I did live in a house with a gas leak. Um it was during the snowpocalypse. I can't remember what year that was. Um sometime after 2016, maybe, um but short, long and short of it was, I was snowed in for several days, so I hadn't left the apartment, and that was super unusual for me. I was really active, even on days I wasn't going to class or working, um I would be out and about. And so finally there was like — and this was like, the snowpocalypse where nothing was open, um, it was really kind of hazardous to be out. There weren't even any um pathways clear on the roads. And so, like I said, I was hunkered down, and then eventually, you know, they plowed, and I was able to go for a walk, and I came back into the apartment after having been closed in there for so many days, um and it just smelled so much like gas. Um it was immediately apparent to me, but because I had been in the house, um, I think the pilot — the what ended up being the issue was the pilot light had gone out on my stove, my gas stove, and so it was just like slowly leaking gas into the apartment, um but I don't think I'd had food to cook because everything was closed. Um and so, yeah, I was also slowly being poisoned, and um I called — I forget if it was like the fire department or I called somebody — um and I texted my neighbors and said, like, “Please do not, you know, use an open flame right now. There's this issue," and when the person came and helped me get everything sorted out, um ‘cause I don't know that I knew it was a pilot light that was out. Um, I'd never had a gas stove before, um but when the person came to help me out they were like, “Oh, I recognize this apartment," like "this has happened before,” um and so then I called my landlord just to see if there was a way to maybe get a new stove, um ‘cause again, without having owned a gas stove before, I wasn't sure if that was something that happened often, if it was an issue um with the stove itself. But anyway, uh, kind…
That’s funny. Yeah, I actually wrote in my journal in spring two thousand nineteen in April that a certain person had been my sunshine on a rainy day, and that person was actually a professor of mine and she has consistently been this way for me, so it's not an isolated incident. But one of the things I loved about going to a smaller school is that you get to know your professors quite personally sometimes, and that was the case here. And so, this professor was, um, she was away at a conference for a week or so, actually in Europe, and then she came back, and I was sitting at this little study table, um, doing philosophy homework, I think I was reading Descartes, and I felt like this touch on my shoulder, and I turn around, and there she was. She still had her hand on my purple raincoat, and she says, “Oh, I missed you last week.” And I couldn't remember the last time someone had said they'd missed me, probably except my grandma. I don't think I'd ever really been missed before in my life. And that touched my whole day. It was raining outside and I was struggling because the end of the school year was coming and I didn't want to move back home for the summer. And that made my whole day. When I went back to my dorm room, it made me cry, actually, as I was writing it down in my journal. And she, like I said, we've maintained a close friendship even after I was in her class, and it's been that way. So many times I've stopped by and she’s had, like, the perfect advice for me, or sometimes she tells me just to open up my backpack because she has chocolates for me, that's happened before too. And keeping in touch during a pandemic over email, that really kept me going a lot of times. I might receive a message I wasn't expecting, and it would be one of the hardest days or something, and you, it just gives you strength to move forward and not only watch television all day, which was, of course, a temptation a lot of people faced.
I was in a wedding, in Hawai'i. One of my my best friends from university got married in Honolulu, and we had finished the ceremony and were taking pictures of the wedding party. I don’t remember it actually raining on us while we were taking the photos, but we were using the Pacific Ocean as our background, and in came this um this little rain shower, uh which happens pretty often in, in that type of climate. And had this really beautiful rainbow that appeared um kind of behind us in in all of the pictures, so it was kind of really nice, um a really nice addition to the pictures, and I know I know people always talk about, you know, rain on wedding days, and whether or not that’s good luck or bad luck or what it is, but I I I remember thinking, if we hadn’t had — if there hadn’t been rain somewhere that day that we wouldn’t have had that rainbow in those great um those great shots that we got with with the rainbow behind us. It just kind of made everything a little bit more special, and it was it was just kind of cool.
(Note: Some language has been edited out of the transcript that is not edited out in the audio.) I did, however, get really lucky one time. So, we do White Elephant for my family um for Christmas, instead of like getting everybody gifts ‘cause it’s easier. Um, and so for White Elephant, my gift somehow that I got was a bunch of lottery tickets, and — f***, what else was it? — something else, but I can’t remember. Key point — oh wait I think it was literally just lottery tickets. So the, I wanna say the price was twenty-five to thirty dollars, I think, so I got like thirty dollars worth of lottery tickets, and I scratched them all off, somehow ended up with like ninety-six bucks. My uncle was eating his words, ‘cause half of them were like the dollar, five dollar ones, so that’s what made it even better. Um, so yeah, I like tripled I tripled my uh uh value there for the gift. So that was really my um little bit of luck on that, that’s my gold pot at the end of the rainbow for that one. That will never, I can almost guarantee you with my luck though, that will never happen to me again. And I don’t wanna jinx anything, but, with my luck? That’s never happening again.
Made it to the Pacific Ocean, just outside Seattle. And what was waiting for us was this foggy, mystical coastline that occasionally would clear. So you’d see this blue sky before the clouds would roll back in and we followed the coastline down out of Washington state into Oregon and we had no particular plan. It's kind of one of those situations where you hang a left and you hang a right then another left. And we found ourselves just on this twirling road leading us upward to some degree. Wasn't a mountain, but we were gaining in elevation, just as this thick layer of fog settled upon us and we drove through this mystical forest that I don't know. I've heard it compared, I think Twilight the series has been filmed in, you know, coastal Washington and the spot in Oregon was a lot like that vibe. And it, the road stopped. It came out into a parking lot at the top of a smallish mountain, more like a hill. We didn't know where we were, but we decided it would be a good time to explore. It's really no one else there. And we, we just saw a pathway leading into the fog lined with Douglas fir trees and frankly, it was magical. And so, of course, we, we took that pathway into the fog and it led us to a lighthouse on a hill. It was a small, squatty lighthouse. About the size of a one-and-a-half story house, maybe a tri-level and we were alone. It was just the two of us, and I said it was my friend if it helps it was my female friend who I would eventually end up moving in with. So it wasn't like two buddies if that changes the vibe a little bit. It was like this almost like romantic, magical, like we had just, we had left Earth and stepped on another planet. Just lost in the fog, and it's a memory that I've never felt I’ve been able to do justice with words or by writing. It's just one of those things that you, you feel and it stays there. And it was wonderful.
Um, I'm going to answer the next prompt: "Has anything been particularly difficult this week?" The answer is yes. So we have a family member that we knew had prostate cancer, but were under the impression that it was, you know, being pretty well-managed. And recently found out that it had spread into his bones and his spine. So he's in a lot of pain and that's just been really challenging. We just lost my aunt on the same side of the family to cancer as well, just three months ago. And so just really feeling for my uncle that was married to my aunt and then my uncle that's married to my uncle who is sick. And yeah, just wishing that my uncle is not, you know, feeling as much pain as he's feeling. There's been a lot of breakthrough pain. Yeah, cancer can just be such an undignified thing when there's really no way to manage it or control it and he would like a peaceful death as I imagine we all would so he's kind of opted not to pursue additional treatments at this point and seems like there might be some options but I certainly don't fault him for not being interested in continuing to sort of fight it. I read a book a couple of years ago on being mortal or being mortal by Atul Gawande, which is really, really well written about how many of our medical programs, most of them our medical programs don't really teach doctors how to talk about mortality, even though it's obviously the -- what's the word, phrase I'm looking for? Just inevitable outcome that we all are going to face and how so many doctors are trained to just repeat it, you know, find treatment after treatment after treatment, no matter how successful or invasive, or how much it might lower your quality of life. It's just kind of their default is to try to, you know, from one perspective find hope for a family and give them other options. And then I think from another perspective just like not have the hard conversation of like listen this might extend your life by x amount of time but realistically, you know, you might live that long without the treatment and it might be a better quality. And I think there's plenty of research to show that sometimes people…
Have you ever been in a thick fog where it was difficult to see what was in front of you? Oh my gosh. I was on the freeway. It was 1979. I was seventeen years old. It was worst fog I ever saw in my life, and I was coming home from Ohio back to Michigan. Oh my gosh, it was a scariest time. It was like I was living in a Stephen King novel. I just kept waiting for the devil to come. I just knew he would just walk out of that fog and I couldn't see cars in front of me. I couldn't see cars coming up behind me. I couldn't see anything. It's the worst fog that I've ever been in. Ever. And I was only seventeen driving, my first year driving. Scary stuff. Made it home safely, but I really doubted that I was going to make it home that day.
When was the last time you drew a picture on a fogged-up window? What was it of? Oh man, it's been way too long, Michigan Diaries. I love this question, too. Last time you drew a picture on a fogged-up window. For some reason, what jumps to mind is when I was a kid on the school bus, we would draw that S. And this had been a memory that I had just buried or not intentionally. It just, it just was a kid thing and then it went away and then it popped up on one of these like nostalgia threads on Reddit or Instagram or something and it was something like, “You know you're a 90s kid if you remember that S”. And then, I don't even know if I can describe it, but it's basically like draw like the three lines on top, three lines on the bottom, and then you connect them diagonal. And then do the points on the top and the bottom and that's the S. It just is called the S. I don't know if it has a name. But yeah, we drew that. I must have been like eight. Elementary school, late nineties. Just covered. Just covered the inside of the school bus with these S’s. I don't know why, dude. It was just, we just did that. But yeah, it's been way too long since I've drawn a picture on a fogged-up window. I’ll have to give that a shot next time I have the chance.
"I still liked to imagine after that that there were... hard floors on top of the clouds." One of the questions for this week is, "Have you ever been in a thick fog, where it was difficult to see what was in front of you? Where were you?" One of the first times I remember ever being in a fog was when I was about five. I think I had been asking a lot of questions about clouds and like, if you could stand on clouds, if you could kind of hold on to them, like if you could walk on top of them, that was something that I really like very strongly believed as a child. Is that like the clouds were sort of fluffy underneath, but like, on the top, they were like flat and hard and solid and, if you got up there you could walk on top of them. But so I had been asking all of these questions, and then one morning very early, I think before the sun was up really, my mom woke me up and took me outside. It was very foggy. It was a summer day, but it was very cold, and there was like a thick fog very low to the ground. And we were walking around. My mom said, this is a cloud. So, all of the questions, all of the things you're wondering about the clouds up there. That's the same thing that this is, so right now, you're walking through a cloud. These are just low to the ground clouds. And I remember that very, very clearly. It was just like — my mom has always been good about sort of explaining things to me in, like, a physical way, um like a teacher, which is something that, like, her mom used to do for her. But it's just something where I still liked to imagine after that that there were, you know, hard floors on top of the clouds, but then I knew that that was just something in my mind and that I could walk through clouds and I had done it.
"Today I'm feeling thankful for nature and these opportunities." Lately my focus has felt off, maybe at times even bit foggy, but with the transition of ending spring semester into summer break, things have felt off balance. Summer classes and work are now in full swing and I'm preparing to move into a new place very soon. All very exciting things, but still stressful nonetheless. For the long weekend, I've been visiting my partner's family. We celebrated the wedding of a close friend and spent a lot of time outdoors. This weather's been wild for Michigan. I can't believe how warm the past few days have been. After a long day of adventuring on the dunes near Lake Michigan, we decided to wind down by the hot tub. The sky happened to be clear for the first time in a while. So we were watching the stars appear as the sun went down and enjoyed the constellations as patterns began to paint themselves across the sky. We'd only gone out to relax for a little while until my partner gasped and said "no way". Instead of getting ready to get out as I had been before, I paused and joined him as he pointed to where he saw the meteor fall. What was planned to be a short trip outside transformed into something longer. We were determined to see more of these shooting stars. They were so beautiful. Our efforts proved to be worthwhile as the stars shone above the warm summer breeze. The beauty of it all really helped me to clear my mind and remember that all the stressors in my life right now are part of the bigger picture. Just as each of those stars played a role in creating the beautiful sky for us that night. Today I'm feeling thankful for nature and these opportunities. It always seems to be the best relief for a stressed-out mind.