Thursday, November 5, 2009

Back on my Soapbox

Mr. Bubble Box vintage Bath

Hi all,

Now that Halloween is out of the way, I want to alert you to the next Major Holiday: NATIONAL BOOKSTORE DAY on November 7th!

I know, you probably thought I was going to say Thanksgiving, right? Well, this is a way of giving thanks to your local independent bookseller who works hard to ensure you have good books to read and reference, who builds your community, who, in my opinion, makes the world go 'round. Sure, you can go to Wal-Mart or Target or Amazon, but they are literally (no pun intended) killing the book business, turning books into product instead of enrichment. And killing off these jewels of independent bookstores, and a world without them will be bleak. I'm sorry, but can you imagine going into Wal-Mart and asking, "My friend is in the hospital and I want to get her a good, lighthearted book to read that will take her mind off things. What can you recommend?" or "What was that book... [snap snap snap]It was in the Sunday Times about two weeks ago..." or "Do you have that book, um, it's blue..." (And yes. These were all questions people asked me when I worked in a bookstore. My favorite: "Do you have a book on glands?" Yeah. We did.) And Amazon? People get blinded by discounts, and trust me. They recommend books for you, but they don't know you -- but they sure have your credit card number on file.

If you've been reading this blog for a while (or shall I say, bearing with the inconsistent posts), you know it's something I am so passionate about. See here. I am deeply worried that these booksellers are going under, and that print itself is going to be extinct. (But I'm not even going to get into the e-book discussion. That's a whole 'nother can o' worms.)

So come and do your part -- visit your local bookseller on Saturday and show them some love! Many stores are having events and specials, so it promises to be fun and rewarding. For more information, here's an excellent article with the chilling last line: Books make great gifts. Go to your favorite bookstore this Saturday and buy someone a gift in commemoration of National Bookstore Day. While you still can.

So... allow me to step into my old bookseller role and recommend some gems:

Olive Kitteride by Elizabeth Strout. I just finished this last night. Beautiful, astute, and winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize. But don't let that stop you.

The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos. Another Pulitzer winner -- and one of my all time favorites. The movie was an abomination, as they usually are, but the book is wonderful.

Behind The Scenes At The Museum by Kate Atkinson. I LOVED this book. I cried when I was finished, and STILL miss the characters.

A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving. You know how there are those books that you wish you could recapture the magic of reading for the very first time because it was so special? This one is mine.

Birds of America by Lorrie Moore. I just finished her latest one a few days ago, and it was beautifully crafted, but this collection is a masterpiece. She leaves me breathless at what an amazing writer and wordsmith she is.

The Yokota Officer's Club by Sarah Bird. This is a book I bought for the cover, and judged correctly. It's fabulous.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. You don't have to be a teenager to appreciate and be moved by this Young Adult novel -- it blew me away.

wolf boy
Wolf Boy by Evan Kuhlman. Jon was reading this part graphic novel, part coming of age story, and I picked it up to see what it was all about. He didn't get it back until I was finished reading it -- it only took a few days because I loved it so much.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. You don't have to be a comic book nerd to succumb to the utter joy of this book. Chabon is an excellent writer and his recent interview on NPR about his comic book club made me teary. I also saw him at a local restaurant a few weeks ago. Whatever, just read it.

idiot girls
The Idiot Girls Action Adventure Club by Laurie Notaro. OMG, I LOVE these books. They made me laugh out loud and write her a fan email and we totally became friends on myspace. LOVE HER.

Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules, edited by David Sedaris. I hope to God you have read David Sedaris by now. (If not, don't wait til Nat'l Bookstore Day, GO NOW.) But you may or may not know about this collection of his favorite stories he edited and introduced, proving that Mr. Sedaris is not only an excellent writer, but he has excellent taste as well.

ANYTHING BY DOROTHY PARKER. I totally stole this beautiful image from somewhere on the internet. But it represents my favorite writer (next to Judy Blume). She may be my biggest influence in life. Which may or may not be a good thing. Pick up some of her books and judge for yourself. (And her biography, "What Fresh Hell is This" by Marion Meade is the best biography I've ever read.)

College Girls by Lynn Peril. This book needs to be given to every woman to show that yes, we have come a long way, babies. And never, ever take your education for granted. But it's not a lecture, it's an excellent and entertaining read by one of my favorite authors, whom you may recognize from her monthly column in BUST Magazine.

Pink Think by Lynn Peril. Another Peril, another favorite. Women and men alike should read this book. Peril writes about women's history in a way that doesn't make you feel uncomfortable or bored or that you signed up for a class -- she makes it accessible and makes you think. (But not Pink Think.) An utterly fantastic -- and Important -- book.

Alligators, Old Mink and New Money by Alison and Melissa Houtte. For all you vintage girls out there -- I adored this book. It was the closest account of working in a vintage store that was like the shop I worked in for many years, and it made me sweetly nostalgic and inspired. I think any fans of vintage would enjoy it.

Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart. Another recommendation for the vintage ladies out there, this sweet book is the story of Mrs. hart's summer working at "The Mothership" (as I call it) during the 40's. especially poignant is the chapter in which WWII ends and New York becomes a victory party.

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote. I'd be remiss not to mention this one, one of my all time favorite books. If you've only seen the movie, go out and get this book. I guarantee, it will change your mind. the movie, even with Audrey Hepburn's gorgeous splendor, is NOTHING compared to this book. (And Mickey Rooney is an abomination.) This may be one of the most well-crafted books I've ever read. And my God. LOOK at this new cover!

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Truman Capote's best friend. And this is the most perfect book ever written. Don't argue. Even if you haven't read it since you were forced to in Freshman English, revisit it. You're welcome.

Crazy in Alabama by Mark Childress. Going along with the Southern theme, this book is so wonderful, and like "Mambo Kings," the movie was a despicable piece of garbage. Erase the memory. Read the book. Fall in love with Pee-Joe.

A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor. You didn't think you could say "South" and "literature" and NOT mention Miss Flannery? She is the High Priestess of Southern Gothic and odd humor, and I love her so much it makes my toes curl. The title story is the best short story I have ever read, possibly ever written. You will never forget it.

Carolinas, Georgia and The South Trips, Lonely Planet. And what a dream it would be to take a Southern road trip and go to all the places in these books. And not just in the South -- Lonely Planet has 6 of these guides for all over the US. And about a jillion guides for all over the world. Lonely Planet is the best travel guidebook and source. Seriously.

Okay, that's enough --sorry I got so carried away! There are so many more I could tell you about, but these were all off the top of my head.

So please go on Saturday to your local independent bookstore. And if you can't make it, there are online options (not Amazon, it defeats the purpose) -- I heard that is running a National Bookstore Day special, and you can also check with indie bound.

I know, it's kind of sad that we even have to declare National Bookstore Day, because every day should be National Bookstore Day and we shouldn't need to worry. But we gotta do what we gotta do... and I'm happy to do this. Pass it along and hope you make it out to your local bookseller -- it's a win win!

Thanks, all. Off the Soapbox now!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Na-No-No-No... for me anyway.

Ohhh, November 1st. How did you get here so quickly?

When I was little, I loved November 1st because it was the official start of CHRISTMAS. My best friend Monica and I would dump out our Halloween candy onto the living room floor and sort it into A, B, and "Give it to Dad Because He Likes The Gross Candy" piles, all while listening to Bert Kaempfert's "Christmas Wonderland" on 8-track and maniacally plotting our Christmas lists. (And making up dance routines to "Sleigh Ride." We were eating A LOT of sugar.)

goodbye halloween, helllllooo christmas!
the gateway album

Apparently, Target et al thinks it's the start of Christmas, too, because I've gotten quite a few emails today about it. (Free Shipping!) But t'is the season for something way more important and interesting. (And Free Everything!)

Today is the kickoff for NaBloPoMo -- National Blog Posting Month. Each day, for 30 days, participants must blog. (For more info, go here: NaNoBloMo) I really hope you all sign up and do it! While I love the whole idea, I will be doing y'all a favor and NOT doing it -- can you imagine if you had to read this junk 30 days in a row? Ohhh, I could write at you for 30 days in a row, sure, but it would all be mundane stuff you don't want to read about, like what I ate for dinner or what I wore to work or what I'm listening to. Oh. Whoops.

And it's also the kickoff for National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo) -- and this I highly recommend. For the month of November, you WRITE WRITE WRITE, every day... and the goal is a 50,000 word novel. (For more info, please go here: NaNoWriMo Official Website) Sounds crazy I know, right? But I'm telling you, it's the most wonderful thing in the world. Because yeah, I'm totally lame and Unaccomplished in Many Areas (I kill houseplants, remember), but I actually Accomplished this. And it's one of the best things I ever did.


I did it when I had just graduated and was still unemployed, so I had the time and no excuse. And every morning I woke up and started writing. I actually couldn't wait to get up and start, which is a far cry from my usual mornings. I logged in my word count on the website every day. (And as you can tell from this blog, I have no problem being long-winded and wordy.) And on November 30th, I had 50,000 plus words, and a week after that I had an entire novel written. I remember driving to my friends' house that night and blasting "Rosemary" by The Dickies (my inspiration song), and I could not stop smiling and squealing. If they could bottle that feeling I had, we'd all be hooked and no one would ever be sad again. And my friend Leslie and I went to the wrap up party at The Rickshaw Stop and I got a NaNoWriMo tee shirt and a sash and we drank cocktails and danced to Hey Ya by Outkast with people I had absolutely nothing in common with, except that we had all written novels. And it was AWESOME.

I'm not going participate this year, but instead I am going to pull out that Long-Neglected and Very Bad Novel and re-read it and start to edit it. (Writing's the fun part. Editing makes me think that being skinned alive sounds more fun.) So for the next thirty days, I am going to get back into the spirit, and see what I can do with it, if anything. I am going to listen to "Rosemary" by The Dickies to bring back that moment of triumph and inspiration, and instead of cringing and collapsing Word when I run into a particularly spectacular gaffe, I am going to soldier on. (And cringe anyway.)

But hey, no matter what, I still can say that I Wrote A Novel, and that is fantastic. And I encourage all of you to do the same. Because seriously? If I can, so can you.

So for all you NaNoBloMoWriMos out there -- best of luck! I know you can do it!

(And here is Rosemary by The Dickies, a perfect, happy pop song for your listening and inspirational pleasure. Be sure to have a song of your own -- it's IMPORTANT.)

Now get going! Yay!!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

BOO yah.

Okay, my main Accomplishment this Halloween will be to not eat my weight in candy. (Which I could easily do.) I do, however, need some motivation to get into the spirit, though I am determined to finally be Little Edie this year, even if I just stay home and protect our pumpkins from goblins (aka neighborhood teenage thugs). But really, is Little Edie all that much of a stretch? I don't even have to BUY anything for that costume, except maybe Wonder Bread and a raccoon.

So yeah, I need inspiration. I haven't even hung up our Halloween decorations. I don't even know where they ARE. But we did carve pumpkins on Sunday, which is something. And they will be nice and moldy and therefore scary by Saturday -- so really, I hope the thugs do smash 'em so I don't have to touch anything gross. (Insert sinister laugh here.)

Halloween, 1972 (?)
Halloween circa 1972. The scariest thing about this picture is my hair.

So if you're like me and need motivation to summon your inner zombie, here are some links:

Last year's post,in which I blather on about past costumes


For beautiful spooky photos and songs, go to my friend Dania's blog, All Eyes and Ears


Like Dynamite to Your Brain is posting creepy goodness for your listening pleasure


The Fabulous Dusty of Cotton Candy Truant has been posting scary gems (and other stuff that rocks my world)


Neato Coolville is in its Neato Ghoulville incarnation


The year-round delicious The Girl Can't Help It tricks and treats


A delicious recipe


One of the best things EVER, from The Haunted Mansion:

And I know there are so many more blogs getting in the spirit -- feel free and post links in the comments. Trust me, I need all the help and motivation I can get.

And I need to get more candy. All the Milk Duds are already gone.

Happy Halloween, y'all!!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Accomplishment #37: Participate in a New Cultural Tradition (#44)

When I was 9, my dad, much like Mr. Brady, had to go to Hawaii on business, and he brought the whole family along. (You may remember this from here.) My parents stayed in a 2 floor suite (the "Na P'ali Suite") at the ultra swank Kauai Surf Hotel, while my sisters and I stayed at the Plantation Hale Motel a few miles away. At first I thought that it would be exciting, but my sisters' absolute distaste at being stuck in a motel room with their obnoxious little sister kind of put a damper on the whole experience. And really, could you blame them? They were 19 and 23. In Hawaii. In their own hotel room. And then there was me: "HIIIII! Let's go SWIMMING! Let's watch TV! Let's play CARDS! I'm HUNGRY! I'm SUNBURNED! I didn't MEAN to spill! I miss the dog and all my friends! Nancy Drew saw a hula dancing ghost in Hawaii! This is like the Brady episode where Bobby finds the cursed idol and Greg falls off his surfboard! Whatcha doing? Can I go? I don't want to do my homework! I don't want to leave you alone! I'm gonna tell MOM!" You get the picture. Tropical Paradise it was not. At the Plantation Hale Motel anyway.

But at my parents' swanky hotel, where I actually was most of the time, it really was paradise. I'd get dropped off there every morning so my sisters could go do their thing, and I'd head straight to the pool that had a SWIM UP BAR. You literally swam through a waterfall and there was a bar so you could sit in the water and enjoy your cocktail. How amazing is THAT? And since it was IN THE POOL there was no age limit, so I swam up and ordered Shirley Temples and charged them to my dad's room. (I'm sure all the swingin' adults were just thrilled to have a creepy little kid hanging out and staring at them.) It was also the first time I had ever seen umbrellas in drinks, so every day I went down to the pool and asked everyone with a cocktail if I could have their umbrellas. (Charming. My sisters nearly died when they found out. I came home with about a hundred.)

One night, the hotel put on a real live luau, and I couldn't wait. I knew what a luau was -- the Bradys had gone to one and blew into a conch shell -- and I was excited to wear my new, fancy pink and white gingham dress. Except that day I had gotten a brutal sunburn, and by the time the luau rolled around, I was pretty much in blistering agony. But still, I was a trooper:

luau 1977
note: I am not wearing a tank top under my dress. That is a sunburn. But the flower crown did make it feel better.

There was a pig, and lots of drinks, and Mrs. O'Connor (the woman in the center) made me eat poi which I hated. We all sat on the ground (which was a little rough for the adults, and bad for me with the sunburn) and watched fire dancers and hula girls put on a show. But the most amazing thing was right before sunset a helicopter flew over and dropped hundreds of gardenia petals and orchids onto the party. The flowers floated down from the sky like sweet, fragrant snow, and we all gasped and clapped. And I was thrilled when the helicopter dipped like it was taking a bow, and I remember turning to my mom and shouting, "WOW!" with utter joy. The joy was fairly short-lived, however -- I hurt so much that my mom had to take me upstairs to their room and put me to bed with Solarcaine and aspirin.

I remember that trip with such clarity -- asking for those umbrellas; the moment that I thought I saw a quarter at the bottom of the pool (greedy!) and scraping all the skin from my nose when I dove down to get it and seeing swirling blood (consequences for that greed); a maple donut I ate; the cool stillness of the Fern Grotto and the rainbow ice we got on the way there; sucking on sugarcane; getting sucked down by the undertow and nearly drowning (I was a NIGHTMARE child); the groovy orange and blue metallic wallpaper in my parents' room; the hotel gift shop where I got a music box that played The Hawaiian Wedding song... but the memory that sticks with me most is being covered in flower petals, watching the helicopter take a bow. (Whenever I smell gardenias, that's what I think of.)

I've been back to Hawaii once since then (not as fun as the first time: 13, miserable, and got my period for the second time ever so I spent a lot of the time in the room sulking and reading Danielle Steel novels from the gift shop, but I did eat banana flambe in a fancy restaurant!), but long to go again. Of course I want to go on a time travel trip to Hawaii in the 50's or early 60's because it was so amazing back then, and I could buy more crap for our bar. But I'd like to go as an adult so I can actually drink. Um, I mean really appreciate it.

But, alas, since a trip to Hawaii isn't exactly feasible right now (especially a time travel circa 1962 trip), I did the next best thing: I joined forces once again with my Co-Hostess with the Mostess, Jennye (whom you may remember from such posts as winter wonderland extravaganza or mid-century supper clubbing), and we brought Hawaii -- and 1962 -- to Oakland, CA in 2009 for the hoolaulea of the year.

Sure, since a tiki theme is always a favorite, I've been to lots of luaus. LOTS. And though they are always fun and festive, they are really just an excuse to don loud clothes and drink a lot of rum, so really, they are theme parties, not luaus. (Believe me, I am not complaining. I'd go to a tiki party every day of the week if I could.) But since this one was the grand poobah of the Mid Century Potlucks, and since it's always a good idea to learn a new cultural tradition, we stepped it up a notch and did a little bit of research, thanks to my 1950's "How You Can Give Hawaiian Parties" by Patricia Collier, published by Dole Hawaiian Pineapple Company:

I always knew this would come in handy someday.

It is chock full of Hawaiian tips, and I set about trying to become fluent in party Hawaiian from the section, "Hawaiian Words That Are Fun To Use!" Since I only knew stuff like, aloha and mahalo and mai tai and "The Big Kahuna," I thought I'd pepper my conversation with these useful gems:

Haole: White Person or Foreigner
Hoomalimali: To Flatter
Humuhumunukunuku: A Species of Fish
Kaukau: Food
Lomi: To Rub or Massage
Malolo: Flying Fish
Nui: Big, Great
Okole Maluna!: Bottom's Up
Opu: Abdomen
Wai: General Name For Anything Liquid
Wikiwiki: Hurry Up

And I also learned that these were parties for King Kamehameha and his royal bunch, yet they were informal, sitting on the ground and stuff and eating with your fingers and leaves. And according to Mrs. Collier, a luau without Kalua pig is NOT a luau, but a poi supper. And considering I had not so fond memories of poi and we wanted the real deal, we were gonna get a whole damn Kalua PIG.

Initially we were going to get the pig and bury it and roast it, but then Jennye and Aaron, her husband, found whole already roasted pigs in Chinatown for cheaper, so we went with that. And spent weeks planning the backyard Party Of The Year, only to wake up that morning to discover that the ONE TIME is has rained in the state of California in MONTHS was that night and morning. "Hey," Aaron said as we panicked, "It rains EVERY DAY in Hawaii. It's more authentic." So the shindig was still on.

And was it ever. People outdid themselves as usual with amazing food:

The Mid-Century Supper Club Potluck LUAU!!!The Mid-Century Supper Club Potluck LUAU!!!

The Mid-Century Supper Club Potluck LUAU!!!

The Mid-Century Supper Club Potluck LUAU!!!

The Mid-Century Supper Club Potluck LUAU!!!

And Ono Ono drinks:

The Mid-Century Supper Club Potluck LUAU!!!

The Mid-Century Supper Club Potluck LUAU!!!

Festive luau-wear:


Tiki tunes:

The Mid-Century Supper Club Potluck LUAU!!!

And the pieces des resistances -- not one, but TWO pigs!

The Mid-Century Supper Club Potluck LUAU!!!

The Mid-Century Supper Club Potluck LUAU!!!

But I'll admit -- no one sat on the ground because it was muddy and we used plastic forks. The ukulele player had to cancel. No hula, as we are closer in age to Alice than Cindy and could have potentially thrown out some hips. The limbo was completely forgotten, though an impromptu 80's dance party ensued. (I like to think King Kamehameha would have been pleased.) Plus, I put so much wai in my opu that everything I said sounded vaguely Hawaiian, instead of actually the words I'd studied. And we bombed as judges because we really kept sampling the entries of the liquid alcoholic variety and kept getting distracted.

The Mid-Century Supper Club Potluck LUAU!!!
Would you trust these wahines to be judges? Not a maikai idea.

(For more photos, like you haven't had enough already, go here and here.)

Even though there wasn't a helicopter that scattered flower petals all over our guests like the one in Hawaii when I was nine, it was a fabulous luau. (And this time I wasn't sunburned, and could partake and the delicious rum drinks.) And it was a real luau, thanks to the pigs, we can't wait to do it again next year. I highly recommend it -- it's fun and CULTURAL. How's THAT for an Accomplishment?

luau shot for the blog
Aloha and Maholo!

(And if you do throw one, invite a tech genius who can do stuff like THIS.)

Thirty-seven down, 60 to go.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

TOTAL ACCOMPLISHMENT: I'm reading at Litquake's Litcrawl!

I know, I know, it's been WAY too long between posts, but I have... okay, no excuse. Well, a small excuse.

I was honored to be asked to read at San Francisco's Litquake's Litcrawl on Saturday, Oct. 17th at Double Dutch, SF(16th & Guerrero) with the Rebel Reading Series. I'll be reading my 10 minute opus at 6pm as part of Phase One of the festivities, with four other talented writers: Blag Dahlia, Dan Strachota, Jason Myers and Stephanie Pullen. And that's just phase One -- the whole night is PACKED with talent all over the Mission!

here's the home page:

litquake 2009

and here's the page with MY NAME on it (in small print):

phase one

(I'm telling you, it was so exciting to see my name with such amazing company, and I had to keep from squealing when I saw my name and terrible bio in the program. I'm practically not really famous!)

The topic: Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n'Roll. I know, right? But here's the craziest thing: IT'S ALREADY WRITTEN. No last minute scrambling this time around -- it's done! Even Mrs. Parker would be proud of me.

writing is hard!
I love you, Dottie

So if you're in the area and have been just DYING for an updated post for 97-land (or you're bored and want something FREE to do on Saturday night), come on out -- I'd love to see you there!

And I promise, I will update soon!!!


Friday, August 28, 2009

Accomplishment #36: Watch the Sunrise (#95)

Okay, sure -- I have seen a sunrise. But not because I've actually wanted to. It's been more like, "Oh no... What time is it? Oh, UGH." You know those times: staying up too late writing papers (only to hand them in at ten a.m and falling asleep in class); staying up all night studying for the final (only to go to class at ten a.m. and blowing the test because you haven't slept and all you ate was pizza or crackers); staying up too late drinking with friends and when the sky gets light and the light less flattering everyone looks greasy and exhausted and you feel like you've been chewing on a wool blanket (but OMG, that was like, so much fun!)... But I'll admit, the more recent sunrises I've seen have been either because of insomnia or having to get up and get to the airport to catch an ungodly early flight. (That's what happens when you get old, I suppose. Though the other sunrises weren't that long ago.)

So basically, I know they're beautiful and miraculous and everything, but I don't exactly go out of my way to see them. Things that require me to get out of bed early had better be Really Important and involving gifts or keeping my job. Now sunsets -- sunsets are glorious things and I don't have to make too much effort to see those. Those happen when I'm already awake. And living in California, we get such amazing sunsets. One of the most perfect moments of my life was standing up at Coit Tower, and watching the sun set beyond the Golden Gate Bridge. And I hadn't even meant to go there to do it -- it was just one of those lucky right time/ right place miracles. Ohh, California. You're broke and a mess and on fire right now, but I love you so.

But a few weeks ago, we left the Golden State and ventured to Oklahoma. Now, let me beat you to it:

And yes, this song was in my head the ENTIRE time.

Jon's mom bought two houses there -- one in a small town called Hollis, four miles from the Texas border, and another on a lake in a town called Lone Wolf. I wasn't sure what to expect -- I'm used to going to New York or Chicago or somewhere that's GO GO GO, not small little towns where the population is smaller than the number of my facebook friends.

But I have to say -- I loved it. It was so relaxing, the opposite of go go go -- exactly the kind of vacation I needed. It was hot, and yes, the wind totally swept down the plain, though I didn't see any wheat. (We saw lots of cotton.) The sky just seems so much bigger, so much bluer, and with so many more stars. And the lake was gorgeous, with red sand and rocks.

When Jon's mom and everyone left the lake house to go back to Hollis, Jon and I stayed up there for two days and just relaxed. And one morning we woke up when it was still dark outside and walked down to the lake for this Accomplishment.

And I must say, it was amazing.

Oklahoma! August 2009
from the front deck of the lake house

Oklahoma! August 2009
walking to the beach

Oklahoma! August 2009

Oklahoma! August 2009

Oklahoma! August 2009

Oklahoma! August 2009

Oklahoma! August 2009

It was awe-inspiring. The colors were so vibrant, and the stillness, with just the sound of waves lapping, felt -- I don't know, sincere somehow. Clean, the way a new day should feel. In the past I dreaded the sunrise -- it meant an end to secretive nighttime hours where everything would be exposed -- my lack of preparation and good judgment, an end to fun and the start of paying for it, the hassle of a journey and responsibilities. But as we stood there and watched it happen, with nothing to do but take it all in, I recognized how much I've missed by not watching them more often and feeling that sense of calm and the miracle that this happens every day. (Who knew?) Sometimes it's easy to forget how amazing nature is when you're surrounded by a city. In the 2 weeks since that sunrise, I've mentally gone back there and just let myself be in the moment.

But when the moment was actually happening, it started to sprinkle and I found Jon's sunglasses that he'd left on the beach the day before and I took a picture of nature's cruelty:

Oklahoma! August 2009
Poor, poor fish.

Thus inspired by the early hour, we actually didn't go back to bed and wound up driving around Oklahoma which was AWESOME and I got to do something I've always wanted to do:

Oklahoma!  August 2009
Got my kicks on Route 66!

So for the first time, I watched the sunrise and got it, not dreaded it. I learned to just stop and think a little bit, and just be in that moment. (Until I see a dead fish on a rock and have to squeal and take a picture.) And that, ladies and gentlemen, really is an Accomplishment.

And that Rogers & Hammerstein totally weren't kidding:

Thirty-six down, 61 to go.