Month: December 2013

To eat or not to eat the moldy cheese?

The past couple months have been a lot about questions.

There are first and foremost, the little ones. For example: should I finally do my laundry today? How important is it that I actually leave the house on a Tuesday? Is this moldy block of cheese in the fridge still okay to eat if I scrape off the mold? Should I watch three hours of Sex and the City tonight or attempt being a social creature and going out to a bar?

Then, after careful consideration of the cheese situation, I move onto the bigger questions. When will things feel like they are falling into place? Was college really only seven months ago?

The problem with the questions game is that it is never ending. Unless I am confronting the simple cheese situation that usually has a pretty straightforward answer, I have realized how easy it is to get caught in this tangle of questions because many of them will not be answered for quite a while.

My trips home for Thanksgiving and Christmas have been a sort of grounding amidst all of this. Since going home twice in the past two months I have learned that: a) puppies are literally the greatest happiness-generators on earth and b) more than ever, the familiar is something dangerously wonderful. IMG_3126
Our Christmas morning traditions are all about the familiar. Slow walk down the stairs. Stocking unveiling. Delicious family breakfast. Careful organization of the presents. Champagne at 11am. Dogs chewing wrapping paper. IMG_3137IMG_3131This year was no different. We had homemade bagels and roasted grapefruit and apple coffeecake. Zoe accidentally took Advil PM at 8:30AM and still managed to put together a wonderful spread. My dad whipped up some bacon, the pups fell asleep amidst a sea of chewed cardboard under the kitchen table, my grandfather read his beloved newspaper, and I stuck my camera in the way of everything. IMG_3128IMG_3087IMG_3102We had a lot of family in town this year so the holidays were busy, chaotic, and cookie-filled but I loved it. It felt good to be sleeping in my twin bed across the room from my sister again, doing the usual Saturday breakfast run, and falling back into the familiar. Momentarily, the questions ceased, life felt a little lighter. IMG_3120IMG_3117IMG_3094
I feel incredibly lucky that I have this kind of familiar to turn back to, that I have family that grounds me. I was also grateful because this time, after being home I felt ready and excited to return to another home back in Portland.

In the months to come there will inevitably be more questions. But I am eager to see what kinds of things the new year brings because it seems to have a particular magic this time around.

So here’s to the new.

Here’s to out with the moldy cheese and always in with the champagne. Here’s to answering some questions, reveling in the slow unanswerable nature of others, and wishing for a kind of magic in 2014. Cheers.

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11 Abbreviated Love Poems

 

 

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On one of my most recent expeditions to Powell’s books, (a place that calls itself a mere bookstore but really, is a mecca for all book-lovers, a cavernous, multi-floor building with books practically seeping out of the shelves) I did my usual routine. Walk in. Stand in awe and complete bliss for a brief moment. Commence making my way around the store, saving the poetry and fiction sections for last – like saving the last bite of your meal, to truly savor it.

I inevitably always end up walking out with one or two extra books in addition to the one I went there with the purpose to purchase. What can I say? I have a serious addiction. During this last trip I picked up Adrienne Rich’s The Dream of a Common Language. More poetry to fill my bookshelves and my brain. What can I say? Another one of my addictions.

While I am still making my way through this beautiful book, her series “21 Love Poems” struck me in particular. The honest mix of lyricism and inquiry strike me as completely human. I fall into these words, I bathe in them:

“Sleeping, turning in turn like planets
rotating in their midnight meadow:
a touch is enough to let us know
we’re not alone in the universe, even in sleep:
the dream-ghosts of two worlds
walking their ghost-towns, almost address each other.”

Since I am no Adrienne Rich and since it is a Saturday morning I felt inspired to write my own abbreviated love poems. It may have turned into more of a list of things I love. Call it what you will.IMG_2247
1) Sunsets.
I know they are cliched but they never get old for me. As an avid-sunset-watcher I have learned two important things about sunsets which I will now share with you: 1) the best sunsets have more clouds, and 2) they’re always better after the sun disappears below the horizon line.

2) The sun on the wall in the morning.
It will always surprise you.

3) Friends.
Surround yourself with people you love and you will always be happy.

4) Hot dogs.
They are perfect and I love them. IMG_1098IMG_1101

5) Cookbooks.
They are a subset of my book-buying addiction and I think they are not only useful but beautiful.

6) Inspirational quotes.
As a product of my inspirational-quote-decorating mother and inspirational-sport-quotes father, I am a hybrid of all things inspiring. They’re cheesy and yet they still get me every time. IMG_2426

7) The state of Maine.
The lobster rolls. The coast. The fall. The way the air smells. The no traffic. Everything about it, I love. IMG_2396IMG_0139IMG_1147

8) The smell of garlic on my hands.
I don’t know what this says about me but unlike most people, I like the way the smell of garlic lingers, the way my hands smell like they’ve been in the kitchen. And I swear, I do wash them.

9) Large sweaters.
Another one of my buying addictions.

10) Eating. And taking pictures of the things I’m eating.
As if this wasn’t obvious enough already.IMG_2151 IMG_2161

11) A Saturday afternoon snuggled on the couch reading a book or watching a movie with something baking in the kitchen.
Taking comfort in the slow weekends and the blanket tucked around your legs.

What makes your love list?

 

If I Could Eat Words

IMG_3526This morning I went for a run in Forest Park and I realized seven things.

1) The sun is out.

This is always very exciting for Portland. This is especially exciting this week because we are supposed to have sun for multiple days in a row! Since I’m only working part time right now it is really easy to snuggle down in my cozy bed when it’s gray outside and barely leave the house. The sun is an inviting reminder that yes, there is life outside, and yes, you should get out of bed and go DO something. Go be active.

Just go be. IMG_3527
2) Running through Forest Park is the closest I will ever come to trail running.

After I came up with my brilliant idea to deviate from my normal run and go exploring in beautiful-green-jungle-land, I parked my car and started running.

It truly is such a magical part of the city. It is so wet and green and the sun was filtering in through the trees today in beautiful patterns. I love the feeling of running in cold air — your body is both sweaty and cold at the same time and I think it is some odd combination of these sensations that makes your nerve endings particularly alert. I felt everything. Every tight muscle in my calves, the pull in my chest, and the air pressing into me.

This ecstatic moment of true feeling turned against me after one too many hills when I had to start walking and, after a particularly low moment, lean up against a tree. For the remainder of my brief three-mile run, I alternated between running (on the downhills), walking (up the hills), and taking pictures for this blog post. I couldn’t help myself. IMG_3531IMG_3528
3) Sometimes we think we know what we’re doing and sometimes we know we have no idea and still other times, we are just snotty-nosed, running, and trying not to trip on all the roots and rocks that life (or the trail) throws our way.

Mid-way through my walk/run/photo-taking endeavors, I started laughing. I was so excited to get outside and go for a nice five mile run and here I was stopping every couple of minutes to breathe or take a picture.

I moved across the country thinking I would get here, find work in an adorable coffee shop immediately, and begin filling the rest of my days with volunteer work for inspiring creative writing organizations.

Needless to say, I think that my dreamer mentality might have slightly clouded my perceptions of what moving to a new city and searching for a job looks like. There have been a lot of moments of self-doubt and frustration, just like everyone at the crossroads of this transition point is experiencing.IMG_3521
I want to say that when I write things on this blog like, “You know what to do, so don’t be afraid and go do it,” I don’t presume to know everything. Not even close. I have been afraid many times. I question what to do. I worry. But by writing and dreaming and reaching I find a kind of encouragement. And that’s all I’m trying to share here.

Sometimes we have days where we realize we can’t run up the hills as well as we thought we could, we have snot running out of our nose, and there are way too many rocks on this path that we can trip on. I say, embrace the hilarity and run or walk or skip or stumble on dear readers.

4) A sandwich with melted cheese and tomato soup cures everything. IMG_3539
This is true. Melted cheese and some hot soup that you can dip your sandwich in are probably two of my most favorite things in the world. Not even just favorite food, I’m talking favorite things. Of all time.

So if you are feeling particularly discouraged on a given day, turn to the soup and the sandwich (more to come on this love affair in a later post). IMG_3536
5) If words were money and also edible I would totally live off of them. Off of them and nothing else. Except maybe grilled cheese. And tomato soup.

This was one of the last things I realized on my run this morning. I realized that if I am the kind of person who feels so compelled to stop mid-run repeatedly and take photos for her blog post then I should probably start taking this blog thing pretty seriously. Which is why I’m going to try and start posting regularly, three times a week. Which is why I also want to say thank you, to all of you for reading, following, and just generally supporting the wild whims and odd creative brain-firings of a 22-year-old, curly-haired, college graduate living in Portland. Truly, thank you.