• my new manager at work
• overly long breaks (wading in fountains)
• my days off
• Fear & Resilience
• getting back a roll of slide film I shot in Massachusetts
• the "Girl-Caught" campaign from the girls' magazine New Moon. I am so going to get my niece a subscription.
• a conversation with my librarian in which we discover that we are both principled Non-Dieters
• quiet mornings puttering and gearing up for the day. cooking a good Tupperware lunch for work, and enjoying doing it, has been my self-care practice lately.
• good yoga routines from YouTube
• Sunday evening liturgy
• Jenni Schaefer's books (eating disorder recovery)
• minimalist to-do lists (three or fewer things for the day...be real about priorities; be focused)
• my new manager at work
In the Loop. Sometimes you just have to put your bags down and find a nice patch of pavement to do some shoulderstands on.
Wicker Park again. I made a friend this year who lives there, a little bit odd of a story beginning with a set-up by our mutual matchmaker friend, and I don't know if we now will stay friends, though it would be nice. It's hard to tell with people in general, whether to stay in touch or not. Even best friends can be forgotten, even acquaintances can be kept in touch with, if the circumstances and intentions are right.
(Flatness is a strange thing): In Chicago, you can look down a street until it meets its vanishing point.
So beautiful that for a day I lived under a tree, its whole shade for myself and my backpacked belongings. I smiled my way into my old dorm to do laundry on their non-coin-op machines, and while I was waiting for my clothes to dry I took a picture of the rest of my objects. It is a really beautiful thing to be carrying everything you need, plus some, on your person.
Click through the images to get to the Flickr page where you can choose to view them larger, or scroll down for the text.
Jeanima is delighted to be writing you this letter. She greets you in Jesus' name, the almighty. She and family are doing well, thanks to God. Her school activities are doing good. She took the last control exam, she does not do good. She will repeat the same grade. She asks: Do you grow a garden? She reports it is hot where she lives now. She asks you to pray that God is with her in all she does. She is praying that God protects you and family.Thanks go to Debbie and Liv B for covering Jeanima's sponsorship fees for the month of September. Debbie and Liv, you are wonderful and you are making a difference.
She wishes you a happy summer vacation 2011.
Central Illinois. A botanical garden for the cornfield-dwellers.
We were both rather worn out that weekend. We spent a lot of time in the car and asleep. But it was nice to share each other's company, and it was nice for me not to feel like I had to act happier and more energetic than I was feeling. This surprised me — that it can still be good to share time and space with friends even apart from fun and good moods and laughter, etc... I'm not articulating well, but you know what I mean? Anyway, it is.
Landing in Chicago was a bit of a shock to my system after a week and a half in small-town New Hampshire. The idea of going out into the suburbs sounded even worse, so I procrastinated catching my train for several hours. Financial districts are so strange at night, no matter what city you're in — the reverse of bedroom communities, dead after dark. A late summer storm hit; I chose a closed cafe and sat in lotus on one of their tables under the awning for a while. Pretending to be a person who minds the rain.
1. Pieces of a Song: Selected Poems, by Diane di Prima
Wild and thought-provoking, a strange simultaneity of squalor and loveliness.
2. The Water Tower, by Gary Crew
WHOA strange and freaky-deaky story in a unique picture book layout. It took me several read-throughs to decide what I thought it was about/what had happened. The plot is enigmatic and quiet, but very creepy.
3. Veronika Decides to Die, by Paulo Coelho
I thought from the beginning that I would really like this book, but I found it tiresome. It questions our ideas of sanity/insanity in a very cliché way; it has this gimmicky and unsurprising little twist at the end; also, the turning point in the character's inner journey is this absurd exhibitionist masturbation scene. Oh, and that quasi-inspiring IMAGINE IF YOU HAD ONLY A WEEK TO LIVE, HOW WOULD YOU LIVE? premise. Blah. It reads like an early draft.
4. Eurydice, by Sarah Ruhl
Quirky and poetic. See it on stage if you ever get the chance. I saw it in February at my college and it kind of devastated me.
5. Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, by Lewis Carroll
I don't know how to appreciate this, or Alice. Not saying there's nothing to appreciate about them; I just, ah, have no idea.
6. The Will to Change: Poems 1968-1970, by Adrienne Rich
7. Telephone Ringing in the Labyrinth: Poems 2004-2006, by Adrienne Rich
8. Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness, by William Styron
This was quite dark, and it could be very triggering to people with depressive tendencies. For some reason it was just what I needed, though — a reminder that when I'm facing depression, it is real and serious and urgent, and something that a lot of other humans are encountering too. This is a cliché but I mean it: if you haven't experienced depression, reading this book is the closest you can come to understanding what it is like. I recommend it for that reason.
9. Three Guineas, by Virginia Woolf
She is so freaking smart. It felt like work to read this, but the text is its own reward. Sharp sharp sharp, sarcastic, stimulating. Nonfiction: musings on capitalism (wage labor), war, and the place of women in her society, especially middle-class women in Western societies.
10. Traveling Light: Poems, by Linda Pastan
Have a taste for yourself, here.
If there once was an attic, and its roof
was not beams made of trees but shadows
cast by a story that we heard
about being in the woods...
Still traveling, and I'm beginning to feel a little worn down. I'll be home again in a few days. You have to carry some roots with you. (I can't imagine what it would be like to travel for months or years at a time. Easier in some ways if you were hosteling instead of staying in homes?) The roots are things to stay the same no matter where you go, like: my journal, the people I can reach through my phone, a deep breath to look through some strange cupboards for a pot to boil tea water in.
I have seen a few of my dearest friends from school for the first time in over a year, or years, and it has been sweet beyond words.
I'm not sure when the last time I went this long without blogging was. (I left my laptop at home.) Anyway, I'm back. I missed you. I will endeavor not to let this hiatus turn into a case of blogger's block.