Archive | July, 2019

Love, Book Launches, And What I Wore

24 Jul

Inspired by Love, Loss, and What I Wore, I started drawing some of my memorable outfits and posting them on Instagram under the hashtag (what else?) #lovelossandwhatjillwore

 

My dress was pink and flowy. The sort of thing you might wear to junior prom with kitten heels and sticky lip gloss.

The fabric had tiny fuzz balls dripping off it, giving it a kind of dizzying effect. 

A dress made for twirling, for special occasions, for me.

A friend said, “Well, that’s the most Jill dress I’ve ever seen.” 

I told Katie that I wasn’t sure if I should wear it, seeing as how it was her book launch and I didn’t want to make this about me. She laughed and pointed to her all-black ensemble, “Yes, I almost wore the exact same thing.”

In the pictures you see this:

Me in my prom dress.

Katie in her jumpsuit and staggering black heels. 

Hilary in jeans and a floral shirt, shoes that she later declared “orthopedic, but still not comfortable enough.”

Us laughing.

But this is not a post about what we wore.

It is, but it isn’t.

Katie had her first book launch this month. It’s an event we had talked about and dreamed of for years. The years where everything was lost, we were working the bad jobs, the dream was so far.

Katie thrived in those years. It’s one of the things I most admire about her.

I am sensitive and fragile, the slightest criticism throws me into a spiral.

Katie is tough and resilient. You criticize her? She is coming back. For BLOOD. (Or at least success.)

She’s the person who wakes up at 5AM to write her book, who takes hits and comes back swinging again and again.

For some reason in my mind I have Rocky Balboa with the battered face, pulling himself up for another.

That’s Katie.

And this summer, at a quaint children’s bookstore in a quaint little town, she got to stand in front of all the people she loves with her arms raised, victorious.

DING DING DING

(They actually struck a gong when she walked on stage.)

At the end of the night, I twirled through the quiet streets. Lights twinkled overhead. I spread my arms wide as my dress floated above me.

Katie took off her killer heels, her feet indented from the sacrifice.

Hilary announced she needed flip flops even though her shoes were orthopedic.

(This deserves sharing twice.)

We laughed.

We laughed and we ate chips and salsa outside in the dark.

We laughed and I wore my pink pom pom prom dress, the sort of thing you might wear to junior prom with kitten heels and sticky lip gloss.

A dress made for twirling.

PS: Katie’s book can be found HERE!!

St. Swithin’s Day 2019

18 Jul

I’m fascinated by the minutia of our days one year to the next. What it can tell you about our lives and the changes that happen over time. St. Swithin’s Day feels like as good a day as any to track through the years, doesn’t it?

 

I have found the secret to a fulfilling life and that secret is a simple breakfast banana cookie

2 ripe bananas

2 cups rolled oats (blend in blender until it becomes a flour)

1 tsp vanilla

Cinnamon

Pecans

 

Mix together

Bake at 350 for 9-12 minutes

 

I have made these cookies weekly since I discovered the recipe. I have shared it with friends, family and now you. It feels like a burden is lifted. When the bananas go bad each week I simply turn them into breakfast the next. No trips to the grocery store. No added sugar.

If I’m trying to capture today, I must capture the banana cookies.

It’s my first day of Quidditch camp and my first time back at work in a while. I’m creaky. Creaky at waking up early, creaky at packing my lunch.

I do it, though. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The crispest watermelon, the pink itself a taste. Cherries and carrots, goldfish and olives. It sounds like a lot but by the end of a day running around with a Quaffle I’m hungry.

I take a brief nap with Dolly by my side. Dolly should be mentioned in this, the year of our Lord 2019. She’s sleeping on my legs right now, having done that thing where she walks over to me in a sleep daze, knowing exactly where she wants to go. (My lap.)

Rob makes my favorite pasta. 

I walk to the library.

I return

Once More We Saw Stars

 

I get

Women Talking

Mostly Dead Things

 

I am reading

Southern Lady Code

The Cactus

 

I tell myself that today I don’t have to do anything other than work. This feels like progress. Usually when I start a new routine I want to begin with a bang. I must not only incorporate this new, exhausting thing, but then when I get home I need to exercise and do a few errands and work on my book for four hours.

I remember a friend telling me that all she requires of herself is to go to work every day and then she can just be.

How freeing is that?

I tell myself that today I can just be.

Maybe I’ll start telling myself this more often.

 

PS: A letter I wrote to myself on St. Swithin’s Day six years ago, the first year of my blog, the first year of knowing Rob.

Confessions Of An Overachiever

9 Jul

I recently started reading at a nursing home nearby. They call it Reader’s Corner with Jillian and it’s really sweet and on my first day I brought no less than 17 options of books to read.

I went to the library and I researched which Stephen King short stories would be best and I made sure to cover genres and interests and lengths.

At the end of my session, the activities director pulled me aside and told me, you don’t need to bring so many books

She looked concerned, “How is your back doing?”

A friend told me that the picture of all my volunteering books laid out on my bed and sorted into categories, should be under a Tumblr “Confessions of an Overachiever.”

The confessions aren’t pretty.

Overachieving, for me, fills a couple of roles.

The first is validation.

From a young age when I overachieved I received praise and attention, good grades and an identity. Not even in a bad way! In a really reinforcing way.

A really, really reinforcing way.

It also gives me a sense of control, I think?

By picking out four types of poetry and just the right fairytale collection I can feel as though I am prepared to volunteer my time at this nursing home. That I am now armed with whatever I might need for whatever is thrown at me.

Of course I am not.

Of course when the Nora Ephron essay doesn’t go as planned and the jokes aren’t hitting and suddenly it’s hot, isn’t it very hot in here? all my preparation won’t save me.

Of course, it’s a false sense of control.

In fact, why is that a phrase? False sense of control.

Is there ever a true sense of control?

Does that exist?

A few weeks ago, I was on a very delayed flight. We’re talking 8+ hours of delay, 8+ hours of me rotting away in an airport.

When I realized what I was up against, I immediately decided I would make the most of it. 

This travel experience would be a metaphor for my life. Yes, it didn’t go as planned, but how I respond to that is in my control.

I am in control.

(You see where this is going.)

I began by keeping a list of all the ways I saw grace during my airport stay.

There was the Khiel’s lotion I used to soothe my dry-shaved legs.

The kind man who didn’t charge me for my overweight bag.

There was the soft serve ice cream right by my gate and TSA pre and working chargers.

I meditated right there in the middle of the airport.

I made myself a bullet journal of everything coming up in my life.

I would TRIUMPH! I was triumphing!

Even as the plane stayed on the runway, as they announced that due to weather we would be rerouting for a longer flight I simply nodded. I had made it this far, I would make it all the way.

About an hour into my flight I was adjusting my bag, putting away my headphones, when the woman in the seat in front of me stood up. She began to yell.

EFF YOU. EFF YOU.

I looked around, feeling horrible for whomever this was aimed at.

As she continued to swear and yell and scream I realized she was talking to me.

I was shocked. We had had no interaction the entire flight.

EFF YOU EVERY TIME YOU TOUCH THE BACK OF MY SEAT YOU INJURE ME.

EFF YOU.

I opened my mouth to apologize, to say I was not trying to touch her seat, but she silenced me with her hand and continued to scream.

When she was done, she sat back down, pulled her camo hoodie over her head and went back to sleep.

My heart pounding, I picked up my bag and put it on my lap. I would not be using the seat back for anything. 

I twisted my legs so they wouldn’t go near her seat, soon causing cramps and parts of my body to go numb.

I had four hours left.

A mini metaphor of life,

a mini metaphor of control, indeed.

The Common Cold And Starting Over

8 Jul

I have this theory that the common cold exists to teach us how to start over again and again.

This sounds dramatic, and I suppose it is. I am in a bit of a dramatic mood.

You see, I get colds all the time.

It’s been like this my whole life. When I lived in Utah with the winter and the sneezing and the (shudder) inversion, I was sick half the year.

Now I live in paradise and work at an elementary school and last year I was sick for nine months.

I am in the throes of a terrible summer cold as I type this.

You see, I am feeling a bit dramatic about colds.

A few weeks ago I got back to California after a whirlwind couple of trips. I was tired, but ready. Ready for Summer to begin.

I went to the gym that first day, I blasted the Jonas Brothers, a band I didn’t even know I liked until they liked their wives so much. I did a ridiculously hard workout for 28 minutes. I was sore for days after. But my gosh. That workout!

My gosh! My legs!

I attached my phone number to my Vons card. I created a to-do list that you would like to see only if you would like to…OK you wouldn’t like to see it.

I was on a roll, I was doing it all!

And then. The cold struck.

I’m bad at colds. This is part of the problem.

The other day I was wheezing on a hike while Rob held his tongue, because he knew I didn’t want to hear that instead of hiking in Santa Barbara, I should have been in bed. Again.

Listen, I love bed. I want to live in my bed. But only on my terms. Only when I’m choosing it and can monitor it and can not fall into an endless malaise because of it.

I don’t want to stay in bed for two weeks, two weeks of a very very precious summer. I have a book I want to edit this summer, OK, and a very limited time to do it. 

I want to be tasting my food while I am writing said book!

I want to write my book, dang it.

Thus my theory.

About colds and starting over.

The thing is, with this cold, I could not keep up the exercise routine I had planned. I had to stop it all and now I’ll start again and you know how that is. How hard it is to start doing something every day when you’re out of the habit.

I couldn’t write as much as I wanted either, what with the naps and the fuzzy head, and just now I’m getting back to it. To the kitchen timer and the forcing of the habit, the forcing of my brain to realize, yep, I’m doing this, yep accept it.

And recreating these routines and brain pathways and steps towards the goals, oh it’s hard.

It’s really hard.

And it’s life.

Never once in my life have I been able to keep up all my good habits all the time. Something throws them off, life happens, and whoops I’m out of it again. 

And I start the slow painful process.

The setting of the timer.

The twenty minutes on the elliptical.

I start again only to know that it’s a matter of time before I’m knocked off course. A matter of time before my next cold.

And yet, I keep trying.

What else can we do anyway?

Achoo