Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Just Write

Ben's alarm rang out from the living room, so loud and insistent, and I wondered, again, why he does that... put it in the other room but then blare it?  It is so not what I would do.  But there you go.

He scurried out the door earlier than me today, which is so unusual, muttering about getting a sandwich for breakfast to test the theory that his everyday smoothie is giving his colon trouble.  I sat bundled on the couch for far too long, sucked into the endless commercial breaks of the Today show.

By the time I had dragged myself into work it was time to go to Tim's practice job talk, coming out of order after his practice chalk talk yesterday.  I scurried in one minute before my boss and grabbed a chair against the back wall, like I often do, instead of around the table like the other lab members.  Always an outsider, a tech, a wet bench lady.  Not grad student, not post doc, not computational.  Outsider.

The talk was long, leaning towards 2 hours by the time I snuck out to get lunch and get my PCR started and I thought a bit as I closed the door gently behind me that I don't know why I even bother going.  There is so little I understand in all of the computer models and simulations and theoretical work they present and so little that I contribute.  Actually, I never contribute anything.  I sit and nod and try to follow and look inquisitive and dream of a job where I care about the research and understand it and am valued.

With lunch in hand I plopped down in my chair, clicked on the UofM jobs site and searched, "Full time Jobs."

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Yesterday I felt filled with dread at this new year.  All I could think of was all the trials of 2012 and how hard and long it seemed.  I muttered to myself, "Good riddance!".   Then I remembered that that is what I said as 2012 was dawning, still so sick from just being released from the hospital. 

Is this what I will say every year from now on?  Is this how my life is going to go from now on?

Not the most hopeful or cheerful of thoughts.

I had no hope for this year, truly. 

But then I woke up this morning and as I stumbled out to the living room and looked out the window at the lake I saw this...

and I felt filled with hope.  The clear skies after so many weeks of rain here in the PNW, the frost on the rooftop of my neighbor's house, the crisp air I could practically smell through the glass panes - it all contributed and the world looked fresh and washed and NEW. 

And what more could one hope for in a new year?

Monday, December 31, 2012

Like muddling through

The internet is full up with reflective posts about this last year.  All the things that have been done and accomplished.  Some nods to the difficulties, lots of nods to the lessons learned so the tests don't still have the same sting. 

I'm sitting in the middle of the test, though.  As the new year clicks over we are supposed to be planning our move back to the midwest but instead I am whipping up elemental shakes for my love and praying on the bathroom floor that his flare dies down.  I am buying goat milk kefir in hopes that it will help and tabulating just how much we are spending in probiotics this month in an attempt to keep the strong meds at bay.  And in two days I am myself due for an infusion and can feel the inflammation clawing at my descending colon, screaming for I know not what.  What do you want, dear body?  How can I help?  Please, tell me, I will do it.

So the dark of winter feels very tangible right now. 

I thought of putting together my list of things I have accomplished in 2012 but it feels like a big long lump of time just spent getting over the shock of having been hospitalized last Christmas.  It feels like I jumped somehow from January to December, all those months in between slipped right past me in my efforts to survive the year. 

Yesterday I clung to Ben as I cried.  I just want ONE YEAR with no one sick!  Is that too much to ask??  I ranted.  

I felt like a whiner as I cried to my mom on the phone about Ben being ill.  It isn't like you are whining about some small thing, honey, you guys have been handed a raw deal.   Her words helped and then my mind went instantly to all those who have it worse than we do.  Sure, husband and wife with chronic autoimmune illness is no walk in the park but we have so much to be thankful for. 

But the truth is... I really really want to feel like all the images I keep seeing of people my age out dressed up and celebrating New Year's Eve.  But maybe most people are thinking the same thing.  Maybe those images aren't real? 

Monday, December 3, 2012

like putting up a Christmas Tree

I have been equal parts excited and terrified of trimming the tree this year.  You see, I can't remember very many happy tree decorating moments from my childhood.  Mostly there was tension, tears, trying to plaster a smile on my face and not think about how the air felt like molasses and smelled of sulfur.  My house was not very 'jolly', not at Christmas, not ever. 

And this first Christmas remarried - something I didn't think I would be - has caught me in my tracks, somehow.  I know that Sam and I decorated those first years married, so young and on fire with love.  I know we still decorated as things got rocky and tense and quiet and unsure.   I remember looking at the trees and buying gifts - although if I'm honest I only really remember it in the early of those 8 years. 

I don't remember feeling like much was riding on the season, though. 

After Thanksgiving at the local buffet (a plan that we thought would be funny, and was in part but was also sad) Ben and I went to the store to get a little potted tree I had seen.  Not quite a Christmas tree but a pine and a tree and it would do.  When we walked into the store and around the corner towards the plants I saw the Elf trees - miniature Christmas trees! - and without a hint of drama, clutched my chest and spun to Ben and pleaded with my eyes.  "Please, please can we get a real tree?"  The whole aisle smelled of tree and all I could remember was all the years that my mother wanted a real tree and my father refused... tooo messy, tooo dangerous, too too too...

Ben thought they were messy too. 

But there I was in the middle of the aisle bursting into tears when he said it seemed like a good idea, there I was clutching his coat as I buried my face in his chest, overcome with sadness over the past and hope for the future and wonder at how my life has changed and changed and changed through the years. 

So we brought that tree home and sawed off the base and arranged it in the stand and I have been watering it for a week but we hadn't decorated it.  I kept putting it off, you see.  I kept being tired or not in the mood or something.  But then I realized that I was postponing for fear of us getting in a fight while decorating or something going wrong and having to taste tears and string lights with blurry vision again.  I didn't want that.

But it wasn't like that.  It was lovely.  And I cried again, clutching him again but from the back this time, his hands raised high with a string of lights, reaching around the back of the tree, me all tears mashed into his back, unable to decide to cry or laugh and so I did both. 

It was cozy and happy and the picture of merry Christmas. 

I wonder why all of this is coming up now, with this marriage when it didn't before.  Maybe I knew that Sam was leaving eventually.  Or maybe I was so delusional with all the hormones that I didn't and I thought that all of the past was in the past and so I boxed it up and put it in the basement and thought I was done with all of that.   But these days it is like Ben and I are in that basement, opening box after box.  I cry, he holds me.  He laughs at how adorable I am as I jettison snot everywhere.  It is a strange strange life, this one. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Like throwing out my scale

I have always believed that if I were a bit thinner then I would be happy and easy and carefree.  Unfortunately the only two times in my life when I have been able to lose weight were when I was emotionally traumatized by break ups. 

So, not so carefree, ya know? :)

A couple years ago my Ben made me throw away my scale.  It was much harder than I like to admit, actually.  I thought it might be a little uncomfortable since I had been weighing myself daily for decades (with no weight loss side effect as clearly promised in all those mags) but it felt like going off of crack or something.  Not that I know how that feels...

I longed for that scale.  I truly did.  I actually considered fishing it out of his dumpster (he had taken it away with him, not trusting me to actually follow through on tossing it). 

Can you imagine?  Fishing a scale out of a dumpster so that I could know if I was a couple pounds up or down from a day ago? 

What madness is that?  Truly...I ask you?

So I have been scale-less now for maybe two years?  Somewhere around there.   I think that my weight stayed about the same for the first year and then I landed in hospital with a flare of my colitis and lost 30lbs in about 3 weeks. 

Oh, I had forgotten that as one of the 'carefree' thin episodes. :~

My weight slowly crept back up after getting out of the hospital and these last couple months my clothes have begun to get tight...

and I have begun to long for a scale again.

So I debated.  and debated.  and researched.  and talked to Benja.  and then I bought a scale.  Against his wishes, I might add. 

And here I am three days later, packaging it back up. 

It is going back to the store, ASAP. 

That thing is nothing but trouble.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

what is in my cup

i'm newly married.  i'm wildly unhappy.

it isn't because of him.  i am pretty sure that it isn't because of him.  i feel so stagnant.  even my writing has come to a halt and i sit here staring at this edit page without words, without my voice.

everything i write sounds like someone else.

everyday i sit and read my favorite blogs and the three or more books i have going at any one time and i feel inspired and held and nurtured and informed.  and i feel so full.  i feel full to overflowing with feelings and thoughts and words and i want to get them out of my head and heart and belly but when i come here all the doors slam shut and i am standing in a hallway, all echos and hints of light stabbing towards me from under the doors.  the light calls to me, it whispers in a language i just can't make out, a voice that is just too mumbled or quiet or fast and i want to catch those words and put them down here but i can't because i can't hear them or remember them or understand them clearly enough to transcribe them and my head hurts and my ears ache as i put my hands over them, trying to block out the almost but not quite words. 

i want to scream but i am silent

i want to write but it is aborted

i want to let go but i am a vibrating ball of tension wound tightly around myself.

Friday, November 2, 2012

In bed

The bed is wide and tall and feels like a ship these days. A featherbed topped ship. I can hear Ducky typing away in the living room, finishing up his work for the night. I came in here to read a bit before we finally go to sleep (it IS 8:45pm, after all) but once I was nestled in the fluff and blanket, sea foam green and a bit matted from all the years of use and washing, draped off of my knees and spreading out like a rolling hillside, I noticed the moon. It is that awkward shape that it gets between full and half full, always looking lopsided to me. There are wispy clouds moving along in front of it, more befitting last night-- hallow's eve-- than tonight - boring unspooky November 1st.

I'm tempted to turn off the little lamp that I read by so that I could see the moon better but the glow in the room is so warm and my book is waiting. And somehow, despite the tears this evening about a maternal longing that pulls at my heart and fails to be met  --  this life is the good life.