“It’s Wisconsin,” Julia said Friday morning as she stepped outside. As if Wisconsin was a season or a a weather description like sunny or cloudy. It was cold yesterday and overnight and this morning it is colder—cold enough to run a bit of water in the kitchen sink to make sure the pipes don’t freeze.
But it is hardly Wisconsin.
And I check myself to see if I miss those brilliant sunny and frigid days in Madison.
Yes, somewhat. What I miss is my people, my community, my chalice circle, my Quest group, Julia’s teachers and therapists and some very good friends.
I do not miss the cold. I could feel nostalgic for every one of those people if temperatures there never once dipped below freezing.
We are a week in the new house. There are fewer piles of boxes in the corners, there is a somewhat comfortable arrangement of furniture in the living room, there are some books on shelves.
Sitting in the small built-in nook beside the fireplace, the same one Julia sat in when we first arrived at the blue house, the day before furniture came from Madison. I snapped a picture of her looking both wistful and content that day. Or is it just that I am feeling that way today and projecting onto an old picture that I only dimly recall?
I have spent the best part of a month packing and with the help of my VNM have moved everything we could possibly carry to the new apartment. This is not like the last move or the one before that when I packed up everything and moved very far away. Right now, those moves feel so much more organized—labels on every box and everything in a box, except for me and Julia and Muta and the cello, a few plants and a carry on bag. This time we carried boxes and plants and plastic bags and clothes on hangers. I labeled a lot but not everything and the piles in the new house are not orderly. Why does it feel like so much bigger a job?
The movers—three very nice guys—have worked hard for the last two hours, emptying the house of what we could not carry. The head of the moving crew, Mark, comments on the moldings and built-ins and wooden archway and we fall into conversation about the empty flat. And I cannot help but start missing this pretty blue house. I get wedded to spaces. They are hard to leave.
So far I’ve written many, many words for 8 days straight for NaNaWriMo.I would not vouch for the quality of most of them, but this is about getting words on the page and not fine literature or even hack pulp.This month of writing is more about putting something of mine on the front burner which I have not done for a long while.Arguably, a good deal of the last year, moving and settling into Newton, has been about me, but Julia is usually in the front burner pot.
For this month, I’m intending to add 50,000 words to a very old project that already has almost that number of words devoted to it.It is an ambitious idea but it is a good time to try to do it.Even after 4 months, I don’t have many connections here.Community building is slow but sure, and I have time and energy to take on a solitary project.I have two kinds of online support and I can go to the occasional write-in at my local library.I spent October preparing an outline, reestablishing my meditation practice which has been slipping, applying myself at the gym and cooking large amounts of freezable foods.I was going strong until last week. Continue reading →
The week’s notes. Morning. I live on a quiet street although . . . contractors are always working on someone’s home. Today, power saw, power staplers (nailers?) and hammer blows—re-shingling, I think. And there is the sound of traffic from a few streets over.And the garbage men.
I am studying the light in my rooms at various times of the day.My bedroom is very dark at night which is much appreciated.The Madison house, on the corner, had a street light that shined into my bedroom.Julia’s room, less dark here, needs some heavy curtains. I put up blinds for her which help a bit. I don’t like blinds.I used to say I hated blinds, but I’m getting used to them here. I remind myself that this is a rental and will never conform completely to my wishes. Continue reading →
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.Continue reading →
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 deeper that sorrow curves into your being‚ the more joy you can contain.” ~Khalil Gibran (Also, Sr. Francis said something like this to me when I sought her counsel after my first “true love” broke up with me. I have been taught the same lessons over and over.)
Writing around the photos from last week when I should be making phone calls. I almost posted pictures without words, thinking that energy should be put to the practical and useful.I let that thought pass.
We made it to a beach on Friday. Unfortunately, the beach itself was not all that hospitable. Revere Beach, which to tell the truth I had been warned might disappoint. It was low tide and the waves were smaller that Lake Michigan’s waves on a sunny day. The damp and wet sand was covered with a bit of sea weed and a lot of brown oozy stuff. I googled around trying to figure out what it was but the best I could find was a newspaper description of “yucky brown stuff that smells.”Is it bacteria? Have I been away from oceans for too long to know what is normal? Continue reading →
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 →
“Emptiness refers to the absence of something that, for some reason, one expects to find—as when we say a glass, normally used to hold liquids, is empty even though it is full of air. The point is not that there is nothing there at all, but rather that what is there differs from your expectations.” ~William S. Cobb, “The Game of Go”
Expectations. Emptiness. What I hold on to that I don’t even form into thoughts, into the stuff of consciousness. Unconscious expectations. Ah, that is interesting stuff.
Sunday.Julia is up first, watched some tv, folded her clothes and taking a shower.For days, her lack of independence compared to her typical peers has been what I see and I have felt such sadness.For me, for sure, but more, for her.Listening to her move around our new home, sounds that are unfamiliar and not easily identified, I see, ah yes, I see, expectations.For all that I preach, to myself and others, about natural unfolding and patience, I am still comparing her to peers. I am comparing peacocks to robins. Continue reading →
Small adventures.A visit to Newton-Wellsley Hospital for help applying for Julia’s MassHealth insurance and then hours at my desk filling out the supplemental disability form.Done and mailed and waiting.
A visit to the MA Registry of Motor Vehicles on Monday to get (1) my license, (2) MA plates and (3) a non-driver’s license ID for Julia.I didn’t bring sufficient documentation for my license and I don’t yet have sufficient documentation for Julia’s ID.And Oy, registration and plates.I need my title to change registration and I don’t have one.