Friday, January 30, 2009

Tip of the Day

Go swinging in the snow.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Everything You Need

"It's a good feeling to know that everything you need is right there for you." ~ Tangobaby ~

After a long day at Teen Voices, I decided to catch up with all the blogs I follow. Tangobaby is always a treat, but she was especially amazing today. She has started a new word and image project and shared one example of the work she is doing here. As well-written and moving as her story was, it was her comment at the end of the post that grabbed hold of me, "It's a good feeling to know that everything you need is right there for you."

A startling and comforting truth. Everything you need is right there for you.

I sometimes wonder about a lot of things. I slog my way through emotional minefields. I struggle to be the best me I can be. I dream big dreams unsure of whether I'll ever be able to accomplish them. Sometimes the smallest tasks feel impossible.

Then along comes Tangobaby, "It's a good feeling to know that everything you need is right there for you."

And without hesitation I agree with her, "Well, yes, Tangobaby, you are exactly correct and those are exactly the words I need to hear right now, right here in this moment."

These are words I will remember. These are words I will write across the top of my wipe-off calendar on the fridge. These words will be written across my whiteboard in the office. These words will be penned meticulously in silver ink on sea green paper and tacked on my inspiration board.

These words are powerful and true.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Crazy Class

My class was awesome today! Had my pants and shoes been dry, it would have been slightly better. Ridiculous precipitation and calf high puddles made that an impossibility.

The class is a mix of adult students and traditional undergraduate students. For my school, the class is HUGE, 23 students enrolled. It will be interesting. With so many people in the class, some of them are bound to talk and be willing to share their ideas which makes a class for me. I thrive on the exchange of thoughts and ideas.

My professor is also my adviser in general and my adviser for my Teen Voices Independent Study. So, we will be spending lots of time together. Luckily, I really like her as a professor and a person.

The class is a 5000 level course (graduate level) and should be challenging.
In 14 weeks we:
read 7 books
write two 4-5 page reflective papers on 2 required reading books of own choosing
write one 6-8 page paper on one required reading book of own choosing
2 days a week go observe nature for 20 minutes and write a nature journal entry
On Earth Day, go to a related event and write a one page paper about the experience

Bring it on!

Changing Views of Nature

My Changing Views of Nature in Literature course begins today. I am really looking forward to it. 4:00 - 6:30 spent with like-minded individuals soaking up knowledge.

I'll be braving the changing views of nature outside my window to get there.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Heveling the Disheveled

OK, heveling isn't a word, but it must have been at some point, right? If heveling wasn't ever a word, how did the word disheveled ever come to be? Maybe I should have been an etymology major instead of a publishing major. Can one major in etymology?

Wow, this is already one disheveled post.

I have been quite disheveled lately. I have lists all over the place. Lists in random notebooks. Lists on the wipe-off calendar on my fridge. Lists in my planner. Lists on the whiteboard above my writing desk. None of it helps. Sometimes I think it all hinders.

I also have a very busy mind full of ideas and thoughts that sometimes pass in the blink of an eye and are often pretty good and worth remembering. Even if I don't have the time to pursue them right now, I'd like to pursue them later. That is, if I could remember them.

If only I could somehow compile all of these things in one place where it would be near impossible to lose them maybe I could get something done and save some stuff for later. With my first class of the semester starting on Wednesday this issue has been weighing on me.

On Sunday I was introduced to Oren Lavie's song titled Her Morning Elegance. Instant love <3 After listening to it several times over, I couldn't get the line "thought she has caught by a thread" out of my head. "Thought caught by a thread. What a great name for a blog..." I thought to myself. And it hit me.

So, if you are wondering what I do all day, visit Thought Caught By A Thread. I post twice a day. One post is a thought or an idea I've had with an accompanying story. The other post is a recap of my doings that day which can be mundane, but I try to make it as colorful as possible and it fills me with a sense of accomplishment. My lists are all in one place, the right column of the blog. It is a step toward becoming heveled.

Whether you stop by Thought Caught By A Thread or not, you must see Oren Lavie's Her Morning Elegance on YouTube here. Dreamy.

Longing for the Shore

Maybe what I am really longing for is summer. It was super sunny today which took the edge off the chill. I am not fooled. I know snow is on the way again this week.

Summer is a little more than five months away, but the shore is less than an hour from me. I count myself lucky. Mr. B&B and I are going to Cape Cod for Valentine's Weekend which I am so looking forward to!

In the name of longing for the shore, a poem I wrote in December:
He wears the wind and the waves.
Sacrificing boat shoes to sunken ships is easy.
Released, weightless flesh turns spongy and swims in pools of infinite possibility.
The confines and contradictions of the land slumber in his hull.
That ship has sailed. What remains lay netted in seaweed sweaters.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Last week Acting Out Art presented me with the "You've Been Tagged" award.

1. Link to the person who tagged you & post the rules on your blog.
2. Share seven random &/or weird facts about you.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post & include links to their blogs.
4. Leave a comment on the blogs of those you tag letting them know.

I won't be tagging anyone specific. If you would like to participate, consider yourself tagged. If you are interested in blogs I read, check out my Followers, the links in the right column, or the "Blogs I Follow" list on my profile.

Seven Random Facts About Me
1. I went fishing often as a little girl and can bait my own hook.
2. I didn't get my license until I was almost 18.
3. For one month of my life, I dated a boy who was just out of juvi.
4. After meeting my family, lots of people ask me if I am adopted. No, I'm not.
5. I still use crayons and coloring books.
6. I drive stick (6-speed Celica GTS).
7. Current Guilty Pleasure: Celebrity Rehab Sober House.

Sunday Scribblings #147 - Phantoms & Shadows

This week: things & people, times, places, events and how your memory has treated them.

When I saw the prompt this week I thought of a poem I wrote on September 18, 2002. Kind of a cop out, but I have decided to use it as my scribbling for the week.

12:01 A.M.
So many things that I've forgotten
Bits and pieces come back to me
Slowly I regain my memory

Everything is so murky and vague
Blurs and swirls of memories made
Speak to me from the grave
yard of my soul

So many things that I've forgotten
Bits and pieces come back to me
Slowly I regain my memory

School, misery, the way that boy used to
kiss me

my mother, our unhealthy relationship,
Monday night, out knock down blowout fight
Friday morning, my final flight

400 North Street, feelings of
walking in shoes made of concrete

Making donuts, cups of change

Yes, some of the memories still remain
Parts of me where they're hidden
Places that are forbidden
So hard to unchain

So many things that I've forgotten
Bits and pieces come back to me
Slowly I regain my memory

There are so many gaps
So much feels so far beyond my grasp
Memories I can't remember some
where just beyond

Discontentment, disillusion, confusion, & disbelief
Inability to communicate clearly, preoccupation
with a cheating thief
Shutting down emotion
A reevaluation
Still a lack of communication

So many things that I've forgotten
Bits and pieces come back to me
Slowly I regain my memory

Triggers bring flashes
Images & sounds
They're still with me
They flutter & disappear almost instantly

Maybe its all safer there
I can only handle so much
All at once

So many things that I've forgotten
Bits and pieces come back to me
Slowly I regain my memory

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Hello to High and Dry

Insomnia returns...

I have been sleeping a lot this week with being sick and all. Maybe that is why I can't sleep.

Tonight, every time I have gone into bed to lie down for 20 minute intervals this verse of Love Song by Sara Bareilles just plays on repeat in my head:

"I learned the hard way
That they all say things you want to hear
My heavy heart sinks deep down under you
And your twisted words, your help just hurts
You are not what I thought you were
Hello to high and dry"

Too Sweet?

I am a simple girl (in some ways). When it comes to aesthetics, I like things clean and clear. I guess you could say I am a minimalist. That is why I have always had the Minima Dark blogger template. Minima Dark is easy to read, no frills, and, according to my digital photography professor, photos usually show up better on a black background. Practical and Simple. Clean and Clear.

I wasn't always this way, though. When I was a little girl I saved everything (even "special" gum wrappers), doodled on everything, hung all kinds of busyness all over my room. I even decorated my backpack and a pair of crutches that I kept in my closet (don't ask). When I saw this template from Izzy Grace Blog Backgrounds, that little girl took over. She told me, "Oh, you have to have that! Even just for a little bit. Just through Valentine's Day... Pretty please? It's fun and cheery and you need that in the middle of winter, just a little bit of color... and it makes you smile..." And she just kept talking and talking to me until she really started making sense.

So, I'm trying it. That little girl, she is only one opinion. I'd be interested in what you all think since you are the ones who look at this and who I would like to keep happy so you keep visiting. Please leave your thoughts in the comment section, even if it is just a "Yes, keep it." or "No, my eyes, my eyes; go back to the original immediately; do not pass go, do not collect $200."

Thanks in advance for the input!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Looking Up (Things Are)

Feeling better. New semester. Volunteering. Speaking and people are hearing. And it is Friday, Glorious Friday.

Sign Me Up!

Just in the nick of time, I signed up for Spring Semester classes last night. Yes, last night, thanks to my adviser clearing me for on-line registration. Classes start on Monday.

I am turning my Teen Voices time into an independent study for three credits.

My other class is Changing Views of Nature in American Literature which meets on Wednesday from 4-6:30 (Yippee for being home for dinner with the Mr.). We will be comparing the Native American view of nature with the dominant cultural view of nature. I am psyched (did I really just type "psyched"? Bringin' it back old school...) to read Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Faulkner...

(swoon and sigh)

and to be exposed to more Native American oral tradition/folk tales/literature.

Does anyone else remember reading the Tomie DePaola versions of Native American folktales? The Legend of the Bluebonnet was my favorite! He also wrote The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush and The Legend of the Poinsettia.

I'm pretty sure Tomie DePaola's books won't be on the reading list, but I look forward to reading whatever is.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Just Jules and Me

Through the interviewing phenomenon that is sweeping Blogville, I have been introduced to some amazing blogs. Just Jules is one of them. Her interview with Tangobaby can be found here. Jules was also interviewed by julochka here. Struck by how candid, funny, and sincere she is, I asked her to interview me. Within a few hours, I received this email:
"Here are your 5 interview questions. Forgive me if they aren't up to snuff for Baba Wawa (Barbara) but I had 6 kids around today - not much time for thoughtfulness...."

How amazing is this lovely, mid-western woman? Those of you visiting from her blog, welcome and thank you <3

JJ: I see that you are just married. Congrats. What 3 things have surprised you about married life? (please post with this how long you have been married now)

B&B: Mr. B&B and I were married on April 21, 2007. We are exactly three months shy of our two year anniversary.
Three married life surprises:
1. There is still so much to learn about each other.
2. Even though we lived together before we were married, it felt different, good different, after we were married. There was a deeper commitment.
3. It is easy to fall into a rut, get mired down in the every day. It takes a little work and diligence to keep it interesting and continue growing, evolving together.

JJ: One of your posts mentioned working for Teen Voices Magazine. The website states "You are more than just a pretty face" Since I have a girl who is just inching over to the pre-teen side of her life, I love this idea. What else can you tell us about the platform of this magazine and how is the magazine surviving in this "body worship" world?

B&B: Teen Voices is written by and for teen girls. Really, it is girls talking to girls about issues that are relevant to them in a way they can all understand. All articles contain content written by the teen girls working for the magazine and submissions from teen girls around the globe. The most recent issue is the "Girl Stuff" issue and contains, among other things, articles on Manga, teen girls in extreme sports, and surviving sexual assault. Teen Voices tries to get teen girls to think and form their own opinions. Use the minds inside their bodies.

All of the art work is by teen girls and our "cover girls" are the un-airbrushed, beautiful inside and out, teen girls who work at the magazine wearing their own clothes, make up and accessories of their choice.

Advertising in the magazine is minimal and almost always relates to education and being informed. In the most recent 57 page issue there were 6 advertisements.

Teen Voices is surviving in this "'body worship' world" thanks to donors and volunteers and people who subscribe to the magazine. We circulate the magazine, free of charge, to schools in Boston and the surrounding communities. In order to reach teen girls around the world, we are focusing on expanding and revamping the Teen Voices website. Judging by all of the submissions we receive from all over the world, Teen Voices strikes a chord, fills a void. There is no magazine like Teen Voices.

The other part of all of this is that Teen Voices is a mentoring program for teen girls in Boston and the surrounding communities which I talked about in my interview with Tangobaby.

If you, or anyone else reading, would like a copy of the magazine, email me and I will send you a free copy!

JJ: In your profile you list your occupation as student. Are you still? What are you pursuing?

B&B: I am still a student working toward my BA. I am designing my own major in Publishing. This means lots of literature courses, writing courses, and internships relevant to publishing. I have edited a book for a small publisher in addition to my work at Teen Voices Magazine. Having been to two other colleges right out of high school before making the decision to go to work for five years, when I returned to school it was on my own terms. I have about six classes plus a thesis to complete and I am really trying to stick with it and power through. Gosh, it can be difficult sometimes. Sometimes all I wanna do is be a homemaker, become a parent, continue volunteering, and open an Etsy shop. Then I remind my self how many opportunities open up once that piece of paper is in hand and I keep going.

JJ: In your photo "Shedding Light On Many Subjects" the books appear to be mostly of a political nature. Are these your books or Mr B&B's (your hubby)? How do they reflect the owner?

B&B: The books are Mr. B&B's, but I have read 1984 and Utopia. I will read anything, but prefer fiction. When it comes to non-fiction, I tend to read books about places/travel and memoir.
One of my bookcases

A Shelf Up Close

As far as reflecting their owner, Mr. B&B loves history and politics. He keeps up with current events. He reads for the pleasure of learning. In Mr. B&B's own words: "I flip between light and fluffy books, often about sports, and the heavier reading material you see on the shelf. I love David Halberstam and the list of books he has written follow that switch." Case in point: Right now Mr. B&B is reading Slash's memoir.

JJ: I am new to blogging. Through blogging I have seen "twittering". Give me a super short explanation of this, AND how has twittering effected your life for the good-why should one twitter?

super short explanation: Say anything you want in 140 characters or less.
good effects/why: Exposure to new people, new ideas, and more traffic to my blog.
More about Twitter: A Comprehensive Guide to Twitter
My Twitter: morningtonight

Thank you for making time to ask me such thoughtful questions, Jules!

If you would like to get in on the fun, these are "The Rules":

1. Leave me a comment saying: "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions.)
3. You will update your blog with the answers and link to my blog in your post.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed you will ask them five questions.

Home Unhealthy = Unhealthy Home

As I said yesterday, I have a cold. Mr. B&B has one, too, and stayed home today.

Evidence Mr. B&B stayed home sick.
#1 Coat, shoes, and hat

#2 Approximately 6 foot 1 inch lump in bed with feline protector

Our home is feeling a bit under the weather, too.
#1 (2 & 3?) Messy counters, dishes in sink, pre-compost container in need of emptying

#2(?) Dry Laundry on Laundry Drying Rack

I am not crazy enough to post pictures of my unshowered, noseblowing, coughing self.
Instead, I'll show you where I've been spending my time.

Hoping you are all well and stay well! I'm on the mend. Evidence? No fever today!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Not Live, but no less Enlivening

This is not a political blog, but I can not let this historic day pass without comment.

I watched video of the inauguration and President Obama's speech as covered by MTV here.

Text of his speech can be found here.

You bet I teared up listening, reading, and watching the President and First Lady walk hand in hand down Pennsylvania Avenue.

I sure am hopeful.

Missed It

I missed the entire inauguration. I slept through history. I still can't believe it.

I couldn't sleep last night for nose blowing, head aching, and throat soreing. I finally really fell into deep sleep around 6:30 a.m.

When I awoke a few minutes ago I had several missed phone calls from Mr. B&B trying to wake me for the inauguration. I didn't ever hear the phone ring.

Well, congratulations, Mr. President.


I am going to have a glass of orange juice and go back to sleep.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Takes Two To Tango

It seems there is a little interview fun sweeping through Blogville. I first learned of it through Julie at Tangobaby. She was interviewed by julochka here. Such fun! I wanted to be a part of it. Tangobaby is a busy interviewer, but anticipating her questions has been half the fun. To those of you visiting from Tangobaby's blog, welcome and thank you!
Without further ado...

Tangobaby: You wrote a beautiful post about living in a very small town, and about looking at the moon, and being with your family together and singing. How did life in a small town prepare you for being an adult? What gifts did you take with you from that experience?

Brainy and Beautiful: I lived in that small town for the first ten and a half years of my life. Maybe I idealize it a little because I think of it as the place where I lived and left my innocence. I guess it did prepare me for adulthood. Since the community was so small, I really got to know the adults and see how they lived. I could write whole posts about Bob, Pat, the Schwartz Family, the Julio's, the family who ran the candy store, the Smith's who owned and operated the farm stand, my bus driver, all my teachers... I don't want to bore you with my listing. I guess what they all had in common was a sense of responsibility to the community at large and a genuine concern and caring for all of the children in the community. That is what I took with me and have put into practice as an adult.

Living there was a gift. Specifically, looking back:
the freedom to roam
a sense of safety
knowing I am o.k. as I am
being seen. Invisibility was an impossibility.
understanding that children are integral to the community and its ability to flourish
knowing nature
an interconnectedness

TB: I know that you are a devoted nanny and love children and helping them grow. What do you think you most want to instill in the children that you take care of? What is the greatest gift you have ever received from a child? I know that your current position is in a transition. Do you see yourself continuing to work with children in some way?

B&B: The thing I most want to instill in the children that I care for is a sense of self. That is the first thing that comes to mind anyway. I believe that everything else I'd like to instill stems from self-awareness.

Greatest gift I have ever received from a child... The children are gifts in and of themselves. All that personality, energy, and unique perspective. I love when they run up to me and give me unsolicited hugs and kisses. Most of all, they help me to keep my inner child and sense of wonder alive which, in my limited experience, is one of the keys to lifelong happiness.

My current position is in transition. I am still wavering about whether to seek a new position. Right now I am leaning towards no. I have so many other pursuits vying for my attention. If I was to nanny again, I would want to be able to give the new family all that I have to give. Currently, with my attentions so divided, that is an impossibility.

For now, I will definitely continue to volunteer with little ones at Perkins School for the Blind one day a week. I can't imagine ever not working with children in some way shape or form.

TB: Tell us more about Teen Voices and your work with them. What is your hope for the girls you work with? What is your impression of how they see the world?

B&B: Teen Voices is indescribable. It is a magazine written by and for teen girls. It is also a mentoring program. Everyone in the non-profit organization is female. You'd think it might get catty, but I've never seen that happen. Teen Voices relies heavily on donations and even more heavily on volunteers. Last session I volunteered as a mentor working with three young women to put together an article about a chronic disease. Other volunteers mentored other groups of two or three girls working on articles devoted to other topics.

The magazine is really written by teen girls all over the world thanks to submissions. However, the teen girls working in the Teen Voices office, writing the articles into which the submissions are incorporated, are all living in and around Boston, Massachusetts. Many of them would be labeled "disadvantaged", "minority", or "at-risk", but I don't do labels. Neither does Teen Voices.

My hope for the girls I work with is that they will recognize their full potential and strive to achieve it and then some.

One of my greatest lessons from last session is that that each individual has their own concept of "normal". Each of us sees the world differently.
There were some commonalities among my mentees: Hope. A desire to learn and grow. Inner strength. Drive to succeed.
Commonalities that I believe we all have as humans. Really, at our core, we are all the same.
If I asked the girls how they see the world I believe each of the answers would be some variation of "as a place I am going to take by storm."

After last session, I was not ready to say good-bye. The Editor and Chief asked me to stay on as an Editorial Assistant working with her to put together the print and online magazine. I started last Thursday and am eager to see the whole process from a different angle.

TB: As a vegan, what is the most important thing about your lifestyle that you'd share with those of us who are not. If someone wanted to become a vegan or a vegetarian, what advice would you offer first?

B&B: First of all, every vegan is different. Reasons for veganism vary from vegan to vegan. There are various shades of veganism. Ask any vegan these questions and you would get different answers from each of them. So, I am only speaking for myself through the lens of my experience.

There are so many things I would love to share with you about being vegan. I don't do well with the whole "pick the most important thing" questions, huh? One thing: It is not as difficult as it first appears. It is not hard to find things to eat and continue to get the nutrients your body needs.

Also, there are so many benefits to being vegan. Health Benefits. Environmental Benefits. Other Benefits. Google "benefits of veganism" and you'll be quite surprised. I was quite impressed with this list on

That brings me to my first piece of advice to anyone considering vegetarianism or veganism. Educate yourself through research (internet, books, magazines), talking to vegans, watching videos about veganism on YouTube, watching movies about veganism (Earthlings, Super Size Me, Fast Food Nation, I am an Animal, What's On Your Plate, Food Matters) talking to health professionals, and any other means you can think of. Then try it for a month or so. At the end of that month, decide if it is right for you.

TB: Tell us a little bit about Mr. B&B... he sounds like a lovely fella. How did you first meet? Does he mind that you write about him?

B&B: Oh, Mr. B&B... He is a lovely fella. Just today he woke me with little pecks on the cheek, cleared my car of snow, put his pj's in the hamper, hung up his towels after his shower, scooped the kitty litter, thanked me for making his lunch, and wished me a wonderful day with a hug as he left for work. The good most definitely outweighs the little annoyances.

Our first meeting is a longish story:
I met him at the craziest time of my life. May 5, 2001. It was the day after I had moved out of my parents house leaving only vague notes in my wake. I was a month and ten days shy of my 20th birthday. I had just decided to take a break from college and work for awhile. My best friend and her family took me in while I settled the unknowns.

A May 5th camping trip had been planned for Tanya's (my best friend) birthday. Tanya, Greg (her boyfriend), Nicole (a friend), Andrew (my very ex-boyfriend), a few of Andrew's friends, Mr. B&B, and I journeyed to the wild's of western Connecticut. There was grocery shopping, tent assembling, card playing, firewood collecting, kick ball playing, fire building, food preparing, story-telling fun. Then it got dark and cold and we went to bed. Greg & Tanya, Nicole, Brad, and I were in one tent. Having just moved, I didn't have a sleeping bag or a pillow. So, I used a blanket Tanya loaned me and hoped for the best. Not effective. I woke up screaming into the darkness and unable to feel my feet. Needless to say, everyone woke up. Many apologies later, I squeezed myself into a tight ball and wrapped the blankets around me more tightly.

Nicole tapped me on the shoulder, "B--- wants me to pass you his sweatshirt." I declined, but B--- wouldn't take no for an answer. Nicole got annoyed with being the go between. Somehow I ended up in B---'s sweatshirt, in my blanket, in his sleeping bag, with his arms around me, whispering until the sky began turning pink. That is how we began.

To answer the second part of the question, does he mind me writing about him, maybe a little. Mr. B&B knew I was a writer that first night in the tent. He actually encouraged me to blog. Sometimes he teases me with, "Uh oh... I better be careful or this will end up on the blog..." If I ever posted something about him that he wasn't comfortable with, he knows that all he has to do is say the word and it will come down. He is infinitely important to me and excluding him from my blog is impossible, but I respect his feelings. I feel kind of weird answering this for him. Maybe I can convince him to guest blog some time soon.

Until then, I leave you with...

Five Fun Facts About Mr. B&B:
He came in second in a statewide chess championship while in high school
He likes to sweep and dust.
While at home, he lives in his slippers.
He sings to the cat, personalizing the lyrics to popular songs to suit her.
He loves cars and has been behind the wheel at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Circuit Mont-Tremblant.

Thanks for the dance, Julie!

Anyone else want to play?
Here are "The Rules":
1. Leave me a comment saying: "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions.)
3. You will update your blog with the answers and link to my blog in your post.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed you will ask them five questions.

I would love to channel my inner Barbara Walters/Oprah Winfrey <3
Most importantly, I'd love to learn more about all of you. Just say the word!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday Scribblings #146 - Pilgrimage

Sunday Scribblings asks, "Is there something you'd like, in your lifetime, to go far to see?"

In 1999, as a senior in high school, I went on a Foreign Language Department trip to Greece and Southern Italy. Being Italian/Sicilian, Greece was just a stop-over on the way to my true destination. Something happened, though, when my feet touched the ground in Athens, Greece. The winding roads, Botanical Gardens, the modern city built around the ruins, and the Acropolis looking over the city captivated me. Before we left Athens, we took a day trip to three Greek islands where I truly fell in love. So much in love that when I returned home I told everyone that when I retired it would be to the Greek islands. Then we rode through the mountains visiting different places along the way, The Oracle at Delphi among them. Italy was lovely, too. We stopped in a town with houses built of stone that were reminiscent of igloos. We went to the island of Capri and ventured into the Blue Grotto. We spent hours in the perfectly preserved ruins of Pompeii. Then Rome, the Vatican, the Pope's window and the piazzas when I had my portrait drawn for $7. A dream.

In 2006, Mr. B&B and I were planning our wedding which meant planning our honeymoon. We thought of Monaco and the Italian Riviera. We entertained the idea of Ireland (we both have a bit of Irish in us) and England. We talked about Spain or Venice. There really weren't any places we didn't consider except for the poles.
In the end Mr. B&B had a burning desire to go to Istanbul. I said that would be great as long as we stopped in Greece first.

In 2007, we honeymooned. First stop, Santorini. Second, Mykonos. Third, Athens. Finally, Istanbul before heading home. Unbelievable. Now we both like the idea of retiring to Greece, specifically Santorini.

I am a wanderluster. It is difficult to pick one place and expound on why.

Having lived in New England my whole life, I'd like to explore more of the United States. I've lived in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. I've seen Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, D.C., Florida, Nevada (Hoover Dam, Las Vegas), and Arizona (Joshua Tree Forest, Grand Canyon). Yet there is so much I have not seen.

I'd like to be a citizen of the world.

Places I'd most like to visit:

U.S.: California

Canada: Prince Edward Island

Europe: Ireland, Sicily, Spain

Central America: Costa Rica

South America: Ecuador

Africa: Morocco, Egypt, South Africa

Asia: India, Indonesia (Bali), Japan

Australia: Queensland (Great Barrier Reef), Kangaroo Island

Phew! Long list. Wanna know why I picked a specific place? Just comment or email and I'll write a post about it.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Lela Lee Fills Me with Glee

I was wandering around the internet this morning and came across Lela Lee. She draws comics.

Read more about her here.

She creates Angry Little Girls which you may learn more about here.

I am not an angry girl, but I find her witty and honest and she gave me my giggle for the day.

Past Poetry

I have not been writing recently. Instead I have been sewing and crafting out of tangible materials. So, this morning I wandered through my "Alex - Writings" file on my computer and found this little, list'y' jewel written on January 3, 2006:

Words never fail
Sometimes babbling
Words never fail
To convey feeling
State of being
State of mind
Words always reveal
something of someone
to someone in
some way
Words never fail
In any language
In any context
In any time
They link us
To each other
To the world
To the past
To life
Words never fail
To go on
To go beyond
To go forward
To go to the root
Words never fail
to transcend
to transport
to translate
Words never fail
Sure and Strong
Ever present
Words never fail

Strange Effects

Earlier this week, Mr. B&B and I went to see the Boston Celtics play the Toronto Raptors. We have been going to the games on a regular basis for almost 8 years, but I never brought my camera with me. This time I did. We sit way up high and I had to use my super zoom, paparazzi style action to get any up close images. A lot of the zoomed images came out clearly, but others took on the quality of a painting. Does anyone know why? Maybe because they were moving? Maybe I was moving? I have no idea. Here are a few.

View from the Seats (no zoom)

Varying degrees of zoom...

...and an abstract because I like abstracts.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Burgeoning Belly Buttons

I am back at Teen Voices Magazine today! This time I am an Editorial Assistant instead of a mentor. So, it is me and Editor and Chief Rebecca Steinitz against the deadline!

Did you know that due to NBC's "No Navel Edict", Barbara Eden had to put a putty plug in her belly button and cover it with a veil on I Dream of Jeannie?

This morning I did fact checking on an article about teens on television. This led to extensive research on when belly buttons became acceptable on T.V. It seems it was some time in the 1970's.

I love this job! Though I am not paid in dollars, I am already gaining so much knowledge.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Shedding Light on Many Subjects


Hi, all! Where have I been?

Sewing. Sewing a polka dot pillow and adding a tulle "tutu" around the edges.

Volunteering. Our new Wednesday session at Perkins School for the Blind started today.

Overseeing. For three days men have been insulating my basement, kitchen & attic.

Photographing. Inside and outside, just so much loveliness waiting to be seen.

Tomorrow I start volunteering as an editorial assistant at Teen Voices Magazine.

In two days, the resilient and magnificent NieNie returns to blogging here.

In a bit more than a week, school begins.

I solemnly swear to keep nurturing my little corner of the blog world...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Fourth Down & Going For It

Krystal at Friends with Benefits tagged all of her readers with this fun exercise. Her instructions: Go to your pictures, choose the 4th folder and the 4th picture, post and explain. Since I am able to make even the most simple task complicated, I am posting two photos.

The forth photo in the forth folder:

My Wedding Bouquet as photographed by my wedding photographer, A Better Sound.

The forth photo in the forth folder of pictures actually taken by me:

Iris Asleep on the Couch

Dear Reader, consider yourself tagged! If you decided to go for it, I would love if you could post your link in the "comments" of this post.

Sunday Scribblings #145 - Organic

Just letting things happen as they will
day by day
moment by moment
Feeling alive in the present
Relinquishing control
Giving in to the elements
Trusting all will grow and evolve
in time as intended
Easier said than done

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

From the moment I knew I had met the man I would eventually marry, I was ready to have children. Six years later and one year into our marriage we are happy just the two of us. We talk about babies and agree we both want them, but our time frames are different. I say "come what may" and my husband says vaguely, "in a few years..."

Mr. B&B is a planner and always does things in proper order. High School, College, Master's, job, marriage, condo...oddly, I am not sure what the next step in his plan is. I fell in love with him partially because he is so grounded and always planning for the future.

I am a dreamer, a mottled leaf floating down the rambling river. High school, one year at one college, one year at another college, stint in human resources, job as law office receptionist in a small town and working my way up to legal secretary/paralegal at a Boston law firm, going back to college, getting married, moving in to the condo. I've lived in several different houses, a couple different states and a few different cities along the way. I'm still in school working toward that degree. I blog, write, photograph, sew, and paint when I am not in class or keeping up with the house work. Really, I guess, I am letting my life unfold organically and trying to pursue interesting opportunities as they enter my field of vision.

Mr. B&B and I generally balance one another out. When it comes to the baby thing, however, stalemate. In a sense, we are both saying, "some time soon", but each in a different sense. My "some time soon" includes relenting control and just letting nature take its course. His "some time soon" includes controlling the situation as much as possible until it is the "perfect time", whatever that means. I say there is no "perfect time" and no one goes into parenthood without fears and economic conditions are never exactly as one would like them to be. We have a roof over our heads. We have some semblance of stability. Most importantly, we have each other. Still, stalemate.

I think creating and birthing a baby is one of the most organic processes one can be a part of and, from what I've been told, well worth any potential pain. If the only thing I accomplished in life was being a wonderful wife and birthing beautiful babies and raising remarkable human beings, I would be blissfully happy. Throw in being able to pursue my writing/crafting/creative pursuits, too, and maybe a little volunteering here and there, and that would put me over the edge. However, creating, birthing, and raising takes two. Mr. B&B is the most important person in the world to me and I need to respect his feelings, too.

For now, we will keep communicating, see where it leads us, find our way to the answer organically.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

High Praise

My best friend called me just to tell me that she is reading Michael Cunningham's The Hours and if I haven't read it I should because the writing reminds her so much of the way I write on my blog that she can't stop thinking of me.

She compared me to Michael Cunningham.

I have never read anything by Michael Cunningham nor have I seen the movie The Hours.

This morning I went to and took a peek inside Michael Cunningham's The Hours. I was immediately sucked in, floating on the words and images, lost to the here and now.

"a June morning so fine and scrubbed..."

"pauses at the threshold as she would at the edge of a pool, watching the turquoise water lapping at the tiles, the liquid nets of sun wavering in the blue depths...."

"...the plain shock of immersion...."

"...mornings invaded everywhere by an assertion of new life so determined it is almost comic.."

"...the window box...filled as it always is with faded red plastic geraniums pushed into the dirt, has sprouted a rogue dandelion...."

This is not a book I will borrow from the library, but one I will rush off in a flight of fancy with wild abandon to the local bookstore and buy and bring home and deliciously devour letter by letter.

I am no Michael Cunningham, maybe some day, but his writing is surely inspired and I could learn a lot from reading his words.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Doting Dentist

I did not have any cavities until I was 25. When I had my first cavity filled well... let us just say that I no longer go to that dentist.

My new dentist works on famous NBA players and beauty queens along with all the "regular" peeps like me. For the two years I have been with them my mouth has been fine. They extracted two wisdom teeth while I "slept", but I have not had one cavity. Until...

I went to the dentist in December for a cleaning. From what I could tell everything was great. The dental hygienist remarked how great my teeth are. Dr. M came in to inspect my teeth. "Wow, you have amazing teeth." "Thank you, Dr. I know I need to work on the flossing, but..." "Yeah, we all do, but you really have really great teeth." Just when I thought I felt a blush coming on..."I just need to fill these two big cavities in the far back on the left... and the two tiny ones between your teeth on the right... and the one little one between your teeth on the left."

"I have five cavities?!?! F-I-V-E, five? but my teeth are great?!?!"

"Your teeth are great. Get into the habit of flossing and you won't have cavities."

"O.K., Dr. Anything else I can do, or...?"

"Just come in and get those filled... Do you have any tooth pain or sensitivity, jaw pain, or headaches?"

"No, Dr."

"Well, we've been watching your teeth and you are definitely grinding them. I would like to fit you with a mouth guard to wear at night."

"O.K. You really think I have great teeth?"

"You have great teeth." said the Dr. while flashing me his perfect smile. "Set up those appointments and I'll see you soon."

So, I set up an appointment to have the big ones filled on New Year's Eve and to have the three little ones done on January 8 (yesterday). I have no complaints. Aside from a little swelling on the left side of my mouth which took about 24 hours to subside, there was no pain. He is the most gentle, kind, efficient dentist I have ever met.

There is just one observation I have made:
Having dental work is an intimate experience.
It is not like "oh la la", but it is intimate.
You and your dentist have to trust one another.
A person leans over you for 30 minutes to an hour while manipulating your lips and mouth.
How is that not intimate?
How is that not trust?
My dentist is so sweet, professional, but sweet.
We do a little talking.
He tells me to "just slide back, relax and close your eyes."
He says I don't have to do anything until he asks me to.
I do as he says.
He periodically checks in on me "Are you o.k.?" "Does everything feel alright?"
He finishes up.
I thank him.
We say "Farewell and take care. See you soon!"
I'm not trying to make it sound dirty. It's not dirty. Just intimate in the sense that you are trusting someone and you have to work together. Intimate in the sense of "intimate - thoroughly acquainted through study or experience".

Anyway, when I leave I feel like a beauty queen because I am far too short to ever feel like an NBA star.

In Recognition of Mr. B&B

Mr. B&B had a difficult morning.

His wife, having been busy running around to dentist appointments and bringing the cat to the emergency vet, didn't do much of anything around the house yesterday, and she was tired, very tired, this morning. So tired that she did not roll out of bed until half an hour after he did.

Mr. B&B woke up to dishes in the sink...and on the stove... and on the table... and on the counter. The only clean ones seemed to be in the un-emptied dishwasher.

Mr. B&B found some creative way to work around all of the mess, make his coffee, and prepare his breakfast without leaving a trace of any potential additional mess he may have made.

He had just settled into the couch with his breakfast, coffee, and Rachael Maddow on the t.v. screen, when his wife emerged. Blurry eyed, hair a fright, still sticky with sleep, she mumbled something and kissed him on the forehead.

Of all the things he could have said, this is what came out, "Oh, honey, I should have made you breakfast..."

Before he could go on, his wife replied, "Oh, that's sweet, but my mouth hurts too much anyway and I'm cold, so cold, is it cold in here?" all the while wrapping herself in a blanket.

Undeterred, with a smile on his face, he pressed valiantly on, "I know, I'll go get you a banana!"

But his wife would not have it, "Mouth hurts...brrr..."

So, he finished his oatmeal, took a sip of his coffee, and declared it time for his shower.

On a typical morning this declaration would be followed by his wife setting about making his lunch, pouring him a to-go cup of coffee, preparing a Nalgene bottle of ice water, and putting it all in his backpack by the front door. Today that was not the case.

Without grumbling, after showering and dressing, Mr. B&B left his wife cocooned in blankets on the couch and did it all himself.

When he was about done with everything, his wife padded into the kitchen, "I'm sorry, babe... Can I help?" "No," he replied, "I'm about done." "I suck." she replied as he headed to the front door collecting his keys and wallet along the way.

As he slipped on his jacket and slid on his boots, she appeared in the doorway to the foyer offering apologies and explanations (mouth hurts, tired, cold). He offered helpful suggestions such as ibprofen for the mouth pain, a nap, and a warm shower after which she might don her warmest and softest turtleneck sweater. "Suck isn't a word I'd use to describe you." said he.

In spite of all her shortcomings, he embraced her and kissed her mouth inside which lurked unbrushed teeth, before wishing her a wonderful day and closing the door behind him. Knowing she'd be peering out the window, he turned and flashed her a smile and a wave just like something out of a movie. She blew him a kiss and inwardly resolved to have the house clean, a meal on the table, and herself all gussied up when he arrives home this evening

Mr. B&B, thank you for being the man that you are and for loving me just as I am. I so appreciate all that you do for me, for us. Even though I may not always say it, I recognize everything you do, all of your wonderfulness, and am so proud of you and thankful for all the things you do small and large. Tonight may be a night to bust out the homemade party hats and present you with a trophy ;-)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I see the moon

Last evening I went for a photo-taking walk in my slippers. As many photo opportunities as there were in a one block radius, my pictures are all of nature. Trees, branches, snow, sky, moon, clouds. I took a few of the school, but not many. The question is: Why?

For the first ten years and six months of my life, I lived in a minuscule Massachusetts town. Aside from schools, churches and municipal buildings, "downtown" consisted of a pizza place, bank, library, gas station, candy store. We didn't have a grocery store, movie theater, or liquor store in our town until I was eight.

My parents loved the town so much that over 10 years we lived in three different houses. The first house we lived in was a farm house with a garden, a barn, cats, and a horse. There was a tree limb that hung over my sisters' bedroom so Dad drilled holes in the roof and hung a swing from the branch into the bedroom. The next house was on the list of historic buildings/homes. Low ceilings and doorways. Amazing antique furniture that we found in the basement and still have. Many trees, including a weeping willow which wept into our small in-ground pool. The third house... Well, my parents saved the best for last.

The third house was built steps from filled-in wetlands and abutted protected woodland on two sides. When we moved in, my father hired men to dig out the filled-in wetlands so we could have a pond, a gigantic pond. We knew Spring had arrived when we spied the Great Blue Heron on the distant shore and the muskrats with their babies by our swing set and the tadpoles darting to and fro in the shallows. Summer brought lots of fishing and canoeing, lady slippers and ferns, frogs and turtles. In Fall we saw double the bold foliage due to its reflection on the water and heard the cry of geese and ducks headed south. Winter meant ice skating, princess pine (with which we made wreaths), and cardinals at the bird feeder. Every season meant walks in the woods and around the pond learning about the wonders of nature. If we saw something we could not identify, we looked it up in the field guides when we got home. If you can't tell, it was my favorite house.

My brother was born and brought home to house number three. A July baby, he spent lots of time outside from day one. The consequence: he cared not what the season or temperature were, he ALWAYS wanted to be outside, much to the chagrin of my if-it-is-under-60-degrees-or-precipitating-in-any-way-I-am-staying-inside-as-much-as-possible mother. My brother's favorite nursery rhyme song was "I See the Moon".

Every night, no matter the weather, before my brother went to bed we would all go outside, look up at the sky, find the moon, and sing:
I see the moon and the moon sees me
Over the top of the Apple Tree
Please let the moon that shines on me
Shine on the ones I love <3

To this day, if the moon is super spectacular, my now 21-year-old brother will call me or my parents will call me and ask "Did you see it?" and I don't even have to ask what 'it' is.

Last evening, I looked at the moon through my lens and was almost moved to sing.

Meme Express - Dirty Laundry

Do you like doing laundry?
Most of the time.

What tips for laundry can you offer?

Always wash cold. Use a drying rack whenever possible. In temperate weather, let your clothes dry outside in the breeze. Once it is washed and dry, fold it and put it away asap before the sock-eating monsters come.
What is your favorite detergent?
Trader Joe's Liquid Laundry Detergent (pH balanced, no harsh or petro chemicals, non polluting, all temperature, with lavender essential oils)
Do you always do laundry on a certain day of the week?
No, It is just the two of us so we do laundry once the laundry bag is full.
What is in the bottom of your laundry basket right now?
I did laundry yesterday, so just whatever Mr. B&B wore yesterday (I am still in my pajamas).
What does the expression "laundering money" really mean?
Well, I check all pockets before putting anything in the washer, so no money laundering here... What does "laundering money" mean? Acquiring cash by illegal means and putting it through a process to make it look like you obtained it legally. Illegal to legal = dirty to clean.

What other meanings might the phrase "dirty laundry" evoke?

When I was little I was chatty, super chatty, and every time my mom dropped me off somewhere she would say "don't go airing the dirty laundry..." Basically, don't tell the family secrets. She must be horrified by the fact that I now have a blog...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tip of the Day

Go for a walk outside in your slippers.

Fresh Stars

Over the weekend, Mr. B&B and I went out with our friends Brian and Melissa. We met them at Big Fresh for fantastically filling food and drink. All Organic. Most Vegan.

Melissa's Peanut Satay

My Big Fresh Special (tofu, peanut sauce, brown rice, mixed vegis, collard greens)

The Guys both had Falafel Wraps

Then we went to The Prettiest Starbucks Ever.

I checked, but the mirrors weren't for sale.

Talked and talked and talked. Sipped and sipped and sipped. Good Bye! Good Bye! Good Bye! Farewell!

The End.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Lonely Day 'til Melissa Came My Way

Today was a lonely day. My husband went back to work after nearly two weeks of vacation. I did dishes, folded laundry, and did some ironing. I wandered around my blog world, cut things I love out of a stack of magazines I am trying to get rid of, and mapped out some ideas for craft projects I'd like to tackle. I tried to make the bed three times, but the kitty would not budge from her nest.

Keeping busy kept away the lonelies until around 4:30. So, I decided to mosey out to my front porch and see what my mailbox held. Turns out it held exactly what I needed right at that very moment...

Beauty and Sweet words from my beloved postcard buddy, Melissa.

The birds are actually a sheet of stickers and they made it all the way across the country in pristine condition! What a brilliant idea, Melissa!

Check out the star fruit and guava fruit stamps. They make me smile :-)

Thanks for making my day, M!

Tip of the Day

If you put your Christmas Tree on the front porch...

packages will arrive.

Fresh as a Baby Pinecone Bud

When I was undecorating Kendrick the Christmas Tree this weekend I noticed all these little greenish yellow bits on his branches. At first I thought they might be mantis or mantis larvae or some such, maybe because I am always thinking of NieNie the amazing lady I do not know (she is home now, but please keep sending positivity her way), but they weren't. Upon closer inspection of their intricacies, I realized they were baby pinecones or baby pinecone bud thingies! I have undecorated fresh trees in my childhood and never noticed these amazing ittie bitties.

Awestruck, I insisted my husband come have a look. He humored me, but was decidedly less impressed. So, I grabbed my camera and, as grateful as I am to have a camera at all, snapped away wishing I had a more professional camera with a crazy lens that could capture all the little details up close, no blurring.

Blurry Baby Pinecone Buds

Then I held them in my hand...

and marveled at how after being
chopped down,
brought to a store,
set outside in the cold without water waiting to be bought,
wrapped in plastic netting,
tied to the roof of a car,
driven to my house,
shoved into a tree stand,
and put on display for two weeks
(though I did talk to him & we watered him several times a day)
Kendrick the Christmas Tree was still fresh and fragrant, and producing new life.

Talk about resilience and miracles of nature.

I would like to be like Kendrick the Christmas Tree when I grow up.

Sunday Scribblings #144 - For Richer, For Poorer

"He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has." - Henry Ward Beecher

December 1991. I was ten years and six months old. I was living in the third house I'd known. My father was running his own construction company and building custom homes. My mother was at-home caring for me, my brother, my dad, the dog, and all the responsibilities running a household brings. Little did I know, before we welcomed January 1992, my world would change forever.

You see, much like now, in 1991 our country was in a recession. People weren't buying houses. Businesses were there one day, gone the next. The situation could best be described as tenuous. My parents were holding on by a thread and the thread broke. No house. No money. One car. Each other.

We moved forty-five minutes away from the life my parents had made and the community of people we knew and loved. We lived in my grandparents' basement. We went to church. My dad worked his way up in retail from sandwich man at the Texaco gas station to selling pools to pretty high up the totem pole at the local Home Depot before going back to running his own business again. My mom worked at Toys 'R' Us for 5 years before getting a teaching job. I watched my middle-aged parents work together to build a new life from nothing. Talk about setting an example.

April 21, 2007. I married a man who, among his other incredibly desirable attributes, is stable, steady, thinks ahead, and was born and bred by two accountants.

Today. I am a saver. I buy primarily based on need, not want. I am crafty, shaping items I already have into items I am desiring. I have a change jar and roll my coins and deposit them in the bank on a fairly regular basis. I rely on my creativity and imagination to entertain me. I borrow books from the library. I enjoy leisurely sifting through the bargain bins and going straight to the sale racks. I adore long walks in the woods or on the beach.

I may not be rich in paper money and coins, but I am rich in love and spirit and energy.

I most value the people in my life, my faith, creativity, dreams, memories, finding the good in the every day... the "little things" some might say.

As Benjamin Franklin once said, "Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor."

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Yesterday I "undecorated" the house. Down came the garland. Into a scrapbook went the holiday cards. Off the tree and into storage went the ornaments, lights, and tree topper. Onto the front porch went an "au naturale" Kendrick the Christmas Tree.

Undecorated - A story in pictures