I started playing piano when I was six years old. I remember, with clarity, sitting on the gray strip of marble watching Alyssa practice for her piano lessons and begging my mom to let me learn too. I remember being so excited when my mom said yes, and that first song my piano teacher taught me—the one that uses your knuckles and three black keys. It was a great day. I loved it for a while. As in, maybe a week or two. For the next twelve years it became a battle; my mom forcing me to practice, my teacher trying to mask disappointment when she realized that I’d come to yet another lesson unprepared. It was a battle, one that I wasn’t sure if I was winning or losing. During my last year of high school something happened. I’m not sure what, but something made me want to start playing again. I remembered the excitement, the challenge of learning to play, the same feelings I felt as an eager six year old.
Much like piano, the reasons for starting a blog and reasons for continuing to do it are very different. Sometimes the excitement leaves and it becomes a challenge. My reason for blogging these past few months is so that I can remember how these periods of my life feel. I try to capture what I think is the essence of my life, try to pinpoint how I feel and what makes me feel that way. But lately I haven’t been feeling things I want to remember.
When things are specifically hard or eventful (like the accident or the funeral), it’s easy for me to write about them. I’m feeling specific emotions related to specific events and it all seems clear. Yet the less tangible things are near impossible to work out in my head, much less on paper. I feel like my head is this marshy swamp full of muddy, indistinct feelings. I can’t make sense of my own thoughts. And when I can, it’s rarely good thoughts. I’ll be honest, sometimes all I can focus on is how much my life sucks. How many people have hurt or disappointed me, how much has been taken from me, how lonely I feel, how much I have to fix—in my life and in myself—and how much help I’m going to need in doing it. People say that if you only focus on the negative then you won’t be happy. They’re right. Absolutely. However, I’m learning that sometimes you have to focus on those sucky things. Sometimes it’s okay to be sad, no—to wallow in despair because “counting your blessings” won’t make the pain go away, and it’s all too much to handle. To some extent, that’s where I am now. But don't get me wrong—I am all for seeing the good in things and looking forward to an always bright future. So in an effort to pinpoint those good things and to document the essence of my life right now, here’s a little recap.
We’ve been seeing a lot of the Browns lately. I like the Browns. I like the cheerfulness they always bring. I like that they’re easy going and comfortable being themselves around us and around everyone. I like that they treat us like family. I like that I can be myself around them.
I like that the resident cowboy thinks it’s necessary to scale the side of our house and that he does it shamelessly, cowboy boots and all.
He was also kind enough to braid my hair. He said it reminded of his donkey’s hair [I’m sure that’s a compliment] and that it was a “man catchin’ braid”. So that’s what I’ve been doing wrong all these years…
I like that I can hang out with them on Halloween and that Chris “could recognize my feet anywhere” because they’re both loyal blog readers and supporters.
We have had friends in town every weekend for the past month or so. It’s glorious. Especially since I now know how to get to the airport with my eyes shut. Not that I’d actually drive with my eyes shut. Because given my history I’d be totaling cars right and left.
One of our guests was my aunt Deb. My favorite night of the weekend was Sunday night when four missionaries came over at 8:30 at night for dinner and we convinced them that Deb was from Finland. It was a gorgeous presentation.
She sanded furniture and braided my hair and I got her hooked on Pinterest.
It was pretty much a glorified sleepover.
I made this. Because everyone else is doing it.
I made some other stuff too. Thank you, internet, for being full of endless ideas and thank you, Bones, for allowing me to escape my own reality while I wield a hot glue gun and colored pencils.
This is a pretty precise summation of one aspect of my essence-of-life-ness. I stay up really late every night watching Bones and cutting things out. I feel arthritis coming on.
This is the number of days until Alyssa gets home! We take one down every night and have a little dance party because we just can’t contain our excitement!!
Hmmmm what else? Oh yeah, this happened:
No, this isn’t carpal tunnel from trying to be crafty or from cutting out the thousand bats for Kenyan’s party. [Just imagine this picture in a big parentheses.]
Anyway. I may or may not need to have minor surgery done to fix it. Annnnnnd. Big news. I re-broke my collarbone in the second car accident. Ha. Again, surgery may be necessary for it to heal right. But I won’t know for a few weeks. How exciting.
Speaking of car accidents…we did get another car. It’s a Chevy trailblazer. I was skeptical at first, until I realized the potential it has. I’ve learned that it’s a pretty good car for cutting across empty fields (even when they’re mostly mud), for driving down bumpy dirt roads, for…blazing its own trail. Perhaps that’s where it got its name…This right here—this is it. This is the ultimate highlight of my days right here. Off-roading in the trailblazer with the windows down listening to Yellowcard. This is what I’ll remember about these days—how this was the only thing I could do to feel happy or to feel peaceful, where it was okay to cry at the unfairness of life or laugh at memories of stupid things. It’s a safe place where I’m alone and in complete control. It’s the only place where I can remember Jada, where it’s okay to miss her, to remember her, to keep her alive.So I drive. And sing my heart out. And take pictures of the vast openness around me.
The sun looks like that because there’s a thin layer of dust covering it. More on that in a minute.
I got to spend some time with these charming children. Why anyone would entrust me with their house, their car, and their offspring for any period of time is beyond me.I don’t know about them, but I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.
They’re some of my favorite people ever. They might as well be my little siblings, since I’m at their house just as much as I’m at mine.
We spent one long day at the soccer fields—fields that were depressing. There was no green, soft grass. It was just an endless stretch of dirt and weeds. I sort of wanted to get a mega phone out and announce to everyone that, in case they weren’t aware, there is a beautiful peninsula in the eastern united states that has green grass and soft soccer fields. Except I don’t think anyone would have appreciated that.
We’ve been dealing with some insane weather here. First there was a dust storm, more correctly termed a haboob. They are the coolest, nastiest things ever. One moment the sky is blue and within sixty seconds dust rolls in, turning the sky the same color as the ground. It’s unreal. We tried to stand outside and take pictures but the dirt got in our eyes and throats. SO GROSS. It’s like a hurricane with dirt instead of water.
Being new to this whole thing, we didn’t realize that the dirt blows into your open windows. I mean…obviously it would. It just didn’t cross our minds. We scrambled around, frantically shutting doors and windows. Most of the rooms were okay except for the computer room. Everything in the room (keyboards, screens, speakers, everything) was covered in a layer of red dirt. Sick.
Do you like how it says “clean me Brid”? Because I am the official house cleaner. haha.
As if that weren’t bad enough, a cold front came in. And guess what.
IT SNOWED. IN OCTOBER. IN TEXAS.
Those clouds have snow in ‘em. Tricky little things.
IT SNOWED. If you ask my mom, she will deny it. Yet try as she may, she can’t. It is so ridiculously cold here. There is frost on the roofs and it gets below freezing at night. Honestly, all I can think about is the two boxes of stuff I left in Hawaii that contain all my sweats and coats. Don’t ask me why they’re there. Don't ask me how I’m getting them back. Just know that I’m screwed when it comes to cold weather. I don’t know how I’m going to make it through winter here. I might die. I’ve been getting a ton of jokes about how I still run around barefoot and in shorts and how I’m going to have to start driving with my windows up. The unfortunate thing is that those jokes have truth to them. Shoot. I thought I was going to be asking for a ton of baking stuff for my birthday, but I think I’m going to have to request an entire cold weather wardrobe. Yes, I still make lists of things I want, as though I have my own personal birthday Santa. It’s how I like to mentally prepare for getting older. In fact, I have already started celebrating my birthday. Technically it’s not until Friday, but I don’t see any reason to wait until then.
Actually it wasn’t a restaurant. It was an embassy.
It was wonderful.
I’ve also received my first two birthday presents. And they’re pretty much the best birthday presents ever. The first is an apron, so that I can bake to my heart’s content and not worry my about getting my dress dirty. Cuz that’s always such a huge concern…
I’m proud to say that it’s already covered in flour and oil. It was an exhausting weekend—one where I spent hours and hours in the kitchen.
The second present I got was so awesome I almost cried. Almost. It was carried by someone who flew in for the weekend, and she pulled it out of her bag minutes after getting into the car, as I was driving home. When I saw it I wanted to pull the car over and cry. But I didn’t. I didn’t even get misty eyed. Yep. I’m getting better, people. Anyway. Remember that one time that I was in the hospital and was convinced that someone stole my precious starfish necklace? The one that meant so much to me, that held so many memories of this day—one of the most peaceful, happy days of my life?
[You can also picture this picture in a parentheses if you want.]
Well these awesome people went back to the island and bought an identical one. How cool is that? So cool. Sooo cool. I love it. I don’t even need to have a birthday now, because this did the job. [jk mom. I still want to have a birthday.]
Well I think that pretty much sums it up. This is the essence of my life right now. It’s cold here. My birthday’s in two days. I watch a lot of Bones. I drive around a lot, listening to music and making a mental list of places that I want Alyssa to see when she gets home. In 20 days. It’s gonna be so great. I can’t wait!
[Title from With You Around by Yellowcard]