Friday, April 30, 2010

The Windy City

Yesterday was SUCH a windy day! I went for my walk and I loved it. I wouldn't have loved it if I were trying to have a picnic or riding a bike into it but walking was great. It fluffed my hair up nicely, too. 

What wasn't so great was that when I got home, my balcony looked like it had been ransacked. The plastic covers for the chairs had literally been blown off the chairs. One was missing altogether! I have no idea where it was blown away to. The chair cushions has also blown off of one of the chairs on the other side of the chair you see in the photo. No idea how it jumped over this chair without flying off the balcony...

See the green chair cover there? When I went to look closer, it had somehow wrapped itself totally around a pot:
The worst part was that I had planted one of those upside down tomato plants and the wind sheered off the plant at the point where it came out of the bag and flung it half way across the balcony. Bummer. I was really looking forward to fresh tomatoes from my patio! I think we have a tornado watch this evening. I have no idea where I'm supposed to go if the sirens go off but I have a feeling that staying in my third story apartment and watching it from the balcony would not be recommended...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Shake it, Baby

Michael Franti & Spearhead's song Shake It! Shake It! Shake It! is how every man who's with a woman should feel about her. The song is GREAT and he is sooooooo sexy!! I can't find the lyrics or even the song to download anywhere but I heard it on Sirius radio today -- catch a video on Vimeo video. My favorite line is: I love it when you shake that little extra bit of butter, when I see you move your body well it makes me all aflutter. Cute.

Fulfillment at Last

Check out the return address on a package I received today -- I'm knitting a little baby blanket for my friends Kate and Matt who just had a little baby and this was where the yarn for it came from...

It cracked me up to think there's actually a "Fulfillment Center." Apparently, yarn is one of the things they have there, which doesn't surprise me, of course. Maybe they have other items like happiness, love, a rewarding career. I'll be placing more orders with them, that's for sure!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


When suffering knocks at your door and you say there is no seat for him, he tells you not to worry because he has brought his own stool. -- Chinua Achebe

I'm starting to learn about an approach to therapy called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. I've known about it for years and have had a book about it sitting on my shelf forever. In the move, I found it again and my interested was piqued. 
I tend to buy books a lot and assume that just having purchased them, the contents will somehow magically travel from the book into my head without any effort on my part!  No matter how long I let them sit on the shelf or how much I enjoy reading the spines, that never seems to happen.

I don't know a lot about this approach so far but the gist of it is that it's more therapeutic to move into pain and suffering than to avoid it. I think the idea is very Buddhist in the sense that the more we try to control or eliminate suffering, the more it makes us suffer.  We also don't want to "wallow," though. There seems to be some emphasis on how language traps us into becoming attached to certain ways of thinking about ourselves and our suffering. I don't understand this part at all yet. I guess I'd better go read the spine again.

I think this is a timely topic for me to explore personally as well as professionally. We'll see what I learn!! 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Good-Bye to Silver St.

Well, today we went to sign the contract to sell our house. I'm absolutely in shock. I have mixed feelings, of course, but mostly, it feels good to know we won't be waiting for months or years to sell. I think the fact that we maintained it so well over the years mostly because of Geoff and because of my amazing design and decorating abilities :-) our house showed pretty well. Or, maybe we just listed it at the right time and the right buyers happened to be looking at the right time. 
 Geoff saw the family when they first looked at the house and he recognized them from the UU church. At least we know they probably won't be putting Chief Illiniwek memorabilia in the yard and if their kids are gay or date someone from a different culture, they'll probably have a safe haven in the home. 
 All the pieces of our life together continue to fall away one at a time. It's less devastating than it was but every time is still like a punch in the stomach. I have to remember that it's for the best. We'll both be happier.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Boston Will Have to Wait

Well, I've just learned that the position I was hoping to apply for in Boston is not going to be filled. As Susan noted, the good news is that at least I didn't apply for the job and not get it! Nice reframe.

In all honesty, I think it's for the best. It would have been a relief to have a job with a consistent income and benefits but it feels too early to pick up and move across country. I'm a bit relieved that I'll have time to stay in this cozy little place and make some decisions about what's next for me. 

I might still try to find something in Boston but the possibilities are endless! Maybe I'll move to where Lisa and JT retire. Maybe I'll move back to Pittsburgh (sorry Sarah, but this would be toward the bottom of the places I'd want to live - you and Tom and Pepe are the only draw!). Maybe I'll move to where Maddy's going to school (just joking, Maddy). Maybe I'll just stay right here. Who knows? I'm not as stressed out by not knowing as I would have thought. 

I'll just be taking it a day at a time for a while. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

It's Official

Well, our house went on the market today. Too fast for me but that was a battle I decided not to fight. It was hard when I turned the corner this evening to finish up a few things at the house and to actually see the sign in the yard. So surreal. And sad.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Short Movie

Check out this cute little movie by Spike Jonze (the guy who did Where the Wild Things Are). Odd but poignant! True love...or is it co-dependency?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Another walk...

Another beautiful sign that spring is here. 

Seeing this tree in bloom was a nice surprise on my walk today. I've come to think of some of these walks I take as "grief walks." Seems like occasionally, I'll be walking for 10 minutes or so and then feelings of profound sadness and loss will open up in the middle of my chest. 
     I thought about the feelings of grief that came up more consciously today as I was walking. An image of an intricately designed little box nestled inside my chest came to mind. The box looks beautiful, skillfully crafted and very valuable. It holds all the feelings I've had when I've experienced loss, when someone has hurt me in a way that could have been avoided, when I see others suffering, when I become aware of something happening in the larger world that breaks my heart. 
   For whatever reason, sometimes when I walk the box just opens up and my heart is full of sadness, regret, and helplessness. As I walk, I cry (not enough to embarrass myself). My heart is heavy, weighed down. 
   With grief, though, there's nothing to do but feel it and ride it out. I'm tired of grieving but I also value it and trust it. I think I'm feeling more of it now because it's been about a year since things started getting really difficult and because now we're putting our house on the market. It's hard to believe how much has happened in that year.  Having to go through our home and sift through the memories of a decade is a daunting task. I imagine it will be healing at the same time.
   That little box is pretty full so I guess there's just a need to make some room. Sometimes I feel better after a grief walk and sometimes the box just stays open longer as I struggle through the rest of the day. Sometimes I'm not sure who I am or what's going to happen. 
     I know I'll find solid ground eventually and the box won't be as full any more. I do treasure its contents because the grief I feel means that people and life matter to me and that I can let myself be vulnerable enough to take a risk that I'll be hurt somehow. 
   I'm reading a book called The Eden Project. The focus is on how we tend to be looking for the "magical other." The author argues that "the primary motive, the hidden agenda in any relationship, is the yearning to return;" the desire to find safety in bonding with another human being. bonding with another person reliable and protective or unpredictable and even hurtful? 
   This horrible uncertainty and tension is part of what's so painful for me right now. It's very difficult to grieve the loss of a fantasy that I could have the protection of bonding without the risk of being hurt. There's no way to climb back into the womb and undo the reality of living in a world where there's always a trade off. With connection comes loss. No way around it. Realizing this has filled that little box to the brim.
After Making Love 
No one should ask the other
"What were you thinking?"

No one, that is,
who doesn't want to hear about the past

and its inhabitants
or the strange loneliness of the present. 
--- Stephen Dunn

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

If we live by truth we may have pain, but we will always rest securely within ourselves.
                    Charlotte Kasl

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mama Got a Pedicure

That last picture made me cringe when I saw my toes! I needed a little clean up...These shoes are cute, too, aren't they? I got them a while ago. On sale. That's all the body parts I'll be showing for a while. Don't worry, I didn't get a new bikini. :-D Maybe I have too much time on my hands and have been avoiding the news too much if I'm taking pictures of my feet at work...self-employment does have its benefits (or hazards).

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Mama Got Some New Shoes

Last Day in Boston

   Maddy, Rosie and I are at Susan and Mark's watching the Final Four. Those Butler boys are holding their own. The coach looks like he's about 12 years old but he seems to know what he's doing! There are about 9 minutes left and I hope they can hold onto the lead! I like to root for the underdog...
   We'll be returning our rental car in the morning and then catching a plane back to the midwest. The car rental place gave us a choice between a Ford Focus and a tiny upgrade to a Jeep something (can't remember the model). Maddy and I saw the Jeep and both said "it's so cuuuuuuuute." The agent told us that the only difference was that the windows aren't automatic. She didn't mention that there is no lumbar support in the seats (even young, limber Maddy felt this way), there is no cruise control, and you have to manually lock the doors. So...cute doesn't really cut it. Don't rent or buy a Jeep. Can't wait to return it -- after it gets us back!  

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wicked Good Trip

Maddy and I flew into Boston yesterday and drove two hours to Amherst, Massachusetts. The travel was smooth and we slept like logs last night. Today we had beautiful, beautiful weather for our tour of UMass-Amherst. I made her let me take a picture before the tour:

     It seems like it would be a great place for Maddy to go to college. She took the initiative before the visit to contact the head of the Food Science program here so we were able to meet with her for half an hour or so and get a tour of their labs. She was very accessible and talked about the options Maddy would have here. Through the meeting with her, I realized how much science there is in Food Science! She was talking about emulsions, microbial transport, and a bunch of other phrases we didn't understand. 
     This evening we drove to Northhampton which is about 6 miles away. Did some window shopping and then had a delicious dinner. Our table looked out on one of the streets so we did lots of people watching. We were both tired so we enjoyed just staying above it all and watching people going about their days. The mocha custard and chocolate cream pie we had for dessert didn't hurt either. It's been great to spend time with Maddy. She's a pretty awesome person! 
   By the way, for those of you who didn't know it, people from this area use the word "wicked" in place of the word "really" sometimes. So...we are having a wicked good trip. 
     I'm back to Boston tomorrow and will drop Maddy off in Providence on my way (well it's kind of out of my way) so she can visit her friends. She'll take the train back to Boston on Saturday with them to hang out there for the day. Then we'll head back home on Sunday. Let's hope the travel and weather gods will continue to smile on us!