Oh November

November 20, 2010 § 2 Comments

image credit: http://www.gedankenbilder.pictokon.net/naturbilder-1/natur0003.html

Something about this month is beautiful.  I could say that about every month — being out of school, each month is no longer peppered and pressured with deadlines, and I am learning a new character of the calendar.

November is an orange and blue-gray month.  Daylight savings brings brighter mornings and earlier evenings.  The first hours of the day verge on being cold; the afternoon sun is still warm.  Sunny southern California (hopefully) kisses summer goodbye.

November is a month for anticipating.  Thanksgiving, Christmas, time with family, the end of the calendar year.  These things come in quick succession, and once they begin sometimes reflection and preparation is no longer possible.  The first few weeks of November are maybe the last “normal” weeks of the year.

Tonight Alex and I went out for a pizza.  We walked from our apartment, in the cold air. Now we are back, I am wearing a wool sweater, and we are each enjoying a glass of Chianti.

Oh, November.  You and your occasionally sullen skies can visit anytime.

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What I’m not reading now

November 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

Listed below are the books I have picked up and put back down in the last four months.  Forgive me, I’m afraid my attention has been hard to catch.

1.  William Faulkner’s “The Sound and the Fury”

2.  T.S. White’s “The Once and Future King”

3.  Madeline L’Engle’s “The Severed Wasp”

4.  Rodney Stark’s “The Victory of Reason”

However, the following literature has caught my attention.  Perhaps this is a “non-fiction only” time of year. Or a “spend most of your free time cooking, cleaning or sleeping” time of year.

1.  Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin’s “Three Cups of Tea.”

2. Paul Miller’s “The Praying Life.”

3.  Real Simple‘s October, November and December Issues.

4.  All the emails in my inbox.

5.  Multiple cooking blogs and design blogs, a few thought-provoking blogs and the updates from my friends’ blogs.  Blog is a weird word.

Books on my “need to read” list?

1.  Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

2.  Mind of the Maker by Dorothy Sayers

3.  Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (I actually have this one checked out and sitting on my nightstand.  Thanksgiving read?)

Life at the Elmore Residence (a.k.a. Team Elmore)

November 6, 2010 § 4 Comments

Image credit: http://writenowisgood.typepad.com/write_now_is_good/poetry_thursday/

Currently, it’s Saturday morning. A (that stands for Alex) is still sleeping, I have been up since the crack of dawn (actually, before dawn) because I had to work for a couple of hours this morning.  It is only 10:30, and I have already driven the town, drank some coffee, worked two hours, had my bangs trimmed, put away clean dishes, and made and eaten breakfast. What a Saturday.

Now I sit at the computer, whose power cord is so finicky that when I breathe it comes disconnected, and panicking, I fiddle with it as the computer plunges towards its speedy demise. So I hover over this keyboard, afraid of typing too vigorously lest that little green light turn off.

The rest of the day should be filled with normal Saturday things — a few errands for him, a bit of pilates for me, some requisite tidying and cleaning, maybe an episode or two of Friends.

This is what A and I are as a team — doing life together by being in the same space and enjoying one another’s company on this Saturday. Supporting each other in our separate tasks and different ambitions. Working together to ensure that chores get done so that we can live in a clean, functioning space, working so that we can move forward together into whatever is next. I know being a team in marriage works itself out differently in every stage of life. This is what it is for us now.

Needed: One cup of tea. Cooler weather. Oh, and this room.

November 3, 2010 § Leave a comment

from Anthropologie.com

What’s in a name?

November 3, 2010 § 1 Comment

As many of you know, about five years ago I changed my name.  For the first 18 years of my life my family and friends, teachers and coaches, coworkers and classmates called me Becca (or during first grade when I wanted to sound grown up, Rebecca).

The year before I made the switch, my childhood friend Amy was living with me.  As a sort of joke we called ourselves by our middle names – Liz (for Elizabeth) and Jane.  We documented our adventures of the year (and what adventures we had!) in a journal, always referring to ourselves as Liz and Jane.  But our fun only went so far –though we schemed that we would go by these names at our community college, both of us chickened out and did not ‘correct’ the teacher when she called our name during role the first day of class.

But then, going off to college, I had another chance — a chance to do something utterly random, a chance to change my name and get away with it because there were few people at the school who knew me as “Becca”.  I asked my brother if he thought I should do it, if I should go by my middle name, and he said “why not?”  That became my new mantra when asked why I changed my name.  There was no other intention behind it, nothing that made me want to stop being called Becca and start being called Jane (although my grandma’s name was Jane and I think it is a lovely name).

The initial days were a little rocky.  My first attempt to introduce myself with my new name I said, “Hi, I’m…….Jane.”  I’m sure it must have seemed odd for someone to hesitate to try to remember their name.  Later, just seconds after I had introduced myself to my now dear friend Kat, my Dad came around the corner and said, “Oh, so you’ve met Becca?”  I believe Kat just looked back and forth between me and my Dad until I explained myself.

Gradually, I became comfortable telling teachers and employers that “I go by my middle name,” and my response time to my new name shortened until it seemed almost normal.  My brother and sister obstinately refused to call me Jane, and many non-college friends remained confused, despite my assuring them that they could still call me Becca.  Other friends, upon discovering my recent change, decided to combine the two names and call me “Becca Jane.”  One friend decided that she would call me Jane when she wanted advice, and Becca when she wanted to have fun.

Now I have trouble responding when friends call me “Becca.”  I momentarily think to myself “who’s that?”  I feel oddly disconnected from the name that was close to me for some years, the name my parents gave me and that will still grace all my official transcripts and records since I made no legal change.  When my dance teacher neglected to hang on to her initial role sheet (with revisions from me), I did not correct her again.  Every time she calls me “Rebecca”, I treasure it (after a 2 second lapse of trying to identify to whom she is referring).

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