Today Gabe is wearing a white t-shirt, green sunglasses, and blue shorts.
This post might not be a very good one; I’m writing it late at night, unable to sleep, after a day of flying across the country to visit my parents in Illinois. It’s such a long day of travel that always leaves me simultaneously buzzing and completely exhausted. I am not a good flier.
I was coming from Seattle, where Gabe and I were for a few days visiting friends. It was crazy to be in the city again after becoming such country bumpkins over the last year. Okay, Gabe was never really a city person to begin with, but it has been a big change for me, though a surprisingly easy one. It turns out I am a country person; I just never lived in the country before.
But as we drove into Seattle, I felt a sense of anxiety start to build, just looking at all the cars and buildings. I usually feel a little thrill when I get to the city, but not this time.
(Though I was still pretty jazzed to have not one, not two, but three grocery stores within walking distance of the apartment where we were staying [as opposed to having one tiny one that is a 15 minute drive down the highway away]. And I got to visit a fancy coffee shop and get served a great latte by a hipster instead of the hippies that I am used to.)
But my day of travel left my tired as always, even though I was actually able to work on the plane and not just spend the whole time trying to remind myself that thousands of flights happen every day and the pilot is very good at his or her job, etc etc.
It was pretty therapeutic to spend the time writing and planning instead of worrying.
These last few weeks have been really busy and crazy, and I am looking forward to some downtime while I’m with my parents. Here are a couple of things that have gotten me through these busy weeks:
Romeo is my constant. On a particularly stressful day last week, he found our front door and let himself inside. Then he hopped into my bed and made like a rolly-polly.
Can you believe this place is real? Gabe and I stopped on our way to Seattle to visit friends who live on a farm outside Salem, OR. This is in their back yard. It is a lake with a dock with a picnic table on it. It was…perfect.
Oh yes, it’s on. The star of my blog and I are getting full-on married next year. So that is a pretty great thing that has happened in the last few weeks too. 🙂
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.)
Today Gabe is wearing a grey fleece, khaki pants, and brown boots.
You guys, I think I came up with a genius strategy for time management this week. Maybe I should write a book.
Well, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me run this brilliant idea past you first.
Okay, so you are gearing up for a big end-of-year push at your company. You are like, sooo busy. So busy that you just put your head down and get ready to plow through it. No time to think about how busy you are. You just have to DO.
You work hard during the day. You sleep hard during the night.
But then you do this fun thing where, during the time you used to waste on sleeping, you don’t sleep. Sure, sure, you are busy during the day and your body really wants to shut down and restore itself at night, but instead of doing this, you just don’t.
Then, you start worrying about things like renewing your lease. You start worrying about the future of your business. You start worrying about never having enough money to buy a house, ever.
You start worrying about how you’ll ever have time to keep up your personal blog, which is one of the highlights of your week, because you are so busy you can’t possibly actually think about money or the future or your blog — you only have the time and space to worry about everything.
See how easy it is? Just don’t go to sleep! Ever! There is so much to worry about!
This is the brilliant time management solution I came up with Wednesday night and you guys, wow is it effective. I mean, I can work all day un-distracted because I know I’ve got a solid 8 hours of restorative, relaxing worrying to do between the hours of 10pm and 6am.
And the best part is, your nighttime worrying can go on without end. When you worry about business phone calls you have to make about things like leases, you will never actually be able to make those calls at 3am! So you are free to imagine disastrous scenarios to your heart’s content without ever having to worry (ha ha) about finding an actual solution.
I don’t have insomnia very often anymore, but you guys, when I do — oh wow, do I make the most of it. If you think insomnia just has to be about sitting on the couch flipping through channels and staring bleary-eyed at bizarre early morning programming you never knew was on TV, then boy are you behind the times.
Oh, sir. Next time you can’t sleep, try worrying instead. You won’t believe how productive and stressed it makes you feel, which means you must be really, really important.
(This blog post brought to you by one sleepless night.)
But really. Things are fine. Don’t believe me, readers and/or Sleepless Kate? As proof, please accept the following pictures of Romeo The Cat.
Today Gabe is wearing a grey sweatshirt, khaki shorts, and no shoes.
Have you ever gotten up in the middle of the night, not fully awake, and in your haste to get to the bathroom or the kitchen or wherever you thought you were going, bashed full on into a heavy, sharp piece of furniture?
I have. Last night. It was a radiator. And I cried.
Is that the worst way to wake up? Today, I am saying yes. In the fullness of time, probably not the worst. But to me, today — yes, it is the worst.
This is one of my least favorite things about being in unfamiliar places. Just when you think you know where you’re going day-to-day, your sleep self reminds you that you actually have no idea where you are.
So my energy today is…bad. But I hope it turns around. I have a very exciting errand to run in a few minutes, which is to go to the neighborhood post office (open for two hours and fifteen minutes every weekday, and not a moment more) and mail a postcard home to my parents.
The postcard is very ugly, but seeing as there is nowhere to buy anything in this tiny, tiny town, I think it’s pretty lucky that I found it at all. It’s an advertisement in the form of a postcard for some kind of bike race that was hanging in a small office in town. So I took it, and here we are.
Can we take a second to notice how rugged Gabe has gotten in his native land of France?
I’m not sure the photos accurately depict how high up he is (though it does show how barefoot he is. very rugged.) atop the wall that defines the edges of the courtyard we live in. If you climb down that wall — using very slender stone stairs part of the way, then scrabbling down the stone face of the wall the rest of the way — you get to where the sheep are. So naturally, in spite of my fear of heights and fear of being rugged, I have gotten pretty good at climbing this wall.
But I’m still too afraid to stand jauntily on the very very top of the wall like Gabe.
Speaking of the sheep, one of them chased *me* yesterday, which is quite the opposite of how our interactions usually go. At the time, I was a little bit scared and started doing some quick estimates in my head of how easily a sheep could crush me to death if it tried. But then I realized — this sheep is a smart one who now knows I am the one who brings it food.
It wants to be friends. Which means my plan is coming together. Which makes me very pleased.
Today Gabe is wearing a grey sweatshirt, blue jeans, and brown boots.
PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE GAPING HOLE IN GABE’S JEANS. It’s being repaired, or so I’ve been told. Though I’ve been told this for four days and yet the hole remains. Jeans Watch 2013 is on.
Today I am wide awake. I think I’ve finally shaken the jet lag, which is a good thing because I realized my last two posts were about not being able to sleep and I think everyone would have just quit reading if this became my insomnia blog. (Which, as I said before, would be interesting to just about no one.)
But luckily, I am wide awake. And this is how I feel:
Okay, my feelings are maybe more complex than that. But I mean, that basically sums me up these days.
So other than generously spreading Nutella on my brioche every morning, I am hard at work most days here in France. I am lucky enough to be able to do my job from anywhere with an Internet connection, and it’s also quite satisfying to get the bulk of my work done before the west coast even wakes up. Oh, how productive I appear to be!
In between working sessions, I wander the grounds and chase the sheep. They don’t want to be found, but I always manage to chase them into a corner and try to take their picture. Today I have a little leftover bread to feed them, which I hope will win me some favor with them. Ideally, they’ll be eating out of my hand by the time I leave, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
After work most days, we eat dinner late into the night (well, late for me, who tends to be in bed by 9 at home) and then I might watch a few Giants baseball highlights with Gabe. All in all, not too shabby, no?
Meanwhile, Gabe and his dad are also hard at work during the day, turning a centuries-old stone building (well, part if it anyway) into an art studio. Pretty cool, right? They’re drilling into stone walls and hoisting big beams of oak to build a loft. It’s dusty, manly work, but someone has to do it.
Hence the gaping hole is Gabe’s jeans. Tough work does a number on your once-beautiful clothes. (Note: I don’t think those jeans were ever beautiful.)
When they’re not working, the studio easily turns into the site of many a heated ping pong match.
Yesterday Gabe and I took a walk down the road, where we met some cows and a goat.
We also had some visitors over the weekend. The neighbors came, and we shared with them some biere rosee aka pink beer, which I did taste and it was gross. But somehow it got finished anyways.
And finally here’s a look out the window, and a required adorable photo of Gabe getting cozy with a friendly dog who came to visit us today along with some artist friends of Gabe’s parents.
I can’t complain, this is pretty great. It makes 5 days of blinding jetlag seem like nothing; I’m wide awake and ready to start exploring. Hello sheep, here I come.
Aujourd’hui Gabriel porte un sweat gris, un short rouge, des chausettes grises, et des chaussures marron.
In other words, we are in France. We are in France! Et tout va bien. Well — presque tout.
I am writing you at 1:10am in the throes of jet lag. Oh, jet lag, you ruiner of afternoon trips to music festivals and evening barbecues. You, who makes us fall asleep at 8pm and wake up again at 11, wondering when — if ever — we will feel happy again.
(My bet is never. But that could be the sleep deprivation talking.)
I really thought I would be okay. I left my house in Seattle at noon on Tuesday, and didn’t sleep again until 8pm France-time on Wednesday. I thought that would cause my next sleep to be some big reset button, where you sleep for 14 hours after being awake for 34, and suddenly you are on France time because you’re definitely not on any other schedule, so why not this one?
But this is not how it works. Apparently.
So I guess all of this is to say: I wish I had more to say about France today, but I just don’t. It is beautiful here — we are in the middle of nowhere, in a big stone building, with friendly neighbors and delicious food, and sheep who wander the grounds and run away when you try to feed them.
And one of these nights I will sleep without tossing and turning, and one of these mornings I will wake up feeling refreshed. I’ll write a post about the friendly neighbor who — when I told him that I had forgotten all the French I learned in school — reminded me that I was speaking to him quite well in French and evidently hadn’t forgotten everything. I’ll write about how I got lost in Paris trying to find the train station, and how I figured it out just in time. I’ll write about those darn sheep that run away when you try to feed them, even when you say “I am trying to feed you!” right to them.
But not tonight.
Tonight, I’ll be up. Trying to sleep.
Today Gabe is wearing a brown t-shirt, khaki pants, and his outdoor slippers.
Oh man the last few days have been just nuts. And by nuts, I mean terrible. And by terrible, I mean I haven’t been sleeping.
I was getting ready to type out a long explanation of why I think I haven’t been sleeping, and how it makes me feel, and what I’m going to do about it. But then I remembered, hearing about people’s sleep issues is about as interesting as hearing about their dreams. Which is to say, not interesting at all.
It always seems like it’s going to be interesting when you’re the one telling it. And people tell these kinds of stories in a way that makes it sound likes it’s going to be interesting, and it clearly means a lot to them, but sadly it is just not interesting.
We can all relate, but we only tend to care when we are the ones not sleeping. When you’re well-rested, being super tired doesn’t sound that bad. But when you have insomnia, you can’t believe other people are managing to function in the world and that they don’t care how crazy and awful you feel.
But there I go, talking about it when I said I wouldn’t.
Instead, I’ll share this pretty cool stuff that’s been happening.
This website I found just a day or two after my last post (and which my mom also sent to me!): http://stoptellingwomentosmile.tumblr.com/
Another great website is this one: http://popforms.com
Hey, I helped make that! Visit it. We have a blog. I write lots of it. Yay! Right?
Another interesting thing is that I am leaving for France on Tuesday. Tuesday! Can you believe it?
I really cannot. In fact, I think I’ve spent the last few days in a form of denial; the kind where you talk a lot about your trip in the abstract, and you do things like get your suitcase out of the closet or make a reservation for a train you’ll need to take, but you don’t really think about how in 72 hours you will be in the French countryside with your boyfriend and your boyfriend’s family, eating cheese and considering the landscape from sunup to sundown.
So that’s another thing that’s going on. I suppose I should move my clothes from their neat piles on the floor into my suitcase, and sort out which pairs of shoes I can bring.
To be honest, I think I’ve worried so much about how to occupy myself during the flight, I’ve completely forgotten that at the end of that flight, I’ll be in another, beautiful country. On vacation! Well, working vacation. But in the French countryside, isn’t everything kind of vacation? And I will be there for weeks. That’s w-e-e-k-s.
It’s crazy. I can’t wait. In fact, I’m going to start packing now.
PS. Happy Father’s Day to the world’s greatest dad. I found this cute picture of us today. (I have to assume my face is that way because I was in the midst of receiving some kind of lecture on the history of the red t-shirt or the historical implications of those arches behind us.) (Just kidding.)