the goo of ambiguity

Freeform by Duy Huynh

Last night, I was watching a youtube video entitled “Understanding Spirited Away: Consumption and Identity.” The author, Margarita, describes herself as a lifelong cinephile with an MA in film and philosophy who make video essays.  Spirited Away, an animated film by Hayao Miyazaki, is one of my favorite movies and tells the story of a 10 year old girl whose parents are moving her to a new city just as she is moving from young childhood to girlhood.  I haven’t watched the whole movie in a long time but the first bars of the soundtrack can strike an emotional cord at any time.  In her video essay, Margarita highlights the liminality of the story and of course, that peeked my interest.  Continue reading


The great warrior cat, Muta, guards, protects and keeps cool.

Saturday. 4:34 pm. 95 Degrees F (35 C). 

The house is pleasant with the window air conditioner working in the living room and the portable air conditioner at the other end of the house in the kitchen.  We’ve been puttering all day, only pausing briefly to check outside on how hot the hot really was.  Julia unpacked our CDs onto the rack.  I rearranged furniture; consolidated boxes, put the IKEA tv table together, organized the electric cords for the tv, air conditioner and internet, put stuff that I have no room for on Facebook Marketplace and answered email.  It has been a productive day but strangely unsatisfying.

I have 10 boxes left to unpack (There are more boxes in the basement but most are storage boxes.  At least, for now.).  Inside the 10 boxes is art, pictures, and decoration.  Funny, I think I started with 10 boxes of art, etc., and I’ve unpacked a few.  Is the art multiplying? Continue reading

notes from the spiral

The Newton Living room/Dining room 

A week and two days.  Hold tight.  This is long.  I’ve taken notes.  I am really tired and last night Cheshire and Justin brought over an “extra” air conditioner to take the edge off the heat.  We’ve made it though the loading, the drive, the almost catastrophe, the arrival, the delivery, seeing our new home, a measure of unpacking, and our ninth death day celebration.  Lots of being here with some worry on the side.

Beginning last Thursday.  Closing on the Madison house and the journey out here were, as in any good transformative tale, challenging.  My buyers hesitated and complained a bit. Wedding jitters? This might have been their first old house buy or their first buy together.  My cleaners were responsible for some of the anxiety—the middle burner on the stove top probably still wet from cleaning did not immediately light and the cellar floor, still wet from a wash, suggested a wet basement.  Then, the central air did not immediately switch on and blow out cold air, but I hadn’t run it yet this season and directions needed to be followed.  Does anyone read directions? Eventually and with some realtor help, signing happened.  I worried and fretted from the road and was happy and relieved that I had pre-signed what I needed to do last week. Continue reading

hand up high in the air

5F64E1D8-9108-43E6-A05B-2CB997BB54D7Yesterday. Two more sleeps. 

Today. One more sleep. How many times did Julia and I do the “sleeps” countdowns when we were getting ready to travel?  This time counting sleeps is for me.  Are we really going?  Will Boston really be there?  Next week, this time, with a bit of luck, we should be in a house I’ve never seen, unpacking.  

Today is our last quiet morning.  Tomorrow, the movers come.  There are still so many measures of uncertainty—no idea of what time movers are coming and so, what time my clean up crew can start.  The buyers want to walk through at 2:30, or rather the buyer’s agent named that time.  I’ve been visited by half of the buying couple twice to measure for a washing machine and to show her the garden, and I suspect that she is not pushing to do a walkthrough before the movers are finished, but who knows . . .  The window for deliver is still July 1st to the 8th. With some luck, they will close that window up tomorrow.  If it is the 1st to the 3rd, we will camp out in the new place starting July 1. We will be connected to the internet by noon on the 1st. Cheshire has two air mattresses, I have 2 camp chairs, swim towels and our picnic stuff in the car.  I have reservations for our travel nights and a plan to see Seneca Falls on Saturday.  Passports and the cat’s certificate of health are in our travel folder. Continue reading

packed and put away

0FAFD24A-F622-4366-AA49-EF120EA48B68I am finished!  Now, perhaps the words, a few thoughts will come.  I have described the last two or so weeks as “not writers block.”  Really, I always have something to say, some of it not incredibly inspiring, perhaps most of it not very inspiring, but usually cogent.  However, recently I sit down at my usual writing times and discover that the words come slowly, are forced, and trite, are almost stupidly simple.  “I’m having a hard day,” was the start on Tuesday and then nothing after that.   Continue reading

work arounds

9E740784-01C3-4054-855F-C8FE90F2BD80Last Thursday: This moving to a different state thing with someone with a disability is not for the faint of heart.  And today I am feeling pretty heart faint.  Enough so, to let go of more of what I had planned to accomplish before leaving.  Specifically, health insurance.

Explanation:  Julia will qualify for a MassHealth program.  Eventually.  My goal has been a seamless transition—leave Forward Health, WI Medicaid, on June 30; begin MassHealth on July 1.  This will not happen. (Ok, I was the most naive, cockeyed optimist ever!)  And so, I am left with “eventually.” Information I’ve gleaned from various sources (all state employees or expert advisory staff) has been cripplingly conflicting.  Ex: At 18, she can apply for MassHealth as a single adult.  At 18, I have to apply for MassHealth and ask to have her covered as my child. (I don’t qualify for MassHealth.). Another example: In January, Health Care For All  told me I could apply for Julia’s coverage when I had a lease.  Last week, the same helpline said, I cannot submit any application until we were in MA.  I’ve stopped sputtering my buts—‘but last time I called. . . . ,’ and ‘but the website says. . . ‘ —but I was defeated.   Continue reading


a3288989-70cb-4510-a4d7-ae7eed0af2a6.jpegAnother liminal stage of this unexpected life.  Ah, nothing like a perfect word.  (Thank you, Anne, for giving it to me.)

First note, when we moved to Madison twelve years ago, it was to be our permanent home.  David and I had given up an east coast replant and saw Madison as the just about perfect midwest place to be for-almost-ever.  Okay, there were the winters (100 inches of snow our first winter here) but other than that, it has been pretty perfect place for the three of us.  Continue reading

just today’s scribbles

So much change, so fast, none of it bad but all of it pushing over the edges of comfort.  I start and scribble and then leave it.  And then, change again, making what I scribbled about before irrelevant.  Compassion, especially for myself, is my current practice.  I need to go to the gym, pamper myself some, we need to go to the movies and indulge in ice cream.  I can understand Julia’s ups and downs; I need to understand my own.  

Julia, by the way, has good and bad days, needs to check every day that we are taking all of her books and stuffed toys, and that she will finish the school year at West High, but she is doing pretty splendidly.  

Right now, I am always tired.  Transition is exhausting. Continue reading

rubricon crossings

Done and done!*

House sold.

Nineteen viewings and an open house beginning Friday evening and ending Monday around 5:15.  Rather unintentionally, I met the buyers just before I left the open house on Sunday. I showed them the garage and we talked a bit about the gardens. I hear they stayed for the entire 2-hour open house.  Monday morning, they came for a second viewing at 8 am and just before midnight the house was theirs. Continue reading