I received the following email in my inbox this morning:
I received the following email in my inbox this morning:
Today is one of Those Days. I’ve got a major case of anxiety, which I’m tracing back to the earthquake in Haiti – natural disasters which devastate large groups of already-impoverished people inevitably lead to me to question why bad things happen, why things like this are out of our control, what we can do, why any sort of God or Universe or what have you would allow it. BUT, because I can think of nothing more loathsome and offensive than whining about how an earthquake in Haiti has really ruined MY day, dammit, I’m gonna gather up all that anxiety into a tight little ball in my stomach, roll it around until it’s shiny and smooth, warm it up until it’s something good and hopeful, and offer it as a little glowing prayer for all the people who could use one of those right about now.
Oh, and I’m gonna donate. (In case you haven’t heard, texting “HAITI” to 90999 will automatically donate $10 to the Red Cross; texting “YELE” to 501501 sends $5 to wyclef jean’s Yele Foundation; and if you go to the Red Cross website you can donate using your one-click Amazon setup if you have one. Technology used for good, not evil. Melikes.)
And though it seems somewhat crass to do a blah blah blah update when there are so many more important things happening in the world, I haven’t updated in about a month and this is the time I set aside for it, so.
I was at my parents’ house for Christmas this year. It was really lovely, and I was blown away by the thoughtfulness of the gifts I received. It seemed like my parents and siblings and I all really put a lot of thought into what we wanted to give/do for one another this year. My parents got me a Connecticut Journal (newspaper) dated December 23, 1793 featuring articles by George Washington and John Adams… I almost couldn’t breathe when I opened it. (My initial response, actually, was to scream, “WHY DO YOU KEEP BUYING ME NICE THINGS?!?!?! I DO NOT FEEL ADULT ENOUGH TO TAKE CARE OF A RELIC OF AMERICAN HISTORY!!!”)
(I’ve since calmed, and discovered that all I really need to do is frame it on archival quality matboard and under special UV-protectant glass. Phew.) But yea, fucking amazing gift.
I also received the Lomo LC-A+ I’d been lusting after, and – hilariously – a still-functional Teddy Ruxpin, which my mom found for me on ebay in order to shut me up, because I’ve been complaining to her since I was five years old that I never had one even though my cousin did. (We couldn’t afford one when I was a kid… and I’ll tell you, I wept countless bitter tears over that fact, as only a particularly dramatic elementary-schooler can.) Thankfully, this gift means that my own children will never have to experience the privation of going through life without an animatronic talking bear around to tell them stories before bedtime.
New Years Eve was spent in fairly pathetic fashion, hanging out at home with my parents. (Not that it’s pathetic to hang out with one’s parents, but y’know, I’m 26 years old and I nearly fell asleep before the ball dropped. So. Loserville. That’s all I’m saying.) We were supposed to spend NYE nestled up in a cabin in the mountains, but alas, there was a snowpocalypse which left an icy residue 6 inches thick on the driveway leading to said cabin, so it was a no-go. All my siblings spent the evening out on the town with their significant others, so it was just me and the ‘rents. I think my mom and I watched a House marathon until about 11:55 – or was it an SVU marathon? I don’t know, so many marathons – and then we all drank a little champagne and went to bed.
Though not before I made my typically long list of resolutions, of course. While I have made a habit of sharing my resolutions in the past (in other, earlier reincarnations of this blog) I’ve had the resultant experience of being roundly mocked for them by, ahem, some. (Yea, I’m looking at you, Grant.) Do some of them tend to be a little overly-earnest? Sure – but then, so do I. In any case, they pretty much come down to one thing, which I guess is kinda my theme for the year: Fuck Being Comfortable. So. We’ll see how that goes.
A few days after New Years, I flew back home, lil sis in tow. As you may recall, Sis was supposed to come visit me for a week following her high school graduation last spring, but was waylaid by a two-week-long hospital stay. So, this was sort of her make up trip. Because of school, she could only stay for 4 full days, but we had a great time. We went to museums, I took her to see Wicked, we lounged around baking cookies and drinking hot chocolate… it was equal parts fun and relaxing. She and I don’t get to spend all that much time together – she was only 10 when I moved away to go to college, and we haven’t lived in the same city since – so it was nice to get some one-on-one sister time in. Unfortunately, Finn was away at school for most of the week, but they got to do a little last minute bonding as well.
What else what else what else… Oh! I saw Avatar in IMAX 3-D, which was fantastic. It was much more subtle than most 3-D movies I’ve seen (with the notable exception of Coraline, which was the first I’d seen that didn’t try and constantly bombard you with gimmicks, Jack-in-the-Box style, but instead used the technology to gentle, scene-enhancing effect). Avatar’s story was so-so – kind of a Pocahontas meets Fern Gully in Space thing, with no real surprises – but it was just so pretty. My pal @samfeasor does a much better job of dissecting it here (“Why Avatar Didn’t Suck Like I Thought it Would”) for anyone who’s interested in reading her queer, gamer-girl, tech-savvy take on the whole thing.
And so that pretty much brings us up to this week. Finn is still out of town for school, but she got called back for a birth Monday night, and we had time for a quick lunch yesterday afternoon before she had to head back. I had seen her two days earlier, over the weekend, but there’s something nice about seeing someone special when it’s unexpected. I got all googily.
Last night I hung out with QS. We’ve been going through some stuff, friendship-wise, finally working out some unspoken shit we’ve been carrying around for too long, and we’re making a more concerted effort to spend good quality time together as a result of that work. Last night we cooked dinner and drank too much wine (or I did, anyway) and had an impromptu dance party in her living room. It was a good night. I only wish there were pictures…
This week I’m hanging out with Gem, writing, running a million errands, and getting the house ready for K&J, who are visiting for the weekend. I think I’m going to have to give them better names, they show up in this blog more than I’d anticipated. Hmm. Okay. I dub them Bert and Ernie. (Everyone knows Bert and Ernie were gay, right? It’s perfect!) Ha.
– Pomegranate, Whose heart is still sad
I sat down today to set some goals for myself this week. On the list, among other things: finishing up the draft of the chapter I’ve been working on; making some truffles; taking a day off from technology. Other things, getting right with some people, setting aside some time to finish the book I’m reading (A Widow for One Year, John Irving, quite enjoyable). I’ve decided to set goals for myself every week, not so much because I feel like I’m floating (though that’s part of it) but because for all that I’m spending 99% of my time with myself, not much of it is quality time, if that makes sense. The simple act of sitting down and asking myself what I want for the week seems to be a good place to start. So.
Finn is home and we’re settling back into things. It’s been a slightly difficult but utterly welcome adjustment. (We’re still re-learning to sleep in the same bed together… it’s amazing how quickly your body learns to take over the entire bed when you lose your sleepmate. Apparently I’m quite the cover thief these days.) She’s been insanely busy, so my days actually don’t look all that different – doing my own thing, mostly. But it’s beyond wonderful to have her around in the evenings, snuggled under a down throw, warm in our cozy apartment.
I’m glad it didn’t really snow until she got back; I fell in love with her in winter, and nothing brings me back to myself, and back to us, quite like watching watching a snowfall with her. To think I used to hate winter.
We decorated for Christmas last night. I’m kind of obsessed with Christmas; it’s a big holiday in my family, and I adore the traditions of my childhood. Somehow Finn and I haven’t quite managed to get our own traditions off the ground – she isn’t so big on the traditional in general, and her family isn’t religious, so from what I gather the holiday season didn’t have quite the same significance for her family that it did for mine. But she’s willing to play along since it’s so important to me.
An example of our traditions not quite living up to expectations: last night she was supposed to have work until 6, after which we had big plans for a roasted chicken dinner, which we were going to eat while cheerily decking the halls, listening to christmas music and sipping mulled wine. Lovely, right? But then her work stuff got pushed back, she didn’t get home til after 8, the chicken nearly started a grease fire and set off the smoke alarms, and the cats kept trying to eat the tree. All of which was made worse by the fact that I was PMSing, both of us had low blood sugar, and there was a sleeping baby upstairs . (I swear to god it was like a bad sitcom.) Last night I was grumpy – though somewhat pacified by the mulled wine, admittedly – but today it just seems ridiculous. There’s me, wrapping lights around the tree, tripping over angry cats and poking myself in the eye with passing branches; there’s Finn, frantically running around opening windows, desperate and fanning the smoke with a plastic cutting board…
The star on top of the tree is crooked, and I can’t get it to stay upright. But after last night, it seems poetic, somehow; I think I’ll just leave it.
I’m making pot roast for dinner and it’s making the whole house smell delicious. I’m also experimenting with desserts; today I’m attempting the aforementioned truffles. I managed to slice my thumb open while chopping, which wasn’t a big deal except it bled EVERYWHERE and I could not for the life of me find a band-aid in this house. So I’m currently rocking a really fancy paper towel square wrapped in scotch tape contraption – go makeshift first aid.
My hair is getting really long. For me, I mean, which means it’s like 3 inches long. I’m “growing it out” to at least semi-shaggy levels, I think, just to see what happens… but I feel like I’m going to have to call in the professionals soon. I haven’t had a professional haircut since… hmm. I want to say pre-dreadlocks, which would make it something like 8 years? There may have been one real cut in there at some point, but really it has been at LEAST 5 years. I’ve just been cutting it myself for so long that the idea of going somewhere makes me nervous. At least if I fuck it up I didn’t pay money for it. (That’s probably not a good reason to avoid it, is it?) So far it just looks like my same haircut, only longer, and I can’t really do the fauxhawk thing anymore because it’s too long. I’m digging it, though. I’m just terrified I’m going to hit the inevitable mullet stage of any grow-out and no one’s going to tell me. Hence, the desire for professional help.
Wow, this got all rambly. Alright, off to check out the state of my truffles.
Oh, one last: this blog is nearly a year old. (::tear:: They grow up so fast, huh?) Seriously though, I kind of can’t believe it. I just want to thank everyone who checks in here and then checks in with me – either in the comments or the emails or texts or whatever. I feel like most of my posts are boring and not worth reading, but I’m always glad for any excuse for my pals – internety or otherwise – to give me a shout. So thanks for reading, and for reaching out. You’re all pretty amazing.
Finn is home tomorrow!!!
After 64 long. ass. days. she is returning.
There are so many things to be thankful for this year.
I spent today at my great aunt’s house, as usual, surrounded by laughing family and friends. I took 1000 pictures and drank a lot of champagne and ate more food than any one person should eat. And I just kept looking around at everyone, happy and healthy and so thrilled to be together, and thinking:
I am so lucky. I am just so, so fucking lucky.
I don’t think that often enough, but it’s true. Thanksgiving always makes me reflect on my first-world privilege and the thousand ways that I’ve been handed gifts that I never had to earn. (Which is a long post in and of itself, but it’s late and I’m exhausted, so I’ll spare you the entirety of my reflections. Suffice to say, I am humbled and grateful.)
(And this time next week, I will be snuggling up to Finn for the second night in a row – something I haven’t gotten to say for 10 weeks. So not only am I lucky, but well-loved. Again: humbled. Grateful.)
Also on the List of Things for Which I am Thankful: memories of a relaxing and in all ways wonderful weekend with Rev in DC, where I got to take over her guest room and play with her puppy and hang with her lady and her sister (both of whom I adore) and spend some sorely missed QT with Rala. I also got to spend most of a day with Grant, living it up at the Spy Museum and the Holocaust Museum – where yes, I cried – and just having fun hanging out with him somewhere other than our usual city. And, best of all, I got to be there for Rev’s actual BIRTHDAY, a feat which I don’t think I managed to accomplish in the entire 8 years we’ve known one another. For the record, it was all it was cracked up to be.
So, like I said. A lot to be thankful for.
Happy thanksgiving, friends.
**[By the by, I took the name of this post from one of my favorite childhood Thanksgiving hymns, We Gather Together. This line always rocked my little-kid-face off, and I used to sing it at the top of my lungs. I guess I really liked the idea of being on the right side of a fight. Still do, actually. Lyrics here, if you’re interested.]
4 days ago I went to the doctor and had blood drawn. It didn’t hurt when the guy actually put the needle in and drew the blood, but about a minute after he was done my arm seized up and started REALLY hurting. I’m kind of a wimp, so this made me lightheaded and stressed that I wouldn’t be able to drive home, but after sitting outside my car with my head between my knees for about 20 minutes, I was okay – just couldn’t use my right arm. My muscles were weak and it hurt to even move it. I’m not sure why I didn’t go back in and talk to the doctor about it, but it seemed like something that would pass.
Four days later and it’s still aching, like, wake me up in the middle of the night aching. Grr. Finn says, based on my bruise and the pain, that the guy must have both blown my vein and hit a nerve or a tendon in the process. This, I have discovered, does not make for a very happy pom. In fact, it makes for kind of a grumpy, wince-y pom.
So that’s this weekend’s news. Also, I saw A Serious Man last night with Cali and some folks. No one I was there with liked it much, but I thought it was pretty good. Dark, kinda depressing, but in a funny way. (I mean, it is the Coen brothers.) The very last image of the movie was really striking, hit on a very kind of primal fear, so I think that at least is going to stick with me for a while.
Before the movie we had dinner, where I managed not only to learn what curling is (i.e. one of the funniest sports I’ve ever seen… the brooms, are you kidding me?) but to impress people with my extensive knowledge of both Twilight and Miley Cyrus. It’s amazing the things that seep into your consciousness while you aren’t looking. (Though, to be fair, I did make the choice to read all of the Twilight books, but I stand by that decision as it has afforded me the ability to critique the shit out of it using ACTUAL examples instead of the more common I-hate-what-teenyboppers-love critique heard elsewhere. Also, they’re incredibly easy to read.)
Today was gorgeous. I had brunch with QS and I’m kind of regretting that we didn’t sit outside on one of the very last nice days before our long New England winter hits. I had this vague idea that we might go for a walk, but instead we went to my place and watched several episodes of Buffy. We finished season 5, in fact. Crazy. (It was pointed out to me, yesterday, by Cali, that I am kind of dating Buffy in Finn’s absence. I figure if a fictional vampire slayer is all she has to worry about, we’re doing okay.) :)
Anyway. Wish I’d been outside more, but we did have the windows open, so…
Oh! The weekend’s other news is that after purchasing many (many) plane and train tickets, I am officially going to DC for Rev’s birthday, then to Philly for Thanksgiving, and down south for Christmas. Grant – who’s in DC doing an internship at the moment, coincidentally enough – and I already have plans to take a ton of ridiculous pictures. This has renewed my lust for a particular camera I have my eye on but probably wouldn’t use enough to warrant buying it, sigh. (Something you may or may not know about me: I have a tendency to lust after strange things sometimes – these are another current fascination – and if the lustiness lasts long enough, I end up caving and buying. Hence, these, which are, I must say, awesome.)
Okay, I’m babbling. I should go figure out dinner. Which, by the by, I have been successfully cooking! I’m no chef, but I’ve got some staples down and my kitchen confidence is up. So far so good.
Off I go!
I’ve not written here lately. I’ve been hyper-aware of this; I think about it often. I’m ignoring my sweet pomegranate space, I say to myself. She’s going to be pissed when I get back. (Because apparently she has a temper when she’s been neglected, not that I blame her.)
And it’s funny, because I’ve been writing – elsewhere – more than I ever have before. I dove headfirst into the book, and I haven’t looked back. It’s been a godsend – something keeping me anchored in this vast chaotic hopeless place of unemployment, where the temptation to sit on the couch and watch Law and Order marathons all day is sometimes overwhelming. I quickly discovered, post-layoff, that not only am I happier when I’m contributing and being productive, but in fact the idea of having nothing of importance to do cracks open a door leading to a gaping black hole of fear that’s always been lurking just beneath the surface of my consciousness.
Certainly it’s a uniquely human trait, this belief that we are all special snowflakes who were put on this earth to do Things of Importance. And I admit, I buy into it – depending on one’s definition of importance (and mine is admittedly wide) I do, actually, believe that everyone is here for some purpose, no matter how seemingly trivial. In my view, everyone has the opportunity to contribute something significant, and I am particularly touched by small moments of meaning that indicate a significance beyond the surface. The whole random acts of kindness, senseless acts of beauty mantra has become a bumper sticker cliche by now, but when it does happen I tend to get a little weepy. (Yea yea, welcome to being a Cancer. I’m sensitive and I own it.)
I wouldn’t have expected sudden joblessness to make me feel cut off from this cycle of meaning, but it really did noticeably amplify my fear of my own insignificance. Suddenly that thing to which I had chosen to contribute – my work, which was so important to me – was gone, and… well, now what?
So I’m writing now, as often as I can, because it gives me a sense of purpose. And sure, I realize that it’s not like my writing is going to save the world. All writing – maybe all art – is somewhat self-indulgent. I’ll never forget Orson Scott Card telling a lecture-hall full of high school writers that we’d better be responsible writers, hardworking writers, we’d better take our craft seriously because, and I remember how incredulous he sounded, we’re asking people to pay us money to tell them stories. He’s made his living that way, and he still seemed somewhat mystified by the whole idea. And I’m right there with him. (On that issue. On his politics, well, not so much.)
But right now, I don’t write because I want to save the world. I write because I want to save myself. The feeling of not having anything to contribute has shaken me far more deeply than any of the other collateral costs of being laid off – the rejection letters, the financial woes. It’s not so much that I want a job; I just want to have something that gives my actions meaning. So I write because I love it, yes, and I write because I love the goal, and I write because there’s meaning in it.
Because I am a special snowflake, dammit, and I have things to say.