Monday, October 04, 2010


Today was Chad's birthday.
For lack of a better idea, I drank a shot of whiskey tonight in his honor. Steve did it with me. I just needed something to mark the occasion.
Chad would have laughed at me for having a shot of Jameson's, and that's just as well.
Happy Birthday, old friend.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I met a traveller from an antique land

About a week before my due date, I found out that one of my friends had died. I wanted to write "one of my closest friends on earth" but that's misleading, if only temporally. For 6 or 7 years he was just that, only we were romantically entangled by the end of those years, ultimately leading to a break up, a necessary period of separation, and the ensuing detachment that removed the label "closest." But we were still friends. And we still shared an almost psychic understanding of each other, a mutual love/hate relationship with words, and an indellible sense of nostalgia. These things never died. And then he did. And now I'm the one who carries them around in an urn inside me, not sure if they're whole or ashes, wondering what to do with them now that the person who gave them their worth is gone. The hardest part to wrap my head around is the fact that my not-seeing him is now permanent. In this day and age, we don't-see people all the time, but we know they're out there, and we reach out with a phone or email or skype or what have you, and they respond, sometimes months later, sometimes at such great length that one loses the words to respond back because they've used them all up. I have become way too accustomed to this sense that all the people I love dearly are "out there" like fruit on the branch, that all I have to do is look up and reach for them and they'll be solid again.
The branch that held my friend let him go when I wasn't looking. I can look up and reach all I want, but all I'll find is branch, and the very ground I stand on to do so is where he is now.
The problem is, I keep walking past this metaphorical tree and not looking; the synapses in my brain that trigger loss have withered from non-use. This is a blessing and a curse. This is my first major loss of a person I knew intimately, loved deeply, a person whom I wanted to share my life before, during and after romance, a person whose life was so precious to me that I spent time actively fearing his death. Those synapses withered because I made it this far without that kind of loss: blessing. But now I can't seem to bring his death into my everyday life: curse. This feels like a betrayal of how much I loved him. I should be wracked, wrung out, a wreck, because I loved him that much, and instead, I drink my coffee and I coach my team and I send emails to his friends speaking the language but not feeling the emotions.
I know that no grieving process is wrong, that everyone does it differently. But I want my grief to equal the loss of him, an oceanic grief where his shade haunts me, and instead I have a shallow and muddy puddle.
I know in his pragmatism he'd say "House, chop wood, carry water." He always did seem bemused by my ability to overthink emotions, and to an extent I am most certainly trying to find wood in the well and chop water into logs. But I am disappointed in this grieving process, as absurd as that is. There are a lot of ifs -- if I hadn't just had a baby, if I hadn't just started a job, if I hadn't just moved to Connecticut, if I had still seen him regularly, if I had the time and the space -- I would engage the tragedy in a way that feels appropriate to its magnitude.
Instead I'm taking a stolen moment to write a blog entry. Chad, are you laughing at me? I'm sure you are, in your caustic way.
I feel lucky that the last time I saw him was in New Mexico. I close my eyes and think of him and I smell new-fallen snow and pine trees. I see him, hungover in oversized snow boots and his Wesleyan sweatshirt, trudging through the snow to show us his property: the fences he repaired, the shooting ranges, the marker for his parents' graves. I hear the way he snorted in air periodically, see his jaw lock as he aimed his gun, watch his casually down-cast eyes trace the path ahead of him, the solicitous tone to his voice, the sarcastic tone to his laugh. I'm glad it's not Wesleyan, or San Francisco, or New York, or Chicago I remember first. I'm glad I see a winterized desert landscape, boundless and bare, where the lone and level landscape stretches far away.
"I met a traveler from an antique land..."

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Teaching an old blog new tricks

Well, hello there. It's been over two months since I updated, and what a coupla months it's been. Since I wrote that graduation post, I:
  • packed (read: watched my husband pack) up our house in Denver into a pod
  • packed my dog and my mom into a car and drove all the way out to CT
  • enrolled my dog in "Auntie M's Doggie Summer Camp" (Tika stayed up the road with my aunt and her dogs due to some territorial doodles at my mom's house)
  • lived in my mom's house for a month and worked on preparing for baby's arrival
  • started up appointments at a new OB's office
  • reunited with my husband after his own road trip upon successful completion of his Project Manager job in Wyoming
  • enjoyed a second, extremely successful baby shower thrown by mom on what turned out to be the hottest day of the summer
  • greeted the arrival of the pod in CT with only one torn lampshade as a moving casualty
  • moved (read: watched my mom, aunt, and husband move) all our stuff into our new apartment at the boarding school where I will be working this fall
  • spent our first few nights in the new apartment
And now, though we have the apartment livable, we're working on unpacking and organizing all those boxes, as well as acclimating Tika to her new home and lifestyle. She spent her first night here last night and seems mildly confused and as usual mostly unfazed. Perhaps the husky in her is what makes her so adaptable to what has been almost a nomadic lifestyle. We have been lucky that she's a total champ that way. I'm hoping she'll be similarly flexible when the baby is born and becomes the newest member of the pack, and when the girls get back to school and the nightly home invasion begins!
So, two more events to go: the arrival of said newborn, and the start of said job. The newborn's not disclosing its arrival yet but the girls will be here starting September 3rd.
Wish us all luck!

Saturday, May 29, 2010


On Thursday, May 27th I handed in my very last assignment (what ended up being a 33 page research report, lest 'assignment' sound too diminutive!). And on June 4th, 2010, I'll graduate. It is amazing to me how much work I did and how little work it seems to have been now that it's all over. I'm grieving a bit over losing the amazing community of social workers that I've been connected to over these last two years, and hoping this whole era of online networking will keep us all in touch. But I'm glad to be done. I'm looking forward to not having "homework" hanging over my head for 30 weeks of every year. I'm looking forward to dispelling the sense of my life being suspended and instead feeling like I'm back in it -- out of the cerebral, intellectual world of theorizing and role-playing and into the humanistic, physical, sometimes spiritual world of understanding and interacting.
I use the term 'mastery' with my tongue firmly implanted in my cheek. I don't think anyone ever attains mastery over relating to others, or figuring out how to help them without harming or hindering them, or gaining insight into their motivations and fears. But I've gained mastery over the education that promotes this other work, and there's something to be said for that.
Spring is becoming summer. The heat turns up, shy buds give way to confident blooms, life shimmies under its own abundance as roots lengthen and shoots stretch and clouds burn off beneath a powerfully blue sky...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Well, that's a first!

Steve and I headed over to DU's gym to sign him up for a membership. They needed me as the primary so he could get the spouse-of-student discount.
When we brought the receipt home, they'd misspelled my name.
Not Elsie, Alice, Alisa, Lisa, etc.
Not "Haus" as they sometimes guess my last name is spelled.
For the first time ever, I was Elise Mouse.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Cheating on my blog...

...or rather, adding to its family.

To find out what's been going on for the last 12 weeks and 2 days (now why would I say it like that?? *wink*) head on over to

Non-acorn related stuff will still show up here from time to time.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A little about the new house

I've got 3 days until all my finals are due, so naturally I'm going to post on my blog rather than work on one. Really, I was brought here because a stupid spammer decided to comment on an old post and I came by to delete it, and then I realized I hadn't written in ages. And then I sit in front of any empty update window and remember the 15,000 things about which I thought to myself "I should put this on the blog," and remember only that I thought that and not what I intended to write at the time.
So let's see...the new house. The new house is just fine. It's kind of a lemon; in the past two months of living here we've had a mouse (Tika and Kali took care of that little problem on a doggie-date day), a shower drain that backed up and was barfing out stuff from our garbage disposal, leakage problems in the rooms downstairs, the kitchen sink's spigot spontaneously shooting off (fortunately that one just needed to be screwed back in), and a front-loading washing machine that occasionally doesn't drain fully. Fortunately most of this stuff, aside from the foundation leakage, just needed to be fixed, and I live with one of the fixiest people in the world. The nice thing about these little cruddy occurrences is we're not terribly attached to the house, so we won't be reluctant to leave when it comes time for that. Other than that, we like it. We hosted a halloween party with a zombie make up bar, and you can see some shots of the house in the photos:

Behind Sam is a view of pretty much the entire upstairs. The railing behind her is for the stairs leading down to the bedrooms. Behind that railing is where we watch tv. Directly to the right of Sam in the picture (you can see the cups on the edge of the table) is the "dining" area:

(Steve was half hick, half sociopath, all zombie-proof. Note his glorious mullet wig.)
Directly across from the dining area is the kitchen, which is pretty galley as kitchens go:

We're pretty much taking up all the kitchen space here. Daniela's elbow points to the stove, and mine kinda points at the fridge. (I was a 50's Zombie Housewife, and Daniela was a zebra.)
Pretty nice party space, aside from the wall to wall beige carpeting.
Alright...back to finals...maybe more on Colorado life once they're over. :)