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liliales birthday countdown: 2008

I spent most of 2008 trying not to be depressed. And I'd gained a little weight the year before so I put myself on a plan to lose it before my 25th high school reunion. I lost 9 inches in the places that count in 12 weeks. Stayed that way for awhile, but over this past year I gained it back, and this winter I gained a little more so I am going to have to do that again. Anyway.

There are good things to share about that year. The two girls and I took a road trip to Kansas City for the reunion. We had a great time. Our family also visited Gettysburg that summer, and did some good hiking in the woods around our new region, though I was still missing the woods that overlook the sea near Atlantic Highlands. We did get over to the beach a few times, and in the fall, I invented something called Pudding Fest 2008. And the man and I saw The Police in concert in Philadelphia.

Also that year, I met with some online friends in New York, to welcome one who'd come here from England for a visit. I actually met up with some of those friends several times over a 5 year period; it was basically my social life. As I've never had a social life otherwise, no one feel bad about that. It was neat. 

Another fun thing that year was emailing Metromint to tell them there was no flavor in the Orange Mint I bought at Whole Foods. They sent me a whole case of mixed flavors, and a t-shirt. 
So here's some other stuff. 

The girls and I in Kansas City, June 2008 If you go to my Flickr page, the photos of me in the Delaware River, the family Gettysburg trip, winter woods, and the sort of abstract green things from a park are also all from 2008, despite what it says. I keep meaning to fix those, but get to only a few at a time. I guess I'll make new sets based on years or something.

A blog post I wrote to my mom that year It's good, and poignant and stuff. You should read it. 

And two of my favorite photos of me were taken that year. Actually, most/lots of my favorite photos of me were taken that year. Here are two. 




liliales birthday countdown: 2007

In 2007, I planted a lot of tomatoes and peppers and had them all strung up nicely along a fence, and then we moved again. This time to a neighborhood with plenty of boys for my sons to meet, so that was nice. It was a half mile walk to the grocery store and some other shops, and near lots of history and cool stuff. But it was on the other side of the state, so far from the beach. 

This time I was nearly as positive about it as I had been with our Tinton Falls house, like possibilities were rising again, and there was talk of the future, and I started making plans to earn money to buy the house, setting some firm goals. That was in August. By the end of the year, the "plan" had changed once again, and I headed down a steep path of depression I've only lately started to wake up from. I know now I'll never again be quite what I was or who I was, or I don't know. All that stuff. Unless you have specifically and categorically experienced the cheating of life I'm referring to but not naming, you have nothing but useless platitudes to share, which are wasteful and cruel. 

But of course the earth still revolves around the sun, etc. 

Anyway. Earlier in 2007, I got my new car, my first utterly new car, as all the others had been about a year old, and drove it off the lot with 4 miles on it. That was thrilling. 

Here's a picture of my car. It needs an $800 air conditioning repair, but I still love it, after 66k miles. 

image from liliales.typepad.com

And here's a lot of lighthearted blather from 2007 that starts at one point and wanders around to some other points, but it's kind of a dear little view of what is inside my head when I'm "young." The comments are good; they're from back at Vox, where there was a real neat sense of community.* Instead of finishing it in parts, I incorporated a more sensible portion of it into something else I wrote later. 

*It felt like a physical neighborhood, though online. Perhaps it was just slightly before its time, and now it's too late. But imagine Google +, if you understand and appreciate that place, with blog doors and windows in it, and color and sunshininess. 

navel-gazing/afternoon project: after photos, part two

Well, I got my desk tidy. A clean desk is a sign that life is full of possibilities. It's like a newly tilled garden patch just after a gentle but soaking rain, or a fresh canvas on an easel, or a bag of groceries on a sparkling kitchen counter. And so forth. 

The rest of the room is better, but not complete. Been under the weather, decided this is enough to be going on with. 



navel-gazing/afternoon project: after photos, part one

Yes well, don't make fun of me. You out there in the ether. I felt internal and protective today and when I feel like that and I can't plant stuff or pull weeds, I absorb myself in some other detailed but mindless task. It's a sort of comfort. So here are way too many pictures of that, and I didn't even get to this adjoining room yet. 

Also, no, as it turns out, they aren't much better. I wasn't thinking creatively or technically. I should do that next time. But posting them here, that's part of the process, somehow.


navel-gazing/afternoon project: the before photos

If you knew me growing up it might surprise you to learn how much I dislike a messy bedroom. Well, you know, I always did. I just overwhelmed myself back then. On a fairly grand scale. 

It's unpleasant outside, but this space isn't quite as comfortable as it should be. So this afternoon is now cleaning time, and to keep myself honest, I've taken photos of how it all looks now, in my private areas. As is befitting a before/after project, they are poorly lit and not very sharp. The after photos will be in sparkling bright detail by way of comparison. :-)

If only there was a master search on the Roku, so I could search for George Gently or whatever, as cleaning background, and it would tell me whether to go to Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu Plus. Oh, 2012, you saucy minx. 



liliales birthday countdown: 2006

We had only a little over two years in the house I thought was to be my home, and in early 2006, moved again, this time to a rented house with a pool in Lakewood; a Hasidic and Orthodox Jewish enclave a little farther southwest. We were kinda isolated there, but I tried to tell the kids it was just another short-term adventure we were taking. 

I fixed up the landscaping a bit, and planted a few things. We swam in the pool. Here's a short blog post about one of our hot days there. 

A few months before this, my friend Yvonne disappeared from my view, never quite knew why. She isolated herself and stopped speaking to anyone I knew, as far as I knew. I saw her once sometime later while out with a friend visiting from another state. She gave a short sharp nod and hello, and moved on. 

Ironic then, our new house was only 15 minutes away from hers, instead of nearly an hour. 

I have 170 photos from 2006, which do I share? 

Here's the fish we found when we were cleaning up a leafy area of the yard shortly after we moved in:

Here's my youngest son, doing what he does best, at Valley Forge:

Here's my youngest daughter at the Central Park zoo:

Me in the woods:

And the dragonfly which inspired one of my favorite little stories:


liliales birthday countdown: 2005

This one is a bit of a cheat. I'm not sharing a blog link from this year only, because they were transferred here with a whole month on each page. You could go find them if you were compelled to. The picture links are broken, though. 

In 2005 our world changed a lot. It was awesome, then it was awful, then there was some awesomeness in the midst of the awfulness. Which was awful. Oh, and I turned 40. 

Here's me shoveling snow in early 2005: 


And here's all the poetry I got written that year, but also it was the first year I tried NaNoWriMo, so that was a neat thing. 

Sipping Gotham

New York Harbor
slice of lime

I walk differently on New York streets,
everything hums erotic vibrations 
through the soles of my feet. 

Carnival of Words

Looking at you in a funhouse mirror
It's shatter-proof, smear-proof
distorted nevertheless

On a carousel spinning,
Artificial breeze soothes
Ride over too soon.

Ferris Wheel stops at the top,
car rocks and I sway, 
unsteady and unnerved til you point out the view
It's wide and breath-taking
and I never want to come back down. 


Slave to your will, or mine?
I can lean back and close my eyes,
or grip your shoulders and draw a sharp path
straight through your pupils.

The shouts are all shut up in my head
and I do not force them out by throat and tongue,
rather with fingernails, teeth, taunting pressure
holding, locking you into position;

It's always at least a draw 
where the spoils are shared, exchanged,
given in love and taken by need—
like rain, or shelter from cold.

This is from the prologue of my first NaNoWriMo attempt. I say attempt because I can write 50k words in a month, but never seem to write a complete story...

I couldn't help myself. As she headed for the newsstand, I scribbled on the back of a receipt I found in my purse and then got up, walked past him quickly, dropping the receipt at his feet, and kept on going out of the park. My heart was racing, but I didn't look back.

The note said, "Meet me in front of Trump Tower in an hour." And he did.

He just walked right up to me and spoke, "She's visiting an old school friend, and we're getting back together for dinner at 7."

I said nothing, just pointed toward Central Park, smiled, and took off across the street, as he followed behind, jogging a little to keep up.

I had never before spoken to him in person, and just didn't know how to begin. It seemed so important to get the words exactly right, even if they were meaningless. So I remained silent until that began to feel absurd. We had a few hours, this one day out of forever, not to be wasted away on shyness.

"An eternity in one long breath. That's how the days seem right now. Like we're all exhaling, and when our lungs finally empty, and it's time for drawing in again, well."

I stopped, realizing I must sound a little crazy, speaking the truth hardly anyone dared voice aloud these days. That's me, from shy to overly vocal in one careless move.



liliales birthday countdown: 2004

In early 2004, we moved to a neat house in Tinton Falls, 4 miles west of our very old one. I loved our Tinton Falls house. It was a true split level, with four sections, and it had a very large backyard, and it was on a very nice and friendly u-shaped street. Also, it was built in the late 50s, and the main bathroom had pink fixtures and a grey boomarang countertop. I thought we'd be there forever because of some things. I was wrong. But anyway. 

Here's a picture of me there against a wall from which the paper had just been stripped.


I got a job at a cool old bowling alley so I could bowl for free. Seriously, I did that. I worked in the snack bar 2-3 days a week, making pizza, cooking sandwiches and fries, etc. I really loved it. I do not give a crap that my intellect, creativity, and general skills make me suited for something more—I don't even know what. I got a kick out of young Brazilian people and their penchant for cheese fries. And all that bowling kept me in really good shape. When you bowl like I do, it is real exercise. 

Here's a blog post from 2004 which tickles me. Funny that MenWeek™ only lasted a week back then...

liliales birthday countdown: 2003

From this point forward, a lot of my online presence is archived, and I thought it would be a good idea to share some thoughts I had each year. 2003 is the year I started keeping a blog. Before that I had a website on which I'd post ideas, pictures, lists of things that interested me, whatever I could think of. 

My first blog was homemade and very crude-looking. Over the years since then I've had them at Blogger, Vox, and TypePad, and I have several things going at Tumblr, but I've also got accounts at a few other places. You never know when you might need a new one. 

That year, I turned 38. I found a great deal of Bobby Darin music I'd never heard before, and downloaded it from Limewire. I feel no compunction about that. It wasn't as if this music was available for me to purchase. Me and Lars Ulrich, we'd have words if we ever met. I think that was also the year I discovered archive.org, which is still pretty much my favorite place on the web. I'm not linking, whatever. Go there if you never have, and find the Prelinger archives. Thank me later. 

I was not super well that year. The year before, I'd become ill and semi-bedridden for awhile, and was exposed to huge toxic amounts of mold. I developed asthma (the body sometimes gets confused about our need for defense mechanisms, eh?) and it's been a bother ever since. But in the summer of 2003, I was actually in terrific shape, and feeling pretty good about myself otherwise. In the autumn, I couldn't breathe again, and we prepared to move to a better house, a few miles farther inland. 

Here's the text of my first blog post. Please indulge me by reading it and the ones to follow in the other countdown posts. It was maybe more entertaining with photos, I dunno. The rest of these countdown posts will have photos, because they are archived back to 2004 on this particular computer. 

An indulgence for myself in this one instead; three poems I wrote in 2003:

Chokecherry Beach

mussel shells, tiny in my palm
born on waves, 
borne to shore on a blanket of foam,
born to live and to die
all in an instant.


cartographer's hands, once an abstract notion, 
merely pixels on a screen; 
unreal evidence of tangible form, 
now trace a complex route
through barriers named yet unspoken,
radiating a slow-burning energy
from within their hesitant source

he traces this path with his mind, his voice,
his carefully measured speech, and sears
a dark trail deep into my fevered skin.

humbert's reasons to drink

dedicated to Lola, the showgirl

stupid frigging nazis
poems don't rhyme
stopped changing lightbulbs
takes too much time
lights in train car
flicker off and on
she gave him her phone number
three weeks he's gone

left hand shakes so
i'm using the right
milk's gone sour
thirsty at night
that movie was absurd
blue alien moron freaks
i'd cut my own eyes out
but irony still speaks

it never seems to end
the cliche won't die
keeps finding new shelter
rabbits getting high
spewing Nietzsche, Tolkein, Plant
basement ruminations
they arrested Adam Ant
fashion indignations

winking at boys
inviting them in
they watch as i sip
pineapple juice and gin.


liliales birthday countdown: 2002

There's so much I'm just blank about from those years. I had a good friend, Yvonne, and we hung out in Red Bank a lot, eventually meeting a strange guy named Russ who ran a very alternative kind of bookstore. He was moody and interesting and we all became friends for several years. Yvonne was pretty much a hippy, and I felt like Donna Reed next to her. But we clicked, and were best friends for a time. 

Simple Minds released Cry that year, and oh! I forgot to mention that in 2001, we saw Depeche Mode at Madison Square Garden. Dave Gahan was at the top of his game, and the whole show was pretty great. In the summer of 2002, I got front row seats to Simple Minds/INXS for the man and oldest daughter, and then we won two lawn seats, so I took the youngest daughter who was 11 at the time, and the middle one stayed home with the boys. After INXS played, we wormed our way down to the front where the others were. Both of us have cherished memories from that; we were right up against the stage, and Jim Kerr squeezed her hand. A few minutes later, he looked right into my eyes as he sang, well. It was a lovely moment. 

I think no one but me likes this song from that album, and it is a bit cheesy and derivative, but I don't care. He sounds super