Wednesday, January 31, 2007

snow globe with a view.

At the moment I'm sitting in my favorite coffee shop. These past few days (weeks?) my life has fallen into an inefficient pattern of taking on more than I can possibly get done. Maybe it's the moon, but I seem to be a magnet towards people who need help (yes, and I'm a broken record too). There are times that this becomes incredibly frustrating. But there are other times that I find myself wrapped up in some very odd and enjoyable endeavors. Of course, finding a balance is important...something that I still haven't learned how to do.

In the coming week, I've somehow gotten myself involved in helping my (very wonderful and helpful) brother clean a big, nasty, neglected fish tank. My brother is the volunteer; I'm his assistant. After that I've been commissioned to paint a mural for a baby's room. The mural alone will take up much of February. I already feel panicked and stressed out about time. But painting a mural? How could I pass that up?! I wouldn't want to. But every day it is something--so many distractions--fighting for time and space in my mind that I don't have.

Thesis, be damned. I won't give up...but, my god, I am getting so tired of thinking about it!

Last night I craved so badly to just sit down and write about the haphazard thoughts that have been crossing my mind these past days. Lately I've been plugging away on a story that I just can't seem to get to the end of. It is becoming much longer than I anticipated... and for the life of me, I can't tell if it is any good. It feels flat and lifeless. It makes my face feel like stone when I read it...and yet I laugh and cry as I write it. In those rare moments when I actually feel like I'm in "the zone," I am enjoying myself and the writing immensely. But the second I step back to look at it, for the life of me, I can't see what it is. My brain shuts off; my eyes glaze over. And then V. comes home from work, I cook dinner, and no matter how hard I try, I can't get back into it. I tell myself to write without looking back...but then, two seconds later, I look back.

Yesterday, while staring at the bookcase by my computer, I picked up a book that I don't remember reading--Safekeeping: Some True Stories from a Life by Abigail Thomas. I had forgotten about it. I bought it for a Creative Nonfiction workshop with Robin Hemley a couple years ago. The workshop was awesome, but I never got to the book. I want to read it now, but I don't' feel like I have the time. I paged through it though and, goddamnit, it feels like I am barking up the wrong tree with the direction my writing has been taking.
Right now it is snowing outside. What was a few fat snowflakes has turned into half a blizzard. I feel like I am sitting in a snow globe of Minneapolis--a wonderfully grungy snow globe.

I prefer this random world. And that's why Thomas's book caught my attention. It is written in short vignettes, "[s]etting aside a straight forward narrative in favor of brief passages of vivid prose, Thomas revisits the pivotal moments and tiny incidents that have shaped her."

These days I feel confined by my own story....the story I'm working on, that is. But I've already invested so much time into it. I feel like, at any moment, it might break open and come undone in all the right ways. And maybe it's that "almost" feeling that I love so much about writing and art. But, as I write this, I find myself beginning to feel I don't have time to deviate, when deviating is exactly what I should be doing.

Aaargh...but that's why I've come here. I'm deviating from the pattern that seems to be forming. I'm stopping long enough to write these thoughts and then move on. And as I write this the sun has somehow decided to show it's face, despite the thick dose of snow that continues to fall.

Wolfie is happily asleep out in the car...and I'm going to get a refill on this cup of coffee. This time I'm going to return to my story with an open heart and an open mind. On a Wednesday afternoon...the possibilities are endless--at least, that is the perspective I have decided to take.
and a random writing thought for the day:
...silence speaks as eloquently as what is revealed.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Finding Water blog is ready!

If you want your name added to the Finding Water Blogroll
please leave a comment here.

Here's to moving forward in our creative lives.
I'm looking forward to it!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Finding Water: an invitation.

At the moment I'm listening to music on Pandora...tonight it is musicians like Vienna Teng, Catie Curtis, Sia, The Be Good Tanyas, Niyah, Hem...some are old favorites, some are new finds. I can't help but be addicted. These days, it's not unlikely to see me connected to a big goofy-lookin' pair of noise canceling headphones. I'm in love with the extra layers of sound...

...oh yeah, but that's not what I sat down to say.

A few weeks ago, my dear friend Ruby sent me a copy of Julia Cameron's new book Finding Water: the Art of Perseverance. I had to laugh when I read the title because, well...if you've been reading my blog for the past year or so, you probably already know just how perfect the timing is for this book! Do I believe in a supportive universe? Yes!

Last January I joined Leah and a large handful of others in blogging The Artist's Way. Let me just say that it was an incredible experience. Being a part of that group has impacted my life in more ways than I expected. It helped me survive grad school with my Self intact and, through a growing circle of connections, it is how I came to know many of you. For both of those things, I am thankful.

In many ways this past year, for me, has been a lot about overcoming fear. It has been about perseverance. And it has also been about finding a supportive network of friends and fellow artists. Because blogging The Artist's Way as a group was such a positive experience, Leah and I would like to ask you to join us in journeying through the pages of Finding Water: the Art of Perseverance (and in case you're wondering...Finding Water is a 12 week commitment very similar to The Artist's Way in terms of morning pages, artist's dates, ect).

We will be starting the book on Saturday, February 17th
...and you are cordially invited to join us!

If you're interested, please check back (and in the meantime, go get your book!). There will be a Finding Water blog link coming soon where, as Leah pointed out in her post here, we will be creating a list of blog links for anyone who is participating (along with an occasional post or group announcement). We'll let you know when it's ready.

ok, but right now the *t word is whispering my name rather loudly. ah-em! I think it's time to get back to work...



Apparently, Virginia Woolf used to write standing up. These days, I can understand why.

My knees hurt from so many hours of sitting here. I feel restless and am wishing for a little cottage to escape to out in the back yard.

Two hours behind me with only a paragraph and a few revisions to show for it, I find myself wanting to write a little bit more prolifically. But, for now, I need a break and I've come here to take one...

Virginia is on my mind today, and I don't know why. I've been thinking about how she would follow the path between the main house and her "writing room" in the back yard and write in that beautiful long-hand scrawl while standing at a raised table that functioned as her desk. It was made of dark, thick wood and was splotched with ink stains, dented, scratched, and nicked from previous uses. I don't know why I think this. Maybe I learned this in the Virginia Woolf class that I took last year. Maybe Virginia's sister, Vanessa, painted a similar image. Or maybe I just imagined it.

In my mind I see her resting her chin on the heel of her hand. She is bent slightly forward at the waist, leaning on her elbow. Shifting her weight from one leg and then the other, she lets her mind drift. Her eyes look in the direction of the window, but she's followed her mind elsewhere...

She goes back and forth like this...thinking and writing, shifting her weight, leaning forward, standing up straight, writing, thinking, writing...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Writing Fuel: a recipe


  • cinnamon
  • peppercorns
  • cardamom
  • cloves
  • ginger
  • milk or cream
  • sugar
  • black loose tea
Boil it all up and wallah!

mmmm...chai writing power!!!

*last image borrowed from here.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Horse Beauty, Opus 1.

def. beau-ty (noun): the combination of qualities that make something pleasing and impressive to listen to or touch, or especially to look at.

As a kid I used to ride with my friends on their pony. His name was River Boy--and, with him, we played out many great games of escape and intrigue. Maybe it was while racing bareback through the fields near their house that my love for horses began. In my late 20's I biked halfway across the United States in search of wild horses (...and when I found them I nearly peed my pants with joy!). Let's just say that my love for horses runs deep. But, despite this love, in my adult life I've only ridden or handled them a half dozen times (if that). So when my aunt called to ask if I would take care of her horses and dog for the weekend I jumped at the opportunity. It wasn't until after I hung up and told my worry-wart husband, that the reality started to sink in. The dog, an Irish Setter, was no big deal. But horses? My adventurous, self-confident, horse-loving side had spoken before I even had a chance to stop myself. Ummm, yeah...I know pretty much nothing about horses. So how the hell did I all of a sudden become responsible for the care and feeding of these FIVE magnificent 3/4 ton animals??

Last night Vinny and I hardly slept. Vinny was worried we'd get trampled. Without an alarm clock, I was worried we'd sleep in and upset the horses' usual routine. We were both a little cranky with each other because driving all the way out to my aunt's house also meant that we ended up having to give up our tickets to the orchestra. Not to mention, we had to figure out how we were going to take care of our own animals without spending our entire weekend driving back and forth. This, of course, is a classic example of how I over-schedule myself.

Lately, I've been spending all of my time either sitting in front of the computer trying to write my thesis or working at the bookstore. I was looking forward to another orchestra experience--especially after the last time. I was more than ready to give my thoughts a break and hand myself over to an evening of music. But then we realized how much time it would take to drive there and back and that it meant we wouldn't have time to get ready or eat dinner and so...we didn't go to the orchestra.

Instead we ate chicken pot pies and watched TV (although this was also a luxury considering we don't have one!). We snuggled with KC (the dog) and then headed to bed. Ho-hum. Hard bed and worried thoughts--morning came too quickly.

When I got up it was still dark outside. I made a pot of coffee, put on my aunt's horse-smelly jacket, and took a few deep gulps of my black brew before heading out into the cold snowy morning towards the barn. Vinny followed, not far behind.

When we got there I leaned my body into the barn door and slid it open.

Complete darkness.

And the deep rumbling of those five massive animals. Huffing and breathing. Stomping and stamping. One kicked at his stall door. I felt their hungry, low-pitched neighing travel up my legs and through my body. From the ground up--the sheer vibration traveled the lengths of my bones--and the first thing that registered in my mind was absolute, saucer-eyed fear.

The next thing that registered was AWE.

In the cavernous shadows of the barn, I couldn't see anything except white puffs of breath. I stood there. Motionless. And in that moment...I couldn't have cared less that I had given up my chance to go to the orchestra. My god--those horses were an orchestra.

We entered. Reluctantly.

I walked back and forth past the stalls trying to find a light switch while the horses continued their low-cello-whispers. Such sound. Such darkness. They didn't know me and I didn't know them... It took awhile to find the lights. Heart pounding. Everything unfamiliar.

As I opened the door to the first stall, it felt a lot like the moment before jumping into a cold lake. And it wasn't until I stepped past that threshold that my fear fell away. Instinctively, I reached out and ran my hand down the lengths of his neck, then cleaned out old hay and gave him his feed. One at a time--I stepped into one stall and then the next and then the next... They brushed against me gently, nuzzling for their food and to see who I was. They softened with my touch...and I softened with theirs.

After they were finished eating, we needed to get them all out into the pasture. Again--one at a time--Vinny opened the doors and I put the rope loosely around their necks and led them out. I couldn't help but be nervous to be in charge of such incredibly big, powerful creatures. But the horses showed me what to do. They showed me that I could trust them and in turn, they trusted me. Bo, the biggest, was also the most gentle. Stepping into his stall took my breath away.

Vinny and I didn't really talk much until we were all done. Standing out in the pasture with all five horses, I turned to him and lamely exclaimed: "That was cool!" Yes, I'm a dork (but you should know that by now).

All I can say is that this has been one helluva morning.

...definately worth missing an orchestra for.

Crow Medicine.

It has started snowing again and I've been drinking out of the mug that Leah sent me for the mug swap since it arrived on my doorstep this past Friday.

At the moment I'm drinking a mocha complete with whipped cream and cinnamon that my 5 year old niece grated and ground all by her little self. This is the sort of thing that feeds a person from the inside out. ;)

I feel content and am loving my new cup--not just because it is a beautiful color or because it feels good in my hands or because it is just the right size--but also because of the letter that Leah sent along with it explaining her connection with crows and her reasons for sending a little crow energy my way.

Synchronicity occurs in strange and wonderful ways. And I say this because last week, as I walked in the woods, I was accompanied by a crow the entire way--from the time I left home until the time I returned. The crow cawed until it had my attention, then silently watched, flying from branch to branch as it followed wolfie and I down the path (up and down and through the woods and past the pond, over the ridge and through more woods...). I stopped and stood a few times to appreciate the persistence of this particular crow and wonder what it was trying to tell me.

And then came Leah's package....
She wrote that crows are an omen of change.

Sometimes I think there is much more going on than we could even begin to realize. And so thank you, Leah. I couldn't have received a more perfect mug.

Friday, January 19, 2007

almost noon:

what i'm doing:
working, working, diligently, happily, working...and drinking coffee out of my new crow cup.

what i'm feeling:
inspired, hopeful, determined.

what i'm seeing:
sun and snow out my window...and a sleepy wolfie watching squirrels.

what i'm smelling:
sandalwood incense...oh, and i love it.

what i'm hearing:
my old snoring cat sleeping at my feet and the soft sound of warm air coming from the heat vent.

what i'm thinking:
i miss it here! i'll be back. i promise.

Monday, January 15, 2007


I've been very focused these days (or, at least, trying to be). But, like most people, my life feels very hectic. Just when I think I've got my days organized in a way that will temporarily give me time to concentrate, it seems like the rest of the world comes knocking at my door. Everyone has a favor to ask of me or wants to stay with us for the weekend or is wondering if I can take on extra hours at work or... (yeah, you get the point). Hmmm...interesting. What's up with that? More times than not, I watch the time I had so carefully carved out for myself get swallowed up before I can barely blink. And so this is why I sometimes dawn my metaphorical blinders, hunker down, and try my best to disappear. It rarely works.

Right now, time feels especially sacred to me. There are days when I feel like I can hardly keep my head above the water (do I sound like a broken record?). But still, I try my best to listen to my instincts and keep my priorities clear. My attempts at staying focused have resulted in less blogging--both reading and writing. In some ways, this is highly unfortunate because there have been some really incredible things going on over at Create a Connection this month. I've wanted to participate more than I have...but the truth is that there is only so much time in the day and what I want more than anything right now is to finish my thesis. Go figure. Why does all the best stuff always happen at once?

Anyway, this afternoon I decided to take a break from writing and spend some time Visioning. There have been a lot of thoughts and half-formed ideas floating around in my head and sometimes making their way haphazardly into the pages of my journal, especially when I write my morning pages. These same thoughts have been lingering around the edges of everything--when I dream at night, or walk the dog, or work on my thesis, or do the dishes...

I feel like my life is headed in (an) unexpected direction(s). That is, I feel like it could, if I just let it.

Today, in response to Leah's invitation and Swampgrrl's recent post, I took some time and made a list of all the things that I envision for myself in the near future. Basically, I just wrote down all the things that have been swimming around in my head, those daydreaming thoughts, the ones that have been making themselves more and more apparent. For now, I've tucked that list safely away in the incubating pages of my journal where, during the dark hours of this morning, I wrote about how I am happiest when living to the very edges of my life.

*Hint: My list looked a little like this:

You see, I've wanted to teach for as long as I can remember. I've always known that is what I want to do. I did it and I loved it and I want to continue. And sometimes, when I listen really closely to the whispering of my heart, I hear it telling me to go off on my strange adventures and to follow those dreams that aren't going to lead me directly from point A to point B...because, if I do that, I will end up exactly where I want to be.

I have never doubted my purpose in life. But I am keenly aware of the ways in which each choice I make leads to the next, leads to the next, leads to the next (yes, there's that connection thing again). Each choice creates a reality and each reality creates more choices. I am creating my future. By limiting the vision of mySelf and my future I feel like I am also stunting my life's potential. I believe that extraordinary (and unexpected) things can happen--even when taking the most unlikely of routes (especially when taking the unlikely routes!). Anyway, my life was never meant to be typical (eeh-gads, I can't stand that word!). So I'm sitting here wondering: what would my life look like if I let go of my expectations of what I thought it would look like?

And you know what? When I pay attention to the thoughts and feelings that float to the surface with that question...
I kinda like what I see. :)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

faith in magic.

When I look around me I see stacks of books. I love books and I can't even tell you how much I look forward to reading them. And at the same time, for possibly the first time ever, I don't want to read them right now. Wary of distraction. I am enjoying the concentrated feeling of my life these past several days. I am writing--working on the "T-word" (yes, my thesis). Eeking out one slow sentence at a time. And loving every second, every minute, every day of it.

I generally write my blog posts pretty quickly. I don't know what it is, but whenever I sit down to work on a serious project I slow down to the approximate speed of molasses. However, I already know this about myself. I've been writing like that for as long as I can remember and, as long as I'm moving forward (even a little), I'm ok with that.

A couple days ago I read my horoscope after following a link on Jamie's blog. It felt especially fitting for my life these days, but one thing that stuck with me the most was a quote by Carl Sagan: "If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." Wendy Guy goes on to explain:
You are currently not only collecting the ingredients to create something wonderful in your life, you are also gathering and assembling the bits and pieces that make up those ingredients. Therefore, this is probably a much bigger job than it seems at first glance! Put another way, whatever you'’re aiming to achieve, reach or manifest in your life right now has some quality to it that is far greater than the sum of its parts, and therefore requires more effort, focus and faith than you realize.
Yesterday when I took a break to take Anu for a walk it was extra cold outside. The lines around everything seemed especially clear (a branch, a car, a curb). The ice and snow was particularly loud beneath my feet. The air felt thin. I walked through a favorite part the woods thinking about how long it's taken me to get started (really started) with this project. I found myself wondering why I hadn't just written it months and months ago. If I had started then, I would have been done by now. I rolled that thought around in my mind and then decided to let it go know what? Things don't always work like that.

These days I am putting all of my energy into weaving together the strands of my life with words. I have been creating a universe, baking pie, dream weaving. And with each sentence I return a little closer to my Self.

I have faith in the magic that it takes to create anything.

**image borrowed from Science@Nasa

Thursday, January 11, 2007

ok....looks like everything has normalized. :)-
if you're subscribed to bloglines and noticed that i've had like 60-some updates in the past 24 hours...i have no idea why.

oh...and i owe emails to a few of you. oy...where has the time gone these past few days??

better post coming soon. well, hopefully. :S

Still here!

Well, that was kinda fun dropping off of the face of the blogosphere for a day. When I woke up this morning my blog had turned into a bunch of gibberish and I thought: "Oh s#&t!"...but it turns out that it was my husband's doing. He was backing up my blog by transferring files last night (like he said he would) and, in the process, something went a little haywire with my template. So, until he gets around to fixing it, I get to enjoy a change of color with this generic template. anyway, I'm still here.

A few poems and ALL my paragraphs got condensed and it's possible that I've lost my links...but right now I'm just glad that I didn't lose any of my content to Blogger's bitchiness.

I just got home from work, took Anu for a walk, and filled a nice thick mug with some yerba mate. I'll be back again later...once the tea's effects actually kick in. :)-

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Today's poem:

Today, upon arrival at the coffee shop for a morning of writing, I opened up a book that I recently recieved from Ruby and read this:

"The Quiet Animal"

Oh quiet animal, sleeping,

What dreams lie within your cells?
What ages brought you here

Through coal and ice?

Eye twitch, lip curl--

Blood dreams again.

Blood is always dreaming.

Scheming to move us forward and take us back,

Dreaming the dark places,

Caves and the backs of stars.

Your ivory bones are the tusks of time

Who eats with all our mouths.

That crescent moon? It's just a bone

Thrown beyond our reach.

The stars at night were someone's baby teeth.

The blood remembers

What the mind forgets.

The soul is a quiet animal.

Given less to thought than memory,

More to dreams than plan,

The soul owes more to half-remembered God

Than waking life as man.

~by Julia Cameron from Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

paper lamps and bright stars...

I should be in bed right now. But instead I'm listening to Pandora (thanks to Vesper), drinking a warm cup of chai (thanks to Sophie), and celebrating the fact that I have finally entered my first story in a very long time.

I've been traveling the pages of my old India journals, piecing together memories, reconstructing a self from a not-so-distant past, and feeling much more alive and real than I have in quite some time.

Funny how writing has a way of doing that.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Friday, January 05, 2007

morning thoughts.

Once again, it's been several days since I've last posted. Geez...that sounds like going to confession: "Forgive me father, for I have sinned. It has been ___ days since my last confession." Gah. But, to be honest, I don't feel as guilty as I sound. Although I am definitely on the mend, my back has been out for the past 3 days. Tuesdays and Wednesday I could barely move, let alone breath. Today, despite lingering pain, I feel like something of a new person. Last night I even went so far as to give the house a nice deep cleaning. I was up until almost 2 am in my pursuit for a fresh start this morning. It worked.

I got up and came downstairs to a clean kitchen, made coffee, and then took Anu for a longer walk than she has had in the past several days. She was happy to burn off some of her excess energy as well. At the moment, I'm writing here instead of in my morning pages because I was starting to miss my blog. Funny how that happens. Blogging, like journaling, like walking, like brushing my teeth every morning has become such a deeply rooted habit that it becomes uncomfortable to function without these actions in my life on a daily basis.

And I must say that it feels good to return to my morning pages. I've only been doing them for a week or two and, already, I am amazed by how much more freely my words come. I thought that I would end up filling my big fat journal with a whole lot of garbage...but I've been surprising myself. What is it about morning pages that cause life to break open? I don't know...but I love the feeling and so I will continue with it.

Ever since moving to Minneapolis I've been collecting fortunes from fortune cookies. And I've been taking them seriously. Last night in my cleaning frenzy I went so far as to not only clean floors, toilets, dishes counters, and junk piles... but my closet, purses, bags, and jacket pockets, too. Now I have a small heap of fortunes that read:
  • You will have wealth.
  • You will be successful in whatever you do.
  • You will be doing something new at work.
  • Keep an eye out for an opportunity.
  • You are your wisest counselor.
  • Accept the next proposition you hear.
Lately, I find myself focusing on the 2nd and last one. They're in a pile next to the colorful prayer beads that Kristine made to remind me that all I need to do is tell it one word, one sentence, one paragraph, one story at a time. I have them sitting on the silk orange and gold brocade from India that my computer monitor sits on. All around me I have these sacred little objects--little pieces of artwork, a tiny glass box, a postcard from far away, rocks, trinkets from India, photos of my husband--these things surround me. Splashes of color in an otherwise white-washed grey day.

While walking in the woods New Year's Eve, I thought about magic. But I also decided that something I want to do this year is to read one poem every day. I love poetry...but, for some reason, it seems to have fallen out of my life. Completely. How did that happen? It has been a long time since I've written any poetry of my own and almost as long since I've really read much of it by anyone else. While in Bemidji over Christmas I had a short, but wonderful conversation about poetry with my former professor, Mark. I complained about my lack of narrative talent and he said something simple like: "You should be writing poetry." So I started thinking about that. And it's an idea that's been growing inside of me.

Reading a poem every day is my invitation for poetry to enter back into my life.

This morning I read "Different Ways to Pray" from 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East by Naomi Shihab Nye (one of my very favorite poets). It's a long poem, but I want to share with you just the first stanza:

There was the method of kneeling,
a fine method,
if you lived in a country

where stones are smooth.

Women dreamed wistfully of
hidden corners where knee fit rock.

Their prayers, weathered rib bones,

small calcium words uttered in sequence,
as if this shedding of syllables could

fuse them to the sky.

...oh, but it's hard to stop there. Go out and find this poem. Really. I promise that you will smile when you get to the end of it.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Crumb-Dumb Day

Something to whine about:
  • My back is out. Day 2. I can barely move, let alone breath. Broken. No, not literally, just feels like it.
  • My ipod won't shut off and the battery is draining rapidly. Broken. Or well on its way.
  • My cell phone hasn't gotten reception in a week (and we don't have a regular phone). Broken.
  • I've spend the past two hours on a borrowed phone trying to get said phone replaced. Frustrated.
  • Our tv quit working a couple weeks ago. Reason unknown. Broken.

Basic summary:
No phone.
No music.
No movies.
No car.
No movement.

In other words, Jessie is not happy. I mean, WTF? It's almost noon and I haven't even taken a shower yet. But I'm going to right now. And, hopefully, it will fix me enough so that I can head to the coffeeshop and get some writing done. Or something. Anything. All I know is that I need to get out of the house. Seriously.

Monday, January 01, 2007


Today has been one of those days that I wish could last forever. After last night's snow storm, it is something of a winter wonderland out there. Of course, you all know how happy that makes me. Not only is there snow, but also a bright sun (now setting) to make it all the more beautiful.

In the middle of the night, Anu and I went out into the woods. The combination of light from the city and the snow created a glow that seemed to radiate somewhere from within the forest. I kid you not, I stepped out my (front) door and into the world of Narnia. Once we were deep enough into the woods I let Anu off of her leash to run while I simply sat in a heap of snow and tried to drink it all in. When we first left the house I was slightly disgruntled that no one else was adventurous enough to join me. But once we got out there I couldn't help but be glad we were alone--just Anu and I.

There was a part of me that was nervous about being in the middle of the woods alone at night (we live in the city, after all). But there was a bigger part of me that felt like the luckiest person in the entire world. I'm really not sure if I have ever experienced such a beautiful winter night. Maybe. But I doubt it. The trees were heavy with snow from top to bottom. We had the woods to ourselves except for the deer and fox who make their homes there. I found myself wishing I had a way to communicate what I was seeing. But, really, it was just too incredible to describe.

It's been a peaceful day. My mom headed back home after lunch and, since then, I've just been enjoying the natural pace of the day. The whole world feels a little bit happier today. Or is it just me? I don't know...but I'm beginning to believe deeply in the ripple effect of our moods. Today my neighborhood is happy (or seems to be). When we see each other we exchange waves and hellos and even a few hugs. Today is a day for new beginnings and the trickle effect it is having feels good.

I think I was starting to feel like this place was never going to "fit" quite right. I don't know why, exactly; that's just the way I've felt. But over time we've started to grow closer to our neighbors; the waiters at our favorite restaurant and neighborhood coffee shop recognize us and are glad to see us; I met a really incredible fellow artist yesterday (we recognized each other from running into each other somewhere else); I'm beginning to learn my way around; and in this big, big city it is starting to be the sort of place that when I go places, I see people I know--people from the bookstore or the garden shop or my neighborhood or (like yesterday) just someone I randomly met somewhere else...and, well, it feels good. I like being able to be anonymous once in awhile...but I also like feeling like I belong to something, too. Slowly, slowly I'm beginning to find a balance here.

Last night, while my mom sat on the couch writing a letter to a friend and V. did whatever he does on his computer, I sat down in my chair with a cup of tea and made my yearly list of accomplishments for 2006. It's been another big year of change in my life and, although the list was not necessarily as exciting as the lists I've made in past, I decided that I am happy with the progressions my life has made. It has been an interesting year, full of new heartaches and stress and happiness. It has been a full year--one that has provided me a lot of room for GROWTH. And yeah...I guess with growth comes growing pains.

In some ways I've been struggling with the idea that I am not moving ahead far enough or fast enough. But the truth is that this is exactly where I need to be right now. This is it. Right here, right now. I have beat myself up more than a few times for only working in a bookstore and only working in a garden shop. I feel like I am meant for something more, something else. But the thing is that before I got either of these jobs I decided that I needed to slow my life down enough to heal the things inside of me that needed healing. I needed a break from life as I knew it--and I've gotten it. For that, I am thankful.

About 10 years ago I decided that I wouldn't make New Year's resolutions anymore. I felt like they did little more than make me feel bad about myself. That was the year that I started making a list of accomplishments instead. I've carried on the tradition ever since. But, last night, when I was walking out in the woods, I decided that this year I want make a list of intentions to accompany the experiences of this past year. As I was walking there was one thing that came to me, strong and clear:

This year I want to allow magic back into my life.

There was a lot more that went along with this thought but, for now, that is the most I am able to share. With too much school, magic somehow got buried under too much critical and cynical thinking. Actually, I buried a lot of important parts of myself. I used to believe in a lot of things. After awhile I began to notice that I didn't really believe in much of anything anymore. Maybe it wasn't just school or the people that I was in contact with on a daily basis that made me feel that way. It might have been a combination of a lot of things that simply caused too much stress in my life. My spirit just sort of shut down for awhile. But, these days, I feel myself reawakening. It's a process, but there is a part of me that is opening back up--like a door in my heart; I feel it opening.

And so this year I dedicate to Magic. In all its forms.
...because I can feel it--this year is going to be unlike any other.

Coffee Cup Swap!

Happy New Year everyone!!!

Just wanted to pass on the word that Melba asked me to be a guest host for Create a Connection. Hell yeah! It's a good excuse to get to connect with fellow bloggers and get something cool in the mail! Come know you want to! Sign up on the Monday, Create a Connection post if you're interested.

Go to the post at Create a Connection for a more thorough explanation and guidelines. I hope you'll join in...because, you know, a person can never have too many coffee cups. ;)

Pass the word on! And may your first day of this 2007th year be wonderful!