Friday, 29 October 2010

Are You Sitting Down?

No, I'm not pregnant. But I am sitting down, and so is everyone else in my family. Why is this so significant? Well, because we've been on our feet moving for the past several days. You know, the kind of moving that involves transferring all of our belongings from one house to another house. (And maybe the kind of moving that necessitates a giant "House Purge" from all spices, baking mixes, and Asian cooking liquids that have been around for 15+ years. Yeah. ...It was icky, but I feel liberated.)

Think Little House on the Prairie, except with a blue minivan replacing the covered wagon. Also, Costco pizza instead of corn dodgers and bacon. I'll always associate pizza and hot dogs with moving.

Moving is tough work. Packing and loading boxes mirrors a clumsy ballet routine. Grand PliĆ© to lift a load, twirl twirl twirl to avoid hitting your sister, who is also carrying a full load, and another pliĆ© to lower the load. I am no dancer. 

Thankfully, we picked a Non-Thunderstorm week to move, and I am happy to say that everything was successfully transferred from House #1 to House #2. Or should I call it House #7? (Or House #9 if you include dorms and my Virginia house.) 

Like I said, moving is tough work. And in the past, moving was always bitter work for my family. Tension grew, tempers flared, and everyone was wary of one another. This time was different. Our family came together, literally, and labored together for days and days until we had to be out of the house. We were exhausted and stressed, but nobody yelled. In fact, there was a lot of laughing. Um, there might have been a lot of singing and dancing, too. Maybe all that Costco Pizza helped us stay sane. Or maybe it was Sam and my Aunt, who helped move heavy boxes, brought us food, and drove several loads of "schtuff" to the new house. Or maybe it was all the above combined with the knowledge that all really shall be most well. 

I used to quote that phrase during stressful times like finals or juries. However, moving, and all the circumstances leading to our move,  forced me to really consider what I was quoting. Everyone in my family had to trust that the source of ultimate peace and happiness transcended any material house. As we backed out of our driveway for the last time, my sister reminded me that everything we own is a gift from God. I do not think God gets angry and takes away our things just to spite us or "teach us a lesson". Those "things" were never ours to begin with. Maybe what feels like God's anger is really our own pain upon realizing that we sought happiness in the wrong place. I don't really know. 

But I do know that all has been well thus far. We have a place to live and loads of citrus trees in our yard. We still have our cats. The sun still rises every morning. Trader Joe's still sells Salsa Authentica. (WHEW.) 

I'm glad to be here. And I'll do my best to be glad to be "there", wherever the next "there" might be. 

For now, I should just say:

It's good to finally meet you, Little Brown House! 

(No, not "Welcome Baby Darling!")

Wednesday, 20 October 2010


California, we'll meet again in less than 48 hours.  (!!!) 

I'm just a little excited. (!!!!!!!!)

Just a little.


Saturday, 9 October 2010

Are Jolly Owls Called Jowlets? JollyOwls? JollOwls?


Well, sometimes life brings you Not-So-Jolly-News. And sometimes you just have to let yourself feel sad about the Not-So-Jolly-News.
 Sad, Sad, Sad.

Thankfully, my housemate, H., makes Not-So-Jolly times a bit brighter with Chocolate Cake, Random Dance Parties, and trips to Target. She also makes me Potato, Leek, and Chicken Soup. And she will eat my cookies when I feel overwhelmed for making too many. And she will buy me a new jar of Salsa Authentica when the original jar turned out to be expired. And she will tell me it is okay not to finish University studies until I'm ready. And she will put up with my inability to speak coherently and succinctly when I come home from work. AND she will rub my shoulder blade when it spasms. Oh. I will always remember this.

(H., sorry for all of the "And's". But you are wonderful. Not "and wonderful". Just "wonderful".)

I'm also grateful to my parents for teaching me and my sister to keep active in the midst of sad times. (The kitchen looked immaculate last Sunday, by the way. Thank goodness for stainless steel cleaner.) I cleaned, took walks, went grocery and sock shopping, folded several loads of laundry, and so forth. But after a day full of "activity", I realized that being "active" also includes allowing yourself time to grieve. (A box of tissues is handy at this point.)

On a whim, I began reading Revelations of Divine Love by Dame Julian of Norwich. (Good decision.) In my silly Owlish insecurity, I first approached the text with an agenda to analyze and form academic paper topics. Um. Yes. Note the "silly" and "insecurity". My agenda was forgotten as I began reading. Perhaps there are times when you need to read just for soulish comfort. Well, this is what I am doing, and soulish comfort I am finding. The commonly quoted "...all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well" begins to make more sense. Well, at least a bit more sense. And the sense is followed by a host of questions. But these are the comforting kind of questions that keep your mind active during holidays.

So here I am, a silly little Owlie living in Virginia. I am still very happy to be here. And I feel that each new sorrow I embrace will increase my capacity to feel new and greater joys. So here's to another week (with more Salsa Authentica, I hope).

(When I expressed to my sister a concern of seeming too sappy, she replied by saying: "I love how their [that of the sappy people?] world is always populated by beautiful people."

Then she told me she was watching a music video. So maybe she was referring to the music video. Either way, I hope my world is populated by beautiful people. As of right now, it's mostly inhabited by squirrels. Oh so many.)


Friday, 1 October 2010


Today I sat in bumper to bumper traffic for two hours. All the drivers around me looked rather "Hmmph". You can also use the term "Harrumph". My macbook dictionary informs me that this word can either be used as a verb ("to grumpily express dissatisfaction or disapproval") or a noun ("a grumpy expression of dissatisfaction or disapproval").

But how do you look Harrumph?

Maybe like this:

Photo courtesy of C.Larsen.

I felt Harrumphy too. 
My arms felt Harrumphy,
and they sent shooting pains down to my wrists.

But then I remembered jolly things, like the soybeans I ate for lunch. 
(Still on a soybean kick.)

Or when the chin-rest maker let me picnic on his hilly front lawn while he varnished wood and told me funny stories about Heifetz. 

Or how refreshing the country air feels when it blows through the trees.

And then I put in an unlabeled CD stolen from H.'s car and proceeded to have a seated dance party with myself. No one else noticed since they were busy Harrumphing. Thank goodness. I also had a sing along to Handel's Messiah. "EEEEVVERRRYYY VALLLEEEYYYY." (LOVE LOVE LOVE.) I finally listened to the complete Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto and the Mendelssohn Concerto, too. So I ended up switching back and forth between Messiah, MGMT, Michael Jackson, the Weepies, Regina S., Mika, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn, and random gospel songs. Eclectic driving mix, but it made the 4 hour commute more bearable. Rather ironic that the first Messiah track to play after listening to Michael Jackson was "And He Shall Purify". 

I had a jolly good time.
And there was no more Harrumphing. At least not for me.