peep this

I uploaded a bunch of new photos from the last year. More coming. Hooray for new computer!


off my game
backward glance navel gazing

One big writing deadline upcoming and I have to move to New York (just for June+July) on Sunday. After April and Josef's wedding, for which I am somehow the announcer/crowd-control gal. What to wear? It's been gangbusters since Miriam's memorial, too much going on and too much work to get done. Beautiful weather, a lot of jaw tension and pain. I have a lot of dreams of Miriam, night and daytimes both. I'm nervous that Greg is probably showing up here sometime to read this. Hi, Greg.

I was talking with a couple of folks today about ND, the aftermath of our relationship, the patterns and shapes that were in it from early on. That's not to say 'I should have known' or to bind up my regrets, but rather, to name the topology of what I want to have learned. I hope.

We had been together for about five weeks (so, we're talking late May 2006) when ND said to me, I'd like to marry you. This wasn't your typical bended knee/ring affair, but I wouldn't have liked that anyway. I told Alyssa and Ross the next day,
feeling sick with pleasure and confusion on someone's stoop at 12th and Chestnut, and they were all, huh? And, happy. Sort of. Everyone was still trying to understand our weird whirlwind romance at that point. I was.

I had told him, yeah! I'd like to marry you! but maybe in a year! He agreed this was a good time frame, citing Pat Allen--one of his relationship-psychology gurus. We had already argued about Dr. Allen's conception of gender dynamics in straight relationships, etc etc: men want to be respected, women want to be cherished. I had event planning nightmares, and spent the next couple of weeks, no joke, crossing the street to avoid walking past fancy bridal shops. Also, drycleaners'--those hideous sequined lace gowns in the window.

This could be a simple story of ready vs. not-really, but I think not. ND has a vision of life in which dramatic risks and bold action have big payoffs, and love happens between wildly polarized people (masculine men and feminine women--how many arguments about gender did we have to have?) even though of course everyone's functionally equal when it comes to power. I simply don't experience life as a series of suspension bridges to be crossed, burned, or jumped off. I like things to feel right before I do them. Giant pansy.

The other thing is, and I don't want to be unkind, that I think ND wanted/wants a partner to be in the passenger seat in his life. Not sure if you're reading this, ND, and if so, I'm trying to be fair and clear here. As I said to you in Jerusalem, there are lots of smart, wonderful women who do want their male partner's leadership, who do want to give support behind the scenes and run a life primarily in their homes and for their families. Not me. I need to drive sometimes, or have my own car or whatever. This is a terrible metaphor given that I don't have a license, but there you have it.

It helps to rehash the breakup in these terms because I ache, now, over losing my future with ND. I don't regret it--it was looking like a hard future with a lot of irreconcilable arguing. If it was my fiance and not just boyfriend who left me, though, it's clearer to me what the loss is really about. I thought I had something figured out about the future. Were we engaged? I probably should have done a Nancy Reagan and just said, no.


two months later
...sorry, mom.

Some sad closures to relate. The echoing sentiment in my head, for the last six weeks, has been: This is not how I wanted things to end.

Right, so I'm back in Philadelphia. The end of the Israel adventure wasn't sad, just melancholy--I was pleased to be returning stateside, and feeling frustrated with the things I was and wasn't able to get done while there. I didn't become fluent in Hebrew or, you know, end the conflict. So there's that. I did come to understand a lot more about identity and culture and what-have-you, and got pretty clear on where I fit in with all that. Working at Encounter was fantastic.

All of this experience of clarity and growth, blah blah, was rather overshadowed by having to sign a lease/pack/move in the week immediately after my return. Complicated by: ND broke up with me two days after I got back. In a manner that was not how I'd have wanted things to end. Most of you will have heard about this already, and/or predicted it for a long time, and there's not much I can or should say in this forum. Six weeks later the wound is still open, but beginning to itch as it's scabbing over. Ugh. Well, I guess I just meant, I don't have any regrets and I think it was the right thing for us to separate, and it'd take a while to recover from two years of anyone.

So recovery has its ups and downs.

We moved because of our psycho landlady (wanted to sue us, evict us, prevent us from moving out...honestly) and true to form she changed the locks on us and therefore captured/detained a goodly chunk of our possessions. We'd been trying for amicability in all kinds of ways and to be yelled at by her and called immoral, etc, was actually quite upsetting. At some point, though, the high moral path climbed above the treeline and it got cold and rainy fast up there on the bare rocks. We've since then returned to the cozy den of correspondence by lawyer.

The new apartment is great. We have lovely wood floors and wide windowsills for the cats to stare down the cats-across-the-way. We have a funny little fire escape balcony overlooking the lavish Swim Club. Secreted within an ordinary city block lies a multi-pooled oasis of delights, replete with chaise lounges and teenage lifeguards. The pools, in mid-April, were swathed in tarps and empty of water, but since then there have been many crews of rubber-booted technicians unswathing, un-debrising, and un-emptying. Or rather, filling. Those pools look deliciouser by the day.

The worst by incredibly far of things that ended all wrong.

My aunt Miriam Goodman passed away last Sunday after a long hard cancer. I tried to come up with a verb in there--battle, defense, fight. I don't like those words in general because they are violent (not just aesthetics: how can you battle your own body? it's so sad when we must) and in particular because Miriam so engaged, so encircled the medical and illness world--she transformed it, in art and in her mind, it seemed to me. She was a writer and an artist and I feel it's not right to use these sort of Susan G. Komen bravery verbs about her. It was a long hard horrible cancer and I wish to heaven that she was with us now. Not how I wanted things to end, and defininitely not when.

Anyway. Please do check out her work. I'll be collecting the speeches that people gave at her memorial services shortly. It was stunning to hear the words of her many collaborators, friends, and family: mostly women, many writers, smart as hell and openheartedly grieving the loss of Miriam's mind and love and presence in our lives. There's really nothing I can properly say.

Feebly, though, I'm reminded to write. She read this blog avidly and cared about people making time for their writing. So, it's to the grindstone for me: deadline for a big draft coming up in two weeks. And I'll try to be back here as well.