on going quiet and silences

// Wednesday, April 20, 2016

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything, let alone written anything here. That isn’t the right way to start this post, probably, but I’m not sure there is a right way to write any of this. I had planned to write a post about resolutions for 2016: about goals, about plans, about the importance of being in the moment more and appreciating conversations in whatever manner they came about.

Fair warning: this is not that post. This is not particularly edited (other than for typos and even then I’m sure I’ve missed some), or even well-thought out; it is a post because I have wanted and needed to write words here, but I haven’t yet.

I’ve written three thank you cards since February 6th, four if I count the one I wrote to my grandma. I should have written at least a dozen; I still am planning to write them. But writing – of all varieties – has been difficult lately.

I could come up with reasons for why I didn’t write more in early January (work, work travel), but that isn’t it, either. The truth of the thing is that I was trying to reconcile my heart of hearts with my everyday heart, trying to figure out what I knew versus knew versus thought I knew, because for me, in my life, those have always been very different things, or at the very least not a given that they are identical things. Because going home to Massachusetts for Christmas made me worry, but I couldn’t tell if it was the normal level of worrying or something else.

I remember when the above picture was taken. iPhoto tells me that it was taken at 3:01pm on October 25, 2014 using my DSLR, but it can’t tell me that I was standing next to my mom on Corporation Beach in Dennis on the Cape, on our first trip down since my grandma moved to Florida. That we were stealing some time alone while my grandma took a nap in the motel/inn/whatever we were staying in and Tommy took a nap in his car in the Corporation Beach parking lot, and my mom and I walked the full length of the beach, this taken on our walk out while we talked about missing the cape, and work, and how nice it was to take a mini-vacation, and how there were all sorts of future possibilities, and how great T was (is), and how Corporation Beach was still the same beach. And we found a few shells and walked back and walked up around the snack shack and the swings, and it was wonderful and cozy.

By October 2015, the next time my grandma came up for a visit from Florida, I was in California. My mom took a week off work and they went up to Bar Harbor together, and stayed in Jasper’s Restaurant and Motel (linked here only because it just took me like half an hour to think of the name), and had a bunch of their meals there and drove all around and went into the park and like. Apparently it was a lovely trip, minus a gravel road adventure that involved a ditch and local Maine dudes in pickup trucks finding them and literally pulling the car out of the ditch (adventure courtesy of the fact that my grandma got directions from Mapquest). I honest to God thought I’d be going with them on the next trip, so even though I thought about flying back for it, the fact that I didn’t have a job at the time seemed like the more pressing issue.

If you’re keeping track, I’ve written 601 words as of the end of that paragraph without saying the thing I’m trying to say. It’s a poem about oranges, right? That’s how this works? (I will forever reference “Why I Am Not A Painter” by Frank O’Hara, which I seem to have more or less imprinted on when I read it in high school(?).) So. Yes. The thing I am trying to say.

My mom died at the end of January. She was 63. There’s more to it than that (isn’t there always?), but what it comes down to is that I am devastated, but I am functioning: I’m just not back to being a full person yet. Or I am a full, real person, but in a way that is very different from the way I was before. People have been wonderful. I flew home immediately, and I did more things on no sleep in the 36 hours immediately following than I would have thought possible. And then over the course of a week, I planned a church service and wrote a eulogy. And wrote and placed a death notice in the Boston Globe, and then people who’d known her from the Cape fifty years ago came to the service, which was so unexpected and so nice.

I’ve been back in California since February 14th, minus a trip to Philadelphia for a friend’s wedding and a work trip. I’ve been handling logistics and waiting for the things to finalize that are outside of my control. I’ve got a pile of pictures and a memory book from the service that I haven’t been able to look at yet. I’ve got credit card companies to deal with and the logistics of trying to handle Massachusetts legalities from across the country. But I’ve also got weekly-ish phone calls from my dad, and letters from my grandma, and text check-ins from lovely people. It’s Real Life, but a different type than the one I’m used to living. I still have condolence emails to respond to – emails sitting read but marked unread at the top of my inbox since February.

I’m working on getting back into writing. My voice feels so far from my brain right now, because by and large I’ve got to do lists and white noise floating around in there, but I’m working on it. Gradually. I’ve started running again, finally: my runs are pathetic by any normal running standards right now – 12 minute one mile runs – but it gets me out of my head and into a place where I need to focus on breathing, and I think that’s a good thing.

I don’t know how to end this, really, but thanks for sticking around. I hope to fill this space with words and maybe even photographs on a more regular basis. I’ve been jotting out a better tagging system on scraps of agenda paper, which is my new equivalent to the backs of receipts. So there’s that. Moving towards moving forward.

Tell people you love that you love them.


fall in california: part one

// Monday, November 2, 2015

Firstly and most importantly: I’m writing this on November 2nd, in keeping with the many kinds of writing November is becoming known for. It is November 2nd in the time zone I’m in, which is to say Pacific Standard Time, since the time change happened this weekend. (And I think I’m right about that, but time changes and time zones never really fully click for me, for some reason.) I’m specifying this because either BlueHost or WordPress thinks that I’m writing in East Coast time, and I haven’t gotten around to figuring out what time zone setting I need to tweak to make it realize I’m in California.

Today was 52 and rainy and cold (the New Englander in me wants to make fun of me for thinking 52 is cold for November 1st, but: cold), and I guess the massive rainstorm we had in the East Bay (and/or most of California) was also snow in the mountains. Driving to work today, the guy on NPR was talking about how it’s the arrival of winter. And while I may have adjusted to California enough that 52 and raining feels cold, I haven’t adjusted enough that rain means winter. (That said: I will always associate rainy drizzly night driving with Christmas, so maybe I’m either not one to talk or have secretly belonged in California all along.)

But while it may not be winter, it is definitely fall, and I’m finding myself missing fall in New England. And then there are moments like the picture above, which I took on an 80 degree day as I was walking back from lunch after Google Maps led me from my office through a (planned and maintained) hole in a fence through a different office park to my lunch destination. (That is a story I should explain one of these days.) And there were a bunch of oak-ish trees, and it sounded and felt like fall: lots of crunchy brown leaves in patches of sunlight and shade. There was a barely noticeable leaf smell. Nevermind that I was wearing jeans and too warm, or that if I turned 180 degrees I probably could have taken a picture of a palm tree framing a ten lane freeway (calling highways freeways: harder than I would have expected). The point was that in that moment, it was really and truly fall.

It was a good reminder. I may not have bright red and orange trees, in spite of our mix of determined and half-hearted efforts to find them, but I’ve got leaves that crackle and rainy cold days where all I want is hot chocolate and tea and a good book and cloudy November skies. I just have to be open to it, and see all of what’s in front of me. Not just the sunshine and the palm trees (hi, East Coast friends!), but the clouds and the leaves and the small moments of “this place could be the place that I know, not just the place that is new.” Because there are a number of those moments, and it’s wonderful, but it’s easy to lose them in the chaos of the day.

In the spirit of writing more, I’m trying to observe more, document more, find the parallels more. Because I love new adventures and new things, but sometimes – almost always – what makes the new and exciting adventures so wonderful is finding the similarities, regardless of how small. Not comparing, but identifying common ground, common leaves, common textures and feelings and spaces. It’s about the little things, and how those little things can be made into new, different, equally wonderful (maybe even more wonderful) things.

I really love the fall. I’m missing the fall I know – the stereotypical, gorgeous New England fall, but California fall is quite pretty in its own right, and sunset still makes golden grass more golden and brings out colors that you wouldn’t know the trees had in bright sunshine. And for when that doesn’t quite cut it, I’ve got a multitude of friends who can Snapchat me pictures of the trees outside their office windows.

(Really, it’s about the little things.)

on spoons and peanut butter and blueberries

// Friday, July 17, 2015

Recently I was walking home from work, feeling sort of gross, and it took me the entire walk home to realize it was because of the spoonful of peanut butter I had at 5:07, before I left work at 5:30, before I took the train and some escalators and got home. And I had this aha moment, this realization that the afternoon pause for spoons and peanut butter, this tiny little insignificant snack, was more than the sum of its parts. Spoons and peanut butter go together, you know? It’s such a handy I’m-slightly-hungry snack that’s healthy enough that I don’t feel bad about said snacking. And I love (the idea of?) peanut butter, so somehow the fact that that it’s been making me feel bad with increasing frequency hasn’t translated to action.

The problem is that I’ve been so focused on the larger consequence that I’m losing sight of the smaller, gradual steps. I’ve gotten better at the whole big-pictures-causing-blind-spots thing, but I’m far from perfect and luckily reminders of progress over perfection still sneak in. And I can think on something and see the steps, sometimes: Reese’s, which I use to consume with some regularity, are now something I have maaaaaybe once a month or so (see also: Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, because they are excellent). I buy a jar of peanut butter maybe 4x a year? If that? So I’ve scaled back, somewhat subconsciously and somewhat consciously, finding a way to make moderation work for me, except now I maybe have to scale back again, scale back more, to smaller spoonfuls, or no spoonfuls.

The universe, it seems, has been reminding me of the fact that small steps (and teeny tiny fixes) are important things to keep sight of, because incremental changes (whether specifically steps forward or not) are, for me, more often than not the way progress is made. Lately I’ve been reading archives and miscellaneous posts on enJOY it by Elise Blaha (is that the proper way to refer to that? titles: not a thing I am good at), because somehow I missed the (many years’ long) internet memo and only discovered her last week. I am so in love with all of the things, but, for the sake of brevity, what really stuck was her post about a 365 day calendar/goal tracker/motivator. Because, this:

I really believe that progress is better than perfection because progress is something we can strive for. Progress is motivating. Perfection is paralyzing. This calendar’s goal is to encourage you to pick ONE THING for the year. Something you can attempt to do everyday. And then this calendar will help you track it and hopefully remind you that there is a much larger picture to see here.

It’s just: that’s what I needed to read. A reminder that progress is the goal. That you have to take a bunch of small steps to make a big step. (Sidenote: I’m bummed I’m so late to the game and missed out on getting the letterpress cards, but I will be purchasing the digital file once I figure out how I’m handling my recently closed PayPal account (because I thought their updated Terms of Service & Privacy Policy was stupid, because now I’m regretting closing it because PayPal is so handy).)

Given that I’ve been able to relatively painlessly wean myself off of peanut butter because it makes me feel odd and sort of nauseous (yay, weird genes? my dad’s the same way and it also hit him in his twenties?), why can’t I also, at the same time and on the same timeline, get myself back in decent shape? figure out a blog schedule that I’ll actually stick to? fall back into reading? I’ve been saying, emphatically, that I need to write more, need to run more (or at all), need to read more. But I’ve also been doing the thing where it’s all big goals, all “well, shit, I didn’t read at all last weekend and I wanted to finish that book and I haven’t even started, so maybe I’ll just watch Modern Family instead?” And that’s the part where that 365 day calendar comes back in.

So that’s what I’m doing: I’m scaling back and I’m moving forward all at once. While I still have half a jar of peanut butter in my desk at work, I’m less about the spoons and peanut butter and more about the blueberries I picked the last time I went up to my dad’s. (Because they don’t ripen all at once. Because they require patience, and care, and maybe some a lot of netting and fencing, and even then: results aren’t guaranteed, but you’ll end up with something that has grown and probably nourished you.) Over the last week, I’ve gone for two runs and read from my kindle on my commute home from work each day. Neither is particularly impressive numbers-wise: both runs were under a mile and a half, and there’s only so much reading one can do after jostling for a seat and fighting for space on a packed commuter train. But I’ve been running an amount that is healthy for me (in that I need to ease back into it, very slowly) and reading a little bit each day, and I’m happy with that. Progress, and perspective – and blueberries, because summer is wonderful.

thinking in futures

// Friday, June 12, 2015

I was doing so well for a little while: I was writing regularly, thinking about writing regularly, consuming content in an intentional way where – barring the occasional endless link spiral – the blogs/news/articles I was taking the time to read were being read with a purpose. And then suddenly I wasn’t writing or reading much, because free time was spent outdoors with T, or day-dreaming and thinking in futures about summer plans and new adventures, or grabbing lunch or dinner with friends, or building up our sun-porch herb garden (so much mint and basil!! I am the heart-eyed emoji at our plants). I’ve been wonderfully social recently, but that means I’ve been falling behind in other things, because there is only so much time in the day, and when the choice comes down to being fun!productive (see: this space; organizing my desk) or regular!productive (see: laundry? oops) versus hanging out on the couch catching up on tv with my boyfriend, sometimes – lately more often than not – it’s the latter option that wins out. And I’m not saying it shouldn’t: not by a long shot. But the reason that choice is happening, lately, is because I’ll have nights where I get home from work and suddenly I’ve wasted three hours on the Internet, with nothing to show for it other than being caught up on reading other people’s words, seeing other people’s pictures. When I mentioned in my last post about ideas for posts, I somehow did the thing where I went from wanting to write about all of the things to feeling like nothing I wanted to write about would be, you know, perfect.

And that’s, for lack of a better word, silly: I am not perfect. I don’t want to be, though I definitely have a perfectionist streak. But what I like about writing, what I like about my writing and what I like about me, is that there are moments where the how-I-think-and-slightly-polished words become something else: when the moment where my fingers are moving faster than my conscious brain produces a typo, a slip, an incorrect word that is perfect and fitting and where I wanted the words to lead even though I didn’t know it until those words were on the page in front of me. And if I over-analyze to the point of paralysis, that magic can’t happen, won’t happen.

In college, back when I was writing creatively regularly (thank you, creative writing fiction and poetry classes), during a time of…typical college-age-twenty-something-emotional-turmoil, I wrote a thing – a poem – that based on the way I’m introducing it should be terrible, but it wasn’t. And it’s not something I’m going to reproduce here (because, college? because there are parts of it I love but I don’t want to rework it to post it here? because posting creative writing – in the real, I wrote this story/poem/prose poem, way – is a kind of terrifying I’m not ready for yet?), but what the whole five part thing stemmed from was the idea that thinking in futures is – was – a thing that I Did Not Do. And it’s funny, to me, how much a person can change in four, five years while still being the same person, only older and wiser and hopefully improved.

I know I haven’t been posting much, but one of my goals this summer and definitely over the next few weeks is to work on that more, consistently. I have a lot I want to talk about, to think about, to think through words and write about, and some wonderful coffee shops (see: local and slightly less local) I want to review. And at some point – maybe? I think? – I want to dive in a little to what is bound to be a very interesting election season. I have some lofty goals.

I’ve become a person who spends time thinking in futures: not all the time, and I’m still pretty consistently grounded in whatever my current reality is, but I’ve also reached a point where thinking in futures is feasible, and exciting, and wonderful, and only a little bit terrifying.

And that’s kind of great.

on anniversaries and the moral bucket list

// Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Last week was a weird week for me, full of anniversaries and birthdays and histories. My boyfriend’s birthday was earlier in the week, which was lovely and wonderful and we spent Sunday up in Portland in celebration, wandering around in the sunshine (and finally seasonally appropriate warm weather!) and heading to Duckfat for the first time (might make a post about it soon: I know it’s not a ~new thing~ but man, it was good).

But then midweek, last week, was April 15th. On a personal note, that date is the anniversary of a personal matter that I haven’t figured out how to write about in this space yet: I probably will, eventually, but now is not that time. But it’s a day for me that has a huge spectrum of emotions, and it puts me in sort of a odd headspace. And on a much larger, much more emotionally complicated anniversary scale, April 15th is the second anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombings. Boston is my home, in the broad sense. I’ve grown up (and spent my whole life so far) in Massachusetts, and I work in downtown Boston. And I was at work in downtown Boston two years ago – I work about a mile away from the finish line, and it’s a Day, for Boston and for Massachusetts and for the country. I’m lucky: I’ve only peripherally felt the effects, in that I know people who know people, but nothing happened to anyone in my immediate circle of family and friends. It still has impacted me, absolutely, but I’m lucky. At least, as of last Wednesday, Tsarnaev was found guilty on all counts in the Marathon Bombings. So that’s something. But regardless, April 15th is a Day.

And because of all that last week was, I’ve been out of sorts. I haven’t felt like writing, haven’t wanted to write, other than when I accidentally filled three journal pages writing about something that happened a million years ago, and even then, it was Facts versus Writing, just because I wanted to see if I could. I haven’t been writing the way I want to write, lately. I’ve been overthinking and overanalyzing, and even just on here, I’ve got a half dozen drafts in various states. None are where I want them to be: I can’t find the right words, can’t get the feeling right, can’t translate what I’m thinking in my head to words on a computer screen.

But the reason this post is coming out of drafts and into the world is this: I really want to write about the “The Moral Bucket List” by David Brooks, an excellent piece from last week’s Sunday Review section of the New York Times, which has been circling the internet some already, but I want it in this space, too. and it was exactly, precisely, what I needed to read. It’s long, but it’s worth it. If it weren’t bad form and a crappy internet thing to do, I’m pretty sure I’d just paste the entire article here. But it is bad form to do so, so as such, here are a couple parts of the article that really resonated with me:

But if you live for external achievement, years pass and the deepest parts of you go unexplored and unstructured. You lack a moral vocabulary. It is easy to slip into a self-satisfied moral mediocrity. You grade yourself on a forgiving curve. You figure as long as you are not obviously hurting anybody and people seem to like you, you must be O.K. But you live with an unconscious boredom, separated from the deepest meaning of life and the highest moral joys. Gradually, a humiliating gap opens between your actual self and your desired self, between you and those incandescent souls you sometimes meet.


Commencement speakers are always telling young people to follow their passions. Be true to yourself. This is a vision of life that begins with self and ends with self. But people on the road to inner light do not find their vocations by asking, what do I want from life? They ask, what is life asking of me? How can I match my intrinsic talent with one of the world’s deep needs?

Their lives often follow a pattern of defeat, recognition, redemption. They have moments of pain and suffering. But they turn those moments into occasions of radical self-understanding — by keeping a journal or making art. As Paul Tillich put it, suffering introduces you to yourself and reminds you that you are not the person you thought you were.

The people on this road see the moments of suffering as pieces of a larger narrative. They are not really living for happiness, as it is conventionally defined. They see life as a moral drama and feel fulfilled only when they are enmeshed in a struggle on behalf of some ideal.


External ambitions are never satisfied because there’s always something more to achieve. But the stumblers occasionally experience moments of joy. There’s joy in freely chosen obedience to organizations, ideas and people. There’s joy in mutual stumbling. There’s an aesthetic joy we feel when we see morally good action, when we run across someone who is quiet and humble and good, when we see that however old we are, there’s lots to do ahead.

There’s lots to do ahead. And so many people fit into the “stumblers” category; we’re all just figuring out what works and what doesn’t and trying to find those moments of great joy, whether collective or personal. That’s what I want to focus on. That’s what I am focusing on. Because anniversaries and the memories and histories that go with them are easy to get lost in; but the fact of the matter is that the past is something to remember, not live in. And there are wonderful things in the future, even if a lot of the future, right now, is unknown and not fixed – but that, in and of itself, almost makes it more joyful, because the possibilities are endless, even the if the unknown is and can be frightening in the best of ways. This last week might have been difficult, yes, but, as above, those pieces of time are part of something bigger, a story that is and always will be unfolding, because there’s always another page to read, to live, to experience. And that’s the important thing.

Today, I’m drinking coffee out of a mug covered in hearts, literally, and that’s about where I’m at. Here’s to forward and futures.

write what inspires you

// Sunday, March 15, 2015

I recently read an excellent post (discovered via where my heart resides‘s Facebook page) about seeing the beauty in what you have, about finding inspiration from others instead of discontent from the comparison between their lives/moments versus yours, and it reminded me of back when I used to write creatively, back when words were pretty things to paint with, to make art with and hope that someone would read it the same way, hear it in the voice I meant to convey, so that the commas were pauses and stops and hidden thoughts, so that the repetition was something more, something magic.

I want to write like that again.  I want others to feel, and I want to feel, rereading my writing (in that limited way that you can, when it’s your writing and not something you’d never thought to phrase that way), the way I just felt reading about apple slices and comparisons and forgetting the here for the there. Because there are so many things expressed in that post that I have thought in far less eloquent terms; if I could write something half as pretty as that post, I would be happy. Things like this secondary opening, with the emphasized line about moving out of the way, which subtly becomes a refrain:

The second happens, for me, in another manner entirely. It’s hopping on my phone to Google a recipe in the grocery store and I find myself habitually opening Instagram – oh, I’m sorry, I’m totally in your way, let me move over here by the oranges – and gracious, that stir fry photo she just posted looks way better than the sauteed kale I’d planned for, and yes, I have snap peas at home, maybe I should pick up some water chestnuts and sesame oil?

Except that, most times, it’s not about stir fry at all.

It makes me think of that poem about oranges, that isn’t about oranges at all except that it is. But (after a decent amount of Googling, because “I titled it ORANGES” was not exclusively a line in that poem…), what I am really referring to is the poem Why I Am Not A Painter by Frank O’Hara, and not actually a real poem about oranges, and I didn’t remember that, instead I remembered the lines that resonated with me from the poem:

Then another page. There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life. Days go by. It is even in
prose, I am a real poet. My poem
is finished and I haven’t mentioned
orange yet. It’s twelve poems, I call

There’s something to be said for the fact that I until just now I had no conscious recollection of what that poem was called, or who wrote it, but I talked about painting with words. That’s what I want to get back to: the place where everything blends and blurs together and fiction as reality just as much as reality is fiction.

I wrote a lot of words about how a dinner party inspired me, but what I forgot about is just how much words inspire me and how much the written words of others can serve as a catalyst to ignite thoughts you didn’t even know you had. I forgot how much a gorgeous standalone piece of writing doesn’t need the context of the author: I’m not familiar with Design for Mankind at all, other than reading that one post. And I’d forgotten how that can come to be, how a piece of writing can just click. So this is my way of encouraging you, of asking you, to write what inspires you. Because wonderful pieces of writing can grow up and out from that place.

This weekend has been all about spring cleaning, about organizing and starting fresh so that things – and ideas – don’t get buried in clutter or winter dust but instead come back into the daylight. I’ve dusted every nook and cranny of my room and swapped out my warm and cozy plaid flannel duvet cover for my less warm but more cheerful ivory floral spring/summer one. The weather app on my phone might say that we’re getting snow squalls this afternoon (?!!), but I’m ready to welcome spring with open arms. Today is for writing (and a few errands and the last bits of cleaning I have left), for appreciating that spring is only five days away.


// Saturday, February 7, 2015

I have a complicated relationship with winter. I love it, but I hate the cold and it doesn’t take me long until I am just 120% ready to be wearing shorts and sandals and dresses again. This winter has brought that out in me even more than other years, because it was stupid cold with no snow for a really long time, so it wasn’t even pretty, and now we’re buried in snow for the foreseeable future. Because currently my state and my city is buried under over three feet of snow. I’m over winter boots and wanting to wear tights under pants so I can stay warm on the way to work and keeping a spare pair of pants in my desk in case I fall in a snow bank or slip on ice.

Thing is, normally I love this season. When the first snow of the winter happens, I become, very much, Lorelai in Gilmore Girls (apologies for the terrible link; youtube is failing me re: the scene I’m thinking about – but in short: the first snow makes me nothing short of giddy). The snow quiets and blankets and soothes, and the world seems both new and inexplicably old. I love that; I really do.

In the last week, though, we’ve gotten over three feet of snow in the city I live in, in the cities around the city I live in, in practically the whole state. There’s more forecasted for this weekend, and our subway system can’t even handle what we have, and people (like me!) are still going to (or trying to go to) work as usual. It’s a mess, and I’m just as frustrated with winter as everyone else. Commuting in and out of Boston over the last week has been nothing short of both nightmarish and cartoonish. And, from the sound of it, we can’t even expect it to improve anytime soon, as the MBTA is still warning people about future delays.

But here’s the (other) thing, the one that’s more important: on Monday, in the midst of a snow storm (Linus, as it hit the Boston area) and 2.5 hour commute (that normally takes half an hour), I walked through some of the neighborhoods and side streets around Harvard Square. And I was cold and tired and cranky and ready to be home, but I stopped. I looked around, and I took in the silence. I watched an elementary schooler help his dad shovel out their car. And I remembered: this is what winter is supposed to be. Sure, sometimes there are hell commutes and streets that are nearly impossible to drive on – or even walk on. But there’s something about the snowfall itself that’s magic. I don’t want to forget that.

Because it can be terrible, but it can also be beautiful, and wonderful, and look like this:
snowy street (b&w)

So tonight night, when it’s flurrying, and Sunday night, when it’s snowing again in the real sense, that’s what I’ll focus on. I’m not going to focus on the fact that we’re essentially having a four-day snow storm. I’ll curl up with excellent hot chocolate and a good book (a friend lent me The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton, which I haven’t started yet but am excited to read), and I’ll sit and watch the snow. Maybe work on taxes, if I’m feeling the need to be Responsible!Productive, and maybe work on a puzzle with my boyfriend, if I’m feeling Fun!Productive (because: brain exercise).

It’s all about perspective. I hope, if your weekends are snow-filled, that they are nothing short of magical.

on New Year’s Eve and reflections

// Thursday, January 1, 2015

I’ll be doing a real 2014 in review post tomorrow, because I want to do one but I let time yet away from me; but: 2014 has been a good year. It’s been a complicated year, with family health scares and worries, with wonderful vacations and wonderful people, with small new beginnings like this blog. I went to Maine and the U.S. Virgin Islands and Quebec and Minnesota and Washington, D.C. I ran my first 5K. I spent quality time with family, and with friends. I devoured Parks and Rec. I learned watching reality tv with my roommate is really fun, and also I gained a new appreciation for how ridiculous reality tv is. I read more than I’ve read in a long time, and it was great and reminded me why I love reading and writing and learning. I started to write again, in the quote unquote real sense of the word. I hiked and I went climbing and I bought hiking boots.

So tonight I am thinking back on this year and forward towards 2015, and I have a lot of thoughts, some more coherent than others. I’m happy, by and large, with how this year has gone. I’m stronger than I was a year ago. I’m ~growing~ as a person or whatever. I’m fundamentally happy, which is lovely. And I get to spend New Year’s Eve with T, and we’re going to a party later hosted by good friends of mine.

2015 will be a good year. I have resolutions in my head that I plan to adhere to, and. 2015 is going to be good. Because it’s about moving forward and learning and improving. And writing, and photographing, and documenting more. I’ve done well in 2014 and it’s becoming more of a habit. Because: forward. And thinking through words.

I hope your New Year’s Eves are wonderful, and I hope 2015 brings only good things. This isn’t a real post; simply just: this has been an excellent year in so many ways, and I am very excited to see what 2015 will bring.

on writing on planes, or something

// Monday, December 22, 2014

One of my upcoming resolutions is to actually blog more (see: my January 2014 resolution that led to the creation of this blog, only, you know, better, because first steps are good but so too are the second and third and fourth and running), so in the spirit of that, I’m going to be posting a decent amount this week, encouraged by the fact that I have a whole bunch of things I’m in the process of writing about: running my first 5k and latching onto a group of people playing and singing Christmas carols (clearly my I’m-barely-functioning running speed was their this-is-comfy-and-nice running speed); successfully planning my company’s annual holiday party (which is less of a blog post event and more a thing that happened of which I am proud); newly discovered coffee shops and the ~coffee scene~ that I explored (slightly) while out visiting my boyfriend’s family in Minnesota before Christmas; playing tourist in Minnesota/Wisconsin; and the weeks before Christmas and ideas for easy, cheap, festive holiday gifts and decorations.

For now, though, what I’ve got is this, as I’m on my way back from Minnesota: writing on planes is strange, and quiet in an almost paradoxical way (I’m sitting more or less next to an engine), and kind of hypnotic. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve used my computer on an airplane, because I don’t often take long flights and since graduating college it’s honestly rare that I bring my computer with me when I travel. Most of the airplane travel I’ve done has been either visiting family or vacation or both, and all of the trips I can think of recently were trips where I was consciously focused on taking a step back from the internet and screens, to be wherever I was going to be and enjoy it as it was, with the exception of checking email on my phone several times and instagram’ing anything that seemed particularly memorable and/or worth, you know, sharing instantly. The last time I used my computer in flight was when I was finishing a paper senior year of college, I think, assuming my mental timeline is right and I went down to my grandma’s in Florida over spring break. Basically: it’s been a while. But I brought my computer on this trip because T had work he needed to do and I figured I’d either do website stuff on my computer or write holiday cards, and I wasn’t sure which one I would want to work on – or just how much work he’d need to do. It fit in the bag I was bringing, and I have a 13” MBP, so why not? (Answer: after trekking through the airport today with my backpack that had both my camera and my laptop, and my duffel, the answer is weight, darling. WEIGHT. How I used to carry so much with me all the time, I do not know. I hope to have this computer for at least a few more years, but assuming I can swing it financially whenever I end up replacing it, god can I not wait to get either a 13” MBP Retina or an Air, because a pound to two pounds lighter would make a huge difference.)

BUT ANYWAYS: my computer is a thing I brought with me, and I didn’t really use it this trip and I would feel silly if I brought it with me and didn’t use it at all, so. I had a relatively long layover in Milwaukee, and I am quite tired, because traveling and airports make me tired, but also it is nearly impossible for me to sleep on planes, and writing seemed like a good a way as any to pass the next few hours. It’s funny, though, because my connecting flight from Milwaukee to Boston, on a normal sized plane (can’t you tell I travel often?), is only at 44 people, so most of us have rows to ourselves, and it’s wonderful, but also it makes the flight even quieter than usual for a night flight. It’s amusing in hindsight to think that I was worried about today being sold out, etc., given that it’s the week before Christmas (that said, if I had to hazard a guess, Boston -> Midwest is much busier than Midwest -> Boston…).

I want to get home and I’m hoping to time it such that I can take a shower without waking up my roommate, but part of me almost wishes the flight were longer. This is the kind of quiet that it’s easy to feel in my bones, where the white noise of the plane seeps into my fingers and they move of their own accord. I want to write short stories about toast and how the red light on the wing of the plane reminds me of a lighthouse, because it does. There’s coughing and fidgeting and hushed whispers of flight crew members, and the click of my keys sounds much louder to my ears than it probably is. It’s clear out the window and right now we’re over darkness, but minutes ago we were hovering on the edges of light, just outside the outer bounds of the limits of a city where all of the lights somehow look like street lamps when you’re this high up. Have you ever noticed that? It’s something I often think when flying over cities; how even though I know rationally that the lights are lights on buildings and homes and also street lamps, everything looks like the lights on that bridge in Tampa, or that isolated highway in Maine, or the sleepy busy truck route street that I grew up on.

Lights are strange like that. They’re all the same in very important ways, but there are so many varieties. It’s late and I’m tired, and this is bordering on the philosophical, but. But there’s something calming and wondering about writing on a machine where my keyboard is barely backlit and the screen is at its lowest setting and still seems too bright, and outside is nothing but darkness and the reflection of my laptop and the wing light, until suddenly there’s a city below that looks just like the city before it. This kind of setting is the same as the drizzly day with nothing but the heat of the radiator that makes me want to write a novel. (It’s funny, the moments that stick. I still remember sitting in my freshman dorm, typing out the words that would become part of a much broader post on a long ago site, about how “I think I decided to write a novel today”; because that’s what this is, only years later. And everything is cyclical, but in the best way, where I’m happier and a better person and so pleased with where I am and who I’ve become.)

Because this time of year, December, the week before Christmas, a week and a half before New Years: this time of year is the time to remember, the time to understand, the time to move forward, to bring the best parts with you and understand that the present and past and future all are a part of everything. Everything is words and time, math and numbers, science and math.

I have wonderful people in my life, and I had a wonderful vacation, and I will be writing more, because I had forgotten, as I am prone to do, just how much I have missed it, and just how much writing can help quiet my thoughts.

I hope you are all having wonderful nights and weekends.