Thursday, December 19, 2002

Off to France tomorrow early am.

This went way too fast, but it was good.

If questioning would make us wise
no eyes would ever gaze in eyes;
if all our tale were told in speech
no mouths would wonder each to each.

Were spirits free from mortal mesh
and love not bound in hearts of flesh
no aching breasts would yearn to meet
and find their ecstasy complete.

For who is there that lives and knows
the secret powers by which he grows?
Were knowledge all, what were our need
to thrill and faint and sweetly bleed?

Then seek not, sweet, the "If" and "Why"
I love you now until I die.
For I must love because I live
And life in me is what you give.

-Bill Archer.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

The grass is still covered in frost, and it's past noon. It's still crunchy spearmint grey, I watched Fezzie, one of my cats, pick his way across the lawn, imagining his bare paw pads burning from the cold. He looked distinctly unimpressed with the situation, I could practically hear him swearing under his fishy breath. (Cats always have fishy breath, even if they live on Science Diet)

Inigo is much more sensible, he is curled up next to the base of a radiator in the hallway, in a patch of sun from the big window in the stairwell. The sun doesn't make much difference to temperature outside in the freezing air, but behind glass it is a little warming. Inigo knows how to weather through the winter.

As I human I have the advantage of being able to resort to clothing to keep my paw pads warm. Fuzzy woolly socks and equally fuzzy woolly gloves, no tiptoing barefoot through the frost for me thank you very much.

Time to get dressed and head back into town. Only one and a half more days in Scotland, then it's on to the south of France. I wish I had a little more time here, but I'm pretty sure if I were here for the whole two weeks I'd have just ended up leaving everything until the last minute, at least this way I've been pretty efficient in my usage of time. I have bought most of the Tartan Tat (scottish-themed souvenirs) I wanted to take back, and located a gift for everyone on my list. All I need to get are the foody items I promised to take for people. I can get those tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Now I know why I didn't get in the habit of wearing high heeled shoes of any variety while I lived in Edinburgh. Cobbled streets. And hills, steep hills and steeper little closes (alleys) that make shortcuts between streets on different levels.

CLOMP CLOMP CLOMP. This is the sound of me striding down Fleshmarket Close in my chunky red boots. CLOMP CLOMP CL-stagger-OMP. This is the sound of me narrowly avoiding: a - twisting my ankle; b - falling on my arse; c - staggering into oncoming traffic; or d - all of the above, while crossing Cockburn street, which is cobbled and steep.

It was well and truly cold today, only just above freezing in fact. It made a nice change for me. I have a warm jacket, having added woolly hat, scarf and gloves to make it draft-proof, I was able to stride about town all day, blowing misty air from my mouth and feeling my cheeks going bright pink from the sting of the air. It was lovely and still today, wind would have made the cold much less fun, and the sky was a clear icy blue, allowing the sun through to paint everything yellow (but not affect the temperature one little bit). Unlike the perma-grey that has been in force since I arrived, today there was real daylight and everything! For several hours.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

24 hours till take off.

It is officially winter. The duvet has been released from its cramped confinement in a duffel bag under my bed, unfurled from its summer hibernation and draped across the bed to insulate my winter slumbers. It remains as yet uncovered, because wrestling with a king-sized duvet cover in the dark at midnight is not my idea of a good time.

Suddenly all is warm snugglies, with the squishy weight of feathers keeping us cozy. I find it much easier to sleep with the feeling of covers over me, so much so that even in an August heat wave in New Mexico I couldn't sleep without at least a sheet over me.

Tomorrow I'll be going home to an even heavier duvet, a super fluffy construction deep enough to get lost in, highly necessary in the drafty long nights of an Edinburgh winter. Besides which, it's excellent for hiding under and surprising people. Not to mention watching the cats wading across it, with their feet sinking in as though it were an indoor snowdrift.

Cats! I haven't seen my two furballs for a year and a half. I wonder if Inigo will remember me and fall back into the routine of dragging me off to bed at 11pm so that he has access to my room. I wonder if I'll smell like a stranger to them and get ignored. I realize they're they closest thing I have to children, not very close at all really, but I planned their existence and talked my parents into letting Annabelle have just one litter, I've known those two little animals since they were a couple of hours old. I can talk to my parents over the phone, and that compensates for the distance somewhat, but interaction with an animal is wordless, and you can't do that over the phone. Even if Fezzie's purr has occasionally carried down the wires.

Most things about "home" can be replaced or substituted in a new place, you can make your own home. Pick furniture, plan art projects to personalize the place, develop comfort food habits revolving around local specialties, find a new cafĂ© to inhabit…but it'll be home anew, nowhere can ever be the same as the first place you called home. Not even the original place itself.

I know that when I go back, there will be moments when I'm walking down a street and it could be any point in time since I first walked down it ten or even twenty years ago (though twenty years ago it would be more toddling than walking for me). More often than not I suspect I'll be noticing how different it is, how much more like I remember London being, all the hoards of thirteen year olds with mobile phones and the snazzy sandwich places having replaced the less cosmopolitan teenagers I remember, and the cheap little bakeries that used to sell wonderful greasy pasties and pies for the local workers' lunches.

My parents house will still be both cozy and drafty as hell, but now the kitchen's actually painted, and the shabby beige living room set got sent away and came back after some major reconstructive surgery as a lovely new three piece suite in a nice burnt orange color. Not a single cat claw mark anywhere on them! I'm not even sure if the cats have been allowed to sit on them yet.

I'm going back for a visit, this is the first time it's really been so clearly just for a visit, this is the first time it's going back to where I grew up, not going home. I suppose it isn't even my second home any more, it's "back home" and my flat in North Park (A Community Of San Diego) is "home". I'm making and finding my own traditions and habits, my own signals of the changing seasons. I still can't help hoping that some day I'll live in Edinburgh again, so I can share the things I remember with Matt, and discover together new things about that city, recreate home there for myself with a different perspective.

It may never happen, I won't be distraught if it doesn't, for now it's merely a pleasant idea. A way of keeping homeclose to my heart.

Home is... Cold air and warm sun shining through bare trees. Sparkling frost on the concrete sidewalks before it gets trampled and melted by passers-by. Gusts of cold rain thrashing through my hair as I trudge up Dundas Street towards my bus home, cursing the long skirt of my school uniform that offers no protection against being soaked to my skin. The dreamy near-silence of the summer air, in which everything seems to echo slightly, the sound of my Dad trimming trees, or a car door slamming on the street, that damn bird who's call sounds exactly like our phone, or maybe it is the phone this time. That spot on the edge of Brighton Park that alwayssmells of dog poop, and nobody's ever been able to figure out if it's dogs, or just a really stinky shrub…

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

I had some potentially interesting thoughts about gender identity on Saturday, or rather, spurred by Saturday night's hanging out and shooting the shit. I'll probably save that till I've got more time to compose something properly.

I've solved the problem of the generic new and shiny furniture, or at least formulated a plan to. I found an untreated pine table and I'm going to stain it very lightly, and decorate it with both a pyrography wand and some little painted designs, and paint similar designs on a couple of wooden chairs to go with it. It will be very plain furniture, but the decoration will be entirely personal and idiosynchratic. This also turns out to be a pretty darn cheap option, which is always a plus. Especially after paying double rent in December, and funding Christmas presents. I figured out I can get additional storage for my kitchen, the table and two chairs all for about $160, which is a lot less than I was expecting to have to shell out. Of course that doesn't include the cost of stain, paint and lacquer, or the time investment of the decoration, but the cool part about personalizing my kitchen furniture is that it's a project, a creative passtime, and a money saver all at once.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

In about 169 hours I'll be on my way to the airport to head home. One of my "homes" that is. I confuse myself saying things like "I'll bring stuff from home when I come home". At last count three places qualify as "home": my flat, Matt's place, and Edinburgh. This is a nice change from not to long ago when the internal wail of I wanna go hoooome was met with the realization that I meant Scotland, my parents, the beat up old loveseat under my loft bed and my supersized laid back tabby cat. Now I'm starting to establish a homeyness in my new place, the main thing it's lacking is that "shabby genteel" thing made up of drafty windows, semi-threadbare carpets and junk store furniture that makes my parents' house feel so well lived. I may never get used to how new and shinyeverything is here.

I think the hormonal whirlygig might be starting to wear off. Finally. Today it seems that my biggest quandary is whether or not to return those low-rise jeans I bought online, since they don't actually reveal anything untoward, just threaten to. I need more fashion advisors.

Yeah, I'm definitely shallow today, it's a relief though.

Today's the 8th luniversary too, I don't know how the past two months have gone by so fast, it seems like we only just had our big landmark 6-monther. I suppose that's just more of the whole running along smoothly thing we do so well. It seems silly to count the months now, we're just together, actually looking at the timeframe the numbers seem awfully small.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

I have absolutely no idea where to start on the past week. I guess the most important thing to say after that last post is that I'm fine, healthy and as sane as I ever get, all that rot. Well, I've still got an occasional stabbing pain in my left temple, and interesting mood swings taking me from hyper-silly to hyper-depressive inside about 10 minutes. That's not entirely unusual though, migraines and PMS are all par for the course here.

I took a sick day yesterday, originally because the brightness of the kitchen light made me feel sick, while my head was still under the blanket, so Matt fed me Excedrin and I went back to sleep for a few hours. Then it kind of turned into the cliched mental health day. Even more so because the only thing I left my apartment for was to go to a counseling session.

Yesterday was the first time I'd been alone with my own thoughts long enough to figure out what I really felt, and why I felt that way. It's pretty rare for me to find it difficult being around Matt, but sometimes you just need to be alone. Completely alone. Alone and free to pull faces and cry if you need to, or stare at a wall for hours without someone asking if you're ok, to sit and think until there is a solid conclusion formed. The conclusion is that I had one of those significant life occurrences, and it was significant, but it hasn't really changed anything. That's kind of new for me, I'm used to these Life Moments being pretty tumultuous, not minor hiccups.

Only one thing still bothers me: why am I so reluctant to spit it out? Why am I still talking around it? So here we go.

I had a miscarriage last Tuesday. I didn't know, or suspect, I was pregnant, nor would I have kept it had I found out before starting on the Depo- Provera shots. It had gone four weeks at the absolute longest. It both shook me greatly and meant almost nothing to me, I suspect the largest part of the emotional response was due to my hormone levels imitating whirling dervishes. That, and my usual guilt-ridden wondering: if it's ok to not be devastated, then wondering if it's ok to be upset at all when it was really a lucky escape…then feeling guilty for thinking of it as a lucky escape, then realizing how silly thatis…

I suppose I'd always assumed that any unplanned pregnancy stuff would involve being pregnant and aware of it, not an " oh, by the way, you were pregnant for a couple weeks, but its' all over now…"

This happens all the time, every day hundreds of women miscarry, some know they're pregnant, some don't, and some never even realize it happens. It's only a tragedy for those women who desperately want a child. There are so many things that we all go through, and yet they seem utterly monumental at the time it happens to each of us. All the love/death/sex/birth stuff.

I was going somewhere with that I swear. It doesn't really matter though, because everyone knows what I'm talking about, and of the very few who read this I'm sure some are shocked, lots are concerned, and a couple are probably disgusted. Every one of them for their own reasons.

It's unusual for me to have something in my life that I worry about the potential reactions of my good friends, worry that they'll think less of me for it. I suppose it's the hint of irresponsibility, of reckless behavior. Especially on something I like to consider myself super-clued-in about. So maybe this has served as a reminder to me that you don't have to be stupid and irresponsible to get knocked up, you just have to be fertile. It's not having a game plan worked out that's stupid, not accepting that there is a possibility of it happening.

Wow, I've managed to boil this incident down to another trite little life-lesson. Go me!

It's not what happens to you , it's the way you deal with it that makes you who you are.