Thursday, November 28, 2013

thankful

I'm thankful for pumpkin muffins about to go into the oven


And the smell as they are cooking.

When I think over 2013, I chuckle to myself as I ponder whether or not to just post a link to "How to Survive your Saturn Returns." The universe was up to something this year, and I felt it in ways large and small.

But as I stand here - disheveled hair, flour splatters on my (stupidly) all black PJs, the smell of pumpkin wafting through the kitchen  - I know I have much - so much - to sing praises for.

As 2013 was distinguished by transitions and some annoying necessary introspection, here are some related 2013 gratitudes:

 -I am grateful for the many mentors that arrived on my doorstep this year - some expected, some surprising.

-I am grateful for the multiple circles of women I am blessed to be a part of, as well as those women I can sit across a table from, face-to-face, and speak truth, hear truth.

-I am grateful for where I was one year ago - literally and symbolically.

-I am grateful for how far I've come from that place - literally and symbolically.

-I am grateful for a full year in my beautiful kitchen and the many cooking adventures we've had.

-I am grateful for my house, and have found myself sending it more love this year.

-I am grateful for the ability to say when something isn't working, and the ability to make changes that are not easy.

-I am grateful for my former coworkers who said "congrats" before they said "how could you abandon us?"

-I am grateful for remembering that the world around me is more nuanced and strange than I was giving credit...

-...and in taking notice, feeling very small but very empowered in my specific place in it all.


Ready.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Chard Soup - Pretty & Tasty

For me, this is a very happy sight.


I wish you could smell it. This is the start of one of my favorite soup recipes.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Off the wagon, on the wagon - where's the wagon?

I've fallen off the wagon. Face first. Hard.

In the midst of a difficult transition (see: perspectives on surviving a transition), it feels like everything that's good for me has taken a backseat to everything that is easy, which is not always what is healthy or best for me.

Take this post for example: I just spent about an hour finding ways to avoid writing. (Including: this. Twice.)

But here's the thing: I am really feeling like I need something to strive towards right now. Simultaneously, I have started to feel really weird about turning 30 in a few months.

THIS in itself is extremely WEIRD. I mean, I have been rounding up my age for seriously my entire life as a twenty-something. Halfway through my 25th year if you'd ask me my age I'd say "26." Super casually, blinking slowly through the lie that didn't feel one bit deceitful. And this was the case for all my twenties: at some point in the year I'd round up 'cause why the hell not and/or some part of me wanted the future to come more quickly. (I'll analyze that shit in therapy, dontchaworry.)

I'd heard all these thirty-somethings say they were so hapy when their twenties were over and that they really felt like they settled into themselves in their thirties. Well shit, obviously I wanted that! (Sidenote: maybe they were just relieved to have survived their Saturn Returns.)

But suddenly I've started to feel really strange that I am bidding adieu to my twenties. I already started to look in the mirror and have felt the minutes tick away as I stare at a worry line between my eyes that seems more defined in the last few months. Is this line gonna be a permanent mark on my face when the clock strikes midnight on Jan 3rd and I roll into thirtydom?!

But really, the question is: is this where I thought I would be at the start to my 30th year?

Comparisons to others aside, is this who I want to be? Am I living well? Am I successful? How do I define success? Am I having fun? Am I building meaningful relationships? Do I like myself? Do I like my work? How do I recharge? And why the hell do I always fall off the wagon???

With that in mind, I am extremely aware that I could probably use a good visioning-goal-creating-session. Off the top of my head I am pretty sure they will fall into the classic categories of health, relationships, and creativity. Being kind to myself, being kind to others, and making the days a little more whimsical and colorful.

It's hard to even write specifics down right now though, as I'll admit I am afraid of failing. Accountability is a challenging concept for me right now. I see myself in this long plummet from up there on that comfortable wagon and  if I say out-loud what it takes me to get back in that seat, then it is truly only me holding myself back from my dreams. Usually I am pretty good at kicking myself in the butt into action, but right now I'm in some sort of transitional-overload induced holding zone that feels suffocating to my own self-care and nourishment.

Super huge UGH.

Reader(s): how do you set goals and achieve them?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Beauty in the Small Things


There were the most beautiful fall flowers at the market this weekend.



And now I am hand-grinding some black peppercorns for my latest obsession - homemade chai. Side benefit: really good stress reliever. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

La Cocina

Now that I have a new job and it feels like this HUGE weight has been lifted off of me, things are starting to return to center. Things that felt stressful are feeling good again. Cooking felt like such a chore when all my time off was barely enough time to recover from such a stressful job. I was always rushing in the kitchen, rather than enjoying the process - and it's the process of measuring, chopping, mixing, stirring, waiting, contemplating that I so love about cooking and preparing food. That feeling was just not present when I was consumed with work-related anxiety. So it's no wonder with a job that feels more connected to my core values that I am rediscovering the joy in things such as cooking.



I'm loving the color and smell of things in my kitchen. I'm loving taking my time - Sunday I spent hours in the kitchen. I love having music on in the background or preparing a new recipe in complete silence. I am reminded of my time as a naturalist on a bird sanctuary where our most core lesson with the kids was the five senses and experiencing the world with a sense of wonder through sight-sound-smell-taste-touch. This feels alive and well in the kitchen lately.



Yesterday I had this brilliant idea to add chopped up chocolate-covered pretzels to my favorite oatmeal-flax cookie recipe and they are heavenly!



Creativity and joy can flourish when there is true space for it.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Blog vs Journal

So, I haven't really felt like writing lately for ye ol' blog lately. Maybe you've noticed.

I'll come online - to write an update - and I'll stare at the screen for awhile until I decide I'd rather not spend any more of my day staring at a screen. And then I'll turn off the computer and go about my day.

The other day I did a strange thing though: I wrote by hand in my paper journal - a space that has been pretty much ignored since I started this online diary thingamajig.

And, oh wow, it felt SO good.

So maybe I do feel like writing, but not in the way I have been these last few years. To write for an audience (even if small or merely perceived) is totally different than writing for yourself.

Unedited, stream of consciousness, raw honesty - not worried about sounding good or saying the wrong or right thing or oversharing or making people uncomfortable because I'm lonely/bored/uninspired/too inspired/et cetera. I didn't even know I missed that sort of writing, but apparently I did!

I started this goodbyeuglyrobe project to be more intentional about self-care and exploration, but suddenly I am not so sure if I've gotten closer or further away from the heart of the project. Because just thirty minutes of writing by hand - privately, for myself - made me feel closer to myself than I have in many, many entries on here. Cut straight through the BS - even if it did give me a slight hand cramp.

I'll be back. Here and there, when the feeling moves me.

But for the moment, I think I need a little more unedited time just for me.

...



Oh, by the way, my taste-testers told me my green tomato pie turned out perfectly. They couldn't believe it was my first-ever homemade crust. Beginners luck.

There's probably a lesson in there somewhere.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Pie Story - In Photos

It was a beautiful night.


So I decided to make a pie. Obviously.


Check out my first ever homemade pie crust, crimped edges (sorta), and decorative vents!




Drum-roll please............


Monday, August 26, 2013

Daily Mantra

It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants.

The question is: What are we busy about?

-Henry David Thoreau

Monday, August 19, 2013

Go into art

"…go into the arts.

I'm not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living.

They are a very human way of making life more bearable.

Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake.

Sing in the shower.

Dance to the radio.

Tell stories.

Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem.

Do it as well as you possibly can.

You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something. "

-Kurt Vonnegut's words, with my spacing.

Remind me to tell you about the time when I was 12 and I went alone to a Kurt Vonnegut lecture in the gym of a nearby college and sat in the very front row in a room full of twenty-somethings so I could get a good look at the man who confused me- and yet delighted me* - completely with Slaughterhouse Five. I left more confused and without my copy of the book signed and a little bit changed and without my parents knowing where I'd been for those two hours.**

*which in itself confused me

**It is also to be noted that sneaking into a lecture given by a prominent literary figure is exactly how an adolescent book-nerd rebels.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Shaking Off

Sometimes I'm scared.

Sometimes I keep myself awake because the fear of i'll never find love, be loved, be loving echoes louder when I shut down, close my eyes, try to slumber.

Gotta quiet that.

I can spend an entire evening bouncing from one website to the next: a friend's photos, a stranger's popsicle recipe (yum that looks good, I should make that), a self-help list on the 8 things to ask when seeking true vocation... I bounce between things, but not towards anything in particular. I'm avoiding my work.

I never bring work home - except tonight I did - and on a night like tonight that is all about avoidance, I slip into some adolescent self that can't focus and must play.

Or is it play?

I've been spilling over nostalgia lately; since I saw two friends from past lives and marveled at how much we've changed, how little we've changed, how the only change is time's fault, not our own. The nostalgia has been upon me and it causes me to feel jumpy, to feel as if my bones are knocking against skin, as if something is literally stirring in me.

What is stirring in me?

I can't focus. Work is harder when you are seeking something new. Now it takes me longer to do my work - now I bring my work home with me because it takes me longer because I have to spend as much energy trying to care about my work as I am trying to do my work.

This is not me - not ideal, not what I want. But it's who I am right now.

Scattered, unsure. Hopeful to hopeless in a snap. Distracted and distracting. Quiet screaming. An oxymoron on purpose?

I'm on oxymoron on purpose. I want love and I fear it. I want new but fear it. I want change but can't find it. I wonder why it's so hard to put myself out there. I didn't think I was a shy person, but I am learning I'm more introverted than I previously thought. I wonder why when I'm finally trying to put myself out there, I'm not getting clear signs that it is worth it. Is this just a fancy way of admitting I no longer know how to flirt?

I do know how to embrace insomnia though.

Something is knocking at me. It's keeping me awake. I can't pinpoint the problem, but I sense it is a deep and endless yearning. Or, perhaps, what some people call loneliness.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

garden bouquet

Cosmos, Black-eyed Susan, echinacea, sage and dill gone to flower.



It's very simple, I know.

But, it makes me very happy.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

everything about this poem

Plans
by Stuart Dischell

She plans to be a writer one day and live in the City of Paris,
Where she will describe the sun as it rises over Buttes-Chaumont.
"Today the dawn began in small pieces, sharp wedges of light
Broke through the clouds." She plans to write better than this
And is critic enough to know "sharp wedges" sound like cheese.
She plans to live alone in a place that has a terrace
Where she will drink strong coffee at a round white table.
Her terrace will be her cafe and she will be recognized
By the blue-smocked workers of the neighborhood, the concierges,
The locals at the comptoir of the tabac down the block,
And the girl under the green cross of the apothecary shop.
She plans to love her apartment where she will keep
Just one flower in a blue vase. She already loves the word apart-
Ment, whose halves please her when she sees them breaking
The line in her journal. She plans to learn the roots
of French and English words and will search them out
As if she were hunting skulls in the catacombs.
On her walls she'll hang a timetable of the great events
of Western History. She will read the same twenty books
As Chaucer. Every morning she will make up stories....
She looks around her Brighton room, at the walls, 
The ceiling, the round knob of the rectangular door.
She listens to the voices of the neighbor's children. 
A toilet flushes, then the tamp of cigerette on steel,
The flint flash of her roommate's boyfriend's lighter.
When she leaves she plans to leave alone, and every
Article she will carry, each shoe, will be important.
Like an architect she will plan this life, as once
The fortune in a cookie told her: Picture what you wish
To become, if you wish to become that picture. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

August Shares

I want to eat this, live in this, make campfires under a starry sky with this, and live with a spirit of happy to have been here.

Also, a hermit crab could make an ok pet, granted it has a tricked out home.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

what I did today


Could the title of this entry be more boring?  You're welcome.

To make this slightly (just slightly) more enthralling, I shall work backwards through my day (and cease from using the word "shall" henceforth. Or henceforth.)

I am sitting in my orange room (the office? the study? the nursery for my imaginary non-child?) gazing out the window, thinking about what was a very beautiful day. I mean, check out these clouds:


This was Boundary Waters Canoe Area level gorgeous skies. And this was the only photo I took (likely to Rebecca's great disappointment).

I am also eating a peach and a few Newman O's, despite having just spent over twenty dollars on dinner. Problem was, the food was less food and more presentation. Check out the pretentious plate:


If it's going to look that dumb, it should at least taste decent and not send someone running home to their Newman O's, amirite? 

Before my pretentious supper (with good company, luckily), I spent a few hours adding some perennials to my yard, mostly so I could occasionally look skyward and marvel at how gorgeous the day was. I also added a bird bath to my secret garden AND discovered my eggplant is finally producing:



I forget what variety eggplant this is, but I love the way it looks coming out of the bloom. I'll have to take a few more photos over the next few days so you can really see how oddly the fruit develops from this variety. 

I also am mildly obsessed with the possibility that I will get to witness a bird bathing in my new garden art. I AM VERY HOPEFUL (all CAPS hopeful).

Prior to spending some time in my garden, I spent far too long at a local garden store. So long, in fact, that I started to consider this might be a good idea:


Not a good idea. 

I also discovered a beautiful variety of echinacea:



I have a garden store problem. And, as a sidenote, I am always the youngest person at the garden center by around thirty years. Young people: do not give up the art of growing things! Please!

My computer has now decided it's had enough of me, so I shall quickly conclude by noting that I started the day at a lovely bridal shower brunch for a dear friend of mine (who loves cloud photos) and I learned something truly horrifying about marriage, which is: you cannot use the bridal shower gifts until after the wedding!! If you are as impatient as me, this is cruel.

Over and out. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

hello: late july gratitude

Today was a gratitude-filled day.

I was grateful for the rain that came steady and strong this morning after I spent five hours yesterday afternoon in my garden. This is something a gardener longs for: rain after a day digging around in the soil. What a gift!

I was grateful for a morning naming ceremony for my friend's new daughter, Eliana. And I was just as grateful for the generous spread of lox, cream cheese, bagels, and kugel that awaited us after the ceremony. (I don't know what it says about me that these produced equal levels of gratitude...)

I was grateful for a peaceful afternoon of honest contemplation with my friend, Julia. When the rest of our women's group ("Our Circle") couldn't make it today, we came together anyway and had a most intimate and caring circle, just the two of us.

I am grateful for this very profound piece of writing, and for anyone who would be willing to discuss it with me.

I am grateful for burying hatchets and rebuilding bridges. Very grateful.

I am grateful for my weekly horoscope from Freewill Astrology, which I have read outloud to at least five different people, and plan to explore more in this blog at a later date. This provoked some good soul-searching and resonated with me on some soul-shaking level:

How close do you really want to be to the people you care about? I invite you to think about this with unsentimental candor. Do you prefer there to be some distance between you? Are you secretly glad there's a buffer zone that prevents you from being too profoundly engaged? I'm not saying that's a bad thing. It might be correct for who you are right now. I merely want to suggest that it's important for you to know the exact nature of your need for intimacy. If you find that you actually do want to be closer, spend the next four weeks making that happen. Ask your precious allies to collaborate with you in going deeper.

Finally: I am not so much grateful for this as I am touched by it, but how wonderful is it to see a picture of your beloved nephew (on his 2nd birthday) and flash back to a dear moment in your own childhood?


1987........................................................2013

Pretty dang sweet.

Super grateful for the many reminders of a nourishing and ever-evolving life.

Monday, July 15, 2013

other voices: reflecting on injustice

I can't come on here and write about my improv class, or the pesto I'm making & consuming, or my recent work conference in Atlanta, or - speaking of which - my stupid job, or the flowers in my garden that are getting more beautiful by the day. Or any of the simultaneously important and petty details of my life.

I can't think about anything when my heart is so heavy with injustice and grief.

There are many people smarter than me talking about Trayvon and what the not guilty verdict means about America, our criminal "justice" system, racism and the lives of black folk vs white folk in this "great" country. I encourage everyone to read their words, as I'm still working out mine:

ThisWhen you have a society that takes at its founding the hatred and degradation of a people, when that society inscribes that degradation in its most hallowed document, and continues to inscribe hatred in its laws and policies, it is fantastic to believe that its citizens will derive no ill messaging.
It is painful to say this: Trayvon Martin is not a miscarriage of American justice, but American justice itself. This is not our system malfunctioning. It is our system working as intended

This: If Trayvon Martin had been white, he’d still be alive. What better real-world example of white privilege is there?


This: ...fear-mongering represents a deep white anxiety about black bodies on the streets, and echoes Zimmerman’s fears: that black bodies on the street pose a public threat. But the real violence in those speculations, regardless of whether they prove to be true, is that it silences black anxiety. The anxiety that black men feel every time they walk outside the door—and the anxiety their loved ones feel for them as well...


ThisYear after year and case after case it continues, with black life viewed as expendable in the service of white fear, with black males in particular (but many a black female as well and plenty of Latino folk too) marked as problems to be solved, rather than as children to be nurtured. 

And can you look at these photos and not have your heart break?

I'm a white, middle-class woman living in America. I don't think it's fair for my voice to drown out the voices that really matter in all this. I should have started here.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

update: list and links version

What I'm eating: Apparently, a lot of pesto-related dishes. In the order of my affinity: kalealmond, and wasabi. (Also, I now drink cucumbers, who knew that would be good?)

What I'm reading: Two books that are rather embarrassing to read on the bus, for obvious reasons.

What I am plantingBright colors and pollinator attractors.

What I'm thinking about: Travels to new places and a road trip through places I know well
and love. 

What I'm obsessing about: my closet and "so many clothes nothing to wear" syndrome; 
possibly addressing said clothing boredom with a few key pieces from Etsy (1 or 2 or 3);
needing wanting a vacation; how to beat the heat; will my backyard ever be the garden I dream of?

Miscellaneous Thoughts: How is it already July? Is it actually raining after I planted all afternoon/do the weather gods smile down on me?  Might this actually save a life, because I think it revitalized mine for a moment.


Monday, July 1, 2013

rabbit, rabbit, rabbit

The first day of July.

I started the day by saying out-loud: "Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit."

It's good luck you see. The kids at the farm taught me to start each new month by saying these words. The key is to have no other words leave your mouth before you utter the magical "rabbit, rabbit, rabbit." Doing so will guarantee good things happen throughout said new month.

Though I can't say definitively how my months that started with "rabbit, rabbit, rabbit" compare to months that started with other words, I can say that the months I have remembered to say these words I feel a certain, simple joy. Saying these words connects me to the farm, the kids, and my time there. I always chuckle that 7 years later (and not so far off from my 30th birthday) I still find it perfectly acceptable to honor this juvenile tradition.

Today, however, uttering these words connected me to the literal friend waiting for me outside my back door.


The rabbit, rabbit, rabbit that eats my garden, garden, garden.

I hope this month's chant isn't some sort of prophesy.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

hello: pride

Happy Pride y'all!

As Pride 2013 comes to a close I find myself, unsurprisingly perhaps, reflecting on what "pride" means to me.

Though I don't often turn to wikipedia as my go-to research tool, I thought a more crowd-sourced definition on pride might be a nice start. This was an interesting little tidbit:

With a positive connotation, pride refers to a satisfied sense of attachment toward one's own or another's choices and actions, or toward a whole group of people, and is a product of praise, independent self-reflection, or a fulfilled feeling of belonging.

Feeling of belonging, eh? To be honest, it's never been easy until recently to talk about my queerness, so for me most of my past pride celebrations have been more about a feeling of not belonging, a feeling of otherness and outsider status. Did dating men make me a traitor to the community? Did deeply identifying as queer rather than gay/lesbian/dyke make me less than? Past prides I've felt like I was looking in on a world that wasn't quite mine.

This year I decided to just show up and see how it felt. After all, I've been lucky enough to have loved a lot of wonderful people in my life: men & women. I've had my heart broken by people from all across the gender spectrum (lucky me). I've advocated for the rights of LGBTQ people for much of my adult life and spoken up when it felt like the right, even if not easy, thing to do. I've been schooled by people who don't understand my brand of queerness and I've schooled people who think they get to decide what to call me. It's an evolving identity and so when I showed up this year for pride that is what I was proud of: my long-time-coming-(still-developing)-okayness-with-myself.

Pride for me is self-respect and self-acceptance, no matter who you find yourself becoming.

What does "pride" mean to you? What are you proud of?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pause. Enjoy.

A few things I've paused to enjoy as of late:

1 & 2. An amazingly healthy garden at an East side restaurant. Very inspiring. Also: enviable. 
3. Some gigantic basil from my old CSA farm. Which produced the season's first pesto batch!
4. Lupine! Always the best. 
5. New teatowels. Why not?
6. Okay, allium is also the best. 
7-9. Peony blooming in my secret garden.









Sunday, June 23, 2013

rumination on creating closeness

CAPRICORN: Anglo-Irish novelist Laurence Sterne
married his wife Elizabeth in 1741. Twenty-five years later he fell in love
with another woman, Eliza. In composing love letters to his new
infatuation, he lifted some of the same romantic passages he had
originally written to Elizabeth when he was courting her. Try hard not to
do anything remotely resembling that, Capricorn. Give your intimate allies
your freshest stuff. Treat them as the unique creatures they are. Resist
the temptation to use shticks that worked to create closeness in the past.


Let me start by saying I love Freewill Astrology. This week's Tuesday horoscope (above) really resonated with me, and I've thought about it on and off all week.

I thought about just leaving it here and saying: this works for me, but I thought it would be worthwhile to dig into it a bit more and think about why this kinda took my breath away.

I suppose I have to be honest: I have recycled here and there in matters of the heart. As a writer (ha! I fancy myself a "writer") I've actually heard myself say the same thing to a new lover that I said to an old lover. What a tragic thing to admit to in a place of attempted writing excellence! I am no better than Laurence Sterne.

But beyond my own suddenly not-so-secret shame about saying the same poetic lines to new and old loves, I am very interested in this idea of letting each relationship be a truly new endeavor.

I think of it from many angles: not falling into old habits; not reacting in tried and true ways; checking your expectations of other people (and yourself); not jumping to conclusions. Just totally, truly, letting yourself and this other person be a blank slate. I am as unique as this unique creature in front of me.

I think for many years I've told myself two basic stories about my love life: 1) All the good ones are taken and 2) I've been choosing the wrong partners.

Point #2 is what I am interested in exploring here, and why this horoscope worked so well for me. I think my story puts the blame or accountability on the partner: they were wrong for me, so I just need to find different types of partners rather than examine myself and what I might be doing wrong. What if, instead, I looked at the "shticks" I was using to create closeness, all which based on my single status have clearly failed, and what if I tried different ways of being instead?

This horoscope is freeing for me. Here freshness implies stepping beyond past hurt or failure to discover what can be created in the present. Here the present is assumed to be untarnished, not yet written. We are making it as we go, with completely thoughtful behaviors and communication. Here we respond to what is true in the moment, instead of what has been true in the past.

That's what I really take away from this: to go into every new situation (dating or otherwise) with the belief that it could be unlike anything you've ever known. And in that possibility, invest in being the person you want to be and the person your partner needs, rather than just turning on a character or standard set of behaviors/patterns/catchphrases that are comfortable (even if they all aren't good).

I think there is an implied pause in this advice too. And how radical to add pause and silence into interactions and conversatons with possible partners: to stop before reacting to ask yourself "Is this an old shtick I'm falling back on?" I think this advice demands that you are more in tune with the person you are with, instead of the stories you have told yourself and the generalizations you have made about how people are.

Don't even get me started on how empowering it is to think about partners being "intimate allies." Love it.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

hello: happy

For the first time in a long time I feel really happy.

Not like a fleeting happiness, or a reaction-to-something-good happiness, but rather a core-level contentedness and well-being. The sort of happy that makes you call everyone you love and leave rambling, giggling messages, interrupting yourself midway through one message to comment on the amazing sunset out the window, which gets interrupted by you breaking out in a huge smile that lasts awhile until you remember that the person on other end of the phone can't hear you smile, and you hang up giggling.

I think I kind of had my very own corn moment.

This bubbling up feeling that started this morning and by evening erupted into full on things are alright it's great to be alive!! 

A happiness that felt like it had form and body - that felt like I could hold it, and taste it, and smell it, and delight in it with all my senses. It really was a whole body and spirit takeover - pushing out (at least for now) the cobwebs and replacing with them....space. Space that made me laugh and smile and shout out how good I felt!

That's what I wanted and needed: space. Space to be reflective. Space to be encouraged. Space to be confident in myself and my dreams. Space to name those dreams and be unafraid.

It's very simple really. Or, at least, if I really think about it, I have a feeling I know where the first shake came from, where the bubbling began.

This morning I had a rather spontaneous coffee with a coworker who has been at my organization for a few decades and just put in his resignation. I don't know him very well, but I wanted to make sure I built a bridge between us before he left because I want to know him and be a connection. I invited him for coffee saying I wanted to hear about his new job, but instead quite unexpectedly he showed me much more: he showed me who he really is. He talked candidly about his frustrations with our current employer, his dreams, and what he's learned in the three decades he has been in the workforce. He talked about himself openly and honestly. He shared without censorship. And then he asked if I was happy in my job or if I too felt a pull elsewhere.

He invited my truth, and I gave it without questioning.

To which he told me that he sees me as someone committed to advocacy: someone who needs to be working for something they deeply believe in. He told me to forgive him if he was wrong, but if my current job isn't the place that I can fight for something I believe in, as he thinks I need to in order to be happy, I should look for a new opportunity where I can do this sort of work.

I guess it stunned me a little. It stunned me to have someone I barely know see me so clearly. To nail it. To know who I am at my core.

That being said, hearing him interpret who I am was like a big duh.  I mean just yesterday I saw this quote on my fridge within a postcard about how to build community: "Nobody is silent, but not everybody is heard. Work to change this." And I thought to myself: I think maybe that's my life's work in a nutshell.

I guess the thing is, for better or worse, I needed someone else to say practically the same thing to me in order to really hear it. I needed someone else to say it to erase the maybe. And who it was was important too: I listened more closely when I realized someone unexpected really saw me. It made me think that who I am is clear to everyone but me. I need to have confidence in what I have to offer and what I want to build.

What do you know? When I felt seen and heard, the whole world looked different. More approachable, welcoming.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

gladness

I'm glad it's June.
I'm glad I finally made those smokey beet burgers.
I'm glad my floor cleaner smells like roses and that I mopped so I can smell it.
I'm glad I've worn dresses practically every day for the last week.
I'm glad to have friends I can send silly texts and emails to.
I'm glad the slivers of soap in my garden appear to be keeping away the rabbits.
I'm glad it hasn't rained in over 48 hours.
I'm glad I have the support of many to make the changes I want and need.
I'm glad that looking at a map and plotting a road trip west inspires me.
I'm glad to have three groups that play three distinct but equally important roles in my life.
I'm glad for creative conversations and new connections, unexpectedly.
I'm glad I have a new compost bin.
I'm glad not all of my flowers have bloomed yet, so I have something to anticipate.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

the letters you never send: anne

Most importantly: I'm sorry.

I hate that our friendship ended over some careless texts. My therapist says she wishes "young people" wouldn't have actually important conversations over text message. I feel like I am young enough to make this mistake and old enough to have known better.

You asked me if your antiracism rant scared me.

It didn't scare me.

I didn't realize you were the only person of color at the party I brought you to. It made me angry that you were alone in this realization; it is fucked up beyond belief that I didn't even notice until you pointed it out. That scared me. It made me angry. It made me think.

I didn't know what to say when you started to talk to me about racism and how it shows up in all these subtle and not so subtle ways in society. White people were milling around me in afro wigs and dancing to appropriated music and it took your perplexed look and my "what are you thinking?" to see what was right in front of me.

I wasn't scared. You didn't scare me. I was, however, scared of saying the wrong thing. It is okay that I was scared of saying the wrong thing? Can you allow me to be a little bit flawed and a lot human?

I was disappointed that when you opened up to me and shared your thoughts (what you called via text a "rant," and what I would have never called a rant), that I didn't know what to say.

I have so much more to learn and in the moment I didn't have anything of value to say to you and so I froze up and mumbled half-thoughts when you over and over again asked "what do you think?" It made me feel disgusted with myself. I thought about it when we left the party, I thought about it after I dropped you off at your home, I thought about it when I first woke up, and I was still thinking about it when you texted me about it in the morning.

Clearly, none of this came through in my hurried text response to "Did my antiracism rant scare you?"

I am sad that two people who care so much about communication and intentionality around communication stopped talking over some poorly worded, not very thoughtful texts. I wish I had just called you and explained the multitude of things I was thinking, including fear over not saying the right thing. I wish I had felt free enough to show you my flawed, human heart as you had showed me yours time & again.

I wish I had been the woman you wanted me to be instead of the white person you expected me to be.

I have more to learn. I thought we had more to learn from each other.

I know it's not your job to teach me. It's not your job to teach me how to be a considerate, justice-oriented, conscientious white person. It's my responsibility to become that person.

I'm sorry for disappointing you. I'm sorry for hurting you. I'm sorry for thinking the multitude of things I feel about you and the depth to which I care about you could forgive some thoughtless text messages. I am sorry for trying to have an important conversation with someone I deeply care about over text message.

This letter has been stuck in my throat for months. Goodbye, Anne.



Friday, June 7, 2013

WaterOMFGmelon

Two posts in one day?!?!! WTF has gotten into me?! RIGHT?!

Well, I just really had to share this with my 3(-5) loyal readers.

OMFG.

That shit is giving me LIFE.

Early June Blooms

Some snapshots from my garden....




And two tiny bud vases I made this week, breaking out of my decoupage-crafting hibernation...


Thursday, May 30, 2013

hello: baby wisdom

Tonight at the gym, after exchanging smiles from a distance, an 18-month-old waddled up to me and hugged me from the knees down.

He clung to my knee and lower leg for a good minute while his mom tried to peel him off me.

The whole time I just stood there, quietly delighted that a small human being was holding onto me, clearly from a place of sensed connection, possibly from a place of no-need-to-over-analyze-it love.

It destroyed me a little bit. It destroyed me because it reminded me of the whimsy and joy and good and random beauty all around me that lately I have been failing to observe.

I loved everything it represented.

I loved it all.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

4 Year Anniversary...with my house

This seems about right. 

"The roses are blooming and I smell the sweetness.
Everything desirable is here already in abundance."

Feeling sentimental on the fourth anniversary of owning my house I googled "poems about home." That seemed to bring up only other sentimental nonsense, so I decided to just visit my old standby, the daily Writer's Almanac poem. As usual, it seemed to speak to things I was feeling - not entirely, but enough.

I've thought about the making of a home, the lives within a house, the transformation of a home space: the life of a house, for nearly every day since I became an owner of a house. It's an unusual adventure, "owning" a place (& space). What does it mean to own a material object that has held other lives and stories? This old house has sat in this very spot, though the world around it has changed tremendously, for 104 years. I am 29 years old, which is a sneeze in the life of this house.

It always feels like a huge responsibility. Some days it feels like a burden. When I see people eating grapes off my fence or stopping to admire my garden, it feels like a gift. I often find myself saying hello to the house, or looking back upon it while I wait for the bus at the stop right in front, or driving towards it from a different street so I can catch it at a different time of day/in a different light. It feels like a friend on those days; a friend I am still figuring out. 

After a weekend of transforming the garden - and planting over a hundred perennials divided from my mother's garden & childhood home 8.5 hours south of here - I am reminded how much it feels like an extension of myself.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

give up the ghost

It's been raining on and off for most of the day, and I sit in bed now with the sound of rain hitting my roof and many thoughts swirling through my head. This weekend I saw many, many people I love.

I want to say right away that things are mostly fine.

I think that statement can be true, while it's also true that there is a heaviness that has been resting on me for some time, which I have noticed possesses a certain ebb & flow in its intensity.

It can also be said that sometimes my inclination to write comes from a place that needs to process...or make sense of things...or just acknowledge the absolute joy and terror and raw beauty and pain of being human.

So go away now if you can't handle another post about feelings.

here's a picture to give you a break from words
A few things happened this weekend:

- I spent more time processing and grieving with my roommate. Our conversations have been difficult and important. I am glad we have each other.

- I saw a former love and dear friend who is in the process of transitioning from male to female. Nearly two years have passed since we last saw each other, and much has changed (clearly!!) Being with her brought many old emotions to the surface, as well as many new. I have much more to process with this one, but something interesting comes to the surface: as much as things have changed, the minute we were together I found that thread that has always connected us as strong as ever. And now I miss her and long to be around her more (and will get the chance to). I didn't realize the thread was unbroken OR that I missed our friendship, until I saw her - changed as we both are since our last encounter. I didn't realize how I was lacking the closeness that is unique to the friendship I share with this person, and now I am hungry for it.

- I went to a housewarming party for some friends I have nearly lost because of my fear of running into the friend that connects us:my former love(r) a person I don't have words for. I arrived late to the party, fearful he would be there. Instead, shortly after I arrived, a conversation with a few people led to the fact that he had moved away, just the previous day in fact, to start a new job in the west. He had moved away. He was gone. The news, I was shocked to discover, was like a punch to the gut. I haven't seen this individual in nearly a year, and yet the knowledge that it's possible I won't see him again was surprisingly painful. I spent the remainder of the party in a dreamlike state, trying not to think over and over again he's gone, he's gone, he's... 

- All of these things filled me with nostalgia and again (like earlier this week) sent me looking for the remnants of past loves. I thought of two women I have recently and not-so-recently cared about, and my heart was full of pain and regret that bridges are so burned that I an unable to call either of them, even to just ask how are you? This weekend I longed to know how everyone I've ever loved is. I longed to apologize. I longed to acknowledge our shared humanity and thus human errors. I longed for fresh starts.

This weekend I was hit in the head and heart with slightly altered versions or unexpected discoveries about past loves. One was not who she used to be; one was just plain gone.

I was confronted with how much things can change and stay exactly the same. How we can think we have moved on from something, and then it shows back up (in one form or another) and the presence of it takes your breath away. How the memory of someone and who they were to you can be more haunting then the reality of them.

The question of the weekend was: do we ever really get over someone we used to love? 

And, what is getting over and moving on, anyway?