Category Archives: purchasing peace of mind

gratitude: it’s not just an ani difranco song

At the approach of Thanksgiving, it is customary to stop and consider what we are grateful for. When my head stops whirling and allows me a moment to think straight, I am grateful for many things:

  • Mr. Ben and I are progressing — slowly, and with many setbacks, but progressing — toward buying our very first apartment. We have signed the contract. We have interviewed with the co-op board. We have given over so much money already that I have to conceive of it as merely pretty-colored paper. If all goes well, we will give over even more money, walloping amounts of it, really, money we’ve been hoarding so closely it has never seen the light of day; and in exchange we will get 850 square feet of our own (2 bedrooms, 1 bath, 1 washer-dryer) in a small, well-run Prospect Heights co-op that has already paid off the mortgage on the building. Good? Good enough? The consensus seems to be yes but adult decisions like this make me squirrelly.
  • The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts just hosted me for two weeks, providing me with a bedroom and a studio and three meals a day, as well as the company to eat them with and scenery to admire while I chewed. I hiked with poets, played Scrabble with musicians and ping pong with Germans (and Future Famous Writers of America), gave a reading with a novelist, and spent most of my recreational time running back and forth to Sweet Briar College, building fires, and thrift-store shopping with flash-fiction writer / VCCA MVP Katie Schultz. No one got to know me except as the all-smiling, creatively-fulfilled version of myself.
A room of one's own
The view from my studio

More pictures here, for anyone curious about what a writer’s retreat looks like.

  • My job, for letting me off the leash to frolic in the rural Virginia wilderness.
  • My Brooklyn community, with whom I am celebrating Friendsgiving tonight. My contribution: A huge bowl of massaged kale salad, or dressed-up raw roughage a la New York Times. They’re all going to poop like champions later.
  • My family, for having something to celebrate and for knowing how it should be done. My mother, being the overachieving domestic war goddess that she is, put on three events this past weekend back-to-back-to-back, but the high point came on Saturday night when my brother Adam and his bride-to-be Jenn addressed the crowd. “We’re going to start a family,” announced Adam. The whole room inhaled in a whoosh; Jenn turned brick red. “Not right now!” she says. “I don’t get it,” said Adam over and over again, afterwards. “We’re getting married — isn’t that what starting a family means?”

Post 1,500!

In honor of this momentous occasion, we’re having ribs.

We’re also having contradictions. Perhaps this is the Walt Whitman problem (“I am large, I contain multitudes“). Perhaps it’s just a 4th Cold Rainy Day in a Row problem (I am sulky, I am dissatisfied). Just for example:

I want to buy an apartment
I want to move to Taiwan

I want to lose weight
I want to love myself

I bought these shoes cuz they were cute
I bought these shoes cuz they were on sale
(These shoes give me blisters and I’m still wearing them)

This makes it all better:

{via DailyPuppy}

i am what’s wrong with this economy

Today I’m wearing a pair of jeans that fits. This may not mean much to many of you, but I have this problem with money where I feel guilty if I spend it. Money, to my mind, loooooooooves to live in the safety of the bank. If I separate it from my checking account, in my head I hear the screams of a chimpanzee being torn apart by a hyena. And if I separate it from my savings account? You don’t even want to know.

But I managed to pass my debit card (no credit card for me!) over the counter of an actual, retail store this past weekend and in exchange I have a NEW PAIR OF JEANS. It’s weird cuz I can feel them, which I can’t with my jeans, since they are usually at least a size too big.

I’ve tried to talk to my older brother about my problems with money when he calls me from his iPhone on one of his weekly snowboarding jaunts. For some reason, he can’t relate.

Now that I have been spared the opportunity to deliver my money to Brooklyn College like so much frankincense and myrrh, though, I’m thinking I can spend it on other things that might make me happy. My brainstorming has produced pitiful results, from lack of practice, I think:

– increase Netflix subscription from one movie at a time to TWO
– get cable (??)
– yoga
– acupressure/massage
– more jeans that fit. And maybe skirts!
help keep this guy from getting elected

And here I begin to flail and sputter, my imagination overloading. What splurges have greatly increased your happiness?