Tuesday, March 31, 2009

In typical Bristow fashion, I meandered downstairs after my shower, prepared for cereal and a second cup of coffee, when I found a note on the kitchen counter scribed by Dad that simply stated (to no one in particular) "Aunt Fran is dying".

Background information- Aunt Fran is actually my great aunt, who has been, effectively dying for 10 years, as she has alzheimers (which is degenerative). But now from the sounds of his note, her death is in close proximity. which, though sad, is actually a relief for everyone- especially my grandmother (her identical twin) who has watched her spend the last five years lying in the bed of a nursing home. she eats, showers, gets dressed, gets her hair done... while she's asleep. when we visit, we all talk to her and say nice things and kiss her wrinkled, fragile, paper-thin skin... while she sleeps. she's been sleeping for five years in a bed. she's ready to go. her bags have been packed.

bristow's love shock value. hey, if mom and dad are going to adopt a child and get a puppy, I'm going to move to madison. And then Lydia's going to go ahead and get engaged.

will calvin announce a pregnancy?

Monday, March 30, 2009

It was weird to try to sign into my mbeans mail and have my access denied.

It's not that I needed anything in there. It's just habit. Check my gmail. Check my mbeans mail. Check my facebook.

Dad, Cass and I got an enterprise van totally filled with my stuff, and then father and I made the quick trek home. I'm currently lying in my sister's childhood room, cats- in complete anger and fright- huddled under the bed.

I miss everyone. This week has been a whirlwind. None of my goodbyes felt real. I'm still wrapping my mind around the idea that this is not an extended vacation, but an actual move. A change of location with no planned return. Still, I haven't been plagued with worry, doubt, or regret. For someone who always worries and doubts decisions, I'm impressed. Dad told me how proud he was of me. I love my family.

Still can't believe Lydia's engaged. What does a Maid of Honor even do?
Mostly packed.

Dad is coming to get me tomorrow morning/ early afternoon. Mik's coming to help me pack and clean. Cassie and I are supposed to get breakfast. Breakfast may not leave my kitchen, however. I don't think I'll be able to... but I'll play it by ear.

I can't wait to see charlie. that's tuesday. we start driving wednesday.

Hopefully this guy, Nathan, tells me he's able to rent the apartment for the month of April. That will be a huge weight off of my shoulders. If not, I'll figure it out.

today is gray, dismal, rainy- the kind of day you secretly celebrate while resigning yourself to movies and the couch all day. sadly, that was not in the cards for me. I don't even know when I last watched a movie. but i still appreciated the rain. and all the visitors (sarah, ben, betsy, lydia, todd, hillary, beth).

i've been reading about how to take a road trip with a cat. it's a shame my situation is plural.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I woke up in a fit of panic early this morning. My mind raced through every box that I've packed so far, as well as everything I haven't packed, as I was overwhelmed with the sudden realization that I haven't downsized enough. There's no way it will all fit.

When I was able to come to terms with the fact that yes, indeed, it would not all fit and I may need to repack in terms of necessities and dispensables, my mind cycled through random last-day thoughts. This is the last day I'll ever spend in Boston. This is the last day I'll ever spend in this house. Tonight is the last night I'll ever sleep in this room. Tomorrow is the last time I'll ever see this house. The finality of it all.

Sarah has been snoozing next to me in bed and now Leopold, in a rare and touching moment, is cuddling with her. The cats are bent out of shape with the packing, emotions, and shift in schedule. Frequent visitors don't sit well with them.

In exciting news, my sister is engaged. Todd proposed to her on Friday night and we all surprised her last night at a bar called Sweetwater Cafe where we danced, had drinks, and admired the ring (and her recent manicure). She wants to get married in less than a year, which means that along with a new city, state, and part of the country, I have a wedding to orchestrate- as Maid of Honor.

........is it too early to start looking at dresses?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Orchestrating a move is kind of a big deal.

but, I digress.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Marcus walked into my room, whence forth he saw me in bed on the computer and burst out, "What are you doing sitting there in the middle of boxes and piles of clothes! Get up and pack!"

Of course I sheepishly dragged myself out of bed and emptied my bookcase into a crate. I can't just pack and go though... I have to spend time reminiscing. I stumbled upon a reasonably new Pablo Neruda book that I purchased shortly after Christmas- fat, thick, and rich with word, verse, prose. It's truly amazing. I promised myself that I could flip open to any page and find a poem that I loved instantly. Which I did. And though this is one I would generally be a bit timid to post on my blog, I do, in jest, love it.


Carnal apple, woman incarnate, incandescent moon,
seaweed's sodden aroma, the bog's and the mash of the light--
what shadowy rigors open between your columns?
What primitive night is touched by a masculine nerve?

Ah, love is a voyage with water and a star,
in drowning air and squalls of precipitate bran;
love is a war of lights in the lightning flashes,
two bodies blasted in a single burst of honey.

Kiss after kiss, I recover your little infinitude,
rivers and shores, your body's diminutive clan,
the genital spark, made dear and delectable,

that races the delicate pathways of your blood,
breaks up from below in a gout of nocturnal carnations
unmaking and making itself, leaving only a glow in the dark.

Naked, you are simple as a hand,
minimal, supple, earthy, transparent, round.
The lunar markings, the pathways through the apple,
are yours; naked, you are slender as wheat.

The Cuban blue of midnight is your color,
naked, I trace stars and tendrils in your skin;
naked, you stand tawny and tremendous,
a summer's wholeness in cathedral gold.

Naked, you are tiny as your fingernail;
subtle and curved within the daybreak's pink
you thrust yourself into the subterranean world

a tunnel's length through our duress and clothing:
your clarity trims its flame, unfurls, or covers over,
and again you issue, naked as your hand.


You come from the destitute South, from the house
of privation, regions made hard with the earthquake and cold
that gave us hard lessons in living in the chalk and the clay
while the gods whom they worshiped were spinning away to their death.

You are a little mare carved in black clay, a kiss
dusky with pitch, beloved, a clay poppy,
a pigeon of twilight that fluttered its way on the roads
and followed us into a childhood of want, with its tears.

You who always preserved your heart's poverty,
girl with the feet of the needy, accustomed to stones,
whose mouth was not always acquainted with sweetmeat and bread:

You come from the destitute South that once nurtured my soul;
in her heaven, your mother goes on washing clothes
with my mother. Therefore I have singled you out to be my companion.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

This always happens with cereal.

I'll have a bowl of cereal in bed with my coffee. (Lately, it's been trader joe's maple and brown sugar frosted mini wheats.. patrick turned me on to them and they come highly, highly recommended) I put the bowl on the table next to my bed, and continue drinking my coffee, reading my emails, helping angry customers resolve their problems, etc. At which point some wily cat catches the scent of the milk and slinks its way up the bed for a drink.

Some mornings I shoo the cats away and frown upon this behavior and some mornings apathy takes over. This morning? Itty Bitty- it's all you.

Today is the 8th day of my 8 day work week. I hope I can make it through without offending any customers. Then I'm to enjoy Friday, Saturday, Sunday off. By "enjoy" I mean pack. Or attempt to schedule my life as such that I'm not in the house at all... time shall tell.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Marcus, Brian and I ate a delicious (albeit overpriced) dinner at Zaftigs tonight... potato latkis, steak tips, vegetables, cupcakes, coffee, soda....

for some reason, we thought it was a grand idea to buy three cigars at a sketchy citgo station in the neighborhood. marcus and i sat huddled in the car while brian went in to do the deed.

the cigars were horrible. the three of us sat, legs crossed like men in the living room, puff puff puffing these cheap, big cigars, picking the stale, dry crumbs of crackling leaves out of our mouths, listening to cars drive by and watching candles glow. it wasn't as romantic an affair as i just made it sound- i have a tendency to do that.

today i finished day 4 of an 8 day working stint. it's excessive. i feel tired and ready to retire to my bed.. permanently. except my room is in constant disarray getting things packed up. it seems early to pack (if I'm leaving around the end of march) but i'll be thankful when moving day rolls around in 2 weeks and i'm all ready to go.

this is all good. but it's all hard to believe.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

early morning subway musings:

The familiar, musty scent of male cologne is wafting down the train platform. Like an older man, in his attempt for youth, bathed himself in Stetson, letting the pungent oils settle into every crease and fold in his skin- dousing his face, slicking back his hair. As if this strange ritual was sure to attract every eligible woman in a 50 mile radius- offending their senses, berating their nostrils, and leaving them light-headed and vulnerable to his advances.

I'm trying to find the culprit- usually it's a 60 year old Italian man with a gold chain nestled into his overabundant chest hair who catches your 1/2 second gaze and nods and smiles. I know then that I've only encouraged his behavior- furthered his belief that these tactics are effective mating rituals. That every woman fantasizes of drowning in a sea of ambrosial sweat underneath a hairy, Italian man. Ignore his advances and you're simply playing hard-to-get. Can you win?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Charlie is convinced that I have a sleeping disorder.

He offers adorably helpful suggestions such as "drink tea before bed" or "get into a stretching routine", "take Valerian root", "relax your mind" "count sheep" and I keep reminding him that it's not that I *can't* sleep.. it's that I don't *want* to sleep.

Is it so bad that I consider sleep to be a colossal waste of time? That it inhibits my creative genius? Think it an unnecessary expense of time? There are a million things I deem more worthy of my time than sleeping.

It's hard to look into his precious face and tell him, "sorry, baby, I just hate sleeping".

It probably is a disorder. But fixing it would definitely be a colossal waste of time. And then, my time would be doubly wasted- once on fixing my sleeping disorder and twice on actually sleeping.

His thoughtful, caring suggestions are starting to wear on my willpower, however. He may prevail after all.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Oh- 5 am, I'm up blogging.

It does happen occasionally.

I should have slept more last night. Generally speaking, I don't get as much sleep as the average human, but it's enough sleep. Last night was definitely not enough. With the time change, and the early flight (that I will soon embark on), bedtime didn't happen until midnight, wake up happened at 5... which felt like 4.


Hold that thought, I'm going to make a second cup of coffee.

Though night holds some of the same characteristics as early morning (dark, warm, quiet), night vibrates with life, thought, anticipation, excitement. Morning is tenebrous and serene. No buzz of sentience; the thought-space is clear.

If I had to choose, I'd choose early morning. Not too early- when it's too early, desperation sets in. The fear that you're the only cognizant being in existence. But I love night too.. that warm trepidation, perturbation- being part of a city that seems to live and breathe on it's own, in a beat, a rhythm.

and that, friends, is why i hate sleeping. to miss out on any part of being extant- to put my introspection, my intuition on hold for even a time is almost unbearable. but also, infinitely human and inescapable. Oh, life!

Friday, March 6, 2009

I'm thankful for...

dismal, gray days. A quiet heart. rooftop gardens. chewing gum. the whiskery profiles of dog snouts. nervous anticipation. patient bus drivers. the warm, buttery scent of coffee. the wake in puddles as you drive through them- like a tiny lake. skeleton trees. the thin layer of froth that sits atop a fresh Americano. airplanes. seagulls. headphones.
Sarah Stehouwer, thank you so much for your concern. My sleep habits aren't so terrible that I get up at 5:47 am to blog... at least not generally. I changed my blog to "Eastern Time".. though in haste, almost "Easter Island Time".

Thursday, March 5, 2009

you know what came of slumbering next to my computer for a while? waking up, blinking and confused, at 2:30 am with my lights and all of my clothes on. it's not even worth describing what my eye makeup looked like at that point, but you can probably imagine- all up on my cheeks.

leopold is ridiculous this morning. he tore me from my comfortable morning, resting in bed, because he was up to something... skye let me borrow her beautiful dwell tote for my trip to wisconsin this weekend (wait, give me a minute to swallow the excitement of uttering that phrase)... he was on top of the dwell tote, reaching one long, black arm into the bag and then jumping straight up into the air. Repeatedly. I quickly intercepted- you don't do that to a $300 bag, I'm sorry kitten, and then went to make coffee. He followed me, used the rug to sharpen his nails, and when I stopped him, scratched my naked foot. Ty-pi-cal.

you know, i stopped liking john legend on premise. all of his songs are about cheating. seriously, listen to the lyrics sometime. yeah, he's hot and all.. but if he can't stick to monogamy he should try being single. then he won't have to cheat on girls and write albums about it. right? i'm all about simplifying people's lives for them. want me to simplify your life for you? just tell me... i love to micromanage.

Now cue the smoke machines and the simulated rain
But not too loud 'cause the baby's sleepin
I wonder if it knows what the world is keepin
Up both sleeves while he lay there dreamin
-Lupe Fiasco

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

so I've been experimenting with twitter as you can see on the right hand side of my blog. it's kind of fun. and very self-indulgent.

the word "self-indulgent" always makes me think of chocolate. It's a shame I don't have any.

some days are exactly the same. work, come home, turn on the computer, get into bed, let a cat crawl into my lap, work until I fall asleep. Switch it up with a mug of tea, some television, thirty minutes staring out the window; but other than that, the formula is down. i'll stay awake until midnight in case charlie calls. not that i'm waiting by the phone.....

my bed is warm and comfortable, and i feel dozy. i may spend a while slumbering next to my computer. now there's an exciting way to really switch it up.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009

In case anyone was wondering... i tried the sea salt spray today.

And I am proud to say that I have succeeded in taking totally clean hair and making it dirty. My hair was tangly and unmanageable all day- not unlike beach hair, however. Not sure what I expected. Oh, Elissa.

My day was spent at Cassie's lounging on her bed, job searching while she did homework. It was comfortable. Even the same boring task can benefit from a change of scenery.

Now it's back to busyhouse, drinking tea with the Fatcats, watching the traffic light outside of my window change from green to yellow to red and back again. A cycle that continues regardless of traffic.

sometimes, charlie will write me a text and it will leave me totally incapacitated. I'm not used to feelings like this. The way that a heartbeat aches in your chest in excitement, joy, and anticipation is not familiar to me. My heart has never truly beat for a boy. Red light again- reflecting onto the wet pavement. car intercepted. Green. my chest will tighten, it becomes difficult to draw a breath, and i smile for miles and bury my face in pillows. these aren't typical elissa bristow gesticulations. Though I come off as impulsive, raw, and wild it's generally calculated and precise. I'm not the kind of girl you find smiling and burying her face in pillows.

oh- what is happening to me?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

After a day at the beach, your hair leaves with this amazing, incomparable texture made up of sticky sun screen, sand, and the salt water. Though a shower is inevitable for your body, you'd almost prefer to go on a date because your hair is bomb.com

This afternoon I was perusing the aisles of target and I decided- hey, salt water is just sea salt... and water... right? I'll make my own. Millions of women do this. I found a spray bottle and was on my merry way.

Approximately 2 tsp (I never measure, it's against my very nature- often cataclysmic though it hasn't stopped me yet) of salt, about a cup of warm water... and for good measure I added a couple drops of an oil-based perfume... and voila! My hair is bone dry and pin straight at the moment and yet, something told me, "Elissa, it's a good idea to try it now". Obviously false, but I'm impulsive. So now, I have salty, messy-in-a-bad-way but smelling great hair, and a strange powdery film (of salt) covering my hands. Tomorrow, when my hair is damp, I shall try again. And hopefully emerge victorious.


Early morning train journaling, transcribed:

It's perplexing to think that I'm leaving- and have no plans to return. This isn't a long vacation, it's a new chapter in life.

It brings me back to my formative years, when I used to spend hours pondering the omnipresence of God. The fact that He had no beginning and furthermore, no end. That He continued regardless of human fallibility. One day I would cease to exist, and God would still exist. Like a cycle, a circle. No end, no beginning. It took a leap of faith to grasp this concept- to know that there are things in this universe that I'll never understand- that go way beyond human comprehension.

I'm taking a similar leap of faith here. There's no way for me to see or know the future. Do I disregard any opportunities here because I'm scared to fail? Or do I take a leap of faith- trust- and go in knowing that I may not succeed in all of my endeavors, but that the lessons validate the journey. And any endeavors that prosper along the way I count as blessings and take joy in. After all, we were never promised success in life. The joy is in the journey.