August 21, 2007

It's cool to be old

I recently read Nora Ephron's book, I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman, and kept thinking how cool she is.

The reader's knowledge of Ephron's age is built quietly. She seems to talk about her neck in the first story as if she is not one of the minions of old women that get turkey necks. She acts as if she's just writing about them, thus drawing in a younger crowd who doesn't want to hear the ramblings of an older woman. I am not one of those readers, by the way. In fact, when I did learn her age--from her first-hand accounts of years of hair removal--I began to admire her and even envy her years of experience she draws upon. Topics, from the shift in parenting techniques to purses and apartment ownership, take years to cultivate, and she recounts them with a confidence that only a woman with experience can muster.

Ephron says she's "sage and mellow," but I would definitely add "cool cat" to that mix. Her voice is developed and consistently rich. She's a great read. I wish I would have paced myself a little more, though. However, I've found that gorging on literary genius is the best of sins. But wishing you're old must be one of the worst. I wonder what Ephron would say.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 4:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Leaving home

Garrison Keilor never told me in Leaving Home that everything would turn sacred.

My Coppula hoagie is savored a little longer. The wrinkle on my Grandma's face is memorized. The chipped sink in the bathroom slathered with blue toothpaste immortalized by a blog description.

I like to go through times like these because life suddenly stops and change, as uncomfortable and painful as it can be, shakes things up.

My life has certainly been shaken--and stirred.

The look of my bedroom is a testament to that: tomato boxes, Avon boxes, egg boxes, filled with most of my worldly goods litter the perimeter. Baby cacti stand at attention, waiting for transport. Beloved films and books that I think I don't necessarily need, spines out, stare forlornly at me on their shelves.

I am poised for movement. I am packed. I am ready to go.

But there are a few loose ends. Aren't there always?

These loose ends are mostly self-indulgence. Secretly I can't imagine this world without me. I have to laugh at that, but I've been a part of this maelstrom of family for my entire life. I'm suddenly going to be unattached, starting over.

I like the idea and am liberated by it, but am scared too by the enormity of this idea being realized. I take minimal credit. So many people have funded, pushed and advocated for me to see these things--once just passing thoughts--come to fruition.

And now, more ideas are popping into my head, and I'm finally believing that they can happen if fostered and cherished like this one. There's just something about setting goals and truly believing in them that somehow counts.

I always was confused by sermons that talk about faith and belief and trust and love and hope; but the truth is, they're all connected. In fact, they are so similiar that I think writers got fancy with many names just to point out the various shades of one great feeling that has no name.

That's what I'm feeling right now: sighing and singing, mourning and dancing, leaving and taking. It's a nor'easter of everything good and sad.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 2:59 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 9, 2007

Housed Sitting

For nine days I will have watched house for two dear friends in the mountains. I've been accompanied by two small terriers and a tank-full of freshwater exotic fish. We've learned a few things in the past week that I'd like to share with others who may find themselves sitting on a house--or having one sit on them, as this case shows.

1. Garden only when necessary. The storms flew in on swift winds this afternoon and knocked over almost all of my friend's pepper and tomato plants. After a few minutes of Lucy-style stomping around the plants, I decided that I'd beaten gravity enough and was dirty enough to go inside and say that I have a semi-green thumb.

2. Keep everything out-of-reach. Dogs like to chew things. I have a feeling that they're kind of stressed, too, so they chew practically anything for relief. I thought it was kind of cute at first, but when the male dog got hold of my friend's boot, I had second thoughts. Liability lies with the human in residence.

3. Sweets are the enemy, particularly when they are on the counter. My friend bought a small package of mini cupcakes. She said I should have one, and I did the first day. I've had one each subsequent day I've been here. They stare at me on the counter, but I've decided to move them to a nearby cupboard. Perhaps this is overstepping housesitter protocol or something, but I'm decidedly against eating the entire, delectable, sweet container-full...I will have willpower. I must!

4. Dogs will pee. I made the mistake of only letting the dogs out the allotted times given by my pals, and one left a lovely little puddle on the linoleum, twice. I've decided to let them out as much as possible. The dogs are crated during the day and they go out when I return. When they come in, we chill a while in the air-conditioning, and then the boy dog disappears. I hate cleaning up excrement. I'm not really a dog person, but we are getting along most of the time. This is just a reminder that I should not have dogs, nor date anyone that likes dogs. :-)

5. Life is different. You can't find the lightswitches, even though they were pointed out to you. The shower makes an erratic spray that your back isn't used to. The remote control seems more like a computer science project than convenience. Things are different, and novel. I've been alone most of the week here, and it's a strange joy from home. I like home for the company, showers and cats, but there's a peace here. There are blackberries the size of my pinky in the yard and horses prancing across the way. Different, but usually in a good way. Life will go back to normal for a bit, but this away-from-home trial is a definite help for the things to come.

If you get the chance to housesit, do it. There's nothing like jumping into another environment for a while.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 6:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 4, 2007

Ba-Da Bing, Ba-Da Brooklyn

It looks as if I'm going to live in Brooklyn.

In a strange twist of NYU antics, the first lease outside of Manhattan happened to be the year I decide to go to NYU. C'est lavie.

Though I am a bit down about this placement, I'm sure to have housing, and that's what matters. I'll have a 34-minute commute each way on the subway, which isn't really new because I commuted all four-years to Seton Hill.

I've been hearing that Brooklyn is amazing from various sources for its affordability and culture, so I'm not that upset. I'll know two neighborhoods, and probably interact with a variety of people, not just the college student crowd, which is excellent practicum for a journalist.

I've also "met" my new Brooklyn roommate. She's from Belgium. We've e-mailed the past couple of days. She seems as driven as I am, so I think we'll get along.

It's finally happening, so be prepared, dear readers, for Girl Meets Brooklyn .

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 3:48 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack