Monday, February 28, 2005

Monday Night Club

Another good night of Virginia Woolf. How lucky to have a class that, even though it's the most work of all, is enjoyable. So enjoyable that I leave feeling energized. Completely amazed by the insights that fall from the others mouths. There they go... just tumbling out into the middle of the room... these wonderful thoughts that, when voiced, I find myself saying, "Oh yeah..." Connections running further than most of us make on our own come together in silence and in laughter.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Where I've been...

Thanks S. That was fun. But dang, I thought I had lived more places than that. Maybe I just fully inhabited them while visiting

bold the states you've been to, underline the states you've lived in and italicize the state you're in now...

Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C /

Go HERE to have a form generate the HTML for you.

Jessie should just go to bed...

It's snowing outside. Big beautiful snow flakes. I'm beginning to feel like winter is almost over-- and it always makes me feel a little bit sad. It's probably a feeling that I don't share with many people. Winter is my favorite season. Call me crazy. I like being able to hibernate without feeling guilty about it. This is why I like rainy days too.

And other than this I have nothing to say. I just finished watching a ridiculous movie and my brain has gone flat.

Or maybe it was trying to write that thesis statement that did this to me. God, to have it all figured out before I even start writing. It is a foreign notion to me. Maybe that's why half the stuff I write is crap. But then again, writing is about the process of discovery. I don't like trying to have it all figured out before I begin. Ugh... I can't believe I asked my students to turn in a thesis also. Due tomorrow. It sounded good in pedagogical discussion, but... well, now I don't know. I hope I haven't done damage to any creative potential. My class and I... we need a break. We need to have some fun. The movie was good and I have a feeling their next papers will be too. But we need to shake things up a little. Writing thesis statements just doesn't seem like the right way to do it. I can think of 2 students that it will help. The rest? I don't know.

Even though it is late and winter... it feels like a rainy day right now. I want to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea. Instead it is time to go to bed. To bed so I can get up early and revive my class from their thesis statements.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

Thesis statements, that is.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Saturday morning

This morning the trees have bloomed with frost. Stems of white bark holding up these delicate flowers to the sky. I got out of bed, put on my boots and jacket and went for a short walk with the dogs. Anu came out of her house stretching and yawning. The trees creaked with a slight wind. I can feel the moisture in the air.

What I really want to do is just go back to sleep. But I don't want to miss out on any of this silver-grey.

Friday, February 25, 2005

An evening alone...

Tonight I am home alone... listening to music and drinking coffee that came from dark, oily beans. The dog is asleep on the bed in the next room. The cats are curled together, their black fur dissolving into each other, only an ear and a tail allowing me to see that they are two, not one. Settling into a relatively relaxing weekend with only Virginia Woolf homework. Homework that doesn't feel like homework. The house has found some order after several hours of cleaning. My clothes are ironed, folded, hung, and stuffed in drawers for the first time in months. I look forward to the next week of being able to find matching socks, of having at least the little things in order. Life so easily flies out of control. I am easily set adrift.

The moon rises big and full in the east. An orange orb tucked behind lines of bare popal. It seems like it was a full moon last week too. Or maybe that was last month? Or two days ago? I don't know... but tonight my wolfie is laying spread out and content in its strange light. The warm days are good for her. She sleeps well. But I look at her and see that she is a little bit sad. A little bit lonely I think. I go out often to hug her and give kiss her nose, to snuggle my face in her fur. She smells like hay and winter. She returns me to center. She is the biggest sweet heart I have ever met. Sometimes I wish people smelled that good... but they never do. Tomorrow I am promising myself and her to take that walk in the woods that we both need.

Today I cleaned house instead of playing outside because my uncle and his wife will be visiting from the cities. I am hoping to get a chance (one that I've been procrastinating) to ask them if they want to buy my house. Sometimes I just don't care anymore. But other times, like today, I feel the weight and pull of this decision. I built this place with my own hands. My hands and my dad's. We built this place together. I love my dad for that. I wonder if he realizes just how hard this is to do. I can only hope that he does. This place is more than a house. It is blood, sweat, tears, memories... and it is beautiful... this place with its elm tree holding up the roof, the windows and more windows, the hand-crafted railings, split log stairs, the open loft, this writing room, the big diamond window that I watch the moon rise through, the porch that I've spent many rainy days enjoying, the winter night's warmed by the woodstove, the open loft where I feel a sense of breathing space, the high ceilings, the warm-colored wood floors. Putting the floors in was my favorite part of building this place. I'll remember that day forever. These little memories that surround me. And such magic outside. The field that mist rolls across every summer morning, the ridge that sparkles with frost in the winter, the swamp filled with tamarack that turns a fiery gold in the fall. These are the things that break my heart to consider leaving.

I told a friend of mine my intentions of selling. She tried every angle to talk me out of it. But the thing is that it is more complicated than can be readily fixed. She suggested boarding horses to pay for what we can't afford. Once upon a time I would have thought that was a wonderful ideas. Who wouldn't want to dedicate their life to horses? But the thing is that I don't want to, as incredible as it might be. I want to teach. In another year or two V. and I will have to move away in order to make that dream happen. It complicates everything. But I am not willing to give it up, or even put it off.

When I was in high school I promised to never sacrifice my life for material possessions. As beautiful as this place is, as much magic as it holds, that is what it is, a material possession. I've seen too many people give up their lives to this. I've seen it ruin too many lives. It used to be easier to live life fully. Now it comes with compromises. Sometimes big compromises.

My life has changed many times in many ways. I would never trade it in for anything else. I remember walking down the cobbled Himilayan streets of Ladhak. After being there only a month and a half, I remember crying for a week straight because it was so hard to leave. I think it might have been then that I realized that if a place makes you cry because it is so hard to leave then it was a good place. A place to be thankful for having found. A place to be thankful for having experienced. This place is like that. Eventually when I have to leave I will cry. I will cry a lot. But I'll know that those tears are because it was a good place. It was a place that gave me supreme happiness. And I'll remind myself that not everyone is lucky enough to have experienced that. Not even people with "enough" money.

Because when it comes down to it, it is never about money. It is about what you are thankful for. It is about what you carry around in your heart.

I'll move forward, but I'll always have this and everything before. Always. Because life has been lived fully. And that is a way of living that I never want to give up.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

A poem for happiness.

A poem for living not in the past or the future... but in the center, the present. A place of simplicity. A place that only dogs are wise enough to know of...but willing to share.

This is a poem for my friend Rita. I thought of her when I heard it. It is a poem written by a dog. Well, actually it was written by Mark Doty, but it was his dog Beau that told him what to say.

R., I suggest reading it out loud to the dogs.

Beau: Golden Retrievals
Fetch? Balls and sticks capture my attention
seconds at a time. Catch? I don't think so.
Bunny, tumbling leaf, a squirrel who's—oh
joy—actually scared. Sniff the wind, then

I'm off again, muck, pond, ditch, residue
of any thrillingly dead thing. And you?
Either you're sunk in the past, half our walk,
thinking of what you never can bring back,

or else you're off in some fog concerning
—tomorrow, is that what you call it? My work:
to unsnare time's warp (and woof), retrieving,
my haze-headed friend, you. This shining bark,

a Zen master's bronzy gong, calls you here,
entirely, now: bow-wow, bow-wow, bow-wow.

— Beau

Friday, February 18, 2005

Reading Mrs. Dalloway...

Page 48... and already I am blown away. Oh, how does she do it?! After writing this, how could she write another word? It is all there. What more is there to say? But then again, this is only the beginning of the lives, the lives, the lives... each one connected to the next to the next to the next... in a glance, a question, an exchange; in love, in jealousy, in comfort, in aloneness.

What is it about Virginia Woolf that makes me feel like I could write the world and at the same time as though I do not dare put down another word again? She inspires me and makes me feel as though I will never even touch the surface of her depths-- all in a single breath. But this is the exhilaration of finding one's voice. And as I read I begin to realize just how far away from that I am. If ever I felt that I was getting there, I feel it flying away from me, further and further away. Maybe when I'm 40 the world will settle itself in my thoughts just long enough for me to capture even a second of it. But that is only ten years away... and I can't imagine how so much could change as to make that possible. Life flying, flying by and me being spun out into space along with it. Then 52...62...72... and I will be an old woman with the same thoughts rattling around in my head. A bird, knowing not what kind. Sometimes a bird with no sky.

My mind haphazard, reckless, flailing with both arms, my nose just above the water while I stand on tip-toes.

I am feeling very dull. Dull indeed.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


Today I am wishing for new space. A space that is free of clutter. I was imagining this in my mind perfectly just a moment ago. But the second I started to type it went away. Too bad...I was completely inhabited by these musings. There were lots of windows, a book shelf, an old wooden table to write at, paintings stacked up against each other here and there. But no clutter. It was wonderful. I was writing on clean white paper with a pencil. A whole world perfectly placed. And me sitting perfectly in my mind--not outside it like I am now. But now I am typing and wish I had the energy to show you that space with words... instead you get this... the slop; the left-overs; the oozing, formless goo; the clutter.
I dream of a life without clutter, of a life that I can inhabit fully. To write, to paint... completely...without having to stretch myself so ridiculously thin. To give myself over, as R. and I talked about at last night's "meeting"-- to give myself over 100%.

Earlier today I took the dogs for a walk. Finally, a long one. If it weren't for the sun, the absolute blueness of sky, the large snowflakes laying lightly on the ground reflecting so many dazzled colors... if it weren't for these things I would have been sad. Because one day the loggers came and two days later several hundred acres of trees were gone. I could hear them still working somewhere in the distance, their whine of machinery moving like an invisible vapor through the air. I walked down the trail that used to be forest; the type of forest that encloses you, wraps its arms around you. But today it was just snow and sun. No longer any trees to cast shadows. Just a warm sun and Anu, the wolfie, looking as beautiful as ever as she ran back and forth down the trail. I love watching her run. I love seeing her in her natural environment. She is something else. Beautiful. And Abe, always at my side. Barking. Barking because the three of us were happy. Completely happy. And because of the sun, a new space, leaving me not so sad of what is gone.

Monday, February 14, 2005

thorns, pollen, and dirt...

I have only fifteen minutes before I have to go back. Back to Valentine's Day that is. Back to the flower shop. Of my father's 3 children I am the only sucker to #1: have stuck around; and #2: have learned floral design. It's a good thing that Valentine's Day only happens once a year.

On another note, I do have good things to say about flowers also. But it will have to wait until someday when I have time. For now, I can only say that my eyes have been thirsty for color. It is the hot pink dianthus that is most visually flavorful. The calcinia, wax flower, pink roses, and eucalyptus wins for having the best scent. Yum.

But this entry is making time feel like a hopeless endeavor. A hopeless endeavor indeed.
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY EVERYONE! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Please Blog forgive my sins...

...for I have not blogged in 3 days.

Kingdom come, thy will be done
on earth as it is in cyber-space.

My commitment to you has been weak. Please, Blog, forgive me.

I am lame.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

There were some things I missed... V. and Abe and Anu and Vico and Moonshadow and dark skies and stars and quiet.

But it felt good, really good, to be away.

I ate Indian and Greek and Middle Eastern and Thai.
I drank coffee and wine and tea and a mango lassi.
I read a book and looked at an art magazine from beginning to end and wrote in my journal.
I walked and drove and watched movies and slept.
I browsed in a bookstore, bought supplies at an art store and purchased frivolous items at a gourmet grocery store.
I hung out with my brother and sister and niece and my 5 year old nephew who fell asleep in my arms because he didn't feel well.
I talked and relaxed and had fun and laughed and talked some more and had wonderful quiet company.

Yes, it was good to be gone and, now, it is good to be back.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

I'll write about Woolf later...

I don't remember what I was going to write about this morning, but I was laying in bed thinking about it. Then I got to school and checked my e-mails (one of which was a .gov address) which led to slight panic concerning the web-site I built last semester. Slight panic-- yeah right! I've been paraniod about trouble ever since Catholic school. It was deleted immidiately. Call me a wuss. Something about legal ramifications. I don't want to have anything to do with it.

Update: ******(censored)? me? No, not me... just some nice government official making sure everyone is safe. Thanks Bob.

I won't bother to explain the rest. It's been taken care of. I just hope they let me *** censor censor censor. So much for my career in politics.

Good god. What an interesting morning.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

It's Tuesday morning...

... and I am feeling oddly energized. We had, what I would concider, an excellent class. I mean really excellent. Time was up... I could have stayed there talking all night. I am fascinated by Virginia Woolf. I am fascinated by the effect she has on people. I am fascinated by each individual in our class. The comments made were surprising and honest. Oh, sometimes so honest. I noticed that it seems people pull out of Woolf what is most a part of their life. I pull from her words her struggle with time, her love of color. The others... they each had another angle. So many facets, so many angles in her writing.

The fudge was good too.

But good god, I am so frustrated with myself when I try to write. I wish so much that I had the space of mind to give it energy. Remembering sitting in Seattle (was it Seattle?) at an outdoor cafe, a coffee shop, looking upwards to the building across the street, an old building, carved scrollwork around the edges and windows, odd shapes on walls, gargoyles and fruit; a window was open. I lost myself to that moment completely. Not wanting to let go of the laughter dripping, dripping . I sharpened my pencil so as to leave leave imprints of the city on white paper. Laughter echoing-- echoing, from windows in the sky, dripping down leaves
into my coffee...
Silver sidewalks the same as clouds. No petals, perhaps only oysters and pearls.

Instead of being a writer lastnight... after several glasses of wine, I went to the studio. Really, I went there to make sure it still existed. The dark morning hours of night, I knew I should go home cuz V. would be worried, but I could not pull myself away. The next thing I knew I had a piece of board on the easel, my palette knife dipped in greens and blues. What color would the sky be? Night with stars set unbroken. What color would that green be? The green that swept the length of the mantelpiece, an ocean, a mirage, a caravan of camels, a snub-nosed monster, slushing the water, polished pebbles for eyes. What colors would those be? My hands in the paint, caressing it across the canvas. I fell in love with those colors, fell outside of reality, of time, fell into blue and green. Stepped back and forward again to surprise myself with a frustration of red. Bright red, in the corner, a welling up of something that seeped through my veins, weighted only by the cool slipperiness of lily pads and dark sky.

Only half returning from the possession. I went home. I slept. And awoke to today. Feeling purged and alive and aware of the strange silver sky hanging upwards, upside down, making puppets of aspen, invisible string... that faint veil of blue. Virginia Woolf, I love you.