I haven’t posted anything here in half a decade. Time flies.
My boyfriend and I are going to be traveling in England for 3 weeks, though, and I decided to set up a travel blog. It’s pretty spare, but I think we’ll have fun posting photos.
Unrelatedly, there’s a decent likelihood I’m going to have major surgery on my jaws in about a year. After I’d set up the travel blog, and was about to go pick up the models of my jaws, I realized that I want to share that process, too. So I started a second blog, which is all about my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. It’s called Body, Mind, & Soul, and it’s even more spare than the travel blog. It may also become TMI… particularly once the surgery starts.
That led me to want to post more on this site, which led me to going through old drafts sitting in the backend. There’s a lot of them, and some of them tell good stories, or parts of stories. I don’t know why I didn’t just publish them… lack of confidence, maybe, or lack of time.
So, I’m planning to clean them up a little and post them, because the prospect of major surgery on my face is reminding me that there’s nowhere to hide from myself. I have zero fucks to give* toward shame, self-censorship, or TMI. If you don’t want to read what I have to share, you don’t have to. I want to write. So I’m planning to share stories from my past several years. I hope you’ll let me know if they speak to you. 💖
* I love when common phrases are rearranged. “Give a fuck” is so 90s. (1790s, if this link is to be believed. I didn’t research it enough to find out.)
I promised you the story of the Adventures of the Rocking Chair, and here it is.
Once upon a time, I went on a road trip with my significant other to visit family in Oregon*. And we happened into a shop that sells wood things made locally. In fact, many of the things were made in that very shop, as we discovered when we** asked and were shown the huge rooms full of uncarved wood, and the huger room full of tools and more uncarved wood, and the hugest room yet stacked full of uncarved wood and great big tools. Not to mention the shop across the street with the saw-of-some-sort that could cut a 20′ piece of wood. But in the front of the shop were gorgeous things: clocks, shelves, tables, bowls. And rocking chairs. They came in three sizes: small, medium, and large. First thing, we had to sit in them. Ahhh, comfy.
This is the first one I bothered to take a picture of:
We ogled. We asked the shop owners about the chairs. (We bought a couple of pieces of uncarved wood.) And then we left.
A few days later we were back in town, and back at the shop ready to choose a chair and make a deal. We sat in every single chair they had, including the dozen in a storage unit around the corner. We wanted the right balance of comfort for me, comfort for Ben (we’re not the same size), and attractiveness. They were all made by the same guy, so there wasn’t a lot of variation in style, but most of them were made out of very nice wood, and a couple were made of absolutely gorgeous figured wood. (I didn’t get a picture of the most gorgeous one. You’ll have to take my word for it.)
We hemmed and hawed. And finally we chose the same one I’d taken a picture of when we first saw it. It really is pretty. It’s a little big for me, and a little small for him, but better than any other chair we tried.
And we told them we’d be back in a couple of days to put it in our truck. Have I mentioned the truck? We have a FWD truck with an awesome cap on the back that fits a mattress and all of our camping gear underneath, so we can go camping in comfort and luxury, without the crummy gas mileage of an RV. So we figured, sure we’re buying a piece of furniture, and sure we have to drive it 500 miles home… but we have space!
See? It totally fits. (It’s behind the pillows. Yes, those are our pillows. We sleep on them. Also, they protect the delicate corners. Worked a dream.)
Here’s closer view:
The only question then was, where were we going to put the chair whenever we needed to put ourselves in the back to sleep at night***?
As it happens, earlier in the week we’d decided we wanted to camp at this one specific campsite, because everyone knows that Oregon’s campsites are the best evah. When we called to make a reservation, they only had a campsite with a yurt left. It’s more expensive, but it’s a yurt. We looked at each other and said, “Sure, that sounds like fun.”
Turns out the yurt is basically a tarp-covered frame with furniture inside. The windows were all velcro’ed closed, so it smelled mildewy and awful. Also, we would’ve had to strip the bedding out of our truck and put it on the bed in the yurt. We looked inside the yurt, and we looked at our comfy mattress in the truck, and we said to ourselves, selves, we said, we’ll be much happier sleeping in the truck. And the chair can sleep in the yurt.
So that’s how the chair ended up sleeping in its very own yurt that can sleep six plus furniture.
The next night was slightly less exciting for the chair. We hadn’t made reservations and we couldn’t find a spot anywhere we wanted to camp†, so we ended up at a Holiday Inn Express. It was really nice. The pillows were nice, the mattress was nice. Having a place to rest and change so we could go out for dinner was nice. Our pillows stayed in the truck, cushioning the chair as it slept.
The next morning we hit the road, refreshed and excited to find somewhere nice to camp. Maybe somewhere along the Avenue of the Giants. But lo, it was not meant to be. There was smoke from a fire somewhere in Oregon. Once we got beyond that, it was hot and icky. Once we got beyond that we were back in civilization and there was no reason to try camping. Instead, we stopped at my grandparents’ house, where my aunt had just arrived for a visit.
And because we are weird, and we really like our setup in the truck, we slept in the truck outside, while the chair slept in the house.
Everyone admired the chair, and we felt quite pleased with ourselves and ate too much ice cream, as one does, and we left for home the next morning.
And we all lived happily ever after.
* Gorgeous up there, by the way. I really liked being in the middle of nowhere. The only downside to small towns in the middle of nowhere is that when you ask the gas attendant^ if there’s a coffee shop with WiFi anywhere nearby, she literally laughs out loud.
^ Cuz Oregon doesn’t let you pump your own gas, you know.
** This is the euphemistic “we” used by couples. In this case the “we” didn’t include me, though I did follow along.
*** We did, in fact, try to put the chair into the cab of the truck. Because of the runners, the chair was just a couple inches too big, no matter which way we angled it. And then as we tried to pull it out again, I felt like the guy with the couch in DIRK GENTLY’S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY, who gets his couch stuck halfway up the staircase in his apartment building, and then when he models it on the computer he finds there’s no way the couch could’ve gotten into that position without knocking a hole in a wall. If you haven’t read it, you should totally read DIRK GENTLY. It’s Douglas Adams. It’s hilarious. There’s time travel, ghosts, and a couch stuck in a staircase that couldn’t possibly have gotten there. And a dodo.
We did remove the chair without removing any part of the truck.
† We stopped at one place by the beach. Ben went into the restroom, I did not. He left without having used it. Apparently it was really really bad.
So far this summer, we’ve frozen corn, peaches, apricots, pluots, pesto, more corn and more peaches, blueberries, blackberries, and, uh, some random bottles of water that we put into coolers.
Yesterday we made:
our last batch of pesto for the season using fresh basil and fresh lemon from our neighbors’ parents’ yard,
a huge container of salsa with tomatoes from our neighbors (which doesn’t freeze well, so we’re going to be eating a lot of salsa this week),
lemon juice from our neighbors’ parents’ lemons (the frozen lemon juice is in the kitchen freezer, so you can’t see it here)
cleaning fluid out of lemon rinds, basil stems, and some rosemary sprigs soaking in vinegar,
apple sauce from two sad apples that fell off the tree,
which went on our pancakes,
and beet/carrot/ginger/pear/red bell pepper/parsley juice.
I feel quite proud of us. (No wonder I spent all afternoon tired on the couch.)
There’s still hot peppers and tomatoes to acquire and process this month, and then starting in late september will be apple season (we have 3 producing apple trees). I’m trying to figure out better (i.e. more nutritional) things to do with the apples than just making apple juice, but everything I come up with takes a lot of peeling and slicing. We had boxes and boxes and boxes of apples last year, I’m not sure I can handle slicing and slicing and slicing and peeling and peeling. But I was thinking of trying an apple slicer. Anyone have opinions about apple slicers?
I went away and did ALL THE THINGS! Disneyland, Oregon, a gorgeous wooden rocking chair, I had my picture taken with Pluto* and my sisters, and I bought a silly tiny mad-hatter-does-tinkerbell hat. And we made saurkraut! Not at all in that order.**
I want to tell you about all those things because they were fun and silly and I have PICTURES. (Not enough, though, because my dad has a bunch of them, and my aunt does, and other people, and I haven’t gathered them all to me yet. And also because I forget to take pictures.) But it’s going to take time, because I’m a slow story-writer, which might not be obvious when you only see the output (or you listen to me talk), but is totally obvious when you’re in my head. Or when you know that I started composing the Adventures of the Rocking Chair over a month ago, and still haven’t finished it, or even gotten the pictures in order. I’ve been busy, I swear.
In other words, this is the post to tell you I have stories to tell you, but it isn’t actually the stories, because they aren’t written yet, but I want to get back on the blogging thing today, even if it’s just to say I’ll tell you stories later. And I have Writing to do now***, so I’m going to go do that, and I’ll get back to you with stories later.
Here’s the silly hat:
* Who I thought was Goofy, because I’m a spaz and forgot which one wears clothes.
** And if you’re my friend on facebook (or my friend in general), then you might’ve heard about most of it already…
*** Umm… after I finish getting distracted making myself silly avatars on the internet. I can’t claim that’s Writing, not even a little bit.
Ok, not really. But my brain is definitely loving sparkles since I started my experiment. And pink. Dear lord, the pink.
I bought “binder stickers” at Office Depot the other day. They are sparkly *and* green, all at the same time, and they only cost $2. I had to have them.
And now, my laptop has them! Too bad I can’t see them while working… but the inside of my laptop doesn’t have enough surface area for these stickers. And everyone else will be able to admire them.
Oh, and the pink. I’ve wanted a heavy shirt, flannel or corduroy, that I could throw over whatever I’m wearing for a light layer of warmth when I go out for a walk. LL Bean had just what I wanted, but all in colors I didn’t like. I ended up with pink. I don’t wear pink. (Well, only rarely.) At the same time I bought a fleecy and a jacket that are both purple. I do wear a bit of purple already, but put together they were all GIRLY. And now glitter?
Fortunately, I’m secure enough in my geek-hood and non-girl-hood* to tolerate both glitter and pink. 🙂
* Not to say manhood, because that’s technically incorrect and I don’t, in fact, aspire to be a man. Maybe I mean womanhood, as in grown-woman-hood, the opposite of girliness?
[pe2-image src=”http://lh4.ggpht.com/-tW-mT9uRFVQ/UdMQ1z95buI/AAAAAAAAF4I/3cHPAH-j9cs/s144-c-o/F7D8042C-16CA-490C-800E-14725C736CDD.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/111163203489795350875/IntLiz#5896074853827047138″ caption=”” type=”image” alt=”this cat is so comfortable, stretched on a deck chair” ]
If anyone understands comfort, this cat understands comfort. She knows how to make anywhere comfy, and she’ll always find *the* comfiest spot. Doesn’t she make you want to lie down on a deck chair?
* In my backyard. I didn’t sneak over into their yard to get this picture, that would be creepy.
I keep getting frustrated with myself. Bogged down, feeling like a toddler, I DON’T WANNA! Don’t wanna get up, or decide what productive thing to do, or wash dishes, or … or … or write, of course, because that’s there too. Or worse, I want to write, but I don’t want to tear open the vein and feel what’s there. Or I don’t want to keep banging my head against a wall. I dunno.
I’m trying to rewrite my vampire story, and I’m stuck on this scene. Do I just need to bang my head on it harder? (That’s my default assumption, it may be faulty.) Is it the wrong scene and I can’t see it because that’s always been the scene? Or am I just writing the wrong story right now? What’s the right story? How would I know?
The other morning I woke up grumpy. I was tired (I’m always tired when I wake up), and I was thinking of all the things I haven’t done, should’ve done, should I get up and wash dishes, should I help Ben with breakfast, should I should I? Or worse, I should I should. And some of the grumpy got turned outward on Ben, because that’s what happens. So then I wonder, is there some psychological reason I’m grumpy? I should do something to get un-grumpy, because I shouldn’t be judging myself. So now I’m judging the judging. o_O Seriously, my brain.
I haven’t worked on the story in days, and I haven’t worked on anything else either. Because my brain is judging and saying “You should be finishing this vampire story!” and instead of some other part of me saying very linearly, “But that’s the wrong story” or “But I’m coming at the story wrong” or anything so useful, I just don’t want to write, and I feel miserable and grumpy. Because the part of me that can determine whether it’s the right story isn’t linear, so it doesn’t communicate in whole ideas like that. It just gets grumpy. Or stubborn, and some other part of my head gets grumpy. (When I’m in it, I can’t always tell which part of my psyche is having which reactions. And notice the part of my brain making that sentence thinks I should be able to tell, and is judging me for that. Oh, the judgment how it swirls.)
Anyway, so I was telling Ben about my grumpy morning, which actually started with a grumpy evening the night before, after he went to bed, but it’s not much different from the grumpy morning so I didn’t bother telling you about it before, but I was telling him about the grumpy evening and the grumpy morning. And he said*, “I guess I’m not surprised that you’re having tough emotions and doubts at this stage in your experiment. It’s still early. But I have no doubt that you’re going to succeed.” And then he went away to do something else.
And I remembered I also have confidence that I’m going to succeed. And I have confidence that it’s going to suck sometimes, because learning a new thing always sucks, and I’m learning a whole new way of living. It always gets rough before you make a breakthrough. I’ve been having a lot of rough, these past few weeks, interspersed with awesome.
And today I read this blog post by Amanda Palmer, who makes awesome music, who’s married to Neil Gaiman, who makes awesome books, in which she reviews his latest book and their marriage. Two artists married to each other. Two artists who had long solo careers of being creative in a particular way before getting married, and not always knowing how not to hurt each other while doing their own things. And I’m so envious of them, because they know how to do their things already. They’ve had years and years of making art for a living, in which to discover that they work best alone, or in short bursts or long bursts or intense obsessive** weeks of Making Art, or whatever. And I’ve had one month, half of which was actually vacation.
It’s still early, yet.
* He didn’t actually say it like that. I don’t remember his words. But these words get me to the same feeling I had when he said his words, so they’ll do.
** This word is never spelled the way I think it should be: obssessive. Or maybe obsssesssive. If you’re going to be obsessive, you should have tons of extra esses. I’m just sayin’.
Editor’s Note:I started composing this blog post on June 1st, but didn’t manage to post it until 10 days later. I’m behind, but it’s such a great subject that I figured you’d want to read about it anyway. 🙂 I have a couple more posts that are nearly ready to go, I just need to stuff them into the blog. I’ll try to get them up soon.
The first of June! A whole new month, and the first whole month of my new life!
Today I pose the question: what does a good day look like?
Is a good day when I’m fast-moving and productive? Sure. Is a good day when I’m upbeat or happy all day? Absolutely.
But are those things requirements for a good day? After yesterday, I am glad to conclude no.
Yesterday* I woke up sluggish. I couldn’t keep my eyes open for longer than five minutes before I was asleep again. This lasted hours. I asked Ben to set an alarm before he left for work, so I would know when to check on the cooking beans… and I slept through it beeping for about five minutes. Whenever I woke up I would think, “ugh, I really want to be moving, why can’t I stay awake?” I got up three times to check on the beans, and then headed straight back to bed, first for napping, then for mindless games on my phone. “Ughh, why am I so lazy and useless?” I asked myself. I started thinking through all the good reasons for me to be sleepy… I went to bed at a reasonable hour, I’d napped the evening before… and in the afternoon…** Well, my mom told me she slept for a week when she stopped having a job, maybe this was just a delayed reaction. I finally got up and looked around for easy breakfast to eat. “Ugh, I don’t even want to make food. At this rate I’ll be a useless person, eating fast food and sitting on the couch all day!”
Long story not quite as long, most of the day sounded like that. Finally while I was out on a walk, I noticed that there were gorgeous roses and I’d nearly missed them because I was so focused on why I’m sluggish, instead of focusing on what’s good about the world. Dude, LOTS of things are good about the world! It was sunny, there were roses, I was moving, I had a hat to protect my eyes from the sun, I have a home, etc. As I continued walking down the hill toward the post office, I had a bounce in my step and was noticing the trees and the cars and the ocean… and then had a funny view from outside of myself as the jaunty heroine who has just lifted herself out of a dark hole, and now has a montage scene of being outside in bright colors with a smile on her face, which would be followed by her making food or going shopping or something else appropriate for a montage scene. 🙂
When I got home, I started (or resumed) puzzling over my brain, but this time without the overlay of “what’s wrong with me”. And what I finally realized is that my analytical mind (or perhaps my judgmental mind, or my Critic) spends all of its time measuring me against a ruler that only has the following marks:
Not Even Trying
Not Good Enough
If You Were This Effective Every Day, You’d Actually Be A Useful Person
Seriously, even when I have a great day, I judge myself for not having great days every day. No wonder I have a hard time staying motivated. So now’s my chance to completely recalibrate my ruler. What should the marks be?
Kicked Serious Butt!***
That ruler might be more motivating.
So yeah, large parts of the day were miserable and uncomfortable and unmotivated, but because of all that I made this huge realization about myself. Now that I can see the ruler, I can choose a different ruler. Therefore, it was a fabulous day. I should be so lucky to have more days like this.
* Yesterday = May 31st. It was a Friday.
** Incidentally, this is total nonsense. I’d woken up totally early on Thursday to have breakfast with friends, then shopped at Target for an hour and a half, and then got stuck in traffic coming home^. I had every right to be tired from a day like that.
^ Rush hour traffic. I always stayed at work until after the traffic was over, and now that I’m not working, why should rush hour traffic apply to me? Sigh. I’ll have to get used to planning around this.
*** Apparently nice me who always thinks I’m doing well is really into exclamation points. 😉
Well, it’s my third day of post-employment vacation. Yesterday I stayed in bed reading until after 10am, which I haven’t done in a few years*. Then I got up and instead of making breakfast, I made kasha (slow, so it was for lunch or a later meal), ravioli in the last of the sun-dried tomato pesto (store-bought), and banana oat muffins with the two very brown bananas I discovered at the bottom of the fridge. (The third incredibly brown banana was wrinkled and sad… it became an offering to the compost.) I also offered a bunch of sad old vegetables that were beyond saving, and squeezed all the citrus in the fridge into juice, except for one lemon (which Ben used today for our cucumber and arugula salad). Then of course I had to wash dishes… and then I sat on the couch for the next several** hours watching various TV shows. 🙂
Including Ally McBeal, which I never watched more than a scene or two of when it was originally on air. I watched the season finale of Gray’s Anatomy, and decided I needed another show that’s overly melodramatic and unrealistic yet funny and requiring little brain power. Ally McBeal seems to suit the purpose just fine; I watched the first four episodes. 😀 So far it really is all about sex, but I like how Ally is generally honest about the fact that she still loves her many-years-ex-boyfriend Billy, who is now married. Yeah, there are plenty of moments of self-deception and other-people-decption, but that one is generally right out in the open. I’m having a little trouble with how awkward and stammery she gets. It’s a cute character flaw, but occasionally over-done. And I adore her best friend Renée, who gets to be honest and fabulous. Of course, they have relatively few scenes with Renée (compared to any of Ally’s coworkers), probably because she’d take over the show. So, good choice. And I love Vonda Shepard. Was she anybody before she played the music on the show? I know her music well, but I don’t remember if she was famous before Ally McBeal.
Today we got up and went to the farmer’s market and grocery store, and now we’ve made cucumber salad (see above), prepped a summer squash, broccolini floret, and onion stir-fry for later, and prepped a lentil soup with barely, summer squash, broccolini stem, onion, celery (which I despise, incidentally, but usually put into soups because it makes soup taste better), and mushroom (which I hate the texture of, so we’re going to cook the celery and mushroom in broth and then puree it, then add that to the soup).
This week, my world is centering around food, books, and TV. That seems just right. Next week, I’m going sewing machine shopping***.
† That phrase got stuck in my head and I can’t think of a better title. So, there it is. Speaking of the other side, my dad sent me the best email this morning, telling me that he’s proud of me for following my heart. It made me really happy.
* So bizarre. I used to read until 11 or noon easily on weekends. (And occasionally on weekdays…) Ben tends to want to get up and, you know, eat breakfast. And then there were 7 or 8am meetings some mornings. So I got in the habit of getting up early. Even if I stayed in bed reading, 10 has been the latest unless I’m sick. And, actually, I’d rather get up much earlier than 10 most days, to have plenty of time to enjoy the sunlight. In the summer it’s not such a big deal, but come winter it’ll be important. Another thing I’ve noticed is that I have this belief that evenings are for vegging out… even if I spent all day vegging and probably could muster the energy to be productive. I’m not worried about it during my vacation, but once the Experiment starts, I’ll have to pay attention to that and make sure it doesn’t get out of hand.
** “Several” may actually be an understatement…. We also watched the fifth episode of Doctor Who Season 7 Part 2^, whose name I forget^^. (Yeah, I’m a few episodes behind. I’ve been busy and savoring. 🙂 ) It was a fun episode with some entertaining bits, but it also strained credulity in a bunch of places. This season isn’t as well written as the past couple of seasons have been. The story-lines just aren’t as tight. Even “Hide” (episode 4) was fun, but when I watched it a second time (so Ben could see it), it had lost all of the scariness and it seemed like some bits were just there for effect and didn’t have any bearing on the plot. Again, weaker writing. Sad.
^ What’s wrong with just continuing Season 7? Why did it have to become part 2?
^^ I imagine I could look it up.%
% Ok, ok, I’ll look it up. Oh right, Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS, which was actually a fabulous title. And it really did live up to the title, and seeing the inside of the TARDIS was great fun (I loved the swimming pool), but it could’ve been more awesome. Like why were the <REDACTED> trying to kill them? And after the buildup in the last half season I expected to adore Clara… and while I do like her, she’s not nearly as spunky and funny as she was built up to be. :-/
*** And maybe get a haircut, new glasses, and give my car an oil change and a car wash. And also go shopping for a cabinet to store my routers and electronics in. But since my biggest goal is vacating, I’m trying to keep it all low pressure. 🙂