31 August 2009

death and renewal

We started getting doves above our door, in the outside alcove, a few years ago. They would have their babies there. We would get about six couples every summer. My family and I liked to think that one of the adult birds was one of the babies that were previously born there. Last year we had a few families of birds and then a cat from across the street came and killed them. We just had one couple this year and just as the babies hatched, the cat came over and killed them. Doves are suppose to bring good luck if they nest on your home. What does it mean if they are slaughtered there? Now if doves try to make a nest above our door I will have to destroy their nest to protect them from the cat. This makes me very sad. I feel proud that they choose my home as their own, a place were they feel they will be protected enough to have their babies.

Fall is upon us. Soon the leaves will be brown and fall from their trees. For the first time it is not the bleak harbinger it usually is. No school to start. And I am enjoying it. I can't wait to wear heavy sweaters, sleep under my heated blanket, drink hot chocolate, put on my big manly boots and stomp through freshly fallen snow, and walk through the brisk air knowing that once I get home I can enjoy a hot shower. And Thanksgiving and Christmas, and all the good-feeling it brings. Turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie; bright red and green coloured decorations and lights.

30 August 2009

this post is dedicated to Abby

So what's up blog folks?

I went to have my nails done today. A manicure, with my friend Abby. First manicure. Never thought about having one before. Most things like this don't interest me. But it was a nice (not entirely necessary) thing to do. Abby and I have decided to do things that we've never done before.

My nails are "hot pink" coloured. Something I would normally never colour them, mostly because I am RUBBISH at painting my own nails.

The woman who did my nails was nice, Asian. She was so excited to see us when we walked in. We first went to a place that was really hot and stunk of powerful cleaning liquids and was filled with young, (may I say, probably dumb) skinny shorts wearing squirrel hill girls. We went up the street to the library where Abby works, used a computer in the office to find another place near us, and got there about forty minutes before they were to close.


A lot of Vettriano's paintings, it seems, have to do with men making out with women. Is that why I like them? They're evocative.

I've been watching the hit tv show True Blood. About vampires. No Buffy, that's for sure. There's at least one graphic nudity scene per show, usually rough sex, and a lot of deaths. It's good times. It is cliche at times, but generally pushes to be new, and things happen that you didn't think would. Anything goes with this show. There is a central love story, of course. And, of course, it is between a vampire and a young, (at the beginning) virginal, vivacious girl. While the rest of the show is blatantly sexual, the central love story is emotionally sexual, if you get what I mean. It feeds the current void in my life with regards to emotional charges.

It is 1:00 am. I try not to go to bed later than 1:00, and usually 12:00 each night. Otherwise, I will wake up late the next day and will probably have a pounding headache and then go to bed even later the following night. So I'm going to bed. More inanity tomorrow.

28 August 2009


I'm amazed at how much my life sucks.

27 August 2009


Today went to Piper's Pub, a British style pub where I live. It was pretty awesome. Had pure lager and bangers and mash. Both as good (about) as in England. Went with T. from work. We talked about Britain, us both having been there. It's a bit pathetic how I long for London, even while I realize that the last time I was there was one of the worst times in my life. (I'm only 23; I have a looooong way yet to go).

Jack Vettriano

26 August 2009

happy moments


I must admit, I have not been feeling well. Not much new there.

It is getting darker earlier. College students are starting back. For the first time since I was 5, I will not be going to a school or college this fall. Like most things, I don't really feel it. But somewhere in me I'm probably a bit upset, which is prompting me to feel down.

In movies when the lead character is feeling down, something or someone comes along to inspire and enrich that character's life.

I wonder if anything has ever come for me. I've gone out and got things. London, university, jobs. But has anything come to me that has changed my life, that has made me happy, that has made me not this horrible cliche of a sad 19th century heroine?

I don't fucking know. Those sorts of things you probably can't see clearly, especially if you're not looking for them.

I often wish I had never been born. I mean this; I'm not being dramatic. It is why I don't want to have children. This world is so horrible. I think people don't realize how horrible it is, with technology and happy meals to distract us. But most of the time it is really awful.

That's why you have to take moments of happiness and keep them with you. Be grateful for them. Because they're fleeting.

Jack Vettriano

25 August 2009


Ugh. Just ugh. ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh.


That's about all I got today. But here's another Jack Vettriano. Life in all its beauty, real and imagined, seedy and pure. That's, to me, what his paintings depict. Expect more over the next week, people who don't read my meaningless blog and those who occasionally do.

24 August 2009


Once again. Nothing to write. What did I do today? What do I do every day? What is better? Wasting your time at a job, and getting paid for it, or wasting your time at home doing nothing, and not getting paid for it. It seems right now I'd rather the latter. Mostly, because I can't think of a job that I would not be miserable at. And, furthermore, there is no job I could get that would pay enough for me to live on my own, so why even bother? But I do need to get a job. Apparently. This is what people tell me.

I think. I seriously think, about whether it would have been better for me to have stayed in Pittsburgh, working at the library. I would probably be full time now. I could afford to move out. But I know that I would be miserable, because I would wonder -- for the rest of my life -- what it would have been like to move back to London for grad school.

So I'm stuck at home, with my dysfunctional parents. 23 years old. Economy in the shit. Can't get a decent job. Don't know what I want to do career wise. Thought I knew. It seems like I am good at things only to a point, never enough. Like teaching, hate grad school. Like literature, don't want to spend 4,000+ words making something of Crime and Punishment that no one will care to read.

I'm "alone, exposed on this bleak eminence." (Virginia Woolf). And don't know what to do about it.

Jack Vettriano

23 August 2009

Billie Piper

Billie Piper is one of my favourite actresses ever, and favourite woman who is an actress. She seems genuine. Funny, nice, but definitely tough. She started as a pop singer, became number one at 14. The industry nearly killed her, literally. The medias comments about her weight prompted her toward anorexia. If it had not been for her first husband Chris Evans (not the American actor, but British DJ) she would probably have died from the disease. Billie left the pop industry with his help at 18 and spent three years regaining what part of her life she had lost. Acting was her first love. She had taken lessons before her pop career at the very prestigious Sylvia Young theatre school for girls. She returned to acting in her early twenties, becoming popular in the cult sci-fi British show Doctor Who, where she played a de-sexualized good girl who, as consequence of her single mother, had, like Billie herself, to grow up a bit too soon. After Who, she decided to play the lead in the controversial Secret Diary of a Call Girl, a television series based off the non-fiction book The Intimate Adventures of a Call Girl. Many tried to dissuade her. Billie was keen to shed her good girl persona (having also played Fanny Price in Mansfield Park). The British are not too keen on the show but the Americans -- not surprisingly -- love it.

I spent a few late nights, alone, in my dingy flat in London, watching this show on youtube, eating cadbury chocolates and diet coke that I had gotten from the vendor outside and across the courtyard. So cold it was, walking across that yard, and the nighttime security guard would sometimes be out there doing rounds, and look at me, probably wondering why I was out there, getting chocolate, in my ridiculous adidas pants, and probably with something of a raccoon look about the eyes.

Billie Piper. I watched an episode of her in Doctor Who while I was in Heathrow, trying to calm myself, after having taken my wonder drug. Maybe it was watching her on my laptop that calmed me more than the pill. She plays very strong women. Even her character in Call Girl, which many would presume is a rather vapid character, is not entirely denigrating to women. Her character has read every feminist manifesto. Finished her A-levels. She is independent, but unable to establish emotional contact with men, whom she'd rather sleep with than marry. I'm sure there is some sort of essay one could write on this character. Society no longer dictates that women must marry in order to have a fulfilling sex life or be financially secure and Hannah (prostitute name: Belle) is a woman who takes full advantage of that freedom.

22 August 2009


The work must be approached aesthetically or not at all. ART was ART, and morality was morality, and never the twain could, would, or should meet.

I'm faced with nothing to write. Which probably means that I shouldn't. But I try to write every day. A sort of therapy, I suppose. The only therapy I'll allow myself, even though others may suggest that I should do the proper sit down sort. Maybe one day I will. Right now I feel it a great waste of money to pay someone to listen to me. I'd rather talk to a friend. I think I would get more out of talking to a friend, so long as they were a good friend, who were straight forward and caring. Although I'm certainly not knocking those who find proper therapy healing and worth the money.

I just drank tea, ate some ginger cookies, and watched the British soap opera EastEnders. This is an (almost) nightly ritual. Someone in Britain uploads the episodes on YouTube for those of us who, when we lived in Britain, became hooked on it and now, living elsewhere, can't watch it on telly or bbc iplayer, the online television viewing station that you can watch for free only in Britain

I did not do much today. When I was taking classes and working part time at the library I would look forward to having Sundays off to do as I like. Now that I have every day off (essentially) I don't relish it, and spend the time waking at 12:00 and fiddling away the day watching poker on telly. Romantic thoughts of laying on my couch reading the day away, thoughts that I used to have as an undergraduate, aren't quite so fulfilling in realization.

I take walks around my neighbourhood, while listening to my cd player -- my ipod having become dounced with water while in my bag at Heathrow after leaving, unbeknowst to me, an opened water bottle in it. I was so sick at Heathrow before coming home from London in April that I thought I would not be able to make it the two hours I had to wait to board the plane. I had not slept the night before. I literally could not. My anxieties came to a fore. I thought I would not wake in time for my driver to pick me up. I was sure I would miss my flight. All the confidence I had the first time I lived in London entirely gone. London part deux had taken that out of me, against my will.

The worst was that I was alone in the airport, surrounded by so many strange people, searching for an empty row of seats to rest my weary head. I was alone. I once had a dream so vivid that when I woke from it I was crying. I was in a doctors office. They had to perform a surgery on me but had to keep me awake during and it was suppose to be very painful. It was not the thought of the pain that hurt me, but knowing that no one was there for me to hold my hand or hold me during the operation, and that I did not even have the consolation of knowing that someone would be there after. I knew that if only I had someone there, or knew that someone would be there for me after, the physical pain would not be as intense.

There are some times in our lives that it seems impossible to get through on our own. I was lucky that there was a chemist in the part of the airport I was in and they could give me a drug to relieve my nausea. Drugs. Wonderful things. Cure all sorts of evils, while sometimes creating others. Drugs are there for us when people are not.

A Modern Comedy: John Galsworthy, 358

21 August 2009

a thursday

Any new idea gets seized and talked out of existence.*

I thought I would write about something good. Good, you say? Yes, good. I know this is a rare occurrence.

Yesterday I had one of those days that I used to have a lot, before my undergraduate career ended and I decided to start grad school (the horror, the horror) in London. This is when I took five classes a semester and worked 20 hours a week at the library. Long days these were, and I was thoroughly knackered by the time I got home. No matter how strenuous it all was -- although sometimes rather boring-- at the end of the day there was always a sense of having lived. Running from Point Park, at one end of town, to the library at the other, and on Thursday after 6:00 running back across town to university again for a three hour night class. Woke at 7:00, returned home at 10:00. I always looked forward to Thursday.

Yesterday was a Thursday. I did not think about this until now. The first song on my blog is titled "Thursday."

Yesterday was a good filling day. Woke at 8:30, at the library by 10:00, where I no longer work as a paid employee but a volunteer. Really the only reason I work there is, well there are two reasons: (1) I need something to do with myself that gets me out of my house, (2) I really like the people there. I have made some good friends and acquaintances. It was always less a job, then a nice place to hang out -- making money in the mean time. Now right here my former writing professor would very much like me to write about these people, describing them, explaining my relationship to them. But I'm not going to. Mostly because I don't want to spend the time doing it. And because I need not have some of these people finding my blog and disapproving of what I write, or thinking too well of themselves -- or my relationship with them -- according to what I write. Short of it is, that with each person there, even the oldest, most up-tight librarian, I have forged some sort of relationship, and for someone who finds it difficult to get along with people, this is quite an accomplishment. Mostly, I have fun, I have a larf, as the Brits say. And no where else do I feel less inhibited.

On Thursday (I work at the library Tuesday and Thursday) I have lunch with T. We usually go to Brueggers. He likes soup. So he usually gets that. I, a salad and a chicken soup that remains one of my favourite downtown meals. T. is sick with a throat cold of some sort, so I bought lunch for him, after suggesting he get the chicken soup that I always get, but which he has never.

My life is certainly not very exciting. It has always been the little things, that perhaps other people don't recognize, that inspire me. So, uncharacteristically for some perhaps, for me, leaving work and heading to a cafe to read for two hours, filled me with joy. It is how I spent most days in London, a city where a cafe -- and its counter, the pub -- are considered two very important entities, like a second home. We have our Starbucks here where we grab our coffee before rushing off to work but in Europe the cafe is a place where you stay for hours, talking to others, or reading.

But I go off on tangents, and am starting to sound more romantic than I mean be.

I had bought tickets to see a play with a friend, and so after spending time at the cafe in his neighbourhood, I headed to his house at 6:00 in the evening. We walked to a French bistro, also in the area, and had dinner on an outdoor patio. It was -- as D. suggested it would be -- "cute" in its desire to appear genuinely french, with Edith Piaf music playing over the speakers, and old french adverts, like the one at the top of this blog. The food, in looks at least, genuinely french; desserts with flaky crust.

For some reason the waitress took an awful long time to change our money and we left the restaurant with a half an hour to get to the theatre. I did not much care if we arrived late, uncharacteristically for me. Usually I am at the theatre at least a half an hour before the show starts. Maybe my time at the cafe and then the french bistro had slipped me back into the European mind-set. Some call this mind-set lazy, they prefer to see it as laid-back. As with most varying assessments, it is usually both.

We walked more quickly to D.'s home than we had walked to the Bistro, and after a quick visit to the loo for D. and after grabbing my Strand Bookshop bag holding sundry items from the library, we drove to the theatre with fifteen minutes or not much less to spare. It began to rain just as we got out of the car. I fiddled unsuccessfully against the wind with my purse-sized umbrella, until D. took over to steady it, at which exact moment it was decided that there would be no more rain.

The Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre is where we saw The History Boys, a play that (probably) won a Tony, and had with it a very successful run at the National Theatre in London. A play about a group of High School boys in the 1980's, the year of their A-levels, and their endeavour to get into Oxford and Cambridge for college, and the one professor who teaches them that getting into a good university is not the ne plus ultra of life.

Before the play began D. spotted his best friend who, oddly enough, was sitting at the very end of our row, of which we were at the opposite end. Although they often talk to one another, neither one had told the other that they were going to be at this play on this day. Coincidence, I'm sure, but still a wonderfully odd occurrence. Such circumstances always have with it, for me, a sort of mystical resonance.

There was even a scene entirely spoken in French, that was rather piquant given where we had dinner. And on the wall of the stage classroom there was a poster from the movie Casablanca, which I had only two days before tried to encourage D. to watch -- unsuccessfully, however, as my assessment that D. reminds me of a modern Humphrey Bogart was not enough to convince him to watch an "old" movie.

No rain as we walked to the car after the show, although it looked as though it had rained during the show. Home by 11:00, sleep by 1:00, 11:00 am the next day I woke, having just the same sort of uninterrupted, refreshing sleep I used to have on a Thursday night after a week of classes.

*A Modern Comedy, John Galsworthy

19 August 2009

the fear

I don`t know what`s right and what`s real anymore
I don`t know how I'm meant to feel anymore
When do you think it will all become clear
`Cuz I`m being taken over by The Fear

The Fear, Lily Allen

Jack Vettriano, Just Another Day

18 August 2009

17 August 2009

spiegel im spiegel

beautiful piece of light, simple, (sad or romantic -- seen it used in both venues) music, accompanied by a post-modernist video.

Nice way to calm down after a hectic day.

16 August 2009


Whenever I am asked about competitive acting, professional jealousy, all that pettiness, I have only to reflect that the best actors, dancers, writers are not like that, they are too busy learning, improving, moving forward, trying to bring more to their professions. And they appreciate and admire other people who are good at what they do. -- Lauren Bacall


On either side of my Cheval mirror rest one article of clothing. On the peg of one side, my black blazer, waist long, thick, close-fitting, masculine. On the other, my silk robe, loose fitting, of thin material, colourful. Both I wear so often that I can't bother hanging them away in my closet. Easy access is required. The one I wear most days outdoors (and inside cold cafes and restaurants in the summer); the other indoors, before and after a shower, or when lounging about the house with nary another stitch on and with nowhere to go. I was thinking last night in bed, lights off, sleep nearing, that there was something curious about having these two (opposing) articles hanging on my Cheval mirror. As though in some way they represent myself, the mirror reflecting my image as I pass it to gather either one. One part of myself -- so eager to hide behind a black cloak, to be protected. The other part of myself sexual, not self-conscious, naked. Certainly if these images were presented in a novel before the 1950's we would be talking about its representation of the main characters androgyny or the dichotomy between her latent and outward self. I thought last night -- unwittingly, real life has the possibility of being literary, presenting a perspective of ourselves that (as we learn about a character in a novel) is best understood through symbols.

15 August 2009


"They will believe anything, my dear, that suggests corruption in public life. It's one of the strongest traits in human nature. Anxiety about the integrity of public men would be admirable, if it wasn't so usually felt by those who have so little integrity themselves that they can't give others credit for it."

This universal health care system that Obama wants to pass. I have never been so upset with my society as I am now. Those who oppose it. Usually I can see the others side, some sort of worth I can place on it. But on this issue, I can't even read or watch scathing reports about how Obama's health system will destroy our society. It is so ridiculous. The British are upset about it, as they see it as a backlash on their own NHS (National Health System) that many in Britain love. There are many British people on Twitter putting tags on their default picture that say "I love the NHS." Okay, that's pretty ridiculous, but just the same, I am glad that the British are standing up for the NHS system. The British supporting their own health system proves that it is not such a corrupt and society-ending system as many conservatives here would claim. Of course, this issue has A LOT to do with insurance companies fearing the loss of their overwhelming control over the public, most particularly our money. I was happy to see Obama speaking about this issue today in a Q&A session with the public. As far as I know, it is not common for a President to do such a thing after he has won the presidency.

quote: A Modern Comedy, John Galsworthy

14 August 2009

what to do

"Nobody knows ones," said Fleur, sullenly. "The fonder they are, the less they know, and the less it matters what they think."

I dreamed all last night about being in London, visiting all the spots I frequented, and not being able to feel anything while there. I would try to feel inspired and passionate, but couldn't feel anything.

I have nightmares every night now.

Getting a job. Will that be any better than the hell I am going through now? I happen to think it'll just be another hell. I can't think of anything that I would want to do, other than work in a library that can't afford me.

I feel like I should write two good things. They are:

The sun is shining
I'm going to make tea and watch EastEnders.


quote: A Modern Comedy, John Galsworthy

13 August 2009


"Don't you ever feel angry, Michael?"
"My dear, I was through the war."

So remember that time I said that I was going to write on here every day?

I get sick of writing about myself, and really there is not much going on in my life or in the world for that matter that is interesting. Plus, my writing is horrible. I don't know if since graduating from college my writing has become worse. I had such a stilted writing form as a result of having to write essays, but now I don't have to write like that anymore, and my writing has become plaebian. Shit, I don't know how to spell plaebian. At least my writing is not so high-handed, so snooty, so filled with technical terms. However, I wish my sentences were a bit cleaner.

I had a creative writing teacher who said that if I were to take a year writing course I could very well become a professional writer. Maybe that is what I should do while I am not really doing much of anything else.


quote: A Modern Comedy, John Galsworthy

05 August 2009

a country holiday

Written while at the cabin. Not well written by any means. Some pictures too.

I was happy, yesterday, when I first arrived. Now I am sitting alone in our cabin near Erie while my mother, drunk, and my brother are at dinner elsewhere. I can’t be around my mother. I refuse to go with them.

I was happy here as a child, with my father (who no longer comes with us) and my mother, still drunk but not so much and less hysterical. Now I am older, 23, and only want to be here alone with a man -- age height career don’t matter. We will make love in the evening as the sun displays only patches on the trees.

I want a man more lovely than anyone I have ever met. Perfect to me only.

I am reading “The End of the Affair” and watching “The Reader”, another story about the end of an affair. Not quite to make me feel better. I once had a male professor – Rosenberg -- who said that all literature is sad, literature cannot by definition be happy: there is no reason to write if you are happy. I don’t believe that is true. You can write happy stories. They just may not be considered truthful to those of a more “practical” disposition. This theory of my professors’ – a man whom I do happen to look up to, despite (or perhaps because) of his eccentricities – does allow me to get away with my own solemn writings.

So, yes, I believe one is capable of writing eloquently about many good things, but I find it difficult. So maybe literature by definition is on the whole sad only because that is a topic easier to write.

Back to the beginning. I was happy yesterday. When we first arrived. Mother: sober. I was relaxed the moment of arrival. 4:00 pm. Raining. Cool. Dinner at The Frog Pond, a “fine dining” restaurant down the street, next to the lake. Fine dining for the country. Swimming suits allowed, paper tablecloths, and lobster for 21.99.

I suppose if I were a fancy writer I would explain in great detail the appearance of the cabin, who owns it, how memories of my childhood focus on being here. I will only say that the cabin is small, with one floor, two bedrooms, two pull out couches in the living room; that it is my mother’s ex-husbands mothers, who uses it as a summer home. That my mother has come up here since she started dating her first husband when they were teenagers. That she brought my two older brothers who are some sixteen years older than I when they were little. Obviously, she has a good relationship with her ex-husband. He owns a home down the street, where he now lives permanently with his third wife, horde of cats, sons my age who won’t leave and two dogs. after retiring from his job in Pittsburgh. He has two sisters who have summer homes here. Other appendages to the family own homes here, either for year round or just for escape. It is a small lake, hidden in a valley. Only 300 live here year round.

That was mighty boring. I hate necessary details.

Swing on which I read

Grief and disappointment are like hate: they make men ugly with self-pity and bitterness.
The End of the Affair

There is now cable in the bedroom I sleep in. Telly in the bedroom. When we first came up, there was no television at all. By the time I was 10, there was one in the living room that received three channels. Now that telly has been placed in my bedroom and there is a larger one in the living room. Both hooked up to full cable. When I was younger my father would sleep in the room I now occupy. I'd sleep on one of the pull out couches in the living room. My mother has always slept in the middle bedroom.

I was obsessed with sand as a child. All three of us would go to the pay beach, a strip of the lake with a handful of sand thrown on the grass. Not a beach really at all. But we would go, pay to get in, rent lounge chairs, and spend the whole day there, lounging about. Mum would make snacks, chips and crackers in little bags. Drinks in a cooler. My father tanned. He never burned, but was golden brown by the end of the day.

I wouldn’t go in the lake. I hadn’t learned to swim yet and was scared. Although once I did learn to swim, at a camp that we also went to every summer, you couldn’t get me out of the water, until I was told at 11 that I had swimmers ear and would continue getting ear infections if I persevered in my swimming habit.

I played in the sand. A shovel, bucket. Sandcastles. I was there until sundown, and the staff came around with rakes to smooth out the sand, and they would ask me if it was all right to destroy my castles.

Between the ages of 3 and 15 the routine was much the same. Every summer we came to the lake, for a week or two straight. I read a lot, on the swing next to the cabin. Swinging myself back and forth while reading Jane Eyre for the first time. Sometimes it was boring. Not much to do. We’d just eat all day, go to the Amish side of town to buy fresh vegetables. Have dinner at the Frog Pond. Hang out. Father taught me poker, which one summer we spent doing nothing else. Dad and I laid out in the back yard, he getting brown, me staying pale except for my bright red nose.

Well, the point is, that things aren’t like this anymore. Dad can’t come up because he works. When he last came up, he never left the cabin. Too old and tired now. Mother has had a few strokes and drinks too much. I can’t even stand to be around her anymore. There’s a television with full cable in my bedroom. No longer have to rely on books for sole entertainment. And now I bring up my laptop to watch DVD’s and listen to music.

Trees still surround the property, children still swim in the lake, there is still sand on the pay beach, so it is still in many ways beautiful, but for me, not quite so idyllic.

On the way to Spartansburg, Amish country

I drink champagne at 9:00 pm. Mother is in bed. Brother left this morning for Pittsburgh. My other brother will come up tomorrow and stay until we all leave on Wednesday.

My mother’s ex's voice woke me up this morning. He paid an early morning visit. By early morning I mean 10:00. They get along well, as I’ve written, and talked about old times, as they always do. The Firebird cars my mother was given by her rich parents. A new one ever year, until my grandparents lost all their money through poor investments.

Not much else to report about today. Sun was out. I sun bathed. Walked to Sally’s to buy sun block. Got the only one left. Sally’s is a store that has been around for ever. Believe it or not a woman named Sally used to own it. She still lives in the tiny dolls like house next to the store, the latter of which is stuck in-between houses, so that if it weren’t for the sign saying what it is, you would think it merely a house. A couple in their fifties bought it a few years ago. They kept the name of the store out of deference to her as she is so well loved here. The store takes only cash. It is proper old-fashioned. Ideal for a lake retreat

I sip my champagne in the dark. Only lights are on in the drive, the ones you stick in the grassy ground and which light up once it is dusk. We have a gravel drive. Not that long. A big well-manured back yard. A shed to keep the canoes and bikes.
Fish caught before I was born hang alone the walls of the screened in porch connecting the home. All caught by my mother’s former father-in-law. Stuffed squirrels and birds adorn the walls inside the home. Antlers as well.

I wonder if my life had been different if I had never come up here as a child. I think it would have. The smallest events shape our lives in big ways.

It amazes me how easy it is to let everything go up here. Yes, my mother’s condition affects me. But things that seem (and perhaps are) important in Pittsburgh don’t have any relevance here: not having a job, a boy friend; worrying about whether I am making the most of my life. It is enough just to be living. No place has ever made me feel so free, so unconnected with myself. London took me out of myself, placed me in an unfamiliar territory, made me reevaulate myself. Here I don’t have to think. Nature seems to inspire non-thinking – for lack of a better word. I am disconnected from myself entirely almost.

One could easily become resigned here and never think again. It is why people retire to the country – and Florida. These places don’t require you to think. My mother’s ex does not miss his job in Pittsburgh, although he loved it while he was there. Every day he gets up, works in his shed, spends time with his family. Up here, you can’t tell one day from another.

An amish boy in his buggy (taken before I was told that they don't like photos taken of them).

It was a grey day. It was like walking in London, like walking in a dream.
Good Morning, Midnight
Jean Rhys

Quickly, because I haven’t time. Since Tom arrived yesterday I have been too busy to write. Which is a great thing.

Yesterday night we had my mothers ex and his brother here for dinner. Mother only moderately drunk, after sobering before dinner. Mum made her spaghetti sauce in a crock pot. It was nice. No, it was kind of brilliant. I always wanted this. A large family. To be in a cabin, in the woods, and have family come over for dinner. Shortly after, my mother’s ex’s step son (yeah, this gets complicated) and his girl friend and little boy came over, and we were all together until late, talking, eating. They are all coming over again tonight, and my mother’s ex’s brother (who is some twenty years younger than him: my mother had her son Bill the same year as her mother-in-law had him) is making dessert. He is a chef. The best part about this is that mother has run out of booze and she is sober. Not that other family members are sober, per se, but my mother being so is all that matters. We have dinner on the picnic bench in the wooden-beamed covered roof enclosed by screens all round but one where one enters the house.

Yesterday it rained all day. Today, not a cloud in the sky. That is how it is here. Freezing last night, at least early 40’s. This afternoon, 80’s.

I don’t want to leave. It is like being in a dream, here. All the stupid and useless worries that haunt me in the city don’t exist up here. You don’t even need to try to forget. The minute you arrive it is erased. All day Tom and I rode our bikes to and from his father’s home not even half a mile from ours. They have a little dog and a cat that love one another. When the dog is outside on his leash, the cat comes up to him and rubs himself all over the dog, who doesn’t bark or run away.

Mother: If Helen is getting in your way [in the kitchen] then tell her to get out of the way.

Mother’s subtle way of telling me, who is in the bedroom not so far from where she is on the patio, that I need to help.

More tomorrow, the last day here. Perhaps I’ll write something that is interesting.

The shed

What I mostly realize when up here is how useless are the things I worry about in the city. These are things that seem so huge and that I can’t forget no matter how I try. They are inescapable. We’re sitting in the car, saying goodbye to mum’s ex, and his dog Bo, so old that he has trouble standing for long periods of time. I think I’m more sad than I have ever been about leaving. I know that once I get home all the horrid agitations will be there again.

Today we went to Spartansburg for lunch. Amish country. I love it. I love the dirt roads, and the amish in their buggies, the women in their long solid coloured blue and white dresses and bonnets. The wild flowers along the road.

My mother hasn’t been drunk these last two days. Must have run out of booze. I haven’t seen her this sober in quite a while. It was nice.

Now I’m going to watch Doctor Who on my laptop in the car while we drive home. Awesome to watch this show in a fast moving car as it is so fast-paced itself.

I really don’t want to go home.