Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Quotes from Kindergarten...

I have added storytelling to my daily morning routine. That is, the kids get to tell short stories about their little lives. We hear 4 to 5 stories a day, and while they are all important, most of them usually only include lines like I played with my cat, I played with my brother, I played with my bike, I played or I ate some candy.

Today though, one little boy (you'll remember him from the jelly bean incident) raised his hand and when I called on him, he said "I have a story about Brennan's dog an' how he is doeing* to live to be a hundred years old and never die. His name is Stormy an' he will live forever."

A great beginning, right? Turns out it was all the kid had...the opening, but it was still a great line and underneath it spoke of endless possibility; endless imagination.

*As before, read everything phonetically.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Saturdays when I should be cleaning...

Oh, Saturday; the best and worst day of the week. A day without the business of going to work or alarm clocks. When sleeping in, even for a little bit, presents itself like pure bliss. Even in waking up, there is the temptation just to lie there for a few more minutes or snuggle down into the warm covers and pull the book from beneath the pillow. (Assuming you have a book under the pillow, which I always do). This is the best part of the day and then enters the list.

I cannot lie in bed very long without the list creeping in. The long durge of things I must get done because it is Saturday and I don't have to go to work. Unpleasant things like hanging up clothes and cleaning the bathroom. Going to do laundry or cutting out laminated name cards for school. Homework and shopping for unexciting items like toilet paper and toothpaste.

Today, my list is exceptionally long. So long in fact that it will not all get done. I have already been up, but now I am back to lying in bed, reveling that it is Saturday and blogging about the list instead of tackling it. That, my friends, is bliss.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Quotes from Kindergarten...

Ariel: Miss B, do you know why I am the best?
Me: No, Ariel, why are you the best?
Ariel: Because my dad...he teach me evey nigh to dance...like this...(shakes her hips and shoulders vigourously).
Me: (laughing) Yes Ariel, you are the best.

*The spelling errors in the sentences above, dear reader, are to help you hear her. It also helps if you imagine a tiny Mexican girl with long brown hair and a little spanish accent.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Wisdom of a four year old...

Another moment brought to you by Olivia. She just turned five and is becoming increasingly more snarky as time goes by. Too smart for her own good or brilliant?

Olivia: Sissa, it is time for you to be married. Find a boy who likes you.
Me: Okay, I'll get right on it. It isn't that easy you know.
Olivia: You better get working, so you can get married and have your babies. You're going to want to meet your children before you pass away. Don't you think that would be a good idea?
Me: (laughing) I would definitely like to meet my children before I pass away.

Where do they come up with this stuff? I attribute the above conversation to Charlotte's Web. We are reading it for the first time and have been talking about how Charlotte dies after she lays her eggs, but before her children are born. I guess, Olivia doesn't want me to meet the same fate.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Adventures in house buying...

I am in the process of buying a house. It has been an exhausting and frustrating adventure. Hands down house hunting is the worst of activities because there exists a significant gap at what we want and what we can afford. Looking at what I can afford has been disheartening. Questions about money and regrets about choosing a career with such limited earning potential have come to the forefront, making themselves nuisances, instead of remaining in the background where they belong.

After touring some good houses in questionable neighborhoods, some questionable houses in good neighborhoods, and many questionable houses in questionable neighborhoods...I finally found a gem. The neighborhood is good. The house is good. The price is good, and I am one step closer to having my own space. Somewhere that is really mine, not a temporary stopping place. Somewhere I can fully occupy and not have to abandon in a year or two.

There is some red tape and papers to sign. I won't move in until November, but now that I know it is coming, I find myself worrying less. In fact, all I can think about is possibility. Possibility and paint colors.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A word on waiting...

I always read Whitman in the fall.
His words fit the season
sound on my mind like boot soles against the pavement,
wrap around me like an old sweater
warm me like an old friend.

I find quiet there
where nobody knows me.
Where I get answers to questions I haven't asked
but still need heard;
and I feel connected through
and entwined,
a different branch of the same tree,


If you want me again, look for me under your boot-soles.

You will hardly know who I am, or what I mean;
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first, keep encouraged;
Missing me one place, search another;
I stop somewhere, waiting for you.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Quotes from Kindergarten...

My kids say the funniest things. I'm pretty sure someone has already made a million writing down the crazy kids things say and marketing it as a special interest book. Still, I think Kindergarten teachers have the market on a goldmine just listening to their kids talk everyday. So here is the first of many quotes from Kindergarten worth sharing.

From a lesson on letter names and sounds...

Kindergartner: That "y" sure is a tricky one.
Me: What makes you think that?
K: It is supposed to say "yu," but then it goes and says "ee" and "ii" wherever it wants. How can we learn the sound if it keeps changing its mind?
Me: That is a good question. We just have to remember when it makes a different sound.
K: Well (thinking for a minute)...if it is going to make such bad choices, maybe it can just get out of the alphabet.

The First Year Chronicles...

I realize now that I have been a teacher for exactly one month. It is crazy to have a dream, work on it, achieve it, and then go about the business of living it without another thought. Teaching has been my dream for a long time (even if I wasn't brave enough to do anything about it until now). Still it has been a month and this is the first time I have thought, I am living my dream.

It pains me to say the last month has not been dreamy. Some of the shine has been worn of by the reality of having 27 kindergarteners come to my classroom everyday. There are so many five year olds and they need so much, so consistently, so often. It is an endless stream of transitions and potty breaks and untied shoe laces. Lining up and sitting down. Redirection and re-directing. It is exhausting work, friends. We need to make better choices slips from my tongue unconscientiously now. It swims in my nighttime dreams. I wake up with its stale taste in my mouth. And I wonder. If. I should. Make a better choice.

Then I remember...the boy who wanted a orange jelly bean and I gave him a red one. I told him it had his name on it. I turned around to sit down, only to find him with the jelly bean close to his eye. What are you doing little friend, I asked. I can't find my name, he said.

I remember the little girl who stood next to my chair and rested her head on my shoulder during writing time. You feel safe, she whispered.

I remember the girl who stood in front of me and pushed my hair back from my face with little fingers. You are so beautiful, Miss B.

I remember the boy who couldn't hold a pencil, but now writes his name...well mostly writes it.

I remember the feeling of a small hand in mine down the hall, small arms around my legs, small lives moving in and around mine. Little things like a full box of plums, a thanks, and I love you.

Despite exhaustion, there is an endless stream of love and learning and little faces. Words and wonder. Play and possibility. The spaces and absences I fill. The space and absences they fill. And I remember why I made my choices.

This is a dream.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wisdom of a four year old...

This morning Olivia sat with me while I got ready for work. She taught me all about the water cycle, in case I didn't know; learned a new word, evaporation; and offered me a bit of advice. The conversation went like this...

Olivia: Sissa, do you want to get married or what?
Me: Yes, I do want to get married.
Olivia: Then why don't you just take care of it?
Me: Well, it isn't that simple. You have to find someone you want to marry and they have to want to marry you back.
Olivia: Oh. Do you know anyone you want to marry?
Me: Maybe.
Olivia: Okay, then what you have to do is impress him. You have to get real fancy, like wear your fanciest clothes. Then you have to call him on the phone and invite him to go to the ball or maybe dinner. Tell him to wear his fanciest clothes or if he doesn't have fancy clothes, then his best clothes. Then you can dance and eat dinner. Try to be really nice to him. Okay, Sissa?
Me: Hmmm...is that all I have to do?
Olivia: Of course! You're nice. I think he will be impressed by your fanciness and niceness.
Me: Ok, I'll work on it.
Olivia: Good. Now can I have some smarties or what?

If only I had known that all it takes to be married is to be impressive and that being impressive consists of fancy clothes, a ball or dinner, and a dose of nice. Olivia should have arrived with this advice earlier. It is pretty impressive.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A writing badge...

My friend, Brooke, had a link on her blog today to a site where you could paste a copy of your writing and it would compare it to famous writers. I tried four different pieces. One concluded I wrote like Chuck Palahniuk and three concluded I wrote like Margaret Atwood. I will take it! Consequently, Margaret Atwood is one of my favorite authors. A word after a word after a word is power, my friends.

(You can read Brooke's highly entertaining blog at http://www.confessionsofarookie.blogspot.com/).

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Vegetable love...

The thing I love about vegetables is their beauty. Deep green spread on broad lettuce leaves. Seed heavy tomatoes happily sitting red in their baskets. Zucchini nestled in for cool nap. Bright cherries ready to be plucked from the bag and placed on the tongue. Peas and beans, spinach, and pots of herbs sprout peacefully and fervently. They know their purpose. They grow towards the sun.

Farmer's markets are especially pleasant on cool July mornings when a holiday has pulled the normal crowd to other destinations. The produce stands are easily browsed and sampled. The fruits and vegetables call, wanting to be touched and envied. For a dollar you can get a huge bunch of lettuce fresh picked yesterday evening, a half a pound of fruit red cherry dark, three long tender zucchinis, or a perfect summer green tomato. Bring a bag, your mom, a friend. Buy produce. Find love.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

S'more stuff...

Last night I was transported to my childhood and a state of sugared bliss via graham crackers, chocolate, and roasted marshmallows. On Sunday, my friend Jen received a bag of oversized marshmallows. Not just the big ones, friends. No, they were three times the size of normal roasting mallows. Yesterday, she invited us over to share. Jen, Saundra, Cristi, and I spent our time laughing, roasting, and posing in celebration of the s'more. (Whoever thought of them is a genius)! We had a great time!

This may not seem blog worthy, but I think it is moments like these, small seemingly insignificant at the time moments, that make up a life. Where friends, laughter, and chocolate make the world seem right. Graham crackers and marshmallows help too.

P.S. Gas grills are no substitute for a real fire, but if you're in a pinch, the stove works wonderfully!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A random elevator incident...

Amber and I were riding the elevator to the employee picnic today, as were a lot of other people. We entered the elevator, and made our way to the back, I said to her "Two, please." She responded by saying "Four, please." The lady in front of the elevator kindly pushed both. Now this would have been a normal day in elevator etiquette, except that Amber and I were quoting a movie. We were neither going to floor two or floor four. We were going to one. After we didn't get off on four or two, there was an awkward silence pervading the elevator where everyone kept looking at us and wondering why we had requested floors we did not want.

Amber and I, of course, thought we were hilarious!

Monday, June 7, 2010

A list for the fourth year...

Yesterday marked the fourth anniversary of my dad's death. Four years. So little time. So much space between now and our last conversation. I miss talking to him: his perspective on the world, his perspective on my life, the soft rise and fall of his voice. I miss feeling that close to someone. I miss feeling safe. I've been thinking about my dad a lot over the last few weeks, more than usual. Time has taught me to think about him without being sad. He crosses my mind daily, but they are mostly happy memories. Lately though, his absence from my life has seemed more present, the void more real, the pain more punctuated. Four years are passed now, but somedays it feels like he was just here yesterday. He feels that close and the pain feels new.

So, this year instead of thinking about his passing, I am choosing to think about his life. I wrote a list of all the things I loved about him. They are, consequently, all the things I miss the most.

He called my Princess and somehow is never seemed condescending, just wonderful.

He always carried Skittles in his pocket; little colored candies that made him magic to kids.

He shined his shoes on Saturday. Sometimes on Saturday nights, I have the overwhelming desire to buy shoe polish just for the smell.

He loved to laugh and had a great wheezy laugh. He always thought he was funnier than he was. Truthfully though, he was funny. I have inherited this trait and it is something I love about myself. I also inherited his laugh.

He was honest and a realist. These were sometimes hard traits for people to handle, but I am grateful he never lied.

He was generous and gave everything he had for his family. He worked long hours and sacrificed so we could have more.

He loved irises.

He loved red ties.

He took us camping every year: taught us how to tie knots, swim and ski. He was up first and down last. He was the master of open campfire bacon and sleeping bag claustrophobia.

He loved to learn.

He couldn't cook, but was a creative master in the kitchen. Thankfully, eggs a la Catalina went with him to the grave. Unfortunately, I have never had a chocolate chip cookie that can rival his. Nor have I met anyone who can successfully make and 1/8 of a batch of cookie dough just for eating.

He ate cake batter and brownie batter and muffin batter and cookie dough. He said they were even better than the baked products.

He ate chocolate chocolate doughnuts because he thought they made the milk taste better.

He was addicted to milk.

He hid fudge stripe cookies in his closet.

He always carried a white hankerchief.

He know how to love and listen. He was a good teacher, counselor, and friend.

He knew and loved the gospel.

He knew how to pray.

He liked to hear books read out loud.

He cried when certain hymns were sung.

He sat behind me while I played the piano, just sitting and listening.

And, he loved me.

There is more I could say. Volumes about who he was and how he lived. Books of pictures and memories. Laughter and jokes and conversations. Quiet moments and books and songs. A whole life bigger than any list, but for today this enough. His memory is enough. His presence is enough.

I love you , Dad. I can't wait for our next conversation.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Graduation Day...

Well folks, I did it! I graduated from Westminster on Saturday. I have officially received a Master of Arts in Teaching. It has been a long and hard road, but worth all the effort. I'm a teacher. I cannot wait to start.

The graduation ceremony was, well, overrated. It was long and boring. Both the student speaker and the commencement key note were hard to follow and used their time as a forum for their own personal and political views. I wanted inspiration, but found nothing except my own thoughts. My friends had found mimosa induced bliss and I kept thinking I should have had some champagne.

When they finally called my name, I was hooded and diplomaed ceremoniously. I felt very proud and though my moment in the spotlight was short, I'm glad I did it. I looked up and my mom was crying. My brothers and sister in laws were clapping. Steven and Cristi (who lasted through the whole ceremony) were cheering. It was great to look up and see the most important people in my life there watching. I wouldn't have made it without them.

Afterwards, we had dinner at my mom's house, and more friends came to show their love and support. (The Yates clan was excused because of a family emergency). Brenna brought me a darling bag, markers, and a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils. Amber gave me an owl punch I can't wait to use. Jess gave me a gift card for books. Cristi and my mom brought flowers. Steven brought me a pair of homemade pants filled with smarties, "smarty pants." We talked and laughed and had a great time.

I am so blessed to have a life filled with such wonderful people. Both my family and my friends have been so important in shaping and supporting my life. Each person has made an impact on who I am, what I've done, and where I am going. I am grateful to each of them. I would not be the same without them. My life would not be the same without them.

So, to each of you, my family and friends, whether you are reading this or not, I am thinking of you today. Thank you. I love you more than I can say.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Friday Five...

I know it has been awhile since I posted a Friday Five. So, I am redeeming today. Here are five things I recognized I am grateful for this week. In no particular order.

1. Friends who don't cause drama. Thank you!

2. Cherry Coke. I know I am soon to bid you farewell, but you are a lifesaver for sickness. I look forward to using medicinally in the future.

3. The comfort of books.

4. The comfort of small children. Olivia and Wyatt, you are the greatest kids in the whole world. Thanks for being my favorite humans!

5. Quiet. I haven't had enough of this in my life for awhile, but today is all sweet silence.

That's it folks. Short, sweet, and right to the point. I should write like this more often, but then again, where's the fun in that?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Caps and gowns...

I picked up my graduation wardrobe today. I came home and tried it all on: cap, gown, and masters' hood. It all looked a bit ridiculous, but I felt pretty cool. Would it be too much to wear it around for awhile?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Beauty skin deep and beyond...

I have been thinking a lot this week about the idea of beauty, specifically the physical sort of beauty with which the world is obsessed. Early this week someone divulged some things that had been said about me in what I considered a circle of friends. The comments were unnecessary, unkind, and mostly importantly, untrue. The details of exactly what was said are unimportant, and at this point, are quite muddy having passed through several mouths to land ugly on the table. All in all, they were not words you want said about you in any circumstance, but especially when they are unnecessary, unkind, but most importantly, untrue.

I'm not going to pretend like these hurtful words didn't...well...hurt. I felt a little sad. I even cried a little. Then I started thinking about their truthfulness. I realized that what I knew about myself was more than what others thought of me. That someone's narrow and superficial view of me was the result of the narrowness of their vision. I am deeper than the surface. I am more than the immediate view.

I have not always been so self actualized and there are times I have to remind myself of my worth. I do this in a variety of ways, but one of the simplest ways I have to re-center myself is to take a long look in the mirror. It isn't an act of pride. I'm not looking at my makeup or hair. I don't focus on my nose or lips. I look myself hard in the eyes. I look until I can see the real me emerge. Then I sigh and say, "Oh, hi sweetie." I started this ritual when I was 25, when a very significant relationship ended leaving be broken and broken hearted. I was almost completely undone, but I think that was the first time I really saw myself in spite of the circumstances. During that time, I had to look for myself in the mirror every morning and sometimes many times throughout the day. I looked until I could see my own strength, my own beauty, then I said hello. Now if I start feeling at all lost, I look for her, the woman underneath, and greet her like an old friend.

I guess this post is like a long look in the mirror for me. I was affected by the unkind comments of people I thought were my friends. I was hurt and angry. I became self conscious and overly critical. I let what they thought of me matter more than what I thought of myself. Now it's over. I can look at myself straight on and honestly say I like what see. I am smart and kind, honest and reliable, generous and compassionate. I am strong. I am beautiful.

Oh, hi sweetie.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

This is where you belong...

This post is something hard thing to write, even to the few people who read my little blog, all of whom love me. Still, I feel like I should, so I am. For the past few years, I have been away from church. I have been attending, well mostly attending, but my heart has been removed from it. I became one of those people going through the motions instead of being really invested. In other words, I have been a hypocrite.

There a lot of reasons for this absence and most of them actually sound pretty reasonable. Reasons like it was hard to go to church after my dad died because everything felt like too much. Very true. Reasons like I don't feel like there is a place for young single sisters. Not true, but it felt true. Reasons like it is easier to stay home and sleep or knit or read. Also true. Reasons like I can be spiritual by myself, so I don't need church. True, you can be close to God all by yourself, but it is harder. A lot harder. Reasons like it doesn't matter if I am there or not. Also not true, but it felt true. See, lots of reasons, but logical reasoning is a slippery slope friends, and even though the reasons were true, or least felt true, they kept me from the real truth, which was that I was slipping.

Last week, I decided to try the whole attend all your meetings counsel. I went to church and stayed for the whole thing. More than that, I let myself be present in the meetings and really tried to feel if it was the right place for me to be. Not surprisingly, I felt like it was. I didn't have any visions or revelations. I didn't have a powerful spiritual experience. The lessons didn't have a message specifically for me and I didn't get anything specific from the sacrament talks. Still, I knew being there was where I belonged. I felt a quiet feeling, a peaceful sigh, a resolve to come inspite of the reasons that kept me absent. It was a good feeling and a familiar one.

Today, I had to work and made it only for the last hour, but sitting in that last meeting, I had the same feeling--this is where you belong--and I felt for a moment, without going anywhere, that I was closer to home than I had been in a long time. I don't think this the end of my troubles or that going to church will be any easier. All my reasons are still there, all of them still feel true, but I feel something else now too.

O that ye would awake: awake from a deep sleep, yea, even from the sleep of hell, and shake off the awful chains by which ye are bound, which are the chains which bind the children of men, that they are carried away captive down to the eternal gulf of misery and woe.

But behold, the Lord hath redeeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A baker's thirteen...

"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers."
--George Eliot

Anyone who knows me, knows my love affair with books. While I do enjoy reading in itself, I also love the books themselves. Their heaviness and heft, the sound of turning pages, the scent of papers and ink. Long shelves where books are nestled in close together and spread in lines of different colored heights are a beautiful sight. They contribute to the quiet.

My own books were in storage for two years. I missed them like old friends. When they were finally unpacked, I held each one like it was something I had lost. Amber was helping me and she said every now and then I would sigh. She would look over at me and I would be smiling at a book I had just pulled from the box--running my hands over the cover, smelling its pages, placing it in line.

This love of books is one part of me that I love the best. It seems like the simplest and truest part. It is also the easiest to maintain. Yesterday, I took my love of books in a different direction and attended a workshop on the making of simple books that can be used in the classroom. In four hours, we made thirteen different books; a great way to spend an afternoon. We used simple papers, but I kept thinking about all the beautiful papers that could be used, how beautiful the books could be.

The studio smelled of books, of papers and ink, of heaviness, of possibility. I am even more excited now for bookbinding in the fall. I feel like my books are waiting.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A little something Rich...

I have been reading a lot of poetry lately. It is balm for the soul, friends. There is just something about the fall and flow of words that makes me happy. I often read poems out loud to myself because while they are beautiful to read, they are even more beautiful to hear. One of my favorite poets to read out loud is Adrienne Rich. Her poems are haunting and beautiful. They fall from the tongue like honey and sit heavy in the air, waiting. Waiting.

I know you are reading this poem
late, before leaving your office
of the one intense yellow lamp-spot and the darkening window
in the lassitude of a building faded to quiet
long after rush-hour. I know you are reading this poem
standing up in a bookstore far from the ocean
on a grey day of early spring, faint flakes driven
across the plains' enormous spaces around you.
I know you are reading this poem
in a room where too much has happened for you to bear
where the bedclothes lie in stagnant coils on the bed
and the open valise speaks of flight
but you cannot leave yet. I know you are reading this poem
as the underground train loses momentum and before running
up the stairs
toward a new kind of love
your life has never allowed.
I know you are reading this poem by the light
of the television screen where soundless images jerk and slide
while you wait for the newscast from the intifada.
I know you are reading this poem in a waiting-room
of eyes met and unmeeting, of identity with strangers.
I know you are reading this poem by fluorescent light
in the boredom and fatigue of the young who are counted out,
count themselves out, at too early an age. I know
you are reading this poem through your failing sight, the thick
lenses enlarging these letters beyond all meaning yet you read on
because even the alphabet is precious.
I know you are reading this poem as you pace beside the stove
warming milk, a crying child on your shoulder, a book in your
because life is short and you too are thirsty.
I know you are reading this poem which is not in your language
guessing at some words while others keep you reading
and I want to know which words they are.
I know you are reading this poem listening for something, torn
between bitterness and hope
turning back once again to the task you cannot refuse.
I know you are reading this poem because there is nothing else
left to read
there where you have landed, stripped as you are.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Life on the flip side...

I've been done with grad school for almost two weeks and have been feeling a bit lost now that I have so much time to spend leisurely. I've read several books and knitted a cowl and a pair of slippers. Still, I keep thinking I need something to do. I have found myself looking at other Master's programs online and browsing community education brochures longingly. What is wrong with me? Can I not have one blissful summer without learning something? Don't I remember my huge, and now looming, student loan? In reality, I do not have the energy or the money to start another degree right now, but I still keep looking.

To appease the beast, I signed up for a book making workshop for educators that teaches 13 different ways to make class books using regular 8 1/2 by 11" paper. It was free and I am really excited about it. I also signed up to take a book binding class at the studio this fall. I have wanted to take the class for several years, so I am very excited about that as well. Hopefully, I can feed my education need with little classes that aren't as expensive as another degree.

I wonder what the pull is to learning and I think it must have something to do with progression. I feel happy when I am learning something. It makes me feel satisfied and whole. It keeps my head quiet and my soul centered. I sometimes think about life as a road. We travel along and stop at places that look interesting. Sometimes we stay awhile. Sometimes we turn around immediately and try to get away without looking rude. We get tired and road worn. We are refreshed and renewed. We see long stretches of nothing and then long stretches of sky, mountains in the distance, the promise of another bend. We see storms and sunsets. We keep walking because we have too and walking because we want too. I have had a good journey and I look forward to the road ahead; to a whole life of learning new things and finding new places. I think the next stop will be one on composting and square foot gardening, but you never can tell what will come up. Whatever it is, I can't wait!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Finding a pen pal...

pen pal: n. A person with whom one becomes acquainted through a friendly, regular correspondence.

I have recently acquired a pen pal. We met in New York and spent a couple of hours together there in various group activities. There was an instant connection. We met and I thought, I could definitely be friends with her. Then I came home...

Since then we have been writing long letters via email and getting to know each other. It is wonderful and exciting. I feel transported to a different time. A time when letters were the most common form of communication. There is something so satisfying about writing out your days and including little pieces of who you are. It is equally satisfying to learn about a person a little at a time, through the little snippets of self she chooses to enclose in her letters. I open each letter wondering, what will she give me today.

As a side note. I finished The Guernsery and Literary Potato Peel Pie Society on my visit to New York. It is an entire story told in letters and it is absolutely delightful. Perhaps it was the catalyst for my correspondence with KC. If it was, then I love the serindipitous nature of the book and our meeting. It helps me believe there are forces at work bigger than ourselves.

Lettering writing with KC makes me want to write more letters. I know pen pals are sort of out of style, but I think it would be wonderful to have friends all over the country that you only knew through letters. It would move us all, even for an afternoon, to a simpler time. Maybe it will happen someday. For now, I will just keep the one I have and wait for the next letter.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The thirty-three on 33...

So, in my little blogging hiatus I have reached several milestones...

First, I hit my fiftieth blog post! Who knew I could do it? My new goal is to get to a hundred in much less time. Since I now have more time this seems reasonable.

Second, I graduated from graduate school! I know pride is a sin and all, but I feel exceedingly proud! This has been a goal for me for a long time and there is something so wonderfully gratifying in completing something so huge! There is also something satisfying about progressing. I learned awhile ago that progression is the key to happiness. You have to keep moving forward. It is the only way to live a full and beautiful life. Grad school was a lot of hard work and long days and desperate, frantic assignment completion. Still, I feel a sense of peace and pride that I worked hard, I did it all, and now I am at the end. I haven't decided what to do next, but you can bet something big is on the horizon.

Third, I finished my 33rd year on this planet. The girls took me dinner on Thursday and we had a wonderful time talking and laughing. Natalie bought me the most beautiful flowers. Brenna bought me darling pearl stars. Cristi is working on canvas of birds. My family celebrated with me on Saturday and it was great too, even with a little too much drama in the mix. Being 33 is going to be great, so great in fact that I have compiled a list about it. I do love lists! Here we go...

1. I'm still an old soul with a young heart. I couldn't ask to be anything better.
2. I'm on my path...finally.
3. I am surrounded with beautiful friends.
4. I have a supportive and loving family.
5. I am optimistic about what the future will bring me.
6. I believe the universe gives back what it gets. I am expecting only good things.
7. It is almost summer, the season of endless possibilities.
8. The summer reading list is newly finished, but still open for revisions.
9. The summer music mix is finished and ready for a roadtrip.
10. I will go places this year I've never been. Ireland this summer and Italy next.
11. I know more now than I ever have before about myself, my purpose, and my path.
12. I know more now about education and the importance of learning in the lives of children.
13. I have time to read more books.
14. I have time to knit.
15. I am enrolled in a book binding class, something I have wanted to do for a long time.
16. I have a trip planned through Montana, Canada, and Oregon. It will be my first solo roadtrip longer than a day.
17. I will get to visit New York regularly for friends, food, and wonderful anonimity.
18. I have time to read more poetry.
19. I have time to write more poetry.
20. The outdoor concert season is starting.
21. I'm learning, very slowly, the value of being a minimalist.
22. I will be braver this year than I have ever been.
23. I will say I love you when I mean it.
24. I get to decorate my own classroom!
25. I get to work with small children everyday and see the wonder of the world through their eyes.
26. Number 25 means that every part of my life will be filled with books and art.
27. I won't have talk to any more sick people.
28. I will work somewhere with windows.
29. I have my own ktichen one way or another.
30. I will get to have playdates with Olivia and Wyatt.
31. I will have the chance to meet new people and try new things.
32. I will have time to play my guitar.
33. I will try to be a better person, be a better friend, live a better life, and find joy in the width and beauty of this wide world and the experiences it offers. After all, life is too short to be anything but happy.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Done and not dead...

Deep breath and sigh.

Now I remember why I procrastinate...because it works for me. The stress of the moment pushes my brain into super high gear and I become a word producing machine. I thought things weren't going to come together yesterday. The worry was real, as was the chest pain. Miraculously, things did. All the work was done by 10, delivered at 10:37, and I was left to the sweet relief of completion. I did cry all the way home about how my thesis was the worst thing I had ever written....EVER! Though, when I reread the finished product this morning it turned out to be okay. Not the best work I've ever done, but it was slightly above papers written in freshman sociology and the American Lit paper I wrote for Dirty Deter. Only five typos and two missing words. Regardless, it is done and my fate is in the hands of the grading gods.

Here's to hoping they'll be kind.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I am a chronic procrastinator. I mean chronic. I mean as in I never learned to avoid such extremely stressful situations as grad school deadlines and your thesis was supposed to be in yesterday deadlines and you were supposed to use edition 5 of the APA Style Manual deadlines and you were supposed to be keeping a daily journal but I forgot to tell you and now you must recreate it deadlines and you are defending next THURSDAY are you ready deadlines and I'm not sure you can use that as your student artifact deadlines and I can't get the last six pages on paper deadlines even though they are perfectly clear in my head deadlines.

So, I'm stressed. I did it to myself. I should have learned by now, but what's the fun in learning from the past so you can avoid a heart attack in the future. Just wondering...

See you when I am done....or....dead!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The New York Chronicles...

Last week was my third visit to the famed city and I loved it as much as I did the first two times. I realize now that I never finished chronicling my previous trip. Someday that will be remedied...someday. For today, I can only dwell on the present.

Day One--I took the red-eye, but it was better than previous red-eyes. The flight was oversold and exceedingly full, but the fates were smiling on me and the only empty seat on the whole flight was the one next to mine. Thank you fates. I slept pretty well and was bright eyed for my subway journey. I arrived at the apartment and said hello to the boys. Steve was sleepy, but still nice. Loren seemed happy to see me. Hugs and hellos were exchanged. Loren went to school and Steven and I commenced catching up. It was nice to be with him. We have been friends for so long, we fall into our old patterns very easily. I slept a bit and then we were off to the city. We made our way to the Lower East Side, where we at delicious macaroni and cheese at a restaurant called S'mac. My nosh was filled with mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. It was delicious! Steve's was a southwest mix and was delicious as well.

Afterwards we walked through a street market at Union Square and visited Trader Joes for some food essentials. (I want a Trader Joes in Utah so bad)! With our grocery bags full we made our way home through the beautiful Grammercy neighborhood and I picked out the building I want to live in someday. It is red brick and beautiful and must have been a single residence at one time. It is across the park from Steve's future house, so we can meet in the park when we are old, exchange pleasantries and complain about our spouses. In Grammercy Park there was the most beautiful blooming tree. It was the first showing its splendor amidst those still steeped in winter bleak. I will post a picture another day.

Later that evening Steve, Loren, and I attended an Episcopal Service for Maundy Thursday. I had never heard of the day before, it is a rememberance and is also called Holy Thursday. The ceremony documents the last couple of days of Christ's life, including the Last Supper. The sermon was nice and the music was beautiful. The choir sang Ubi Caritas, part of the Four Motets by Maurice Durufle and it sounded wonderful echoing off the walls of St. Bartholomew's cathedral.

After the service, Steve and I went to Lower East Side again where I sampled my first Chinese dumplings (get the pork and chive--amazing) and sesame pancakes (wonderful). They were both incredibly delicious. We completed the night with a walking tour of the neighborhood which was very informative and enjoyable. Pink Berry was our last stop before home and was also delicious.

Day Two--I woke up with a migraine. I think migraines should be forbidden on vacation, but they do what they will. Steve was very sweet and let me rest my head. Unfortunately, it took the morning and part of the afternoon to clear up. When I was feeling better we went to Chelsea to a gallery exibit or Lego sculptures. I was a bit skeptical at first, but they were surprisingly beautiful and incredibly detailed. The artist was both ingenious and talented. A man was there to buy one of the sculptures. It was selling for $11,000! Amazing or completely nuts, but I would own one if I could. We walked down from the gallery to the Chelsea pier. The day was bright with a warm wind and sunshine glinting in off the water. We had a really nice time walking, talking, and drinking Slurpees, which we both love.

We met Loren at the apartment and the three of us headed to St. Patrick's Cathedral for a Good Friday service called Following the Cross. I hadn't heard of this ceremony either, but it was interesting to attend. The service is very repetative and includes a lot of kneeling and standing with very little music. Loren said that in a town in Lithuania, the stations of the ceremony are located in fourteen chapels around the city. Worshippers walk between chapels and some do all the traveling on their knees. I am partly moved by such devotion and partly left to wonder about the purpose of such devotion. I enjoyed the Thursday service much better, but the Friday service was interesting and I am glad we went.

Afterwards we took the train to Brooklyn, where we ate pizza from Grimaldi's in the pier park. It was cold, but really fun. I got to meet a few of Loren and Steve's new friends. Everyone was very nice and I am glad the boys have met so many people in the city. My favorite girl was Kristen. She was very kind and a great conversationalist. I knew we would be friends. We walked home via the Brooklyn Bridge. I was less scared going on, but more scared in the middle this time. Still, two times across for someone terrified of open slat bridges is quite commendable. Everyone came back to the apartment where we played Catch Phrase. Loren and I were one person and tried to make up a conglommerate name. Some of the choices were Meloren, Meron, Lorissa and several others, but I think Meloren was the best choice. There was a lot of laughter and a lot of fun; a perfect way to end the day.

Day Three--Steve, Loren, and I got lunch at an Italian deli and then went to the park to eat. I got a Margherita sandwich--fresh basil, tomatoes, balsalmic vinegar, and a ton of fresh mozzarella. It was delicious! (New York has the best food). Steven left to fulfill his church duties and Loren and I want to Strand Bookstore. Their tagline boasts that they have 18 miles of books and it is true. There were so many books to look at at and we spent time just browsing through the stacks. I was able to limit myself to 3 books and a book bag. Impressive considering I am an absolute book nerd. From the bookstore we walked to Washington Square Park, which was teeming with people, musicians, and an artist make pictures with colored sand. We visited the courtyard of NYU's law school. I sat on the benches beneath blossoming Magnolia trees while Loren went in to print a paper. It was cool and quiet.

The rest of the day consisted of a lot of walking and a lot of talking. Loren and I haven't spent a lot of time alone, but it was so nice to be together. We had great conversation and a really nice time. We walked through the West Village, down the street where Loren had a perfect New York moment right before Christmas, and then ended up taking the subway to Lincoln Center. We visited The Met and saw the huge Chagall murals in the upper windows. They cover the murals during the day, but they were uncovered and amazingly beautiful. (I feel like I have said this a lot, but what else can you say to describe something other than it just is)? We sat on the marble shelf by the fountain and enjoyed the warm afternoon. We ended up walking to Central Park where we found a park bench and read our books until Steven found us. It was a very pleasant way to spend a day.

Loren left us and Steve and I spent the rest of the evening exploring the Park Hotel, Fifth Avenue, and the Village. We ate at a delicious restaurant called Philip Marie where I had artichoke and spinach stuffed chicken on garlic mashed potatoes. So good! We got dessert from Magnolias (key lime cheesecake, banana pudding, and vanilla layer cake) and then went home to make breakfast casseroles for the ward breakfast. Afterwards, the three of us ate our desserts and tried to watch a movie. I think Steve and I lasted 30 mintues. I woke up to Loren smiling at me. I don't even remember falling asleep...tired girl!

Day Four--Sunday was low key day as all Sundays should be. The Easter Bunny, aka Loren, had left us Easter baskets filled with treats. It was very thoughtful and sweet. The three of us took a taxi and four breakfast casseroles to the church for the ward. They were a huge success. We watched conference at the church and both Steve and Loren fell asleep. After, Kristen and I started talking and I invited her to come to the apartment with us. Loren needed do homework and Steve had things to do as well. They didn't get much done, but we all got lots of talking and laughing in. Kristen and I whispered to each in the kitchen much to the boys' annoyance, but what has the world come to if women can't whisper their secrets to each other? We watched afternoon conference and then went to Karen's for the Yankee opener. I'm not a baseball fan, but it was fun. If I move to New York, Loren says I have to cheer for the Mets because they are the people's team and his team. I think I can live with that.

Day Five--I was alone in New York, but not scared. I had a quiet morning and then braved the subway system to visit The Whitney and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. I got off the six at 77th Street, oriented myself, and found The Whitney. Unfortunately, the museum is closed on Mondays. Undaunted, I boarded the subway again. Made it to 86th Street, walked in the wrong direction, but finally found the museum. Unfortunately, it too is closed on Mondays. Still determined, I walked across the park to Museum of Natural History, which was open. It was very interesting and there was tons of stuff to see. I spent a few hours there and then an hour or so sitting in the park reading in the sunshine. I made it home without a hitch. I am practically a New Yorker!

Steve and Loren came home from school and we went to dinner at a small cafe near Union Square. We stopped for hand spun shakes at the Shake Shack and then walked through the cool spring evening to the apartment. We finished the movie and no one fell asleep.

Day Six--I woke up early to say goodbye to Steve and felt sad as I watched him eat his cereal. He is a dear friend and I know I will miss him. There is something warm and comforting about old friends, and saying goodbye, even if you've said it before, is never easy. He left for school and I went back to sleep.

I was going to try to make back up to the museum of art, but it felt like a lot of trouble for a limited amount of time, so I put that on my list of things to do next time, and went for a walk. The day was beautiful and it felt wonderful to have the sun in my hair and on my back and face. I walked like I knew where I was going and actually ended up exactly where I wanted to be. I spent a couple of hours reading in Madison Square Park, walked home through Grammercy, and got to 3rd Ave and 27th Street like a pro. Then it was time to pack to go home. I did so, sadly.

I was packed and ready when Loren got home. We spent my last couple of hours talking about interesting topics like education and immigration. It was intelligent and delightful. The time flew by and I didn't want to stop talking. Loren was encouraging. He carried my bag down, we hugged goodbye, and I walked to the subway stop on 28th for the last time of the trip.

I am always happy to visit new places and always happy to come home. I am grateful to friends like Steve and Loren who let me crash on their couch and go out of their way to show me a good time. It makes me grateful for my life, for my relationships, for the chance I have to experience different parts of this wide and beautiful world. I can't wait to go back.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

And then they cheered...

I imagine that life is made of little moments that probably mean little except to those they happen too. Today was a moment. I was exhausted...throw down, cry in the bathroom, close your eyes at recess while you're supposed to monitoring the 3rd graders, I can't possibly survive without a Dr. Pepper, I'm not sure how I can make it through one more teaching minute...exhausted. I am ashamed to say, but I was counting down until the end of the day and then it happened.

The last 45 minutes of my day consists of a class called ELD where I am supposed to help students increase their English Lanuage Development. Kids come from other 3rd grade classrooms to visit mine. They line up outside my door and wait to be invited in. When I went to invite them to come in, one of the girls said, "Are you teaching us again today?" "Yep," I said, half expecting something snarky to follow, but instead all the kids in the line cheered. They cheered! Then, I felt like crying for a different reason entirely.

It was a good moment.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Friday Five--Summer Edition...

Summer is the most wonderful season of the year. It isn't my favorite season. Fall holds the favorite position. Still, summer holds a very close second. In the hope that the weather will soon be changing, and all this winter drear will be behind us, this Friday's Five is dedicated to the reasons I am looking forward to June.

1. Sunshine. Is there a greater feeling than turning your face to the sun and feeling its warm breath on your eyelids and hair?

2. Flip-flops, Chacos, and other open toe bliss. My feet are aching to be freed from socks and sneakers. I can't wait to start working on distinctive and wonderful criss-crossed tan lines.

3. Road trips. This summer's line up includes the Northwest coast, Montana, Idaho (Redfish), maybe South Dakota, and possibly a cross country trip that includes me, a box of dishes, a box of bedding, and several boxes of books...destination to be determined.

4. Ireland. My mom, sister, and I are going for a graduation trip. I CANNOT WAIT!!!

5. The summer reading list. Usually, I make a list of books to read over the summer, while I am enjoying all the things listed above. Last summer, I had very little reading time. This summer I will have loads. If you have reading suggestions, add them below. Again, I CANNOT WAIT!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Joining the society...

I am currently reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It is a little gem of a book and I highly recommend it to anyone with any spare time. It is written in letters, which is lovely if you only have a few minutes to read at the end of the day. It is well written and heart warming. In fact, I have caught myself unintentionally smiling while reading it, which is always a good sign. I am about halfway through, so I can't say what the rest will be, but if the end is anything like the beginning, then I expect more loveliness and smiles to follow.

As a side note, I miss reading. My time for recreational reading has been significantly limited over the last year. It is almost like being seperated from an old, and dear, friend. I moved to the basement several weeks ago and was finally able to unpack my books from storage. They have been boxed away for almost two years. A friend came to help me unpack and she kept laughing because I was smiling at the books and touching them affectionately. She said that every few minutes, she would hear a contented sigh. I accept this willingly. My books are one of my joys and I missed them.

"I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to there perfect readers." I have a story about that too, but it is a story for a different day. Happy reading, friends!

Monday, March 22, 2010

This bed of lists...

I am a woman of quiet fears.
I mask them effectively with confidence
and a life filled with too much to do.
I do it so I can keep breathing.
So I am not consumed.
So I can move along silent and content.
So I can continue to remain wonderfully anonymous in this wide and full world.

I can feel it floating beneath my breathing,
beneath my busy and carefully planned life,
beneath this smile and quiet.
I can feel it seering inside my chest,
my cheeks,
the open palms of my hands,
the soles of my feet.

My fear is wanting:
a dream or a wish or a life I may never have.
A fear that keeps me from what I want.
I am afraid.
I will lose it or push it away.
I will be hurt,
or consumed,
or broken against the quiet of this contented smile.

I fill my bed with lists.
Plans carefully crafted in my slanted hand,
written and erased,
written again.
I look busy quietly breathing,
but underneath the quiet,
I feel consumed.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Friday Five...

I haven't had the time or will to post this week, but now I feel a little sad that there is not a post between this Friday and the last. I will move on and commit to do better in the future...probably.

Five things I cannot live without or in other words MY FIVE FAVES:

1. Books.

2. Yarn and needles.

3. Music.

4. NPR, specifically This American Life and the music segments.

5. The friends and family who make my life beautiful and valuable.

It's funny how, when you think about it, the little things in a life are the things that matter the most. So simple, but genius really.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Friday Five...

Today's addition is dedicated to the wonderful world of poetry. Namely the poets whose work has changed me in some. Consequently, they are my favorites.

1. Mary Oliver. Her poem Wild Geese is one of the most beautiful things ever written. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to you imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—over and over announcing your place in the family of things. One her lines has been running through my head a lot recently and I am left asking what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

2. Adrienne Rich. If you like poetry at all, read Rich. She is a genius. I discovered her in anthology and instantly wanted more. To fill the need I went to a local bookstore's poetry shelves. I found Dream of a Common Language and was left crying in the stacks. Her work is that beautiful. ...Within two miles of this Pacific rounding this long bay, sheening light for miles/ inland, floating its fog through redwood rifts and over/ strawberry and artichoke fields, its bottomless mind/ returning always to the same rocks, the same cliffs,/ with everchanging words, always the same language/--this where I live now. If you had known me/ once, you'd still know me now though in a different/ light and life. This is no place you ever knew me.

3. Walt Whitman. His poems more than any others have shaped my own poetry. He taught me the importance of the little things, the beauty of the everyday.

I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.

4. W. B. Yeats. Reading his work was when I first learned the power of poetry. I balanced all, brought all to mind./ The years to come seemed waste of breath,/ a waste of breath, the years behind/ in balance with this life, this death.

5. Louise Gluck. Her poetry is desperate and beautiful. It is grief and longing and shadows, glimpsed raw and then quietly healed.

When I woke up I was in a forest. The dark
seemed natural, the sky through the pine trees
thick with many lights.

I knew nothing; I could do nothing but see.
And as I watched, all the lights of heaven
faded to make a single thing, a fire
burning through the cool firs.
Then it wasn't possible any longer
to stare at heaven and not be destroyed.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Knitting socks...

Given my hectic schedule, I have very little time to knit. It is a sad reality for me as I love knitting. It is sanity in an increasingly insane world. It is balm and beauty, isolated industry, calmness and quiet. Next to reading, it is the most pleasant way to spend an afternoon. I miss it.

In my knitting history, I have a plethera of projects; an abundance of scarves and hats and blankets and wraps and a single sweater. I also have several lone socks whose match was never knit, never even started. It is sad really...pairs of one sock who remain unmatched. I am told it is a common ailment among knitters. They even have a name for it: "One Sock Syndrome" or if you like abbreviations, then "OSS." Sometimes it is known as "One Mitten Syndrome" or "One Slipper Syndrome." No one knows the cause, but I think it has something to do with finishing something only to knit the exact same thing again. It seems a bit redundant. Perhaps my OSS is the residual effect of writing, where repetition is frowned upon. I just can't bring myself to repeat knit.

In light of this problem, as well as the hole in my kitting history, I have committed to make a pair of socks...a whole pair...both socks. In order to be successful, I choose a tube sock pattern so their would no horrible heal gusset, and a lovely buttercup yellow yarn, that looks just like spring. The first sock was started last night and is moving along well. The second sock should be on the needles shortly.

I am sure their is a life lesson in this story somewhere. Maybe it is as simple as this...sometimes in life we have to do repeats. Real life is full redundancies and maybe making a pair of socks...a whole pair...shows the gumption required to make a goal, pick a pattern, add something beautiful, and work until it gets done. That in itself is balm and beauty, isolated industry, and a perfect way to spend a life.
*Image borrowed from Google.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

News from Tuesday...

It has been good day. I was officially invited to the final interviews for Teach for America. This is very exciting because it means I get to skip two in between steps. I feel pretty confident about being placed...as long as I don't blow the interview. Things are looking good and looking forward.

In the glow of the news, I feel happy and excited. I have to decide my region and grade preferences by March 23rd, which is proving to be very stressful. I would feel better if I could just turn my fate to the fates and say whatever is supposed to be will be. It is the personal input part that is causing me trouble. The region choices I initially listed were New York, Boston, and San Antonio, but I can change any of them if I want too. The grade preference is the easy choice, K to 3rd, and I am hoping for Kindergarten. Dear friends, Dear fate, Dear Father help me choose and give any input you think would help in the decision.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Friday Five...

I am starting a new blog tradition...the Friday five...where I will document five things I fancy, love, loathe, can't live without, etc. (I stole this idea from Bryttin, but I am fairly certain she will understand). Now on to today's edition...

Five Firsts

1. My first doll was a Raggedy Anne that I called Rag-a-nan. I still have her. She is stained and well loved. Her yarn hair is torn and her clothing has been reduced to bloomers. She is still beautiful.

2. I got my ears pierced for the first time when I was eight. I had little silver star studs. I was brave and tried not cry.

3. My first car was a 1979 Chevette I named "Gil the Gutless Wonder." His energy span was 5 miles, he was wonderful tan color, and lived for nine months. RIP, Gil.

4. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White was the first book I called my favorite. I read it numberless times and still like to read it when I am lonely for childhood.

5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte was the first "grown up" book I read as a child. Consequently, it is still one of my favorites. I read it every year and I secretly want to buy random copies of it for no other reason than to have a whole shelf full of Jane. It was the first time I realized that words were powerful rather than just entertaining.

P.S. I want to name my daughter Charlotte.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Prayers of a four year old...

Dear Heavenly Father. Thank you for Mom and Dad and Brother and Me and Sissa. Please help Sissa to find a husband soon. Please bless that he is nice and a hard worker. Please bless that he will love her and be able to stay with her forever. Please bless that her eggs won't be too rotten and she will be able to have babies. Name of Jesus Christ. Amen

It was the most sweet, honest, and sincere prayer I have ever heard...even with the rotten egg part. I am blessed to be loved so much by someone so small.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wondering how to fly...

I feel the need to change my life. I am in the process of changing, but still I feel like there is something else for me to do, something else out there. Mostly I have been thinking of a move. A BIG move. A move that includes an address somewhere in Brooklyn or the Upper West Side and involves a tiny studio apartment that I pay too much for and a minimalist existence where I learn to live with less than I have. A move that requries more bravery and more energy than I feel I possess at the present time. It is a conundrum...

The dilema is this...I am seduced by safety. I am seduced into thinking that a life here wouldn't be so bad, that you don't have to leave the state you grew up in, that you have to stay close to your family and friends and knitting circles, that you need cars and furniture and space and sky in order to be happy. I am afraid friends. I am afraid to leave. I am afraid to try. I am afraid that in deciding to stay I am telling, perhaps, my life's biggest lie...that this life, my life, as it is, is enough. Even as I say it, I am afraid it isn't true.

Don't be fooled, I have a good life. I am blessed and happy. I am surrounded by amazing people who love and listen, who are good and beautiful. I have no reason to complain or want. I have no reason to leave or wonder. But I do. This is the truth.

I have been thinking about a poem I wrote in college. Walking to class one day, I passed the bell tower where a large swarm of birds were flying in and around the stone window openings. They were sparrows and they all flew in a time and rhythm that was constant and beautiful. (Remember my love of birds? They are as calming as ocean waves). That day one sparrow flew away from the group. She flew high and wide, circling the tower and landing on the stone. She was close to the group, but at the same time obviously seperate. It was her seperateness that I noticed, her seperateness that made her beauty. I wrote a poem about it and it was largely a metaphor. It is how I felt my whole life.

I am left wondering who to be--safe or seperate, grounded or flying, shadow or sparrow, or is there a way to be both?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A few small successes...

This has been a rollercoaster of a week. Tuesday I was ready to throw in the towel. Today I feel like I am exactly where I am supposed to be. How my mind can change so quickly, I don't know, except maybe it just started tallying up all the small successes of the last few weeks and months and years. All those little things that make up a life and don't get noticed because they don't appear to mean anything. The little things that acutally make a life what it is. I am a believer in the small things. Somehow all the little decisions made along the way become big things, life shaping things, life making things.

Eighteen months ago I decided to go back to school. All in all it was a small decision. I filled out one online application. I paid one application fee. I sent in one set of transcripts. I got one acceptance letter. I enrolled in four classes. One small decision set everything else in motion. I know it was a good decision because everything else fell into place. Now I am about to graduate and my life is moving in a direction entirely different than the direction it was headed in a year and half ago. My new life gives me a sense of joy and peace...like I am finally where I need to be and doing what I need to do. I didn't know that things would change so drastically, but I pleasantly surprised by the turn.

After Tuesday, I made another decision that seemed small. I decided to let myself into the classroom. I have been running my classes like my mentor teacher, which has been good. My mentor is an amazing teacher and she has taught me a lot. Trying to be her though has been exhausting and impossible. I realized I can be different and still be amazing. Wednesday I tried it out. I had a heart to heart with my students. We had "come to Jesus" so to speak and I told them that what I needed and expected from them. I told them things would be different, but could be just as good. Wednesday went swimmingly and today was good as well.

So, my small success this week is in remembering the importance of small successes, small moments...being honest, being brave, being myself, the feel of a Kindergarten hand in mine down the hall, the morning smile of a five year old face, the feeling of being in the right place at the right time as the right person, and the possibility of making a difference in the world through the life of a child.

Friday, January 29, 2010

For Friday...

Just a few quotes from my notebook that need posting...

The world is round and the place which seems like the end, may also be the beginning.

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
~Eleanor Roosevelt

I have found the secret to life: that if I love until it hurts, then there is no more hurt, only more love.
~Mother Theresa

...I know you are reading this poem listening for something, torn
between bitterness and hope
turning back once again to the task you cannot refuse.
I know you are reading this poem because there is nothing else
left to read
there where you have landed, stripped as you are.
~Adrienne Rich

...Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
~Mary Oliver

Thursday, January 28, 2010

All the things I haven't said...

I have been absent from the blogging world for awhile. There are a thousand excuses, some of them are acutally pretty good, but none are good enough. Mostly it comes down to time and how I just don't have enough. I know I get the full, square twenty-four like everyone else on the planet, but lately it isn't enough. By lately, I mean the last year and a half. Graduate school does that and I willingly pay that price in order to be educated. Still, I feel a bit absent from my life because I am so busy in the process of living it. Many things that make me whole and make my life beautiful have been left to the dust. All they get, for now, is a little nod on the blog. So here is my list of things on the wayside. Dear friends, I promise to take you up again soon.

Reading--novels and poetry and words from God. I miss you!
Writing--blogs and other such nonsense that document a life and make it mean something.
Knitting--my apologies to the half knit scarves, slippers, and sweaters.
Family--thanks for the support. I feel loved, even in my absence.
Friends--I don't see you enough. I miss you all!
Sleep--you and I will be good bedmates again soon.
Luce--otherwise known as my guitar, music is in the wings.

In 12 weeks, I will be done and I will have the luxury of being fully present in may life again. I have no regrets about the time I have spent in school. (Truthfully, I am already planning the next education experience). I am so blessed to be able to read, and write, and think, and study; to be moving towards a career I know I will love. I am grateful. I am also looking forward to quiet evenings with nothing to do and time to spend with all the things and people I love. All said...it is a good life!