No More Cable

Six months after I cancelled it, the cable was finally disconnected today. No more TCM. No more Toronto real estate porn on HGTV. No more “ALF” reruns on WGN. It’s going to be strange; I’ve pretty much always had cable or satellite. But it’s ridiculously expensive and most of the programming flat out sucks, so it’s hard to justify paying the premium.

Since I got out of the network primetime habit over ten years ago (thanks to the lousy cable in San Francisco, ironically enough), I guess this means I pretty much won’t be watching TV at all anymore.

That’s probably not a bad thing, but it will be an adjustment all the same. It comes just as I enter my last week as a graduate student, so I won’t really have time to miss it for a while, anyway. Next week, when I only have one and a quarter full-time jobs rather than the two I currently have, I’m sure I’ll be able to fill all that extra free time somehow.

Home

I spent the better part of two decades trying to get home.

Starting in 1986, when I moved out of my parents’ house, everyplace I lived for the next twenty years seemed to be nothing but a temporary way station on the road to the place I would eventually land. The closest I came to “home” during those two decades was an apartment I hated in a city I grew to hate even more, although I somehow managed to live in both for nearly thirteen years.

On the frequent weekend road trips I took during my years in San Francisco, I use to find myself driving home late on Sunday evenings getting more and more depressed as I drove by all the people in their cozy little houses and wondering if I would ever feel settled like that. I wanted to feel comfortable in my home rather than feel that I was always running away from it. I felt constantly on the move–whether it was by choice or not was something I couldn’t say for sure–and it was often simultaneously exciting, exhausting, and depressing. On those Sunday night drives, the latter two forces were most prominent.

Our house in Winston-Salem is the only place I’ve lived since moving out of my parents’ house that has really felt like home to me. It hasn’t been perfect; the Triad is not the most exciting environment in the world, and the geographic separation from Mark has been hard to handle–sometimes almost devastatingly so.  To borrow a phrase, no place is sparkly shiny and everyplace is just another place. Generally, though, I’ve really liked this particular place. When we moved in, I fantasized that this would be the house where we’d grow old together. I got through three years of increasingly long separations by thinking about how we were working toward eventually being here together.

Of course, the “together” part is the most important part. Yes, I’m extremely emotionally invested in this house. I’m much more emotionally invested, though, in the boy I share it with, even if we do share it in small, concentrated doses right now. Therefore, if it turns it that this is not where our future lies, so be it. I want to be where we can be happy, and that means being where we can be together. And that could end up being just about anyplace, I guess.

But I can’t pretend that it’s ever going to be easy for me to leave this house, should the time come. Like I said, it’s my home, and it’s the only place I’ve ever really felt that way about as an adult. I like the physical structure, of course, but I’ve also built a big emotional structure around the place and how I imagined our lives might be in it. I can put that all behind me, but I can’t deny that there will be a grieving process involved. But if it’s what I need to do, I’ll do it.

At the same time, I will also cling to the notion that there is a landing place somewhere. I know that it won’t be perfect or sparkly or shiny. It may take a long time to find it, and the important thing is that we find it together. But I have to believe there is some other place that will feel like home, too, and will feel that way for both of us. While I can absorb the idea that everyplace is just a place, I can’t handle the idea that everyplace (or everything) is temporary. It’s just too damned depressing. And I’ve spent too much of my life being depressed already.

I’m ready for a journey and an adventure.

I also want to come home eventually, wherever home turns out to be.

Asheville

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I drove to Asheville today. I didn’t have any real reason to do so, other than the fact that I needed a change of scenery and it needed to be something close but also something other than the Triangle or Charlotte. I also had a vague notion of perhaps meeting up with an old friend I hadn’t seen since about 1993, but that wasn’t to be.

Some part of me really wants to like Asheville, but another more powerful part of me never actually does. Mind you, it’s not that I dislike the place. The hippie granola factor is a little annoying, but there are enough beautiful and photogenic buildings there to make up for the fact that it feels way too much like Berkeley. Asheville has a downtown that reflects its relatively large population in the 1920s (as opposed to its relatively small population today) and a nice collection of neon motel signs. And there are mountains, too.

The problem, I think, is that there’s no specific and compelling destination there for me–no special restaurant or bookstore or junk shop or whatever–so I end up just sort of driving around town all day and not stopping much of anyplace. Which gets a little tiresome.

I did have marginally good thrift store luck today, at least:

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Randomly Saturday

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May I suggest (respectfully, of course) that if your mall‘s parking lot looks like this on the Friday after Thanksgiving, your mall is probably going to be showing up here very soon?

Speaking of malls, this article on one of Toronto’s first big ones in the Toronto area is really interesting and has many cool vintage photos and illustrations.

Baby, if we skip Christmas presents entirely, can we? Please?

I couldn’t care less about the beer, but wow. Who knew Donnie Iris was from Pittsburgh?

The Great Winter Road Trip of 2009-2010

I’m graduating in a few weeks. I’m working full-time but the university is closed the week between Christmas and New Year’s, and it’s a paid holiday (did I mention that I love my job?). I have Red Roof Inn free nights that are expiring soon. These three facts taken together suggest “winter road trip” to me. But I can’t quite decide where to go.

My inclination is almost always to head north, and the Philadelphia and DC areas are among the most enticing destinations right now. Anything much farther north (or more midwestern) brings a bit of a weather threat. In fact, even DC and Philly might pose threats, which is why I’ve also considered pointing the Buick southward. That would sort of limit me to some combination of Atlanta, Tampa, and maybe Jacksonville or Miami, since I’m not feeling New Orleans and since I’m only interested in urban destinations (which pretty much rules out the rest of the Southeast). Florida is tempting, since I haven’t spent any real time there in almost thirty years, and this is probably the only time of year I could even tolerate being there, weather-wise. It might be a nice change of pace; as I remember Florida’s biggest cities (Orlando doesn’t qualify under my definition of “urban”), they had a rather dense, mildly gritty urban feel that set them apart from the rest of the region–not like the Northeast, really, but more like California, without that unfinished, semi-rural quality so many Southeastern cities have.

That said, part of me still leans to northward because I want to use those freebies in the most expensive areas possible.

Yeah, I know. This is the kind of dilemma lots of people would love to be facing right now. And it’s not really causing me stress. I’m just sort of thinking  out loud rather than specifically soliciting suggestions. But if any of you feel strongly about anyplace (and have some specific reasons), I’ll listen.

Cafeteria Line of the Damned

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Thanksgiving dinner at the K&W.

Thanksgiving has never been one of my family’s bigger traditions. When I was young, we usually spent it with assorted aunts and uncles, but we always left the big celebrating to Christmas. In recent years, my mom and dad have taken to having their turkey at the cafeteria (except for 2007, when the hubby and I had them over for a big feeding). The past two years, Mark has been on the west coast for the big day, so I’ve joined them (and hundreds of others) in this charming New South tradition of turkey, two vegetables, bread, dessert, and tea for $6.49.

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It’s not such a big deal. Mark and I had our own spread last Sunday before he left, anyway. I’m glad I married a boy who not only cooks, but even makes his own pie crust (sans dodgy Japanese ingredients).

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Now I get to spend the rest of the holiday weekend writing my last paper as a graduate student, as well as preparing for my final final.

Otherstream Mobile

If you’re reading this on your phone, you’re probably having a much easier time of it today. Assuming, that is, that you’re one of those two or three people who still bother at all.

I’m curious about whether most of the “regulars” keep up by RSS feed (using Google Reader, live bookmarks, or whatever) or by just dropping in from time to time. I can’t imagine doing it the old-fashioned way anymore, but I know some people still do. Anyone care to comment?