A Look Ahead

Happy 2019, everyone! Sorry for the delay in posting this. The holidays tend to interfere mightily with my writing plans. And then I decided to clean my apartment.

On the book front, I started reading In Search of Lost Time last year (the original Moncrieff translation, without any additional editors, since it was cheap, it’s a classic translation, and if I like it, I can buy a more updated version, based on the corrected text, that’s annotated, provided the editor finishes editing all the volumes and doesn’t die before finishing the last book, like Proust and Moncrieff both did).

Professionally, I continue to work on my novel and also found some other writing projects to keep me busy, provided I actually sit down and work on them. It’s too easy to forego writing and start doing some other activity, only to find myself googling random-ass stuff on my phone, or reading someone else’s drama on reddit, instead of working. I also need to kick-start my voice acting career. I even purchases a shiny new domain name and website last year:


Socially, I need to hang out with my friends more and keep in contact with them better through long-form writing (or phone calling) for the ones who live far away. I would also like to take more vacations, even if it’s only a day trip or a weekend getaway.

Still, I’m excited by what the coming months will bring. Here’s to a great new year!

The Tree Outside the Window

It’s funny how memories work. My emotional state seems to have more to do with triggering a memory than circumstances, though similar circumstances trigger similar emotional reactions. Eating a madeleine might trigger an involuntary memory, but so might feeling a particular blend of happiness.

Recently, I’ve been comforted by memories from childhood. They are there, ready to be remembered, which makes me think that my new apartment is as comforting as the childhood home I left almost ten years ago. In large part, this has to do with the tree outside my balcony.

Growing up, I would wake from my bed (or, on a school day, be woken by my mother) and open the curtains (or, for most of my childhood, blinds) and see a beautiful tree outside my double windows. Past the tree would be the yard, then the woods, and — past that — the field, which I stopped playing in around the time that I left childhood behind.

I see this tree reflected in the tree outside the balcony. Like the one that grew past my bedroom window, one might see a bird land on this one, or a squirrel scurry through its branches — though I have yet to see the latter.

Sunlight brings more memories.  Perhaps it has to do with the direction and height of the windows in my new place, or the way the light filters through the leaves. Whatever the cause, I’m reminded of sun streaming through autumnal leaves from decades ago, and the memories I made under them. And if I open the slider during a storm, I can hear the rain, which must be one of the most soothing sounds in the universe.

The tree outside my childhood home no longer exists. It lost its life for the sin of growing too close to the house, after a surprise October ice storm made my parents extra-cautious about anything that could fall on their home. I only have the memory of it, and the emotions from long ago reflected in the emotions of today, and that is enough.

Goodbye to 5 1/2 Years of My Life

December 24, 2009 -- a few weeks after I moved in
My former home, taken on December 24, 2009

On December 18, 2009, I moved from my friends’ house to a shared house in Seattle (I mention the move in A Slight Interruption in Service, but I never did an entry on the place itself).  For 5 1/2 years, I lived at the same address.  None of my housemates at the beginning of this time were my housemates at the end, though several stayed well beyond their six-month leases.

Earlier this year, my landlord told me of his intentions to sell the house.  He’d told me of the possibility of selling the house as far back as two years ago, but competing plans made it unclear what would actually happen to the place.  Though he assured all us tenants that our leases would continue under the new owners, I was leery, and began looking for a new place, particularly when he junked a couch swing I’d saved and put in the backyard.  That to me was the death knell of my old way of life.

As you enter the front, 12/24/09
As you enter the front, 12/24/09

Or, I should say, began preparing myself to move, for I didn’t start looking until he found a buyer.  That was early in July, roughly a few weeks after he’d put the house on the market.  One of my former housemates had expressed interest — with his father — of buying the property and continuing to run it as a rental unit, but the asked-for price was too high.

Initially, the owners assured my landlord that contracts would remain the same (all of us were month-to-month, minus one person who was on a three-month lease, signed through September).  Same rent.  Same rooms.  Same arrangement.  On the day I went to look at my first rental property– with a friend and coworker of mine, whom I’d decided to become roommates with — I got a call from my landlord.  Phone reception was bad where I was, so I listened to the message on the way back home.

It was Sunday, July 19th.  The owners had changed their mind.  After a walk-through the week before, they’d come back with a non-negotiable position.  All tenants had to be out by the end of August.

Back of the house, with shed, 12/24/09
Back of the house, with shed, 12/24/09

I later found out this was illegal (Seattle law requires 60-days notice if a single-family unit is sold and the new owners no longer wish to rent it out), but by that point, I’d found a new apartment, and since no one in my house seemed to care, I took no further action.  Ownership transferred hands on August 12th, a Wednesday.  I moved out on Saturday, August 15th, with critical help from a few friends and a UHaul van.  I later went back to grab a microwave from one of my former housemates and some cleaning supplies I’d bought but had left for other tenants to use.  I found carpets ripped up, boxes and appliances piled up in the yard, and no more shed in back.

A casualty of the move -- my heavy-ass tube TV, which I left for the new owners
A casualty of the move — my heavy-ass tube TV, which I left for the new owners

No matter.  I’ve now been in my new place over a month.  Boxes are unpacked, furniture is in place, and nothing broke in the move (one DVD got dislodged from its holder, but it should be okay).  I’m surprised how easy the transition was (the transition to living in a new place, not the move itself), especially since my home in the U-District was the longest I’ve lived at one address since adulthood.  Perhaps it was time for a change.  I’d been growing stagnant and frustrated in the months leading up to the sale of the house.  Now, at my new place, I can start over, yet again.

August 31, 2015, without shed
August 31, 2015, where the shed used to be