waves

When I moved in here, I chatted with my landlords out in the space between our yards. It was August and route 6 was a wall of traffic from one end to the other. “It kind of sounds like waves, like surf,” she said. “if you pretend.”

June has been so gentle. The weather cool every morning, a sweatshirt as I walk the dog, marveling at just how clean the air is. The days long, golden, light. It can’t last.

The sunshine moves like water on my pillow, on the window.

Last night it stormed. Not a true thunderstorm, just a distant rumble and some soft rain and then the eerie yellow sunset through the clouds which is one of my favorite lights in the world (favorite: black thunderclouds being lit by a cloudless setting sun, you know the one, if I could draw a picture you’d understand). My cottage turned gold, windows glowing with it, and I read a book that took me from even to destroyed in the space of 50 pages.

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Today at work I told a coworker about it. “It’s not the same,” I said, “but the crisis mode they’re living in, the exhaustion and sorrow and humor and the way you feel like you’re just holding on, making it up as you go, life and death and wanting to go to sleep all the time,” and he nodded because he knows, too, for different reasons.

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Tonight I told myself no distractions, just the quiet of my room, the windows open, books and music and early bed. The more I distract myself the less I know myself, and I need to make room. June’s come in gentle and cool this year, every day under 80 a glittering gift. I wake up and the sun is pouring through my window, the constant wind of the coast making water like patterns on my walls, bed, every surface. At night the sun comes down to eye level across the cottage, a micro magic hour.

 

My answer, then. I’ll remember this time by the light it cast.

only the echoes of my mind.

I remind myself every day that it’s in this moment that I can choose who I want to be. It’s sometimes useful and sometimes makes me roll my eyes because nothing is really that profound in my life.

 

I’m reading Alibis by Andre Aciman, and in an essay about time and memory and Proust find this:

 

With temporizers, experience is meaningless–it is not even experience–unless it comes as the memory of experience, or, which amounts to the same, as the memory of unrealized experience….It is only when it’s too late that one comes to understand how close one came to bliss…or how needless our sorrows were when they drove us to despair.

 

I watch my life from two steps back: This is who I am, and this is what I’ll look like to myself in a years time, five years time, ten. The shiny ivy of DC is what I thought I’d remember about my apartment in SW, not the walk from it to L’enfant, the statues in the parking lot, the rats along side the church, thinking about writing while Rufus Wainwright sung Hallelujah in my ears and a man halfheartedly blew dead leaves into piles on the sidewalk.

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Last summer is the moment of floating in the pond I only found at the very end of the season, early morning, 5:30 or 6 am when it was still and already hot and Baxter paced the shore alongside my lazy strokes. I remember the good clean feeling of being exhausted from the water, getting dressed for work, washing sand and leaves off my skin. And why that instead of the countless pricks and sorrows of last summer? Because my life is a story I was telling myself, and that moment was the one that I liked best.

I’ve been drifting a little, struggling to find a balance between responsibility and work and life and commutes and all the other things that make up my mundane self at the moment. I’m feeding on the energy of the season beginning, though, all the people flooding over the bridges, into the stores, on the roads, on the trails, in the water. Windows open to the sweetness of June, unwilling to put the A/C up just yet.

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In this moment I can choose who I am, and maybe watch my life from a step closer.

I had strange, disjointed dreams and woke up disquieted. I will be honest: just surviving this week feels like a goddamn triumph. And there’s this voice in my head reminding me of how much harder other people have it, and I know that, I DO, but I’ve been reliving the worst week of my life in real time in some dark recess of my brain and I can’t make it stop. Today, a year ago, this is what was happening. Today, a year ago, I …

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So, yes, getting through the day, doing good work, keeping up with the very basics to be functioning (sleep, eat, shower, repeat) feels like an uphill climb. It’ll pass. But it’s been a year, and anniversaries matter whether you will or no, and so.

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Tides.

A day in the life.

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I kept hearing that these Philips lights are life changing. I wouldn't go that far, but it's true that I wake up without a blaring alarm every damn morning now. On the other hand, the slowly brightening light wakes the dog up at 5:30. Still, the sunlight effect is lovely!

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Send the dog outside into the chilly morning. He is not pleased.

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We make up with it with playtime. Toys only last a day in his world.

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I don't have any caffeine in the house, so I'm stuck with seltzer. Luckily, Polar Seltzer is mana from the gods. There was an article on Boston.com last year about how obsessive Polar fans are; I feel that.

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Shower time! I have fully embraced the slight kitchy-ness of my cabin, down to the fake wood panelling on the walls, so this new shower curtain makes me smile.

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Face stuff. I am too lazy for makeup but day cream makes me feel a little brighter.

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March sunlight is already taking my breath away; so dramatic and gorgeous.

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I've been struggling a bit, still, with the aftermath of my father's death and with the pure crisis mode I lived in for years before he died; I was a horrible friend in that time. Today's Carolyn Hax made me feel guilty and better all at once. I haven't been brave enough to try to reach out to those amazing friends, yet. But I will get better, and I will.

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Baxter. I JUST vacuumed.

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Oh man, weather. I'm getting whiplash.

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Journal, to-do list, and a quick mental pep talk.

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I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't buy any new games until I finished the ones I own, and apparently that stretches to freemium games on the iPad. I'm about half done with Final Fantasy Record Keeper.

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Oh, look at how bright it's getting. Time to go to work.

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I commute an hour each way daily, so audio books, podcasts and plays are my saviors. I was excited to find a Poirot I hadn't heard before, even if it wasn't read by my One True Poirot (David Suchet). Hugh Fraser's pretty good, though, although it's a bit weird to hear Hastings do Poirot.

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I rarely find time to leave for lunch anymore, so I stop by whole foods for breakfast and lunch. Bit pricey, but tastes good. Plus, they're my local source for my favorite caffeine drink, hi-ball.

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And here we are, at work.

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Quiet before I unlock the doors for the day.

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It's 1pm before I get a chance to make a to-do list. This day is kicking my ass.

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Breakfast, working on Animal Crossing for that same goal (I've decided that when my house is completely expanded and paid off, I'll call it finished). I try not to do work on lunch but I can't help replying to an email or two.

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By the time I look up next, it's nearly closing. I've got my inbox down to 19 emails though, which feels like a success.

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Time to lock the doors and gtfo.

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Got some boxes today! The huge one is a wedge pillow, which I bought because I don't have room for a comfy chair in the house.

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The other box has shoes! And a couple of books. I've been using variations of these shoes for over a year now and adore them.

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Chat with my brother; my little nephew is sick with a terrible bug and has thrown up for only the second time in his life. So traumatic for a little guy.

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Unbox the final bit of stuff, new clothes! I'm super excited to wear the owl skirt this spring. Warmer weather is so close.

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More playtime. This toy did not last any longer than his others, despite my futile hopes.

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Smug.

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I'm disturbed to see my rug staring back up at me. Honestly, dog.

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I ask him to explain the eye and he explains by cuddling.

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The house is half neat, half disorganized. I need to get things in order.

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Better. ish.

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More mana from the heavens.

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Browse the web, play some Mass Effect 2. Shep just looks skeptical and or snarky about 99% of the time and I adore her.

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Realize how late it's getting. To keep me honest in my goals, my friend and I created a joint blog about the games we're playing and the progress we're making on our backlog. I make 15 minute sketches about my week in games and then blather lots; Freddie Prinze Jr.'s stream on Twitch keeps me company. Seriously, can't believe that guy streams, but I love it. Especially when he tells stories in the Iron Bull voice.

And thence to sleep! Thanks for reading!

Eeyore.

Doesn’t mean much, I know. I keep promising myself to write more and I keep…not.

 

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I’m under clouds, wordless. But I’ll power through and find the words.

Golly gee, fellas.

Been a while. I’ve been posting some video game thoughts with Ch00ber over at The Actual Worst, and I’ve been drowning in work. Seriously, by the time I look up from work most days it’s already 4 or 5, and I’m racking up steps.

 

I’m most of the way through On Beauty, but the end is catapulting into unhappiness and the writing is beautiful, it’s a gorgeous book, but it’s already broken my heart once and it’s about to break my heart again and apparently my capacity for heartbreak is at an all time low at the moment.

 

Life continues apace.

 

Books.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading over this holiday season — finally finishing the excellent Skippy Dies, and halfway through the very long but glorious Ten Years in the Tub by Nick Hornby. Skippy Dies was really quite good — likable, heartbreaking — but I often struggle with books where I can see myself hurtling towards a horrific moment. In Skippy’s case, that moment comes about 50 pages into the books (hardly a spoiler, considering the title), but then time rewinds and the months leading up to his death are replayed.  It’s hard to remember what it was like being a teenager, but my high school years were horrid. My junior year was so bad that I blocked huge portions of it out: I was a mess, and a jerk with it. And Skippy Dies hit that jerky mess perfectly, because I wasn’t a bad kid and neither are these. They’re sweet kids, mostly, who will grow up to be fine adults, and it’s just being a teenager.

Also fine writing. I enjoyed this biting swipe at a particularly unlikeable adult:

‘What is it they’re playing again, Father?’

‘Pachelbel’s Canon in D,’ Father Laughton says, adding, after a moment of internal debate, ‘You might recognize it from the current advertisement for the Citroën Osprey.’

The Automator nods. ‘Quality,’ he comments, settling back in his chair.

Nick Hornby’s Ten Years in the Tub is a great palette cleanser, because I like reading about books almost as much as I like reading them and I have a soft spot in my heart for the Believer ANYHOW so it’s perfect. I’m so glad I wasn’t hit with one of the other depressing books currently in my stack. I’ve chomped it down, more than halfway in two days (ok, look, I’ve been working and it’s 500 pages so that’s an achievement) and I’ll be so sad to leave the cozy world of books on books and back into, you know, just books.

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Oh and also I read The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming (a Holiday Story) by Lemony Snicket; my brother wisely deduced that this book was not for the nephew but it cheered me up immensely; the Latke feels lonely and out of place in a sleepy village filled with Christmas decorations — each of whom infuriates him so much he ran away screaming, until he finally finds peace with a Jewish family. Peace, pieces, whatever.
Anyhow, November and December were horrid and 2015 was the pits for so many reasons but now it’s going to be January, going to be a fresh year, fresh moments, fresh tries. So, see you in my inevitable New Year’s earnest post. Mwah.

 

 

 

A week of being grateful.

I thought the blues would pass with November, the lights and cheer of December worming their way into my heart. I drove home from Thanksgiving buoyed by family and love and then almost instantly found myself struggling all over again.

 

December was never going to be a cakewalk this year, but I find myself driving home in tears, thinking about Dad, about tradition, about what it used to be like to pick up the phone and call him. And work is busy and stressful and I think everyone feels more or less the same about December and there’s really not a whole lot of goodwill toward man floating around.

I read a post from a sweetly earnest girl saying “Christmas is what you make it!” which — well, frankly, frankly, UGH. I see those words covered in glitter and lights and hallmark music playing and maybe a lifetime movie through every letter and I get it, I appreciate the sentiment, but ugh. This year Christmas ain’t going to be much. But I don’t really want to give in to that, I want to remember the joy. How do I remember the joy.

On Thanksgiving, my aunt gave me my great-aunt Mary’s christmas tree. Everyone in the family had one, although I think the one we had on Adams Street was green with multicolored lights. I like this one, which speaks so clearly to Aunt Mary: feminine and nostalgic and slightly fussy.IMG_0452

It took a week to unbox it, set it up, and when I did I took a quick picture. “Need all the good memories,” I wrote on instagram. And I do. I need to draw the past around me like a blanket, pick and polish the gems of the present. That little Christmas tree in its 70s glory suits my kitschy little cabin, and it reminded me of gentle Aunt MaryIMG_0093

Growing up, we had peonies in the back garden. They were Mom’s specialty (I don’t know what her favorite flower was, really: the sweet smelling wild colored roses, or the irises, or the zinnias that grew waist high against the house?). They bloomed for her birthday every year, and she’d bring them into the house where we’d inevitably find ants eating away at the sugar coating, letting them unfurl.

IMG_0453This fellow and his enormous big nose. There was a moment in August I thought he’d be gone sooner than I was ready for, gone and gone and I wasn’t ready for that. And then he turned it around, and he’s getting old and I may not have him for much longer but he’s here with me this Christmas, all huge eyes and nose where it shouldn’t be and leaning against me for comfort, for pets, and for the occasional kiss when my face gets too close
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This little clown here lived on Depot St at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Grandpa had a whole collection of toys, mostly windup. The little godzilla that breathed fire, the eyes on feet, flipping their eyeglasses up and down, the king kong who climbed up and down an empire state building, the little toy plane made out of pressed tin. We used to line them up on parades, and the rest of the time they’d sit on a high shelf, this unassuming collection. I don’t particularly like clowns, but I loved this guy, spinning him endlessly on his bar. His outfit has been darned, his hat superglued on, and still he spins.IMG_0461

A letter from a friend came in the mail last week and I opened it immediately and then savored the reading of it hours later, a treat at the end of a tedious day. Words on paper, a card, a person out there thinking of me, sharing with me. A friend who treasures the same things I do, values the time spent writing, caring.IMG_0456

Grandma’s necklace. She didn’t wear it all the time, but I remember it over many a sensible sweater. Mom gave it to her, a gift from Kuwait. And when Grandma died, it was the only thing I wanted to remember her by. Dad made me promise: never take it off. Wear it every day. And I do. When I’m stressed or sad I find myself fishing it out of my shirt, holding it, not really thinking of them but maybe, somehow, thinking of them.
IMG_0094 My little cabin in the morning, light beams streaming through the window. This place is mine, a space that is only mine, a place I can be alone. I treasure those plays of light through the window, against the wall, on the pages of my book. I treasure every quiet minute there.

 

Seven days, and I don’t really think I felt that much better at the end but you know, I do now, I do for having written it out. Seven days in a long December, at the start of a long winter, and there it is, a hint of the joy of the past and maybe a promise that there are still joys to come.

 

Joyeux Noël.

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