Today Gabe is wearing a maroon shirt and blue shorts.
Since I started this blog, almost 3 years ago, I have almost never missed a post. I have skipped maybe 3 times on purpose and have outright just missed a week due to forgetfulness or confusion maybe twice.
Last week was one of those times.
Last Friday, when I normally would have been writing on this blog, I was packing everything I own into reusable grocery bags and suitcases, and stacking them high in the back of my station wagon, and driving up the coast to my new house in the woods.
All weekend, while listening to a nonstop stream of the Invisibilia podcast, I carried load after load into my new house and deposited it all on the floor. Then, over this week, the one main stack became several distinct piles, which then moved closer and closer to their room of choice.
Pots moved into cabinets. Clothes got hung on hangers. (Anxiety dreams were dreamt.)
And I am VERY tired.
To speak on my behalf in this week’s blog post, please accept the following photographs of things that have recently happened and my best attempts to capture the beauty of my new home in spite of its current pile-based state. (Hover over photos for captions.)
A wonderful vacation in 11 pictures.
Today Gabe is wearing…
Well, today Gabe is actually wearing something different than these pictures. But in honor of my Southern California vacation, which starts tomorrow, I’m throwing this week’s photos back to a warmer, sunnier time in Humboldt County. One where Gabe was wearing green sunglasses, a yellow t-shirt, blue shorts, and brown flip flops.
Tomorrow morning I’m flying out of foggy Humboldt and down to sunny Southern California and I can’t wait. I have a full day of work between now and then, but basically all I can do is write packing to-do lists and try to remember things like watering my plants and sending out important mail before I leave.
I’m getting all my anxiety and worry in now, since I’m planning to completely unplug on this vacation. I probably won’t stop checking email because, I mean, I’m just really important and people are always trying to get in touch with me, but I’ve worked really hard this week to make sure there’s no work stuff I have to do next week at all.
Because I’m going to be busy. Being on the beach. Eating great food. And hiking through the sunny, majestic hills of San Diego.
It’s going to be great.
Today Gabe is wearing a brown sweatshirt, green t-shirt, blue shorts, grey socks, and brown shoes.
Sometimes I have a really hard time feeding myself. This summer, I went on a diet and lost 8 pounds pretty easily, just by running, doing yoga, and changing from eating 3 meals a day to eating lots of small snacks throughout the day. It was awesome, because it was easy, and I loved being in great shape.
Then the holidays happened and I’m back where I started, only this time I’m having trouble getting back into my great old routine.
See, it’s easy to go on a weird diet when you’re living in a new town where you have no friends and your boyfriend is gone in France for a lot of the summer. When you don’t have anyone offering to take you out for a burrito, they’re surprisingly easy to avoid. When you have nothing but free time, going for a long run sounds like a great way to kill a sunny afternoon hour.
But now I have friends, and a boyfriend in town, and a boyfriend’s family, and while in general that’s a good thing for my life, it’s really hard to get in a routine of eating 6-8 little snack-meals every day when people are cooking you delicious dinners or asking you to go out to lunch or looking at you oddly when you have the over and have nothing but almonds and apples and cereal to offer them.
As for the running, I have no excuse for not running besides getting out of the habit. I’ll get over it.
Anyways, I’ve been in a food rut lately. Many days, I’ll stand in my kitchen, staring blankly, and kind of slowly spinning around between the fridge and the cabinets and back to the fridge.
“Quinoa. That’s something people eat.”
“What do people put on quinoa?”
Once I finally google some kind of answer to my question, cook a big batch of some quinoa mixture with veggies and tofu and a sauce, and then I’ll eat that for a whole week.
Then I get bored of it, and it starts all over again.
Luckily, I’m easing back into my small snack routine. I’m remembering what I liked to have around, and how I structured my days, and I’m slowly trying to figure out how to balance a world that wants me to eat three big meals a day with a life of solitary small snacking.
Thanks in part to this blog post on how to make the perfect sandwich, I’m restocking my kitchen with fresh things that can easily be combined into any number of snacks. Cucumber and sprouts on toast; avocado with some falafel; whatever-you’ve-got-thrown-in-a-bowl-and-call-it-salad.
I’ve been eating some variation on this sandwich for lunch every day for over a week, and it might be a game changer. Slowly I’m remembering how to mix and match things. Slowly I’m getting back into opting for a vegetable over something fatty-but-delicious.
Eating is hard, you guys.
Is this one of the most boring posts ever on this blog? Sorry. It’s been a stressful few weeks and this is honestly just what’s on my mind this morning.
In other news, after biting off all of my fingernails from weeks of stress, I’ve finally grown them out long enough to cash in the manicure-pedicure gift certificate Gabe’s parents got me for Christmas, which will be my FIRST manicure-pedicure since moving away from Seattle and I CAN’T WAIT. Apparently hippies don’t care about nice fingernails because there is only one real place in town to get it done, but let me tell you this — as a once and future nail-biter, having beautiful fingernails is basically my ultimate luxury.
Okay time to go spin around my kitchen and think about lunch. Bye!
Today Gabe is wearing a tan fleece, khaki pants, and brown boots.
This year Gabe and I opened Christmas presents early since we’re not going to be together on the actual holiday and, as predicted, Gabe knocked it out of the park.
You see, for years — and I mean, for like 12 years, since high school — I have been carrying around this bright red backpack that is pure garbage. It was old, it was beaten up, and it was so stretched out that even when it wasn’t completely full, it stuck out behind me by a good 2 feet. It was basically perfectly round.
It was covered in paint from my art major days. It had a lock attached to it that I can’t remove because I forgot the combination after locking it there 5 years ago when I used to take it to the gym with me in San Francisco.
I could barely stuff it under the seat in front of me on airplanes. I had to be careful when turning around with it on because I basically couldn’t avoid knocking heavily into people, pets, and fragile items.
It was just awful. And yet, for some reason, I couldn’t summon the energy or interest to buy a new one.
I knew I needed one, and I knew I could afford a new one. It’s not like a needed to buy a new car, or that backpacks weren’t readily available at stores, both online and in person, that I visit frequently.
And yet, the years wore on, and this fat red backpack followed me everywhere I went.
Until this week, when I received from Gabe, the world’s best gift-giver, a beautiful, sleek, balanced, strong, streamlined black backpack.
This is exactly what I was talking about last week! Gabe solved a problem that he knew was a problem that, when solved, would drastically improve my quality of life. A problem I couldn’t solve myself. And he solved it in a better way than I could have done myself.
So it was with great joy that I packed my beautiful, slim, not-paint-stained backpack to travel back home for the holidays.
Luckily I seem to have gotten over my sky fear that I got last time I flew home. I think the bag of Halloween sized Snickers bars that I packed for myself helped. And downloading Season 5 of The Walking Dead to watch the whole way there. So engaging. So bleak.
This weekend, with my holiday free time, I think I’m going to go to a coffee shop and start working on my copy of the spontaneously-purchased-so-now-I-guess-I-should-do-something-with-this Desire Map that I wrote about a few weeks ago. I’m not sure if I’m legally obligated to fill out my Desire Map at a fancy coffee shop, but judging by the trillions of women Instagramming pictures of their filled out Desire Maps next to beautiful, perfect lattes, I think I am supposed to do it that way if I want to achieve best results and a perfect future.
Today Gabe is wearing a blue sweatshirt, khaki pants, brown boots, and green sunglasses.
“I don’t want to be here anymore.” I shook my head to try to shake this thought out of my mind, since, at the time I was thinking it, I was in an airplane 30,000 feet above Iowa.
I wasn’t always a nervous flyer, but once I started having to do the 3-flight trek between a small town in Washington to a small town in Illinois every holiday season when I was in college, I got the fear. Oooh yes I got the fear.
I started seeing signs in the days before my flight that I was convinced were warning that my plane was going to go down. Once on board, I’d jump at every little noise and bounce, even while the plane was still on the ground. I was really not a good flyer.
Then, a couple of years ago, I got it together. I learned about the trick where you just stare at the flight attendants, and watch how completely bored they are by every aspect of the flight. I started showing up at the airport imagining (seriously) that I was a serious business traveler who just couldn’t be bothered to care about “just another flight”.
Did my palms still sweat during turbulence? Sometimes. But I just forced the fear down, and it went away.
Well, it went away until earlier this week when I had the feeling that people who have *serious* fear of flying describe: the feeling like you absolutely have to get off the plane right now, this second. It was really the worst. I tried to tamp it down, but of course with this kind of thought, once you think it you can’t un-think it.
I was on my second flight of the day, and still had one more to go before I was at my final destination of my Illinois hometown. I was starting to feel like I wouldn’t make it.
So we circled above Chicago and I felt my palms start to sweat. I tried to remember my yoga. “Unclench your shoulders. Breathe a deep sigh. Close your eyes.”
My eyes popped open and my shoulders met my ears as we bumped down through the clouds.
I worried that I wouldn’t be able to do my third and final flight. After 8 hours of travel, I worried I might just cry for the whole 30 minutes of the third flight I had left. I worried I might never be able to leave once I actually made it there, since I have another 3 flights to do in order to get back home to Humboldt.
But on the third flight, I told myself to get it together. I closed my eyes, and turned on a podcast. I held a book in my lap, gripping it lightly with both hands. I focused on every single word the host of the podcast was saying. And if I ever got distracted and felt tempted to peek out the window or think about how amplified turbulence is in a tiny plane (which it happened to be that night) I took a huge, sighing breath and listened harder to the podcast.
And by the time we landed, 30 minutes later, I was over it. I was on the other side.
My mom fed me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and vegan cookies, and my dad let me rattle on about this new podcast Serial I had been listening to all day. It was good to be home.
A few photos of things enjoyed pre-flight:
Today Gabe is wearing a black wetsuit. Righteous!
Oh man, you guys. I got the flu in the middle of summer. And it is…terrible.
On the upside, I’ve gotten to take like 4 full days off work and watch movies. I am getting really well acquainted with my couch, and feeling really thankful for the free 500+ satellite channels that are paid for by my landlord and allow me to watch endless movies during my time really getting to know my couch.
On the downside, I’ve been housebound for 6 full days and I hate it. I’m antsy. But then again, I’m too tired to be antsy.
I had to miss my printmaking class one day, and then I had to miss yoga the next day. I did manage to make it to a coffee date on Wednesday, but spent the rest of the day glassy-eyed and horizontal on the couch recovering from spending whopping 2 hours out of the house for the first time in days. And then I missed yoga again.
Basically I don’t like it.
One great thing about being sick, I guess, has been rediscovering crossword puzzles. I started doing them on Day 2 because I was getting sick of TV, but didn’t have the energy to read. A crossword puzzle was something I could print out from the New York Times website, prop up on a big hardcover book on my lap as a surface, and then do one line at a time while closing my eyes for 5-10 minutes in between each clue.
Unfortunately the NYT doesn’t release new free puzzles super often on their website. Right now, I’m working with a Monday puzzle and a Saturday puzzle.
I finished the Monday puzzle in about 15 minutes. The Saturday puzzle has been sitting with 4 answers filled in for something like five days. I really need them to release, like, a Wednesday puzzle.
I started feeling a little bit better yesterday, and even managed to make it to a coffee shop for a brief writing session in the morning. As a reward for being so brave, I decided to treat myself (congratulations on leaving the house!) by buying some new small plants for my house.
I read a blog post on the best plants to purify the air in your house, and since my mind is melting with monotony and flu symptoms, I decided I definitely, definitely needed a plant or three to help beautify and purify my home.
Say hello to my aloe, my english ivy, and my venus fly trap. The aloe’s new home is inside a vase my friend made in a ceramics class last year that is finally fulfilling its ultimate purpose. Looks good, no?
I didn’t mean to buy a venus fly trap, but when I saw them on the shelf at the plant store, I had an instant flashback to having one as a child and I couldn’t help myself.
I remembered a time when my dad had a venus fly trap at our house — I don’t remember if it was always there, or if it was passing through on its way to an office — but he told me to stick my finger in the venus fly trap’s jaws and see it close around my finger. Which I did. And it was thrilling!
But now, as a grownup, for some reason I am afraid to try again.
But that’s okay. It doesn’t actually eat fingers, but according to Google, pretending to feed your venus fly trap your fingers isn’t actually good for it since it uses its energy for something that isn’t real food.
So I will just keep my hands to myself. And rest. And drink tea and soup. And enjoy my fresh, fresh, bug-free air.