Archive for the 'house' category

March 10th, 2011

» Limbo

Over six months ago, I downloaded a much-hyped little indie xbox game called Limbo. It is beautiful and clever and a bit creepy and exactly the kind of game that I adore, and I twisted my boyfriend’s arm into trying it with me. He’s not a big video game player, so I felt pretty damn excited when he tried it, and again when he liked it well enough to continue playing. Between one thing and another we let it languish for a long, long time — but last weekend we finally finished! I don’t want to give anything away because (I know I’ve been over this a million times, but you’re going to hear it again) I loved the experience of finding it all out first-hand. It’s just an awesome game: the gameplay, the art, the story. If you liked Braid, I think you’ll like Limbo too. Same spirit of puzzley goodness.

So, other than that, and everything I’ve been going on and on about on the horse blog, I moved. It sucked, but a LOT less than it could have because I have some REALLY really really amazing friends and family, and have I mentioned that they’re amazing? Thanks again guys. The gut-wrenching process of packing, and moving, and moving, and moving, and cleaning — it’s already starting to fade to a distant, hazy memory of suffering. (I have to admit — though the night before the actual move I was seriously nauseous and convinced the world was going to end, the morning of I got this absolute rush of adrenaline and crazy, and for the beginning part of packing the truck I felt totally happy and high as a kite. That wore off eventually and by the end of the day I wanted to die, but that will surprise no one who’s ever moved.)

So now here I am in this great new place, and I’m suddenly socked with this cannonball of a realization that I somehow have to fit all of my personal belongings, which had previously been tucked away in the vast warren of closets of my old one-bedroom apartment, into this one small bedroom. In the process of packing I did send off boxes and boxes of stuff to donate — lots of books, clothes, and home decor — but I’m still left with this feeling that I have too many things and not enough space to put them in. I will be combing back through my drawers and bookshelves, and I’ve invested quite a bit in organizational stuff for my closet, but I’m fast coming up on some harder decisions.

I moved on a Saturday and I kid you not, on Monday I had people asking me if I was all unpacked. Talk about guilt. Talk about being buried suddenly under this crushing sense of failure. Maybe people are just trying to make conversation, and I’m all too aware that I’m unusually emotionally vulnerable lately, but man. That is one I didn’t see coming, the expectation that I would move on a Saturday and be unpacked by Monday. Like it’s that easy, like why don’t I just take some stuff out of boxes?

When I moved into my first apartment I thought a lot about how I wanted it. I considered the flow, I plotted stuff out on graph paper and made little furniture representations so I could look at arrangements without really having to rearrange. I dreamed and dreamed and dreamed about when I had a place I could paint, about elements of my ideal home, about one day having somewhere permanent. I couldn’t afford much but I did what I could and started taking notes for One Day. I made my bedroom a No Electronics zone: no computer, no tv. I did leave my sewing machine there, but as part of my crafting and writing desk — my little place for inspiration and creation. The rest of the bedroom was a space to breathe and decompress.

Man, I loved living there. I learned so much about myself in that apartment.

I’ve always liked to see moving as an opportunity to self-reflect, to try to move closer toward my ideal life, but this, now, is no gentle invitation. This is a demand that I stand up and reinvent myself. So I have been trying to take a good hard look at my life. I am trying to hold onto only the things that I love and that make me feel good about myself. I’m trying to rediscover the path to what and who I want to be. I’m trying to free myself to fit in this smaller space. I know it can be done. It’s just one foot in front of the other. One box at a time.

This is not where I thought I’d be at this point in my life, but it’s where I am. And that, I suppose, makes it the perfect place to start.

February 10th, 2009

» day in the life

I walk out of my building into no February I would’ve dreamed. It’s drizzling, wet, smelling of spring, all muck and smudges of old snow and muddled grass waiting to grow again. I pull in a chestful of warm air, thinking of last night, of grey clouds racing over a big moon, faint fog lying low in the fields, Halloween out of season. The sun comes earlier and earlier now; I noticed the change a few weeks ago on one of these clockwork mornings, one of these 7:43 departures. I’m happy, loving this month, this reprieve from an otherwise bitterly cold winter.

I’m first in the office, unlocking the door, flicking on lights. I go through my morning computer dance so the programs all open in the task bar in the right order; I wish again that I could rearrange them, drag them around like my Firefox tabs. I field some calls, read my favorite blogs, copy a few cds for my grandma. Mid-morning I sift my favorite butterscotch candy out of the big mixed bag in the back.

Last week I switched out one of the photos on my desk; the new one is Everett and me at our first show, mud past his knees, his ears up as he eyes the billboard just out of shot. I dream of summer. I think of his soft eye, his big nose, wonder if he’s sleeping in the hay pile.

The market slides ever downward. We’re in a bit of a quiet cycle here; everyone is a little grim. It’s been a long time since we’ve had celebratory beers at lunch. “There’s been nowhere to hide,” we keep saying to each other, over and over. “Everything’s gotten crushed.” Mostly I try not to think about it. It will go up or it won’t, every day.

We have lunch at the really good Indian place. They’ve redecorated since we were there last, and it’s nice: deep burgundy walls and tablecloths, big gold and wine canvases on the walls. We’re the first to arrive but when we leave there are a scattering of other people. I hope, not for the first time, that they can hang on.

We take the long way home, snaking west and finally around the lake. I check out every house we pass, loving best the little ones with stonework fronts, those nestled in trees, the well-kept cottages. I try to imagine the insides of the really big ones, those with port-cocheres, tennis courts, little walking bridges over meandering streams. What do people do with all that space? How do they keep from rattling around?

The minutes tick by. I file, I daydream, I read blogs, forums, facebooks. I think of the internet like plain popcorn; it keeps you busy and you can eat it almost indefinitely but after a while you realize it’s lost all luster. I watch the clock. Soon enough it will turn up 4:30, and I’ll be on my way to see my ponyface. I’ll groom and fuss and groom and ride, come home for dinner, tv, a book, my bed. Tomorrow to do it all over again.

August 8th, 2008

» that far valley

I open my balcony door to let in the cool morning air; it brings with it an unexpected edge of autumn and I mentally check my calendar. Early August, still, in a year when our summer came monstrously late, not settling in until mid-June. And here, suddenly, a breeze that whirls in all falling leaves, pumpkins, heavy cable-knit turtlenecks.

On my morning blog-checking rounds I find that Carmon in New Mexico noticed this same season-shift yesterday, and looking at the pictures of her mountains folding off into the far clouded distance I fall unexpectedly back to Peru, to my valley a day’s ride into the mountains outside Cuzco. Have I talked about coming to the ruins there? The sun fading fast on us, shadows sliding up the sweeping mountainsides? I huddle shivering in the saddle, jacket zipped to my chin, knit cap pulled low over my ears and eyebrows. We have been mirroring the herd of llamas across the valley to our west, heading home for the night, and suddenly in all this distant deserted mountainland there before us is a little valley with a scattering of huts, paddocks sketched round with low adobe walls, the meandering of a stream and the ghost of an Incan outpost, centuries old.

I am taken suddenly, utterly, by a sense of homecoming. I have another life here. I cannot shake the sense of it, the call to stop here, or return here, to take deep rest in this little retreat. To step each morning into the high clear air, to lie down each night in a small earthen home beneath this bright sweep of stars. I am sure the reality would be different; it is an improbable dream. But what a promise of peace. What a thought to bring you through.

March 24th, 2006

» spring, some years hence

Yesterday’s entry ground to a striking halt beneath a mountain of work. And I don’t expect today to be any different, really, but I’m trying to steal a little time before everyone gets rolling (or, you know, shows up).

This morning I stepped outside to the unexpected smell of carnival — faint but unmistakeable, the delirious scent of something sweet and empty-carbolicious being fried, and my soul briefly but violently craved funnel cake and elephant’s ears. Luckily it’s passed now, as I imagine any quantity of either of those things would probably make me ill, used as I am now to a diet largely composed of veggies and whole grains and other relatively unprocessed things. And actually, if you set a funnel cake and about any piece of fruit in front of me right now, I would choose the fruit. Especially if it were a banana because I haven’t had one all week, woe. Must get to the grocery store.

This weekend I pledge to do my taxes and stare at my finances long enough that I can make a reasonable guess about how much I can afford to put into my shiny new retirement account. Or the shiny retirement account I will open for myself on Monday, anyway. It makes me feel secure. Like maybe one day I really will be one of those fit ass-kicking old ladies who backpacks around Europe for months at a stretch.

And like maybe one day I really will have a tinyhouse of my own. I think about it off and on all the time — mostly during those rare sporadic fits of cleaning and unpacking (still, woe). I mentally plot out the space I think I need — the space I could do without. How I might like to have things arranged. Trying to imagine the walls pulled in a little closer. Everything more efficient, smoother, cleaner. Smelling of new raw wood and sunlight. A garden full of bell peppers and tomatoes and carrots. Lemongrass in the windowbox. A tree heavy with cherries. Little porch with a hammock and me lost in a book. Birdsong.

February 24th, 2006


Because it’s Friday I:

  • am enjoying peach iced tea instead of just water
  • splurged on breakfast with:
    • a slice of raisin rosemary rye bread with a smear of cream cheese
    • a banana pineapple frappe
      (blend: 1 banana, 1/2 c pineapple juice, 1.5 t honey, 1 T buttermilk; serve over ice & garnish with mint)
  • am indulging in feeling persecuted at work
  • am letting myself make all the lists I like

I also:

Browsing my library’s online catalog, I see they keep not one but five copies of the Pillow Book movie. Which shouldn’t surprise me as it’s all arty and what-not, but I was introduced to it from the ‘omg there’s nudity heehee!’ angle, so.

In addition to the many things it does have, my library does not have:

  • Secrets of a Jewish Baker
  • Season 2 of Cowboy Bebop

Interlibrary loan, however, can provide me the former. And probably the latter, come to think of it, but I haven’t yet checked.

These days I wake up — awake. As awake as you can expect to be six seconds after opening your eyes. Happy to be moving. Purposeful. Ready to act. And I step into this office and I can just feel it all shutting down, all the switches flicking off. Everything going dead and dull. And I’ve known it for a long time but still it makes me wistful, makes me sigh a little. It’s something my day never quite recovers from. I come home from the long dreadful boredom and want only to crawl into bed and sleep. Lifeless little sloth girl.