I declare the move to the new apartment officially over–Sunday, May 8th. I say that because for the first time in over a month I’m am paying attention to writing again. I’ve been doing my assignments for class but otherwise journaling, blogging, reading (an essential part of writing), thinking about the book, the ‘100’ flash pieces, listening to the lectures and poems in my Coursera poetry classes, and trying to think like a writer has been on an extended break. That Is Over. Done. Back to work.
First though one last post and a small album of photos from my new place–which I seventy-five percent love. The apartment is great now that my stuff surrounds me, good layout, windows in every room (unlike my sweet but cave-like previous digs) from which I can see green. The street is, as previously stated, boring, but the neighborhood behind me is quite lovely and I’ve discovered I’m okay living in The Heights, an area that the more arts-oriented among us have long decried as soulless at worst, dull at best. Maybe I’ve just never admitted to myself I am not particularly soulful although I’ve always known I was not exactly the animated life-of-the-party type. So…I guess I Am Home. There are still some things to do, but I’m out of home-improving energy and money for now.
It’s Mothers Day. One nice son has called and told me to look for a card in the mail and the other nice son and daughter-in-law are taking the moms to the Cheesecake Factory, which has just arrived in Albuquerque, to dinner. Loved it when eating there in San Francisco so am quite happy about this day of reading, writing, good food AND A NEW HENNING MANKELL SERIES ON PBS this evening.
April 30th. It’s a rainy evening…April showers and all that. I realize how happy I am to be in my new home. And it’s not even The Home yet! A good month and May will be even better as I properly settle in among my favorite things and even a few brand new favorite things like a dust mop, big bright green fern, and best of all an IKEA Day Bed for the guest room/library/laundry. But more about that in the future.
I wrote a small review of my life at 208 that I’ve decided to include here just to properly close out a major phase of my life.
April 8th. This morning was my last morning alone at 208. Sixteen years. A passage. From late-middle-age to pre-old-old—a small amount of nostalgia/sentimentality/memory-gorging allowed. During this16 years, here’s what I did:
- Discovered my kids siblings grandchildren cousins are my best friends and have begun transitioning into a sweet little old lady—the kind of whom it is said, “Wasn’t she just the sweetest thing ever?” Or Not.
- Made (with a lot of help from my friends) a festival called Global DanceFest of which I am very proud.
- Traveled a bunch.
- Became a blogger—of sorts.
- Discovered the wonders of gyms and walking and feeling strong.
- Been the sometimes excellent, sometimes mediocre director of a small but brilliant arts and disability organization.
- And…prepared myself for the next (possibly final!) stage of life as A Writer by blogging, getting a UCLA certificate in literary non-fiction and by Starting The Book and the 100 (more about this later also).
It’s been great
Now moving on uptown
All of the time
Anything else a crime
Because there’s no more time time time…
Perhaps I’ll be a poet.
So yesterday (Sunday) while cooking and drinking beer and watching Fareed and crime I made a post. A silly post. Here it is, even sillier on Monday morning.
And on the Seventh Day or Whenever She Had Time…. Fareed Zakaria with the King of Jordan. Strong milky coffee. Times. Fly in the Ointment—tax-related docs papers bills receipts spread all about. It’s not that hard to get my papers ready for the accountant since I don’t make a lot of money, own nothing except an aging car, second-hand and IKEA furniture and trinkets from around the world—oh yeah and my new North Face jacket!
Fleece-lined Tights Support Creative Sloth, Slow Cooking, and Rampant Anglophilia. Love Sundays. Never go to work-work unless it is critical on Sundays. Never depart my pleasant apartment on Sundays. Never take off my pajamas on Sundays.
So. Honestly. Do Sows Have Souls? Does Bill O’Reilly? There are cooking Sundays. My favorites. Usually my life is media-saturated. Books, Classes, Netflix, Aljazeera, CNN, PBS, WordPress, Facebook. My media purveyors always at hand—Surfy on my lap, TV a few feet away, books all around, newspapers piling up. It’s all good except when it’s not.
But Not On Cooking Sundays. For awhile I divest. I just chop and brown and pour and taste. I drink a little wine or beer. Sometimes, like now, I write or read a little between tasks. But the point is I don’t have to. Today is for fun. I’m going to incorporate some writing prompts from my current class into this post-for fun. All between that chopping, slicing, browning stuff. And between sips of Alaskan Amber Ale.
Today, I am preparing Roast Pork with Milk and Sautéed Kale with Alliteration. Here are all of the writing techniques we are learning to use more effectively in my Lyric Essay class: Image, Prose as Poem versus Essay; Metaphor, Line Break-Paragraph Bread, Spelunking with Diction, Rhetorical Questions, Assonance, Alliteration and Repetition, Apostrophe as Entry and Exit, Isolating the Senses. I want all of these wonderful devices to become second nature in my writing. Is that possible while cooking and drinking?
Once I Worked in a Restaurant. I Was Not Very Good At It. I Quit Before I Got Fired. Into the kitchen. Rub roast with salt and pepper really robustly. No spare sprinkles, rub dammit rub. Into the hot oil. Ouch. Splattery browning hot. Won’t really smell like a Sunday roast until the onions get tossed in…close bedroom door. Don’t want to be someone whose clothes tell the tale of the tastily tantalizing but powerfully potent treat you’ve just prepared.
Never Relinquish Your Right to Reorder the Day. I did not read the recipe carefully. After the 1 ½ hours of cooking with lid on pot, there is another 1 ½ hours of lidless time. Hmmm. There’s the beer, the food, the nap, the shower before Downton Abbey. Always the joy of life is overwhelmed by decisions.
Kale is Not My Friend and I Cannot Cross Enough Lines to Make It So. Afternoon. Crossing Lines on TV. Little bit high from my two bottles of Alaskan beer. Pork roast smells. That rich smell of bloody meat browned onioned oiled salted simmering. I’ve left the house heat on because it’s a chilly day, sunny of course—New Mexico after all—and the doors and windows open. Just for a little while. I’m sautéing the kale with garlic and olive oil, add pepper flakes and wine, how can this be bad? Awful. I hate it. My last attempt to learn to love kale. I am finished with you oh green curly vegetable so popular, so beloved of foodies. In fact I hate you. I’ll never be a real foodie, will I? But Crossing Lines is a great international crime adventure. Netflix. Makes me forget kale.
The End. Except for the album of glorious cooking photos.
A LITTLE BLUE THIS MORNING PERHAPS?The vow, the frequently renewed vow, the pledge to my creative and obsessive soul. I will post to one of my blogs every day; images stories observations comments…every day…every day. And then I do not.
Then there are the images I am supposed to be gathering for my class, noting down somewhere for future stories.
Oh yes, and how I should be taking pictures all of the time of everything for the brilliant shot that occasionally pops up and I have a moment of believing I’m a photographer.
To catch up (obsessive are always needing to catch up), I will post five photos today. I’ve only managed one so far but it’s early.
From Paris to work to 24 hour bug to work again to tomorrow when my eldest son Scott will appear from San Diego for a visit with mommy and the bro. I am looking forward to a very nice weekend with talk and eating well and maybe some movies.
Meanwhile I am having a bit of an existential crisis. I keep saying my life henceforth is dedicated to becoming an effective writer—to legitimately label myself a writer. I want desperately to respond to the question of ‘what do you do’ with ‘writer.’
However being a writer implies that whatever I put out there for public consumption would have to be coherent, interesting and full of humor, intelligence or wisdom. Right?
So what to do about my blogs. Sometimes I’m quite proud of the contents of one or the other; other times I’m just putting words to screen because it’s become a habit, a regular part of my day—and I do like to write after all.
I must decide whether to keep this blog, Today X 365, as a sort of daily journal/diary or only ‘go public’ with offerings more cleanly edited and/or topics of broader interest or more vital subjects.
Ah yes, that time-worn question about the meaning of existence. Reduced slightly in my case to the meaning of blogs. Pathetic.
Let me just consider that food I mentioned (Scott will want New Mexican) and movies (seven Oscar nominations to go) and hanging out with my quite wonderful sons this weekend. I cannot be too worthless if I have these two fine, smart, hard-working, kind, interesting men as sons, yes? Good husbands, fathers, sons and, of course, liberal Democrats. I’ve raised liberals, therefore I am.
A long time ago my college tested us students so we would know what professions to pursue. I scored highest in law and social work and lowest in dietitian and home economics teacher. Since I spent awhile yesterday looking for photos of me preparing Thanksgiving meals or even me in the kitchen and found a total of three, one of which I posted yesterday, the other two which follow, I must admit the test may have been at least partially true.
A thousand years ago visiting “The Old Place” before mom and dad stopped farming. Sitting on the woodbox next to the kitchen stove smoking a cigarette. Must admit it was pleasurable.
However I did not become a lawyer either; I did become a social worker but didn’t like it. Forget that test. Writing is what I do. Not great writing. Not salable writing. Not silly writing. Not bad writing either. Writing. It’s a job. Or anyway I want it to be. However I have one of those 40-hour week jobs already. One I like quite a lot. It is interesting, rewarding for me and actually has meaning for the community.
So then, that must be two jobs. Most of my life has been taken up with two or even three jobs at a time so I’m mostly okay with that. I’ve figured it out—early mornings, some evenings, most weekends for one, 8-5 for the other.
Trouble only arises when a long weekend comes along. I wait anxiously for it to arrive. I make lists that account for every potential writing hour. The evening before I shower, put out my best writing clothes (flannel pajamas for winter/cut-off flannel pajamas for summer), the coffeepot is ready to plug in for that fresh brewed smell and I sleep well.
Morning comes. I’m rested, a hot cuppa in my hand. I freeze…incapable of thinking words, sentences, paragraphs. Instead I think about reorganizing the back porch, how the kitchen shelf needs reinforcement, there’s the Christmas list, old photos to organize for further restoration, unswept front porch, grocery list, light bulbs to replace….
So I’m pretty sure what proves I actually am a writer is that after those thoughts flit through my mind, even making it onto a list, I can actually sit down and write. Cheating a little here as this is my easy blog day and I’m putting off paying attention to that elusive book by writing a—well, yes, silly—morning blog post. Now to the computer to see how much of what I’ve written about my obsessive Norwegianness is actually usable for Part One of Up North.
Much of my everyday life happens in the little north valley art center where I work and which is home to much of what gives New Mexico the rich tastes and smells and sounds of Old Mexico…and makes this place just a little more interesting than your average old American state. Even in my present jaded state of mind, I do appreciate that.