It was strange having a night alone tonight. I’ve been identified as part of a married couple for these past years that I sometimes have to deliberately spend time with myself to know that ME is still there. It’s not that I feel I’m lost. I think it’s just that the act of reconnecting to myself takes several hours of alone time. I still want to be that person who dances alone in her bedroom and I can’t really be her unless I AM actually physically alone.
This evening, instead of seeing my husband’s great band play at a local bar, I chose to queue up songs that I am in love with write now and listen to them at full volume in my living room. Almost the same as that high school girl in her bedroom listening to The Cure and Sonic Youth. I will see my husband play this Thursday night and I also get to hear him on many occasions as his only audience–except for our cats–so I reveled in my reconnecting time.
The great thing about writing this here right now is that I have virtually no audience on this blog anymore. I used to be so known as a blogger and have gratefully shed that from my identity over the past couple of years. Now I just have to shake Facebook.
I am obsessed with etsy and have been making treasuries for the better part of the year. Check them all out!
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Over this past summer, Matthew and I spent a lot of time renovating our first floor apartment. We started with fixing up the kitchen. Then our tenant told us she was moving out. After she left, we took to renovating the rest of the apartment. It was a big undertaking, one which we would not have gotten through without the help of a generous group of friends. In late August my grandmother passed away and then Matt’s appendix ruptured, so we lost a week and a half of work. For that reason, there is still some work left to do, but it was definitely good enough for our new tenant to move in this week.
I created a gallery of the goings-on. Here are some of the dramatic before-and-after shots.
The living and dining room had ill-fitted carpet and dark wood-paneled walls.
Painted walls and laminate floors open up this space.
The kitchen before renovation was cluttered and the cabinets were decades old.
The new kitchen has new cabinets against the back wall and a more spacious feel. The blue walls add a cozy touch.
For more photos of the dramatic changes, see my flickr gallery.
One thing we’d like to do in the near future is to order and install a plaque with the “historic” name of our home: The John D. Wood House. The following link is to the official historical record for the house.
Historical Record (Ignore the coffee stain on it.)
We think this would be a fun idea, but I’m now wondering if naming it after the first guy who lived there really makes any sense. How do houses get their names? Or maybe we could make it the John and Sarah Wood house? I guess we’d have to find out if these people were worthy of having a house named after them.
I suppose we can call it anything we want, since we own it.
A couple of weeks ago, I got my crafty on once again. I had taken a long break after more than a year of sewing a lot of beambags, because my hands pretty much gave out on me. But I was inspired by this fabric I picked up at IKEA.
I really could have bought a lot of fabric at IKEA, but I only got a yard of this on sale for $4 a yard.
With half of the yard, I made the bag. With the other half, I made this wall hanging.
Truthfully, the wall hanging was what I made first. The bag was an afterthought. The frame for the wall hanging was also purchased at IKEA and was Matthew’s idea.
I don’t see myself jumping headfirst into craftiness. I think a few projects at a time are all I can handle. My next project is going to be curtains for the dining room.
In a few hours, I will be heading to the airport to fly to Chicago for a literacy conference. I won’t be a part of the conference, but rather helping sell books at an exhibit there. I did this back in November in Providence and it was a lot of fun.
I haven’t been in a plane in quite some time (can’t remember the last time), and so I have that anxiety that comes when air travel is not a habit. I am trying not to pack too much. For a few hours yesterday, I resigned myself to the fact that I couldn’t bring my camera. But, I decided to fuck it and bring it, because I really feel lost without it.
I just finished a book by John Robison, which was actually a gift I had given to Matthew for Christmas. I borrowed it from him after he quickly finished it post-Christmas. John Robison is the brother of Augusten Burroughs and lives in Amherst. He grew up in Shutesbury, just around the corner from where I work right now. The book is his first and it is about his life with Asperger’s. It’s a quick and engaging read; I highly recommend it. If you do get it, consider the hardcover edition. The paperback edition that I purchased removed expletives so that younger people could read it and learn about Asperger’s, or just growing up different (and all the bullying that comes with it).
Now I am between books and don’t know which one to start. I’m thinking that I’d like to switch to fiction, so I am considering Andre Dubus III’s latest The Garden of Last Days, which I received as a gift. I also received two nonfiction books that are en vogue right now–Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food. I heard about them at JBo’s tea party in December and put them on my Amazon list.
I also got Obama’s The Audacity of Hope, but I have already decided against reading it next. Something about reading Obama while in Chicago seems awfully cheesy.
I think I’ve settled on Ande Dubus III. I don’t know anything about the book. A perfect escape.
I won’t have any computer access for a few days as far as I know. Back on Friday night.
It’s been a busy month of being festive — getting a tree, decorating, baking cookies — as well as working to get our electrical system upgraded. Matthew has been doing most of the latter work, dealing with the electrician. We also have been working out a few tenant/landlord issues that aren’t appropriate to comment on in a public forum.
I have been working the new job, trying not to feel too overwhelmed about it all. I’m really happy that I made the decision to take on a new challenge. I am still learning and feel so new, but things are getting clearer for me week-to-week. Still, it’s going to be interesting when the woman I am replacing goes on maternity leave. There are a lot of things I don’t feel I know enough about and I want to know everything RIGHT NOW.
Last year we were in Pennsylvania on Thanksgiving. This year we were on Long Island. On Thanksgiving morning, we took a stroll along the Jones Beach boardwalk, one of Matthew’s favorite places. More photos at Flickr.
Sunday through Tuesday I was at a conference for literacy in Providence, Rhode Island. We had a booth and so I was going to help sell our books there. It’s my third week so I was a little nervous about being able to talk about the books. Although most people may have never heard of Pioneer Valley Books, we’re quite popular among literacy teachers. Our booth — it was actually more the size of six booths in the middle of the exhibit hall — was mobbed the first day of the conference. I was trained, but it was still difficult to jump in and pretend that I knew what I was talking about. By the second day, though, I was way more confident. I only got to check out one of the sessions, led by our company president. It was amazing to watch her talk about writing books for literacy. She showed videos of her working with three young children. It was quite a poignant moment for me to watch the children as they became readers. What a powerful–and empowering–thing it is to be able to read.
The hotel was attached to the conference center AND a huge mall, so I didn’t get out much during the three days. We did walk up to Federal Hill two nights in a row for delicious Italian dinners.
Heather took this photo me taking a photo of the view from the sixth floor of the Westin on our first day.
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