A day of ups and downs – mostly downs.
Both of my husband’s parents are in hospitals today – separate hospitals, for separate reasons.
Both are facing the kinds of questions no one really wants to answer, but everyone has to.
Binge-watching episodes of ER is oddly cathartic at times like this.
Actually binge-watching ER is comforting for a lot of reasons, and like The West Wing I like having it on for background noise while I’m writing.
I like the pace of it.
If life were a medical drama, Alex Kingston and Anthony Edwards would rule hospitals.
Meclizine last night left me groggy for most of today.
As well, I’m still in recovery from a really dark piece that I wrote – it involved a character being raped. (I should add that I don’t think rape should ever be used to entertain, it was something that was integral to the story I’m telling.)
I’m writing the aftermath now, and I suddenly understand why friends refer to me as a ‘method writer,’ because I’m having a difficult time separating myself from the material.
After all, when I’m writing, I play all the parts.
Sleep and chocolate have helped immensely.
Sometimes the only cure for the blahs is chocolate, so yesterday, I baked a batch of my favorite chocolate chip cookie bars.
The base of the batter smells like butterscotch, but it’s really only sugar, egg, and vanilla. (Some people actually measure the vanilla when they bake. I find this adorable.)
I don’t bother adding chocolate chips and walnuts as a separate step. Instead I measure them into the dry ingredients, mix them together, and add the whole thing to the wet ingredients, one-third at a time.
My house is redolent of the same chocolate that flavors my husband’s kisses.
I climbed the stairs to my studio to record lines for an audio drama, and ended up working on a podcast as well.
Actually, first I recorded new opening and closing bits for my podcast so I finally have a general template for easy, easy production.
Then I riffed on crayons in a personal essay. I’m not sure what the exact schedule of the podcast is going to be, but probably around the first and fifteenth of every month. It works for me, I think to do it regularly, but not to the point of it being a stressful project.
Listen to On Crayons: http://www.bathtubmermaid.com/2015/09/tbm-1509-16-on-crayons/
I used to watch her sitting on the stairs, twisting the phone cord around her fingers while she gabbed with her friends, rocking back and forth on the parquet tile floor, squinching her nearly prehensile toes around the curved edges of the worn wood stairs.
I remember being envious of her olive skin that always had a faint tan, and of her long fingers and strong nails, her black curly hair – curls she hated.
I would have given anything to have curls like that.
But she would have anything to have my pin-straight strawberry hair, along with my innocent youth.
I’ve never been a fan of spiders…
This summer has been far more spidery than I remember other summers being, but I’m not sure if there are really more little crawly things or if I’m just hyper-aware of them.
Oddly, I’m less afraid of them than I used to be, only making my husband come to do away with them when I can’t reach their cob-webby homes in the corners of my kitchen, or bathroom, or bedroom.
I would be far less opposed to spiders if they limited their existence to places where I never have cause to be naked.
I stayed up too late writing and ended up hung over on words and ideas and lack of sleep and desperate for naps and tall cool glasses of water, which I took in alternate sessions.
The ice machine has ceased making ice. Again. I am an ice junkie. This is a problem.
I miss the days when I spent my weekends jumping from book to book, like stepping stones in a lazy creek.
The weather is playing tricks on me, looking murky and cool, but really being hot. FOUL! I call FOUL!!
(Fuzzy said he might steal my exclamation-point key!)
Bath time, for her, is as sacred as Sunday mass, and as soothing to her body as yoga might be for those who practice it.
Even though her tub is hers, and hers alone, she lights candles, pours a glass of wine or a mug of herbal tea, sets the radio to play her favorite feed from NPR’s weekend array, and brings a book along.
Sometimes she uses grocery store bubble bath in lavender or mint, but she’s a fan of expensive bubble bars and bath bombs as well.
She especially likes that one from Lush that smells like autumn.
He loves to go out for crepes on Saturday mornings.
It has, in fact, become their weekend ritual: morning sex, slow showers, and then out to breakfast, to the comic book store, and back home for cozy, puttery afternoons.
On rainy Saturdays she spends the afternoon writing and backing, moving between her laptop on the kitchen table, and the actual kitchen.
Most of the time she bakes batter breads – banana, pumpkin, zucchini – or cookies (his favorite: chocolate chip with walnuts), but sometimes she’ll surprise him with lingonberry tarts or strawberry rhubarb pie.
Every Saturday morning. This scene from their marriage.
The piano came with the house.
They found it discarded in the basement, the soundboard cracked.
She’d always wanted a piano, so they hoisted it up, and put it back together, had it tuned and timed.
She didn’t know how to read music, but she could play by ear, her elegant fingers coaxing beautiful sounds from the cast-off instrument.
If anyone else had bought the house…
If they didn’t live in reasonably humid New Jersey…
If music wasn’t as much a part of his soul as it was hers…
But that did, and they do, and it is.