Happy First Birthday, South Sudan!

A year ago today, South Sudan was born a free country. I had, on this day, the immense privilege, joy, and honor of being in Juba city to celebrate with the South Sudanese this beautiful and hope-filled occasion. I think it speaks through without the need for utterance that this day, this day was one to be treasured for years to come.

And what a year it has been. South Sudan has remained on the brink of a full-scale war and it seems the world has waited, with baited breath, for the fragility of the hope of sovereignty to crumble. But it hasn’t. So today, rather than harboring on the lament of tragedy, i want to celebrate the resilience and courage of human beings in South Sudan. Prayers and wishes and thoughts for peace and for stability are what i send today. As my friend Fr. Katongole has said, “lament is the heart of hope.”

current jam: ‘your song’ elton john

best thing: midnight runs for ice cream with j & summer days.

Birthday Bliss Blogging Hangover.

Whew, ducklings, this has been a voraciously active week of Birthday Bliss; i am in need of some serious tea-drinking and eye-mask-wearing.

I cannot thank Becca Clemens enough for her hysterical guest post on Tuesday; it seriously is one of the funniest things i’ve ever read, and i’m so flattered she consented to publish her genius here! We both had such a raucous time swapping blogs that i feel secure hinting at another blog swap in the future!

Additionally, much gratitude is due to ALL of you who entered the giveaway. Your tweets, tumblr likes, and comments were both much appreciated and spread cheery nerd-love across the waves of cyberspace. Congratulations again to all the winners – you should be getting some mail from me in the next two weeks! Most especially, congratulations to yesterday’s winner, Hattie for tweeting the link to yesterday’s blog about JK Rowling! Thanks to everyone else who entered – may you find the book in another way!

However.

I may be a full endorser of a healthy competition and learning how to lose with dignity (blah blah, etc, etc) but … i also like to be inclusive. (And i happened to have accidentally ordered 100 of the “nerdy and i know it” postcards). So, to thank you all for your sweet comments and kind insights, i am pleased to say that ANYONE who entered into the giveaway and did not win will still receive a postcard from me!

Yes. Not lying. I’m going broke on postage for all of you, ducklings.

Should you like a postcard from me (with a love note, naturally. i’ll even spritz it with perfume like they did in the golden days, if you like) email your mailing address to lizziemcmizzie@gmail.com with the subject line being “Postcard Giveaway” and you’ll also get a singular “nerdy and i know it” postcard in the mail sometime in the next two weeks! It’s because you’re a shining golden star in the night sky, loves.

But for now, i’m going to crawl under the covers, weeping for the fat stack of papers needing writing and readings needing consuming. College. Unending agony done out of a place of passion. As Ron Weasley would say in Trelawney’s class circa his third year at Hogwarts, “You’re going to suffer…but you’re going to be – happy – about it.”

See you on the other side, folks. Thanks for reveling with me.

current jam: “could i leave you?” performed by julie andrews, written by stephen sondheim. 

best thing in my life right now: nerds.

The Little Green Pig (And Other Adventures There and Back Again)

I can now officially cross #5 off of my list of fifteen things to be accomplished in six months (now totaling to six completed tasks): i went home to see my brother, Thom’s, directorial debut with The Pillowman. In fact, i’d be so bold to say i managed to knock out a double-whammy; i managed to also be home for my other brother, Mike’s, fifteenth birthday. While i may not be in the big sister hall of fame, i’m very pleased to have been there for both of these boys’ milestones!

Last Wednesday, i left Mount Holyoke’s frigid campus behind me for the single terminal of my second most frequented air portal, Bradley International Airport. Packed with a suitcase exploding at the seams (i did that college thing where i don’t do laundry for three weeks and instead bring it all home to do it for free) and armed with a fat stack of reading to accomplish on the plane, i managed to make it home to an ice cold glass of sweet tea and a comfortable, albeit environmentally worrying, seventy degrees.

It was a whirlwind of a glorified forty-eight hours; between 9 pm Wednesday night (touchdown) and 9 am Saturday morning (take-off) i managed to see Thom’s play twice, worship snuggle with my cats, lunch with one grandmother, visit my other grandmother, view in awe the masterpiece that is Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy with father and grandmother (review of said film coming soon), eat a fat whopping burrito with a friend, interrupt a band rehearsal to see another friend, wash three loads of clothes, play with my cats, cuddle up next to my dog, spend an afternoon with my mom, pack, unpack, pack again, and mew at my cats like we speak the same language. If that’s not an end-to-end 60 hours of well-used time at home, i’m not sure what is.

Amidst all of this, i fully intended to photograph every minute and, subsequently, present to ya’ll a blog-o-pictures for your visual feasting. However, as i was something of a tornado-generating machine in my to-the-moment time home, i only managed to take the following:

picasso and buddy the beagle.

eli in the sink!

Maybe all that nonsense about plays and Benedict Cumberbatch movies was a ruse to cover up the fact that i only ventured home for the sake of my perfect cats and sweet old dog.

But while such a plan to see nothing but my animal friends would be NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF BECAUSE ALL SOCIALLY-ADJUSTED LADIES OF SOME NORMALITY LIKE THEIR CATS AND DOG AS MUCH AS ME, it was not the primary reason for my sojourn to Chapel Hill.

I was home in my other home for my brothers. And while my visits with them were shamefully brief, i couldn’t be more proud of them. Mike, who is halfway through his first year of high school, has grown up so much into a considerate, thoughtful, sweet, and wrestling-conference-champion darling of a brother. Thom could not have been more in his element as the director of such a sinister, warped, delicious spectacular of a work that is Martin McDonagh’s play. It’s always a weird thing, coming home to find a window into the rest of my family’s life. We live in separate time streams in a multitude of ways – and yet, some things never really change. Being proud of my siblings is something that has never abided.

And i did manage to acquire a picture on the set of The Pillowman with Thom after the curtain. He’s holding (fake) severed toes in front of the cross from “The Little Jesus” (a story within the show). The play, which centers around a barely-published author of horrific short stories (most of which involving the grisly murder of small children) named Katurian, is a warped and wretched portrait of modern life. It explores interpersonal familial relationships in a way akin to John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, but with the added layer of gruesome imagery and lack of mucking out stalls (well, in the literal sense). It’s a show about the loss of innocence, but also about the glimmer of beauty that can be found – if sought- amidst tragedy. It may be a stomach-clenching, eye-shutting nightmare to behold, but Thom and the cast and crew did such a marvelous job at conveying the work in an entrancing, if not hauntingly mesmerizing, capacity. My cringe in the photo below seems to encapsulate how i felt for the entirety of the tale; not from lack of relishing in the talent of the show, but more as a product of the stellar acting and theatrical story-telling.

Thanks for being awesome, boys.

Even with the severed toes.

current jam: “lovecraft in brooklyn” the mountain goats

best thing in my life right now: ian mckellan reading instructions on how to change a tyre.