Boats & Friend Purgatory


I look around and can’t help but try to inventory the people in my life.

I have a handful of people that are firmly in the boat with me…. a handful of people have jumped ship (or, if I’m being honest, in some cases I’ve shoved out of the ship)… and then this not small group of people that are just sort of floating in the water. 

They aren’t here. They aren’t gone. 

They aren’t my good friends anymore. They aren’t my mortal enemies.  

They are in Friendship Limbo…  the purgatory for the people whose email address is still in your contacts or whose number is still in your cell phone, even though you never talk or see them anymore.   But the deletion of them… off email, off cellphone, off Facebook is so final that you can’t quite bring yourself to do it.

We might hold on to them out of nostalgia or out of obligation.   So that if they DO call you some day, you won’t have to ask the dreaded question, “Who is this?”  So if they get married or have a baby or die, maybe you will be told… because you don’t really know them anymore but you loved them once.  You would care if they were hurt or gone. You would be happy for their joy if they found love or brought new lives into the world.   You would offer them comfort if they needed it.  You would help them if they asked for it. You would let bygones be bygones. You would.

Because maybe they post the occasional picture on Facebook and you can catch a glimpse of the person that you used to be close to and know that at least, they looked happy for that moment.  

Because maybe some day they will change.  Or you will change.  Some day we won’t care anymore about what drove us apart or we will find a new connection that brings us back together in a way that is not the same, but better than before.

As much as I hate to consider the possibility… maybe, I’m getting what I deserve… these people on land… these people floating in the water… and me, in the boat, with my handful of people that I can’t bear to let go of…  my handful of people that won’t LET me throw them from the boat, even when I try… and I do, sometimes… a fatal character flaw that makes me run and makes me shove.  Makes me act like such a jerk that if you stay, if you don’t leave then I really, really know you are there and not leaving… no matter what. I am, admittedly, a complete pain in the ass.


Have you ever tried to pull someone back into a boat, when they’ve fallen (or yes, dammit, been pushed) out?  Waterlogged, slippery, without a firm place to plant their feet and push.. they flail and splash and choke. Sometimes they just try to hold on to the side for as long as they can.   Sometimes, they give up and swim away to land.

But sometimes, you grab onto their hands and pull with all your might and somehow they flop over the side into the boat and you both just whoop and drip and try to catch your breath and grin at each other… 

Sometimes, that happens.

90 degrees


No, I’m not pondering right angles.

I’m thinking about the difference in temperature between today and tomorrow.

Today…  20 below zero.   Tomorrow… 70 above zero.

90 degrees difference between today and tomorrow.  How often does that happen?  It happens when one flies from Minneapolis to Tucson in January.

As I was driving in this morning, I was focused. I mean, with black ice everywhere you have to be focused… and even with the focus I still had one giant OH SHIT moment where there was a red light in front of me and even though I was only going 25 mph, the car wasn’t stopping.  THE CAR WASN’T STOPPING. IT WASN’T STOPPING EVEN THOUGH I WAS PUMPING THE BREAKS AND SCREAM/CHANTING, “NOT STOPPING! NOT STOPPING! NOT STOPPING!” as I watched the cars whizzing by in front of me… and just as a raised my hand to begin the vicious honking that tells everyone driving perpendicular to me that I’m NOT STOPPING and am about to t-bone them or be t-boned, I feel the tires grip… and the cars slows…

I start to relax when I realize that if I couldn’t stop, then probably all those people behind me aren’t going to be able to stop and they’ll probably smash into me and force me into the intersection that I just narrowly avoided!  But no… they are stopping… they are stopping….

And then the bucket-load of adrenaline hits my body and I can no longer feel my hands, arms, legs or feet. I can feel my hammering heart, of course – but limbs are out.  This is particularly problematic when attempting to drive.  I hope this is a long red light as I whisper to my little guy in my belly…

I’m sorry honey… but you are about to get a wallop of adrenaline that is going to knock your socks off.  Mommy didn’t mean to release that into her bloodstream, but shit, these things happen and the car WASN’T STOPPING.  Brace yourself.

As I continued on my drive to work, I finally noticed how beautiful it is when it’s this cold.  The molecules are so cold, everything just sort of hangs in the air, unable to move.   Every chimney, laundry vent, grate on the street has a large puffy white cloud that just hangs suspended and immobile in the air.  The morning sun takes up an entire quadrant of the sky with it’s fuzzy, photo-filtered blear of yellow surrounded by rings and rings of yellow and white… as if even the light is frozen in place.   A rainbow is frozen in place,  as well…  and I’m like wow… all this color… all this fuzzy diffused light… this is just like…

Well, it’s like being on acid, if you have to know.

I’m not sayin’.  I’m just sayin’.

And then, as it will sometimes, the music on my satellite radio decided to be the perfect soundtrack for the moment as “Lights” by Coldplay came on and I cranked it up and just WAS in the moment.

[Side note:  I love Coldplay’s “X&Y” so much I could listen to it every day.. but this new Coldplay is SO ANNOYINGLY WEIRD WITH THEIR STUPID MATCHING OUTFITS THAT LOOK LIKE A CROSS BETWEEN LES MISERABLES AND SESAME STREET!! Lame! Lame!  And I’m already sick of the new songs and they aren’t cool and I hate Chris’ weird poodle hair and enough with the colored ribbons before I totally snap!!!!!!!!]

And then “Human” by the Killers came on… and there is this line in the song…

“Sometimes open doors make me nervous”

And I could totally relate because, you know… open doors make me kind of nervous, too.   Probably partially from my upbringing that if one wanted to get yelled at in my house, a good avenue to that was leaving the goddamned door open… and partially that I have an almost irrational fear that someone will break into my house in the middle of the night and hurt my family…  and if I’m being REAL, partially that open doors metaphorically freak me out a little because it always seems like you are supposed to go through them, you know?  But what if you don’t want to?  Or don’t feel like it?  You are a jerk for not going through the door?

My best friend is the opposite.  She hates closed doors.  She wants endless possibilities and for all of them to remain possibilities for as long as they can and she mourns doors that close… and I’m more likely to go, “Well good. Now I can move on to other things”.  I’m not saying I don’t like choice.   But I am DECISIVE.  When presented with choice, I decide things very quickly and I’m uncomfortable… nervous… the longer the door stays open.

Which has almost nothing to do with frozen air… except they are both things that are left in stasis – hanging in the air – literal and metaphorical representations of that which is both beautiful and an enormous pain in the ass.

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Farm Shares: Fantasy vs. Reality


Some time in October, I got very excited about purchasing a farm share.  This is when you pay up front for a ‘share’ in the farms crops and getting weekly/bi-weekly or monthly deliveries of said crops.  These typically run from April/May to Sept/October.   However, in my fervor, I found a farm that did a WINTER SHARE.  It was considerably cheaper (still $100 for my coworker and I that split the $200 share) and sounded wonderful during the holidays – every other Friday we got a new share from for November and December… just in time for the holidays.

Box #1

Fantasy: We pick up a large wicker basket over-flowing with beautiful orange, gold and green squashes and leafy veggies, leeks and onions and all other bountiful wintery veggies.  There are little acorns and springs of fresh herbs and a little Autumn Wheat Fairy flutters about the basket caressing the pumpkins and leaving the smell of cranberries and nutmeg in the air. Maybe grants wishes.

Reality: Big half-filled greasy/waxy box from the back room of a co-op. Filled with cabbage. Beets. Rutabegas. Gourds I do not know nor understand. Small, angry looking fifty-cent-piece sized potatoes covered in about a cup of dirt… onions… other green stuff. It was probably kale.  Sad baggie of limp dill.  Carrots that appeared mutated…growing in curls and split in the center into 2 separate carrots like partially formed siamese carrots.  The beets and rutabegas with enormous tentacles of roots coming off them, making them look alien and fierce.  Nothing was clean or trimmed or every remotely appetizing.  I grimly remind myself that his isn’t dirt… it’s ACTUAL FARM SOIL.  I forget the box for several days and all greenery must be thrown away as it’s swimming in it’s own remains.  The other items I chop up and bake for 3 hours.  I make myself and Kory eat roasted squash, potatoes and onions and beets.   Feel sort of Ingallsy…but deflated.

Box #2

Fantasy: We got email from the farm that the last batch (they heard) was sub-par so they will be sending us extra this time.  Maybe it will be things we like!  And it won’t look scary!  Maybe there will be honey this time! Or something amazing and rooty that we’ve never had and we’ll make it and fall in love.  THIS time I wil make smooth butternut soups…and warm roasted salads…and greens with homemade dressing!

Reality: More angry, dirty stuff.  A big limegreen pointy pinecone alien sea anemone thing that we think might be a cross-breed of a cauliflower and a broccoli. No one will touch it.  More cabbage. More angry potatoes. More onions.  Beets. Rutabegas. Turnips. Ugh….  more squash/gourds that are weird and possibly not even edible.  Bulbs of garlic that I plan to roast whole.  Sorrow.

Box #3

Fantasy: Ok, it’s December – let’s DO this.  I’m not going to let a greasy box of strange vegetables get the best of me.  I’ve got cookbooks.  I can find anything on in a flash.  I’m going to make stuff.

Reality:  Box sat on kitchen floor until funky smell starting coming out.  Rescued garlic bulbs and onions and small lunch bag of angry potatoes.  All else ugly and daunting.

Box #4 – The LAST box

Fantasy: Volunteer to bring ‘Roasted Winter Vegetables’ for Christmas dinner for the whole family.  This box is getting used no matter what this time!  Co-worker picks up box as I am off work and we arrange to meet.

Reality: Meeting is botched and I have to go the store and BUY winter vegetables to roast for family dinner. Finally get box the week after Christmas.  Whatever is in box is frozen, I assume.  A week later, box still in the back of my vehicle… only on quick turns and breaks, when whatever is in them slams into the greasy sides of the box, do I even remember they are there.  Will remove soon. At least before the the spring thaw.

Had to throw all collected garlic bulbs away that I never roasted… as they shrunk and got weird and wrinkly.

Bottom line: Paid $100 for small angry potatoes, onions and sad dose of reality.

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