Tuesday, March 29, 2011


When I claimed Shelley Wallace as my best friend in third grade, it was because she was new, and somehow she never learned that I was considered a social pariah. She liked me, and we laughed, and it was wonderful. I didn’t care so much that she was popular, and she didn’t care so much that I was not. No one told me that basketball coaches move—along with their wonderful daughters—every two years unless they can produce a winning team. So at the end of fifth grade, Shelley announced her family was moving. I suggested that she lash herself to the bedpost and refuse to leave our town, but she shrugged. She’d moved before.

I didn’t move. I lived in the same house until my 18th birthday and my graduation from high school, when my parents put the house on the market and bought me a set of luggage. By then, luggage was exactly what I wanted. I would laugh with my college friends when they said they’d “go back to square one,” which meant going home. I had no square one, and there was no going back to anything, anywhere. My mother shared a trailer in the country with her new husband, the trucker whose company I loathed. My father had moved on to his new step-children and their teenage dramas.

I could form a homey room from the sterile cinderblock walls of a dorm cell.  I never traveled light—I carried everything with me. I became my own square one, forming my own path through college and summer breaks. And I was infinitely happy with my independence. Luggage: I was all about the luggage.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

back soon!

Hey! We moved! Sold the condo, packed up our stuff, hauled it to the new place-- all while enduring several blizzards, weeks of freezing rain, several high water warnings.

So the new place is full of boxes, somehow. The light is (once again) spectacular.

I'm writing about this moving process, and I'm unpacking stuff as best I can. I will post more, after we catch up with ourselves.

Blessings to you. 

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

sick house, take two

She hates to be sick, more than anyone I know. She tells me today that she secretly fears she’ll die, like Beth in Little Women, so she doesn’t want to rest in the dark, by herself. I wrap her in a big hug and assure her she will wake, but if she doesn’t rest, she’ll be sick much longer. Life—this very hour—is so hard to let go.

And she can never sleep when it’s daylight, she says. I remind her she is saying this at 8:30 a.m., and she’s often slept past nine or even ten in the morning.

But that was different, she says. And I suppose that’s true. Still I walk her into her room and set her up a little nest, pulling the dark curtain, kissing her on the forehead, and shutting the door.

Her brother is an excellent patient: he sleeps until the sickness is over, and he does not fight it. This illness took five hard days of recovery for him, with rest. I was unpacking and cleaning the house, and he was no trouble. I resign myself: she will require a week of care, too, and my work will be set aside. I wouldn't trade her care to anyone else, this morning.

The day is so striking, gorgeous blue and clear after yesterday’s downpour and gray. I slowly trace out the steps of my breakfast dance, knowing she hears me set the skillet on the stove, light the fire under it, gather the saucer. I'm still learning my way around, calculating where the cooking utensils should go. I don’t dare check on her—she will throw me a list of cranky complaints, and wake herself up all over again with protests.

After breakfast, my phone rings and I head upstairs to my writing corner. I listen for her footsteps, poor girl. She was just home for a week with February break, and she was hovering near boredom. She resents this flu for taking her away from her school friends.

I’ve written so little. Moving—I’d forgotten how this feels, how unsettling it is to un-settle from one dwelling, how long it takes to settle in another. I wake happy, every day, to look out the window and see for miles, or to examine the fog. I wake rested—the new bed is a good change. And I wake hungry for this hour or so of quiet.

So far, no sound of stirring below. I will sneak around quietly and make coffee, and see if I can dig into writing a little more.