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Archive for June, 2008

Summer lovin

A few words about nostalgia. I’m sitting at my desk right now, in Chicago, Illinois, having a relatively normal- possibly a little busier than usual- work day. And yet my mind’s not here at all. My mind is currently sitting beside a public pool (probably Kanawah) somewhere in Richmond, Virginia, sucking on Lemonheads, dreaming about boys, and hating how my body looks in my teal-colored one piece. My mind is also at the Cavalier (beach front) hotel in Virginia Beach, wearing some combination of neon and white, teasing it’s bangs in the downstairs lobby bathroom before heading back out to the beach to- surprise surprise- look for cute boys. In both of these places my mind is between the ages of 10 and 16, slightly sunburned around the nose and cheeks, completely ignorant of such adult worries as money, career, or ‘family-planning’, and probably listening to Whitney Houston, Huey Lewis and the News, or the Go-Go’s over some sort of crude loudspeaker system. In short, my mind is lost in summer’s long gone by, when I was young(er), (more) naive, and life was simple(r).

Music brought me to this place- specifically, my “Public Pool Mix” that I put together (and sent to almost everyone who reads this blog) last summer. Listening to Bananarama, Hall & Oates, and solo Belinda Carlisle always makes me feel this way. I begin to long for the days when my life was so much less complicated, and there were so fewer responsibilities or restrictions on my time and my friends time. When Lionel Richie was just the guy with the big head and the Jeri Curl who sang that awesome song about the blind chick, not Nicole Richie’s dad. And all of my friends were babysitters, not people who hired them.

After a few minutes of listening, I began to fantasize about throwing a big 80’s theme BBQ, but then I realized that it would be hard to find a date when everyone I know would be in town or free, or that it would have to be an early afternoon affair to accommodate the growing number of babies and toddlers now on the guest list, and that the closest thing I have to a pool is a sprinkler. Then I thought maybe just a small afternoon meet up at a local public pool, but when? On a Saturday or Sunday, when the pool is packed to the gills with all of the other 9 to 5’ers who are restricted to weekend-only fun? Oh, and what public pool? Then I began to put together a beach or river getaway in my mind, maybe a reunion at my grandparents river house in Maryland for all of the old Johnny Sunshine Fan Club members. But once again, when, and more importantly how– how to reunite a group that has grown apart, spread itself across the country, and added so many new members of the husband/child/S.O. variety, each with their own needs, responsibilities and scheduling conflicts. Will life ever be as simple as calling up a friend on Saturday morning and spending the afternoon with a guest pass pinned to your bathing suit strap again?

Appropriately enough, the song “It’s the End of the World as You Know It” just came on. Maybe Michael Stipe is trying to tell me something, and I should just gracefully accept the end of an era and still “feel fine”. But I miss those days. And as much as I love the days I have now, and the many summer memories still to come, I think I always will miss those days. Sorry Michael.

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Commute

Some mornings I feel like a clockwork doll, lurching,

herking and jerking into my day.

Five minutes late leaving for the train, and I’m suddenly awkward:

cup of coffee in hand, large purse stuffed with bills and phone and plastic covered lunch,

red shoes pinching,

I shuttle down sun dappled streets, barely noticing the shy rabbit in the wet grass.

How ridiculously simple that an five extra minutes

would have allowed me to glide.

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So apparently writing every day is not working for me. Actually, writing once a week is even feeling like a stretch, but for the sake of some order and discipline, that’s the new goal: I will post at least once a week. If I post more- great. If not, no big whoop.

I honestly don’t know why I’m finding it so hard to make myself write lately. I guess in some ways I’m busy, but not really, compared to working moms, stay at home moms, law students, chemists, people with multiple jobs, or any of the other people lurking here and reading me whine. The main things taking up my time lately are trying to finally take control of my finances (Jay and I are trying to wean ourselves off of credit cards and actually start- gasp!- living within our means. Oooooooo- scary…), and planning for this trip to Italy (I never should have shelled out for a travel agent- I’m waaaaaay too much of a control freak to ever put my dream vacation in someone else’s hands). I know it may sound oxymoronic (that’s not a word, but I SO think it should be) to be focusing on curbing my spending habits while simultaneously planning a  decadent international getaway, but really the second task has given me a lot of perspective on the first. It’s making me think about what’s worth shelling out for, and what’s just useless crap that I buy out of boredom, laziness or some societally influenced consumer addiction to buying stuff. A dream trip to Italy with my husband before we settle down and start a family? Priceless. Another $5 magazine, cup of Starbucks,  or cute but useless vintage doo-dad off of Etsy or Ebay? Not worth it. Get a subscription, brew your own, and stop accumulating more junk to clutter up your house. I have been working hard at trying to find some perspective and clarity in my life- trying to declutter both my house and my mind- and it’s really feeling good. I’m not ready to sell all of my stuff and start a homestead in Vermont or anything, but living in a more simple, streamlined, and mindful way feels like the right thing for me right now. I have always preferred to spend my time and money on experiences rather than “things”. I’ll take dinner out with my husband, a night of  great live music, or a girls night out with my friends over new clothes, new kitchen gadgets, or a month of $8 lunches any day. So if I want those first things, I need to stop wasting my money on the second group. Pronto. Or, as they say in Italy, subito.

Well apparently I still have plenty to say, and it actually feels really good to be “writing it out”, so maybe I will start blogging every day again. Awww, who am I kidding- I’ll see you next week.

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