- Walking the dark streets of SouthPas w/ a cup of hot tea. Drinking it all in (the trains, the shops, etc). Realizing that, yes, I am happy. #
- Waiting for a friend & I stumble upon a used bookshop & some poetry: http://brizzly.com/pic/421K. #southpasadena #
- How'd you do on your #worksprint I added a new primary source to current chapter & gave it some necessary explanation/context. #
- Ok, folks, here we go! #45min #worksprint Report in at half past the hour! #
- Who's up for a 45min #worksprint at 45 after the hour? #
- Resolution #1 gotta get some party/going out clothes. Wearing my givingpaperataconfoutfit to a social gathering is too dorky even for me. #
- How did your #worksprint go? I wrote a new section for my current chapter. Still going… #
- Ok, folks, #worksprint starts now! Report back in 45min. Ready…Set…Go! #
- Who's in for a 45min #worksprint at the top of the next hour? #thischapterisntgoingtowriteitself :) #
- How was your #worksprint I started a new section for a chapter after doing some misc edits. #slowlybutsurely #
- Here we go on the next #worksprint Check in at 45 after the hour and share what you accomplished! Ready….Set…Go! #
- Ok, folks: 45 min #worksprint starting at the top of the hour. #
- Will be doing #worksprints later today. Starting in about 2 hours. Who's in? #
- Yes, Virginia, girls can be geeks, too: http://bit.ly/gHEGGy #
- Heater thermostat on the fritz. (Female) landlord said I'd need to 'find a man' to fix it. Phooey. Fixed it myself :) #
- How to know if it's not worth reconciling: http://bit.ly/e9EdR2 (and thanks for bringing a smile to my Monday!) #
- Monday morning fail: forgot my lunch and my reader badge, and forgot to charge my bionic knee. Sigh. Hoping for a productive afternoon. #
- In sushi heaven: http://brizzly.com/pic/41IN. :). #yumyumyum #
- In sushi heaven: #
- Kiddos gave me the sweetest-ever Christmas gift. #happytears #thebestpresentisjustbeingwiththem #
- who wants to come over & help me wrap presents after the kiddos go to bed? :) #
- Shaking fist skyward…why isn't _Angle of Repose_ available in Kindle format? Might re-read _Crossing to Safety_ instead… #
- Lazy sunporch morning (yum): http://brizzly.com/pic/416Y #
- RT @mcsweeneys: Jesus Christ Decides He Doesn't Want to Celebrate His Birthday This Year. http://bit.ly/hm9Kx1 // snigger #
Today in sunny Pasadena, rambling through the Huntington gardens, one can’t help but feel more than a little bit blue. By blue I don’t mean sad, I mean staring into the blue blue sky and being overwhelmed with its beauty blue (my thoughts in this vein inspired by William Gass–many thanks to David for the recommendation & my very own copy of On Being Blue):
[flickrslideshow acct_name=”pilgrimgirl” id=”72157625414624608″]
It’s funny that as much as I want to get home now (am bone-deep aching to sleep in my own bed again), this life that I’ve built here in Pasadena will not be an easy one to leave. The solace of wandering the grounds of the Huntington during the early morning hours, the quiet rhythms of working deep in the recesses of its reading rooms, and the network of friends in its environs will be sorely missed. And while I can’t believe that I’m saying this now, I’ll even miss those long late night (or early morning) drives up the 5 or 57 as I schlepped back and forth between here and Orange County to spend time with my children (oh, Prius, how I love your sing-along-able stereo!)
Pasadena is now coffee meetups at Busters, morning light on the sunporch with a purry Tigris-kitty, working dinners at the Novel cafe, deep evening conversations on overstuffed white couches, dissertation sprinting until my fingers ache, pumping iron at the Y, flannel robes & snuggly-soft blankets, your poetry, cheeseburgers stuffed with potato chips and extra pickles, sharing favorite vistas at the Huntington, sweet-smelling care packages by snailmail, collegial conversations, the corinthian column of Christmas, wearing cons & jeans nearly everyday, and the sound of rain on rattly-old glass window panes. But perhaps most memorable is meeting people who don’t know of me as John’s wife or as my children’s mother–who know me only as Jana. And who like me just that way.
My pilgrim soul has found so much delight in these steps of my journey. Thank you.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one…wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket–safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”
Photo above is from Christmas 2005. Now the kids are as tall as that Christmas tree–no chair necessary! :)
- Yay, I get to sleep in tomorrow for the first time in too long! G'nite everyone! #holidaysarethebest #
- Footnotes done :) It's Christmas-time. #wootwootwoot #
- Working working working. Rebuilding about 40 footnotes, to put this chapter to bed before Xmas break :) #gonnafinish #
- Starting 45-min #worksprint in 4 minutes. Who's in? #
- The cats just ate a mouse under my bed. While I was in said bed. #noiamnotokay #breathing #thosebonessurecrunchloudly #
- RT @publichistorian: Image of Quakers being expelled by Puritans–looks like they're being danced out of town by http://twitpic.com/3ikk27 #
- Dissertating on into the evening. Not sprinting now–am 'strolling' between bites of dinner and time w/kiddos. Goal: Ch. 3 done tonite. #
- Zen teens (in the rain @TheHuntington) http://brizzly.com/pic/40WF #
- I'm on a roll–how about the rest of you? #worksprints #
- Allrightee– #worksprint starting now. Ready…Set…Go. Check in at the top of the hour and let us know what you accomplished! #
- Next #worksprint starting at 15 after the hour. How's everyone doing out there? #
- Ready….Set…Go… #worksprint #
- New 45min #worksprint starting in 5 minutes (at half past the hour). Who's in? #
- How'd you do on your #worksprint I drafted a new section conclusion, cleaned up and contextualized some references. #
- How'd you do on your #worksprint I drafted a new conclusion, cleaned up and contextualized some references. #
- 45 min #worksprint starting in two minutes. Join the fun! :) #
- Who's up for a #dissertationsprint or #worksprint today? #
- This is a perfect day @Thehuntington. (with the kids in the Japanese garden) http://brizzly.com/pic/40V4 #
- RT @samplereality: RT @robdelaney: "Don't look at me; I drive a Prius." – a Prius driver hearing about any problem, anywhere in the world #
- kids are chanting "moar frosting!". #toomuchsugarmethinks :) #
- Pondering whether Harry Potter Santa exploits house elf labor with the kids :) #
- Fondant Weasleys lounge on mince pie in front of our magic gingerbread house http://brizzly.com/pic/40H2 #
- Gameboy's Dumbledore gingerbread is wearing polkadot pajamas http://brizzly.com/pic/40GM #
- Catgirl's Harry Potter gingerbread boy http://brizzly.com/pic/40GK #
- Ran into 3 other Jack-Mormons at the racquetball courts this (Sunday) morning. :) #
- Rain Rain Go Away (just long enough for me to paddle tomorrow). Pretty Please? #
- It's no less beautiful in the rain–the Japanese garden @TheHuntington http://brizzly.com/pic/40AG #
- Why, yes, I am the only researcher at the Huntington early this rainy Saturday morning. #lifeofahistorian #iamsuchageek #
- Excited that my @MHpodcast partner's book is out now from Harvard Press (and I'm listed in the acknowledgments)! http://bit.ly/f1rBKm #
- Eek! There's a mouse in the house! #theresnothinglikeapanicattackb4breakfasttogetthedaystarted #
One of the oddest things about our divorce process is that John and I are managing all of it via Google tools. We’ve got a shared custody gCal, a googledoc spreadsheet for dividing our assets, and a variety of other documents for managing the details of disentangling our lives. When I login to googledocs I see all of our divorce-related documents next to the docs I use for teaching and for work. What a strange sensation that is…
After hearing about our use of google’s collaborative tools for our divorce, a friend jokingly suggested that I should create a googledoc to crowdsource the qualities that I ought to be looking for in a new partner.
So….here goes! Feel free to take a look and add your $.02 by clicking on the link above. I’d love to hear your input on the kind of person you think I ought to be on the lookout for. Oh, and if you know anyone with all of these qualities, do let me know ;-)
This is probably the last picture of our family, taken about a month ago. We were picking up some dinner at Taco Mesa before the kids had some school-related activities. John snapped this pic and posted it to Twitter, while making some comment about how “nothing really happened unless it was photographed and tweeted.”
At this point I’d already sent John the first volley in the email conversations that would be the catalyst for his decision to leave. I was awaiting his reply while life carried on rather normally on the surface of things.
Such photos say so much. And so very little.
When John told me that he was leaving me, he revealed some pretty ugly things–most of which I won’t write here. But perhaps out of those the one that surprised me the most, was when he told me that he’d basically checked out of our marriage two years ago when I was ill with that mysterious antibiotic-resistant infection. He explained that it was just too much for him to endure–caring for me with no certainty that I would ever get well again.
He was so gracious and kind during that entire illness, I never knew that it had been so terrifically difficult for him. Indeed, I was quite surprised to learn that that was the breaking point. Perhaps not coincidentally, I’d been thinking myself recently about how difficult it’s been to care for John during his ongoing degenerative issues with his back and hips. For about four years John’s been nearly-unable to walk more than a few blocks (sometimes not even that far). When we’ve traveled, we’ve pushed him in wheelchairs at museums and altered our typical on-foot walkabouts to short jaunts to accommodate John’s limited mobility. For a long time he was unable to even walk through a grocery store because of the severe pain that it caused him. I’d wondered how I would handle life with a spouse who had such a long-term physical limitation, and was hoping that I could do so with as much aplomb as John had done with my various health problems…but I had concerns about keeping it up–his pain made him short-tempered and frustrated. He was so much more difficult to live with than before. He lost his energetic “bounce” (I missed that part of John’s personality quite a lot).
So what I wonder is this….at what point do we throw in the towel on our relationships when things don’t turn out as we expected? And when do we hang in there, even at a high cost to our own autonomy?
Some of my thinking along these lines also has to do with recent encouragement from friends for John and I to reconcile. Part of me wants to fight and hope that we could make our marriage work again (as I have many times before), but I fear that isn’t a choice I even have the liberty to make–John seems quite sure that he’s done with us (and with me). But I wonder, have I given up too easily? Is there something more I could or should do? Or some concession or change that I could make that would make John feel happy again?
Or is it time to wave that white flag and move on, realizing that I just can’t endure it any longer?
This song by Snow Patrol came on the radio on a morning that I had a long drive across LA last week. Though I’m not typically one to become enchanted with popular songs, the lyrics of this one just hit me, as I realized how they expressed much of my emotional confusion from the past few weeks. In particular, I thought of the ways friends embraced and supported me while I felt so insecure in the days after John left me. A huge thank you to all of who have taken time out of your lives (the long talks, the letters, the poems, the soaks in hot tubs, the care packages, the strolls through the garden, the hours spent at my side) and who have simply cared about mine. You are all so beautiful and generous…
I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own…
Forget what we’re told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that’s bursting into life
A few days ago I slept in for a few hours. It was delicious (and lazy) after days of going going going like the energizer bunny. This month there is just no time built-in for me to slow down. I have such precious few hours to be in the archive to finish my dissertation and I’m carrying on with all of the end-of-the-semester busy-ness at Chapman University, too.
However after I slept in I took a spin around the Chinese Garden before settling into my research. What pleasure. It reminded me so much of my travels to Suzhuo and Hangzhou. And for awhile I was back there again.
My one regret from China was that I never found a bookshop with a book of poetry about those regions in translation. I wanted to read the words of the poets who had seen and felt the same things that I had…
- Sorta hate that sound of the end-of-the-day bell @TheHuntington. Don't they know I'm on a roll? #lifeofahistorian #
- Broken pegleg means no bouldering for me tonite :( #hugebummer #
- It's feeding time for the fish in the Chinese garden @TheHuntington http://brizzly.com/pic/3ZS1 #
- My office still needs work (i.e. more art on the walls), but I do think the quilt is a gorgeous touch http://brizzly.com/pic/3ZL8 #
- RT @THATCampSoCal: Just added a countdown timer to the sidebar of the website: http://bit.ly/axYCyh (just one month away!) // can't wait! #
- Time for a 3-D movie (after Gameboy 'splained the physics behind polarized glasses) http://brizzly.com/pic/3ZCO #
- Sun, sand, wind & the three of us #happyhappyhappy http://brizzly.com/pic/3ZBV #
- Reconnecting http://brizzly.com/pic/3ZBT #
- Gorgeous sunset & moon @TheHuntington http://brizzly.com/pic/3Z8N #
- Just told a colleague abt my impending divorce over coffee. My cavalierness abt it shocked him. #maybeimsupposedtocry #
- Many deep sighs from those of us writing/reseaching in the old reading room @TheHuntington on this gorgeous day #oneoftheperilsofsunnysocal #
- RT @ddchamberlain: @janaremy THATCar? ///wow, what a good one, Daniel! #
- Ok, so who's up for a #dissertationsprint at quarter after the hour? #
- Who's got a good name for my new ride? http://brizzly.com/pic/3Z63 #
- My fortune cookie tonite: "Don't be hasty, prosperity will soon knock on your door." #