Archive for the ‘nostalgia’ Category

When I think of summer, I think of St. Louis. It’s true of winter, too….I guess because we don’t have “real seasons” in that way in California. I think of the smell of sunscreen, the overwhelming humidity and the pounding heat, the lush green trees and the unexpected thunderstorms. Here in Houston, I find it’s similar – that feeling of summery-ness. I put on a shirt today that I’ve had since high school, since those days of cornerstone and missions trips with youth group and it made me so nostalgic. For swimming in rivers and lounging on beaches, days spent doing nothing but waiting for the cool of evening, splashing in the random downpours and picnics in the park.

It’s funny, how things like that don’t seem the same to me if the space looks different. We went to a beach here in Houston that was decidedly not a Pacific Beach. It had something about it that i can’t quite pinpoint – the sand was different, the grass was different, the light was different – that made it look definitively like a midwest beach (like the beaches on the great lakes) or even an East Coast beach, but absolutely not a West Coast beach. Suddenly, it was nostalgic, and I could enjoy it more than I can enjoy California beaches. It’s a flaw in my system, I think.

At any rate, summer is here, and it is also in San Jose. Whether the nostalgia is there or not. So when I get back, I’m gonna get in that summer – I’m going to splash in it and bike in it and run in it and get that summer all over me. And it’ll be some good times :0).









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Just as sure as the sun’s gonna shine, when He comes at His table I will dine. Just as sure as that dog’s gonna whine, in my heart no longer will I pine…Just as sure as by evil you are torn, the sky will open up and an angel blow his horn and down come Jesus, lookin so fine, just as sure as that boy he is mine….
(-16 horsepower)

Listening to this hillbilly ruckus folk, watching the sunlit streets slip by outside the window, I can almost pretend I am not here. Flying back over fields and hills and valleys to the person I used to be. My faith is something I’ve locked away in the closet, like so many before me, to pull out and wear only on very special occasions,  on laundry day, when there’s no other option.

“oh my love yes, it is madness, freely given to you folks with gladness – I will not live and die, no not by the sword, I am weak without the joy of the Lord”

I don’t even notice how my life loses dimension, and I lose myself in my life. The things of the world are always before me, and I don’t remember how to pray.

” I will not walk, if You do not walk…no I will not breathe my Lord if You do not breathe…”

Sometimes, I have to borrow someone else’s words.

“…cuz I’m gone…..for today, boy……gone, but never far away….”

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The neighbor’s cat has the most plaintive, complaining, absurdly loud meow I have ever heard in my entire life. It quite literally sounds like a human, clearly pronouncing the word “meow” in their most annoying impression of a cat. The cat gets out, sometimes at night, and will come back in the morning meowing its furry little head off. It’s meow echos off of the closely spaced doors and windows of my little apartment complex. Those who are light sleepers and do not own a costco-sized box of earplugs are suddenly lying awake hours before they need to work, silently growling at the ceiling and plotting deadly revenge upon the cat. At least I assume they do. I have earplugs, so I usually can’t hear it until I take them out.

Sean like to stagnate his alarms, and tends to set the first one for half an hour to an hour before he actually has to get up. It drives me nuts. I end up more tired from the waking and falling back asleep than I would be if I just stayed awake. So sometimes I just stay awake. Like today, when I slept badly to begin with. Thoughts flitting about in my head, repeatedly playing songs which associate with intense nostalgic visions, followed by sadness and resolution, followed by some sudden realization about some email from some client. That leads to long ponderments on Next Steps for the Business, on how to phrase an email so as to say “no, I will not work for free no matter how ‘fun’ your wedding will be” in a way which is not insulting or rude, on which business paperwork I need done and how I should really read the book about starting a small business that’s been sitting on my desk since the *first* business I wanted to start. Then follows excitement about the prospect of working for myself doing what I love to do, followed by fear that it either won’t work out or I’ll lose interest, followed by thoughts about my current dayjob and the new dayjob I got and when will I find the time to do all three? And why hasn’t the new job emailed me back to confirm my start date? And why is that damned song that my friend, who apparently still cares about me but adamantly refuses to talk to me, wrote, still running and running around in my head until I finally fall asleep thinking about freshman year of college and how exciting everything was.

For some inexplicable reason, all of this leads to an intense dream about Martha Stewart. She lives in a castle, in a tree, and has me, the music-writing-ex-friend, his longtime girlfriend and my mother all over to visit. We sleep in some separate room on beds of various levels covered with various animal skins. The fast second level of her chateau is a giant craft workshop filled with people at long tables making Christmas decorations in July. She invites us to tea and my mother complains that there’s too much cake and she just needs a piece of dry toast or something to wash it all down. She and Martha get into a bit of a stalemate about the proper way to serve desert.

At this point Sean’s first alarm goes and I say vaguely “I’m having a dream about Martha Stewart”. I don’t hear his response because of the earplugs.

And now it’s time to get up for work. Which is just fine, because of the sound of birds and the downright cool air sneaking through the blinds.

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there are no words for this kind of thirst.

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Thoughts on Paris

I wrote this on the early morning train from Paris to London.

As I may have mentioned before, I’ve been a bit frustrated that I haven’t gone into more detail about my personal experience in Paris – how I felt it and lived it, vs. just what I did on a daily basis. So here, as I speed away from the most romantic city in the world (it certainly has proven to be thus :0) , are some of my thoughts on Paris.

It is hard not to love. Initially, those of us who are rebels, and prefer to stay off the beaten path, may almost cringe at the thought of it. Hordes of tourists, thousands of photographers, crowds of people from all over the world visit this city every day. They pack into the cathedrals and museums, stroll through the streets and sit in cafes, hoping to capture a bit of the mystical “je ne sais quoi” about Paris – hoping a bit of it’s magic rubs off on them. Personally, the thought alone of being one of thousands makes me want to turn the other way – find some place quieter, less known, less publicized, less commercialized . But the truth of the matter is, much as on some level it pains me to say it…Paris is not overrated.  It really is magical. And I’m not just saying that because it’s where Sean proposed :0)

There are crowds of people. Especially in the spring, in the public places, on weekends – it is absolutely stifling. But that doesn’t really do much to take away from the 35,000 art pieces at the Louvre, or the 6 floors at the Centre Pompidou. It can do nothing to erase the hundreds of years worn into the steps of old cathedrals, or the thousands of hours it took to make the stained glass windows. It cannot uncobble the cobbled streets or even take away the sheer size and grandeur of the Eiffel tower, the Notre Dame, the Pantheon.

But of course, overwhelming the experience of the well-known, much-trodden landmarks is the simple experience of being in Paris. It is all a-buzz, all a-glitter, and yet somehow still has corners that retain their age-old charm. I love how many tiny, windy cobbled streets there still are, the plethora of cafes and restaurants where it seems perfectly ok to order one single cup of espresso and linger for hours. There seems always something to do, somewhere to go, a park or a street to stroll along.

Sean and I, as I’m sure I mentioned, spent the largest portion of our trip walking, and the second largest, eating. This, I think, is how it should be.  If you go to Paris,  I highly recommend following suit – the only way to experience it thoroughly is on foot.

Complaints? I have just a few. Firstly, it seems that every café in the “medium” price range has the exact same menu, at the exact same prices. We had the hardest time finding anything nutritious anywhere – short of buying fresh veggies at the market and making it yourself, it seems nearly impossible to get a decent salad that isn’t entirely made of iceberg lettuce. There are eggs and cheese and ham on –everything-. And for all their deliciousness, I don’t think I want to seen another crepe or baguette or a round of Camembert for a while. It is a city that is hard to “rough it” in. You find yourself spending hundreds of dollars, and you’re not even sure on what – any restaurant that has tables will likely cost 30+ euros, be it lunch or dinner, or even breakfast. You find yourself agreeing to the most ridiculous prices, just because “what the heck, I’m in Paris!” Which, of course, is why the city basically runs on tourism. Every other person seems to speak English, (and every other other person is a tourist as well (which isn’t a complaint, really, just an observation).

In conclusion, I love Paris, just like every other shmo on the planet. I am only mildly ashamed.

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feels like i’ve been here before

feels so familiar.

feels like i’m slipping, into a dream within a dream.


it’s funny how sometimes just a few words can have so much feeling and meaning attached to them that they feel positively heavy…full…like i could grasp them and wring them out and memories would squeeze out like yesterday’s soapy water.

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I already love the French countryside. Even though we’re wooshing by it on the bullet at roughly 180mph, it has an unshakingly peaceful quality – very nostalgic, quiet, serene. Big puffy clouds are flying by in layers, now turning white and playful now revealing the sun for a moment and then turning to foreboding gray. Really, the green fields and farmhouses aren’t that different from other places I have been – the Midwest, California, at this latitude it all seems so similar. It’s strange how something can be nostalgic when I’ve never been there before. I think at least partially, it’s because I submerged myself in stories my whole life – to the extent that they become a part of me and I a part of them. So being in London reminds me of being in the story of Mary Poppins, and the countryside makes me nostalgic for the moors of the Secret Garden. Occasionally, there are snippets of actual memory – taking the train from St. Petersburg to Lithuania, road trips in California, visiting St. Louis. Nostalgia upon nostalgia and memory compounds upon memory, and soon, there is just a feeling, unattached to any particular thought or place. Just the feeling of leaving somewhere, going somewhere, missing something, wanting, lacking, needing, having….and everything passing, passing passing, faster than the bullet train through the French countryside. Ever passing, transient, fleeting, gone.

french country

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