Beyond Sleight of Hand

Saturday night, Reilly emails me a final paper for one of his classes for me to proofread. The subtitle is “Implications of the Freudian Double in Coraline,” which sounds so intriguing and intellectual. He analyzes the movie through a Freudian lens. I can’t wait to read it.

We both sit on the couch. The Jazz game plays in the background on the television. I check my email and open the document. I turn on Track Changes and start reading.

I feel a little bit of movement in my tummy. There are little flutters but also some strong jabs and pokes. This activity continues as I type comments in the margins of Reilly’s paper.

***

I have been feeling distinct movement for the past few weeks, and with each passing day the pokes and kicks and rolls have been gaining strength. It’s a lot of fun.

Early Saturday morning, I still lay in bed, mustering the mental and physical strength to get up, because getting out of bed is not just a psychological challenge anymore. I turned on my Kindle and started checking headlines and Facebook.

It seemed that Baby had an easier time getting up than I did. She kicked and rolled around for a little bit. Then she calmed down and I felt gentler “ghost” movements deeper in the hollows of my tummy. I grabbed Reilly’s hand and placed it on the part of my tummy where I last felt movement. We were probably talking about a federal court’s finding Utah’s polygamy laws unconstitutional when I felt movement again. Just the slightest flutter. I was in the middle of a sentence when I asked Reilly, “Are you feeling that?” He said, “Uh, yes …?” without much confidence.

I finished my thought, then we got up and got ready to see the Hobbit.

***

As I read Reilly’s very interesting paper, Baby seems pretty active and wants to play. It’s like she tries to punch through a balloon, except with more resistance, not as much stretch. In a chamber that could be described as my stomach area. She shifts around and makes her presence known.

I scoot over on the couch. With the laptop still on my lap, I reach for Reilly’s hand and place it to the right of my belly button. I continue reading; he’s being patient.

About a minute passes. All of a sudden, I feel a strongish push right under Reilly’s hand, and at the same time, I see Reilly’s hand raise.

Reilly says, “I felt that!” And I laugh. I ask if he said he felt movement in the morning because he wanted to feel it and not necessarily because he actually did. Reilly keeps his hand on my tummy and says that was true.

And maybe Baby feels and hears me laughing and her dad reacting and responds for a few minutes with several more pokes of varying strength. Reilly feels them all. He enjoys it immensely.

About three and a half months left. It’s surreal going from talking about a baby in the abstract to talking about a baby who can actually hear me and eat and move and suck her thumb. IN MY WOMB. And then my husband wants to feel the baby all the time. At least when he’s not sleeping or writing papers or eating. His hand finds my tummy and he waits for that connection, the instant but lasting affection. Of course I don’t mind. He’s spending time with our daughter, with whom he’s obviously already in love. And I love seeing his big baby blue eyes light up during that contact.

I enjoy his joy.

On Moving Again

Except I don’t know what to say.

I’m basically moving around the corner, but I’ve lived at this apartment for a proper year and a half, and in the college world, that’s a very long time.

But, it’s also a very long time.

Two semesters left, and sometimes I panic. Sometimes I’m giddy.

I’ll miss my bedroom window view of the mountains. I hope whoever lives in this room after me enjoys it just as much.

I return yet again to Patty Griffin. “Useless Desires” makes me think and feel a million different things at once. And this happens whenever I move. Even with this move, when I had an entire year and a half to form close friendships with people in my apartment complex, but it seems I went out of my way to make friends with people who don’t live here. There are nice people. Lots. It’s been hard to find people to relate to, to click with. Things are just different, which is okay, and I’d rather be continuing to transition somewhere else for the next ten months. Because it’s time.

Just around the corner, but it’s still a move, and my soul’s a-swirl.

Useless Desires (ctrl+click)

Say goodbye to the old street
That never cared much for you anyway
And the different coloured doorways
You thought would let you in one day
Goodbye to the old bus stop
Frozen and waiting
The Weekend Edition
Has this town way overrated

You walk across the baseball green
The grass has turned to straw
A flock of birds tries to fly
Away from where you are
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, old friend
I can’t make you stay
I can’t spend another ten years
Wishing you would anyway

How the sky turns to fire
Against a telephone wire
And even I’m getting tired
Of useless desires

Every day I take a bitter pill
It gets me on my way
For the little aches and pains
The ones I have from day to day
To help me think a little less
About the things I miss
To help me not to wonder how
I ended up like this

I walk down to the railroad track
And ride a rusty train
With a million other faces
I shoot through the city veins
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, old friend
You wanted to be free
Somewhere beyond the bitter end
Is where I want to be

How the sky turns to fire
Against a telephone wire
And even I’m getting tired
Of useless desires

Say goodbye to the old building
That never tried to know your name
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, old friend
You won’t be seeing me again
Goodbye to all the windowpanes
Shining in the sun
Like diamonds on a winter day
Goodbye, goodbye to everyone

How the sky turns to fire
Against a telephone wire
It burns the last of the day down
And I’m the last one hanging around
Waiting on a train track
And the train never comes back
And even I’m getting tired
Of useless desires

I Am Wearing A Snuggie

I am also about to watch another episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Sometimes I’m weird.

On Wednesday, I had a work bowling party. Nine of us came to the BYU Games Center, and I only knew one other person. We divided ourselves into two lanes, and I ended up going third out of the five people on the right lane.

So, at first, whenever it wasn’t my turn, I talked to the one person I knew, but as the game progressed, I loosened up a little and started at least commenting on other people’s games.

Also, I’m really good at being excited for people. I will cheer for you and cheer for you, and I will feel bad for you if I know that you really wanted that strike, or if the gutter was particularly merciless.

Anyway, all that outwardness didn’t stop me from winning. By 50 points over the 2nd-place person. Of course I wasn’t boasty (of course?), and I especially don’t like attention from people I don’t know, so I made sure to deflect attention and accept compliments and the quickly shoot compliments back. The outwardness didn’t help the awkwardness.

It’s sometimes really hard for me to accept compliments, but I do practice at saying “thank you” and actually feeling grateful.

Then later on in the week I admitted to someone that I can be anal retentive.

I spent most of this morning packing up my room before going on a bike ride with some friends. When we got back, I popped some popcorn and we relaxed a bit before moving my stuff to my new place. We laughed a lot about some things, and I laughed until I cried about a thing that I can’t talk about here just in case somebody’s somebody happens to come upon this blog. It’s just hilarious to me.

So, we packed up my friends’ van and moved a lot of things over to the new place.

Then we returned to the old place and saw that I left my NYC subway map on the wall. I removed the pushpins and took down the map and began folding it while my friends were telling a story or texting their family or something. When they finished, I asked them, “Do you know what makes me so happy?” And, they let me answer: “When I can fold a map, and it isn’t wonky and it can lie perfectly smooth when it’s nicely folded.” And they were like, “Uh, sure.”

Then we went out for sushi, because my friends are the best for helping me move, plus one of my friends received a text coupon for a buy-one-roll-get-one-free deal, so we had to take advantage of it. The food was great, and I might have eaten too much, because the rice in my stomach is staging a coup. Too crowded. Overpopulated. Not equal benefits for everyone.

After dinner, we stopped by the new place again to drop off a few other things. We looked at my bed, which was on cinder blocks so that I could store things beneath it. The bed isn’t pushed up against the wall, but a few inches from it, and I expressed a small fear that the bed might not be stable enough. I shook the bed, and the cinder blocks rocked a little. A friend asked if I was going to rock the bed like that, and I said that I wasn’t going to tell her. Personal stuff, you know?

Anyway, I ended up saying that I didn’t want to push the bed against the wall yet because I needed to make the bed, that I really like making beds, that once I make the bed and get all the hospital corners right then I’ll push the bed against the wall and it will be safer. I said that I make my bed every day, that sometimes I’ll completely strip my bed just so that I can make the whole thing over. I said that it is soothing and that it helps me clear my mind.

The same thing goes for most housework.

I can’t believe I’ve dedicated 700 words to how weird I am. Maybe I should scratch that and include the last eight years of blogging. Which is even harder to believe. Maybe not as hard if you’re not me, but maybe you should be grateful that isn’t the case.

Whatever. It’s time for Buffy.

Magic Transporter Mission #1: Get My Bike to Utah

I just got back from a run. I ran south on State Street to Bulldog (1230 North). Then I turned east and ran past University Avenue to the road just before the big hill up to campus. Then I turned and ran south behind the RB and fieldhouse and soccer fields and ended up at 800 North, right beside the Brick Oven. I headed east to the duck pond and stretched and did some crunches. Then I headed further east toward J Dawgs and ended up on Campus Drive. I figured I’d wait for the bus home at the Wilkinson Center. But I checked to make sure I brought my bus pass and I had my student ID instead. Oops. I did also bring my debit card, but I decided since I have a bus pass, it wouldn’t be worth it to spend $2 just to catch the bus. So I swigged some water from a fountain inside the Wilk, cut northwest through campus, walked west on 1230 North to State Street, and charged up the hill to my apartment complex. About 4.5 miles total. It’s gorgeous outside, and I really enjoyed the sunshine.

I want to ride my bike. It is in a storage unit in New York City. Getting it to Utah shouldn’t be a big deal:

1. Get bike out of storage, along with bike pump.
2. Put bike in bike box for shipping.
3. Ship bike, ground service would be fine.

Seems easy enough. I’m not sure where I packed the pump, and I’d also like to have my biking clothes shipped, too. And that would complicate things a bit more, given the haphazard way I stored everything. I do have my good bike shoes and my helmet, but I don’t have any butt pants. And if I’m going to be putting substantial miles on the bike, I definitely need my butt pants. I didn’t realize I’d want to want to ride my bike so much, but the weather right now begs for it. And, it surprises me to say, my chances of moving back to New York long-term are thinning. It would be nice to have my bike around for free fun with friends.

At any rate, I’d like to fit in a couple of rides before it gets cold.

But, anytime I try to figure simplicity into plans, it always turns out to be a hassle.

We’ll see.

What the What…

The other blog’s been active for all of two days and it’s getting heavier daily traffic than this one. You like the focus, eh? You like the character? Well, I guess I kind of like her, too. Sometimes I wish I could be her.

I registered for classes yesterday, and my beloved school wasted no time to tell me when tuition is due. Classes are going to be fun. I’m going to be reading and writing a lot.

The cold weather worries me a little bit. We’ve had a very mild winter, and I’m about to go where it freezes and snows and a fair amount of the student population don’t know how to drive in those conditions. I felt a lot safer in a walking culture.

Somebody just asked me if I missed New York City yet. I didn’t tell her that I’ve already wailed and rent my clothes. I have friends who will be there for the New Year. This is the first time in five years I won’t be there.

But, I will be in Provo. Bring out the noisemakers and confetti. Or, just take me skiing.

***

Happy Birthday, Sarah. Your age is double a prime number. And having seen you lately, I’d definitely say you’re doubly in your prime. Hope you had an amazing birthday.

Not Final

Dear New York,

I love you.

You hardly noticed me, if at all.

Jersey gave me no warning. My heart fluttered when I saw your skyline nearly seven years ago. The snowy February spectacle proved more a winning distraction than to the tunnel and even the traffic. I don’t remember the other two very well or at all, and I’m pretty certain we passed through the Holland Tunnel, and I definitely know traffic teemed that mid-afternoon.

You welcomed me by leaving me to discover and explore by myself. You somehow sensed my curiosity, and you let me have free reign. How else are you supposed to control 8,000,000 people in such a small area? Everyone fends for themselves. They either find a way to thrive or they wither away. They become stronger and more confident or falter and fade.

It wasn’t a steady climb, dear beautiful City. I stumbled a few times, as you may recall, but you knew it had to be up to me to pick myself up and brush myself off. In some relationships, that might be negligent, but here, with you, it is wise and as loving as you can possibly be. You made like you didn’t care whenever I did something stupid or collapsed into bed after a long night.

Perhaps you didn’t care. It was difficult to tell.

It’s not like I needed the coddling.

You’re gruff. Dirty. Unsympathetic. Ever taller buildings eaving the sky I was so used to being open and wide.

You’re exciting. Your seas of people course vitality through your veins, with all these buildings like buttresses providing support and harnessing energy like a living, hydroelectric dam.

I can see from a mile away how unpredictable you are.

You seemed to mock me those times when I woke up after only three hours of “sleep,” giggly, hive-ridden, pathetic. Were you disappointed? You didn’t show it. You’d probably let me keep behaving like that until I destroyed myself. Population control.

You made me miss my family. You made me long for old friends and familiarity. You invited me to join you, and I hesistated at your frigid darkness and semiannual allergens; your extended winters and sloggy summers; your hipster neighborhoods and shadowed alleys; your people, everywhere, all the time; your strangers with furrowed brows and vapid stares, to and from work, the daily grind; your inclusion singled me out.

That aloneness, City? Best thing you did for me.

I fell in love with writing – look at this blog!

I lived for the weekends – Saturdays – if only to have the entire day to have you all to myself. A different attitude inhabits the city throughout the week. Not that isn’t fascinating, not that I couldn’t find inspiration, not that it’s any less beautiful or taxing or oppressive, because you’re the same thing all the time: ebbing and flowing; bringing in driftwood or a fresh tide; washing away dregs or rose petals.

Still, by some grand, understated miracle, I made some of the best friends of my life here. Though initially our common bonds were what we knew to be constant and secure, we also bonded through your uncertainty and change. My friends and I explored your streets together. We uncovered little treasures everywhere. We celebrated your seasons; we found fun ways to push through the winter: concerts, museums, bad made-for-tv movies at home with popcorn and cookies.

Once we got to spring, summer, and the first of fall, you couldn’t stop us. Nothing could. We walked and walked. We ate to our hearts’ content. We got wet in the river and at the beach. We roadtripped. We talked into the early morning. (But that also happened when it was cold.) We played hard on the weekends. Your street fairs, your protests, your smells, your music. The long hill on the west side of Harlem, leading up to Washington Heights.  The near-quarter-mile it is from 5th to 6th Avenue around Midtown. Your free hugs and headbands at Union Square. I got to know a lot of the little things about you, and maybe that’s why I love you.

You are one of the best friends of my life.

Almost seven years, City. I can’t believe it’s time to go.

I found a way to thrive. It wasn’t survival of the fittest where one king of the hill reigns. A lot of strangers still roam. I won’t get to know their names, but I discovered how to speak to them, regardless. I learned to look them in the eye and in that split second we understood how we are in the same moment, in the same place on this island stacked with concrete and masses of wandering bodies.

Sometimes, City, those connections last. And that’s what kept me going.

I used to thank my seminary students for “precipitating.” It’s going to rain tomorrow, my beloved. That’s got to be a coincidence, right? It can’t bring to full-circle the snowstorm that welcomed me. Your snow couldn’t keep me away, and now that I’ve been here a while and shown you what I’m made of, maybe you’re a little sad to see me go. I’m definitely not leaving as I came.

Thank you.

I hope you’re proud of me. It’s hard to tell.

I’ll come back, and we won’t do this again. I know my way around; I know what you’re about: I expect you to change. I’ll just pick up where I left off, both of us happy as can be. It won’t even feel like I was gone. I won’t forget the way you raised me, dear City. You absorbed me. I am yours.

I love you.

May

Sorry, People

I’m a couple of days behind. Be sure to scroll down to check for backdated posts in the next few days.

Had a going away party this evening. It was fun. Having so many people you love get together and laugh brings me great joy. I’m glad everyone seemed to have a great time.

Everyone’s gone now. The air has settled.

Tears are freely flowing.

Good night.