Monday, November 17, 2008

today i'm wearing

a bright blue sweater the same color as my birds and it makes me happy. i'm breathing much better in maternity pants and sighing with relief to no longer be fighting my clothes.

yard sale on saturday was fun and fruitful, but as soon as i got home i saw a lot more i could sell. maybe we'll have 2.0 sometime this spring.

feeling grateful, inspired, and only a little bit exhausted. the cool weather seems to be bolstering my spirit even as i wrap in wool to escape it.

talking with my best friend revealed a lot of fears i hadn't voiced or even entertained and now they are ghost fears - out in the air and out of my head. she's good like that.

unable and unwilling to rein in my imagination, as broad as it is around this little non-descript, faceless person growing there under my swelling belly.

wishing he or she could have met my namesake, wishing the same for pretty much anyone. wondering if she'll show up in this new life in some way.

happy that i can be home and really be there without a thousand things on a to-do list, real or imagined, when cooking dinner is the epic task in front of me.

always dumbfounded by the generosity of people that grows out of their excitement over new life, and how this makes me so hopeful for the world. we still celebrate babies.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

list or two


juice in the morning, over ice. heartburn be damned
the written word
time away from my desk
savory things, mushroom tarts and curry


being in school
my sister
evening sunlight


my husband’s new(ish) daddy persona
cool, sunny afternoons
brothers who cook
my mom and dad, more than ever
guiltless relaxation
the occasional smell of wood fire in the air
bright blue skies


imagined obligations
real obligations, within reason
hurtful things
what I need from the grocery store
to dust

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes we can.

The right man was chosen for the highest post and there is joy to be had. I'm enjoying a little post-election glow from the reddest of red states, and looking forward to a spirit of cooperation and unity and some progress. Finally, some progress.

Monday, November 3, 2008

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice. - Meister Eckhardt

all the good things –

my house in fall – white siding, black shutters, red door, nandinas, and scarlett–tipped dogwoods

time with friends in the kitchen or on the deck

babies walking for the first time

how blue the sky looks behind the yellow and orange patchwork of leaves on my drive to work

seeing the outline of mountains when those leaves start to fall

brisk sunny days

reading to my belly

cold, crisp apples

organizing closets and simplifying


working on a pomegranate and savoring the rubies inside

thinking of spring and how different our lives will be

hope that catches in my throat

Monday, October 6, 2008

What teaching taught me:

How little I know.
How much I know.
How much I care.
How lucky I am to be able to read. Really read. And enjoy it.
How I’m a bit off-base teaching English and maybe I should be teaching something else.
How important it is.
How I took my teachers and professors for granted.
How God provides.
How planning can only take me so far. A lesson I continue to learn.
How a few, real intellectual connections are worth all the bored sighs.
How I know I’ll always do it, somehow.

Monday, September 8, 2008

"Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree." -- Emily Bronte

It's Fall somewhere, I just know it.

I'm ready to say goodbye to a blazing hot steering wheel and wardrobe dysfunction (hot outside, frigid at work), and to hurricane season. We need rain, but does it have to come in such a violent way? I'm ready to relinquish the self-tanner on my pale legs and body dysmorphia in general.

I'm ready for burnt orange and blazing yellow leaves. For my Nandinas to turn crimson. To sleep with the windows open and burn pumpkin-scented candles. To stir huge pots of chili and layer under light sweaters. For big, sweet apples and family gatherings. For the anticipation of Christmas.

Come, Fall, and briskly.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"All human beings should try to learn before they die what they are running from, to, and why." - James Thurber

28 years today, and I'm still running. Grateful for that fact in itself - so grateful that even my weariness (and there is weariness) is almost like a gift. I can live in such a way that I'm tired.
Joyfully, magnificently tired.

Monday, August 11, 2008

"Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence" - Robert Frost

Almost every day I feel like I've just begun learning. I hope I never lose that feeling. MLA 08.02.08

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"You can't have a light without a dark to stick it in." - Arlo Guthrie

Even when we are climbing mountains, every once and a while there will be a meadow, a friendly spot right up there where the gravel ends. A place to rest and remember that there is another truth, and in fact that is why we are climbing in the first place.

People turn 30 all the time. But this is the first and last time my husband turns 30. I think he's about the coolest guy on the planet and I'm thankful for him everyday.

To the next 30, to our dreams, to our one-day home up there in the mountains. We'll get there. I know it. I love you, John.

Monday, July 21, 2008

"Among those I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those I love, I can: all of them make me laugh." -Auden

Congratulations to my beautiful sister and new brother-in-law. I hope you always keep each other laughing. Love. 7.12.08

Monday, July 7, 2008

“I have learned to use the word ‘impossible’ with great caution.” – Werner Von Braun

Happy 36th anniversary to my parents – two crazy kids who got this notion about forever and have ridden it out, over a few bumps here and there, trusting God along the way. I wrote this poem last year. It’s mostly about them. I love you, Mom and Dad.

Where I’m From

I am from Genesis 9:1.

I am from highways and rest stops,
from the VW bus with calico curtains and sticky vinyl seats
(I can hear the soft rip of summer skin pulling away from them).

I am from living room forts and stepped-on Legos
from trampolines and flickering porch lights.
It was too late if the streetlamps had come on.

I am from singalongs and family meetings around the butcher block table,
from the corner of each closet where I hastily scribbled
Goodbye, house. Til we meet again.

I am from clapping crowds, shouting for Jesus,
from secrets only sisters can share
on bunkbeds or creekbeds.

I am from laughter-tears and throat lumps,
from squeezed hands and mumbled prayers

from pregnant pauses

and whispered amens

I am from that moving target:


I am that knotted-up family.

The miles run through me
The prayers echo

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

“You probably wouldn’t worry so much what people think of you if you knew how seldom they do.” Olin Miller

I was helping my husband go through some old clothes to find good donations yesterday, and we were just talking and folding and all of a sudden I said (though I can’t remember why, or what prompted me), “Welcome to my life. All day, everyday, I am thinking I could be doing better or that I’m going to be found out as a fraud. I never make a decision without thinking there was so much more I could have done or that I could have done it all in a better, more efficient way.” He looked at me with the same blank stare I’ve seen before, like when I casually asked him in the car one day, “Do you ever just find yourself thinking 10 different things at the exact same moment?” His answer? A mildly incredulous and painfully simple “No.” Once again, his reaction to me was a mirror in which I see myself as the ridiculously unconfident person I am.

How boring and tedious I must be.

In my recent fiction workshop, I brought each draft to class begrudgingly. I felt like I was presenting, to a field of my peers, a worn and tattered blanket of words and images carelessly stitched together to fulfill a requirement, instead of with the love and attention they rightfully deserved. Each time, when the drafts came back and the class discussed a piece I’d written, the mirror was there. Held in front of me as evidence of my personal irony. People responded and related to what I had written. People praised me in ways both general and specific. People saw me as a writer.

After the first workshop class, I slid away from campus, my face burning bright from shame. Why can’t I believe that anything I do is good, or worth reading? It’s not false modesty. I hate false modesty. I decided that day that I have a character flaw. There is no other explanation. My parents were two amazingly supportive, challenging people who, though they expected excellence from us, did everything to encourage and support us in achieving it. And they put value on our effort when the results weren’t always stellar. They were/are great parents. It can’t be a result of pressure from them.

What is the genesis of my perfectionism, then? My lack of confidence? I simply don’t know. I’ve lived 28 years faking it – as I do daily at my job, in my home, with my friends. Maybe the real me is a hybrid of the fake me and the frail me. Maybe that pretend confidence isn’t exactly manufactured. But my wish, always, is to have a real sense of who I am and what I can do. Part of being real with myself is recognizing and owning up to my weaknesses, and working to change the things I need to change. But I truly believe that the other side of that very heavy coin is to recognize and own up to my strengths. To the things I’m good at doing. To the goodness and gifts I’ve been given. To stop cowering from challenges when my confidence is shaky. To give the good away. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

everyone else knows you'll do fine - fortune cookie blessing saved from 2002, found again 6.29.08

Master to-do list for teaching English 101:

Gather writing prompts
Get grade book or work up a spreadsheet for such a purpose
Finalize lesson plans
Be ready to learn when you fail
Believe what everyone else already knows
Practice using peripheral equipment with laptop
Talk to boss about telecommuting on the day job
Tour library on campus; make a librarian friend
Look for a good bag/case/cart for transporting supplies
Organize home office
Find comfortable shoes