Thursday, January 28, 2010

Here we are, Thursday afternoon, a week into our new Texan life. I'd say things are going swimmingly, even great, except that time is passing ridicufast and I spent the whole day yesterday thinking it was Tuesday and therefore not a big deal that I didn't apply for a job, since I applied for one Monday, but then I found out last night it was actually Wednesday and that meant a WHOLE OTHER DAY had somehow gone by!! A whole other day during which I DIDN'T scour Craigslist and write passionate cover letters for my future career! A whole other day during which I DID make earrings and chocolate chip cookies!

Anyway, here we are, Thursday afternoon, another day of monumental progress from an earring-making perspective. Joedy and Lula just came home from the park, dropped the dogs off, and headed to H.E.B. (our new grocery store--the "B" stands for "Butt"), leaving Malko and me to continue fighting--I mean, having enriching dialogue--about which bits of string and crap he's allowed to eat off the floor and whether or not the laptop can be used as a springboard. In the last couple of weeks Malko's proven that he's very willful: if, while feeding him yogurt, you DARE stand up to, say, put more yogurt in the bowl or, god forbid, pour yourself some coffee, he launches into a screaming session whose intensity is matched only by the repeated, hard, loud banging of his head against the back of his high chair, making him seem, frankly, like he's going to die IF HE DOESN'T GET MORE YOGURT IN HIS MOUTH NOW! NOW! NOW! YOGURT! NOW!

When I see my 10-month-old son making such a fuss about yogurt, I get a little frisson of worry about the future, when he's in his early sixties (no sooner, if I can help it) and experimenting with much more addictive and much less healthy substances. Will he need those other substances as badly as he seems to need yogurt now? I don't want to get ahead of myself or--the worst--make problems out of nothing, but I can't help wondering: are we seeing the beginning of a pattern here, or are we just seeing a gluttonous little fatso who loves his food?

Speaking of food, in the middle of that paragraph I went to Whole Foods to buy some organic baby formula. I'd heard a lot about the Austin Whole Foods market, most recently in the New Yorker, but I wasn't quite prepared for the sensory overstimulation effect of Colors! Glittering lights! Smiling, soft-spoken staff! Sake, boysenberries, and hand-drawn signs! Wine-drinking amongst the cheeses! A sage-colored hemp coat that was on sale that I actually considered buying! I must have been insane! Knocked off my rocker by the smells, and the sights, and all the...stuff, all that lovely edible stuff. It was quite an experience, and I was proud of myself for walking out with only the formula, some zucchini, a loaf of bread, and some, um, perfume.

Driving back from downtown, the city lights were coming on and it was sprinkling a little. When I drove over Town Lake I yelled "Whoo-ee" out the window because the water was glassy and beautiful and I felt so happy. I really like Austin so far--I'm so happy to be here!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lula, Malko, and I got into Austin with minimal damage Wednesday, despite my having popped two Advil PM's at 5:30 a.m., just before hitting the road to the airport in Boston. I'd barely slept and had a headache, and it seemed like a good idea until my eyelids got insanely heavy in the car and I started yawning 800 times a minute and I thought "what the hell?" and then realized, shit!! That Advil was the sleeping kind! Usually I take half of one of those things, at the most a whole--two of them made me weirdly, almost scarily fatigued, and I actually fell over when this mean security agent told me TWICE to move away from the bench because she had to metal-detect a little old lady--my legs just kind of wobbled and gave out, and I actually fell over, and I attribute it to the PM stuff...

But anyway, we made it--JetBlue is the bomb! Oh...maybe wrong word choice...JetBlue is the shizzy!--and Joedy and his dad picked us up at the airport and it was grey and brown out and not green and rolling hills like I thought it would be and then we got home and I was kind of in a weird mood and kind of missing CKMOMF a lot and I drank a beer and took a two-hour nap and when I woke up everything was great and rosy and Joedy and I went for a drive and WOW! AUSTIN IS REALLY COOL!!

So far what I've seen has impressed me in a very favorable way: there's a major water element right downtown, a series of lakes lined by parks with trails, trees, and a train, one of those little-kid trains you have at the zoo*, and bridges crossing here and there. Austinites seem to be very outdoorsy---each time I've been to that area (called Town Lake) there've been gobs of people jogging and throwing sticks in the water for their dogs and pushing their quintuplets in space-age strollers, and you definitely get a happy, love-of-nature vibe.

Yesterday morning I took Diablo and Astrid for a walk there and the water was green and clear, like emeralds, and so inviting! I can't wait to swim in it! I LOVE lakes and rivers! I LOVE them!!!

Ok, onto other things: we have our pets again!! Everyone is fine! Lapis doesn't have his weird bad breath problem anymore and he's not doing that weird disgusting hacking sound where you think he swallowed a piece of slug or oyster or something else like that, and it's so nice to have him around, meowing his little white head off, almost in an annoying way, but not too annoying, because we just got him back, and it would be mean to get mad at him for being himself, after all, so soon! Also, Diablo and Astrid are great: the lisp and sideways-walking are not really a problem, yet. It's been right good fur-reaking great having our furry babies back...Yay, furry babies!! We love your hairy little butts!

Most importantly: it's good to be together as a family unit again, with the mother-figure (me) and the father-figure (Joedy) relaxed, for a fuckinp change. Because frankly, Costa Rica was not always totally relaxing, and the months between Costa Rica and now have not been humongously relaxing all the time either. Not to say all of that time was bad--not at all! It was all pretty good, even great, just not always relaxing. And actually this should not be such a relaxing time either, seeing as we have to get us some paying jobs IMMEDIATELY, but all in all it's good, really good, and almost borderline relaxing.

And now I'm going to relax myself straight into bed, because it just took me 15 seconds to remember how to spell "such," and that is a sure sign of needing refreshment of the somnolent kind, MAYBE enhanced with one or two or eight Advil PM's.

*and like the one in Cap Ferret


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

This is going to be a short entry, because I'm REALLY busy packing...

Joedy got into Texas this morning, he and the dogs having survived the 11.5-hour layover in Mexico City, and tonight I think they're spending the first night in our new house in Austin. Joedy's parents are coming up from Corpus Christi with Lapis, a crib, a bed for Lula, pots and pans, a mattress for us, and a small mountain of other move-in essentials, so when the kids and I get there tomorrow I think we'll be pretty comfortable!

It's weird to think that I've been in Rhode Island for five weeks and even weirder to think about all the phases I've/we've been through since the beginning of our stay. When I got here Joedy and I weren't sure where we'd settle, and I even started looking for a job; we thought Lula might go to my old Montessori school at least for a while. It's been a topsy-turvy time, but things seem ridiculously smoother now, even somewhat normal.

Despite the way my last entry sounded I'm really excited about being in Austin, too. I think the sunlight and the trees will be just fine, and there are lots of people I'm looking forward to connecting/reconnecting with. I'm excited, definitely, if at least to visit the mega-Whole Foods, where apparently you can get a massage while drinking a parsnip mimosa while having your wardrobe overhauled while nibbling free-range bean curd fritters.

I'm sad to leave Providence--it's been great to be here--but I'm sure I'll be back soon.

And now I should continue packing, as soon as I find that stupid hairdryer...


Saturday, January 16, 2010

At this ripe old age, I should know better than to start blog entries at night, but gosh! Some of us just don't learn. Hence: another late-night blog entry, another night of shitty sleep, more sallow under-eye circles, more of the feeling that I am a pale-faced, hairy-legged mofo--the good thing about having hairy legs in Rhode Island in January, of course, being No! Need! For! Long johns!

Today I thought I'd write a blog entry about Bambi getting killed--smooshed by the side of the road by a Fedex truck--but by this evening and a couple glasses of alcohol I realized it was stupid to try to write an entry where I SORT OF, not really, but kind of allude to my resemblance to a dead Bambi, i.e. a soft innocent side of me smooshed by the side of the road by a methed-up Fedex freak! It would have been stupid because first of all, I ain't no fucking Bambi, I mean, I ate venison two months ago, and anyway, dude, I cannot stand Disney*, and second of all, what was second of all? Oh yes. I am happy and go-lucky after all. I AM a BIG bouncing BABY deer! Spotted and frisky, eating clover and venison! I mean, denizens! Of pretty scented flowers! All is so fancy, free, and gay! Jolly to be you and me! We are the world! So let's start giving!

As much as I am loathe to share my silly self-pitying fantasy of myself as a dead Bambi I'm going to go there to point out that I'm not just some weird sick freak having weird sick fantasies about what may or may not be my (dead) totem animal. Where was the smooshed deer stuff coming from? Um...I forgot...oh, wait--I remember now: it was from looking on Google Streets at our new neighborhood in Austin! Thinking the trees and the sunlight looked so foreign and strange! Thinking "what have I done? Yet another new place--I don't think I'll like it! Why did we leave all the good stuff we had? Why have I been such a stupid fuckhead?!" I felt hopeless and depressed, like the soft fun side had been smooshed flat, thrown to the side of the road by a truck, all the happiness dead and over and dirty and done.

Things are better now. I went shopping with my dad this afternoon, instead of going for a lonely walk+nice cry, and when we came home I was all socialized** and normal again. Then we had a lively dinner and I got to work my "Sir Fartsalot" joke into the conversation, much to everyone's delight, I think, and by now I'm my usual immature, happily-drooling-fool-ish self!

Joedy is leaving Samara on Monday with the dogs (who are in great shape, by the way--not too traumatized, although Diablo walks sideways now and Astrid barks with a lisp) and, hopefully, not much of our left-behind stuff. He'll get into Austin on Tuesday, and then we'll arrive Wednesday, and then the whole next installment of this crazy story will begin, which kind of makes me shudder, but not totally in a bad way...

*I do like "vintage" Disney

**like a circus animal


Monday, January 11, 2010

This morning Joedy arrived in Costa Rica to get Astrid and Diablo and bring them back to the States, and I can hardly express how relieved I am that this part of the adventure is finally almost over. They're dogs, yes, and they had each other, but they're our family, too, and leaving them for two months (I can't even think that without groaning) was DEFINITELY not part of the plan--it is now part of the Moving To Costa Rica fallout that we like the least, the part that has the very least silver-lining potential. Luckily, our friend Hilary took care of them until Christmas, and then when she left Samara a friend of hers took over, kindly going so far as to feed the dogs sausages and untangle Diablo's dreads, so I know they've been ok, but they're extremely sweet, affectionate dogs, and I feel terrible imagining them wondering where we went and what they did to be abandoned like that. Some things, no matter how you look at them, are just not positive--you can't put the ole' spin on them--and the dogs being left in Costa Rica for so long is one of those things: it sucked, it sucks, it has sucked, it did suck.

Besides getting our furry babies Joedy will get the stuff we left behind--some surfboards, a few suitcases, Malko's playpen, the bikes--and either sell it, give it away, or bring it back. I wish we could have our bikes in Austin, because we had a lot of fun with them and they're emblematic of all the good stuff that happened in Costa Rica, but it seems silly to spend money to bring them back, so we've promised them to some friends.

It's strange thinking about Joedy being in Costa Rica now, going through more or less the same steps (minus the Montezuma nightmare) he took when he got there five months ago. Of course, everything's different this time--I won't be coming out in ten days with Lula, Malko, Lapis, and eighteen pieces of luggage--but it wasn't so long ago (not even half a year!) that we set out on the big adventure and for that reason it still feels very close. Very close, and very far away, like a weird alternate reality in a big bubble next to this bubble. I can't hear the sound in the Costa Rica bubble and there's a freakish amount of plants and geckos, but it looks pretty nice and--oh, look, there I am! Look, I'm playing the kazoo! But wait--why is there smoke coming out of the kazoo? What the...? Oh! Oh, right. So, anywaaay...

In a week Lula, Malko, and I will leave Rhode Island for Austin, which makes me both sad and happy. It's been a great month here with my parents, my brother and sister-in-law, and recently, my aunt, filled with dinner table antics involving toilet paper rolls and the never-ending hilarity of whoopee cushions. I'm already missing our family here and I know I'm going to be REALLY sad on the plane and in Austin for a little while, but I'll have these last few weeks to think about and to cheer me up.

Hmm...sentimentality getting a little overwhelming. Should stop here before I start writing about how much I love my pencil. My dear, sweet, kind pencil--it's so nice, and it's getting SHORTER every DAY because I have to SHARPEN it!! My dear, beloved, good pencil is not going to be here much longer!! WHAT will I DO without it?!?!

What, oh what, will I do?

I will go to bed, I guess.

Good night, y'all*!

*practicing my Texan twang


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It's my party, and I can barf if I want to, barf if I want to, barf if I want to!

Here I am, 36 years young, steadily creeping my way towards ancient. Currently inducing pre-arthritis in fingers by typing late at night next to a freezing drafty window. Just spent 80 hours fiddling with stupid playlist inanity that didn't even work and anyway I didn't like the advertising component and goddamn heck! What a waste of my precious quickly dribbling time.

Also spent 80 hours writing a barfday blog entry I thought was witty and wonderful and upon rereading realized was just plain dumb. So I erased it AND the stupid playlist and now we have a playlist-less blog and an annoyed barfday entry, but oh well, it's my barfday, and I can barf if I want to!

Was going to make intelligent argument for pursuit of artistic endeavors this coming year but don't care to anymore, thought about it too much and don't see why I should broadcast to the world that I'll always consider myself a "writer" and "artist"--even though I cringe at calling myself anything--because most importantly I'm not JUST those things, I'm lots of other things! Like, a hootananie hoot owl, and a knitted-by-Nanny wool cowl. What? Whatever--no one cares anyway, I mean, does anyone care if I call myself a old dowel? No, no, and no, and neither do I, so please can it, you silly little barn fowl. Was also going to be a good Samaritan and assert emphatically, earnestly, that I want to do GOOD with my writing and art, but again, who gives a bath towel? Not me! Well, I do, but...what I NEED to do is just do it.

Now it's the morning, and I started my day with a barfy yam poop (Malko, actually), so that was an interesting start to my 36th annum, but on the whole I feel good--no, I feel great--about the way things are going even despite the recent ups and downs. I think I feel good about things because in many ways it seems like I--and Joedy, and our little family--are starting over, and not only do I think we needed a new start (Costa Rica would have been our big "new start," but we know how that turned out...) but, well, we wanted one--just because it seemed fun--and the thought of starting over in a new city is really, really exciting to me. When people ask "why Austin?" I mention sensible things like the high-quality tap water, but in fact what I'm really excited about is South By Southwest this spring!!! Dude! I really want to go to that, and I really want to hear music--be somehow involved in music--on a regular basis. Austin is supposedly the live music mecca...maybe I'll give another shot at the bass? Maybe? Maybe?

I was just talking to my aunt Maryse, who came in last night from Seattle/France, about the weirdness of turning 36 and how I just don't feel that old, and it's true: how is it possible that I'm four years away from 40? I still run up and down stairs (for fun, not exercise) and laugh at things like people pooping in the bath (guess who?). I don't feel very ma-ture--if given the choice, say, between a nice sensible drying rack for my birthday or a '74 Chevy Nova, I'd probably pick the Nova. And then paint it eggplant and drive it around with this blasting on the stereo. Some parts of me are maturing, namely, my knees and nose (getting bonier and bigger*, respectively), but really that seems to be it. I guess when I'm 93, all knobby-kneed and big-nosed, I'll still find the sight of someone pooping in the bath hilarious, and I'll still hurl myself up and down stairs, walker and all...

Anyhoo (-t owl). Think I'll take advantage of kind offer from elders to allow me to return to my bed, which hopefully doesn't reek of yam poop anymore, and return to dreaming...

Happy day to all, and to all a good night!

*could be due to "things" put in it (see? Maturity--not there!)


Friday, January 1, 2010

One afternoon in the fall of 2008 I took a break from work with a friend from the library; we sat outside the Coffee Cat and talked about our writing projects and life in general. Joedy and I had moved to Ventura a few months earlier, and although the move away from Santa Barbara was good I still felt dissatisfied and restless. I was pretty sure Ventura was just a temporary stop on the way to something bigger and more exciting, but what was that something going to be? Where was that something going to be?

"I want change," I told my friend, feeling silly for not being able to articulate better. "I just want some change, you know?"

A few weeks later, I found myself standing much too close to a naked contortionist whose mission, I discovered, was to hand me the body of Ronia D'Arc. Taking Ronia's body meant instilling some major changes in my life, starting with a new name for my blog, and from then on the changes just kept coming: I went on maternity leave, Malko was born, I turned into a milk factory, I decided not to return to work, Joedy got laid off from his work, we visited and considered moving to France, we decided instead to move to Costa Rica, we gave away our rabbit, we sold all our furniture, we moved to Costa Rica, Lula started a new school, we realized we couldn't live in Costa Rica after all, we parent-hopped from Texas to Arizona to Rhode Island, and we decided to settle in Austin.

Without any doubt, my wish for change was granted this past year, and now there's something else I want, something I hope will happen in 2010:

I want to GIVE. I want to have a Year of Giving! I want to give in big, little, and medium ways to people, animals, and phytoplankton! I want to give back to those who have given to me. I want to give before I'm given to! I want to give phone calls, fish sticks, and visits, hugs, mittens, and Q-tips, smiles, shoe horns, and support. I want to be a more giving friend, cousin, daughter, sister, and niece! I want giving to become my theme and my obsession. I want to repay all the kindness so many people have given me! I want to take care of my loved ones, not just because they deserve it but because GIVING feels GOOD. Giving is good! Giving is the meaning of life!

Woah there, she's getting philosophical. Borderline spiritual! Better GIVE her a shot of tequila and remind her of the last time she tried to get all "new and improved"--she opened her mail for what, three days? And then went right back to throwing it in the trash. But it's true she's been thinking about this for a while now--it's true she's felt like an improvable friend and family member for a while now. She wants to do more...can she? Will she? If she does, she'll be really, really happy this time next year...