Findings and observations, many without conclusions:
-I am making home and I prefer that I was done already. Hanging pictures in the most compulsive manner. Damn theses plaster, horse hair and lathe walls! Small pictures need are hung velcro-y like strips. Not buying them from Amazon but a “local” hardware store 25 minutes away. Twenty five minutes is not too far to go for helpful advice. On Sunday, I hung a large poster from a molding hook using fishing line. I may have to camp out in the living room all night to make sure the line does not stretch and/or break even though the hardware guy swore that he never sold a reel of fishing line to someone preparing to fish. I still have three pictures, big framed pictures, that I want to hang, that I cannot imagine not having on the walls in my home and I’m not sure how to do it. I am used to banging a nail into dry wall, perhaps looking for a stud. The patience of this house stretches me thin.
-Curtains are up in the living room and the study. Both rooms face the front of the house. As a rule, I do not hang curtains. Curtains and shades and blinds were my mother’s house. Yes, it has been more than a few years since I left my mother’s house. Time to cease the rebellion? And this house, living on the first floor, curtain-less windows feel too open and vulnerable. Also, unfinished. I found something for the living room online for almost nothing, paying more for the curtain rods than for the curtains. I threw the dingy, dusty off-white curtains from the living room into the washer and they came out of the dryer almost asking to be hung in the study. And those curtains have been revived.
-I have paint chips of greens and grays on a kitchen wall. I’ve asked to have the intense yellow re-painted and when I decide, it will be done.
-We were almost a week in Indianapolis. Primarily, to go to the wedding of the son of a law school buddy but we fit in visits to the art museum and kids’ museum, a meet up with two of Julia’s China sisters and good long conversations with old friends. Every connection, with people, pictures and dinosaurs, was taken deep inside and relished.
-Driving around Indy, a city layed out on a grid with numbered streets east and west, and north to south streets whose names I remember, was so easy! Coming home to Newton where perpendicular bisectors were anathema to city planners, driving continues to be a challenge and I would be lost without my maps app. Most of the time I have no idea where I am and I must be content with that.
-During my Indy time, I woke up mornings not sure where home was. It was always alway momentary although the morning I checked in online, I paused before clicking on the midwest to east coast flight wondering if it was taking us home.
-if there stages of making home in a new place, I am in the stage of “seeing” people I know. A walk, a turn of head, a stance, a smile, a turn of phrase, some from a distance, some from close up—and I am reminded of friends from many times and places in my life. Some I have not thought about for a long time, others who I saw often up to last month. Quickly, I realize that it is not them but I feel the tug of wanting familiarity, of recognizing someone, someplace or something.
-Playing tourists on Saturday, we visited the Boston Aquarium. It has been too long since I lived in a city where weekend tourists dominated the streets and cites. Nice to see the fish but we will not make that mistake again.
-Another Sunday morning service and we sing yet another of my hymnal favs. Time to reflect on opportunities and gifts I was given at FUS. Understanding on a deep heart level that what was given was not by chance or luck but because I was deeply known. For a moment, I mourn leaving, I miss people and fear that I will never again have what I had shoots up my spine. And then, I breathe, remembering I was once a complete stranger in Madison. Two weeks ago, I visited cousins a few towns over and last week, I had my first visitor apart from Cheshire and Justin. And soon, those two lovely people will celebrate Family Day with Julia and I.
-Julia is using her karaoke app and recording herself. She is becoming a more careful singer and a few of the recordings sound pretty good.
One thought on “the practice of being a stranger”
I envy your getting things done, we have more art than walls and I put a halt to husband’s “go for it” style so we have a few blanks- it’s peaceful that way. There are plenty of things to unpack but quite a bit is kids-who-don’t-have-room-so-Mom-and-Dad-get-to-babysit-longer stuff. I have ideas, then think, forget and then it haunts me to get things done. You are doing well!