Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Unintended Guinea Pig

I wrote this entry months ago. I wrote it right after being dumped. It felt too honest to share. It was too personal, I have my pride, and I worried that he would read it. I'm no longer concerned about his eyes on this however, because while he sat on my couch three months ago, ended the relationship because, he said, he didn't feel emotionally available (which I don't dispute), and told me how important I was to him, and while he told me in a text exchange weeks later how he wanted to touch base from time to time, it appears from where I sit that those words were simply words.

So funny, those words of smoke. Said with meaning and good intentions, but without longevity.

I don't need to worry about being vulnerable to him and worry about what that might think of me, because silence speaks volumes, and he has said nothing. Nothing for a long time.

This leaves me with only one logical conclusion; I am no longer important. Just like that. And if there's one thing I know about people who don't give a shit about you, they don't give a shit about reading your blog either.

So, this is how it felt three months ago when he sat on my couch and delivered words with the best of intentions.

My feelings have changed only slightly now, but I will keep that to myself. Since now, that's too personal.

You will date and date and date, trying to find someone you connect with. Then you will keep trying. You will go out with assholes and consider a second date because there is no one else.  You will keep trying because you don't want to give up hope.

You will try dating men who you know are not right for you because, it must be you, right? You're the problem and you should adapt. But it never works, because you'd rather be alone than pretend.

Time will pass and while you are grateful to have friends and family on your birthday, you will feel a pang because you don't have your person. In winter, there will be no one to take a walk with you in the snow. And hold you hand. No one to share the cape with, or go on adventures with in the fall. Year after year.

You will begin to realize love may not be for you. That you will be that woman in the office meeting who's in her fifties and radiates bitterness, but claim she prefers to be single, because what the fuck else is she supposed to say? You will realize that what you hoped for and felt everyone, including you, deserves, will simply not happen.

Then you will meet him. He will wear a shirt with a tiny elephant on it to your first date, and while you don't like to believe in signs, you will take note because they are your favorite animal. You will talk and talk while the band you were supposed to be listening to plays in the distance, and then you will both agree should get sushi, even though it was supposed to be a quick date. A meet-and-greet. He will be the right height, the right build. There will be chemistry. He will kiss you on that first date when saying goodnight, under the street lights.

He will have a smile that makes you happy, especially when you make it appear with your humor. He will make you laugh. Every. Single. Day. He will accept you as you are and be patient with your questions. He will cook with you, listen to music with you. Sing in the car with you. He will hold your hand in his sleep occasionally and tell you later he didn't realize he did that.  He will bounce ideas off you which makes you feel valued. He will hold you while you cry over the loss of a loved-one, and when you are recovering from gallbladder surgery he will send you the song "I Like You" by Ben Rector. You will listen to that song when the pain meds do nothing, and you will feel better. (This will make you feel a bit cheesy, but you won't care).

He will be a grown-up who cooks and cleans and cares for his kid, does laundry and shops and makes weekly menu plans. He will make time for you when he should probably be taking time for himself. He will show when he says he's going to, call nightly, and ask you to text him when you get home for safety. He will hold you often and touch you when he passes by, and these things will make you feel secure. You will take walks together and your dogs will become best of friends.

You will feel calm about the relationship, not anxious like all the others. You will admire his kindness. You will talk about weekend plans and in jest, add "...if we still like each other" with a wink.  He will be your date for your 40th birthday and comfortably tell people he is your boyfriend. You will feel immense joy that he is with you for this birthday.

He will notice your eyes are in fact hazel, and not brown as you'd thought your whole life.

He will be your confidante, a good ear, a supportive friend, a good hugger. When you're tired, he will start cooking even though you offered to cook that night.

You will think that maybe it's your turn. Maybe it's your time to have your person. You will finally feel peace within you and someone to love. The right one to love. Your home away from home.

But he will also be struggling, and hide that from you. He will never introduce you to his family or his friends. You will not exists in his online life. Using his phone, he will house-hunt in front of you. Looking at houses, to you, feels like a clear indication of a future he sees without you in it. You will tell him as much, while pointing out that you don't think about moving in together anytime soon, which is true. No need to rush when you're content in the moment.

You will hear his reasons - meeting friends is a logistical challenge, when he sees family he is with his kid (and it was never time to meet his kid), looking at houses is just fun, Facebook is for sharing photos of his daughter with family. And you will accept those answers, convincing yourself that in the long run none of that matters. It will never occur to you to stop seeing him, because you're happy. And you actually love him.

But you are not blind, and you check in with him regularly, steeling yourself to ask the hard questions -  Are you happy? Is this relationship too much? Am I a rebound?  You will ask him on your second date why he started dating so soon after being hurt.  And you will get the answers you crossed your fingers for and finally start asking them less.

You will continue to feel a calm peace within you, with a nearly imperceptible unease below the surface.

Then he will start responding to your texts a bit slower than usual. He will stop sending pictures to you of whatever fun adventures he's on with his daughter. When you speak on the phone, there is a subtle shift which you dismiss as him being tired and recognize later as a waning interest in you. You will dismiss all this as you being insecure, and you won't ask about it because you don't want to put pressure on him. You want to be a source of joy in his life, not an obligation, and so far you feel you have been. But at ten months, you will think it would be nice if "I love you"s were said when you parted ways, and it feels sad to not hear it.

But you say nothing, grateful for what you do have. And hoping that what you don't have will  come in time.

While you truly feel it wasn't on purpose, in the end, you are his unintended guinea pig. The first foray into post-divorce relationships. You will wish he knew himself better, knew better than to enter the dating pool when he did.  You will wish you never met him, while feeling grateful that you did.

You will feel completely worthless in the wake if it all.

While you were together, you knew that if it didn't work, you simply couldn't try again.  Couldn't continue to hope that your person exists.

And then, in the end, you will feel in your heart that this is true. You will be grateful for what you have, you will go to your job and make your living, you will have a nice time when you're with your friends and your family, you will walk your sweet dog who has taken such good care of you since you became so sad, and you will appreciate the the fact that you are breathing because you have loved ones who no longer are. 

You will also wonder like you did before he came, how you will find joy in your life. Except this time it will hurt more, because before, you had him, and now you don't.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Vacation's Over

Back to the gray
The concrete.
The furrowed brow and aching shoulders.
Vacation's over.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Martha's Vineyard

When I visited Martha's Vineyard Sunday with my parents, godmother and her friend it made me a bit sentimental, or at the very least, thoughtful about my childhood.

The home we visited belongs to my father's aunt, Lisina. She and her late-husband Frank hired my dad to design the house when I was a baby. When we arrived, very strong memories returned to me.

There is a long and bumpy dirt road through the woods which lead to the house, and as we rode a taxi and bumped along, I thought about the VW bus which lived with the house for many years. I believe it was blue, and I will always remember how it distinctly smelled of sunblock, sand, and a bit of plastic, how my bare legs would stick to the white plastic seats with a dotted texture. How it had no shocks whatsoever, and we bounced around back there free of seatbelts. And the sand, of course. there were always plenty of sand under your butt and legs. It's too bad that VW bus is no more.

I found this online. It's not far off though I do not remember any blue on the seats or armrests even!

The house, split into a winterized end and an end which only works in summer, smelled of cedar all the time. Over time it faded, of course, but wandering into the summer end reminded me of the days with my cousins, sleeping in bunk beds, and shaking flashlights at each other from one end of the hall to create a strobe light effect. This was also the same place my cousins and I wrote our "magazine".

I was given access to a wood shop underneath the house where I remember building wooden boats - three of them as I recall, with wood scraps and nails.

From the house there is a path down to a beach which takes about ten minutes to walk. Walking along it, I remember how I would traverse this path as a kid - by running as fast as I could! I loved the zoomy-ness of the brush flying by me and the dappled light sparkling through the trees, and even when I walked it during our visit, I could remember what it felt like. I mean, literally, I remember how my legs felt fast and strong and I never winded. A stark contrast to being a grown-up!

It was along this same path that my brother and I, and maybe our cousins too, likely, collected huckleberries for pancakes.

Now is a beautiful place, but then, it was just magical to me.

This long hall was our "strobe" light location. The ladder on the left led to a loft of beds.

Along the path to the beach

Friday, August 26, 2016

Great Barrington Visit

After spending some time with Shannon, I double back to see Meg and Aaron and their kids Stella, 8, Miles, 6, and Vivian and Sylvia, twins who are almost 4. I will be with them for a little over three days.

As I pull up to the house, I am greeted with a giant WELCOME sign hanging on the porch. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy! As I pull up the drive, the kids are hiding, blowing bubbles for my car to roll through, and as I reach the back of the house where the cars are all parked, a large rectangle drawn with the words "Cydney's Spot" tells me right where my VW belongs. It was a great welcome. Meg tells me later about how they were so excited that they made her scamper up the driveway on foot for a trial run of my welcome. It was perfectly executed!  The kids come running, and the twins especially, now four, seems unglued at the new company.

"Cydney's SPOT" In Boston this parking spot would cost $40 a day. Here, mine's personalized and I just have to pay with hugs! What a bargain! 
I brought a personalized game of Memory for the kids. Everyone wanted the Harlow card!

Takin on Stella in a game of Memory

I step out of the car to discover that both twins have bangs. Bangs were the signifier to distinguish Sylvia, who wore bangs,  from Deedee/Vivian who did not. It turns out Miles was playing salon with them. Was this a new hobby or a one-time thing?" I ask him. He blushes and turns away as he murmurs "A one time thing". He gave his own bangs a trim as well, his golden locks taking on a slightly Amish feel.
It's not long though before I can see the difference in the twins' bangs though, and differentiating is no trouble.

Their Bopbop (Meg's dad) hangs out with them for a bit while Meg and I take a walk in to town to run a few errands and catch up a bit. While we're out we stop at the library where Meg picks up a graphic novel version of A Midsummer Night's Dream for Stella, who proceeds to read it in a day, and then use her knowledge the next day to direct herself and her siblings in a ten minute rendition of the play, which I recorded because it was so awesome. I would have paid money to hear Sylvia deliver the line "Stop, you foul beast! You will never get this child!"
The whole production was pretty much the best thing ever.

Checking out Umpachine Falls, which typically can't be climbed because there is so much water. With the lack of water recently, that was different this time.

Sylvia takes on Umpachine.

Girls night out for dinner at Cantina. Great Farm to table food and even better company

Time at the lake. My first time in a bathing suit in I don;t know how long! This is Vivian.

Vivian was so curious about my insulin pump. After we played in the lake together, she sat on the blanket with me and asked questions. The next day they all watched in fascination as I switched my pump cannula site.

Vivian Investigates My Pump from C.M. Scott on Vimeo.

Stella sets up a spa in the upstairs bathroom

At dinner, we laugh until our sides split, going around the table doing impressions of each other. Vivian wants a turn and let's us know by waving her hands in the air "You guys! You guys! I have an oppression! I have an oppression!"

One evening at dinner, Meg (who I suppose saw her daughter showing signs of needing to be excused) looked at Sylvia across the table and said "You know, Sylvia, if you have to go potty, all you have to do is asked to be excused."
At which point Sylvia threw her arms out to her sides, and sang, randomly, in reply, "Every day is awesommmmmmme!!!"

We go around the table talking about dreams we've been having. Meg gets creative and talks about dreams which bare a suspiciously close resemblance to a fairy tale which we are all familiar with. Aaron picks up this idea when it's his turn, and talks about how he dreamt he was a piglet, "The runt of the litter! And I lived in a house of straw! And Sylvia was a pig who lived in a house made of wood! And Vivian was another pig who lived in a house made of brick..."

Sylvia catches on, now aware of her fate as the pig living in a wooden house, and exclaims in a panic "No! I'm in the house made of bricks!"
I love this one in black and white especially. 

Miles takes on Mama in a game of BattleSip right before I leave

As I pack up my car on Thursday morning to head back to real life which consists of mostly grown ups (snore!), I am bombarded with hugs and I promise them it's just "See you later!" and not goodbye. Meg asks the kids if they want to do The Baden Run and so, as I pull out of the driveway, the entire family, save Aaron who's working (poor guy's hardly ever in my photos), chase the car down the drive, and then follow along the sidewalk, waving frantically, as I head down the street and over the hill. 

They sure know how to do a send off!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Western MA

Vacation couldn't come soon enough as far as I was concerned. I needed some time away from the BU campus and my home for a bit.
The drive to see Shannon, who now lives in western MA (WOOT!) and is working for Williams College (she's fancy!), was a beautiful one. I was surprised, expecting to have a drive which was completely on I90. It was all small roads and interesting sites which was great!

A few days with Shannon was a great start to my week off!

on my way!

I had to pull over to shoot this! 
Stopping for som yummy pizza!

The view form the top of Mount Greylock. Really neat and apparently the view which will be seen by the wizards and witches of JK Rowlings' next HP book!

Mount Greylock selfie. I am so happy to have Shannon in MA !

Mount Greylock

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Harlow GoesPro

Distracted by my own life and goings-on over the past year, I was embarrassed to only meet my neighbors just this morning as Harlow and I returned from a hike in the Fells. Last week, I met my neighbor's neighbor (who I guess is actually my neighbor too, come to think of it) as she watered the garden of the people I'd yet to meet while they were away. Shannon offered me a giant cucumber from the vacationing neighbor's little garden and I took it, knowing this would be good reason to finally meet them when they returned.

Today was that day. "Your neighbor gave me one of your cucumbers so now I definitely need to meet you!" I said to them in front of their house after I returned from a hike with Harlow today, "I'm sorry it took me so long!"

Their names are Ben and Audrey, and they seem like quiet, shy, and very nice people. I introduced them to Harlow. "Yes, we've met her!" they said, "She's gotten loose a few times and we corralled her back into your yard. She's a really nice dog."


It turns out that the fence entrance on one side of the house with the shitty latch I've been meaning to call the company about has indeed provided an escape route from time to time.

They went on to say that there was an "older guy" at the house when they knocked on the door (after some description, we figured out it must have been Dad), and when they told him his dog was loose, my dad said "No she's not". And they were all "Um, yeah she is", and they worked together to get the dog back.

Of course, poor Dad simply let Harlow out the back dog door at which point she simply exited out the side gate "Field Trip!" So logically, he didn't think she was loose.

Little stinker.

I thanked them profusely for being so nice are corralling her, then we talked about our houses and how part of them sag. Did I know someone who could fix that? Yes, I told them. "My porch sags too, but I dread fixing it, so I just call it part of my home's charm!"

In other news, I finally edited together the video Harlow collected this past weekend with the help of the GoPro. I took out the parts where she's exploring along the side of the road and cars are slowly creeping by her to avoid being told I'm negligent, and the part when she passes Dad super early in the morning and he's wearing only boxers and heading bleary-eyes back to bed from the bathroom. Funny what that dog saw.

Harlow Goes Pro from C.M. Scott on Vimeo.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Skunks and Cameras

This past weekend I rented a GoPro camera and mounted it on Harlow (you can actually rent a GoPro harness for dogs!). I've been slowly making my way through the clips and trying to edit them together into something tolerable to look at. I'm not sure it's accomplishable but we'll see.

She's GoPro ready!

I wrote am entry in The Daily Harlow on Facebook, so I'm just copy-and-pasting here, one of the incidents of the weekend...

I haven't worn a bathing suit in probably a decade. My reason for wearing one tonight? Harlow wandered off on an adventure after the sun went down. She barked and barked and barked in the woods. I knew she'd cornered something. She returned from her exploration and along with her the stench of a skunk. So, since it was late, all I could do was tomato juice her. Since all we had was whole canned tomatoes, I put on my suit, dragged her in the outdoor shower and rubbed her down with whole tomatoes! Harlow taste tested a piece which fell off her. Yummy! Poor girl still has a little red on her where I couldn't get all the juice out. Sigh. Oh and then since it was pitch black and stringing electricity into the shower would be foolish to say the least, my dad put two candles on the ledge of the shower and I showered with my dog and tomatoes by candlelight. Ah, the romance in my life!

after her tomato bath. She does pathetic really well.

Leaning into Mom, a bit of tomato stain still on her chest!

I'm taking a watercolor class and had fun practicing over the weekend. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

I Think I'm Psychic

Weeks ago I was walking through my building at BU when I passed by the door to the Interactive Design department. Glancing in, I wondered in passing when we might lose Gloria, who I could see through the door. We've lost many designers in a mass exit over the past few years.

One hour later an email was sent out announcing that Gloria was leaving.

Sunday night I was driving home from dropping off Mom after driving back form the cape. It was late, and I was driving through Stoneham when at random I thought of an incident from years before; I was driving Donna, Amanda and Christina to a restaurant. We were entering the highway from a road in Wakefield, no where near where I was driving Sunday, when a bunny rabbit ran out in front of my car and ricocheted through the underside. It was awful!

No more than three minute after I thought about this incident (which I haven't thought of in years), a rabbit ran across the road in front of my car. He cleared it with no problem, so that was a relief, but I don't recall ever seeing a rabbit during the drive from my parents house to my house before.

Thursday, August 4, 2016


Block printing, guitar lessons, silver smithing, pottery on a wheel, rowing. These are some of the classes I have taken in my adult life. They were things I wanted to learn, but also, they were things to pass the time until I had company. I enjoyed these classes but their purpose made me feel a bit lonely.

Whenever I entered these classes, I wondered what I'd get out of them. I didn't want piles of "things" from these classes that would just sit around my house. Aside from the pottery (are you in need of some heavy-bottomed, somewhat ugly bowls?), I managed to get rid of all the results of the classes (which reminds me that I should sell that stupid guitar). But I would often choose classes for what I would "end up with". Is this class going to result in something useful?

Now that I am again without company beyond my friends and family, I'm finding a shift in my thinking. This change in my thinking is also effected by me turning 40 I think.

I was out to dinner with high school friends weeks ago. All of us, save one, 40 years old now. Megan said "I don't mind being 40, really"
"Why?" we asked her.
"Because..." she paused, then shot both hands up, flipping the bird to no one in particular, "fuck everyone!"

And that's about it. That's the truth. I don't really give a shit anymore. And it's freeing.

I am also closer to accepting that I am not destined for the life I had crossed my fingers for though I am grateful every day for the one I have, and that I may very well be the friend everyone has - the one who strives to live a nice life, but wants someone to be with and can never really get it to work. I'm the one who, at the end of her life, people will say "look at all the things she did with her life...but oh, how sad that she was alone!"

Yeah, I'm that friend. I am also extremely annoyed at the fact that I cannot seem to just be content with hanging out alone. I'm good at it. I've mastered it. I do fine. But I don't prefer it, (though I'm getting closer to that). Being with just me would be so much easier if I could prefer just being with me. I am also aware that of all the problems one could have to deal with, mine is trite.

And also, I'm pretty sure I'm gonna die of cancer. But I digress.

The point is that in thinking back on my life I remember a time when I was a kid and spent hours alone in my room painting. I don't remember judging my work, or wondering who I should give it to and if it was even good enough to give as a gift. I just remember getting totally lost in the painting project itself and being totally happy and comfy in that space. That's what I am hoping for now.

I will be going to my first watercolor painting class tonight in Cambridge. I'm really excited about it. Excited to not judge myself if it sucks. Excited to get lost in it. Excited to paint in a medium I don't recall touching since childhood. High school at the latest. I'm excited to do something that may not feel like I'm passing the time for nothing to come but rather, enjoying the time as I'm doing whatever I'm doing.