quick


It is the last night in my apartment. I’ve been in a sleeping bag for two nights now, which I should get used to: I leave for the Appalachian Trail in 11 days. It’s always a bit odd for me to leave a place. I always have to say “goodbye” to the space I’ve called my own for months on end – right before the moving truck pulls out, or my parents’ car, or the boyfriend with the UHaul. I take a few moments just for me, thank the space for hosting me so well, and shut the door.

This time, I’m shutting the door on something much more major. My life is about to change in a very real way, and in ways I can’t even imagine yet. I’m going “off the grid” – or, as off the grid as one can be in our age of cell phones and iPads and data plans. According to my insurance, it would be easier for me to go abroad than to stay in the country while I hike. I can’t get any prescriptions in advance – no way no how – though I explained to them at least three times I would  be without access to a pharmacy for 6 months. Someone had even told me they could do 3 months, but never entered it into the system. I pleaded, the pharmacist pleaded: no exceptions. This makes things a bit more interesting.

Today was my last day in the office, too. I take a leave of absence for the next 7 months. It was very weird. I made my goodbye rounds after a lunch out. It reminded me a little bit of leaving camp: I know I’ll be back, but I work with some really great people, and I’ll miss them. There was not much left to say, really. It’s been said, variously, at different times and places.

“Good luck, have fun, be safe.”

“Yes, I will.”

On to my big adventure.

With that comes the leave of absence from this blog, too. I’m already trying to keep up with 2 other Appalachian Trail (AT)-related blogs. And besides, all of life’s tomatoes for the next several months will hit me while I’m on the Trail.

My main blog while I’m hiking is here.

I’m also contributing to Appalachian Trials.

Au revoir. I leave you with this quote:

It starts as an uneasy sleep, a deep restlessness. That’s how it began for me. Perhaps for you, too.

Underneath the slick, secure, same surfaces of daily life, “things” begin to stir. Soft whispers are heard, faintly, in the heart; a restlessness moves in the solar plexus. These stirrings, easy to ignore at first, remain as tenderly persistent as a plant pushing through asphalt. The restlessness seems like the enemy within, threatening to blow up the status quo.

And, of course, it will. That’s the news I want to convey.

But it is no enemy. It is, in fact, the very best friend you have.

– The Ordinary Adventurer, by Jan Leitschuh.

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There is a post going ’round on Facebook to share poetry with others, and then have them do the same. I thought it would be fun to try on WordPress (and I owe you all a post anyway). Slightly modified rules, and my poem, are below:

“The notion is to flood WordPress with poetry. Someone assigns you a poet, you post one of his/her poems, and if people comment on your post, you assign poets to them.”

I got Christina Rossetti, and picked

“In An Artist’s Studio”

One face looks out from all his canvases,
One selfsame figure sits or walks or leans:
We found her hidden just behind those screens,
That mirror gave back all her loveliness.
A queen in opal or in ruby dress,
A nameless girl in freshest summer-greens,
A saint, an angel — every canvas means
The same one meaning, neither more nor less.
He feeds upon her face by day and night,
And she with true kind eyes looks back on him,
Fair as the moon and joyful as the light:
Not wan with waiting, not with sorrow dim;
Not as she is, but was when hope shone bright;
Not as she is, but as she fills his dream.

I am petrified of the dentist.

Yes, I’m in my mid-twenties, yes, I’m planning to go hike alone in the woods for six months, yes, I rode horses and sang in public and fell down the stairs when I was little and kicked them instead of crying.

But one of my biggest fears is the dentist. Which is a little odd, because I am the most self-conscious about my teeth and smile. The dentist ought to be my best friend. If only my teeth were better, and healthier. But despite my teeth being my biggest area of body image concern, I don’t take very good care of them.

Actually, last week was the first time I even used my own dental insurance, which I’ve had for three years now. So it had been longer than that since my last visit. I’m not good at sticking with habits. I go through phases of flossing every day with care, and just as suddenly, I stop. I crawl into bed and don’t get out to brush some nights. So forget about flossing.

So one day, with a lot of support from my boyfriend and a stroke of courage, I went into the dentist office I’d walked by several times on my way to work. I stood waiting for the couple in front of me to finish, wishing for a paper bag to breathe into. I told you, I am petrified to point of unreasonableness. I forced myself to be this “adult” word I hear so much about, and stayed. With wringing hands, I walked to the counter.

“Hi,” I coughed out. “I need to make an appointment.”

“Okay, have you been here before?”

“No, I…I…I haven’t been to a dentist in a very long time. I’m terrified. But I need to fix my teeth.”

Actually, this all made me so nervous that this post is likely the first my parents are hearing about it at all, and I am very close with my parents.

My first appointment actually went really well. I like my new dentist a lot. Bedside manner was great, and he actually recognized me from the building I used to live in (apparently he lived there too, still does). I told him I was nervous, he told me not to be. He talked about things besides my teeth, then eased into my issues. He does this – he talks about small details, then your teeth, then back to not-teeth. He and his tech are a great team. He cleaned my teeth himself that time, and it barely hurt (I am used to bleeding, terrible pain and techs on seemingly bad days – oops, got your gum). Except for those wing things for the X-rays. I have never done well with those. They had to go down a size, since I couldn’t close my mouth down on the first ones.

This week consisted of not one but two appointments to fill cavities. I had a lot. I had more than even I expected. So Monday, they numbed the right side of my face and drilled away for a good long while. Today, they numbed the left side of my face and drilled away for a bit longer. Pretty much my jaw has been in some form of pain all week. My right side is still sensitive, so I bought Sensodyne and yogurt tonight.

This post was going to be better. Something about thanking dentists. How bedside manner can make such a difference. How at ease I was compared to what I recall. Blessings on anyone who actually wants to be a dentist. I suppose I should have written it last week, as this week has been an utter week from hell. I think it’s been like that for a lot of people. Pre-holiday stresses? Travel? Work? You name it.

I get to see family in less than 24 hours. And my boyfriend. I won’t have as much time off as I’d hoped (and am at a pretty low point mentally for that), but I will get to see them. And that’s all I’ve got to hold on to now. Let shit-hell-week be over.

Anyway. Face your fears. Go to the dentist. Don’t ever, ever put it off for this long if you can afford the visits. It will be worse for you the longer you’re in denial. Trust me. I know.

Guys. This morning I actually woke up when my alarm went off, and did not hit snooze, not once. In this case, “there’s an app for that!” is proving true (at least, for day 1). “Sleep If U Can” makes you take a picture before you go to bed. Then in the morning, you have to go to the same place as the night before and take the same picture to turn off the alarm. You can try hitting the volume buttons down, but this only lasts for 1 second (I tried). So this morning, I woke up to a song I set, and managed to make my way to the bathroom to line up the faded image of last night’s photo and take a new one. It only took me one try, and by then I was already in the bathroom…so put my phone down and showered. I even tried making the shower a little cooler than usual, since that’s supposed to be healthier for you, too. Baby steps. Still, it’s the first time in a long time I can remember waking up and starting my day when the first alarm goes off. Hopefully I keep this up! It really would be amazing to wake up, get up, and go. Snooze doesn’t do anyone any favors besides wishful thinking.

I was in the office early, then, and was pretty productive. Then I walked home – the 3.7 or so miles – in almost exactly an hour, and later went to yoga. Which felt amazing. The second time was so much better. I’m definitely learning, and feeling good. I was ready for bed by the end of it, both from being tired and also incredibly relaxed. When our instructor leaned down and said “Namaste” to us, no one moved. We all just wanted to stay there, maybe curl up, fall asleep…

But it was not to be. Hoping to start another good day tomorrow, and then catch my writing group!

<waves>

So…hey guys. I’ve missed you! Probably. There’s been a lot going on; I’ve been out of the blogosphere for a little bit now. That tends to be how my summers are. If I’m not working, I’m sleeping. Or doing – nothing.

But things are still happening: I started dating someone I’ve known for close to a decade, and it’s going great. I’m moving in a few weeks, and have confirmed a moving company for it. I finally made a dermatologist appointment for those pesky moles. Work had a super shitty week, and a celebration.

I think I’ve mentioned this, but the addition of the boy has only improved it: I’m happy. I’m self-happy, I feel content. Not to say I don’t have awful days every now and then (or, several consecutive days of them), but I feel…free. Things aren’t so bad. Some of that was familiar, a few months back. There is this element to single life that is freeing, that boosts confidence. I’m well aware this seems backwards (the confidence bit); possible evidence I haven’t found the right guy? Anyway, this new-old boy is great. It just feels easy. Not like other ones – I mean, yes, of course there will be that honeymoon perfect period, but this is more natural, even. Maybe more adult? I don’t know. We’re dancing at the edges, seeing where it’ll go. We’re independent, and I think it’s really important to both of us that we remain that way, but we can do that together. He makes me laugh, all the time. He’s ridiculous and serious and creative and musical, and listens, and talks. We find more and more in common. It’ll be nice to continue learning more about each other. In some ways it’s strange – I feel like I know him since we’ve known each other for so long, but we don’t really know each other. Not beyond dinner parties and news from parents when the other’s away – our families are best friends up in Vermont, that’s how we know each other.

I shall leave you with a cryptogram. I’ve gotten back into those to work my brain, and managed to break this one easily enough. Basically: this is a quote by a famous person. Each letter has been replaced by another letter, and one equals another, always (e.g., if J=R, J will = R every time). Think about the English language, trends, and what it can and can’t do. Give it a whirl and post your guesses in the comments!

QFL  HCVPS  PX  V  ANSWLCEZK  NCJVS;  PQ  XQVCQX  QFL  BPSZQL  RNZ  JLQ  ZT  PS  QFL  BNCSPSJ  VSW  WNLX  SNQ  XQNT  ZSQPK  RNZ  JLQ  QN  QFL  NEEPGL.  –  CNHLCQ  ECNXQ

Sorry I’ve been a little MIA here. Life is moving at a strange pace right now. There’s been a lot happening, then not so much, then a lot. Mostly exciting or positive things. There have been friend visits and hanging out with old and new, cultural trips to the Kennedy Center for some sweet performances, soccer matches, getting ready for the Appalachian Trail. And I think (it’s early yet) that I’ve found a better work-life balance this year. I think it’s been throwing me off, actually. I’m used to giving up entire seasons of my life just to be able to keep up with everything and still maintain some semblance of sanity (i.e., sleep). I’ve forced myself to work better or faster; I’ll take either one. It’s also entirely possible work will explode in the days after I post this. But I feel like I’m in a good place, right now. Things are happening. It’s good. I’m happy.

The summer is proving to be an expensive one, though, or it soon will be. I’m angling to get out of this apartment and into a new one soon. This entails breaking one lease and entering a new one knowing I won’t be there for an entire year. I have found a place I like (in theory) that has “flexible lease terms.” I’ll go check it out this weekend and see.

That will certainly throw life into chaos. Packing, cleaning, packing, packing, packing. Arranging old and new electricity, Internet, TV (maybe), address change across everything. The whole moving bit. Also, depending on the date I can move in, there is a car situation to figure out logistics-wise. I let my friend keep his car here while he was on a trip overseas, and that would all be well and good (ooh I have a car?) except it’s a stick-shift, and I never learned. If I move before he comes back, I’ll need to enlist some local help to drive his car to the new place and hopefully get the parking situation set. He’s back in a few weeks – possibly – so it may wind up being a moot point. But sometimes these places move fast! Either way, I pay a whole heck of a lot of money – if I’m lucky, maybe not so much. The current termination fee is 2 months’ rent, unless someone rents my unit earlier. Ho-ly. It’ll be a nice dent in my savings, for sure, but I can do it, and I know I’ll be happier wherever I go. This place is great, but it’s not near anything (or nearly anyone) and no one wants to come all the way out here to have dinner, or anything. I need to be more social; I miss it. So, fingers crossed for me!

Peace out, friends.

Tonight I realized who he was. In this book I’m reading, I’m over halfway done with, and it clicked.

I know who he is, which character. I read the sentences, and slammed the book shut.

It is him. It is him and I feel as I did soon after he left me: used.

I was nothing. I was a curiosity.

Then I became part of the routine, the one it took him two years to break. Maybe he realized he was bored. And so he left. And thank God.

He was not unfaithful, but nor was he supportive.

I can’t believe it took me this long. I read this book the first time relatively early in our relationship. I couldn’t put two and two together. It is him. Is that the fate of an English major? I recall a Venn diagram I saw once, with “The curtains were blue” at the top. The left circle was titled “What your teacher thinks it means” and had inside: The blue represented his despair… The right circle was titled “What the author meant” and had inside: The curtains were fucking blue.

I read into things too much because I was taught to. But then I get lost in books, can’t relate them to real life. They are separate.

Until revelations like this.

I was nothing. I was a curiosity.

Needless to say, this evening has taken a downward turn. But tomorrow is another day.

But damn.

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