Lost Between the Leaves and Things

This is the room where we always dreamed of grass and splendid evenings.

Dreams Like Waking
sarah & joe
clemsblueruins
I had a really weird dream that I moved back to Iowa City later this afternoon, sans fiance and motivation for doing so.

(You know that line in Inception when Leo says, "Dreams only seem strange to us when we wake up," when he's explaining what they do? This entire dream felt impossible from the moment it started. At several points I actually had the thought, "Okay, I must be dreaming, this looks real but none of this seems right." I remembered details about last night, about hanging out with Joe and eating pork steaks with my parents and thinking over wedding plans and allergy medicines.)

I walked down South Clinton and saw people I knew, but when I called out to them, it's as if they didn't recognize my voice. Anna and Jei came out of the woodwork to say hi to me.

Jei helped me walk my luggage to my place. I had an apartment there from a lease I had apparently somehow signed in December for one year -- and I had clearly been there before because there were drawings of mine on the door and various foodstuffs still in the fridge. There were two unopened gallons of milk that had obviously spoiled, and I thought to myself, "Why did you leave these here?"

We drank soda, and I commented on what a nice Sunday afternoon it was. She told me it was 3:00 AM. I checked my watch and realized she was right. Shortly afterward the sun sank, and she went home.

I sat there, trying to remember why I had come. Surely not to live here, yet I hadn't given any notice to anyone except my family. I missed Joe terribly and wondered when I would see him again. I thought to myself, "I'll stay a week and go back home," but I didn't have any money for another plane ticket. I wondered if maybe I had come to see two people who I wasn't even very good friends with, and who had moved away (I only realize this upon waking). I wondered if I had come to buy something. I was very anxious that I had no idea what I was doing in a big, grey, unfamiliar apartment after fleeing my job and my family & friends, and that most of the friends I had here didn't remember who I was.

I thought of going to a bar on the North Side, a new one called Blue Star someone had told me about online. Apparently that's where all the policemen went, hence the name.

I opened my window, and a cool breeze swept in. The street was bathed in orange streetlight glow, and the smell of spring grass filled the room. I stuck my head out the window. It was beautiful, it was magical. It was all the spring evenings I had spent walking Summit Street and the early summers I had spent running through the park.

I knew I needed to go back home soon, but only after this night was finished.

I am pretty sure I feel asleep in that Iowa City nighttime sense of comfort, and woke up in my bed here. O.O


SXSW 2012
sarah & joe
clemsblueruins
Joe and I survived our second SXSW together. It is an intense experience, but we came out none the worse for wear minus a hangtail or two. By festival's end, we saw 25 films (in no particular order):

Cabin in the Woods - Exposes the horror genre. Read no spoilers going in, you'll like it more.

[Rec]3: Genesis - Zombies and weddings. And awesome.

Girl Model - Documentary about the industry relationship between Siberia and Japan, focusing on one sort of disturbed model scout and a young model discovered for the first time.

The Comedy - Tim Heidecker is a sonofabitch in this drama about white male ennui. This was followed by a truly great Q&A.

Modus Anomali - Eh. A not-so-great midnighter from Indonesia.

Chasing Ice - A documentary we saw by accident! One of the filmmakers saw us near the theater and was like, "Please come watch!" Beautiful glacier photography and the reality of global warming.

Medium Cool - Four "medium-length" short films, including Don Hertzfeldt's final chapter in the Everything Will Be OK trilogy. ♥

Compliance - I may never fully recover from this movie. It is amazing and terrible. It's hard to watch, above all else, and asks the question: how far would you go to follow policies?

Citadel - Another accident, we got shut out of another midnighter and saw this AMAZING IRISH PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER/HORROR FILM INSTEAD. It is so good.

Midnight Shorts - Sex, cockroaches, death, mad science, you know. The usual.

We Are Legion: Story of the Hacktivists - The best documentary about Anonymous you will ever see.

Documentary Shorts 2 - The best ones were Cutting Loose, about a Scottish prison hairdressing competition, and CatCam, which is just what it sounds like.

Bernie - Jack Black kills it in this strange but true story about a Texas funeral director.

Scarlet Road - Documentary about an Australian sex worker who specializes in clients with disabilities such as M.S. A very fresh look at decriminalized sex work and marginalized communities.

V/H/S - My possible festival favorite. A horror anthology that is truly horrifying. 6 stories in total by directors such as Joe Swanberg (stepping away from mumblecore, kind of) and *swoon* Ti West. I want to watch it again - this time, you know, with the lights on.

John Dies at the End - Trippy midnighter based on the book. A ridiculous, quickwit ride.

The Raid: Redemption - You have not seen an action film unless you have seen this one. Indonesian.

The Hunter - Willem Dafoe in a quiet drama set in Tasmania. It's a beautiful film.

Jeff - A documentary about the people close to Jeffrey Dahmer during his 1991 arrest. This includes his next-door neighbor, the detective whom he solely spoke to, and the medical examiner. It humanizes the inhuman in a very special way.

Nature Calls - I love Todd Rohal. But this Patton Oswald film fell kind of flat.

Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines - An empowering look at Wonder Woman and women's lib through the years. It was sort of a glossy picture, though, and quite short. Good for a college class on media, women's studies, or lit & culture. (I did like this movie, I just felt it was much too short.)

Extracted - Admittedly, this was much better than I expected. I saw a review comparing it to Eternal Sunshine, and I think that is very accurate. An inventor gets trapped in another man's memories.

Dreams of a Life - Documentary about Joyce Carol Vincent, a woman who died in a busy section of London in her apartment and was not discovered for three years. Interviewing those who worked with and loved her, the film reenacts key moments of her life and explores the connections we share, or break.

God Bless America - A dark comedy for those that hate hype culture and love violence.

Sleepwalk with Me - A truly funny comedy about marriage, stand-up comedy, and sleeping disorders.

Tags: ,

Speak to me baby, in the middle of the night.
sarah & joe
clemsblueruins
SONGS STUCK IN MY HEAD

"Dreams" by Passion Pit, a cover of The Cranberries' 1993 song:



and "The Sky is Broken" by Moby, played throughout the X-Files episode "All Things" written and directed by Gillian Anderson ♥:



For those of you keeping score at home...
sarah & joe
clemsblueruins
On Saturday I went to Alfred Angelo in Oklahoma City with my motley crew of wedding women sans one Spencer and one Sarah. It was great! All of the dresses fit beautifully, and the saleslady helping me out was incredible. She really listened to me and answered all of my questions. I think I am going to send her a thank you card...

Friends, I bought a bona fide wedding dress, all the bells and whistles and my mom sort of crying into her sleeves and all that.

My $55 find is now my Easter/summer/pseudo-wedding dress. You will probably see me in it a lot once winter fades.

Don't read if you want to be surprised - that especially means you, Joe!Collapse )

Thanks to Jena & Crystal's iPhone powers - I was so excited, I forgot to bring a camera to take any pictures - I do have some nice photos if you would like to see. Just comment and I will FaceBook/Private Message you. Or you can wait until August and be surprised. :D

Because Jei is kinda sorta the awesomest awesome that ever did awesome, she wrote this blog entry for those interested in the Great Crane Fold of 2012. Thank you so much to everyone who has volunteered! It makes the day even more special, having such great friends contribute. ♥

Now that I have the dress ordered and various bridesmaids on the hunt for their dresses, I can sit back and chill a little bit before the next bout of OMGWEDDING. Which is sweet, since we still have three more seasons of X-Files rewatch ahead, not to mention SXSW 2012 fast approaching!


Dressing Up
sarah & joe
clemsblueruins
This weekend has been one for the books. First off, it was splendid because your_lake_como came into town. 8D Spencer and I had a great time catching up and exploring the surreality that is Oklahoma City. Her visit was prompted by an appointment I had on Friday night to try on wedding dresses. Alongside Spencer, my mom & mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and Jena & Crystal came with me.

It was fun putting on mountains of tulle and bonding with the other girl being fitted that evening, another youngish lady with dyed red hair and similar offbeat sensibilities. But none of the dresses felt...good. Right. I tried on probably ten different styles, and I couldn't shake the feeling that I was wearing costumes. I think of my wedding as a party, one with proper exciting ceremonial bits but a party nonetheless, and here I was dragging thick nets of train behind me! Different dresses appealed to various members of my entourage, but in the end I didn't buy any of them. I was really disappointed, since I had assembled everyone together and had genuinely believed it would be an over-and-done-with-now-let's-have-a-drink sort of event. Shannon, Jena, other married friends of mine...they found theirs fairly quickly, waterworks and everything. But Jena pat me on the back, and everyone else insisted that it wasn't uncommon for women to look several places before they found one.

Cue Sunday afternoon. I asked my parents if we could go to the mall to just get ideas for less froofy dresses, since so many department stores have party dresses and prom dresses on sale now. After wandering around for a bit, I found a fun white dress that is beautiful. I texted Spencer and Shannon, my bastions of class, and they both said they liked it.

We bought it. FOR $55.93.

FIFTY-FIVE DOLLARS AND NINTY-THREE CENTS. CAN I GET A WITNESS?

A potential wedding dress, on a casual outing with my mom and dad. We plan and the gods laugh, I suppose.

I am going to a fancy bridal shop this weekend to give some long dresses one more shot. If I find a more elaborate dress that I like, I still have this darling white one to wear around. My mom and I also found some hair fascinators (aka, frilly hair thingamabobs) at the mall that made my dad all teary-eyed. Oh, what a weekend.

HAI HAI, WHILE I HAVE YOU ON THE PHONE INTERNET...I am trying to fold paper cranes for the reception. Like...a lot of them. Think cranes as lucky wedding charms, and the number's 1,000. Sarah said she would help me by making some, so if anybody else out there is agile-fingered and feeling generous, please lend me a hand! Any color, any pattern, mostly standard sized. :) They will be so pretty!

2011 Meme from chiigusa
sarah & joe
clemsblueruins
1. What did you do in 2011 that you'd never done before?
Taught elementary school classes as a substitute.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I already recapped this year's resolutions, but for 2012 I plan/hope to read 25 books.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Some parents of former preschool students gave birth, which has led to adorable conversations with two-year-olds about their new responsibilities as a big brother or sister.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My pastor and family friend Mark died in November.

5. What countries did you visit?
USA, USA!

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
Our own place! Joe and I begin looking for a home this upcoming year.

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
August (engagement), May & June (Lissy's wedding, my brother's wedding), November (Mark).

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
I survived working at summer camp in blistering heat? That's a tough one.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I didn't read more books.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I have had horrible allergies this year, and a few Epic Almost-Fever Bouts.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
FOX HAT! :D

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Joe, 'cos he's awesome and stuff.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and/or depressed?
The usual suspects: extremists of all kinds.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Bills.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Going to Iowa in May! Getting engaged in August! ♥

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
"Last Friday Night" by Katy Perry.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Much happier.
b) thinner or fatter? No idea.
c) richer or poorer? A bit poorer, but much calmer since my moonlighting schedule is much less hectic.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
I wish I had done more drawings in 2011.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Mindless Internet browsing/procrastinating.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
I spent Christmas Eve with Joe's family and Christmas Day with my fam at my brother's house.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011?
All over again.

22. How many one-night stands?
Zero.

23. What was your favourite TV program?
X-Files! ALWAYS. As far as new shows, I really dig Allen Gregory.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
A new slew of far-right-wing nutter butters.

25. What was the best book you read?
Lolita.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The Drive soundtrack.

27. What did you want and get?
I wanted to visit some faraway friends, and I got to do this both in the spring (Iowa) and fall (Kansas). Plus several lovely friends came down to Oklahoma, which was great!

28. What did you want and not get?
More dollahs.

29. What was your favourite film of this year?
Hmm, another tough call. Favorites were Blue Valentine, Drive, and Take Shelter.

30. What did you do on your birthday?
Red Lobster with the fam, Abuelo's with Crystal & Jena, and drinks at McNellie's with Joe & Colin. This was spread out over a few days within the birthday week.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Spending less time putting things off.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
All. The. Colors.

33. What kept you sane?
Joe and Guinness.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Ryan Gosling

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
Shit, man. All of them. World's wacky, you guise.

36. Who did you miss?
If you are reading this, you're one of 'em. :)

37. Who was the best new person you met?
My new toddlers!

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011?
Accept things as they come. You might be surprised what comes along that way.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"I go around thinking I'm a genius, but I never knew love could be like this." -They Might Be Giants


Friendships Past, Christmas Present, Hopeful Future.
sarah & joe
clemsblueruins
I had a very excellent Christmas this year. I spent Christmas Eve with Joe's family and had Christmas dinner at my brother & sister-in-law's house. I had to work for an hour or two on Christmas morning watching kids, but we just played a few rounds of Candyland and talked about Santa Claus. :)

Joe and his parents got me some very thoughtful gifts, including a beautiful wooden tea box and a full set of color ink pens for mah doodlin'. I think his parents are really tickled to add me to their family. They even hung a stocking embroidered with my name on their mantle for me! My family and friends got me some wonderful gifts too this year, ranging from the super adorable (panda wallet, robot necklaces) to the amazingly useful (2012 planner, a pair of jeans that fit really well, peppermint spoons). Delicious meals were had all weekend long, and much merrymaking was done. A little before midnight last night Joe and I snuggled up and watched the Peanuts Christmas special, which was the perfect end to the holiday evening. Now all that is left is the torn tissue paper and the abundance of sugar-sprinkled cookies.

I had dinner with the Emes tonight, and even though they got me very sweet presents - SO MUCH HOT COCOA, YOU GUISE, ALL THE HOT COCOA - I would have been happy if all I got was just the chance to see them!



Stealth mode Sarah: my hair matches the wood paneling.


I have been thinking a lot about them lately, because (a) they are some of my best friends, of course and (b) with my wedding coming up on August 4, there are going to be several things I will want to do with them. Addressing envelopes, picking out my dress (so soon! And I get a Spencer that weekend too! :DDD), sharing advice about combining space and changing my name, and if it is anything like the weeks leading up to Jena's wedding, hot-gluing wedding favors deep into the night. ♥ I have also been thinking about them because I remember all our Christmases together, since we were little bitty annoying teenagers who gave each other handmade picture frames and multi-colored mittens. I remember all my winters in Iowa. Oh, our Cluster Secret Santa parties. My dorm room Christmas tree. The sledding misadventures. I still claim that this is the best picture ever taken, and respectfully request it somehow be incorporated into Kara and Yetter's wedding slideshow:



This is the face of trust.


Friendship becomes a tricky thing as we get older, I think. I am so lucky to have access to the outlets that I do so that I am able to share daily minutia and triumphs with my amazing friends who are flung all over the place. I love that I saw how my Chicago/Iowa/East Coast friends were enjoying their Christmas celebrations as they were happening, and I so enjoyed making holiday cards to send out to the lot of you. But there is really no substitute for sitting down to hamburgers with a cherished comrade. I can't completely claim distance as an obstacle, because my brother lives fairly close and two of my best elementary school friends are horror flick aficionados who are always down for an outing. What changes the most after school is the arrangement of time. I work nearly full-time, and when I have time off I want to spend it with my best friend of all, that Joe fella. Or sometimes I just want to have some tea and spend time with nobody. It truly becomes a balancing act, trying to find time between family and significant other and friends and work and myself and my planning and my money and and and... Whereas in school I mostly spent my days trying to keep the Bijou running, finishing essays on time, and nurturing my extensive social circle. And, because we were all so tight-knit, most of my friends helped me with my Bijou antics and buddied around with me during our smoothie-fueled Homework Parties (in which there was never any homework completed, ever).

I think of how much I love Iowa City, although I acknowledge that what I truly, truly love is Iowa City circa 2008. Even when I still lived in Iowa City the year after I graduated, I wasn't able to spend as much time with friends in town sans my trusty roommate Spencer and my employment cohorts Scully and L. I was working too much! I was sleepy all the time and I spent a good deal of my time just watching Netflix, trying to figure out my life through the lens of Dark Independent Comedies.

What began as a Christmas recap has become a meditation on the importance of friendship. That's an apt segue, though, considering this is a season of fond memories and togetherness. I hope that in the coming year I spend here, I take advantage of the opportunities I have to spend real face-to-face time with friends like the Emes, the elementary school friends, my brother and sister-in-law. We all work a ton and are sprawled all about the Sooner State, but I have to believe that we can all find a way to make it work. With my college and online friends, maybe my tweet conversations can turn into postcards or phone calls. In the fall Joe and I will probably be headed somewhere new, and while it is so incredibly exciting to start a new chapter in my new little family, it also means I need to use my time here wisely. Adulthood time allotment be damned!

I hope you have all had a wonderful time full of friendship, love, and hope. And if you have any delicious leftover meats/cakes, plz to be sending them my way. ;)


SO THIS IS THE NEW YEAR.
sarah & joe
clemsblueruins
At mahogany_love's cue, I think it is time to start thinking about 2012. With Christmas a week away and the last day of the year the week after that, there really is no avoiding the fact that we will all soon have to get used to dating our checks and letters with a slash-12. But we just got used to slash-11!

When I think of 2012, the word WEDDING just sort of flashes across my eyes in glittery green letters and I start Googling DIY decor. I think of a lot of things, but that one's the lightning rod. I think of living in a new place with a very handsome permanent new partner. I think of procuring tiny mammal friends to add to our tiny family and naming them after D.C. superheroes. I think of possibly getting a new job after all is said and done, possibly getting a new haircut in the fall. But a lot of things can't really be planned or resolved prior to them happening - well, probably the haircut can. So instead, for now, I can at least look back on the resolutions I made last year.

How did 2011 pan out by 2010's standards?

1. Save Money. I did not save a lot of money. Where did it all go? hrumph. Okay, I at least have this feather for my cap: I have started to do so more wisely this year. Instead of just hoping and praying my money would stay put, I opened an account at the local credit union where I throw lesser paychecks once or twice a month. I never withdraw. I already have a little cash in there, the intention being to use that money for wedding expenses and any leftover amount for moving, rent, and other Newly Married Life stuff.

2. Be Happy. I am very happy! Sometimes it is easy to succumb to stress and pessimism, but by and large I have made myself happy and been made happy by those close to me more often than not. For that, I thank all of you. Especially Joe, who makes my life exciting and also puts up with the unhappy days.

3. Visit Faraway Friends. Check! Lissy's Iowa wedding was good fun, and I got to see most of my dear college/post-year friends again. In the fall we visited Colleen for a weekend in Lawrence, which was also a great time.

4. Become Really Excellent at Yoga. Ba ha ha. I failed at this horribly; in fact I have basically given up on yoga this year. I still have the mat, though, and occasionally free time. Perhaps I will take it up again as the mood strikes me.

5. Put All My Eggs in One Basket. I still don't take a lot of risks, though I suppose I really haven't been in as many situations that required it in 2011. I quit a job because the schedule was grinding on me, but only after having another job in place for the summer. I think the following year will have more Eggs in One Basket moments, and I hope I can face them without too many breakdowns.

6. Learn More. I didn't learn to speak Italian, but I learned a lot about myself this past year. Half point?

7. Read More. I only read five books this year. ಠ_ಠ I am considering doing the 50 Book Challenge for 2012, to force myself to read at a quicker pace than usual.

8. Help More. I volunteer on Wednesday afternoons hanging out with teenagers after school.

9. Forgive More. I think this should be a constant resolution. Nobody gets "really good" at forgiving. I think it just gets easier in time, in light of the alternative.

To those in the know, I had a 10th resolution last year to go out on at least one date.



Chalk it up to utilizing the "available" vibe, being comfortable enough with myself to be comfortable with another person, being brave enough to ask, or even just sheer lucky stars. But I will say that this one was a pretty epic success.


And it's all just Blah, Blah, Blah...
sweet zombie jesus!
clemsblueruins
You guys, you guys.

I feel like I should make a new journal. O_O

I know: huge news. Calm down.

There are things I would like to write, but I don't know how to say it. How to package it. How to cram my thoughts about getting married and tickling two-year-olds and making pies and chuckling about my aging parents' shenanigans into the world that is clemsblueruins, my world of college and Bijou and Iowa City photo collages and meager book lists. My world of 19-year-old homework woes and 21-year-old heartaches. My world of exciting haircuts. My endless nights of coffee revolution and vague, hip poetry - both of which, I must admit, I still love to bits. When partnered with the intense earnestness of this journal, this shrine to everything good (and a pretty big spoonful of everything bad) about my transition into adulthood, my current snarky/pseudo-fever-induced observations seem either completely trivial or pretentiously grandiose. The chapters are a post-modern wet dream, or nightmare.

Whenever I come here, I feel the need to update everything that has happened since my last post, despite the fact that 99.9% of you are my friends on Facebook and the Twitter, so like...you know. You know too much, in fact. I feel like this is a huge road block to writing anything useful about my life. Anything deeper than, "I am alive! Howdy! How about that airline food, huh? AND WHAT'S WITH THIS WEATHER..." Some people have abandoned their journals except as spectators, which seems like a cozy option. But I need more. I am just enough of an egotist that personal notebooks don't hold the same allure for me as online media. I have tiny revelations, and even though I have contemplated adding a text/bloggy blog element to it, I would like to keep it just drawings.

So, what should I do? Or rather, where should I go? Much as Joe predicted, I really have no business using tumblr. :P I know some people use wordpress, others use blogspot (which hosts my site), etc. I am most comfortable with the HTML options in LiveJournal, since that is what I have been using since I was 15 (GOOD LORD). Any advice?


Lullaby
sarah & joe
clemsblueruins
27. Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk

This is perhaps the fastest I have read a decent full book in a long time, from one Monday to the next. (I would have even finished a little sooner, but a booked social schedule and a weekend illness put me a few days behind.)

This book is great, as well as horrifically tragic. Written by Palahniuk as he coped with the murder of his father, it is a cynical story about magic and death and Big Brother and haunting and longing. It's about a lullaby in a children's book actually being an ancient culling spell, and how controlling things usually breaks them. I am sure most of you readerly folks have already read it, but if you haven't you should give it a go. It is one book written by him that I had never heard of, and found quite by accident in the public library...

...Which is beyond ironic, if you are familiar at all with the tale.


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