One of my earliest memories of a family outing is sitting in a kid's sit perched on the back of (I think) my mom's bike. My brother rode in a similar seat on my father's bike, and we were gliding down a biking path that seemed narrow and woodsy and more than a little wild.
Jump forward quite a few years ahead to my ability to ride - and decorate - my own bicycle, which I did for the 4th of July for the three years we lived in the small town of Berkshire Heights, PA.
baby nerds r us...I'm to the right
I grew up canoeing in a water reservoir called Blue Marsh, located in the Reading area. I've always felt pretty confident in a canoe, and have been eager for a long time to try my hand at kayaking. A friend told me about ocean kayaking, and that sounded even more amazing...but I've never had the opportunity to try any variety.
Bones found a Groupon offer that made such an adventure wicked cheap, so we decided on a date, slathered on the sun protection, and headed off to St Joseph.
( Cursing! Kayaking! Waves of doomity doom! Clickity to read more! )
I am a cop, sitting on a bed -thin mattress, no boxspring - watching the sky through a barred window, waiting for my partner to check in.
The sky goes lightning-fast from dusk to dark to dawn. Time has tesseracted.
We are separated, and I can't find my way back.
I howl out a protest..
"Dusti? Are you with me?"
Bones is holding my hand in the dark. I've cried out in my sleep again.
My speech is slurred, but I stammer out a description of what was going on, why I screamed. I apologize.
"You're not alone, my Squirrel."
He drifts off to sleep as I murmur another apology.
The dreams only fit a few of the descriptors of night terrors, so I'm not sure entirely what to call them...other than embarrassing. Frustrating. Upsetting. Sometimes, terrifying. I can usually remember the part that made me scream, and I can usually figure out what my sleeping brain is struggling with, but that's not as reassuring as one might think.
While I can trace my anxiety back to childhood, I didn't have nightmares of this magnitude until I started having panic attacks in my early 20's. Nightmares? Yes, I had them, but not many, and they were generally repetitive: someone is chasing me, meaning me harm, and I am hiding/running/trying to get away. Those dreams stopped once I moved out of my father's home.
The screaming dreams have varied themes. Ironically, I thought I'd conquered one of the themes this past weekend. There is a recurring dream of me having to go into a house, usually to live there, and Something Bad is already there - a ghost, an animosity - and I am struggling to find a way to deal with it. Usually, I lose, and I wake up screaming. But a few nights ago, I worked my way through the entire dream, and woke up feeling relieved, even accomplished.
Last night's dream touched on one of the more common themes:
- I am alone.
- No one will hear me.
- No one can help me.
I think about the teenager I used to be, asking my psychology teacher to explain nightmares because nothing he had described in class connected at all to my dreamscape. And I think that's what I find most frustrating about nights like last night. Once Upon a Time, I didn't do this.
I want that to be my reality again.
* He BEGS. For HUMAN FOOD. And then he EATS IT. He's become very focused on what's going on in the kitchen.
* He chased a moth around last night, batted it around, and ATE IT. With no hysterics involved, like when he was younger and would try to eat crickets and then the crickets would cling to his tonsils and he'd try to hork it up with escalating hysteria until it would finally go down his throat.
* He chased an airsoft pellet around this morning until it went under a door. And then he sulked.
* He does regular laps around the house.
* He's being wonderfully social with the other cats.
MICHIGAN - AND BONES - HAVE BROKEN MY CAT. IT'S LIKE I DON'T EVEN KNOW HIM ANYMORE.
Wednesday morning, Bones saw that Cedar Point was offering 300 free tickets to the park to those willing to be there at 7AM for a shoot for The Travel Channel. Participants were told they'd be asked to ride MaxAir a bunch of times, maybe be on camera talking about the ride, definitely be on camera during the ride.
The park is about 4 hours from where we live, but we decided to go for it...even though it meant getting up at 3AM. Which eventually meant actually leaving closer to 3:30AM. We weren't sure we were going to get there in time but...la! We made it, all three of us wearing Doctor Who t-shirts (geeks represent!) with only a few minutes to spare!
Last weekend, Bones and I were driving around town, looking for yard sales. Along our journeys, we saw a sign that said, "Michigan Hosta Tour," and pointing down a road that was out of our way.
When I was preparing to move out to the midwest, several friends offered me plants to take with me. (This is because they know I HAVE A PROBLEM and probably need a 12 step program to deal with my plant addiction.) So of course I said, "YES PLEASE." But I focused on things I knew Bones would like, and that would be hostas.
He had moved a bunch as well when he relocated to our home. I didn't realize quite how many until we looked at our combined pile of plants and realized we both have a problem.
So. Hosta tour?!?! Heck yeah!
We followed signs to a cul-de-sac in one of the many local neighborhoods that's sprouted up along the edges of a lake. And we promptly lost our sense of bravado.
"Do we...just walk into that person's yard?"
We looked at the varied people doing just that. "Will they know we're not in their club?"
"Not if we don't tell them. And if we don't belong here, I think we can outrun these people."
"Ok. Let's go!"
( Lots of pictures follow! )
Before we left, I grabbed Bones' hand. "Hey! Wait!"
He looked at me expectantly.
"Kiss me in a beautiful garden!"
He smiled, and did just that. "These kinds of adventures only happen when I'm with you," he said softly.
That feeling? That one right there? It's entirely mutual.
I'm not vain. I don't spend nearly as much time as I really probably should worrying about my appearance. I don't generally wear make-up. I frequently leave the house with my hair unbrushed. I think I've had exactly one manicure ever. I don't really get people's love of fashion labels - I'd rather brag about my $10 boots from Sears than consider spending hundreds of dollars on designer heels that hurt my feet and match one, maybe two outfits; I'd rather use a fair trade bag than a Coach purse.
I appreciate the pretty. It's just not my everyday focus. I don't see pretty in the mirror, and so in general I avoid my reflection and let other people be my mirrors.
But oh, I am dating a man that takes my breath away.
This past weekend, I was waiting for him at one of his relatives' homes, and when he walked into the room, just for a moment, no one else was there.
It happens a lot.
And I realize that he doesn't really see it. Oh, he doesn't avoid mirrors, but in his heart of hearts, I don't think he sees the person I see...which is, of course, only partially about his appearance.
He texted me tonight that he made a stranger stutter upon her seeing him.
I've no problem believing this. I'm surprised it doesn't happen to me on a regular basis.
It's common, too common, to talk about, to blog critical things about our partners, to complain about the day to day bits of gr, to focus on the slobby bits of life rather than the dazzling smile, the quiet consideration, the hundreds of nonverbal ways your partner speaks of and demonstrates Love.
And there are times, like tonight, that I realize how much he doesn't see what I see.
The other night, he read to me a bit from Anne Wheaton's twitter account, and I thought about how Wil describes his wife...and my insecurity came raging up from the back of my brain.
I looked at him shyly. "I'm sorry I'm more your broken-Jenny than your hot-Anne."
He smiled, leaned forward, kissed me gently. "You're perfect."
Tonight, I'm looking at what his insecurity texted to me, and I am frustrated by the distance that doesn't allow me to do the same. Because words can be dismissed. It is the gentle stroking of a face, the kissing love across his lips, the ability to look into his eyes to make sure that phantom-sadness has skittered away, that matters more than words, than this blog.
And of course beauty is the sum total - it's not just that gorgeous face. It's him baking a quiche so we'd have breakfast. It's him making coffee while I'm still waking up. It's the remembering of stories, and the consideration of bringing my suitcase up the stairs before I can think to look for it. It's laughing in bed, and the awareness of how hard it is for me to stay warm, and it's the countless actions and words and moments that make him so beautiful to my eyes.
I can't wait for the day when I can tell him, every day, in person, that he's perfect.