You Can’t Get There From Here

Getting off I-95 onto the smaller routes in Maine is to delve into the heart of the state. Often, as Highway 26 winds into Route 117 and then Route 118 and then Main Street, then back to itself again, you may find yourself a bit turned around.

An oft-joked about form of response, should you choose to veer off into one of the hamlets found in central Maine, is “You can’t get there from here.” It is to some extent a joke, but is often true.

When traversing this state, not only avoid the flocks of wild turkeys, the abundant deer, and somehow sneaky moose population, but plan for at least an hour added onto your travel time.

And throw that GPS out the window. Unless you like to go “muddin'” (no ‘g’) as the locals call it.

Assume Siri is wrong now and it will save you a lot of car repair bills in the future.

With this preparation, the bucolic sites of the interior of Maine await you.

That is, if you can find them.

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The Art of the Everyday – March 31: Homemade, Local flavor, Write a piece about a typically “local” experience from where you come from as though it’s an entry in a travel guide.

Cover It

The cover doesn’t make the book, but it doesn’t hurt.

As someone who truly does not have that one book they return to, again and again, my favorite books are ones that find me at the right time.

Sometimes that is through the power of its design, but regardless it’s some type of resonance I feel when I pick it up – either from a quip on the back cover, a leading sentence, or a recommendation.

I picked a few of my favorites above, and yea, I think they all meet the cover test.

Except Gibran – come on buddy, creepy almost police sketch? Not attractive.

(go find a hard copy, though, pro tip: the book itself is gorgeous)

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The Art of the Everyday – March 29: Judgment day, If you were to judge your favorite book by its cover, would you still read it?

 

Glitch in the Matrix

I get déjà vu all the time.Matrix De ja vu

As a vivid dreamer, I often chalk it up to simply that – an event or vignette that holds a strong similarity to something I’ve experienced before, either in a dream or waking life.

Most often it happens during the strangest circumstances. Like when I first moved to our small town in Maine and was hanging out in a coffee shop, talking to a kid about his dinosaur robot.

A situation so oddly specific yet unimaginable and unmatchable in my previous real experience.

Yet, I felt that sense of premonition – of knowing that this would happen. Some scientists chalk this feeling up to a small hiccup in our brain processing experience – that as an event is happing your brain doesn’t construct your experience in it correctly, and this creates a ‘false familiarity.’

With a memory as wonky as mine – which remembers some things so clearly (random facts anyone? that one article in the paper that one time?) but most others very, very vaguely (remember childhood/big trip/studying abroad? …I remember that big rain storm!) I am sure that my conscious self is most likely just missing the real connection.

My brain and body then tries to viscerally remind me of where its been and what it has seen – but the full association just doesn’t come through.

Rather than freaking me out, I’ve always been somehow comforted by my frequent déjà vu.

These feelings are, somehow, a confirmation of being right where I’m supposed to be. That life is progressing as it should. For someone that does not believe in predestination, that feeling is pretty nice. Even if it’s just created by my biological quirks.

Or we’re all in the Matrix. Either/or.

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The Art of the Everyday – March 28: Déjà vu, Have you ever truly felt déjà vu, the sensation that you’ve already had the experience you’re currently having?

The NeverEnding Winter

It really hit me while chipping the 5 inches of ice off the woodpile, that was buried under 8-12 inches of new snow.

We only have two rows of wood left and the forecast says snow for the next two weeks. At least.

Let’s be clear: that takes us to April 12.

April

Mothereffing

Twelfth.

We’re running out of places to put the snow. There’s a 10x40x10 pile in front of my garage, the raised deck (roughly 4-5 feet) is level with the ‘ground’/snow, and I’ve given up any hope of ever parking at my house again. So I put on spikes and climb out.

And for the first time, I’m really understanding what people with the S.A.D. feel like. I haven’t seen the ground (just the dirt, I’m not even asking for grass here) since November 30.

I can’t take it anymore.

There are only so many snow sports one woman can take.

I’m losing it.

I give up.

I look at the tunnel we shoveled out of my door and it feels like a leap of faith, Indiana Jones style.

I gotta get out of here.

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The Art of the Everyday – March 27: Winter Forever, come find me if you don’t hear from me. I’ll be frozen.

W(h)ine Night

Sometimes, you need Frank the Llama.

Sometimes, you need your wine to tell you it loves you.

Sometimes, you need that very wine to remind you your home state is amazing, no matter how far away you are.

Sometimes, you need that very wine to hit a life-fulfilling synergy when it bears the sticker of your new state.

Sometimes, you need good friends to remind you why you’re here in the first place.

Sometimes, you need belly laughter, healthy snark and everything pizza to really fill you up.

Sometimes, a good jolt of good is all you need.

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The Art of the Everyday – March 25: Wine Night – Wherein I whine, and bond, and love, and pizza.

A Future Not Our Own

Often, we work in good faith.

Not in some grand deity or splashy cosmic reward, but in the abstract hope that what we are doing will make this world better. Better for ourselves, better for the next generation, just…better.

Even if we don’t happen to work on the origins of the universe, the effort we put in helps us find meaning and at least a bit of understanding about our purpose.

There was some great science-nerd-payoff last week that reminded me of this great lesson.

The unexpected, magnificent flabbergasted joy of Andrei Dmitriyevich Linde doesn’t need to be explained – just shared. Shared to see one of the rare moments when things we believe in so deeply are made real.

Shared so we can more deeply share in Archbishop Oscar Romero’s words:

“It helps now and then to step back and take a long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a small fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection. No pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the Church’s mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about: We plant the seeds that will one day grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing  that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effects  far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense  of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it well. It may be incomplete but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.

We are prophets of a future not our own.”

—Attributed to Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero of El Salvador (1917-1980), possibly original to Bishop Ken Untener

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The Art of the Everyday – March 19-24: Clean Slate. I’m taking a mulligan on last week. It was rough.

Furry Friends

I don’t think you have to have cats to be a crazy cat lady.

P says that I treat animals like most women treat babies: I can’t contain myself.

I mean, who wants a hairless blob of poopy diaper when you can have a furry, fuzzy, cuddly friend?!?! (who also may or may not keep a box of shit in your house, but still.)

Although raised with dogs and without cats, I’ve now come around to both of humankind’s chosen domesticated animals through great roommates who let me love on their pets.

P and I still don’t have any of our own, although a quick perusal of my browser history suggests I have an intimate relationship with Petfinder.

What keeps us from actually doing it, beyond money, is the commitment.

I love animals so much that I’d never want to leave it alone – and I assume that would be a problem for my employer. Also, being footloose and fancy free (somewhat), jetting off to Jamaica at a moment’s notice isn’t exactly a pet’s preference.

However, a cat might not care.

Maybe we’ll start there.

KITTY!

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The Art of the Everyday – March 18: Menagerie – Do you have animals in your life? If yes, what do they mean to you? If no, why have you opted not to?