tutor," I announced. We made plans for me to visit her house at 4 p.m.

Damn, I thought. I love it when work just falls into my lap like this! 

It took me a minute to find the address once I found the street. I squinted up at the numerals on the houses, looking inside my email to make sure I had the right place. 

"Are you the magazine editor who's here to help my brother?" asked a little boy who was walking a dog. 

I said that I was. 

He led me inside, where I had one of the easiest adaptations of my life. It felt like I'd known this family forever. The mother, Kristi, is super friendly (plus, we talked about everything from her art - she was painting in the family room - to relationships) and the 6th grade tutee, Mason, is precious. He listened to me explain to him how his paper should be outlined with less squawking than I get from college students. 

"I like to write," he explained sheepishly, as we wrapped up our session. "I just think research papers are sorta boring. But I write poems." 

"Really! You're a poet?" I was surprised. "So am I! We should trade poetry!"

"We should," he agreed. "I would really like that." 

So, as you can probably imagine, I'm completely stoked to go back tomorrow. As you read this blog, I'm trying to figure out which of my poems would make good trading material with an 11-year-old. 

Life's funny. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tuesday: An Overdue Love Note.

Like most people, I've grown up listening to people talk mainly about Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. And don't get me wrong; I enjoy a good weekend as much as the next person.

But I have a confession to make. I don't base my life on the weekends. It's one of the things I love most about being a writer, making my own schedule and not knowing what each day will bring. And while this might be a surprise to some of my readers, those of you who know me already know that my favorite day of the week is Tuesday.

That's right - Tuesday.

I know; it's puzzling. After all, Tuesday is probably the least description-worthy day of the whole week. It's not the weekend, nor Humpday Wednesday, nor Thirsty Thursday. It's just the second workday of the five-day lineup. Nothing special, in other words, to most people, other than the fact that it means Monday is over. (And what is so wrong with Monday anyway?)

I think my affection for Tuesday began in college. I can't remember why, precisely, but I'm tempted to think I had a few good classes (philosophy? literature?) that took place on Tuesdays. Or maybe I crossed paths with a good friend more often on Tuesdays. Whatever the reason, my passion for Tuesday has lasted.

Once, I was buying a slew of new makeup in Sephora and the girl at the register was named Tuesday.

"Tuesday is my favorite day of the week!" I told her, after complimenting her unusual name.

She grinned broadly. "You're the second person today to tell me that, I kid you not," she replied.

What? I thought to myself in amazement. Someone else loves Tuesday? 

And today, while I was tutoring my devoted tutee, I asked her what her favorite day was. She replied Saturday and returned the question. When I told her Tuesday is my favorite, she asked why.

"I suppose I've always loved unsung heroes," I mused. "Plenty of good things happen on good ol' Tuesday, and yet, it's largely ignored. Like Neptune. Does anyone ever talk about NEPTUNE? No. It's always Saturn or Venus or Mars or whatever."

Actually, in college, I had a boyfriend named David who honored Tuesdays. He would throw a mini-party, known as "Tea for Tuesday," each week. Friends came over, drank homemade Long Island iced tea from a pitcher and discussed how the week was faring thus far.

Other fans of this highly-underrated day probably know where I'm coming from when I speak fondly about Tuesday. But if you're the type who pines for Friday afternoon, it's OK. Everyone has their preferences.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Local Flavors.

What a busy weekend! I enjoyed it by engaging in one of my favorite activities - trekking across the state to visit my best friends.

On Saturday I arrived in Columbia around lunchtime, and spent the afternoon with my childhood best friend,  Kristi,  for her baby shower. She's having a girl next month, so the house was filled with bonnets and butterflies. 

After the shower I drove the quick hour-and-a-half to Greenville to visit Alice, my college best friend. (I have different best friends for different life phases.) 

Greenville was quite the adventure. One of the highlights was definitely our meal downtown, which was topped by a conversation with a street poet, trying to sell us his spiritual musings for cash.

The poet, whose name was Ricky Jones, pressed a folded square of notebook paper into Alice's hand after she generously gave him a dollar bill from her purse. We unfolded it and read it later at the bar, where we decided that one dollar was a fair price.

The next afternoon we walked around the lake on the Furman campus (I got quite friendly with a black swan), then hopped into the car and started driving toward the Jones Gap state park, singing along to 90s songs on the satellite radio the whole way. 

The old saying, half the fun is getting there, definitely rings true when I go anywhere with Alice. We made a few pit stops on the way to the park, including a hardware store-cafe in Traveler's Rest, which Alice insisted had the absolute best blueberry pie to be found. Too bad they were out of the pie when we got there. 

Undeterred, we decided to pay a visit to the Tugaloo Junction, a quirky structure off the side of the road with signs that claimed we could buy boiled peanuts and fresh produce. While we didn't find the peanuts or produce (apparently, the Tugaloo Junction is just a place where miscellaneous toys, clothes and utter junk are sold to unassuming mountain folk), we still had fun chatting with the locals.

I told Alice that although I loved our stint in downtown Greenville, eating at the nice restaurant and walking around the city, I was even more inspired by the mountain trail, dotted with horses grazing the hillsides, interesting shacks and questionable produce huts.

"This is the real local flavor of the area," I declared.

The next time I go back to visit, we're definitely ordering that pie ahead of time and doing some more exploring.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Friend Fix.

This morning, I read an article (in ELLE) about the "euphoric benefits" of shopping and how they apply to true shop-a-holics, even when no product is purchased.

"Shopping addiction is consistent with gambling, sex, etc .... "It's not the act of getting the product that's so compelling, it's the anticipation."  

I hate to brag, but I knew this already, after my experience last night.

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I gave up shopping for Lent. No sooner had I done that when my best gal, Sarah, asked me to accompany her on a shopping trip to help her pick out a chic vacation wardrobe.

Talk about a moral grapple! Could I really help Sarah, a self-proclaimed non-fashionista, find suitable clothes and accessories without focusing on myself and my own desires?

The answer is yes!

After dinner last night, we hit the outlets and power-shopped for items that wouldn't make Sarah feel "like a soccer mom," a label she was aiming to avoid.  We went into an assortment of stores - from Michael Kors to Rue 21 - and finally ended up with three necklaces, five shirts and a pair of sunglasses, all which had been carefully selected to mix with Sarah's 3 bottoms: white linen pants, dark jeans and a long, striped skirt.

purple tee, floral shades, scarf 

"Are you sure this stuff looks good on me?" Sarah would ask about everything. Each time I convinced her that she was doing the right thing and she ended up in the checkout line, I felt thrilled.

Maybe I could have a side career as a personal shopper!  I thought.

"I can't believe I'm saying this, but this has been just as satisfying as shopping for myself!" I said, as we went back to the car afterward with her bags bursting.

Of course, I eyeballed a thing or two during the two hours, but I kept my cool. I was there to help Sarah, after all.

"But doesn't that count as window shopping? Which counts as shopping? Isn't that what chicks do all the time?" demanded Brian earlier that afternoon, when I told him about my mission with Sarah.

"No," I insisted. "This doesn't violate my Lenten sacrifice. I'm helping a friend. I would have never gone shopping otherwise!"

So, there you have it. Sarah offered to bring me along on a shopping trip for herself again if I "got the urge," but I think my duty is done ... for now.

Unless anyone else needs a helper, that is.