Happy Things

Hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving. I still feel full. Food is glorious.

My check for my first published writing piece came in the mail today. I’m quite excited, but not as excited as my mom who rushed through the house to deliver it to me and watched me open it and congratulated me enthusiastically. 

I half want to frame it… actually, no, just 10% because I really want to cash it and see my savings account double in size. So. Very. Tempted. to buy the Canon Rebel camera I’ve been drooling over… but it’ll go to much better use in Ashley’s Escape Western Mass fund. We shall see!

The holiday season is upon us. Exciting! 🙂

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Packrats and Treasure Boxes

As some of you may know, my father passed away in September of 2007. I use “passed away” instead of “was forcibly ripped from my life by the cruel hands of fate” in most instances because it just sounds more polite, but you know what I mean. This past summer, my grandfather (who he lived with) made the transition into a nursing home. Though I’d already gone through my dad’s apartment and took various mementos and chotskies and donated the rest, apparently there were other things strewn around the house that I’d missed. At my cousin’s graduation party my aunt handed me two boxes of my dad’s things that she thought I would want to have.

Those boxes have been in my car ever since.

When something terrible happens in my life, I deal with it in a way that might not be the textbook response to a “healthy” way to to handle grief–I pretend it’s not there. A good example of this would be my breakup over the summer. I knew that, if I let it get to me, it would be much like my high school breakup where I wouldn’t eat or sleep for weeks and ultimately sink into a deep depression where I just felt sorry for myself all the time due to lack of love from a person I deeply cared about for over two years. I take things hard, and it takes me a long ass time to get over it. Instead, I immediately severed all ties of online communication, tossed every gift and picture and physical representation of memory into the trash, then did my very best to keep my mind as occupied as possible until the hurt was far away enough to handle. My days of hysterical crying were two at the most, whereas I was expecting more like fourteen.

I assume this is a leftover coping mechanism for how I dealt with the death of my father: I was studying abroad at the time, returned for the funeral, then hopped on a plane back to The Netherlands. I did so because I couldn’t afford to waste an expensive semester abroad now that the refund date was up. Being in an entirely strange and alien place helped me put a pause button on the hurt. Nothing there reminded me of what I was going through. Sure, there was this huge gaping hole in my life where the most important person in my life, my father, once was, but that hole was across an ocean. By the time I got home it had been four months, and I could handle the hurt.

The key here, folks, is that I need to not be reminded of the thing that causes me pain.

Therefore, two boxes of my dad’s personal belongings hiding in the trunk of my car was a very terrifying concept. I could get over an emotionally deficit boyfriend in four months time, sure, but to get over the death of my father in just four years was something impossible. I had no idea what was even in either of the boxes, just that they were there, waiting for me, pieces of my father who was no longer on this Earth. A reminder of how gone he was.

If you were to look at my room right now, standing in the doorway, it might look slightly cluttered, but overall fairly neat and organized. Turn the corner, and you’ll see piles to the side of my bed, shoes stuffed underneath. Open my closet and be careful something doesn’t fall on you from the stacks I’ve made. Each drawer and shelf in my life is filled to the brim with… things. Little treasure boxes full of junk that mean nothing to anyone but me. I find it really hard to get rid of anything. I’m pretty sure I’ll someday wind up on Hoarders when I’m an old lady who can’t occasionally get a grip on herself and make a Goodwill pile (which I do, sometimes). I’m one of the most absent minded people sometimes but I pick up an object in my room and I can recall the entire history of where it came from, who got it for me, if I got it for myself how much it cost. I have never thrown away a birthday card.

I was taking another weekend trip last weekend, and needed the trunk space. I decided to pick up the boxes and bring them to a corner of the garage, doing my best to not look at them, then leave them there and continue to keep up my refusal of their existence. Unfortunately, a box had spilled in my trunk.

What I found were boxes inside of the boxes. Little piles and bundles of pictures with rubber bands and treasure tins with items that meant nothing to me but must have meant something to my dad. A letter he wrote describing the missing $20 in his summer job’s till, various college pictures from when he looked like an Abercrombie model (a shirtless one was matted and framed–a little egocentric are we, dad?) doing shots with his buddies, two old watches, a few sketches of maritime scenes. Pieces of my dad that I didn’t know about and could never ask him about.

I guess I’m not the only packrat in the family.

I did put the boxes in the garage, but now they interest me. What will I find when I look deeper? What will I learn about my dad’s 47 years that he never told me about before he died? I took a cookie tin, the one I found the watches in, filled with various papers and a picture of Big Ben on its top. It’s in my closet, behind one of my other treasure boxes, waiting for me to explore it once I can work up a little bit of courage.

Decisions, Decisions.

Contemplating making this blog into a sort of fashion blog. Not sure how I’ll do this without 1. a camera or 2. someone to take the photos, but it IS an idea I’m toying with.

Otherwise, what the heck else am I going to fill this space with? I can’t be witty and interesting all the time, all on my own! I’m not funny enough for a humor blog, smart enough for a political blog, single enough for a dating blog, I don’t write enough to post my fiction, and I already HAVE a cooking blog. Plus, fashion is something that appeals to me.

And since my job gives me the freedom to be “casual, yet professional” I have pretty free range with my daily outfits. As long as I’m not wearing ripped jeans or anything too booty/busty, I can pretty much wear what I want. Lately, I’ve had a lot of fun putting together outfits. Today I’m wearing a flowy floral shirt with an olive jersey blazer, denim jeggings and red wedges. I am quite proud of myself today, despite not doing my hair or makeup. A fashion blog could document my various outfits this way and help me develop my outfit skills. I definitely need to learn the art of accessorizing too!

Also I just joined pinterest and am seeing all sorts of fun fashion I’d like to try out.

Just something I’m thinking about. We’ll see! Still saving pennies for a Canon Rebel XS… sigh…

On Stuff and Things

“I read and walked for miles at night along the beach, writing bad blank verse and searching endlessly for someone wonderful who would step out of the darkness and change my life. It never crossed my mind that that person could be me.” — Anna Quindlen (from Smart, Pretty, and Awkward, reeeally loving this quote right now)

I haven’t had much creativity lately, at least not enough to warrant an entire blog post about something in my life. I’ve found it much easier to formulate blog posts based on recipes with little life bits thrown in over on my cooking blog, but sadly since all last week my house was without power–I haven’t done much in the way of cooking.

I could gush about the onset of a new romantic relationship in my life, but really, who wants to hear about that? And how the fact that I’m now openly admitting that that’s what it is, instead of skirting around by saying “flirtation” or “fling” is kind of a large step and I’m kind of scared despite still being in that wondrous butterflies-in-stomach-can’t-get-enough-of-each-other thing. I’m hoping this blog becomes a place to display my literary muscles, and showing a potential new job in the future a blog where they could easily find my mushy ramblings could prove to be embarrassing. So I’ll leave it at that and just let you know that I have no idea where this is going but that for the moment it’s making me smiley and that is more than welcome right now.

The play I was scheduled to be in this weekend has been postponed to January, so more details on that in the future. I have mixed feelings about the changed date, but in the end it’s better to move it than to cancel it altogether–going through all that hard work for nothing just wouldn’t feel right. The snow storm shut off power to our theater, and trying to throw a set and show together without knowing if we’d even have power for the performance would just be too nerve-wracking. I’m auditioning for a musical next week with a different theater company, and the thought of stepping outside my comfort zone is equal parts scary and exciting. Wish me luck!

Halloween was a success, a friend of mine had a party and I was able to be a skimpy Tinkerbell one more time, allowing me to feel a bit more comfortable spending so much on so little fabric. Lots of friends, I made food, and a big vat of punch. Lots of pictures. An overall success 🙂 I cannot believe it’s already November!

No longer going to Florida with the family thanks to complications with the storm, but I have some mini trips planned–this weekend to celebrate one of my best friends from college’s birthday in upstate NY, then the following weekend to Boston to have a Thanksgiving-esque dinner with more college friends, then hopefully an NYC trip with my theater friends. So I’m trying to do a bit of travel regardless?

In other news, the spambots sure know what I like! I had three trying to sell me Ugg boots in the comments I had in queue to be approved. Silly things.

Guess a Skimpy costume was the Least of my Worries…

Just an update that I survived the crazy Halloweekend snow storm that we got out here. In case you weren’t aware, the Northeast was hit hard by a Nor’easter, dropping 12 inches of heavy, wet snow onto the trees. Since the trees hadn’t lost all their leaves yet, the snow stuck to them and weighed them down–snapping most like twigs. In the pitch black we listened while we heard cracking limbs falling and hoped they wouldn’t fall through our roof… definitely scary.

My house is still without power (since Saturday), but we’re making do with our fireplace and camp stove. It’s definitely uncomfortable, but live-able and I’m glad we didn’t get too too much damage. Hopefully the power will be back on shortly, but with millions of homes in the Northeast without power it’s not hugely likely that we’ll get ours back before the suggested Friday deadline. My work is located in one of the places that re-gained power quickly, so I have a place to keep me warm for most of the day at least!

I have some crazy pictures of the damage. Trees were fallen over or broken apart everywhere, and so many power lines down. It was definitely a scary night and I’m glad that my friends and family are all okay! I’ll be posting soon.