Monday, December 31, 2007


Back in Pittsburgh for some good, serious vacationing. My watch battery died about two months ago and I never got it replaced. I don't even know where my watch is these days. I still manage to be on time to everything, but I thought I would miss it and I haven't.

It's after noon. I haven't gone outside yet today. Still working on a bottle of Vitamin Water and waiting to see how the pound cake I had for breakfast works things out with my stomach. If things go well, I can go out and explore and visit my old neighborhood, which I surprise myself by missing.

The stomach thing is mysterious and obnoxious. Occasionally it hurts, most of the time it's just all weird and topsy-turvy, and every couple of days it keeps me horizontal for much longer than I'd prefer. I'm told that my symptoms resemble morning sickness, only I'm not pregnant and it's been going on for eight months. It's annoying because it's not that big a deal—I'm not deathly ill—but causes me to cancel plans fairly often, and I really hate canceling plans.

Still, it's good to be in Pittsburgh.

James is at work and I'm in his bedroom, listening to the clock tick off the seconds. This room has always been peaceful, for me. I remember waking up here last November, on an impromptu weekend visit, and listening to the rain spattering on the windows and the city buses going by outside. I remember the first time I was ever in this room. The way the hardwood feels under my feet (dry and dusty, not varnish-sticky like the floor in my apartment). The vague sweet smell of tobacco in the hallways. The cold water gurgling and splashing on the surface of the white bathroom sink.

I tend to see my life in chunks. Phases of less than a year, usually, separated by important events. The year I worked at the bakery, the six months at the yarn shop, year at Starbucks, year at the bank, summer before law school. The time I lived in Seattle before I moved here. Since law school started, I subdivide by semesters, and sometimes further. Sometimes just meeting a new person starts a new phase, and I don't even know it at first. Meeting James was like that.

James doesn't like not knowing what's going to happen in his life. We were talking about this last night. Maybe back to school, or not; maybe a new job, but not sure what; maybe staying here, maybe looking for a new place to live. I don't have to think about those things. I'm halfway through a three-year program. I know where I'm going to be and what I'm going to be doing until May of 2009. I like this. Less wondering means less worrying, and that means more available brain-space to think about more fun things. Go to law school; be a lawyer. That's the plan.

But outside of that, there is no plan, and I don't know much. I like the city (this city, anyway) and the country. I like being alone and I like being around people. I enjoy learning about tax law and think I'd enjoy practicing it, but I also really love to write, and wonder sometimes if maybe that isn't my true vocation. And then there's the whole question of getting married again and having kids. I think I'd probably love it. But I don't know.

It's hard not to let myself regress in certain ways when I come back to Pittsburgh. Things seemed simpler when I lived here. I didn't have so many decisions to make. I didn't have so much freedom.

I'd like to try to stop breaking down my life into those little chunks. To live a life more like a novel and less like a collection of short stories. Chapters that add up into something bigger. I'd like to get some of these big decisions taken care of and make some choices about how to live my life. But I'm not ready to make those decisions yet. It's tempting to just try to make them anyway, just to have things decided, but I'm doing my best to resist.

Well, there's my new year's resolution, then, ironically enough: don't seek resolution for its own sake. Try to cultivate some amount of comfort with the unknown (which, after all, we only ever manage to escape in one way, and not one I'm eager to experience). Oh, and try not to let my stupid stomach keep me home quite so much. I don't want to turn into a recluse.

Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Another semester has ended, and as usual, I don't realize how stressed out I am until the pressure eases. The Honor Code officially prevents me from saying how any of my exams went, but I will say that all four of them made me nervous and I'm glad they're over. And not at all anxious to see how I did, which is good, since I'm sure I won't find out for at least a month.

It's been a difficult semester, not because of the classes but because I've had to figure out how to do school while having a lot of health issues. I hope that next semester will be better, and I'm seeing various doctors over the break to try to make sure that it turns out that way.

I don't have anything too profound to say. I'm just taking a couple of hours now to relax and decompress, and it is incredibly nice not to have to stare guiltily at a pile of books while doing so.