Thursday, August 28, 2008


Anyone who has Stevie Wonder on stage, followed by Al Gore (who still makes me swoon), will totally get my vote.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Saturday Trek Across Massachusetts

As I suspected, I did not make it to the 8 am yoga class, though not for lack of trying. Apparently I got the am/pm mixed up on my clock when I reset it last night. Ooops.

So instead, I decided to drive out to Northampton to this yarn store that I've heard a lot about on the various knitting blogs I read. Mapquest said it was about an hour and a half's drive, so I thought it would be a nice way to spend the afternoon. Which it was, until I got on the Mass Pike, which was a parking took me an hour and a half just to get to the I-84 exit, which I can usually do in 25 minutes. Ridiculous.

The store itself...I'm not sure what all the fuss is, really. I bought more sock yarn, but I'm not sure I'd go back. I feel like I must have missed something. I ALMOST missed the back room, which is where there was oodles and oodles of yarn stacked floor to ceiling, most of it half price. But it was just...yarn, y'know? Nothing that really rocked my world, so to speak. The other women in the store were swooning and buying just PILES of yarn - the woman in front of me spent almost $200! I grabbed another skein of sock yarn before I checked out because I felt embarrassed buying so little. I much prefer Knitty City in NYC, even if it is a lot smaller (and obviously, a hell of a lot further away).

I probably will go back, though, later this fall when the trees are turning, because it's really beautiful out there and I really want to see the downtown area (I actually think the downtown that I can see from the highway is Holyoke).

I finished the day out with a trip to Whole Paycheck (aka Whole Foods) where I found a pint of Maine blueberries from Cherryfield. Cherryfield is considered the Blueberry Capital of the World, and I find it really odd that it wasn't named Bluefield. I once asked a state senator from the area about this and he scowled at me.

I got home to find Wilbert sitting on top of the kitchen table, where he knows he is not supposed to be, and he got shooed off in quick order. He then went and scratched my knitting basket, which got him yelled at, and now he is lying on top of a bunch of fabric, getting it covered in cat hair. I'm starting to feel like one of those parents who do nothing but yell at their kids...I am constantly saying "no" to this cat and I might as well talk to the wall. After yesterday, when he found my belt on command, I've been trying to get him to do fetch/find other stuff, but he just looks at me blankly and yowls. Apparently, his dog-impersonating days are over, at least for the moment.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Random Friday

1) The cat waltzed into my room at 2:30 am yowling. It became apparent that he wanted to drink from the jacuzzi, and was quite indignant that I would not get out of bed and turn the tub on. He left, and came back at 6:30 to repeat the routine.
2) He later made up for his caterwauling: I was frantically routing through a pile of laundry trying to find my belt, with the cat at my heels. I said (out loud), "Wilbert, if you have to be underfoot you could at least help me find my belt", at which point he started pawing something on the belt.
3) I am inexplicably happy over the fact that I discovered today there is a small supermarket in Hopkinton between the house and the train station. A bit more expensive than Shaw's, but that's on the other side of town.
4) I am taking bets on whether I actually get up for an 8 am yoga class tomorrow morning.
5) My sister's birthday was last weekend and I still haven't bought her a gift. 
6) I'm trying to decide: take another writing class, or start guitar lessons? The latter would require the purchase of a guitar, or at least a trip to Maine to borrow one of my Dad's, which he routinely encourages me to do. If I borrow Dad's guitar I could afford to do both...but I feel like the last thing I need right now is a distraction from writing. On the other hand, another creative outlet could be a GOOD thing for my writing. But learning to play guitar hurts, until you develop calluses on your fingers, and what if that makes typing too difficult? Decisions, decisions.
7) I've been neglecting my knitting...really must finish that last brown sock!
8) I've had the chorus to the song "Secret Spell" by Tori Amos stuck in my head for days, but I couldn't really decipher the words to the verses. I looked them up tonight and grimaced: "in one hand dreams aplenty / in her smile a secret spell / there have been disappointments / that she knows too well / and losing you was not part of this plan" *sigh*
9) I'm also kind of loving this "Duffy" chick - kind of like Amy Winehouse but, y'know, without the crack addiction. I'd like to know how she got that name, though. My grandfather had a friend named Duffy, and he also had a friend they called "Badger". My dad cannot tell me how these nicknames came to be, and the curiosity is killing me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Stand Up and Cheer...

The weather has turned these past couple of days, and fall is slowly but surely creeping in. Coincidentally or not, there has been a flurry of recent connections with high school people, and I've realized that twenty years ago I was about to start my senior year. And I'm a little conflicted about the intervening years, to tell you the truth.

First, and I've said this before, I think I sort of stopped growing emotionally around age 14. While I may look different than I did in high school, I don't feel any different. And the truth is, high school was the worst 4 years of my life. That's not to say that some good stuff didn't happen, because it did, but all in all it wasn't my finest moment. I was odd. I am still odd. And argumentative and liberal and compelled to stick up for the underdog. I still speak my mind, even when it isn't exactly appropriate, and I still wear my heart on my sleeve.

I am also still restless and uncertain of my place in the world, and slightly concerned that I am destined (or doomed) to not follow a traditional path. I suspect the only person surprised by this is me (and maybe my Dad), but I am, in fact, surprised. If I were to describe myself, I might say: I'm 37, single, childless, living in my sister's house with my niece's cat, and trying to figure out how to be a writer on my own terms. I have a history of failed relationships with men who, for a variety of reasons, were incapable of being in love with anyone, least of all me. I earned a BA and an MPA, but still have a hard time remembering to put gas in my car. I am painfully self-aware and I like to knit socks.

I mean, really.

Don't get me wrong - it's not been all about my quirks. I did some really great work in Maine that I'm proud of. I know I made a difference, even if a tiny one, and that makes me happy. But in a sea of vaguely familiar faces, most shadowed by a spouse or a kid, it's kind of hard not to an outsider. In other words, exactly how I felt back in high school. And a little anxious, cold and clammy, to be quite honest.

But then I remember a certain kid I grew up with, and how when we were 4 and 5 we'd play on the stone wall that separated our houses. And how I didn't talk to him for years, and the next thing I knew he was wheeling my grandfather's body out of the Veteran's home. A few years later, we chased a cat out of the church sanctuary that decided to attend my aunt's funeral (seriously, only in Waterford...). Whatever unpleasantness, or silence, in the years between had dissipated, and I was happy for it. I hope that's true for everybody else that I left in the dust along the way, or who left me in the dust along their way. Because, as much as I doubted it twenty years ago, there actually is a little bit of us in all of us. And I don't mind so much anymore.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Moving Update

Between moving and, well, moving, I haven't had the time or inclination to update the blog. I haven't even been writing in my journals, or writing for my class, and my body can actually FEEL that I haven't been's like the words are just waiting to spill out of my brain, down my arm, and out my fingers. Except now I'm completely and totally engrossed by those teenage vampire novels written by a Mormon...I find it all completely fascinating, and spent the afternoon at work surreptitiously reading behind my desk. I don't find it as addictive as Harry Potter, but it definitely made my train rides go by a lot more quickly!

On the home front, the cat is annoying me beyond belief. He was fine the first few days, but he now appears to have caught on that he's stuck with me, and I'm not sure he's too thrilled about it. The one thing he appears to be happy with is my yoga mat, which he is now using as his scratching post. Luckily it's an old one, and frankly as long as it keeps him from yowling at me, I'm fine with it.

It's so strange to be in a house and not have to worry about being too loud. The other night I was in the jacuzzi at 11 pm, and realized I could sing Alanis Morissette songs as loud as my little heart wanted to, and I did. It was an insanely freeing thing to do - I heartily encourage everyone to try this (pick your own poison; it doesn't have to be Alanis). It occurred to me later that it was entirely possible that the neighbors could have heard me - I don't sing particularly well, but I can sing loud, and if their windows were open...but then I remembered all the grief the neighbors have given my sister over the years and just sang louder.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


I'm about to move AGAIN, for the third time in less than a year. My sister & her family decamp for the West Coast on Wednesday, at which time I move into their house and inherit Wilbert the Cat. Wilbert is still reeling from the removal of most of the furniture, particularly a red chair that was in the living room that he slept on every day. Wilbert and I have a history; he spent two weeks with me a couple of years ago. He spent most of his time under the couch (technically, inside the couch as he tore up the lining and crawled up under the stuffing), until every morning at 3 am when he wandered around the apartment YOWLING at the top of his lungs. We will be having a talk about this.

Wilbert aside, I'm oddly not that fussed about them leaving. Don't get me wrong - I will miss them dearly, as I probably won't see them again until Christmas as I have no vacation to speak of at the moment (new job). But I think it will also be a great experience for them, and as a grown-up I am well aware of how quickly the time will go (seriously, I can't believe it's AUGUST did that HAPPEN?!). My parents, on the other hand, are simply beside themselves, particularly my mother which I find odd since she will be headed out there in October and then again for Thanksgiving.

I'm also not fussed because the idea of living alone again is enthralling. And not just living alone, but living in a house, as opposed to an apartment. There is a jacuzzi. There is a full kitchen. There is cable. There is a lawn service, a plow service, a garbage service. I do have litter box duty, which my strong gag reflex is already worried about, but there are worse things. There is also a treadmill, which my brother-in-law patiently moved from corner to corner of the living room. I have grand plans for this, but the truth is I had grand plans for the treadmill I bought back in 2004, which quickly became a coat hanger and now takes up space in my parents basement.

There is also ample space for my sewing. I am excited about this, although I noticed yesterday that my sewing machine is in desperate need of a good cleaning.

I am also feeling more sane then I have in a long time. Exhausted, certainly; the work commute and my late-night writing workshop are just about killing me. But I feel more...centered than I have in quite some time. I think the writing workshop is a huge contributor to that. Also, I've sort of been realizing how extraordinary the people I've dated have been...and while that has certainly been problematic at times, it takes a certain sort of "je ne sais quois" for me to be even remotely interested in someone. I suppose in a way that is just a pretentious way of saying that I'm picky. But my father is wrong: just any nice guy will NOT necessarily do.