Wednesday, February 23, 2022

The Last One At the Lunch Table

Image credit here.

I had a dream that things were like they used to be.

J was in the kitchen making us pancakes, and M was there, except he wasn't married. I'm sure C was somewhere with the blanket, the one he used to keep in the back of his car for bonfire nights, and would eventually fall asleep in.

I was there.

Five years ago I posted something to this blog when I was feeling the kind of nostalgic that is premature, nostalgia for the present moment, before you've even left it. I wrote about my boys, the ones who I grew up with, loved, fought with, sang beside, prayed for. I told myself (and the seven people who read this blog lolol) that I would keep them in my life always, that I would watch them all get married, as if I was trying to will it into being.

It never happened.

I didn’t see any of my boys on their wedding days, not one. I still think about it sometimes, how despite everything that held us together, it didn’t end up happening that way. A has yet to get married, though, so maybe there’s still a chance.

I found out recently that one of my boys goes to the church my husband and I have been visiting. I thought that I recognized him from a distance, all these years removed, but I wasn't sure. It's weird when someone whose birthday I never forgot and middle name I know has become sort of a stranger standing across the room, both of us too shy to say hi.

Lately, I've been wondering if I found my people prematurely.

That I met my kindreds against all odds, but we grew up, and it had to end. We had a good run, but I peaked early, and those were the only kindreds I was ever going to get. I don’t actually think this is true, I’m being dramatic. I’ve met a handful of souls since that make me believe there are still, to quote Perks of Being a Wallflower, cool people left to meet.


I remember this freshman at my high school who I knew of peripherally. He made friends with a group of close-knit seniors. He would sit with them at lunch, and they were all best friends. I always wondered what happened to him after they graduated and he was left behind. What do you do when you’re the last one at the lunch table?

I look back and see a moment in time. That era and our shared history has a certain warm glow in my memory, though what I remember now as being beautiful and fantastic was actually riddled with a lot of growing pains. I will never forget sitting in a Starbucks parking lot as my sister cried about one of our boys, inconsolable. Or the night that C took us both to get Boston Crème donuts when I came home from college, heartbroken. We blasted country music and 60s soul in his car like it was a lifeline.

It seems childish now, but that’s what we were, in some ways. We hadn’t quite become our full selves yet. The stakes were high, and the emotions were real. We drew on our Converse and sat on roof tops. We made pretentious comments and huddled on the beach at night and ate our bodyweight in half-price appetizers.

C had a church key (actually, almost everyone did), which meant access to the church 24/7, where we played games of Masterpiece, listened to “Walking in Memphis,” and broke each other’s hearts. Sometimes we would lay in the pews while J improvised on piano, with Z on drums bringing down the house. One winter, we rode around in someone’s truck, picking up old Christmas trees and burning them to a crisp in the fire pit. Our collective consciousness was rooted there on the church grounds.

I'm not sure how to get back.
E

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Care Package 003 | January 2022


Considering that the last Care Package post I wrote was in *gulp* March 2020 (plus another in July that never made it out of the drafts), I figured it was time to revisit this series. But not without first mentioning that my husband surprised me this weekend with the most epic date idea: Dinosaur World!

If you've never been to Dinosaur World and are wondering, it's basically a beautiful park filled with hundreds of (possibly to scale?) model dinosaurs. There's also a gift shop for all your dinosaur (and dinosaur-adjacent) needs. I think I was more excited than most of the five year olds in the park. Ya done good, husband, ya done good.


I mean...


...can you blame us?!

Care Package 003


And now, onto the non-dinosaur portion of the post.

To Read

Image credit to Girls' Night In.
* Girls' Night In: If you're not already subscribed to this newsletter of cozy glory, I would highly recommend it! They send out new emails every Friday (with the occasional email on other days of the week). Their last email was a list of the best blankets money could buy. A newsletter after my own heart.

* Want book recommendations? Yes, this is a shameless plug to read my last blog post if you didn't catch it. There were books that I didn't get to talk about that I loved (i.e. Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam and Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, which both share a vaguely ominous vibe). I was obsessed with reading in 2021, and I'm already adding to my 2022 reading list! It's going to be a good book year.

To Listen


* For my folk friends: I am probably way behind the times on this one, but I heard "Harder to Forgive" by Brandie Carlile while perusing novels in a Barnes & Noble, and almost had myself a nice weep. This one pairs nicely with a new song from the always-heartbreaking Josiah & the Bonnevilles (one of my favorite singer-songwriters) entitled "A Conversation." It, too, almost made me cry. #majorweeper

* If you want to rock out for 2 minutes and 5 seconds: One morning I woke up and had Pinegrove's "Alaska" in my head FOR THE ENTIRE DAY. I went to bed with the song still in my head. It's a foot stomper and a massive earworm.

* For the indie darlings: Clearly I am not the only one obsessed with songs slowed down and reverbed, because these edited versions of songs pop up on YouTube all the time (hey-oooo). But I have to give props to Ricky Montgomery, whose song "This December" was already a jam before he released an official slowed-down version of it! It slaps.

To Do

Image credit to Spry Fox.
* Play Cozy Grove: I realize that most everything in this post has been cozy in some way, and I am very proud of that. Cozy Grove is no different. It's a video game similar to Animal Crossing (at least I hear), and has you play as a Spirit Scout, traipsing around an ever-growing island running errands for ghost bears who need to make peace before entering the afterlife. If that sounds spooky, it's not. Mostly I just run around digging up turnips and buying funky glasses in this game to dress my character. It's relaxing and in no way strenuous, and I'm addicted.

* Drink green tea: As a certified Anxious Lady, I have found out firsthand that coffee + me = Crazy Eyes McGee. So this year I'm trying to switch to green tea in the mornings, as much as I'll miss the delightful sugar rush that is Starbucks' Brown Butter Caramel bottled iced coffee (yum). I've noticed so far that green tea has saved me money (because making tea at home is cheaper by far), lessened my anxiety, and made me feel more hydrated. GO TEA GO!

Image credit to Target.
* Check out the Magnolia Hearth & Hand line at Target: I feel like this is a good time to mention that this post is not sponsored whatsoever, but I'm out here doing the Lord's work by hyping up the Magnolia collection for free. As someone who is newly married and figuring out for the first time what home decor is, this line of literally all things snuggly has been a lifesaver. I'm also obsessed with their Salt fragrance, which I've been compulsively sniffing every time I put on my hand lotion. Give it a browse, my people. 

* Go to the library: I know I don't have to plug the library to anyone reading this, because y'all are natural readers, but I just have to shout it out anyway. The library, man. What a concept. What a blessing. I just love the freaking library. Especially because I've been reading up a storm lately and don't have the money to buy every single book I read, going to the library on a Friday night to get a stack of literary fiction feels like a miracle. *standing ovation*

* Make pasta: Shout out to the dinner I can smell cooking on the stove!!

Well, that's it for now. As always, if you have any recommendations of your own, please send them my way! I would love to know what you all are obsessed with as of late. ♥

I can't wait to eat that pasta,
E