a girl and her boy

. daily life : wool obsession : bibliomania : living on purpose .

Tag Archives: home

The Bottom Line

Last night after dinner, Gabe and I sat in our his and hers Queen Anne recliners in the living room planning for the rest of the week. Our planning eventually got on the future track and I began plotting out financial goals on the long, medium, and short range, including the mundane details of adult life like car maintenance, car insurance, eye glasses, etc for the short term and on the long term things like retirement and a house.

But the bottom line is a puppy.

You see, we can’t have a puppy where we are right now. It would cost too much. Our building would have us pay a big down payment and then a monthly fee for a four-legged baby. And I want a four-legged baby like hydrogen wants oxygen:  it’s on a molecular level.

Every item we added to the list, after writing it down, I said, “and this gets us closer to puppy!” After a bit, you can imagine this got old.

We eventually finished our list, set the alarm and crawled into bed.

Thirty-five minutes after lights out, I sit straight up in bed, and declared, as if I had never owned this need before, “I want a puppy!”

Bleary-eyed from being awaken, Gabe just looked at me and shook his head.

“At least I’m not saying ‘baby’, ” I responded to the look. With that, I finally drifted off to sleep dreaming of my future furry four-legged baby-kins.

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Discovering Home, Pt. II.

For the first part of the journey, please read Discovering Home. This post is a continuation of the tale.

The rusty stairs covered with pigeon excrement and feathers on A Street filled me with the familiar panic as I climbed one step at a time. Bridges, windows or decks on even the second floor, and ladders shake me at the very core. Up I went with my heart pounding. A year ago, I probably would have turned around at the sight of the stairs and abandoned the mission. But today, the need to follow this through, and the strength I’ve gained from grappling with this fear head on gave me the strength to continue.

When I reached Summer Street at the top of the stairs, it was as though I had passed through a secret portal and Bonnie had given me the password I needed. The old brick buildings whispered their welcome and impressed me with their history. Across the way was 300 Summer St and Channel Cafe, the home of many of the Fort Point artists. I knew it by the rusted metal awning.

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Discovering Home

What a week and weekend! So much to share that this is going to be a long one. Stay with me, it’s worth it.

The Seaport is a fun area to live in. There were free concerts from some of the biggest names in the music industry all summer so long as we opened the living room window. We are mere paces from some of the finest dining establishments in town and the T gets us everywhere else we would want to go. It took a long time to get used to having a 24-7 concierge, the computer lab, and an in-house gym, though. It’s been great fun, but it didn’t truly feel like home until this past week.

I’ve been complaining to Gabe about how much I miss Gulu Gulu Cafe and Jaho in Salem, especially Gulu. Sit down with a book on the big orange couch and coffee comes to you in an endless stream. I spent hours there with novels or my laptop. It’s one of the first places I went when I was considering moving to the area when I was in Maine, the first place I went when I took up residence, and now the place I miss. It helped make Salem feel like home. And I miss that.

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I can smell autumn. Can you?

The salty air is weighty; heavy enough to keep this wandering spirit in once place and not feel trapped. The old promise of travel and adventure offered by the waves keeps this fiery spirit satiated. I fell in love with the saline-imbued air when I first moved to Salem a year ago and I’m in even deeper now that I can see the waves from my new vantage on the roof deck while knitting one stitch at a time. I’ve had ample time to knit up here lately as I’ve been home from work for a little over a week now. I once thought I’d love to be a home maker and have no responsibilities other than running the dishwasher, making tasty treats and ironing the laundry, but now that I’ve been at it for a week, I am chomping at the bit to get back. But it’ll be some time before I get there.

Remember the few posts I had back around March about health problems? Well, they never went away, and in fact, have gotten worse. I am now at home, “stepped away from the classroom” as I put it in an email to my curriculum coordinator, with a calendar full of appointments and reminders of things I have to do to get ready for them. But this isn’t what I want to write about.

There has not been a day that the breeze did not blow down here in the seaport. It took some time before I realized that this is just how it is. Despite living in Maine with a long history of marine trade, I was inland and isolated from the personal knowledge. The closest I got to ocean life was reading Elizabeth Oglivie and her novels about lobstermen and their strong wives, though she and I have done quite the opposite:  she was born in Boston and went to Maine. I was born in Maine and came to Boston. The breezes not only brings the smell of the ocean, but also of the autumn weather that is creeping up on us as the light ebbs at the outer edges of day; perfect weather for my woolens.

Oh, what shall you become, Mohair?

I pulled out my wool basket that had been sitting ignored since I moved here and spread everything out. I frogged old projects that lost the original charm and piled up stuff that I’d been carrying around that I never really liked to begin with. I grouped it all up according to weight and project type and saw the spectrum of possibility that has been dormant, waiting. Many knitters have done this with varying levels of success before me, but I’m going to give knitting only from my stash this fall and winter a go. The only exception I will make is picking up fiber for specific gifts in preparation for Yule if I don’t see something fitting in the stash.

Noro striped scarf for Gabe

While knitting on Gabe’s Noro striped scarf the last few days, I’ve been watching movies from my Netflix queue. I’d been carrying around “Cries and Whispers”, a 1972 film by Ingmar Bergman about three sisters who are brought together for the first time in ages because of the terminal illness of one of the sisters. I watched it three times back to back. I still don’t think I’ve processed it enough to give it an adequate review. It’s quietly disturbing in it’s portrayal of the relationship of these sisters. This is one of the many reasons I love Bergman. His work is like steeping a cup of tea: it takes time for the flavor to develop and is subtle.

Noro striped scarf

I’ve also been working my way through “I Know This Much is True” by Wally Lamb. People have recommended his work to me in the past but I didn’t actually crack one of his books open until I moved here. Now I can’t wait to finish this one so I can move on to the next. I love the people he populates the story with and how honest and real they are. He inspires me to write.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I hope all is well with you.

New Place, Old Face

Gabe and I have been living in our new home for a smidge over two weeks now. It’s been wonderful. It’s such a different experience than I even imagined. We’re in an area of Boston that is primarily industrial:  office buildings, restaurants, parking garages, hotels, and a few blank slates for someone’s imagination to take hold of. We have all of Boston at our finger tips but forget trying to get a gallon of milk without hopping on the T or getting in the car after 6 pm on Friday. The only remotely reasonable convenience store is only open when the offices are. But, I’d have to say, that’s really not a huge deal. It’s just different.

I don’t have photos of the new place yet because we’re still settling in. There are books and boxes and bags of stuff in various  out-of-the-way places waiting for furniture to organize them. Maybe next week we’ll have photos? We’ll see.

One of the things I’m growing accustomed to and am rather enjoying is not having Internet access in the apartment. We get it in the club room downstairs, but not in our apartment. It wasn’t until the last two weeks that I realized how much time I had spent idling away the hours on Facebook, instant messanger, and on other web haunts. I’ve read more. I’ve knit more. I’ve spent more time planning, and organizing, and goal setting. Heck, I’ve even spent more time exercising! I’ll take it.

Speaking of exercising, I have absolutely NO excuse anymore for not getting my butt in gear 5x a week or more. Our building has a whole, fully stocked, fitness center. I’ve been focusing on weight training and getting my endurance for running back. When I get to a place where I won’t feel wholly embarrassed to share what I’ve been doing, I will. I didn’t realize how quickly I got squidgy around the edges. It won’t last, though, I’m too determined and motivated after going to my 10-year reunion for that.

Seriously, I didn’t realize how much blogworthy stuff I’ve been up to until I sat down to write.

While in Maine this weekend for my class reunion, we stopped in to Purl Diva in Brunswick where I picked up materials for two new projects:  Noro Striped Scarf for Gabe, and some mohair for some undetermined project for me. I tend to buy fiber I like and figure out what to do with it later. I’ve come up with some great projects that way.

I started the scarf and am poking around for patterns and inspiration for the mohair. All while enjoying being in my new home and living with Gabe.

Bits and Pieces

cozied up at home

I feel like writing today. It’s been a while.

It’s a chilly, grey, rainy day here on the north shore and my thoughts have turned to warmth and comfort. I pulled out a sweater from the tub I hauled down to the basement a month ago, slipped into some jeans, wrapped a scarf around my neck and settled into a book first thing this morning. It has been a while since the house has been quiet like this for quiet reflection and reading. I sipped on coffee made with lowfat milk and honey in my new Emerson mug. Perfect.

the house I rented in Maine

new transitions

My thoughts drifted back to autumns and winters past, the little comforts for chill days, and how different my present is, and how much greater the difference will be in five weeks. I went from renting a house in rural Maine were I chopped and split and hauled my own fire wood to soon living in an apartment building in the up-and-coming part of Boston with amenities I never dreamed of having at my finger tips. Worlds apart.

the roof deck of my new home

In Maine, I had organic farms and farm stands a few streets away, chickens in my back yard that ate bugs off my herbs and vegetables, and fruit trees. I was blessed with an abundance of food that could easily be traced to its roots. Boston has Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and farmers’ markets, too, but it’s different. I’m not sure which I preferred. Maine was wonderful, but living in Boston where I will be commuting to gather groceries by means of public transit will be a new and interesting experience. Maintaining my organic, green, healthy lifestyle in 750 square foot apartment in Boston has given me a new focus for blog writing.

I look forward to the new experience of getting on the silver line and having time to think and observe while going to gather food. I look forward to the bustling farmers’ market full of new and wonderful things. And I look forward to a new opportunity to start fresh and make more adjustments in my diet for a healthier life. This whole experience will be new. And I look forward to the challenges and opportunities it presents.

reading

I curled up with The Eyre Affair, a novel on loan from my friend Jose. I’m working on zipping through so I can return it to him at his farewell party in two weeks. I inadvertently slammed the book when I last saw him at a gaming event by saying something to the effect of I’m in the middle of a bunch of books right now and haven’t had a chance to finish it yet to which he replied something to the effect of so there are a bunch of books you like better than this one. So I’m trying to make up for it by actually finishing the book and coming up with an honest review of it.

I’ve been in a book gathering mood of late and have picked up the first four books of The Dark Tower, of which I’m in the middle of book two, an annotated complete works of Milton, the Divine Comedy, and the new instant classics of Little Women and Werewolves as well as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I’ll never have enough books. I’m doomed to living in a book-lined home.

hand and home crafts

Nothing much going on with needle crafts such as cross-stitching or knitting. Per usual, I have a ton of UFOs sitting around that need some attention. The hexacomb cardigan has been set aside until I have an opportunity to fix some errors using EZ’s “no tears” method. The hexacomb pattern became a spiral when I was under the influence of Vicodin. I haven’t had the spirit to fix it since I discovered the error.

gaming and geekery

I picked up copies of Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XII this weekend. I look forward to settling in and playing them through this summer. I also picked up the first volume of some comics:  Lenore, The Wizard of Oz, and The Dark Tower. I cannot wait to purchase the whole of each.

That’s what I’m up to and some of what I’ve been thinking about. I hope all is well with you!

Much love. Black Sheep.

This is what it's all about.

Sharing quiet moments with the one(s) you love.

Dreams

Looking at my desk and walls reminds me of an art piece displayed in Lord Hall at UMaine created by Yvette Tardiff a few years ago:  a round kitchen table full of espresso cups with varying levels of fullness, with a wall full of sticky-notes behind it. I don’t remember the title of the piece, but it was something along the lines of “American Dream”.

I remember standing there staring at the installation and thinking:  Damn. That’s me.

It still is.

My desk is full of tea mugs that need to find their way to the kitchen and my desk, walls, and planner are full of sticky-notes reminding me of things I need to do.

What is the American dream to you? I asked a group of students this once as part of a unit on The Great Gatsby. I got a range of answers, but each one included being happy and healthy as part of it. It never occurred to me, until now, to examine my personal dream and how close I am to achieving it.

When I was in high school, and a half-hearted at best practicing Mormon, my dream was to have a modest home with a door open to the community, a bottom-less cookie jar, a few dogs, a cat, and lots of people to love coming and going throughout the day and year. This vision of life included being married, having a handful of kids, and being completely immersed in family life.

And thinking about it now, my vision hasn’t changed that much. I still want that modest home with a door open to the community, a bottom-less cookie jar, a few dogs, a cat, and lots of people to love. Unfortunately, the kids part won’t happen, at least not out of my body without serious intervention that is not certain to work.

A few months ago, after experiencing serious pain in my pelvic region for several days straight, I called my doctor in Maine. I told him what I was experiencing and asked for a reference closer to me in the North Shore area. I ended up spending a few days in southern Maine being poked and prodded and imaged. As if I wasn’t already sore enough. But it was necessary.

I waited and waited and finally the results came in:  between cyclical ovarian cysts from the time I was 14 and the damage my reproductive organs sustained from repeated sexual assault, I am unable to have kids. The pain was from a cyst that burst through years and years of scar tissue build-up. My organs are too scarred up to become pregnant without medical assistance. And the PTSD would make being pregnant and giving birth likely to change the chemistry of any child born of my body.

Even though I had already come to (mostly) decide I didn’t want children anyway (I’ll get to that later), having the choice taken away from me due to years of assault and a medical condition that often develops in people who have been sexually assaulted hurts.

I am still dealing with it.

And more than that. I have been feeling hurt and angry the last week because I am remembering what happened and realizing just how much it has affected me and how much it continues to affect me. How much someone else’s actions has changed how my brain and body functions, and how much has been taken away.

Looking around at these sticky-notes full of reminders and mugs of tea makes me wonder how close I am to that dream, and how far I have to go to overcome and tame these demons to get there.

Essence of Home.

A house does not simply become a home by adding furniture and people. A house becomes a home through the effort of loving  yourself, loving those who share the house with you, and finding little ways of making that love known.

I’ve seen people get stuck in consumerism in an effort to capture the essence of home. Home isn’t captured, either. These people are constantly off to the store because they think this throw pillow or that bar stool will finally bring the spirits. It’s sad to watch.

One must invite the spirits that make a house a home. One of the best ways I know is through cooking and crafting. I’ve had the chance to test this theory since relocating to Boston. It works. The simple every day acts of cooking, cleaning, and interacting is what makes a house a home.

It takes a while, sometimes, to invite the house spirits that help create home, but it’s well worth it. It took nearly two months for them to find their way from wooded Maine to bustling Boston. But they made it.

They couldn’t resist the call of sweet potato and carrot soup.

And seriously, could you?

This is one of my favorite soups. And it never fails to invite the house spirits. Whenever they seem to have wandered off, I beckon them back with this clarion call.

Autumn has found me at Home.

I am comforted sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee, laptop inches away, by the crisp, cold air. The crinkle of leaves in this chill breeze are a sure sign that not only autumn, but winter, is on it’s way. The time of year when wool and wood have great importance in sustaining and comforting life. It is time to start gathering in the bounty of summer’s growing season, return to the roots, and gather strength for the next season of growth.

Next to me is a softcover of Ahab’s Wife, or, The Star-Gazer by Sena Jeter Naslund. I can’t recall how many times I’ve read this novel. The first five chapters are as familiar to me as the inner chambers of my mind. As a matter of fact, the words have merged into my thought patterns. I have been reading almost exclusively from this novel since relocating and beginning my life anew.

The salt in the air of this city and the novel converge and I echo Una’s revelation:  I have found the home, finally, of my soul. My body has set down roots in this sea port steeped in history, my toes reaching deep into the earth and gripping the rich soil, drawing nutrients in to replenish the long-starved limbs.

I am home at long last.