Monday, August 24, 2015

GOODBYE poem-note

by W.S. Merwin

Did I think it would abide as it was forever   
   all that time ago the turned earth in the old garden
where I stood in spring remembering spring in another place
   that had ceased to exist and the dug roots kept giving up
their black tokens their coins and bone buttons and shoe nails
  made by hands and bits of plates as the thin clouds
of that season slipped past gray branches on which the early
   white petals were catching their light and I thought I knew
something of age then my own age which had conveyed me
   to there and the ages of the trees and the walls and houses
from before my coming and the age of the new seeds as I
   set each one in the ground to begin to remember
what to become and the order in which to return
   and even the other age into which I was passing
all the time while I was thinking of something different   

I'll be back next week, when I'm in another place.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

airline ticket. already homesick.

mixed emotions salad
served with cheap ticket
in a New York restaurant
where Snoopy cackles
and Bishop sighs

Today at 3:27pm (reports the confirmation email) I purchased a one-way JetBlue airline ticket to Pennsylvania for only $89.  High five for finding a terrific bargain!  I'll depart Boston this upcoming Tuesday morning at 6:05 and land in Pittsburgh at 7:46am.  I usu don't go to bed early but, the night before my flight, I'll turn in around 10pm - even if I just lie awake listening to my favorite songs - so that I can get some rest before leaving home at 4:30am.  (petting a wall)  I'M GOING TO MISS MY ATTIC BEDROOM AND ELLEN'S SNEEZES ECHOING THROUGH THE HOUSE!  (Yes, that was me whining.)

Life in Pittsburgh will start right away.  A few hours after landing in Jeff Goldblum's hometown, I'll go to the Thomas Merton Center on Tuesday afternoon - to greet, meet, and begin work on a grant.

And the very best news of all:  I won't have to be a housekeeper.  (sigh of relief)  On Wednesday afternoon, I'll go through the Pittsburgh Public Schools' orientation.  The following Monday morning, August 31st, I will bring my bagged lunch to the Montessori School - for more greeting and meeting.

If I had my wits about me, I could tell you about the Grantmanship Training Program I enrolled in.  I could comment on the endless clearances that Pittsburgh requires from its teachers - including FBI files.  I could reflect on the amazing heart-to-heart I had with my aunt, after she lent me $400.  (sigh)  But...

"Well, he's the reason I became a writer - but that's not important."  
Such a disastrous date but the best line.  (HUGE snoopy cackle)   
Buying a ticket was decisive: On Tuesday, it's goodbye to Boston for several weeks, and I am already feeling sad twinges of homesickness. That's why I turned to THE movie, THE mama of films for me: Nora Ephron's rom-com When Harry Met Sally. I appreciate a lot of cinema - filmmakers from Federico Fellini to Wesley Anderson - but no film provides me with more comfort than cheesy Harry and Sally.  They're my go-to whenever I'm lost in transition.  ...Must end to pet bedroom walls, while reciting my favorite lines by Bruno Kirby.  Very excited yet nervous, I've slipped into my turtle shell, so let's connect later this weekend - okay xo.

my spirit animal & how i'm feeling tonight
shell = davis sq.  field = friendly pittsburgh.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

But I'm A Housekeeper

It's been such a nutty two days, I don't know where to begin.  Let's go for a point-by-point update:

#1   Got a job offer in Pennsylvania to be a housekeeper in the wealthy neighborhood Squirrel Hill.  That'd begin whenever I arrive to Pittsburgh.  This will sound dicey but, when I get there, I'd notify a woman named Theresa who would put me with a household where I cook, clean, take care of kids.

And the spirits of my African-American grandmothers are cringing at the lack of progress...

#2   BUT then I got another job offer, as an assistant teacher at Pittsburgh Montessori with the 6 to 9 year old mixed group.  The glitch with this offer is that I must travel to Pittsburgh next week to complete clearances, give fingerprints, and go through orientation.  I'm going to ask an aunt if she'd lend me $500 to make that trip possible.  If she cannot, then I am resigned to being a housekeeper.

the Pittsburgh Montessori School, in a neighborhood called Friendship

Right now as I type this love note to gorgeous you, I'm not really certain when I'm moving to Pittsburgh?  Right now as I type while listening to the Bombay Bicycle Club, I feel that in my heart I've decided to get my butt to Pittsburgh next wk - even if that means I am hitchhiking. Classes at the Montessori School will begin on Monday, 31 August, OR I'll stick with the original plan of relocating the weekend of 11 September.  In twenty-four hrs, by tomorrow night I should have a better idea.

#3   I've said no to the cool doula job in Portland, Oregon.  As I mentioned last week, I had begun their interview process, and there was alot of communication.  It felt like they were going through the official procedure, merely checking off the list until they could offer me a really neat full-time job in the ideal hipster city.  But it's not the right time.  This entire summer, I've spent hours setting up my life in Pennsylvania, and it's promising to be an incredibly positive experience for me.  So I have chosen Pittsburgh over Portland, but their surprising response was "get back in touch with us."

I'll always get back in touch with YOU.  I'm sending coded electronic hugs 2322322322<32you23222.

   Bombay Bicycle Club's Eyes Off You    

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Henry, the depressed dentist

I mentioned my collaboration with a talented British illustrator named Becca Thorne.  She and I spent the last half of July swapping about seventy emails, winding our way through roughly six drafts, until we ended up with a very plum linocut.  And as Lemony Snicket would clarify, in this case plum not being the fruit or colour, but as in "a very good pictorial interpretation by a vegetarian printmaker."

© Becca Thorne for Bishop C. Knight and A Broke Bridget

This isn't actually the final linocut that I will eventually submit to agents and publishers.  You can see the plummer polished product on Becca's blog, while also learning more about her own manuscript.

Friday, August 14, 2015

the prospect of Portland, Oregon

Exactly one week ago, on Friday the 7th, I received a very surprising telephone call.  The head of the Human Resources Department at Providence Health & Services, a Catholic healthcare system located in Portland, was calling me to initiate their interview process for a full-time doula position.

Providence Portland Medical Center

I've applied for this position twice.  I first applied two springs ago, around April 2014.  The position opened up again, and so I applied once more early this year, I think around January 2015.  Although I am obviously excited about this job opportunity, I never imagined they'd ever follow up with me.

Many many months later, the head of their HR Department suddenly seems very interested in me as a candidate for this position.  After completing today's Bridget blog, I'll probably spend the rest of my Friday carefully responding to several emails from Providence Health.  But I'm ready with my work playlist looping - Summa by Arvo, Clair de Lune by Claude, Appalachian Spring by Aaron, and other pieces that won't disturb my concentration - while I answer a long list of questions like "What is your goal [whenever] attending a birth?" and "Name [two] professional accomplishments, as a doula..."

Arvo Pärt's Summa for four voices

I'm gonna get to that, because those work emails will probably consume the rest of today.  My expectation:  This job won't come through for me.  Two years / twenty-four months ago which feels like an eon ago, I set the intention to (finally) secure full-time work reflective of me and my life path.  I've sent out more résumés than I can estimate, had more interviews than I care to recall, and I ask that you hold the same low expectation.  What I have learned about the larger significance of "WORK" is that it's much more than a title and its attached income, and I think I probably learned that the first time I saw a new person squirm out of its mama.  There's nothing more mind-altering than being with teensy humans the first five minutes of their life path in this harum-scarum world. Freelancing as a doula has been amazing, and I simply see this latest interview process as a nice opportunity to connect with other doulas ... before Providence Health probably hires someone else.

In the meantime, if you know a pregnant family that needs a birth doula, send them my way - thanks!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

muffins + mad hatters

Friendliness is free.

Every single time I leave my house and I am circulating around my hometown Boston, I am surrounded by acquaintances whom I do not know intimately yet who casually provide company that I am acutely grateful for.  People whose lasts names I'll never know but who smile and chat with me. Over the past few weeks there's been Maggie the Starbucks barista who commented this afternoon, "And now you're going to add half-and-half," as she handed me my change and coffee.  There is Harvest Co-op ... (reverent pause) ... my favorite grocery store in Cambridge and the woman who has been working there for about a decade.  I watched her belly bulge during her first pregnancy, and she's just had her third son.  Last time we chatted at Harvest, she showed me a picture of her boys on her iPhone.  A friendly stranger for a decade!  I could go on and on because, literally and on my father's grave, there is not a single day out and about when I cannot strike up a friendly conversation with a loose / local assoicate whose gorgeous face is incredibly familiar to me.  I do not possess this type of network in any other place.  For example, last time I went to Chicago, a metropolis I loooooooove second to Boston - in fact I have a theory that right before I was born, God was stuck in a dilemma "Confound it!  I don't know about this babe, Boston or Chicago Boston or Chicago?  Boston?  Chicago!  No no, drop this one in Boston." - that's how familiar Chicago feels. While there enjoying Chitown's architecture and tasty food, I knew NOBODY.  I really like traveling alone, but Chicago didn't provide the formal yet fun banter I share with fellow Bostonians.

Then there are the beloveds whose last names I know - a few now changed or hyphenated to their spouses'.  The muffins who sit at tables with me, munching the food I got at Harvest Coop.  Darlings whose bellies I also watched bulge and who are raising their kiddos to call me auntie. With four wks left in Boston, I've got to spend time appreciating this community close to me; these inside friends.

#1 KARAOKE   I've never sung karaoke but plan for 2015 to be the year this changes! There's a studio called DoReMi.  If I can entice five friends, then we can each pay $12 for a two-hour regular room.

#2 ISABELLA STEWART GARDNER   I have passed this building about a hundred times, but I've never ventured inside it.  Recently an Italian student took a museum tour, adored the art, and insisted that I finally venture in.  Admissions for an adult is $15.  If I go to the cafe with a friend and order an espresso, I should not go over my $20 daily limit.  
facade of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

#3 THAI VEGAN CAFE WITH JOE   Maybe a last dinner in MA with one of the best human beings ever.

Elton's homage to cities and the people in them.   
For the mad hatters who make my world go round.  
I reallyreally wanna croon this tune at karaoke!   

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

ex-boyfriend therapy

I mentioned earlier this wk that today is payday, and I actually find payday to be extremely stressful.

I'm not being ironical or attempting to sound witty.  Every other Wednesday stresses me out because I blow through hundreds of dollars within hours.  First thing in the morning when the sun's just risen, when there are still small chunks of sleep in my eye, I roll out of my sleigh bed, sit at my writing desk in a hunched-over haze, log onto my computer, and check that compensation has been deposited into my savings account.  By the time that same sun begins to set, as it's doing right now, I have dispersed $500+ to other people, usually leaving no more than $40 total in my bank accounts.

In general this week I've felt overwhelmed, restless, dissatisfied, at times grumpy.  (My housemate Ellen only smiled when I told her to "please not move my dirty cups from off the counter because I'm going to wash them soon!"  She is a saint, for real.)  The fact that I will move to Pittsburgh in less than a month has felt exciting but heavy.  I am doing SO MUCH prep to make the transition smooth...

this pic is the background on my computer,
but not even firth's handsome face has helped.
I have gone through the routines that normally soothe me.  On Monday I bought myself a chocolate brownie.  I listened to all my favorite songs by Coldplay and The Smiths.  I spent extra time cooking in the kitchen.  I watched a few Colin Firth films.  I took a walk after work and then let myself nap. However, none of my usual self-soothing  has worked this past week.  

Feeling especially needy and wobbly, yesterday evening I decided to selfishly contact my very kind ex-boyfriend. And he should be arriving at my house in about twenty minutes.  Because I just need a familiar arm hanging around my neck, his arm cradling me to a comfy place and his patient ear listening to me rant, as we stroll during tonight's sunset.  (Nix those smutty thoughts, perv.)

Let's end with hard numbers:  The Broke Bridget Bank got $85.  I dropped off $300 to my landlord. Tomorrow I pick up my laptop from the repair shop, and that will cost me $100.  (My trusty desktop has been my main computer for the past fourteen years, but I don't want to ship it to Pittsburgh.)  And now there remains $39.87 total in my bank account; what I have for these next two weeks.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

89 Pittsburgh Nights

This week at three different times when three different friends asked if I had a sublet in Pittsburgh, I realized I didn't share my good news, which is especially rude after my dramatic homelessness rant.

I have a room in a house with three artists, so it's a creative community that I'm excited to join for my eighty-nine nights of being a Pittsburgh resident.  By Boston standards, the rent is cheap.  Rent plus utilities average out to $250 / month, which is 40% of what I spend on housing in Massachusetts.

My sublet is in a neighborhood called Lower Lawrenceville, which google says is a hip part of town, coolly referred to as LoLa.  There are lots of restaurants and cafes to satisfy my coffee cravings and foodie penchants.  I like that I'll be only a few blocks away from the Allegheny River.  As LoLa seems similar to Davis Sq and with the Allegheny resembling the Charles, I might feel right in my element!

This is the prospect that's made me the moooost excited:  I'll be minutes away from The Strip District, also called the Historic Market District.  Blocks upon blocks of open food stalls.  It will be bloody glorious (said very loudly)!  I imagine spending 50% of my newly expendable income on food.

antipasto for sale in The Strip District of Pittsburgh, PA
For thirty years in Davis Square, there had been a small Italian specialty shop called Sessa's and, before it closed, Sessa's was the only place in Boston (that I knew of) where customers could pick and choose from a variety of olives.  To see buckets of olives once again will raise my temperature!

Davis Square misses you, Sessa.
An Italian market in The Strip.
Sessa's doppelganger, sort of.
Honestly, I have been feeling nervous.  Who doesn't, when changing cities?  But rooted in Davis Square, in my attic bedroom and along the red line, Somerville is my forever home.  I'm not losing anything - just adding on. I'm going to stop through Pittsburgh.  Enjoy the Allegheny. Go on food adventures.  Pick up grantwriting skills and bring some memories home with me, back up North...  And that is the pep talk I give myself when I feel a mini panic attack coming on, haha.

I've never been good with big changes.

But I have affordable housing, hurrah!

Next on the list:  to secure paid work.  

Monday, August 10, 2015


Hello (kiss one cheek).  Hi (kiss other cheek).  How are you?  Won't you breathe with me for awhile?

So - the bell pepper I planned to purchase became a cup of coffee, but I have my train pass for the next seven days.  Happy to report that I've started this workweek by keeping to the $20 daily limit!

Tomorrow I'm going to blow $20 in these three ways:

[1]  My red dress at the dry cleaner will cost me $15.

[2]  Before coming home, I pick up a small cup of dark roast coffee from Starbucks.  Why? Because writing is my second (unpaid) job.  If I do not consume caffeine after teaching for a few hours, then I return home and NAP like there's no tomorrow - when what I really need is a boost of energy for my writing practice.  And I can feel this decision welling up inside of me:  At some point this month I'm going to dedicate one or two weeks to contacting publishers and agents, again. I'm gearing up for their half-rejections:  Something along the lines of "you are a strong writer but how would we make money off your weird work?!?"  I won't get into it, but I heartily believe there's an agent who will embrace and promote my Talking Heads meets Anaïs Nin style.  I just must locate this literary godsend.  (scrunched-up resolute expression)  That's why I sip coffee in the afternoon.  I am not proud of this unhealthy habit.  But to approach collaborators and similar whosits about literary thisandthats with non-drowsy enthusiasm, caffeine helps.  A small cup from Starbucks will cost $2.

my #1 favorite Talking Heads song

[3]  With the last three dollars of my Tuesday, I will make a second attempt to grocery shop, finally purchasing the one bell pepper (for a pot of udon noodle soup) plus poppy seeds (for bread baking).

the pepper bell my tomorrow is
Wednesday is payday, and it is going to be bonkers!
Three hundred dollars to my technophobic landlord.
One hundred fifteen dollars for the Pittsburgh sublet.
Eighty five dollars deposited to Broke Bridget Bank.
Another fifteen dollars to dry cleaner for silk blouse.

(smack to forehead)

And that's why they call me Broke Bridget, sheesh.

Life is not cheap.....
But the heat goes on.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

my opiate: the carebears' stare

I enjoy animated tv and film. Yesterday my housemate Ellen found me watching the 1985 Care Bears Movie.  I pointed out the bear with a rainbow on its belly!  (I like to think that would / could be me.)

This film was nicely narrated by Mickey Rooney, which is kind of neat.

And it's continued to be a relaxing weekend.  Also yesterday I met a student at Toscanini's in Central Square, because we both like quirky ice cream flavors.  We both tasted Toscanini's goat cheese & honey ice cream but ultimately went for different flavors.  I got the spicy ginger snaps molasses batch, while my tutee went for a vanilla base with rum.  That was a fun foodie adventure, and I am going to miss our lessons when next month this student returns to Korea and I move to Pittsburgh.

But to focus on more immediate times, as I look ahead to this new week, I'm assigning myself a monetary challenge:  From today until next Sunday, 16 August, I will do my damnedest to spend no more than $20 a day.  I already know I won't succeed, but this'll help to curb unnecessary purchases.

Here's how I see this week's budget breaking down.

TODAY:   I've given Ellen $20 for my third of our RCN cable bill.  This "utility" obviously brings joy to my life so, like I wrote before, I always feel more obliged to pay for RCN before other household accessories - like paper towels or blue glass cleaner, both of which we don't have at the moment...

TOMORROW:  The MBTA worker at my train station doesn't give a rat's ass if you pay in the morning. Once I saw him smirk as I stole through an open turnstile.  To test my hypothesis, last week (when I actually had a pass in my wallet) I went up to him and idiotically mumbled, "Ahm I don't..." Before I could finish making up a phony excuse, he sleepily smiled and flashed his pass across the scanner so I could saunter in - baffled, confused, amused and initiated into something, I don't know what.  Since that morning this dude I have become friendly.  Tomorrow morning I'll pay $19 for a weekly pass. Then I'll wave to this intriguing MBTA worker, who sits slumped on his stool with opium-glazed eyes.  Later on I will spend my last dollar of the day at the supermarket, purchasing a single bell pepper.

Wednesday onward, the rest of the week will become trickier and probably eradicate all peaceful clarity I possess right now - times when I sit slouched at my desk, staring at the wooden tabletop, fidgeting with my afro as I loop the money monologue that frequently runs around my head:  "Can I afford XYZ right now?  No, you definitely can't.  Well, you can whenever you have a full-time salary.  I should send out another resume tonight.  I would love to do karaoke with friends before I go to Pittsburgh.  Nope, can't afford it!"  On and on and bloody on.  That's why I appreciate care bears. For an hour and half, their warmth and lovability pause my money monologue and chill me the fuck out.

"Can I have a taste of your ice cream?  ...  No, mind your own business."

Delta 5 is awesome, but thanks for not taking their advice.  Thanks for not minding your own business.  Thank you for tolerating my care bear addiction, and remember to share your ice cream.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

one (fleeting) second of succeeding at adulthood

just. like. that.
It's been a stress-free money day.  I have $2 in the bank; $5 in my wallet.  Then this afternoon a nice barista, at the cafe where I regularly go in between classes, slipped me some joe for free.

Yes, I am a purring feline in a moment of peace.

One more bit of good news:  It's been a mellow workweek for reasons I won't go into.  I'll just mention how incredibly restorative the lighter load has been the past few days (although things rev up again next week).  During one quiet morning in my class, I added the Broke Bridget Bank to my direct deposit.  Over the next three months and every two weeks on payday, $85 will never reach my poor paws.  It'll be automatically deducted from my check and sent to those foolish yet kind bankers who gave me a loan.  There's a bank clerk I've been emailing with and, when I notified her that bi-monthly deposits will be sent directly from my employer, her response was genuine enthusiasm!  I expected someone to yell at me, because that's how guilty I've felt on the inside.  So my loan with the Broke Bridget Bank won't be paid by Labor Day Weekend, as I hoped, though repayment should be completed by Thanksgiving.

OK, must put wet laundry in dryer.  Thanks for reading my good news!  Happy to share it with YOU.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

ANGRY poem-note

My landlord is mad...  He wrote me a note because, yes, my landlord believes in handwriting notes. (He still TYPES our lease, and I really appreciate this about him.)  His note reads like an angry poem:

Hi Bishop,
Paying in cash is fine
Paying early is fine
Paying late is not.
Thank you, Josef

And because I so much like my landlord and his technophobia, his angry poem-note made me sad.
i mean it:  serious, curmudgeonly, and glorious old-school typing
That's it for tonight.  Stay hydrated + wonderful.  BIG HEARTY HUG FROM ME TO FABULOUS YOU.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

thanksgiving without a sperm daddy

When did bread become so damn expensive?
That is my favorite bread sold at the supermarket. I've been purchasing it for almost a decade, although this single item costs an exorbitant $4 a loaf (rolling my eyes and sighing). Considering two things - [1] that I usually need to buy an addition 10+ food items [2] yet my budget for the supermarket isn't ever more than $25 - this bread is super pricey for me. Oblivious of other shoppers and carts, I don't much care how bonkers I come across in the bread aisle - standing there in a huffy state, holding up a loaf, turning it over and over, examining with my face scowled and scrunched in disbelief, searching for some nuggets of gold or balls of crack to justify this very tasty loaf of bread being so very expensive?

If my introduction of foreshadowing was not explicit enough:  Thanksgiving in August has continued.

Last week I bought this favorite loaf of bread and I splurged:  I also bought a loaf I have not tried before, Farmhouse Whole Wheat.  We'll see.  I doubt another loaf can knock the oatmeal bread from first place.  ...Eight dollars!  (bulging eyes and neck veins)  One whopping third of my entire supermarket budget.    However at the moment, I just can't get enough.  The cerebral voice in my head keeps asking its lower physical hemisphere, "You're not joking that more food should be stuffed into our piehole, even though we munched a meal like two hours ago??"  To which question my stomach sounds a confirming rumble.

Last night I met with my friends Pamela and David for dinner.  We went to Veggie Galaxy in Central Square.  While we waited for our table - antsy, bouncing our knees, commenting on large menus mounted on the walls - I mentioned that if I had a sperm daddy in my life, I'd worry I was preggers. However (and my sentimental side is resurging), I am patient with my body.  It is as whimsical and changeable as the cerebral voice in my head.  I've chosen to stuff my face.  I've chosen to daily spend 1-2 extra hrs in the kitchen until this faminous phase passes.  We all know nonjudgmental acceptance (esp of ourselves) can sometimes be trying and frustrating ... I've chosen to blow MUCH MORE money than usual at the grocery store.  Squaring shoulders.  I have chosen to be kind to my ravenous body.

I'm grateful to Pamela and David, who slipped a Whole Foods gift card into my hands after we had exchanged several goodbye hugs.  I have observed that sometimes someone who earns more money than me just cannot handle being around me.  Emails do not receive responses.  Plans are cancelled. The silent poisons to a friendship, which I think most adults must deal with - I and my situation aren't special or unusual.  However, Pamela and David have been the complete opposite.  THANKS to them!

And thanks to Solange.  When I need to stop caring.  When I need to accept defeat:  "You're the superpoor, and that ain't going to change.  So.  Just.  Daaaaaaaaaaaaance."  I put on Solange. This song and video absolutely have no logical connection to grocery stores and their loaves of bread. It is the way my epicurious body wishes to end tonight's blog. Shake that pot belly, ladycake, shake it!  #TeamSolange 

love love love this music video