Sunday, January 25, 2009

Trivial Pursuit: The Robyn Edition

Because clearly, there is no end to my narcissism.

1. Sometimes I scream in the car.
2. I don't have a high school diploma (but I do have a college degree.)
3. My parents lived in Johannesburg for two years and my sister was born there. Me living there too was a bizarre coincidence.
4. Nothing makes me giggle like reruns of Friends and the movie Multiplicity.
5. The first time I went to Edinburgh, my friends and I stayed with a nice man we'd met at a pub in Haworth, England. I still get a Christmas card every year from him and his family.
6. I've read Gone With the Wind more times than I can count.
7. But that's a tiny number compared to the number of times I've watched the movie Grease in its entirety.
8. I married Roger at the Louisville courthouse on a Wednesday afternoon in March of 2002. I wore jeans and a blue sweatshirt, and afterwards, we ate at Arby's.
9. We didn't work up the nerve to tell our parents until April 1st.
10. I love the word "ampersand" for no reason that I can articulate. Unfortunately, I have a hard time finding opportunities to use it in a sentence.
11. I believe milk-shakes are liquid serotonin.
12. I once wrote a song about the Braves to the tune of Johnny B. Good and sang it in the school talent show. It was cute, but definitely not cool. And at thirteen, you should be going for cool over cute.
13. I've been skinny-dipping with my in-laws, and the scary thing is - that's not the only time I've seen them naked.
14. When I was a little girl I wanted to be a farmer when I grew up.
15. My favorite color is red. Or blue. No, red. Blue!
16. I have a hard time making decisions.
17. I smoked my first cigarette in the front seat of a Mustang while my BFF pumped gas. (I am no longer a smoker...apparently, it can kill you. Even if you're not at a gas pump.)
18. In the fourth grade, I went to Space Camp but was too little to ride on the twirly machine. You know the one I mean.
19. My dad died when I was eighteen. But I'm okay. (I always feel the need to break the news gently whenever I'm sharing this bit of my history.)
20. I played a molested child in an episode of Unsolved Mysteries when I was ten.
21. I've been cage diving with Great White Sharks. And I'd do it again.
22. I have a bizarre fantasy about opening up a bakery. And I don't even know how to bake.
23. I worked as a scab in a peanut-butter factory, and even after a month of double-shifts, I still love peanut-butter...
24. ...So much that I often ask Roger to hide the peanut-butter jar so I won't eat it by the spoonful when there is no one else in the house.
25. When I don't feel like writing, I like to make lists, which is why it was great to be tagged in the "25 Random Things About Me" note on facebook today. The downside is, the note involves tagging 25 other people and I just can't put that kind of pressure on 25 of my friends and loved ones. But if you are a fellow blogger with blogger's-block, consider yourself tagged. And if you're reading this on facebook and would like to participate - you're tagged too. Have fun!

Sunday, January 18, 2009


When I was in high school, a friend’s brother said I reminded him of a Disney character. I remember quietly shrugging it off with an aw-shucks blush all the while wondering exactly what he meant. Was it my squeaky speaking voice? My admittedly na├»ve nature? He expounded on the thought by saying he suspected birds flew in my window to help me get dressed every morning. Huh?

Now wait just a minute, buddy, I remember thinking. I may have seemed all sweetness and light on the outside, but I had a dark side! I could be deep and tortured! I’d logged enough hours on Dr. K’s couch to prove that much, hadn’t I? How dare he suggest my life was a fairy tale?

It's funny that more than a decade later, I’m starting to think he was onto something. After seven years of waking up next to my very own Prince Charming (I know; that metaphor kinda makes me wanna gag too, but it seems somehow appropriate), it’s hard to remember what was so bad about the Disney character comparison. These days, I’m not at all concerned with how much (or how little) I relate to Ani Difranco’s latest album. In fact, I’m more than happy to live out my own personal fairy tale.

Now, I don’t want to push my luck – I’m knocking on wood as I write this – but lately, life really does feel like a fairy tale. Everything just seems to be falling into place. It’s almost going too well, you know? Roger and I have miraculously moved our little family from Joburg to Atlanta with relatively little drama. In the span of about three weeks we’ve managed to buy a car, lease an apartment, agree on a couch, find jobs…that’s right, Roger went back to work with his former company a few weeks ago, and me, I’ll be starting my new job as a full-time copywriter tomorrow. Can you believe it? I’m still pinching myself. To find any job in this crappy economy is a blessing, but to find something in my field and with such a great company…well, I’m convinced there really is a bluebird on my shoulder…or an angel or…well, you get my point.

Anyway, I guess I shouldn’t go on and on about my good luck when so many others are struggling, but while I don’t want to flaunt my good fortune, I do think it’s important to acknowledge it. To be thankful. To be aware of the moments that feel like a fairy tale. Because when my dream job is stressing me out and I’m worried about the car payment and the bathroom is dirty and my perfect husband has forgotten to put the laundry in the dryer yet again...well, life can feel more like a bad Lifetime movie than a magical fairy tale. But at this particular moment, right now, it’s all fairy tale.

So this is me, counting my blessings. Thanking my lucky stars and God above for this little moment of happily ever after.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Option Overload

For someone who hates making decisions, I’ve made some pretty big ones lately. The decision to leave Africa and move to Atlanta. Deciding what to bring and what to leave behind. Choosing a new car. Signing a lease on a new apartment. Buying a couch. These are big decisions. I mean, no, it’s not like the time I spontaneously decided to get married (without telling anyone), but still, I’ve made some pretty big decisions in a very short amount of time. I’m actually kind of impressed with myself...

But of course it couldn’t last – this calm and rational approach to decision making – and last week I hit my breaking point…right there in my friendly neighborhood Kroger. The options, the choices, the thousands of products with their informative nutrition facts and labels full of promises. It was all just too overwhelming.

During my three hour shopping experience, no fewer than seven Kroger employees asked if I needed help. And by employee number five, I started to suspect by “help” he meant something slightly more professional than assistance finding the Fruit Loops. All the pesky helpfulness was starting to make me paranoid. Suddenly I felt sure they had the men in white coats on speed dial. I took a deep breath and tried to smile. “I’m fine thank you,” I said (for the fifth time). I reminded myself that in my former life in Joburg, I was lucky to get someone to make eye contact, much less offer assistance. Of course, on this particular shopping trip, all I wanted was to be left alone. I needed time. Time to study the labels, to weigh my options, to think about the very important decisions in front of me. Decisions like…oatmeal.

I like oatmeal. It’s easy to make; it’s good for you…and it comes in a variety pack so you don’t even have to commit to one flavor. Buying oatmeal should be easy, right? But no! The plain old variety pack is still there on the shelf, but next to it there's a new kind of oatmeal with no sugar, one with low sugar, and another one for weight control. There’s even an oatmeal made just for women. Were there always this many choices? I wasn’t gone that long, was I? But now that I’m back, how do I decide? I study the labels. I look at the prices. I wonder if Roger will notice if I feed him the women’s oatmeal. Buying oatmeal was never this hard before...was it? It certainly wasn’t this complicated in South Africa. That’s not to say that I didn’t have choices at the Pick 'n Pay in Joburg – I did - but it was nothing like this. Nothing like these endless aisles of products promising to make you a healthier and happier person…all this could drive a person crazy.

I know, I know. In my case, it's a short drive.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The beginning?

This is ridiculous. I’ve been thinking and stressing and beating myself up over how and what to write and the truth is, I’m just kinda stuck. I think for some reason – maybe because I’m basically starting a whole new blog – I’m putting all this pressure on myself to make the first post great. But then I remember – the old blog wasn’t really all that great anyway, so why should I have such high expectations for the new one? Okay, now I’m just being self-deprecating. I do that when I’m nervous, and I guess that’s just it; I am nervous. I’m nervous to start something new. I’m not the kind of person to start something and then not finish it. So if I make this commitment to keep blogging and then find myself “too busy” to follow through, or worse, I find that my new life is simply too boring to document in this forum, well, I think I’ll have a hard time accepting that fact.

I know. Am I setting myself up for failure or what? But while I don’t want to be the kind of person to start something and not finish it, I really don’t want to be the kind of person who doesn’t start something for fear of not finishing it. So this is it. The beginning. The beginning of my new life back in Atlanta. The beginning of my new blog. And things in this new life of mine are looking pretty good so far. I mean, I don’t want to jinx anything just yet…so that’s all I’m gonna say for now…but things are definitely looking up.