The Perfect Type of Failing

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If a tree falls on an Abby and she definitely makes a noise — how far is the closest ER?

The joke pops into my brain as I’m clipping the smaller branches.  A sign that I’m in a better headspace.  A usual rule of thumb: if I can joke, I’m gonna be okay.

For the first couple of minutes after the incident, I speak in shaky, clipped statements, adrenaline rushing through my system as I attempt to discuss the failed tree cutting — as I attempt to sound calm and collected and my husband eventually asks, “Are you okay?  Because it sounds like you’re on the verge of having emotions.”

(Code for: having an emotional breakdown.) Continue reading

Notes On the Road: Accents, Longing, Belonging

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“Really?  You don’t have an accent.”

That is probably the number one response I get from people when they find out I’m from Boston.  I don’t have an accent.  It can come out if I’m really tired (er — tye-yihd) and there are a few words I had to teach myself to say properly (what’s up, phah-mih-cee), but, for the most part, I’m sans accent.  Didn’t matter that my father had one of the thickest working-class-Medford accents out there — or that my family tree is dripping with variations of the accent — no one hears me talk and suspects I’m from Boston.

But people have expected southern California.  Multiple times.

“My mom did grow up in Palo Alto,” I’d say, ignoring the part where Palo Alto is unambiguously not a part of SoCal.

Prologue 1: New Hampshire Continue reading