Thursday, June 29, 2006

Such a tease!

Today my dearest friend, Emily, came to visit. Even though flooding doubled her drive time, she was willing to come and spend a few hours with me. It was lovely.

I've know Emily longer than any of my other friends at this point. Fourteen years ago, we met on the last day of summer camp. We were in Middle School. At the time, she lived in Pennsylvania and I lived in Virginia. However, we became fast friends, writing letters like crazy and visiting when we could--which was usually tied to holiday visits with family. Years later, we have gone back and read some of those original letters. They are quite funny.

Even though its a 5 1/2 hour turnpike drive between us, we've managed to see each other nearly every month since I stopped working full time. It is wonderful, but we often laugh at how it teases us into thinking this will happen every couple of weeks. We'd both love to live close enough to meet for walks, but would settle for easy day trips. With more flexibility, I've been out in eastern PA much more often than the last couple of years allowed. And whenever I'm out east, it makes sense to try to see Em.

So, today she came to the bay and we enjoyed the warmth and sun while talking and reviewing the last couple of weeks since we last saw each other. It was wonderful. It always is.

One of the many things I love most about Em--and there are many--is that I can share anything with her, but I also know that we can sit and be quiet together and it's just as nice. It's centering to be able to trust a friendship so much.

I hope that someday we live close enough that we can see each other routinely. For now, its nice to see her whenever I can.

Thanks, Em, for coming. It was great to see you!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Falling Branches?

This week, I am at Red Point--a small community at the top of the Chesapeake Bay. I've been coming to Red Point my entire life. It is not a fancy place, but it is familiar and one of the only homes that has remained consistent throughout the different moves that my family made.

Nick is working on a straw bale house in Indiana this week. Instead of staying home by myself, I decided to come to the bay and enjoy a quiet retreat. My parents are around some this week as well, which is nice. I brought a lot to do though, and have been craving the quietness of a detatched house out of the city.

Being out of the city also has some issues that I find less than charming. This morning I was talking to Brooke on the phone while walking around in the grove across from the cottage. As we talked, something caught my eye as it fell from a tree and hit the ground with a "thud". My first thought was that it must be a small branch. But, the shape seemed unlikely and since there was no wind, it was hard to convince myself it was even possible. As I slowly moved closer to look, the sound repeated in my mind and it became clear that it sounded much more like flesh than it did wood.

And it was. The flesh of a 3 foot snake. A snake that had fallen from a tree that I was standing very close to. Even thinking about it now makes my skin crawl. I hate snakes.

The snake remained still for about three minutes. Was it dead? Was it sleeping? And then it began to move and suddenly it was gone. I tentatively moved closer to see where it might have gone (hopefully away from me). It had started to climb the tree again. And what I had at first thought to be a black snake, had a white belly and a faint white diamond like pattern on its back.

Does anyone know what kind of snake it might have been? I'm curious. Can a black snake have white markings?

Once again I am reminded that this greener (quieter, more spacious) grass has some issues as well. Snakes for one.

Note to self: Cannot stand under trees.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The only dreams I'm having are day dreams.

The last two nights have been fairly sleepless for me again. And this time, Nick is even home.

The night before last, I listened to the neighbors hooting and hollering until well after midnight. Cars coming and going. Me wide awake not comfortable or happy. Nick soundly sleeping unaware of anything. Seriously.

Last night, we both went to sleep feeling like we were hearing noises in our house that didn't make sense. Great way for me to fall asleep peacefully. And this was after listening to the neighbors wrestling and whatnot while some visitor banged and screamed at the front door trying to get their attention. This was 11:30pm.

Early early morning, the summer storms began. (Even as I write this, there is a news story on right now discussing how bad these storms were.) Now, I like a good summer storm. As a kid, I remember laying wide awake in the bay cottage while the walls literally shook with the thunder. I didn't like that, but somehow still graduated into appreciating a thunderstorm. That is unless its super windy--implying that it is more than a thunderstorm--and that the tree in our back could crash through our house, or worse through a neighbor's house. OR if the thunder and lightening are simultaneous (meaning DIRECTLY ABOVE ME) for hours on end. Which is exactly what happened last night.

Not only was our room fully illuminated every few minutes, but the thunder boomed and the house rattled and then there were other noises in the house that took us back to the original fears of the night. What was that? Is there someone in our house? Yes, paranoia. And to be fair, my anxiety probably makes Nick second guess more than he would on his own.

Now that I have had several fear-filled sleepless nights this month, I can start to see a pattern in how I (or rather my body) reacts. My stomach turns into a tight tight ball of anxiety and I lay there motionless feeling sick. That's what my body does. My mind helps the situation by imagining all of the horrible things that could happen. How can this possibly be healthy for me?

Somewhere around 5am I am able to fall asleep. Ah, the safety of day break. I don't even know if that's when it happens, but it is at least close enough that my mind convinces my body that it is now safe to relax and go to sleep.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Flickr Photos

In May, I went to Mississippi w/ Nick's family for a week. We worked with Mennonite Disaster Service helping to rebuild houses in Pass Christian where they were hit severely by Hurricane Katrina. My first set of pictures on my Flickr badge are from that trip.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Hello (hello hello) is there anybody out there?

As of today, only about three people (who know me) know that I have a blog AND know the web address. I've been pretty secretive about the blog. I've had two separate friends ask me if it's because I am not wanting others to read it because I use it to rant. I've always got a rant in my head. But is this really the place to air it?

I'm a bit amazed at what people are willing to say on their blog because PEOPLE, IT IS OUT THERE. I mean "Publish Post" does not mean close the journal, turn the key and stick it in the bottom drawer of your dresser.

So yes, I may rant from time to time. But, I'm still not willing to write anything I REALLY don't want someone (being anyone whom I might know) seeing. I haven't actually put my name on this blog yet. And yes, I've googled the address and blog name to see if I come up--I don't. While people may not find it on their own, I may want to share the fact that I am blogging with someone at some point. And when I do, I don't want that someone to read a bunch of rants where I over-processed the relationship or interactions that I have had with them. Anyway, that's what I have Nick for.

All this got me thinking, who is my audience? Given that I haven't told anyone about this site--the answer may be YOU HAVE NO AUDIENCE. However, I actually received a few comments from people I didn't know on my first post. Maybe it was better written than any of my more recent posts. Or maybe people are out there and just not commenting. There isn't much to comment on. But, I am wondering, if you're out there, who are you? And what would you be willing to say on your blog?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Lil' Beeb

El gato pequito se llama Juan Carlos.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Wonderful Neighbors

A few posts ago, I brought up my frustrations with some of my neighbors. Since that time, I've been reminded of some of the wonderful people who live on my street. It is these neighbors who I would hate to leave if we would move.

This is a picture of the birthday cake that a neighbor brought me this past weekend. It is seriously as delicious as it looks. I can't even tell you--I seriously was "Mmm-mm"ing with every bite.

The same week, a neighbor who owns a body shop helped me out with my car and gave me a very generous discount.

There are three other couples our age who live on this street and we get together for dinner every now and then. Every time we do, I appreciate the diversity of the group and how comfortable we are together, but mostly I love how much we laugh.

We recently said goodbye to Mary as she left to join the US Marines. We hope to welcome a baby to the group this week yet--Jonathan and Kaethe are due this coming Sunday. It feels wonderful to share life with the people that you know simply because they live near you. You always know that someone else is watching out for you and that there is always someone to call for a cup of sugar or to watch trashy TV or even to crash on a couch.

These are just some of the wonderful people that I live near, and I feel blessed, because I know that not many people feel so supported by and connected to their immediate neighbors. It's important for me to remember this on the days that I am struggling to handle the chaos on either side of my walls.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

So Cute

Here is a picture of the oh-so-cute kitten. Which is apparently a boy (woops). If he were mine, I'd name him Beatty. But, I think there is a good chance that he has found a home with Neil and Susanna. They'll be a great family. Who knows what they'll name him.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Significant Lapse in Judgment

Yesterday morning, I stopped by a friend's house a few blocks away. This friend, and her neighbors, had planned to take a litter of kittens to the rescue league that morning. When I arrived, I helped round up the kittens and one by one, I handed them off to be taken away. And then I picked this adorable little thing up: all gray fluff, blue-green eyes, the size of my hand, and no hissing or spitting at all. I was paralyzed.

Now, I must give a bit of background. Two and a half years ago, Nick and I got two kittens at Animal Friends--Mona and Milo. They were from the same litter and were fabulous. Part of what we loved was how they interacted with each other. A year and a half after we got them, Milo needed to be put down because of an incurable disease that was making him weaker and weaker. After that, we knew we wanted another kitten. So, when it was time, we got another cat--Jack Pippen. Jack was a crazy cat, and to be fair everyone who knows him believes that he is actually a dog. Seriously. Jacko terrorized Mona with his constant eagerness to play and surprise. Mona began eating so quickly so that Jack wouldn't eat her food, and then she would immediately go throw up. Once she began taking a daily shit on our bed, we knew that the anxiety was at a breaking point (ours) and it was time for Jack to move on. We moved Jack Pippen to the eastern side of the state to live with Nick's parents. He's incredibly happy there: they wanted a dog--he acts like a dog, and he gets to be outside in suburbia and catch mice and ground critters all day. Very happy. Mona is also thrilled. She loves being a single cat. Her personality emerges when there are no other cats around. So, as you can see, we had sort of settled with the idea that we are a Mona only house.

Until yesterday when I completely forgot everything, and brought this kitten home. (If Nick had not taken the camera to Indiana this week, I would be posting a picture so that you would realize that this really was not my fault.)

I called the vet and asked questions about bringing the kitten into the house, how much it would cost for different things, etc. Then it hit me--this was really stupid. So, I tried to take the kitten to the rescue league to be returned to her siblings. The woman at the desk said I need to either pay for her or have my paperwork for her--neither of which made any sense, and so I left...with the kitten.

At this point, I didn't know what to do. But, I had an appointment and didn't have time to play games with the rescue league. I called a friend and did that horrible thing of completely tempting them with something they'd love, but hadn't planned to do --and it worked! I think. They stopped by last night and seemed completely taken--how couldn't they be, Mimi was perfect. (Yes, I named her.) Since I wasn't staying at home last night, they took her to think about it. If they decide they don't want her, Nick and Mona may just have to get over the house rule.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Did it work?

I'm trying to add a picture to the blog and not exactly sure if I'm doing it right. Anyway, this is me, on my 28th birthday.

My Birthday

So, today is the day. The beginning of my 29th year. I've never really liked my birthday. This morning I talked with my Mom on the phone and we reviewed my different birthdays--what we did, what presents I got, how I responded. Apparently swimming pools were a favorite gift--two years in a row!

Every year on my birthday, I feel a deep sadness. This has gotten better in recent years, as Nick has worked feverishly to distract me with happiness all day. A lot of people have anxiety around their birthday--whether they expect disappointment or hate the idea of turning a year older. For me, its just sadness. Maybe its the nostalgia that I feel because of what birthdays represent. Maybe it is a time when I remember every emotion I have ever felt around a birthday--sans the happy memories. It is honestly just the most sensitive day of my year. Every year.

Nick and I are headed to the movies this afternoon. We never do this. And when we do, we (being me) certainly do not have an easy time convincing us (being him) of romantic comedies. But, hey, today's my day. And today we are going to see "The Break-Up". I am sure that he'll laugh some but overall not really enjoy it. However, I do know that I am loved. And I know that Nick would do almost anything to make today a good day--even if that means romantic comedies and putting up with irrational sensitivities. And, really, I would know that I am loved even if he didn't do these things, but it is just so nice that he does them anyway. It is part of what makes me love him so much.

Thank you, Nick, for putting up with me, and working hard to help me learn how to enjoy my birthday. (And, Nick, guess what. I published a post without your intense editing! Aren't you proud of me?)