Sunday, July 26, 2009

Bethlehem and Loon Mountain

I can feel the muscles in my shoulders (taut like rope) as I roll my arms forward and back. My knees are heavy with weakness. My head feels fine, body warm, the temperature is 85 degrees farenheit outside, and humid. Cassi and I drove home late last night all the way from Bethlehem, New Hampshire.

Yesterday we drove through the quiet “village” of Bethlehem on our way to route 93, and we saw some odd images: an older man, his beard thick and white, a mustache; a top hat on his head, high, but sinking; a cane in his hand. The sights just kept repeating: a man with his beard braided up like a pony tail, walking beside a woman in old-fashioned looking clothing, something one might wear with a bonnet—heavy skirts and a billowy white shirt and vest, perhaps? I decided it must be a Jewish town, but isn’t that a little ironic—that the town of Bethlehem would contain a neighborhood of the Jewish people?

By night, Route 93 had been dark, the road windy and pitch black, by day, they were the opposite. We were down a twisty roller coaster of sorts, high mountains rising all around us, something out of a Jurassic park scene, and I was aghast. Thick green trees rose up the mountains and laid low at places where gray cliff showed through. These are the White Mountains, I thought to myself.

We had to drive through the little town of Lincoln in order to reach Loon Mountain. We stopped at a bookstore with “free Internet!” and where the sections were spelled out: “Fantacy” among them. We stopped at the “Paper Mill Theater,” and learned that the building was still in use, although the entire back half was basically condemned. That was pretty obvious. It was surprising to see that the building was being used at all—scary, really—seeing as it was in such bad shape and had been built only in 1902. The Half-baked Bread is where I bought a sandwich and we each had a half-made smoothie. (We didn’t expect them to taste half-made.)

Loon Mountain is a thing to experience. The actual entrance is a big thing, advertising resort hotels and horse back rides, rock climbing and bike rentals. I made sure we were there at promptly 9:30, opening time. (The ground had not been good to us, and sleep had been lacking.) Nobody else was there. We bought our Adventure packages and started with the rock wall. It was just like those plastic-things at the fair, but slightly taller and with five sections. Cassi made it up the first (her first full rock-climb!) and I went up the second-easiest. Next I tried wall four while she attempted wall five and failed. Our spotter was very pushy and poor Cassi was like, “well can’t I just stop?” I felt a little guilty about that. She couldn’t get over the ledge. He made me get on her wall after so I could show her how to do it. I’d never done it before, but I made it! SO I climbed three rock walls: one-after-another. He tried to push me to climb the challenging wall, but I was SO beat, my fingers, my toes, my upper arms and shoulders.

The jumpy-thing was boring and terrible. It gave us intense, UTI-causing wedgies, and neither of us could do a flip. The harness came up to our chests, pushing my breasts out and making me look ridiculous. The game was short-lived.

Biking. We were given some silver-colored helmets and each chose a hot-blue boys’ bike, with the little hole in the middle (for the testes?) We rode straight up past the condos, past side streets, past little parking lots where we would sometimes stop to rest. But we went high—lowest gear possible, up that road, until finally, Cassi said, isn’t this it? And we turned off on Bear Road or something like that. It was downhill and glorious, and dizzy-Cassandra wasn’t so dizzy anymore.

We came to a left-right choice. Cassi went left, I went right, noticing the big beautiful log home on the hill. I called her over and she came. (She was exhausted and all ready to go, but came anyway.) Some guy in a golf cart offered us cold waters and a tour of the house on the hill. There was a glorious kitchen-living room, big windows, a view of all the mountains across from Loon Mountain. The bedrooms were small but nice, the bathrooms had showers only. The big room led out onto a wooden deck, great for parties and things. Downstairs, there were more bedrooms and a bathtub. Out on the back deck there was a Jacuzzi or a hot tub. They were building houses like this one all the way down the road. The price? $1.8 million.

In the garage he showed us part of a house soon to be begun. It was to be in the traditional log-cabin home, and the corner was full wood, but the length and width logs were thin, filled in with, instead of wood, this foamy, insulation-type material. He called it “green.”
We thanked him profusely for the water (and the chance to break). He told us if we kept going down this slant-like hill we would find the biking paths.

Sure enough, there they were, so down “Serendipity” we went. There were many stones, large and small, and dips (some filled with puddles) and it was actually quite fun and frightening. We stopped to rest again at this big stone bench, and we went out on the Saco river to just relax. Soon we headed back, and coming up the slanted hill was a lot easier than I had expected—and we were back down to the adventure area in only a few minutes.

The gondola ride isn’t much more than a mile long. The guy at its peak said it was either 900 or 9000 feet tall. There were caves on top of the mountain, but they weren’t very much fun since Cassi had grabbed her 11-pound backpack and the squeezes were tight and moist. Just like the rain we had the night before.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I hate writing!

In the book "Bird by Bird," the author says to write 300 words EVERY DAY. She says, if you feel you have nothing to write about, to write about the reasons you hate writing. So here it is.

I hate writing because it is the opposite of living. If I want to DO something, there is always a choice to be made: to do it, or to write it? Imagining doing the thing is different from actually going through it, and-gods forbid-possibly getting bored of the thing!

I hate writing because it requires me to sit still for entirely too long. My butt starts to hurt after 20 minutes. I need to run around and exercise, call someone, check my e-mail, go to the library...
I hate writing because it is so often required to be organized. I like random. I'm bad at organizing.

I hate writing because it's so easy to put down crap. The words in my head don't equal the words on the page: my writing looks dumbed down, whereas in my mind it felt true and beautiful and formal.

I hate writing because it takes so long to read, and most people won't bother. A lovely voice or a beautiful painting can be taken in within minutes, but reading a true piece, word by word, takes far more time to appreciate.

I hate writing because my sentences and paragraphs, and my characters and scenes, are always flat in comparison to those of my favorite authors-they seem so original and lifelike.
I hate writing because I am afraid of what other people will think. When they read the way I write, they see inside the way I think (although it is somewhat more organized on the page:) and my opinion is freely expressed, and sometimes altogether made up, and I worry that they might not realize that I’m not really a lesbian, I’m just trying to write about someone who is, or they might think I really agreed with the Bush administration, when really I HATED it.

I understand that a big part of writing has to do with style. Your subject damn well better match your style, and your story and characters better make sense in there too. I know that if I write a story in which I am, say, a lesbian, and a Bush-lover, and my reader believes it, then that’s a great thing! I just wove a lie that they fell into! But I’m not a very good liar, and I worry that this might never happen. And if it does, like I said, they might actually believe me...

Since writing is essentially make-believe, and therefore false, it is a little bit like lying, which I hate. So I hate writing!

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Ordinary Oldens

Old people are interesting. I say this because it is obvious that they have been through a lot--they look it, and sometimes they act it. And yet, so frequently, they are boring. I don't mean this as an insult, just a fact. I am chauffer for my boss's husband, who is 92, not "allowed" to drive, and is a formed Medical Doctor. I know he has a billion exciting stories to tell me, but instead we are constantly repeating: "Nice day," "too much rain," "how was your weekend?" It's very simple and tedious. I can stand tedious, much to my amazement, eight hours a day for seven hours a week. It doesn't bother me too much. (I think this is because the "farm" and his very active wife make up for the slow-going calm that he gives off.)

What I really want to write about is how old people change physically. Carlene is 72 now. A couple of years ago, she was sitting in her armchair, wiping up a line of blood on the back of her hand, when she turned to me and said, "I hate getting old. Your skin gets as thin as paper." She can't hear me when I talk to her. "You need to speak up! I can't hear you goddammit!" But Tom (her husband) will just quietly repeat what he's said two or three times until you realize he can't hear you. It's all very strange to me.

Walking slowly is good exercise: I've learned this from weeks of walking next to Tom while he's going up or down the steep driveway, foot by foot, shuffling-like, like his knees hurt maybe, but his back is hunched too. It pushes my legs into override. I have to actually feel my thigh muscles as they move up and down and around, while walking...walking fast is so much easier. We can stretch and ignore any pain, any aches, any anything. The slower one moves, the more one notices. I notice that the dogs won't bark at you if you move as slow as Tom does. I notice that my breathing isn't quite as labored, and I don't feel as rushed as I was just a second ago.

It makes me wish that the ability to slow down wasn't wasted on the old. I want some calmness too!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Morning Writing

Morning is probably my favorite time to write nowadays. If only mornings here (at my father's house) weren't so loud and balancing precariously between simmering anger and straight-out flash-fight, morning writing might prove easier. It is a constant stream of "he's crazy-she's crazy" at this house in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes it just makes so much more sense to travel to my ex's house and let them call me crazy, too.

He the rock: staying in place and trying to pin her down. She the free-like butterfly, and all he wants is to clip her wings, let her fall back to earth, to him, so they can live together happily. I am nervous for them, and for her daughter, and for myself. I might always think of my own relationships, well, it's not as bad as theirs was...which won't necessarily mean it's anything of an improvement.

Friday, July 3, 2009

A day of puppies and cheese sticks and plenty of
back and
forth, back and

It is almost the fourth of July, and still I have nothing planned. There is this mental alarm clock in my head that screams: "Holiday! Do something! Hang out with friends!" But then I can't find anybody to hang with...I can't hang with Dan and Stephen because all they do is sit around and play board games...Sara can be tedious at times, and is most often with her boyfriend or at the Cape...and I don't talk to anyone else! (And Chris, my ex-kinda-still boyfriend doesn't like organized events AT ALL and probably wouldn't enjoy a day of barbecue and a night of fireworks, unless they were viewed from the privacy of his own bedroom.)

If I had my own house, I would be inviting in Carlene's dogs, sitting them, playing with them, no need for people, and writing while doing so.