Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fourth of July-- New York

Soooooo, even though I meant to just slap up another old poem in preparation for our upcoming national day-o-celebration, I ended up writing a whole post today. Thought it was funny and interesting, got home after letting all the creative juices really steep only to find that what I'd written never really came together in any sort of delicious medley of flavors.

I guess that means that those of you who were hoping againgst hope for a little ode to the US of A will have your wish granted today. Let's call it the cherry atop the cupcake of freedom you've been snacking on all these years. Wrote this one when I was 20 years old and interning at a Multi-Cultural Church Plant in NYC. If you don't like it, I am guessing it is because you are an illiterate terrorist.

Red shirts, mini skirts,
halter tops, incessant pops,
bottled water,
only a dollar,
breathmints and sentiment,
summer breeze sweetly kissing the skin,
quiet joy and unresolved sin.
Barricades and lemonade,
baseball caps, bad raps,
starless sky,
the time of their lives,
vibrant children, young women, old men,
year after year, stand together again.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Love is in the Air

Can we all just agree that airplanes should be segregated? Not in the everybody move to duh back of duh bus, kind of way, but more in the happily married to the right and searching singles to the left-- please do not forget your complimentary glass-o-wine -- kind of way. I mean would it really be so hard, to add a simple checkbox to the ticket purchasing paperwork? I am looking at you American Airlines. Check out the sample below:

Yes, I would like to participate in a wholesome mid-air mixer with my fellow travelers of the world. It only makes sense and life is short so why not?

Yes, I would like to participate in a mid-air mixer but my wife has frowned upon the idea.

No, I do not prefer to meet anyone interesting during this particular flight even though I am caged up with these people anyway and in the case of lightning strike they will become my companions in death, but no thanks I’ll just sit here reading my comic book and leaning my seat all the way back as I am sure no one around me will desire any leg space whatsoever over the course of the next 3 hours until we land and I finally get home to my hermit crabs and PSP.

See, isn’t that simple? And its possible you could even cut an unnecessary word or phrase here and there if needed. All I am saying is, it is starting to feel outright wasteful l when I get to the airport, scout out three or four handsome twenty-somethings and then inevitably get seated next to two homely women reading romance novels, within devastating view of the dark-haired guy reading Blue Like Jazz. What gives?

I mean the other day I saw an add for speed-dating, but who really has the energy or moxy to sign up for something as new and risky as that? On the other hand, for a lover of efficiency (which I am not, but take a long meandering walk with me on this subject anyway) airplane dating is just a sensible and concurrent solution to two enduring problems: in-flight boredom/anxiety and a regrettable amount of experience playing solitaire.

What can we do to realize this dream? In the hands of the right marketer I think it could boost and dare-I-say revolutionize the airline industry. So write your representatives, senators and friends in the biz until we see this change because , until that time all we really have on our side are prayers of providence. That said, I happen to be boarding a plane around 9:45 tomorrow morning. Intercession Welcome!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Just a Little Crush

I have lived in Austin for 4.5 years and never during this time have I ever ventured to Barton Springs Pool for a swim. Neither have I made any efforts to become acquainted with Deep Eddy (one of the other crowd-pleasing spring pools in the Texas Hill Country). Never, that is, until a few weeks ago when it became a regular hobby of mine. I have to admit, it is a magical experience and one worthy to be recreated daily in sultry times such as these, but how does one go from complete spring-pool abstinence to weekly, sometimes daily rendezvous? The answer: girl-crush.

I have to admit that I, Kerri Nolastname (pronounced no-lost-nuh-may), have a huge girl-crush on Drew B., a former co-worker of mine. Drew loves spring-pool swimming and has been the first person whose mere invite got me instantly in a swimsuit, happily navigating a parking nightmare and wading through the filthy, groping seaweed that is allowed to grow free in a natural pool. This girl has the power! So, can you imagine my spiritual intoxication last week when I ran into her at the park (which I totally always go to and wasn’t hoping to run into her at) and she introduced me to a friend as her girl-crush. I quickly reigned in all of my girl-crush reciprocity glee and gave a simple “what can I say” shrug to her friend and then hurried off before I ruined the moment with persistent giggles or inappropriate weeping. So, all this heterosexual girl love really got me, (now called L.L. Cool K.) thinking…

It was tempting to avoid the girl-crush concept altogether since I know that it can be controversial for those who have no sense of humor. But upon further consideration I decided that not only would this would get me some real points with Drew, but it also gets at a topic that has been hovering all about me for the last three years or so—chemistry. What is it?!?! What do you think are the factors that contribute to good chemistry? How come there are some friends who I love deeply but who could frankly never convince me that seaweed is ok in a structure that is shaped and touted as a swimming POOL. Is chemistry linked to newness? Is it that you see something in the other person that you know you need more of and thus you are drawn to them on some meta-level of experience? Is it about immediacy as far as comfort levels are concerned? What do you think? When you hear the word chemistry, ESPECIALLY in a non-romantic sense, what does it mean to you?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Romance Religion Revealed (and other notable reunion moments)

1. Passing up the opportunity to go to an after-hours swim party in Moffat, TX population 150. Sorry guys, as totally unawkward as that sounds, I think I’m just gonna stick with the Cupid Shuffle and head on home.

2. Watching an old kindergarten buddy:
Storm the empty dance floor ,
steal the mic from the D.J.,
proclaim that the next song would blow our minds,
unleash the krunk-maker we all know as “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black-Eyed Peas. And then,
dance solo for one of the longer 3 minutes of all of our lives.

3. Spending time with BFFs Liv and Amy maniacally scheming pranks to be performed by Liv’s Husband. Should he attend the reunion as a French man? A swinger? An intriguing combination of the two? Endless possibilities.

4. Listening to a former Spanish class dreamboat ask if I am married and seem noticeably astonished that my answer was no, not in the “What’s wrong with you” kind of way in the tradition of small town church ladies, but more in the “what is wrong with everyone else on the planet” kind of way” . Thank you kind sir for this most appropriate response!

5. Running into Freddie Prinze Jr.’s old friend in the stairwell on the way out of the building and pretending to casually inquire about FPJ’s whereabouts.

Me: Oh hey there, you might know. You know who I was just remembering was that guy Freddie, are you still in contact with him?
FPJs Soccer Buddy: Yeah man, I wish he was here but I heard he was in Asia again.
Me: Oh he is in south east asia, huh? What for?
FPJs Soccer Friend: Missionary Work
Me: Missions work, huh? Neat. So, but seriously no current contact with him?
FPJ’s Soccer Friend: Yeah, no he’s just still a single man out there on his own so he’s kind of not tied down anywhere, like the rest of us I guess.
Me: and you're dead to me Soccer Friend. See you in 10 years.

So, there you have it. I remain in romantic agnosticism. But at least my friend Gwyneth facebook stalked him on my behalf and reports that he is now hideous, (I believe her exact words were, “ his hair is a little flat these days, so he is not quite as hot as we used to think.”)

Any of you ladies and gents have any interesting H.S. reunion fodder?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Reunion Romance

When I was 17 and only months away from graduating high school, I took a Physics Class. This was a mistake for any academic purposes as I routinely made A’s on the content portion of exams and then promptly failed the adjoined (and much weightier) practical application portions. My classmates were literally sleeping on their drool-stained desks each day as I hurriedly asked question after clarifying question, but unlike me, they effortlessly aced each week’s test. It might as well have been an exam over their own likes and dislikes, so disparate was their preparation compared with their success. And as you might imagine, for a person who genuinely argued that perfectionism was “of the Lord” Physics, as a subject, was not fun for me.

On the other hand, the class did have its social perks. One of my closest cheerleading buddies sat next to me so we eagerly engaged in prom talk, who was breaking up with whom, and which untrained newbies would dare tryout to take our spots. (It seems only fair to mention that some have said that there still has never been a suitable replacement). Then, on the other side of me sat Leo D. , one of the most popular guys in our class and since he happened to be star-gazingly in love with my cheerleader friend he included me in most of his discussions, jokes and, if memory serves, I believe there was a one-time only invitation to a hot-tub party in his backyard. Come to think of it, Freddie Prinze Jr. , might have been at highly inappropriate hot-tub party of 2000 as well.

Freddie Prinze Jr. , sat behind me in Physics. Every day when I entered the classroom prepared for a nervous breakdown he sang me all the way to my desk: “Hey Kerri, your so fine, your so fine you blow my mind, Hey Kerri (clap-clap, clap-clap) Hey Kerri. And every day I giggled and gushed, but somehow the idea that Freddie Prinze Jr. might have been interested in me for more than a physics-neighbor relationship, eluded me. It would have taken a miracle from God for me to be unattracted to this boy. He had 4 out of 5 of the elements catalogued in my FABULOUS FIVE Boy Features List. And since it wouldn’t be nice not to share…

1. The boy shall be skinny, thin will not do, I need to see some ribs sticking out of that undersized ironic tee that your wearing.
2. The boy shall wear glasses. Smart = Hot and I know there is no evidence connecting poor vision with intelligence, but it just seems intuitive, doesn’t it?
3. The boy shall have good mandibles. I don’t know if that is the correct way to say it, it is just what I have always said. This basically means a strong jaw-line which is emphasized in moments of anger or intensity.
4. The boy shall have funky hair. (It can be shaggy, spikey or dreaded…it just needs to be something that shows a propensity for moving away from the status quo.
5. They boy shall have good facial hair. (Freddie did not have this one at the time, but neither did anyone else because it violated school policy)

So, why are we (somewhat creepily) talking about a boy from the past, not to mention pool parties and cheerleading drama? Well, mostly because I am 2 days away from my high school reunion and a brief facebook stalking endeavor a few years back indicated that Freddie Prinze Jr. was still on the market. You see I became obsessed with FPJ after breaking up with an ex-boyfriend because I realized that he was exactly like F.P.J. except F.P.J. was clearly madly in love with me and probably had to endure years of counseling for my unintentional rejection. F.P.J. became the bread and the wine of my romantic communion. He was the one to metaphorically turn to when things seemed hopeless in the love department. He became ritualized in my mind and as oft as I thought of him I remembered how he had sacrificially poured out his awkward teenage love while I was still shamefully unawares. So this weekend could be the moment I see his face again, people! This is huge! What will happen?!What will I become?!

Weigh in on the options below:
A. Romance Atheist: He will have become bald fat and grumpy and will confess that he sang to me to get the attention of my cheerleader friend because he knew she was attracted to tenors. This causes me to lose the faith and begin my life as a cat collector despite my well-documented disdain for these, the snobbiest of animals.
B. Romance Agnostic: He will not show up, allowing me to remain in the sea of mystery. Sometimes sure of love, but often pretty sure that I am too smart for all of this silly jibba jabba.
C. Romance Believer: He will have arrived early at the pre- reunion dinner and is waiting for me at the door. “You can go in there and have a taquito”, he says “Or you can come with me and we can finally begin something that should have started 10 years ago.” I pause to consider both delicious choices, wonder if it is uncouth to suggest a few taquitos to go, then err on the side of safety and join him taquitoless in the van that he usually uses to serve meals to the homeless. He has a picnic inside, confesses that each day of the last 10 years he has been planning for this moment and asks me to join him at the reunion as his fiancĂ©.
I will be back on Sunday with the Results!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Poem from the past

I am exhausted! Summer is not offering nearly as much rest as I had hoped for. So, for tonight I am going to just post and old poem of mine that I came across that seems timely.

Plunging through the darkness,
I fall freely into the abyss,
Called eternity where,
Figures skip past me,
Dancing and suggesting,
And analyzing life, but
They are caught in a cloud,
Like sinners in love,
Lower than heaven,
But higher than earth,
Lifelessness cures the soul of sin,
The mind of burden,
The body of ache,
And I hear that
God speaks in this chaos,
Called sleep.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I am not much of a Karate person, which is a shame because a formidable number of young(ish) men seem to have taken up this hobby with a misplaced assurance that it will drive the young(ish) ladies wild (Big Frown). That said, I do fondly recall the time when my 9 or 10 year old nephew, Taylor, first chopped a piece of wood in half with his bare hand. Now, I don’t mean to diminish his accomplishment in any sense, but this wood-splitting feat might as well have been an invitation to the president’s cabinet if you trusted my subsequent reaction; quickening heart beat, goofy smile and I believe by all standards an unreasonable amount of tears. It was a puzzling day—the beginning of an era.

That day was at least 8 years ago, because last week, Taylor, along with two of my nieces graduated from high school and I am sitting here trying to figure out what makes these events so unbearable. Not just graduations necessarily, although I think there is a general consensus that they have their place on the list of potentially hellish recurrences. I’m sure you need no reminding of snail-paced lines, exitless speeches and seat saving for 25 of your closest relatives. These things do not quickly escape the memory.

But the unbearableness that I am referring to is bigger than a commencement ceremony . It is all the reminders, little and big that this group is joining me in adulthood. The thing is, the lives of these children—their milestones, have been, in some way, the living scrapbook of my own childhood.

Kerri’s Scrapbook
Page 1: My oldest niece is born. I am a third grader at Southwest Elementary School. Within a few short months I have mastered two of life’s most useful skills: changing diapers and using adjectives. And with that in mind I feel obliged to tell you that changing diapers can be:
and if you play your cards right,
speedy. (Maybe alliteration came along in third grade as well?)

Page 125: My sister’s youngest son is born 10 days after I officially become someone’s girlfriend for the first time.
Baby-talk the baby, sweet-talk the boy.
Swoon over baby’s first steps, Get dumped by the boy.
Daydream about baby’s future, daydream about getting back with the boy.
Continue this pattern for the next 50 pages.

Page 327: Taylor tries football, while I try Central Asia. I am not saying God ordained the two events to be mutually exclusive but I am pretty sure that if a lame karate trick choked me up, then seeing a successful interception would have most likely resulted in me experiencing some sort of pride-induced heart attack.

And so all of this has me thinking about the concept of nostalgia. Is it a good witch or a bad witch? I think Nostalgia of the Ebenezer Stone variety is a beautiful thing. It is the all-too rare acknowledgement that “The Lord has done great things for us, “ and here in this place we will remember how we have been provided for.

And yet, the whole scene can be so quickly turned on its head, becoming more like an episode of Hoarders than a holy moment of reverence. Remember when she was five, when he was this big, when they climbed that very tree? In these moments I hang onto memories not in awe of what I have been given but in fear that whatever the gift, it was the last of it.

Here is the thing though, It isn’t. There is more goodness coming my way. More than enough for me and for all these 18 year olds who I feel compelled to swaddle before sending on to the voting booth and all the rest of life’s next adventures. Enough Food, Enough Love, Enough Funny . Enough grace for the times when we aren’t so certain that there is enough. Enough 20- something men who never set foot in a Dojo.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Single-handedly Remedying Summer Listlessness

The single life offers many simple pleasures--not the least of these being a gratuitous amount of time with which to pursue selfish and often meaningless activities. Some singletons are beckoned by the call of war-mongering video games each day after work. For others, the humiliating and unconscionable act of dressing cats in “adorable outfits” will fill every unused hour until somebody finally (and inexplicably) “puts a ring on it”. With my free time, I MAKE LISTS.

No, not because I love crossing off meticulously crafted “To-Do” items ; although, I won’t deny that there is a certain arousal which accompanies the merciless and inky slashing of a formerly onerous task. But practical lists have a time-sensitive usefulness and I much prefer to accompany my bullets with a more impractical and useless yet nostalgic set of concepts.
A Few of My Favorite Kerri-Authored lists.
Things to do Before I die (refusing to call this a “bucket list” because:
a. I came up with it when I was 5, long before Mr. Freeman started taking all the credit, AND
b. I somehow find it untoward to include a reference to the gruesome act of death by hanging, into my everyday vernacular)
My Friends (this is exactly what you think it is—a throwback to an oft maligned grade-school practice of mine. You decide if it is charming or tragic.) Incidentally, blog commenters have been doing very well on this list as of late.
My Favorite Words (illustrious, disillusioned, penultimate, sophomoric, loquacious, rotund, disenchanted, non-sensical, amorous, malcontent, misanthrope august and angst to name a few…tell me if these show up with too much regularity in these musings---ooh, muse, that is a nice one too!)
Pet Peeves ( Perhaps the most gratifying of all lists, because there is nothing like formally documenting for oneself these insidious and recurring provocateurs of unmerited rage.)

And now my most recent and new favorite list, for your consideration, is --Schmet Schmeeves! My friend John Malkovich recently introduced me to this concept as a sort of answer to the Pet Peeve list. Schmet Schmeeves are those random and inexplicable personal delights that we all experience each day. Below, you will see my list in its infancy. Let me know what would be at the top of your S.S. list!

My Schmet Schmeeves
• When people use crisp and prolonged “s” sounds in their speech
• Stepping on Acorns
• Clenched Jaws
• The experience of a muted world afforded by underwater swimming
• Skipping
• Watching toddlers’ first encounters with infants (smaller than me?)
• Walls made of mirrors
• The sound of one’s own name spoken by a loved one
• Frostys
• Being caught in the rain
• The taste of tears
• Hugging someone and hearing their heart beating

Word of Warning: There are those in my community, Brad Pitt included, that take issue with this name “Schmet Schmeeve” because of the use of “Sh” tacked on to the words’ front ends—a language tool which is traditionally used to mock or somehow slight the word to which it is attached. I have no such problem at this time and find it linguistically acceptable to use the “sh” function when referring to these little joys. However, if you are of the Pitt Ilk feel free to rename your list in a way which is suitable to you. Now hurry up and start basking in the acknowledgement of all of your own simple pleasures!