Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Four Seasons/One Day


I was taking a walk last week and marveling at how weirdly wonderful our weather is here. On my January walk I saw:  Fall color in the form of Gingko trees that still had their brilliant yellow leaves. Springish Magnolias, blooming. Bare winter branches on some varieties. And the lush, leafy new growth of summer on others. 

Crazy/beautiful.

Monday, January 26, 2009

File Under: General Suckitude

I'm trying not to put two whiny, I'm-so-sad posts up in a row. I know the youtube video is probably cheating but it's all I've got right now. Sue me.

Today I had a good day. Required a nap in the middle of it, which seems pretty standard these days. Not sure how I'm going to survive 10 hour days with an infant & 2.5 year old. Oh, did I mention I found a job? If you don't hear from me after February 9th, that's why. 

The day part is the only time it's good though. I dread nightfall like a... a... a person being stalked by vampires. Like Will Smith in that movie where he gets caught in the middle of zombie-overrun Manhattan when the sun is going down. Like... someone who's afraid of the dark? In any case, for whatever reason, my mood descends with the sun, and nightfall somehow takes the worst of what's just under the surface during the day and immerses me in it. I feel like I'm drowning every night. 

So, to conclude: love stinks. Avoid it at all costs. Also, nighttime stinks. Try to live somewhere you don't have to put up with it.


Book of Air and Shadows

I read this book. I came across it at the library when I was looking to see if I could find something else by Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants- fantastic. Her 2 previous books- meh). I didn't, but hey, this Gruber dude's book looks fun... It was indeed. The Book of Air and Shadows* by Michael Gruber, is a literary thriller that combines Shakespeare with New York lawyers, chubby book nerds, and Jewish gangsters. It's incredibly fun and eminently quotable. I had many moments of regret over not copying things down while I was reading and I've since returned it to the library, but I did write down this quote, one I really liked.

*The links are to Amazon. The Washington Post review is kind of awesome. :)

So here it is. The background is that one of the main characters is finding, after living a largely uneventful life, that the intrigue he's involved in is just a little too much like a thrilling movie. And that watching movie plots is a lot easier than living them. His more daring brother is the first speaker.

"Whereas now," he continued, undismayed, "you're living the life of a man, every moment rich with import, with danger and excitement. A Shakespearean life, you could say... Would you want Hamlet to back to college and join a frat? Get drunk and party and get a B minus in Scholasticism 101?"

"Doesn't he get killed at the end of the play?"

"He does, but don't we all? The choice is only how we live in the previous five acts."


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ginger for President

Had I known about this earlier, I would definitely have stepped down from my own campaign to support Ginger. I guess that guy who won will do alright for 2nd choice though. Though all the shouters of, "Obama will bring America to ruin but not because he's black I have no problem with that of course but watch me make a racist comment while no one's looking" (if this is not you then I'm not talking to you, so quit being offended) must be right. If by bring America to ruin you mean shut down a prison where America has been holding people without trials and torturing them because, obviously they don't have the same rights as Americans and anything is justified if we are protecting ourselves except if it's our rights that are being violated because that's different. Oops, sorry. Couldn't help myself. Watch the video, it will make you laugh while you're agreeing-with-me/cursing-my-very-existence.




Some sun today, a long hike in the rain; I didn't get eaten by a mountain lion but I still feel better than I did yesterday. Oh, and did I mention I have a job now?!?! Well, as of 2/9 anyway..

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I'm not doing so well.

Not really.

I feel sad and lonely, hate the nights and too much free time, think obsessively about contacting him regardless of fact that I know that would only prolong the anguish.

I can't cry. Oh, once in a while I'll break down, shed a few tears, but not the ragged sobs that I know are lurking somewhere inside of me. I can feel them like a weight on my chest, but they won't come out. I think I would feel better if I could cry.

I think about moving away all the time. Moving somewhere with a slower pace, a more affordable housing market, a new social circle that doesn't include anyone it hurts me to see. Portland, Oregon has captured my attention with it's funky craft scene and so-much-cheaper-than-here rents. It's an escapist fantasy right now, that's all. If I do anything it won't be for a while, but right now, having an escape to dream about helps.

I'm not angry anymore. I know he's struggling with things that have nothing to do with me and doing his best to stay afloat in the midst of a sea of past and present hurts. I know he's trying. I believe that he will prevail. I believe that he will someday  be able to allow himself to be the incredible man I saw in him, the one I could never convince him existed. But I have no idea how long that will take. Or, honestly, if it makes any difference to my future, to our future, to to whether there's any hope of an "our" for us. 

Things I'd pushed aside surface. The almost certain fact that I would have ended up here, in the SF bay area, trying to be myself and, possibly, raise a family in the midst of a culture that- honestly?- is starting to disgust me. I am not cut out for this fast-paced wealth-driven landscape of BMW's and million dollar houses. I question the point of saving for decades to send children to Stanford to ensure that they will be able to continue on the same path themselves. Marrying someone with a similarly impressive degree. Buying an insanely expensive home. Hiring immigrants to landscape the yard and congratulating themselves on keeping the lower classes employed. Sitting comfortably in church and learning about proper study of scripture while homeless people die on city streets not ten miles away. 

I want to live humbly. I want to be constantly reminded that I am no better than anyone else. I want to erase barriers and build bridges. I don't know how to do these things, yet. But I know that I am being led. And I want to be willing to sacrifice whatever I have to in order to follow. I don't know that I could have chosen that sacrifice if I'd had a choice.

So how I am? Not well, not whole, not happy, but able to see the path I have to tread in order to reach those places. I have an incredible network of friends who have made these last few weeks as joyful as they could possibly be, under the circumstances. I've been embraced and held up, both literally and figuratively. I've experienced the arms of God in the only way humanity is able to: through the love and support of other people. I don't want to be here, but life is what it is and being what it is, I wouldn't wish the sad away, because failure to mourn for something lost would mean a lack of feeling worse than sorrow. And being that I am here, I am convinced that I am as well as possible. I know I could certainly be a whole lot worse. 

Still, this is hard.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

M to the C

Remember my sad tale of childhood neglect? Well recently several people have stumbled across my blog by searching Google for variations on "Milky the Cow." Fascinated, I tried it and found that I am not alone in my Milky-the-Cownlessness. In fact, Michelle's experience so closely mirrored my own that we decided to start an online support group for adults who didn't get MtC for Christmas. Here is the post she wrote about her sad sad MtC experience.

And here are the emails we exchanged after I read it:  

Jess: I think we need to start an online support group... My Neglected Childhood

Michelle: That is hysterical! I was so bitter that my neighbour got one because HE WAS A BOY. In any case, thanks so much for sending this along. I think our group should meet on Wednesday's. I'll bring cookies if you'll supply the milk.

J: Sweet. 

Does it have to be real milk, or can it be dissolved aspirin tablets in water? I mean, how authentic do we want to be here?

M: Good point. But that's a very tough call. I mean, what is the purpose of our support group? Are we trying to free ourselves from the bonds of our Milky The Cow disappointment, or are we embracing the cow in all its Milky glory?

Maybe we should be like AA and just stick to tea, coffee, juice and heartwrenchingly stale Oreos? And where do we meet? An virtual chuch basement?

Geesh. Support groups are hard....especially virtual ones.

J: You're right, I was having a hard time letting go. I guess that proves I really need the support group, huh? 

So, maybe we should stick to sparkling lemonade. If we have tea & coffee people will want to add milk.. and we all know where that road leads... 


Ah, Milky... bringing the world together one blogger at a time.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Musings on Comedy, Tragedy, and the Meaning of Life

Why do comedy and romance go together? Is it because romance is ridiculous? Or is it because the idea that it exists in a world that also contains tragedy is inherently ridiculous? How can I acknowledge the fact that certain things about this world I live in and what my senses tell me, cannot be reconciled? 

Fact: My friend's little boy died. It cannot be true that sunlight, laughter; the pure, sweet ridiculousness of every day life, exist in the same world where a mother grieves for her child, let alone a world in which countless mothers mourn. The world is rife with rejection and anger and hate and cruelty. Lives are torn apart. Immeasurable anguish is suffered. And yet I cannot deny that transcendent joy and love and hilarity also exist. These two facets of life are equally true and real, but it seems that the existence of either one must negate the existence of the other. I cannot hold them both in my hands at the same time, but I cannot set either of them aside.

I was in the delivery room when my nephew, Luke, was born. I've always been fascinated by the concept of childbirth (possibly because my mom was pregnant for half of my childhood) and I jumped at the chance to be there when my sister had her first child. I'm not sure what I was expecting but the thing that struck me the most was that the entire process was just kinda disgusting. You were expecting me to say transcendent right? And yes, it was that too. 100%. And yet. 

And yet that did not alter the fact that there was pain and struggle and blood and vomiting and (for Pete's sake people) a baby coming out of a hoo-ha. That's just gross. But also? Amazing and beautiful and unable to be tarnished by the fact that it is such a bizarre, human, event. These aspects seemingly cannot exist simultaneously, and yet they do. 

I can look at the world and know, "Yes, things are bad. So bad that there cannot be any hope." And yet I look for hope and I find it, there where it shouldn't exist. Rivaling hopelessness in my brain for the space to be real, to be acknowledged. This is what I struggle to understand. The fundamental disconnect between what should be and what is. Between the seen and the unseen. Between love and hate, grief and joy, loss and renewal. My hands are not big enough to hold them both. My mind is not open enough to hold them both. My only hope is that there is One who is big enough. I believe there is. But it doesn't mean I don't agonize over the questions: How? Why?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

We Are the Potted Plants of our Generation

I was talking to a single friend who's my age, and has also relocated far from her original home. We were talking about Rhode Island (not her home but she lived there for a while as my roomie in the aforementioned Buttonwoods) and she said something like: Doesn't it feel strange when you go home and it's changed or you've changed and you realize it's not home anymore. That it will never be home again in the way you took for granted as a child?

And I knew exactly what it was of which she spoke, and lo, I cried out in a loud voice: Yes! And then you think about the place you live now and how it's not really home either. And then you realize that you have no home, that you might never find one again!

Then we speculated on the theory that getting married and/or having children would possibly allow one to put down roots, and make a new place home, in a different sense from the home one knew as a child, perhaps, but rootiness, nonetheless. 

After musing for a moment on the reason that we seem unable to plant our roots into the ground I had an epif epipn a really bright idea and exclaimed: We are the potted plants of our generation!!! And she asked me if I would embroider that on a pillowcase for her. 

Lisa, if I could embroider, I totally would.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Buttonwoods Part I

I used to live in the  most idyllic place on earth. Or at least in Rhode island. 

In the town of Warwick, there's a tiny neighborhood surrounded on three sides by water and on the fourth by the woodlands of a small city park. The name of this neighborhood is Buttonwoods. Or, in the local lingo, "Old Buttonwoods," used to distinguish the historic community from the surrounding [middle class] area. 

Old Buttonwoods is filled with beautiful old Victorian and Arts and Crafts style houses, occupied by people with enough money to make them look like they did when they were new. Graceful lawns curve down to the shoreline and shiny foreign cars purr noiselessly through the streets. 

Residents refers to a seventy-year-old hurricane as if it happened last week. Tales of the neighborhood's history abound; it was a Baptist summer camp in the 1800s, a seaside resort with a hotel and a trolly from Providence, a haunted playground for the anguished ghosts of a shipwrecked barque. Okay, I made that last one up. I did often wish I knew some of the neighborhoods past secrets though. I know they were there, I heard them whispering in the Sycamores branches when the breeze stirred on hot, humid summer days.

There's a tiny, exquisite Victorian stone chapel, one of the loveliest of its kinds in the area. I listened to a couple play obscure old Appalachian instruments and sing ancient mountain ballads there once, and it was haunting. The chapel still witnesses the occasional wedding.

There's a huge old evergreen on a triangle of common land that forms an enclosed canopy the neighborhood children love to play in (and, I suspect, the neighborhood teenagers love to hide in, as evidence of the occasional stray beer can I witnessed there).

There's a common way sidewalk that used to be a road before the hurricane of '38 washed it out. It travels between the lovely houses and the waterfront and It's perfect for pushing a baby carriage along on a brisk fall day.

to be continued...  

(Don't get your hopes up, there's nothing exciting coming, unless I make something up. I'm just too tired to figure out where this is going tonight and I'm hoping that putting myself on the spot like this will push me to figure it out in the near future)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle


I have a hard time throwing things that are pretty, or might one day come in useful.

I made these magnets with paper scavenged from the folder that a Starbucks card came in (thanks, Annie :). It was just such fun paper that I couldn't throw it away so I added it to my paper collection* and I love the way the cabochons magnify the fun pattern and colors!

*Currently taking over my room

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New Stuff in Wunderstudio!

It's trickling in because although I have a bunch of new items to list, the need to change the file size on all of my pictures and then painstakingly upload and list each one is driving me to the very edge of reason slowing things down. Damn, Etsy, can't you make it easier?

In any case, check back as I'll be adding new items, including jewelry and more magnets, all week.

So this one time I thought I was dying but it turned out I just had a scratch that wouldn't even bleed decently

My many legions of imaginary fans have been clamoring for an expoundation of #87 in the 100 things about me list to the right.

Here's the story: I lived in a house that was probably 100 years old, legend had it that it had been converted from a carriage house. The kitchen window had one corner that tended to stick when I tried to crank it open. The window opened outward so the screen was on the inside. I was cleaning like a crazy woman because M and S were bringing their supercool friend Matt to visit and I tended to make up for my general poor housekeeping by overcompensating when company was due. 

That darn window just would not open, no matter how hard I cranked. And believe me, I was getting really cranky. So I climbed to kneel up on the edge of the sink (bad idea #1). And then I pulled the screen part way out toward me and reached behind it, while balancing precariously, to get to the window (bad idea #2).  And then I whacked the corner of the windowsill (bad idea #3) only I missed the sill and accidentally whacked the corner of the window, which my hand went right through.

After staring in confusion at the hole in the window for a few seconds, I examined my arm and ascertained that the damage- several small cuts- was confined to a small area on the inside of my wrist AND OMG IT'S RIGHT OVER ALL THOSE BUMPY BLUE VEINS IN THE SAME AREA PEOPLE SLIT THEIR WRISTS TO COMMIT SUICIDE AND I'M PROBABLY GOING TO DIE!!! 

I had an immediate flashback of a story I'd read on the internet recently (this is why the internet is dangerous, and should be banned) about a guy who'd put his arm through an old window trying to break into his own house and severed an artery. He would have died on the front lawn if the roofing guy on the next house over hadn't spotted him and called an ambulance immediately. 

So now I'm looking at these several small cuts, and sure, they're not really bleeding yet, but probably just because of some delayed-reaction-shock or maybe my blood levels are low- like a flat tire- and the gusher's taking a while to get all the way to the end of my arm, right? In any case, it's looking pretty certain that I'm going to pass out at any moment and bleed to death on the floor and while I plan out my funeral in my head and wonder how long it will take anyone to find my exsanguinated corpse, I decide that the only thing to do is the one thing is what anyone would do when uncertain what else to do: Call my mommy.

My parents lived a few minutes away at the time and I frantically called my mother, begging her to rush over quickly, before my artery started gushing. As I waited to feel light-headed, I stared at the cut on my wrist, all but willing it to bleed. After all, when you call your mom about bleeding to death she had better not arrive to find you with nothing a cotton ball and a band-aid couldn't fix.

She arrived moments later, breathless and worried, to find me sheepishly studying the thin line of blood on my wrist with a puzzled frown. Apparently, I had escaped the clutches of death. Barely

Mom was not thrilled. That might have been why she made such a cutting (Could I help it? No.) remark (see #88). As punishment she made me go with her to the nearby house of a friend of the family- a nurse- who, obviously in cahoots with my mother, proceeded to sympathetically fret over my wound scratch until I wanted to crawl under the floorboards and die. 

And then M & S and Matt came and M did boring work while Matt & S and I stayed up late and walked to the playground and climbed a tree while Matt clucked like a chicken (he's really good at that, he grew up on a chicken farm).  It wuth great. Also, Matt brought special band aids. 

So thats how I go the faint scar on the inside of my left wrist. Any questions?



Sleepless in Sunnyvale

I'm stuck. 

I can't move forward and I can't stay where I am. I can't sleep and I don't want to be awake. I want to write but I can't find the words. 

I'm stuck.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Oh, My Happy Heart

Jess,

Remember when you gave us a bag of books last year? (I think you were thinning out your library after so many moves!) Well, some of the books I kept included children's books by E. Nesbitt. M and S had loved "The Railway Children" when I read it to them years ago, but they didn't seem to take to "5 Children and It" when I tried that. Must have been a matter of timing because I pulled your copy of "5 Children..." off the shelf for M last week and she has LOVED it. I mean, laugh-out-loud loved it! She was very sad to finish it today and said that the author hinted at a continuation of the story in the last chapter but, "I bet she never wrote one....". Well, I went back to the shelf with your books and, lo and behold, I find "The Story of the Amulet" by E. Nesbitt -- the sequel!! She is going to be SO excited tomorrow when she sees that on her schoolwork pile! :-) Thank you, once again, for thinking of us and sharing the joy of reading.

Hope all is well with you.

Love,

G

Thursday, January 8, 2009

No Caption Needed

I'm stealing this from Jen but I don't think she'll mind. What if God counts?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Let it Snow (somewhere else)

So I was wasting time doing important research on teh internetz and I ended up at this band's Myspace* page. It's composed** of someone I used to know a little bit a long time ago and someone else who I don't remember meeting but whose name sounds awfully familiar and who also comes from the tiny town state of Rhode Island, so chances are... 

Not that I was stalking people to find out if anyone I know has become famous so that I could brag about it on my blog or anything..... *Ahem* .....Well, that was awkward. Cookie, anyone?

Moving on... I was tickled by this video and although it's a little late for holiday tunes, this one's technically a winter song so I think I'm safe in sharing. Enjoy!


*Myspace- boo, hiss! "An asault on the eyes" -Jess D. 1/09
** Nevermind, apparently I was wrong. The couple I used to sort-of know have their own band. Which is not this one. More on that later.

Crafty Crafty Craftiness

So, it turns out if you make little buttons out of clay and then stamp them with rubber stamps coated with micah powder so you can glue them to magnets they look really cool in person but when you try to take a picture of them they look like a child's playdough art project threw up glitter.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My Magnetic Personality

Shots from the Studio (That's WunderStudio).


Magnet assembly.

Smelly used up glue (upper right).

Brain cells shed and lying on the table due to inhalation of toxic smelly glue just so you could have some stinkin' magnets (invisible to the naked eye).









Magnets on an oatmeal can. Waiting to be packaged in yet-to-be-acquired tins and put up on the woefully empty post-Christmas site.






Finished products accomplished: One, before I ran out of tins.
I like it though. Do you?

Tru 'dat Facts

fact #1: If people ate frozen yogurt more often, the world would be a happier place.

fact #2: The tart pomegranate* flavor is the yummiest.

fact #3: That* word is really hard to spell. If you're me. 

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Thank You

Thank you, everyone, for the kind words and wishes, both here and on Facebook. I'm sorry to be such a downer. I am hanging in there and, in more than one sense, relieved. I'm glad that I don't have to try and hold a relationship together on my own any more. It was hard, heavy work and I'm tired. I'm sure this is the right thing to do, but it's just... hard. Obviously. 

I'll probably have second thoughts before long and delete the rest of this post, as I usually avoid venting at specific people ('cept for Guy-on-a-Bike) here. I feel like it's low and a little petty to call someone out over the internet if you know they're reading, and worse to talk about them behind his/her back (in a public forum, no less) but right now I'll be damned if I care. I am relieved, but the sad is coming. I can feel it like a breaker that's quivering above my head in slow motion. Only a few droplets have hit me so far,  but I can tell that any minute now the whole force of that wave is going to crash over me. I'm determined to stay afloat, but right now I just need to be angry.

*deleted by author* Well I did say I probably would..

Kaput

I am single. Again. Officially. Not just for two weeks this time. Also, I feel like I'm going to throw up but I'm not sure if there's any connection. 

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Settlers of Cataan

Friday Night @ the Pintocasa, or Settlers of Cataan

Zach: "I have the longest road!"

Jason: "Hey, it's not the length of your road that matters, it's how you use it." 

Me: *eye-rolling* "You are so not allowed to hang out with my brother anymore."

Zach: *to Jason* "We should hang out more often!"

Friday, January 2, 2009

Missed Connection: Nice man on bicycle

Dear Man-on-a-bike @ Matilda & El Camino,

I am so sorry I didn't see you right away when you decided to cross four lanes of traffic at night wearing dark clothing and with nary a light nor a reflector on your person (unless... maybe you had a reflector in your pocket? They don't work as well that way. Hey- is that a reflector in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? Ha!). I completely agree that your nearly invisible arm signaling your left-turn-intentions should have caught my eye, even though you were cutting sharply across two lanes and nowhere in my line of vision until you tried to cross in front of my car. I guess I need to look into getting glasses. Or night-vision goggles. 

I'm also sorry that I slowed to let you go ahead when I did realize you were there, instead of running you down. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time but I am a woman and we get confused easily while operating motor vehicles. Of course now I realize why you were angry when I didn't run you over. No doubt you needed the insurance money and a new bike. My bad. 

Thank you for being so understanding and kind in the face of my utter ineptitude as a driver. I couldn't quite make out what you were yelling but I think it sounded like, "Good luck, you lovely woman!" Or, "You punkin' pie, you are just as cute as could be!" "Or something about not getting stuck? "You have a lot of pluck!"? "I like to eat duck!"? I dunno, I'm sure it was kind and complimentary though.

Anyway, I just want to thank you for making my night even better. I thought, when my boyfriend ditched me for the umpteenth time to hang out with people he likes better, that things were going swimmingly, but you topped the cake, my friend. Even french fries (the food of despair) and Settlers of Cataan couldn't live up to the joy you brought into my life. Peace be with you, man-on-a-bike. Next time we meet, I will not be so rude and I will run you over, I promise. Now take that reflector out of your pocket and staple it to the back of your damn head.

Christmas recap

Zach and I spent Christmas lazing about in front of the fireplace with our good friend Josh, eating candy leftover from the Christmas party Zach & his roommates had hosted the week before. Later, we went to see The Tale of Desperoux, which was excellent, and then Michael and I went to Christmas in the Park together. It was, honestly, one of the nicest Christmases I've had, even though I was missing the rest of my family. 

The next day I went north with Michael's family to the land of his ancestors (half of them anyway) and he showed me around the old homestead and introduced me to his mother's family. Lovely people, all of them. M's grandmother pointed out several times that Michael was possessed of so many good qualities that I'd be a fool to let him go. I think he was a bit embarrassed by this display of grandmotherly love, but I heartily agreed with her, he is good and kind and sweet and smart and handsome. I assured her that I aim to keep him, if the crazy doesn't drive him off before then.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Chilled Chabli and chuck roast.

I have been chastened yet again for the extended blog silence [Lisa, meet Christy, she's your new bff- saving you the effort of leaving snarky comments, by reprimanding me in person for not posting often enough!!]. I think my problem is that I want to have what I'm going to say written out in my head before I sit down in front of the keyboard and, unfortunately, it doesn't usually work that way very often. Usually it's a matter of sitting down and typing randomly until something coalesces. 

Like this: Yesterday I started a new diet. It consists of only eating things that start with "ch." I didn't really decide on "ch" as much as look back at the end of the day and realize that everything I'd eaten so far amounted to Cheerios, Cheetos, and a chocolate donut. I thought about sticking with the theme since I was already on a roll, but then my stomach started to rebel so I gave up and ate a piece of toast. Later, I celebrated the New Year by indulging in chips and chianti. Not really! I actually ate so much candy at Julie & Peter's party that I kinda wanted to die before the clock struck 12. My New Year's resolution? Kick the sugar habit. Ha ha, that's crazy talk! 

Random, no? If I'm lucky I accidentally write myself into making some kind of sense. 

Right now though, I'm super happy because look: !!


Writerly Davenports, writing together. Zach is writing a story. A kind of warped fairy tale, I believe. If I know Zach, it will be veeery eeenteresting. I love having my little bro out here.

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