Feast of Life!

So I'm a big fan of Maggie Mason, aka Mighty Girl and I kind of flipped out when I read today's post about how Intel is sponsoring her to do a bunch of things on her Mighty Life list. Maggie started a list of things she'd like to do before she dies and adds to it when she comes across other goals. It is very inspiring to watch.

Well when I read that post today, it made me want to start my own list. It made me want to write it so badly that I avoided doing it all night. Because lists like that are TERRIFYING! What if I put something that never comes true? What a FAILURE I will be!

I got into bed about 20 minutes ago and couldn't fall asleep because I kept thinking about all of the big things I want to do in my life, so I got out my notebook and jotted some ideas down and then I couldn't stop until I had posted them all on this blog. Publicly. To hopefully inspire motivation and non-failure behind some of these goals.

The funny thing about setting these goals is that some of them are so unexpected. Translate a novel? Whoah! And yet, Yeahhhh. A big, giant goal. Mmm, it is so lofty and unattainable and impossible sounding. My favorite kind of goal to kill!

Anyways, the list of goals is over in the right-hand column way down at the very bottom (you might need to scroll) and I'll keep track of progress over there. Also, you may notice that redesigning this site is on there. Hopefully that is a sooner rather than later goal, as it's starting to look irresponsibly cluttered around here.

Feast of Life! Big goals! Midnight on a Tuesday! Ah, the sweet smell of ambition... it gets me every time.


Blink and June is gone.

I hadn't quite registered how long it's been since I updated the old blog until I got an email this morning from a friend who wrote: "Uh. Are you still in Wisconsin?" Alas! I am back in New York, where the rains continue on a daily basis and the news of celebrity deaths keep rolling in.

We had a great time in WI, where I met Chris' family and friends and drank a beer for $2.25. Seriously! Also I had a vodka-cranberry for $3. Looking for a recession-proof vacation? Try drinking in the Midwest. It is a good time.

Being in the Midwest (and in a smaller city) got me thinking a lot about the kinds of populations that gather in different regions and the way that affects how people interact and relate to each other. I'm not sure I'd find French lit-loving pals in Kenosha. That said, the community spirit that I felt at one of the local Art Galleries doesn't seem possible in a large city like New York. A deluge of options may not always be preferable; with less choice, it seems like community is forced to build around a smaller outlet, which feels more friendly and welcoming than its big city counterparts.

These thoughts, coupled with the fact that New York has been a tough place for me socially lately, inevitably lead me to think about the next place I'll live (still up for grabs- suggestions are welcome!).

This weekend, I managed to meet up with Leigh and Crussell, who was in town visiting from Atlanta. We had exactly the kind of day I've been dying to have with friends in NY... potluck picnic lunch in Central Park with several hours of talking and lounging.

I've got a bunch of little creative projects wrapping up, one of which is a super-cool gift I made for my brother for his graduation. I have photos to share, but I'd like him to receive it in the mail before I post about it on my blog, so those will have to wait.

On a side note, New York girls have been ROCKING the sundress of late. I seriously passed about 60 dresses I wanted to steal off people's bodies while wandering through the city this weekend. Good job, New Yorkers, for dressing classy and appropriate for hot weather. Looking hot in a cool way.


Planning on ordering a side of cheddar with EVERYTHING.

I'm going to Wisconsin tomorrow! Was just hit with a wave of excitement at the idea that a long weekend is only 26 hours away. And really, more than that: a vacation. Swoon.


Could probably use some yoga.

I'm a little bit of a stressball tonight. It was a really long day and felt like it should have been Thursday by about 5pm. Sima recommended deep breathing and imaging letting go of all the frustration and anxiety, which was helpful. I have to work on being less affected by every single hiccup of every single day.

What do you guys do to get rid of a knot in your stomach?


29,000 ways to avoid looking at the camera.

"Oscar, come on, let's take a picture so I can show Mom and Dad and Steve how you're doing."

"Buddy, look here."

"Hey. Bud." *snaps fingers*


"Oscar!" *finally grabs a piece of string to dangle*



Just to clarify.

I reread last night's post while drinking my morning chai against the kitchen cabinet. And it sounds like I am flown around by a flock of angels while sunshine grows directly from my posterior. Like minions bring me juice on trays and like they hold an annual parade in honor of my boyfriend.

Let's just set the record straight here, folks- you might catch me in these goopy fests more often than not (I am more inclined to 'share the love' so to speak when things are going well), but it's not like I got no issues.

This morning? I was supposed to use my newly flowing creativity to wake me gently at 7am and write for a while. I was also supposed to pick out clothes that do not make me look like a hooker (tank top that is... revealing to say the least) and cover it up with a stained sweater. Also there are a pile of about 8 new magazines I haven't yet touched on my kitchen table and the place is so covered in Oscar's damn fur that you might walk in and say "wow, what a lovely plush carpet you have here in this house. I remember it being hard wood floors."

Also, I have run exactly 3 times since November. Unless you count my mind racing, which has a much more active history.

Just calling a spade a spade. :)


Piling on the hobbies.

Last weekend, a workshop with the effervescent SARK; this week, a high tide of creative moments and projects.

I'm writing a story.

I'm creating a graduation gift for my brother.

I'm thinking about potential art projects for Etsy.

It feels great to think "the dishes can wait a few hours" or "the apartment can be swept later" and instead spent a few daily moments with a sketchbook and some projects. If I learned anything from SARK, it's that finding time to be creative is not impossible in a busy person's life.

Similarly, the recent 5 daily goals that Sima and I continue to keep up with are helping me to focus on feeling productive and spending good time with family and friends.

Lately, a happy humming in the background. It feels good.

Last night:
"Is it annoying when I leave the seat up?"
"I was just thinking about that the other day! I was thinking about how it actually doesn't matter to me in the least, how at first I felt like leaving it up was the 'wrong' way for a toilet to be, but then I realized that I really don't care about those kind of things. I mean, it's basically a question of control, right? Does it bother you when I leave the seat down?"

"Nope, I feel like it's the same thing."

Could I have had this relationship even a year ago? I feel as though I'm un-learning the instinct to have things Just So. Or maybe I'm getting better at letting things Naturally Happen? Either way, it's about freaking time.

The rain has got to stop. Sweaters and jeans and sneakers with socks should be long gone by now. There are reasons I don't live in Seattle.

A few nights ago, we had terrible thunderstorms in New York, loud and violent enough to wake Oscar, who launched himself onto my head. As I lay and counted Mississippis between claps of thunder, I wondered how many other people were doing the same. It's the type of American instinct that I suppose people in other countries don't know about, the kind of cultural knowledge that doesn't come out in textbooks or guidebooks. What a cool secret to know.

Today at work there were suddenly spots, sections of the screen that I couldn't see. "Nooo," I thought. "Please, not a migraine." But then, within minutes, a dull ache.

I used to have migraines in the 7th grade. Then they stopped until a few months ago, when I had the first one in 15 years. Now, a second one today. I worry less about the actual migraine than why these are coming into my life again. Was it the Mexican food for lunch? The gray light coming through half-closed blinds? What triggers it?

The subway ride home was an adventure of walking into poles and holding my head. You know, a typical New Yorker.

Now post-nap in the dark, spots are gone and I'm watching a crazy dance show in which 'normal people' compete to become some kind of Dance American Idol or something. Thoughts:

* Ohhhh wow, I really want to take a dance lesson sometime.
* CHEERS to the fact that many of the women on this show actually have thighs.
* Secret desire to go to library and get a dance DVD and perform in my living room: ACKNOWLEDGED.

And finally, my first salad from the Fire Escape garden:


The difference of a year.

"Isn't it amazing how different our lives are a year later?"
"Or a year and a half. I remember you crying at my kitchen table!"
"I know!"
"I knew it would just take you moving into the city."
"I'm so glad that you've figured out where you need to be."

I spent the evening with an old friend, a former boss who has been a mentor to me for so long. She's moving to Luxembourg; her life, though complicated, is going to continue in a new place with new people. It's simultaneously the most difficult option and the most right. It's how I felt about moving home to New York two years ago.

There is some part of me that silently glows when she speaks of the cafes and the bridges and the valleys of the new European city she'll know. Like neurons that light up when they're called for, there are parts of myself that want to have the same. "And us?" they say. "When will we have another new adventure?"

It's not so much silencing them anymore, it's more smiling and nodding my head knowingly. "Yes," I soothe them. "That would be nice. But it's not our project right now."

And now I ride the train back to the city, back from the suburbs, the same train that I used to commute with twice a day. It reminds me of another time, another job, another set of people I used to know on a daily basis. It reminds me how much you can alter your life situation in 14 months.

I have a bagful of French teas and an old sari that she gave me in preparation for India; she is nothing if not generous and always thoughtful. We haven't seen each other in months and yet it's hard to imagine her moving across the ocean.

One more person to add to the list of Friends I Miss in Europe. Actively.


Tuesday, home.

I just went downstairs to get the laundry I hung up to dry last week. This is a stupid habit of mine, leaving clothes in the basement for days and weeks on end. What must the neighbors think? That I spend weeks without sheets on my bed or that I air dry post-shower instead of using towels?

As I folded the towels a few minutes ago, I recognized the stiff, blotchy patterns that dryers never leave. They reminded me of helping my Nana with the laundry when I was younger, of carrying a thick woven basket of wet clothes outside with a pail of clothespins to boot. I can't even remember if she even had a dryer, now that I think about it.

I'm home sick from work today and spent lots of the afternoon napping with Oscar on the couch. At one point he was sprawled on his back, lying on my chest, two paws in the air. Snoring. Paws twitching. Cat dreaming. Hilarious and adorable and so lovable; he must be thrilled by this change of pace, by this lounging together. Even now as I type in the kitchen, waiting for some banana bread to bake, he's lying near me on the floor.

Here he is a few minutes ago in the bathtub. Sometimes when he gets excited he races into the bathroom and jumps in the tub. It's ridiculous:

Also, I took some shots of my garden last night, which is growing so much! So glad I decided to do this for the summer...