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Everyday Life

Lies I Tell Myself (the late January edition)

January 28, 2016

I probably won’t need my rain jacket.

I probably won’t regret not wearing my rain boots.

If we take the dog to daycare today, she will somehow become so exhausted that we’ll reap the benefits even tomorrow. She will be calm, and sleepy, and not crazy!

If not, this kong will keep her occupied for at least 20 minutes.

I don’t need to write down the date and time of that meeting, I have a mind like a steel trap.

If I stay awake until I can’t keep my eyes open, I won’t wake up every 1-2 hours in the middle of the night.

Tourists probably aren’t here in the middle of January, so it’s safe to go to Pike Place Market to buy some pepper jelly.

The dryer is basically an iron.

I’ll do ____ later.

Anxiety: it’s okay, it’s just a feeling, and today is the day it’s going to go away.

The Giants might make it to the super bowl next year.

Moving to the suburbs would be okay, and we won’t mourn our ability to walk to work for too long.

I won’t exhaust all of my social energy by “grabbing lunch” or “grabbing coffee” with “only” four people this week.

I’ll take a 5 minute internet-surfing break and get right back to work.

I’m a perfectionist because I want to attain the highest level of personal achievement that I can, not because I struggle with feelings of inferiority.

The only thing I’ve eaten today was a mint and an ice cube: I can spring for the third slice of pizza.

I’ll start making a real effort to post on the blog more often.

Everyday Life

Officially Unsubscribed from 2015

January 7, 2016

It is a relief to have said goodbye to 2015. It wasn’t all bad, I guess: celebrating another year of life, celebrating the birth of a nephew, celebrating another year of togetherness and marriage, vacationing, seeing my family, spending time in my hometown, seeing Alex’s family… — in the grand scheme of things, I should be thankful. But I’m just not. 2015 was filled with entirely too much heartbreak to color my glasses a shade of rose because of a handful of positive occurrences.

 Losing my grandma on the day of our nephew’s birth was jus confusing and heartbreaking — an unbelievable coincidence. Losing my grandpa two weeks later was excruciating. On vacation, I couldn’t silence the memory of his funeral service as I looked upon the Na Pali Coast, Psalm 23 playing over and over again in my mind. I cannot fathom putting a positive spin on the profound loss of two incredibly important people to me, people I owe much of my life to. I found myself crying in public for weeks after their deaths, and soon found myself doing the same when I miscarried my first pregnancy. A miscarriage: how can one be thankful for that? Alex and I don’t have the ability.

It’s amazing how loss can sour an entire year.
And I am so glad that 2015 has ended.

This year, however, has yet to be marred by tragedy, and has revealed to us an expanse of joys to look forward to. There are promotions (and raises) on the horizon, a 29th birthday, a 9th (!) anniversary, at least one bigger vacation, a few mini trips, and an exciting summer to look forward to.  I certainly am thankful for 2016, and can’t complain about what promises to be a wonderful, happy year for us.

This year, above all else, we’re going to take things one step at a time. It was advice we got from a perfect stranger on the day of our wedding, but we didn’t realize just how important and poignant that advice would be to us later. We’re going to plan what can be planned (like concrete vacation dates, which thankfully our schedules allow), and let the other chips fall where they may. The only thing we have to hold on to is the present, and we’re going to hold fast.

 We hope your holiday and New Year’s Eve celebrations were filled with happiness, and that 2016 brings you more of the same.

Everyday Life

Still Here.

December 17, 2015

The bomb exploded just before Thanksgiving. The shrapnel, by now, has stopped falling. The dust hasn’t yet settled, and some days it’s so thick that we choke on it, but other days — when we remember our respirators — things almost feel the way they used to. It’s in those moments that I know that we are going to be okay.

 But it’s still hard, nevertheless. I still find myself angry or sad when I see pregnant women, or when I hear the words “I’m pregnant” without a caveat like “for now,” which is so much a part of the lexicon for individuals who have suffered a loss. It’s an incredible pain. But what makes that pain easier to bear are the wonderful friends and family members who have called, Facebooked, and emailed just to offer Alex and I support, and to check on how we are. Making it easier still are the several people I have connected with who have also suffered losses, and who understand exactly what this feels like. The outpouring of love, caring, support, and friendship we have received in the past few weeks has given us an immense amount of strength. That strength, so far, has showed itself in various forms:

  • I was able to watch the episode of “Full House” where Becky announces her pregnancy without dissolving into bitter tears.
  • We went to a Gymboree, and the only reason we left in such a hurry was the creepy, nails-on-a-chalkboard rendition of “The Little Drummer Boy” playing through the speakers, and not because we were too sad to stay.
  • I don’t suddenly start crying as I walk down 5th Avenue or while perusing the aisles of Whole Foods.
  • We no longer hide our pregnancy and parenting books in the closet, stuffed under pillows.

Relief has mercifully found us.

That relief has given us the ability to go on, to think about, and to talk about something other than our loss, just like the good ol’ days. We’re back to analyzing which Food Network chefs we’re most like (Alex= Michael Simon,  I=Duff Goldman) or what we’d be named in another universe (Alex=Duquette, I=Steven [?]). You know — just deep, theoretical, super-important, non-baby, and non-miscarriage related stuff.

We went from not knowing when we’d ever laugh again to having fits of it. Just like that.

While this month doesn’t look the way I expected, the way it does look isn’t all that bad. We’ve got each other, we’ve got our humor, we’ve got our friends and family, and we’ve got our hope. We are going to be okay.

There is a poem by Langston Hughes that has seen me through many dark times in my life, and has again proven helpful as I walk through the rubble of our loss. I’ve repeated it in my mind almost every day for the past 11 years, and certainly over the past month. It is the called “Still Here”, and it reads:

I been scared and battered.
My hopes the wind done scattered.
Snow has friz me, sun has baked me.
Looks like between ’em
They done tried to make me
Stop laughin’, stop lovin’, stop livin’ —
But I don’t care!
I’m still here!

am still here. We are still here. And we are going to be okay

We really are going to be okay.

Everyday Life

Thanksgiving 2015

November 25, 2015

We spent our first Thanksgiving together in 2008, sans family – and definitely sans friends – in a state we had lived in for all of three weeks. With 1500 square feet of space, a huge dining table, thoughts of enough comfort food to feed a small army, and absolutely no one we loved to share it with, we thought the least depressing thing to do was skip the traditional Thanksgiving celebration for Thanksgiving Lite: the nontraditional Thanksgiving for traditionalists with tiny families. It felt like an abrupt change at the time, but looking back it was a natural progression, I suppose, for two people in their early 20s creating a new life together. It symbolized freedom, and the beginning of a new family, and novelty for the sake of novelty is what we needed to get started. We broke out a big bottle of red, quickly assembled the standard small appetizers like cheese and charcuterie boards (because snacking on Thanksgiving is everyone’s tradition), managed to find the only bag of Cheez Doodles in Athens, Georgia on the very bottom shelf of the chip aisle in Publix, stayed on the straight-and-narrow by baking the requisite three types of pie, and later that evening we came together with a novel entrée that just screamed “us:” a double batch of stromboli, and, of course, a big pepperoni pizza. We took our feast to the living room, sat on our couch, turned on the movie Twister, and laughed at Bill Paxton while we ate one of the best holiday meals of our lives. No huge dining table necessary.

 Despite not seeing my parents, brother, and extended family for the first time ever on my favorite holiday, and despite the twinges of loneliness I felt because of it, Thanksgiving 2008 still goes down as one of my favorites. It was so much fun that we’ve kept up our nontraditional Thanksgiving for traditionalists with tiny families for 6 more years. Until now.

This year, things were different. We were waxing “big traditional Thanksgiving dinner” over our tradition of “Thanksgiving Lite,” mostly because we actually had a reason for a big celebration, and a reason for another change. We were creating another new life together, but this time, it was happening in my body. I was pregnant. Our household of two was expanding, and suddenly Thanksgiving warranted more than just a pizza. I craved a big traditional celebration that always represented the family togetherness that I was missing so much, and now there was nothing to miss. I had that togetherness again in my family of creation, and there couldn’t have been a better reason for such a celebration than the promise of the three of us. Not even nausea could stop my dreaming about what was going to be the most awesome Thanksgiving EVER.

But  “was”  is the operative word here.
was pregnant.
Now I’m not.

Just like that.

We very recently suffered a miscarriage (a subject which I am not quite up for devoting more than a few words to for the moment) with heartbreakingly impeccable timing for the holidays, and the pre-planned, carefully purchased menu was obviously the last to know. It didn’t understand that it was only wanted under certain conditions, or that a night with pizza felt decidedly more “right” than any kind of actual formal celebration after such an event. Although, really, nothing could feel quite right in circumstances like these.

And it’s in these circumstances, I have learned, that what we need more than anything is to sit with and hold space for our feelings rather than try fruitlessly to run them away by changing everything but the feelings themselves, not to mention their origins. So we’re sitting with them — along with our big Thanksgiving feast — if for no other reason than to honor and give thanks for what we have just lost, to mark and give thanks for a brand new beginning, and to surround ourselves now with a little of what we plan to have in our future: us, our kids, and one day our grandkids, and even great-grandkids celebrating together around a huge dining table with that big, traditional thanksgiving dinner. The kids part of it all — providing another healthy conception, and the various miracles that clearly need to occur to have a healthy pregnancy — shouldn’t be too far away. We hope.

Until then, we’re determined not to despair over what we’ve lost, but rather to be grateful for the ultimate gift we’ve received in 2015: hope. For now, on this Thanksgiving, it’s just the two of us cooking and eating a full traditional thanksgiving meal (there’s turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green beans, creamed corn, cranberry relish, rolls, challah, pumpkin pie, apple pie, and chocolate pie involved), watching Twister, and practicing for what’s to come by listening to this on repeat while it’s all happening. It’s a new old tradition for a new emerging family. Nothing will ever be quite the same for us from here on out.

We’re so thankful for the support and love of our parents (especially our moms during this hard time in our lives), our family, our friends, and our two pets who have filled our lives with so much happiness and amusement. We are grateful for the privileges of living in a city we love, for a home we adore, for having food on our table, for having good jobs and money to ensure that we have these things and more, and for having a loving marriage and household. We are glad for my pregnancy — even if it didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to — and for how it showed  us our spectacular future in technicolor. We’re gladder still for more opportunities and genetic combinations that may produce our first child, and for what we are left with in the wake of our loss: infinite possibility. We appreciate that we have this space for sharing our joys, our sorrows, and our everyday lives, and that you all come back time and again to read about them.


Wishing you a wonderful holiday filled with the grand essentials for happiness (according to George Washington Burnap, at least): something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.

All of our love,
Alex and Deena

Everyday Life, Seattle

Moments Ago

November 17, 2015

Darkness sneaked up on us again. It likes to do that when we’ve been sitting in the sun for too long, and especially when we least expect it.

If not for pictures, I don’t think I’d be able to remember how, just a few weeks ago, I sat with a friend on a rooftop in downtown Seattle, bathed in the warm glow of afternoon light. I looked at the expanse of my beautiful city, itself perched on the expanse of Puget Sound, and thought of how lucky, and happy, and grateful I was — particularly for the precious gift of life, for ended chapters, and for new beginnings — and it was all laid out before me, set ablaze in the western sunshine.
Then the clouds came.
And the rain poured.
And all that was light became lightless.
And it feels like it has been forever now.


But it has only been moments — just moments since I basked in the sun, above Seattle, on top of the world.

Everyday Life

Em turns one

September 11, 2015

Today we are celebrating the life of our favorite little bully who turns one year old!

Em is a lover of cheese, tennis balls, and people, but could easily go the rest of her life without encountering another vacuum cleaner. She is 25 lbs of pure muscle, feisty as heck, tenacious, energetic, funny, sweet, wiggly, and known in our high rise as the “best dog in the building.” She’s earned that title, for sure, but more than any of that, she earned her place on our hearts as “best thing that has ever happened to us” and “light of our lives.” We’re so lucky to have her. Here’s to many more years together in the sun.

A letter to my dog, exploring the human condition
By Andrea Gibson

Dear squash

Aka squashy
Aka squishy
Aka squasharooni Gibson
Aka squish squash and you don’t stop
Aka miracle button
Aka little perfect peanut
Aka my beating heart with fur and legs
I know you think it’s insane that I still poop in the house
That I choose to wear underwear and pants giving no one the opportunity to smell my true disposition
 That on the days I need to feel better about myself I don’t just pee on someone’s pee
Don’t worry. I am not fooled by my thumbs
I know I am not the tadpole’s final project
I know I am not the last species evolution hopes to become
I can’t even swallow my own pride long enough to let myself drool when something smells delicious
What must you think of my mirror face
Or how much of my day I spend practicing my butch voice
My baby-I’ll-fix-your-carburetor-with-my-tool-kit voice when you know full well there is nothing in my tool kit besides a massive collection of self help books that have helped me do nothing but feng shui the skeletons in my closet
Don’t you just love how that femur accents the sofa set, squash
I’m sorry I cry every time I take you to the vet
I’m sorry they take your temperature like that
I’m sorry I take you there when you’ve only got a bug bite
Humans hold so tight to the leash of life but you will roll in anything dead and wear it like perfume
I wish I had your nose for eternity
 I wish I could see what you see
Where the squirrels satan your eyes
Where the postman deserves to die even when he’s not bringing bills
What’s with hating the shadow the peace lily makes on the floor in the living room?
I know I let you down everyday I choose not to murder the vacuum
Is it bad that I refuse to teach you to not be afraid of men
Is it bad that I want you to keep your bite and your snarl and your gleaming teeth
Is it bad that when they call you a risk, I call you a feminist
You never make fun of your friend Chloe’s underbite
Or your friend willow’s limp
Or your friend Harvey’s past trouble with the law
You never criticize me for being too uptight to let my hair down even though you can let yours all the way out
All over my black hoody, my black pants, the couch, the car, the chair, the online merch store that sells my books and tee-shirts wrote me a letter saying “we can’t continue to sell your products if they continue to be covered in so much of your dog’s hair”
I just assumed anything covered in you would increase in value
Remember when I told that woman I loved her and whispered in your ear “you’re my number one girl” it’s true
If I could I would put your beating heart in my mouth and suck on it like a piece of candy so I could finally understand how you got so sweet
I know my therapist likes you more than she likes me
And I still let you sleep on her couch
You taught me a good nap is the best therapy
You taught me to sit when I damn well want to sit
I don’t care that you never talk about capitalism or patriarchy or the heteronormative hegemonic  paradigm
I know you’re saving the world every time you get poo stuck in your butt hair and you don’t go looking for someone to blame
Speaking of looking for someone
I can’t imagine what you think of sex
I can’t tell if you think it’s a slobbering badly boundaried belly rub or a poorly aimed fist fight
You just perch on the end of the bed and tilt your head back and forth
Wondering why I still haven’t taken my pants off
I have issues, Squash
Humans have issues
We dig holes to bury our own hearts
We chew on our own bones
We escape the predators but still can’t shake them off
Some of us wear our own bodies the way your friend Berlin wore that cone around her head, remember?
So embarrassed, but I never had a better teacher that came to my own spirit than you
Never had a reason to stop playing dead until the day I saw your little face at the shelter
Your little nose pressed against the cold glass, staring up at me like I was a gay Noah’s ark
My heart
My heart
My heart
Every time I give you a treat, you run around the house looking for a place to hide it until you finally come to where I am sitting and hide it directly under me
The most important thing I have ever built in my whole life is your trust
May you always feel entitled to more than your fair share of the bed
May you always tear the stuffing out of every toy I give you
So I can constantly be reminded to keep spilling my guts
To keep saying I don’t know how I will ever make peace with the shortness of your life span
But I promise to make sure you know you are so loved every second you are here
You know my hands will build the sturdiest ark they possibly can
To hold your holy howl and your holy bark and your holy beg
Squasharooni Gibson
My little perfect peanut
My beating heart with fur and legs
Everyday Life

We’re over 2Forts, and now Over Mountains

August 17, 2015

We created this blog in 2013 with one purpose: to share, in some small way, our wedding with those we love. We called it 2Forts as reference to our marriage, a reference to Alex’s favorite map, “2Fort,” on his then-favorite computer game, and also because the URL is only five characters long (how it wasn’t taken, we’ll never know), and apparently, according to Alex, this gets you some kind of website cred. The name was meant to represent a single moment in time, and that it did.

But here we are, still going, and things are different now.

“2Forts” doesn’t reflect our life, or say much about who we are, or allow for growth in our family unit. It doesn’t fit this space which has begun to accommodate topics outside of marriage, like stress, and dreams, and the struggle to train a tiny animal to stop peeing on the floor, and it doesn’t fit what we hope to include on this blog in the future. We want to tell stories about scrambling the thrilling and sometimes scary faces and ridges of city living, adulthood, marriage, and parenthood; about navigating the switch-backing (and slippery, and rocky, and steep) trails of depression, fear, and grief; and about reaching the summits of happiness, contentment, and love.

We’re doing more than just being married: we’re traveling over mountains. Sometimes those mountains will even look the way you’d expect:


We’ve changed our blog’s name and URL to something a bit more suited to us now.
Welcome to Over Mountains ( Glad to see you on our trail.

Everyday Life

What I Need To Get By

August 3, 2015

The city can seem oppressive at times, especially in the summer when the the streets condense and become claustrophobic with travelers. The illusion of secrecy and the feeling of being alone disappear, and as we know, those are things I quite like. Other times, when busyness means far less self care, and the only thing on my mind is work and deadlines, and when the feeling of aloneness associated with said work and deadlines (not to mention graduate research) slips into loneliness at best and homesickness at worst, it’s this very place — crowds and all — that feeds my soul.

These days, I’m nourished by downtown walks with a side of street art, and murals, and inspiration galore; by grabbing a quick bite from a food truck or a newly discovered bakery; by hiking, and urban outdoor excursions followed by happy hour with good friends, and French wine chosen by a sommelier who somehow manifests my unintelligible and uninformed ramblings about the “strong” and “deep grape” flavors I seek into a perfect glass (or two) of Fleurie. But as always, it’s Alex and our long conversations on the couch with a backdrop of mountains, lunch at dive bars, and afternoons spent at the dog park with our sidekick that is my consistent source of groundedness, and happiness, and feelings of belonging.

Life lately looks like this:

…and it’s just what I need to get by.

Everyday Life, Featured Post

Emmy Fort and the Prisoners of Adolescence

July 5, 2015
It was some time in February when things started to really settle down after bringing Em home. She was fully housebroken, crate-trained, walking slack-leashed on the city streets (and down the freaking hallway, thank god), understood basic commands like “sit”, “down”, “stay”, and “give,” and did cute things like let us know when she needed to relieve herself, not completely lose her mind when I left the room, and actually sit or lay down at any point during the day.

All was finally calm in our household — it was how I imagined life with a full grown dog to be. When a fellow five-month-old puppy owner asked if our Alex and I were having just as hard of a time with our puppy as she was with hers, I was all “Well, it was hard, but now…”

To say the least, I was confident, because it wasn’t lost on me — AT ALL — that the behavior I was seeing from our puppy didn’t just magic itself into existence, but was actively created each day with persistence, consistency, and a ton of patience. A schedule that we wrote prior to bringing her home, which we followed religiously from the second she walked in the door, was the real champion, however. It set the course for our lives, which saved the sanity of my pitiful, systematic brain. Our sheer dedication to all of these things are what allowed us to build and cross some kind of bridge of puppyhood, over to an ethereal land where ALL OF THE STUFF was not hitting the fan ALL OF THE TIME.

For the first time since Em came along, I had real hope that one day life could once again resemble the way it was (e.g., not cleaning up pee every 20 minutes), and that one day, our story of raising a well-adjusted, well-behaved dog would be one of success.

But that was before I met a couple five-year-old Bostons, and BT owners in Seattle started coming out of the woodwork saying totally non-frightening things like “the energy doesn’t stop,” and Em got spayed and came home like, “IDGAF,”  which is when I realized:

By the third week after her surgery, some time in April, all hope was lost. Seven months old, and now she was ignoring her name and all commands, had regressed a little in the housebreaking arena (which we expected, but it still sucked), entirely stopped napping (naps = the only periods of relaxation you have with a Boston), began to freak out when we worked from home — at our desk — two feet away from her, was pulling on her leash again, and unremittingly jumping on the coffee table. It was unpleasant — especially the not listening and peeing everywhere (again) part — and my patience with such high levels of BS extended about a fortnight, which I think is pretty freaking reasonable for a silence-craving introvert and perfectionist, before I was like:

But I’m stubborn as hell, and I would endure virtually anything if it means that I am successful in the end, so after a day or two of exasperation, I set out to be the very calmest, determined leader that I could be. My inner Beyonce…

was successfully masking my inner Mona-Lisa Saperstein…

and I was going to be the champion of adolescence, come hell or high water.

But Em is the hell and the high water, and in May, things escalated. But only after I was led down another path of false hope when she began to relieve herself outside and nap once more, which, of course, lifted my spirits, and made the following exponential growth of adolescent BALONEY disheartening to say the least.

She started to jump on the baby gate (which quarantined her and her pee to only one area of the house) when she was frustrated, or wanted more attention, or wanted a toy/anything that was blocked by the evil contraption. Then she started doing the same thing to me — jumping on me every time she wanted something — which made for some super-fun times. Everything got extra fun when she began to chase the cat and jump on her, too.

It was endless — absolutely endless. Almost every waking hour while in the house became a fight. A fight for getting the dog to actually listen, a fight for keeping the dog (and especially her eyes) injury free, a fight for keeping the dog happy and calm, a fight for silence, a fight for ANYTHING. NORMAL.

Nothing helped. No amount of walks or play sessions, which is basically the most suggested remedy on the internet for such craziness, ever did the trick. A cure-all it is not when you have a high energy breed who laughs in the face of a 4 mile walk, and then proceeds to run around — on an empty stomach — until she throws up.

Now every time I read about a high energy dog or someone says they have one, my brain interprets it as “large dog unsuited to my lifestyle” and think:

If a 20 minute walk tires out your dog: high energy my ass. Heck, if a mile or two does them in, I’m still calling BS. Random internet resources that only tell me to do just that to somehow make my puppy behave better:

It stayed that exact same way until we moved back downtown in early June, when things got just a little worse.

When we removed the baby gate from our lives to start integrating the dog into her permanent, adult living situation, the cat chasing escalated, but this was anxiety-inducing, not irritating. What was irritating to me was when she started to add barking to the mix whenever she jumped on me, and would jump up next to me and bark if she wanted attention or for me to throw a ball, and was all around, in my face, barking and jumping constantly. That was awesome.

All I could do was ignore the behavior, ignore her, and leave the room if she did it, and praise any calmness when I came back. If I was home, I was getting up from wherever I was or stopping whatever I was doing, and leaving the room quite literally every two or so minutes. We went on like this for another few weeks before any of it paid off. But it did, finally, pay off.

Now here we are in July, the jumping has stopped, and so has most of the barking. We’re still working on the cat thing, but she has progressed by leaps and bounds in her ability to leave it alone.

Persistence, consistency, and a ton of patience wins again.

For as hellish adolescence is,  I know that all of her behavior is developmentally appropriate, and is not indicative of her overall character. It also could never sway the unconditional positive regard and love we have for her. She is absolutely the sweetest dog I have ever laid eyes on, tries so hard in all she does, is incredibly obedient when she is not rambunctious, and is the most loyal, loving friend I have ever had.  But the things is: everyone talks about this kind of stuff. The good stuff is always in the spotlight. It’s not hard to imagine that raising a puppy is fun, and fulfilling, and filled with sweet moments, but it isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. To ignore that would be to perpetuate an image of a life or a situation that is unrealistic. It is hard, it is frustrating, it is, like happiness and fun, an integral part of raising a puppy. In a society where stigma about feelings other than total happiness is rampant, I want to be a person who focuses on the feelings that garner that stigma, and talk about those. The more we talk about about the hard stuff, the more we normalize it, and the more we break down defense mechanisms and barriers that keep us in this same, antiquated place that tells us that those feelings are negative, maladaptive, or wrong.

Frustration, confusing, desperation, anger, hurt, depression, anxiety, anything….they are not wrong. Even if you feel it when you have a bouncing little puppy, even if you feel it on your wedding day, even if you feel it when you bring home your new baby, even if you feel it and you’re the richest person in the world, even if you feel it when you are randomly driving in the car one day: you are allowed to feel it. It is not wrong to not to be happy with everything all of the time, and it is not wrong to say so.

I’ll never stop trying in what little way I can to change the narrative of this society.

I hope that if you, too, are raising a puppy, and you, too, don’t enjoy every single aspect, that you know that you aren’t alone. I’m right here on this crazy ride with you. I probably will be for a while.


Everyday Life

the most wonderful time of the year

June 22, 2015

Hey! Hi! Remember me? I’ve missed you; It’s been a while. The last time I was here, it was early May, camping trips were taken, anniversary celebrations were had, day-to-day drudgery was endured, and after a month-and-a-half-long hiatus induced by stress and an astonishing lack of caring, I am happy to breathe a little life into this place once more and pick up where we left off.

I am happier still to lift you up and over the last several mountains of torment, fly you through the last valleys of desperation, and drop you into the now, into summertime in Seattle. It’s quite nice here. The temperatures are comfortably warm, and darkness doesn’t creep in until 10 PM. There is more weekend adventuring, more pool-lounging, and the only thing that stands between you and a belly full of Salty’s delicious seafood is all that ice cream you ate at LICK Pure Cream earlier in the day.

It’s easy for me to love this place at this time of year — when it’s perfect — and I’m beginning to forget three seasons worth of miserable weather and miserably low amounts of light, that, combined with graduate school and all things related, transformed this place into my personal, wet, 10th circle of hell. The last few weeks of spring were particularly hard for me. They threw me for a loop, took previously-made plans and scattered them hastily to the wind, reminded me to look into light boxes, and is currently making me appreciate this post-plan scattering, post-new plan making, post-desperation happiness I am feeling all the more.

Summer, without a doubt, is the best thing for this Seattleite’s soul:


'cause, damn

‘Cause, damn. Nine months of that kind of gray really gets to me.

We know we only have a few short weeks before good weather and sunshine die a swift death, so we’ve decided to do what we can to extend this summer, and to take some time to capitalize on whatever sunshine we can get once we’re in the throes of PNW darkness once more. We’re headed on another beach(-y-ish) vacation in September with the intention to spend as much time in the sun as possible (this time with less drinking and more exploring), and planning to get out of Seattle to go to either New York, California, or Arizona — or maybe two of them — when the end of winter rolls around. Spending time in any place with reliably less-crappy weather than here can’t do us anything but good.

Until then, we’ll be soaking up what we’ve got right now in this beautiful state of ours while we’ve got the equally beautiful weather on our side. From the beaches here in the city to those on the Olympic coast, from Mt. Si to Mt. Rainier, from the views on the San Juan Islands to the ones right here at our own high rise.

At long last, we finally have that again. If you weren’t aware, we spent the past year over in South Lake Union under the spell of (an increase in) quietness, and found that aside from said quietness, there wasn’t a whole lot going on. We regretted it so much that even the suburbs (shudder) started to become appealing: even though the suburbs  (clearly) aren’t our best fit, at least they do quiet and “nothing-going-on” with excellence. We hated the half-assed atmosphere and transitional quality of SLU, and couldn’t get out fast enough. We ended up signing a lease at the building downtown where we lived last year, which occurred to us might be weird, but we really missed it over here. We are so lucky at the end of the day to come home to views of sparkling water, the mountains, and city lights. Its sounds silly, but it makes me feel so much more connected to this place. I think we’ll stay a while, because here, we feel truly at home.

It’s safe to say that with the arrival of summer, the the move, the comorbid happiness associated with both, the end of my school quarter, and Alex’s semi-vacation (time off induced by an office transition) this week, we have finally disembarked the first-world struggle bus. The goal now is to self-care like no one’s business. Putting Em in doggy daycare and going for day hike alone with Alex, a swim in the pool, a marathon of Harry Potter, and a homemade pizza are all in order. More blogging, too, because: there are a lot of feelings to talk about.

Like feelings surrounding puppy adolescence, and feelings about this age 30 transition thing, and feelings about Tricare (on a scale of one to even, I can’t) and did I say feelings about PUPPY ADOLESCENCE? I think that even Kanye West had a little something to say about that particular topic:

‘Til next time, you can find me self-caring at the pool, staring at the sun (!!!) outside, and beginning my quest to fill up on enough summer to last me until next year. And that shit — relaxation, actually participating in personal happiness-inducing activities — might be just as cray as anything else that has happened this year.