7 August 2013 § 2 Comments
I have become that woman: the one who misses her animals so much that she kisses the animals of strangers.
Example 1: Isabella the St. Bernard.
She was beautiful and the first really big dog I’d seen in this neighborhood composed entirely of highrises. Though we have a lake view, we do not have places for dogs to exercise, so all the high energy dogs I’d seen looked uncomfortably bulky. Isabella was just right, probably because St. Bernards mostly just lay around all day, burning calories sleeping and drooling. As she walked right toward me on my way to work, big, drooly mouth in a doggie grin, I couldn’t resist. “CanIpetyourdog?” I said in a rush, even as I squatted down to give her a big hug. Her person was kind and understanding as I chatted his ear off, eventually moving out of the way so they could get back to whatever they actually needed to do. But not before I kissed her sweet, furry noggin.
Example 2: Lucy the contraband kitten.
She dashed out of another apartment on my floor in the highrise, which DOES NOT ALLOW CATS. (Believe me, I checked). Slightly drunk on good food and wine, I paused while unlocking my door and asked, “Would you let me cuddle that kitten?” When he said yes, I went to their door and put my arms out. She was tiny, with a fast beating heart and black bunny fur. She didn’t struggle in my arms, but looked around interestedly until I kissed her and handed her over.
23 July 2013 § Leave a Comment
I know that a lot of people think it’s stupid that everyone cared so much about the Royal Baby, but I LOVED it. It was just so fun for me to bond with the other fans at work and to watch so many people around the world get so excited about the new little prince. Maybe it’s all just superficial and shallow, but I actually did feel connected to all the cheering people. And welcoming a baby is special, regardless of the baby.
In June, my high school BFF and I watched Birth Story, which is a documentary about Ina May Gaskin and the Farm midwives. Each time the babies were born, we both cried. Something about them coming earthside, having not been there a moment ago and then suddenly being there, slays me.
Imagining that happening for William and Kate, whom I love a little bit (in a non-stalkerish way), and being so thankful to have something so joyous in the news after all the heavy, hard things that have been there lately made me watch the video of them coming out of the hospital so the world could meet their baby over and over again.
26 June 2013 § Leave a Comment
After roughly a week of renting our house back from the investors who bought it, Hubs and I were donezo. We thought we didn’t want the hassle of homeownership, but the hassle of home rentership felt waaaay worse in spite of our unusual and best possible situation:
Our landlords were easy going and good about giving us notice when they needed something.
We didn’t have to pay a deposit for our month and half of renting.
We didn’t have to pay pet rent or a pet deposit.
There was no limit on the number or size of pets we could have.
We didn’t have to sign a lease.
The house was in good repair and so we didn’t have to ask the landlords to do any maintenance.
Any rental situation we enter into will most likely be one that includes: a for real lease, a deposit and maybe a pet deposit, relying on someone else for maintenance, and restrictions on number/size of animals. (Obviously we aren’t going to sign a lease that doesn’t allow two cats and a big ole pup, BUT I would like to have the option to foster other big dogs or maybe get Tonks a brother). Combine that with the things that weren’t awesome about renting:
Our landlord showed the house at least 10 times to find another tenant for when we moved out (not as bad as having the house on the market, but still not our favorite. We worried about cats escaping and still had to figure out what to do with Tonks those days).
We will never see a single stitch of that six weeks of rent ever again.
Not being in control.
And we are now on the market to buy again. I know, I know! I am a flipflopper. But I think that this actually is the right step for us because once we had our house ready to sell, I loved living there. Hubs and his dad fixed the windows and they all worked and looked amazing. We paid painters and our bedroom went from overly sunny yellow to calming light green in a day. We did a deep clean right before we listed the house and it had never been cleaner. I loved entertaining there and being able to walk to work and to restaurants and parks. I loved not having to worry about moving for the five years we lived there, and even though it was expensive, in the end I am so thankful that we didn’t pay all the money we paid in mortgage principle and interest to a landlord.
Some lessons from this first round of homeownership:
No more HOAs please.
Paint before you move in (or pay someone else to do it).
Keep the house clean by hiring a cleaning person (this one I learned earlier on, and would apply to a rental, too, but it makes such a difference).
Don’t let things linger, like windows that need fixing to stay open. Get ‘er done and you’ll feel so.much.better.
We like to commit to a place for longer than a 12 month lease.
There’s not much on the market right now where we’d like to live in NC. In exchanging emails with our realtor, we’ve been pretty specific about our [high] standards. His latest response was to tell us that the type of house we’re looking for will be “hard to come by and might even be like hunting down a unicorn these days.” We’re not worried because we know the right house (unicorn) is out there.
22 June 2013 § 3 Comments
In Nashville, I had the best yoga teacher. I loved her and she loved me, and with my soul sister, Dro, I enjoyed her class every Sunday morning. We shared her class with people we loved, including Hubs and a manfriend of Dro’s that sometime later on became an ex.
People have different ideas about territory after a break up. I tend to be more on the conservative side. For instance, if you initiate a break up with my soul sister (and why the hell you’d do THAT is a whole ‘nother issue), then you lose the privilege of going to the yoga class she introduced you to. Even if it’s the best yoga class you’ve ever been to, it’s respectful to not go there anymore.
But this fella just kept showing up to the yoga class. And I got SO mad about it, mad that he hurt my soul sister and mad that he had the gall to keep showing up to my sacred place (though probably it wasn’t gall, probably it was just non-awareness, which was really his main problem). I was more mad than Dro ever was because she is brave and strong and forgiving. Plus, she didn’t need to be that mad because I was pissed enough for everyone involved (and even some not involved people).
I was so mad that I wished to never see him again, actually thought it determinedly on multiple occasions. Then one day in December our teacher said that she was going to stop teaching the class after the new year. And I had wished SO HARD never to see this guy again that I felt as though the class ending was something that I made happen with all my angry wishing. I was gutted.
I finished up my class series in other teachers’ classes, but I didn’t feel connected to my yoga practice the way I had. After I ran out of classes March 1, I just stopped going. Did some exercise videos here and there, but basically wasn’t active.
Fast forward to now. I’m alone in Chicago for a science writing internship (!) and craving the familiar, I find a yoga studio and pick out a Sunday morning class. It starts at the same time as my old class. I walk into the studio and immediately feel connected to the exposed brick wall on one side of the studio – my Nashville studio has one of those, too. The class is challenging, but it feels so good to hear familiar words and my muscles haven’t forgotten everything.
As we settle into savasana, the teacher puts on this song. Tears well up and spill over; my Nashville teacher played this song for us in savasana all the time. I let go of my lingering anger at that silly man, and of my even bigger anger at myself, that I let my anger at him drive me away from my yoga practice.
It’s MY yoga practice to grow and nurture, and it’s back.
16 June 2013 § Leave a Comment
To go from being surrounded by animals and Hubs, with dear friends and family a 15 minute walk or a 2 minute drive away, to being mostly solitary has been challenging. Luckily, I found a friend to keep me company. Meet Melinda:
16 May 2013 § 2 Comments
We sold our house! It happened a little bit like this, except that we have closed and we are now leasing our house back from the buyer, our new landlord. Strange, but good.
Selling the house, but not moving out just yet, has come with a sort of emotional limbo to mirror our physical one. Saying goodbye to our first house, which actually was perfect for us, and the responsibility of owning it, which I hated, is bittersweet, like saying goodbye to Nashville. Here we got married, made our first adult home, and made dear friends. We also committed 20% of our years thus far to grad school, years filled with tears and frustration and [all too seldom] celebrations of success.
It’s bizarre to think about no longer doing something you’ve done for a long time, especially when your life has been consumed by it. In two and a half weeks, I have to finish up in lab in order to go to an amazing internship, but none of that feels real right now. I am too used to how my life has been. Instead of feverishly working in lab or on packing up our house or on seeing friends before they and I leave, I am writing about it, maybe doing a bit of processing, but mostly just sitting with it.
Have you ever had a transition that you just needed to sit with?
19 March 2013 § 6 Comments
Around the time last month that I was riding the stress and grey weather struggle bus, one of my favorite bloggers, Glennon, published this awesome post about how much books fill her up. After bedtime as a kid, I used up batteries in every flashlight I could get my hands on to sneakily finish my latest read. I’ve always been a reader, and getting back to reading for fun since the beginning of March has really helped turn my mood around.
In troubled times, I tend to choose books from my two favorite genres: YA Fantasy Fiction and Memoir. For me, both types of book serve as (to quote Glennon) “lovely reminders that you’re not alone.” In the spirit of not being alone, I wanted to share three of my latest reads:
My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor: a fascinating memoir from Taylor, a neuroanatomist who had a stroke at the age of 37. The story details her life before, during, and after the stroke/recovery. With quite a bit of brain anatomy at the beginning, I was a bit bored (though my mom loved this part of it), but I was totally hooked after Taylor’s description of her stroke and recovery. She also goes into some more metaphysical/energy type stuff that I found thought-provoking. I listened to this on audiobook and it’s read by Taylor, which is a neat bonus.
Blood, Bones and Butter: the Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton: I started this memoir from Gabrielle Hamilton, a non-culinary school trained chef with a MFA in writing, in book form ages ago, and I couldn’t get into it. When I saw that Hamilton reads the audiobook, I decided to give it a try in audio form, and loved it. Good things about well-written memoirs (flagrant truth-telling of personal experience and a strong, clear author’s voice) combine with a compelling view of Hamilton’s world of being a chef, daughter, mother, and wife. I loved learning about being a professional chef and was struck by the similarities between being a woman in science and a woman in the restaurant biz.
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman: Okay, so I just started listening to this today, but I am already absorbed in the story. Recommended by Molly at First the Egg, it’s a YA fantasy fiction book with a young female protagonist, a talented musician who seems to be becoming involved in a human/dragon conflict. I don’t know much about what’s happening since I’ve barely begun, but I’d love for some of you to read it so we could talk about it!