Inhabitant

Now that Patrick and I are back from our excursion through New Mexico, I have settled back into my Denver routine. I didn’t really realize I had one until I went about my normal activities and it seemed almost strange to have Patrick back at home again. Now I have a job and a daily set of things to do, plus the odd errand and/or fun evening. At last I could say I’m content. (…..Except for how excited I am to go back to Cleveland for Easter!!!)

Speaking of going back to Cleveland… we’re visiting for Easter but also later this spring for Patrick’s work. His work will pay for him to have a place to stay downtown, and when we were discussing this I said, “But how will I get around?”
Patrick (joking): “Use the amazing local transit system.”
Me: “No, seriously! I don’t wanna be holed up downtown without a car.”
Patrick: “Um…. What?”
Me:
Me:
Me: “….Ohhhhhhhhh. Oh… I live almost downtown here. I can just… walk to places… Just like I do here….”
Patrick: “Thank god, you figured it out. I actually started to wonder if you got hit in the head.”
But as I explained to him, when I picture downtown Cleveland I picture almost nothing! Having spent little actual time down there out and about (instead I was always in a car or only walking a few blocks), I can only picture certain streets or buildings and I have no concept at all of the general layout or the nearness of coffee shops to hotels.
The other crazy thing was, thinking about walking around downtown Cleveland made me a little nervous. I don’t know my way, there might be sketchy characters, etc… And yet again it dawned on me that I deal with those same things right where I live now.

Apparently, I have become a city girl. I did choose our neighborhood for its proximity to downtown/stuff, but for the most part I have to say I was unwittingly transformed.

This past Saturday was fairly nice out (unlike today, when both Patrick and I are home thanks to a snowstorm shutting down our places of work… Not that I’m complaining because DOUBLE SNOW DAYYYYY!!!) so I went to get myself a cup of coffee in the late morning. Walking back with the sun shining, hot cup in hand, and people out around me, I felt a sense that this was kind of, a little bit, maybe, my neighborhood.

The reason I went out to get coffee that day was more my craving for a little walk than it was for caffeine (okay, but caffeine did play a huge role). And more than geography or getting out, even my personality has become more “city-fied”– when I first moved here I found the constant brushing with strangers exhausting. But now I chat with strangers in line. I recognize people I’ve seen around the neighborhood and say hello. I’ve gotten better at making new friends. I give directions to people who ask me (and they must ask me because I look like I know?!!?). I’ve also learned the art of when and how to ignore the world, for example, wearing my headphones on the walk home from work.

All of this makes me want to inhabit Cleveland just as fully as I inhabit this neighborhood. To always make an effort, explore, and meet people. It sounds pretty cliche, like pictures of girls with blonde ponytails standing on a rock, the background for some quote about “adventure” underscored with an arrow. But actually trying to live beyond one’s comfort zone is a worthwhile challenge, and one which I am determined to undertake even in familiar places.

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it’s the stone of a home you know

Yesterday was the perfect almost-fall day. Warm but not hot, sunny but not blazing, and just enough people out and about in the late afternoon and evening to make the neighborhood seem alive as Patrick and I took a walk through the parkway. At night it was perfect sitting-out weather, so we sat on the front stoop listening to crickets, frogs, and passing trains.

It feels good to finally be settled in after all the crazy previous weeks. Wedding, honeymoon, getting home and trying to get a working sink and a fridge and stuff like that (all of which Patrick fixed… Speaking of which, he also power-washed the back patio so it’s now usable.
Me: “You’re covered with dirt. You have little flecks all over your face.”
Patrick: “Hmm.”
Me: *goes inside*
A few minutes later…
Patrick: *walks into the kitchen* “Hey. So did you know. If you power-wash the dirt off your legs… It kinda hurts.”).

But now everything is becoming the new normal, finally. It’s even normal to refer to Patrick as my husband, which is funny because it was so hard for me to call him anything when we were engaged. I think it’s because the word fiance sounds dumb, but “husband” (and wife!) sound super cool and legit. This is just a theory, but I mean. It’s obviously true.

I have to say, one thing that is kind of weird about living in my own house is having all my stuff out in the main rooms. I haven’t had other people go through my things this much since I was a kid and had friends over to play with stuffed animals. My books are stacked in the dining room, and a few friends have come over and hunched down, cocked their head sideways to read the spines, and asked me: “Did you actually read all of these?”
I’ve also had my record collection (or lack thereof– I’m working on it) analyzed by one of my friends, which went like this: “…This one looks sad, this one looks– just terrible… Ew, the Beatles… More Beatles?!? Man, I hate the Beatles… Oh, some Rush… Who is this? Nah, too sad… WHAT is it with you and the Beatles?”
However, the Chieftains records I bought for five cents at the library were the unexpected crowd-pleasers, so there you go.

Also we are kind of starting to meet our neighbors. Or, my dad met one and Patrick met one. I think they are too scared to talk to me… or maybe it’s the fact that I always seem to be running out the side door. But not today. This weekend, I am content to chill here mostly, enjoying the sunlight and the sounds and the fact that I’m at home.

I never saw a moor, I never saw the sea

but I know what heather looks like / and what a wave must be…

Actually, I do know what heather looks like, but I don’t know how it smells or how tall it would be if I stood in it or how it looks when it’s dead and snowed on or does it even get snowed on at all and if it’s soft and what noise it makes when wind or footsteps go over it. 

I have a little better knowledge of waves, as I have visited a particular Great Lake on several occasions, but it’s not the sea and it doesn’t smell like salt. It kind of smells like sweaty water and whatever fishing bait is being used nearby. Besides, it’s hard to smell when you’re being blinded by the glare of the sun off the lake and the concret you’re sitting on, and you’re distracted by herons that your brother is feeding heat-stroked minnows to.

It’s hard to reasearch things on this disorganized network of inaccurate information we fondly call the internet. And I keep having to look up things for White Funeral, like different types of sailboats and rowboats and docks and tides and… The list goes on.

But there are things I do know. I know the twenty-nine different types of snow, the feel of cold wind down the back of my neck,  months where the difference between day and night is just the sky changing shades of gray. The moon being so huge and orange and low on the horizon that it seems to be asking for someone to try and climb onto it. (Which is how it looked last night, and I wished I was out in an open field so I could chase after it, or just stare and stare without streetlights polluting my view).  

 Well, speaking of things never seen, I am leaving this weekend for… Kentucky! I will be surrounded by wilderness, and I will see mountains, and (best part) I’m going with the DHFs! I think it will be awesome as long as it doesn’t turn out like a cliche TV show, where the one character gets invited to go camping or something and they show up in a pretty dress with some technological device in hand. (Not that I don’t know how to pack; Eliza has given me a helpful list, and I’ve gone camping plenty of times. It’s just a weird phobia I have, I guess.)

In other news, today was like a giant time-warp because I had to go to the dentist and get my hair cut. And then it was like oh wait, the day is completely over. Sigh. I never want to sit in another waiting-room chair for as long as I live. (Unfortunately, some dreams really are unattainable.) Now I have to get some writer’s group stuff together, and go to bed. (Instead, I’m half-watching The Voice and writing this. I justify blogging because it’s already been some time since my last post and I assume I will not be back here until I’m home from Kentucky. How do I justify watching some lame singing show? Yeah. There’s really no excuse.)

home again, home again, jiggety jog

Hey! I’m back from Atwood!!! It was such a great time. The weather was amazing (except for this morning it rained and I got soaked… but it made cool fog afterward so it was totally worth it. :) ) and I felt very energized just from being outside, moving around, running through the woods and hiking for two hours on Saturday (whew!), and having snowball fights, and all that. Ironically our Wii Fit is going to scold me for not doing exercise for three days. Ha on you, Wii Fit. I probably got more exercise this past weekend than in the past three months combined! Oh well.

I decided that I love winter because it’s here and it’s gorgeous and foggy and icy… ahhhh. Lake Atwood was so pretty in the mornings and evenings, because it was frozen but the 40 degree weather was making it melt a little, so the result was fog/mist. Lovely.

Ice fishing on Lake Atwood… I wasn’t really sure what those little huts were for (porta potties?) but then this morning I realized it was to shelter them from the wind. Ohhh. ;)

Hiking the trail to the Airfield took Dad and I two hours (there and back, five miles… we did stop to talk to a rabbit hunting farmer we met though, so probably we were actually walking for a shorter time.). But the airfield is pretty nifty, and the scenes along the hike are great.

Snowball fighting (dads against daughters) was another highlight. I didn’t get hit once, but I did hit a couple of the dads. I loved ducking and throwing and running using sleds as shields. Eventually Karen, Lisa, and Sam convinced me to sled down the hill. We raced each other and I totally wiped out and got soaking wet in the melting snow. I have no pictures of it, basically because if I did not keep moving I was going to get a snowball in the face. ;)

Dinnertime Saturday we all went to the Dellroy Community Center about two miles from camp. Some ladies from the little town made us a big dinner (with mashed potatoes that were soooooo good… and amazing cookies and pie…). Afterward we had a pig race with those walking Mr Bacon pigs. Every cabin gets a pig and they decorate the jockey (a little teddy bear of some sort) and name the pig. Our jockey was dressed as an angel so we named out pig Heavenly Ham. There was also a very clever person who named their pig “Senior Pigsesses”. LOL. Anyway, Heavenly Ham made it to the final round only to lose by a centimeter! Here he is valiantly crossing the finish line in the qualifying round, and then being comforted after his eventual defeat.

Late Saturday night I roasted marhsmallows with Lisa and Sam at the fire Fireman Jim made. Then we went back to their cabin and talked until about three in the morning, and had hot chocolate. Lisa about died laughing when we were talking about our hair, and I said, “Some of my hairs are grey”. They are because my hair is a mix of different shades of bonde and brown so some look kinda grey, so I was being completely serious but we cracked up because Lisa’s laugh is hilarious. I ended up just sleeping over at their cabin.

At the end Dad and I went on a hike around the mist-shrouded, thawing-out lake Atwood to say goodbye even though it was raining. Then we hung out with Lisa and Sam for a while before leaving…. sigh. Leaving camp is always sad, but at the same time I really wanted to take a shower. The roads were all foggy and cool and there was an awesome tree by this farmhouse. There was also a field full of black cows roaming around, and since they were so dark they popped up out of the mist very suddenly and flapped their ears at us.

Of course, the best part of camp was spending time with my dad. It always is. :)

Soooo…
that’s all. The End. As they say at the end of the Madeline movie, Fin.

Fishy Fishy Fins!!! Wow, hyperness. Haha, it made me think of the Salamader, “It’s a fish show!” LOL.

Peace,
Pen

PS did you know that haddocks are fish? I didn’t until today. So now I know what a haddock is from that poem in Through the Looking Glass, when the white knight meets Alice. “I search for haddock’s eyes/among the heather sweet/I make them into mutton pies/and sell them in the street…” sigh. That is next on my list for memorization…mwaha. ;)