Tag Archives: moving

settling into the new home

California_1992-10_Rochdale004Photo: bedroom closet of my first apartment, in Berkeley, California. 1992.

Good word, after seven months of “I’m moving,” I’ve moved. After 8¼ years in Washington Heights in upper Manhattan, seven of which were happily lived in an art deco building near Fort Tryon Park, I’ve moved downtown. It’s incredible. I’m still settling in. Still, of course, archiving photos. I’m just entering 2003 in the archives.

Plenty to write about re: 2010, as it was a high drama move on many counts, but instead I will settle in quietly and post an old photo of my relatively huge closet (relative to that of my new place) in my first apartment circa 1992. It was a little 3-bedroom in Rochdale Village, part of the Berkeley Co-ops. Nice light, good space, not much charm. It was just behind the now defunct Cody’s Books on Telegraph (ugh), where I spent loads of time. I lived with an excellent friend I still love to visit (she moved east as well). Decided to move to New York while in that space. Obviously full of good vibes.

how I almost gave myself a concussion with a glorified bottle of air freshener

03AptI’m lucky I’m not moving tomorrow because my apartment reeks of cardamon and fig. All because of what I pinpoint as a hearty resistance to giving up my stuff.

No, I am not making cookies. Good idea though.

Sunday night, after some guys came to collect my favorite bookcase (left), I moved a different bookcase to where it had been. I slid the susani off the top, and starting tilting it over, toward me. I heard something slide, and realized just before the heavy glass jar cracked down on my head that I’d forgotten a cardamon and fig essential oil diffuser (pictured below), which an appreciative and beloved student had given me, had been sitting on top of it. The impact of the jar on my skull was followed immediately by the slime of the oil. Don’t get me wrong, the oil is lovely in its proper place. It is not inherently slimy. It is, in fact, only slimy if poured atop one’s head, arm and torso. Bookcase, yoga blanket, and floor. Bloody’ell, as Aussies have put me in the habit of saying.

The quality and weight of the product was evidenced by its landing: upright and entirely intact on the floor, six feet beneath its home on the top of the bookcase. I went immediately for ice, and put some on my head as I tried to towel off the oils, off me, off the stuff. Bloody’ell. I threw out the soaked t-shirt. It had a tomato stain on it anyway. I threw the blanket in the packing room, and almost laughed. But I was sad about my favorite bookcase going, just after it’d found a new home under my Persepolis photo. And I still wanted to move the other bookcase. Alas. Question: keep ice on my head, or try to wash the oils out of my hair? The smell was staggering. I washed.

cardamon and fig valuspaYes, yes, I put this all on the resistance. I want to keep everything I love until the last possible moment, but that’s impossible. And keeping everything keeps me too comfy anyway. This is for the best. It’s time to move.

I woke in the middle of the night, asphyxiating on cardamon and fig. My head hurt a little, but nothing shocking. It hurt more when walking to work the next morning. When I got on the train, I was certain my scrubbed-but-lingering scent was overwhelming the car. I asked Ralph as soon as I got into work. He kindly said he didn’t notice a thing. “Oh, yeah, perhaps a little, as you breezed past.” Oh dear. “But that’s a good thing!”

Upon reaching home last night, after an evening out celebrating Anya‘s dissertation defense, I was overcome by the cardamon and fig. And yet again tonight, with the heat blasting because it’s freezing again. I finally had a chance to throw the yoga blanket into the wash. Hopefully that’s the last serious carrier. The windows are open. Let the airing out begin. Please.

moving psychology 101

Whenever I get rid of stuff I once loved but don’t really need anymore, I take a photo. Looking at my old apartments reminds me that I can and will create another place I love, and storage doesn’t cost all that much. I’ll I’m really keeping are 3 boxes of books, 2 large boxes of photos/ negs/ chromes, photo stuff, journals, grandma’s table, and the rug underneath it (a kafkas acquired in Bukhara). Need a bookcase?

Just ran across this article on the psychology of moving in the NYT. It is, no doubt, a bourgeois diatribe that will cause my eyebrows to rise and my forehead to crinkle. Perhaps I should read it before I judge. It’s just that the NYT, one of the few pop culture institutions I plug into at all, is often written in a slightly smug tone that suggests that we, its readers, are all in on the same pseudo-liberal secret regarding how the world operates. We aren’t.

Maybe that’s why they’re broke.

Okay. I read it. Vapid. “I can’t move right now” when he has felt trapped for three years. Hmm. Almost as good as “love and light.” I’m not sure negating feeling by rephrasing is necessarily the best therapy.

Why doesn’t he sublet and live somewhere else? Co-op boards allow it.

It’s an interesting subject that wasn’t explored much at all in the article. There’s a lot to be said for what comes up during a move. Jungians have painted the psyche onto a house. Different rooms symbolize different aspects of being. Basement = subconscious. &c. There are also the factors of Home. Safety. Risk. Community. Change. Loss. I always lose something beloved in a move. At any rate, I’m grumpy. I need to eat something.

Good things to come. Stop resisting.

bookcase 2000

This was my bookcase in Astoria, early 2000, shortly before I packed up and moved to Uzbekistan. View it larger for all the little details, if you’re given to that sort of thing. Less clutter in my place now. Less stuff in general—fewer spectacles, cameras, letters, paper, etc. Okay, maybe the same number of cameras. But more things I love.

Oh, moving. Illness and grief aside, what’s harder? I’m packing up again for the first time in seven years, packing up the first place that has ever been a real home. I don’t own much stuff, considering, but what I do own, I love. Packing away photos, books, and negs to sit, homeless, in boxes does not feel nice at all. Oh how I resist change, even when much needed. Slowly, but surely.