Books!

In January, a fresh faced Amy pulled out a papyrus and a quill (Google docs) and wrote out her resolutions for 2015. She was full of hope (pinot grigio) and looking forward to the months that lay ahead (happy that December was finally over).

She had about 10 resolutions, and they are as follows:

  1. Read more – at least 24 books.
  2. Blog — at least 52 posts.
  3. Redacted
  4. Redacted
  5. Redacted
  6. Figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
  7. Celebrate 40 somewhere warm.
  8. Practice daily self care.
  9. Keep a clean house.
  10. Do one a month “tourist” thing with my girl J.

Juicy, right? I mean, I live a VERY full and exciting life, and boy oh boy do my resolutions show it.  You should see the redacted ones!

As we progress through the year, I’ll give you progress reports. It literally would hurt your head for me to tell you about all this excitement at once. And then all I’d have left is cat stories, so you’re welcome, readers. 

Tonight we recap the books I’ve read thus far in 2015, all of which I’d recommend if you’re looking to read something. I’m not a book critic, so I won’t even attempt to review these books, but I’ve picked some of my favorite passages and shared them here.

The Circle by Dave Eggers 

“You’re like part human, part rainbow.”

 “We are not meant to know everything, Mae. Did you ever think that perhaps our minds are delicately calibrated between the known and the unknown? That our souls need the mysteries of night and the clarity of day?”

 “You sit at a desk twelve hours a day and you have nothing to show for it except for some numbers that won’t exist or be remembered in a week. You’re leaving no evidence that you lived. There’s no proof.”

Dear Daughter, by Elizabeth Little 

“Maybe friendship is just something two people arbitrarily decide on together, like the write way to spell worshiper or when it’s okay to say cunt. Maybe we just grab whatever raft’s at hand.” 

“Self-pity is the sun around which we orbit, the great gravitational force that rules those of use for whom Things Didn’t Quite Turn Out.”

The Giver, by Lois Lowery

“He was left, upon awakening, with the feeling that he wanted, even somehow needed, to reach the something that waited in the distance. The feeling that it was good. That it was welcoming. That it was significant.”

 “I feel sorry for anyone who is in a place where he feels strange and stupid.”

The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins

“Hollowness: that I understand. I’m starting to believe that there isn’t anything you can do to fix it. That’s what I’ve taken from the therapy sessions: the holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them, like tree roots around concrete; you mold yourself through the gaps.”

“I can’t do this, I can’t just be a wife. I don’t understand how anyone does it—there is literally nothing to do but wait. Wait for a man to come home and love you. Either that or look around for something to distract you.”

 “It’s possible to miss what you’ve never had, to mourn for it.”

The Hypnotist’s Love Story, by Paula Hawkins

“If only she could bottle this feeling and make it last forever. It couldn’t last forever, her rational mind knew that, but her heart, her foolish heart, was chirping, ‘Oh, yes, it can! Why not? This is who you are now! This is your life from now on!’”

 “The thing about Ellen is that it seems like she is exactly the same person on the outside as she is on the inside. That’s the impression she gives anyway, as if she is without artifice or affectation, as if she doesn’t have to filter every word that comes out of her mouth to make sure it gives the impression she wants to give.” 

“I thought it was my birthright as a woman to have that time, at least once, where a man treats you like a princess, rubbing your feet at night, pressing his hand to your stomach, masterfully ordering you not to pick up anything too heavy.”

“Now for the first time she understood that her mother wasn’t resisting love so much as bearing it. Now she knew that you could love so much it literally hurt: an actual pain in the center of her chest.”

Men, Women & Children, by Chad Kultgen

*no quotes, but this book scared the shit out of me

 The Husband’s Secret, by Liane Moriarty 

“You’ve been here before. It won’t kill you. It feels like you can’t breathe, but you actually are breathing. It feels like you’ll never stop crying, but you actually will.”

 “It would be so much easier to be aggressive if she were wearing her bra.”

Lone Wolf, by Jodi Piccoult

 “She is quiet for a moment. ‘Have you ever been swimming in the summer,’ she asks, ‘when a cloud comes in front of the sun? You know how, for a few seconds, you’re absolutely freezing in the water and you think you’d better get out and dry off? But then all of a sudden the sun’s back out and you’re warm again and when you tell people how much fun you had swimming you wouldn’t even think to mention those clouds.’ Cara shrugs. ‘That’s what it’s like, with my father.’

 “Scars are just a treasure map for pain you’ve buried too deep to remember.”

“You can tell yourself your family is the picture of happiness, but that’s because loneliness and dissatisfaction don’t always show up on camera.”

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From Om! to Oh No!

Wednesday after work, I dragged my good friend Dave to a guided meditation class & dharma talk at the Insight Meditation Community of Washington. My meditation practice comes in fits and starts — I’m kind of an all or nothing gal. But I’ve been making a concerted effort to achieve a bit more balance in my old age, so I’ve rediscovered IMCW’s Wednesday nights with Tara Brach. Dave was a skeptical but good-natured participant, and I think he had a pretty nice time.  He’s also kind of a good liar, so who knows.

After it was over, Dave and I went to a really awful/delicious Mexican restaurant for the super delicious chips & salsa and guacamole.  Sometimes you have a 3-star Michelin dinner, and sometimes you have bad Mexican.  And depending on your mood that day, they’re both equally satisfying.

But then something bad happened.

As I stepped off the elevator into my building hallway, my foot went squish. Oh NO! Squish squish squish all the way to my door. (Goodbye, adorable leopard ballet flats. I’ll miss you most of all.) I opened the door, praying that someone had just spilled forty five big gulps in front of my door instead of some sort of flood situation.

Turns out, it was a flood situation.

So much flood.
So much flood.

I walked into a completely flooded apartment. Water was gently trickling out from the top of the toilet bowl and from the back, too. I imagine executives at the American Standard corporation have this as a zen water feature in their offices.

I immediately shut off the water where the toilet meets the wall, but the water didn’t stop. Plumbing is hard. I called the emergency number for my building and tried to asses the damage.

See how the rug is shiny? Rugs aren't shiny, silly! That's standing water!
See how the rug is shiny? Rugs aren’t shiny, silly! That’s standing water!

The 24-hour maintenance guy arrived about half an hour later. He walked in with a pair of needle-nosed pliars. “Oh no. What happened?” I gave him the gas face.

“I have no idea. I’ve been gone since 8:30 this morning.” His first instinct was to shut off the water. Maybe plumbing isn’t so hard after all.

He left and came back a few times (to where I have no idea). He was able to fix the toilet, but there was no way to get all the water up. Thankfully, I have hardwood floors, and since I only rent and not own, I was less concerned with what the long-term effects of standing toilet water would have on the wood. Thus, I was forced to go to bed (in the bedroom which was bone dry, thank GOD) and sleep with toilet water dominating the rest of the apartment.

I worked from home the next day so I could deal with the nonsense. Johnny, the regular maintenance guy, came and he brought a shopping cart full of tools. He also brought Leonore, who mopped the apartment with that industrial cleaner they use in elementary schools. For a few days, my apartment smelled like third grade.

Shopping cart and shop vac.
Shopping cart and shop vac.
Sweet, sweet Leonore.
Sweet, sweet Leonore.

It’s important to note that there was nothing in the toilet when I left in the morning. It was empty, and because I am a dainty, aristocratic Victorian woman who poops not, we can all assure ourselves that the toilet water was practically as clean as what comes out of the tap. I’m noting it to you, but it certainly didn’t keep me from imagining that there was e-coli swimming about all over my home.  I had to do some yoga breathing about that and just give it to Mother God.

It’s been a few days now, and things have returned to normal. No major damage at all to my apartment, although I think there was some plaster damage done to the apartment below me. I asked Johnny about it and he said, “Don’t pay no mind — he caught your water with a bucket.” Lovely.

The rugs in the living room and dining room were both ruined, and my pair of fashion sneakers in the bathroom were too far gone to salvage. All in all, it could have been much, much worse, and I very much appreciate the fact that my station in life allows me to have someone come take care this. I’m fine and although it’s made a good story, it really wasn’t a big deal at all.

Otis, on the other hand, has not quite recovered. He has been WTF-ing me for a few days. I’m sure new spring birds on the ledge outside the window will help.