May 2006 Archives

Lazing on a sunny afternoon...

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Last summer, over 4th of July weekend, I got the worst sunburn I've ever had in my life. I had second-degree burns on my arms, legs, and chest, all of which were so agonizing and swollen that I couldn't even walk for close to two weeks. It was the worst physical pain I've known.

Obviously I'm not anxious to repeat it, especially given the increased photosensitivity those burns evoked in my skin. And I take great precautions - as my mom always says, "You can't go through life blonde haired with fair skin and not know how to protect yourself."

My year-round daily moisturizer is SPF 15. As soon as the frost date (or a few sunny days in a row), I start using sunscreen as my lotion, which has the pleasant side effect of people smelling me and getting vaguely reminiscent of summer camp or trips to the beach, without knowing why. I don't go anywhere without protective lip balm. I get wiggy if I stand in the sun too long, and if required to sit in a parked car in the sun, I am more likely to roll up the windows and roast than get another sunburn. I'm only a few mincing steps away from wide-brimmed hats and constant sleeves and pants.

So our apartment has a layout like this (click to enlarge):

When we first moved here from the busy traffic of Ocean Ave, I wanted to have the back room be our bedroom, as it is quiet and always dark, and at the time, it seemed logical to have the sun-filled front room as our office. I felt that the 12-14-ft ceilings (we're on the top floor, so they slope up) would make the bedroom feel spacious despite the lack of natural light.

Over time this arrangement just plain didn't work right. It felt like we were sleeping in a cave (albeit a high one) and toiling in a sauna. It became way too easy to sleep away untold hours of the day, as no light came in to wake me naturally. Last night, after talking about it for months, we finally switched the bedroom and the office, and I couldn't be more pleased. The bed is under the window, and suddenly both rooms make so much more sense. It's almost like having a new apartment.

I went to sleep looking up at the glow of city lights over the rooftop, moonlight pouring through the windows, and I woke up with the early rays of the sun illuminating my pillow like a dream, or at least a very convincing sleep-aid commercial. It was just heavenly, and I thought how glad I was that we only had a makeshift scrim-like fabric flung over a bar for a curtain, as the room filled with sunlight.

Later in the day, basking in my new sanctuary reading a book (actually I figured out how to read a book and knit at the same time, but more on that another time), I thought how happy I was that we made this change. I dozed off, content as could be.

I woke about an hour and a half later with the familiar stinging, my skin feeling tight and hot. I was drenched in sweat, and even my scalp tingled, the noon sunlight pouring in much stronger and exactly where I was laying. Confused and feeling like I might faint, I wandered back to where Eric was coming out of the shower and mumbled, "I don't know what happened, I feel like I caught fire," and he suggested a cool shower, during which time it became clear to me that the sunlight coming through the screen window was strong enough or somehow angled just right to have lightly burnt my skin.

I stood looking at my arms and legs in disbelief, and then laughed to myself thinking, really, if anyone could manage to get a sunburn in bed, it's me.

It goes without saying, we went out and got bamboo shades this afternoon.

Spring Cleaning

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Nate's apartment in CommittedI'm absolutely whipped. I've spent the whole evening going through boxes and boxes of stuff, sorting papers, throwing things out, making piles to go to other places, and generally facing the disaster of my life here. I had a 6-ft high storage unit packed full of stuff, which has now been reduced to 3 small well-organized baskets, all of which fit neatly on my desk shelves (cleared for the occasion). I've gotten rid of several garbage bags' worth of stuff. I even made a box of gifts and things I'm willing to let go of, but I need someone else to throw out for me.

And yet I feel zero accomplishment. I feel like I've just been wandering through my hopelessly disorganized life, trying desperately to find something meaningful or to justify all the junk I've been keeping. I'm sick of things, and I'm sick of having so many things that I can't live my life or enjoy myself. I'm sick of what having so many things costs me.

I guess in a lot of ways, spring cleaning is not just a physical activity to make one's life more inhabitable, but also a psychological necessity, a way to drag out the things you've been shoving away and force yourself to deal with them. I don't like the person I see through the ephemera of my life.

I'm not sure how many of you saw the short-lived NBC sitcomCommitted, but the apartment episode was particularly memorable for me. The male lead Nate was an obsessive-compulsive genius who kept all these books and scraps of paper and all kinds of junk in his apartment, stacked up to the ceiling with only narrow paths between piles to get to furniture and other rooms. It's seriously horrifying. So he meets free-spirited Marni, whacky romance ensues, and eventually she says that she'd like to see his apartment, which of course strikes intense fear in Nate because he doesn't want her to know how strange and messy he is. She breaks into his apartment with a friend before he agrees to show her and is looking around, saying it's beautiful, that it's like being inside his brain. She's totally enthralled, and it becomes evident that she is supposed to be the perfect woman for him because she gets him and adores his idiosyncrasies. They sneak out, and then a few days later after staying up day and night on end cleaning and getting rid of everything, Nate invites Marni over to a now-sterilized, completely normal-looking apartment with almost nothing in it. She looks around confused and disappointed, and I think eventually admits that she'd seen how it had been and that was who she loved, but that this utterly normal, conventional person isn't interesting at all. La la, crazy people sex, everyone is happy. (I liked that show damnit.)

Why I've mentioned this is that I can't look at all my clutter without knowing that I'm looking at my brain... and I hate that. I also know that Eric has been spending all his days in the office, overwhelmed with these mountains of just, crap, and I can't imagine that by now he doesn't feel the same disgust and loathing for everything that goes on in here. It's... distressing, to say the very least.

I also realize how many things I haven't done because I couldn't find the supplies (but knew I had them) or forgotten completely about. So many major anxieties could have been avoided by keeping my paperwork organized. I would not have had to live with an old cable receiver and modem in a box next to my desk for close to a year if I had just located the damn return sticker they sent. It's intensely frustrating... though now that I've found things and finally sorted a year's (or more) worth of disaster, I can address all this stuff and just get it out of my head. That is a sort of beautiful relief.

Of course it's not all bad. Moving furniture around has put the kitties into a wonderful state of hilarity.

Iggy thinks that the top of a wire shelf is the perfect place for a cat to hang out. And Smokey has decided he'll sleep on the coffee table for now. Weirdoes.

Iggy on shelf


Walking around in my new shoes

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green converseAt the tender age of fourteen, I broke up with my first serious boyfriend (the first time). While nursing a broken heart, I was kept company by my friend Kevin who lived down the street. One afternoon, Kevin kissed me, and I was really conflicted.

I tried explaining it to a friend, saying it was like giving up your favorite pair of shoes - the ones you've worn in so the cushioning cradles your feet exactly, the laces are fixed into your grooves, the treads are worn so thin your ankles start hurting... I realized it was time to give up my first pair in favor of something new, and I was willing to adjust. But the tongue felt a little funny. And I wasn't really sure how to walk around in my new shoes just yet.

I've started this new blog with a touch of trepidation. I'm still getting used to the feel of things, and I can't say it's all perfect. Yet these shoes feel good, if a bit awkward. Only thing to do is run, right?

So I'm going to list some plans I'm excited about:

  • implementing a photo of the day, perhaps in place of my photoblog
  • illustrating posts with photos
  • designing custom graphics and altering the text & design elements to my own taste
  • categorized entries & organized, focused content
  • hosting videos, animations, and occasional mp3s
  • project pages with instructions, source materials, and resources
  • no more flashing or talking ads!!!

Yeah, these are good shoes. I'm gonna like it here.

It is a beginning...

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After more time than I care to admit, I have started a new blog. Most likely you've come here from my old blog - welcome!

I don't plan to keep this theme forever, but I have not yet mastered enough technical skills to design or modify my own theme. Emphasis on the yet.

Stay tuned - I will begin posting actual entries soon -- for some reason I am inexplicably sad about leaving my free journal and feel like shedding a tear or two in that blog's honor... particularly since I can't import its posts here (whoops).

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from May 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

June 2006 is the next archive.

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