Settling In

I am sitting in my neighborhood coffee shop, taking ludicrous advantage of free wireless internet since I don’t yet have it in my home. Outside snow is falling – has been falling, in fact, for two straight days. Next to me a French teacher from Carnegie Mellon is conducting her mid-term oral exams. Two students have managed to make it through without breaking into English but her current pupil, one of those blond-haired, blue-eyed boys with skin and teeth seemingly made from a life-time diet of whole milk, fresh vegetables and farm-raised meat, has faltered. The teacher looked at him and, in English, said you speak very very poor French. This is the sort of comment that would have crushed me as a student but he just looked at her and said “C’est bien” and she laughed and now she is discussing his future with him, urging him spend the summer abroad, which he continually backs away from, citing a girlfriend who would not be pleased with that decision at all.

I’ve been contemplating for a couple of days how to resume blogging, not because of any sort of blogging angst or anything but rather because I don’t know what my first post should be…what do readers want to know? Would you like a blow by blow of our move, which seems overly indulgent but at the same time, like a good idea, get us all on the same page again? Or some actual reflection on this move, on leaving Michigan? On returning to Pittsburgh? What do I want to write about? At first I thought I’d evaluate and consider this change from every viewpoint, and surely I will, over time, but what is perhaps most important is the fact that I am overwhelmingly content. When I left Pittsburgh for metropolitan Detroit I spent a good percentage of the first several months crying. On returning, I haven’t had one moment of reconsideration or pause. I am meant to live in this city.

Last night, on my way home from the bar where I watched Purdue destroy my Spartans, balancing my leftover pizza in one hand and my laptop bag slung across the opposite shoulder, I composed the most perfect blog post in my head – the blog post that could with both brevity and beauty say goodbye to the Michigan of my memory and hello to this new decade of mine, a decade I have decided will be unabashedly messy. I am living in the city where I will buy my first home, have my children, finish my first novel, advance my career and I finally understand how fantastic it is to experience the peace that accompanies simply knowing where one will be, for a good long while, if not forever.

Oh, it was a fantastic post.

And then, out of nowhere, right in front of my new apartment, I slipped on a piece of ice and fell so hard I lost my breath. I somehow landed both on my right knee and my back. It took me a moment to gather myself as I stared up at the sky, and the unending shower of snow falling on me, around me, everywhere. I sat up, took off a glove, and with my pinky nail scratched across the surface of solid black ice that I had slipped on. I stood up slowly, worrying for a moment I had broken my knee, gathered my laptop and pizza box, and made my way inside my spartan but beautiful apartment. I put the pizza in the fridge, stripped off my clothes, put on my robe and inspected my knee, which was swelling to a frightening degree, and turning all sorts of black, blue and green. I went to the freezer, cursing the fact I did not yet have any ice, and considered what I could use to reduce the swelling – the frozen chicken, the bag of scallops, or the bag of shrimp. I chose the chicken, and made my way into the living room, where I popped the movie “Evening” into the dvd player and settled on the couch with the chicken on my knee.

Incidentally, “Evening” helped me finally clarify the ending of my novel. As I watched it I finally realized exactly what Anna will choose to do, and it’s not what I had planned at all. Since I started this novel with the last line written first, it sort of screws that up, but that’s the way these things go, sometimes.

This morning I woke with what can only be described as a goose egg on my knee – a huge, green and black lump where normally my knee indents (rather attractively, I think). I can barely stand to straighten the leg but, since I CAN, I am working under the assumption is merely bruised and not broken, and I am working very hard not to recall the one and only episode of “House” that I’ve seen, the one after the Super Bowl with Mira Sorvino, where she unknowingly broke her toe and parts of fat from the toe bone (or something like that) released into her bloodstream (or something) and she almost died but, you know, House saved her. Because, you know, House is fictional and I can’t call him.

So, you know. You take the good with the bad, so to speak. I’m definitely feeling a bit more vulnerable today than I was yesterday, when I walked with a jaunt instead of a limp. But really, what I wanted to say – was that I am back, and I will be blogging regularly again, and for whatever reason this whole writing-the-first-blog-post after a momentous life change is stupidly confusing, but by the next post things should be back to normal, with talk of reading and writing and moving and Michigan and Pittsburgh and S. and my family and yes, photos, and the absurd difficulty of cooking for one, and memes and discussion of my knee.

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This entry was posted in Do I Dare to Eat A Peach, Hopelessly Indulgent Reflection, The Public. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Settling In

  1. Dorothy W. says:

    I’m glad you’re settled in and feeling so content! It sounds wonderful, and I look forward to future posts on your new place.

  2. musingsfromthesofa says:

    You sound very content, which is great to hear. I look forward to hearing about the next messy few years!

  3. Noble Savage says:

    Ooh, sorry to hear about the knee, that sounds painful!

    I’m very happy that you have found contentment and peace in your new home. As a child who moved around a lot, I know both the thrill of newness and the comfort of staying. I sometimes still can’t believe that we own our house and that we won’t have to move at the end of a year’s lease. It’s a strange but wonderful feeling.

  4. Smithereens says:

    It’s great to hear from you, whatever topic you choose for this first post in Pittsburgh! Hope the goose egg has receded to something less painful. Keep us posted about everything in between!

  5. Welcome to your new home! Looking forward to many more posts on any theme you choose, but hopefully no more about falling.

  6. Courtney says:

    Dorothy – thanks! I am definitely feeling content.
    Becky – me, too, LOL.
    Noble, the knee is much better – less painful, although it is quite ugly. Last night I had one too many cocktails and showed my companions…everyone agreed it is, indeed, one ugly injury.
    Smithereens- the knee is definitely on the mend, thank goodness!
    Charlotte – you and me both!

  7. litlove says:

    Oh ouch! That knee sounds painful. But… sometimes something like that forces you to sit down and take a break that you wouldn’t otherwise have, but that it turns out you need. It probably slowed down your entry into your new life, which may be no bad thing. Here’s to more messy, unexpected but oddly productive life events in Pitsburgh!

  8. lilalia says:

    Sorry to hear about the purple swelled knee. Hope it get better.

    About what interest me… I could say yes to all of your suggestions. What I most enjoy is stories of transition: how do you discover places that will become your local haunts, encounters with the native residences, how do you find new friends, the ups-and-downs of laying down new roots… that sort of stuff.

  9. LK says:

    So glad you are settling in nicely! Love to read any posts you care to write, Courtney. Your observations are always keen and funny.

    Take care of the knee.

  10. LK says:

    Dear, I lost my previous comment. Most important of what I said was I’m glad you are back and whatever posts you choose to write, I love, Courtney. Your observations are keen and funny. Or fun and keeny.

  11. Stephanie says:

    Place is such an interesting topic. It can be very emotional to return to a place where you have strong memories. I look forward to hearing more about your return to Pittsburgh.

    This blog is getting juicy. It makes me want to start one 🙂

  12. kimhaasdesign says:

    Hmmm… I sense an essay with the whole return to Pittsburgh thing and this particular place fitting you like a glove. And no matter what you write about here it’s always thoughtful and entertaining.

  13. Andi says:

    Brava! I think you hit on the perfect return blog post. A delicious mix of the poetic, the melancholy, the confused, the elated, and the sincere. It’s great to have you back. I’m glad you’re happy!

  14. Emily Barton says:

    So my knee is killing me in sympathy (and I’ve been keeping an eye out for icy patches here, although the weather in this part of the state is milder, so they are few and far-between). But let’s ignore the knee (hope yours is feeling better now) and tell you I couldn’t be more THRILLED knowing you and I are residing in the same state. I will get out to Pittsburgh soon, because it’s a city I need to get to know. Can’t wait to meet you, my long-lost little sister.

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