the work and the sweetness.

IMG_2920 i abandoned this space around the same time i abandoned myself. that was mostly happenstance. once in a while, i would write a post i could not publish; words that felt too vulnerable, too scary, too self-serving. and then, i pretty much forgot about this blog.

this is a space that i meant for sharing, but all i had to give was need, so absence was a conscious choice. i could have written forever about my need, but there wasn’t time. i wanted to tell you everything, but everything was too close, too much to share with a figurative you. too much and too close; i wanted to tell you everything, but this is the internet, so who cares, and is it even safe? (i was scared a lot.) who wants to hear the hard stuff. (everyone, i know. i do, too. other folks’ hard stuff has been my flashlight, but i couldn’t be someone else’s. i needed too much and it felt endless.)

i am different now from who i was when i last wrote here. i would like to write about the things that matter but those things are different for me now. i don’t know how to bridge that gap of intention and experience and time. maybe first i have to tell the truth, to freshen the air, so i will just cut to the chase and tell it. maybe then i will start visiting this place again, but maybe not. i can’t say.

these things have happened: my father and dementia. his naked, drunken fall into the woodbox where he laid four days until someone found him wounded & reciting “the cremation of sam mcgee” by rote… the neighbor who found him said he met her eyes and called out my name. his miraculous survival, blessed or not, depending upon one’s viewpoint (mine varies). and soon but later, his beautiful house ruined, caved in by a flood of his own doing. a made-up, real-to-one-guy story of a hurricane and lightning and a torn-off roof. insurance companies, assisted living, the goddamned irs, redeye flights, being his only family, the only one, the only. a promotion, because why not now (all of the reasons.). work which i keep secret for my safety; work for women… important work– work involving firebombs & the fbi, work i mostly own in private. my sweetest best friend girl-dog, most important tether to love, and the diagnosis of her terminal illness. grieving things that are lost but not-yet-lost, the things i care about the most. waiting for things i do not want. trying. trying to not try. trying to sleep. being badly rear-ended once, and again, almost to the day, one year later. back pain, the chiropractor, ad nauseum, so boring. lies and infidelity and not-being-able-to-face-the-truth-just-yet and the tryingtryingtrying because maybe i can fix it, all i need is more to give to the person i love who has more-need-than-mine & please-this-can’t-be-happening-now, because this-is-the-guy-who-i-have-chosen. it must be all my fault. the occasional swilling of port from the bottle, of cigarettes, of weed.

the dark comedy of everything all at once. the bitter laughter, the rage, the exhaustion.

i did not make a knitting project. i did not bake one pie. i did not read a single book. i choked down blizzards at dairy queen & truffled french fries at fancy places and i couldn’t even taste them and i got skinnier anyway. i hired an animal reiki practitioner. i hired a dog acupuncturist. i got my tarot read by a tenth-generation psychic. i watched teen mom on my ipad in bed at three am. i duty-fucked and sometimes i enjoyed it. i felt sorry for myself. i read amazon reviews of self-help books and felt sorry for everyone else and then sorry for myself again. i stopped calling friends because who wants to hear about that other thing that happened, certainly not me. the good friends called me, and i talked. i went to therapy and got tired of my own talking because blah blah blah, i know the deal, and who am i to complain, anyway– my forks and spoons are made of solid fucking silver!

i waited it out. i trusted. because i am lucky. because given the odds, i win things in raffles more often than i should. because raffles are a metaphor for life, and sometimes, you win. i waited and i trusted. it worked.

one day, the genuine laughter. one day, the fuck you. then the letting go of the chaos, to the chaos. the freedom i feel now. the wrinkles that came, and their fast and collagenous dissolving. the freedom equals hope, equals light, equals everything.

i don’t knit much anymore and i miss it. i miss thrift stores and free time. i miss my idea-of-a-husband and my daddy and the way things were, but. feelings are only feelings. i am grateful for all of it, and i mean that. now i am a grown-up baby girl, and i like her more than i did before.

life is a hurricane. you can make it yourself. it’s funny what it gives and takes.



i made my way into the woods on sunday morning and walked and walked and walked. the girldog came with me. she stayed by my side until we neared the end of the trail, and then she zoomed up and back, up and back, just like i knew she would. these woods, for all of their ever-change, are predictably ferny and misty wet and restorative, and i’m predictably closer to myself when i make the time to visit.

since i’ve written here, i’ve been to the vet with my pets more than twenty times, not exaggerating. remarkably, both animals are well and healthy at this point; my savings account is another story. what else: a good friend went through open heart surgery and the carpenter & i spent a good sum of time in the sterile vacuum of an icu waiting room with other hand-wringers. what else: american vaginas shared a collective sigh of relief on election day. also: progress on the knitting/ fifty-five hours a week of work hours regularly logged/ numerous carbohydrates consumed.

i am thinking about pecan pie for thanksgiving and about when i can get to the woods next and about how i’m going to embrace winter. i am thinking about staying good and solid when the world around us all seems so frayed up. but in the woods, the fraying ceases, it’s all just creak and echo and wild ghosts and all i need to do is just go there and follow the trail and breathe.

wishing you all the happiest of thanksgivings, friends.

x’s & o’s, emily

where we are

(by gerald locklin)

i envy those
who live in two places:
new york, say, and london;
wales and spain;
l.a. and paris;
hawaii and switzerland.

there is always the anticipation
of the change, the chance that what is wrong
is the result of where you are. i have
always loved both the freshness of
arriving and the relief of leaving. with
two homes every move would be a homecoming.
i am not even considering the weather, hot
or cold, dry or wet: i am talking about hope.

the wind at my back

these weeks have been a flurry, friends, running all day and then, feet up for an hour and flopping into bed. summer things have been accomplished, and big changes are happening, too, career-wise. i was offered a new position at an old job, but this one is salaried, is fulltime, means financial security. i have never been terribly motivated by money, but hand-to-mouth living has been privately getting me down for awhile now, and i’m willing to let go of a certain amount of freedom in exchange for paying my mortgage without experiencing palpitations. i’ll keep my business running on the side, and breathe deeply and work on time management and on letting go of things like estate sales on fridays when the magic happens. (sad face.)

but that is all really okay; it is. because when you let go of things you get lighter, you can feel the currents pushing and you can move with them instead of against. when you let go of what’s extra you can hear your own heart beating. and when you listen, it gets louder and louder and louder. i’m placing my bets on that.




twelve months, housekeeping.

hi, fine people! i hope you all had a lovely weekend and that your joys have been fulfilled to their utmost reaches in the highest of places you can imagine. (a rather lofty goal from me to you, but there you go.)

you may have noticed i’ve been posting kind of sporadically around here. i’ve been struggling a little bit with this blog. as in, what to write about. as in, i know that a whole lot of people are stumbling upon my blog because they’re trying to find out what to wear to a wheel of fortune audition. a lot of people are interested in my knitting projects. i do get amused/ confused/ disturbed sometimes by the google searches which bring folks my way: “things to do alone in bed” (which i don’t believe i’ve given much advice on, though i suppose i could speak to that…) // “cats in the boiling water” (??) // “jury duty stripper,” yes.

all of that is fine. i write here about thrifting, objects, making, but that is only a scratch on the surface of my life, and, full disclosure: i’d feel like a chump (and a hoarder) posting pictures of all of the embroidered vintage hankies i buy at estate sales. also, i probably only blog about one out of five things i make, because oh, wow, she painted the frame on her mirror. good god, another present for her cat!? ho hum. what could be more interesting could be…so many other things.

this blog has been a decent platform for writing, though, & i don’t make time for writing except when it comes to this space. but really, i want/ need to write more about what it’s like to  advocate for someone with alcoholic dementia from 3000 miles away, how complicated & lonely it can be, all of the feelings it stirs up, slogging through the painful parts of childhood, wanting it to be all over and yet, not.

i want to write more about unfolding into womanhood, about finding one’s power during times of loss. how to care for one’s vagina in the literal and figurative ways that one might. i want to write about how to listen to one’s gut know when the guy you think you’re dating is actually living with someone else and, incidentally, happens to have a shoe fetish, clogs to be specific, in which you have played a role, unsuspecting. also: the challenges of deepening into partnership, even with someone who doesn’t fetishize inanimate objects.

i guess i’d like to write about things my grandmother would find shocking, but which, in actuality, are not shocking, are just a part of being human, how it is.

in my daily life, women tell me their secrets. they pay me for this. they tell me things they maybe have never told anyone else ever. they have never seen me before and they will likely never see me after, but on one day, a hard day, they open up their heart and sit with me, and talk, and i hold their hearts and listen. listening to women’s secrets over time brings out some universal elements of the feminine experience… and yet, nearly universally, women feel alone when it comes to certain aspects of their personhood. it brings me great joy and meaning for my own life, when i tell them they are not alone, and i see their whole posture shift, their eyes widen in disbelief, relief welling its way in to tears. 

these are things i think about and care about. i don’t know why i’m telling you all of this, except sometimes i feel funny about the fact that a full year ago i started this blog and of course i have had an experience with it, lots of learning… and yet, i have not written much about the experience of blogging, directions, intentions, etcetera. i suppose i am still figuring all of that out. i hope to keep writing here, and i hope to write about things that i care about, and that you care about. even if it’s doilies and sweaters one day and then something heavy and strange the next.

anyway. i hope you feel invited to be here, because you are. thanks for sticking it out a whole year. thanks for speaking up when you do, for cheering me along, for caring about my words and who i am.


been places.

ten days in new england and i didn’t change my shoes once. other things changed, though, so much. back in portland, shaking out. it feels like summer… so ready, so thankful. xo


it was one of those weeks where every day felt like everything all at once. sort of a beautiful mess, really. it rained all week. i quit smoking. i’ll gloss over that one real fast, friends, because smoking, for me, has been quite the shameful self-loathing machine for the last many years and i would rather not go into the gory details. smoking felt like a big huge lie and i don’t much care for liars, so you might imagine the conundrum. i was a closet smoker. the whole deal was just gross. the carpenter smoked, too, and we’d had an april 1st plan set for quite some time… & we did it! april first seemed an auspicious time to stop fooling ourselves. i read this book, and it did help. easy…? no. there have been night sweats, nightmares, irritability, cravings, weirdo hormonal shifts, and tears, but these symptoms are all improving. acupuncture is helping. and so is all of the mounting evidence of feeling betterness, mentally and physically. i am so relieved to let it go, shame included. hi, freedom. nice to see you again.

and now there’s a bit of extra time in every day, too. time for the other stuff i’ve been putting off. like re-grouting my floor tiles, down on my hands and knees. la la la. back soon for show & tell. xoxo