Spent the weekend upstate and talked my Ari-love's ear off (and vice verse), cooked and ate lots and lots of delicious things, walked by the reservoir, tromped ever so little in the woods, watched her aikido class, and spent a couple hours wrapping her up in knitted things. Links (& pictures) below. And thank the gods for old and dear friends.
I've been working on this project for about two years now, of creating pieces reminiscent of the four elements. Recently, installment number five made it off the needles. Here, links and pictures of all of them:
This poor bike has been locked here now for nearly two and a half years. Here it is, garbage collector, collapsed pathetically in on itself, but still beautiful in its insect-like broken way, emerging from what has felt like a very, very long winter.
Back in December I was pondering what to do with all the maple syrup I have somehow accumulated. Then Evan started making kefir every week and now I'm in the habit of making sure we've got some around myself. Most mornings now I have a little juice glass of kefir with a spoonful of maple syrup before heading out the door by quarter past seven. Yay calcium, and yay maple syrup!
Here are Evan's instructions on how to make kefir. Let me know if you want a grain (we have two looking for homes at the moment): It's as simple as combine Part A (milk) and Part B (kefir grain), and wait. But for some more detail. 1. Put milk in a container (glass bowl, jar, food-safe plastic, etc. I use a 1qt. jar) 2. Put kefir grain in container with milk 3. Lightly cover container (ie. just set lid on top, or rubber band paper towel or coffee filter over top) 4. Leave at room temperature for 24-36 hours. The longer you leave it, the more it will ferment, and the more tart it will become. 5. Remove kefir grain from container, and place in a separate container with fresh milk (I use a 16oz jar and drink the milk that it was stored in after each batch) 6. You'll see it separates, kefir at the top, whey at the bottom. You can either spoon out the kefir at the top and use that (it'll be thicker, like thin yogurt), or shake the jar and reincorporate the whey back in and it'll be like a buttermilk consistency. If you don't make a batch after 3-4 weeks, replace the milk in the storage container and it'll be fine for another 3-4 weeks. I'd recommend getting some fruit syrup, honey or maple syrup to stir into the kefir to drink. Or just pour over granola/cereal instead of milk. Use in recipes in place of buttermilk.
It's funny the way that anger can feel like a drug.
The sordid truth is that after writing last week's blog post, I relapsed right back into that unfortunate little addiction.
I had been counting weeks but now I am back to counting days. Again. (Before yesterday morning it was in increments of hours, so I suppose there's that.)
It felt like such a coming out, that writing of last Monday night, and I got such wonderfully sweet feedback (thank you Abby, thank you Tracy, thank you Ari and Connie and Katrin) that was in itself a rush. Evan and I joked that night about how, given past patterns, I had jinxed us by acknowledging that things were getting better. We joked and laughed together before succumbing to a bitter week of frustration and disappointment, almost entirely (it must be confessed) at my hands.
The morning after one of my nights of rage I apologized to my poor boy and he, with a heartbreakingly wounded look in his eyes, said tiredly, "You're freakishly good at it. Fighting, I mean."
So I am back to counting hours (and now, thankfully, days) of loving calm, minutes of straining to find the peace of my own breath. I am back to trying to remember that though anger is enticing (oh, the power and cold and quick-witted intelligence I feel in the midst of a bout of fury), it always feels completely and utterly shitty the next day.
I have quit worse things. Shocking how difficult it seems, some days, to quit this.
There's an Etsy shop I keep finding myself going back to, though I have yet to purchase anything from her. She's a print-maker in Portland, Oregon (of course), and her prints -- simple to the point of mundanity -- move me almost to tears. There is one in particular, this one, that's been haunting me for awhile now.
There are two numbers that I never want to know: the amount of money I've wasted on cigarettes, and the amount of time I've wasted on rage.
God, how I've raged and cried in my nearly-thirty-seven years, how I've thrown away huge swaths of my life to uncontrollable, unbridled anger. I have raged over big things (my father's death; my mother and brother moving thousands of miles away; Mick wrapping his car around a tree; the abortion; Chris going off to law school and falling in love with another woman; beautiful little Wynn's difficult beginnings) and little things (the wrong music, food in the library, miniscule snubs, a missed train) and things completely out of my control (the Catholic Church, security theater, Republicans, NOM).
I spent one summer listening to this, gorgeous and furious and running through my head for days, weeks, months. After awhile I couldn't get it out -- neither the rage nor the self-loathing it masked.
More recently, I yelled and sobbed my way through the months and weeks leading up to the New Year, and drove my poor Evan further and further away. I wrote beautiful things about wanting to be happy for him and with him and then instead was often and unpredictably cruel and desperate and sad. I began measuring time in increments between having to wash my glasses because of crying in them, and then would hold this over his head (as if it could possibly be his fault) in the middle of fierce arguments.
And the truth of it, of course, is that there is a certain power in rage
and depression and sadness -- over one's self, over one's family and
friends and lovers. It's not the power I find myself wanting these days,
but it's hard to unlearn such entrenched patterns, such ingrained ways of being after decades of being that way.
It's not easy armor to give up, this cold steel of rage, but for the first time in my life I'm actually and actively working at letting it go. Last November I began seeing Jane on Thursdays, and in early January Dr. Bulow and Zoloft were thrown into the mix, and later that month I discovered that meditation (much to my cynical heart's surprise) is actually helpful.
And strangely, at this ripe old age of thirty-six, my own rages are beginning to seem a little less scary, a little less all-consuming, and I can't begin to tell you how simply nice this feels.
Tonight has been shaky -- shakier than it's been in a few weeks -- and I've been argumentative and accusatory (how dare Evan interrupt my writing to have dinner, and how dare he encourage me to write in the first place, and why oh why is nothing ever right in the world?).
My mother called a little while ago and we were chatting and finally I told her I was having a bit of a rough night. She paused and then said, "I thought as much -- your voice sounds different tonight." I told her I'd been writing about rage and then I got mad at Evan and she just laughed and said, "Of course you did. Now you get off this phone and go tell him sometimes you just get mad, and you're sorry."
What I value most in all the talking with Jane and Dr. Bulow, and what the medication and the meditation seem to be helping me with, is learning how to live emotionally (I fear I will never not be overly emotional, alas) without being consumed by those pesky emotions.
Sometimes it seems like an impossible battle, but more often these days it seems like a possibility of contentment, and a letting go of all those minutes, weeks, decades of unfruitful rage.
For now, I will continue to take my little green pills, talk incessantly about all of this, and look forward to those daily fifteen minutes of quiet sitting, eyes closed, breath for once measured and calm.
This, I will have you know, was begun on January 3rd, 2012 and finally completed yesterday, March 3rd, 2013. It was one of the more difficult pieces I have ever done -- grafting two separate pieces of lace together sucks. Just for the record. This took over three hours. Seriously. My neck and shoulders are still recovering, 24 hours later. Luckily I had Bill Frisell and Built to Spill (not to mention Evan's delicious breakfast) to get me through.