December 31, 2012


nub in flight | christmas bots | record baby jesus | coach, deserted | white christmas | cats in bags #453 | baltimore harbor, bright & windy | bookends | the onesies | we believe | little bro & his ax | fred in a bag | crater lake, midair | birds, midair | christmas in hampden, md | cheesepuff and aunt jess look for the car | snowy peaks | kid sister and me

home from maryland. the trip was what it always is. I made plans with several friends before leaving portland, but was then waylaid by travel woes and weather and ended up only seeing two of them. I spent most of the time at home sitting in what we almost instantly referred to as our 'onesies,' matching camo-print footed jammies that my mom bought all four of us. my brother outright refused to wear his so my cousin took it instead. we watched an obscene number of movies. my brother and I binge-watched more than half of firefly.

most of the time, for reasons having nothing to do with my family, I felt as terrible as I have felt all year. on one day I sat at the dining room table, alone, staring out the window at the backyard (pictured, snowy, above), thinking very little except how heavy everything seemed and how lost it felt. if there is anything I want from the new year, it is to claw my way up.

I don't know what to say about 2012. it was very bright and then it was dark. I enter 2013 inside that darkness. who and how I loved defined more than half the year, before defining the rest of it in a completely different way: as aftermath. I am still trying to make sense of everything that happened to me. "what did you learn?" asked one of my friends, while we sat drinking vodka tonics in baltimore's inner harbor. "that's just the trouble," I replied. "I don't think I learned anything at all."

to someone so important to me, I am just a terrible thing that happened, a big mistake. something much worse than nothing. and to think of how much it meant to me. it is not easy to live knowing that you are someone's biggest regret.

but no one can take away the joy I felt, standing on the banks of the willamette, hair loose, barefoot, having you throw rocks at my feet to splash me. nor the wild giddy delight of racing you on bikes, or the unbridled longing I felt as our arms bumped together as we walked. these joys are mine forever, regardless of the finality of our parting. I say this in abject defiance of the darkness. may they someday recede from view, with something that looks like grace.

I'm afraid to make a resolution for the new year. everything seems ready for change. the things I face are frightening and large. my half-leaser is going back to weekly lessons, canceling her lease as of february 1. as a result, I may have to sell Cookie. when I told my mom, I began to cry. I thought I had mostly come to a decision in my brain -- the decision to sell -- only to have my emotions betray me. who can say what the future brings. nothing in life is ever what you think it will be.

in 2013, I would like to find the way out. I would like to be more wild. I would like to do the hard things. to be braver. to reach out, to write back, to be a better friend. to be kissed. to be bold. to love truly. to let go.

I ring in the new year quietly, at home, alone. if I could have my pick of any way to do it, I'd be alone in the woods somewhere, retreating from view for awhile. this will have to suffice. the world didn't end in 2012, but if I'm being honest, in a way it feels like it did. may 2013 be a truly new beginning, for those of us who need one.

December 17, 2012



a day and a half before I go home for the holidays. as usual I am looking forward to the flight, long hours of sky and canned air, no one needing anything from me, nothing to do but sit still and contemplate the universe. at home my schedule is full to bursting with people to visit, and still I can't see them all. nine full days there, plus two spent traveling. as usual all I want is trails to run and dogs to throw the ball to and cats to curl into my lap; badly played carols on the new small piano, a warm and cozy christmas morning, everyone cross-legged on the floor, blanketed by wrapping paper.

one nice but unexciting date makes suddenly evident how remarkable and rare real connection is; how sad to have lost it twice recently. I hate talking about dating but it is very much on my mind. it's been a year spent waiting, with seemingly nothing to show for it except scars. when the guy I was seeing suddenly evaporated, I waited just a few days and then cut him loose. 'you've had a hard year of wanting,' my best friend says. 'you deserve to be chased.' slowly I am learning where my boundaries lie.

the world has been so hard to live in. I went to the mall the other day -- where the shooting took place last week -- and made a star to hang with the others. standing in the food court I was choked up, to think of two people dying there, their families bereft. all those tiny children. how this world redeems itself is sometimes the greatest mystery of all, unknown and maybe unknowable. as always, now is all we have.

December 10, 2012

little lessons


ho ho 5K this weekend, run with one of my two librarian friends. (the other one was out of town). as evidenced, we dressed up like reindeer. I took my inspiration from my sister dayna's costume from a year ago, down to the harness. we both ran the race in a little under 24 minutes, not remotely close to my PR from last year but that's unsurprising given how little I've been running. it was about as hard as I felt I could go. afterwards we ate snack cakes and hung out with a dude I like and didn't win any raffle prizes. on my way out I stopped and hopped on the swing set, because I couldn't remember the last time I'd been on the swings and that sucks, man. I can only swing for about two minutes before I start to feel seasick.

a little boy was playing nearby with his grandmother and he suddenly felt very social and asked to also go play on the swings, and we had a long discussion about spongebob and elmo and gingerbread houses. his grandmother laughed and said, "I've never seen him so sociable before." I matched my swing height to his because he clearly wanted to go as high as I was. so there we were, a 31-year-old and a three-year-old (four in february), swinging very slightly on the swings.

he said, "sometimes I get scared."
"what do you get scared of?" I asked him.
"of bad guys," he said.
"well, that makes sense," I said. "everybody gets scared sometimes."
"even your daddy gets scared, I think," his grandmother added.
"I try really hard to be brave," he said.
"you know," I replied, "I am a grownup and sometimes I still have to try really hard to be brave."

December 6, 2012

so yeah, I'm still alive, in case you were curious.

I don't even really know what to tell you. sometimes it's hard to write. the reasons for that are legion. good/bad. sometimes it's just laziness.

still not sure what to say, actually.

a million years ago now, I had a mostly restful thanksgiving week off, in which I puttered around, rode my horse (one pathetic time), hung out with friends, went for a few runs, and worked that symphony job which turned out to be something I had never done before but managed to accomplish anyway. I think that maybe one of the best skills I've learned over the years is how to say, "well, I've never really done this exact thing before but I've done A, B, and C and it's basically the same so sure, I can do that," and discover that it's true.

then I came back to work and it's the usual pre-holiday rush to get orchestra parts out the door before I leave for the east coast, except this time it's two shows I'm working on instead of one, because our march show has to kind of be built from scratch. long story. and boring.

I don't know if I'm good or bad, happy or sad, productive or lazy, blue or OK. it's as variable as the weather. I do know that I went on a couple of really good dates with a dude I like but now I'm not sure it'll work out and that's made me feel very sad. and sort of down on my luck and also cripplingly lonely. like, cry in a ball under the kitchen counter on sunday night lonely. as usual I don't really want to go into it except to say that any one of you marrieds out there who acts jealous at the 'single life' or whatever really needs to reevaluate. because there is not a substitute for stability, particularly when it comes to knowing somebody will be in bed with you when you wake up crying from that recurring dream where all your family is making fun of you.

also, sex.

the buddhists are eternally right in their view about hope, which is that it is the root of all suffering.

crying under the kitchen counter on a sunday night after you have just put up and lit your christmas tree and then subsequently hit your head on said kitchen counter is really not an ideal method for passing a weekend. in case you were curious.

tonight on my drive home from feeding the horses, I was listening to judd apatow talking about his stupid new movie on npr and he was talking about being in his forties, and I was thinking about how 'being in your forties' felt so far away but now it's 9 years away and how fast life goes. and then suddenly the abyss opened before me, right there on redland road, and I thought about how all those years will go so fast and how one day I will be dead. and what will death be like, and how no matter what I want, I can't ever escape it. and then the yawning horrible terror of the inevitability of death made me so panicky that I had to roll the window down because I was afraid I was going to throw up. has this ever happened to you? I remember very vividly a day in college, my senior year, laying on my dilapidated old blue couch in the living room of my shared apartment and realizing with tremulous certainty that I was definitely going to die someday, and being so utterly engulfed in fear that all I could do was lie there and stare at the floor in a panic. the only thing you can do in that moment is completely shut your brain down.

but I mean, also I am going out with my best gals, and chatting on the phone with my mom, and crafting elaborate race costumes and standing out in the rain throwing hay to the horses in galoshes with holes in the bottom. I am somehow retaining my sense of humor. somehow all these sides are mine.

the dates were good. maybe they will keep happening. I don't know. I feel sadder about the potential loss of that than seems reasonable, but there it is. there is this thing I find myself fighting against, which is this strange therapist voice in my brain telling me that I shouldn't want love so much. which is completely ridiculous, because who doesn't want to love and be loved, and why can't I want it? but even my mom was like, "you've made a nice life for yourself, it's okay to be single," and I found myself thinking, "I haven't had a boyfriend in a year and a half, mom."

god, I'm suddenly that girl. I'm not really. or I am, I guess. I don't know.

I think it's time to cry under the kitchen counter again. I wish the christmas tree were bringing me more joy. I wish I did not feel this way right now. this year, man. it has not been my finest. quietly, unbeknownst to anyone, I bereaved the passing of the one-year anniversary of meeting G last year, what promise it brought me, how it lit everything up for a time. now it is so over and all I can find myself asking, over and over again, is: what was it all for? did it matter at all, to either of us? a year later I am no closer to anything than I was. I just feel more hurt and less trusting and lonelier, and sad.

I'm sorry for this one, blog. I didn't know how I felt until I started writing. if you want to know the truth, that's why I haven't been around.