n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Thursday, December 30, 2010

goodbye, year of J

It's hard to believe I dubbed it that. And I'm skeptical about whether it truly turned out to be the Year of J, but it was an interesting year, full of bumps, ruts, jumps, and intrigues. Maybe that's what made it the Year of J?

Oh, and a Solstice Eclipse:

solstice eclipse
Most Important Happenings

I exercised steadily at the gym for three months, which lets me know that I can do it if I set my mind to.

My friend became significantly sick for months and then mostly recovered, which shocked, confused, instructed, amazed, and resonated within me: life so tenuous, stability so fleeting, and the simple details so important... and I'm grateful for charities and resources... and I'm reminded how tied together we are... and I'm curious about how we will all grow... and I'm resolved to be more healthy and stake out a space for that health...

My writing is frustrated and needs a change. I tried the writing conference, which was good, but didn't solve the lack of will, or willpower, or desire, or discipline. For that, I need something new. Ho hum, what will it be?

I'm definitely a gardener. It was my saving grace while trying to deal with N's stuff this year. I went to my little 15" x 20" enclosure, gardened for an hour or so, then called her and let her say horrible stuff to me, while I kept my hands in the soil or on the leaves. I'm getting better at setting boundaries. I'm getting better at respecting them. I'm getting better at letting go, and asking my mind to calm down.

I became quite a bit closer to SP and her friends, finally allowing myself to participate in that community. It's still hard for me, and I still need lots of space, but I reckon it's been healthy. We've camped, barbequed, partied, sung, played games, shared artwork, squabbled, traveled, and supported each other. I can't think of any real drama. Only good shared moments.

I've made friends with several of my work colleagues and I like them. Very much so.

MH has to be one of my favorite people (I have many favorites, and she is one of them). I was talking to N about her, and NM suggested that she was very much my "kindred spirit," and I knew she was right. N said, "It must be nice because I don't think you have many of those, other than Ellen." I suddenly was worried about whether she was feeling left out or jealous, so said I thought maybe we were too, and she said, "Really?" in such a way as I had to think about it. Then I realized that sometimes friends, even best friends, aren't "kindred spirits" and that doesn't mean we don't love each other, but that finding a kindred is special and different. I think N is right -- she is a best friend, but sometimes we have to struggle to understand and be patient with each other. She drives me bonkers, but she also respects me. I think sometimes she idealizes me, and that can be uncomfortable. She also wants to talk to me too much.

With MH, we are silent much of the time. Mostly, we go on hikes. Here's the one we went on yesterday:

Lost Lake Trail
We took a hike up to Fragrance Lake and then ducked around to see Lost Lake as well. It was a long hike and I'm quite sore today. When Herald got home last night at 6:30, he sacked out, and barely could wake himself up in the morning. But it was incredible - started snowing after an hour, first with a thick hail-like snow, then with gentle tufts. After it did that for about an hour, the clouds cleared and there was blue sky for the first time in forever, with thin clouds shuttling through it. As you might imagine, it was cold but we had both dressed perfectly for it and so didn't have to shed clothes nor whine about being too cold. Herald and Lucy (her dog) ran and ran, growled and gambled, showed off and protected. I knew it was cutting things pretty close to add the Lost Lake trail to the Fragrance lake trail, but MH had never been there, so we had to go.

I was startled to realize the last time I had taken that trail was with SS, and that time, we'd decided to take a 'shortcut' and ended up walking miles and miles, so far in fact that once we hit a logging road, the dog we had with us simply sat down and refused to move. It was nice walking with MH in the winter and remember walking with SS during that long-ago summer.

So, we added the 5 miles (there and back to the other trail) and sure enough, just as we finished the main ascent back from Lost Lake to the Chuckanut Ridge, we hit the sunset.

Lost Lake Trail
Lost Lake Trail
Lost Lake Trail
Perfect, right? And then we walked back home in the dark, our feet aching, the dogs subdued, the night quiet and cold and embracing. I haven't had a night walk in too long...

Anyhow, not to say that MH and I don't talk at all, but we do frequently alternate in comfortable silence. And we don't know each other super-well, so there's lots to discover, like, for instance, the discussion about how she would become super-enraged when her family members let branches flip back at her as they walked through them. We discussed whether she would become super-enraged with me if I did the same, which we decided up on as a negative since we didn't have the "long complicated history." Shortly after that was decided upon, I accidentally let a pine branch flip back at her, and she had a laugh while I waited to examine her fury, which never arrived. I decided I can't imagine her angry, but I can believe it.

Sometimes NM and I are quiet as well, but either we're filling that silence with grading or more frequently, sad thoughts. I can tell; I know both of us well enough to know that our silences with each other are often not as productively spent as they could be. N came up here just after Christmas, and she is still chasing emotions between sadness, fear, and anger. I think it's catching up with her that her g-friend acted like a git, but I still can't figure out how much she's re-writing her experience, and how much is what she is simply remembering and seeing anew. Dealing with memory is strange like that. And she hashes over much of that thought with me, and sometimes that hashes up thoughts in me that I don't want brought back anymore. That's a difference between friends you've known for years--over 8 years for NM now--and those you've just met. Both silence and discussion is quantitatively different with MH than with NM.

So, it's nice to have so many different types of friends. And strange.

I was a bridesperson! That was pretty darn significant. It was.

I realized I like being friends with people. I like my friends and who they are, and I like myself and being by myself. I like being liked as I am by my friends who I like as they are. Especially this winter month, I feel the world circling around me and liking me, me liking it back, it liking me liking it back and liking my friends who like me as I am just as I like them for who they are, and even liking the idea of liking things. I've received the right kind of love lately.
Lost Lake Trail
Okay, this doesn't really fit under realizations of the year, but I went down to Portland recently. I stayed with AKR and her partner and their cute dog Charlie, and I visited my sister's best friends, who have a newborn baby, along the way, and then I also visited with SS, her husband, and their two babies.

I was in a touch of a panic about the trip because I wanted to see SS before she left the country, but we haven't been in touch for awhile. She's been really busy with motherhood and moving, but also some distance has grown between us as friends (and former partners) for whatever reason. Our last visit was distant and polite and broke my heart a bit. So, I wanted to see her, but I didn't want my heart broken even a bit. So, I begged SP to come with me, thinking that having someone with me might help everyone feel more comfortable. And it did, I think. Or at least it made me feel more comfortable.

It was a really big deal for me to ask SP for this. I have a hard time asking for favors for fear of the strings that are often attached. But I think this was worth accepting a bit of string.

And it was an excellent trip with SP, and we only squabbled once. Seeing SS, her husband and kids was sweet and pleasurable, though hurried: we swam together and also visited a bookstore, where her older boy read a book to me and ate chocolate pastries from my fingers. Seeing AKR and her partner was great; we had Cajun food and then played Apples to Apples together while sipping beer and wine. Seeing my sister's best friends was splendid (I forgot how much I like Olympia and holding babies!). Sometimes trips aren't messy and frenzied; sometimes they are smooth and svelte.

Christmas was good... although it was hard not having my sister and Pedro. I can't help thinking of the alcohol-induced brawl I had with Pedro two Christmases ago and looking forward to the future Christmas when we can regard it with amused nostalgia and chagrin. It was pretty bad, but completely ridiculous and nonsensical as far as family fights go. As NM once again (for the fourth Xmas in a row) had a nasty fight with her brother, and SP had a cruel mashup with her family... one has to reflect on how lucky I've had it. And how much I love having the whole crew together. Which this year meant SP and NM coming down after Christmas morning. And hopefully next year will involve a happy and adorable sibling and sibling-in-law.

To end this, I will tell you of the embarrassing thing my father has done for two Christmases in a row, which I just found out about. Apparently he gives my mother's partner CR some cheap Irish whiskey each year, which CR is okay about. But he puts it in a fine scotch box before gifting. The first time, he didn't tell CR this; just let him pull the cheap whiskey out of the fine scotch box and be surprised. This second time, he let him know it wasn't "the same as the box." But then he spent all evening drinking CR's fine scotch, until it was gone the next day. Apparently, he prefers the expensive stuff hisself.

What a douche.

AND also, I got the cutest book from my god-daughter - one of those digital photos albums... Weird how fast children grow up! From beautiful babies to beautiful children! Weird how many friends have babies these days! December O' Babies and Baby Sadness. January O' Creative Writing. I will have to think of new resolutions and nomers for the coming year.
interesting year. i hope the future has more realizations. these moments pf clarity are necessary when a man has to look at himself and to understand his value (in which ever respect one decides upon) and the behaviour/actions one must do in later occasions.
I loved, loved, loved seeing you guys, even for such a brief span! Come down and stay with us anytime. It was great to see you and to have time to get to know SP a little more. Hopefully we'll make it up to you soon as well-- I'm overdue for squeezing Herald...
Loved seeing you too! xoxox, and Herald is waiting for his squeezing.
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