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.

From Skippy Dies

You know, you spend your childhood watching TV, assuming that at some point in the future everything you see there will one day happen to you … gradually the awful truth dawns on you: that Santa Claus was just the tip of the iceberg — that your future will not be the rollercoaster ride you’d imagine, that the world occupied by your parents, the world of washing the dishes, going to the dentist, weekend trips to the DIY superstore to buy floor-tiles, is actually largely what people mean when they speak of ‘life’. Now, with every day that passes, another door seems to close, the one marked PROFESSIONAL STUNTMAN or FIGHT EVIL ROBOT, until as weeks go by and the doors – GET BITTEN BY SNAKE, SAVE WORLD FROM ASTEROID, DISMANTLE BOMB WITH SECONDS TO SPARE — keep closing, you begin to hear the sound a a good thing, and start closing some yourself, even ones that didn’t necessarily need to be closed . . .

Hit me right in the feels. Replace TV with books and PROFESSIONAL STUNTMAN with MAGICAL HERO and that’s my life.

Sailors take warning

There was a red sky this morning, high scudding clouds and low racers flying across them. The trees are mostly bare, except pines and stubborn oaks. I saw a comet on my drive home the other night, one of the Leonids, a flash and streak of blue before it burned out.

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I’m run down and weary. Maybe I’m fighting something off, maybe I’m just stressed out. I’m back to only wanting to curl up and watch stupid videos (twitch streams mostly) at night and be asleep before 10. I know part of it is just transition. Part is just November.

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November, when it’s not yet the cold clear of winter, but after it’s the pretty fall. Brown and olive and drab everywhere you look. Low skies. Temperatures up and down and I go to bed freezing but wake up hot. And I’m just sad. It came back in a wave. When I’m stressed my defenses are down and it creeps back in. Did it think I forgot?

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I had a stress dream: relieving the last week, trying desperately to change things, but the outcome was always the same. The next night I dreamed of a zombie outbreak, of hiding desperately, pretending to be dead, finally giving myself away in a bid to protect someone else.

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I just need to get inspiration back. Steady breaths.

just for a while…

It’s been a while since I’ve had an album get under my skin the way Woman by Rhye has. It’s already a few years old and I liked it when it first came out but now it’s just on repeat, all the time, in my head.

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Marconi Beach at dusk.

I think about it a lot: if I hadn’t made such an effort to listen to whole albums I would’ve missed out on this. It’s so PRETENTIOUS of me to think that way but it’s true.

That’s on my mind a bit because I finally caved and got internet in the cabin. (Sidenote: I want to give the cabin a name!) and I don’t want to undo the good work I’ve been doing on my attention span. Already, I feel like I’m overdosing on having instant access again: watching five seconds of a stream here, an hour there, netflix streams, changing the radio constantly. And oh, how I love the Amazon Echo. Walk in the door, ask Alexa to play x on Pandora, and instant, comforting noise.

 

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Last night of Mac’s Seafood for the season; they were seasonally appropriate

I’m realizing there are beaucoup benefits to living where I do, as well. It’s stunning how different Wellfleet feels to the mid-Cape, and how different the upper Cape is to both. They’re these little regions in a larger region, all culturally unique. Wellfleet feels like a place people live and work, not just a place people vacation (or retire). The people watching at the grocery is so varied. And then there’s the water — everywhere. Everywhere.

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The sky over Wellfleet harbor

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November

I miss things about the old house, but I love that this place is mine. No one else’s. Mine.

 

Doom and Gloom on an October Day

Woke up in the predawn, gloom in my heart. No real reason. Rolled over, stared at the ceiling, thought about the day ahead, exhausted before I even moved. No real reason for it. Nothing so bad in my day today — a couple of meetings, a one on one. Getting time to focus in. The tourists are gone. Baxter sleeping soundly, snoring next to the bed, happy in the cool.

 

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Clear sky on the drive in, the high blue of October, still golden, fragile in the pause before winter. Last night the sunset was spectacular – dark grey pregnant clouds ahead, pink and purple behind me, in a flat line. Lines of car on suicide alley, headlights on. Getting dark early.DSC00631

 

 

My cough is finally fading after a week; fever dreams just a memory. So why the doom, heart. Why the irrational, generalized anxiety (the snow falls general over Ireland), the sense of listlessness, the emptiness? Is it just that you want to be a jerk, heart? Brain? Just don’t want to get it together?

 

 

New sheets on the bed tonight, brushed microfiber. Windows open to the chill, buried in blankets and pillows. A book. A fall flavored candle. Apple Cider, a fall treat. Lights on against the night. Heart, I’ll give it to you, just buck up. Stop mourning a million losses, stop fighting against the joys that we have today. Things are ok.

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