running lightly with just a few cookies

Despite a disappointing show by my own aquafaba cookies, I braved the newly December-cold evening to join the Harvest ladies for a cookie exchange — partly because I wanted to check in with these lovely folks I’d been missing, partly because cookies, partly because a cookie exchange is a whiteppl (orrrr…americanppl?) tradition I’d never ever partaken of before and I was curious.

And the flat, crispy-chewy failure of choc chip meringues (half-batch, no less) felt somehow RIGHT and honest as a representation of my confidence in the kitchen anyhow.

It was FUN. We chit-chatted, oohed and ahhed over the mountains of other, successful batches of cookies, and just caught up on each others’ lives as ladies do. We prayed over Robin as she and Ben are looking toward their move to and new life in Texas.

After it all, we bundled back up and out into the cold(er) night air. I trailed Janelle down the steps and realized that we’d parked in the same row of visitor spots, but didn’t get to walk with her cause she was being carried away on the winds of her excitement to get home / desire to get out of the cold night air into that magic van of hers.

As I watched her skip, jog, run toward that car, I couldn’t help but laugh cause there was something so childlike about her skedaddle. I wanted to skip after her and race to our cars together, but was worried for the too many cookies in my cookie-haul bags. (Cause, what if the force of my gallops crushed the cookies against themselves? and the like.) I watched her dash faster and faster away and suddenly felt so old and weighed down, a bagful of cookies in each hand. Imagined her hands, free of cookie bags — or at least only holding one, lightly filled one, maybe — and grasping instead at the fresh night air.

I walked slowly back to my own car, waving Janelle off awkwardly with the coupla free fingers on my one hand with the smaller bag of cookies and laughing, still, at what a cute, kidlike run hers was. Sad for myself for being so weighed down by cookies, but conflicted about that, cause…like I said, cookies.

Unexpected notes to self re: cookie exchange: Don’t be so greedy with things that they keep you from running in the refreshing night air when you want to. Learn to live with less, to consume less, to enjoy lightness more.


x____x [insert blue screen of death here]

I wish I could blog, but my computer is so, so ded. Assortment of things I wish I could blog-think about:

  • grammatical tidbits and general word-geekery, rhapsodizing about independent clauses and adjoining commas
  • friendships and how it feels like they’re shifting — and how my backlog of blog-thinking has caused a shift (a growth?) in my own thinking about the subject. 
  • about that metaphor of the house being like a friendship with its little bricks, and also
  • about small talk and big talk and how I think both are important now — another shift in thinking, another addition to the house:friendship metaphor
  • wedding planning and how it’s surprisingly easy and smooth and unstressful, and just what it’s kinda been like — just to record these things and think about them and not let these lil moments pass me by
  • about how much I’m loving living with J&Q. and D. best housemates ever. 
  • New Year’s resolutions! and the lack thereof. and what that means! another shift? who even am I?
  • of love and family and Christmas and the lasts of everything — and how that means the firsts of everything. and the overlap of those two things. these chapters are not as neat as the word “chapters” would indicate. 
  • about how I’m loving the word “lil” these days and how I’m loving the lil asian smileys with the underscore mouths. @__@ and o_____o and all those bewildered faces. 

late-night, year-beginning thoughts of a ladisonmee, thumb-scribbled from a lil phone that’s dinky in its own right, in cahoots with the laptop, probably.  

prickly tides

No one could be sure what kind of dreams she had had for herself before she ended up in this foreign country with her husband and two kids, living a life she seemed to want to throw out with the day’s trash bins. She labored endlessly, not uncomplainingly, and all her tools at the tailor’s desk hurt for it. The world of her work was mostly soft, usually plushy. Woolen hems and sleeves of silk, with even the needles tucked safely away into pincushions, each prickly point with his own sleepy hole in the forgiving folds of plump cotton lumps. If she would have allowed it, the walls surrounding her little tailor’s space could have been a soft one; warm, even inviting, maybe, with the right kind of tea brewing on the corner stove. 

But she was a tornado of clothespins and shears, relentlessly hemming and ferociously ironing. Laser-straight pleats, chemical-dye fumes, and blades of tiny scissors slashing through the stuffy atmosphere — these were the ingredients that made up her toxic universe, and she worked with an intensity that seemed to cry out in protest while begging for more. Every order was filled with a cold crispness, and every new customer walked out in a daze, impressed by her efficiency, but on some level, just glad to have escaped the place intact. But because she was the fastest in town, and no one ever had any complaints about her work, they always came back, except the ones – usually the old ones – that were looking to pick up conversation with their dry cleaning. Even if they weren’t asking for much, just a few fluffy words and a smile stacked atop the plastic bags, she made it clear from visit one that they’d have to look elsewhere. So her clientele remained young, busy, carefully chatterless. 

It was a wonder how efficient she was, with all the storming around she did. Every pair of scissors, each clothespin, felt the weight of her wrath as it flew through the air to slam into the nearest hard surface after she was done with it, taking out her endless reserves of anger at the universe on the poor tools of her trade. She threw things away in the most literal sense of the word, propelling used instruments through the air wherever her force happened to direct itself. A bad hair day, a chatty new customer, pleasant weather that reminded her of all that she was missing out on while her life wasted away behind the sewing machine. Everything was an excuse to slam, crash, pound the surfaces of her prison of efficiency, and each delivery only added to the growing layers of prickly things ever separating her from the sunny world outside.

With every pin, every needle flung to its oblivion onto the carpeted floor, her lair grew in its prickliness. She lost hope like she lost her pins, dropping them in gratuitous rejection and anger. At what, she could no longer remember. After the first few bitter years of her labor, the original object of her violence had dissolved into a dark, formless pool, itself powerless against the acidity of that anger she carried. Everything was sour, and her brow was permanently furrowed in the rare agreement: Yes, the world is harsh and Yes today is another, yet another, day. 

She hadn’t chosen this for herself. But in the drudgery of her mundane efficiency, she’d lost her vision and couldn’t see herself doing anything else with her mind and hands. She’d forgotten so completely how to dream, the ability simply excised from her soul like a lost limb, or a broken bone, damaged and never quite the same. Indeed, if notable neuroscientists had gotten a hold of her they would have had a heyday with the anatomy of her mind, this human who had permanently lost her ability for receiving nourishment of spring rains and the unfiltered goodness of summer sunshine. Happiness triggers that normal people gravitated toward, yearned for, had no effect on her except to produce more bile and bitterness. Hers was an instinctive joylessness.  

So she would keep slamming. Crashing. Pounding. Begging, with each slam of her body and her instruments – her living, dying breaths – against the thickening walls of her needles-and-pins lair, to be let out. It was a tragedy, really, because her rally to live was never recognized by anyone from the outside as she continued to build up the walls thicker and higher.

Stay away, she cried. Save me, she pleaded.