new friends new school

the rural rolling hills

so different from the New York suburb

I used to know.

Morning drama class,

a Russian girl could not understand

so we acted it out

and became the tragedy.

it was a game

 


but fires were

still burning,

the innocent

still dying,

the towers

crash down

on all of us

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It didn’t occur to me until pretty late in the week that normal people take Labor Day off, even go somewhere. So I decided to see if I could work a schedule out to head up to my parents’ – and now boyfriend’s- town for the weekend. It involved one overnight 10-hour train ride, but I got there care of a pickup from Z. The train ride wasn’t so bad – there was even a span of 2+ hours I could use both seats and sleep rather absurdly curled up. But let’s face it, I was a bit of a zombie during the first day. I got home and pretty quickly a tailor arrived to figure out and then take my bridesmaid dress for hemming. It was a convoluted process but he was great, and then asked when I was leaving the area. When I told him a day and a half later, his eyes lit up: he took it as a personal challenge. My parents and I then raced off to the Farmer’s Market, which was beautiful as always. I’m almost never home when it’s still going, so it was neat to see everything. I even found a cute new skirt!

Later I went to Z’s to catch up on some episodes of Orange is the New Black, which we started together so must finish together. I think we only have a few left now! I also fell fast asleep and he let me nap until about dinnertime. I was still a zombie, possibly worse after the nap. But it did feel great. I rushed to shower off the overnight-train-it’s-been-too-long-since-the-last-clean and then the four of us went out for dinner at a place I love and requested. That was delicious as expected, and we followed it up with gelato – mm-mm!

The next day we woke up and went up to my parents’ for Belgian waffles and watermelon before heading out to browse through EMS. I picked up some small details for my hike, and then we went mini-golfing. I really wished I’d found my shorts at home before then – hot and humid! But still a fun time, with random holes (Funspot is always tops) and sometimes pretty things:

Before heading home, we stopped off at a grocery store that’s going out of business (actually, as of this writing, I think it’s gone). It was very strange to see it so empty.

Nothing! And they’d consolidated the few remaining items to the center of the store, resulting in this:

And this:

Strange but fun outing. When I got home, I found my shorts and helped my mom make yummy chocolate chip cookies for the BBQ/get-together with Z’s family. We fed a few to some thru-hikers who stopped by, and I tried to gather more information from them. Both were glad I was going to try it, saying it was an incredible experience. One, Rabbit, cautioned me to take 8-mile days for the first week rather than trying to power ahead (thus injuring myself). Your joints need time to adjust to the intensive walking.

The BBQ wound up being a celebration party and involved many more people than we’d thought! Thankfully we weren’t the only ones assigned to dessert, and there is always plenty of food there. We are lucky. We all oohed and ahhed over Z’s photos of my brother’s wedding, for the thousandth time. They are great. After, we headed up to my house for one last night of VT sleep. One more Orange is the New Black, and sleep. The morning, as usual with me, was a runaround of pack-shower-pack-organize-pack-ahhhhh-breakfast-pack-gogogo. Brunch down at Z’s was great and they packed me lunch and snacks because they are the greatest (both families). And: the tailor finished my dress, so it’s sitting in my suitcase with me now. Wow.

It was nice being home.

<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

Well, here it is. The end of one glorious year and the start of another. Since lists seem to be the “in” thing these days, I’ve compiled a fun list of events (focused on perks) of 2012 and what I’m planning resolutions-wise and event-wise in 2013.

2012

  • Steampunk-themed contra dance party with fantastic costumes, goggles c/o la boyfriend (now of nearly 2 years)
  • Vacation to Seattle to visit cousins and play tourist
  • Finding out Dad had prostate cancer, supporting him from far away, and then having an “Adios, Cancer!” party when we found out he was cancer-free (44 radiation treatments later)
  • Incredible women’s climbing weekend in West Virginia
  • Interesting, if amusing, debates followed by re-election of President Obama (phew!)
  • Friends-filled college “reunion” going-away party
  • Vacation and travel through Peru, catching 15K heights and Machu Picchu
  • Maryland Renaissance Festival and dress-up
  • Started second novel
  • Joined/helped form an independent author’s collective/publishing imprint
  • Sent over 30 letters to Sandy Hook Elementary School
  • Spent first holiday with boyfriend’s family

2013

Resolutions:

  • Eat breakfast every morning
  • Spend 1 hour before work writing and/or editing
  • Meditate twice a day
  • Still arrive at work at sane hour
  • Make more home-cooked meals (cheaper and healthier!)

Events to Look Forward To:

  • Time-travel-themed contra dance party with boyfriend (yay more dress-up)
  • Parents visiting DC
  • Seeing more old college friends
  • First time going to Las Vegas (conference)
  • Seattle visit with cousins
  • Saturday classes for project management
  • possible Hunger Games food/watching event
  • I turn 25 (woo rental cars!)
  • Attending brother’s wedding in Hawai’i as bridesmaid
  • <Possibilities!>

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope it’s a nice day filled with warm times and your crazy family all coming together.

I write this with a confused and sinking heart, but it’s something I need to do. I have decided not to continue to push to 50,000 words by November 30. I’m barely at 18,000 words now, and life has conspired such that making up the word count I need to “win” is near impossible. One of my friends, Anna, who I met last year through NaNoWriMo, said to me in early November, or possibly late October, that I could win without getting to 50,000. That sometimes, the effort is the winning, whether you get a purple bar and certificate or not.

Let me be clear that I am not giving up on my novel. I’m much more excited about this idea, and where the characters are taking themselves, than I was about my first novel attempt last year. I have two more write-ins I’m hosting, and I will stick to those. And I will write. But I will not make it to 50,000 words by November 30 midnight. Aside from the fact that I took a (fantastic) vacation, then took two more days to “get back” from vacation to spend with my boyfriend and watch Lincoln and relax, I am also going after another certification for work, which I need to hardcore study for. And of course, there is Thanksgiving. I am home, and will be home for the next several days, and I need that, too.

Here is what I’m thankful for. I am thankful for having both of my brothers in the same house. I am thankful for my sisters-in-law, my niece playing with princess dresses one day and lizards and insect toys the next, for my expected niece in March. For my parents, both back in good health and together. For a job as I watch others lose them. For listening to Girlyman and Hawaiian music on Pandora. For most of the rest of my family arriving shortly for a plentiful Thanksgiving feast. For my boyfriend, who continues to put up with my ups and downs and calls me just because. For my friends, all around the world, who provide more love and support than they know. For my experiences and new friends made in Peru. For the view outside my parents’ house. For Brie cheese and Moscato. For two dogs and a frog. For the glowing woodstove, for drinking around it catching up on random pieces of life. I am thankful for being able to tell people “I’m a writer” and not feeling awkward about it. I am a writer. And this novel I’m working on? Someday I’m going to publish it.

Saturday night, we had Dad’s “Adios, Cancer!” party. It was awesome. I don’t think my dad’s had as much fun in years. At the end of the night, and into the days after, he couldn’t stop talking about it, or replaying the video of us dancing over and over. It was fantastic. AND it’s official: no cancer at all in his body! Not even his brain (brief scare there).

It felt like half the town was at the party (this may or may not actually be true) to cheer him on and support him. adios cancer button with date and "(Check those PSA's!)"We rented a renovated church-turned-event-center, and had buttons like the one here at every table. A stage hosted the band, Gumbo Loco, who eased us into the evening of scrumptious pizza, cannolis and other yummy desserts, a constant supply of M&Ms, and a wine/beer selection. The pizza, cooked as we ate in a woman’s mobile stone pizza oven outside, was incredible. The crowd favorite was the cheddar, thin apple slices, and sausage one. I think it had some maple on it and might as well have been pizza-for-dessert.

After dinner, a contra dance caller and I talked about getting the crowd dancing, and we started the dancing session. My dad did a great job! He’s never really contra danced, and it can be a workout. He’s still on meds and gets tired easily but he held his own for every dance. I was next my my 3-year-old niece for many of them, and she just giggled and bounced the whole time. Precious.

I let my mom and dad have the last dance (and waltz), since they, as a couple, have faced it much more than I. Cute 🙂

All in all an amazing evening and an amazing reason to celebrate!

Whenever I begin to pack up my things and leave my parents’ house…this is what hits me the most. Missing this, in “the big city.” Be-a-utiful. And it’s right outside.