Morocco or Bust

You know when you’ve been planning something for so long that it becomes a thing that exists in the amorphous future? Forever? Morocco was like that.

I’ve been planning it forever, anticipating forever, and telling myself to be patient forever. Then all of the sudden it’s on top of me.

Lor arrived on Sunday, taking a few days in Boulder before we embarked on our big trip. 

Loony and Lor, looking very color coordinated

My boys are off on week-long Scouts backpacking trip in the slot canyons in Southern Utah. It gave me the space I needed to get my house and work in order before bouncing; it was a big job. 

I have been in a constant state of upheaval. Loony and I have been in the midst of a major relationship crisis. He left for two weeks in Ecuador and I spent the time without him doing a lot of soul searching and getting the support of friends and family. 

I read a lot of self-help books, talked over what I wanted from my marriage and family, and recommitted myself to doing the kind of personal work that had fallen by the wayside because of all the other stuff that demanded immediate attention, like my mother-in-law, starting a new job, and remodeling the garage.

One book that I absolutely loved was The Lost Connections by Johann Hari. He was interviewed by Dan Savage about depression and I was struck with how deeply compassionate he was, so much that I went out and read his book despite my distrust of anything smacking of personal growth.

It was plenty of food for thought and while I considered how to integrate his advice into my life, I thought about how I could head depression and anxiety off at the pass for my kids. 

Keeping connections strong is at the heart of his book and I thought about what I could do to foster more closeness in my own family. Currently the boys are going through some really challenging sibling rivalry so doing things together is tough. I talked Redacted into doing a family game night because our kids are BFFs and maybe that would dilute the hate.

It went okay but I was a nervous wreck, mostly because when kids have fun they get loud, which is fine. But I support the family by renting out space in my house and this month and I had three additional guests.

Even though they weren’t paying to be here, I felt self-conscious of the racket so I was literally surrounded by people that I wanted to have fun while also surrounded by people I didn’t want to annoy with sounds of too much fun.

I was trying to be like, “Let’s all have fun!” but still was like SHHHHHHHH! which sucked.

Needless to say, I’d like to get out of the business of housemates (even though mine are awesome) and I’ll think long and hard about having houseguests. Period. I’m too fucking busy.

I got a kick out of Scheissehund getting up everyone’s butts, though. That’s good, quiet, fun. 

I’ll try again with the game night now that everyone has left.

I’m relieved to say that Loony returned and we got right down to work, both personally and as a couple and I feel optimistic. We got a great counsellor (who is also a friend) and I feel like we are finally getting through to each other. We’ll see.

I want us to be okay. REALLY okay.

It was touch-and-go for a while there, and I think it will always be. Anyone who doesn’t think their relationship is teetering at the brink of destruction is kidding themself. If anything, I’ve learned to have a respect for the constant work that a healthy relationship requires. I don’t think I ever want to say “We’re doing great” if that means I’m taking my eye off the ball.
For now we are doing okay, and it feels good.

Adding to the pressure cooker feel of life was hosting three artists of behalf of Studio Arts Boulder, and the construction that led up to it. It’s been a lot, all around.

The artists were lovely people but it is hard to develop a bond with people you can’t communicate with. They were kind, appreciative, and friendly, we just couldn’t talk.

Cherry pie got the thumbs up!

There was a lot of pantomime and simple sentences, but no real exchange of ideas which was frustrating because those guys are radical artists.

A time-lapse of the open pit firing

Like, for real. I would have loved to discuss their process with them and find out where they got their inspiration. 

It was a lot of people to have in my space but we made it work and the tiny house was put to good use. I’m really happy to have that space back; a constant refrain amongst me and my friends has been, “Won’t it be great to have the tiny so we can ___________.” Fill in the blank with a book club, music listening, cocktail parties for six, movie nights, you name it. 

And getting to be alone, maybe make some pottery inspired by the artists who stayed with me.

I want to make this out of porcelain

The other morning in the kitchen, something from a shelf fell onto a porcelain crock I had on the counter. It was nothing special, just an experiment to see if I could make something that looked like fabric. Ruyijiro felt responsible for it and stopped me from chucking it into the trash. I wasn’t upset at all, I didn’t love the piece but he said, “I will make it” and took it away.

Before he left he presented me with the pot, mended and gilded with gold leaf in the kintsugi tradition. 

That pot didn’t deserve that treatment but now it is absolutely sublime and a really beautiful memory of this strange cultural exchange.

I wrapped up all the loose ends and did my best to leave in a way that made Loony feel safe, unlike how he felt when he left for Ecuador. It was major. 

Of course I am completely stressed about Chief being sad while I’m gone. And me being sad because I miss him so fucking much.

De riguer morning make-out session

Fortunately Junebug is coming by each day to walk him while I’m gone, at least until she takes off on her latest photography road trip. She has been a tremendous friend to me, taking me on adventures and being an unique and consistent presence in my life. 

Just walking dogs

Connection is a huge priority for me and we saw something in each other and put in the time to grow this friendship. Our dogs are best friends which is icing on the cake.

Juniper likes to straddle Chief’s head which is because of wolves

And she totally gets me when I send her random texts.

Our flight to London didn’t leave until seven in the evening so Lor and I had time to pack and unpack our bags obsessively. We were relieved to finally get out the door.

I was pretty stoked to be flying British Airways. This might sound like a paid endorsement but I fucking love British Airways. It is the opposite of most American carriers.

There are blankets, eye masks, toothbrushes, hot towelettes, free booze, plentiful food, and headphones that don’t feel like you are stuffing sharp sticks into your ears. 

Lor took the risk on getting the salmon for dinner (it was horrible but duh, YOU DON’T ORDER FISH ON AN AIRPLANE) but I was pretty happy with my vegetarian pasta. 

I’ve been meaning to watch A Star Is Born since it came out but it was hard to get anyone to buy into a 3 hour-long movie. What better time to watch it, no?

It was absolutely magnificent.

I get that it is manipulative, formulaic, blah-blah, but damn I cried my eyes out and loved the chemistry between Gaga and Cooper. 

Had me hankering for a good old-fashioned dysfunctional relationship

I managed to get a little sleep on the flight – Lor no so much – and we were exhausted by the time we got to London.

We checked into this cute little hotel Sideboob found for us and I know that you have to stay awake until 9pm, but we were so tired that we took a little nap before walking around.

I must admit that I have a hard time interacting with big cities. I do fine when I have Sideboob to follow around, but I’m not so great on my own. I would so much rather spend time in nature that all those buildings leave me disoriented. Plus, Lauren broke her ankle a few years back and it has never been the same, which makes brisk walks painful for her. 

Once in Morocco we will be in a large enough group that it will likely be slow moving and there will be options for us to split up when I want to go fast and she would rather relax. 

The net of it is that we decided to take the afternoon to recharge our batteries by listening to music (currently obsessed with Aldous Harding) and writing. Our flight to Marrakech is only three hours long and we will arrive with a good deal of the day ahead of us, might as well arrive ready to go.

I haven’t sat still in such a long time that I actually really need this time to relax. And I miss writing.

Party by Aldous Harding

He took me to a clearing
The grass was warm
And the air was soft He had me sit like a baby
I looked just twelve
With his thumb in my mouth, I was as happy as I will ever be
Believe in me
I will never break from you
If there is a party, will you wait for me? I felt slow on the journey you planned
I was ashamed
When you yelled my name
Stones smell good when you cuddle them
All in a stackI was as happy as I will ever be
Believe in me
I will never break from you
If there is a party, will you wait for me? I wander off the journey I’ve planned
The doom I felt
And the death I smelled
I see now that he understands
He cannot be helped

After a bunch of writing and knitting, we walked to Cyprus Mangal, a restaurant down the street for dinner. It was so good.

I remember Tabby scolding me for stacking plates, saying that in England it was considered to be rude. I had to restrain myself from stacking the empty plates that held a delicious feast.

We drank a couple glasses of wine and chased the dinner with baklava and wove our way back to the hotel for showers and bed. At this point I’m falling asleep at my computer so it’s time to call it.

The next time you hear from me I’ll be in Morocco.

One thought on “Morocco or Bust

  1. How exciting! I would love to go to Morocco. I have so many Moroccan belts I wear them all the time. About your sons…My little sisters fought like cats and dogs until they were late teens early 20’s. Now they are tight. I am glad you and Lonnie are working on your relationship. Relationships are so important, especially with your hubby. Mr Basil would rather I yell and scream at him then cry. When I cry he thinks, “Oh shit! Now I have really done it!”hahah Have fun on your trip.

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