Karissa Science Theater 33K

Did we meet in band first, or through Mrs. Bussell’s class? It had to have been band, because our gifted classes didn’t mix. Mrs. Bussell’s class was right behind the bandroom. So I’m sure I saw Karissa in between classes. I had Mrs. Bussell for geography in 7th grade and US history in 8th grade. I definitely didn’t want Mr. Bailey. Poor Mr. Bailey.

We probably started really being friends when she was in ninth grade, and I was in eighth, and we were in Symphonic Band together. Ah yes, how cool were we that we memorized our parts and sang our pieces on the bus to and from festivals (or anywhere else)? We thought so much of ourselves, only because we were actually awesome. Right?

She talked me into joining High-Q when I got to high school. She was a member of the academic team, too, and she was able to bestow upon me much wisdom from being a year ahead. Like, you don’t really have to pay attention in Ms. Marlette’s class. And Mr. Laird is cool, but he’s a hippie. And, there’s no such thing as a pool or elevators at Middleburg High School; don’t fall for it.

We got to experience our marching band at its very best. “Payload,” y’all. “Trooper Salute.” That’s all I have to say.

We got to assign Star Wars characters to our group of friends.

I thought she was cool because she lived in Lake Asbury.

I’ve not known anyone who’s as voracious a reader as this girl. Lynn Reed gave her a run for her money, but never really was her match.

She was brave enough to play the oboe in sit-down band. She rocked it.

She went to a marching band university. She went on to medical school and became Dee-Arr Karissa H. 

When was it she tripped somewhere on a football field? Was it during graduation practice?

We supported each other in internet dating. I have to laugh, dude. Pepsi machine vending guy.

She hosted me for 3 days in Knoxville and took me to Cozymel and introduced me to Tennessee outlet malls. AND her still plastic-wrapped videos. And her awesome cats.

She married a very cool Jewish man who’s apparently an amazing cook and husband and sports writer. I hate her for this. Not for anti-Semitic reasons, though. Let’s get that straight.

We’ve been friends  – OH MY HECK – almost 20 years. And she was born 13 years before that. (Oh. Oops. Don’t do the math on that.)

The world’s definitely a better place for it. She’s kind and generous and incredibly intelligent and qualified to be a contestant on Jeopardy! and shares her Pop Tarts with me. That’s true friendship, right there.

It’s already 11AM the next day in Japan, but we’re still celebrating here in the USA. There’s never a reason not to celebrate this girl.

Happy Birthday, Karissa!

Let’s Hear It for the Girls


About a month ago I watched Anne of Green Gables with some friends. I have to say it was three and a half hours well spent. Of course you have to suspend your disbelief. Of course you have to be in the mood to watch it. That Anne, she’s brilliant. Also, I’m a sucker for a good coming-of-age story, especially where fiesty little girls blossom into fiesty, independent, strong women. The characters were all quite strong in this movie version, and it brought to my remembrance those characters from the books. I read the first three.

I’ve been watching The Little House on the Prairie series. I’m at season five. The Ingallses have moved back to Walnut Grove and the inhabitants have decided to try getting the town running again. Because, of course, Charles is back. He can fix just about anything. You know, though, that Caroline Ingalls carries a lot of the gumption for the two of them. Have I mentioned the girl crush I have on Caroline? I love the way she teaches her children and how she stands up to that impossible Mrs. Oleson. And Half-pint? She’s a toughy, and she made me bawl my eyeballs dry when she told Mary how much she loves her and how grateful she is they’re sisters.

Gilbert. Albert. I need a cute “-bert” in my life. And a bosom friend. Hey, what if you combined Green Gables with Little House? Could you even imagine? Of course Laura came before Anne, and Laura actually existed, but what if Laura wanted Diana Barry to be her bosom friend and not Anne’s? What if Gilbert decided to court Mary, and Adam took Anne to the blind school? What if Carrie got caught between the two worlds and could only watch everything going on from this unseen dimension? Also, if you’re stuck in an imperceptible plane of existence, and you’re a cringe-worthy star in a popular television series, does it still count as acting?

Ooh. What if Rachel Lynde and Harriet Oleson became best friends? Would there be any stopping them? I think the Ingalls women along with Marilla Cuthbert and Anne could definitely take them in a battle of sorts. Maybe Dance Dance Revolution? Or Super Mario Kart. Or good, old-fashioned hula hoops.

And now, I’m reading Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I’m about halfway through. The main character, Francie Nolan, is one of my all-time favorites. Now, if you want a coming of age story, this one’s for you. If you want hardship and wisdom from experience and poverty and scandal and turn-of-the-20th-century history and Brooklyn – Brooklyn! – it’s all right here. This book is a much faster read than I expected. I haven’t been this interested in literary characters in a long, long time. The narrative style is compelling. The characters are real and they move the story at a good pace. The symbolism and foreshadowing are apparent, but they’re effective. This is down-on-your-luck Brooklyn, after all, so not much is subtle. But you’ll be thrilled at what is understated. I had no idea that this would become one of my favorite books. I still have 245 pages to go, but I anticipate more excellence. I’m rooting for Francie.

Anne, Diana, Laura, Mary, Caroline, and Francie. These ladies float in my dreams, and I secretly want to be them.