Sunday, June 19, 2011

Upward, Onward

Mind outpaces body.

There is a moment where I glance up at the sky, admiring the shades of blue as they transition from dark to light, and think that I could take a photo. Perhaps with the tops of the grasses that sway gracefully in the breeze! So I crouch to do so, sighing at the pretty.

And then Chienne pulls and I topple and sit, hand sore from scraping across the pavement and blinking with surprise as I end up on my bottom while the dog looks at me curiously before selecting a blade of grass to nibble as if she were bovine.


I huffed out an annoyed sound at work earlier this week when I was called to volunteer. But I relaxed once in front of the hundred or so people, smiling prettily and replying with humor and attempting to play my role properly for the activity.

"I'm so sorry you had to do that," a colleague said afterward and I cocked my head at her, confused. "I would have been terrified to get up in front of everyone," she explained and I nodded as I understood.

"I used to get nervous," I told her. "But I talk so much now that it doesn't really bother me. I wasn't excited about it," I admitted, "but I was fine. But thank you for being worried about me - that's really very sweet."


Children sleep in on summer mornings, leaving Chienne without crowds on corners at whom to wag her tail as they wait for buses. But it's pleasant to be out early - before the day becomes hot and sticky - and since the sun rises so early, other dogs are often out too.

"Well, hello!" I greeted a neighbor with uncharacteristic enthusiasm. We tend toward polite and kind, not outgoing and friendly here. But the girl who watches Chienne sometimes had acquired a new puppy. A black lab puppy. Who I loved so deeply and so quickly that it made me a little dizzy.

I crouched to greet her, breathing in the puppy smell and letting her lick my hands and giggling when she rolled over to show me her belly. "I'm so jealous," I sighed at my dog sitter's father, wanting to scoop her up and nuzzle. "She's too wonderful for words."

"She pees on the floor," he replied grimly and I giggled before realizing he was completely serious.

"Puppies do that," I offered, looking up at him while I let the puppy nibble my fingers. "She'll grow out of it. Dogs," I disclosed as Chienne trotted back, sniffed the puppy and gave me a look that indicated she was ready to get going, "get easier as they age. Fewer accidents. Easier to leave alone. She'll adjust and you'll adjust and it'll be fine."

"I just wish she'd pee outside," he sighed and I smiled at him before promising that she would. It's just a process of learning.


When glancing through old posts because I couldn't remember something I knew I'd recorded herein, I happened across a photo of my post-doctoral workspace. And it made me a little weepy - that bittersweet feeling of missing what was and being grateful it's over and feeling blessed that it brought me to where I am. I remembered to take my camera to work, tucking it in a pocket of my bag, so I could snap a photo of a corner of my current desk. Because such things please me. And because I am and likely always will be a clutter-bug. Tokens from travel, giant microbes to watch me work, cords to connect headset and keyboard, mouse and external storage and useless Dell monitor that no longer functions. I feel comfortable sitting there - mostly capable and smart and organized despite the piles of papers.


John and I are 0 for 2 in terms of date plans. We had planned to see Super 8 - which I've heard is excellent (and for which I read the spoiler online because I was worried seeing it would Stress Me Out) but arrived a little late to a sold-out 7PM showing.

"Green Lantern?" I offered after wrinkling my nose over the employee's suggestion of Bridesmaids. So we went to see a different sort of extraterrestrial movie, sharing pretzel bites in lieu of popcorn.

"I get emotionally involved in movies," I confided to John via phone earlier in the week. "You may have to hold my hand if I become frightened." He teased that he was good at that and I smiled, looking forward to the subtle display of affection even in the face of a suspenseful movie. While I was somewhat relieved at the forced shift to comic book (and did think the poorly-reviewed show was fun, actually), I sighed when realizing I probably wasn't going to need emotional support. Parallax isn't that terrifying.

But my stomach flipped - which is always intensely lovely - when he reached for my hand, folding his fingers over mine and leaving me to smile and offer a swipe of affection with my free thumb. I took a breath, surprised at the strength of my reaction. Which may have explained my defense of the movie when John listed a few flaws. ("He only recharged the ring once!")


My parents have returned home. I spoke to Mom after returning home from the movie on Friday and they were just entering Illinois. She was tired, she admitted, and Garmin expected them to arrive home around 2AM.

"Call me tomorrow," I requested around a yawn.

About 24 hours later, my muscles clenched as I realized that I'd not heard the phone through my headachy Saturday. I dialed Dad's phone as it neared 10PM, suddenly and frantically worried. Feeling sick when he failed to answer, I changed the final digit to reach Mom and sighed when I heard her voice.

"You didn't call," I accused and she apologized, saying they'd made it without problems and had been resting and unpacking through the day. "I just realized something could have happened to you." I continued to pout and I she laughed. I finally smiled and promised I'd call tomorrow during the daytime. When I didn't wake them with worries over why I was calling at the dead-of-night hour of 10PM.

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