Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Not too long ago I didn’t want anything in my life that wasn’t created by me or the people I’d chosen around me. When I went back to visit my father before he died, I realized oh, these stuffed animals I had as a kid, they make me feel light and joyful, sad too but also bright and filled with possibility. So I took them with me, or asked my mother to send them, and she eventually did. My high school yearbook and literary magazine too -- I was the editor of the yearbook and coeditor of the literary magazine, but I’m not sure I wanted either near me before then. Also, some of the seashells I used to arrange in the bathrooms of the house where I grew up, a clay bird I bought in Mexico as a teenager, a glass panda from a relative I only remember seeing once.

Before then, I asked my grandmother to send me some of her collages -- I’d always loved her art, but wasn’t sure whether it would just make me sad to look at it on my walls, trapped. Sad that she could make this beautiful work, but refused to try to understand mine. Trapped by childhood when everything was a trap. But actually the art made me happy, I could stare at it and just imagine, kind of like a kid I guess, which is maybe what I like about all of this.

Now I have so much more -- all these things I’ve accumulated from my grandmother’s house -- tons of her art now -- a few oil paintings, lots of collages and several handmade paperworks, even a few sculptures she made at one point. Lots of the minerals she used to display around her house, the minerals that inspired her in her artwork, she would study the patterns and color combinations. Now I do. I even have her metal tic-tac-toe set, colored plastic blocks, small tables she collaged, dishes from her kitchen, drinking glasses, silverware, towels. All of these things are beautiful and inspiring, or at least practical, but they also make me feel a bit self-conscious, like where did I get all this? With the art I wanted to make sure that I had pieces from as many periods of her work as possible, I value her work in this way, the history, and mostly these are small pieces, the larger ones are in the University of Maryland collection or in storage near my mother’s house or sold for nothing by my mother at auction. Sometimes I actually want more of this work, just to preserve it. This feels important to me, but also in my self-conscious moments I wonder what people think about these things arranged in my apartment, beautiful things that relate to me but came from someone else. What does that mean about me, about my history, about my sense of vision and beauty?

I arrange these things, and rearrange them, trying to find the perfect place for everything. Like my grandmother, I guess. Although she would never hang art on a purple or pink or green wall, only neutrals she believed. She would never put several pieces right next to one another, contrasting in the way that I love. But now I have all these things -- artwork from a few of her friends too, and from a student of hers too, photos of my father from high school, the list he made of all his bar mitzvah presents. This stuff about my father, or from my father, that I keep away from direct view, but I’m sure I’ll want to look at it at some point -- for a different reason, nothing about my father feels comforting, just jarring. Sometimes jarring is important too.

I wonder about this space I’m creating with all my grandmother’s things around, this space that I already love and I’m sure she would see my apartment as cluttered, even now when it’s barely arranged. She would never range contrasting thrift store sofas or chairs together at one table, or laminate photos or propaganda and put them all together on one wall, my art, and I don’t know exactly what any of this means. Kind of like when I look out my window and there’s some guy walking around in a tank top. It’s 30 degrees out, and he’s hot! I mean he is hot, but that’s not the point.

Or, not like that. I’m looking out the window at details. My grandmother liked details too, sometimes she only liked details, the ones she could create on a canvas, control. If she could’ve arranged all of us, well then I’m certain she would have. You too, even. She hated this piece of assemblage art made by one of her students, 1967, a threatening hairbrush, bristles destroyed, facing us. Surrounded by broken machine parts, all painted hues of black and brown and gray. Early feminist art, I would say. I always loved it. My grandmother hated it, but kept it on a wall in the hallway of her basement, where I would look at it. She must’ve liked the student. Now that piece is here on my wall next to a silkscreened mirror art piece by a friend of mine in San Francisco, white and red images of ODYSSEY and that first space flight, James Brown behind bars, one of those vans people would drive around and live in, maybe a Gulfstream? Airstream? Something like that. Both pieces reflect that same time period, actually, and it reflects out at us from the purple wall.

I think the next piece to go up on that wall will be a black-and-white drawing by my grandmother from around that time period too, maybe earlier, a gold frame. My grandmother would never use a gold frame. I mean she framed it that way, but when? 1958 it says at the bottom. It looks great, actually, but if my grandmother were going to put it up anytime in the last 20 or 30 years, she would’ve had it reframed for sure. I love the way the painted gold frame will reflect one of the images from the mirror.

My parents only trusted one person to decorate their house, and that was my grandmother. Although as a kid sometimes I was allowed to make additions, adjustments -- everyone always said I had my grandmother’s eye, and maybe that’s what made her so resentful of me later. I mean that it wasn’t her eyes I was looking through. As a kid I saw so much through her eyes, but as an adult all she gave me was judgment and betrayal, she showed me the way someone so enthralled by dreaming could still refuse to allow her grandchild, me, to dream in my own way. To challenge her dreams, which I realized still centered around upper middle-class attainment, status, respectability -- all the things I hated. Especially her dreams for me -- she could choose freedom, but here I was the overachiever high school student ready to outdo all of them, and she resented me so much for refusing the whole package, creating my own way outside of their norms. What does this mean, then, to display her creations in my house, what does this mean for our relationship? What does this mean for me, and my relationship to the world? I’m asking these big questions because I’m asking these big questions.

But when I feel self-conscious maybe that’s part of it -- that upper middle-class attainment that I learned as a child meant an interior death, a legacy of abuse, a propensity to hide it, to hide everything except that veneer of success and keep moving, keep moving up. So I wonder if, when I’m hanging this art I’m participating in that illusion. I do have a certain kind of stability now that I haven’t had before, financial stability, because of my grandmother’s death and what she left to me. How do I make sure that kind of stability doesn’t lead to the violence I grew up with, the violence my grandmother could never leave, even as she arranged and rearranged her beautiful art? In my own arranging, what more can I rearrange?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Soft and searching

I don’t know why, but I’m getting more and more tired. Last night I even slept kind of okay, woke up without too much bloating, but still -- I’m more tired. Didn’t even feel like walking for more than a few blocks. It’s beautiful out, but it just seems kind of annoying, the sun everywhere, my eyes squinting into a headache. Maybe that’s from all the smoke at the luminaria, the big Santa Fe event where everyone walks around on Canyon Road looking at the Christmas lights -- I had no idea that it would be so crowded, streets blocked off by the cops and throngs of people everywhere. Too much smoke, though -- fires in the street, all the candles -- suddenly I felt like I was in the desert, at first I thought it was the people smoking cigarettes near me so I walked up ahead, less air. I mean I am in the desert. It’s hard to breathe in the desert with all that smoke.

I met someone nice last night, off one of those cruising sites -- can you imagine? He said the smoke was hard for him too, made his eyes burn -- and, he said the same thing about the smoke from everyone’s chimneys, which was kind of comforting, that it’s not just me with all my sensitivities. We were making out, and right when it seemed like he was really getting into it, he said can we just be friends? I said sure we can be friends, is it okay to be physical too? So then we stayed physical, hugging and caressing but not as much kissing and it felt so comfortable talking about Santa Fe and the places we’ve lived and where to get a haircut and why we moved here and whether we like it. I liked what he said about the music I was playing, the way he was listening. I wasn’t sure what made him say can we just be friends, maybe he was nervous or maybe I went too fast, what do you do at that moment where you’re assessing one another, make the first move is what I thought. Then I could feel myself shifting into that sexual place of interpreting the other person’s moves, kind of a performance and I wondered if that was intimidating. But also in this place like finally I can feel what I want. Maybe it was when I said do you want to move to the bed? Not that I necessarily wanted to move to the bed, except it seemed like it would be nice to lie on top of him and he wasn’t leaning in that direction on the sofa. He was the one who grabbed my dick, visibly hard I guess. I mean I know. What does just friends mean anyway because I really liked the physical contact, something about him felt soft and searching, so I hope that’s part of our friendship, I mean if we become friends. I mean I hope so.

A lostmissing poem from Erin! (And, it may soon become a country song, Erin tells me...)

Missing Miss Molly 30 years of age
sweet mountain girl a big heart a rage.
Started out a hippy now a blond Betty Page.

You broke away from me.
But how can this be?
I set myself free?

We had plans of future business,
making food and domestic stuff.
I guess in the end we called each others bluff.

Last I saw you in the desert with your dolphin RV
how could we know that it wasn't meant to be.
The name Whilamina tagged on the back
you told me what I was doing is totally wack.
I felt no love you didn't help me pack.

So I left you that day walking heavy hearted towards my fate
the tears you wished for me came a day to late.
You were worried those drops would never fall from my eyes
they fell like the rains from all of the skies.

So I ran all the way across that dusty town,
never looked back at your beautiful crown.
I tried to forget you my missing friend
Will you haunt me forever?
-On you I depend.

Lostmissing is a public art project -- I’d love it if you’d participate.

(I met Erin at the Meow Wolf gallery show where lostmissing is currently displayed at Eggman & Walrus, through January 10)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Walking home again

I do like it out here, even if I don’t have energy. I’m walking towards the pink in the sky, the railyard, open space so I can stare in all directions, up, pink mountains over there, soft pink, almost red in that direction, a few children yelling on the playground. When I’m exhausted like this I always think maybe on my walk all run to the other lonely people, or at least people, some kind of contact. I decided that my destination is the bathroom, it’s warm inside, I like the design, yesterday was the first time it was open, today it’s closed again, doesn’t really matter because I just wanted to get out of the house, into the air, and here I am, walking home again.

Outside anyway

It’s always stunning when I walk outside, look up and oh, the mountains. The air. Even if I’ve already sat outside in the sun, like today, the first day in a while when I was able to take off my shirt, the warmth on skin, cold air, staring at the light in the gravel. But then when I go out for a walk it’s different, all the air surrounding me, the light, the mountains, even today when my energy is low low low still it’s beautiful and calming to walk around and that’s the magic of this place, these walks. Even if my walk lasts too long, to the post office to check my mail and then back, it might be close to 2 miles, I was looking at the map last night, that’s way more than I used to walk, so I’m hoping for progress. Today it’s not progress necessarily, just exhaustion where I keep eating because whenever I finish I’m still hungry, I mean it’s always that way but today it seems worse and I wonder about the parasites, these herbs are helping, any of them, or I can’t tell when or what is helping what makes everything worse, can never tell really. So then I wonder about taking the pharmaceutical medication the naturopath in San Francisco recommended, maybe I’ll ask him about it, except then I start to worry it will make everything much worse, and much worse I can’t handle.

I guess it’s the dryness in the air that makes my hands hurt, I touch something the wrong way and I get a sore, try to avoid washing too much, not too many showers, everything dries my skin. Luckily not my face, at least not yet, I hope that doesn’t happen. But everything itches after a take a shower, so I try to take as few as possible, although I’m sick of wearing hats all the time, seems easier though, I need a haircut. That happens next week, then we’ll see. But I don’t know what to do about my hands -- shea butter, an overpriced moisturizer, aloe, I keep layering it on.

You what it is about going outside, it’s that inside I can see trees and buildings and the way the light changes, the street and alley at the sky, but does little bits really and then I go out there and wow, every time, wow. Makes me want to go out again right now, even though I’m too tired to walk really, should I go out anyway, right before it gets dark?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Kids they don't like

Or certain middle-aged straight women, anyway -- not the ones who say that’s a great coat, I saw you walking on Guadalupe and I thought that’s a very tall woman, but now I see that you’re a very manly man in an elegant coat. Or, on the phone: Mitchell? No, my name is not Mitchell! Low-flush toilets – I guess they’re a good idea, except when you have to flush four times in order to get it down. And then you have to use the toilet scrubber too, to break it down – just give me a regular toilet, okay? I’m not one of those people who flushes every time I piss, anyway, and I’m glad I got the ergonomic toilet scrubber, that was a good investment, but can’t I just shit, and flush? I know – it’s Christmas – keep flushing.

I’m wondering what exactly causes silverware to tarnish – something about exposure to oxygen, right? Is it safe to eat with it? I know that you can use toothpaste to remove tarnish – the sodium laurel sulfate, floor cleaner, because everyone wants their teeth to be as clean as their floors. Like when you name your new spa Massage Miracle, time to close the blinds, nighttime. Now I understand why everyone here likes a wall around their house—otherwise you just stare outside at the cars going by. Although often the people with the biggest walls live the furthest from the street. That big van with the gate separating front from back—I always think it’s a cop van, but it’s just the people doing construction across the street, how long is this construction go on? Maybe they bought a used police van, or they have an attack dog, or kids they don’t like.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Look, my bedroom...

Mail, moisturizer, and red

Here I am waiting for the bus to go to the mail place, since I’m sure the post office will be a nightmare near all those holy holy holy days, the bus is supposed to couple little after noon and it’s not here yet, and actually I’m not sure this really is a stop for the #4, since there’s no marking to tell you which bus runs here, and if you look at the map it doesn’t say which streets are which except for once in a while, I guess you’re just supposed to guess. Not that there’s a map here at the stop, or anything, or at any stop, but there is a phone number, luckily I brought my cell phone so I call and ask if the #4 goes down Don Diego, and the operator says where are you? I’m on Don Diego. Are you calling about a Santa Fe Trails bus? Yes, I thought this was the number.

He says where are you? I’m on Don Diego, and I’m wondering if the #4 runs down this street. He says no, I don’t think so. I say which bus does run down Don Diego? He says I can’t tell by looking at the map. I say I know none of the streets are marked, is it possible to get a better bus map, I mean can I make a suggestion? He says this is the only map. I say I know, that’s why I’d like to make a suggestion. He says let me check with someone, can I put you on hold?

When he comes back, he says yes, the #4 does run down Don Diego. So then I’m waiting again—of course there’s nowhere to sit except for some big rocks someone set out here, probably the property owner, so I’m walking from one to the other and then wait, there it is, the bus, coming around the corner, I think. And then when I get to the mail place, the person they’re a super-friendly and it only takes a few minutes, afterwards I feel so accomplished then I figure I might as well look at Pharmaca to see if there’s anything I need, oh maybe moisturizer since my hands are starting to hurt – they recommend one that doesn’t contain any fragrance, but it’s $20. You’re worth it, the person working there says – I know, but I don’t know if this moisturizer is worth it, but I get it anyway, I guess I can return it. The best part is that they have a complimentary water dispenser, maybe I’ll even go next door to terrible Trader Joe’s to see if there’s something I need there – is this really all their produce? Just some crap wrapped in plastic? I guess the sea salt is cheap, although it only comes in plastic containers, forget that – I wouldn’t mind one of those Christmas cactuses with white and pink flowers on the same plant, but I wouldn’t be able to carry that. Unless I waited for the bus, which only runs once an hour.

The best part is the woman who taps me on the arm in a conspiring way and says you look wonderful – oh, and I forgot to mention the woman at the mail place who says you’re wearing every possible shade of red! I guess I’m going to have to start dating middle-aged straight women here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

They make you listen to this all day long

I love it when I put on exactly the music that I need, there’s a beat in my head and the music matches that beat or even better when it doesn’t exactly match that beat but it’s better. I’m starting to dance more in the house, I mean dance more without immediate pain, or at least for the last few days, so maybe that’s a good sign although the bloating has gotten worse or not worse but I hate the way it ruins my sleep because actually my sleep feels kind of deep, except for the bloating. And then I can’t figure out exactly what to take for parasites without making everything worse, Paul Pitchford on the phone said when you take something and there’s that immediate clenching in the gut, that’s deficient yin, time to stop, but what if everything causes that clenching? Anyway, I’m outside sitting in the sun and even though it’s only 42 or so it feels warm, because it is warmer, and there are all these birds chirping, strange the birds that seem to stay here through the winter, I’m not sure, and that that calm through my whole body so maybe I’ll go back inside and dance some more.

Then it’s the next day, and this is the day after the night when my sleep is awful, interrupted because of a sudden clenching in my gut, even if I’m glad that I turned all the way to the other side while I was asleep, still I’m not wired just awake and this lasts and lasts until it doesn’t last anymore and then I’m awake, trying to figure out what music, everything sounds too dark because of that feeling in my head and then I think oh, maybe something old, those clubs from the mid-‘90s, that’s right what I want to hear is “eat ice cream and you’ll lick the floor.” The End of the Earth Is Upon Us.

It’s amazing how long the snow takes to melt, I mean I guess how much water there is, it still sounds like rain coming off my roof and Andee says Mattilda, I can’t believe you live in a town. A town is right, where every walk feels like an adventure, looking at the way the light changes, changes light, changes, and then I’m back at home with a headache again, or no not a headache yet, that comes later, all the dryness in my apartment or maybe in the gallery where somehow I ended up, just because it was open, how ‘60s modernism in all its varieties is so popular here and this gallery was incredibly posh, still they were playing Christmas music and I wanted to ask really, they make you listen to this all day long? But the people working there were the type that don’t even look at you, trash in this gallery where art costs more than you and they did have a nice bathroom.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A stencil!

Oh, and that plant I was telling you about...

New sculptures

Close your eyes, and picture the snow falling off the trees in big clumps, what was that, oh the snow, melting off the houses like rain, icicles where there’s metal. No, wait – open your eyes and watch the sun peer out over all the white, bright, and then clouds again, still bright but softer, and then the light up high but through white, onto white and the sound of the cars through slush in the roads and maybe you start to walk, just to the back of the house but still it feels like an adventure, you want to close the window in your bedroom just a little and the mechanism broke on the inside, maybe from outside, yes it works, and here’s where you see the icicles. Inside again and the snow is falling, dripping from the roof but you wait for another chunk to fall from one of the trees, new sculptures and the way the branches shake.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Okay, I keep getting distracted from writing – why, distraction, why? But anyway, now I’m here, distracted. I wanted to tell you about all the fires, you walk outside and everything is burning – just in their fireplaces, I mean. But then it comes pouring into my apartment, oh no my sinuses but even here with all the dryness, heat in apartments because we need it I mean even here in my apartment I turn the heat up high except when I go to bed, but even so I will say that my sinuses are much better. Hopefully when I say that, everything will suddenly get worse, like when I’m in bed thinking well at least tonight the bloating’s not so bad, and then he gets terrible. It’s been terrible lately, but only at night, which is still better than it was before, even if it still ruins my sleep. Today I woke up with my sinuses worse than usual, clogged in that way, a headache too at first, maybe because I didn’t leave the windows open as far, it was colder, 16 or something, I didn’t want to get too cold. Tonight I’ll open it wider anyway.

I’m trying to remember what else I wanted to write about – maybe the snow, and the way that, no matter what, when I open the door all the air clears my head yes my head yes the air yes they air and the way today every few minutes the sky would change, starting out very gray oh I love the gray sky, especially when it’s been so sunny, then a hint of sun and the bright snow, sunglasses over to the consignment shops around the corner where everyone remembers my name, how sweet, and then later when I was driving around with Justin, I looked over at the mountains and oh, white, you know what that means, and then the sky, trailing us, I mean the clouds in colors the colors in our eyes our eyes in the sky.

And maybe something more mundane, like the way my phone isn’t working two days after they installed the line, and why do they take the wires all the way over the house instead of just around the garage, or maybe how you have to go to the trash place to get recycling bins, I mean they won’t deliver them and there’s this big ad campaign by the Santa Fe New Mexican, the daily newspaper, about how no one recycles in Santa Fe, and really, wouldn’t it help if they delivered the bins. Maybe just a little more funding, and they wouldn’t leave the lights off in the lobby when you arrive like everything’s closed, and here businesses have to pay for recycling so of course it’s not mandatory and that’s where the vast majority of the waste comes in, right? But then you look up at the sky again, not to me now but you, we’re here together, oh I know I wanted to say something about cruising areas and that’s the way to have sex with someone you might not be attracted to because at that moment when you see whatever it is in posture or gait I wish it was a smile but no, not usually a smile, maybe just the gesture or the way he carries those clothes on his body, the way his body carries, the way his eyes or skin or nose or grin no rarely grin but maybe shoes or forget it, I’m on my knees, but the point is the difference between that and when someone comes over and you think can I? Maybe. Why not. Even if. And then. Emptiness. Not the right kind. Not like when you walk outside and the sky, not like when you walk inside, look around, just something familiar and draining and yes, we all know I’m here to figure out what’s next, desire that builds, or no that’s not why I’m here but it’s something that I need to figure out at some point, and I’m here, figuring, figuring some point.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

This time

It’s been snowing all day, and what could be better, the way everything fills with white and oh I love that crunching sound under my feet. It’s finally sticking everywhere except the street, I know I’m going to need to get some salt for my front porch – right now it’s all wet, but once night comes I’m guessing it will freeze, right? It’s been snowing all day, and what could be better, except that I feel horrible. Horrible in that way that I’m trying to figure out what to do, except that I don’t have any energy so why am I trying to figure out what to do? I even went on craigslist, that search for sex in order to escape exhaustion, except at least here there isn’t really anything on craigslist so I can’t get lost.

Earlier I tried to walk to the other bookstore, the one I haven’t been to yet, I mean the one I haven’t been to that supposed to be good, but then I had to get back to my house for the repair person, who canceled because of the snow, and that was right when I was thinking that at least in Santa Fe normal canceled because of snow, I mean it seems like everyone has four-wheel drive vehicles, but I guess not the repair person. Then my phone wasn’t working, so I called that repair person and they give you a glorious arrival time of anywhere between noon and 7:30 pm, except then my phone was working again so I canceled, but it was only working for 10 minutes.

I wanted to go to the last hearing on the Buckman Diversion Project, the monstrous program that means water for Santa Fe will be diverted from the super-polluted Rio Grande, 3 miles from Los Alamos, oh no, but there’s no way I have enough energy to go to City Hall. Instead I’ll watch the snow through my window, blowing off the trees, while too much heat inside dries out my sinuses. I mean too much heat for my sinuses, but still it’s chilly and I don’t want to take a shower because that dries out my skin too much. At least I went to the water purification place yesterday, they gave me a lot of information, yes it could be the chlorine and chloramine and that makes my skin itch after every shower, or the fact that the water here is so hard, filled with minerals like uranium, my favorite, won’t be able to get that out of the shower but reverse osmosis supposedly removes close to 100% of uranium because it’s a heavy element, those are easier to remove. Plutonium is heavy too, right? But they don’t know whether that gets removed, since there isn’t much testing for plutonium in water – not everyone lives right by Los Alamos said the person at the water purification place. True enough, but we do! And most people in Santa Fe don’t even seem to notice, or don’t think it’s a health risk. At the bookstore, no one could even think of a book to recommend about Los Alamos, I need a critical examination of nuclear contamination, not some glowing biography on Robert Oppenheimer—or, wait, what about this new biography. On Robert Oppenheimer.

But I wanted to tell you about the Railyard Park, all the different textures under my feet, before the snow. There’s the grey sand. The sand-colored sand. Gravel. Mulch. Cement. That weird synthetic stuff on the playground. Even some grass. I love all these textures, and the light, especially when it’s dark and the light is coming from the lamps that give everything a strange silhouette. What will the light be like when the sun sets in the snow? I can’t remember what that’s like at all. Even though my body hurts again, I don’t feel like doing more feldenkrais – I just did feldenkrais! I wish my phone was working, so I could call someone. Oh well – more feldenkrais, and then I’ll see how far I can walk this time. But wait – something just happened to my camera as I was trying to take a picture of my new houseplant – this is the houseplant to end all houseplants, I mean a new beginning, a new world of houseplants. But now I can show you, I can only describe the way it reaches all the way from floor to ceiling, literally. It’s a pencil plant, this gorgeous succulent that I was fantasizing about, I mean I was fantasizing about just a small one from a plant store, but then I was looking for a sleep sofa on craigslist and instead of a sleep sofa I found this amazing pencil plant that’s so big it almost has a trunk, growing out in all different directions but especially up, now framing the front window of my apartment in front of the purple wall, and to its left we see snow covering a pine tree and the table and chairs I got from my front lawn, or maybe not lawn because it’s all gravel, but front.
But this plant, this plant is incredible, a desert gem for sure, the kind of thing you’d see at a plant store and think how the hell did they get it that large, then you’d look at the price tag and it would be hundreds and hundreds of dollars, but this woman was giving it away for $30. It was an adventure just to go to her house, that part of Santa Fe or one of the parts of Santa Fe where rich people live on the edge of the world, it’s like you’re in the middle of nowhere, foothills and the horizon, the light so spectacular but it’s not nowhere is this one of the neighborhoods where rich people live so they can feel like they live nowhere, nowhere is the most exclusive destinations here in Santa Fe, just the landscape and you, the landscape and you and the light and this woman said she bought the house as a tear down, so she could sell it, I guess that means she tore it down and then planted aspen trees and created a fake creek in the back but I will admit it was gorgeous. Wilderness they create to sell. But this plant, a desert gem, a desert gem and the snow, and soon, a walk.