Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Nienie, Poetry and Beauty

As evidenced by my less frequent posts, there are lots of things competing for my time now that school has started. I think of and pray for NieNie, Christian, the children, and their families every day, frequently several times a day. Since I suddenly find myself so busy, I have decided to write a Grateful post once a week. Grateful posts will appear every WedNieNie'sDay. Why Wednesday? Well, it is the middle of the week and I think we all need a pick me up when Wednesday rolls around and looking at the good in our lives can provide that pick me up. So, WedNieNie'sDay it is!

Poetry class was tonight. We talked about the work of Louise Gluck. Wild Iris is the poem we looked at most closely. After Gluck, we critiqued the poetry of our peers.

My piece:

He sits on his front stoop
still and alone
in the dark
letting the night settle on his skin
Resting his elbows on his knees,
his head in his hands
He collects his thoughts
then empties them from his mind
one by one
As the cars go by
one by one
Soothing him with their steady hum
Their sound the only confirmation of motion
in his otherwise stagnant world
The Man in the Moon shines down on him
and he lifts his eyes from the crack in the pavement
long enough to bathe in the light
allowing himself the danger of dreaming
of something bigger waiting
for him beyond the stoop

Comments include:
eliminate last two lines
Man in the Moon doesn't work for me (many people said this)
break this piece into stanzas
play with punctuation
great sounds at beginning of poem
like the line "letting the night settle on his skin" (many liked this)
"one by one as the cars go by" gives sense of sound, nice
nicely rendered situation
breaks at the beginning gives reader time to settle into poem
love "danger of dreaming", strong line (many said this)
strong ending
strong lines, "lifts his eyes... bathe in the light"
want to know more about "him"

In sharing poetry with others I see that no matter the level of skill, we each have a distinct voice, are developing strong voices. Being in a room full of fellow poets is powerful for me and a privilege because these people are opening themselves up to me through their poetry. I think that poems reveal so much of the interior of the poet and to be trusted with that is such an honor. I feel like my words are sounding shallow, but I am sincere and wish I could express it in another way.

Beauty. This evening I was walking to catch the bus to school when a man, a complete stranger, walking toward me looked at me, said "You are beautiful" and kept walking. I said "Thank you" and kept walking. A bit baffling as I am wearing my glasses, my hair is poofy from the moisture in the air, etc. Also, I don't really think of myself as beautiful; I feel I somewhat blend in until I open my mouth and speak; I think my voice, ideas, and intellect bring me alive and set me apart and make me beautiful more so than my looks. I was also surprised by how easily and casually I accepted the compliment. Where does my confidence come from? How much of a role does confidence play in one's beauty? The man brought a smile to my face and gave me lots to think about. Thank you, Complete Stranger Man!

On that note, Good Night!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Never Far NieNie

This week has been extraordinarily busy. Homework and presentation preparation for school, nannying, and lots to do around the home has tuckered me out and sent me to bed much earlier than normal. Though I have not been very good about posting a nightly Grateful post in the spirit of Nie, she, her beloved Mr. Nielson, their incredible children, and her family have never been far from my thoughts and prayers.

So, I give you,
the strength and creativity and motivation and intellect to complete work on and deliver a well-received presentation that I can be proud of, courteous people with whom I shared a printer in the computer lab at school, pretty and comfortable cotton skirts, thin but cozy leggings, knee-high boots that put a swagger in my step, moisturizing lip gloss, walks around town, vegan fruit and nut chocolate chip energy bars, honesty from others, health, longish but well-kept hair on boys, sparkling eyes, elevator rides, soft scarves, arrival of new glasses, the quality of the moments my husband and I are able to spend together in spite of how busy we have both been, communication, being busy with such positive and rewarding endeavors, cat recovering seemingly well from Bartonella thanks to a diagnosis by an amazing vet and medicine that the kitty takes as willingly as one could expect, increased self-awareness, unexpected new nannying schedule that actually fits in better with my school and internship schedule, home, taking time out to do fun things that make me happy without taking away from everyone and everything in my life, steamy showers, fall foliage beginning to emerge, opening windows and sunroof and singing at the top of my lungs while driving, boys on bicycles, natural curl of my hair, deep sleep, dreams, aspirations, inspirations, the library, having a library book drop directly across the street from my front door, exciting package from Teen Voices Magazine arriving in the mail, old basset hound named Joe, friendly soccer fans, self control, patience, thinking before speaking, going outside my comfort zone, whole wheat raisin english muffin with organic peanut butter and organic apple slices, time to cook wholesome meals, becoming more aware of the little things in life and what a big difference the little things can make, Christian healing well and being pretty much out of sedation, Nie's amazingly strong body accepting 50% of her skin graft (20% more than average), CJane continuing to give updates and let bloggers into her life and the life of her family, hope, love, soft socks, towels warm from the dryer, rocking chair, memory, appreciation, tomato, garlic, candlelight, night air settling on my skin, hugs and kisses, family, communication, public transportation, swings, being present in the moment, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Prayers and positivity to Nie and Christian & family.

Please think of and pray for Stephanie in an extra-special way tomorrow as she will be undergoing another skin grafting surgery. Thank you!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Presenting and Poetry

Tonight's class began with my presentation on poet Renee Gladman and a piece from her book Juice titled First Sleep. It went quite well and we discussed the poem for quite awhile. I was told I would be a tough act to follow. One person in my class who teaches high school English, asked if I was or ever had been a teacher. I told him no, but once upon a time I thought I wanted to be. He told me I would make a good one which I took as quite the compliment.

The second half of class we critiqued the poems of our peers. Though I have written four poems, I chose the one I thought needed the most work, Observations, which can be found here.
Their constructive criticisms include:
"Not sure about the title's relation to the content."
"2nd stanza doesn't correspond to the description of beautiful boy"
"I would like to know more in terms of concrete detail."
"I like what you have here, but it feels unfinished."
"Are the last 2 lines of the 1st stanza necessary?"
"I'd like more specifics of the boy, define what beautiful looks like."
"Last line may be too large in scope to end with."

Encouragement includes:
"I like the idea underlying this poem, but there are a few lines you might revise."
"Idea presented is interesting."
"Nice opening, nice alliteration in 4th line 1st stanza."
"Nice start."

I am finding the revision difficult because I would like to expand on the boy, but I am not sure how to do it with out revealing who he is or without getting completely away from the original piece. I sort of feel like expanding on the boy is in competing interest with the spirit of the original piece. In spite of my misgivings, of course I will make an effort to take into consideration what has been said about the piece and experiment with the suggestions.

Additional critique from you readers out in Bloggerland would be welcomed.

Party People

On Saturday night my husband and I went to a birthday party for our friend Bijaya thrown by her husband, Tim. It was a blast! They invited over eighty people and so many of them came. Tim and Bijaya have such a cross-section of friends that it baffles and bemuses me. It also makes for an amazing time when you have such a variety of people in such a large number all congregated in one cozy house. I said hello and thank you and good-bye to Tim and Bijaya. I talked to Tim's sister, Liz. I talked to Chris and Mike, two of the sweetest guys in the world who happen to make-up one of the most dynamic couples I know and have a great taste for restaurants that they gladly introduce my husband and I to. I spent a lot of time talking with my best friend, Tanya, about food, her teaching job and the challenges and joys it presents, men, therapy, writing, my newly acquired internship position and just life in general. After Tanya left, I capped the night off with intensely deep conversation with my new friend, Ben. He is captivating. We talked about sleep, wanderlust, boats, sailing, introspection, artificial intelligence, math, language, poetry and our shared disdain of products made in China. Ben suggested books he thought I might like to read and we exchanged emails. This went on until my husband wandered over to retrieve me and take me home.

After the party I could not sleep because Ben had my head all busy and working and jazzed up about so many things and so many new-to-me ideas. While driving home from the party, I was talking with my husband about my conversation with Ben. My husband's slightly wounded reply was, "You know, I can talk about math with you, too, you know." To which I replied, "I do." But isn't there something invigorating about meeting someone and instantly connecting on so many levels and finding they are interested in who you are and what your thoughts are as well? Clearly, I love my husband and he and I share our lives, good conversation, and a comfy bed, but sometimes, on occasion, for short spurts of time, no matter the amount of effort and love couples put into their relationships, we get mired down in every day life like paying bills, washing dishes, working late and our conversations degrade to short sentences and our affections turn into a peck on the lips before we pass out, exhausted. That is why we need other people in our lives. I believe that our needs as humans include new friends who understand, stimulate, and challenge us in ways we have not been before. How else will we grow and stretch? So, husband, if you visit my blog and happen to read this, while I love you and cherish our time together and the conversations we have about math and other things, I think we both recognize that we need friends to enrich our lives as well so that when we do converse our discussions are broader and spicier and more invigorating. There is room in my life for you and Ben and so many other dear friends, but at the end of the day, you are the one who has my heart.

Thanks for a great time, Tim and Bijaya, and for sharing your friends and family with me!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Marvelous Mo'Nie'day

Though I did not write last night, I did remind myself of the things I was grateful for while drifting off to sleep. Tonight I am thankful for rest, inspiration, intellect, fuzzy blankets, tomatoes, beauty through and through, a way with words, catching the 9:15 bus home from school, the opportunity to finish my college degree, the support of my husband, kisses and hugs, health, a clean and cozy home, kitty talk (me-ow mroww me-ow purrrrrrrr), imagination, new friends, building an understanding of Math and its origins, making others smile, common courtesy, creative culinary skills, towels fresh from the dryer, plaid lined with hot pink raincoat, having an elastic in the bottom of my purse when I needed it, upfront and honest communication, gentlemen holding doors open for me, insight, prayer, logic, courage, blogger friends, time to read for pleasure, hot shower lit only by rays of sunshine, desire, time with my girlfriends to look forward to, husband's pride over the roast he cooked himself for dinner, opportunities offered to my hardworking husband by his bosses, stained glass windows, privacy, partnership, enthusiasm, stick-to-itiveness, lucky pennies, hope, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Prayers and positivity to Nie and Christian & family.

Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite <3

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Life is Sympho'Nie'

fabulous in its complexities and the things it casts in one's direction. I just got home from a party so this thankfulness post is a late one. I am grateful for life's variety, new friends, old friends, deep conversation, emotional intelligence, sweetly flowing interactions, the chill of autumn in New England, trampolines, desires, home, health, love, motivation, inspiration, writing, exchanging ideas, transformation, turquoise necklace from my dearest sister, cozy sweatshirts, wraparound blankets, raw vegan cake, raspberry sauce, thoughtfulness, sleep, life giving actions from loved ones, empowerment, heated seats in automobiles, introspection, laughter, causes to celebrate, passion fruit iced tea, yesterday and today and tomorrow.

Prayers and positivity to Nie and Christian & family.

Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite <3

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Double'Nie' Grateful

Last night I was so sleepy that I did not get to write my gratefulness post. So, tonight I am doubly grateful for sleep, beauty, desire, intellect, home, health, love, non-verbal cues, body language, pleasure, inspiration, motivation, the hooray and camaraderie of Harvard football, a nice night out, poetry, printed skirts, autumn, friendship, kitty fluff, introspection, understanding, space, community, connections, writing, release, heated seats in automobiles, laughter, smiles, moisturizer with spf, common sense, couscous, olive oil (not Popeye's girlfriend, but the stuff one cooks with), safety, communication, fresh local blueberries, stars, moon, rocking chairs, answered prayers, another day.

Prayers and positivity to Nie and Christian & family.

Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite <3

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Meme Express - Play-Doh

Meme Express gives daily writing prompts. If you are interested go here.
Today's prompt is Play-Doh and is for the five-year old inside me.

Did you ever play with Play-Doh?

Did I ever!

What do you remember about it?
It was squishy in my fingers like mud between my toes. I could play with it only after my mom had laid out copious amounts of newspaper on which to work. Now newspaper is not necessary because Play-Doh created the Play-Doh Pickup Stick to remove it from flat surfaces. Play-Doh always had a distinct odor, neither pleasant nor unpleasant, which varied slightly from color to color. I was usually only allowed to get the four pack with yellow, blue, red and white, but every once in awhile I was allowed to the Rainbow 8-Pack (it came out when I was 5) and those days were special days. That was back in the 1980's, but now you can get all kinds of colors and cool packs including the Birthday Bucket and the Play-Doh 50 Pack.

What was your favorite Play-Doh color?
Probably red, but I liked to try and mix the colors together to make other colors (white and red to make pink, blue and red to make purple, etc).

What was the most imaginative item you ever shaped from Play-Doh?
I once made kitty cat slippers. Recently I created a whole jungle with C, the little boy I nanny. We made trees, a giraffe, an elephant, a dinosaur, and all kinds of other cool things.

Do you have a recipe for homemade play clay?
Edible Play-Doh Recipes

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Merc'Nie' Me

there's so much to be grateful for!

First my song of the day from OneRepublic titled Mercy on YouTube. and lyrics on metrolyrics.com. Started singing and had to stop because of tears.

Also grateful for time with my nannying charges, toddler giggles, growth, tousled hair, time for writing and developing that talent/gift/strength in myself, an active mind, being offered an Editorial Mentor position at Teen Voices Magazine and accepting, blankies, attentive husband, energy to get things done, inspiration, rocking chairs, change of seasons, chats with my brother, confidence, passion, ways of releasing and channeling emotion, Christian Nielson's so far successful skin grafts and slowly coming out of sedation, Stephanie Nielson's seemingly so far sit-and-wait successful skin graft surgery, power of prayer, naptime, recognizing things by being present and in the moment, strength, perseverance, observation, kitty snores, hugs and kisses, homemade garlic bread, deep breaths, education, home, health, husband, where I have been and where I am going, chances, yesterday and today and tomorrow.

Prayers and positivity to Nie and Christian & family.

Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite <3

Two Days of School Days

It has been a very full two days. Monday was groceries, house chores, eye doctor, and math class. Tuesday was house chores, therapy, Teen Voices Interview, and poetry class. Today began with babysitting from 6:45 to 8:45, catching up on the blog world, homework, and now posting. This afternoon more homework, bank, make dinner.

The best part of all these busy days? Coming home to my patient, thoughtful, gentle, encouraging, supportive, loving, amazing husband at the end of them. He picks me up at the bus stop, asks me about my day, opens my car door when we get home, runs ahead to get the house door, lets me go about getting situated back at home and into my pj's, and is ready and waiting for primo cuddling on the couch when I finish up. Just had to give him a shout out because transitions can be tough, this back to school thing is a definite transition, and he is making it so much easier.

The Wonderful Mr. BrainyandBeautiful

*Photo courtesy of A Better Sound.

Math. I am in awe of Math. I almost feel like I am taking a Math appreciation course, but really we are learning math concepts from the beginning of Math to now and applying them to every day situations. The first week we talked about how angles and geometry are key to building sound structures and about Triangulation and how early man used it for navigating the land and how it has been used subsequently in war, football, and space travel, among other things. This week was about circles, navigating the sea, Math as a language with different dialects, the Greenwich clock, true north, magnetic north, and compasses. It is all fascinating and feels more relevant than it ever has for me before. The professor is very excited about Math and very comfortable with sitting in silence while we sit and try to come up with answers to his questions which makes for a fun and comfortable atmosphere. Very engaging. My appreciation for math and good teachers is growing exponentially (yippee for math terms!).

Poetry. It makes me feel all dreamy and passionate. Last night's class had us analyzing Tomaz Salamun, an esoteric, stream of consciousness, imaginative, "Alice in Wonderland" type poet. His work is filled with fascinating juxtapositions, always something at odds in his poems, and, even though on the surface things don't make complete sense, the reader is drawn in to trying to make sense of the madness. One of my favorite poems by him is Barbies from his book titled Blackboards.

In class we each wrote a poem in the spirit of Salamun's work using the following words/phrase: little pointed ears, spokes, pumpkin, peony, hemorrhages, Barbies, kayak, chart, bread, anchorage, dumplings, Bandaid, handbags.

I found mine a bit lacking, but I share it here anyhow:
Little Pointed Ears speak meaningless sounds. Spokes poke noiselessly through.
Pumpkin Peony hemorrhages barbies. Kayak chart the way. Bread an anchorage for dumplings. Just a bandaid for tomorrow's handbags.

Typing this out I wonder if I should change "Just" in the last line to "Lust"... I think it would kind of make things more interesting. Anyway, it appears as it was written last night.

For the second half of class we analyzed and critiqued the work of our classroom peers. We did not get to three or four poems (including mine), but it was an intellectually stimulating experience none-the-less. Everyone in the room has opinions and speaks them. Listening to my peers helps me to be a better analyst of poetry, a better critic, and a better writer. Reading the work of my peers causes me too feel that my poetic work is too simple, too elementary, too clean. I am interested to hear what they think of my work when we analyze it next week. This will be an enlightening semester.

Finally, I had my interview with Teen Voices Magazine yesterday. Their office space feels very much like a loft apartment with brick walls painted white, comfy furniture, and creatively divided space. Lisa Rodrigues interviewed me, was very welcoming, and we had a great conversation as I answered her questions and she mine. I feel it went well, but one never knows. The verdict comes in by the end of the week. Regardless of the result, the experience of interviewing and meeting such kind, intelligent, driven, passionate women was a gift.

Though very busy and full, the week is off to a fantastic start.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Infi'Nie'ly Lovely

the fullness of my day was. Tonight I am grateful for husband waking me gently, plush pillows, fasting, prayer, further understanding of my inner workings, moving forward, supportive undergarments, active mind, boy in baggy pants with tattoos and backwards hat turning around to reveal quote from scripture on the back of his shirt, surprising glances, longish shaggy hair, husband, home, health, analyzing poetry with others, experience of interviewing at Teen Voices Magazine, shirt dresses, horses on Boston Common, walking through vibrant Downtown Crossing, cool Fall morning, restraint, inner strength, mirroring, wind blowing through sunroof, pictures, cuddly blankies, love of all kinds, babies swaddled by mothers, bus driver dancing to my ring tone,kitty fluff, nearness, awareness of all senses, engagement in the world, gentle silence, hugs, and another lovely day to look forward to tomorrow.

Prayers and positivity to Nie and Christian & family. Additional prayers for Nie as she recovers from the major skin graft surgery she had today.

Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite <3

Monday, September 15, 2008

Divi'Nie'ly Bestowed...

gifts received today include the opportunity to interview at Teen Voices Magazine, patience and compassion instead of petty arguments, making the 9:15 p.m. bus (there was running involved), exercise, a math teacher who is able to get through to me and help me to see math in a new light, the energy and motivation to get the many items on my list completed and still have time left over to sit on the couch and cuddle my husband, helping me to remember things and think deeply about things in order to work through these revelations and grow, giving me the strength to face things I otherwise would avoid or bury somewhere deep inside and the ability to sort through this information intelligently, giving me the gift of being able to write well and use writing as an outlet for my thoughts and feelings and ideas, inspiration, family and friends who expand and challenge my view of the world, stimulating conversation and little things such as kitty love, lipstick, flowers blooming, thick and soft towels, broccoli, home, pretty fabric, making it to class on time despite technical difficulties with public transportation, beads, ribbons, creative inspiration and so much more, but I am too exhausted to continue to enumerate.

Prayers and positivity to Nie and Christian & family. Additional prayers for Nie as she prepares for major skin graft surgery tomorrow.

Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite <3

Impending Interview

After a wonderful weekend with my husband, I have time to write an entry in complete sentences. Thank goodness for that :-)

On September 12 in this entry I wrote about the opportunity I was offered to interview at Teen Voices Magazine. Well, since I did not receive a reply to the email I sent early Friday afternoon, I called them today and my interview is tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. Slowly things are progressing.

Now, I worked in Human Resources and have interviewed and been interviewed a fair number of times, but I still looked up "How to Interview for an Internship" and perused this article. I think this means I am nervous. I have never interviewed for an internship before, but I have confidently gone to be interviewed for positions on many occasions. What is different this time? I guess part of me views this opportunity as my first potential "big break" into the publishing business which is something I have been working toward for awhile now and it is on the cusp of coming true. Am I building it up a bit? Probably, but it is a big deal to me.

Then the practical, rational side of me says, "Alex, you have read the entire Teen Voices website from beginning to end, you have thought about how you might answer potential questions, you have a folder containing your questions and extra copies of your resume and cover letter, and, most importantly you have your self, your personality, your know-how, and your experience. You will be fine."

In less than twenty-four hours the interview will be over and the waiting to find out if I have been accepted begins.

I put it in the hands of a higher power. If it is to be, it shall be. I have done my part.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The 'Nie'ness of Me

The Nearness of You - Norah Jones - YouTube
*Photo by Irma Servatius

As today comes to a close I am grateful for another day, compassion, having all the ingredients to spontaneously make pancakes from scratch for my husband, having someone to share my innermost thoughts with who is always willing and eager to listen, soft clothes, corduroy, friends, camaraderie, cleansing rain, cuddling, smooches, kitty softness, moisturizer with sunscreen, faith, recollections, connections, banana curls, seeing thankfulness in others, politeness, the face my husband makes when he is savoring one of my homemade vegan chocolate cupcakes with home made vegan chocolate frosting, smiling, health, home, a functioning automobile, hugs, high fives, sparkles in eyes, self-imposed peaceful silence, the Dalai Lama.

Prayers and positivity to Nie and Christian & family.

Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite <3

Saturday, September 13, 2008


that my today was a wonderful day. I am grateful for, extra sleep, pink flowers from Rose-of-Sharon bush adorning my table in milk glasses, bees pollinating, friendly neighbors, fresh local strawberries all light and refreshing on my tongue, sight of husband in homemade newspaper party hat, partially sequined polka-dot party dress with spinny skirt that makes me feel like a woman and a girl all at once, lips for kissing, health, banana curls, Target Brand Apricot face scrub, talking and rocking on the front porch with my Love, hint of Fall breezing in and blowing out our citronella tea lights as we talked rocked, epiphanies, really really really really long and tight hugs,strength and motivation to get things done, sounds of laughter, feeling of laughter welling up and the moment just before it bursts forth, using fancy china, sunroof, high fives for the Red Sox, cuddling, inducing blissful kitty purrs, and, most of all, my husband's safe return from his business trip.

Prayers and positivity to Nie and Christian & family.

Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite <3

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Bee's "Nie"s

Things seen, heard, smelled, tasted, discovered today that caused me to think, "Wow, life really is just the bee's knees!":

* Photo credit to www.liveguide.com.au

Jason Mraz and his song I'm Yours on YouTube.

Three phone calls from my darling husband, Basic Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes, Easy Vegan Chocolate Frosting

* Photo by Vanstaffs on Flickr

Listening to the rain hit my window pane and watching it roll down.

Smell of rain on the pavement, creativity flowing within me, walk around the neighborhood, local fresh corn on the cob

* Photo by A Better Sound

Revisiting the day my husband and I were married.

The Bee's Knees food, The Bee's Knees vintage, and The Bee's Knees melange.

*Photo courtesy of Go-optic.com

Health Insurance that covers a yearly eye exam so I can grace my face with the fabulous Jill Stuart spectacles picture above.

my family, my Oilily umbrella, my home, my health, and the continued recovery and forward progress of NieNie and Mr. Nielson.

Prayers and positivity to Nie and Christian & family.

Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite <3

* CORRECTION Thought my new frames were Jill Stuart but they are Ellen Tracy(below)

* Photo courtesy of go-optic.com

Sweet Words

After a week of getting back into the swing of things at school, cleaning the house, grocery shopping and medical appointments I am overcome with the feeling of missing him.

I am sitting here on my couch with the cat in the dark listening to Norah Jones on YouTube.

YouTube - Norah Jones - Those Sweet Words

Pathetic, I know, but I miss my husband.

Hearing his sweet words over the phone twice a day every day this past week has been wonderful and all, but I miss my husband.

I miss his physicality, the facial expressions and other gestures that accompany those sweet words, being able to hold his hand or have him rest his chin on the top of my head when we hug (one foot height difference).

I wanted to watch our wedding video (more patheticness, but I mi... you know the rest), but the dvd player isn't set up so I settled for looking at wedding photos.

The day we said the sweet words that made us each other's for eternity:

Ok, feeling better. Off to make chocolate vegan cupcakes and a "Welcome Home" banner, because, guess what, my husband is coming home tomorrow. How's that for Sweet Words? <3

* photos courtesy of A Better Sound

A Reassuring Whisper

Not too long ago I was questioning whether or not I was taking my life in the right direction:

August 21, 2008 - Applying for internships is different than applying for jobs. The resume and cover letter content are different. What potential employers are looking for seems much more mysterious to me. I wonder if my being an adult student helps or hinders my chances of procuring an internship position, if my experience in the workforce and in life helps or hinders my chances, if the tone of my cover letter is too serious, if not being able to get an internship so far means I won't be able to get a job when I finish my degree, and, finally, if the fact that I have not heard back from anyone means that I have taken my life in the wrong direction. That is a lot of ifs. So, I keep searching, keep applying, and wait.

See full post here.

In the busyness of this my first week of school, I had not checked my special "internship email account" in three days. Last night I did and it turns out that, though their Editorial Assistant Positions have been filled, Teen Voices Magazine would like to interview me for an Editorial Mentor Position. I am resisting exclamation points because I have not yet interviewed and the position is not yet mine, but I find this extremely encouraging. If nothing else, it is a reassuring whisper that I am on the right path and walking in the right direction.

In the spirit of reassuring whispers, I give you 10 O'Clock, a recent account of me seeking to reassure myself:

10 O'Clock
I am not a child
I am not a child
I am not a child
Lately it seems I am oft heard loudly repeating this phrase
Later I say to myself, "Who are you trying to convince?"

Tonight at 10 O'Clock I step off the bus
and decide to prove it to myself
Turning off my cellphone and tucking it inside my purse
inside my book bag I begin

Step by Step by Step, One by One by One
I walk the five blocks home
in the dark

Block by Block by Block, One by One by One
I repeat
I am not a child
a child
a child
a child
a child I am not

Turning the corner
Ascending the three steps to my porch
Slipping the key in the lock
Opening the door to confirmation
of the affirmation
I am not a child.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Living is "Nie"sy

Dance Myself to Sleep on You Tube

As I shuffle off to dream land after a quiet, relaxing, productive day I am grateful for local produce, kitty rubs, singing in the shower, trouser jeans, electric buses, slight whiff of Fall in the air, friendly fellow public transportation riders, being present at the Massachusetts Fallen Firefighters Memorial Annual Ceremony, health, names of the Thai dishes at King & I tickling my funny bone (favs - Dancing Squid and Curried Bird), watching the moon wax with my best friend since birth, easy conversation, being carded at the liquor store when I was not even buying liquor (good to know there are liquor stores that follow the law), home, snazzy composition books, vintage Sesame Street, man skitskatting slam poetry on Beacon Hill porch, colorful vintage'y' fabric at Baranzelli Silk Surplus, husband's sweet voice coming to me twice a day courtesy of T-Mobile like a hug I can wrap around me.

Prayers and positivity to Nie and Christian & family.

And a little love to my Mom who had a rough night. Hang in there my sweet Mumma and take care of you.

Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite <3

Importance of Observation

A friend and I were talking yesterday about writing in general and poetry specifically. She is a fantastic observer. When we first met she was very quiet, but when I would talk with her (For better or worse, I am a talker) it was evident that she was always watching, taking it all in, and thinking before she spoke. Now that we have known each other for three or four years, she talks a lot more, but I often catch her watching, too, and I love that about her. Yesterday I told her I would love to read some of her poems, that I am sure they are quite good. She laughed and told me they are probably not as good as I imagine. I said I bet they are amazing because good writing is really all about observations and she has proven she is good at that.

Replied my dear friend, "Can't argue that."

And isn't it true that the richest writing, the things we all most like to read, are peppered with textures, tastes, smells, sounds, and the smallest details of what we see? The best writing engages all the senses and in doing that transports us into the world of the character(s).

The observer hasn't shared any poems with me yet, but I'm sure she is just watching & waiting for the right time. Until then, I'll share one of my observations:

He is the kind of boy who
is beautiful and doesn't know it
or knows it and doesn't care
Long, lean, leggy, always
unconsciously readjusting his frame
Thank you to his mother from whence he came
But its all the same to him

Crooked grin
frames crooked teeth
Real beauty lies beneath
Undeniable once he speaks
Which he does sparingly
and slowly
and thoughtfully

Relaxing the receivers
Patiently waiting for them to
catch their breath
and start to see not only with
their eyes but with their mind
feel not only with their loins but with their heart
Hoping they'll recognize his humanity

Never Forget

This morning I woke up to my husband's morning phone call from New Mexico, snuggled with the kitty cat, shimmied out from under the covers and began my day. Food and water for the kitty, strawberries for me, followed by a warm shower, dressing, hair brushing and lipstick. I opened the blinds to the sunshine, opened the door to the fresh air, took a brisk walk around the neighborhood, and returned home to check on my favorite bloggers.

Then I realized, today is September 11th.

Seven years ago today thousands of people just like me woke up and went about their regular morning routines not knowing this would be the last time.

Seven years ago today not only were the lives of the families and friends of these people just like me changed in an instant, but the lives of all Americans and the world.

Seven years ago today...

How could I have woken up this morning unaware of the date? I admonish myself internally.

Then I pause and, whether appropriate or not, the Empty Nest Theme Song blares inside my mind. "Life goes on, and so do we, Just how we do it is no mystery.
One by one (one by one), We fill the days, We find a thousand different ways"

Life does go on and it is easy to get lost in and caught up in the thousand different ways we fill each day.

I decided it was o.k. that I didn't remember right away because what is important is that I remembered and I paused in remembrance. Really, I never did forget, its just that the piece of me that never forgot was waiting for me to open the blinds and let in the light so I could see.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


At the end of this joyful day full of happinesses I am grateful for sleeping in, kitty tail swooshing over my face to wake me, hot shower, clear skin, curly hair, girlfriends, husband who talks to me twice a day when he is away on business trips, sweet silence in which to think, pink and glittery Hello Kitty card from Mom, steps toward mental and physical wellness, local produce, girl flying by house on bike singing "Do a deer, a female dear..." loudly, soy delicious icecream, car passing inspection, self exploration, health, home, love, inspiration, memory, fall chill in the sunshiny air, lipstick that makes me feel extra lovely and moisturizes my lips in the process, rocking chair, encouragement.

Prayers and positivity to Nie and Christian & family.

Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite <3

Finding My Voice

Last night was my first Contemporary Poetic Voice class of the semester. There are six of us in the class which I think is ideal for the work we are going to be doing. If the class was much bigger it would be more difficult to read and discuss everything in depth AND workshop/critique each person's poems. Yes, homework is to write one poem per week and bring it in for critique. Scary, but not so scary in a smaller, more intimate group like we, thankfully, have.

The first thing Carrie, our professor, asked us to write about was why we write. Surprisingly, this is something I have never really thought about until she asked.
Why I Write (the Top Ten List Version)
1. I can't remember a time when I didn't
2. It helps me get to know myself better
3. It will make me a better editor, I believe
4. It teaches me things I didn't know I knew
5. It brings me peace and clarity
6. It challenges me
7. It is something I can leave behind in hopes my descendants will know me
8. When I write it makes me happy
9. To keep my imagination and the five year old inside me alive
10. To become better at it and more aptly express myself in all forms. Plus, writing is sexy ;-)

We were also asked to write a poem in class inspired by a poem we read in class by Brigitte Byrd titled "Enlightenment" from her book "Fence Above The Sea". She is awesome, by the way. Her poems are prose poems which I have never really been exposed to before, but which I instantly loved. My poem inspired by hers:
She sits like a butterfly lights on a flower. Just a wisp in the wind in the night. Whims cause whispers but what do whispers know of whims. Slim to none but her self knows dreams without limit. Immense expanses beckon. No destination, just destiny. A whiff of perfume takes flight.

Rest assured there will be more poems coming and hopefully better ones at that.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


In the spirit of Nie, I wanted to begin reflecting on the little, and big, things I am grateful for at the end of each day as a reminder to myself of all the good in my life and as a way to channel and send out positivity to her, Christian, and their family.

At the end of this inspiring day I am grateful for raindrop kisses, early morning sunlight seeping through cracks in the blinds, plaid raincoat with hot pink lining, British accents, public transportation, intelligent conversation, my husband's voice crackling over the cell phone from distant New Mexico, little girl spinning and spinning with joyful abandon to her heart's content not worrying or caring about who was watching, huntress kitty pouncing on fly, blue eyes to look into, the perfect pair of jeans, husband, health, home, rainbows, inspiration, homework, the rustle of leaves, guy with curly shoulder length hair and beard who unknowingly made me giggle at the site of his cavemanness, not missing the 9:35 bus home, streetlights, growing inner strength, poetry.

Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite!

Quick Shout Out

Last Fall I took a class called Digital Photography for Beginners. My professor told us he loved taking pictures of dogs and was working on a dog park book with a few other people. He told us if we were interested we could check out his blog. I did, but I haven't looked at it in awhile. Then, today, I decided to check out Blogger's blogs of note for the past few days and it turns out my professor's blog was named a blog of note a few days ago! You can check it out here if you are interested. Congrats, Phaird!

Facing Math Fears

This semester I am taking two classes. Language of Math meets Monday nights from 6:45 to 9:15. Contemporary Poetic Voice meets Tuesday nights from 6:45 to 9:15. During the day I am getting a jump start on writing my thesis which I will need to complete in order to receive my degree in my individual-designed major, Publishing.

I am so looking forward to my Contemporary Poetic Voice class tonight! Writing and reading are things that I LOVE to do, am passionate about, and do pretty well and quite frequently. But, Math... Well, Math and I are more complicated...

You see, Math and I got along pretty well at the beginning of our relationship. My Mom introduced us when I was very small by hanging numbers on the wall of my playroom underneath the letters of the alphabet. As I grew she taught me the names of the numbers and how to count. Then one summer day Mrs. DeLorenzo came to visit. Turns out she was going to be my kindergarten teacher at a place called school which she assured me would be glorious. She was just stopping by to meet me and get to know me a little because we would soon be seeing each other every day, except for weekends. During our visit Math came up in conversation. I showed Mrs. DeLorenzo the numbers on the wall and told her their names. She seemed pleased that we both knew Math and I had a feeling she and I would learn more about Math together during kindergarten at the glorious place called school. And she and I did. When Mrs. D. and I learned all we could about Math together she passed Math and I off to Mrs. Long and Mrs. Long to Mrs. Skiber and Mrs. Skiber to Mrs. Wood and Mrs. Wood to Mrs. Burbine. With the guidance of these amazing teachers, Math and I grew to, well, love each other really. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division were all part of Math's lovely makeup. With the encouragement of these fine women, I had found shortcuts into Math's heart and begun to perfect my ability to recognize Math's silly tricks. When I look back on our time in Elementary School I recognize it as our heyday and feel a longing stir somewhere deep within me. Little did Math and I know, but our love was about to be tested.

When I went to Middle School I brought Math with me. In the beginning we really liked it there. We had a few challenges, but we seemed to be making it through o.k. And then I had to leave the Middle School we'd just begun attending and move to a new one. In the madness of this unexpected, hasty move, Math and I got kind of twisted up and torn apart. Math didn't want to move. Math was happy where we were together and wanted to keep going at the same pace we'd been going with the same teacher who'd been guiding us. I tried to explain to Math that I didn't have a choice about leaving, but I really wanted us to stay together whatever it took. We were at an impasse in our relationship so we decided to give each other a little space, but it was harder to be apart than we expected.

Much to my delight, when I arrived at my new middle school Math was there waiting for me. Reunited and it felt so good. Unfortunately, that feeling was short lived. It soon seemed wildly apparent that in the month that Math and I were apart Math and Mrs. B had been seeing each other and moving ahead without me. This is where things got tricky. I felt betrayed by Math. How dare Math find Mrs. B. so quickly after his and my choice to give each other a little space and how could he feel so ready to move forward without me! Math thought it wasn't a big deal. He and Mrs. B were just hanging out and now that he and I were back together we could all hang out together. He convinced me that he and Mrs. B. were just friends. I still didn't like it and I felt so left behind and always trying to catch up in our conversations. I wanted to stay with Math and work on our relationship and learn and grow together because part of me still loved him, but things just didn't feel the same after the incident. We both knew there was something missing, that our relationship just didn't feel the same, so we decided to just be friends. From 6th through 12th grade we kept up an awkward, tumultuous friendship at best. Our best times were had in 9th grade. It was our freshman year in high school, certainly we could let bygones be bygones and start fresh. Mrs. Pepin, the Algebra teacher, helped Math and I make great progress and I even thought Math and I might get back together, but it was not to be. The next three years, especially the Geometry part, divided us more than ever and after graduation Math and I never saw each other again.

In the intervening years Math crept into my mind every once in awhile like when I was playing bills, buying groceries, or when I heard someone had had a new baby and was assured that the baby had all of it's fingers and toes. I wondered if Math ever occasionally thought of me.

Well, last night, Math and I ran into each other. We were a bit shy and awkward at first, but he invited me to sit at his table with him and 7 of his friends and I accepted. It was surprisingly easy to be with him again and before I knew it two and a half hours flew by. Listening to Math and his friends talk I learned lots of things about Math that I never knew and I began to realize that maybe part of the reason why our relationship didn't last was because I knew so little about Math's past. Really, when we met he just presented himself like "here i am. this is me. this is what I'm made of", but we never talked about how he came to be who and what he was. After last night, I am intrigued about his past, about his origins. Math asked me to join him and his friends again next week. I told him I'd be there. Maybe if I could learn more about Math's beginnings he and I could have a future together. Here's hoping!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sunday Scribblings #127 - Miracle

The Sunday Scribbling this week is timely. I pray for one for Nie and Christian and CJane and their family and friends. I must participate in Sunday Scribblings this week.


The origin of the word miracle is Middle English. It originates from Old French, from the Latin word miraculum 'object of wonder,' from mirari 'to wonder,' from mirus 'wonderful.' Miracle may be defined in this way - a marvelous event manifesting a supernatural act of a divine agent. I think I prefer this definition - any amazing or wonderful occurrence. Then I look at these two definitions again and think "Aren't they one in the same? Doesn't "any amazing or wonderful occurrence" stem from "a supernatural act of a divine agent" in one way or another? I suppose if one does not believe in "a divine agent" one prefers a definition that leaves that "divine agent" out. Now, I guess I prefer the first definition, for me.

I think that too often we are rushing around from task to task, embroiled in our daily lives. As a result, we don't take the time to notice the small miracles happening around us and in our own lives each day. I think it might do us all some good if we made a conscious effort to look out for and recognize these every day miracles. I believe that we would be happier and that happiness would beget more happiness.

I am halfway through my day and already there are miracles. I woke up this morning with a new day ahead of me with, as Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote in Anne of Green Gables, "no mistakes in it yet." My husband called me to say good morning and I, who needs to set five alarms every night before going to sleep in order to insure waking up on time, heard the phone and answered it. The cat freaked out and decided to sink her teeth pretty deeply into my arm, but caused zero bleeding. I received my financial aid award letter from school telling me I was awarded aid for the 2008-2009 school year. The two bills received in the mail have already been paid. My husband's parents have been married 29 years today. My nephew, Jake, rings in his 18th year today. And the day is only a little more than half over.

Perhaps as we recognize the small miracles more and more, the big miracles will arise. As my mother always says, Thank God for small miracles!

Thank you, Blue Lily!

Blue Lily is an amazing photographer and friend of Nie. I found her because she participated in the auction to benefit Nie & Family. When I got to the Blue Lily blog I found she was giving away a $75 gift certificate for Anthropology and all one had to do was comment on how one would spend it. So, I commented.

Much to my delight, though random.org did not pick me as the winner, Blue Lily featured my comment among her favorites here. Thank you, Blue Lily, for the feature and the gift of fantasy shopping! I really did enjoy it immensely <3

Heartfelt Sentiments from Husband

Ok, since it is now 2:56 a.m., I have to say last night...

Last night my husband called me from his cozy hotel room in New Mexico where he will be staying for the next week while on a business trip. He called me and we talked about his flights, fantasy sports, what we had for dinner, our beloved kitty cat named Iris, Tom Brady's devastating knee injury, the new furniture we have inherited from my grandparents (more on that in a later post), etc. Inevitably our talk turned tender, full of I'm so glad you are safe, I miss you, be sure to get plenty of rest and good sleep. As we slowly inched towards good nights and talk to you in the mornings, my husband surprised me. He told me that there was turbulence on his connecting flight from Colorado to New Mexico and that during the flight he was scared at times and that when he got scared he thought of me, of cuddling up close and curling into each other, of my funny half-awake half-asleep ramblings... you get the jist ... and that he felt safe and happy and secure as a result, that it brought him peace. I am so full of love for him and I told him so tonight as I do every chance I get.

Yet another thing to be grateful for yesterday.

Off to try and drift into a peaceful slumber. 'Til later... Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite <3

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Be Grateful

Be Grateful. This is the gentle reminder I received this morning when I went to A Cup of Jo and read this New York Times story. Then I went to Nie's blog, NieNie Dialogues, and fell in love with Nie. Nie, 27 years old like me, and her husband, Christian, who have 4 beautiful children ages 1-6, were in a plane accident on August 16, 2008 and are recovering from severe burns. Their amazing family, including CJane, are caring for Nie and Christian's children and organizing fundraising efforts, alongside all of Nie's blog friends, to benefit the children and keep Nie and Christian's life going while they recover.

Nie's family:

On her childrens' birthdays, Nie has them write wishes, attach them to balloons, and let them go into the universe. Across the globe, people have done the same for Nie and her family in their time of need.

I wrote a letter to CJane and a separate letter to Nie and a separate letter to Christian. In CJane's I enclosed a lucky penny for each of the children. Nie and Christian each get one, too. As Nie always illustrates through her blog, it is the little things, the simple things in life that really matter.

So, in honor of Nie, today I ask you to be grateful for all that life has given you and for the little things. I think Nie would be proud.

Things I am Grateful For Today <3
my husband
my health
the warm kitty purring next to me
my home
fresh picked Maine blueberries still warm from the sun
my family
my friends
soft sheets
my faith
second chances...and third...and forth
the five year old still boldly alive inside me
dark chocolate
vegan cupcakes
cotton clothing
rocking chairs
the icecream man
the swish of a basketball through the net
birds chirping
the perfect pair of jeans
the smell of tomato sauce simmering on the stove
the flowers I clipped from the rose of sharon in the backyard
and oh so much more

Oh, and, after counting the things you are grateful for today, if you could send just a dash of that positivity into the universe aimed at Nie, Christian, their children, their extended family, and their friends both physical and virtual, I would be extra extra grateful. Thank you!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Changing the World

I just finished reading "Writing to Change the World" by Mary Pipher. It was very helpful to me and got me thinking about what I am trying to say and accomplish by writing my memoir which is tentatively titled "Just Boyfriends" and in my writing in general. She also sets out several clear ways in which to determine your reasons and goals and achieve what you are trying to achieve through writing.

Some thoughts popped out at me more then others. They include:

"I am not interested in weapons, whether words or guns. I want to be a part of the rescue team for our tired, over-crowded planet. The rescuers will be those people who help other people to think clearly, and to be honest and open-minded. They will be an antidote to those people who disconnect us. They will de-objectify, rehumanize, and make others more understandable and sympathetic."

"A writer's job is to tell stories that connect readers to all the people on earth, to show these people as the complicated human beings they really are, with histories, families, emotions, and legitimate needs. We can replace one-dimensional stereotypes with multidimensional individuals with whom our readers can identify."

"Therapy and writing have a great deal in common. Both are highly-disciplined endeavors, involving long hours in small rooms. Both require asking intelligent questions, excavating for emotional truths, and solving complex problems. Often, the work is ambiguous, and success elusive. Wise therapists help clients to think more clearly, feel more deeply, and behave more responsibly. Wise writers often want to do these same things."

"Cynicism is a form of resistance, a walling off of the possibilities for transformation. At its core, it is a response to learned helplessness, a defense strategy. Scratch every cynic and underneath you find a wounded idealist. For therapists and writers alike, the best treatment for cynicism is healing stories."

and finally...

"Many people have powerful stories but lack the skills to be powerful writers. Writers need to be skilled or, when the heart speaks, it is the language of sentimental schmaltz. Yet skill alone is not sufficient. We need authentic emotion to go with it. Powerful writing includes sparkling details, apt metaphors, surprises, and restraint. It has tones and rhythms that change like those of a symphony. The best writing causes readers' breathing to change."

So, that is just a little taste and hopefully gives you something to think about.

Writing to Change the World is very different from other books I have read about writing. I believe it spoke to me even more strongly because I have just begun attending therapy and part of the book compares writers and therapists as Mary Pipher is both.

There has been a lot of talk about change lately with the presidential election nearing. I also find that most people I talk to have something they want to change about themselves, the town they live in, the state they live in, the country, even the world. Writing is one way we can all make a difference or take a step towards change be it in writing a book, sending a letter to the editor of the newspaper or town board, writing an essay, blogging, etc. Pipher's book shows the writer different ways of going about this and brought me hope.

If you are interested in learning more about Mary Pipher and/or reading some of her books you may visit her website at http://www.marypipher.net/Home.html