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I’m sort of piecing things back together. Getting back to my usual routines, taking care of business, crying over The Tale of Despereaux and then laughing hysterically at lines like “Despereaux was filled with an icky feeling of despair.” Because that’s what it is. Icky. When you feel like that. The weather has gone from wiltingly hot to pleasantly cool to rainy since Friday.

There’s also always processing to do after you see out-of-town friends. You fold your laundry and think about personalities interacting and changes and continuity.

It seems like whenever I get the urge to get rid of stuff and pare down, something comes along that requires me to acquire more. Why is that? And why can’t the apartment have just one more closet?

I had zero desire to blog this weekend. It was a little odd. I think because I was constantly in the company of at least one more person. Usually three more people. And it was good. I’ve known these girls for almost six years. I met Toni & Lis when I got off work Friday at Cup & Saucer for dinner. I walked in wearing my work uniform (aka, the ugliest piece of clothing in my wardrobe) and as soon as T & L saw me they just cracked up, and I cracked up, and I’m not sure what was so funny. But our conversation had nothing to do with catching up on the details of each other’s lives (even though some catching up was in order) and everything to do with just being friends having dinner together. We split 3 dishes in exact thirds and talked a lot about Little House in the Big Woods and fractions and laughed a lot. And on Saturday we picked up Laurel at the airport and we all just did our thing. Lots of laughing, and ice cream, and stuff like that.

I’m not feeling particularly eloquent at the moment. I’ll come back later with, I don’t know, something. The pictures below are from this morning, right before everyone left.

Feet Posted by Hello

B-22 Cult Posted by Hello

I just did a load of laundry and used the new detergent I bought yesterday (really, I need to start buying the natural kind again, I’ve gotten in a bad rut, this stuff freaks me out). As I pulled the sheets from the washer to the dryer, I thought “this smells familiar.” And then it hit me. Its “original fresh” scent smells exactly like the stuff we bought at Lidl’s in Galway. Whoa. That was four-freaking-years ago. Talk about useless knowledge.

I do this thing where I’ll wake up fairly early*, like 7:30, and think “oh my gosh** this is so early! Good for me!” and I’ll lay in bed thinking of all the things I can get done. Especially today, while it’s still cool out and I’ve got cleaning ‘n stuff*** to do. But no! God forbid I actually do those things in that extra time. No, I use that time to:

1. Write in my notebook. Entirely admirable, but does it make the bathroom cleaner?
2. Check email. Communication is good, but does it get the sheets washed?
3. Blog. For the love of God, blogging does not remove strange odors from the kitchen.
4. Eat breakfast. Entirely mandatory, but it doesn’t result in me being clean and ready to face the day like, say, a shower would.

I have, to my credit, started a load of laundry. I tidied my room. A little. And I’ve maintained my sanity by doing all 4 things.

Okay, to work!

*Considering my job doesn’t require my presence until 3 o’clock in the pm.
**As Q would say.
***Footnote day! Do you remember where that came from, Bee? The whole “love ‘n stuff” thing?

It’s hot. So hot that I need to get this laptop off my lap so it will stop venting hot air at me. Sheesh. Who came up with a laptop that heats up your lap?? (Kindly forget how I loved this feature when it was cold out.)

Today, I was getting dressed (for work – I get dressed approximately 3 times per day) and I thought to myself, “Self, today you’re going to find the ugliest piece of clothing in your entire wardrobe and put it on.” And I did! It was so ugly it involved digging through the “I never wear this but can’t throw it away” box. And then I wore it to work!

At my job, there are the people who wear shorts year round. And there are the people who wear them occasionally when it’s nice out. And there are the people like me (and a few others) who groan on hot days and reluctantly show our glowing white legs to the world. And it’s not so much the white legs as the shorts – legs – white socks – black shoes look. Such the classic look.

PS I cheated and wore not-black shoes. Because I couldn’t handle it. But black shoes are regulation. If you wear pants, the socks have to be black. Shorts are worn with white socks.

This morning I woke up from a dream feeling like a little stone. You know the good old “if you have a pillow, replace it with a stone”? Not necessary. I make my own stone. My shoulder hurt from being pressed into the mattress. It was as though someone said “do an interpretive dance of being a stone” and my interpretation was to go to sleep like that. Also, I slept without a blanket. Just a sheet. Do you know what extremes it takes for me to do that? Summer Weather. Not summer, because there is no consistency in it, but Summer Weather. And I slept through the night without waking up and frantically pulling on my comforter. Maybe that accounts for the stony insensibility.

In other news, the weekend is rapidly approaching. That means that for the first time since September, Laurel, Lis, Toni & I will be in the same place at the same time. (Do we have a name, girls? I was going to call us the B-22 Cult but that’s Bif, too. And we had Maren we lived together.) That same place will be the Meet & Greet section of the Portland Airport, where TnE and I will attempt to recognize Laurel and speculate on how she might have changed over the past 8-9 months. As in, “Maybe that’s Laurel. If she had a baby and dyed her hair.” Or, “Maybe that’s her. If she got a mysterious disease that aged her forty years.” You know, the usual.

I’m trying to muster some thoughtful, friendshippy words, but all it basically comes down to is that I can’t wait to have us all together, and to do our thing. I’m not very eloquent at the moment, but I love them more than gold or silver.

[I interrupt this programming for a newsflash: I just discovered a rather large smear of butter on my arm. I have no idea how it got there. I haven’t been near any butter. Katy, have you been laying butter traps again?]

-jessmonster, cult member

Why is it that some things stick around and clutter up your brain, and other things that you would love to remember in clear detail get all fuzzy?

For instance, stupid things teachers have said to you. That you think of all the time.

1. I was driving to work on Monday and listening to Fresh Air* and one of the interviewees was named Rachel, which reminded me of this story I wrote about a girl named Rachel. Now, both of these Rachels, on Fresh Air and in my story, happened to be Christian. Nothing weird about that, right? You wouldn’t be shocked to learn that someone named Rachel was Christian? But the teacher whose class I wrote the story for? She’s Jewish. And she said, in a comment on my story, that maybe I should change the character’s name because “Rachel” sounds more Jewish than Christian. Um, hi? A) I can name her whatever I want. B) Are you crazy? Yes, it’s a Jewish name, but, and correct me here if I’m wrong, the Christian tradition came out of the Jewish tradition. We stole your names. Live with it.

2. When I was in 6th grade with the aforementioned Mrs. Neuville, it was the first time I’d ever been in a traditional classroom. Before that I was in a Waldorf-y school and then homeschooled. And Mrs. Neuville forever tainted my impression of her in the following incident. We had to write a book report. I thought this was pretty exciting. So I reread Anne of Green Gables and wrote my little report. You know how Anne lives in an orphan asylum before she’s adopted? I mentioned that in my report. I used the word “asylum.” And Mrs. Neuville marked me down because she didn’t think “asylum” was the right word. I was flabbergasted. If it had happened later in my school career, I totally would’ve stood up to her. But I think I was in shock. That was the word that LM Montgomery, the author, used. I, the reader, was only writing a book report.

Why oh why do I hold onto these things? They make me laugh, sure, but really, I’d rather have better memories of say, anything else.

*Listen for worst explanation ever of living ‘in the world but not of it.’ Not like I would do any better if I were on national radio, but still. It was pretty lame and she just talked about ‘in the world’ – there was no ‘not of it’ discussion which I thought was pretty lame.

“‘Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark. Begin at the beginning…Make some light.'”

-The Tale of Despereaux

May 2005

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