Friday, September 29, 2006

fog

the last several days have been one big blur. first salimah's dad passed away. then her grandfather fell down some stairs and is now on life support in the hospital; he may or may not make it. these two things are very overwhelming and have been consuming much of my emotional energy and concern for salimah's family - one of her sisters in particular.

on top of all of that, my phone (my one and only phone) is almost dead, and i can't afford to buy a new one; i owe the electric company a TON of money, because the summer's rate hike totally killed me; and my right eye is swollen and i'm wondering if there's something really wrong.

other than all of THAT, i'm really tired. i mean really tired. i haven't felt like myself for days. i don't think i'm sleeping very well. i just hurt for salimah and her family, and i can't believe all of this has transpired since tuesday....

after work tonight, i got salimah from the light rail, and she and a couple of coworkers of mine met up for drinks and dinner. it was nice to be out and about, having some cocktails, but i also felt very strange and out of place....things feel very different right now. maybe i'm just suffering from exhaustion, but it seems like something more. it's hard to live your life in 'situation normal' mode when nothing is normal. it's way too disorienting.

and i can't even finish this post with some type of witty ending, so i'm just ending it. right here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

there really isn't anything more heartbreaking than hearing the voice of someone you love on the other end of the phone, crying.

"my father's dead."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

collect

n. a short prayer comprising an invocation, petition, and conclusion

today is a sad day. my best friend in the world is, in all likelihood, about to lose the only father she's ever really known, and there's nothing that can be done—at least not by any human hands. salimah and her sisters and mom are family to me. there is no distinction; they are mine and i am theirs. and so i mourn along with them. i sit and wait with them. i pray with them and for them. their sorrow is my sorrow...their pain, my pain.

the years haven't always been kind to this family, but what i have seen is people who, despite circumstances, keep getting up and getting on with things....women whose faces bear the character that only suffering can bring. it's true what they say: pain makes you beautiful. and within the hurt, there is laughter and a fierce loyalty to one another that holds them up, even in their grief.

if you are one who prays, please join with me. this family needs comfort, support, assurance. and that man, lying in a hospital bed, needs to know the rest his life has never let him fully grasp. may God grant it to him now.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

writing to reach you

i'm not sure who it is that i want to read this. and frankly, at this moment, i don't really care who does.

i just deleted some electronic letters i've been saving for more than 4 years. they were things i'd written to 'somebody, someday,' but just now, i couldn't bear the thought of keeping them another day. i don't want to hold on.

or do i?

i've been asking myself some hard questions lately about who i am and what i want these days, and i've come up with precious few answers that make any real sense to me. and honestly, i don't know what's worth saving and what should be disposed of. i don't feel particularly savvy anymore in the realm of keepsakes, or hopes, or dreams, or 'someday.'

i do know, however, that i don't want to write any more letters that i will keep and subsequently stumble over some 5 years from now....letters that will serve to make me realize only how little has actually changed. some things need to go away forever, because nothing associated with them will ever hope to be anything more than a reminder of something i need to forget.

look, maybe i'm being all melodramatic here, and you know what? that's okay. i'm cutting myself some slack, because it hasn't been the easiest year for me. no, scratch that, 5 years for me. no, scratch that, 31 years for me. and sometimes i'm confused and i just want to throw it all away and start over again. but i can't. the truth is that i can't. so instead, i'm being honest and i'm putting myself out there, and maybe you won't understand me anyway. and that's okay. because i'm okay.

and it doesn't really matter to me if you're reading this, remember?
tequila!

the chile party last night was super fun. i got to hang out with some coworkers (and spouses) that i don't visit with nearly enough, and occasionally, some rather inebriated people would show up at our table and announce that we needed another shot (of tequila, of course). the last shot of the evening was done in honor of the guy who shouts 'tequila!' in the song of the same name. he died yesterday at the age of 77.

i wasn't what i would call intoxicated, but i definitely felt rather nice by the end of the evening, and i certainly had no trouble zonking out when we got home. and all throughout my sleep, every time i rolled over and caught a whiff of my hair, i was right back there with my friends, having great talks, and smelling the air, heavy with grilling chile peppers and the smoke from the chiminea in the backyard.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

everyone knows i'm in over my head....

i don't know what's up with me, but i can't seem to get moving today. i had all this stuff i wanted to accomplish before noon, and i've done none of it. in fact, i laid in bed this morning and watched the movie 'baby boom' on TNT or TBS or one of those cable channels that shows 80s films on weekend mornings.

in a couple of hours, i'm going to an annual chile party (no, not chili) with salimah, something i've been looking forward to since last year's bash. what's not to like: delish food, plentiful sangria, and lots of fun people whooping it up (last year, there was even a broadway showtune-singing portion of the evening). my goal is to eat well, laugh a lot, and hopefully not make a fool out of myself in front of any coworkers....

now then, my phone is basically dead. and i'm more than just a little annoyed about this because a) it's my only phone (i have no land line) and b) sprint recently changed their 'once-every-18-months-we-give-you-money-for-a-new-phone' policy to a two-year thing, so i'm basically screwed for another three months. at this point, i'm seriously considering some stern tones and not-so-subtle suggestions that they need to help. me. OUT. we'll see how it all shakes down, but suffice it to say that i need a new phone. one that doesn't die after 3 minutes of operation.

okay, so phone woes, slackerness, and future partying aside, i am in a serious rut here. i've never felt more strongly the need to pull everything in, assess what i've got, and make some decisions about what to do next. i need a regrouping. i've said it before and i'll say it again: my life is screaming for a makeover.

to that end, i purchased a 90-day write-on calendar this week so that i can start to map out the next three months of my life. i'm definitely feeling a detailed layout, right down to the 'these are the nights of the week i'll cook, and these are the nights i'll be eating leftovers' kind of minutia. we'll see how it goes. i just have so much that needs to be accomplished before the start of '07, and i'll be darned if i slide into the end of the year without some agenda items crossed off my master list. now if i could only carve out the time to write on the freaking calendar, i'd be all right.

is it me, or is it getting a little overwhelmed in here?

Friday, September 22, 2006

'he was old enough to be my child.'**

today, i engaged in some rather random flirtation with the counter help at a rather unknown pseudo-sandwich establishment. i say 'pseudo-sandwich' because all of the sandwiches are basically wraps. and i'm sorry, but a wrap is NOT a sandwich.

now that we've gotten that cleared up, this young person with whom there was flirting was wearing a hat that was slightly askew. he informed me that he had just moved down here from brooklyn, and he was studying for the LSATs next week (he also told me how nervous he was, to which i replied that he'd be just fine). all during this flirtation, a rather forward man from some south asian country (my vote is for india) was insistently shouting out the names of various wraps i should try, but he was also mumbling while he shouted. i'm not sure how this is possible, but trust me, it was working, because even though he was loud, i couldn't understand him. i was making out words here and there....'somethingsomething TURKEY' and 'SOUTHWEST somethingsomething.' really, i was trying to ignore him. mr. skewed-hat was giving me his opinion on the most popular menu items and i prefer flirty to shouty-mumbling.

so, feeling pressured because i was the only customer, and i was being stared at by these two gentlemen who seemed excited to take my freaking order, i decided on some fun-sounding turkey wrap and stood there looking aimlessly around the store. mr. flirty didn't cease his dialogue, though. he asked me where i worked, and when i told him, he inquired further as to what we do there. when i told him, he replied simply, 'word.'

so i'm all like, 'totally.'

how old am i again?

okay, so the verdict is that the pseudo-sandwich was rather tasty, and i will, in all likelihood, be back to try some other variety (hopefully without the shouty-mumbling). and mr. flirty skewed-hat, wherever you are, good luck on the LSATs.

**this is what i informed my coworker when she asked me how young i thought mr. flirty skewed-hat really was.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

'if i could turn back time....' (thanks, cher)

sometimes people ask me, 'if you could go back to any portion of your life and live it over again, what part would you repeat and what would you do differently?'

it's an interesting question, really, and one for which i rarely have an answer. see, normally, i feel like all my experiences—good, bad, or otherwise—have helped shape me into the person i currently am.

okay, but now i have an actual answer. i know no one's posing the question, so i'm taking the liberty of doing it myself.

"so, sarah, if you could return to any part of your life and relive it....(you know the rest)?"

so, like, how about 15 minutes ago before i decided it was a good time of night to trim my eyebrows and i managed—in one fell swoop—to COMPLETELY REMOVE THE OUTER HALF OF MY LEFT EYEBROW?

yeah, good one.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

i have an agenda today: to do as little as possible.

i have a few loads of laundry i need to wash for the coming week, but other than that, i have no plans....i love that. delicious, lazy days are so few and far between, i aim to cherish them when they do come along.

so, enough of this blogging for now; i have an appointment with my dvd player and my sofa....

Thursday, September 14, 2006

it's finally starting to just barely feel like fall around these parts, although i sense summer's hesitation to loosen its grip on the world. no matter. it will be overtaken any day now - i just know it.

i'm sincerely glad this week is almost over. not sure why, specifically. i just really love a weekend. it's one of my all-time favorite things. plus, i have to bake a cake for a double baby shower (a friend of mine commissioned me), and the baking and decorating of said cake has to take place sometime before saturday late morning. i have lots to do in the next 24 hours. i'd like to get on with it.

right now, i really should be doing some laundry, cooking dinner, and washing leftover dishes from the other night, but can i be honest? i don't feel like lifting a finger. i'm just tired. the sickness that took over my life just over three months ago has yet to fully disengage, and while i'm in no way coughing up my lungs anymore, i'm worn out, still a little congested, and generally blotchy and feel that i'm not putting my best face forward quite yet.

and, i guess, then, that i really shouldn't be surprised that i feel a general lack of peace in my life right now. i was having a rather frank discussion with God about this on my way home from work, and i heard myself pouring out all kinds of fears and questions and doubts and statements about what i know is true and what i know isn't. at first, i had this instinct to censor myself, but then i realized that what i actually needed was to NOT censor myself - to get it all out, let it be whatever it will be. besides, none of this is news to God, and to me, it's just clogging me up.

and then it began to occur to me that maybe the reason the sickness hasn't fully let go of me is because i haven't fully let go of it....such a parallel to some other things in my life that i'm having a bit of a hard time laying down and walking away from.

ugh.

well, as with everything else, it has to come bit by bit. i want to let it go, though. let it ALL go....the summer, the doubts, the wrong turns, the phantom illness. let autumn come so i can wrap myself in something new...something warm and comforting...a different season, more questions, better answers....

Monday, September 11, 2006

in memoriam

for the past 3 years, i haven't written 9/11-related posts, mostly because i felt my thoughts had reached the point of being trite, and who really needs one more cheesy sentiment about such a tragic event?

well, you'll pardon any cheese, i'm sure. today i have some thoughts....

this day (and, more importantly, that day) has been heavily on my mind for the better part of two months, and there has been a growing pit in my stomach for weeks now at the knowledge that today would come and all the old feelings and fears would creep back in for me and so many other people. i'm not kidding when i say that i think i have a bit of ptsd (posttraumatic stress disorder) from september 11, 2001. every time i spend more than about 10 seconds thinking about it, my eyes well up and i'm right back there in the midst of the fear and confusion i felt that tuesday 5 years ago.

it's true: i didn't lose anyone i love on that day. i didn't witness first-hand anything blowing up...didn't run from a burning building or save anyone's life or lose a job or a home or anything. but something inside of me broke apart that day, and it's never really been mended.

when i turned toward DC and looked out my office window that morning...and saw the smoke billowing into the blue sky from the pentagon, such a fear rose up within my heart...such terror and sadness intermingled. and from that point on, and for days afterward, i couldn't stop crying...and then again and again every time the news showed the planes crashing into the buildings...every time a low-flying aircraft zoomed overhead...every time i thought about those thousands of people and how much more terror they experienced than me. i cry still when i think about it. i'm crying even now.

today i sat at work, zombified, reeling inside from all that happened that day. i still can't shake the feelings, the memories. and i simply cannot get over the fact that so many people lost their lives and left behind so many to mourn and relive the tragedy of their deaths on a daily basis.

a part of me is glad that i feel so deeply what happened on september 11, because i'd hate to think that my heart would ever be hardened to what happened that day. and i'm humbled that everyone i adore is present and accounted for...that i don't have to sort through mountains of grief and anger to try and make sense of my daily life. my hope is that we as a nation will never allow the severity of that day to fall away from us. may we never be glib. may we never treat the murder of nearly 3,000 people as just another day to go to starbucks and get a frappuccino.

tomorrow it won't be 9/11 anymore, and for that, i'm really quite thankful. but while it is today, let it be said that as a citizen of this country...as a human being...i remember all of you...i saw what happened. i won't forget. and if i have to be a little sad every day for the rest of my life, it's a small price to pay. at least i'm still here to stand up and be counted with those who will not let this day go unnoticed. and with my tears, i honor all of you.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

yin and yang, so to speak

before i go out for the day to live my life, i want to say one thing: i have been sitting here evaluating my current situation for the last few weeks, and i've come to some conclusions. unfortunately, some of these are rather personal and, therefore, i cannot share them here. what's the point in me saying this, then? perhaps it's to remind ME when i come back by this post (which, inevitably, i will) that on saturday, september 9, 2006, i knew what it was that i wanted to do in this season of my life...and, of equal importance, what i didn't want to do.

you cannot—i have learned—look at just one side of a coin if you're going to truly understand the coin itself. examine everything—all parts of each situation—and that will yield the most well-thought-out response. i think that, too often in life, we are so intent upon making a decision that feels good that we fail to acknowledge that there will be some sides to the story that feel so much less than that. but it's okay. that's part of life. the bitter comes with the sweet and helps you appreciate it all the more. it's more real that way anyway. without tragedy, pain, loss, loneliness, how would we really understand the fullness of joy, the richness of love, the beauty of forgiveness and discovery and companionship?

i'm getting way too philosophical for a saturday afternoon. suffice it to say i have flipped the coin over, inspected it thoroughly, and made some decisions accordingly. and come what may, acting on those decisions has got to be better than just sitting here writing about them. that's the catch, really. after you inspect both sides of the coin, go out and spend it on the right thing. and i intend to....

Thursday, September 07, 2006

if you've got more legs than i do, you are not welcome in my home....

so, tonight i realized that i have a double bug bite on my upper thigh. no wonder it's been itching like crazy for the last two days. but also, what bug got that far up my pants leg to bite me, not once, but TWICE? either way, stuff like that disturbs me, i think, because of a minor incident that occurred in elementary school involving a cricket that had apparently crawled up the leg of my pants. when i reached down to scratch my leg, i lifted the fabric and the large bug ran down my leg and onto the floor. needless to say, i was traumatized and ever after, the thought of a bug being up my drawers makes me crazy.

and speaking of bugs, when i got home from the gym, there was some type of shimmery water bug on the wall of my bedroom. now, truth be told, i live nowhere near any water, so i couldn't help but wonder where said bug came from. i'm sure i don't have to tell you that i wasted no time grabbing my handy dirt devil so i could suck that critter off the ceiling faster than you can say 'insect intruder.' i hope he's having fun mingling with the dustbunnies. good riddance.

meanwhile, my skin is crawling and i'm on a serious search for the hydrocortisone cream. must. not. scratch. the. itch.

Monday, September 04, 2006

full

what a great weekend this has been! saturday i spent a good portion of the morning baking a blueberry-lemon cake with white chocolate-cream cheese icing that i took to salimah's for a get-together that she had with 10 friends. we all went out to sammy's trattoria on charles street - FANTASTIC food, great atmosphere, lovely decor. we all stuffed ourselves silly on delightful fare and then rolled back to salimah's pad for the cake, some coffee and liquor, early birthday presents, and light conversation.

sunday afternoon, i met back up with her and we watched movies for awhile and then went out to target so she could pick up a new lamp (birthday gift card booty!) and i got an excellent, very soft brown purse (salimah bought). afterwards, we got a snack and some cocktails at tony roma's and then made our way back home for bed.

early this morning, we got up and salimah opened her birthday presents from me--some coffee paraphernalia, a new kitchen clock, a magnetic photo board for the fridge, some jewelry, and a set of bath gels. then we watched another movie and headed out to kohl's for more shopping (she got a bunch of fall clothes and a new purse) before meeting up with her mom (and friend) for dinner at the bonefish grill (quite yums as usual).

so now i'm back home, feeling sated and so glad that my best friend's birthday was much better than last year's....

salimah, you are a phenomenal woman, getting more and more beautiful (inside and out) every year. i cannot wait to see what happens in your life over the next 365 days, and i feel privileged to be along for the ride....

happiest of birthdays, my dear. i hope that you are filled to overflowing with how much you are known, loved, and prized. here's to your 34th year!! onward and upward....

Friday, September 01, 2006

one year

it was a thursday night and we were in the middle of an all-too-frequently-happening-lately argument. you looked at me without any emotion and told me that you didn't care enough to work on the relationship anymore. to be honest, i thought you had lost your mind. i mean, really. i had heard of this happening: a friend's boyfriend once had a psychotic split, completely shut down from her, left home, and wound up 30 miles away wandering around an access road at the airport. i wondered if the look on your face was indicating that something inside of you had turned like that.

the next 24 hours were a complete haze. in fact, whole days disappeared from me; i didn't sleep. couldn't eat. i didn't know what to think or how to feel or what to say to anyone - about anything. i was confused and sad and a million other things. i wrote cryptic blog posts about my heart being broken. i felt broken. i was broken.

but then in the midst of that breaking - mostly in the shower, where all truly important things have occurred to me - God revealed something to me: i was all right. i was good. i had already come so much farther than even i knew. and furthermore, He wanted more for me than what our relationship had become in my life. heck, if i was being honest with myself, i wanted more, too.

and with each week that passed, more of me got put back together but now the pieces fit together differently, and the emerging product was me, but a new version....better....more true to form.

some days i regret you; other days i don't know how to feel. this is one of those days. mixed emotions are what define my looking back. but overall, i'm not sorry. not in the least. i had to be where we were to get to where i am now. and, for as much as i loved you - which was a lot - i feared it would always be me walking two or three or more steps ahead of you...always being the one to save you...always being the one to prop you up when you 'couldn't handle' things. now, i just feel relief that i'll never have to know for sure.

so, maybe someday i'll thank you for leaving, for giving me a chance at actually being loved in a way that means forever, for giving someone else the opportunity to appreciate the things about me that you never seemed to see, for helping me to know what i don't deserve - but more importantly what i do. maybe i'll sit down and write you a letter and say all of this to you.

then again, maybe i just did.