Saturday, February 26, 2011


Because. Is the thing. I'm ready for a house lately. I find myself spending weekends I don't have to spend cleaning and running errands and shopping and baking bread. I wrote, and it's true, that I'm not baby hungry, but I am hungry for domesticity. I'd like to my days organizing and cleaning and crafting even, cooking. I'd like a dining room with a nice tablecloth and good dishes and matching flatware to throw dinner parties in.
This is partially a longing to abandon responsibility, yes, but there's something deeper here, too. Something nesty.


I've spent the last month or two gathering the things my father left, those things I chose from his pile, with surprisingly little disagreement, alongside my siblings, and arranging them in my own small house. Dennis left no will, he left no money to speak of, but he left his little, historical apartment (such great light! look at the fireplace!) full of the things he'd spent years collecting and holding on to. We split up the furniture, the rugs, the art, the books. I picked up some odds-and-ends--an iron, a towel, a tube of German mustard. There is something very strange about shuffling his possessions into my own life--because they are his.

We discussed this as the five of us sat around that apartment in the days after his death and before his funeral. None of knew much about Dennis. He held himself close, guarded information tenaciously; I don't think very many people knew very much at all about him. But we had his things: they had grown familiar to us. And they seemed, in the absence of actual detail, to fill us in a little about him and his life. The Arthur Miller paintings rang with something I remember Connie saying about reading or not reading The Tropic of Cancer, a book I never saw Dennis's apartment without. The rugs (these are the things I collected most aggressively) with their air of foreignness, the way they manage to communicate old fashioned opulence said something too. Or the Picasso sketch or the great Williams-Sonoma china.

And Dennis gathered these things carefully, curated his collection. I remember one point where he'd read all the books he bought/borrowed from Weller's so took the lot of them back and started to slowly rebuild his library. He took the things he valued most from our house when he left and, I imagine, did the same thing when he left his second wife. I wasn't old enough to remember but get the sense that in the first case he wasn't particularly forthcoming about the things he took, and I wonder if he snuck around in the second as well: waited till everyone had left, packed his stuff into his little Ranger and taken off. (Am I a terrible daughter for wondering this?)

There's a sting here. Because, as strange as it feels to slide a half-a-dozen of his books into their places on my color-coded shelf, these things are also mine. The rosewood table that I wrapped in Mexican blankets and drove from his house is the same one I remember threading my fingers through as a little girl, dusting the tentacley swirls with tiny fingers tentatively, worried about getting caught touching living room furniture is as much a part of my growing up as it was his bachelorhood. And the grey rug I inherited--it was the softest one, the best for lounging on Sunday afternoons.

I dreamt about Dennis the other night. He came into the room smiling but after one second I knew he was fake, shouted at whoever my host was that he was a fake and how dare he (the host) try to trick me like that.

There's something tricky about having the things that so defined him in my house. I suddenly feel much older. I'm suddenly much more proud of the place I live (an old house, incidentally, with great light and an antique tiled fireplace) and of my collection of books and of my beautiful room. Suddenly I find myself weighed down, too, with these things I love, things I can't sell or fit in my trunk when I drive across the country. I felt Dennis's voice speaking in me when I wondered if a blue-striped oxford I bought the other day was too flamboyant. Do I like this ghost his things bring?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I am considering

adopting a cat. And naming her Emily Dickinson.



Monday, February 14, 2011

Avoidance tactics

(I missed my 100th post. I was going to do something. Gah.)

So lately I've been making lots of time for experimenting with food. And it's been kind of fantastic. (this would be better with pictures, but my camera is soo bad. Le sigh.)

Experiment #1: I've started working through The Bread Baker's Apprentice. Yesterday I did bagels. Based on my roommates reaction it was a success. I'd like to figure out how to do them whole wheatier and also prettier. I had one that was kind of lovely (I ate it on my way to school this morning), but the rest looked a little like zombies. But. Fresh homemade bagels. I can do that.

Experiment #2: Caramel. (I'm trying to change the way I say this word. I've always been a carml kind of girl, but caramel sounds much prettier.) We used a sweetened condensed milk-based recipe and sort of eyed it instead of using a candy thermometer, and used corn syrup that expired in 2008 and was *definitely* fermented (don't tell my roommates?) but/and it turned out great. Caramel is sort of my favorite candy--chewy and creamy and perfect, and I got to share it with gluten-intolerant roommate #2. Next time I think I'll add more salt? And maybe play with pecans or other flavors? I also really want to try honey-flavored candy because it's delicious.

My friend Skoticus once posted about how the things you use to avoid really important and interesting things are also usually interesting and important. (Maybe not important. But interesting.) :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

New Post (the soft stuff) (kind of a downer)

Today, I'm going to be honest, I spent a lot of time lounging in my bathrobe and thinking about all the cool people that I am not. This is a favorite pasttime and has the added benefit of being self-sustaining. That is, once I start thinking about all the cool people I'm not I find myself unable to move or think about anything else.

Gross, of course, and what got me out of the rut was the homemade bagels I'm experimenting with and a trip to Smith's for razors and chocolate covered pretzels.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that this time of the year is the pits. And my thesis is looming. But more what I'm trying to say is that it seems evident that something is off and I suspect it's something Happiness-Comes-From-Inside-of-You-Flavored. Something, doubtless, related to this idea of change that keeps (forever) poking at me. My friend posted the caption from an inspirational poster at her school: um, Don't let the person you are interfere with the person you'd like to become, or something and as much as I hate admitting it, this caption strikes a nerve. I'm terrified of becoming a new person. I'm terrified of change (I simultaneously sort of believe it's not possible).

My impulse is to reexamine my past in order to explain this. But I'll restrain myself.

James, early on when we were dating (is it ok that I'm publishing this, friend?) let me know that my 1-piece training suit was sort of frumpy. He did it in the nicest way possible. And, to his defense, other friends have told me the same thing (I wore it in Costa Rica with board shorts and was definitely wearing 5 times as much fabric as any other person). And don't get the wrong idea. But I got very defensive. Secretly defensive, of course, because that's the way I roll(ed). I bought a new (much cuter) suit and wore it and swallowed the defensiveness until it exploded some other day.
But I looked and felt better in the new suit. Just like I feel better when I'm dressed up a little and exploring the fundamentals of eye shadow (if any of you have eye shadow expertise btw, I'd love to hear it) and not being a pokey sarcastic elitist snob.

But these changes are hard to make. It's hard to believe that I can both be loveable and have anything to improve on.

Enter this staring contest I've been having with God for the last 2 years. I know he wants me to be happy, fundamentally, but I also know he wants me to be the best me, and that means changing. I feel like instead of embracing change (or even basic maintenance of, like, my work ethic and love for other people) I've been doing really dumb crap and insisting he prove he loves me anyway. Like a toddler smearing poop on the wall: do you love me now? How about now?

Which is all a way of saying: I don't like changing. I don't want to.

Which is all a way of saying: I feel really stuck/trapped/frustrated and am not really sure what to do next.

Friday, February 11, 2011

5 fingers of destiny

The first time I saw these shoes I knew two things simultaneously:

1. Those are so weird.

2. They will be mine one day.

So there was some resistance on my part, some soul-searching, etc, But I really didn't have a choice in the matter. After a short run my calves are, as warned, sort of sore. *Inexplicably thrilled.*

I love this town.

Provo hosts a lovely early/pseudo spring. Warm enough in the afternoons that you regret wearing the puffy coat that saved your from frostbite driving to school in the a.m. Warm enough to start you considering athletic footwear...I love today.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Running Music?

James is in the process of convincing me to run another half in April (23rd. Gunnison. Join us.) But. I'm in dire need of some new running music.

Any ideas?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Babies are everywhere.

I've been waiting for the last couple of years, watching for my biological clock to speak up. I hear stories, you know, of baby-hungriness in women my age, and I like babies plenty, but I've never felt like I must have babies or I'll surely die. This is a thing, too: I've wondered if that means I'm wrong or broken (I'm sort of taking the Broken Says Who tack lately, if you hadn't noticed), but I figure that my hormones will start speaking up when they feel like the time is right.

That being said: spring is in the air. Testimony meeting was def baby-flavored and also an old friend is posting pics of her new b.o.j.

I'm all for adorable. Is a thing.


When James asked me the other day if I thought I was materialistic, my first response was: not really. (My very first response was a primitive fear that yes yes yes and my need for things is going to ruin my life, but I swallowed it.) I don't get my nails done or highlight my hair (yet. I think the summer would like me a little blonder). I own 3 pairs of jeans, one of which has holes in inobvious places. My house is small-ish. I don't know. Not more materialistic than most middle class Americans.

I've been thinking about it this week, though. I *love* the rug in my bedroom. One of the things I inherited from my dad. In addition to really tying the room together, it makes it feel warm and sort of grown up and very fancy. I seriously covet my roommate's kitchenaid (have you seen this thing food process? Heaven. And I made my first batch of cookie dough in it last night and was so pleased) and am pretty sure I'm not going to be able to live a full life without one of my own. And I was looking around at some of the things I have hanging on my wall and they bring me so much contentment.

And this isn't an apology, so much as just kind of a confessional. I really love pretty things. I really love my pretty things.

Happy Monday.