grown ups are like that....

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Winter Chill

December is just two days away, and I'm not prepared.  Oh, I have gifts purchased and Christmas cards ready to send.  I have the calendar full of parties and events.  But, still, I feel a dread that quickens my pulse and tightens my throat.

I have lovely memories of golden roasted turkeys, holiday carols, and frosted cookies. Yet, scattered between these are darker memories that still chill my bones:

1. Nana: She becomes ill and enters the hospital right after Christmas. I wait to hear how she is, but I'm scared.

2. Daddy: He dies, suddenly, one December day as I prepare for college finals.  Everything changes.

3. Momma: She gets terribly sick and is admitted to the hospital. I am too far away to get to her.  I am helpless.

4. Grandma: She dies, after years of suffering, in a nursing home in St. Louis. I hadn't seen her in over a year.

5. Sister: She is admitted to the hospital in San Francisco after her water breaks six weeks before her due date.  She gets an infection and my niece is born pre-mature. She is forced to spend Thanksgiving day in the hospital.

My mother and sister are fine now.  They are healthy and well as is my sweet little niece,  but every year as the holidays approach I begin to panic.  I find myself grinding my teeth and my neck tightens with anxiety.  I have trouble sleeping, and I become nervous and twitchy.  I jump when the phone rings, and I find myself thinking, "What will happen this year?  Who will it be? What will we have to deal with now?"

I dream of my father and grandmothers and wake with tears in my eyes and my head aching.

I know this type of thinking is irrational especially considering that the majority of the holiday seasons I have lived through have been pleasant and uneventful. But I cannot help it.  My heart has scars that itch when the weather turns and the days get darker.  There is no salve that will calm the irritation or soothe the pricking of fear I live with this time of year.

All I can do is watch the snow fall and hope, hope, hope, that this year will be a good one.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Today I found a fragment of the wallpaper that hung in our living room when we first moved into our house nine years ago.

The day we closed on our house our friends came over with a bottle of champagne and a gift card to the hardware store.  We drank and laughed and toasted, "to our new home!" as we all peeled at corners of the wallpaper that I said had to go.  The paper in the living room, to our surprise, came off in long, thin, easy-to-peel pieces. Soon everyone had a glass of bubbly in one hand and a strip of wallpaper in the other.  Our two-year old toddlers raced around ripping paper and weaving between our legs, and I felt so happy to be here in this place with those I loved so dearly.  I felt so secure in that love, those friendships.

To my surprise I found a working phone in the dark, dirty basement.  I snuck down and dialed my mother in California.

"Oh honey, your first home! Daddy would be so proud!"

I cried with her, a little drunk now, and wished my father was there, so I could have told  him about how I had saved and scrimped in order to buy this house.  I'd have told him how we ate lots of cheap macaroni and cheese and didn't buy new clothes for months and only had one car.  He would have applauded my thriftiness and, like my mom said, would have been so proud.

I look at the wallpaper shred now, and it makes me sad and nostalgic.  Why didn't I take pictures that day?  Why aren't there snapshots of us with our friends, arms around each other in goofy poses? Where are the pictures of us all standing in the empty kitchen or waving on the front porch?  Why didn't we have a camera to take shots of the kids  being crazy and enjoying themselves in the wide open rooms that smelled of cleanser and dust and other families?

I don't have those photos, but I do have this wallpaper scrap.  It's something.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


With spring beginnings come promise, hope, renewal and a thousand other cliches about what might be right around the bend.  We shake off the crust of winter snow and toss the boots in the attic and march forward into the sun wanting more.

Ever and always wanting more.

But now, in late summer, the basil plants are hanging weak and thirsty, and the tomatoes drag their vines so low you want to yell, "get up you lazy things!" The early September light is white and glaring and almost garish, and the squirrels are as fat as piglets.   The pepper plants are bursting, and you sigh deeply because what am I going to do with all those peppers?  The jam is made and the canning done.  The school supplies are purchased. The new clothes are laid out carefully for the first day of classes.  

Before you know it the harvest will be over and the fresh fruit gone.  The pumpkins will turn orange, and the new clothes will be stained.  All the tomatoes will be mealy and imported and utterly disappointing. Everyone will have to buy their basil in depressing little plastic clam shells that hide the brown leaves in the center.

All of these things--the riches of late summer and the barrenness of the coming fall and winter-- make me feel heart-achy in way that makes me grateful and honest and raw and tearful and ready all at once. I'm ready to say good-bye to summer. 

I'm ready to say good-bye to so many things.

summer cairn

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tiny Poem

Words leak from my ears at night.
In the morning,
I shake out the pillowcase to see if
Fall out.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fiction: Name Contest

 I had several people suggest names for a hard boiled Brockport detective.  I can't decide on just one winner, so I'm going to put it to a vote. Vote in a comment here or on the link on facebook or twitter by Monday August 20th.  The winner gets a little Brockport, NY memorabilia.

Here's the list:

Daniel John Walker
Nick Stone
Mitch Denson
Jud Harrison
Chet Marony
Dirk Wolcott
Silas James
Rodney (Rod) Beach
James Styles
Silas Dupree
Clarkson Manning

Thursday, August 9, 2012


I don't write fiction.

But if I did I would write a story about a hard boiled detective  living in my little Western New York town.

He would drink lukewarm coffee at the the diner and throw back Gennys with the local color at Barber's Tap Room. He would know, though, that if he needed info for a case that he could usually find it at C&S Saloon.

 He'd walk the banks of the Erie canal late at night thinking about a woman who hurt him in ways that words couldn't describe.  She would have left a sweater that smelled of Chantilly Lace in his coat closet.  He would refuse to get rid of it even when other women asked why he kept it.

He'd have a beat up old clunker of boat that he would take out on Lake Ontario to get away from it all.  The boat would be named Doll.

 He'd rent a loft apartment over a downtown gift shop and run his small time detective business out of his tiny kitchen.  He would be independently wealthy because of a family inheritance, but he wouldn't want anyone to know.  He would be proud, and since he always worked hard he would continue to work hard, money or not.

 Most people around the village would think of him as a decent but quiet sort of man.  He would chew on the end of a match when he talked on the phone because of his constant struggle to give up smoking. Most of his work would come from cuckolded spouses, but every now and then he'd get a case just a little bit more interesting, a little bit more mysterious.

He would stay out of village politics but find that politicians and police needed his services more often than they would care to admit.

He would know almost everyone but like almost no one.

He would have scars, lots of them, but he would rarely if ever talk about how he got them.  Even a few extra Gennys wouldn't squeeze it out of him.

But, alas, I don't write fiction.


Care to give my detective a cool-as-a-cucumber-but-tough-as-nails-name?  Best entry wins a Brockport-themed prize.  

Monday, July 30, 2012


They hold hands, snuggle on the couch, and spoon under the covers.  They hug with true affection and often lift the other off of the ground in joy during an embrace.  They press their cheeks together and giggle when a photo is taken.

This sweet, affectionate couple is not a pair of young lovers nor is it an old married couple.  

This pair I speak of are two small girls.  Many, but not all, young girls give their affection to their friends free of charge.  The touches, the caresses, and close-to-the-ear whispers come without reservation and without self conscious embarrassment.

But when women grow up the affection they once shared with girlfriends wanes. Hugs may linger, but not much else. Curling up on the couch to read a magazine together or holding hands at the mall? No, this rarely happens during the adult years.  The door shuts on that physicality sometime in our twenties.  If we're lucky we let it tarry into our early thirties, but, really, the women I know now hesitate to touch each other beyond a simple hug.  My one dear friend always greets her female friends with a kiss, which I love, but I sense that others are shy about such an intimate gesture and find it strange or too "European."

I watch my girl, eleven, still eagerly cuddling with her girlfriends even now as she prepares for middle school.   They play with one another's hair and take pleasure in mutual grooming. They snuggle and hold hands and share a bed without hesitation during sleepovers.  In short, they cherish each other's touch.

I've always been a "touchy-feely" and "huggy" kind of a person, and I readily admit to  missing this sort of physical yet utterly platonic relationship with my women friends.  But this sort of intimacy is not the sort of thing one pushes with those that are more reserved or shy.  It isn't OK to expect people to reach beyond their interpersonal comfort zones in such a way.  Frankly, it is wrong to force such a thing.

Would the kinship we have with our female friends be different if we allowed platonic, loving touches back into our lives?  Would we feel more comfortable telling our secrets if we whispered them while holding fast to another woman's hand?  Could we become closer, more like sisters, if we didn't hesitate to brush the hair out of each other's eyes, loop our arms together as we walk, or kiss on the cheek when we met?

I can't really know for sure, but I expect that, for me at least, hearts would open and more love would spill out around us cementing the bonds even tighter than before.

photo courtesy of Melanie Macdonald

Sunday, July 15, 2012

News & Events

I have some readings coming up!  I do hope you can join me.  Info can be found HERE.  Chapbooks, Mother Muse, and Motherly Musings books will be available for purchase.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Gimme Shelter

What have you written lately?
When are you going to post on your blog again?
Any freelance pieces coming out soon?

These are the questions that I am hearing quite often lately.  I don't have any answers, really. Truth is, I am having a hard time writing.

"Writer's block?" my mother asks.  But it's not.  It's as if the simple, driving need to write has suddenly slipped away.  I come home from work or finish my tasks around the house, sit in my wicker rocker, and stare into space.  A voice in my head says, fervently, "Get up. Go write."

But I shoo the voice away like a buzzing fly and pick up a magazine or book.  Sometimes, I break my own rule of No TV During Daylight Hours and sneak a peek at the boob tube, eager for a rerun of  "Celebrity Ghost Stories."
Lately, I've been experimenting with new recipes:  low fat cheesecake ice cream, Cajun spice rub for meaty pieces of catfish, green chutney with parsley, mint, and lemon, Cioppino with muscles and shrimp and fat clams, coconut cassava cake.

I vaguely mention to my family that I should start a food blog or better yet a podcast.  The kids say that I should call it "Coffee with Christine," and anyone who knows me well will laugh, because I'm really a tea drinker.

I heard the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter" in the car today.  I had the window down and laughed (with joy? regret?  shame?) as I pictured myself: Thirty-eight year old mom of two rocks out like a crazy teen to the Stones at full blast on a perfect spring day in a mini-van with a load of groceries in the back.  At home she has a binder full of new recipes to test and a rocking chair calling her name.

Oh a storm is threatn'ing
My very life today.
If I don't get some shelter
I'm gonna fade away.
-Mick & Keith

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

If the shoe fits. . .

All winter I  struggled to find a pair of slippers that would fit and last through the season.  The first pair I bought were warm and cozy and cute.  Unfortunately, they fell apart rather quickly.  By early winter I had lost the lining and had to keep the sole on with bright green duct tape.

Next, I found a discounted pair of slipper-booties.  They, too, were perfect, or seemed to be.  But they disintegrated in record time, and eventually they had to be tossed. They were comfortable and trendy but certainly not durable.

For the last couple of months I've essentially been slipper-less, and it has thrown me, as odd as that sounds.  I need something besides my socks between my feet and the cold, cold floor.  I need to feel firmly planted, not sliding and unbalanced.  I need the comfort and stability that slippers give my feet during these hard, cold Western New York winters.

Recently, I've been shuffling around in multiple socks or old tennis shoes. When my husband isn't home I slip into his too-big slippers that are warm with a firm rubber sole.  But they make me trip over my own feet.

On Sunday I found a pair of Croc-like shoes at Ikea, and I snapped them up.  We're coming into spring now, so I thought I could wear them for a bit with socks then wear them sock-less when the weather warmed up.

 They don't fit.

By the end of the day yesterday my feet hurt, and my toes pinched, and I felt unmoored again.  How can a simple thing like HOUSE SLIPPERS, for God's sake, make me insane all winter and spring?  How can finding the right fit be so damn hard?  Why did my slipper conundrum throw me into near tears?  I felt so much like Cinderella's step sisters: desperate to make those stupid shoes work and willing to cut off a heel to make it happen.

Today I went to the big box store that everyone loves to hate and found a pair of house shoes that, I hope, will last at least longer than a few weeks.  They are goofy and large and not very trendy at all, but they fit like glass slippers--perfectly.

This post isn't all about shoes, of course. But sometimes the things in life that are only held together by duct tape and hope are too complicated to write about while slippers, well, they are easy.  They can be fixed with a few bucks and a little determination.

If only everything were that simple.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Life is Sweet

For flutter, a wedding blessing, in song....

I wish you many joyous days of happiness. May life together always be sweet, like honey on the tongue.

I hope you always remember that each one of you is a celestial body, with a halo slightly askew, yet infinity perfect.

And, in the end, no matter how tough life might get you both will be alright. Always.

You burn bright, a star born from the sun. But you, my dear, will never burn out.

Congratulations, flutter. xoxo

Thanks, Emily, for organizing.

Monday, March 19, 2012

It's a Small World

The tiny and hidden fascinate me. When I walk, eyes lowered, it isn't that I am missing the big picture. It's that I am looking at the small microcosms that are everywhere but are often overlooked or dismissed:

The marching ants carrying breadcrumbs to their queen.

The tiny, darting, silvery slippery fish swimming in and out of coral crevices.

The broken shards of pottery and glass where a house once stood centuries ago.

The minuscule pebbles and rocks that make the gravel road.

These are the worlds (for they indeed are whole, wide worlds) that have attracted me my whole life. When I look at a garden I of course see the large landscape of colors and textures, but I also see the ladybug working its way up a rose stem. I don't just see the wide expanse of the ocean as I stand on a beach; I also see the the grains of sand, the sea shells, the tiniest starfish.

I can see details in people, too. I will notice your new earrings or that you have trimmed your hair. I will be struck by the catch in your voice and know that your heart aches. I will see the twinkle in your eye and know you are about to tell me something amazing. I will see the tiny lines around the corners of your smile that tell me that you are tired, strained. I will sense the smallest twitch of your eye, and I will know you are anxious or upset.

It is, of course, a problem sometimes, in the practical sense. I bump into things frequently as I walk, head bowed, looking for bottle caps or interesting little objects that other people step over or kick aside. I can utterly forget the time when I am lounging in the grass watching a bee lap nectar from a nearby flower. I can overly prod a person to share their hidden feelings when they aren't prepared to discusses them with me. I can miss a sunset while contemplating initials carved in a tree trunk.

This attention to the small details of my environment made me want to create tiny little worlds myself. For a while I became obsessed with making terrariums. In one sits a smiling Buddha and a sea shell with a mini succulent I have no name for. I even have a tiny little glass necklace filled with live moss that I have to water, carefully, every month with a damp q-tip. And I couldn't bear to see our neglected goldfish swim in an empty bowl, so I filled it with a small rainbow cave and a blue female figurine to keep him company. Now he has his own mini space to hide in and a plastic friend to blow bubbles with.

And isn't that what we all want anyway? A space of our own, no matter how small? Don't we all want to be seen even when we feel insignificant and tiny in this large, crazy world?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Earthy Crunchy

I made up this recipe today, and it was very, very tasty.

What's in the Cupboard Quinoa Granola

1/4 cup seseme seeds (black or white or a combo)
1/4 chia seeds (black or white)
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (any variety)
1/4 melted virgin coconut oil (I think butter would work as well)
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix the syrup and coconut oil and then toss with the dry ingredients.

Spread the granola on the baking sheet and bake for one hour. Let it cool then break the granola into small pieces. At this point you can add nuts, dried fruits, or shredded coconut, or just eat it as is.


Monday, February 6, 2012


The Superbowl, without my father, is painful for me.

I can get through Christmas and his birthday, but the Big Game? It slays me.

I don't like football, really. I didn't really even like it all that much when I was young. But he did. It was the only sport he would watch, the 49ers the only team he would root for. So, of course, we all watched, we all cheered. And Superbowl parties, whether the Niners were in the game or not, happened every year. Now, without him, Superbowl is just another Sunday, and the ordinariness of it all squeezes my heart.

Yesterday there were no commercials and wings for me. No party invites or half time shows. It was just another quiet night. I went to bed before 10pm and had a fitful, restless, and anxious sleep. My dreams were filled with fog, literally, like the fog that hovers over San Francisco Bay on cool, winter evenings with the light from the Snow Moon filtering through the mist.

San Francisco

Saturday, January 21, 2012

15 minutes by Kelly Myers

My dear friend Kelly Myers took on Sarah Cedeno's writing challenge! Please take a minute to read and comment on her guest post, below. She is a great writer and should really start a blog, too. My response to the challenge is here.
I've got a school bus coming home in 15 minutes bringing me 3 rowdy, excited-to-play-in-the-snow seven year olds. Here's all that 15 minutes will get you.

My desk. It's huge, heavy, wooden, and it was FREE!! We got it from an associate of Dennis' who was pulling up stakes and abandoning his office with furniture inside. He just couldn't take it with him. Why yes, I'd love that big, wooden professional desk with oodles of drawers. I sit at my desk in the "living room" of my house. I can't imagine people before me living in this cozy ranch house using this as their only living room. Thankfully, they added on to the house in the 80's and put on a huge family room. This room has never been our "living room." We call it the "front room." I used to have my office in here. Just a desk and some other random furniture that rarely got used. Then it had 3 babies' cribs in it. Much different! Someone go back in time and tell that pregnancy crazed hormonal lady that painting the walls a deep, deep red would take about 13 coats of paint and aggravate her husband to no end. Once the cribs moved out, the room was our therapy room. We added a kid height school table and chairs. My son had 3 years of in-home therapy here - ABA, speech and OT. Fabulous ladies who loved my son and his siblings just as much as we do came here. They became part of our family. Once the kids started school full-time, my old "desk" came back in the room. I was just a ramshackle piece of MDF board with folding table legs attached. Some homemade make-do on a budget piece of furniture that we whipped up back in college, when we were still babies. This new, fancy, free desk makes me feel grown-up.

I don't have time to talk about all the drawers. This desk has drawers for miles. I love them and reorganize them with glee on a regular basis.

Up on top, we've got a big ole' box of tissues. Then, a cordless phone and charging station. Then, one of my set of two speakers, for requisite rocking out while I pay the bills. I've got my tiny purple iPod shuffle charging away reminding me that I haven't been to the gym since before Christmas. A pencil with a broken tip. I was going to sharpen it this morning, but decided to leave it for one of the kids to sharpen because they get such a thrill out of the electric pencil sharpener. Under my monitor sits 5 cash envelopes that came from the bank. They've got Christmas money inside for each of my 4 kids plus Dennis and I - all from my great-grandma who will turn 102 years old in just 6 weeks. She saved all her life so she'd never have to go without. The envelopes have handwritten names of all us scrawled on there by her daughter - my great aunt. She's in her 80's and I'm sure she never imagined her mother would live so long. We sometimes worry about my great-aunt and my grandpa (her brother) and their worsening health conditions. No one in their 80's expects to be outlived by their 102 year old mother.

Damn, the school bus is here. Hmm. It would suck to stop in the middle of a story.

Little people are home and they've been reshuffled. Dennis shoveled the whole driveway, the boys are playing in the snow, and Gillian is reading a book. I ate a bowl of turkey chili. Aren't you a better person for knowing that?

Back to the desk. Under my monitor is a sensory skin brush. The OT gave it to me over a month ago. We don't use it too often, but it sits there waiting to be pressed into service. Then, there sits the sparkling blue box, covered in faux jems. Hidden inside the little tin box is a tiny, colorized photo of Joseph Gordon Levitt. Hi Joe! Tech tools include my wireless keyboard and mouse, and my headphone used for quieter rocking out. Nearby, my mousepad is guarded by my Dexter bobblehead, bloody knife and all. My kids asked a bunch of questions when he came home. Am I warping their sensibilities? I hope so, just a little. Gillian ran off and got her Hello Kitty bobblehead and plopped it next to mine. She said they could be buddies. A serial killer and a Japanese cartoon character, besties? Of course they could be, Gillian.

Over towards the other side of my desk I've got a quart sized mason jar full of a hundred slivers of plastic. We cut up our credit cards over a year ago and I've kept the carnage hanging around. I like the visual reminder that we're being frugal and that paying bills is actually fun now. It's a game to see how much we can save and how much debt we can pay off. Tucked inside the jar is a mini American flag that the boys and I got when we welcomed the WWII Veterans home from their trip to DC last October. The grownups cried that day. Can't wait to go do it again.

Beyond that sits 3 unopened Pinewood Derby Car kits. We haven't even started them and the derby is in 8 days. No problem. Last year Doug's car beat out the other 5 boys in his age group. He couldn't have been more thrilled. Eric cried that day. He cried a big, ugly, snotty cry that lasted too long and embarrassed the heck out of me. He hates to lose. Perched at the very edge of my desk is a new-to-me metal sculpture of flowers - might be cherry blossoms. I found it at the local Savers goodwill shop and I had a coupon. It made me think of Springtime, and now I don't want to put it away and "save" it for a spring day. Why wait?

I've already evangelized today about my ScanSnap pro on my Facebook page. Gillian wandered past my desk today when she got off the bus and whined a tiny bit. She was disappointed to see some of her schoolwork from yesterday in the recycle bin, that crafty, observant girl. I told her - don't worry. Not only did I read it, I thought it was so cool that I scanned it in and emailed it to Dad so that he would read it, too. She and I talked about how I'd save the file until she was a teenager and we smiled about it.

Don't forget that thin layer of dust covering the back few inches of the whole desk. Once in a while I blow really hard and watch it scoot away and fall behind the desk. Ha, Ha. I'm Betty Homemaker. I don't look at the dust, too often, though. I like to look out the window. Yesterday and today I've been watching the birdfeeders. I've seen house finches, starlings, chickadees, male and female downy woodpeckers and yesterday we saw a giant red-headed woodpecker. This is the biggest window in the house and I love the view. The school bus pulls away at 7:30am each day and I get to watch the sunrise over the neighbors trees while I check my email in the morning.

Now I think the boys are finally wet and cold and about ready to come back in from the snow. That was probably about 45 minutes if you subtract out my chili break. Phew! Thanks for visiting my office.

Thanks Kelly!

Friday, January 6, 2012

45 Minutes

This is a writing exercise that I learned about from Sarah at copyright1982. It is a bit different from most of the pieces I write here, but I thought it would be fun to mix things up a bit.

Here is the prompt (Originally from an article by John Smolens in The Writer) taken directly from Sarah's post which you can find here:

1. Focus on where you write (45 minutes).

Write for a minimum of 45 minutes, describing where you are as you write, how you are writing (using pencil and paper, computer, etc.) and why you have chosen this particular time of day to write, Simply describe your physical location, what about it makes you comfortable–or uncomfortable.


Start, 9:25 am, January 6th, 2011.

Here I go. I'm a little nervous that I don't have the complete details of the prompt, but I'm too eager (always a problem for me) to get started. I don't have a subscription to The Writer, so I'm going on just what she posted at her blog.

In any case, I suppose I'll start by describing where I am and any random thoughts that enter my mind as I go.

I'm in my study with orange walls, three aloe vera plants, a conch shell, a jade plant, and some other succulent plant that I have no name for. I'm listening to "Falling Slowly" on my ipod which is making me feel melancholy.

There is a plate in front of me with LOTS of crumbs from the early morning tortilla chip snack I just had. Who does this? Who eats chips at nine am? I do, I suppose.

Right now I'm fighting the urge to clean up the mess on my desk. Notepads, a pea green binder, and some advil (kept close in case this week's migraine makes a return), some mini-wallet size pictures of the kids that I need to send out, and a hand out from the speech therapist.

Ok, ok, I'm moving on with the exercise. . . in the little cubby hole right above my computer screen is a collection of little crystals and gem stones. My favorite is a flat, transparent opal. It isn't sparkly like most opals you see in jewelry. Instead the color is luminous and liquid, and I often hold it in my hand when I am day dreaming. It has a particular name, this type of opal, but if I look it up now I'll just get distracted.

The room is cold. The heater just kicked on, so I'm hopeful it will warm up a bit. Besides, the sun is shining brightly, and that will help warm things up, too.

Here's another favorite nick-knack that sits in one of my many little desk top cubby holes: It is a candle shaped like a cupcake. The "frosting" is pink and sparkly, and there is a fake candy mint on top and fake little gumdrops around the edge. I seriously love this candle. I've never burned it, because it would break my heart to watch it melt.

It still smells like incense in here. Santa left some incense in my stocking, so I've been burning it in the morning when I meditate. I'm still not sure if I like it or not. The scent is heavy and reminds me of my college days and dorm rooms and late nights and stale cigarettes.

Van Morrison has come on the ipod now: "Into the Mystic." I think Van is the only artist that I can listen to over and over and over and never get sick of his songs. I used to think this about my beloved Cowboy Junkies, but after a while I do get a little bored with them. Unless, of course, I'm listening to the Trinity Session. Should I post some videos with this blog later when I spell check? We'll see.

Twenty minutes left. I'm starting to think that this will end up being a really, really boring post.

There are two desks is in my study. The one I sit at now is a computer desk. It's "Mission Style" with a dark chocolate stain. I pretty much love it. The other desk, behind me and to the left, is a large teacher's desk a friend's father gave to me. I use it for my crafts and projects. Well, I am not actually very crafty, but I like to pretend I am. I have a large box from Big Lots that contains hundreds of pieces of scrap paper, though I don't use it for scrap books. I use it to make homemade cards and little hand sewn books. I usually don't make time to cultivate this craft.

The phone is sitting here, just in case. I'm expecting an important call, and I have the feeling that the phone will ring right in the middle of this exercise or when I get in the shower. Oops, I guess that means that I've just admitted to not having taken a shower yet. I'll get to it.

I keep looking over at the peach wing backed chair just to my left by the open closet door. It is covered with a piano blanket that I bought about sixteen years ago now. It looks old fashioned and eclectic, all reds and golds and muted greens with fringe rimming the edges. It would be great to say that I picked it up at an antique store and that the owner told me a wildly romantic story about the famous pianist who once owned it. But I can't. It would also be cool if I could tell you that I found it in my grandma's attic buried under dusty quilts and old photos in an ancient steamer truck. But neither of these stories are true. I bought it at J.C. Penny. I thought it would add some flair to my boring grad school apartment. And you know what? It did add flair. It really is pretty.

Ten more minutes.

It is still freezing in here, and I would love a cup of tea to warm my bones. I suppose I can wait ten more minutes.

On the wall above my computer is a framed collage of pictures that my mother made for my grandmother in the 1970s. There are lots of great pictures of my family. My two favorites: 1) A head shot, from the side, of me at about three years old. I'm wearing a simple, white Easter bonnet, and my face is raised to the sun. My eyes are closed and I have a little, gentle smile on my face. 2) A picture of my childhood dog, Prince, as a puppy. He is a white puff ball (he's a Samoyed) under our Christmas tree. A disembodied hand (probably my father's) holds a ball in front of him. The hand is sightly blurry as if the person holding it was waving it up and down just as the picture was snapped.

I just realized that I have five candles in this room. I am an obsessive candle burner. Except, of course, the cupcake. I pick it up and sniff it. It really does smell like vanilla cake! It is even sitting in a little foil cupcake tin that one could easily pull away if you wanted to take a bite. I'm now thinking that I want to spend some time on-line shopping for more cupcake candles. Maybe they make them in other scents and colors. Chocolate with peanut butter frosting, perhaps? Red velvet with cream cheese frosting, maybe?

Now I'm hungry.

Stop, 10:10 am, January 6, 2011.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Big Things

This post was going to be about my New Year's resolutions, but then I remembered that in 2010 a psychic told me that 2011 would be "My Year." She said that "Big Things" were coming my way, and that I would have a stellar twelve months to look forward to. So instead of talking about what I plan to do in the year to come, I want to look back at 2011. . .
I visited my amazing mother, who I miss so very much, in Idaho.

I saw my adored sister and sweet and treasured childhood friend in Missouri.

I saw my beautiful cousin marry the love of her life in Colorado.

I stood at the edge of the ocean in Prince Edward Island and climbed mountains in Vermont.

I saw Broadway shows and ate New York cheesecake at midnight in Times Square with two of the most wonderful and dear women I know.

I met new friends, grew closer to old ones, and dreamed of those who have passed on.

I laughed at birthday celebrations and wept at funerals and held the hands of those working through grief and pain.

I lost my last grandparent, my cherished and beloved grandmother.

I became an aunt again (A niece!).

I gathered with my soul sisters to share our dreams and turn the wheel of the year together.

I celebrated ten years of motherhood and cried thinking about how fast it all went.

I had some of my work published in a new book as well as in a couple of my favorite literary journals.

I mended a rift with an old, dear friend, and sent quiet blessings and love to those no longer in my life.

I had food on my table in abundance and clothes on my back.

I had a warm house to share with my brilliant and handsome husband of fourteen years and the family we created together.

Big Things? No, but I'd say that overall 2011 was filled with love, good fortune, and, most of all, good people.

My wish for you this new year. . .
I wish you an abundance of love, a surplus of happiness, and a bounty of peace. May the Spirit (however it is shown to you) shine on you and in you and bring you a thousand blessings.

May 2012 bring you Peace, Love, Light, and Joy.