Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I want to love the world. I want to smile with everything. With everything I have. I want to travel. I want to love. I want to dance and be at peace.

Written in the aftermath of an afternoon with Maggie and a viewing of the movie "Eat, Pray, Love." I feel that saying so cheapens it all, but let's not let it. I highly recommend the movie. I more highly recommend the book. I most highly recommend, I don't know, loving the whole world. Love. Connect.

I am not a scientist--I am just a person who is enthralled and fascinated by science. But what I know of science is that underlying everything, it appears that there is nothing but energy. Is this new to you? This is brilliance to me, in the "great brightness and magnificence" sense of the word. It is possible that my samsonic* denial mechanism plays a small part here, but when I let myself, I can see and feel that everything is is unendingly scintillating brilliance--love--and that I am a part of it, and so are you.

(If you don't like neuroscience or whatever, skip to minute 9 or so.)

And one last thing.

*Which is not even remotely a word, but should be. What better symbol of strength than Samson? Probably there is a perfect, dictionary-recognized synonym that I am overlooking here. Feel free to help me out.

Monday, August 30, 2010

From misplacedmama.blogsome.com:

"...But before we turn into butterflies, we live in a thready, messy, cozy crysalis, no?"

"I want to write about... how a person can just become a butterfly right in front of your eyes if you just leave them alone."
I would just like to say that it seems to be in very bad form to offer someone a job, give them a certain time frame in which to get back to you, and then give the job to someone else before that time is up.

Because that other thing was already so long and whiny

Here's one more: somewhat humorous and horribly incorrect, politically speaking.

Honestly, despite my best efforts I cannot understand what would possess a person to take a fork from the dishwasher and place it among the spoons. How did this cluster of spoons come to reside among the knives? How did this band of knives end up with the forks?
Perhaps it has something to do with the famous artistic temperament. After all, the other two people who do dishes in this house are both painters. It may be that if I were to begin to paint more often and with more real feeling, I too would begin to see the inherent evils of flatware segregation. I have been told, but I would finally begin to truly understand in my heart that separate is not equal, and that knives and forks are just as important and deserving as spoons. That it is wrong of me to deprive my cutlery of the cultural exchange and broadened worldview afforded by the integration of jars and drawers. I would have a dream* that someday, a utensil would be judged not by its rough edges, but by its mettle.

*This being said, please know that I am a great admirer of Martin Luther King Jr, and I am a person who is truly disgusted with racism in any form. Flatware segregation is pretty much the only segregation I support.

Excerpts from the weekend

I went up to Jimmy and Missy's (along with the Powers family, Kelly, and, for a short time, David) to help work toward finishing the barn. I was a little upset to find David there--it was Thursday and he had said he wouldn't be coming up until late Friday night. He went back home that night though, as he had a job interview Friday.

I arrived in time for dinner Thurs, so we ate and then took a short trip into the cave that's finally open on their property. I wasn't feeling good though (physically), and I haven't done a good job of feeling okay around David, so it wasn't the best time of my life. I think I'll wait until more of the cave is accessible and I am healthier on all levels.

To backtrack a little, I didn't drive up Thursday morning with Kelly because I had a job interview that afternoon. It was for what basically amounted to after-school daycare. I realized that I cannot be a daycare worker. I just can't face it. I also parked next to a light pole in their parking lot, and hit it as I was backing out. The car is okay, with nothing worse than a slightly bent bumper, but for thirty minutes or so I was stuck on the pole and on the verge of tears. So that was good times. And then I pulled into the driveway in Highland County and saw David's car. It was just great. I did get to talk to Anna for a long time though on the drive, and the drive was really beautiful, so those were nice points.

Friday we worked on enclosing the hayloft of the barn. The walls have been up for a while, but they haven't extended all the way up to the roof. Now they do, though we left openings for doors in the center. I have done very little construction, but what I have done I have loved. It was nice to get into the rhythm of measuring, marking the angles, and cutting the boards. It was good work. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures, but some other people did.

The next morning as I drove to Camp, a mist lay over the whole valley like a gauzy veil that extended upwards into infinity. I love the coolness of that morning air.

The retreat: I don't feel like typing it all out. There were some people I knew and a lot I didn't; I lead a caving trip with Kelly; we did a staff-talent-esque evening program with stories of "the good old days" interspersed. The older brother of one of my friends/former campers was there, and I have heard about him for years but had never met him. So that was cool. He seemed like a pretty cool guy.

It turns out that I have a lot of anger toward David, and I pretty much stayed away from him all weekend. My throat constricts when I start thinking about him, so it was pretty much either avoid him or make myself unable to function. I think I might have hurt his feelings though. I don't quite know how I feel about that. Some combination of sadness and violence, I'm sure.

On Sunday shortly before I left, I stepped out of the dining hall and was utterly undeservedly stung in the face by what appeared to be a petulant, childish wasp. I don't know what I could have done to attract her ire beyond possibly stepping into her path, but she flew into my face, stung me just below my left eye, and flew away. Thanks to some ice, meat tenderizer, tylenol, and an immune system that (usually) knows a nonissue when it sees one, the sting isn't too bad. It's a little red and very slightly swollen, and it's begun to itch a little today, but clearly it could have been a lot worse.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Yes, I am creepy. But you're missing the point.


Does this image work? It's a comic from mama-is.com--someone was asking about buying a co-sleeper for their baby. The author says no--just put mattresses across the entire room. More space, more happiness! SO TRUE. I have honestly been thinking this for years and years and years. In my dream house I have long planned for there to be a room consisting entirely of mattresses. Oh yes. So bouncy.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Care and Keeping of your Warm Fuzzy*

(photo courtesy ehow.com)

Practical needs:
Dry clean only. Do not iron.

Emotional needs:
Warm fuzzies have a strong sense of modesty, and feel violated if fingers are thrust into their innards. Fuzzies do not have a strong sense of self, and may therefore disintegrate if subjected to high levels of stress. Keep your fuzzy relaxed by reading to it, playing soft music (or dance trance), and telling it all your problems and darkest secrets. Back massages not recommended. Do not under any circumstances threaten the fuzzy with scissors or fire. Your fuzzy wants to be there for you, and loves to feel needed. Your fuzzy loves you. We love you. God loves you.

Quote of the year from the #1 most angelic boy camper ever, who I just told on facebook to go to bed:

Stuff from last night/the other night:

Recently I bought some eggs at Wal-Mart which then were recalled. Kelly and I solved this problem by standing on the back porch and throwing them at the trees in our yard. It was awesome.

At Martin's yesterday I found this blueberry beer that I've been looking for. Unfortunately it turns out not to be as good as I remember. Or at least, I turned out to like it in the same way that I like root beer: only for the first sip.

I actually made lunch yesterday (?) for five people. Like, I cooked it on the stove. The fact that "it" was reheated broiled vegetables (um, best ever? Thx mom) and chicken breasts sauteed in olive oil with onion is completely irrelevant. Cooking and cleaning, in the same week(ish)? This just doesn't happen.

I am house/dog sitting for one of my uncles--taking his very old, very sweet, very gangly old girl Rosie on extremely short walks twice a day for two days, and scratching her behind the ears. Pretty good gig.

There is an alumni retreat at Camp this weekend, which will be worked by me, Kelly, David, Jr, Charity, and maybe a few others. There will also be barn building and new cave exploring. GET PSYCHED. Are you psyched? I am psyched.

Last night (two nights ago?) I was again walking Miley and started to cry over Little Bit. I know I said that already, but I miss him. I miss him, and I'm not sure I'll ever stop being sorry that I wasn't there with him when he went. I should have stayed. I should have been there. He deserved better from me.

Lastly, last night was the first night that there was a (tiny) chill in the air, and the smell of woodsmoke. The first smell of fall.

A continuation of the above conversation with Angel Child:

me: by the way, that was the best quote ever.



me: np. yay robots. why all caps?


me: YES

  • (I can't get this grey bar to go away. Deal.)

*Excerpted from Camp care packages stuffed tonight for our co-workers who also happen to be in college. There was some discussion of care packages for co-workers stuck working dead-end jobs, but that'll have to happen another time.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I am wading in a mire of cloying, festering bitterness and anger. I am dug in, tight as a tick. God help me.

Today I woke up sick (not terribly so--thinking it's just a sinus infection) and then went off to "brunch" with my mother, sister, godmother. The people we went to see live an hour away and were so sweet and kind, and I was so not in the mood to spend essentially an entire day with people I barely know, with no close-friend touchstone, with no break from ceaseless friendly puns, with no way out until people finally decided to leave as the clock approached 4 pm.

Let me stress that they were so kind and friendly, and their home is so lovely. They actually gave Chloe and me each an antique demitasse cup and saucer, and each a handmade apron handed down from their parents or cousins, I don't know. They have goats and chickens, and they let us pick figs from the tree outside their window. Their house is over 200 years old, and they collect antiques, and he restores old buildings.

I left stewing. There wasn't time for us to go to the movie as we had planned with Kelly. There was no time to relax before going to Art and Beth's, which is why I am home trying to relax instead of there with them and so many friends, buying supplies to make care packages for our college buddies. Emily called and got on my case a moment ago and I'll be leaving shortly. I'm glad she called. Hearing her voice helped. I never seem to want to do anything lately.

And with the cold weather approaching, David is utterly inescapable. Every time I think of the fall I think of him. Every time the air cools. Every time I think of travel, or museums, or any sort of adventure. Any time I think of RMA. Any time I am lonely or tired. All the time. I just want to ask him, "why are you doing this?" Or I want to sit on his chest and hit him in the face--left, right, left, right--like A Christmas Story. Or punch him over and over in the stomach. And that's about when I start crying. Again.

There's a whole list of things I wanted to write about from yesterday: egg throwing, crying (more!) over Little Bit, some other things. Maybe I'll get to it later.

Monday, August 23, 2010

If I weren't so anti-causing conflict,

then that one about Mordor would be really, really tempting. Also the rocket launcher. Okay, maybe most of them.

Also, and more importantly, watch this:

So much love to you, Jeremy Irons. So much love.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Newest love:


10 c flour
1 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
enough water to form a soft dough

Mix, let sit for ten minutes, tear off a bit and roll it flat, fry in a pan, scarf.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dear non-reader

I know you try not to come around anymore, but I have this compulsion to say things to you that maybe I shouldn't say to you. So here's my solution, my middle ground. You choose.

I wish things between us could be again the way they were before. I wish we could take those moments of sweetness and closeness and comfort and warmth in the crisp, cool mountain air (because it always is crisp, cool mountain air in my memory) and distill them, and drink them again. I can taste it all whenever I think of you. I can't stop tasting it. I feel your hand in my hand all the time. I feel you in my arms, I feel your sweatshirt against my face all the time. Sometimes I think it's the day in the orchard, or a day on Skyline that I'm reliving. Sometimes I think it's our last hug--the last hug between Us, instead of just between David and Marie, wholly separate entities--at Richard's or just outside Bottom's Up, at the very end. Your shirt was so soft. You were so warm.

I was thinking today that that may have been the last time I felt safe--but who keeps a running tally? And everyone knows I have drama running in my veins, a gift of both bloodlines. But must I question everything? You made me feel safe when I was close to you. Sometimes, and today, the world doesn't feel right without you within reach. That we aren't connected is difficult for me to grasp, even after nearly six months. And yet, there have been days or even weeks when it seemed okay. When I remembered things about you that drove me insane. I know there have been, but it's difficult to feel them now. I want to drive to where you are living and make you take this all back, but I could never make you do anything. I don't know if I could stand the rejection again.

I write things like this, and now I'm talking to the internet at large, and I have this almost overwhelming paranoia about being "emo." I sort of wish I could stop caring about it, but then sometimes I think that this aversion is the only thing keeping me out of the mire. I can be so melancholy. I can be so dramatic. I write things that are true, but I can't write them without enough spin to make you seasick. I can't write them without falling in love with the sound of the words that are spilling from my fingers. I would never make it at the Christian Science Monitor.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I have no idea why this font is extra small. It says it's normal-sized.

A little chaser to follow that bitterness from yesterday, the other day, whenever.

First: I applied (via Craigslist, as almost always) for a before/after school teaching position at the Goddard school, and almost immediately was called for an interview. Here's hoping that goes well.

Second: Thanks to the splendid motivation provided by the heavenly smell of Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day soap, I mopped and scrubbed pretty much the entire upstairs (aka main floor), including walls and doors, mostly excluding the bedrooms. Everything smells like geraniums. It is quite lovely.

Also, having worked for about three days, I can now say that my room is mostly clean. And my shoes are organized! This is truly cause for a celebration. 

Unfortunately, the 75% off* stool I wanted to buy was sold today. Such a shame. Maybe I'll have to go for those boots, after all. If I get some money.

*Speaking of which, here is what I think every time I look at or think about that gorgeous, more-than-I-should-have-spent-on-a-scarf scarf I bought (75% off!) the other day:
"And it shall be an heirloom of my kingdom. All those who follow in my bloodline shall be bound to its fate, for I shall risk no hurt** to the [scarf]. It is precious to me, though I buy it with a great pain."

Ten hugs to anyone who correctly identifies that quote.

Don't judge me.

**Yeah, it may or may not be sealed up in a gallon ziplock bag with some lavender oil on a tissue. It's alpaca wool, okay?

Sociological study:

Implement a ridiculously slanted travesty of a phone survey about energy taxes, and see how many people press 1 to support an energy tax which would, somehow, increase energy production costs. Ask one more question and see whether any of them would press 2 to support a tax which would threaten American jobs. There aren't any advantages to this tax, by the way; congress simply wants to worsen the recession in as many ways as possible. It's all about efficiency, people.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Were I a toddler, this would be true love. The truest.

We (myself, my sister, my mother and two of her sisters, so elegant) had our lunches together at Can-Can today--a really quite lovely French restaurant in Carytown. I had never been in, as it seemed expensive and I am generally cheap, but it was, as I said, really quite lovely. It was full of exquisite little touches of elegance and Europe and class. It seemed (to, admittedly, one who has never spent an instant in France) to feel very European. The ceiling is high, gold and intricate, with circles of fleurs-des-lis around the hanging lamps. The floor is real marble mosaic. The bread is real, good bread, cut right there on a marble countertop before being brought to the table. French herb bread, baguettes, apple bread with raisins. The walls are decorated in places with antique mirrors. The bar was imported from France in three parts. In the bathrooms, there are European-style toilets with silver chains, and beautiful porcelain sinks with arched, swanlike spigots.

I would like to go back.

Ten Thousand Villages is having its (evidently yearly?) 75% off sale, and I spent more money than I should have on a really beautiful hand-woven black alpaca scarf with black embroidery and lace weaving and tassels at the ends made of black ribbon. It is from Bolivia. It was originally $125. How in good conscience could I turn that down? This is the sort of scarf--shawl really, I suppose--that I might pass on to my grandchildren. It is truly a treasure.

I wonder how disorganized a post can be?

I fucking hate living here. Lately it's harder every day to deal with it. And I feel like such a spoiled, whiny brat. Why do I get to feel so put-upon when there are other people who can never move out? When in other cultures, multi-generational family living is the norm? I wonder almost daily how the fuck people can stand that.

Maybe there are some people out there who can grieve in a logical, dignified manner--lots of quiet pain and hurt, gradually tapering down to a resumed normal existence after a few weeks or months. Or maybe everyone who grieves, who has been psychologically eviscerated in some way, plays out some variation on the shit I've been pulling: acting sad, acting normal, acting fucking psychotic, acting normal, et cetera. Maybe everyone has moments where they're going about their business and then some horrible thing rears up within them and rips everything to shreds. It's like I have this masochist inside me in whose possession is that card-catalog of images and moments and feelings that will make these intestines that I've been holding in start to spill back out onto the floor again, loop by loop. Tonight it's David's shirt. I want more than anything to grab the sides of his shirt and pull myself against him and cry into his chest. I can feel the knit cotton in my fists. I can feel his chest under my cheek. I can feel him gently taking me by the shoulders and pushing me away, and I can see myself standing in the front yard and crying, and yelling, and throwing things on the ground while he stands there in front of the house.

This evening there was a lot of frustration going on between me and my parents. I hate it. I hate not wanting to be home. I hate not wanting to be around them. I want to want to be here, especially with Chloe about to leave for college in Connecticut. I don't want to miss these last chances to be with her. But I swear, if my dad sees me upset and gets me to talk to him about it and then responds by telling me to sweep the fucking walks one more goddamn time, I am going to stop speaking to him.

I hate this. Hating. Being angry. Fighting with everyone. Being so tired. Regressing to the fucking seventh grade. What is this? Why am I so angry? Why can't I fix it? Why am I writing like a bratty little kid?

I meant to say, before going on the tangent about my father/parents, that tonight was one of those where I kept turning up the music in the car, trying to make it loud enough to drown myself out. I felt like there was a vacuum in my chest, felt that almost-frantic feeling you get when you've dived down deep and you need a breath, but there's no air to take in.

On the plus side,
1. Kelly went shoe shopping with myself and Chloe in tow, and I got gold flats on sale. I wanted these, but I don't really have the money to spend at the moment. Very sad.

2. I watched The Big Bang Theory with Kelly, and remembered that it's a pretty great show. Mostly just Sheldon(?), but I'm okay with that.

3. I remembered how much I like "I and Love and You" by the Avett Brothers.

Whatever I can remember of what I've been meaning to write for two days:

I realize now that I am not even remotely in the proper emotional state to write this the way I wanted it written, but when I drove over Afton Mountain on my way home from Camp on Saturday, I drove just beneath a cloud. I could (and did) literally put my hand out the window and reach up and feel the cool mist of it on my fingers. there was something else I meant to tie in, about friendship maybe, but it's lost to me--at least for now. Still, it was something of a marvel. Magical.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sometimes it seems to all fall down.

I want to say that I am profoundly unhappy, though I don't know that "profound" is the appropriate word. Maybe. I know it will come and go.

Today the Across The Universe cover of "Hey Jude" came on my ipod, and I started to feel all twisted up inside. It reminded me of the time the same song came on in Fran's car in college, just after David had told me that he wasn't going to come home for Christmas and before I knew that I could go visit, and I almost fell apart there in the middle of all my friends who had no idea what was going on. Today I wrote it down in my phone:
I feel twisted up inside like a bent and rusted old pile of scrap metal. We switch so fast--moods changing as quickly as lighting gels in the theater.

It's one of those times where "fake it till you make it" doesn't make anything--it's just fake, fake, fake. Distractions come easily enough, usually, luckily. But otherwise it's just fake and I'm no good at those plastic smiles. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Something else I wrote on the way to Arkansas that I've been reminded of several times and have been meaning to put here (sorry if I posted it three days ago or whatever and forgot):

As we drive Westward, rushing on
and on toward Memphis on the river I40,
the kudzu-covered shapes of trees rise
from the earth, crazily and crookedly
like Wild Things,
and watch us as we pass.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Another thing forgotten yesterday, plus some other things*.

I meant to write (I remember now! I didn't because the computer was shut off when I came in. I think.) about how Miley and I walked last night through a dense mist, and the trees loomed cavernously over the street that runs parallel to the stream along the bottom of our hill, and the lights shone out from the houses like a fairy tale.

Tonight we pulled and jerked and dragged each other along beneath the height of the Perseid shower, but luckily we were protected from its radiance by an overcast, sodium-light sky.

On the upside, I saw two toads in quick succession--the first sat stock-still as Miley ran just over it, and remained so as I picked it up and moved it off of the road. The second I only saw because it jumped somewhat frantically away from Miley as she approached, and she chased it into the tall grass beside the street. Nature vs. nurture, anyone?

*One of the things I most love about myself is how perfectly brilliant I am when it comes to making up titles.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dinner tonight, ohmygooodness.

Peas with lettuce, AND

Homemade shrimp and alligator savory cheesecake. So good.

And no one cares but I meant to say earlier, I hated to run the dishwasher because there were ants in it. Murdered! But I couldn't think how to make them get out. :o/

Other delicious homemade foods today, none of which had anything to do with me; all of which had everything to do with my mother and with Chloe currently having difficulty with solid foods:

delicious juicy citrusy jello

polenta* yummm

*I am horribly offended by the fact that the Firefox dictionary does not recognize the word "polenta." It recognizes "grits," doesn't it?? This is ridiculous.


I've been almost utterly unproductive and sleepy for the past few days, and have felt rather sickish today, though I think that last might be largely to do with the fact that I'm taking care of Chloe as she recovers from her wisdom-teeth surgery this morning. It's difficult for me to see her all swollen and drugged up, but I have to say that it's been significantly easier since she took the gauze out of her mouth.

Yesterday I sat around writing--even more than I posted here--and today I'm sitting around reading and making milkshakes, changing ice packs, and delivering hydrocodone every four hours. I have applied for a couple of jobs via craigslist though, so I suppose that's something. Currently listening to the Fellowship of the Ring audiobook, ftw.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I like watching the puddles gather rain*.

I forgot at least half of what I was going to say because I came in from the rain and got sidetracked writing a never-to-be-sent letter and falling asleep on my notebook, but earlier we had a small surprise (to me) thunderstorm, and I stood outside in it getting wet and thinking about rain and wind and trees and seasons and how everything I freaking do when I'm acting consciously and not out of the heat or frost of emotion (and even some of what I do when I am) is about love. Wanting it, holding it, giving it, reaching for it or pushing it away. It seems to be the sun about which I fitfully orbit.

I went outside to close the car windows wearing the no shoes and the soccer shorts and tank top that seem to have become my uniform of late. I ended up squatting on my heels on our front walk and watching the newly fallen leaves gather tiny rain puddles while the grass and weeds and dirt soaked up the probably last warm storm of the summer. I watched cars drive by with their windows closed and headlights and wipers on in the glorious warm afternoon and not see me. I watched the trees stand planted, bowing their arms and raising their faces in gratitude to the rain. Eventually the raindrops gathered and ran down our street in warm rivers, or lay in small warm puddles in the empty driveway across the street. From there our house seems completely dwarfed by the pines and holly and poplar which tower over it, taller than any others on our block. It's funny to think of so much life happening in so small a space.

I thought also about the ways rain can feel. I mean, today I just wanted to stand in it and listen to the water falling and trees talking, thunder spreading across the sky and wind breathing through the trees, and feel the drops sliding down my face and trickling down my chest, and step on the wet grass and into the warm puddles and rivers. It felt like such a blessing. It reminded me of the feeling of a dam breaking, the feeling of a cleansing flood that I had once upon waking from a real night's sleep after weeks of insomnia. It felt like peace and breathing.
But other times, when I've been cold inside, I have stood in the rain wanting to be washed away, angry that the drops were so gentle. When I've been angry I have hated the peace of the summer rain. The spin put on the world by human emotion can be truly awe-inspiring.

*Blind Melon, "No Rain":

And all I can say is that my life is pretty plain. I like watching the puddles gather rain. And all I can do is just pour some tea for two, and speak my point of view, but it's not sane. I just want someone to say to me, "I'll always be there when you wake." You know I'd like to keep my cheeks dry today, so stay with me and I'll have it made. And I don't understand why I sleep all day, and I start to complain that there's no rain. And all I can do is read a book to stay awake, and it rips my life away, but it's a great escape...

The Bucket List

I cannot wait to live again in a place where there is no television. I can't wait to live in a place where there isn't a dog or cat to run away or shed hair all over my clothes or pee on my bed while I'm away and the house sitter is evidently not around enough. I can't wait to live somewhere where the spoon jar only contains spoons and the fork jar only forks and the knife jar only knives, where the mugs aren't stacked so crazily that they teeter or come crashing down when the cabinet door opens. I can't wait to live somewhere without a yard to mow and without gutters that fill constantly with leaves. I can't wait to someday have a car that's less than ten years old, that runs, and that circulates oil and radiator and possibly even transmission fluid, rather than vomiting them onto the ground. I can't wait to get out of debt. To figure out or stumble into whatever it is that I'm supposed to be doing with my life.

On a scale of 1-15, how selfish am I? That's not a trick question. Pretty selfish, I'm guessing.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

At the end of the week

It's funny how you can sometimes curl up in a dark room and feel exposed, or stand miles from the sea and drown in loneliness and bitterness and regret. It's funny how two people--siblings, or lovers,  or friends--who should or did or do love each other can be driven so far apart, with no reconciliation in sight.  I have no teaching job. I have no relationship with my brother. I am dripping sweat and illogical, unquenchable, idiotic bitterness. I'll see what I can do. Probably it's largely that I am exhausted and haven't been alone in too long and am sick to goddamn death of fighting with Jack, and I don't know what to do to make it stop.

Saturday night I finally stayed at the campsite instead of in our cabin--I had meant to so many times but somehow our cabin became the hangout for everyone ages 25 and younger. And I'm not trying to say that that wasn't pretty awesome the vast majority of the time, but once it's 2 am and everyone is on their way to sleep, the idea of leaving a nice soft bed in an air-conditioned room to walk down to an air mattress on a hot, muggy night sounds a lot less appetizing. After the last large group dinner at Roxie's cabin Larry and I went down to the campsite to set up beds, then back up to my family's cabin to get packed up, and back down to the campsite again. There was some drama with Chloe along the way, because she (understandably, in my opinion) does not like to be the trendsetter with regards to activities, and had become such. So she hid for a while whilst Larry and I and Travis got a poker game together*, and then she came back down to play. Earlier in the day a soda had been spilled on the usual game table and it was swarming with ants, so we played a fair ways away from the main campsites, and assumed that when people went out of the game and left, they were going to bed. Not so my friends! Oh no. I beat Larry at 1:30 am and then, and then back at the air mattresses on the tarp by the warm lake and underneath the hiding and peeping stars, everyone was still awake, and talking and laughing and playing youtube videos on Lenny's iphone and Zyrone's.. whatever phone. So I had that same conversation with myself as always about how I should sleep, with the same result as always--staying up until other people go to sleep.

And around 4:15, they did, and I lay back and stared up past the dark, spare shapes of the tree branches above me and into the stars, and I watched the lightning flash and listened to the thunder boom all around us in the distance, and I did not fall asleep. I always marvel, and did especially outside under no cover, at the slow approach of the dawn. It struck me Sunday morning how inaccurate, at least in my experience, is the commonly used phrase and idea of the dawn "breaking." I have never known dawn to break. It approaches. It breathes itself into the night, slowly, softly, almost imperceptibly. When the dawn comes I always think at first that I am mistaken, and that the night is still the night. But soon there are clearly shapes standing sharper against the darkness, and then presently there are colors oozing back into the world, and the sky is no longer black, but blue. The stars have nearly disappeared.
Possibly because it was the last of a reunion that I actively anticipate for five years at a stretch, that morning seemed inescapably pregnant with symbolism to me. As I finally gave up on sleep and began to stare up into the sky's renewed blueness I noticed that the birds had begun to fly South--some alone, some in twos or threes or fives. I am always struck with a sense of sadness at these signs of summer's end. First the leaves begin to fall, and then the birds fly away, and then later the ladybugs die and the leaves begin to turn. Every year I watch for the first leaves fluttering down, just as I watch for the first butterfly, the first bumblebee, the first lightning bug in spring.

Just as it was becoming truly morning and no longer dawn, Bert (or Uncle Bert or Pup) came out and watched us all sleeping out there, and counted how many of us there were. More than any other night I suppose, especially with the addition of myself and Chloe. He took a picture, and then brought Lil (or Lillian, or Grandma, or Aunt Lil) to see us. It was very sweet. Then I heard someone walking toward me and looked up, and my mother was there. So early! I don't think it could have been later than six or six thirty. She had come to swim, so I walked down to the water with her and took pictures, and then suddenly she saw and pointed out the most complete rainbow I've ever seen in the sky. It was a full arc over the lake, and touched the earth on both sides. It had the feeling of a goodbye blessing. Pup called it a good omen.  Larry was the first of those on the mattresses to wake up (not counting myself as I'm fairly certain that I never slept), and eventually he came down to the water to swim, and I got in too. A little while later Pup and Lil came in as well, and swam out to some of the old pine trunks which still break the surface. It was a really beautiful morning.

More rumination on symbolism in nature and farewells:
This evening I finally drove, though only for the last couple of hours before we hit home. It hurt my foot actually, which I sliced open on my way into the lake on Tuesday or so. It closes up when I don't walk on it, and then pulls open again whenever I put weight on it, particularly if I'm not wearing shoes. It doesn't bleed--just hurts a little and feels and looks sort of gross. Anyway, the sun was setting directly behind us as we drove East on 460, a bloody, orangey red that belongs to nothing else. I often forget the way the sun swells and wavers as it slowly climbs rung by rung down the cloud ladder in the Western sky. Tonight it seemed to be swelling and shrinking as we drove, and rising and falling as we climbed up hills and then dipped down behind them. It felt to me as though the sunset was another ending, another goodbye paired with the songbirds and the rainbow.

I challenge anyone around to a sappiness contest.

The lake was hot, and the air was hot, and often wet, and it was all beautiful. The mosquitoes weren't so bad this year. I loved seeing everyone again, especially Travis. Especially Ryan. I loved seeing Larry, but he stressed me out. I loved getting to know people who were little kids last time. (I guess Ryan would have been counted in that group if I hadn't kept in touch with his part of the family over the intervening half-decade.) I love seeing the ways in which people grow and change. Travis (Hoppe) and Juliette have five kids now! Up from three last time. And Travis (Erickson) is helping to raise the sweetest little baby. I just love to see the way everything grows.

*Okay so at the last reunion, five years ago, I was introduced to the game of texas hold 'em. I was truly awful at it. Possibly I was nearly as bad at texas hold 'em as I am at chess. It was with this in mind that I passed on the first game that was played at our cabin the other night. Then, the next night, I decided to give it a try. I stayed in a while, then called Ryan's bluff, put him all in, and lost. My chips were pretty depleted after that and I went out shortly thereafter. The next day I played again and lost to Larry right at the end, then Saturday night, when we all played, I won**. WON, I tell you! For the first time in my life. I'm pretty excited about this. Also, I am a little addicted. Also, I need to get a set of poker chips.

**It was pretty awesome, actually. He kept trying to put me all in because it was late and had been going forever even though we had been upping the blinds every time someone went out (by this point little blind was 10, big blind 20), and I kept turning him down. Finally I did go all in--or rather, by that point, put him all in--on a straight. As it turned out, he had a straight too. Fortunately for me, mine went to a queen. His only went to a Jack. I'm pretty sure that this is because God loves me.