Friday, October 28, 2011

A shiny bagel

I just took Miley for a walk in the cold October rain, and she swerved crazily as I skipped (no, really) along down the gleaming street. I began to sing to myself (as is my custom), but remembered when I failed to hit a high note that I am still recovering from laryngitis, and fell silent for the rest of the hop-skip back to the house. A few blocks shy of home, Miley suddenly dragged me fifteen feet backward through the rain, then stopped, sniffed, and carefully picked up twice-bitten bagel in her teeth. I laughed, and watched her gently carry it home; watched her jump up on the bed and excitedly show it around; watched her hurl herself around the living room with excitement over her bagel.

It was silly and sweet, and we all giggled at her bagel-induced glee. But then suddenly, for a moment, the bagel became to me a slew, a whole genre of precious moments. The finding of the bagel became every miraculous moment that suddenly shines up out of the rain, out of the drainage ditch, and fills us with crazy, ecstatic, inexplicable glee.

So sappy, I know. So sickly sweet. But I thought it, so I wrote it. Message in a bottle, and all that.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

An evening walk

The very air feels green, and is swimming with that sweet smell of falling leaves and distant wood smoke. The horizon is stacked with piles of purple clouds, all rimmed with gold.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I stepped out of the car and onto the driveway this evening, and an owl hooted softly as the dusk slid into darkness. I can still hear him now, faintly, outside my window.

I have spent today in hopeful recovery, and the latter part of the afternoon with Beth, researching Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs and beginning again to feel that senseless, frightening interior struggle over what I want to do with myself and my life. I thought it was counseling, but what if it's reiki? What if it's Ericksonian hypnosis? What if it's art therapy? Linguistics? Just plain old tutoring? It appears that the nervous gash had not healed over--only scabbed--and now I have begun to rub that scab away again. We'll see.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Peace and quiet

Or would be, if there weren't a damn TV in the house. But anyway,

I love that all I have to do this evening is eat dinner with my parents, read my book, maybe take a bath. I suppose I may get around to some laundry.

I love that all I have to do tomorrow, unless I decide otherwise, is meet with Beth to discuss graduate school things.

Thank you, laryngitis.

Said laryngitis was contracted thanks to a chest infection I've been working on, and, I suppose, thanks to my stubborn decision to attend the fall staff retreat anyway. Though I sadly abstained from hiking or canoeing or even going for a long walk (possibly unnecessary, but I didn't want to overtax my sick self or, more importantly, end up freezing and far from central heating), I did a few puzzles, read a bit, played some Catan, addressed some envelopes, and didn't get as much sleep as I had hoped. Saturday night we all sat through/participated in a three-hour staff meeting during which we processed the summer, talked about future improvements, and formed a few committees, and Sunday we had a really great Quaker style worship service, spent forever closing up and winterizing Camp, and headed home. Charity, Anna, Jarian, and I stopped to pick (aka pick up off the ground, as very few were on trees) apples, and have dinner at Mellow Mushroom on the way home.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The weather, and my decision-making process.

This evening I walked Miley in a misting rain--barely even a drizzle--underneath a depthless grey-blue sky that faded to pink as it neared the Southern horizon. I realized suddenly that night has been falling sooner, and that made me smile. I looked up as I passed beneath the streetlight, and remembered that there are few things I love more than watching rain or snow filter through the glow of street lamps. It's nearly the only thing they're good for, if you ask me.

I've been working myself into a panic over this mentoring decision I've been trying to (or trying not to) make--to be, or not to be one? I had a couple of bad experiences--nothing traumatic, just stressful and frustrating pairings girls who ended up being less invested in the program than expected--and essentially quit. I've still been attending the odd large-group meeting, but that's all. Recently I was asked to mentor a great girl that I've known for a while, who will almost certainly be more into the whole thing than those I worked with before. (Just so we're clear, all three of the young women I have been paired with in the past are pretty great. Just not that interested in having a mentor, as it turned out.) But still, rather than just say "yes" or "no," I freaked out. This seems to be my m.o. whenever I'm asked to make a decision based solely (or nearly so) on nothing but my own opinions and feelings. My mind likes to work with facts, so here is the conversation I have with myself when asked to mentor:
"Last time it sucked." (-1 to mentoring.)
"But this is a different person." (Possible +1 to mentoring.)
"But the time before that wasn't great either." (-1 to mentoring.)
"But this time might be better." (Possible +1 to mentoring.)
"But it might suck again." (Possible -1 to mentoring.)
"But she was the first one to get her paperwork in!" (+1 to mentoring.)
"Well how do you feel about it?"
Panic and aversion. -1 to mentoring.
But said panic/aversion is illogical. Disregard.

Calculating: 0 -1+1-1+1-1+1=0. Need more data.

Data unavailable.

Does not compute. Enter inability-to-make-decisions panic mode; shut down.

At this point I push the whole thing from my mind until someone asks me again, at which point I reenter panic mode. Anyway, I said I'd do it. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A feeling*

Not that life is particularly bad at the moment--there are times of happiness or times when great songs come on the radio or the sky is just gorgeous or this homemade thick hot toast spread with Nutella is nonsensically delicious--but I feel like poison is circulating in my bloodstream, or in the air I'm breathing. I love Mondays right now, because I have a voice lesson and I get to tutor, and the two things are spaced such that I have a pretty airtight excuse not to do any other outside-the-house work unless I want to. But when I left the house for the voice lesson, though I liked what I was wearing, felt put-together and reasonably rested, etc, I felt pallid and sickly. It was similar this past weekend. I'd been looking forward to the Folk Festival, to JP's weekend visit, and to the late-night dances with the Jammin' on the James folks for months and weeks, respectively--but when the time came, I had no motivation to do anything. Friday night I wanted to stay in and watch a movie. We had to drag ourselves out. Saturday JP and I were both inexplicably in such terrible moods that the day was a near-total loss for us. We didn't go to either of the Jammin' on the James dances at all. Luckily, Sunday was (mostly) pretty great**. But I need to find out what's poisoning me like this.

*I write this and am reminded of Finch's short monologue in V for Vendetta: "I suddenly had this feeling that everything was connected. It was like I could see the whole thing. One long chain of events that stretched all the way back before Larkhill. I felt like I could see everything that had happened. And everything that was going to happen. It was like a perfect pattern, laid out in front of me, and I realized that we were all part of it, and all trapped by it."
"So do you know what's gonna happen?"
"No. It was a feeling."

**There was a keilidh! It was spelled "ceili," as it was Irish rather than Scottish, but it was the same. It was excellent.
When I drive home from painting under the welcome threat of rain, I watch the cloud layers slide past one another over the bridge. Blue sky slips beneath whispery grey, which is superseded by fluffy white and then dark, smoky shadows. Rinsing the paint from my hands at the garden hose, I reflect that this may be the season's last smell of warm water and living wet dirt, so I breathe it in deeply. But though the night brings the seasonally appropriate whiff of dry autumn leaves, the next day it's eighty degrees again. Things are what they are.

Friday, October 7, 2011

This is unimportant.

Things that remind me of Thanksgiving (other than turkey):
the sound of a football game playing on the radio or on TV. (the end)

Things that remind me of Christmas:
the smell of evergreens
the smell of snow
cold noses
piano jazz
oranges/smell of oranges

Things I want/need:
one of those giant yoga/exercise balls. Like this:

Only not grey, because that's lame.

All the Twilight movies. Yeah, I like them. Whatchu gonna do about it?

A whole hellofalot of shelving for my books and shoes.

I can't remember what else at the moment.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


By the way, it is evidently still impossible not to think of David when the air begins to change. So that's cool. And I definitely didn't wake up weeping with frustration for absolutely no good reason this morning. Nope. That was another girl.

But it is amazing--truly astounding to me the extent to which it is helpful for me to send up a silent prayer when life is, for no discernible reason, so much more than I can handle. When I swear if I have to look at that woman one more time I will scream. When I can't imagine a way to make it through the week without collapsing. So often it turns out that a "please, help me" directed skyward is all I need.

Beliefs and wishes

It occurs to me that I mentioned Mark a while back, and then never closed out or continued that story. I think he's awesome. I think that he thinks that I am awesome. I kind of wish that we were soulmates, but instead we seem to be two quite similar people who are not attracted to one another. Shit happens, I guess. Though it can be difficult to find a different rhythm with the same person, I hope that we'll end up as friends.

The weather is seesawing between seasons, but I know it'll truly get to fall eventually. Sometimes the lines of brake lights look to me like angry red sores on the skin of the world. Leaving aside thoughts of practicality for the moment, a part of me just wishes we walked everywhere.

I've been reading another Charles DeLint book, which is full of magic. And I'm not sure how I feel about this, but regardless of how I feel about it, part of be believes these things. Fiction. People think I read fantasy because I like fantasy, but really, that's what science fiction is for. That's all entirely made up. It's about technology that doesn't and probably can't exist. Obviously fantasy is arguably also entirely made up, but a lot of it (and the sort I'm most drawn to lately) is based on cross-cultural myth, and it pulls me in. Often I read fantasy because on some level, I believe in magic. Not Criss Angel, not rabbits-from-hats magic, but the kind of magic that lets us sometimes dream the future. The kind of magic that put a stone in my hand while I was sleeping as a child. The kind of magic that can allow us to affect one another across vast distances, or encourage plants to grow taller with our thoughts or voices. I have stumbled into it before, but not for fifteen years or more. I hope to stumble into it again. And maybe "magic" is a misnomer. Who was it that said that magic is just science we haven't discovered yet? But whatever it is, even if it isn't unquantifiable, it is unquantified. So I call it what I will.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Regardless of what the trees seem to think, it's here.

Though it will take me some time to adjust to these new lower temperatures and artificially heated spaces and driving with the windows rolled up, the nip in the air makes me feel alive. The smell of woodsmoke wafting across the yard and the feel of warm gloves and chilly fingers, the cold wind on my face and the act of arranging logs and embers in the fireplace to coax a flame into being are all excellent. All alive.

Also: fall festivals. Obviously.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A fair and a fire and a late-night stroll

And it's finally cool enough to walk with a hoodie and hat and gloves. This is all so wonderful.