Wednesday, June 30, 2010


"Turning toward a large wave in the ocean is the best defense. Diving into the huge wave can save you." --Sark

"I'm no longer afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my own ship." --Louisa May Alcott

I've been searching for little moments of clarity in my life. Any ray of sunlight cracking through the blinds, a spot of green thrusting through the pavement, the tiniest stream of water trickling. All of these suffice. I welcome them with congratulatory arms and a wide smile, an inner patting-myself-on-the-back. Acknowledging moments of clarity is like praising a child for something seemingly small and arbitrary, like peeing on the toilet. Except they're not.

I realized that I wanted growing things surrounding me in my bedroom. I bought houseplants and pretty pots.
I realized that I wanted to pick raspberries from the bushes in the backyard. I brought a bowl and a book with me and lounged in a lawn chair afterwards.
I wanted clean sheets. I changed them, washed them, and put them back on.
I wanted green tea. I ordered it.
I felt drawn to read Rumi, to soak up his every word. I purchased The Essential Rumi, on Amazon, used.

These little cracks of sunlight and buds of green and droplets of water are not just that. For soon the blinds will be thrown open and the plants will overtake the streets and the floodgates will break. These moments of clarity will let in a million moments of clarity, and my layers and layers of clothing will be pulled by the threads, little by little, until they can be torn off and I'll be able to see my soul, pure and bare.

I just made a pretty sizeable rip. A whole ray of sunlight burst in, for I was able to witness the part of my soul that was whispering to me, yes! yes! you know what you want! And I realized: I don't want to go to grad school. My life right now is not about more schooling and social justice issues and confines and flat-broke-ness. I need to explore myself. My soul needs to breathe. I saw that my soul wasn't coaxing, or coercing, or shouting these things to me, either. It was just talking, plain as day.

Before it was starving, but now I'm offering it these little crumbs, as I listen to its words, and slowly, it's gaining stength. I'm gaining strength.

I'm pulling up my blinds, very slowly.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I think I mentioned this a long time ago, and never came back to it to explain, but I've begun working in a new office doing new things with new people for the last two months of my AmeriCorps term.

Which means, CEOs and CFOs blocking any fun websites, including all those under the category of "Web Communications."

Thereby, all blogs. Including my own.

So my Google Reader is full of posts of pictures that don't load, and I can't even go to the sites to comment on the words. And once I'm home from work at night, the last thing I want to do is go sit on a computer some more.

So this is my apology for my lack of commenting. I'm reading, I promise, I just can't comment!

This has sincerely made me realize my infinite love for all you bloggers, though :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

let's become alive


I've felt an overwhelming need to surround myself with growing things lately.

Over the past week I've searched thrift stores for old pots and raided Home Depots for green plants. I intruded on my backyard with scissors in hand and plucked stems to fill vases.

My bedroom is slowly becoming the alive oasis my soul is yearning for.

A voice speaks to your clarity.
Move into the moment of your death.
Consider what you truely want.

Now call out commands yourself.
You are the king. Phrase your question,
and expect the grace of an answer.


awkward stage

Dear Jannalyn,

Aren't you glad we got out of our awkward stages?

j&r awkward stagesj&r awkward stages

To commemorate this fateful time, I made you some Muddy Buddies, hurray!

muddy buddies!

I'm so glad you come back "home" now, to play cards and drink made-up-cocktails with me every night,

five crowns

and for even bringing your sweet little pup with you.


Let's go through many other stages together, okay?


Tell me: do you look back on your awkward stage fondly?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


foggy beach

Imagine a woman
who believes it is right and good she is woman.
A woman who honors her experience and tells her stories.
Who refuses to carry the sins of others within her body and life.

Imagine a woman
who believes she is good.
A woman who trusts and respects herself.
Who listens to her needs and desires and meets them with tenderness and grace.

Imagine a woman
who has acknowledged the past's influence on the present.
A woman who has walked through her past.
Who has healed into the present.

Imagine a woman
who authors her own life.
A woman who exerts, initiates, and moves on her own behalf.
Who refuses to surrender except to her truest self and to her wisest voice.

Imagine a woman
who names her own gods.
A woman who imagines the divine in her image and likeness.
Who designs her own spirituality and allows it to inform her daily life.

Imagine a woman
in love with her own body.
A woman who believes her body is enough, just as it is.
Who celebrates her body and its rhythms and cycles as an exquisite resource.

Imagine a woman
who honors the face of the Goddess in her changing face.
A woman who celebrates the accumulation of her years and her wisdom.
Who refuses to use her precious life energy disguising the changes in her body and life.

Imagine a woman
who values the women in her life.
A woman who sits in circles of women.
Who is reminded of the truth about herself when she forgets.

Imagine yourself as this woman.

--Patricia Lynn Reilly

happy birthday, james

You just might be my favorite (big) little brother.

I love you.





Tuesday, June 22, 2010



Four Saturdays ago, I decided that was it.


I’d had enough. Through and through, I had exhausted my resources. There wasn’t another smidgen of anything inside of me that could make it work. That could make anything work. I could pull nothing out of my center that would help me to function there. And so I decided that was it.

And so I left. I left “home.”

A few choice words stayed behind. A few precious belongings didn’t. I packed a couple bags, made some arrangements, and fled. I fled. Faster than anyone could have called out to me, “Mend my life!” and I was gone.

I had a center just then, a real live center and I felt it. Something erupted inside of me and before I could even think to take anything back, it all came out.

And it felt damn good when I let it all out.

I finally gave it the okay. I told it to go ahead, do what it will, we don’t have any other resources left, anyways. And it toppled out of my center and out of my heart and up out of my mouth and it was there, for all to see.

Strangely enough, I didn’t feel like I had lost anything. Times before, I’d wish for the words and feelings to come back, I didn’t really mean them, I should have thought first, I should have stayed level-headed and calmed down before I spoke. I had lost a piece of myself and I didn’t really want him to have it and now it was too late. Those were the times before.

This time, this time, it was different. My center released it all, right on cue. Perhaps it released quite a build-up, actually. That’s okay. I didn’t mind. I didn’t want to gather up all my sentiments and choke them back down and stuff them back in for fear of losing myself to someone else. I really didn’t, this time. They are mine, and I am owning them.

Now, now I’m in a new place. Now that the needed words and sentiments have come out, the rest are for me. Mine to keep. Mine to nurture and explore and love. I’m learning to stay centered and to focus my energies on myself, instead of directing them away negatively and uselessly. I’m done with that. I won’t have any of that. I’ve gone back to that bonding time and time again, only to fail. I’m done with failing.

For three weeks I was gone. For three weeks I slept on a futon (one that used to belong to me in college that I had since bequeathed to a friend—I thought it rather appropriate and ironic). I stopped at home on occasion at particular times of day to gather and return a few things. I lived out of my bags. I cooked my own food. I lived according to my own schedule. It was exhilarating, and a fantastic first step, but also made me feel like I could vomit at any given time of day. Not good.

So I returned home. Tight lipped, perhaps, but open hearted. My heart is open to myself. I’m only concerned with myself now. I used to think the word for that was called “selfish.” Now I realize the word is “smart.” Smart, to care for yourself. Smart, to realize that you cannot change others, that change has to come from within. Smart, to be concerned about your own well-being and mental health. Smart, to realize that efforts put forth to help other people are futile unless you can help yourself first.

The past month has been difficult. And exhausting. And I’m afraid this is only the very first step. Healing takes a long time. Twenty-two years is a long thing to reverse. But before I can reverse I need to stop.

So far, that’s been the hardest part.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

sometime soon

I have much to share here,
that I've had percolating for over a month, now.

I'm finding it harder and harder to find the right words.
The right sentiments.
The right meanings.

The right anything.

Possibly because once they're out, they'll be there, staring me in the heart, and they'll be real and tangible and sudden, and I'll know I won't have made them up.

Sometime soon I'll stop obsessing and face it and write it and get it out, maybe.

Perhaps this was a useless post.
But now I'll be held to my word, right?
And I feel like now, I'm one step closer.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

where i've been

blues fest

hanging out at Bushnell Park at a blues fest

books, mirrors

exploring new art exhibits,
of rooms with distorted mirrors and a floor of upright books


being silly on roller coasters on work field trips

baby, light

babysitting CB and forcing her to be my photo muse


feeling bad for myself amidst rain and gray skies

mango margs

drinking mango margaritas and singing karaoke


buying sugary cereal that my mother rarely bought me as a child


realizing my sincere disdain for pet fur in homes

sonnets from the portuguese

and exploring used bookstores,
buying old books of poetry that captivate me for hours.

I hope to be back in this space more often, now.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

this is hard work

I'm currently working on the idea of home being a place within my soul,

rather than a physical place with people and expectations and requirements and feelings.

It's slow going.

What have you been working on lately?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

exactly and precisely

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice --
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --
determined to save
the only life you could save.

The Journey
Mary Oliver

Friday, June 4, 2010


Standing in line in the cool, dim drugstore amidst a hot thunderstorm booming outside, I had a revelation of sorts.

Summer was in the air, with mamas in short shorts and tiny tank tops, kids reluctantly scrabbling along behind, hot and pink and sticky. The cold waiting beyond the sliding automatic doors was a refuge, a haven, a promised land amidst the heavy, wavering heat rising from the pavement. I pushed my way through the crowds to wait in line at the counter, complacently standing in place while a woman in front of me unloading an entire cart-full of goods, happy to be still in the cold air.

It was then that I heard it. The instant photo machine beside me, spouting out advertisement after advertisement, catching my attention with a Christmas greeting.

Yeah, a Christmas greeting. Just in case you were interested in making your photo cards early. Seven months early.

So there I stood, listening to It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas loop over and over again as I waited in line in the air conditioned drugstore on a stifling June day with the heavy clouds looming outside, while mamas in short shorts and tiny tank tops drag their hot, pink, sticky kids reluctantly behind, when I realized:

even though it was Wednesday afternoon, a typical day in June, and I couldn't even see to the next day never mind the next week, terrified at the thought of next month or the month after or my next breath, there was a comfort in knowing that December would come and I'd be listening to Christmas music again. June would finish whether I achieved goals or not, and July would follow, and August and September and October and November, too. Christmas would roll around and I'd be sitting someplace warm and cozy away from the ice and snow and be dreaming of summer, probably.

I get so mired down in details and small things and lose my head in the sand instead of the clouds. But at least Christmas music will come again.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

glass jars, repurposed

Fabulous what a little food coloring and Mod Podge can do for a glass jar, I think.

jars, beforejars, after

I've developed a recent obsession for hoarding any kind of leftover glass container.

Seeing as how I am/will soon become a nomad, this does not bode well.

Sorry, Mom. They'll probably end up consuming any open closet space around the house.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

quite possibly my favorite moment from the long weekend

Driving around town with my two sisters, ages twenty-four and ten, doing errands for our mother's birthday party the next day.

Getting hungry and slightly tired, irritation and annoyances kicked in.

In a burst of inspiration, I did my best to explain my theory of creating a "love symbol" in your mind, a thing or a place or a moment or a person that resembles love to you. Then attaching that symbol where love is needed--to someone who's annoying you, to a feeling of anger towards something, to yourself and any of your own self-destructive thoughts (usually where mine's needed). I explained the importance of spreading positive energy to come back to us through time, instead of ill will and negativity.

"You mean, like a cat? I love cats," Mary offered.

I assured her the thought of a cat was perfect. It symbolized her ridiculously sweet adoration of all things feline, and her own cat's love for her, too. Ten year olds can't get much sweeter, really.

A few minutes later, an over-zealous driver struggled to take turns merging, causing us to put on the brakes and slow down to let him in and avoid a crash. Rachel let out a frustrated sigh, voicing her irritation at inconsiderate drivers.

Not a second later, we heard giggling coming from the backseat. When we asked Mary what was so funny, she responded, pointing at the car in front of us, "Look! There's a cat sitting on the roof of that man's car!"

It took a second for us to realize that she was, in fact, attaching her love symbol, literally.

Addendum: I got this in an email from Rachel this morning.

Also, yesterday when we were getting ready for the party, I was getting frustrated about something but trying to stay positive, and Mary called out from her room, where she was cleaning, "LOVE SYMBOL!!!!"

I just love sisters.

a dapple of my weekend

Extremes, extremes, extremes. That's what my weekend was. I've not had a stranger, happier, more exhausting, devastating weekend, I don't think ever.

Let me back up.

My weekend started Thursday night, when Rachel finally flew home to us and we chatted nonstop the entire ride home from the airport. (You may think I'm exaggerating, but really--there was not one lull in conversation the whole 45 minutes. We can talk.) Friday morning was fantastic--I took the day off, we went to an early yoga class and met Mom for a leisurely breakfast.

Unfortunately, Friday evening we had to attend the wake for a dear family friend. Never have I seen the town come together as they did this weekend for a such a loved member of the community. It was a heartbreaking tragedy, but good to see so many familiar faces coming together.

This also meant that many friends came home from far and wide for the weekend. (Remember when I mentioned extremes?) It was so good to see old friends and unexpectedly get to be together again, despite the circumstances. (One friend had even planned on moving to Germany this past week, which he put off just long enough to be here for the family and see his friends one last time.)

All day Saturday was an exhausting "funeral," which really seemed more like a celebration. Tears were shed and laughter could be heard. Shared dishes were eaten and hugs were every two minutes. It was an unfathomably sad day.

I was so busy and mentally occupied that I didn't even have the desire to take a picture until Saturday night. Which was when regular, "everyone's home for the weekend" activities resumed, much to our delight.

brandy alexanderfive crownstypical

Five crowns and Brandy Alexanders? Our families know each other so well.

While there was so much heartbreak and mourning this weekend, there was an equal amount of joy and festivity, as well.

The heat of Sunday brought out the towels in the backyard and the kids on the slip and slide. And Rachel was still home, thankfully.

Isn't she just the cutest? I love her so much.

slip and slide yes please

Monday was a busy day of our Memorial Day picnic and party for my mom. Family and friends all came with dishes and it was just the perfect day to end the first summer weekend. Rachel and I might have been planning this for weeks, between you and me.

jana and me

Oh, and I made an enormous chocolate cake with raspberry filling. From scratch. A la Deb, of course.

CAKEmom and cb

Have you ever seen a sweeter baby? Being a pro babysitter has its perks, I guess. Just look at this pose:

posingbuntingi see youflicker

I mean, Mary and the other kids even caught fireflies in jars.

I sort of love summer.


So, it was a weekend of extremes. Inconceivable heartache, familiar joy, right next door.

Life sure does throw loops, sometimes.

We'll all miss you more than you know, Ydalmen.