Jillian Sodding Denning

bridget jones party

Last week I got to celebrate one of my most wonderful friends.

I remember the first time I saw her. (You know what’s weird: I can remember each time I first saw my close friends.) (True love.)

It was orientation day 2012. I believe she was wearing that crimson dress of hers. The one with the ridges. Her hair was perfect, of course. She sat a table away, and I immediately decided she was a part of the Communication program because writers aren’t that put together… or tall. (Awkwardly tall, maybe, but not fashionably tall.)

It turns out she was in my program (and a really gifted writer).

But we didn’t start out as close friends. We didn’t click immediately.

It’s hard to pinpoint when exactly Jill went from “a fun girl in my program” to “one of my very best friends.” We were in the middle before we knew we’d begun.

You see, there’s really very little reason Jill and I should be friends. At least, that’s what I thought at the beginning.

She’s tall. I’m not.

She’s on one end of the political spectrum. I’m on the other.

Mockingjay is her favorite book in the series. Can I get a “third book is a DOWNER” in here?

And then, “a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be” friends starting bubbling to the surface. (Are these references getting weird? Good.) Before we knew it, we were planning wardrobe choices for our trip to Prince Edward Island. (Lots of gauze and puffed sleeves.)

If there is a moment in our friendship affair to remember that should be highlighted, circled, and cast in steel for all time, it’s Bridget Jones’s Diary Night 2013.

One day, during finals week, Jill and I found ourselves with nothing to do for two hours and an audience of two friends who always pretend like they can’t stand us, but truly love the entertainment. So we decided to do a dramatic reading of a crappy transcription of Bridget Jones’s Diary.

Important things to note about this evening:

On this very poor internet copy of the script, there were no names indicating who was speaking. It turns out, we already knew who said every line. (This is one of the most impressive things in both of our lives, as you can understand.)

Jill’s impression of Bridget doing an impression of Grace Kelly was Golden Globe, Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical worthy. (She would argue that her introduction to Kafka’s Motorbike should be considered.)

Jill played Bridget incredibly well. I was everyone else, with a special connection to Pamela Jones.

We laughed our cabooses off the entire night.

So last week, on Jill’s 27th year of being fabulous, there was really only one way to celebrate. We popped open the diet coke, lit the candles, and indulged in Rob’s turkey curry buffet. Yes, we threw Jill a Bridget Jones-themed birthday.

We talked and did a dramatic reading of our best scenes in Bridget Jones’s Diary. We laughed and laughed at the accents. We discussed Ethel Kennedy. We ate and talked life and Bridget and Bridget’s life, and I was reminded once again how phenomenal of a friend Jill is.

Jill sees me. The parts that I usually cover up, the ones that are completely and hopelessly uncool, she sees those as my biggest strengths. She’s often more proud of my crazy than I am. Are we all aware that this is what friendship should be? Because let me tell you, having a friend like this, it makes life a heck of lot more fun.

Jill is in my corner, and I’m in hers.

That is more than I was ever expecting when I saw that tall girl supposedly in the Communication program.

So I say we toast: to Jill, who cannot stop obsessing about the Kennedy and Royal families, but who we love just as she is.

bridget jones diary party theme
Image courtesy of Jillian Denning

bridget jones party diary

Advertisements

alone

Go ahead and turn on Heart’s “Alone” for this one, but warning, you will be blown away by lace gloves, big hair (*cough* mullets *cough*), and face melting rock that will be stuck in your head the rest of the day.

Let me start out by saying that there seem to be two types of people in this world: people who like being alone (or I should say, find it necessary) and people who don’t.

Now, I divide the population, which I’m sure will cause a Civil War of sorts because the people who don’t like being alone don’t seem to understand the people who do. And, in fact, there are some people who will be saddened(!) by this post, when really, it’s not sad at all.

In case you couldn’t tell, I’m in the alone-time-is-necessary camp.  And for those of you who aren’t, if I may, I’d like to try to explain it to you.  I love people.  I like people.  Sometimes I need to be away from people.  Get it?  Not really?  Oh, well.  I knew it would be hard to explain.  Let’s put it this way,  I like wearing pants that don’t button, singing and dancing in my apartment, reading in a quiet room, and eating grapes like a madwoman.  ImageThese activities are considerably hindered by the presence of another person, and that’s okay because sometimes it’s good to wear pants that button, keep the improv dance to a minimum, read in a loud room, and share goofy grape eating with someone you love.  But sometimes the solitude part is important, too.

I get that these are silly necessities, but those are my needs, silly as they are.  And I like myself… just as I am.  (Sometimes, you have to be your own Mr. Darcy.)

https://i0.wp.com/24.media.tumblr.com/2a78fd7f16185956b3160a93d7572a83/tumblr_mq53f3tgRo1sqau0co1_500.gif

Still don’t get it? Sorry.  Questions for angels.

Great Alone Quotes:

I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.”  – Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“The primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid; the state of being alone.” – James Baldwin (I felt very artsy reading this one)

“And I find – I’m 63, and my capacity to be by myself and just spend time by myself hasn’t diminished any. That’s the necessary part of being a writer, you better like being alone.”  -John Irving (Whew!  In the right field!)

“I actually like being alone. I spend most evenings reading and taking long baths.” – Shonda Rhimes

“My favorite hobby is being alone. I like to be alone. I also like dancing, fishing, playing poker sometimes and vegetable gardening – corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, I have a big garden every year.” – Emanuel Steward

“I have to be alone very often. I’d be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That’s how I refuel.” – Audrey Hepburn

“Language… has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone.” – Paul Tillich

future dreams and liberty themes

This past summer I was able to participate in an internship program (in the film industry) run by a libertarian organization, and last night we had a dinner party for the interns and fellows of the organization in the LA area.  I’m not good at these things.  I am too excited, too happy to be there to fit in.  I should have worn glasses and brushed up on my cool facts about myself, but I didn’t do either of those things.  While others ranted on their current noble endeavors to make documentaries on prisons and refugees, I explained my desire to make a funny movie that people would go see.  While they mentioned obscure political films, I talked about Goonies and poop jokes. The further conversations went, the more I became wary of telling people I wanted to help create a movie that wasn’t solely fueled by libertarian ideals.  To be clear, I thought their ideas were awesome and told them as much, but I just wasn’t being reciprocated.  A few hours in, when strangers asked me what I wanted to do, the mantra, “just make it libertarian sounding,” entered my head.

Apparently, this worked so well that the last time I was asked about my future goals I said, “I just want to live in a cabin with lots of land where I can write.  And I, uh, I want to have a basement full of ammunition.”  After that I called it a night, and I am still mentally shaking my head at myself.

Oh, and look what I did to my phone…

Image

God’s work

Okay, so in my world, a visit to Costco is delightful.  It’s special.  It’s exciting and adventurous, and if you’re frugal, it can almost be heavenly.  Almost.  Apparently, things were a little too divine on my most recent visit to Costco last Sunday.  While visiting family in Arizona, we put my membership card to good use, exploring the warehouse’s plethora of bulk items.  We also partook of the only thing small at Costco, the samples.  Now this was no ordinary day.  This sacred day, to my utter (and surprisingly strong) delight, a small booth settled in the chips section, was handing out sweet nectar, or Diet Dr. Pepper.

“Have some,”  a kind Costco worker said.

I obliged this heavenly club worker, even pumping a fist before lifting the fine dixie cup to thine lips.  Yes, I do love Dr. Pepper, and I enjoyed it immensely as we moseyed down the next aisle.  Turning the corner and rounding back up, we found ourselves once again by the beverage of my heart and the angel who served it.

“Since you were a fan, how about you have some more,”  my angel in a hairnet said.

“Really?”  Could this be true?  Better hurry before she changes her mind.

“Thank you,”  I said as I picked up the drink. What happened next was out my control.

By that I mean, I don’t what I was thinking.  I tipped the glass to her, as if to say, “Cheers.”  I winked, and I loudly said in a deep voice, “You’re doing God’s work here.”

The lovely woman was a little takenaback, and I left her immediately with a confused look on her face, a little confused myself.  God’s work?  Did I really just tell someone that serving DDP was God’s work?

Now, I think that this story has a few morals: (1)  I am ridiculous (less of a moral, more of a fact of life), (2) Apparently Costco is a spiritual experience, (3) God’s work can actually happen with only giving out delicious coke, and (4) although it’s risky saying things before thinking about them, it often produces moments of hilarity to be enjoyed as often as possible.

satisfaction, pt. 1 & throwback thursday

I’m content in never being satisfied.  Let me explain. Life moves, constantly.  At each victory, there is a new mountain, and this cycle is beautiful.  But it’s also tedious and daunting and exhausting. I think, then, that it’s important to savor the tiny moments of satisfaction peppered, or even hidden, in the daily.  These things make me feel accomplished when the bigger dreams are so far from complete, and they make the journey fun.

And let me just say this. I’m in my twenties, and this has made me think it’s entirely natural to feel discontent and far from where I think I need to be.  But I think I’m probably always going to feel a little like that no matter my age.  After all, this isn’t our final destination. It’s a gift to never be done, isn’t it?  I mean, in some ways taking that on, makes me more at rest and more satisfied than when I actually accomplish something I perceive to be huge.  Therefore, I’ve created a list, my friends, of daily things that give me, and I hope you, too, satisfaction.

1. AN EMPTY EMAIL INBOX.  This is an amazing feeling!  Note, you can find all of your unread emails by searching “is: unread” in gmail.  You’re welcome. Outlook is a different beast, and I’m not doing to dwell on my 82 unread emails lost somewhere in the recesses of the internet.  Surely, they’re just advertisements, right?

2. A NEW JAR OF PEANUT BUTTER.  You’ve got a new container of pb.  Congratulations! You now have enough goodness to last you a few weeks’ worth of PB&J’s (or PB&B(bananas)) if you’re hilly now, or you have enough creamy goodness to last you a single afternoon of Grey’s Anatomy if you’re hilly from freshman year of college.  Self control issues concerning the Kryptonite that is peanut butter aside, I think we can all agree that taking the first scoop out of a perfectly smooth surface of manufactured deliciousness is one of the true joys in life. For the record, I am fully supporting of you almond butter lovers out there, but you Nutella people, I think you’re getting greedy.

3. TEETH FLOSSING.  I understand a good deal of us don’t floss. Gross.  I used to be in that category.  Gross. We had to stick it to the dentist, right?  Wrong.  Let me tell you, flossing is one of the best, most satisfying parts of my day.  Yes, that’s right.  Flossing=good. Repeat.

4. LAUGHING.  I’m going to put this twice because I want to.  First, let’s talk about the physical act of laughing.  Laughing is completely satisfying.  It’s cathartic, it lightens everything, it makes you feel like you got a good ab workout in, etc..  When I heard about laugh therapy, I began a habit of taking a few minutes when I’m alone (I would suggest doing the same :)) and laughing.  This means fake laughing until something real comes along.  It’s actually really fun and silly and stupid, and who doesn’t like that combination.  Quiet down, robots.

5. LAUGHTER.  More abstractly, it feels good to be able to laugh at myself.  I do a lot of dumb stuff.  The person who stupidly cut you off in traffic or stood in the middle of the hallway doing nothing but unknowingly blocking your way or even the idiot who forgot to return a movie for a month and now owes twice the movie’s retail value? Those people are probably all me.  I don’t mean to do any of this, and it’s pretty easy to get angry at myself for being dumb.  But, I try, and I’m so happy when I succeed, to just laugh about it.  It’s harder with the traffic, but the hallway thing, that’s how I make a work buddy!  One that hates me to begin with, but hey, I’ll win them over.

These moments are affectionately referred to as “Bridget Jones” moments in the Miller household (possibly only by me). An example? I ordered a coffee named, “The Annihilator” this morning, and no joke, I said, “May I please have The Ann-hil… um the- this one,” having to resort to pointing after I botched the pronunciation of a simple word.  The barista helped me out; I explained that I can’t read, a joke that I gave a little to dryly, and now will never go to that coffee shop again for fear he will give me a pack of Biscuit books.  But the really special part, was how I laughed for five minutes afterwards about it.  I know I’m not actually dumb, I hope.  No, I’m not a genius, but hey, I like that I’m not.  I’m happy with that.  I played a spelling board game once, and one of my friends said that it was sad I couldn’t spell an “easy” word since I want to be a writer.  Well, guess what, I’ve never been good at spelling even though I read and write a lot, so give it a break.  Give yourself a break.  I’ll give you a break.  I want a kit-kat.  This is getting off topic.  The point is, laughing at yourself is a relief, and it’s one that I hope to share, not in a cruel way, but with compassion, to everyone I meet.  We’re going to mess up, and it’s okay.  It’s okay to be you, even if you’re a decently smart, bad spelling, peanut butter loving laugher like me, and it’s okay if you’re not any of those things.  I’m glad I’m me, and I’m glad you’re you, and I’m glad to have little moments of satisfaction for us all to enjoy.

Image
sometimes winning a matrix competition is as satisfying as it gets