Getting High

January was fun and, though I haven’t posted much, life has gone on. I have been doing a whole lotta nothing since I’m saving for some personal goals. I’ve still had some fun–going to Shawnee Peak at least once or twice a week with friends to try snowboarding. The best part of the whole experience has been coming to terms with my fear of heights. Forcing myself to ride ski lifts has been helpful in that now I can look out and truly appreciate the beautiful sights rather than closing my eyes and wishing it’d all go away.

Ultimately, that’s what I’d like to do more of in my life–look around and take it in even if it’s scary. I am definitely not great at boarding (as in I can slide down a hill but not gracefully). But even so, I am glad I’ve gotten outside this winter and tried something new. I don’t have to be brilliant at everything. This is a big revelation for me since my fear of failure has often kept me on the sidelines.

I was able to go up to Sugarloaf at the end of the month and had a good time with friends. The scenery was beautiful up at Flagstaff. I never thought I’d love winter so much. I was also able to reconnect with some of my Maine family which reminded me to not be afraid to look for friends in odd or unexpected places. Over all, I’ve had a grateful start to 2016.

“Say it’s true, pink and blue
I can share your situation
Been holding our, emotions back
Will only make us cry
If you go, I know, but you know
It ain’t so serious anyway
When that cloud arrives we’ll live on…

Ocean Drive
Don’t know why you’re so blue
Sun’s gonna shine on everything you do
And the sky is so blue
Sun’s gonna shine on everything you do”
“And at the end of the day remember the days

When we were close to the end
And wonder how we made it through the night
At the end of the day
Remember the way
We stayed so close to the end
We’ll remember it was me and you
Cause we are gonna be
Forever, you and me
You will
Always keep it flying high in the sky
Of love”
“Hey love
Is that the name you’re meant to have
For me to call

Look love
They’ve given up believing
They’ve turned aside our stories of the gentle fall

But don’t you believe them
Don’t you drink their poison too
These are the scars that words have carved
On me

Hey love
That’s the name we’ve long held back
From the core of truth”

Matter of Time

Thanksgiving was great fun. I loaded the Norm into the car and drove South. We had good weather and got to listen to some great tunes on the way down. One song that played several times was the new Vanessa Carlton song below. It is a bit haunting and I have been hooked on it.

Seeing the family was refreshing and it’s always entertaining to catch up on all the latest stories and happenings. I did need some time away from work and found myself really enjoying doing a whole “lotta nothin.”

Christmas decorations were being put up as I packed up and headed North again, which does make me happy. I always like this time of year the best. It is a bit odd that winter is one of my favorite seasons–I think the last few have put it even above autumn on my list.

Everything gets quiet and crisp and cold and the air feels so thin. People are generally nicer and more helpful (at least those I am around). And then there’s the snow. Then people help each other out of snow banks and help clear walkways for those that can’t do it for themselves. There’s hot cider and warm bread and cozy blankets for puppies and their humans.

I guess I’ve always been nostalgic and this time of year combined with the weather just intensifies this feeling. I think it’s the time of year that people are most appreciative of what they’ve been given or what they have in a way that isn’t really seen in the other seasons.

I never thought I’d enjoy some of the things I like now–living above the Mason-Dixon, snow, beets, etc. I suppose that it’s part of growing. From what I’ve seen of my family and friends, we’re never really done growing and changing, so it’s best to enjoy the ride and those willing to come along on the ride with you.

Some friends have been worrying over me in a most delightful way, not wanting me to be alone during the holidays. While I definitely look forward to having a few holiday parties to go to (I do have some fantastically funny friends), I don’t really feel “alone.” I kind of enjoy the alone-ness without feeling lonely. Hard to describe, really. It’s not a bad or sad feeling. It’s a grateful feeling.

It’s coming in from helping someone out in the snow storm while having a good laugh, getting to play with your best friend/4-legged rascal and enjoying warm coffee with a great new book in your warm house. Like for a whole four months. Not so bad with the right boots. Not bad at all.

“Give her all your darkness
Give her all your light
Love is like a carriage
It’s no spirit in the night

Like a wishing well
Where your pennies fell

He said it’s only a matter of time
Before your heart is mine
Have you been searching?
You’ve been looking the world over

When is it time to let go?
And is it then that you know?
All the peace that we’ve been bringing out of each other
Out of each other

Flowing like a circuit
Through a curse of neon signs
Writing her a letter
What’s the curve of your desire
When the cycle starts its run
And we become what we become

He said it’s only a matter of time
Before your heart is mine
Have you been searching?
You’ve been looking the world over

When is it time to let go?
And is it then that you know?
All the peace that we’ve been bringing out of each other
Out of each other

When is it time to let go?
And is it then that you know?
All the peace that we’ve been bringing out of each other
Out of each other

Give her all your darkness
Give her all your light
Love is like a carriage
It’s no spirit in the night

October Magic

My tendency is to self-censor a great deal, which can be a bit stifling, leading me to neglect my blogging despite having lots of ideas and stories swirling around my noggin. Fall in Maine is beautiful and so freaking earthy. I have grown to love the crispness in the air and the frost on the ground. I went home last weekend for my cousin’s wedding and realized how I’ve acclimated to this Northeast weather, losing almost all of my tolerance for warmth. This is not bad, just different. I don’t think I’ll ever understand how this place feels so much like home even though I was born and raised in a very different climate and culture. The wedding was lovely and it was great to see everyone again. I did get asked multiple times when I was coming “home.” This question always catches me off-guard, though I know I should expect it. They mean well–they miss me, I suppose. But it is hard to explain to some that “home” really is a new place for me now. I now feel that I have home (Maine) and where I grew up (Georgia).  Those are distinct for me now, and I know that, unless someone has ventured outside of their “home” and felt this same sensation, it is not going to be easily understood.

This year has been very strange. Very much a year of changes and challenges. It hasn’t been bad, per se, just a year of transitions. A break up with someone I had serious feelings for and some health issues have left me feeling raw. I have had two minor surgeries this year to remove ovarian cysts and portions of my insides, rendering me “most likely infertile.” Though I haven’t even been close to jumping on the baby train, I did take this ability for granted. The break up happened near this revelation which compounded my emotions surrounding the whole scenario. I have made it through some darkness this year and am starting to come out the other side. I am able to laugh more these last few months. I can again recognize and appreciate my sources of happiness. I enjoy my job and the people I get to work with–don’t know what I’d do without these friends, these lovelies taking care of someone from away, inviting me into their families. Despite my struggles with depression, I have also found it easy to feel immensely grateful. I consider this a win above all else.

I have found that the best way I cope is through helping others. I’ve found great joy in volunteering time and, in some cases, money. I do think that dating will be difficult for me to manage for awhile since I need some time to reconcile what happened in my last relationship. I don’t harbor any feelings of hate or anger, just sadness and confusion. Out of all of this, I do know that I never want to be with someone who isn’t all in. I know I can be a pill at times, but I know that, for the right person, I am more than worth it. I tire of being around people that aren’t sure of how they feel about me. Love me or hate me, either way is good. I cannot stand ambivalence or uncertainty in any relationships. I accept people for 120% of who they are, massive character flaws and all, delighting in their eccentricities and enjoying even their most irritating habits. I want to be around those who would do the same for me. I value realness, decisiveness and commitment (for or against me).

In my ongoing health saga, I’ve moved to eating less and less meat as it helps decrease inflammation, allowing me to use very little or no pain medicine for my endometriosis and lupus. This simple change also brings me an odd sort of peace since I am “living my truth” or whatever the hell kids are calling it these days. I’ve always loved creatures and, with lots of time spent thinking about my contributions to my small corner of the world, I realized that this is one way I can send some good energy out into the ether. Once a gung-ho bacon and steak fanatic, I have found myself happier and feeling better without them. Let me be clear–this is a personal choice and I’d never pressure anyone around me to adopt my habits. I find it a very rewarding change for myself and that is all.

I know it will certainly take time and great effort, but I want to become a positive force of nature in whatever way I can, for myself and others. I look forward to this part of my journey.

I do like any song that can incorporate banjos. Now that must be my Georgia roots.

So I got edges that scratch
And sometimes I don’t got a filter
But I’m so tired of eating all of my misspoken words
I know my disposition gets confusing
My disproportionate reactions fuse with my eager state
That’s why you wanna come out and play with me”

Snow, Sass and Whoopie Pies

Many people have asked me why I live in Maine. For those of you who don’t know, I was born in Atlanta, GA and grew up in a small rural community in Northeast Georgia (basically the other end of the Appalachian Trail from here).

Things to Know

Your face will get super dry and crackly. And your hands. Any exposed skin, really.

Driving on snow is more fun than driving on ice.

Storms are slow-moving and relatively predictable here. Which is better than any tornado.

Mainers are hardy, resourceful and typically helpful. And like to keep to themselves. “You do your thing over there, I’ll do my thing here.”

Massholes/Quebecoi = Our Floridiots

Dress for comfort, not for style (at least not what the rest of the country calls style). Because no one cares. You think we look ridiculous in our giant coats and balaklavas. We know you ARE ridiculous attempting to navigate snow in your strappy high-heels and super stylish flowy blouses made of tissue paper. Unless you’re a native Mainer, in which case 40F is shorts and tshirt weathah regardless of the amount of snow still on the ground.

Get winter boots. Seriously.

Food here is different. More potatoes, less spice.

You have to “know people.” Ayuh, I know a guy.

Having distinct seasons is amazing. And very cathartic.

The trees here are worth the cold weather.

There is very little housing here compared to many other places. Finding an apartment in the Portland area is tricky and often you have to “know somebody” to get a decent rental price.

The Portland area has an awesome food scene.

Dunkin > Starbucks.

You don’t have to have an AWD vehicle, but snow tires help.

State inspections mean higher auto costs over all combined with winter road salting.

Mainers have amazing festivals.

While you should always be safe, winter is generally more beautiful than scary.

Mainers have a very earthy and genuine sense of humor. And some dry, acerbic sass when they like.

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You learn to spot Vermonters and New Hampshirites very quickly. They are their own unique groups with their own quirks separate from Mainers.

Mainers are relatively private and will not likely hassle you about your religion/sexual preference/personal choice of ass cream, etc. Which is incredibly refreshing. They expect the same from you.