my year in cities 2009

This one’s super lame compared to the others, because I didn’t go on a roadtrip or to Europe or nothin’ this year.  In fact it’s so lame that I put two towns on this list in which I did not spend the night. I spent more than 12 hours in each, though, so I think they still count. Also no asterisks this year because I didn’t go anywhere twice.

  • Fredericksburg, TX
  • Houston, TX
  • Bryan, OH
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Long Island, NY
  • New York, NY
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Arlington, TX
  • Plantersville, TX
  • St. Louis, MO

Here are a few other 2009 stats:

  • Photo booths run: 2* (a Halloween one and a Christmas one)
  • Apartments lived in: 2
  • Outfits photographed: 12*
  • Sports venues visited: 5 (Minute Maid Park, Dell Diamond, Yankee Stadium, Ballpark at Arlington, Cowboys Stadium)
  • Costume contests won: 2
  • Items handmade: lots!*
  • Bluishorange posts: 11*
  • Flickr photos: 896
  • Concerts attended: 0 (what?)
  • Weddings attended: 2
  • Funerals attended: 1

Those are all the stats I can think of.

*I would like to do more of these in 2010.

the end of self-flagellation?

When I first started seeing my current therapist last year, he told me that part of my problem was that I thought I was SUPPOSED TO do too many things.  There are, of course, things that one really IS supposed to do, like eat and sleep, pay the bills, feed the dog, etc.  Those items were getting accomplished, but I was also thinking about all the other SUPPOSED TO things.  When I came home from work in the evening, I was doing the same stuff other people do–eating dinner, checking the internet, reading, watching tv–but in the back of my head was this flashing, scrolling marquee that read, “I’m supposed to be writing! I’m supposed to be posting to my website! I’m supposed to be doing something productive!” Half the time I didn’t even have anything in mind for the “something productive,” but it really bothered me that I wasn’t doing it, whatever it was.

At the height of the SUPPOSED-TOs, I wasn’t enjoying anything I was doing, because whatever I did paled in comparison to some nebulous task I should have been accomplishing instead.

Last night I got home from work at 6, hot and tired from my commute. My evening plans had fallen through, so I had some ideas about other tasks–putting hooks in the bathroom for swimsuits and extra towels, moving the folding chairs to make room for the vacuum cleaner, straightening up the living room, and so forth.

But then I decided to finish watching the episode of True Blood* I’d started on Tuesday, so I got in bed with the dog and my computer** and watched it. Then I didn’t want to get up because I was comfortable, so I put on a South Park episode, and then I fell asleep.  When I woke up at 10, I took the dog out, called my boyfriend, read a little, and ate some grapes while watching another South Park. Then I fell asleep again.

And I didn’t feel guilty about it at all.  The scrolling marquee in the back of my head hasn’t disappeared, but it’s off a lot of the time these days. I can come home and watch TV and fall asleep on the bed, and when I wake up three hours later, instead of thinking “OH MY GOD I DIDN’T GET ANYTHING DONE!” I think, “Gosh, I must have needed that.”

In part I have therapy to credit for this, but I think I’ve also come to terms with what it means to suffer from chronic (albeit well-treated) depression and anxiety.  To keep myself on an even keel, I need to get enough sleep. I need to leave the house every day. I need to eat right and try to exercise. And sometimes I need to turn myself off and do absolutely nothing. If that means I get fewer things done than other people do, that’s okay. Those other people aren’t me.

And I’m getting pretty good at recognizing when I need to turn myself off.  Having my brain is pretty stressful most of the time: I overthink everything, I’m always planning and planning and worrying about worst-case scenarios, and I almost never truly relax.  A brain like that can’t keep going without a little rest, and whether that rest is sleep or just spending an evening doing nothing at all doesn’t seem to matter.

I’m off work all next week, and for awhile I thought I wanted to take a trip somewhere. Why waste my week off staying at home and doing nothing? I thought. But look at this list of places I’ve been so far this year:

Fredericksburg, TX
Houston, TX
Bryan, OH
Long Island, NY
Des Moines, IA

I’m planning a trip to New Orleans this month and a trip to Minnesota for a wedding in September and a trip to St. Louis for Christmas probably, and who knows where else I’ll go. When I thought about that, staying in Austin started to sound pretty good. I can read and sew and do stuff to my apartment, I can go swimming a LOT, I can take day trips to San Antonio and the Guadalupe.

Or if I want, I can do nothing at all.

*This show is not good. But I’m invested in the plot for the time being, so I watch it anyway.

**When I go to work in the mornings, I leave the bedroom A/C on and the living room A/C off, since the former has a thermostat and runs more efficiently.  I turn on the living-room unit when I get home, and then hang out in the bedroom until the living room cools down.  This makes for a lot of watching DVDs and such on my computer after work.

grace in small dogs

These days Maude seems to have forgotten how to go up and down the stairs.  I taught her (or coaxed her) way back when I got her five years ago, but now we’re back to square one. Every time I take her outside I have to talk her into going down the stairs, and sometimes even that doesn’t work. She stands on the top step and paces back and forth, staring down at me.

I’m not overly concerned about this, since her behavior is normal otherwise, but I am a little worried. Things have been tough for me lately, especially work-wise, and some days Maude is one of the only things I can think of that makes me happy.  What would life be like without her?

My friend Helen Jane has been doing a series of posts on her site called Grace in Small Things. Every day she lists a few of the small things she really loves. Maude’s a pretty small thing, but she’s not the only good thing, so I’m going to make a list of my own.

1. The way Maude’s upper lip catches on her left canine tooth, making her look sort of snarly in an adorable quiet Chihuahua way.

2. Hummus with snap peas for dipping.

3. The swimming pool at the apartment building next door. My landlord owns those apartments, too, and told the people in my building that we could use the pool.
3a. A new swimsuit that fits.
3b. Drinking Lone Star while swimming.

4. Sushi from Whole Foods–spicy tuna and a rainbow roll–eaten at home while watching old episodes of South Park. Lots of wasabi.

5. Old episodes of South Park, all available online for free. I know they’ve been there for awhile, but I’ve just started to take advantage of that, and boy do I love it.

6. Mending vintage clothes to make them look better and fit just right. Finding vintage sandals that are lovely and comfortable.

7. The view of the Pennybacker Bridge while sitting right in the lake.

8. Watching B. watch Breaking Bad for the first time. That show is wonderful, and I love that he likes it almost as much as I do. Yes, almost, but I don’t know if anyone likes that show as much as I do.

9. Sitting outside with friends after the sun goes down.

10. Walking into my apartment when I get home from work. Looking around my beautiful living room with a big sigh of relief. Getting a happy greeting from Maude before trying to coax her down the stairs.