Sunday, December 31, 2006

Last day of 2006

I woke up late and, at the moment, I'm savoring these few minutes of quite time to myself before it's gone. Ahhh, sweet silence. December 31st...and it's raining outside. I've just brewed myself a cup of Mexican coffee in the French press. Mmmmm...there is nothing like the strongly brewed flavor of a light roasted coffee on a quiet, raining winter morning. Granted, it should be snowing, not raining...but I'll give up my expectations of winter for just a moment to enjoy the drip, drip, dripping sounds outside my window.

...and so the day begins. I hear the shuffle, shuffle of morning feet. First Vinny. Then my mom. She's here for the weekend to celebrate her birthday (Happy Birthday, Mom!). The quiet has ended...
...pour another cup of coffee.
Good morning, everyone.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Muscle Memory.

Tonight I headed down to the studio with a fresh cup of coffee and some good music for a date with my colored pencils and a grey piece of paper.

Not only have I made the conscious decision to return to art making, but also to return to doing my morning pages (at least 3 pages a day in my journal--remember those, fellow AWer's?). I'm probably stating the obvious, but what these two actions have offered me is a tremendous sense of relief.

I don't know... I think somewhere along the lines, these past several months, I somehow, quite successfully (and unintentionally), boxed myself into a very dry and lifeless place. I've been trying to beat myself into submission when, all along, it's the opposite that I've needed. But I'm going to just give myself a break--because getting to this point (in all its haphazardness) has all been part of the process. I see that now. And I'm learning to trust in that process.

Throughout my life there have been times when I've felt as though I'm observing myself--like a semi-omniscient narrator reflecting on the thoughts and actions of my own (seemingly third-person) character. I generally enjoy this state of mind because, when it happens, I invariably end up with a better understanding of myself.

As I worked on this drawing I found myself thinking about my old painting professor, Carol. She used to talk a lot about muscle memory. I sat down with my pencils and Indian music and coffee and r e m e m b e r e d just how good it feels to draw. I tried not to think about it too much and instead worked quickly, allowing for mistakes. Carol used to preach that, with practice, our muscles remember the actions that they have performed in the past. It's easy to imagine how this works for a musician practicing scales or a dancer rehearsing a series of movements--but it's the same for anything we do. Like riding a bike. The body remembers.

I started doing self-portraits a few years ago in order to get better at doing portraits in general. You see, we tend to lie when we look at ourselves. We want to look past the dark lines that create our smile; or the way one eye is droopier than the other; or the way our chin or forehead is not quite smooth. I find myself attracted to doing self-portraits because they demand more honesty. I know my own face better than anyone else's. If something is "off," I'm forced to be more aware of where I went wrong. For every mistake that I make, I learn something new, not only about myself, but about seeing. I've come to realize that it is in capturing both the beauty and the imperfections of an individual that make for the most interesting portraits.

Morning pages and self-portraits force me to give up my need for perfection. And it's in these little actions that teach me about trust--trust in myself and trust in performing the necessary movements. Whenever necessary--they will be there. Automatic.

Friday, December 22, 2006

coffee grunge and christmas joy.

Due to the snow and general wintry conditions, Vinny and I decided that it would be a good idea to celebrate our Christmas early...well, part one of it, that is. This year we will be celebrating several at my dad's, one at Vinny's parents', one at my grandma and grandpa's, and one with my sister and her kids when they return from Virginia. But the one we enjoy the our own private little Christmas, just the two of us.

You know how I know that my husband loves me? Because he got me a coffee cup! Um...yeah, I kinda have a problem with collecting coffee cups. I can't help myself--I love them. Due to the sheer volume of coffee cups that I possess, Vinny has given me a hard time about the lack of space in our kitchen cabinets ever since we started living together. When he asked me what I wanted for Christmas I said that I like unique things found in specialty shops (or a puppy). ha! Well, I'm impressed. The guy knows his way into the my heart. It was a nice night filled with yummy pasta, glasses of wine, jazz music drifting from the stereo, a room full of lit candles, and after-dinner mochas. Vinny spoiled me with gifts from India (oh, they even smell like India--heaven! the silk shawl is especially divine).

And so if that was our Christmas Eve, then today feels like Christmas Day. As I sit here at my desk, a blanket of white still covers our world. It is day one of a string of SIX DAYS OFF! I couldn't ask for a better start to our vacation.

I started the morning with 3 cups of coffee (half decaf--to maintain sanity) and then went for a long walk out in the woods with Vinny and Anu. For all the walking we do, it's rare that we actually go for walks together. It was nice to take in the strange white, misty, drippy morning together. Such beauty. Next we're going out for a late breakfast and then to a bookstore. After that I plan on spending the afternoon in my studio with my paints and colored pencils. I suppose it goes without saying that today most certainly fits my definition of PERFECTION.

*Vinny took this photo on our walk this morning.

And tomorrow...we'll get in the car and drive north to Bemidji. It will be the first time I've been home since moving away this past summer. Let me just say: I can't wait.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Finally!! I am so happy I could nearly burst. There was pouring rain all morning long, but a little past noon things turned a bit dangerous as the temp. dropped below freezing. You know what that means?? SNOW!!! The second I got off work, I precariously made my way home and then immediately headed for the woods with my wolfie where the snow was so thick and heavy that branches cracked and fell into crashing heaps. Several times we watched this happen, as though in slow motion.

Our world has been transformed. And the effects are marvelous. There is such enchantment in so much white and ice and heavily bowing branches, creating contrasts made even more stunning by wet blackened tree bark and blankets of snow.

Somewhere in the middle of the woods I looked at Anu and at the trees and the ground and out over the ridge...and I felt good. No, better than good. Snow has a way of returning me to my center like nothing else can.

Today I am thankful for beauty.
And, because I want to share it with you, welcome to my woods:

and a little later in the evening, Vinny snapped this shot...

Happy Winter Solstice, friends!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

hold close the morning quiet.

This morning the sky is filled with deep grey clouds. While walking in the woods I noticed how the thick air tamps down the background noise of traffic, leaving more room for the sound of birdsong. I don't know why, but I wore my big, clunky winter boots. There isn't even any snow. I wasn't really awake yet and so the combination of the sky, my boots, and my muscles that refused to wake up made me feel firmly planted to the ground. It is a hazy morning stretching out into a hazy day. Today there will be no into-the-sky-shattering. Even Anu agrees.

My feet dragged along the path while she sniffed, nose to the ground, acting more like a hound dog than the energetic wolfie that she is. Lately her playfulness has been replaced by a serious bout of curiosity. I am content to slow my pace to hers, sometimes even stopping completely. She sniffs and digs while I scan the horizon. Often we look into the woods together. And I wonder why I do that--why I have such a deep need to understand and memorize my surroundings. For some reason, observing the shadow of fallen leaf helps me make sense of the world.

I've walked these woods so many times since moving here that they have begun to lose some of their mystery. Only lately have I started to make sense of the elaborate trail system that twines itself in knots and continues beyond the scope of my daily hikes. But the loss of mystery has been replaced by another way of seeing. I continue searching for secrets hidden behind, underneath, above. Clouds, dogs, leaves, a bird that I can hear, but not I am not pushing back or breaking open. Today I only have energy to absorb.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

a new favorite and other thoughts on the extraordinary.

I think I've found a new favorite musician and her name is Susheela Raman. My "favorites" come in stages, but tend to last for years, maybe lifetimes. Like many things in my life, I tend to move from one obsession to the next to the next...yet never entirely leaving any of them behind.

I've heard one of her songs on another disc, but oh....I never knew just how good she is...and, well...the music has been cranked ever since.

At the moment I'm listening to sound recordings of traffic in India ("Idi Samayam"--Music for Crocodiles). The horn of a Tata truck. A rickshaw. A motorcycle. I can't even tell you what this is doing to me.

We seem to be missing a cow in this photo!There are some things that have a way of turning me inside out. Sometimes it's a certain smell. Sometimes a sound. A touch. A color. A movement. Yes, even a specific pitch and rhythm of a horn. At times like this, it is all I can do just to keep myself from boarding the next plane. But someday I know I will. This thought creates quick little fires in my brain. Synapses flash and it feels like the top off my head has been taken off, letting in an extra dose of light and air. Creative epiphanies. I see images. I hear poetry in the sound of traffic. For a moment I understand the direction all of my work should take--in writing, in painting...little fires, my synapses bursting into flames of red and blue, yellow, lime-green, a woman with a thin frame and dark eyes looking past me, a baby on her hip, blue sky, the smell of burning rubbish, morning sunshine, indian red, off-white, everything alive and dying and being born...

I think we're all born with a certain amount of potential--but it depends on our willingness to follow our hearts that determines how close to that potential we'll ever come. I've always been facinated by the word "extraordinary." Extra-Ordinary. Extraordinary. We all have it in us. Finding our own voice in the ordinary is what makes us extraordinary. Some days just the thought of living life to the edges of myself is enough to break me wide open. Some days I think even the sound of a horn or the scent of a certain spice or the flash of an image (real or imagined) is enough to shatter me into a million pieces of sky.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Tonight the sky feels bright blue.

When I got home I opened up my mail box and was surprised by something extra wonderful. A Kristine original! And with it came a little note from her that read:
"Today my little piece of wire took a walk. It went on an adventure and in the process of being inspired it wandered over to you to be placed on your tree this Christmas--to live in your home and bask in the beauty that unfolds as you live your life today."

I took it out of the tissue that it was wrapped in and a gasp escaped my lips while a smile took over my face. I feel like Kristine's taken all the walking and wandering I've been doing lately and turned it into something beautiful--I'm looking at it like the topography of my life--and I find it amazing how a piece of wire can bring such happiness.
Its sparkle has been catching my eye all evening and each time I look at it my life feels more immediate, more buoyant, filled with more possibility. I love how artwork has a way of doing that... :)

*check out more of Kristine's artwork here.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

a white room

This ever present cold-bug has turned me into an herbal tea junkie. Yesterday I drank lots of something called Shanti Ayurvedic Blend. I found it at the co-op and bought it 1.) because it had the would "shanti" in it (which means "peace") and 2.) because the jar it was in had a label on it that said it possesses healing powers for the immune system as well as the ability to bring balance into one's life. Hell yeah...totally worth the $3.46 that I spent on it, if you ask me. And it tasted good, too.

Today my drink of choice is another herbal tea that my sister bought for me called Breath Deep. It's got a picture of a saddhu meditating on the box and is full of goodies like licorice root, basil, eucalyptus, ginger root, cinnamon, thyme, peppermint, cardamom, mullein leaf...yeah, you get the's packed full of flavor and warm comfort. Not to mention, it's making me feel rather spiritual...yes, it's that good. ha! ;)

In other news, there is still not a speck of snow on the ground and the thin layer of ice that was briefly on the lakes have already started to thaw. If I hear one more person remark that they love global warming I'm gonna have to smack 'em. They say it with such chipperness, such happiness. I just can't help but think, "my god, people, what's wrong with you?!" I don't mean to be over-serious but every time I hear people say they love global warming, a blaring image of a brown crispy-fried planet creeps into my head. Well, to each their own...I guess. I'll just keep drinking my tea and hope for snow sometime soon.

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to going home for Christmas. I've been finding myself daydreaming of tromping around in the woods with Anu (off of her leash) a lot lately. Yeah, I have woods here...but I miss the kind of woods that stretch out for miles and miles and miles. I miss the kind of woods where you can't hear the constant hum of traffic in the background...instead, only sweet silence. I'm glad I moved away...but, my god, I'm looking forward to a long awaited road-trip north. There are two places that my body and soul have felt the most at home. One is in the woods of northern Minnesota and the other in India. Maybe someday I'll be able to travel between the two...but, for now, I'm grateful for the nature I have out my front door and for the mega-nature I will soon be going home to enjoy (never enough) of.

I live in the city now--and I love it. But it's funny how we create balance in our life. I like the way life ebbs and flows in the way that it does. These past months have been strange for me as I attempt to make sense of where I'm at and where I want to go. There has been a constant sense of impermanence...a feeling of relevance. Every once in awhile there are days that feel little more than futile...but, more often, I feel like this is all just part of my path towards whatever comes next.

These days I'm reading a book by Twyla Tharp called The Creative Habit. I got it for my birthday and when I opened it up, the first sentence read: "I walk into a large white room." For some reason, this sentence "spoke" to me on a very deep level. I love the idea of a white room, a blank page, a white canvas. Despite my fears, there is so much POTENTIAL in that empty space. This is my year of "empty space." Then again, every year contains a little bit of empty space...every moment contains room for creation. Later in the chapter, Tharp writes: "Bottom line: Filling this empty space constitutes my identity."

Recently, Sophie wrote a question on her blog. "What is your metaphor?" I keep returning to this thought; it rolls into my head at odd times--when I'm walking or doing the dishes or shelving books at work or watering the plants or taking a shower. And so I'm sitting here right now wondering: if I were to walk into a large white room and fill it with a metaphor of myself, what would it look like?

And the first thing that comes to mind is huge, dark, saturated wild iris. But it doesn't end there. You see, there's an entire room to fill and I'm constantly discovering new things about myself--new colors, new ideas, new passions. In every moment I am creating myself.

Empty space. An empty white room. What do I want to fill it with? What do you want to fill it with?
I can't help but love the prospects.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Worst birthday ever turned good.

"It is never too late to be what you might have been." ~George Eliot.

Today is part 2 of my birthday. I'm not sure if that's legal, but my real birthday (yesterday) was the worst one I've ever had and well...I decided to give it a second chance. After all, there's something about this year that feels important--and I want it to start out the right way.

Yesterday had great potential except that I woke up sicker than a dog and, to make matters worse, had to work all day at the garden shop. I had originally looked forward to it, but instead I spent the day being miserable and tired and weepy. I survived it. But I might have been better off never leaving my bed. Last night I sat down at my computer to write about it and let's just say that when I woke up this morning I was glad I hadn't. Maybe some things are just better left unsaid.

I do, however, want to tell you what was good about yesterday... and one of those those things goes by the name of "Saturnalia"...which is our neighborhood holiday celebration hosted, in part, by our garden shop.

They blocked off the street and celebrated by filling everybody up with freshly roasted chestnuts (which brought be straight back to the streets of Italy--taste bud heaven!), hot chocolate and cider, cookies, smores and hot dogs. We built several bon-fires on the sidewalks and in the street; there were face-painters and hay-rides; Santa climbed DOWN the coffee shop's chimney; there were puppets on stilts and dancing snowmen; the air was filled with wood smoke and the steady beat of the Women's Drum Corp; there was dancing in the street; people brought their dogs and kids. It was really quite incredible and made me feel the stirrings of love for my new neighborhood and their pagan-esque celebrations. And even though I felt like hell there was a part of me that thoroughly enjoyed it. The drumming, the dancing, the weather, the general was pretty cool.

See...when I write about it in this way, it makes it sound like a good day. Never mind the rest because...what it boils down to is that it's all a matter of perspective, isn't it. Maybe I feel better about yesterday because I'm looking at these photos or because of the really incredible sleep I got last night. I don't know...but today I feel much better--which is why I've self-proclaimed today as my birthday also. hey--why not? Yesterday I let myself get knocked over by my own personal tidal wave of shitness and today I decided to stand myself up again. Today...well, today has been better than yesterday by a million miles.

Some of the best things about turning 32:
  • an e-mail from bee
  • birthday wishes from ruby
  • an e-card from my fellow sagettarian jamie
  • loralee's voice singing me happy birthday on the phone
  • waking up to find presents from my husband sitting on my desk
  • reading his wonderful card
  • phone calls from family
  • going out for spicy hot indian cuisine (soul food for sniffles!)
  • good conversation and mochas with mardougrrl...and a bag full of really perfect presents (i'm spoiled!) ;)
  • coming face to face with the biggest buck i've ever seen--in my front yard!! (yes, my life is surreal like this, but i'm serious)
  • blog comments
  • much needed sleep
  • neighbors coming to visit me at the garden shop--yes, people actually came just to see me! (it made me feel loved)
  • going music shopping with my husband (the rest of his gift to me...i should write more about this later)
  • pancakes
  • dog kisses
  • husband hugs
  • nice clean fluffy fleece sheets and the best sleep ever!
  • dreaming about dogs
  • sunny weather
  • a long walk
  • frozen lakes
  • going sweater shopping and finding something cozy that i liked!
  • an incredibly patient husband who survived my day of moods and still loves me anyway
  • russian tea cakes
  • champaign
  • a new candle
  • good coffee
Hell yeah...I guess it was a pretty damn good birthday...despite false starts.

Friday, December 08, 2006

i just want to send a little message out into the world to say that i've been busy. i haven't been able to visit your blogs or respond to e-mails in the past couple days...but i miss you and i'm thinking about you. just know that.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Came home from work last night and was sick...again. Ate supper, wrote a tiny bit, then fell asleep on the couch. I woke up in the middle of the night, still feeling like hell, worried that I'd still be sick today. And, as luck would have it, I am...but fighting it hard because, damnit(!), I get to meet Loralee today!!

I'm oddly excited to meet this girl from Utah. She makes me laugh--even on the phone! Unfortunately, I have to go to work right now. Damn. Precious time--wasted.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

For my 32nd year...

The eye is meant to see things.
The soul is here for its own joy.


Yesterday, while browsing in a book store, I found this card. I went back to look at it several times and finally decided to buy it. I justified my purchase by making it an early birthday present to myself--a reminder to trust what is inside of me. The words and the paint brush she holds in her hand speak to me in a special way. Too often I lose trust in the creative power that I hold within me. I start looking on the outside for what can only be found on the inside.

On Saturday I will begin a new year of my life; and this year, more than any other, I feel the accumulation of a lifetime worth of triumphs and failures, bravery and fear. I want to trust the woman I've become. Because it's all inside of me. Everything. My soul is here for its own joy...

all I need to do is trust.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

shared thoughts.

Ok, so I've been messing around in Photoshop. Don't ask me why except for that I took a picture of myself with my new journal. And I don't know why I did that either, but hey...I felt inspired.

It was a busy (but fun) day. It's been a day OFF...and even better: a day off WITH a car. Ah, sweet heaven. Usually V. needs the car for work but, because I have been unwilling to bike my sorry ass around in this cold weather, I opted to get up at the crack of dawn and give him a ride all the way across the city just so I could have transportation for the rest of the day. It was worth it.

I got a spontaneous haircut, bummed around uptown, thought about my blogging friends, went out for coffee with a rather large pile of books, hung out in a few bookstores (yes, I go to bookstores on my days off from the bookstore--I'm a geek), looked for a new sweater (although everything I liked was ridiculously expensive), did a little grocery shopping (where I stopped to smell bunches of peonies--*deep breath* ahhhh...), drove my wolfie with me everywhere, found a little gift for Loralee and (for the highlight of the day) bought a new journal!

In my opinion, there is nothing better than a virgin journal. It's like getting new socks and underwear....but better. Yesterday morning I finished the very beautiful handmade journal that Tara Dawn sent me a couple months ago. And today I set out with the intention of finding a simple spiral bound notebook due to inspiration from Dancing Willow and Natalie Goldberg.

Doing a post every day in November for NaBloPoMo primed the pump for more writing. It felt good to write everyday, even when I sometimes didn't have the energy for it. Granted, I missed 1 or 2 days, but I'll forgive myself. November is over and I intend to continue posting on a (nearly) daily basis. But I also have noticed that, lately, I allow myself to be a lot more raw in my handwritten journal. Right now I like rawness...or, at least, I think a little rawness would do me good. I need to swear every other word and complain and cry and not worry about how stupid I sound. Ok, so I do a lot of that here anyway, but...

Like Dancing Willow is doing, I like the idea of filling up 1 spiral bound notebook a month. However, in the process of today's bumming around, I found an extra cheap and very fat journal that felt so smooth and wonderful in my hands (that's what I get for picking it up in the first place!). It fell right open (in just the right way) and was filled with page after page after page of white graphing paper. I couldn't help myself, and abandoned my spiral notebook intentions in exchange for the big fatty.

I don't even know how many pages are in it, except to say that there's too many to count. Generally, I don't like big journals because I get sick of myself before I get to the end. Well, this time around, I thought I'd try out my staying-power. If it comes down to it, I'll write one word per page until I get to the end. Whatever's necessary. It only cost 8 bucks and will last me the better part of the winter. Not to mention, it's the kind of journal that will almost certainly inspire some serious drawing as well...and, for this, I've decided to start carrying ink and colored pencils with me in my already over-loaded purse.

Like always, I'm ready for a new beginning. I've been thinking about my creative habits a lot lately. Actually, I live my life around those habits. Today was just a little celebration of the little things that make life colorful.

Monday, December 04, 2006


I've been sitting here for the past hour and a half trying to write about waking up to snow and how this is my favorite day of the year. But I'm so tired all I can do is stare out the window and watch the sky turn a dozen shades of blue light and a single page from a newspaper being tossed around by swirls of wind in the parking lot across the street. These whirlwinds cause minature blizzards, dusting the naked limbs of trees that line the street...trees that appear to be held together by nothing more than christmas tree lights. People walk by looking cold and tired and happy. I like watching the snow that sticks to the bottoms of their shoes. I like watching the way people move...because snow makes them move differently.

I write and delete and stare out the window and then write a little more. I sit in the coffee shop by a window that blankets me in a solid layer of cold. Too tired to think...just glad for snow.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sunday Scribblings: "In the last hour..." {portrait of a drunk, 3 cops, and a girl waiting for the bus}

It's cold outside. And in certain corners of the house, it's cold inside, too. There is sandalwood incense burning, a cat at my feet, one at the heat vent, and a cup of coffee in front of me. The incense and the light from a candle give the illusion of warmth even though I'm cold from somewhere down deep in my bones.

(note to reader: this didn't happen in the last hour, but it is what happened in the hour before I read this week's prompt.)

The day before yesterday, I walked to my bus stop to find a man sprawled out on the downtown concrete. He had a gash on his head from falling and the only sign of life was the slight but occasional movement of his ribcage. The guy was in a bad state. The temperatures were in the single digits. For a minute I just stand there looking from him to the glint of skyscrapers until a cop drives by and I wave him over.

We talk about the weather and cold concrete and how they find that guy drunk with blood on his head every week and how he should have been dead a long time ago. I am, shortly after, joined by 2 more cops who agree.

Eventually, they get him into a sitting position. One of his arms doesn't work. Maybe it's fallen asleep. He's crying and drooling. Something between a whimper and a wail escapes from his open mouth--it comes from his core--no words, just the sound of truly a lost thing.

After declining an offer to wait for my bus in the squad car (no way, thank you very much), the youngest officer tells me I should stand inside the bus shelter, out of the wind where it's warmer (where the drunk guy is). I do, but immediately regret my decision. I wait off to the side, in wafts of the man's alcohol stench and hollow howls. The cops spend the time chumming with me and, when my bus finally comes, one of them pulls out a hand full of paper from the pocket of his crisp, blue shirt and hands me some free metro tickets. Oh, good idea, they all clamor. Gentlemen to the nth degree. They are flirting with me. Competing for my attention? It's been a long day and all I want is to get home. 2 days later, I keep thinking about all those jokes and laughter and slow dying.

And, I'’m sorry; I have nothing profound to offer with these words..words that are nothing except an observation of the ways that we end up in places we don't belong. The sort of places where living and dying collide--—places where we tell jokes or withdraw or drink ourselves senseless. The ways in which we do little more than just try to get by.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

walking and writing. walking and reading.

I've had many interesting thoughts today. Maybe because it's finally cold outside...I mean really cold. I walked with Anu in the woods and, for some reason, a crystal clear monologue just sort of tumbled out of my mind and mouth. I wished I had a tape recorder because I knew I wouldn't be able to keep up with myself any other way. But, instead, my words slipped into the sky and frost and frozen leaves...


Later, as I walked to work I read A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman. I found it in a used bookstore a few days after Sunday Scribblings used her quote for their prompt. On the back of the book there's a review by the Chicago Tribune that goes like this:

"An aphrodisiac for the sense receptors. Read a chapter, then step outside and voila: The sky is a deeper blue, the birds sing a sweeter song. How could the world seem otherwise, after feasting on voluptuous prose like this?" imagine reading voluptuous prose like this WHILE outside. Oh my god, I wish it wasn't so late. I wish I didn't need to get up so early. Because I want to tell you about it and I don't want to leave out even a single detail. But I need sleep and, instead, I can only leave you with this (because otherwise I would never stop writing)...from "A Map of Smell":

"Breaths come in pairs, except at two times in our lives--the beginning and the end. At birth, we inhale for the first time; at death, we exhale for the last. In between, through all the lather of one's life, each breath passes air over our olfactory sites. Each day, we breathe about 23,040 times and move around 438 cubic feet of air. It takes us about five seconds to breathe--two seconds to inhale and three seconds to exhale--and, that time, molecules of odor flood through our systems. Inhaling and exhaling, we smell odors. Smells coat us, swirl around us, enter our bodies, emanate from us. We live in a constant wash of them. Still, when we try to describe a smell, words fail us like the fabrications they are. Words are small shapes in the gorgeous chaos of the world. But they are shapes, they bring the world into focus, they corral ideas, they hone thoughts, they paint watercolors of perception" (6-7).

Oh, and that's just the beginning. "Words are small shapes in the gorgeous chaos of the world. But they are shapes, they bring the world into focus, they corral ideas, they hone thoughts, they paint watercolors of perception"...I let those words roll around in my mouth and mind...and it was the best walk that I've had in quite awhile.

And for a thought to fall asleep with:
"Try it now. Describe the smell of your lover, your child, your parent" (8).

it's not so easy as you think.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Public Service Announcement: Loralee Extravaganza!!!

Hey you Bemidji people...Loralee is going to be in Minneapolis on Wednesday and Thursday, December 6-7. She wants to chop down trees and feast on hot dish...AND YOU'RE INVITED!!

ok...maybe we won't chop down trees and eat hot dish, but...

You ARE invited!
(dinner, cocktails, and coffee? maybe we could eat venison and drink cheap beer??)

(Thinking of making the pilgrimage from Bemidji or California or Wherever-You-Are?? Come know you want to! Send me an e-mail so I can give you the details.)


i keep reading blogs about being snowed in. snow, snow, snow. i'm jealous.

i live in minnesota and all i woke up to this morning is the strangeness of thunder and lightening. lots of rain, but no snow. it's nearly december and there's a very large part of me that keeps thinking: please snow, please snow, please snow....

because all this brown is starting to get depressing. i don't even enjoy the crunch of leaves anymore. and not having snow makes me miss home. i don't want to miss home. so i guess it's a good thing that there isn't snow yet there either because, if there was, i would want to move back. there are things i miss about bemidji immensely. but i'm also glad i'm gone. i needed to move away--my life there was beginning to feel steeped in too much pain. i needed a chance to start over.

but a winter without snow? i can't even stand the thought of such seasonal monotony.

in bemidji, i hear the small lakes have frozen over and the big ones will soon. i can't explain this affinity i have with ice and snow and cold weather. maybe it is because i was born a winter baby. maybe it's because it gives me room to breath. maybe it's because that is what my molecules are made of.

all i do know is that i hope that big cloud of snow keeps moving east and doesn't stop until it gets here...because i want to wake up tomorrow morning, look out the window, and see change. i want to see something that i can call home.

Monday, November 27, 2006

One word. No explanation.

1. Yourself: determined.
2. Your partner: loving.

3. Your hair: wavy.

4. Your mother: sensitive.

5. Your father: lost.

6. Your favorite item: journal.

7. Your dream last night: bemidji.

8. Your favorite drink: coffee.

9. Your dream car: unattainable.

10. The room you are in: writing.

11. Your ex: crazy.

12. Your fear: thesis.

13. What you want to be in 10 years: everything.

14. Who you hung out with last night: family.

15. What you're not: normal.

16. Muffins: scone.

17: One of your wish list items: music.

18: Time: fleeting.

19. The last thing you did: e-mail.

20. What you are wearing: slacks.

21. Your favorite weather: blizzard.

22. Your favorite book: impossible.

23. The last thing you ate: pretzel.

24. Your life: full.

25. Your mood: hopeful.

26. Your best friend: far-away.

27. What you're thinking about right now: poetry.

28. Your car: covet.

29. What you are doing at the moment: introspective.

30. Your summer: stressful.

31. Your relationship status: solid.

32. What is on your TV: broken.

33. What is the weather like: snowless.

34. When was the last time you laughed: morning.

I was tagged by
And now I'm tagging:
bee, ruby, tara dawn, thea, swampgrrl, sophie, susannah, and vinny
(ok, this list could go on for a long time and i've already gone overboard...i'm holding myself back here!!)... if you feel like it that is--and anyone else too!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

My Sunday in Three Parts:

Part I: Oh, Christmas Tree.

After waking up much too early, Vinny and I went out for breakfast at our favorite greasy spoon. It seems as though it's becoming our new Sunday morning tradition. I guess the eggs benedict and coffee served in thick white mugs fueled us up enough to go out and get a tree--which we did...and then spent half the day listening to Elvis and Louis Armstrong Christmas music while decorating it in jewel tones and childhood ornaments. I'm impressed--I mean, it's only November! And the best part is that at night our house looks like a brothel!!

Part II: The Studio.

After finishing the tree and vacuuming up the broken bulb (oops!) Vinny headed for the couch for a nap and I headed to the basement for some uninterrupted studio time. I didn't have enough time to actually paint, but I did some sketches, prepped a canvas, and generally putzed around.

This is the 4 ft. x 4 ft. canvas that's been waiting patiently for me to paint something on it since we moved. The red chair has been flirting for my attention a lot lately. I think it's time.

And this, smaller, 24" x 24" canvas has been whispering to me, too. I'm imagining something in fuscia and deep reds with small amounts of purple-blue...something warm and and vibrant and that I want to fall into...

Because of odd jobs at the bookstore I've been spending a lot more time at my workbench lately. I was sad to leave my old studio because, whenever I was there, I always felt so incredibly relaxed. Turns out, that feeling followed me into the studio I've created here also. I don't even need to actually be making art. Something about just being surrounded by tubes of paint, stacks of canvases, aluminum cans filled with brushes, stashes of pastels and pencils, and mildly toxic studio odors...well, it has a way of putting me at ease in a way that nothing else can.

And Viscosa...she'll follow me just about anywhere. She's an art cat.

Part III: The Birthday Party.

Last, but not least...since today is my brother-in-law's 39th birthday, a little celebration was in order! This is the crown that A. (my 5 year old niece) and I made. Unfortunately, glue dripped down onto the birthday boy's forehead during dinner. He might be wearing patches of pink construction paper to class tomorrow morning, but I'm sure his college students would love it.

Not only did I help make a crown, but W. (my 7 year old nephew) instructed me on the subtle arts of making spring rolls.

...and, dang, they were good (uuh--I think I ate too many).

After making plate-fulls of spring rolls, my sister gave her kids a geography lesson of Spain. According to her, even wine makes for a good learning opportunity. ha! I can't help but agree. The wine tasted good, too.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Sunday Plans:

Besides helping my brother-in-law celebrate his birthday and maybe even going to get a Christmas tree (?), I have big plans to update my blogroll. I'm writing this here as a reminder to myself because it has been a very, very long time since I last updated it. I've been missing out on some great blog-reading because of my slowness in getting around to it.

ooh...maybe I'll even paint, too. I need a break from work. I need a break from my miiiiind.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

My Own Private Coffee Shop.

For some strange reason, I have the day off. But you won't hear me complaining about that.

I've made a promise to myself to write for 3 solid hours matter what kind of garbage it produces. I've already squandered the morning away by taking Anu for a walk, taking an extra long shower, reading a few pages of yet another book, falling asleep for a half hour in the process, and then taking Anu for another walk and playing catch with her in the backyard to wake my tired brain from its slumber.

My latest plan was to go to a coffee shop where there are less distractions and more caffeine to keep me focused on the task at hand. But, for the life of me, I don't feel like biking my lazy ass all the way there. Anyway, it would take at least 20 minutes each way--wasted time, if you ask me. Or maybe that's just an excuse, but whatever...

The solution?
I've moved my laptop to another corner of the house where I don't usually write. Then I went in the kitchen and made myself a latte. Of course, I had to pretend that I ordered it and someone else made it for me. I made it a little extra frothy and sprinkled cinnamon on top for added effect...and alas, I have my latte, my computer, and 3 hours of writing ahead of me. I'll duct tape myself to this chair if necessary. Distractions be damned!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Freytag Mountain.

These days, I'm reading so many books all at once that I think I've lost track of what exactly it is I'm reading. It's always a bad sign when life gets haphazard in this way. So what do I do? I pick up another book. Mostly, I do this when I write...or, more specifically, when I'm trying to write. I start looking towards outside sources for insight and inspiration...and it rarely works.

I've spent a large portion of the day staring at my computer screen and thinking of my former fiction professor, Will Weaver. Actually, I haven't so much been thinking about him as I've been thinking about him drawing story form diagrams on the chalk board--over and over and over. In hindsight, I appreciate the repetition of his simple lesson. Had he not drawn that line a hundred times I might not remember it now. I can't help but wonder how many times he drew it, the long upward sloping line towards the climax of the story and then the sharp fall of the resolution, in the course of his teaching career. His diagrams were based on the Freytag pyramid of conflict, rising action, crisis, falling action, and resolution; but Will had a way of making rising action look like the longest, windiest hill in the whole universe. I used to sit in class staring at the chalkboard and imagine myself trudging up a forever grassy incline, pulling the oversized red-wagon of my story behind me. I imagined that I could not rest for fear that my precarious load might roll back down to the bottom of the hill without me. Conflict, conflict, conflict, CLIMAX, resolution. It all felt so futile and difficult and depressing. My imaginings rarely made it to the top of the hill before mental fatigue would set in and I was forced to park my thoughts mid-hill with rocks wedged under the wheels while I waited for better weather or a tow truck that never came.

Because I was never able to successfully pull off the basic dramatic structure of fiction I, somewhere along the lines, simply decided that I'm not a fiction writer. Ok, good enough. I'm not a fiction writer. I write creative nonfiction and poetry. Well, all honesty, these days, I only write nonfiction. Fine. But the problem, I'm realizing, is that I STILL don't know how to climb the hill (or mountain!) successfully, enjoy a decent climax, and then smoke a cigarette afterwards.

My point is: in terms of narrative structure, the needs of creative nonfiction are not necessarily ANY different than fiction. Sure, there's lots of room for creative leeway (in any genre), but at this moment I'm standing at the bottom of the hill wondering which direction I should go.

I'm feeling stupid and amazed by how much I still have to learn about writing. And I know there will never be an end to it, but...


How does it work?

Meet "Sully," salamander extraordinaire!

This is "Sully."

I give gkgirl credit for his name since it was her suggestion (it fits perfectly, what can I say?!). But since the rest of the animal kingdom that inhabits the book store is named after literary characters, I've decided that Sully should be able to bask in the sun of literary achievement as well.

And so it shall be...this humble little salamander has hereby been dubbed "Sully" after the French poet, Rene Francois Armond Prudhomme (aka "Sully Prudhomme"), winner of the first Nobel Prize in Literature in 1901 "in special recognition of his poetic composition, which gives evidence of lofty idealism, artistic perfection and a rare combination of the qualities of both heart and intellect."...sounds like our kind of guy!

But maybe I'm not telling you enough. You see, what this little salamander represents is the making of a dream. Every year the bookstore gives out free books to their customers during the christmas season. This year we are giving out The Salamander Room because, in a way, it is the story of this particular children's bookstore. It started as a wee little vision and, little by little, grew and grew into what it is now. It is a bookstore with charm and character and an extremely large dose of originality.

What I've experienced working at the bookstore is that it is a place that is many. I mean, people travel half way across the country just stop in because they have fond memories of visiting when they were young--and I don't blame them! Dang, this is starting to read like an infomertial. I should get a raise for writing this stuff! But it's true. The Wild Rumpus started out as a dream and grew into something with a heart. And that's what Sully the Salamander is meant to represent.

But, you know, it's funny what happens in the process of art making...the way a connection forms between myself and the object I'm creating because...I must say: I've grown quite fond of little Sully.
He makes me feel like anything is possible.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

lately, i've been making a lot of artwork for the bookstore. and i'll admit, i'm enjoying it profusely.

yesterday i drew a poster for c.'s story hour...except that i inadvertantly did a self-portrait! oops. i swear, i didn't mean to. big nose, fat eyebrows, blue eyes...yeah, it's pretty much me, with red hair. v.'s been teasing me ever since and tried to get me to buy red hair dye. actually, it might not be such a bad idea. what do you think? heh.

if nothing else, i am working in new mediums and not only loving it, but learning a lot. for this piece i used pastels, colored pencils, and acyrlic paints. i've never really used pastels and colored pencils very much in the past...but i really like the way the combination works together and how it allows for both soft and saturated effects. it's interesting how these little projects have the potential to influence my personal artwork in big ways. i love getting paid to do these things...and i love that i'm learning something in the process. who knew?

* * *
ok...but today's artwork ranks up there as some of the strangest i've ever done:
i'm sculpting a salamander
huh? yes, a salamander.
and when i'm done, he's going to live in the front window display with copies of The Salamander Room. and although he's still a work in progress...

this is him in the oven:

and this is him after the oven
i've never sculpted (let alone baked!) a salamander before! we'll see. he's already suffering from a few minor cracks. hopefully he'll survive. when he cools off i'll paint him orange with brown dots and add a nice shallacking of varnish to make him look wet. oh, and my not-so-small salamander needs a name. i'll have to think on that one...because i'm already growing fond of the little guy. awwww.....

this is, quite likely, the weirdest, most interesting job i have ever had. thank god.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

for the love of color...

...i couldn't help myself. i found this meme on bee's blog.

[RED ]

1. Closest red thing to you? the red stripes in a blanket from Mexico I have thrown over the back of my chair. and a red pen. and a red book. and a red candle. and a red picture frame holding a picture of saraswati, the hindu goddess of art and learning. and...did you know that red is the color i'm most often drawn to? um, yeah...i can't help it.
2. Has anyone ever cheated on you in a relationship? yes. he lied about it when i asked him several years later. i wasn't mad that he cheated on me--but i lost respect for him. our friendship was never the same after that.
3. Last thing to make you angry? i spent an entire shift dusting vases, pottery, and shelves that looked that they, literally, had not been doesn't in years. when i asked my boss if she noticed the sparkle all she she said was: "well, you missed a few spots." i was stunned speechless (but that's probably a good thing.)
4. Are you a fan of romance? i married a poet with an exotic sounding name, didn't i? i love romance.
5. Have you ever been in love? yes. and luckily with the man i'm married to.
6. Do you have a temper? yes. but i blame it on being a sagittarian.

1. Closest green thing to you? beads sent to me from kristine. they are always in front of me when i write. she sent them to bring me encouragement and inspiration. i could write a whole post just about the beads. the green ones remind me of the jungle.
2. Do you care about the environment? i would be stupid not to.
3. Are you jealous of anyone right now? surprisingly, no. these days i'm feeling more inspired by people than jealous.
4. Are you a lucky person? even though i NEVER win anything, i've always felt lucky. things could have gone wrong in my life in so many ways. i must be lucky.
5. Do you always want what you can't have? yes, there's always something that i feel could make my life better....but not necessarily material things.
6. Are you Irish? yes. from my dad's side of the family. my dad used to put green food dye in our milk every year for st. patrick's day. but, even worse, was the aweful green plaid suit he would dress up in, too. he looked hilarious. too bad he grew out of it. :)-

1. Last purple thing you saw? the notebook in front of me. actually though, it's fuscia--neither red, nor purple (...but it's my favorite color).
2. Like being treated to expensive things? yes. but i try to limit myself to things like good food and good coffee...maybe some nice shampoo.
3. Do you like mysterious things? i love mystery--but only certain kinds. ;)
4. Favourite type of chocolate? really creamy milk chocolate. or dark chocolate spiced with cayenne pepper (have you ever tried it? oh, it tastes heavenly when melted in your mouth with black coffee).
5. Ever met any royalty? does willy nelson count? haha!
6. Are you creative? yes.
7. Are you lonely? no. and, for this, i am thankful.

[ BLUE ]
1. Closest blue thing to you? a packet of wringley's winterfrost gum.
2. Are you good at calming people down? if i want to be.
3. Do you like the ocean? yes. i love it. the ocean is a very intense experience for me--every time.
4. What was the last thing that made you cry? i don't know why. i felt hurried and stressed out. it was only a couple tears. my husband made fun of me and i ended up laughing at myself.
5. Are you a logical thinker? logic's overrated. :) *those are bee's words. and i couldn't have sayid it any better.
6. Can you sleep easily? yes. i used to sleep better, but i won't complain.
7. Do you prefer the beach or the woods? i NEED regular doses of the woods to maintain a stable doses of happiness. i love the ocean, but i'm most familiar with the's in my blood and bones.

1. Closest yellow thing to you? in a painting i did leaned up against the wall.
2. The happiest time(s) of your life? there have been many. maybe even too many to list and hopefully many to come. it's in those little moments of life.
3. Favourite holiday? does my birthday count? haha!
4. Are you a coward? Hell no! but...yes, sometimes.
5. Do you burn or tan? not much of either. my skin stays stubbornly matter how hard i try.
6. Do you want children? yes. about 10 times a day. i also change my mind 10 times a day.
7. What makes you happy? this question makes me happy because it makes me realize how manyt things make me happy.

[ PINK ]
1. Closest pink thing to you? this blog.
2. Do you like sweet things? occassionally. but i'm more of a salt and grease kinda girl. :)-
3. Like play-fighting? yes, especially when i win.
4. Are you sensitive? oh geez...that's an understatement.
5. Do you like punk music? no. my best friends in highschool were all punk-rockers. i was a goth girl myself. i've tried to like it, but punk music has always rubbed me the wrong way. go figure.
6. What is your favourite flower? hyacinth, lilacs, waxflower, paper whites, and tuber roses. (they're all so spicy sweet smelling--it's hard to choose just one).
7. Does someone have a crush on you? i'd like to know if there is.

1. Closest orange thing to you? a small silk tapestry from india. my computer is sitting on it. and a manderine orange candle tin sitting on my desk.
2. Do you like to burn things? yes. i burn candles and incense nearly every day. i love fireplaces and woodstoves.
3. Dress up for Halloween? i used to sew elaborate costumes for myself...but then i got old and boring (or something).
4. Are you usually a warm-hearted person? well, i hope so.
5. Do you prefer the single life or the security of a relationship? my indepedance is important to me. but i love being married. both v. and i are happiest when we're able to strike a balance.
6. What would your super power be? invisibility.

1. Closest white thing to you? scraps of paper with notes to myself written on them.
2. Would you say you're innocent? nope...then again, it would depend on why you're asking!
3. Always try to keep the peace? in some ways, yes--i just want to avoid conflict. in some ways, no--there are times when i voice my opinion, even when i would have been better off keeping my mouth shut.
4. How do you imagine your wedding? the way it was.
5. Do you like to play in the snow? yes, yes, and yes!!
6. Are you afraid of going to the doctors or dentist? definately! i don't trust doctors and dentists inflict pain.

1. Closest black thing to you? a black planner with a black and white postcard of a park in paris taped to the cover.
2. Ever enjoy hurting people? no.
3. Are you sophisticated or silly? i'm not sure if i'm quite either. can i be something in between?
4. Do you have a lot of secrets? not many. i wear myself inside out.
5. What is your favourite colour(s)? fuscia. red. turqoise. lime green. pink.
6. Does the colour you wear affect your mood? i choose color because of the mood i'm in. if i pick the wrong color, i feel "off."

Friday, November 17, 2006


We went out with visiting friends to an art opening tonight. When we got there, I ran into an old house-mate from Bemidji. Then we went to another opening. We ran into our old neighbor, also from Bemidji. It was good to see these people.

But, I'll tell you: It is impossible to escape Bemidji.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Tom-Tom stole my heart (and E.'s scrub brush).

Since working at the children's book store I find myself wanting to adopt strange doves and rabbits and chinchillas. I hate to pick favorites, but Tom-Tom, the ferret, wins the prize for stealing my heart.

His favorite game lately is stealing scrub brushes from E. and, either not letting her have them back (see picture), or hiding them on her completely. Mind you, he only does this with E. And he thinks it's great fun--especially when she gets worked up! ha! (I have to admit, it IS hilarious!)

We let him run around until it's time to open the store and then he goes back in his cage where he'll be safe. But this morning the 10:00 hour descended upon us and we couldn't find poor Tom-Tom. I found him a little later, curled up in my big fat down-jacket under the counter, fast asleep. But, I'll tell you, I wish he would have crawled in the pocket...because I would have loved to bring him home. ;)

Who knew that I'd fall in love with a ferret? But it's true...Tom-Tom has stolen my heart for good.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

"women diary writers"

i just checked the trackback and saw that someone found my blog by doing a search for "women diary writers."

hmm--something about that makes me feel very proud.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

word dreaming.

I have been thinking about writing all day. And when I say that, I mean that I've been thinking about it since the moment I woke up until now. I took 2 naps and both times I dreampt about writing. Language becomes liquid in dreams.

Fuck. I should have been spending the entire day getting words down on paper. But instead all I could do is read and sleep. I've had so many pearly thoughts--–perfectly formed because they have not been distorted by the page. I was cold...and the only warm place in the world was on the couch, hidden under three blankets and the shuttered blinds of the living room window.

When V. got home we sat down togehter for dinner. It wasn't until he asked me about my day that I unexpectedly burst into tears over wilting salad leaves and black olives. Right now I'm sitting in a coffee shop next to the fireplace. Finally, I'm beginning to feel my fear of writer's block unthaw. Sometimes, like today, it freezes me solid.

I think it's time to redefine my direction and find intuition again. Something happened to me during grad school. I don't know if it was the experience of school itself, or if it was the accumulative effect of a hard time in my personal life, too (ok, actually, it was a complicated mixture of both). I feel broken. I guess too much stress and grief all at once can do that to a person. As hard as I try, I can't figure it out. I feel like a two year old: but why? why? why? Does it even matter? I want to make sense of it so that I can move forward, but maybe it's not even necessary to figure it out. What's essential is to grow from it. I don't regret anything. But what I do need to do right now is climb my way out of this pit of fear that has grown like a cancer in my gut.

What I want to do more than anything is just read. I want to read and read and read. But I am so tired of feeling the nag of guilt everytime I do anything that isn't my thesis. I need to finish what I've started so that I can breath freely once again--because this wordlessness is beginning to eat me alive.

Monday, November 13, 2006

monday morning random

I've been fairly diligent in posting for NaBloMoPo...even if it has only amounted to a whole load of low quality blogging. One thing that I've noticed is how incredibly sick of myself I am when I "force" myself to post when I don't actually have the time or energy to write something worth reading. Then again, I feel a bit withdrawn these holing up in a warm corner of the couch and just reading books for weeks on end.

Wishing for more time to read makes me miss my travels in India. I read a lot there...and, for some reason, kept track of it. In the back of a small leather bound journal is a list, over a hundred books long. I wrote, read, meditated, did yoga, ate (too much) food, drank (never enough) tea, made friends, and read and wrote some more.

Right now I'm sitting at the coffee shop--passing time before work. Vinny drops me off on his way to teach, which gives me a full two hours of reading, writing, and people watching time before I need to be at the bookstore. There's an old man that comes here every day at 8:15. He reminds me of my grandpa. He is old, but refined. He smiles a lot and is always the first to get here before all of his friend. He finds a table and always makes sure there are enough chairs for when they arrive. Last week, while watching him, I found myself nearly in tears over how much I miss my grandpa's smile. He passed away a year and a half ago. I never realized until he was gone that he was the glue that held my dad's side of the family together. He used to pull quarters out of my ears when I was little. His name was Jack.

These two hours go by fast, but sitting here is the one thing I like best about sharing a car. Actually, it's the only thing I like about sharing a car.

I was tired this morning. So tired. The snooze went off a thousand times. Buzzing and ringing--such confusion. I stayed up last night finishing a chalk drawing for the bookstore...which makes it a worthwhile kind of tired. It makes me laugh that, these days, I'm getting PAID to do CHALK DRAWINGS!!! ha! I knew that last summer's sidewalk art would be good for something. My love for independent bookstores grows deeper every day. I will admit though, that sidewalks make a better canvas than actual chalk boards. hmm....who knew?

It is a rainy, dreary day in the city. There is a coffee cup the size of my head sitting next to me. I am oddly in love with my life today. This feeling, it comes and goes. But today...I feel like anything is possible.

...I'm looking forward to going home after work and WRITING. Not for my blog--but for real (not that blog writing isn't real). If I slip off the planet for a couple days, you'll know why. Please excuse my possible absence.

A quiet night at home...

Tonight, over bowls of homemade chili and still-warm-from-the-oven cornbread, we celebrated the coming of winter with our first fire of the year.

Here's to warmth.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

if it were a poem.

The hair on my cat's eyebrow continues to grow longer.
Long and white and wiry.
I watch it grow.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

on resilience:

india style...

noon thought:

my little black cat, viscosa, sprouted a long wiry white hair out of her eyebrow during the night. does this mean she's growing old? she's the youngest of our animal family (now 7). my oh moves quickly. some days i think it's strange how much i think about mortality. i'm nearly 32 years old. i watch people...always watching people, trying to decipher the length and quality of their days. i love life too much. sometimes it makes me feel desperate.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Half wolf. All baby.

It's been a long and interesting day. But all that matters right now is this steaming mug of chamomile tea and the big, fluffy wolfie that I have snuggled at my feet. Anu is strictly an outside dog--but sometimes, like tonight, my heart gets all soft around the edges and I let her in. It's cold outside and Vinny and I worked long days. She hasn't been left alone for more than a handful of hours in over a year. Poor baby--she was cold and lonely and whining so softly at the door that my heart here she is, laying under my desk all huffs and sighs and groans of pleasure.

We don't let her in very often because, if we do, she starts expecting it...not to mention that, considering she'd eat the cats if given the opportunity, it just doesn't work out well for anyone (especially the cats!). Lately though, I miss having an indoor dog like mad. I love having a big dog laying at my feet when I sit at my desk. I love having an animal take up more room than me in my bed. I love having a dog to lay on the couch with and use for a leg pillow. I (kinda) love having to step over or around the dog a hundred times while cooking dinner; or to talk to while I fold laundry; or to fall asleep on the bathroom floor when I take a bubble bath or.... yeah, I just miss having an indoor dog. And now that it's getting colder out, and not as comfortable to sit outside for hours on end, I miss Anu too. She still gets lots of the almost-ridiculous degree that the neighbors are not unaccustomed to me sitting in the middle of the yard in my down jacket just so I can give her extra love (luckily they understand these strange urges of the heart), but it just isn't the same. You know?

Lately...Anu's been getting (even more) spoiled. This is the second time in a week I've brought her inside. It's kind of a process just bringing her in--but once it's done, ahhhhh... after that it's nothin' but pure doggie bliss. Then again, it works both ways...I suppose you could call it pure Jessie bliss, too.

and for today's math lesson:
toasty crackling fireplace + big, furry dog + chamomile tea = heaven to the nth degree.
(...and I haven't even lit the fire yet!)

ps. the photos are from a couple days ago. i've been wanting to post them, but didn't get a chance until now.