Hello, old friends.

If you’ve been with me for awhile, it will come as no surprise to you that I am coming to you with yet another Maine problem. Today, it’s these chipmunks. Mainly *ha* the dead one in my closet. We’ve tangled with rodents before and I know the smell will dissipate, but my god. I almost preferred it alive, rattling the doors I had propped closed with an old tote of maternity clothes (an important detail I forgot to tell our dear babysitter “oh, hey; there’s a chipmunk in the closet but don’t worry I don’t think it can get out” would have been the absolute least I could have done).

But here I am, having been away from writing and blogging for so long that WordPress is entirely new and if I take the time to figure it out I won’t have time to get this post up before my daughter wakes. Also, I’ve forgotten how to write sentences. I have survived this past year sending overly long emails, DMs, and texts to my friends and they would like me to take my run-on sentences over here for a bit. They are tired, too. I’m sorry, you’re welcome, thank you?

An overdue list of the things that have kept me alive throughout this past year or so: 1. Graining In podcast has been keeping me company since about March 16, 2020 when I started taking two walks a day with my daughter. I’ve spent SOME years listening to women and honestly, Noah and Matt may be two of the very few men I can listen to at this point. I’ve loved Brene and Cheryl Strayed and Jen Hatmaker even though I am unequivocally not Christian. And this has been great for awhile, but I needed a break from thinking about my feelings and I didn’t really feel like developing myself any further. I’m good. Noah and Matt are whatever the opposite of toxic masculinity is – these dudes are dudes, but they love each other and life and beer. Graining In talks about beer, and I love the technical episodes even though I don’t know shit about beer other than what I like, what I don’t like, and what I can stand if it’s the only thing left in the refrigerator. The latest, #97 with Jamaal Lemon, is a perfect example of the non-tech features that are a little about beer, a little about life, and a lot about curiosity. Full disclosure, Matt is my cousin and I’m damn proud, but this podcast feels like everything good about the world reliably delivered. Also, bonus points because every time someone says to me “I don’t know how you do it!” I want to point to Matt and say “See! This is how we all are!” I am so grateful. 2. This L.L. Bean Hi-Pile Fleece that feels like the adult equivalent of a security blanket. I’ve been wearing it since early December when I thought I was going to devolve into a pile of old chicken nugget dust and all I needed was a series of good hugs. I want them in all of the colors but they are sold out. If you have one, I am a size small, regular. It is close enough; I’m still here, and I am in no way ready to re-enter this world without above fleece and a winter cap for armor. 3. Reading fiction. I was a high school English teacher in my last life but remembered that I am a reader for my entire life, and this may be the largest part of my remaining identity. People escape into a million different things – stories are mine. I have a decent inventory of never-been-reads that I’ve been trucking through. Over the last months I was really floundering, spending all of my time studying or flat on my back watching tv. What I thought was going to be a disaster – my daughter learning how to climb out of bed – was so easily transformed when I realized that she would STAY IN BED if I just stayed on mine and read a book until she fell asleep. Now, I’m back. A couple of chapters a night, more at weekend naptime, and I’m good. Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior just did me in.

In the same who-was-I-before-this and who-am-I-now vein, I’ve been working on some small, easy meals and I started attending classes at my yoga study a couple of months ago. Each of these things has helped immensely. I’ve seen my friends some. I met up with a couple of mentor/friends and I left a visit yesterday smiling because this person will absolutely not tolerate me living a life that is less than I deserve and maybe the only thing I’ve needed all along was just, that. Everyone experiences love in different ways, and this is exactly what love feels like to me.

You’ll be hearing more from me soon as I wrap up a few courses and move into preparing for a two-semester fellowship with the McGillicuddy Humanities Center at the University of Maine. I’m a third year nursing student now, but this fellowship will, I hope, bring together my earlier teaching and academic life, my time as a Maine Writing Project Teacher Consultant (2015), and my experience moving into a new profession. I’m terribly excited, and terribly anxious.

Please watch Ted Lasso.

Everything I’ve accomplished this year is because our amazing day care.

We are having thoughts about “mama” here and in a lot of other spaces. It has been in every bio I’ve ever had and I’ve been slowly changing them in the same way that I stopped using my middle initial when the last prez was using J. as his. It wasn’t that I was any less proud of that name, but that association was less than what I was going for. More on this later.

Every time I hear someone say “summer is coming” it feels like GoT “winter is coming” because maybe I’m not at all ready. If you see me – give me one beer and I’ll make sense by the end of it.

xoxo

Heather

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