Monday, March 27

I believe in...

The feeling of home.

The comfort I get when I drive up the road and see a car in the driveway and a light on upstairs. Knowing, that when I walk in the door it will be just like its always been and if there are any changes I will have helped make them, been instrumental in their making so they'll still feel like home. The delight I feel showing it off to others, this is where I was raised, this is where I come home. How easy the drive home is, although I dislike driving and I hate sitting in traffic, it never feels like too much. How simple things seem when at home.

The feeling after a good nap.

That I'm completely relaxed and at peace in that moment. The taste in your mouth when you wake up. How completely comfortable I am no matter what position I've moved myself into. How soft and comfortable the pillows and blankets feel. How clear my head is, I'm thinking about only one or two things instead of 500.


How being surrounded by nature and greenery is calming for me. How excited I get to fill my work space and home with them. How rewarding it is to grow plants. How fresh and new a place feels with a new plant. How cheerful fresh flowers can make me feel. That growing plants, having plants, means having sun light coming in. That I never care about ruining a manicure by gardening.


That any space is instantly made your own when you hang up pictures. That show and tell can live on through sharing photos. How anything can be blown up to 8X10 or taken in Black and White and its art. That pictures help build a history and a story to tell future generations.


Monday, March 20


There's a line/scene in Sex and the City that always struck me. Carrie is at her book release party and her and Charlotte are talking. Carrie says, "I'm lonely. The loneliness is palpable." Charlotte doesn't really say much, kind of looks at her with a sad face. Someone else interrupts them, and then Charlotte just leaves, leaves Carrie alone. This has always struck me for two reasons; one being it is just so true to life-there are often times when you can really reach and grab the loneliness, it takes hold of you in such a strong way its physical, two being why does Charlotte just leave? One of her best friends has just confessed to how alone she's feeling and then you just walk away? It has always disappointed me.

I was thinking about that line a lot today. I'm lonely, and it is palpable. I have a number of little things I usually do to help with loneliness, its something I'm somewhat experienced at having been in a long distance relationship for almost 6 years. I've done all these things, and I'm still not able to move past the loneliness. Usually the longer you do something, the easier it becomes, the more natural it becomes- this is not true with long distance. The longer you're with someone and the more you understand that they are the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, the harder it becomes to cope with being far away from them.

Its wonderful how easy it is to adjust to them visiting for longer periods of time, how easy it is to have them be a part of your usual everyday routine, how quickly you feel comfortable with them beside you in bed and next to you on the couch. And you don't even realize that you've adjusted to it until they are gone and you're left alone and with an empty spot next to you in bed and across from you at the table.

And then, you're just left with the empty feeling, the palpable loneliness. And you know they feel it too, and whining about it to each other can only go so far. And when I'm lonely I usually just want to be alone, to mope about and feel sorry for myself. I know it doesn't do me much good, and that distractions help make the adjustment easier, and yet thinking through it and coming out of the funk on my own is the path I usually take.

So, I think back to being upset about Charlotte's reaction to Carrie's confession and I realize- that as a friend I would never leave someone who'd just told me they were lonely- but as Carrie, I think I'd rather be left alone. And, I don't think I'd ever be in Carrie's situation because I don't usually talk about it when I'm lonely, its the aftermath of being the only one of my friends in a serious relationship for so many years- I always felt guilty talking about being lonely when my friends were still in the process of finding someone. But maybe I should learn to speak up, reach out, maybe this is my way of doing it.

Nevertheless, I'm still lonely.

Sunday, March 19


Volkswagen says- "On the road of life there are passengers and there are drivers." I know its supposed to excite the drivers out there, attract them to Volkswagen, encourage them to drive VWs.
I own a Volkswagen and prefer to be a passenger, when there is actual driving. Usually I say I don't like driving, but I've come to realize that I don't like being the one doing the driving, and am starting to enjoy being the passenger.

This weekend was the turning point for me. I had my camera out on a car trip and snapped a couple of shots of the typical things you usually drive by and never really look at it. Since I was a passenger I could take the extra time to look at them, through my camera lens, and find the interest in them. One would normally see the wires of a traffic light as blocking the landscape around it, creating a disruption to the nature surrounding the road. Road signs are usually something to glance at and make sure you're following correctly, not a piece of artistic interest to delight you on your journey.

On this particular part of the road of life, I am glad I got to be a passenger.

Friday, March 10


I first learned the word in 1998. I was counselor for 15 11-12 year olds. They were a precocious bunch. The other counselors and I would walk around saying, "You're giving us agita!" I joined the bunk half way through the summer, and thus just picked up the word and its general meaning without any real clarification. One of the more unruly campers had a name similar to the word, all I can remember is us calling her Agita for the summer, her given name escapes me.

I've since used the word sporadically over the last several years, always just assuming it was a descriptor for unease, nervous stomach, an unsettling feeling. I have in fact passed it on to others as a great word for describing anxiety caused by others or events out of your control.

Over the last year I'd started to learn that it really meant indigestion. In fact when googled the only related result you get is a message board about prilosec where the string was titled Agita.

Monday night I was seized with overwhelming anxiety as a result of circumstances that were beginning to move out of my control. I wanted to say to others the next morning, "I had wicked ajada last night." But stopped myself. Did I really? Did I have indigestion? No. However, the word still seemed the perfect way to describe it. Saying I was anxious didn't capture it for me, I wasn't nervous, I wasn't worried, I just had agita.

So, I got to thinking did it matter that it meant indigestion, do most people even know the definition? I'd convinced many friends over the years of my definition, maybe in fact it was okay if I kept using it that way. The empty google search convinced me even more that I could use it however I wanted, google didn't have any way of proving me wrong. On the other hand, it wasn't backing me up either.

In the end, I think people will get it if I use it, and if they don't I can explain... "Well it means indigestion, but I use it to describe an unsettling feeling, or anxious stomach, cause really, doesn't Agita just sound so much better?"


Thanks to Mom and Jen- the correct spelling is Agita and below I've pasted what I found on a great website- Word Detective

Dear Word Detective: What is the Italian or Yiddish word for heartburn? I grew up hearing my parents saying "argada," but since I've moved to the South no one seems to believe it's actually a word. Help! -- Kelly, via the internet.

Tell me about it. Ever since I moved to rural Ohio from New York City a few years ago, I've been getting funny looks from people whenever I use standard New-Yorkisms such as "go figure" or "fugeddaboudit." Of course, they also think "bialy" is a breed of dog, so I guess it's hopeless.

In any case, the word your parents were using was almost certainly "agita." You won't find "agita" in most dictionaries, although it is a quintessential Italian-American slang word. Strictly speaking, "agita" is a stomach upset or heartburn. But "agita" can also mean that special kind of existential dyspepsia of the soul you get when absolutely everything goes wrong. Comedian Jackie Mason has explained "agita" as "when you have been aggravated to the point where it feels like you have a serious migraine headache throughout your whole body." "Agita" is thus more or less the Italian-American equivalent of the Yiddish "tsuris" ("misery"), an equation not lost on Woody Allen, who made a song about "agita" the centerpiece of his 1984 film "Broadway Danny Rose."

"Agita" is not a standard Italian word, and linguists are not certain where came from. One possible source is the Italian word "agitare" ("to agitate" or "to trouble"), which in turn came from the Latin "agitare," which meant "to stir up." To be "agitato" in Italy is to be very excited, and a musical score marked "agitato" is intended to be played at a frenzied pace. But it's also possible that the source is "acido" (pronounced "AH-chee-do"), Italian for "stomach acid," which then possibly became "agita" ("AH-jih-ta") over time. Whatever the source, "agita" seems to have arrived in New York with Italian immigrants around the turn of the century, and has been in constant use, especially in places like New York City, ever since.

Friday, March 3

In the Rearview Mirror

Driving to work this morning I was stopped at a red light and watched as three men walked past on the sidewalk next to the line of traffic. It was early, I was tired, all I could think of was "3 guys coming from The Pine Street Inn" (Which is the local homeless shelter near my office). I looked at their faces and thought a bit more deeply for 7:30am "Such normal looking guys, I wonder what they were like as children, and why are they homeless now."

I sat there, maybe I was pondering them and people in general, maybe I was thinking about drinking my coffee, I can't remember, and then I happened to glance in the rear view mirror. I noticed that the car behind me which hadn't been able to turn off of 93 and who were definitely now lost had pulled one of the three men over to ask for directions. Would I have asked them for directions if I didn't known where they were walking from? I had just thought they looked normal, so why not. These lost drivers who didn't know the area and thus had no pre-conceived prejudices had asked them. I saw smiling, and gesturing of hands, the man they had asked knew the area and he was happy to point them in the right direction. The man at the wheel was leaning over to get the details in addition to what the passenger was taking in. They were excited to be getting pointed in the right direction, excited to get back on track. Who cares who the men are or where they are coming from, they know the area probably better than anyone and why not ask them for directions.

I may have said, "hmm" out loud, I'm not sure. But I definitely thought it.

Its the things that happen in your rearview mirror that can sometimes make you stop, not what's happening right in front of you- like the light turning green.

Wednesday, March 1

Where I Come From

smaller benchsmaller carsmaller farmsmaller fencesmaller sapping

The snow was a steady stream of white and I so wanted to be able to capture it. The constant motion of falling flakes making everything seem still and calm. I knew the camera wouldn't be able to capture that, but I also knew I'd want to capture the newly snow covered items. I love being from a place where the snow draws you outdoors instead of forcing you to stay inside, or I guess I should say I love being from a family where the snow means time to head outside to play.

My jacket was too big for me, completely covering my hands, which made it easy to hold my camera and keep it tucked away in the sleeves of the jacket ready to pop out at the prime photo opportunity.

The landscape around the house where I grew up is primarily farm land, which peaks into lush greens in the summer. I tend to notice it more when its snow covered. The white vastness of fields untouched by anything but the flakes. However, as you look around at the items bordering these fields you'll find items that have been touched, by humans and time. The parking of a car next to a field, the sapping of a tree in a graveyard, the bending of wire and wood over time. These to me represent where I've grown up, where I'm from. They are the markers of time, the telling of a story, the signs of how people have moved and shaped the area.

The farm in the middle is the center of it all, what the fields have been built for, who the graveyard was created for, what has drawn the people that built a bench and parked a car. Its all those scribbled in pieces of the picture that make up where I'm from.