Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Not Just Where You Hang Your Hat....

In my life, I have done very little traveling, and what traveling I have done has been mostly by car, up and down the East Coast. And though I want to see and taste and feel so much more of the world than that and am sure I have yet to see the most amazingly beautiful place I'll ever see, one of my favorite places in all of life is in the mountains in Centre County, Pennsylvania. For the first 20-some years of my life, my grandparents had a home up in those hills, and 150 acres of land to boot, with horses, pastures, gardens, and lots of open space to run and play. Those mountains were where I went to escape from the stresses of home life, to be myself, to sing at the top of my lungs while running through green fields, and to sit at the feet of my amazing grandparents whose wisdom and kindness refreshed and nurtured my little-kid heart.

Both of my grandparents are gone (grandpa in '97, grandma in '03), but those mountains still calm my blood whenever I see them, even from a distance. The winding roads bring back so many memories of summer afternoons on the way to a lake for a swim and picnic. The little farm houses tucked up on a hill might contain some distant cousin...some little old lady who has my grandmother's eyes. There's family there, still, both living and passed on. The little church down the hill from my grandparents' former house is a historical site in Pennsylvania, my grandmother having led the charge to restore the building when she was in her 70s (yes, the woman was up on scaffolding from early morning until the sun set each day, doing much of the work herself!). And next to the church is a cemetary in which those dear souls were laid to rest. It is appropriate, I think, that the mountains hold them now. So many salt-of-the-earth folks returning to the dust from which they came. It is the dust that I, too, hope to make my final resting place someday.

So, while I do not now, nor may I ever have a house or apartment in those Pennsylvania mountains, the hills and valleys hold some of my sweetest memories, my songs, my tears, my heart, much of my very childhood. And for that, they will always feel like home to me.

I am participating in Reverb Broads December 2012 writing project. Today's prompt: What is your favorite place in the world? What makes it so special? (via Kate)

holiday memories

as a child, i never ONCE sat on santa's lap or got my picture taken with him. why? because i thought he might abduct me. so here's a shout-out to my grandma (may she R.I.P.) for instilling in me a healthy (?) paranoia and/or right-off-the-bat suspicion of all strangers. especially those wearing costumes or waving from the fields outside a penitentiary. God, i miss that woman.

Friday, November 30, 2012

writing to reach you

it has been an age since i've put finger to keyboard and thrown my thoughts out into the void. but it's a friday night, i'm home alone (as usual), and something has compelled me to write. i was talking with a work friend earlier, and after a meeting about "important matters," we wound up getting into a conversation about things that really matter...specifically, the freedom in living outside of people's expectations. growing up, i cared deeply about what everyone thought. i cared so much, i was paralyzed by too much fear to do most things. i was worried about whether i'd get teased, or whether i'd get shamed, or whether i'd get in trouble, or whether someone would stop loving me if i messed up. honestly, it was just exhausting. in my 20s, i did a lot of soul searching, of tearing down and rebuilding, of breaking free and walking down new roads. my 30s have been about carving out space for myself, pursuing my interests, furthering my education, and drawing lines in the sand. and believe me when i say, that's been so freeing for me, in so many ways. i have made a life for myself that i wouldn't have imagined 10 years ago. and yet, in the midst of my carving, i may have closed myself off a bit to things that i never intended to...throwing the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak. so here i am, a month before a new year begins, and i'm feeling the need to reconnect to something. maybe even to someone. i've missed writing. i've missed listening to music and digging in deeper. i've continued to let work consume me for the better part of two years, and even though i keep promising myself i won't do that anymore, i still do. now, having said that, i'm not trying to please anyone here. this isn't about performance or approvals or anything of that nature. this is about getting in touch. with me. with you. so that's it. i'll try to write more. i want to do it. let's see if i can....

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

the hush of a turned page, the beating of my heart

i have decided that this is the summer of reading and daydreaming. okay, maybe more reading than daydreaming, if i'm being honest, because i don't know that i have much whimsy winding through my cardiovasculars just now. but reading? reading i can get into. good prose takes me to a happy place. even though my eyes get tired and i stay up WAY too late on most weeknights, i find my creativity returning to me. and that makes it entirely worth it. right now, i'm about 10 pages away from finishing a fantastic book by tiffanie debartolo called 'how to kill a rockstar.' her first novel, 'god-shaped hole,' devastated me when i read it in the early 2000s. i mean, it completely broke my heart and i walked around in some type of stupor for several days, unable to handle what leapt up off the page at me and choked tears out of my eyes. there are some books that i just devour, and both of debartolo's books fit that bill most appropriately. so much so that when i tear myself away at the end of a chapter, i feel my pulse racing a little, wondering what's going to happen next. and the characters' angst? i connect with it, deep in my bones. seriously, as i'm typing this, i'm realizing that although i live much of my life in a very cerebral place, how can i deny that i'm anything other than a total romantic? and when i close this book, i have many more waiting in bags lying about my living room (either from my latest trip to the used bookstore or my jaunt over to the huge, old library less than 2 blocks from my downtown apartment), ready to take me on my next emotional rollercoaster. in the absence of male companionship this summer, these books have become my lovers. i take them to bed. i think about them while i'm at work in a particularly long meeting. i avoid answering the phone in the evening just so i can soak up one more page, one more chapter. they are what quicken my breath. they are what trouble my soul. they are what calm me and bring me back to life when i'm feeling particularly blah. and if i play my cards just right, maybe they will be my muse and lead me to pick up my own pen again....

Saturday, March 24, 2012

cold showers: not just for the lust-ridden anymore

apparently here in charm city, we skipped winter and spring and went straight for 'how the hell did it get this hot?' we're over-achievers like that, i guess.

this time of year, i look forward to the slightly warmer days and cool nights. the breeze tends to blow, making me feel like anything is possible, even for me. this year? notsomuch.

instead we've had haze, fog, humidity, temps in the upper 70s to mid-80s, and for me—a girl without a/c until her building decides to fork it over—that has meant a lot of guzzling ice water, eating creamsicles, and taking showers with barely any hot water mixed in. y'all, i don't love heat, and i feel that it doesn't love me either.

all of this lack of control over my surrounding temps has made me want to move out of this apartment and into someplace that gives me dominion over my climate. yes, that's what i need: full control!!

i wish i could say that my less-than-hot bath water was because i was all ruffled under the collar, but no. this is a dose of heat and hot without any sizzle and burn to accompany it.

boo! hiss!