Category: Laps

Laps: November 15

7:30a – Wake, in current attempt to wake up at same time every day to combat continual lethargy.  Allow myself one snooze on timer before opening flurry of texts sent by my mother from previous evening.

7:39a – Hop out of bed.  Take my hair out from braid in light of bathroom mirror.  Marvel at cleanliness of own hair, marvel at how it falls just so when on so many days it doesn’t.  Toss it this way.  Toss it that.

7:44a – Make breakfast of sausage and eggs.  Realize sausage has gone bad and I failed to cook eggs fully, because all things are inherently imperfect and I am unable to contribute anything otherwise at times. Throw out rotten breakfast.  Make toast instead, which is what I wanted all along.

8:07a – Read today’s allotted Listening to Your Life by Frederick Buechner.  Kelly texts me moments after I finish with picture of same passage.  Feel warm knowing we are waking up and reading same thing, far away as we are from each other.

8:14a – Read section from one of five scenes that needs memorizing for Chekhov class.  Am pleasantly surprised that I know some of it.  Read it again.  Try to let it just be words and not all feelings that accompany it.  “Where is it? Where did it all go?”

8: 42a – Finish up writing Just the Facts. Am shocked that it’s second hour of day and have managed to not fall behind.  Enjoy watching Bruce Springsteen music video at 9am, and that it’s thing I get to do.

10a – Begin freelance publishing work.  Spend whole hour wishing I was packing up my car to head out on more exciting part of day. Remind self of bank account in order to rally.

11a – Put on makeup to sounds of Leon Bridges.  Enjoy taking my time to do so.  Locate sample of Smashbox Primer that really is as miraculous as advertised.

11:33a – Pack up various outfits for film shoot per Annie’s instruction. Pack bag, pack up Annie’s stuff left at apartment from overnight stay, pick up check from Boss #3 from mailbox downstairs.  Walk 3 blocks to where car is parked because it’s what I have to do on Tuesday nights.

12:04p – Head to first Kohl’s.  Listen to Showstopper podcast, because it is my ideal job.  Enter Kohl’s for first shopping trip for Boss #1.  Uneventful, but notice how much fun I have doing this particular job, which is objectively absurd.

1:12p – Put in second Kohl’s address in Google Maps.  En route, am arrested by sounds of Dog Days Are Over playing from radio.  Am always struck afresh by jubilance of said song. “Happiness hit her like a bullet in the back.” Have known that feeling.  Is miraculous.

1:17p – Stop at gas station because it’s right there and, well, I need gas. Head inside to maybe grab bottle of water, but store portion is roughly 20 square feet and has no water bottles, only bottled Starbucks frappes.  Finish pumping.  Back en route.

1: 32p – Enter second Kohl’s.  As I search for cart, old man working at register calls across foyer to me, “Welcome back!”, even though I have never set foot in here before.  He is in middle of transaction with other customer, but follows up with, “You light up the whole room!” which is arresting both in loveliness and unexpectedness.  Simply smile back in wonder.

1:37p – Am accosted by two old women in toy section, who ask me what appropriate clothing size is for 3-year old male toddler.  They clearly are aware that I don’t work here as I have cart, but ask me with full confidence as if I know answer.  I don’t.

2:22p – After locating what I came for, get in line.  Am helped by woman named Raj, who insists my coupons aren’t real but scans them anyway.  Look at her nametag and see that she has been working here since 2006.  Ask her where good place nearby is to get cup of coffee.  She conspiratorially tells me Whole Foods is nearby.  Best news.  Coupon kerfuffle forgotten in wake of coffee camaraderie.

2:34p – Head to Whole Foods.  Hear Whatever You Like on radio.  Love radio version, because actual version makes me blush.  Am hopeful to be subject of hip hop song at some point in life.  Am doubtful.  Wonder how many songs are written from experience versus wished experience.

2:38p – Arrive at Whole Foods. Have exactly 20 minutes before needing to leave for call time on set.  Head in, in search of Nitrobrew.  Am stalled by Califia Farms stand with Peppermint Mocha cold brew, which I promptly decide to buy on way out (and subsequently marvel at complete lack of self control that always comes over me at Whole Foods).  Find coffee stand.  Am directed to refrigerator. Locate Nitrobrew.  Pretend to have debate with self over absurd cost of coffee (exacerbated by fact that favorite cup of coffee is found at Fresh Market for literally fifth of price) all while knowing I will of course buy it because I came here for it and I feel slightly glamorous at prospect of going to film set.  Stop by cookie table, which I also never let myself do.  Pick up mysterious cookie that looks beautiful.  Make purchases. Head to car.

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Laps: October 16, Move-in-Day Edition

4:07a – Wake on Margaret’s floor, third time this morning.  Sleeping bag has twisted and turned accordingly with me.  Hear restaurateurs  below still bellowing inarticulably about someone having left cell phone.  Must be important cell phone.  See Emma is awake too, on couch.  Twist and turn in sleeping bag.  Unzip.  Zip.

6:20a – Wake for real.  Scurry to collectively reassemble Margaret’s apartment as she prepares to leave to mold young minds of northwestern Chicago suburbs.  Stuff sleeping bag imperfectly into bag from whence it came.  Shuffle out, one, two, three.  Cold morning air, coloring sunrise I rarely am awake early enough to see.

6:46a – En route to new apartment, hopeful that electricity has been turned on therein re: sleeping on Margaret’s floor.  Call mother via bluetooth.  Ask her to pray with me, after some incoherent sleep-sad babble.  She tells me to take three deep breaths – why do I always forget?  Reminds me of inherent adventure in all unexpected things.  Prays.  Tells me we’ll talk later.

7: 01a – Park outside apartment.  Approach stranger on street to make sense of unclear parking restrictions posted on sign above my car.  At first she is cautious, then extremely helpful.  Assures me I will be fine to park there for next two hours.  Enter apartment with Emma; electricity is in fact still not on.  She must depart to nanny; I set my alarm for 8:45 and nap until I can call landlady and must move car.

9:00a – Call landlady re: electricity.  This is our first time speaking on phone, or at all.  Tells me she is in ComEd lobby, championing our cause.  Assures me she will keep me posted and figure it out.

9:06a – Back in car.  Having not obtained Oak Park parking pass yet, must fill hour before 10a before another spot becomes parkable, due to strange “no parking between 8-10am” restriction that populates streets surrounding my apartment.  Head to gas station 3 minutes away; obtain gas, water bottles, all within 4 minutes.  Yelp nearby cafes, that I might fill my belly with oats and coffee.  Head to said cafe.  Waitress asks for my order; am indecisive about oatmeal, even though it’s what I came for.  She is perplexed by perplexing would-be-oatmeal-patron in front of her.  We figure it out.  She brings me oatmeal and coffee while I think of all strange time pockets such as this one, in-between hours we must fill while we wait for parking spots and electricity.

9:56a – Depart for apartment.  Arrive.  Momentarily consider getting back in bed.  Do so briefly, only to pop back up and begin walking through apartment to pray over it.  Begin crying, obviously.  Continue emotional praying for approximately 10 minutes.  Think of centuries of emotional prayers God has been on receiving end of.  Bless these walls, please.  Bless this decision.  Bless him.  Bless her.  Bless me anyway.

10:22a – Receive call from co-landlady, detailing required information for setting up ComEd account.  This is our first time speaking on phone, or at all.  Upon hearing my questions, tells me they are good ones, tells me she is a mother and wants to help me.  Am assured required information for setting up Nicor account is forthcoming.

10:37a – Call ComEd.  Set up account.  Am assured electricity will be up and running no later than end of next business day.

11:03a – Receive second call from co-landlady, featuring required information for setting up Nicor account.

11:12a – Call Nicor.  Set up account.  Am assured gas is up and running immediately.

12:24p – Call Mom again, in which we have mutual epiphanies and I go on one of my long rants that insists everything is about everything.  Cry again.  Remind self it is okay when there are days where you have already cried three times by twelve o clock, that tears are often weather simply passing through.  “No feeling is final.” Mother responds to said rant with interjections of knowledge and peace, as mothers are wont to do.  Lets me say all things I want to say before doing so.  Depart feeling understood, always singular gift.

“Fear not,” said he, for mighty dread / had seized their troubled minds / “glad tidings of great joy I bring / to you and all mankind”

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Laps, September 10

Wake at 6, press snooze till 6:30. Isaiah still asleep beside me. Crawl out of bed and into leggings, fleece, green socks, and wool scarf.

Grab yoga mat and step outside, 40 degrees. See a deer in the grass in front of the chapel, and two more thirty more feet away. Lock eyes with the deer and keep walking, hoping that she won’t run away. She starts a little, but doesn’t flee. She keeps grazing, I keep walking. Symbiosis.

Camp is quiet. I walk on meandering gravel to the sailing dock instead of the more large and obvious swimming dock, hoping for morning privacy. I arrive and unroll my mat. Not a soul in sight.

All quiet except water lapping on the pontoon boat lift beside the dock, a metal/water sound. I face south, toward the swimming dock, Does Acres, Three Lakes, Chicago, Texas, Antarctica, other southern things.

I have terrible period cramps, so I don’t move much. I sit cross-legged on the yoga mat. My mind is mostly empty. I breathe. I feel cold. I recite Psalm 23 in my head a few times in a row. I resolve to memorize more psalms. I stretch out my legs and bend a bit. Moving my body feels bad today, so I mostly don’t move. I mostly look at the horizon and breathe and think without thinking.

I walk back home by the lagoon, taking probably the most mud-prone route possible. I step carefully and remove my shoes before coming inside.

Yoga mat, sailing dock, six am.

Isaiah wakes slowly. I open the blinds. I put on George Winston’s Autumn, as I have every morning this week. I try to figure out which clothes feel suitable for a camp church service I’ll be singing for later. I choose a nice white linen blouse and black jeans, throwing a navy sweater on top at the last minute since it hasn’t warmed up yet outside.

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Laps: August 30

8a – Wake.  Hear alarm going off from phone hidden in sock drawer (to keep electromagnetic waves at bay). Set alarm last night with intention of waddling down to pool to swim laps.  Listen closely.  Hear no one else’s alarms going off in house.  Take it as sign to forego athleticism and instead pull laptop up from floor to begin writing before inevitable madness of wakefulness ensues.

8:27a – Hear knock on front door followed by several dings of doorbell.  Who could it be? Hear voice of mother’s best friend Jenni (mother of my best friend Sav) announcing herself.  Quickly inform her no one besides me and stepfather are awake.  Decide to go jump on mother’s bed to change that.

8:47a – All thoughts of pool are abandoned in lieu of going out to breakfast.  Stepfather leaves to go play hockey, in his grumpy way, clearly crestfallen to not be eating meal with 4 loud women.

9:12a – Arrive at Wild Eggs.  Read menu; why bother? Only ever get same thing here.  Waitress named Angela, making me think of all those songs guy in Lumineers writes.  Everyone drinks cups and cups of coffee, but clearly all 4 of us will be tired all day due to limited amounts of sleep and too many things to do.  Laugh anyway.  Revel in general perfection of bread.

10:26a – Arrive at hockey rink to watch Tom play.  Bek keeps saying guy in grey jersey is making eyes at me which is silly but still nice of her to say.  Shiver intermittently.  Wonder if I will ever be able to remain upright on skates.  Notice there is only one woman playing in rec league.  You go, girl.

11:34a – Facetime Sav; wish she was here.

11:42a – Jenni drops us off at home where we all play cards as stale air of sadness re: imminent departure settles slightly.  Sav reveals she will drive requisite 2.5 hours south to see us because even strongest people succumb to FOMO.  Songs of jubilee commence.

1:07p – Bek absconds to her room after Jenni leaves; I throw in laundry so I can say I’ve started packing though I know it won’t happen til tomorrow morning.  Mom pitters around in basement.  Sav calls to say she’s on her way; asks if perhaps my sister doesn’t want her last night at home to just be with family.  Tell her it’s probably fine, and both agree she can just read book if otherwise.  Hang up phone.  20 seconds later, she calls back.  Bek has texted her in interim, saying she does just want to be with family.  Wander downstairs.  Mom hollers at me to join her in her gift-wrapping room in furthest corner of house.  Tells me confidentially she too would prefer just family.  Wander upstairs.  Bek tells me she texted Sav again and told her to turn around.  Neglect to tell either Mom or Bek what other has said.  Throw on skirt to go to grocery store, having been elected to pick up rolls for dinner and drop off bag of Mom’s things at Goodwill.  Mom comes upstairs; confusion ensues.  Bek starts crying when Mom asks why nobody told her change in plans, and cries more because she hates crying in front of other people.  We are different in this way.  Remember how risky it always is to be needy in front of someone else, even if said person is one you have know your whole life.  Both Mom and Bek still find time amidst crying to tell me my outfit is dowdy and I look like an old lady.  Look in mirror confirms they are in fact correct.  Mom tells Bek to take nap and she stops crying after hugging it out as we solve Great Communication Crisis of 2017.  Attempt to leave house 3 times; am stopped by own forgetfulness and mother’s requests.

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Laps: July 18

8a – Wake.  As always, too optimistic.  Continue to snooze until 9.  Vague, half-assed tirade at self about necessity of waking early to accomplish great things.  Gentle, half-assed assurance that body needs sleep and great things are done at all hours of day.

9:15a – Finally try on bridesmaid dresses – both sizes sent from rental company.  Enjoy being in ballgown at 9 in morning.  Swish, pose.  Consider hair.  Consider inherent beauty of shoulders.

9:24a – Assemble breakfast.  Surprised to find number of nutritious, delicious things in fridge, including avocado, sweet potato, eggs, goat cheese, and arugula. Wonder if elves have visited; remember own visit to grocery store. Revel in own cooking expansion.  Overlook slight-not-yet-ripeness of avocado. Listen to “O-o-h Child” on repeat until it sticks.

9:37a – Read Psalm 16 aloud.  Yell that the lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.  Alternate between demanding and asking.  Remember that both are allowed.

10:12a – Attempt to tackle short-term health insurance policy (in light of semi-horrors previously alluded to) while waiting for landlady to drop by, only to be halted by another cog in machine.  Remember that calling insurance people cannot be that bad if I remember that it will merely be an hour of my life.  Remember that things are far less bad when you expect them to not be good and split difference.  Remember that expectation will forever make world of difference. Accept that health insurance will not be attained until tomorrow.  Chill out. Reorder tasks of day.  Remind self this doesn’t equate to bad time management.

10:20a – Begin first leg of work-from-home, query-writer-extraordinaire edition.  Tad dull.

10:40a – Flurry of stress-texting with Amy.  Currently balancing 4 separate collaborative efforts, both currently in midst of wedding week as bridesmaids to dear friend Annie.  Remind each other that there are seasons for all things, and that Billy Joel told us it’s either sadness or euphoria.  Sometimes both; often both.  Plan to develop foolproof plan over Cheez-it chicken fingers later tonight.  Heads down, back to work.

10:47a – Surprise FaceTime from sister Arielle. Cease toil a while to babble excitedly about impending road trip and snuggles.

11a – Heads down, back to work.

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Laps: June 4th

The weeks go slow and the weekends go fast. Everything is heating up, and already I’m feeling the time between now and when Isaiah and I will move away from Chicago stretch out but also get thinner, like taffy or some other goo, with the calendar filling up and the logistical challenges looming closer. There is so much that can so easily slip through our fingers and we are struggling to keep up while also dealing with interminable days at work and physical and mental exhaustion. Weird times we’re in, Isaiah and I, both on the cusp of turning twenty-four this month. Sometimes we literally don’t know what to say to each other at the end of the day, both tired and overwhelmed with the days all running together. I’ll come home from work and Isaiah will ask how it was and I’ll say, “I sewed a lot.” And that’s sort of it. I was struggling to figure out what to write for this blog post because my job as it is right now sort of zaps my personal creativity, makes me feel idea-less and quiet. I sat down to write and didn’t know at all what to say. I felt empty-headed and dull. So, instead of beating myself up about the dullness, I chronicled this day, this sweet weekend day, spent entirely with my husband, enjoying the beginning of summer in its fullness and ignoring the hardship of the week to come. I hope that by next Monday I will feel loud and idea-full, with readiness in my heart to say things, true things, to say things out loud to other people, but for now just a day.

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Laps: May 10

6:30a – #riseandgrind.  My grandmother is asleep next to me in my bed, as we have become bunkmates during a visit from she, my mother, and my aunt.

7:08a – Depart house for surgeon’s office with mother.  Plug in address to Google Maps that is allegedly in Des Plaines.  Is in fact in Schaumburg.  Is in fact wrong address.  Go back 20 minutes in direction from whence we came.  Are 45 minutes late for surgeon.  Another red letter day for the Bailey’s.

8:15a – Arrive at surgeon.  Method of payment is not accepted due to psych-out from bank.  Mother calls bank, her local anesthetic having kicked in approximately 15 minutes ago.  Words slurred.  Funds transferred.  Victory achieved!

8:37a – Mother whisked away to surgery.  Left in obscure waiting room that makes me feel like I’m in The Truman Show. Head to Chick-fil-A in response to this feeling and also hunger.

8:45a – En route to CFA.  What a rush.  Teenage Dream, clearly established pop anthem of heart-brain, plays on radio.  Spirits soar from pit of 6:30am wake up call, when sleep diva was in full effect.

9:03a – Arrive.  Abuse mother’s CFA app, having her phone in possession while she goes under.  Obtain free chicken biscuit.  Purchase second chicken biscuit due to aforementioned hunger. Add vanilla iced coffee to bill out of curiosity and also need and also false glamor re: Teenage Dream.

9:27a – Return to The Truman Show.  Attempt to make friends with desk attendant by asking for WiFi password.  “It’s not working right now,” he says, as he uses his own computer.

9:31a – Attempt to become interested in Al Roker blaring from TV. Wonder who decided that all waiting rooms should be in beige and grey quadrant of color wheel.  Wonder who adjusts TV each day to either blaring political commentary or morning talk show where they drink wine and discuss useless toy.

9:37a – Relocate to “cafe.”  Notice conspicuous lack of coffee. Park it by vending machine in case of emergency.

9:41a – Look at planner for first time in 2 weeks.  Realize it is May. Neat!  Plot out 4 map locations in 3 states that must be reached in coming weekend.  Sense motion from periphery of left eye.  Look below chair on which feet are resting.  See world’s largest silverfish frantically scurry around in circles under table.  Watch it find resting place under said chair for successive 5 minutes.  Consider options, including gauging out own eyeballs.

10:00a – Review script for tonight’s rehearsal. Mumble poetry about death and mysticism at what I consider moderate level but is apparently not due to stares from fellow “cafe” dwellers.

10:30a – Retrieve mother from surgery. Second batch of local anesthetic has kicked in.  Words slurred, jokes made at hobbling mother’s expense (to mutual laughter).  Return home, limp back into house and put her down for nap while grey clouds lurk overhead.

12:30p – Attempt load of laundry in basement of mysterious home I am renting, to no avail.  Waddle over to neighbor’s home to assume mantle of Laundry Gremlin (other iterations include Internet Gremlin, Mail Gremlin, and Gremlin-at-Large).  Have brief moment of panic that neighbor’s washing machine is also broken and that I am cause (if you’re reading this Ellen – definitely not broken, just my overactive imagination at work once again).  Nestle into neighbor’s office room to work on aforementioned poetry about mysticism and death for tonight’s rehearsal.

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Laps, February 1st

Another stab at Laps, (the first, Jessie’s Valentine’s Day). Like Jessie said, here at Synchronized Swim, we are endlessly interested in paying attention to the quotidien, the way we spend our days. I know I live in patterns, swimming laps back and forth, little rivers digging into the dirt of me making snake-like switchbacks, I just don’t always know what the patterns are or how to name them. There are so many patterns that I hope for, that I intend to create but usually fail (morning pages, exercise, water before coffee, etc.) There are so many more that are deeply ingrained, but that I know nothing of, that pass unnoticed. So I intend to return to this same exercise every once in a while, once a month maybe, to swim my laps, to see about those patterns, where they are strong where they are weak, where they are real and true even when I can’t detect them in me.

Life is partially measured in empty plates, I think?

Laps of a day. It was a Wednesday in February, a day off work. Nothing I really needed to do, but expectations nonetheless. Wednesdays are a bit weird for me right now because they’re thoroughly sandwiched by work days–I’m a part-time nanny in the burbs on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. So, Wednesdays are an island of sorts. Anything I start will not be finished until Friday afternoon at least, but Saturday more likely. So sometimes, especially toward the end of a Wednesday, I begin to feel set adrift, like I’m shoving off for a journey I didn’t quite choose, like the boat is losing traction in the sand whether I want it to or not. reluctant to put down all the stuff I’ve gathered into my arms in favor of spit up and incessant questions. Easier once I get there on Thursday, with babe in arms. Harder on Wednesday night with half a dress sewn up and a thousand ideas in my brain.

Alas, adrift or not, patterns abound.  Keep reading…

Laps: Valentine’s Day Special

Welcome to the first iteration of Laps! As you have probably noticed, Amy and I are very into noticing.  In Laps, we will recount the activities of a particular day as they happened with as much specificity as possible based on notes scribbled down throughout that day, as a huge part of this website (/life) is nestling into the magic of paying attention.

This first one is #special because it took place on my very favorite holiday (and I celebrate all of them – President’s Day is a close second y’all!) (It would probably be Yom Kippur if I was better at being Jewish)(am pretty Anglican and very into Maundy Thursday actually)(holidays), and we wanted to share it with you before the romance has entirely worn off.  In preparation for the big day, I made myself a list of activities I could partake of in celebration, so as not to waste a single ounce of lerve I could squeeze out.  In a way, I understand why people tend to dislike Valentine’s — the commodification of love, the relentless sap, the potential penchant for loneliness. But I don’t see it that way.  For one, I see it as the only holiday you don’t have to approach with consideration of other people’s expectations, an undeniable benefit of being single.  On Christmas, you have familial tradition to contend with; New Year’s Eve is where the real pressure for romance is applied.  But on Valentine’s, you can do whatever you like – ignore it, cry for precisely 12 minutes, or go full force and indulge in every romantic notion that pops into your head.  It’s just a day marking that, in the wise words of Billy Mack, love is all around; romantic, platonic, familial, global. Personally, I can never have too many reminders.

And so, I spray my nets with perfume and cast them out all day, seeing what I catch and tossing back what will not do.


Made a lil collage from all the valentines I made for people. Kissing people is fun, but so                                                        is kissing envelopes.

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