No faith in your own language

Irrationally proud of myself for coaxing this #orchid to re-bloom.
Orchid No. 2 is about to bloom again!

Sunset
Louise Glück

My great happiness
is the sound your voice makes
calling to me even in despair; my sorrow
that I cannot answer you
in speech you accept as mine.

You have no faith in your own language,
So you invest
authority in signs
you cannot read with any accuracy.

And yet your voice reaches me always.
And I answer constantly,
my anger passing
as winter passes. My tenderness
should be apparent to you
in the breeze of the summer evening
and in the words that become
your own response.

I think this poem is about God, but sometimes I think it is about marriage too.

We’ve been married for three-and-a-half years now. Sometimes we don’t listen to each other. Sometimes we forget to pray. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and assess how the other one is genuinely doing. Three-and-a-half years is comparative blip of time, a twitch of an eyelid. Sometimes it feels like ages; sometimes it feels like we’ve only been married for a few days.

We like to ask each other questions at dinner. What kind of restaurant would you be the proprietor of? If you had to spend an entire week with a relative (excepting immediate family), who would it be? What high school friend do you wish you were still in touch with? If you could have any artist write a review of your masterpiece, who would it be and what would they say?

And we listen to each other’s answers, our eyes open, surprised by this person sitting in front of us.

The fermentation master is back in the game. #coldmuch #kombuchaforeveryone
Starting kombucha again.

Lately, I’ve been waking up in the middle of dreams. It is a disorienting experience, and one of the consequences is that the half-finished dream sticks with me throughout the day. Today, for instance, I can’t stop thinking about how Kelsey is going to get all of that molten silver out of her hair, and why it is that Rebecca, my BFF from elementary and middle school, decided to marry a morbidly obese man simply because he wrote her a letter on a piece of yellow notebook paper. When conscious, I had to remind myself, “Kelsey’s hair is OK. Rebecca is already married.” But part of me still thinks that reality is awry.

My fleeting obsessions* in 2013:

  • Ballet
  • Houseplants
  • Fashion
  • Interior design
  • Real estate

(*I define “obsessions” as topics that are suddenly deeply fascinating to me. I then go and read armfuls of books on the subject at the public library and start consuming blogs and websites on said topic, until it eventually ceases to hold my interest. The only two obsessions that have never failed to captivate me are reading and animals, specifically dogs. For the rest of my life, I will be obsessed with books and dogs.)

I wish my obsessions would trend toward more useful things, like personal finance, basic math, the tax code, or local politics. But, alas. I am only interested in the inconsequential.

I’d like to see myself get back into foreign languages, personally. I only practice a little Japanese during my weekly meeting at work, in which I take notes in a mix of hiragana and bad kanji. (I’ve forgotten so much. Gomenasai, sensei.) I’d like to refresh Japanese and take Level I French. I think I’m ruined for other languages, though. I once tried to speak a line of French in front of a French person, and she said, “Hm. Weirdly, your French has an… Asian accent.”

As an extension of one of my 2013 obsessions, I think I’d also like to get obsessed with bonsai.

What do you think I should be obsessed with in 2014?

For Courtney, because she asked.

Certain slant of light

Feeling like fall.
Before.

Thoughts lately

♦ Been utterly consumed with the real estate market and interior design blogs. First, I could look at other people’s houses ALL DAY, and second, you know my disdain for DIY projects; it is wide and well-publicized. But I harbor respect for these crafty women. And I also don’t know if I have the internal fortitude to join their ranks. The thought of making a fall wreath for my front door makes me want to set something on fire (preferably said wreath). But knowing how to refinish an old table or install new cabinets? Such information could be very useful to me.

♦ Getting a new sister next weekend! Tracy, welcome to the family. Win, good job picking that one.

♦ Let me tell you what is NOT the best breakfast reading material: a book about slum life in Greater Mumbai. But it is a wonderful book overall — beautifully written without being sappy or overly simplistic — and I highly recommend it. I think everyone read it about six months ago: Behind the Beautiful Forevers, by Katherine Boo. (And David Sedaris is right; it DOES read just like a novel.)

♦ Also highly recommended: This Paris Review interview with Czeslaw Milosz, from some time in the mid-1990s. Riveting. And the guy hung out with everyone who was everyone.

♦ Sometimes, I genuinely feel bad for moderate Republicans. It must really suck to have your entire political party co-opted by a fringe group of total wackos. Not that I’ll necessarily vote for them, but bring back the sane, moderate GOP!

And now we're in a different grade of color. #nofilter #fallsky
After.

Two years ago

Chuzenjiko

Two years ago today, I was here: Chuzenjiko, a beautiful lake in the mountains of southern Japan. Diane and I stayed just across the street from here in a hostel run by an Indian/Japanese family. One of these days, I will get back here.

UPDATE: Unrelated note… I have updated AFP Calligraphy to include a page for my “portfolio.” I added Rose & Kemp’s invitations, which finally made it to Topsail!