Wednesday, May 31, 2006

reading poetry in the bathtub and an author i adore {poetry thursday}

For me, when I read a poem aloud, I find a rhythm as I let the words twirl in the air around me. This can be a powerful experience as waves of new understanding often happen. When I first started reading poetry regularly a few months ago, I had a poetry reading in the bathtub. I was moved to even write a poem about it (not a great poem, but it captured the experience). Now, I know Lynn does not like the idea of reading poetry in the bathtub because she might get a book of poetry wet (she takes special care of her poetry books, which I appreciate), but I say go for it!

I decided to have another reading in the bathtub this evening. I spent time with Kathleen Norris as I read a few poems from her collection Little Girls in Church. This book has been on my shelf for a few years now next to several other books by Norris, yet I had only opened it once or twice. Reading it tonight, I discovered the poem All Saints, All Souls that was written in memory of William Stafford. At first glance I thought, "oh this is Stafford's memory." But then, in the second stanza, their relationship of teacher/student/friend became apparent. And this line punched me a bit in the gut: "But you kept me on your radar, BillĂ‚—Kneel down, you said, explore for the poem." Then I cried my way through the rest. I have cried my way through it several times now. I want to live inside this poem, this memory, this relationship for just a few minutes. And through this poem I can.

In finding the link to the poem, I discovered this incredible project. Had I read this poem when I first purchased this book, I would not have made the connection because I did not even know who William Stafford was a few months ago. And now I feel like I have known him my entire life. How I love this journey into poetry.


I discovered Norris my senior year in college when I read The Cloister Walk in a philosophy class called Education of the Spirit. This book is one of my favorites...ever. My copy has beendog-earedd and has passages underlined and notes throughout. If you have not read it, put it on your library list. The same year I took this class, Norris spoke at St. Mary's College, and because St. Mary's is right across the street from my alma mater, I headed over there to hear her (something tells me we probably got extra credit). She was so darn cool. She spoke about this small book, and I regret to this day that I was too shy to stick around and have her sign my copy. She also received an honorary degree from ND during my graduation ceremony. My college graduation day was a tough one for me because I didn't have a lot of friends who attended my school and the ones I was closest with had graduated the previous year, so I actually sat by myself. Having Kathleen Norris up on that stage just reminded me that I really wasn't alone. And tonight, as I read her words again, and discovered her poem about William Stafford, I took a breath and remembered this once again.

Other Kathleen Norris links:
Another poem.
Norris in a conversation about CS Lewis's The Screwtape Letters (scroll down to #5) that occurred on NPR.
An interview with Norris.

Read other poetry and experiences of solo poetry readings by visiting Poetry Thursday.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

me from a to z {self portrait challenge}

Liz in the Mirror

(this photo was taken by lynn at a booth at the university district street fair earlier this month. and it inspired this poem i wrote last week. next week i promise to take my own picture.)

accent: not so much (in my opinion). i just sound like everybody else (except when i say button or mitten...comes out like budden and midden. not sure why).

booze: why would you not? a full-bodied red wine will do the trick. but i also never turn down frozen, fruity concoctions. my favorite way to drink them is in a cabana on a beach in maui. and martinis are never a bad idea. oh and get my point.

dog/cat: yes, one golden retriever named millie.

essential electronics: my laptop, my phone, my dvd player (which of course means that i must include my gigantic tv), and my new heat gun that i use to dry things when i am in art land.

favorite perfume: i love anything that has a hint of lily of the valley. i am also drawn to scents that invoke thoughts gypsies and bizzarres and twirling and magic carpet...i know these scents when i find them (philosophy used to make one called soulmates. loved it. still looking for a replacement.)

gold/silver: silver...and, well, i never turn down platinum.

hometown: south bend, indiana

insomnia: not too often, but when i do it is the worst. sometimes i have bad dreams that seem quite real and i just get up because going back to sleep is too scary.

job title: yoga teacher/freelance editor

kid(s): (see dog/cat)

living arrangements: a little house in the pacific northwest that i share with my dear husband and millie.

most admirable trait: my open heart and fierce loyalty.

number of sex partners: hmm....just enough.

overnight hospital stays: i think there has just been the one about 30 years ago now.

phobias: i do not love bats. but if faced with spending the night with a bat or a shark, i would choose a bat. i do not love deep water and i do not love it when it is pitch black around me. i guess i have a phobia of things being out of my control.

quote: "god bless america"

religion: i appreciate ritual in my life and i believe there is a power, an energy greater than me. i believe i touch at the bottom of the hem of the skirt of this energy when i experience moments of grace.

siblings: one. my baby brother matthew.

time you usually wake: 7:30 a.m.

unusual talent: i can tap dance.

x-rays: too many. lots of bouts of bronchitis and pneamonia as a child. and these darn teeth. and my knee dislocations always brought about a few moments in the x-ray room.

yummy foods: grilled cheese and tomato soup. this is the food that comforts me most of all (well, and yellow cake with chocolate frosting...that isn't too bad either). and summer is coming so this means many a caprese salad (slices of mozzarella and tomatoes with basil and a balsamic vinegar and olive oil drizzle)...yummy indeed.

zodiac: i am a gemini (just like my really, there are four people and a dog in this house...very interesting).

read some more SPC introductions here

thanks to miss acumamakiki for this meme.

Monday, May 29, 2006

luscious links

here are some things that have been catching my eye lately:

letha's gorgeous clothes and jewelry in her boutique. check out the stories that go with each item...i have been lucky enough to see it all in person. oh my goodness. such beauty. (i am in love with the morgan necklace...partly because i want the story to be my story and partly because morgan is my maiden name, so it feels like it is my story.)

michelle's exciting new project. i can't wait to hear more about this!

i spent some time looking over the galleries of swirly's 52 figments project this weekend. there are several i had not seen yet. i challenge each of you - yes, you reading this right now - to send one to her this week. i am going to, please join me.

misty's artwork has been speaking to me, almost out loud, this past week. wow. and i learned a valuable lesson...if you love one of her pieces, love it enough that you think it was created for you, you should swoop it up right away. because by the time you have a conversation with yourself about how you would really like to buy it as a birthday gift to yourself, someone else will have purchased it. i am so happy that someone will be enjoying this piece, i just wish that person was me.

okay those of you who know me, or have been reading for a while, might find this next one a bit surprising. (hi dad.) but here it is. a few weeks ago i stayed up late into the night watching an evening with kevin smith. i was laughing so hard i was crying. i did not go to bed. i stopped blogging. i closed my laptop and just watched this man tell the funniest stories ever. imagine me. laughing at penis jokes. i. do. not. laugh. at. penis. jokes. oh but how i do now. when i talk about throwing my head back with laughter, i am talking about moments like this one. anyway, i read in entertainment weekly that kevin smith has a blog. and it is funny and has funny videos on it...but what really got me was a nine part post (that begins here) about his friend jason mewes (aka "jay") and his struggle with subtance abuse and their friendship in the middle of it all. in between the self-depreciating humor and the penis jokes, kevin smith gives you a glimpse into his soul. wow. but it was this post that had me crying in my cheerios the other morning. this man gets it. i wish he was my friend.

lizardek is on a vacation until next week...and while she is gone, she is having a contest. and i get to be the judge! so go check it out and enter...

and i am outing my husband from the blogging closet. here is his blog if you want to pay him a little visit...

Sunday, May 28, 2006

mrs. lewis {sunday scribblings}

i was going to write about the time my father took me to see out of africa. i was in fourth grade, and now know that i probably didn't understand many subtleties in that movie. but watching that movie with my head on my dad's shoulder, i fell in love with robert redford. the way his blond hair fell across the forehead of his wise face. his voice and the rhythm in which he said his lines. the way the skin creased around his eyes when he would laugh. while watching that movie i also learned the valuable lesson that if robert redford plays the male lead, the movie may not turn out as you want. this is code for: he might die. and when he did, i didn't quite understand. i leaned over and whispered to my dad, "but he is alive isn't he?" he shook his head no. and i cried and cried. the first big love of my life breaking my heart. all in about two hours.

i was going to write a story about a 13 year old falling in love for the first time. she would be sitting cross-legged on a blanket under a tree in the backyard of her family's home, her hair in a long braid down her back. and she would be in the arms of mr. darcy as she turned page after page of the book on her lap. mr. darcy, could there ever be such a man as her mr. darcy?

but during this brainstorming, i talked with my father, and he told me that eleanor had passed away last week. she was the woman who took care of me during the first few years of my life. i remember her dog peaches and the cookies she would make and that the table in her kitchen was a booth. i remember that there were sometimes other kids in the house to play with. i remember that her husband bob had a huge cookie jar collection. and i remember love. i always felt love at eleanor's house. i think she understood me in ways i didn't even realize.

i was blessed to have the love of my parents during those first years, but also the love of two other women: eleanor and my grandmother. and as I think about this idea of first love, my mind has turned to the idea of someone who taught me about love and acceptance: mrs. lewis.

mrs. lewis was my pre-school teacher, and i loved her with the fierce determination of a three year old wanting to mirror her every move and the sound of her laughter and the calm of her presence. she taught me to love the sound of someone's voice reading aloud, and in turn, to love reading books aloud when i could read. she taught me the importance of sharing and how to always tell the truth. but most of all, she accepted me in a moment that could have been full of shame. and for this, i will always hold her deeply in my heart.

as a child, i was terrified of the dark. i always slept with a bright night light and my bedroom door open. my pre-school class was at a play or maybe even a marionette show and the theatre was pitch black. mrs. lewis had me on her lap because she knew how scared i was of darkness like this and how any hint at an "evil character" would cause me distress. and in the midst of my anxiety, i did the unthinkable. the thing that i hadn't done all school year. the thing i watched another student do every day during naptime while i would wait and then think, "why does he do that every single day? i would never do that." but i did. i wet my pants. and even worse, i wet my pants while sitting on her lap.

she just scooped me right up and took me to the bathroom where she cleaned up both of us. i don't remember the logistics of all of that, i just remember that as i cried and cried worried she was going to be mad or not like me anymore or not let me come back to school, she soothed me in a way that let me know that she was not angry. how this happens when we are afraid sometimes. how i was not going to be in trouble and that no, my parents would not be angry either. she helped me know that it was okay. i was going to be fine. and she was fine too.

no one but my parents and mrs. lewis knew what happened. how she kept it from the other students i do not know. i am sure i was quite a story in some ways, but she never invited me to feel any shame. she never brought it up again. even now, to this day, she welcomes me into her classroom with a huge hug and introduces me to her students. i try to visit her every now and then. and when i do, i am always reminded that love is when you invite a person to become even more than they already are through encouragement and acceptance. love does not invite shame.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

happy birthday my love

lizzy and jonny

Today is Jonny's birthday. We have spent the day eating (Red Robin) and doing a little shopping and talking and trying to prevent him from getting too upset that his new iPod isn't working (we might have to take it back...ugh) and eating some more (sushi at Blue C) and yet again (ice cream cake from baskin robbins) and now watching a movie (Wings of Desire).

Here is the little creation I made for Jonny. I scanned it so it doesn't quite come across like it appears in real life...but here it is...(the words say: she granted him one wish and he opened his eyes and he lived in his life)


I am working with these little winged girls and some words and stories. More to come.

Thank you for all of your kind words about my day yesterday. I am so grateful for every single comment and email and virtual hugs and healing energy you sent my way. How blessed I is I said to a friend: the quiet sadness is still there but a little softer today.

Friday, May 26, 2006

quiet thoughts

it feels quiet today. one of those mornings when i had the thought, "oh, i will call grandma and tell her that." then almost immediately the mind and heart realize together with a punch in the gut that i cannot. i hate this. i don't hate much, but i hate that moment when i realize. the tears tap on the back of my eyeballs as the rain drips outside the sliding glass door. my nose congestion begins in anticipation of tears that do not fall. a pile of books seems to sit on my chest and as i take a breath they slide off but then stack up again as i exhale.

the thought that prompted this was my excitement about my new sewing machine. i am excited and overwhelmed by this new beast that sits on my dining room table (an early birthday gift from jon's parents - i am blessed). the last time i set up thread and bobbins and needles in a sewing machine was almost 20 years ago when i as in 4-H for a summer. i am sure i will figure it out this weekend, but my heart wishes my mom or jon's mom or my grandma or my great-grandma would knock on the door, right now, and say "hi honey, i am here to help you. let's make something." i just wanted to call my grandma and say, "wish you were here." indeed.

the seesaw of excitement to quiet feelings. back and forth. this is how it is.

i am excited to have had some creative energy surging through me. but i am not so sure i like anything i have created. though i try to own the fact that the only way i will find my way is to play and paint and glue and try new things.

i have ideas flowing, but i don't feel capable. i. know. i. am. yes, i know i am. but that doesn't mean that i know it in every moment. all the books i will write and the creations i will paint and glue and sew together and the booth i will have at the fremont sunday market full of all of my creations and the yoga workshops i will give and the and the and the....when will it all begin? when will it jump from my heart into the world?

it is a rainy day. the kind of day when i want to just go shopping and find something wondrous. i need a dress for two weddings i have this summer. i wish i had someone i could call right now and say, "want to go shopping for a new dress...then have tea...then sit in the poetry section at barnes and noble and take turns reading poems out loud?" i wish you were here so we could do that. wish you were here.

the sewsaw of the mind and heart.

since you aren't here today, i am going to curl up and watch the movie chocolat, then read a few pages of may sarton's journal, then maybe turn up the indigo girls really, really loud and put more paint to a canvas. anything to balance the seesaw just a bit.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

inspired by a bean counter {poetry thursday}

Open, Close

The reflection imitates
as the hand sweeps mahogany hair
across the forehead, then tucks strands behind the ear
and adjusts the turquoise beaded earring.
The fingertips trace the ruby rose mouth,
pausing at the plump bottom lip
as a thought prompts a tooth to catch the edge.
The gaze, eyes to eyes,
brown swirled caramel
like eggwhites into a ribbon of batter.
I think, Is this who I am?
with the rhythm of each lowered lid.

Even though it invited fear in this little heart of mine, I took the challenge of this week's (totally optional) idea and asked Cate if I could borrow a line from this poem. I have been working with an image and words for a poem for a little while now, and a line from Cate's poem seemed to fit. But then, I couldn't seem to move the words very far. So I went back and looked at her poem again. Then Lynn sent me a picture she took at the art/street fair we went to Saturday and several lines came to me all at once. As I worked with the images of the above poem, the line "like eggwhites into a ribbon of batter" suddenly had a place. (I will share the picture tomorrow...but for now, I just want to leave you with the images of this poem. Thank you for reading.)

Discover more poetry at Poetry Thursday. Happy reading.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

warrior {self portrait challenge}

finding the warrior within

I am a woman on a journey of healing. And as I heal, I grieve, laugh, sing, dance, cry, giggle, roar, open my heart, let go, dance again, chant, paint, howl, sob, yell, sit in the quiet, write, bend, stretch, move, let go again, write some more, and allow myself to crack open.

I am finding the warrior within. There is only one real battle: to be the warrior who can live in her life. Live. In. Her. Life. I stand tall with my heart open, my head high, my feet planted firmly beneath me. I feel the strength in my body, in my heart, in my mind, in my soul. I take a breath. I feel the energy within me as it radiates from my fingertips to the ones who passed before me and walk beside me, from my eyes to the future in front of me, from my shoulder blades to the world that is around me, down my legs and through my feet into the earth below me, and from my heart to you.

You are finding the warrior within. I am not alone on my journey; you are there with me. You are learning how to stretch and stand tall with your feet beneath you. You are feeling the power of the front of your body open to the world around you. You are allowing your heart to crack open with each breath. Each inhale cracks your heart open a little more. Again. Again.

We are side by side on this journey. We are learning how to heal, how to find the joy, how to rock gently in the pain, how to throw our heads back with laughter, how to let go. We are standing tall as warriors. And I believe that we are in the midst of a movement. A movement that is going to change us all as we change the world.

I am a woman on a journey. And I am not alone.

(For Denise who gave me a little homework assignment that inspired this. Thank you my friend.)

See others who are taking the self portrait challenge here.

Monday, May 22, 2006

i do and i do not

Last week (or was it the week before?) Thea tagged me with the do/don't meme...I am finally sitting down to write a response:

I do love dairy products more than any other food group.
I do not love the way my body sometimes responds to dairy products and the way my thigh holds onto ice cream and cheese to remind me, forever, of this fact.

I do wish I could swim with humpback whales and sea otters.
I do not love deep water or putting my head fact, they both terrify me.

I do think that there is a power, an energy, that is greater than me.
I do not go to church and currently have no desire to attend any kind of organized Sunday morning service other than my teacher's yoga class.

I do love being the passenger on a nice long car ride to a favorite spot.
I do not sit quietly (unless I am asleep) and often try to tell my dear husband how he should be driving (this happens during the interludes when I am not in concert).

I do stand in front of people every week and invite them to love their bodies and take care of themselves.
I do not love my body all the time and I often forget to take care of myself (but when I am teaching yoga I forget how much I do not love my body and just live in my own skin).

I do believe that expressing gratitude is one of the most important things you can share with a person.
I do not tell people thank you enough (this changes today).

I do know that my heart already has all the answers I need.
I do not listen to my heart enough, though I am trying to sit in the quiet more each day.

I do think about writing a book (and I have started talking about it).
I do not spend time actually writing it. This needs to change.

I do the way our garden looks in the summer and I love eating the tomatoes and fresh herbs we grow ourselves.
I do not like weeding or general garden upkeep and wish little gnomes would come in the night and do it for me.

I do love the song "Galileo" by the Indigo Girls because it reminds me that I am not the only person who wonders "how long 'til my soul gets it right?"
I do not love that I cannot answer this question (but appreciate that Blue Poppy had similar thoughts about this last week).

Please share any do/do nots that come to mind...I would love to hear them...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

wishing {sunday scribblings}

I remember my mom telling me a story about her teenage years when all she wanted was to be 21. She thought everything would change for the better on her birthday. She would tell her grandmother this, and Grandma Eide would say, "don't wish your life away." My mother would tell me this story several times when I was younger. To be honest, I don't remember the context. If it was a "lesson" moment or rather a time when she simply wanted to talk about her grandmother, a woman she loved deeply. The next part of the story involved the sadness my mother felt when her grandmother died before my mom turned 21. Maybe it was a lesson in irony. I don't know.

When I was about 11 or so, I wrote a poem that was really a song in my head about this story... the lines I remember:

I was sitting next to grandma braiding her long hair
and I asked her 'bout the good old days when she was twenty-one.
She laughed and smiled and asked me why I wanted to know.
I told her that I could not wait until I was twenty-one.
She looked at me and said,
"don't wish you life away dear, don't wish your life away."

I had not thought about this story or these "lyrics" in a long time. And somehow those words are in my head because I can hear the melody that accompanied them.

I am struck by the images of wishing that appear in fairy tales...the young girl wishes for her handsome prince...and all the drama that happens before her wish can come true. I always related to this story. I wanted my prince. I wanted to be old enough for my prince to come and rescue me and take me to far off lands where I could eat cake and wear pretty dresses and dance at the ball. I imagine my mother was having similar thoughts when she was wishing to be twenty-one. As though all would change when she became an adult at that magical age.

It is easy for me to get caught up in the magical world of wishes and fairies and castles and talking animals and creatures you thought existed only in your dreams. But then there are those moments that jerk me back into reality. When my serious nature kicks in and plants me firmly in one spot. Maybe today I can give myself permission to travel to those far off lands and share three wishes...

I wish you could see my wings, the ones I feel along my shoulder blades, the ones that whisper to me and move me forward; they are deep, indigo blue with shades of purple, and they are soft and full of strength and fearlessness. If you come a bit closer, they can envelope you and for a moment you will be home.

I wish I had a companion in the form of a golden furry, friendly beast who would remind me that everyday I can find the courage to share all that is spilling open in my soul (and maybe it could also warn me when the scaries are coming or help me look out for other bumps in the night).

I wish I had a magical power that would let me: step into books and wrap myself up in a quilt and sit at the feet of kate chopin as she wrote The Awakening, or live, just for a moment, inside a
painting of a little girl wearing a backpack, holding a fishing line and ask her where she is going, or lie down inside the words of William Stafford until our hearts beat with the same rhythm.

If a fairy princess appeared with a magic wand today, I would ask her for these three things...

(to read how other people might wish or think about wishes head over to
sunday scribblings)

Friday, May 19, 2006

gratitude this evening.

today i am grateful:

that i have almost gotten my home office/studio organized. almost.

for my husband who takes care of me and millie.

for an early birthday present that will be coming next week from jon's parents (a sewing machine!!! now...which one of you crafty ladies is coming to visit to give me lessons?)

for all of the new poems i read yesterday. i love poetry thursday. and yesterday i discovered some that just made me sigh out loud (and feel my wings).

for the way blogging has brought some incredible people into my life.

that many of the shows i watch have had season finales so i will maybe start reading more and watching less television (three hours of grey's anatomy this was good...but that is a lot of tv).

that virginia woolf and sylvia plath walked into my life this week and don't seem to want to walk out. stubborn women.

for the flowers i bought at the tacoma farmer's market yesterday. they smell so good! though i think they are making my nose run a bit.

for a package of doo-dads from sacred kitsch studio. so. much. fun.

for some ideas that are percolating in my head after reading this book by Lynne Perrella. (stay tuned.)

that i discovered a wonderful store yesterday that sells crafts and other "stuff" made by senior citizens. this is how these seniors make money...they also sell other random things like a big bag of buttons for 50 cents and a bag of rick rack for 25 cents (the great old school, soft, cloth rick rack).

that this weekend will bring time with friends. i. have. friends. here. finally.

for moments of contentment and wonder and silliness and strength and laughter and calm and awareness and balance.

and i am also very proud of my husband who got a summer job teaching physics at a community college (during the school year he teaches high school physics). he has also started a blog, but he isn't ready for me to share it with you yet. hmmm...hopefully soon.

hope you are finding moments of gratitude in your life today as well.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

lost in the poetry section {poetry thursday}

On Wednesday afternoon, I got lost in the poetry section at Borders (not my first choice for poetry, I must admit, but I had a $5 gift card. Of course, I was so distracted by the fun I had that I didn't remember to use it).

I pulled a few books off the shelf and settled into a comfy leather chair with my iced mocha (with whipped cream!) and began to read the pages of the poems of Sharon Olds, Sylvia Plath, Jack Kerouac, and Naomi Shihab Nye.

I discovered something that people who have visited poetryland for years now already know. There is a rhyme and reason to the order of poems in a book of poetry. I suppose on some level I understood this. However, I didn't really "get" this until I started reading this book of Sylvia Plath's poetry. This is the collection of her poems that was published by her husband, Ted Hughes, after her death. When he published them, he, as her daughter explains in the foreword of the book, "left out some of the more lacerating poems." It seems he did this in an attempt not to alienate the reader or hurt her friends and family. Some of you may be familiar with this story. I was not. Freida Hughes (Plath's daughter) explains some history here that may be eye opening for some. Again, I am new to Plath's poetry and this story, so I will not even try to speak to all of this here. I am simply intrigued by it all. (And on a sidenote, I didn't realize until I came home from the bookstore to read my email that netflix has sent the movie Sylvia to be delivered tomorrow. Another layer of the story will be given to me I suppose. Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath...walking across my life this week. I guess since they sit beside each other on my bookshelf they must have decided to cook something up and get me to start really reading them.)

This edition includes all of the poems Plath intended for this volume of poetry. It even includes facsimiles of her typed pages in the arrangement she had planned. There are other interesting surprises in the book as well. For example, the hand-written, then typed, drafts of the poem "Ariel." A tiny glimpse into the thought process of this woman. I loved this. Knowing Sylvia Plath had many drafts of one poem. I sat there and took a breath, reminded once again that I am not alone.

As I began to understand that, to the poet, the order of poems is significant, I turned to this book and started to read from the first page. I read the first few...then skipped to the middle and read a few in order there. interesting.

Of course, these two books came home with me, so that I can continue to read and contemplate and curl up in the words of these two insightful, questioning, courageous, brilliant women. And I suspect that sometimes, I will have to shut the book and sit, with eyes closed, and try to take it in...because these two poets will invite me to look at aspects of my life that may not be as comfortable and question if I am really living or just watching my life.

Click here to read "Morning Song" by Sylvia Plath (from her collection of poems in Ariel).

Click here to read "Streets" by Naomi Shihab Nye (from her collection of poems in Words Under the Words: Selected Poems).

Head on over to Poetry Thursday to click to other bloggers sharing their experiences with poetry.

Happy reading...maybe you will feel invited to head to the poetry section and get a little lost yourself.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

brave {self portrait challenge}

some brave dreams...

to swim with the humpback whales
to write a book and send it off in a package to a publisher who will say yes
to have a child
to spend a month in paris
to live in italy
to move to maui to be closer to the whales
to sing and dance on broadway
to get a tatoo
to be a back-up singer for james taylor
to write more poetry and then one day to read it to others
to forgive a bit more
to help others know they are not alone
to own my own sexiness
to remember that i am only in charge of myself
to own the joy i feel as i put paint, glue, color, crayon, ink, tape, and other stuff to a blank canvas
to rescue another dog
to go back to school and get a masters degree
to let go of more guilt
to read more books
to take a road trip by myself
to own that i cannot save everyone and do all that is asked of me
to remind myself of who i am in those moments when i forget
to worry less about money
to listen to my heart more and follow what it tells me
to climb a tree
to manifest more peace
to learn to speak a foreign language fluently
to have more faith in myself
to love, for the rest of my life, the man i was looking at as i took this picture

see more self portrait challenge participants by visiting this site
{this was a prompt from Sabrina Ward Harrison's book The Truth and the Questions Journal.}

Monday, May 15, 2006

we all have a story...

Tonight as I watched the movie The Hours I was reminded of this idea: every monster has a story.

All the people we meet in our lives have a story. The people who love us, entertain us, hold us, these people, it can be easier to recognize that they have a story. Partly because you may know pieces of it. But then there are the people who devastate us, leave us, hurt us, and behave in ways that are unimaginable, these people all have a story too. With all the people we meet along our journey, we can never really know the full extent of their story. We never really know why people behave the way they do.

We can be quick to judge and assume, but we really never know. We fill in the blanks but we don't know the real story behind a person. The baggage people carry and pull behind them and need a cart with wheels for because it is too heavy to drag.

I balance all of this with the idea that this baggage, this reality, does not give a person permission to contribute to the not-so-good-parts of another person's story. But when we glimpse a page of their story, we are given a context. An understanding. Yet, it does not erase their chosen action. But it just might...give us a little space...a tiny, little space to begin to heal.

Tonight, as I watched The Hours, I was reminded of a book called There Is a Monster at the End of This Book. And the monster? Well, its just fuzzy, blue Grover.

Every monster has a story.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

i would write {sunday scribblings}

The books I would write...

I would write a book about a little girl who packs up a backpack with Anne of Green Gables, a peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwich, her favorite stuffed dog, a thermos of apple juice, crayons, and a notebook. She sets off into the woods behind her house, knowing a grand adventure awaits.

I would write a book about a young woman who finds herself living in Paris at 20. Alone. Scared. Riding her bicycle to the little bookshop where she works, her long brown braids blowing in the wind behind her. In chapter 2, she, of course, meets an older man who will eventually break her heart and lead her to the realization that she can only be happy if she first looks in the mirror at her own reflection, alone. In the last chapter, she will meet him. The one. The first person to take care of her and give her space. At the same time.

I would write a book about a mermaid who swims with the whales in the warm blue water off the coast of Maui. And each summer, when her friends leave her for the cooler waters of Alaska, she weeps. Her tears become the sea glass that washes up on shores around the world. And when human women pick up this glass, they feel a deep connection to its opaque color and smooth texture and an undercurrent of understanding that they are not alone of their journey.

But the book I would write,
the one that is living inside my soul right now,
the one that grows and takes a breath with each beat of my heart,
the one I would write would begin something like this:

The room was quiet except for the clip clop of the pink flip flops I wore on my feet. My mother had questioned me when I walked out to the car, "Are those the only shoes your brought with you?" "I don't think she'll notice," I had replied. She was on the far side of the room, and as I saw her there, I remember having the thought, "this is what love feels like." I suddenly had clarity and love was no longer an indescribable feeling. In that moment, walking up to her, I knew that this is what it is to love someone and know that person has a piece of your heart. And as stood there and looked at her I also knew that this is what is feels like to have your heart broken. The blinders were ripped off, quickly like a blast of cold, air rolling across Lake Michigan in winter. My heart cracked open. My soul would be forever changed.

(visit Sunday Scribblings to read more responses to this prompt)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

poetry thursday

Click here to read one of my favorite William Stafford poems called "You Reading This, Be Ready." And if you haven't already spent some time exploring this website, I hope you will take some time at some point to pour yourself a cup of tea and read some of Stafford's words.

After reading this poem several times today, these are the words I am drawn to write...

Pause and take a breath;
sit in the quiet for a moment.
Do you hear it?
Try again.

Does it sound like the cry of a warrior ready for battle?
The whisper of a lover's sweet words?
The chant of a goddess standing atop a mountain?
The giggle of a baby in her mother's arms?

What would happen if you let it out?
Let it live and dance and hum.
Let it roar and weep and laugh.

Loosen your clutching fingers, and
shed the layers of your fear,
dropping them like clothes onto the floor of your bedroom.
You will discover,
this is the song your soul has been singing for centuries.
It is waiting for you to let go
and sing along.

Find more poetry at Poetry Thursday.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

show and tell

Alert: spoilers ahead!

I signed up to be part of Tara's creativity exchange a couple of months ago. And I am finally, FINALLY, ready to send my part of the exchange to my partner. And I have finished another piece of art for a swap I am doing with another blogger.

I am having fun trying to incorporate fabric into my art. And I am also working through feeling frozen sitting at the dining room table staring at a blank page and all my art supplies. After Artfest, I felt a bit overwhelmed by all I had learned and seen. Frozen in front of the blank page. So, it actually has taken me since Artfest to complete these. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday have brought a new surge and excitement!

If you are not one of the previously mentioned bloggers, you can see what I have created here and here. If you are one of those two bloggers, please resist the temptation to click on those links. But, if you can't, at least you won't know which one is yours. (hee, hee)

Now, here is what I have already received from these two amazing artists:

This is from Chest of Drawers for the Creativity Exchange. I smiled from ear to ear when I opened it. And I was so touched that she chose to use the words from this post.

creativity exchange

And then today, I was almost late for my senior chair yoga class because I had to open the package from Vicci before I zoomed out the door. This photo is not as clear as I would like, but there is a great photo at Vicci's page and some more on my flickr page.

birdhouse 3

With both of these you can click on them to see them upclose (but if you gave them to me you may not want to because you will go to my flickr page that has the abovementioned photos of the items coming your way).

Thank you for sending me such inspiring creations ladies!

I hope to share more soon as I keep exploring and creating as I sing away to the Indigo Girls.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

a quest {self portrait challenge}

A bow 1982

I am on woman on a quest...
and I am seeking this little girl
who danced
and posed in front of the camera
without a care in the world
she didn't worry about
the size of her thighs,
her mismatched barrettes,
letting people down,
not being enough,
not living a full, big, deep life.
She dreamed
huge, fun, crazy dreams.
And believed that she
could do anything she put set her mind and heart to do.

And as I search for her
I am beginning to realize
she has been living in me all along.
She is already home.

a bow 2006

see other self portrait challenges here

Monday, May 08, 2006

senses. owens beach.


owens beach {see}


owens beach {hear}


owens beach {smell}


owens beach {taste}


owens beach {feel}

{and know}

owens beach {and know}

Sunday, May 07, 2006

comfortable yet stylish {sunday scribblings}

The first year after I graduated from college, I lived in the Lincoln Park neighborhood in Chicago. My circle of friends was a group of girls I had gone to boarding school with, and almost all of us had the same pair of nine west black boots. They were comfortable and stylish, which is a combination I do not often experience. I can see pairs of these boots lined up in the entryway of Virginia and Rebecca's apartment. The look that would appear on one of our faces when we realized we had on the wrong pair. We were kind of like a little mini-army in our boots and khaki pants and black turtlenecks. In some ways, I miss those days. When none of us were married and we would get a bucket of beer (cider for me and Rebecca) at Ranalli's and a pizza but a salad for Missy R. because she hates pizza. We would laugh and laugh until we cried with laughter. And go to the bathroom in twos. And try to find the loves of our lives. In a bar. In Chicago. Always wearing those black boots.

I was wearing those black boots when I am in line in the bathroom of Tin Lizzie's and a woman I had never seen turns to her friend, "Is that her? The one who said that to me? I am going to kick her ass." And she turns to me and says, "Are you the one who was a bitch to me at the bar?" And I say, "Ahh, no." "Well, that girl was wearing jeans too." "Well, I'm not her." "Are you sure?" "Ahh, yeah." At this point, the bathroom is free and she stumbles in and quickly forgets about me. Phew. If you know me, you know, I am not the kicking ass type. I was wearing those boots when I walked through thigh-high drifts of snow on January 2, 1999. We were in the midst of a blizzard and I was all alone in my studio apartment. It was snowing inside my apartment (I am not kidding). And I was wearing these boots as I walked to Blockbuster where I rented Lethal Weapon 4 (they were out of the good movies, really they were), Camelot (my favorite musical. it is so long. and i sing every song out loud because i have known every word since i was a small child), and another movie I have since forgotten. I was so scared in that blizzard, alone, feeling far away from everyone. But I was safe in my boots (and Blockbuster was only a block away). I was wearing those boots when I went to see the movie 200 Cigarettes. I was wearing those boots when I got all my hair cut off and just loved it. Short, short hair just like Gwyneth in Sliding Doors. I was wearing those boots when I got embarrassingly drunk, so drunk that I lost time, which is what I call that night - the night I lost time, and thought I was a smoker, and let boys buy me too many gin and tonics. But luckily it was on that night that my dear friend Virginia took me home and put me to bed, taking off those boots and helping me put on my pajamas. And nothing bad happened. Other than my own embarrassment and a good story for everyone else. And I was wearing those boots when I waited for the bus every morning that winter. The bus that would take me to and from work during the week. It was on one of those evening bus rides, when I was wearing those boots, that I closed Wuthering Heights with three pages left. I could no longer put up with Heathcliff. I was, simply, over it.

Through that entire winter and part of spring, I was wearing those boots. As I grew to realize living in the big city and trying to find Mr. Right in a bar and worrying so much about wearing the right clothes and living in a tiny shoebox apartment and working in a cubicle and watching more TV than I want to admit and feeling alone in a group of friends and not having a car and riding the bus were all things I needed to change, I was wearing those boots. And tonight, as I think about those boots, I remember the other lessons during that time. How I realized that some friends will see you through anything and laughter is the best gift of all and setting boundaries within a family with divorced parents is hard but important and sometimes going back to what you know helps you heal and standing up for yourself in the face of a lie is important and spending an evening with just the girls makes my heart happy and sitting on the floor of Barnes and Noble is one way to remember who I am. And I learned that a great pair of khakis and a black turtleneck and a pair of comfortable yet stylish boots are sometimes all you need to have a great time.

Read more Sunday Scribblings here. The prompt this Sunday was My Shoes.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

time to just relax

So the last two days have brought time to watch four, yes four, movies. so nice to just lose yourself in the lives of others.

Walk the Line. See this movie now. Right now. It was fantastic. Beautiful. Intense. I want to read Johnny Cash's autobiography and of course sing, sing, sing his music and June Carter's as well. The acting was so very good.

The Third Man. An old Orson Well's movie. And I must admit to sleeping with my head on my husband's chest through a good portion of it.

Wallace and Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Oh this one is fun. Very funny and silly. Loved it.

And I am now crying my way through the The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Yes, you read that right. It is on HBO. And I have even sucked my husband into it. As he said, "yes, i am over here absorbed in the drama of the traveling pants."

And tomorrow will bring a day of creating and time at my dining room table filled with all my art "stuff." I can't wait!!

Happy weekend to you all...

Friday, May 05, 2006

a little gratitude and joy

tonight i am grateful for:

a wonderful evening with my husband. good food. laughter. silliness. reading poetry from the poetry thursday posts out loud together.

and speaking of poetry thursday. i am so grateful for the way this idea continues to expand and grow. and for lynn for taking on this project with me.

the weather. oh this gorgeous weather. blue sky and sunshine that is inviting everything to grow and bloom and reach up toward the heavens.

the wonderful women who come to my senior chair yoga class. they are beyond delightful. during the class we laugh and share and they do more than they think they can. it is a beautiful experience each week.

the work i have had lately. mostly i am grateful for this because it means our debt can decrease a little (or at least not increase).

that my grandpa's surgery went well this week. it was minor, but he had to be under anesthesia. i am simply grateful that he woke up.

my brother and the way that he inspires me. he has just finished the great american novel in the form of an amazing album with a friend of his. so it isn't a book, but rather an album of some incredible songs...but this is how i can relate to how he feels. like he just completed a dissertation about his life. check it out
here. i am fiercely proud of him.

the new friends in my life. thank you for finding me and connecting with me. i am so happy to know you.

the hope that i will have some time to myself this weekend for the first time in a long time. i. can't. wait.

and i am finding the joy in this list of things:
fresh basil, the indigo girls, the way millie puts her head on my knee and sighs, flip flops, summer skirts, pink ribbon, opening the mailbox to find a letter addressed just to me...a real letter, a new white t-shirt, a slice of lemon in a glass of cold water, my superhero bracelet, taking my laptop outside to work on the back porch, the laughter of a dear friend, mugs of green tea.

how have you found the joy this week?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

poetry thursday

sometimes i watch you as you read the paper
you do not notice
i sit, cross-legged on the couch
a smile to my lips
as out of the corner of my eye i see
your bent elbows leaning
on the arms of the old green chair
that used to be my father's
i keep my head still
so that i don't distract you
or cause you to sense my glance
i wish i could climb up into your brain
and see the wheels turn
and synapses connect

sometimes i watch you as you read the paper
wanting to take a peek
and know what you know


Check out the new Poetry Thursday blog.

I will keep the sidebar of participants up on my blog for a little while. If you want to be included on the new blog's list of participants, please send us an email at poetrythursday at gmail dot com.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

the time has come...

Some things are worth waiting for. But this time, you don't have to wait. Poetry Thursday is up and running. Go check it out.
(all you have to do is click on the little button right there...and yes, you can get one too!)

open eyes {self portrait challenge}


This month's self portrait challenge is to introduce yourself. I do that in almost every post I think. So for this month's challenge, I am simply going to share what comes to me on the day when I decide to post.

Who am I?

I am a woman on the cusp of her thirties who is trying to make a difference in the world. I am a woman trying to heal and grow through the pains of this life. I am a woman learning to love who I am, even when I have trouble seeing the positives. I am a woman trying to be authentic even when it seems easier to be someone else. I am a woman searching for meaning in the midst the midst of the crap.

Yes. In the midst of the crap. There is so much that gets thrown at us in this world. The many things to think about and worry about and fear and focus on instead of the real stuff. These things that sidetrack us and numb us and we become a bit crazy about...all the crap.

I am a woman trying to wipe my windshield clean of the crap. This is who I am. I clean it. The next time I turn around it is full again. Wipe. See clearly for a moment. Can't see. Wipe again. Repeat.

If you find that this is part of who you are, don't despair. What I have realized is that most people simply think they can see through the crap.
They. do. not. even. realize. it. is. there.
If you do...well, half the battle is really over because you are living with your eyes open. And we can do this together. Live with open eyes. And just keep wiping off the crap.

Monday, May 01, 2006

will try again tomorrow

i want to write something inspiring...

about how i want to dance for 15 minutes today to celebrate Jamie's beautiful idea.
about the wonderful breakfast i had yesterday with Marilyn, Laini, and Stephanie!
about the fantastic afternoon i spent with Kelly.
about the awareness i experienced listening to the indigo girls yesterday.
about how my heart expands a bit every time i sing at the top of my lungs in the car.
about how much i am enjoying reading May Sarton's Journal of a Solitude.
about the beautiful weather we are having.
about how inspired i feel by the bloggers i am connecting with.

but all i have to say is this...
i am watching last night's west wing episode for the second time because bravo replays it on monday nights at 8 and i am so sad this show is ending and i love alan alda and jimmy smits and the world where a open-minded, compassionate, independent-thinking man is elected into the most powerful office in our country and calls upon an equally open-minded, compassionate, independent-thinking man who happened to be his opponent to serve in an important role in his cabinet. Really. All I really want is some compassionate, open-minded, independent-thinking people to run for office. (oh and even though there is a part of me that still wants to be the first female president [as a child i had a sign hanging from my bedroom door that said "future president sleeping"], i have to admit that i would really like the job of being first lady. an independent-thinking, compassionate, open-minded first lady of course.)

and i am feeling a bit blue...just a bit...but will try to find some inspiration for tomorrow.