When I’m old, I’m going to sit in an orange floral armchair in my room at the nursing home, staring out my window at my hummingbird feeding all day long. It’s practically what I do now anyway, minus the orange floral armchair. I’ve become mildly obsessed.
Something I like about Washington is having hummingbirds come to my feeder year round. I took these today while it was snowing.
In the meantime, my hummingbird obsession has rubbed off onto Bryant in a weird way: he’s been sitting here googling the world’s smallest creatures for the past 30 minutes and reporting all his findings to me. It started with the world’s smallest hummingbird, and has since escalated to the smallest bat, the smallest mammal (which happens to be the same bat), the smallest vertebrate (which is a frog), the smallest primate (a lemur), the smallest crocodile (4 feet), the smallest snake (3.8 inches), etc etc. Now he’s reading to me all about honey bees. Maybe we should’ve been zoologists.
I’ve had this weird feeling lately. It started as nothing—so faint it was hardly noticeable. But it grew. And then it was strong enough that I could name it. So I did. And goodness knows once you name something it sticks around.
I miss Utah.
It’s almost comedic, isn’t it? How life changes you so slowly and subtly. Like wind against rock. Until it’s suddenly shocking when you finally notice how different you’ve become.
It’s those dang mountains. I crave them. I miss living right at their base before they jut off into the sky. I miss having them tower over my head. I miss the comfort of those massive, steady landmarks, always in view no matter where you turn.
I have an old friend who’s a dyed in the wool Utah soul. She lamented the claustrophobia-inducing trees of Connecticut and the gaping emptiness of the mid-west’s plains. “There are no mountains to keep the sky up off my head!” she’d say. I didn’t get it. Now I do. Those mountains.
Plus there’s this:
Southern Utah. Glowing, gritty, sandy red rocks.
It’s more than just the landscape I miss. You know, there was something cool about finally making my peace with the crazy culture. It was an awesome accomplishment. It wasn’t just that I appreciated the endless comedic fodder (and don’t get me wrong, it truly is endless). But I grew to really love the good parts. I learned to notice them, and see them more often. And I learned to make the best of the rest.
I haven’t forgotten that lesson. Washington is amazing. Breathtaking. I love this place. Plus I’m pretty sure I’m going to start loving it even more, now that I don’t have to work nights and weekends.
But isn’t it weird that moving to this gorgeously green state was what showed me I’ve become a desert girl? Me? The one who always maintained that no place is as beautiful as my green, rolling Connecticut hills. The one who would drive around the back roads of Provo and Salt Lake looking for tree tunnels that I could drive under and squeal, “It looks like home!”
And here I am. Nostalgically browsing through old photos. Reading Utah blogs and salivating. Fantasizing about Goblin Valley, Spiral Jetty, Antelope Island.
Sunbeams, verga, and big sky. Canyons, aspen groves, and a compass built right into the landscape. Tumbleweed, road trips, and all four seasons. Mexican food, carefree college nights, and the disgusting awesomeness of the Great Salt Lake.
Yes. Those are bugs. Love that salty lake.
I guess if I give it a couple years, I’ll probably be writing a post like this about the Pacific Northwest, too. But right now, even though I am terribly happy where I am, it’s a pretty nice feeling to have something to be nostalgic about. I’m a little homesick for my second home.
When I was a little girl, I was fascinated with my parent’s wedding rings. Any chance I could get, I’d pull their rings off and put them on my tiny fingers, twirl them around on my thumbs, run my fingers over their once-sharp edges, now smooth after decades of living.
What intrigued me even more, however, was my parents’ actual fingers. I couldn’t believe the imprint left behind once the ring was removed. The skin there was so smooth, with a deep ridge where the ring stopped and the rest of the finger continued. I was amazed at how a simple piece of jewelry could actually change a person, or at the very least, change the shape of a person.
I remember sitting next to Mom in church, clutching her wedding ring in one hand and examining her fingers with the other. I remember feeling amazed at how her skin, already so soft, could be even smoother where her wedding ring lived. My dad’s imprint was particularly impressive to me, since his hands were so big and rough (my mom always says he uses his hands like hammers). There on these thick, strong hands, hidden away on my dad’s ring finger, was this incredibly smooth patch. Soft, as if nothing harsh had ever touched it. Protected for years and years by his wedding ring.
I’m not exactly sure why these indents on my parents’ fingers captivated me so much, but there was something enchanting about it. It gave me this feeling of permanence, endurance, and safety. I liked that.
A couple weeks ago Bryant and I celebrated our three-year anniversary. Yesterday I slipped off my wedding rings to give them a little scrubbing, and I noticed something on my hand.
Can you see it? It seems I’m working on an imprint of my own. Three years and counting. I feel pretty happy about that little patch of skin. I’m excited to see what it looks like a few decades from now.
I haven’t seen a fruit fly in days. I’m pretty sure I won. And in other good news, the plant that I doused in Raid hasn’t died yet… even though the warning on the can told me that it would. (Hey, when it comes to combatting bugs, I take no prisoners. Fraternizing with the enemy is unacceptable.)
So this might be considered old news, since the movie’s been out for more than a month now, but this past weekend, Bryant and I went into Seattle and saw Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. It was wonderful. I’m totally enamored with it. You all probably already knew how awesome it was because you’re not weird like us and wait a month to go see the movies that look good. But if you haven’t seen it yet, go now!
We saw it in 3D, which was fun, as you can clearly tell by the expression on Bryant’s face.
In other news, we finally got Washington plates and new drivers licenses, so it’s like we’ve officially moved in. (Though, technically Bryant is still waiting on his.) The thing is, having Utah plates kind of felt like a protection—a valid disclaimer. When I was driving someplace new, it was almost excusable to be driving like a lost soul, pausing a little too long before turns, driving just a touch too slow to figure out where the heck I am. Or anytime I did something stupid on the road (unrelated to being new, just related to being a bad driver), I would say, “Sorry! Utah driver!” and I felt somehow justified and protected from ridicule. But now it’s official. We live here. No excuse for driving slow or crazy. I’m supposed to know where everything is. Supposed to know what I’m doing. Feels kind of like taking off the training wheels.
We found this cool place in Seattle called “Fainting Goat Gelato,” and as everyone knows, anything with goat in the title must be excellent. The word gelato doesn’t hurt either.
Needless to say, the goat rule of thumb didn’t let me down; it was excellent. Bryant got the fainting goat flavored gelato. Thankfully, it didn’t taste like goat… at least not what I imagine goat to taste like. It was made with goat milk and this funky dried berry/raisin-looking thing (though we can’t remember its name) from some Greek island (though we can’t remember which one), but the locals have this tradition that it possesses special healing properties. I’m not sure if Bryant felt healed after eating it, but he was in a pretty good mood. It tasted odd and delicious. I like when those two adjectives join forces. My stracciatella was delicious, too.
Anyone who wants to come visit us will get a trip to Fainting Goat. …What? You thought I was above bribery?
Also, as we were walking down the street and fattening up on our delicious dairy desserts, we saw THIS:
(Er… whatever it takes?)
I’ve found my new favorite street in Seattle. Just thought I’d pass that along.
I’ve got this Excel spreadsheet on my desktop titled “moving list.” It’s a huge, exhaustive list of all the things we needed to do before we could move. It was long and daunting and usually overwhelming. During the past two months the file was nearly always open, waiting for me to check something else off the list.
Tonight I’m sitting here in my living room next to a dozen glowing tea lights in front of my ridiculously bushy (and free, and undecorated) Christmas tree. I’m here with my laptop on the floor, because we have to wait another four days before our belongings arrive, and for the first time in over a week, I noticed that Excel file on my desktop.
I opened the list to have a look and it suddenly struck me: the list is complete.
I’m amazed. Somehow we managed to get everything done/sold/cleaned/packed, get ourselves to Seattle, and get an apartment. Now we’re here. It almost feels like it was simple. How can that be? It felt so complicated at the time.
But here right now, it’s so peaceful. …Goodnight. Merry Christmas.