Silver Linings.

I’ve been posting a lot recently about my recent frustrations and navigations through life lessons learned, but I feel it fair to report that the past couple of weeks have also had their strange silver linings.  Continue reading

The Heart of the Fire

I have this friend, Graham, whom I met in college and who I keep up with mainly through social media exploits. Graham is some kind of a wonderful mix of Oscar Wilde, Truman Capote, and a German film star from the 30s. He introduced me to ammonia cokes and the beauty of Victrola recordings; he helped rekindle my love for black and white photography, and, by example, he has given me a nostalgic appreciation of eras long ago passed.
As if all that wasn’t enough, he also has a lovely way of capturing life’s bittersweet bits in a way that really resound with me (unbeknownst to him, I’ve been writing a blog post based on the concept behind his former blog’s name, Displaced Heimat., for about 3 years now…).

Yesterday was no different, when he alerted me to this quote, unprovoked, without really know how much this truly resonates with me right now:

 

“Above all, in my anger, I was sad. Isn’t that always the way, that at the heart of the fire is a frozen kernel of sorrow that the fire is trying–valiantly, fruitlessly–to eradicate.”
–Claire Messud, The Woman Upstairs

Continue reading

nowhere to go but up.

The past month has been a trying one–one filled with a lot of transitions and change; a lot of heartache, of reflecting on the past, and thinking about the future. About a week ago, I stood bawling in my living room, while my dad did his best to comfort me,”Don’t worry–it’ll get better from here.”

“Yeah? How can you be so sure?” I challenged.

“Because this is rock bottom, kid.” Continue reading

Don’t worry if it’s a cold night, because we all go up in flames

Rome was beautiful, but the week of blue skies and breezy days has made coming back to the cold, grey landscape even more challenging. Knowing that this will be the last major trip for some time is also a bit of a bummer, but I’ve definitely had a good run the past few months.

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Admittedly, it’s a bit frustrating how quickly reality set back in. It almost feels like I never went away at all. I blame a lot of this on the weather, and the strange isolation that cold seems to bring, especially when you’re forced indoors. I’m seeing how it’s taking its toll on just about everyone I know. We’re all stumbling around like pale, restless zombies, waiting impatiently for spring to finally arrive. Hell, at this point, I think everyone would be OK if we catapulted right into summer. (I’ve recently been fantasizing about sunburn…)

Until then, I’m still plugging along… been trying to focus on some art projects and writing. What better way to combat the blues then by channeling them in creative ways, amiright?

How are you managing to get through this last miserable stretch of winter?

 

And then other days…

…I can find complete zen in the dishes being done and two loads of laundry complete. I walk through my halls like a champion, and think to myself, “Maybe I really do have a handle on things. Maybe I do have this life thing figured out.”

Little victories, my friends.

One of “those” days…

Today is one of those days where the urge of missing my mother came very unexpectedly. It’s been a rather blergh day–everything outside is wearing its finest muted browns, greens, and greys–and internally I’ve been feeling a little stressed and restless. I’ve been working from home today, which is definitely a plus, but a lonely one. There’s been a lot to do, so I’ve pretty much been parked in front of the computer nonstop today, plugging along, trying to get to the next deadline…

When all of a sudden, the overwhelming feeling that my mom would be home soon took over–as if I was transported to 15 years ago when she was still working. I was a latchkey kid and so I generally had a golden hour or 2 to myself before mom got home. Depending on my age and the day, that hour leading up to her arrival even brought great dread or joy–usually punctuated by the ever-burning question of what would be for dinner. Continue reading

Like the mountains in springtime, like a walk in the rain…

Maybe I’m PMSing. Maybe I’m just hitting that stage in my life where something about John Denver’s loving, easy listenin’ ways appeals to me. All I know is that “Annie’s Song” is pretty much the fuel for my soul right now. I listened to it on repeat the whole way to work, various renditions, various covers.

After deciding I needed some jam out time at work, I went to YouTube and pretty quickly found this:

The amount of joy this brings—from the laundry, to the turtleneck, to the way he writes “steel” instead of “still” in the description (which is probably how he’d pronounce it ) just fills up my senses.

Calgon, Take Me Away.

At this point, I thought that I choked her. That she was gone enough, what’s left of her in my memory could just be gone, too. It had been so long since something affected me–I’ve even grown immune to the smell of her perfume.

But it was a cleaning spray that did it this time–one of Mrs. Meyer’s summer scents, Blue Bell. I’ve used it before and had a slight disdain for it, thinking I just didn’t like the fragrance. It wasn’t until tonight it finally hit me.

That was the scent of her bath oil–I can’t remember now if it was Avon brand or Skin so Soft. I only remember it was in a plastic bottle the color of the bathroom tile and she kept it under the sink. Continue reading

Snow Daze.

Pardon me as I join in on the collective sigh of East Coasters as we watch our world once again disappear under a blanket of white. Yes, folks, it’s snowing. Again.

I guess I shouldn’t really complain–I was scheduled to work from home today anyway, so I thankfully wasn’t among the many who had to scramble to get home when the storm started late this morning. And it was definitely nice to watch the flakes pile up outside while I worked, but another major storm meant more appointments and plans had to be rearranged, more things I wanted to do outside the house needed to be halted, or shuffled around. And that has left me feeling agitated, wishing a little harder for spring.

But there’s a bright side to everything, right? Today, when I went outside to give the steps a quick once-over, and to shake out the bunny’s towels, I noticed that perfectly intact snowflakes were collecting on my jacket and scarf. I’ve only seen this once before–a few months ago when I was in Iceland. We visited a geyser and scattered along the ground were tiny little perfect snowflakes. I marveled at them for a long time, never seeing anything like that, and certain I probably wouldn’t ever again. Fast forward 2 months later, in my own backyard in New Jersey. I wish the camera on the phone could have picked up the details of each a little more clearly, because they were so beautifully intricate, but this still makes for a lovely snapshot.

And despite feeling “off” because I’m not able to do the things I was hoping to do today, I’m trying to focus on some other things that inspire forward motion–actually writing a blog post, for instance, and trying to make some arrangements for my upcoming trip. I’m also going to try to look into a residency program I’ve been kind of drooling over for the past few months.

So, alright, snow–you’ve made me shift my focus, but I’m still looking straight ahead.

So, friend–what did you do on your snow day?

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Moment of Zen: Northern Soul Radio

How did I not know about this–a 24-hour soul/R&B station playing the lesser-known hits of the era–until now?

Although I could be sad my life has been lacking this the past few months since it started, I instead choose to focus on how much happier I am for finally discovering it now.

Hopefully some of you out there will be equally as excited to learn about this station’s existence. Enjoy!