Tag: Change

2010, We Hardly Knew Ye

“Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right.”
– Oprah Winfrey

A decade, dears.  There have been revolutions, wars, natural disasters.  There have been cures for diseases, leaps in technology, triumphs of humanity.  The iPod is approaching its 10th anniversary.  I’m 10 years on since starting high school…where does time go, exactly?

A big decade for me, all things considered.  Lots of good stuff happened, some bad as well but surprisingly little in comparison I find (which belies all my complaining, shhh).  My small galaxy of people had a pretty stellar year too.  Jane had to move three times in one year as she and her husband struggled with the economy, jobs, and life, but now they seem pretty settled (and much closer to me than California!).  Janssen had a lovely little girl.  Wise is about to follow Jannsen’s maternal lead any second now and her husband got a clerkship post that they are thrilled about.  Hennessy got married and bought a house.  Sav is graduating and her husband got into the grad school of his choice – hurray!  Venice moved (which I’m still not over) but it was the right choice for her and Val and they have a bright future ahead.  Peregrine also moved back to DC, has a fabulous job and a very special – but sadly top secret – project she’s working on.  Scarlett is in grad school in New York, dealing with personal demons (aren’t we all?) but doing so with her usual clear-eyed honesty and personal flair.  Angel got a great new job.  Margot is having some truly heinous battles in the teaching craft, but I’ve never seen her more awesome, (which, if you knew her, you would realize is a statement of gargantuan proportions).  Dad retired, Mum got a job teaching at university and they moved to the US to enjoy retirement (by which I mean, Dad flung himself into manual labor to turn a patch of East Coast backwoods into an estate).  Gio graduated high school and is on to uni himself.  Buddy and Snickers started at a new school in a new country and are doing swimmingly.

Next year will find J. graduated and off to grad school, goodness knows where.  Most likely we’ll be moving as all but one of the schools he’s applied to are in different states and/or countries.  2011 will be a year of adventures and I’m thrilled.  It’s been too long since I’ve had one.

Obligatory Goals:
Shop less.
Eat better.
Save more.
Exercise longer.
Love harder.
Complain less.
Anticipate more.

Hope the New Year brings you all the adventures you desire, kittens.  See you on the other side.

Fall, When Young Girl’s Fancy Turns…

“Delicious Autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the Earth seeking the successive Autumns.”
– George Elliot

Fall is here!

I love that the skies are perfectly blue and clear for all but the fluffiest of white clouds, but the temperature is noticeably crisp.  I adore sweater weather, and I love breaking out the sweaters that have been in hibernation.  Looking into the tree tops and off into the mountains, I’m thrilled that I can see just a handful of leaves, just a couple clusters of trees starting to turn that fierce shade of vivid rust that I love.  I enjoy waking up to a cool flat (as opposed to August when I wake up and both J. and I have kicked all the sheets off the bed and are still miserable), snuggled down in my pillow with the blankets drawn up to my nose.  I love wrapping my mother’s presents of thick Scottish wool scarves around my neck.  I love plotting my Halloween costume, debating the wisdom of buying new boots, and planning whose family we will spend various holidays with.  I LOVE Fall!

Alternatively…with the advent of bronzing leaves comes that most American of holidays: HallowGivingMas.  Picture this: walking through the mall I passed a home decor store.  And right at the front of this store was a large Christmas tree, decorated in jack-o’-lantern and turkey ornaments.  Major, major fail. 

No, American Consumerism, I will not be guilted into extending my holiday shopping season by a single day, much less three months!  Instead, I will be looking at changing leaves, celebrating my godfather’s birthday, wearing my university pullovers, and researching soup recipes, thank you very much.

Coming to America, and Other Challenges

“Is this Plymouth?  We’ve just come from Plymouth.  We’ve gone round in circles, lads…”
– Eddie Izzard

I’ve decided to just stop panicking.  First of all it’s exhausting and unsustainable, and second panicking will have absolutely no effect on my fate anyway.  For all I know, Chief is just as puzzled as the rest of us seem to be and just wants to get my side of the story.  Of course, he could also be preparing the Iron Maiden and Rack, but I’m choosing to be optimistic.

So, we’ll continue as if nothing is wrong until next Monday.  Play along.  There’s every chance that I’ll lose my cool and completely disintegrate into a useless puddle sometime over the weekend and I may need you to drag me out of whatever darkened corner I’ve thrown myself, in the fetal position, into.

In other news, my whole family seems to be finding life Stateside a bit of a chore.  Mum is putting a house together, Dad is job hunting and running his small business, Gio is pacing rings in the carpet trying to work (in spite of torrential rains at our Uncle’s house where he is staying) and waiting for university to start, Buddy and Snickers are “looking forward” to (another) new school.

Keep Calm: An Emotional Evolution Since Yesterday

 “Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends.”
– Virginia Woolf
 

Happy independence to me…from Venice.  She and Val are on their way East (though if Facebook updates are anything to go off of, they are already having a horrid time of it).  Since her departure, I’ve been going through the most frightful emotional rollercoaster, best illustrated by the following series. 

I'm fine. I'm fine.

 

I'm not fine! I'm not fine!

 

Minor meltdown/The Crazies

 

Successfully avoiding.

 

Unsuccessfully avoiding.

 

Denial.

 

Bargaining.

 

Acceptance. Sort of.

 So.  Here’s to absent friends.  Whenever any of you may be.

Soundoff Part II

“Nothing but heaven itself is better than a friend who is really a friend.”
– Plautus

Remember this list?

Well, J. took the GMAT today and scored a 720 (way to go, love!), Venice is going to be interviewed by the local paper tomorrow for a petition she’s started, Lexie is engaged, Hennessy is getting married any second now, my brother Gio got an impressive scholarship to virtually any school in the US and he’ll be making a final decision about where to go by the end of the week, my father retired and has decided to move…to the States!  Which makes little sense to me, I’d have picked Tuscany, personally.  My mother, her Classics degree from Cambridge fresh under her belt, is in the US already going through an intense Latin program that should make her a nice candidate to teach Classical Studies Stateside.

Our family is already dreading moving.  Apparently, one of the highest accolades that the kids’ school gave itself this past year was getting in fewer fights than the year before.  And they chief form of entertainment was lighting fires in the school and then calling the bomb squad.  Interesting.  “We’re going to be the weirdos now.  Don’t tell them where you’re from, where you’ve lived, or what you’ve done,” is my father’s advice, “LIE.”  You know that when your pretty spectacular family, though I say so myself, is planning very hard to be inconspicuous that life is about get odd.

My whole family and I are going to be on the same continent for the first time in six years.  Permanently.  Bizarre!

Coming and Going

“Oh dear.  Hennessy and Vodka?  What sort of operation are we running here?”
“Clearly a P.A.R.T.Y.”
– C. and Sav

Vodka
From "The Capital L" - see Read Me for more details. She's cute, nyet?

The ever fabulous Savvy alerted me to the fact that I too have neglected to mention Daae’s replacement!  (Click link to meet our new friend)  Sav christened her Vodka, which is perfectly appropriate.  Although how so many liquor nicknames are sneaking into our lives is a bit beyond me…ahem…

In happier news, it would seem my Lord and Lady Stompington may have moved out!  Building gossip suggests it, and the unnatural quiet we’ve been enjoying seconds the idea, but it has not been positively confirmed yet.  Fingers crossed, all.  Good fortune and goodbye!

Also, Sav and her husband CK may be moving into our building.  Which would be lovely!  When Venice basely abandons me, it would be nice to have someone I know and like in easy cup-of-sugar borrowing distance.

Not Just a River in Egypt

“No one loves the messenger who brings bad news.”
– Sophocles

If I do not acknowledge the inevitable...

I’ve been in denial about an upcoming Tragic Event.  This year as America celebrates its independence with exploding things and overeating, I’ll be not-celebrating my forced independence…from Venice.  Val is done with his degree and they are moving to Kentucky on July 4th.  This has been a long time coming, but of course I’ve stuck my metaphoric fingers in my ears and ignored the impending catastrophe.

Last weekend they flew out to Kentucky to scope out the area for his potential job, their potential home, and potential lives.  Last night, coming home from work I saw him at their flat door and asked how the trip went.  Really well, apparently, because he’s got the job and plans are now in motion.
“I am honestly thrilled for you guys, but you do realize I’m never going to forgive you for taking her away,” I said despondently.
“If it wasn’t for me you’d never have even met!” he reasoned.

Which is true.  We used to live in the same apartment complex a few years ago and I got to be friends with him and his flatmates.  One day he said, “I think you should meet my girlfriend.  You two would get along really well.”  The rest is well documented history.

The Val giveth and the Val taketh away.

Peregrine is in D.C., Scarlett is in New York, Angel is in the city, Margot (who just got back from New Zealand) is probably going to head north at some point in the near future.  And I’m feeling supremely stuck and left behind.  I’m trying really hard to keep perspective.  J. and I will be moving back East in a couple of years and Venice (and most of others listed) are already on speed-dial…but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t devastated.

Lifestyles of the Poor and Obscure

“It’s an area of Dublin that still has lots of character.  It hasn’t been yuppified to ****.”
Lisa’s spirits started a slow slither.  She was
desperate to live in a place that had been yuppified to ****.
– Marian Keys,
Sushi for Beginners

Every once and a while a strange urge takes hold of me, shakes me around a bit as I struggle to be free of its grasp, and and is finally, forcibly thrown off while I stagger around gasping and trying to reorient myself.  It’s the (understandable but currently impractical) desire to have an upwardly-mobile-ish change to our lifestyle.

Nothing desperate, you understand.  But maybe…an in-house dishwasher (that isn’t J., I mean).  Or a newer flat that doesn’t have creaky floors (or my Lord and Lady Stompington above us).  A second car, one that can manage the highways without 4000 rpms or a using half a tank of gas to get to the city (45 minutes away).

Now, I’m aware that I’m in one of the best phases of my life.  Newly (relatively) married, no kids, no mortgages, the ability to do nearly whatever J. and I want.  And yet…sometimes I have this strange desire to be just a bit further on.  First house together and past renting creaky flats.  First pet, instead of surreptitiously googling local breeders and the Human Society at work.  First real double income paycheck, instead of single-and-very-small checks on paydays.

Again, I feel as if this an understandable feeling, but I’m constantly shocked by what will trigger the flood of longing.  Today Wise and I headed out to get a cake for our monthly department birthday party.  The venue was Costco, wherein I have not spent previous quality time.  Oh dear.

Back, temptress!

There were boxes of strawberries that had not yet succumbed to slime and decay.  There were bags of frozen chicken that contained more than two or three breasts.  There were quality diamonds, iPods, lawn chairs, massive bags of chips, huge bales of toilet paper…yes, it was all very impressive.  But, above all, there were SAMPLES.

Wise and I wandered the store sucking down granola, salad, juice, and finally this.

And now, suddenly, I am wrestling the desire for a Costco membership, something I will probably not need until there are more than two of us…solely because I now crave a bottle of Roasted Blackberry Chipotle Sauce.  Aren’t I supposed to be craving babies or something?  Why do I want a dog and fancy fruit/chili sauce instead?

Anti. Aging.

 “God has given you one face and you make yourself another.”
– Shakespeare

A little while ago Sav wrote a post about her foray into the au naturale world of skin care, and it got me thinking. 

I remember going through the usual litany of cleansers, toners, and gadgets when I was a teenager (maybe less than some girls, since I didn’t learn how to be a girl myself until about 17).  I started with Clean and Clear, moved on to Neutrogena, and then cast it ruthlessly aside for Biore, more particularly, their Pore Strips.  Amazing! 

We're close to the same age, sweetie, but you're still looking like jailbait.
"We're close to the same age, but I'm still trying to look like jailbait. I'm reinforcing the crippling self-doubt you are probably experiencing right now just looking at my airbrushed face. Hey! We've got a product for that!"

But these days…a funny thing has started happening.  The commercials that make me sit up and pay attention, or the things I’d want to buy, are being sold by older women.  The endless parade of Disney Channel prodigies, starlets,  and pop stars that probably would have sent me scampering to the chemist’s shelves for the products they were endorsing in my youth…are children, babies!  I wouldn’t let them sell me cement, much less something to put on my face! 

Has anyone else noticed this? 

"You're obviously thinking way too hard about this one, C. Accept your ceaseless crawl towards maturity with grace. I'll be getting plastic surgery in a year or two, myself."

Thoughts, From Abroad (1845)

Oh, to be in England
Now that April’s there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England – now!
– Robert Browning

View from campus. Blech.

I am royally sick of living in the American West!  Just when I figure out what on earth the weather is doing, WHOMP!  We get slapped with a snow storm, dust and pollution atmospheric covering, heat wave, cold front, or some really horrid combination of the four.  I am so tired of pulling out sweaters and coats after packing them away (again).  I am thoroughly over days and days of climbing temperatures, only to wake up having to scrape snow off the car. 

Living in the West seems to equal extremes.  It’s either blazing hot or as cold as Dante’s hell.  There is very little in between and the transitional seasons are completely lost in the shuffle (which is a great tragedy, in my opinion, as Spring is so refreshing and necessary and Fall is a radiant symphony of beauty). 

Someday I will live in a place where each season takes up as close to a full quarter of a year as possible.  And if it’s England, where it’s still green even in the winter in spite of snow, so much the better.  I am SO ready for GREEN again…