Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Day in the Life

Where in the world is Natalie?
My poor blog has sat empty since August, one lone picture of a blue man gracing the front page. As I wrote here, I was hired for a new job over the summer.

Since I signed eleventy billion confidentiality clauses and contracts, I'm going to call my current company Credit Dauphine. I am employed there as an editor, and it is a surprisingly intense amount of work. It has been an adjustment from my stay-at-home days. In addition to a new schedule and job, I continued freelance writing on the side, and kept up the usual balance of friends, family, a marriage, and time for myself. FitC sat quietly in the backseat. This month, I added NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) to the To-Do List, and it's been a joy. I'm still working on finishing, but even if I don't make the goal, it's been fun to work on a novel again.

A recent trend in the blogosphere is to do a photo essay of an average day; taking a photo every hour and chronicling what the blogger does during a random day. It's been a long time since I've shared anything, and I thought that an average day in my life would be a good way to go. I can't promise this will happen again, or if I will even have another moment to blog this month. But it's a hello, a how-are-you-I'm-fine-see?, a day to let you know that I'm thinking of FitC, even if I can't really do much about it.

And it was a very typical day; nothing really grand or unusual happened. One day last week, Jamie brought me cronuts. That was a good day. And earlier this month, I managed to write a huge chunk of my NaNoWriMo story in one go. That was pretty exciting. Oh, and last week I saw Cyndi Lauper and took a trip to Wilmington, N.C. But Tuesday, November 19th, was just a normal day. Come join me.

7:20 a.m.: My alarm goes off. I ignore it, like a true American.

7:50 a.m.: Whoops. I'm running late. Time to get dressed, make coffee, ponder the universe. I get dressed in a super hurry and discover later I'm not quite that put-together since the tank-top I am wearing as a camisole under my sweater is way too long. (British English translation: My vest under my jumper was in a bunch.)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Weekly Flâneur: Up in Smoke

This fellow was hanging out on the side of Heroes Aren't Hard To Find Comics
What do you think his super power is? His name? 
Blue Blunt Man?

Seen in Charlotte, N.C., July 2013

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday QuoteDay

“I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.”

— Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Weekly Flâneur: Parallel Reminders

Warning: Reflections in this mirror may be distorted by socially constructed ideas of 'beauty'

InSpiral Lounge, a small cafe in Camden Town, London, December, 2009. 

you are beautiful

Restaurant X, a small cafe in Davidson, North Carolina, July, 2013.

Thanks, bathroom mirrors of the world, for the reminder.

Things That Happened Today On Twitter

"Everything In My Closet Is Slutty Or Casual: A Journey Of Inappropriate Work Attire, An Autobiography Of Every Morning at 7 A.M." By Natalie

Chapter 1: Why is this shirt covered in cat hair?

Chapter 2: It's not TECHNICALLY strapless, so it works, right?

Chapter 3: Why do you own so many pairs of shorts? You don't even wear shorts. Except the purple ones. But not to work. Don't put those on.

Chapter 4: The many ways in which your ass can no longer fit into those pants you have owned since 2003.

Chapter 5: Did you shave your legs? You didn't. How not-shaven are they? Eh, that dress is long enough.

Chapter 6: Sitting in the middle of your floorobe sighing and checking Facebook will not get you to work on time.

Chapter 7: Define skintight.

Chapter 8: Didn't you wear that Monday?

Chapter 9: Damn it, just throw something on already. No, not that.

Chapter 10: How the many vows to buy appropriate work attire will be forgotten by the time you finish your morning coffee.

Chapter 11: Doing it all again tomorrow as if it were a grand surprise.

(Email me at flaneurinthecity at gmail dot com if you want to follow my personal Twitter. Maybe one day I'll actually use the flaneurinthecity official Twitter account. After I buy a proper pair of trousers and a sensible shirt.)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday QuoteDay

“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.”

 ― Pablo Neruda, Chilean poet, 100 Love Sonnets

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Weekly Flâneur: Two-Tone

Image of two-tone glass skyscraper. Click to enlarge.

Blue on blue, reflecting the sky. 
The architecture of this building reminds me of stair-steps to the clouds. 

Charlotte Plaza, Charlotte (duh), N.C., 2013

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


There are little things about our life together that I am afraid I will forget. Quiet, daily moments that will be swept aside in memory for the big events. There will always be big events; graduations, birthdays, Christmas mornings. Give me the memory of his spoon stirring my morning cup of coffee. The joke we shared through puffs of breath during a late-afternoon run. I do not want to forget the rise and fall of his back as sleeps on his stomach on a dreary Sunday afternoon. The scent of his hair wet from the shower, shampoo and Ivory soap and something that is only him, indescribable.

The rains come again, heavy and incessant. It is summer, it is green and gray and strange to look at the calendar and think: July. This is July. We take a nap Sunday afternoon, because the rain starts again and the wind sends it sideways on the bedroom windows, and it is dark and cool and the weather of hibernation and secrets. We each claim a side of the bed, legs and arms akimbo, spread out, taking space. When it is hot, we neglect to snuggle close, we are a duo that is solo in sleep.

Despite the length of the bed between us, there are times I will wake in the night to find our hands clasped together; in our sleep we find each other, hold on. We start out sleeping apart, I on my side, he on his, curled around pillows or snuggled tight around blankets. Each lost to our own worlds. But somehow in the night we untangle, we cross the space of cold sheets and tossed pillows, our hands reach out and we weave together, my hand in his, his in mine. Unconscious. Unknown. Unable to let go even in dreams.

Some summer day it may not be the sole pair of us; we may have children, we may have a wagging-tailed dog, we may have a house shared with parents or relatives. Some day it may just be him, alone and waiting in this world, this life. Some day, it may be just me, a husband gone, children grown, my hair gray and thin and sparse. On that day, I want to remember the space of time when it was just me and him, our bed an island in a sea of dreams, my fingers moving through sleep, his hand sneaking a way through parted sheets, both safely reaching out in darkness to hold the hand that was made for the other.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Friday QuoteDay

“The only thing I know is this: I am full of wounds and still standing on my feet.”
Nikos Kazantzakis, Greek novelist

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Weekly Flâneur: Red, White, and Blue

Take a bite. Click to enlarge.

Happy 4th of July!
Time to get star spangled hammered. For America!

Red, white, and blue, the fruits of summer are for you. Charlotte, N.C., 2013

Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday QuoteDay

“Let everything happen to you:
beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final”

― Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Adventures In Unemployment

(September Edition is here. February Edition is here.)

Un, Under, Over Edition

First came the Un. Unemployment, the gift of soft pillows, of endless cups of tea, the quiet mornings of empty driveways and empty homes. It can be post-apocalyptic to walk suburbia during a workday morning. Row after row of houses abandoned for 8 hours every day, 5 days a week. The first time around I was in a city neighborhood, and there was always noise, always people. Seventh Street, Plaza-Midwood, Elizabeth. I could walk them all day and never be alone. This time it was just me and the small brown birds, the occasional rabbit, and once, one cold, foggy morning, three white-tailed deer clacking across the sidewalk to greener backyards.

Then came the Under. I worked, but not enough. An article here and there. Under-the-table editing for a bit of spending money. A contract position that was underpaid but steady for a few months. A blog post, a photo, a blurb. It was sometimes exciting, sometimes dull. All the while, I looked for full-time work. I was digging holes in a desert looking for a spring.

Multiple résumés, cover letters, inquiring emails, applications. Smiling through well-meaning advice from employed family and friends ("Have you tried"). Submitting writing samples, portfolios, editing tests. And more than once, squeezing into a business-appropriate pencil skirt and high-collared shirt, my feet in heels, clacking across marbled lobbies into office towers for interviews that would lead to nowhere.

It seemed an Over was ever just out of my reach. Work harder. Ignore the sweat and bleeding palms and dig deeper for a bountiful well. A field of holes was behind me; cracked dry earth ahead. Keep digging, keep scraping, keep going. Is that damp earth? No.

It was an ocean, it was vast and salty on my face, there was an old man building a boat and there were animals swimming by in pairs. Where was once a desert was suddenly a deluge. I was asked to edit a magazine for the summer while the editor-in-chief was on maternity leave. I was asked come in to do some temp work at my old job at the alt weekly. I was asked to write several articles for more than one publication on topics that interested me and were a pleasure to do. I was asked to submit my portfolio for a corporate job. I was asked to send in writing samples for an uptown gig. Swimming, floating, the tidal wave had finally, finally come in. No more vigils on dry, infertile sand.

But then, just as swiftly as the waters came, the course turned. The magazine I was to help edit for the summer folded after only one month of work. My weeks of temp were up. Word came that the corporate job decided to not hire anyone for the moment. The uptown gig fell through. I was alone again with my shovel, muddy, tired, and thirsty. I couldn't remember the taste of fresh water, and the sight of greener backyards. What next?

The only thing to do was pick up and keep digging. The last of the salt water on my face may have been tears. They were well-earned. When I walk the mornings, the houses stand at attention, faceless windows fitful for human bodies. My desktop overflows with résumés. I keep a spreadsheet of all the job applications I've submitted; the final count since the start of the new year reached 173. I've long lost count of the interviews.

It is June, and the sun shines, and the birds sing, and the rains come late afternoons. My desert story ends not with a tidal wave, but a tiny trickle. After a month of worry and walking, the corporate job which previously decided not to hire, called. If I wanted it, the job was mine.

Here now, in the waning green month of June, comes the Over.

Friday, June 21, 2013

You Find Me: The Advice Round

Much like the recent Weird Facebook Ads, I will occasionally write a routine post after I check my stats and see who is visiting FitC and what brought them here. Previous searches are here, here, and these two here. Today's round is dedicated to those looking to FitC for advice. I'm sorry that I am your source for wise counsel, but I'll do my best at supplying the advice you seek.


FitC advice: Do not do this. This is not a Thing. This will only result in pain and chaffing and, if mixed with vinegar, a penis volcano. Contrary to how cool that sounds, it is not sexy nor comfortable. Nobody wants that for you.

2.) Not Even Close

FitC advice: Well. If you would like to donate funds to make FitC into Dan Feuerriegel's Wikipedia, there's a PayPal button to your right. It will take a few million, so have at it. Dollars or Euros is fine by me. Looks like you get the star for this round.

Other than that, I don't think FitC is quite what you're looking for. (How do you feel about David Bowie? Yes? No? Come for the Dan, stay for the Bowie?) Anyway, here's his Twitter:

3.) If I Had It, I Would Share It

FitC advice: Call Iman. She's got the goods.

4.) Are You Asking?

FitC advice: Does Daniel Feuerriegel have a girlfriend? I don't know. Or is this Dan Feuerriegel looking for a girlfriend? Well, alright, Danny-boy. Since you asked in such a round-about way, yes. I'll be your girlfriend. I'm sure my husband won't mind. Do you like David Bowie? You do now.

This image totally does not belong to me. Found via every Dan tumblr in existence.
I spelled your name right multiple times. In Internet terms, that probably means we've reached first base. Your move, Dan.

5.) Magical

FitC advice: Is this real? A whole shop devoted to nothing but BOWIE?! Where is this magical place? Take me there. Like Narnia. I will hop in any wardrobe for Bowie.

I want to go to there.
If it's not real, my advice is for everyone to empty out their piggy banks and we'll open a Bowie shop ourselves. AshleyISee has already named it Bowie's Boudoir. Let's do this.

Friday QuoteDay

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” 
― Ray Bradbury, American author, from Zen in the Art of Writing

Weekly Flâneur: Rosy

Pink roses by lake. Click to enlarge.

Rosy Summer Days are here!

Happy Summer Solstice, Northern Hemisphere! 

Let's go dance in the sun. 

Wild roses growing by Lake Wylie, McDowell Nature Preserve, Charlotte, N.C.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday QuoteDay

"Under the current ‘tyranny of slenderness’ women are forbidden to become large or massive; they must take up as little space as possible. The very contours of a woman’s body takes on as she matures -- the fuller breasts and rounded hips -- have become distasteful. The body by which a woman feels herself judged and which by rigorous discipline she must try to assume is the body of early adolescence, slight and unformed, a body lacking flesh or substance, a body in whose very contours the image of immaturity has been inscribed. The requirement that a woman maintain a smooth and hairless skin carries further the theme of inexperience, for an infantilized face must accompany her infantilized body, a face that never ages or furrows its brow in thought. The face of the ideally feminine woman must never display the marks of character, wisdom, and experience that we so admire in men.”

— Sandra L. Bartky, philosopher, "Foucault, Femininity and the Modernization of Patriarchal Power," in Feminism and Foucault: Paths of Resistance

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Weekly Flâneur: Peachy Keen

Image of ripe peaches in wooden baskets. Click to enlarge.
Summer time!

In the last years of my grandfather's life, his home in a wooded area had two large, unruly peach trees growing in the backyard. My mother would send me outside to pick peaches, but I would spend more time sitting in the tree and eating my fill than plucking a supply for later. Since the trees were left unattended and overgrown, the best fruits were at the top, and it took bare feet and scratched arms and legs to climb through the bramble of branches. Totally worth it though, and my memories of summer are forever peach-flavored. 

If you ever find yourself on a road trip in the South, no matter where you go, there will be a stand somewhere along the way selling both fireworks and Georgia or South Carolina peaches by the basket. They will be your best purchase. The fruits of summer are waiting for you.

Sweet peaches from the King's Drive Farmer's Market in Charlotte, N.C., June 2013