For 9 months in 2004 – 2005 I lived in a cozy little house in Atlanta. The three months before that, I had been apartment-sitting for a friend studying abroad while I interned at a music magazine during the day and worked at Borders at night. When that friend returned, I had to find other accommodations, so on my drive to work one day, I passed a house with a sign planted firmly in the yard advertising an empty room. All I remember from the sign is that it said “Females Preferred!” I fit that description pretty well, so I called the number up, and within a few weeks, I was living at 922 Rosedale Rd. I didn’t see my house-mates much at the beginning, but when my internship ended in December, I was at home more and became fast friends with Susan, whose room was just down the hall, across from Dorkwad (names have been changed…except for Susan’s), the male, LOUD love-making, OTHER housemate. We put up with him for a few more months and then got an even crazier housemate, so he didn’t seem so bad after that. When you’re having a yelling match about someone stealing your Irish Steel-Cut Oats, things have gotten whack. Anyway, I’m rambling. This post is about Susan and how we’re still friends and I’ve learned so much and tried so many new things because of her. She taught me that when it’s your birthday month, you can do anything you want everyday of that month, so if you’re stressing about having two shots of espresso in your iced coffee instead of one, just go for it dammit. August is Susan’s birthday month (she’ll be in Oslo on her birthday!), so when she suggested I join her for a photo-a-day challenge, I happily agreed. I don’t usually stick with these things, but in celebration of Susan, I’ll do it.
I thought I should make an appearance on this blog of mine to make note of turning 39. It happened last Monday. I’m not too scared of growing older, I want to be confident and fearless as I move through age, like Isabella Rossellini. She seems to be acquiring the correct wrinkles in the correct places, all the while smiling big and continuing to do what she loves. If I’m making short-films about how dragonflies mate when I’m 56, then things will be going pretty well.
Even though I’m determined to not let the end of my 30’s be the downer that society and the media want it to be, a little bit of fear sneaks in here and there. Shouldn’t I have had a baby by now? Can I still wear my hair long? Is it too late to find work or a hobby that I truly love? If I had a friend who was asking these questions, I would encourage her and think it was ridiculous to see age as any sort of barrier. So, that’s just what I need to tell myself.
It feels odd to be facing these questions…it always seemed so far away. But here it is. I was looking for a picture of my niece last week on Flickr when I saw a picture of me on my 29th birthday. I had been living in Atlanta for the previous year trying to make my internship at a music magazine turn into a job. It didn’t work out the way I had hoped, but I made three life-long friends there, and grew to love Atlanta and that time in my life. When I see the 29-year-old Judah, I feel exactly the same way now. That could be a good or a bad thing, but it makes me realize that we don’t really change all that much. So, it’s best to be positive and just plow ahead. As cliché as it sounds, it goes by fast, so make good friends, be present, and for goodness’ sake, lighten up.
(Birthday 29 in Atlanta with my beloved Gretchen doll on my glass, who I lost later that summer at a Ray LaMontagne concert; birthday 34 in Paris and birthday 39 in Oslo. Where will I be toasting at 40?)
I’ve been learning Norwegian for almost 8 months now, and one of the things I love about it is how the words are both adorably and horrifyingly literal. For example: their word for “raccoon” translates to “washing bear.” Adorable, right? But their word for “nipple” translates to “breast wart.” Yep, horrifying. So this morning, the word “dimple” came up and I jokingly said to Morty, “What’s your word for that, ‘cheek hole’?” And….he said “smilehull” which translates to “smile hole.” Adorable, horrifying and beautifully literal all in one word.
Movie night 3 was my turn, so I picked Enough Said. I’ve already seen it two times, but it’s just one of those movies I can watch any time it’s on and I’ve wanted Morty to see it for a while. There are so many little details I love – Eva’s (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) job, Marianne’s (Catherine Keener) house and her hilarious portrayal of a modern-day hippie poet, Tavi Gevinson as Chloe is adorable, and finally, Albert (James Gandolfini) is just so sweet and perfect in all of his middle-aged bachelorhood. If you haven’t seen this film, I won’t give anything away, but I love watching how the different relationships interact with each other and thinking about how I would’ve handled the same situation. (Morty approved of this film!)
Morty’s pick for Movie Night 4 was a documentary about the Kuchar brothers called It Came From Kuchar. Mike and George Kuchar are (and were – George died in 2011) twin underground film makers. In the early 1960’s they started making low-budget films that helped shape the underground New York film scene. The documentary shows snippets of those films while also interviewing the brothers and showing them at work. Their short film Wild Night in El Reno opened the door to one of the first conversations Morty and I ever had, so they’ve been on my radar ever since. While I love that film, I have a feeling their other work is a little out there for me. But to true movie buffs, they were pioneers. The sleaze, shaky filming and low-budget feeling of it all is well-loved by their fans.
Last weeks pick was Under the Skin. I’ve wanted to see this movie for several months when I saw that it was directed by Jonathan Glazer. He’s responsible for my favorite opening film scene ever, so I wanted to see what else he had up his sleeve. To keep it short, this film was weird. Visually, it was interesting, beautiful and surprising, but the story was slightly nonsensical and disturbing. It’s adapted from a novel of the same name by Michel Faber. I’ve learned more about the film from reviews that I’ve since read, so it makes more sense now and I can see more logic and themes to the story. I would definitely watch it again – Glazer has a way with angles and really finding beauty in stillness. Though Under the Skin was more challenging than what I usually enjoy – we both gave it a big thumbs up!