Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Rally to Restore Sanity—Does?

“An open hand
and open heart
there’s no need to be afraid
open up, this is a raid
I want to get it through to you:
you’re not alone.”
-Mavis Staples

This has been a particularly good month to write a blog about happiness—between Dan Savage and Jon Stewart, there’s a lot of reason (ha!) to feel like artists, writers in particular, can change things for the better.

Yesterday was a cartoonishly beautiful day. We had so much fun at the rally. Here are some highlights and thoughts.

1. Spending the day exemplifying reason with 200,000 people was very spiritually fulfilling. In the crush of the crowd, I never heard a mean word or even really saw anyone get annoyed, except the lovable curmudgeon guy next to me who kept saying “Isn’t this supposed to be about sanity? This is crazy!” (I kept giving him updates on my leaping serotonin levels. :) You wouldn’t think mass politeness would be euphoric, but it was. (But I still harbored violent thoughts against anyone with a “Wag more, bark less” poster. Man I hate that slogan. Like you are as transcendent as a dog!)
2. Unsurprisingly, Comedy Central fans seem to err on the side of attractive.
3. I sure do love seeing The Roots play a Rally. They played pretty much a full set, bringing John Legend in as a surprise guest. I’ve never really noticed John Legend before (except, come to think of it, in A Colbert Christmas.) but I really liked him singing the M.O.F. part of “Dear God.” and the Bill Withers cover was enough to inspire me to give Wake Up! a listen.
4. Standing in a crowd of cute liberals listening to Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy sing “You are Not Alone” should also be filed under “Religious Experiences.” My church’s theme is belonging this month and I feel like I’m really doing the homework...
5. I really appreciated the point that Colbert and Stewart made about the left reclaiming patriotism, but I couldn’t quite bring myself to sing along with “We’re the biggest, strongest country in the world.” It felt too scary-nationalistic to sing that in such a huge group, no matter WHO it was.
6. I really loved the part where the Mythbusters guys came out and did experiments on the crowd, seeing how long it would take for The Wave to get to the back, seeing if we could cause an earthquake by jumping up and down, etc. It was the first time I’ve ever gone “Woo!” for a seismologist.
7. Sheryl Crow sucks the life out of me no matter the circumstances. She should never be in things.
8. Although I would’ve liked to see “Peace Train” and “Crazy Train” become a true mashup, seeing the O’Jays sing “Love Train” was pretty badass.
9. For a while I’ve been a fan of Jon Stewart’s assertion that every-ther-car merging is proof that people are basically civil. It was so moving to hear it there with everyone. I loved his sincere speech so, so much.
10. I’m a little sad that Steven Slater apologized.
11. The best thing about the day was that it was a massive writing exercise. You can see more of my favorite signs here.
12. I’m glad that my favorite podcast, Too Beautiful to Live keeps me up to speed on internet memes so that I could get all of the “Hide yo kids, hide yo wife” and double rainbow themed signs. (But, sadly, no “Kittens! Inspired by...kittens!” ones)
I did wake up this morning worried that none of my rally-mates were going to vote, but even if it has no political impact, it was such a gratifying work of mass-art. We shared a wonderful, sincere, ridiculous experience with our fellow humans. So much happiness created in one afternoon. So much good has already been done.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Poetic License Horoscopes for Oct 29-Nov 4

The awesome thing about made-up horoscopes? The stars take requests. Comment with your sign and wishes, and I’ll use them as inspiration in the coming weeks.

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): Listen to the This American Life episode titled “Unconditional Love.” Think about attachment and risk. Don’t listen to it on the bus, though, because you WILL sob.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): I’m writing a love poem about Pennsylvania for this contest and I’m having a hard time fitting in the puns I love so much; Starucca Creek asking “Viaduct?” Driving through the mountains asking “Who poked whose nose?” I may leave them in anyway.

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): You have to keep reminding yourself, no one can hear what you’re thinking; your brain isn’t turned up like a too-loud iPod on the bus.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): I had a dream about you. You were so solid, none of the shimmery, diaphanous quality that you have in waking life. Find something grounding to do. After a while, no one will be able to see through you.

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): Plow through emotionally difficult situations as if they were coats in a wardrobe. What could be waiting for you besides a lamp, a snowy hillside, and possibly Mr. Tumnus.

Aries (March 21-April 18): Around the time that a friend of mine started going around in drag as another friend (sort of a Single White FTM situation), I realized that really there’s no getting to know people one on one, that identity is porous and shifty, like a lenticular postcard.

Taurus (April 19-May 18): In the words of indie-pop Taurus Gregg Yeti, “Your poetry never prepared you for this.” You need additional training, possibly in social psychology or maybe geometry for design. It’s time to grow some new neural pathways.

Gemini (May 19-June 21): Gertrude Stein said, “Everything is so dangerous that nothing is really frightening.” Buy that view you’ve been shopping for, start your novel (It’s NaNoWriMo, after all!), call that long-lost friend.

Cancer (June 22-July 23): You are a system of equations with infinite solutions. Your choices fan out like fractals or pile up on the same beautiful plane — whatever you choose, you are full of rich variables.

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): Last Sunday, my wife and I took a leafing trip to Lancaster. We strolled around looking at the beautiful old town, got homemade ice cream with the best chocolate jimmies in the world, then sat down in the park to make our “It Gets Better” video. Turns out there’s a lot to survive for, even just in that one day.

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): You’ll be free soon from whatever it is. The shouting messes in your life will go mute, the bruises will fade, and the riches will pour in. Remember your many, many lantern-talents.

Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): Reality show contestants routinely say “I’m not here to make friends.” You can hear a montage of these here. The thing is, though, those aren’t always the winners! You actually are here to make friends.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Song of the Week: Don't Stop Believin'

If you see Amy and I getting out of our car, chances are we've just been belting this out. It's a serotonin factory in and of itself.

I'd like to dedicate it to a pal who's just beginning her coming out process. I'm not the best wing-woman in the world, but I'm rooting for you every step of the way.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

We" Get Better" in Lancaster

I feel like this particular piece of mass-art might be even more therapeutic for the adults making the videos than they are for the intended audience. It sure felt good to acknowledge that, wow, we survived! And we're so glad to be here.

And Speaking of Choking Up

My friend Sam posted his mother's last piece of writing and I really just had to link to it here so I could refer to it over and over.

Unconditional Love: This American Life

Don't listen on the bus--this one WILL choke you up.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Poetic License Horoscope for Oct 22-28

Note: The awesome thing about made-up horoscopes is that the stars take requests. Comment with your sign and wishes, and I’ll use them as inspiration in the coming weeks.

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): Happy birthday-month! Here’s what I appreciate about you: You appear in all my dreams about gambling. You appreciate lightning bugs’ freedom. You have a tendency toward hats. Give yourself something glowing this week, something warm and a little retro.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): So called “free spirits” often seem (to this Virgo, at least) to be the most enslaved. Embrace your logistics. See how many things you can lavishly plan for. Light a candle for your perpetual calendar. Make a toast to every step you’ve purposefully taken.

Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): It’s like in that movie All Summer in a Day. A little girl from Earth is living on Venus, where it does nothing but rain. One day, the sun comes out, and some mean Venus girls lock her in a room. A streak of sun falls across the floor and onto her hand. Except here, you know, it’s sunny a lot more often.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): Lily Tomlin said “Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past.” I’m trying to do this, but I keep getting snagged on little nails and splinters of love and regret. Love and luck to us both.

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): My very, very wise friend Shanny Jean told me that whenever she feels impressed/enamored/ intimidated by someone, she resists the urge to run away and instead asks them to be her pen pal. This is some of the most useful advice I’ve ever gotten.

Aries (March 21-April 18): One of my favorite grown-up poetry students sent me an acceptance letter that she got for some of her poems. I had the following two thoughts: 1. THAT IS AMAZING! I am so PROUD! and 2. That journal rejected me…Mostly number 1, though.

Taurus (April 19-May 18): Andy Warhol said ‎”An artist is someone who produces things that people don’t need to have but that he — for some reason — thinks it would be a good idea to give them.” Apply this any way you want to, from murals to mix tapes to simply giving someone the what-for.

Gemini (May 19-June 21): The Dandy Warhols said “A long time ago, we used to be friends/But I haven’t thought of you lately at all/If ever again/ a greeting I send to you, short and sweet is all I intend.” Lies! Lies, I tell you.

Cancer (June 22-July 23): ): In case you didn’t get to watch the season finale of Mad Men, here are some anti-spoilers for you: Betty didn’t have any breakthroughs, Don “Only likes the beginning of things,” and Sally is getting closer and closer to her Valley of the Dolls-esque spinoff.

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): The wife and I are obsessed with Veronica Mars. Originally, I was distrustful of Veronica because she is an intrepid So-Cal blondie who is not Buffy. But the adorableness of Kristen Bell won out, and here we are. Veronica’s advice for you is: “Here’s what you do … you get tough.”

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): The Last Weatherman is a new poem by Derrick Brown. It’s all about this weatherman who keeps flubbing his lines until he turns them into poetry. I like stories about how you fuck up until you find the work you’re meant to have. Jeez, I hope they’re true.

Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): Luckily, you are not a Calvinist. Your fate is not predetermined. Decide for yourself whether or not you have been given grace, and then go out and do something fun.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Song of the Week: We Used to Be Friends

Being the latest of all late adopters (I recently decided that headphones are okay.) I'm currently obsessed with Veronica Mars. I'm usually distrustful of intrepid CA blondies who are not Buffy, but between the adorableness of Kristen Bell and the insistence of a co-worker, I'm hooked.

Plus! Puppets.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Night Kite Revival/Reunion

On Monday night, Amy and I went to see the Night Kite Revival tour, made up of heartthrob poets Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, Derrick Brown, Buddy Wakefield, and Anis Mojgani, with musical transcendifying from Timmy Straw and Emily Wells.

So as I’ve said ad nauseum, I’ve been having this grief thing lately with trouble connecting. If souls weren’t connected to the infinite whatever, I’d be worried sometimes that mine was dying. But these poets have something really good for winnowing light through the cracks.

The parts of life that get me into trouble, the jumping in with both feet, falling bonkers-in-love, getting lost, having too much or too little faith, those things were all in there, and all valued. More than valued, revered. I felt normal for a little bit, like I belonged in the world.

These kinds of shows are always a little bittersweet, ‘cause I hate knowing they’re all leaving town the next day. Seeing Derrick means remembering that part of me always lives in Southern California. Thank goodness Cristin lives here at the moment or I may’ve stowed away in their van.

All over the country, my poet friends are piling like puppies into tour vans. I wish wish wish I could be with all of them. In all the places at once.

A Nice Breakthrough

The other day at church, I went over to my friend-and-sometimes-guru Andrea Durham to ask if she wanted help with the upcoming Diwali celebration. She asked how I’d been doing and I told her I’d been feeling off and a bit disconnected. She out-insighted everyone.

She said that after a trauma (In this case the Hostile Work Environment/social justice awakening of my old job.) you go into survival mode. One you’re finally convinced that you’re safe, the grief from the trauma might need to come out.

It was such a relief to hear her say that—to acknowledge (as my attempted therapists hadn’t) that I’d been through something big and needed time and space. I felt a little glimmer of this-might-not-last-forever.

Being affected by the HWE is getting really old. It is not a good lens to see the world through. She said, though, that if I just take my time and keep myself from being isolated, that I should expect to be in a better state by next year. “Just look at how far you’ve come” she said.

If you need a Life Coach, I highly, highly recommend her. She can even validate you from afar, over Skype. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Resolution # 1: Embrace Imperfection

This is my phone's wallpaper at the moment. Bathroom graffiti is so wise sometimes. Fittingly, it took an absurd amount of effort to get it from my phone to here. :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Book and an Artist I Like

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever been told that he or she is “too sensitive.”

When she’s eight years old, Rose tastes the lemon-chocolate birthday cake that her mother made for her. She tastes all of her mother’s sadness and emptiness. She cries and goes to bed early. It turns out that she has developed the ability to taste the emotions in food.

As oppressive as this talent (and all the too-much-information that come with it) is, she hones it slowly and painfully, tracing the origin of every ingredient, of every person who has touched every ingredient. She learns a lot about factories, and WAY too much about her mother.

Anyone who grew up hypervigilant will recognize the oppressiveness of the emotional detail that Rose has to take in in order to survive. It’s a suffocating read in places, but worth powering through.

Surviving on heavily processed foods for their relative lack of pathos and learning of her family’s corresponding “special skills,” Rose seeks a place for herself, some solidity amidst the layers of detail.

Not to spoil the ending, but Rose does find her place in the world. She finds a niche where her curse can double as a talent, with enough blank space to balance out the overwhelmingness. For her it was Oreos. For me, TV works, mostly.

Holly Farrell, Painter

Holly’s work reminds me of the resolution of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. Her acrylics give me such a feeling of sturdiness, such a nice break from the quantumness of things.

Amy found Holly when she was designing the cover of my book—just a Google image search under “couch” and it was the beast couch by far. We rethought the whole chapbook design so that we could include it.

My very, very favorite is her series of Butterick sewing patterns from I think the 1970s, just like the ones in my mom’s collection. It brought back the feeling of INTERMINABLE fabric store visits, of hours in Mom’s sewing area, of learning to sew from patterns myself.

Being the nice new pal that she is, Holly visited The Serotonin Factory and had this to say: “I took a look at your blog and liked that your trip to your childhood home you referred to as more a reunion than nostalgia - that's how I feel about my painting sometimes.”

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Song and Cover of the Week: Dear God, Dear God 2.0

Yay, they both have gorgeous videos now. The Roots' cover gives me a little less of a toothache than the original.

Monday, October 11, 2010

We Have Been Known to Rally

In a rally to support the Democratic candidates in the upcoming midterm election, yesterday The Roots opened for the President and Vice President right behind our house, in the playground of the school where I worked when we first moved to Philly. I’m not quite over the shock, still, of living someplace where such a thing could happen.

I’d originally planned to go to church and then join Amy in line, but I got antsy when I started seeing families getting in line with families of folding chairs already at 10:30 am (doors were at 3), so I went home and tried to get cute while Amy made us some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Yesterday was the most out that Amy and I have ever been here in our superchurchy neighborhood. Going to line up for a Democratic rally, it seemed more okay to hold hands than it usually does. We were also happy to sort of snuggle up in a sleepy way in the sun during the four hour wait.

The wait wasn’t too bad. We both brought reading material and were entertained by a the very excited group in front of us first naming TV shows and then having an awesome, awesome sing along.

Of course we signed up, in a wave of 2008 hopeandchange nostalgia, for some campaign work this month. (Politics, like baseball, are something I tend to mostly only notice in October…)

I liked how, when we got to the gate, the security guard was splitting people up by “families” to go in, whether they were actually families or not.

We found a spot about 30 feet from the stage where we could clearly see both the podium and The Roots’s instruments. After a few minutes, who should come over and stand in front of us but one Mr. Mark A, my favorite student from when I worked at Fulton. He was with two young family members who I think may’ve been dressed in purple for tolerance.

Ending up behind them, out of all the 18,000 people, made me feel like the Universe was telling me I’m forgiven for the past two years’ teaching mistakes, and am now free and clear to make some more. 

After this amazing kid’s rendition of The Star Spangled banner, a DJ who played such crowd pleasers as “It Takes Two” and “Poison” (Not to mention line dances we gamely tried to execute, despite the smooshed lack of space), here came The Roots.

They were amazing, of course, though I wish the crowd had been a little more willing to go bonkers with them.(Gratuitous aside: I never realized how hot The Roots are. Usually my Sunday forays into my hetero side begin and end with Mad Men…) Amy and I had debated whether “Dear God” was a politic song for them to sing…Amy won, I guess, cause they sang it. I was happy to sing “Why do haters separate us like we Siamese?” and the original Monsters of Folk lyrics: “I know I’m thinkin’ aloud, /But if your love’s still around/Why do we suffer?” along with 18,000 people. Pretty much makes up for missing church.

After The Roots and the actual 2010 candidates, Joe Biden introduced the President. They hugged for such a long time before the president began speaking.

The last time we saw Barack Obama speak, it was also right by my house—in Vernon Park on October 11, 2008, a few weeks before he won the election. It was a beautiful day then, too, and they kept playing that U2 “Beautiful Day” song that I begrudgingly ended up liking because it reminds me of campaign fun. I was in the middle of a race and class-struggle awakening and I really felt all the hopeandchange. I was pretty much drunk on it. We still have the flyer from that day along with other campaign ephemera on the wall.

Since that day, I’ve gotten more reticent and measured about working for change, and the nation and the president have been through a whole lot of shit. His voice has a nice pissed-off edge. He called out the Republicans on their nay-saying, rich people funding, education fucking-over: it was the most calling out that I have ever heard a democrat do.

If that speech that moved me so much in Vernon Park was the Meet the Beatles with all that exuberance, newness, and revelation, then the speech I heard yesterday is somewhere between Revolver and Abbey Road—edged, complex, and a little heartbroken. I loved it.

I didn’t love his getting-the-car-out-of-a-ditch metaphor, though. It reminded me of this household’s hopeless car years. Can’t argue with his “You put a car in “D” to move forward, in “R” to go backward” joke, though.

I can’t say that I fully believe in elections anymore. Ever since I found out that some of my students saw 2008 as a black versus white election, I’ve felt like things are so many years away from true justice and peace. But I do look forward to working on the Democrats' campaign this month. It just comes down to; it’s more fun than helplessness.

You can commit to vote and find volunteer opportunities here:

Friday, October 8, 2010

Poetic License Horoscope for Oct 8-14

Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): Oh, darling. You need a good, bossy wife, someone to keep the fridge full of nutrients, let you spend what you need to, make you sleep regularly, to check if you’re taking actual lunch breaks at work, which should preferably be spent reading.

Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): Parents whose children have achieved You Tube fame should leave well enough alone. I don’t need to see “Kittens Inspired By Kittens Girl Explains World War II” or “Deleted Scenes from Jessica’s Affirmation.” Let the kids go outside, already.

Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): Make yourself a mix called “Positive Expressions of Negative Emotions.” You may want to include “I Don’t Love Anyone” by Belle and Sebastian, which includes: “I met a man today/And he told me something pretty strange
There's always somebody saying something/He said, "The world was as soft as lace."

(Dec. 23-Jan. 20): At the end of this week’s Mad Men, Dr. Faye has sold herself out for the good of Don’s company. She lays her head on his shoulder and “Welcome to my World” plays over the credits. Influence is real. Avoid snuggling up to handsome shapeshifters.

Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): I’m bothered by the Lifetime-ization of this season’s Project Runway—you can hardly tell its promos from Reviving Ophelia’s. Let’s leave aside the broken heroines and get back to the sewing, please.

Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): Rumi wrote: “Each has to enter the nest made by the other imperfect bird.” Collect your twigs and ribbon, your delicate detritus, your molted feathers. Use your little mess to decorate someone’s heart.

Aries (March 21-April 18): It’s GBLT History Month! Celebrate by visiting “It Gets Better,” Dan Savage’s You Tube channel where LGBT grown-ups post videos encouraging our youth to hang in there. The wife and I are gonna make a video for it, just as soon as we clean the house.

Taurus (April 19-May 18): In the immortal words of Tracey Jordan: “I lost my mood ring and I don’t know how I feel about it.”

Gemini (May 19-June 21): I went and visited my childhood home last week. The latest owners had fixed it up so nice and cheerful. It was freshly painted and expanded, and they added more trees, a pond, and a carriage house—fancy! Seeing it that way made my soul feel refurbished.

Cancer (June 22-July 23): See how many versions of “I Can’t Stand the Rain” you can find/ I think you’ll discover that not only are you super fly, but you are, in fact, super duper fly.

Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): The radio edit of Cee Lo Green’s “Fuck You” sounds really boring. While redubbers-of-80s-movies-for-TV may disagree, “Forget” is not a synonym for “Fuck.”

Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): I’m having trouble thinking up any slogans to put on a placard for my trip down to Jon Stewart’s “Rally to Restore Sanity”—I think maybe that’s because I am immoderate. Oh well, emotional lefties change the world all the time for the better.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

TBTL on To Do Lists

Jen "Flash" Andrews of my favorite podcast, Too Beautiful to Live, says that we only do the things on our list that are truly important to us.

She has this to say about To Do Lists.

Feeling a Little Bit Refurbished

Resolution #5 this month is “Follow curiosity more avidly.” I guess this story kind of goes along with that. After I saw The Wilderness Downtown video and it didn’t have footage for my childhood home, I decided I really wanted to see it, to see what’s changed. So, on the way home from apple picking last weekend, Amy and I took a little detour to check it out.

It was a perfect, bright fall day. The colors were so cheerful weather was so mild. We came in through Susquehanna, taking a look at my old church. There was something comforting about seeing the steeple from far away and the building looking just the same. I found myself happy to have once belonged there. (Not many Unitarians would admit to being glad of their old church…)

Then I continued taking Amy on a guided tour of my childhood. We went to Schneider’s Market. You always expect things to keep getting more and more homogenized, that it would’ve been bought by a chain store, but it was just the same as when we’d go there with Grandma Wiedmann to get our once-a-year box of sugary cereal, our once-a-year Spaghetti-Ohs.

When we were little, food sometime was so finite as to kind of have to ration it. This was particularly the case with Kaiser rolls, which dad needed a certain number of for his lunch sandwiches. So every time I’ve gone back to visit as an adult (I think this makes twice) I’ve gotten inordinately excited about being able to buy a whole bag of rolls. Being an adult is pretty awesome sometimes.

We ate a picnic and walked over to look at the Susquehanna river. The bridge we used to walk across was moved, but we watched the river from the walled-off spot where the old bridge used to be.

While we were walking along the cute, cute old-timey Main Street, (there’s a video store where the library used to be), we were passed by a couple of tween girls, arms around each other and walking and chatting so confidently. Amy said “Are they your former self?” I laughed and said “If only I were that self-assured.” But I like that she saw me that way.

The drive from town (listening to “We Used to Wait,” of course.) is five miles. We took Front Street, the route that my brother and sister and I used to like, probably because you could catch glimpses of the river and train tracks. We passed the place where my sister fell out of the car, the babysitter-with-a-pervy-boyfriend’s house, the Vacation Bible School where we went in summer until my mom decided it was too anti-Catholic, Brushville pond which is now a field.

We parked at the little cemetery up the hill from the old house and walked down the narrow road. The air felt like finally-enough space, warm and fallish, with a tiny hint of future snow. I felt free. I felt like I wanted to be coming home on the school bus. It wasn’t a feeling of nostalgia, really, more like a reunion.

We decided to try walking in the woods for a bit, to see how much it had changed—indeed part of them had been mowed into an extension of someone’s backyard. My mom’s old admonishments not to get shot while trespassing (or any other time, for that matter) sprung to mind. The part of the woods that my siblings and I called “The Peaceful Pines” still looked the same. On the other side of them, I was so delighted to find the little pond we used to play by, still smelling froggy and perfect. Still backgrounded by the same serenity-inducing hill of trees.

And the view. It was just as amazing as ever, a long expanse of rolling hills dotted with fall color. When the Eppingers built a house in our view in the late 80s, my mom was livid. We would all have these long discussions about whether or not you could own a view. Also about whether color is abstract or concrete.

Amy and I realized that if we kept walking towards the view, we were going to end up in people’s backyard, so we made our way back to the road. “I’m up to my ass in asters!” I was heard to exclaim.

I didn’t really approve of the new house that interrupted what used to be unbroken woods across from the old house, but it was so pretty and so covered with hanging baskets of pink flowers that I kind of fell in love with it and asked Amy to buy it for me. The woodsy area, with its little cattail swamp and Tree Climbing Club tree, was almost the same. You never hear stories about someone visiting the old place and finding it so much the same. Or maybe this isn’t too much of a story, more like telling someone about a dream you had.

The sledding hill next to the old house is now covered with young trees. The house itself looks so tidy and perfect, red now instead of white. The old shed in the back that we used to play in was turned into a pretty summer-camp-looking cabin with a yellow-painted railing, festive and fancy like something you might imagine if you were a little kid playing house in a shed.

My mom’s lilac bushes looked so big and sturdy. All of the windows had pretty, delicate curtains in them.

The house looked so innocuous, innocent of all the pathos of 22 (!) years ago. I saw the windows of the room I shared with my sister, the kitchen window, the attic window that my mom once dressed up as a scary jack o’ lantern.

Yes, there were traumas there, but they didn’t seem as important as the beauty, the space, the color. Traumas take up so much space in memory, but really, and luckily for me, so little actual time. Percentagewise, I had a happy childhood. I kind of wish I’d realized that sooner.

Amy and I walked down to the hayfield where my family used to fly kites. Amy took a picture and I said what you always have to say: “I’m out standing in my field.” I felt flooded with well-being and luck.

Song of the Week: I Don't Love Anyone

I am attracted to this song because it is the opposite of me...oh, my impossible dream of being an aloof person...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October Resolutions

Well, I am mostly bored with the Happiness Project. Lists of fun things to do has kind of given way to step-by-step practical stuff like trying not to fail Intermediate Algebra...nonetheless, here's some goals for the month.

1. Embrace imperfection.

2. Walk in the woods.

3.Buy less.

4. Make meals that involve steps.

5. Follow curiosity more avidly.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Poetic License Horoscope for 10/1- 10/7