Thursday, July 30, 2015

Reminiscence, Part II: The necklace

So in Part I of Reminiscence, I stumbled on letters from a college friend Linda.

One summer day, probably in the late
1980's, Linda brought me a necklace that she had found at the Chapel Hill Apple Chill Festival. It was a clay pendant that featured a salamander. It was attached to a card that described how salamanders, or maybe geckos, are a symbol of transformation/metamorphosis.

It was not an expensive piece but I loved it. The message of transformation resonated with me then. I'd left graduate school in psychology -- a decision that felt like failure at the time, even though I was academically successful. I was working at a bookstore and wondering what on Earth to do next. At a point in my life when I was trying to find out who I wanted to be, it was the perfect gift.

Stuff floats in and out of my life. Losing and finding things is part of my MO -- I lost my graduate school diploma, I lose my wedding ring (off and on), and important paperwork appears and disappears.

Losing things is a habit and I've learned that most things can be replaced. But I've had this necklace for probably thirty years. I wear it on days that are significant to me. I wore it when I was married. I wore it my first day of work in PA. I wore it to my dad's funeral. It's not a lucky charm, and I don't think of it as something that will change anything that is going to happen -- but it has a certain power for me, a power that I assign it, and maybe that Linda gave it, in giving it to me. It's a treasured thing.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Reminiscence Part I: Letters

Not my letter but mine look a lot like this.
Email is sterile in comparison!
As part of a new PA law regarding background checks for employees, I have to provide the address of my last NINE residences, in my case going back to 1986. Luckily, I remembered that I had a shoebox of old letters, and thought they might yield some useful info.  I checked, and wouldn't you know -- I saved the envelopes! Retrieving my nine addresses was a snap.


I hadn't opened that box in many years, much less read the letters, in perhaps 20 years. I have missed letters -- honest to God handwritten words on fancy and plain paper or notecards, what a delight.

 I found a fistful of letters from an old housemate. We lived together while I was in graduate school at University of North Carolina. Linda Powell. I met her in 1986 or thereabouts, and we kept up with each other for many years -- we had been pretty close. My last letter was in the mid-nineties, a wedding invitation.

A tall, striking blonde, Linda did not fit any mold or stereotype. Looking at a photo, she would have been easy to peg as a sorority type. She did have a feminine, soft voice, but she was anything but a dumb blonde.  An international relations student and political junkie, she was intelligent and and a good debater, using humor to keep things light.  She was kind, self-effacing, and very, very funny. She liked to make people laugh -- imagine living with Terri Garr (anyone remember her?). The memories still make me laugh, but the funny stories just don't translate over time, as is so often the case. It's funny how her handwriting, instantly familiar on her signature blue-lined yellow notebook paper, brought it all back to me.

Stay tuned for Part II

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

From Rolex to Ruthless

Several years ago at Rolex, I  met a "blog friend" Becky for dinner. Her sister Carrie came with her, and my sister Leslie came with me :-). Four awesome women, Lexington fine dining, and one of the greatest horse events in the world -- how can you lose? The answer -- you don't. You have an awesome meal and great conversation.

 Becky is a really special person in every sense, but this post is about her sister -- Carolyn Lee Adams. She's one of those people you would drop everything to meet for lunch -- fun, funny, a good listener, great stories. It doesn't hurt that she is a horse lover, and that she has a blog, Fanfreakingtastic. Every year she writes an irreverent overview of the Kentucky Derby (read one of my favorites here). A creative type, Carrie attended the University of Southern California Film School and graduated with a BFA in screenwriting. Oh, and she's a standup comic.

I still remember that lunch, and what we talked about, and how much I enjoyed Becky and Carrie's company.

Carrie has now published a novel -- Ruthless.  I hesitated only a few weeks to buy it -- it's a young adult book, and I'm no the target audience. However, I'm always up for a serial killer crime/suspense novel, so I bought it last week.

Full review to come  soon, but here are a few things you NEED TO KNOW.
  • Horses figure prominently in the novel! And it's written by a real horse person -- there are no cringeworthy poser passages. You'll be nodding your head in recognition as you read. 
  • Young Adult? It may be a young adult novel, but like Warner Brothers cartoon, it's for adults too. The nice thing about a YA serial killer novel is, it won't get too gruesome. 
  • Hooked. I'm only 40-50 pages into the book -- and I'm hooked. This is not a formulaic story with the bland, virtuous, predictable protagonist. The book surprises me. And I love that. 

Stay tuned for the full review!