I am Dusty

I bought this incredible hat.

I think I’m a hat person, though I haven’t worn hats since I got a pixie cut because the whole look was too shocking. Sure, I could rock having a virtually no hair on the back of my head, but wearing a hat without hair seemed too overwhelming.

But now my hair has grown, and hats are coming back into my life. So I bought a one. It’s a Pepperdine hat. I don’t have many Pepperdine clothes. Half my wardrobe is made up of Indiana University plastered t-shirts, but I hardly have anything for poor Pepperdine. That’s weird because it feels like I actively invested in my Pepperdine life more than my IU one without anything to show for it. Well, until my hat.

I bought my hat at a garage sale for a $1. I did not buy the double-decker bus that would be perfect for a future baby’s nursery because it was $5, and that was out of my price range. (Especially since Jill got a coaster collection for 75 cents.) (It’s my opinion that coasters and dusty toy buses should be close in price.) (This is all very important information.)

That morning Jill and I went rollerblading. I dressed in my running spandex, strapped on my helmet, and flailed my arms. Jill wore her sundress and brought the agility of Apolo Ohno. The two of us went rollerblading until I fell enough that Jill said we should stop.

So then we went to a garage sale. Naturally. I wish they had had kneepads there, but instead they had the love of my life: my Pepperdine hat.

I bought the hat as a half joke. To be honest, I’m not on board with the flat bill look. I’m pretty sure I made fun of my brother for wearing his flat hat last month. Rhett, I am sorry.

But I bought the hat. And I wore the hat. And I love the hat. But today I realized something about the hat.

This morning I put on just enough clothing to leave the house. I don’t mean it wasn’t much in fabric, but it wasn’t much in quality. That’s how I’ve been dressing lately. I pick out a shirt that smells decent, bottoms in varying length depending on how recently I’ve shaved my legs, and the same sandals. I repeatedly paint my big toenails before I go out the door. (It feels like they’re all painted if those ones are). So I walked through the June gloom to my car feeling awesome in my hat and my baggy shirt and wet two toenails.

And then I saw my reflection in the car door. I recognized that person, but it wasn’t me. Goofy smile. Big hat. Straw hair poking out everywhere. Crazy shirt that’s too big. Who do I look like?

And then it hit me. And here’s what this blog post is really about.

I look like Dusty from Twister.

dustyfromtwistertwister-435x580Maybe on a different day, I would have been upset about this. After all, Dusty looks like a slob and is a man. But on this day, I shrugged and completely accepted that I do look like Dusty from Twister. There was no denying it. I turned up Led Zeppelin and hit my steering wheel with the beat.

Then, I realized I not only look like Dusty, I freaking am Dusty.

Where do I go from here? Do I need to wear hoodies over my hat? Am I supposed to be a storm chaser? Do I need an RV? I think I need an RV. Dusty would like that.

My first move has obviously been to repeat this line:



Am I insane? Not for thinking that I’m like Dusty, of course, because that’s just the truth. But Dusty seems a little off. Does this mean I’m a little off? I guess I am if I’m Dusty.

And here’s the thing. Being Dusty means just going for it. 100% being yourself even when that’s weird and even when it’s not. I love that. To think of the time I’ve wasted trying to be a Bill Paxton–reenacting his emotional “Me, Joe” speech–or fearing I was an Aunt Meg. All this time, I’ve been a Dusty: a sloppy oddball with the most fantastic, loved, cheap hat.

Journal of a Silly Girl

sleeping hilary

“Everyone knows diaries are just full of crap.” – Bridget Jones

Let’s take a journey down journal lane, shall we? (Warning: the following might make you lose all remaining respect for me as a writer and/or human.)

“We played football, in which I sprained my ankle… we also did play basketball. I jammed my finger; that is why I am not writing good. ” – age 11

“I wish I were a bird flying in the sky, soaring through the air. We, my family, went to see Santa Clause 2.” -age 11

“While in the meantime, I am thinking about Hayden Christensen and Orlando Bloom.” -age 11

“I have been trying not to mention what’s happening in the U.S. economy lately, but I think it’s time to tell my feelings.” – age 11

“It was then I saw what life is.” – age 11

“I am going to work on my scrapbook.” – age 12

“If you follow every problem in your life, it will lead to one conclusion: yourself.” – age 11

“I wonder if this diary will be famous someday, like Anne Frank’s. We’re reading Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl in class.” – age 12

“I wanted to tell you that I don’t think anyone will ever consider my story famous like Anne Frank’s.” – next day, age 12

“A heart-warming film always warms me up.” – age 12

“This turned out not as well as planned, but everything happens for a reason.” – age 12

“It was hot, and she was asking for my personal fan 24/7.” – age 12

“If I died before my husband, I’d want him to remarry… I hate biology.” – age 14

“Swimming and soccer are the only sports I’ve done competitively!!!” – age 15

“Prom. It’s all anyone talks about.” – age 16

“I’ve always liked David Beckham, but now that he’s in the U.S., well…” – age 16

“Today we went to see National Treasure II. I loved it!” – age 16

“I don’t like fried chicken.” – age 17

“I was supposed to have my water skills test at six, so I got to the school at 5:45 am, and no one was there. I took it at 6 pm.” – age 17

“I’m getting over crying right now, so excuse my handwriting.” – age 17

“I’m excited about lunch.” – age 17

One thing hasn’t changed. I’m still really excited about lunch.

I’m A Major Creep

Some people have useful talents, like the ability to look natural walking in heels or applying lipstick without wondering exactly where the bottom lip ends.

I have a useful talent as well. Some call it internet stalking; I call it embarrassment-feuled creeping.

I’ve always had a tendency for obsession, so in the modern age where I can scour the internet looking for the ex-wife of a semi-famous novelist to figure out what went wrong, I do.

And usually I don’t see much wrong with this. However, when I stumble on a piece of information (still in the public-sphere) that’s particularly juicy, I realize I may have taken things too far.

Jill recently read a book by an author that is one half of a marriage that she, Katie, and I had a serious crush on. You know those Instagram masters who make their lives look like a live-action Candyland? Yeah, this couple is like that. Was like that. *silent tears*

Jill noticed that in the dedications of the first book, there was a woman’s name, a name that did not belong to the author’s wife.

Jill was frantic, understandably so. She did a little preliminary research. No need to get us all up in arms  if it was his wife’s nickname. It was wishful thinking. For the sake of the example, let’s say the book said “to Sophie” while the wife’s name is “Aishwarya.” There was just no way. 

So Jill discovered what we all feared: the man who was one half of the cutest relationship in the world* had been married before! *by Instagram standards

Not only had he been married before, but by book two, he was dedicating his work to the other half of the cutest couple in the world. (I’ll stop with the titles.)


Jill let us know of this tragedy: “I feel like I just found out Mr. Darcy was married when he met Elizabeth.” I, of course, told her to take it back immediately because how dare she ever utter such blasphemy!

And after I was finished partially recovering from the thought that Darcy was anything other than the socially-awkward hottie of every intelligent woman’s dreams, I began to creep.

I mean, so many questions needed to be answered! How much time between relationships was there? Did he leave one wife after he became semi-well-known to book loving twenty-somethings? Did he just go around seducing nice girls and taking them as his concubines? I told Jill, “WE WILL NOT BE HIS NEXT CONQUESTS!”

I took action. After some heavy research, like finding an art show in college where his then-girlfriend was a subject, I creeped on his ex-wife. I was relieved to find that she was in a relationship with another man, and according to Facebook, her father still “liked” the author’s first book.

It was here that I realized I was in very deep and needed to pull out. I mean, it’s not like I’m engaging in illegal activity, but the fact that I have to make that clear indicates I went a bit too far.

But it’s not all so superficial. Sometimes creeping has saved me a lot of trouble. Once, Jill and I saw a cute librarian. With twenty minutes and his first name, I discovered a picture of him on his trip to the Carribean that made us both disgusted. Now, when he says hello, I give him a look that says, “I know what you did Spring Break of 2012.”

Maybe I’m good because I’m hyper-observant. Like, I’m really good at spotting celebrities, and even those who aren’t full-on celebrities. Please see Jill and I’s encounter with a Mad Men guest star, or know that just today I refrained from telling a man that I admired his work in Bride and Prejudice (because obviously I’ve memorized every person in every Austen adaptation ever).

Celebrity sighting and internet creeping are related. Jill says so: “One’s a tangerine. The other, an orange.”

Just know that a P.I. career could be in my future. I have been watching a lot of Veronica Mars lately.

Oh, and here’s a picture of my most recent fun purchase. I feel it’s appropriate for this post with so much Darcy talk.



fandango depression

Fandango is depressing.

I’m not talking about the Kevin Costner movie. Did you know there’s a Kevin Costner movie titled Fandango?

I’m talking about the movie tickets website. I visit Fandango on the regular, but lately, Fandango is depressing. Is “on the regular” a saying?

Perhaps I’m being a bit dramatic. There are, in fact, several things in the western world that are more depressing: that Sarah McLachlan commercial, long TSA lines, divorce, etc.

However, every time I look at Fandango I get a pit in my stomach, a melancholy ache, because every time I search for showtimes, the locator is never where I am. When I’m in Indiana, it looks up times in Malibu. Malibu! I love the ocean. When I’m in California, I see the Mooresville Movie Theater as the number one result. My home! There are probably people I know seeing that movie at 2:35. Even when the locator is close to where I’m at (i.e. the same state), it’s usually super far away. Those are the nice theaters! I can’t even enjoy this movie now because I know that 50 miles away is a superior theater.

Fandango is just the worst.

But it’s not. Not really.

It just makes me homesick for places I’ve been, places I love, and places I know people are having fun at. Living apart from people you love is like going to sleep early. You hear you’re family laughing in the living room, and you feel like you’re missing out.

I guess that’s not wholly Fandango’s fault.

But it is. It really kind of is.

For the love of dark chocolate -I do love dark chocolate- I need to figure out how to take the zip code preset off of Fandango before I destroy it (which would probably result in just destroying my computer a la Ron Swanson.)

everybody farts

Hello!!! Shout out to December for arriving on time!

This fine evening I was able to attend FLAF, or Pepperdine’s Fall Literary Arts Festival, put on by my screenwriting program.  I know this is all fascinating to you.

Anywho, at this blessed event, I read an essay, and I thought I’d share it with you.  Keep in mind that in reading something out loud, grammar and sentence structure seem inconsequential to me. Here is Everybody Farts:



I remember the first time I heard the word, “fart.”

I was seven and at a family picnic thrown by dad’s department.  Dad worked in a lab that developed drugs to treat Alzheimer’s and studied their effects on rat brains.

So it was quite the picnic full of nerds.


Despite the opening line of this essay, my parents raised us not to talk about things like flatulence.  If the subject had to be broached at all, we were to call it “bottom burping.”


It was quite the shock for my entire family and myself when one child at the picnic let out the loudest, longest toot I had ever heard.  It sounded something like this: “FLAAAAAAAAF.”


My entire family stood still.  How could this kid do something soooo private in front of everyone?  I mean, this was a drawn-out, no shame fart.

My brothers erupted into a fit of giggles.  I didn’t because- as any of my peers and teachers can tell you- I never get the giggles.


The fart boy’s father was a pompous Englishman.  When he saw how embarrassed my entire family was at the enormity of noise his son’s bowels made, he looked at us, shrugged, and said, “Ehverybahdy fahhhhts.”  [This was my way of typing an English accent.  Must get better at that. For the record, the phrase always needs to be said in an English accent.]


Everybody farts then became the catch phrase of the Miller family.  All of the sudden it was acceptable to say fart as long as you did so in an English accent.

When the Millers took a road trip and one of the boys (or girls) let one rip—it was okay, because “everybody farts.”


And these moments of repeating the phrase, of smelling the stink, made us laugh.  They made us comfortable, and even in a family, they made us closer.  I think this applies to the world.


I became best friends over a fart.   Theirs.

I’ve lost friends over a fart.  Mine.

And I suspect that someday I will fall in love over a single, spectacular fart.


There are a lot of places that it’s not okay to fart.  Churches, schools, funerals, airplanes- although there’s always one- FLAF.  Places where we are expected to sit still, be quiet, and try not to make eye contact with the person next to us.  Instead, we are almost encouraged to focus on ourselves, to focus on being quiet and flatulence free.

These moments of silence and clean air are the moments when we fail.  We fail to talk to the old woman sitting next to us who can’t wait to tell us about her newest grandchild and his toots or the person who just wants to share a joke at the check-out counter or your new best friend or the weirdo you need to stay away from.


These people are all around us, and they’re exactly why we’re here.  1 Peter 4:10-11 says,

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.”


My farts are a gift!  A glory to God!  So what keeps us from sharing our gifts?  Is it fear?  Fear of failure or judgment or that the person next to us is a weirdo?  Fear of our gifts not being big enough or smelly enough?


The fear applies to words, too, not just toots. That fear stops us from talking.  We hold onto our words like we hold onto our farts.  We swallow them.  And they gurgle painfully inside of us.

Because we weren’t meant to keep them in.  We were made to let them out.  All of our gifts.  Even when it’s a fart.


I want to know you.  I want to know your gifts and what your farts smell like.  Even when I don’t think I want to.  Even when I don’t like you.  I want the gurgling inside of you to come out.  And I want that for me too.

I believe if we let go of that fear, we might find more friends, we might have more farts and laughs and love, we might find that we’re a bit more a like than we thought.  After all, everybody farts.

roast beef is a conversation starter

Today I had to make a very, very difficult decision.  Think Divergent: “One choice can transform you.”

What was the decision?  Turkey or roast beef.  Let me explain.

This December- Oh, gosh. December is too close to say “this.”  Start again.

Next month, I’m going to a writer’s conference.  It’s in Big Sur.  It will be full of rainy, gorgeous scenery, writing all-nighters, and a billion requests for queries.  Right?  Okay, okay.  At the very least, it will be full of a nice drive to and from the conference, writing afternoons, and at least one awkward conversation with a literary agent.

This conference has brought some beautiful things into my life, the best being my writing group, First Authors Club (FAC).  FAC is made up of Jill and Katie and me.  Jill is a fabulous dresser and fantastic, feminist writer of teen female friendships.  I tried to jam as many “f’s” into that description as possible because Jill stands for “fun.”  Fun real stories, fun fictional stories, fun Farrah Fawcett hair, fun, fun, fun.  Katie is a fantasy queen, but her letter is “g” for great.  Great writing, great mom (to her baby, not to me – that would be weird), great friend, great conservative mind, great, great, great.

Playtime with these ladies, aka story notes time, is the highlight of my week.

Back to decisions. The conference has made small decisions (like what to do with my hair) take on a large weight.  Today, it got more than a little ridiculous.  We were emailed asking what kind of meat we would like on our sandwiches at the retreat.  My first inclination was turkey.  I mean, turkey is the safe choice.  Turkey is “doctor,” if you pick a husband by occupation.

But there’s a side of you that wants to pick “rock star” for your spouse’s job, right?  The rock star of deli meats? Roast beef.  All of the sudden, you think it’s so much more interesting to pick roast beef, the unusual, off-beat choice.  Here’s the danger: your rock star husband could be a big party dude who leaves you all alone with the screaming twins; in deli meat terms: it’s limp and fatty.  Now the fate of my future career seemed to rest on this one decision.  Everyone will pick turkey.  Turkey is the obvious choice.  Roast beef, though, roast beef is a conversation starter.

Scenario #1:  “Oh, is that roast beef?” an agent will ask. “I love roast beef. I thought I was the only one here. What’s your manuscript about? I want to represent you, you fellow beefer!”

Scenario #2: “That’s roast beef!” someone will shout. “All the best writers who aren’t vegetarians choose roast beef. I shall read your book, now.”

Scenario #3: “Oh, you’re eating roast beef,” another one will say. “That’s so interesting. I find you so interesting because of your deli meat choice. Let’s talk.”

So there was the choice.  Turkey or roast beef?  The doctor or rock star?  Lab coat or leather jacket?

It was at this point that I realized I had been riding the crazy train for a few minutes, maybe for a few years.  I got off at the next stop and emailed my choice.

Turkey.  Plain, safe turkey.  Although, if we’re talking husbands, I’d go for a pediatrician who plays for a terrible garage band on Sunday afternoons.  What is that in deli meat?


Well, here’s to the start of something… blig.  (Note: blog and big do NOT combine well.  FYI, I wouldn’t ever try to get away with using the word “blig,” especially in something as classy as your personal blog.)

My kids have hounded me about starting this blog and sharing with the world the delights of my days, like the time I spent a month crocheting non-stop or the giant burrito I ate last week.  So for the happiness of my children, here’s to blogging.  (cue glass clinking or High School Musical or both).  Oh, and by kids, I mean my dog, Estelle Getty.