Thursday, August 30

Laundry Day

Living together is great. Especially when your significant other isn't doing much over the summer and can be a house husband. Some days he laxes... "I just didn't have motivation to do anything today." I can understand that, although you get really used to coming home to a made bed everyday.
One of the biggest perks is that he'll do the laundry. After a few trips with much complaining, now he's committed and over the weird faces the women who run/work in the laundromat give him.
There have been a few mishaps... I came home one hot Friday evening after having to walk 40 blocks because my train decided to stop running.
I walked in sweaty and mildly annoyed. But I was ready to keep the energy level up and wanted to head to the gym. I looked at the drying rack. There were many many more wet clothes than should have been on the rack, and many of them were clothes that could have been put in the dryer.
I turned to Matt, who had an "oh shit" look on his face.
"Why is all of this stuff just lumped on here? Why didn't you dry my exercise shirts?"
"I didn't know which ones I could dry or not so I just wanted to play it safe."
"But, we went through it. I told you which you could and couldn't dry?"
After the mostly broken cheap Target drying rack actually broke and I had moved shirts to other locations throughout the apartment to dry appropriately, and Matt and I had had a voices raised discussion that ended in us both laughing and realizing our ridiculousness (Mine at getting so upset about this, his at not just using common sense when it came to what can be dried) we headed to the gym, and came up with a new system. Stuff that goes in the dryer goes in one bin, stuff that doesn't goes in another and he does two loads. No fail, right?
For a few months it was.
One day, knowing Matt was doing laundry, I commented that since there weren't many clothes in the "to be hung" bin why didn't he just toss the sheets in too. He agreed and I left for work.
The first GChat conversation was about trying to get out of doing the laundry. I didn't back down, being pretty much out of gym socks and underwear.
The second GChat conversation asked me about washing things in cold water. I was busy so I didn't think much about it and just answered that I usually wash everything in cold since I don't seperate colors. He seemed appeased.
I came home that night with plans of working out, doing some writing and a little cleaning. I had the house to myself and was excited about it.
When I walked in I saw the bottom sheet hung over the opened doors of our kitchen closet. "What?" I thought. I walked into the bedroom and there was the top sheet strewn about over our open closet doors. "Why wouldn't you dry the sheets!"
I started fuming with frustration. I tried to calm myself by putting on workout clothes and just trying to ignore it. It didn't work. The sheet was taking up basically the whole room and I couldn't avoid it as I changed. So I changed my plans and began the process of laying the sheets out over the couch and bed to get maximum air coverage and started using the hairdryer. I was cursing the situation under my breath the whole time and just shaking my head at how he would think he couldn't dry the sheets. My shirts I can understand, but he must have washed his own sheets before, right?
I started to calm down later into the night, and had a funny conversation with my Mom about training hetero males. She remembered a conversation she'd had before Dad died about what a great man Sammy was becoming, but that he still needed training on how to be a good roommate, as most men do.
When Matt got home close to 12:30, he came into the bedroom to see if I was awake.
"We have to talk." I began
"Why didn't you dry the sheets?"
"What do you mean? I asked you about this."
"No you didn't, you asked," Matt interuptted
"Hold on a second." He turned to walk out of the room and I knew he was going to get his computer to prove that he had asked me.
"You asked me about the water temperature!" I called after him
He came back, computer in tow and kneeled at the bed to look up our chat.
"Oh...," His plan of proving me wrong via computer failing, "You're right. I got confused."
"Yeah, you just asked me about washing in cold water."
"I guess I figured that meant you hang it up to dry, because I usually wash the stuff going in the dryer in warm water."
I just laughed.
"Sorry Bear," He said looking at me sheepishly.
"It's okay." I said laughing. Really I wasn't ever mad at him, just frustrated at the situation and underneath it all lusting for an apartment with a washer and dryer hook up. When I related this to Matt he exclaimed, "I like having the laundry to do, I like that its my thing."
The next day as I folded up the now dry sheets I noticed how soft and fresh they smelled. When I pointed this out to Matt he responded, "I know, that's what I intended!"

Monday, August 20

A little bit of this, and a little bit of that

This year was so much better than last. I was in the moment, I was enjoying each moment, I was loving it for me and for Dad like I wanted. Friday, our last full day, it was rainy most of the morning and when the sun finally popped out around 2 I hurried into my bathing suit and down to the dock for sunning. I wanted those last few rays to warm my skin, I wanted to be able to hold the feeling, the warmth and color on me for weeks after I'd left.
There was a family with an infant playing in the water and as I lay, eyes closed and face up I smiled and laughed along with them. It was just the four of us and it was great. The sun started to move behind the trees surrounding the dock and I kept moving my lounge chair further and further to the edge of the dock to keep the sun on me. At one point, when there was no one there, I just stood on the furtherest edge and basked in the light. I was craving it and didn't want to give in and head back up to the cabin. When it finally moved well beyond where I could reach it, I turned and gazed out at the lake. The sun was still sparkling magically on the eerily calm water and I thought, "Why don't I just get in the kayak?" So I did. It was a total Dad move. Decide you want to get out there and just go. Normally I may have just paddled to the middle of our part of the lake and lounged, but instead I kept paddling, even beyond the edge of Great Island that marked our entrance to the rest of the lake. I saw Sunset Rock in front of me on another Island, a place we'd stopped at during many family kayaking trips. I hadn't gone all last year, and now was the perfect time.
I felt great as I glided through the water. I let the sadness I had been feeling all week flow through me and pass over me and release. My arms, my shoulders, my body were in rhythm and I hummed the song that Dad would always reference as he explained the best speed of your paddles, "A little bit of this, a little bit of that, a little bit of this, a little bit of that."
As I reached the rock, I saw there was a young girl laying on a blanket reading near the water. Someone like me, I thought. Looking for somewhere to get away and just be.
As I glided to a stop and pulled the kayak up onto the rocky edge I realized I hadn't brought a towel, or anything to lean on, or lay on. Oh well. I immediately jumped into the clean, clear water and let myself slip into the cool comfort I feel when being underwater. I came up for air and swam a little bit further out before coming back and climbing onto the rock hot with the days sun.
I leaned back on my hands, closed my eyes and tilted my head up. It felt great to just sit there and be bathed in late day sun. I tried mediating, just breathing deeply and clearing my mind. I was able to for a bit, and then more people started to gather on the popular rock. I thought, if I had brought a towel I probably would have stayed for hours.
I climbed back into the kayak and began paddling back towards the tip of Great Island and then back. As I neared the Island, I slowed down my stroke debating whether to stop at some other rocks I had seen. I heard a splashing to my left and looked over as a loon emerged from the water about a paddles length away from me. I was frozen for a second as I looked at the large black and white bird and his, or her, red eye fixed on me. Loons are beautiful creatures, and large when you're as close to them as I was. I wish I didn't get scared and paddle a bit more quickly away, but I did and as I turned to look at the bird again I saw him, or her, rise a little ways out of the water and flap his, or her, wings. Territorial, I thought. Good thing I paddled away.
As I made my way back to the cabin, I felt happy and proud. I had gone into the week wanting to be able to let myself just take in and enjoy where I was, do things for Dad, and myself. And I had, and this kayak gave me a renewed since of, I'm okay. And, after a week of being in a small house with lots of people coming in and out it was nice to have some alone time too, although I didn't feel totally alone.

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Too see them all

Friday, August 17

Post Vacation Depression

I've had little to no motivation to do anything at work this week. I get home late every night and just sit on the couch and catch up on the two weeks of TV I've missed (lame!). Then I lay in bed trying to fall asleep and toss and turn with anxiety over all the things I haven't done (clean the apartment, put things away, cook the fresh veggies from Mom's garden, spend time with Matt). So all things considered, I think that points to PVD.

Now that I know, I definitely feel more motivated to get some shit done this week and since we'll be sailing all day tomorrow, and I part of the shit I want to get done is work related, today's the day. I started work with a bang and have been blasting through some projects I've been pushing to the bottom of the pile for weeks. I cleared my schedule so I could have a CFF (Commitment Free Friday) and go home, have QT with the Fiancee and do some cleaning/organizing. I'm more excited than I have been all week.

It feels good, like I'm back into the grove I'd gotten into before vaca. I'm excited about the small things, I'm feeling good about work and things are good. I think its why I haven't blogged really all week. I was just blah. But Squam was wonderful and there are so many pictures to show and things to write about besides that list I made.
Even though this is slightly tounge in cheek and I'm not really depressed just suffering from a vacation hangover, it is so true that once you can verbalize the problem, or admit to having the problem, it all becomes so clear. I feel the motivation returning, I want to accomplish and achieve at work and am ready to tackle getting things in order for the upcoming weeks, cause really after this week I don't get to use the vacation excuse anymore.

Wednesday, August 15

Oh Oprah, you teach me without even knowing it.

So I was at the gym today and caught some of Oprah- she was having famous women talk about what they would tell their younger selves and what they know now that they're "older". It got me thinking about what I would tell my younger self- and it was all the same mush- love yourself for who you are, beauty comes from inside, blah blah...
And then I had a bigger revelation. We can tell our younger selves these things because we've learned them from being who we were.
If we were all confident, loving, self affirmed teenagers we probably wouldn't be who we are today which is usually happier, healthier and proud of what we'd accomplished. I think I would be snobbish, stuck-up and lonely if I didn't have the baggage and yucky teenage years to have taught me about loving myself, helping others feel loved and what confidence is. It we start out with everything, we've got a lot more to lose rather than gain.
So, I guess I'm happy that being a gawky teenager sucked, because all the goodness I've found inside and out feels that much better.

Thursday, August 9

Week on Squam

Sparkling light on water
Pre-storm breezes
Post-rain steam lifting above fields
Rays of sun through clouds
Deep late light on plush green hills
Loon calls
The white of a loon's belly
Lake air wiping around and through me on the boat
Raft wood against my breasts and stomach
The clicking of my camera

Thursday, August 2


Work's picking up, just as I get ready to go back to Squam for the week, our annual family vacation. Although over the years it has turned into much more than just a family vacation. Girlfriends and Boyfriends (now fiancee's) come too, family friends stay next door, visitors constantly in and out.
Last year, quite honestly, it sucked. Dad had just died, we were all raw. It was his most favorite place to come, to go, to be and then we were there without him. He was missing it, we were missing him. There was just missing. We were all still retarded by grief, unable to take in Squam, take in activities we loved on Squam. It was hard, it was good to be there, but hard and again, it kind of sucked.
This year, of course it will be hard, but I think it will be that much better for the year having passed. (It's all about time) We've all grown, we've all processed, A LOT, and I'm ready, excited, looking forward to it.
I've got wedding magazines and books to look at on the deck as I sip strong drinks and feel the rush of alcohol through my blood. I've got urges to run and swim and kayak. I want to feel the lake and sun, take it all in (with SPF 30 of course), without a constant layer of sadness.
Last year I told my Mom, "The first couple of days are going to be horrible, but then we'll let ourselves go a bit and it will be nice to be there." And it was, I was right. This year, I think it will lessen, the first couple of hours will be hard and I'll let myself go a bit more readily.
On the phone last night Mom told me about talking to a colleague about going to Squam, how the summer has been hard, but better, how there are still so many pieces that are missing Dad, that Dad's missing and Squam is a big part of that and there is a big part of her, and me too, that hurts when she thinks about going back there again without him. The colleague passed something on to her, which I'll translate here with my own interpretations.
When you're there, honor him. Do the things he loved to do and while you're doing them, make it more about honoring him and how much he would have loved to do it. Kayak to a place he loved and just meditate on the honoring of his memory, his enjoyment of the place, your enjoyment of being in that place with him.
It instantly resonated with her, and I took it in quite similarly.
Often my grief is selfish, I miss what I've lost in his death. But there are many times when it is also about what he's missing. I wish he were here because he would so enjoy this, I'm sad because he's missing it. That is what Squam is about.
So, this year I am going to honor him. When I feel the grief creep up I will be glad that I can still do the things he loved so much and I'll do them more for him. It doesn't mean pushing it down or willing it away, it means enjoying the moment for him, and remembering the times you were in that place, doing that thing with him. It is the memories that help sustain us in times of sorrow, he was with us for so many summers at Squam and they were wonderful.
So, I'm ready to keep making them wonderful, for Dad and for me.