Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Moving on up


Another year, another apartment. That's right: for the third year in a row, we are moving during the holiday season. On Friday, we will move from the 2nd floor to the 4th floor of our current building. Yes, another intrabuilding move! which makes 2 in 5 years. Clearly we do not like change and will try our damnedest to stay as close to "home" as possible.

I've been toying with the idea of doing one of those "year in review" posts, which I imagine is just a sneaky way to avoid the pile of empty boxes in the corner. Real time update: I tried to write the review, but I got as far as April before I realized I do not have the blogging stamina for that kind of exercise. I got about 5 hours of sleep thanks to the combination of an enjoyable New Year's Eve party, an exercise-hungry dog, and off-leash hours that end at 9am. I can't muster the energy needed for such an excavation, but I can give you a few highlights.

1. I already revealed this, but it counts as a huge adjustment, so let's say it again: we got a dog! a young, energetic, cat-crazed tank of a dog that has introduced major amounts of guilt and joy into life.


2. I survived the first semester of my mental health counseling master's program. There's no accompanying picture because you can't capture the insanity wrapped up in such an endeavor. Let's just say the workload was WAY more intense than I expected, and the class participation proved to be exhausting, but ultimately gratifying.

3. We ran two half marathons. The Annapolis half in May with my mom and the Hamptons half in September with a couple of friends from Brooklyn. Running over huge bridges is one of my favorite things to do, and the half marathon is a great distance.

4. We ran the Philadelphia Marathon for the 3rd year in a row. I won't share our actual time because pace is a touchy subject in my book, but I will say that since our first marathon we have shaved off over an hour from our total finish time. I still can't believe we run marathons because at one point in my life I expected to be relegated to the world of biking and swimming forever. The picture is near the halfway point of the race, at which point I always wonder why in the world we decided to run the whole distance.


5. I went to what I like to call "banjo camp" at Warren Wilson College, which is near Asheville, NC. It was a week of musical highs and introverted lows because of the cafeteria style eating arrangements and the social atmosphere. At every single meal, I forced myself to sit with new people or to find people that I'd already met. This may sound like nothing to some of you, but for me it was a collossal effort, which proved to be totally worth it because I made some great friends. I also got a chance to visit an old friend that I hadn't seen in almost 7 years by taking a circuitious route to VA beach on my way down to the mountains of NC. It was worth every extra mile.


6. Charrow took me to see Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers at Town Hall in NYC. It was one of the best concerts I've ever attended. It fell on the heels of reading Steve Martin's autobiography, so I felt like we were BFF's for the whole show.

7. I turned 33, and I realized that I should only plan nature-based events for my birthday. Charrow traipsed around Manhattan with me like the supportive and good-natured person that she is, but I had a lackluster day that left me feeling aggravated, overfed, and exhausted. Next year: a hike!

8. I spent an inordinate amount of time posting pictures to Instagram, which is something I resisted for a loooong time. There are way too many pet pictures and mr. Pear cameos, but I don't care because it makes me happy.


9. We took a short, but fun-filled trip to visit friends in PA that involved chickens, friendly neighbors, and many, many walks in the woods with the dogs.


10. I became an aunt! And then promptly had absolutely no time to visit my new niece, but I stalk her on the internets, and I try not to think about how I'm not around to make sure her first word is "poop."



11. I stopped procrastinating. Who knew that was even possible? But I managed to work on every assignment I had throughout the week instead of pulling all-nighters or waiting until the absolute last minute. It was a strange and liberating experience, and I realized that I don't need the pressure of timing to do well.

It's not comprehensive by a long shot, but those are the events of 2013 that stick out in my addled mind. Now it's time to get lost in the box menagerie for awhile.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

where do the hours go?

hot spot

When we were in Brazil last fall, we had very few responsibilities. Pretty much all we had to do was eat*, sleep, wash a few dishes, try not to get sunburned on endless hikes or gobbled up by prowling mosquitoes in the night, and amuse our 1 year old companion.  On the surface, it seemed like a lot of people on the island were in the same boat (that pun was so unintentional, but I'm leaving it in because I can't help myself).  This sign at the center of the nearby village was a hot spot for socializing and doing what looked like a whole lot of nothing. I'm sure the people on the island all have obligations and worries of their own, but their constant loitering contributed to my overinflated sense of leisure.

Fast forward about 8 months, and I can barely remember what it felt like to have nothing to do for hours on end. We've been in constant motion since we left for our Brazilian adventure. Yes, everyone is busy. New York is overflwoing with doers. So many opportunities!  So much to do!  I know people that pick up extra hours at work because they're just not sure what to do with free time, but I can't say that I have ever had that problem. I know people that make plans almost every night of the week, but if I have plans 2 days in a row, I feel like my routines (and the resulting functionality of our household) crumble and it takes days to get things back on track.

What I've been trying to do lately is reframe my idea of "free" time because in my head it seems like it should be protracted hours in which I have to figure out what I want to do with myself. But that just isn't happening right now, and won't for the foreseeable future. So I've had to chunk down and try to appreciate increments as small as 15 minutes. Some days I dive right in and spend those 15 minutes practicing my banjo or scanning film negatives or (gasp) writing a blog post.  But a lot of days, I spend those 15 minutes sitting on the couch, resentful and bemoaning how little time I have.  Before I know it, my free time is up, and I have to go finish the dishes or walk the dog or feed the cats or pack my lunch for the next day or this, or that.

And what about friendships?  You can't nurture a relationship with scraps of time, and forget about making new ones.  Well, I guess you can if go virtual, but what I'm craving is 3 dimensional face time.  I used to spend entire weekends visiting friends on a regular basis. Granted, I was single, hated my job, was apathetic toward my living situation, and did not own a dog. But there has to be a way to make time for people, right?

I've been a variety pack of contradictions lately: lonely and craving a network, too possessive of time to use it on anything besides zoning out at home, and too married to routines that make me feel functional to break the cycle. There's no pat resolution to this post. I merely wanted to use a few minutes of my newfound weekend (no more working on weekends!) to share what's been on my mind for awhile.


*Eating was not actually as small a feat as I'm making it in this sentence. To buy groceries, we had to hike 20 minutes down into the village and then hike back up the side of the hill (I don't think it really counts as a mountain, but it was pretty steep in places) with all of our groceries in tow.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

get out there

a man with thoughts

I often see the same older Asian man walking in Prospect Park.  He carries a cane and contends with a robotic hitch in his stride.  Last week I went running on a wretched winter day.  At the beginning of my loop around the park, I saw this walking man (not to be confused with crazy walking guy whom I will save for another post).  I was surprised to find my cane-toting acquaintance out on such an unpleasant day, but there he was: hugging the far edge of the drive, bent into the wind, making steady progress.

Some days he carries his cane high off the ground and some days he leans on it for support, but more often than not, he's out there.  Motoring along.    

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

mosquito montage

I had to hand write a receipt for someone at work today (after they signed the iPad screen with their finger - oh the collision of technology and a lack thereof), and when I wrote "9" for the month, it made me weep on the inside.  September.  I hate what it represents, even though the month itself is quite nice. More comfortable temperatures, theoretically.  Fewer mosquitoes, maybe.  A sense of renewal and change that feels more logical than New Years, which can also be a source of angst for those of us who are prone to such wastes of effort.  But it's also the first step on the mud spattered spiral staircase to winter.  Effing winter.

But we're not there yet.  It's technically still summer, damn it.  Which I love, even though it comes with high electricity bills and the smothering odor of big city garbage days.  It's clear that I have not been spending my summer in blogland, so I thought I'd do a little photog summary to commemorate the joys of sweating and eating ice cream.

We did a LOT of running.  Some of it over bridges and into greener (and unfortunately hilly) pastures:

shore trail

Some of it by the beach and into labyrinthine, mosquito-infested marshes:

the entrance to the bog

We went canoeing and dog coveting with an old college friend and drank beers with names like Mean Old Tom:

dog on a boat

drinking mean old tom

We went to my mom's and got to spend time with her ridiculously cute dog:

a looker

We did the NYC Color Run, which was most decidedly not in NYC:

black mail

Then we took a birthday ferry ride on the East River, and I ate a carrot cake donut but there's no evidence of that because I ate it too quickly to be seen by the naked eye:

in a movie

This is just a slice of the summer squash pie, but I've already made this into too much of a list, so I'll stop here.  I'd say we did an okay job of filling in the cracks of a work-filled summer.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

progress?

coming or going

There's a line from the Scott Jurek book Eat & Run that has really stuck with me: "Sometimes you just do things."

I'm not really in to just doing things.  In fact, part of what contributes to my eternal stagnation is that I can't just do things.  I always have to ask "why" or "what's so important about this" or "what is the point of doing that," and look how far all of that rumination has gotten me.

It seems like such a simple statement, but you'd be amazed at how useful it is when you're 8 miles into an 11 mile run, and the humidity is 127%, and you think maybe your toes have turned into little ginsu knives.  Other useful statements at such a juncture: "this is what I want" "I choose to be here" and "I will eat my face off when this is over."

Because choice is important, isn't it?  Feeling in control is a creature comfort.  Although it becomes less of a comfort for other creatures when you decide to try to control them, but overall I would say that feeling like you are your own master is an important element to happiness.

I turned 32 last week.  32!  Which I know won't seem like much to some of you, but it feels like a big deal.  People in their 30s own things.  They have paths.  They are in charge of stuff.  Or so it seems.  I've decided to embark on my own 30-something avenue that will be kind of a big deal if I see it through.  Naturally I don't plan on sharing it with you yet (not for quite awhile really), but I have to say it feels good to decide to just do something.  Because why the F not.  

*and sometimes 2 people in the course of a day ask you to write more blog posts, so you just sit down and do it 

Monday, May 7, 2012

blahttes and crappucinos

romper room

Remember when I used to write some stuffs?  Yeah, me neither.

There are so many things I could try to use as an excuse.  Post marathon depression.  Holiday Hangover.  February flops.  Mental hay fever.  The real reasons are so existential and wiggly that I can barely figure out how to describe them.  I tried to explain the problem to an old friend today, and it sounded like I was quoting a Portlandia script, minus the quirky coolness.  

I'm not sure people with my grab bag of neuroses are supposed to have blogs.  Being torn between wanting attention and gold stars (comments! thumbs up! like me!), not wanting attention (don't ask me questions about myself!), and not understanding the point of anything makes for a difficult first draft.  But why does everything need to be injected with meaning?  Why can't something just be a collection of stories for the sake of storytelling?  I spent over 30 minutes this evening scrolling through Humans of New York (non-Facebook version here), completely enthralled by the snippets included with each photo, and would have kept going if I hadn't promised myself I would write something tonight.  

So I'm not breaking up with you internets.  I'm merely trying to define our relationship and figure out how to make this space something I look forward to inhabiting instead of this thing that needs to be Great and Noticed.      

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

coping

This brief feline interlude has been brought to you by a very stressful little thing called Moving in December.  'Tis the season for overcommitment!  I know it doesn't rhyme, but I don't have time to agonize over syntax right now (or to wonder if I used the word syntax correctly).

As you can see from the way she's clutching the drawer, Fatty could care less that there are moving boxes in one corner of the apartment and piles of clothes heading to Beacon's all over the bed.  Petey, on the other hand, has been even more fidgety than usual and will occasionally let out a harrowing wail as he paces from one end of the apartment to the other.  He's taken to laying all over the boxes in a very obvious display of denial.

stressball

Long story short, our landlord is coming home to her apartment in January, and our sublet in the stodgy but oh so well located co-op is over.  Our next step?  Moving down the hall.  Seriously.  There's an empty apartment that is available for sublet and after much stalling and nail biting, we should receive the keys sometime* today.  I'm leery of telling the whole story here on the interwebs, otherwise known as naked land where everything is permanent and accessible to prying eyes.  Basically, it did not need to be this drawn out and ridiculously close to not happening in time for both christmas and the end of our lease.  Certain parties involved wanted certain things that they should not have been entitled too, but they negotiated their way into what they wanted at the expense of my sanity.  Yes, we could have tried harder to find another rental that wouldn't have involved such waiting and lack of control, but who wouldn't want to move down the hall? to a brighter apartment? and pay the same rent?  and live in exactly the same location that you were depressed about leaving?  So I suppose it was worth it.

*I say sometime because, in keeping with all other communication with these people, we have not been told when the owner is planning to stop by today.