Archive for the ‘self’ Category

thirty-five

Friday, March 16th, 2012

I’ve chosen a hard path with this parenting thing, but you know what? It’s fascinating, too. And sometimes it’s just plain wonderful.

Today I’m thirty-five. I’ve already gotten well over half a dozen well wishes on Twitter, in email, via SMS, and in person. Soon my mom and her partner will come over, and tonight other friends and loved ones will drop in for snacks and company. I am rich beyond compare.

Nico is in his crib—we’re experimenting with putting him to sleep there. I won’t be giving up co-sleeping for a long while yet, but it’ll be nice if there’s another place he can snooze without being rocked (as he is in the awesome hand-me-down swing we have, where he can sleep for hours). Exploring, exploring.

He was all smiles today. All in all, worries and hurdles aside, I lead a pretty charmed life. If you’re part of it and reading this: thank you.

(P.S. He FELL ASLEEP IN THE CRIB. New skill!)

#reverb10 two: obstacle

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

(I’m participating in Reverb 10. You can, too!)

Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?

I was at a loss as to how to start answering that, because I don’t think of myself primarily, or even in second place, as a writer. But then a friend reminded me to substitute my own creative mode for writing. Right.

So, here’s what I do every day that prevents me from making new things, whether they be food or web pages or, er, “work” (generating new content as part of my job, but I am lucky enough to not separate “work” from “life”): I escape into others’ stories.

At home, I watch TV. To my occasional chagrin, Hulu and Netflix and YouTube all carry content with good storylines, and I’m a sucker for those. I watch things like Doctor Who and House and Fringe. And Glee, mostly because choir (including show choir, but 30-150 of us instead of a dozen) was my favorite part of the high school experience. And movies, sometimes. These stories are so wholly unconnected to most of the rest of my life that I just tune it all out. The constant noise in my head stops for those fifty minutes. I also watch brain candy, like medical dramas and (until I lost interest, because the stories are too formulaic) Bones. That’s to escape in another way.

Books have good stories too, but I tend to read while commuting. Ever since I became multilingual, first learning English and then almost immediately throwing myself into Italian, reading is a more conscious act than I’d like. Skimming is difficult; most reading processes take a lot more time than they did when I was eleven. Losing myself in a book is hard, so I don’t use them to escape so much as practice diving again and again.

Could I eliminate these compelling distractions? Of course. Here’s the thing, though: I don’t want to eliminate them. Sure, they can siren-sing me into oblivion. And sure, I’m not creating as much as I’d like. But these escapes give me two important tools. One is inspiration; input is at the core of everything. The other is a place and time to let things percolate subconsciously—a restful night’s sleep for creativity. So it’s a matter of finding balance. Balance is difficult for me to find, let alone sustain. The only way I’ve found to deal with this is iteration, practice, which is hard! It’s hard in itself, and it’s also hard because it involves shedding deeply ingrained assumptions of what activities constitute wasting time and, if I’m not careful, carry a dose of guilt (an unproductive time and energy sink).

At work, I read a lot—and sometimes catch myself at reading just for the story, failing to notice when an article (or blog post, or tweet) might lead me to new thoughts and new work. Escaping into stories that way, just to find out what people are doing without reflecting on how it ties into my own work, is no more damaging than escaping into television—but it is more wasteful. So at work, I work on my reading skills and on remembering that all those authors I read are writing about things directly relevant to what I do. Again, practice; but this time, instead of balance, the goal is increased mindfulness.

#reverb10 one: word

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

(I’m participating in Reverb 10. You can, too!)

One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

Grounding.

I feel solid, personally—about time, I tell ya. It’s been a long three years since my separation from my life partner, and that’s ceasing to define me.

I’ve sunk my roots into Boston even further. Home feels like home. People feel like my people. Everything is always in transition, but many days this year I’ve been struck by how living feels. It feels like it did when I was a kid: sometimes, I’m not distracted by whatever’s in my head. Time goes more slowly. My filters aren’t filtering out quite so much of the world. I notice more little things—not beautiful little things, but ordinary ones. The sounds of street traffic, out there, all the time. The shuffle of the old lady passing by my window. People’s movement through Davis Square, in aggregate.

A ton of new knowledge acquired. This grounds me in my profession. Speaking of which: I have a new job. It’s still at BU, and starts in a couple of weeks, at which point I’ll write more about it. The job is also grounding: it will draw much more fully on my skillset, and further solidifies my geographic position.

I keep wanting to write something about Mark, and how our relationship relates to Word of the Year for me—it does in a cardinal, astounding way. But I haven’t yet figured out (again, post-divorce) how much I want to write about my personal life involving other people. So, redacted.

Taking up weight lifting again has helped my body feel more sound. Pun intended!

So: compared to this time last year, much better grounded.

Next year could have so many defining words that would thrill me. One possibility I wouldn’t mind: joy.

lately

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Life’s been chugging along, and the best I can do sometimes is keep up. In the now-venerable tradition of good-thing, bad-thing, here’s my week and a half, give or take.

  • ++ Birthday! I had one. I went out to dinner with mom and Vlad, and later had a party. It was well attended by lovely people; Mark supplied lights and gorgeous swathes of cloth to drape around things; the food was appreciated; much merriment was had.
  • – Then last Monday I started feeling sick.
  • – Then last Tuesday I came in sick to cover library supervision in the evening (until 9pm), and proceeded to lie on the table floor for most of the time I was in, unable even to watch stupid TV online, much less work.
  • — Then Wednesday I discovered that what I had was strep throat! I don’t remember whether I’d ever had it before; certainly not since I got to the States almost twenty (!!) years ago.
  • + Yet I recognized it for what it must be, went to get myself checked out (thanks for the encouragement, mom), and got
  • +++ penicillin, which is a wonder of (semi-)modern medicine, even though it’s kicking my butt by greatly diminishing my baseline energy level. But hey, it’s only for ten days.
  • – Meanwhile, I missed my weekly playdate/kid-sitting night with four year old Natalie. SO looking forward to seeing her today.
  • ++ On Saturday, I had fantastic dinner with my family, all of them—even brother Zhenya, sisinlaw Jo Ann and nephew Tesher came up for this—as a first, early celebration of my mom’s 70th birthday (coming up in May). I do so like hanging out with them, particularly when it involves food and then sleeping in my own bed.
  • + The last two nights, I had excellent dates, with conversations and food and laughing that left me feeling hale and whole.
  • + Yesterday, I finally finished up the saga of having had to have a tooth extracted a year and a half ago, then get an implant, then get a crown for the implant. Dentistry has been the bain of my didn’t-grow-up-with-fluoride-in-my-water body, and I’m glad this one’s over.
  • ++ Also yesterday, I acquired a physical therapist and a therapy schedule to finally fix a year-and-a-half-old shoulder injury. I like the therapist, and I like that he’s two T stops away from the building where I work. Major win.
  • + I’ve been productive and happy at work (except for that miserable evening with the strep throat). We submitted an NEH grant proposal; I’ve been talking to faculty about teaching with technology; we have several IT and digital library projects going; and as terrifying as it is to essentially be my own boss most days, I’m also learning new stuff at a pace I can feel. Mostly learning about managing time and expectations. Valuable stuff.
  • – Work is also exhausting and often frustrating. Yesterday I shut down my computer after reviewing and commenting on four long library policy documents, and literally couldn’t think for a while, just let myself be on autopilot going home.
  • + Good thing cooking perks me right up.
  • – I’ve also been chronically under-sleeping again, mostly by making bad time-management choices in favor of being with good people.
  • + Good thing I got plenty of sleep while sick with strep throat!
  • + On a different note, I’m participating in a Tufts study on how people manage their personal finances (or at least that’s what they claim the study is about). This got me thinking more deeply about my own personal finances, and once again coming to a conclusion that I can manage them well even if the jam-tomorrow enticements that just keep coming from my ex never materialize, and I have to pay his share of our mutual debts too. I wouldn’t be happy doing it, but not having any choice, find it more pleasant to be sanguine about it. Of course I have a rant about that, but that’s not the point: the point is, this isn’t driving me crazy anymore.
  • +This past weekend, I saw a bunch of old friends and acquaintances from my days of hanging out on the interactive fiction MUD.  I also got to see a screening of the excellent documentary Get Lamp, by Jason Scott of textfiles fame, which (both Get Lamp and textfiles) I’m highly recommending if you’re into that sort of thing.
  • ++ My house and my life are full of people so good in so many ways, it makes me dizzy sometimes.

And these are just the highlights. Life’s full, and mostly good.

and now for something completely different.

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Something Completely Different — SCD — is the name of my house. It’s a good house, with good caring quirky people who have been extremely indulgent of me these past couple of weeks.

Good thing, because I haven’t been well lately. Out of the last week and a half, I’ve spent about four full days in bed, watching Farscape and intermittently crying, hating the world, hating myself and resenting the fact that sometimes I have to talk to human beings.

I’ve written about SAD before, though not at any length. It’s not cool to write about depression, and I mostly don’t have the words to do it right. But here’s my experience of it anyway, in the name of context and better understanding.  Here are some things that happen regularly in the winter.

  • It doesn’t seem to hit until it gets cold.  Then it hits with a vengeance.  A sane person would move somewhere warmer, but my people and my life are here, and I love it here except for the damn SAD.
  • I cry a lot.
  • Sleep is erratic: I stay up too late and get up too early or too late, and my sleep schedule gets all out of whack.  For example, it’s 1am now.
  • Because of this, a 9-5ish work schedule is excruciatingly hard.  I operate at about a third of my usual capacity for weeks on end.
  • Until I get angry enough that something flips and I’m a productive fiend.  There’s no telling how long that will last before I have to build up an anger reserve again. (Gosh, put that way, there must be a better way to flip that switch.)
  • (There are better ways, but their effectiveness is no more predictable than anything else during the cold season.)
  • Mood shifts are unpredictable.  My arsenal of coping strategies for this is impressive.
  • I get even more down on myself than I usually am.
  • Accomplishments feel hollow unless I work very hard to make my brain think (but not really believe) otherwise.
  • Good, positive things that people say to me take about five times more effort than usual to sustain in my mind without perverting them somehow.  “She didn’t really mean that.  He doesn’t really think that.”
  • I feel helpless.
  • I eat erratically, which in itself affects my mood.  That’s a nasty feedback loop.
  • It’s even more effort than usual to drink enough water.
  • Everything is more effort than usual.
  • I get lonely but can stand to spend only limited time with large groups of people, even people I adore.  Cravings for one-on-one company are overwhelming, so I sequester myself in order to not become a barnacle to my closest people.
  • Accepting genuine offers of help is nearly impossible, and the need to respond to them often reduces me to tears.  Of course, I also crave the offers of help.
  • Everything takes more energy.  Everything.  Brushing my teeth, setting down the computer, reading a book, getting enthused about food, everything.

I could go on.

I’m still functional, still me, still capable of surviving — at least I don’t battle suicidal ideation these days.  But it’s a nasty, debilitating, unpredictable depression, and I’m tired of it.

Still, life goes on, right?  Right.  It’s been intercession for a week now, with a few days to go, and the days that I haven’t spent in bed have been full.  I’ve attended parties, gone through all my clothing and the stuff in storage boxes, reduced the amount of stuff I possess again, reviewed three conference paper proposals, put my dissertation back up online and tweaked it to update the logistical bits, backed up all my data, hosted locally *and* remotely, spent some quality time with friends and beloveds.

The only thing left on my to-do list is this grant proposal that I’m supposed to start writing before the end of break.  Maybe I’ll get to it tomorrow morning and actually have three and a half days of true vacation without any obligations beyond the familial.  Maybe I won’t get to it at all, and feel bad.  The part about feeling bad never goes away.

So I’m exhausted.

Depression is real.  Seasonal depression is particularly hard to deal with because, though it may be finite, it’s also completely unpredictable… like the weather, I suppose.

Life goes on, and we all go on, but some of us are craving sunlight and warmth a little more than others.  Probably more than is reasonable.  If you don’t, and you have the opportunity to be someone’s ray of sunshine, please do.  ‘Tis the brutal season.

darker and curiouser

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

A few weeks ago, due to a fantastic coincidence of events and a generous friend willing to share the experience, I saw Kate Bornstein perform. She’s a force of nature, she is. She was standing before us, all 75 or so audience members, revealing to us bits of her head and heart with her own words. She used Keynote freely, showed us slide shows of family pictures, talked about her parents separately and together. These days his mom thinks he’s a nice girl.

She talked about living in the interstices of definition, defying it and longing for it or something similar, recognition of what she is, at any rate. “Look at me,” she half-invited, half-acknowledged. “I’m not a woman.” Then smirked, “I’m not a man, either.”

I mean, I’ve known for a long time that gender is a continuum, but I’d never been in the presence of someone so fluid, so grounded, so kind and generous and loving after having been through a hell of haze and doubts and danger — because we beat and kill and damage transgendered people, because we fear the absence of neat little boxes — that I’ll only ever imagine.

The end of her evening’s performance took me by surprise, and I stood there with Michel, shell-shocked, at words’ end. Later we talked with Kate for a few minutes, and I must’ve articulated something or other well, because she asked me if I was a writer. The question took me aback, and I spent most of the rest of the evening composing this post in my head, but that was weeks ago and is lost to time. Now I dust off dim recollections to make them shiny again for a moment.

This is why I don’t think of myself as a writer: to me, that identification comes with a need to write, and what I have is the occasional need to cook.

Been cooking… some. In the last month I’ve made kickass chocolate pudding (for the first time ever; what took me so long?), water chestnuts wrapped in bacon (thank you, fellow party goer, for the idea), bacon wrapped asiago stuffed dates (ditto), and a bunch of unremarkable meals, some involving bacon. I need a challenge involving reasonably priced ingredients.

Thanksgiving, though, oh! It was perfect. I dislike the holiday, I think it puts gratitude in bad historical company, but this year it was exactly right. Four of us, just my brother, sister IL, nephew and me. (Mom opted to stay in MA, as she and her partner were taking off for warmer places that weekend.)

We had no dinner table. We had things in the oven and other things on the grill, and no timing congruency at all. We ate food as it got done, cooked with wine glasses in hand and chatted. All evening. Then we spent most of the rest of the weekend sitting by the fire with tasty drinks, mustard seeds, mortars and pestles, other fiddly food tasks such as scraping out a dozen roasted squashes, and ice cream. It was pretty much my idea of idyll.


Emily and Jesse are settling in, and the house is homey. Emily’s cat Destroyer of Worlds (Mundi, for short) is getting comfortable despite Nochka’s grumpy growling. Life is re-acquiring a rhythm at SCD.

Work is the kind of chaos that makes you throw your hands up in the air and go with it.

Winter is undeniably here, in my ribcage. Copious amounts of vitamin D help a surprising amount, but winter still sucks.

Still, Equinox (wedding anniversary) is past, and November 17 (the day my marriage was pronounced dead) is gone, and we’re fumbling towards Solstice. Strange, that in only two weeks the days will start growing again. Autumn lasted so long that wintry weather is really only just beginning. The time of long sleep, warm blankets and tiny LEDs is upon us.

more words

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Got five more from a woman of much insight, so naturally, they’re good to write about.

Thoughtful. A quality I am told I possess, and certainly one I seek out in others. My default synonym for it is not so much “considerate” or “compassionate” as “thinking.” A person of action who thinks before she acts is even better. I personally tend more toward thinking than action, and work to balance the two out. Right now, spring into summer into fall, is the best time for me to do that.

Provided that, you know, we get any actual summer over here. My friend Rosa recently remarked that summer had fallen on a [4th of July] weekend in Boston this year, but I hold out hope that we’ll see some summer yet. Meanwhile, when it’s not raining, it’s perfect biking weather.

Changes. Sometimes they’re like stray kittens that start tagging along on the street, whether you want them to or not, follow you home and settle down there. Sometimes they tear your house apart, and you wish you’d never met them. Other times you look at them and see possibilities that might, in other circumstances, not have occurred at all.

Two of the three biggest changes in my life—emigration, life partnership, and then divorce—were not of my making. Some changes have happened to me, and then it’s a matter of managing my own reactions to them. Other changes, though, I have effected myself—to be clear, usually with the help of others. I like changes. They’re exhilarating, they terrify me, they shake me out of the everyday. Changing the course of my graduate education; sharing my home with people I hardly knew at the beginning, several times over the years; falling in love after falling down hard, and before the healing was over, letting my guard down and gambling and winning at lovers. So far the big changes have been a net gain.

Some changes require more courage than others. Some changes require more energy than others.

I also look for stability in some aspects of my life. For some things to be unchanging. For gravity to continue working, for my beloveds to keep flying with me on the wings of our own creation, for people I can feed with food I cook, for a home from which I don’t move for a good long while. But the changes, they keep coming, they don’t stop; and so mostly the stability I seek is an internal, core thing.

Rest. That thing I don’t get enough of. I’ve stopped making as many social plans as I’d like, in an effort to get alone time. To read, to cook, to sleep. It doesn’t happen every day, but it’s getting better. Energy reserves still mostly depleted, but rest droplets are re-filling the backup vessel little by little.

Reserved. I am, when I need it so I can rest. My heart’s energy is, mostly for those who give back. My respect is, for people who make things happen in the world, and also for people who keep their word.

Moving. Moving forward, which I do on purpose every day. Moving on, which I can’t do because the universe decided to throw a big protracted lesson in learned helplessness in my path, and I spend some time most days fighting to protect my integrity. Getting a move on in the morning, which always takes more time than I think it will and can be gloriously slow because I get up early enough to allow that to happen. Moving aside so as to not get in my own way. Moving out of And/Or and into SCD in pursuit of a life I want. Moving with the rhythm of my surroundings, sometimes adding my own drumline to it. Allowing myself to be moved by breathtaking beauty, kindness, light.

words, words, words

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Today is a day off—U.S. Independence Day, Observed—so it turns out that I have all this time to do whatever I want. In reality that’s not exactly true, as Plans are afoot soon enough, but it’s positively glorious to have nowhere in particular to be for hours on end.

An occasionally resurgent meme has been going around on LiveJournal: “comment on this post, and I’ll give you five words that I associate with you. Then you write about them.” I asked, and I received, and so here they are.

Home. Ooh, this is a good one. I’ve been looking for that for a while. Thought I’d found it with Ethan, but that turns out not to be the case. I miss the home we had [in|with] each other in the first year and a half or so of our relationship. This is somewhat, though not even close to entirely, balanced by not missing the relationship in the months leading to its rather abrupt (for me) end.

When I stayed in Boston after graduating from BU, and commuted to Providence for grad school, initially I lived with Colleen. And other people too, but emotionally it was mostly with her When in late 1997 I abruptly needed to move from where I was living and posted about it to the Moxy Früvous newsgroup, a fellow Fruhead told me she was moving up to Boston in the next five months, and maybe we should think about getting a place together? Five months seemed like a long time, but we did meet at a Früvous show in December with the specific intention of finding out whether this was a good idea, and then wrote each other 300Kb of emails a month or something crazy like that, and in February of 1998 we moved in together. With some geographically and head-spatially induced ebbs and flows, Cee has been one of my closest people for longer than anyone who isn’t my immediate family (brother, sister-in-law, nephew, and mom).

(I have the hardest time calling Jo Ann my sister-in-law. It sounds so… remote. Usually I refer to her and my brother collectively as my siblings.)

In many ways, and up until very recently, that was a unique occurrence in my life. We weren’t related but were quite close, without being romantically involved. It was the quintessential Boston marriage. We seemed to have similar ideas of what we wanted out of a living arrangement, or in some cases we worked it out then. Cee had romantic relationships, and I did too, and eventually, when our adorable quirky 210-year-old house got sold, we moved apart because I wanted to move in with my then-boyfriend. I’ve wondered how differently shaped my life might be had we moved somewhere else together, but ultimately it might’ve been good for our relationship at that particular time. I certainly don’t regret the experiences I did have as a result of that move, either: namely, moving in with a boyfriend who didn’t turn all evil on me in three months’ time, being proposed to and accepting, living together for a while, deciding together that getting married wasn’t a good idea, and eventually deciding together that we didn’t want to be involved, and had in fact grown apart.

All of the time I lived with Chris was hugely educational in that almost completely non-traumatic way, but it wasn’t home in the way that it had been with Cee. We gave it a good try, but ultimately it just didn’t work. I think that one of the reasons for that is my desire to live with other people in community. After some years of living with him, I moved to London to live with my siblings and help raise my nephew for a year, as I was applying for the special-studies PhD program at Brown. That was nostalgic in many ways, I missed my people in Boston, but it was in no way lonely. That was another unique experience in that we bonded, the nephew and I, ooh boy, we did. And I’d lived with Zhenya and Jo before, and we knew we all liked it, and frankly, if circumstances were right (which isn’t likely), I’d live with them again in a heartbeat.

Then I lived alone in Providence for a year and a half. That was perfect, some of my favorite time. I definitely had a home then. Found my feet in that way that’s only possible when you live alone, found my professional feet doing the now-approved PhD in humanities computing, found that having Talan living just downstairs was a good reminder of what it was that I liked about living with other people, without actually living together.

Then Ethan moved in from all the way across the country in Pullman, WA. Someday I’ll write about the arc of that as home, but today is not that day.

The day after I graduated in 2007, we moved to Somerville, a close neighbor of Boston that would be one of its boroughs, were this New York City. We were two humans and two cats in a house of seven humans and five cats (and a dog, and a bird). And/Or was and remains a great place, and was good to live in, but wasn’t that default, deep-down home unless I was actively working to keep my own rhythm aligned to the house’s. Ethan lived there for six months, and I stayed for two years; when I started thinking of how, some years from now, I’d like to be raising a child without a primary partner, And/Or didn’t feel like the right place for that.

So in May I moved to Something Completely Different. We’re experimenting, it’s too early to know, but for now it feels like it felt to live with Cee. People drop by and hang out, from the apartment upstairs and from the outside; a lot of cooking and significant communal eating goes on, insofar as our schedules permit it; there’s both a stated intent and an emotional sense of crafting a home. I’m comfortable here, and even if it doesn’t work, I’ll still have had this amazing reminder, in some ways maybe a crystallization, of knowing what I want in a home.

Heritage. I’m Russian by birth, grew up speaking Russian in a Soviet Republic capital where, like in all of the USSR, the predominant language was Russian. I also grew up in Moldova, where people speak Moldovan (pretty much Romanian) and have Moldovan culture and holidays and food and way of life—and all of that was alongside me, not part of my primary experience. So that’s weird. And it’s weird, too, that I am Jewish (ethnically if not religiously), but didn’t even know my dad spoke fluent Yiddish until I was thirteen and we went to visit his home village and his parents’ graves in the Ukraine before emigrating to the U.S. So I grew up with the Barry Sisters, but still don’t have most of the holidays straight, and don’t like gefilte fish. So that’s weird too.

I was never able to refer to myself as an American, though more than half my life (and therefore part of my heritage) has been spent here. It just didn’t feel like that’s what I was. Oddly, the entire last presidential election season changed that. Then again, I’m a fully vested citizen of the internet, so U.S. national boundaries are about as meaningful as other places in the world.

Dark. A place of introspection, and introversion. A season that’s difficult for me. A time when fun things happen. A time when, and I’m accepting this in stages, I need to take care of myself above most other things in order to remain functional. Also a time when having responsibilities to others (like small-girl-sitting once a week) gets me out of my head and supplies a kind of joy that’s unavailable elsewhere.

Curious. I am! Curious Vika is curious. This sort of gets me in trouble, though not in the way I’m making it sound. I ask people questions and listen to the answers more than I tell stories. In conversation, I tend more toward learning than toward teaching (unless I’m thinking my way through an issue by arguing, which can be great with the right conversation partner). There was just so damn much to learn from Ethan that I fell into this odd and stupid learned helplessness, looking to him for information when I should have relied on myself. When there’s stuff to be learned by talking to someone, I vastly prefer that to finding out on my own. It’s more fun. Unfortunately, it can get on a partner’s nerves.

These days I am re-discovering my curiosity, and pay more attention to balancing out asking questions and telling stories.

Joy. Something I feel quite frequently, in short intense bursts, usually unrelated to any one thing but being rather a confluence of thoughts coming together in my consciousness. Perfect moments, like sunshine and Davis Square and ice cream, or walking under the flame umbrella in pouring rain, singing along with the stuff in my headphones, feeling the air that smells of ocean. Or even snow shoveling during the quiet, voluminous snowfall, under the night streetlights. Or that rare occurrence of having hours on end to do with as I please.

then, some days are perfect

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

Life’s been tough lately. Another bout of non-communication with partner-that-was, about which I can do nothing. Missed communications with loved ones—happily, these being much more fixable, since they involve people who’ll talk to me. Utter dearth of sunshine, most of the time, and decidedly non-summer-like weather.

I could go on (and on), and tell you about the lightbox I got back out in June, and the several draft posts I haven’t made yet (among them one about my not-quite-ADD brain, and why the not-quite part is hard). But instead I’ll trap a little bit of today in amber, because it was perfect.

Never mind that yesterday gave it a run for its money. Yesterday I’d woken up gloriously late, and finally gotten all the parts of my tent in one place and set up and hosed off, ridding the thing of 95% of its playa dust quotient, just in time for a camping trip this weekend. Never mind yesterday, most of which is a tad too personal for this venue. Today.

Today I woke up at 7 (don’t ask). Had breakfast with coffee and quiet sleepy laughter with housemates. Unpacked and moved around some of the stuff that was cluttering the living room, slowly, minding how the house feels to me. (Like home, is how.)

Just before ten I was at Moosecasa, getting quite the reception from two very excited small girls. We took off a half hour later, the three of us, me and two three-year-olds, for Chestnut Farms, from where I get my CSA meat. They had an open barn today. There were goats and chickens and cows and pigs and sheep and baaaaaaaby animals, and they were so warm and soft, and the world was ringing with birdsong, and.

And it was a two-hour drive each way, and that went pretty much perfectly, even though everyone got tired at the end. Trips like this with one adult and two inquisitive, smart, engaged children are a complete toss-up, and this was my lucky day. We talked until we were hoarse, sang songs, listened to Puff the Magic Dragon like half a dozen times, and I got the best small-girl radio from the back of the car. Having the two of them entertaining each other was, I think, most entertaining for me.

We came home, tired. Cee and I got to spend time together, quietly. Three small children and six adults frolicked in a backyard exploding with the gorgeous fruits of gardening, eating cherries and a couple of almost-ripe mulberries and maybe even a strawberry. I came home and cooked dinner, and ate it with People of the House.

I’m exhausted, and for once, my soul is light-filled and well-fed.

moving right along

Monday, May 4th, 2009

Last weekend, I moved house.  I now live a fifteen-minute walk from where I used to live, a little bit (five minutes’ walk or less) further from the Davis Square T stop, with a different crowd of hippie geeks.  My reasons for the move are many, but mostly boil down to, this new place may be better suited to what I want to do with my life.  Appropriately enough, it’s called Something Completely Different.

I’ll miss And/Or. Then again, they’re still close by. And though there will no longer be a circus band practicing in my living room every Thursday night, they seem to have taken up busking in Davis! Do come out and see them, if you’re local. It’s a good time.

Last week, just as I was on top of things but suddenly sick enough to be unable (unwilling) to pack, moving stress suddenly struck full-force. Up until almost the last minute it wasn’t clear who-all would show up to help me schlep my stuff (of which much had been moved beforehand, in cars and thanks to the efforts of several friends). Lo, enough generous souls showed up to make it a three and a half hour move start to finish. Stressful, as such things are, but not nearly as much as it could’ve been. That, and sushi for a thank-you lunch afterward, and a tenth-wedding-anniversary party at the new house on my first evening there — all of these things made for a good welcome.

There are many children around the house at various times, though none of them live there. My cats are making cautious acquaintance with the two resident cats (who will, alas, soon move out). The people are quirky and passionate and good. The kitchen is well-loved, and a social nexus. There’s a ton of space, genial conversation at breakfast, and at least three different things fermenting on purpose. (One of them is my kefir-like-but-not-kefir stuff! Thanks for the culture, mom.) There’s a garden, which I hope to learn to tend well.

Oh, and bacon. No, seriously. Lots of bacon. You’d think I were following some internet meme, but I’m not. Bacon.

And, of course, what do I do on my first weekday in the new house? Stay at work ’til past 8pm. Time to go home.


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