The Neph Busts a Move (& Beats a Box)

April 25th, 2014

I’ll just leave this here because nephs grow up and blogs grow stale. Consider it a downpayment for more, better, anything.

As you can see, Ford does not dance like nobody’s watching—he dances like his audience adores him. And so should we all…

So what are your best moves this just-spring Friday evening? Mine will be a long, easy walk on a velvety night. I will probably listen to RuPaul’s podcast, because who better than a 7-foot drag queen guru-mama to guide me along the path? Then I may channel my inner Ford and dance like everybody loves me in my upstairs hallway. My moves will look slinkier and more hip-driven—I mean, you gotta shake what you’ve been given. Here’s to lots of joyful movement this weekend. Let us take our snow-shocked selves out amongst these new swaths of bloom and green—and may none of them try to drown us in our own oceans. Oh, that reminds me; here’s a poem for the season. It’s called “Spring” because duh (I am clever like that):


Riotous with vestal blossom,
the Bradford pear trees smell of semen,
that quickhope liquid, aseethe with seed.

Spring! Spring! You do not disappoint.

Not the winter-weary bursting out
of houses, knees as pale as last year’s grass.

Not the porch-hungry sitting
cigaretted, night alive with cicada thrum.

Not the trek-mad scything evening
air, skin still kissed by lingering warmth.

Yet you are sly with your treasures:
quick to thunder, deceptively chilly.

Oh! Oh! Too free with sneezes—
all your blooms a double blade, a
dark delight.

Quiver’s Rules for Living

November 7th, 2013

My father just called to tell me he was looking at a picture of Heidi Klum in a mint green VW beetle. I will let you chew on that one for a second while you enjoy said photo of said supermodel in said slug-bug. (We will ignore the fact that this car is more of a spring green, like the belly of a festive cricket or a stalk of celery that’s blushing.)


And now I need to unpack my reaction to this call. I mean, we live in the internet age and such photos pass by our eyeballs in a dizzying digital array. But why did he feel the need to share this particular sighting with me? Let’s consider these points:

First, I was struck by the fact that my father was able to identity Heidi Klum, although this shouldn’t surprise me, since he once gave a speech at my sister’s wedding based around the immortal words of Tim Gunn: MAKE IT WORK.

But why would he connect me with Heidi Klum? Is it because we’re both extremely tall? Or because she’s German and I “studied” German for several years in high school? Of course, I barely remember any of her language, although one of the few phrases that have stuck with me has to do with a nippy hamster called Knusper. He bit one of the stars of our textbook, who said “beiss mich nicht!,” which sounds like the prusso-rodential version of this immortal cry and basically means: NO BITING.


Maybe he’s connecting this image with me because I also drive a new beetle? Or perhaps it’s because we had a 1973 orange slug-bug growing up that we all learned to drive on, which was not as much fun as it sounds, since dad has the gift of glower and could cause a stall with his eyebrows alone. I’m still haunted by his immortal command as I piloted us down the busiest street in Lincoln: STOP WAFFLING.

Could this be a lesson in optics and economics, wherein our super-rich supermodel is showcasing her super-fun, super-frugal nature (surely known as “thriftenshriftfest” in her mother tongue)? Is he saying I should I follow La Klum’s example by settling down and appreciating my poor paid-for beetle, even though I do not look all shiny like Heidi and my car does not look all gleaming and new like her convertible? Maybe my dad is sending that immortal message: TOUGH IT OUT.

Of course, he knows my car has been a black maw of expense lately, needing massive repairs while on road trips and suffering grievous attacks on her backside by chain-wielding—I don’t know—vandals? Marauders? Drunk fucks who need a boot to the groin? (And seriously, beiss mein arsch, mahfockas!) My dad also knows I can’t afford to replace the bug this year, so he may be sharing some immortal fatherly wisdom and telling me to: GET OVER IT.


But probably he’s just saying that he loves me and that he wants the large length of chain those human-Knuspers left in my trunk.

Love you, Q. It’s all yours…

This Place is a Dump

November 4th, 2013


I seem to have lost my tether to twitter, which is fine, since I’m mainly lurking over there these days. This is a running theme in my online engagements, which involves less outreach and more furtive check-ins, with the occasional instagram.

And who knows what’s up with delicious. It seems to have stalled out sometime last year, but hey, ENJOY THAT MONKEY WITH THE GI-TAR, long may he GIF.

If I could remember how to get into the place where things get changed (a magical server somewhere, possibly connected to my bloghosting company, but hey, it might as well be the far side of heaven or hell’s belt buckle for all I know) I would spruce up the sidebar. But alas, all I can do is post, and even that seems beyond me these days. Does anyone want to help me tinker with the innards of this wordpress joint? And who wants to kick my lazy ass into sitting down and holding forth on a semi-regular basis?

Just me, is it?

Well then, let’s see what I can do as the days shrink and the dark grows…I mean, what-the-hell-else am I going to do with myself in the waning daylight anyway?

image via

I’m Still Here

September 17th, 2013

And one of these days, I’m going to unleash a mighty river of words in y’all’s direction.


But for now, I’m wet-headed in a corporate hotel on the west side of America, trying to prepare for a day of docking with the mothership. I slept well last night (oh la, such luxury!) and so far this morning I have showered, ordered room service (which is my Eloise-driven definition of being a grown-up), and done a single measly sun salutation on the tastefully textured plaid carpet (no germphobe here, but I will be sneaking out to Lululemon for a travel mat later on, to put some grippy distance between my flesh and the fleshly leavings of a thousand other agitated travelers lulled to sleep by the oceanic sounds of highway 101). Oh, and if I suspend all judgment, it looks as though I’ve written a (very adjectivally driven) blogpost, as well! This day, I christen A-Bitch-Be-Productive Tuesday. May we all get some good shit done.

Ta and hey and see-you-soonish. (I hopish.)

Happy Monday

January 28th, 2013


I slept for 6.5 hours STRAIGHT last night. Not enough, sure, but it’s a rare night that passes without a 3:15 A.M. warm-brown-mama incident (or ten). Maybe it was the l-tryptophan I spent 30 bucks on at the co-op; I find the liberal application of money sometimes acts as prophylactic or placebo. But hey, if it works…

Although I’m still feeling a little foggy and fluey, with a side of shoulder hitch and hip ache, I mean to storm the barricades and lay waste to dead-end January this week (rowr!). Then I will take pleasure in the small things: doglicks and downtime (mwah!).

Join me?

Image via god knows where, but this post was basically an excuse to share it.

A Moving Benediction: Get Yr Almighty Wiggle On, Sleepy Sunday People!

January 27th, 2013

I’ve been sleeping in gulps lately: 45 minutes here, an hour or two there, interspersed with long stretches of startle and thrash. So I was awake when this video came through around 6 am yesterday, freshly filmed in the neph’s family room:

I think we can all agree, Spidey’s got some moves. (Thank yah, thank yah, Jesus!)

Also, I may need to institute an afternoon nap policy, because I want a little piece of what he’s got going on. I’ve been doing everything right: no screens after 9, early to bed, various hippie-approved neuro-relaxation techniques, holy basil leaf and melatonin, prophylactic nyquil in the desperate hours. But nothing has helped lately.

It’s January; I must be hungry for light.

I was in Seattle recently for a memorial—a celebration, really—but I took a couple hours out to sit by the water with a glass of wine and an old friend, who told me her secret. “I get out and move my body around every chance I get,” she told me, and I mean to take the lesson. So here’s to active prayer, channeled through hips and arms and furious feet. Maybe if I grind around with my headphones on a little before I head to bed, I’ll surrender to sleep easier and stay under longer.

What’s your secret to a good night’s sleep?

And when was the last time you just danced around your bedroom, like 15-year old you used to do? Let’s make it this week (and share your playlist and best moves in the comments).

Dance on and sleep sweet.

(Thanks, Julie and Spidey!)

The Twelfth Day of Creativity: New Year, New People

January 2nd, 2013


This isn’t a resolution, really, but I want to do a better job of reaching out to the people I know, and also bringing new people into my life. I’m not shy, but I’m pretty good at being alone and all that introspection feeds on itself until finally I find myself less able to reach out. Working at home, living alone—it makes me a little strange, a bit wild and unapproachable. I need taming, to need and be needed.

I know I’ve read trend pieces about how we’re living increasingly separate lives now, how there are more single people living solo these days, and it doesn’t really feel better to be part of some great wave of Eleanor Rigbys. Maybe I just like to feel special. I like having my own place, but I have a real desire to share space with someone I love. Maybe I’m just waiting for it to feel right.

I need to model myself on my mother, who has a zillion friends—dear friends, essential friends—that she’s kept over the years. She was always that mom, the ones my friends relied on. Back in school, when kids I knew were dealing with heavy shit, but couldn’t turn to their parents, they talked to my mom instead. In fact, an old high school friend just moved back to town and when we met for coffee last weekend, I told him my mom was excited to see him. He said he’d always felt like she’d been his friend, too.

I’m going to look to my friend Jill, as well, who’s one of the connectors Gladwell wrote about. She’s fun to go out with because she not only knows everybody, she also gets a genuine bang out of all of them. She’s the kind of companion who’ll duck into an unlikely doorway and come out with a lifelong pal. My ex was like that, too—game for exploring, always up for a merry encounter with anyone. In my best moments, I can be the same way. I’d like more of those moments, though, and I’m going to try to make this my new habit.

I meet all sorts of interesting characters—and anyone can be interesting if you have the right attitude, the right approach—but I lack the essential follow-though that moves you from a great conversation at a party to an enduring friendship. I get stuck in the outreach, my expectations are too high. Not of the other person, but for myself, which is why I owe one friend a letter and another an email, and it eats me up, the way I’ve blown them off, but I want my answer to be perfect. Better to be done than perfect, I tell myself, then another day goes by, and another. Is it just me, or do other people do this? Could I write a trend piece for the Style Section that references all this overdue outreach? Because that might make a pretty good mea culpa.

For now, I’m sorry, H & E. You’re in my thoughts, always, and I’m hoping to wrestle those thoughts onto paper and get them out to you. Soon, soon. xx.

PS: Sure enough, I’ve addressed this mess before–> right here. Bonus points for 2010 usage of “special snowflake,” which is e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e these days.

PPS: Alternator’s fine. Battery’s gorked. 300 bucks, including the cross-town tow. The mechanic offered to dig deeper, but I cannot bear to know.

The Eleventh Day of Creativity: “I Need a New Damn Car” Hypothermia Edition

January 1st, 2013

Much of today has been spent walking through the cold when my car wouldn’t start, getting a jump from my neighbors (two older fellows who took the “well, little lady, you should always [insert obvious car thing my dad taught me when I was 15]” approach while they affixed the jumper cables and cautioned me to pump the pedal, but not too much and to let’er warm up for a good long while), having my car die in my parents’ cul-de-sac, letting my father nose my beetle into the driveway with the snout of his Toyota Tundra so he could hook me up to the battery charger, then finally—FINALLY—coming back hours later and taking the car off the charger in the dark and biting cold, only to find the fucker still wouldn’t start.


And I know we’re all praying for good things on this, the first day of the new year: an up or down vote in the house so the markets don’t tank tomorrow, better health for our loved ones, world peace. But if you have any spare wishes to share, please hope that my alternator or [insert any expensive automotive system that might be failing on my VW, which only has EIGHTY THOUSAND MILES on it] is not toast and that whatever is wrong is easily fixed and can limp along gamely until such time as I can offload that silver dome-of-heartache and buy something new(ish) with a hatchback, low(ish) payments, and at least front-wheel drive.


PS: Any locals with friends in the car business, pls leave word in comments. I need an automotive miracle!

The Tenth Day of Creativity: The Subtle Rudder is Staying In

December 31st, 2012

I had plans for some partying tonight, but I’m weary and a little pensive and just spent 45 minutes deveining shrimp for tomorrow’s potluck. Instead of driving across town on slick streets, I plan to rest, reflect, and roll out the kinks in my shoulders so I can greet the new year with the proper perspective.

I don’t make this decision lightly; we loners need to make ourselves less alone, especially as the world marks its shared moments. This is a good time to come together, but I did too much of that at the end of last year, when I spent two weeks going to basically the same party every night. Then my spent ass flew across country on January 2nd and wore big-girl clothes in a corporate office for two weeks straight. After that draining month, things devolved in every arena of my life: health, home, love, everything. I didn’t catch my breath or find my footing until well past June.

So I’ll stay in tonight, here with you, hoping you’re in good company (I know I am). And I wish you all the best as these short days grow longer. I hope your year begins just the way you want, and that you have everything you need in 2013. I’m not really a maker of resolutions, but I will keep trying to do these five things every day:

> Nourish myself well.
> Create something: beauty, openings, connections.
> Move my body with purpose and joy.
> Talk with someone who loves me.
> Be gentle with myself.

That last one is often the hardest. What are your five things? How do you want your year to unfold? What are you looking forward to in 2013?

Much love, TSR

ford in bogda's glasses_500

PS: I got to spend some time with someone who loves me today. Here’s Ford, who’s all lank and spark these days, wishing you a happy new year surrounded by good friends and lots of laughter.

PPS: And here’s what I’m listening to right now. It’s been on constant rotation here at Subtle HQ. What’s in your ear these days?

PPSS: Yes, those are my glasses.

PPPSS: It’s 8:37 pm and some small part of me wants to resurrect my greasy hair, throw on something festive, and head over to the party. Could happen. We’ll see how we go.

The Ninth Day of Creativity: Ready for Bed at Eight PM Edition

December 30th, 2012

Creative, schmeative. I’m slightly drunky after two glasses of wine, so enjoy this cute baby animal* and I’ll see you all tomorrow.


* Meet Pancake, my brother’s now gargantuan kitten.