Thursday, July 26, 2012

the carousel.

Remember that time we raced Jenna and Tony to the carousel?
To be fair, they had a head start. It was covered with a thick red tarp that made the whole ride into a tent because it was night and all the tourist kids who would have paid a dollar to ride it had gone back on the ferry or were tucked in for the night.  They always covered the carousel at night for protection. Only the adult-children with their ridiculous hamburger hats and slurred speech and teetering walks down the main drag remained. They were always bent on destruction, themselves or anything they could get their hands on. Usually themselves, but the carousel could have easily caught one of their eyes and been torn down to the ground. The bars weren't packed, but they were busy enough. It was a Tuesday, Wednesday, maybe, our evening off.
We, you and I, slid under the tarp sometimes, at night. I'd run my hands over all the muscled wood arranged in a ring, their antique bodies painted garishly and shined to a shimmer, even in the darkness. We'd plot how you'd take me on the fish I'd named Petey the Perch, the lazy wind whispering through the shadows and the dorm building we lived in last summer just a stone's throw away. All I wanted was to have you on that stupid child's toy, to sail into oblivion balanced precariously on the wooden spine of that antique fish. It wasn't for the irony, just the rush of doing something wrong. I felt so much of that those summers, and the stakes were getting higher and higher. I was scared to go through with it though, waiting for your sure decision to tell me it was okay. Waiting for you to slip off a shoe or a shirt or pop off your hat the way you always did. I was willing to wait. No one else knew our plan. But that night, by accident, I let it slip to Jenna that a late night trip to the carousel for two was what I was getting for my birthday. She and Tony took off into the darkness without a word as I hollered your name and watched their scrawny backs disappear from my place on the front porch. I waited for you, hoping from foot to foot, and then we sprinted, me barefoot, trailing them as fast as we could.
We got there and it was too late, after all. They had already stripped down and mounted each other on one of the painted horses, triumphant but not really caring too much about our matching destroyed expressions, I guess they had some physical distraction. They were already so far away. They beat us at our own game. 
That night after we found them, I sat, still under the big tarp on one of the massive red sleds that mothers hold their babies on before they can sit on their own on the ride. I felt like such a child. I don't know why I didn't slip back under the tent and keep on walking into the night, away from you, or them. Another disappointment. Their bodies writhing so close to ours, but the notion of privacy too abstracted by two summers here that I didn't even think to leave. Had I been on the main land, maybe I would have torn out of there, embarrassed to have been such an intrusion. Still, I sat, and eventually you sat down next to me, alluded that we could still do it, you know, right here, as you touched me, inquiring gently. This upset me more than letting them cross the threshold before us. That's when I left.
Later I reasoned that I should have maybe been mad at Jenna and Tony for what they'd done, for taking away something I'd said in secret. But more than anything I found I was jealous. Jealous of their daring, their passion, their total lack of commitment, yet complete focus on one another,  Watching them made our lack so much heavier, the gap growing between us so much wider. Had we ever been able to bring ourselves that close?
Isn't it funny how we lay in bed at night with our lovers, confessing timidly the moment we KNEW we had fallen in love with the other, but we never share the moment when we KNEW we had fallen out of it? Wouldn't that help bring some necessary closure?
Maybe, I don' t know. But I think that was when I knew that your presence in my life, as strong and important as it seemed, was also fleeting.
That night, you followed me into the star-pricked dark as the tent dropped back down over Jenna and Tony, not saying anything until you caught up with me, in long, pigeon-toed strides. You touched my arm and as I turned, and you slipped a pair of enormous flip-flops to me, motioning at my bare feet. I love walking barefoot in the summer, but something must have told you that while sprinting toward the carousel I'd carelessly scraped the soles of my feet to dickens on the gravel alley. I slipped them on, feeling warmth and the odd sensation of walking in too-big shoes, like dress-up, and I reached for your hand. We walked soundlessly up to my bedroom.
You offered to pay for me to get a tattoo for my birthday instead, a few days later, but it felt like a consolation prize. I've sat up nights since, thankful that I didn't let you pay for any ink on my body.
You put enough in my mind

Monday, July 23, 2012

sweeth tooth thriftstore diy fairy.

I'm almost fully consumed with packing right now, for the most part. I just downed three, ok four, snack sized Kit-Kats  in less time than it takes most people to work out a sneeze, so in a word, I'm hormonal as well.
I've got LESS than three full days left at work, which makes me want to dance a little jig on top of a rooftop in a crowded metropolitan area for all to see, but I'm not letting myself near crowds or rooftops right now because I'm anxious enough as is. And have I mentioned that my core four group of girlfriends will be reunited this weekend? Yeah, that's happening. Katherine has been in Korea for a year and Jessica's been in Portland but it moving to Finland for two years. So this will be IT for a while. A long while. It's going to be really, really intense.

last summer, the last time we were all together. we're taking it back to basics saturday night.

This weekend I spent the majority of my waking hours in thrift stores with my mother, which was good because we really needed at least one really solid day together before I leave. We're hit or miss, but this weekend was very much a hit, so hooray!
 I also had baller luck in the buying department. I purchased a pair of chairs for twenty dollars(!) which I'm reapolstering, and a small-ish table that I'll be painting for eighteen dollars (double !!) and I am absolutely brimming with anticipation at seeing them together as a set in my new sun-soaked dining nook.
I also ought some little odds and ends to add a bit of character, and I'm super psyched to show them off soon. All in all, I didn't spent a ton of money, which was a major bonus and I got to make a project out of my new dining set, which is both masochistic with time running so short and perfect for me because, in case you didn't know, I'm a bit of a  freak about personalzing/DIYing my things and I'm nothing if not overwhelmed with activities.
My newest furniture additions are below. Updates to come!

blah. imagine it the same, only different! confused?
how cute is the chair? how disgusting is the seat? what the hell.
i've never been happier to rip off a cushion in my life. that shit was HIDEOUS.

Friday, July 20, 2012

no ryhme or reason.

I don't know what to say.
I find that I often have that reaction when something too big for me to process in my usual, quick, compartmentalized way slams into me without any sort of warning. There's a lot of intersecting emotion that comes with great tragedy, that comes with being bombarded from all angles by something catastrophic and wrong.
It's a jumble of emotions for me. I almost said cycle, because I often revert back to one or another, but really I find, it's everything all at once, just sometimes one or another comes more to the forefront. When I learn of something terrible and tragic, I usually feel really high alert first, and it's not even that my mind is feeling anything, just that physically, I break into a cold sweat and my body is suddenly, inexplicably coated with goosebumps. Complete focus. I'm devoted completely to what I'm hearing or seeing. I could drive fifty miles and not even realize that my body has been doing it, because my head is somewhere else entirely. Mental tunnel vision.
I feel sad, next. It's a wall of cold air just fully overtaking me. I think of all the people that were living their lives, completely and wonderously normal and mundane, and now will never get to do so again. I think of casual exchanges that weren't worthy of being the last exchange, because they simply weren't the last. They simply weren't going to be. Until they were. I think of putting pieces of broken glass back together, nicking yourself on sharp edges and crying out in pain while the world keep spinning on, crowds bustle forward, time stops for no one. But for the one affronted personally,  time has stopped. In one moment. One moment that can never be explained. Or reasoned with or have hope for repair, total restoration. And it hurts. Even in my far away state, I feel actual pain, I swear I do. I feel so, so sorry.
Guilt comes next, but fleeting, because I don't really have time to dwell on the brilliant and astonishing blessings I have been given, not now. It doesn't feel right to think about how fine everything is with me. How my biggest worry this morning was what people at work would think about the fact that I'm wearing my glasses and I didn't blow dry my hair. It's hot. I was tired. I feel guilty because how can I not? An hour ago I could have held onto these minor inconveniences like pebbles, let them grate in my shoe for hours, something to complain about. They evaporated as soon as I heard the news, but guilt, for the triviality of my concerns, that has come to stay. At least for a time.
I feel fear most after that, after realizing how truly good I have it and how much I have to lose. To hear of things happening beyond control. Out of all of our hands. Out of bounds completely from rational thought or societial convention. Out of the blue, no one saw it coming. People always talk about the fragility of life, of our feeble human circumstances when something comes through and plows our intricate structures to the ground so pointlessly and effortlessly. But you know what? I don't think a single one of us really believes everything is so delicate, so breakable until we're literally staring in horror at shattered pieces. I feel strong most of the time, invincible, in fact. To be reminded so blatantly and horrifically that I am completely wrong, it scares me and I hate it. To think, it could be anywhere. It terrifies me. I cried myself to sleep after watching the movie Taken. I appreciate it for the movie it was and I know there's more than an ounce of truth behind it, but in truth, I loathed it because it shook me to my core. Terrified me the way the idea of a person opening fire at a movie premiere scares me. I so strongly don't want to be the kind of person that is too frightened to live my life. I want to walk in confidence. I cannot stand to be someone who will fret when my loved ones leave my sight. But I am scared, now, and it's not fair.
It is so unfair, all of it. And confusing and terrifying and core-shaking. And you know what? Finally, I feel angry, then. A raking fury that I don't even realize is there until my jaw starts to ache from clenching it in an effort not to fly off the handle and start howling at the sky. Angry Angry Angry Angry Angry Angry. No words even come. I'm not even thinking, not really. I'm just mad, pissed off, wound so tight that a casual "Did you hear about that weirdo in Colorado that shot up a theater? Ha ha. What a fucking nut job, man," from some idiot at work is enough to make red lines appear in my vision. Actual red lines. Every impulse is screaming for me to get up and get in his face and just *#$&(*#$&(*#$&#$*(. But I don't. I don't. I don't. I didn't think it was possible, but I am just even more angry.
In an attempt to tune everything out and to look productive and to find answers or meaning or rhyme or reason or AT LEAST SOMETHING where there is absolutely none, I sit at my desk in livid silence, reading page after page on the internet. Waiting like a vulture for updates, simultaneously ravenous for information and completely disgusted that this is what it has come to. As people we need to exchange information quickly, now it is almost instant. Good job, humans.  I tell myself somehow I've cheapened the tragedy less because I steer clear of Twitter and it's pithy 140-character shows of sympathy. But I know I'm no better. And no better than what, exactly? People that express regret concisely? This is what we do now. It doesn't have to be cheap. But it feels that way and it annoys me and I realize maybe I'm the problem. Maybe it's not about 'cheapening' tragedy. Maybe in judging one person's show of feeling, I'm the one in the wrong. I'm so confused. I'm so angry and sad and guilty and everything. Everything.
Everything about this is confusing to me, everything. Another emotion that runs the gamut today.
Despite the confusion and anger and attempts not to be visibly crying at my desk, I feel so moved. It comes and goes in a moment, but it's something so much lighter than the frenzied rage that it sticks out. It's gratitude, I guess. For people who fucking did something. Who tried to help. Who did help. Who will be heros when the dust settles. Who find words when there don't seem to be any. I feel moved by the way society is outraged, absolutely united in our HOW DARE YOUness. How we crowd around and update each other and try to make sense as a team, even when we can't do it, we try. We try to make sense of it, we keep going because we have to, and we'll keep going. But we acknowledge and we regret and we HATE what happened and it moves me to have us agree, even if it's something so terrible as the fact, that this is wrong. This was unjust and terrible and NO ONE deserves this. Sometimes I feel like we as people can't reach a consensus on the color of the sky, but I'll be damned if we can't come together to offer sympathy and mutual outrage.
And then I feel guilty, again. for finding anything positive to say. Because, really, there's nothing positive to say and anyway, what in the hell do I know? I know nothing, not really. No one I knew was in Aurora last night. I've had injustice done to me and my family, sure. But I've not been touched by something like this. Something that never again leaves once come. In the future, maybe not for a long time, but someday, I know I'll go a single day without thinking about the events last night, and that is a relief to me, honestly, while it simultaneously weighs more than a boulder dropped square on my heart, because how could I?
And then I remind myself, that I am not special. That someday, something may happen that will literally change the course of my life. That may alter my reality forever. Something I'll never go a single day without pondering and shaking in fury and sadness. And that scares me. And I'm back to fear.
I'll go through all these emotions maybe a hundred more times before the day is through, and I'll lie in bed tonight, unable to sleep because of it. It's almost like an adreniline overdose, I can feel my blood moving a million miles an hour faster in my veins than normal. I'll try to reason and then remind myself that it's futile and I'll get angry. I'll cry out of sadness and fear and rage. Mostly sadness, that's what I feel most of all.
Mostly sadness.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Ok you guys. I don't want to make any completely rash, grandiose statements because nothing is for sure yet.... but I'm totally going to anyway.


*(#&$(*&#$(*&#$*($#&*$FUCKINGFINALLY*(&#$*(#&$!!!!!111111oneoneoenoeneoneoneoenoeneoneone omg. oh MY god.

Have I signed a lease yet?


Have I been down this road and around this block a few times?


But none of that matters right now because I heard the words "If you want it, it's yours."

Which at all possible angles means THIS PLACE IS MINE.

Of course I'm at least 2000 miles away from it and have never been there, but I couldn't be more excited to call it home. The lovely and life-saving current tenant somehow took pity on me and bumped me to the front of her list of 'maybes' and I ducked out of work to sit on my phone and do a skype tour with her this afternoon. She's a doll and super sad to be moving, but her vacancy is my new place, so I couldn't be more thrilled. Which means I'm barely containing my excitement. Although I probably won't take another deep breath until my signature is on that lease.

Wanna hear about it? I know you do. I promise future pictures by the dozen, but for now, here is what you need to know:

Hardwood Floors
French Doors
Dining Nook
Original Wood Built-ins GALORE
Quaint ADORABLE kitchen
Tons of windows to provide oodles of natural light
The heat is paid by the landlord, along with water, garbage, etc.
EXCELLENT location within walking distance to downtown and school.

So basically, this is the perfect place I kept promising myself was going to come along.

And it did.



And now it's time for me to resume planning and plotting and scheming where I will be putting all my crap, hanging all my pictures, and arranging all my furniture.

Monday, July 16, 2012

i'm really bad at handling nice gestures.

Ok. I just got flowers delivered to me at work and I'm about to confess something weird.
I honestly don't know what it is with me, but I absolutely DESPISE this sort of attention in my professional environment. Or my personal environment. Or at all.  I just can't get on board with receiving the gift of flowers. Every single time it happens, all the blood in my body rushes to my face and I can't make eye contact with anyone else in the room because they're all grinning at me like idiots because OMGZ FLOWERS and I JUST CAN'T HANDLE IT. To their credit, most of my loved ones are aware of my total neurotosism about this, and I have only recieved flowers approximately five times in the past five years. Usually from people who don't know me well. Every single time was agonizing and riddled with anxiety and panic sweat.
I appreciate the gesture, I really do, but cut flowers have been murdered. As someone that holds Joan Root in my top ten idols of all time, I just can't get on board with cut flowers as a sign of admiration. Potted plants? Love that shit. Totally about it.
On top of that, the attention that comes with getting flowers is just really unsettling for me. Today, for instance, a company whose account I have handled (among many others) for the past two and a half years sent me flowers because I am leaving my job and they wanted me to know that they appreciate the bomb ass work I have done for them and their finicky personnel and mountains of paperwork. It honestly was a major organizational achievement for me. I love doing a good job and being told I did a good job and basically just being the best and winning at everything I do because I am ultra competitive and also kind of an asshole. But a simple email, copying my boss of course, saying that in words, would have been just as awesome.
Instead everyone in my department just witnessed how terrible I am at receiving nice gestures, as I turned blood red and avoided eye contact with anyone as I very loudly announced several times, "Wow, that was really nice. Really nice of them." Because they're not here to thank and I had no idea what else to say.
Gotta go send a thank you. Eight more working days. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

my birthday present to myself. it was free. which doesn't mean i'm cheap... i don't think.

I'm turning 26 on Saturday, which is partially bullshit because I'm obviously immature and partially totally fine. Mostly I wonder if college kids look at me and think "Damn, that bitch is old." Because when I was in college, I totally thought 26 was old and that I'd have way more shit together when I got old. But it turns out I'm still substituting stolen peanut butter samples for entire meals in favor of buying booze, so I guess not.


Anyway, birthdays are honestly not that big of a deal to me. I more like that people make the effort to see me for once rather than me having to drive halfway across town to grab a couple of beers at some tool-ridden bar. But not too many beers because I have to be able to safely and legally drive home. In that sense, being an adult sucks because I don't live in a cool place in my city where I could walk or ride public transit anywhere. That's not the point. The point is it's my birthday, and I choose the bar. And I choose a fucking dive somewhere within walking distance of a place we can sleep. Because on my birthday I call the shots and I say we're all getting too drunk to drive home. Or I choose camping because drinking around a campfire and stumbling six feet to a tent after housing 4 hot dogs and 17 marsh mellows is my idea of the perfect evening. I know, I'm lucky to have friends, let alone a devoted boyfriend.

obviously my ideal situation.

Anyway, I know I said earlier that I thought I'd have a lot more figured out at 26, but in all reality I'm really not that disappointed with how things have shaken out so far. I'm good. I'm making strides and blazing a path for myself.  I got into grad school, I'm moving alone across the country, and I have more than 19 dollars in my back account. In my eyes, that last fact alone is cause enough for celebration. I'm letting myself do what I enjoy and say no to what I don't. Sometimes, I find, that's half the battle.

There are a number of things that I'd like to improve upon before I officially consider myself a grown up, but I'm mentally giving myself until I'm 30 and really old to accomplish most of them. At which point I'll probably give myself until 35... and we see what trend we're going on here. I never plan on actually recognizing myself as old. I plan to be infinitely forgiving of myself and stubbornly optimistic about my own future progress. And that's a promise.

I'd say that's a pretty decent gift to give one's self.

Happy birthday, Me. Cheers to, like good bourbon, getting better with age.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

the very edge of sanity. though strangely void of tears.

I am a basket case right now.
Typing that wasn't really a relief, per say, but the fact that I"m acknowledging the point seems a step in a right direction.
I am frustrated, stressed, emotionally exhausted, pissed off, and irritable. Among other things. They're have a marked influence, to the negative, on my excitement level toward my next step and the huge, awesome changes that are about to take place in my life.
I don't know why, but I have this stubborn idea that I have to maintain a calm exterior at all times. At all times. When sometimes I am thinking to myself, "Will this be the last time I drink out of this glass in this apartment?"
I didn't realize on Monday morning as I grabbed my keys off of the bookshelf by the door on my way out to work that it would be the last time I would see Matt and my books jumbled together on its shelves; his were gone, packed into a box, before I got home from work that day.
Anyway. What I'm trying to say is that I'm putting all this pressure on myself to be totally fine with this. With everything happening. To let the disappointments and downright shit that's happened in trying to make this move GO  just roll off my back. Which is completely contrary to my nature.
I freak out a lot, that's all there is to it.
But I hold some absurd amount of smug pride in the fact that I can truthfully say that I haven't broken down and cried yet. Cried about leaving my boyfriend, my family, my new niece, my dog, my friends, this town that I have grown to love. Fucking good for me. For holding onto pride at the fact that I'm not letting myself process the loss. Because you know what I've decided? That's stupid as hell. All this holding everything down is holding down the good, too. All this not getting upset over minor and major obstacles in my path is forcing me to stay numb. Even keel. I'm not an even keel person. I'm passionate and loud and boisterous and I cry over the damn movie previews, what's the point in holding it all down for something this, this, this...worthy?
I don't know.
I guess I feel like I should be marching bravely ahead. This is the path I chose, so my devotion and commitment to it should be unwavering. But at the cost of showing my friends and family that leaving them is actually hard? I don't know. I don't know if they know that I'm struggling with it at all, because to be honest, up until this moment I haven't really let myself consciously realize that I actually am struggling with it.
I don't want to be the kind of person that is afraid. And I think that's part of the reason for my impressive show of stoicism. But I also don’t want to be the kind of person that isn’t honest about my emotions and feelings.

The truth of the matter is that I am willing myself not to struggle. It’s essential for some to do this to get through the quagmires and swamps that life drags us into. But this doesn’t have to be that for me, and I think I may be making it that way.

So, I am a basket case right now. There, I said it. A step in a right direction.

Friday, July 6, 2012

craigslist has become a compulsion.

You don't know what to do. You're not having any luck finding an apartment and now you're not even having any luck finding a roommate situation.
You just keep telling yourself that the right place, your place, just hasn't come up yet. But there's a bit of tragedy in shopping around for homes, you know? You click on some anonymous craigslist add based on the fact that it has a picture and feel an instant wave of fury sweep over you when it's only an exterior shot. You take a post even less seriously when there are no pictures attached at all- at least at first you do.  And then there are the posts for places that contain pictures and you fall instantly in love or feel your stomach drop in dread that someone else is scrambling in this race to find the biggest, brightest, cheapest, closest , etc... to call home. Someone is going to have to settle for that bottom -of-the-barrel hellhole. The law of diminishing returns or something, right? We're all throwing unknowing elbows at each other, trying to shine a little brighter to catch an eye, emailing these replies that make us look quirky and fun and responsible, but not too quirky, Right. Craigslist has become your most frequently viewed page. Even at work. Even on your phone. Because this has turned into an arms race you and WILL see anything posted first. When it comes to selling yourself in a query it may be every man for themselves, but you WILL get there first.
You know the unit/apartment/house that everyone wants. The one that's too good to be true because it was obviously created for you. AND IT'S IN YOUR PRICE RANGE. GLORY! The one that you look at the pictures over and over, scrolling, scrolling more slowly over each one, eyes glazing over slightly. Because you start to see your shit in there. You can imagine your couch by that window and see your pictures hanging on the walls and your dishes in the sink and your bed angled just so. And seeing your apartment in a place that is advertised for anyone and everyone to see, 2000 miles away from your eyes straining on pictures of it on a screen while you lounge on your couch in your current home, it makes you feel uneasy. Queasy. Almost militant. Your heart starts pounding a bit louder even though you will it not to because at this point in the housing search, this feeling of deja vu isn't new anymore. It happens daily. Sometimes more than daily. The possibilities are endless, but they're probably not yours for the taking, so try not to get too excited.
But you do. You DO get attached and excited and send the link to one of your friends with the subject "I think this one might ACTUALLY be THE ONE." Because you're hopeful. The housing search hasn't beat you yet. It's dealt some blows, sure, but you're still looking. You're not giving in on that hardwood floor criteria. You WILL walk to school from home. Those things are non-negotiable. You can live without a dishwasher, maybe, if you have to.  And maybe a view of the mountains out the windows isn't crucial, likewise a bathtub, but you WILL have hardwoods floors and a short walk to campus.
But then you never hear back from any of your meticulously crafted responses, you never hear anything back at all. You start to worry that something is wrong with you. Is this giving you a complex? What are you saying wrong? The non-negotiables that seemed like basic staples are now sounding just the slightest bit frivolous, even to you. You'd settle for newer carpet maybe, right? There's a bus system isn't there?
You are starting to imagine yourself in that dark, dank, basement apartment that you cringed at, crammed and jammed with carpet from the 80s that smells like feet, and an upstairs neighbor with a litter of children and a pack of wild dogs crowded into their equally tiny space, the paper thin walls letting you get suddenly intimate with someone you'd usually avoid.
You actually shake your head a few times to clear it of that horrendous mental picture when you realize it's only a bad daydream. Only a bad daydream.
Except now it's getting down to the wire and since you still have nothing secured and only discouraging responses from shady would-be landlords, you're considering not only dropping your non-negotiables but also (yikes!) living with roommates. Or paying a fuck ton of a lot more in rent than you can really afford. A LOT more.
It was your dream to live alone. That's all you really wanted, to live alone. One. More. Time.
And now even that is looking completely ridiculous. So you send out queries to any ad that can even be stretched as 'passable.' Even to self-important sounding dickheads who are three years your junior, almost begging them to reply. At least tell you what's wrong with you. You don't remember ever feeling so insecure.
And it's hard, you know, to look forward to where you're going when it seems like everyone hates you there or are at least totally uninterested in anything you have to say and all the landlords now seem super shady and a single 26 year old non smoker with no pets can't even find a place to call home. It's really hard to get excited to move somewhere that so obviously doesn't appear to want you- now that you've had to sludge through the underbelly of the housing market for months before you actually move there. But this is what you wanted! Adventure! You're leaving everything behind! So you better be fucking happy about it because no one really gets why you're doing it anyway! Don't you dare falter in your thrill to be moving onto something new! Don't you fucking dare panic or be anything other than glowing with radiance and thrill!
And then your mother, always trying to help in the most embarrassing ways, sends you the link for the women's shelter out there and you realize that the low you thought was THE low in your housing search, it's not even close. But don't worry, you can always crash at the women's shelter! You're not a freeloader taking valuable resources away from battered women! And now your mother has just officially made it her personal mission to find a a place for you to live since she doesn't believe it can really be that hard. You're just not trying hard enough. As if you've never heard that from her before. So you get a near constant string of emails yielding the results of her god-only-knows elementary-level internet search, probably fucking yahoo or something. You know it's mean/rude/ungrateful, but you can't think of anything even vaguely grateful to say in reply, so mostly you just don't reply at all.
Now your eyes hurt and you feel pretty solidly jumpy and tense at all times. But you're totally fucking cool, you know? You're not going to freak out, no way. You're fucking PSYCHED to be moving out west and you could honestly handle the leaving everything behind part if you could fucking secure a place to live in the next three weeks so that the movie company actually has a place to drop off your shit at the end of the cross country haul. No biggie. You're not worried about the way your life is going to change. Mostly just about finding and warm dry place to lay your head at night.
Suddenly you realize that you haven't checked craigslist in the entire time it's taken to type this dramatic narrative. Gotta go.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

i'm (kinda) crafty!

Not really! But I sure can paint a copy of something I find on Pinterest! And here is some proof:

This will hang in my future domecile.  I love it.

I painted this for my niece's room. It's foxy.

Unfortunately my painting supplies were among the first things packed for my impending move so it will be a while until I get to pour my creative juices onto canvas again, but I'm getting some good ideas thanks to the interwebz.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

an adventure with my baby brother last thursday.

I'm reading the waiver, even though I never read waivers. I get it, it's my life, you don't want the responsibility. I usually scribble my name with flourish, grinning in the process, ready to stretch my own limits again. Not today. No, today I'm reading the waiver, actually forming the words silently with my mouth, which has gone dry, by the way, due to the number of times 'unsupervised' is appearing.
I glance over at Charlie and, just for a second, I wonder how much he would hate me if I backed out right now. How long can an eleven year old really stay mad? He'll forget by tomorrow, right? Next week, maybe? No. He won't forget. None of us forget things like this, we're Drakes, our memory is impeccable. Seriously, though? No helmets? Completely unsupervised? 40 feet in the air in places, with harnesses and zip lines and safety lines that we ourselves have to secure onto wires and strings suspended between the trees? A fifteen minute training? That's it? And I have to sign this form saying I acknowledge that I am 100 percent responsible if anything should happen to harm a single hair on my baby brother's head, high up in the trees? God damn. I should have gone to bed earlier/not drank so much last night. I'm already sweating.
I'm not even new at this. I've done high ropes courses before, at summer camp. And I've been on long, high zip line courses, in Hawaii. So has Charlie. Plus, we're doing this for fun, right? A fun adventure... I took the day off so we could hang out together. And do this. This crazy, dangerous, unsupervised thing. For fun.
Fun, my aunt Fanny. I'm feeling shaky.
I push it all away for a moment and force myself to sign the form. Again and again on all the lines. I print Charlie's name. I take full responsibility. I shoot a bewildered smile at my mother, who looks completely unperturbed on the other side of the picnic table. In fact, she may even be smirking at my reaction to the waiver. She's had a bit more experience than I have at the whole parenting thing. Apparently watching your children walk and bounce and skim through the trees, forty feet over your head, while left to their own devices to make sure safety lines are properly fastened and functioning is just a walk in the park.
I am suddenly one hundred percent positive that I would be an unfit mother at this point in my life.
But I signed the form, so I guess it's time to make an effort. We wiggle into our harnesses and let the staff tighten us in. I make sure Charlie is listening to the instructions so many times that I have no idea how I actually heard them myself. We do the practice course from the ground and the instructor who looks about sixteen gives a a three question 'quiz' that anyone with a functioning brain stem could pass and then she lets us do the baby zip line to make sure we know how to land... and she she says "Have fun!' but to me all it sounds like is "Go with God, Sucker!" And then she disappears and we're surrounded by trees and ropes and wooden platforms but no authority figures or trained personnel and I guess it's time to get on with it.
Charlie beelines it toward the first station and I follow, slowly. My knees don't feel very stable. Certainly not stable enough to climb that tall ass ladder and remember all the steps in the instructions and make sure Charlie makes all his harness connections correctly and make sure we're both securely and safely connected at all times. If I were by myself, I'd already be swinging in the trees, seeing just how safe that safety line really is, letting go, swinging around with all my weight. testing it. But suddenly, this other person has been thrust upon me, and despite my love for him, I can't help but remember that his nickname is "Squirrelly" for a reason. He's got a short attention span, minuscule. And a knack for not listening to a goddamn thing anyone says. Then I glance at him, and he's so eager and excited, and I promise myself that if we make it through this, I will definitely allow myself a nap this afternoon.
So I watch as Charlie climbs the ladder and I'm strung so tightly that every single move I make feels jerky and I swear to everything good in this world I've never in MY LIFE felt more compelled to follow every rule without question. We're held to the course by two lines that you have to unattach and reattach to the next portion of the course separately. I remind Charlie "One at a time, buddy," so many times that he starts rolling his eyes at me, and the one time I consciously hold myself back from saying it, he tells me he's really proud of me.
We inch through a course, me following as I wring my hands and we pause every now and then so that my mom can snap pictures of us from the ground. And my hands are steady, but that doesn't mean my nerves are calm, not at all. I am shaken to my core. Because I imagine being suspended in the air with a tiny person always ten feet in front of you and already moving onto the next super unsafe thing and only two small lines of security and no solid ground to speak of are maybe metaphorically what parenting feels like every single moment. And yeah, I like to take risks and throw myself around haphazardly and do stupid shit for the hell of it, but that feeling of fear and responsibility and constant, "Please get us through this in one piece." Yeah, that's something I want no part in right now.
So Charlie and I climbed, and obstacled, and ziplined all over the forest that day. And every now and then, he'd look back at me and exclaim, "This is so much fun! Thanks for doing this with me, Sare!" And I'd take a breath and let myself take my eyes off of him for one second (but not two) and realize how beautiful everything looks from high in the trees and I'd bounce along the obstacles and catch myself smiling or yelling out a battle cry as I swept down the zipline, hitting leaves and rays of sunlight on my descent. And I'd enjoy it for a moment. Just a moment, and I'd remember I was doing this for fun too.
But the moment it was over and I tousled the top of his head on solid ground, that was the real pay out. I've never been more relieved in my life.

Monday, July 2, 2012

a tribute to my favorite month.

July, July.

It's finally here. The stickiest, most humid, sweat-behind-your-knees-and-on-your-hairline, sunburn-on-your nose-and-shoulders, popsicle-melting-as-fast-as-you-can-slurp-it, cannon balling-into-cool-water, flesh-burning-seatbelt-heat, mosquito-slapping, windows-down, day-drinking VERY BEST time of year.

I may have mentioned it before, but July is my favorite month of the entire calendar year. Not only because of fireworks and my birthday and the raging heat, but mostly.

You see, I am a summer soul. Thoughts of July keep me tethered (sometimes more loosely than others) to sanity all year long. I must say, there's nothing quite like a Midwestern July.

It's true, I've tested new locales far and wide whilst wandering along in July's embrace over the years, but no place I've found does July quite like the Midwest. We've got walk-up Dairy Queen countersand corn fields as far as the eye can see, with stalks growing so fast it feels like if you sit still long enough you could witness them springing further and further from the earth. We've got orchards full of apple trees and raspberries and peaches and you can get a cider slushie that will change your entire outlook on life for nary one dollar. We've got air so humid a thunderstorm can -and will- pop up at any time and hot rain drops will fall on your exosed skin, branding you for a second or a minute or however long they last. We've got streams and rivers and lakes and plenty of rafts and floaties for one more, there's always room for one more to float along side.

July means eternal youth, because heat will sometimes even all playing fields, and reduce us to hose-drinking children and popsicle licking youth. I challenge you to find a person who doesn't feel the slightest sense of glee at lighting a bottle rocket and waiting for the SWOOSH and CRACK! I bet you couldn't find a soul in the Midwest that doesn't relish in the idea of seeing how many we can light off at a time. I've never dated a guy that when I pointed out my favorite kind of firework, hesitated to point his own out to me mere moments later. It's so hot that holding hands doesn't seem chaste, instead it's a testiment of affection to be touching another person's hot skin at all. July is a time when a pony tail or pig tails are appropriate for all age groups. Sometimes (all the time, for me) socks are just too much for our battered and heat swollen feet. That sometimes is July.

I love July more now than I did as a child, even without the reward of no school and 31 days of potential lake swimming and adventure IN A ROW. There's a reason July is one of the longest months, there's a lot of life to pack into a time when it's so hot that every motion seems languid, slower than we'd normally move, but there's so much more we want to do. Leisure. July is a symbol of leisure for me. After those forty hours per week of work fly on by, it's time for relaxation and fun. For baseball games, picnics, and pool days. For sunset walks with the dog, who for once is not pulling the goddamn leash so hard you think your arm will bust out of the socket. July is al fresco dining at that new restaurant and street fairs and outdoor concerts where you sit on the lawn on childhood comforters and sip overpriced light beer until the music starts and then everyone loses themselves and jumps up and down and around. July means joy. Sure, July means heat and a certain wonderful sense of misery but it also means laughter and melting smiles and hammocks and hikes and so many pictures.

I challenge you to find a person that doesn't look just a little bit healthier with some sun on their nose and cheeks. It's why women wear bronzer, right? So we look a bit touched by the sun. July is a perpetual kiss from the sun.

July is good. Not only are we thawed, finally, we're melted. We can reshape ourselves come fall, and we will, we will. But July. July is a good time to be in a fluid state, to move easily and freely, full of flexibility and able to fit to any plan or mold. To try karaoke for the first time or smile at a stranger. To roll the windows down and drive someplace you've never been before. To blame that crazy behavior on 'A little too much sun.' Because the sun never minds, it likes to drive us crazy. Summer is the only time that the sun isn't completely fickle and unpredictable. In July, even when the sun leaves, she's rarely gone for the whole day.

Sure, I like other months and I could name redeeming qualities for each at the drop of a hat, but July, now that is true romance. July is wild, youthful, and it burns. July is fleeting and leaves you feeling spent and a little off kilter, but that's okay. Sturdy September will set us straight if we can suvive the return of order and school in August, with the sun still beckoning enticingly, hotly, from our desks through the window. July keeps us up late and encourages us not to blow dry our hair before work. It scoffs at makeup and ironing clothes in favor of a few precious extra minutes of sun-steeped sleep and one more round of the snooze button. July is a first love that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth when it's over.   But who among us wouldn't go back for another taste of first love?

That's July.