Sunday, August 11, 2019

in the liminal space


in a little over 24 hours, this will be the view! despite all of the traveling i've done over the years, i still get the good kind of butterflies when on the verge of a trip - i love the energy of an airport, filled with people who are going somewhere. people are generally in a good mood, either happy to be heading off on a trip or happy to be home again. there's an excitement in the air. sabin and i are headed for the US tomorrow afternoon. first, we have the sad occasion of my mother's funeral and then we have a long road trip to phoenix with a couple of stops to see friends along the way. although the funeral is somber event, i am looking forward to the closure i'm sure it will bring. we are planning music that mom would love and going to give her a good send-off. our bags are packed and we're ready to go. husband is taking us to the airport tomorrow, but before that, he's going to a job interview for an exciting position he really wants. i just did a video interview for a position that i'd really like to have. so, here on the verge of all this travel, it feels like so many great possibilities are opening up. it really feels like the beginning of a new chapter, even as we close the chapter on my mother's life. it's that liminal space - where everything feels fairly quivering with possibility - and the feeling is heightened by impending travel. it's been too long since i felt this way. it's nice.

Friday, August 09, 2019

five things friday :: early august edition

on instagram, there's this #fivethingsfriday thing and instead of typing it all out on my phone, at the mercy of autocorrect, i have decided to move it over here.


thing 1:  i had freya spayed this week. she has been our primary mama kitty for several years now, but i finally decided that there are enough kittens in the world and she has worked hard enough as a mama. it was time for her to relax. but i still feel a little wistful about it. she made lovely babies - including paws mcgraw, her sweet daughter who i have kept (see thing 2), and who also was spayed on monday. it's a fine line between enjoying kittens and becoming a crazy cat lady. i know i did the right thing, but it does feel a little bit bittersweet.


thing 2: paws mcgraw - she's everything you want in a cat - curious, funny, active, dexterous (she opens doors), snuggly, talkative and out to steal any stray pony tail holder you leave lying around (or tucked up safely inside a zipped pouch). i love her so much. she's not molly or frieda, she's all her own, but she's in the same category as they are. some cats are just special.


thing 3:  arizona. next week, sabin and i are flying to the US. we will spend the week in south dakota and then drive her new used car (a toyota, of course) to arizona so she can begin her gap year before starting at arizona state next year. i am both happy and anxious. it's the next step for her and her bravery in taking it is everything i hoped and prepared for as a parent, but it's also a really big step. but at least it means we get to visit arizona regularly! and i'm very much looking forward to our road trip.


thing 4:  the way things have of falling into place, even in a time of great change and flux and turmoil and even when they seem like they can't possibly fall into place. my inner fatalist presbyterian thinks it all happens exactly as it's supposed to, even though it doesn't always make sense initially or on the surface of things. so much goodness ahead.


thing 5:  pondering my next tattoo. we have an appointment in tempe at black sails with the lovely lolo. i'm getting a typewriter this time, with a bit of color - to remember mom by and to remind myself to write on a regular basis. 

just a little summer project


no summer is complete without husband engaging in a more or less major building project. we had long planned to build this building to shelter off the house a bit more from the road, which is quite close. it's also the first step towards being able to tear down the middle house, which is in quite bad shape.


husband did all this framing himself, building each of the sections over near his workshop and then we brought them over on the trailer and raised them (i helped with that bit).


there will be windows up high along the walls on both sides, but since we weren't sure we'd get them in before autumn winds and rain come along, he didn't cut the holes yet.


husband found a guy who rescues old doors from various places - these from a school somewhere. i even loved the color so much, i bought a can as close to it as i could get to paint the whole thing. i had talked about red or blue, but this green is perfect. we're going to have some vinyl stickers made for the windows, for a bit more privacy and with a groovy design of some sort - i'm thinking of incorporating our name, the house number and the nordic sun symbol.

Thursday, August 08, 2019

4 a.m. storms


i was awakened by the rain just before 4 a.m. it's been raining a lot in recent days, but the sun also breaks through and it's nice for a short while, luring you outdoors, only to be chased inside again by another deluge. changeable, unpredictable, much like life. it would be easier to cope with if i was better at going back to sleep when it wakes me. night before last, there was rain, thunder and lightning - husband even got up and unplugged the router, since we've lost it to lightning before. funnily enough, that night, i didn't hear a thing and slept right through. when i wake, i have a bad habit of looking at my phone. these days, it's filled with distressing news about mass shootings and the racist, bigoted president who inspires them. and one article just leads to another and suddenly an hour has gone by. it's hard to go back to sleep after reading about all that. it can feel so hopeless, this downward spiral we seem to be in. and my worries about my gorgeous child choosing to go live there among all those guns seem especially acute at 4 in the morning. no wonder i can't get back to sleep.

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

gratitude, selfcare, purpose


i just saw this on linkedin - one of those posts by some or other coach, asking you to say what the first three words you spotted are. mine were gratitude, selfcare and  purpose.  and it struck me that maybe there was more to it than just a random trick of the eye. i think those words have been the words of my summer - perhaps selfcare most of all, as i've gently tried to give myself time to think. but i've also been very grateful for the chance to try something completely new, stretching my body and yes, even my brain, in new directions, while i give myself time to once again find my purpose. i'm also grateful that i've had the time to devote to this selfcare. when i glanced at the graphic again after uploading it here, strength and breakthrough were the words that popped out. i don't know that i'm feeling particularly strong, and nor have i had any great breakthrough, but i'll be looking for those on the horizon.

which words do you see?

the only way out is through


i can feel that i'm out of practice at this. i sat down at the computer to write after some surprise overnight guests (the best kind) left this morning and nothing really wanted to come out my fingers. it didn't help that our internet at home was iffy after being unplugged in the night during a lightning storm. instead of fiddling around and troubleshooting it, i headed for the library, but it's hot here and that's not helping the flow of ideas. i never used to lack ideas to write about, but my writing muscle has clearly atrophied. i was thinking that a way out of it would be to muse on a single topic or word, along the lines of john green's anthropocene reviewed podcast, where he rates two random things on a 5-point scale. but i can't even think of a word to muse upon. i think i've bottled up my words and thoughts for so long that they've formed a kind of cork that needs to be removed and it feels like i've misplaced my corkscrew. maybe just expressing all of this will help me remember where i left it. in the meantime, i recommend that you seek more exciting corners of the internet until i find my groove again.

Monday, August 05, 2019

a fresh start


i spent most of july on a freight ferry. now, i've been on freight ferries before, usually with a film crew in tow, but this time was different. this time, i was a member of the crew. lowest on the totem pole - but i finally got that elusive title that i'd never had - stewardess. or the very elevated "ship owner's assistant," that they tried to upgrade the title to at some point along the way. but that doesn't hide that the job consists of cleaning cabins and helping in the mess with dishes and such.


you might be thinking, "are you completely crazy? why would you do a job like that?" but, i can tell you that it was so good for me. after the past few tumultuous months, realizing the new job i took in january wasn't at all what they promised and that the guy at the helm was quite likely a ruthless psychopath, add to that my mother's death, and my only child's impending move to arizona, i needed to do something completely different. something where the only thing that mattered was the routine and where i wouldn't get embroiled in any foolish office politics. to be a place where i'd have plenty of time to think, listen to podcasts and stare out at the sea and maybe write a bit and find my way back to myself. and so, for two weeks, i sailed between gothenburg and ghent with a stop once a week in norway and then the final week, we sailed between gothenburg and immingham on the humber river in the uk, also with the stop in brevik. and just look at the fjord up to brevik, it's stunning:


i fell into the rhythms of the journey. up at 6, working until 1 or 1:30, a break until 4, then working again until 7 or so. long days, but i went to bed tired from physical work that somehow seems more honest than the kind of tired you get from sitting in front of a computer all day or gossiping with colleagues around the coffee machine. when the weather was fine, i sat out on the top deck during my breaks, reading a book or writing. i wrote a daily diary entry while i was on board and it felt good to be writing regularly again, even if it much of it was boring drivel. it's something i want to get back to and there's no reason not to do it right here.


i was heartened by a recent post on exactly this over topic on pret a voyager. a blog is the perfect place to do daily writing, and even though blogging has changed dramatically over the years, i was always doing this primarily for me anyway. i just somehow let it slip away from me and i got out of the habit. and when i really think about it, i miss figuring out what i think about the world through blogging. so i'm going to make a daily practice again. starting right here and now.