Entries in amy feezor (40)


Monday on the Menu Board

Because it is. My favorite line from "The English Patient" by Michael Ondaatje. (Book version, of course.) See the whole quote here.


Monday on the Menu Board

Like a majority of women I know (especially the Southern ones), I grew up learning how to be a people pleaser. And frankly, that means that a lot of my adult life has been an exercise in learning how to say "no" in a healthier, more self-aware way.

With that under my belt, though, lately, I've actually been embracing more ways to say a healthy "yes" -- and good grief, it is just as powerful as "no," and most of the time, it is WAY more fun.

Here's hoping you inject a little y-e-s into the week.


Monday on the Menu Board

Not playin'. Start the week off right, friends.


9 Charming Porches in New Orleans

It feels a bit sacrilegious to admit this, but it's taken me four trips across the span of my lifetime to truly to love (as in L-O-V-E love) New Orleans. My latest visit was just over the past weekend, when I was there for KBIS, the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show. I don't know if it was about who I was with, a hankering to be surrounded by Southern folk (my people, you know), or just the need to inject some beignets and cafe au lait into my system, but this go 'round, the Big Easy hooked me big time.

Between visits to the Convention Center, I crammed in some time re-exploring the French Quarter and the Garden District. Some of my favorite sights? The porches. Large, small, up, down. . . they were everywhere--proof of the city's charm and welcoming nature, I think. Not sure why it took me so long to notice.


Mondays on the Menu Board

Here's one of my biggest secrets: in most aspects of my life, I am uber organized. You know, like, co-worker-who-creates-the-seemingly-unnecessary-but-"oh-hey-this-is-actually-really-helpful"-tabbed-binder-for-the-first-client-meeting kind of organized. It's undoubtedly annoying to some folks, especially on top of my clear penchant for neat-freakiness. But the thing is, I ultimately do it because I am uber forgetful.

Now, I don't mean major-investments-made-in-belated-birthday-cards forgetful. I mean more like an everyday level of "forgot to let the chicken thaw" or "left my water bottle at the gym" absentmindedness. In turn, I live and die by Google alerts, notes left to myself on the desk, color-coded email labels, and lists crafted within smartphone apps. Mostly, these reminders are ways for me to manage stress; if I deal with making sure they're queued up on my calendar/to-do list/phone, I don't have to worry that I am going to forget them. Because I am a master of worry, and that factor, coupled with extreme forgetfulness, can be slightly exhausting.

This idea of reminders also works for me in the big picture. I have certain places I keep inspirational words--emails, notes from friends, quotes, passages from books--that remind me, when needed, to touch base with how I want to live my life. I keep these because, even though that's not something I ever forget, there are still times of worry or doubt or fear that simply require a little refresher.

One of the places I keep reminders is on the wooden menu board in my kitchen. I found it about a decade ago in the sale section in the back of a Pottery Barn catalog. (You know, back when we all shopped nonstop at Pottery Barn and got its catalogs in the mail every two and half days.) It came complete with a giant canvas bag of letters, numbers, and punctuation marks. It was a completely unreasonable purchase, but I loved the idea of letting it act like a piece of art that could be changed up periodically.

Today, it is the largest, most slightly obnoxious Note to Self in my entire home. I use it to remind, entertain, and/or motivate myself. (The above photo, for example, was taken while I was deciding whether or not to go freelance last summer.) I've been snapping pics of others along the way, and they're inspiring (or at least smile-inducing) enough that I thought I'd start sharing them here with you. So, every Monday, pending the health of my camera, I'll post a new one for you to get our collective week going. I'll just make sure to set a calendar alert ahead of time so I don't forget. Sound like a deal?



Relationships in Need of Repair

In the summer of 2011, on the floor of a bathroom, I damaged a really good, really healthy, really important relationship.

Thing is, I'm someone who knows better. I am experienced, and I am careful, and I am considerate. I am gentle, when necessary. Someone even recently told me that I am very "present," and I believe that's true. But sometimes, like all of us, I do things that screw things up. Royally. Like jewel-in-the-crown, drape-it-in-fur, call-it-your-majesty, purple-like-Prince royal.

During a visit to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, I took a pit stop after seeing an exhibit curated by John Waters. (Said pit stop and Waters' artistic taste were not related, FYI.) Like any lady, I had my bag on me. And like me, I had my camera on me. As you do, I had to hang up both items on the single hook that a ladies' bathroom tends to provide a lady, if that lady is lucky. As luck would have it, as I was exiting the stall, the bag made it back to my shoulder. The camera, however, fell fast, bottom first, to the floor (and you know a bathroom at Walker is tiled in some hard, high-quality stuff, y'all).

Glass: everywhere. Me: panicking, and also grossed out by a bathroom floor. Quickly, though, I realized that the shards were from a filter I had affixed to the front of my (favorite) lens, and not the lens itself. Relieved but still anxious, I cleaned it up and rushed out to survey the real damage.

The camera still seemed to work. The lens was intact and reacting properly--it dragged at first, but then felt okay. The loss of the filter was no biggie. I continued to take pictures throughout the trip and through the summer.

Slowly, however, I started to notice that something was off. My camera and I weren't in sync. My photos, while acceptable, weren't totally working for me. I thought it might be the lens, and, after taking it into a repair shop, I found out I was right. The lens had been bent, but could be tweaked for a fee. I forked it over and hoped for the best.

The first several months after that were, admittedly, better. I went on a few trips, and she came too. We had fun--maybe not as much as before, but we made do. I took her exploring in the neighborhood and out to restaurants. We went to more museums. We avoided bathrooms.

Soon, though, we were struggling. The focus was shifting; things weren't so clear. It wasn't working--and it's still not. We're off and fuzzy and weird. These days, I think the problem wasn't just in her eyes; the real issue lies within her body. Her aging, tired, slightly broken body.

As a result, I avoid her like the plague. We stare down each other like bitter former lovers. I'm all, "Oh, hey, what's up" and she's like, "It all ended because you stopped touching me," and I'm like, "You weren't who I thought you were." And then she says something to the effect of, "We weren't clicking," and I openly judge her because I'm a professional writer and I don't approve of plays on words like that. (And THAT'S a lie, because I clearly do and am just being defensive.)

To try to improve my situation, I gave something else a go. I got all modern and decided to commit to the perky little camera on my iPhone. It's younger and sexier. It doesn't weigh me down. I like to show it off and introduce it to my friends. My mom likes it; my dad LOVES it. It sings me songs and helps me pay my bills. It has an app for that. And it gets the job done.

Except that it doesn't. It's not the same, and I've got to quit kidding myself. I've stopped doing things that are important to me--taking thoughtful pictures, writing lengthy posts to accompany them here on my blog--because I've let my old lady go, and the now-freelance me sort of fears the cost of what it would take to get her back. But I was more myself with her around, so I'm going to fix this mess--or at least find a way to pay someone else to. I miss the real deal something fierce, and I hope you'll stick around as we get our act together. Stay tuned. And in the meantime, follow my little fling on Instagram, won't you?


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