Tuesday, March 31, 2009

31 of 31: Another night of poetry


In my kitchen window
threads of green unfurl,
pushing up from loose soil.

They will be ripe when
the fruits are red, glowing
hot from the sun, and salty-scented.

I have read, that in certain places
buoyant pearls rise in flooding rain,
teeth from the deepest fields.

Then—I don’t know what happens--
The earth must dry around them,
crack open, tell about their bodies.

Intuition must be a part of it.

When it’s time, I am assured,
my tomatoes (and the bones)
will be started and finished.

This website and intellectual property therein is (c) 2009 by http://afloatinalonelysound.blogspot.com and registered and trademarked as copyright U.S. Copyright Office "copyright registration for online works" - all intellectual rights are hereby reserved - all legal rights are hereby reserved. This website and all of its original contents and intellectual property are copyright protected and archived as are its trademarks, logos, service marks, trade dress, slogans, screen shots, copyrighted designs and other brand features. Penalties, Legislation and Appeal Procedures can be found at 512takedown.com Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) EU Copyright Directive (EUCD) Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (OCILLA). THE WORK IS PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT AND/OR OTHER APPLICABLE LAW. ANY USE OF THE WORK OTHER THAN AS AUTHORISED UNDER LICENSE IS PROHIBITED.

Monday, March 30, 2009

30 of 31: back home

My alarm, or rather my army wife friend's alarm spun up a Keith Urban CD at 5am. I woke up somewhat rested, which only furthers my belief that my mattress is dunzo, took a shower, got dressed, packed almost everything (except the black wedges I left behind) and headed for the airport. By 9:45am I was back in my driveway, ready to watch Baby Girl before class.

New Orleans was a great little get away. Friday night I was welcomed with an invitation to her sister's house for a crawfish boil. Very interesting, very tasty, very local. Saturday we got coffee and bagels, pedicures, did a little shopping, lunched in the French Quarter at Pat O'Brien's, went for a walk by Lake Pontchartrain, had dinner at Jacque-Imo's and passed out in her living room while talking. Sunday was a little less busy. We got coffee again and went walking in a park near Tulane, hung out at Borders for a while, killed ourselves with a cardio kickboxing dvd, lounged at a neighborhood bar on the patio with sunshine and strawberry Abita beers, ate leftovers, read a bit, stopped by TCBY and watched Twilight at her sister's house. The movie was terrible, but the weekend was quite relaxing.

When I walked in my house, it had assumed the temperature of the flighty Spring weather, a delicious 34 degrees. I quickly turned up the heat and checked on my seeds. Many are still little containers of dirt, but my spinach is sprouting into delicate green tendrils. It was an incredibly exciting discovery, which says a lot about my increasing level of dullness. I can't wait for The Staff Sergeant to come home. I'm probably not actually super interesting, but he makes me feel so much more substantial. At any rate, I've got spinach in the works. I'm still holding out hope for the other veggies and herbs.

I also took a walk today, found a recipe for a homemade facial toner, picked up organic potting soil from a small local hardware store and went by the grocery for a few things I needed to complete my dinner attempt at Dahl with brown rice. I still need to get some poetry homework finished before spending tomorrow with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and I have my fingers crossed that I'll get a call from a certain soldier before the day is done. Right now I'm going to finish my wine and chocolate covered soy nuts before mixing up my rosemary and apple cider vinegar toner. Hopefully today's high spirits and productivity are telling for the pace of the week.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

29 of 31: a poem/meditation

Daily Spaces

--Again, no suitable beginning.
The power flickers: uninterested, uninteresting.
Our town's one train makes a too-long noise.

Is this enough?

On the radio, the sculptor said what I was thinking:
no to the pedestal, no to the frame

which I wrote down at the red light.
Then into the grocery store
where a woman sighed over tomatoes:
for this price they should be perfect.

I am in complete agreement,
which means I am often dissatisfied.

Produce is the least of it.

Yet sometimes in the crisper something I've forgotten
no longer looks like I remember: a riot
where only green once was,

or little beads of moisture congregating:
eager, trembling worlds on every stalk and tendril.

- Mary Ann Samyn, Purr

Saturday, March 28, 2009

28 of 31: grayness

Is this the lamb or still the lion?

Friday, March 27, 2009

27 of 31: made it

I made it to New Orleans, through my first crawfish boil and several glasses of wine. A good trip lies ahead!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

26 of 31: getting away

I continue to be amazed at how quickly the numbers are climbing as I sit down to title my daily post. I'm also a little surprised that I've been able to stick with this post-a-day business without missing one or two, and a part of me will be glad when it's on a feel-like-it basis again. Until then, I'll press on.

I'm sitting on my little side porch, sipping on a glass of sauvignon blanc, paying bills, and trying to get Beth to move from a very awkwardly rigid position - oh, there she goes. Relaxed on her haunches looks less terrified. She and I just planted another egg carton's worth of herbs. I found the ones that Lowes didn't have in their organic repertoire while I was in Nashville today: lavender, poppy, echinacea, dill, chamomile, sweet pepper, zucchini squash, and sweet onion. As you can see, I'm a complete idealist in everything that I do. Try a couple of seeds? No, no, no, Molly Gardner here fears nothing. Start small? Small-shmall. By next week, the first batch should be showing some activity. Again, that's only if I haven't over-watered, planted too deep, planted too shallow, not watered enough, or uttered the wrong prayers of cultivation to Mother Earth.

I also stopped by Trader Joe's and Whole Foods for the grocery items that we here in Army-ville are not sophisticated enough to keep stocked. [Hello, Kroger, you're Greek yogurt has been bare-shelved for almost a week!] I scored a gorgeous-delicious pair of stuffed Salmon filets and four cups of Fage, for when Kroger tries to punish me in forms of yogurt deprivation again next week. It would have been a better trip if my purpose for going wasn't follow-up-doctors-visit related. It was an easy appointment and fine, a wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am kind of thing. Back in six months and maybe a second biopsy. Gah. Unfavorable cells don't really fit into my schedule. Hopefully they're already aware.

And lastly, I escape again tomorrow! I'm headed to New Orleans to spend a weekend eating the best food on earth and relaxing with an army wife friend of mine. One thing I love about this lifestyle is how quickly you can breach the boundaries of acquaintance and adopted family. It will be undoubtedly wonderful.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

25 of 31: a breath of fresh air

Now that Spring seems to be less hesitant in its arrival, I am full-swing into Spring Cleaning! I'm also a whore for Amazon, and books in general, really. These are the latest purchases. I'm all about detoxing the house and my body and my lifestyle. I tend to be fickle in things like this so I just hope that it sticks this time. There was once upon a time that I wanted a little coop with chickens in my backyard and fresh eggs mere steps from my kitchen door, a big veggie garden, self-sustainability, and that was a little bit before it was cool. I had the garden and the bounty and the drive until about mid-July, when I decided that I liked air conditioning more than home-grown tomatoes. That was a classic example of running out of steam. I threw up my hands and let the sun scorch the rows of cucumbers and squash and eggplant and peppers. It was a beautiful patch. I was 20.

So I'm biting off something a bit less ambitious with what I hope will be an equally beautiful container garden. The chem-free stuff just seems to follow suit with taking better care of myself, and eventually The Staff Sergeant, too. I'm also developing a slightly obsessive addiction to the idea of urban homesteading, a more ambitious version of the aforementioned goals that does include my lost-dream-chickens. It probably won't be in this house, but if the vision holds, maybe at the next one.

Full of non-toxic cleaning recipes and tips on how to be more eco-friendly with the less replaceable cleaners

Notes on food, home cleaners, personal care recipes

Hailed as the best of the best in vegetable container gardening. I'll let you know how it turns out, that is unless my seeds rot in their little starter homes and never sprout...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

24 of 31: giving (a little more than usual)


She is on the kitchen phone.
And I am perched on her slow-rocking hips,
Too old to be lulled like this

My jaws lock up with bursts of sweet and sour—

The toppled chair on our back porch,
Heaved from the living room,
Reads clearly:

There is an undercurrent—
red wine and disdain.

Praise Jesus! High-five!

My father by the woodpile,
Tells me to pedal and pushes my small body toward Motion.

The pink training wheels he tossed
Into tall grass shrink, and I leave them

This website and intellectual property therein is (c) 2009 by http://afloatinalonelysound.blogspot.com and registered and trademarked as copyright U.S. Copyright Office "copyright registration for online works" - all intellectual rights are hereby reserved - all legal rights are hereby reserved. This website and all of its original contents and intellectual property are copyright protected and archived as are its trademarks, logos, service marks, trade dress, slogans, screen shots, copyrighted designs and other brand features. Penalties, Legislation and Appeal Procedures can be found at 512takedown.com Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) EU Copyright Directive (EUCD) Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (OCILLA). THE WORK IS PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT AND/OR OTHER APPLICABLE LAW. ANY USE OF THE WORK OTHER THAN AS AUTHORISED UNDER LICENSE IS PROHIBITED.

Monday, March 23, 2009

23 of 31: a brief mid-Monday ramble

I got to talk to The Staff Sergeant last night for an hour an a half - yes, you read it correctly. It had been four days with no word, which is unusual, and unusually difficult given the weighty questions I had been over-analyzing since then. This is one of the downfalls I'm finding to living solo - too much time with oneself. I, for one, can't stand to be with only me for large quantities of time. Digression occurs, festering occurs, worst-case-scenarios devour reason and logic and benefits of doubt. I'm still trying to figure out what will happen in the next year as our lives seem to be teaming with possibilities that do not always feel mutually inclusive [to me]. He settled my mind a little, but as I continue to learn the fickle nature of the Army, I'll believe it all when I see it.

I told him about my "gardening" endeavors and he immediately drew a line from my actions to Michelle's. And I have to say, I don't mind being compared to the First Lady one bit. I love her more and more, from military family support to organic gardening, she pretty much rocks.

And on that note, I'll have to tie things up. This was totally an act of procrastination. I have a proposal due in about an hour and I actually have to take something to class!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hey, military community:

Go to Blue Star Families [.org] and take the "Top Issues Survey"

22 of 31: phase 1

It's actually kind of rare for me to follow through on plans, immediately at least, but I did get up, spend 20 minutes with Rodney Yee doing morning yoga, make a class-A Sunday morning breakfast of whole wheat waffles, Trader Joe's cherries and chocolate chips (360 cals). I took a shower, put on lazy Sunday sweats and headed for...Lowes. That's the low point of the story. The local co-op was closed, as was the nursery on the way to Lowes, so it won out. I got my mom on the phone so she could talk me through all of the logistics of this great plan I concocted. Right now I'm just trying to get something to sprout. Everything after that will be a day at a time too. I'm a notorious killer of plants. While I'm not shy about my domestic goddessness, I am no gardener. My mom failed to share those genes, but she advised and suggested and I left with $18 worth of organic seeds and soil. Soon I hope to share photos of tiny green whispers of growth.

We'll call this "phase 1" of yet another attempt to tap into my inner green thumb

The good stuff

And we wait ("sweetie" tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, summer squash, sweet basil and cilantro)

My crop of spinach

Saturday, March 21, 2009

21 of 30: giving (some ideas and reflections)

  • I went back by Borders to re-browse the Gaiam section while DVDs and cds are still 50% off - this is one of the ways that the digression of corporations makes me happy (even though I really love Borders in particular). I picked up cardio burn sculpt, cardio burn dance for weight loss, and cardio burn kickbox. After last night's cardio burn yoga success, I opted to give dance a try. I really like Patricia Moreno, who happens to lead both videos. I had a blast reliving my many years in tap, and when I finished I dabbled in the strength plan listed in this month's Health magazine. My arms feel that kind of tired sensation that means they will ache all day tomorrow and then more so the next, but it's wonderful to think that I might be able to obtain Madonna-arms one day. [a girl can dream]
  • I made it another day within my caloric goals and that even included the Ben & Jerry's chocolate-brownie-fro-yo-heaven-in-a-carton this time, and a beer. I've been a little tired of pre-packaged food so I searched for something yummy I could make and landed on Cooking Light's blackened chicken and grilled avocado tacos. Quite tasty!
  • Band of Brothers totally captivated me today. The History Channel was airing a marathon, so I sat in the living room floor researching Middle Eastern food after stumbling across a recipe for Za'atar flatbread in my artisan bread book last night. I was hours into this before I realized how funny it was considering the army-ness my life is so steeped in these days. I wrote The Staff Sergeant [another] e-mail to tell him how blatantly on my mind he was.
  • Tomorrow I've got tentative plans to hunt down some herb seeds so I can get some sprouts growing for the plant stand on my side porch. I'm thinking Basil, Cilantro, Mint, Lavender, and I've been toying with thoughts of upside down tomato plants, although I'm not sure where I can hang them. I may have to settle for the normal growing method, right-side-up with cages.
  • My interest has been piqued by the idea of homemade cleaners and skin care. I'm not completely sold on the commitment of that kind of self-sustenance but I like it in theory. I added several books to my Amazon wish list this afternoon just to keep the titles handy while I mull it over.
  • I'm thinking about sending dinner to my soldier - making and canning a yummy tomato sauce and a batch of homemade pasta. I can't send prime rib or anything, but that would just be a matter of boiling noodles and heating up the sauce and it's still all home cooked. (Now he'll start reading my blog and the surprise will be lost...)

Friday, March 20, 2009

20 of 31: giving (a fresh perspective)

Leading up to this moment I have allowed a substantial amount of self-pity and self-loathing to occur, not to say that tomorrow I won't wake up feeling those things all over again in usual fashion. But at least in this moment I feel inspired.

I met a friend for sushi tonight, which was a grand alternative to my default evening plans of sitting slumped-over in front of the television, lusting after all the stress-eating I'd like to be doing instead of counting calories and trying to be healthy. I limited myself to a single order of Rainbow Roll and left feeling quite full. The mishap that followed with Ben & Jerry's chocolate-brownie-heaven-in-a-fro-yo-carton, albeit light, was not the best part of my day, nor was it the worst, but it guilted me into actually opening the cardio yoga DVD and popping it into the player. I unrolled my new cornflower blue Target-clearance mat, pushed away the coffee table from my living room's center and pressed play. It was amazing. The pace was perfect, the music was fantastic, the instructor was completely not annoying and I didn't get bored with the repetitions. She continuously promoted the reminder that each move (in this particular series) should be led by the heart with gratitude and appreciation, and while maybe that sounds cheesy and monotonous, it somehow hit home.

I forget how much gratitude I owe to my fortune, my health, to the cycle of Karma, the universe, etc. And the dark shadows of loneliness have made the clarity to see that much more muddled. It isn't just deployment, although it would be easy to point to it. It's me and learning to live on my own, to overcome seasons of less-confidence, of cooking for one, of no-motivation. By the end of the DVD I felt more aware of hope than I have in several weeks, so I drew a bath with lavendar bubbles, lit a candle, made a cup of "tension tamer" tea, turned iTunes radio to my favorite International station, grabbed a few health magazines and soaked for an hour. It was a glorious extension of what my "mother-in-law" called a "yoga induced zen." Now, I'm off to thumb through Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day for a good low-fat whole wheat sandwich loaf - in bed. There is nothing more therapeutic than putting my mind on autopilot in the kitchen [tomorrow].

As for tonight, with tensions momentarily tamed, I'm going to bed.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

19 of 31: giving (a little for me and a little for you)

My day can be summed up by my trip to Borders and my evening in the kitchen --
morning yoga

cardio yoga

for calorie counting

Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies (for my soldier)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

18 of 31: (untitled)

Long day. Nothing to say, really. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

16 of 31: giving (props)

I'm happy to report that the sun and I are no longer estranged, though I hear that this time together is predicted to be short. Figures. I still feel like my body is trying to get sick but my "mother-in-law" suggested some vitamin C and zinc supplements that I quickly picked up. I really need to curb any other possible reasons for lethargy and an overall lack of motivation. I've got those short-comings manned in full effect already.

In an attempt to exert control be pro-active with Spring presumably underway I have convinced myself to integrate a few positive changes into my routine. I scheduled a...photo sitting last week for mid-April which has prompted a new campaign to trim off those few pounds that I love to curse while jumping up-and-down to get into the death-grip of my jeans. I swear by counting calories when I'm actually watching what I'm ingesting. 1500 per day is much easier than I've been telling myself and I haven't been hungry once today. I'm weening myself off coffee, drinking more water, and tonight I actually turned off the television to read for class on Wednesday. Kudos to me. Now I'm off to bed early so I can get up early to tackle all that must be done. I'm thinking St. Pat's brownies for tomorrow night's class. What's more inspiring than booze and chocolate? I mean, really.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

15 of 31: giving (the rundown)

  • Still gray and gross
  • Got to talk to The SS last night
  • Feeling less defeated, more hopeful about deployment
  • Cleaned the kitchen
  • Had sushi with Baby Girl and fam
  • Sunday night guilty pleasure: The Unit
  • Sore throat
  • Going to bed early

Saturday, March 14, 2009

It started as an exercise in growth, and then ironically it become a blatant instance of mockery and self-loathing.

Dear year-ago-self,

You are the bane of my existence. Hope it was good back then, that you were having lots of sex, being treated to hot dates, and that you appreciated it for what it was worth!  And that concludes the very brief and futile walk down memory lane.  I should probably stick to the here-and-now to avoid any further jolts to my fragile state of sanity.  Was the dimple thing necessary?  [super gross.]

Your older, embittered present self,


14 of 31: (tired of) "giving"

High-fives to my latest over indulgences: 
  • Fiction Family - Fiction Family
  • The Ting Tings - We Started Nothing
  • Rage Against the Machine - Live At The Grand Olympic Auditorium
  • Muse - Origin of Symmetry 
  • Death Cab for Cutie - Narrow Stairs
  • Brandi Carlile - The Story
  • Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You
  • Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
  • Emerson Hart - Cigarettes and Gasoline
  • The Fray - The Fray
  • Erin McCarly - Love, Save the Empty
  • Flogging Molly - Float
  • Radiohead - In Rainbows

Friday, March 13, 2009

13 of 31: giving (confession)

I've heard that it takes about twelve weeks before this starts to feel normal.  I'm not quite there so I can't vouch for the resolution that is said to bloom after three months of struggling to find a balance.  What I do know is that it hasn't come soon, in fact I have done a fair share of backsliding, which leads me to believe that I am progressing, though I can't determine if I've moved from denial to anger or depression in the grief process.  There are no moments that I can recall bargaining for anything so I'm led to think that this is anger.  I feel like I don't know him in pictures, that we might as well be filler models used to show how perfectly other couples' smiles might fit within the frames.

I really wouldn't write any of this if I wasn't supposed to write something daily.  As it turns out, March is full of cynicism and will accurately be remembered as such.  One of my friends recently explained to me that she would like to run away from her life.  I asked her to share her destination because I would happily pack my bags to join her.  I need a manual (written by a human being) on how to do this.  I feel like I'm failing us by not being strong enough, yet I don't know how to be anything other than this.  

Tune in for April, maybe I'll edge toward acceptance next month.  

Thursday, March 12, 2009

"spring" break

I want to cry.

12 of 31: (too early to be) giving

Somewhere the sun is brewing it's coffee and for reasons unknown to me I am already awake, wide awake despite the screaming headache that sent me to bed early or the melatonin supplement I took before I buried my face into a pile of pillows meant to simulate the shape of him next to me.  It's freezing in my house as Winter simply will not give up its reign - 38 degree highs, possible snow.  Give me a break.

Perhaps it was the chill that stirred me from restless sleep, except that on one side of me was my dog and huddled against my other leg was my tabby cat, not to mention the oversized hoodie I'm still wearing, stolen from The Staff Sergeant's closet.  

Before pushing back the covers I laid still, trying to recall the last time I had gotten up before sunrise.  It was prior to his leaving, all those mornings of PT, incessant snoozing of his cell phone alarm in the darkness, a reason to pull in closer to him, just a few more minutes.  It was the first memory in at least a week that I didn't snarl at or hold at arm's length.  I let myself feel it, the up and down of his chest, how warm his body would be beneath the covers, the way he would eventually ease away from my arms, trying not to wake me up as he headed for his closet or a shower, his first-thing kiss meant to be so weightless that I wouldn't really notice, not until the one before he left for the day.   

I know better than to fight these circumstances; losing is inevitable.  The army will always win.  Similarly, my emotions will always trump an attempt to hold them down for the sake of looking the part.  I miss him like crazy, some days so much that I don't know what to do with myself.  And I assure you that there are things he is perfectly capable of and willing to do to help make this easier for me.  It's just a matter of having enough time on the phone to work it out, and maybe not being disconnected next time.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

11 of 31: giving (and giving, and giving...)

I am a real live girl, though I would love to pick the brain of every woman who stands by her soldier needless, wanting for nothing.  I read this the other day as I worked hard to hold down the cushions of my sofa:
There is absolutely nothing your servicemember can do to make you feel better about deployment and handling life on your own.  He cannot leave his station, and he cannot come to your rescue.
And I thought to myself, "If I could meet this condescending portrait of person, I don't believe I could restrain myself from verbally attacking her, at the very least."  I am so completely, utterly tired of this mantra that is ceremoniously passed down like a spirit stick of vacancy.  I cannot be that woman; there is a reason that he is a soldier and that I am not.  I don't believe that I have to be that hollow person while he is gone.  I don't believe that I can be or that such expectations should be set for any one of us who count the days until our hearts return from war.

This is damn hard, and I am willing to suffer the consequences of saying so.  I need and expect just a little because this is, after all, a relationship, a matter of give-and-take.  I fully understand that he is limited, that he is tired and stressed out, and maybe even homesick, but who the hell decided that those who are left behind should be empty human beings that feel nothing, that need nothing at all in return?  

There are some days that I can't stand this culture.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

10 of 31: giving (because I'm obligated)

I don't want to blog anything, furthermore I have nothing positive to say.  I didn't get out of bed until noon today, didn't take a shower until 3pm and never got out of lazy day clothes nor did I bother with make-up.  I didn't leave the house.  I didn't really ever leave the sofa except to whip up my favorite comfort food - a weird mac n' cheese mixture my mom used to make on Sunday afternoons.  It wasn't a great Tuesday.

Monday, March 9, 2009

9 of 31: taking (the road previously travelled)

We're on the interstate and all I can think of is the bus ride last summer that took me to Benning after our last long time apart. That seems so forever ago, and what I wouldn't give for this asphalt to mean it was over again.

It was a fun trip and we did our fair share to stimulate Georgia's economy! Later tonight or tomorrow I'll write more. I only have so much patience for these tiny keys. It's just a palpably nostalgic feeling to be here again with so much time left to burn through. Hopefully as the seasons continue to turn the days will, too.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

8 of 31: giving (a glimpse)

...of the weekend so far.  No matter where I go, Murphy's Law follows.  That's a long blog waiting to be written once I get home.  In the meantime, here is a brief version in pictures:

The [excruciating] hour of practically stand-still traffic that we sat in on the way to Atlanta 

The view from hotel room number one

The reason for hotel room number two

The unchanging but chic hotel lobby

The temple of holy home decor.

Where we had breakfast on Saturday morning [SO YUMMY!]

Dessert - dark chocolate soft-serve fro-yo.  It's ok to be jealous.

The shopping loot

The bounty unveiled [notice orange clearance stickers!]

Saturday, March 7, 2009

7 of 31: giving (an inch)

I'm sitting in Urban Outfitters wearing that very glazed-over appearance of half existance that occurs after an all day shop-a-thon. Retail therapy is an amazing thing, truly. More later, and pics of course.

That's all for now. Signing out from my cell phone. Over.

Friday, March 6, 2009

6 of 31: giving (proof)

Here it is folks - signs that Winter is losing the fight!  And not a moment too soon:

This post is the last thing on my list before loading the car and getting the hell out of Dodge.  I need the break.  I need the distraction as I am fending off tears right now while I write these words.  I'm feeling very...I don't know, unfulfilled in the moment.  I can't help wanting more than is rationed for today, for this week, for Us.  And what better way to avoid the reality of dealing with it than to escape?

What's that behind you?  

[I'm slipping out the door while your head is turned.]

Thursday, March 5, 2009

5 of 31: giving (and taking)

Today I did nothing. I slept in much later than I should have, packaged up the real batch of Irish beer brownies, met a friend for lunch, hit the sporting good's store for a goggle request, the pharmacy, the post office, the bank and then home. I feel so relaxed.

[contented sigh]

I have to say that I'm mighty proud of the St. Pat's package that was shipped today:
  • Lucky Charms
  • Irish beer brownies
  • Irish Springs soap
  • The Leprechaun horror flick trilogy
  • popcorn
  • Shamrock boxers
  • green M&M's
  • green clover napkins
  • and the norms: gum, clorox wipes, Muscle Milk bars
  • oh, right, and the goggles (per request)
It was the most thematic box to date.

On another note, I'm stealing away to Atlanta tomorrow with a friend for a weekend of bonding, IKEAing, H&Ming and three days of distractions, a gift from The Staff Sergeant. On Valentine's day he told me to, "take some money, get a hotel and take yourselves out to dinner on me." So we are.

[he's amazing.]

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

4 of 31: giving (myself a break)

I have never in all my life been so excited about spring break.  


I'm pretty sure we all felt the same way in class tonight with the windows open to filter in the optimism of changing weather.  There were a number of laugh-till-we-cried moments, specifically during a sloppy reenactment of Arthur Miller's The Crucible.  

Thursdays nights were marked for gut-busting episodes last Fall and sadly they don't occur nearly as much as of late.  It was refreshing, though, to feel young and loopy and to laugh and laugh without reserve...at jokes that only us English nerds find funny.

It's been a while since I've felt entitled to double over, silly with joy, glad to just be alive.  My skin and my bones are voracious with a craving for sunshine and breezes that don't make your limbs scream with pain before going numb.  

It isn't all in the air.  I'm also glad to feel grateful again for a good man and a community of army wives ready to stand-in for my backbone when I don't have the wherewithal to hold a steady posture.  I feel like this week's low spot, while it was dim, allowed me to get to know a few ladies better.  I'm grateful to be building stronger relationships with The Staff Sergeant's family, as we are all stretched by the sacrifices he has to make for his convictions.  But there is something to be said for the bleak outlook cast by dreary Winter, and the new vision that is brightened by Spring.  

And also...(pt. 2)

Grad school (particularly this paper requiring a long-winded refutation of  a critical analysis focussing on the god-forsaken British Romance Period, constructed from extensive research done by qualified scholars), go to hell.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

3 of 31: giving (signs of hope)

I'm feeling much better today, however the day is still young.  We have not yet encroached upon the frail hours.  The good news, besides my return to a composed human being, is that the sun is out.  The running bad news is that it's still Winter - 29 degrees in Middle Tennessee in March (at noon, no less) is UN-accept-able.  The other good news is that following the weird conversation I had with The SS yesterday morning, I got an email from him yesterday afternoon.  Not only is it a lavish occasion to hear from him twice in one day, but I quite nearly jumped on top of the table to dance in celebration of an induced response.  In the same day I had sent an email and received a reply.  I felt, if only temporarily, like a reciprocal participant in our relationship, I mean, beyond care packages and general supportiveness.

I love you no matter how you deal with anything.

He reminds me that it isn't only about being there for him, even though I struggle to be mindful of that truth.  I find that it's easy to dismiss the honesty I would otherwise rely on if he weren't where he is, doing what he's doing.  There's not a thing in the world that would keep me from crying if we were face to face and I was overtaken by the urge.  I would tell him if and when something was bothering me (after some coaxing). 

This is proving to be one of the bigger challenges of this journey - whether or not to put normal behavior on the back burner while he's away.  There are strong arguments for both, and being a huge advocate for authenticity, I am constantly in the middle of a battle between mind and heart.  

Between that and my blatant need for control, I have my work cut out for the duration of this deployment.  At least today it feels do-able.  I looked at the calendar, broke the days down to the percentage accomplished and the percentage remaining and I didn't crumble.  That's surely a sign of a rebound in progress.

Monday, March 2, 2009

2 of 31: giving (in)

What I really meant to say had nothing to do with weather, storms of any genre, except maybe this one back home that has yet to pass [figuratively]. But because I have some dignity, although unapparent to the naked eye, I asked about it there to keep from crying. The bare essence of pride, that that's left, kept me from demanding a verbal shrine, a garrulous flow of all the reasons and ways that you love me, something completely selfish and over-indulgent, concentrated like last season's apple butter or the jar of marshmallow cream for s'mores that arrived a few days ago.

It's more desperate than the boxes can conceive or deliver, right now but not always.

Despite claims of pride, or fraying threads of pride and strength and normalcy, I really meant to free the contents of myself this morning, not that unraveling on the phone would make any one of the circumstances change shape or even appear to. I would still like the luxury of not caring, the freedom of a child to wail full-force, head thrown back, the rest of me limp in surrender just because it is sometimes too much to house this sadness within my body.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

And also...

Deployment, go to hell.

1 of 31: giving (up)

I'm giving nablopomo[.com] a try for March.  The theme is "giving (up)," however if I stuck with it, this would be a mighty depressing month, and I can tell you that the Forever Winter we are experiencing in these parts and deployment are doing a damn fine job of setting a forlorn tone.

For the kick-off, I'll do my best to throw on my rosey glasses and grace you with a little optimism.

[clears throat]

I wish that I had something profound and gracious to write.  And while I know that all the good outweighs the sacrifices (or I wouldn't be doing this) it's hard to be quiet enough to hear the meek, whispering reminders of choice.  The Staff Sergeant told me he was in the Army after luring me to coffee.  I considered walking out the door, giving him my best wishes and telling him to be safe but never to call.  However (entranced by his good looks and good shoes), I took my coffee from the counter and followed him back to our table.  He talked about literature and family and his smile, so perfectly perfect was hypnotizing.  By closing time my bones had dissolved and my limbs were tingly and beyond my body's physical acknowledgment that something was different, I couldn't stop what would happen in the months and months to follow.  

I was living the urban-dreamer life.  I had dibs on a loft in downtown Nashville, hopes to study sociology at Vanderbilt or to earn an MFA in writing, plans that snaked ten-times around the earth's circumference that did, in no way include or tolerate the Army.  Needless to say, I'm not in the loft of my dreams nor am I in a masters program at Vanderbilt, but I can say without a shadow of doubt that I am better for the altered plans (think space and money).  A year and a half ago I couldn't have told you that I'd be living it up in army-ville, working may way through a deployment.  In fact, I might have told you that a deployment was impossible.

I remember sobbing over the scene in The Interpreter when an African terrorist blows up the bus.  I thought to myself, I can't do this.  I thought that phrase a hundred times before looking around and realizing that I am doing it, regardless of how hard and heavy some days are.  At some point the thought became a question of how to be not whether or not I was strong enough.  

I hesitate to categorize any choices that I've made or changes to choices as "things I have given up", rather my perspective has changed and what I want out of life has taken a detour once again.  What I have [temporarily] given up is time and proximity.  He's not the first thing I see in the mornings or the last that I see before bed.  I've given up kisses and running inside jokes and dinner for two and the luxury of speed dial and an answer.  I've given up a lot of control that I probably never had anyway but let myself believe that I did.  

As I tell him almost daily, in emails that I'm not sure he really has time to read: I wouldn't change anything about where I live, who I love, and what that means about the person I have to be.  I don't like this leg of it but it will make the time that he's home so much better and so much more appreciated.