September 28, 2018

in the men's room(s)

When I was young, I believed in intellectual conversation:
I thought the patterns we wove in stale smoke
floated off to the heaven of ideas.
To be certified worthy of high masculine discourse
like a potato on a grater I would rub on contempt,
suck snubs, wade proudly through the brown stuff on the floor.
They were talking of integrity and existential ennui
while the women ran out for six-packs and had abortions
in the kitchen and fed the children and were auctioned off.

Eventually of course I learned how their eyes perceived me:
when I bore to them cupped in my hands a new poem to nibble,
when I brought my aerial maps of Sartre or Marx,
they said, she is trying to attract our attention,
she is offering up her breasts and thighs.
I walked on eggs, their tremulous equal:
They saw a fish peddler, hawking in the street.

Now I get coarse when the abstract nouns start flashing.
I go out to the kitchen to talk cabbages and habits.
I try hard to remember to watch what people do.
Yes, keep your eyes on the hands, let the voice go buzzing.
Economy is the bone, politics is the flesh,
watch who they beat and who they eat,
watch who they relieve themselves on, watch who they own.
The rest is decoration.

- marge piercy

do you ever

May 29, 2017

kareem tayyar, 'on turning 37'

Today you remind yourself that although Buddy Holly was 17
       When he first sang “Peggy Sue”,
And that Fitzgerald was 24 when he published This Side of Paradise,
And that Dylan was only 21 when he composed
       “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands”
       In the studio while the other musicians shot pool and played cards,

Whitman was 37 when he wrote “Song of Myself”,
Rousseau was 40 when he first picked up a paintbrush in his Paris apartment
       And began creating those indelible images of the African jungles
       That were largely responsible for the birth of Modern Art,
And even J.F.K,
       He of that perpetual youth and beauty that signaled a departure from
       The grandfather-politics of men like Eisenhower and Truman,
Was 43 when he took the oath of office for the Presidency.

In other words,
Go back to sleep, buddy.
There is still plenty of time to climb the mountain,
And there is no reason to think that your best days are already behind you.

April 24, 2017

uhhh, hey.


yup. hey.

some time has passed. some things have happened, I guess?

like .. where do you even start? in the obvious place I guess, which is that we got a dog and he is the best, sorry other dogs.

A post shared by @librarianjess on

A post shared by @librarianjess on

I don't even know.

I stopped my running streak. jesus lord have I neglected this blog, holy hell. okay. I stopped running on day 650 because I was tired. as it turned out I had a horrible infection in a tooth I'd had a root canal in, and the infection went undiagnosed for about 18 months and I was so tired and sick I thought I was dying. LOL THANKS WILLAMETTE DENTAL.

I thought I had lyme disease, so I lied my way into a long round of antibiotics, and then I had the tooth pulled and they were shocked at how big the infection was despite the antibiotics (and they didn't know that I'd been taking really strong antibiotics for basically forever). I got better. but like, not all the way? then I saw a lot of doctors and eventually a naturopath and she took me seriously and tested all my thyroid levels and now I take thyroid medicine and I am able to dry my hair in the mornings without having to rest my elbow on the bathroom counter, which I couldn't do for months and so I consider it a win.

I gained 20 pounds because I was tired, but also my Two Dots game was impeccable, and I'm still coming back from all of it. two days ago I ran a ten-mile race on literally zero training  -- it was my tenth run of 2017 -- and still managed to finish not-dead-last and I'm not even sore? so maybe aging isn't so bad.

this is the worst 18-months-overdue blog update ever. sorry.

I don't know? I live in the same house I lived in before, except now the yard looks a lot better and I have mason bees and lots of hummingbirds and bats and ummm the occasional dead rat in the basement. once, last fall, a rat got caught in a rat trap but didn't die, and my boyfriend, who is otherwise a good person, suggested just leaving it, but that felt too inhumane to me so instead I took it outside, still in the snap trap, and bludgeoned it to death with a hammer. we all looked at me differently after that.

I had said a prayer over it first. for the record.

I have dreams about the opera. I have dreams about other places. I have dreams about you. things are the same, and different. hello. welcome back.

December 9, 2015

simple pleasures: home edition

rolling the trash cans down the driveway on trash day

hearing the thwack of the ice machine dropping ice in the freezer

(anecdote: the day we moved in, I opened the freezer and saw we had an ice maker, but we weren't sure if it was connected to the water line so I flipped it on. then we went downstairs, and a few minutes later we heard a noise. we both stopped and looked at each other in bewilderment and then I yelled HELL YEAH WE HAVE ICE!)

opening the gate to our fence when I get home

having a utility sink. I don't know why.

I have been battling a relentless bout of depression for months. long enough that I often believe that I will never not feel this way. I have sunbreaks from time to time, for no obvious reason, and then just as arbitrarily, I stumble back down. I often feel like a mostly-empty balloon. I might start to feel a little bit better -- buoyed up -- but the smallest thing can deflate me again. it's frustrating and exhausting.

I started seeing a therapist. in our first session I started talking all about what was going on, how I felt stuck, how I couldn't seem to get out of my own way, how there are all these things I'm doing badly and if I could just figure out how to start doing them, and doing them better, it would go a long way. after maybe half an hour, she asked, "do you think you might be kind of hard on yourself?" and I started sobbing.

some days I feel okay. other days I cry quietly at my desk. I struggle to force myself to go out, to do anything social, to do anything at all. depression has made me a bad friend, a poor correspondent, distant, uncommunicative. I wish there were any way to verbalize how hard it can be just to write a text message sometimes. I'm trying.

day 0
I quit the streak. I quit on October 12. It was deliberate. at the time, it felt like it was time. I dreaded going out the door every single day. I was only running to check off the days, and I had been for months. I was running less, and slower, than I had in a long time. so one day I made the decision. I aimed to quit on the day of a race, in order to be with friends and go out with style, but that day happened to be day 649 of the streak and I just couldn't let that stand. so I ran one more day, alone, around my neighborhood, and it felt fitting and right. I cried a little. I thought the following day would be a challenge -- don't run!! -- but I had a beer, climbed into my big fluffy chair, and watched movies. it felt decadent. it continued to feel decadent for at least a week afterward, when I would have the daily moment of "oh gosh, still gotta run" which was then accompanied by the elation of realizing that I didn't.

but ask me now and I will tell you that I'm sorry I let it go. all my worst fears about quitting have come to pass: I stopped running, I stopped doing anything. I've run 5 times since then. it all feels like it was a waste. this week I've realized I have to start running right away or risk feeling that it was all for nothing. I am trying hard to live this bit moment to moment, forgetting about 650 days, forgetting about race goals, forgetting about what my body once could do, because remembering makes me so frustrated that I just want to throw my shoes across the room and give up.

hasimoto's, or something
I've mentioned it off and on (maybe? I don't know, I haven't reread the blog), but I have been having mysterious and kind of amorphous health problems this entire year. mostly in relation to my energy level (low with bouts of 'turning into a noodle,' as it's colloquially called in my house), but there have been a host of other small, unshakeable things. persistent headaches (if I get a hangover now my headaches sometimes don't go away until three days later), bouts of lightheadedness, total lack of appetite coupled with the bodily feeling that I'm somehow starving, weird skin problems, weird inability to stay hydrated, random muscle aches, heart palpitations. also I have a stomach ulcer.


my doctor is super nice but my feeling has kind of been that she thinks it's just dietary and isn't really concerned. I had relatively low iron and B12 levels earlier in the year, so I take a robust hilarious amount of supplements, which have done little to nothing in terms of making me feel better. but up until yesterday I had still been blaming my diet, which has been not as great as I would like. and then suddenly it occurred to me, from who knows where, that I shouldn't have to have a picture perfect diet in order to feel like a working human being.

("are you maybe being too hard on yourself?")

I have long wondered if all these symptoms weren't indicative of some sort of endocrine problem, but my doctor has seemed so unconcerned that I've never pursued it. I don't like going to the doctor because I err on the side of wanting to fix my problems -- any problems -- myself, and I always feel like whatever I'm in for is not actually important enough to warrant an office visit. (but also when I had the flu as a sophomore in high school, my temperature spiked to 105 and my mom still didn't take me to the doctor, so I come by my doctor anxiety honestly.) this means that I usually feel kind of cowed when I'm there. but I finally made an appointment with a totally different doctor in order to get another opinion. I strongly suspect a thyroid problem, and at least if I have to belligerently insist on thyroid tests (doctors notoriously discount thyroid issues), I'll be doing it to a total stranger.

also I have a torn rotator cuff. (or at least I'm 98% sure I do.) I sustained it in the paddle portion of the ride-row-run back in september, but it remained kind of a dull annoyance -- after the initial HORRIBLE KNOT I had in my shoulder for over a week -- until just the other day when presumably I reinjured it. at work, I can't find a single way to hold my arm that doesn't hurt. I can't roll down my car window, I can't put on a coat, I can't lift it in most ways without weird clicking. FUN. TIMES. so I go to the doctor for that on friday.

umm, something fun to end on

boyfriend is coming home with me for christmas, and except for the horrible terror I have over how overpowering the smell of dog pee will be in my mom's house (the family dog is on death's doorstep and it has ruined the carpets), I'm looking forward to it.

September 3, 2015

a summer



our crazy yard

downtown wildfire smoke

keyport mystery weekend

blue ribbon winners

ellie in the old place


low tide

drunk wedding photos

white salmon river cabin

hot DAWG

that guy

olympic national forest

day 600

garry oak and friends

race day in the vineyards

white salmon river, sun, feet


nub and the boys

screen door, summer in the new house  |  nub eyes a summit  |  the unkempt yard  |  wildfire smoke in the valley  |  mystery weekend, keyport, wa  | age group winners, pine hollow triathlon  |  ellie and I bid farewell to my bachelor pad  |  huckleberry tongue, clear lake, wa  |  low tide on liberty bay  |  drunk wedding selfies, madison, wi  |  the cabin on the river  |  hot dog w/mai tai snow cone, a still life  |  that hike was colder than this photo makes it look  |  an afternoon in olympic national forest, before we almost ran out of gas  |  day 600!  |  reliving my halcyon mascot days  |  good day for a race through the vineyard  |  morning on the white salmon river  |  the flattest possible flat tire  |  nub plays ultimate frisbee

I live with my boyfriend now. we have been dating for seven months and living together for two because we are reckless adults, I guess? a couple friends have been like "you'll fight all the time at first, it's fine, it's normal," but actually we get along great and it turns out the person who had a harder time learning to share was NOT ME for once. our yard is a disaster and it took us eight hundred years to feel like the living room wasn't a war zone, and there's still a bunch of piles of crap in the basement but that's what basements are for. I was tempted to skip this weekend's camping trip in order to stay home for four days and meticulously organize things while singing loudly to the Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack, but they're going to go crabbing tomorrow night and I like being on boats, so I'm going.

this blog post is a great illustration of how easy it is on the internet to tell the story of your life in a way that seems romantic and exciting. I put all these photos together and thought, dang, actually we had a fun summer, which was surprising because both of us have actually mostly felt overwhelmed and vaguely frustrated with how we weren't quite having the summers we wanted. (his: camping; mine: swimming). I've barely seen or spoken to friends, not because I'm all-consumed with BOYFRIENDBOYFRIENDBOYFRIEND but because I've been at the very last thread of my rope from being overscheduled and overextended. out of mental RAM. tired.

I quit facebook for the summer and might I suggest you do the same? though lately my fb boundaries have eroded and I have started furtively checking it. time away from stupid social media does make you wonder why we care to post all this crap instead of just going outside and reading books. I didn't do as much "going outside and reading books" as I would have hoped, but I'm glad I didn't spend that time wistfully gazing at everyone else's seemingly-picture perfect summers. 

boyfriend left this morning with a friend to score their favorite tent spot and since he drove off I've eaten a milky way dark, a handful of beef jerky, and some cold plain rice noodles. I have no defense for any of that.

June 2, 2015

uh, june

where do I begin.

I'm on a plane somewhere above missouri. I'm drinking a glass of wine and working online, two things I never do at 30,000 feet because I'm too cheap/poor. but I was supposed to fly out yesterday and was waylaid by thunderstorms so, whatever.

I flew home on friday (my 34th birthday, for the record) because my littlest siblings graduated from their respective high schools this weekend. I came in on a red eye, went straight to a picnic at my old high school, ran into my former french teacher (who still recognized me and who was shocked to discover I was 34; thanks, mr. baier), ate a hot dog, got sunburned. we went home and I unpacked and then we picked up crabs and beer and the guy at the liquor store told me not to carry the case of beer I was carrying because "it'll hurt the baby" ??????? which is the first time I've ever been mistaken for pregnant and it was so ludicrous that I couldn't do anything but burst out laughing. then we ate crabs and drank beers and there was ice cream cake and I went to sleep. 

also my mom and brother greeted me at the airport with a mylar HAPPY BIRTHDAY banner and a tiara, so it was all pretty good.

on saturday, my sister's graduation was at 10 am and my brother's was at 7 pm, and in between there was a lot of driving and a little napping, and I fell asleep in our hammock and woke up with a terrible headache, which eventually meant I threw up in the parking lot behind friendly's while my family ate a late, post-graduation dinner. 

then I hung my head out the window as we drove back to my mom's, threw up in her front field, and ran a mile at 11:40 pm. #blessed

on sunday we threw a graduation party where we somehow had 60 people over, and I still had a headache but I did at least get to hang out with my extended family and their respective small offspring, having not seen them since christmas. which was nice. there was a lot of cake. 

yesterday my sister and I went on a trail run (day 517), stood up to our knees in the gunpowder river (still too cold to swim in), went for snowballs, and came home. I'm happy to report that I let her drive me around a few times over the course of the weekend without having a panic attack.

then my family drove me to the airport and said goodbye, and I bought a $10 bagel sandwich (wtf) and boarded the plane, which then sat on the tarmac for an hour before we were told we were grounded due to thunderstorms. we exited the plane in a very slow trickle. I stood in line at the gate for about an hour and a half, rebooked for today, called my mom, and was picked up five hours after being dropped off. we came home and I more or less went immediately to bed.

this morning I painted my nails, stalked the birds in my mom's backyard through a pair of binoculars (if I haven't mentioned the elaborate birding competition my entire extended family is currently in the middle of ... well, we're currently in the middle of an elaborate birding competition), and drove back to the airport. 

now I am on a plane. which I've already mentioned. I'm contemplating a second glass of wine, like some kind of lush.

so that sums up the last four days. as for the rest of things, I just don't even know, internet. here:

- in a dramatic, whirlwind turn of events, my gentleman friend (of four months, THAT'S RIGHT, INTERNET) and I rented a house together and are moving in 29 days. I am 1% HOLY SHIT and 99% excited out of my mind, both at the prospect of shacking up with him and at the prospect of doing so in a HOUSE like a GROWNUP. 

- and with a yard. A YARD.

- after having strange dizzy spells for the last several months, I finally went to the doctor and got a battery of blood work done and discovered that I have a pretty severe iron deficiency and a B12 deficiency, which is unfortunate proof that one cannot live on candy and pastries alone. I am iron deficient but not anemic, but I tell everyone I'm anemic because the symptoms are the same -- extreme fatigue, light-headedness, lack of appetite, easy bruising, etc -- and it's too complicated to explain otherwise. I'm taking a ludicrous amount of supplements and going back for more tests in two months and I'm really hoping that once everything levels out that I'll be suddenly extremely fast and strong. you know, bionic.

- uh, I don't really know. I'm still running? I got through day 500 and I'm still chugging along. I'm trying to hate it less. this is another reason I'm SUPER EXCITED about moving: new running routes!! And we're moving to north portland, where I have never lived and therefore barely know at all, so everything is strange and there's lots of exploring and I can stop being bored for awhile. 

life is good but I struggle daily with finding balance. it feels like the move will eventually help things to settle down, but in the interim it's all going to be harder, I think. maybe one day I'll learn how to live a regular-person life without being dreadfully overwhelmed? maybe.