#reverb11: five guilty pleasures

God, I love a good list. I took the weekend off from almost everything having to do with the internet, and then had a race of a day today, so to see such a great short prompt from the Reverb group hosted at Geekin Hard makes keeping up with the project much easier. Describe five guilty pleasures? Yes, please.

  1. Whole days spent reading. I love to finish a book in a day, starting it up in the morning, going downstairs for desultory snack-sized meals here and there, and finishing after dark before bed. I love to stay so submerged in a story that my regular life doesn’t dilute it.
  2. The one that’s listed on the main site today in my currently post: a gigantic slice of red velvet cake that came into my possession on Friday quite unintentionally. It was incredible. Three layers tall, frosting only barely sweet enough to cut the cream-cheese tang, and candied tart cherries on top for garnish. People seem to think that all you need to do for red velvet cake is to bust out the red #4, but done right it’s a religious experience.
  3. Lush bath bombs. I do not want your off-brand drugstore-vintage bath fucking “fizzies.” I want a bath bomb, an enormous, handmade gob of fragrance and softening power that stains my bathtub and allows me to slip into another world for an hour. I do not want to whack it on the tub to break it in half and save some for later. I want the whole experience, the glorious waste of money, the way my muscles give up every shred of tension. Actually, I have no guilt at all about number 3.
  4. My book collection. It’s really out of control, I know that. I have been much more conscientious about reading library books instead of buying them myself, but when I browse through the shelves looking for just the right thing to read, I’m always glad that I’ve packed them so full.
  5. Paper, especially correspondence stationery and notebooks. My lower right-hand drawer groans. But if you think I can stop myself from picking up just one or two things whenever I pass a store that sells stationery, you would be sadly mistaken. I need to have more pen pals, before that lower right-hand drawer won’t close at all.

I can think of all sorts of things that I maybe should feel guilty about. Jars of jam that cost as much as a pair of shoes, a bottle of wine always at the ready, the stash of intoxicating candles in my nightstand that are waiting patiently to kiss a flame. Guilt doesn’t have the power over me that it used to; I’m a recovering Catholic and I have worked hard to overcome it.

I’m a leetle guilty that I’m behind on reading the Reverb posts of others and even addressing the generous comments here. Tomorrow is a free day, though, and I’ll be back in form, I promise. In the meantime, point me to your five-guilty-pleasures posts, or whichever other prompt you took on today, and I will be there tomorrow with totally-not-Christmasy bells on.

#reverb11: on the road

For today’s post, I chose the prompt for day 2 from Kat at I Saw You Dancing. She asks: What was your most significant expenditure in 2011? (Not necessarily the biggest, but the one with the most impact.) 

My most significant expenditures this year were travel related. I went with a friend to PEI for ten days in the spring, and in September Myron and I went to Toronto for a long weekend. Both trips gave me different kinds of renewal.

In Toronto I got to steep in the excitement of being in a large city (Ottawa is a city, but it’s a poky one, and Toronto is much more like a city at home), eat fabulous meals, get pampered within an inch of my life and then, hours later, take pictures of gang graffiti in dangerous neighborhoods. I saw dozens of photographers with foot-long lenses hoping to catch a shot of Brad Pitt and walked into Lush on a day when they were giving away fifty-dollar freebie bags. And then I stood a dozen feet from Andy Bell and let him bring me to tears and heights of joy.

In PEI I got to smell clean air, immerse myself in the natural world, and meet a bunch of people I never would have met if I hadn’t gone there with a local girl. I sure as hell wouldn’t have been able to spend a day on a lobster boat and watch the world come awake from a tiny spot in the water with no land within sight. I got to meet other Anne-girls and experience a whole economy based on books, children’s books yet, that mean so much to me. And ohhh, heaven help me, the lobster. 

This post is no major revelation, but I like the way it worked out. I love travel and wish I could do more of it; I always come home feeling better for the time away. It always provides something that I couldn’t quite access the same way at home, and it’s almost always worth what I spend.

#reverb11: beginnings

My disappointment stands. So I didn’t want to re-use the prompt that most people are starting with today, because it speaks to me of its original author, who doesn’t need to be mentioned any more. Instead, I used Kaileen’s list of prompts and found a much more interesting beginning for this journey, a true moment in time. 

Where did 2011 begin? (from Kaileen Elise’s list of prompts)

This year began at home. I was nominally alone, my husband with his parents and probably asleep by that time of night anyway. I wasn’t really alone, though; the cat was there still, hanging on, sleeping almost all day long in a cinnamon-bun curl on my bed.

I had been shredding paper and watching Breaking Bad and reheating Chinese food during the day and into the night. I didn’t want to disturb the cat any more than the noise of the shredder did, so when he left the room I was in, I didn’t follow. He could nimbly jump to the top of our tall bed and nimbly dismounted when he felt like it. It astonished me every time. It seemed impossible that he could be so sick and yet the rest of his body worked like a toy fresh out of its Christmas clamshell packaging.

And on occasion, a few times a day, he would visit me. He would present his head, and I would present my hand, and then there was a meeting of the two, and his purr vibrated so loudly against the tumor in his throat that I would swear the whole neighborhood could hear. And after a few minutes he would go away, and he wouldn’t look at his food dish or his water dish, and the slow disintegration of his existence in this world would go on.

Myron came home soon after, and the cat lived on to see him again. The two of them spent long boy hours together. And then we made an appointment, and did the thing that you spend years trying not to think about, and brought home the empty carrier.

The year began in sorrow. The business of life went on all around it, the way it does, but sorrow tinted everything, and did for a while afterward.


#pReverb: November 29

Last night I started to write here to start flexing my Reverb muscles, noting what aspects I was looking forward to, which ones I dreaded confronting. I deleted the post and told myself I would wait.

And then came tonight, when all hell broke loose.

I’m optimistic, but still disappointed. Though I admire the people who stepped up and corralled lists of prompts and created websites and mailing lists in the blink of an eye, the whole point of Reverb last year was the several thousand people who were all writing about the same thing, or trying to. The fragmentation this year is going to lead to duplication and wasted effort (and, I’m afraid, more than a little noise).

And at the same time, I cannot wait. I am taking a flying leap and delving into all the lists of prompts I encounter; I will take what I want from them and leave the rest, and December will be the craziest of crazy-quilt months of blogging ever. I do not care about the end results. I care about the process. And I am nothing if not flexible when it comes to process. The new groups will mean that I will have to do more work in order to meet new people, which is what I was hoping for most. But you cannot tell me that this work isn’t worth what I put in. I know it is, from last year. And I believe in this year, and myself, and other people.

#reverb10: new name

Prompt: New name. Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why?

Reverb10 prompt from Becca Wilcott


What a prompt! I have been thinking about it since midnight last night when it showed up in my inbox. And I just don’t know how to answer it the way it’s intended. I’ve always liked my name. It was different and not overly pretty or girly (Kimberly is very girly, but almost no one calls me that). There was a time when I thought I would go to college and go by my middle name, just for the freshest of fresh starts, but I never ended up doing it. 

I like plenty of other names. If I like them a lot, I give them to a character and let go of my attachment to them that way, infusing them with fictional personality. I don’t like any of them enough to tell you that’s who I am. I have spent 37 years growing into these three little letters, and they fit. I’ve created the meaning of this name. I wouldn’t tell anyone, not even a stranger, anything different.