31 October 2009


It's Harvest Weekend!

Every year my aunt and uncle throw a big party to celebrate harvest and new oil.  I'll write more on that later, but for now, a taste of what's been happening around here this week...


30 October 2009


I have over 1300 emails in my inbox right now.

Ever since Gmail advertised to me that I'd never have to delete a message again, I almost haven't. 

While the sheer number is a little astounding, the breadth of emails have proven quite an interesting exercise in self-awareness and examination over the last few weeks as I've been trying to whittle the total down.  I go to the oldest emails on the last page of the inbox and apply the handy little label and archive most of them.  Some of them I do delete, and it is quite satisfying to delete a bunch at once.

This system has hiccups though when I run across ones that I can't decide how to label, or ones I don't want out of the in-box, from some compulsive fear  I can't really specify.  Namely ones from Brendan - how on earth can I archive those?  They are proof of his existence, mostly brief and sporadic and often funny thoughts passed through the internet that are infinitely more poignant because of his absense.

The other inner conflict I have regarding my filing arises when I come across messages that I don't really want to label and archive because it's not deleting -  which would signify a decision not to delete, which means I've made the decision to keep.  In particular messages between old loves/lovers and me.  (I forgot how filthy and creative I can be when someone makes me feel comfortable enough to take the filter off.)  I've almost convinced myself that keeping these messages is more a way of preserving my past rather than remembering what inspired such straightforward expressions of desire and love.

27 October 2009

Favorite Marriage Proposal So Far...

Nathan:    wanna marry me?
 me:    sure do
 Nathan:    beautiful
 well get out to chicago
  i know a real nice courthouse
 me:    reeeeeeeeeeeal nice
 Nathan:    can we get married to zeppelin IV?
  me:    hell why not
  we're gonna have the tallest most awesome babies ever
 Nathan:    when you walk down the isle we'll play "been a long time been a long time been a long lonely lonely lonely time"
  me:    perfect
  do courthouses have aisles?
  Nathan:    our babies'll probly be midgets
  me:    ha!
  but they will wanna rock
  Nathan:    yes
  just like mom and dad
me:    exacto
 Nathan:    courthouses are perfect
  we can prance around and noone will car
 me:    for our wedding? definitely
  then we can have a party at the farm
 Nathan:    !
 me:    yup
 Nathan:    country courthouse and a bluegrass shakedown
me:    yes
  i'm gonna put a bow on your dog
 Nathan:    my dog is with the ex
 me:    oh NO
 Nathan:    bummed
 me:    honey
  i'm sorry
i'll still marry you
 Nathan:    we'll get our own dog
 me:    i'll just put a bow on you
 Nathan:    a bull mastiff
 me:    ha
  that'll eat our midget children
 Nathan:    yes... we'll name her thor
 me:    of course they could put a saddle on it and they could ride it around
  oh thor
  sweet puppy
Nathan:    thor! stop looking at the children like that and eat yer alpo
 me:    poor thing gets hungry, midget children are like tasty nuggets
tasty nuggets who wanna rock NOT get eaten by thor
  i loved the songs you sent me
Nathan:    thanks
 me:    welcome
 Nathan:    come over and we'll listen to my scratchy copy of stairway
 me:    sweet
  and drink whiskey
 Nathan:    it's really good
 me:    i'll bet it is
 Nathan:    whisky
  but only if we feel irish
 me:    we do
 Nathan:    i always do
 me:    me too
  bye husband
 i have to go play with oil
 Nathan:    i have to go re start stairway
 me:    yeah you do
 Nathan:    have a good afternoon
 me:    you too
 Nathan:    <3
 me:    oh honey
you should write me a song then i can tattoo your lyrics on the inside of my left arm
  i've got the perfect place picked out
  <3 Nathan:    sure

24 October 2009


My ex and I haven't spoken for more than a year, on purpose by my choice, and we have very few mutual friends at this point (he burned a lot of bridges on his way out).  Other than a couple blurbs through the grapevine and one drunken and curious episode where night I looked at his family's photos on facebook, I haven't thought about him much.  However, twice in the last two weeks I have dreamed about him, both dreams them involving him, his wife, and their baby son. 

The most weird scene of both of them was when in one, I was in charge of holding the baby when a whole bunch of family was around (I'm pretty sure it was his, hers, and some weird combination of my family).  I adored this child, thought it was the most cherubic thing ever.

From both dreams, I woke up feeling weirdly neutral.  I've written before about how powerful dreams can be, but not in this case.  I just felt really curious.  If anybody has any theories as to why I would have these dreams or what they mean, I would love to hear it.  Seriously.

18 October 2009


I think the beauty of something tends to lay in its imperfections... 


14 October 2009

Happy Fall-ing

Is this smell of new crisp air, of change, of time moving and getting colder, is this something just I smell?  Is it possible that others feel this intoxicating mix of nostalgia, melancholy, and joy all at once?

I love this season.  Until this year I have always felt torn - What IS my favorite time of year?  June and July always had a lot of clout - my birthday, no school, playing outside (in shorts) til much later, popsicles...  But there was something about fall even though its the beginning of a school year and the gateway to some bitter cold Midwestern months.  It was a tight race between early summer and mid fall , but I'm ready to declare a winner.  Yes, folks, autumn has my heart.  Recent events took June down more than a few notches, but I think it really has more to do with how well I know myself now versus when I was 12 (when I first consciously considered this question), and in that self-awareness, giving my instincts the weight they merit.

In northern California we don't get the brilliant crisp autumn rainbow that is so much part of these months in the Midwest, and this year I realized that it is not from the leaves crunching or the color of the trees that I draw my happiness in this season.  Here we get more fog, cooler temperatures, and rain, and yet I every day I am finding myself happy just to be able to feel this shift, to feel the melancholy AND the joy.  The renewed wetness doesn't bring me down because I have never been bothered by the rain.  I find it peaceful to fall asleep and wake up to the sound of raindrops, and figure it's a good excuse to invest in some galoshes that make me feel like I'm 7 again. 

This autumn brought me a sense of relief, from what I cannot say.  I still have the same questions, doubts, sadnesses, and insecurities I had two months ago.  Today they seem more manageable, and I am happy to see the rain and smell the woodsmoke and put an extra layer on. 

So here's to autumn.  Let's raise a glass (of cider! or hot chocolate! or brandy!) and give thanks.

08 October 2009

Hang On Little Tomato

This  morning I was in a great mood.  Slept in, read a book, went for coffee, and when I came back to the farm to start my work day I searched through a box to look for an Emmylou Harris CD I thought I had in there, because I saw her perform last night and was inspired to dig it out.

Instead I found, almost immediately, a cd my bother Brendan made for me.  I'm pretty sure it was Christmas either 2006 or 2007, because the color theme was as such.  

It is a thin cd case with a red square insert and CAITLIN written out on the top in a slightly darker red.  Inside the blank cd has my name scrawled on it what I'm pretty sure was a well used sharpie in Brendan's distinctive handwriting.  On the inside face of the cover sheet is the track list, as follows...

1     Think I'm in Love - Beck
2     Hang on Little Tomato - Pink Martini
3     Over and Over Again - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
4     Wildcat - Ratatat
5     Ciagarettes and Chocolate Milk - Rufus Wainwright
6     Dois Rios - Skank
7     Nausea - Beck
8     Hail to Whatever You Found in the Sunlight - Rilo Kiley
9     Amando Mio - Pink Martini 
10   The Skin of my Country Yellow Teeth - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
11   Loud Pipes - Ratatat
12   Electrik Boogie - Ursula 1000
13   She Crys Your Name - Beth Orton
14   Crips - Ratatat
15   Le Plus - Carla Bruni
16   Soldier Jane - Beck
17   Superrob - Tosca

I didn't know what to do but really wanted to put the cd back in the box and not to have found it, and not to have to feel the way about it that I do because he's dead.  I think I gasped (in my head I did anyway) and then started crying and sat down where I was, between my bed and my dresser.  I was left there for a while wondering if anything I could wipe my face off was within arms reach and if I was going to dry up and be able to have a good day, or if this one was going to change it.  Luckily it was the former, and eventually I climbed up off the floor and put the cd down on some pads of paper I had also pulled out, wiped off my face and went to work.

At point this afternoon I opened up my personal email along with my work one, and I saw I had a message from Corporate Perks.  I'm not totally sure what Corporate Perks is, but Brendan signed Megan and me up for it when he officially got his job in the spring of '08 and I think it gives you discounts on a bunch of stuff.  I remember him emailing us to let us know it wasn't spam, it was legitimately from him and valid.  I never got around to doing anything with it beyond not deleting the emails.  I get them every once in a while still, but I usually open them briefly so they're not marked as 'new' but don't want to read them and can't delete them.

I opened this one and read: 

Dear Caitlin,

Brendan Scanlon has invited you to have guest access to Corporate Perks, an exclusive benefit for Corporate Perks employees. Your guest account expires in 30 days unless you register, and so please act now. Corporate Perks can help you save money on everything from groceries, cell phone bills, movie tickets, clothes and accessories to electronics, vacations and personal care items.

To access your guest account simply login to Corporate Perks by using the information below:

This thankfully didn't reduce me to a soggy mess but rather made me smile as my gut ached.  "Oh Corporate Perks...", I thought, "If only you knew who you were talking to about expiring..."

 It was a good day today.  It was full of reminders that things Brendan touched are limited - finite.  But I got off the floor and and smiled more than a few times so it was a good day.

02 October 2009

Hello October.

Here you are again.  Just like you are every year, right after September.  Why is it you seemed to arrive so much more quickly this time around?  Are you going to hurry along like the last few months have?

Cold nights and rain beat you by a couple weeks this year.  Will you retaliate with more cold and more rain, or will you give us some last days of warmth and sun that we've become used to and will miss if they don't arrive?

You brought with you good moods and laughter, which might be necessary as you also heralded in closer deadlines and more to do.  If we can laugh and smile as we do what we have to, though, we will be able to thrive in our busy-ness not just get through it.

So, welcome.  Stay a while if you could.  We know the next few months get all the glory but I say let's show them what it's like to enjoy a month just because we want to, not because the calender gives us a few days off.

01 October 2009


I have been so down lately.  But that's not so interesting so I won't write on that until I can figure out what was interesting about it.

I feel happy tonight for the first time in weeks.  What a relief.

My dear cousin (one of many, but one of a kind) Danny is on the farm here in California; he's staying for a couple weeks to do some portraits of people.  He's an artist and has no idea how adorable, or talented, he is.  (Some background:  Danny is the middle child between Mike, who was born two weeks after me and whom I was in the same class with from 4th through 12th grade, and Annie, whom I've written about before.  The three of them and the three of us [Megan, Brendan, and I] were both raised on the East side of Madison and are closer to being siblings than cousins in many ways.)

Tonight Aunt, Uncle, Danny, and I sat around after dinner after having a lively discussion on abortion and health care and somehow got into liquor. I mean for some reason I ended up sitting on the floor rooting through the liquor cabinet and we tasted the difference between a fifty year old whiskey and a much younger scotch, then opened up the encyclopedia to discover the differences between gin and vodka.

As I surrounded myself with dusty and interesting liquor bottles and realized how much fun I was having, even though I have to get up way too early to start the farmers market rotation again, Danny asked me if they were witnessing my downward spiral, and the dog in the meantime had fit three tennis balls in his mouth.  I haven't laughed like this in a hot minute and it feels good to dust it off.