Wednesday, May 18, 2011

thoughts on a little world


one little world I found in our yard last month

I've been coping a lot lately with the idea of leaving. I always came home on the weekends during college-- I wasn't one of those college students who are enthused about picking up and moving to another state, knowing that at the end of four years they wouldn't be emotionally dependant on their parents (or family) at all. They were successfully transplanted and grew roots so that they only need a call from their mother once in a while (whatever that is). I am not like that.

In many ways, being away from my Dad will only be a good thing. He really grows more fond of people when he doesn't see them-- being enormously sentimental-- and has enough self control to be very well behaved for a short time, perfect for a winter or Easter break. I won't have to be around for his daily provocations and mood swings anymore.

But my Mother's love is like an undercurrent that you can tap into, letting it fill your whole life. It doesn't switch off and on, it is always on, but it is not at its best at a distance. YES, she answers her phone, emails, sends care packages and will visit you when she has the chance, but it isn't anything like the love you feel when you are in her home and she is brightening your life in a thousand tiny ways.

I'm going to have the hardest time leaving her and my baby HB. HB and my Mom are almost a package deal, their lives having meshed together in the last few years so that they live in sync and always go to bed together at the same time. I know HB won't understand why I've gone and that is the hardest part for me.


It has been hard to have this relatively free time and not being able to do things that will carry over time, like plant pumpkins, because I know that I will be leaving in a few months and I'll never live here again. I won't be able to take HB's annual pumpkin photoshoot. I just won't be there.

I have been more successful cheering myself up about Boston in the last few weeks and I want to write a post with my list of things about it that seem promising/not terrible. I secured an apartment too! It occurred to me exactly why I was avoiding my school inbox (emails from BU), putting off searching for apartments and generally trying not to think about Boston at all: because it all seems so foreign and fragile. English is a finicky subject, I never know how my work will be received, and I worry that I'll actually love my new life with my horribly overpriced studio all to myself and new found independence, only to have it all taken away when I can't produce the quality of work that is expected of me in English, or can't get my Russian up to scratch to pass the language requirements (which seems more pressing everyday). I woke up one day last week thinking about a BU professor, teaching one of my fall courses and passing my first written piece around to his colleagues in the department asking "what in the world are we going to do about this?". I imagined their horror that they'd given a coveted spot in the program to someone so hopeless that they couldn't even think of anything to help bridge the gap between what I can do and what I need to be able to do.

I be honest, I haven't been helping myself a lot lately in this area. I've been meaning to prepare-- to pick up studying Russian again so I can actually remember all the inflections and maybe even get better than I was before (this feels impossible), to do the online theory course that I started posting about in this blog last year, to read all the Victorian staples that I've been neglecting, like Hardy and Thackeray, to read literary journals. I've been meaning to do all these things so that when I show up I can feel scared but throw my hands in the air anyways because I did all I could do. God only knows why I'm not doing any of those things right now.

But I have done a few satisfying things in the last week that are completely unrelated to graduate school, like finish my quilt and make myself a few practical sewn things that make life a little easier. I had a marathon viewing session of A History of Britain while hand finishing the binding of the quilt and this was sort of invigorating. I am a huge fan of Simon Schama and he will actually be on the list of things that are not so bad about Boston re: book signings. I've organized my craft things and tried to find new running shoes (unfortunately all three pairs I ordered ended in bloody heels). Mundane life, I find, constantly comes to the rescue and promises to make all my worries go away if I could only let go of silly things like ambition and have a 9-5 job with no intellectual involvement and a garden.

But I have been reading more! Not anything very rigorous or as much as I'd like, but I am trying to be more active about spending my time well, instead of watching mind numbing TV.

I don't know how things are going to end up. As you've read, I'm trying to do a lot of things right now and the sum of them all is trying to convince me that I am enough.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

another holiday post: mother's day


In our house, making a place setting (opps, must have been eaten on already in the above picture) at someone's spot at the table-- yes there are immutable assigned seats-- is the ultimate gesture of celebration. We always had our cards and presents stacked around a carefully arranged plate and cup on our Birthdays, usually with a napkin fluffed out in a fancy glass. On Easter, and sometimes Valentines day (depending on whether we had a significant other), we'd have candy at "our place". It is my Mom's way of making us feel special and nothing is quite like it.


Of course that means that she gets a place setting on Mother's Day. Being the only child left at home, the burden was completely on me to make the day special, and I think I did a pretty good job. I made this Almond Puff Loaf from KAF the night before. One has homemade lemon curd and the other has raspberry jam on top. How were they? Well, we've already eaten the whole lemon curd one. I'd prefer a krispy cream though.


They were quite puffy but I did verge a bit from the recipe by refrigerating the bottom layer while making the top layer and then baking the whole thing about 30 minutes longer. I wanted crispiness and I got it!


I would have taken pictures when the jam and icing were shiny, but it was about 3AM. It still looks pretty good, yes?

I also made my Mom a stack of lavender sachets for her closet and this embroidered pouch for a larger sachet:


Yes, I went a little crazy with the french knots.


In weather news, our tulips have started to bloom, but we still have no leafy trees. Sometimes it feels like winter, sometimes like summer.


Also, it would figure that the ONE TIME that I am outside all day, it would be 70 degrees and sunny-- as in yesterday when we planted about 400 trees. Not kidding: my knees are bruised and my butt and back are incredibly sore from stooping over. My ears are even sun burned. I will take pictures of the burgeoning oak grove later, but right now I'm going to order some oak leaf earrings to make up for my trauma. Materialism to the rescue.


Here is an extra picture of old little Ole lumbering towards me on the porch:


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

whither the weather?

I woke up today and it was 27 degrees with frost outside. We don't even have leaves yet. This is unfair.

That is all.


Oh, and someone finally killed Osama, obviously. I found out on facebook when everyone started updating their statuses to "got him!", "USA USA USA!" and sometimes "RIP osama" from those who think they're ~enlightened~. Apparently this is supposed to fill me with joy. I'd be filled with joy if this meant that social security is still going to be around when I'm old and infirm, which perhaps it will be if this means that the we can stop playing police for the rest of the world and stop spending money on war. And Obama: don't even think about feeding North Korea-- the people who would inevitably get the food would gladly bomb us to smithereens-- when we have a huge national debt and people starving/homeless at home.