Like the hammer loves the strings.

July 10, 2012 § 4 Comments

Last weekend, I guess now you could call it the weekend before last but time has kinda stood still since the Tuesday before then anyway, my dear friends got married. Bixby had some family affairs to tend to, so regrettably he could not make the Northward climb to the 45th with me, though we did sneak in a brief rendezvous the night before, that aforementioned Tuesday night, in the middle of our distance. It’s not really the middle of Ohio, Fremont, but it is the middle of our Ohio, most certainly. It is a hated and lovely place. I wish it, I wish all of Ohio, didn’t exist so he and I were closer, but geography doesn’t change for anyone, so it appears we’re stuck. For now. I ate a mushroom sandwich, and he held his tongue as I explained I was doing it for my new friend, the owner of the restaurant I had met when my car was broken down the month before. I hate mushrooms. Capital H. I will also do anything for my friends. Especially when those friends are bringing craft beer and locally grown cuisine to a town of 6000 and tonight his special happens to be his first attempt at a vegetarian burger. I didn’t even really have to choke it down. Not really.

My Wednesday was one for the ages; beginning in Fremont, stopping in Ann Arbor to pick up supplies, East Lansing to take my math final, and for god’s sake finally on the road to Traverse City. The Tour of Two Named Cities. I arrived just in time to share an ear of corn with little Hannah, who happens to be missing several teeth. Katy, the bride, offered me their home for the week, and I very enthusiastically accepted. They were already in Brethren, the town of her youth and impending wedding, over an hour away. I had heaps of fairy tale homework to do, between all the wedding festivities and swims in the Big Lake. Being alone helped. I wrote for hours, and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

I woke and exercised this thing I’ve been working on. I think it comes easy to a lot of people, but for me it’s one of life’s major obstacles. I stayed at home and worked. I spend the whole morning writing about Basile and his fairy tales, and I didn’t get up until I couldn’t take it any more and it was wonderful. I wished I had a porch and a woods of my own to sit with, each of us telling the other what they want to hear. When the call of espresso won, I drove up M-22 and straight to the front door of frida, the cafe recently opened by yet another dear friend, and yet another Hannah. I jumped behind the counter during the rush and was happy to be ebbing and flowing with Ms. Israel once again. I was able to bake brownies and cookies for her to sell the following day in the shop, and it felt like being home. It actually starts feeling like being home when the trees start to change around Clare nearly two hours south, but behind the counter at my Hannah’s cafe was the porch light on for sure. I got my first oven burn in nearly two years. It didn’t even hurt. Katy, Beth, Jess, and Kelsey arrived and the wedding pie making extravaganza began. 25 pies. Two hours. One bottle of viva!. 6 bottles of Soft Parade. One Bloody Mary each. Wedding! After briefly parting ways, we met up again on the shore of Lake Michigan on a secluded beach in Onekema to honor the treasure that is Katy Rose Joseph. I was told by my former employer and still friend her daughter looks up to me and she thinks that is great and I just had no words. A 19 year old girl is out there kicking ass, in part because I told her she could. Her parents approve. My job is done. Majority of the night must remain between only the women who were present, but there is one thing I can share: people from Wisconsin can fucking drink.

Friday was a day for wrapping up schoolwork and visiting with the Israuhls. A day for acquiring pie and seeing a keg of sparkling wine. A day for music on the patio and bocce on the court. The day before the day we were all waiting for. Sleep was once again heavy and good, with that air to beat all airs enveloping me all through the night. I woke in time to run the necessary errands and pick up the beautiful Brittany at her beautiful beach house before heading to Brethren. KRJ’s sigh of relief was audible when we pulled up with the pie. An ice run to Manistee later, the reception site was nearly set. The ladies headed to the cabin to all get ready and I captured a moment shared between Joseph sisters so perfect the image can’t even be shown. Katy wore my earrings, her something old and something borrowed wrapped into one, and it was an honor. I rubbed one arm, Brittany the other, Greta painted the toes, Jess and Kelsey on hair. Dy-no-mite. Deep in the woods, the Spirit of the Woods, so many people who have a piece of my heart met up under the cover of the trees and witnessed the most beautiful set of vows ever spoken. Every single second of my time in Brethren was perfect. Between the ceremony and the reception, our motley crew pit stopped at the local watering hole, the best dressed bunch of so-and-sos to ever enter the place. A round of drinks and pool later, the real fun began back at the Joseph homestead. The night was full of too much magic to remark on, but some highlights include: Mama Wanda calling square dances until no one could stand. Beth saying she feels like we’re known each other forever, despite it being only two days. Watching Katy and Trevor boogie deep into the night, so happy and good everything just feels perfect. In the end, we slept in the orchard, woken by a subtle sun reminding us of our morning duties. Brunch was to be had. Tim, the papa, remarked to me he just couldn’t believe what a hard working, loyal group of friends his daughter had. We were all up, by nine, breaking down tables and chairs from the night before. Stacking them based on drop off location. Picking up abandoned cups and flowers. Never uttering anything but a positive word. We were chatting, working away, as Tim stood in the center, overseeing. As he should. Did I mention he dug an irrigation line to the middle of the field so the caterers would have fresh water to use? Because that’s how these people are.

We left Brethren without ever saying goodbye to Katy and Trevor. It was fine they weren’t there. We went, four of us, up the coast a bit to a secret beach and swam off our hangovers. The back of my legs turned as bright as my dress from the night before. It didn’t hurt. Nothing could hurt, not with love like that around.

Bixby came over the day after I returned to Ann Arbor. I couldn’t find words to say what I felt to him. I understand love now, in a different way. He’s changed me. Katy and Trevor’s wedding, it changed me. I see now it’s bigger than words, a love like this. That is, until it’s time to say them. Then, I hope, I’m lucky enough to have someone listen. Even if it’s just the water, and the trees, and the breeze. Even if it’s just the sky, and the air, and the Earth. So we swam in Grampa’s lake, late at night, in the deep, just the two of us, and I knew it. I’m home.

When creamy peanut butter turns crunchy, or the life and times of an Aquarius.

April 26, 2012 § 1 Comment

One of my oldest and dearest friends called the other day to tell me she is pregnant.  This in and of itself really ain’t no big deal, because everyone I know has been pregnant in the last year.  I guess we’re old enough?  30 is the new 20?

What gets me here, it’s the depth of our relationship.  She and I have been through hell and back, over the moon, tequila drunk and laying in the grass, salty water and salty tears, short dresses and even shorter leashes,  deep love and happiness, dreams and hopes and reality and knowing each other more than words are able to express.  The word “friend” doesn’t really do it.  She is certainly family, thought of in that way by both our actual families, but even that doesn’t seem enough.  She’s fucking IN there, in my heart and my soul and my self.  She knows me in ways I don’t know me.  She can say things to me no one else can, and it’s good.  We met as teenagers and she knew I would keep it up and she was right.  She has been by me, with me, in me, high over hills and deep in valleys.  I’ve been there, with her and her landscape, all the while, too.  Falling deeper in love with our unfailing friendship.

We talked the other night about more than just her new role in this world.  We talked about life and friendships and those things changing and ending and our responsibilities to each other and who is supposed to initiate talk to whom about what and when.  Blahda. The end point:  who knows.  Who f-ing knows.  And really, don’t even try to figure it out.  When we start trying to figure out why other people do things is when we really start getting into trouble.  Friendships that are meant to last, will.  Sometimes they just need to be aired out for a while.

I went out with some new friends a few weeks back, and I felt so serious.  Learning about each other is awesome, and they were leaving soon to move to the west coast, so it was like LEARN LEARN LEARN drink rye whiskey LEARN laugh a little.  It was really nice, and they are totally rad, but I wanted to loosen up.  I want to have it look more like LAUGH DRINK RYE WHISKEY learn learn LAUGH DRINK LEARN LAUGH. What is wrong with me?  I used to be so good at making friends, but now it’s like I’m stunted.  I made these friends, we hung out, it was nice, but I felt like some weird stiff-armed version of myself.  Still me, but across the booth alone and divulging.  Is that why people hang out in large groups?  Less pressure to talk about oneself?  (I do love talking about myself)  Is that why people stop at a different bar before they get to where they’re going?  Shots of whiskey to ease the tension….I don’t think I came off bad or boring or sad or anything, but I swear to G*d I am fun!   Turning 30, it’s really lived up to it’s expectations.  They’ve moved now, these new friends, and I miss them.  But really, what I miss is the possibility of these new friendships with them.  The possibility of deep, emotional connection and truth telling and love.  I don’t know how to get that any more.   Sure, it exists in letters and postcards, but it’s not the same.   I don’t know how to find the folks that are looking for someone like me.

I just want to sit on a couch next to people who have my heart and have our knees touch and not say a word.

I wrote to my friend, the one from the beginning, to wish her well in telling her family her news, and she called me right away.  She went to the doctor the day before, just for a routine check-up.  The was no heartbeat.  She lost the pregnancy.  She sounded vacant and calm.  I was standing there, next to the copy machine at work, tears falling down my face, wishing so much they were in her hair instead.  My arms felt empty without her in them.  What do you do?  An unintended pregnancy isn’t often something one is thrilled about, but in this case they were.  All I could say was how much I loved her.

I saw her for the first time in half a year the other day.  Our hug lasted eons less than we wished it could, but long enough none the less.  The space between us was as nonexistent as our belief in a god that could put people through so much pain.  She’s not been doing well, of course.  That’s the first thing she tells me.  She looks great, not that that matters for shit right now.  And there we were, standing and touching and loving and together.

That was one of the first times since I’ve been back in Michigan I’ve felt whole.  It’s not like I’ve been sad, that’s nowhere near the truth.  I’ve actually been pretty damned happy.  What I haven’t been is surrounded by my girlfriends.  I haven’t been sitting on any couches, silent and full.   I treasure these precious times I get to feel this way even more because they are so infrequent.  I treasure my friends.

I’m still on the lookout for people on the lookout for me, but until we reveal ourselves to each other, I’m going to go up north.  I’m gonna grab a bottle of sparkling wine from the cellar, grab my friends, and ride my bike to the beach.  Blanket on the sand,  fire at the edge of the water, bubbles right out of the bottle.  As we watch the cork float away, we’ll lean back to look at the stars, and smile.

Any day now, any day now…..

December 28, 2011 § 5 Comments

Six years ago today, I woke up like any other day.  I rolled over, kissed my fiance, and started my day.  I went downstairs to get ready for work.  I took a shower, got dressed, and started to pack my lunch.  Paul had come down to the kitchen and was standing in front of the drawer I needed to get in to.  He reacted very strangely when I asked him to move, so weird I spent the rest of the day concerned.  Usually we didn’t talk while I was at work, but I called him twice that day.  I returned home, happy to be done with work and back to my love.  I took off my shoes, dropped my bag with my leftover food on the ground, and called his name.  No answer.  The cats were circling me, meowing in a new way.  The television was on, a Hitchcock film.  I noticed the bathroom light was on, so I opened the door.  There he was.

In that moment, everything changed for me.  What had begun as a normal Wednesday during the best three weeks of my life ended, well, it ended my life as I had known it.  My partner, my best friend, my sweet love, was gone.  I had to call 911.  I had to call his family.  I had to call Cara to get her home  just to hold my hand.  I told the lady on the phone I just needed someone to get there fast and tell me it was real.  That he was really dead.  They brought six police cars and three fire trucks.  One social worker.  They accused me of murder, because they have to.  I said I understood.  I called my mom and dad.   They left right away to make the eight hour drive.  I watched “The Notebook” in Cara’s bedroom by myself because I couldn’t sleep and I needed to cry at something that wasn’t my reality.  I didn’t sleep.  In the early morning, waiting for my parents in the driveway, I saw our landlord walking to work.  I told him.  He teared up.  He said he really liked Paul, and I agreed.  Dad helped me pick out the clothes he would be laid out in.  I think we all slept in Cara’s apartment that night.  I know we went and ate pasta and watched a parade, which seemed just fine.  Everything seemed just fine.  Because everything was totally fucked, but you can’t think about it like that.  At least not in the first 24 hours.  At least not before you see all the other people who are also living in an alternate reality now.  This blissful time, purgatory,  is the time for brown butter sauce and drum lines.

The following week was like something out of a David Lynch film.    More than one person called me on the phone to tell me they thought I killed him, which was okay but wasn’t something I was expecting.  It’s one thing to be told you’re a suspect for murder by the cops, it’s entirely different to be told this by your friends.  They were hurting, and I was the easiest one to blame.  I think that’s why he chose me to find him.  He knew I could take it, all the questions and accusations that come with being the surviving partner of someone who takes their own life.  I also don’t think I ever would have believed it was real if I hadn’t seen the actual act.  For that, I am grateful.

The last six years have been, well, full.  I have had some amazing times.  I’ve lived in wonderful places and made perfect friends.  I’ve smiled and laughed and been so happy I’ve cried.  I’ve even been in love, once failed and once true.  I’ve played music and written stories and made art and baked bread and raised chickens and weeded gardens and ridden bikes to the lake and jumped in.  I’ve kept him very close to me, in my heart and my whole being.  I truly wouldn’t be the person I am had I not known Paul Myers.  He changed the way I feel about myself, both when he was just my friend and after we realized we were in love.  He showed me how to love all the bits that make a person true.  His death changed me too, without doubt.  It made me know how strong I am.  If I could get through this, shit,  bring on whatever you have, anything else.  Cake.

Every year, around this time, I start thinking about it, and him, in a more concentrated way.  It usually starts right after Thanksgiving, right after he got back from Japan, right when everything seemed perfect and blissful.  I know now he knew then he was going to die, but at the time I thought we were going to stay like this forever.  Usually the first few weeks are filled with lovely memories and beautiful images in my head, and then it shifts to sadness because, he’s dead.  This time this year I have felt so overwhelmingly anxious, so much so I spent the entirety of the Christmas holiday trying not to make eye contact because I was going to burst in to tears.  I felt guilty for being so lucky to be given gifts, and it almost knocked me down.  I felt like being around people that love me was killing me.  Which is an awful way to feel.  A few days with a few dear friends has calmed me, but it still hurts.

I think maybe I thought it would keep getting easier?  Like, maybe there would be a bad day here and there, but overall I would feel good.  That is true, usually.  Eleven months out of the year.  I’m not really sure what’s different about this anniversary, but something certainly is.  Maybe it’s the feeling that the farther we get away from it, the less it’s supposed to matter?  It’s always going to matter.  A whole helluva lot.  He died SIX years ago.  That is a long time.  That is not a long enough time to forget it happened.  Or how it happened.  Or all the years before that that were filled with love and joy and happiness.  I don’t want to forget those things.  I guess maybe I think “they” want me to.  Whatever the fuck that means.  I won’t.  I can’t.

It’s nearly over, this holiday season.  I look forward to returning to my resting state.  To keeping Paulie close to me, but keeping the emotions farther away.  To living my life as a healthy, happy, in love 29 year old, not as the widow at 23 I was.  Sure, I’ll always be that girl, in some way or another.  I’d just like to keep her tucked under the bed in a box, with his two t-shirts I put on every once in a while, to get a hug.

Nearly 1000 words on Big Ten Football

November 28, 2011 § 2 Comments

Growing up in rural Michigan, just 15 miles outside of Ann Arbor, I was a UM fan.  My dad, despite never attending the university, was a UM fan.  Everyone was a UM fan.  My dad’s family is from Columbus, and they are Buckeyes.  This is a huge rivalry.  UM fans hate OSU.  And vice versa.   Every year, for the Big Game, we would bet my great Aunt Nub our dirtiest dollar who would win, us for the Wolverines, her the Bucks.  I loved this.  If we won, I would wait in anticipation for that envelope postmarked OH to arrive in the box.  If we lost, I took just as much joy in picking out the most tattered, well-worn bill to send her way.  When she passed, in her nineties, dad and I went to Columbus for the funeral.  Her casket was hinged halfway down, to facilitate a viewing, and in that space where the split occured, my dad gently tucked a crisp, brand new $1 note in right before she was buried.  I wept, both for the loss of my favorite great Aunt, and for the loss of tradition.  That was the last dollar to pass between us.

When it came to apply for college, I decided I wanted to attend Michigan State University.  Most people from my highschool went to one of the large state schools, and my best friend was at MSU already, so it made the most sense.  While MSU athletics usually really only kicks ass at basketball, and sometimes hockey, football culture is still huge.  Tailgating isn’t something you choose to do.  It is what you do.  At least when you are a freshman.  Most fall Saturday mornings, 100,000 people invade your home and get shitfaced before heading into Spartan Stadium (or passing out) to watch grown men chase a ball.  The real fans, they start lining up in their cars to secure the good spots on the lawn by the tennis courts at MIDNIGHT the night before, sleeping in shifts, drinking all the while.  Walking through the crowd, you’re offered shots, hamburgers, high fives.  Always within earshot is some group singing, off key and too loud “On the Banks of the Red Cedar!  There’s a School that’s known to All!”….,,It is a sea of Green and White, and everyone is just so fucking HAPPY they are about to get to watch football!  BIG TEN FOOTBALL!

I had season tickets my first year, but I never really cared about the game.  What I did care about was the passion of the people.  They love it.  I mean really love it.  Big Ten Football brings families together, with grandparents playing beer pong with their newly Sparty-ed grandchildren.  Moms spooning potato salad onto green and white disposable plates for their sons.  Dads decked out in MSU gear, stopping every few minutes to start the “GO GREEN! GO WHITE! GO STATE!” cheer everyone is taught at freshman orientation.  It’s amazing.  It’s super emotional.  It’s tradition.  And I fucking love tradition.

With all the press about the goings on at Penn State in recent weeks, it’s brought these traditions to light.  I can’t say it enough, people really love Big Ten Football.  For a lot of families, it’s the only way they connect with each other.  It’s all they have.  Penn State, as well as MSU and UM, put so much pride (and money) into their sports programs, it often seems like nothing else at the university matters.  Because for a hell of a lot of people, nothing else does.  I’ve had several conversations with friends about what happend in State College, and I have been rather suprised with how emotional I feel about the whole thing.  NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT THE RAPES.  All anyone, the media, the public, wants to talk about is the firing of Joe Paterno.  Even on a recent episode of This American Life, most of the people interviewed talked about how the tradition of Penn State Football felt different.  How they felt decevied.  I certainly don’t think anyone is brushing the real issue here under the rug or saying anyone behaved appropriately, but I just can’t believe we are even talking about whether or not the people who were fired should have been fired.  What about the kids?  The little boys that trusted their idols, and who were not only let down, but violated in the most intimate way?  Has anyone even stopped to think how all this talk is affecting them?  Even if we’re aren’t going to discuss the actual rapes, how the fuck are these kids, who are now in their late teens, supposed to react to America’s response to the firing of JoePa?  Fire all of ’em.  Fire the whole fucking Big Ten.  Who gives a shit!?  A grown man RAPED KIDS.  Put him in jail.  Forever.  Hold those who knew and didn’t do anything responsible, too.  Maybe a legacy was built, maybe college sports are change forever because of one man, but this, assulting children and then doing nothing about it, that wipes it all out.  If these people don’t suffer consiquences, what message does that send to all the people out there who are paying attention?  All those people for whom Big Ten Football is all that matters?  All those kids in rural Michigan who are sending dollars back and forth over hundreds of miles in the name of sport?  We, the people, have a really important job to do with this right now.  Sexual assult, especially on children, can not be tolerated.  All eyes are on this case.  I hope they aren’t only on Joe Paterno.  But, hell, if he brings them in, let’s take it.  No child should ever have to go through what these kids did.  Ever.

Our system of higher education in this country is already in enough shit without people thinking you can get away with whatever you want, as long as you win football games.

 

Fold Your Hands, Child

October 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

I grew up Catholic.  Like most people I knew in Pinckney, MI, I went to catechism every Wednesday and church every Sunday.  My uncle is a priest.  I memorized all the important prayers we were supposed to memorize.  I filled out all the workbooks.  I got my first communion.  I was even an alter girl.

All of this was for my paternal grandparents, and I knew this motivation from an early age.  I got to quit after Eddie got his first communion.  We were done with our spiritual obligation.  My mother had agreed to raise her children Catholic in exchange for not having to convert to Catholicism herself.  I didn’t mind.  I like hanging out with Grandma Margaret, and like I said, most of my friends were also at catechism.  The key difference between the Catholics and most other sects of Christianity is we don’t really use the Bible all the much.  I definitely didn’t have my own copy until the reception after my second first communion (special exception because my uncle was the priest) when I unwrapped my brand new Precious Moments Bible ™, and even then I was only in it for the pictures.

At catechism, we had these awesome workbooks with creative interpretations of the stories of the Bible.  The themes and major players were the same as the Good Book, but really all I remember about our books was coloring in the pictures.  Keep in mind, I attended these classes once a week for, like, 8 years.  I remember learning how to hold our hands in front of us, and how to smoothly transition from closed palms to open and impress the priest. That was the important stuff.  Nothing about Jesus, or apostles, or the Garden of Eden, or anything “Biblical” mattered.  Standing in that line and properly accepting that wafer from that dude in the robe mattered.  I remember this hand motion being really important.  We had to get it right.

And….Catholic guilt is born in an eight year old.

There are a few other things I remember being super important….I guess really everything I learned as a Catholic was based in memorization, obedience, and….indoctrination?  Even though I never went to confession (I wasn’t confirmed, so I guess I was never a real Catholic?), it’s importance was made clear from the beginning.  The memorization of prayer was the other really big thing.  This was a HUGE competition between me and my friends at CCC.  If you didn’t know the Our Father or the Hail Mary you were totally picked on.  We had to stand in front of each other and individually recite them word for word, or else live a life of shame and loserdom for sucking at praying.

Needless to say, this certainly made the message of prayer a little muddied.  The only praying one ever really did for, or by, ones self was during that time in mass when everyone kneels and we are quiet for a few minutes, and at bedtime.  The dinner prayer was by far the most used and therefore, the least meaningful, of all the meaningless memorized prayers.  Which is fucking crazy because taking time to honor your food and the people you are eating with should be the most important part of our day, hell, even our whole lives.

“Bless us our lord and these, thy gifts, which we are about to receive, through bounty and Christ our lord. Amen.”  

Followed by spectacles, testicles, wallet, watch.  AKA the sign of the cross.

Who knows what that means?  Does that prayer even have anything to do with the food on our table, or the people we are with, or really even God?  No.  It means nothing, because it is drilled into our heads until it’s just another series of words we have to get right and are tested on to make sure we are progressing in our training as good little Catholics who will presumably grow to be good big Catholics and produce (only after marriage, of course) a new generation of good little Catholics that can be taught the same load of bullshit me and every other “former Catholic” out there now realizes is exactly that.  Bullshit.

Or, it’s saying Grace.

Either way, those words never had any power over me like I feel prayer is supposed to.  I’m now using the word prayer in a different way.  This new prayer has nothing to do with the Pope.  This prayer is maybe better referred by it’s other name, Giving Thanks.  I love Giving Thanks.  When I am eating a meal prepared with love with people I love, I feel so thankful.  I want to acknowledge this.  Out loud.  While holding hands, sometimes.  For me, it’s about saying to the people next to me: “You are totally awesome.  This meal, awesome.  We are so lucky to have this food, and each other, and this time.”  For others, God might factor in to that as well.  I’m down with that.  I think having faith is a beautiful thing.  I have faith.  I have faith in organic farmers, and bicycle riders, and love.

Eating with my friends in Traverse City is where I first experienced this concept of Giving Thanks.  The preparation and consumption of wonderful food is such an important part of life there, and taking the time to recognize what we have is such an important part of that.

A few years after I was introduced to Giving Thanks, the first time I met my partner’s parents, we went out to dinner at this restaurant they’ve been going to their whole lives (I do mean the parent’s, not the partner’s, lives).  Not only is this the first 48 hours of our relationship, and my first time meeting them, but it is to be the first time I have ever participated in prayer at a restaurant.  I can tell it’s going to happen before Bix tells me it is, and I feel so calm and happy.  I feel so grateful to be with these folks.  I am happy to hold his mom’s hand as she gently rubs mine and his dad speaks to us and his God at the same time.  He thanks God for ME, and asks Him to watch out for me on my journey back to Michigan.  He mentions some people from Church, and our meal of Barberton Chicken, they say Amen, and we eat.  It was so nice.  It was the first time I’d ever heard a prayer that had anything to do with the food on the table and the people next to me.  It was warm and full of love.  Not all that different from the Giving Thanks I had grown used to with my friends, just with God at the forefront.

Bixby and I have had many conversations about prayer since this first experience with his parents.  His relationship with God is much different than mine, but we understand each other’s views in a way that we are able recognize we both get the same thing out of it, even if our words are slightly different.  We are honoring each other and the food we are about to eat.  When he and I eat together, just the two of us, we Give Thanks.  At home, at restaurants, wherever.  He starts with some Christian words, and ends with Amen, but the part in the middle, the meat of it, is the same.  It is so wonderful.

There is no memorization.  No being made to feel bad if you don’t get the words right, because there are no right or wrong words.  There is just what you feel in your heart of hearts, your gratitude, and your words in this prayer.

Now, here I am.  Nearly 30.  A former alter girl.  A recovering Catholic.  Deeply in love with Giving Thanks.

A2BRUTE

September 22, 2011 § 1 Comment

It’s really hard to write a blog when you don’t have a computer.  Thanks to the generosity of my baby sister, I have a wonderful MacBook on loan.  I taught her well.

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I have this ability to make anywhere I am my home.  I fall in love with places, and the people there, with ease.  Perhaps too much ease.  The thing I have trouble doing is sustaining this love.  Or maybe the ease.  Either way, I move.  It’s not giving up, or in, it’s just changing.  I love New York.  Just like almost everyone.  Brooklyn is tits.  It’s also expensive as fuck, too far away from my family, and seriously lacking in cider mills.  I need cider mills.  And my family.  More specifically, I need mini Eddie and Grace.  Those kids, they’ve got a hold on me.  As they should.

So, I’m here.  In Ann Arbor.  Back in the Mitten.  Back home.  For real Home, with a capital H.  I’ve been to Traverse City twice already, and I’ve been back for three weeks.  I have goals.  Right now, I’m working my ass off.  Give me money, son!  I’m spending time in my super rad house, eating food with my housemates, laughing and talking about the “big issues” all at once.  I’m drinking Manhattans at Old Town with Old Friends.  I’m heading over to Detroit to see my friends from Brooklyn play music, and to hear stories at the Gem.  I’m seeing those kids, and the rest of my family, as often as possible.

It feels good, to be here.  Ann Arbor is a lot like Brooklyn.  It’s full of deep friendships, places I’ve been going for my whole life, and bicycles.  Today, I walked in to Herb David Guitar Studio to see if they had any glockenspiels (they did!) and I told the guy at the counter I took guitar lessons there 16 years ago!  He was impressed.

I left Brooklyn with quiet steps, and I know this made some feel neglected, but I didn’t want it to be a big deal.  I didn’t want to make plans and say goodbye and feel sad.  I just wanted to come back here, without pomp, and get shit done.  I have never, ever EVER felt happier with a decision than I do with this one.  I feel calm, even with this enormous americano in me.  I feel lucky to be accepted back to Michigan without any questions.  Oh, you’re going back to school to better your GPA in hopes of getting in to grad school?  Awesome.  Oh, you want to be nearer to your nephew and niece when they’re young?  Rad.  Oh, this cute boy lives in Ohio?  Good, just don’t be dumb.

Maybe I’ll be back in New York in a few years.  Maybe I’ll be in Paris.  Maybe I’ll still be here, in Ann Arbor.  Who knows.  What I do know is I feel so happy.  And I know exactly where the cider mill is.

One part coffee, one part soul.

July 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

I have spent the majority of my adult life floating, moving from place to place, racking up friends and lovers, and ignoring the really important things.  Well, not really ignoring, just not dealing with.  Samesies?  Like, after the big bang ’05, almost nothing matter except my friends.  My friends, and booze.  I neglected my financial obligations and have never really been able to make up for it.  Also, I didn’t really see any reason why I should try.  I mean, I loved living and all that, but seeing past the immediate future seemed impossible.  Why should I make plans when those plans can change, despite my desire for them not to, at any second?  My whole life changed because of one person’s one choice, and it has been really hard to see why anything permanent is even possible.  Until now.

 

Sure, it’s fucking cliche.  I fell in love.  I am in love.  Being in love with this person has changed me.  I want to be a better me.  I want to finish things I’ve started.  I want to get back on track.  I want to pay my debts and have a savings and buy land and plan for the future.  For our future.  For MY future.  For ME.  I want to do crunches and paint my fingernails and wear short skirts.  Because I totally can.  I want to ride my bike to the ocean and feel the saltwater on my face, and to cry because I am so lucky.  I want to hold hands in the woods, and smile on the internet.  I want support.  I want to be told that someone is proud of me.  I want to make someone proud.

I want to make me proud.  For the first time in a long time, I am really thinking about my future.  Choices I make now will affect the rest of my life.  In a good way.  Pay your debts.  Drink less.  Go back to school.  Write every day.  Get up early and just be.  Let yourself be loved.  Really, truly, honestly feel the love.  Stick that love in your breast pocket, and care for it.  Keep the hearts you are given safe, and warm.  Bless those hearts every day.  They will bless you back.

Love, love, love.

Love, and responsibility.  Being an adult is awesome.  Taking control of our lives is awesome.  Loving ourselves, and our choices, awesome.  That job you know you would be perfect at, it’s out there.  We just need to ask for it.  We just need to do it.  That partner, they are there.  Sometimes, like in my case, they’ve been around for a long time, our hearts just waiting for the rest of us to catch up.  I feel selfish in a good way.  Do you know what I mean?  I am taking care of myself.  MY SELF.  Heal, grow, love, be.  Ok.

The train keeps going by my window, and my coffee has grown cold.