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December 2005
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February 2006

Just Deserts

Just Deserts

I am home for Christmas break. My mind is foggy from lack of sleep, but standing in line with my best girlfriend, waiting for the bliss that is espresso and chocolate, my last final seems eons ago. We giggle as we catch up on our latest dating disasters. Yes, the same ones that didn’t seem so funny during our midnight phone calls as the sound of hearts breaking traveled thru the wires.

Speaking of guys, we scan Starbucks. The dark-haired hottie at the corner table reading the Wall Street Journal is more her type. She’s the money girl. And never mind, because there’s his wife, with their drinks. Now, the guy in line ahead of us looks like my type. Torn jeans. Long hair. Artsy. Probably has a record. Yep, just my kinda guy. I sigh and survey the dessert case. I love my friend, but she always wants to share dessert. Me? I want my own piece of everything. Sharing is for siblings and I’m finally on my own. Though, I still bite my straw out of habit from the years of having to share a soda with my brother. One can, two straws.

My eyes land on the sugar cookies. I decide on the frosted angel cookie just as I notice chubby fingers sliding open the glass door and taking the last one. I follow the green apron to the Starbuck girl’s face and notice her for the first time. As the espresso machine sizzles and sputters, time stops. We exchange that look. You know, the one that says “forgive me for staring, but don’t I know you?”

            “Can I get a drink started for you?” she asks as I watch her rack her mind for a reason to recognize me.

            “Yeah, soy, sugar free mocha please. Sixteen ounce.”

            “Sure.” She punches my order into the register. “Did you go to Curtis Junior High?”
            “Yeah. I was thinking you looked familiar.”

            “Didn’t you ride my bus?” A slow smile forms on her lips.

            “Yeah, the same stop I think, 40th and Alameda?”
            “Oh my God! Remember Butch?” She’s laughing now. “What a tool!”
            “How could I forget Butch?” And really, how could I? With her purple highwaters, short dykey hair and ridiculous, red Michael Jackson for Prez sweatshirt.
            “I haven’t thought about Butch in years!” Is what I say out loud.

           “I remember you now, but, sorry, I can’t think of your name,” she says handing back my change.

            “Oh, it’s Nathalie.” Her face remains blank. “But you used to call me Butch.”

Watching the color drain from her face was sweeter than anything she could’ve served on a dessert plate.

© 2006 Nathalie Hardy


heart-shaped heroin

Dscf1770 I've been doing pretty well with my new "food plan" (euphemism for diet). You know, nothing crazy like cutting out sugar completely, but consuming much, much less crap. Until today. Today I fell off the bandwagon and got ran over by the back wheels. So I'm shopping at Winco, just a couple things until payday, right? And I'm cruising along, cart full of healthy things like spinach, broccoli, kiwis ... and then suddenly - hark! I'm face-to-face with my health nemesis: heart-shaped heroin. (You might call them Sweethearts).

Okay. I can handle this. If I deny myself, that could get ugly and result in binging on something else. (Remember, this is the reasoning of a recovering sugar addict). So hey, it's on sale, I'll just take a few scoops. No big deal. I am salivating as I hurry through the store. (is it a sign that the Indigo Girls "Shame on you" just came on the radio?) I realize that this is because I can't wait to get out of the store and eat my precious candies. It is, after all, our annual reunion. But this year is different. This year I won't eat box after box and then beat myself up for it, and then console myself with yet another box. No, this year will be different.

But, alas, it isn't. I am in the truck, eating handfuls at a time, ducking a little so no one I know sees me. Because this is the behavior of a normal person, right?!? I decide to read an article in the latest Oprah, and coincidentally(?) flip to an article about a doctor who fights obesity in children and I'm at the part about how this doctor waged war on her own weight. I shove another handful of the hearts in my mouth and turn the page to the part about how she had a reality check when her brother's diabetes got so bad, he took his sock off and his heel came off, bone and all.  I nearly choked on my mouthful as I gagged. The twisted irony not lost on me, I decided to throw the rest of the bag away as soon as I saw a garbage can. After just one more handful.


Walking to wellness

Above all, do not lose your desire to walk.  Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness.  I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.  ~Soren Kierkegaard

I'm starting to see that I can't accomplish all of my goals at the same time. I know this was obvious from the beginning but that didn't stop me from trying. Sunday afternoon Matt encouraged me to walk to the store with him, to get out of the house and get some fresh air ... we ran into a friend walking her dog and I ended up taking a nice, long walk with her. I haven't felt this good in a long time. I am going to make walking as often as possible part of my daily routine. I think it'll help on lots of levels.


Catch and Release

Word Count: word count?!

I'm still emotionally hung over from my meltdown Friday night. I woke up feeling sick on Saturday and feel like I wasted another weekend feeling anxious, sick and depressed. After talking it out with Matt and some friends and journaling for hours, I think I have a plan to reclaim my life from the me that is a people-pleasing junky. It's my adult version of the "just say no" club.

I'm committed to less staying late and working for free (I did the math and I'm just donating a full work day every week, donating as in unpaid).  I need that time back for more love, laughter and writing, blogging, scrapbooking ... time with my husband and friends. You know, the dream we all dream of ... balance!

I've started a catch and release program that seems to be working  - it's the conscious practice of letting go faster. I have a tendency to mull comments, insults and irritations over until the thorn is burrowed good and deep. Now, when I catch myself doing this, I visualize myself catching the thing and deciding if I really need to hang on. If not, I release it. I am getting over things faster. When you're interacting with that many people a day, it pays to get over it and move on as soon as possible.


Friends Then and Now

Then Niknat_dorms   

and Nik_nat_banana_split_2 Now ...

Happy Birthday Niki Lou - It's been a few years since we celebrated our 21st birthdays with Midori Sours at the Denny's Lounge in Bellingham. Niki and I hated each other the moment we met. I went to visit my boyfriend and found him in a friend's room across the hall. George invited me in and there was Blake with a pretty blonde girl playing with his hair. I was insta-pissed, jealous, insecure - the works. The boys saw me narrow my eyes at Niki. What they didn't see was hers narrow at me as our emotional cat fight began. (I didn't know she and George were into each other, and she didn't know I was there to see Blake). She left in a hurry and both boys blamed me for being such a bitch. I held that against her too because the feeling was so completely mutual. I had never before seen her on campus and suddenly, she was everywhere. No matter what time I went to the dining hall, there she was. Dirty looks and few words were exchanged.

Until the beginning of our sophomore year when we ran into each other at Western's Red Square. Without ever talking about why, to this day - we both decided to be friends. We talked for awhile until we realized we were late for class and decided to blow off the rest of the day's classes and hang out. We've been friends ever since. We were roommates as well and even had a few sisterly fights. I have a hunch we're friends for life. I love Nik for her loyalty, her thoughtful surprises, her voicemail messages and the way she starts talking when you answer the phone, picking up right where we left off no matter how long it's been since our last talk.


In box 184: the key to my heart

Matt31stbirthday

Happy Birthday to my favorite person on the planet. With all the cool people in the world it's a miracle when we meet up with the One. The One who makes us laugh. The One we can be silly and serious with. The One we recognize as our  true partner in love and life. I am eternally grateful to you, Box 184 - for asking me out until I said "Yes, I guess I do have to eat sometime." :) Your commitment to quality is only one of the things I adore. As listing all of them would take ages, I'll sum up with a sampling of reasons: the words you use -  the fact that though you mock my insistence on talking about feelings, you join me in the conversation - you love with your whole heart and hug me with both arms - your smile and your bright blue eyes - your willingness to grow in new directions together - your delight in trying new things - your taste in music - the fact that you inhale books and love words - your writing - your unique style ... you. I just love all of you.

Riverrage

"Knees Of My Bees" - Alanis Morissette

We share a culture same vernacular

Love of physical humor and time spent alone

You with your penchant for spontaneous advents

For sticky and raspy, unearthed and then gone

You are a gift renaissance with a wink

With tendencies for conversations that raise bars

You are a sage who is fueled by compassion

Comes to nooks and crannies as balm for all scars

You make the knees of my bees weak, tremble and buckle

You make the knees of my bees weak

You are a spirit that knows of no limit

That knows of no ceiling who baulks at dead-ends

You are a wordsmith who cares for his brothers

Not seduced by illusion or fair-weather friends

You make the knees of my bees weak, tremble and buckle

You make the knees of my bees weak

You are a vision who lives by the signals of

Stomach and intuition as your guide

You are a sliver of god on a platter

Who walks what he talks and who cops when he's lied

You make the knees of my bees weak, tremble and buckle

You make the knees of my bees weak


New Year's Baby

Nat_griffinCameron_griffin  I can't believe you're three, Griffin! It seems like a couple days ago that Matt and I came over to meet you. To the left are two of my favorite boys on the planet - Griff is lucky to have such a sweet, fun big brother. I remember finding out about Griff while driving home for Easter. I was having a casual conversation with YaYa when she announced she was pregnant. It seemed like she'd only just decided she might want another little guy ... and now he's three. Unreal. Griffin has a smile that lights up your whole heart. Watching the recognition on his face as he comes toward me and gives me a Griff-hug melts my heart. Happy Birthday, bud! I suppose someone will have to read this to you ... for now. I wish you a happy birthday and a year of fun while you discover new words and continue exploring the world you were born into.


First Impressions

Mark_matt_train When I first met my brother-in-law, I was pretty sure he didn't like me. I don't know if it's because he didn't do jumping jacks and skip around the parking lot, or what. All I know is that I was so nervous and awkward, that while I was sitting next to him at the Chinese restaurant, I used my hands while talking even more than normal and brought my hand down, landing on my fork which then sailed toward and hit him. I like to leave a good first impression, even if it's with tine marks. As I've gotten to know Mark over the years, I've met a strong man who has a kind, generous heart. A man who would give you the shirt off his back. A man with a sense of humor and the ability to crack just about anybody up. He's a loving husband, an amazing dad and I'm so glad he's my brother-in-law. Mark_nat


Old School

Peter_nat Peter and I were really good friends in high school and stayed in touch pretty well the first couple years of college and then ... life happened, I guess. I hadn't seen or talked to him since then. Until our high school reunion last year. It would be impossible to describe the feeling I had when I turned around and there stood one of the people I'd hoped to see the most - Peter Allen.

He was my friend despite my poor dating choices, during the emotional trauma that is being in high school and helped me suffer through my math block. For all those times that he stood by me, offered advice, hugs and just his loyal friendship, I'll adore him and wish him the best.


Happy Birthday Homie

Tom_nat_1 Though it's been years since I've seen Tom, I celebrate him because when I think of Tom and the time in my life when we were close, I smile wide. We met while working at the Postal Crook (a story for another time) and were fast friends with our similar take on things, senses of humor and bonded over mocking annoying customers. Even though he had a fondness for weather the rest of us lament, we were good friends. When I had to move out of my house because the landlord didn't actually own it and the bank was going to foreclose (again, another time) Tom bailed me out by letting move in with him to his supercool pad. I had an awesome room, a converted garage with closet space galore. He gives the best advice, has a great laugh and I enjoyed the times we spent together. He's moved off the continent, oh the things we do for love ;) so though I miss him, I am so glad his heart is happy and that he's found a partner in love and life! Happy Birthday, Homie!