Isn’t it funny that the day I decide to come back and tell you all that I’m alive is the day I log in and WordPress tells me happy seventh blogoversary? Anyway, I’m alive.
What’s the earliest thing you remember?
I don’t remember much of my early life. My sister was born when I was three years and eight months old, and I don’t remember anything before her. I think I only remember one thing before kindergarten, and that was moving to our first new house in Oklahoma, something that seems pretty dang memorable.
I remember bits and pieces before I was ten. After that I can remember whole days and weeks, and the months and years have a story flow to them.
The summer I was nine years old, my grandmother gave me a copy of Oscar Wilde’s Fairy Tales. I dreamed about it last night, about the sound of my aunt Jurate’s voice as she read The Happy Prince aloud to me.
“Swallow, swallow, little swallow…”
I remember her slapping my hand as I sat on the couch next to her, snapping at me not to pick at my toenails, and then returning to the story as though nothing had happened.
I woke up too early this morning, and I knew exactly where the book was. I tried to retrieve it from the shelf as quietly as possible so as not to wake Ian, even though it had an RC helicopter sitting atop it and another knickknack sitting in front of it. I thought I did well until he rolled over. I apologized and read half the book before setting it on the stack on my nightstand to contemplate.
I read The Happy Prince in my aunt’s voice, and I remembered the tears I shed for The Nightingale. I traced the illustrations and remembered how the Charles Mozley influenced my style at the time.
I’m going to go finish reading it now, and to think about how many of my memories revolve around the printed word.
And picking at my nails.
I do not recommend reading a book on writing memoir right before you go to bed. I did it last night, and it was a mistake.
I didn’t even read that much; just a few pages, and then I was like, nah, dude, I’ll read this novel that I also downloaded when I finished Everything We Keep the other night. So I read that for a little while, and it was fine. I got sleepy, I put the Kindle down, I closed my eyes, and next thing I knew, it was five hours later and I had to pee and I had been having some pretty messed up dreams.
I’m pretty sure that every single bad decision I made in my late teens and early twenties came back to haunt me in my sleep last night. And I didn’t just dream what happened; oh no, my good ole brain had to go and make everything a thousand times worse.
Brain: you had an amicable breakup in the middle of dinner at a restaurant then finished eating together and went home separately? Not anymore! Now you’re screaming and naked and fighting for the entertainment of thirty thousand people!
Yeah. That kind of thing.
I woke up feeling the deepest darkest feelings of failure that I’ve ever felt when I’m not in the midst of a bout of depression. Miserable. Like everything I’d done was wrong.
I slept a little bit more and then I was okay for the most part, albeit still haunted by the sensations those dreams had left me.
And then it went away, as dreams and their effects so often do.
It’s funny now because I fell down an internet rabbit-hole this afternoon and ended up reading about James Frey and A Million Little Pieces. I’d somehow missed that story before.
Teresa stood on her tippy-toes to peer out of the small basement window placed so close to the ceiling. No sign of rain, yet.
She turned back to finish organizing the books on the newly built shelving, humming absentmindedly to herself. Some mishmash of three or four different showtunes, the same odd tune she always hummed when she was working.
One of the books felt different under her fingers ash she pulled it from its cardboard home. She paused and glanced down, flipping the book to have a look at the front cover. Smiling to herself, she took a step backwards and reached behind her for the arm of the recliner that she knew was there.
Once settled, she put her feet up and cracked the book open. She lost herself in the old childhood favorite for hours, and by the time she closed the back cover with a sigh, it was pouring down rain outside.
She gasped in shock, and quickly checked her watch. Sure enough, more than three hours had passed while she was reading, oblivious to the outside world.
She took a look around at the half dozen boxes of books still resting peacefully in front of the mostly-empty shelves. The rest would have to wait until tomorrow; right now, it was time for her to go pick Todd up from work. She checked her watch again, and grimaced It was going to be close.
She kicked the footrest down and got out of the recliner. Rubbing her finger against the spine of the book, she briefly pondered what to do with it, where to put it so it wouldn’t be lost again, before settling on the top shelf, all by itself, at least for now.
She kissed the tips of her fingers and waved a fond goodbye to the boxes and shelved books before turned toward the stairs with a sigh of regret. Parting was such sweet sorrow.
Today was a good day.
I’ve been having unpleasant and vivid dreams every night.
It all started three weeks ago when I went to the doctor for a followup appointment. He said my cholesterol is high normal, most likely due to genetics and not my diet (thanks for that boost, man), and started me on a low dose of Lipitor. Three days later, I was wondering if that was the cause of my crazy ass dreams and googled it–yup, that can sure happen.
I also learned that Lipitor can increase your risk of diabetes. Thanks, doc, like I don’t already have enough strikes against me. So I stopped taking it. But the dreams haven’t stopped. Last night was the worst one yet, involving burnt pieces of people, mostly children.
But it was just a dream, so I’m okay.
I had to wake up early to wake my husband up so he could take his dad to the doctor, but I went back to sleep, so there’s that.
I woke up half an hour later because my mother’s home health nurse showed up. My mother had a knee replacement done last week. That is a whole ‘nother story, my friends. But whatever, I went back to sleep for another little bit.
I finally got up and took a shower and figured out what to wear to my interview, and my husband still wasn’t home. Eventually he made it, bringing his brother for a haircut. He shaved his brother’s head, which was interesting, as I’ve always known him to have long hair.
Then he brought his brother home and dropped me off for my interview. He let me out at the employee entrance, and one of my friends from housekeeping was taking a load of trash out. He was happy to see me, and asked if I was working there again. I told him no, that I was just coming for an interview, and he wished me good luck. I stopped by and said hi to my old assistant manager, who wished me luck, and headed to my interview.
I went into the store and said hi, I’m here to interview with Mr Manager at 230. The girl at the counter raised her eyebrow and said no, you’re here for an interview with me. She seemed mighty offended that I assumed that since Mr Manager asked me to come for an interview with him at 230 that I would be interviewing with him. Jeez, I’m such an idiot.
She told me I would have to wait. Okay, no big deal. I moseyed around and looked at body jewelry for ten minutes while she sassed a customer, wandered to the office, wandered back out, rang up the customer that she’d sassed, rolled her eyes at a coworker’s question, kicked a backpack around behind the cash wrap, and flipped pages on a clipboard.
When she’d made me wait long enough for offending her, she simply walked toward the front of the store without saying a word to me. Her coworker told me she’s ready for you now. All three of us stood at the lease line, me quite awkwardly witnessing my interviewer berate her coworker for bringing some jewelry with her to ask another question.
We sat at a table behind the closed gelato stand to talk. First she handed me a copy of my application and asked me to make sure all of the information was correct. I looked it over and told her that the only change was that I was no longer employed, but since I’d already put that I could start immediately, that didn’t affect anything else on the application.
I also explained that while I’d answered the question about how many jobs I’d had in the past two years with the number three, they were simultaneous jobs, and that I’d maintained steady employment with my most recent employer for the past four and a half years, the first three and a half with a second job. She reassured me that was fine, even thought there was no place on the application to explain that.
No small talk, just four pages of pre-supplied interview questions including when was the last time you shopped with us and what were you shopping for, tell me about a time when you received bad guest service, and who was the best manager you’ve ever had and what did you learn from them. She didn’t care about my answers, but at least she took notes.
When she was done she told me that she would speak with Mr Manager tomorrow and he would give me a call to let me know their decision. I think she was upset that I wasn’t solemn enough about the whole situation, which is funny because the company’s slogan is life’s a party, we’re making it fun.
But I’ll find something out tomorrow. Probably.
My husband picked me back up at the employee entrance. We dropped off his dad’s prescription and went to the hardware store for some supplies to use in our crystal-making endeavor that we had planned for this evening. That, my friends, is yet another story, which you may possibly read about tomorrow when I have the final results.
We went to Walk-On’s for dinner and then hit Target up for two whole hours of date night fun. I got three new books, and here is a picture of them, a la Stephanie at AoaB.
Salina paused by her living room window, the one facing the lake. She put her hands on her hips and stared. The tiny island in the middle of the water didn’t have any buildings on it before, but there it was.
It looked like a storage building. Far too small for someone to live in, but the island wasn’t nearly big enough for an actual home anyway. And it would be such a pain to have to take the boat any time you wanted to go to the library, she thought.
Salina didn’t spend much time on the water; she much preferred to be simply near the water. She couldn’t fathom the motivations of her neighbors who were constantly swimming or boating or skiing. Someone living on an island was too far beyond her ken.
Still, better safe than sorry. She made a mental note to call the sheriff in the morning to ask about it as she pulled her curtains closed and made her nightly loop around the cottage, turning off the lights and making sure everything was in its place.
The image returned to her mind as she was cozying up in bed with her newest book. She closed the book on her finger and wondered. When did that building get there? And how? She sighed, and nestled into her pillow, cracking her book back open and picking up where she’d left off.
Maybe there would be answers in the morning.
Stephanie wrote a few months ago about books she’s reread. I have stacks and stacks of books that I’ve read more than once–the list could probably go on for quite some time. But tonight while I was picking up and packing and getting things ready for our vacation next week, this book popped into my head. I finished up what I was doing and sought it out on my shelves, in the process finding a set of luggage tags that will come in handy.
Stanley wanted to play fetch (have you ever had a cat play fetch? It is totes adorbs.) so badly that he pushed a toy under the door to me, so I grabbed my book and went to read on the couch so I could throw his toy for him.
Of course I’ve finished it; a 180 page for ages ten and up book is obviously a one-sitting read for me. And so nostalgic; I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read Step on a Crack. Dozens, at least.
This is the cover that once graced my copy. It fell off years ago, but I do still have the first pages, something that a few of my other well-loved paperbacks are not lucky enough to still have.My mother saw me reading, and gasped, are you reading a book without a cover? I had to reassure her that it had a cover, once upon a time. When she bought it for me, probably thirty years ago.
I’ve been thinking about doing a huge purge of my physical books, since I have a Kindle Unlimited account and I can borrow ebooks from my local library. They’re stacked so high and crammed so tight that I could probably lose half of them and still have a respectable collection. And downsizing feels like a good idea. Less complicated.
But the contrast would be so stark between tattered, miserable paperbacks like this one and nice, pretty hardcovers that still have dustjackets. I don’t know. We’ll see if I’m able to do it or not.