Sunday, November 29, 2009


There are all sorts of strange smells lingering in eddies around the house. Smells, like humidity, seem to collect in my son's room at the northeast corner of the house. I air out his room more than any other, now that cold weather has arrived. Tonight, the odor of frying pork chops (like wood smoke) somehow took rest in his bedroom. In the hall, it was brussels sprouts. And here, in the sewing room, I can smell the ginger-orange bar soap from my son's bath. Strange -- makes me wonder how the seeming migration of scents might be related to time. Does air move about the house in a particular respiratory pattern, taking along on a river current the stages of household activity and their residue?

The pork chop smell made me nervous at first -- I opened first the front door, then his window, to see if the neighbor was running his smoker (we've spent beautiful summer and autumn nights in our closed-up house, with grumpy faces, lamenting the downhill flow of wood smoke into our windows at night.) My husband asked at first if something was burning. It's fading though, along with the brussels sprouts odor (husband scalded a pan of them earlier this evening, phew.)

Just lately I'm noticing too the way smells linger in my hair, and in between my fingers even after careful soaping. I imagine how a dog might reconstruct my day...

Friday, November 27, 2009


I've had one of my worst bouts of existential myopia over the past two months or so, perhaps it's letting up now. Somehow it took quite a while for all the great gifts I've lately received, from the people I love, to add up; attentions, sincere compliments, professional regard, affection. It's easy to become obsessed with what one doesn't have -- with the state of not-having. Easy to stare hypnotized into that deep black pit of longing, even though somewhere on the edge of consciousness you know that your not-having may be temporary, may not be your fault, may be what's best for you even. Wednesday morning (very early) I seemed finally to lighten up -- felt some hope, renewed energy, enough love in me to want to spread it around. No particular cause for this "new leaf turning" however -- I stayed up until midnight Tuesday running some preliminary numbers on our stewardship campaign at church, and wasn't surprised by the results -- as I predicted, less than we'd like but enough to keep us hopeful. And emailing those numbers to the office somehow felt better than it should have on its own.

I wound up emailing and texting a few people at one, two o'clock in the morning, to wish them an early holiday blessing and to thank them for their presence and friendship. Tried to cheer my coworkers, who have many similar issues to contend with right now; felt a need to embrace those I might have neglected in the midst of depression. And Wednesday was a good day, from beginning to end. For no real reason. Just was.

I was asked why, and why again, by a certain friend. After all, my buzz was pretty pronounced. I tried to explain, but had not much of substance to offer. "Clouds of cardinals," I said. "Flocks of hope." Blessings.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

it really has been a while

I'm looking back over old material, cleaning up the blogs, and wind up revising the poem about Dean's illness. This was not so long ago -- I weep now, to think of it. I haven't talked to him much since he was truly back on his feet, still in recovery though. I need to and should. But it was hard, incredibly hard, during those days and weeks of waiting. And I'm waiting still, for too much.

resisting the urge

To lay my thoughts for the night on anyone's doorstep. Despite a fierce urge to reach out and connect with anyone, though apparently everyone is out on the town for the night. Or watching TV. Doing Saturday night stuff. Tomorrow will be all about church, laundry, housekeeping. A birthday party. Dreading the dentist appointment with my kid on Monday. Etc. Tonight I'm drinking, I'm winding up my creativity for the evening, and wishing I had something going on -- wishing I had someone to talk to. But I'm not going to start emailing people, not when today has been super-slow that way -- I'm not going to be the pathetic Jen in the middle of the night for anyone in particular. I'm going to hang out and get drunk for another hour or so, and maybe finalize my plans for Sunday School tomorrow morning (incongruous, yes). And see if anyone surfaces to bid me goodnight. Sitting in the dark, illuminated only by the light of the Laptop Confessional...

...thinking about skipping over to True Companion to write about the piece I started in on again this evening. Two birds on a wire, facing each other...suspended over an expanse of black water, moonlit birds, out of their nests when they should be hiding away...

I should go read the paper or something. Sheesh. Get a life. Get out of myself.

giving thanks

So yes, it's been a while. Someone asked me the other day why I haven't posted in a month or more, and haven't kept up much on any of the blogs -- and I can only say that I've been struggling with a lack of energy, with anomie on a grand scale. Of course, there have been a few bright spots, and some good days -- it's all nuance though. Nothing original. So why make my blog into a "blahg?" Better to leave off.

All that said -- it's time to ponder with intent the things for which we are grateful. I try to pray in gratitude as much as I plead for the things I want and worry about. It's often not successful, but I do try. I'm grateful for the following tonight:
- my son, remarkable creature that he is, and his continued health. It's been a struggle, the past few months, and I worry about his teeth and about our big dental appointment on Monday. But I'm grateful things haven't been worse.
- the weather, which has been seasonally acceptable for a couple of weeks now.
- for recent successes in fundraising, at church, which certainly help and will hopefully inspire more giving confidence among members.
- for my friends, for the people I love and trust. While all my primary relationships feel fraught or tangled or difficult in some way right now, still I'm glad I have these people near me.
- for wine.
- and continued, if stressful, employment in the kingdom.
- I had a whole day off today, and I actually felt inspired to get some sewing accomplished; I am very grateful for this.

I've been up to my eyeballs in it for a while now, and I'm not alone. Life in the office seems to be getting more and more intense, now that we are three instead of six, now that there are just two of us in there sorting and dealing with everything most of the time. I'm there 40 hours a week, sometimes less, often more; at least nine hours of that per week I'm alone, and it's difficult to be there alone. Not so much because it gets too busy to cope with, which happens occasionally; more so because it's depressing, to be isolated, when we're waiting for such big dreams to materialize, and trying to keep up with so much minutiae. Can't see more than a few feet in front of me, anymore, so to speak. Can't really go to anyone who understands the details, to complain, because we are all in this same boat and have been for a while.

I am grateful for the church, for my family, for love. I hope things get better.

Friday, November 6, 2009

another poseur exposed

Look! It's laptop confessional, the bitches-love-me, kids-with-guns and girlfriends version! Punks. Looks like they had a happy Halloween...