My wedding day was July 7th, 2012, and I have just now finished putting together our wedding album. It only took me about a month to do it, but it took me almost two and a half years to actually print any photos… BUT, I now have a finished product and I’m happy with it. Enjoy!
My childhood home, the second entry in a series of posts about all of the places I’ve called “home.” The first can be found here:
From the age of 2 until I moved out on my own I lived in Ramsey, Minnesota. My mother still lives there today, though the house looks nothing like it did when we moved in save for the horribly pink carpet in my childhood bedroom.
Originally the house had flowery wallpaper that took ages to remove, yellowing linoleum, shag carpet, wood paneling on the walls, and avocado green. Avocado green everywhere. I’m not kidding you, the appliances, counter tops, and even some walls were green.
Now, it has beautiful wood floors, stone tile, granite counter tops, and with an entire addition, it is twice the size it was before. I feel as if my entire life took place in that house. That house is filled with some of the happiest memories of my life and some of the worst memories of my life.
My very first memory is in that house, wearing princess dresses in the basement while my father’s band practiced until all hours of the night. My parents liked to entertain and I had lots of friends come and go back then. There were a few good years before it all blew up and my father lured us away to break in and steal all of our things. He cut the phone lines and threatened to murder us all, he hid marijuana plants above our garage, and was in and out of jail all before I was six. Eventually my mom got out of that marriage, and there was calm for a while.
My brother and I climbed every tree in the backyard, and I remember rolling down the back hill in a barrel until we couldn’t see straight anymore. We fought, we played, we rode our bikes to every corner of the neighborhood and never came inside before dark. When I was ten, my mom re-married and I got two new brothers. We added on to the house to accommodate all those people and I helped pour the concrete for the driveway, re-shingle the roof, and we all put our hand prints beneath the garage. If you crawl under the floor there through a trapdoor you can still see them.
I can’t even begin to cover everything that happened in that house in the 16 years I lived there. It was my entire young lifetime. I scratched the initials of the boy who gave me my first kiss into the baseboard of my bedroom, I climbed out my window countless times to smoke cigarettes behind the shed, and I blared Harry James records while burning incense late into the majority of my teenage nights.
My stepfather overdosed twice in that house, and twice I watched the ambulance lights flashing away down the street. My mom eventually got out of that marriage as well.
When we were remodeling the upstairs bathroom we found a letter beneath the floor. It was a love letter from Mrs. Cro to Mr. Vel. Vel-cro. It seemed as if they had been having an affair and who knows how long that letter had been there beneath the floor, possibly undelivered. I begged my mother to let me keep the letter but she threw it away, saying that if it was an affair it was better to destroy it anyhow. It made me think of all the people who had lived there before and what their stories might have been. I imagined Mrs. Cro standing over the sink, crying her tears of unrequited love into the dirty dishwater.
I moved out of that house when I was 18 and on my way to college to start my adult life. My mother lives there, in that enormous house, alone. She rents out rooms to girls who need a place to stay, and has two dogs to keep her company. She has a boyfriend now, who I believe is her soul mate, and I am so happy that she has finally found her happiness. I visit there on holidays or just to drop in and say hi, and I stand in my old bedroom where the only thing that remains is the wallpaper with palm trees and the tree I painted on the back of the door. I can almost feel my teenage self there, my “the-whole-world-is-against-me” attitude and those big feelings you only have in those years.
My mother has plans now to sell it, to start over, and finally be rid of all of those memories that permeate the walls there. Even if she does, I believe a part of me will always live there, and maybe, a part of me will always be blaring Harry James and sneaking out windows, trying to find my place in the world.
I am a list writer. I write to-do lists, grocery lists, wish lists. There is a list of the bills that are due this month on the side of my refrigerator that will be replaced with a new list next month. I take great satisfaction in throwing away that list each month with every bill checked off.
Lists, however, are not just for checking things off of. They help me organize my thinking and give me a clear point of focus. I often write in the form of lists because I am incredibly bad at transitions. A list allows me to go straight from one thought to number 2. A clean break, while still having some semblance of a connection.
I began this post with the intent of listing the different homes I have lived in, and have already been derailed. Each place I have lived has held such significance for me and in the path my life has gone down that one single paragraph for each just feels like cheating. So. I will break each one into a separate post, to linger in the memories a while.
The first home I ever lived in is one I don’t remember. I’ve had conversations with many people about first memories, and the age at which we begin to hold on to information varies. For me, it at least was not in the first two years of my life.
I was born in Conroe, Texas, and lived there with my mother and father for the first year and a half after I was born. I have not a single memory of this time but I’m told that it was filled with hanging moss, fire ants, boats, and a backyard pool that was never used.
My mother had me when she was 27 years old, halfway across the country from her entire family with just her new husband and his dysfunctional family. She must have been incredibly scared and lonely, as my father’s family was full of (short-lived and I’ll spent) wealth, second and third wives, suicide, gambling, substance abuse, and addiction.
My mother is made of strong stuff, but that is an entirely different story.
The only house I do remember in Texas was my father’s parents house where we spent the Christmases of my early years. I was small and that house seemed an endless maze. I don’t recall ever finding all of the rooms, and there were closets that led to other, secret rooms.
Since I never actually lived in this house, I’m getting off topic. I have seen pictures of our Conroe house and have heard stories of how my father’s cat Milkdud pissed on all the awful shag carpets and my mother hated him (the cat, I think). I’m told I sat on a fire-ant hill in the backyard and was covered in their bites, but they didn’t do any permanent damage. It was a time of heat and turmoil.
We moved to Minnesota where my brother was born just 18 months after me. I came into a world of humidity and Spanish moss and my brother came into a world of snow and bitter winds. I’ve always wondered if that’s the reason why we turned out to be so different. Had I been born in a milder climate, would I still feel each extreme so substantially? Perhaps.
Part of me thinks I was never truly meant to be in the cold. Like a tropical bird, a stark contrast to all this white.
Death has come for me, I am sure of it.
There is a chance that karma decided me saying my life is boring was too good an opportunity to pass up. Here’s some back story:
I have been lying in bed since Saturday, buried in a mountain of tissues and extra pillows, sweating through three sets of clothes a day due to my 103 degree fever. I have watched most of the tv show ‘Blacklist’ on Netflix, or at least bits and pieces of it in between codeine cough syrup-induced sleep. Here is what I have learned: James Spader is secretly a good guy, the husband may or may not be involved in shady business, and the blonde one has a voice I am more than happy to fall asleep listening to.
Today I braved the world outside of my bedroom and dragged myself into work for a few hours, only to give up and crawl back into my bed cave of sickness.
So far I have had headaches (the kind that won’t even let you open your eyes for too long), body aches, chills, high fever, a cough that makes me fear pneumonia is setting in, and congestion. Upon returning home from work this germy little monster decided to mutate.
I was standing by the microwave waiting for my chicken soup to heat, wrapped in a fuzzy white blanket, minding my own business (or maybe not minding it as well as I should have been) when out of nowhere – get ready, this is good stuff –
I. shit. my. own. pants.
Not since I don’t know, diapers? has this happened to me. You would think that I would have had some sort of warning: stomach rumbles, nausea, the urge to flatulate?
Nothing, body?! Ok then.
I have now been forced to do laundry, which is probably a good thing considering the nasty, sickness-spreading little creatures who have surely made their home in my bedsheets and blankets. I have reduced my chicken soup diet to only water and sprite and may in fact lose another 5 lbs on top of the 10 I’ve managed to get rid of since the weekend. I have also not had a cigarette since Friday (5 days) and am using this godawful plague to kickstart my plan to quit. Cold turkey is much easier when you physically cannot go outside to smoke one.
The flu has reduced me to a pale, makeup-less, mucus-y lump with no control over my bodily functions. But hey,
P.S. If I do die from this, someone please make that my epitaph.
It’s raining outside, torrential rain that would be beautiful on a summer day, but today it is just bleak. It has been raining since early yesterday morning and the sky’s gray color feels heavy and the rain makes the air thick, like breathing warm smoke. The turn of the seasons from winter to spring gives me hope, but my skin still aches for hot sun and dry air, and the loud buzzing of insects fading in and out.
washes over us
in this way that’s
sort of devastating.
Like the shoreline
in April your eyes
are ice-edged and
this chill you can’t see
seeps through somewhere.
Some pregnant sky
broke loose that night
with all those words
you’re wishing now
you never spoke,
and one cigarette later
my tail lights were
bleeding your face red.
The rain pounded out letters
onto my windshield
and you said, “you were never
good enough for me
And the silence then
was thick enough
to hear your heart breaking
there inside your ribs.
You learned then that
no love poem you could write
was any match
I am turned
into a creature –
as if seen
for the first time
in some sulfurous
Reality cracks open
about your head
and the heat-stunned
would be lost.
Today is a good day. It’s funny how I measure things now. Time is now ‘good’ or ‘bad’ or the days go by when I blink or they go by so agonizingly slow that it’s as if they will never end. I am bursting with change; how I live my life being the biggest. My aim is to be more ‘here’, or experience life as it comes and not worry about the past or future. It’s easier said than done, but I want to be fully here in the now as much as I can because it will go, faster than I’d like it to.
In other news, I have been published again, my poetry is in the April issue of the 3Elements review, and you can see it on their online PDF for April’s issue.
I am full of conflictions: yet another one being I long to be ‘discovered’ or recognized as a writer, and at the same time I’d like to hide it forever and remain in obscurity, my raw emotions never being bared to the world. It is a liberation, in a way, to share. I am on page 45 of the PDF: Meteor Shower by Angela Ostley. So here, enjoy.
All this talk of the beauty of life, and my world has come to a grinding halt. I got the worst phone call of my life on Thursday evening, informing me that my father died.
I was very close to him and I feel like I am underwater, or in some awful nightmare just waiting to wake up.
He moved to California a little over a month ago and before that lived with me and my husband for two and a half years.
They think it was a drug overdose, but we won’t know for sure until they get the autopsy results. I fly out there tomorrow morning to get him, but I am in shock.
I feel broken, or in pain but I don’t know exactly where it hurts. I have no words for something like this and all I can do is cry and try to keep moving and shower, eat, but even those things seem so hard now.
He was 49 years old and I was not done with him. You never feel so small as when something like this happens and you realize it could end in an instant.
steered the night
like a dimpled moth
My goal in this new year has been to create. And isn’t it funny that this theme of creation just permeates everything. I’ve fortunately had a real creative flow going on lately and I spill poetry onto everything; restaurant napkins, pages of poetry books I’m reading, the note app in my phone, my own skin. If a word or phrase strikes me in some way I am instantly moved to write, and this brings me intense joy.
Today my joy is in the sunlight craved like water in this nerve-deadening, oppressive winter.
Things I would like to accomplish with the help of this blog:
- Write more poetry
- increase creative flow
- focus my thoughts
- write something every day
- be more disciplined
- not be so disciplined
- original thoughts
My main goal is to just create. I’m not a very handy person and I like to think I’m crafty but more often than not when I try to make something it never turns out the way I see it in my head. I am wonderful at creating things in my own head but they are almost always lost in translation.
This is where writing comes in. Putting words together, forming literary images is what I do. Here’s to writing and here’s to creating!