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seasons change, people change

November 11, 2014

I’ve written before about our move to Maryland from Indiana in 2008. It was pretty dreadful, and it took me weeks, if not months, to recover.

This time was totally different.

In almost 22 years of marriage, I’ve (now) moved 9 times — I was in no hurry for all the hassles and frustration of packing, so I procrastinated, right up into the last weekend. I just wanted to get the keys, and get the process of actually moving started. Tuesday, the first day, I made 4 trips in my car, back and forth. After a second almost-sleepless night (and not feeling well), Wednesday, I made 2 trips back and forth.

Before I woke up, Spouse was already over at the old place, waiting for the movers who were to transport any packed boxes and all our furniture. I slept well Wednesday night, but woke up to [mishap]. Took care of it calmly. Unpacked a bit. Started blog post, interrupted by Spouse’s call to run an errand, which I went out to do. Was quick enough at it that I arrived back before Spouse and movers did.

Twitter-ed on my phone, usually in a chair in a corner of a room, to stay available if needed. Noticed I was on Twitter as a way of giving myself “space”.

After the movers left, Spouse and I took separate trips back to the old place to bring back more stuff. And we’re still doing it. Never packed into boxes: Most of my books, most of my art supplies, most of my clothes and other assorted items; everything in the kitchen, including dishes, glasses, appliances, etc.; small pieces of furniture; artwork; miscellaneous.

Spouse thinks we’ll be finished removing all our stuff by the end of this week. I look at my sprawling pile of hundreds of books, and I have to wonder.

We have the old apartment until the end of 2014, so that’s not a reason to hurry. (Although beating winter weather’s arrival would be excellent: there’s a steep hill in between the two apartments; I’m not looking forward to driving over it in icy conditions.)


Knowing we wanted to move, I began deliberately getting rid of stuff in March. All through the move process, I’ve continued getting rid of stuff [teakettle, etc.]. We have so much less stuff than before that . . . I’ve now been able to repurpose some pieces of furniture. A shelving unit I’d been using for art papers in my studio, is now in the living room, holding an assortment of things like my library books, my poetry notebooks, mail that I have to attend to, my purse, my camera, my wallet. (In the old place, most of this stuff was scattered all over the floor of the living room.)

I’m not in any particular hurry to populate all the bookshelves in my studio, or organize all my closets in a permanent way. I’m trying out configurations, determining what functions well, and what doesn’t. I’ve caught glimpses in my mind’s eye of items that had been overlooked, and should now be brought forward. Or things that I don’t have, but would facilitate things working better.


I realized Monday night that I’ve been actively mourning the teakettle. Almost like (my idea of) sitting Shiva, even though I’m not Jewish.

Before this week, I hadn’t realized how often I turned to tea when thinking through a thorny issue. When writing. Or just when I wanted to feel . . . companionship (because Gramma and I drank it together, so it always reminds me of her).

It’s been really really hard not to run out and buy a replacement teakettle, but I have managed not to.


It’s been exactly 2 years since I found a new home for the 4 houseplants I’d had (in most cases) for 16–29 years. This week, I experimented with bringing one of my potager’s potted plants inside, to keep me company in my studio. Once Spouse transported the windowbox plants to the balcony, though, the in-studio plant seemed to want to be back out there with the others. So I moved it.

Still, a useful exercise because every time I walked into the studio and saw someone green and leafy, I grinned. I think I’m finally ready for indoor plant companionship again. Someone I choose. (3 of the 4 previous were gifts; 1 was a rescue.)


When things go wrong, usually Spouse is the unflappable problem solver. During this move, I’ve been that person. When Spouse has gotten aggravated, annoyed, or is fuming about something, I’ve remained good-natured and calm. And resourceful. It’s been less trouble than ever to disentangle his (often seething) emotions from my own.

Breathing diaphragmatically has exited conscious working memory and is now fairly automatic. I’m doing little things for myself, like setting limits on my time at stressful activities. Leaving spaces when I need alone time. Exploring my new neighborhood, including hiking in the nearby forest. Keeping odd hours. Imagining possibilities. Treating myself kindly.

My natural resilience is returning. Which, itself, feels joyful, hopeful. Exuberant. I feel more myself than I have felt . . . in over 30 years.

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