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You can go home

27 Apr

…kind of.

I hadn’t been home since September, and I wasn’t home for 10 minutes before I walked out to the backyard and burst into tears. It’s strange how home — the place I spent my first 18 years, and significant moments of the ensuing 13 — can develop an unpleasant patina. Everything has a different weight.

For instance: The backyard is where I had a little zip line and Annie’s Roost, the treehouse Dad built for me. Both are gone now, and the yard isn’t as meticulously maintained as it once was. So I go there and remember, but I also see the absence of what used to be. I miss my father terribly. I am embarrassed to admit that a day hasn’t gone by without me crying about missing him, because then it seems like I’m a depressive. But if I can’t be sad about this, what can I be sad about?

I am just getting home from a night out with Jesse, JC, Miles, and (unexpectedly) Tim and John and Jimk. While I don’t miss certain aspects of Chicago (pollution, sprawl, noise) I miss my friends and family terribly. I miss walking into my old haunts to meet them and then running into other friends because this is where we go and have gone for 10 years. There is always a friend there. I don’t have that in SF, not even after almost three years.

One thing I’ve learned lately is that your old friends really are often the best ones, because they know all of your sullied parts and love you anyway. And vice versa. I am lucky to have them, and am equally grateful for newer friends who will be old ones in 10 years’ time.

Bright skies

9 Apr

Bright skies

The sun is different in California. I said this to JC last year, and he didn’t believe me. “The sun’s the sun,” he said. But when he and Alex visited and the morning light roused them, he reconsidered. Other non-Californians have said the same thing: the light is softer somehow.

While walking around in the mornings, I like seeing how the light bounces off buildings. I enjoy watching pigeon shadows soar over sidewalks, and I love the days when the fog rolls in elsewhere but I’m standing in sunshine.

This week has brought happy news from friends: a pregnancy, an engagement, a new job. These things made me smile, choke up a little in the good way, find a moment of quiet pride for them. “There is magic out there in the world,” one commented.

There is, and during my morning and evening walks I usually look for a little of it. Sometimes I literally stop and smell flowers, which is so maudlin, but since my dad died, I try to appreciate things like that more. And I am trying to shift my viewpoints overall. Lately I’m trying to find different perspectives by radically redecorating my room, finding new routes to familiar places, and looking at the city as though I were a visitor. I keep going back to an Einstein quote that Toby sent me a few weeks ago:

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Monty, I’ll take door number two. 2.

Five good things about today

18 Nov

(in chronological order)

1. On the train to work, there were about 20 kindergartners loudly chatting about their field trip. I was not thrilled by the noise until one little girl began singing “Jingle Bells” with completely (and unintentionally) wrong lyrics. “On the farm it is to ride in a one horse hope and sleigh…” Wrote that one down in the Moleskine.

2. I found out that a friend had also been dumped less than two weeks after her father’s death, so we had a big empathy fest.

3. Sparkle Vamp is awkward. (Don’t judge me.)

4. When I got off the train tonight, an inbound train was stopped to let someone alight, so I had to wait to cross the tracks. A toddler was looking at me through the window of the train, so I gave him an exaggerated look of delighted surprise. He grinned back so hard that his eyes practically disappeared. As the train took off, we waved to each other. I smiled my way home.

5. Graham made a video in which he visits JC’s studio. They are ridiculous and funny.

The power of failing

31 Oct

While writing a prescription on Wednesday, the podiatrist asked for my full name. After I told her, she said, “That’s a beautiful name.” It is, but it has always felt too regal for me. Besides, the meaning of Anne is grace, and I’m quite clumsy. If there were a name that meant “competent for the most part,” my parents should have chosen that one. But they didn’t. (more…)

Into you from the plane

26 Oct

Into you from the plane

Sabrina and I are like Salt n Pepa because when it came to this weekend, we pushed it real good. And by “it” I mean “our collective ability to pack a week’s worth of adventure into a three-day weekend.”

One of the few disappointments was the lack of Jesse time. He wasn’t feeling well (h1n1?). So Team Awesome did not get to start our new autobiographical hardcore band, FAILstorm. But otherwise, last night was pretty much perfect. JC was brilliant at his salon series, and from there it was off to the old stomping grounds of the Rainbo. Kenny couldn’t have played better songs (Wire, Magazine, Joy Division, The Jam, etc.) and while that shouldn’t really matter, it felt like a tiny welcome-back thing. Also, and more importantly, my friends spoil me with their goodness. I am fortunate. Sometimes there are things better left preserved among the people who were there, and so I am filing last night away on the shelves of my memory. It was a wonderful night, and we have the photobooth strips to prove it.